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The cruel fire hissed and sputtered, and shot up in angry jets, and died in puffs of sullen smoke; the glaring bridge blackened slowly; the pine-tree, swayed by the sudden winds, fell into the forest, and the ravine was safe. The flames, though not quenched,—it might take hours to do that,—were thoroughly checked.

After a while Wilson put some sticks on the red embers, then pulled the end of a log over them. A blaze sputtered up, changing the dark circle and showing the sleepers with their set, shadowed faces upturned. Wilson gazed on all of them, a sardonic smile on his lips, and then his look fixed upon the sleeper apart from the others Riggs.

His deep voice echoed and re-echoed through the empty rooms, and Dorothy laughed; a little hysterically this time. Match after match sputtered and failed. "Couldn't have got much wetter if I'd been in swimming," he grumbled. "Here goes the last one." By the uncertain light they found a candle and Harlan drew a long breath of relief. "It would have been pleasant, wouldn't it?" he went on.

His misfortune was the difficulty with which he uttered himself; even when he got over his nervousness, words came to him only in a rough-and-tumble fashion; he sputtered and fumed and beat his forehead for phrases, then ended with a hearty laugh at his own inarticulateness, Something like this was his talk in the library of nights: 'There's a man called Rapley, an old-clothes dealer fellow I can't get hold of.

In the belief that the way would clear with the dawn, he, too, fell asleep, while the fire sputtered and smudged in the fitful mountain wind. The second dawn came slowly, as though crippled by the storm and walled back by the clouds. Gradually, austerely, the bleak, white peaks began to define themselves above the firs.

Volunteers, follow me!" He led the brave fellows, who sprang forward right into the fire and smoke; but they were beaten back, scorched and blinded, and an awful silence fell upon the crowd, while the woodwork crackled and sputtered and the gas-main sent forth its great waving pillar of flame, roaring with a sonorous note; and all felt that the scarlet-coated figure they had seen leap in had gone to his death.

But the quack came out of time, I suppose, for his throat got filled with water, as the hurdle carried him back again. And then there was scarcely the screw of his tail to be seen until he swung up again, and left small doubt by the way he sputtered, and failed to quack, and hung down his poor crest, but what he must drown in another minute, and frogs triumph over his body.

The corruscation grew brighter; little tufts of brilliance shot out with all the stabbing suddenness of shooting stars. To Chick it was exactly as though some god were pushing his way through and out of fire. In the end the flame burst asunder, diminished into a receding circle and sputtered out. And in the place of the strange light there appeared the illuminated figure of a man.

Not until I had pondered on men and events with the assistance of the newspapers my detective protectors and jailers permitted to be brought aboard not until the last hope of turning Wild Week to the immediate public advantage had sputtered out like a lost man's last match, did I think of benefiting myself, of seizing the opportunity to strengthen myself for the future.

If you will be good enough to bring me over twenty-five hundred dollars in cash to-day, I will give you a clearance for the loss of the Brutus and abandon the Sawdust Pile to you within the next three or four days." His plan had worked so successfully that Daney was, for the moment, rendered incapable of speech. "Will you be leaving Port Agnew?" he sputtered presently.

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