Over and over and over he lived it in helpless misery. His ears were muffled with that huge tide of sound. Again and again and again he pitched the last ball, to feel his heart stop beating, to see the big captain lunge at the ball, to watch it line and rise and soar. But gradually exhaustion subdued his mental strife, and he wandered in mind and drifted into sleep.
No guide, much less a guide like Défago, could have acted in so irrational a way, going off even without his rifle ...! The whole affair demanded a far more complicated elucidation, when he remembered the details of it all the cry of terror, the amazing language, the grey face of horror when his nostrils first caught the new odor; that muffled sobbing in the darkness, and for this, too, now came back to him dimly the man's original aversion for this particular bit of country....
"I dare not hope it," returned Richard, "You will change your mind, I fear, but, Edith, if you do not, if you promise to be mine, don't forsake me afterwards, for I should surely die," and as if he already felt the agony it would cost him to give his darling up after he had once possessed her, he clasped his hands upon his heart, which throbbed so rapidly that Edith heard its muffled beat and saw its rise and fall.
The slide improved with use and the otters seemed tireless; when all at once a loud but muffled yelp was heard and Skookum, forgetting all caution, came leaping down the bank to take a hand. With a succession of shrill, birdy chirps the old otters warned their young. Plump, plump, plump, all shot into the pool, but to reappear, swimming with heads out, for they were but slightly alarmed.
Through the open window of the drawing-room came, faintly, the cries of the town the sound of some distant bell, the shout of fishermen on the quay, the muffled beat of the mining-stamps from Porth-Vennic, a village that lay two miles inland.
The only persons distinctly visible were Dion, who had stationed himself on the lofty framework of the platform on which the muffled statues had been drawn hither, and the attorney Philostratus, who stood on the pedestal of one of the dolphins which surrounded the fountain between the Temple of Isis and the street.
A bound and the noise of a falling chair told them that the irrepressible rising generation had once more thrown itself across the room. They heard the ejaculation: "A chimney! Why, I'll be " and the rest was lost in muffled, but exultant, cries.
The team leisurely took the homeward way and nothing more was said except an occasional word of encouragement to the horses. They passed the lowest point in the valley and began to ascend the gentle slope, when the carriage suddenly stopped, and Adelaide uttered a muffled scream. "Come, Honey, said a masculine voice."
From the city at her back came strange and alarming sounds: the patter of hurrying feet, an ominous, incessant rumbling, a muffled murmur without a name that chilled her blood. Her heart beat loudly in her bosom as she bent her ear to listen, and still she heard not the familiar echo of her husband's step at the turning of the street below.
All this was not enlivening, but with an even, muffled tread the days followed each other, and brought the month of August to a close.
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