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|The Man Who Was Thursday||Gilbert K. Chesterton|
The Earth In Anarchy
|Page 7 of 11||
"Don't be in such a hurry," drawled the smoker. "He will very soon explain it to all of us."
But the impatient Colonel was already out of earshot, advancing towards the advancing enemy. The excited Dr. Renard lifted his pistol again, but perceiving his opponent, hesitated, and the Colonel came face to face with him with frantic gestures of remonstrance.
"It is no good," said Syme. "He will never get anything out of that old heathen. I vote we drive bang through the thick of them, bang as the bullets went through Bull's hat. We may all be killed, but we must kill a tidy number of them."
"I won't 'ave it," said Dr. Bull, growing more vulgar in the sincerity of his virtue. "The poor chaps may be making a mistake. Give the Colonel a chance."
"Shall we go back, then?" asked the Professor.
"No," said Ratcliffe in a cold voice, "the street behind us is held too. In fact, I seem to see there another friend of yours, Syme."
Syme spun round smartly, and stared backwards at the track which they had travelled. He saw an irregular body of horsemen gathering and galloping towards them in the gloom. He saw above the foremost saddle the silver gleam of a sword, and then as it grew nearer the silver gleam of an old man's hair. The next moment, with shattering violence, he had swung the motor round and sent it dashing down the steep side street to the sea, like a man that desired only to die.
"What the devil is up?" cried the Professor, seizing his arm.
"The morning star has fallen!" said Syme, as his own car went down the darkness like a falling star.
The others did not understand his words, but when they looked back at the street above they saw the hostile cavalry coming round the corner and down the slopes after them; and foremost of all rode the good innkeeper, flushed with the fiery innocence of the evening light.
"The world is insane!" said the Professor, and buried his face in his hands.
"No," said Dr. Bull in adamantine humility, "it is I."
"What are we going to do?" asked the Professor.
"At this moment," said Syme, with a scientific detachment, "I think we are going to smash into a lamppost."
The next instant the automobile had come with a catastrophic jar against an iron object. The instant after that four men had crawled out from under a chaos of metal, and a tall lean lamp-post that had stood up straight on the edge of the marine parade stood out, bent and twisted, like the branch of a broken tree.
"Well, we smashed something," said the Professor, with a faint smile. "That's some comfort."
"You're becoming an anarchist," said Syme, dusting his clothes with his instinct of daintiness.
"Everyone is," said Ratcliffe.
As they spoke, the white-haired horseman and his followers came thundering from above, and almost at the same moment a dark string of men ran shouting along the sea-front. Syme snatched a sword, and took it in his teeth; he stuck two others under his arm-pits, took a fourth in his left hand and the lantern in his right, and leapt off the high parade on to the beach below.
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|The Man Who Was Thursday
Gilbert K. Chesterton
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