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"I say we can't give it to you now," Miss Harper persisted, with a motherly smile; "we're wearing it ourselves. We've had no time to take it off. I couldn't get the boots off me last night. And even if you had the boots, the other things--"
"Two--what?" His smile broadened. "You know that?"
When the commons, trusting to a deceitful promise, had lost that unity which could alone render them formidable, it was no matter of difficulty to secure Holgrave, as he rushed forward to revenge Tyler's death. Besides his being a leader, a reward from the baron was offered for his capture; and it was to little purpose that he fought and struggled against a body which attacked him on every side; he was overpowered, and thrown into a cell in St. Bartholomew's priory, from which, when the tumult had ceased, he was removed, and, at the baron's request, delivered over to him for punishment.
I stiffened up as though I heard a thief picking the lock of my lawful treasure. She threw me, side wise, a bantering smile and then a more winsome glance, but I refused to see either. I burned with so many feelings at once that I could no more have told them than I could have raised a tune. "Don't you like him?" she asked, and tried to be very arch.By the time he recognised her, he too was recognised, and half way up the climbing path they met. She was carrying her hat in her hand, and the sunlit sparks of fire in her brown bright hair, that the wind had disordered into a wildness that greatly became her and the spirit of the spring morning. Her brisk walking had kindled a glow in her cheeks, and she was a little out of breath, for she had run down the path from the crest of slope beyond. Standing a step or two above him on the steep slope their eyes were on a level; as straight as an arrows fight hers looked into his.
"I could go on with a long account of the tortures in China, but they are not very pleasant reading, and, besides, some of them are too horrible for belief. I will stop with the torture known as 'the hot-water snake,' which consists of a coil of thin tubing of tin or pewter in the form of a serpent. One of these coils is twisted around each arm of the victim, and another around his body, in such a way that the head of the snake is higher than any other part. Then they pour boiling water into the mouth of the snake, and the flesh of the prisoner is burned and scalded in the most terrible manner. This punishment is said to be used rarely, and only[Pg 374] on persons accused of crimes against the government. It is too horrible to be popular, even among the most cold-blooded people in the world.The two men bowed.
Now Major Harper's brother passes a word to the man at the boat's bow, whereupon this man springs up and a Confederate officer's braids flash on his sleeve as he waves to the western shore to cease firing. I still watch the boat, but I listen behind me. I hear voices of command, the Federal sergeants hurrying the troop out of the jungle and back to their horses. Then there comes a single voice, the commander's evidently; but before it can cease it is swallowed up in a low thunder of hoofs and then in a burst of cries and cheers which themselves the next moment are drowned in a rattle of carbine and pistol shots--Ferry is down on them out of hiding. Thick and silent above the din rises the dust of the turmoil, and out of all the hubbub under it I can single out the voice of the Federal captain yelling curses and orders at his panic-stricken men. And now the mle rolls southward, the crackle of shots grows less and then more again, and then all at once comes the crash of Quinn's platoon out of ambush, their cheer, their charge, the crackle of pistols again, and then another cheer and charge--what is that! Ferry re-formed and down on them afresh? No, it was the hard-used but gallant foe cutting their way out and getting off after all."No, sir."