The Valley of Silent Men eBook

James Oliver Curwood
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about The Valley of Silent Men.

The first light he struck revealed the interior to him.  It was a tiny cabin, scarcely larger than some boxes he had seen.  It was about eight feet long by six in width, and the ceiling was so low that, even kneeling, his head touched it.  His match burned out, and he lighted another.  This time he saw a candle stuck in a bit of split birch that projected from the wall.  He crept to it and lighted it.  For a moment he looked about him, and again he blessed Fingers.  The little scow was prepared for a voyage.  Two narrow bunks were built at the far end, one so close above the other that Kent grinned as he thought of squeezing between.  There were blankets.  Within reach of his arm was a tiny stove, and close to the stove a supply of kindling and dry wood.  The whole thing made him think of a child’s playhouse.  Yet there was still room for a wide, comfortable, cane-bottomed chair, a stool, and a smooth-planed board fastened under a window, so that it answered the purpose of a table.  This table was piled with many packages.

He stripped off his packs and returned for Marette.  She had come to the edge of the scow and called to him softly as she heard him splashing through the water.  Her arms were reaching toward him, to meet him in the darkness.  He carried her through the shallow sea about his feet and laughed as he put her down on the edge of the platform at the door.  It was a low, joyous laugh.  The yellow light of the candle sputtered in their wet faces.  Only dimly could he see her, but her eyes were shining.

“Your nest, little Gray Goose,” he cried gently.

Her hand reached up and touched his face.  “You have been good to me, Jeems,” she said, a little tremble in her voice.  “You may—­ kiss me.”

Out in the beat of the rain Kent’s heart choked him with song.  His soul swelled with the desire to shout forth a paean of joy and triumph at the world he was leaving this night for all time.  With the warm thrill of Marette’s lips he had become the superman, and as he leaped ashore in the darkness and cut the tie-rope with a single slash of his knife, he wanted to give voice to the thing that was in him as the rivermen had chanted in the glory of their freedom the day the big brigade started north.  And he did sing, under his laughing, sobbing breath.  With a giant’s strength he sent the scow out into the bayou, and then back and forth he swung the long one-man sweep, twisting the craft riverward with the force of two pairs of arms instead of one.  Behind the closed door of the tiny cabin was all that the world now held worth fighting for.  By turning his head he could see the faint illumination of the candle at the window.  The light—­the cabin—­Marette!

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