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time:2023-12-01 23:34:13 source:Accumulated network author:meat

Then I first noticed that another person was in the hut, a slim young girl, who had been seated against the wall on the other side of the fire, partially hid by the shadows. She had my leather belt, with the revolver in its case, and my hunting-knife attached, and the few articles I had had in my pockets, on her lap. Taking up the pouch, she handed it to him, and he clutched it with a strange eagerness.

newspapers came around and wanted pay for notices of it,

"I will give it back presently, Rima," he said. "Let me first smoke a cigarette--and then another."

newspapers came around and wanted pay for notices of it,

It seemed probable from this that the good old man had already been casting covetous eyes on my property, and that his granddaughter had taken care of it for me. But how the silent, demure girl had kept it from him was a puzzle, so intensely did he seem now to enjoy it, drawing the smoke vigorously into his lungs and, after keeping it ten or fifteen seconds there, letting it fly out again from mouth and nose in blue jets and clouds. His face softened visibly, he became more and more genial and loquacious, and asked me how I came to be in that solitary place. I told him that I was staying with the Indian Runi, his neighbour.

newspapers came around and wanted pay for notices of it,

"But, senor," he said, "if it is not an impertinence, how is it that a young man of so distinguished an appearance as yourself, a Venezuelan, should be residing with these children of the devil?"

"You love not your neighbours, then?"

"I know them, sir--how should I love them?" He was rolling up his second or third cigarette by this time, and I could not helD noticing that he took a great deal more tobacco than he required in his fingers, and that the surplus on each occasion was conveyed to some secret receptacle among his rags. "Love them, sir! They are infidels, and therefore the good Christian must only hate them. They are thieves--they will steal from you before your very face, so devoid are they of all shame. And also murderers; gladly would they burn this poor thatch above my head, and kill me and my poor grandchild, who shares this solitary life with me, if they had the courage. But they are all arrant cowards, and fear to approach me--fear even to come into this wood. You would laugh to hear what they are afraid of--a child would laugh to hear it!"

"What do they fear?" I said, for his words had excited my interest in a great degree.

"Why, sir, would you believe it? They fear this child--my granddaughter, seated there before you. A poor innocent girl of seventeen summers, a Christian who knows her Catechism, and would not harm the smallest thing that God has made--no, not a fly, which is not regarded on account of its smallness. Why, sir, it is due to her tender heart that you are safely sheltered here, instead of being left out of doors in this tempestuous night."

(Editor:meat)

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