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美国语文第五册 第103期:马萨诸塞州的牢狱兵变(03)


He demanded their purpose in thus coming together with arms, in violation of the prison laws.


They replied that they were determined to obtain the remission of the punishment of their three comrades.


He said it was impossible; the rules of the prison must be obeyed, and they must submit.


At the hint of submission they drew a little nearer together, prepared their weapons for service,


and, as they were dimly seen in the further end of the hall by those who observed from the gratings that opened up to the day,


a more appalling sight can not be conceived, nor one of more moral grandeur, than that of the single man standing within their grasp,


and exposed to be torn limb from limb instantly if a word or look should add to the already intense excitement.


That excitement, too, was of a most dangerous kind.


It broke not forth in noise and imprecations, but was seen only in the dark looks and the strained nerves that showed a deep determination.


The officer expostulated. He reminded them of the hopelessness of escape; that the town was alarmed, and that the government of the prison would submit to nothing but unconditional surrender.


He said that all those who would go quietly away should be forgiven for this offense;


but that if every prisoner were killed in the contest, power enough would be obtained to enforce the regulations of the prison.


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