Far Country, a — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 643 pages of information about Far Country, a — Complete.
myself panting near the crest of the ridge where there was a pasture, which some ancient glacier had strewn with great boulders.  Beside one of these I sank.  Heralded by the deep tones of bells, two steers appeared above the shoulder of a hill and stood staring at me with bovine curiosity, and fell to grazing again.  A fleet of white clouds, like ships pressed with sail, hurried across the sky as though racing for some determined port; and the shadows they cast along the hillsides accentuated the high brightness of the day, emphasized the vivid and hateful beauty of the landscape.  My numbness began to be penetrated by shooting pains, and I grasped little by little the fulness of my calamity, until I was in the state of wild rebellion of one whom life for the first time has foiled in a supreme desire.  There was no fate about this thing, it was just an absurd accident.  The operation of the laws of nature had sent a man to the ground:  another combination of circumstances would have killed him, still another, and he would have arisen unhurt.  But because of this particular combination my happiness was ruined, and Nancy’s!  She had not expected me to understand.  Well, I didn’t understand, I had no pity, in that hour I felt a resentment almost amounting to hate; I could see only unreasoning superstition in the woman I wanted above everything in the world.  Women of other days had indeed renounced great loves:  the thing was not unheard of.  But that this should happen in these times—­and to me!  It was unthinkable that Nancy of all women shouldn’t be emancipated from the thralls of religious inhibition!  And if it wasn’t “conscience,” what was it?

Was it, as she said, weakness, lack of courage to take life when it was offered her?....  I was suddenly filled with the fever of composing arguments to change a decision that appeared to me to be the result of a monstrous caprice and delusion; writing them out, as they occurred to me, in snatches on the backs of envelopes—­her envelopes.  Then I proceeded to make the draft of a letter, the effort required for composition easing me until the draft was finished; when I started for the hotel, climbing fences, leaping streams, making my way across rock faces and through woods; halting now and then as some reenforcing argument occurred to me to write it into my draft at the proper place until the sheets were interlined and blurred and almost illegible.  It was already three o’clock when I reached my room, and the mail left at four.  I began to copy and revise my scrawl, glancing from time to time at my watch, which I had laid on the table.  Hurriedly washing my face and brushing my hair, I arrived downstairs just as the stage was leaving....

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Far Country, a — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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