The Valley of Silent Men

The Valley of Silent Men

by James Oliver Curwood

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Overview

In the mind of James Grenfell Kent, sergeant in the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, there remained no shadow of a doubt. He knew that he was dying. He had implicit faith in Cardigan, his surgeon friend, and Cardigan had told him that what was left of his life would be measured out in hours-perhaps in minutes or seconds. It was an unusual case. There was one chance in fifty that he might live two or three days, but there was no chance at all that he would live more than three. The end might come with any breath he drew into his lungs. That was the pathological history of the thing, as far as medical and surgical science knew of cases similar to his own.Personally, Kent did not feel like a dying man. His vision and his brain were clear. He felt no pain, and only at infrequent intervals was his temperature above normal. His voice was particularly calm and natural.At first he had smiled incredulously when Cardigan broke the news. That the bullet which a drunken half-breed had sent into his chest two weeks before had nicked the arch of the aorta, thus forming an aneurism, was a statement by Cardigan which did not sound especially wicked or convincing to him. "Aorta" and "aneurism" held about as much significance for him as his perichondrium or the process of his stylomastoid. But Kent possessed an unswerving passion to grip at facts in detail, a characteristic that had largely helped him to earn the reputation of being the best man-hunter in all the northland service. So he had insisted, and his surgeon friend had explained.The aorta, he found, was the main blood-vessel arching over and leading from the heart, and in nicking it the bullet had so weakened its outer wall that it bulged out in the form of a sack, just as the inner tube of an automobile tire bulges through the outer casing when there is a blowout."And when that sack gives way inside you," Cardigan had explained, "you'll go like that!" He snapped a forefinger and thumb to drive the fact home.After that it was merely a matter of common sense to believe, and now, sure that he was about to die. Kent had acted. He was acting in the full health of his mind and in extreme cognizance of the paralyzing shock he was contributing as a final legacy to the world at large, or at least to that part of it which knew him or was interested. The tragedy of the thing did not oppress him. A thousand times in his life he had discovered that humor and tragedy were very closely related, and that there were times when only the breadth of a hair separated the two. Many times he had seen a laugh change suddenly to tears, and tears to laughter.The tableau, as it presented itself about his bedside now, amused him. Its humor was grim, but even in these last hours of his life he appreciated it. He had always more or less regarded life as a joke-a very serious joke, but a joke for all that-a whimsical and trickful sort of thing played by the Great Arbiter on humanity at large; and this last count in his own life, as it was solemnly and tragically ticking itself off, was the greatest joke of all. The amazed faces that stared at him, their passing moments of disbelief, their repressed but at times visible betrayals of horror, the steadiness of their eyes, the tenseness of their lips-all added to what he might have called, at another time, the dramatic artistry of his last great adventure.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781661629236
Publisher: Independently published
Publication date: 01/17/2020
Pages: 126
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

About The Author
American author James Oliver Curwood (1878 -1927) wrote action-adventure novels and his bestsellers were among the most read books in America in the 1900s. More than a dozen Hollywood films have been based on his frontier novels including "The Bear."
Curwood was both a writer and conservationist. His books ranked among Publisher's Weekly top-ten best sellers in the United States in the early 1920s. At the time of his death, he was the highest paid (per word) author in the world. His writing studio, Curwood Castle, is now a museum in Owosso, Michigan.
James Oliver Curwood's books Include:
1. The Courage of Captain Plum -1908
2. The Wolf Hunters - 1908
3. The Gold Hunters - 1909
4. The Danger Trail - 1910
5. The Honor of the Big Snows -1911
6. Steele of the Royal Mounted -1911
7. The Flower of the North -1912
8. Isobel: A Romance of the Northern Trail or Icebound Hearts -1913
9. God's Country and the Woman -1915
10. The Hunted Woman -1916
11. The Grizzly King -1916
12. The Courage of Marge O'Doone -1918
13. Nomads of the North - 1919
14. The River's End - 1919
15. Back to God's Country and Other Stories -1920
16. The Valley of Silent Men - 1920
17. God's Country - The Trail to Happiness -1921
18. The Golden Snare -1921
19. The Flaming Forest -1921
20. The Country Beyond - 1922

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