He lived over his visit with Tantor; he cogitated upon the digging blacks and the strange, covered pit they had left behind them.
And as he puzzled over the covered pit, there loomed suddenly before his mental vision a huge, gray-black bulk which lumbered ponderously along a jungle trail.
It came to pass, then, that having sallied forth one morning to practise and exercise himself in what he would have to do in the encounter he expected to find himself engaged in the next day, as he was putting Rocinante through his paces or pressing him to the charge, he brought his feet so close to a pit that but for reining him in tightly it would have been impossible for him to avoid falling into it.
"By all that's good," was the answer, "and by the birth of whomsoever your worship chooses, I swear, Senor Don Quixote of La Mancha, that I am your squire Sancho Panza, and that I have never died all my life; but that, having given up my government for reasons that would require more time to explain, I fell last night into this pit where I am now, and Dapple is witness and won't let me lie, for more by token he is here with me."
Find it he did, soon after dawn, and not far from the sand pits. An enormous hole had been made by the impact of the projectile, and the sand and gravel had been flung violently in every direction over the heath, forming heaps visible a mile and a half away.
I was naturally startled, and lost no time in going out and across the Ottershaw bridge to the sand pits.
After the first jerk as I reached the end of the rope that had been paid out to let me fall below the pit's edge they lowered me quickly but smoothly.
The pit, which my imagination had pictured as bottomless, proved to be not more than a hundred feet in depth; but as its walls were smoothly polished it might as well have been a thousand feet, for I could never hope to escape without outside assistance.
As these were made, they were hung upon an arm of the pitman who had last come up, with instructions how to use them: and as he stood, shown by the light he carried, leaning his powerful loose hand upon one of the poles, and sometimes glancing down the pit
, and sometimes glancing round upon the people, he was not the least conspicuous figure in the scene.
Pierre glanced into the pit
and saw that the factory lad was lying with his knees close up to his head and one shoulder higher than the other.
By removing two stakes there would be left plenty of room for the lion to leap from the pit
, which was not of any great depth.
Therefore we tarried only a short time at the pit
. We rested the horses and ourselves, and felt for a few minutes the blessed shade of the ancient buildings.
As he spoke the Count looked downwards towards the boxes behind us on the pit
"Finally I gave him a fair choice between freedom and the pits
beneath the palace--the price of freedom to be full information as to where you were imprisoned and directions which would lead us to you; but still he maintained his stubborn partisanship.
"Love in the pits
of O-Tar!" he cried, and again his thin laughter jarred upon the silence of the subterranean vaults.