boy, 'n' givin' ye a chance o' comm' out ag'in, as yer dad and yer
grandad usen to do afore ye. The citizens air gittin' tired o' these
wars. They keeps out the furriners who makes roads 'n' buys lands;
they air ag'in' the law, ag'in' religion, ag'in' yo' pocket, 'n' ag'in'
mine. Lots o' folks hev been ag'in' all this fightin' fer a long time,
but they was too skeery to say so. They air talkin' mighty big now,
seem' they kin git soldiers hyeh to pertect 'em. So ye mought as
well give up the idea o' staying hyeh, 'less'n ye want to give
yourself up to the law."
The two stepped from the cave, and passed through the
rhododendrons till they stood on the cliff overlooking the valley.
The rich light lay like a golden mist between the mountains, and
through it, far down, the river moaned like the wind of a coming
Did ye tell the gal whut I tol' ye?"
"Yes, Rome; hit wasn't no use. She says Steve's word's as good as
yourn; 'n' she knowed about the crosses. Folks say she swore awful
ag'in' ye at young Jas's burial, 'lowin' that she'd hunt ye down
herse'f, ef the soldiers didn't ketch ye. I hain't seed her sence she
got sick; 'pears like ever'body's sick. Mebbe she's a leetle settled
down now-no tellin'. No use foolin' with her, Rome. You git away
from hyeh. Don't you worry 'bout Isom-I'll take keer o' him, 'n'
when he gits well, he'll want to come atter ye, 'n' I'll let him go. He
couldn't live hyeh without you. But y'u must git away, Rome, 'n'
git away mighty quick."
With hands clasped behind him, Rome stood and watched the bent
figure slowly pick its way around the stony cliff.
"I reckon I've got to go. She's ag'in' me; they're all ag'in' me. I
reckon I've jes got to go. Somehow, I've been kinder hopin'-" He
closed his lips to check the groan that rose to them, and turned
again into the gloom behind him.
JUNE came. The wild rose swayed above its image along every
little shadowed stream, and the scent of wild grapes was sweet in
the air and as vagrant as a bluebird's note in autumn. The
rhododendrons burst into beauty, making gray ridge and gray cliff
blossom with purple, hedging streams with snowy clusters and
shining leaves, and lighting up dark coverts in the woods as with
white stars. The leaves were full, woodthrushes sang, and bees
droned like unseen running water in the woods.
With June came circuit court once more-and the soldiers. Faint
music pierced the dreamy chant of the river one morning as Rome
lay on a bowlder in the summer sun; and he watched the guns
flashing like another stream along the water, and then looked again
to the Lewallen cabin. Never, morning, noon, or night, when he
came from the rhododendrons, or when they closed about him, did
he fail to turn his eyes that way. Often he would see a bright speck
moving about the dim lines of the cabin, and he would scarcely
breathe while he watched it, so easily would it disappear. AlwaysDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>