by Harold Frederic
THE battle was over, and the victor remained on the
field--sitting alone with the hurly-burly of his thoughts.
His triumph was so sweeping and comprehensive as to
be somewhat shapeless to the view. He had a sense
of fascinated pain when he tried to define to himself
what its limits would probably be. Vistas of unchecked,
expanding conquest stretched away in every direction.
He held at his mercy everything within sight. Indeed, it
rested entirely with him to say whether there should be any
such thing as mercy at all--and until he chose to utter
the restraining word the rout of the vanquished would go
on with multiplying terrors and ruin. He could crush
and torture and despoil his enemies until he was tired.
The responsibility of having to decide when he would stop
grinding their faces might come to weigh upon him later on,