The Constant Princess的片段
There was a scream, and then the loud roar of fire enveloping silken hangings, then a mounting crescendo of shouts of panic that spread and spread, from one tent to another as the flames ran too, leaping from one silk standard to another, running up guy ropes and bursting through muslin doors. Then the horses were neighing in terror and men shouting to calm them, but the terror in their own voices made it worse, until the whole plain was alight with a thousand raging blazes, and the night swirled with smoke and rang with shouts and screams.
The little girl, starting up out of her bed in her fear, cried out in Spanish for her mother and screamed: ‘The Moors? The Moors are coming for us?’
‘Dear God, save us, they are firing the camp!’ her nurse gasped. ‘Mother of God they will rape me, and spit you on their sickle blades.’
‘Mother!’ cried the child, struggling from her bed. ‘Where is my mother?’
She dashed out of her tent, her nightgown flapping at her legs, the hangings of her own tent now alight and blazing up behind her in an inferno of panic. All the thousand, thousand tents in the camp were ablaze: sparks pouring up into the dark night sky like fiery fountains, blowing like a swarm of fireflies to carry the disaster onward.
‘Mother!’ she screamed for help.
Out of the flames came two huge dark horses, like great, mythical beasts moving as one, jet black against the brightness of the flames. High up, higher than one could dream, the child’s mother bent down to speak to her daughter who was trembling, her head no higher than the horse’s leg. ‘Stay with your nurse and be a good girl,’ the woman commanded, no trace of fear in her voice. ‘Your father and I have to ride out and show ourselves.’