The Market-Place - Harold Frederic - Страница 1 из 447


THE MARKET-PLACE
by Harold Frederic
CHAPTER I
THE battle was over, and the victor remained on the field--sitting alone
with the hurly-burly of his thoughts.
His triumph was so sweeping and comprehensive as to be somewhat
shapeless to the view. He had a sense of fascinated pain when he tried
to define to himself what its limits would probably be. Vistas of
unchecked, expanding conquest stretched away in every direction. He held
at his mercy everything within sight. Indeed, it rested entirely with
him to say whether there should be any such thing as mercy at all--and
until he chose to utter the restraining word the rout of the vanquished
would go on with multiplying terrors and ruin. He could crush and
torture and despoil his enemies until he was tired. The responsibility
of having to decide when he would stop grinding their faces might come
to weigh upon him later on, but he would not give it room in his mind
to-night.
A picture of these faces of his victims shaped itself out of the flames
in the grate. They were moulded in a family likeness, these phantom
visages: they were all Jewish, all malignant, all distorted with fright.
They implored him with eyes in which panic asserted itself above rage
and cunning. Only here and there did he recall a name with which to
label one of these countenances; very few of them raised a memory of
individual rancour. The faces were those of men he had seen, no doubt,
but their persecution of him had been impersonal; his great revenge was
equally so. As he looked, in truth, there was only one face--a composite


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