The Gentleman from Indiana (Chapter 10, page 1 of 21)


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Chapter 10

The court-house bell ringing in the night! No hesitating stroke of
Schofields' Henry, no uncertain touch, was on the rope. A loud, wild,
hurried clamor pealing out to wake the country-side, a rapid clang!
clang! clang! that struck clear in to the spine.

The court-house bell had tolled for the death of Morton, of Garfield, of
Hendricks; had rung joy-peals of peace after the war and after political
campaigns; but it had rung as it was ringing now only three times; once
when Hibbard's mill burned, once when Webb Landis killed Sep Bardlock and
intrenched himself in the lumber-yard and would not be taken till he was
shot through and through, and once when the Rouen accommodation was
wrecked within twenty yards of the station.

Why was the bell ringing now? Men and women, startled into wide
wakefulness, groped to windows--no red mist hung over town or country.
What was it? The bell rang on. Its loud alarm beat increasingly into men's
hearts and quickened their throbbing to the rapid measure of its own.
Vague forms loomed in the gloaming. A horse, wildly ridden, splashed
through the town. There were shouts; voices called hoarsely. Lamps began
to gleam in the windows. Half-clad people emerged from their houses, men
slapping their braces on their shoulders as they ran out of doors.
Questions were shouted into the dimness.

Then the news went over the town.

It was cried from yard to yard, from group to group, from gate to gate,
and reached the furthermost confines. Runners shouted it as they sped by;
boys panted it, breathless; women with loosened hair stumbled into
darkling chambers and faltered it out to new-wakened sleepers; pale girls
clutching wraps at their throats whispered it across fences; the sick,
tossing on their hard beds, heard it. The bell clamored it far and near;
it spread over the country-side; it flew over the wires to distant cities.
The White-Caps had got Mr. Harkless!

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