xt7h1834217b https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7h1834217b/data/mets.xml Ellis, James Tandy, 1868-1943. 1923  books b92-198-30751533 English J.W. Burke, : Macon, Georgia : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Sycamore Bend  / by James Tandy Ellis. text Sycamore Bend  / by James Tandy Ellis. 1923 2002 true xt7h1834217b section xt7h1834217b 


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The famous Lecturer and Story-Teller of Ken-
  tucky. Author of Shaw o' Skarrow,
     Tang of the South, and many
       good character sketches








Copyrighted 1923
By James Tandy Ellis



                CHAPTER I.

T HE village lay basking under the gleaming
1sun of early June.  It was an orderly sort of
town, upholding a systematicl semblance, from the
outlay of its streets, to its resident portion. Old
Gustave Samuels originally owned the tract of
land, and "laid out" the town, with its broad
streets and alleys.
  The pride of the town and surrounding coun-
try, was the seminary, located upon the hill above
the village, this institution lending an atmosphere
of culture to the community. Otherwise, Syca-
more Bend was just a typical Kentucky village,
with all of the elements in keeping with a country
town. The business end of it was impregnated
with an essence of that easy-going, much-admired
motto, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow
we may die." The hitching racks were generally
filled up, the agricultural conditions in touch with
the town were marked by a prosperous element,



the farms coming up to a good standard, the sec-
tion of plenty good neighbors and a soil to back
all of it up. Here and there you found an old
mansion with an old-time country gentleman reign-
ing supreme over his domain.
  The farmer came to town for his mail, and to
get the news; to argue politics and religion, to
trade horses, and in this line of action, the Ken-
tucky farmer holds a special pride, for to get
"skinned" in a horse trade is some set back foir
the average farmer. In such a community the tel-
ephone and rural mail delivery would have been
a serious hindrance to the much-enjoyed diversion
of getting to town.
  On this afternoon in June there seemed to be
an unusual number of visitors in town. John
Fanton had taken over the agency for a new
brand of beer, and was exalting the delights of a
new drink known as brandy smash. From his bar-
room came occasional peals of laughter and of
song. Old Ben Thompson rode up and hitched
his horse to the rack and strode into the bar
and called for "red licker." There was a wait-
ing silence and an unspoken acquiescence to join
him in the libation, but old Ben deliberately tossed
off his tumbler-full, and without a word, walked




   Cris Jinkins rapped his knuckles on the counter
and remarked, "Ben Thompson hain't the man he
used to be, 'spesh'ly since he jined the church,
sunthin' has come over him to disorganize him."
   "No, sir," said Amos Tarkin, "there ain't no
change; he makes a specialty of hogs, an' he's,
plum fit fer the business. Lige Grayson went out
to see him one night; they was a quart of whiskey
on the mantel and old Ben never took notice of
it all the evenin'. Lige was in a huff when he left,
and old Ben meets him the next mornin' an' says,
'Lige, I'm afeered I hurt your feelin's last night.'
  "An' Lige says, 'you pintedly did.'
    'I'm rale sorry,' says Ben.
  "'If you air rale sorry,' says Lige, 'I'll come
over tonight and give you a chanst to do better,'
and over he went, but Ben brought out some
apples and cake, an' Lige got in a wusser huff, an'
forgot his over-shoes an' yeer-bobs, an' ole Ben
give 'em to his niggers to wear, an' that made Lige
  "I tell you, hogs is mighty like men."
  Old John Lightfoot came in at this juncture,
with a stranger. He introduced his friend to the
waiting throng. No invitations were extended,
but old John immediately launched forth into a
lamentation on the troubles of his life.




  "Yes, sir," he said to the stranger, "I'd be glad
to show you around here, and help you look at a
farm, but I haven't got no heart, nor hain't fitten
to 'sociate with anybody that's cheerful. Things
has gone to the bad at my place. My wife is,
broke down with the asthma, puny and about ready
to quit. My nephew who is visitin' me, tried to
jump the creek, and busted his ankle, and the leg
will probably have to come off. My gal, Emily,
was keepin' company with a young man, and he
lit out and married a woman over in Indiana. My
Texas land is croudin' me for taxes, an' I can't
give it away. My old farm here at home won't
raise blackberries nor hoss-weeds, the soil is gone,
but the wust part of it all is that I have busted
my big mercha'm pipe."
  "Let's all have a drink," said the stranger.
  There was an instant shuffling, and old John
"took her straight, with four fingers."
  "I'm sorry things are not going well with you,"
said the stranger.
  "Well, things might be worse," said old John,
as he wiped his mouth on his coat sleeve. '"My
wife comes from the best strain of these parts,-
she's got the grit, and what's a little asthma to a
woman that's got the grit I ain't never seen her
yet that she wasn't ready to pull her part. My




nephew has got too much of the Lightfoot speerit
in him to ever let 'em take off that leg, and as
for Emily, she's the same blood, and can handle
her own affairs. The old farm still makes us a
livin,' an' that Texas land might do better some
day, but I did hate to break that pipe."
  "Let's have another drink," said the stranger.
Lightfoot called for an old-fashioned toddy, in a
big glass. He put very little water and sugar in
it, but filled it to the brim with whiskey.
  "And things are still pretty bad"     The
stranger mildly observed.
  "Who said so" answered Lightfoot. "If any-
body says things are goin' wrong out my way, jest
send 'em around to me. There ain't a gamer, bet-
ter woman ever lived than my Agathy. WAhat's
a little asthma to her,-she jest laughs at it, and
it has give her time to take a little rest and read
and talk to me, but there ain't nothin' can slow-
foot her. She makes enough off of her chickens
and turkeys to pay all the taxes, and there ain't
no farm that's rated higher or better in this
section; you can throw up a handful of grass seed
in the air, and wherever it lights on that farm, it
will go to growin'. She hits that church door on
Sunday morning before they get it swept out, :nd
there ain't no dust on anything after her eye makes




a sweep; that old farm,-show me a better one.
I'm fust at market and fust on prices, there's plenty
of hog jowls and old hams in the smoke house, and
always plenty of friends to help eat 'em. My
gal. To toll you the truth, we run ithat onery'
cuss off the place; he didn't know how to make
a livin' an' kep' the house smellin' of cigarettes.
There was a crack in that mercha'm pipe, an' I
wouldn't give a good old seasoned corncob pipe
for all the mercha'ms in the world.
  " I tell you, you can't keep the blood down, and
that reminds me of when I went to the old
K. M. I.    "
  The crowd fell away, for they knew that when
old John began on his school days, it meant an
all night session.
  "Your wife is calling you, Mr. Lightfoot," said
the bar-keeper. Just across the street a woman
was seated in a buggy, a very pretty girl sat be-
side her, something in her smiling eyes and the
contour of her face making her almost beautiful.
  Old Lightfoot got in the buggy, and as they
drove away, his wife said, "And this was to be a
sober day."
  "Yes," said old John, "but there was a stranger
in town, and they put me on the committee to
entertain him, and you hain't never see me fail
yet in that line."




AS OLD Lightfoot went over to join his wife
he was followed out of the tavern by two
young men, Tom and Hugh Standon. They passed
in front of the buggy and gazed upon the young
girl who sat by her mother. She recognized them
and spoke pleasantly to them as her father drove
  "She's a beauty, Hugh," said the younger of
the brothers. "I took her home from the picnic
at Shuler's Grove last week, and I've been with
her a number of times, but she is timid and shy,
but there is something about her that keeps me
thinking about her."
  "Yes," said Hugh, "but would mother he
pleased  There is some difference according to her
social standard."
  "I know she is very much interested in the
church and Sunday school work," said Tom, "and
she is a credit to any community, and since she
came from school in Lexington, she has become a
most intereting girl. If you could hear her sing,
'The Last Rose of Summer' and Franz Abt's '0



Ye Tears,' you would wonder at her voice and its
cultivation. It is like a flute mingling with a deep-
toned harp, and there's something in the soul of
that girl that casts a spell over you."
   "Yes, but the father and the mother" said
Hugh. "Well" said Tom, "The old man is some-
thing of a blatherskite, but the mother is full of
good sense, originality and fine humor, and is as
warm-hearted and considerate as a woman could
be. She will bring them through, that girl will.
I am going out there Sunday."
  "Let's go back to the bar-room" said Hugh.
  "No, we've had enough; mother will be wait-
ing," said the younger brother.  They walkeds
slowly down through the avenue of old forest
trees,-the yard was almost a park within itself.
The house built after the style of colonial archi-
tecture, with its great white pillars of the front
porch, seemed to rest in stately dignity among the
trees. Pacing the front porch was a man of sixty-
eight or seventy years of age, swinging his cane
and humming the words of an old song. His
countenance bore the placid expression of luxuri-
ous ease and satisfaction with life.
  "Hello, Uncle Prentiss," said Tom.
  "Howdy, boys, dag-gone your skins; here I've
been waiting for that plug of 'Fruits and Flow-




ers' and thinking you would never come-gimme
that tobacco Hugh, befo' I larup you with this
  Hugh drew forth a long plug of black tobacco,
and Major Prentiss Houston opened his deer-
handle knife and cut off a generous chew.
  "Eh, boys, reminds me when I was in prison on
Johnson's Island. I got so hungry that I would
almost have eaten parsnips, and every night we
all laid out in our imaginations the most wonder-
ful bills o' fare, but I tell you, doing without
tobacco is the most terrible suffering of all. One
day a box came in for Scott Southern, and when
he opened it, he called us all up, and there laid a
big, sweet looking twist of yellow 'Pryor.' All
our eyes were on that twist, and Bud Carver said,
'I ain't been very strong on prayin', but I'm going
to ask a blessing on this meal.'-There's old
Mace calling us to supper. We've got the finest
'sparagras and new peas you ever saw, and a roast
from a young spring lamb, and if you boys will
lead the way, your old Uncle Prentiss will fol-
low." With mock ceremony he bowed low and
waved his hand toward the dining room.
  Upon the walls of the hallway were old fami-
ly portraits, representing several generations, and
old mahogany sofas and chairs at the end of the




hall. Leading from the hall to the upper rooms
was a wide stairway of the old colonial style, the
big door at the foot of the stairway leading into
the library, the best in that section.
  At the head of the table in the dining room,
sat Mrs. Standon, the mother of Tom and Hugh.
The father, a quiet, handsome man of seventy,
was carving the lamb. Major Prentiss sat next
to his sister, Mrs. Standon, and was gallantly
attentive to her every want. There was some-
thing wistful and calmly beautiful in the face
which lifted from its repose into smiling radiance
as her boys came in-her only children.   Old
Mace brought in the candles in the tall brass
holders, and after arranging them he took his
stand behind the chair of Mrs. Standon. Mace
could not even attempt to do anything unless it
was accompanied with the moststately dignity,
and, besides his attachment to the family as a
servant, he also sustained the more striking side-
vocation of a Baptist preacher. He did not have
any regular "call," but preached at random, or
"on the wing," as the saying goes.
  "Who is the stranger I noticed with old man
Lightfoot" asked Mr. Standon.
  "He is a man from Montana, who claims to be




an expert in mining, and says that he is part
owner of a copper mine out there. He has plenty
of money and fine clothes," said Hugh.
  "Yes, he has the clothes of a cheap gambler,"
said Mr. Standon, "and his swagger and his coun-
tenance show his stripe."
  "But," said Hugh, "he has letters of recom-
mendation from the very best men."
  "Did you read them" asked the father.
  "No, sir, but I saw them."
  "Possibly so; every faker who is alive to his
business, goes well-armed, but letters are easy to
get, and sometimes easier to forge but some let-
ters bear, in too strict a sense, possibly upon the
material recommendation. Jasper Williams asked
John Hatter for a letter of recommendation after
he had worked for John a month, and John merely
wrote, 'The bearer of this letter has worked for
me one month, and I am satisfied.' Jasper said
he couldn't understand why everybody laughed
when he showed them that letter. I would want
to keep an eye on your stranger. What did you
say his name was"
  "Sounds like molasses."




  A broad, irresistible smile overspread the fea-
tures of old Mace.
  Tom gave his mother his arm after the meal,
and she led him toward the piano. He beg',an;
plaving Schumann's "Traumerei."    There was
something he brought out from the keys that was
inexpressibly sweet; it was the soul of a musician;
the execution of an interpreter without the pro-
fessional standard.
  Hugh came over to the piano and joined In
with his flute. He swung the instrument gently
to his lips, and it seemed to breathe forth the
dreamy, drowsy tones with a tenderness that
brought back many happy memories to those who
lingered near.
  Tom and his brother left the music room, leav-
ing their father and mother and Major Prentiss.
  "I wish that Tom did not play the piano and
dabble in poetry," said Mr. Standon.
  "I cannot see that it is a fault," said the
mother, "the music has given me so many hours
of comfort, and the poets interpret our thoughts
for us in a language we cannot express. We are
all poets, to some extent. The poet sees the beau-
tiful in nature and hears strange music in the,




winds, God gives them a heart to vibrate and send
melodies into the world."
  "But they are not practical" said Mr. Standon.
  "You spake a parable," chimed in the Major.
  "There are enough for the practical things of
life," said the mother, "but what would'the busi-
ness and exacting conditions of constant applica-
tion to this life amount to without the outlying
strains of poetical song and cheer, of literature
and musical cultivation"
  "Exactly so,-you are right," said the Major.
  "There is no money in poetry," said Mr. Stan-
  "You called her hand that time !" said the
  "Probably not, but the true poetic life is a
realm of love,-free meditation,-his imagina-
tion gives him a constant hope."
  "Yes, for something to eat," said Mr. Standon.
  "Too true; too true," said the Major.
  "Do you recall what Bailey said in regard to
poetry" asked Mrs. Standon.   " 'Poetry is it-
self a thing of God, He made his prophets poets,
and the more we feel the poesy, the more do we
become like God in love and power.'
  "Splendid! Splendid !" said the Major.

1 7


18            SYCAMORE BEND

  "But," said Mr. Standon, "Plato said, 'Poets
utter great and wise things which they do not
themselves understand'."
  "Dod shot! if it ain't so!" said the Major.
  This brought the discussion to a close, but not
until the Major had incidently observed, "Poe-
try ain't a goin' to do much harm, at least if it
ain't on a comic valentine, like as the one I got."



W      HEFN John Lightfoot arrived home with
)Ahis wife and daughter, the wife wVis not in
a cheerful mood, for he had informed her that
the stranger, Molansing, was coming out to stay
a few days with them. "He has got the biggest
proposition you ever heard of, and if there was
ever a chance to get rich, it is before me now,"
said John.
  "Maybe, it won't look so big in the morning,"
quietly said his wife.
  The daughter, Emily, seemed to have but little
concern in the conversation; however, she glanced
toward her father when he said that "Molansing
was a single man and a gentleman."
  The mother and daughter busied themselves
with the supper as John filled up his pipe aind
went out to give some orders to his hired man.
  The farm consisted of three hundred acres,
running to the bend of the river. The fences and
out-houses were badly in need of repair, and the
land was needing grass and seed. From the out-
side, the old frame dwelling was unattractive, the.



paint wearing off and the shingles of the roof in
a condition of decay, but the yard bespoke a wo-
man's care, for old-fashioned flowers were scat-
tered here and there, and the inside of the house
displayed a rambling sort of comfort with the big
sitting room; the open fire-place with its hugd
stone mantel. Over one of the windows of the
upstairs rooms, the remnant of a shutter flapped
in the breeze, and the pillars of the porch front-
ing the river seemed to groan under the weight
which they supported. There were books on the
shelves in the sitting room, but they consisted
mostly of Congressional Reports, with a scatter-
ing set of Rollin's History of the World, which
old John had never read, but in the daughter's
room, which she had furnished with much dainty
care, were many good books, selected for her by
her teachers, and with these books she found
much companionship and pleasure. Over the
mantel in the sitting room, hung an enlarged
crayon of John's father. There was something
strange in the expression of the face, and the eyes,
somewhat sleepy in their repose, as shown in the
portrait, belied the expression of life, for under
the crayon hung a scabbard holding a bowie knife,
and that knife represented more than any treas-
ure to John, for at a barbecue at Sycamore Bend




years ago, old Dave Lightfoot had brought to
earth with that knife, a man who had called him
a liar, and in all of the succeeding years there was
never a word of regret from his lips, but after
his death the two families seemed to entirely for-
get the tragedy, so far as neighborly relations
were concerned.
   "I'm going to fix this old place up," said John.
"People have been making fun of my stock and
my way of farmin' long enough, and I intend to
give 'em a glimpse of high life I"
  "Fix up your own life first," said his wife.
  The next morning about ten o'clock, NIolan-
sing drove up. He had the best team of horses
from the town livery stable. A negro boy took
the horses as John welcomed the stranger to his
home. Molansing walked leisurely in, gazing
calmly upon everything about him. There was
an odor of perfumery upon his clothes, a suspicion
of pomatum on his hair, his long Prince Albert
coat of fawn color, hung with a sort of reckless
abandon over his stalwart form, the heavy black
silk cravat around his neck, giving him the touch
of the old-time western gambler.
  When Emily came in, clad in a soft white dress
with a red rose fastened upon its bosom folds,
Molansing's eyes flashed as he gazed upon her




innocent beauty, but when his glance met her own,
the eyes of the young girl met him with a steady
and searching gaze, but just for the moment.
  He looked her over, from her dainty feet to
the crown of her head covered with its glory of
golden russet hair. He made a mental survey of
her such as a horse fancier makes of a racer.
  "Emily, play 'The Brook' for Mr. NIolan-
sing," said old John. The keys of the old square
piano were yellow with age, but notwithstanding
this drawback, the young girl played many of the
old-time tunes, which her mother and father loved
so well.
  "Do you play 'Bonapart Crossin' the Alps'
asked Molansing.
  "No, but my mother used to play that,"
answered Emily.
  "Yes," said Mrs. Lightfoot, "I played some,
till my, fingers got crooked up from pouidin' but-
ter and swingin' skillets. I done a right smart
playin' with my right hand, but never could get
the left to trail right, but Lawse! when I get
right hungry for music, I feed the niggers up and
set 'em out in the moonlight, with Filmore Trig-
gor with his banjo, and get my fill !"
  John called on Molansing to ask the blessing
over the noon meal. He responded, but John




could not exactly make out what he had said.
After dinner John took him over the farm.
   Molansing noted the shabby horses and run-
down condition of the farm, but he knew beyond
that; he knew that Lightfoot had plenty of ready
money in the bank and was the holder of a good
many interests outside of his farm, and he knew
further that Emily was the only child, and repre-
sented something more than her own mere beauty.
   "I intend to work fast within the next few
days," he said to Lightfoot, "I only intend to let
a few in on this proposition; it matters littli
whether I sell or not here; the property and its
present development is sufficient for a twenty per
cent. dividend right now.  I am  really going
against the wishes of the directors in letting any
more of the stock go, and within the next ten days
I expect to be called in and the books closed."
  "That soon" said John.
  "Yes," said Molansing, "I'm tired of this part
of the game. I am making money fast at it, but
I have business interests of far more importance,
and were it not for the honesty and straight-
forwardness of my friends at the head of it, and
their purpose to distribute this stock in different
sections of the country, thereby securing influence
for other investments under consideration, I would




leave off at once. In fact, I am not a bit anxious
to sell another dollar's worth of it."
  "Well, go a little slow on that line," said John,
"from what you told me yesterday it's a power-
ful certainty, and I just want a little more powder.
I am goin' to take you over to see Emmett Dor-
rin, and if we could git him in, him and me would
have somethin' to talk about anyhow."
  "What sort of a man is he" asked Mo.lan-
  "He's all right," said John, "but maybe a leetle
keerless in handlin' the truth."
  They found Dorrin at the barn. He invited
them to the house and got out a decanter and
glasses. Lightfoot didn't wait for any ceremony,
but helped himself generously, and as he raised
his glass said "here's hopin'."
  He did not take his drink immediately, but
waited for the toast which he had heard Dorrin
deliver so many times. Dorrin had run across it
on a trip to New Orleans, and held it as his own
private property, and no one dared molest him
in this claim.
  Dorrin held out his glass and with his deep
voice exclaimed, -"Here's hopin' that the roses of
contentment may ever bloom in the garden of your



               SYCAMORE BEND                 25

  Molansing sat quietly, and with scholarly dig-
nity he said "I will say in the words of Dickens,
'Here's hopin' as you climb the hill of prosperity,
you may never meet a friend'."
  The point of the toast was lost on Dorrin and
Lightfoot, but Molansing lost none of the liquor.
  For the next hour Molansing poured into the
ears of Dorrin a golden, honied story of sudden
wealth; of affluence; of power and every comfort
and pleasure that wealth could buy. It was an
aureole of magic light that he suffused in that
old room. Lightfoot walked the floor, hanging
on the words and beaming in anticipation of the
next outflow of iridescent gas.
  At this point Dorrin groaned and rubbed his
leg. "It's the old rheumatic, John; I can't make
up my mind to take the treatment."
  "You'll have money enough to visit the great
watering places of Europe," said Molansing, "if
you follow me. The vein of copper through our
properties is about solid, with a little sprinkling
of iron; no slag to amount to anything, the speci-
fic gravity when cast shows about 8.78. We have
thousands of inquiries for this copper from tele-
graph companies who are wanting new wire coat-
tings, and the Government would take over our



full supply for various purposes, are you ready to
go in"
   "I might think it over after I take the treat-
ment," said Dorrin.
   "What treatment"
   "The bee treatment" said Dorrin.
   "What do you mean"
   "Old Manlius Derrick has got a speshul treat-
ment for rheumatic, an' a good many ov 'em
say it never fails, he says the sting of a bee will
cure it. Manlius claims that bees has got a lan-
guage of their own, and have generals and
officers jist like in the army. His lead bee is
named Pharoah, and he is some bee.
  "One day old Fanch Sprang cum a ridin' by
Derrick's, an' he was drunk, an' jist fur pure devil-
ment, he got down off'n his hoss and heaved a big
stone over into Derrick's hives. Pharoah was
settin' out sunnin' hisself and got a good look
at old Fanch. Pharoah had a stinger like a dirk
knife and Derrick selected him for the wust
cases, an' when he lit on anything, spesh'ly when
he wuz irritated, he left his mark.
  "Derrick charged one dollar a treatment for
rheumatiz, and he helt Pharoah back, givin' him
days off to get in trim. Old Fanch Sprang goti
wind of the new-fangled treatment, and seen old




men hoppin' by that had done throwed away their
crutches. His knee was fairly busted with the
rheumatiz, and one day he went over an' made a
engagement with Derrick for a treatment
  "Derrick gave Pharoah three days off to get him
in good shape. Old Fanch came in a jufiln' his
pipe an' sot down and rolled up his britches leg.
His knee looked like a peeled cotton-wood log.
  " 'Do you believe in this hyar thing Derrick'
he asked.
    'I don't believe in it,' said Derrick; 'I know
  "'Let her roll,' said Fanch.
  "Pharoah was brought in, an' recognized old
Fanch the minute he laid eyes on him, an' if you
ever see a bee look pizen, you see it then in Pha-
roah. He let out a sort of qucct flumnmrin twat
they ain't ever heered afore, he'd sputter a little,
an' then hum again, it wuz the war cry. He lit
kinder gentle-like on old Fanch's knee, then kinder
humped hisself an' strotch his leg and let drive.
  " 'Helferloogins,' yelled old Fanch.
  "Pharoah was still hummin,' an' about that
time sumthin' seemed to darken the room, an'
afore Derrick could get Pharoah back, a thousand
bees wuz in that room. Nary a one touched Der-
rick, but they climbed on old Fanch. Old Fanch's




yeller mare was hitched to the fence, an' she
busted and tore out a panel o' fence an' went
through the red rambler vines an' went down the
road with a wreath of roses about her neck. They
was havoc and desolation in Derrick's room. Ever'
piece of furnitur' was busted, an' the old family
clock that stood in the corner, was split into kind-
lin' wood. Ever' bee had his order an' old Pha-
roah settin' on the bed-post givmn' commands.
  "Well, it's too sorrowful to relate."
  "Did the stings cure his rheumatiz" asked
  "They never heered no more complaint frum
him," said Dorrin.
  "Then it must have cured him for keeps."
  "It did; they drug him out dead !"
  "Well, what do you say about going in with
us on the proposition I have made you" said,
M olansing.
  Dorrin smiled, and looking Molansing squarely
in the eye, said:
  "I never fish where I can't see my cork!"




W     HEN Lightfoot and Molansing returned
Vkhome, Molansing seemed to be in a very
disgruntled mood. Dorrin had thrown cold water
over his enthusiastic ebullition and Lightfoot did
not appear as much interested as formerly. They
entered the sitting room and found Emily seated
near the window, with a very handsome looking
young man near her side. He arose and bowed
with old-fashioned grace and courtesy, but gavc
a rather cool recognition of Molansing. It was
Tom Standon, and there was something about his
erect figure, the white forehead, the open and[
frank blue eyes which bespoke a long line of
gentility, and was in striking contrast to the man
who stood opposite him. There was upon his
countenance the freshness of youth and the un-
mistakable light of intellect.
  After a few minutes conversation, Tom and
Emily arose and leaving the house, took the path
which led to the river.
  "What's his business" asked Molansing.



  "He is studying law, and getting ready to go
away to law school," said Lightfoot.
  "He looks like a bunch of nothing to me," said
  "It would be bestfor you not to let him hear
you say that," said Lightfoot. "I take no partic-
ular stock in him but I know the blood."
  "He is a drunkard and a loafer," said Molan-
  "Mebbe so; mebbe so," said old John.
  Tom and Emily went down to the river to the
boat landing. Emily took her seat in the rear end
of one of the boats, and Tom began to row up
  "We'll run up to the mouth of the creek and
see what Lon Scudder is doing in the fishing line.
How does your father take to Molansing" he
  "He seems to be very much wrapped up in
him, and his proposition in regard to some cop-
per mine," said Emily, "but mother is very much
opposed to it and does not admire the man."
  "Does he intend to stay with you"
  "That I do not know."
  The pussy-willows were hanging in simple beau-
ty about and overlapping the stream, and the tall
sycamores seemed to stand out as silent sentinels




on the shore. The bloom of the hawv tree was
fading, but the moth-mullen with its flowers of
yellow and white, was dancing in the light breeze.
The river seemed as a great mirror under the
golden sun as they went along, and the day was
joyous in its quiet beauty and charm, for love was
there, lingering near two hearts, only waiting in
the mystic silence but conscious of its presence.
  Scudder's shanty boat was at the mouth of the
creek, and Scudder, in a ragged old suit was draNN-
ing a big cat-fish on the shore.
  "Come over," he called, and Tom landed the
boat nearby, and gave;Emily his hand, and some-
thing in the touch of her soft fingers sent a thrill
into his heart. His gaze met her own as she step-
ped upon the shore, and a current, such as some in-
definable power runs out, passed rapidly then and
  "I've been up nearly all night," said Scudder, "I
run out of craw-fish yesterday, and had to bait
with liver, and it takes a mighty stupid fish to
bite at old liver, but this one fell for it. It's fun-
ny to me how some fish will bite at certain kinds
of bait, and others go 'round it, but I reckon
there's fish sense as well as human sense. I got
kethed the same way.    A woman at Ironton
helt out the bait to me. She was a good cook and




a good looker and made the best fried apple pies
I ever saw. She got me fed up and then went a
fishin' fer me right. I bit, and she landed me high
and dry fer I took line, hook and sinker, and when
she got my little house and the money I had in the
bank, she lit out, and I took to the river."
  "Did you love her" asked Emily.
  "Love her There ain't no such thing. You
git your mind in a stew, thinkin' that what ain't
real. Did you ever see a purty doll, one of them
sort all dressed and painted up, and did you ever
pull it apart and find the saw dust and cheap fil-
lin' That's love. She went off with a show man
but they say she faded out in health. No I love
that dog down there better than human love. He
knows I am his friend; he talks to me in his looks.
If women couldn't talk maybe we'd get along with
'em better."
  "Don't you think kindness breeds affection and
love" said Emily.
  "With some people and some animals, but a
good board split over both of them sometimes
would go a long ways toward simmerin' them'
down. "
  "But we must learn to bear with one anot