The Valley of Silent Men eBook

James Oliver Curwood
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about The Valley of Silent Men.

In that dawn of the new day Kent came at last out of the cabin and looked upon a splendid world.  In his breast was the glory of a thing new-born, and the world, like himself, was changed.  Storm had passed.  The gray river lay under his eyes.  Shoreward he made out the dark outlines of the deep spruce and cedar and balsam forests.  About him there was a great stillness, broken only by the murmur of the river and the ripple of water under the scow.  Wind had gone with the black rainclouds, and Kent, as he looked about him, saw the swift dissolution of the last shadows of night, and the breaking in the East of a new paradise.  In the East, as the minutes passed, there came a soft and luminous gray, and after that, swiftly, with the miracle of far Northern dawn, a vast, low-burning fire seemed to start far beyond the forests, tinting the sky with a delicate pink that crept higher and higher as Kent watched it.  The river, all at once, came out of its last drifting haze of fog and night.  The scow was about in the middle of the channel.  Two hundred yards on either side were thick green walls of forest glistening fresh and cool with the wet of storm and breathing forth the perfume which Kent was drawing deep into his lungs.

In the cabin he heard sound.  Marette was up, and he was eager to have her come out and stand with him in this glory of their first day.  He watched the smoke of the fire he had built, hardwood smoke that drifted up white and clean into the rain-washed air.

The smell of it, like the smell of balsam and cedar, was to Kent the aroma of life.  And then he began to clean out what was left of the water in the bottom of the scow, and as he worked he whistled.  He wanted Marette to hear that whistle.  He wanted her to know that day had brought with it no doubt for him.  A great and glorious world was about them and ahead of them.  And they were safe.

As he worked, his mind became more than ever set upon the resolution to take no chances.  He paused in his whistling for a moment to laugh softly and exultantly as he thought of the years of experience which were his surest safeguard now.  He had become almost uncannily expert in all the finesse and trickery of his craft of hunting human game, and he knew what the man-hunters would do and what they would not do.  He had them checkmated at the start.  And, besides—­with Kedsty, O’Connor, and himself gone—­the Landing was short-handed just at present.  There was an enormous satisfaction in that.  But even with a score of men behind him Kent knew that he would beat them.  His hazard, if there was peril at all, lay in this first day.  Only the Police gasoline launch could possibly overtake them.  And with the start they had, he was sure they would pass the Death Chute, conceal the scow, and take to the untracked forests north and west before the launch could menace them.  After that he would keep always west and north, deeper and deeper into that wild and untraveled country which would be the last place in which the Law would seek for them.  He straightened himself and looked at the smoke again, drifting like gray-white lace between him and the blue of the sky, and in that moment the sun capped the tall green tops of the highest cedars, and day broke gloriously over the earth.

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The Valley of Silent Men from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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