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20. Chapter XX (continued)
"Has any thing happened to father?" demanded Judith, as her foot touched the platform; speaking quickly, for her nerves were in a state to be easily alarmed.
Hetty seemed concerned, and she looked furtively about her as if unwilling any one but a child should hear what she had to communicate, and even that she should learn it abruptly.
"You know how it is with father sometimes, Judith," she said, "When overtaken with liquor he doesn't always know what he says or does, and he seems to be overtaken with liquor now."
"That is strange! Would the savages have drunk with him, and then leave him behind? But 'tis a grievous sight to a child, Hetty, to witness such a failing in a parent, and we will not go near him 'til he wakes."
A groan from the inner room, however, changed this resolution, and the girls ventured near a parent whom it was no unusual thing for them to find in a condition that lowers a man to the level of brutes. He was seated, reclining in a corner of the narrow room with his shoulders supported by the angle, and his head fallen heavily on his chest. Judith moved forward with a sudden impulse, and removed a canvass cap that was forced so low on his head as to conceal his face, and indeed all but his shoulders. The instant this obstacle was taken away, the quivering and raw flesh, the bared veins and muscles, and all the other disgusting signs of mortality, as they are revealed by tearing away the skin, showed he had been scalped, though still living.
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