beyond caution, and ready to welcome any vent to his passion, and

he merely shook his head.

Ef it's Satan hisself, I hain't goin' to run." The hoof-beats came

nearer. The rider must soon see them from the coil below.

Rome, hit's Jas! He's got his rifle, and he'll kill ye, 'n' me too! "

The girl was white with distress. She had called him by his name,

and the tone was of appeal, not anger. The black look passed from

his face, and he caught her by the shoulders with rough tenderness;

but she pushed him away, and without a word he sprang from the

road and let himself noiselessly down the cliff. The hoof-beats

thundered above his head, and Young Jasper's voice hailed Martha.

This hyeh's the bigges' meal I ever straddled. Why d'n't ye git the

grist ground?"

For a moment the girl did not answer, and Rome waited,

breathless. " Wasn't the mill runnin'? Whyn't ye go on 'cross the


That's whut I did," said the girl, quietly. Uncle Gabe wasn't thar, 'n'

Rome Stetson was. I wouldn't 'low him to grin' the co 'n, 'n' so I

toted hit back."

Rome Stetson! " The voice was lost in a volley of oaths.

The two passed out of hearing, and Rome went plunging down the

mountain, swinging recklessly from one little tree to another, and

wrenching limbs from their sockets out of pure physical ecstasy.

When he reached his horse he sat down, breathing heavily, on a

bed of moss, with a strange new yearning in his heart. If peace

should come! Why not peace, if Rufe should not come back? He

would be the leader then, and without him there could be no war.

Old Jasper had killed his father. He was too young at the time to

feel poignant sorrow now, and somehow he could look even at that

death in a fairer way. His father had killed old Jasper's brother.

So it went back: a Lewallen killed a Stetson; that Stetson had

killed a Lewallen, until one end of the chain of deaths was lost,

and the first fault could not be placed, though each clan put it on

the other. In every generation there had been compromises-

periods of peace; why not now? Old Gabe would gladly help him.

He might make friends with young Jasper; he might even end the

feud. And then-he and Martha-why not? He closed his eyes, and

for one radiant moment t all seemed possible. And then a gaunt

image rose in the dream, and only the image was left. It was the

figure of his mother, stern and silent through the years, opening

her grim lips rarely without some curse against the Lewallen race.

He remembered she had smiled for the first time when she heard

of the new trouble-the flight of his uncle and the hope of conflict.

She had turned to him with her eyes on fire and her old hands

clinched. She had said nothing, but he understood her look. And

now-Good God! what would she think and say if she could know

what he had done? His whole frame twitched at the thought, and,

with a nervous spring to escape it, he was on his feet, and starting

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