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to have hurt them none—for both were the one bed in one dark corner, one in the other, pictures of health-whatever that phrase and a third bed in the middle. The femmeans.
inine members of the family all followed After supper “pap" came in, perfectly them out on the porch and watched them sober, with a big ruddy face, giant frame, brush their teeth, for they had never seen and twinkling gray eyes.
He was the man tooth-brushes before. They watched them who had risen to speak his faith in the Hon. prepare for bed—and I could hear much Samuel Budd that day on the size of the giggling and comment and many questions, Hon. Samuel's ears. He, too, was una- all of which culminated, by and by, in a shamed and, as he explained his plight chorus of shrieking laughter. That climax again, he did it with little apology. as I learned next morning, was over the
“I seed ye at the speakin' to-day. That Blight's hot-water bag. Never had their man Budd is a good man. He done some- eyes rested on an article of more wonder thin' fer a boy o' mine over at the Gap.” and humor than that water-bag. Like little Buck, he, too, stopped short. By and by, the feminine members came “He's a good man an' I'm a-goin' to help back and we sat around the fire. Still Mart him."
did not appear, though somebody stepped Yes, he repeated, quite irrelevantly, into the kitchen, and from the warning it was hunting hogs all day with nothing glance that Mollie gave Buck when she left to eat and only mean whiskey to drink. the room I guessed that the newcomer was Mart had not come in yet-he was "workin' Dave. Pretty soon the old man yawned. out" now.
“Well, mammy, I reckon this stranger's “He's the best worker in these moun- about ready to lay down, if you've got a tains,” said the old woman; “Mart works place fer him." too hard.”
“Git a light, Buck," said the old woman. The hired man appeared and joined us Buck got a light-a chimneyless, smoking at the fire. Bedtime came, and I whispered oil-lamp—and led me into the same room jokingly to the Blight:
where the Blight and my little sister were. “I believe I'll ask that good-looking one Their heads were covered up, but the bed in to set up' with me.” 'Settin' up' is what the gloom of one corner was shaking with courting is called in the hills. The couple their smothered laughter. Buck pointed sit up in front of the fire after everybody to the middle bed. else has gone to bed. The man puts his “I can get along without that light, Buck, arm around the girl's neck and whispers; I said, and I must have been rather haughty then she puts her arm around his neck and and abrupt, for a stifled shriek came from whispers—so that the rest may not hear. under the bedclothes, in the corner and This I had related to the Blight, and now Buck disappeared swiftly. Preparations she withered me.
for bed are simple in the mountains—they “You just do, now!"
were primitively simple for me that night. I turned to the girl in question, whose Being in knickerbockers, I merely took off name was Mollie. “Buck told me to ask my coat and shoes. Presently somebody you who Dave Branham was.' Mollie else stepped into the room and the bed in wheeled, blushing and angry, but Buck the other corner creaked. Silence for a had darted cackling out the door. “Oh," while. Then the door opened, and the I said, and I changed the subject. “What head of the old woman was thrust in. time do you get up?"
“Mart!” she said coaxingly; "git up “Oh, 'bout crack o' day.” I was tired, thar now an' climb over inter bed with and that was discouraging.
that ar stranger.” “Do you get up that early every morn- That was Mart at last, over in the corner.
Mart turned, grumbled, and, to my great "No," was the quick answer; "a morn- pleasure, swore that he wouldn't. The old in' later.”
woman waited a moment. A morning later, Mollie got up, each "Mart” she said again with gentle immorning. The Blight laughed.
periousness, "git up thar now, I tell yePretty soon the two girls were taken into you've got to sleep with that thar stranger." the next room, which was a long one, with She closed the door and with a snort Mart
piled into bed with me. I gave him plenty trait of American civilization down to its of room and did not introduce myself. A bed-rock, as you find it through the West little more dark silence—the shaking of the and in the Southern hills—a chivalrous rebed under the hilarity of those astonished, spect for women. Mart thought I was bethrilled, but thoroughly unfrightened asleep. Over in the corner were two creayoung women in the dark corner on my left tures the like of which I supposed he had ceased, and again the door opened. This never seen an would not see, since he came time it was the hired man, and I saw that in too late the night before, and was going the trouble was either that neither Mart nor away too early now—and two angels straight Buck wanted to sleep with the hired man from heaven could not have stirred my curior that neither wanted to sleep with me. A osity any more than they already must have long silence and then the boy Buck slipped stirred his. But not once did Mart turn his in. The hired man delivered himself with eyes, much less his face, toward the corner the intonation somewhat of a circuit rider. where they were—not once, for I watched
“I've been a-watchin' that star thar, him closely. And when he went out he through the winder. Sometimes hit moves, sent his little sister back for his shoes, which then hit stands plum' still, an'ag'in hit gits the night-walking hired man had accidento pitchin'.” The hired man must have tally kicked toward the foot of the strangers' been touching up mean whiskey himself. bed. In a minute I was out after him, but Meanwhile, Mart seemed to be having spells he was gone. Behind me the two girls of troubled slumber. He would snore gen- opened their eyes on a room that was empty tly, accentuate said snore with a sudden save for them. Then the Blight spoke quiver of his body and then wake up with a (this I was told later). climacteric snort and start that would shake “Dear,” she said, “have our roomthe bed. This was repeated several times, mates gone?” and I began to think of the unfortunate Tom Breakfast at dawn. The mountain girls who was "fitified.” Mart seemed on the were ready to go to work. All looked sorry verge of a fit himself, and I waited appre- to have us leave. They asked us to come hensively for each snorting climax to see if back again, and they meant it. We said fits were a family failing. They were not. we would like to come back and we meant Peace overcame Mart and he slept deeply, it—to see them—the kind old mother, the but not I. The hired man began to show pioneer-like old man, sturdy little Buck, shy symptoms. He would roll and groan, little Cindy, the elusive, hard-working, undreaming of feuds, quorum pars magna consciously shivery Mart, and the two big fui, it seemed, and of religious conversion, sisters. As we started back up the river in which he feared he was not so great. the sisters started for the fields, and I Twice he said aloud:
thought of their stricken brother in the “An’I tell you thar wouldn't a one of 'em settlements, who must have been much like have said a word if I'd been killed stone- Mart. dead.” Twice he said it almost weepingly, Back up the Big Black Mountain we and now and then he would groan appeal- toiled, and late in the afternoon we were on ingly.
the State line that runs the crest of the Big "O Lawd, have mercy on my pore soul!" Black. Right on top and bisected by that
Fortunately those two tired girls slept - State line sat a dingy little shack, and there, I could hear their breathing, but sleep there with one leg thrown over the pommel of his was none for me. Once the troubled soul saddle, sat Marston, drinking water from a with the hoe got up and stumbled out to gourd. the water-bucket on the porch to soothe the "I was coming over to meet you,” he fever or whatever it was that was burning said, smiling at the Blight, who, greatly him, and after that he was quiet. I awoke pleased, smiled back at him. The shack before day. The dim. right at the window was a “blind Tiger” where whiskey could showed an empty bed-Buck and the hired be sold to Kentuckians on the Virginia side man were gone. Mart was slipping out of and to Virginians on the Kentucky side. the side of my bed, but the girls still slept Hanging around were the slouching figures on. I watched Mart, for I guessed I might of several moonshiners and the villainous now see what, perhaps, is the distinguishing fellow who ran it.
“They are real ones all right,” said never seen a coke-plant before. It looked Marston. “One of them killed a revenue like Hades even in the early dusk—the officer at that front door last week, and was snake-like coil of fiery ovens stretching up killed by the posse as he was trying to escape the long, deep ravine, and the smokeout of the back window. That house will streaked clouds of fire, trailing like a yellow be in ashes soon,” he added. And it was. mist over them, with a fierce white blast
As we rode down the mountain we told shooting up here and there when the lid of him about our trip and the people with an oven was raised, as though to add fresh whom we had spent the night-and all the temperature to some particular malefactor time he was smiling curiously.
in some particular chamber of torment. “Buck," he said. “Oh, yes, I know Humanity about was joyous, however. that little chap. Mart had him posted Laughter and banter and song came from down there on the river to toll you to his the cabins that lined the big ravine and the house-to toll you," he added to the Blight. little ravines opening into it. A banjo tinHe pulled in his horse suddenly, turned and kled at the entrance of “Possum Trot,” looked up toward the top of the mountain. sacred to the darkies. We moved toward
"Ah, I thought so.” We all looked back. it. On the stoop sat an ecstatic picker and On the edge of the cliff, far upward, on in the dust shuffled three pickaninnieswhich the “blind Tiger” sat was a gray one boy and two girls—the youngest not horse, and on it was a man who, motionless, five years old. The crowd that was gathwas looking down at us. “He's been fol- ered about them gave way respectfully as lowing you all the way." said the engineer. we drew near; the little darkies showed
“Who's been following us?” I asked. their white teeth in jolly grins, and their
“That's Mart up there—my friend and feet shook the dust in happy competition. yours," said Marston to the Blight. “I'm I showered a few coins for the Blight and rather glad I didn't meet you on the other on we went–into the mouth of the manyside of the mountain-that's “the Wild peaked Gap. The night train was coming Dog." The Blight looked incredulous, but in and everybody had a smile of welcome for Marston knew the man and knew the horse. the Blight-post-office assistant, drug clerk,
So Mart-hard-working Mart-was the soda-water boy, telegraph operator, hostler, Wild Dog, and he was content to do the who came for the mules-and when tired, Blight all service without thanks, merely but happy, she slipped from her saddle to the for the privilege of secretly seeing her face ground, she then and there gave me what she now and then; and yet he would not look usually reserves for Christmas morning, and upon that face when she was a guest under that, too, while Marston was looking on. his roof and asleep.
Over her shoulder I smiled at him. Still, when we dropped behind the two girls I gave Marston the Hon. Sam's warn That night Marston and the Blight sat ing, and for a moment he looked rather under the vines on the porch until the late grave.
moon rose over Wallens Ridge, and, when "Well, he said, smiling, "if I'm found in bedtime came, the Blight said impatiently the road some day, you'll know who did it.” that she did not want to go home. She had
I shook my head. “Oh, no; he isn't to go, however, next day, but on the next that bad."
Fourth of July she would surely come "I don't know,” said Marston.
again; and, as the young engineer mounted
his horse and set his face toward Black The smoke of the young engineer's coke Mountain, I knew that until that day, for ovens lay far below us and the Blight had him, a blight would still be in the hills.
(To be concluded.)
By James B. Connolly
ILLUSTRATIONS BY GEORGE HARDING
• sooner had the Midnight I'll drop below and see him. Thankee, let go her anchor in the cove captain, but not this mornin'. Ay, I could than a door opened in the one time, and dance as I drinked, but my topmost little house on the bitters be'n't what they were to me. No, my rocks. Carefully an old man bitters don't taste right now; but thankee,
came down to the beach, captain, for all that.” with some difficulty launched his boat, and The old man reseated himself in his little presently was alongside.
boat, resumed his oars, and was off. CapThe skipper himself took the old man's tain Butler watched him until he had reached painter. "Come aboard, Mister Kippen," the side of Murray's vessel. he said heartily.
“There, he's aboard. He'll ask the same “Thankee, captain, but not this mornin'." question, and Murray'll give him the same He hesitated perceptibly ere he put the ques- answer. Nobody with the heart to tell him tion. “No word, captain?” There was more the truth." of inquiry in the old man's eyes than in what "And what is the truth, captain?” came from his faltering lips--worn old eyes, in which was a pitiable plea for hope. “No "The truth? The whole story? Well, word yet o’the Pallas, Captain Butler ?” you must go back some little way for that“None yet, Mister Kippen.”
back to six weeks yesterday, when three of “Wh-h-h- the sigh shook the old us were on this very spot ready to leave for body. "Such a fine, able vessel as she was, Gloucester-Wesley Marrs in the Lucy
My boy thought he was made when Foster, old Kippen's son in the Pallas, and he got her, captain.'
myself in this one. We were all of one ton"And well he might, Mister Kippen." nage, and there was rivalry between us to
“And the proud man I was when I saw see who'd take the biggest load of herring. him sail out o' Carouge Cove that day. I Each of us took on two thousand barrels followed him across the bay to old Weebald, salt herring, and I know I thought that for you mind, in my little jack, captain, though our tonnage we all had enough. Well, that 'twas a risin' gale and I had to lay to Lark night the three of us met at a dance, and Harbor for two days after afore it moder- after the dance there was supper and a few ated so I could put back But the grand drinks of smuggled stuff. There was more American schooners, they'll make easy or less talking too, you know, before the work of this, I says, and warn't I proud to girls, and somebody remarked how deep the think of him sailin' that able American ves- vessels were loaded—too deep for that time sel! The first Bay of Islands boy that ever of the year. We were, as a matter of fact, went master of a Gloucesterm'n. They'll pretty deep; but Wesley said: 'Deep hell! few o’ 'em show him the course to Glouces- the Lucy could take another two hundred ter, I says. Aye, I did. And—” again the and fifty barrels and not know she had 'em.' eyes dulled—“and no word o' him since, "Well, you know there are people in the you say, captain ? Sure there's no word?” world who are made of meanness and envy.
“Well, not when we left home, Mister There was a fellow there who was quite a Kippen, though we didn't come straight little man when the American skippers from Gloucester. We stopped at St. Pierre weren't around. He'd been in the rear row on the way. Maybe Murray, who's just for some time, but now he comes to the come to anchor below, has some word. He front again. He looks across at Wesley. left home two days after we did.”
'That's good talk, captain. Could-you “Did he, now? Two days?
Two days? Yes, yes. say you could, but would you?'
“Would? Yes, and will,' fires back Wes- this the night before he was to leave on what ley.
'Have you two hundred and fifty bar- was generally reckoned a hard trip to Glourels handy?'
cester at this time of year. And then, too, he “I will have 'em alongside in the morn was the first man out of this place ever went . ing.'
master of a first-class American fisherman. “Then in the afternoon they'll beaboard,' And the natives hereabout were that proud says Wesley
of him! 'H-m!’ they'd say, “and so they has “I'll have 'em there. That's certainly to come here to wild Newf'undland for skipsomething like a load of herring,' goes on pers as well as men?'and could hardly keep this chap. 'I wonder now if any of our from shouting, some of 'em, at our fellows as people here would—' and looks over to they went by. And maybe 'twas from knowyoung Kippen.
ing something of that spirit that Wesley “What's that,' asks Kippen, ‘about car Marrs was so quick to make his boast. ryin' a load of herrin'?'
“Anyway, whatever Wesley Marrs says “The fellow repeated what he'd said, and drunk he'll make good sober. So when our Kippen flares right up. Bring him another friend was there with any quantity of salt two hundred and fifty barrels and see what herring next morning, Wesley took his two he'd do with them! You see, he had double hundred and fifty barrels. And you may reasons for it. There was the girl that he be sure the Lucy did set something scandalwas trying to work into windward of, and ous in the water when she'd got 'em on deck making good weather of it, too, naturally-a -a good plank deeper than any vessel leavhusky, good-looking young skipper--and ing Bay of Islands that month. Vol. XL.-50