Bob Hampton of Placer eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about Bob Hampton of Placer.
utterly hopeless, but what was he to do with the fellow?  How could he bring him forth from there alive?  If this stream was indeed the Tongue, then many a mile of rough country, ragged with low mountains and criss-crossed by deep ravines, yet stretched between where they now were and the Little Big Horn, where they expected to find Custer’s men.  They were in the very heart of the Indian country,—­the country of the savage Sioux.  He stared at the curled-up man, now silent and breathing heavily as if asleep.  The silence was profound, the night so black and lonely that Hampton involuntarily closed his heavy eyes to shut it out.  If he only might light a pipe, or boil himself a cup of black coffee!  Murphy never stirred; the horses were seemingly too weary to browse.  Then Hampton nodded, and sank into an uneasy doze.

CHAPTER V

ALONE WITH THE INSANE

Beneath the shade of uplifted arms Murphy’s eyes remained unclosed.  Whatever terrors may have dominated that diseased brain, the one purpose of revenge and escape never deserted it.  With patient cunning he could plan and wait, scheme and execute.  He was all animal now, dreaming only of how to tear and kill.

And he waited long in order to be perfectly sure, unrolling inch by inch, and like a venomous snake, never venturing to withdraw his baleful eyes from his unconscious victim.  He was many minutes thoroughly satisfying himself that Hampton actually slept.  His every movement was slow, crafty, cowardly, the savage in his perverted nature becoming more and more manifest.  It was more beast than man that finally crept forward on all-fours, the eyes gleaming cruel as a cat’s in the night.  It was not far he was compelled to go, his movements squirming and noiseless.  Within a yard of the peacefully slumbering man he rose up, crouching on his toes and bending stealthily forward to gloat over his victim.  Hampton stirred uneasily, possibly feeling the close proximity of that horrible presence.  Then the maniac took one more stealthy, slouching step nearer, and flung himself at the exposed throat, uttering a fierce snarl as his fingers clutched the soft flesh.  Hampton awoke, gasping and choking, to find those mad eyes glaring into his own, those murderous hands throttling him with the strength of madness.

At first the stupefied, half-awakened man struggled as if in delirium, scarcely realizing the danger.  He was aware of suffering, of horror, of suffocation.  Then the brain flashed into life, and he grappled fiercely with his dread antagonist.  Murphy snapped like a mad dog, his lips snarling curses; but Hampton fought silently, desperately, his brain clearing as he succeeded in wrenching those claws from his lacerated throat, and forced his way up on to one knee.  He felt no hatred toward this crazed man striving to kill him; he understood what had loosed such a raging devil.  But this was no time to exhibit

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Bob Hampton of Placer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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