The Call of the Cumberlands

                   CHAPTER I

CLOSE to the serried backbone of the Cumberland
      ridge through a sky of mountain clarity, the
      sun seemed hesitating before its descent to the
horizon. The sugar-loaf cone that towered above a
creek called Misery was pointed and edged with emer-
ald tracery where the loftiest timber thrust up its crest
plumes into the sun. On the hillsides it would be light
for more than an hour yet, but below, where the waters
tossed themselves along in a chorus of tiny cascades, the
light was already thickening into a cathedral gloom.
Down there the "furriner" would have seen only the
rough course of the creek between moss-velveted and
shaded bowlders of titanic proportions. The native
would have recognized the country road in these tortu-
ous twistings. Now there were no travelers, foreign
or native, and no sounds from living throats except
at intervals the clear "Bob White" of a nesting par-
tridge, and the silver confidence of the red cardinal
flitting among the pines. Occasionally, too, a stray
whisper of breeze stole along the creek-bed and rustled
the beeches, or stirred in the broad, fanlike leaves of
the "cucumber trees." A great block of sandstone,