drink where the water sparkled in a rift of dim light from

overhead. Then he sat upright on a stone, with his wide hat-brim

curved in a crescent over his forehead, his hands caught about his

knees, and his eyes on the empty air.

He was scarcely over his surprise that the girl was young

Lewallen's sister, and the discovery had wrought a curious change.

The piquant impulse of rivalry was gone, and something deeper

was taking its place. He was confused and a good deal troubled,

thinking it all over. He tried to make out what the girl meant by

looking at him from the mountain-side, by waving her bonnet at

him, and by coming to old Gabe's mill when she could have gone

to her own. To be sure, she did not know then who he was, and

she had stopped coming when she learned; but why had she

crossed again that day? Perhaps she too was bantering him, and he

was at once angry and drawn to her; for her mettlesome spirit

touched his own love of daring, even when his humiliation was

most bitter-when she told him he warred on women; when he held

out to her the branch of peace and she swept it aside with a stroke

of her oar. But Rome was little conscious of the weight of subtle

facts like these. His unseeing eyes went back to her as she combed

her hair. He saw the color in her cheeks, the quick light in her

eyes, the naked, full throat once more, and the wavering forces of

his unsteady brain centred in a stubborn resolution-to see it all

again. He would make Isom stay at home, if need be, and he

would take the boy's place at the mill. If she came there no more,

he would cross the river again. Come peace or war, be she friend

or enemy, he would see her. His thirst was fierce again, and, with

this half-drunken determination in his heart, he stooped once more

to drink from the cheerful little stream. As he rose, a loud curse

smote the air. The river, pressed between two projecting cliffs,

was narrow at that point, and the oath came across the water. An

instant later a man led a lamed horse from behind a bowlder, and

stooped to examine its leg. The dusk was thickening, but Rome

knew the huge frame and gray beard of old Jasper Lewallen. The

blood beat in a sudden tide at his temples, and, half by instinct, he

knelt behind a rock, and, thrusting his rifle through a crevice,

cocked it softly.

Again the curse of impatience came over the still water, and old

Jasper rose and turned toward him. The glistening sight caught in

the centre of his beard. That would take him in the throat; it might

miss, and he let the sight fall till the bullet would cut the fringe of

gray hair into the heart. Old Jasper, so people said, had killed his

father in just this way; he had driven his uncle from the mountains;

he was trying now to revive the feud. He was the father of young

Jasper, who had threatened his life, and the father of the girl whose

contempt had cut him to the quick twice that day. Again her taunt

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