Scene-30 A room in the Convent. Thurston seated near a small fire.
Enter Eustace. A lull in the fighting.The enemy re-grouping, 
the defenders nearly all killed or injured. Hugo is dead 
but his horse "Rollo" survives.
Henry, the page, has ridden Rollo away to get help.


EUSTACE

We have come through this skirmish with hardly a scratch,
THURSTON And without us, I fancy, they have a full batch Of sick men to look to. Those robbers accurs'd Will soon put our soundest on terms with our worst. Nathless I'd have bartered, with never a frown, Ten years for those seconds when Osric went down. Where's Ethelwolf!
EUSTACE Dying. THURSTON And Reginald? EUSTACE Dead. And Ralph is disabled, and Rudolph is sped. He may last till midnight--not longer. Nor Tyrrel, Nor Brian, will ever see sunrise. THURSTON That Cyril, The monk, is a very respectable fighter. EUSTACE Not bad for a monk. Yet our loss had been lighter Had he and his fellows thrown open the gate A little more quickly. And now, spite of fate, With thirty picked soldiers their siege we might weather, But the Abbess is worth all the rest put together. Enter Ursula THURSTON Here she comes.
URSULA Can I speak with your lord? EUSTACE 'Tis too late, He was dead when we carried him in at the gate. THURSTON Nay, he spoke after that, for I heard him myself; But he won't speak again, he must lie on his shelf. URSULA Alas! is he dead then? THURSTON As dead as St. Paul. And what then? to-morrow we , too, one and all, Die to fatten these ravenous carrion birds. I knelt down by Hugo and heard his last words: 'How heavy the night hangs--how wild the waves dash; Say a mass for my soul-- and give Rollo a mash' URSULA Nay. Thurston, thou jestest. THURSTON Ask Eric. I swear We listened, and caught every syllable clear. EUSTACE Why, his horse was slain too. THURSTON 'Neath the linden trees grey, Ere the onset, young Henry rode Rollo away; He will hasten the Prince, and they may reach your gate To-morrow--though to-morrow for us is too late. Hugo rode the boy's mare, and she's dead, if you like-- Disembowel'd by the thrust of a freebooter's pike. EUSTACE Neither Henry nor Rollo we ever shall see. URSULA But we may hold the walls till to-morrow. THURSTON Not we. In an hour or less, having rallied their force, They'll storm your old building--and take it, of course, Since of us, who alone in war's science are skill'd, One-third are disabled, and two-thirds are kill'd. URSULA Art thou hurt? THURSTON At present I feel well enough, But your water is brackish, unwholesome, and rough; Bring a flask of your wine, dame, for Eustace and I, Let us gaily give battle, and merrily die. Enter Eric with arm in sling. ERIC Thou art safe, Lady Abbess! The convent is safe. To be robbed of their prey, how the ravens will chafe; The vanguard of Otto is looming in sight: At the sheen of their spears, see thy foemen take flight. Their foremost are scarce half a mile from the wall. THURSTON Bring the wine, lest those Germans should swallow it all. Adam Lindsay Gordon
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