under a swinging sign, the rude letters of which promised" private

entertainment " for the traveller unlucky enough to pass that way.

In the one long, narrow main street, closely flanked by log and

framed houses, nothing else human was in sight. Out from this

street, and in an empty square, stood the one brick building in the

place, the court-house, brick without, brick within; unfinished,

unpencilled, unpainted; panes out of the windows, a shutter off

here and there, or swinging drunkenly on one hinge; the door wide

op en, as though there was no privacy within-a poor structure, with

the look of a good man gone shiftless and fast going wrong.

Soon two or three lank brown figures appeared from each direction

on foot; then a horseman or two, and by and by mountaineers came

in groups, on horse and on foot. In time the side alleys and the

court-house square were filled with horses and mules, and even

steers. The mountaineers crowded the narrow street: idling from

side to side; squatting for a bargain on the wooden sidewalks;

grouping on the porch of the rickety hotel, and on the court-house

steps loitering in and out of the one store in sight. Out in the street

several stood about a horse, looking at his teeth, holding his eyes

to the sun, punching his ribs, twisting his tail; while the phlegmatic

owner sat astride the submissive beast, and spoke short answers to

rare questions. Everybody talked politics, the crop failure, or the

last fight at the seat of some private war; but nobody spoke of a

Lewallen or a Stetson unless he knew his listener's heart, and said

it in a whisper. For nobody knew when the powder would flash, or

who had taken sides, or that a careless word might not array him

with one or the other faction.

A motley throng it was-in brown or gray homespun, with trousers

in cowhide boots, and slouched hats with brims curved according

to temperament, but with striking figures in it; the patriarch with

long, white hair, shorn even with the base of the neck, and bearded

only at the throat-a justice of the peace, and the sage of his district;

a little mountaineer with curling black hair and beard, and dark,

fine features; a grizzled giant with a head rugged enough to have

been carelessly chipped from stone; a bragging candidate claiming

everybody's notice; a square- shouldered fellow surging through

the crowd like a stranger; an open-faced, devil-may- care young

gallant on fire with moonshine; a skulking figure with brutish

mouth and shifting eyes. Indeed, every figure seemed distinct; for,

living apart from his neighbor, and troubling the law but little in

small matters of dispute, the mountaineer preserves independence,

and keeps the edges of his individuality unworn. Apparently there

was not a woman in town. Those that lived there kept housed, and

the fact was significant. Still, it was close to noon, and yet not a

Stetson or a Lewallen had been seen. The stores of Rufe and old

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