Oh, if chess could only be played in intergalactic space, in the black privacy of one"s thoughts. But there had to be the physical presence of the opponent with his (possibly deliberate) unnerving mannerisms—Lasker and his cigar, Capablanca and his red neck-tie, Nimzowitsch and his nervous contortions (very like Bela Grabo"s, though the latter did not see it that way). And now this ghastly flashing, humming, stinking, button-banging metal monster!
Within two hours a fleet of six steam-copters came driving across the sea. They swept over the island. They looked. They saw Jorgenson and Ganti—naked man and naked Thrid—glaring up at them. They saw nothing else. There was nothing else to see.
Ganti grimaced at Jorgenson:
The career of the two Harpes4 in Tennessee, southern Illinois, and Kentucky, particularly Kentucky, at the close of the eighteenth century has rarely been equalled in the history of crime, either in peace or war. Its beginning was so sudden, its motives wrapped in such mystery, its race so swift, and its circumstances so terrible and unbelievably brutal as to justify Collins, the distinguished historian of Kentucky, in referring to the brothers as “the most brutal monsters of the human race.”
“My word! I am delighted to have met such a couple of smart lads, and I hope to hear the particulars of your story aboard the Thunderer, for you must come back with me to meet the Vice-Admiral. You are English; that goes without saying.”
And, oddly enough, there was another compensation which he had not consciously sought, but which he was instantly aware of as a result of his decision—he was a free man again. As he stood and looked at his reflection in the glass before going down to dinner, he was aware of that same feeling of release that had come to him when he had made his petition on behalf of Hubert, the day before. He lifted his head with a touch of arrogance and squared his shoulders. Good God! what a damned
"Let me see, my dear, what was I saying?" said the doctor, after the silence of a few minutes. "By the way, I think I ought to have called in the village to see little Pickering, who"s in for measles, I suspect. I must start a memorandum-book, my memory is beginning to fail me. What was I saying, my dear?"
Hartford heard the squad leader: "It"s Lieutenant Piacentelli, sir. He"s here."
"Oh! but I don"t want you to go in order to save me," she exclaimed.
Mr. Benthall was very much surprised at the information which had come to him in that odd way. He had never thought much about Marian Ashurst, but he knew perfectly well that popular opinion in Helmingham and the neighbourhood held to the fact that she had never had any love affair. He was disposed to regard her with rather more favour than before, for if what Mrs. Covey stated of her were true, it showed that at one time she must have possessed a heart, though she had allowed herself to ignore its promptings under the overweening influence of avarice. Mr. Benthall thought a good deal over this story. He wondered when, how, and under what circumstances Miss Ashurst had broken her engagement, if such engagement existed, with Joyce. Whether she had deliberately planned her marriage with old Creswell, and had consequently abandoned the other design; or whether the old gentleman had proposed suddenly to her, and the temptation of riches and position being too great for her to withstand, she had flung her first lover aside on the spur of the moment, and thereby, perhaps, rendered herself wretched for life. Or what was it that the old woman said, about Joyce enlisting as a soldier? Perhaps that step on her lover"s part had been the cause of Miss Ashurst"s determination. No! on reflection, the enlisting, if he ever did enlist, looked like a desperate act on Joyce"s part, done in despair at hearing the news of Marian"s intended marriage! Mr. Benthall did not pin much faith to the enlisting part of the story. He had heard a good deal about Joyce from various sources, and he felt confident that he was by no means the kind of man who would be led to the perpetration of any folly of the kind. Mr. Benthall was puzzled. With any other two people he could have understood the hand in hand, and the arm-encircled waist, as meaning nothing more than a pleasant means of employing the time, meaning nothing, and to be forgotten by both persons when they might chance to be separated. But Mr. Joyce and Miss Ashurst were so essentially earnest and practical, and so utterly unlikely to disport themselves in the manner described without there had been a sincere attachment between them, that, taking all this into consideration in conjunction with the recent marriage, Mr. Benthall came to the conclusion that either Mrs. Covey must have, unintentionally of course, deceived herself and him, or that there was something remarkably peculiar in the conduct of Miss Ashurst, something more peculiar than pleasant or estimable. He wondered whether Gertrude or Maude had any suspicions on the matter. They had neither of them ever spoken to him on the subject, but then Maude generally left him alone with Gertrude, and when he and Gertrude were together, they had other things than other people"s love-affairs to talk about. He had not been up to Woolgreaves since the wedding, had not--which was quite a different matter--seen either of the girls. He would ride over there the next afternoon, and see how matters progressed.详情 ➢
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