Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 102

you don't know that, either?" said the officer with astonishment,
biting his lips. "Please excuse me; if my explanations are perhaps
a bit disjointed, I sincerely beg your pardon. For these explanations
were formerly given by the commanding officer; the new comman·
der, however, has shunned this duty of rank; but that he should
have failed to enlighten such an important visitor"-the explorer
sought to wave away the mark of honor with both hands, but the
officer insisted on the expression-"such an important visitor,
about the form of our sentence, is another innovation which-," he
had a curse on his lips, but restrained himself and said: "I was not
informed, it is not my fault. As a matter of fact, I am the best
qualified to explain our ways of judging, for I carry here"-he
tapped his breast-pocket-"the original drawings on the subject,
made by the former commander."
"Drawings made by the commander himself?" asked the
explorer. "Did he combine everything in his own person? Was he
a soldier, a judge, a builder, a chemist, a draughtsman, all in one?"
"Surely," said the officer, nodding his head with a fixed, medi·
tative expression. Then he examined his hands: they did not seem
to him to be clean enough to touch the drawings; so he went to the
pail and washed them once mor'e. Then he took out a small leather
brief-case. "Our sentence does not sound severe," he said. "The
law which the condemned man broke is written on his body with
the harrow. For instance, this offender"-the officer pointed to the
condemned man-"will have inscribed on his body:
The explorer gave a fleeting glance at the man; when the
officer pointed towards him, he hung his head and seemed to be
concentrating all his powers of hearing on finding out something.
But the motions of his tightly pressed, puffy lips showed clearly
that he could understand nothing. The explorer had wanted to ask
various questions but at the sight of the man he only asked: "Does
he know his sentence?" "No," the officer said, and wanted to go
right ahead with his explanations. But the explorer interrupted
him: "So he does not know his sentence?" No," said the
officer again, and he hesitated a mome1;1t, as if demanding further
justification of his question from the explorer.
would be use–
less to announce it to him," he said, "he'll learn it anyway, on his
own body." The explorer was inclined to remain silent, when he
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