April 29, 2011

Selection from Tara Kane.




Another selection from the book Tara Kane. Once again Tara and Soapy debate his choice of occupation.


“Jeff Smith, you know, I think you’re a crook. You take advantage of innocent people.”

“And what are all the others doing?” he demanded, his eyes steely. “Everyone here has come to use someone, something, somehow. The sourdoughs are here to tear the Territory apart so that they can make themselves rich on its gold. The city slickers are here to cash in on the sourdoughs. The railroad’s coming to profit from the sourdoughs going to the gold fields. And I’m here to entertain those poor suckers. But they needn’t be entertained by me or by any other rogue, as you so charmingly put it, unless they want to.”

“And you think that makes you decent? You believe you’re doing them a service, cheating them before anyone else has a chance?”

“Tell me, Tara,” said Smith very softly, regarding her from under his heavy lids, “haven’t you ever used anyone? I seem to recall a certain incident when the use you made of some poor, unsuspecting Mountie cost him his stripes. But that didn’t occur to you at the time, did it? You know why. Because you wanted to get to Dawson. You wanted to get there so badly you didn’t mind whose neck you trod on.”

“That’s not true,” she retaliated, blushing at the memory. “I never wanted Sergeant Campbell to lose his stripes. I didn’t hurt him on purpose.”

“But you did,” pointed out Smith. “He was a means to an end, so that sort of puts you in my league right away.”
“Your league! How on earth do you think that my one mistake puts me in with the likes of you? I’m not a cheat. I’ve never swindled or stolen from anyone!”

Smith made no reply for a while. Instead, he picked up a paperknife from his desk and toyed with it. “Whatever I’ve done I’ve thought, in that situation, at that moment, was the right thing to do.”

“So that makes it OK, does it? You make me laugh, Jeff Smith, you really do. You’re always right, aren’t you? Always above suspicion, always within the law!”

“Of course, Tara,” agreed Smith, “especially when the law doesn’t exist.”


Here are links to other posts on this blog pertaining to this topic:
April 28, 2011



Jeff Smith









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