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Peyton Farquhar's execution is set for sometime in the early morning, since
The water, touched to gold by the early sun, the brooding mists under the banks at some distance down the stream, the fort, the soldiers, the piece of drift--all had distracted him.
Executions are often set for dawn, and this may have been the case with Farquhar. After he is freed by the broken noose, he begins his escape by way of the creek before he finally reaches the safety of land. He spends many hours making his return:
All that day he traveled, laying his course by the rounding sun... By nightfall he was fatigued, footsore, famished.
He travels throughout the night--
Overhead, as he looked up through this rift in the wood, shone great golden stars looking unfamiliar and grouped in strange constellations...
--and he eventually reaches his home the following morning.
All is as he left it, and all bright and beautiful in the morning sunshine. He must have traveled the entire night.
So, Farquhar's journey, from the time he believes the noose to have broken until he gets one last look at his wife, approaches a 24 hour time period, or at least from one morning until the next.
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