"I am bound and helpless, Mary," I replied. "Otherwise I would do what I could to save you and your sister."
"I will set you free!" cried the girl, creeping up to my side. "I will set you free, and then you may come and slay Buckingham."
"Gladly!" I assented.
"We must hurry," she went on, as she fumbled with the hard knots in the stiffened rawhide, "for Buckingham will be after you soon. He must make an offering to the lions at dawn before he can take Victory. The taking of a queen requires a human offering!" toys for him
"And I am to be the offering?" I asked.
"Yes," she said, tugging at a knot. "Buckingham has been wanting a sacrifice ever since he killed Wettin, that he might slay my mother and take Victory."
The thought was horrible, not solely because of the hideous fate to which I was condemned, but from the contemplation it engendered of the sad decadence of a once enlightened race. To these depths of ignorance, brutality, and superstition had the vaunted civilization of twentieth century England been plunged, and by what? War! I felt the structure of our time-honored militaristic arguments crumbling about me.