xt7v9s1khr3c https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7v9s1khr3c/data/mets.xml Fox, John, 1863-1919. 1913  books b92-130-29191765 English C. Scribner's Sons, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Heart of the hills  / by John Fox, Jr. ; illustrated by F.C. Yohn. text Heart of the hills  / by John Fox, Jr. ; illustrated by F.C. Yohn. 1913 2002 true xt7v9s1khr3c section xt7v9s1khr3c 



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" Ef anything happens "--he paused, and the girl nodded her
  understanding-" you an' me air goin' to stay hyeh in the
  mountains an' git married "



Heart of the Hills


Illustrated by F. C. Yohn

NE'W YORK .:::: .::::::: 1913


  COPYRIGHT, 1912, 1913, By

    Publisbed Marc, 1913






June 28, 1912.

 This page in the original text is blank.



"Ef anything happens"-he paused and the girl nodded
    her understanding-"you an' me air goin' to stay
    hyeh in the mountains an' git married"  . Frontispiece
"Hit ain't no use, Mavis," he said; "the law's agin us an'
   we got to wait" . . . . . . . . . . . .         62

"I want you to promise me not-not to shoot anybody " I z6

I want to know just what to do with that land o' mine.
    I ain't forgot what you told me " . . . . . . I84

There was the jostling of bodies, rushing of feet, and
    crowding of cursing men to the common centre of
    excitement...   .  . .  . .  . .  . .  .    . 242

"You hain't goin' to give the boy up, Jason" . . . 262

Mavis on a pillion behind in laughing acceptance of the
    old pioneer custom. . . . . . . . . . . 392

 This page in the original text is blank.





T  WIN   spirals of blue smoke rose on either
    side of the spur, crept tendril-like up two
dark ravines, and clearing the feathery green crests
of the trees, drifted lazily on upward until, high
above, they melted shyly together and into the
haze that veiled the drowsy face of the mountain.
  Each rose from a little log cabin clinging to the
side of a little hollow at the head of a little creek.
About each cabin was a rickety fence, a patch of
garden, and a little cleared hill-side, rocky, full of
stumps, and crazily traced with thin green spears
of corn. On one hill-side a man was at work with
a hoe, and on the other, over the spur, a boy-
both barefooted, and both in patched jean trou-
sers upheld by a single suspender that made a wet
line over a sweaty cotton shirt: the man, tall,
lean, swarthy, grim; the boy grim and dark, too,
and with a face that was prematurely aged. At
the man's cabin a little girl in purple homespun
was hurrying in and out the back door clearing



up after the noonday meal; at the boy's, a comely
woman with masses of black hair sat in the porch
with her hands folded, and lifting her eyes now
and then to the top of the spur. Of a sudden the
man impatiently threw down his hoe, but through
the battered straw hat that bobbed up and down
on the boy's head, one lock tossed on like a jet-
black plume until he reached the end of his strag-
gling row of corn. There he straightened up and
brushed his earth-stained fingers across a dull-
red splotch on one cheek of his sullen set face.
His heavy lashes lifted and he looked long at the
woman on the porch-looked without anger now
and with a new decision in his steady eyes. He was
getting a little too big to be struck by a woman,
even if she were his own mother, and nothing like
that must happen again.
  A woodpecker was impudently tapping the top
of a dead burnt tree near by, and the boy started
to reach for a stone, but turned instead and went
doggedly to work on the next row, which took
him to the lower corner of the garden fence, where
the ground was black and rich. There, as he
sank his hoe with the last stroke around the last
hill of corn, a fat fishing-worm wriggled under his
very eyes, and the growing man lapsed swiftly
into the boy again. He gave another quick dig,
the earth gave up two more squirming treasures,
and with a joyful gasp he stood straight again-
his eyes roving as though to search all creation



for help against the temptation that now was his.
His mother had her face uplifted toward the top
of the spur; and following her gaze, he saw a tall
mountaineer slouching down the path. Quickly
he crouched behind the fence, and the aged look
came back into his face. He did not approve of
that man coming over there so often, kinsman
though he was, and through the palings he saw his
mother's face drop quickly and her hands moving
uneasily in her lap. And when the mountaineer
sat down on the porch and took off his hat to wipe
his forehead, he noticed that his mother had on a
newly bought store dress, and that the man's hair
was wet with something more than water. The
thick locks had been combed and were glistening
with oil, and the boy knew these facts for signs
of courtship; and though he was contemptuous,
they furnished the excuse he sought and made
escape easy. Noiselessly he wielded his hoe for
a few moments, scooped up a handful of soft dirt,
meshed the worms in it, and slipped the squirm-
ing mass into his pocket. Then he crept stooping
along the fence to the rear of the house, squeezed
himself between two broken palings, and sneaked
on tiptoe to the back porch. Gingerly he de-
tached a cane fishing-pole from a bunch that stood
upright in a corner and was tiptoeing away, when
with another thought he stopped, turned back,
and took down from the wall a bow and arrow
JAith a steel head around which was wound a long



hempen string. Cautiously then he crept back
along the fence, slipped behind the barn into the
undergrowth and up a dark little ravine toward
the green top of the spur. Up there he turned
from the path through the thick bushes into an
open space, walled by laurel-bushes, hooted three
times surprisingly like an owl, and lay contentedly
down on a bed of moss. Soon his ear caught the
sound of light footsteps coming up the spur on the
other side, the bushes parted in a moment more,
and a little figure in purple homespun slipped
through them, and with a flushed, panting face
and dancing eyes stood beside him.
  The boy nodded his head sidewise toward his
own home, and the girl silently nodded hers up
and down in answer. Her eyes caught sight of
the bow and arrow on the ground beside him and
lighted eagerly, for she knew then that the fishing-
pole was for her. Without a word they slipped
through the bushes and down the steep side of the
spur to a little branch which ran down into a creek
that wound a tortuous way into the Cumberland.



ON the other side, too, a similar branch ran
     down into another creek which looped around
the long slanting side of the spur and emptied,
too, into the Cumberland. At the mouth of each
creek the river made a great bend, and in the
sweep of each were rich bottom lands. A cen-
tury before, a Hawn had settled in one bottom,
the lower one, and a Honeycutt in the other. As
each family multiplied, more land was cleared
up each creek by sons and grandsons until in each
cove a clan was formed. No one knew when and
for what reason an individual Hawn and a Honey-
cutt had first clashed, but the clash was of course
inevitable. Equally inevitable was it, too, that
the two clans should take the quarrel up, and for
half a century the two families had, with inter-
mittent times of truce, been traditional enemies.
The boy's father, Jason Hawn, had married a
Honeycutt in a time of peace, and, when the war
opened again, was regarded as a deserter, and had
been forced to move over the spur to the Honey-
cutt side. The girl's father, Steve Hawn, a ne'er-
do-well and the son of a ne'er-do-well, had for his
inheritance wild lands, steep, supposedly worth-
less, and near the head of the Honeycutt cove.



Little Jason's father, when he quarrelled with his
kin, could afford to buy only cheap land on the
Honeycutt side, and thus the homes of the two
were close to the high heart of the mountain, and
separated only by the bristling crest of the spur.
In time the boy's father was slain from ambush,
and it was a Hawn, the Honeycutts claimed, who
had made him pay the death price of treachery
to his own kin. But when peace came, this fact
did not save the lad from taunt and suspicion from
the children of the Honeycutt tribe, and being a
favorite with his Grandfather Hawn down on the
river, and harshly treated by his Honeycutt
mother, his life on the other side in the other cove
was a hard one; so his heart had gone back to his
own people and, having no companions, he had
made a playmate of his little cousin, Mavis, over
the spur. In time her mother had died, and in
time her father, Steve, had begun slouching over
the spur to court the widow-his cousin's widow,
Martha Hawn. Straightway the fact had caused
no little gossip up and down both creeks, good-
natured gossip at first, but, now that the relations
between the two clans were once more strained,
there was open censure, and on that day when all
the men of both factions had gone to the county-
seat, the boy knew that Steve Hawn had stayed
at home for no other reason than to make his
visit that day secret; and the lad's brain, as he
strode ahead of his silent little companion, was



busy with the significance of what was sure to
  At the mouth of the branch, the two came upon
a road that also ran down to the river, but they
kept on close to the bank of the stream which
widened as they travelled-the boy striding ahead
without looking back, the girl following like a
shadow. Still again they crossed the road, where
it ran over the foot of the spur and turned down
into a deep bowl filled to the brim with bush and
tree, and there, where a wide pool lay asleep in
thick shadow, the lad pulled forth the ball of
earth and worms from his pocket, dropped them
with the fishing-pole to the ground, and turned
ungallantly to his bow and arrow. By the time
he had strung it, and had tied one end of the
string to the shaft of the arrow and the other about
his wrist, the girl had unwound the coarse fishing-
line, had baited her own hook, and, squatted on
her heels, was watching her cork with eager eyes;
but when the primitive little hunter crept to the
lower end of the pool, and was peering with Indian
caution into the depths, her eyes turned to him.
  "Watch out thar!" he called, sharply.
  Her cork bobbed, sank, and when, with closed
eyes, she jerked with all her might, a big shining
chub rose from the water and landed on the bank
beside her. She gave a subdued squeal of joy,
but the boy's face was calm as a star. Minnows
like that were all right for a girl to catch and even



for him to eat, but he was after game for a man.
A moment later he heard another jerk and an-
other fish was flopping on the bank, and this time
she made no sound, but only flashed her triumph-
ant eyes upon him. At the third fish, she turned
her eyes for approval-and got none; and at the
fourth, she did not look up at all, for he was walk-
ing toward her.
  "You air skeerin' the big uns," he said shortly,
and as he passed he pulled his Barlow knife from
his pocket and dropped it at her feet. She rose
obediently, and with no sign of protest began
gathering an apronful of twigs and piling them
for a fire. Then she began scraping one of the
fish, and when it was cleaned she lighted the fire.
The blaze crackled merrily, the blue smoke rose
like some joyous spirit loosed for upward flight,
and by the time the fourth fish was cleaned, a
little bed of winking coals was ready and soon
a gentle sizzling assailed the boy's ears, and a
scent made his nostrils quiver and set his stomach
a-hungering. But still he gave no sign of interest
  even when the little girl spoke at last:
  "Dinner's ready."
  He did not look around, for he had crouched,
his body taut from head to foot, and he might
have been turned suddenly to stone for all the
sign of life he gave, and the little girl too was just
as motionless. Then she saw the little statue
come slowly back to quivering life. She saw the



bow bend, the shaft of the arrow drawing close
to the boy's paling cheek, there was a rushing hiss
through the air, a burning hiss in the water, a
mighty bass leaped from the convulsed surface
and shot to the depths again, leaving the head-
less arrow afloat. The boy gave one sharp cry
and lapsed into his stolid calm again.
  The little girl said nothing, for there is no balm
for the tragedy of the big fish that gets away.
Slowly he untied the string from his reddened
wrist and pulled the arrow in. Slowly he turned
and gazed indifferently at the four crisp fish on
four dry twigs with four pieces of corn pone lying
on the grass near them, and the little girl squat-
ting meekly and waiting, as the woman should
for her working lord. With his Barlow knife he
slowly speared a corn pone, picking up a fish with
the other hand, and still she waited until he spoke.
  "Take out, Mavie," he said with great gravity
and condescension, and then his knife with a gen-
erous mouthful on its point stopped in the air,
his startled eyes widened, and the little girl shrank
cowering behind him. A heavy footfall had
crunched on the quiet air, the bushes had parted,
and a huge mountaineer towered above them with
a Winchester over his shoulder and a kindly smile
under his heavy beard. The boy was startled-
not frightened.
  "Hello, Babe!" he said coolly. "Whut devil-
mint you up to now"



The giant smiled uneasily:
  "I'm keepin' out o' the sun an' a-takin' keer o'
my health," he said, and his eyes dropped hun-
grily to the corn pone and fried fish, but the boy
shook his head sturdily.
  "You can't git nothin' to eat from me, Babe
  "Now, looky hyeh, Jason-"
  "Not a durn bite," said the boy firmly, "even
if you air my mammy's brother. I'm a Hawn
now, I want ye to know, an' I ain't goin' to have
my folks say I was feedin' an' harborin' a Honey-
cutt-'specially you."
  It would have been humorous to either Hawn
or Honeycutt to hear the big man plead, but not
to the girl, though he was an enemy, and had but
recently wounded a cousin of hers, and was hid-
ing from her own people, for her warm little heart
was touched, and big Babe saw it and left his
mournful eyes on hers.
  "An' I'm a-goin' to tell whar I've seed ye,"
went on the boy savagely, but the girl grabbed
up two fish and a corn pone and thrust them out
to the huge hairy hand eagerly stretched out.
  "Now, git away," she said breathlessly, "git
  "Mavis !" yelled the boy.
  "Shet up!" she cried, and the lips of the routed
boy fell apart in sheer amazement, for never be-
fore had she made the slightest question of his



tyrannical authority, and then her eyes blazed at
the big Honeycutt and she stamped her foot.
  "I'd give 'em to the meanest dog in these moun-
  The big man turned to the boy.
  "Is he dead yit"
  "No, he ain't dead yit," said the boy roughly.
  "Son," said the mountaineer quietly, "you tell
whutever you please about me."
  The curiously gentle smile had never left the
bearded lips, but in his voice a slight proud change
was perceptible.
  "An' you can take back yo' corn pone, honey."
  Then dropping the food in his hand back to
the ground, he noiselessly melted into the bushes
  At once the boy went to work on his neglected
corn-bread and fish, but the girl left hers un-
touched where they lay. He ate silently, staring
at the water below him, nor did the little girl turn
her eyes his way, for in the last few minutes some
subtle change in their relations had taken place,
and both were equally surprised and mystified.
Finally, the lad ventured a sidewise glance at her
beneath the brim of his hat and met a shy, ap-
pealing glance once more. At once he felt ag-
grieved and resentful and turned sullen.
  "He throwed it back in yo' face," he said.
"You oughtn't to 'a' done it."
  Little Mavis made no answer.



  "You're nothin' but a gal, an' nobody'll hold
nothin' agin you, but with my mammy a Honey-
cutt an' me a-livin' on the Honeycutt side, you
mought 'a' got me into trouble with my own
folks." The girl knew how Jason had been teased
and taunted and his life made miserable up and
down the Honeycutt creek, and her brown face
grew wistful and her chin quivered.
  "I jes' couldn't he'p it, Jason," she said weakly,
and the little man threw up his hands with a gest-
ure that spoke his hopelessness over her sex in
general, and at the same time an ungracious accept-
ance of the terrible calamity she had perhaps
left dangling over his head. He clicked the blade
of his Barlow knife and rose.
  "We better be movin' now," he said, with a
resumption of his. old authority, and pulling in
the line and winding it about the cane pole, he
handed it to her and started back up the spur
with Mavis trailing after, his obedient shadow
once more.
  On top of the spur Jason halted. A warm blue
haze transfused with the slanting sunlight over-
lay the flanks of the mountains which, fold after
fold, rippled up and down the winding river and
above the green crests billowed on and on into
the unknown. Nothing more could happen to
them if they went home two hours later than
would surely happen if they went home now, the
boy thought, and he did not want to go home



now. For a moment he stood irresolute, and then,
far down the river, he saw two figures on horse-
back come into sight from a strip of woods, move
slowly around a curve of the road, and disappear
into the woods again.
  One rode sidewise, both looked absurdly small,
and even that far away the boy knew them for
strangers. He did not call Mavis's attention to
them-he had no need-for when he turned, her
face showed that she too had seen them, and she
was already moving forward to go with him down
the spur. Once or twice, as they went down, each
glimpsed the coming "furriners" dimly through
the trees; they hurried that they might not miss
the passing, and on a high bank above the river
road they stopped, standing side by side, the eyes
of both fixed on the arched opening of the trees
through which the strangers must first come into
sight. A ringing laugh from the green depths
heralded their coming, and then in the archway
were framed a boy and a girl and two ponies-
all from another world. The two watchers stared
silently-the boy noting that the other boy wore
a cap and long stockings, the girl that a strange
hat hung down the back of the other girl's head
-stared with widening eyes at a sight that was
never for them before. And then the strangers
saw them-the boy with his bow and arrow, the
girl with a fishing-pole-and simultaneously pulled
their ponies in before the halting gaze that was



levelled at them from the grassy bank. Then
they all looked at one another until boy's eyes
rested on boy's eyes for question and answer,
and the stranger lad's face flashed with quick
  "Were you looking for us" he asked, for just
so it seemed to him, and the little mountaineer
  "Yes," he said gravely.
  The stranger boy laughed.
  "What can we do for you"
  Now, little Jason had answered honestly and
literally, and he saw now that he was being trifled
,"A feller what wears gal's. stockings can't do
nothin' fer me," he said coolly.
  Instantly the other lad made as though he
would jump from his pony, but a cry of protest
stopped him, and for a moment he glared his hot
resentment of the insult; then he dug his heels
into his pony's sides.
  "Come on, Marjorie," he said, and with dig-
nity the two little " furriners " rode on, never look-
ing back even when they passed over the hill.
  "He didn't mean nothin'," said Mavis, "an'
you oughtn't "
  Jason turned on her in a fury.
  "I seed you a-lookin' at him!"
  "'Tain't so! I seed you a-lookin' at her!" she
retorted, but her eyes fell before his accusing



gaze, and she began worming a bare toe into the
  "Air ye goin' home now" she asked, presently.
  "No," he said shortly, "I'm a-goin' atter him.
You go on home."
The boy started up the hill, and in a moment
the girl was trotting after him. He turned when
he heard the patter of her feet.
  "Huh!" he grunted contemptuously, and kept
on. At the top of the hill he saw several men
on horseback in the bend of the road below, and
he turned into the bushes.
  "They mought tell on us," explained Jason,
and hiding bow and arrow and fishing-pole, they
slipped along the flank of the spur until they stood
on a point that commanded the broad river-bot-
tom at the mouth of the creek.
  By the roadside down there, was the ancestral
home of the Hawns with an orchard about it, a
big garden, a stable huge for that part of the
world, and a meat-house where for three-quarters
of a century there had always been things "hung
up." The old log house in which Jason and
Mavis's great-great-grandfather had spent his
pioneer days had been weather-boarded and was
invisible somewhere in the big frame house that,
trimmed with green and porticoed with startling
colors, glared white in the afternoon sun. They
could see the two ponies hitched at the front gate.
Two horsemen were hurrying along the river road



beneath them, and Jason recognized one as his
uncle, Arch Hawn, who lived in the county-seat,
who bought "wild" lands and was always bring-
ing in "furriners," to whom he sold them again.
The man with him was a stranger, and Jason un-
derstood better now what was going on. Arch
Hawn was responsible for the presence of the man
and of the girl and that boy in the "gal's stock-
ings," and all of them would probably spend the
night at his grandfather's house. A farm-hand
was leading the ponies to the barn now, and Jason
and Mavis saw Arch and the man with him throw
themselves hurriedly from their horses, for the
sun had disappeared in a black cloud and a mist
of heavy rain was sweeping up the river. It was
coming fast, and the boy sprang through the
bushes and, followed by Mavis, flew down the
road. The storm caught them, and in a few mo-
ments the stranger boy and girl looking through
the front door at the sweeping gusts, saw two
drenched and bedraggled figures slip shyly through
the front gate and around the corner to the back
of the house.



T  HE two little strangers sat in cane-bottomed
    chairs before the open door, still looking
about them with curious eyes at the strings of
things hanging from the smoke-browned rafters
-beans, red pepper-pods, and twists of home-
grown tobacco, the girl's eyes taking in the old
spinning-wheel in the corner, the piles of brill-
iantly figured quilts between the foot-boards of
the two beds ranged along one side of the room,
and the boy's, catching eagerly the butt of a big
revolver projecting from the mantel-piece, a Win-
chester standing in one corner, a long, old-fash-
ioned squirrel rifle athwart a pair of buck antlers
over the front door, and a bunch of cane fishing-
poles aslant the wall of the back porch. Pres-
ently a slim, drenched figure slipped quietly in,
then another, and Mavis stood on one side of the
fire-place and little Jason on the other. The two
girls exchanged a swift glance and Mavis's eyes
fell; abashed, she knotted her hands shyly be-
hind her and with the hollow of one bare foot
rubbed the slender arch of the other. The stran-
ger boy looked up at Jason with a pleasant glance
of recognition, got for his courtesy a sullen



glare that travelled from his broad white collar
down to his stockinged legs, and his face flushed;
he would have trouble with that mountain boy.
Before the fire old Jason Hawn stood, and through
a smoke cloud from his corn-cob pipe looked
kindly at his two little guests.
  "So that's yo' boy an' gal "
  "That's my son Gray," said Colonel Pendleton.
  "And that's my cousin Marjorie," said the lad,
and Mavis looked quickly to little Jason for rec-
ognition of this similar relationship and got no
answering glance, for little did he care at that
moment of hostility how those two were akin.
  "She's my cousin, too," laughed the colonel,
"but she always calls me uncle."
  Old Jason turned to him.
  "Well, we're a purty rough people down here,
but you're welcome to all we got."
  "I've found that out," laughed Colonel Pen-
dleton pleasantly, "everywhere."
  "I wish you both could stay a long time with
us," said the old man to the little strangers.
"Jason here would take Gray fishin' an' huntin',
an' Mavis would git on my old mare an' you two
could jus' go flyin' up an' down the road. You
could have a mighty good time if hit wasn't too
rough fer ye."
  "Oh, no," said the boy politely, and the girl
  "I'd just love to."



  The Blue-grass man's attention was caught by
the names.
  "Jason," he repeated; "why, Jason was a
mighty hunter, and Mavis-that means 'the song-
thrush.' How in the world did they get those
  "Well, my granddaddy was a powerful b'ar-
hunter in his day," said the old man, "an' I heerd
as how a school-teacher nicknamed him Jason,
an' that name come down to me an' him. I've
heerd o' Mavis as long as I can rickellect. Hit
was my grandmammy's name."
  Colonel Pendleton looked at the sturdy moun-
tain lad, his compact figure, square shoulders,
well-set head with its shock of hair and bold,
steady eyes, and at the slim, wild little creature
shrinking against the mantel-piece, and then he
turned to his own son Gray and his little cousin
Marjorie. Four better types of the Blue-grass
and of the mountains it would be hard to find.
For a moment he saw them in his mind's eye
transposed in dress and environment, and he was
surprised at the little change that eye could see,
and when he thought of the four living together
in these wilds, or at home in the Blue-grass, his
wonder at what the result might be almost star-
tled him. The mountain lad had shown no sur-
prise at the talk about him and his cousin, but
when the stranger man caught his eye, little
Jason's lips opened.



  "I knowed all about that," he said abruptly.
  "About what"
  "Why, that mighty hunter-and Mavis."
  "Why, who told you"
  "The jologist."
  "The what" Old Jason laughed.
  "Me means ge-ologist," said the old man, who
had no little trouble with the right word himself.
"A feller come in here three year ago with a
hammer an' went to peckin' aroun' in the rocks
here, an' that boy was with him all the time.
Thar don't seem to be much the feller didn't tell
Jason an' nothin' that Jason don't seem to re-
member. He's al'ays a-puzzlin' me by comin'
out with somethin' or other that rock-pecker tol'
him an'-" he stopped, for the boy was shaking
his head from side to side.
  "Don't you say nothin' agin him, now," he
said, and old Jason laughed.
  "He's a powerful hand to take up fer his friends,
Jason is."
  "He was a friend o' all us mountain folks,"
said the boy stoutly, and then he looked Colonel
Pendleton in the face-fearlessly, but with no
  "He said as how you folks from the big settle-
mints was a-comin' down here to buy up our wild
lands fer nothin' because we all was a lot o' fools
an' didn't know how much they was worth, an'
that ever'body'd have to move out o' here an'



you'd get rich diggin' our coal an' cuttin' our tim-
ber an' raisin' hell ginerally."
  He did not notice Marjorie's flush, but went
on fierily: "He said that our trees caught the rain
an' our gullies gethered it together an' troughed
it down the mountains an' made the river which
would water all yo' lands. That you was a lot
o' damn fools cuttin' down yo' trees an' a-plant-
in' terbaccer an' a-spittin' out yo' birthright in
terbaccer-juice, an' that by an' by you'd come up
here an' cut down our trees so that there wouldn't
be nothin' left to ketch the rain when it fell, so
that yo' rivers would git to be cricks an' yo' cricks
branches an' yo' land would die o' thirst an' the
same thing 'ud happen here. Co'se we'd all be
gone when all this tuk place, but he said as how
I'd live to see the day when you furriners would
be damaged by wash-outs down thar in the set-
tlements an' would be a-pilin' up stacks an' stacks
o' gold out o' the lands you robbed me an' my
kinfolks out of."
  "Shet up," said Arch Hawn sharply, and the
boy wheeled on him.
  "Yes, an' you air a-helpin' the furriners to rob
yo' own kin; you air a-doin' hit yo'self."
  "Jason! "
  The old man spoke sternly and the boy stopped,
flushed and angry, and a moment later slipped
from the room.
  "Well!" said the colonel, and he laughed good-



humoredly to relieve the strain that his host
might feel on his account; but he was amazed
just the same-the bud of a socialist blooming in
those wildsl Arch Hawn's shrewd face looked a
little concerned, for he saw that the old man's
rebuke had been for the discourtesy to strangers,
and from the sudden frown that ridged the old
man's brow, that the boy's words had gone deep
enough to stir distrust, and this was a poor start
in the fulfilment of the purpose he had in view.
He would have liked to give the boy a cuff on the
ear. As for Mavis, she was almost frightened by
the outburst of her playmate, and Marjorie was
horrified by his profanity; but the dawning of
something in Gray's brain worried him, and pres-
ently he, too, rose and went to the back porch.
The rain had stopped, the wet earth was fragrant
with freshened odors, wood-thrushes were singing,
and the upper air was drenched with liquid gold
that was darkening fast. The boy Jason was
seated on the yard fence with his chin in his hands,
his back to the house, and his face toward home.
He heard the stranger's step, turned his head, and
mistaking a puzzled sympathy for a challenge,
dropped to the ground and came toward him,
gathering fury as he came. Like lightning the
Blue-grass lad's face changed, whitening a little as
he sprang forward to meet him, but Jason, mo-
tioning with his thumb, swerved behind the chim-
ney, where the stranger swiftly threw off his coat,



the mountain boy spat on his hands, and like two
diminutive demons they went at each other
fiercely and silently. A few minutes later the
two little girls rounding the chimney corner saw
them-Gray on top and Jason writhing and bit-
ing under him like a tortured snake. A moment