anger at him was turned upon herself. Why she had gone again that
day she hardly knew. But if there was another reason than simple
perversity, it was the memory of Rome Stetson's face when he
caught her boat and spoke to her in a way she could not answer.
The anger of the moment came with every thought of the incident
afterward, and with it came too this memory of his look, which
made her at once defiant and uneasy. She saw him now only when
she was quite close, and, startled, she stood still; his stern look
brought her the same disquiet, but she gave no sign of fear.
Whut's the matter with ye?
The question was too abrupt, too savage, and the girl looked
straight at him, and her lips tightened with a resolution not to
speak. The movement put him beyond control.
"Y'u puts hell into me, Marthy Lewallen; y'u puts downright hell
into me." The words came between gritted teeth. "I want to take
ye up 'n' throw ye off this cliff clean into the river, 'n' I reckon the
next minute I'd jump off atter ye. Y'u've 'witched me, gal! I forgits
who ye air 'n' who I be, 'n' sometimes I want to come over hyeh 'n'
kerry ye out'n these mount ins, n' nuver come back. You know
whut I've been watchin' the river fer sence the fust time I seed ye.
You know whut I've been a-stayin' at the mill fer, 'n' Steve mad 'n'
mam a-jowerin'-'n' a-lookin' over hyeh fer ye night 'n' day! Y'u
know whut I've jes swum over hyeh fer! Whut's the matter with
Martha was not looking for a confession like this. It took away her
shame at once, and the passion of it thrilled her, and left her
trembling. While he spoke her lashes drooped quickly, her face
softened, and the color came back to it. She began intertwining her
fingers, and would not look up at him.
Ef y'u hates me like the rest uv ye, why don't ye say it right out?
'N' ef ye do hate me, whut hev you been lookin' 'cross the river fer,
'n' a-shakin' yer bonnet at me, 'n' paddlin' to Gabe's fer yer grist,
when the mill on Dead Crick's been a-runnin', 'n' I know it? You've
been banterin' me, hev ye? "-the blood rose to his eyes again. " Ye
mustn't fool with me, gal, by , ye mustn't. Whut hev you been
goin' over thar fer? " He even took a threatening step toward her,
and, with a helpless gesture, stopped. The girl was a little
frightened. Indeed, she smiled, seeing her power over him; she
seemed even about to laugh outright; but the smile turned to a
quick look of alarm, and she bent her head suddenly to listen to
something below. At last she did speak. "Somebody's comm'! "
she said. " You'd better git out O' the way," she went on,
hurriedly. "Somebody's comm', I tell ye! Don't ye hear?
It was no ruse to get rid of him. The girl's eyes were dilating.
Something was coming far below. Rome could catch the faint
beats of a horse's hoofs. He was unarmed, and he knew it was
death for him to be seen on that forbidden mountain; but he wasDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>