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Spy Rock Henry van Dyke

Section III.

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It was incredible how the path seemed to lengthen. Graham watched the girl's every step, helping her over the difficult places, pushing aside the tangled branches, his eyes resting upon her as frankly, as tenderly as a mother looks at her child. In single file we marched through the gray morning, clearing cold after the storm, and the silence was seldom broken, for we had little heart to talk.

At last we came to the high, lonely ridge, the dwarf forest, the huge, couchant bulk of Spy Rock. There, on the back of it, with his right arm hanging over the edge, was the outline of Edward Keene's form. It was as if some monster had seized him and flung him over its shoulder to carry away.

We called to him but there was no answer. The doctor climbed up with me, and we hurried to the spot where he was lying. His face was turned to the sky, his eyes blindly staring; there was no pulse, no breath; he was already cold in death. His right hand and arm, the side of his neck and face were horribly swollen and livid. The doctor stooped down and examined the hand carefully. "See!" he cried, pointing to a great bruise on his wrist, with two tiny punctures in the middle of it from which a few drops of blood had oozed, "a rattlesnake has struck him. He must have fairly put his hand upon it, perhaps in the dark, when he was climbing. And, look, what is this?"

He picked up a flat silver box, that lay open on the rock. There were two olive-green pellets of a resinous paste in it. He lifted it to his face, and drew a long breath.

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"Yes," he said, "it is Gunjab, the most powerful form of Hashish, the narcotic hemp of India. Poor fellow, it saved him from frightful agony. He died in a dream."

"You are right," I said, "in a dream, and for a dream."

We covered his face and climbed down the rock. Dorothy and Graham were waiting below. He had put his coat around her. She was shivering a little. There were tear-marks on her face.

"Well," I said, "you must know it. We have lost him."

"Ah!" said the girl, "I lost him long ago."

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The Blue Flower
Henry van Dyke

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