about the old man's mouth, which time might trace about young
Jasper's. The girl's face had no humor; the same square brows,
apart and clearly marked, gave it a strong, serious cast, and while
she had the Lewallen fire, she favored her mother enough, so the
neighbors said, "to have a mighty mild, takin' way about her ef she
You're right, Jas," the old mountaineer said; "the hoss air a sin 'n'
temptation. Hit do me good ever' time I look at him. Thar air no
sech hoss, I tell ye, this side o' the settlements."
The boy started away, and the old man followed, and halted him
out of the girl's hearing.
"Tell Eli Crump 'n' Jim Stover to watch the Breathitt road close
now," he said, in a low voice. " See all them citizens I tol' ye, 'n'
tell 'em to be ready when I says the word. Thar's no tellin' whut's
goin' to happen."
Young Jasper nodded his head, and struck his horse into a gallop.
The old man lighted his pipe, and turned back to the house. The
girl, bonnet in hand, was starting for the valley.
"Thar ain't no use goin' to Gabe Bunch's fer yer grist," he said. "
The mill on Dead Crick's a-runnin' ag'in, 'n' I don't want ye over
thar axin favors, specially jes now."
"I lef' somethin' fer ye to eat, dad," she replied, " ef ye gits hungry
before I git back."
You heerd me? " he called after her, knitting his brows.
Yes, dad; I heerd ye," she answered, adding to herself, " But I don't
heed ye." In truth, the girl heeded nobody. It was not her way to
ask consent, even her own, nor to follow advice. At the bend of the
road she found the bag, and for an instant she stood wavering. An
impulse turned her to the river, and she loosed the boat, and
headed it across the swift, shallow water from the ford and straight
toward the mill. At every stroke of her paddle the water rose above
the prow of the boat, and, blown into spray, flew back and
drenched her; the wind loosed her hair, and, tugging at her skirts,
draped her like a statue; and she fought them, wind and water,
with mouth set and a smile in her eyes. One sharp struggle still,
where the creek leaped into freedom; the mouth grew a little
firmer, the eyes laughed more, the keel grated on pebbles, and the
boat ran its nose into the withered sedge on the Stetson shore.
A tall gray figure was pouring grain into the hopper when she
reached the door of the mill. She stopped abruptly, Rome Stetson
turned, and again the two were face to face. No greeting passed.
The girl lifted her head with a little toss that deepened the set look
about the mountaineer's mouth; her lax figure grew tense as
though strung suddenly against some coming harm, and her eyes
searched the shadows without once resting on him.
Whar's Uncle Gabe? " She spoke shortly, and as to a stranger.
Gone to town," said Rome, composedly. He had schooled himself
for this meeting.
When's he comm' back?Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>