nor horse, and the hired feudsmen fell away, leaving the Lewallens

and the Braytons and their close kin to battle alone. So Jasper

avoided open combat and resorted to ambush and surprise; and,

knowing in some way every move made by the Stetsons, with great

daring and success. It was whispered, too, that he no longer cared

who owned what he might want for himself. Several dark deeds

were traced to him. In a little while he was a terror to good

citizens, and finally old Gabe asked aid of the Governor. Soldiers

from the settlements were looked for any day, and both factions

knew it. At the least this would delay the war, and young Jasper

had got ready for a last fight, which was close at hand.

Half a mile on the riders swerved into a wooded slope. There they

hid their horses in the brush, and climbed the spur stealthily. The

naked woods showed the cup-like shape of the mountains there-a

basin from which radiated upward wooded ravines, edged with

ribs of rock. In this basin the Stetsons were encamped. The smoke

of a fire was visible in the dim morning light, and the Lewallens

scattered to surround the camp, but the effort was vain. A picket

saw the creeping figures; his gun echoed a warning from rock to

rock, and with yells the Lewallens ran forward. Rome sprang from

his sleep near the fire, bareheaded, rifle in hand, his body plain

against a huge rock, and the bullets hissed and spat about him as

he leaped this way and that, firing as he sprang, and shouting for

his men. Steve Marcum alone answered. Some, startled from

sleep, had fled in a panic; some had run deeper into the woods for

shelter. And bidding Steve save himself, Rome turned up the

mountain, running from tree to tree, and dropped unhurt behind a

fallen chestnut. Other Stetsons, too, had turned, and answering

bullets began to whistle to the enemy, but they were widely

separated and ignorant of one another's position, and the Lewallens

drove them one by one to new hiding-places, scattering them more.

To his right Rome saw Steve Marcum speed like a shadow up

through a little open space, but he feared to move, for several

Lewallens had recognized him, and were watching him alone. He

could not even fire; at the least exposure there was a chorus of

bullets about his ears. In a moment they began to come obliquely

from each side-the Lewallens were getting around him. In a

moment more death was sure there, and once again he darted up

the mountain. The bullets sang after him like maddened bees. He

felt one cut his hat and another sting his left arm, but he raced up,

up, till the firing grew fainter as he climbed, and ceased an instant

altogether. Then, still farther below, came a sudden crash of

reports. Stetsons were pursuing the men who were after him, but

he could not join them. The Lewallens were scattered everywhere

between him and his own man, and a desccnt might lead him to

the muzzle of an enemy's Winchester. So he climbed over a ledge

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