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10. CHAPTER X. (continued)
The tattered man looked at him in gaping amazement. "Why--why, pardner, where yeh goin'?" he asked unsteadily. The youth looking at him, could see that he, too, like that other one, was beginning to act dumb and animal-like. His thoughts seemed to be floundering about in his head. "Now--now--look--a--here, you Tom Jamison--now--I won't have this--this here won't do. Where--where yeh goin'?"
The youth pointed vaguely. "Over there," he replied.
"Well, now look--a--here--now," said the tattered man, rambling on in idiot fashion. His head was hanging forward and his words were slurred. "This thing won't do, now, Tom Jamison. It won't do. I know yeh, yeh pig-headed devil. Yeh wanta go trompin' off with a bad hurt. It ain't right--now--Tom Jamison--it ain't. Yeh wanta leave me take keer of yeh, Tom Jamison. It ain't--right--it ain't--fer yeh t' go--trompin' off--with a bad hurt--it ain't--ain't--ain't right--it ain't."
In reply the youth climbed a fence and started away. He could hear the tattered man bleating plaintively.
Once he faced about angrily. "What?"
"Look--a--here, now, Tom Jamison--now--it ain't--"
The youth went on. Turning at a distance he saw the tattered man wandering about helplessly in the field.
He now thought that he wished he was dead. He believed that he envied those men whose bodies lay strewn over the grass of the fields and on the fallen leaves of the forest.
The simple questions of the tattered man had been knife thrusts to him. They asserted a society that probes pitilessly at secrets until all is apparent. His late companion's chance persistency made him feel that he could not keep his crime concealed in his bosom. It was sure to be brought plain by one of those arrows which cloud the air and are constantly pricking, discovering, proclaiming those things which are willed to be forever hidden. He admitted that he could not defend himself against this agency. It was not within the power of vigilance.
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