2021-04-14 01:29:28

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ENGLISH "Yes, sir, I 'ad a job to 'old them. And then, just as I was going to pull 'im out, I noticed something"There was a sound at the top of the corridor, just the suggestion of a swish of silken drapery, and Gordon Bruce half turned. Under a cluster of electric lights stood Leona Lalage; she must have seen everything. It might have been fancy, it might have been a guilty conscience, but just for the moment Countess Lalage seemed transformed into a white fury with two murderous demons gleaming in her dark restless eyes. Then her silk and ivory fan fell from her hands, and Gordon hastened to recover it.

"Oh, God," he cried out, at last, and shivering from head to foot. "Are you doing these things on purpose to frighten me, or can't you, can't you help it? Do you think I don't believe you? Do you think I can keep on deceiving myself? I tell you I'm ready to believe anythingI capitulateI only ask you to let me down lightly. I'm only human, and human nerves weren't made to stand this."

"But what is it for?" gasped Arthur.She read on aloud how two private Federal soldiers, hospital convalescents, had come to my mother telling her of his death, and how he had named my mother over and over in his delirium, desiring that she should be given charge of the small effects on his person and that she would return them to his father in the Confederacy. My mother wrote how she had been obliged secretly to buy back from the hospital steward a carte-de-visite photograph of Charlotte, and this ring; how, Oliver not being a Federal soldier, she had been allowed to assume the expense and task of his burial; how she had found the body already wrapped and bound, in the military way, when she first saw it, but heard the two convalescents praising to each other the strong, hard-used beauty of the hidden face, and was shown the suit of brown plantation jeans we all knew so well; and how, lastly, when her overbearing conscience compelled her to tell them she might find it easier to send the relics to the wife rather than the father, they had furtively advised her to do as she pleased.

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And then, when that change had been wrought, that physical reconstruction, what else might follow in its train? The Truth at last, an end to all suffering and pain, a solution[Pg 113] of the problems of civilisation, such as overpopulation and land distribution, the beginning of human sovereignty in the universe.She stirred curiously in his arms, her mind newly alert."Ah, me! Ah, me! Do you believe that, Dick?"

Without pausing or turning an eye my hearer poured out a slow flood of curses. "If that whelp has come here of his own accord he's come for no good! Has he seen us?"[Pg 188]"About sixteen. Our two horses will be Yankees again to-morrow."

"Is she alive, Kendall?" I interrupted. "Is she alive?""Whose husband I have killed.... Ah, God!... Ah, my God! why was I chosen to do that?... And you think, Dick, it was not a question of time; that I did not ask, maybe a little too soon?"

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"There's no Lieutenant in there." Bang!Gregg placed a hand soothingly upon his friend's shoulder. "Why didn't you send for me before? You're over-strung. This experience has been too much for you.""Go away, madam!" bellowed the officer as his men thundered into the upper hall. "Now, Captain Ferry, there are six of us here and three under each of your windows. Do you--?"

[Pg 157]LXIV BY TWOS. MARCH"Death," said the Doctor, speaking from knowledge rather than from symbolical conviction.

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Apr-14 01:29:28