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      Gholson brought the mulatress. In the feeble rays of an old tin lantern, on some gunny-sacking that lay about the gin-room floor, sat old Dismukes cross-legged and smiling, with arms folded and revolver dangling from his right hand, at full cock. On one side crouched Harry and I, on the other side Gholson and the slave woman. Facing him, half sat, half knelt Oliver, bound hand and foot, and gagged with his own knotted handkerchief. The lantern hung from a low beam just above his face; his eyes blazed across the short interval with the splendor of a hawk's. The dread issue of the hour seemed all at once to have taken from his outward aspect the baser signs of his habits and crimes, and I saw large extenuation for Charlotte's great mistake. From the big Colonel's face, too, the heaviness of drink was gone, and its smile grew almost fine as he spoke.The doctor slipped off his dress-coat and turned up his sleeves. In a prim sort of way his fair attendant took the coat away and hung it up carefully in the dim recesses of a big cupboard at the far side of the room. With great care and patience Bruce contrived to coax a quantity of the hideous mixture of mustard and water down the unconscious man's throat.


      "Yes, you wouldn't know about them, although you're not unlike a maker yourself. Only you wear clothes like us, and the makers don't wear clothes. That was what puzzled[Pg 207] me about you. The look in your eyes reminded me of a maker. They came after the last wars. It's all written in history. There was a great deal of fighting and killing and blowing up and poisoning, and then the makers came and they didn't fight. It was they who invented the clock for us, and after that every man had to have a clock fitted into him, and then he didn't have to fight any more, because he could move about in a multiform world where there was plenty of room for everybody."


      "It means the Yankees,--love," I said, and when she gasped her dismay without letting on to have heard the last word, I felt that fires were cheap at any price.

      "The Chinese have a god of thieves; but he has no temple, and is generally worshipped in the open air. All the thieves are supposed to worship him, as he is a saint who made their business successful; and, besides this, he is worshipped by those who wish to become wealthy in honest ways. He is said to have been a skilful thief, and very pious at the same time. He was kind to his mother, and the most of his stealing was done to support her.

      CHAPTER IV. WEAVING THE NET.


      "I have gone to my limit," he said. "Gordon, give me a brandy and soda. Would you like to take my place, Lady Longmere?"

      She smiled. "No. I am not seeking to divert his fury from myself, but to confine it to myself. Fancy yourself a human-hearted woman, General, and murder being done day by day because you are alive." "Oh, this is incredible! What is its occasion, its origin? How are you in any way responsible?"

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      [Pg 106]"I don't believe you! I don't believe you ever had cause for one!" She laid a hand again upon mine.

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      "Will you be so good as to tell me how?" Balmayne said.Insidee mout'h he plenty cly

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      A shattered crew we were when in the forenoon of the third day we reached our goal. Harry's hand was giving him less trouble, but both my small wounds were misbehaving as stoutly as their limitations would allow; my aches were cruel and incessant, my side was swollen and my shoulder hot. Miss Harper was "really ill," said the surgeon, but for whose coming with us we should hardly have brought our whole number through alive. Both Ferry and Charlotte were in a critical condition. "Take you in!" said our tearfully smiling Mrs. Wall; "why, we'd take yo' whole crowd in ef we had to go out and bunk undeh the trees owse'v's!... Oh, Mr. Smith, you po' chi--ild!... Oh, my Lawd! is this Lieutenant Do-wrong! Good Lawd, good Lawd! I think this waugh's gone on now jess long enough!"I looked him squarely in the eyes and began to burn. At every new unfolding of his confidence I had let my own vanity, pride, self-love be more and more flattered, and here at length was getting ready to esteem him less for showing such lack of reserve as to use me as an escape-valve for his pent-up thoughts, when all at once I fancied I saw what he was trying to do. I believed he had guessed my temptations of the night and was making use of himself to warn me how to fight them. "I understand," said I, humbly.


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