out open in Hazlan that ye air afeard o him? Yes; 'n' he called me a
idgit." The boy's voice broke into a whimper of rage.
"Shet up, Isom! Don't you go gittin' mad now. You'll be sick ag'in.
I'll tend to him when the time comes." Rome spoke with rough
kindness, but ugly lines had gathered at his mouth and forehead.
The boy's tears came and went easily. He drew his sleeve across
his eyes, and looked up the river. Beyond the bend, three huge
birds rose into the sunlight and floated toward them. Close at
hand, they swerved side-wise.
"They hain't buzzards," he said, standing up, his anger gone; "look
at them straight wings!
Again the eagles swerved, and two shot across the river. The third
dropped with shut wings to the bare crest of a gaunt old poplar
"Hit's a young un, Rome Y" said the boy, excitedly. "He's goin' to
wait thar tell the old uns come back. Gimme that gun!
Catching up the Winchester, he slipped over the ledge; and Rome
leaned suddenly forward, looking down at the river.
A group of horsemen had ridden around the bend, and were
coming at a walk down the other shore. Every man carried
something across his saddle-bow. There was a gray horse among
them - young Jasper's - and an evil shadow came into Rome's face,
and quickly passed. Near a strip of woods the gray turned up the
mountain from the party, and on its back he saw the red glint of a
woman's dress. With a half-smile he watched the scarlet figure ride
from the woods, and climb slowly up through the sunny corn. On
the spur above and full in the rich yellow light, she halted, half
turning in her saddle. He rose to his feet, to his full height, his
head bare, and thrown far back between his big shoulders, and,
still as statues, the man and the woman looked at each other across
the gulf of darkening air. A full minute the woman sat motionless,
then rode on. At the edge of the woods she stopped and turned
The eagle under Rome leaped one stroke in the air, and dropped
like a clod into the sea of leaves. The report of the gun and a faint
cry of triumph rose from below. It was good marksmanship, but
on the cliff Rome did not heed it. Something had fluttered in the
air above the girl's head, and he laughed aloud. She was waving
her bonnet at him.
JUST where young Stetson stood, the mountains racing along each
bank of the Cumberland had sent out against each other, by mutual
impulse, two great spurs. At the river's brink they stopped sheer,
with crests uplifted, as though some hand at the last moment had
hurled them apart, and had led the water through the breach to
keep them at peace. To-day the crags looked seamed by thwarted
passion; and, sullen with firs, they made fit symbols of the human
hate about the base of each.
When the feud began, no one knew. Even the original cause was
forgotten. Both families had come as friends from Virginia longDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>