The Young Explorer eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 125 pages of information about The Young Explorer.

He did not anticipate any harm to his Mongolian friend during the night; but this was because he did not fully understand the feeling of outraged dignity which rankled in the soul of O’Reilly.

Patrick O’Reilly was like his countrymen in being always ready for a fight; but he was unlike them in harboring a sullen love of revenge.  In this respect he was more like an Indian.

He felt that Richard Dewey had got the better of him in the brief contest, and the fact that he had been worsted in the presence of his fellow miners humiliated him.  If he could only carry his point, and deprive the Chinaman of his queue after all, the disgrace would be redeemed, and O’Reilly would be himself again.

“And why shouldn’t I?” he said to himself.  “The haythen will sleep in Dewey’s tent.  Why can’t I creep up, unbeknownst, in the middle of the night, and cut off his pigtail, while he is aslape?  Faith, I’d like to see how he and his friend would look in the morning.  I don’t belave a word of his not bein’ allowed to go back to Chiny widout it.  That is an invintion of Dewey,”

The more O’Reilly dwelt upon this idea the more it pleased him.  Once the pigtail was cut off, the mischief could not be repaired, and he would have a most suitable and satisfactory revenge.

Of course, it would not do to make the attempt till Ki Sing and his protector were both fast asleep.  “All men are children when they are asleep,” says an old proverb.  That is, all men are as helpless as children when their senses are locked in slumber.  It would be safer, therefore, to carry out his plan if he could manage to do so without awaking the two men.

O’Reilly determined not to take any one into his confidence.  This was prudent, for it was sure to prevent his plan from becoming known.  There was, however, one inconvenience about this, as it would prevent him from borrowing the scissors upon which he had relied to cut off the queue.  But he had a sharp knife, which he thought would answer the purpose equally well.

It was rather hard for O’Reilly to keep awake till midnight-the earliest hour which he thought prudent-but the motive which impelled him was sufficiently strong to induce even this sacrifice.

So, as the shadows darkened, and the night came on, Patrick O’Reilly forced himself to lie awake, while he waited eagerly for the hour of midnight.  Meanwhile, Richard Dewey and Ki Sing lay down at nine o’clock and sought refreshment in sleep.  Both were fatigued, but it was the Chinaman who first lost consciousness.  Dewey scanned with curiosity the bland face of his guest, looking childlike and peaceful, as he lay by his side.

“I wonder if he is dreaming of his distant home in China,” thought Dewey.  “The cares of life do not seem to sit heavy upon him.  Though he has been in danger to-day, and may be so still, he yields himself up trustfully to the repose which he needs.  Is it true, I wonder, that cares increase with mental culture?  Doubtless, it is true.  If I were in China, threatened with a loss which would prevent my returning to my native country, I am sure it would keep me awake.  But there can be nothing to fear now.”

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The Young Explorer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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