"I've got nothin' ag'in' you," he said, slowly, Jas Lewallen hev been

threatenin' me, 'n' I thought it was him, 'n' I was ready fer him,

when you come into the mill. I wouldn't hurt you nur no other

woman. Y'u ought to know it, 'n' ye do know it."

The words were masterful, but said in a way that vaguely soothed

the girl's pride, and the oar was let slowly into the water.

"I reckon y'u air a friend o' his," he added, still quietly. "I've seed

ye goin' up thar, but I've got nothin' ag'in' ye, whoever ye be."

She turned on him a sharp look of suspicion. "I reckon I do be a

friend o' hisn," she said, deliberately; and then she saw that he was

in earnest. A queer little smile went like a ray of light from her

eyes to her lips, and she gave a quick stroke with her paddle. The

boat shot into the current, and was carried swiftly toward the

Cumberland. The girl stood erect, swaying through light and

shadow like a great scarlet flower blowing in the wind; and Rome

watched her till she touched the other bank. Swinging the sack out,

she stepped lightly after it, and, without looking behind her,

disappeared in the bushes.

The boy Isom was riding away when Rome, turned, and old Gabe

was watching from the door of the mill.

Who is that gal? " he asked, slowly. It seemed somehow that he

had known her a long while ago. A puzzled frown overlay his

face, and the old miller laughed.

"You a-axin' who she be, 'n' she a-axin who you be, 'n' both o' ye

a-knowin' one 'nother sence ye was knee-high. Why, boy, hit's old

Jasper's gal-Marthy!


IN a flash of memory Rome saw the girl as vividly as when he last

saw her years ago.

They had met at the mill, he with his father, she with hers. There

was a quarrel, and the two men were held apart. But the old sore

as usual was opened, and a week later Rome's father was killed

from the brush. He remembered his mother's rage and grief, her

calls for vcngeance, the uprising, the fights, plots, and ambushes.

He remembered the look the girl had given him that long ago, and

her look that day was little changed.

When fighting began, she had been sent for safety to the sister of

her dead mother in another county. When peace came, old Jasper

married again and the girl refused to come home. Lately the

step-mother, too, had passed away, and then she came back to live.

All this the old miller told in answer to Rome's questions as the

two walked away in the twilight. This was why he had not

recognized her, and why her face yet seemed familiar even when

he crossed the river that morning.

"Uncle Gabe, how do you reckon the gal knowed who I was?"

"She axed me."

"She axed you! Whar?"

Over thar in the mill." The miller was watching the young

mountaineer closely. The manner of the girl was significant when

she asked who Rome was, and the miller knew but one reason

possible for his foolhardiness that morning.

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