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81 I have given the story here as though it had been thought out and written that Sunday afternoon which brought me good news of Juste Duvarney. But it was not so. I did not choose to break the run of the tale to tell of other things and of the passing of time. The making took me many, many weeks, and in all that time I had seen no face but Gabord’s, and heard no voice but his as he came twice a day to bring me bread and water. He would answer no questions concerning Juste Duvarney, or Voban, or Monsieur Doltaire, nor tell me anything of what was forward in the town. He had had his orders precise enough he said. At the end of all my hints and turnings and approaches, stretching himself up, and turning the corn about with his foot (but not crushing it, for he saw that I prized the poor little comrades), he would say: “Snug, snug, quiet and warm! The cosiest nest in the world—aho!” There was no coaxing him, and at last I desisted. I had no light. With resolution I set my mind to see in spite of the dark, and at the end of a month I was able to note the outlines of my dungeon; nay, more, I was able to see my little field of corn; and at last what joy I had when, hearing a little rustle near me, I looked closely and beheld a mouse running across the floor! I straightway began to scatter crumbs of bread, that it might, perhaps, come near me—as at last it did. Chapter VII “Quoth Little Garaine” 82 I have not spoken at all of my wounds, though they gave me many painful hours, and I had no attendance but my own and Gabord’s. The wound in my side was long healing, for it was more easily disturbed as I turned in my sleep, while I could ease my arm at all times, and it came on slowly. My sufferings drew on my flesh, my blood, and my spirits, and to this was added that disease inaction, the corrosion of solitude , and the fever of suspense and uncertainty as to Alixe and Juste Duvarney. Every hour, every moment that I had ever passed in Alixe’s presence, with many little incidents and scenes in which we shared, passed before me—vivid and cherished pictures of the mind. One of those incidents I will set down here. A year or so before, soon after Juste Duvarney came from Montreal, he brought in one day from hunting a young live hawk, and put it in a cage. When I came the next morning, Alixe met me, and asked me to see what he had brought. There, beside the kitchen door, overhung with morning-glories and flanked by hollyhocks, was a large green cage, and in it the gray-brown hawk. “Poor thing, poor prisoned thing!” she said. “Look how strange and hunted it seems! See how its feathers stir! And those flashing, watchful eyes, they seem to read through you, and to say, ‘Who are you? What do you want with me? Your world is not my world; your air is not my air; your homes are holes, and mine hangs high up between you and God. Who are you? Why do you pen me? You have shut me in that I may not travel not even die out in the open world. All the world is mine; yours is only a stolen field. Who are you? What do you want with me? There is a fire within my head, it eats to my eyes, and I burn away. What do you want with me?’” She did not speak these words all at once as I have written them here, but little by little, as we stood there talking beside the cage. Yet, as she talked with me, her mind was on the bird, her fingers running up and down the cage bars soothingly, her voice now and again interjecting soft reflections and exclamations. “Shall I set it free?” I asked her. 83 She turned upon me and replied, “Ah, monsieur, I hoped you would—without my asking. You are a prisoner too,” she added; “one captive should feel for another.” “And the freeman for both,” I answered meaningly, as I softly opened the cage. She did not drop her eyes, but raised them shining honestly...


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