The Hunted Woman

James Oliver Curwood
The Hunted Woman

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Hunted Woman, by James Oliver
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Title: The Hunted Woman
Author: James Oliver Curwood
Release Date: February 27, 2004 [EBook #11328]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Suzanne Shell and PG Distributed Proofreaders

Author of KAZAN, Etc.

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"'Look at MacDonald.... It's not the gold, but MacDonald, that's taking
me North, Ladygray.... Up there, another grave is calling MacDonald.'"
A tall, slim, exquisitely poised figure.... "'Another o' them Dotty
Dimples come out to save the world. I thought I'd help eggicate her a
little, an' so I sent her to Bill's place'"
"A crowd was gathering.... A slim, exquisitely formed woman in
shimmering silk was standing beside a huge brown bear"
"'The tunnel is closed,' she whispered.... 'That means we have just
forty-five minutes to live.... Let us not lie to one another.'"
It was all new--most of it singularly dramatic and even appalling to the
woman who sat with the pearl-gray veil drawn closely about her face.
For eighteen hours she had been a keenly attentive, wide-eyed, and
partly frightened bit of humanity in this onrush of "the horde." She had
heard a voice behind her speak of it as "the horde"--a deep, thick, gruff
voice which she knew without looking had filtered its way through a
beard. She agreed with the voice. It was the Horde--that horde which
has always beaten the trails ahead for civilization and made of its own

flesh and blood the foundation of nations. For months it had been
pouring steadily into the mountains--always in and never out, a
laughing, shouting, singing, blaspheming Horde, every ounce of it
toughened sinew and red brawn, except the Straying Angels. One of
these sat opposite her, a dark-eyed girl with over-red lips and hollowed
cheeks, and she heard the bearded man say something to his
companions about "dizzy dolls" and "the little angel in the other seat."
This same voice, gruffened in its beard, had told her that ten thousand
of the Horde had gone up ahead of them. Then it whispered something
that made her hands suddenly tighten and a hot flush sweep through her.
She lifted her veil and rose slowly from her seat, as if to rearrange her
dress. Casually she looked straight into the faces of the bearded man
and his companion in the seat behind. They stared. After that she heard
nothing more of the Straying Angels, but only a wildly mysterious
confabulation about "rock hogs," and "coyotes" that blew up whole
mountains, and a hundred and one things about the "rail end." She
learned that it was taking five hundred steers a week to feed the Horde
that lay along the Grand Trunk Pacific between Hogan's Camp and the
sea, and that there were two thousand souls at Tête Jaune Cache, which
until a few months before had slumbered in a century-old quiet broken
only by the Indian and his trade. Then the train stopped in its twisting
trail, and the bearded man and his companion left the car. As they
passed her they glanced down. Again the veil was drawn close. A
shimmering tress of hair had escaped its bondage; that was all they
[Illustration: "Look at MacDonald.... It's not the gold, but MacDonald,
that's taking me north, Ladygray.... Up there, another grave is calling
The veiled woman drew a deeper breath when they were gone. She saw
that most of the others were getting off. In her end of the car the
hollow-cheeked girl and she were alone. Even in their aloneness these
two women had not dared to speak until now. The one raised her veil
again, and their eyes met across the aisle. For a moment the big, dark,
sick-looking eyes of the "angel" stared. Like the bearded man and his
companion, she, too, understood, and an embarrassed flush added to the

colour of the rouge on her cheeks. The eyes that looked across at her
were blue--deep, quiet, beautiful. The lifted veil had disclosed to her a
face that she could not associate with the Horde. The lips smiled at
her--the wonderful eyes softened with a look of understanding, and
then the veil was lowered again. The flush in the girl's cheek died out,
and she smiled back.
"You are going
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