he had thought it was Martha, and now he knew it was, for the old

miller had told him more of the girl, and had wrung his heart with

pity. She had been ill a long while. The "furriners " had seized old

Jasper's cahin and land. The girl was homeless, and she did not

know it, for no one had the heart to tell her. She was living with

the Braytons; and every day she went to the cabin, "moonin'' n'

sorrowin' aroun'," as old Gabe said; and she was much changed.

Once more the miller came-for the last time, he said, firmly.

Crump had trailed him, and had learned where Rome was. The

search would begin next day-perhaps that very night-and Crump

would guide the soldiers. Now he must go, and go quickly. The

boy, too, sent word that unless Rome went, he would have

something to tell. Old Gabe saw no significance in the message;

but he had promised to deliver it, and he did. Rome wavered then;

Steve and himself gone, no suspicion would fall on the lad. If he

were caught, the boy might confess. With silence Rome gave

assent, and the two parted in an apathy that was like heartlessness.

Only old Gabe's shrunken breast heaved with something more than

weariness of descent, and Rome stood watching him a long time

before he turned back to the cave that had sheltered him from his

enemies among beasts and men. In a moment he came out for the

last time, and turned the opposite way. Climbing about the spur, he

made for the path that led down to the river. When he reached it he

glanced at the sun, and stopped in indecision. Straight above him

was a knoll, massed with rhododendrons, the flashing leaves of

which made it like a great sea-wave in the slanting sun, while the

blooms broke slowly down over it like foam. Above this was a

gray sepulchre of dead, standing trees, more gaunt and spectre-like

than ever, with the rich life of summer about it. Higher still were a

dark belt of stunted firs and the sandstone ledge, and above

these-home. He was risking his liberty, his life. Any clump of

bushes might bristle suddenly with Winchesters. If the soldiers

sought for him at the cave they would at the same time guard the

mountain paths; they would guard, too, the Stetson cabin. But no

matter-the sun was still high, and he turned up the steep. The ledge

passed, he stopped with a curse at his lips and the pain of a

knife-thrust at his heart. A heap of blackened stones and ashes

was before him. The wild mountain-grass was growing up about it.

The bee-gums were overturned and rifled. The garden was a

tangled mass of weeds. The graves in the little family

burying-ground were unprotected, the fence was gone, and no

boards marked the last two ragged mounds. Old Gabe had never

told him. He, too, like Martha, was homeless, and the old miller

had been kind to him, as the girl's kinspeople had been to her.

For a long while he sat on the remnant of the burned and broken

fence, and once more the old tide of bitterness rose within him and

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