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Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/140

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Yes, it was well done, excellently done, in fact. The most expert strangler of the Choctows could have done no better. Those purpling lines about the throat, those darker clots where my thumbs had left their signs, could not have been more intelligently placed. I smiled my satisfaction at the job, then—then—my own overstrung nerves gave way, and I fell unconscious across the corpse of my hands' creation.

When I came to myself I was weeping, weeping as a child might weep, over the dead, distorted face of him I had loved. How long this lasted I had no means of knowing. Uncompromising necessity forced me to action; forbade me time to dream.

The body being in my way where it lay—for I proposed now to work in earnest at the window—I moved it tenderly as possible across the floor and stretched him out near the door sill. Springing up then I attacked the bars at the window. Hours and hours I laboured, impelled to greater effort by the dread of spending another night in that room of murder. I was patient, too, patient with the cunning of a maniac.

The dagger made my chisel; my sword, wrapped in a cloth to muffle the strokes, furnished me a maul. Full half the day was before me. The rough paving stones below held out the hope of escape or death. How to reach the street after the bars were removed, I did not suffer myself to consider. I should go mad if I lay idle. I leaned as far out the window as the grating would allow, and observed a guard standing in plain view at the