xt7vx05x721z https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7vx05x721z/data/mets.xml Hough, Emerson, 1857-1923. 1904  books b92-220-31181871 English Hurst, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Law of the land  : of Miss Lady, whom it involved in mystery, and of John Eddring, gentleman of the South, who read its deeper meaning : a novel / by Emerson Hough ; with illustrations by Arthur I. Keller. text Law of the land  : of Miss Lady, whom it involved in mystery, and of John Eddring, gentleman of the South, who read its deeper meaning : a novel / by Emerson Hough ; with illustrations by Arthur I. Keller. 1904 2002 true xt7vx05x721z section xt7vx05x721z 








     Of Miss Lady, whom it involved in mystery,
     and of John Eddrring, gentleman of the South,
           who read itjs deeper meaning

                A NOVEL

                  Author of
               The Mississippi Bubble
               The Way to the West

            ARTHUR I. KELLER

               NEW YORK
            HURST &- COMPANY
               PUJPLUS  FR S




TO R. E.B.
TO T.A. D.

 This page in the original text is blank.



                     BOOK I
CHAPTER                                     PAGE
    I Miss LADY                              I
    II MULEY                                  To
    III THE VISITOR                            33
    IV A QUESTION OF VALUATION                 41
    V CERTAIN PROBLEMS                        62
    VI THE DRUM                                71
  TIll THE BELL                              85
  VIII THE VOLCANO                            99
  IX ON ITS MAJESTY'S SERVICE               105
  X Miss LADY OF THE STAIR                  124
  XII A WOMAN SCORNED                        141
  XIII JOHN DOE VS. Y. V. R. R.               147
  XIV NUMBER 4                                153
  XV THE PURSUIT                             159
  XVI THE TRAVELING BAG                       169
XI'111 MISFORTUNE                            i85

                    BOOK II

                   BOOK III
    I EDDRING, AGENT OF CLAIMS               199
  III REGARDING LOUISE LoissoN              218
  IV THE RELIGION OF JULES                  237


CHAPTER                                     PAGE
   V DISCOVERY                              244
   VI THE DANCER                             252
   VII THE SUMMONS                           259
 VIII THE STOLEN STEAMBOAT                  265
 IX THE ACCUSER                            271
   X THE VOYAGE                             28i
   XI THE WILDERNESS                         286
   XII THE HOUSE OF HORROR                   297
 XIII THE NIGHT IN THE FOREST               306
 XIV AT THE BIG HOUSE                       312
 XV CERTAIN MOTIVES                        322
 XVI THE NEW SHERIFF                        334
 XVII THE LAW OF THE LAND                    343
XVIII Miss LADY AT THE BIG HOUSE             363
XIX THREE LADIES LouISx                    377
XX THE LID OF THE GRAVE                    398
XXI THE RED RIOT OF YOUTH                  403
XXII AMENDE HONORABLE                       409



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                  CHAPTER I

                    MISS LADY

  Ah, but it was a sweet and wonderful thing to see
Miss Lady dance, a strange and wondrous thing! She
was so sweet, so strong, so full of grace, so like a
bird in all her motions! Now here, now there, and
back again, her feet scarce touching the floor, her
loose skirt, held out between her dainty fingers, re-
sembling wings, she swam through the air, up and
down the room of the old plantation house, as though
she were indeed the creature of an element wherein all
was imponderable, light and free of hampering influ-
ences. Darting, nodding, beckoning, courtesying to
something that she saw-it must have moved you to
applause, had you seen Miss Lady dance! You might
have been restrained by the feeling that this was
almost too unreal, too unusual, this dance of the
young girl, all alone, in front of the great mirror
which faithfully gave back the passing, flying figure
line for line, flush for flush, one bosom-heave for that
of the other. Yet the tall white lilies in the corner


saw; and the tall white birds, one on each side of the
great cheval glass, saw also, but fluttered not; since
a lily and a stork and a maiden may each be tall and
white, and each may understand the other subtly.
  Miss Lady stood at length, tall and white, her
cheeks rosy withal, her blown brown hair pushed back
a bit, one hand lightly resting on her bosom, looking-
looking into the mirror, asking of it some question, get-
ting, indeed, from it some answer-an answer em-
bodying, perhaps, all that youth may mean, all that
the morning may bring.
  For now the sun of the South came creeping up
apace, and saw Miss Lady as it peered in through the
rose lattice whereon hung scores of fragrant blossoms.
A gentle wind of morning stirred the lace curtains at
the windows and touched Miss Lady's hair as she
stood there, asking the answer of the mirror. It was
morning in the great room, morning for the southern
day, morning for the old plantation whose bell now
jangled faintly and afar off-morning indeed for
Miss Lady, who now had ceased in her self-absorbed
dance. At this very moment, as she stood gazing into
the mirror, with the sunlight and the roses thus at
hand, one might indeed have sworn that it was morn-
ing for ever, over all the world!
  Miss Lady stood eager, faseinated, before the




glass; and in the presence of the tall flowers and the
tall birds, saw something which stirred her, felt some-
thing which came in at the window out of the blue
sky and from the red rose blossoms, on the warm
south win& ImpuLsively she flung out her arms to
the figure in the glass. Perhaps she felt its beauty
and its friendliness. And yet, an instant later, her
arms relaxed and sank; she sighed, knowing not why
she sighed.
  Ah, Miss Lady, if only it could be for ever morning
for us all! Nay, let us say not so. Let us say rather
that this sweet picture of Miss Lady, doubled by the
glass, remains to-day imperishably preserved in the
old mirror-the picture of Miss Lady dancing as the
bird flies, and then standing, plaintive and question-
ing, before her own image, loving it because it was
beautiful and friendly, dreading it because she could
not understand.
  Miss Lady had forgotten that she was alone, and
did not hear the step at the door, nor see the hand
which presently pushed back the curtain. There
stepped into the room the tall, somewhat full figure
of a lady who stood looking on with eyes at first sur-
prised, then cynically amused. The intruder paused,
laughing a low, well-fed, mellow laugh. On the mo-
ment she coughed in deprecation. Miss Lady sprang



back, as does the wild deer startled in the forest. Her
hands went to her cheeks, which burned in swift
flame, thence to drop to her bosom, where her heart
was beating in a confusion of throbs, struggling with
the reversed current of the blood of all her tall young
  " Mamma! " she cried. " You startled me."
  "So it seems," said the new-comer. "I beg your
pardon. I did not mean to intrude upon your devo-
tions. "
  She came forward and seated herself-a tall woman,
a trifle full of figure now, but still vital of presence.
Her figure, deep-chested, rounded and shapely, now
began to carry about it a certain air of ease. The
mouth, well-bowed and red, had a droop of the same
significance. The eyes, deep, dark and shaded by
strong brows, held depths not to be fathomed at a
glance, but their first message was one of an open
and ready self-indulgence. The costume, flowing,
loose and easy, carried out the same thought; the
piled black hair did not deny it; the smile upon the
face, amused, half-cynical, confirmed it. Here was
a woman of her own acquaintance with the world,
you would have said. And in the next breath you
must have asked how she could have been the mother




of this tall girl, at whom she now smiled thus mock-
  "I was just-I was-well, I was dancing, mamma,"
said Miss Lady. "It is so nice." This somewhat
  "Yes," said her mother; "why"
  "I do not know," said Miss Lady, frankly, and
turning to her with sudden courage. "I was danc-
ing. That is all."
  "Yes, I know."
  "Well, is it any crime, mamma, I should like to
ask  " This with spirit, and with eyes showing them-
selves able to flash upon occasion.
  "Not in the least, my dear. Indeed, I am not at
all surprised. I knew it was coming."
  "What was coming, mamma        What do you
  "Why, that this was going to happen-that you
were going to dance. It was nearly time."
  "I do not know what you mean."
  "It was always thus with the Ellisons," said the
other woman. "All the Ellisons danced this way
once in their lives. All the girls do so. They're very
strange, these Ellison girls. They dance because they
must, I suppose. It's as natural as breathing, for
them. You can't help it. It's fate. But listen, child.




It is time I took you more in hand. You will be mar-
rying before long  -"
  "Mamma! "     Miss Lady    blushed  indignantly.
"flow can you talk so I don't know-I didn't-
I shan't-"
  "Tut, tut. Please don't. It is going to be a very
warm day. I really can't go into any argument.
Take my word, you will marry soon; or if you don't,
you will reverse all the known horoscopes of the
family. That, too, is the fate of the Ellison girls-
certain marriage! Our only hope is in some miracle.
It is time for me to take you in hand. Listen, Lady.
Let me ask you to sit a trifle farther back upon that
chair. So, that is better. Now, draw the skirt a
little closer. That is well. Now, sit easily, keep
your back from the chair; try to keep your feet
concealed. Remember, Lady, you are a woman now,
and there are certain rules, certain little things,
which will help you so much, so much. "
  Mrs. Ellison sighed, then yawned, touching her
white teeth with the tip of her fan. "Dear me, it
certainly is going to be warm, " she said at last.
"Lady, dear, please run and get my book, won't you
You know your darling mamma is getting so-well,
I won't say fat, God forbid! but so-really-well,
thank you."




  Miss Lady fled gladly and swiftly enough. For
an instant she halted, uncertain, on the wide gallery,
her face troubled, her attitude undecided. Then, in
swift mutiny, she sprang down the steps and was off
in open desertion. She fled down the garden walk,
and presently was welcomed riotously by a score of
dogs and puppies, long since her friends.
  Left alone, the elder lady sat for a moment in
thought. Her face now seemed harder in outline,
more enigmatical. She gazed after the girl who left
her, and into her eyes came a look which one must
have called strangely unmaternal-a look not tender,
but hard, calculating, cold.
  "She is pretty," she murmured to herself half-
aloud. "She is going to be very pretty-the prettiest
of the family in generations, perhaps. Well-han-
dled, that girl could marry anybody. I'll have to be
careful she doesn't marry the wrong one. They're
headstrong, these Ellisons. Still, I think I can handle
this one of them. In fact, I must. " She smiled
gently and settled down into a half-reverie, purring
to herself. "Dear me!" she resumed at length, start-
ing up, "how warm it grows! Where has that girl
gone I do believe she has run away. Delphine!
Ah-h-h-h, Delphine!"
  There came no audible sound of steps, but presently




there stood, just within the parted draperies, the
figure of the servant thus called upon. Yet that title
sat ill upon this tall young woman who now stood
awaiting the orders of her mistress. Garbed as a
servant she was, yet held herself rather as a queen.
Her hair, black and luxuriant, was straight and
strong, and, brushed back smoothly from her temples
as it was, contrasted sharply with a skin just creamy
enough to establish it as otherwise than pure white.
Egyptian, or Greek, or of unknown race, this ser-
vant, Delphine, might have been; but had it not been
for her station and surroundings, one could never
have suspected in her the trace of negro blood. She
stood now, a mellow-tinted statue of not quite yellow
ivory, silent, turning upon her mistress eyes large,
dark and inscrutable as those of a sphinx. One look-
ing upon the two, as they thus confronted each other,
must have called them a strange couple. Why they
should be mistress and servant was not a matter to be
determined upon a first light guess. Indeed, they
seemed scarcely such. From dark eye to dark eye
there seemed to pass a signal of covert understand-
ing, a signal of doubt, or suspicion, or armed neutral-
ity, yet of mutual comprehension.
  "Delphine," said Mrs. Ellison, presently, "bring
me a glass of wine. And from now on, Delphine, see



                  MISS LADY                     9

to it that you watch that girl. Tell me what she does.
There's very little restraint of any kind here on the
plantation, and she is just the age-well, you must
keep me informed. You may bring the decanter,
Delphine. I really don't feel fit for breakfast."




  In the warm sun of the southern morning the great
plantation lay as though half-asleep, dozing and
blinking at the advancing day.      The plantation
house, known in all the country-side as the Big House,
rested calm and self-confident in the middle of a
wide sweep of cleared lands, surrounded immediately
by dark evergreens and the occasional primeval oaks
spared in the original felling of the forest. Wide and
rambling galleries of one height or another crawled
here and there about the expanses of the building, and
again paused, as though weary of the attempt to cir-
cumvent it. The strong white pillars, rising from
the ground floor straight to the third story, shone
white and stately, after that old southern fashion,
that Grecian style. simplified and made suitable to
provincial purses by those Adams brothers of old
England who first set the fashion in early American
architecture. White-coated, with wide, cool, green
blinds, with ample and wide-doored halls and deep,
low windows, the Big House, here in the heart of the



warm South-land, was above all things suited to its
environment. It was a home taking firm hold
upon the soil, its wide roots reaching into traditions
of more than one generation. Well toward the head
of the vast Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, the richest region
on the face of the whole earth, the Big House ruled
over these wide acres as of immemorial right. Its
owner, Colonel Calvin Blount, was a king, an Ameri-
can king, his right to rule based upon full proof of
  In the heart of the only American part of America,
the Big House, careless and confident, could afford
to lie blinking at the sun, or at the broad acres which
blinked back at it. It was all so safe and sure that
there was no need for anxiety. Life here was as it
had been for generations, even for the generation fol-
lowing the upheaval of the Civil War. Open-handed,
generous, rich, lazily arrogant, kindly always, though
upon occasions fiercely savage, this life took hold
upon that of a hundred years ago. These strings of
blacks, who now, answering the plantation bell,
slowly crawled down the lane to the outlying fields,
might still have been slaves. This lazy plow, tickling
the opulent earth, might have been handled by a
slave rather than by this hired servitor, whose quaver-
ing, plaintive song, broken mid-bar betimes, now




came back across the warm distances which lay
trembling in the rays of the advancing sun. These
other dark-skinned servants, dawdling along the gal-
leries, or passing here and yonder from the detached
quarters of kitchen, and cook-room, and laundry and
sleeping-rooms--they also humming musically at their
work, too full of the sun and the certainty of comfort
to need to hurry even with a song-all these might
also have been tenants of an old-time estate, giving
slow service in return for a life of carelessness and
irresponsibility. This was in the South, in the Delta,
the garden of the South, the garden of America; a
country crude, primitive, undeveloped in modern
ways, as one might say, yet by right entitled to its
own assuredness. It asked nothing of all the world.
  All this deep rich soil was given to the people of
that land by Father Messasebe. Yards deep it lay,
anciently rich, kissed by a sun which caused every
growing thing to leap into swift fruition. The entire
lesson of the scene was one of an absolute fecundity.
The grass was deep and green and lush. The sweet
peas and the roses and the morning-glories, and the
honeysuckles on the lattice, hung ranks deep in blos-
soms. A hundred flocks of fowl ran clucking and
chirping about the yard. Across the lawn a mother
swine led her brood of squeaking and squealing



young. A half-hundred puppies, toddlers or half-
grown, romped about, unused fragments of the great
hunting pack of the owner of this kingdom. Life,
perhaps short, perhaps rude, perhaps swiftly done,
yet after all life-this was the message of it all. The
trees grew vast and tall. The corn, where the stalks
could still be seen, grew stiff and strong as little
trees. The cotton, through which the negroes rode,
their black kinky heads level with the old shreds of
ungathered bolls, showed plants rank and coarse
enough to uphold a man's weight free of the ground.
This sun and this soil-what might they not do in
brooding fecundity' Growth, reproduction, the mul-
tifold-all this was written under that sky which now
swept, deep and blue, flecked here and there with
soft and fleecy clouds, over these fruitful acres hewn
from the primeval forest.
  The forest, the deep, vast forest of oak and ash
and gum and ghostly sycamore; the forest, tangled
with a thousand binding vines and briers, wattled and
laced with rank blue cane-sure proof of a soil ex-
haustlessly rich-this ancient forest still stood, mys-
terious and forbidding, all about the edges of the
great plantation. Here and there a tall white stump,
fire-blackened at its foot, stood, even in fields long cul-
tivated, showing how laborious and slow had been the





whittling away of this jungle, which even now con-
tinually encroached and claimed its own. The rim
of the woods, marked white by the deadened trees
where the axes of the laborers were reclaiming yet
other acres as the years rolled by, now showed in the
morning sun distinctly, making a frame for the rich
and restful picture of the Big House and its lands.
Now and again overhead there swung slowly an occa-
sional great black bird, its shadow not yet falling
straight on the sunlit ground, as it would at midday,
when the puppies of the pack would begin their daily
pastime of chasing it across the fields.
  This silent surrounding forest even yet held its
ancient creatures-the swift and graceful deer, the
soft-footed panther, the shambling black bear, the
wild hog, the wolf, all manner of furred creatures,
great store of noble wild fowl-all these thriving
after the fecund fashion of this brooding land. It
was a kingdom, this wild world, a realm in the wilder-
ness; a kingdom fit for a bold man to govern, a man
such as might have ruled in days long gone by. And
indeed the Big House and its scarcely measured acres
kept well their master as they had for many years.
The table of this Delta baron was almost exclusively
fed from these acres; scarce any item needful in
his life required to be imported from the outer world.




The government of America might have fallen; anar-
chy might have prevailed; a dozen states might have
been taken over by a foreign foe; a score of states
might have been overwhelmed by national calamity,
and it all had scarce made a ripple here in this land,
apart, rich, self-supporting and content. It had al-
ways been thus here.
  But if this were a kingdom apart and self-sufficient,
what meant this thing which crossed the head of the
plantation-this double line, tenacious and continu-
ous, which shone upon the one hand dark, and upon
the other, where the sun touched it, a cold gray in
color What meant this squat little building at the
side of these rails which reached out straight as
the flight of a bird across the clearing and vanished
keenly in the forest wall This was the road of the
iron rails, the white man's perpetual path across the
land. It clung close to the ground, at times almost
sinking into the embankment now grown scarcely
discernible among the concealing grass and weeds,
although the track itself had been built but recently.
This railroad sought to efface itself, even as the land
sought to aid in its effacement, as though neither be-
lieved that this was lawful spot for the path of the
iron rails. None the less, here was the railroad, in-
eradicable, epochal, bringing change; and, one might




say, it made a blot upon this picture of the morning.
  An observer standing upon the broad gallery, look-
ing toward the eastward and the southward, might
have seen two figures just emerging from the rim of
the forest something like a mile away; and might then
have seen them growing slowly more distinct as they
plodded up the railway track toward the Big House.
Presently these might have been discovered to be a
man and a woman; the former tall, thin, dark and
stooped; his companion, tall as himself, quite as thin,
and almost as bent. The garb of the man was nonde-
script, neutral, loose; his hat dark and flapping. The
woman wore a shapeless calico gown, and on her head
was a long, telescopic sunbonnet of faded pink, from
which she must perforce peer forward, looking neither
to the right nor to the left.
  The travelers, indeed, needed not to look to the
right or the left, for the path of the iron rails led
them directly on. Now and again clods of new-
broken earth caused them to stumble as they hobbled
loosely along. If the foot of either struck against
the rail, its owner sprang aside, as though in
fear, toward the middle of the track. Slowly and
unevenly, with all the zigzags permissible within the
confining inches of the irons, they came on up toward
the squat little station-house. Thence they turned




aside into the plantation path and, still stumbling
and zigzagging, ambled up toward the house. They
did not step to the gallery, did not knock at the door,
or, indeed, give any evidences of their intentions, but
seated themselves deliberately upon a pile of boards
that lay near in the broad expanse of the front yard.
Here they remained, silent and at rest, fitting well
enough into the sleepy scene. No one in the house
noticed them for a time, and they, tired by the walk,
seemed content to rest under the shade of the ever-
greens before making known their errand. They sat
speechless and content for some moments, until finally
a mulatto house-servant, passing from one building to
another, cast a look in their direction, and paused
uncertainly in curiosity. The man on the board-pile
saw her.
  "Here, Jinny! Jinny! " he called, just loud enough
to be heard, and not turning toward her more than
half-way. "Come heah. "
  " Yassah, " said the girl, and slowly approached.
  "Get us a little melk, Jinny," said the speaker.
"We're plumb out o' melk down home.''
  "Yassah," said Jinny; and disappeared leisurely,
to be gone perhaps half an hour.
  There remained little sign of life on the board-
pile, the bonnet tube pointing fixedly toward the rail-




way station, the man now and then slowly shifting
one leg across the other, but staring out at nothing,
his lower lip drooping laxly. When the servant finally
brought back the milk-pail and placed it beside
him, he gave no word of thanks. The sunbonnet
shifted to include the mulatto girl within its full
vision, as the latter stood leaning her weight on one
side-bent foot, idly wiping her hands upon her apron.
  "Folks all well down to yo' place, Mistah Bowles "
said she, affably.
  "Right well."
  "IUm-h-h." Silence then fell until Jinny again
found speech.
  "Old Bess, that's the Cunnel's favoright dawg,
you-all know, she done have 'leven puppies las'
night. "
  "'That so"
  " Yassah. Cunnel, he's off down on the Sun-
flowah. "
   "Yassah; got most all his dawgs wid 'im. We
goin' to have b'ah meat now for sho',"-this with a
wide grin.
  "Reckon so," said the visitor. "When's Cunnel
coming back, you reckon  "
  "I dnnno, suh, but he sho' won't come back lessen




he gets a b'ah. If you-all could wait a while, you-all
could take back some b'ah meat, if you wantuh."
  "UUm-h-h," said the man, and fell again into si-
lence. To all appearances, he was willing to wait here
indefinitely, forgetful of the pail of milk, toward
which the sun was now creeping ominously close. The
way back home seemed long and weary at that mo-
ment. His lip drooped still more laxly, as he sat
looking out vaguely.
  Not so calm seemed his consort, she of the sun-
bonnet. Restored to some extent by her tarrying in
the shade, she began to shift and hitch about uneasily
upon the board-pile. At length she leaned a bit to
one side, reached into a pocket and, taking out a snuff-
stick and a parcel of its attendant compound, began
to take a dip of snuff, after the habit of certain
of the population of that region. This done, she
turned with a swift jerk of the head, bringing to
bear the tube of her bonnet in full force upon her
lord and master.
  "Jim Bowles," she said, "this heah is a shame!
Hit's a plumb shame!"
  There was no answer, save an uneasy hitch on the
part of the person so addressed. He seemed to feel
the focus of the sunbonnet boring into his system.




The voice in the bonnet went on, shot straight toward
him, so that he might not escape.
  "Hit's a plumb shame," said Mrs. Bowles, again.
  "I know it, I know it," said her husband at length,
uneasily. "That is, about us having to walk up
heah. That whut you mean"
  "Yassir, that's whut I do mean, an' you know it."
  "Well, now, how kin I help it We kain't take
the only mewel we got and make the nigger stop
w 'k. That ain 't reasonable. Besides, you don't
think Cunnel Blount is goin' to miss a pail o' melk
now and then, do you"
  A snort of indignation greeted this supposition.
  "Jim Bowles, you make me sick," replied his wife.
"We kin get melk heah as long as we want to, o'
co'se; but who wants to keep a-comin' up heah,
three mile, for melk It ain't right."
  "Well, now, Sar' Ann, how kin I help it" said
Jim Bowles. "The cow is daid, an' I kain't help it,
an' that's all about it. My God, woman!" this with
sudden energy, "do you think I kin bring a cow to
life that's been kilt by the old railroad kyahs  I
ain't no 'vangelist."
  "You kain't bring old Muley to life," said Sarah
Ann Bowles, "but then-"
  "Well, but then! But wAut Whut you goin' to



do I reckon you do whut you do, huh You just
walk the track and come heah after melk, I reckon,
if you want it. You ought to be mighty glad I come
along to keep you company. 'Tain't every man goin'
to do that, I want to tell you. Now, it ain't my fault
old Muley done got kilt."
  "Ain't yo' fault!"
  "No, it ain't my fault. Whut am I goin' to do
I kain't get no otheh cow right now, an' I done tol'
you so. You reckon cows grows on bushes"
  "Grows on bushes!"
  "Yes, or that they comes for nuthin'"
  "Comes for nuthin'!"
  "Yes, Sar' Ann, that's whut I said. I tell you,
it ain't so fur to come, ain't so fur up heah, if you
take it easy; only three mile. An' Cunnel Blount'll
give us melk as long as we want. I reckon he
would give us a cow, too, if I ast him. I s'pose I
could pay him out o' the next crop, if they wasn't so
many things that has to be paid out'n the crop. It's
too blame bad 'bout Muley." He scratched his head
  "Yes," responded his spouse, "Muley was a heap
better cow than you'll ever git ag'in. Why, she give
two quo 'ts o' melk the very mawnin' she was
kilt-two quo'ts. I reckon we didn't have to walk





no three mile that mawnin', did we An' she that
kin' and gentle-like oh, we ain't goin' to git no new
cow like Muley, no time right soon, I want to tell you
that, Jim Bowles."
  "Well, well, I know all that," said her husband,
conciliatingly, a trifle easier now that the sunbonnet
was for the moment turned aside. "That's all true,
mighty true. But what kin you do"
  "Do Why, do somethin'! Somebody sho' ought
to suffer for this heah. This new fangled railroad a-
comin' through heah, a-killin' things, an' a-killin'
folks! Why, Bud Sowers said just the other week
he heard of three darkies gittin' kilt in one bunch
down to Allenville. They standin' on the track, jes'
talkin' an' visitin' like.  Didn't notice nuthin'.
Didn't notice the train a-comin'. 'Biff!' says Bud;
an' thah was them darkies."
  "Yes," said Mr. Bowles, "that's the way it was
with Muley. She just walk up out'n the cane, an'
stan' thah in the sun on the track, to sort o' look
aroun' whah she could see free fer a little ways.
Then, 'long comes the railroad train, an' biff ! Thah 's
Muley! "
  " Plumb daid!"
  "Plumb daid !"
  " An' she a good cow for us for fo 'teen yeahs!




It don't look exactly right, now, does it It sho'
don 't. "
  "It's a outrage, that's whut it is," said Sar' Ann
  " Well, we got the railroad, " said her husband,
  "Yes, we got the railroad," said Sar' Ann Bowles,
savagely, "an' whut yearthly good is it Who
wants any railroad Whut use have we-all got fer
it  It comes through ouah farm, an' scares ouah
mewel, an' it kills ouah cow; an' it's got me so's
I'm afeared to set foot outsid'n ouah do', lessen it's
goin' to kill me, too. Why, all the way up heah this
mawnin', I was skeered every foot of the way, a-fear-
in' that there ingine was goin' to come along an' kill
us both!"
  "Sho'! Sar' Ann," said her husband, with superi-
ority. "It ain't time fer the train yit-leastwise I
don't think it is." He looked about uneasily.
  "That's all right, Jim Bowles. One of them in-
gines might come along 'most any time. It might
creep up behin' you, then, biff! Thah's Jim Bowles!
Whut use is the railroad, I'd like to know  I
wouldn't be caught a-climbin' in one o' them thah
kyars, not fer big money. Supposin' it run off the
track "




  " Oh, well, now, " said her husband, " maybe it
don 't, always. "
  "But supposin' it did" The front of the telescope
turned toward him suddenly, and so perfect was
the focus this time that Mr. Bowles shifted his seat
and took refuge upon another board at the other end
of the board-pile, out of range, albeit directly in the
ardent sunlight, which, warm as it was, did not seem
to him so burning as the black eyes in the bonnet, or
so troublous as the tongue which went on with its
  "Whut made you vote fer this heah railroad"
said Sarah Ann, following him mercilessly with the
bonnet tube. "We didn't want no railroad. We
never did have one, an' we never ought to a-had one.
You listen to me, that railroad is goin' to ruin this
country. Thah ain't a woman in these heah bottoms
but would be skeered to have a baby grow up in her
house. Supposin' you got a baby; nice little baby,
never did harm no one. You a-cookin' or somethin'-
out to the smoke-house like enough; baby alone fer
about two minutes. Baby crawls out on to the rail-
road track. Along comes the ingine, an' biff ! Thah 's
yo' baby!"
  Mrs. Bowles shed tears at this picture which she
had conjured up, and even her less imaginative con-




sort became visibly affected, so that for a moment
he half straightened up.
  "Hit don't look qui