So they would have given him up and, hours later—or days, for he had lost track of time—they would have received his message. What would they make of that?
"Well, McDonell," he said, "I have to thank you for the day you joined forces with Father O'Rourke and marched on my poor house of Auchnacarrie. 'Tis the best reinforcement I have had for many a long day."
AT MISSIONARY RIDGE.
He did not wait for them to react.
“Not for the present,” Zopyrus replied evasively. Then moved by a sudden impulse he seized a hand of Polygnotus and of Eumetis in each of his. He desired to invoke the blessing of the gods upon this couple whom he loved so dearly, but so deeply was he affected that he was unable to speak, and turned his back in the direction of the theatre, scarcely realizing what he was doing.
The piling up of item on item of court forms, of testimony laboriously written out and signed, of official jail accounts for the handling of the criminals, tells in its own way every detail of a crime committed in fancied obscurity yet which by a series of fortunate circumstances, was to blaze into a notoriety that set all the West on fire with fear and horror. One who holds these long-forgotten records in his hands and curiously searches them could, with patience and without the aid of imagination, build up the story of frontier life and the people who lived it. The story would show that the power of observation exercised by some of the pioneers was equal to any ascribed to a Sherlock Holmes. It would be a story of chance incidents woven into chains of circumstances that were to reveal crime with unerring certainty—a story of the capture of the criminals, of their life in jail, and of the destiny by which each of the three women involved was to have her only child born to her in that frontier jail, the branded fruit of awful parentage. The mute entries in pounds, shillings, and pence for every item, set down on these yellow pages without malice or comment, tell their part of the story as implacably and dispassionately as fate itself.6
"Bah! Your over-zealousness has cost me dear. I was feeding Flamme to the Aga Kagans to consolidate our position of moral superiority for use as a lever in a number of important negotiations. Now they've backed out! Aga Kaga emerges from the affair wreathed in virtue. You've destroyed a very pretty finesse in power politics, Mr. Magnan! A year's work down the drain!"
"But in that case," he submitted. "I might stop on for a time at all events, if it was quite certain that you weren't the case of my staying.
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