When he turned a point where a little peninsula, covered with forest, jutted into the river, he let the paddle swing idly for a minute or two and listened. A steady thudding sound, as regular as the beat of a drum, though slower, came to his ears. It was the woodsman's ax, and, for a moment, Henry flinched as if he himself lay beneath the blade.
He tried to open his smarting eyes, but the lids were wracked with pain and would not at once respond. He made it at last, but the dense smoke was impervious to his vision. The firelight gave it a ghastly pallor. His ax! With his ax he could chop the door away. His hand fumbled at his belt.
They were covered with foam and mire, and one of them was swinging an ax. As he came close to us he cried out, 'Vance's Bridge is cut down! Now fight for your wives and your lives, and remember the Alamo! "Instantly Houston gave the order, 'Charge! And the whole seven hundred launched themselves on Santa Anna's breastworks like an avalanche.
"I s'pose they wos; you'd better ax 'em. I dun know." "No, I don't suppose you do, considering the state of mind you appear to have been in at the time. Do you know which part of the whale struck your boat? Was it the head?" "No; it was the tail." "Are you quite sure of that?" "Ho, yes, quite sartin, for I've got a knot on my head this day where the tip of its flukes came down on me."
We hain't none o' us seen him since this mornin'. I guess he's kinder wanderin' round. Does any of you know whar he is? We might ax what he 'lows to do." Tom bent down over the child as it lay in the woman's lap. No one could see his face. "I know what he's going to do," he said. "He's going away to-morrow after the funeral." "'N' take the child?" in a chorus.
Miles and miles of virgin forest, innocent of ax and saw; miles and miles of fertile valleys, yet to feel the touch of plow; miles and miles of unclaimed homesteads with never the smoke of a settler's chimney! Deer and elk, sheep and bear roamed the forests, beavers preëmpted the valleys, trout spashed and rippled the waters of the lakes and rivers.
But Peter wasn't gunning for any missionary, which even in Raka-hanga might have had a nasty comeback the natives being mild but not cowards, and beginning to buzz like hornets and reach for their shark-tooth spears. No, what Peter was inflamed against was the coral jail, which he set at most ferocious with crowbar and ax until it was nothing but a heap of rubbish.
You 'm grawin' tu auld for all the excitements of modern life, Billy. Wheer's Will?" "You may well ax. Sleepin' still, I reckon, for he comed in long arter midnight. I was stirrin' at the time an' heard un. Sleepin' arter black deeds, if all they tell be true." "Black deeds!" "The bwoy Ted's just comed wi' it.
With fearful regularity, uplifted and thrown aside occasionally in defense to avoid a stroke, the ax of Hilltop fell and there was more and more fine fighting and fine dying. On either side were men doing scarcely less stark work.
The method of protection is simple and entirely Oriental. When the line was first erected, the Mongolian government stated in an edict that any man who touched a pole with knife or ax would lose his head. Even on the plains the enforcement of such a law is not so difficult as it might seem, and after a few heads had been taken by way of example the safety of the line was assured.