The Ball and the Cross eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 295 pages of information about The Ball and the Cross.

And he ran at Wimpey, with blazing eyes.

Wimpey staggered back a few paces like a man struggling with his own limbs.  Then he felt the furious Scotchman coming at him like an express train, doubling his size every second, with eyes as big as windows and a sword as bright as the sun.  Something broke inside him, and he found himself running away, tumbling over his own feet in terror, and crying out as he ran.

“Chase him!” shouted Turnbull as MacIan snatched up the sword and joined in the scamper.  “Chase him over a county!  Chase him into the sea!  Shoo!  Shoo!  Shoo!”

The little man plunged like a rabbit among the tall flowers, the two duellists after him.  Turnbull kept at his tail with savage ecstasy, still shooing him like a cat.  But MacIan, as he ran past the South Sea idol, paused an instant to spring upon its pedestal.  For five seconds he strained against the inert mass.  Then it stirred; and he sent it over with a great crash among the flowers, that engulfed it altogether.  Then he went bounding after the runaway.

In the energy of his alarm the ex-Fellow of Magdalen managed to leap the paling of his garden.  The two pursuers went over it after him like flying birds.  He fled frantically down a long lane with his two terrors on his trail till he came to a gap in the hedge and went across a steep meadow like the wind.  The two Scotchmen, as they ran, kept up a cheery bellowing and waved their swords.  Up three slanting meadows, down four slanting meadows on the other side, across another road, across a heath of snapping bracken, through a wood, across another road, and to the brink of a big pool, they pursued the flying philosopher.  But when he came to the pool his pace was so precipitate that he could not stop it, and with a kind of lurching stagger, he fell splash into the greasy water.  Getting dripping to his feet, with the water up to his knees, the worshipper of force and victory waded disconsolately to the other side and drew himself on to the bank.  And Turnbull sat down on the grass and went off into reverberations of laughter.  A second afterwards the most extraordinary grimaces were seen to distort the stiff face of MacIan, and unholy sounds came from within.  He had never practised laughing, and it hurt him very much.


At about half past one, under a strong blue sky, Turnbull got up out of the grass and fern in which he had been lying, and his still intermittent laughter ended in a kind of yawn.

“I’m hungry,” he said shortly.  “Are you?”

“I have not noticed,” answered MacIan.  “What are you going to do?”

Project Gutenberg
The Ball and the Cross from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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