CHAPTER I

                       SPRING BANK

 A LARGE, old-fashioned, weird-looking wooden building, with
strangely shaped bay windows and stranger gables projecting
here and there from the slanting roof, where the green moss
clung in patches to the moldy shingles, or formed a groundwork
for the nests the swallows built year after year beneath the
decaying eaves. Long, winding piazzas, turning sharp, sudden
angles, and low, square porches, where the summer sunshine
held many a fantastic dance, and where the winter storm
piled up its drifts of snow, whistling merrily as it worked, and
shaking the loosened casement as it went whirling by. Huge
trees of oak and maple, whose topmost limbs had borne and cast
the leaf for nearly a century of years, tall evergreens, among
whose boughs the autumn wind ploughed mournfully, making
sad music for those who cared to listen, and adding to the lone-
liness which, during many years, had invested the old place. A
wide spreading grassy lawn, with the carriage road winding
through it, over the running brook, and onward 'neath graceful
forest trees, until it reached the main highway, a distance of
nearly half a mile. A spacious garden in the rear, with bordered
walks and fanciful mounds, with climbing roses and creeping
vines showing that somewhere there was a taste, a ruling band,
which, while neglecting the somber building and suffering it to
decay, lavished due care upon the grounds, and not on these
alone, but also on the well-kept barns, and the whitewashed
dwellings in front, where numerous, happy, well-fed negroes
lived and lounged, for ours is a Kentucky scene, and Spring
Bank a Kentucky home.
  As we have described it so it was on a drear December night,
when a fearful storm, for that latitude, was raging, and the
snow lay heaped against the fences, or mweeping.down from the