Riders of Silences by John Frederick

Riders of Silences

byJohn Frederick

Kobo ebook | March 30, 2016

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It seemed that Father Anthony gathered all the warmth of the short northern summer and kept it for winter use, for his good nature was an actual physical force. From his ruddy face beamed such an ardent kindliness that people literally reached out towards him as they might extend their hands toward a comfortable fire.

All the labors of his work as an inspector of Jesuit institutions across the length and breadth of Canada could not lessen the flame of the good father's enthusiasm; his smile was as indefatigable as his critical eyes. The one looked sharply into every corner of a room and every nook and hidden cranny of thoughts and deeds; the other veiled the criticism and soothed the wounds of vanity.

On this day, however, the sharp eyes grew a little less keen and somewhat wider, while that smile was fixed rather by habit than inclination. In fact, his expression might be called a frozen kindliness as he looked across the table to Father Victor.

It required a most indomitable geniality, indeed, to outface the rigid piety of Jean Paul Victor. His missionary work had carried him far north, where the cold burns men thin. The eternal frost of the Arctics lay on his hair, and his starved eyes looked out from hollows shadowed with blue. He might have posed for a painting of one of those damned souls whom Dante placed in the frozen circle of the "Inferno."

It was his own spirit which tortured him—the zeal which drove him north land north and north over untracked regions, drove him until his body failed, drove him even now, though his body was crippled.

A mighty yearning, and a still mightier self-contempt whipped him on, and the school over which he was master groaned and suffered under his regime, and the disciples caught his spirit and went out like warriors in the name of God to spread the faith.

He despised them as he despised himself, for he said continually in his heart: "How great is the purpose and how little is our labor!"

Some such thought as that curled his thin lip as he stared across at Father Anthony like a wolf that has not eaten for a fortnight. The good father sustained the gaze, but he shivered a little and sighed. There was awe, and pity, and even a touch of horror in his eyes.

He said gently: "Are there none among all your lads, dear Father Victor, whom you find something more than imperfect machines?"

Title:Riders of SilencesFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 30, 2016Publisher:CPLanguage:English

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