Lost Face by Jack London Page 1 of 128
To Build a Fire
Flush of Gold
The Passing of Marcus O'Brien
The Wit of Porportuk
It was the end. Subienkow had travelled a long trail of bitterness and horror, homing like a dove for the capitals of Europe, and here, farther away than ever, in Russian America, the trail ceased. He sat in the snow, arms tied behind him, waiting the torture. He stared curiously before him at a huge Cossack, prone in the snow, moaning in his pain.
The men had finished handling the giant and turned him over to the women. That they exceeded the fiendishness of the men, the man's cries attested.
Subienkow looked on, and shuddered. He was not afraid to die. He had carried his life too long in his hands, on that weary trail from Warsaw to Nulato, to shudder at mere dying. But he objected to the torture. It offended his soul. And this offence, in turn, was not due to the mere pain he must endure, but to the sorry spectacle the pain would make of him.
He knew that he would pray, and beg, and entreat, even as Big Ivan and the others that had gone before. This would not be nice. To pass out bravely and cleanly, with a smile and a jest-ah! that would have been the way.
But to lose control, to have his soul upset by the pangs of the flesh, to screech and gibber like an ape, to become the veriest beast-ah, that was what was so terrible.