xt7mw6693m88 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7mw6693m88/data/mets.xml McConnell, Walter Caruth, 1870- 1912  books b92-137-29328823 English Cosmopolitan Press, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Nightridersm feud / by Walter C. McConnell. text Nightridersm feud / by Walter C. McConnell. 1912 2002 true xt7mw6693m88 section xt7mw6693m88 


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The Nightriders' Feud


         NEW YORK


   Copyright, 1912, by



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The Nightriders' Feud

                 CHAPTER I

  John Redmond, the second, had just completed
his education in a New York college, having been
graduated with high honors, and was therefore
prepared to go out into the world and set it on
fire with his brilliancy. But the call of the great
business world was strangely superseded by the
"call of the wild," which had long since taken
firm hold upon his young heart. Since his earli-
est recollections his soul had longed to go out
into the wild Western country, and he was now
fully determined to appease his adventurous ap-
petite amid the great wild mountains of the West.
  Thoughts concerning his future flitted fast
through his study-ladened brain as the train sped
on toward his home. Yes, he would go to the
mountains and seek gold or coal where others, with
less ability to find, had passed over the immense
wealth which must surely lie hid deep beneath



the great earthen mounds.    This wealth, he
thought, had been placed there by the Maker of
the mighty earth, that his great skill as an engi-
neer might be made known to the world. It
was there for his own pleasure; it had not been
intended that others should make the discovery.
His training would enable him to make discov-
eries which others had not been skillful enough
to make. The life would be just to his liking,
and would fill a long-felt desire to invade the
bowels of the hitherto uninvaded depths of rocky
earth. It. was not his intention to delay one mo-
ment; he would go at once.
  The train sped on, and he reached his home ill
good time. There he was greeted with the sad
news that his uncle, John Redmond, for whom he
was named, had been slain by murderous Night-
riders over in the valley of Kentucky.   His
tobacco crop had been utterly destroyed, his
barns and out-houses devastated, his home burned
to the earth, and as he was fleeing from the burn-
ing building, in an effort to save himself from a
torturous death, he had been shot down in his
tracks like a dog, a forty-four Winchester bullet
tearing his heart to pieces.
  What more would man need to set his soul on
fire What more would he need to raise his ire
to the verge of distraction



  John Redmond, the second, stood with bowed
head, listening to the terrible outrage; his South-
ern blood warmed to the boiling point. His heart
beat fast, his teeth came together with a shari)
noise, and his fists were tightly clenched. Re-
venge burned within him, his soul felt that the
foul deed called for vengeance. In a twinkling
his plans were changed. His adventurous spirit
told him that his life's work had been found, that
he must hie him, to the country where his uncle
had met such a hasty and untimely death; that
he must seek out those who had murdered him and
revenge the cold deed.
  John Redmond had hardly known this uncle,
having seen him only one time, but he was a kins-
man, the saine blood ran through their veins, their
forefathers were the same, and he would be
speedilv avenged.
  The younger Redmond sent agents into Keni-
tucky to purchase land, and in a little while all
preparations for a hasty departure had been made.
The cabin purchased needed repair, but that would
be done with his own hands. He would have
plenty of time for all such work.
  His intention was to go over and raise tobacco
in direct opposition to the great association of
good farmers. Let them do what they would, he
would show them that he was a man of his own




notions, and no set of men could run him, much
less a body of uneducated "galoots."
  Next you see of John Redmond he is crossing
the country by wagon train. Slowly his caravan
moves, finally reaching the place purchased for
the future home of this man of strong desires
and peculiar aims. The belongings were unloaded,
and those who assisted him in the move bade him
a successful ending and returned to civilization.
While John Redmond, who introduced himself
to this new country as "Jack Wade," was making
preparations for a comfortable living, the eyes of
the surrounding community were cast upon him.
Slowly and untiringly he labored for a few weeks,
getting everything in comfortable condition, seek-
ing the assistance of the few loafing farmers, until
matters were fairly arranged and everything fixed
up comfortably for bachelor quarters.
  If one should have been standing on the hill at
a time very near sunset one afternoon, he could
have seen Jack Wade, the graduate engineer,
standing at the bars or gate leading from his horse-
lot to a plot of ground used as a pasture for his
one cow and one horse. He no longer has the
appearance of a soft-skinned school-boy, but
rather is dark and ruddy, the warm Kentucky sun
having changed his complexion. He has on a blue
shirt, soft, with collar attached, high-top boots,



into the legs of which his corduroy pantaloons are
stuffed, in the style of a true Westerner. He has
one foot resting upon the lower wire while his
arms fell loosely across the top wire. He is sur-
veying with his keen dark eye the surrounding
country, not having had time heretofore to look
about him.
  Over yonder, about one mile to the south of
him, is a farmhouse; over to his right, and a little
to the northwest, is another cabin. Behind him
looms up the huge mountain, amid whose rugged
rocks and green shrubbery much of his time will
be spent. He turns and looks toward the moun-
tain; there he sees another cabin, or small house.
It is the home of a tobacco planter, who has one
son and an only daughter.
  Nora Judson has many times looked longingly
down the dusty road toward the cabin of the new-
comer and wondered what he was like. Her
scheming brain found a way by which she could
  Twilight's shadows are drawing the day to a
close. Down the cow-trodden road can be seen
an old brindle cow, coming leisurely, switching
her tail from one side to the other, nibbling the
sweet tufts of grass along the side of the trail.
On she comes, until she passes the watcher and
goes out into the woodland just beyond.




  Wade watched the cow uintil she was out of
sight, then he sighed.
   "It's going to be a fearful job," he said men-
tally, "but the thing shall be done. Not one of
them shall be left if God spares me long enough
to take them away."
  As the last words left his mind he glanced
heavenward, as if to implore the Almighty to aid
him in a work which he honestly thought was for
the good of humanity at large and for God Him-
self. He was honestly convinced that he was on an
errand of great mercy, and the world would be
made better and humanity live more peaceably
among themselves, and more godly by the fulfill-
ment of his plans.
  "Not one," he repeated, "not one shall be left to
molest the peace of the innocent ones in this great
valley,"-he swept his hand about him tragic-
ally,-"in this wonderful valley."
  He sighed again. The gloom of a departing
day was gathering about him. The lonesomeness
of a twilight in the valley was making a deep
impression upon his young life and he was begin-
ning to long for companionship.
  The monotony of the hour was broken by the
faint sound of a female voice coming from toward
the mountain, calling, "Soo-cow, soo-oow, sook-
sook !" The call came vibrating down through the



valley to his listening ears. Jack Wade's heart
gave one joyful bound because a human being, and
that a girl, was near. Nearer and nearer came
the call, until through the gathering darkness
could be seen the form of a valley maid. Soon she
hove into full view just up the road. On she came,
calling the cow, until she stood directly opposite
   Apparently she had not before noticed hint
standing beside the fence.
  "Good-evening," said Wade pleasanitly.  A
lovely flush covered her dark face.
  "Howdy " she replied.   Then  falteringly,
"Seen anything of a old brindle cow down this
away "
  "Ye," said Wade. "She's just yonder in the
woodland grazing leisurely. I'll go fetch her for
  "Ye needn't be so kind," said the girl. "I kin
git her myself. Much obleeged."
  She started on, unmindful of his grateful glance,
after the cow.
  "I'll go with you, if you don't mind," he said,
"and show you where to find her."
  She didn't mind, so Wade bolted, in athletic
style, over the fence and joined her.
  Old Peter Judson's daughter was a very beauti
fil girl. Saek looked into her face,-he had noth-




ing else to do just now,-and wondered how it
was possible that she could be so pretty. Though
born and reared in the valley, and having known
nothing of the outside world, she was fearless in
speech and manner. Her form was indeed very
fine for one who had not the opportunities to
gather grace, her voice was musically soft and
sweet, her face was delicately fair. She looked up
into Wade's eyes with an expression of earnest-
ness that was almost an appeal.
  "Ye are the newcomers ain't ye" she asked,
  "I've not been here a great many days," he
replied thoughtfully.
  "Have ye come to stay I" she asked.
  The question was very direct, but Wade felt
no uneasiness in replying truthfully. He had
come to stay so long as everything was pleasant
for him, otherwise he might pull up "stakes" and
leave when he thought the time was ripe.
  Her next question was even more direct. She
stood for one moment, surveying Wade casually.
  "Have ye come to raise terbacker " she asked.
  "No," he replied, "I shall raise tobacco but in
small quantities, merely as a pastime. I am
here especially on account of my health."
  She surveyed him again, her large dark eyes
going over him from head to feet.



  "Ye don't look unhealthy."
  She was quite right, He did not look unhealthy.
His large athletic frame was not physically dis-
  "No " he questioned. "Well, I'm not quite
  He laughed and so did she laugh, her silvery
voice ringing out through the fast gathering dark-
  "There is your brindle cow," he said, pointing
to the creature which stood with neck bent, look-
ing back at the two approaching figures.
  "Thank ye for bein' so kind," she said, look-
ing up at him with a grateful expression upon her
countenance. Picking up a short piece of broken
tree limb she went round the cow, crying "Hooey-
hooey !" and striking her about the flanks. The cow,
fully understanding what was wanted of her,
started back up the road toward home, while the
girl appeared to pay no further heed to Wade's
presence, feeling that he had done his full duty in
locating the cow. However, the latter followed
her out of the woods, both of them trailing along
slowly and silently behind the cow.
  "I'm going to help you to get the runaway
home," said Wade, smiling.
  "Ye needn't," she exclaimed; "I know the road
all right," a little sarcastically.




  "But I also want to learn it," he replied, not
in the least rebuffed.
  "Ye might be losin' time for me, an' I don't
want ye to do that," tenderly.
  "I'd rather lose time assisting you than do any-
thing else at this moment."
  "Oh !" she exclaimed, "ef ye want to learn
the road, come on."
    Her face flushed. She felt it, but Wade
could not penetrate the twilight sufficiently to
discern the crimson coloring.
  "I do want to," he said, "and I wish I had
such a companion to show me the way over the
mountain and through the entire country."
  Unheeding this remark, she said, "Hit's a little
lonely, livin' alone, hain't it"
  "It is while I am not very well acquainted with
my neighbors, but I shall become better acquainted
soon.  One cannot expect to be greatly elated
at once, or happy altogether, until he knows his
neighbors well."
  "Nice folks 'round here," she replied. "Once
you git to know them you are sure to like them."
  There came a moment of silence.
  "Do you live in the house toward the moun-
tain " asked Wade.
  "That's Dad's house. I live there-have lived
there for many years."



  "You are very fond of the hills and ravines, I
presume "
  "An' the brooks.  They are the only com-
panions I have ever known, except my brother,
an' he's been in the saddle ever since I was old
enough to have companions, or remember any-
thing. They are my friends,-the cow and the
dog, the chickens an' the geese, the ducks an' the
turkeys, an' even the grunting pigs, are the only
friends I have ever known."
  "What a terribly lonesome life that seems to
have been."
  "Not to me; it has been a happy one."
  "Pardon me, I should not have spoken that
  "Hit don't make any difference how you speak,"
she said independently. "We are used to every-
thing here."
  "Who lives yonder to the south of us" asked
Wade, pointing in the direction indicated.
  "Jim Thompson. He's a terbacker raiser, too."
  "And who to the west yonder "
  "Oh, that's the place where old John Redmond
lived. It's not used now."
  There was a tinge of sorrow in the girl's voice
as she spoke.
  "What became of old John Redmond" asked
Wade, his own voice quivering.




  "Don't ye know, hain't ye heerd"
  "Haven't heard anything yet; haven't been here
long enough to learn much."
  This untruth brought a flush over Jack Wade's
face, but it was not seen by the girl, the darkness
being too deep.
  "He was killed by the Nightriders," she said,
choking; "shot to death when his home was
  "So that's the course pursued with a fellow
here, is it " Wade's lips curled scornfully.
  "Sometimes, an' sometimes they don't. It's
accordin' to what the other feller is about."
  "What has a fellow to do to bring about such an
end as that served out to old John Redmond "
  "Nuthin'. Old John didn't do nuthin'; that's
what the trouble was."
  "Who are the Nightriders " asked Wade, after
a moment's thought.
  "Say, stranger," said the girl at this juncture,
and evasively, "here's my home, an' ye better git
now. Ef Dad ketches ye here he mou't do to ye
like them fellers done old John Redmond, so I
says much obleege fer helpin' me fetch the old
brindle cow home."
  -Ill help you any time I can," he said.
  "Thank ye," she held out her band shyly. Jack


       THE NIGHTRIDERS' FEUD              19

Wade held it in his own, pressing it tenderly,
until she pulled it away from him.
  "Good-by," she said softly.
  "Good-by," he returned, and then turned to
face the lonesome gloom.



  As Jack Wade faced about to return to his
own cabin he saw a lone horseman coming up the
road toward him, riding very rapidly, which was
a custom in the country. No one ever rode slowly.
  Remembering the girl's remarks of warning,
he concluded it the height of wisdom to be seen
as little as possible lurking around the vicinity,
as he was in the community for an avowed pur-
pose and he must be very cautious in order to
fulfill his mission. He therefore stepped back
into the shadow of a friendly bush and allowed
the horseman to gallop by without discovering
him. He turned and watched the rider, until
he entered the gate through which the girl had
driven the cow a few moments before. A sudden
impulse seized him to creep back under the shadow
of the trees and learn what he might from the
conversation which he could now hear but faintly.
This being a very dangerous proceeding, his mind
was changed. He did not feel that he was thor-
oughly enough acquainted with the surroundings
nor the people and their customs, and would take
no chances until he should know more clearly



what he was about-until he became more accus-
tomed to everything and everybody.
  The horseman he had seen was none other than
Tom Judson, brother of the girl he had assisted
in locating the cow.  Tomr rode into the lot,
jumped from his horse in true Western style,
threw the reins of his bridle over the saddle-horn,
rapped the horse over the hips with his gloves,
and walked on behind him to the barn. Nora
was now milking the old brindle cow, and her
father was inside the barn putting feed into the
trough for the stock.
  "Peers ye air mighty late git'n' yer milcin'
done," said Tom. "What's ther matter of ye"
  He tapped the girl upon the head with the
finger end of his glove, and he tapped her again
because she made no immediate reply.
  "Reckon I hain't no later git'n' hit done than
ye are a gitn' home, seein' as how I'm most done
now," she replied.
  "Milkin' a cow hain't nuthin' like takin' a day
fer to ride over the country a givin' warnin's."
  "What ye warnin' 'bout now, Tom " she asked,
with much interest.
  "Go 'long, gal. Ye ain't been raised in this
country fer nothin'! Ye know what I've been
warnin' 'bout well 'nough, 'thout axin' me. They's
a-goin' ter be hell raised in this country to-night.




That's what I've been warnin' 'bout. Now do ye
know, durn ye!"
  "I reckon I do. Who's a-goin' ter git. it this
time I"
  "Aw, ye want to know too much all to once.
Jest wait 'til ye see ther blaze 'long erbout mid-
night, an' ye'll know all ye want to know."
  "I mout be asleep then." Nora spoke feelingly.
She desired to know more, but hesitated to ask
direct questions.
  "Yes," said Tom, "I reckon ve will be asleep
when ye think somethin's a-goin' to be a-doin'.
Them durn big black eyes of yourn'll see every-
thing in the whole blame valley afore mornin'.
Ye kin see plum through ther mountain when ye
want to, an' they'll be a plenty fer you ter see
to-night, an' ther newcomer !" Tom stopped
suddenly and Nora looked hastily up, inquiringly,
hoping to hear him finish the sentence, but he
spoke never another word.
  "What's hit about ther newcomer, Tom" she
asked after a moment's hesitation.
  "Nuthin'. What'd ye keer if hit was any-
thing about him "
  "I don't; but ye was about ter say somethin'
about him. That's why I axed ye. I don't keer
nothin' about him no mor'n anybody else." Nora
did have some anxiety about his safety, however,



but she did not wish to show this to Tom. She
knew her brother's failing.
  "well," said Tom slowly, "seein' as how ye
don't keer, I was a-goin' ter say that he'd git his
fill of peekin' 'round here afore he's many days
older, d'ye hear me"
  Nora did hear, and felt a pang peculiarly new
to her pass over her heart.. Having now finished
inilking the old brindle oow, she raised up, gave
her a kick on the legs, and poured the milk into
a larger pail conveniently near. For one moment
she studied the features of her brother, then spoke
to him tenderly.
  "Now, Tom," she said, "what has ther new-
comer done that ye've got it in fer him "
  "Nuthin'," sullenly. "Nuthin' 'tall. Thought
ye didn't keer so much 'bout him "
  "I don't."
  "Then ye air mighty interested in somnethin'
down that away. What inade ye ax me that fer "
  "Aw, go 'long, will ye Ef ye don't know
nuthin', keep yer lips buttoned; ef ye know some-
thin', tell it, an' don't be so tight with yer
  "Ye air sassy, sis. Well, they hain't nuthin'
ther matter with him, but he acts like he mout
do somethin' ef he hain't checked fust. Ef he
opens his mouth too much 'round here ye know




good an' well what mout happen ter him putty
quick, don't ye"
  Tom gave Nora a slap in the face and followed
on after his horse.
  Old Peter Judson came out of the barn and,
upon seeing Tom, asked if he had given the warn-
ing to everybody. He had, he said, "and what's
more, everybody'd be thar."
  Nora took up her milk pails and hurried into
the house, where she found her mother busily
engaged in getting supper on the table. After
straining the milk and putting it away in its
accustomed place, she assisted her mother in the
  Silence prevailed within her soul. Not a word
escaped her lips as she busied herself over the
meal. Somehow she felt a strange foreboding.
Her heart was full of thought for the safety of
the newcomer, in whom she felt a peculiar interest.
  He, not at all like other men she had known,
had spoken kind words to her, and they touched
a tender spot in her heart. He had assisted her
to find the old brindle cow and had helped to
drive her home. What was it that attracted this
wild flower of the mountain to this man  And
what was it that caused the unhappy throb when
Tom remarked concerning him These remarks



were anything but reassuring. She worked on
amid her soliloquy.
  Mrs. Judson could not refrain from remarking
the contrast between this thoughtful girl and her
own Nora.
  "Ye air mighty quiet, Nora," she said, her
face drawn up gingerly. "What's ther matter of
ye, that yer tongue hain't a-waggin' as usual"
  Nora stood for one moment thoughtfully pon-
dering, while she deftly dried, for the third time,
the saucer which she held in her hand, then throw-
ing the dish towel over her shoulder, she faced
her mother.
  "Cain't a feller be quiet 'thout somebody
a-thinkin' somethin's wrong"
  She was smiling deeply, the dimples in her
cheeks showing beautifully.
  "Not 'round this hyar kintry," replied Mrs.
Judson. "Ye know yerself that when everythings
quiet like 'round this hill somethin's 'bout ter
happen. Now what does ail ve What is ther
matter with yer"
  "Tom says theys a-gei' ter be doin's 'round
here to-night," replied Nora, "an' I reckon he
knows, ef anybody does."
  Mrs. Judson now assumed an air of utter silence.
She knew full well that her daughter spoke the



truth, that when Tom said that something was
likely to happen about the valley it usually did
happen, and very soon thereafter.
   Tom and his father came into supper and ate
quietly, while the women served them, this being
the custom in this country. The fact that they
were non-communicative now    was because no
doubt they had said, before entering the room, all
that was necessary concerning the plans for the
night. Nora remained in silence, ate her meal
and cleared away the dishes, still holding the
silence.  She gazed up at the twinkling stars
dancing in the heavens, at the great moon shin-
ing brightly, sending darting rays through the
foliage of the large trees overhanging the cabin.
A silvery mist hung over the mountain and flitted
through the valley, the while the stars smiled down
on the troubled earth. Troubled Yes, all man-
kind is troubled down the valley. Over all the
deep blue of the heavens dropped a shining sheen
to cover the already beautiful landscape. From
afar over the mountain the voice of the night-bird
came gliding through the mist, the "hoot" of the
night owl sounded a note of warning, the sleep-
less animals of darkness pealed forth their notes
of joy as they gamboled over the green mountain-
side, and down, far down in the depths of the rich
valley, the cow-bell tinkled as the cow nibbled the



sweet green grass. None of these had thoughts of
fear, none of these discerned the great danger to
humanity, none of these felt the deep heart throbs
that beat in the breast of humanity.
  It is growing late, but Nora Judson did not
retire at her usual hour.  She dared not, lest
she sbould lose the sight that had greeted her on
many similar occasions. However, she should
not fail in one duty, her evening prayer. This
had been a lifelong duty, taught her early. Even
in the roughest and most rugged parts of this
great universe the children are taught that God
liveth and reigneth. Somehow God gets into the
most seemingly forsaken communities in the remot-
est corners of the earth, and lets it be known
that He is the Almighty. He assumes power
everywhere. The child of the wildest region learns
some form of prayer. Mrs. Judson had taught
Nora in her earliest days to say "Now I lay me
down to sleep," but knowing that she was not
going to sleep this night Nora said to herself,
"What shall I do what shall I do fer I hain't
a-goin' to lay me down ter sleep this night. I
hain't. 0 Lord, what shall I say "
  Strange as it may seem, it had never occurred
to her that any form of speech other than she had
been taught would be a prayer, therefore she was
utterly lost to know how to proceed. She looked




wonderingly heavenward as if to catch inspira-
tion. Then it was that the thought was aroused
within her, the thought that she should pray for
others. Her pure young heart had found a way
to speak to God, so she bowed her head and clasped
her hands and said tenderly, "0 God,"-he hesi-
tated as if gathering thought for expression,-"kin
Ye keep a secret Ef Ye kin, don't tell anybody
how the old brindle cow got under the wire. Don't,
fer goodness' sake, 'cause ef ye do, hit mout git him
into trouble. 0 God, he is so nice. Them han'-
some eyes of his'n is a-hauntin' of me yet, an' he
was so good ter help me find old brindle an' drive
her home. I was askeered to come up ther road by
myself, but I didn't want to let on to him like as ef
I was, 'cause he mout a-thought I was weak, an'
he was so good an' spoke so tenderly an' kind-like.
  "No man hain't never spoke to me that away
afore, not even Al Thompson; but I 'spect I don't
keer nuthin' 'bout Al, an' maybe I never did; an'
he said he was here for his health an' would raise
ter-he said to-bac-co. He knows, an' that must
be right. 0 God, I hope Ye didn't let Tom see
him as he was a-goin' back ter his shanty, 'cause
ef ye did, hit mout bring on more trouble fer him,
an' I know Ye don't want him to get into trouble.
Tom's a good boy an' don't mean anybody harm,



  Nora stopped and leaned forward, straining
her ears to catch the weird sound. From toward
the mountain there came the clattering of many
horses' feet as they fell heavily upon the rocky
hillside. On they came. Nearer and nearer,
louder and louder, the clattering sound grew.
Everv strike of a hoof upon the rocky way was
like a needle driven into her breast over her heart.
With few words she cut her prayer short. Look-
ing heavenward she muttered imploringly, "Save
him, an' let old brindle git out again sometime."
  She stepped over to her one lonely, paneless
window, pulled the latch string, shoved the wooden
panel aside and, peering out into the gloom, lis-
tened with heavy beating heart to the clatter of
the horses' feet as they drew nearer. Heretofore
this same sound had been as sweet music in her
ears. She had grown up in the midst of it, and
her heart bounded with great pleasure whenever
she heard such a sound; but now it was different,
somehow she did not enjoy it. The many horse-
men drew nearer, until she could see themi bound-
ing rapidly down the mountain road.
  Outside she saw two lone horsemen in saddles,
standing by the gate, as immovable as statues.
Silently they sat, neither horse nor rider moving,
not a sound escaping their lips. The mighty
throng of horsemen were now passing directly iD




front, and the two silent watchers of the night
quickly joined the mad race. Not a word es-
caped any of them until they were nearing Jack
Wade's cabin. Then one fellow leaned over and
whispered, through his heavy dark headgear, to
his companion nearest him, "Wonder if he'll
fall in, too " There was no reply. Perhaps one
was not expected.
  On they flew, black demons of darkness, de-
structive vultures of freedom, cutting the wind
as if they had been a two-edged sword; slashing
the mist with their foaming steeds, dark steeds,
as dark as the starless night; enshrouded in caps
as dark as the cloud-covered moon, speaking never
a word, but groaning destruction deep down in
their revengeful souls.
  Jack Wade was awakened from a peaceful slum-
ber by the thundrous tramp of the horses' heavy
feet as they galloped swiftly by. He rose stupidly
and went out, but as be looked, saw nothing, yet
it seemed to him that the very atmosphere of the
valley was alive with fantastic dancers.  The
weird spectacle grew before his sleep-ladened eyes,
until the devils of hell seemed encrouched about
him. Evidently they were bent on tearing his
heart asunder, for there they were preparing to
spring upon him.
  "Begone, ye devils !"



  The beat of the horses' feet falling upon the
softer ground grew fainter and fainter, until
the sound could be heard no more. Wade sat in
his doorway pondering and wondering over the
strangeness of the people among whom he had
taken up his abode. He knew that the noise which
woke him had been made by the tramping of many
horses, but knew not whither they were bound,
nor what their errand. He sat for a long time
looking down through the lowlands, dreaming,
pondering. Ever the great dark eyes of the valley
girl danced in the moonlight space before him.
Her soft stare, tender hands, and innocent expres-
sion haunted him. Out in the deep distance a
dog was baying. The horsemen had no doubt
awakened him as they had awakened Wade, and
he was entering his protest in loud and continuous
bays. Behind him a rooster was crowing the mid-
night hour, his own wall clock tolling the same
hour. Overhead the moon was shining brightly,
sending her silvery rays to greet all the earth.
  Suddenlv there arose over the valley the shout
of many voices, mingled with the baying of as
many dogs, then the midnight air was rent in
twain by the vibrations caused from the firing
of pistols and rifles.
  "What now " thought the ponderer. "Ye gods!
this is a fearful condition."




  Some two miles away a faint red light grew
up out of the mist. Wade strained his eyes in
an effort to discern more clearly the cause. The
light grew until the watcher could clearly discern
the flickering blaze as it leaped high into the
heavens, apparently bent on devouring the very
stars that gave light to the darkened earth. Still
the blaze grew, sending forth sparks like great
balloons of fire. Over a little way beyond another
light sprang up to greet the straining eyes of the
watcher, and also grew in brightness, until the
whole landscape for miles over the valley was one
bright sea of flame. The sight was too much for
Wade; he could not sit longer and watch it from
such a great distance. Hastily saddling his horse
he rode toward the conflagration, having two speci-
fic objects in view. One, and the lesser, to wit-
ness the great conflagration; the other, to learn
something of interest to himself.
  The road over which he was traveling was so
entirely new to him that he found it quite diffi-
cult to make any speed, therefore he resigned him-
self to a jog-trot, picking his way over ravines
and around low growing shrubs, sometimes emerg-
ing out into the open and traveling beneath the
large forest trees. He often wondered how it was
possible for the horsemen who had gone on ahead
of him to have kept up such a terrible speed on



such a road. They knew the earth beneath their
horses' feet, every inch of it, and feared not,
he concluded. Their horses were fully acquainted
with the rough way, and hesitated not. How
friendly the light of the waning moon appeared to
that lonely traveler in that silent dark region!
How beautifully shone the little friendly stars,
those small heavenly bodies, from their homes in
the clear blue sky! One does not realize the full
value of the moonlight until one has real neces-
sity for it, then its great value is known-indeed
no value can be placed upon it then.
  No light now came from the conflagration be
was desiring to witness, but there would be, as