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Full text of "Behind the Blue Ridge : a homely narrative"



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THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIML WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2009 with funding from 

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BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS VOLUME. 



ON BOTH SIDES. 

By Miss Frances Courtenay Baylor. 

CoQtainiog " The Perfect Treasore ' ' and " On This Side," the whole forming a complete storj. 

12mo. Extra clotli. $1.25. 



"No such faithful, candid, kindly, brilliant, and incisive presentation 
of English and Ameriam types has before been achieved. The wit of the 
story is considerable. It is'^vritten brilliantly, yet not flimsily. It is the 
best international novel that either side ha's hitherto produced. It is 
written by an American woman who reallv knows both countries, and 
who JiiLS s'hown that she possesses powers which ought to put her in the 
front rank of fiction."— Aeio York Trihune. 

'"On Both Sides' proves to be a positive surprise to the literary world. 
There is neither an Englishman nor an American writer on this side or 
that who might not be proud to have written this international novel. 
It will be one of the most popular books of the season,— one that will be 
read, criticised, and talked about iu all the circles of intelligent society." 
—yew Orleans Picayune. 

" Both nationalities, in fact, are so delicately and humorously satirized, 
that it is a truly 'international' piece of fun. The good points, tiie true 
distinction of good breeding in manners and customs pertaining to each 
of the two peoples, and the thorough good understanding of the genuine 
people in tlie story, are the most satisfactory of its conclusions; but it is 
a sharp stylus tliatsets down tlie pretensionsof the vulgar on either side. 
It looks as tliough Dai^y Miller were avenged at last,— and yet no olTence 
either given or rccnixea.'"— Philadelphia Ledger. 

"In Miss Baylor's work we have a novel entertaining from beginning 
to end, with briglitness that never falls flat, that always suggest.s some- 
thing beyond the mere amusement, that will be most enjoyed by those of 
most cultivation, that is clever, keen, and intellectual enough to be 
recognized as genuine wit, and yet good-natured and amiable enough to 
be accepted as the most delightful humor. It is not fun, but intelligent 
wit; it IS not mere comicality, but charming humor; it is nota colleetion 
of bright savings of clever people, but a reproduction of ways of thought 
and tvpes of manner infinitely entertaining to the reader, while not in 
the least funny to the actor, or intended by him to appear funny. It is 
iniinitablv good as a rendering of the peculiarities of British and of 
American* nature and training, while it is so ])erfcctly free from anything 
like ridicule, that the victims would be the first to smile."— T/ic Critic. 



** * For sale by all Booksellers, or will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, 
on receipt of the price, by 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, Publishers, 

Nos. 715 iind 717 Market St., Philadelphia. 



Behind the Blue Ridge. 



A HOMELY NARRATIVE. 



BY 

FEANCES COUETENAY BAYLOE, 

AUTHOR OF "ON BOTH SIDES," ETC. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 

1887. 



Copyright, 1887, by J. B. Lippincott Compant. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 



I. 

** Is not the life of every such man a Tragedy made up of Fate and one's 
own Deservings ?" — Carlyle. 

Leading through a rocky pass in the Blue Eidge — a 
pass dust-choked in summer, snow-blocked in winter — is 
a road that seems just the ordinary prosaic highway of 
the country, — laid out by an engineer, built by a turnpike 
company, used as a connecting link between the beauti- 
ful Yalley of Yirginia and the world lying on the other 
side of the mountains. But it is something more. It 
is wide enough now for two or more carriages to pass 
each other on it without difficulty. It was originally a 
faint trail, growing ever more distinct with use, made by 
the buffalo that went pushing and trampling and trot- 
ting along it ; by the deer daintily picking their way 
among some of its obstructions and leaping gracefully 
over others; by surly, slow-moving bear taking their 
own time for the journey. Panthers glided swiftly over 
it, rabbits darted across it, wolves lurked beside it, flocks 
of wild turkeys flopped or strutted along it morning 
and evening; the fox, the lynx knew it, as did every 
bird and beast in the whole country-side. And a crea- 
ture that added the instinct of all these animals to an 
acute human intelligence knew it, too, for the Shawnees 

1* 5 

602710 



8 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

dumped along its whole length. " Good heavens ! what 
does this mean?" it thought. "lam ruined forever! 
What on earth do I want with all that abominable stuif 
w^hen people are always complaining of the few stones 
that I've always had ? What are they going to do with 
it?" It soon found out; for next day an army of men 
in masks seated themselves on these heaps, hammer in 
hand, and having pounded them into bits, spread them 
evenly across its surface, and then having rolled an 
enormous iron cylinder across that, went their way, 
boasting, with the utmost effrontery, of what they had 
done for " the old road." Crushed to the earth, the road 
could only submit and rail out its grief to the whole 
valley. "This is what comes of having anything to do 
with man'' it said. " Think of what I have done for 
him, and look how he has served me, — worse than the 
very beasts ! I might as well have been a rocl%! I that 
used to be as green as a May meadow, and %hat had 
white violets and wild-roses blooming on both sides of 
me, and anemones and strawberries and laurel and all 
kinds of lovely flowers and fruits growing down the 
middle ! And now look at me, covered from end to end 
with this hard stone and filthy dust ! Now I am indeed 
buried alive ! I that complained of the buifalo have 
been trampled to death, — yes, had all the life pressed 
out of me forever by that hideous mountain on wheels 
that they passed over me again and again." 

The road was now a turnpike, but dead it was not ; — 
more alive than ever, on the contrary, in one way, for all 
its heart was broken, and it was only the stone effigy of 
its old self The ever-changing, ever-moving procession 
went on over its grave at least, as it does over all graves, 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 9 

— armies of blue-coats now ; other armies of gray-coats ; 
parks of artillery that were almost as bad as the cylin- 
ders ; regiments of horse thundering forward ; regi- 
ments of foot falling back ; couriers galloping madly 
hither and thither ; trains of wagons a mile long creak- 
ing along to camp or capture, with a limping group of 
stragglers acting as volunteer escort, their fortunate 
muskets sticking out from the canvas interior where 
the poor fellows longed to be riding ; ambulances carrj'- 
ing the wounded to the rear ; general officers, with the 
staff curveting and caracoling and reconnoitring ; guilty 
citizens on foot flying to the mountains; guiltless citi- 
zens hurried off in handcuffs ; peaceable farmers in 
carts getting twice as much as they should for vegeta- 
bles ; frightened women walking away from burning 
houses, leading little children by the hand. 

The road got tired to death of it all as it gleamed 
white and dusty in the sunshine. It sighed for the days 
when it was an obscure, dewy, leafy trail, and thought 
the war would never be over, and looked up at the 
patient stars in mute despair. But it did come to an 
end at last, which deceived the road into thinking that 
peace had come for it as well as for the country. But 
in this it was mistaken. The procession, somewhat 
changed in character, went on, only with less demon- 
stration ; still goes on, and ever will. Now it is a pair 
of lovers in a smart gig spinning briskly along to the 
county fair ; the doomed invalid drawn slowly along in 
an open barouche that he may get a little wan pleasure 
from country sights and sounds, with his solicitous rela- 
tives all about him and Death in the rumble ; the farmer 
perched high on his wood-wagon crawling at a snail's 



10 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

pace towards the nearest market-town as he lazily cracks 
a long whip over horses that go their own sober way, 
or returning home, perhaps, singing and shouting, 
shaking his head, lashing his horses, his rustic wits and 
hard-won wage both gone; the schoolboy whistling 
merrily as he whirls down-hill on his new bicycle; the 
good doctor's buggy bowling rapidly away in mortal 
haste towards this or that neighboring farm-house ; the 
shackling, heavy-bodied stage-coach which rattles over 
its twenty miles or more in a ponderously-lively fashion 
that allows the summer tourist to patronize the scenery, 
and the South generally, quite at his leisure. 

Governor Spottiswood's tramontane expedition had 
not long gone its romantic way when there came over 
the mountain trail an English sailor-pioneer named 
John Shore. He was a large-framed, light-hearted Au- 
tolycus of a wanderer, who had left his own country 
for the El Dorado that was waiting to be inherited by 
the brave and adventurous across the Atlantic. Set- 
tling in New England, he tried being everything by 
turns and nothing long for some years, and then finding 
that it did not differ materially from old England so 
far as any improvement in his fortunes was concerned, 
and feeling himself decidedly out of sympathy with its 
strictly respectable and sternly religious atmosphere, 
he " weighed anchor," as he phrased it, and again fol- 
lowed a beckoning Fortune over hill and dale until 
she led him into the wilderness. The valley he had 
entered was almost an unbroken forest. It had once 
been a great lake that increased in volume until it 
burst through the encompassing mountains at the 
point now called Harper's Ferry, and ran its triumphant 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. l\ 

course through the Potomac into the oceau beyond. 
The whole district of country of which it formed a 
part was the final expression of King James's liberal 
sentiments towards the London Company, and extended 
" westward to the Pacific Ocean and for a hundred 
miles into the sea beyond." It was so little known 
that it was not until 1778 that the geographical effort 
of defining the whole State of Illinois as " a county" 
was made. It was just the time and place for our 
pioneer ; this era of large views and hazy proprietor- 
ship was the golden age of which he had dreamed, in 
which everything was to be had for the taking. Ho 
had left nothing behind him except the memory of an 
unhappy home and a succession of experiences which 
he chose to call failures and misfortunes, but which had 
more than once brought him to the stocks and the 
whipping-post, heavy punishments for light offences 
being the justice of the period. The trouble had been 
that everything had belonged to somebody else. He 
saw it clearly now. He had brought with him only a 
stout heart, a good gun, and a sagacious dog, but he 
was in a country in which land was held in fee simple. 
He had only to choose an estate to suit him and keep 
it as he had won it. He felt the embarrassment of 
riches, and could not decide for a day or two where to 
" locate" with all the forest before him to choose from. 
It hardly seemed worth while to appropriate anything 
where all was his. He had been lono^ enouo;h in the 
New World to learn some woodcraft, and he had a fine 
natural intelligence, — two important possessions when 
the site of a future home is to be chosen. At last, 
after prowling about extensively, looking at the sit- 



12 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

uation, soil, advantages offered by various places (as 
determined by certain tests of his own not known to 
the modern surveyor, such as examining the bark on 
the trees, dipping his fingers in water and holding them 
up to see which way the wind blew, and the like), he 
fixed upon a certain spot on Little South Mountain 
that particularly pleased him. It was primarily a 
splendid grove of oaks. It commanded an extensive 
and beautiful view. A mountain-stream ran by it as 
pure as though its every drop had been filtered, as 
cold as though it had been iced, as sparkling as though 
it had been just air-bewitched. It was sheltered from 
the prevailing north and northwest winds, as he had 
ascertained by the primitive but effective plans already 
mentioned. All these were points so much in its favor 
that he eagerly proceeded to mark it for his own. 
This he did literally. He ran as lightly as a squirrel 
up a certain fine beech in the grove. When about 
forty feet above the earth he took a hatchet from his 
belt and struck several lusty blows that all the listening 
forest heard. They rang out in cheerful defiance on 
the still air, and were given back in surprised melody. 
The moist chips dropping on the earth sent the scared 
lizards like green flashes across the grass into their 
hiding-places. It was the knell of fauns, and dryads, 
and elves, if any such were about, and of the Indians 
who, all unconscious of their doom, were revelling in 
the excitements of their great yearly chase not far 
away. Gone were chiefs, squaws, papooses, wigwams, 
moccasins, calumets, tomahawks, from that moment. 
The new kingdom had come. 

As for John Shore, he dropped to the green sward 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 13 

below, and when he had marked several other trees in 
the vicinity in a way that he thought he could not fail 
to recognize, he took his bearings again carefully, looked 
about him with an air of satisfied ownership, and de- 
parted as he came from the valley, the season being 
autumn and unfavorable to immediate settlement. 

Early in the following spring he was back again, 
bringing with him a train of heavily-laden pack-horses, 
and accompanied by three men whose minds he had 
Inflamed by his description of the land he had spied 
out. 

These hardy adventurers, like their brave brother- 
pioneers all ovef the country, now set to work courage- 
ously to plant the acorn of this our American civiliza- 
tion, — a mighty oak now, which may yet be five 
hundred years coming to perfection. God save it from 
decay ! 

The wolves were soon howling at night around rude 
log cabins set great distances apart in the valley. The 
aborigines, who, according to the learned Mr. Nicholas 
Fuller, are "the posterity of our great-grandfather 
Japheth," found themselves obliged to tolerate a branch 
of their family giving good presum23tive proof of being 
relatives in their willingness, even stern determination, 
to share the family inheritance. John Shore, especially, 
was soon very widely known among them as "Long 
Knife," and respected as a brave man and mighty 
hunter, whom it would be a positive pleasure to scalp. 
Eut he, for his part, kept his powder dry, and showed 
himself a match for them at every point. For three 
years he played the dangerous game of a life for a 
life with them, and hunted, and fished, and shot, and 

2 



14 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

rode, and bade fair to become as savage as any Shawnee 
of them all. And then, yielding to a vagrant impulse, 
he went off into Pennsylvania for awhile. He was 
not gone long, and when he returned he went to work 
in earnest to build a house on the site selected. Being 
an Englishman, he had his own fixed ideas on most sub- 
jects, including house-building, and, being an obstinate 
man, he was bent on carrying them out. He had no in- 
tention of putting up a frail shanty that would " tumble 
about his ears in a few years, and might blow down 
any day." If it was a question of that sort of tempo- 
rary shelter, he preferred a tarpaulin, he said. So he 
took his axe and hatchet and gun and Avent off day 
after day for some months to a neighboring grove, 
where he propped his gun against a tree and worked 
with a will, choosing every bit of his wood carefully, 
and whistling " Bess of Bednall-Green" as he wrought 
it into the shape and size required. When he had got 
all the necessary material and had seasoned it, he put 
up, with a little aid, a well-built, substantial two-roomed 
cottage of a pattern familiar to him. He had seen 
such in many an English lane, and when he had put on 
its steep overhanging roof (which took some time, and 
kept him " up aloft" much longer than he had expected), 
and had got a tiny porch in front of it, and a shed at 
the back, and a rail-fence around it, he was a proud 
and happy man. Nor was this all. He took incredible 
pains with his rafters and puncheon floor, and skilfull}^ 
daubed and chinked the interior. He inserted one pre- 
cious pane of glass in the stout, cross-barred wooden 
shutter. He put up some shelves in a way that would 
not have disgraced a skilled workman. And then, with 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 15 

the "handiness" of the sailor, he set about making 
some rude furniture, consisting chiefly of a kitchen- 
dresser, a settee, a table, and some hide-bottomed chairs, 
and succeeded in that, too. A sociologist would have 
known what was to come next. Given a man and a 
house, and what follows ? A woman, of course. John 
Shore swept up his shavings, locked his door, put the 
key in his pocket, and went oif straightway in search 
of that woman. It was not a search, either, exactly, 
for he had seen in his previous absence a remarkably 
pretty Dutch girl, very blue as to the eyes and flaxen 
as to the tresses, knitting in the court-yard of a certain 
wayside inn in Pennsylvania; and though he had only 
exchanged a few words with her, it was she who had 
inspired his recent labors. The wooing was a remark- 
ably brief and entirely successful one. In a week he 
brought the inspiration back, and that with her father's 
blessing, and mounted on top of her mother's feather- 
bed, tricked out in all her simple finery and still knit- 
ting on the particular pair of stockings on which she 
had been engaged when her impetuous suitor swept 
down upon her and bore her ofl^. In this way one of 
the first families of Virginia, in actual practical preced- 
ence, if not in the aristocratic sense, was founded. 

A small stream of new-comers now began to filter 
family by family over the Kidge, and in a few years the 
settlement of the country had become an accomplished 
fact. When the boundary-line between the States of 
Yirginia and Pennsylvania was run after the Eevolu- 
tion, the commissioners so far respected the " tomahawk 
rights," as they were called, of the early settlers as to 
allow four hundred acres to every claim of the kind. 



16 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

This was a respectable property for a small farmer if it 
had been at all valued or preserved as it should have 
been. But in the majority of cases it was not. If it 
was not gambled or raced or thrown avv^ay like the large 
estates of from ten to fifty thousand acres owned by the 
gentrj^ from the low-country, it was, in its degree, as 
foolishly managed, or rather mismanaged, — fifty good, 
broad acres being exchanged freely for a cow and calf, 
a horse and wagon, or any other possession coveted by 
the petty proprietors. Gradually the early settler was 
pushed off by the growth of the new civilization just 
as the Shawnee had been. The free life (whose worst 
pains are preferred by some men to the best pleasures 
that the most sophisticated sybarite could offer) died 
out, — a mode of existence more congenial to the natural 
man than any other, having for its gravest duty the 
cultivation, in odd half-hours, of " a corn-patch" and the 
garden on which the women-folk insisted, and for its 
daily compensation getting " to the leeward" of your 
game and bringing down a wild turkey, bear, three- 
pronged buck, or Indian chief, as the case might be. 

The country filled up with a different class of people 
altogether: canny Scotch-Irish colonists; Germans from 
the Middle States, thick-headed, horny of hand ; a band 
of Quakers, involuntary emigrants these, like the babies 
crowing in cradles hollowed out of large logs, — sly 
Friends suspected of trading with the enemy, and sum- 
marily sent to the rear to meditate on the harshness of 
"George Washington, that man of war;" a troop of 
Hessians brought down by that doughty old warrior, 
General Morgan, who made them turn their swords into 
trowels and pickaxes and build him a fine house before 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 17 

being disbanded. Dull care had come, and toil, and 
taxes, and trouble, — in short, civilization. The coun- 
try was free, but the people were no longer so, and the 
pioneer, with the Shawnee and the buffalo, vanished for- 
ever from Yirginia. 

^u ^^ ^ vl^ ^l^ ^ ^1^ ^1^ ^O wt^ 

The valley could not go, and so it stayed at home 
and got more and more beautiful steadily for a century, 
more carefully tilled, fertile, gracious of aspect, until it 
is a wonder its heart was not lifted up as well as its 
hills as it sat in the sunshine a thousand feet above the 
sea, girdled by its mountains, glorified by its woods, 
illuminated by the long-shining curves of the Shenan- 
doah, '• daughter of the stars." 

And John Shore's house remained. He had builded 
better than he knew. It looked a weather-beaten 
structure enough in the brilliant October sunshine ; but 
it had held its own bravely, considering that it was not 
founded upon a rock and had long been exposed to 
every wind of heaven. If it spread itself somewhat, 
somewhere about the time that the last oak of the 
grove that had screened it fell, it was only to get a 
better hold on the earth. And it was in makino: this 
effort to accommodate itself to its changed circum- 
stances that it lost its compact air and got a loose and 
irregular expression, which showed that it had entered 
upon a struggle for existence that made it careless of 
appearances. It settled down in the rear and hugged 
the hillside in a way that made the front porch lean in 
a panic against the wall. The front door, unprepared 
for and alarmed by such a demonstration, tried to get 
out of the way, but only succeeded in straining its 
b 2* 



18 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

hinfjcs 80 that it ever afterwards swuncr in at a most 
dissipated angle and outward with great difficulty. 
The chimney outside went crazy on the spot, and fan- 
cied itself a pyramid, and did its best to assume that 
shape, running up in a wavy line irresolutely for a cer- 
tain distance, and then stopping and trying to throw 
stones down on the heads of people passing below. The 
whole structure was enveloped in a mantle of Time's 
own weaving, — a sort of atmosphere made visible, — a 
surtout, pinned on Avith lichens and fungi that matched 
so perfectly that they were never noticed by careless 
observers; marvels of workmanship all the same, olive- 
green, or gray, for the most part, brown occasionalh', 
and very semi-occasionally crimson, or orange, and 
fashioned in imitation of other growths, such as a rose, 
or a miniature forest of firs. But the house was still a 
good house, and, in its modest way, a comfortable home, 
which could not be said for the clusters and rows of 
tumble-down shanties that stretched along the moun- 
tain-side, and together made a blur on the fair landscape. 
No Highland shielino; or Eussian isba or Colorado 
" claim shack" could have been more dismally sugges- 
tive of wretchedness than those hovels and their out- 
lying " appertainments." Nothing could equal their 
forlornness unless it was their inhabitants, — that swarm 
of free-born but fate-fettered American citizens not to 
be insultingly classified as " peasants," but as poverty- 
stricken and miserable as the humblest vine-dresser or 
goat-herd that ever languished under a monarchy, 
owned allegiance to king or lord, and confessed himself 
a vassal or serf. A strip of land belonged to each : a 
few acres of stony ground that a respectable South- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 19 

down would have sniffed at contemptuously, running 
up towards the crest of the mountain, where a thin 
fringe of woods showed against the sunset red, — all 
that the axe and the torch had spared of the primeval 
forest. If a Shawnee ghost ever left the happy hunting- 
grounds to revisit his old home and haunts, it must 
have found great difficulty in identifying what it had 
left with what it found ; and as for John Shore, he never 
could have recognized the high-arched, leafy, dewy 
covert in which he had set his home in that barren 
slope, wind-swept, sun-parched, rock-ribbed. But an- 
other spirit from the land of shades might have found 
cause for admiration and gratulation in one feature of 
the neighborhood, — that governor of Yirginia who, in 
1651, issued a proclamation commanding that public 
thanksgiving should be made for " the increase of chil- 
dren that God Almightie hath vouchsafed to this Colony." 
There were children, children, children everywhere, — 
little and big, ugly and pretty, sickly and hardy, merry 
and melancholy, mischievous and sober, daring and 
timid children, — children of all ages, both sexes, and of 
every conceivable variety of disposition and looks, oozing 
ubiquitously out of every pore of the place, and seeming 
as much the prodigal expression of a carelessly-bounti- 
ful nature as the ox-eyed daisies and blue thistles of the 
meadow-fields at the foot of the mountain. Never did 
a blessing so run riot. And, like curses, they invariably 
came home to roost under a roof that sheltered so many 
other blessings that it was wonderful how they ever 
found refuge there, although, like the wild-flowers again, 
they did not wait to be set in the carefully-prepared beds 
of a nursery, but dropped off for the most part wher- 



20 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

ever they chanced to be when it wa8 time for lids and 
petals to close, falling softly down on the hard floor, 
where they made small heaps of tattered, tanned, bare- 
footed innocents, and sank into the sleep full "of sweet 
dreams and health and quiet breathing" denied often 
to Dives on his bed of down. 

" Happy is the man that hath his quiver full," it is 
written, but plus fourteen arrows and minus as many 
shekels, and skepticism sifts in sometimes under the 
door-sills and down the chimneys. Yet it is not in such 
households that Ilerodian views of children are held as 
a rule, and number fifteen is often more cherished and 
better loved in them than any of its predecessors. 

The Shores had not died out of the land, but a super- 
abundance of olive-branches could not have been said 
to have caused the decay in the familj^ fortunes which 
had reduced them to the level of their neighbors. In 
no generation had there been more than four children 
in the house that Sailor Jack had built, and the John 
Shore of 1846 was the only son of an only son. In 
some respects he might have been pronounced his own 
ancestor, representing as he did that differentiation of 
the Shore species which had produced a new variety. 
As a freak of nature or a scientific result, he might 
have taken a prize at some botanical show had he been 
vegetable in origin, so widely did he differ from and so 
closely resemble the parent-stock. But unfortunately 
the doctrine of '• heredit}'" was not known on the moun- 
tain. The most agreeable novelty would have been 
suspected long and challenged over and over again be- 
fore being accepted in that conservative community, 
and with this one the initial shock of surprise was 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 21 

never succeeded by the flush of gratification. The 
mountain first and last held John Shore strictly respon- 
sible for all he was and said and did, which was more 
than the angels ever thought of doing, and the result 
was that — well, there were a good many results, as will 
appear later. As a child, he was not understood or 
altogether approved of And then he had grown into 
a gawky lad who led the horses home from pasture 
with branches of wild honeysuckle fastened in their 
bridles, — a lad that made himself a " cornstalk" violin 
(on which he was forever picking out such melodies as 
he heard around him or as suggested themselves to 
him), and liked to repeat such of his mother's hymns 
as had any imaginative flights in them. " Flowers and 
fiddhn' and sich ways never come to no good yet," said 
the elders, and shook their unutterably wise heads, and 
began to predict the end from the beginning. They 
continued to shake them when he came to manhood, 
and developed a passion for shooting and fishing, and 
spent weeks at a time ofl" by himself in the woods, in 
harvest season as like as not, and played more than 
ever on the cheap wooden afl'air, with a head like a 
rocking-horse, for which he had paid five dollars, and 
believed to be the finest instrument in the world. They 
never had any vagrant impulses, and he was as full of 
them as a swallow ; they had no love for music, and he 
could repeat every strain he heard as easily as a mock- 
ing-bird ; they saw the sun get up and go down, but 
never saw it rise or set in fifty years, while he had been 
gifted with the seeing eye as well as the hearing ear. 
They never any more thought of gathering a bouquet 
than of wrapping themselves up in a cloud; he knew 



22 BEHIND THE BLUE JUDGE. 

the fiice of every flower for leagues around (and of 
every tree and shrub and bush for that matter), and 
was in the habit of going about with a collection of 
berries and seeds and bulbs in his pockets with which 
be experimented at home. He had been seen to pin a 
wild rose in the front of his " butternut" coat. But 
matters did not come to a crisis until somebody told the 
elders that John Shore could repeat all the psalms of 
David. That struck them as scandalous. " There's 
preachers as has been preachers for forty year that can't 
do as much, and him not a perfessin' Christian," said 
one of them, Jake White, in discussing the indecent 
achievement. " Preachin' is preachin', and perfessin' is 
perfessin', and ploughin' is ploughin', and fiddlin' is 
fiddlin'. And, moreover, my advice to that there young 
man is to drop that ere how of his'n and take up that 
there hoe of his'n. And why ? Causen he'll never 
come to a pea's pod ef he don't." 

Jake considered himself, and, indeed, was regarded, 
as the great authority in all religious matters on the 
mountain, perhaps because of his wide experience in 
them. Beginning his spiritual career as a " Lutherian," 
he successively accepted the tenets of a half-dozen sects, 
80 nice was he in the matter of theological tenet, and 
had been by turns a Methodist, an "Ironside Baptist," 
a " thin-skin Baptist," a Dunkard, and what he called a 
" close-communion Christian." 

lie had been baptized once and " sprinkled" once and 
" im merged" twice. He had been converted and per- 
verted, and had reverted over and over again. He had 
what he called "the searchin's," — meaning attacks of 
spiritual uneasiness and doubt to which he was liable 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 23 

at any time when the last creed he had " perfessed" 
began to get too tight for him, and the sap of his soul 
was rising and burgeoning preparatory to blossoming 
in a new form. So far from being ashamed of these 
constant changes in his views, he was proud of being, 
as he phrased it, " a Seeker," and he declared repeatedly 
that what he was looking for was Vital Heligion, and 
that he never would be satisfied until he got it. He 
was perfectly stolid under the comments and criticism, 
kindly or contemptuous, that assailed him. He accepted 
it openly as part of " what he had to go through with," 
and what that was he said nobody would ever know. 
This position was impregnable, and he thought and 
talked so much about his soul that finally everything 
was conceded to that remarkably fine, large, sensitive 
principle that even he could have claimed for it, and 
he came to be regarded as a most uncompromising and 
devoted disciple of the highest form of truth, and got 
no small credit for his inability to be content with the 
lower ones. When the preliminary pains of the mys- 
terious and mournful malady to which he was subject 
set in, as was shown by his retirement from the world, 
and, above all, by the silence that was wont to envelop 
him while he brooded over the unutterable (a silence all 
the more impressive because of his habitual loquacity), 
much sympathy was felt for " Brother White," who, 
for his part, regretted the sorrowful necessity he was 
under to question the previously accepted order of 
things more than anybody, and, try as he would, could 
give no one the least idea of what he w^as suffering in 
his " inside," by which term he meant to indicate the 
seat of his metaphysical conflicts. And when, after 



24 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

some weeks, "the searchin's" found triumphant, if tem- 
porary, expression and profession of some sort, all the 
mountain crowded to " meetin' " to hear the result of 
the late engagement between the forces of Vital Eeligion 
and this or that " Church." For " Jake," it was agreed, 
was " a powerful hand at givin' experience." He had 
had so much of it that he could afford, perhaps, to bo 
more liberal with it than most people, and while some 
less experienced Christian would get up and shut his 
eyes and clear his throat, and hem, and haw, and blush, 
and gasp, and hold convulsively to the last sentence 
uttered w^hile he felt around in his mind for another, 
Jake would rise slowly and half closing his ej'es let his 
body sway gently backwards and forwards for a few 
moments, and then pour out a perfect stream of thoughts, 
and feelings, and sentiments, and presentiments, and 
"warnings," and "awakenings," and "gropings," and 
"groanings" that made him the wonder and admiration 
of the whole congregation. A long course of sermons 
from " preachers" of every denomination had given him 
all the resources that cant or rant, or real, if rough, 
eloquence could supply, and the phrases he had picked 
up sounded curiously enough sandwiched in his every- 
day speech j but when it came to an " experience" they 
stood him in good stead, — so much so that his friends 
often urged him to "go on the circuit," to which ho 
would reply by giving his head a mournful shake, and 
saying, " No, no. I am « Seeker^ — a Seeker,'' as if feeling 
his liability to be smitten by the sword of speculation 
at any moment. 

Now John Shore, in a community in which children of 
six were repeatedly " convicted," convinced that is, that 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 25 

they were, as the phrase went, "the vilest of the vile," 
and, overwhelmed by the blackness of their guilt, re- 
tired behind the wood-pile to bewail privately for hours 
their unutterable wickedness, or asked their relatives 
to pray for their " poor, lost souls," because they might 
die that night and go straight to a place which is no- 
toriously full of children — John Shore, I say, living in 
this atmosphere, never thought about his soul at all, 
but enjoyed in the body every moment of his exist- 
ence at this period in a way that could not but have 
been aggravating to a man of Brother White's spiritual 
sensibility. And at last he did a thing that made 
that gifted Christian most uncharitably and finally 
sure that he " never would come to no good forever 
and ever, Amen." He married the prettiest girl on 
the mountain, — a sweet-faced young creature, with 
unusually long eyelashes shading a fine pair of large, 
serious gray eyes, — an embodiment of fair and tran- 
quil womanhood, low-voiced as a wood-pigeon and as 
gentle as a nun. Brother White was thinking of 
doing the same thing, it is true, en troisieme noces, 
and ought not to have regarded it as an unpardon- 
able offence, considering the temptation ; but circum- 
stances certainly alter cases. Perhaps he thought 
that a person of her grave temperament would find a 
soul more attractive than any mere body could be, 
and would not be affected by the meretricious charms 
of a hopelessly frivolous, if handsome, youth. His 
disappointment made him eloquent in prediction in 
talking over the affair with a group of his neighbors. 
"He ain't the man for her," said he. "And where- 
fore ? He ain't suited to her. And therefore. Se'll be 

B 3 



26 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

a-comin', and a-goin', and a-fiddlin', and a-dancin', and 
a-whiskey-drinkin', and a-kj'ard-playin', and a holler- 
baloonin'. And whereas. She'll be a-settin' at home, 
and a-workin', and a-weepin', and a-prayin', and 
a-wishin' she hadn't never to her life's end had nothin' 
to say to him and had of married — a wiser, and a 
better, and a richer man. And moreover. As I said 
before, and as I pinted out, and as I've declared to 
you from the beginning, and as I've told you over and 
over again, he ain't never been, he ain't never goin' to 
be, he ain't got no idea of seemirC to be goin' to be, a 
perfessor of religion, nor a church member, nor a 
backslidin' mourner, nor a miserable sinner! — not him. 
For firstl}^, 't'aint in him to be a-thinkin', and a-feelin*, 
and a wraslin' child of grace. And secondly, he's so 
Pharaoh-stifF he wouldn't let hisself be larnt by them 
as is put here to lead, and to teach, and to show forth, 
and to be set on a bushel. And thirdly, he wouldn't 
be took in, or accepted, or regarded, ef he wuz to 
come forrard on probation in any Church Tve had 
nothing to do with, and I've been led, and pushed, 
and driv to cornsider, and reggard, and study over, 
and to look at but not be led by most of 'em, ornless 
he changed hisself, — changed his heart, and his mind, 
and his manners, and his sperrit, and body, and flesh, 
and soul. And whereas. She don't know it now^ 
bein' a poor, blind, evil, miserable, mortal woman, 
a-reachin' out after, and a-graspin' hold of, and a-seizin' 
of, and a-holdin' onter, and a-clutchin' at what she 
thinks is worth havin', which it's never been, and ain't 
now, and never will be, world without end, — she's to be 
pitied. For remember. She'll he a miserable looman, — 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 27 

a miserable woman, and a sad woman, and a wretched 
woman, and an unhappy woman, and an afflicted woman. 
And then whose fault will it be ? It will not be your 
fault, nor my fault, nor anybody's fault but her fault. 
And she'll have herself to thank for all she's been 
through, and come through, and has got to go through 
to the very end of her days in the land which is given 
her, as sure as my name is White ! And lastly. She 
aint the woman for him. He wants a worldly wife, and 
a laughin' and prancin' wife, and a singin' and dancin' 
wife, and a careerin' and cavortin' wife ! And she ain't 
that sort. And so they are just certain-surely and eter- 
nally and everlastingly bound to be miserable, ef they 
don't bust up, and go their mournful ways, unto their 
life's ends !" 

There were other suitors who agreed with Mr. White 
in his conclusions, although they were not able to ex- 
press their chagrin with the logical and rhetorical 
graces that were always at the command of that elo- 
quent speaker, — heavy-broganned, red-faced, rough- 
handed young men, who had no way of showing regret 
or sentimental despair except the commonplace one of 
ceasing to visit the obdurate charmer on Sunday after- 
noons, clad in slop-shop suits (that effectually disguised 
such charms of manly bearing and fine proportion as 
they possessed), lit up by flaming cravats that Cupid, 
the rogue ! had tied about their honest sunburnt necks, 
assuring them that they were " most becoming," while 
he held himself ready to tighten the slip-knot if neces- 
sary and convert the choking satin of sentiment into 
the more galling noose matrimonial. 

And there were other lions in the path of true love 



28 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

with a better right to roar than any of these sucking 
doves ; but, in spite of them all, one morning when the 
sun was shining its brightest, and the birds were sing- 
ing their sweetest, and the clouds of bees swarmed 
thickest in other clouds of pink and white bloom in the 
orchards, and butterflies floated gayly and lit trem- 
blingly here and there, and nature, having unpacked all 
the treasures of beauty and perfume that she had cruelly 
carried away seven months before, sat down to enjoy 
the fair prospect and revel in the novelties of the season 
like the veriest woman, — on this lovel}^ spring morning 
John Shore opened his gate and led into the old house 
a bride as fair as the flaxen-haired girl, its first mistress, 
and as sweet as the great whiff that greeted them from 
the rain-freshened lilacs along the path, and that was a 
breath of heaven f And now it seemed for a time that 
destiny was checkmated and the elders but foolish 
prophets, for there was not on the mountain a man 
more temperate, industrious, and " steady" than John 
Shore, or a husband half as devoted. The people who 
were determined to find fault with him were driven to 
condemn him for being " a poor, foolish creature that 
worshipped the ground his wife walked on," for want 
of worse to say, while patient, weary women of many 
labors and little thanks sighed out a wish that thci/ had 
somebody " to cut every stick of wood and bring every 
drop of water" for them, and Mr. AVhite fell back upon 
a formula that had often been useful : *• Wait until the 
time of the fidfiUin' of purposes has come, and you'll see 
what you'll see." John even became the thing that it 
had been said it was impossible for him ever to be, — 
"a perfessor," joining his wife's church, known as " the 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 29 

United Bruthring," in which a flaming " revival" broke 
out about six months after their marriage, — perhaps 
because he found it so j)leasant to be united with her in 
anything and everything. Whatever his nlotives were, 
his mode of doing this was severly criticised by Mr. 
White, who took the same step at the same time after 
an unusually prolonged and acute season of self-com- 
munion and metaphysical investigation, in which he 
had been washed hither and thither by the wild waves 
of controversy, until, as he said himself, he was " plum 
beat aout." 

" Why, he warn't up at the mouraers' bench but one 
day !" he said, in indignant comment. " He got it that 
easy ! And I was weeks and weeks a-turnin' it over in 
m}^ mind, and a-lookin' at it this way, and a-lookin' at 
it that way, and a-lookin' at it the other way; not 
knowin' half the time what I was thinkin' ; a-seein' 
of the truth now and agin, and a-lettin' it slip, and 
a-pickin' it up agin red-hot, sufferin' all things until 
grace brought me to yea, verily. Amen ! And agin I 
was a month throwed down at the footstool, night and 
day a-cryin', and a-prayin', and a-beseechin', until the 
very children at the back of the church was almost in 
fits! That's what /had to go through. It all depends 
on what you've got to go through. When the time for 
the fulfillin' of purj^oses comes, it comes, and you've got 
to wait for that time. Searchin' is searchin', and I 
know what that is ; and seekin' is seekin', and it's what 
we are all bound, and obligated, and obleeged, and com- 
pelled — which it constraineth — to do, but findbi' is 
another matter. No, no, I ain't one to get no sort of 
religion cheap. Ifs got to cost like all creation, and I 

3* 



30 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

ain't a-goin' to stop, nor to pause, nor to halt, nor to 
consider nothini^ until I've ffot it, if it is to be had in 
this here world, or in the heavens above, or in the 
waters under the earth." Vital Eeligion had shown 
that it possessed the vital principles of growth and ex- 
pansion again, and " Brother White" had been talked 
of as far up as Timber Ridge as having " give in a power- 
ful experience, and got so happy and so full of glory 
that he was carried home for dead." All the other con- 
verts suffered by comparison with him, but none more 
so than his own brother, Timothy, a solemn, silent man, 
who had always been a United Brother at least to the 
extent of attending service regularly, paying his dues, 
and fulfilling faithfully his duties as steward of the 
church, but who had never been known to do two 
things, — sing a hymn or give his " experience." His con- 
duct in these two matters gave him a great deal of 
trouble, for he was always being reproved for his obsti- 
nacy or urged to do his duty. He would have been 
expelled if he had not been " a good contributin' mem- 
ber." Such are valuable in all communions, and so at 
every service Timothy took his seat and sat out the 
exercises like a lay-figure of some sort, — incredibly 
stolid, attentive, undemonstrative, — while his brethren 
marvelled at his conduct, imagined a hundred theories 
by which to explain it, and never hit upon the truth. 
It was very simple, and lay on the surface. Timothy 
had no experience to give, and he had no voice. One 
of the little-great Frederick's giant grenadiers had two 
hearts, we are told, and it may be that the elder of the 
White brothers owed his abnormal activity in theologi- 
cal matters to the fact that he had been endowed with 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 31 

two souls, his own and his brother's. It is certain that 
Timothy was never " awakened," or " convicted," or even 
"alarmed," in forty years of constant church-going. 
Yet no one, not the most earnest, the most emotional 
member of the congregation, ever enjoyed a revival as 
he did. It was what the opera, and theatre, and balls, 
and wine, and cards are to other men in other situations, 
only it was the one dissipation of his dull life. It 
warmed and stimulated his phlegmatic nature as nothing 
else did, — pierced and roused his sluggish mind, thrilled 
along his well-muffled nerves, set his slow blood running 
briskly on its errands, — producing an excitement that 
was delightful to him, and giving him the most vivid 
sensations of sympathy, interest, curiosity, of which he 
was capable. Yet with twenty people shrieking, and 
shouting, and groaning, and praying before him in vari- 
ous stages of religious frenzy he gave no outward evi- 
dence of his inward emotion such as those about him 
gave. He did not cry out, or weep, or moan, or faint. 
When he began to be deeply interested he would lean 
forward in his chair a little, cross his legs, put down his 
right elbow and support his face in his hand, the better 
to see and hear. Then, as the demonstrations became 
more agitating, his pale, deep-set eyes would glow like 
aqua-marines; he would moisten his lips. When the 
whole congregation burst into sobs he would run his 
right hand rapidly through his hair until it stood up 
around his face in a tragic nimbus in curious contrast 
with his features, which were those of one of nature's 
caricatures, — insignificant in size and exaggerated in 
outline. And when his emotions threatened to get the 
upper hand of him he would dive suddenly into his pocket 



32 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

and bring out an enormous bandanna handkerchief, 
which he ahvaj'S carried, and firmly bind his legs together 
with it just above the knee where they wete crossed. 
This vigorous measure always had the desired effect of 
keeping not only his body in subjection, but of subdu- 
ing him into his original state of stolid calm, and of 
preventing all flow of feeling and all dangerous conse- 
quences. But his brethren were not in the secret of 
this bit of moral surgery, and they waxed more and 
more indignant as revival followed revival and their 
steward still sat a mute and presumably mutinous sin- 
ner, so that when his brother in " uniting" himself with 
them made such a scene as the oldest members " had 
never seen the like of," the contrast was naturally 
glaring. It was noticed, too, that Timothy alone had 
no praise for the " powerful experience" which has been 
mentioned, and this was set down to malice and all un- 
charitableness. But the fact was that he had become a 
connoisseur in religious emotion, and knew a naked soul 
well enough, and preferred it to one clad in the oratori- 
cal purple of his brother's weaving. 

Unfortunately, John Shore's connection with the 
church was of the briefest. There are Pharisees in 
every fold, and that ancient element of all the churches 
was represented in this one by certain well-to-do farmers' 
wives who generally sat together, and somewhat apart 
from all the others, in the chief seats. In the course 
of the next "protracted meeting" a very poor, and 
particularly frowsy, unkempt, but reputable young girl 
imprudently took a seat on the end of one of these 
benches, tacitly reserved for the elect ladies ; and that 
from sheer embarrassment and not from any desire to 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 33 

intrude upon her neighbors. Up rose the leading lady 
of the party, and, seizing a blue parasol, and a magenta 
fan, and a gilt-edged hymn-book, she swept ostenta- 
tiously across the aisle and took up a fresh position 
where paupers could not come between the wind and 
her nobility, bridling haughtily as she did so, and 
saying, " I can't get religion with no such people." 
John Shore heard her, and felt as if he had received a 
blow in the face ; but the forlorn girl accepted the insult 
meekly, and when " the mourners" were invited to go 
up she rushed forward and fell weeping on her knees 
beside her fellow-sinners in a tumult of feeling that 
made her oblivious of the fact that religion was in- 
tended exclusively for the rich and respectable. To 
John Shore's amazement she was not allowed to stay 
there. Her tattered robe was not the robe of pharisaic 
righteousness at all, and, unobserved by the preacher, 
certain of the elders went up to her, said something to 
her, and then half led, half hustled her to the back of 
the church, where she was allowed to drop into a seat 
near the door. On seeing this, John Shore, who was 
singing a hymn, suddenly closed first his lips and then 
his book, and, turning, marched fiercely down the main 
aisle and out of the church, followed by his wife's 
startled gaze and the eyes of the whole congrega- 
tion. "Ef thaVs religion, I've got no use for it!" he 
said, hotly, when explaining his defection to his wife 
afterwards. "She had as good a right to be there as 
anybody. I'll not set foot in meetin' agin, and it's no 
use askin' me." 

And so snapped one of the cables that might have 
held this soul in the storm that was to beat upon his 



34 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

house and make liis heart desolate; nor is it only sim- 
ple and ignorant folk who make the mistake of con- 
founding Christianity^ with Christians — so-called. This 
subject was the only one that was never discussed in 
the Shore household, — the nearest approach to discord 
in a home full of such harmonies as wise thrift, true 
and tender love, gentle thoughts, unselfish deeds, to say 
nothing of others that were heard evening after even- 
ing floating out through the open windows near which 
Alice sat and sewed with one foot on a cradle while 
John played " Money Musk," and " Watermillion," and 
" Zip Coon," and " Miss McLeod," and " Yellow Stock- 
ings," and many a tune besides, with a bow that circled 
and flourished about him in a perfect ecstasy of motion 
that threatened to cut the very ears oif his head. No 
skies seemed bluer than those that arched clearly above 
the old cottage. But suddenly they were overcast and 
soon were filled with the very blackness of darkness. 
The storm had come. And now the other cable — 
which, being made of heart-strings, was so strong that 
it might have stood any strain that could have been 
put upon it — gave way, too, and John Shore was ship- 
wrecked, with nothing saved from the goodly vessel 
of all his hopes but a little child and the memory of 
a fireside saint. 

Three days passed, and then, pale and haggard, he 
got up from the bed on which he had been lying silent 
and still all day, stung into action by a sound full of 
painful suggestion, — the rattle of a milk-pail which one 
of the women in the house picked up, the rustle of her 
skirts as she left the room, her retreating footsteps. It 
was to go on, then, the milking, and baking, — and sweep- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 35 

ing, and sewing; work was to go on just as it used to, 
when she with whom he associated all domestic duties 
as well as affections would never do any of these things 
again. His heart swelled to bursting with the thought, 
so intolerable to all bereaved ones. He staggered a 
little as he stood on his feet and looked about him with 
the dazed vision of heavy grief " I— I am going away. 
Aunt Martha," he said to the old woman who had taken 
charge of him and his in the past week, and was sitting 
before a little smouldering fire of chips nursing the 
baby. " Take care of that child. I give him to you. 
And you can live here and take all that there is." He 
started towards the door as he spoke, caught sight of 
his wife's shawl and bonnet on the peg where she had 
hung them, stopped, took down the shawl and walked 
with it into an inner room, followed by Aunt Martha's 
anxious eyes and her thoughts of pity for his trouble 
and wonder at its effects. She could not imagine what 
he was going to do with the shawl. What he did was 
to wrap it tenderly about his violin, put both under his 
arm, and hurry past her out of the house and down the 
walk. " John ! John !" she screamed after him, " where 
are you going?" "I don't know," came back to her 
as he passed through the gate. 

" When are you comin' back, John ?" she persisted, 
her voice quivering shrilly with age and anxiety. 

" I ain't comin' back," he said. 

• She had taken " John's talk" as merely the wild utter- 
ance of affliction ; but, seeing this, she hastily put the 
child down and hobbled after him as fast as she could. 
She could not overtake him, however, and, after waiting 
outside a bit, she comfortably concluded that he would 



36 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

" be back to supper" and went in-doors again. Mean- 
while, he was making his way rapidly down the Eed 
Lane. 

The sun had set behind the mountains, and the pale 
clear light it had lefl was rapidly failing. Some little 
birds were settlincr down in their nests in the hedire- 
rows for the night with faint, intermittent twitterings 
of farewell. A light or two gleamed from the windows 
of a cottage here and there. The cows were walking 
slowly up the lane with pendulous heads and ears broad- 
flapped, chewing the cud of contentment, swishing with 
idle stroke the flies from their flanks, lowin<r occasion- 
ally to let impatient calves know that they were coming. 

He looked at them as they passed him. They were 
going home, and he 

A bat dashed past him out into the darkness, going 
in the same direction. " Ay 1 that is what I am doing," 
he thought. 

Coming to the mouth of the lane where it debouched 
into the high-road, he gave one long look back. And 
then he hurried forward. The shadows closed about 
him, the road stretched before him in all its lonely 
length. It seemed to lead to the end of the world. 

********** 

If there was a thing that the mountain hated, it was 
what it called and esteemed " foolishness." That a man 
should give up " goin' to mcetin' " because a poor girl 
that he did not so much as know was treated in a way 
that he did not approve of was " foolishness." That a 
man should give up his home and friends, and leave a 
piece of property to be managed by anybody or benefit 
anybody but himself, merely because ho had lost his 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 37 

wife, was double-distilled "foolishness." There were 
men on the mountain who had lost four wives and had 
never dreamed of such a thing as letting the light afflic- 
tion of the moment work permanent injury to such grave 
interests as pigs, and potatoes, and wheat, — to property, 
in short, — and who might have lost four hundred (with 
patriarchal opportunities and advantages in the matter 
of length of days and number of spouses) without being 
driven out of the county. And if there was a thing 
that the Mountain despised it was travellers. It knew 
that all tramps were travellers, ergo all travellers were 
tramps. It was true that there was such a thing as 
authorized vagabonds, who came among them with 
chromos, and lamps, and cheap flim-flams to sell, in 
which case their contempt was good-humored and tol- 
erant, and very occasionally they were puzzled by 
another variety of the genus, the " winged Ishmaelites" 
of commerce, who drove smart gigs, and were dressed 
always as for " meetin'," or " courtin','' and stopped only 
at the large farm-houses, and joked a great deal, and 
never had anything less than a sewing-machine to '' dis- 
pose of" But still travelling was travelling. On that 
point the Mountain was immovable, fixed, firm. There 
were cases in which travel, as represented by " buggy 
trips" to regions as remote as the country on the other 
side of the Eidge, two counties off, had been condoned 
as a necessary evil, but this had only been when im- 
portant issues were at stake and hung upon the prodig- 
ious effort such as getting a thoroughbred Jersey cow, 
or selling a horse, or buying seed-corn. As a rule, nobody 
went twenty miles from home, or ever wished to go that 
far, or had the least desire, the faintest curiosity, to know 

4 



38 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

what lay beyond the blue heights that stretched along 
their horizon, look where they would, and made for them 
a compact, complete, and perfectly satisfactory world 
with distinctly final, definite limits, such as geography 
can never give. 

So John Shore was set down as a crack-brained fellow, 
— no great loss to anybody, — and the Mountain had 
always known how it would be. His return at an early 
date was confidently predicted and exj^ected. Good old 
Aunt Martha fancied that she heard his step many a 
time, and for a year would occasionally set away on 
the top shelf of the dresser some dish or other — a pot 
of apple-butter, a slice of souse, or a plate of her corn- 
muffins — as an en cas, should John come back to hi:^ 
own " clean famished." 

Si Hodges, who was the wit of the community, 
"reckoned he'd wait till harvest was over." Sister 
Parrish, who lived next to the cottage, felt it her duty 
to warn Baby Shore, still in short clothes, against 
"growin' up to be like his 'Pa-ap,'" who had "gone way 
oif yonder- beyant the Eidge, goodness alive knows 
whurabouts, and who warn't no 'count when he was at 
home." (In spite of certain obstacles of sex that one 
would have supposed insuperable. Sister Parrish was a 
United Brother, and as such had a grudge against poor 
" Pa-ap.") 

Brother White was convinced that "it warn't no use 
a-flyin', nor a-fleein', from the wrath of Heaven," which 
he charit.ibly assumed to have fallen upon his rival. 
" For there's the wind, and the whirlwind, and the 
tornadio to overtake," said he. " And there's the thunder 
a-rollin' and a-clappin' to warn. And there's the rain 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 39 

a-downfallfn,' and the rivers a-uprisin' to drown. And 
there's the lightnin' a-dartin' forrards and a-rekiling 
backards to strike. And there's the hail a-slantin' and 
a-slitherin' to smite. And there's earthquakes and there's 
seaquakes to swaller up. And there's wild beasts a-ragin' 
and a-roarin' and a-gnashin' of teeth to devour. And 
there's all manner of pesteriferous creatures a-creepin' 
over, and a-crawlin' under. And there's pits and pitfalls, 
and traps and trapfalls, and no man maketh a way to 
escape in that day. And wherefore? Whatever is to 
be, will be, whether it cometh to pass or doth not attain 
to it, and when the time for the fulfilment of purposes 
comes it will not stay its hand for John Shore, nor ten 
thousand thousand sich, and don't you think it." 

On hearing this, the Mountain, already conscious of 
its vast superiority to every other place, prided itself 
afresh on its security, serenity, and general stability, 
and, accepting Mr. White's remarks as a masterly sum- 
mary of what lay " beyant the Eidge," congratulated 
itself anew on its enviable character and conditions, 
and was less inclined than ever to change them for the 
doubtful good and certain evils of " furrin parts." 



40 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 



11. 



" Bedimmed the noon-tide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds, 
and 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault is set roaring war." 
— Tempest. 

Many a harvest of wheat and corn was planted and 
grew into bearded and tasselled luxuriance and golden 
perfection and was stored and eaten without any help 
from John Shore. The mountain sat high and serene 
in idyllic picturesqueness of pose and repose above the 
world ; it looked down upon all these years, and seen 
from a distance by the sentimental observer, seemed a 
point in a delectable and delightsome land of agricul- 
tural plenty and rural virtue, its every harsh feature of 
rock}^ slope, and brier-set paths, poor soil, and scant 
woodland, together with the volcanic fires pent up 
perhaps, in its breast, veiled by mist. And the commu- 
nity collectively known as " the Mountain" presented a 
wondrously tranquil exterior, that passed for perfect 
contentment and honest toil, — ingenuous preference 
for "simplicity" (as expressed by hard labor and scant 
rewards) and great uprightness in dealing — with those 
of defective sympathy or narrow experience of life, 
while in reality there was below the surface the toil 
and suffering, the want and ignorance, the tragedies 
and griefs, of all the sons of Adam, and as much tend- 
ency to drink, and lie, and cheat, and steal, and break 
every commandment in the Decalogue as if there had 
not been a field, or brook, or flower for miles around to 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 41 

ask how such things could be in God's sweet world. 
Daisies are charming symbols of innocence to the urban 
mind, but it is perfectly possible to gaze fixedly at 
them from daylight until dark in the revery born of 
opium. And young lambs frisking in green meadows 
is a pretty sight enough to see, and would be a prettier 
if this were not a brutal butchering world, which shows 
them to us against a greener background of mint ; but 
it was while Cain and Abel were "in the field with the 
flocks" that the first murder was done. So long as it is 
the heart of man that is " deceitful, and desperately 
wicked," the most pastoral scenery and sylvan shades 
will afford no sort of security that human conduct will 
bear any nice relation to bucolic environment, though 
we should all go on all-fours like Nebuchadnezzar and 
eat grass. Good Friday, 1861, found the Mountain posi- 
tively agitated, if such a term can be applied to such 
an inert mass of disciplined dulness and conservative 
custom. A great many startling things had disturbed 
the fine equilibrium of its monotony. For a year 
vague murmurs from the stormy sea of political differ- 
ence and strife beyond the mountains had reached even 
this remote spot, though small heed was paid to them. 
But now Virginia was about to secede. War had come ; 
and that fact, like a blazing ship, filled the eye and mind 
of all who were watching its course, and could be seen 
from a great distance, so that the most sluggish souls 
were quickened for the time into something like vivid 
feeling. The Mountain, ever practical, would have 
liked to utilize the heat generated to cook its own 
breakfast, and had quite a keen anxiety to know how 
far the increased price of pork and wheat would justify 

4* 



42 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

Becession, and the overturning of a system that gave 
bi-weekly market-days, and regular, if small, profits on 
farm produce of every kind. It wished to know, too, 
how far it was liable for the promises being made in its 
name by ardent orators at the cross-roads, in the matter 
of conscription, crops, taxes. In short, it took the natural 
and frankly-selfish view of the situation at first and not 
the heroic one, and was shrewd enough to see that it 
would have to carry its share of the general burden. 
And then, too, it was concerned about some other things.. 
" Bud" Hodges, Si's brother, had been hanged only the 
day before for having killed his wife, after being " con- 
victed" almost on the scaffold, and making a long speech 
to the assembled crowd, in which he invited them all to 
meet him in Heaven, especially his friends and relatives, 
apparently with the fullest assurance that he would be 
there to welcome them. " A man that can toss more 
hay and cut more ice, and plough straighter and longer 
than any man 'bout here, and she not fitten to live no- 
way, and the children out-scattered 'mong strangers 
they never heerd tell of nor laid eyes on before." com- 
plained the party most discontented with the workings 
of a law which took no account of temptation, provoca- 
tion, nor consequences, led, strange to say, by the victim's 
brother. 

The preacher who had been with him all through his 
trial, like the good shepherd that he was, — a man much 
loved by his flock, — had been ordered away after a stay 
of eight years among them, which was unsettling. 

The crops had failed the summer before, and this, like 
all calamities, had fallen heaviest upon those least able 
to bear it, — the laborers and owners of small holdings 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 43 

rather than the large farmers about them, — in the 
severe winter that had followed. 

" Jones's brindle steer" had somehow run a spike 
through his chest, and had to be shot, valuable as he 
was. Two sets of double-headed chickens had already 
been hatched, early as the season was. Altogether it 
was felt to be a most unusual and troublous time, in 
which almost anything might happen that was abnor- 
mal or painful, such unrest and anxiety was in the air. 
But, all the same, nobody was in the least prepared for 
what was coming as fast as — but stop ! it is some miles 
off yet. The day was a busy one. Good Friday always 
is on the Mountain ; not that any part of it is spent in 
religious observances. Scarcely any one knew what its 
special significance was to the Christian world. But 
ignorance is always relative, and they had information 
of their own about it that they likewise supposed to be 
as universal as it was important. It was well known 
among them, for instance, that if flower-seeds were 
planted on that day they would come up "all colored," — 
variegated ; that if eggs were set under a hen with no 
reputation whatever for doing her duty b}^ them, in 
double the usual numbers, every one of them w^ould 
turn out a chicken that would live through anything, 
though it were to thunder during every day of the 
incubation; that potatoes put in then yielded as well 
again as those planted at any other season ; and that 
if you wanted to begin any piece of work, from cutting 
out a dress, if you were a woman, to building a house, 
if you were a man. Good Friday was the luckiest day 
in all the year to choose for it. 

This being the case, it was not remarkable that in a 



44 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

region where it was hardly possible for the sheep to 
cross a meadow without being followed by the slow 
gaze of four or five rustics, and in which anything like 
an event or a piece of news lasted for months (with no 
care at all in economizing expenditure in details), that 
a man mounted on a large, roan horse rode the whole 
length of the Red Lane without being observed by a 
single adult. The children about the houses and in the 
door-ways, barelegged and tattered, half bold, half shy, 
peeped at or goggled after him. Eliza Watson, bending 
over her lettuce-bed, raised her head for a moment as 
he passed. Jane Woodruff came to the door with her 
iron in her hand and spat on it before glancing that 
way. The yellow dog flew out from behind the ash- 
hopper and barked vague suspicion at the third house. 
A dirty white kitten was all that was to be seen at 
the next place, feebly mewing and prowling; at the 
next, only an absurdly pompous turkey-cock, swelling 
conceit and defiance with tragic stage-villainous starts 
and side-swept wings, while his spouses picked their way 
about in a meek, womanly, or, rather, fine-ladical fashion, 
as if they were not used to the country and found the 
walking bad. John Shore — for it was he — turned in his 
saddle and gazed earnestly at all these familiar sights. 
The children might have been, and seemed for the 
moment, just those he had left there ; the fowls and 
animals were of the same breed ; the houses were only 
a shade more dilapidated. Was it really fifteen years 
since he had rushed away from here with an intolerable 
sense of loss and desolation that had darkened the 
very heavens above him and the earth about him? 
Ever since he had left the high-road and slackened rein 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 45 

he had been looking for startling changes that should 
in some measure correspond with those he had known ; 
but none were visible. He saw one or two comfortable 
stone houses on the hills around him that had not been 
there, a new barn, a few patent gates. He noticed that 
the land had been divided into smaller fields and seemed 
better tilled ; but this was all. And there w-as the Eidge 
as blue as ever; Massanutton mist-veiled, sharp-spurred, 
distant and beautiful as his lost happiness to his home- 
sick eyes. There was the Eound Meadow greening 
with wheat as it always was at that season; there 
were the same sheep, apparently, dotting the same old 
pastures ; there were the rich upland slopes, set in green 
frames of wood or field, changing color, as he looked, 
from ochre to dark-purple or velvet-brown, according to 
the age of the furrows or the blackness of the shadowing 
clouds, and with a bloom on them like that of the 
plum. Surely no earth ever looked like this Yirginian 
earth, and no skies could be as ethereal as these Yirgin- 
ian skies, and no mountains so gi^and and noble as his 
own Virginian mountains ! His eyes filled with tears 
as he watched the cloud-shadows that swept down 
them, the sunbursts that illuminated them. Ay ! after 
all wanderings he had got back to the land! The land 
to live in, and to die for ! In spite of all sorrows, it was 
a joy to see it again that pierced his very heart W'ith 
its sweetness. When he got to his own gate, the great 
apple-tree near it showered down a lovely welcome 
upon him. He saw a neat woman's figure in the back- 
yard ; a pink sun-bonnet. The blood rushed to his brain, 
carrying a wild thought about his dead wife, and then 
receded again, leaving him very pale. Perceiving that 



46 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

he was there and that he still halted, the woman ap- 
proached, crossed her red arms over the fence, pushed 
back her bonnet, revealing an ugly face that he easily 
recognized, if not the modest beauty of the one he had 
thought of, smiled in a way that emphatically illus- 
trated the truth that some people gain by being amiable 
and others lose (such a toothless waste of gum showed 
blankly there), and challenged the stranger to a flirta- 
tion or explanation, or both. " What might yer want, 
anyways? Won't yer 'light?" she said. "I never 
noticed yer at first." 

" Do you know me now ?" he asked. 

She shook her head archly. " No, I ain't never seen 
yer before, but I reckon I'll know yer next time." 

" I know you. You are Aunt Martha's younger 
sister, Jinny Hodges," said he. 

"And who are yer, anyways, that knows me?" she 
asked, eagerly. 

" I'm John Shore." 

" Mercy on us ! It never ain't I Sakes alive ! John 
Shore!" she cried. " Whur did j^er come from? 
Whur've yer been at all this time ? Mercy me ! Folks 
said you was dead. Well I I declare ! John Shore I 
Al's Pa-ap !" 

It was some moments before she composed herself 
sufficiently to suggest again that he should " 'light and 
come in," and then, leading the way, she made a very 
pertinent inquiry, — " What did yer come back fur, any- 
ways, John? Walk right in! Al ! All He ain't here. 
He ain't come home yet. My sakes I And yer ain't 
dead at all. And what brung yer home ? Marthy 
always said yer'd come. Set down. I declare to gra- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 47 

cious ! I can't believe it. Seems like it couldn't be. 
But yer ain't told yet what brung yer? And yer ain't 
never been dead, of course. It takes the rag off the 
bush ! It certainly does." Without waiting for a reply 
she clattered on and on, while John Shore looked about 
him dreamily, only half catching what was said. 

"Yes, me and Al's been livin' on here ever since 
Marthy deceased, together, and many's the time Al, he's 
said to me, ' I'm master here, Jinny, and you shall stay 
here always. I ain't never goin' to turn yer out no- 
ways,' " she went on, and, not getting any response from 
her companion, she said, tentatively, with raised voice, 
"That was when you was dead, John, I mean. Yes, 
me and him's always been the best of friends." 

John Shore came back to the present, and perfectly 
understood the drift of her remarks. 

"J ain't a-goin' to be the one to turn you out. Jinny," 
he said, kindly. " Don't you be afeard of that, — nor Al, 
neither. You've stayed here right straight along and 
took care of him, and you've got a better right to be 
here than me. And I wouldn't turn out no woman no- 
way. A woman without a roof over her head is like a 
turtle without a shell. ]S"o, no ; I come home because 
I heerd they was goin' to jump on old Virginia and 
stawmp her, and I couldn't stay 'way after that. I was 
gettin' on right well, then, out there, — mighty well fur 
me, — but it seemed like I laid on a care-bed after that 
news come. I couldn't sleep nor rest ; and I hadn't no 
peace in my mind, I wuz so oneasy. At last it all come 
clear to me. It said plain as I'm speakin' this minute, 
' Shame on you ; you are a mean-sperrited coward ! Ef 
your mother was struck, would you stop to think of 



48 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

houses, and beds, and sich stuff?' And next day I sold 
all I had and started." 

" Did you get the wuth of 'em ? Lor' no ! of course 
not," said she. " Goin' to the war ? Why, yer 
mighty simple. I don't see as you've got no call to go 
to no war, John. Some sez there ain't goin' to be 
none, 'cause the Yankees '11 run away, and some sez it's 
goin' to be turrible. The Eidge has been blue-black 
lately, and the sun's set for blood over and over agin. 
Pretty nigh twenty men from round 'bout here sez they 
are goin' if it comes, and when all twenty gits to fightin' 
with maybe twenty or thirty more of them, it'll be tur- 
rible ! Somebody '11 get hurt with that foolishness yet, 
and 'pears to me hke they'd all better go to ploughin' and 
stop this here talk 'bout fightin'. If you'll hearken to 
me, you'll not go mixin' yourself up with no sich doin's, 
no way they fix it, John. You ain't dead now, though 
I've been told time and again cornstant that you wuz ; 
but you'll be killed dead before you're done soldierin' — 
mark my words, for you'll live to see it, — sure enough 
dead and no come back this time. When they talk to 
me 'bout this here scare-all, I sez, ' Stay at home and 
mind your own business, all of yer, and there won't he 
no war.' So thafs what brung yer. Why, yer might 
as well have been dead as to go get killed, John. Now 
hadn*tyer?" 

" Tell me 'bout Al," he replied, waiving all argument 
on the subject. " Is he Uke — her — his mother ? and is 
he strong and healthy?" 

Jinny, still staring at him and nervously swinging 
her bonnet by one string now, not only replied to this 
question, but talked almost without interruption for 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 49 

half an hour, and with only such cessation as was 
necessary in order to catch a gasping breath. Once 
in her voluble flow of narrative she stopped to whip 
off a slipper and throw it with a loud " Shoo 1 shoo I" at 
some chickens that were coming in, which caused a 
great scramble and flutter among them, a rush of wings, 
and one or two loud squawks of alarm ; but this was 
only a momentary diversion, and she rattled on after it 
until her listener's head fairly buzzed with the effort 
required to keep up with her. " Jinny always wuz a 
talker," thought he, " but when she gets the band on 
the wheel now, she goes round like she would set fire 
to something or fly all to pieces." When she had said 
all there was to say on each subject that crowded into 
her mind she ended it with some allusion to his reported 
death which had much the effect of selah in the Psalms, 
returning to this fixed idea by every conceivable high- 
way and byway. It was too firmly planted among her 
convictions to be lightly relinquished. At last, just as 
she had opened her mouth wide and secured the essen- 
tial condition to further conversation, a side-issue struck 
full upon the unexhausted and inexhaustible stores 
of her experience, and she jumped up, exclaiming, 
" Lor', yer ain't had no supper. Yer'll want some- 
thing to eat," but even then she she only stopped long 
enough to seize the bread-pan and rolling-pin. Making 
vigorous use of these, she chattered and clattered away 
to John Shore on the hypothesis that he was his own 
ghost with the most characteristic perversity of ingen- 
uity until the biscuits were in the stove. ^'IS'ow, John, 
make yerself at home. Do jest as if yer'd always 
been alive and livin' here," she then said, and dashing 
c d 5 



50 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

into her l»onnet, rushed out to disseminate the great 
news, leaving him very much of a shade, in feehng at 
least, among the fast-gathering shadows. 

She was back again before long ; but it was in her 
absence that father and son met. Hearing the door 
open, John Shore had risen impulsively and gone 
towards the figure diml}^ visible there, saying, "Alfred! 
Ain't it you, Alfred? My son! My son!" and so had 
fallen upon the neck of an astonished youth. She found 
them sitting opposite each other "svhen she came in, and 
it was but a dissolving view that the elder man got of 
her when she lit the lamp, which showed him Alfred, 
his chair tilted back against the wall, his legs twisted 
awkwardly among the rounds, his hands thrust deep 
in his pockets, sustaining with round eyes and red 
cheeks an embarrassing experience. Look as earnestly 
as he would, John Shore could find no trace of resem- 
blance between the boy and his dead mother, except 
an occasional transient expression about the eyes ; but 
even that awoke in him so many vivid memories of 
her that he fell into an absorbed revery in which self- 
reproach predominated. His wife seemed to be asking 
in every such glance why he had left her — their son to 
be reared by strangers. A more stolid, clumsy specimen 
of the commonplace clod-hopping youth than Alfred 
could not have been found ; for not only had the poetical 
strain with which his father had been blessed or cursed . 
been left out of his composition entirely, but he was 
invincibly dull of perception, — a thing-like person who 
might have raised unpleasant doubts as to the immor 
tality of the soul in some minds, so little sensitive to 
impressions and sensations was he, so mildly vegetable 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 51 

rather than animal, as if made to live for to-day, to be 
cast in the oven to-morrow. " Slow and fearsome" the 
Mountain called him, and added, " but trusty." 

Something in him had responded to that cry, " My 
son!" — an unsuspected echo such as nature keeps and 
reveals in the most unlikely places, — and when he had 
recovered from the shock of hearing it he received his 
father's deprecating advances with an awkward kindli- 
ness that increased his sense of unworthiness, and 
aroused a keen feeling of gratitude, though it was a 
good-will expressed in no more demonstrative ways or 
words than a most protracted, inexpressive stare, an 
occasional vacant smile, and a casual " Ter don't say," 
or " That's so," or " Yer right there." 

"Yer didn't think yer'd come home and find yer 
Pa-ap come to life agin, now did yer?" queried Jinny, 
as she moved briskly about the room. " Ef I had of 
died myself and been buried, I couldn't er been no cer- 
tainer of Ij^in' in my grave forever and ever. And him 
settin' there without no windin' sheet nor nothing as 
alive as you or me or the next one, after being dead 
nigh on fifteen years, and a sperrit among the sperrits ! 
It beats all that ever I heerd, and they wouldn't believe 
me, and no wonder when I told 'em — (come to supper) 
— and I sez, ' Come and see, ef yer don't believe me, and 
I don't blame yer for not believin' me, for I didn't be- 
lieve myself (the biscuits is getting cold) ; and that's 
the truth, and while I live I'll never say agin that 
nobody is dead, nor believe it, not if I carries the coffin 
(set down, John ; take the foot of the table) and spades 
the dirt in on 'em myself! And they'll all be here pretty 
quick, and yer'd better hurry up and git a bite down 



52 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

(that risin' of Sally's ain't worth shucks) before they 
gits here to see yer alive and brcathin' the breath of life 
for theirselves, for the news is offscnt by this, I can 
tell yer." The bung once out of the conversational 
barrel, Jinny's eloquence would have flowed on for the 
evening, but she had not underrated the reportorial 
capacity of the female tongue at its best, and it was not 
long before interruptions came. Before the sun dropped 
behind the western hills, every family and cottage for 
miles around had received an electric shock that did as 
well as a telegraphic despatch, saying, "John Shore has 
come home." 

The Mountain for once was completely taken aback. 
The Mountain masculine got almost excited and said, 
" Well, I'll be doggoned !" — was even more emphatic. 
The Mountain feminine grew shrill and voluble with its 
own exclamations and explanations. The Mountain 
feminine and masculine trudged off to see if half the 
wonderful tidings could be true. " John Shore, back," 
"from Texis," "goin' to the war," "three hundred 
dollars in his pocket," " ownin' his horse," " all dressed 
up," was the last figure that could have been expected. 
The elders were puzzled for a moment, staggered by 
such evidences of respectability and prosperity. They 
felt the necessity of investigating these rumors and 
winnowing the chaff from all this wheat, if it was 
wheat, — more likely tares. The nearest neighbors got 
there first, of course, and Jinny, full of the delightful 
excitement of having a ghost on exhibition, hailed them 
cheerfully from afar with, " Come in! Come right in ! 
There he sets! Meat and bones, as you see I Pinch him 
ef yer don't believe me ! He ain't no stiff, nor no spcrrit. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 53- 

neither ! ha ! ha ! ha !" A fresh batch of arrivals put an 
end to the lecture she would fain have delivered on her 
interesting " subject," and from that moment she was 
kept so busy welcoming her guests that she could only- 
whisper here and there, " Warn't I telling yer the truth, 
now ? M' ain't he lively and limber for a stiff? S' ain't 
he, now?" She had to be mistress of ceremonies, for 
Alfred no sooner saw them beginning to assemble than 
he picked up a stick, got out his jack-knife, and sought 
refuge from social duties and domestic complications in 
whittling. By the time supper was over the whole 
population of the lane had slouched into and around 
the old cottage, — " Shore's," as they put it, — down to 
the babies that could not be left at home for obvious 
reasons, and Grandma Williams, stone-deaf and franti- 
cally curious ; down to the very dogs. " Well, ef this 
ain't as good as a buryin' !" said Jinny, with her most 
beaming smile, as she gave the old woman a seat as 
close to the corpse of her simile as possible, — a position 
which only made G-oody Williams more aggravatingly 
aware of her infirmity than ever, and caused her to cry 
''Hainh? What's that?" at intervals of about five 
minutes all during her stay. It was soon impossible to 
improvise another seat, but still they came. Not viva- 
ciously, or noisily, but slowly, solemnly, greeting John 
Shore without enthusiasm, very much as though he had 
left them the day before, regarding him with expression- 
less eyes in which no beam of humor or friendliness 
relieved a fixed stare ; summoning him, as it were, to 
give an account of himself, and justify, if he could, 
conduct so unprecedented. Alfred was chief inquisitor, 
or seemed so to John Shore, in spite of his youth. Find- 
s' 



^4 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

ing himself set before this tribunal, John Shore said 
what he could for himself. He could do no less, but it 
came to very little. He touched lightly on his reasons 
for leaving Virginia, but gave the impression that he 
was attempting to gloss over a serious offence. He gave 
some account of his travels, — they were not interested 
in will-o'-the-wisp chases in the mountains of the moon. 
He stated what his circumstances were, — they were 
what might have been expected, the elders thought. 
Such fruits as insight and experience were but unsub- 
stantial gains in the face of such facts as cropped out, 
— the horse he was riding was not his own ; he had but 
five dollars in his pocket! His patriotism passed for 
the windy utterances of a man who had nothing to lose 
by commotions and disturbances. His desire to see his 
old home even counted ao-ainst him. He ou^ht not to 
have gone away, they argued, but having gone he should 
have stayed. The folly of travelling was clearer than 
ever. The peace party was strengthened by the fact 
that John Shore was going to the war. It showed what 
war was. 

Brother White (a tottering old man now, as unstable 
in body as faith, but still a voice for the community) 
expressed the general feeling when he rose from the oak 
settee and said, "Weill I never was one to go around, 
and about, and above, and below, and hither, and yon, 
and thither, and beyant ; a-goin' off, and a-rcturnin' on, 
and a-leavin' behind, and a-settlin' around, a-deceivin', 
and a-surprisin', and a-piratin', and a-pirootin'. But an 
if I had of been obliged, and obleeged, and obligated, 
and bound, and constrained to leave my home, and mj'- 
friends, and my kin, and my kindred, and my kindred's 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 55 

kindred, I'd have gone, and have went, and have re- 
mained, and stayed wherever and whithersoever that 
place or places, or person or persons, put me. But it is 
for folks to choose or to leave ; and to have and to hold ; 
and to scatter or to gather ; and the stony rocks is for 
the conies, and the green meadoVs for them that lies 
down. And as for goin' to this here war^ I'm an old 
man, and a weak man, and a lame man, and a bent 
man that can't be driv, nor led, nor carried forth, nor 
borne along to no war, nor warrings, nor fights, nor 
fightings. Whereas. I sez to the young, and the strong, 
and the foolish, and the foolhardy — I sez : ' Wait, and 
hold on, and pause and consider, and consMer agin 
when you've paused, and pause agin when you've con- 
sidered, and reflect when you've paused and considered, 
before you go to no war.' For what is war ? It's fightin\ 
and you've got to fight or he fit. And it's stahhin\ and 
you've got to stab or git stabbed, one. And it's shootin\ 
and you've got to shoot or to git shot, sure. And it's 
stealing and you've got to steal or git stole from. And it's 
hurnin\ and you've got to burn or git burnt out. It's 
hoUerin', and hoUerbadoin', and hellerbaloonin'. That's 
what it is. It's rampagin', and rumpagin'. It's travellin', 
and movin'. It's a-handlin' of guns, and turnin' over of 
pistols, and a-regyardin' of all kinds of weepons prone 
to go off and not to be laid down until the time cometh. 
It's death, and destruction, and ruination, and a-gettin' 
kilt or a-killin', — for whom? and for what? and for 
which ? And none can tell, nor discover, nor make plain 
the end thereof from the beginning, but yet all knoweth 
that it overwhelmeth ! And what sort of a kind of a 
thing is this — to go a-seekin' for, and lookin' after, and 



56 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

a-searchin' into, and a-stirrin' up, and a meddlin' with, 
and a-pesterin' about, anyways — this here war? Let 
them as are runagates continuing in scarceness go after, 
and pursue, and follow on, and lead forth, and cause to 
be led forth to the slaughter, a-talkin' of ' South and 
North,' and 'East and'West,' and 'Union and disunion,' 
like as if they owned the Mountain. Well stay right 
here, whur we've always stayed, and do jes' like we've 
always done." lie looked frowningly around from his 
seat near the door as he concluded at the war-party 
represented primarily by John Shore, and then by a 
few very young men whose minds had been mildly in- 
flamed by current rumors and speeches, and mopped 
his wrinkled face and bald head acrimoniously with 
wrathful sweeps of his coat-sleeve. 

" Well, now, Jake, I dunno 'bout that," said Bub Wil- 
liams, upon whom the speaker's eye had last rested, — 
Bub Williams, the best shot on the Mountain, and the 
hardest drinker, with a finger that seemed to get steady 
the moment it touched a trigger, no matter what was 
the state of his nerves. *' Maybe there's times and 
seasons. The case looks to me this way. Ef old Yir- 
ginny was to say go, I'd go. She knows what's right, 
and she'll do what's right every time, en ef she called 
I'd have to light out and do the best I could for her. 
Fair and square and softly scz I ef you kin, and when 
you kain't, give the other side Hail Columbia. The 
Yankees ain't done nothin' to me as I knows on, but ef 
they tech Yirginny I'm there ! My old rifle ain't wuth 
much," he concluded, with a twinkle in his eye that 
somehow rippled down all his lazy, good-humored per- 
son as he sat half doubled up in the window-seat, " but 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 57 

I reckon I can give 'em a salute V The young men 
laughed at this, and John Shore and Bub exchanged a 
glance of mutual understanding which Brother White 
caught and resented. He was about to begin an angry 
remonstrance with " Oh, yes, there's two of you and a 
pair of you," when Bub's father, Zach, a man of great 
weight, moral and avoirdupois, picked up his felt hat 
and running it through his fingers back and forth said 
gruffly, " I don't want to hear no more talk of goin' to 
no war, Bub. Leave fightin' to the fools that likes it. 
You've got something else to do. You've got to plough, 
and to sow, and to reap, and to harrow, and to stack corn, 
and to pitch hay, and to cut ice, and to butcher pigs, — 
that's what you've got to do. What's the wages of 
a soldier, anyways ? What's it all about, anyways ? I 
ain't heerd no plain, sensible account of it yet from 
nobody. I ain't goin' out to fight nobody I ain't got 
no quarrel with, and ef they comes down here to fight 
me — well, they ain't come yet. Govermint ain't never 
put clothes on my back nor my children's, nor food in 
my stomach nor my children's, and I don't reckon 
they ever will ; so I'll stay where I can do it myself, 
and let 'em find out what they are fightin' about ef 
they kin, and fight it out theirselves when they do. 
What's govermints to me?" Nobody undertook to 
answer this question, but it was a signal for a general 
discussion of the issue before them, in which the 
women joined with much spirit, and when the general 
fusillade of talk had abated, the elders successively 
gave their views. The constituent elements of the 
company were those of all assemblies, as very soon 
appeared. There was the prophet, who had seen 



58 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

and known that there would be a war, and that very- 
war ever since he was born and for ages before, — the 
man who predicted ruin for the South and ruin for the 
North with the perfect impartiality and the gloomy- 
satisfaction of the raven; the man who weighed the 
probabilities, and announced future results with the 
skilled ambiguity of the almanac-seer; the man who 
could have averted all such dangers and greater disas- 
ters if he had been "govermint," but whose valuable 
advice was somehow never taken. And then John 
Shore leaned forward and smote his knee with his right 
hand, and, with flushed cheek and sparkling eyes, spoke 
out all his simple, loyal creed. " It ain't govermint," 
he cried : " it's Virginia !" and went on to declare briefly 
his thoughts and intentions. The elders listened frown- 
ingly, unconvinced and displeased. Some of the younger 
men's faces feebly reflected his ardor, and as he looked 
from one to another he felt the chill of the orator who 
is not en rapport with his audience until he came to 
Timothy White. A gleam as of the sun or steel was in 
those cold light eyes, — a spark without warmth. As he 
caught John's glance, he rose to his feet with sudden 
resolution, his face turned crimson. " i'm going to this 
war for one. I'll be damned if I don't!" he said, and, 
throwing his hat down on the floor with a passionate 
gesture, he walked out of the room. If Eound Hill had 
got up and challenged Mars to single combat, the Little 
Mountainites could not have been one whit more 
amazed. Tim White! the silent, taciturn, undemonstra- 
tive Tim White, the most stolid of the stolid, the 
quietest of the quiet, — he whom neither love, nor hate, 
nor religion had ever moved to open his lips in any 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 59 

sort of profession or confession, who had never yet 
given that " experience," to behave as he had done ! It 
deprived the most fluent of speech, and took, as they 
said, the breath out of their bodies. What a time it 
must be in which the dumb spoke and the grave gave 
up its dead ! At last, its curiosity slaked, and its work 
waiting to be done, the company, with scant ceremony 
and rustic farewells, dispersed as slowly and slouchingly 
as it had gathered. The women-folk lingered a little 
with Jinny on the steps, listening to her post-mortem 
confidences, and they saw Timothy White off under a 
tree smoking. 

" Who'd ha' thought he'd spit out like that ! Bub's 
always said he hadn't spunk enough to git married, or 
set up with a corpse, or do anything," said Mrs. Williams, 
junior, indicating the distant figure with a wave of her 
sun-bonnet. " And I never heerd of him being a drink- 
ing man." 

" They're all drunk. That's about what's the matter," 
said Mrs. Williams, senior, severely ; " though it ain't 
liquor this time. And if they go on, and go on, till 
they jaw us into a war, there'll be trouble and to spare 
for us women, I can tell you. The fools that fights gets 
killed mostly, but we've got to live it out.'' With the 
intuition of her sex, Mrs. Williams had got at the 
heart of the question so far as it affected the weaker 
vessel. 

When Jinny re-entered the cottage, she said, " Well, 
Pa-ap, your bed's done made up, and I know you'll say 
in the morning, 'Jinny, I never slep' no better not in 
my grave' and when you git up I'm goin' to give you a 
breakfast that'll make you glad to have rose from the 



60 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

cold tomb ; and I am glad you've come home, even 
though being dead, John ; and ef you want any water 
there's the pump ; and ef you holler, Al'U hear you 
and come right in j and there's the washin' to-morrow I 
So now I am off, and I hope you ain't a sleep-walker 
now you've left off bein' a ghost, John, for I always 
was scary of nights and thought I seed sperrits round, 
and didn't like the looks of sheets on the clothes-line" 
(here she briskly closed the shutters, locked the front 
door, and resumed from the next room without any 
break in her narrative), " and there ain't no grave-yards 
'bout here for you to go to and walk about in, so there 
ain't no call for you to stir till day breaks" (here she 
began mounting the steps). "And, lor! you may be 
sure I'll look under my bed this night, for I ain't used 
to sleepin' in the house with stiffs, and it sorter makes 
me creep and crawl down the back, if you'll excuse me 
sayin' so and mean in' no offence to you, seein' you are 
alive, as you say, John" (here she got to the head of 
the flight and paused on the landing) ; " and if you 
should feel kinder lonesome and laid out, John, when 
you get in bed, there's a candle stuck in a bottle a-pur- 
pose settin' by, and ef you light it maybe you'll feel 
easier." Here she closed her bedroom door, but opening 
it almost immediately, called out, "John I John I don't 
set up late! Don't you, now. It'll jes' give me canip- 
tion fits ef I hear yer movin' round about twelve o'clock 
in the dark rattlin' your bones like. Do yer hear, John? 
Lock yer door. Lock j-erself in — ef yer can." 

"All right, Jinny. What are you afeard of? Go 
to bed," he called back, and the door closed again, this 
time for the night. " You hcerd all that was said 'bout 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 61 

this war, Al," said his father, after a silence that had 
lasted some moments. "Are you a-goin' to it?" 

Alfred tossed backward the tan-colored locks that 
were always falling over his placid, moony face. 

"Ko," he said. "I ain't fur gettin' killed. I ain't 
goin' to budge. I don't want to kill no person. I'm 
goin' to stay right here." 

His father's face flushed. He opened his lips to 
remonstrate and changed his mind. " I should ha' 
thought you wouldn't be willin' to do that," he said. 
" But I ain't been no sort of a father to you, and I can't 
say no more than I'd ha' thought you couldn't rest at 
home ef trouble comes." 

" I ain't a-goin'," repeated Alfred, placidly, and there 
was another pause. 

" You are glad to see me, ain't you, Al ? You don't 
feel no set aginst me fur goin' away and leavin' you?" 
the father asked, in a low voice and hesitatingly. 

"No," replied Al. " I don't." 

"Couldn't you — couldn't you love me a little, don't 
you think ? I^ot now, but some time ?" said the father, 
with a tremble in his voice. " Say you are glad to see 
me, Al," he urged, leaning eagerly forward. 

" I am glad, Pa-ap. Eight down glad," replied Alfred, 
kindly impelled to satisfy the hunger and thirst that 
he dimly divined and wondered at. 

" Thank you, Al ! Thank you, my son !" cried his 
father, and impulsively seizing one of his hands he 
kissed it, and then rising walked rapidly into the next 
room and shut the door. 

Left alone, Alfred looked attentively at the large 
freckled member so passionately saluted, as if to read 

6 



62 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

there the secret of his father's extraordinary conduct. 
''Well! I'll be derned!" he said, and re-tilting his chair 
against the wall sat almost motionless for fully an hour. 
He often fell into this semi-comatose state. One could 
not call it a trance, for he was not asleep ; nor a stupor, 
for he was not stunned; nor a meditation, for he was 
not accustomed to think of anything, though on this 
occasion it had something of all three, so much had 
happened to daze and confound him. That he had one 
idea was shown by his yawning prodigiously at last 
and saying, "PoorPa-ap," as his eye fell again upon 
his right hand, after which he, too, betook himself to 
bed. 

The second of July is a noted day in the Mountain 
calendar always, and was marked b}^ a special event 
this year, remembered and recalled for maif)' a year 
after. It is known as " the day the Virgin Mary takes 
her visit," and if any inquirer, surprised to find this 
curious bit of Catholic mosaic inserted in a stony and 
colorless stretch of Protestant pavement, asks any- 
thing more about it, he is told that it is "a sign," — 
usually, "my father's sign," or "my grandfather's sign," 
to give it the supreme stamp of authority. It is then 
explained that if it rains on that day the crops are 
sure to be as satisfactory as crops ever are to the 
farmer; and that if it does not rain on that day a six 
weeks' drought may be looked for, since not a drop will 
the heavens vouchsafe until "the Lady returns back to 
her own home." This being the case, it was natural 
that in an agricultural community in which this un- 
poetical version of the Visitation was generally accepted 
the day that gave good or poor crops was anxiously 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 63 

expected before it arrived and inspected when it came. 
But this year it was actually a matter of secondary 
interest, for the axe had fallen, the die had been cast, 
Virginia had seceded, and this was also the day set for 
"the soldiers (by brevet) to go to the war." By mid- 
day the Eed Lane was thronged with limp female 
figures in long sun-bonnets, having baskets on their 
arms, full of all manner of possible and impossible last 
things to be offered to or thrust upon the " Shenandoah 
Scouts," as the company was called, and the fences were 
lined with children bent since daylight upon " going to 
see the soldiers go." And in the road were drawn up 
the husbands and sons and fathers known to the com- 
munity as " Sal Jones's husband," or " Brown's Jim," or 
"the Culbert crowd," or " Wilkins's eldest," or "Potter's 
third," or " old man Sneed," — an aggregate summed up 
effectively, if inhumanly, by accomplished political 
writers as " food for powder." And about these, again, 
were grouped the elder home-staying men of failing 
strength, scant breath, and small faith in the success 
of anything here below. 

The scouts had been recruited impartially from the 
war and peace parties of a few weeks before, for when 
it came to the point of enlistment it was found that 
several of the most blatant and bloodthirsty of the 
former were obliged by a cruel necessity to crush all 
their military ardor, and discovered daily some fresh 
and insuperable obstacle in the way of the particular 
form of patriotism currently spoken of as " 'listing for 
the fight," whereas, on the other hand, a number of 
men who had been opposed to war in general, and this 
war in particular, no sooner found it inevitable than 



64 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

they felt impelled, as they put it, to '"take a hand and 
see this thing through." 

It was a representative body enough then gathered 
there, and it must be confessed that in variety of cos- 
tume and eccentricity of accoutrement it was a remark- 
able one ; so much so, indeed, that it is doubtful whether 
Alcibiades w^ould have cared to put himself at their 
head, as John Shore did when the last lingering fare- 
wells had been taken, and quite certain that many a 
European martinet would have disputed their claim to 
be considered soldiers at all. But brave hearts were 
beating under those " butternut" coats. Gold lace and 
broadcloth, pipe-clay and blacking, do not the hero make, 
and before the war was over. Mars himself would not 
have been ashamed to own the little cavalcade that now 
set off of men mounted for the most part on the sorry 
Eosinantes of the farm, with frying pans tied to their 
saddle-bows, calico "comforts" strapped behind them 
with odd bits of rope, and arms that were only equalled 
by the gun Eip Yan "Winkle carried on his famous ex- 
pedition, or that other "queen's arm that Grau'ther 
Young fetched back from Concord busted." 

The children who had swarmed up the clumsy 
wooden stirrups rode with them as far as the end of 
the Ked Lane, — John Shore had no less than three for 
his portion, — a girl in front and two boys behind, — and 
Bub Williams carried his baby daughter that far in his 
arms, the women trooping along on foot in the rear. 
The procession halted there; the children were em- 
braced and set down. Then were more last words. 

"Be sure and write if yer get killed sure enough, 
John," called out Jinny. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 65 

" You'd better get off, and alight from, and leave that 
there horse of yours," cried Brother White to Tim. 
" Yes, all of you, the whole of you. You'll wish you 
had. Wait till the time for the fulfilment of purposes 
comes, that's all, and then remember that I said so." 

" Go 'long, if you're going," shouted old Williams, 
gruffly, with a lump in his throat. " Bub, you're all the 
son I've got ; be keerful ; but don't you sneak out of 
nothin', neither, d'ye hear?" 

" Oh, Bub ! Bub ! goo-oo-ood-bye," sobbed Mrs. Wil- 
liams, junior, who could have better spared a better 
husband. A loud wail went up from" all the women 
except one brave wife, who called out, " Yer'll all be 
back home by the time the Lady is." 

" Come on !" cried John Shore, and they were off — 
the Mountain and the United States had gone to war. 

If no rain fell that day on the Mountain, there were 
tears enough shed to make up for it. By the time 
"the Lady returned back," a third of the scouts, it was 
known, would never again see the hills and homes 
they had so recently left, and at the end of four years 
fifteen tattered, bronzed, indomitable veterans came 
straggling in, one by one, into the Red Lane, so slow of 
gait and sore at heart that they would have cried out 
in biblical speech for the mountains to fall upon them 
and the hills to cover them if they could have expressed 
defeat and despair at all adequately. The war was 
over, and the Mountain had got the worst of it, 

John Shore was one of them, and the fact had not 

the effect of endearing him to the community. In 

many minds it militated against him distinctly. Who 

had first brought this war to the Mountain and 

e 6* 



66 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

preached a crusade in favor of it but John Shore? 
Many women argued that there never would have been 
a war but for him, and arraigned him as the originator 
and promoter of the disastrous scheme that had brought 
them such misery. That he should have come out of 
it safe and sound when "better men" had perished was 
a source of irritation to them. But his own estimate 
of his good fortune was not a high one. " I'd liever 
have died than to have lived to see this day," he often 
said, with perfect sincerity, in the first dark days that 
followed the surrender ; and meeting Mrs. Williams, 
whose husband had been killed in his first engagement, 
he had quailed almost guiltily before her, and had 
protested humbly : " I wish it had of been me, Nelly, 
instead of him, and that's the truth. There don't seem 
to be no place, leastwaj^s no rightmost place, fur me in 
this world that I can see, noway, and there wouldn't 
er been nobody to cry fur me." This sad little speech 
ought to have mollified Mrs. Williams, who had 
promptly canonized " Bub" as the saintliest of spouses 
and looked upon herself as a martyr, but it did not. 
She maintained then and ever after that John Shore 
had "murdered" her own dear, model husband, and 
this coming to his ears he was not a little wounded. 

There were a good many things to depress John 
Shore at home and abroad now. One was that he had 
come back to find Alfred married to, or, rather, married 
by, a shrewish widow, — a Mrs. Stubbs nee " Tildy" New- 
man, — an elderly ugly woman with an uglier temper, 
and what was more, because incurable, a mean soul. 
" Tildy" Newman had always been known as " a 
Screamer," and was often alluded to as " a Captain." 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 67 

The Mountain had never heard of Woman's Rights, but 
it had not lacked for strong-minded and self-willed 
females who held scornful views of men in general, and 
refused to follow or be led by them in any single par- 
ticular, and such were called " Captains." 

It was by the sheerest exercise of will-power that 
the Widow Stubbs had first proposed, and then elected, 
and then installed herself as Alfred's master and the 
mistress of the cottage, and never was any man 
more systematically overrun and completely subju- 
gated than her quasi lord and spouse. He may have 
liked it, and certainly did not attempt to resent or 
change their relative positions. The very thought of 
"standing out agin Matild}^" appalled him and threw 
him into greatest possible confusion and distress of 
mind, so he fell back upon his reserves of constitutional 
vacuity and phlegm (finding the war from which he 
had shrunk for four years his portion for life), and cul- 
tivated the art of being inoffensive and of diverting 
the enemy's fire, until he got it down to a remarkably 
fine point for a dull man. And he solaced himself as 
he could, chiefly with tobacco and maple-sugar, keeping 
a supply of the latter constantly on hand, broken up 
into bits, that he might be ready for any emergency and 
take one every half-hour until relieved. 

If Mrs. Alfred Shore was acutely disagreeable to her 
father-in-law at this period, though, it must be confessed 
that it was because she was insufferable, and not because 
she tried to be. She had never made such efforts to be 
the woman she ought to have been, — to ingratiate her- 
self with anybody as she did with him, — and this for a 
good and sufficient reason. The cottage and farm were 



68 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

his. Yet the more she laid herself out to please him, 
the less she succeeded in doing so. The veneer which 
calculation and interest lay over a character has the 
bad fault of peeling off and constantly showing the real 
grain of the wood beneath ; and he knew her better 
than she thought, and liked her less every day, — a fact 
of which she was perfectly aware, though she did not 
seem to be. But it was not alone because the house 
was not the home that he remembered that John Shore 
began after a few months to get, as he said himself, "as 
restless as a panther." The dull, eventless life he was 
leading seemed more unendurable to him than when 
he was a young man, even after the excitements and 
fluctuating fortunes of the past four years, and with 
his enlarged views and experience of the world he was 
less tolerant than ever of the intense conservatism, 
narrow ideas, and invincible prejudices of the Mountain. 
It must be confessed, too, that the prospect of set- 
tling down to regular, hard, and uncongenial work 
was particularly disagreeable to him, for it was always 
urged against him, with perfect truth, that he was 
a lazy man. More than one fault of temperament 
had developed and crystallized into fixed habit in the 
long years in which he had roved here and there after 
the death of the wife he had so tenderly loved. The 
force of circumstances with him, as with us all, counted 
for much, — that mighty force pressing every moment 
and hour and day of our lives upon precisely the points 
in our natures which are weakest, with a mightier 
power behind it which only bides its time to seize and 
sweep one or other of us out bej'ond the reach of human 
help and sympathy. The acute misery and its subse- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 69 

quent stupor had passed away ; the lack of purpose, the 
paralysis of will and energy, had remained. The war 
had healthfully stimulated him in many ways, and 
while it lasted he had been more like the John Shore 
of old than he had ever thought he could be. 

The incident and variety of the life, its gayety and 
good-fellowship, even its hardships and trials, had done 
much to restore his mental balance and natural cheer- 
fulness. And his talents as a raconteur and musician, 
and a certain peculiar vein of humor, added to his cour- 
age and generosity, had made him a favorite among his 
fellows, which corrected the morbid sense of failure and 
loneliness he had suffered from. But it had been a reck- 
less and unsettling career on the whole, and now that 
it was all over, the old despondency settled down upon 
him more darkly than ever. And so it came about that 
one evening when supper was over at the Shores' and 
Matilda had left the room, John Shore said to his son, 
" Al, I can't stay here no longer. I've sorter got the 
tramps, I reckon, and there ain't more than work 
enough for one man here noway. I'm goin' out West, 
and I don't reckon I'll ever come back agin, dead or 
alive." 

" Peter Eobinson !" ejaculated Alfred. " Yer don't say 
so !" and fell to staring. 

" Yes," went on the father, " that's my idee, and so I 
have went to town and fixed things 'bout this here 
place. It's all yours, my son, and here's your showin'." 
Here he laid the deed he had taken from his pocket 
down on the table, and repeated, " Yes, it's all yours, 
and I think you kin make a good livin' off it, and I 
hope you'll prosper right along." 



70 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

" But what's to become er you f " inquired Alfred, still 
staring. 

*' Oh, I kin scratch along somehow," his father replied. 
"Never mind 'bout me, so's you are all right. And Al, 
I've got one thing to ask er you and I hope you'll do it. 
Don't let the hogs and cows go trampin' round on your 
mother's grave. I've done fixed it up good now, and 
the idee of the fence falli-n' down, maybe, sometime, 
and her bein' run over by stock hurts me powerful, so 
promise me you'll see that's kep' right. You will now, 
won't yer?" 

" I will, Pa-ap," said Alfred. " But hadn't you better 
consider on it a while and see what this here projicking 
is goin' to come to ? Hadn't you better stay here with 
me and Tildy ?" 

The conjunction of names in this appeal was unfor- 
tunate. 

" No ; my mind's made plum up. I'm goin' to- 
morrow," said the father, fixing at once the time for 
his departure. " But, Al, I won't do like I did befo'. 
I'll write you regular, though I ain't no scholard, and 
you must write to me." 

In this easy way did John Shore deprive himself of 
everything that he had in the world, and with no other 
companion than the violin with which he had beguiled 
the weariness and sadness of his comrades around a 
thousand camp-fires, prepare to turn his back a second 
time on the Mountain. 

"He only come home to tempt away my husband," 
said that most illogical of mourners, Mrs. "Williams, 
" and I don't care what becomes of him." 

" Cracky ! what a fool !" commented Mi*s. Alfred Shore, 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 71 

contemptuously, when her husband explained the situ- 
ation and gave her the "showin'." "I kain't believe 
it." 

"You ain't oughter to talk like that," he remon- 
strated, mildly. " Yer ain't oughter, Tildy." 

" Oh, kiss the cat !" his wife scornfully replied. " He 
is a fool. A most tremenjus, nateral-born fool. But 
that's all right. You give me that there paper." 

" So Johnny Shore's done willed off all he's got, they 
tell me, and is goin' trapesin' off agin beyant the Eidge," 
said one of the elders to Jake White when he heard the 
news. (It was always " Johnny" Shore after this.) 

" I've heerd that it's yea and verily," he replied, with 
unctuous satisfaction. "And who wondereth and is 
astonished? He always was a no-'count, curous crea- 
ture, and a mover, and a traveller, and not an abider, 
and a tiller, and a toiler gathering into barns. And 
what I've said, and told you, and remarked upon, and 
showed forth has come true agin and agin in the fulfil- 
ment of purposes, and is not to be gainsaid nor denied 
by them that shoot out the lip, and them that run about 
and grin like dogs, and would go to the war in spite of 
being held back by the graybeard and the wise ones in 
the council, which was inspired, and instructed, and 
filled to overflowing. And observe. They had destruc- 
tion wrought upon them and was confused, and con- 
founded, and overthrown, and swallowed up! And 
again. He always was a poor, foolish luniac of a dis- 
puter, and perverter, and leader astray, and he goeth to 
his own and will never be missed here, nor there, nor 
hither, nor no-whither." 

" It's a bad plan, my father usened to say, to take 



72 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

off your clothes till you're gittin' into bed; and as fur 

me " began the elder. But he was interrupted. 

" You don't understand this here case, nor see it, nor 
comprehend it. It ain't a thing of clothes nor clothing, 
nor beds nor bedding, nor of couches, nor of sofys, nor 
of tables, nor of chairs," said Mr. White, turning his 
whole long, lank person towards his companion in his 
earnestness, and punctuating his remarks by tapping 
the palm of his left hand briskly with the fingers of 
the right. " It's a question of comin' to the footstool. 
It's Vital Religion. He ain't never sought fur it, nor 
he ain't never got it, nor he ain't never goin' to git 
it, and it's because he ain't got no single scrap, nor 
mite, nor grain, nor speck of real, true, workin', foamin', 
fermentin', tearin', upheavin' piety in him ! He ain't 
got, and very few has got, any idee what a commo- 
tionary, convulsivary, agitatuating religion that there 
Vital Ecligion is. Why, I ain't never got it yit, and 
I've tried the hardest, and laid as close to it as I am 
to you. It takes a power of work, and patience, and 
time. I don't know as Methusalem could uv done it ef 
he'd uv been a Seeker. I've got the searchin's on me 
this minute pretty nigh as bad as ever, and me at three- 
score and ten I But this I know, and all knoweth it, 
moreover. Vital Ecligion is the only religion. It can 
take you, or me, or even Johnny Shore, like we was an 
onion, and strip the devil off, and then pull the sinner 
off, and then shuck off the man, and then shake his 
miserable soul till the angel that's in him drops out 
naked before his eyes clean, and white, and shinin' I 
Yes, yes, Brother Williams. It's a wonderful, and an 
amazin', and a marvellous thing to them that knows it 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 73 

at all, or has had any sort, or kind, or description of 
dealin's with it, is the genuine Yital Eeligionl And 
again. The trouble with this here Johnny is, and was, 
and always has been, that he ain't never chmbed up like 
Zaccheus to see what sort of a religion he was standin' 
in down below here. He ain't never been a Seeker nor 
a Searcher. He took the first religion that come along, 
and it was a cheap religion, and cheap religions ain't 
goin' to last nor to endure. And now he's a heathen 
and a Saducer." 

" Well, I don't give in to that nor no talk like it," 
said Jim Wilkins, who was sitting by. "He was as 
good a soldier as ever shouldered a musket ; true grit 
all through. And but fur him, I wouldn't be a-settin' 
here, for he was the one that went out at Sharpsburg 
under cross-fire and brought me back into our lines 
when I was left out there wounded, and him no great 
friend of mine, neither. I ain't never goin' to forget 
that. I sez to him yesterday, 'John, what are you 
striking tent for now, after marchin' all over creation 
for four years ? Ain't you had enough of it ? I 
wouldn't go straggling off ef I was you.' And he sez 
to me, ' Jim, don't say nothin' more 'bout it. I'm bound 
to go.' I reckon he don't like his company and his cap- 
tain, and that's the reason he's goin' to desert. She'll 
rule or bust" (jerking his pipe towards " Shores')." " I 
couldn't stand a Captain myself My old woman's got 
a temper, but she ain't a Captain. There ain't no better 
woman than Mandy, and I understand her. It takes an 
old soldier to be up to 'em. The other night, now, when 
that big storm come on, Mandy was skeered to death, 
and every bit of the stiffenin' went right out of her, 
D 7 



74 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

and she got on the feather-bed and screeched like a 
wild-cat for me and the children to come on it too. I 
was standin' at the door; I warn't skeered, — I'd bin 
under fire before ; but I seed she was, and I thought to 
myself, ' I'll divert the enemy by a flank movement.' 
So I steps up to her and sez, ' Mandy, you're behavin' 
like a igit. Shet right up now ! shet up, or I'll whop 
yer!' Yer ought ter seen her! Moses! but she was 
mad! She upped and .slapped my face fur me, and 
called me everything under the sun ! But she forgot 
all 'bout the thunder and lightnin', and when it was 
over she asked me to forgive her, and was as soft as 
butter in July fur a week. And I tell you I had a good 
supper ^ That's tactics. You can't get on with no 
woman long without tactics any more'n you can move 
a whole army round without 'em. She's infantry, and 
cavalry, and artillery, and baggage-wagons, I tell you. 
And as long as the}^ are only that, I don't mind ; but 
when it comes to a cornstant guerilla and low bush- 
whacker like Al Shore's wife, there ain't nothin' fur it 
bift to desert yourself or to kill her, and you can't kill 
nobody now the war's over. It's ridiculous the people 
that's let to live and go round loose pisonin' places, 
and bullets and powder as plenty as blackberries." 

It was Jim Wilkins who slipped a plug of tobacco 
into his old comrade's pocket when the morning of his 
departure came, saying, " Good-by ! Take care uv 3'our- 
self, you old Johnny Eeb, you," and tried to hang a 
spruce canteen around his neck. 

" Mandy's mother, who's got the cheek uv a gover- 
mint mule, confiscated this long ago," he explained, 
" and when I know'd you wuz goin', it 'peared to me 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 75 

like you'd be certain to want a canteen, no matter whur 
you went to ; and I knowed that Mandy's mother 
warn't one to give up nothin' she'd ever laid her hands 
on, and was keepin' tomato catsup in this ; and so I sez 
to her, ' Give me that canteen, and I'll have it cov- 
ered agin with leather, and it'll be splendid to put hot 
water in and put up next agin your side when you 
get that bad pain you're subject to,' and I got it away. 
That's tactics, John. And I've done had it fixed up fur 
you, and I hope you'll take it. It's the one I carried all 
endurin' the war." 

The parting had taken place between John and his 
family, and it had not been an emotional one, — Tildy 
being coolly civil, feeling that she was getting rid of 
him forever, and Alfred woodenly undemonstrative, as 
usual ; so it was no wonder that he was touched by his 
comrade's kindness, and that his eyes were very moist 
as he said, " Thank you, Jim. I'm 'bleeged to you ; but 
I don't need it, and ain't likely to. I've got ray knap- 
sack and my fiddle, you see. But I'm mightily 'bleeged 
to you. You are 'bout the only one here that's sorry 
to see the last of me, I reckon. I ain't complainin', but 
that's so." 

" Wher'll you be to-night ?" inquired Mr. Wilkins. 

"I dunno ; but I'll do very well. Many's the night 
you and me have slep' in fence-corners and mud-puddles, 
and under baggage-wagons when we wuz lucky. Ain't 
it now, Jim ?" 

" Yes, indeed ; but that fiddle uv yourn. How it does 
remind me of them old times and all the boys and 
everything! You couldn't play me 'Zip Coon' once 
more agin, now, could you, John?" 



76 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

"No, Jim; I ain't got the time, and I ain't got tho 
heart, to tell the truth. Good-by, Jim!" 

"Good-by, John !' Jim Wilkins walked away slowly 
and thoughtfully a little distance, and then came back. 
"John," said he, "I ain't never thanked you for savin' 
my life, but! feel it^ere," laying his hand on his heart. 
"John, I've got a nice tin-cup " 

"I couldn't er done no different, Jim. Never mind 
'bout that. Good-by, Jim. Good-by!" 

Jim Wilkins walked off again slowly, and again 
turned back. "John," said he, pulling out a large, 
dingy, battered old silver watch, "it ain't fit to give 
you : it don't keep time, and it ain't got no hands, and 
the works is rusted bad; but it's a watch, and maybe 
you could git it fixed up some time." He held it up as 
he spoke, and it looked like a third-century moon in 
very reduced circumstances, while his own face was red 
and eager. " It was give to me by a Yank that I cap- 
tured once and let go free — just shut my eyes, you 
know — 'cause he hadn't long to live noway, and I 
couldn't get my consent to 'lowin* him to die in prison. 
I never thought I'd give it away; but I'd like you to 
have it, and it's been a splendid watch. He give ten 
dollars for it, he told me. Maybe ef the foraging ain't 
good whur you're goin' to, you might find it handy. 
Don't you remember, John, the night me and you got 
into that store in Frederick and got all them hams to- 
gether, and wuz goin' fur the sardines and preserves, 
when the enemy come down on us and run us out with- 
out a single derned thing? Ha! ha! ha! Oh, them 
was lively times, them was! Here, John, take it — 
take it." 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 77 

"No, no, Jim; keep your watch. I don't want it. 
Put it up. Good-by, Jim ! Take care of yourself." 

Again Jim Wilkins started oif and got about a hun- 
dred yards, when he again returned, running this time, 
all his thoughts and heart full of "the brave days of 
old" and the friend who had shared them. 

" Here, John. Here, take this. You shall, damn you! 
Good-by I" he called out, hastily thrusting into his com- 
rade's hand something like a bill, if an angry yellow 
envelope could be trusted, and this time, without wait- 
ing for an answer, he went off in earnest. On being 
opened it disclosed Mr. TVilkins's most precious posses- 
sion, — which he always carried about with him, — a war 
photograph of a murderous-looking man in a plain uni- 
form, with no insignia of rank. 

John Shore knew it well, and recognized it at once. 
"Why, ef that there coon ain't give me old Blue Light !" 
he exclaimed, and felt overpowered, for he had seen 
that picture before, and knew its history, and how Jim 
Wilkins valued it. He had heard how he came by it a 
hundred times, at least, and now he had given it away. 
" Jim ! Jim ! you hadn't never ought to have done 
that," he said, turning to remonstrate with his friend. 
" Stop ! Hold on !" But Mr. Wilkins had cut across a 
field, and was not to be stopped. On realizing this, 
John Shore felt very blank for a while. Then he sud- 
denly gave vent to a loud, peculiar cry, which was an- 
swered cheerfully from the crest of the hill, after which 
he felt better satisfied. Jim understood all that he 
had meant to convey by that "rebel yell," he knew. 
" Old Blue Light !" thought he, examining the picture 
critically again before returning it to the envelope. 

7* . 



78 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

" Give to Jim by him when he was his orderly. Well, 
I never dreamed Jim cared that much for an^^body. It 
don't seem right to keep a thing like that," and so 
thinking, placed it securely in his pocket. 

This interview had taken place in the Eed Lane ; and 
it was not the only farewell in store for John Shore, for, 
as he walked along meditatively, he suddenly felt his 
progress arrested by a soft something clinging about 
his leg, which, on looking around, he perceived to be a 
little girl. 

"Why, hello! R Mintah. Is that you? What are 
you 'bout?" said he, and picked the child up in his 
arms. John Shore was the friend of every child on the 
Mountain, but he was in an especial sense the friend of 
this young person for the reason that it was generally 
said of her that she " had no friends." 

The Mountain had not come to " E. Mintah ;" perhaps 
because she was not a prophet, which was curious, seeing 
that she came of a sex which foresees everything and 
is nearly always able to say " I told you so." However, 
it was " E. Mintah" who had come to the Mountain. 
She had been found sitting in the Eed Lane one morning, 
a round-eyed innocent, quite absorbed in a lapful of 
daisies, — the last wavelet of a receding tide of Federal 
troops, — a little pearl cast up by the storm ; in prose, a 
child wickedly abandoned by its mother, — a camp fol- 
lower, — grown weary of its accusing innocence and utter 
helplessness. There she was presently found by Mrs. 
Newman, who lived opposite, — a slovenly, large-feat- 
ured, large-hearted woman, who in breadth of beam 
and mild wholesomcness, in bovine tranquillity, and in 
the abundance and richness of the milk of human 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 79 

kindness in her, was irresistibly suggestive of one of 
her own short-horn cows. 

And there and then she was clasped to the motherly 
bosom of a woman who, having nothing, was perfectly 
willing to divide it, and, possessing already a numerous 
progeny of her own, whom, with all her exertions, she 
could not keep other than ill fed and scantily clothed, 
did not hesitate for one moment to graft this stray bud 
of humanity on her family tree and give it an equal 
share of what they all lacked in common, and of the 
love and care that all alike possessed richly. " Her bite 
and sup '11 never count, father," she said to her hus- 
band. " It might er been one uv ourn lef ' to perish." 
With this she got down a small black Bible which had 
been left there by a colporteur years before (she kept 
it on a shelf above her bed, sewed up in an old hand- 
kerchief), and not being able to read, had no idea 
that she was fulfilling at least one of its precepts, 
when she added, " She's goin' to be one uv ourn from 
this minit." Not knowing how to write, she took the 
volume over to one of her neighbors, who was "a 
scholard," and had the little waif regularly enrolled 
and incorporated as a member of her family under the 
name, style, and title of " E. Mintah (Araminta) New- 
man," to the infinite disgust of her eldest daughter, 
Mrs. Alfred Shore. 

This being E. Mintah's history, John Shore had felt 
himself more than usually drawn to her, and now he 
carried her along the lane in his arms, talking to her 
as he went, until, hearing his own name called, he 
halted, and looking around and about and finally up, he 
saw that he had been accosted by Jinny Hodges, — Jinny, 



80 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDQE. 

who had been promptly turned out of the cottage long 
^go t>y Alfred's wife, and had gone to live with her 
aunt, Mrs. Lem Hodges, — Jinny, who had climbed up 
into an apple-tree with the intention of commanding a 
view of that lane down which John must pass. 

There was a trace of her old coquettishness in the 
way she called out ''John, John, where are you goin'? 
Ain't you got no eyes?" and it sat strangely on her thin 
face, wrinkling perpetually into wide smiles. John did 
not notice it any more than the fact that she wore her 
pink calico, and had on a collar of crochet-lace and a 
breastpin, the signs and tokens of a great occasion. 
She made a feint of gathering apples for a moment, and 
John said, " I went over to see yer yesterday. Jinny, 
but you warn't there, and now I'm off." 

" Yes, I heerd you was goin'," she replied, looking 
down at him, " and I'm sorry you've got that maggot 
in yer mind, John. Lor' I nothin' ain't what it was. 
I usened to be mighty happy at the cottage with Al, — 
that was when you was dead, John, — and ef yer hadn't 
uv gone to no war, and had uv — well, anyways, why 
can't yer stay along here whur you've been raised, 
even ef yer've got to live 'round like me, 'cause that 
wildcat Al's married stuck her claws inter yer and 
goes on gougin' ? You'd get used to it, or perhaps yer 
might make another home uv yer own, and live in it ; 
alone, in course, John, and " 

" No, Jinny," said he, interrupting her. "I can't get 
my consent to that, and I'm goin'. That's settled. But 
I'd wish to see you better fixed ; and I wouldn't have 
'lowed 3'ou to leave Al's house, — it's his house now, but 
it was mine then, — only Al thought you two women 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 81 

couldn't never git on. But you know all about that. 
And now I must be gittin' on." 

On hearing this, Jinny gathered her clothes about her 
feet, and, slipping down to the ground, came to close 
quarters. 

"John," said she, " are you goin' ? Sho 'nough ? Yer 
— yer couldn't take me with yer, John, could yer ? If 
you could, John, I — we — shucks, John ! You know ! 1 
could work 'round, and not cost you nothin'. I'm a 
powerful hand at washin', and can cook better'n most, 
and could keep mj^self And if you was to get sick and 
die agin, John, it would be mighty bad to be all alone 
off there, and I could lay you out just splendid, John ! 
I've got the pattern of them pants you've got on this 
minnit, and there ain't no shirt or coat that I can't 
make. I'd bury you sho 'nough, and no come back, I 
can tell you." But even this supreme inducement had 
no effect upon John Shore, except to make him say 
hastily and rather harshly, " Hesh, Jinny, hesh! Don't 
say no more. It's onpossible every way ; onpossible, and 
you ain't ought to er projicked it out, though I know 
you mean well by me, and right by yourself too. I'll 
never marry no woman alive," said John Shore, earn- 
estly. 

" Well, ef you won't, yer won't," she retorted, cheer- 
fully. " Go yer own ways by yer lone self, and if you 
come back here agin and tell me you're dead yourself 
till you're black in the face, I won't believe yer, John ; 
and if I hear you're livin' here and livin' there, I'll think 
to myself, 'There's no knowin' rightly,' and I never 
expect to know rightly in this world ; for though I've 

knowed you, livin' and dead, fur thirty years " 

/ 



82 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

" Jinny, shake hands. Good-by to you ! Take K. 
Mintah home, and be kind to her when you git a 
chance. Go to her, honey" (to the child). " Good-by, 
now," said John Shore, hurriedly, and so moved on, as 
firm as ever in his determination to leave the place, but 
unconsciously bound to it afresh by the very unexpected 
evidences he had that morning received that he was not 
as poor in some respects as he had thought. 



III. 



" A dog-rose blushing to a brook ain't modest^r or sweeter." 

Lowell. 

The Mountain had its feet firmly planted in the plain, 
and could not go straying about the world as some of 
its children chose to do. It seemed at first to the little 
community that the end of the world had come with 
the end of the war, and that there was nothing more to 
expect. It was in a mechanical fashion, at first, that 
they began to put up their fences, to rebuild and restore, 
to sow, and reap, and harvest, and take up the old life 
again, and marks of care and deep-seated despondency 
were as visible in the faces of the young and middle- 
aged as they had formerly been in those of the elder 
folk. But soon for them all — cruelly soon it seemed to 
some widows, and mothers, and orphans — the ante-bel- 
lum order of things was resumed, with only such indi- 
vidual loss, and pain, and privation as were past mending 
in this world. It was as though some rude vehicle had 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 83 

been roughly jolted out of the deep ruts it had made 
for itself and had then slipped back into them again. 
No one on the Mountain had ever owned, or so much as 
dreamed of owning, a slave, and there was no change in 
the conditions of their lives as in those of the class 
above them. They had always been poor, they had 
always been obliged to work, they had always been 
isolated from their fellows ; it was only going on with 
their accustomed tasks and bearing their accustomed 
burdens after a brief, if startling, interruption. Some 
of the women whose faces had long borne a pathetic 
stamp of conscious or unconscious sadness, born of 
the lonely grandeur of their surroundings and the 
barrenness of their lives, now sank into a melancholy 
that deepened into madness. A few of the old peo- 
ple could no longer bear up under losses and crosses 
that their poor old hearts could not sustain. But 
new life, new hopes, stirred in the mass of the people, 
and in twelve years so peaceful and prosperous was 
the country that it seemed incredible that two armies 
had ever occupied it for four years and played at 
battledore all the while with the Mountain for shuttle- 
cock. There had been changes on the Mountain, of 
course. " Brother" White had died, for one thing, and 
Yital Eeligion had only abandoned him with the vital 
spark, for, falling suddenly ill while away from home 
visiting an Irish friend at Harper's Ferry, he had been 
converted on his death-bed by a Eoman Catholic priest, 
and then and there ended his career as a Seeker before 
he had time to discover the existence of the Old Catho- 
lics or of the Greek and Coptic Churches. The affair 
created a great sensation among his friends and rela- 



84 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

tives, none of whom had the remotest idea what " a 
Eomian Catholic" was, but were impressed the more by 
his determination to leave no known religion untried. 
" I see him the night befo' he lef V' said one of them. 
"And he had the searchin's turrible then, and he sez 
to me, 'Jo, there ain't no let-up in this here Vital Eelig- 
ion. It's wearin' me plum out. There's pints in the 
Methodist religion that suited, and pints in the Bap- 
tist religion that suited, and pints in the United Bruth- 
ring, and the Dunkards, and the Campbellite, and all 
the others I've tried, that when I stood, and thought 
of, and reflected about, and meditated on 'em, seemed, 
and 'peared, and looked like they was it. But they 
warn't. When I come to sift 'em, and to examine 'em, 
and to weigh 'em, and to balance 'em, and to live in 'em, 
Jo, they warn't it. Not the whole, real true, sho-'nough 
and no-mistake thing, — no.' Them was his very 
words." 

Five of the " Cross-Eoads Wilkins" children had been 
swept off by diphtheria in a few weeks. 

Goody Williams and old Daddy Culbert, at fourscore, 
had, on the contrary, both got what pugilists would call 
their second wind, and were trying another round with 
Time with great spirit. Joe Potter, who had been the 
poorest of the poor, had set up a " public," and become 
the richest of the rich, according to the standards of 
wealth of the community, and had bought a farm in the 
Valley, and " couldn't see good" when ho met his old 
friends, and attended this or that trial at " the cote- 
house" in his own buggy, while his sister had been 
sent to the county almshouse. 

John Culbert, who had been the richest of the rich, 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 85 

according to the same standards, and the most respecta- 
ble man on the Mountain, had become both poor and 
disreputable. " Sal Jones's husband" was dead of con- 
sumption, and gone to a world where it is to be hoped 
he was known as something else than the adjunct of 
his masterful spouse; and Gus, his brother, had got a 
place " to stand in a store" in a neighboring tOAvn, than 
which nothing could have been more " genteel." Timo- 
thy White had amazed everybody by marrying Jinny 
Hodges, who got the credit of having "spoke the word." 
He had long since " taken his name off the books of the 
church" because they " kep' on pesterin'," and no doubt 
felt the need of some such stimulating influence as was 
afforded by his highly loquacious and vivacious spouse. 
The IS'ewman family had grown steadily larger and 
poorer. A number of entries had followed in the black 
Bible, and wonderful characters upon that of little " R. 
Mintah," as the years went by, ending at last with a 
pair of " twins," — " Simon Peter" and " Stonewall Jack- 
son" by name and the scourges of the neighborhood. 
Yet they were all fed somehow, if but coarsely ; and all 
clothed, though scantily; and Mrs. Newman seemed 
more profoundly placid than ever, broader and milder, 
in spite of her increasing cares and the fact that the 
greatest drain of all upon her motherly sympathies was 
not made by her children at all, but by her husband, a 
small man with a waspish temper, a kind heart, and a 
long-drawn lawsuit with John Culbert about a " year- 
ling" calf. 

Little R Mintah had shared the checkered for- 
tunes of the family, or rather their misfortunes, — for 
the black squares were out of all proportion to the 



86 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

white. — had been given a child's portion of all they 
possessed with the other children, had lacked only 
what all lacked, and had grown into a slender, round- 
waisted young girl, small, but perfectly formed, sweet- 
faced, and " tender-eyed" as Leah. Such a shy, quiet 
little creature was she, — so meekly obedient and tracta- 
ble, so grateful for kindness, and ready to do or suffer 
anything for her adopted family, — that it is no wonder 
that she was liked and kindly treated by them all in 
the main, and a favorite with Mrs. Newman, who 
always spoke of her as " a good, willin' child" and 
loved her for many reasons, but most of all for the 
benefits she had conferred upon her. Unfortunately, 
even Juno had her gadfly, and K. Mintah, a poor girl 
with none of the powers and privileges of a goddess, 
had a bitter, implacable enemy and sad torment in Ma- 
tilda Shore. From her very babyhood Matilda had im- 
pressed upon her that she was a burden to and a blight 
upon the family. It was she who set her impossible 
tasks, and whom, do what she would, she could never 
please. She dealt her many a blow openly, and more 
with her tongue that were even more cruel, and made 
her child's heart bleed inwardly and swell almost to 
bursting with unutterable grief and despair. She came 
over every day for the express purpose of sticking a 
pin of some kind into her, and, finding her digging in the 
garden, sweeping, cooking, washing industriously, would 
still bully and browbeat her as harshly as though she 
had been the idlest, worst girl in the world, which, in 
fact, was the description she was in the habit of giving 
of her. When Matilda lived at home, she had rarely 
lifted a family burden with so much as the tip of one 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 87 

finger, for she was as selfish as imperious ; but all the 
same she invented work continually for R. Mintah, 
besides seeing that she got a full share of the regular 
daily duties, and was never so offended as when she 
discovered that she was pleasantly occupied, if only in 
shelling peas. " It's scrubbin' you ought to be, down 
on your hands and knees. Miss," she would say, " and 
not settin' there playin' lady." But for Matilda's treat- 
ment the girl would certainly never have got the pecul- 
iarly deprecating look in her eyes that would have dis- 
armed any one less hard and malignant, — a look that 
had no effect whatever on the enemy, but gave her a 
friend scarcely less troublesome. Exactly when Jonah, 
the eldest son (a big, manly, muscular fellow) began to 
loom up as E. Mintah's champion, and " take her part," 
is not clear; but it is certain that bit by bit he took 
upon himself the heaviest of her daily duties, and by 
gradual, natural transitions became first her friend and 
then her lover. Great was his mother's astonishment, 
as she sat one day placidly patching one of about twenty 
hopeless garments, to have him fiing open the back door 
and call in, angrily, "Mother, mother, did you tell R. 
Mintah to cut up this here hickory? It's a sin and a 
shame! She shan't put an axe to it. No; and she ain't 
goin' to do nothin' like it, neither, while Fm here to do 
it fur her." 

Furious beyond precedent was Matilda when Jonah, 
finding the red mark of her hand on R. Mintah's cheek, 
and learning that she had been boxed for not finishing 
a dress of Matilda's in time to wear the preceding Sun- 
day, seized his sister and shook her until she screamed 
with fright, and threatened worse things if she dared to 



88 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

lay a finger on " his little E. Mintah." It was then that 
his secret love for the good, gentle, little girl jumped 
out of his heart and throat, and that for the first time 
she learned with all the rest what he felt and intended. 

'' I love her," he said, as bold as a lion, " and I'm goin' 
to marry her." 

" No, no, Jonah ! you ain't ! You don't I" she cried 
out, seeing what a tremendous hearth-quake had been 
created by this announcement, and weeping bitterly she 
fled to Mrs. Newman, and dropping down by her, would 
have buried her face in that matron's blue-checked 
apron, but was repulsed almost as if it had been Matilda 
instead, and getting up rushed from the room. Mr. 
Newman was told of it that night by his wife, and the 
news was so tremendous that it actually drove the law- 
suit out of his mind for fully an hour; and then it was 
curious to see how he seemed for the moment to have 
changed characters with his wife, and to take what had 
happened in a most amiable and kindly spirit, while she 
was fretting herself into a fever. 

" You must have knowed she'd marry sometime," he 
said, at first with a masculine irrecognition of the situa- 
tion that was aggravating bej^ond description. 

" It ain't her a-marryin' that I'm a-thinkin' of. It's 
JonaWs the trouble! It's the beatenest thing I How 
he ever come to think of that ugly little child, — she 
ain't nothin' but a child, — when he could have any girl 
on the Mountain, beats all. She's put it in his head. 
She's a hussy!" declaimed Mrs. Newman, no more just 
in her anger than the rest of us are. " But she shan't 
never have my boy, — no ! She ought to be ashamed of 
herself, after all I've done fur her." 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 89 

" Now, mother, you're gittin' hoppin', and you don't 
rightly know what you're sayin'. Ain't I heerd you say 
agin and agin that E. Mintah was the best girl you ever 
see, and better to you'n any child uv you own, and kind 
to the children always? and ain't I heerd you wishin' 
to goodness A. Mander was more like her ? And now 
you're down on her, and givin' her fits. Ef you've got 
any fuss with her, that's one thing, but don't go on 
callin' names. It ain't reason. It ain't law. Give me 
the pints of the case, and I'll know what to say. You've 
lost your temper ; that's what, mother. Now git cool, 
git cool, and give me the pints of this here case, and I'll 
give a verdick and stop all this." Mr. Newman's mind 
was naturally saturated with the legal aspects of things 
just then, and as he worked away at the huge pair of 
new brogans that he was greasing he brought his 
mouth to a focus and listened to what his wife had to 
say with a highly judicial air of reserve and imparti- 
ality. And when she had angrily presented her case, 
and, with many tears, had sobbed out that she never 
would " on the face of the yearth" have E. Mintah for 
a daughter-in-law, and, moreover, threatened a thousand 
things that she was much too good and kind to carry 
out, he said, "Mother, you ain't got no argymint at all. 
Gittin' mad and callin' names ain't argymints. The 
girl's a good girl and you know it; and ef Jonah's took 
a likin' to her and set his mind on her he'll carry this 
thing through ef he's got to git the devil fur his law- 
yer and pay him with his immortial soul ! You know 
what Jonah is. My verdick is, cover down your 
feelin's, and shet off steam, and stop thrashin' chaff, and 
tell them two to go 'long and git married together, and 



90 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

you'll give 'era aa good a send-off as you kin. That's 
my verdickj and I know what I'm talkin' 'bout. I've 
got argymint jes' natchelly. Lawyer Morgan sez 
to me to-day when I was goin' over the pints agin and 
showin' him how things stood between me and that 
damned, lyin', thievin' raskil, Jack Culbert, — he sez to 
me, ' Mr. Newman, you ain't had no need to come to 
me. You could argy this case at any cote-house in the 
country and fetch the jury every time.' And he seed 
I was in the right, but said ef I'd take his advice I'd 
fix this thing up with Jack Culbert and his lawyer and 
stop lawin'. But I told him I'd see Jack Culbert in 
hell befo' I'd agree to give him a cent, or one inch of 
that yearlin's hoofs, horns, or tail, and so I will." 

Mr. Newman was not the only man who heard what 
had happened. Timothy White, who was Mrs. New- 
man's brother, was given a dozen versions of it, and 
enjoyed it in his taciturn fashion as another form of 
'•'experience." His advice tallied on the whole with 
that of his brother-in-law, but was given far more sen- 
tentiously. To Matilda, who came raging and storming 
and spitting out all the venom and malice with which 
she was bursting, he said, " Let 'em alone. Mind your 
own business." 

To Mrs. Newman, who wailed out her sorrow and 
indignation, he said, " Tilly, j-ou're a fool. Go home 
and git back into your right mind agin, and be kind' 
like you've always been to both them childi'en uv 
yourn," — quite the longest speech of his on record. 

To Jonah, who poured out a copious flood of love 
and grief and anger, he vouchsafed a curt " Stick to 
her." 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 91 

To E. Mintah, who wept, speechless, and meekly 
miserable when they met, a mild " Don't cry. Stick to 
him." 

But if Timothy had few words to waste on even such 
an important matter, it was very different with his 
wife, who put on her sun-bonnet about twice a day and 
went to some house where, with the aid of the other 
women, the whole question was turned over and over, 
and inside out, and upside down, and "the rights of it," 
and the wrongs, peculiarities, characters, and circum- 
stances of everybody concerned, were discussed to an 
unlimited and truly awful extent. 

A bad three weeks it was for poor little R. Mintah, 
who never afterwards forgot the wretchedness of that 
time. For Mrs. Newman, influenced and inspired by 
Matilda, took high ground, and sternly forbade the 
match, and was so unkind and so cold to her little 
adopted that the girl, who adored her vice-mother, was 
made miserable. If Mrs. Newman had been Queen of 
England, and Jonah Prince of Wales, bent upon set- 
ting a beggar-maid upon the throne a la Cophetua, she 
could not have been more conscious of the terrible 
nature and consequences of a mesalliance, and more de- 
termined to avert the calamity. 

As to R. Mintah, — between Jonah, who would not be 
repulsed, kissed her boldly, night and morning, before 
the assembled family, and expected her to do exactly 
what he wished and commanded, and the family, neu- 
tral, scornful, talking at her, but not to her, leaving her 
severely alone, calling the very children away from her, 
offering her nothing at table, treating her in ever}^- 
thing as a stranger among them, even to the point of 



92 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

doing all her work, — it was no wonder that the loving- 
hearted child was perfectly miserable. And when Ma- 
tilda came over with the express intention, avowed 
before she left home, of "giving that minx a tongue- 
lashin','' which happened almost daily, the burden of 
life often seemed to the girl more than she could 
bear, and she got so pale that Jonah got red with 
anger every time he looked at her, and so thin that 
the beautiful red celluloid ring which he had given 
her (price five cents) rolled off the index-finger of 
her small, toil-marked hand over and over again. 
Jonah was tabooed, too, though not boycotted, he 
being an important member of the family, and his 
wages more important still ; and his mother, after ex- 
hausting all her arguments and entreaties, even threat- 
ened him one day : " Me and your pap will up and take 
both uv you down to Mr. Mathers," she said (that 
gentleman being the Baptist minister, and final referee 
and chief authority of the neighborhood, combining in 
his own person as a " preacher" and magistrate all the 
terrors of the law and Gospel). " We'll see whether 
you keep on with these here carryin's on." 

" Ef all the preachers that e^er wuz, and the judges, 
and the President — ef General Lee wuz alive, and wuz 
to set there and to tell me to give E. Mintah up, I 
wouldn't do it!" exclaimed Jonah, hotly, while his timid 
little lady-love sobbed out from behind the apron she 
had thrown over her head : " Oh I don't take us — don't 
take us to Mr. Mathers ! I ain't never goin' to marry 
Jo — o — — nah ! Never! Never! Nev — er!" 

*' She ain't fitten to marry you, and she knows it," 
saitl Mrs. Newman. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 93 

<' No — no ! I ain't. I won't !" agreed E. Mintah. 

" She's fit to marry anybody !" roared out Jonah, with 
a stamp of his big boots. " She's worked day and 
night fur all uv you, she's been driv to death by some 
uv you, she's the best and the prettiest girl in this 
whole country, en you might jes' as well try to move 
Eound Hill as me. I'm goin' to marry her." 

"You shan't do no sech thing, I say. I'll turn her 
right out in the Lane ef you say another word !" 
shrieked Mrs. Newman, quite beside herself, whereupon 
K. Mintah gave a deep groan of despair, and cried out, 
as though she had been struck, " Oh," — and then, 
catching the expression of Jonah's face, — " I'll go ! I'll 
go !" and actually started to do so, but was seized by 
Jonah and brought back again bodily. 

"Stay still. Stay right here," he said to her, and 
then to his mother in a voice grown suddenly quiet, 
" Do you rightly know, mother, what you're sayin' ? 
If E. Mintah is sent out, I'll never darken your door 
agin, nor she, neither. But I'll marry her all the same. 
Now, say the word." But Mrs. Newman only burst 
into tears instead, and would say nothing at all, which 
under the circumstances was the best thing that could 
possibly have been said if she had known fifty languages. 
The truth was that Jonah perfectly well knew the soft 
and kindly stuff that he had to deal with, and was 
very sure of getting his way in the end. But he did 
not get it immediately. 

Affairs were in this state of gloom and unrest, when 
a project was set afoot that created a great stir, and 
was talked of at " the sto' " (the conversation-haus, 
club, news-room, exchange, post-office, and grocery of 



94 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

the neighborhood) to the exclusion of every other, 
almost, for weeks before it became an accomplished 
fact. It was a proposition of the most novel and 
startling nature, — of an unparalleled character, indeed. 
And then the scope of it I It was nothing less than 
that the Mountain should amuse itself! And a picnic 
at Harper's Ferry, in another vState actually, was the 
mode chosen for doing so! There was no pretence, 
even, of its being anything but a pleasure-party. It 
could not be actually traced to anybody, so nobody 
could be held personally responsible for it. It seemed 
to be in the air, — a fearful fungus growing out of the 
decay of all venerable and respectable institutions, — 
and to combat it was like tackling original sin. The 
Blue Eidge, Winchell tells us, was once several thousand 
feet higher than it is now, and has been worn down 
inch by inch through sucessive centuries to its present 
proportions. And in the same way the prejudices of 
the Mountain were beginning to disappear, and it had 
become possible for the world to look over its wall and 
for a winged seed from the flower of a restless and 
sensuous civilization to drop inside the idea that people 
could quit work for a whole day, and go '' fifty miles" 
away, for the sole and express purpose of amusing 
themselves. It was no wonder that the elders de- 
nounced it as vicious in conception and ruinous in its 
consequences, — the beginning of the end of all agricul- 
tural righteousness. It was as plain as could be that 
virtue was staying at home all the year 'round, and 
working from morning until night, and that pleasure 
was only another name for vice. Considering the re- 
laxations that human nature had filched from under the 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 95 

nose of the authorities engaged in supporting this im- 
possible code, their view of the case was not unnatural. 
Pleasure had meant vice on the Mountain, as it always 
must when men who are neither machines nor brutes 
are expected to Hve as though they were both ; and its 
votaries were of two classes : the hypocrites, who sinned 
secretly and sanctimoniously with no loss of caste in 
the community ; and the wilful offenders, Avho openly 
abandoned themselves for the time to such gross grati- 
fications as came in their way. 

The elders, then, denounced the proposed picnic as 
the most patent invention of the evil one ; but to the 
young people it opened up irresistible vistas of innocent 
fun and frolic, and every Jessamy of them all no sooner 
heard of the plan than he became possessed by the idea 
of a day spent in feasting and dancing and sweetheart- 
ing with his Jenny. So that while Daddy Culbert, 
sitting on a chicken-coop at " the sto','* with his poor 
old back bent nearly double over his stick, was angrily 
declaiming in feeble-forcible terms on the puerihty and 
the wickedness of the whole proceeding, saying, " I 
never heerd nothin' like it in all my born days! No, 
sir ! I never heerd of no sich doin's. I'd er got the 
cowhide ef I'd ever talked to my father 'bout quittin' 
my work to go three counties off to a picnic. He'd 
er picnicked me with fifty on my bare back, and it 
would er sarved me right, sir," — at this moment, I 
say. Daddy Culbert's grandson, who had Montague- 
Capulet relations of a most tender and complicated 
character with Miss " A. Mander" ISTewman, was asking 
that young lady, with the most unbounded pride and 
delight, whether he might " 'scort" her to Harper's 



96 BEHIND TUB BLUE RIDGE. 

Ferry on the following Friday. And even Hi Leathers, 
proprietor of the "sto'," was so offended by what he 
felt to be almost a personal attack, since he and his wife 
and his children seven were all committed to the picnic 
to the extent of a " snack" (viz., a ham, two cakes, a 
pot of " apple-butter," a box of sardines) and nine rail- 
way tickets, that he first reproved Daddy Culbert 
sternly for taking and eating an apple off one of the 
barrels, saying, "Look here! I don't keep a bodin' 
house. Them apples is set out there to make a show- 
off, and not for no loafers," — although apples were as 
plentiful as blackberries that season, — and five minutes 
later advised him rather pointedly to " go 'long home, 
where he belonged," — conduct that greatly incensed the 
old man. 

Jonah was a great promoter and supporter of the 
picnic from the first, and worked hard, after hours, for 
three weeks to get the indispensable requisite for the 
entertainment. He meant not only to enjoy it, but to 
make a figure on the occasion. By nice management 
he engaged a buggy in which to drive E. Mintah into 
town, having found a man there w^ho for and in con- 
sideration of " a likely shoat" agreed to let him have 
the use of it, and to take charge of that vehicle, so 
that he could drive home again by moonlight. Ho 
bought himself his "weddin' suit." He got a magnifi- 
cent turkey-red calico for R. Mintah, and told her 
that it was to be her " frock" on the same occasion. 
He also laid upon her shrine a yellow parasol, a sailor- 
bat, a breast-pin, a cake of soap, a dressing-comb, and 
some other elegant trifles, sentimental in insj^iration, 
but susceptible of practical application. And then he 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 97 

threw himself down in a split-bottomed chair by her, 
put his feet some distance above his head, and, after 
haw-hawing in loud satisfaction, said, in his big, boom- 
ing, hearty voice, " I tell you, R Mintah, we're goin' 
to coot it on Friday!" and abandoned himself to the 
most delicious revery. Jonah had reserved the most 
impressive details of the scheme to heighten the effect 
of the bliss he had planned ; but she knew enough to 
be dazzled by the prospect unfolded to her, and she 
would have revelled in it but for her unhappy position. 
She plucked up courage in the course of a week to tell 
Mrs. Newman of it, and asked permission to go, with 
infinite meekness of mind and manner, but got very 
little sympathy, and only such encouragement as could 
be found in her cold " Don't come askin' me. You ain't 
no child of mine. I ain't got no controlment of you." 
Mrs. Newman, for the first time in her life, had 
worked herself up into a sore-hearted, wrong-headed 
state of resentment and anger that required to be care- 
fully nursed lest it should expend itself, and she took 
a perverse satisfaction in the suffering she knew she 
was inflicting. So little R. Mintah made herself as 
small as possible, and kept as much as possible out of 
everybody's way, suing ever by wprd and look for the 
reconciliation her loving heart longed for ; and, failing 
to get it, she shrunk into a corner, and stitched away, 
day by day, sorrowfully, on her raiment, thinking, 
thinking, thinking : troubled thoughts of her own un- 
happiness and the unkindness she received, but not 
bitter, still less revengeful, ones, — tender thoughts of 
Jonah's strength and beauty, and wisdom and goodness, 
and unbounded generosity and astounding condescen- 
E ^ 9 



98 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

sion in caring for a creature so far, far beneath him in 
every way, — anxious thoughts of what the end could 
bo of such a dreadful state of affairs. And night after 
night she watered her straw pillow, which was as hard 
as fate, with meek tears, quietly shed for fear of waking 
the two children that shared her bed. In spite of her 
sadness, she could not help delighting in the splendor 
that was to be hers. She tried on her new shoes by 
moonlight, and had to take them off again almost im- 
mediately, so guilty did she feel when she heard their 
clamorous dollar- store creak on the bare boards. She 
gazed at the dress Jonah had bought, and it seemed 
impossible that it could be really hers. People in the 
best circles on the Mountain trimmed with turkey-red. 
But a whole dress of such expensive stuff! What adora- 
ble folly and extravagance ! And was ever so bright a 
sun obscured by such a black cloud ? If Mother New- 
man would only forgive her and love her again, and let 
her marry Jonah in ten or twelve years, when she had 
learned how to do everything ! If she could only put 
on that beautiful dress and go off to the picnic with her 
full consent and approbation ! What perfect bliss ! 

The great day came, and proved fair, to old Daddy Cul- 
bert's disgust, he being anxious for "jest a leetle more rain 
to round out the corn," but to the entire satisfaction of 
everybody else, and by daylight everybody was astir. 
Some people, indeed, must have been astir long before, 
for R. Mintah, having been kept awake until late by 
the feverishness of joyous anticipation, was aroused 
while it was still only darkly light* by a sound as of 
some one moving about the room, and sitting up and 
rubbing her eyes, beheld a familiar figure, and would 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 99 

have exclaimed, " Why, Mandy !" in her amazement, 
but that she was met with a " Hesh ! Lay still, and 
jes' hold your tongue !" 

" What are you goin' to do ?" she asked. 

" I'm goin' to run off to the picnic with Marsh Cul- 
bert, that's what !" was whispered back. 

" My goodness gracious alive! You ain't T' exclaimed 
E. Mintah, aghast, ^^ Mandy V But that was exactly 
what that rebellious young person meant to do, know- 
ing the utter uselessness of attempting to get leave 
from her parents to go anywhere with a Culbert. Ac- 
cordingly, when fully and festively arrayed, she took 
her shoes in her hand, and, with a warning look at E. 
Mintah, slipped down-stairs with a heart thumping like 
an engine under a full " head" of steam. It was cer- 
tainly unfortunate that Mr. ISTewman should at that 
very moment have issued from his room and caught 
her in the act of leaving the house. The explosion of 
wrath that ensued was something tremendous, and soon 
brought together every member of the family. Mr. 
jSTewman had long had certain vague suspicions, and in 
the torpedo shock of discovery the unfortunate Amanda 
had betrayed the rest. There had been rumors of talks 
in the orchard and a walk in the woods, too, duly poured 
into Mrs. Newman's ears by her female friends and 
confirmed by the children. So now Mr. Newman quite 
forgot that " argymint" was his peculiar forte, and not 
content with "calling names," shook Amanda pretty 
roughly and sent her back to her room, and not con- 
tent with that, ev^n, seized his gun and fairly plunged 
down the Lane, where he found exactly the representa- 
tive of the false brood of Culbert that he thought to 



100 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

find, and so railed upon and scared that youth that he 
was speedily driven from the field, the freckles that had 
earned him the sobriquet of " Turkey" Culbert standing 
out in unusually high relief from a pallid background, 
a fixed conviction in his mind that Mr. Newman had 
gone "plum crazy." 

The morning having begun thus stormily indoors, R. 
Mintah gave up the picnic for lost, and fairly quaked in 
her beautiful new boots at the mere thought of ever 
having dreamed of such a thing. Amanda's unpar- 
alleled audacity, however, had the effect of diverting 
attention from her altogether. Such mutiny as hers 
was a very minor affair — by contrast almost a righteous 
and virtuous outbreak — compared to the infamy of a girl 
who could " confound that derned calf!" to her parents' 
face and confess openly that she cared for a Culbert. 
Mr. Newman could not even pronounce the hated name 
without a vicious jerk of the head to the right on the 
first syllable, followed by another to the left on the 
second, and he stormed about the house so furiously 
that Mrs. Newman had, perforce, to take up again her 
old role of soothing and consolatory reflection and com- 
ment and amiable impassiveness. It was she, indeed, 
who, after watching Jonah fidget about the room for a 
while, said, " Go and git read}^, E. Mintah, if so be as 
you're going to go to that there picnic," and so much 
of the harshness was gone from her voice that R Min- 
tah darted an eager, humble glance at her, and then 
Jonah adding, " Hurry up and be smart about it," she 
ran off to her room, escaping, as it were, between two 
thunderbolts that Mr. Newman was launching at those 
" cussed, cattle-thievin', caripterous Culberts." (" Carip- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 101 

terous" was a word of Jake White's discovering or in- 
vention, and was supposed to convey scorn and contempt 
in the superlative degree.) There she lost no time in 
putting on her simple finery without any of the fond, 
lingering touches and prolonged enjoyment of each of 
its delightful details that she would otherwise have in- 
dulged in, and going down she ventured to murmur a 
very faint good-by to all the family, her eye seeking 
Mrs. ISTewman's the while, and so through the room, 
Jonah taking her by the arm and drawing her out- 
side. 

" Look-a-here !" said he, indicating with a wave of 
his hand that he was a subject to repay critical exami- 
nation. " Sto' close. Bully, ain't they ?" 

And E. Mintah, struck almost dumb by what she saw, 
could only exclaim at first, " My goodness me !" twice, 
and then, "Oh, Jonah, how good-lookin' you are!" 

"And look-a-yonder !" he commanded, pointing to- 
wards the gate, and E. Mintah looking saw a vehicle as 
magnificent as the lord-mayor's coach in an old rattle- 
trap drawn by an anatomical study in the shape of a 
horse, — a lank, low-spirited white horse with a Eoman 
nose and a tired tail. 

" Oh, Jonah," she exclaimed again, her face flushed 
with delight, " it ain't never a huggy V 

" Yes, it is, too, as sho' as you are born," he affirmed. 
" Come 'long !" 

He strode ahead eagerly, and when she came up he 
pulled a large basket from under the seat, saying, " And 
look-a-there!" 

" Oh, Jonah !" cried E. Mintah for the third time. 
" My I Well, I never did ! Pickles ! and a coky-nut I 

9* 



102 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

and cakes ! and pies 1 and beer ! and I don't know what 
all!" 

" Git in," said he, affecting to ignore her raptures, but 
really almost bursting with gratified vanity and affec- 
tion. E. Mintah obeyed. " Put up yar rumberella," he 
commanded, and the yellow parasol shot up above her 
head. 

"I^ow, if there's anything mo' that you want, R. 

Mintah " he began, feeling perfectly certain that 

there wasn't. 

" There ain't nothin' on the top of the green yearth," 
she affirmed, earnestly, with a beaming look of tender- 
ness. On hearing this Jonah took his place by her, put 
his feet on the dashboard, lit a five-cent cigar, pushed 
his hat well back on his head, and was about to drive 
off when he remembered that he had forgotten to bring 
out a whij). 

"A segar ! Oh, Jonah!" said R. Mintah, in a tone 
of mild reproach, feeling that this was giving the reins 
to reckless expenditure. " A segar ! Mercy !" 

" Set still and don't you move till I come back," ho 
cautioned fondly. "I don' know nothin' 'bout that 
horse, noways, and he may start off and you git hurt. 
Whoa there !" 

He need not have concerned himself about that highly 
phlegmatic animal if he had only known it. A fire 
might have been built under " Old Ilunderd," as the 
gray had been christened by his facetious owner, with- 
out his moving an inch. But not knowing this, Jonah 
kept an eye on him while running back to the house. 
He had disappeared inside, and R Mintah was swinging 
her feet in an abandonment of utter content and looking 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 103 

after him with a happy smile, when she heard a harsh, 
scornful voice behind her say, "Who's that? E. Min- 
tah ! You in a buggy ?" It was Matilda endimanchee 
walking down to get in a neighbor's cart, with Alfred 
by her side taking his pleasure very sadly indeed. 

"Jonah he done it," explained E. Mintah. "I didn't 
know — I hadn't no idee — I never " 

"Git out! Git right out!" commanded Matilda. 
" Jonah's my brother, and do you suppose Tm goin' to 
town in a cart and you ride in a carriage? No indeed 
and double deed. Miss ! Ef he's got the money to fool 
away hirin' round buggies, Tm the one to be settin' in 
'em. Git right out." 

"Sh! Tildy! Come on," put in Alfred. "Time's a 
flyin'. Trains are startin'." 

E. Mintah had hesitated for a moment about obeying. 
Had not Jonah told her to stay there? She looked up 
the path, but not seeing him, she first said,-^ 

" I'm feared to leave this here sperriting horse," and 
then, scared by the fierceness of Matilda's expression as 
she advanced a step, saying, " Ef you don't git out this 
minute I'll drag yer out!" she meekly descended to 
earth again. Matilda immediately took her place, 
saying, " Come, set here, Alfred," to her husband, who 
coughed and stroked his chin reflectively, but made no 
movement. 

" Grazin's mighty poor," said he. " I never see it no 
poorer. Horses is lookin' bad. Eains " 

" Who's talkin' 'bout rains ?" shouted Matilda. " Come, 
git in. There's room fur you and me and Jonah." 

Alfred looked at her and then at E. Mintah in a state 
of dubiety painful to witness. " Ahem ! I dunno, Tildy, 



104 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

as " he begaD, but got no further, for at that mo- 
ment Jonah ran down the path, whip in hand. Ma- 
tilda's color, like her temper, flamed high ; but she kept 
her seat, and with a sudden inspiration she leaned for- 
ward and smote Old Hundred so soundly on the right 
flank that, utterly amazed, he was actually startled into 
a gallop. Eide to the picnic E. Mintah never should ! 
But Jonah gave chase, and in a few minutes came up 
with her. No power on earth could keep the gray in a 
gallop. A violent scene ensued between the brother 
and sister, — E. Mintah begging and imploring both of 
them to stop, and weeping copiously when she found 
that neither of them would listen to her ; Alfred start- 
ing forward and saying, "Tilda! Look here! Here 
Tilda! Jonah!" and then turning to E. Mintah with 
a helpless roll of the eyes, " 'Pears like they're hound 
to clinch. Don't it, now?" 

" Clinch" in the bodily sense they did not, though it 
was as much as Jonah could do not to lay his whip over 
his sister's shoulder. A look came into his eyes, how- 
ever, that cooled even her fiery blood. Jonah angry was 
enough to alarm anybody, for, like the famous Italian 
athlete, Milo, of Crotona, he could kill a bullock with a 
blow of his fist. Seeing that she quailed before him, 
he sternly bade her "'light." She scrambled out ; he 
jumped in, called to E. Mintah to join him, and off they 
drove, leaving Matilda vilifying and raging with even 
greater iury than at first, now that it was entirely safe 
to do so, and Alfred doing his best to pacify her with 
such obvious truths and aphorisms as occurred to him. 

This was not at all the sort of " plcasurin' " that E. 
Mintah had counted upon, and for at least a mile she 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 105 

continued to sob quite hysterically. And of course 
Johah had to comfort her, and to do this had to recover 
his own good-humor first. As soon as he began to 
make this effort, the situation began to improve, and 
not long afterwards the sun of their content — the sun 
that always shone when they were alone together — 
burst out almost as brightly as though it had never been 
hidden at all. And presently Jonah might have been 
observed to be driving with his right hand altogether, 
finding it absolutely necessary apparently to slip his 
left arm around E. Mintah's waist, doubtless to keep 
her from falling out of the buggy, — a shackling affair, 
certainly, the wheels of which seemed to be trying to 
run away altogether, curving as they did alarmingly 
outward as they rattled on, under the peculiar action 
of Old Hundred, who, head down, was but jogging 
along in his sleep, with no other incentive to speed than 
an occasional lazy " Glang !" from Jonah, but jogged so 
decidedly upward, if not onward, that he threatened 
momentarily to rend the conveyance at his heels limb 
from limb. Neither of the young people behind him 
gave these matters a single thought. Jonah had lit his 
cigar again. If any tears lingered in E. Mintah's eyes, 
they were only made the brighter by them. There was 
no restraint now, she felt, — nothing to be unhappy 
about, — and she abandoned herself completely to the rare 
joys of freedom, felicity, and finery. Being only a 
woman, this last was no inconsiderable item in the 
delightful total of her satisfaction. Was she not wear- 
ing the first dress she had ever had of her very own, 
bought for her, and nobody else ; made for her, and no- 
body else? Had she not new everything! She had 



106 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

once in ages known what it was to have new shoes to 
wear with an old dress, or a new sun-bonnet with no 
shoes at all ; but to have dress and shoes and a hat and 
" rumberella" all at once, and all given to her by her 
dear Jonah, was almost too much, and but for the 
sobering effect of the quarrels of the day she could not 
have carried them off without being " stuck-up," she 
knew. It was not in human nature to stand such 
prosperity. It was now that Jonah told her all about 
the plans and arrangements he had been making for 
the day. What a head for business! What a pro- 
tector! What a lover! He admired himself unaffect- 
edly in these capacities, but he could not do it as 
ardently as she did. 

'' Oh, Jonah, how good you are ! And so good-lookin' !" 
she cried, in a transport. " Them clothes. You ivould?i't 
steal 'em ! Did you borrer 'em ?" 

" I bought 'em, — every blessed rag," said he, proudly. 
''Do I look good in 'em?" 

"You are jes' splendid!" said she, — "splendid!" and 
worshipped him so openly that he was moved to say, — 

" You look fine in that red dress. It becomes yer sho' 
and certain. You look powerful pretty, R. Mintah, in 
it, I do declare !" 

" Oh, Jonah !" she said again, wnth no sort of regard 
for originality or fear of tautology, and with a deep 
blush of gratification. " I hope I'm fixed up to suit 
you, after all you've went and done. But Jain't nothin'. 
I never wuz. You are the one. You are jes' perfectly 
clcgunt ! I never see nobody like you in all my born 
days." 

After this it struck them as expedient that the top 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 107 

of the buggy should be put up and the " rumberella" 
lowered ; and as a veracious chronicler I am obliged to 
say that in the course of this transaction it somehow 
happened that the buggy gave out a new and myster- 
ious sound, — was it a creak, or squeak, or shriek ? I 
really can't say. It had not been oiled thoroughly for 
about ten years, and could not be expected to go on 
forever without remonstrance. "Whatever it was, it 
must have startled E, Mintah very much, for she cried 
out "Oh, Jonah!" far louder than she had done at all 
that day. 

He was regarding her fondly with the tender possess- 
ive glance of the lover, when quite a string of wagons 
and carts and "rockaways" passed them. The picnic 
had swept everything before it, and scarcely at Fair 
time were more vehicles to be seen. The elect ladies 
and the Baptist minister even had turned out, and E. 
Mintah shrank back in her corner under their inquiring 
gaze, shyly ashamed of her abnormal splendor and her 
position as "Jonah Newman's sweetheart," glad to 
screen herself partially from view behind the hood of 
the buggy. 

But Jonah sat up very straight, and, with his hat on 
one side of his head, and that head set at a determined 
angle on the other, his feet firmly planted against the 
dashboard, and his elbows well squared, roared out im- 
pudently, " G'lang! g'lang !" and lashed at Old Hundred 
in a way that made that respectable family horse launch 
out in a perfectly unprecedented gallop, and commit the 
indecorum of carrying the laity, as represented by the 
lovers, far ahead of the church, — indeed, of everything 
on the road. The minister, who was in the habit of com- 



108 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

mitting dust to dust on the " pike," always, as well as at 
the funerals of his followers, was naturally indignant at 
such "impudence," and prophesied darkly of Jonah's 
future. E. Mintah was quite as much scandalized. She 
had been obliged to hold her hat on with her hand until 
the pace slackened, and she then said, "Jonah, you 
ain't ought to er done that. What got into you, any- 
ways?" To which he replied, "I ain't goin' to let no 
livin' creature pass me on the road to day, E. Mintah. 
No, sir'ee, Bob !" 

He forgot all about this resolve, however, as was 
shown later; at least he got so absorbed in singing w^ith 
E. Mintah " There was an old man came over the sea," 
and "My darling Nellie Gray, they have taken you 
away," and a number of other delightful ballads and 
hymns, that the whole party he had left behind grad- 
ually crept up on him again, and finally passed him in 
their turn with anything but friendly feelings or glances. 
However, one of the lovers at least was not one whit 
abashed, and presently both fell to carolling again. 
How they ever got to the station in time for their train 
I don't know. They did not arrive until the last mo- 
ment ; and ^vhen little E. Mintah, who had never been 
on a railway journey in her life, saw the bold wa}' in 
which Jonah went up to the mysterious peep-hole, from 
which she had supposed that the authorities were recon- 
noitering the "crowd" to see that they took nothing 
away as souvenirs of travel, — such as a handsome stove, 
or an elegant ice-cooler, for instance, — and behaved them- 
selves generally with propriety, — when, I say, she saw 
Jonah march up and hail the awful personage there with 
"Hello, Mister! Give me two showin's fur Harper's 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 109 

Ferry," and was then guided safely through the awful 
perils and confusion of the place to a beautiful red velvet 
seat in the car, is it any wonder that he seemed to her as 
omnipotent and magnificent as Jove ? She was lost in 
admiration of him for some time afterwards. How tall, 
and big, and strong he was! How "smart" and gifted 
in every way! What savoir-faire I AYhat knowledge 
of the world ! If Jonah had been Captain Cook or Dr. 
Livingstone, he could not have seemed a greater 
traveller. Why, he even knew how to manage the 
springs of the shutter and the window. There wasn't 
anything that Jonah didn't know. When he put up 
the window for her, saying, " Set there, honey, where 
you'll git the wind," and poured three over-ripe bananas 
and an orange into her lap, and bought a newspa^^er to 
read when they should have started, he seemed so posi- 
tively majestic in his largesse and usage de monde that 
she felt for a moment quite mournful over it, and re- 
called Mother Newman's speech, " She ain't fit fur you, 
and she knows it," with a sad assent. These doubts 
assailed her while Jonah was off talking to some of his 
friends at the other end of the car. When he came 
back, she had carefully spread a large handkerchief on 
the seat to protect the red velvet from any possible 
injury it could receive by coming in contact with her 
dress, — the very dress she had thought so superb that 
morning, — and, having settled herself, was toying rather 
nervously with her " rumberella." "Here! Give me 
that," he said, in his masterful way, when he came back, 
and put it in the rack above her head. Good gracious ! 
Who could have ever thought of such a thing as " that 
there place" being meant for such a purpose ? 

10 



110 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

'•' Will I git yer some water ?" he asked, and went off; 
and she could see him go to the cooler and turn the 
cock, and lo! water in abundance, a glass of which was 
brought to her. "Lawsakes!" she could but ejaculate, 
and then, "Jonah, you're a wonderment!" after which 
the train started, and she gave a little scream of terror. 
A very little scream ; but Jonah said " Hesh up !" in an 
agitated, almost cross way ; and she was getting more 
and more gloomy, not to say decidedly unhappy, when 
Jonah repentantly took her hand, put a large fig in his 
own mouth and a small one in hers, and whispered, 
"Bully, ain't it? Ain't you glad you come?" crossed 
his legs, and gave himself up to spelling out a charming 
advertisement of St. Jacob's oil. The car was very 
crowded, and while Jonah was absorbed in the pursuit 
of light literature of a beneficent tendency E. Mintah 
looked about her. It was reassuring in the strange, 
not to say awful, situation in which she found herself 
to see so many neighbors and familiar faces, — friends 
she would have called them in the warmth of her own 
friendly heart. Belle Poddly and Gus Jones were up 
in front holding hands and chewing gum ; and how any 
girl could marry Gus Jones R. Mintah couldn't see. 
And Tim White and Jinny had made themselves com- 
fortable in the next seat. And the Potters were trying 
to look as though they didn't belong to the party at all 
(for the conductor's benefit) ; and John Culbert, not get- 
ting a seat, had perched on the coal-box and begun on 
the hard-boiled eggs already-. The minister was reading 
a report of a late conference at Zanesville, Ohio, and 
looked as though he would give out a text and preach 
a sermon then and there for two cents. Jim Wilkins, 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. HI 

who sat just in front and had taken off his coat and 
hung it up as soon as he entered the car, seemed in ex- 
cellent spirits, and twinkled all over whenever he looked 
across at his wife, who sat bolt upright on the other 
side of the aisle, and wore not only an air of oifended 
dignity, but a bonnet with a huge ram-like front-piece 
to it which, like the beaked ships of the Greeks, was 
not without value as showing which way she was mov- 
ing. Without it, there would have been no saying with 
any degree of certainty whether one was getting a front 
or back view of Mrs. Wilkins, so non-committal, Hmp, 
and stayless was that admirable woman's figure. With 
it, society and the family seemed as safe as female vir- 
tue and courage could make them; and as she min- 
istered constantly and conscientiously, albeit somewhat 
sternly, to the wants of her five children, not even the 
mother of the G-racchi could have presented a finer 
spectacle of moral excellence and domestic intrepidity. 
R. Mintah was not sorry that Alfred Shore and Matilda 
were as far from her as they could get. She wished 
them farther, indeed ; but seeing them reminded her of 
another member of the ISTcwman family. " Oh, poor 
Mandy ! poor Mandy !" she said to Jonah. " Her heart 
must be most broke, and no wonder. Never will she 
see the like of this agin. If I'd uv knowed what it 
would be, it would er jes' killed me to be kep' at home, 
Jonah. It certainly would." 

The wonderful journey got more wonderful to R. 
Mintah with every mile. The way in which everything 
galloped by the windows, the false starts and backings, 
the puffings and snortings, the bridges, the towns, the 
quantities of people everywhere idling and talking, 



112 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

filled her mind with delightful excitement. The con- 
ductor was a great trial and terror to her with his 
abrupt demands for "tickets," and his generally authori- 
tative air. But what a comfort to see and feel that 
Jonah was a match for him. " Will he let us git off 
when it's time?" she whispered to Jonah as they rolled 
into the Ferry ; and she thanked him humbly from her 
very heart when he not only permitted her this privilege, 
but actually helped her down the steps of the car, say- 
ing to him, " I'm mightily 'bleeged to you, sir. I 
certainly am." Another train coming from the opposite 
direction had just got in, as it happened, and the pas- 
sengers, of course, had their heads out of the window 
staring at the picnic party, who stared at them in re- 
turn. Suddenly a lively uproar was heard near one of 
the carriages. Cries of " Great Scott !" and " Hello !" 
and " Howdy I Howdy !" were repeated in various 
voices, variously pitched, and then a loud " Well, I'm 
blowed ef it ain't Al Shore's Pa-ap !" followed by " Git 
out! — git right out! We are all here. Git out, man, 
I say," the last speaker being Jim Wilkins. The 
lookers-on within the car, and without on the platform, 
all saw a gaunt old man seize his bundle, slowly descend 
to earth, and fall feebly on Mr. Wilkins's breast, but 
only a few of them heard his " I've come home, Jim, — 
come home to stay while I live." John Shore it was, — 
" Al's Pa-ap." 

" That's right. You done jes' right," said Mr. Wilkins, 
aflPected by the changed appearance of his old friend 
and comrade. " You've got tired sharp-shootin' 'round 
in the bushes, and you've come back to camp, you 
cornfounded old Johnny Reb, you ! Whur's Al ? Al's 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. II3 

'round here somewhur's. He'll be powerful glad to see 
you. We are all powerful glad to see you." With this 
he put an arm around his friend, and half guided, half 
supported him to a seat on a bench near the station, 
while a rumor sprang up promptly in their wake that 
" Al Shore's Pa-ap had done come home to die." John 
Shore had been very ill. He was still miserably weak, 
and the sight of Jim's familiar face and the sound of 
his speech was too much for him for the moment. He 
could not say a word, so Jim talked for both. " Been 
sick, ain't you ?" he said. " Look like you was just out 
of the horspital, and the doctors had been a-practysin' 
on yer cornstant. You're powerful weak, ain't you? 
But you'll git all right, old fellow. Here ! you want some 
Dutch spunk, you do." A flat black bottle was pro- 
duced from Mr. Wilkins's pocket containing the par- 
ticular kind of courage that he believed to be needed, 
a dose of which was immediately administered; and 
while it is taking effect a question can be answered 
which is being put on all sides by relatives, friends, and 
strangers : " What's he doin' here?" 

Is every mountain a magnet, I wonder, that collect- 
ively they have such strange power to hold and rivet 
to themselves, as it were, the man born and reared 
among them, so that he clings to them when he has 
long ceased to care for anything else, carries them for- 
ever in his soul, grieves when separated from them, and 
is drawn back to them from the ends of the earth? 
What is the source of that passionate attachment, that 
mysterious sympathy, which makes a sturdy, hard-fisted 
Swiss peasant — beer-drinking, kraut-eating, money- 
loving, unspeakably prosaic— actually die of hehnweh, 
h 10* 



114 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

while Italians, natives of the enchanting land that 
" strangers ne'er forget," vend their oranges, grind hand- 
organs, sell white mice comfortably and contentedly all 
over the world to the end of the chapter ? Whatever the 
feeling is, it seized upon John Shore when the itching 
sole had carried him over three States in the various 
capacities of blacksmith, teamster, and miner; and it 
was as much as he could do not to jump out of the 
sick-bed on which he was stretched in Louisiana and 
plunge through every obstacle of swamp and river 
and morass that intervened between him and the Blue 
Ridge when the impulse came, so fresh and powerful 
was it after an absence of twelve years. Such weary 
3'ears as they had been of wandering, and hope deferred, 
and at last of utter defeat ! In an unusually pronounced 
fit of disgust he had left home with the intention of 
never returning, and had gone out to the Pacific coast, 
relying confidently, in his usual sanguine fashion, upon 
that large investment of hopes that yields commonly 
such small returns of anything except keen disappoint- 
ment known as " prospectin'." From there he had drifted 
back again as far as Missouri, and then down the river 
to Louisiana. But go where he would, good luck had 
never thrown her old shoe after him, and he had only 
grown older, and poorer, and feebler, and more discon- 
tented with each remove. His discontent was not with 
his circumstances alone, but with himself Ho felt that 
he had been going steadily from bad to worse in more 
ways than one ; and when he found himself lying in a 
deserted hut on the borders of Lake Pontchartrain, and 
heard a mocking-bird singing outside the door like the 
ghost of the sweet songsters that used to trill about the 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 115 

cottage in the days when he was a better and happier 
man, he did not think of himself as a martyr at all, but 
only as a most miserable and wretched old man. 

"I ain't fit to live," he groaned to himself; " and ef I 
was to die here I couldn't even be buried, seeing it ain't 
a country. It's nothing but a swamp, and you can't dig 
down two feet without strikin' water. I'll go home as 
soon as I can crawl. I ain't heerd from Al for three 
years now, — not sence I asked him to send me a little 
money. And I ain't wrote. But he'll take me in. 
Onst I git among the mountains I'll feel different, — I'll 
do different." And so it came about that John Shore 
coming home, met home, as it were, coming to him, and 
if he greatly surprised the Mountain he was no less sur- 
prised by it in his turn. 

It is impossible to give any idea of the extent to 
which Alfred Shore's eyes extended when he beheld the 
unlooked-for spectacle of a prodigal parent seated on 
that bench. He stood stock-still to stare for fully a 
moment. Then he looked uneasily over his shoulder to 
see if Matilda was there, his father regarding him the 
while with a glow at his heart that prevented his feel- 
ing the chill of his reception for the time. Alfred, taking 
in the gaunt and grizzled aspect, and the look of weak- 
ness and weariness, hesitated no longer, but advanced. 
The two men shook hands. " Howdy, Pa-ap ; howdy ? 
How do you do ?" said Alfred. " Set still where you 
are. Don't git up." He betrayed his nervousness by 
the rapidity with which he spoke. His honest, moony 
face was visibly clouded. He looked behind him again, 
and added, " Mighty glad to see you." Again he looked 
behind him and shifted his weight from the right foot 



116 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

to the left, colored high, put his arms akimbo, and added 
another sentence to his speech of welcome : " Folks is 

a-returnin' back now. Pretty season fur " Matilda 

now joined him. He had seen disgust and amazement 
painted so clearly in her face when he had first consulted 
it, that he was not prepared to see her step up to his 
father, shake hands civilly, and even smile in a cheerless, 
constrained fashion as she received him. His face bright- 
ened. " That's right, Tildy ! That's right," he called 
out eagerly from the background in the tone we use 
with children, his voice rising on the last syllable of her 
name. " Shake hands for Howdy, Tildy. Shake hands 
with Pa-ap." 

Matilda had taken a little time to consider what she 
should do. Was the cottage and f\xrm Alfred's property 
now, or his father's ? Should it be peace, or war? She 
decided that it would be wiser not to commit herself 
irrevocably to the latter until she could find out where 
she stood. 

" Children, your poor old pap's come home never to 
go way no more," began John Shore, looking from one to 
the other, and feeling that there was something that ho 
did not understand in both faces. Ho had no chance to 
say more ; for Jinny AVhite now bustled ui^ in a state of 
the highest excitement, and beginning with a "Well, 
John Shore! Fur comin' back alive when you're 
knowed to be dead, and fur comin' back most dead 
when you're knowed to be alive, you arc the beatenest 
man or stiff, — call yourself what you're a mind to, — 
John, as ever Tve seed or heerd tell on." On she rat- 
tled at a rate of speed that defied competition, or even 
interruption, and produced a feeling of desperation in 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 117 

the course of half an hour in John Shore's mind such 
as his many misfortunes had very seldom generated. 
Excessive talkativeness not being recognized in America, 
as it is in China, as a perfectly legitimate cause for di- 
vorce, there would have been nothing for it if Jinny 
had ever carried out a certain plan of hers, except for 
John to have gratified both her and himself by sinking 
finally, definitely, and unmistakably into the silent 
tomb. He felt this very strongly. He was also grate- 
ful for the immense kindness and good-will that she 
had apparently kept for him. " A good woman, — Jinny," 
he thought, when she finally left him ; "and maybe she 
suits Tim, who might be took for deef, easy, and pass 
fur dumb anywheres. She sorter tickles him like, I 
reckon, and keeps him awake; but she'd harrow any 
other man up turrible. She makes me feel like my 
head was a shot-box, and she was doin' the shakin', 
and doin' it lively! She'd er driv me clean, plum, 
ravin', howlin', tearin', shootin' crazy', certain, would 
Jinny Hodges." 



118 BEUIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 



lY. 

*' You sunburnt sicklemen of August weary, 
Come hither from the furrow and be merry. 
Make holiday ; your rye-straw hats put on, 
And these fresh nymphs encounter every one 
In country footing." — Tempest. 

"Acts which Deity supreme doth ease its heart of love in." — 
Keats. 

The picnic had put everybody in such broad holiday 
humor that even John Shore was the gainer by it. There 
was a general disposition for the time being to let by- 
gones be by-gones, and how his heart did warm to find 
himself kindly received where he had thought at best 
to be only tolerated. He was taken possession of by the 
party, went with them to the " pleasurin' ground," and 
although not able to take a very active part in the 
ensuing festivities, enjoyed his role of spectator won- 
derfully. His mercurial temperament responded sensi- 
tively to his surroundings, and, shaking off the sadness 
that had so oppressed him, ho entered, in sympathy at 
least, into all that went on, and surprised himself by 
the rebound. He had felt humbled to the point of en- 
during patiently any slights that might be put upon 
him ; the relief of feeling that he would not be called 
upon to endure them was very great. 

When he was comfortably established on the bank 
of the river in the shadiest, pleasantest spot that Jim 
Wilkins could find, his mind reverted to the expression 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 119 

on the faces of Alfred and Matilda that had puzzled 
him. And when Alfred joined him, after a bit, the first 
thing that Pa-ap, the philosopher, said to him, although 
he was not " a fool by heavenly compulsion" at all, but a 
clever and even keen-sighted person enough when his 
own interests were not at stake, was, " Set down here, 
Al. I dunno what you are carryin' on your mind. But 
ef so be as it might happen to be concernin' me, I want 
to tell you one thing. That paper I give you, — 
you've got it yet, ain't yer?" 

"Yes, Pa-ap — leastways, Matilda, she's got it," said 
Alfred. His tone was embarrassed, and even slightly 
aggrieved. He had no more imagination than one of 
his own turnips, and his father's eccentricities had 
always annoyed him. Why could he not either go 
away once for all, or stay at home ? A gift was a gift ; 
and his conduct was gratuitous, — as much so as though 
he had come back from another world, almost. The 
thought of restitution had been trying to form itself in 
the dim recesses of his mental apparatus ; but as soon 
as it became visible he felt it and himself taken by the 
throat, as it were, by Matilda, and not even his favorite 
" Whur there's a way in, there's a way out" seemed to 
shed any light on the peculiarly perplexing situation. 
"What '11 become uv us ef Pa-ap takes it back?" was 
one facet of the problem. " What '11 become uv him ef 
he don't?" was another. " What '11 become uv me, no 
matter which er way they settle it?" was the third, 
and not the least distressing, so miserably certain was 
he of the approach of the storm that his soul abhorred. 
The whole question had been preying upon him ever 
since he had seen his father on that bench at the station. 



120 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

But, with the dumb, inexpressive goodness and loyalty 
of his nature, he had reached one conclusion and deter- 
mination to which he could not have been helped by 
the most brilliant and logical intellect. "He's my 
father. He's come home. I won't turn agin him, no 
way they fix it. Tildy's raj wife. I'll do all I kin to 
please lier^ and live kind with her, too." 

The expression of his face and the sudden heighten- 
ing of its ruddy tints told his father that he had touched 
the discordant note. He looked at him for a moment, 
and then said, " I might take back, I reckon " 

" Don't tell Tildy that," gasped Alfred, turning almost 
purple. "I'll— I'll tell her." 

" But I won't," he concluded. " Don't feel bad 'bout 
that paper. I don't want nothin' back. I wouldn't 
tech it. But I'm broke down. I'm gittin' on fur an 
ole man. I reckon you can give me what I want — it's 
mighty little — while I'm 'bove ground. No I I don't 
want nothin' back." 

Alfred couldn't get any redder than he was already ; 
but his emotion was violent, and he got pale instead, 
at least for him, and said, eagerly, "Don't you tell 
Tildy that now. Don't you, Pa-ap. I'll tell her. She'd 
— she'd like better to be told by me." 

" All right, Al. Jes' as you're a mind to have it," 
agreed the father. " I thought never to come back " 

" I wish you hadn't never," thought Alfred, and re- 
membering how he was placed, the sentiment as well 
as the construction of this sentence may surely be for- 
given him. 

" But I had to come. Something drawed me like," 
John Shore went on, — " I couldn't stay 'way. And ef 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 121 

you'll believe me, my son, I dreamed uv your mother's 
grave four times runnin' plain as ever I seed it, — plain 
as I see you settin' there. You ain't — you don't — you 
wouldn't turn me out ?" It was monstrous to a man 
of his frank and generous character to think such a 
doubt for a moment, much less express it, and, feeling 
ashamed of having done so, he added, quickly, "I know 
you wouldn't ;" but to Alfred it seemed a natural enough 
precaution to take, and, intei'preting it as a personal 
and searching appeal, he first ran his hands wildly 
through his hair in the energetic intensity of his feel- 
ings, and then, ramming them deep in his pockets, af- 
firmed, decidedly, " ]N"o, Pa-ap ! I sez ' ]N'o.' And I sez 
' J^o' agin. And I takes my stand right there." It had 
been a long while since Alfred had known such ex- 
hausting inward and outward experience, and he now 
relapsed into a serious and semi-comatose state, in which 
he remained until his services were required to unpack 
the lunch-baskets, — an occupation to which he betook 
himself with a heart still burdened by anxieties and 
misgivings, but no longer in suspense. He was able to 
give himself up heartily to this important matter. 
" Good eatin' is a mighty good thing," was a stock sen- 
tence of his, and he considered himself a judge of it. 
He was privately quite of the opinion of one of the 
"Wilkins boys, who wandered about fretfully all morn- 
ing asking "when the picnic would begin," meaning 
the great feast of the day. And it was he who labored 
patiently and untiringly over that feature of the out- 
ing without getting the smallest thanks or recognition 
from anybody, or even a tithe of the delicacies pro- 
vided, unless certain wings, and drumsticks, and bits 
F 11 



122 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

of broken bread, and odd slices of tart that remained, 
over and above, when all had eaten, and that had to be 
disposed of somehow, could be so regarded. On these, 
at any rate, he dined, and then fell to repacking, and 
wrapping, and the searching of missing spoons, and 
washing of plates, as if hired expressly for the purpose; 
Matilda presiding, but not helping, and taking occasion 
to ask him whether he had "questioned of Pa-ap yet," 
to which this Machiavellian Alfred artfully replied, sig- 
nificantly, " We won't say nothin' to him 'less he says 
somethin' to us, ef we've got a grain of sense, Tildy." 

Such a day as it was altogether ! For the elect ladies, 
who sat apart in elegant seclusion some distance from 
the others, with their huge hampers about them, and 
indulged in the most " genteel" conversations and occu- 
pations imaginable, and were inexpressibly shocked and 
disgusted by nearly all that they saw, and had the min- 
ister to dine with them, and were not at all dull, — oh, 
no ! For Mrs. Wilkins, who positively declined to do 
anything that anybody else did, and would not eat any- 
thing, and steadily refused to be happy or comfortable, 
and finally strode off into the woods " to look for yarbs," 
she said, and would not so much as look in the direction 
of Mr. Wilkins all day, but mounted guard sternly over 
her children. For Zach Hodges, Jinny's brother, — a 
grave, lantern-jawed, one-suspendered person of settled 
habits, — who soon despised himself for having supposed 
that he could " fool around" for a whole day, and finally, 
in sheer desperation, walked a mile down the river, 
where he had seen some men cutting and stacking 
wood for the railroad, and lent a hand, and so killed the 
only holiday he had ever taken. For Mr. Newman's 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 123 

hated foe, Jack Culbert, who had a passion for fishing, 
and found a secluded, leaf-shadowed, sun-flecked pool 
at a bend of the Potomac, and caught bass after bass 
unvexed of neighbors or lawyers. For Jo Snod- 
grass, the greatest glutton on the mountain, who 
fell asleep after making a dinner that ought to have 
killed him, and waked again only to tackle half a 
chicken, a pot of quince preserves, and the quarter of 
a jelly-cake. (Little Wilkins's idea of a picnic seemed 
practically that of the whole company, and the amount 
of food consumed by old and young would never be 
believed; just as an inventory of what was put into the 
pockets alone of the party to stay the ravages of appe- 
tites that seemed absolutely sharpened by such uncon- 
sidered trifles as three enormous meals, and course after 
course of intermediate eggs, figs, raisins, candies, oranges, 
apples, etc., would never be credited, either.) And what 
a day — ah, loliat a day for E. Mintah ! For did not 
she. and Jonah walk along the tow-path hand in hand 
for hours, sucking sweetly, and with absolute fairness, 
at three oranges (one at a time, and turn and turn 
about), getting more out of them than ever was got out 
of the golden fruit of Hesperides ? And did they not 
stop at the lock and see a boat glide through ? And 
did they not go on board and explore it, and marvel 
over it, and talk to the people in charge of it, and find 
it a thousand times more curious and interesting than 
some people would the Great Eastern ? And did they 
not talk, talk, talk, and laugh, laugh, laugh? And did 
they not suddenly remember that they had been gone 
for hours and hours, and hurry back to join the others? 
And perhaps they were not hailed from afar with a loud 



124 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

shout, and amiably twitted and joked until E. Mintah, 
as red as her dress almost, shrank as far into herself as 
she could possibly get, and Jonah angrily seized the 
''genteel" Gus Jones by the shoulder and spun him 
around like a top, saying, " Shet up ! Let it drop I 
Enough's a plenty any time, and I've had enough ! D'ye 
hear?" — a command he was fain to obey sulkily, al- 
though he had just been declaring that he would "run 
Jonah high on that there thing." 

They Avere all soon most amicably and agreeably en- 
gaged, however, in eating and swinging, in swinging 
and eating, in playing games and eating, talking and 
eating, flirting and eating, singing and eating, while 
the elder folk sat around on stumps and logs, and looked 
glumly indifferent, or scornful, or amused, as the case 
might be. 

"When it came to " Here we go 'round the mulberry 
bush," the fun became perfectly uproarious, and as 
often as Jonah knelt in the middle of the ring he in- 
variably marched over to the spot where E. Mintah 
stood, took her hand, led her proudly to the centre of 
the ring, made her kneel down, and with a detonation 
as of a pocket-pistol " saluted" her, — that is, the tip of 
her ear, or her hair, or at best her cheek, as she 
modestly thwarted his purpose by slipping to the right 
or left, her ej^es as bright as stars and her cheeks in a 
flame. Other swains followed his example, and solemnl}'- 
and simply led forth other nymphs who did not follow 
hers, but seemed as stolid under the pocket-pistol 
process as though it had been an application of court- 
plaster applied by an elderly physician, and having 
squarely taken what was squarely off'ered, returned to 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 125 

their places without a smile. But not so was it with 
Miss Belle Podley. Anything like the vivacity and 
coquetry of that young person throughout the whole 
excursion had never been seen. The pertinence and 
the impertinence of her lively sallies had kept all the 
company amused, and more than once won a chastened 
smile from the minister himself Her briskness, her 
good-humor, and her good looks, added to the well- 
known fact that she was to have a farm of seventy- 
five acres, made her quite irresistible in some quarters. 
All the young men were quite wild about her, and 
if, instead of being what was known as " a bouncer" 
on the Mountain (i.e., a big, jolly, " peart," hand- 
some girl, with a joke for everybody, equally ready 
with tongue or fist, — capable, active, saucy, bold, but 
never bad), she had been a Belgravian or Fifth-Avenue 
belle, she could not have more perfectly understood the 
art of drawing them all on and holding them all off. 
So when it came her turn to take advantage of the 
mulberry bush, and choose a partner, it was a sight to 
see her. Eapidly striking the hands of three of her 
admirers, she dived under the encompassing arms of the 
circle, and picking up her encumbering skirts, flew, 
rather than ran, ofP, and around, and about, and up, and 
down, and here, and there, the three men in eager but 
unsuccessful pursuit, until at last she dashed back again, 
having dodged, eluded, and outrun them all, and, joining 
the circle, was, according to the rules, safe from further 
pursuit. Tossing back her magnificent auburn locks, 
she laughed, and jeered, and pantingly flouted them : 
" Oh, you can git over the ground as fast as any tarry- 
pin, can't you ? That's right ! Hurry up, Gus. You'll 

11* 



126 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

git here after while, like Christmas. There ain't a man 
on the Mountain as '11 catch me." 

She was so impudent and audacious that even Jonah 
took fire. " I'll show yer 'bout that, Belle, ef I git a 
chance," he cried, and so a little later she, nothing loath, 
gave him the chance. But either she was tired from 
the previous chase or she was not unwilling that it 
should end differently. She declared that it was the 
first. K. Mintah was sure that it was the last, for was 
it not notorious that Belle admired Jonah? It is 
certain that after a short run Jonah caught her, and, 
moreover, to E. Mintah's amazement and disgust, he 
kissed her! Whereupon Belle bridled, and minced, 
and giggled more than ever, and became so utterly- 
fascinating that the luckless three were reduced to senti- 
mental pulp and darkest despair, while poor little K. 
Mintah sat apart and suffered the bitter pains and 
penalties of o'er true and tender love. 

It was then that John Shore, looking on, asked Jim 
Wilkins, "Who is that pretty young thing yonder?" 

" Belle Podley ?" inquired Jim. 

" No /" said John, impatiently. " The little one, just 
beginning to tassel — like." On being told, he called E. 
Mintah to him, and got no small pleasure from renew- 
ing his* acquaintance with her. He talked so kindly 
to her, indeed, that she almost forgot for the moment 
that Jonah was false and Belle wicked, and life value- 
less in consequence. Belle had got up a game of blind- 
man's-buff now, but Jonah had slunk out of it, and 
would have come straight back to E. Mintah, now that 
his momentary divertisement was over, had he not seen 
that she was offended. " To pleasure you, E. Mintah," 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 127 

said John, noticing the young girl's desolate look, 
" my mocking-bird shall sing," and uncovering a cage 
he revealed a stout-bodied, sober-plumaged bird, with 
a calm, intellectual eye and an impudently cocked tail. 
"ISTow, Bureegyard," said John, "show 'em what you 
can do," and began to whistle encouragingly. For 
some moments the bird eyed the company in gen- 
eral and John in particular with a scornful, imperious 
air of disapproving scrutiny, and then without warn- 
ing opened his huge mouth and poured out strains 
so rich and brilliant and varied that every one was 
attracted, and Jim Wilkins insisted on knowing " What 
kind of a sort of a varmint is that varmint er your'n, 
John, anyways?" A little crowd of people gathered 
about the cage to see and hear the wonderful songster. 
" I got him in Loosyana," explained John, " and he's a 
first-rater, and a tip-topper, Jim, I tell you! The 
beatenest bird ever Jheerd, or you either. I'm a-teachin' 
of him 'Dixie,' and I'm a-teachin' of him 'Yankee 
Doodle,' to be fair and square all 'round, and when he's 
a mind ter he can sing 'em both as good as the next 
one. But ef he ain't, you kain't git a note out of him, 
not ef you was to roast the gizzard in him by a slow 
fire. He's game, is Bureegyard, shore, and no mule 
kain't beat him fur obstinacy ; but I'm bent and deter- 
minated on him learnin' them two things, and we are 
goin' to fight it out on this line, ez Grant said, ef it takes 
us all summer. He's dared me to kill him, with his eye, 
over and over agin, when he's got tired of bein' learnt, 
'n I've been mad enough ter, and I would, too, efhe'd of 
been all. But I couldn't git my consentment to killiu' 
all that music in the cussed little critter's breast." 



128 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

''Well, hit's the astoiiishin'est bird ever I see. I 
shouldn't wonder but what you could git five dollars 
fur him," said Alfred. 

"I wouldn't take five hundred," his father replied. 
"Me and him's mighty good company mostly. Who's 
talkin' of sellin' ? No, sir ; me and Bureegyard goes 
together, and ain't to be bought nor sold seperate. 
Curous, ain't it, what a heap uv songs he've got? I 
sets and studies sometimes 'bout the fust bird, and 
wonder what he was like, and wish I could er heerd 
him." 

"Fust bird? What fust bird's you talkin' 'bout?" 
inquired Alfred, thoroughly puzzled. 

" Why, there must some time or nuther uv been a fust 
bird. Everything had got to begin at the offstart uv 
all, Al. Don't you see so yourself?" said the father. 

" I dunno know nothin' 'bout no fust birds, nor no 
fust nothing, Pa-ap," replied Alfred. " And my advise- 
ment to you is not to go talking to nobody 'bout no 
sech fiddlesticks 'n foolishments, 'less you want to be 
thought simple." 

Jonah now came up and would have liked to take ad- 
vantage of E. Mintah's evident interest in the now silent 
songster to make friends again, but she continued to turn 
her back on him and affected not to hear any of his re- 
marks, although she had known that he was there, and 
why he was there, long before she turned her head and 
saw him. Her Jonah to kiss Belle Podlcy ! Oh ! it was 
shameful, utterly unpardonable, and most miserable! 
Even her beautiful red dress looked faded and hideous 
in the sickly light of such a sorrow, and she seemed to 
stiffen in it until her supple little figure got a look of 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 129 

positive petrifaction, as outraged love worked griev- 
ously within her pure and tender heart and clamored 
for expression, only to be rigidly suppressed. Jonah 
saw it, and, big as he was, trembled before, or, rather, 
behind her, — not that he felt particularly guilty, but 
because he saw that he had hurt what he loved, — and 
knowing that it was not in her to complain or reproach 
him he felt her to be only the more unapproachable in 
her gentle dignity. 

"'Pears like you ain't enj'yin' yerself, E. Mintah," 
said John Shore, kindly. 

" I wish I hadn't never come. I wish I was home. 
I hate picnics," she replied, passionately. 

Was this the day that she had so long looked forward 
to, — the day that had been so sweet in the buggy and 
along the tow-path when there had been only she and 
Jonah, and the rippling river, and the birds, and the 
flowers, and no Belle Podley existed at all ? 

Her eyes were full of tears, which she was deter- 
mined should not fall, and seeing them, John said, 
briskly, "I tell yer, honey, yer sorter moped-like. 
Yer want a dance. Whur's everybody? There's a 
right smart chance uv boys and girls here, and you shell 
all have a dance. Go call 'em, — you tell 'em, Jonah, — 
while I chune up. Tell 'em to come here." 

In a few minutes the liveliest version of " Miss Mc- 
Leod" was ringing out, and such a turf-dance as fol- 
lowed must have surprised even the river, accustomed 
as it was to the eccentricities of excursionists. Such 
leaping, and bounding, and jigging, and revolving were 
never seen there before. The idea had been enthusi- 
astically welcomed on all sides, and not only the boys 



130 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

and girls, but many men and matrons, had seized each 
other and the opportunity to " have a fling," as they 
phrased it. It was a long dance, and John played his 
best, for he knew that he could only play that one ; and 
I don't know how it happened, but before the long 
scrape of the bow which marked " finale," and which 
John always gave with his head very much on one side 
and his elbow most impressively squared, Jonah and 
K. Mintah had " made up." How Jonah managed it I 
have no idea. The dance did it, perhaps. At least he 
put his arm around E. Mintah and whirled her off be- 
fore she could remonstrate, and then homoeopathic treat- 
ment was tried, — a kiss for a kiss, — and at last expla- 
nation. 

*' I 'lowed to ketch her," said Jonah. 

" But what made yer kiss her ?" asked E. Mintah. 

"I dunno. I can't rightly say," replied Jonah, not 
without embarrassment. " She sorter dared me and I 
upped and done it," he added, using the argument of 
the soldier, that Jim Wilkins was fond of telling about, 
who stole a sheep because " it bit him, and he warn't 
the man to let no sheep that ever was bite him." 

" Jonah," said E. Mintah, gravely, " ef you like her 
more 'n me, say so, and take back your word to me. I 

ain't never been good enough fur you. Belle " she 

choked somehow, and slipped off the dearest and most 
beautiful ring in the world before he could prevent it 
and laid it in his enormous palm. 

" Hold on ! Quit, E. Mintah !" cried Jonah. " What 
did you do that fur ? Don't yer know I wouldn't give 
your old shoe fur a ten-acre lot er hollerin', bellerin', 
bouncin' gurls like that there Belle Podley?" 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 131 

Oh, Jonah, Jonah ! Belle had a loud voice, and was 
standing at that moment with her arms akimbo shriek- 
ing and laughing in a way that was not pleasant. But 
" bellerin' !" She is not without her own saucy charm, 
and you know it. 

""What did yer kiss her for then, Jonah?" asked E. 
Mintah, picking out the weak spot in his defence as 
well as Ballantyne, Q. C, or Chief-Justice Taney could 
have done. 

"I done told you that I dunno," reiterated Jonah, 
rather sulkily. " It was all jes' funnin' and foolishness, 
that's what ; I don't care nothin' 'bout her at all. Don't 
think no more about it. You are the one I want," etc., 
etc. 

After this they had to go for another walk, of course, 
to say the same thing over and over again in nearly the 
same words. The dancers went their way also, John 
Shore was joined by his old friend Jim Wilkins, who 
was shaking with good-natured laughter : " I ain't 
shook a foot sence we boys used to cut up didos in 
camp," he said, " and I thought I'd skirmish 'round a 
little with Jinny "White, but I've got too much to carry. 
Ouf!" 

" "Well, set down here by me, Jim, and tell me 'bout 
yerself, — all yer been doin'," said John Shore, making 
room for him. 

" AU right, I will," said Mr. Wilkins. When he had 
recovered breath, he settled himself comfortably and 
began : " Well, John, there ain't much happened to call 
happenin's, skasely, most uv the time sence you went 
away. I've lived right along here mostly, and been 
well and done well. I've traded 'round every which er 



132 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

way, and done mighty well lumpin' this and that. I'm 
wuth five thousand dollars this minute. You wouldn't 
think it to look at my clothes, now, would you ? but I 
am. I dunno myself how I got it, but the mill done 
most of it." 

" I've seed you with a bed-quilt fur a coat, and no 
shoes on your feet, and your head plum through your 
hat, Jim." 

" That's so ! You have, John," said Mr. AVilkins, 
laughing, and laying his hand on his friend's knee. 
"And I've seed you mighty ready to creep under that 
there bed-quilt at night ! and with carpet-rags tied on 
your old hoofs ; yes, sir, and no hat at all, 'less it was 
the skillet you'd stuck on top uv your head. Ha ! ha ! 
ha ! We warn't travellin' on our style much them days, 
wuz we, John? Great Scott! how you did look the 
mornin' we fell back from Second Manassas. You 
scared the crows all out the country, John. Ha! ha! 
ha! ha! ha! ha!" 

" En all the buzzards took after you, Jim, which was 
worse." 

"Well! ef ever you want a coat or a hat agin, John, 
you'll know whur to come," said Jim Wilkins, impress- 
ively, when their joint laughter had died away. 

" Thanky kindly, Jim. I'd say the same ef I had 
anything anybody wanted ; which I ain't." 

" Well, maybe your reserves '11 come up after while 
and you'll win the next fight, John. Don't you go 
a-gittin' too down on your luck, and stickin' up no white 
flag. The bottom rail gits on top when you least looks 
to see it in peace times like in war times. You know 
that. You remember that time at Snicker's Gap when 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 133 

we thought we had the Yankees penned up so's they 
couldn't git out no way at all, 'less the bottom fell out 
of the tub, and how they run us plum out uv the coun- 
try and used us up entirely ? We didn't feel any too 
good when we was lyin' flat up agin that fence that 
night we crope like snakes into the yard of that big 
white house jes' this side uv Glasstown, and laid in the 
shadow there listenin' to the Yankee sentinels chal- 
lengin' each other not twenty feet away. Did we, 
John ?" 

"And how we did wriggle out of that when they 
was changed. That was about the tightest place ever 
we got in, warn't it, Jim ?" 

" You made pretty good time considerin' you wuz on 
all-fours, John. Ha ! ha ! ha !" (A pause.) '' John, ef 
you ever get in a pinch, and want a little money, do 
you come right to me. D'ye hear?" (Confidentially. 
Another pause.) " Yes, that was a mighty nigh thing, — 
a mighty nigh thing." 

" I don't know but what that skirmish on Hog Creek 
was as bad, Jim. Ef Stuart's men hadn't uv come up 
jes' when they did, I tell you we'd er been eat right up, 
— eat right up befo' we know'd what done it." 

" That's so. That was the nighest fur me shore and 
certain, John, fur it was there you " 

" Say no more, Jim ; I warn't thinkin' uv that part." 

" But Im a thinkin' of it. I ain't never got done 
thinkin' of it, and ain't never goin' to. ]S"o. John, ef 
ever you want anything I can give yer and don't come 
to me, I'll blow your old brains out fur you, as sure as 
my name's Jim Wilkins, see ef I don't, you miserable 
old bushwhacker, you!" 

12 



134 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

" I've got that picter you give me when I went away 
yet, and many's the time I've looked at it, Jim. Hit 
was sorter encouragin' 'way off there. And the Lord 
knows I needed encouragin'." 

" Have you ? Let's have a look." 

John Shore got out his greasy leather case and pro- 
duced the yellow envelope. His old comrade put an 
arm around his neck and together they inspected it. 

" That's the way he looked when I seed him that 
day at Port Royal," said Jim. 

"Yes, hit's got the look of him 'bout the eyes and 
forred pretty good. But no picter couldn't be 7nade 
that 'd git all uv him, Jim. We'll never see nobody like 
him agin in this world, not ef we wuz to live to be a 
thousand." 

"That's so, John. That's so. We never will. I'd 
give a good deal to see him come ridin' down the lines 
in that old uniform of his'n, takin' off that old hat — 
sorter pulled down over his eyes, it was always — when 
he heerd the boys cheerin' him ! Wouldn't you, John ? 
That uniform wasn't near as good as our quarter- 
master's, — nothin' like. You couldn't er told him from 
nobody else, — me or you." 

" Yes, you could, Jim, too. Me and you ! You could 
er told him from everybody else. Picked him out uv a 
whole army. Well, I reckon he's in heaven now. He 
'lowed to go there, and it's none too good fur him." 

" Yes, he wanted to go to heaven, and you may jest 
bet he's gone there, John. And I tell yer ef he'd 
er wanted to go to hell, there ain't sperrits enough 
there, long as the devil's been enlistin', to keep old Blue 
Light out!" said Jim, with conviction. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 135 

When the pocket-hook was ahout to he replaced, Mr. 
"Wilkins seized it, saying, '' Let me fix that." He walked 
off a short distance, got out his penknife, operated suc- 
cessfully on a certain spot in his coat where he carried 
his savings (carefully stitched there by himself in con- 
sequence of his rooted distrust of all confidants and 
cashiers), and got out a five-dollar bill, which he put in 
his friend's book along with the picture, securing the 
whole with a stout rubber band which he took from his 
own, and giving it back to John Shore without a word. 

"Yes, them was times when you wuz alive, ef so be 
as you wuz alive," said Shore, taking the book mechan- 
ically and replacing it. " I wish I could live through 
'em agin sometimes, hard as some of it was. But it's 
different with you, Jim. You must have pretty nigh 
as good a time as can be had. I'm right down glad to 
hear you've done so well. You was a-tellin' me how it 
was." 

"Yes. As I was a-sayin'. After I got the mill I 
made money, John. Befo' that it was slow work. I 
prospered steady, but I never was one to blow 'bout my 
business. I kep' a still tongue, and done well, and 
salted down what I made, and done better and better. 
And I was gittin' ready to fix to build a new house, — 
sorter settlin' down in my tracks, and takin' things 
easy, and fixin' to enjoy myself, when, all of a sudden, 
the old woman took a notion, — the blamedest notion ! — 
and spiled everything. 'Twas to pull up stakes and 
move out to Californy ! You see she had two brothers 
out there, and they kep' on writin' to her and put it in 
her head. I thought she'd gone plum crazy when she 
fust talked 'bout it. It did 'pear like it. 'Break up 



136 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

here,' I sez to her, ' whur I've got a home, and a good 
business, and go balloonin' out yonder the other side er 
nowhere?' But Californy was the greatest place that 
ever was. Everybody made big fortunes there befo' 
they could turn 'round. The grapes there wuz as big 
as peaches, and the peaches wuz as big as potatoes, 
and the potatoes bigger 'n pumkins, and the pumkins 
as big as all out-doors. The very chickens hadn't no 
feathers to pick off, and was already cooked when you 
was hungry. You couldn't be poor out there ef you 
got burnt out twict a week and lost all you had. Every 
boy got to be governor of the State, and every girl 
married a rich man. Californy was heaven. Everything 
was better there than nowhere else. You've heerd that 
kind er talk, John ?" 

John Shore nodded, and said, "And I've been fool 
enough to believe some of it, too." 

" Well, my wife she was full of it. At fust I argyed 
the thing with her, like a Jack; and, of course, the 
more I argyed, the more she sot her mind on goin'. 
She said it would be the makin' of me and the chil- 
dren, and she wanted to see them dear brothers of 
hern. And then I got mad, and I ain't swore sence 
Appomattox like I did. I was ashamed uv myself good 
afterwards, talkin' that way to a woman. And she was 
that much more sot, and bent, and determinated. And 
then I sulked like a bear with a sore head for awhile. 
And that done no good ; she got sotter every day. 
You've been a married man, John. You know how it 
is. I couldn't bend, and I couldn't break her, and I 
wouldn't beat her. I was willin' to do this, and I was 
willin' to do that, — anything most to satisfy her; but 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 137 

she wouldn't be satisfied no way I fixed it without we 
broke up and moved to Californy. I begged and prayed 
of her, even, and her a good woman, too, — says her 
prayers every night, and reads her Bible on Sundays, 
and never took off her clothes, but nursed me faithful 
night and day, when I had the smallpox, and there 
ain't never been a better mother made,— but she never 
budged. She said she had the children to consider. 
You remember how it used to was, John, maybe." 

" ISTo, I don't, Jim. I hadn't never no disagreements 
with my wife," said John Shore, his voice softening as 
he spoke. 

" Hum, hum ! She died young. I reklect 'bout that, 
—she died mighty young;' said Mr. Wilkins, reflectively. 
"Well, John, I seed how 'twould be. I've rode a 
goverment mule befo' now. So I knowed it warn't no 
manner nor sort of use, whatsomedever, to try to turn 
her head 'round, and I'd already tried her with blinkers 
and 'thout blinkers, tight girth and loose girth, bare- 
backed and saddled, coaxed and driv, and spurred, and 
it wouldn't work, seein' she'd got the bit between her 
teeth, and wouldn't go my way ef she died fur it. And 
I know'd, too— well, you've been married, John ! Hum ! 
— I know'd I'd be thro wed 'gin the wall and hurt had ef 
I didn't stop tryin' ! So I set and studied and studied 
over that thing till at last I sez to myself, 'You nateral- 
born pulin' igit ! Don't yer see ! This here thing calls 
fur tactics: So I studied more 'n ever. And then I 
goes to Blake,— one-eyed Blake, Fifth Virginia Cavalry, 
little nubbin of a man with a red head. You must 
shorely disremember him ? Limped a little ; warn't 
nothin' uv a soldier,— wouldn't skeer a rabbit,— but a 

12* 



138 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

square, correct fellow. Yer don't say now that you've 
forgot Blake, — the man that give us a cup of hot coffee 
the mornin' we started to fall back from Ashby's Gap ?" 

"Oh, yes! I know now who you are talkin' 'bout. 
It was mighty curous. That fellow had coffee right 
straight through the war, from fust to last! And him 
only a private. How he got it the Lord only knows. 
And it warn't chicory, nor nothin'. It was coffee. That 
there cup of coffee was 'bout the best thing ever I put 
in my mouth bcfo' or sence. We'd been on the jump, 
you remember, fur ten days, and I hadn't had no sleep 
skasely fur three nights, and it was 'bout all I could do 
to keep from fallin' off my horse. And when I seed 
that coffee-pot I thought I seed the New Jerusalem. 
And Blake he poured me out a big tincupful, and I 
couldn't stop to drink it, but I warn't goin' to lose nor 
leave it, not ef I knowed it. So I called to Blake to 
charge the cup to Uncle Sam and rode off. And my 
horse would stumble a bit and it was as hot as fire, and 
between 'em I got scalded right smart, and spilt some 
which was worse, but what I got was jes' heaven ! Oh, 
yes, I remember Blake." 

" I thought you couldn't er forgot him. Well, as I 
was a-tellin' you, I went to him and give him the wink, 
and we soon fixed it up between us fust-rate. He was 
to have the house, and the mill, and the farm fur a 
year free, and was to make out to ev'ybod\' like he'd 
bought it. See? Me a-keepin' of it all the time, of 
cose. See? And then I sez to the ole woman, I sez, 
' I don't want to leave my home, and my friends, and 
all I've worked so hard fur ever since the war, and go 
trapesin' off 3'ondcr so fur from Yirginny, but I see you 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 139 

can't be, and ain't a-goin' to be, happy here no more, so 
I give in, and you kin pack up and we'll strike camp 
next week and go to Californy.' 

"She hadn't never 'lowed fur me to give in, John, 
and she looked mighty solemn-like when she heerd me 
say that, — sorter like she did the day we got married. 
And then she hugged and kissed me good, and I told 
her I'd sold off everything and was doin' that thing 
teetotally and intirely to pleasure her, and I didn't care 
a red cent fur the resks as long as she was pleased. 
And she hugged and kissed me agin, and said I was the 
bes' husband any woman ever had on the face of the 
yearth ; and I felt about as low as they're made, — as 
mean as a skunk. I couldn't skasely keep from tellin' 
her the truth. But I know'd I was actin' right, least- 
ways meanirC right, so I never said nothin', and it was 
settled that er way. Have a chaw, John ? This is the 
' Farmer's Friend.' I like it better 'n any of 'em. Well, 
sir, she went 'round the house mighty quiet, packin' and 
sortin', and didn't talk none hardly. She felt bad, and 
I seed it, but I never said nothin'. And I went 'round 
lookin' like 'twas all I could do not to bust out cryin'. 
Tactics, John; all tactics! And when she'd kissed, and 
cried, and tole good-by all around to the folks, and we'd 
got on the train, I sez to her, ' Look here, I want to tell 
you one thing : this here is your excursion, Mrs. Wil- 
kins. It ain't my excursion. Ef you ain't satisfied in 
Californy, don't you never say nothin' to me 'bout 
comin' back, — that's all, — 'cause I ain't never comin' 
back.' She promised she wouldn't, and I seed then she 
was skeered had; but I never said nothin'. Tactics^ 
John. See?" Mr. Wilkins clapped his friend's knee, 



140 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

and, throwing back bis bead, laughed loud and long, 
bis meiTj eyes almost disappearing from view. He was 
obliged to get out a red cotton handkerchief and give 
vent to a couple of trombone-like snorts before he could 
resume his story, so great was bis own enjoyment of it, 
and then he wiped his wet eyes and cheeks. " I can't 
help it, John ; I'm jes' obleeged to laugh whenever I 
think uv that thing. It jes' spurts out. I've done it in 
church befo' now, — sniggered right out, and caught Hail 
Columbia fur it afterwards from the ole woman, and 
laughed wuss 'n ever, tell I w^uz as weak as a new-born 
babe, and she said I wuz gittin' ready fur the 'sylum at 
Stanton. But as I started to tell you. We travelled, 
and travelled, and travelled, tell I thought we'd passed 
all creation. And the country kep' on gittin flatter and 
flatter. There warn't a mounting to be seen fur hun- 
dreds uv miles, ef you'll believe me, and an uglier, and 
a browner, and a more burnt-up country I never seed, 
and it jes' did 'pear to me like we wuz gittin' to the 
mouth of the bad place. Howsomever, we did git to that 
heaven of a Californy at last, and met up with her 
brothers, and I bought a little place from the only smart 
man that had ever been out there, I reckon, for he wuz 
Icavin' it fust chance he got, and we started in. Well ! 
sech a country as that was ! You wouldn't believe it ! 
It was so dry, John, fur months and months that ever}-- 
thing turned to powder, and then it turned loose and 
drownded ev'j^thing and ev'ybody out, and I don't 
know which was wust. You couldn't raise a leaf uv 
tobacco to save your life ! And I never cat a beat-bis- 
cuit nor had a mint-julip while I wuz there! It was 
the most God-forsaken place, — the jumpin'-off place, and 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. Ul 

no mistake. And there warn't no spring-house, nor no 
ice-house, nor no smoke-house, and nobody to help with 
the work. And the climate warn't anything to call a 
climate, and the ole woman got mighty sick uv it in a 
month, but she was 'shamed to say so. I pertended / 
liked it, and we went on. In 'bout three months she 
couldn't hold in no longer, and she began sayin' she 
didn't like this thing and that thing. And I didn't take 
no notice, no more 'n ef I was deef. And when the 
rainy season come she got droopy and miserable as a 
wet chicken, and I pertended still I liked it. And she 
said she never seed nothin' of her brothers 'cause they 
lived a good piece off, and wuz always too busy to come 
to see nobody, and she werrited powerful and talked 
'bout livin' and dyin' 'mong strangers all the time. And 
I said, ' Oh, this is Californy ! We ain't goin' to die ; no- 
body don't die out here ; we are goin' to live here for 
the next fifty years. I'm 'bout as well contented as I 
ever 'spect to be,' and she was so furous she wouldn't 
speak to me fur a week. Tactics, John. See ? And 
we went on fur a while, and the harvest was so poor we 
didn't make nothin' skasely. But I lived po', and was 
cheerful all the time, and sez to her, ' 'Pears to me we 
ain't comin' out the big end of the horn fur Californy^ 
the land of plenty, but we're here now and we've got 
to stay.' ' Why don't you urrigate, Jim ?' says she to 
me mad-like, and I tole her I hadn't got the money 
to fool away on 'bout fifty miles er ditches. I'd heerd 
rain had been plenty in Yirginny, but nothin' couldn't 
be helped. And, John, what did that woman do ? She 
got as sweet as molasses-candy that minnit, and sez, 
' Ef you ain't content here, Jim, I'll go back to Yirginny. 



142 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE, 

I won't stiiy nowhurs vvhiir my dear husband ain't con- 
tented.' She did ! Women are 'bout the smartest things 
the Lord ever made, John. But I seed things was 
workin', and I know'd I had the reins and was set on 
drivin' her into a corner, so I sez, 'Thank yer kindly, 
mother, but I'm all right. I don't want to go back. 
I'm suited out here. I come to pleasure you, but I'm 
goin' to stay to pleasure myself. The crop ain't been 
good, but in ten years or so maybe I'll be able to urri- 
gate and we'll do better.' That beat her. She got as 
red as fire and wouldn't eat a mite that day. Well, we 
Avent on that way for a while agin, and then all to oust 
she broke plum, teetotally down, and caved in, and give 
up, and went to bed, and stayed there, and cried herself 
into fits 'most. And when I sez to her, ' What in the 
name of goodness has got into you ? AYhat's the matter 
w^th you anyways, mother?' what do you think she 
sez to me, after werritin' and devillin' me cornstant, 
and never lettin' me rest tell I give my consent to goin' 
out there? She sez, ' What did you ever bring me and 
my children out here to starve and die fur ? I'll die ef 
you keep me here.' She did ! And she meant it, too ! 
Well, I didn't argy that time, 'n I didn't make no fuss. 
I seed she was plum beat out sho' 'nough and had surren- 
dered, and I didn't push things. I jes' said, ' You warn't 
satisfied in your Yirginny home, and you ain't satisfied 
in your Californy heaven, it 'pears. But I'm still willin' 
to pleasure you, and do all I can fur to make you happj^ ; 
80 stop cryin', and I'll horrer the money and take you 
back home agin.' And she set up in bed straight and 
sez, 'Oh, Jim, Jim, take me home! take me home!' sez 
she, ' and I'll break rock on the pike for a livin'. I'll do 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 143 

anything ! I'll thank and bless yer as long as I've got 
breath in my body I I hate Californy wuss 'n pison!' 
/hadn't to borrer no money, and I know'd Blake's time 
was 'most out, and when it came 'round we lef . You 
oughter seed the ole woman ! She could have danced a 
jig fur joy, settled woman that she is. She didn't 
care no more than nothin' 'bout partin' with them dear 
brothers of hern. She was crazy-happy ef ever a crea- 
ture wuz." 

" Yer must er been mighty happy, both uv you, 
comin' back together," said John Shore, who had listened 
with the greatest interest. 

" "Well, that's as you may call it, John," replied Mr. 
Wilkins, dubiously. " I 'lowed it would be. But ef you'll 
believe me, the ole woman set up as stiff as a ramrod all 
the way back, and wouldn't have nothin' more to do 
with me than ef I'd of treated her the wust in the world 
all through. She did ! And she's been that way ever 
sence, — you've noticed her to-day. I darsent run her. 

Not fur my life! But when- 1 look at her I " Mr. 

"Wilkins here roared afresh, and was obliged to have re- 
course again to his handkerchief, his friend joining 
heartily in his outburst, and the pair rocking them- 
selves backward and forward in an ecstasy of amuse- 
ment for some moments. " Excuse me, John. But I'd 
bust ef I didn't. Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha I ha I I made a big 
trouble and business 'bout tradin' with Blake to git 
back my house agin (I let on, now, the mill's his'n), and 
I tell you she was glad to git back to it ! She'll never 
want to do no more movin'. She'll think twict befo' 
she has any differments with me. She snaps at me like 
a turtle jes' now. But, Lor! I don't kyer. I've got 



144 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

the bit in her mouth, and I ain't goin' to do no sawin' 
while it's sore. And it's turned out all right. And she's 
got all she wants. But, John Shore, I sez now what 
I've always said, and there ain't no man that knows 
anything 'bout 'em that can say it ain't true, 'Women's 
like war. Sometimes they're a scourge, and then agin 
they're a blessin'; but with both uv 'em you've jes^ got to 
have tactics.' " 

This recital had consumed a good deal of time. The 
shadows were getting long on the grass and dark over 
the river, and the party began to reassemble. It was 
generally conceded that the united forces must march 
on the station at once if their train was to be caught. 
So a group of men, dimly visible, sitting on logs, smok- 
ing and talking, some little distance off, were called, the 
baskets were looked to, Miss Belle Pod ley (with two 
young men beside her and a third hanging on at the 
back) jumped into a buggy, the omnibus was filled, and 
soon nothing but some greasy newspapers and empty 
tins remained to tell the woods that they had been 
honored by a distinguished company. And I fear that 
if the river could have had its way it would have 
altered its course and swept away even these traces of 
a defiling humanity. 

" There's little Stebbins," said Mr. Wilkins. "Howdy, 
Stebbins!" as they emerged from the omnibus to find 
their train just arrived, and snorting and pufiing im- 
patiently to be off again. " You remember little Steb- 
bins of our company, — ' Owl Stebbins' " (to John Shore). 
"That's him on the ingine. He drives the ingine on 
this here night train always. Let's go speak to him." 

They did so, and Stebbins was very friendly and in- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 145 

vited them to ride with him and have a talk " 'bout old 
times," if they wouldn't find it " on comfortable." 

John Shore had his bird and packages, but he got 
over this difficulty by giving them to Jonah, who 
promised to take care of them, — a promise that R. 
Mintah fulfilled. 

This settled, he and Mr. Wilkins joined their friend, 
who, having wiped away the perspiration that was 
blinding him with a sweep of his arm, and hitched up 
his trowsers, and thrown open his flannel shirt at the 
throat a little, offered each of them in turn a hand 
hardly to be distinguished from the lumps of coal 
heaped high in the tender behind him, and, with a 
hearty grasp, said twice, gravely, "Howdy, howdy! I'm 
pleased to see you, gentlemen. I certainly am. Git up 
thar, at the back, whur j'ou'll be out er the way," and 
would have apologized for the inferior character of the 
accommodations he was able to offer. Mr. AYilkins, 
however, cheerfully remarked that he had " rode" in his 
time " on the roof of the kyars and on the cow-catcher, 
and warn't partikiler so long as he warn't rid on a rail," 
and so won upon Mr. Stebbins by his brisk and cheerful 
demeanor and conversation that, solemn as he was, and 
the strictest of strict Baptists, in five minutes he had 
grown convivial and confidential, so moving and search- 
ing are the effects of old ties and " mountain mist" on 
the most reserved natures. The train now moved 
slowly out into the darkness, leaving the station behind 
it looming large and indistinct, and jewelled about with 
the lamps of the trainmen. Mr. Stebbins became ab- 
sorbed again for a time in his professional duties. In 
the second car Mrs. Wilkins's beaked bonnet brooded 
G k 13 



146 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

above three children Avho had fiillen asleep. And Mr. 
Culbert, also dozing, shuffled his feet about to avoid 
coming in contact with the large string of fish that 
flopped about them. And Belle Podley giggled, and 
shrieked, and bridled, and minced, and arranged her 
" beau-catchers," and wetted her red lips, and tossed her 
pretty head, and played at being shocked and offended, 
or charmed, as the case might be, with her three 
admirers. Mrs. Williams, senior, was talking with 
Zach Hodges, and agreeing with him that picnics were 
failures : " I'd as lieve grabble for taters, and liever, 
than to set around and do nothin' all day. It's about 
the hardest work ever I tried to do," said she. And E. 
Mintah, with her head on Jonah's shoulder, and love 
and joy again restored to her heart, was heaving a sigh 
of deepest satisfaction that was not satiation, and saying, 
" Oh, Jonah, ain't picnics heavenly ! Ain't it been beau- 
tiful !" The train was running at full speed in a little 
w^hile, and John Shore and Jim Wilkins, seated high on 
the tender, exchanfred remarks with the fireman and 
reminiscences with their former comrade and waxed 
jovial. The fireman, so Mr. Stebbins said, was an old 
soldier, too, and for a long while the talk was altogether 
of raids, and battles, and repulses, and victories, with 
their attendant features good and bad, harrowing or 
amusing. 

When it had been going on for some time, Mr. Steb- 
bins took a lantern, and, leaning out, waved it back and 
forth six times. " I live up yonder 'bout half a mile 
away," he explained. " That's fur my wMfc. She looks 
out regular every night to see me do it. She can see it 
plain, and knows I am all right then." 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. U7 

Fate, which had certainly not dowered Mr. Stebbins 
with the fatal gift of beauty, nor made him very wise 
nor very great, had made him very rich in a devoted 
wife, Avho believed him to be all this and much more, 
and had then perversely so arranged matters that he 
was nearly all the time away from her. 

" I got a good home, boys," he explained ; " and ef I 
could jes' stay in it I'd be satisfied. But I'm mostly on 
the road; and when I'm there I'm beat out, and can't do 
nothin' but sleep 'n eat. I don't hardly know mj own 
children. But they've got a fust-rate, hard-workin', 
lovin', pious mother. She's a-bringin' of 'em up correct, 
I know, — better 'n I could, — and it's mighty lucky, I 
sez so to myself every day, for I've got to be on the 
go all the whole blessed time. She sez to me this 
mornin', ' Father, the baby's had a tooth fur a month 
and you ain't noticed it.' It sorter cut her, you see, 
and I sez to her, ' Carrie, I ain't a father at all. I ain't 
a husband. I ain't a human. I'm nothin' but a steam- 
ingine ; and when I think of the life I've been a-leadin' 
for fifteen year and better it's a wonder I don't bust my 
biler all to flinders and jump the track.' 'Well, now, 
be patient,' sez she to me. ' It '11 all come right, I'm 
jes' certain. You'll git work in the yard in a year or 
two, and then you kin stay at home all you want.' 
Yes, I run this here locomotive by night and I dream 
uv it by day. I kain't git the blamed concern out 'er 
my mind a minnit ; and some days it 'pears like some- 
body was lettin' off steam in my head cornstant, and 
I dunno nothin', and I kain't sleep a wink, and I'm jes' 
druv plum crazy. And Carrie she makes me lay down, 
and she sends the children all off, and shets up the house 



148 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

to make it dark, and jes' sets by me without savin' a 
blessed word tell I feel better. En then she always sez, 
' Be patient, father. Keep on fur a while and things 
'11 git better. They're bound to git better.' She's got 
a power er patience, and a power er pra'r ; and pra'r and 
patience is what the wife uv a railroad man's got to 
have, ornless she 'lows to go ravin' distracted." 

'•That's so," said Mr. Vilkins. "And it ain't only 
them, neither. It's pretty much all wives and all hus- 
bands. It takes a power er patience fur any man to 
git on with any woman, and a power er pra'r fur any 
woman to stand any man, I do reckon. The best man 
that was ever made ain't none so good but what he 
might be a sight better; and the best woman that ever 
stepped 's got it in her to make Moses rip and snort 
round like a bull hornin' one er these here little barkin' 
fice dogs. But ef a man's got any tactics " 

Mr. Stebbins might possibly have heard something in 
this connection of Mrs. Wilkins's famous excursion; but 
at this moment he opened a valve, and Mr. Wilkins's 
voice was drowned in the terrific blare of sound that 
followed. 

" There ain't a locomotive on the road like 26," said 
Mr. Stebbins, when he had imprisoned the demon again. 
" Ef I could take things easy and run her twict in the 
week, I'd ruther do it than be President. But I ain't 
no owl" (here Mr. Wilkins and John Shore, knowing 
that he was ignorant of the sobriquet he had gained in 
the army, could not help laughing a little), "and owls 

couldn't stand " Here he found his services required 

again, and broke off; then resuming. " Carrie'd feel good 
ef she only know'd what our boss said to-day. Sez he to 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 149 

me, ' Stebbins, you look bad ;' and I sez to him, ' Maybe 
I do, and I reckon you would, too, ef you'd run a loco- 
motive every night regular as long as I have. Ef I 
could git that place in the yard I've done spoke about.' 
En he sez, pleasant-like, ' Well, we'll see. Maybe you 
will. They're short a hand.' En I sez to him, ' I ain't 

no owl, but a married man " Here he broke off 

again, and, as he turned around and faced his friends, one 
could see how in the minds of the frivolous he had come 
to be associated with the very bird with whom he dis- 
claimed all connection, for his mouth was small, his 
brows decidedly arched, his nose beaked, and his eyes 
had deep, dark rings around them, — a natural defect 
increased by his nocturnal habits. But it was a kind 
face and a good one in spite of these peculiarities, and, 
grimy as it was, a light burst from it as if from a dark- 
lantern when the bright side is turned towards one, 
when he said again, meditatively, " Carrie '11 feel good 
and happy when I tell her to-night." 

" I'll be bound she will," said John Shore, sympa- 
thetically ; " and what I sez is you'll git it. That's 
what I sez." 

" Carrie " began Mr. Stebbins again. He stopped. 

John Shore, who was looking at him, saw his eyes 
dilate with horror and his hair literally rise on end. 
Poor " Owl" Stebbins had heard a sound and seen a 
sight that made him stone for a second. Then, exclaim- 
ing " My God !" he leaped out into darkness, — eternity. 
The next instant two terrible lights flashed upon each 
other, two trains rushed together with horrible swift- 
ness and fury. The stars looked down quietly upon 
the awful sight. The distant mountains faintly echoed 

13* 



150 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

the awful "crash." And in a cottage not far away 
*' Carrie" was putting " the children" to bed and think- 
ing of their father. 

When the men who came to the rescue reached the 
wreck of locomotive No. 26, they found John Shore 
held fast indeed by one of his legs, which was caught 
by the fire-box of the engine, but working frantically 
with his arms to extricate his unconscious friend, hav- 
ing managed to reach the tool-box. And what was it 
that John Shore — " worthless" John Shore, ''good-for- 
nothing" John Shore — shouted when he saw them? It 
was this: ^' lliank God! Help Jim. Help poor Jim. 
Never mind me.'' 

This was done as soon as possible, which was not 
very soon, for he was literally buried under the wreck. 
And when he had been taken awa}^, and they turned to 
John Shore, what did they find? Why, simply that 
all this while the fire-box had been literally burning his 
leg to a crisp, — roasting it from the knee down. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 151 



Y. 



" What different lots our stars accord ! 
This babe to be hailed and wooed as a lord I 

And that to be shunned like a leper ! 
One to the world's wine, honey, and corn, 
Another, like Colchester native, born 

To its vinegar only and pepper." 



Hood. 



"The Drisdale accident," as it was called by the 
papers, was all owing to the mistake of a telegraph .op- 
erator, but it was as fatal as though it had been planned 
by the Nihilists. Zach Hodges was killed outright. 
Poor Jim Wilkins died of his injuries, as did Jack 
Culbert and Belle Podley. John Shore and Jonah 
were among those who were carried to the nearest 
house, which was converted into a hospital for the 
wounded of both trains. The latter's arm had got an 
ugly compound fracture and two of his ribs had been 
broken, so that he was not particularly pleased when 
he overheard the doctor in charge say that there was 
"nothing serious about that case." But with John 
Shore it was different, and after a brief examination it 
became clear that his leg would have to be amputated. 
This was done, and he was no more gratified than 
Jonah when he heard the operation spoken of as " a 
beautiful thing — about the neatest I ever performed" — 
by the enthusiastic surgeon, nor could he feel that he 
was " doing splendidly" as the brisk doctor seemed to 



152 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

expect. It had seemed to him that he had little enough 
light left in his life when he came home, — only the 
long, melancholy shafts of the setting sun ; but it 
had been high noon he knew now compared with the 
blackness that settled down upon him when he knew 
himself to be a cripple. And, unfortunately, just as he 
began to convalesce, he heard of the death of the friend 
for whom he would willingly have made the costly 
sacrifice, and the result was a backset and a long, long 
illness of the most weariful, despairing kind. So great 
was his depression that the brisk doctor was moved to 
give him a brisk scolding, in which he asserted that he 
would " never get well" if he persisted in being so 
gloomy. But finding that this was like telling a clown 
that he would never make another joke, or an organ- 
grinder that he would never hear another note of music, 
he perceived that he had a sick heart to deal with, and, 
divining his sadness and loneliness, set himself to cheer 
and comfort this bruised reed, and was so kind and 
good in a thousand little ways that John Shore ever 
after loved him for it. 

Nothing except an earthquake, resulting in the high- 
est spur of the Mountain developing into an active 
volcano, could have more disturbed the community 
than the tragic ending of the long-planned outing. 
Daddy Culbert's sense of personal loss was sensibly 
lightened by what he felt to be the righteous retribu- 
tion incurred by the non-fulfilment of the law written 
in his own mind and previously very generally pro- 
claimed only to be almost universally scouted: " Thou 
shalt not waste precious time in play, but shalt work 
diligently on all the da^'s of thy life without ex- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 153 

ception." This falling away from primitive ideals, 
and corruption of the morals and manners of society, 
he saw had to be stopped at any cost to individuals. 
Bowed over his stick until he looked like the initial 
letter of his own name, he shook his head and sorrowed, 
and said, " This here is what comes of a-gallivantin', 
and picnickering, and the corn not gathered, even much 
less put up, and shucked, and shelled. Jack, he ought 
to er know'd better, — done better." Mr. NcAvman was 
shocked by this utterly unlooked-for conclusion of the 
feud that had filled his mind to the exclusion of every- 
thing else for so many months, and both seemed and 
felt perfectly dazed. The yearling calf which had swelled 
until it had become the world in which he lived and 
moved and had his being suddenly shrank into its true 
pilulous proportions, leaving him a prey to vain regrets 
and a miserable restlessness. As for Mrs. ^N'ewman, she 
was fairly distraught when, after long and anxious 
waiting, the bad news began to come in, getting worse 
with every galloping messenger and gossiping idler. 
And when, at one o'clock that night, poor, pale, chilled 
little E. Mintah crept out of the covered wagon that 
had brought most of the sobbing women and sleepy chil- 
dren of the party home again, where had all the cold- 
ness, anger, bitterness, of the last three months gone 
that the two women fell upon each other's necks, weeping, 
embracing, forgiving, and forgiven ? 

E. Mintah spent every spare moment that she could 
get for the next three days in the exercise of an accom- 
plishment little valued hitherto, — letter-writing ; labori- 
ously forming each letter, and blotting it often when 
made with the big tears that would roll down, splash ! 



154 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

when she ^Yas not thinking, on her only sheet of paper, 
bought, with the envelope, at " the sto'," for five cents. 
When finally completed, it was addressed to " mistur 
Jonur Newmen Att the horspitull," and ran as follows: 
" mi Deere beeloved i didn Wanter leve U. U no. thay 
woodn lemmy stay withe U. Hit pooty near Kild me. 
en F. U. doant git wel en come Hoam, i'm gonter go 
ter U. F. i got to Kraul. ime Desprit wen i think Of 
U. mi Deere, mi Hart bleads in Sid. i cant doe 
nothin butt Kri All the tim. in Dever ter rite soon 
pleas, mi Deere i hop U wil excuse the Expresure 
en Badd ritin. come Hoam Jonur or i Wil Die. no 
moar att preasant. i Liv in the Hopness Of U comin 
Hoam mi Darrlin Jonur. mothers lik She Uster was. 
she Sez We kin git Mairred wen Wee pleas, o aint Hit 
joy Full, mi Darrlin. i seed mizis Jim Willy ums yistur 
Day. She's moas Kraazy. her en him warnt Goode 
frens witches y She's a Takin On soe Orfull. Eose zis 
Las kalfs a heffer en Mothers giv herr ter IJ en mec. 
but i dont care fur Nuthin Withe out U come Hoam. i 
dont tak Noe Pleasure in Nuthin mi Deere, i dont 
wante Nuthin cep to Have U git Wel en come Hoam. 
o if i cood see Jonur is wat mi Hart Sez evry minit mi 
Darrlin. 

" Your truely. 
"rite soon r. mintah Newmann." 

Over and over did Jonah read this tender and artless 
production, which had no fault in his eyes, except that 
it was so very, very short. And the first thing he did 
when he was well enough to carry on the correspond- 
ence was to answer it in his very best style, — a style al- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 155 

together superior to hers, as he could not but feel : " My 
Dear Beloved miss i receive your most kind and efec- 
turely letter and i was more than glad to here from 
you. it found me recovering Of my helth and i hope 
these few lines will reich you darling and find you in 
Joying the best Of helth witch is a grate Blessing, 
pleas go to town and in quir bout that there Shote i 
lef there and take it strait back Hoam. if you will 
excuse me Sayin so feed the heffer a little to gentle it 
down witch saves Trouble, but don't you git hurted. i 
aint let to rite more responsably now, and I wood Of 
ansered befo but i aint been Abel. mother rites me 
Marsh Culbert's hangin Bound — i hop you dont have 
nothing to say to his foolin or any such expressings 
while ime gone, he should not take the Hand witch is 
Belonging to a Nothur. i must bring my letter to a 
Cloas by wishing you good night my Darling 

" Yore friend to command 
"Jonah Newman." 

There was no one to write to John Shore. A little 
enthusiasm had been aroused by the way in which he 
had acted, even among people most prejudiced against 
him, and at first he got some messages of sympathy 
from old acquaintances and neighbors ; but writing was 
a most serious matter with them all, and with none 
more than Alfred, and in a little while it was not so 
clear in some quarters that he had behaved remarkably 
well at all, while in others the story, like last year's 
crops, was regarded as disposed of. So the question of 
getting well, and of his future, was one that he was 
left to decide for himself without having his judgment 



156 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

biased by outside influences or arguments ; and when 
the brisk doctor rubbed his hands one day, and laughed, 
and said, " You are all right now, Shore. You'll have 
to wait a while before you can wear your artificial limb, 
but when 3^ou get that you'll be as much of a man as 
you ever were, almost. Er — where are you going now ?" 
the blood rushed to his face — indeed, to the very roots of 
his hair — as he replied, " I reckon I'll have to go to my 
son's, — a good piece beyond here, up in the mountins." 

"Oh, you've a son! That's all right," said the 
doctor, relieved to find that a patient in whom he had 
taken an especial interest was provided with a natural 
protector presumably able to take care of him. " I 
didn't know how you were situated. When you have 
made your arrangements, you can leave here any day 
you like. You can take your leg with you, — the wooden 
one, I mean, — and I've explained all about that. I 
think you'll have no further trouble. But if you should, 
here's my address, and you can come to me or write." 

" Excuse me, doctor," said John, " a-mentionin' of it. 
But w^hat's to pay fur all this here ?" 

" Pay ?" said the doctor, apparently astounded by the 
question. " Why, nothing at all, — not a cent. The — er 
— the railroad pays for everything, and it owes you 
more than it could ever pay for. So make your mind 
easy. Yes. Of course. Er — who's that calling mo 
out there ?" 

John Shore had kept his eyes fixed upon his face all 
the time, and the next time he saw him he began again, 
" Excuse me a-mentionin' hit, doctor, and excuse me 
a-sayin' so, but I'm shore as I'm Ij'in' here there's been 
Bomethin' to pay. And I want to know " 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 157 

"Oh, there's been something to pay, I grant. There's 
been the devil to pay, and you have settled the bill, my 
poor fellow. But there's nothing now, nothing what- 
ever, I assure you," insisted the doctor, who, as a matter 
of fact, had at that moment a receipted bill (" Dr. Black 
Dr. to Josiah Turner. To one wooden artificial limb," 
etc.) in his coat-pocket that it seemed to him was being 
perused through the intervening folds of cloth by his 
patient's faded eyes. 

" Sir, you're a-deceivin' of me. That there leg, now, 
must er cost a power of money," said John Shore. 

" Oh, no. Legs are very cheap. Almost nothing, 1 
may say. The railroad gets them by the dozen, I dare- 
say. These things are always happening, you know," 
the doctor replied, with cheerful and unhesitating men- 
dacity. * 

" How cheap ? Would five dollars git one ?" persisted 
John Shore, unconvinced. " I've got five dollars that — 
that was give to me by a friend, and " 

" Five dollars !" said the doctor, shocked by the ex- 
travagance of the estimate. " ]S"ot a cent over four 
fifty, I should say, unless you had a golden leg like 
Miss Well, say five, if you like. I'd let the rail- 
road do it if I were you. ' Who breaks, pays,' you 
know ; but if you are dissatisfied, why I'll hand it over 
to their agent here for you." 

"I'd be obleeged, sir, ef you would, — mightily 
obleeged," said John Shore, and it was so settled. 

It was in the late autumn, on an extraordinarily still 
and beautiful day, even for the season, that John Shoi'e 
was brought home like a Spartan on his shield, except 
that in this unprized hero's veins the blood was still 

14 



158 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

flowing, and his heart, still beating, quickened its action 
and crimsoned warm as the sumacs by the roadside as 
each dear, familiar object met his gaze. 

All was hushed and husbanded and secure in the 
lovely valley, which seemed a benediction made visible 
as it stretched away before him, wide and peaceful, 
serene and beautiful. Of all the sowing, and growing, 
and blowing of the past year, nothing remained, except 
in the stubble-fields, in some of which long ranks of 
" Cornfederates," as tattered and forlorn as any he had 
ever seen, still held their own, gallantly upholding a 
desperate cause ; while in others Summer had stacked 
her arms and surrendered unconditionally to victorious 
Autumn, whose banners flamed glorious and triumphant 
everywhere. 

Wrapped in the spectral mists of Indian summer, 
"Burly Blue Eidge" and the distant Alleghanies looked 
like their own wraiths. The sky was a July sky, 
deeply, warmly blue and almost cloudless, but the air 
had the delicious October quality, and felt as though it 
had been carefully iced to get exactly the right mean 
between heat and cold. 

John Shore's eyes rested now on the old fort redly 
crowning the crest of a hill ; now on Massanutton's 
spur; now on the Shenandoah, still serenely shining, 
flowing just as it had done when as a happy boy he had 
fished and nutted on its banks. And his thoughts were 
busy, — busy. He got wide views of the country- about 
him through the bare branches, and of the heaven 
above him, and as he lay there with his own mutilated 
tree of life stripped bare of the leaves that once clus- 
tered so greenly and thickly about it he was getting 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 159 

wider ones of his own past and future than he had 
ever done before, as his childhood, youth, and manhood 
passed in review before him. '• Oh, ef Alfred will only 
be good to me !" he thought, with a hope that was 
almost despair. So many things and people had failed 
him, one way or other, that he dared count upon noth- 
ing, yet could but cling desperately to the bright possi- 
bility that his only child would be moved to pity, love, 
and cherish him. 

He was borne down the Eed Lane followed by quite 
a procession, composed chiefly of children, past cottage 
after cottage, and saw everything as in a dream, and 
there was the dear, dear old home again, and there 
were the lilac-biishes, and the well, and the orchard. 
He could not see them very distinctly for the tears that 
filled his eyes. Alfred being hailed, came running out 
looking rather scared and decidedly flustered, and 
coming up to his father, bent over him, shook his thin 
hand and said in a hurried half whisper, "I'm glad to 
see you 'bout agin, Pa-ap ; I certainly am ; powerful 
glad. I 'lowed to go and see you. But I hadn't no 

money at all, and — Tildy she keeps " John Shore 

threw his arms around his neck and embraced him. 
" Hem ! It's coolin' fur frost," Alfred concluded. He 
had broken off suddenly in the midst of his explana- 
tion, and looked wildly about him and up at the sky, 
the reason being that Matilda had leisurely walked 
down and joined him before he was prepared for the 
pleasure. 

" Oh, you've done been brought Aere," she said, coldly. 
When it was thought that John Shore would die, she 
had got the truth about the property out of her hus- 



IGO BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

band and had fully decided upon her own course. She 
would have liked to inaugurate it at once ; but the 
neighbors were there, all kindness and condolence for 
the time being, and ready, with the fickleness of popu- 
lar feeling, to make a hero of John Shore, almost, again, 
seeing him so sorely stricken. So she was obliged to 
be content for the present with looking on sourly, and 
saying, when Alfred appealed timidly to her to know 
where he should put his father, " You can take him in. 
I'll see 'bout that," to which he replied, coaxingly, 
"That's right, Tildy ; you'll do what's right." John 
Shore, who had been deeply pained by the fact that his 
son had neither come nor written to him during his 
illness, no sooner understood or thought he understood 
why this had been than he promptly and entirely for- 
gave the neglect, only too glad to have a peg on which 
to hang his forgiveness indeed. His quick ear caught 
the suppressed tone of Matilda's speech, and he half 
raised himself on his elbow in his surprise. His cheeks 
were flushed, and his gray hair, pushed back from his 
deeply-wrinkled, blue-veined forehead, fell about his 
neck in pathetic scantiness. '• Why, where hadn't I 
to oughter go?" he said, in tremulous tones of pained 
astonishment, looking from husband to wife with a 
troubled glance that said to Alfred as plainly as possi- 
ble, " Are you going to cast off your poor old father, 
my son ?" 

^^ NowhurV said Alfred, with a sudden burst of cour- 
age, in response to it. " Xowhur at all. Pa-ap, in course, 
but right hero. This here's your home." He spoke 
with a fire and energy most unusual in him, and Ma- 
tilda was amazed to iiear it. She was still looking at 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 161 

him as he busied himself with the few packages that 
constituted his father's luggage, when a little boy came 
limping briskly around the corner of the house and 
down the path, stopping short at the gate to round his 
eyes into a tremendous stare at the cortege. 

It was the queerest little nondescript of a figure imagi- 
nable, in a colored shirt of bright calico, a man's waist- 
coat that came half-way down his bare legs, and trou- 
sers of incredible bagginess, as much too large as they 
were too long, the last defect being remedied by much 
rolling. The whole costume was rendered harmonious, 
as it were, by being covered with so many successive 
layers of what local politicians are fond of caUing ''the 
sacred soil of Virginia" as to have fairly entitled him 
to be regarded as a landed proprietor. Through the 
torn crown of an enormous straw hat, which had been 
nibbled by the calves and "*worried" by the puppies 
.until it presented in miniature very much the dismem- 
bered appearance of a hay-stack in March, protruded a 
curly flaxen poll. And beneath its ragged brim was a 
charming little face, — a face full of enchanting baby 
curves, having baby eyes of clear innocence that seemed 
sui'prisingly, vividly blue by contrast with the tanned 
skin, and cheeks as pink as clover, and a smile, when 
he did smile, of most peculiar and unusual sweetness. 
John Shore was won by it at once, and said, cheerfully, 
" Why, hello 1 Who's this you've got here, Al ?" 

'•That's Willy. Tildy's cousin. Bob's son. He's 
livin' with us now." 

" Well, Willy boy, howdy," said John Shore, and the 
child limped down to him and they shook hands, John 
Shore full of kind interest and Willy all eyes. 
I 14* 



162 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

'' Suppose you run in with them things of mine now, 
— Burygyard, and my fiddle, and bundle. Set 'em 
down anywhurs 'most, sonny," suggested John Shore, 
presently, and the child seized the cage, in spite of a 
vicious peck and squawk from its agitated occupant, 
and carried it into the house. John Shore and his at- 
tendants followed, Jinny White, who had joined the 
party, talking for everybody with all her own fatal 
fluency : " I'm glad as though I'd found a gold mind, 
John, to see you alive and kickin', fur it's what nobody 
hadn't no thought of seeing down here," said she. " And 
ef you had uv died, I was goin' down to lay you out 
shore, John Shore, ef it was the last thing ever I done. 
When it comes to buryin's I ain't got my match on the 
Mountin', all's agreed, and I know it, and I've been told 
so over and over again lately. Fur I laid out every one 
of them that was killed whren you wuz, John, jes' elegant ! 
Sairy Dobbin sez to me when she seed 'em all there in a 
row, 'Well, fur layin' out straight, and neat, and fixin' 
stiffs off tasty ^ 3'ou ain't got your ekil, Jinn}^ White, and I 
don't kyur who hears me say so.' And, sez she, ' I tell 
you what, ef you should go befo' I do, I'll take as much 
pains to please yer, stiff or no stiff, as I've seed you do 
fur other folks, and ef /go first I'll be obleegcd ef you'll 
bar in mind and not disremember that I couldn't never 
abide yaller nowhurs 'bout my face. I ain't been a com- 
plected person to have it livin', and it ain't likely I'm 
goin' to be dead.' And that's so, fur even when she 
wuz a child she wuz as yaller's her own butter is in 
winter, owin' to the stuff she puts in it to the pint of 
poisoning ; and she can't bear no more, 'less it was two, 
three yards tucked under her and sorter laid up over 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 163 

her feet like, which need to be kivered every time. Fur 
when beauty was shared Sairy Dobbin was behind the 
do', as anybody can see fur theiraclves. And as I was 
sayin', John, I done it all, and it's the wust sort of 
shame you warn't here to see the buryin's, fur they wuz 
beautiful: two separate sermons to every stiff, and tlie 
biggest crowd come all the way from Millboro', and 
the mourners to be heard three fields off! You'll never 
sec the like in yowr lifetime, John, fur I suppose you 
call yourself alive, and air alive, though part buried, 
which, I must say, I never will rightly know whether 
bein' dead you're alive, or bein' alive you're dead, fur it 
beats me to say. And ef you want any custard, or 
spoon vittles, or sech, John, made, I'm more 'n williu' 
to do it, and I know how ef any woman ever did, fur 
my teeth's all gone to snags so's I kin scarcely find one, 
hunt around spry as I will with m}^ tongue." 

She had scarcely taken breath in the delivery of this 
speech, in the course of which John Shore had been 
deposited on a cot in the corner of the living-room. 
One of the neighbors now broke in with a good-natured 
*' Well, Jinny, woman, you've got a plenty of jaw left." 
That made all the others guffaw outright in general 
chorus; and, after a lively spar between them, in which 
Jinny took the ground that if she had had Samson's 
opportunities she would have known who " needed 
killin' bad," and he had retorted that "Tim White's 
life warn't worth shucks anyways, and charity begins 
at home," the little company dispersed much more cheer- 
fully than it had gathered, leaving John Shore much 
exhausted in mind and body, but most humbly thankful 
that he was " at home." 



164 BEHIND TUE BLUE RIDGE. 

It was not long before John Shore found out what 
sort of home it was that he had come back to, for Ma- 
tilda waxed daily more disagreeable as he grew better 
and it became quite clear that he was a fixture. She 
had not meant that he should stay. She had not 
thought there would be any great difficulty in getting 
rid of him, for when had Alfred ever dared to oppose 
her in anything ? But, like most autocrats, she had not 
known where to stop and when to conciliate, so that 
when she began first to suggest that " the old man was 
plenty well enough to turn out and root for hisself." 
and then to urge that he should be " told to quit," and 
finally to insist that he should "go right off"," she was 
amazed to find that Alfred had developed a vein of 
unobtrusive, non-combative, but perfectly adamantine 
" obstinacy," as she called it, that she could never have 
foreseen as an even remotely possible contingency. She 
could do nothing with him. He simjDly turned a deaf 
ear to all her complaints, arguments, propositions, at 
first; and when she finally began to threaten and com- 
mand, instead of cowering before her and conceding 
anything, — everything, — instead of even deprecating 
her wrath, or of attempting to persuade her to look 
at the matter differently, or using so much as one of the 
glittering generalities that he was in the habit of intro- 
ducing into such conversations as a sort of lightning- 
rod to carry ofl" all dangerous forces, he sat perfectly 
still and silent for a moment, with an expression of 
abject woe on his honest, vacant face that was enough 
to melt a paving-stone ; and then, turning about a dozen 
colors, he started up from his chair, knocking it over 
in the energy of his feelings, and, running his hands 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 165 

deep in his pockets, shot his i:)rotuberant eyes out at 
her as if they had been a missile of some sort, and 
fairly shouted, "By gosh, Tildy, never T which, coming 
from him, was as effective as though he had sworn 
fluently in nine languages. The upshot of the matter 
was that " Pa-ap" stayed, was begrudged a seat at his 
own fireside, fared meagrely at his own table, and was 
only welcome to make himself as miserable as he 
pleased. Alfred, having gained his point, was content, 
and, not being a sensitive-plant by any means, had no 
great sympathy for sentimental grievances, and ex- 
pected his father to be so as well. He treated him with 
a kind of gentle indifference that was not unkindness 
any more than it was kindness, — the husks of the bread 
for which his father's starved heart was hungering, — 
his idea being that he was thereby adroitly avoiding 
contention by making an unpleasant fact as little prom- 
inent as possible. As for Matilda, like Time, she knew 
how to take her revenges. She could not drive him out 
of the house in one way, but she was not at all sure 
that the thing was impossible in another; and if it 
were, she meant to indemnify herself for the "plague" 
and "pesterment" of the dreadful infliction. All the 
odd jobs of the establishment were put off upon him, 
in addition to his regular work. It was her delight to 
make him fetch and carry for her. She showed a truly 
diabolical ingenuity in devising, hatefully, this or that 
new device for making him unhappy. She wished to 
be unbearable, and nature had eminently fitted her for 
the task. And she succeeded in giving as much pain 
as it is possible for an enemy to inflict. So systemati- 
cally was he persecuted, so persistently nagged, so 



166 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

wholly misunderstood, that, cripple as he was, he would 
doubtless have drifted off again for the last time into a 
world wide, indeed, and never too kind to him, but 
comparatively alluring, had it not been for a new tie, 
a fresh interest that had wonderfully sprung up in his 
life, — in short, but for Willy, or " Willy boy," as he gen- 
erally called him. We write " finis" after many a chapter 
in the book of life, and feel sure that all is ended for us 
and that there is nothing more to suffer or to enjoy or 
to hope for practically ; but until the angel of death 
traces it with his inverted touch in the sands of time, 
the merciful truth is that day will succeed night, and 
sunshine storm, and gladness sorrow. 

If anybody had told John Shore when Giant Despair 
sat by his bedside in the hospital that he would take a 
child and set him in the midst of his heart, — that poor, 
ruined temple of shattered hopes and faiths and a lost 
idol, — he would have said that it was impossible. But 
80 it was. While he was still unable to get about, 
Willy, as he put it, was " detailed for horspitul duty," 
Alfred being away so much, and Matilda determined 
not to be troubled with an invalid. It was Willy who 
brought all his meals, and sat on the bed near him while 
he ate them ; Willy who, with a temper as sweet as his 
face, ran all his errands and ministered to all his wants. 
In this way an intimacy sprang up between the two 
children, for John Shore was as much of a child in some 
respects then as on the day he was born, and would 
have been if he had lived as long as Thomas Parr. 
There was not as much inequality in their friendship as 
in that between many men of the same nationality, age, 
position, fortune, in spite of appearances, and friends 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 167 

they became emphatically, — firm friends, and natural 
allies, — presenting a solid front to society that often 
baffled even Matilda's spite ; and a spite Matilda had 
against both of them, if ever a woman indulged the 
noble sentiment. AYilly had been " a bequestment," left 
her by his father, a cousin of hers, who had migrated 
from the Mountain to the Big Fork neighborhood as a 
youth, and had carried away an ideal Matilda in his 
mind whom he believed to be a kind woman, — a convic- 
tion always a comfortable one to entertain, but never 
more so than when he was lying on his death-bed 
trying to dispose of five orphaned, penniless children. 
Not that he was harassed particularly by the problem, 
for with that absolute reliance on his " kin" which Vir- 
ginians of every class feel, and which is so well founded, 
it was only a question of judicious choice, selection, 
arrangement,— the right child in the right place. It 
was true that he had not been able to take care of them 
himself; but, as he justly argued, that was no reason 
why other people should not be more fortunate in 
that particular form of industry known as "raisin' chil- 
dren." And being a person of confiding character, and 
rather more than the usual share of parental illusions 
about the intelligence, beauty, and general worth of his 
progeny, it was, at last, with a feeling that he was 
positively endowing certain families, paying them the 
greatest compliment in his power, and giving them a 
distinguished and distinguishing proof of his confidence, 
that Mr. Hardin made the usual provision in such cases 
for his sons. It was after great deliberation, and with 
peculiar satisfaction, that he "willed" his last and 
dearest piece of this kind of property, little Willy, to 



168 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

Matilda, " secin' she'd none of her own, and knowin* 
she'd be glad to have him and would act right by 
him." Alfred was quite appalled by this act of testa- 
mentary audacity, and gave vent to a shrill " Whew !" 
and a " Moses in the bulrushes !" (which was a favorite 
form of ejaculation rarely as applicable as in this case) 
when he heard of it. He confidently expected to see 
his wife fly into a rage and the state that he mentally 
characterized as "tantrims and cavortmen^s," but was 
as mistaken in his calculations in this matter as she was 
about him when the question of John Shore came up 
between them later. That capricious matron only 
looked angrily at him, and said, " And whysomedever 
not, you dumb igiot? Ain't I fitten to raise no chil- 
dern ?" in a way that made him hasten to say in his 
" Now^-do-be-a-good-little-girl" tone of cajolement, " Of 
course, Tildy, and in course. I ain't been a-sayin' nor 
a-rcmarkin' no different, is I?" and then later, seeing 
how unrelentingly grim her aspect was, '' Childern's 
mighty handy to have 'round. There ain't nothin' as 
I knows on, now, handier. But you'll do well to bar in 
mind, Tildy, grown folks will be grown folks, and chil- 
dern will be " 

"O, shetuj)! Shet right up!" commanded Matilda, 
fiercely, whereupon Alfred finished his sentence sotto 
voce, disliking of all things to leave an axiom uncom- 
pleted and with frayed ends, as it were, — " childern — 
specially childern." 

The truth was, that in her heart, strangely folded, 
like all human hearts, Matilda was pleased and flattered, 
as murderers have been known to be, say by the prefer- 
ence of an innocent child. She boasted of the fact 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 169 

among all her acquaintances, aware that she was not 
generally regarded in the most amiable light. She an- 
nounced with a grand air that her " Cousin Bob had 
knowed what he was about," and that she meant to 
take the child, though it was " reely no concernment" 
of hers. She enjoyed for the moment her role of bene- 
factress ; but it had its drawbacks. There had been a 
certain dignity in being childless, — it was such an ex- 
ceptional state of affairs in a community of swarming 
households, — and she had been vain of the fact as albi- 
nos and giants and twelve-fingered folk are vain, and 
had indulged in much pharasaical comment on the 
largeness, and helplessness, and hopelessness of this or 
that neighbor's brood of younglings, — " them Logans," 
or " Brown's gang," or " Simmons iz iz crowd," or " the 
Bartlett brats." She had long been in the habit of 
predicting battle, murder, and sudden death (on the 
galloAvs) for them, and boastingly thanked Heaven 
that she "hadn't never been one of the sort that 
goes and has a dozen lazy, ugly children a-ramblin', 
and a-scramblin', and fightin', and hollerin' all over 
the face of the yearth." And now a child had been 
foisted upon her. The situation was a serious one, 
looked at from the highest stand-point, and from the 
mean elevation of Matilda's mind became more than 
serious for the little creature in question — positively 
tragic, indeed — as time went on. For Willy came, and 
proved to be not only very young, helpless, and trouble- 
some, but quite lame, — an after-effect of scarlet fever. 
He would for these very reasons have appealed irre- 
sistibly to the heart of a true woman, but Matilda was 
not a woman ; she was merely a female. So far from 
H 15 



170 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

honoring the incessant drafts made upon the tenderness 
and unselfishness that Willy's father had supposed she 
possessed, she repudiated them more and more, and, 
from being at first coldly indifferent, grew rapidly ne- 
glectful, and finally often cruel. There was light 
enough left in the dark depths of her soul even to 
show her what she was doing, but the only effect that 
this ghost of a conscience had was to hurry her into 
some aggravated excess of unkindness. The more cor- 
dially she detested him, the more comfortable she felt ; 
and when he was really naughty it was a positive lux- 
ury to punish him, — a savage satisfaction, such as only 
the hate that ought to be love can give in all its hideous 
perfection. Never did John Shore feel so bitterly con- 
scious of his position in his own house, or regret so 
deeply that he had put it out of his power to helj) or 
befriend any one under that roof, as when he had to 
stand by and see some such scene, and when Willy was 
unjustly as well as severely assailed it was almost more 
than his generous and affectionate heart could bear. It 
was a far more painful ordeal to him than to the child. 
He would lie awake and brood unhappily over an out- 
break of the kind all night, for instance, while Willy 
would be laughing again in a few hours. Alfred, who 
longed for nothing so much as peace, and was, besides, 
kindly disposed towards the child, Avas always ready 
with excuses for his little peccadilloes, and he had two 
forms of appeal which he invariably used on all such 
occasions. One was: "Tildy, orphins is orphins, pertik- 
iler when fathers and mothers is dead and buried;" the 
other was in constant use, being his favorite: "Grown 
folks will be grown folks, and children will be children. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 17 1 

— specially children." J^^either had the least restraining 
effect upon the person addressed. 

With every hour of every day of that long, gloomy 
winter in which the icy bondage that held captive the 
world outside the cottage seemed less harsh and un- 
lovely than the Egyptian rule within it, which seemed 
to bring his very thoughts into captivity, and often 
drove John Shore out into the sleet and snow and sent 
him hobbling up and down the Eed Lane for hours until 
the fever and tumult of his mind and heart had been 
somewhat stilled by the white silence of his surround- 
ings, the pain of his wound, and the physical discomfort 
of the exposure, — with every hour of that intermin- 
able season the love that John Shore had conceived for 
the child who had limped straight into his heart on 
the very first day of his return increased, deepened, 
strengthened, until it became a passion. While still 
unable to do so, he had looked forward eagerly, as 
invalids will, to the time when he should be able to get 
about and go abroad. And when that time came around 
he did, with the aid of his crutch, limp over to this or 
that place, and was civilly enough received, if not pre- 
cisely with enthusiasm, especially at first. But it was 
a busy community. No one seemed to have time to 
talk to him after a bit, and when they did, the talk 
was chiefly of things that did not interest him. And 
then he came to feel himself distinctly in the way, ex- 
cept when he wandered over to the sloping, snow- 
covered church-yard, and sat for an hour gazing at two 
mounds there, — the graves of his sweet dead wife and his 
best friend. It was all so strange, so ghostly strange, to 
him. He was glad to shrink back into the cottage again. 



172 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

The dreary little room, the black stove, even Matilda's 
sharp, sour face, were comparatively cheerful after one 
of these expeditions. Coming in profoundly depressed, 
he would sink into his chair in the chimney-corner, lay 
aside his crutch, and call, "Here, Willy boy, come set 
on Pa-ap's knee," and presently would get a sense of 
restfulness and warmth and comfort inexpressibly heal- 
ing. His life was flowing again in the old, familiar 
channel, but oh, the difference I What a strong, free 
current it had once been ! How richly it had brimmed 
over its green banks! How it had rushed with eager 
purpose to a desired end! And now there remained 
only the rocky bed of the stream, with its tear-worn 
channel, dry and dusty, except where one little rill, 
Heaven-given, ran crystal clear. Was it any wonder 
that he pressed his dear little " Willy boy's" curly head 
so fondly against his breast, — "Willy boy," whose smile 
anil i^rattle and artless arts had sweetened afresh an ex- 
istence grown intolerably bitter and desolate? — pressed 
it so fondly, indeed, that the child cried out, " Quit, 
Pa-ap ; you hurted me !" and replied, " Hurted you, honey, 
did I? Why, I wouldn't hurt a hair of your head to 
save my old skin," and gave him a dozen hungering 
kisses in proof thereof He no more tired of Willy's 
voice than of the sound of the brook that rippled out 
its rich-throated music all the summer lonii; back of Cul- 
bert's meadow. Everything that he said or did, thought 
or felt, was of importance to him, — in short, he adored 
the child. And Willy loved him, as children commonly 
love, selfishly, carelessly it may be, but sincerely, and 
how sweetly ! 

" You and Pa-ap's mighty thick," Alfred would say. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 173 

good-naturedly, when some evidence of their mutual 
affection would strike him. "Yes. Thick as thieves," 
Matilda would reply. It was a lucky thing for Willy 
in some ways that he had found a friend in "Pa-ap," as 
he, too, called John Shore, for like him he needed one 
sorely. But in others it was unfortunate, for he had 
not found in that friend a protector. Matilda had done 
nothing to win the child's affection, it was true, but 
none the less she resented his having made a free gift 
of it to her poor, despised, and ojopressed dependant 
of a father-in-law. If Willy had been old enough and 
wily enough to affect the love and admiration that no 
one really felt for her, he might have fared differently. 
But it was not in any child of his tender years and 
true nature to be attracted by a hard, bitter, ugly face 
full of fretful puckers, stamped with discontent and 
dulness in every line ; to like to listen to a harsh voice 
with a most distressing rasp in it; to feel other than 
repelled by a temper always uncertain and frequently 
violent ; to pretend anything. In the same way if John 
Shore had been a hypocrite or knave he might have 
been a match for his son's wife. But as it was, the pair 
were declared to be " of a feather," were always ar- 
raigned at the same time, convicted of every sort of 
high crime and domestic misdemeanor, and as yoke- 
fellows were driven by the same harsh mistress, bore 
the same burden, received the same punishments, and 
had, like the early Christians, as a compensation for 
much persecution, "all things in common." This was 
especially the case when Matilda one day in mid- winter 
(after John Shore was able to get about) suddenly an- 
nounced to them that she preferred their " room to 

15* 



174 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

their company," and that they might "git" into the 
adjoining shed. Matilda had certainly no idea of con- 
ferring a favor upon either of them, and Alfred was 
more surprised than pleased when he heard of the pro- 
posed change at supper, — ^remonstrated, even, with a 
" Now, Tildy, you haint never a-goin' to do that ; no. 
It's jest an idee uv yourn, that's all," hut had the gag 
connubial promptly popped into his mouth and was 
silenced; but all the same it was the greatest kindness 
she could possibly have done them, for it ensured the 
peace and privacy they could have got in no other way. 
The process of moving into it was one that excited 
great interest in the breasts of the banished pair. "We 
ain't got but two sound, dependable legs between us, 
Willy, and the two of us '11 have to limp about pretty 
lively to git ev'ything moved in. When that's done, 
I'll take command," said John Shore. This he did, and 
set to work at once to make the place not only habit- 
able, but as pleasant as his ver}^ limited means of pro- 
ducing ffisthetic results would permit. He must have 
inherited some of Sailor Jack's " handiness," for he suc- 
ceeded better than the Israelites in making bricks 
without straw, and, inspired by love and wit, accom- 
plished the impossible, and turned the dismal little shed 
into a fairl}'' comfortable room. The ingenuity and 
variety of the contrivances that he summed up as 
"fix7;i^?ifs" brought him and them into notice. Matilda 
sneered at them, the neighbors ridiculed them in a 
kindly fashion. Jinny Hodges came over to see them, 
and took up a whole precious afternoon with a " dis- 
coursement" upon ever^'thing in general and "John's 
awful smartness" in particular, and then went home, 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 175 

and sent back a most welcome contribution to the new- 
establishment in the shape of a box-patterned quilt and 
two jars of blackberry jam. John whitewashed the 
walls, put in a window, rehung and listed the door, and 
put up a rude fireplace to begin with. The lighter and 
brighter touches were gradually given. '' Burygyard" 
was put well up on the door-post for fear of Matilda's 
appropriately green-eyed and cruel-minded cat. The 
photograph of Jackson that Jim Wilkins had given him 
and another of General Lee were tacked to the wall. 
(Differently christened they would have passed any- 
where for Lafitte and Captain Kidd.) Below them was 
nailed a picture that had greatly taken his fancy because 
of some real or fancied resemblance to his wife, — a flam- 
ing chromo advertisement of a patent medicine, good- 
naturedly given him by the druggist of a neighboring 
town. Alfred, coming in one day and keeping one eye on 
the door all during his brief stay, made bold to present 
them with a chair that had once had a cane bottom, — a 
present that his father received with beaming satisfac- 
tion, and skilfully mended and painted that night. He 
turned an old goods-box up on end as a wash-stand, 
scoured a rusty tin basin that he had bought for a song 
at " the stoV' and put it best side out on top of the box 
with a bit of yellow soap, and, not content with this 
magnificent provision for his comfort, "rigged up" a 
roller for a crash towel that he had privately determined 
to ask for. These with the bed solved the question of 
furniture for the room most satisfactorily, and only one 
eyesore remained, — an abandoned stove, — that, think as 
he would, he could make neither useful nor ornamental. 
He looked at it many thousands of times with ever in- 



176 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

creasing disgust, until he at last got an inspiration, some 
months later, and forthwith took off the lids, planted 
and trained creepers over it far more successfully than 
if it had been a majolica jardiniere, enlivened it on top 
with petunias, geraniums, and one fine calla lily, and 
made of it eventually a small terraced garden, of which 
he was naturally very proud. lie had the growing 
touch wnth flowers, as was shown by the luxuriant way 
in which the plants thrived in and overflowed from a 
tin bucket with slits cut in the bottom and sides (to en- 
sure proper drainage) suspended in his window, — plants 
that would have made a point of dying in any drawing- 
room, and could scarcely have been kept alive by a 
Scotch gardener in a model greenhouse. 

The pleasure that he got from doing all this was 
only equalled by Willy's delight in seeing him do it. 
Half hel}), half hindrance, the little fellow dogged 
his every footstep, prattled without cessation, admired, 
wondered, fetched and carried, ran nails in his bare feet, 
almost choked himself with a mouthful of tacks, did 
everything that ought not to have been done, and left 
undone almost everything that he was told to do, not 
being able to bear the thought of leaving his gifted 
friend for one moment while he was engaged in such 
fascinating tasks. And what a moment it was when 
they were were " all cleared up," and the room had been 
made spotlessly clean, and Jinny Hodge's gorgeous 
quilt had been laid over the bed and neatl}^ tucked 
in, and John Shore embraced "Willy and announced, 
" Honey, it's done done^and it's fur you I've done it, and 
here we'll live together all pleasant and kind always." 
It w\is such a great occasion, indeed, that they were 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 177 

moved to celebrate it especially, and John Shore, who 
had carefully sought in the woods and brought in and 
stored quite a little supply of pine-knots and fagots, 
went to the place where he had hidden them away out 
of Matilda's sight, and soon had a great sheet of flame 
crackling and roaring up the chimney. And then he 
went out of the room for a few minutes, and came back 
wiping his lips, and dropped into his chair, and put 
Willy on the stool he had made for him, and buttered a 
huge slice of bread with a thick layer of blackberry 
jam on top for the child, and they talked and laughed, 
and talked again, and then Pap got out his violin and 
played until their house-warming was over, which was 
only when Matilda rapped sharply on the wall and 
bade them go to bed "right straight off." "We've 
done got shut uv her some, anyways, and this here is 
our little home now, Willy boy. Does yer like it?" 
whispered Pap, after this noise ceased. 

"Mightily, Pa-ap," replied Willy, looking his pleas- 
antest and smiling his sweetest as he glanced about him. 
" It's grand !" Willy's age and position and very lim- 
ited experience precluded his instituting the comparisons 
that might have been odious. Anything more splendid 
and perfectly satisfactory than this poor place he could 
not even have imagined ; and from this moment it 
became his world, and was set exactly in the centre of 
the earth. It was a paradise for him. A bright, loving 
little fellow, he had pined under the neglect and harsh- 
ness, the restraint and dulness, of his environment, and 
now here was, all at once, a new heaven and earth only 
a few feet away from the old one actually, but morally 
on another planet. Such a busy, happy, delightful 



178 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

place as it was, too. It kept him busy and happy and 
delighted to keep pace with its wonderful life at all, 
there was so much to see and do and hear and to try to 
understand. And John Shore was busy and happy, too. 
There were kites and traps to be made, sleds to mend, 
walnuts to shell. There Avere apples and persimmons 
and nuts to eat. " Pa-ap" would salt rabbit-skins, or clean 
his gun, or splice his fishing-tackle, or mend his clothes 
with the aid of a leather thimble of his own construc- 
tion, a bit of cork, a jack-knife, a cake of wax, stray 
bits of cord or pack-thread, and a huge needle. Willy 
would nurse his kitten, or feed his bushy-tailed, alert 
squirrel, or try to " split up kindlings" with a hatchet 
on the worst possible terms always with its handle, or 
roll idly about on the floor watching " Pa-ap's" perform- 
ances and enlivening the occupation with his clear, 
treble pipings and prattlings about whatever had hap- 
pened during the day. And then " Burygyard" had to 
be educated. The schoolmaster was not abroad on the 
Mountain, and neither John Shore nor Willy could read 
or write; but they knew many other things that they 
felt to be of far more importance than the doubtful 
glory of being " a scholard," and were far from finding 
their ignorance oppressive. 

John, indeed, was not as conservative in his view of 
this question as Dadd}^ Culbert, who always told a 
story in this connection of a man who insisted on being 
educated, and forged, and was finally hanged, and de- 
duced from it : " This here's what comes of readin' and 
writin'." lie had even determined to learn a great deal, 
that he might teach Willy something that might lead 
to his " betterment," and with this in view had taken 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 179 

to studying carefully the circus posters at the black- 
smith's shop. But this was a tentative process, into 
which he could not throw himself with the heartiness 
and sense of mastery that characterized his eiforts to 
impart accomplishments to "Burygyard." He had 
heard a bird in Texas whistle Dixie " right off," and fol- 
low it up with the Star-Spangled Banner, changing its 
note and coat with as little scruple as the Yicar ©f Bray. 
And that had fired his ambition, and he and Willy had 
agreed that their bird could, would, and should do the 
same thing, and thought it of the first importance that 
he should have a lesson every day, no matter what be- 
sides was done or left undone. So every night Pap 
would get out his violin, tune it carefully, and play the 
first five notes of Dixie over and over again for about 
an hour, encouraging, rebuking, admonishing his pupil 
the while with untiring zeal and faith in the ultimate 
result. And " Burygyard," his cage on Willy's stool, 
would indulge in a series of hoppings, and shirkings, 
and perverse lurkings in corners that aggravated his 
master the more because he would sometimes sing the 
strain as well as Mario could have done it, three or four 
times in succession, though he showed generally an in- 
veterate tendency to stop after the third note, and burst 
into a brilliant improvisation of his own, which, as he 
doubtless knew, was much better worth hearing. And 
Willy would clap his hands for joy, and praise, and 
scold, and laugh, and shout, assisting at all the sessions 
of Burygyard's night-school with an interest that never 
flagged, and an enthusiasm that was perfectly infectious. 
And then Pap would do "a little prac^ysin'," and the 
old house would ring again with the old melodies. And 



180 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

then he would as like as not play at leap-frog with 
AYilly, the latter havinj^ a surprising fancy for that 
particular game rather than some other better adapted 
to the lame and halt. Matilda on the other side 
of the wall listening to the hum of their voices and 
catching bursts of sweet child-laughter would get an- 
other wrinkle in her wicked heart and about her thin 
lips (finding them so happy in spite of her), and, rising, 
she would go to their door, and by merely putting her 
head in for a moment, scare away all the contentment 
and cheerfulness that, like the firelight, had filled the 
room from floor to ceiling. They probably rushed up 
the chimney to get out of her way merel}^, for they 
generally came back again as soon as the head was 
gone and the door closed again. And at worst in an 
hour the fitful radiance of the pine-knots showed Pap's 
serene face and Will}^ nestling close to him — a rosy, 
beautiful beatitude, — Blessed are little children and safe 
in the arms of God — as it flickered over to the bed in 
which both were lying asleep. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 181 



YI. 



" The world will not believe a man repents ; 
And this wise world of ours is mainly right. 
Full seldom does a man repent, or use 
Both grace and will to pick the vicious quitch 
Of blood and custom wholly out of him 
And make all clean, and plant himself afresh." 

Geraint and Enid. 

The nights were still cold and wintry, but it was 
bright enough in the shed-room, although Matilda would 
have scouted the idea of allowing its occupants a candle, 
and so warm that Willy's cheeks glowed crimson as the 
apples set to toast before the fire while he clambered 
up into Pap's lap to " hear stories." He made such a 
stimulating audience, with his shining eyes (the bluest, 
brightest, sweetest eyes ever seen. Pap thought) and 
bis eager, excited face, that these narratives, from a 
nucleus or verbal protoplasm of one dimly-remembered, 
moss-grown tale about a bear and a bad boy that he had 
heard in his childhood, developed and extended until 
the whole field of Pap's life and experience was covered, 
his memory ransacked, his power of invention severely 
taxed. There were long-forgotten traditions handed 
down in his family about " how they usened to do in 
them early times," — of how the little babies were 
cradled in logs hollowed out to receive them ; of the 
Indian raids; of how the settlers had been glad to pay 
a cow and calf for one bushel of salt brought over 

16 



182 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

Braddock's trail from " beyant the country beyant the 
Eidge, — 'waj' fur off yonder, "Willy boy." 

'•How fur?" '-Willy boy" would insist on knowing. 
" Could you walk there in a day, in two days, in a week, 
a year? If you took four horses and harnessed 'em to 
a wagon and whipped 'em up all the time, could you 
git there by Christmas?" It was only when Pap had 
said he " reckoned not" that it seemed useless to Willy 
to pursue the inquir}^, and the mysterious country im- 
mediately became fairjMand, — a region of wonders and 
delights, about which he was never tired of thinking. 
And then there was " Witch Parsons," an old, old, crooked, 
wicked woman, who lived in a cabin in the heart of 
a wood, and had a black dog, and a black cat, and the 
evil eye. Willy would blanch as he heard how she was 
feared and obeyed, and tremble a little, and devour all 
the details Pap could give of her terrible powers and 
potions and general awfulness. It was almost too fasci- 
nating to hear how the witch, when she wanted to spite 
certain neighbors, would make their cows go dry by an 
infallible process of her own, which consisted in hanging 
a new towel over her back door with a pin stuck in it for 
every cow to be "conjured," and then in the dark of the 
moon going out at night to finish her work. She had 
been seen — "folks had heerd" her, often — muttering her 
diabolical incantations and stripping from the pendent 
fringe of the towel buckets of milk that ought to have 
been in the honest udders of ruminant animals miles 
away. 

Why didn't they kill her? Why didn't folks conjure 
her cows? Why was the towel hung on the back door 
always ? And what w^ould have happened if the fringe 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 183 

had been cut off, say by a sharp boy that had " crep' up 
unbeknownst" before the witch's time came for milk- 
ing? Willy wanted to know. He could not get enough 
of " Mother Parsons," as " folks that was 'feared of her" 
called her, and was disgusted when Pap, in telling the 
great cow story for about the seventy-fifth time, got a 
trifle mechanical in his delivery throughout, and made 
matters worse by calling the heroine Mother Brown 
forsooth. And then there were Pap's travels, which 
had really been quite extensive, and seemed to Willy's 
starved imagination to combine the territorial sweep 
of Captain Cook's with the remarkably interes*ting per- 
sonal adventures of Baron Munchausen or Grulliver. 
" You've been more miles 'en you can count to save 
your life, ain't you, Pa-ap ? There ain't many places as 
you don't know whur they're at, is there?" he would 
comment admiringly, more and more convinced of his 
friend's immeasurable superiority to all the people he 
had ever known. And then there was "the war," 
which, although a most thrilling theme, was not as 
uniformly interesting as any of the others. The benign 
and gracious face that the old man turned towards him 
when relating his personal experience of and share in 
various scenes left so much to be desired in the way of 
unbridled ferocity that Willy could not but feel that he 
had never been so disappointing as in the role of war- 
rior. There were bits in the raids and skirmishes that 
were delightful, but the battles were mere sound and 
fury, with not half the action and gore that he thirsted 
for. "How many uv the Yankees' heads did you cut 
off to oust, Pa-ap?" he would ask, turning around 
eagerly from a fixed and agreeable contemplation of 



184 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

the apples browning and sputtering and wrinkling in a 
row on the hearth below. And his face would fall 
when the mild, drawling reply reached him : " Why, 
none, my son. I fit under old Blue Light yonder fur 
four year, but " 

" Not nary one ?" interrupted Willy. 

"No, hone}', not none at all. I was precious glad 
to keep my own on my shoulders, I kin tell you, with- 
out troublin' 'bout theirn. He was a one fur puttin' 
his men in tight places and then pray in' 'em out, shore 
as you are born. Jim Wilkins usened to say, 'The gen- 
eral's on his knees, boys, and that's a sign that some of 
us will be on our backs soon with no way to turn over ; 
but not sufferin' from cramp, to speak of, from lyin' in 
one position so long.' Jim was a joker always. Poor 
Jim." 

" Why didn't you jes' run right up to the Yankees 
and cut 'em in two this er way ?" said Willy, plunging 
forward and swishing savagely at the rusty andirons, 
which had lost their legs during the war, if not in con- 
sequence of it, and were carefully propped up at the 
back on two bricks. 

" Well, I done some right smart runnin', Willy boy, 
but it warn't always that way,'' replied the old soldier, 
with a hearty "Haw! haw! haw!" that was full of 
enjoyment, and gradually subsided into convulsive 
chuckles which brought out the natural twinkle in his 
eye strongly and left it there for some time. 

In the fulness of the intimacy that sprang up between 
them, John Shore laid aside for the first time the reserve 
that had led him to maintain a sacred silence about 
everything that related to the supreme joy and grief 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 185 

of his life. And thouo;h he had avoided mentionino; so 
much as his wife's name ever since her death, and had 
never been able to speak of her to her own son even 
(still less to hear her spoken of by others), he now got 
comfort and pleasure in talking freely of her to this 
tender, simple, uncritical confidant who leaned against 
his breast, and held his hand, and loved him. Willy 
expressed no sympathy, and would only occasionally give 
utterance to some of his high, narrow child-thoughts, 
extending only a little way on either side, but often 
taking in the heaven above him and the depths beneath ; 
but it was a grateful contrast to the effusive or offensive 
speech of others, and beguiled Pap continually into 
further confidences. Matilda could be heard scolding 
angrily within, and the wind roared without as it seized 
and shook the old cottage and swept on to heap the 
snow high above the sweet dead wife's grave on the 
night that Pap first laid bare his heart and showed the 
love there that could not die. 

" You see, "Willy, this was the way of it. From the 
fust moment I seed that girl she was my inthought. 
And she's been that ever sence. And I was drawed to 
her that powerful that ef I was workin' five miles off 
and she wanted me had I knowed it and went to her. 
And she was the same. And when I found as how she 
felt like I did, I mighty nigh went crazy for joy, and 
the world warn't a big enough place to hold me. But 
her father, he was opposed to me, and forbid me comin' 
'round. En she begged and prayed to him to change 
his mind, fitten to melt Masanutton. And he wouldn't 
let her have nothin' to do with me. Then I sez to her, 
'Ally,' — her name was Alice, but I called her Ally, 

16* 



186 BEHIND THE BLUE RJDOE. 

mostly, — I sez, ' There's no reason fur him actin' so, it's 
jes' obstination, and you've got to make a choosement 
between us.' En she sez, 'John, we'll wait.' En we 
did wait, and it warn't no use, fur waitin' ain't never 
yet cured obstination. En she was still fur waitin', 
and pretty nigh cried her eyes out 'bout it. But I 
wouldn't ; en at last I got her talked 'round, and I got 
a two-horse fix and we runned away to Harper's Ferrj- 
and got married. 'Pears like it was yesterday." (A 
pause.) 

"And then we come back together, and there she set, 
— the prettiest thing in Virginia, and the sweetest. En 
her lap was full of oranges I'd buyed fur her at the 
bridge, and we was both eatin' gingerbread and holdin' 
hands, — leastways one hand. I had a 'cordion in the 
other, and" was runnin' up and down it, sorter blowin' 
out my feelin's like, you see. She always did love to 
hear me play the 'cordion. I was prouder 'n a peacock 
with two tails that day, and as happy as the Lord 
makes 'em. 'Pears like it was a thousand years ago." 

" Did you come here, to this house ?" 

" Yes," said Pap, slipping lower in his chair and 
fixing his eyes on the fire. " This was our home. And 
I'd fixed up right smart fur her 'bout the house all I 
could, and made her a beautiful flower-garden. I 
knowed she loved flowers. I took a power uv trouble 
(only it warn't no trouble bein' done for her) with that 
there garden. There was blue-flags from the woods, 
and white lilies, and sweet pinks, and mournin'-brides, 
and bleedin'-hearts, and marygolds. I got them 'bout 
here. And I set out five big bushes of snow-balls, and 
three of white lilocks. She hadn't never heerd tell of 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 187 

a white lilock till then. And I got some yaller 'stur- 
tiums, that comes from the sea, from a gentleman that 
keeps a garden in Winston. And I planted her favoright 

rose under her winder. It bloomed the day she" 

(Another pause.) " Well, she was as pleased as the next 
one when she seed 'em, and there warn't nothin' she 
didn't notice, and she sez, '■ You've done done all this 
fur me, ain't you, John,' and kissed me, and then we 
went into the house, and she was better pleased yet 
when she seed that, and she took off her bonnet and 
hung it up and set down in the new rockin'-chair, and 
she looked out of the winder and sez, *' How sweet the 
blocks smells.' I ain't never been able to suffer 'em 
since. En then she looks at me smilin' and sez, ' John, 
my darlin', we've tied a knot with our tongue this day 
we kain't undo with our teeth. Do you know that ?' 
En then I took her on my lap, — she was a little thing, 
Willy, not much bigger 'n you, — 'n I sez to her, ' I never 
will want to try. Ally.' En she sez to me, ' ]^o more 
will I, dear John,' sez she. And we never did." (Another 
pause.) " T wuz in the wagon business then, and carried 
on at the cross-roads 'hove here a piece. I carried five 
men the year 'round, 'n there warn't no better wagons 
wuz ever turned out. The axles seemed jes' to come 
plum' of theirselves in them days, Willy, and everything 
was goin' right with me, when all to oust trouble come 
and nothin' ain't gone right sence. Ally she got sick. 
It was all the trouble she ever give me. And she 
wouldn't never 'low she was more 'n tired. But I 
knowed. I knowed ! It was a breast-trouble, — some 
calls it the consumption. I done all I knowed. I reckon 
I got every medicine that's made for it. There was one 



188 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

splendid one, — ' Seven Barks' was the name ; it was the 
grandest thing you ever could want. It cured every- 
thing, — the consumption, and scrofily, and pneumony, 
and all kinds of fevers. You couldn't mention nothin' 
it didn't cure. The paper that come with every bottle 
said so. You may know it was good : it cost fifty cents 
a bottle." 

" AVho-ce ! Every bottle ? What a heap of money, 
Pa-ap ! I wish I had fifty cents.'' 

"You're right there, Willy. Well, I give her that and 
give it to her. There was a closet full of the empty 
bottles; but it never cured her, someway. I dunno 
why, 'cept it was the mysterousness uv dealin's. All the 
comfort I had was working extry to get it, though, and 
I'd of had it cf I'd had to burn the sto' down where 
'twas sold, ef I couldn't of got it no other way." 

" Of cose, Pa-ap. You couldn't do no defferent, and 
her so sick." 

" But it warn't no use. She left me." (A long pause.) 
" This here is a strange, mysterous world of ourn, Willy. 
I've set and studied and studied over that thing, but I 
ain't never seed the why nor the wherefore. A body 
can't understand it. I used to look 'round at my little 
baby, — Alfred that is now, — sleepin' so peaceful in his 
cradle (that was at night 'fore I put out the light), and 
I'd think to myself how strange it was as how he might 
be blowed out like a candle by death. But I hadn't never 
no idea 'twould be the mother. It looked like it was on- 
possible to the last. But it come." (A deep, patient sigh 
and a silence.) " And everything has went wrong sence 
she left me. I wuz so weakened down. I couldn't ketch 
hold of nothin' fur a long while. And then the chances 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 189 

was occupied. And — and I've went wrong, too, Willy. 
I ain't gone straight, — Lord ! no. Don't you think it. 
You see I ios' my linch-pin, 'n I've ben jes' rattlin' 'long 
fur a break-down ever since. A wagon kain't run right 
without a linch-pin, no way you fix it, now can it? 
The mysterousness of dealin's, — that's it. I can't git 
no purchase on it. Her so good, and both of us so 
happy." 

" Whurze she gone to now ? Whurze she at right 
now, this minnit, Pa-ap, say?" 

" She went to heaven, my son ; shore and certain as 
there is a heaven, she has went to it." 

" How did she git there ?" 

" The Good Man sent for her," said Pap ; and Willy 
understood; for, strange to say, this is the title univer- 
sally given to God by the mountaineers, with a per- 
fectly reverent intention. He is rarely called by any 
other, except when they profane His name. 

" Don't you feel bad. Maybe he'll send fur you, too, 
Pa-ap," said Willy. 

" Well, I ain't fitten to go ; that's the trouble. And I 
ain't fitten to stay, neither. I'm no good, noways you 
fix it. This here life of ourn's a hard, hard job, honey. 
You've got to have more patience 'n a courtin' man's 
horse to git through it. En I don't see why I was brung 
here. I dunno when I'm goin' to be gone. I dunno 
nothin', 'n nobody don't know no more than me." 

After this long talk between them, no further allusion 
was made to the subject for a long while. Pap probably 
thought that Willy had forgotten all about it. One 
lovely spring morning, though, when they had gone 
together to the wood, — one of those days that seem to 



190 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

draw out tender memories as inevitably as buds, or 
leaves, or delicious earthy smells that cannot be traced 
to any one spot, — the child surprised him by referring 
to it of his own accord. They had come to a halt at a 
place about which there was a perfect tangle of grape- 
vines, all in bloom, and breathing out, as it were, their 
exquisitely delicate and penetrating odor. Pap, after 
seating himself, had fallen into a reverie, and had paid 
no attention to Willy. " What's you thinkin' 'bout, 
Pa-ap? Is you thinkin' 'bout herf said Willy, after 
amusing himself in various ways for some time, and 
coming back to find his friend still silent and absorbed. 

"Yes, honey, I was. This here's our weddin' day 
that was," Pap replied. He said no more, and there 
was another silence ending with a deep sigh, 

" Is yer got a misery in yer head ? Hainh ?" inquired 
Willy. " I'll rub it for you." 

" i^o, Willy boy. I'm jes' tired, that's all. Don't you 
werrit 'bout me. I gits beat out sometimes. Ef she — 
ef Ally had of lived, it don't seem to me like I'd be as 
tired as I mostly am." 

The sunset was a very beautiful one that evening, 
and Pap and Willy saw it together from the wood-pile 
where they had been busily engaged for an hour pre- 
vious providing for the next day's fires. The work 
was done and the wood arranged in separate heaps to 
be carried in-doors later. A kite sailing above the next 
field had fully occupied AYilly's attention for some mo- 
ments, and when his interest in it was exhausted he 
ran up to Pap, whose axe was at rest, and who was 
leaning on his crutch. 

"Pa-ap," said Willy, calling out to him as he ap- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 191 

proached, and pointing upward, "Alice is up yonder. 
Ain't she, now ?" 

" Yes, my son," said Pap. 

" Whurabouts ? Whurabouts ?" 

" I kain't rightly say ; but she's there." 

" She ain't in that white place," persisted Willy, still 
pointing. " And she ain't in them black, ugly clouds, is 
she ? She's somewhurs in the blue, ain't she, Pa-ap ?" 
the child added, eagerly, turning his rosy, smiling face 
up to the solemn sky. Pap looked up into the blue, and 
then pulled his hat over his eyes and, stooping forward, 
got another stick of wood. " The ground's too wet for 
ploughin'," he said, presently. A moment later he took 
a seat on a log and fixed his eyes on the distant moun- 
tains, set along the horizon like great pedestals for si- 
lence. The sun was dying like a saint in peaceful glory 
in the west. The bats were circling above his head. 
The rosy clouds in the east were fading into gray. He 
did not know how long he sat there ; but Willy played 
about him for a long while, until, at last, tired of blow- 
ing his penny whistle and playing marbles alone, and 
of getting no answers, above all, from the one person 
whose companionship and sympathy he felt himself en- 
titled to, he, too, came and perched beside his friend, 
rammed his hands in his pockets, and cheered himself 
for a few minutes by rattling their highly miscellaneous 
contents. Then he leaned against John Shore's arm, 
which was then slipped gently around him. " I've been 
a-thinkin' it all over," said the old man, without pre- 
amble or explanation, — thinking aloud, as he often did 
with Willy. " I feel like it was waitin' fur me some- 
whurs. Don't you reckon that time '11 come back to me 



192 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

sometime 'r other, somcwhur, Willy? She was always 
waitin' fur me here. She couldn't never rest, no way 
you fixed it, 'less I was 'round, onless she knowed what 
kep' me. I reckon she's waitin' fur me there." They 
were still sitting there when they heard a voice hailing 
them. " Pa-ap r Pa-ap ! Willy !" called Matilda. "Ain't 
you brung that wood in yet ? Well, of all the lazy, 

triflin', good-for-nothin' " He waited to hear no 

more, but rose with a start and came back to the 
present, and hastened to avert the wrath that he 
dreaded doubly, — that is, for himself and for Willy. 
To keep Willy " out of trouble," to make Willy happy, 
to see that Willy lacked for nothing, was his constant 
care, and his efforts to accomplish these objects in- 
creased with his increasing love for the child who 
had now become the one hope, joy, and comfort of his 
daily life. So now, although Willy drew back at the 
door, saying, " I don't want to go in there. Matilda's in 
there, Pa-ap. Lemmy go," he only held his hand the 
more firmly. " Ssh ! Willy boy, you must. We ain't 
been in there to-day, and supper's 'most ready. Come 
'long with your Pa-ap," he said, and drew him into the 
room. Matilda, out of the tail of her eye, saw them 
enter, and immediately opened fire on them, — " pouring 
in grape and canister," Pap called the process, and some- 
times " shcllin' the woods to drive out the enemy, or get 
their range," when he talked of her in the shed-room 
with bolted doors and was in a cheerful mood. She 
soon saw by his fiice that she had got his range, and, 
being in one of her most energetic and aggressive moods, 
she continued for about an hour to move about the room 
attending to various domestic matters and making of- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 193 

fensive remarks. Pap ought to have been, and was, 
tolerably well used to that sort of thing ; but physical 
fatigue and inward sadness were alike clamoring for 
peace and rest, and his heart sickened within him as he 
listened to that harsh voice, and contrasted it mentally 
with one as soft as a wood-pigeon's. " This here is what 
my home has come to," he thought, bitterly. " The 
only house on earth that I love, or that I've got to 
shelter me, I've got to live here and to die here. And 
her gone. And her in her place." 

Stung into action of some sort, he got up and sat in 
the window-seat, looking out into the darkness within 
and without, and then he slipped as unobtrusively as 
possible into his own chair and lit his pipe, resolving to 
be patient and endure what was not to be cured. His 
silence made Matilda angrier than ever, and she ex- 
pressed this most characteristically. The room was in 
admirable order, but, seizing a broom, she began sweep- 
ing violently in his immediate neighborhood, making 
wild dashes all around his chair and under it, and spite- 
ful assaults upon his feet and legs, as if about to send 
him bodily into the cavernous and flaming depths of 
the old-fashioned chimney. Without a word he moved 
back a little, a flush on his face. Stooping down, she 
seized his felt hat, which he had dropped on the floor, 
and putting it on his head gave it a slap that jammed 
it down over his eyes, saying, " Why don't you hang it 
up ? Who's goin' to give you another when that's gone, 
I'd like to know ?" Seeing him thus, and thinking it a 
funny sight, Willy was imprudent enough to laugh, and 
instantly got a rousing box on the ears that made him 
roar instead. " Tildy ! Tildy ! Stop !" shouted Pap, 
I n 17 



194 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

struggling to his feet. "Let him be! Quit that!" He 
had often been obliged to see Willy punished and hold 
his peace, but somehow he quite lost his self-control 
now. Infuriated by his interference, Matilda caught 
hold of the child with one hand and of the poker with 
the other. With one plunge forward of himself and 
his crutch, Pap rushed to the rescue. 

A struggle between them seemed inevitable, but for- 
tunately Alfred walked in upon them that very moment. 
The gravity of the situation had a curious effect upon 
him. His manner was bold and his tone positively 
burly as he seized his wife and put himself between 
them. "Why, what's all this? What's this?" he de- 
manded. " Tildy ! Pa-ap !" He was just in time. Ma- 
tilda attempted a frenzied explanation. Pap sank back 
in his chair. " Go along — go right along to the shed," 
suggested Alfred, in a low voice to his father. " Take 
Willy." Whimpering and scared, Willy was led away, 
and when the door of their room was closed and they 
were secured from all intrusion Pap threw himself 
upon the bed with his face downwards and lay there 
for an hour without moving or saying a word. He 
then got up, and calling Willy to him, undressed him 
and put him to bed. He was always woman-tender 
and patient with the child, and having performed these 
little offices for him quickly and quietly, he caressed 
and soothed and reassured him. " Go right to sleep, 
Willy boy, that's what you've got to do," he said. 
"And love your Pa-ap, — love him always." But Willy 
could not get to sleep immediately after such an ex- 
citing evening, and Pap had to sit by him and hold his 
hand until he did. Meanwhile they had a little talk. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 195 

"Don't you go 'way, now, Pa-ap. "Will you? Say?" 
said the child, afraid of Matilda, but not saying so. 
" Promise me you'll stay right here." 

" No, honey. Pa-ap '11 set here by you and take care 
of you. Don't you be fearsome. Matilda won't come 
here. She got her collar off this evenin' and sorter 
turned herself loose, that's all. She's been rough-like 
fur a week 'n more. She shan't hurt you, young one. 
Go to sleep now." 

" Stone Newman he says she's a screamer. "What's a 
screamer ?" 

" "Well, a screamer's a bad-tempered person that holds 
spite. And that's true. I've knowed heaps and cords 
uv women, — all sorts, pretty much, first and last, — but 
there wuz never nary one that could hold spite like 
her. Why, Pve knowed her to git wrong side out 'n go 
right along with it cornstant fur two weeks runnin'. 
And livin' in the house with that kind uv woman is 
bad, Willy. 'Tain't the peckin'. You gits used to that, 
though it's mightily like havin* a hail-storm all the 
year 'round. Nor it ain't the temper, which you ain't 
afeared 'ill hurt you, in a manner of speakin', for ef it 
come to blows a body could soon settle her. But" 
(earnestly) " don't you never, when you're a man, tech 
a woman fur to hurt her ; not so much as her little finger. 
D'ye hear? Hit's a low-lived, mean skunk that'll 
strike a woman, and do you remember it. Speak 'em 
fair, and treat 'em kind, and ef you kain't git along with 
'em that er way, you kain't no way at all. "Women's 
like fowls, Willy. They kain't be driv. Ef you tries it 
they flies up in your face and makes fur your eyes, or 
goes jes' the way you don't want 'em to. No, as I was 



196 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

a-sayin' 'bout Tildy, it aint the peckin', nor the scoldin', 
nor the temper. Hit's the bindingness uv it. Go which- 
ever way you will, — it don't make no difference, — you 
knock agin a stone wall. En it shets you into yourself 
WU88 'n a coffin, it does." 

" Alice warn't like her, wuz she ?" said Willy, to whom 
the gentle spirit was a " familiar." 

'•iVb, indeed, and double deed. She warn't a com- 
menter, — my Ally warn't, — nor a gadder, nor a screamer, 
nor a scolder, nor a meddler, nor a gammon er. She 
warn' conversive, though her accostment was better 'n 
most. She was jes' the sweetest and best woman that 
ever stepped ; and when a body come in downheartened 
and plum beat out, she was the comfortinest one the 
Lord ever made. She was the only one that ever 
rightly knowed me, Willy." 

" You know the cellar, Pa-ap. Under Tildj-'s room's 
down there, ain't it? She'd better look out! Stone 
Newman he sez the bad man jes' comes right up 
through the ground and ketches bad folks by the legs 

and jerks 'em right down quick to " Here a 

knock at the door was heard, and Willy convulsively 
seized Pap's hand. " Don't go ! Don't let her in !" ho 
cried. 

" Oh, 'tain't her. She'd never knock like that," said 
Pap. And, rising, he went to the door, and found Alfred 
standing there with a tin plate in his hand, on which 
were such odds and ends of food as he had been able 
to collect hastily while Matilda was out of the room. 

"Have a bite uv vittlcs, Pa-ap," he urged, deprecat- 
ingly. "You ain't had no supper. I'm mighty sorry 
things has been so onpleasantj but don't you mind 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 197 

Tildy. Women will be women, — specially Tildy." With 
this paraphrase of his favorite maxim he thrust the 
plate into his father's hands, all his honest face full of 
concern. 

"Thanky kindly, my son. I don't want nothin' 
myself I couldn't eat nothin'; but I'll give it to the 
child. Thanky," Pap replied, and the door was shut 
and bolted again. 

**• Pa-ap," said Willy, when he had finished the supper 
thus unexpectedly provided, and had laid himself down 
in bed again, and been very quiet for full five minutes, 
— " Pa-ap, had the Good Man and the Bad Man quafled 
when Alfred married Tildy ?" It was a great proof 
of the perfect confidence that existed between them 
that all the child's most timid, mouselike fancies and 
thoughts came out and played fearlessly about this 
hearth in the warm love-light that Pap diffused about 
him. But when the old man burst out into a loud laugh 
over this speech of " Willy boy's" he felt hurt, and 
shrank blushing into himself, and soon the conversation 
was rounded with a full stoj), for Willy was asleep. 

Matilda's capacity for " holding spite" was fully shown 
for some time after this. Cinderella's sisters were 
gentle and amiable women compared to her, and weakly 
indulgent ; and Pap got more and more depressed as 
day after day went by without any softening or bright- 
ening in that quarter. She brought a couple of empty 
meal-bags in on the following Saturday, and, throwing 
them down near Pap with such force that he was im- 
mediately almost covered with the dust, said, acridly, 
" Now you two be off this minnit to the mill and git 
both of them filled. Yer ain't o-oin' to laze around here 

17* 



198 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

a passel of triflin' no-'counts, not worth shucks, while 
I'm workin' my fingers to the bone." 

" We'll go, Matildy. We'll go, in course," said Pap, 
rising as he spoke, and speaking in a tone of mild re- 
monstrance. " But you ain't got no call to git so riffled 
up. Go slow I Go slow !" 

" Oh, I see where goin' slow's brung you to !" she re- 
torted. "I've seed enough of it. And you'd be further 
ef I had my way, I can tell you, and " 

Pap had heard enough, and he now slouched out-of- 
doors. He stood still for a minute, and then walked 
briskly around the corner of the house. When he got 
to the irregular, old-fashioned chimney, whose every line 
and curve he knew by heart, he stopped, and thrusting 
his long arm up he brought down from its hiding-place 
a stone jug adorned with a corn-cob stoj^per. This he 
set down on the ground, and taking the little tin-cup 
which was tied to the handle he half filled it, and, 
throwing back his head, tossed off the contents almost 
at a gulp. He was wiping his mouth by passing his 
sleeve across it from right to left and back again, and 
debating whether he should repeat the operation or 
not, when he heard a voice near him say, " Is it good, 
Pa-ap?" and turning suddenly in wrath, saw Willy 
standing behind him, — Will}^, rosy, smiling, sweet-faced 
as usual, his hands stuffed deep in his pockets, his eyes 
fixed eagerly on the strange new jug that he had been so 
surprised to see, juggled, as it were, out of the chimney. 
" What's in it? Whur do you keep it at?" he asked. 

Annoyed by the interruption and the discovery of 
his secret. Pap spoke roughly to the child. " What are 
you doin' here? Who called you? Go 'long in the 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 199 

house and mind your own business ! "Whichever way I 
turn, there you is, right at my heels." Utterly aston- 
ished, Willy fled before him, but was instantly recalled. 
" Come back, sonny. You kin stay. And, look here, 
don't you say nothin' 'bout this to nobody, — not to 
nobody. Do you hear ?" 

His tone was still stern, and Willy was nonplussed, 
and did not know what to do. Pap to speak to him 
like that! He couldn't get over it. 

" I wasn't doin' nothin'," he finally said. "I jes' asked 
you " 

" Yes, yes. I know 'bout that," said Pap, replacing 
the jug. This done, he had leisure to observe that 
Willy still looked disturbed, — did not understand what 
his offence had been, evidently, — and was uncertain 
about the foundations of his world all at once, tbe roof 
having just tumbled in on his head when he least ex- 
pected it. Pap stood still for some moments, looking 
down and taking out and putting in again the while a 
couple of long thorns with which he was in the habit 
of fastening his "galluses" to his trousers. He then 
patted the child's head, which he drew up against him, 
saying, in his usual affectionate and pleasant tone, 
" Well, never mind, honey ; never mind. Yer sorter 
plagued and pestered me a little. That was all. I 
ain't mad. I didn't never mean to hurt your feelin's. 
Don't think no more 'bout it. Come along, now, and 
we'll go fur that meal, we will." 

"Wuz it good?" asked Willy again, harking back 
with childish persistence to the unanswered question, 
now that he felt that Pap was Pap again and had re- 
pented of his harshness. 



200 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDQE. 

" "Well, no. It ain't to say good eggzackly," confessed 
Pap, reluctantly compelled to discuss the question. "It 
ain't what you'd call good. But hit's as searchin' as 
a fine-tooth comb, Willy boy. But" (caressing him, 
and speaking very emphatically, forgetting also that 
the child did not know what he was talking of) "don't 
you never tech it, never, never, NEVER! You asked 
me jes' now ef it was good, didn't you, honey ? Good ? 
Why, it's the wuss stuff ever you could put in your 
mouth ! Don't you never put none in your dear little 
mouth, honey. No. It's black. And it's bad. And it's 
bitter as gall. And it's sour. And it ain't well-tasted, — 
not a bit. And it smells awful, — jes' awful, — Willy boy. 
It 'most knocks you down. And it would be the ruina- 
tion of you, it would. Good? Why, it makes me laugh 
jes' to hear you ask that." 

" And it's searchin'. Ain't it, Pa-ap ? You said jes' 
now it was searchin'." 

" Oh, yes ; it's that. It — it goes through you — well, 
like a knife !" 

Pap was leaning with his back against the chimney 
and was looking down at Willy, who now looked up at 
him with his sweet clear eyes. '' Well, what do you 
take it fur, then ?" he asked. 

Pap turned his head awa3^ He could not look at the 
child. 

"I'm 'blccged to sometimes," he said, in a low voice, 
presently, and the color rose with a sudden vivid flush 
into his wrinkled cheeks. " Come along, now. We 
ain't got a minnit, not a minnit, ef Matildy's to have 
that meal, and she'll know why ef she don't git it, you 
kin bet. Come right along," he added, after another 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 201 

pause, and hand-in-hand they returned to the front of 
the house, where the dirty-white meal-bags had been 
dropped on the steps, which were further ornamented 
by a row of children all waiting like so many youthful 
Micawbers for something to turn up. There was some 
one else there, too, — E. Mintah, — waiting to see Pap, and 
they went apart from the children as soon as they had 
exchanged greetings. 

" Well, R. Mintah, my dear, you look bore down. 
What've you got on you this mornin' ?" he asked her, 
when they had turned the corner of the house. 

" Hit's Jonah. Hit's all Jonah. And I'm so mis'able, 
— so mis'able!" said she, with a sudden burst of sobs. 

" Why, what's the matter with Jonah ?" 

" He's took an idee, — the foolishest idee ever was, — 
and he's mis'able, too ; we both are 's sorrowful as kin 
be, and no need to be. Oh ! what's folks born fur any- 
ways? I wish I didn't feel nothin'. I wish I didn't 
kyur fur nobody. And after all that's been between us ! 
Oh, Jonah, what does make you so blind and deef? 
Oh, me ! Oh ! me ! Hit's too much. And all an idee," 
lamented R. Mintah. " Jes' all an idee." 

She could not go on, and Pap said, reflectively, " Idees 
is bad to handle, R. Mintah. You kain't ketch hold of 
'em. You kain't git at 'em well, nor git no purchase 
on 'em to move 'em. Sometimes with luck you kin git 
one by the tail and jerk it out, but you mostly makes 
bad worse. They're mighty bad things, idees, and 
breeds more trouble than death '11 cure. But what's 
Jonah thinkin' ?" 

"He's thinkin' that I — that him and me — that Marsh 
Culbert — oh, hit's too much! He's got a persuasion 



202 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

on him. He thinks that me and Marsh — oh, he's 
crazy!" She stopped again to sob, and Pap, who never 
could bear to see a woman cry, stood by and admin- 
istered such consolation as " Don't yer, now. Don't 
yer ! Hold yerself up. Don't you cry." 

" I didn't never think," said she, " when the time come 
fur him to come out of the horspital, and I went down 
to Winston and fetched him back, with him laid out in 
the bottom of the cart with his head in my lap, and 
him so good and kind, and tellin' me how glad he was 
to see me, and me tellin' him how I'd done my outmost 
to git to him, — I never thought nothin' could trouble me 
no more in this world, seein' Jonah was 'live and well, 
and I was 'live and well, and we'd both lived to see sech 
a home-bringin' of mj dear darlin'. And now it 'pears 
like it's too much trouble to breathe, and there ain't no 
use in nothin'. Oh ! why did he go and do like he's 
done here lately ?" 

"What's his notion?" asked Pap, again trying to 
get at the root of the matter. *• Is it a changement of 
his feelin's? Say, honey? Men 'speriences a change- 
ment of feelin's sometimes, you know, and " 

" Oh, don't you go and say it's that !" she exclaimed, 
starting back as if he had struck her. " Don't you, 
now. You don't reckon, sho' 'nough, hit's that?'' 

"Well, no. I ain't said so, E. Mintah. Don't you go 
picking up my words before I fairly gets 'em out. I 
sez men does 'sperience a changement of feelin's, — least- 
ways, some men docs, — so folks says. But not man^', 
honey. Mighty few. Hardly any. I ain't never 
knowed — Hum ! Well, I warn't the sort that changes. 
Maj'be 'twould ef been better fur me ef I had of been. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 203 

And I don't believe Jonah ain't, neither," replied Pap, 
saying exactly the thing he did not mean. " But tell 
me 'bout it." 

" He's got a persuasion, Pa-ap, that Marsh Culbert and 
me is — I'll never say the word. You see, Mother New- 
man she kep' on writin' him while he was in the hors- 
pital 'bout Marsh hangin' 'round and stickin' like a 
cockleburr, and he got the notion that Marsh was goin' 
to set me. And he warn't, no sech thing. 'Twas 
Mandy he was settin' all the time. And then Jonah 
come home. And Mandy got out and off with him, 
and took to carryin' on with Bill Mathers 'cause he 
was a preacher's son, and more genteel, she 'lowed. 
And Marsh hadn't never went to be genteel, and loved 
her jes' the same, and more, and come 'round cornstant, 
hopin', I reckon, she'd change back agin. And Jonah 
set around, and watched, and suspicioned, and now he 
says I love Marsh, not him, and has give me his advise- 
ment to marry him, and not him, and he says — he says 
I've made too free with him. Me ! Me ! ! Jonah said 
that! Them was his words." The thought of these 
terrible words, and who had spoken them, brought the 
loudest wail of all from the unhappy girl, and a small 
river of tears had flowed down her round cheeks and 
been wiped away with her apron before her tumultu- 
ous emotions were sufficiently under control for her to 
say more. " He won't see nothin' like it is. He won't 
hear nothin' like it's said. He don' believe nothin' I 
tell him. Oh, I'm so mis'able! I don' know what's 
got into him that was so defferent." 

"Hum!" began Pap, judicially. "E. Mintah, this 
here's one of the idees that can be ketched and pulled 



204 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

out. I kin ketch it, I reckon. But 3'ou must pull it 
out, — you are the only one that kin. Jonah's done gone 
and got jealous. That's how it is. lie's got his eyes 
crossed in love, and he kaint see straight, no matter 
which er way he looks. He's jealous. And he's got 
obstinated, and bent, and set, and determinated, and 
ornless his eyes gits put right he kain't do no defferent, 
and he won't. He's a — Hum ! Well, now, I tell you 
what, you go 'long home, child, and leave him to me, 
and don't you werrit no more 'bout it at all. It '11 all 
come right. Them that changes once can change 
twict, and maybe that '11 be the way of it; anyways, it 
'11 all come right. Go 'long back of the lane. Your 
eyes is all swol' up not fit to be seed, my dear, and you 
won't meet nobody, skasely, ef you go back a piece 
and then turn to your right. Goo'-by." 

A good deal consoled, E. Mintah put on her sun- 
bonnet and turned away. Pap got a glimpse of her 
tearful face down the long rosy tunnel that the eye had 
to traverse before it was reached, hidden away under an 
immense calico crown, as uneasy a head as ever wore a 
royal one. He was moving off, also, when she came 
back. " I hope you ain't thinkin' hard of Jonah," she 
said. " He ain't never went to act wrong by me. Hit's 
jes' a possessment. That's what it is. Hit's mighty 
distressful, and has made me onhappy and mis'able in 
my mind. But I didn't go to say nothin' agin Jonah. 
Not a word. No, indeed. I know he's onhappy, too, 
jes' like I was that day he kissed poor Belle, that's 
dead and gone whur there ain't no trouble. I don't 
blame him. No. Hit's a possessment. But what does 
that freckle-faced fool boy keep on comin' 'round fur ? 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 205 

I hate the sight of him. I wish he was dead, l^o, I 
don't, neither. But Marsh Culbert, Pa-ap, — one of them 
mean, stinty Culberts ! They're all no 'count ; but they 
ain't bad no chance ; and they don't git no better off 
for all their pinchin', and them close as onion-skins. 
Hit's might curious. And none of 'em a-patchin' to him. 
Sim! Jonah's crazy! Plum' crazy! I've studied over 
it when I've been by myself, and I ain't done nothin' 
never that I'd feel bad to think about, or nothin' to set 
Jonah agin me, and I don't know how it is this tbing 
has growed like a gode. Oh, Pa-ap, talk to him ! Make 
him see ! To think he'd think I'd care as much as my 
old shoe fur Marsh Culbert of all, and make free with 
any man. Oh, hit jes' kills me! My head burns like 
fire." 

"Poor child! poor child! I never heerd the like. 
Don't you, now. You ! Jonah's a born— Hum ! He's 
done jumped clean out of hisself this time." 

"Don't you think hard of my dear Jonah, Pa-ap! 
Hit's jes' a possessment, is what I sez to myself all the 
time, and I ain't told nobody. But hit's the possesstest 
possessment that ever was. Look at the defference 
'tween him, — 'tween Bill Mathers and my Jonah ! But 
long as he's s'picioned me I've jes' got to bear it. And 
don't you think bard of him. I'll never, fur what he's 
done been to me ever sence I was knee-high to a duck, 
as the sayin' goes, — so good, bringin' in my wood, and 
— oh, boo-hoo! boo! boo! hoo!" 

"Jonah's a fool, a nateral-born fool!" exclaimed 
Pap, unable longer to restrain his real sentiments. 
Such a look of dignified, unutterable disj)leasure spread 
over E. Mintah's face, such horror came into it when 

18 



206 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

she heard that offensive combination of letters four 
applied to her peerless, if misguided, Jonah, that Pap 
immediately added, hurriedly, " Askin' your pardon, K. 
Mintah, and meanin' he's foolish 'long of bein' in love." 

"Hit's my fault. I ain't oughter to said what I've 
said 'bout my darlin' Jonah," she replied, remorsefully. 

"No offence, my dear; no offence," said he. But 
even so, confidence was not immediately restored be- 
tween them. When Pap, however, had fully recognized 
his mistake, and praised Jonah as warmly as he had 
cried out upon him, matters improved. "Leave it be," 
said he, finally. " I'll fix it up all right and tight fur 
you, I reckon. Hit's chancey, but we'll resk it." 

Again they parted, and again E. Mintah ran back to 
him. "I can't be easy tell you promise me you won't 
think hard of Jonah," she said, with a sweet, appealing 
look at him. " Hit's on my mind that I've spoke agin 
him and set you agin him, and it's not his deservings, 
and it's a shame to me that knows what he is, and was 
chose to be his wife oust. I'd better have bit my tongue 
off." 

"I don't, and I won't, I vows and declares and 
swears," said Pap, with all the seriousness the occasion 
demanded, and E. Mintah, content with this, gave him 
a bright glance and hurried home. 

When left alone. Pap stood still a moment. He thru^^t 
his hands deep in his pockets after buttoning up his 
coat. He walked a few steps slowly, paused, retraced 
his steps, paused again, then suddenly looked sharply 
around and about him, and dashed off to the spot where 
his evil treasure was concealed, and, with the greatest 
haste, poured out and drank off another cupful from 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 207 

the stone jug, replaced it, and sauntered back to the 
front porch. Matilda, who waged war against the 
whole tribe of little Mountainites, was just driving the 
children away when he got there, and they were look- 
ing and lingering in the hope that he would appear. 

" Come 'long to the mill with me, children. Fall in," 
said he, picking up the meal-bags. And nothing loath 
about a dozen representatives of the Brown, Logan, 
and Simmons families fell in behind him, and they were 
soon trooping down the lane together, — the girls lank, 
petticoatless, carefully bonneted, obliged to run in order 
to keep up with the party ; the boys with their trousers 
rolled high above their naked knees (in order to be 
ready for such agreeable incidents as brooks and liquid 
mud), and all of them talking, questioning, laughing, 
without the least constraint, and only a chastened, 
repressed consciousness that there were Matildas or 
parents in the world and a hereafter. They all looked 
at and appealed to " Pa-ap" (as they called John Shore 
with a long drawl as like the bleat of a sheep as it was 
possible for human lungs to emit) every other moment. 
All the children for miles around knew him. They 
were all fond of him. They all owed him far more 
than they ever knew, much less paid. But it was 
curious how the smallest and least shrewd youngster 
among them knew before he was six years old that this 
paragon of a friend, benefactor, protector, champion, — 
who was all things to all children, — was for some mys- 
terious reason not held in the high consideration that 
ought to have been reserved for a being so gifted, fasci- 
nating, lovable. Why should Matilda, who was hateful 
and hated them, be spoken of with respect? and Mr. 



208 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

Carver, who preserved towards them an attitude of 
armed neutrality, and was so cross, so dull, so ugly, 
almost with reverence, w^hile " Pa-ap," the delightful, 
accomjilished friend, who could do anything that he 
was asked to do, and knew everything one could want 
to know, and never failed to give help, comfort, pleas- 
ure, to all who approached him, was invariably talked 
of in a way that showed deep, dark disapproval? It 
was most enigmatical and disagreeable to know that 
such an estimate was set upon a creature of such special 
and valuable endowments, and to be actually reproached 
with being " in cahoot" with him, their kindest, best 
friend. They could not, and would not, give him up, 
though, and so it came about that everybody agreed that 
'• Johnny Shore was jes' the ruination of them chil- 
dren," — a few women excepted, — notably Mrs. Logan, 
who had one of those families in which there were 
always three children who were too young to wipe 
their own noses or shut the door or get out of the wa}^, 
and who, noticing his tender treatment of these help- 
less twigs among her olive-branches, always contended 
that he was not " near as black as he was painted by 
other pots and kittles, and a good friend to the children, 
she would say." A good friend he was to them, and 
they found no fault in him, perhaps because he found 
so little with them. A good guide, too, for could 
he not go to the birds'-nests, and persimmons, and nuts 
in the woods as straight as a crow could fiy ? And he 
was their philosopher, — a philosopher whose wit and 
wisdom left many a mark as it played around them and 
over their heads, say while digging bait preparatory to 
setting a row of sun-bonnets and baggy-backed, bullet- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 209 

headed youngsters to fish with the willow-rod and pin- 
hook substitutes for tackle, which he was always being 
importuned to make for " Bill's brother," or " ]S"aiicy'8 
cousin," or " Betty's sister," and that pleased them so 
much, nor deceived the smallest, most unworldly blue- 
bottle fly or trout when presented to their notice. And 
he was their historian, finally, his method being uncon- 
sciously that of Herodotus as he related to an open- 
mouthed, eager-eyed audience : " The general's orderly 
come to me and shook me as I was layin' asleep in a 
fence-corner, and he sez to me, sez he, ' John, git up, for 
we've got to skedaddle like lightnin'. The Yanks is 
piled up as high as the Eidge over yonder, and they'll 
be down on us like a flail in another minute/ " etc., 
etc. 



yii. 



"Every one is as God made him, and oftentimes a great deal 
worse. ' ' — Cervantes. 

Pap saw a good deal of the children in the course of 
the next two weeks, for Matilda's spite like the weather 
held, and to escape the sound of her voice he would 
have done almost anything. The only thing that he 
could do was to go off on expeditions that consumed 
the greater part of the day, and so get out of her way. 
This he did as often as he dared, and start when he 
would, before he could settle his torn old sugar-loaf 
felt on his head and seize his crutch, his purpose had 
o 18* 



210 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

not only gone abroad, but his followers (the " Trundle- 
bed Tigers," as he facetiously called them when he 
drilled them) had mysteriously sprung up about the 
door and waited there to join him. Sometimes he 
would go over to Mrs. Logan's, put the trio on his long 
lap, declare "There's too many people in this world, 
shore. I'll have to drown some of you, certain," en- 
circle as many more, perhaps, with his long arms, and 
blow soap-bubbles or play cat's-cradle for an hour, and 
occasionally accept her invitation to " stop and take 
a bite," with secret thankfulness at escaping " a meal 
of vittles" at home with its inevitable accompaniment 
of " Tildy's talk." And at night he would bolt him- 
self into the shed-room with "Willy and try to interest 
himself and Burygyard the querulous in the higher 
education which that very conservative southern bird 
despised, and received only under protest, — a scornful 
sparkle in his eye, his manner irrelevantly, flippantly 
vivacious, his interpolations and interruptions grossly 
rude, and his tail cocked contemptuously in a dozen 
different waj'S. Pap could not but be amused by his 
pupil's conduct, especially by his way of suddenly con- 
verting himself into a ball, rolling into the furthest 
corner of his cage (as an intimation that he had retired 
from public life), closing his eyes, and affecting to bo 
deaf, when bored by hearing his lesson repeated ad nau- 
seam on the violin. And then, not caring to play, he 
would put awa}' the instrument, and, having the even- 
ing before him, would put Willy through the manual of 
arms. This was always done in the same fashion. 
"Fall in Company C," Pap would say, and Wilh' would 
eagerly seize the footless andirons and place them in the 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 211 

middle of the room, side by side. " Now git Jim Wil- 
kins." (Willy had heard all about Pap's comrade, and 
they had gradually got into a habit of calling the leg 
bought with his last gift by his name.) "He never 
would turn out without the long roll was beat, skasel}', 
at night." Willy would add Jim Wilkins and himself 
to the row. It was Pap's habit to lay aside his wooden 
leg in the evening, and prop his own stump up on a 
chair in front of him, and from this position he would 
give the most extensive orders for the execution of 
various military manoeuvres. " Dress your line," would 
be the next command, and Willy would try to get him- 
self and his comrades as nearly as possible on a line, — 
a task not without difficulties, as he complained to Pap, 
seeing that, unlike the Household regiments, the men 
of Company C were not strikingh^ alike in size and 
build. " Shur ! that don't matter, Willy boy. There's 
fat and lean, and big and puny, and all sorts in the 
army. You kain't pick and choose. And yours is all 
cornscripts, 'ceptin' Jim. He warn't never the sort to 
wait to be cornscripted into a fight. No, indeed ! They 
don't hardly know the right hand from the left foot." 

" They ain't got no feet. They ain't got no hands, 
neither," objected Willy. 

" Well, that ain't no matter, neither," said Pap. " Ef 
they'd of had 'em, they'd of been shot off, don't yer see, 
so what's the use ? Go on, why don't yer ? Harm 
harm! Hound harm ! Present harm! Groun' harm ! 
Corporal Brass has done got turned 'round the wrong 
way, honey. He ain't facin' the enemy. Hain harm ! 
Eight about! Tech Jim Wilkins up a little. Eight 
face! Forward! March!" 



212 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

When it came to marching, of course Willy distanced 
all the other members of " Company C, First Virginia 
Foot," and being complimented by Pap upon his sol- 
dierly bearing, was as much gratified as though his com- 
petitors had not been a little handicapped in this race 
for distinction. Over and over again would this per- 
formance be rej^cated, with such variations in Pap's 
inarticulate but resonant commands as suggested them- 
selves to the old soldier. Sometimes Corporal Brass 
would be thrown out on the skirmish-line and pick off 
staff officers and even generals ("Bang!" "Bang!") by 
the score. Sometimes Sergeant Iron would be entrenched 
in a rifle-pit (disguised as an empty water bucket), and 
dodged shells, whenever he put his head out, in the 
most skilful way. Sometimes Jim Wilkins, with " eyes 
right," and " little fingers to the seam of the pants, and 
palms of the hands turned outward," would drill for 
half an hour at a time with a wisp of straw wrapped 
about his foot, as one of the awkward squad, while Willy, 
in raptures, would shriek out his delight, and when the 
mistakes were very glaring and ridiculous, would turn 
a somersault or two, as he was rather fond of doing. 
And generally drill closed with Willy's galloping madly 
around the room in a double-quick several times and 
bounding finally into Pap's lap, where, you may bo 
sure, he was embraced and made welcome as the only 
survivor of Companj- C, all the other members of that 
unfortunate organization being invariably knocked 
down — I mean shot dead — by one awful blast from 
Willy's imaginary cannon at the foot of the old stove 
(a deadly tomato-can, more fatal far than if it had been 
full of nitro-glycerine), or perhaps cut down in the 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 213 

prime of life by one sweep from his wooden sword. 
They lent themselves to this act more readily than any 
other, and were much more satisfactory in it, Willy 
thought, thanks to certain constitutional peculiarities 
and fatalities. They scored in it every evening their 
only success, and Willy, who was Federal or Confed- 
erate, as the exigencies of the moment might demand, 
was never tired of falling upon them and battering 
them with all his might. 

" What ! puttin' a wounded man to the sword ?" said 
Pap one evening, tired of the din. " Shame on you ! 
Look at old Blue Light yonder. He's piniin' straight 
at yer fur a coward." 

Willy stopped, looked, was impressed, and after this 
the quality of Willy's mercy was very much strained, 
for he grew so intensely sentimental in his feelings 
about wounded soldiers that for a week he was a 
perfect nuisance with his lint and bandages and potions 
for "x)o' Corporal Brass" or "po' old Sergeant L'on," 
and was all pity and generosity, prattling very prettily 
of the new sentiments that had been temporarily 
aroused in his youthful bosom. Only temporarily, for 
this Nightingale view of war, as a great opportunity 
for the exercise of Christian charity, soon palled upon 
him. He said he was "tired of nussin'," and added 
that "it warn't no fun," and fell upon the corporal 
and the sergeant with more fury than ever when the 
reaction from all this fine feeling suddenly set in. 
Corporal Brass, so called because of a dented metal 
knob that still remained to him from that distant 
period in which he had known better days, lost his 
head in this onslaught, and was now scarcely to be 



214 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

distinguished from his fellow-soldier, the sergeant; 
but like true veterans both of them might be slain but 
could not be conquered, and fought their battles o'er and 
o'er every evening regularly. 

Pap would look on, all smiling placidity, while they 
were being demolished, but when Willy would have 
assaulted "Jim Wilkins" in the same way he would 
interfere. "You let him alone," he would say. "I 
ain't goin' to have you kickin' Jim 'round the place, 
nor nobody else. He's defferent. I won't suffer it;" 
then with an appeal to Willy's ever lively imagina- 
tion, " You'd better keep out of his way, or he'll 
git you down and stawmp you." Sometimes — gen- 
erally, indeed — Willy was the deus ex machind of these 
engagements; sometimes Pap got down on the floor 
as commander-in-chief of all the forces, and conducted 
a particularly brilliant campaign with his crutch, for- 
getting, for the moment, his own sad fortunes in the 
fortunes of the mimic war he had in charge, and sur- 
prising himself into many a laugh. But the next 
moment, perhaps, he would sigh and get up and hobble 
back to his chair, telling Willy to "put away them 
things and ondress." And he was sad enough, Heaven 
knows, — bitterly miserable, — during the long, wakeful 
nights that followed, and got up in the morning gloomy 
and dejected every day for a week, — an unusual mood 
with him and one that Willy could not understand. 
Finally, one day he disappeared, and Willy wondered 
still more, and went about asking impatiently, " Whur's 
Pa-ap? Whur's Pa-ap at?" No one kiew; and at 
dinner Matilda said sharply to her husband, "Your 
Pa-ap's gone to town, ain't he ?" and Alfred said, " Y-e-s. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 215 

I sent him," which was a pure fiction, as no one knew 
better than his wife. 

" More fool you, ef you done it, which I ain't took 
in," she said. "No indeed." 

"Pertaters ain't nowhur this year. It's mighty 
curous 'bout pertaters. Ef the eyes ain't cut jes' egg- 
zackly like they ought to be " began Alfred. 

" Oh, shet up, simpleton !" exclaimed Matilda. " It 
ain't only pertaters that's got eyes, I kin tell you. What 
did you send him fur ? Tell me that. Hainh ?" 

" ' Hurts and meddlers goes hand-in-hand,' " quoted 
Alfred, with a timid roll of his eyes, and a thrust of his 
knife down his throat that gave him the air of attempt- 
ing his life. This silenced Matilda for the moment; 
but all that afternoon at short intervals Willy was 
asking, " Whur's Pa-ap at ? Whur's he done gone 
to?" and, getting evasive or contemptuous replies, was 
more sensible than ever that something was wrong. 
He went off, at last, to have a play with the IN'ewman 
boys, and when he came in Pap's crutch was the first 
thing he saw, set against the wall. He was about to 
burst into the shed-room and relieve his heart and mind 
of the day's experience and of a great plan for the 
morrow, when he met Alfred coming out of it with an 
unusual look of resolve and reserve on his face. " Come 
'long 'way from there, Willy," he said, and took the 
child by the shoulders. 

"Why? What fur? Ain't Pa-ap in there?" said 
Willy, pulling away from him impatiently. " Lemmy 
in!" 

" You kain't go in there to-night, child," said Alfred, 
and his firm tone struck Willy at once and carried a 



216 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

conviction that the mysterious something was in the 
air again and that he must yield. " You'll sleep in our 
room to-night, I reckon. Pa-ap he's got a — a sorter of 
indisposement. lie's got to be quiet. Come 'way." 

Matilda at supper was silent, and sat up very straight, 
indeed, with a red face, and her lips pinched in and 
focused to a remarkably fine point, while Alfred fol- 
lowed her every glance and movement, and Willy tried 
to make out what " it" was. At bedtime it was Alfred 
who fumblingly attended to his buttons and strings, 
seeing which Matilda announced, " That brat ain't to 
stay here." And Alfred, after making an excursion into 
the shed-room, came out and said, " I reckon he'll do in 
there," and cautioning the child to be '' mighty still and 
not talk nor move" took him in and put him into the cot- 
bed, where Pap was already lying. The day had been a 
tiring one, and after a little more wondering and a good 
deal of staring at the, for some reason, strange figure 
beside him he fell asleep and knew nothing more until 
he heard Matilda's shrill call, "You Pa-ap ! You Willy ! 
Darthuly Mely ! Git up! Day's a-breakin'." Ho 
scrambled up and looked about him. Pap was no 
longer beside him. He dressed himself as best he could. 
And then came breakfast, with Alfred looking troubled, 
and Matilda warlike in the extreme and very emphatic 
in her way of handling dishes and kettles and j^ails, 
and Darthulia Amelia Bradd (a pale young person had 
in to help with the quilts to be put in), half timid, half 
simpering, as if she would like to be amused if she 
dared. 

To Willy's " Whur's Pa-ap, anyways?" of desperate 
inquiry all three looked unutterable response, but 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 217 

Alfred only said, " He'll not be home jes' yet. You can 
go 'long and play with Stone and Pete to-day." 

'• But whur's " he began again. 

" Ssh !" said Alfred, significantly, and kicked his bare 
foot under the table, bidding him hold his tongue. All 
that day passed, and he was " 'lowed" to stay all night 
with the boys, his friends, which was a thing he had 
vainly begged for many a time, yet which now that it 
had come made him seriously uneasy somehow. The 
next day it was the same thing. Still no Pap, more 
mystery, and an atmosphere of repressed sulphur and 
brimstone about the cottage. Willy could not under- 
stand it, and wondered most of all that night, when he 
could actually hear Pap's voice as he talked and laughed 
uproariously in the shed-room, yet was still forbidden 
to go to him. It was very late that night before he 
was allowed to go in, and then Alfred put him to bed 
with the same counsels and cautions, and Pap was lying 
there like a log, still dressed and with his boots on. 
There was no light except the faint one from the win- 
dow. He could hear Bunny whisking briskly about 
his cage in the dark. Burygyard gave out a few low, 
melancholy notes. The child got nervous and excited. 
He sat up in bed. He called " Pa-ap ! Pa-ap ! Oh, 
Pa-ap!" at first in a whisper, and then louder as his 
distress increased. Getting no answer, he beat roughly 
with his little fists on Pap's breast, who still lay there 
in that unnatural, awful quiet and silence that said so 
much. At last he could bear it no longer, and spring- 
ing out of bed he ran into Alfred's room and arms. 
" What's the matter with Pa-ap ?" he demanded. " Is 
it a breast-trouble ? Is he goin' to die, and be put in a 
K 19 



218 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE, 

hole in the ground, whur he can't never come back no 
mo' ?" Matilda was out of the room, and Alfred was 
very kind. " It's jes' a indisposement," he said. " Don't 
you werrit 'bout it, child. He'll be hisself agin, all 
right to-morrow. Here! come along!" and taking his 
hand he opened a door and said, meaningly, " Darthuly 
Meely, this here child's afeerd. Let him stay in here 
with you, won't yer, to-night?" It was so arranged, 
and the pale young person was very kind, too ; but 
Willy's innocent thoughts were still of the "breast- 
trouble," — the serpent coiled in the breast against which 
he had leaned his little head so confidently and happily, 
hitherto, with no sort of misgiving. 

He saw Pap — the Pap that he knew and loved — next 
morning, but he was not himself as Alfred had prom- 
ised he would be. There was no laughter to be heard 
from him. He was gloomier than Willy had ever seen 
him. He was wretched in body and mind, and humil- 
itated into the dust. What Willy saw was that he 
looked white and sick, and he felt surprised that he 
should be so irritable. When he would have embraced 
him in the fulness of his relief and content at finding 
what he had lost and missed. Pap repulsed him, and 
would have none of his caresses, saying, " Go 'way, 
child. Go 'way from me. I ain't fitten' for you to 
kiss, nor keer for, nor nobody else." When breakfast- 
time came, he wouldn't stir. Willy was called to the 
meal by Matilda, and when Alfred would have gone for 
his father she said, "I'll not equalize myself with no 
sech. Let him starve. lie's not a-goin' to set down 
with me," and it was Alfred who, after breakfast, sent 
Willy in with some bread and coffee. He might have 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 219 

spared himself the trouble, for it was not touched. 
Pap lay on his bed all day and ate nothing, and said as 
little as possible, and puzzled Willy more than ever. 
He got up when evening came, and Willy, when he 
came in, found him taking down his pictures of Lee 
and Jackson, and the chromo-advertisement, and putting 
them away out of sight on a shelf in the corner. 

"What you doin', Pa-ap?" he asked. 

"You see what I'm doin'. I'm a-takin' these here 
down." 

" Whyfor, Pa-ap ? Hainh ?" said Willy. 

" I ain't fitten to have no sech 'round. I don't want 
'em here," he said, and went on with the work of re- 
moval. " I've done hung that Burygyard outside, too. 
I ain't goin' to have him starin' like he'd never see a 
person befo'." 

" Yer don't feel good, does yer, Pa-ap ? Yer feels bad 
'bout somethin', don't yer?" said Willy. 

" Well, ef I does, it's what I oughter. I kain't feel 
as bad as I am ; that's certain," he replied, with forlorn 
emphasis. 

"Yer airCt bad, no sech thing! You're good. The 
best sort, that's what. Po' Pa-ap, I'm mighty sorry 
you've been sick," said Willy, and left the chair on 
which he had been hitching about, with his hands in 
his pockets, for some moments, and would have put an 
arm caressingly around his old friend's neck, but he got 
up suddenly, crying out, " Oh, honey, don't ! Don't !" 
and throwing himself back on the bed gave smothered 
vent to several sobs, while Willy looked on aghast. 

If Matilda had been hard and bitter and scornful 
before, she was now as terrible to Pap as the " light- 



220 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

ning-looker Lamachos," and as " gorgon-crested" as ever 
Medusa was, although her hair was red and short and 
generally done up in curl-papers twisted up viciously at 
the ends and further secured with large brass pins. 
She railed, she scolded, she sneered, insinuated, snubbed, 
until one would have supposed that the veriest worm 
of humanity could not but turn upon her. But Pap 
sat through meal after meal, singularly submissive and 
silent, never resenting anything that she might say, 
and never attempting to defend himself, no matter of 
what he was accused. She " wouldn't have trouble took 
for no sech," she said ; so he was admitted to the table 
again, after the first day, and was obliged to avail him- 
self of the doubtful privilege. Alfred's round face got 
a chronic pallor during these weeks, except when his 
nervousness found a fresh and singular vent. When the 
domestic barometer stood at " stormy," he would suddenly 
inflate his cheeks, apparently to the point of bursting, 
and smite upon them with his clinched fists, and would 
then puff and snort and chuckle in an elaborate effort 
to be gay and plaj^ful and perfectly at his ease that 
was really pathetic. He reefed every yard of conver- 
sational canvas that he carried, and scudded under the 
barest proverbial poles, yet was invariably caught in 
one of the spiral whirls in which Matilda's wrath, fol- 
lowing the law of storms, circled about and seized upon 
those who were far and those who were near alike. 
He tried feebly to befriend his father in some such 
fashion as " Bad might be wuss, Tildy," or " Fly high 
and fall low was wrote fur men and birds," but with 
the first angr}'- word of her reply he succumbed, out 
would go his cheeks, his face would get scarlet, his eyes 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 221 

almost start from their sockets. A blow from his fists, 
the consequent explosion, and then puff, snort, and 
chuckle would follow again in ludicrous and invariable 
succession. Pap's meek accej)tance of the treatment 
he received both puzzled and angered Willy, who did 
not understand that this miserable sinner was getting 
from it the curious satisfaction that a fanatical saint 
might from flagellation. 

" Don't yer do that, sonny," he said to the child when 
he found him making faces at Matilda behind her back, 
which was one of the secret satisfactions of his parti- 
sanship, if a rather inefl*ectual one, so far as any benefit 
to his friend was concerned. "I deserves what I gits, 
and a big sight more. You let her be." 

It was not until one of the Landon men fell ill of 
scarlet fever, and Pap had nursed him through it, that 
he seemed to recover his old cheerfulness and equanimity. 
People on the Mountain had a good many forms of pride, 
and as many distinctions of their own as the great world 
can show. The Stubbs, for instance, " had starved, but 
hadn't never begged." The Browns "had always had a 
horse, leastways a steer." The Snoodgrass family always 
" got their religion hard, and lost it easy." The New- 
mans — if Mother IS'ewman was to be believed — " hadn't 
never been ones to crawl, but walked right ofP." The 
peculiar glory and characteristic of the Landons was 
that "they warn't people that went to bed for nothin' : 
they dropped where they stood." 

So when Jackson Landon, in accordance with the 
family tradition, " dropped" at a neighbor's into scarlet 
fever. Pap volunteered to take care of him, and did so 
most kindly and faithfully for three weeks, and came 

19* 



222 BEHIND THE BLUE RJDGE. 

home whistling the day his patient went home, and 
went straight to a certain shelf, where he got down his 
pictures, brushed the dust from them, still whistling, and 
tacked them up gravely in their old places. 

" Pa-ap," said Willy, who was looking on, '* you done 
put old Blue Light back agin whur he belongs at, ain't 
yer?" 

"Yes, honey. You see I've done nailed him back. 
Hit's more 'n some could do, I tell you, to nail him to 
any one spot. He warn't never to be found whur folks 
looked fur him, no more 'n a flea, he warn't. No indeed. 
Go where they would and when they would, he was 
always in the other place, miles away. Yes. Hit's good 
to have him 'round agin, ain't it, Willy boy?" 

"Was he a-pintin' at you, Pa-ap, when you took him 
down?" said Will}-. " Don't you know? Like he was 
at me that time. You know." 

" He was, honey, straight,'^ confessed Pap. " That 
was it. He seed me. I knowed what he thouirht of 
sech as me, and I couldn't suffer it. Turnin' my back 
done no good. I had to take him plum' down." 

" But he ain't pintin' at you now, is he, Pa-ap ?" said 
Willy. 

" Well, no, child. He's sorter shut his eyes. You see, 
I was a good soldier, and he wouldn't like to be hard on 
an old soldier cf he could help it. He was a merciful 
man, — good and kind to the worst of us always. Yes, 
a merciful man ; but we'd sooner have seed Old Nick 
than him when we'd been stcalin' and burnin' and sich. 
He was turrible then as thunder and lightniii', he was." 

" Was Ally a-pintin' at you, too, Pa-ap ?" asked Willy, 
when the chromo's turn to be replaced came. " You 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 223 

didn't do no stealin' nor burnin' like the others, did 
you?" 

" Well, I've took chickens and sich, and IVe slipped 
many a rail off the fork, and — and there was other 
things, but that warn't nothin'. I wish I hadn't never 
done no worse. Chickens don't look to die natural 
deaths. They ain't usened to it, and maybe they 
wouldn't like it. A low lingerment ain't to my mind, 
neither, when it comes time to break camp and sur- 
render. And as for rails, when a man's marched all 
day, honey, and toted a heavy musket, and has had 
precious little to eat, and has got a snowbank to sleep 
in, with maybe not a blanket to kiver him, he's hound 
to git warm ef he's got to set the world on fire to do it 
and roast hisself in the ashes. No, Ally, she warn't 
a-pintin' nor so much as a-lookin' at me. You see her 
eyes is down in the picture, and she was that sort that 
she wouldn't of looked at me fur nothin' ef she'd of 
knowed I didn't want to be looked at. But I knowed 
what she was a-thinkin' with her eyes throwed down 
to keep me from seein', and — (hammer, hammer, ham- 
mer) I ain't never see no eyes as blue as hern. Your'n 
puts me in mind of 'em now and agin, "Willy boy, but 
they ain't to be compared." 

It was not long after this that Pap undertook a bit 
of delicate and difficult negotiation in the interests of 
R. Mintah. Jonah's imagination, like that of most 
jealous lovers, was that of " common sense turned up- 
side down." He had indicted and arraigned his gentle 
little sweetheart before a private packed jury of his 
own, and got a verdict that ought to have suited him 
entirely, but that, as a matter of fact, made him 



224 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

wretched, and he laid his case before Pap at great 
length. The reasonable and consistent lover who had 
kissed Belle Pod ley objected to young Culbert's " taking 
tbe hand witch was belonging to another," — that is, 
shaking hands with E. Mintah. He had a dozen other 
grievances equally serious and well founded. She had 
walked home from church with "that cuss." Her 
engagement ring had gone, — been lost she said, given 
away to Culbert he was sure. She " warn't the same," 
— which was remarkable under the circumstances, — and 
80 on, for two good hours that ought to have been 
given to the family wood-pile. He " warn't fooled," he 
said, nor was he, except by himself. '^ She's mine,'" he 
said, in conclusion. " And I've got the privilege of her, 
and she shan't have nothin' to do with nary man livin', 
not so much as talkin' with 'em, nor settin' in the same 
room with 'em, nor lookin' at em, if so be as I don't 
choose to have it so. And I won't have that Culbert 
'bout. I'll chase him off the Mountain ef he comes 
to the house agin. And ef that don't do I'll quieten 
him." 

In short, this shock-headed and sore-hearted rustic 
was as jealous as a Turk, and would have liked to shut 
his perfectly innocent and devoted little R. Mintah up 
behind the highest walls that could have been built; 
and not alone to have shut her in, but to have shut out 
every other member of his own too dangerous sex, 
and set up the domestic system of the Bosphorus along 
the banks of the Shenandoah. It is not necessary to go 
into Pap's arguments and remonstrances. Only a sin- 
cere desire to straighten out this tangled skein of sen- 
timent in which the heart of a sweet girl was wrapped 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 225 

and suffocated induced him to say a word. He would 
have greatly preferred to " shake the young ijit," as he 
told Willy, to whom he said that Jonah and E. Mintah 
had "got wrong." "But the mind, — the right mind '11 
come," he added, feeling that when a woman cannot be 
happy without a particular prize booby it is the duty 
of society to satisfy her if it can. 

The result of his intercession was shown by E. Min- 
tah's rushing into the shed-room one day with a radiant 
face, her tears still shining on her cheeks, and her pink 
sun-bonnet dangling by its strings about her neck, — E. 
Mintah as tremulously joyous and bright as a sunbeam, 
— saying, " Oh, Pa-ap ! It's all done come right ! Jonah's 
forgive me ! Jonah's took me back !" Her fearful 
crimes and misdemeanors had been condoned, and she, 
the tender and true-hearted and injured, was overjoyed 
at being " forgiven," — " took back." Pap took the hand 
" witch Vas belonging to another," and the tears were in 
his own eyes as he said, " That's right, E. Mintah. I'm 
glad fur you, my dear, seein' you've got a setment of 
your heart on him. Won't you take a cheer ? It's 
raight blustery to-day, ain't it ?" But E. Mintah poured 
out her joy and gratitude standing, and was much too 
restless to settle down anywhere. She pulled a huge 
apple out of her pocket with diflSculty and gave it to 
Willy with a kiss. 

" Be sure and give your Pa-ap some," she said. " I'd 
like to give him a whole orchard, fur he's done everything 
fur me," she said, and with a bright look and " good- 
by!" scudded home to tell Mother Newman all about 
it. Jinny White, going over there that afternoon with 
some ginger-cakes of her own baking, heard of it, too. 
P 



226 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

Mrs. Newman went over the whole affair, — indeed, from 
beginning to end. 

" I was set agin' it at first," she said. " It laid rae on 
a care-bed fur a long while, through Matildy bein' so 
opposed, mostly. But I'd had the child sence she wus 
a baby. And she set there and sewed day upon day, 
and never said a word, but the tears drapped and 
drapped. At last I jes' had to give in, after that there 
picnic, when she come back to me scared out of her 
senses 'bout him, and me thinkin' him killed. I never 
could deny that Jonah nothin'. And she ain't never 
give me an answer back sence I took her out of that 
Lane yonder, nor a bit uv trouble. Matildy, she was 
teariu', ragin' mad 'bout it, and me givin' in. She says 
E. Mintah don' know nothin', and ain't got nothin', 
and don' belong to nobody. And that's so. We ain't 
to say rich exactly" (looking around complacently on 
her miserable surroundings), " but we're in what I call 
comfortable circumstances, and has always been thought 
well of 'Tain't so bad to me, her not being edgercated. 
I ain't no scholard myself Matildy, she can read right 
off, and spell 'most any word I give her, and write 
pretty near anything she puts her mind on. She's 
powerful smart. And she's alwaj's talkin' 'bout R. 
Mintah havin' no edgercation. But I don't mind, not 
havin' one myself. I laid off to git edgercated onst ; but 
I knowed it would take three months, and up to that 
the children had come so fast and the work was piled so 
high I hadn't got it. And that time there come a hard 
winter, and all the children took and got the measles 
among 'em, and their father laid down with the lum- 
bago and pine-knots skase, and no books, nor money to 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 227 

buy 'em, nor nobody to rightly know what they said ef 
I'd of had 'em, so I clean give up the idee. And I don't 
see but what E. Mintah '11 do well ef she acts right by 
Jonah and all. Do you ?" 

" IS'o, indeed," Jinny agreed. " She's got enough to 
do, or will have, without wastin' her time gittin' edger- 
cated. Give me ni}^ health, and a good stove, and a 
broom, and a bucket, and a dish-pan, and some flat- 
irons, and anybody can take hooks that likes, and get 
along with 'em, I sez. I ain't got no use fur 'em, and 
never will have, nor nobody else that's got to work fur 
a livin', is what I sez. Them poor, foolish, rich folks 
that couldn't milk a cow or bake a loaf of bread ef they 
died fur it has got to have somethin' in their heads, 
and so they gits edgercated, and sets around in fine 
clothes, and does nothin' all day, and looks down on 
sech as you and me. But I reckon ef they had their 
livin' to make they'd find out what their edgercation 
was wuth mighty quick to lean on. Hit's a poor thing 
to my thinkin', that there edgercation." 

"Well, you and me's agreed," said Mrs. Newman, 
" and I'll never hanker fur it agin, let Matildy say what 
she likes. And I'm glad Jonah and E. Mintah's made 
up together. It was his fault. Though he's my son, 
and knowed to be my son always, I sez agin it was all 
his foolishness, along of that Culbert boy bein' here all 
the time sparkin' A. Mander. His father felt mighty 
bad 'bout his quar'l with Marsh's father, him bein' killed 
that way, and he was sorter glad for him to come here 
lately as a make-peace, and wouldn't send him oif to 
please Jonah. And I knowed how it was fur all, but I 
couldn't move 'em, father nor son. Fur though he's my 



228 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

husband, and I ain't never said but what he was my 
husband whenever asked, he certainly is the setest man 
in his own way that ever was 'ceptin Jonah, his son, 
and my son Hkewisc, but specially his'n, through bein' 
a mule sometimes fur movin' on, both of 'em, and a 
mountain fur stoppin' still right in their tracks. And 
that A. Mander, she's 'most as bad. But it's all come 
right, and I reckon it'll stay right now. But marriage- 
makin's is powerful queer when you come to think, ain't 
they, no w ? I never 'lowed to see a Culbert in my family, 
nor my Jonah takin' E. Mintah fur a partner, shore and 
certain. And I reckon I'll see queerer things than them 
before I die, ef I live long enough, and all I've got to do, 
I tells myself, is to be a mother to one and all and treat 
'em kind. Jonah '11 not deny but what I've been a 
mother to him, and A. Mander's done said she w\as 
'shamed of how she's acted. And that E. Mintah '11 be 
a daughter to me as long as she breathes the breath of 
life. Bless her little heart ! It ain't only Jonah that 
loves her, but pretty nigh everybody. Eeach me that 
rollin'-pin, Jinny, and I'll do the children some figger- 
biscuits." 

In this pleasant way was the long fever of disquiet 
that had been the portion of all the elder members of 
the Newman family for many months replaced by a 
healthier and happier state of aifairs. And all went 
well for some time with Pap, to whom it was duo, and 
with his household in the shed. Burygj^ard took a 
start suddenly and whistled off a whole strain over 
which he had been halting and pouting and boggling 
for months. Bunny had never been brisker or more 
lively, sharper of tooth and brighter of eye. Willy, as 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 229 

Pap remarked, "growed like a weed," and got about 
an inch of bare leg between his little brogans and his 
ridiculously big but woefully short trousers. And Pap 
was very busy collecting "kindlin"' in his spare time 
which he meant to sell that he might get Willy clothes 
and send him to school when winter should come. The 
jug in the old chimney was empty, had tumbled over 
on its side, had lost its cork, was covered with dust. 
And the serpent in Pap's bosom was coiled, motionless. 
" I'm gittin' on fur an old man, Willy boy, but I'm 
feelin' peart as Bunny here lately, and I'll git you fixed 
up and started right on the road you've got to travel 
befo' my head gits cold. Yes, indeed. See ef I don't. I 
thinks a heap of my little boy, that's my inthought all 
the time, and my darlin' comfort ; and ef I could, I'd give 
him a gold world with silver fixin's to live in, and never 
let trouble nor nothin' hurtful come nigh him," he said 
to the child one day when they were together in the 
woods and he was binding withes about the little bundles 
of pine, five in a bundle, laid out before him. " Lemmy 
see. Twenty-five a bundle. One, two, three, four, five, 
— that's a dollar and a quarter. We are layin' it up, 
honey ! Just a-pilin' it up, sure as you are born ! Hit's 
splendid, this. Jes' tech a light to it, and it'll flame 
right up in your face like ile, hit's so rich. The fat's 
all there ; only the light's wantin' fur a blaze. That's 
it. Whur they'se made like this, — things, that is, — I 
ain't talkin' 'bout nothin' pertikiler, you see, — ^you've 
got not to have no lights 'roun' ; you've got to be 
mighty keerful to keep 'em away from each other, or 
you're gone, fur it's all ready and waitin' and wantin' 
to ketch fire. That's the trouble with — some. Don't 

20 



230 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

you try to fetch in more'n one bundle ; you ain't big 
enough yit to carry more, honey. Pa-ap '11 hobble along 
some way or other with the rest, ef he is gittin' on fur 
an old man and crippled 'bout the legs like all Company 
C is." 

He did not look a very old man, but a gaunt and 
grizzled one, as he stood beside Willy leaning on his 
crutch, the bundles gathered up under his arm, — over 
six feet, with a patient slope to his shoulders that 
seemed to tell of grievous burdens long and meekly 
borne. The attraction of gravitation had visibly af- 
fected everything about him. His long, delicately-dis- 
tinct brows, and the corners of his sensitive mouth, ran 
down. So did the heels of his shoes. His coat, of as 
many colors as Joseph's, yet of none (predominant that 
is and universal), swagged in the back in a series of 
ripples like a lake into which Pap, a stone, had been 
thrown. The very wrinkles in his trousers, seen from 
the back, swept in a low-spirited way below his calves. 
But the deep crow's-feet about his eyes showed that 
nature had done what she could to make honorable 
amends for the depressing turn given to the whole outer 
man by destiny. A constitutionally cheerful temper 
had been bestowed upon him — a philosophic calm, and 
capacity for meditation, as opposed to exertion — that 
would have made him a haj)py man but for the " but" 
that in some form or other always mars such gracious 
designs ; bwt for all that made him wiiat he was, instead 
of somebody else. A happy man he was, in spite of 
everything, for some months, during which the " heap 
of kindlin' " grew larger and larger and Pap's hopes 
and plans had swelled to match until he actually had 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 231 

"Willy grown, educated, and — ^pardon so much to his 
ignorance — in Congress. 

And then — I hate to write it — there was another dis- 
appearance, more mystery, wrath, grief. 

The serpent had waked to life. The poor pine had 
been there all along, and the devil had supplied a light ; 
the consuming flame raged high again, and Matilda, 
with a fiend's laugh of exultation, said, " Pa-ap's drunk ! 
I knowed it would come." It was the same experience 
over again, — the same temptation, fall, remorse. The 
"kindHn"' had been sold; but Willy had gained nothing 
by the transaction, and Pap had lost much. The pictures 
in the shed-room were all taken down again by a pair 
of trembling hands, and an unhappy creature took up 
his life again, having bound a heavier burden than ever 
upon his back. 

'•Johnny Shore never was no 'count noway. He's 
goin' the way of his father," said the Mountain, which 
respected Mr. Carver, who, if he was rarely sober, did 
his drinking in a large stone farm-house set on a fine, 
large unencumbered farm, and said of him, with positive 
pride in the possession of such a financial magnate, that 
" he had been found drunk with as much as a hundred 
dollars about his clothes." 

But " Johnny Shore," who had given away his cottage 
and every acre of his patrimony, and could rarely afford 
to indulge a vice at all, — " Johnny Shore" was utterly 
contemptible, and " no 'count," of course. 



232 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 



VIII. 

" Keep thy purse and thou shalt keep thy friend also." — Monjik 
Proverb. 

The view from the old cottage porch was one that 
might have been coveted for a palace, so fine was the 
distant magnificence of the three chains of mountains 
to the right, rising one behind the other, with purple 
shadows and transparent mists folded and floating be- 
tween ; so fair the wide, sunlit plain in the foreground ; 
80 nobly protecting and encompassing the Eidge stand- 
ing sturdily up in defence of Virginia and Virginians 
away to the left. Nothing was wanting except the 
eyes to see and appropriate all this beauty ; but these 
had been denied Matilda, who came out, indeed, and 
looked about her with frowning impatience one morn- 
ing during the " ingathering" (as harvest time is prettily 
called on the Mountain), but saw nothing of it. 

" Whur's that good-for-nothin' old Lawrence* gone 
to now ?" she demanded, angrily, of nobody in particular. 
"Willy! Willy!" 

In response to this call Willy came forward reluctantly 
from around the corner of the house, concealing in- 
stinctively as he got within view the top with which 
he had been playing. 

* " Lawrence" is doubtless a term of English origin. It was 
applied in early days in Virginia to a shirk at ** house-raisings," 
"log-rollings," and "ingatherings" (of harvests), but is now used 
in a broadly contemptuous sense. 



BEHIND THE BLUE EIDGE. 233 

" Here ! here 1 What you been doin' 'round there ?" 
she asked, shai-ply. "Nothin' good, I'll be bound." 

TVilly flushed guiltily and tried to thrust the crimi- 
nating top still farther behind his back. 

" You go find your Pa-ap, and tell him ef he 'spects 
to git a bite of vittles in my house this mornin' he'd 
better be quick about it, do you hear?" 

" Ya — m," assented Willy, and she went in-doors 
again, banging the door after her. 

Thus commissioned, he limped about the place a bit 
in search of Pap, but soon made up his mind that that 
was useless, and started out into the Eed Lane. He 
left that presently, and, climbing the fence, struck across 
a field. Arrived at its farthest point, he put his hands 
on his hips and struck an attitude, with his haystack 
hat pushed off his sweet face, the little-big breeches 
girded high up under his shoulder-blades and armpits, 
and his wonderful waistcoat dropping to his calves. 

" Pa-ap ! Pa-ap ! Oh, Pa-ap !" he shrieked in his high- 
est treble pipe. " Pa-ap !" But he got no answer. He 
tried another "Pa-ap! Come to breakfast," and still 
getting no response, turned away. 

Once out of sight of home, his pace had slackened, 
and he was in no hurry to go on now. The sun was 
lighting up brilliantly a delightful world. The air was 
sweet with a thousand woodland scents. Swarms of 
yellow butterflies were challenging him for a chase. 
Eirds were flying about overhead, and lighting in this 
op-that tree. The last daisies of the season were beo-- 
ging to have their heads switched off by his whip, — his 
new whip that Pap had given him, and that he had 
been cracking ever since. Surely that was a minnow 

20* 



234 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

that flashed in the light, a8 he came to the brook that, 
if followed, would lead through the lower meadows 
straight into the Landons' spring-house. And now a 
snake-hole this. What bliss to drag a serpent out by 
the tail as Jonah did last week ! How good " the feel" 
of the wet grass. 

It was not in boy-nature to be in frantic haste to 
carry other people's messages and neglect all these in- 
vitations to idleness, but after a while Willy did go on, 
reluctantly, across two meadows and a stubble-field, 
and as he approached some haystacks set on the edge 
of a wood he heard sounds that set him off into a 
painful, dragging movement which was his nearest 
approach to a run. This soon brought him flushed 
and smiling to a certain fence-corner in which Pap was 
seated, with his violin tucked under his chin, playing 
away in the most absorbed enjoyment of his own music, 
the day, the view, and his surroundings generally. 

" I knowed you'd be here !" exclaimed the child, rush- 
ing against and violently arresting the ecstatic swing 
of the arm that held the bow, and then, dropping down 
beside him on the grass, he turned a frolicsome somer- 
sault that ended in his coming up vis-a-vis to his com- 
panion with straws sticking in his hair and his w^aist- 
coat very much hitched up in the back. 

*'Git up, my son. That ain't pretty. Look at your 
close, all every-which-er-way !" The tone was one of 
remonstrance, but was neutralized by the tenderness 
that literally suffused Pap's face whenever he looked at 
the child, — a beautiful look of deep love that seemed to 
take away all that was harsh in the prominent features 
and worn lines of the face. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 235 

He had laid his instrument down on the grass, and 
now took it up gently, saying, " I'll play you a chune, 
Willy boy. You'd like the ' Fisher's Hornpipe,' now, 
wouldn't you ?" 

" ]S"ot now, Pa-ap. There ain't no time. Breakfast's 
ready, and you'd better hurry, I tell you!''' advised Willy, 
sagely. 

" Eeady, is it ? I hadn't no idee it was so late," Pap 
replied, an anxious light coming into his eyes, the 
ready smile that had carved such deep " crow's-feet" 
around them dying out. Eising to his feet, he carefully 
wrapped his violin in its bit of faded shawl, and, glanc- 
ing over his shoulder at the child, said, " Is she very — 
hainh?" 

Willy understood, and nodded emphatically and 
gravely. 

"Yery well, sonny, then we will hurry. It didn't 
seem to me like the sun was that high. When I gits to 
fiddlin' I don't take no 'count uv the shadows, though, 
and that's the truth. I reckon I'll ketch it hot and 
heavy this time. 'Tain't the first time, either," said 
the old man, the twinkle coming back to his eye as he 
spoke. "Well, I've been under fire before now; I 
reckon I kin stand and take it. She's always sour at 
best. Jim — poor Jim ! — usened to say she'd been weaned 
on pickles. I lost a friend when I lost him, I tell you, 
Willy. We was like helmlocks and spruces in the war. 
When you seed one, you hadn't far to look for t'other, 
and there never was a day he wouldn't share his tobacco 
with me. You're sorter blowed with runnin', ain't you, 
honey ? Will I carry you a piece ? I kin, I reckon, till 
we git over to that ploughed field yonder. Come 'long." 



236 BEHIND TUE BLUE RIDOE. 

Nothing loath, Willy climbed up and up, and finally 
perched on his shoulder, and slipped his little walnut- 
stained hand around Pap's neck. 

" You take the fiddle and I'll pack you both. Hold 
on tight," cautioned the old man, and off they started, 
but at a leisurely pace, for the rhythm of Pap's being 
was such that even in his youth and prime he had been 
constitutionally incapable of haste. 

Knowing quite well the necessity for speed, he stopped 
twice on the way: once to let Willy gather some leaves 
from a maple-bough that drooped temptingly overhead, 
and another time when a rabbit darted past and stopped 
at a little distance in front of them. 

" Thar he is ! Notice how he sweeps them ears of 
his'n 'round. The cunnin' little cotton-tail! He looks 
like — folks, now, don't he ?" commented Pap, and Willy 
drummed delightedly on the old man's chest with his 
heels, and was for jumping down and going after it, but 
was not allowed. 

Arrived at the steps of their house, the child was 
put down and given the violin. "Here, honey, you jes' 
run around with this and put it in the box under my 
bed whur it always stays. En don't you knock it 'gin 
nothin', or I'll give you a laced jacket." 

Unterrified by this threat, to which he was quite used 
and took at its exact value, Willy only said, "Will yer 
wait fur me, Pa-ap ? Wait fur me." 

" Course I will. Don't you be afeard, my son. I 
ain't. I don't kyur." At this moment the front-door 
opened, and involuntarily Pap dropped back three steps 
on the path. 

It was only his son Alfred. " I heerd you, Pa-ap. Como 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 237 

in. Mr. Carver's happened in to breakfast with us," he 
said, in a low voice, made more indistinct by the food in 
his mouth. He winked knowingly and reassuringly 
as he spoke, and Willy having returned they all walked 
together into the dining-room, where Matilda and Mr. 
Carver were seated at table. 

" Howdy ! I hope you see yourself well," said Pap, 
ducking his head in greeting to the latter from the door. 
Getting a half nod in return, he went forward, took his 
usual seat, and put his feet up on the rounds of his 
chair when he had seen Willy comfortably settled next 
to himself 

Mr. Carver, an enormously stout man, with a small, 
cautious, elephantine eye sunk well in the back of his 
head, now availed himself of the opportunity to indulge 
in one of his most prolonged bovine stares. 

" 'Tildy, your coffee's powerful good," said Alfred, 
after about five minutes had passed without her taking 
the least notice of his father. " I ain't never poured 
better down my throat. I've done had two cups. Give 
Pa-ap a cup, ef it ain't all done been drunk up." 

"You talk like there warn't always plenty, — like we 
had to count noses, like some," — she snapped, "when 
I've got more on the fire, and ten pounds in the house. 
What '11 Mr. Carver be sayin' ?" 

"Well, give Pa-ap a good cup," said Alfred. "He's 
waitin' here fur it." 

Now Pap's pictures, alas! had been down again a 
few weeks before, and he was in the worst possible 
favor with his shrewish daughter-in-law, who gave him 
a spiteful look as she dashed a liberal supply of hot 
water into a cup, colored it faintly with an odious de- 



238 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

coction of chicor}', omitted the sugar altogether, and 
passed the delightful mixture up to its destination, say- 
ing, contemptuously, "Well, what of that? Let him 
wait and welcome." 

Alfred felt that he had made a mistake. He passed 
his hands instantl}' across his mouth, rubbed his nose 
upward very briskly a few times, and got off a glitter- 
ing generality to restore the impersonal tone of the 
conversation. 

" 'Pears like folks ain't a-goin' to be able to meat thar- 
selves this year. Mast is mighty skase," he said, avert- 
ing his eyes from his spouse. 

" I don't jedge so. Nothin' of the sort. Whur did 
you git that foolishness?" said Mr. Carver, who, as one 
of the large farmers of the neighborhood, — a represent- 
ative one, he considered, — felt it to be at once his duty 
and privilege to contradict every statement about agri- 
culture that did not emanate from what he believed to 
be the proper source. With thirty hogs waiting to bo 
killed, Mr. Carver was not going to be told that any 
scarcity existed. 

"En what if it is?" he added, turning his huge body 
around towards Alfred, and looking at him with severe 
disapproval. " What ef it it is ? Feed 'em on corn,, I 
say." With a largo barn in his mental background 
bursting with that cereal, Mr. Carver could afford 
liberal views. 

" Pass up your cup, Mr. Carver," said Matilda, affably, 
much impressed b}^ the insolence of his prosperity, and 
his condescension in consenting to breakfast at the 
cottage. "Don't be bashful. And take another biscuit. 
Take two." 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 239 

Nothing had been offered Pap all this time, and 
Willy noticed it. 

" You ain't got nothin' to eat, Pa-ap," he whispered, 
anxiously. " What '11 you do ?" 

" Take a bite of shoat ?" said Alfred, who heard this ; 
and, without waiting for a response, he took advantage 
of Matilda's being occupied to furtively convey a s^Dare- 
rib to his father's plate and hastily add a biscuit. 

He had barely accomplished this when he caught 
Matilda's eye, sat up suddenly in his chair, transfixed a 
230tato with his fork, and said, " Days is begun to close 
in," as if uttering a solemn verity, — very much, indeed, 
as though he were giving out a text. 

" Is that all what you're goin' to git, Pa-ap ? Won't 
she give you no more ?" whispered AYilly again. 

" Ssh ! Don't you werrit 'bout Pa-ap, honey," the old 
man whispered back. " I'll take some pertaters. They 
sticks by the ribs, and are mighty fillin'. Don't you 
want some ?" 

He did a little private foraging on his own account, 
accordingly, sub Eosa-Matilda (Mrs. Alfred Shore's full 
name), and, coming to the surface of polite society again, 
waxed conversational. 

"I seed Mat Childers, yesterday," he said, "from 
down 'bout the Eidge, and he says the corn do look 
pitiful down there this summer, — pitiful. Farmin's a 
powerful sight of trouble, anyways. Seasons is got so, 
what's good fur corn is bad fur wheat; likewise con- 
trarywise ; and pasture is givin' out, I can see. I'll 
thank you fur a biscuit, Alfred. Yes, ef I was a young 
man, and had ray time to go over agin, I'd turn my 
back on ole Yirginny mighty quick, and go whur you 



240 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

kin git out your two crops every year as shore as 
summer comes 'round." 

Mr. Carver, who was scraping off the gravy and potato 
from his knife on the edge of his plate, now stopped, 
and as he looked at Pap his heavy lower jaw seemed to 
settle down in his throat with a movement of angry 
remonstrance. 

" That's all blamed taradiddle foolishness you're 
talkin'," he said. " That's what it is. There ain't no 
sech country. No land that God ever made '11 give no 
two crops in one year. No, sir. The best field I've 
got wouldn't do it ef it was kivered knee-deep with 
these here new phosphites that some uses ; and there 
ain't better fields on the face of the yearth. As fur 
farmin', the land sticks by them that sticks by her. 
Now you've heerd my horn." 

With an emphatic nod he went back to his knife- 
cleaning, feeling that he had been final, put half a bis- 
cuit into his right cheek, and devoted himself in pon- 
derous silence to the business before him again. 

" You see, Pa-ap, he's a mover," put in Matilda, per- 
sonifying a peculiarity after the fashion so noticeable in 
the homespun English of the Yalley. " You can't keep 
him in no one place no more 'n the sun. He's been out 
to Californy, and Texis, and I don't know whur. Yir- 
ginny ain't good enough fur him. He's been all 'round. 
But /don't see what he's got by it." 

She gave an insulting laugh. The color rose to Pap's 
face, and the wrinkled, toil-worn hand that held his 
coffee-cup to his lips trembled violently, but he said 
nothing. 

"'Tiidy! 'Tildy!" exclaimed Alfred, with feeble-for- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 241 

cible indignation. And then in alarm he coughed os- 
tentatiously, made a lunge forward upon the butter- 
dish with his knife, and, having helped himself to about 
a quarter of a pound, gave out another text solemnly : 
*' Hum ! Turnips is feelin' the wet." 

" What's the use of goin' a-ramblin' and a-scramblin' 
over the world, anyways?" demanded Mr. Carver, ener- 
getically. " What do I want to go to Agy and to Spagy 
and 'way oif yonder beyant Milltown fur?" (A village 
twelve miles distant.) " I ain't been fifty mile from home 
fur sixty 3'ear. ]S'o, sir! And that time was when my 
father moved up here from Albemarle, and brought me 
'long with him. That's all the traveUin' ever /did or 
means to do. What's the gain of travellin' ? Whar's 
any better place 'n ole Yirginny ? Tell me that. Hit's 
the best place that's been made at all, and I've got the 
best farm in the State." 

Mr. Carver shared the general and natural delusion 
of farmers, and of course he was not contradicted in a 
company composed of his social inferiors. 

" Well, we've been put here " began Pap. 

" That's what I say. Let folks stay whur they're 
put, and there won't be no travellin' but what's needful 
right 'round you. What's the use of havin' places ef 
folks won't stay in 'em ? What's the use of havin' places 
at all ? Counties, — this here county ? You might as 
well be in Clarke or Loudon to oust!" said Mr. Carver, 
and looked about him wildly and angrily as he pounded 
the table with his huge fist, as if the foundations of 
society were being broken up, and the idea of an illim- 
itable waste of territory, in which a Carver might be 
anywhere, was insupportable and not to be borne for a 

^ q 21 



242 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDQE. 

moment. '• I don't want to go nowhur at all, and I 
don't want no furriners corain' in here. Furriners is 
bein' the ruin of this country now. They're comin' in 
from Deer Crik" (six miles off) '' and Winston and Mill- 
town and 'way beyant Caton, and they're just bein' the 
ruination of business and the handlin' of crops and 
everything," he concluded, with temper. " Folks was 
made fur places, places was made fur folks, and it spiles 
both to separate them; hit's the ruination of both. 
Stay whur you're put is what I sez all the time, and 
does, moreover." 

The places Mr. Carver had mentioned were all in his 
immediate neighborhood, and his " furriners" were all 
native Virginians; but when he talked of "this coun- 
try" he meant to use the word not in the broad sense 
of the United States, or even his own State, but in the 
restricted one of his own county. Every county was a 
country to Mr. Carver, and his own county was the 
country. 

Poor Pap was too abashed to attempt to defend his 
views, and Alfred never had any views to defend ; but 
Matilda came shrilling in with : " You're 'bout right 
there, I reckon, Mr. Carver. I'm fur folks stayin' at 
home, and mindin' their own business too. Only some 
of 'em's so triflin' they ain't got no business to mind." 

" That's so," said Pap, who had made the expected 
application of an apparently abstract statement. "Nor 
no homes, neither. More fools they." 

" Oh, ef bein' a fool was all, it could be stood ; but 

when there's wuss behind " said Matilda, who, 

being an incarnate nutmeg-grater, was now quite in her 
element. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 2^3 

"Ahum! ahum!" broke in Alfred, in mortal dread of 
a collision. And then shooting out his eyes at the 
inoffensive milk-pitcher on his right, he announced, 
gravely, "Patridges has been seen 'round," a remark 
that elicited no reply whatever. 

Having finished his breakfast, and being anxious to 
efface himself, Pap now pushed back his chair a little 
and tilted it, and crossed his hands above his head. He 
sat there for some moments, silent, while Mr. Carver 
and Alfred talked of sport ; but, being very social in his 
instincts, he presently joined in their conversation, 
saying, " I've often heerd my father talk 'bout old times 
in this country time and time agin. These hills was 
just choke-full uv bar, and deer, and all sorts of game 
then, and now you're mighty lucky ef you git a few 
wild turkeys." 

" Yenison certainly is a well-tasted dish," remarked 
Mr. Carver to Matilda, with an impressive stare at each 
of the company in turn, and the air of a man of liberal 
views making a dangerously novel statement, which, 
however unpopular it may be, he is prepared to stand 
by and uphold at any cost. 

" Take another Qgg ef you don't mislike 'em biled," 
said Matilda, obsequiously. "Don't you be backward, 
now, in comin' forrard. ' Yittles' praise is said by stays.* 
But I forgit. He ! he ! he ! You don't wear 'era !" 

" ^o, I'm 'bleeged to you, marm," replied Mr. Carver, 
alluding to the proffered Qgg and not smiling at all at 
the witticism. Mr. Carver was not aware that in say- 
ing " marm" he was only following the most fashionable 
precedent, — that of the court set of long ago, whose 
languishing pronunciation of madam has filtered down 



244 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

through English nobles to English commoners, and 
finally to Virginian mountaineers. Nor did he know 
when he turned his cup bottom upward in the saucer, 
and balanced the spoon carefully on top, as an act of 
final renunciation and intimation that he was superior 
to any and every temj^tation, that he was perpetuating 
a fashion that used to obtain in the finest companies, — 
a signal mark of high breeding in the great ladies and 
silken gallants of a past period, — now the " manners" of 
a rustic Virginian whom the^^ would have called "a 
varlet." 

" I reckon there '11 be a chance fur some of us to taste 
the feast-pot soon. You've heerd 'bout the weddin' 
that's comin' off in the neighborhood, ain't yer?" said 
Alfred, presenting a new topic of conversation respect- 
fully to the notice of the great man. " Pa-ap here plays 
in the musical line, and he's goin' to do the fiddlin'. 
He can make right smart noise when he gits started. 
He jerks an uncommon lively bow." Alfred was proud 
of his father's reputation as the best musician in the 
country-side, and was divided between a desire to seem 
dispassionate and a wish to do him justice. 

The remark, however, was unfortunate. Mr. Carver 
did not attempt to conceal the profound contempt that 
filled his whole mind at the mere mention of such a 
frivolous pursuit. He knew that Pap had another 
weakness, which in a rich man, and especially in him- 
self, wore the aspect of a venial foible, not a sin that 
need interfere with a well-to-do farmer's being saved 
in the least. But the man who " fiddled" was hardly 
worth the damning, according to Mr. Carver's creed. 
He looked across the table at Pap with a grim disap- 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 245 

probation that bordered on dislike, and thought that 
he " 'peared like a man that ' fiddled.' " 

" Peter Eobinson !" he exclaimed, when the feathered 
idea had fully made its way through his thick skull. 
" You play the fiddle, do you ? In the name of good- 
ness, is that all you've got to do? Can't you find 
nothin' better to do?" 

Pap unclasped his hands, stopped tilting his chair, 
and colored again ; but being thoroughly accustomed to 
hearing music ranked among the vicious puerilities of 
life, he said nothing in defence of it, and Mr. Carver 
went on : " Who's this here a-gittin' married ?" 

"Hit's my wife's brother, Jonah," replied Alfred. 

"Who's he a-weddin'?" asked Mr. Carver, still disap- 
provingly, as if all marrying and giving in marriage 
were distasteful to him. 

" That girl, — that orphelin' Hello ! Simon Peter 

and Stone well Jackson ! Come in ! Come here !" inter- 
rupted Pap. 

This last was a combination hardly to be expected 
in this world, though presumably not an unnatural one 
in the next, where the sturdy soldier and simple fisher- 
man may be on very good terms, for all we know. 
The salutation was meant for two barefooted, frowsy 
boys, who had come in and were hanging irresolutely 
around the door, staring as only the youthful rustic 
can. Stonewall Jackson, unlike his distinguished name- 
sake, was not prepared to advance even when thus en- 
couraged, but took up a strong position in the rear and 
would not budge. 

His twin brother, rounding his eyes a little more 
than usual, advanced as if under some mesmeric spell, 

21* 



246 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

or as if he were walking in his sleep, and when he got 
quite close to Pap fell to twirling his hat, which for a 
wonder he had doffed. lie looked up, he looked down, 
he looked around at " Stone" for inspiration, perhaps, 
to see if there was any way of escape open to him, and 
then in a loud voice and in a disjointed, mechanical 
fashion delivered the message with which he was 
charged — under fire : " Pa-ap, mother says to come 
there to onst to go to town to git the fixin's that's 
wanted fur Jonah's weddin'." 

"All right. Indeed and double deed I will, sonny. 
Go back and tell your ma certainly, I'll be there te- 
reckly," replied Pap, promptly, and his kind smile 
played lambently on the boys as he filched a biscuit 
apiece for them from under the very nose of the 
enemy. 

The boys got a little more human under this applica- 
tion, and now fell into the background with Willy, and 
even smiled and fell to comparing their knives with his 
presently. The interruption broke up the party, and 
Mr. Carver rose and said he had " 'lowed to be further 
before then," and made his farewells. 

" This here's a tol'able old house, ain't it?" he asked, 
as he was mounting his horse. 

" Over a hundred year. And there never was a 
better builded. It ain't had no work much done on it 
sence. I love ev'y stone in it," said Pap, ghuicing up 
at it affectionately. 

" Oh, then this here is your house?" said Mr. Carver, 
settling his foot in the stirrup. 

' " Yes. That is, hit's my son's" he explained. " But 
I reckon it'll outhist us both, and a good many more 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 247 

like us. I've done give it to my son." Poor Pap was 
not unwilling that Mr. Carver should know that he had 
not always been as he was, — homeless and penniless. 
But this was worse than "fiddlin"': it was lunacy to 
Mr. Carver's mind ; and Pap did not even get a word 
of farewell by way of recognition of his past respecta- 
bility. He felt wounded and humiliated when Mr. 
Carver rode away on his handsome horse with only a 
*' Good-day, marm," and a " Come over, Alfred, and 
we'll see 'bout that there colt." And he was still stand- 
ing at the gate, wrapped in unpleasant revery, when he 
felt some one tugging at his coat. It was " Stone" 
Newman, holding a rabbit in his hand which he was 
shyly proffering. " I caught this fur you this mornin', 
Pa-ap. I've been layin' fur it fur a week. Here, take 
it," he said, and was surprised by the warmth of Pap's 
thanks. 

"Why, bless your little heart! Did you now? 
Caught it fur Pa-ap, that ain't got nothin' to give you 
back. Well, that was the kindest ! Thanky, my son. 
Lord, what a world 'twould be without children and 
dogs and sech like animals that's got hearts and feelin's 
and ain't — folks ! I'm jes't as 'bleeged as I kin be, honey. 
I've been jes' a-pinin' fur a taste of rabbit fur the 
longest. Yes, indeed. Pa-ap '11 not furgit this. Now, 
run along home, — skedaddle, and tell your ma I'll be 
there right off." 

That was a day in the Newman family. From the 
moment that love and grief had carried the day, Mother 
Newman had privately determined to give Jonah and 
E. Mintah such a " send-off" as was rarely seen on the 
Mountain. As a woman, she dearly loved a wedding, 



248 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

even when she had no special or personal interest in it. 
As a mother, she had every reason to concern herself 
with this one. " I'm a-standin' double in this here thing, 
father, and you're a-standin' double, moreover. Fur I'm 
Jonah's mother, and knowed to be, through showin' 
him from three days old, and him as red a child as I ever 
see, or had, to come out fair-complected, and me not 
pretendin' not to be his mother even when took up by 
some about measles and scch, through him catchin' of 
'em not bein' liked by neighbors that their children has 
give everything to mine. And you're his father, and 
behind none in actin' up as sich, which all wouldn't of 
walked their legs off to keep a baby quiet, and taught 
him to work better than a grown man when he warn't 
hardly able to hold a axe and spade, and him favorin' 
you so you can't say he ain't your son ef it was in a cote 
where folks '11 swear black's white, as I've often heerd 
you say. And R. Mintah's a poor, lost, and left child 
that'll witness agin the one that brought her into this 
world some day and 'lowed to be my own by a good 
many, and me her mother, in a manner of speakin'. 
And so are you, leastways, her father, or standin' for a 
father, which she was 'bleeged to have one, and has, 
ef he ain't gone to a worse place, which, ef he has, 
it ain't no more 'n what he deserves, though I hate 
to think of any bein' lost, even them that's left their 
child 'round for us to find and bring up. Me standin' 
double, then, fur mothers, and you standin' double fur 
fathers, I sez we'll give them two the biggest woddin' 
we kin make out, and bless 'em fur good, kind children 
that's been a blessin' to us, and send 'em away to their- 
selves." 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 249 

" I don't want to see you standin' fur no sech woman 
as E. Mintah's " began Mr. Newman. 

"I've done been standin' fur her, now, fur nineteen 
years, and I ain't goin' to fail the child, no matter what 
sort of woman goes and calls herself a mother," ob- 
jected Mrs. Newman. 

" Well, I ain't a-goin' to stand fur sech as him, — that's 
flat. Ef he was here this minnit I'd maul him like a 
meal-bag!" exclaimed Mr. Newman, testily. "I ain't 
never bin no sich, and I ain't a-goin' to be to please no- 
body." 

" You've got to be. You've got to give E. Mintah a 
chance. You've got to be a double father to them two, 
and you know you ain't the man not to. But it won't 
be fur long," persisted Mrs. Newman. 

" Well, I won't say no more. But you've missed the 
pints. Law is law, and hit don't take no 'count of 
double fathers and double mothers. No, indeed. But 
there's another pint. Oust they're wed they're one. 
And them bein' one theirselves makes us single fathers 
and mothers, too, and there needn't never be no more 
talk 'bout no others," said Mr. Newman, who had kept 
the legal mind. 

"Now, father, this I sez,- and sez agin to you, and 
don't you forgit it. Ef anybody — that Sally Hearn — 
comes pryin' and pokin' 'round you 'bout E. Mintah, 
don't you tell her nothing and talk like she didn't belong 
to nobody, and was jest a orpheline, fur it would be a 
shame, and her standin' up to git married that minnit, 
poor thing !" 

" I won't, mother," promised Mr. Newman. " I won't 
open my mind to her ; not a crack. And you kin take 



250 BEHIND THE BLUE RJDOE. 

that five dollars Don Miller give me fur that black and 
white heifer, and spend every red cent of it on that 
weddin'. But we can't be doubles ; it ain't law nor it 
ain't gospel, neither." 

These delicate and important "pints" having been 
settled, Mrs. Newman gave herself up to and fairly rev- 
elled in the preparations for the great event that was 
to double nothing except Jonah's joys and expenses. 

The cooking-stove and the beds came down, causing 
as much excitement among the children as though the 
roof had fallen in. A grand house-cleaning set in, re- 
vealing the fact that it had long been hideously needed. 
Then such a making, baking, beating, such boiling, 
frying, roasting, such hurrying, and scurrying, and 
worrying set in as had never been seen in that house, 
or, rather, outhouse, before (the stove had been set up 
there), and could- scarcely be contained even by "the 
yard," as the back premises were called. E. Mintah 
was out of the way of much of it, being up-stairs at 
her needle-work. And Jonah avoided it, saying he'd 
"as lieve be chased by a mad bull 'most." And his 
father went away for two whole days and was scarcely 
missed. But Mrs. Newman, broad and placid, directed 
the whirlwind and rode upon the storm. Jinny White 
and relays of other women were there, notably " Dar- 
thuly Meely," whose cakes were quite equal to her com- 
fortables. Even Matilda condescended to look in and 
find fault with what had been done every day. And 
Pap was there, cutting wood, drawing water, lifting off 
kettles, picking chickens, " drawing" ducks, whittling 
skewers, doing a thousand things with all his own fatal 
good-nature. As for the twins, they were everywhere. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 251 

They were nearly wild with delight over the situation, 
and drove every one else quite daft by their behavior. 
They had Willy and a long train of other children at 
their heels, and no comet was ever followed by more 
disastrous consequences. Simon Peter fished steadily, 
and most successfully, in troubled waters for " goodies" 
of various kinds all day, and had a series of miraculous 
escapes from the avenging wrath of his elders. Stone- 
wall Jackson tarnished his fair fame over and over again 
in the same field of action with no success at all, and at- 
tempting to filch the icing from the wedding-cake after 
dinner got his deserts in a different shape, and was much 
battered about the head by Darthuly Meely, no longer 
pale and much outraged. Something was borrowed 
from every neighbor within a radius of three miles. 
More was offered by every woman who had a heart in 
her bosom, the memory of a wedding past, the hope of 
a wedding to come. Friends of the family were send- 
ing in such dainties as they could spare or make up to 
the last moment of grace, — that is, while " the blessin' " 
was being asked. Distant acquaintances, even, showed 
their sympathy and interest in various ways, from volun- 
teering the loan of " a real silver teaspoon" to roasting 
a sucking-pig, with the traditional apple in his mouth 
and his tail curled tight as any sensitive-plant before 
the approach of the carver. Pap trudged all the way 
to Winston, went around the fatal street that contained 
the irresistible " sto' " with the screen in front of the 
door, and hams and vegetables and what not in front 
of it. He made Mrs. Newman's purchases of pepper- 
mint-candy, oranges, and the like. He would have 
trudged all the way home again, and Heaven knows 



252 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

what he would have done ^yith his parcels, had he not, 
been offered " a lift," which he thankfully accepted, 
lie rode home radiant with the sense of the good ho 
had done and the evil he had avoided, to find Mrs. 
Newman dreadfully "put about" by the discovery that 
there " warn't no seats," and spend the afternoon bor- 
rowing chairs in the neighborhood, and limping back 
with them to the house, now in a gala state of cleanli- 
ness, almost destitute of incommoding furniture, and 
adorned as it had never been even for a "buryin'," with 
green boughs put everywhere, about twenty candles in 
as many bottles, and a white sheet gracefully festooned 
about the very flour-barrel in the corner. This done, 
Pap went home. There he sat himself down to rest a 
bit, and eat something and smoke his pipe, after which 
he got out his pictures and put them up, placing a little 
sprig of fir above the chromo in a tender impulse ihat 
moved him to connect his Alice with " little E. Mintah's 
weddin'." He it was who had been decorating the New- 
mans' house, and his thoughts had been as busy as his 
fingers all day. His mind was very full now of a 
puzzling question. What should he give R. Mintah ? 
He could not reconcile himself to giving nothing, 3'et 
he had nothing to give. Suddenly his eyes rested on 
Burygyard, whisking about in his cage high on the wall. 
"Why, of course. There's Aim/" he thought. "She's 
always said he hadn't his match, and though I hadn't 
never 'lowed to part with him " Down came Bury- 
gyard at once, a good deal frightened and flustered, 
and was borne off to the cottage. Arrived there, the 
first person that Pap came upon was 11. Mintah, — 
R. Mintah peeping in at the door to sec for herself 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 253 

the wonderful and beautiful transformation-scene of 
which she had heard, and crying, " Oh, ain't it elligint! 
Ain't it too splendid ! Whur's Jonah at? Has he seed 
it?" She fled from before Pap's face on being dis- 
covered. " Here, Willy boy, you run along with this 
to her," said Pap, putting the cage in the child's hands, 
" and tell her it's all I've got, but give with all my 
heart, and welcome." 

Willy shuffled off, and presently E. Mintah, half-way 
up the dark stairs, called out, " Oh, Mr. Shore ! Thanky, 
thanky. You oughtn't to a-went and give me him! 
Sech a bird! Thanky kindly. It's mighty kind of you, 
and jes' a splendid i)resent! Don't you disappint to- 
night. D'ye hear?" Even in her short print gown 
and curl-papers E. Mintah was not the fright she felt 
herself to be, and need not have scampered away ; but 
that " Mr. Shore" was as fine a bit of feminine tact as 
ever issued from high-born dame in brocade. It sent 
Pap home with a shining face of content, to spend an 
hour in the shed-room in trying to make a wedding- 
garment of his one every-day and all-the-year-round 
suit, which melted into the red earth, the green leaves, 
the brown dust, the yellow harvest-fields of the moun- 
tain as perfectly as though nature had given it to him 
as she does the coat of the chameleon for a defence 
against his natural enemies as well as wind and 
weather, but which obstinately refused to take on that 
spruce newness and slop-shop splendor befitting the oc- 
casion. " I'm cleanin' myself fur the weddin'," he re- 
marked to Willy, who was looking on and had heard 
all that the day had brought forth for him. " I've had 
Sipertikiler invite, and E. Mintah '11 be expectin' of me." 

22 



254 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

He spoke with pride. Mrs. Newman had indeed con- 
fessed that he had " helped mightily," but, having a 
good many things on her mind, had forgotten to ask 
him to come back, although she had counted on him 
for " the fiddlin'." 

But that " Don't jom disappint" rang sweetly in his 
ears and warmed his heart. 

" E. Mintah was tickled to death with Burygyard. 
I seed her feedin' him and playin' with him up-stairs, 
and she said you certainly had been kind to her always, 
and she hadn't never had nothin' agin you. She said 
you was a good man," remarked Willy. 

" But I ain't, no. Bless her heart ! That's to say, 
goodness is streaky, honey. That sorter streak's al- 
ways been easy to me ; but there's others Well, 

never mind. I aint good. Folks is got the right of it, 
there. But I might have been wuss 'n what I am, I 
reckon. And folks don't 'pear to take no 'count of that 
at all. Gimmy that brush and I'll black my shoes. She 
said I warn't to fail to come, and 1 want to look right. 
Do Hook right, Willy?" 

When sundown came Mrs. Newman mounted to the 
room in which E. Mintah sat, and shut the door after 
her. " I'm a-goin' to dress you up fur this thing my- 
self, E. Mintah," she said, " seein' you're my child, or as 
good as one, and better 'n some. And I ain't goin' to 
let nobody else come nigh you, fur this here is my place. 
I've done got shut of all of 'em, and all's ready, and 
waitin', and here's your Mother Newman willin' to do 
all that's to be done fur her daughter that's to be, and 
has been, alwa3^s, ever since she was fetched in hj mo 
out of the Eed Lane nigh twenty years gone by. And 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 255 

you a drulin' with your first tooth then, and a cooin' like 
Pete's pigeon, as sweet a baby as ever was, and no more 
'feard of me than ef you'd been then what you've done 
been ever sence, my own dear child. Is yer things laid 
out ? No, indeed. The twins even didn't want to have 
nothin' to do with me at fust, and 'Tildy's give me a 
heap of werritting, and A. Mander's too free often with 
that tongue of hers, but you've never done nothin' nor 
been nothin' that's give trouble to me and your double 
father. Hit's mighty curous. I reckon the Lord sont 
peace and a blessin' along with you. You and Jonah's 
been the two that's give us most back for what we've 
done fur you, and though there's richer and edgerca- 
teder, I reckon, I tells you now that I hadn't my right 
mind when I give in to and took part with 'Tildy and 
made you onhappy, and I ask your pardon fur all, and 
has meant to before you married my son." 

It can be imagined with what heartiness this forgive- 
ness was accorded; with what meekness E. Mintah 
abased herself before "Jonah's mother," and proclaimed 
herself utterly unworthy of the exalted future before 
her; with what tears and kisses the two women sealed 
a new bond of love and relationship, and then devoted 
themselves to the function of " dressin' the bride fur 
to go to meet the bridegroom." 

At last the hour came. All the friends of the family 
had been assembled for two hours before it came, down- 
stairs, and had been ranged in rows around the walls 
on the "cheers" of Pap's borrowing, some of which 
were recognized by the guests and criticised as " this 
blamed old thing of mine that the back won't never 
stay on no way I fix it;" or "this here three-legged 



256 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

stool of your'n 'b mighty shaky and I misdoubt it holdin' 
a person like me." Outside there was quite a little 
gathering of people, women chiefly, who were either 
strangers to the family or had been thought "too low- 
down" to receive an invitation. They had arranged 
themselves in small and extremely critical groups near 
the windows, lounged on the sills in comfortable and 
unabashed abandon, and made themselves merry, — far 
more so, indeed, than the regularly invited, whose de- 
meanor was very much what it would have been if 
they had assembled to see Jonah and E. Mintah buried 
instead of married, and who had the air of waiting 
patiently to see the two bodies brought in. The posi- 
tion of the uninvited was a strong one, — that of the 
opposition always is, — and they showed themselves a 
formidable minority, or " remnant." They could see 
and hear everything, and felt themselves at liberty to 
say w^hatever they pleased. They pleased to make a 
number of very telling and unpleasant remarks. The 
manufacture of polite nothings being a conversational 
art either not understood or scorned in rural entertain- 
ments, there was a good background of silence within 
the room against which such speeches as " Law sakes ! 
Ef there ain't Sally Lewis, dressed up in her sister 
Marthy's things! And they're miles too big fur her;" 
or " Jes' look at Al Peters struttin' 'round like a little 
Bantam rooster in that linen duster;" "Don't it take 
the rag offen the bush, that dress of A. Mander's ?" 
together with such exclamations as " Hi, ain't we fine!" 
or " My I here's the whole family in yaller. Pumpkins 
is cheap, I do reckon !" on the part of the Adullamites 
stood out in bold relief. The intimate knowledge that 



BEHIND THE BLUE RTDOE. 257 

the critics had of the position, circumstances, and 
characters of the company enabled them to hit the bull's- 
eye every time, and they scored so many successes that 
the least sensitive and conscious of the guests grew 
wretched under the ordeal, while others grew red, and 
retorted angrily enough upon their persecutors, and still 
others only waxed more shy and silent every moment. 
It was not until Mr. Newman rose in his wrath and drove 
the enemy off the place altogether that anything like 
confidence was restored, or the exchange of greetings 
and country civilities resumed. And even then the 
company was not wildly hilarious by any means. It was 
divided into little groups, by a principle of natural rejec- 
tion, rather than selection. In one corner was a dozen 
or more of stubby, knotty old men, a good deal bent as 
to their backs and knees, but good for many a day's hard 
work yet. Pap was seated with, or, rather, near, them. 
Their talk was of politics and local matters generally. 
It was : " Was you at the cote-house Saturday night 
to hear Bob Duffy speak ? You oughter bin. It was 
elligint, I tell you. He kin holler louder 'n any man on 
the stump, they do say. And it ain't you nor me as '11 
understand what he's drivin' at. ]S'o, sir. He's powerful 
smart and deep.'' Or it was : " There ain't a drop of 
water in Deer Crik, skasely. I never knowed it to run 
dry in all my born days," a remark that brought out a 
scornful " You never knowed ! What you ain't knowed 
comes to more 'n you'll ever have the head to figger up. 
Deer Crik's been two two years runnin' twict sence I've 
been a man," from Daddy Culbert, who was strong in 
recollections. 

The conversation then turned on cows, and Mr. Al- 
r 22* 



258 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

fred Laudon was complimented on this score by Mr. 
Newman : " That there cow of your'n is a deep milker, 
Al. What breed is she, and whur did you git her at, 
anyways?" which begot a discussion about "breeds" 
that was almost animated for a few minutes, after which 
silence fell upon the group again. Pap felt it to be an 
oppressive silence, and began to talk of trees. In the 
course of his remarks he asserted that "any tree kin 
be grafted on another tree ef the barks is alike," and 
tried to maintain his theorj' ; but his statements were 
all received with incredulity, solemnity, and contempt- 
uous superiority. Sensitively alive to the estimation in 
which he was held by them, this treatment only made 
him the more anxious to make an agreeable impression 
upon them, and he accordingly related a stirring ex- 
perience of Western life that had come under his notice 
in " Californy," in which one man had " stabbed another 
to his vittals." Pap meant vitals, but was taken at his 
word, and it was made clear to him that his companions 
only listened under protest, were not minded to go 
through the farce of pretending to believe him, and 
considered that he was showing an offensive familiarity 
with social conditions that never had and never could 
come in the way of respectable, homc-staj'ing Virgin- 
ians. The matrons meanwhile were ranged opposite 
and discoursed of the proper way to "set milk," the 
dyeing of yarns, and making of quilts, the difficulties 
of rearing children, of managing perversely-pipped 
chickens, and of other domestic matters. They also 
gossiped a bit of the high contracting parties to the 
wedding, Jonah and R. Mintah, and of what folks said 
and what was " true" and what " warn't so at all." The 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 259 

maids, arrayed in the cheajo glories of gay calicoes and 
muslins only, had yet contrived, with feminine art, to 
look as pretty and attractive as some of their more 
fashionable sisters, and discussed with equal interest 
the fashions, — the best way to " loop a polonay" and do 
the hair. Near them, of course, grouped around the 
door, where instant flight was possible at any moment, 
were the sturdy, bronzed young farmers, in their Sun- 
day worst, and a state of unconquerable, dreadful em- 
barrassment. They were profoundly conscious of their 
abnormal splendor, and felt all elbows and knees, turned 
crimson when hailed by some audacious " piece" of a 
girl, and had a general uneasy sense that they looked 
like fools, were being ridiculed in precisely the quarter 
where they most wished to be admired, and were only 
safe as long as they took the national motto, ^^E pluribus 
unum,^' for their own. A. Mander and Marsh Culbert 
sat apart from everybody, holding each other's hands in 
the most obviously and obtrusively sentimental fashion, 
and chewing sweet gum as well as the cud of delightful 
anticipation. A dank and grewsome female, panoplied 
in shining black calico, and wearing a black sun-bonnet 
which she resolutely refused to remove, had come early 
and settled herself in the chimney corner like a huge 
black spider. Once established there, she leaned for- 
ward, crossed her long black arms on a lank black lap, 
gave the company transient glimpses of a cadaverous 
countenance and glittering eye, and conversed in a 
deeply-melancholy and carefully-subdued voice of fu- 
nerals, of "a noble-lookin' corpse," and "beautiful 
buryin's" to her next neighbor. She had got as far as 
the gallows, in a description of the execution of a noted 



260 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

murderer which she had attended with evident enjoy- 
ment, when the door opened and the bridal party en- 
tered. 



IX. 

Then was our maid a wife, and hung 
Upon a joyful bridegroom's bosom." 



Uhland. 



The dank and grewsome was a person of importance 
on the Mountain. She was a " measurer," and perliaps 
was as justly entitled to be lugubrious in bearing and 
apparel as undertakers are elsewhere. Not that lier 
function was that ghastly one. It was a mysterious 
and solemn one enough, but it was connected with the 
living, not the dead. If any child had what was known 
variously as the '• ondergrowth" or the " take-oif," — 
was puny and sickly, that is, and appeared to waste 
away, — ^the very first thing that an anxious mother did 
when her fears were aroused was to send for Mrs. 
Uriah Hopper; such was the title of the D. and G. And 
Mrs. Hopper would come (a black-calico priestess of 
Mountain mysteries), and would be welcomed with the 
respect due her office, and be propitiated and consulted 
with as much touching deference and simple faith as 
though she had been a Delphic instead of a nineteenth- 
century oracle. After due consultation and delibera- 
tion, she would take the ailing child into a dark room, 
strip it, measure it from the crown of its head down to 
the tip of its big toe, rub it off with oil, wrap it in 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 261 

a blanket, and put it to bed. She would then take a 
string, tie a knot in it for every month of the child's 
life, and show it to the mother. She then tied the strinsr 
to the gate-post, making a peculiar knot of her own. 
If the string wore away, the child recovered and throve 
proportionately. If the string did not wear out, the 
child was measured again, and this time the string was 
burnt. If that did no good, and the child died, it was 
clear that not even Mrs. Hopper could save it. There 
was not a mother on the Mountain who did not defer 
to Mrs. Hopper as she would not have done to any one 
else in the world, and they talked of her with bated 
breath of how she had " learnt how to measure from 
her aunt who knowed;" of the children she had snatched 
from death when they were almost at their last gasp ; 
and of the cases in which " they was too strong for her." 
But though they bowed the knee in the house of Eim- 
mon, they did not serve a tyrannous mistress. Mrs. 
Hopper was a benevolent edition of Witch Parsons, 
and was not feared. And she exacted no payments for 
her services, though she was pleased to accept such 
voluntary offerings as came to her. 

This being her position, it was natural that she should 
have sat alone and apart from the others even on this 
purely festive occasion. A priestess cannot be genial 
and make herself agreeable when it is her mission to 
be awful. The dank and grewsome was not there for 
laughter and small talk. When the great moment 
came, she fixed her glittering eye upon the principal 
offenders in the bridal procession, uncrossed her long 
arms, rose to her feet, whipped out a black calico hand- 
kerchief, and swayed backward and forward all during 



262 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

the ceremony, uttering from time to time subdued 
groans of sympathy and interest in the awful act. 

A -svild clatter of children's feet had heralded the 
approach of the party, and the twins, who brought up 
the rear, rushed promptly to the front and secured a 
position favorable to unlimited goggling, — one of them, 
indeed, being on Jonah's very feet, which were almost 
big enough to have accommodated both. The sight of 
Mrs. Newman in a bright green dress with a well-de- 
fined waist, and an overskirt and Jloutices, — Mrs. New- 
man, who had never been seen in anything except drab 
calicoes of no fit at all, and about as much cut as her 
own stocking-bag, — was almost as impressive as that 
of Mr. Newman in a new butternut suit of his wife's 
making, and the most fashionable accessories, such as 
a paper collar and a cravat. The appearance of the 
Newman children — whole, clean, quiet, the boys with 
suits that were pocket-editions of their father's, the 
girls flounced, aproned, be-curled as " no Newmans" had 
ever been before — could not but strike the company as a 
miraculous achievement without a parallel, until their 
attention was drawn to " Darthuly Meely," whose hair 
was exquisitely arranged in seven distinct tiers of the 
tightest, reddest curls that ever depended from a single 
scalp, or repaid the torture of a week's papillotes by 
the glory of one moment's dazzling display; whose blue 
gown was carefully cut to betra}^ a bony neck of 
a porcelain hue (such as city milk is apt to take on) 
finished off with a string of Roman pearls. 

But all these paled before the splendor and glory of 
the bride and bridegroom. Jonah had apparently var- 
nished his head as well as his shoes. His honest face 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 263 

not only shone from recent and vigorous applications of 
yellow soap and a crash towel, but radiated sheepish 
. delight and self-consciousness from every pore. He wore 
a new black suit of funereal hue, with delicate sugges- 
tions of a more festive occasion in the white cotton 
gloves, the yellow cotton cravat with a ruby pin thrust 
in it, the red handkerchief stuck in the most degage way 
in the world in the breast-pocket. His large red ears 
stood out above a high collar such as Bones, the min- 
strel, witches the world with, as if determined to hear 
for themselves what was going on. His shoes creaked 
out a warning to him to pause ere it was too late, and 
reflect that he was about to take a step that could not 
be retraced, and might be "putting his foot into it." 
A perfect cloud of mingled musk, bergamot, pepper- 
mint, rose before, about, behind him. He was magnifi- 
cent, irresistible ! 

Little E. Mintah in her stiff skirts might almost have 
been taken for a reticule hanging on his arm at the 
first glance, so inconspicuous was she comparatively in 
the matter of inches, though with her pretty, delicate 
features, and air of refinement, she was much more like 
a lovely wild-flower about to be nipped off by an over- 
grown calf. She wore her red dress (the dress that had 
been given her for the picnic) to please Jonah. She 
had made certain modifications and alterations in it to 
l^lease herself. This lily of the field had toiled, if not 
spun, in order to do this. She had made thirty-six pairs 
of gloves the week before, and forty-six the week before 
that, for the Winston factories, and had walked twenty- 
four miles to deliver them. With the money she had 
bought — tell it not to AYorth, or Pingat, or Miss Flora 



264 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

McFlimscy — some yards of white mosquito netting, 
and being a clever little vvomankin with her needle, she 
had evolved a toilette that was as becoming as though 
it had been composed of satin and Brussels lace. The 
netting boiled up frothily about the bottom of the skirt 
in an indescribable way, and was fastened around the 
neck and sleeves and fell all about her as a wedding- 
veil, and made a charming background for her small, 
dark head and sweet pale face, with the rapt eyes, — the 
large, tender eyes that had first attracted the royal 
notice of the heir of the house of Newman. 

Jonah on entering had ducked his head at the com- 
pany in his embarrassment with a circular motion in- 
tended to convey a general salutation, — a greeting- to 
which no one responded except old Daddy Culbert, who 
belonged in his degree to "the period of manners," and 
bowed low in his chair in return, saying, "How are you, 
sir, and your lady ? How do you find yourself?" but 
was immediately hushed up and corrected by his grand- 
son. Seeing this, Jonah fell back uj^on his collar and 
ruby pin, which he "settled" repeatedly, his face grow- 
ing redder each time as he heard Darthuly Meely and 
the other maids tittering behind him. E. Mintah just 
clasped her hands over Jonah's arm, and cast down her 
sweet eyes and thought of no one about her, so full was 
her heart of an unsj^eakable joy and rapture with which 
none could intermeddle; and so they stood and waited. 
The couple had not been long in the middle of the 
room, although, petrified as they were with fright, it 
doubtless seemed an age, when the outer door opened 
and "the preacher" walked in, and after depositing his 
hat on a chair, placed himself in front of them, and 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 265 

without any affectations or delays made them man and 
wife. This done, the Kev. John Mathers delivered a 
homely, earnest address that was full of good sense and 
good feeling, and that lasted about ten minutes, and the 
deed was done. He then retired into the background, 
where room was respectfully made for him, and where 
Mr. Newman joined him. " We're obleeged to you, sir. 
Mightily obleeged, all of us," he said. " I hope it's done 
been done all right, — accordin' to law. You don't think 
it can be broke up, nor split up, nor set aside, nor nisi- 
priused, nor habeas-corpused, nor no sich, now, do you ? 
I've had a deal to do with cotes, and I know ef a thing 
ain't accordin' to law it '11 just pester the life out of a 
person. !N'o offence to you, sir." Mr. Newman was not 
unwilling to let it be seen that he knew the legal bear- 
ings of things, and was not the man to walk into the 
snares and pitfalls that were set for more ignorant folk. 

" They're married as hard and sure and fast as any 
couple ever was in the State of Virginia, sir," affirmed 
Mr. Mathers, not without heat, to which Mr. Newman 
replied carelessly as he tugged at the hair in the centre 
of his favorite mole : 

"Well, I didn't know, you see. I thought maybe 
they might git mandamused, or mittimused, or quo war- 
ranted, without all was done accordiri' to law ; fur that 
law's a one fur gittin' folks down and werryin' of 'em 
to rags, and givin' of 'em wuss and wuss agin every 
time they opes their lips to complain, ef I knows any- 
thing about it. En I made up my mind long ago that 
I'd sooner fight a cirkiler saw, and that ef I or mine 
fooled with it we might look to end on the gallows, ef 
we hadn't done no more 'n kill a cat. I knows the 
M 23 



2G6 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

law. And I didn't want them two that don't know it 
like me — and there's few that does, or has had reason 
to — to git into no trouble. No offence to you, sir, at all." 
E. Mintah, meanwhile, was receiving the congratu- 
lations of her friends, after a tremendous amount of 
" saluting the bride" had been done, in which Jonah led 
the way with a resounding kiss that went off like a 
pocket-pistol, and brought a rush of color to R. Min- 
tah's cheeks and caused her to stoop forward in confu- 
sion, the better to wipe her lips with a handkerchief 
which was sewed to her side to prevent its being lost, — 
a very grand hemstitched handkerchief given her to use 
on the great occasion by Jinny White. The compli- 
ments and good wishes of the friends Avho now pressed 
forward were expressed in very different ways. AVith 
the dank and grewsome they took the shape of a polite 
assurance that she "hadn't never see two that bore up 
better in the hour of trial;" with Jinny White some 
praise of the wedding-dress " as mighty tasty," and a 
plaintive appeal to E. Mintah to take care of it, as she 
" might come to need it to be buried in." With Alfred 
it was: " Well, E. Mintah, joxx two's done hitched up 
together. You can't help nothin' now. Weddin's like 
dyiu' : you feels that all's too late. You can't help 
nothin'. And folks doin' it ev'y day with no more notion 
of it. — Oh, hit's turrible! Jes' turrible! Turrible!" 
Here Matilda gave him a scowl and a nudge that ho 
was far from expecting, he being under the impression 
that she was in the next room. She also called him an 
"ijit," and he hastily added, with a complete change of 
tone, " But you'll like it, in course, E. ^^intah ; in course I 
Certainly 1 Hit's fine I" With this he swelled out his 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 267 

cheeks to their utmost capacity, smote upon them with 
more than ordinary force, and fell into an uncommonly 
prolonged and acute attack of chuckles, in which he 
laughed and gasped and gurgled all at once in a really 
alarming way, suggestive of hysteria, and almost call- 
ing for burnt feathers, or sal volatile. An angry " Be 
quiet. Quit your foolishness, simpleton," from Matilda, 
failed to take effect for some time, and so far from grow- 
ing quiet he wandered about the house for the remainder 
of the evening, and even drifted outside, and sat aim- 
lessly on the fence for quite an hour, not twenty yards 
away from the spot where the Newman turkeys were 
roosting, — happy birds ! — with no thought of the hot 
water, roastings, bastings, in store for them. 

Pap had been sitting silent and mortified ever since 
his rebuff from the elders, who had let him severely 
alone, except when they looked at him over or under 
their horn spectacles with a glance indifferent, vacant, 
cold, or a " What kind of a sort of a fellow is this we've 
got here?" of puzzled inquiry from some "furriner," 
who lived some miles away, and only half divined that 
he was " no 'count" and had best be left to his own com- 
pany and devices. He felt shy about going up to E. 
Mintah. To cross the room and set himself up to be 
stared at, as it were, seemed impossible. Such bold 
proceedings were not for Pariahs, he felt; so he sat 
still, with Willy leaning against him and trying already 
to wink the sleep out of his round eyes, and with other 
companions, in the shape of his own thoughts, that he 
would have gladly shaken off, they were so bad. Only 
yesterday, as it seemed, he had been a bridegroom, too, 
and had stood in just such an assembly, feeling im- 



268 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

mortal in youth and love and joy. And ho remem- 
bered another bride, the best and fairest among women. 
" Then" and " now," the twin vultures, were tearinir 
at his heart, — that bright "then" when he had been 
so rich that all the tribute and treasures of the world 
could have added nothing to his wealth ; this dark 
" now" of bankruptcy in which there were none so poor 
as to do him reverence, and in which only one thing — 
the little child that his arm encircled — stood between 
him and the utter darkness and despair of unloved, un- 
honored old age. His eyes, in roaming around the 
room, fell upon his violin, wrapped in the dead wife's 
shawl. The poor, faded, threadbare thing was as famil- 
iar to him as any sight in the world ; but he got a heart- 
stab from it now, it was eloquent of so much besides 
his lost happiness. He withdrew his arm hastily from 
about Willy, and, leaning forward, rested his head on 
his hands with his fingers shielding his eyes. 

"Old Johnny's gittin' tired. Look yonder at him 
a-noddin' and ready to fall off the bench. Ha! ha! 
He's had enough of this," said one of the youthful rus- 
tics to Darthuly Meely, who "He! he! he'd" with a 
sjnnpathetic snigger over the amusing spectacle. 

"He's done bin to town to-day, ma^'be," remarked 
rustic the second, not to be outdone in wit. " 'Tain't 
the first time he's crookt his elbow sence daybreak. 
That's why he's so peart and lively to-night. I reckon 
he'll roll plum' off on the floor in a minnit." 

R. Mintah noticed him, too, and came tripping towards 
him, saying, " Pa-ap ! Pa-ap ! Ain't you got no words 
fur me? Ain't you goin' to shake hands and wish me 
joyful?" 



nr.iiiNi) Tin: i:/,i'i': inixn-:. 201) 

Pftp Htail<'l ii|. ;iri<l l«»ok(5(i bowi)d(3r(3(J. " Jl. Mintah, 
my (J(!ttrl Im Mml. you? (iod \,\{',m you!" ho Maid, 
l>rolc«!uly, firi/| l.licn N^louMod Iki- Imud hud(J(!nly, H(?iii(5(i 
lii)i <iiii(|, iiii'l mu<l() hJK way rapicJIy (uit (d'a nido (lo(jf 
into Mi<; diuluHJMH. llu waM Htill Milting on tlio door 
Hf.(5p wIk II oik; of tlio ruHtio youUiH alnmdy montiorujd 
(•;im«! ill H(5ar(di oC lylm, Muyir)«^, " 'I^Kjy'nj inindc.d to luivu 
a »rjori*y-})(JUt iti tlion?, imd Im a'slcin' I'm- l.lin nd(ll(;r. 

TImt'Hyou, ain't it?" 

"No, It ain't," Haid I'ap. "1 can't play tfMii^^ht. 1 
ain't a^^oin' to play." llo wan very Mor(5lioart<5rJ, arid 
Mi<: iriiiiiiH r <>r Mi<; n»qu(5Ht lijid not, boon Hoothln^. Ji. 
Mintah oanio v\\\\u\u^_ to him, tliou/^h, tho rujxt niinulc, 
Hayinji^, " Wliat'n tliiw? VVhat'n tliin 'hfiut you not 
playin' fur my woddin'? Oh, Pa-apl Vou ain't novor 
meant it. .Ir»nah'H and mo'n w(5ddin'f llit'M novor ain't 
poHHihhj! VVIiy, it*M you tliat han hriJii^^lit um to tliin. 
Vi^ you hadn'l, olliolpcji mc- and tall(<3d to Mm lii(<- you 
did wo wouldn't havo liad no w^^ddin', tind I'd Imvo goiiu 
i*in/<lo to my ^ravo. Not play? And hi in No(d» a hoau- 
tifid danctjfl And mc ready to juinjj (ivor tluj houHol 
And y(ju playiri' no eli^unt! (Jonio 'long in thin minnit, 
whioh you'vo alwayM boon a good friond to mo,— alwayw." 

Of oouiMo I'ap nd«;nt(!d. 'I'Ikjhj fmver wan a enjaturo 
mofo HUHO<5ptihl<5 Ui Kindne.H.H; ami for altbotion, or alfoo- 
tion'H »ako, wdiat would I.e. noi, iiav© dono or boon? 
" Woll, II. Mintah, to plcanui'; you, I can't nay you 
nay, Hooin' it'n yduv weddin' night,— mo that iiavo 
knowod you Honoo you warri't aH big aM my Willy." 

Ah h<5 (jutoHid with hor, a g(!nora! inurmur of Natln- 
faction nilcd tho room, (uitiroly mcUj di in itM origin, hut 
hcJj»iii(r tf) put tim <dd injin in tiiiio. " NoW Wo'll yni 

2a -^ 



270 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

sometbin' that's wuth the listenin','' said old Jacob Pot- 
ter to bis neigbbor, Tim Wbite, "I always did like a 
tune, aud Jobnny Shore kin play the fiddle first-rate. 
Hit's about the only thing he's good fur." 

"I never cared fur no noises myself," said Tim, and 
ran bis band through his hair several times, as be bad 
a way of doing. 

" Well, tunes is like roads ; when I kin git a tune of 
the right sort that I kin git a holt on, and travel straight 
on with slow and sure without its forkin' off every 
minnit a fresh way, and yet that's got pretty turnin's 
onst in a while to it, I will say it's pleasant, — that's to 
say, when you know the turnin's and are fixed fur to 
take 'em right," said Mr. Potter, as if apologizing for a 
weakness. 

" I like the jews-harp, myself, 'bout as well as any- 
thing," said Jim Wilkins's father. " My son usened to 
bit a sight of lively jigs out of bis'n, poor fellow!" 

" Old Hunderd is what I call a tune," said Daddy 
Culbert. " There's a heap in Old Hunderd, and there 
ain't no hurry 'bout it. You kin bold on to it as long 
as you like, and you always knows whur you've done 
got to, and what's comin' next. My father could er 
been heard a mile, 1 do reckon, when he put hisself on 
it. But save me from them slippery, skippery things 
that folks calls tunes nowadays, that's in one ear and 
out the other befo' you knows what's the matter, and 
has runned off and is 'way yonder out of sight before 
you've well got the taste of the cheese in your mouth, 
— maggoty things, always on the move." 

" Yes, sir; you're right there. I says so, too," agreed 
Mr. Wilkins, gravely, aud Mr. Potter nodded sagely. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 271 

" And as for me, I likes ' Hail Columbia,' when pinted 
out, better 'n any of 'em. There's a power of music in 
' Hail Columbia.' I can't rightly say as I knows it from 
other tunes, — there's such a many of 'm I can't be wer- 
rited with 'em, — but when pinted out I always says, 
' There's a power of music in that there hime,' " said 
another of the group, the grandfather of innumerable 
Browns. 

"It takes a deal of hearkenin'," said Mr. Wilkins, 
looking towards Pap, who was screwing up his pegs 
very carefully and tum-tumming at the strings to see 
that they were in proper accord. " I wouldn't of thought 
it." 

" Oh, yes. Hit ain't so easy, fiddlin'. Hit beats most. 
There's worse done," remarked Mr. Potter. 

Pap heard this, and brightened under it, and felt 
himself included with music and all musicians in a 
kind of general amnesty. 

" Why, yes, there is," admitted Mr. Peters, senior. 
" I don't kyur ef a fiddle's 'round myself at Christmas 
and ingatherin's and weddin's and sich. There ain't no 
great harm as I kin see in fiddles, 'ceptin fur fiddlers, 
who are mostly no 'count. And there's no-'counts that 
ain't fiddlers." Such a concession was a thing that 
could never have been expected from Mr. Peters, who 
was granitic in formation and of the Silurian period in 
point of prejudices. Pap heard and smiled, and tucked 
his beloved violin under his chin where he stood, and 
gave a long scrape from tip to end of bow and looked 
about him with positive assurance. 

" Eun, git me a stool, AYilly boy, to rest Jim Wilkins 
on," he said, to his little shadow ; and, going across the 



272 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

room, be turned an empty water-bucket upside-down in 
tbe low window-seat, and baving entbroned himself, 
with Willy's belp, gave a second scrape of bis bow to 
say tbat be was ready. Willy bopped off witb bis 
crutcb, and it was lucky that both were got out of the 
way in time, for tbe effect of Pap's signal was almost 
electrical, and in a moment the bashful youths, who 
bad been clinging together all evening so desperately, 
parted company by one impulse, and, as bold as lions, 
advanced, seized a maiden apiece by her elbow or hand, 
and marched with her into the middle of the room. 
Gone was all stiffness and embarrassment from that 
moment. A babel of talk burst forth. Podge Brown, 
who bad been tbe envy of bis own sex and tbe delight, 
apparently, of tbe opposite one, was suddenly com- 
pletely eclipsed and altogether deserted. Podge could 
not dance. 

Kot being afflicted with the faintest trace of shyness, 
he had been talking to the girls all evening and making 
himself irresistible in bis own fascinating way, showing 
bis easy feeling about society and familiarity with its 
usages in a variety of ways. He had begun by seating 
himself on the same bench with tbe maidens, — between 
A. Mander and Darthuly Meely indeed, — and had bril- 
liantly excused the boldness of the intrusion by saying 
tbat " merlasses must look to catch flies." He bad con- 
tinued to get off a great number of equally original and 
lively sallies, to tbe great amusement and satisfaction of 
bis audience, and the disgust of his companions near tbe 
door. He went so far as to make a mock declaration 
of affection, which be called "a pop," to two young 
ladies seated some distance below him. He ended by 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 273 

tickling them all, which threw them into the greatest 
possible state of arch confusion, and produced such 
protestations, affectations, profuse giggles, and threats 
that, naturally, he was driven in self-defence to make 
fresh demonstrations, whereupon all the timid darlings 
took refuge in each other's laps, where they embraced 
and kissed each other most fondly, and quite by acci- 
dent looked over at the now furious masculine majority 
who suffered and were strong. But with the very first 
bars of " Zip Coon" the conquering Brown found him- 
self no better off than ]N"apoleon at Elba, and in a flash 
about twenty couples were hard at it, jigging, and hop- 
ping, and spinning, and twirling, and not caring a pin 
what became of him. Away they went, in pairs, and 
faced each other, and set to, and capered, and bounded, 
swung half around a circle, fell to their " steps," swung 
back into place again, seized each other around the 
waist and spun madly around for a moment, faced each 
other again, set to, and so on da capo with fresh energy 
and other " steps" until not a breath was left in a single 
body. Such coquetting and pirouetting, such bright 
eyes and flushed cheeks, such freedom of movement 
and native grace among the girls! Such swing and 
fling, such rampings and stampings, such shouts of 
delight from the men ! Such perfect, unrestrained en- 
joyment for all! "Zip Coon" melted into "Miss Mc- 
Leod," " Hiss McLeod" was merged in " Money Musk," 
" Money Musk" slipped into " Gray Eagle," " Gray 
Eagle" ran into "Yellow Stockings," "Yellow Stock- 
ings" was skilfully pinned without a break to " Fisher's 
Hornpipe." 

On they all went, Pap playing with a fire and enthu- 



274 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

siasm that worked the dancers up to the highest pitch 
of excitement, playing as if there wasn't a heartache in 
the world and never had been, his eyes half shut, a 
smile on his face, beating time regularly" with his left 
foot, the dancers dancing to match with all their might 
and main, and heart and soul, and with every muscle 
of their bodies. The old floor sent up clouds of dust. 
The walls trembled and swayed. The windows rattled. 
The candle-sticks clattered. The broom fell in a fright 
against the disguised flour-barrel. The twins shrieked 
for joy, and danced, too, about the door after their 
own fashion. The elders leaned eagerly forward, and 
beamed, and oscillated on their seats, and nodded to 
the music, and exclaimed, and patted the floor with 
their sticks. And still the reels and reelers went thun- 
dering on. Pap grew paler and paler, the dancers were 
all aflame, but still there was no pause nor break. And 
now came a loud roar and a mighty tramp. It was a 
mercy^ that the shell of a tenement did not collapse like 
a card-house as all the couples bounded off in the 
" grand cirkit" all around the room, doing the long 
glide and hop of " the Irish trot," which, being well 
named for wildness and fury, would have been trj^ing 
to the constitution of the most substantial structure. 
Utterly exhausted when this highly characteristic out- 
burst of Milesian mirth was over, the dancers fell into 
the first seats they could find. The first frenzy of move- 
ment was over, and Pap could and did stop, too, and 
proceeded to mop his face with his handkerchief, which 
he then rolled into a tight ball and returned to hia 
pocket. Nobod}^ thanked him, nobody joined him, ex- 
cept Willy, whom he sent off again to bring him "a 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 275 

gode of water," but nevertheless he felt that he had 
his reward. " The folks is had a good fling, ain't they, 
honey ?" he said to the child when he returned. " It 
was as much as I could do to keep Jim Wilkins here 
from jinin' in. He pooty nigh stepped off when it 
come to ' Yellow Stockings,' he did. It was always a 
favbright of his'n. Many's the time I've played it fur 
him when my fingers was so stiff with the cold I couldn't 
hardly hold my bow. Poor Jim ! I wish he'd of been 
here to-night. He would of enjoyed hisself, and pleas- 
ured others too. He was a one fur weddin's. He was 
always jokin' about sich things. I remember him sayin' 
when he come back from bein' took prisoner that when 
he seed the street-cars in Baltimore, — sorter carts they 
is, honey, thut runs constant on rails to carry folks about 
their business, — he said they remembered him of the 
married state. All the folks that was in was always 
wantin' to git out; and all the folks that was out 
■peared like they couldn't be satisfied without they got 
in. He was that way. He was a joker; but he looked 
behind things, too, so to speak." Some little time passed 
before any more dancing was done, and then a sensation 
was created by Jonah's challenging Alf Peters to " a 
break-down." Jonah was considered by many people 
the " handsomest dancer on the Mountain." Alf Peters 
had won " the endurance prize" for break-downs the 
week before at the fair. Great interest was naturally 
felt in such a contest. Both men began by removing 
their coats, and after a few preliminary stamps and 
steps each threw back his head, shoulders, and arms, 
and settled to his shuffling and double-shuffling with a 
will, " the folks" gathering about them in a circle, Tim 



276 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

White "patting Juber," Pap fiddling for his life, and R. 
Mintah shrieking out in her feminine treble squeak, 
" Don't 3'ou stop, Jonah ! Go on ! Don't git beat, Jonah ! 
That's you!" the opposition petticoated element en- 
couraging Alf in much the same fashion. A more ex- 
citing struggle for supremacy was never seen on the 
Mountain, and how R. Mintah's eyes did shine with 
gratified pride when Alf Peters, pumped into an ex- 
hausted air-receiver, suddenly stopped, sank on the 
floor, and thereby confessed himself vanquished. " He's 
give in ! I knowed it would be so ! Stop, Jonah," she 
cried. But Jonah went on for some moments to show 
that he could do so, not that there was the least danger 
of any dispute or altercation, everybody having seen 
for some moments that Alf had lost his steadiness and 
was reeling as a top does before it comes to a stand-still. 
When Alf rose and sulkily resumed his linen " duster," 
with ill-concealed disgust, Jonah cocked his hat very 
much on the back of his head, stuck his thumbs in his 
suspenders, and made the tour of the room with R. 
Mintah hanging on his arm and looking up to him with 
fondest admiration. He then lit a five-cent cigar, and, 
in the fulness of his satisfaction, he actually went up 
to his late deadly enemy, young Culbert, and offered 
him one, adding a hearty clap on his back that was 
almost enough to produce a hemorrhage, on the spot. 
*' Ain't you 'most dead, my dear?" asked R. Mintah of 
her giant, anxiously. 

"iVb," he replied, with great scorn. " I ain't teched. 
Git out there and show me what you kin do." 

Out they got on the floor. Jonah stuck his arms 
akimbo. Pap, who had exhausted his repertoire, went 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 277 

back to " Zip Coon." E. Mintah caught up her skirts, 
turned out her elbows squarely, stuck her pretty head 
roguishly on one side. Jonah, with a wild '• Whoop-ee !" 
jumped fully two feet into the air, clapped his heels 
swiftly three times together before he alighted, whirled 
to the right, whirled to the left, advanced, retreated, 
gyrated. 

R. Mintah teetered forward prettily on her toes, flew 
right, flew left, with a little fluttering motion' like that 
of a butterfly with wings outspread, retreated Avhen 
he advanced, advanced when he retreated, glanced 
archly now over the right shoulder, now over the left, 
her cheeks like damask roses, her eyes like stars. 

Jonah darted towards her with his arms extended ; 
R. Mintah slipped under them and floated away. Jonah 
danced all around her; E. Mintah kept well out of his 
reach. Jonah pretended that he was exhausted, and 
let his steps die away to a faint shuffle, intended to 
convey the impression that he was quite spent; E. 
Mintah relaxed her vigilance. Jonah immediately 
darted forward again, and this time seized the little 
wife around the waist, and, lifting her up in his strong 
arms, deposited her bodily on the mantel-shelf, and left 
her there, — a sweet novelty in chimney ornaments. 
The shouts of the delighted audience had not died away, 
when Mr. E'ewman appeared at the door, very tall and 
straight, very solemn and formal. " Suppur-r, ladies 
and gentlemen .'" he said in loud, mechanical voice, with 
a whirr in it as of a clock running down. '• Suppur-r-rl 
And please to form youi'selves in couples of two and 
walk out." 

This was a welcome sound to Pap, whose head had 

24 



278 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDOE. 

dropped lower and lower over his violin, and who had 
been playing for some time with intermittent vigor. 
And to the elders, all of whom were drooping, too, and 
some of them dozing. And to Podge Brown, who had 
been threatening to go home for hours, but somehow 
had not gone. And to Matilda, who had sat bolt up- 
right all the evening, looking almost as sour and odious 
as she was. And to "Willy, who had rolled off and under 
a bench, and was "sound," as Pap remarked when he 
waked him. And to Stone and Pete, who had not been 
able to close an ej-e for thinking of it. And to the 
dank and grewsome, who rose with alacrity to respond 
to the summons, but, with all the others, was stopped 
by Mr. Newman, who gave out : " The bride and the 
bridegroom will form theirselves as the fust pair of two, 
and lead forth before all, which will follow on." This 
plan of Mr. Newman's for ensuring due and proper 
precedence necessitated R. Mintah's being taken down 
from her exalted position, and Jonah effected this in a 
twinkling, whereupon E. Mintah, by dint of standing 
on tiptoe, managed to administer a mock-violent box on 
his ear. Peace being restored between them, both sud- 
denly became very dignified and grave. R. Mintah put 
on her white cotton gloves, which she had taken off. 
Jonah did the same, and pulled up his collar, moreover, 
and held his head as high as he could get it. R. Mintah 
took his arm, and, having "formed theirselves," ihay 
waited a moment for the other " couples of two" to do 
the same, and then marched out of the room, solemnly, 
with measured steps, at the slowest possible rate of 
speed consistent with moving at all, to "Bonaparte 
crossing the Rhine," from Pap. To have laughed or 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 279 

talked during this progress would have been a gross 
indecorum. But when they had arrived at the supper 
table and taken their places, when Mr. Mathers had 
asked a blessin' at great length, and been blessed for not 
making it shorter, and when Mr. Newman had called 
out warningly, " Ladies to get their fill fust^ gentleme/i, 
and don't you disremember it. Guzzlers to wait till the 
last. Begin to commence to wait on your ladies, gentle- 
mew, and don't spare the vittles pervided and made and 
set out before you for the same," — then, I say, there 
was noise enough. A vague reminiscence of various 
legal documents had been floating through Mr. New- 
man's mind all evening, and an anxiety that every- 
thing should be done according to the law written in 
his own mind for such occasions. And Mother New- 
man, who had been beaming promiscuously and most 
contentedly upon everybody all evening, felt that she 
had never seen him appear to such advantage, and re- 
joiced to see him " actin' the double father" to perfec- 
tion. A bountiful supper, that, and certainly a merry 
company. Podge Brown was again in a position to 
show the superiority of head over heels, and became 
every moment more fatally fascinating. Before Mr. 
Mathers had well got out his " Amen," he was sportively 
pouring cofi'ee in the custard, and daubing the pound- 
cake with mustard, by way of showing the tricksy 
quality of his wit, and from this he went on to other 
delightful and genial antics that completely enslaved all 
the young ladies about him, whom he tickled impar- 
tially and persistently, causing them to " think they'd 
die," and to assure him that they " would split their 
sides," to say nothing of spilling their coffee, dropping 



280 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

their plates, and choking over and over again. But 
although thus devoted to the sex at large, ^[r. Brown 
was a man, and an unmarried one, and so it came about 
that be gradually and very artfuU}'' narrowed the circle 
of his charming attentions until Darthuly Meely w^as 
the object of most of them, and before the banquet was 
consumed he had contrived to give her the most signal 
marks of his preference, such as pulling down her hair, 
breaking most of her pearls, and repeatedly pulling her 
chair from under her. Something, however, must be al- 
lowed for the expansion of stocks and stones even under 
certain favorable conditions, and Mr. Brown was but 
mortal man, Darthuly Meely the dynamic force surging 
within him and seeking expression in playful fancies. 
Even Timothy White made three remarks in the course 
of that supper, and looked almost animated when fruit- 
cake was handed. And Jinny's tongue wagged freely 
in spite of such apparently insuperable obstacles to 
conversation as biscuits, and apples, and cakes, and 
pickles, of which her mouth was full. " You did jerk 
the liveliest to-night," she said to Pap. ""When I 
knowed you was dead and in your grave, I usened to 
tell x\lfrcd often that fur fiddlin' his Pa-ap beat all. 
And so you do, John, no matter who's the next one, fur 
it's jcs' livin' music ef ever I heerd any, and you with 
a leg buried, anyways, to my certain knowing. Hit's 
jes' a wonderment how you kin." 

One lady present certainly got what Mr. Newman 
wished all to have, and that was the dank and grew- 
some, who, considering that the meats were not cold 
baked, nor served on or out of a coffin, contrived to 
dis2:)0se of enough and to spare. She was still sitting 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 281 

over in a corner with a plate in her lank lap heaped 
high with a miscellaneous collection of eatables, with 
which she was aj^parently making close connection as 
far as could be seen (which was not far, the black sun- 
bonnet being cast down within an inch of the same, 
and mysterious sounds of chumping, and cracking, and 
gslping, and gurgling going on under its immediate 
protection as behind a screen), when the company 
trooped back to the living-room, leaving Simon Peter 
and Stonewall Jackson still skirmishing in the rear, — 
perhaps to cover their retreat and bring off the D. and G-. 
The evening was now over, as soon appeared. Mothers 
began to think of their babies and of their bread. 
Fathers "reckoned it was 'bout time to be gittin'." 
Grandfathers yawned dolorously, and were no longer to 
be kept up even by their sticks. Seeing this, Mr. New- 
man made his last official declaration : " Them that goes 
with the bride to her home-bringin' will git ready to 
start right away, aiid ef they've got any saddlin' and 
bridlin' to do they'd better be mighty quick about it, as 
aforesaid." A general commotion of preparation now 
ensued. Children were sought for, shawls and bonnets 
resumed, farewells made, and the heads of families, the 
elders, and the little ones made their way outside, un- 
hitched their " teams," clambered into their carts, and 
then waited, as etiquette demanded, for the departure 
of the bride and groom. Out came E. Mintah the next 
moment, followed by Jonah, and all cloaked and hooded. 
The night was black and starless, and it had been diffi- 
cult to distinguish anything or anybody, but now fully 
fifty pine-knots were lit in rapid succession, and flamed 
and smoked in the fresh breeze that blew from the di- 

24* 



282 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

rection of the Ridge. And now E. Mintah was swept 
up on a white pony, with a beautiful flowing tail and 
mane, by Jonah. And now Jonah mounted a big bony 
chestnut, and laid his hand on his wife's bridle-rein. 
And now the j'oung men and maidens mounted their 
respective steeds, and fell into line behind the first pair 
who were to be like another first pair, of whom it is 
said that "Adam delved and Eve span." And now 
Stone and Pete rush out and whisk up behind two of 
the cavaliers, and cling there like a couple of limpets. 
And now R. Mintah cries out, ''Good-by! Good-byl" 
over and over again. " Good-night, Pa-ap. Good-by, 
dear Mother Newman. Good-by, Father Newman. 
Come over soon. Good-by all." And Jonah gives two 
short " good-nights," too, and the procession starts. 
The gleam of R. Mintah's red dress and hood is seen 
for some time, and then is to be seen no longer. The 
carts and wagons all go creaking, rattling away. The 
procession turns into the Red Lane now, and the young 
men and maidens burst into a song full of joy and tri- 
umph. Mother Newman turns away in tears. The 
dank and grewsome flits out into the darkness like Poe's 
raven. Matilda stalks off towards home in a temper 
because Alfred has lingered so long. Little Willy is 
fretting, too, and appears to be trying to gouge out one 
of his blue eyes with his fist. The procession is wind- 
ing around the Mountain now, and the}- can see the 
torches still flaming, still smoking, still borne aloft. 
And now they have suddenly disappeared. Father 
Newman goes in and shuts the door. Jonah and R 
Mintah are married. Pap, Alfred, and the child stum- 
ble home in silence, — the old leaning, moss-roofed home, 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 283 

with the tottering porch and the wavy chimney, into 
which a bride as young and fair as R. Mintah walked 
so long, long ago. As they enter the gates, the clouds 
part a little and show a brilliant stretch of stars. And 
Pap looking up at them thinks of one who has passed 
beyond them. 



" How long be crying, ' Mercy on them, God 1' 
Why, who art thou to teach, and He to learn ?" 

Omar Khayam. 

" And a Yoice spoke : ' Come unto judgment, 
Ye who called Allah too merciful.' " 

Edwin Arnold. 

The wedding seemed to have had an unsettling effect 
upon Pap, whose condition, morally and mentally, was 
always one of fluidity, and who consequently was sub- 
ject to high tides and low tides and a thousand changes 
of feeling and purpose that more solid and stolid folk 
escape altogether. He said, when Willy asked, " What 
ails you, Pa-ap ? Yer don't want to play nor to go no- 
whurs, nor to do nothin','' that he was " downhearted," 
and that was it. E. Mintah had been happily settled 
for a week in the cottage that Jonah had built for her 
on the other side of the Mountain, and was almost as 
much in love with her new cooking-stove as with her 
husband, and had received and entertained every friend 
she had with the most effusive hospitality, yet Pap had 
not kept his promise to stop by and see how she was 



284 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

"gittin' on." "It don't matter; she'll not miss me," he 
thought. " I reckon I'd of been in the way ef I had 
of went. I mostly am, anyway. Hit's a big world, 
but I 'pears to take up too much room in it. I have 
saw that mighty clear fur a long while, and mayl)c 

'twas so before I seed it. Ef it wasn't fur Willy " 

It was not until he had been hard at work for ten days, 
and had got a third supply of " kindlin' " ready for 
market, — a much larger, richer store of fagots, sure to 
bring a good deal more than he had ever got, — that his 
spirits began to revive at all. " Hit's every red cent 
of it goin' into the bank fur you, Will^^ boy," he said 
to his little confidant ; " but don't you let on I've got it, 
fur she'll take it away. I'm going to put it whur no- 
body can't get it, so they tells me ; not even me, fur it's 
goin' in as William Elbert's, don't you see ? That's you, 
honey. Ain't that a smart way to fix it? I'm goin' to 
walk right in, and I'm goin' to say to the man in the 
coop that they've got there, ' Here, mister, here's five 
dollars. Hit's a big sum of money, and it's been sawnt 
here fur you to keep by Mr. William Elbert, that's a 
friend of mine' (that's you, Willy boy), ' and nobody 
ain't to have the handlin' of it but him.' I won't hitch 
my horse till that's fixed right and I've got shut of it. 
I won't look beyant my nose. And I'm goin' to git the 
money all in a chunk. I ain't goin' to take no dimes, — 
dimes is bad, Willy. Don't you never keep 'em about 
your clothes. They — gits lost." 

" That money you had was all dimes, wasn't it, Pa-ap, 
last time?" 

" Well, yes ; it got turned to dimes. And it got — lost 
— in a manner of spcakin'." 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 285 

" You was mighty sorry, wasn't you, Pa-ap ?" 

"Yes, indeed, I was, honey. And this here ain't 
agoin' into no dimes. I'll give the whole chunk to him, 
and he won't lose none of it. He's usened to takin' 
care of jes' heaps and cords of money. Why, I shouldn't 
wonder ef he had a dollar fur every day in the year 
behind them bars ! Yes, money and time's things you 
kin keep in a chunk; but ef you once split 'em up 
they're gone. I wish I had some more of both. I'd 
do a good part by you, my son. But I reckon you'll 
do as good as most. And when you git' big and is 
growed a man, and has got a fine business, me and 
you is goin' to live along together all pleasant, and 
pleasure around mightily, ain't we ? Me, and you, 
and Bunny, and Jim Wilkins, and Corporal Brass, 
and Sergeant Iron? What a heap of us! Hit's 
lucky some of us don't take much room : there 
wouldn't be no place to hold us. Lord! I wish it 
was now." 

" I'm goin' to have a farm, and cows, and horses, and 
dogs, and sheep, and all kinds of stock, and a bunch of 
shoats, and Eowan ducks, and turkeys, and chickens, 
and a red waggin,, and a cart, and a buggy, and pea- 
cocks, — I forgot peacocks, — and a orchard, and a gar- 
den, and all the rabbits and pigeons I kin ketch and 
raise, and a snake in a bottle, and a rattin' purp, and a 
saddle like Alfred's got, and a pair of boots that comes 

way up, and " Willy had not nearly finished his 

inventory, but was interrupted, — 

"You ain't said nothin' 'bout me. Ain't I goin' to 
be there ?" 

" I'm comiii' to you," said Willy. 



286 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

" Oh ! you was, was you ?" 

"When I'm done growcd up like you, Pa-ap " 

He was interrupted again. 

" You ain't to go and grow up hke me, honey. Like 
me ! Don't you never talk that way agin, my eon. It's 
hurtful to hear you. No indeed. There can't no two 
grow up the same way. And you ain't no kin to mo, 
my darlin' ! You'll grow up mighty defFerent to me, — to 
all, — and be better, and more respecteder, and richer, 
and luckier, and every way less misfortunato than some, 
— Billy Jones, that there Billy Jones that's knowed as 
Crazy Billy, I'm thinkin' of." 

"But I will be like you," said Willy, who was not 
used to contradiction from Pap, and indeed was very 
much spoiled by him. 

"You shan't! Ef you say it agin I'll whop yer! 
And ef you was to do it you'd kill me, — that's what. 
Do you want to go and kill your poor old Pa-ap ? 
Say? And you can't, neither. Folks is like eggs. The 
hatchin's one in a dozen, and the raisin' counts fur 
another, but the Qg:^g is all the rest. You ain't my sort 
of Qgg^ and you ain't 'bleeged nor obligated to be no sech 
bird. I'm a black old crow, honey, but hit's a rejoice- 
ment to me to think as you are a little white pigeon 
that can't never be a crow. No, you ain't to be like 
your Pa-ap, nor to want to be, fur I'm one of them that 
was spoilt in the makin' or the bakin', and I tells you 
so before you find it out, so you can't never go and say 
as Pa-ap set hisself up before you to be patterned after. 
You'll be tole by some as Pa-ap's a bad man, honey. 
Well, we won't talk 'bout that. But I've been good to 
you, ain't I? You won't never go from me, Willy? 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 287 

You love your old Pa-ap, don't you ? Pa-ap would give 
his life fur you ; and not be givin' much, neither." 

" Yes, I does," affirmed Willy, who had been standing 
in one of his graceful attitudes with his legs crossed 
and his hands rammed deep in his trousers pockets. 

" Come here, my darlin' little boy !" exclaimed Pap, 
and Willy complying he pressed him against his side 
and stroked his soft cheek for some moments in silence. 
" Do you love Pa-ap or boots the best ? Hainh ?" 

'• I loves you the best,'' said Willy, after a severe men- 
tal conflict, " but I jes' hanker after them boots. ~ Jonah's 
comes up to his knee-jints and he kin go through snow 
up to his waist in em, and ketch horses, or kill pigs or 
anything." 

" Oh, and that's what you want with 'em. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 
Oh, you are a man, you are, — Pa-ap's own little man ! 
Bless yer ! I'd jes' love to give you them boots, honey, 
shore. I'm well acquainted with a man in Winston 
that's got 'em to sell : the prettiest, all fixed off with red 
'round the tops. I could jes' see your little legs workin' 
in 'em and you bobbin' about in 'em as big as the next 
one. But I reckon we'll have to wait fur 'em ; times is 
got so bad fur Pa-ap. I ain't got nothin' I could sell. 
There used to be a right smart chance of stock 'bout the 

place when I was a child; but my father That's 

a good whip of your'n yet, Willy, or will be when it gits 
a new handle and another cracker. Some folks would 
steal the money ; but it would be a big sin fur a little 
gain, and I ain't never teched nothin' all my life long 
that was belongin' to no person. And I wouldn't fur 
the world. I'd starve first. I ain't the man to do sech 
a low thing. No, indeed." 



288 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

Pap's visit to the bank was delayed for ten days 
after this. The more he thoui^ht of the red-topped 
boots and of what Willy's joy would be in possessing 
them, the more he felt that he must make or find a 
way to get them. So he increased his store of wood, 
counted his bundles, reckoned up what he would have, 
shook his head, and was for the moment baffled. Next 
day he sold his one gray hen, and a lame duck to Dar- 
thuly Meely, who was " fixin' to git married," and 
meant to feather the nest of the future with some 
poultry of " her own bringin' and raisin'." Then he 
counted again, and again shook his head. " The 
weather's warm ; I don't want no coat. That'll be it!" 
be argued, and sold the coat, counted again very care- 
fully on his fingers, and smiled,- this time, and thought, 
" I'll go to-morrow. Won't my boy go plum' crazy 
'most when he sees 'em." 

He rose at daylight next morning, accordingly, and 
going out to the hillside pasture, brought in the family 
horse, who was nosing about among the stones there 
looking for something to eat. The result was so dis- 
heartening that he would, as a colt, have made no re- 
sistance to having the bridle slipped over his head, and, 
as it was, actually came slowly to meet Pap, and wearily 
regarded him as if he had hoped for something in that 
quarter, too, and had been disappointed. 

"Po' old fellow !" said Pa-ap. " I hain't got a bite fur 
you, — not a bite. This here's a hard world me and you's 
got into, Billy, ain't it now?" and so took him by the 
forelock and led him in. Billy's whole appearance was a 
confirmation of this fact, and nothing that he could have 
said, if he had been endowed, like Balaam's ass, with the 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 289 

gift of speech, could have been as mournfully eloquent. 
No horse, except a towel-horse, was ever more angular 
about the hips and well defined about the ribs. He had 
only one eye. He was string-halted. He was broken- 
winded. His back had not been entirely well for ten 
years, and it is doubtful whether he had ever had 
enough to eat in his whole miserable life. His coat 
had once been black, — a thousand years before, in that 
dim period in which he had gone frisking about a 
world of green grass that he believed would develop 
into abundant pastures, but which never did yield more 
than the scantiest nibblings; in which he had laughed 
at the stones on the hillside, not knowing how they 
were destined to break his teeth ; and had galloped 
about with the most foolish notions in the world of 
what it was to be a civilized horse, tossing his mane in 
the faces of those who would have enlightened him. 
It was now whitey-brown, like a certain kind of wrap- 
ping-paper, and wrinkled about him as if it were paper, 
badly put on. 

Such as he was, he was invaluable to the Shores, and 
Pap had nothing but praise for him, as he invested him 
with a set of harness which was certainly more orig- 
inal than ornamental, composed, as it was, of rope, odd 
bits of leather, a shuck-collar, and grape-vine traces. 

"Good Billy! Good old fellow! Cheer up now. It 
ain't fur to whur you're goin'. No. Me and you's 
goin' on a good errand this day, if you did but know it, 
— to put money by fur little Willy to git edgercated and 
take a front place with. Not like you and me, Billy. 
Back, sir I" 

Thus accoutred, Billy was attached to an extremely 
N t 25 



290 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

primitive vehicle, with scarcely any iron about it, — a 
Bort of elongated hen-coop swung on poles, Laving 
wheels of the most solid description, sawed out of the 
section of a tree, and a tar -bucket pendent in the rear. 
Having inspected the harmonious whole, and spent a 
good deal of time in tying up, strengthening, splicing 
the dubious places in the gear, Pap shut his knife and 
put it with the ball of twine back in his pocket, and 
leading Billy on a bit, hitched him to the fence to wait 
until breakfast should be over. 

" Is that you, Pa-ap ? Is you done hitched up ? Can't 
I go, too? Let me go, too, won't you? Say?" ex- 
claimed Willy, running out to join him. 

" No, honey. I can't take you this time. I can't, 
indeed. Alfred and me's goin' two together j:)e;"f/At'Zer. 
But when I comes home you jes' look back there by 
that there tar-bucket and see what 5'ou'll see! That's 
all. Come 'long in to breakfast." When Pap came out 
again, he had his own quota of bread intact in his hand 
and proceeded to feed old Billy with it, who turned his 
head mournfully towards him when hailed with " Here 
you arel You poor old critter, you! Put this down. 
Maybe it'll help you a leetle, lackin' the right fillin," 
and feebly disposed of it, with a kind of low-spirited 
satisfaction that was suggestive of a long course of de- 
pressingl}^ inadequate " feeds," tempered by unsubstan- 
tial windfalls like the present one. He then looked 
around again at Pap with the peculiar roll of the eyes 
so expressive of a lingering faith triumphing over much 
painful experience, and Paj:), answering it, said, ''No 
more, Billy. Not a crumb. You don't want to hust^ 
do yer ?" and climbed up into the hen-coop to wait there 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE, 291 

for Alfred. At this moment Mr. Carver came riding up 
on a stout cob, looking as solemn and severe as when 
he had ridden away, and roared out Alfred's name at 
the top of his voice. Alfred came out hurriedlj", and 
Mr. Carver entered upon a matter of business, — some- 
thing relating to a cow he bad bought of him, which 
had developed a post-sale tendency to hollow horn. 
After some talk between them, meekly apologetic on 
Alfred's part, deeply disapproving, not to say surly,- 
on Mr. Carver's, the former concluded that it would be 
necessary for him to go and have a look at the interest- 
ing invalid. So he got out a large leathern bag that 
would have held the small change of the Eothschilds 
and gave it to his father, saying in an impressive whisper 
to his father, "'Twas fur this I was goin' to town. 
Matildy's savin's fur pooty nigh two years. Twenty-five 
dollars! That's money, now, hain't it? I 'lowed to 
put it in bank myself, and it's what I ought to do, I 
do reckon. But this here cow, now ; throwed back on 
my hands, — couldn't you do it ? Jes' hand it in, and 
bring back the showin' fur it they'll give yer. Kain't 
you, now?" 

" Why, certainly, and surely, my son," said Pap. 

" Hit's money. Don't you forgit that you've got a big 

pile, and " Alfred stopped. " Go do nothin' with it," 

was what he thought, but he substituted " disremember 
to take it; and git the showin', mind! I do reckon 
I oughter to go. But Mr. Carver says she's shakin' 
her head backards and furrards constant and " 

" What are you fearin' ?" asked Pap, testily. " I ain't 
never stole nothin' as you knows on, nothin' of your'n, 
is I ?" 



292 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

"No. No. Well.go'long. Biitbar in mind hit's mon^y, 
Pa-ap," said Alfred ; and bis father shook the rope reins, 
and old Billy made an effort, and the hen-coop went wind- 
ing on its creaky way down the lane. It did not get 
very far, though, for, as invariably happened when Pap 
started to town, somebody came running out of every 
other cottage with "arrants" (errands) for him to do, 
and he had, of course, to stop and get his instructions. 
Grandma Williams sent out in hot haste to beg that be 
would take her " eye specs" in and have them mended. 
*' Both par's broke and she can't do nothin'," said her 
messenger. Mrs. Williams's spectacles were as well 
known on the Mountain as Mrs. Croesus's diamonds in 
New York, and the fact of her having two pair repre- 
sented as much opulence. Then there were Mrs. New- 
man's turkeys to leave at " a sto'." And Jinny Hodges 
wanted a spool of cotton " bad." And Mrs. Landon 
had some butter " waitin' a week to be kerried." And 
Mrs. Culbert couldn't "git along another minnit 'thout 
some terbacker." Altogether, by the time the Eed 
Lane had been traversed, old Billy was quite worn out 
with the strain of so many false starts, and the hen- 
coop was full of baskets and bundles, piled high above 
the wood, and Pap's mind burdened with a dozen com- 
missions, although he had cheerfully agreed to every- 
thing ]>roposed. Once on the turnpike, however, he 
laid aside all care, and, with cheerful cries to his equine 
Cyclops, set himself to enjoy the drive. His bosom's 
lord sat lightly on his throne. He turned more than 
once to look at the little load of kindling behind him, 
as if to assure himself that it was there. He had al- 
ready in his own mind deposited the money he was to 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 293 

get for it, and laid the foundation-stone of Willy's future 
fortune. He was at peace with himself and all the 
world. The day, too, was very beautiful, and Pap, ever 
susceptible to such influences, enjoyed that, too, — en- 
joyed the autumnal glory of the woods, the greening 
wheat-fields, the fir plantations ; noted the haAvk's re- 
poseful movement overhead, the intense blue of the 
sky, cloudless, except where a long chain of cloud-Alps 
stretched behind the actual mountains more than half- 
way around the horizon. " This here's a country,'' he 
thought, meaning that at its worst the Yalley is so rich 
in color and gracious of curve, so full of noble eff'ects 
of outline and delicately-beautiful silhouettes in foliage 
(as of gigantic bits of seaweed set against its clear skies), 
that th<3 ugly skeleton of a world revealed farther north 
by falling leaves, and the desolate swamps that show 
such gloomy depths and wastes farther South, were by 
comparison odious. His thoughts were as bright as the 
crowds of yellow butterflies that started up all along 
the road as old Billy jogged past them. Ah, yes ! He 
would work and save more money for Willy. Willy 
should be " high-learnt" and " notable" and " go ahead." 
Willy should be " a man to brag on ;" and he shouldn't 
have to be ashamed of his Pap, either. All that was 
behind him, — put away for good and all. The warmth 
of the sun was not more grateful on his coatless back 
than these genial and inspiring beliefs. Willj^ was 
"gittin' a leetle too high some ways, and would have to 
be brung down," if he could bring himself to discipline 
him, but what after all were such childish faults ? What 
a dear little fellow he was ! How he would delight in 
"them boots!" He turned now into the Winston road. 

25* 



294 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

The Mountain was now on his right, and the particular 
deity whom the Indians believed to inhabit it seemed a 
friendly and benignant spirit, with a care for poor old 
men and helpless children, as he glanced back at its 
blue bulk of familiar outline. It was still " twelve mile" 
to Winston. Old Billy walked for the most part, and 
seemed to be doing a great deal in doing that^ as Pap 
noticed, and so forbore to urge him to greater speed. 
The sun waxed extraordinarily hot with the heat of a 
last day of summer. The dust made Pap nearly as 
white as a miller, and old Billy several shades more for- 
lorn than ever, although that had seemed impossible. 
The drive had grown monotonous, as the freshness of 
the morning had worn away, and Pap looked behind 
him with interest when he heard the rattling of wheels. 
A wagon was close upon him. He recognized the driver, 
but pretended that he had not seen him, and looked 
straight ahead for some moments. The wagon gained 
upon him, and finally came alongside. " Howdy, 
Johnny! Howdy. Goin' to town ?" said a voice that 
Pap knew. Pap affected not to hear. " Goin' to taown, 
ain't yer?" reiterated the man, and now Pap was obliged 
to reply. " 'Twould 'pear so, Lem'l," he said, shortly, — 
very shortly for him. 

" So am I," said the man. 

" I don't reckon, — I ain't got no notion as we'er goin' 
the same way," said Pap, very decidedh", with a feeling 
of strong irritation. Why had Lem'l Harding come to 
blot all the fair prospect when he was feeling good, and 
doing good, and had cast in his lot with the faithful and 
peaceable in Israel? It cast a shadow over him merely 
to look at his companion ; and impatient to be rid of 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 295 

him, he whipped up old Billy into the mournful sem- 
hlance of a trot, and left him behind, hearing, "Hum! 
What's the matter with you^ Johnny ? You ain't always 
so high and fur off," as he moved away. 

Lem'l Harding was a man of evil reputation on the 
Mountain. He was known to be " a horse-trader," and 
suspected of being a horse-thief He was accounted so 
hard and shrewd in his bargains that it was said of him 
that " the devil buttered couldn't slip through Lem'l's 
fingers." He was known to be so unscrupulous that it 
was constantly supposed that he would be "jailed." 
Yet, somehow, he contrived to keep on the right side of 
the prison-doors, and gained a half-respectful consider- 
ation, even, by his clever avoidance of all the punish- 
ments due his dubious dealings. A tremendous poli- 
tician was Lem'l. His vote was always to be had for 
the bidding, and he would have helped to put Beelzebub 
in ofiice for a consideration, but none the less he prated 
eloquently" of all the issues at stake in every election in 
a tone of the most lofty public morality and private de- 
votion to all noble ends, and would stop for three hours 
on the high road to " argy the rights of it" (with the 
price of his own wrong-doing in his pocket), en route to 
the polls, dazing, confusing, and quite overwhelming 
some muddle-minded mountaineer of limited views and 
incorruptible character, whose whole political creed was 
embraced in " old Virginia forever," and a fond belief 
that taxes would be " took off" by the right party if the 
right party could ever get in. When Mr. Lem'l Hard- 
ing was not pulling at a long weedy beard and discuss- 
ing some vexed political problem, he was talking about 
the war; and although he was known to have " hid out" 



296 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

in the mountainp all during that struggle ho was so 
eloquent in his description of the battles in which he 
had not been engaged (when no old soldiers were 
around) that he passed for a veteran often with a 
younger generation, and represented himself as having 
distinguished himself on a thousand fields, and saved the 
day over and over again, with such a wealth of inaccu- 
rate accuracies as to time, place, weather, contending 
forces, commanders, strategic movements, and results 
that he sometimes deceived even the elect. But John 
Shore was not one of those who thought him as terrible 
in war as in peace, and whenever a Shenandoah scout 
was in the audience it wa3 observed that Lem'l was 
straightway transformed from a lion to a lamb, and 
though he could no more have got up a blush than his 
wife's brass " perservin'-kittle," he had the grace in such 
companies to eliminate himself from his reminiscences 
of the war, and content himself with pointing out Lee's 
mistake in not "marchin' spang on Washington," and 
proving that Grant could have taken Kichmond any day 
he wanted it. 

Pap had no sort of respect or liking for him, "knew 
him fur a skulker," believed that he " beat his wife, as 
folks said, — 'twas like the coward," — vowed that he was 
" the meanest white man in the whole country-side." 
But the fellow's glib tongue and a certain surface good- 
fellowship had made it difficult to decline the pleasure 
of his acquaintance altogether; and the acquaintance 
once made, Lem'l had found it easy to enforce rather 
than cement it, for the}' had this much in common, — 
the same vice. — and while there was the width of the 
world between the weakness of one and the wickedness 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 297 

of the other, and though Pap sober would have pre- 
ferred any companionship to that of "Shifty Lem'l," as 
Mr. Harding was called on the Mountain, there had 
been other times in which a community of evil-doing 
had established a relation that Pap at once hated and 
submitted to. Mr. Harding was not easily rebuffed, as 
may readily be imagined, and in a little while his wagon 
was on a level with Pap's again, and he had reopened 
the conversation. 

" That's a fine big load of your'n," he said. " You'll 
have money to spend." 

'' Not a dime," said Pap. " This here is to be put by 
fur Willy in bank to git edgereated with." 

"Oh, pshur! that won't go fur," observed Mr. Hard- 
ing. " You might's well spend it, — withouten you've 
got mo' 'n that." 

" That's as I think, I reckon," said Pap, and turned 
away his head. 

Nothing more was said for a while, and then Mr. 
Harding began again, — 

" Got in your fodder yit ? We all's had our'n in a 
week, and better you never seed." 

" I don't have nothin' to do with farmin'," said Pap, 
and tried to get old Bilh' into another trot, seeing which 
Mr. Harding jerked up his team and fell in behind, say- 
ing, " Yer mighty onsociable to-day. You must er put 
your clothes on wrong side out when you dressed 3'er- 
self, ain't yer ? I've knoioed you more speakable before 
now," with much significance. 

On they w^ent for a mile and more, and then came 
upon Darthuly Meely, who had started to town at day- 
light, and was walking along with her shoes in her hand 



298 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

and a basket on her arm. She hailed them and asked 
Pap for a lift, which, after a moment's reflection, he 
granted. "With much mincing coquetry of mien she 
came up over the side of the hen-coop and seated her- 
self among the bundles, saying, " I ain't never been 
seed with my foot to the ground befo' in all my born 
days. But my ! but these shoes pinch. They oughtn't 
to hurt. I give a dollar fur 'em. But hit's jes' seemed 
like I couldn't take another step in 'em. And there 
warn't no use in wcarin out the sfocA'm's jes' so fur fool- 
ishness. I didn't 'low to meet nobodj'. My ! I certainly 
am 'shamed befo' your face. I'm goin' to put 'em right 
straight on this minnit." Darthuly Meely had her little 
affectations like some other maidens, and fluttered al?out 
considerably before she got settled to her satisfac- 
tion. Pap onl}' smiled and said, "Pshur! whur's the 
shame?" Shoes were not made for "folks" to walk 
in for miles and miles, but were an ornamental finish to 
such expeditions, it was thought, on the Mountain. 
And stockings were will-o'-the-wisps to be longed for, 
and seen afar in shop-windows, very occasionally se- 
cui-ed, and still more rarel}^ worn. Darthul}- Meely's 
had red stripes and she was \Qvy vain of them, and 
cast many a glance at the only persons who were near 
enough to be dazzled by her splendor as she invested 
herself with the order of the garter and its accessories. 
Mr. Harding took advantage of this much encourage- 
ment to draw near again. Old Billy had looked around 
with a plaintive " Oh, Lord, how long !" glance w^hen 
he became aware that his burden had been increased by 
a hundred and thirty pounds of rustic loveliness, and 
had then stru^•irlcd noblv on. It was not difficult for 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 299 

Mr. Harding with bis four horses to keep pace with hini. 
A lively conversation began between Darthuly Meely 
and himself. Pap not wishing to join in it kept silent. 
Then, noticing after a bit what a pull poor old Billy was 
having of it, he got out, and taking his crutch walked 
for two miles beside his four-footed friend, not sorry to 
have the hen-coop between himself and Mr. Harding's 
restless black eyes. Mr. Harding hailed him, and of- 
fered him a seat in his wagon, which he declined. 
Darthuly Meely waxed arch, and declared that she was 
"loadin' that waggin' up fur a bad breakdown," and 
started to get out. Mr. Harding, to her great surprise, 
of course, offered her a seat, which she accepted. Dar- 
thuly Meely would have flirted with Mephisto, and 
Mr. Harding was the only available substitute for the 
Prince of Darkness at hand. Pap begged her to stay 
where she was, but she insisted that it would be "on- 
merciful, and onmerciful was a thing she wasn't and 
wouldn't be." So Pap got back into his place, and on 
they went again. " He's keepin' hisself to hisself, and 
is mighty fur and cogitive," said Mr. Harding, sotto 
voce, " but I've kiiowed him sociable. Oh, yes, I've 
knowed him sociable." 

It became more difficult every moment for a man 
of Pap's kindly nature to reject the conversational 
advances of Mr. Leni'l Harding. "Let's halt a bit. 
That critter of your'n, Johnny, is blowed, — regular 
blowed." Pap did not wish to stop, but it was evident 
that old Billy did, so they halted awhile. It was 
now impossible for Pap to "keep hisself to hisself" 
any longer, and what he would have called " a stiff 
conversement" followed. "Johnny, he's goin' to bank; 



P,00 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

he's proud," said Mr. Ilarding. " I shouldn't wonder 
cf he'd got fifty cents to lay by." 

" I've got thirty dollars, or will have when my wood's 
sold,'' said Pap, quickly, not insensible to the sneer, 
and then added, " but hit's all Matilda's 'most. She's a 
savin' woman." 

A glint of light sprang into Mr. Harding's black ej^es. 
He gave Pap a long, attentive glance. " That poor 
critter of your'n needs a feed. Look at him. Got any 
corn to feed to- him?" he said. 

Pap looked at old Billy, whose uncertain forelegs 
were a good deal hooped, and whose long neck was 
stretched up the bank in search of a tuft of anything 
that a miserable horse could eat. " Ko. I'm mighty 
mvvy. But I hain't got nothin' fur him," confessed 
Pap. 

Down got Mr. Harding, or, rather, off, from the stout 
horse he was riding postilion-fashion and into his 
wagon, where he sought and found a bag of corn. This 
he brought forth, and, scattering about half a bushel 
down before old Billy's incredulous eyes, said, " Thar, 
let him take all he w^ants." 

Pap was astonished. Lem'l was not supposed to be 
of the prodigal sort, except in the first person singular. 
Pap was softened, more so than by any favor that 
could have been shown himself. " Thanky," he said. 
" Thank}^ kindly, Lem'l," and loosed old Billy's bit and 
bridle that he might thoroughly enjoy the treat, say- 
ing, '• Now, Bill}', boy, do you jes' stuff. It's what I'd 
give you every day ef I had my way or my own. 
Don't you let up on it till ycr can't swaller." Billy did 
not need this injunction, it is certain. Stuff he did, 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 301 

swelling visibly before their eyes, snuffing greedily at 
every ear, as it rolled here and there, in an agony lest it 
should get away from him before he could make all this 
bliss his own, and leave him a prey to the bitterest 
memories of what might have been. 

His face was softened and mild when he again looked 
at Pap and asked him to let his girth out two holes, 
which was done, Pap saying, " You feel like a Qgg, don't 
yer, Billy ?" and patting his neck as he slipped back 
the bridle, " I wish I was a critter. I wish that much 
corn 'd fill me, leastways, not bein' a critter," he thought, 
and the satisfaction he had in mind was not a gastro- 
nomic one. 

By the time Winston was reached, Mr. Harding had 
contrived to get on reasonably good terms with Pap. 
Darthuly Meely alighted on the edge of town, thinking 
that she avoided thereby being taken for a country-girl, 
and took her way down one of the side-streets, where, 
to her great mortification, she was stopped not five 
minutes later by a lady who wished to know whether 
that W'as butter in her basket and w^hat she asked for it. 

" This here is your way ef you're goin' to any bank," 
said Mr. Harding to Pap. Pap made no answer. 

"I said this here was your way," repeated Mr. 
Harding. 

" Yes. I heerd you," said Pap. 

" I'm goin' 'round that way," said Mr. Harding. 

" Tm goin' this here road," repHed Pap, and was about 
to turn off in the opposite direction, when Mr. Harding 
said, " That road don't lead nowhur. This here is your 
road, Johnny." 

" I reckon I kin diges' my mind 'thout you chewin' it 
26 



302 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE, 

fust to make it easy fur me, Lem'l. G'lonc:, Billy," said 
Pup, dryly, and oif be went, leaving Mr. Harding check- 
mated for the time being. 

It was about this hour that Matilda, going out into 
the Eed Lane, found an old gypsy seated near her gate 
on the remains of a wooden rocking-chair, with a heap 
of bundles tumbled down at her feet. She w^as the 
most ghastly old hag that one could see in a lifetime. 
She would have been burnt for a witch on sight any- 
where in England or America a hundred years ago. 
The witch of Endor could never have been more wrin- 
kled, yellow, toothless, forbidding, nor the Fates or 
Furies more haglike and full of sinister suggestion. 
She looked a thousand j'ears old, and as though she had 
sjient every day of the time in purgatory. Her dress 
was torn open in front, that she might breathe more 
freely. Her one wisp of gray hair fell over her shoul- 
ders from beneath what had once been a hat. Her poor 
old feet were bare and covered with dust. Altogether 
she was such a terrible incarnation of the misery and 
poverty that exists in the world, that one would have 
supposed that the veriest Pharisee, seeing her, would 
smite upon his breast, and cry, " God forgive me my 
share of the sufferings of my fellow-creatures," and long 
to tear off his costly robes and broad phj^lacteries, " go, 
sell all." She had been sitting there for some time weep- 
ing in the mechanical fashion of the very old, crooning 
and complaining to herself: " Oh, here we are ! But we'll 
not be let to stay. They drive us off everj^where, — 
everywhere. They tell us lo git out of the road, even, 
and won't let us cook the little we've got by the roadside, 
'cause it frightens the horses, they say. Oh, they don't 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 303 

know what we suffer! They don't know what we 
suffer ! Some few of 'em's kind ; not many. They're 
mostly hard and mean and wicked. And they call 
themselves Christians. Oh, they don't know what we 
suffer ! Them that would help us can't. Them that 
can't, won't. That's the way of it. On the tramp since 
the 1st of March, and my feet all cut up with the stones. 
I want a house and a bed and some butter. I don't 
have anything I can eat. I ain't tasted butter I don't 
know the day when. I can't eat everything. My teeth's 
all gone. Oh, ef I had a bed to lie down on!" 

Matilda caught part of this lament as she advanced, 
but was not in the least touched by it. The old womam 
went over it all again, poor soul ! as if it were out of 
the bitterness of her soul that her mouth spake, adding 
that her son had gone to get some wood and water to 
make a fire and cook what they had, if they were not 
" driv off." But driven off they were. Matilda hated 
gypsies, and was merciless. When the son came up she 
abused the pair roundly as tramps, and vagabonds, and 
worse, and obliged them to move on. The man grew 
impudent in return, but gathered together his bundles 
and prepared to obey. The old woman's skinny claws 
tightened upon her shawl, and if she had been terrible 
before, she was more so now, as, trembling with passion, 
she rose and, coming close to Matilda, glared upon her 
in ghastly hideousness. " Curse you ! Curse you ! 
Curse you for a flint !" she shrieked out. " You drive 
me away, — an old woman, past seventy, that's dropped 
down at your gate. Your turn '11 come. I can wait. 
You are born, but you are not dead yet. Curse you for 
a Christian r The hate, the fury, the scorn of her 



304 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

glance and voice, was enough to appall the stoutest 
heart, and as she hobbled away a chill ran through 
Matilda's veins. 

She was not a good woman, but she was a supersti- 
tious one, and there was horror for her in the prophecy 
and menace of the gypsy. She would have run after 
her and tried to soothe and propitiate her by offering 
her food, fire, all that she lacked. But she felt that it 
was too late. The two figures were still in sight, — the 
son bent double almost by his burdens, the mother by 
heavier ones, — her years and sorrows, — weeping again, 
and again crooning out, " It's always the same. They 
drive us away. They won't let us stay nowhere." But 
Matilda was right: it was too late. She went into the 
house and sank on a chair, her thoughts full of what 
had happened. She was still sitting there, all alone, 
when she suddenly felt as though an unseen hand had 
clutched her heart and released it only to drive a knife 
into it. In short, she had a violent spasm of the heart, 
the result of an organic defect that she knew nothing 
of, and of the excitement she had undergone. Willy 
found her there an hour later when he came in, and was 
as much surprised as she had been when she called him 
to her and said, in a voice that he had never heard before, 
"Willy, you don't hate me, do you? I ain't been kind 
to you, but I will. Don't bear no grudge agin me, will 
you?" Matilda a saint would be. She had got an 
awful fright, and was as eager as any Hindoo to pro- 
pitiate Shiva, the destroyer. 

Since the days of the grand old prophet who cried, 
"I, the Lord God of recompenses, will surely requite, 
saith the Lord," no human voice had ever carried greater 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 305 

panic into a human breast than the gypsy's had done 
into hers. And the incident, irrelevant as it seems, had 
a direct and important bearing on the events of the 
day. The sky was overcast now, and the chill and 
darkness consequent upon the sun's withdrawal still 
further affected Matilda's mind. As soon as she could 
do so, she lit a fire in the stove. She put. a chair near 
it for Willy. She got him first a large slice of bread 
covered with preserves (opening a bottle that she kept 
for the greatest occasions), and then one of cake. She 
promised him fifty cents. She told him she would get 
him a pony. That she would send him to school. That 
his father had been her favorite cousin. That he should 
benefit by her savings. She called him "dear" and 
" darling Willy." She made him sit on her lap, though 
he did not covet the honor. It was no wonder that 
Willy stared and stared, and stared again, and could 
scarcely believe that it was Matilda. He sat on the 
edge of his chair at first. He was afraid to swing his 
feet. He was scared when he let some crumbs drop on 
the floor. But the new Matilda swept them up with- 
out a word, — indeed, actually with pleasure, it seemed. 
She got more and more friendly, indulgent, confidential. 
She told him that his Pap was a good-for-nothing, and 
a vagabond who was "po' and wuthless," and could 
never do anything for him. She vowed that she would 
do everything, and more too. It was a most curious 
spectacle to see them together, — Matilda insistently, 
persistently benevolent, Willy half flattered, half fright- 
ened, wholly amazed. As the supreme authority of the 
house, he had alwa3's respected her with the respect 
that all children have for authority, and to see the 
u 26* 



306 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

sceptre laid at his feet, and this pride abased before him, 
made him in the course of an hour fully aware of the 
change in his position. He presumed upon it, even, but 
was not checked or restrained, much less scolded. 

Meanwhile, Pap had sold all his kindling for more 
than he had ever got before, and had all his money in 
" the chunk," — not as large a pyramid as those put up to 
show the yield of gold in California for a year, but as 
imposing and dazzling to his mind. He stopped at the 
store where the red-topped boots were hung out, and 
bought them with greedy haste, snatching them down 
from the nail before the clerk could serve him, paying 
for them with pride, and suspending them carefully 
back of the tar-bucket. He then started down a side- 
street that intersected the main one en route to the 
bank. He had gone about a square, when he heard him- 
self loudlj^ hailed. "Johnny! Johnny Shore. Here!" 
He pulled up, and saw Mr. [N^ewman beckoning to hira 
from a blacksmith's shop. '' Come here ! Come here a 
minnit," said Mr. Newman. 

" What's it ? I kaint," replied Pap. 

"Jest a minnit," said Mr. Newman, imperatively. 
"I'm buyin' a critter off Lem'l, here, and we ain't agreed. 
You was in the cavalry; you ought to know a critter, 
and what it's wuth." 

Pap was mortal, and what merely mortal man could 
resist such an appeal ? 

"Well, I oughter," he said, and smiled and complied, 
dismounting, and leading old Billy to a rack in an open 
space back of the court-house, where he hitched him, 
and where Billy instantly drooped, wilted, collapsed all 
over, as only the poor horse of a poor farmer can. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 307 

When he joined Mr. Kewman with a " Well !" he found 
him as exercised about the '• pints" of this ease as he 
had ever been over those of his memorable lawsuits. 
He said that he and Lem'l had had a defference of opinion 
'bout that critter, and Lem'l had said, " There's Johnny 
Shore. He was in the cavalry. Jest you ask him." It 
was some time before the matter was settled. It was 
settled in Mr. T^ewman's favor in accordance with Pap's 
decision. Mr. Newman was triumphant. Pap was natu- 
rally pleased. Lem'l seemed low-spirited and defeated. 

" You've got the better of me ; but to show I don't set 
it agin you, why, I'll treat all 'round; leastways, I 
don't want it said as I'm leadin' Johnny off. Here's the 
money. You treat," said 3Ir. Harding to Mr. Newman, 
aside, putting a dollar in his hand. 

Mr, Newman instantly agreed. "All right! Come 
along. We'll take a drink on this," he said. And Pap 
went. Just one, and Avith Mr. Newman, not with Lem'l, 
was his reckoning. 

That afternoon a great storm fell upon the Yalley and 
swept summer away with it on the wings of the wind 
full a thousand miles. The reverberations of the "live 
thunder" among the mountains as it " leapt from crag 
to crag" were magnificent and prolonged. The light- 
ning bayoneted the blackness above them, pulsed all 
through the heavens, lit up all the wide, wet plain with 
its dread flashes. And as for rain, it was as if Lake 
Superior had been poured through a sieve down upon 
the earth. 

Along the road that had once been a trail — a road no 
longer gleaming white with dust and 4azzling in the sun- 
shine, but beaten into a gray, glistening rivulet — came 



308 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

a very different Pap from the one who had passed over 
it 80 blithely in the morning, — a wild, wretched-looking 
creature drenched to the skin, chilled to the soul, mud- 
splashed, most miserable. About an hour before he 
had waked as in another world to a confused sense of 
man}- things having happened as in a dream. Where 
was he, and what had happened, he wondered ? He soon 
found out that he was in the vacant square in ^vhich 
he had left his wagon, which was not ten feet away. 
The storm, and what he was doing exposed to it, had 
next to be accounted for. The next thought was of 
Willy's boots. He hurried to the back of the wagon, 
and there they were, just where he had put them. Still 
much dazed, he started to unhitch the horse, w^hen sud- 
denly- he thought of Matilda's money, and felt with 
agonized haste for the bag containing it. It was gone ! 
Frantic, he climbed into the w-agon to look for it. It 
was not there. More frantic still, he got out and 
looked all about him. It was not to be found. Sobered 
by the shock, but half maddened by it, he rushed down 
to the main street as fast as his crutch could take him, 
and ran in a frenzied way up and down the street, and 
in and out of the stores, raving excitedly of his loss 
and meeting only with repulse and contempt. At last, 
in utter despair, he gave up the search, made up his 
mind to go home, returned to the square, took another 
look there, the rain beating upon him all the while, 
and finally, cursing his folly, got into the wagon. It 
was poor, patient old Billy who started off, of his own 
accord, and took the right road at the right turning. 
Pap was the mcyest automaton of a driver. It is 
doubtful whether in the deep distress and agitation of 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 309 

his mind, the acute torment inflicted by his thoughts, 
he was conscious of the fact that another storm was 
raging about him, though his nervous terrors may have 
been insensibly increased by it. He could scarcely see 
where he was going for some miles, the rain continuing 
to pelt down with scarcely abated violence. But he 
knew that he would be there very soon, only too soon, 
and would have to face Matilda. Twenty-five dollars ! 
Oh, it was monstrous, hideous! A fine lady gives 
that much for a vinaigrette, a bonbonniere, a thousand 
trifles. But on the Mountain it was equivalent to 
twenty-five hundred, and with Matilda to twenty-five 
thousand. It was no wonder that his soul sickened 
within him when he thought of it. 

The rain ceased. The Mountain came in view looking 
like a huge whale disporting itself in a sea of mist. The 
wretched man's teeth chattered and his knees trembled 
in a nervous chill of apprehension when he saw it. It 
was not the Mountain, it was Matilda, and he saw his 
own figure projected like a Brocken spectre against the 
white clouds that still hung about it. When he got 
home, he hitched his horse near the gate, walked up 
the path, waited at the door fully ten minutes, and then 
opened it in sheer desperation. Matilda was not there, 
but Alfred was, and to Alfred he blurted out the terrible 
truth. Alfred was profoundly moved. He raced up 
and down the room with his hands in his pockets as 
white as the wall for a moment. And then he swore 
freely, but he was not brutally furious. Matilda came 
in, and at sight of her Pap's heart stood still. He stood 
before her in abject woe, pale, trembling, his head bowed 
with unutterable grief and shame. He could not utter 



310 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

a word. It was Alfred at last who said, pleadingly, 
"'Tildy, don't take it hard. Don't now. He's lost all 
your money." Matilda's was not a white or speechless 
wrath. It was a blue fury. She was terrible as she 
stood there and poured out upon Pap every drop of all 
the vials of wrath stored up in her coarse and cruel 
nature. lie dropped into a chair and covered his face. 
When she accused him of having stolen the money, he 
looked up and cried, " That's a misthought. I didn't 
tech it, not a cent of it." When she continued to rail, 
he called, "Oh, don't. Don't, Matilda. Don't be so 
wreakful. I'll work forever but I'll make it up to 
you." 

This roused all her scorn. ^^You make it up. How?" 
she began, and railed worse than ever. " I'll do any- 
thing. I'll sell my fiddle !" moaned Pap. The mention 
of this instrument seemed to put Matilda utterly beside 
herself She swept like a whirlwind into the shed-room, 
dragged it out from under his bed, brought it in, dashed 
its brains out, as it were, against the door-post, and 
threw what remained, with the little shawl that had so 
long been wrapped tenderly about it, into the fire. Pap 
started up, but only looked on spell-bound. Alfred cried 
out, " 'Tildy ! 'Tildy !" Willy, who had witnessed the 
whole scene, burst out crying in his fright. Her rage 
not yet sated, she seized Pap by the arms and pushed 
him out of the door and down the steps, shrieking, *' Git 
out of my house, you drunken old thief! Never set foot 
in it again, — never!" She banged to the door. Alfred 
and she had some high words, but Pap heard nothing. 
He was stunned, for he had fallen headlong. It was 
some little time before he at all recovered his senses, 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 311 

and he was passing his hand across his forehead iu a 
dazed way when Alfred came to the door with his crutch 
in his hand. Not waiting to hear a word, he seized it 
and rushed away, leaving his son standing there gazing 
blankly after him. 

It was about half an hour after this that Pap slunk 
into the shed-room. Willy was there, down on the floor 
with his back to the door and his playthings scattered 
around him. He was so intently engaged that he did 
not hear Pap enter. Pap looked down at the dear, 
familiar little back and the curly head. His expression 
changed, and grew more natural. " Willy ! Willy, my 
darlin' !" he said, and dropped on the floor near him. 
He was about to gather him in a passionate embrace, 
and had his arms about him, when he discovered that 
Willy was shaving himself with Alfred's razor. " My 
darlin' !" he cried, in horror, and, seizing it, wrenched 
it from his grasp. 

Willy's whole heart was set on shaving himself "like 
Alfred," and it angered him to see the razor for which 
he had so vainly longed, and had just secured, spirited 
away from him by force. He turned upon Pap, gave 
him a rough little push, and said, angrily, " Go 'way. 
You're a drunken old thief!" The child was only re- 
peating with unconscious cruelty what he had just 
heard, but in Pap's morbid state of diseased suscepti- 
bility no allowance was made for this. 

There was the weight of the world in that little 
hand, — a black, loveless, pitiless, unbearable world it 
seemed to the old man. His little " Willy boy," whom 
he had so loved, more than his own soul, — his child, 
his darling, for whom he had sold the coat off his back, 



312 BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 

for whom he would have laid down his life, and a 
thousand happier ones, — to call him that! lie gave the 
child a look, — a strange look, Willy thought it. He rose 
slowly from the floor, took his crutch again, opened the 
door, and went out. It was no longer raining. The sun 
was setting behind the distant mountains on his right. 
Above them stretched a sea of golden calm framed in 
black clouds that parted farther on showing a strip of 
exquisitely translucent blue, and a smaller space flecked 
with the green the sea shows above coral reefs. On his 
left, Massanutton's spur stood out in high relief, darkly, 
brightly blue, against a rosy background. Except for 
these, there was no color to be seen. The whole heavens 
were hung in black, tinged in the east with amethyst 
by the dying lord of day. All the landscape was sombre 
and sodden. The surf-wind of the mountains had 
sprung up and was breaking and roaring on its distant 
shore, and sweeping moaningly over the plain below, as 
Pap skirted the side of the hill and disappeared in the 
hollow on the other side. There was a large, turbid 
pool at the bottom of it, encircled by unsightly ghosts 
of dead grasses and weeds at this season, but with one 
lovely late-blooming bush of wild aster flowering whitely 
near the brink. When Pap saw it, he stooped and picked 
a bit, looked at it for a moment, threw it awa}', looked all 
about him. Ilis eyes rested on the strip of blue, and 
AVilly's speech about his dead wife came back to him. 
"Ay, she's there!" he thought. 

A little later some tattered, frightened clouds that 
had overhung the pool hurried away to the north. 
The evening star sprang laughing out into the blue. 



BEHIND THE BLUE RIDGE. 313 

In the cottage, Jinny White, who had droi)ped in, was 
trying to light the lamp. 

"Why, what's the matter with it?" she said, after 
the fourth failure. "Hit's got water in it. That's a 
sign, — a sign of a drowndin'." 

When she finally succeeded in her self-imposed task, 
she set the lamp in the window, through which its long 
yellow rays shone friendly and far, — the window of the 
house in which John Shore had lived, loved, suffered. 

But a life, like the light of the world, had sunk in 
night. 



THE END. 



27 



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"Miss Baylor's clever story has had such high marks of appreciation during 
its appearance as a serial in Lippincott's Magazine, that its publication in 
book form is most gratifying. There is one test of the unfailing spirit and 
good humor of the novel. Hosts of magazine readers have been awaiting its 
publication, as a whole, in order to mail it to English friends. Both nationali- 
ties, in fact, are so delicately and humorously satirized, that it is a truly 
'international' piece of fun. The good points, the true distinction of good 
breeding in manners and customs pertaining to each of the two peoples, and 
the thorough good understanding of the genuine people in the story, are the 
most satisfactory of its conclusions; but it is a sharp stylus that sets down the 
pretensions of the vulgar on either side. It looks as though Dais^ Miller 
were avenged at last— and yet no offence either given or received.' —Phila- 
delphia Ledger. 

"In Miss Baylor's work we have a novel entertaining from beginning to 
end, with brightness that never falls flat, that always suggests something be- 
yond the mere amusement, that will be most enjoyed by those of most cultiva- 
tion, that is clever, keen, and intellectual enough to be recognized as genuine 
wit, and yet good-natured and amiable enough to be accepted as the most de- 
lightful humor. It is not fun, but intelligent wit ; it is not mere comicality, 
but charming humor; it is not a collection of bright sayings of clever people, 
but a reproduction of ways of thought and types of manner infinitely enter- 
taining to the reader, while not in the least funny to the actor, or intended by 
him to appear funny. It is inimitably good as a rendering of the peculiarities 
of British and of American nature and training, while it is so perfectly free 
from anything like ridicule, that the victims would be the first to smile."— 
The Critic. 

***For sale by all Booksellers, or will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, on 
receipt of the price by 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, Publishers, 

No8. 715 AND 717 Market Street, Philadel -hia. 



PUBLICATIONS OF J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 
"A BRILLIANT PICTURE OF GARRISON LIFE." 

MARION'S FAITH. 

By Captain CHARLES KING, U.S.A., 

Author of " The Colonel's Daughter," 
" Kitty's Conquest," etc. 

ismo. Extra cloth ------ $1.25 

" Captain King has done what the many admirers of his charming 
first story, ' The Colonel's Daughter,' hoped he would do, — he has written 
another novel of American army life. The present is in some sort a 
continuation of the former, many of the characters of the first story re- 
appearing in the pages of this volume. The scenes of the story are laid 
in the frontier country of the West, and fights with the Cheyenne Indians 
afford sufficiently stirring incidents. The same bright, sparkling style 
and easy manner which rendered ' The Colonel's Daughter' and ' Kitty's 
Conquest' so popular and so delightful, characterize the present volume. 
It is replete with spirited, interesting, humorous, and pathetic pictures of 
soldier life on the frontier, and will be received with a warm welcome, 
not only by the large circle of readers of the author's previous works, 
but by all who delight in an excellent story charmingly told." — Chicago 
Evening jfournal. 

" The author of this novel is a gallant soldier, now on the retired list 
by n'ason of wounds received in the line of duty. The favor with which 
his books have been received proves that he can write as well as fight. 
' Marion's Faith' is a very pleasing story, with a strong flavor of love and 
shoulder-straps, and military life, and cannot but charm the reader." — 
Natio7ial Tribune, Washington, D. C. 

" Captain King has caught the true spirit of the American novel, for 
he has endowed his work fully and freely with the dash, vigor, breeziness, 
bravery, tenderness, and truth which are recognized throughout the 
world as our national characteristics. Moreover, he is letting in a flood 
of light upon the hidden details of army life in our frontier garrisons and 
amid the hills of the Indian country. He is giving the public a bit of 
insight into the career of a United States soldier, and abundantly de- 
monstrating that the Custers and Mileses and Crooks of to-day are not 
mere hired men, but soldiers as patriotic, unselfish, and daring as any 
of those who went down with the guns in the great civil strife. Captain 
King's narrative work is singularly fascinating." — St. Louis Republican. 

" As descriptions of life at an army post, and of the vicissitudes, trials, 
and heroisms of army life on the plains, in what are called ' times of 
peace,' the two novels of Captain King are worthy of a high and per- 
manent place in American literature. They will hereafter take rank with 
Cooper's novels as distinctively American works of fiction." — Army and 
Navy Register, Washington, D, C. 



PUBLICATIONS OF J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 

KITTY'S CONQUEST. 

By CAPX. CHARLES KING, U.S.A., 

Author of "The Colonel's Daughter," "Marion's Faith," eto- 

16mo. Extra Cloth. $1.00. 



"A highly entertaining love story, the scene of which is laid in the Soul* 
•even years after the war." — New York Herald. 

" Capt. King has given us another delightful story of American life. Th« 
reputation of the author will by no means suffer through his second venture. 
We can heartily commend the story to all lovers of the American novel." — 
Washington Capital. 

" Will take rank with its gifted author's vivid romance, ' The Colonel's 
Daughter,' and should become as popular. Capt. King writes fluently and 
felicitously, and in the novel under review there is not a tiresome page. Every- 
thing is graphic, telling, and interesting. The plot is of particular excellence." 
— Philadelphia Evening Call. 

" ' Kitty's Conquest,' a charming little story of love and adventure, by 
Charles King, US. A. The plot is laid in the South during the reconstruction 
period following the late war. The book is written in a most attractive style, 
and abounds in bright passages. The characters are drawn in a very pleasing 
manner, and the plot is handled very successfully throughout. It is altogether 
a pleasing addition to the library of modem fiction." — Boston Post. 

" A bright, original, captivating story. The scene is laid in the South some 
twelve years ago. It is full of life from the word 'go !' and maintains its inter- 
est uninterruptedly to the end. The varying fortunes through which the hero 
pursues his ' military love-making' are graphically depicted, and a spice of dan- 
gerous adventure makes the story all the more readable." — New York School 
yournal. 

"A bright and vivaciously-told story, whose incidents, largely founded upon 
fact, occurred some twelve years ago. The scene, opening in Alabama, is soon 
transferred to New Orleans, where the interest mainly centres, revolving round 
the troublous days when Kellogg and Mc£nery were de facto and de jure 
claimants of supreme power in Louisiana, when the air was filled with notes of 
warlike preparation and the iread of armed men. Though the heroes are, foi 
»Jje most part, United States officers, there is yet nothing but kindly couriesj 
and generous good-will in the tone of the story, and its delineations oi Southern 
character and life, of Southern scenes, and the circumstances and conditions of 
the time. I'he author is Charles King, himself a United States soldier, whose 
story of * The Colonel's Daughter* has been well received." — New Orleans 
TimeS'Democrat. 



%* For sale by all Booksellers, or will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, oe 
receipt of the price, by 

J B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, Publishers, 

716 and 717 Market Street, FhiladelphU. 



-! REDUCED IN PRICE TO $1.25!-^ 



THE COLONEL'S DAUGHTER; 

OR, 

IVIIVJVING HIS SPURS. 

12mo, Extra Cloth. ?1.25. 

"The sketches of life in a cavalry command on the frontier are exceedingTy 
-vivid and interesting; and the element of adventure is furnished in the graphic 
and spirited accounts of affairs with the hostile Apaches. Captain King is to be 
thanked for an entertaining contribution to the slender stock of American mili- 
tary novels— a contribution so good that we hope that he will give us another." 
— N. Y. Tribune. 

" The fertility of this field of garrison and reservation life has already at- 
tracted the attention of several writers. We took up the work of Captain King 
with the impression thatit might be like some of these, an ephemeral production; 
we found it instead a charming work, worthy of achieving a permanent place in 
literature. We cordially congratulate Captain King on his accomplished suc- 
cess, for such unquestionably it is." — Army and Navy Journal, N. Y. 

" There have been few American novels published of late years so thoroughly 
readable as ' The Colonel's Daughter,' which, if it be Captain King's first essay 
in fiction, is assuredly a most encouraging production." — Literary World. 

" The volume is a remarkable work of fiction, and will be found entertaining 
and well worthy a careful reading."— CA/co^^? Tribune. 

" Not for many a season has there appeared before the public a novel so 
thoroughly captivating as ' The Colonel's Daughter.' Its fresh flavor cannot f.nl 
to please the veriest ennuye, while its charming style would disarm the most 
fastidious critic. With that delicacy of touch peculiar to his workmanship, \\t 
draws now upon pathos, now upon humor, but never strains either quality to its 
utmost capacity, which distinctly proves that Captain King is a writer of signal 
ability, whose novel of 'The Colonel's Daughter' we hope is but the prelude, 
to many others." — Milwaukee Sentinel. 

"A departure into a new field in novel writing ought always to be wel- 
comed. ' The Colonel's Daughter' is,' strictly speaking, the first American mil- 
iury novel. It is a good one, and Captain King ought to follow up the complete 
success he has made with other stories of army life on the American frontier. 
The style of the author is unaffected, pure in tone, and elevating in moral 
t&QC\.." —Wisconsin State Journal. 

CapUin King has in this novel prepared for us a clear and interesting story 
of army incidents in the West. He is aufait in the art which made Sir Walter 
Scott a companion for old and young — the art which brings to the mind of the 
reader that sentient power which places us directly into communion with the 
imaginary characters filling their parts in a book. The military incidents are 
interwoven into the inspiring love episode that to the pages of this work add an- 
imation." — Times- Detnocrat, Nen.v Orleans. 

"' The Colonel's Daughter ; or, Winning His Spurs,' a story of military life 
at an Arizona post, written by Captain Charles King, U.S.A., and published by 
J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, may rightfully claim to be a good novel. 
Its characters are strong and clear-cut; its plot original and well sustained, and 
the pictures of military life on the frontier, of Apache character, and of the 
physical features of Arizona Territory are realistic and fascinating." — San 
Francisco Bulletin. 

" The outcome of the novel is just what every reader would wish. It is a 
splendid story, full of life and enjoyment, and will doubtless prove a great 
^\QX\X.t.." —Iowa State Register, Des Moines. 

For Sale by all Booksellers. 

PnbUshed by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, Philadelphia, Pa 



PUBLICATIONS OF J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 

0ne of the J^uanes. 

BY 

AI.ICH KIPUG HA]»III.XOX. 

12mo. Extra cloth. $1.25. 



" Bonny Duane, the centre of interest, is a delightful young lady, 
but seems more Philadelpliian than of New York in her beliefs and 
customs. The other characters, the gossips and the military men, 
are well considered, and the hero is as perfect as one would like both 
in beauty and in disposition. But the merit of the book lies not in 
characters which are rather conventional, but in the scenes and the 
swift movement of a striking plot. The author knows how to tell a 
story." — Boston yournal. 

"This clever story of an artillery post is based upon a dramatic 
incident of military life. A keen eye for the humorous side, and an 
adequate appreciation of dramatic effects, make it decidedly agree- 
able reading." — Philadelphia Ledger. 

"An interesting novel of life in the garrison and navy-yard circles 
of Pensacola, and ends as all good novels should." — New York Home 
Journal. 

"This is a tale of Florida life, full of adventure and thrilling with 
interest. It is written in Mrs. Hamilton's best style, and deals with 
the social customs of military life, varied by the adventures incident 
to the camp. There are interwoven with the thread of the story 
many bits of description of the scenery of the country where the plot 
is laid." — Baltimore Herald. 

" It is one of the best of recent novels, is well told, and holds the 
reader's interest to the end." — Germantown Telegraph. 

" A well-written and interesting novel, with a plot somewhat out 
of the usual course. The story is a pleasant one, and will repay 
those who select it for reading at the sea-side or mountain this 
summer." — Toledo Blade. 

" It is an intenselv interesting book, as when did a story of army 
life, either in time of'peace or war, fail to be ? It is a book than which 
few are more entertaining." — Boston Globe. 

"Eminently readable and entertaining.'' — Charleston News and 
Courier. 

***For sale by all Booksellers, or will be sent by mail, postage prepaid, OB 
receipt of the price by 

(/. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, Publishers, 

Nob. 715 and 717 Market Street, Philadelphia. 




[;;-V;f'.'.V' % J B LIPPINCOTT COMPAN~ ^:v;'»-|r:;.'j 



TAKEN 

BY 

SIEGE 

A NOVEL. 

lleinflsonteJy Isstietl 
in 12»no Form, 

WITH 

Clear, Large Type, 
Fine Paper, 

AND 

Attractive Binding. 

Extra Cloth. $1.25. 



"This is a charming love-story, interesting alike to all, and sustains a 
high interest to tlie close. It is a book that the reader will not willingly 
lay aside until the pleasing sequel is reached."— Oftto State Journal. 

" A graphic and very interesting anonymoiis story of a young journal- 
ist's experiences in New York. Who the hero may be is enveloped in 
mystery, but that the heroine is Miss Clara Louise Kellogg there is little 
doubt. The other characters will be readily recognized as conspicuous 
in New York society. The story reveals the inside workings of some of 
the metropolitan newspapers, and shows how, by pluck, brains, and luck, 
a new man may sometimes rise rapidly to the highest rank in journal- 
ism, distancing the veterans. The author has unusual ability as a writer 
of fiction."— ^^6any Journal. 

" A sketch of New York life, characterized by a certain dash and fresh- 
ness. It possesses vigor and lightness. The author has produced an 
entertaining story." — Boston Journal. 

"The book is pure and wholesome; the story entertaining, good, 
healthy, and readable." — Philadelphia Inquirer. 

" The story deals with the living forces and events of to-day, and is one 
of the most vital and strong and keenly interesting of late novels." — 
Boston Evening Traveller. 

For sale by all Booksellers, or will be sent, post-paid, on receipt of the 
price by the Publishers, 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, 

715 and 717 Market St., Philadelphia. 



PUBLICATIONS OF J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 

W. M. THACKERAY'S COMPLETE 
WORKS. 

Standard Edition. 
"WUh lUuftrationa by the Author and others, 26 vol$, 8vo, 

Vanity Fair. Irish Sketch Book. 

Pendennis. Barry Lyndon. 

The Newcomes. Roundabout Papers. 

Henry Esmond. Four Georges. 

The Virginians. Lovell the 'Widower. 

Philip. Miscellaneous Essays. 

Hoggarty Diamond. Contributions from Puck. 

Book of Snobs. Burlesques. 

Christmas Books. Catherine. 

Paris Sketch Book. Ballads. 

Yellowplush Papers. 

English cloth, uncut edges. Per vol., J.3.00. 8vo. Cloth, gilt top. Per 
vol.,j3.oo. Sets in English cloth, 26 vols., I78.00. Sets in cloth top, J78.C0. 
Sets in three-quarters calf, $150.00. Sets in full tree calf, J200.00. 

Library Edition. 
Illustrated. Complete in 24 vols. 8vo. 

Per vol. Englishcloth, gilt, $2.00. Extra cloth. Per set, $48.00. Half calf, 
^75.00. Three-quarters calf, extra finish, gilt top, other edges uncut, |93-oo. 
Tree calf, $120.00. 

Popular Edition. 
Complete in 26 vols, 12mo. Illustrated, 
Extra cloth. Profusely Illustrated. Per vol., $1.25. Cloth extra. Per set, 
$32.50. Half calf, $65.00. Three-quarters calf, extra finish, gilt top, othef 
edges uncut, $78.00. 

The Globe Edition. 
Complete in 13 vols. Crotrn 8vo. With over 70 Illustrations. 
Cloth extra. Per vol., $1.25. Also in sets. Cloth, $16.25. Half calf, 
$32.50. Three-quarters calf, extra finish, gilt top, other edges uncut, $39.00. 

Handy Edition. 

16mo. To be completed in 26 vols. Cloth, SO cents per voL 

Half morocco, $1.00 per vol. 

Now in course of publication. To be completed in 26 volumes. 



PUBLICATIONS OF J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 

CHARLES DICKENS'S WORKS. 

The Illustrated Standard Edition. 

Complete in 30 volumes, octavo, $2.50 each. 

This Edition is printed on a finer paper and in a larger type than has been 
employed in any previous edition. The type has been cast especially for it, 
and the page is of a size to admit of the introduction of all the original illus- 
trations. 

Sketches by "Boz." David Copperfield. 

Pickwick Papers. Bleak House. 

Oliver Twist. Little Dorrit. 

Nicholas Nickleby. A Tale of Two Cities. 

Old Curiosity Shop and Reprinted The Uncommercial Traveller. 

Pieces. Great Expectations. 

Barnaby Rudge and Hard Times. Our Mutual Friend. 
Martin Chuzzlewit. Christmas Books. 

American Notes and Pictures History of England. 

from Italy. Christmas Stories. 

Dombey and Son. Edwin Drood and Other Stories. 

Cloth, ;g6o.oo*'*. Half calf, gilt, marbled edges, ^120.00*. Three-quarters 
calf, extra finish, gilt top, other edges uncut, J125.00*. Full tree calf, gilt, 
>i 75.00. 

Library Edition. 
12mo. With the Original Illustrations. 30 vols. 
Each work sold separately in the original red cloth binding. Per vol., ^1.50*. 
In sets. Cloth. 30 vols., ^45.00*. In sets. Three-quarters calf. 30 vols., 
fco.oo*. 

Handy Edition. 

30 vols. 16m,o. Half eloth, SO cents per vol. Half morocco, 

$1.00 per vol. In course of publication. 



THOMAS CARLYLE'S WORKS. 

The Ashburton Edition. 

This Edition is handsomely printed, and contains the Portraits and Illustra- 
tions. 17 vols. Demy 8vo. Cloth, gilt top, gz.oo per vol. Three-quarters 
calf, $4.50 per vol. 

Vol. I. The French Revolution. 

Vol. II. The French Revolution and Past and Present. 
Vol. III. Sartor Resartus; Heroes and Hero Worship. 
Vol. IV. Life of John Sterling, Life of Schiller. 
Vol. V. Latter-Day Pamphlets, Early Kings of Norway, Essay on 

the Portrait of John Knox. 
Vols. VI., VII., VIII. Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell. 

Vols. I., II., III. 
Vols. IX., X., XI.. XII., XIII., XIV. History of Frederick the Great. 

Vols. I., II., III., IV., v., VI. 
Vols. XV., XVI., XVII, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays. Vols. 

I., II., III. ' 

People's Edition. 
In 38 vols. Sm.all crown 8vo. Bound in cloth. Per vol., 75 cents, 
38 vols. Cloth, $28.50. Full alligator, yellow burnished edges, |6o.oo. Or 
In 19 vols. Cloth, $23.75. Full alligator, yellow burnished edges, $50.00. 
Full Russia flexible, in Russia case, $60.00. Half calf, gilt, $50.00. Tree 
calf, $85.00. 



PUBLICATIONS OF J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, 
Sir Walter Scott's Waverley Novels. 

New Library Edition. Complete in 25 octavo volumes. 
Cloth, gilt top, $1.75 per volume, or half morocco, gilt top, 
at ^2.25 per volume. 

This new edition of Waverley Novels, published in connec- 
tion with Adam and Charles Black, is printed at Edinburgh. 
Each volume contains an entire novel, printed on fine 
paper, in bold, legible type, and contains two steel engrav- 
ings by the most eminent artists of their time. 

It tpill be published in the following order, two volumes a monthf 
eommencing November, 1886: 

I. Waverley; or, '"Tis Sixty 15. Peveril of the Peak. 

Years Since." 16. Quentin Durward. 

a. Guy Mannering; or, The 17. St. Ronan's Well. 

Astrologer. 18. Redgauntlet. 

3. The Antiquary. 19. The Betrothed, and the High- 

4. Rob Roy. land Widow. 

5. Old Mortality. 20. The Talisman: A Tale of the 

6. A Legend of Montrose, and Crusaders. 

The Black Dwarf. 21. Woodstock; or, The Cavalier. 

7. The Heart of Mid-Lothian. 22. The Fair Maid of Perth; or, 

8. The Bride of Lammermoor. St. Valentine's Day. 

g. Ivanhoe: A Romance. 23. Anne of Geierstein ; or, The 

10. The Monastery. Maiden of The Mist. 

11. The Abbot: A Sequel. 24. Count Robert of Paris, 

12. Kenilworth. 25. The Surgeon's Daughter, and 

13. The Pirate. Castle Dangerous. 

14. The Fortunes of Nigel. 

Dickens's Christmas Stories. 

New Reprint of the Original Edition, viz. : Christmas Carols, 
The Chimes, The Haunted Man, Battle of Life, Cricket 
on the Hearth. Reprinted from the original plates, and 
contains all the illustrations. 5 vols. Original English 
cloth, 50 cents per volume. Bound in half Persian 
morocco, gilt top, per set, ^5.00. 

Horse and Man. 

Their Mutual Dependence and Duties. By the Rev. J. G. 
Wood, M.A., author of " Homes without Hands," etc. 
With Illustrations. 8vo. Extra cloth, 1^2.50. 



RARE BOOK 
COLLECTION 




THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

AT 

CHAPEL HILL 

Wilmer 
95 






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