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HOME > Classical Novels > Love Among the Ruins > CHAPTER 19
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 As a wind sweeps into a wood, so Modred and his fellows, household , streamed into the great hall of Avalon, where the Lord Flavian sat at supper. Bearers of angry steel, fulminators of , , strong, they poured in through the screens like a mill race, bearing a tossed and impotent figure in their midst. Their swords and flashed over this fragment of humanity.  
A gauntlet of steel was dashed often into the white face. Hands clawed his collar, clutched his body. Dragged, jerked onwards, , beaten to his knees, he sank down before the Lord Flavian's chair, blood streaming from his mouth and , specking his white habit, drabbling the floor. Then only did the flashing, circle like waves from a fallen rock.
Modred, a black man, burly, a bigot to honour, stood out a giant before his fellows. His great sword quivered to the roof; his deep voice shook the rafters.
"Blood, sire, blood."
The man in the white habit , and held up his hands.
"Let me him as he kneels."
"Sirs, give me the courtesy of silence."
Flavian started from his chair and looked at the man, who knelt, into himself, at his feet. It was a scene with the grim cynicism of life. Here was a man of mind and genius, , quivering before the strong of a dozen muscular . Here was the of bold truths, an utter when the physical part of him was threatened with dissolution. Not that this event was any proof against the moral power of pagan self-reliance. Not that there was any cause for the of , or the pointing of a proverb. A true churchman might have carved a fine moral out of the reality. It would have been a fallacy. Fra Balthasar was a coward. He had none of the splendid mental of a Socrates. He would have played the coward even under the eye of Christ.
Silence had fallen. Far away, choked by the long throats of gallery and stair, rose the wild, screaming of a woman. It had the , agony of one flung into eternal fire. Without , , or increase, , impotent, , piteous, it out in long, bursts that swept into the ears like some unutterable out of hell.
The kneeling man heard it, and seemed to contract, to shrink into himself. His white habit was rent to the middle; his ashy face splashed over with blood. He and shook, his hands clasped over the nape of his neck, for fear of the sword. His tongue clave to his palate; his eyes were on the upreared yard of steel.
Torches and cressets . Servants stared and shouldered and in the screens; all the castle underlings seemed to have out the business like the rats they were. Modred's knights put them out with rough words and the flat of the sword. The doors were barred. Only Flavian, the priest, and Modred and his men took part in that tribunal in the hall of Avalon.
Flavian stood and gazed on Balthasar, the man of tones and colours. The Lord of Gambrevault was calm, unhurried, and dispassionate, yet not unpleased. The man's infinite and terror seemed to arrest him like some superb from the lips of a philosopher. He had the air of a man who calculates, the look of a whose scheme has worked out well. From Balthasar he looked to Modred the Strong, the torchlight on his , his great sword quivering like a to leap down upon its . The distant screaming, somewhat fainter and less , still in his ears. He thought of Dante, and the bolgias of that superhuman singer.
Going close to the Dominican, he to him in strong, yet not unpitying tones. Balthasar dared not look above the Lord Flavian's knees.
"Ha, my friend, where is all your fine philosophy?"
The man cringed like a beggar.
"Where ............
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