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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

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      "Swift and sure," she said,It was like a shadow and quite as noiseless. Lawrence pressed the slide of his repeater. The rapid little pulse beat twelve and then stopped.

      "Oh--I--I'm afraid to say it--even to Estelle, or aunt Martha, or--"I find myself giving but a faint impression of the spirit in which Gholson spoke; it went away beyond a mere backbiting mood and became a temper so vindictive and so venomously purposeful that I was startled; his condition seemed so fearfully like that of the old paralytic when he whined "That's not our way."

      "I'm most afraid," he said, abstractedly, as he read my detail, which Gholson brought in. "Here,"--he handed it to me--"and here, here's the despatch too."I went to Gholson. He told me I was relieved of my captive and bade me go care for my horse and return in half an hour. In going I passed close by the Sessions plantation house. Every door and window was thrown wide to the night air, and preparations were in progress for a dance; and as I returned, a slave boy ran across my path, toward the house, bearing a flaming pine torch and followed by two ambulances filled with daughters of the neighborhood in clouds of white gauze. I found the General in fatigue dress. His new finery hung on the tent-pole at his back. Old Dismukes, the bull-necked colonel of the Arkansans, lounged on a camp-cot. Both smoked cigars.

      "We went near the prison while we were in the Tartar city, and so it was proposed that we should see what there was inside. It was the most horrible place I have ever seen, and the wonder is that men can be found inhuman enough to condemn people to be shut up there. There was a large cage so full of men that there was not room on the floor for them all to lie down at once, even if they had been as close together as sardines in a can. We could see through the bars of the cage, as if the captives had been wild animals instead of human beings, and they looked so worn and wretched that we all pitied them very much. If a man is sent to prison in China,[Pg 372] and has no money to pay for his food, he will die of starvation, as the jailers are not required by law to feed the prisoners under their charge. There were men chained, with iron collars around their necks; and others tied, with their hands and feet brought close together. The suffering was terrible, and we were glad to come away after a very few minutes. It is positive that we do not want to see another prison as long as we stay in this country.

      "No, not as between sooner and later; and yet, in another way, possibly, yes." Without either of us stirring from the pillow I tried to explain. I pointed out that trait in Charlotte which I called an impulse suddenly to surrender the key of her situation, the vital point in her fortunes and fate.

      "It became necessary to fire on the mutineers, and for this we raised the tarpaulins over one of the hatches. The smoke poured out in a dense mass and almost smothered us, and we could only see the forms of the men very dimly, like a ship in a fog. We fired, and continued to fire till[Pg 397] several of them had been shot down, and all their efforts to get at us were of no avail. There were about sixty men in the crew, and, as we had over a thousand coolies on board, we had numbers against us fearfully. But they had no fire-arms, while we had a good supply of rifles and pistols, with plenty of ammunition. At the time of the outbreak there were not far from a hundred coolies on deck; but we drove them forward, and kept so large a guard over them that they could not have done anything to help their friends below if they had been disposed to do so.

      The voice ran true and clear; there was deep sincerity in the eyes of the speaker. Bruce was melting, despite himself. Hetty must be wrong. A brilliant woman like that would never throw herself at the feet of a mere doctor. Nobody could look in her eyes and doubt her goodness and truth.


      Maitrank grinned again, in no way abashed."Then we found how lucky it was we had brought along a mule litter, as Fred rode in it the rest of the day. Next morning he made our guide change ponies with him. In half an hour the guide was in a mud puddle, and saying something in Chinese that had a very bad sound, but it didn't help dry his clothes in the least. On the whole, we got along very well with the ponies in the north of China, when we remember the bad reputation they have and the things that most travellers say about them.


      An hour of avowal could not have told me more; could not have filled me half so full of sympathy, admiration and love, as did that one slight motion. It befitted the day, a day outwardly so quiescent, yet in which so much was going on. A realization of this quiet activity kept us silent until we had come through the woods-pasture to its southern border, and so through the big white field-gate into the public road; now we turned up toward the grove-gate, and here I spoke again. "Do you still think we ought to wait here for the command?""Of course I do, and Ned Ferry does; don't you?"


      The meal was finished presently. Hetty caught the scent of cigarette smoke. The Countess lounged back in her chair, smoking too. She seemed perfectly self-possessed. She looked so easy and comfortable that Maitrank was filled with admiration.