Thirteen Rivers The Last Voyage of La Belle By Ruth Davis


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Page 178 . . . A mantle of silence loomed over the camp. Fog drifted wraithlike on the forest floor. In the hour before midnight crickets and night birds ceased their incessant twittering, croaking tree frogs quieted, low clouds slipped away and stars shone brightly in a black sky.

The loiterer turned up his coat collar and shrank into the depths of a snake-silent gloom. Catlike, he crept through the shadows. Moving closer, a little cluster of trees materialized in his vision. He listened, but heard only the usual snoring sounds a sleeping camp generates.


Page 182 . . . “Where is Lieutenant Morenger?” La Salle demanded, striding toward L’Archeveque.

“H-he wandered away,” L’Archeveque twitched nervously.

Warily, La Salle eyed him, tightening the space separating them, “Liar! I insist you tell me where he has gone.”

Big Pierre Duhaut stepped out of his ambush, the blood-thirsty predator stalking its human prey. Rigid in military stance, he clutched the polished brass butt of his flintlock pistol, aiming the barrel precisely at its target: the approaching lone figure of La Salle. Their eyes locked, a glower of loathing passed like mute swords between them, broken by a solitary click as Duhaut cocked the hammer.

Page 242 . . . A red-tailed hawk circled lazily on rising currents of warm air. From the birds-eye view, rugged wilderness stretched forever westerly through a terrain of twists, tangles, dense thickets and maze of swamp. Eastward, a dusty path humped and swerved across a sprawl of fields and grassland rising and falling in graceful swells until it sloped down to the Arkansas River. Toward that river trudged a trivial, single-file column of tramping wanderers going nowhere in particular as far as the bird was concerned.

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