thought he had been hit, but he took off his hat. " Purty close! " he

said, with a laugh, pointing at the bullet-hole through the brim.

Steve, unsuspicious, went on: "Hit was a spy, I tell ye. Bud was

afeard to stan' in the road, 'n' I'm goin' out thar 'n' twist his damned

neck. We've got 'em, Rome! I tell ye, we've got 'em! Ef we kin git

through this night, and git the boys sober in the morning, we've got

'em shore!"

The night did pass in safety, darkness wore away without attack,

and morning broke on the town in its drunken stupor. Then the

curious silence of the Lewallens was explained. The rumor came

that old Jasper was dead, and it went broadcast. Later, friends

coming to the edge of the town for the bodies of the dead

Lewallens confirmed it. A random ball had passed through old

Lewallen's body in the wild flight for the woods, and during the

night he had spent his last breath in a curse against the man who

fired it.

Then each Stetson, waked from his drunken sleep, drank again

when he heard of the death. The day bade fair to be like the night,

and again the anxiety of the leaders was edged with fear. Old

Jasper dead and young Jasper a prisoner, the chance was near to

end the feud, or there would be no Lewallen left to lead their

enemies. But, again, they were wellnigh helpless. Already they

had barely enough men to guard their prisoners. Of the Marcums,

Steve alone was able to handle a Winchester, and outside the

sounds of the carousal were in the air and growing louder. In a

little while, if the Lewallens but knew it, escape would be easy and

the Stetsons could be driven from the town.

Oh, they know it," said Steve. "They'll be a-whoopin' down out O'

them woods purty soon, 'n' we re goin to ketch hell. I'd like to

know mighty well who that spy was last night. That cussed Bud

Vickers says it was a ha'nt, on a white hoss, with long hair flyin' in

the wind, 'n' that he shot plumb through it. I jus' wish I'd a had a

chance at it."

Still, noon came again without trouble, and the imprisoned

Lewallens had been twenty-four hours without food. Their

ammunition was getting scarce. The firing was less frequent,

though the watch was as close as ever, and twice a Winchester had

sounded a signal of distress. All knew that a response must come

soon; and come it did. A picket, watching the river road, saw

young Jasper's horse coming along the dark bushes far up the river,

and brought the news to the group standing behind old Sam's

cabin. The gray galloped into sight, and, skirting the woods, came

straight for the town-with a woman on his back. The stirrup of a

man's saddle dangled on one side, and the woman's bonnet had

fallen from her head. Some one challenged her.

Stop, I tell ye! Don't ye go near that courthouse! Stop, I tell ye! I'll

shoot! Stop!"

Rome ran from the cabin with a revolver in each hand. A drunken

mountaineer was raising a Winchester to his shoulder, and,

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