you in the back; a pore man can't fight money in the couhts; 'n' thar

hain't no witnesses in the lorrel but leaves; 'n' dead men don't hev

much to say. I know it all. Hit's cur'us, but it act'-ally looks like

lots o' decent young folks hev got usen to the idee-thar's so much

of it goin' on, 'n' thar's so much talk 'bout killin' 'n' layin' out in the

lorrel. Reckon folks 'll git to pesterm' women n' strangers bimeby,

'n' robbin' 'n' thievin'. Hit's bad enough thar's so leetle law thet

folks hev to take it in their own hands oncet in a while, but this

shootin' from the bresh-hit's p'int'ly a sin 'n' shame! Why," he

concluded, pointing his remonstrance as he always did, "I seed

your grandad and young Jas's fight up thar in Hazlan full two hours

'fore the war-fist and skull-'n' your grandad was whooped. They

got up and shuk hands. I don't see why folks can't fight that way

now. I wish Rufe 'n' old Jas 'n' you 'n' young Jas could have it out

fist and skull, 'n' stop this killin' o' people like hogs. Thar's nobody

left but you four. But thar's no chance o' that, I reckon."

"I'll fight him anyway, 'n' I reckon ef he don't die till I lay out in the

lorrel fer him, he'll live a long time. Ef a Stetson ever done sech

meanness as that I never heerd it."

Nother hev I," said the old man, with quick justice. " You air a

over-bearin' race, all o' ye, but I never knowed ye to be that mean.

Hit's all the wus fer ye thet ye air in sech doin's. I tell ye, Rome--

A faint cry rose above the drone of the millstones, and old Gabe

stopped with open lips to listen. The boy's face was pressed close

to the logs. A wet paddle had flashed into the sunlight from out

the bushes across the river. He could just see a canoe in the

shadows under them, and with quick suspicion his brain pictured

Jasper's horse hitched in the bushes, and Jasper stealing across the

river to waylay Rome. But the canoe moved slowly out of sight

downstream and toward the deep water, the paddler unseen, and

the boy looked around with a weak smile. Neither seemed to have

heard him. Rome was brooding, with his sullen face in his hands;

the old miller was busy with his own thoughts; and the boy turned

again to his watch.

Jasper did not come. Isom's eyes began to ache from the steady

gaze, and now and then he would drop them to the water swirling

beneath. A slow wind swayed the overhanging branches at the

mouth of the stream, and under them was an eddy. Escaping this,

the froth and bubbles raced out to the gleams beating the air from

the sunlit river. He saw one tiny fleet caught; a mass of yellow

scum bore down and, sweeping through bubbles and eddy, was

itself struck into fragments by something afloat. A tremulous

shadow shot through a space of sunlight into the gloom cast by a

thicket of rhododendrons, and the boy caught his breath sharply. A

moment more, and the shape of a boat and a human figure

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