quivered on the water running under him. The stern of a Lewallen

canoe swung into the basin, and he sprang to his feet.

"Rome!" The cry cut sharply through the drowsy air. " Thar he is!

Hit's Jas"

The old miller rose to his feet. The boy threw himself behind the

sacks of grain. Rome wheeled for his rifle, and stood rigid before

the door. There was a light step without, the click of a gun-lock

within; a shadow fell across the doorway, and a girl stood at the

threshold with an empty bag in her hand.


WITH a little cry she shrank back a step. Her face paled and her

lips trembled, and for a moment she could not speak. But her eyes

swept the group, and were fixed in two points of fire on Rome.

"Why don't ye shoot! "she asked, scornfully.

"I hev heerd that the Stetsons have got to makin war on

women-folks, but I never believed it afore." Then she turned to

the miller.

Kin I git some more meal hyeh? " she asked. " Or have ye stopped

sellin' to folks on t'other side? " she added, in a tone that sought no


"You kin have all ye want," said old Gabe, quietly.

"The mill on Dead Crick is broke ag'in," she continued, " 'n' co'n is

skeerce on our side. We'll have to begin buyin' purty soon, so I

thought I'd save totin' the co'n down hyeh." She handed old Gabe

the empty bag.

Well,'' said he, '' as it air gittin' late, 'n' ye have to climb the

mountain ag'in, I'll let ye have that comm' out o' the hopper now.

Take a cheer."

The girl sat down in the low chair, and, loos ening the strings of

her bonnet, pushed it back from her head. An old-fashioned horn

comb dropped to the floor, and when she stooped to pick it up she

let her hair fall in a head about her shoulders. Thrusting one hand

under it, she calmly tossed the whole mass of chestnut and gold

over the back of the chair, where it fell rippling like water through

a bar of sunlight. With head thrown back and throat bared, she

shook it from side to side, and, slowly coiling it, pierced it with the

coarse comb. Then passing her hands across her forehead and

temples, as women do, she folded them in her lap, and sat

motionless. The boy, crouched near, held upon her the mesmeric

look of a serpent. Old Gabe was peering covertly from under the

brim of his hat, with a chuckle at his lips. Rome had fallen back to

a corner of the mill, sobered, speechless, his rifle in a nerveless

hand. The passion that fired him at the boy's warning had as

swiftly gone down at sight of the girl, and her cutting rebuke made

him hot again with shame. He was angry, too-more than

angry-because he felt so helpless, a sensation that was new and

stifling. The scorn of her face, as he remembered it that morning,

hurt him again while he looked at her. A spirit of contempt was

still in her eyes, and quivering about her thin lips and nostrils. She

had put him beneath further notice, and yet every toss of her head,

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