ago, and had lived as enemies nearly half a century. There was

hostility before the war, but, until then, little bloodshed. Through

the hatred of change, characteristic of the mountaineer the world

over, the Lewallens were for the Union. The Stetsons owned a few

slaves, and they fought for them. Peace found both still neighbors

and worse foes. The war armed them, and brought back an

ancestral contempt for human life; it left them a heritage of

lawlessness that for mutual protection made necessary the very

means used by their feudal forefathers; personal hatred supplanted

its dead issues, and with them the war went on. The Stetsons had a

good strain of Anglo-Saxon blood, and owned valley-lands; the

Lewallens kept store and made "moonshine"; so kindred and

debtors and kindred and tenants were arrayed with one or the other

leader, and gradually the retainers of both settled on one or the

other side of the river. In time of hostility the Cumberland came

to be the boundary between life and death for the dwellers on each

shore. It was feudalism born again.

Above one of the spurs each family had its home; the Stetsons,

under the seared face of Thunderstruck Knob; the Lewallens, just

beneath the wooded rim of Wolf's Head. The eaves and chimney

of each cabin were faintly visible from the porch of the other. The

first light touched the house of the Stetsons; the last, the Lewallen

cabin. So there were times when the one could not turn to the

sunrise nor the other to the sunset but with a curse in his heart, for

his eye must fall on the home of his enemy.

For years there had been peace. The death of Rome Stetson's

father from ambush, and the fight in the court-house square, had

forced it. After that fight only four were left-old Jasper Lewallen

and young Jasper, the boy Rome and his uncle, Rufe Stetson.

Then Rufe fled to the West, and the Stetsons were helpless. For

three years no word was heard of him, but the hatred burned in the

heart of Rome's mother, and was traced deep in her grim old face

while she patiently waited the day of retribution. It smouldered,

too, in the hearts of the women of both clans who had lost

husbands or sons or lovers; and the friends and kin of each had

little to do with one another, and met and passed with watchful

eyes. Indeed, it would take so little to turn peace to war that the

wonder was that peace had lived so long. Now trouble was at hand.

Rufe Stetson had come back at last, a few months since, and had

quietly opened store at the county-seat, Hazlan-a little town five

miles up the river, where Troubled Fork runs seething into the

Cumberland-a point of neutrality for the factions, and

consequently a battIe-ground. Old Jasper's store was at the other

end of the town, and the old man had never been known to brook

competition. He had driven three men from Hazlan during the last

term of peace for this offence, and everybody knew that the fourth

(C) 2013 Как раскрутить сайт навсегда