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"Vigorous, spirited, truthful, absorbing." — AVtf Vori 

"A thoroughly interesting, red-blooded, virile story, 
and at the same time a historical document of the very 
greatest value." — The Bookman. 

" Will be read with keen enjoyment." — Nevi York 

" The story is one of intense interest." — Boston Herald. 

"In his writings of the mountains in war time Dr. 
Barton has a virgin field." — New York Independent. 

" Abounds in life and incident. The men and women 
move and act spontaneously. The primitive customs and 
usages of the mountaineers have been carefully pictured." 
— Philadelphia Ledger. 


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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

"Tell your father that I forbid him to open school." 

(.See page 60.) 

Pine Knot 

A Story of Kentucky Life 


William E. Barton 

Author of A Hero in Homespun, Etc. 

Illustrated by F. T. Merrill 


New York 

D. Appleton and Company 


Copyright, 1900 







I. — The Pine Knot ghost . 
II. — Smith Hemphill's passengers 
III. — Uncle Simon Peter 
IV. — The school board chairman 
V. — A possible castaway 
VI. — The chimney corner 
VII. — Twenty dollars a month . 
VIII. — The making of a philanthropist 
IX. — The surprise at the schoolhouse 
X. — The top side of the earth. 
XI. — Widow Braniman and her neighbor 
XII. — Daddy Campbell's funeral 


XIV. — Granny White's remedies 
XV. — The heart of Joe Lakes 

XVI. — The same ghost or another 
XVII. — Swift's buried secret . 
XVIII. — The thread that slipped 

XIX. — The circular rainbow . 

XX. — The widow's revenge . 

XXI. — The meaning of it . 
XXII. — The glorious discovery 
XXIII. — For the cause of freedom 
XXIV. — The mob, the man, and the ghosts 















viii Pine Knot 



XXVI. — The new teacher 263 

XXVII. — The Freedom Mining Company . . . 271 


XXIX. — Near the cataract 286 

XXX. — The plunge 294 

XXXI. — Fanatic or philanthropist .... 312 

XXXII. — In Lexington 320 

XXXIII. — What's in a name? 328 

XXXIV. — With the rank of captain .... 337 

XXXV. — An ideal and a reality 343 



" Tell your father that I forbid him to open 

school " Frontispiece 

"Who are you?" I7g 

"If we let ye go, will ye git out?" ..... 247 

" I can never repay you " 314 






Noel Davis moved his inverted nail keg a little 
farther within the shade in front of Bill Blake's store, 
kicking Widow Braniman's long-eared hound out of 
the way. He was moving less to get out of the sun 
than to get farther from his companions. He was 
feeling a little sore, for they had laughed at him, and 
he had just had charged to his account a bushel of 
corn meal which he had too confidently offered to pay 
for if Granny White could pack it home. With visi- 
ble efifort, but still successfully, she tugged at the sack 
until she got it upon her shoulder, and then tottered 
off home with it. Noel watched her eagerly as at 
times she seemed likely to fail, but at last when she 
gathered strength with the effort and moved more 
briskly to her cabin, he joined with the rest in shout- 
ing words of encouragement to her, and pretended 
that he had sought that way of dispensing a charity. 
No one contradicted this declaration, and no one be- 
lieved it, and the group, on one pretext or another, 
laughed at Noel several times thereafter. 

"Leave the dog alone, cyan't ye?" demanded 
Widow Braniman, coming to the door in answer to 
the familiar yelp. 

2 Pine Knot 

"Who's tetched yer dog?" demanded Noel. 

" You kicked him," said she. 

" You cyan't prove it," retorted Davis. 

" I don't have obleeged to prove it," replied 
the widow. " They hain't nary 'nother man any- 
whurs near Pine Knot that's triflin' mean enough to 
do it." 

With this sally the widow returned to the inspec- 
tion of some calico, the purchase of which, if she 
really decided to buy it, would require all her eggs 
and butter for some time. Bill Blake had received 
a new order of goods since last mail day, and several 
women, as well as the usual number of men, had come 
to await the advent of the mail. 

Dan Brafiford had not arrived yet. It was not 
time for him to arrive for that matter, and even if it 
had been there was more time. Nothing else was so 
plentiful about Pine Knot. If, therefore, Dan de- 
layed, as was sometimes inevitable, and the mail was 
an hour or four hours late. Pine Knot accepted the 
fact not without comment, but with composure. The 
men outside and the women within were both con- 
genially occupied. 

The men, who had been animated momentarily by 
the promise of a set-to between the widow and Noel, 
settled back again into their listless attitudes. Neze 
Post looked dejectedly into the puddle of tobacco 
juice between his feet. That was his customary posi- 
tion when in repose, his elbows resting on his knees. 
He was unusually dejected to-day. The hotel busi- 
ness was not flourishing of late. The single tourist 
who had come to town this week had gone to Green 
Best's new hotel. Green sat to-day with his box 

The Pine Knot Ghost 

tipped back, his thumbs under his knit " galluses,'* 
and his cob pipe tilted high. 

"What ails ye, Neze?" he asked. "Tears lack 
ye ain't so pert as you uster be when we was a-settin' 
up to the same gal." 

" Old age comin' on, I reckon," said Ebenezer, 
with a faint attempt at pleasantry. 

" I don't reckon hit's that," said Green. " Must 
be piety. You kep' both the preachers over last Sun- 

" They ain't much money in keepin' preachers," 
said Neze. " P'ti'lar when they feed their own 

" They don't let 'em starve, that's a fac' ! " laughed 
Green. " When old Preacher Taulbee comes on his 
horse — hit ain't rightly a horse, but jist the frame 
of one — you kin hang me if I don't believe it's all the 
feed that old nag gits till his next meetin' day, without 
it's faith and papaw bushes." 

" Neze gits the preachers and you git the cattle 
buyers, ain't that so. Green ? " asked Blake. 

" Oh, Pm liable to git the preachers next time," 
said Green. " They go around. If they give Neze 
any special attention hit's because he needs it worse 
than what I do. But I reckon I need money worse'n 
what he does, and that's comin' to-wards me a leetle 
mite faster now. Things goes where they's the most 
need, I've most gen'rally always noticed." 

Neze colored. " I don't think hit's plumb right 
for you to put up that ar new sign that calls yourn The 
Best Hotel," said he. 

Green laughed, and the others joined with him, for 
Green's answer was already known. 

4 Pine Knot 

" Hit's a case of needcessity, Neze," he said. " I 
couldn't call it The Post Hotel." 

" But hit ain't nary bit nor grain better than mine," 
urged Neze. 

" I never said hit was," rejoined Best, with con- 
tagious good humor. " I jest call my hotel by my 
own name, and you kin call your hotel by yourn." 

" I don't want to call it by my own name," said 
Post. " But if I was to, my name wouldn't be no 
sorter insult to yourn. But yourn is to mine." 

" Good lordy, Neze," said Green, laughing louder 
than ever. " Hit's a right daggon shame ef a feller 
cyan't use his own name without some other feller 
feelin' lack he was insulted. I'd pinely like to ac- 
commodate ye, Neze, I would for a fack ; but the 
truth is I cyan't afford to pay the Legislature to 
change my name. Of course you needn't under- 
stand that my hotel's better'n yourn, but I don't see 
no help for it but to use the name that the Lord and 
my daddy gin me." 

This explanation did not satisfy Neze, who knew 
that Green was chaffing him and gloating over the 
situation. The name had unmistakable advertising 
value, and, while it was respectable to keep the 
preachers, they were likely to go to Best's or some- 
where else next meeting day ; and they paid nothing, 
and were as hungry as their horses. 

" I wisht Dan would come," said Green, taking up 
the conversation again after a pause. Green had led 
in the laughter against Noel, and had worsted Neze 
in the argument over the sign, but there are disadvan- 
tages in a victory too sweeping, and Green felt the ob- 
ligation of starting the conversation which the demor- 

The Pine Knot Ghost 

alization of Neze and Noel had brought to a temporary 

" What d'ye want Dan to come for ? " asked 
Blake. " He ain't got no mail for you." 

" I'd sorter like to hear about politics," said Green. 

" They say," said Neze, " that things are getting 
pinely mixed up." 

" Yes," said Green, " the nomination of this man 
Lincoln is a mighty sorter surprise to the Jimmy- 

" Hit'll be a surprise to them that nominated him 
come November," said Neze. 

" I ain't right sure of that," said Blake. " I've 
got a sorter idy they're goin' to run that man in." 

" Tell you what I'll do, Neze," said Green ; " I'll 
undertake to eat and sleep the Republicans and you 
take keer of the Jimmycrats." 

" All right," said Neze. " Will you call your 
hotel The Black Republican ? " 

" I'll take that under advisemaint, as the jedge 
says," said Green. 

The men laughed at Green this time, and good 
nature was restored all around. 

" Here comes Jake Crawford," said Noel. " How- 
dy, Jake. Got ary flask about ye ? " 

" Nary un," said Jake. " Been a-movin' my still- 


" Right acrost the Gov'maint survey for the State 

" What's yer idy in that ? " 

" Well, they're a-gittin' sorter ornery about the 
laws agin sellin' and stillin', and I've sorter made up' 

6 Pine Knot 

my mind to preepare, as the feller says, for the eenevi- 
table. When I have my still in Kaintuck and my 
worm in Tennessy, who's a-goin' to say whar the stuff 
was made? And ef I stand in Tennessy, and the man 
that buys it stands in Kaintuck, whar is the sale? 
And ef the sheriff comes from one State, and finds the 
barrel rolled acrost the floor into the other, and me 
a-settin' on it lack a law-abidin' citizen, what's he got 
to do, as a man and a gentleman, but jest to own up 
beat, and step acrost to whar he hain't got no juris- 
diction, and take a drink, and go home about his busi- 
ness, sayin' that when he arrived he found I was out 
of the State." 

" Jake," said Green admiringly, " by ginger, 
you'd orter be a member of the Legislature ! I never 
heerd tell of nothing slicker ! " 

" Well, I jist now begin to see the use of this 
Gov'maint survey," said Neze. 

" Yes," said Jake, " the State line is a real special 
Providaince, When I git fired up agin, boys, come 
over and we'll have somethin' wet." 

We know many things now about which there 
was once a reasonable doubt. Thereby we have need- 
lessly increased our sorrows. The whole world 
knows now that Pine Knot is in Kentucky, but in 
i860 it was assumed to be exactly on the line between 
that State and Tennessee. What good it has done 
any one to learn that the line runs two miles south 
it would be hard to say, and it compelled Jake Craw- 
ford to move his bar again. 

However, he could afford it. No man profited 
better than Jake by the proximity of the State line 
except old Tommy Jones at Cumberland Gap after 

The Pine Knot Ghost 

the war. He took the shanty which the Federal sol- 
diers built exactly under the war-time bridge that 
connected the pinnacles, and then sold liquor till the 
railroad went through and demolished the bridge and 
old Tommy's business. Tommy Jones had both Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee as a base of operations, and if 
he had been pressed hard, as some good men have 
been in these later years, by a concerted attack of offi- 
cers from both States at once, he had five or six 
square, or rather triangular, feet of the very tip end of 
Virginia in his chimney corner. That is, it was so 
believed then. More recent surveys, forever unset- 
tling things, have changed this, too, and moved the 
corner a distance up the hill where a three-colored 
sandstone rock marks the corner of the three States. 
The stone below, which people sit upon to snap their 
kodaks at each other and then chip for relics, is sim- 
ply a witness stone now, though it serves the igno- 
rance of tourists quite as well as the genuine mark, 
and for that matter it served the ignorance, if you 
choose to call it so, of Tommy Jones. 

But Tommy Jones is gone from the Gap, and Jake 
Crawford's new store on the new State line is as ob- 
solete as his old store in Pine Knot itself. Yet — and 
I have always counted it a curious fact — the State-line 
habit clings to Jake. When his regular business 
became demoralized through the joint operation of 
the officers of the law and the manufacturers of the 
dirty red whisky they make in Cincinnati (the moun- 
tain whisky is uncolored), he was driven back to 
making his own liquor in order to have a good article, 
and to be able to sell it at a living profit. Now rev- 
enue officers have no more regard for a State line 

8 Pine Knot 

than they have for human rights in general ; but 
Jake's present establishment, whose exact location 
is known to certain discreet individuals in a very 
rocky hollow among the spurs of Pine Mountain, is 
built on the line of the newer Government survey. It 
must be either from sentiment or from pure force of 
habit, but the round-bellied copper still is in Ken- 
tucky, and the barrel containing the worm is in 

Jake Crawford is gone, and Bill Blake no longer 
keeps the store and post office, and the hooting, 
whanging locomotive brings a daily mail. Few, if 
any, of those whose history this book relates now live 
at Pine Knot. Time changes everything; and the 
war — that awful Government survey that staked ofif 
with little rows of white marble stones at the head of 
low mounds the whole eternity that had been from 
the present and the future — the war made more 
than war's usual changes about Pine Knot. In one 
of its many invasions of the place, when the Federal 
army was on the Cumberland and was moving south 
to capture Knoxville and Cumberland Gap, a Union 
teamster was shot from ambush near there. Whether 
it was the commanding general or some of his officers 
of the commissary department that gave the order 
to burn the houses, is perhaps uncertain. Anyway, 
it was assumed that a region where teamsters were 
shot could not be counted loyal territory, and a com- 
pany was detached to ride from Point Burnside to the 
State line and burn every house along the way. Pos- 
sibly those of us who knew the inhabitants of Pine 
Knot before and during the war might hazard a guess 
as to who shot the teamster. At any rate, we know 

The Pine Knot Ghost 

that those who would have done it were few. But 
the ofificers in the Federal army were slow in learning 
how few there were in that region who wished 
them ill. 

Many thousands of Americans have wept over 
the destruction of Grand Pre and the scattering of its 
ill-fated inhabitants by their enemies ; possibly some- 
time some one will write of tragedies not wholly un- 
like it in which communities in our own land suffered 
at the hands of their friends. 

They burned every house in Pine Knot, and for 
thirty miles north. The houses were not many, but 
they were all burned. And yet they spared the house 
in which Granny White lay a-dying. The captain 
himself went in to see if she could not be moved. 
They say he wiped his eyes as he came out. She 
begged him to bring in the flag, and when it was 
brought in she kissed the hem and thanked God 
that she had lived to see it again. It was evident 
that she was not one to shoot teamsters, and the cap- 
tain, who followed his hard orders to the letter else- 
where, set a guard before her house with orders to 
shoot any man that would do it harm. The flag, too, 
was hung over the door. 

But the other houses were burned. It was a small 
afifair in its way, for the houses were so few. But the 
husbands and fathers and brothers and sons of those 
homeless women and children who shivered that night 
about the embers of their homes were fighting in the 
Union army. So many things of the kind happened, 
and on a scale so much larger, that it would not be 
worth while to mention this one, except that it ac- 
counts in part for the fact that the present residents 

lo Pine Knot 

of Pine Knot are not those who were there " before 
the war." They may be talked about with freedom, 
therefore, and with no danger of hurting anybody's 

That is enough about the war for the present, 
though we shall come to it again. Unless it might 
be worth while to remember, as we are leaving the 
subject, that Granny White died that night. The 
whole town was there to see her die, as it probably 
would have been in any event, for the solemn dignity 
of death is not lightly regarded at Pine Knot. Granny 
White did not know who had burned the town. She 
thought that it had been the Confederates from Knox- 
ville, and that the captain whom she had seen had 
driven them oflf, though too late to save the houses. 
The friends let her think so. It was a fearful respon- 
sibility, and lay hard on their consciences that they 
let her go into eternity with a falsehood of their own 
making or conniving, but they could not help it. She 
died blessing God that she had lived to see the flag 
again. They tried vainly each to persuade some one 
else to tell her the truth, but while they were agree- 
ing that she ought not to die cherishing a delusion, 
and that some one ought to tell her, but were not 
agreed who should do it, she died, and the happy 
look upon her sunken, toothless old face was there 
when the earth covered the coffin. She died, and 
that ended the discussion, and they turned the 
two or three pictures to the wall and stopped the 

But all this happened later and belongs to a story 
that is yet to be told. Granny White was alive and 
well in i860, and, old as she was, packed home the 

The Pine Knot Ghost ii 

bushel of meal for which Noel Davis had promised 
to pay. The men still sat about waiting for the 

" Heerd tell anything about the ghost lately, 
Noel ? " asked Jake. 

"Which ghost?" asked Noel. 

" Deck Morgan's." 

" How d'ye know hit's Deck's ? " 

" Whose is it if it ain't Deck's ? " 

" I don't know's it's any person's," said Noel. 

" You don't ? " exclaimed Widow Braniman, 
coming to the door. " Then how'd it come to be a 

" Of course it's Deck's," said Neze ; " and that's 
the quare thing about it." 

" I don't see nothin' more quare about it bein' 
Deck's nor about ary 'nother person's," said Noel. 

" Why, sartin," said Green, " Deck's ghost hadn't 
no ambition agin Pine Knot." 

" No, nor no person was ever ambitious agin him," 
said Widow Braniman. 

" Then," said Green, " he was so mighty anxious 
to rest when he was alive I don't see his idy in not 
restin' now he's got a chance." 

" Deck never was no hand to exert hisself when 
they wa'n't no needcessity," said Blake. " He uster 
allow that he was jist naterally horned tard," 

In truth his natal fatigue had pursued Deek at a 
leisurely pace all his life, and there was apparent jus- 
tice in the complaint that he ought to rest now that 
opportunity afforded. 

" Ef they was ary person livin' that Deek had a 
gredge again," said Neze, " hit would be diflfernt." 

12 Pine Knot 

" Without it was his wife," said Widow Brani- 

" Shore enough," said Jake. " But she's married 
to Abednego Williams, and they've done gone to 

" I wisht the ghost 'd go thar, too," said Noel. 

" Well, if he don't pester them I don't see why he 
should pester us," said Green. 

" I reckon 'Bednego don't need no ghosts," said 
Widow Braniman, 

There was a laugh at this. 

" Well, if 'Bednego is gittin' his sheer the ghost 
mout go to haintin' his wife, or less let us alone, one." 

" Wa'n't she a main buster?" asked Jake. "1 
uster go by on my way to the mill, and he'd be in his 
cornfield, above the house. That cornfield's so steep, 
anyhow, a feller's in plumb danger of fallin' out 
of it and breakin' his laig. But Deck wa'n't in no 
danger. He couldn't even fall fast enough to hurt 
hisself. Lordy, I've seed him when he'd see some 
person comin' down the road, and he'd yell, ' Hello, 
Jake, I want to see you a minute ! ' Then I'd pull up 
under the dead sycamore where the haint walks now, 
and he'd come down sorter lack they was somethin' 
in him pullin' back agin the slope of the hill and hatin' 
to come down so fast, and down he'd come, sorter 
makin' a swing around not to come too clost to the 
door, and Peggy she'd yell out : ' Wha' d'ye wanter go 
down to the road fur? You hain't got no business 
with Jake. Let him go on to mill, and git his turn 
ground and git back to the stillhouse afore night, 
and you go back ter your hoein' ! The crab grass '11 
take that ar corn if you don't stir yer lazy bones ! 

The Pine Knot Ghost 13 

Loafin' all day yistidy at the store, and now no good 
when ye git ter work ; runnin' off down thar to that 
ar sycamore tree ter see Jake ! I never seed sech an- 
other triflin', no-'count man in all my horned days ! ' 
But Deck wouldn't never stop, and jest hurried on — 
ef it's right to say that Deek ever hurried — and thar 
he'd set under the old dead sycamore, carvin' its 
roots with his barlow and yellin' back to Peggy onct 
in a while when he das'n't let on not to hear, ' All 
right, Peggy, I'm comin' tereckly ! ' but I allers 
knowed that he was in for another ten minutes. And 
he was a right divertin' talker. And that old syca- 
more root was his favor-ite seat." 

" I allers allowed that that ar nail kaig was his 
favor-ite seat," said Blake. " He'd set thar and tell 
yarns by the hour, his old nag standin' hitched to the 
fence thar, till the fear of Peggy 'd drive him home or 
I'd lock up the store, one." 

" Peggy was a main hard one, that's a fact," said 
Green ; " but then we all suffer that away." 

" You don't suffer half so much as what you'd 
orter," retorted his wife. " I do believe Peggy had a 
hard time of it." 

" So did Deek — and me," laughed her husband. 

" You both got a good right to a hard time," she 
answered, and the laugh turned on Green, who re- 
joiced to have his wife get the better of him in public. 

Peggy was not the only woman who complained 
of Deek. Many a wife whose husband did not come 
home promptly from the store or mill told her good 
man that she " jes' knowed he'd be'n aloafin' a-longer 
that triflin', no-'count Deek Morgan " ; to which state- 
ment she would add such specific denunciation as the 

14 Pine Knot 

particular occasion called for, ending with a command 
to her husband to have nothing more to do with 
Deek. But these same women — and it grieves me to 
record their inconsistency — received Deek when he 
came to their kitchen doors with scant civility at first, 
to be sure, but with a tartness which gradually wore 
off when the owner felt that it had had its moral effect. 
Ill humor, except Peggy's, always lost itself in his 
presence. He was so humble, so genial, and knew 
so many good stories and so much gossip. If there 
was anything good to eat in the house Deek always 
got it. After one of his visits, the good housewives 
of Pine Knot were wont to profess shame that they 
had harbored him, and to tell what they would do 
with such a man if he were their husband. Few liv- 
ing men have been more hypothetically married for 
the sake of working out a wholesome reformation 
than Deek, But these good women were wont to 
add as a last word that " Deek wa'n't so bad a feller, 
atter all, ef he jes' had a chance to home. What won- 
der, with a wife that lietcheled him all the time, ef a 
man did git mighty triflin' an' no 'count ? " 

"What's Deck's haint been a-doin' now?" asked 

" Oh, hit jest raises up in front of the dead syca- 
more and says : ' Oh, leave me be, Peggy ; hit ain't 
mornin' yit!' or 'Hold on, boys, I know another 
un ! ' lack he was a-goin' to tell a story. Hit would be 
right comical ef it wa'n't so mighty skeery." 

" I reckon that house that was Deck's will stand 
empty a right smart spell," said Neze. 

" I heerd it was goin' to be occupied," said 

The Pine Knot Ghost 15 

" Did ye ? Land o' massy ! Who ? " demanded 
Widow Braniman. 

" I dunno," said Noel. " I didn't hear no more." 

" Here comes Dan with the mail," said Green 
Best, and they started up, expectant. 

" That ain't Dan," said Neze Post. " That horse 
ain't a patchin' to hisn. You could cut four len'ths 
off Bill's for the mill, and then he'd have more cord 
wood left in him than they is in that nag." 

" Bill's horse is providaintially built for carryin' 
the mails," suggested Widow Braniman, coming to 
the door just then ; " they couldn't no common horse 
ford high water lack hisn." 

" Hit's Preacher Jim Fletcher," said Best. " His 
nag has a white left hind foot and a star in his face." 

" I'd like to swap my nag to hisn," said Noel 

" Like to swap yer chance of heaven with him, too, 
wouldn't ye, Noel ? " asked Bill Blake, for the whole 
business of shopping had been suspended at the first 
word that a horse that might be Dan Brafford's was 
in sight, and all within were at the door. 

" I wouldn't swap hit for yourn," retorted Noel. 

" Mine ain't for sale," said Bill. 

" I didn't allow you had anything that wa'n't for 
sale," said Neze. 

" Amounts to the same thing," said Green. 
" Reason he hain't got none for sale is he hain't got 
none nohow." 

" What you alls pickin' at Bill fur ? " asked Widow 
Braniman. " Bill, ain't you got ary friend to stand up 
fur ye?" 

" Bill don't need yer sympathy," said Green, " and 

1 6 Pine Knot 

hit's wasted on him. Bill's done married. Here's 
Noel here, he needs sympathy more'n ary 'nother 
person, and being single hit mout not be wasted." 

" Green Best ! " said Mrs. Braniman, " if I could 
get at you with this here hickory I'd pinely w'ar you 
out ! " 

" All right, Mis' Braniman," cried Green amid the 
laughter of all. " Looks like I'd need sympathy my- 
self, if I keep on." 

" Then you best not keep on," said the widow. 
" How do you make out to live with him ? " she con- 
tinued, directing her question to Mrs. Best, who was 
inspecting some cotton sheeting, and had brought 
the bolt to the door to see it to better advantage. 

" I just have to stand it best I kin," said Mrs. Best 

" Law, if she was as bald as I be ! " said Best, rub- 
bing his hand over his thin hair. 

" I'd pull it all out if you was my man," said the 
widow. " 'Twouldn't be no more than what you de- 

" Howdy, parson ? " called Blake. " 'Light and 
lift your saddle." 

The young minister did not reply to the salutation, 
but hitched his horse to a swinging beech limb, and, 
flinging his leg over the saddle, swung himself to the 
ground, and taking his saddlebags on his arm strode 
up to the front of the store. 

He was very tall and and swarthy, with high cheek 
bones that stood out prominently on his sallow face. 
His head was held erect on a strong neck that seemed 
even larger than it was in the loose and rolling collar 
of his unstarched white shirt. He wore no vest, and 

The Pine Knot Ghost 17 

his coat and trousers were of jeans, and fitted loosely. 
His stride was long and swinging, and his whole body 
hurled itself forward at each step. Unlike the aver- 
age mountaineer, who walks leisurely and with regard 
for the inequalities of the surface of the earth, Fletcher 
strode forward over stones and roots, with his black 
eye straight ahead. His eye was fixed on Davis, and 
he disregarded the greetings of the others, saying: 

" Noel Davis, I'd like to see you a minute." 

" Well, you're a-lookin' right at me, ain't you ? " 
asked Davis in a surly tone. 

" Yes, I am, and I've had my eye on you for some 
time. I want to talk to you alone." 

Nothing is more common in the mountains than 
the calling of a person to step out for private con- 
ference. The homes and public places afiford little 
opportunity for privacy, and personal conversations 
are almost invariably preceded by a request to step 
out. To decline such an invitation is usually the 
mark of discourtesy or cowardice. 

" If you got anything to say to me say it here," 
said Davis. 

" All right, I can say it here. I want to know 
what you gave that school away for ? " 

" I thought you wanted to say something to me ? 
'Pears like you're a-astin' me to say something to 

" I'll say something to you, then. You promised 
me last year, you and Bill Blake here, that I could 
keep the school this year. You allowed there'd be 
public money enough to pay rising twenty dollars a 
month for a three months' school, and you promised 
it to me." 

i8 Pine Knot 

" Maybe Bill did," said Noel ; " I didn't have much 
to do with it." 

" You needn't lay it on to me," said Bill. " What 
I agree to I stick to. I thought Jim kept a good 
school last year, and I told him I was willing he 
should have it agin. You said the same, and so did 
Jake Trosper." 

" Jake Trosper hain't got nothing to do with it," 
said Noel. " He wasn't re-elected." 

" No, but you two held over, and you're a major- 
ity of the trustees," said Fletcher. " I could a had 
the Marsh Creek school — I preach there the fourth 
Sunday — but I counted on this one. But Bill Trosper 
went out, and Peleg Goodwin he got on, and he and 
Noel Davis have given the school to a straggler no 
person knows anything about." 

" Is that so, Noel ? " asked Bill. " Have you give 
the school away and not said nothin' to me ? " 

" Peleg didn't 'low it was necessary," said Noel. 
" He said we was a majority ; and we had a chance to 
git a first-class, A No. i teacher, and Peleg he 
thought we'd best do it, and I sorter gin my consent." 

" I have nothing to say against Peleg Goodwin," 
said Fletcher, " you all know what he is ; but I've got 
this to say about you. You promised, and you broke 
your promise. You've told a plumb lie, and you 
don't have sand or honor ary one enough to last you 
in hell for ten minutes ! " 

" You mean to call me a liar ? " asked Davis blus- 

" Yes, I do. And what's more, you know it's so." 

" If you wasn't a preacher," said Davis deprecat- 
ingly, " I'd see whether you'd call me a liar ! " 

The Pine Knot Ghost i^ 

" You would, would you ? You needn't stop for 
that. If I was to treat you as you deserve I'd duck 
you in the branch." 

" Look here, parson," remonstrated Best, " Noel 
won't fight you, and they hain't no use p'tic'lar in 
worryin' a 'possum atter he curls up and stops fight- 
in'. I don't beHeve I'd sass him much more. 

James Fletcher felt the justice of this word. By 
his display of temper he had lost in large measure the 
sympathy of the spectators. He bit his lip, and, turn- 
ing without a word, mounted his horse and rode 

There was silence for a little while after he de- 
parted, and then Best restored the conversation by 
remarking with a laugh, " You seem to be ketchin' it 
all round this evenin', Noel." 

Then the mail came, and all gathered about Dan 
Brafford as he brought in the lank, double pouch, 
and threw it on the counter. His greeting was hearty 
and went around the group. 

" Howdy, Bill ? Forgot to order that sand scoop 
for your sugar sack. Howdy, Mis' Best? Still 
boardin' with Green, be ye? Git better board over 
to the other house, I reckon. Ain't that so, Neze? 
Howdy, Mis' Braniman? Still single, be ye? Law, 
I've laid of¥ to come over and set up with you my- 
self, but I hain't had time. I reckon you'll jest have 
to take up with Noel thar. Hello, Noel! Say, that 
last sang I took for you wasn't dry enough. Got 
any tobacker. Bill? I'm mighty nigh dyin' for a 

There was a hush as the strap was pulled through 
the metal loops and the postmaster's arm was thrust 

20 Pine Knot 

in, first one side and then the other, and all gathered 
around. It is not to be supposed that any of them 
expected or desired to receive a letter. The chief 
function of the mail carrier was social. What news 
he brought in his pouch was a mere fraction of what 
he gathered and disseminated along the way, and he 
performed certain commercial services, buying sundry 
little packages in exchange for ginseng or angelica 
(known as jellico) root; but he served chiefly to get 
people together at intervals along his route. As the 
chief business of county court day at Whitley Court- 
house (the profane have changed the name to Wil- 
liamsburg) was done outside the courtroom, and the 
interest in a big baptizing (pronounced baptizin') on 
Marsh Creek was largely independent of the precise 
religious character of the event which gave name to 
the gathering, so the coming of the mail was of inter- 
est principally for other reasons than that the inhab- 
itants of Pine Knot were large senders or receivers of 
letters. In these days people send letters on the 
slightest pretext and wholly without justifiable excuse, 
but in that day and at Pine Knot letter writing was 
not counted a thing to be entered upon lightly or unad- 
visedly, but soberly, reverently, and discreetly. 

There was about the usual assortment of mail : a 
few letters for Whitley Courthouse and points be- 
yond, a meager assortment of mail for intervening 
points, and a letter and a paper for Pine Knot, with 
a good-sized package of printed matter. 

" That's a main big one, Dan," said Bill. 

" I had a right good notion to put me a rock in 
the end with the other mail to balance it," said Dan. 

"Who's hit for?" asked Mrs. Braniman. 

The Pine Knot Ghost 21 

" J. Howard Buzbee." Bill read the name labori- 
ously, and turned to the letter and the paper. 

" Who in creation is that ? " asked Mrs. Best. 

" What on airth does a man want to part his name 
in the middle that away for ? " demanded Mrs. Brani- 

" J. Howard Buzbee," read Bill from the paper. 

" Who's the letter for? " asked Post. 

" Mrs. J. Howard Buzbee," read Bill. 

" Well, I never ! " cried Mrs. Best. " Whoever 
heerd tell of a woman's name same as her man's? 
Do you reckon that's her sure-enough name ? " 

" Course it is," said her husband. " What would 
they call her that for if it wasn't ? " 

" Maybe hit's for her man," said Post. 

" No, hit's ' Mrs. J. Howard Buzbee,' plain as kin 
be," said Bill. 

" Who do you reckon that kin be ? " asked one 
and another. 

'* Nobody of that name around this neck of woods," 
said Bill. 

" Well, put that other stufif back in the sack and 
lock it up. Do you reckon the Gov'maint pays me to 
stand around here while you alls gawp at that mail 
lack you was young ducks gawpin' at a toad in the 
feed trought? I gotter git on to Marsh Creek," 
said Dan. 

" They hain't so anxious to see you there as we be 
to have ye go," said Mrs. Braniman. Such are the 
pleasantries of Pine Knot. 

" That's the way you talk jest because I hain't got 
time to come over and set up with you. I didn't think 
you'd talk to me that away. Mis' Braniman." 

22 Pine Knot 

" Go 'long with your fool talk," said Mrs. Brani- 

" I always 'lowed you keered a heap for me," an- 
swered Dan. 

" Well, I don't, so you know it now." 

" Noel's cut me out, I reckon," said Dan, holding 
the mail bag to protect himself from her riding whip 
as he escaped through the door. 

" Well, what I want to know is, who is this here 
J. Howard Buzbee ? " demanded the widow. 

No one answered. Noel Davis knew, but he was 
in no mood to g^ve information. 

SMITH Hemphill's passengers 

" Now jist let me tell you about the like of sich 
roads as these here ! " exclaimed Smith Hemphill, as 
one wheel tilted high upon the summit of a rock and 
the other sought the nadir in a fathomless mudhole. 

The bright-haired girl on the seat beside him 
caught herself midway between the upward lunge and 
the downward pitch, and, after a moment's waiting, 
looked at the driver with an expectant " Well ? " 

" Well, what ? " demanded Smith Hemphill. 

" You proposed to tell me about the roads." 

" That was my way of sw'aring at 'em in the pres- 
ence of ladies," he said grimly. " Hit ain't safe for 
me to say nothin' more." 

" Oh, I see," replied the young woman. 

A heavy rain had washed and gullied the roads and 
raised the streams so that fording was disagreeable. 
The creaking wagon, drawn by a span of mules, was 
making its way painfully along Marsh Creek toward 
Pine Knot. 

" Are we almost there ? " asked Mrs. Buzbee in a 
soft, refined voice that had in it the pleasant accent 
of the blue grass, as well as a trace of semi-invalidism, 
and just a faint suggestion of suppressed complaint. 
3 23 

24 Pine Knot 

" Almost there, my dear," answered her husband. 
" Barbara, hold on carefully, my child. The road, I 
grant, is very unpleasant, but we must be near. It 
can not be more than a mile " 

" Hit's a good two mile and a half," drawled the 
driver, in tones that perceptibly lengthened the dis- 
tance. " And they maisure the miles with a coon skin, 
and throw in the tail ever' time for good maisure." 

" They certainly are long," said Mrs. Buzbee. 

" They air, now that's a fact," admitted Smith. 
" I've pinely noticed that myself. And they ain't no 
way to git shet of 'em but for them two mules to laig 
'em ofif, one step at a time." 

" They seem short steps and many to the mile," 
said Mrs. Buzbee. 

" That is true," said Mr. Buzbee. " I wonder just 
how many steps are required. Let me compute it. 
There are five thousand two hundred and eighty " 

" O father ! Please don't ! " exclaimed Barbara. 
" Aren't the roads bad enough without arithmetic ? " 

" I will desist if you desire, my daughter," said her 

" Hold on more carefully, Barbara," said her 

" I'm all right, mother. Can I do anything for 

" Nothing, my child." 

" I will care for your mother," said Mr. Buzbee, 
coming back at that instant from his mathematical 
abstraction. " I estimate that these mules step not far 
from two thousand eight hundred and forty-three times 
to the mile." 

"With one laigpr all four?" asked Smith. 

Smith Hemphill's Passengers 25 

" With one pair. That reminds me, I forgot to 
consider that they have four legs, I will begin 

" Not now, John," said Mrs. Buzbee, wearily. 

" Very well, my love," said he. " We will talk of 
other things. Two and one half miles, my dear. So 
near is the fruition of our hopes." 

" I trust so, John," said she, " for it is hope long 
deferred even if it comes now." 

" And your heart has done well not to be sick, my 
love," said he. " But better things are coming. My 
dear, we are living in a formative time. The foun- 
tains of the great deep of human opinion are about to 
be broken up. There will be new social and political 
conditions. The old Democratic party is divided. 
The Republicans have put in nomination a man un- 
known, but certain to become known. We are on the 
verge " 

" Hold on goin' down this here little pitch," said 
the driver, interrupting Mr. Buzbee, who was speaking 
as if addressing a meeting. 

" But what I do not see, father," said Barbara, " is 
how we are to accomplish anything at such a time 
back in these hills. Even the sunshine gets lost in 
these valleys " 

" Ya-as," said the driver. " They's a holler over 
in back here whar they hatter dip their sunshine up 
with a bucket and a sweep and pour it down." 

" Where do they dip it from ? " asked Barbara, 
entering into the spirit of the mountain pleasantry. 

" South side the same ridge. Clk-clk ! Clk-clk ! " 
The first two clucks were uttered in appreciation of his 
own joke ; the last two, louder and in a different key, 

26 Pine Knot 

were to the mules, who responded to the jerk of the 
one rope Hne. 

Mr. Buzbee paid no attention to the byplay of 
humor. He was thoughtfully preparing his answer 
to Barbara's question. 

" These mountains," said he, " afford me the very 
situation I want as a place to stand while I adjust my 
Archimedean lever." 

" Any place where we can stand or rest, with a 
roof above us, will be acceptable, John," said Mrs. 

There was a just perceptible shade of reproach in 
her voice. 

" It isn't just like Lexington, mother," said Bar- 
bara ; " but it is a healthful region, I have no doubt, 
and will be good for us all." 

" The worst thing about this country is the titles 
to the land," said Smith. 

" How so? " asked Barbara. 

" The rain washes the land off 'm the hills. The 
title won't hold it." 

Barbara laughed, but the joke was lost on Mr. 

" These mountains," resumed Mr. Buzbee, " are 
the home of freedom. Here was created the State of 
Franklin, and before it was the Watauga Association, 
the first free commonwealth formed by American- 
born citizens." 

" Are there no slaves here ? " asked Mrs. Buzbee 
of the driver. 

" Wall, they's a sprinklin'. The houses in the hol- 
lers don't have none, but the houses on the hills has 
one or two, mebby." 

Smith Hemphill's Passengers 27 

" How do you make the distinction ? " 

" Wall, most of the folks in these knobs is too pore 
to own a nigger or to dig a well." 

" But the hills and the hollows ? " 

" The springs is in the hollers, mostly." 

" Oh, I see ! They build their houses with refer- 
ence to convenience in getting water." 

" Sartin," said the driver, in a tone that implied 
great self-restraint in not intimating that so elementary 
a truth ought to have been perceived with less ex- 

" Precisely so," said Mr. Buzbee, making a mental 
note for a future research concerning the relation of 
altitude to slavery. " And you notice that there are 
very few houses upon the hills." 

" This mud is very deep and sticky," said Barbara, 
attempting to turn the conversation. 

" Hit's so sticky hit'll pull a shoe right off a horse's 
hoof," said Smith. 

" Is there no other road? " asked Mrs. Buzbee. 

" Yas'm. But I most ginerally always aim to go 
this way, for hit's a heap the best. I aim to go back 
the other." 

" Why do you do that ? " asked Barbara. 

" Hit saves me from studyin' while I go along 
about how I've got to go back through the same mud- 
holes. I'd a heap druther take the ones that I don't 
know jest how bad they be. For they ain't no mud- 
hole so bad as to know hit's ahead and have to 
study about it." 

Barbara laughed, 

" That does not accord with the philosophers," said 
Mr. Buzbee. "They affirm that it is the unknown 

28 Pine Knot 

that has the greater terror. Shakespeare represents 
Hamlet as preferring to suffer with the ills we see " 

" Wall, I go straight ahead if I don't see no hats in 
the road." 

" Hats ? " 

" Yais. Whar some feller has done gone down, 
mules and wagon and all, and left his hat top side of 
the mud." 

Again Barbara laughed, a merry, ringing laugh. 

" I see nothing to laugh at, Barbara," remonstrated 
her father. " I am sure if such a thing should happen 
it would be anything but a laughing matter." 

" Howdy, Mr. Strunk ? " called out the driver as 
they passed a cabin. " Dog my cats if I know which 
Strunk that is ! " he added in an aside. " But hit's a 
Kaintuck Strunk." 

" Howdy ? " was the reply. " Whar you alls go- 

" I cyan't tell ye till I come back," replied Smith. 
" Clk-clk ! " 

" His name is Strunk ? " asked Barbara. 

" Most ever' person's is in this neck of woods. 
They was two brothers, Abram and Daniel, and they 
come in here nigh on to a hundred years ago, I reckon, 
and both of 'em married twict, and one had twenty-four 
children and the t'other twenty-eight. And all of 'em 
bred mightily in this wilderness country; and now 
when you don't know a feller you call him Strunk. 
They're on both sides of the line, and the Kaintuck 
Strunks is a heap different from the Tennessy 

" In what way? " 

" Wall, the people are right smart divided about 

Smith Hemphill's Passengers 29 

that," said Smith dehberately, cutting off a chew of 
pigtail twist. " The Tennessy Strunks says the Kain- 
tuck Strunks is the oneriest, and the Kaintuck Strunks 
says the Tennessy Strunks is a heap the oneriest. But 
they both favor each other right smart, after all." 

" How far are we now? " asked Barbara. 

" Here's the forks," said the driver. " Hit's a 
mile to Pine Knot." 

" Which way do we go ? " asked Barbara. 

" Keep the main road." 

" One looks to me about like the other," said Bar- 
bara, with a woman's insistence on a more tangible 

" Jes' keep the main, big road all the way. That's 
all they is of it," said the driver. 

" But there's always a right and a left," insisted 

" Yes, they is. But jest s'posin' some person had 
a-told you the way from Whitley Courthouse here. 
Jest s'posin' that driver from Lexington had a-come 
plumb through with you alls and you alls' plunder. 
Jes s'posin' I had a-told you fust left, then right, then 
down the branch, then foller the ridge, then down 
the holler to the ford, then over the mounting to 
the head waters of 'Tater Branch, then down 'Tater 
Branch to whar hit empties inter Marsh Creek, 
then " 

" Oh, we should have been lost, like the babes in 
the wood, I know. But twenty times you have told 
me that you were keeping the main road when one 
road looked just like the other ! " 

" Mebby hit did to you. But hit wasn't jest like 
it, don't ye see ? " 

3o Pine Knot 

" No, I confess I don't." 

" Wall, t'other un wouldn't have fetched ye to Pine 
Knot. Now do you see the difference ? " 

" Oh, I see that difference, of course " 

" Well, then ! " said the driver, and Barbara knew 
that that argument was ended. 

Smith Hemphill was a civil driver, and was willing 
to answer any reasonable question, and quite liked to 
have a passenger sufficiently stupid to justify him in 
elongating his explanations, but there were limits to 
his willingness to recur to a given topic. Barbara had 
kept up a conversation with him a good part of the 
way, and had found no little pleasure in calling out 
his argumentative powers. 

Mr. Buzbee, finding the conversation lagging, re- 
verted to his former theme, nothing disconcerted by 
the interruption. 

" These mountains are the natural home of free- 

" Ya-as," admitted Smith, " a feller is free to do 
about as he pleases if he don't keep no sheep-killin' 

" That is just it," said Mr. Buzbee eagerly. " That 
is the very illustration I was seeking. Now, a man 
has a natural right to keep sheep. That is funda- 
mental. Sheep are " 

" Sheep are mighty unsartin critters," interrupted 
Smith. " What with dogs, and wolves, and foxes, and 
hoof rot, and the whole daggon flock dyin' oflf if one 
of 'em ketches anything ketchin', I've made up my 
mind to stick to hogs." 

" That may be, that may be," said Mr. Buzbee. 
*' But, as I was saying, a man has a right to keep sheep. 

Smith Hemphill's Passengers 31 

Now the same can not be affirmed without quaUfica- 
tion of his right to keep dogs. Slavery is " 

" Dogs," observed Mr. Hemphill, " is, next to 
women, the most valuable and the most wuthless prop- 
erty ary man ever owned." 

" Oh, shame, Mr. Hemphill ! " cried Barbara in 
mock surprise. " I thought you were too gallant to 
say such a thing of women ! " 

" I said they was the most valuable, didn't I ? " 

" So you did. I see. And dogs the least. Oh, 
thank you." 

" Wall, I didn't put it jest that away," said Smith ; 
" but I kin say this, the man that gits you " 

" Oh, don't. I thought you were above flattery." 

" How did ye know I was goin' to flatter ye ? " 

" Why, of course, you were not going to say any- 
thing bad ! " 

" Wall, if you're sure of that, you may as well not 
know what I had in mind to say." 

" You make me curious." 

" No, I never. The Lord made all women that 

" You do not know all women." 

" Wall, I've read the Bible, and I know about Eve, 
and I've got a wife o' my own." 

" Poor Eve ! She has pointed every slander that 
men have ever devised against her daughters." 

" Oh, you think hit's slander now, do ye? " 

" Flattery and slander are much alike. What were 
you going to say ? " 

" I was goin' to say — " said Mr. Hemphill medita- 
tively. "Whoa, thar!" he continued, and jumped 
from his seat. " That's the first pennyroyal I've seed 

32 Pine Knot 

this side of the mountain." He gathered a bunch, 
and, first rubbing his horses' ears with it, drew it under 
their bridles, making a plume on each mule. 

" Yea, thar ! " he said, climbing to his seat and 
jerking the rope line. The mules started ahead. 
" Them horseflies is the worst things that come out 
of the ark. Daggon me if I wouldn't 'a' liked to been 
one of Noah's deck hands for one day ! I'd 'a' thinned 
out his live stock consid'able ! " 

" They don't like pennyroyal ? " asked Barbara. 

" They like it," observed Mr. Hemphill, " about 
lack a short-haired bainch-legged feist dog lacks hot 
soap grease." 

" How far are we now? " asked Mrs. Buzbee. 

" You can see Pine Knot," said Smith, " from the 
top of yan hill. Hit ain't more'n a half." 

" Half of what ? " asked Barbara. 

" Half a mile, of course," said Mr. Hemphill. 
" What did you reckon it'd be half of? " 

" Barbara," remonstrated her mother, " I'm afraid 
you're bothering Mr. Hemphill." 

" Oh, no'm ; not at all," said Smith. " I've got a 
heap of charity for folks that hain't had my advan- 

Barbara laughed again. 

" You know more'n I do about some things," ad- 
mitted Mr. Hemphill, " but when it comes to knowing 
which fork o' the road to take or how to keep oflf horse- 
flies, mebby I know more about that 'n you do." 

" I should think," said Mr. Buzbee, " that horse- 
flies might afford opportunity for an interesting study. 
To what order do they belong ? " 

" I never heerd tell that they belonged to no p'tic'- 

Smith Hemphill's Passengers 33 

lar order," replied Hemphill deliberately ; " but I 
reckon they're predestinarians of some sort. They 
believe in perseverance of the saints." 

Barbara laughed again. It would be hard to tell 
where she got that ringing laugh. Her mother never 
laughed, but sometimes smiled a wan smile. Her 
father was absolutely devoid of any sense of humor, 
and took the world not only seriously, but strenuously 
as well. 

" I did not quite mean that," said Mr. Buzbee, not 
at all annoyed. He had learned to be patient with a 
world that was slow in understanding his purposes and 
explanations. " How many varieties are there ? " 

"Which? Of predestinarians? Thar's the Pres- 
byterians, and they're skase around here, and the Two- 
Seed Babtists, and the horseflies." 

"No, no! Of the flies?" 

" Oh, yes. Wall, they's one kind that pesters a 
horse about the ears jest whar you cyan't retch 'em 
with a whip, and another that jumps up and hits 'em 
under the chin and gives 'em the botts, and another 
that overcomes 'em by main stren'th. And thar's Pine 
Knot. Hold on acrost this holler, and we'll be thar 
in a minute." 

" I want to stop at the post office," said Mr. Buz- 
bee. " I must have some mail waiting." 

" Let us get to our home as soon as possible," said 
Mrs. Buzbee. 

" Yes, my dear." 

Busy as they were, he was inclined to stop and tell 
the idlers at the store, in response to questions about 
the political news that was just beginning to percolate 
through the many strata that separated Pine Knot 

34 Pine Knot 

from the outer world, about the nomination of Lincoln, 
and what it meant to the country and the world ; but 
a sight of the patient, weary face of his wife and a 
much less patient reminder from Smith that he 
" wanted to unload this here plunder and start back " 
brought him to inquire the way to " Mr. Goodwin's 
house — the one formerly occupied by the late Mr. 

" Deck Morgan's old house ? " asked Bill Blake. 
" He ain't a-goin' to put no human thar, is he ? " 

The point of the question was lost on Mr. Buzbee, 
but not on Barbara, who kept it in her heart and pon- 
dered it. Thither the wagon made its way amid the 
gossip of the community. 

When Smith Hemphill had unloaded his passen- 
gers and their " plunder," consisting of three trunks, a 
box of books, two beds, a pinched little dresser, a few 
chairs, and a meager equipment of cooking utensils, 
and had collected his pay and gone back, Mrs. Buz- 
bee looked over the rickety old cabin with its curling 
roof board, its unchinked cracks, its dilapidated stick 
chimney, and its loose, treacherous floor puncheons, 
and, sitting down upon the doorstep, dissolved her 
long-tried, half-complaining patience in a flood of 
tears, and even Barbara's lip quivered till she saw 
her mother's need of courage. Then she laughed, but 
it was not a happy laugh. 



" Eb'nin', missie." 

Barbara looked up, and saw an old negro framed 
in the doorway, holding in his left hand a young opos- 
sum, whose tail curled around his finger. 

" Good evening, uncle," said Barbara. " What 
have you there ? " 

" I got de one t'ing de Lawd nebbah made." 

"How is that?" 

" De Lawd nebbah made de possum." 

" Why, I thought the Lord made all things." 

" Mos' all t'ings. But not de possum." 

" Who did make him, then ? " 

" De debbil done made him." 

" Then most colored people have not renounced 
the devil and all his works, have they? " 

" De debbil ? Yas'm. But all he works ? Wall, 
some of he works." 

" Then, I suppose you don't like possum ? " 

" Mus' be, missie, you sholy got weak eyes." 

"Weak eyes?" 

" Yas'm. You surely don' notice the colah ub my 
complexion ? " 

" Well, I should never suspect that you were 


36 Pine Knot 

" No'm ; I ain't. Dat's a fack, I ain't. When I 
gits tar on me hit meek a light mahk — he-he ! Hit do, 
dat's a fack." 

" Well, I supposed that all colored people liked 
possum ; but if the devil made him, of course they 

" Ya-as'm. I reckon dat why de debbil alles has it 
so easy wid de niggahs." 

" But how did the devil happen to make him ? " 

" Dat's it. How did de debbil come to make so 
good a t'ing? " 

" I'm sure I don't know. Do you ? " 

" Yas'm. Same reason de 'possum don't got no 
har on he tail." 

" Tell me about it, uncle ; but here, help me set up 
this bed." 

" No'm. I ain' goin' do nuflfin' de sort. You 
ain' fitten to set up no beds. You des se' down in dat 
ah cheer, an' I'll set up de bed. Hoi' on a minute." 

He moved two chairs back to back, hung a broom 
across them, and transferred the prehensile tail of the 
possum to the broom handle while he set up the bed- 

"Whahyo' pappy?" 

" He has gone to dig out the spring, and mother 
has gone with him to bathe her head. She has a head- 

" She g^ine ober to my mawsYs, dah whah she 

" You came to invite her? " 

" Yas'm. An' you alls. Dye ain't no use settin' 
up no bed. You ain' gwine sleep here dis night. I 
gwine come ober in de mawnin', an' Dinah comin' too. 

Uncle Simon Peter '37 

an' we gwine clean up de house an' set up de beds. 
You ain' gwine dirty dem lill white han's ob youn set- 
tin' up no bed. Mis' Renfro she gwine lick me, if I 
let you set up bed. I jes' move dis plunder in de 
house, an' we gwine git away 'fo' sundown." 

" My father and mother will be back soon. Tell 
me about the possum." 

" Wall, ef dat ain't de quares' story, sho' 'nufT ! 
Wall, you see, de Lawd, he made de sun, and de moon, 
and de animiles, and de coon. De las' t'ing he made 
'fo' sundown on de animile day dat was de coon. Wall, 
ebery night de debbil he come out he hole, and he 
look around in de moonlight to see what de good 
Lawd done made. Wall, de debbil he p'tic'lar inter- 
ested in de coon. He see him wid de fine tail wid de 
rings around hit, and de sharp eyes, and de fur and all, 
and he say he gwine make one des' presackly like hit. 
He-he ! " 


" Well, de coon he made so late, you see, he ain't 
mo'n hardly dry, and de place whah de Lawd got de 
mud to make him out'en, dat was in plain sight, and 
de water gourd and de stirrin' stick still dar. So de 
debbil he sot to wuck to make a coon." 

" And he made the possum instead ? " 

" Yas'm. Dat's jes' presackly what he went and 
did. He made de possum. He was jus' lack he be 
now, all but de tail." 

" What kind of tail had he? " 

" I don' know, missie, I don' know. Dey don' 
nobody know. Dey's a mystery 'bout dat ah tail from 
dat day to dis." 

" How do you know it was different ? " 

38 Pine Knot 

" Ca'se hit had to be diffunt. Hit was 'bleedged to 
be diflfunt. Dat's de reason. Yas'm. Yas, missie. 
Hit had to be diffunt. Hit had ha'r on it, sorter lack de 
debbil he try to make a tail lack de coon tail. But it's 
unpossible to make a tail lack de coon tail. Dat coon 
tail am de fines' tail de Lawd put on to any critter. De 
Lawd made dat when he got de tail-makin' trade 
lunned, and had dat tail hung up on a tree in de garden 
waitin' fo' some critter good enough to put it on." 

" And the coon was good enough ? " 

" No'm, he ain't. But he was de las' critter, and 
de Lawd had de tail hangin' up, and he put dat tail on 
de las' critter. Yas'm." 

" It is certainly very different from the possum's." 

" Yas'm. Hit am, fo' a fack, but it's diffunter dan 
hit was when de possum was fust made." 

" Here comes father. — Father, here is a message 
for you. Uncle " 

" Unc' Simon Peter," said the slave. 

" He has come from one of our neighbors, 
Mr. " 

" Maws'r Renfro ; he send he compliments to 
Maws'r an' Mis' Buzbee an' de young missie, an' you 
alls gwine come home wid me, and stay dar till we git 
de house sorter fix up. He ain' gwine hab you stay 
heah till we got dis house clean up." 

" Thank your master for m.e," said Mr. Buzbee, 
" and say that if Mrs. Buzbee can stay there to- 
night " 

" He done tole me you alls comin', and for me to 
set in de t'ings an' carry you right ober." 

" We will go," said Barbara. " It is a hospitality 
which we are needing sorely just now. — Yes, mother. 

Uncle Simon Peter 39 

we will go. — Come, Uncle Simon Peter, we will go 
with you. Set in the things as quickly as you like. 
— Mother, sit down till I see to this matter." 

Mrs. Buzbee dropped into a chair and rose with a 
little nervous scream. 

"Oh! What is it? Take it out!" 

" De law sake I " cried Simon Peter. " Ef dat 
ain't keerless — me leabin' dat possum dah for missis 
to knock off ! " 

The opossum was waddling across the room with 
tail up. Simon Peter caught it, cuffed it first one side 
and then the other, not enough to hurt it, but enough 
to make it think that it was being injured, and tossed 
it into a corner, where it lay down limp and apparently 

" He gwine stay dah now," he said, and hurried to 
get in the furniture that was still outside before the 
possum should think it time to get up. 

The task was a short one. Mr. Buzbee took hold 
with him and lifted at the trunks spite of Simon Peter's 
protest, and with an evident drop in Simon Peter's 
good opinion, who did not esteem a white man the 
more highly for being ready to work. Then he took 
the unresisting creature by the tail and announced that 
he was ready to go home. 

" What are you going to do with that creature ? " 
asked Mrs. Buzbee. 

" Gwine keep him till de papaws gits ripe, and 
cook him." 

" It is a hideous-looking object," said Mrs. Buz- 

"Yas'm. Dat so." 

" Uncle Simon Peter was just telling me when you 

40 Pine Knot 

came in that it was the devil that made the possum," 
said Barbara. " Tell me the rest, uncle." 

Simon Peter crossed to the other side of the road 
that the shadow of the great white tree where the 
ghost was wont to stand should not fall upon him, and 
was somewhat silent for a few minutes. Then he be- 
gan his story again. 

" Yas'm. When de debbil got de coon made " 

" I thought you said it was the possum." 
" So it war. But it war a coon to de debbil. Dat 
what he staht to make, an' dat what he t'ink he done 
made. De debbil he don' know he made de possum. 
He 'low he done made a no-'count coon. Wall, when 
he got de critter made, he look at him, and den at 
de coon, what sot on a limb ob de tree of knowledge. 
An' when de debbil see de Lawd's coon and de coon 
he make — he-he ! He take de critter by de tail and go 
to kill him. He des' swing de coon he make 'round 
he haid, and go to knock he brains out 'gainst de gate 
postis of de garden. Well, de critter was new, and 
de skin on he tail was lack de bark on a willow limb in 
de spring, and when de debbil he swing de critter dat- 
away, de skin come off de tail, an' de debbil kep' it 
right in he hand. De debbil got dat skin from de pos- 
sum's tail yet. De possum don't got it, no sah. 
Wall, de possum he fly right t'rough de air when de 
debbil throw him dataway, right t'rough de gate ob de 
garden and catch hold ub a limb wid he tail and hang 
dah, and he turn and grin at de debbil. Yas, sah! 
He-he! And dat's why de possum is de one critter 
dat ain't under de curse ob Adam." 

It had not taken half an hour for all the inhabitants 
of Pine Knot to learn that the man for whom the mail 

Uncle Simon Peter 41 

was waiting at the post office had arrived. No one 
had any doubt who J. Howard Buzbee was, or by 
what means he had been appointed teacher. Nor did 
any one fail to learn that he had arrived with a wife 
and daughter, and had no other home than the tumble- 
down, haunted house that had been Deck Morgan's, 
and, be this remembered among its virtues, there was 
not a house in Pine Knot that would not have swung 
its doors wide open that night to take in the strangers. 
That there were not a dozen invitations instead of one 
was because the whole community learned — and all 
these things were made known in that supernatural 
way in which news spreads in such a community — 
that for that night, and as much longer as there was 
need, the family was cared for at Mr. Renfro's. Mr. 
Renfro's was the best house in Pine Knot, and his 
two slaves were a large fraction of the total black popu- 
lation of the settlement. 

" Come in ! come in ! Don't stop to knock or 
holler," called Mr. Renfro, coming to the door. He 
was a tall, spare man, past fifty, and with a sprinkling 
of gray in his hair and his mustache and heavy, long 
goatee. " I just got home from court, and heerd 
you'd come. We cyan't let you set up housekeeping 
for yourselves till we git things fixed up a spell. 
Come in. This is Mr. Buzbee, I reckon ? My name's 
Renfro, Mr. Buzbee. And this is Mrs. Buzbee, I 
reckon? Proud to meet you, madam. And Miss 
Buzbee? Come right in; you're right welcome. 
— Pete, call your mistress." 

Mrs. Renfro came bustling in from the room across 
the wide hall. " Good evening," she said. " It's just 
a plumb shame that you've come here with no place 

42 Pine Knot 

to go but that old tumble-down house ; I didn't know 
a thing about it. Come right in this way. We've got 
lots of room, and I never feel like I'm at home unless 
I have a houseful. No, no ! It ain't just for to-night. 
You ain't a-going to step out of this house to no other 
home till we see things fixed up a little." 

" That's the way she talks," said Renfro gleefully ; 
" and she most ginerally always has her way. I've 
learned not to oppose her." 

" Jest hear him talk ! " exclaimed Mrs. Renfro to 
Mrs. Buzbee. " He don't seem to remember that he's 
talking to folks that don't know how he stories ! " 

" I think we understand him," said Barbara, " and 
I am sure we are grateful. My dear mother is very 

" And no wonder ! Riding over that awful road ! 
■ — Here, Dinah, fetch in some hot water. — Or mebby 
you'd like cold water? — Simon Peter, you run to the 
spring. — Now this room is for you. It's got two 
good beds, and — Would you like a fire ? Well, it is 
warm, that's a fact. It gets cool toward night. Now, 
if I was you, I'd just undress and wash my feet in hot 
water and lay right down. Dinah'll have supper after 
a while. And if you say one word about leaving here 
this week I sha'n't like it one bit ! " 

So the Buzbees were installed in the large, square 
room, with its two beds, springy with fresh, fragrant 
straw, billowy with feathers, and spotless in sheets of 
Dinah's best laundering and white homespun counter- 
panes. A new rag carpet adorned the floor in a gor- 
geous pattern of stripe alternating with hit-or-miss, 
and the odd old dresser and the few chairs left the 
room still so wide, and open, and restful that the 

Uncle Simon Peter 43 

hearts of the mother and daughter found instant com- 
fort there. The hospitahty was so genuine, the hearts 
of the host and hostess were so warm, and their sin- 
cerity was so manifest that from the first hour the 
Buzbees counted the Renfros their friends indeed. 



Mrs, Goodwin stopped to sit down for a few 
minutes while the pones were baking, and, from force 
of habit rather than from urgent demand on the part 
of the youngster, caught up the ten months' baby from 
the floor and offered him his supper. He was a big, 
strong baby, able to walk by pushing a chair over the 
rough floor, except when one leg got into a crack be- 
tween the puncheons, when he would howl viciously. 
He was usually vociferous for his rations, which his 
thin, angular mother gave him in installments. The 
boy was not insistent to-day. His father had returned 
from the store, and had taken his one cent of change in 
candy. The baby lay now in his mother's arms, tug- 
ging hard at the breast and holding fast to the candy. 

" Gimme a suck of your candy, honey," she asked 
the baby ; but the urchin kicked a dissent and tried to 
grunt an emphatic negative without relinquishing any 
of his natural rights. 

" He's got his pappy's head on his shoulders," said 
Goodwin admiringly. 

" I reckon that's so," said Mrs. Goodwin proudly. 

Mrs. Goodwin admired her husband with a docile 
and submissive admiration which flourished in the 

The School Board Chairman 45 

shadow of a willingly endured tyranny. She was his 
second wife, and the farm that had been hers, across 
the mountain, was in his name now, and she was glad 
to be relieved of the responsibility, 

" Hit's plumb time for me to be a-weanin' you," she 
said to the baby. " Hit's as much as I kin do to git 
enough stren'th for myself, let alone feedin' a big boy 
with a mouthful of teeth." 

" Not yet," said Goodwin. " Let him git a good 
start first." 

" Gimme a bite of your candy, honey," she pleaded 
again; but the request had the efifect of inducing the 
youngster to drop the breast and transfer the candy to 
his mouth. Soon, however, he returned again and 
pounded his mother's bare breast with the candy while 
he devoted himself to his native food. 

" He feels so good over havin' both at onct," said 
Goodwin, " he don't hardly know which to take. I 
wisht I could have a run of luck lack that." 

" Now I ain't a-goin' to stand that," said Mrs. 
Goodwin to the baby with mock severity. " I am 
goin' to quit if you don't quit daubin' me up like 
that ! " 

" You're wastin' a heap of your candy that away, 
Bill," suggested his father; at which economical sug- 
gestion the baby desisted and conserved his candy for 
later consumption. Mrs. Goodwin leaned forward 
and removed the candy stains with the corners of the 
little shoulder shawl she wore, which served at times 
in lieu of a handkerchief. 

" Peleg," she said, " don't you reckon hit's about 
time to build on a new house on to the front of this 

46 Pine Knot 

" Wha' d'ye want a new house fur ? " he asked. 

" Why, you know you promised when we was 

" A feller promises a heap of things when he gits 
married that he forgits atter a spell." 

" Well, I ain't a-goin' to let you forgit that." 

" I cyan't aliford it now." 

" Well, you kin pay for it out of my farm if you 
want to." 

" Your farm ? Hain't that mine ? " 

" Why, yes, of course. Only " 

" Well, then, if hit's mine, don't call it yourn. Dog 
take it, if there's anything I hate to hear hit's a woman 
talkin' about what's hern just like she wasn't mar- 

" You needn't git ill, Peleg. Only I hate to 
have Renfros in that house all made out of sawed lum- 
ber from the mill and ceiled up in the front rooms with 
walnut and pine — fust a plank of one and then one of 
t'other — and we a-livin' in this old house that hain't 
but mighty little better than the one you got on the 
morgidge from Deck Morgan's widder. And you 
know you told me you was worth more'n Renfro." 

" Shet up ! " said he. " Didn't I tell you not to tell 

" I hain't told it to nobody but you." 

" Well, I knowed it a'ready. A man is a plumb 
fool to tell a woman all he knows when they're first 

" Don't be ill. Cyan't you call in some of that 
money you've got loaned out in Laurel and build a 
front part to the house like Renfro's ? " 

" No. I cyan't," said he. " That money is a-fetchin' 

The School Board Chairman 47 

good intrust. But looky here, old gal! How'd you 
like to have Renfro's house and Renfro's niggers? 
Hey? Since you know so daggon much, I'll tell ye 
what I've got a sorter idy of doin'. I've bought some 
timber land down by the river in partnership with Ren- 
fro, and lent him money for his half. He don't know 
he's borried hit from me — he-he! He thinks I'm jest 
agunt. But I've had the morgidge transferred to me, 
and Renfro hain't no idy how hard hit's a-goin' to be 
for him to pay off that morgidge ! They's one or two 
conditions thar that I reckon he didn't notice p'tic'lar. 
But I noticed 'em. He's put on style in this commu- 
nity a heap longer than he's goin' to." 

" How long do you allow hit'll take ? " asked his 

" Three years, I reckon. Mebby five. But hit's 
got to come." 

" That's a long time to wait," said Mrs. Goodwin. 

"Long?" demanded her husband. "Hit won't 
be long. I've been a-layin' low for ten year. But he 
won't put no morgidge on his house, and he don't 
know that he's a-goin' to have obleeged to do it. But 
I've got my plans ! I've got my plans ! Now, look 
here ! Don't you go to doin' none of your fool blab- 

" Peleg," said she, " you know I won't. Still, I 
sorter hate to think of gittin' their house. One jest 
like hit or a leetle grain better would suit me as well, I 

" Hit wouldn't suit me. Not half so well," said her 
husband. "And I'll tell you another thing. We've 
lived pore and we're a-goin' to live pore till the time 
comes. But the time ain't a-goin' to last forever. You 

48 Pine Knot 

know Doc Mallory in Huntsville that come here when 
the baby was borned ? " 

" I reckon I do. He was mighty good to me." 

" Well, he is a clever feller when he ain't a-drinkin'. 
But he's drinkin' harder, and he's had to borry money. 
And there's a feller in Pine Knot has lent him some 
money as a sort of favor, and took a chattel morgidge 
on his pair of niggers and their young 'uns." 

" But, Peleg, I'd hate to git his niggers away from 

" Why, he's a-goin' to lose 'em anyhow, and hit's 
better for 'em to go to some one that's be'n a friend to 
him, ain't it? And I've got some other lines out. 
And they're all on the quiet, but some day in three or 
four year I'm goin' to pull in my fish, that's what I'm 
a-goin' to do. And you'll jest hatter live in this old 
house till then." 

Mrs. Goodwin laid down the sleeping boy and lifted 
the cover from the baker. 

" They ain't quite done," she said, and replaced it. 

She was eager to hear more, and this was one of 
Goodwin's communicative days. She sat down, lean- 
ing forward expectantly. 

Goodwin sat for a time in silence. He was a 
strongly built man of fifty-five, and wore a full bushy 
beard. A pair of steel-bowed spectacles sat constantly 
on his nose, and his wide wool hat sat level on his 
head. Decision and cunning were written together on 
his features. As he sat his jaws worked decisively on 
the tobacco in his mouth, and he spat from time to 
time, straight across the baker and into the fire with- 
out the slightest inclination of his head or uncertainty 
of aim. 

The School Board Chairman 49 

" You was a-speakin about the Deck Morgan 
house," he said after a pause. 

" Yes," said she. 

" I've rented hit," said he. 

" Peleg Goodwin ! You ain't found no hvin' hu- 
man willin' to go into that house, have ye ? " 

Peleg chuckled. 

" Well, if you hain't the master hand ever I seed 1 " 
said she admiringly. " Who is it ? " 

" The new teacher," said he. 

" Why, Peleg Goodwin ! Is he, for sure ? " 

" He wouldn't 'a' got the school if he hadn't." 

"Who is he?" 

" Oh, he's a innocent sort of a feller, with a wife 
and one gal, he said ; and he's a-fetching them here 
from Lexington." 

" I'm sorter a-feared they won't like the house," 
said Mrs. Goodwin timidly. 

" They don't know nothing about this fool story of 
the ghost, and hit won't pester them, nohow." 

" But didn't the trustees promise the school to 
Preacher Jim Fletcher ? " 

" They hadn't no right to if they did. What busi- 
ness had the old board to promise the school before 
the election ? " 

" Well, two of 'em held over." 

" Yes, but how'd they know but the third man 
would have so much more sense than the other two 
that he'd win 'em over ? " 

" Ain't that jest about what happened ? " 

" I reckon hit is. I've had my way this time, 
anyhow. I never did like that Jim Fletcher, nohow, 
and I've got some rent money out of that house." 

50 Pine Knot 

"How much?" 

" Two dollars a month. And he thought hit was 
cheap ! He's a man that's got a heap of book learnin', 
but he ain't got no more wild-hog sense than the toe of 
my boot." 

" Which of the trustees come over? " 

" Noel Davis. I had to give him the first month's 
rent to put in the place whar he keeps his conscience." 

" Did ye git the first month's rent in advance ? " 

" Eh, did I ! And I reckon hit was about all the 
feller had. Here's Smart. Come in, Smart. Well, 
did you git that corn ? " 

" Yes, sir ; I got hit. He's to deliver fifty bushels 
of years for six dollars and a quarter paid now, and 
the corn is to be delivered when hit's ripe." 

Smart was not a prepossessing man in his appear- 
ance. He was a man of thirty, sadly stooped, and 
wore a very ragged coat and a nondescript hat of 
the worst possible character. It had been brown, 
with a narrow brim, but the color was one now that 
would escape all classification ; and as for the shape, 
the loss of band, and the drawn-down rim and battered 
and broken crown made it as scandalous a piece of 
headgear as ever man wore. When he removed it, 
he exhibited a bullet head, close cropped, as though he 
had escaped from prison, but the low receding brow 
and unkempt appearance raised a question whether he 
would have been held sufficiently responsible to be 
sent to prison, and his meek, obliging deportment cer- 
tainly was an indication that he did not deserve it. 
Yet there was a glitter in his eye that showed intelli- 
gence beyond what his general appearance promised; 
and when he talked, though at first you might not 

The School Board Chairman 51 

have noticed it, he gave indication of having seen and 
thought to better advantage than at first seemed pos- 
sible. If he did not improve with acquaintance, cer- 
tainly acquaintance served to increase one's sense of 
his ability, and to raise a doubt whether the first glance, 
in which one set him down as a shiftless ne'er-do-well, 
with just a touch of viciousness restrained by natu- 
ral indolence, adequately gauged his character. 

" All right," said Goodwin ; " I reckon I'll have 
obleeged to let him have the money. Money's right 
short now, but a man's got to be neighborly. Keep 
watch of that crap. Smart, and if you see the yield's 
goin' to be good I'll manage to lend him a leetle more 
to-wards fall. I like to be neighborly, and he's got a 
line lot of young hogs comin' on." 

" Who's that ? " inquired Mrs. Goodwin, her scru- 
ples at her husband's method quite overborne by her 
admiration of his farsightedness and shrewdness. 

" Dave Cecil," said Goodwin. " He's had a sick 
young un, and he'll sell so much corn afore it's growed ; 
if he ain't keerful he'll hatter sell his hogs, come 
winter, to whoever's got the corn to feed 'em." 

" And that'll be you," tittered Smart. 

" Shet up, you fool ! " said Goodwin. 

But Smart laughed the more heartily, and hence 
the less loudly, for he knew that Goodwin's command 
to shut up was really a compliment, and intended to 
commend him for an insight into motives which, just 
in proportion as Goodwin desired to conceal them 
from the world at large, he wished also to have recog- 
nized by the few people whom he was compelled to 

" Supper's ready," said Mrs. Goodwin. 

52 Pine Knot 

Goodwin and Smart rose from their chairs, Good- 
win as he pushed back catching one leg of his chair 
in the cracks between the puncheons. He swore so 
loudly that he woke the baby. Mrs. Goodwin caught 
up the child as the men sat down to supper. The baby 
rescued the candy, and resumed the dinner with the 
alternating courses, his mother singing meantime an 
old-time ballad ; 

"And bury far Eleanor in my arms, 
And the brown gal at my feet." 

Still she had an ear for the conversation between 
Goodwin and Smart, who sat in the shed room, with 
the open door between. 

" That feller's come," said Smart. 

"What feller?" 

" The one that's rented the Deek Morgan place." 

"Who told you?" 

" Noel Davis. Didn't you know ? " 

" Yes. I heerd it at the store a spell atter he'd 
went by." 

" Wonder whar he'll stay till he gits the old house 
fixed up ? " 

" I dunno. I've done my sheer in providing the 
house for him. Some one else can look out for him 

" Is Mr. Goodwin in ? " asked a voice at the door 
at that moment. 

Mrs. Goodwin rose, the baby still holding tightly 
to her. 

"Howdy?" she said. "Come in. — Peleg, I 
reckon this is the new teacher." 

Peleg rose from the table and came into the front 

The School Board Chairman 53 

room. The sun was still an hour above the horizon, 
pouring its light through the open door, casting 
the teacher's shadow the length of the room and on 
the wall beyond. 

Goodwin greeted him courteously. " Howdy, Mr. 
Buzbee ? " he said. " Right proud to see you. Got 
here, did ye? If I'd knowed you was coming, I'd 'a' 
met you." 

" Quite unnecessary, Mr. Goodwin ; quite unneces- 
sary. We are overwhelmed by the kindness of the 
people already. Mr. Renfro has taken us in." 

'* Yas. Renfro's a right clever feller, and he's got 
a house that can take keer of folks that's been used to 
having things like they'd ought to be. Pore folks has 
pore ways. We feel ashamed a heap of times that we 
cyan't do more for folks than what we can. You'd be 
right welcome to such as we've got." 

" I thank you. But at present we are provided for, 
and we hope to be in our own home soon. I — I — 
I came over to ask, Mr. Goodwin, whether some repairs 
may not be made on the schoolhouse — and — I hesitate 
to ask so much — on the house that is to be my 
home also. I — I — Believe me, I dislike to trouble 
you " 

" Wall, as to the repairs on the schoolhouse, I'll 
call a meeting of the board. I reckon they is some re- 
pairs needed. Hit stood open all last winter, and some 
hogs got in, I reckon. We'll have a workin', and see 
to that. Smart, you go over to Noel's and tell him 
we got to git the fellers out and fix that schoolhouse 

With such heartiness did Mr. Goodwin accept the 
part of the request which he could share generously 

54 Pine Knot 

with others that it was doubly hard for Mr. Buzbee to 
press his own request. 

" Thank you, thank you. And may I ask if you 
can at the same time repair the house which I have 
rented ? " 

" What's the matter with hit? " 

" I — I had not observed anything. But my wife 
noticed some leaks in the roof, and my daughter 
thought the chimney defective. And I myself noticed, 
when they called my attention to these things, that the 
cracks in the walls and floor are very large." 

" They's cracks in my floor," said Goodwin. " Hit 
don't seem as if I'd orter have to fix a better house for 
other folks than what I live in myself." 

" I — I thought of suggesting," stammered Mr, 
Buzbee, " that if you thought right, I would bear a 
share in the expense of the repairs." 

" I reckon that would do," said Goodwin. " Do 
you reckon you could advance me a couple of months' 
rent to-wards my sheer? " 

" I — I think so. I do not have the money with 
me. But I will procure it." 

"All right, Mr. Buzbee. We'll fix the chimbly 
and the roof and chink the walls. I reckon we'll have 
to let the floor go." 

" You are very generous," said Mr. Buzbee. 
" Your kindness really touches me. I know that I ask 
much, far more than I would for myself. But I wish 
to provide a home for my wife and family." 

" Tell your wife Howdy for me," said Mrs. Good- 
win, " and ask her and your gal to come over and 
see me." 

" Thank you," said Mr. Buzbee. " I will do so. 

The School Board Chairman 55 

Good evening, Mr. Goodwin. Good evening, mad- 

" I lay off to come over to Renfro's atter a spell," 
said Goodwin. " I reckon you'll be thar?" 

" Yes ; I shall be there to-night." 

" All right. I'll come over and see how things is 
moving. We'd oughter be a-stirring a little about the 
opening of school." 

" I shall be glad to have you come and talk matters 
over. Good evening." 

" Good-by. You'd best stop and spend the night 

" No, thank you. I will see you at Mr. Renfro's.'* 



James Fletcher was riding to fill his appointment 
at No Bus'ness, where he was to preach at early candle 
lighting. No Bus'ness creek is formed by the junc- 
tion of Troublesome and Difficulty, and there was to 
be night preaching there. His heart was hot and bit- 
ter as he approached Pine Knot. Here was the scene 
of his most joyous and remunerative work. He had 
taught the three months' school last year, when the 
wages were only fifteen dollars a month, and now, 
when the district had been enlarged and the pay would 
be something handsome, it had been taken from him. 
He had not been able to carry out his plan with the 
earnings of the first year. His mother, who lived on 
Roundstone, had been sick, and he had done a son's 
duty. She was convalescent now, and his stepfather 
was doing a little better, and there was not likely to be 
any demand upon him this year. The books that he 
longed for were almost within reach. There was a 
concordance ; he had never seen one, and it did not 
seem possible that there could be such a thing, but 
the presiding elder had recommended it and told him 
that with it one could find any passage in the Bible in 
half a minute. Watson's Theology, too, and Barnes's 

A Possible Castaway 57 

Notes on the Gospels were on his Hst, and a text-book 
on logic, and a book on science. He had conned the 
list and prices a thousand times. He was to receive 
deacon's orders at the annual conference this year. 
With such reading as he could do in another year he 
hoped to be able to take a regular circuit next year, 
and to be listed as a circuit rider, and not, as now, an 
exhorter. This had been his day dream. Bitterly had 
he struggled over it last year; yes, it had cost him a 
struggle to pay his money even for his mother's illness. 
He read many times the words of Christ condemning 
the gift of corban, when money dedicated to God left 
a parent to suffer. There had been little love lost be- 
tween him and his stepfather, and home going had 
g^ven him no pleasure in recent years. Indeed, his 
mother had seemed no longer his, till that terrible sick- 
ness came just as he received his school money. If he 
was tempted to glory in the fact that he had given his 
money for her recovery, he had shame in the recollec- 
tion that it cost him such a struggle. For James 
Fletcher had one consuming ambition, an ambition 
that took stronger hold upon him because it possessed 
so many good and true elements, and that was to be 
a preacher of the Gospel, and the ablest and wisest one 
in Whitley County. About him were few preachers 
that cared for books. The Baptists were ignorant, 
almost to a man ; he did not know a preacher among 
them that thought the earth to be round, and several 
of them could not even read. The Methodists were 
driven to some reading by their conference examina- 
tions, but the examinations were necessarily superfi- 
cial, and hardly touched the branches they professed 
to cover. How could it be otherwise, in the rude 

58 Pine Knot 

and stern conditions of life that left little time for 
reading ? 

He had no thought of earning his living by preach- 
ing. There was not a minister about who did that. 
They all owned farms and worked them, and what 
they received was free board and horse feed, a pitiful 
quarterage, paid mostly in produce, and an annual do- 
nation just before conference that sometimes in its 
best estate sufficed to buy a new suit of clothes and a 
stock of horseshoes. That was all he expected. It 
was not for money's sake that he wanted money, but 
his soul hungered for knowledge, and he had read and 
reread his few books till he could tell their contents 
as he could spell the column of words that began with 
" ba-ker " in Webster's old blue-back speller. 

He was thinking bitterly of these things when he 
met Jake Trosper. 

" Howdy, parson ? " said Jake, 

"Howdy, Jake?" said Fletcher. "I didn't see 
you till you spoke." 

" Studyin' 'bout something, was ye? " 

" Yes." 

" Your sarmon ? " 

" No, not this time." 

" I reckon I know," said Jake. 

" I reckon you do," said Jim. 

There was silence a moment, then Jake said, " He's 
come, parson." 


" The feller that's to keep the school. He's goin' 
to live in Deek Morgan's old house." 

A sudden resolution came over Fletcher, and he 
started to ride on. 

A Possible Castaway 59 

" Good evening', Jake ; I'll have to be riding on. I 
got to preach at No Bus'ness to-night." 

" Good night, parson. I'm mighty sorry. I 
reckon the other fellers sold ye out. I wist I'd 'a' been 
re-elected, and me and Bill would have done gin ye 
the school." 

" Thank you, Jake. I know you would. Good 

He touched his fine horse with the switch he car- 
ried, and started ahead. A mile farther was the house 
of Deek Morgan, owned, as he knew, by Peleg Good- 
win. It was all plain to him. The stranger had 
bribed the new trustee by paying rent on this old 
house. It was a game of fraud, and he was the victim 
of threefold dishonesty. He had been hot and sullen 
before, he was well-nigh furious when he drew rein be- 
fore the house. The door was ajar. He rode up 
and called, " Hello ! " 

There was a moment's delay, and then there came 
to the door not the man whom he expected to see, but 
a young woman, rosy-cheeked, and with bright, gold- 
en hair glistening under the white sunbonnet that, 
slipping back, formed with the hair a halo round her 
face as she stood in the doorway in the glow of the 
westering sun. 

James Fletcher sat spellbound on his horse. If 
Deek Morgan's ghost had confronted him it would 
have astonished him less than the sight of this beauti- 
ful creature. For a full minute he did not speak. 

Then he touched his hat with his whip, and said : 

" Good evening, miss. I want to see the man who 
has come to keep the school." 

" My father ? He is at Mr. Renfro's ; or, no ! I do 

6o Pine Knot 

not think he is there, I heard him asking if he would 
have time before supper to walk over to Mr. Good- 
win's and see about some repairs on the house. If he 
is not at Mr. Renfro's, however, he will be back soon." 

" I have not time to wait," said Fletcher. " I will 
see him another time." 

" I will take a message to him," said Barbara. " I 
am going back at once. I came to get a few things 
which my mother needs. I will deliver any word 
which you wish me to take." 

Fletcher stopped to think. Well, why should she 
not take the message? Was not his cause a just one? 
Was he ashamed of his message because it was to be 
sent by a girl ? Was this his courage, that oozed out 
at sight of a pretty face ? He turned, and with rising 
warmth said : 

" Tell your father that I forbid him to open school. 
Tell him I know that he has obtained it by bribery and 
fraud. Tell him that the school was promised to me 
nine months ago, and that it is mine by every right. 
Tell him that I warn him not to begin school." 

Barbara looked straight at the man before her, 
and with indignation asked : " And what effect, sir, 
do you expect this message to have upon my father ? " 

" That depends," said Fletcher, " on whether he 
has any honor left." 

" Honor ! " she cried. " You question my father's 
honor? My father, of all men who ever lived! My 
father, sir, is the soul of honor ! " 

" Of course," said Fletcher, stumbling, " I didn't 
start to accuse your father to you, but " 

" But you have done so, and have questioned his 
honor, and accused him of fraud, and have sent a 

A Possible Castaway 6i 

threatening message. Well, sir, I will deliver it. And 
do you think you will frighten my father? He has 
faced a score of mobs single-handed and unarmed. 
Do you think he will fear one bully? He has stood 
before great audiences that seethed with passion while 
he was the only calm man in the house. He has raised 
his voice against dishonor in half the States of this 
Union, and do you, a threatening, angry bully, ques- 
tion his honor? My father, sir, though tender as a 
woman and sensitive as a child to pain or unkindness, 
has the courage of a lion. He would snap his fingers 
at your brutal threats." 

" I did not threaten," explained Fletcher. 

" You told me to warn him not to begin school. 
And he will despise your warning, as I do." 

James Fletcher rode away, chagrined and amazed. 
He had been in the wrong again. The very justice of 
his cause had given him a self-confidence that had led 
him into sin. And he was going to preach the Gospel 
that very night — he who had shown passion and ill- 
will, he who had questioned the honor of a man whom 
he did not know, and insulted a woman beside. Why 
should he preach to others, who was perhaps himself 
a castaway? Had he fallen from grace, and was his 
disappointment and humiliation the mark of Divine 
displeasure ? 

He whipped his horse into a gallop and sped to- 
ward No Bus'ness; but half a mile short of his ap- 
pointment he stopped, turned from the road, and, 
hitching his horse, spent an hour on the hillside over- 
looking the No Bus'ness valley in what he called silent 
prayer. The people who were gathering for the serv- 
ice heard him there, and knew that he was coming to 

62 Pine Knot 

the meeting from his knees. They prayed, too, for 
he was late in coming, and an earnest, expectant spirit 
filled the room when he entered, and, hanging his sad- 
dlebags across a chair, took out his Bible and began 
to preach : 

" My friends," said he, " I ain't worthy to preach 
the Gospel. I'm a poor sinner, and I sometimes doubt 
my own salvation. Satan has desired me to sift me as 
wheat, and he's sifted me, and I reckon the reason he 
didn't take me was that I wasn't worth while. But 
the word of God is not bound by the human weak- 
nesses of the preacher, and I'm going to preach to 
you as a dying man and a sinner to dying men and sin- 
ners. Pray for me while I preach, brethren, for I need 
your prayers." 

Far from discrediting the message which followed, 
this introduction was accepted as the badge of a prop- 
er, though unusual humility, and made the sermon 
that followed, which was a powerful one, most efifec- 
tive. There were fifteen " souls " at the altar for 
prayers that night, of whom six " got through " before 
the meeting closed, and were taken in on probation. 
Besides this, Larkin Sumner, who joined the Baptists 
later, dated his conversion from that sermon of James 

Among those who heard James Fletcher that night 
there was one who always heard him with admiration, 
and who listened to-night with rapt attention. It was 
no secret that Liberty Preston admired James Fletcher, 
and there were not a few who looked for the announce- 
ment of the engagement between them whenever 
Fletcher came to No Bus'ness and stayed at Pres- 
ton's big double house, near the fork of Trouble- 

A Possible Castaway 63 

some and Difficulty. Fletcher himself had thought 
of it as a possibility; and, while denying himself all 
present thought of matrimony, was fond of staying 
at Preston's. He did not always stay there, to be 
sure, but Silas Preston was class leader on No 
Bus'ness, and Liberty was the leading singer, and 
Mrs. Preston could fry a chicken to perfection and 
make such biscuits as are the joy of a preacher's heart. 
She put four kinds of preserves on the table, too — or 
three besides honey — when the preacher came, and, 
unlike the Forbeses, who always displayed all they had, 
but were careful not to have it all used, Mrs. Preston 
put a spoon in each jar. So it was natural that the 
minister should go often to Preston's, for it is well 
known that righteous men, such as ministers of the 
Gospel, are fond of spring chicken and beaten biscuits 
with honey and preserves. But, much as there was 
to take a minister to Preston's, a man could not al- 
ways go to the same place, and Brother Forbes was 
first in inviting him that night. So, although Liberty 
stayed with her father till the last " mourner " at the 
bench had been prayed for and sung with, and though 
the invitation was pressed upon him, and a promise ob- 
tained that he would stop there next time, the Pres- 
tons rode home without him. But Liberty comforted 
herself with his promise. 



" There ain't nothing I love like an evening like 
this," said Renfro after supper. " An evening when it 
ain't too hot nor ain't too cold, when you jest set by 
the light of the pine knots, not needing a lire nor find- 
ing a little blaze uncomfortable. Hit sorter thaws out 
all the good they is in me, and makes me feel like the 
kingdom was coming, sure enough. Some folks loves 
one thing and some another, but I pinely believe they 
ain't nothing I love so well as to set by the fire of an 
evening, having a good visit, and sorter gittin' a little 
more logy all the time, and then kiver up the fire and 
lay down on a bed that's got some goose ha'r on top 
of the straw. As I git older I find I keer a heap more 
than I did for goose ha'r." 

Mr. Buzbee looked troubled, and was about to in- 
quire whether any new variety of goose had made Pine 
Knot its habitat, but Barbara laughed, and Mr. Buz- 
bee saw that the reference to goose hair must be a 
humorous allusion to feathers. 

" This village has abundance of the knot for which 
it is named," said Barbara. 

" Thousands, thousands of it," said Mr. Renfro, 
who used the term en masse. " Nothing so plenty 

The Chimney Corner 65 

here, and nothing in it's way so good. Who's that? 
— Pete, run to the door and see who's there." 

" Hit's Daddy Campbell, sah," said Pete. 

" Run down, Pete, and help him in," said Renfro. 

" Yas, sah," said Simon Peter, and hastened to the 
front gate. 

" Howdy, Pete, howdy ? Reckon your maws'r's 
got room for me to-night? Gimme a lift on that 
wheel, than" 

" Ce't'nly, sah. Ce't'nly ; Maws'r Daddy, he's al- 
ways got room for you." 

" Wheel him in, Pete. — Right in this way, daddy. 
— Git out, Ben! — Pete, kick them dogs out of the 
chimbley corner, and make room for daddy's wagon. — 
Where'U you have it, daddy — about thar? Stick out 
your toes and git 'em warm." 

" Thank you, thank you," said the crippled old 
man, extending toward the fire a pair of shriveled 
legs. " I ain't cold, but a fire feels good. I ain't so 
young as I used to be." 

" Le's see, how old are you ? I've heerd so many 
times I've plumb forgot. Over a hundred, ain't 
you ? " 

" No. Ninety-nine and about ten months. I've 
sorter had a hope lately, Mr. Renfro, that when I git 
to be a hundred the Lord'll have mercy on me. I 
don't look for no relief till then." 

" Now you look a-here ! Don't you go to talkin' 
like that. You're gittin' up a conspiracy to go ofif 
and die ! I pinely don't like that. What'll we do for 
wooden bowls and sich? You just got to stay on ! " 

" Oh, but I'd like to git outen folks's way. And 
it's a awful thing to be cussed so's one cyan't die." 

66 Pine Knot 

" I reckon that's so, daddy. But you've lived now 
till you've skeered off the hoodoo, I reckon." 

" I've outlived the bitterness of the cuss, and that's 
a sure-enough blessing ; but still, it ain't like the bless- 
ing hit would be to die. — Howdy, Mis' Renfro? Yes, 
I've come to pester you ag'in. They had company 
come over to Mr. Strunk's, and they said I mout stay 
right on, but I allowed I'd best git away if you could 
keep me a day or so. I got sorter late, comin' by 
Granny White's with a gourd I've been a-cuttin' out 
for her and to git me some goose grease for my rheu- 
matiz. I didn't know you had company, too, Mis' 

" Bless my heart, daddy, that ain't no matter ! " 
said Mrs. Renfro, wiping her hands on her apron, 
" We've always got room for you ! — Mr. Renfro, I do 
believe you hain't made Daddy Campbell acquainted 
with the teacher and Miss Barbara. Have you plumb 
forgot your manners ? " 

" I never had none, only them I've got invested 
in my wife's name," said Renfro. " You'll have 
to make allowance for me, Mr. Buzbee. I'm a 
rough sorter feller, I reckon. This here is Daddy 
Campbell, And this here's his daughter, Miss Bar- 

" She ain't neither his daughter ; she's Mr. Buz- 
bee's," said Mrs. Renfro. 

" That's what I said, ain't it? " 

" No, you didn't. You said she was Daddy Camp- 

" Well, if I did I'll stick to it, I've been to court 
often enough to learn that if a man tells a lie he's got 
to stick to it. And Daddy Campbell's daddy to every- 

The Chimney Corner 67 

body around here. So, Miss Barbara, you've got 
more kin folks than what you knew." 

" That's the way he gits out of his awkwardness in 
introducing people," said Mrs. Renfro admiringly. 
Her sparring matches with her husband were designed 
in part to show him ofT, and she was justly proud of 

Barbara took the thin, drawn-up hand that was 
extended toward her, noticing a certain gracefulness 
in the manner of the deformed old man. 

" Right proud to meet you, my lady," said daddy. 

" Here comes Dinah to see you, daddy. And this 
here is her daughter Sallie's little nigger. I reckon 
you remember Sallie? She was about the smartest 
darkey of 'em all ! We hated to let her go, but she got 
into love with one of Jim Cecil's niggers, and a right 
likely yeller feller he is, too ; and we let Sal go so's to 
live with her man. — Come right up, honey, and see 
daddy. He's mighty good to little children." 

The little one came up timidly, its wool tied in 
short pigtails all over its head, and these tied down 
so tight to threads that ran from one to another that 
the tails were hardly in evidence at all, and the head 
showed a series of dark patches separated by the 
partings, and looking like a phrenological chart. 

" Come here, honey, come to daddy. I've got a 
pretty for you," and he held up a beautiful bit of shell, 
delicately tinted and water worn. 

The child came to him, accepted the gift, and soon 
was so happy with him that it required some force to 
get her away. 

" Run along to the kitchen now, honey. I'm 
gwine come and put you into yo' bed." 

68 Pine Knot 

" That's a likely child, Dinah," said daddy. 

" I nebbah could b'ar her," said Dinah proudly. 
" She show de dirt so easy." 

" You run along, Dinah, and git Daddy Campbell 
something to eat." 

" I've done got it, misses," said Dinah. 

" Wheel yourself right out, daddy," said Mrs. 
Renfro ; " and when you git your supper come back." 

" What's them dogs a-barkin' at ? They's some 
person out thar," said Renfro. " Go out, Pete, and 

" I ain't got to go out to see," said Peter, shuffling 
toward the door. " Hey dah, Ben ! You Ben, come 
hyah! Come heah, Bruno! 'Peah's lack de dogs 
knows who to like. Come in, Maws'r Goodwin." 

" Howdy, Goodwin ? Come in. Take a cheer and 
put yourself level on it. Rest your hat. You've met 
Mr. Buzbee? This here's his daughter. Mis' Buz- 
bee had a headache, and laid down early. Mis' Ren- 
fro's here somewheres — she was here a minute ago. I 
reckon she's gone to see about Daddy Campbell's sup- 
per. Well, Goodwin, what do you know ? " 

" I come over to talk about repairing the school- 
house. I reckoned we could get up a sort of a workin', 
and have the hull deestrick turn out and fix up the 
schoolhouse and mebby do a leetle grain to the teach- 
er's house, too." 

" Hit needs it right bad," admitted Renfro, with a 
possible touch of sarcasm. " Well, I'll do my share. 
When '11 you go at it ? " 

"' Monday, I reckon." 

" All right. Send out word. We can norate it 
around at meetin' come Sunday." 

The Chimney Corner 69 

" I wish it could be done sooner," said Mr. Buzbee. 
" I should like to get into my house soon." 

" Well, I reckon hit won't hurt you to live over 
Sunday on what we live on all the while," said Renfro. 
" You stay right here till we git your house in shape." 

" You are very good," said Barbara. 

" Here comes daddy," said Renfro. " Well, daddy, 
couldn't you find nothin' more to eat ? I didn't reckon 
you could eat up what Dinah had so soon." 

" Plenty, plenty," said daddy. " I don't eat much, 
and they all feed me well. I ain't got no teeth to do no 

" Well, set up to the fire and tell us what you know. 
Didn't you know this old feller over on Copper 
Creek — this man Mundy ? " 

" I knowed him well," said daddy. 

" He's right sick," said Renfro. 

" Is he ? " asked Goodwin eagerly. 

" Yes, they don't allow he'll live long," said Renfro. 

" I've got some business with him," said Goodwin. 
" I reckon I'd best ride over to-morrow." 

" I knowed his father," said Daddy. " He come 
over from No'th C'liny with Swift — you've heerd about 
Swift that had the mine ? They uster tell a right quare 
tale about a lode of silver back by the river, and how 
him and a feller named Wright got the secret of it 
from an Injun." 

" How was that ? " asked Goodwin. 

" Well, you know Swift found a great mine here 
in these mountains, and got silver out of it so pure he 
made it up into dollars and took 'em back into No'th 
C'liny and passed 'em." 

" I've heerd tell about that," said Renfro, " and 

70 Pine Knot 

about their arresting him, and not being able to con- 
vict him because his dollars had more silver than the 
ones the Gov'maint made." 

" I've wished a heap of times I knowed where he 
buried the money he left here in the mountains," said 

" What was the tale about Mundy ? " asked Renfro. 

" Well, they told how him and Wright and a feller 
name of Jeflferson was with Swift, and how they begun 
to feel that Swift was gettin' more than his sheer of the 
silver. And one day when they was off in the woods 
they met an Injun that told 'em that he'd tell them 
where the main lode was for their two guns, and they 
agreed to it. Well, the tale runs that he told 'em, but 
when hit come to givin' up both guns, they was a-feared 
to do it, thinkin' mebby the Injun would kill 'em. And 
so they asked the Injun to take one. The Injun said 
he darsn't, for the other Injuns, like as not, would 
want to kill him for tellin', and he'd got to have both 
guns to defend hisself. And they got all the more 
skeered, and they finally come to the conclusion be- 
tween theirselves that they'd kill the Injun. So they 
did. They shot him down by the river, jest above the 
falls, and he went down over the falls ; and as he went 
he shrieked out a cuss on their souls and on the secret 
he'd told 'em, and said his spirit would ha'nt the place. 
Old Mundy never dared to go to the place, but they 
say he had a paper that he got from Swift, and that 
onct he and this boy of hisn tried to locate it, but they 
got a skeer that killed the old man — he died two three 
weeks atter — and this boy of hisn ain't never been the 
same sence," 

Goodwin had listened eagerly to every word of this. 

The Chimney Corner 71 

In his mind something began to form that promised 
much larger returns than the scheme at which he was 
already working. " Did ye say that was at the falls 
of the Cumberland ? " he asked. 

" Right thar," said Daddy Campbell. 

" That's where we've bought our timber land, 
Goodwin," said Renfro. " Mebby we've got some- 
thing better than to raft logs from there down the 

Goodwin made no answer. " Hit's time for me 
to go," said he. " I got to take a ride to-morrow." 

Daddy Campbell also retired early, and Mr. Ren- 
fro and Mr. Buzbee had an errand to the Buzbee house, 
as it was to be to get something which Mrs. Buzbee 
had forgotten. Mrs. Renfro and Barbara were left 
alone before the fire. 

" He is a very singular man," said Barbara. 

" Who — Goodwin ? He's a snake ! Eh, is he ! 
He's got some idy about that silver. He's goin' over 
thar to-morrow and pester that dyin' old man, that's 
what he's goin' to do! I wisht Mr. Renfro wouldn't 
have nothing to do with him, that's what I wisht ! " 

Barbara felt the same. Some uncanny influence 
seemed to attach itself to the man. And a certain fas- 
cinating horror seemed to hang about the story of the 
abandoned mine. 

" Tell me about Daddy Campbell," said Barbara. 

" Well, that's a quare tale, too. I reckon hit's too 
long to tell to-night, and you that tired." 

" Oh, no, tell me," said Barbara. 

" He's been conjured," said Mrs. Renfro. " That's 
why he cyan't die." 

"Conjured?" asked Barbara. "By whom?" 

72 Pine Knot 

" By a slave woman. He sold her baby. Hit was 
hisn, too. That was more'n seventy year ago. No- 
body don't tell it on him no more. But I've heerd it 
often years ago, how his wife hated the slave woman 
and her baby, and wouldn't give him no peace till he 
sold the little feller down the river. The nigger wom- 
an cursed him then, but she died atter awhile, and, 
dying, she cursed him with a conjure curse — slapped 
him in the face with her two bloody hands and cursed 
him to live till he was a hundred years old, and bear 
his curse ever' day. She cursed his own children to 
scatter and die, and him to live and repent." 

" It is dreadful ! " said Barbara. " Yet it interests 
me. Tell me all about it, please." 

So Mrs. Renfro told the story, in the chimney cor- 
ner, of the black Hagar and her curse that had con- 
demned Daddy Campbell to live on, a sad and peni- 
tent old man and a pauper. Mrs. Renfro began back 
with the selling of the child from the home over on No 
Bus'ness Creek, to appease the wrath of Campbell's 

The black Hagar had pleaded to be sold with her 
baby if the child must go, but Mrs. Campbell not only 
valued her services, but sought a more cruel revenge, 
daily twitting her husband with the sin which she took 
care should not be repeated, and daily goading the 
dark but comely slave with a woman's petty but malig- 
nant persecutions. Already she had borne her hus- 
band three children, and was about to bear a fourth ; 
and when the baby came Hagar watched her mistress 
with a tenderness that had as yet learned only sorrow 
and not revenge. She had cursed, indeed, when her 
baby was torn from her, but it was the resentful curse 

The Chimney Corner 73 

of an acute sorrow, and not the curse of a long-cher- 
ished bitterness. But that same curse she repeated 
and distilled in more of her soul's deep venom as the 
years went by, and repeated at last under circum- 
stances of peculiar horror. 

For, once recovered, Mrs. Campbell had found a 
new occasion of jealousy in the love that existed be- 
tween her own babe and its slave nurse. The slave 
cherished her mistress's child as in some sort a compen- 
sation for the loss of her own, and while she never 
smiled after the day that her own child was taken from 
her, she had a kind of fierce joy in the possession of 
this little one, and secretly gloried in the fact that the 
child loved her more than its own mother. 

Then the mother tore the baby from her, ordered 
her from its presence, hastened to thrust herself be- 
tween the two if at any time the little creeper started 
for her, and to snatch him if he cried after her. It was 
for this, the neighbors believed, that Hagar conjured 
the child, and it died. They did not know at the time 
that he was conjured, but later they were sure of it. 
But if indeed the fault was Hagar's there was no more 
passionate mourner at the little grave than the black 
woman, who went there nightly to pour out her heart- 
broken sobs above the little mound where, in her 
thought, her two babies lay buried — the white child 
that had died in his mother's arms (and Hagar had 
been shut out of the room) and the mulatto boy that 
had been sold down the river and was thrice dead 
to her. 

For four years more the bitterness continued, and 
John Campbell had never known a happy day. Yet 
as the fourth year drew to a close he had hope again. 

74 Pine Knot 

but it was a hope that went out in a horror that had 
been his nightmare since. Another child was born to 
him, a daughter, and so ill was his wife that she forgot 
her hatred in her weakness, and found comfort in the 
nursing of Hagar. The child was three days old, and 
was lying at its mother's breast, and the mother light 
was in the weak eyes that looked down upon the little 
head; every cruel thought was absent, as for three 
days it had been, when she looked up and saw Hagar 
looking down upon the little one with eyes so hungry 
and pitiful that in a moment it all came back. With 
bitter reproaches and many vile names she shrieked 
to the slave woman to leave her side and never to come 
near her or the child again. In that moment there 
rushed into the black soul all the shame and sorrow 
and pent-up revenge that had been harbored there. 
With the cry of a tigress she fell upon the infant and 
tore it limb from limb, and then — for it took only an 
instant — she fell upon the mother and choked her to 
death. In fearful horror she fled from the presence of 
her awful crime — fled damning herself to the lowest 
hell for the sin that she had done, yet gloating savagely 
over the fearful vengeance that had been hers. 

Ah, but the hounds were on her track, and she 
led them a weary chase through glade and swamp, and 
over mountain and field. And the men rode hard be- 
hind the hounds. Two days they followed her, now 
losing the trail where she walked in the water, now 
put to confusion where she doubled on her own track, 
but ever relentlessly following, and John Campbell 
rode with the hunters that followed the bloodhounds. 

They found her at last in a tree, and the dogs were 
barking about her. They could not see her at first, 

The Chimney Corner 75 

and doubted if the dogs had not lost the trail and fol- 
lowed an animal. They gathered under the tree ; it 
was twilight, and they peered into the thick branches 
and called for a light. It was then that she sprang 
down, when John Campbell stood just below her, and 
as she sprang she drove her keen knife hard into his 
shoulder, and a thousand times he mourned that she 
missed his heart. 

They shot her as she struck, and the two lay side 
by side beneath the tree. They drew the knife from 
his wound, and let her alone to die while they cared 
for him. 

John Campbell raised himself on his elbow and 
looked at the woman who had struck him. " I shall 
not die," said he to his companions ; " my wound bleeds 
freely, but I shall live." Then he looked at the dying 
slave, some said in hatred, and others said in pity, and 
one or two believed in love. 

One of her hands was wet in his blood and the 
other she wet in her own. With her dying strength 
she raised herself and smote him on the one cheek 
and the other, and fell back, crying : 

" Yes, live ! Live to be a hundred years old ! 
May you see your own children scatter and die, and 
may God's curse follow you ! " 

John Campbell had lost standing with his neigh- 
bors when he sold the slave child. No Bus'ness was 
in a part of the country that hated a slave trader ; per- 
haps there was no other man who was not welcome 
to a night's shelter on the creek; and they disap- 
proved the man who would buy a slave that broke a 
family, or sell one except from necessity or to keep 
households together. For years after his wife's death 

76 Pine Knot 

no neighbor crossed his threshold. He walked alone 
among his fellow-men as did the lepers of old, and 
all knew that he was living under a curse. One by 
one his children left him. Two died in childhood; 
one, a son, was shot on a Mississippi steamboat ; and 
the daughter that left home died far away, and after a 
life of shame. And then for fifty years more he had 
lived the loxieliest man that ever walked the earth. 
For half of this time he lived apart and cared for him- 
self. But sickness came upon him. White swelling 
left him helpless and old. His property, already sadly 
diminished, was soon exhausted, and Daddy Campbell, 
as he now came to be called, was a pauper. 

They had no poorhouse in Whitley County, and 
Daddy Campbell was for years the only person " on 
the county." They farmed him out by the year, pay- 
ing a pitiful sum to any one who would take him. At 
first it was with contempt, but even then with some- 
thing of pity, that he who had lived a hermit was re- 
ceived into human habitations. But as the years 
went by the contempt vanished, and something of 
reverence mingled with the pity. The sad, patient, 
suffering old man somehow came to receive a sort of 
veneration, as one who by years of suffering had ob- 
tained absolution, and through the very extremity of 
his sin found more of grace. The face that had looked 
hunted and pinched and accursed came to have a trans- 
figured look, as if from a patience that had had her 
perfect work and a peace that followed a storm-swept 
life that had been rocked between the billows of the 
mightiest emotions and nov/ was calm. 

Seated in the crude little cart which his own hands 
had fashioned, and into which he was lifted every day, 

The Chimney Corner *]*] 

he made his way slowly up and down among the neigh- 
bors, welcomed by young and old, but held especially 
dear by the children. It was as beautiful as it was 
pathetic to see him among them. They knew not 
the bitter past, and their parents were trying to forget 
it. They had long since ceased to tell it, save in pity, 
and they ran at his shout to lift his cart over the bars 
or to push behind as he wheeled it upon the punch- 
eoned porch, and they made a wide place at the table 
where his cart might stand among the children at meal- 

" And he has been a pauper all these years ? " 
asked Barbara. 

" I wouldn't like to say pauper," said Mrs. Renfro. 
"No person don't count him a burden. He kin use his 
hands right smart, though his laigs is shriveled and 
twisted up. He digs out wooden bowls and trenchers, 
and he mends cheers and a heap of things. Folks 
likes to have have him come, and the money the 
county pays for him gits less and less ever' year. I've 
plumb forgot who gits it this year. It's divided 
among several, and he sorter boards round. Here 
comes your pa and Mr. Renfro. I reckon I've plumb 
tired you out with my long stories. Hit's time to 
lay down now." 



" And this, my dear, is our home." 

It was the second Sunday morning, and the Buz- 
bees had had their first meal in their own home. They 
had seen no ghost, nor had any untoward event oc- 
curred save the message of James Fletcher, which Mr. 
Buzbee had passed unheeding. 

" A mere irritable and thoughtless word from a 
disgruntled applicant for the school," he said. " I am 
sorry that my coming should be a disappointment to 
any one. I must see him and explain how important 
this work is to my cause." 

Saturday night they had moved over from the 
Renfros'. The house had been swept and garnished, 
and was supplied with provisions for immediate needs. 
Some little had been done by way of repairs ; not, how- 
ever, at the expense of Peleg Goodwin, but under his 
direction and by voluntary labor contributed by a 
number of the men of the district, who patched 
the roofs both of the teacher's house and the school- 
house and made some simple improvements besides 
that involved labor only and no expenditure of 

" Yes, this is our home," said Mrs. Buzbee, " and, 

Twenty Dollars a Month 79 

humble as it is, I rejoice in it. It is so long since we 
have been together under our own roof." 

" Yes, and we have worked at a disadvantage. 
This home, dear as it will be for domestic reasons, 
will become still dearer because of the work which I 
hope to accomplish here." 

A slight shadow crossed the face of Mrs. Buzbee. 
" The work, I know, is important, but I hope that we 
may now give a little thought to our own need and 

" Comfort, my love, except as we have it in con- 
sciousness of doing our duty, I fear, will never come to 
us. But something better will." 

" Father," said Barbara, " how are we to live here ? 
When you told us that you had a position as teacher, 
with assured salary, I did not ask you how much, for I 
did not want to seem curious. Since coming here and 
seeing the poverty of the people I do not see how they 
can afiford to pay a teacher much." 

" They do not pay, my child. The pay is received 
from the State school fund." 

" How much is the school fund, father ? " 

*' The school fund, my dear, consists of $1,326,770, 
invested mostly in five-per-cent bonds, beside a five- 
cent tax on every hundred dollars' worth of property." 

" And we get all that ? " 

" Preposterous, my child ! We get the proportion 
which comes to Pine Knot per capita. That is, at the 
rate of about sixty-two and one half cents per scholar 
of school age. Pine Knot, having ninety-seven schol- 
ars, will receive a gross amount of sixty-one dollars 
and sixty-three cents." 

"Per month?" 

8o Pine Knot 

" No, no. For three months. That is what makes 
the school so desirable. In the more prosperous por- 
tions of the State the public money is increased by 
local taxation. That is quite out of the question here. 
If there are one hundred scholars or more, there must 
be a five months' school. Three more pupils would 
compel me to teach five months instead of three, and 
for practically the same amount. Ours is a very fortu- 
nate condition, my child." 

" Then this is the sum over which men are break- 
ing their hearts — this princely salary of twenty dollars 
a month? " asked Mrs. Buzbee. 

" I am most sorry, my dear, if any one is breaking 
his heart about it. I will cheerfully explain to any 
who are disappointed. There must be not one, but 
many. It is unfortunate that our successes in life do 
thus involve the disappointment of others. I grieve 
that it must be so ; indeed, I do not think that I could 
accept it if it were not that it gives us leverage for our 
great work." 

" And what do we pay for the rental of this miser- 
able old shanty ? " asked Mrs. Buzbee. 

" Don't, mother, dear," said Barbara. " Do not 
speak so of our home. Poor as it is, let us make it 
beautiful with our love and sympathy. Yes, let us 
idealize it, if need be." 

" You are right, my child. But, oh, it is hard 
to idealize poverty such as we must face! I had no 
idea that we had so meager an income to depend 

" We pay only two dollars a month, my dear ! " 
said Mr. Buzbee. 

" For twelve months ? " 

Twenty Dollars a Month 8i 

" Certainly." 

" And out of a gross income of sixty dollars ! " 

" That, my dear, is counted a large sum here." 

It was indeed so counted. 

It was by an arrangement with the adjacent county 
of Tennessee that so large a sum was possible, for some 
of these children were over the line, and all were 
counted as in Kentucky. To make up for this an 
equal number of Kentucky children on No Bus'ness, 
where the school was taught in Tennessee, were 
counted as living in the latter State. It was thus the 
result of a peculiarly favorable set of conditions 
that Mr. Buzbee had come to his twenty dollars a 

The sum seemed great to the district and a fortune 
to John Howard Buzbee, who thought of the sixty dol- 
lars in a lump, and estimated it as though, having it all 
at once, he would have it throughout the school term 
and for nine months thereafter. He had not often han- 
dled sixty dollars of late. But Mrs. Buzbee and Bar- 
bara, when they came to know in detail the terms of 
the teaching contract, looked each other in the face in 
blank amazement, and then in despair, till Barbara saw 
the funny side of it and burst into a laugh. 

" Sixty dollars, for three months ! As we have no 
other assured income and must pay our expenses for 
the year, twenty-four dollars will go for rent, and — 
help me with my arithmetic, father — thirty-six dollars 
will remain for food, clothing, and your tracts " 

" Yes, indeed, my daughter," interrupted her fa- 
ther, " we must contrive, however small our income, to 
save a little for tracts." 

" Thirty-six dollars ! A dollar a month apiece ! 

82 Pine Knot 

How shall I ever spend it ? " And Barbara laughed, 
a merry, but half-ironic laugh. 

" It is doubtless small," conceded her father, " but 
our expenses of living will be small. Eggs are but 
six cents a dozen. Corn meal is but thirty cents a 
bushel, and flour, which is coarse indeed, but still is 
the more wholesome, is but fifty." 

" And meat " 

" As for meat, we are the better without it. In- 
deed, I am now studying a method of dieting which 
will enable us to live, not only without using the prod- 
ucts of slave labor, such as cotton, molasses, and 
rice " 

" Except the mountain sorghum, I suppose." 

" Yes, and that will take the place of sugar." 

" Think of it, mother, dear, sorghum in your after- 
dinner coffee, served in the two little Dresden chinas I 
have in my trunk ! " 

" My dear," said her mother, "don't; pray, don't. 
I am in despair." 

" Very well, father, what else ? I will be good, and 
if at first I don't succeed, I'll try, try again ! " 

" As I was remarking," said her father, not in the 
least tried by the interruption, " I am involved in a 
plan which I hope to make plain, first to myself and 
then to the world, by which we may avoid, first the 
use of slave products, and then the use of all articles 
^ which involve the murdering, enslaving, or robbing of 
dumb animals." 

" Well, father, and what will you leave us to eat and 
wear? " 

" I do not claim as yet to have developed the 
theory consistently. I spoke of eggs. Technically, 

Twenty Dollars a Month 83 

my theory would exclude them, as involving either 
slavery, robbery, or murder, or perhaps all." 

" O father, I shall be in State's prison before sup- 
per time at this rate ! " 

" But even if the theory be fully carried out, we 
shall not suffer. We shall live upon corn, wheat, nuts, 
fruit, maple sugar, sorghum, oil of the cotton seed, 
which is far more wholesome than lard " 

"But cotton, father, is a product of slave labor." 

" My child, by the time the world is ready to adopt 
this theory there will be no human slavery." 

" I quite agree with you, father. The millennium 
will be well advanced by that time. But as for our 
clothes ? " 

" Cotton, when that is freed from the incubus of 
slavery; paper, which civilization will surely come to 
use more and more ; straw of different grades and corn 
husks, for hats of different kinds ; and, most of all, flax 
— the blue-flowered, hand-wrought flax — a small field 
of which, easily within the care of a man using only his 
own arms with hoe, and flail, and break, and a woman 
with spinning wheel and loom, will clothe a family in 
comfort, aye, with the vesture of kings ; for with native 
dyes it may be of varied hue. The meanest man that 
lifts his head in self-respecting manhood may lift his 
hands guiltless of blood or the spoil of his fellow-men 
or the dumb animals about him and stand clothed not 
only in purple and fine linen, but clad also, as Solomon 
in all his glory was not clad, in innocence and right- 

It was thus that John Howard Buzbee mingled his 
chimerical visions with prophetic insight, and from 
shallow and impractical reasoning rose in the joy of 

84 Pine Knot 

argument, and the warmth which argument always 
brought to him, into something Uke eloquence. Bar- 
bara ceased to laugh, and looked at her father. There 
he stood in the simplicity of his childlike soul, that at 
threescore years was guileless as in infancy, a simplic- 
ity that caused his daughter many a merry laugh at his 
inconsequentiality, his hopeless inability to cope with 
the problems of life, and Barbara looked at him and 
loved him. He was impractical, he was visionary, but 
he was learned, eloquent, unselfish, and without fear 
or reproach. He had met the world at its worst, and 
was not blackened by its pitch, nor soured by its re- 
buffs, nor made hateful by its hatred. He stood in the 
rough, almost uninhabitable cabin on the Sunday be- 
fore the school began, dressed in his best, which was 
so poor and plain, but he looked a gentleman, every 
inch, and her heart went out to him. She flung her- 
self into his arms, kissed him again and again, crying : 

" O father, father ! My dear, dear, lovely, loving 
father ! Forgive me for laughing at you, and annoy- 
ing you with my arguments. I'm not good enough to 
understand you, father, and the world is not good 
enough. You're a dear, dear, impractical, visionary 
old dreamer, so the world thinks ; but you're the dear- 
est, truest, bravest, kindest man that ever lived, and 
I'm proud of you, father ; I'm proud of you ! " 

Mrs. Buzbee, too, drew near and kissed him, cry- 
ing as she did so : " Yes, John, yes, we do love you, 
even if we don't always understand you, and we will 
love you and help you till we succeed or starve to- 

Mr. Buzbee turned first to one and then to the 
other, responding to their caresses in a dazed sort of 

Twenty Dollars a Month 85 

fashion, and said, as he disposed of Mrs. Buzbee on a 
chair and released himself from the caresses of Bar- 
bara : " Why, my dears, of course you love me ! I 
know that very well. This is very delightful, though 
I don't quite see the occasion that prompts it at this 
moment. As to laughing at me, Barbara, I never sus- 
pected that you were laughing at me, but you are quite 
welcome to do so, my child, if it affords you pleasure. 
And, as to not understanding me, I thought I was un- 
usually lucid. Let me go over those points at a little 
greater length. I am sure that I can make it plain to 

" Oh, no, father, don't ! " said Barbara. " We are 
too stupid. There is only one thing that we need to 
understand, and that we do understand more and more 
every day, that you are the best and dearest father in 
the world." 

It was thus that John Howard Buzbee met the 
world, shrinking from its rare caresses, disclaiming its 
few well-merited kind words, laboring patiently to 
make his position clear, and never doubting that its 
thoughtless laughter at his expense was prompted by 
a harmless joy of its own, which, while he did not 
share, he did not grudge. But the little outbreak of 
demonstrative affection which followed the sad discov- 
ery of their pitiful outlook did all good. It cheered 
Mr. Buzbee to be reminded that his wife and daughter 
loved him and trusted him, even though he could not 
understand why they should have supposed it neces- 
sary to tell him so. And it put a curb upon Barbara's 
somewhat tantalizing laughter, and her mother's quiet 
but complaining anxiety. So it was from a happy, 
though an anxious home, that John Howard Buzbee 

86 Pine Knot 

went forth that morning to attend meeting in Pine 
Knot. It was the third Sunday in the month, and the 
regular preaching day. Preachers were there — a herd 
of them — and they all participated. Mr. Buzbee, be- 
ing understood to be " a public brother," was asked 
to add a word at the close, and was said to have given 
" a mighty good lecture, but hit wa'n't no preach- 

One noticeable thing about it was that Jim Fletch- 
er, who should have been there to preach, did not ap- 
pear. Ominous threats from him were quoted, how- 
ever, as the men sat about on logs outside the school- 

" You trustees better hit the turf right early in the 
morning and git out of here," said Neze Post. 

" What for? " asked Noel Davis. 

" Jim Fletcher allows he's goin' to have a finger 
in the pie." 

" What's he got to do with it ? " 

" Wall, he met Jake Trosper t'other night, when he 
was on his way to No Bus'ness, an' he 'lowed that 
when the school opened to-morrow he'd be thar and 
take a hand. Then he rode on to Deck Morgan's old 
house, whar the new man is a-stayin' — that was mighty 
shifty o' you, Peleg, to put him in thar ! Daggon me, 
if I had a room to my hotel like that old hainted house 
if I wouldn't expect to see the Old Boy himself with 
all his hoofs and horns if I put a man to sleep there! 
And he told the new teacher, so I've heerd, that one 
man's curse rested on that roof already, and another 
man's was on the schoolhouse if he ever undertook to 
open school." 

By all the absence of Fletcher was considered sig- 

Twenty Dollars a Month 87 

nificant, and Noel Davis remembered his bitter words 
in front of the store, and questioned whether it would 
not be more prudent to be called away in the morning, 
and to let the other trustees open the school and sign 
the contract with the teacher. 



Mrs. Buzbee and Barbara did not go to meeting 
that Sunday morning, but remained to make prepara- 
tions for their simple dinner, and to enjoy the quiet 
of their own home. 

" Mother," said Barbara, " I wish that I knew my 

" What do you mean, Barbara? " 

" I know him, of course, as a good, true, kind man, 
a man of talent and of education, and I know, too, his 
hobby. When I think of him in that way, I — forgive 
me, mother, I almost pity him, and feel like making 
apologies for him. And then again I am so proud of 
him ! After all, mother, I do not know him very well, 
you know. He has been gone from us so much. I 
have sometimes wanted to ask you something, 

"What is it, dear?" 

" I have wondered how you came to marry fa- 

" You know the story in part ? " 

" Just enough so that I want to know it all. Begin 
at the beginning, and tell me. Tell me about his fa- 
ther, and all that." 

The Making of a Philanthropist 89 

" I think that you know the most of it, but I will 
tell you what I know. Your father's father, you know, 
my dear, was a minister in Virginia. He came of the 
old families, and was a good and honored man. It 
was not in his pulpit that he was greatest, but in his 

" I have heard about his work among the prisons." 

" That was one of his special hobbies. * I was sick 
and in prison, and ye visited me ' was his great text. 
It was that which caused him to name your father 
after his ideal philanthropist. But that was not all his 
work. He was interested in the destitute in the new 
settlements, in the work of the Tract Society, in the 
temperance movement, and in foreign missions." 

" He owned slaves ? " 

" Yes, and was kind to them. They were members 
of his own church, as were those of his congregation. 
They sat in the same church house, and received the 
communion at the same table, after the white people 
had been served. This, in his thought, was his full 
duty to his slaves. None of them ever suflfered for 
attention or were treated with severity, but he ac- 
cepted slavery as a fact. While he did not approve it, 
he did not feel responsible for its abolition, and set 
himself about philanthropy in other directions. He 
dedicated your father to the work of philanthropy." 

" That was rather a perilous thing to do, was it 

" Yes, for most men's philanthropy has its metes 
and bounds, and the son's philanthropy soon came to 
oppose the limitations of the father's." 

" Father was educated in the North ? " 

" At Yale. He graduated young, and led his class. 

90 Pine Knot 

At eighteen he began studying theology, and at 
twenty-one had finished his course. But he had read 
much beside theology, and had become a radical abo- 

" That was not rare in Virginia in his youth, 
was it ? " 

" No, it was very common at that time. I have 
heard your father say that all the great statesmen of 
Virginia in that day were abolitionists. His own fa- 
ther was one, in a certain sense — that is, he would have 
been glad to see universal freedom, but he did not 
count it a great evil as it then existed in Virginia, and 
thought the practical difficulties of emancipation too 
great to justify any aggressive movement toward it." 

" But he must have been a narrow, bigoted man." 

" Not quite that. He disinherited your father, to 
be sure. But I am not sure that your father, in the 
first enthusiasm of his outspoken conviction, was al- 
ways as prudent and gentle as he has now become. 
He was always considerate, always a gentleman, but 
he was always fearless and outspoken, and he doubtless 
was a disappointment to his father, who had looked 
to have him engage in what he counted practical phi- 
lanthropy, instead of a quixotic fighting of windmills, 
as he was wont to express it." 

" I know about his disinheriting father, and that 
sad scene." 

" Well, then he came to East Tennessee, where 
Benjamin Lundy had established his paper. The Gen- 
ius of Universal Emancipation, first at Greenville and 
afterward at Jonesboro. Your father was between 
twenty-one and twenty-two — he was born, you know, 
with the century — and he flung himself with ardor into 

The Making of a Philanthropist 91 

that work. It is the memory of that work in these 
mountains that has always inclined him to come back 

" How did he get to Baltimore ? " 

" Mr. Lundy moved the paper there. Then Mr. 
Lundy went to Boston and met William Lloyd Gar- 

" Was Mr. Garrison then in antislavery work ? " 

" No, he was editing a temperance paper. He met 
Mr. Lundy at Garrison's boarding house, and became 
a convert." 

" I remember about that." 

" Then Mr. Garrison went to Baltimore, and 
worked with Mr. Lundy on the paper Your father at 
that time was away on a lecture tour." 

" Then Mr. Garrison entered into the work with 
great enthusiasm ? " 

" Yes, with all the zeal of a new convert. And his 
editorials, instead of being kind and temperate, like 
Lundy's and your father's, were vehement and denun- 
ciatory. Mr. Lundy had to come to an understanding 
with him at once, and it resulted in each man signing 
his own editorials with his initials." 

" But that did not save the paper ? " 

" No, Mr. Garrison's editorials soon caused it to be 
broken up. Your father, in common with many of 
Mr. Lundy's friends, thought it a sad thing that the 
work of so many years should have been ruined, as 
they thought, needlessly." 

" Still, father went to Boston and worked with Mr. 
Garrison ? " 

" Yes, though always dissenting from Mr. Garri- 
son's methods. It became apparent in time that they 

92 Pine Knot 

could not agree. Mr. Garrison was an avowed seces- 
sionist; your father has always held that the slavery 
question is in the widest sense a national question, 
and must be settled within the nation. Mr. Garrison 
uttered most bitter words against the Church ; your 
father, while often tried with the indiflference and timid- 
ity of the Church, has yet held that the support of the 
Church is an absolute necessity." 

" But he did not continue to preach ? " 

" At times he did, and at times he stopped entirely. 
He came to bring almost everything to the test of its 
relation to the antislavery work. Yet, while this may 
have narrowed him, it did not embitter him, and, even 
toward Mr. Garrison, whose methods he came so thor- 
oughly to distrust, he always maintained the profound- 
est charity." 

" I have heard him say that it was a great pity that 
Mr. Garrison ever became associated with the conduct 
of the Genius." 

" Yes, but he said that without bitterness. The 
Genius was published in a Southern State, and had a 
small but influential Southern patronage. Beside that, 
Lundy traveled the whole country over, and had 
societies formed in many cities. North and South, at 
the time when Mr. Garrison, editing his second or 
third paper, had done nothing to show where he 
stood on the slavery question. Your father felt that 
it was wrong for him, a new arrival and a Northern 
man, to oppose his own theory of the conduct of 
the paper to that of the men who had from the be- 
ginning managed it, especially when the change 
was certain to wreck the paper, which was not his 

The Making of a Philanthropist 93 

" Then, he felt, did he not, that the stamping out of 
Lundy's paper made the question more sectional ? " 

" Yes, and he deplored that. For the antislavery 
sentiment of the South was waning, and, while they 
tolerated Lundy's paper, they were quite unwilling to 
hear such words as Mr. Garrison had to say hurled at 
them from New England." 

"And then?" 

" After your father severed his relation with Mr. 
Garrison's paper. The Liberator, where he worked for 
a little time, he thought of the law as affording him his 
best opportunity. He had preached now and then, 
but his preaching, though tender, earnest, and eloquent, 
was objected to by many because of his views on slav- 
ery, so he turned from the pulpit and studied law, 
teaching school the while. As a teacher he was a 
great success, being versatile, widely read, and full of 
an enthusiasm for his subject which always captivated 
his pupils. In the classics and in natural science he 
excelled, and in literature and belles-lettres he was ever 
at home. But the time came when he could claim ad- 
mission to the bar, and he left the schoolroom to plead 
the cause of the slave in court." 

" He never sought general practice, did he ? " 

" No, it was unpleasant to him, and so the law itself 
became. The grasping, haggling, selfish spirit which 
he found in the courtroom was uncongenial. He 
would not badger witnesses nor seek to blind juries. 
The cases for which he cared were those that paid 
nothing, and where he had hardly thanks for his pains. 
Yet he pleaded the cause of the fugitive slave in many 
courts, and with eloquence, though seldom with suc- 
cess. Disheartened, he turned from the law as from 

94 Pine Knot 

the pulpit, though at rare intervals in recent years he 
has sometimes pleaded and sometimes preached." 
" It was then he came to Lexington, was it not? " 
" Yes, a little more than twenty years ago. He 
was teaching again, and, as ever, he was a success in 
the schoolroom. Only he was always counted im- 
practical and visionary. But the success which he 
might have achieved he always frustrated by his oppo- 
sition to slavery." 

" Yet Henry Clay was opposed to slavery ? " 
" Yes, and hundreds of slaveholding people. 
Slavery in Kentucky and in all the border States was 
and is dying of its own weight, but social reasons and 
the practical difficulties of emancipation made and still 
makes opposition to definite antislavery work intense. 
I came to know your father then, and loved him. My 
father was a member of the State Senate, as you know, 
a proud, hot-blooded man. He and your father never 
agreed, and I think my father disliked him more be- 
cause he never got angry, as my father did, in their 

" And then I know about your marriage, and your 
leaving home and all that. You left Lexington ? " 

" Yes, for three years. They were years of trial, 
and poverty, and privation. A part of the time we 
were at Danville with James G. Birney. He was a 
Kentuckian, you know, who freed his slaves in 1834, 
and established an antislavery paper. But for two 
years we were on the road. We traveled far, and re- 
ceived little for our labor, your father lecturing against 

" And then Henry Clay called you back ? " 

" Not Henry, but Cassius M. Clay. He founded 

The Making of a Philanthropist 95 

his True American, and at one time had to defend his 
office with a cannon, and had all his men armed." 

" Did father go armed ? " 

" No, But he was not a noncombatant, like Mr. 
Garrison. He used to say that Mr. Garrison opposed 
fighting, but did his best to provoke mob violence, 
while he, who believed in the right of self-defense, was 
the true friend of peace. He believed that he had a 
right to go armed, but that to do so was inexpedient 
and likely to cause trouble." 

" You must have trembled for him in those days." 

" Yes, and was proud of him, too. He was so fear- 
less, and withal so far from blustering. He was a true 
knight in his spirit." 

" And yet, mother, you never fully agreed with his 
views ? " 

" It was not for his views that I loved him, Bar- 
bara. And in these years when we have lived with- 
out servants and I have so needed help I have some- 
times thought that I knew of no slave so poorly re- 
warded for his toil as your father ; and I may have 
said sometimes when I have been ill and impa- 
tient that there is such a thing as enslavement to an 
idea. But I have always admired him, yes, and loved 

" And he has loved you ardently." 

" Yes, and yet your father loves his cause first 
and dearest, and I will not deny that there have been 
times when I have yearned for a love more personal 
and demonstrative than he could show. But when I 
have done so I have reproached myself, remembering 
that his love, though abstract, is so true and strong 
and tender." 

96 Pine Knot 

" I am sure I understand you, mother. Father 
quarreled with Mr. Clay ? " 

" There was no quarrel. The Mexican War came, 
and Mr. Clay, though disapproving the war and its 
purpose, enlisted, declaring that in Kentucky a man 
to succeed in public life must have a military record. 
Your father called this doing evil that good might 
come of it, and he parted from Mr. Clay. Then he 
studied medicine." 

'' I remember about that. He taught again while 
studying, did he not ? " 

" Yes, in Louisville. For a time he seemed dis- 
couraged with his antislavery work, and thought that 
in healing the sick he could do what he called one 
man's work for human well-being." 

" And, oh, I remember to have heard how devoted 
he was to his patients, how they came to love him and 
to trust him ! " 

" Yes, but they were very few. And few of them 
could pay. And because few could pay him, the 
rest did not. He had the constant humiliation of see- 
ing quacks and charlatans prosper while he was in 
poverty. Moreover, he came to feel that he had done 
wrong in leaving the platform, and that duty called 
him to public work. About that time my mother was 
taken sick." 

" And she sent for you." 

" Yes, and I hastened to her deathbed." 

" Had she never forgiven you while you were in 
Lexington ? " 

" No ; and because we were so near we seemed 
more distant. But when she was about to die, she 
relented and longed to see me and you. She loved 

The Making of a Philanthropist 97 

you the moment she saw you, and forgave me. She 
left a provision in her will for your education, and a 
Httle for me in the hands of my father. I suppose that 
we have long since spent it. I never knew the details 
about it, as it was wholly in his hands. She left it so 
because " 

" Because she feared father would use it " 

" She feared that I would give it to him, and she 
knew how he would use it if it were his." 

" And so we went to grandpa's ? " 

" Yes, after the death of my mother, my father 
could not bear to have me leave. Your father was 
about to give up his practice and go into the field 
again, and it was arranged that I should stay at home 
and take care of father and you. You have had your 
education. Father has been more than a father to 
us both. But you know your father's visits have never 
been very happy. We were provided for, and that left 
him free to devote all his earnings, which were never 
large, to his work. Indeed, I think he forgot that we 
required money, and I do not question that he has 
thought as little of sending money to us as of spending 
money for himself. It was well ; we have lacked for 
nothing. We have had one purse with your grand- 
father, who has given to us unstintedly. We have 
never been so comfortable financially." 

" But we have not been comfortable when father 
and grandpa have had their discussions." 

" No, and for a long time they avoided controversy 
by mutual consent. Your father came home but once 
or twice a year. He saw you growing to womanhood, 
and loved and admired you more and more. He saw 
me, with health broken from our years of hardship, 

98 Pine Knot 

cared for in the home of my father, and then he went 
off again, a year longer, perhaps, writing to me, almost 
daily, letters which I treasure, and pouring out his own 
life in effort for others. He was happy, and so were 
we ; though we wanted him with us we felt that on the 
whole it was best." 

"But this last time?" 

" Men's minds are getting heated now. This 
presidential campaign is driving men crazy. Topics 
long laid aside between your father and grandfather 
came up. Your grandfather grows more irritable as 
he grows older, and he was never a patient man. And 
when he drove your father from the house there was 
nothing for us to do but to go forth with him. We 
stayed till your father sought and found this opening. 
It was all that he could find. Turning to the moun- 
tains as the place where summer and autumn schools 
are the rule, he remembered again the early days when 
he worked with Lundy here. He read the Knoxville 
Whig, in which Mr. Brownlow, though not an aboli- 
tionist, is fighting so splendidly for the idea of a loyal 
sentiment for the whole united nation. And so we are 
here. It seems hard. We might have stayed with 
father, and your father would always have had a home 
to come to — which is all that he needed — and we a 
permanent home. Father will not live for many years, 
and he would not have left us unprovided for. You 
could have married Boyd Estill " 

" Mother ! " cried Barbara, her cheeks red. 

" No matter, my dear, it is all past now." 

" And you do not regret it ? " 

" No, no. If I seem to complain it is because it 
seems so needless, and we were so happy. If only 

The Making of a Philanthropist 99 

men could agree to differ, and let matters rest! I do 
not know what will grow out of this terrible discussion 
that is rending homes asunder. Ours is not the only 
one, nor yet the saddest one. But I do not regret it. 
When your father came and went as he chose, and was 
at liberty to come to us, it was in some sense as though 
he was with us all the time, and we could be content to 
stay though he came to us but once or twice a year. 
But when he was driven from the house, Barbara, all 
the love that made me leave father and mother for his 
sake came back with double power, and I would have 
gone with him to the stake. If I complain, it is my 
flesh that is weak. Barbara, I shall never be well again. 
Sometimes I am impatient, I know. But what I have 
done I would do again a thousand times." 

Barbara had been sitting on the rough floor, hold- 
ing her mother's hand as she reclined on the bed and 
told this story. She rose and kissed her mother, and 

" God bless you, mother ! I would have done the 
same. And we will stand by him, and help him, the 
dear, brave man, even if we can not always understand 
him. And now, mother, I'll put the kettle on. Even 
philanthropists and their families can not live without 



Bill Blake, the chairman of the board of trustees, 
slapped the log side of the schoolhouse vigorously 
with a discarded roof board, and thus made known the 
fact that school had " took up." It was eight o'clock 
on Monday morning, and the trustees had demurred 
a little at beginning school so late in the day, averring 
that a teacher ought to work from sun to sun the same 
as other men, and as had been the case in years past ; 
but that question had been settled, and the contract 
had been signed in the presence of a goodly number 
of the patrons of the school, whose children meantime 
scampered about the building, or peered through the 
door, or played at " bull pen," if they were boys, or at 
" chickeny-chickeny-craney-crow," if they were girls. 

The seats of the Pine Knot school were of punch- 
eon, with legs that were driven through auger holes. 
It had not been thought necessary to saw oflf the legs 
where they projected through the bench. The pupils 
extemporized desks by placing their feet on the backs 
of the seats in front, and writing on their knees. 

A section of log cut out on either side made a win- 
dow, guiltless of glass, and the lighting and ventilating 
spaces were greatly increased by the ample cracks be- 

The Surprise at the Schoolhouse loi 

tween the logs, and the door stood ever open. A great 
fireplace filled one end, and had not the heating con- 
tract involved the warming of a considerable adjacent 
portion of the two States of Kentucky and Tennessee 
as they then were supposed to lie there would have 
been no trouble in keeping warm. There was not 
much trouble anyway with a three months' school, 
which would be over before the weather got cold, but 
the theory was that the school might be prolonged by 

The school came in, the girls giggling and choos- 
ing seatmates with much whispering and some diffi- 
culty. The boys shambled to their places, the big 
boys crowding their way to the seats for which they 
cared, and the little boys sitting where they could. A 
few of the parents sat with their children, and more 
stood up. The teacher had no chair, but it was opined 
that he could borrow one from one of the neighbors, 
A barrel did service as a desk. Jake Crawford had 
contributed that. 

After the school came in Bill Blake had another 
whispered conference with the other trustees, the pur- 
pose of which was to manifest to the crowd now as- 
sembled that he assumed the position of spokesman 
only after proper urging. Then he rose, hitched up 
his galluses, and addressed the school : 

" This here school is tuck up, and Mr. Buzbee here 
is goin' to keep it. He ain't the teacher we was lookin' 
for at one time, but I reckon he's as good, and some 
thinks he's better. One thing I know. We've got it 
from headquarters that he's the lickin'st teacher they 
ever had over where he's been a-teachin', and if you 
don't look out he'll take a hickory to you ! " 

I02 Pine Knot 

Mr. Blake was kneedeep in falsehood here, and 
only indulged in this sort of talk by way of moral 
support to the new teacher. That he used the rod 
plentifully was taken as a matter of course. That any 
fear of the rod in his hand would be a present incite- 
ment to righteousness, and be justified in the outcome, 
he did not question. So the barefaced falsehood was 
not wholly without excuse. Indeed, Mr. Blake knew 
no other way of endeavoring to convey a proper 

He proceeded : " This teacher is a heap stouter than 
he looks, and a heap smarter, too. If you big fellers 
that thought you could run the other teacher out ever 
try it on this one, you'll get what you got before, and 
worse, now I can tell you. He'll bring you back to 
taw. Now, we've got a few rules from the trustees, and 
the teacher can make his own. The girls is to take 
turns sweeping the house. Jest git ye a good bunch 
of papaw bushes and pitch in every noon time. Then, 
if there comes a cold day or a wet one, so's you need a 
fire, the big boys is to cut the wood, and you may as 
well see to gittin' in a backlog and a forestick and 
some pine knots while hit's dry. Then they's another 
thing. The hogs has got in here, and they's a heap 
more fleas in this house and under it than what you'll 
need. Now, when you go out to-day for recess, you 
jest all of you bring in a big bunch of pennyroyal and 
drap it on the floor, and tromp on it as ye go back and 
for'ards to class, and keep that up till the fleas is gone. 
And then there hain't to be no sparkin' here at noon 
times, nor on the way to school and back ; and havin' 
said that to the gals, I'll say this to the boys, that they 
ain't to be no fighting, not unless somebody yells 

The Surprise at the Schoolhouse 103 

' School-butter ! ' * Now we'll make up the roll, and I 
reckon we best begin with the strip of timber we 
fetched in from Dif^culty, and clean out that branch 
first, and then take the others in regular order." 

* " School-butter." To any who have known the conditions 
existing in backwoods schools it is unnecessary to explain this 
phrase. What it originally meant, if indeed it meant anything, 
the writer has never been able to learn, nor to obtain a reason- 
able explanation. But from rural Pennsylvania to Arkansas, 
and even in parts of Indiana and Michigan, it was known as 
the most humiliating insult, and one certain to provoke swift re- 
venge. All rules against fighting stood aside in favor of a pur- 
suit of the person who called the word to the school. No pupil, 
of course, unless an expelled pupil, would thus insult the school, 
for it was the school as a whole that suffered from it ; and while 
the teacher did not commonly join in the pursuit of the culprit, 
he often found means of retribution against him, especially if a 
former pupil, 

Richard Malcolm Johnston has contributed to the Annual 
Reports of the Commissioner of Education two interesting 
papers on Early Education in Middle Georgia. The conditions 
there described are practically identical with those that the 
writer has himself observed in the mountain schools of Kentucky 
and Tennessee. On the use of this phrase Mr. Johnston says : 

" No satisfactory account that this writer has heard has 
ever been given of the origin of this notable phrase in country 
schools. Its utterance by a passer-by in tones loud enough to 
be heard was regarded as the grossest insult that could be per- 
petrated. The utterer, on making the cry, immediately fled 
amain, and every boy rushed from the house in pursuit of him. 
If overtaken, he was either ducked in the spring branch or, his 
hands and feet being seized by four of the stoutest boys, he was 
bumped against a tree until the insult was avenged. Seldom a 
traveler on foot dared to take the risk. Even a horseman was 
sometimes overtaken after a chase of several miles by two or 
more who came to school on horseback mainly for the purpose. 

"Some persons have speculated upon the phrase having 
originated from that of ' I am your school's better.' Whatever 

I04 Pine Knot 

The parents present as called upon gave the names 
of their children, and the other children gave their own 
names. Some gave abbreviated names, as Dan and 
Sam and Bill, and others gave names in full, as Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison and Julius Csesar, Widow 
Braniman was there, at the head of a long and very 
much overcrowded bench. 

" Them's all your gals, be they, Mis' Braniman? " 
asked Bill Blake. 

" Yes," she answered ; " I've had sorter bad luck 
with my gals. The chimbley fell down on 'em and 
killed all but nine ! " 

" Dear me," exclaimed Mr. Buzbee, who took 
but little part in the organization of the school, " how 
unfortunate ! " But all the others understood the 
characteristic mountain joke about the widow's nine 
daughters, the youngest of whom was five and the 
eldest seventeen. 

The making of the roll consumed a good deal of 
time, and the discussion which followed was on the 
method of classification, a matter involving some diffi- 
culty, as there were all grades, from the lowest primary 
to such studies as might be pursued by young men and 
women, and while there were a few nondescript text- 
books, almost the only one of which there were two 
copies — and of that there were at least sixty — was 
Webster's Elementary Speller, known in mountain 
schools as The Old Blue-back. Mr. Buzbee relieved 
the trustees, however, by saying that he could attend to 
the classification alone. 

its origin, it was the universal custom in old-field schools to 
regard it an insult, and attempt was made, with the master's 
full assent, to punish it." 

The Surprise at the Schoolhouse 105 

The work of registration over, Mr. Buzbee took the 
school in charge, saying: 

" I will not announce any rules at this time except 
that each pupil is to seek to promote the welfare of the 
school and do to others as he would be done by. You 
may take your books and study while I call you up 
one by one and assign to you your classes." 

There was a shufifling of bare feet on the log floor, 
a pushing and a sliding along benches, and then the 
books were opened, and the whole school began to 
study, each one conning his lesson aloud, and in a tone 
that, if alone, would have been distinctly audible 
throughout the room. Such was the fashion in the 
old-time " blab-school," and the teacher was wont to 
insist upon a loud, clear tone as an evidence that the 
studying was being faithfully done.* 

* Blab-schools had become rare when the writer taught 
school in the mountains of Kentucky in 1881 and following 
years. Their disappearance was rapid, and they must now be 
almost if not wholly extinct. At one time they had been prac- 
tically universal. It was astonishing to see the skill of teach- 
ers, even in moments of abstraction or of other cares, in detect- 
ing the dropping out of a single voice, or the use of the babel of 
voices to cover communication of a forbidden nature. Richard 
Malcolm Johnston, in his paper on Early Educational Life in 
Middle Georgia, writes, in a note which accords with the au- 
thor's experience, as follows : " The fashion of studying aloud 
in schools, now so curious to recall, did not produce the con- 
fusion which those not accustomed to it would suppose. Be- 
sides the natural desire to avoid punishment, rivalries were 
often very active, particularly among girls, and during the time 
devoted wholly to study there were few who did not make rea- 
sonable effort to prepare for recitation. Spellers, readers, geog- 
raphers, grammarians, getters-by-heart, all except cipherers, 
each in his or her own tongue and tone, raised to height suffi- 
cient to be clearly distinguished from others by individual ears, 

io6 Pine Knot 

Mr. Buzbee tapped lightly with his pencil and said : 
" We will have no studying aloud. The room must be 

The trustees looked at each other in amazement, 
and the pupils sat open-mouthed, wondering what they 
could be expected to do. 

The teacher then began his classification. " Can 
you read ? " he asked the first boy. 

" I dunno. I never tried." 

" Can you spell ? " 

" Yes, sir. I kin spell through the book sight les- 
sons, and over to * horseback ' heart lessons." * 

filled the room and several square rods of circumambient space 
outside. In this while the master, deaf to the various multitu- 
dinous sounds, sat in his chair, sometimes watching for a silent 
tongue, at others with lackluster eyes gazing through the door 
into the world beyond, perhaps musing when and where, if ever 
in this life, this toiling, fighting, migratory, isolated, and about 
friendless career would find respite." 

* In the use of Webster's Elementary Speller, the word at 
the head of the page comes to be a familiar designation for the 
section of the book containing it. Thus, to have " spelled over 
as far as baker," signifies familiarity with the simplest words of 
two syllables ; " horseback," the hardest common words of two 
syllables, and so on. The book itself contains division headings, 
as, " words of three syllables, accented on the second," but it is 
simpler to say "sirocco." Under each section are short sen- 
tences, some of them very quaint, used as reading lessons, and 
often committed as proverbs. For instance, under "sirocco" 
the pupil is informed that "the chewing of tobacco is a useless 
custom," the statement being suggested by the word " tobacco," 
which falls in this section. In the back of the book are certain 
tales, as of the farmer and the rude boys, the milkmaid and 
her day dream, and the ox that had been gored by the bull. 
This part of the book is known as " the grammar of it." The 
book is much less elaborate than the newer spellers, but it is 
said to sell a million copies a year even to this day. In the 

The Surprise at the Schoolhouse 107 

" Very well. You should have been taught to read 
while learning to spell. Now, take your speller, and 
study this line, which tells you that * Ann can spin 
flax.' Spend the next hour in looking at it, finding out 
from what you know of spelling which word it is that 
corresponds to each of those groups of letters. Be able 
to read the sentence as a whole, and to point out each 
word at sight, to print it on the slate and to spell it. 
Have it so that you will know every word in that sen- 
tence wherever you find it. I will have a blackboard 
here in a few days, and I shall expect you to be able 
to print your lesson upon it. You have no slate? 
You may borrow one, if you can. If not, study it the 
more, for I shall require you to do it." 

The boy stood astonished. It had never occurred 
to him before that the printed words which he had 
spelled in the long columns were intended to be put 
together so as to convey information. 

The trustees looked anxious. Peleg Goodwin, who 
felt chiefly responsible for the teacher, was first to 
question this new and singular method. 

" Mr. Buzbee," said he, " don't you have 'em spell 
three or four times through the book before you have 
'em read ? " 

" No," said he, " I expect them to read at once." 

" I never heerd tell of no sech way o' teachin'," said 
Noel Davis. 

" I will illustrate it," said Mr. Buzbee. " Let all 
who do not know their letters step forward." 

There was a long, wavy row across the room, girls 
in linsey-woolsey, boys in new suits of tow, hastily 

judgment of the writer, who has used it enough to know its 
merits, it deserves its continued popularity. 

io8 Pine Knot 

finished for the day, and as yet very new and very 

" All look this way," said he, and with a bit of red 
keel he printed on the hewn face of a log, " See my 

" Now, children, I want you to look at this that 
I have done. I have written here the three words, 
* See my cat.' Look at this sentence. It is in three 
parts, and each of them is a word. They are not alike. 
They are just as dififerent as are the three words which 
I speak when I say, ' See my cat.' Look hard at them. 
This one is * cat.' You must be able to know it when- 
ever you see it, just as you would know a picture of a 
cat. It never means anything else than cat. I will 
talk to you about the other two words later, but now I 
will print this one word on a piece of paper. Take it, 
and go down to the road, and make it in the dust with 
short sticks. Help each other to get it right. I shall 
come and look at it at recess time. Do not stop till 
you can make this word in the dust. You may try to 
draw a cat, too, if you like. Wait a minute. If I 
should tell you the three letters in that word, could 
you remember them ? Perhaps some one of you knows 
already how to spell cat? Do you know, my little 
man? Well, do not tell it now, but when you get 
down to the road tell all the others. Teach them the 
three letters. And whatever any one of you knows, he 
may teach the others. Whoever learns anything be- 
fore the rest of the class will have this reward, that he 
will be the teacher of that thing to the others." 

It astonished the trustees and parents, and Widow 
Braniman was not the only one who threatened to 
take her " young 'uns out if they was goin' on that 

The Surprise at the Schoolhouse 109 

away " ; but as the parents straggled home, they found 
their hopefuls regarding their work in the road. There 
were printed cats, and drawn cats of all stages of im- 
perfection, and mud pies as well, and a few had orna- 
mented their work with borders of barefoot tracks, and 
a few of the ambitious ones were teaching the others 
how to improve their work. But there was not a 
child in the school who, at the end of the first day, did 
not know the word " cat," and most of them knew the 
other two words. 

" I wish the trustees to prepare me a blackboard," 
said Mr. Buzbee. " You may plane four boards a foot 
wide and five feet long and fasten them together on 
the back, and stain them black with pokeberry juice." 

" What's that fur? " asked Noel Davis. 

" That is to write upon with chalk, where all the 
school can see it." 

It was a new idea, but it took, and the blackboard 
of Pine Knot, with red keel for chalk, was inspected 
by many schools about, a few of which copied it for 
their own use. 

Arithmetic was the one branch, except spelling, 
that was well taught in the mountain schools. The 
pupils had a natural talent for figures, and not a few 
of the larger pupils had hard problems of their own 
with which they attempted " to floor " every new 
teacher. Woe to the reputation of the teacher who 
confessed that he could not work them ! 

There was no geography or history, and the gram- 
mar was of the most arbitrary sort, as impractical as 
could be imagined, and many a boy finished the course 
in it with no idea that " nominative, he ; possessive, 
his ; objective, him," really meant anything. Mr. Buz- 

no Pine Knot 

bee discarded the two or three grammar books, and 
arranged a method of oral teaching. As to geography, 
he made a class of his own, and promised to tell them 
a story each day, and have them repeat it to him the 
day after. The same method he pursued in history, 
and as this did not give him classes enough, he asked 
each pupil to bring from home a few kernels of corn, 
a bean or two, and certain other seeds, which they 
would plant beside the spring branch, and dig up 
specimens day by day for examination. 

" Hit ain't no way to keep school," whispered Noel 
Davis to Peleg Goodwin. 

" He'll lam 'em a heap," said Goodwin, " but hit 
ain't what we send 'em to larn. Daggon me, ef I 
wouldn't like to come here to school myself." 

There was a spirited discussion about it all, and 
the neighbors were of at least two minds about the 
matter. It was strange, to say the least. One group 
of little folks was sent to the woods to see how the 
sycamore leaf protects its buds, and to compare the 
way of the oak and the hickory, and another was sent 
to watch an ant nest, while the teacher was grouping 
his larger pupils into classes. One thing was certain, 
he was master of the situation, and another thing was 
probable, that the children would learn something, 
whether it was what Mr. Goodwin thought they ought 
to learn or not. 

This work was nearing completion, when a whis- 
pered word passed around directed all eyes to the 
door. Noel Davis shifted his seat, and got well into 
the corner, yet where the open door would serve him, 
if a retreat became necessary. Bill Blake looked anx- 
ious, and Peleg Goodwin grew nervous and a little 

The Surprise at the Schoolhouse iii 

pale. Jim Fletcher came riding up the road, over the 
children's printed lesson, and hitched his horse to a 
tree hard by. Then, with a determined look on his 
dark face, he strode up the path to the schoolhouse, 
and crossed the threshold. There was fear on almost 
every face within. No one was unmoved except the 
teacher, who greeted the newcomer, and asked him 
to take a seat. The whole company waited for the 
outburst which was to follow. James Fletcher reached 
in his pocket, and drew forth, not a pistol, but a silver 
dollar, which he handed to the teacher, saying : 

" That's my tuition for a month. I'm not in school 
age, but I want to come to school and learn all I can." 

Then he took his seat among the children who had 
been his pupils, and the hush that fell on the room was 
like the silence which follows a thunderclap. 



What is the shape of the earth? They were dis- 
cussing this question around the cane mill at Sile 
Parker's. It was at the time of the stir-off, and the 
talk which had started earlier in the day grew more 
voluminous and more intense after supper. The com- 
pany was larger then, and the grinding being done, 
and the sap at its final boiling, there was more time 
to talk. 

" It ain't what I send my young uns to school to 
larn," said Green Best. 

" You'd best be glad to have 'em larn anything. 
They'll be just that much ahead of their daddy," re- 
torted Neze Post with a laugh. 

" Without it's develmaint," added Jake Crawford. 

" You want to remember, fellers, that they got a 
mammy," replied Green good-naturedly. " I hain't 
never sot up to be no Solomon myself, but the chaps 
ain't likely to be fools ef they favor their ma." 

"Oh, we knowed which side o' the house the brains 
was on," said Post, and the laugh grew more boisterous. 
This was characteristic Pine Knot humor, and Green 
counted it a family compliment, since it reflected credit 
on his wife. 

The Top Side of the Earth 113 

" Brains is one thing, and this here talk about the 
earth bein' round is another," said Green. 

" That's so," said Preacher Taulbee. " I lay off to 
have as much brains as the next feller, and I thank 
the Lord that my jeans coat hain't never breshed no 
dust offn nary college wall. This here talk about the 
earth bein' round is a-goin' to ruin this country ef we 
ain't keerful." 

Preacher Taulbee owned the cane mill, and hauled 
it from place to place in the autumn, grinding out the 
sap from the little patches of sorghum along the creek, 
and boiling it down into molasses. 

" What do you aim to do about it ? " asked Post. 

" I ain't a-goin' to stand it," said Taulbee. 

" But the teacher's a-teachin' it right along." 

" I'll take my boy out of school." 

" That won't stop him a-larning the rest of the 

" No, but the rest kin do the same ef they feel as 
I do." 

" But he's laming the chaps a sight," said Parker. 

" It ain't the larning," said the preacher. " I 
don't like to have our young uns larned what's goin' 
to make 'em infidels." 

" Mr. Buzbee ain't no infidel," said Parker. " He's 
a good man, and you alls know it." 

" But he cyan't ride over this community with his 
fool talk about the earth bein' round," said Noel Davis. 

" I know one thing," said Taulbee, " he cyan't 
ride me. He kin saddle me, but he cyan't ride me." 

" Nor him nor no other man cyan't ride me," said 
Davis. " Ef he comes up to whar I'm a-standin' at the 
trought a-eatin' my oats, and gits his foot in my stirrup 

114 Pine Knot 

and goes to throw his laig acrost, about the time the 
dust clars off I'll be a-standin' thar like I was before, 
and he'll be a-layin' off about ten foot, and one o' his 
galluses'll be wropped around my hind foot." 

Just what the teacher had done to give wings to 
this brilliant flight of rhetoric may be inferred from the 
conversation. He had taught the children of Pine 
Knot that the earth is round. 

" What be you a-doin' thar, Noel ? 'Pears to me 
you're keepin' mighty still," said Green. 

" The still sow steals the swill, I've heerd tell/' said 

" I ain't a-doin' nothin'," said Noel, concealing a 
shovel in the dark. 

"I know what you're a-doin'," said Green. "You're 
a-fixin' you a glory hole." 

" Shet up ! " said Noel. " Hit's for the teacher ! " 

The teacher did not step into the glory hole that 
night. He had been at one or two stir-off's before, 
and had learned to locate the hole where the skim- 
mings were poured, and to expect that it would be 
lightly covered with sod as a trap for some unwary 
victim. Noel himself forgot and stepped in it before 
the evening was over, and thus poetic justice was done 
in a manner not wholly unusual. But the teacher got 
his foot into another situation that evening by ac- 
cepting Preacher Taulbee's challenge to a debate on 
the shape of the earth. 

The fire was glowing under the long sheet-iron 
pan. The furnace had been made by digging a shallow 
trench a foot longer than the pan in the bank of the 
creek. From the lower level it was easy to tend the 
fire, and the elevation of the pan to the top of the 

The Top Side of the Earth 115 

bank made it easy to pour in the sap and dip out the 
molasses. The fire showed out at the door and cast 
its red hght across the creek, and also from the chim- 
ney, if the hole at the other end could be so called, 
making a nearly vertical cone of light above the pan. 
But later when they lifted off the pan, the whole bed 
of red-hot coals blazed out, and, to quote the felicitous 
phrase of No Bus'ness, " burned a hole in the night." 

Mr. Buzbee appeared just as the pan was lifted off, 
and the young folks, who by this time numbered a 
score or more, crowded around the pan with their 
whittled paddles, and scraped the edges where the 
molasses cooled first, and licked the paddles and came 
again. The teacher soon had all the molasses he 
wanted, and withdrew from the crowd of youngsters 
who were laughing over Noel's mishap, as since the 
day of Haman people have laughed or moralized — 
and it amounts to the same thing often — over the 
fate of the man who falls into his own snare. The 
group of men who stood aside were talking about his 
teaching that the earth is round, and his approach 
resulted in a frank challenge from the preacher to dis- 
cuss the question publicly in the Pine Knot school- 
house. The teacher promptly accepted, and the de- 
tails were arranged. 

It was a crisp autumn evening when the first de- 
bate occurred. From up the creek and down people 
came with unlighted pine-knot torches, or with little 
brass lamps. A fire was kindled in the ample fire- 
place, and several of the brass lamps, smoking furi- 
ously, and incidentally lighting a little spot about them, 
made the darkness visible. Before it was dark the log 
schoolhouse was crowded. 

ii6 Pine Knot 

With Buzbee came James Fletcher, who was to 
be his colleague. With Taulbee was Green Baker, a 
preacher of note from Laurel County. Baker was 
noted for various things. He always removed his 
coat when preaching, but this was not enough to 
distinguish him. He had served one term in the peni- 
tentiary at Frankfort, and while it would be a gross 
libel to mention this as if it were common among 
mountain preachers, still it is worthy of note that not 
a few converted ruffians become preachers there; the 
ministry is the one respectable career left for such men, 
with dignity comparable to their past estate. And 
it certainly is characteristic of the region that while 
common fame declared that the particular oflfense for 
which he had been sentenced in his sinful days was 
hog-stealing, Baker himself declared that it was for 
" stobbin' a feller." He was well past both stealing 
and stabbing now, however, but had in him the some- 
what sanctified spirit of the desperado turned to 
righteous ends. He was to be the chief speaker to- 
night, and his old spirit was up. He was righteously 
indignant that any man should be teaching pernicious 
doctrine, and he was enjoying the prospect of a fight 
for the truth, 

Renfro was chosen chairman by mutual agreement. 
At Fletcher's suggestion, Mr. Buzbee also chose him 
as judge. The preachers chose another preacher, and 
so it was certain in advance that the vote would stand 
paired, with the third man to decide. It was agreed 
also that each man should speak three quarters of an 
hour, and that the leaders should close the discussion. 

Mr. Buzbee began by stating the arguments given 
in the geographies. He told of the ships whose masts. 

The Top Side of the Earth 117 

though smaller, appear before the hulls; of the round 
shadow upon the moon, cast by the earth in time of 
an eclipse, and so on. It seemed to him a clear and 
convincing statement. But it was evident, even while 
he was speaking, that any argument based on unob- 
structed vision was inefifective ; people living among 
the hills had no experience which enabled them to 
interpret such an argument. 

Taulbee made the most of this in his reply. Even 
if it was true, he said, it proved nothing, and nothing 
was so certain as that the earth was solid. He ap- 
pealed to the evidences of the senses, to the experi- 
ence of mankind, to common sense, and to the Bible. 
Who of all the people here ever saw the creek, which 
flowed west, begin running east at midnight, as it cer- 
tainly must do when the earth tipped sufficiently ? As 
to eclipses, they were freaky things. He had once 
seen one come on and go ofif on the same side of the 
moon ; the fact was, no one could predict the turn they 
might take, and it was a pure assumption that they 
were caused by the earth's shadow. Besides, even if 
it were possible to prove that eclipses were caused by 
the shadow of the earth, it might be merely the shadow 
of a round hill on the top side of it. 

Fletcher followed, and dwelt upon the facts of 
human experience. Men had actually sailed around 
the earth. Men whom they had seen on the other 
side were no more on the bottom than they them- 
selves; they, also, thought themselves to be standing 
with heads up, and suffered no discomfort. He urged 
his hearers to believe that the earth's motion made it 
seem that the sun and stars moved ; even so he had 
seen on horseback a whole landscape in apparent mo- 

ii8 Pine Knot 

tion, and he had heard that people on a train were un- 
certain whether their own train or one on an adjoin- 
ing track was moving. 

Then Baker rose. He was a giant in stature, and 
stooped a Httle to get down to the level of other people. 
He was stooping when he began to speak, but he 
straightened as he proceeded, and the effect was as if he 
added cubits to his stature by the mere force of his 
argument. He took his stand beside Buzbee's chair, 
and made sweeping gestures over his head, his ponder- 
ous fist descending over the head of the teacher as 
though he would crush his skull. 

" Mr. Presidaint," he said, " this here ain't no time 
for smooth talking. I've come here to-night from clar 
over the aidge of the yarth in Laurel " — there was in- 
finite sarcasm in the words, and a plain attempt to 
establish his own reputation as a traveler — " and I've 
come too fur to have ary false idy of politeness to these 
here gentlemen, I'm a-goin' to hew to the line, and 
let the chips fall whar they will. This here's a age of 
new idys, and most of 'em false; this here's a time 
that people wants to believe a lie and be damned. And 
hit's a time for them that believes the truth to stand 
together and fight for the truth, and not be mealy- 
mouthed about it. I ain't a-sayin' my colleage ain't 
right in bein' so p'tic'lar to be polite to these gentle- 
men, and I ain't disputin' that they're very nice young 
gentlemen, but they got a heap to larn, and some 
things that ain't down in the books in college. 
R-r-r-r-ck ! " 

Thus he ended his paragraphs with a hostile clear- 
ing of the throat, and a threatening gesture. Then 
he began his argument. 

The Top Side of the Earth 119 

Who did not know, he asked, that travelers were 
notorious Uars? They came back, knowing that it is 
impossible to disprove their tales and that people ex- 
pect them to have seen great things. People expect 
them to lie, and they do lie. 

" Why, I remember," said he, becoming facetious, 
" when Bill Geddes went off with a hog drove. He 
come back plum heavy under the heft of the wisdom 
he'd got. All the neighbors ast him whar he'd ben, 
and he said he didn't know. And so they kep' a-pes- 
terin' him to know somethin' about it. * I dunno,' 
says he, ' but I know I got a long ways off and to a 
mighty quare place.' * How was hit quare ? ' says 
some one. * Wal,' says he, ' they called sop, gravy.' " 

This story provoked a roar of laughter, and, while 
the point was not quite in sight, it was evident that it 
militated against Buzbee and Fletcher. 

" Now, who's a-goin' to believe that down under 
the dirt and rocks and sich thar's folks a-livin' with 
haids down, and foolish enough to allow they're up? 
I've heerd tell of folks not a-knowin' which end thar 
haids was on, but I hadn't no My of meetin' none till 
to-night ! I reckon that's whar these gentlemen come 
from; anyhow, they come from whar men's idys gits 
that away. R-r-r-r-ck ! 

" Now, all this here talk about men sailin' round 
the yarth. Now you know as well as I do that water 
would run off the aidge and take them with it. And 
if they thought they sailed around, why mebby they 
sailed around as clost to the aidge as they could and 
kept a-goin' till they come back." 

He illustrated this by telling of a man who thought 
himself to be going straight ahead, but who really was 

I20 Pine Knot 

lost, and who, after a night of wandering, found him- 
self where he started from. " But even he wasn't fool 
enough to allow he'd went around the yarth to git to 
the back side of his own barn. R-r-r-r-ck ! " 

Then he advanced to the positive part of his argu- 
ment. He had been something of a traveler himself. 
He had been through Cumberland Gap into Old Vir- 
giny, and had been the other way as far as Frankfort. 
He had found that the earth was not all so broken into 
knobs as it was here, but he had found no place where it 
appeared round, and his eye was as good as the next 
man's. He had sat up all night grinding when water 
had been low, and the need of meal was great, and at 
no instant during the night had the mill pond, the one 
level sheet of what water was near his home, even hesi- 
tated about running over the dam. " Hit didn't appear 
to know what these gentlemen expected of it. I hain't 
no doubt ef the water had a-knowed how it ort to act, 
hit would have done different when the yarth began 
to tip ; but 'peared lack hit didn't know no better than 
to do like it done. Hit never went to no college, and 
couldn't be blamed for hit's ignorance. Nobody 
larned the water how to run but God A'mighty. 
R-r-r-r-ck ! " 

By this time Baker's form seemed to tower among 
the rafters, and the planes of light made by the flicker- 
ing lamps added to his apparent height. He wore no 
vest, and his jeans coat had been laid aside. His long 
arms were swinging, and his right fist was descending 
over the teacher's head. 

" But all this ain't a patchin' to what I've got to 
say. The question ain't what I think nor what these 
here nice gentlemen think. I hain't got no quarrel 

The Top Side of the Earth 121 

with them, nor I don't intend to run for no office here, 
neither, nor come over here a-sparkin' nor apply for 
no schools to keep. I'm to tell the truth without fear 
or favor, and I say that this doctrine is plum agin the 
word of God." 

Then he told how the Bible declares that God laid 
the corner stone of the earth, and stretched the line 
upon it, and he asked what need a ball had for a corner 
or a corner stone — " no more need than a hog has for 
a sidesaddle," he answered — and how a straight line 
could conform to a curve. He added that the Bible 
affirms that the course of the sun is from one end of 
the heaven to the other, and that if the sun is station- 
ary the Bible must be false. He affirmed that, if the 
Bible is true, nothing is hid from the heat of the sun, 
whereas, if his opponents were right, the poles were 
long in darkness. He was in the midst of a long array 
of quotations when his time expired. 

It was evident that the argument was not ex- 
hausted, and adjournment was had for a week. Public 
sentiment was divided concerning the merits of the 
discussion, but no one questioned that Baker had made 
a profound impression. He himself conceded, as 
modestly as he knew how, that he had delivered a 
great speech, and added, " Hit takes a college-bred to 
dror me out ! " 

Mr. Buzbee and his colleague got together and 
compared notes. It was evident that they were to have 
a harder task than they anticipated. Anxious as they 
were to succeed — and to be defeated would be only 
less fatal to their reputation in the community than 
to be the victims of a successful lockout — they were 
also anxious to convince their audience, many of 

122 Pine Knot 

whom indeed agreed with them, but not a few of whom 
counted their teaching a dangerous heresy. And, in- 
deed, a man who has seen sincere people in the throes 
of an effort to beUeve the earth round and the Bible 
true comes to look rather calmly on discussions about 
higher criticism and evolution and the other minor 
afifairs which trouble the faith of weaker souls than 
these stalwart mountaineers. And if it seem to any 
reader that a man must be counted ignorant because 
he believes the earth fiat and stationary, let him re- 
member that Sir Francis Bacon never fully accepted 
the Copernican theory; that Turretin defends the 
theory that the earth is flat ; and that one great Ameri- 
can university is said to have taught the Ptolemaic 
theory for conscience' sake down to the second decade 
of the nineteenth century. 

The simple globes and luminaries and the home- 
made orrery were fairly successful, and made an im- 
pression on the audience when exhibited, and it im- 
pressed the third judge, Tom Lawson the blacksmith. 
The teachers appreciated his growing interest, and 
they noted gladly that Mr. Taulbee could do little more 
than thrash over the straw of the previous meeting. 
But Mr. Baker had not exhausted his argument, and 
when he rose it was to an argument chiefly biblical 
and full of power. As he went on he grew more heated 
and indulged more in sarcasm. Looking down in 
scorn upon Buzbee, and clearing his throat, he said: 

" R-r-r-r-ck ! Here's a college-bred — ah ! And he's 
come out here into this wilderness country — ah! — to 
larn us and to instruct us about the shape of the yarth 
— ah! And he knows more'n what Joshua did — ah! 
Brethering, do you reckon Joshua needed him to tell 

The Top Side of the Earth 123 

him what to pray for — ah ! Did he say, * Yarth, stand 
thou still on thine axletree ' — ah ! No, he says, says 
he, * Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon ' — ah ! — ' and 
thou moon in the valley of Ajalon ' — ah ! But he 
knows more'n what Joshua did — ah! I reckon he'd 
like to take Joshua inter this little school of hisn — ah ! 
— and lam him about the shape of the yarth — ah ! He 
knows more'n Joshua — ah! Yes, I reckon he thinks 
he knows more'n God A'mighty that writ this Book — 
ah ! I tell ye, brethering, hit's the doctrine of infidelity 
— ah ! And ary man that'll teach it ort to be drummed 
out of the country — ah ! R-r-r-r-r-r-r-ck ! " 

He also explained his theory of the continual 
energy of the sun. Said he : 

" I've got an idy about how it is that the sun comes 
up just as bright as what it went down and don't lose no 
light. Ef hit kep' on a-shinin' in Chiny and them other 
places day and night right along, hit would burn out 
atter a while. But every night when hit goes down hit 
rolls right through hell and comes up a-blazin'. Any- 
how, that's my notion, though I don't know as they's 
ary Scripture on the p'int, but hit stands to reason." 

The discussion closed ; the judges went out into 
the dark and cast their vote, two to one in favor of 
the teachers, though Mr. Lawson desired to have it 
understood that his vote was strictly on the merits of 
the argument, and not on the question of fact. After 
the meeting he said to Mr. Buzbee that he was some- 
what troubled about the matter, and he wished to settle 
the question now he had begun. He asked Mr. Buzbee 
if he might come over some night and explain some 
questions that had arisen in his mind during the prog- 
ress of the discussion. 

124 Pine Knot 

A few evenings later he came over, and Mr. Buz- 
bee took a ball of yarn and a knitting needle and a 
candle, and, pushing the needle through the ball, illus- 
trated by walking around the candle the alternation 
of day and night, and the progression of the seasons. 
At last Lawson declared that he understood it, and 
wondered how he had misunderstood so long. So 
Lawson went home and the Buzbees retired for the 
night, and the earth soon rolled around into sunlight 

But Lawson was not a permanent convert. Mr. 
Buzbee heard that he had fallen from grace, and asked 
him about it. 

" I reckon I mout as well own up," said Lawson. 
" They say an honest confession is good for the soul. 
You made that look mighty plain, but I wasn't easy 
in my mind, 'Peared like ever' time the old thing 
flopped over she was goin' to spill us off. And I 
couldn't git over Joshua, and the angels standin' on 
the corners of the earth, and I said, ' Let God be true, 
and ever' man a liar ! ' And I made up my mind I 
didn't want to believe it, and I wasn't a-goin' to, and 
I hain't ! " 

Another man's heart sank as he viewed the failure 
of his conversion to last, but Mr. Buzbee had learned 
to expect the world to receive his ideas somewhat 
slowly, and said : " Mr. Lawson, I don't blame you. 
If I were in your place, I don't believe I'd try." 

" It's no use trying to deal with such ignorant 
people," said Mrs. Buzbee, who resented Lawson's 
fall from grace. 

" We must not call them ignorant, my dear," he 
replied patiently. "After all, we are not so far removed 

The Top Side of the Earth 125 

from this condition that we can afford to call it igno- 
rance. When Cotton Mather, who, spite of his vanities 
and minor follies, was a progressive man in his day, 
preached that the sun is the center of the solar sys- 
tem, so intelligent a man as Chief-Justice Samuel 
Sewall, of Boston, went home and recorded his protest 
in his diary. Let us not hasten to call them ignorant 
who went into isolation in Sewall's day, and have re- 
tained so well the civilization of his time." 

The debate showed Mr. Buzbee at his best. He 
was used to controversy and wonderfully patient under 
opposition. He was master of the learning of the 
subject, and astonished even Fletcher with his skill 
and resource. And it made his place more secure in 
the community. The people felt proud of his learn- 
ing, even if they did not share his views, and they 
resented Baker's assaults as in some sort a reflection 
upon the district that had employed him as teacher. 

" That man Baker kin preach here whenever he 
wants to, but he cyan't git a jury out to hear him 
atter this," was the common remark. 

Fletcher, too, had appeared at his best. His 
espousal of Mr. Buzbee's cause made it seem a home 
product, and Pine Knot felt itself a sort of Galileo 
among mountain communities. Not that all the 
people approved the theory, but that the right to hold 
it was established beyond cavil. Even Preacher Taul- 
bee came to exhibit a certain respect for the doc- 
trine, and with appropriate gestures admitted that 
" the yarth may be round this away " (that is cylin- 
drical), " but hit ain't round this away," that is spheri- 
cal. So, notwithstanding the lapse of some of the con- 
verts to the new idea, the debate scored a real triumph 

126 Pine Knot 

for the teacher and his assistant, and made for prog- 

But there was one person who watched it all with 
anxiety. Mrs. Buzbee could not fail to see that this 
discussion, which brought Fletcher still more con- 
stantly to their home, was making his devotion to 
Barbara apparent to every one except Mr. Buzbee, 
and possibly Barbara. Did Barbara, too, understand 
what it meant? And did she respond? Sometimes 
Mrs. Buzbee thought she did. 



It is no disparagement of other pupils of the Pine 
Knot school to say that James Fletcher was the most 
eager pupil, and the one who gained the most. The 
studies which he pursued — history, composition, natu- 
ral science, having for its basis an old text-book in 
physical geography, with theology and biblical inter- 
pretation — were not all in the curriculum arranged for 
common schools, but he pursued all these and more. 
Boarding around among his friends as he had done 
while a teacher, and as he still was welcome to do as 
a preacher and a friend, he devoted his whole time, ex- 
cept when preaching, to his studies. And what he 
learned was almost phenomenal. He brought to his 
task a mind so eager, and questions which he had 
so long pondered, he felt so profoundly that this was 
his life chance to get the most from a man whose col- 
lege training and wide reading made him a mint of 
knowledge, that he allowed no opportunity to escape 
him for the learning of a fact or principle. 

Mr. Buzbee liked him from the first, and was never 
tired of speaking to his wife of Fletcher's magnanimity 
in coming to school after his disappointment. 

" It was good sense," she replied, " but I can hard- 


128 Pine Knot 

ly call it magnanimity, and I am sure he is profiting 
richly by it." 

" No doubt, no doubt. But I also am profiting. 
Aside from the tuition, which I am most reluctant to 
accept, but which he forces upon me, he is a great 
help. It was he who dissuaded the boys from their 
intended lockout : I am told that it is a universal cus- 
tom to lock the teacher out one day, to test his ability 
to master the school. Of course, had they done this, 
I should have mastered them." 

" How?" asked Barbara, a little disappointed that 
her father had not been permitted to triumph over 

" Oh, I can hardly tell, not knowing the way their 
fancy might prompt them to move; but just by way 
of a beginning, I have carried a pound of sulphur 
in my bag ever since school opened. It is far easier 
to set it on fire and drop it down the chimney than 
to force the door. If that had failed, I have other 
devices. But it is far better to have avoided all this. 
Then, when the complaint began about my teaching 
that the earth is round, it was he who assured the 
Methodists that I was right, though the Baptists, I 
believe, still hold me a heretic there. At dififerent 
times, too, he has heard my classes in the lower grades, 
that I might devote more time to the higher ones. 
He has been, in fact, my assistant." 

" But you," said Mrs. Buzbee, " have given him 
much more than what you have imparted in school 
hours. He comes here almost every night." 

" It is a pleasure to see his eagerness to learn. I 
have taught him a little Latin, and have begun to 
teach him Greek, using the Greek Testament, and 

Widow Braniman and her Neighbor 129 

beginning with simple sight-reading in the Fourth 
Gospel. It is a method of my own, so much simpler 
than that commonly employed that I have long won- 
dered why it is not in use in colleges and preparatory 
schools. It is quite astonishing to see how he gets 
on. He has actually read three chapters, and has 
learned not a little of the grammar, and almost without 

" John," asked Mrs. Buzbee, as Barbara left the 
room for a moment, " do you think that it is solely for 
his lessons that James Fletcher comes here ? " 

" Why, surely so, my dear. What else should 
bring him? " 

Mrs. Buzbee said nothing for a moment. 

" I can think of nothing else, I am sure," he re- 

" Men are so blind ! " said Mrs. Buzbee. 

" You can not mean — ? " he asked. 

" Certainly, I mean just that," she replied. 

" But, my dear, Barbara is but a child." 

" You are mistaken again," said she. " Barbara 
is eighteen, and a woman." 

" Eighteen ! So she is ! Time flies so quickly ! 
And I have accomplished so little! Eighteen years 
ago I expected that by the time I was sixty, as I now 
am, I should see the end of many things now hardly 
begun. But we are approaching a consummation, my 
dear. Lincoln will be elected. The Knoxville Whig, 
which I have been reading this afternoon, gives the 
most certain assurance that the election will result so. 
And then " 

" But, John, I wanted to say a word about Bar- 

130 Pine Knot 

" Barbara, oh yes, to be sure ! Well, she is eight- 
een, as you say. Well, what of it ? " 

" Only that James Fletcher is in love with her." 

" Do you think so, my dear? " 

" I know it." 

" Has Barbara told you ? " 

" Certainly not." 

" Has he spoken to Barbara? " 

" Not to my knowledge." 

" Then how do you know ? Perhaps you only 

" My dear, wise old goose of a husband, if you will 
only open your eyes, you will see for yourself." 

" Well, my dear, perhaps it is so. I had not thought 
of such a thing, but I do not see that anything is to 
be done." 

" Yet, I don't like to have him heart-broken." 

" No, of course not ; and yet, perhaps he would 
not be so." 

" John ! You don't mean that you would be will- 
ing to have Barbara marry him ? " 

" Why, my love, the whole subject is new to me. 
I have not thought of such a thing. I suppose that 
Barbara will marry some time, though she seems to 
me very young. I do not know that I seriously object 
to him." 

" Why, John ! You do not consider ! What is his 
social position? What are his prospects in life? She 
could have had, had she stayed in Lexington, offers 
of marriage from some of the best men there. There 
is one with whom, I am sure, she practically had an 

"Who was that?" 

Widow Braniman and her Neighbor 131 

" Boyd Estill." 

" The son of Philip Estill, who married Lydia 

" Yes." 

" My dear," said Mr. Buzbee, with a quiet emphasis, 
" the Estills own slaves, and so do the Boyds." 

" Yes, but they are excellent people, and of the 
very best families. And I am not sure but Barbara 
encouraged him." 

" They are not engaged ? " 

" No, but I think Barbara is fond of him." 

" She has not told you so ? " 

" No." 

" Then I must talk with Barbara." 

" John ! What will you say to her ? " 

" I will say that I would rather see her in her cofifin 
than married to a slaveholder." 

" John, John ! Be wise, as you are good ! Re- 
member how father's interference worked in our case! 
There is nothing between them, I am sure. Don't 
meddle, or you will do harm. I ought not to have 
told you. Promise me, John, that you will not speak 
to her." 

" They do not correspond ? " 

" No, I think they had some slight misunderstand- 

" Ah, well, it was doubtless nothing but a girl's 
fancy, and is past, I doubt not." 

" I am not sure of that. But you let her alone 
about Boyd Estill, and I will say nothing at present 
about James Fletcher." 

"Very well, my love," said he, "that seems fair. 
I had so much trouble in my own love aflfair through 

132 Pine Knot 

interference that I have little inclination to meddle 
with others." 

Barbara came in at this moment, and announced : 

" Mrs. Braniman wants to see you, father." 

" Come in, Mrs. Braniman," said Mr. Buzbee. 
" Let me take your horse." 

" No, I won't git down. I ain't got time to stop. 
Deck Morgan never was no 'count to fix up no stile- 
blocks so's a woman could git oflf a horse here. I'll 
set right here. Be you a lawyer ? " 

" I am a member of the bar, but I do not practice." 

" Well, I want you to git me up a proteck." 

" A what, my good woman ? " 

" Lordy, I ain't your good woman ! I ain't no- 
body's! I sorter wisht I was, sometimes, till I think 
how I was pestered with my old man that died. But 
he got good to-wards the last. He was sorter good all 
the time. But right to-wards the last he got real sweet. 
Hit seemed right like he was settin' up with me agin. 
And when he found he'd got to die, he made me prom- 
ise to plant tobacker on his grave, and nobody smoke 
it or chaw it but jrst me." 

" That was a mark of his affection, doubtless. 
What can I do for you now ? " 

Barbara, who had been standing in the door, dis- 
appeared now and stifled her laughter at the late 
lamented Mr. Braniman's sentiment as best she could. 

" I want a proteck agin Noel Davis. He don't 
keep up his critters. His farm jines mine, and he lets 
his hogs and his yearlin's run all over creation, and 
in my corn. He wouldn't 'a' done it onct when my 
old man was alive. He wouldn't do it now, if I had 
any one to stand up for me. But 1 hain't. I ain't got 

Widow Braniman and her Neighbor 133 

no man of no description, nor boy nuther. No man, 
nor no boy, nor no nothin'. Only jest " — and she 
added this in a tone of profound contempt — " only 
jest nine head o' gal children." 

" I am sorry, very sorry. What do you wish me 
to do?" 

" I want you to draw me up a paper, to swear to 
before a justice of the peace, to make him keep up his 
stock, or his line fences, one." 

" I see. My good woman — I beg your pardon, 
Mrs. Braniman — line fences are a source of perpetual 
trouble between neighbors. Could you not so plan 
with him what you will plant in adjacent fields that 
each shall have the same crop maturing at the same 
time, so that he will have to keep his stock away from 
the line fence to protect his own crop ? " 

" I didn't allow to do nothin' of the kind. I jest 
allowed that I'd law him till he larned to behave his- 
self like he oughter." 

" I should not like to help you go to law. Law is 
very uncertain and unsatisfactory. Would not this be 
the better way ? " 

" But good land, ef I've got to ast him what to 
plant in this field, and tell him what to plant in 
that, I mout jest as well marry him and git shet of 

" That may be the better way." 

" Do you reckon so ? " 

" It is certainly worth considering." 

" Wall, I've said a hundred times I wouldn't marry 
him, if he was the next to the last man, and the other 
was a bald-headed, cross-eyed heathen." 

" But the heathen might prove as disagreeable as 

134 Piiie Knot 

Noel, and besides he would not have the line fence 
with you." 

" I'll study about it, Mr. Buzbee. Say, you 
wouldn't mind mentioning it to Noel, would ye? But 
then I reckon you needn't. I'd like to think it over 

" You understand, Mrs. Braniman, I had no 
thought of suggesting such a thing. It was your 
remark that brought it to my mind. But as you put 
the case, it seems to me an admirable way of settling 
the difficulty. At any rate, I should say the risks were 
less and the prospects better than going to law." 

" Well, I b'lieve you're right. I've no doubt that 
house o' Noel's is all seven ways for Sunday inside. 
I've jest thought a million times I'd like to git in thar 
and give it a good clarin' up jest for spite. I don't 
know but what he needs a woman as much as I need 
a man. But don't say nothing about it to Noel. I 
ain't sure whether I'd have him yet, and I wouldn't 
like to disappoint him. And hit's better such things 
should come around nateral. But whether I marry 
him or don't, he's got to keep up his yearlin's." 

It is characteristic of the difference in their tem- 
perament that Mrs. Buzbee was shocked by what she 
overheard of this conversation ; Barbara was on the 
point of explosion with laughter; and her father re- 
turned to the house with entire seriousness, having 
found in the conversation no cause either of anxiety 
or of amusement. 

DADDY Campbell's funeral 

" My dearly beloved frien's, and neighbors, and 
neighbors' childering, and dyin' congregation." 

It was Brother Taulbee's usual form of opening 
the service. And " The Unclouded Day " was his 
regular opening hymn. He would have been as un- 
able to begin a service without this formula and hymn 
as he would have been to conclude his exhortation 
without warning the sinner who was endeavoring to 
satisfy himself with " huskis " * that he was liable " to 
be turned out to graze in the broad pastures of sin 
like Nee-buck-a-nee-zer-ah ! " and the certainty that 
he would " gnaw his tongue in the tormaints of ever- 
lastin' tradition — ah ! " If Brother Taulbee had known 
any other way of opening the service, this would have 
been the time for an unusual introduction, for this was 
an unusual occasion. Daddy Campbell was to have his 
funeral preached. 

Daddy Campbell was popularly believed to be 
much more than a hundred years old, but he had re- 

* Many of the strange-sounding forms of speech in the Cum- 
berland Mountains are good Elizabethan words, as the strong 
Saxon plural, plurals ; husk, huskis ; beast, beastis ; post, 
postis, etc. 

lo 135 

136 Pine Knot 

cently corrected that impression. He was ninety-nine 
years and more than eleven months. He would die 
when he was a hundred. 

Daddy Campbell's approaching death brought 
back to the older ones the secret of his longevity, and 
they told it in whispers to those who had a right to 

Though active in many household industries, 
Daddy Campbell had had much time on his hands, and 
he had employed it well. Ever looking forward with 
hope to the time of his death, he had made himself a 
coffin. It was such a coffin as no man in Whitley 
County had ever been buried in, for it was the work 
of years. The planks were carved with curious em- 
blems, and the top bore, in a tracery of oak leaves, 
the single verse, " God be merciful to me a sinner." 
That coffin, worked upon for years, had been put 
together recently, and, covered with a strip of cot- 
ton cloth, had been put away in the loft of Mr. 
Preston's smoke house. It was brought out to-day, 
and Daddy Campbell was sitting in it before the 
pulpit, for his hundredth birthday would come be- 
fore the next Baptist meeting day, and he wanted 
his funeral preached at the time of a regular meet- 

It was little enough to ask, and the request met 
with no objection. And, while Daddy Campbell was 
a Baptist, Daddy Campbell himself was so catholic 
and so widely known, and the event was so unusual 
in its character, that the Methodists were invited to 
share in it. If James Fletcher had any doubt about 
the propriety of giving up his Marsh Creek appoint- 
ment to be at No Bus'ness on the Baptist day, that 

Daddy Campbell's Funeral 137 

doubt was relieved by the assurance that all his Marsh 
Creek congregation would be at No Bus'ness. 

Besides these considerations, it should be recorded 
that as the month came in on a Sunday, there was 
the semi-occasional conflict between the Methodists 
and Baptists — for the Baptists " rule by Saturdays " 
and the Methodists " rule by Sundays." This makes 
invariable confusion in all months that begin on Sun- 
day, for the Baptist " second Saturday and Sunday " 
is the same as the Methodists' third. And not always 
is there so harmonious a compromise at hand as that 
afforded by the funeral of Daddy Campbell. 

The No Bus'ness church house was too small to 
hold the congregation. The seats were moved outside 
and placed beneath the golden-leaved beeches ; a fence 
was robbed of its top rails and used to extemporize 
more seats ; groups sat on mounds left by the up- 
turned roots of trees or on logs or grassy slopes ; and 
the horses that were hitched to swinging limbs could 
be heard nickering at their tether two hundred yards 
and more up the creek and down. It was the largest 
congregation that had gathered at No Bus'ness for 
many a day. 

Funerals are always attractive affairs there, and 
autumn is the best time for them. Not infrequently 
they are bunched, and several are preached in a day. 
The service at the grave is usually brief and simple, 
and often is dispensed with. Death is too uncertain 
to admit of a funeral at the time of burial. It may 
occur when the water is high, and it is impossible to 
send for friends ; it may occur when other members 
of the family are sick and unable to attend; it may 
occur when the preacher is at a remote part of his cir- 

138 Pine Knot 

cuit. Death is arbitrary, but the funeral is elastic. It 
will occur perhaps six months after the interment ; 
the boy Abraham Lincoln sent from Indiana far into 
Kentucky for a minister to preach the funeral of his 
mother, several months dead. It is so at No Bus'nesS 
and Pine Knot. Indeed, among the notices " norated " 
at this very funeral of Daddy Campbell's was one that 
announced the funeral of Sile Parker's first wife at 
Marsh Creek on the fourth Sunday ; and Sile was pres- 
ent with his second wife and heard it. 

Brother Taulbee announced the purpose of the 
meeting. " We air met," said he, " on a most solemn 
occasion. Our dear friend and brother, our father 
in Israel, after a long life of sorrow and care, of weak- 
ness and infirmity, feels in his soul that afore we meet 
here again he will have outstripped us in the narrer 
la-ane of life — ah ! and go to pe-eple the pa-ale 
nations of the dead — ah ! It is his request that we 
preach his funeral now, for whether he dies right soon 
or not, he cyan't live long. The young may die — ah ! 
and the old must — ah ! And hit ain't no more'n right 
that a man that's lived so long amongst us should 
have his last wish gratified — ah! So we'll preach 
about the dead, but we'll preach to the livin', and we 
invite you all to gether as nigh as you kin, and we'll 
begin the service by singin' * The Unclouded Day.' " 

Zeke Strunk here moved down the aisle with a 
gourd and a bucket of water from the spring. He 
started to set it upon the pulpit acciarding to custom, 
but as the collfin stood in the way of those who would 
be passing up to drink, he set it at the foot of the 
coflfin, where all through the service it was visited by 
members of the congregation. 

Daddy Campbell's Funeral 139 

The hymn started as a solo. It was too well known 
to need lining, and Brother Taulbee sang it in a voice 
at first wavering and then stronger, gathering more 
of power as, first a few on the front row, then an occa- 
sional voice in the audience, and at length the whole 
congregation, gathered up its voice and swelled the 
refrain : 

" Oh, they tell me of a land far beyond the skies. 
Oh, they tell me of a land far away, 
Oh, they tell me of a land where no storm-clouds rise, 
Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day ! " 

It is one of the more perfect of the mountain hymns, 
and one famous in the region as a favorite for singing 
at executions, and also as Brother Taulbee's favorite. 
The audience sang it while seated, but, when it was 
finished, rose and repeated the last refrain. It was 
then that Daddy Campbell's shrill, broken voice was 
heard, singing the hymn from his coffin. 

The service that followed had been undertaken in 
good faith, but it was carried out with some embarrass- 
ment. It was not so easy to speak about Daddy Camp- 
bell as if he were dead, and to have him sitting before 
you in his coffin — sitting or reclining as the case might 
be — for, while the original purpose of the coffin in that 
service was as a seat, Daddy Campbell sometimes re- 
clined, both from fatigue and the more nearly to realize 
his relation to the occasion; and when he lay down, 
trying painfully to straighten out his poor, deformed 
legs, the audience watched narrowly to see the ex- 
pected but uncanny reappearance of his head above 
the coffin side. But if the sermons were somewhat gen- 
eral in their character, and treated of death in general 

140 Pine Knot 

rather than the prospective and quasi-actual death of 
Daddy Campbell, it was not so strange, after all, and 
the funeral as a whole was counted a success, especially 
in view of the ending. Yet to the ministers, of whom 
there were a good half dozen, and in less degree to the 
congregation, the occasion was a somewhat strained 
and difficult one, 

James Fletcher was the last speaker. He felt as 
he rose that his position was peculiarly hard. The 
general subject of death with its warnings and hopes 
had been thoroughly canvassed, and the only topic 
that seemed to have been left for him was the one 
which must not be omitted, yet which all the rest had 
passed over lightly, with vague personal allusions, 
whether in courtesy to the last speaker or because the 
theme afforded peculiar difficulties — that of the life and 
character of the deceased. If he had been truly dead, 
there would have been no hesitation about it, and all 
the preachers would have talked about " the life and 
character of the departed." All the audience felt the 
embarrassment and waited to hear from the last 
speaker the words that had special relation to the 

As James Fletcher rose, the difficulty of his posi- 
tion grew upon him. He looked across to a tree in 
the rear beneath which sat Mr. Buzbee and Barbara — 
his eye had often wandered there while the others were 
speaking — and the difficulty increased. Time had been 
when he would have delivered his message without 
fear or favor in the presence of all the kings of earth, 
so at least he had thought ; but he felt strangely em- 
barrassed in the presence of the man at whose feet he 
sat as a pupil and before whom he felt himself an igno- 

Daddy Campbell's Funeral 141 

ramus, the woman whom he had come to admire, and 
the man whom he must treat as dead, but who lay 
there alive. For the first time it seemed to him a sham 
and a mockery. He looked at Barbara, and thought he 
read the same in her eyes, and then he was doubly sure 
of it. He stammered and faltered and forgot what he 
had meant to say. He uttered a few pious common- 
places, and felt a hypocrite for doing so, but he talked 
because he could not think. But his spirit was rising 
in disgust with himself, in shame for his failure, and 
in determination to say something worthy, if not of 
the occasion, at least of his position as a minister and 
a man, and to speak a seasonable word to the great, 
curious throng. 

" My friends," said he, " it ain't easy to treat this 
occasion just as we'd like. The feeling that makes us 
want to speak well of the dead somehow shuts our 
lips when they're living, and, while our brother, at his 
age, is standing on the threshold of eternity, it has not 
been possible for us to forget that he is here and still 
with us. My brothers have felt this, and have left it for 
me to speak of the life of the man that lies before us. 
What I have to say of him I can say in a few words. 
His life is known to you all. For years he has borne 
his burden without complaining, and has looked for- 
ward to death with hope and not with fear. If his sins 
have been great, the grace of God has been greater. 
If his youth was wayward, his old age has been kind 
and gentle. May God give him rest and peace after 
the sorrows and mistakes of life, and may we shun his 
faults and imitate his kindness, his gentleness, and his 
love ! " 

He paused a moment, and started to walk around 

142 Pine Knot 

the coffin that he might speak unembarrassed by its 
presence. He had said all that he intended to say 
about Daddy Campbell, and he would now preach to 
the living. As he passed around the coffin his eyes 
fell again on the face within, and it had changed. 

Fletcher started in surprise. Then his plan changed. 
He paused before the coffin, his back turned to the 
audience, and stood looking down into the pale face 
within. The congregation looked and listened, pain- 
fully intent. 

" Daddy Campbell ! " called Fletcher. There was 
no answer. 

He placed his hand on the old man's brow, but the 
eyes did not open. He took him by the hand ; it fell 
back limp. All eyes were fastened upon him in a 
strange and horrible fascination. The ministers in the 
pulpit rose, and also looked into the coffin. They saw 
what Fletcher saw. The congregation strained its eyes 
and tried to read what these saw reflected in their faces. 
No one spoke, but one of the ministers hurried out and 
brought Mr. Buzbee. He stood among them for a 
moment and bent over the coffin. The whole audience 
was on its feet by this time, and every one was craning 
his neck, but there was no movement forward ; every 
one stood rooted to his place. 

Mr. Buzbee placed his fingers on the old man's 
thin wrist, but felt no throb. He lifted the lid of one 
eye and looked at the pupil, which did not contract in 
the strong light. 

" He is dead," said he to the ministers ; " the strain 
of the long service has been too much for his strength. 
It is what he would have wished for." 

Fletcher turned again and faced the congregation. 

Daddy Campbell's Funeral 143 

" My friends," said he, " our friend has gone. The 
kind words that our tongues could not utter we can 
now speak freely, and the faults which we did not like 
to recall — these too, if we wish, we may now discuss. 
But he has passed where our words can neither cause 
him pleasure nor pain, and the lesson of his life we 
already know. Let us unite in prayer." 

After the prayer the congregation passed around, 
silent and awe-stricken, and looked into the face that 
lay silent and irradiate with a joy which Daddy Camp- 
bell's soul caught in the moment when it came to him 
that he was dying. 

There are those about No Bus'ness who sing " The 
Unclouded Day " in solemn tones, for they have heard 
how its words were the last that mortal ears heard from 
the lips of Daddy Campbell, singing from his coffin. 

Barbara and her father went home after the funeral 
with Mr. Preston. The hour was late, for the service 
had been four hours in length. They were all tired 
and hungry, and all were thinking solemnly over the 
events of the day. But even at such a time Liberty 
Preston could not restrain a feeling of disappointment 
that the day must pass without much opportunity to 
see Fletcher, and when she waited on him and Bar- 
bara, who were seated side by side at the table, she 
thought that she detected their affection for each other 
even in the silence of that solemn meal, and she hated 
this new girl from Lexington who was stealing away 
the heart of her lover. 



Be it remembered, as a partial offset to the many 
and pathetic failures of John Howard Buzbee in life, 
that his teaching of the Pine Knot school was a real 
success. A few children were taken from school be- 
cause he taught that the earth is round, and a number 
who stopped out for fodder-puUin' did not return, but 
that was always the case. To offset this depletion of 
numbers, a goodly company of young men and women 
from other districts came in, learning of the superior 
attainments of the new teacher at Pine Knot. As the 
Pine Knot school had begun the ist of September, 
while many schools about began in July, there was 
ample time for teachers whose schools had expired 
to study two months in what the inhabitants seriously 
began to call "The Pine Knot College." These all 
paid tuition, or were supposed to pay it. Some few 
brought money, others brought sacks of meal or pota- 
toes, and others produce of various kinds. It was this 
that kept Mrs. Buzbee's little store of money from 
diminishing, for the school money proper would not 
be paid before the ist of January. It was an unex- 
pected source of income, pitifully small, but, with the 
utmost frugality, and the occasional donations of 

A Versatile Schoolmaster 145 

neighbors, it served. These donations were never sent 
as charities; they were in part compensations for the 
fact that the teacher did not board around, and in 
part return for acts of kindness on the part of Mr. 

These services were as varied as they were benefi- 
cent. He surveyed a disputed Une, and thus settled 
a quarrel between neighbors, and each stopped at his 
house when next he returned from the mill. He saved 
the life of Dick Falkner's baby after the doctor gave 
him up — and with nothing but hot baths and scalded 
milk — and Dick hauled him wood enough to last all 
winter. He probed Ned Lawton's wound after he and 
Pete Calahan had their misunderstanding about Rosie 
Jarvis, and dissuaded him from avenging himself upon 
Pete, who had taken a mean advantage of Ned's dis- 
ability (it was this and not the wound for which Ned 
blamed him) to marry Rosie. He refused to preach 
or to practice medicine or to plead in court, yet he 
sometimes spoke at meetings, and often gave legal 
advice to aid in the settlement of disputes, and he rode 
far at night when horses were sent for him to help 
where the doctor was at his wits' ends. 

The first two months were happy ones in the home. 
The handful of meal did not disappear from the barrel ; 
the kindness of neighbors did not fail ; the fame of the 
new teacher, who was also preacher, doctor, and judge 
ex officio, spread throughout the county, and he was 
sent for once to Whitley Courthouse itself to assist a 
perplexed doctor, and to save the life of a mother and 

For a month he never spoke of slavery, and when 
in the course of the second month he began to dis- 

146 Pine Knot 

tribute tracts, his place in the community was so secure 
that he was able to say whatever he chose with little 
apparent danger. 

" Have ye heerd," asked Noel Davis one mail day 
at Bill Blake's, " that the new teacher is a abolition- 

" I heerd so, but I didn't pay no 'tention to it," 
said Mr. Renfro. 

" Well, he is," said Noel. " Here's a track he gin 
me hisself." 

" Did ye read it? " asked Bill Blake. 

" I spelled out the most of it," said Noel. 

" Let me have it," said Renfro. " I got a use for it. 
Have you got ary nigger, Noel ? " 

" No." 

" Well, I bet if they's anybody makes any furse 
about the new teacher bein' a abolitionist, it'll be 
some person that don't own a nigger." 

" Do you want him to set your niggers up to run 
away ? " asked Noel. 

" My niggers ? Lord bless you, Noel, if he kin 
git old Simon Peter and Dinah to run away, he'll git 
a ree-ward, that's what! I'll pay him a good hundred 

" You don't want Pete to leave, do you ? " 

" It would be money in my pocket if he did ! But 
no, I don't want him to leave. Him and me was nussed 
by his old mammy to onct, and we wrastled and fit 
like cats, fust him atop and then me. I'd bawl, if old 
Pete was to die, wuss'n I would for ary brother I got. 
But if I'd hate to have him leave, it wouldn't be nothin' 
to what he'd hate to leave." 

" What you goin' to do with that track ? " 

A Versatile Schoolmaster 147 

" I'm goin' to give it to Pete. I hain't got time to 
read it myself." 

"Kin Pete read?" 

" Yes ; he was raised in Kaintuck, whar they ain't 
no law agin learnin' a nigger to read. He larnt when 
I did. He cyan't read to do much good, but he'll read, 
if I tell him to. I'll tell him if he don't read it I'll free 
him, or lick him, one." 

This word of Mr. Renfro settled the question for 
some time. It was currently said that " if the men 
that's got the niggers don't raise no furse, them that 
ain't got none needn't a-worry." So Mr. Buzbee dis- 
tributed his tracts unmolested, and uttered his senti- 
ments to audiences which, if not sympathetic, were at 
least tolerant. 

" It is as I predicted, my dear," he said to his wife. 
" This is the true field for my efifort. I shall have here 
a sympathetic and loyal constituency. I will found in 
time a paper co-ordinate with the Knoxville Whig, and 
co-operative with it. Let Mr. Brownlow continue to 
plead for a united nation against extreme proslavery 
men in the South, and against extreme abolitionists in 
the North, and I, pleading for the freedom of all men, 
will meet him in my demand for a nation which, first 
of all united, must at last be free." 

" In what respect, father, does that differ from Mr. 
Garrison's position ? " asked Barbara. 

" Radically. Mr. Garrison is for instantaneous free- 
dom without regard to the unity of the nation or any 
other consideration. He maintains that, if slavery can 
be justified for an hour, it can be justified for eternity ; 
the truth is that there are many conditions in govern- 
ment, human and divine, which are only justifiable 

148 Pine Knot 

because they are temporary, and in process of evo- 

" Would he really break up the Union ? I supposed 
that it was only the South that would do that ? " 

" Only the South ? My dear daughter, have you 
not read history? Who was it that threatened to 
secede, if Louisiana should be purchased — the South? 
No, it was Massachusetts. Who was it introduced into 
Congress a petition for the dissolution of the Federal 
Union? It was John Quincy Adams, who had been 
President of the United States. Who was it threat- 
ened to impeach him — the North? It was the South. 
And who was it that threatened to secede in the time 
of the Mexican War? It was the North. I disap- 
proved of the Mexican War, and in general agreed 
with Mr. Lowell, but I could not agree with his avowed 
secessionism : 

" ' If I'd my way I hed ruther 

We should go to work and part — 
We take one way, they take t'other — 

Guess it wouldn't break my heart ! 
Mar hed ought to put asunder 

Them that God has noways jined, 
And I shouldn't greatly wonder 

If there's thousands o' my mind.' 

" Has not Wendell Phillips denounced the Consti- 
tution as a league with death and a covenant with hell ? 
Has he not cursed his own State for belonging to the 
Union, and sharing in responsibility for its sins, say- 
ing, ' I will not say, God save the Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts,' and then adding that awful word, more 
terrible because so calmly and deliberately uttered, 
' God damn the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ' ? 

A Versatile Schoolmaster 149 

" No crisis touching the slavery question has failed 
to bring out a strong disunion sentiment in the North. 
Did not my friend Whittier, one of the noblest of men, 
threaten the Union in his poem on Texas? He said: 

' Make our Union bond a chain ? 
We will snap its links in twain ! 
We will stand erect again ! ' 

" Has it not been in New England that the most 
bitter denunciations are hurled against Church and 
state ? Is it not there that Stephen Foster denounces 
the ministry as * a brotherhood of thieves ' ? And do 
not the antislavery resolutions adopted at their various 
meetings impoverish the English language in their 
effort to associate the Church with piracy, fornication, 
murder, and every vile offense? Are not the basest 
epithets hurled against those who belong to any de- 
nomination which has churches in the South? Are 
they not called by every name that may be found in 
the criminal code ? " 

" But this, father," said Barbara, " was some time 
ago — at the time of the Mexican War. Is it still so 
with these Northern abolitionists ? " 

" Not with all, but the same ones believe as they 
did. At Worcester, Massachusetts, no longer ago than 
in 1857, there was a Disunion Convention ' to con- 
sider the practicability, probability, and expediency of 
a separation between the free and slave States.' It 
was called by the same men who, in 1845, declared 
that * the annexation of Texas would be a good and 
sufficient cause for the dissolution of the Union.' At 
this recent convention Garrison said, ' I am for the 
speedy overthrow of the Union.' And the resolu- 

150 Pine Knot 

tions said : ' The sooner the separation takes place the 
more peaceful it will be ; but peace or war is a second- 
ary consideration, in view of our present perils.' 

" I have no sympathy with the men, North or 
South, who would recklessly plunge this nation into 
war for the sake of carrying their point. We are one 
nation, and are together involved in the meshes of 
corporate responsibility for slavery. It is wrong to 
pit the North against the South ; it is wrong to say 
that we must free the slave to-day, though we divide 
the nation to do it ; it is wrong to say that we, being 
professed friends of peace, are at liberty to provoke 
certain war for the sake of what we call our principles. 
It is wrong to say that as abolitionists we may right- 
fully perpetuate slavery by dividing the nation. I say 
in all earnestness that abolition will come, and in spite 
of those who call themselves abolitionists." 

It was not often that Mr. Buzbee gave himself lib- 
erty to speak on these subjects at length. There was 
so little about him to excite his opposition, and so 
much to engage his attention that he almost let his 
hobby alone. But, as the school term wore on, several 
things occurred of somewhat unusual interest — the ap- 
proach of the presidential election, the advent of an 
important new pupil, the reappearance of the ghost of 
Deck Morgan, and the matter of the Swift Silver mine. 



" Good morning, Granny White," said Barbara. 
" I am sorry that you are not well." 

" Puny, honey, puny. Fm powerful weak these 
days. Come in. Lord bless ye, dear, yer a sight fer 
sore eyes. Se' down," and she wiped a chair with her 

" I heard that you were not well, and wanted to 
see me. I brought you over some plum jelly," said 

" Bless your dear life, ef that ain't kind ! Well, 
honey, I ain't well, and I don't never look to be. But 
it's to keep you from not bein' well that I sent fer ye." 

" I ? I'm all right, granny." 

" Wait till I put this dollar in the churn, and I'll 
tell ye." 

" What do you put the dollar in for ? " 

" That's fer the witches, honey. Hit's a heap better 
than a horseshoe. Now Jim Ballard that uster be a 
witch-doctor over on Troublesome, he never used 
nothin' but a red-hot horseshoe. But that ain't half 
so good as a silver dollar. I've kep' this dollar for 
forty year, and I never used it for nothin' else but 
jest to fetch the butter." 

" 151 

152 Pine Knot 

" Do you use it every time you churn ? " 

" Sartin, dear. Now I'll churn and talk to ye all to 
onct. How be ye, honey ? " 

" I'm well and much interested in what you tell me 
about witches. Who do you say is witch-doctor?" 

" Tom Lawson is now. He's jest bought the charm 
from Jim Ballard. Jim Ballard, sence he got elected 
justice of the peace, didn't keer to have it no more. 
He sold it for a yearlin' bull that Tom Lawson had." 

"What is the charm?" 

" They don't nobody know, honey. Every doctor 
has his own charm. And the charms is different. Now 
mine, I couldn't tell to you. But I kin tell it to a man. 
And it was from a man I got it. And he's got to tell 
it to a woman. And when you tell the charm, then 
you lose it. Jim Ballard cyan't charm the witches no 
more sence he sold the charm. But I kin tell you 
some things, and I'm goin' ter. You know Tom Law- 
son, don't ye ? " 

"The blacksmith?" 

" Yes. He's mighty shifty. He makes a heap 
outen his blacksmithin' and his witch-doctorin'." 

" How much does he charge ? " 

" Oh, he cyan't charge no money for the witch- 
doctorin'. That would spile the charm. But he gits 
it back on his reputation. But, I tell ye, I'm a better 
witch-doctor than he is." 

" I never heard that you were a witch-doctor, 
granny," said Barbara. 

" No, you heerd I was a witch, didn't ye ? And 
Lem Parker says that's what ailed me when I was 
tuck this last time with rheumatix in my hip jint. He 
says he fired a silver dime at a black cat he seed givin' 

Granny White's Remedies 153 

his cows a spell, and that he broke her hind laig. That 
was the day I tuck down, and he says the spell is done 
gone now. Well, I tell ye what, I hain't no witch, but 
I could be a witch ef I was to try. They hain't nobody 
that kin doctor a thing but kin give a thing, don't ye 
see ? They hain't no doctor but could kill as sartin as 
cure, ef he was to try. Is they now ? And they hain't 
no witch-doctor but could be a witch, ef she wanted to. 
And I jest say to you I didn't pester Lem Parker's 
cows, but ef he don't look out how he shoots around, 
his chickens'Il all have the gapes, that's what they'll 
have ! " 

" Oh, I'm sure you wouldn't hurt them, granny ! " 

" Not 'less I have obleeged to, honey. But I want 
to tell you about yourself. They're atter you." 

"Who, the witches?" 

" One witch." 

" What witch is that ? " 

" That's a witch that's in love with your sweet- 

" My sweetheart, granny? " 

" Sartin, honey." 

"Who is he?" 

" You needn't a let on lack you don't know. And 
I ain't the ony one that knows, nuther. And some that 
knows don't like it. But I kin fix 'em, honey. I kin 
fix 'em jest as easy as I kin take off a wart or cure the 

" How do you do that ? " 


"The wart or thrash?" 

" Why, for thrash, you git a child that ain^t never 
seed his pappy, and have him blow in the mouth of the 

154 Pii^e Knot 

■'■'■■ - ...■,■■■ ■ — — ■■■, - ^ 

child that's got the thrash, and that'll cure him. And 
for the warts, you find out how old the person is, and 
cut so many notches in a straight-growin' stick, a 
maple ef hit's a woman and a ash ef hit's a man, and 
grows up, by that time the warts'U be gone. And for 
asthmy in a little chap, you cut a sourwood stick and 
cut it jest the lenth of the child, and lay the stick 
away, and when the child grows longer than the stick, 
the asthmy'Il git well," 

" Ah, granny, I'm afraid the reason of that is that 
the child outgrows the disease." 

" They's a heap o' that in all sorts of doctorin', 
child. But if the doctor's goin' to git the credit of it in 
the one case, I don't see no reason why he shouldn't in 
all. I've knowed people to git well of a heap o' things 
when they wa'n't the least excuse for it. I've knowed 
people to git well o' the toothache from usin' old 
'Liphalet Lawson's cure for the toothache." 

"What was that?" 

" You go to some certain field, no odds what field ; 
you pick three certain kinds o' weeds, no odds what 
weeds ; you grind 'em up jes' so fine, no odds how fine ; 
you put 'em in the tooth, no odds what tooth ; and hit'll 
git well, no odds when," 

The two women laughed together — the young girl 
a hearty laugh, and the old crone a cracked, high- 
pitched cackle. 

" I can tell you a better cure than that," laughed 
Barbara. " I know what root you can hold in your 
hand and it will cure the toothache," 

" Tell me, honey, tell me," said granny eagerly. 

" The root of the tooth," replied Barbara. 

It took Granny White a full quarter of a minute 

Granny White's Remedies 155 

to see this joke, but when she saw it she laughed and 
laughed, stopping every little while afterward as the 
interview proceeded, to laugh again. 

" That's the way Tom Lawson'd best cure 'em," she 

" Does he pull teeth ? " 

" Sartin, bein' a blacksmith." 

" But I don't see what that has to do with it," said 

" He kin make his own pullers. Folks comes a 
long ways to have him pull their teeth — fur's they do 
to have their horses shod. The reason his craps is 
so well hoed is his blacksmithin'." 

"How is that?" 

" Well, he don't charge 'em no money. He jest 
swaps work with the men that comes to have shoein' 
done. They fetch their own shoes and nails, and he's 
got coal right handy, and the men that comes to have 
the horses shod works in the field hoein' corn while he 
shoes the beastis or fixes the wagons." 

" I should think the advantage would be on the 
other side in such an exchange," said Barbara. 

" You wouldn't think so, if ever you seed Tom 
Lawson's woman hoe corn." 

"Does she hoe?" 

" She kin turn up more dirt with the hoe in a day 
than ary one woman or man this side the mountain. 
And the man that gits his wagon fixed has got to 
hoe 'longside of her while Tom fixes the wagon, ef it 
is a wagon. And Tom never was no hand to pitch 
in to work at his forge like killin' snakes, especially 
when hoein' 's goin' on jest the same and some other 
person a-doin' it. And so he gits to work sorter easy. 

156 Pine Knot 

and makes up his far, and like's not has to send the 
chaps to the hill whar he digs the coal fur some coal, 
and then when he gits to work they say that he 
watches his woman and the man he's workin' for 
streakin' it back and forth acrost the cornfield, she 
about eight hills ahead, and he a-puffin' and a-tryin' to 
keep up ! Tom always hits the anvil right hard when 
they come to his eend of the rows, but they do say 
that he don't hurry lack the smallpox was atter him 
when they're at the other eend out of sight and hearin' 
of the shop. I tell ye, blacksmithin' and witch-doc- 
terin' together kin be made profitable, ef a man has 
got a woman that kin hoe corn lack Tom's ! " 

" Such a woman must be a treasure," laughed Bar- 

" Yes, an' she kin plow, too, and if hit's the season, 
Tom hitches up his nag and the feller's that comes to 
have the work done. He keeps two bull-tongue plows 
and two side-hills jest for that purpose. And hit ain't 
no diflference. She's allers about a hundred yards in 
the lead. But she ain't got no manners. I've seed her 
at the table, and she cyan't break a pone without gittin' 
her fingers in it." 

" Well, granny, and am I in danger of being be- 
witched ? " 

" You're in danger of bewitchin' some person, 
that's shore." 

"Who is it?" 

" The preacher. He 'lows the sun rises and sets 
with you." 

" Oh, shame, granny ! You must be mistaken ! " 

" I hain't, and you know I hain't. He loves you, 
same as I'm a-tellin' ye. Now, as I've been a-sayin', 

Granny White's Remedies 157 

they's some charms theft a man kin tell to a man, lack 
what Jim Ballard has sold to Tom Lawson, but whether 
hit'll work now, I ain't sure. And they's some a man's 
got to tell to a woman, or a woman to a man. That's 
my kind." 

" But you told me several charms, granny." 

" Oh, them's about things that witches hain't got 
nothin' to do with. Them hain't my real charm. I 
cyan't tell that to you, but I kin tell it to the preacher. 
But that's the trouble, honey; he don't have confi- 
daince lack he'd ort ter have. And so, ef he gits to 
whar he needs it right bad, you got to tell him that 
he's got to come to me." 

" But, granny, suppose I do not care for him ? " 

" But you have obleeged to keer for him, hain't 

" Why, no ! " 

" Why, ary gal in Pine Knot would give her haid to 
git him." 

" But suppose I care for some one else ? " 

"Ye don't, do ye?" 

" I don't know, I'm sure. I wish you'd tell me." 

" Whar does he live, honey ? He ain't round here, 
is he? Is he off to Lexington? Is he one of them 
blue-grass fellers ? Is he rich, and is he dressed up in 
store clothes, and has a nigger to black his boots and 
another to fetch his horse to the door ? Is he, honey ? 
He is, ain't he ? And you don't know, honey, whether 
you keer for him or not? And then I reckon you 
don't know right shore whether he keers for you, do 
ye, honey? He lives in a big house, does he, honey? 
And lots o' niggers standin' round to keep the flies 
off ye at the table with breshes made o' peacocks' 

158 Pine Knot 

feathers? And where they have horses that you wipe 
your handkercher on and hit don't sile it ? That's the 
kind of a man he is, is he, honey? Oh, I'm afeard 
the preacher's got a hard row to hoe, and you, too! 
I ain't shore but I ort to be a gyuardin' the preacher 
agin' wuss things than I was a-thinkin' ! I ain't no 
fortune-teller, honey. I ain't got no peep-stone to see 
what's a-goin' on inside o' folks, nor way oflf in other 
places. I ain't shore as I kin help you, honey. But, 
honey, look out when ye cross the road whar hit forks 
below the house yer livin' in, and don't let the shadder 
of that old dead tree fall on yer. And ye won't play 
witch the preacher's heart, nor break it, will ye ? " 

Barbara hesitated, and then said, " No, granny, I 
won't, if I can help it." 

" But tell me about this fine blue-grass feller ; does 
he love you ? " 

It seemed strange to Barbara afterward that she 
should have made a confidant of this withered old 
crone, yet the true heart of Granny White was visible 
to one who could see it through her superstition and 
ignorance, and Barbara told her. 

" He was all that you say, and the finest-looking 
man! O granny, you should have seen him on 
horseback ! and his father was neighbor to my grand- 
father. We were much together as we grew up, for I 
have lived, you know, in Lexington, for most of my 
life. We were always friends, and nothing more, 
though as we grew older we seemed always to have 
belonged to each other. It was this miserable political 
aflfair that separated us. He is an ardent friend of the 
South, while his father is strongly for the Union. He 
had quarreled with his own father in their talk about 

Granny White's Remedies 159 

the duty of the South to secede if Lincoln is elected. 
Telling me about it, he used hard words concerning the 
abolitionists. He was hot and angry, and his words 
were bitter and unjust. He has hardly known my 
father all these years. My father has been little at 
home, and we — well, we all love my father dearly, but 
his views were not those of my grandfather, and we 
talked little about them. So I do not know that my 
friend really knew about him. But it hurt me to have 
him speak as he did, and I spoke hastily and angrily. 
I did wrong, I know, for I am sure that had I spoken 
gently, telling him my father's position, he would have 
spoken as a gentleman in return. But he was angry, 
and so was I, and he said that, having quarreled with 
his own father for the sake of his principles, he was 
in no mood to retract the truth for the sake of any 
other man. So I sent him away." 

"Did he come back?" 

" No, my father came a few days after, and we left 
Lexington to come here." 

"Has he writ?" 

" No." 

" Nor ye didn't write to him ? " 

" No." 

" I ain't much at tellin' how to manage them 
aflfairs, honey, but, if I kin, I'll help ye. But look 
here, honey. Did ye ever hear o' the Alamance ? " 

" I think not." 

" Like as not. Nor of King's Mountain ? " 

" I have heard of that. There was a battle there 
in the Revolution, I think." 

" I should think they war ! Hit was thar that Corn- 
wallis got the best part of his army so bad licked he 

i6o Pine Knot 

had to surrender to Washington. My daddy was that, 
and helped lick him. And he was at the Alamance, too, 
whar the Revolution fust broke out." 

" I thought that the Revolution broke out at Lex- 

" Is that what the books says ? " 

" Yes." 

" Well, the books lies. The Revolution started 
right in these mountings, that's whar hit started. My 
daddy helped to start it. They stood up and fit the 
King's sojers till their powder gin out, and two hun- 
dred of them got killed — a hundred of them and a hun- 
dred of the British. Then they come furder back in 
the hills, and my daddy come here to git away from 
Tryon, the old sinner! And did ye ever hear of Old 
Hickory at N'Orleans? " 

" Oh, yes, I have heard of Jackson's great victory." 

" Well, my old man was thar. I started him oflf, 
saying, ' Don't ye come back till this hull big country 
is free from the trompin' feet of the tyrant ! ' That's 
what I said. And he didn't ! Now, honey, I jest want 
to tell ye one thing. I hain't kep' up with things much 
sence then. The Revolution and Old Hickory at 
N'Orleans is about the last big things I've heerd tell 
about. But, honey, this country has cost too much to 
be busted up by them hot-headed men in the North 
and them in the South. That young feller in the blue 
grass'll know a heap more'n he knows now, ef he tries 
to bust up this Union ! " 

" But he's a very nice young man, for all that," said 

" Yes, and so's the preacher. But, la, honey, they 
hain't no accountin' for gals fallin' in love. And when 

Granny White's Remedies i6i 

they love and are loved, they hain't but one thing to 
do, whether the country holds together or splits." 

Barbara went her way, and Granny White pondered 

" They ain't no tellin' what a gal will do," she ob- 
served, as she drew a coal from the fireplace, and patted 
it down upon the loose twisted tobacco in her cob 
pipe. " The preacher's the neardest, and that counts 
fur a heap, and the other feller's got the clo'es and the 
big house and the niggers, and that counts fur a heap. 
But sometimes both them things works backurds, and 
they jest ain't no tellin'. Ef the preacher don't git to 
pesterin' her and make her say no, and then she gits 
sorter lonesome bein' away from the other feller, and 
gits to sorter likin' the preacher — and she likes him 
some, a'ready — hit'll be all right. But like as not he'll 
pitch right in lack he was a-preachin', and time he gits 
to the arousements she won't be thar. And then if 
t'other feller was to write to her, mebby that would 
make a difference. Letters does a heap more'n the 
folks theirselves, a heap o' times. You don't have to 
keep yer hair slick when yer writin' letters. But I'd 
like to see the preacher git her, ef 'twant for nary other 
reason than to see his shirts done up right. But I 
know how to find out." 

She took two grains of green coflfee, and tied a 
thread about one of them. " That's the preacher," she 
said, " and t'other one's that blue-grass feller." 

She took down from the rafter a round-bottomed 
bottle, suspended by a string, and dipped the tip of a 
feather into its contents, the oil from the liver of a 
black cat, killed in the dark of the moon. With it she 
anointed each of the kernels alike, and dropped the two 

1 62 Pine Knot 

into the neck of a cymlin, which she filled with water 
dipped from the east side of the spring, which she first 
stirred to a roil and then allowed to clear. 

Then she muttered some half-articulate incantation 
over the little gourd, and set it away. 

" Hit mustn't upset," she said, " or they'll be a 
heap o' trouble. And I mustn't look at it till the sign's 
in the heart, or hit won't be no good ; and ef the sign 
was goin' down hit'd work backurds. But when the 
sign's in the heart, comin' up, I'll look, and the one 
that's swelled the most's a-goin' to git her." 



Not till after her visit to Granny White did Bar- 
bara see anything sinister in the entrance of Liberty 
Preston into her father's school. At first it had seemed 
a satisfactory arrangement all round. The Lakes — 
they pronounced their name " Lacks " — were glad to 
have her at their house to board, especially Joe Lakes, 
who was well in love with her, and his sister Polly, 
who was Liberty's dearest friend, and who wanted Lib- 
erty for a sister. As for the Buzbees, they were glad 
of every new pupil from outside the district. It raised 
the grade of the school and brought in money or pro- 
visions. Mr. Buzbee had given over the lower grades 
almost entirely to his older pupils who had been teach- 
ers or who were planning to teach, overseeing their 
instruction, however, and outlining methods by which 
their work was to be made effective. 

So widely had his fame spread that it was not 
counted strange that Liberty should come from No 
Bus'ness, but only that coming she should not have 
come sooner, for the term was ready to begin its last 
half. Still, she would be in time to do some good 
work in her classes and to share in all the glory of the 
exhibition, where her voice would bear a leading part. 


164 Pine Knot 

But there were a few who came to suspect that it was 
neither the love of learning nor the desire to share in 
the exhibition that had brought Liberty Preston to 
Pine Knot, but a determination to keep track of her 
lover, whom she had not seen since Daddy Campbell's 
funeral, and whose conduct then, as she dwelt upon it, 
was quite enough to show that "that stuck-up gal from 
Lexington, that set down at the first table with the 
men," had altogether too strong a hold upon his affec- 

But if the day of Daddy Campbell's funeral had 
brought her occasion of sorrow and distrust, it had en- 
hanced in her sight the greatness of the man she loved. 
The audience had not read aright the embarrassment 
of Fletcher in his introductory words, nor his intention 
in walking around the coffin. They had not seen his 
indecision, his constraint, his change of plan. They re- 
membered only his quiet beginning, his brief but ade- 
quate characterization of the man whose funeral he 
was preaching, and then the dramatic call to the soul 
that had departed, and the hush that fell upon the great 
throng when he knelt in prayer on the threshold of 
the world into which the spirit had flown. The im- 
pression at the time had been profound, and it grew as 
the incident was told and retold, and in every telling 
of it James Fletcher was easily, next to Daddy Camp- 
bell, the hero of the occasion. It raised him also in 
the estimation of his brethren in the ministry, to whom 
it seemed that such a sign was a peculiar mark of a 
call to preach. All this Liberty understood, and her 
love for Fletcher grew accordingly. But all this was 
wormwood and gall to her if he belonged to another. 

Liberty Preston was a bright pupil. She had not 

The Heart of Joe Lakes 165 

attended school for several years, but she stood with 
the most advanced pupils. And she could spell. A 
graduate from the district school of No Bus'ness, she 
knew the Old Blueback from cover to cover, and on 
Fridays, when the school chose up, she was the first 
one chosen and the last one down. She had better 
clothes than most of the girls ; her white sunbonnet 
was a wonder in its wealth of starched frills ; her hair, 
instead of perpetually falling down, and needing con- 
stant twisting and securing with a comb, held itself in 
place with its own curliness and a tortoise-shell comb 
which was the envy of all the girls ; and when it fell, 
as at times it must when playing at recess, it fell in 
such bewitching disarray about her rosy cheeks and 
pretty pink ears, that one might have wished to see 
it fall more frequently. And when she sang, the rafters 
of the old schoolhouse rang. She was a girl of de- 
cision, too, and her black eyes could snap in anger or 
what passed for anger when any of the large boys 
attempted to be free with her; for while she did her 
best to make them show their love for her, and she had 
lovers other than Joe Lakes, and it was a small task 
to tempt them into an exhibition of their affection, she 
gave favors to none, wherefore they loved her the more 
madly, and envied Joe, who lived in the same house 
with her, and Fletcher, for whom some thought she 

At no time did Liberty put herself in the way of 
James Fletcher, although they came to have some 
things in common. She, as the leading singer, and 
he, as practically an assistant teacher, had frequent 
need for consultation, and her conduct was above re- 
proach. Only once did she single him out in any way, 

1 66 Pine Knot 

and that was a pleasure to remember. Neither of them 
was accustomed to participate in the noontime games, 
but one day when they were playing " weavilly wheat," 
that quaint old motion game, whose hero " Charlie " 
may well have been originally the Highland " Bonnie 
Prince Charlie," that day they prevailed on Liberty 
to join them. Round and round they circled, singing : 

' I won't have none of your weavilly wheat, 

And I won't have none of your barley, 
I won't have none of your weavilly wheat 
To bake a cake for Charlie." 

It came her turn to choose, and she turned her 
head and saw Fletcher standing in the door. 

The hearts of several young men sank from hope 
to disappointment when she called : " O Mr. Jim 
Fletcher ! You got to come and help me out ! They've 
got me into this game, and I want you for my pard- 
ner ! " 

Jim hesitated a moment, and then, laughing, came 
and took her hand, and went round once. Then he 
chose his own successor, and said to Liberty : " I 
reckon they can spare you and me now; it's time for 
us to look over that song you want them to sing." 

They walked ofiF to the schoolhouse together. Joe 
Lakes ground his teeth. 

Joe was very glum at supper that night, but Lib- 
erty was sprightly enough. As Joe was moving away 
sullenly after the meal, Liberty slipped out and stopped 
him at the spring. 

" I don't know what you want to run oflf that way 
for," she pouted, " running away like you was mad." 

" I be mad," said Joe sullenly. 

The Heart of Joe Lakes 167 

"Be you? Who at?" 

" I ain't a-goin' to tell." 

" It ain't at me, is it ? It surely can't be at me, is 
it, Joe?" 

Joe looked at her, and his eyes met hers. He was 
a coward, no doubt, as a thousand men have been in 
like places, but he had not the heart to tell her the 
truth. " No," he said, " hit ain't at you — that is, not 

" Oh, I'm so glad ! " said Liberty. " I'd feel awful 
bad if you was mad at me, Joe ! Now tell me, who is 

" Hit's Jim Fletcher," said Joe doggedly. 

" Is it ? " asked Liberty. " Well, now that's funny. 
I'm sorter mad at him myself, but you mustn't tell 
nobody. Say, Joe," she added, as Joe looked up, glad 
enough that she should be in any wise mad at Jim 
Fletcher, " you wouldn't like to play a real good joke 
on Jim Fletcher, would you ? " 

" Like it ? By ginger, I'd like to play anything on 
him ! I'd saw through the under side of a foot-log 
if I knowed he'd cross it ! I'd — I'd — I'd do 'most any- 
thing ! " It was Joe's inventive genius that stopped 
him with his enumeration of a single prank; it was 
not his inclination. 

" Oh, no, Joe ! That wouldn't be fun. That's too 
old, and like as not he wouldn't be the one that would 
cross. I believe I know something that would be lots 
of fun, but it would take a real brave man to do it." 

" Brave," said Joe, rashly. " If you want some 
one that's brave, I'm with you till the cows come 
home ! " 

Then they conferred long together, Joe sometimes 

1 68 Pine Knot 

protesting and she reassuring, or he suggesting pos- 
sibilities of failure which she met with expedients. At 
length they arranged it, and Joe entered upon his 
task with real or apparent enthusiasm. Poor Joe ! He 
is not the first man who has gone into danger for love's 
sake that he might win thereby the success of a rival. 
But this aspect of the case Joe did not suspect. 



" There's a good deal of excitement about the 
election," said James Fletcher that night, as he sat be- 
fore the fire at Mr. Buzbee's, slowly spelling out his 

" This election," replied Mr. Buzbee, " will be a 
great watershed of history. We shall elect Abraham 
Lincoln. We shall thus say to the Nation, ' There 
shall be no more slavery in the Territories.' And the 
inexorable Providence, which makes of one good 
choice not merely an opportunity but a necessity, will 
say, ' That which you have declared concerning the 
Territories you shall yet make true of the States.' It 
may come soon, and it may come later, but the doom 
of slavery is sealed, and these mountains will have 
their just glory in its downfall." 

" I have never yet seen," said Barbara, " how the 
mountains have any special glory in it. In their pov- 
erty they are measurably free from complicity with 
slaveholding, but that is no virtue." 

" No, but it gives opportunity for the growth of a 
virtue. It enables this great mountain region to culti- 
vate a love for the Union as such, which is nowhere 
more intense. It is not hampered by trade conditions. 


170 Pine Knot 

That is what kills virtue in North and South, While 
the extremes of North and South in their heat and 
impatience are ready to sacrifice the national unity to 
an advantage pro or con, this great mountain section, 
firm in its faith that slavery must ultimately end, and 
that, as its great commoner, soon to be President, 
says, * This country can not permanently exist half 
slave and half free,' is willing to wait, if need be, and 
to labor while it waits, keeping the Union whole, and 
bringing about the final downfall of slavery." 

" That is a very rosy picture, father, of public senti- 
ment in the mountains." 

" I was just thinking," added Fletcher, " that I 
did not believe the mountains were ready for so active 
an opposition." 

" I do not pretend," said Mr. Buzbee, " that the 
strong belief which this section has in the integrity 
of the Union is primarily antislavery. And I do not 
agree with my friend Brownlow in this ; but he is 
first of all a Union man, and that will make him an 

" But," said Barbara, " would not Brownlow's plat- 
form be adopted by the extreme abolitionists at the 

" Not at all. They must have abolition this instant, 
though the heavens fall." 

"But can it come without the heavens falling?" 
asked Mrs. Buzbee. 

" I often fear not, yet my hope is that this mountaia 
section will hold the nation together. It was here 
that Lundy's great movement started. It was here 
that the first antislavery newspaper was founded. It 
is this region that is giving to the nation its great new 

The Same Ghost or Another 171 

President, who will end slavery in the Territories. It 
was from the antislavery sentiment of this region that 
Garrison learned to be an abolitionist." 

"How was that?" 

" He was present in Boston when Lundy first called 
the ministers together to consider his antislavery 
work," * 

" There's some one at the door, Barbara," said her 
mother. " Go and see who it is." 

Barbara went to the door, and found the widow 
Braniman. " Come in, Mrs. Braniman," she said. 

" No, I won't gi' down. I want to see yer pappy a 
minute. Ast him to step out." 

" Mrs. Braniman wants you," said Barbara, re- 

" This is inopportune," said Mr. Buzbee. " I was 
just getting into my narration." 

The others, however, were relieved to have him 

* As that meeting has often been described and made to ap- 
pear unfavorable to those ministers, it may be well to print the 
two accounts of it by eyewitnesses. One is by Mr. Garrison, 
looking back at it after eleven years of struggle and debate ; 
the other is from Lundy's own journal, at the time. 

Mr. Garrison said : " He [Lundy] might as well have urged 
the stones in the streets to cry out in behalf of the perishing 
captives. O the moral cowardice, the chilling apathy, the 
criminal unbelief, the cruel skepticism that were revealed on 
that memorable occasion ! Poor Lundy ! That meeting was a 
damper on his feelings." 

Mr. Lundy, however, recorded in his journal: "The eight 
clergymen all cordially approved of my object, and each of 
them cheerfully subscribed to my paper, in order to encourage, 
by their example, the members of their several congregations to 
take it. Mr. Garrison, who sat in the room and overheard our 
proceedings, also expressed his approbation of my doctrine." 

172 Pine Knot 

stop, for Barbara and her mother liked to hear him 
talk on any other subject better than this, and Fletcher 
was grudging the time from his Greek. 

" Howdy, Mr. Buzbee ? " said the widow. 

" Good evening, Mrs. Braniman. Won't you 

" No, I jest come from the mill. Had to wait for 
my turn, the water is so low. I had to have the meal, 

though. Say, Mr. Buzbee " The widow actually 


" Yes," said Mr. Buzbee, encouragingly. 

" You 'member what you was talkin' to me 'bout? " 

" Why, yes, I think so ! Let me see — was it about 
the election?" 

" No, no ! Election ! Who keers for the shame- 
faced old election ? That hain't it." 

" I am almost afraid I have forgotten. Oh, yes, 
it was about your line fences. Well ? " 

" Well, you know you sorter thought me and 
Noel'd better jine farms, while we was about it." 

" Ah, yes ! What seemed to me a very good sug- 
gestion. I declare I had forgotten our conversation, 
but it comes to me now. Well ? " 

" Well, I've thought about it." 

"Yes, and has he?" 

" I dunno. But I reckon he's a-thinkin'." 

" Is he keeping up his stock? " 

" Land o' goodness, yes ! They hain't been a critter 
from his place around for a long spell, 'cept him." 

" He comes, does he ? " 

" Yes. I sorter encouraged him, and was friendly 
like, and he's commenced a-comin' reg'lar. We're 
talkin' to each other right along now." 

The Same Ghost or Another 173 

" And have you talked about the fence ? " 

" Gracious sakes, no ! That ain't what folks talks 
about at sech times." 

" Ah, indeed ! " 

" No, hit ain't. But, gracious! don't you know? " 

" Well, I supposed as that was the point at 
issue " 

" Yes, but hit wouldn't do to fetch that up till we 
git the other things settled." 

" Oh, I see. Well, I am glad that matters are going 

" Yes, they be. I 'low to find him thar when I git 
home. He's thar every night now, pretty nigh. And 
he and my oldest gal, Sal, they got in all my fodder, 
fast as the rest of the young uns pulled it." 

" That was very neighborly, I am sure." 

" Yes, and 'pears lack he keers for the young uns 
'most as much as he does fur me. He hain't never had 
none of his own. I've got 'em till they hain't no 
cur'osity to me, but he's as good to 'em as a own 
pappy could be." 

" I am sure I wish you a happy result from this 
pleasant arrangement." 

" Yes, I reckon so. I'm goin' home now. Hit 
won't hurt him any ef I be a little late. Hit'll make 
him all the more anxious, and mebby hurry him up 
a little. But I'm mighty keen to git thar myself, but I 
thought I'd stop while I was a-passin' and tell you. 
Say, you're a preacher, ain't you ? " 

" No. I never preach now. I once preached, but 
not now." 

" You couldn't marry a couple ? " 

" I'm afraid not." 

174 Pii^c Knot 

" That's too bad. I wisht you could. I was jest 
layin' off to pay ye for doin' it by fetchin' ye a bed 
kiver I made myself. But I reckon I'll have to git 
Parson Jim Fletcher, if he kin spare time from his own 
courtin' of Lib Preston to marry any other person. 
Good night." 

Every word that Mrs. Braniman had said was dis- 
tinctly audible to those who sat within, and was hugely 
enjoyed by Barbara and Fletcher, for the most part. 
At the word about Liberty Preston, Barbara laughed, 
a cruel, ironical little laugh, and yet it hurt her, too. 
Mrs. Buzbee heard it gladly, and said : 

" Ah, Mr. Fletcher ! You have kept this from us. 
But I forgive you, and wish you joy." 

As for Fletcher, he turned red as a beet, and at- 
tempted to stammer that the widow was mistaken, but 
Mrs. Buzbee cut him off with — 

" Your modesty does you credit, Mr. Fletcher. 
No, no! You need not tell us about it now. Some 
time, some time ! Love and Greek are not good com- 
panions, and Greek now is to the fore." 

Fletcher looked appealingly to Barbara to help him 
out, but she was disinclined, and said : 

" Let me dance at your wedding, Mr. Fletcher. 
Or no, I can't do that, can I ? You Methodists dont 
dance. Not even a harmless little country dance. 
How cruel you are ! But perhaps I may dance at the 
Widow Braniman's. I'm so sorry you can't dance 
with me." 

" Barbara ! " said her mother. " Don't, my child ! " 

" Oh, he likes to be teased. And he can't help 
being a preacher — can you, Mr. Fletcher?" 

It was the first moment in his life that James 

The Same Ghost or Another 175 

Fletcher felt a secret desire to be, for her sake, some- 
thing else than a preacher. And for that moment's 
thought, which, however, came again and again un- 
bidden, he chided himself over and over. 

" Go to your Greek now," said Barbara. — " No, 
father, don't talk any more politics to Mr. Fletcher. 
He's there at the sheep market, waiting with the blind 
man who is to be sent to the pool, and he has found 
something that troubles him." 

" Ah, yes ! " said Mr. Buzbee. " You see, that is 
sheep gate and not sheep market." 

" It is not that that troubles me," said Fletcher. 
" There is a verse gone." 

" Oh, yes, the angel troubling the pool. Well, that 
is an interpolation. You do not find it in the Greek, 
you know — that is, not in the early manuscripts. That 
is an ancient superstition." 

Fletcher sat aghast. He had had no previous ex- 
perience with study of this sort, that plucked out verses 
and cast them aside as interpolations, and he was con- 
strained to contest the point. The two were soon in 
a deep argument on the purity of the text of the Eng- 
lish Bible, from which they were called by a shout 
from the road. 

" Good evening," said Mr. Buzbee from the door. 

" Good evenin'. You ain't got no dogs, so I reckon 
I mout have come up and knocked, but I allow to be 
polite, so I hollered." 

" Come in, Mr. Goodwin. — Good evening, Mr. 
Renfro. — Barbara, set some chairs." 

"We don't lay out to stay long," said Renfro. 
" We own some land, Goodwin and me, back on the 
river. He owns one side of the Cumberland and I 

176 Pine Knot 

own the other. We're going back there the last o' 
the week, and we reckoned mebby you'd Hke to ride 
there with us." 

" But my school ? " said Mr. Buzbee. 

" We'll go Saturday if you keer to go," said Mr. 

" Why, perhaps I might. — Mrs. Buzbee, do you 
think it well for me to go? I suppose that I might, 
and yet " 

It was in this undecided way that Mr. Buzbee con- 
sidered propositions that had no direct bearing upon 
his own work, balancing the matter, and turning to 
others to find some objective method of deciding. 

" Why do you want him to go ? " asked Barbara. 

" Well, we got a little matter " said Mr. Good- 

" Well, I reckon they ain't no harm in telling it 
right out," said Renfro, " though we don't want it 
to git 'round much. But we ain't right sure but we've 
got a coon of our own up a tree thar.'" 

" In other words ? " said Barbara. 

" In other words," said Goodwin, " we lay out to 
go thar and skin a hog." He winked as he said it. 

" I'll go," said Fletcher, " and you may talk it over 
together. It is evidently private." 

" Don't go, parson. It may not be nothin' private, 
atter all," said Renfro. " We ain't right sure yit how 
private it is." 

" It either ain't private at all," said Goodwin, " or 
hit's mighty private." 

" It is time for me to go, anyway," said Fletcher. 
" I will bid you good night." 

They all bade him good night, and he started down 

The Same Ghost or Another 177 

the road. The night was dark, and a sudden dash of 
rain came into his face. It was no storm that was 
coming, but a creepy dampness was in the air, and 
a few drops were falHng. A hoot-owl gave its weird, 
unearthly shriek, like the death cry of a murdered 
child. He had heard it all his life, but it startled him 
to-night. He was ill at ease. The discussion from 
which he had been excluded was nothing which con- 
cerned him, and yet he felt a little hurt that he had 
been all but asked to leave because of it. And the word 
of Widow Braniman rankled in his heart, together with 
the consciousness that he had been wholly unable to 
extricate himself from the embarrassment of the situ- 

A short distance away he stopped and looked 
back. This was the roof that sheltered the woman he 
worshiped. Yes, though she teased him about Liberty, 
whom he had sometimes fancied he loved, and might 
perhaps have loved — who knows ? — but for her, though 
she flouted him because he could not dance, and pitied 
him because he was a minister, and though he could 
never tell whether she was serious or in play, though 
he felt in his soul that she could be serious, and was 
so at times — in spite of all this, and the hopelessness of 
his suit, he was sure he loved her, and that love made 
everything else seem small ; yes, in shame he con- 
fessed it, his calling itself, his ambition, his hope, his 
soul's satisfaction would be less dear to him if she 
really despised it. But did she despise it? Under- 
neath her raillery, was there not a real respect for 
him and reverence for his calling? Sometimes he 
thought so, but it had not seemed so to-night. 

He smiled to himself to think that anything should 

178 Pine Knot 

have ever happened to make Deek Morgan's house 
seem a beautiful spot to him. Deek Morgan had 
done Httle to beautify it while living, and, while 
Fletcher did not credit the reports about his ghost, nor 
quite believe in ghosts, he had never considered a 
house that was reputed to be haunted one that he 
would care to visit. Indeed, though free from the 
grosser superstitions of his environment, Fletcher him- 
self preferred not to carry a hoe through the house, 
and was a little relieved when he saw the new moon 
in the open and not through brush. Yet, not only was 
he coming here nightly without fear, but 

Fear ! In an instant he was afraid. He had walked 
slowly down to the main road, and was approaching 
the fork where the white sycamore stood. His head 
was down, and he did not see the tree till he was very 
near. The whole tree was white, but the bottom of the 
trunk was more white than it was wont. As he stopped, 
he heard a groan. It was a low, long-drawn-out groan, 
and it went to his very soul. As he stood there, trying 
to persuade himself that it was only the trunk of the 
tree that he saw, and that the groan was some other 
noise, the white figure moved away from the tree, into 
the middle of the road down which he must pass, and 
stood there, raising its white arms, now silent and 
now groaning. 

No one had ever called James Fletcher a timid man, 
and he was not a feeble one. He had outwitted the 
school when it locked him out ; he had faced the leaders 
in a body after he had succeeded by strategy in open- 
ing the door; he had given blows and taken them, 
striking right and left, and receiving the cuflfs and 
strikes of the gantlet as he ran it, till he had sent his 

".Who are you?' 

The Same Ghost or Another 179 

most powerful antagonist sprawling, and driven the 
rest in terror. He had been known to collar a drunkard 
who disturbed a religious service, and, wresting his 
knife away, to walk him to the door, and thrust him 
bodily from the room. But he paused before this awful 
apparition, and felt his hair slowly lifting his hat. 

He was tempted to return to the house for help, 
but he shrank from the eyes of Barbara. Should he 
tell her that he had seen a ghost, and was afraid to go 
home alone? He would die first! He thought of 
going the other way, but this, too, he knew was cow- 
ardly. While he stood debating the figure advanced 
a step or two. Fletcher stood, his hair still rising. 
Then he stepped backward one or two paces. The 
figure came on. 

" Who are you ? " he asked, his hair erect. 

A muffled groan was the answer, and the figure 
drew nearer. 

Fletcher was frightened. Few men, however brave- 
ly they may meet such a situation, are wholly unmoved 
by it. He reaUzed that he was frightened, and on the 
verge of panic. A little more of terror and he would 
be running down the road, and that awful figure in 
pursuit ! And to-morrow night ? Would he have cour- 
age to come again? Would he dare for Barbara's 
sake to brave it another night ? Men think fast at such 
times. All these and a hundred other thoughts flashed 
through Fletcher's mind in the time the specter was 
advancing a matter of two paces. Then it stopped, 
and Fletcher decided. 

" Be you man or ghost or devil," he cried, " defend 
yourself ! " and he rushed forward. 

The ghost gave a terrible shriek and stepped back- 

i8o Pine Knot 

ward ; then, as Fletcher still came on, it turned and ran, 
and Fletcher after it. The ghost ran fast, but Fletcher 
gained. A little farther, and he could touch it. He 
put forth his hand and grasped the sheet that covered 
the fleeing figure, and, as this gave an insecure hold, 
reached again, halted the figure, and as he turned it 
about with his left hand he struck a heavy blow with 
his right. The ghost fell in a heap, and he stumbled 
over it and fell headlong. When he picked himself 
up the white robes were still in the road, but the man 
whom he had knocked down had disengaged himself 
and fled through the bushes. 

The ghost's scream had brought the Buzbees and 
their guests to the door, and they were hallooing at 
him, and asking the cause of the disturbance. 

" Halloo ! " he called, " I've met a ghost ! " 

" A ghost ! " cried Goodwin, trembling visibly. 

" Come back, and bring the ghost with you," called 

" I will," said he. 

A few moments later he appeared at the door, bear- 
ing a device constructed out of two sheets, with light 
sticks to lengthen the arms and increase the height, 
and the whole arranged to adjust to the person of a 

" I have the ghost," he said ; " the man got 

He told the story in answer to their questions. 

" Hit takes a mighty brave man to face a thing like 
that," said Renfro. " I pass for a moderately brave 
man as such things go, but hang me if I want to meet 
any gentleman like that! It must 'a' looked outra- 

The Same Ghost or Another 


" Mr. Fletcher is a brave man," said Barbara, and 
that one word Fletcher cherished. 

"And is this Deek Morgan's ghost?" asked Bar- 
bara, laughing, as she disengaged the sheets, which 
were soiled but not greatly damaged. 

" Who ever told you about Deek Morgan's ghost? " 
asked Goodwin, laughing uneasily. 

" Oh, I heard that we are not the only tenants of 
this house. Really, Mr. Goodwin, I think you ought 
to remit half the rent for the space that ghost occu- 
pies. — ^And now, what will you do with these sheets, 
Mr. Fletcher?" 

" I'll give them to you," said Fletcher. 

" Oh, thank you ! That will compensate us for our 
loss of Mrs. Braniman's counterpane. But don't you 
want them yourself? You might save them to- 
ward " 

" I've had my fun out of them, thank you," said 
Fletcher. " I am glad to get shut of them. — Mrs. Buz- 
bee, if Miss Barbara won't take them, I give them to 

" Oh, but I didn't say I wouldn't take them. Cer- 
tainly, I'll take them. They are a mark of your 
prowess. They are your badge of victory. They are 
the regalia of your knighthood." 

" Barbara, Barbara ! " cried her mother. " Do stop 
your nonsense, child! Give Mr. Fletcher his sheets, 
and let him find the owner, if he does not wish them 

" Indeed I will not, mother dear, saving my regard 
for your authority. I may want an outfit myself some 
day, who knows ? The original owner has forfeited all 
claim to these sheets. They are — What is the term, 

1 82 Pine Knot 

father — contraband, is it not? Well, then, they are 
contraband, and they belong to him, or they did. But 
he has given them to me, and I intend to keep them. 
— Please, Mr. Fletcher, go out and find some more 
ghosts, and may you find the next one in a blue silk 
dress ! " 

" If I do," said Fletcher, " I will bring the ghost's 
raiment to you." 

" But really, gentlemen," said Mr. Buzbee, who had 
stood helplessly during this play of fun, " this is seri- 
ous. This is some one's malice. This should be in- 

" Keep still till the feller that done it asts about it," 
said Renfro. " Then when Mr. Jim meets up with 
some feller that says, ' I heerd you seen a ghost,' jest let 
him collar the feller and say, ' I heerd you was the 
ghost I seen.' That'll fetch him. That's the best way 
to investigate." 

" It may not be him," said Goodwin. 

" If it ain't, it'll be some person he's told, and you 
kin blame it on the feller that asts you till he tells who 
told him." 

" A very good plan, I think," said Mr. Buzbee. 
" Let us all keep silent about it. This probably has no 
connection with the rumors that have been afloat 

" No," said Renfro, " this ain't Deek Morgan's 
ghost. It runs too fast — ha, ha ! " 

" All the ghost of hisn there ever was, I reckon," 
said Mr. Goodwin, much against his conviction, how- 

" Well, parson, I reckon we'd best all go home. 
We're going your way. — All right, Mr. Buzbee. We'll 

The Same Ghost or Another 183 

come by right early Saturday morning. We'll fetch 
you a horse, and we'll take that ride and see if we kin 
tree that coon. — Come on, Goodwin ; do you want some 
person to walk home with you? They may be other 
ghostis, you know. — Come on, parson ; you best go 
by with me to-night. We got a place there for sech 
fellers as you. If we can't treat you good, we'll treat 
you clever, and you kin suffer with us a spell, I reckon. 
— Good night." 

It may be worth while to record as an interest- 
ing item, which some may regard as a coincidence, 
that Joe Lakes appeared at school next day with a 
black eye. There was a perceptible coolness between 
him and Liberty, too, and he manifested no increase 
of affection for Fletcher. 



swift's buried secret 

" Gentlemen," said Mr. Buzbee, as he mounted 
the horse that Simon Peter led up to the step, " I have 
conceived a most unusual interest in this undertaking. 
I believe that, if this proves what you hope, it will be 
the most wonderful thing that has happened in this 

" That's so," said Renfro, greatly pleased to hear 
Mr. Buzbee speak with such enthusiasm ; " if it's really 
the old Swift mine " 

" Shet up ! " said Goodwin. " Don't talk about it 
till we git away ! " 

" If it be what we are hoping," said Mr. Buzbee, 
oblivious to the word of caution which Goodwin had 
spoken, " it will have the most important bearing on 
the work to which I have given my life." 

" Goodwin thinks," said Renfro, " that we'd best 
not talk too loud till we git off in the woods." 

It was a long and weary ride. The road led first 
across the mountain to Marsh Creek, and then down 
the creek on the main road toward Whitley Court- 
house. But where that road turned off to the right, 
they followed the creek till they were near its mouth, 
and then bore to the left by an obscure road that be- 

Swift's Buried Secret 185 

came a mere trail. The scenery grew more wild and 
grand. In their haste they urged their horses more 
than they were aware, and the ascent of a long hill 
caused one of them to show signs of fatigue. 

" We will rest when we come to the top," said 
Renfro ; " our horses are getting blowed." 

They gained the top at length, and stopped for a 
quarter of an hour, removing the saddles and allowing 
the horses to graze. 

" It ain't much furder," said Goodwin, " and I hate 
to lose the time." 

" We are all eager," said Mr. Buzbee, " but it is 
not well to override our horses. While we wait, tell 
me more about this mine. The point which seems 
established is, that Swift found great quantities of 
money here, or at least of silver from which he made 
money. Now, what evidence have we that we have 
discovered the mine ? " 

" Well, this man that died last week," said Good- 
win, " he said " 

" Yes, what did he say ? " 

" He said that the mine itself was right close to 
the falls in the rock that glitters so, and he left a paper 
that tells where there's money buried." 

"And you have that paper?" asked Renfro. 

" I didn't say I had." 

" I know you've got it." 

" Yes, I've got it," admitted Goodwin. 

" Well, then, shell it out here, and let's see it," said 
Renfro impatiently. 

" I was sorter thinkin' " said Goodwin. 

" You was sorter thinkin' you'd keep that for your 
haul, was ye ? " demanded Renfro. 

1 86 Pine Knot 

" Why, yes, the money's one thing and the mine's 
another. If we find the mine, of course we'll all 

" We'll all share whatever we find ; now you hear 
me. The mine and the money and all is one pot, and 
we go in for potluck together. We both own the 
land, and we don't know whose land the money is 
buried on, but wherever it is we share it, and that 
point's to be settled right here. Now you and I put 
in what we know, and Mr. Buzbee'll put in his educa- 
tion. He'll survey them lines as that paper lays them 
down, and he'll test the ore, and if he don't, we're both 
helpless. But I tell ye right now, Peleg Goodwin, this 
is thirds, share and share alike, or we don't go no 
furder with it till we settle the p'int ! " 

"How would you settle it?" asked Mr. Buzbee, 

" They ain't but one way to settle disputes about 
mines," said Renfro with emphasis. 

" Do you mean ? " asked Goodwin. 

" I mean jest that, Peleg," said Renfro, calmly. 
" We're a-goin' to see that paper, and have a full under- 
standin', an' Mr. Buzbee is a-goin' to draw up a writin' 
for us three to sign, that we'll share alike in this hull 
business. That's what we're goin' to do. That's the 
next thing on the programme, as I heerd a feller say." 

"I deplore anything in the way of a quarrel," 
began Mr. Buzbee. 

" There ain't a-goin' to be no quarrel," said Mr. 
Renfro. — " Come, Peleg, hand over that paper." 

"Here it is," he said grudgingly. 

" Mighty little good it would have done you," said 
Renfro, looking over Mr. Buzbee's shoulder in a state 

Swift's Buried Secret 187 

of bewilderment. — " Kin you make head or tail of it ? " 
he asked Mr. Buzbee. 

" These are surveyors' measurements," said Mr. 
Buzbee, " and the directions and distances are given. 
The trouble will be to find the starting point. Here 
is traced a stream of considerable size, running nearly 
south, which seems to be the point of departure. Ah, 
yes! I recognize that sign! It is pounds sterling! 
That makes about thirty thousand dollars buried on 
that creek! Then, from a tree a distance down the 
same stream, a tree bearing a compass and square, a 
line is run across to another marked with a trowel, 
with fifteen thousand dollars buried there." 

" Is that what it means ? " asked Renfro eagerly. 

" Certainly. It can mean nothing else." 

" Is that all ? " asked Goodwin. 

" Evidently not. Here is a rock house marked as 
containing thirteen thousand dollars, and a small rock 
with a spring under the east end which is a marker for 
seventeen thousand dollars, and from there another line 
is surveyed." 

" How much is there ? " asked Renfro. 

" The largest of all, I judge. It is marked * The 
Prize.' " 

" The Prize ! " To any one of these men a thou- 
sand dollars was an almost impossible sum. To find 
a record of thousands scattered about, and among them 
a reference to " The Prize," was enough to strain 
the imagination of all to its utmost limit. Goodwin 
had all along shown a covetous eagerness that he 
could scarce repress; Renfro had masked an intense 
nervousness beneath a stolid exterior ; Mr. Buzbee had 
felt his enthusiasm mounting higher and higher. 

1 88 Pine Knot 

" And all this is ours ! " cried Goodwin. 

" Shet up, ye fool ! " said Renfro. " We ain't got 

" But it's in these mountains, and we'll git it ! " 
cried Goodwin. 

" Yes, yes ! " cried Buzbee. " It is providential ! 
It is the greatest deliverance since Moses led the chil- 
dren of Israel out of Egypt ! It has in it the redemp- 
tion of a race ! We are here at the cave of Ali Baba ! 
We are given the lamp of Aladdin ! We are to work 
miracles with this mine ! " 

His companions looked at him a moment, even in 
their own enthusiasm half doubting if he were still 
sane, yet catching more enthusiasm from his. 

" What be we a-stayin' here for? " demanded Good- 

" Sure enough ! " cried Renfro ; " the mine's the 
thing to find first ! " 

" You are right," said Buzbee. " If we find the 
mine we shall know that the money is near. This writ- 
ing is old. The marks on these trees are long since 
overgrown. The search for the money will be long 
and difficult. It may take us months to get our start- 
ing point. But if we find the mine, we can smelt our 
own silver." 

" We must have the money, too ! " cried Good- 

" Yes, indeed ! We must have it all ! " replied Buz- 
bee ; " but the mine is the most important thing." 

They were soon on their horses and pressing for- 
ward. They did not spare horseflesh, and the few re- 
maining miles were quickly at an end, and the horses* 
feet splashed in the soft waters of the Cumberland 

Swift's Buried Secret 189 

where they ran swift and shallow a mile above the 

" Not so low down," said Renfro. " It's deeper 
there, and the current is mighty strong." 

They forded the river in safety and tethered their 

" And now," said Mr. Buzbee, " let us get to the 
mine ! " 

" Tears to me lack we best to hunt for the money 
first," said Goodwin. 

"You make me sick !" exclaimed Renfro. "You're 
so keen for money you'd steal the pennies from your 
dead mother's eyes ! " 

" Friends," said Mr. Buzbee, " we have a long and 
hard task before us and are banded together for noble 
ends. We must not quarrel. We shall find much 
occasion for irritation, perhaps some disappointment, 
but we shall succeed. We shall succeed ! We must 
not quarrel. The opening of this mine is something 
holy, something sacramental. It must not be done 
with strife." 

He forgot that the others had little idea to what 
high ends he was devoting his share in the mine. It 
was characteristic of his generous and not too dis- 
cerning nature that he included in his own altruism 
all the selfish effort of his associates, the mere com- 
mercialism of Renfro and the greed of Goodwin. And 
they, not understanding the meaning of his words, 
understood his spirit, and were persuaded by it. 

Then began an examination of the rocks, Good- 
win was impatient, and even Renfro found it trying, 
as they climbed up and down, examining the out- 
cropped rock above the falls, measuring, breaking 

190 Pine Knot 

specimens, and thus spending by far the greater part 
of the day. 

" Maybe you'll tell us," said Goodwin, " what's the 
good of all this ? " 

" We must find first," said Mr. Buzbee, " where are 
the silver-bearing rocks. That will show us in what 
strata we must search." 

" 'Pears like we're wasting a heap of time," said 

" We shall need patience in this work," said Buz- 
bee. " If either of you have a better plan, I will gladly 
follow it." 

" No," said Renfro, " we hain't. But let's stop 
now and eat a snack, and whilst we're a-eatin', mebby 
you'll tell us a little more what you're a-drivin' at, so's 
we'll have the same in-trust you've got. This seems to 
us mighty piddlin' business. I reckon we're too im- 

Mr. Buzbee loked at his watch as they sat down. 
It was four o'clock. The short day was nearing its 
close. The sun, as they seated themselves, was out of 
sight behind the great range of hills behind them. 
They were tired and hungry and disappointed. 

Patiently he explained to them the position of the 
strata, and the necessity of locating the bed of rock 
which showed traces of silver. This, he argued, very 
likely continued under the entire mountain, or a great 
part of it, and once found would enable them to locate 
openings at various points, or at least to determine 
at what point to begin. 

" And now tell me," he said, as he saw that they 
were satisfied with his explanation, " a little more about 
this man Mundy from whom the paper came." 

Swift's Buried Secret 191 

" He lived on Copper Creek," said Renfro, " and 
was a honest feller, but sorter cracked. His pa and 
a feller name of Jefferson was with Swift. There was 
another, name of Wright, too. Well, atter the skeer 
he got when he was a young feller, trying to find the 
mine, he wouldn't never come over here no more, 
but he hung to the paper like the cholery to a nigger. 
I don't know how Peleg got it, but that's how Mundy 
got it, I've heerd tell." 

" He owed me," said Goodwin. " I lent him money 
long ago, and he couldn't pay. I'd often ast him to 
give me the paper for security, but he wouldn't. But 
I had other security- When he was a-dyin' I went 
over, and he gin it to me for payment of the debt. I 
wanted to ast him a heap o' questions, but he couldn't 
answer nothin'. I had a notion to keep the thing 
to myself, but bein' as how Renfro owned the land 
on one side of the river here, and I couldn't make 
nothin' out of the paper " 

" Specially the last," interrupted Renfro. 

" Well, I found I'd got to have pardners to make 
a go of it ; that's all." 

" It is plain that we shall accomplish nothing to- 
night," said Buzbee. " It is all we can do to get 
home before it will be pitch dark. I have some speci- 
mens to examine, and I will try what I can do with 
a blowpipe. I really need a crucible of some sort, 
and I may say now that, while I have a fair knowl- 
edge of mineralogy, I am no expert in matters of this 
kind. I have had no experience in the actual work 
of analysis, I must read what my books tell about it, 
and must learn how it is done." 

"We'll be larnin*, too," said Goodwin. 

192 Pine Knot 

" Yes, we will all learn together." 

" And look here, Mr. Buzbee, you'd best draw up 
that paper about us goin' in together, share and share 

" I will. I will do it next week. And now we ought 
to go." 



" Chickeny-chickeny-craney-crow ! 
I went to the well to wash my toe, 
And when I came back, one o' my chickens was gone. 
What time o' day is it, old witch ?" 

So sang- the girls of the Pine Knot College, each 
holding fast to the skirts of the one before her, and 
keeping well behind the big girl who assumed the 
role of the old hen, who then, in response to the reply 
of the witch that it was near dinner time, put these 
questions : 

" What be you doin', old witch ? " 

" Makin' a fire," replied the squat figure bent over 
the sticks. 

"What's the fire fur?" 

" To bile some water." 

" What's the water fur? " 

" To scald a chicken." 

" Where you goin' to git yer chicken ? " 

" Out of your flock." 

Sometimes the witch rushed out and attempted to 
seize a chick, and sometimes she sat watching, in which 
case the swaying line brought one girl after another 
before yet not too near her, each one thrusting out a 


194 Pine Knot 

bare foot — though it was the ist of November — and de- 
manding, " Is that hit ? " But usually the mother hen 
took care to keep herself between the witch and her 
brood, and as she turned to right and left the whole 
line had to swing with the twistings of her hips. It 
ended each time in the capture of a chicken, the re- 
formation of the line, the twisting up of hair, the tying 
up of disordered petticoats, and the repetition of the 
dialogue. But the mother hen fought hard for every 
one of her chickens, and not one was lost till the con- 
test had been well and long fought. Some little girls 
had been thrown from the end of the line as little 
boys were at " crack-the-whip," and others had re- 
ceived some bumps and bruises, but the game was a 
popular one with the girls, though more or less under 
their mothers' ban. 

It was in this way that Dolly Mason got her skirt 
torn ofif, or nearly so, and Liberty Preston was sewing 
it up for her, and comforting the little girl, who was 
sure she would " git a lickin' at home," with the assur- 
ance that she could sew it up so that her mother would 
never know of the damage. 

" You're just lovely ! " cried Dolly. " I think 
you're the loveliest girl ever I seed ! " 

Liberty caught the little one in her arms, and 
kissed her in return for the compliment. 

"Do you really think I'm lovely, Dolly?" 

Dolly looked straight at her, and then touched her 

" You're just beautiful," said she. 

" I'm afraid they ain't many that thinks so," said 

" Ain't they? Who don't think so? " 

The Thread that Slipped 195 

" Oh, I don't know. I reckon 'most everybody 
thinks I'm mighty ugly. They don't nobody tell me 
I'm lovely but just you, Dolly." 

Dolly stood undecided what to say. The hyperbole 
was too much for her to comprehend. 

" Why, I should just think everybody would love 
you. I just wisht I was a man ! I tell you what I'd 
do ! I'd marry you ! " 

It was a trivial thing, but it cheered Liberty up a 
bit, and gave her some sad thoughts too. She was 
pretty, and she knew it. She was popular, and she 
knew that too. There were many who would call her 
lovely and make love to her, but James Fletcher was 
as far away as if he had been in some of the remote 
lands of which Mr. Buzbee talked in the geography 
class. And the only reason under the sun, as she be- 
lieved, why he was not her own was that this girl from 
Lexington had bewitched him. .She determined to 
bear it no longer, though what she could do was not 
then apparent. 

Barbara, too, was not at all in peace with herself. 
This stalwart young fellow, so earnest and brave, this 
young giant of the backwoods, hurling the mountains 
of ignorance amain in his struggles after knowledge, 
this Saul among his companions, towering head and 
shoulders above them not only in stature but in in- 
telligence and purpose, was by no means unattractive 
to her. That he loved her she could not doubt, that 
she could love him she sometimes thought. But then 
there came to her mind the memory of Boyd Estill, 
the fine, handsome fellow, generous and noble, quick 
in temper, but quick also in his courage and manly 
strength, and she hesitated. 

196 Pine Knot 

" Barbara," said her mother that morning, " I'm 
troubled about you, my dear." 

" Alas that I should be a care to you, mother dear ! 
Tell me, what is the matter? I'll give all my goods 
to feed you, and my body to be burned " 

" All these would profit me nothing, my child, I 
could spare your goods, which, alas ! are too few, but 
I could not spare my merry, cheery, naughty girl." 

" What can I do for you, mother? " 

" It is not for me that I want you to do ; it is for 


Barbara was sewing up a tear in one of the sheets 
that had constituted the wardrobe of the recent ghost. 

" I don't like to have you keep those sheets." 

" Are you afraid of them, mother ? " 

" No, bless me ! I don't like to have you accept 
presents from that young man." 

" Presents, mother? Do you call this a present? 
Are dilapidated ghosts and ghostesses to be counted 
gifts prohibited by good manners ? They never taught 
me so in school, mother. I Vt^ant these sheets. They 
are the trophies of my knight-errant ! They are the 
beginnings of my future outfit! They are all that I 
shall need if I myself decide to personate the late 
lamented Deek Morgan, and revisit the glimpses of 
the moon. See how I would look in them, mother! 
I can robe myself d la Hamlet's father, and say : 

" I am thy daughter's spirit, 
Doomed for a certain time to walk the night " — 

What's the rest, mother? I never can remember more 
than two lines of my Shakespeare." 

The Thread that Slipped 197 

" You foolish girl ! Keep the sheets ! It is not 
that I care for, and I am not sorry to see your folly 
now and then. I am glad that you can be happy. In- 
deed, we have been happy here, have we not? Much 
more so than I feared. But I am not quite happy over 
this, and I have fancied you were not quite yourself 
lately. I can not say more. I am almost breaking 
my promise in saying so much. Only, my child, re- 
member how much of my life and your father's is 
bound up in yours." 

Barbara was thoughtful that day, and in the after- 
noon she went to school to assist in some preparations 
for the exhibition. 

On her way to school she met Granny White, going 
up to Blake's to barter some ginseng for coffee. 

" Howdy, honey ? Lord love you, dear ! I'm 
mightily pestered about you all ! " 

" About me, granny ? " 

" Yes. The sign didn't work." 

"What sign?" 

" The sign I tried for you all." 

" I didn't know about that. Tell me what it was." 

" I soaked two coffee-grains — one for the preacher 
and one for the blue-grass feller," 

" That was kind, I'm sure, though I am afraid one 
of them at least will not be here to drink it." 

" Hit tain't to drink, honey. No, no ! You rub 
'em with ile first — ile from the liver of a black cat that 
was killed in the dark of the moon." 

" Mercy ! I'm glad it isn't to drink ! " 

" And then rile the spring and wait till hit clairs, 
and dip in a cymlin inter the east side o' the spring 
and put the coffee in thar — when the sign's in the 

198 Pine Knot 

heart comin' up, and ever which one that swells most 
is the feller." 

" That is interesting. Well, which swelled most? " 

" That's hit. I dunno." 

" You don't? Haven't you taken them out?" 

" Oh, yes, I done that to-day. But the thread I 
tied around one of them come off, and I cyan't tell 
which is which. One's swelled a heap more'n t'other, 
but I dunno which one hit is." 

" That's unfortunate." 

" Yes, and hit's a bad sign. I'm afeard you're 
goin' to have trouble, honey, with them two fellers." 

" Oh, well," laughed Barbara, " I'm grateful for 
your interest, anyway." 

The old woman laid her skinny finger on the fair 
young hand and said : 

" I kin tell you, honey, how to ketch the one you 

" Tell me, please." 

" Take the parin's of yer own toe nails, and wash 
'em in water tuck from the spring like I told you, and 
when the sign's in the heart goin' down. Hit's got to 
go down this time. Then take the coffeepot and dip 
some water from the spring, and bile the parin's in hit. 
Then rench out the coffeepot, and when he comes 
have him drink coffee from that pot. But they mustn't 
nobody else use it atter you fix hit that away till the 
feller does." 

Barbara tried to preserve her gravity, but it was 
no use. 

" But what would happen, granny," she asked, " if 
both should come at once ? " 

" But they cyan't ! One of 'em ain't here ! " 

The Thread that Slipped 199 

" O granny ! You're prejudiced on the case. 
But it isn't that I need to know. What shall I put 
in the coffeepot to know which one I want, or whether 
I want either? " 

" I don't know no sign for that," said granny sadly. 

" Nor I," said Barbara. " Good-by, granny. 
This will buy you a pound of coffee, and you may use 
your ginseng for a pretty new apron." 

" Lord love you, honey ! You're the prettiest gal 
ever I seed, and the preacher ain't ary grain too good 
fer ye! Hit would hurt Lib Preston mightily if you 
was to git him, and Libby is a right nice girl, too, but 
he ain't none too good fer ye, honey, nary grain." 

Liberty Preston was putting away her needle after 
sewing up Dolly Martin, and was in no amiable mood. 
Still she welcomed Barbara, and they conferred to- 
gether concerning the music. For great preparations 
were under way for an exhibition, and a half hour 
each day was given up to formal exercises in prepara- 
tion for it, and there was much rehearsing and con- 
ferring at recess. It was to be, by any standard of 
comparison, the grandest affair of its kind that Pine 
Knot had ever known, and the music was to be an 
important feature. So they conferred together, and on 
that afternoon shared the responsibility for the last 
half hour, which was the rehearsal hour. But there 
was a visible coldness between them, and Barbara felt 
herself unwittingly exulting that she was the victor, 
and that this her rival was cherishing toward her the 
hatred of failure. She reproached herself for this feel- 
ing, but asked herself : " What have I done ? I'm sure 
it is not my fault." 

When school was out, Barbara tried to avoid Lib- 

200 Pine Knot 

erty, and to walk home with other girls, for her father 
was detained at the schoolhouse, but Liberty kept 
close beside her with an air that sent the other girls 
by themselves. They walked together thus to where 
the road forks to go up to the house, and halted under 
the dead tree in the road. 

" Good evening," said Barbara, glad to end the 

" Hold on," said Liberty. 

" Well, what do you want ? " 

" I want to ast you one question." 

" Ask it." 

" Do you love Jim Fletcher, or don't ye ? " 

" It is he if any one who should ask me that." 

" And it's me that's got a right to ast it too." 

" What right have you to ask it ? " 

" I've got a good right to." 

" Yes, but what right ? Is he engaged to you ? " 

" No, nor to you neither." 

" Who told you so ? " It was a cruel question, and 
it went to Liberty's heart. 

" He ain't, is he? He ain't promised to marry you, 
has he?" 

Truth no less than kindness prompted Barbara's 
swift denial. 

" No," she said, " he is not engaged to me." 

*' Well, then, do you love him ? " 

" What right have you to ask me ? I have as good 
a right to ask you." 

" Ast me, then, and welcome. I'll tell ye. Yes, I 
do love him. I've loved him more'n a year." 

" Does he love you ? " 

" I don't know whether he does or not, but I just 

The Thread that Slipped 201 

as good as know he did until you come. And now 
you're sashayin' off with him at your heels, follerin' 
where you crook your finger, and like as not makin' 
a fool of him in the end. If you break his heart, I — 
I'll kill you ! I will — I will ! I can stand it to have 
my own broke, but if you take him away from me, and 
break his, I'll kill you sure ! " 

The hot passion melted into tears, and Liberty 
buried her face in her clean white apron and wept bit- 

Barbara looked at her a moment in indecision, and 
then put her arm around her. 

" You do love him. Liberty, don't you ? " she asked. 

" Yes, God knows I do ! And I just want you 
either to take him or give him up, one, and let me 
know which. I can't stand this no longer." 

Barbara led her a little from the road into the wood 
and sat on a log beside her. 

" You poor girl," she said, " I wish I knew my 
heart as well as you know yours. Don't cry. Liberty. 
We must be friends. Come, you have told me your 
heart, and I will tell you mine. I don't know. Liberty, 
whether I love him or not. I admire him very much. 
He has been in our home so much — he comes almost 
every night, you know, and is almost the only young 
man I have seen — I could not help coming to admire 
him, and sometimes when I have seen him struggling 
so nobly to learn, fighting so bravely against disadvan- 
tages that have hemmed him in, and unconsciously 
showing his manhood at every turn — sometimes. Lib- 
erty, I have almost loved him. But I had a friend 
once, and we liked each other. We had a quarrel, 
a little quarrel it was, and I came away before we made 

202 Pine Knot 

it up. If we had stayed where we were, I am sure we 
should have made it up. But we parted with no word 
to each other, I often think of him, and sometimes I 
think that I love him, and I wonder whether he loves 
me. But I don't know. And I wish I did. But, 
Liberty, let us be friends. I will not take your lover 
from you. I — I will harden my heart against him. 
I will not be selfish. I can not send him away, for he 
comes to see my father, and not me. He comes to 
study, and not to visit. And I will be true to you." 

Liberty looked up, and their eyes met. 

"Will you? "she asked. "Will you?" And then, 
as Barbara's own eyes filled, she added, " I believe you 
sorter love him yourself ! " 



The election of i860 passed uneventfully for the 
most part in Pine Knot. There were two elections, 
in fact — one in Pine Knot, Kentucky, and one in Pine 
Knot, Tennessee. The Kentucky election was held in 
Best's barroom, and the Tennessee election was held 
at Post's. The election was honestly conducted, for 
there was a difference of opinion among the voters. 
Time had been in a presidential election of general 
interest when the Pine Knot mind was a unit, that the 
presence of the State line added its special glory to 
an election. Every one in Pine Knot, for instance, 
had voted for Henry Clay, and — in that day there was 
but one hotel, and the polls for the Kentucky elec- 
tion were established in a covered wagon — each voter, 
having polled a good and honest vote in his own State, 
stepped over the line and voted in the other. But in 
i860 there was sufficient difference of opinion to make 
such a feat impracticable. 

The voting was done viva voce in both States, and 
has so continued almost to this day. Indeed, in 
a county not far from that in which Pine Knot is lo- 
cated, the righteous populace tore out the booths es- 
tablished by the new and cumbersome Australian 


204 Pine Knot 

system, and as recently as in 1898 voted in the old 

" Hit's a daggon furrin invention," said a local 
politician, " and hit's a temptation to fraud. When a 
man git's in thar with his lead pencil, who knows 
whether he votes the way he says he will ? " And so 
the booths came out. 

But there were no booths in i860, and every man 
stepped up and named his candidate, and as he walked 
away the clerk shouted in the ears of all men : " John 
Strunk voted for Bell and Everett! Joe Cecil voted 
for Abraham Lincoln ! " 

There was a good deal of confusion in the Pine 
Knot mind. There were four tickets, which were two 
too many, and it was not certain just what was the dif- 
ference between Bell and Douglas, or just what Lin- 
coln or Breckinridge represented. 

Sim Cressy waited around to meet his old crony 
Dan Spaulding, and they commiserated each other on 
the fact that they could not vote together as they had 
done in some years. 

" How be you alls in Kaintuck votin' ? " asked Sim. 

" Dinged ef I know. I sorter had an idy of votin' 
for Douglas." 

" Did ye ? That's too bad. I sorter layed off to 
vote for Bell 'n' Everett. What's the difference ? " 

" Dinged if I know," replied Dan again. 

"What be you, Dan?" 

" I ain't quite made up my mind. I know one 
thing, I ain't no rebel." 

" Nor me." 

" And I ain't no black abolitionist." 

" Nor me." 

The Circular Rainbow 205 

" Nor I ain't none of them daggon fellers that 
thinks they know more'n their neighbors." 

" Nor me." 

They stood on the State line where the way parted 
to the polls of the two sovereign States. At length 
Dan said, with the suggestion of a smile on his with- 
ered old face that peered out from its ring beard as 
if from a bag, " Sim, I reckon I know what you be." 

" Well, I wisht you'd tell me, for I'd like to know." 

" You're jest a ingorant old fool." 

" Dan, you're right, by golly ! And say, I know 
what you be." 

" Well, what be I ? " 

" Well, you're another, or I'm a possum ! " 

" That's jest what I be, old feller, that's jest what 
I be ! Say, before we vote, let's go over and take some- 

" That's the first sensible word you've said to-day. 
I'm right with ye. And say, I hate not to vote with 
you. Let's split the difference, and vote for Lincoln. 
He's a mountain boy, and some kin of ourn, I reckon." 

" All right, Sim. I'll do it." 

The two old men went into Post's and drank their 
uncolored corn juice with a dry eye, and parted at the 
door with the affectionate sally: 

" Say, Sim, you're a ingorant old fool, now ain't 

" That's what I be, Dan. And you're another ! " 

" Don't you go to callin' me no opprobrious names, 

" I'll call you all the appropriate names I please, 
Dan — you ingorant old fool — he, he ! " 

This pleasant conversation accounts for two votes 

2o6 Pine Knot 

cast for Abraham Lincoln, whereby his minority in two 
States was made less small, though the electoral vote 
of both States — and of these and Virginia only — was 
cast for Bell. 

But this was not the general character of the Lin- 
coln vote. There were two warm political speeches 
that day — one by Mr. Buzbee and one by James 
Fletcher, and both were for Lincoln. There was some 
opposition to Mr. Buzbee's, for his abolitionism came 
out in the most uncompromising way, and not all his 
hearers by any means were ready for it. Indeed, as 
the day wore on, and liquor flowed somewhat freer, 
there was some talk of a merry party to take him out 
that night and switch him, with a warning to leave 
the county, but nothing came of it. Still, he made 
some enemies that day, from whom he had to hear 
later. Fletcher took the stump, literally, for it was a 
stump on the State line that afforded him a rostrum, 
and pleaded for a vote for the whole nation, a vote that 
was first of all to keep the Union whole, and next to 
limit the political power of the cotton States, between 
whom and the manufacturing interests of the North 
the great border portions of the nation were forgotten. 
It was a line of thought that had come to him from 
the reading of the Knoxville Whig and from his de- 
bates with Mr. Buzbee, but he developed it independ- 
ently, and made a strong impression upon the voters. 
When the votes were counted that night — and they 
were counted while being cast, for that matter, for 
every one could tell, if he chose to count, just how the 
vote stood at any time — there was found to be a clear 
majority for Abraham Lincoln, and he was thence- 
forth inaugurated in the thought of the community as 

The Circular Rainbow 207 

the President of Pine Knot and the nation. Within 
a week, for news had come to travel rapidly, they 
learned that the nation had agreed with them, and they 
congratulated the nation on its good sense. 

The Friday following the election, Buzbee, Renfro, 
and Goodwin set out at three o'clock, the school having 
been dismissed an hour earlier than usual, to camp for 
the night near the Falls of the Cumberland, and spend 
the day Saturday in their explorations. Mr. Buzbee 
was confident from the specimens of rock he had 
brought away with him that the silver lode must lie 
below the falls, instead of above, and that the wisest 
course for this more extended trip would be to confine 
all investigation to the lower strata, giving over all 
thought of the money that might be hidden until they 
should locate the mine. Renfro and Goodwin, too, 
had found occasion for some special labor, for the sys- 
tem of land occupation which prevailed in Kentucky 
often resulted in overlapping titles, and it was judged 
wise for them, before any demonstration was made, to 
inspect carefully their titles as recorded at Whitley 
Courthouse, and to make good any possible defects. 

Meantime, working quietly in their inquiries, they 
unearthed a good many interesting stories about the 
mine. There was one of an old man and his son who 
were hunting in the region near the falls. They sought 
shelter from a storm in a "rock house," an overhanging 
cliff that deepened into a cave. The son, tiring of the 
confinement, began a cautious exploration of the cave, 
and passed straight back in the darkness into a large 
room, where he found some rusty picks and other 
mining tools, with decayed and worm-eaten handles. 
Groping his way still farther, he found himself in an- 

2o8 Pine Knot 

other room, which, suddenly illumined by a flash of 
lightning, revealed in the streak of light that pene- 
trated the dense shadows a great chest of silver. He 
shouted to his father to come and help him carry away 
the wealth which he had found, but in answer to his 
shout there rushed out at him a frightful shape, the 
ghost of one of the partners of Swift, who had been 
murdered by one of the others, and who guarded this 
treasure that lay beside his skeleton. The son and 
father fled together out into the storm, and heard a 
mighty roar behind them as the rock house fell, and 
they were never able to find the place again. 

" It is a superstitious tale," said Buzbee, " but it 
undoubtedly has a historical basis. The sound which 
the boy heard was the echo of his own shout; the 
shape was a creature of his own excited imagination, 
or a glare of light from another lightning flash; the 
fall of the rock house was another roar of thunder. In 
their fright they lost their bearings, and were unable 
to get back, which is little wonder. But the cave is 
there, somewhere, and the mouth is doubtless open." 

There were other dark tales of murder and rob- 
bery, of the frequent discovery of the mine or of some 
part of the buried treasure, and the sudden disaster or 
flight of those who found it. 

" If we find it, we shall not leave it," said Mr. Buz- 

" I've got a silver dime in this pistol," said Good- 
win. " That'll stop a witch, and I reckon it will a 

So eager had been their search above the falls, that 
the falls themselves had hardly been noticed on their 
first visit, though the roar of the plunge could be dis- 

The Circular Rainbow 209 

tinctly heard for a long distance. But on this visit it 
became necessary to inspect the rock at and below the 
falls, and this brought to Mr. Buzbee's view the beau- 
tiful cataract. Shut in between high ranges of hills, 
the river wasted its wealth of scenery where few human 
eyes beheld it, but if the stream above and below was 
beautiful, that at the falls was of transcendent beauty. 
The three men stood upon the bluff beside the curtain 
of falling water, just as the sun was rising over the 
hill to the east, and the November wind, that was crisp 
but not cold, was playing with the mist, Mr. Buzbee 
gazed above him, beneath him, and about him, now 
at the glorious sunrise, and then at the whirling, foam- 
ing abyss that lay seventy feet below, and for a time 
forgot the wealth which he was seeking in the wealth 
of that rare moment. 

A rainbow came and vanished in the spray, and, as 
he drew nearer to the verge, the arc lengthened, until, 
lying prone upon his face and looking into the pool 
below, he saw the rainbow increased to a complete 

" It is the rainbow of our hope ! " he cried, " and 
it is complete ! See, see ! " They could not hear his 
words for the din of the waters, but they looked where 

* At the Cave of the Winds, at Niagara, one is told by the 
guide, and in the printed descriptions, that this is the only spot 
on the globe where one may see a rainbow that is a complete 
circle. It is a mistake. At the Falls of the Cumberland the 
author has seen a circular rainbow. There is no reason why it 
should not be seen at other cataracts under favorable conditions 
of sun and mist, if the observer can secure a suitable viewpoint. 
The lack of this in general accounts for the extreme rarity of 
the phenomenon. 

2IO Pine Knot 

he pointed, and dragging themselves to the edge of 
the cHff, they looked at the seven-hued circle, if not 
with his appreciation, at least not without admiration 
and awe. Then with a feeling as if a benediction had 
come down upon them, they clambered down the rocks, 
and renewed their search. 


THE widow's revenge 

It can not be claimed that the success of the closing 
month of school was wholly due to the labor of the 
teacher. Faithful his work had been in the beginning, 
and rare had been his devotion, but the last month was 
something of a contrast. Not that he meant to slight 
it, but his mind was elsewhere. He came in the morn- 
ing barely in time for the beginning of the day's work, 
and was off at night as soon as school was dismissed. 
He brought books to school which were not text- 
books, and was seen reading at noontime so intently 
that he once forgot to call school until half an hour 
after the time. On Fridays he was of? as soon as school 
was over, and once he did not return on Saturday night. 

" It is holy work," he said. " There never was more 
sacred work than this," and he came back fatigued to 
the point of exhaustion late on Sunday night. His 
wife and daughter were anxious. He talked to them 
little, and when he spoke it was in terms which they 
little understood. 

" My dear," said he to his wife, " it is unconsti- 
tutional to take private property for public purposes 
without just compensation. The money consideration 
thus makes abolition almost impossible, and the care 

212 Pine Knot 

of the emancipated slaves will be a task nothing less 
than Herculean. But we have the resources in sight, 
my dear. They are almost within our grasp, and they 
are consecrated to this object." 

" Has Goodwin consecrated his share ? " asked Bar- 
bara, somewhat cynically. 

" Not formally — no. But his interest will grow, 
I make no doubt. The scheme must appeal to him. I 
have talked with him but little, in fact. We have been 
busy with the preliminaries. But my own third, my 
dear, is ample. Let me tell you that I now believe 
we have located the lobe. We have worked long at 
it, and have explored right and left. I am confident 
that we have it. It is exactly under the falls. The cata- 
ract itself has been the angel at the gate with drawn 
sword, forbidding entrance into this cave of untold 
wealth. The sides have caved as the falls have re- 
ceded, and the detritus covers the stratum which bears 
the ore at almost every exposed point, and those that 
are exposed are so inaccessible that they can not well 
be found. In one such place, however, I have found 
the marks of picks and the holes made by drills for 
blasting. But this I did not find till I had first located 
the stratum behind the sheet of water." 

"You climbed behind the falling water, father?" 
asked Mrs. Buzbee anxiously. 

" Yes, my dear. I will admit that it seemed dan- 
gerous. But we had searched up and down, and I had 
been able to examine almost all the exposed strata 
except that. The way was narrow and the rocks were 
slippery, and the roar behind the falls was terrific, but 
we gained it, and there I found these specimens. See 
them sparkle ! " 

The Widow's Revenge 213 

He held them in the Hght, and the shining little par- 
ticles glistened brightly. 

" There are millions of tons of it ! " he said. 

" Are you sure it is silver, father ? " asked Bar- 

" Silver, my dear ? " asked Mr. Buzbee, with just 
a touch of annoyance, so rare in him. " What else can 
it be? Of course it is silver." 

" Have you analyzed it? " 

" Not yet. We must contrive a little crucible, and 
then a larger one. I am studying now the process by 
which we may ' cupel,' as they call it, the molten ore. 
I have been buying books. My dear, I am sorry to 
say that I have had to spend the last three dollars I 
received from tuition fees for another work on min- 
eralogy. I know we needed it, my love, but bread is 
a secondary matter to us now. In this great cause, 
' man shall not live by bread alone.' " 

" If you are sure that is silver, father," said Bar- 
bara, " we can spare the tuition fees ; but if it is not, 
we shall be short of food before the end of next week." 

" Bear with me for a few anxious weeks, my dears. 
If I rob you it is that, being poor, we may make many 

Barbara looked at her mother, and saw the tears 
rising, and she went over and kissed her. 

" Never mind, mother. We have not yet come to 
the condition of old Mother Hubbard. There's a pie 
in the cupboard, and I mean to make a hoecake, the 
best that you ever saw. — And you, father, shall have 
some, too, and you shall watch me turn it. Do you 
think I could toss it up the chimney, and, running 
out of the house, catch it the other side up? I am 

214 Pine Knot 

told that no mountain girl is fit to marry till she can 
do so." 

So the matter settled itself at home, and at school 
it moved on fairly well. Barbara went daily now, and 
taught a number of her father's classes, and Fletcher 
took others. Mr. Buzbee gave daily talks on geology, 
interesting the first day or two, but monotonous as 
he got beyond the depth of the pupils, and was mani- 
festly rehearsing his own reading rather than primarily 
instructing his school. His other classes he heard in 
a listless way, though Barbara's reminders saved him 
several mistakes. But fortunately it was near the end 
of the term, and the thought of the school was on the 
exhibition. So, while there was some complaint, and 
even Bill Blake joined in it sparingly, while Noel Davis 
was vehement, the dissatisfaction was not so general 
but that the interest in the exhibition overtopped it. 

At night Mr. Buzbee was busy with his lump of 
charcoal and an extemporized blowpipe, which he 
produced as soon as he came home, and put out of 
sight reluctantly on the appearance of Fletcher. The 
evenings were less enjoyable than formerly, partly be- 
cause of his preoccupation, and partly also because 
Fletcher noticed a change in Barbara. But he loved 
her the more as she seemed further from him, and she, 
alas! there were moments when she almost regretted 
her rash promise to Liberty Preston. But she and 
Liberty remained warm friends. And Liberty herself 
came to see that it might be possible for Barbara to 
turn Fletcher away, but impossible for her to deliver 
him over to her. 

" Liberty," said Barbara, " I want you to come 
over and spend the last week with me." 

The Widow's Revenge 215 

" You mean to stay at your house ? " 

" Yes ; we shall be working together for the ex- 
hibition, and we can plan better if we are together at 

Liberty hesitated and said, " I don't believe that's 
the reason you asked me." 

" That's one reason." 

" Do you think I better? " 

" I don't see what harm it can do." 

" Well, I'll come over this one night. But I won't 
come again. No, Barbara, you needn't urge me. I'm 
not going to put myself in his way. One night at your 
house is all right, but I ain't going there reg'lar." 

Mr. Buzbee was manifestly disappointed to see Bar- 
bara bring home a friend. " My child," he said, " I 
am glad to have you hospitable, but this is incon- 
venient. I have an experiment of unusual interest on 
hand to-night, and Mr. Renfro and Mr. Goodwin are 
coming over." 

" My love," said Mrs. Buzbee, " where will she 
sleep ? And what can we give her to eat ? " 

" She will sleep with me, of course. It is not un- 
usual for a family and their guests to occupy one room. 
Have I not been invited to * go by ' with forty families 
with an average of a dozen children and only one 
room? And as to eating, fear not, mother dear; I'll 
make a famous hoecake. — And, papa, you may just put 
away your old rocks and pipe and charcoal. You're 
going to sit up and be sociable to-night." 

Soon Liberty came over, and the chicken which 
she brought from Mrs. Lake's certainly did improve 
the supper, 

Goodwin and Renfro came that evening, disap- 

2i6 Pine Knot 

pointed, indeed, that they could not pursue their ex- 
periment, yet taking in the situation. So they sat be- 
fore the fire and cracked chestnuts and ate popcorn, 
and had a rather merry evening. Fletcher came, too, 
and Barbara held him and her father to the lesson, 
for she wanted Liberty to see how the time was spent. 
But when the lesson was over, she caused him to move 
up his chair, and she had him set il beside Liberty's. 
Fletcher entered heartily into the spirit of the occasion, 
and was pleasant with Liberty, though Liberty felt 
sure he would have liked his chair beside Barbara's. 

It was ten o'clock when the men rose to go. That 
was a very late hour for any of them, and all apolo- 
gized for staying so long. But before they got away 
the door was pushed open and in stalked Widow 
Braniman. She had never entered the door before, 
but had ridden up to the step and called. She had 
come on foot to-night, and was wet from fording the 
branch. She pushed the door open without a word, 
and strode in. She was taken aback for a moment 
by the presence of so many people, but it was only for 
a moment. 

" Good evening, Mrs. Braniman," said Barbara. 
" Take a chair." 

" I won't do nothin' of the sort," she replied. 
" Take a cheer yourself, and git out of the way 
with it ! " 

She was quivering with anger as she spoke. 

" Mrs. Braniman," said Mr. Buzbee, " what is the 
meaning of this? " 

" What is the meanin', you biscuit-faced old hypo- 
crite ! You know what's the meanin' ! I want you to 
fetch back Noel Davis 1 " 

The Widow's Revenge 217 

" I beg your pardon, my good woman " 

" Daggon ye ! Call me yer good woman, and I'll 
hit ye ! " 

** Look here. Mis' Braniman," interposed Renfro. 
" This ain't no way to act. What's come over ye ? 
What's the matter of ye ? " 

" Why, Mr. Buzbee here, he sot me up to be good 
to Noel Davis, so's he'd talk to me, and I done it, and 
he's ben a-comin' and a-comin', and I hadn't no man- 
ner of suspicion but what he was talkin' to me all the 
time ; and to-night he's run ofi to Tennessy with my 
oldest darter Sal, and they're goin' to git married, ef 
they ain't married a'ready ! " 

" Well, now, that's too bad," said Renfro. " But, 
say. Mis' Braniman, hit don't make no difference, 
p'tic'lar, as I see : hit's all in the fambly." 

" You shet up. Bill Renfro ! You needn't a-make 
fun of me ! I ain't in no mood for that." 

" But, say. Mis' Braniman, think how much better 
this is. You've got a heap better chance at him as 
a mother-in-law than as a wife, and you ain't, as you 
might say, responsible fur him so much. Don't you 

"Be you in airnest or be you jest a-devilin' 

" Dead in airnest, Mis' Braniman. Why, looky 
here : they ain't but mighty few men I'd want fer hus- 
bands, nohow, and jest between you and me and the 
post, Noel ain't one of 'em. But they's a heap I'd Hke 
to be mother-in-law to, and Noel's the very first one 
I'd take to train." 

There was a hearty laugh all round at this, and even 
the widow joined in it. 

2i8 Pine Knot 

" There is times," she said, " when I more'n half 
suspicion that you ain't more'n half idiotic." 

" Thank ye. Mis' Braniman. You're complimen- 
tary to-night. Now, what you've said is true, and this 
here is one of my good nights. Now, ef I was you, 
I'd be a first-class mother-in-law to Noel, I would for 
a fact. I'd make him come to taw. Why, Mis' Brani- 
man, you've got the opportunity of a lifetime, as I 
heerd a feller say. Dog my cats if you ain't! Noel 
needs such a combin' as you've got it in your power 
to give, he jest pinely does." 

Mrs. Braniman thought it over for a moment, then 
she burst into a hysterical laugh, which modulated 
into a cry, and ended in a laugh no longer hysterical, 
but determined and a trifle threatening. 

" I'll do it," she said. " Don't none of you here say 
a word. I'll pack up my mess of young uns and 
move over and live with him, and ef I don't comb his 

" I wouldn't be too hard on Noel," said Mr. Good- 

" Shet up ! " said she. " Daggon me if I wouldn't 
like to be your mother-in-law ! " 

" Noel's enough for a starter," said Renfro. 

" You have other daughters, haven't you ? " asked 
Mrs. Buzbee, seeking to turn the conversation. 

" Yes," said she, " I've had sorter bad luck with 
'em. The chimbly fell down and killed all but nine 
of 'em." 

Mr. Buzbee had heard this before, but he had for- 
gotten it, and now, as then, he extended his sympa- 
thy, which was spurned. The widow felt better, 
however, for getting off her accustomed joke, and 

The Widow's Revenge 219 

rose to go, charging all to be silent concerning her 

" I won't let him know that I've been mad," said 
she, " and you mustn't none of you let on. I had to 
walk — Sal rode off on my horse. I keered more for 
that than for Noel, anyhow.' 

So she departed much less angry than she came, 
but she never forgave Mr. Buzbee. Both she and Noel 
were from this time forth his implacable enemies. 



There was no pretense of getting the company 
inside the schoolhouse. They built fires in the woods 
and ate their dinner about them, coming in in detach- 
ments to listen to the examination in the morning, the 
grand general exercise which preceded the afternoon 
recess, and the spelling match which concluded the 
daytime programme. The wind whistled about the 
house and found its way through the cracks, but the 
great fireplace was filled till the fire dogs groaned, and 
the back log, that had required four men to bring in, 
glowed cheerily. 

The trustees were out in force. The law required 
one trustee to visit the school each week, and the trus- 
tees never considered their office a sinecure. Noel 
Davis was present with his new wife. They rode one 
horse, and Mrs. Braniman rode her own, so that one 
point was evidently settled in her favor. 

The winter sun set early, and the exhibition, con- 
sisting of dialogues, recitations, essays, and music, 
began " at early candle lighting," which was before 
six o'clock. 

However willing the people had been to take turns 
in the afternoon, there was a universal desire to get in 

The Meaning of it 221 

for the evening; and it was wonderful to see how the 
log walls expanded to take in the multitude. Pine 
Knot was there in force, from Granny White to babies 
in arms, whose mothers nursed them as they sat the 
exhibition out. 

People near the walls got cold and people near the 
fire got hot, so there was a constant movement to and 
from the fire, but every square inch of floor was filled. 
There had been some drinking, and a few men from 
a distance were noisy, but they were removed with- 
out trouble, and the exhibition proceeded in order. 

So the children spoke their pieces and sang their 
songs, and the older pupils read their essays and went 
through with their dialogues. Fletcher made a speech 
for the pupils ; four of the larger girls sang a farewell 
song which ended in sobs ; Bill Blake made a speech 
for the trustees, in which he said that this had been the 
best school ever kept in Pine Knot, and that it was the 
universal desire of the patrons that the teacher would 
make up a subscription school and continue two 
months longer, or at least till Christmas ; and Mr. Buz- 
bee made his closing address, thanking patrons, pupils, 
and friends, and thus the term came to a close. The 
complaints of the last month were all silenced in the 
glory of the finale, and John Howard Buzbee rejoiced 
in the consciousness of success. It was a rare feeling 
with him, and, notwithstanding some inattention in 
the closing weeks, he richly deserved it. 

In answer to the request that he would continue, 
and teach a subscription school, he replied that for the 
present he had other and important interests, but that 
he would consider the matter, and perhaps would do 
so later. It was evident that his mind was upon some- 

222 Pine Knot 

thing else, and curiosity, already rife about the mys- 
terious trips of the three men, now linked together 
all manner of impossible fancies. Perhaps the least im- 
probable of these, and the one most currently credited, 
was that, aided by Goodwin and Renfro, whom he had 
converted, or who had been bribed by Northern 
money, they were making a refuge for fugitive slaves 
far back in the mountains. 

Such rumors gain credence in inverse ratio to their 
probability, and as the public generally comes to its 
conclusion by the elimination of possibilities, and 
pounces upon the one that is left, so it came to pass 
that people in general, having easily disposed of the 
few other theories that presented themselves, settled 
back content with this. 

Therewith grew up a strong feeling of opposition to 
Mr. Buzbee. It was not so much because he was an 
abolitionist — though a name is ever a fearful thing, 
and a man is saved or half damned in popular thought 
as soon as he can be made to answer to one — but be- 
cause he was concealing something. It made him 
other and more formidable than he had first appeared. 

" I tell ye," said Noel Davis, as he sat before 
Blake's store, looking up the road with anxiety now 
and then lest his mother-in-law should fulfill her threat 
and ride after him to husk corn — " I tell ye, we've been 
a-harborin' a wolf in sheep's clothing. What's he off 
here in the woods fur, keepin' a little school? He 
could be a senator or a big preacher or something of 
the sort if he'd a-wanted to." 

" Or a doctor," said Neze Post. " I had a cattle 
buyer sick at my hotel one night, and we went for him, 
and, by gum, he uncurled him from where he was all 

The Meaning of it 223 

drawed up at the foot of the bed, and had him stretched 
out and drapin' off to sleep in ten minutes." 

" Did he charge him anything?" asked Blake, 

" No. He wouldn't make no charge, but " 

" You'd ought to 'a' added that to your bill, Neze," 
said Best. 

" I reckon so. I ain't larned your way of keepin' 
hotel yet. But I was a-goin' to say the man gin him 
five dollars. He left it with me, and I tuck it over and 
gin it to his gal." 

" Lucky you gin it to her fur bread and butter, 
stidder givin' it to him for his abolition tracks," said 
Blake. " They keep a-comin'. Every mail fetches 
him something, but they're books now, mostly." 

" I don't guess he's lacked fur bread and butter," 
said Noel. " He's allers had enough when I've been 
thar, and he ain't had a cent of his school money yit. 
That won't come in till New Year's." 

" How d'ye s'pose he's lived? " asked Post. 

" They's been tuition, and a heap o' things brung 
in on account of him not boarding around," said 

" That wouldn't dress his wife and gal the way 
they're dressed," said Davis. 

" They had them clothes before they come," said 
Blake. " They ain't bought hardly a rag here.'' 

" Yes, but how'd he git 'em thar, I'd like to know ? 
And how's he able to be so daggon independent about 
takin' money for doctorin' ? " demanded Noel. 

Alas! ever since Paul was accounted no apostle 
because he preached the gospel without charge, it has 
been thus that men have found in generosity the final 
argument against its possessor. Mr. Buzbee's ability 

224 Pine Knot 

to live without money was the convincing proof to 
many besides Noel that he was in the pay of an 
abolition society contemplating some sinister under- 

" Well, what do you reckon they're goin' to do with 
the niggers when they git a hull passel of them oflf 
thar by the river? " asked Best. 

No one answered for a moment. Noel Davis, how- 
ever, filled his pipe with a self-conscious air that drew 
attention toward him. He did not hurry about filling 
it either, but went inside for a coal and came out put- 
ting it down on the top of his tobacco. 

" I've got an tdy," he said. 

"What is it? "asked Best. 

Noel puffed away for some moments to get his 
pipe well started, and held the attention of all while 
he was doing it. Such a tribute does the world pay 
now and then to the man who has an idea. It is rare, 
to be sure, but at rare intervals it stops its senseless 
chatter and waits for the idea to clarify while the pos- 
sessor thereof gets his pipe a-going. Such a tribute at 
this moment did Pine Knot pay to Noel Davis, and 
Noel prolonged it with a delicious sense of variety. 

" Well ? " demanded Blake, growing impatient. 

" Yer settin' on the aig of that idy a consid'rable 
spell, Noel," said Best. 

" It's done hatched," said Noel. 

" I allowed it was addled by this time. Well, trot 
it out." 

" Do you fellers remember John Brown ? " asked 

" The one they hung in Ole V'giny ? " 

" Yep." 

The Meaning of it 225 

" I don't guess we've ary one of us forgot him," 
said Blake. " What d'ye mean ? " 

" He's another," said Davis laconically. 

"Another what?" 

" Another John Brown." 

" You go to thunder ! " 

"What fur?" 

" Mr. Buzbee ain't no fighter ! " 

" Ain't he ? And all the time the boys was a-hold- 
in' ofif and not barrin' him out of the schoolhouse 
because he seemed so sorter meachin', wasn't he 
a-packin' stuff in his little bag that he packs to 
school every day to blow the schoolhouse higher 
than Gilderoy's kite? You think they ain't no fight 
in him ! Well, mebby one of you wants to face him, 
that's all. Still waters runs deep, I've heerd tell, 
and I'll be hanged ef I ain't more a-feard of a quiet, 
sneakin' cuss that pretends to be one thing and is 
another than I be of a man with a gun out in the 

All this was new to all but Noel, and was a rather 
wide deduction from Mr. Buzbee's pound of sulphur. 
But it had its impression. Even Blake was moved by 
it, and the rest almost shuddered as they thought of the 
schoolhouse blown to atoms, and coming down with 
shattered members of Pine Knot children over the 
adjacent portions of the two States of Kentucky and 

" Well, Noel ? " said Best, as the former paused to 
resume his smoking. 

"Well, you know what that man Brown was 
meanin' to do — how him and the secessioners of the 
North was a-goin' to upset the Gov'maint and make 

226 Pine Knot 

a new one with a nigger for President and a nigger 
Congress, and nigger sheriffs and postmasters and all 
that. Well, they had to let go of that fur a while, for 
the niggers wouldn't fight, but they had shipped in 
a lot of rifles and knives and pikes and things to arm 
the niggers with." 

Again he paused and the silence showed that his 
argument was followed with interest. 

" But Mr. Buzbee ain't had no guns shipped in," 
said Blake. 

Noel still smoked in silence. 

" Noel ! " said Best. 

"Wha' d'ye want?" 

" Wake up, and go on ! " 

" I've got done." 

" No, ye hain't." 

" Well, wha' d'ye want me to say ? " 

" Bill says Buzbee ain't had no shootin' arms 
sent in." 

"He does, does he?" 

" Yes, and you heerd him, and you didn't say 
nothin', but jest went on smokin' and lookin' like you 
didn't believe it." 

" Well, if Bill Blake says so, I reckon hit must 
be so." 

" Daggon ye, what d'ye mean ? " 

" I hate to tell a good feller like Bill he lies." 

" Look here, Noel," said Blake, " go on and tell 
what ye know, and shet up yer no 'count talk." 

" Well, if you say he ain't had no guns sent in, I 
ain't a-goin' to dispute ye." 

" I was a-sayin' what I believe, and what I'm goin' 
to believe till I git some proof. If you've got any proof, 

The Meaning of it 227 

spit it out and not set thar talkin' like a cymlin - 
headed fool." 

" Well, he ain't had much of anything shipped in 
here, has he ? " 

" Nothing but his mail, and his abolition tracks 
and books," said Blake. 

" Well, if he wanted anything sent in that was 
honest and right, he'd be likely to have it come here, 
wouldn't he ? " 

" I don't know no reason why not." 

" Well, you don't see no sorter reason why he 
should be shippin' in stuff by way of Rockhold, do ye, 
ef what he's gittin' is straight goods ? " 

" There mout be and then there moutn't," said 
Bill, not to be drawn too far in preliminary conces- 

" Well, mebby you kin think of some good reason 
for him havin' stuff sent in by way of Rockhold, and 
packin' it off to the river," said Noel, knocking the 
ashes from his pipe, and slowly rising as if to go home. 

" I don't have no cause to think up no reason yet," 
said Blake. 

"You don't?" 

" No. I hain't no reason to think he done no sech 

" Oh, well, if you hain't, all right. But I know he 
has done it." 

" Has had guns sent to Rockhold ? " 

" I didn't say they was guns." 

"What was they?" 

" Bill Blake, sometimes you talk like a daggon fool. 
S'posin' they was guns, would they be marked guns 
on the boxes ? Was that the way John Brown's things 

228 Pine Knot 

was sent in ? Was that the way them Berea folks had 
their stuff sent in ? " 

" The Berea folks didn't have no guns," said Blake. 
" That was only a thing for making candles." 

" That's what they said," said Noel. 

" That's what it was" said Blake. " I've seen 'em 
myself in Loussville, to save dippin'. And them folks 
that drew 'em out is fools. That man Rogers is as 
good a man as you'll find in Kaintuck, and Fee, for all 
he's an abolitionist, is as white a man as you be, and 
a blamed sight more ! " 

" Then why did they drive 'em out? " 

" 'Cause they was a set of fools, and skeered at a 
candle mold." 

" All right," said Noel. " Hit's time for me to go. 
They ain't much fun arguin' with a man that is so 
daggon sure he knows it all. That's why I git sorter 
tard talkin' to Mis' Braniman. But she's an improve- 
ment on you. Bill, the way you're feelin' this evenin'. 
I reckon I'd best go home. Hit's gittin' to-wards 
night, and I wasn't a-lookin' for no mail p'tic'lar." 

" Well, hold on here. Afore you go, tell us a 
little more about that stuff he had sent to Rockhold." 

" Well, Mis' Braniman was over that away last 
week. She's got kinfolks thar and at the Joefields. 
She was a-feelin' sorter tard, and she 'lowed that, now 
she had some one to leave the young uns with, she'd 
sashay around a little more. And I wasn't in no sorter 
notion of astin' her not to go, ef she wanted to. And 
over thar she heerd about him a-gittin' some boxes of 
heavy stuff shipped in thar. They come from the 
North, somers, and they didn't have no idy what was 
in 'em, and didn't suspicion nothin', till Mis' Brani- 

The Meaning of it 229 

man up and told 'em about his bein' a abolitionist and 
bein' off in the woods by the river on some big abo- 
lition scheme. She told 'em of his quare talk about 
the greatest thing that had been done for humanity, 
and some sich she'd heerd, and I reckon from the way 
she tells it she got 'em consid'able stirred up. The 
Rockholds owns niggers, you know, and so does a 
heap o' others about there. And one of 'em by the 
name o' Perkins has a nigger that kin read, and Buz- 
bee met him, and says, ' Say,' sezee, ' kin you read ? ' 
* Yes, massa,' says the nigger, * I kin read.' * Read 
that,' sezee, and he gin him a track on slavery by John 
Wesley, with some stuff writ onto it by John G. Fee. 
Well, the niggers there is mostly Methodists, and they 
think Wesley's one of the angels, like Gabriel, I reckon, 
and they all know about Fee, and think he's a prophet. 
Perkins had to lick the nigger to make him tell, and 
he gin up the track. Perkins is goin' to the gran' jury 
next Monday and git a indictmaint agin Buzbee if he 
kin. If he cyan't, then there's other ways o' killin' 
a cat besides chokin' 'em on hot butter." 

"Have you seed Perkins yourself?" demanded 

" Mebby I have and mebby I hain't," replied Noel. 

" Be you goin' to court a Monday ? " 

" Mebby I be and mebby I ain't," he answered 

" Well, what I want to know is, be you and Per- 
kins and a litter of them Rockhold fellers fixin' up a 
plan to run Mr. Buzbee off? " 

" Looky here. Bill Blake," replied Noel, " I ain't 
on the witness stand, and you ain't no jury. Now 
I've said all I'm a-goin' to, Lordy, I wisht the old 

230 Pine Knot 

woman was over there yit. I ain't the man I onct was, 
boys. Things is consid'able changed at home. Not 
that I've got anything to say agin Mis' Braniman. 
She's a mighty smart woman. But gittin' married 
has its resks — it has, fer sure." 



" Is your pa at home ? " asked Bill Blake on Sun- 
day morning, 

" No," said Barbara, " he has gone with Mr. Ren- 
fro and Mr. Goodwin." 

"To the river?" 

" I suppose so." 

" How long's he been gone ? " 

" Since Monday." 

" Ever stay like this afore ? " 

" No ; he could not, on account of the school. He 
is much interested in some work there." 

Bill Blake rode off again. He fed his horse and 
ate his own dinner, thinking very hard the while. 
Then he saddled his horse again and started toward 
the river. 

" They's two more jurymen on Marsh Creek," he 
said. " I'll see them, anyhow, and mebby I'll go on." 

He called on the first of the jurymen as he passed. 

" Howdy, Dave ? " he called from the fence. 

" Howdy, Bill ? Light and come in and set 
with us." 

" No. Hain't got time, I reckon. Say, you and 
Nick Tetters is on the jury, ain't ye?" 

l6 231 

232 Pine Knot 

" Yes. Nick's here now, come over to see about 
gittin' off in the mornin'." 

"That so? Well, that's lucky. Call Nick and 
come to the fence. — Howdy, Nick? You two on the 
gran jury ? Well, I'll be daggoned ! Ef hit's come 
to this ! I reckon they's a pretty good show fer the 
rest of us ef the jury begins at home ! " 

'* You jest git off that nag and talk that away to 
me," laughed Nick, " and I'll duck ye in the branch." 

" No more'n I expected ! — You hear him, Dave ! 
You'll have obleeged to sware to what he's a-sayin' 
now ! That's a threat of 'sault and battery ! But to 
a feller that's done as much devilmaint as Nick has, 
one more 'sault don't count, har'ly. Well, when they 
make up juries outer sich fellers as you alls, hit's pore 
show fer honest men." 

" Quit that slander, now, and save yourself a 
lickin'. I'm a-goin' to report you to the jury fer 
sellin' me cotton jeans for all wool." 

" All right, all right ! I only wisht I could make 
you pay the value of cotton." 

Strangers to Pine Knot have sometimes accused 
its residents of lacking a sense of humor. There are 
different kinds of humor, and Pine Knot simply over- 
flowed with its own kind. It was thus that its people 
were wont to meet, and preface their serious busi- 
ness with remarks of this character. 

" Well, what do you know ? " asked Dave. 

" I know you fellers is likely to do a heap more 
harm than what you do good, and I come over to put 
a stop to some of it. You know our teacher ? " 


" Yep." 

The Glorious Discovery 233 

" Seed him at the exhibition. He's a main buster, 
ain't he?" 

" Best teacher ever we had, and as good a man 
as ever Uved." 

" He's a abolitionist, ain't he ? " 

" Yes, but a mighty white one. But he's stirred up 
a hornet's nest of some sort over in Rockhold, and 
they're comin' down to the gran' jury to-morrow to 
git a indictmaint agin him for incitin' slaves to run 
away. Noel Davis is behind it, and he's a first cousin 
to the old scratch, and his mother-in-law, she's got a 
tongue that the devil started to make into a rattle- 
snake, but got it too long. Now, I don't know what 
they're goin' to swear to. This man Buzbee's the 
smartest man and the foolishest ever I seed. In 
some points he ain't got no more jedgmaint than a 
child. He's ofif in the woods now on some fool scheme, 
huntin' rocks or bugs or toads or some blamed thing 
or other — I dunno what, nor keer — and them fools is 
jest fool enough to think he's goin' to lead an army 
of niggers out there into the wilderness, and feed 
'em with manna, I reckon, and they've gone as crazy 
as he is about it. I jest thought I'd ride over and say, 
if the matter comes up, ' Don't you pay no sorter atten- 
tion to it' " 

It was on this wise that Bill Blake had gone the 
rounds of the jurymen within reach, and, whether he 
had any influence or not, the records show that an at- 
tempt was made to secure an indictment, and that it 
failed for lack of sufficient evidence. But Noel Davis 
was at court that Monday on other business than that 
which the court recorded, and he carried with him a 
paper to which he secured a number of signatures, 

234 Piric Knot 

pledging the signers to secure the removal of J. How- 
ard Buzbee from the county, " peaceable if we can, 
forcible if we must." 

Having done so much, Bill Blake felt some curi- 
osity to know what the three were actually doing back 
in the hills. Some thought was in his mind that he 
had earned a right to know; some thought as well 
that positive knowledge on his part would make him 
of service; and some also that Mr. Buzbee ought to 
be warned. That Mr. Buzbee's intentions were honor- 
able he fully believed ; that Renfro, also, though less 
altruistic, was above all schemes of dishonor, he also 
believed. But he just as truly believed that Renfro 
was on no quest of bugs or toads, and that Goodwin 
was not spending his time and labor without some 
thought of his own interest. So he did not lack 
motives to turn his horse's head toward the river, and 
as the afternoon was waning he hastened. He had 
gathered enough to feel sure that the work in progress, 
whatever its character, was at the falls, where he knew 
the land of Goodwin and Renfro joined. Thither he 
rode as fast as hi^ good horse could carry him. 

Fording the river he turned down stream, and 
nearing the cataract, hitched his horse, and clambered 
among the rocks. A fire attracted his attention to 
a ravine hard by, and he stepped cautiously thither. 
A small furnace was belching and roaring, and Buzbee, 
Renfro, and Goodwin were standing beside it, intently 
regarding a small molten mass. 

" This is the moment that proves it," said Mr. 

" Is it now we get the coloring?" asked Goodwin 

The Glorious Discovery 235 

" What do you know about the coloring ? " de- 
manded Renfro. 

" I've Hstened at Mr. Buzbee when he's told us," 
said Goodwin. 

" He has quite astonished me by his apt learning," 
said Mr. Buzbee. " It is to his suggestion we are in- 
debted for our present success. We could not have 
done this without the charcoal." 

" I only hope we've got it," said Renfro. " What's 
the coloring ? " 

" At the instant the last of the lead is absorbed by 
the cupel — You get my meaning, do you ? " 

" No, I don't." 

" Well, we introduced the lead into our former 
blast to separate the silver from the slag." 

" I know that." 

" Now, we are refining, or cupelling, as the term 
is, so as to separate that lead from the silver." 

" Yes, I understand." 

" Well, this cup we have made out of the bone ash 
and wood ash mixed and molded is called a cupel, 
and is made to absorb the lead." 

" I understand." 

" Now, the instant that the last lead is absorbed 
we shall see a beautiful sight. It is known as the cor- 
uscation, or coloring. It is the sure test of pure silver. 
It will not come unless we have silver nor until it 
is pure. A rainbow streak will shoot — See ! see ! " 

They drew so close to the furnace that the heat 
must have burned their faces. A minute they watched 
the colored prismatic lights shoot back and forth 
across the surface of the ashed dish. Blake could 
almost see its reflection in their faces. 

236 Pine Knot 

" That's hit, ain't it? " asked Renfro. 

Goodwin did not need to ask. He took a long- 
handled shovel, and slipping it under the dish, re- 
moved it from the fire. The dish broke as he set it 
down, and the silver ran out and cast itself into a 
little ingot in a depression of the rock. They all stood 
above it a moment in silence. Goodwin burned his 
fingers in his eagerness to hold it in his hand. Renfro 
cried : 

" They's enough in that little bit of ore to make 
a silver dollar ! " 

His estimate was a close one. 

Buzbee stood without a word till the little bar was 
picked out and handed around. Then holding it in 
his hand, he seemed suddenly possessed with a new 

" It is true ! " he cried. " Thank God, it is true ! 
All my dreams, all the travail of centuries, have waited 
for this moment ! Glory to God ! glory to God ! " 

Goodwin and Renfro shouted with him, and the roar 
of the great cataract found its echo in their rejoicings. 
Blake heard them, felt the thrill of their enthusiasm, 
and then, remounting his horse with a guilty feeling, 
hastened away. 



Mr. Buzbee came home late that Sunday night. 
He was haggard and worn, and had a troublesome 
cough, the result of exposure to the damp, cold winds. 

" My dear," said he, " I must leave you for a 

" You have been leaving me, John," said Mrs. 
Buzbee. " We have seen very little of you since 
school closed." 

" I know, dear. And I must be absent still more. 
I am going North." 

" What will you do North, husband ? These are 
times of excitement there. It is no time to do your 

" It is the fullness of time," said he. " It is the 
time for which the ages have waited ! " 

" What do you mean ? " 

" We have made our discovery ! " 

" O father! is it really silver?" asked Barbara. 

" Yes, my child. It is. See here ! " 

He laid a little ingot on the table, and they exam- 
ined it with interest. Barbara's cheeks flushed, and 
her mother, even, grew less pale. She had been un- 
usually pallid lately. 


238 Pine Knot 

" And this actually came from your mine ? " 

" It did, my love. We smelted it to-day." 

"To-day, father? This is Sunday." 

" And therefore the more appropriate day for such a 
discovery. This is the most glorious day the earth 
has seen since Jesus rose from the dead. Nay, think 
me not irreverent. I was never so reverent as at this 
moment. Sometimes in these dark, anxious years 
I have questioned the Divine goodness. All this I 
now acknowledge to you, and I repent of it. My faith 
was never so strong as to-day. As I have ridden 
home this night, a weary, weary ride, tired in body and 
in brain, I have felt the pomp of the conqueror, return- 
ing in triumph! I have ridden to the music of the 
morning stars which sang in echo to the shout of 
the sons of God when they beheld the wonders of 
creation! These mountains, my dears, these moun- 
tains, the home of free men, shall build the shrine of 
a more perfect freedom. These mountains that have 
given to the world Helper's great book, The Impend- 
ing Crisis, shall show to the world how that crisis may 
be, and please God shall be, averted. These moun- 
tains — baptized with the tears of Lundy and Birney 
and Fee and Clay, and the blood of the heroes of King's 
Mountain and the Alamance — these mountains shall 
give of the silver in their rich veins as they have given 
the blood in the veins of their sons for human free- 

If at another moment, and in lack of other proof, 
Barbara had seen in her father only the visionary and 
the deluded enthusiast, she could not doubt him now. 
He stood so erect, so grand, he uttered his eloquence 
with such a consciousness of unselfish loyalty to truth 

For the Cause of Freedom 239 

and goodness, that Barbara and her mother were both 
swept away. Barbara seized the httle bar of silver and 
kissed it again and again, and handed it to her mother, 
who bent over it and wept. 

" And now — oh, my dear, dear noble father, we 
shall never be poor again, shall we ? " 

" No, my love, we are rich." 

" And you will take comfort, and buy yourself 
better clothes, and us a home, will you not ? " 

" Perhaps — perhaps. But I had not thought of 
this. I can not rest now. There is much to be done. 
I must go North, and see my old friends, who are abo- 
litionists, and sell stock in this mine, the profits to be 
devoted to the cause of freedom. I will go first of all 
to Abraham Lincoln, and from there I will go to 
Boston and see Garrison and Phillips and the rest." 

" But how will you go ? " 

" Renfro and Goodwin furnish the money, and 
charge it against the profits of the mine. Mr. Good- 
win suggested that I should discount my school war- 
rant, and thus secure the money, and I consented, but 
Renfro reminded us that you would need it to live 
upon while I go." 

" Thank God ! " said Mrs. Buzbee. 

" That man Goodwin is a villain," said Barbara. 

" No, no, my daughter," said Mr. Buzbee. " He 
has become a very ardent friend of the cause of free- 
dom ! It is he who has suggested the plan of dispos- 
ing of these shares of stock to abolitionists." 

" Tell us your plan of organization," said Mrs. 

" Renfro is president, Goodwin is treasurer and 
general manager, and I am secretary." 

240 Pine Knot 

" Judas still carries the bag," said Barbara. 

" Do not malign him, my daughter," said her 
father ; " he has shown wonderful skill in this matter. 
He has learned smelting and refining quite as fast as 
I. Indeed, at one time I was almost persuaded that 
we were deceived, but he quickened my hope again 
with a suggestion that brought success. The work of 
refining, or cupelling, which is done with lead, he took 
under his charge, and will henceforth have the entire 
work of smelting, while Renfro employs the labor and 
I sell the stock. But as yet all is a secret. We have 
carefully hidden all traces of our work till I get money 
enough to establish a furnace of sufficient size, with 
crushers and power, to do our work. The falls will 
furnish power for our blast fans, the woods will fur- 
nish our charcoal ; we have all we need at hand. I 
have the analysis here. It shows twenty grains to the 
ounce. Twenty grains, my dears, and with almost no 
expense for smelting! There are uncounted millions 
there! Now, there are perhaps four million slaves. 
One fifth are men, one fifth women, and the rest chil- 
dren. If the children are worth two hundred dollars 
each, the women six hundred, and the men a thou- 
sand, there is an average of less than five hundred 
dollars, or about two billion dollars for the whole. 
That is a vast sum, and the Government would never 
pay it, because the people could not be brought to 
vote for the payment of so much from the treasury 
direct. But, provide the money, and all is easy ! And 
the money is here! — money, not only for their free- 
dom, but money also for their education and to pro- 
vide them with homes. The supply is unlimited. 
Under forty-eight feet of conglomerate rock, over 

For the Cause of Freedom 241 

which the falls dash, are eighteen feet of black, lami- 
nated shale, with clay-iron stones, and six feet of sili- 
ceous shale that is simply full of silver. Think of it, 
eighteen feet of silver ore! And the mountains there 
are underlaid with it. Goodwin and Renfro are buy- 
ing more land, though they own now a vast tract, 
quite adequate for our needs." 

" Are you to be paid a salary for your services as 
secretary ? " 

" No, we share alike. But my expenses are to be 
paid. Oh, but we have had a weary time ! We sent 
for tools — we had to have them — and after many and 
painful failures we sent for a small crucible. We dared 
not have them come by way of Pine Knot. We had 
them sent to Rockhold. It was hard getting them 
over the mountains, for we had to have them sent 
securely boxed to avoid suspicion. Meantime we had 
built furnace after furnace. We found remains of one 
of Swift's furnaces, which confirms our discovery, 
though it needed no confirmation. I wish we might 
have found some of his hidden money. We sorely 
need some at the start to develop our plant. But no 
matter. We can toil and wait, as we have done in the 
past. But success is ours, my dear, success is ours, 
and the glory is God's ! " 

There was that in his manner which awed them 
both as he spoke. A shade of weariness passed over 
him, and then his face lighted up again. 

" Do you know," said he, a litle more softly, and 
with a reverent hush that made his words the more 
distinct, " I feel to-night as Jesus did when he returned 
in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. In the power of 
that same Spirit I shall return to the North. I shall 

242 Pine Knot 

say as he said, ' The Spirit of the Lord God is upon 
me, to preach deliverance to the captives and the re- 
covering of sight to the bhnd, and to set at liberty them 
that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of 
the Lord ! ' Oh, my dears, after this is over, I must 
return to the pulpit again ! There is the great oppor- 
tunity, after all ! But meantime I must preach this 
glorious message, and I will ring in the ears of the 
nation the glad word, ' This day is this Scripture ful- 
filled in your ears ! ' " 



The six muffled figures paused under the dead 
sycamore tree at the forks, and discussed the plan a 
little before proceeding. 

" I wisht they was more of us," said one of them. 

" Hit's a sight easier to sign a paper than to come 
up to taw," said another. 

" Mebby we'd best put it off," said Noel Davis. 

"Put it off? And then what? Be you goin' to 
fetch us over here from Rockhold agin for nothin' ? " 
asked another testily. 

" Don't git mad. You've been drinkin' too much." 

" No more'n you have. You're plumb drunk," re- 
torted the other. 

" Here, boys, this won't do. Are your masks all 

" I reckon so." 

" Well, we'll ride up to the house and fetch him out, 
and then we'll come back to this tree, and like as not 
they'll be more here by the time we git back. They 
got to come this way, one road or t'other." 

With some misgivings they assented, and soon 
the house was surrounded, and a voice called out, 
" Hello ! " 


244 Pine Knot 

" What is wanted ? " asked Mr. Buzbee from his 

" I want Mr. Buzbee. There's a woman sick over 
here a piece." 

" I will come at once," he said. " Wait till I get 
my clothes on." 

He rose and dressed, and, opening the door, was 
seized on the threshold by two men, who threw him 
heavily upon his back and bound him hand and foot. 
It was over in a minute, almost before Mrs. Buzbee 
could scream. A heavy hand was laid upon her mouth, 
and the masked figure with the other hand put out 
the light. 

" Stay where ye be, right in this bed, and don't ye 
stir nor make a light, or we'll shoot it out ! " 

They were gone, and Barbara and her mother lay 
for a few moments in terror. Then Barbara slipped 
from the bed and hastily put on her clothes. " Lie 
still, mother," she said. " Do not move from where 
you are. I will go for help." 

Thankful for the act which had put out the light, 
she slipped through the open door and around the 
house. Her heart was beating violently. Wakened 
from sound sleep to deathly terror, alone and in the 
power of masked and desperate men, it was little won- 
der that she trembled. But she gained courage as 
soon as she was free from the house and found the way 
unguarded. She hastened toward the road, yet stopped 
midway. They had halted at the tree in the fork. 
She crept nearer and yet nearer, and there against 
the white trunk she saw her father, tied to the tree, and 
surrounded by his captors, some mounted and some 
on foot. 

The Mob, the Man, and the Ghosts 245 

Seeing no opportunity of assisting him, she crept 
away again, and, making a detour, gained the road. 
If she could only get to Renfro's or the hamlet ! But 
they were between her and these. The nearest house 
was Granny White's, and she sped thither. She was 
running, breathless, down the crooked road, when she 
fell into the arms of a man, who held her just a mo- 
ment, first in surprise and then, perhaps, almost un- 
consciously, for joy. 

" Why, Miss Barbara ! Is this you ? And so late ! " 

" O Mr. Fletcher ! " she cried, clinging to him. " I 
am so glad to find you ! Oh, come with me, and help 
my father ! They have bound him ! They are masked 
and armed ! Come, come ! " 

She seized his hand, and would have dragged 
him on. 

" Stop ! " said he. " Tell me first, that I may know 
what to do." 

" There are five or six of them," said she. " I do 
not know who they are. They lied to him, and told 
him a sick woman needed him, and they sprang upon 
him when he opened the door to go with them. Oh, 
the cowards, the brutes ! " 

" And where are they? Speak a little lower." 

" Down by the tree at the fork of the road." 

" Wait till I cut a club," said he. " We will release 

They walked back together, arm in arm. They 
were near the house, when he said : 

" Miss Barbara, have you heard the story about that 

" Yes," said she. " You met the ghost there, you 

246 Pine Knot 

" Yes. You have the sheets ? " 

"I have them. Why?" 

" These men outnumber us. Besides, they are 
armed. But they are superstitious, and I know how 
dreadful a thing in white can be made to look in the 
dark. We must recall the ghost of Deek Morgan. 
Slip into the house and get the sheets. I will wait 
for you outside." 

" O Barbara, my child, is that you ? " asked her 
mother anxiously. 

" Sh — h ! mother, do not speak ! I will be back 
soon ! Mr. Fletcher is with me ! " 

Barbara returned in a few moments. " They were 
more kind than they thought when they put out the 
light," said she. 

" Come," said Fletcher, and he led the way around 
through the woods behind the tree and at a safe dis- 

" Now," said he, " you must help me to be a 

" No, no ! " said she. " You would never do. I 
will be the ghost. I will wrap myself in these, and 
frighten those who are to be frightened by ghosts, and 
you must go around with your stick, and fall upon 
them as they run." 

" I don't like to have you do so," said he. " They 
are armed." 

" But they will hardly shoot at a ghost ; and if they 
do, it is too dark for certain aim. Besides, even if 
there is danger, it is my father for whom I face it." 

" Very well, then. We should act quickly. They 
may be waiting for re-enforcements. I will go around 
and get as near as possible. You move straight ahead. 

The Mob, the Man, and the Ghosts 247 

and be sure that I shall be ready to support you as 
soon as you get there." 

Save for the bottle that went around more times 
than once, there was little pleasure among the group 
at the foot of the tree. The Rockhold men were blam- 
ing Noel that he had not brought out a larger Pine 
Knot contingent, and he was threatening them all that 
he would turn State's evidence against them if they did 
not proceed. 

" But we ain't enough," protested one of the men. 
" A thing of this sort ain't safe unless there's twenty- 
five at the least. The grand jury will never indict a 
crowd, but a half dozen is sure to ketch it every 
time." These two sat on their horses. The others, 
two of whom held their horses by the bridle rein, 
stood near. After this quiet conference, they ap- 
proached Mr. Buzbee, who stood tied to the trunk 
of the tree, and removed his gag. 

" Looky here, old feller," said one of them, " if we 
let ye go, will ye git out of here ? " 

" I make no promises," said he quietly. 

" If ye don't, we're a-goin' to strip ye and lick ye 
like blazes ! " 

He made no answer. 

"Will ye go?" 

" I have told you that I would make no promise." 

" Well, ye cyan't talk no more abolition talk in this 
county, we kin tell ye that." 

Again he was silent. They thought that he was 
considering the matter, and pressed him again. 

" Gentlemen," said he, " your threats do not move 
me. Right is on my side, the law is on my side, God 
is on my side, and final success is on my side. I am 

248 Pine Knot 

alone and at your mercy. Do your worst. You may 
flay me, burn me, crucify me, but you can not move 

There was nothing of boastfulness is his tone. 
An enthusiast he was, a visionary, but no coward and 
no boaster, and each of them felt in his heart that he 
said the truth. 

" Let's let him go," said one of them, 

" Let him go, ye cowards ? " said Davis. " If ye 
do, ye won't let me go, I kin tell ye that ! " 

So they stopped and drowned their dissension in 
another drink. 

" Boys," said one of them, " ain't this the place 
they say has a haint ? " 

" Shet up, I tell ye ! " said Noel. 

"What's that?" asked another of the Rockhold 
men. " I never heerd tell of that. What sort of haint 
is it?" 

" Shet up, I tell ye ! " said Noel. 

" Look here," said one of them, " I don't like this ! 
What sort of trap is this you've got us into ? " 

Just then the'-e came a faint, moaning cry from 
behind the tree. There was a dead silence, and every 
man strained his eyes. In a moment there was another 
cry, like that of a panther, a short distance up the 
road. They turned and looked in that direction. Noel 
was the only man who stirred, and he got nearer his 
horse. Then there was another cry, a shriek that al- 
most curdled their blood, from where the first sound 
had come but nearer, and looking, they saw a gigan- 
tic, tall, white figure, bending, swaying, and approach- 
ing them. A single shot was fired at it, but only one 
man stopped to shoot. Pell-mell they started, and, 

"If we let ye go, will ye git out' 

The Mob, the Man, and the Ghosts 249 

while they were gaining their saddles, a great, huge, 
black figure burst in among them, laying about him 
with a heavy green hickory stick, that raised a black 
bruise wherever it struck. One of them left his horse 
and broke through the woods, and another was thrown 
and dragged by his stirrup as the horse started furious- 
ly from a blow of the club. 

It took but a minute, and when Fletcher returned 
from a chase of the hindmost, whose terror, lest the 
devil should get him, was not without reason, the ghost 
was embracing the man who stood bound to the tree. 

Fletcher's sharp knife quickly cut the thongs, and 
Barbara was at him again. 

" O father, O my dear, brave father ! Don't you 
think I'm a lovely ghost? Oh, I'm so glad we have 
saved you ! " 

" Barbara, my child," said her father, " your ruse 
was very skillful, my dear. — And, Mr. Fletcher, I must 
thank you. — But now let me hasten to your mother, 
who must be frightened, I know. Take ofif those 
sheets before you return, Barbara. Your mother is 
not superstitious, but she has suffered a severe fright, 
and I would not have her see you thus. In truth you 
might well frighten any one." 

" Help me, Mr. Fletcher," said Barbara. " I am 
entangled in my ghostly trappings. Was I not a tall 
ghost? I needed but one sheet to wrap me, and hav- 
ing one to spare, I elongated myself with two sticks. 
Oh, it was fun to see them run ! And you struck out 
like a gladiator ! I could not see you strike, but I could 
hear your blows. O Mr. Fletcher ! how can I thank 
you enough ? You are so strong, so brave, so kind ! " 

Fletcher was untying a knot, and as she spoke it 

250 Pine Knot 

gave way, and the sheets fell about her to the ground. 
He stood a moment with his hands on her shoulders, 
then caught her in his arms, and held her, unresisting, 
and kissed her. 

" O Barbara, Barbara ! " he cried. " To be praised 
by you is worth a life ! I love you, my darling, I love 
you ! " 

" You must not," she cried, though the words hurt 
her ; " I can not let you speak so ! " 

" But I love you," he said. " You can not forbid 
my loving you ? " 

" Yes," she said, " I must not let you do so. It 
would be wrong. I can not encourage it." 

Barbara was sincere in this; and yet she thought 
that he would press his suit, and give her opportunity 
to explain a little. She did not want to betray Liberty, 
nor on the other hand did she want Fletcher to be- 
lieve her unmoved by his appeal. She waited, expect- 
ing him to proceed. 

Now, many a woman pausing thus and looking 
back, has been overtaken like Lot's wife ; and Barbara 
was not wholly free from danger in that moment. For 
her heart swelled with admiration for the stalwart 
fellow who had come to her in the hour of need, and 
the cheek burned with a warm thrill where he had 
kissed her. 

But James Fletcher did not press his suit. 

" I did not expect you to love me," he said. " I 
know how far above me you are in everything. It is 
enough for me that you know that I love you. I've 
never expected you to love me. I never expected to 
tell you that I loved you. But I am glad to have told 
you. You praised me just now ; it was heaven to hear 

The Mob, the Man, and the Ghosts 251 

you. It is not that I love flattery. I am ambitious, 
but not foolishly vain. But to merit your praise is a 
joy ! Oh, if I could hope that you could love me ! But 
I know that this can not be ! I will not ask it. But, 
oh, let me ask this one thing : is there any other reason 
than that I am not good enough or wise enough ? Is 
there any one else ? " 

" Yes," said Barbara, " there is some one else." 

" I reckoned likely," said he. 

" But " said Barbara. 

" But what ? " he asked eagerly. 

She bit her lip hard. What was she about to say ? 
That the person in the way was not Boyd Estill, but 
Liberty? That she was refusing him not for another 
man's sake, but a woman's ? For shame ! She would 
say nothing of the kind. And, then, was she so sure, 
after all, that it was not partly on Boyd Estill's ac- 
count ? 

"What is it?" he asked. "You do not 
mean ? " 

" No, no ! " she said ; " I do not mean what you are 
thinking. I have said it and mean what I say, and it 
is final. But I can not have you think that it is be- 
cause you are not more — more " 

"Because I'm so ignorant?" 

" No, no ! It's not that at all ! You are not igno- 
rant! You are strong, brave, true, and you will yet 
be learned! A courage such as yours must succeed. 
And you will bring honor to the woman you marry. 
She will be proud of you ! Yes, and I shall be proud 
of you, too ! " 

" To have you for a friend is more than I deserve," 
said he. 

252 Pine Knot 

" I am your friend, Mr, Fletcher," said she, " and I, 
too, am in need of your friendship. My dear father is 
starting North, and no one knows how long he will 
be gone. Our old friends in Lexington seem very, 
very far away. We shall need all our friends here." 

" Count on my friendship always," said he. 

" Thank you," said she. " And now I must not 
wait here another minute. Mother will be anxious 
for me. Yes, I shall be glad to have you walk with 
me to the house. Will you carry my armor? You 
have borne it once before and right worthily! And 
now I must go in, mother will be terrified by this ad- 
venture. I ought not to have stayed away so long. 
Adieu, sir knight ! " 



" Christmas gift, father ! " called Boyd Estill, 
throwing his bridle rein to a negro who was riding 
on a mule behind him, and flinging himself from his 

" Christmas gift, indeed ! And what gift have you 
brought me, leaving the house before breakfast and 
oflf the whole morning? " 

" A good brush, as you see," said Boyd, exhibiting 
the tail of a fox. " We had a right good chase, and 
old Major led the hounds all the way." 

" Ah, that's not so bad ! I could ride to hounds 
myself once. To be gone the whole morning fox-hunt- 
ing, and Christmas at that, is bad indeed, but to bring 
home the brush is ground for pardon." 

" I bring it to you, sir." 

" That's well. Was there no young lady in the 
party that deserved it ? " 

" Not any, sir," said Boyd with a forced laugh. 
" I'm wedded to my horse and dogs, I reckon." 

" Ah, well ! It's no harm in a young fellow. I 
saw you riding up the avenue from the pike ; hang me 
if I'm not tempted to flog you for riding so well. You'll 
be thinking one of these days that you ride better than 


254 Pii^^ Knot 

your father. But go now and get ready for dinner. 
Mr. Bernaugh will be over right soon." 

" I'll be ready soon, sir. — Here, Sam ! Tell Nico- 
demus to rub down that horse well before dinner, and 
give old Major something good for his Christmas din- 

Mr. Estill returned to the fire, yet walked nervously 
to the window from time to time. 

" Hey there, Sam ! " he called. " Sam ! Here 
comes Mr. Bernaugh. Run and take his horse." 

He was out at the stile ahead of Sam, however, wel- 
coming his guest. 

" Christmas gift, old friend ! " he called, and from 
the quarters and kitchen the negroes ran out calling, 
" Christmas gift ! " 

"Howdy, howdy?" called Mr. Bernaugh, flinging 
his rein to Nicodemus. — " Now, looky here, Nic, you 
yellow rascal, if you get to studying about your Christ- 
mas dinner to-day till you forget to feed my horse, 
I'll get me a hickory and wear you out — you hear? " 

" That's the way to talk," laughed Estill.—" You 
feed him well, Nic. I don't reckon he gets much to eat 
at home ! — That's a fine horse, Bernaugh. Gaited like 
a rocking chair, isn't he? I'd like to own him. You 
didn't think of bringing him over for a Christmas gift, 
did you?" 

" Not this Christmas. But that reminds me. — 
Here, Nic! Here's something for you alls!— Chloe, 
you see that he divides it fair, will you? And if you 
give us as good a dinner as I reckon you ain't forgot 
how to cook, I've got something at home I'll send 
by one of my niggers when they come over to-night to 
help you start in Christmas week." 

A Blue-Grass Christmas 255 

Nic led off the horse, pleased with the largess and 
with the threat of the flogging ; for the latter was only- 
Mr. Bernaugh's way of saying that he knew his thor- 
oughbred was safe in Nic's hands. 

" Come in," said Estill. " They're like a crowd of 
children. You can't get rid of 'em at Christmas time. 
— Hello, here, Brutus ! What you hangin' round here 

"Jest to wish Maws' Bernaugh Christmas gift, 
sah," said the old negro. 

" Hello, old nigger ! How're you running? Good 
Lord, I thought you was dead ! " 

" Po'ly, Maws' Bernaugh, po'ly," and then in an- 
other tone : " No, sah. Maws' Bernaugh, I ain't dead ! 
Ef I had a-ben, I know you sho'ly gwine come to my 
funeral, now ain' you? An' I'm gwine to live till 
spring, bress de Lawd ! " 

" How do you know that ? " 

" Oh, I mos' ginerally notice when I live till Christ- 
mas, I lives t'rough till spring ! " 

" Well, how much'U you let me off for ? I thought 
when I sold you I'd got done givin' you Christmas 
gifts. Will a dollar do you? All right! Now you 
divide that with Chloe ; I promised her something for 
cooking the dinner. — And look here, Brutus ! I told 
Bill to ride over with a haunch of venison — did you 
steal it all, or will we have some for dinner ? " 

" Hit's dah, sah. I didn't steal none of it. Chloe's 
done roastin' it wid de turkey." 

" All right, if you've left a little of it." 

" He's a good honest nigger," said Estill. 

" Salt of the earth, sir ; salt of the earth," said Ber- 
naugh. " I hated worst way to sell him to you." 

256 Pine Knot 

" Don't blame you, sir ; not a mite," 
" Him and Chloe's got another baby, I hear. 
What's the name of this one ? " 

" Dog my cats if I can remember ! — Here, Brutus ! 
What's the name of the last chap of yours ? " 
" Bessie, sah," said Brutus, 

" Yes, I know. But call Dinah. — Here, Dinah, I 
want the full name of your Bessie." 
"Yes, sah. Hit's 

Bessie Fee, 
Cora Lee, 
Who but she? 
" That's good ! Still stick to your poetry, don't 

" Yes, sah," 

" And let's see. What was the other one' you had 
since I sold Brutus ? " 

" Joseph Estill, 
William Bernaugh, 
Tostle Paul, 
And Caleb after all, 
" And which of us three do you call him for — me 
or Mas'r Estill or the Apostle Paul ? " 
" I calls him Benny, sah." 

" That's a fair compromise. Now we won't have 
any trouble. And what's your oldest ? " 
" Lena Belle, 
Arise and tell 
The glories of Immanuel, 
" That's good. Here's half a dollar for Christmas, 

A Blue-Grass Christmas 257 

besides what Brutus has got for you. Now you cook 
that venison good, or I'll get your Mas'r Estill to 
sell me one of them little niggers of yours. — You've 
got a fortune in that gal, Estill. She's a poet. I 
ought to have bought her, instead of selling you 

" I'd hated to have sold her," said Estill, " even to 

" And I felt just so about selling Brutus, for all he's 
so old." 

"Well, the niggers can't always marry on the 
plantation, and it's better to let 'em live together. I 
had to feed him Sundays for three years before you 
sold him to me, and I reckoned it was cheaper to buy 
him and done with it." 

" He was getting old, and I reckon you got the 
worst of the trade. But I hate to sell a nigger worst 
way in the world. I wouldn't sell one on any consid- 
eration but for his own good. I did sell one down the 
river years ago, but he was a sullen devil ; I couldn't 
manage him nohow, and I got plumb afraid to keep 
him. But, except for him, I never sold one but to a 
neighbor and for good reasons." 

" Same with me. My farm's overrun with nig- 
gers now — more'n I've got any use for, but I hate to 
sell 'em. Now, sir, I've opened a bottle of the pride of 
Bourbon County that my old friend Colonel Cole 
made for me thirty odd years ago. It's cost me, prin- 
cipal and interest, about the price of a good likely nig- 
ger, I reckon, and if that interest keeps running on, 
I'm a bankrupt, sure ! " 

" I'll stop the interest on one glass," laughed Ber- 
naugh. " Hot, if you please, and a little sprig of mint. 

258 Pine Knot 

if you've got some handy. It's a good appetizer for 
a Christmas dinner. Where's Boyd ? " 

" Dressing. He's been off after a fox, and got 
him, too. He wouldn't have been back if he 

" Now, look here, that's big talk ! I used to ride to 
hounds myself, and for all I'm older than you, I believe 
I could outride you yet ! But I've come home a many 
a day without a fox." 

" Boyd don't." 

" Well, now that reminds me. Do you know any 
reason why that affair between him and my girl didn't 
come about better ? " 

" I don't know a thing." 

" I'm afraid Boyd struck a cold trail there." 

" A fox and a woman are two different sort of 

" Ye-es, maybe so. But I've often wondered. 
Estill, this is a sad day for me. It's the first Christmas 
ever I ate dinner out from under my own roof." 

" I — I sort of had that in mind," said Estill. 

" I know you did ! I know you did ! And I didn't 
mean to say a word ! Estill, I'm a heart-broken man ! 
This day, that ought to be a happy one for me, is full 
of bitter memories. My wife is gone — and what a 
woman she was, Estill ! The queen of 'em all, sir. The 
queen of 'em all. God help me, but I never saw her 
equal, sir! Never, on God's green earth! And she's 
dead. And then my daughter, married to that wild- 
eyed abolitionist. Oh, I know I'd shoot any one else 
that would say a word against the man my daughter 
married, but — Estill, I'm a heart-broken man ! " 

" I know it's been hard," said Estill. " And I've 

A Blue-Grass Christmas 259 

felt for you through it all. He's a man of fine educa- 
tion " 

" Yes, yes ! And I could have been proud of him 
if he'd been different in other things. But no more 
judgment, sir, than a yearHng calf ! No, nor so much ! 
It isn't that I feel bad because he don't earn a living, 
though. How much do you suppose he's sent to his 
wife in the last ten years? Not a red cent, sir; not a 
red cent! Love her? Of course he loves her! His 
way! But it's a right poor way. I get mad when I 
think of it! But, as I was saying, it ain't that. I've 
got enough. And while they don't know it, I've never 
touched a penny of the money my wife left for Bar- 
bara — not a penny of it! She supposes it's all gone 
for her education, but it's there, every red cent of it, 
sir ! You know, Estill, I always wanted a son. But I 
had but one child, a daughter, and my wife was never 
strong after her birth." 

" I know," said Estill. 

" Of course you do. It's an old story to you. And 
I won't say any more, except all the hope I've had has 
been in my daughter; all the hope I have is still in 
her and in Barbara." 

" Yes," said Estill, " and you know how I'm fixed, 
too. We're pretty good running mates, though I 
haven't had so many disappointments as you. But 
all my hopes are in Boyd. And if I could see him 
married, and to your Barbara, I'd give half I'm worth 
to-day ! " 

" I'd cover your money ! " said Bernaugh. 

" But Boyd's a fellow you can't drive," said his 

" Nor the girl ! " said Bernaugh. " Her mother, 

26o Pine Knot 

for all she was so gentle, was high strung. She's a 
thoroughbred, sir! You can't lay the whip on her! 
And Barbara's like her! I'm pretty hard on the bit 
at times, and I was at fault, I know. I got to talking 
politics with Buzbee. Now it's as much as two sen- 
sible men can do to talk politics just now, and on the 
same side at table, but with a man with no horse sense 
on his side, and a quick-tempered old fool on mine, 
I made a mess of it. And when I jerked on the bit 
of my daughter, the rein didn't hold, sir ! That's just 
what it didn't do ! And now they're down there starv- 
ing, I reckon. The Lord only knows what they'll 
have for Christmas to-day I " 

" If we can only have Boyd marry Barbara," said 
Estill, " it'll straighten out the whole aflFair." 

" So it would. If Boyd could bring Barbara here, 
why, we'd have her first here and then there, and here 
her mother could visit her, and we'd soon have things 
fixed all right again. And, while I hate to argue with 
him, I can't quite hate that hair-brained son-in-law 
of mine." 

"Sh — sh!" warned Mr. Estill. "Here comes 
Boyd! — Well, Boyd, it took you a right smart while 
to dress." 

" Yes," added Bernaugh, " a young buck like you 
needn't spruce up so to dine with two old fellows 
like us." 

" I have to dress up to seem as young as you two," 
said Boyd. 

"Well, is dinner ready? I was plumb uncer- 
tain whether we could have any dinner to-day, but 
Bernaugh has sent us over some venison," said Es- 

A Blue-Grass Christmas 261 

" Yes," said Bemaugh. " We tried one haunch 
and found it tough ; so I sent the other over." 

" Come out and try it," said Estill. 

" Well, Boyd, and what's the talk about politics ? " 
asked Bemaugh. 

" South Carolina has seceded," answered Boyd 

" Impossible ! " said Bernaugh. 

" True, nevertheless," said Boyd. 

" Oh, for an hour of Andrew Jackson in the White 
House ! " cried Bernaugh. 

" Or Henry Clay," said Estill. 

" Anyhow, I think we've got the poorest frame of 
a man in the White House now we've ever had! 
Think of his rattling round in the shoes of George 
Washington ! This last message of his was a disgrace 
to the American people, sir — a disgrace to the Ameri- 
can people ! "' 

" Didn't you vote for him? " asked Estill, 

" Certainly I did, and being a Democrat I can say 
what I don't want an old-line Whig like you to say. 
I believe in State rights myself; but when an Ameri- 
can President says in his message that the Southern 
States would * be justified in revolutionary resistance 
to the Government of the United States,' he ought to 
be impeached ! " 

" I don't agree with you," said Boyd. " If we 
believe in State rights, let us live up to our prin- 

" A right is one thing," said Bernaugh, " and good 
sense and justice is another. We've got a right to 
secede — I believe that, under the Constitution ; but 
we're fools if we do it. Are we border States going 

262 Pine Knot 

to play monkey for the nigger-buying cotton States, 
and bum our fingers raking off their chestnuts ? " 

Boyd flushed. Then, biting his lip, he added : " I 
reckon, Mr. Bernaugh, you and I'd best come to terms 
like father and me. We don't agree on this matter, 
and, except for telling the news, and talking a little 
about what's going to come of it, we don't discuss it 

" That's best," said Bernaugh. " If we'd stuck 
to that in our house it would have been better. You're 
a member of the State Guard, are you not, Boyd ? " 

" Yes, sir. And we have begun to drill in antici- 
pation of war." 

" And on which side will you fight ? '* 

" On the side of the South." 

" Against your country ? " 

" My country is first of all my State; after that 
my allegiance belongs to the Southern Confederacy, 
whose germ we have in the secession of South Caro- 

" Ah, well ! Let us stop talking about it. But this 
is a sad Christmas in many a home in Kentucky." 



Dan Brafford's tall horse brought the news of 
both at once, bearing them through the swollen 
streams of the last of April, and along the muddy and 
deeply gullied roads, the news of the great fortune of 
the Freedom Mining Company, and of the actual be- 
ginning of hostilities in the attack upon a Massa- 
chusetts regiment in the streets of Baltimore, The 
latter news he carried by word of mouth ; the former 
he bore locked up in his mail bag in a letter addressed 
to Mrs. Buzbee. Mr. Buzbee had actually sold five 
shares of stock, and had received the full payment in 
cash, five hundred dollars ! 

The month had gone wearily enough. Mrs. Buz- 
bee had pined and drooped. She and Barbara had 
had scant food a part of the time, and they never were 
overfed. Something they suffered, too, from the sus- 
picion which the community had come to cherish 
against Mr. Buzbee, and which seemed to make the 
whole family semi-impostors. They suffered no per- 
secution, and were never in danger, but the sense of 
their isolation grew upon them, and gradually Mrs. 
Buzbee failed under the stem conditions that sur- 
rounded them. 

1 8 263 

264 Pine Knot 

Mr. Buzbee's pathetic letters added to their burden. 
It was pitiful to read of his repeated rebuflfs and fail- 
ures, and to imagine the hardships which they knew 
must be, but which he did not write. At last, when 
the tide turned, and he began to receive money, they 
waited in vain for the money they needed for them- 
selves, but which did not come. He was so intent 
upon his great scheme, that he did not think of their 
need. Charity may begin at home, but philanthropy 
is usually far-sighted and overlooks the need at hand. 
For that matter, all our man-and-brother theories work 
better at a safe distance. 

But Granny White was a true friend. Supersti- 
tious, ignorant, and narrow, she was yet discerning, 
kind, and true, and again and again she made the two 
lonely women feel the comfort of her friendship. The 
Renfros too, were faithful, and Simon Peter or Dinah 
came often with a sack of meal or a dressed chicken. 
Now and then Liberty Preston rode over from No 
Bus'ness, and often she brought a jar of preserves or 
a peck of Hour. 

With the coming of the spring their burden light- 
ened ; for, though Mr. Buzbee's success brought them 
no money, it brought them hope, and gave relief from 
the suspicions of the people, who, hearing the glowing 
accounts of the success of Mr. Buzbee, began now to 
laud his learning and to speak of him in terms of un- 
stinted praise. A few there were, however, who still 
uttered their predictions of evil. 

It is told us often that misfortunes never come 
singly; let us gratefully remember that as much may 
be said of our blessings. With the spring came Lib- 
erty Preston to the home of the Buzbees. 

The New Teacher 265 

" I've made up my mind, and I don't want you to 
tell me no," she said to Barbara. " I'll pay a dollar 
and a half a week for board — that's what I paid at the 
Lakes's — and a dollar a month tuition, and I'll help 
with the work, and part of the time I'll go home Sun- 
days. But you've got to learn me part of what you 
know. I'm plumb ashamed of myself when I think 
what a dunce I am, and I want to learn." 

It proved an admirable arrangement. It made the 
home a place of life as the girls ran in and out; it 
brought out the books and gave life a new object; it 
gave a basis of reality to Barbara's cheery laugh, which 
had sometimes seemed a bit forced; and it provided 
means of support. Jim Ballard sent over to inquire if 
his daughter might attend; Tom Lawson squeezed a 
dollar a month from the joint profits of blacksmithing 
and witch-doctoring, and sent his daughter. A few 
others came irregularly, some for a single month. An 
income of perhaps twelve dollars a month was thus 
provided by the little private school and its one board- 
ing pupil. 

Mrs. Buzbee now and then exhibited a little more 
of cheerfulness, and sometimes was seen to smile. But 
it was a wan, weary smile. 

Fletcher came irregularly. A long visit to his 
mother at Roundstone during the winter found him 
engagement in a " work " — that is to say a protracted 
meeting, which resulted in the establishment of a cir- 
cuit which he began supplying until conference should 
permanently assign the field. He came three or four 
times to Pine Knot, and while he called each time, 
and manifested the utmost kindness, he showed noth- 
ing more. He treated Barbara precisely as he did 

266 Pine Knot 

Liberty, and seemed so absorbed in his work that Bar- 
bara suspected that he had forgotten all about his pas-- 
sion for her. 

This irritated Barbara. To be sure, she had re- 
fused him, and finally. And yet — Why must a man 
take a woman's answer so seriously? Of course, she 
meant it seriously, but still a man of more discern- 
ment, or more delicate and sympathetic nature, would 
have discerned something — at least of the motive of 
her refusal. To be making a martyr of one's self is 
well enough, but martyrdom flourishes best when it 
has appropriate recognition ; and Barbara now and 
then felt that he ought, in simple decency, to look 
into the matter far enough to know how unselfishly, 
how self-sacrificingly, she had refused him. 

It was after his visit in June that she felt this most, 
and something of it she must have shown to Liberty. 
Fletcher had come to tell them that he had secured the 
school for the coming term, and that he would " take 
up school " early in August. Barbara's pleasure in 
the announcement was short-lived ; for his joy in the 
attainment of tne hope so long deferred was so clearly 
in the end he hoped to attain through it, and took so 
little account of any other consideration, that her 
heart went down. The opening of the public school 
would rob them, too, of their means of support. Why 
need he begin so early? To be sure, there had been 
complaint that the school last year was protracted too 
far into cold weather, but still he need not have hur- 
ried it quite so much. Anyway, what were they to 
do now? But for the presence of her mother and 
Liberty, she would have had a good cry. 

She did have it. Going to the spring after water 

The New Teacher 267 

she sat beside the branch, filling the gourd and empty- 
ing it out again, and thinking and thinking till she 
was all in tears. 

Poor girl, she needed the relief! And if in this 
one matter she showed weakness, in all else she had 
been strong. Patient, uncomplaining, she had borne 
her mother's growing weakness with unfailing cour- 
age, supplying from her own overflow of hope and 
good cheer the lack of fortitude in her mother's life. 
Through the long, terrible winter never once had she 
shown impatience or despondency ; and in the months 
that followed, working to keep the wolf from the door, 
with hardly a brave or cheerful word from her mother 
to lighten the burden, she had endured in the spirit 
that bears and hopes and believes and that never fails. 
She had earned the right to a good cry, for she had 
proved herself nothing less than a heroine ; and even 
in an affair of the heart if she showed weakness it 
was in good part the result of the other burdens which 
she was supporting bravely. 

There Liberty found her at the spring, and put her 
arms around her and kissed her. 

" Barbara," she said, " I know what's the matter. 
You can have him. I ain't a-caring." 

" Oh, no, no. Liberty ! " said Barbara. " I prom- 
ised you, and I will keep my word ! " 

" You have kept it," said Liberty. " And I've had 
my chance. He don't care for me, and I'm not going 
to break my heart about him. You can have him. 
There's as good fish in the sea as has ever been 
ketched." She spoke a little resentfully, and then, 
standing erect, she lifted Barbara to her feet and kissed 
her again. 

268 Pine Knot 

" You dear girl ! " said Barbara. 
But Liberty caught her arm and began dancing 
her around, singing — 

" I'll get another one, skip-t'-m'-loo ! 
I'll get another one, skip-t'-m'-loo ! 
I'll get another one, prettier, too, 
Skip-t'-m'-loo, my darling !" 

" All right, Liberty," laughed Barbara through her 
tears. " But you couldn't sing it if you felt toward 
him as I do." 

" I couldn't ? " asked Liberty, looking at Barbara 
hard. " Well, maybe not. But the sooner you get to 
singing it with me, the better it'll be for you. There's 
nothing comforts a woman so much as to look in the 
glass and to reckon she's got another chance. The 
question how much you cared for the last one won't 
grease the griddle now." 

" O Liberty ! You're only joking ! " 

" Well, what if I am ? Ain't that the best way to 
do ? Come, cheer up ! 

" I'll get another one, skip-t'-m'-loo ! 
I'll get " 

" I'm tempted to box your ears ! " laughed Bar- 

"You dassn't!" replied Liberty saucily. "School's 
let out ! " 

Just before his school was to have begun, Fletcher 
came over again. 

" I've come to ask you to teach the school for me," 
said he to Barbara. " I've got to give it up. I've seen 
the trustees, and they consent." 

The New Teacher 269 

" Why, Mr. Fletcher ! You don't mean it ? No, 
no ! You must not ! " 

" I'm going to enlist," said he. 

" But I thought the Governor had refused to send 
troops from Kentucky ? " 

" So he has. But troops will be enhsted at once. 
I am going to the new camp on the Kentucky River. 
I can not stay at home when my country needs me." 

" But think of the sacrifice you are making," she 

" I will sacrifice more, if necessary," said he quietly. 

" Come in and see mother," said Barbara. " She 
will miss you." 

"Howdy, Mrs. Buzbee?" said Fletcher. 

" I am glad to see you, Mr. Fletcher," said she. 
— " Barbara, set a chair." 

" I'm going to leave you soon," he said. " I'm 
going into the army. I start for Camp Nelson to- 

"And must you leave us, Mr. Fletcher?" asked 
Mrs. Buzbee. " Oh, this dreadful war ! Half my friends 
are on one side and half on the other. And my poor, 
dear father will be heart-broken ! And poor Mr. Buz- 
bee is away on this dreadful mining business, that 
seems so long in coming to anything! Our friends 
seem very few, and scattered far. We shall miss you, 
Mr. Fletcher." 

" Here comes Liberty," said Barbara. — " O Liberty, 
Mr. Fletcher has given up the school to go to the war ! 
Isn't that too bad ? " 

"Just what I expected of him," said Liberty. 
— "Howdy, Mr. Fletcher? I wish now I'd Hstened 
better to your sermons." 

270 Pine Knot 

" I don't believe you remember a word of them," 
said Fletcher. 

" I reckon not. Who's going to keep the school ? " 

" Miss Barbara." 

" That's right. She's a right good teacher," 

" And you are to be my assistant, Liberty," said 

"I'm willing," said Liberty.— " Well, Mr. Jim 
Fletcher, we hate to see you go, but they need you." 

" So they do," said Fletcher. " Good-by." 

And so he went. Barbara tried to be brave that 
afternoon and succeeded in keeping a cheerful face till 
they had gone to bed and Liberty was still. Then 
she had a quiet little cry. But she stopped when she 
heard Liberty gently sobbing beside her. Or, stay! 
Was Liberty really sobbing? For the moment Bar- 
bara detected the sound and the quiver of the bed, 
and by her start proclaimed that she was awake, the 
sobs, if they were sobs, modulated into a melody, and 
she heard Liberty humming, under the quilts : 

" I'll get another one, skip-t'-m'-loo ! 
Skip-t'-m'-loo, my darling ! " 



It was a weary man who made his way from city 
to city in the North for nine long months in 1861, 
trying to sell the stock of the Freedom Mining Com- 
pany. His threadbare clothes grew thinner, and his 
form more bent, and his cough harder and more fre- 
quent. There were few who had time to hear him, 
and few of those who heard him heeded. How he 
lived through the first half of his journey he could 
hardly tell. A few times he spoke, and took a collec- 
tion which paid his railroad fare a little farther on, and 
he seldom had to pay for lodging. But the stock 
which he had hoped to sell he did not sell. 

One raw April day, when the streets of Boston 
rang with the word that a Massachusetts regiment 
had been fired upon in Baltimore, and the people were 
thronging the streets and buying the extra papers that 
were issued, he turned aside, weary and heartsick, and 
sat him down in the office of a busy man. 

" I came to see Mr. Stearns," said he, " but I know 
that he will not want to talk with me to-day. If he 
will appoint a time, I will come again." 

" Of what do you wish to talk ? " asked the kind- 
faced, full-bearded man whom he addressed. 


2 72 Pine Knot 

" About the sale of stock in a silver mine, and the 
freedom of the slave," said Mr. Buzbee. 

" I have no time to talk of the former, but am never 
too busy to talk of the latter," said Mr. Stearns. 

" The two are one subject to me," said Mr. Buz- 
bee, and then he told of his scheme. 

" Have you sold much stock ? " asked Mr. Stearns. 

" Not a share," said Mr. Buzbee sadly. 

" Has your silver been tested ? " 

" Oh, yes, I took pains at once to have my sample 
analyzed, and it is pure. I have the analysis of the 
rock, showing its richness." 

Then he told him the story of those weary months, 
how of those to whom he had talked few had any in- 
terest, and of those who had interest few had money, 
and of those who had money few had confidence in 
the scheme. He told how one man had complained 
of the war tax, and another of the uncertainty of trade, 
and another of the shutting up of his cotton mills, 
and another of the closing of his branch house in 
Atlanta; and so of the ready excuses, and good ones 
for the most pr.rt, of those who should have been, as 
he thought, the friends of his project. 

The keen business man looked over the papers 
submitted to him, and kept back the doubts that pre- 
sented themselves to his mind. 

" I am not in possession of sufficient knowledge 
of mining," said he, " to be sure how good promise 
there is that this scheme will pay. But on this day 
when Massachusetts men are giving their lives for 
freedom, I can not withhold money." 

Then he called for his check book and said, " I 
will head your list, and take five shares." 

The Freedom Mining Company 273 

" You need not pay it all now," said Mr. Buzbee. 
" The assessments are payable quarterly." 

" I will pay mine in cash," said Mr. Steams, and 
drew his check, 

" Five hundred dollars ! " cried Mr. Buzbee. " It 
is years since I have seen so much ! " 

" I hope you may see much more from your mine," 
said Mr. Stearns. " And now let us not talk more of 
mining. Come out with me for the night. You shall 
have a comfortable bed at my home, and meet my 
good wife, who is as much interested in these mat- 
ters as I." 

It was an oasis in a desert experience. Mr, Buz- 
bee sat that night in a home of wealth, unostentatious 
but elegant, hospitable yet not condescending, cheered 
by the sympathy of two warm, true hearts. It was 
of this merchant, now long dead, that Whittier wrote : 

*' Ah, well, the world is discreet, 

There are plenty to pause and wait. 
But here was a man who set his feet 
Sometimes in advance of fate ; 

" Plucked off the old bark when the inner 
Was slow to renew it. 
And put to the Lord's work the sinner. 
When saints failed to do it." 

From this home Mr, Buzbee sent the letter telling 
of his great good fortune — the letter that brought such 
comfort, though no money, to his needy household. 

From this time Mr. Buzbee's fortunes revived. 
Many a business man looked at the name at the head 
of the list and bought a share or two, and the five 
hundred dollars soon were as many thousands. Then 

2 74 Pine Knot 

— blaming himself for his selfishness the while — Mr. 
Buzbee made some slight additions to his wardrobe, 
and bought meals which, while frugal, were not the 
starvation affairs which he had long been living upon. 

" Victory is ours," he wrote home. " I am sending 
another thousand dollars to Mr. Goodwin. We have 
now almost enough to complete our furnace, and it will 
be adapted to the smelting of large quantities of ore. 
Gold and silver are becoming scarce, and are at a 
premium. A dollar in silver will soon be worth two 
in paper. We shall thus make our money go further. 
We have toiled long and have taken nothing : we are 
about to let down our net on the right side of the ship, 
and bring it up laden. And oh, how eager I am to 
get to work, and to convince the world of our suc- 
cess before there is more of bloodshed ! I hope to 
return soon. But I must not tarry at Pine Knot. I 
am writing Mr. Renfro to have a cabin built for us 
at the falls. Move there as soon as possible and I 
will meet you there. I go to Washington soon to call 
upon President Lincoln. I send you ten dollars. It is 
the gift of a good woman, the Mrs. Stearns of whom 
I have already written. She forbade my sending it 
to the mine, and insisted that I spend it for myself or 
send it to you. I have need of nothing, now I see suc- 
cess. God bless you both ! I am coming to you soon." 

At length the day came when he stood on the steps 
of the White House and asked to see the President. 
The guard at the door asked him his business, and, 
learning that he had stock to sell, refused him admis- 
sion. He was turning sadly away, when a man within 
stepped by the guard, and asked, " What is it he 
wants ? " 

The Freedom Mining Company 275 

He was very tall and dark, with straight coarse 
hair, and eyes that looked sadly out of their cavernous 
recesses. He wore a somewhat shabby black coat and 
carpet slippers run down at the heel. 

" Mr. President," said Mr. Buzbee, " I desire to talk 
about the freedom of the slave." 

" What office do you want? " asked Lincoln. 

" None," said Mr. Buzbee. 

" Do your friends want any ? " 

" If they do, they are their own representatives. I 
have no request to present for them." 

" Come in," said the President. " You are the 
first man I have seen to-day who did not want an 

Then Mr. Buzbee entered and talked with Presi- 
dent Lincoln. " I have no money to buy stock," said 
the President, " and, if I had, I could not lend my name 
to a financial concern of which I have no personal 
knowledge. But I enter with sympathy into the spirit 
of any effort to remove the burden of slavery peace- 
ably. I am in entire sympathy with the plan of com- 
pensated emancipation. I am about to recommend 
such a plan to Congress, and I am confident that the 
coming session of Congress will prohibit slavery in 
all the Territories now existing and all that may here- 
after be erected. Do you think the border States will 
stand this ? " 

" I am sure they will ! I am sure they will ! " said 
Mr. Buzbee. 

Mr. Buzbee went out from the White House 
cheered by the sympathy of the President, and assured 
that it was in his heart to labor, " with malice toward 
none and charity for all," for the united nation, which 

276 Pine Knot 

in the end must be a free nation. So he turned his 
face toward the mountains. 

He did not get home, however. Letters from 
Goodwin assured him that the furnace was in process 
of erection, but that it must be larger than had been 
planned, and hence there must be more money. So 
he set forth again to sell more stock. It was not so 
easy to sell it now. Bull Run had disheartened the 
nation. The first enlistments were expiring, and many 
men were returning to their homes sadder and wiser 
than when they set out to put down the rebellion in 
ninety days. The country was awaking to the fact 
that a long and terrible struggle was ahead, and it 
had lost faith in a gradual emancipation, or in any 
financial solution of the problem. 

Still, the weary man, who was sick as well as weary, 
trudged the streets of city after city, struggling in 
his own unselfish soul over the problem which was 
taxing the nation's thought and sinew, and strug- 
gling with it alone. 

Still, now and then he sold more stock, and sent 
the money home. He began again to starve himself, 
that he might send the more. His eagerness to return 
and see some actual output grew every day, but letters 
from Goodwin restrained him, each with its call for 
more money. 

So the summer passed and the autumn came, and 
with its raw winds his strength diminished. Sick at 
last beyond all denial, yet keeping himself alive upon 
the hope of his return, he set his face homeward, and 
when he saw the mountains again October had turned 
the gum trees to a blaze of glory, and the hickory nuts 
were dropping through the curled and yellow leaves. 



History was striding on rapidly during these few 
months. Early in the new year Mississippi, Alabama, 
Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed 
South Carolina in passing ordinances of secession. 

In the border States, however, the case stood dif- 
ferently. North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, and 
Tennessee all voted secession squarely down, and Ken- 
tucky refused even to consider the matter. Virginia 
and Maryland hesitated. 

Fort Sumter was fired upon. The call for troops 
went forth, and the nation's blood gave a great leap. 
Men who had hesitated did so no longer. Men 
who had believed in peace saw now the certainty of 

Boyd Estill was a member of the State Guard of 
Kentucky, an organization distinctly Southern in its 
sympathies, and subject to the control of the Governor, 
who also sympathized with the rebellion. That the 
State Guard would see immediate service was confi- 
dently expected, but it saw none. Its members were 
spoiling for fight, and the provocation was not far 
distant, but fight they could not, and the position was 
most trying. 


278 Pine Knot 

The spring wore away. Summer ripened into 
autumn. The August elections were over, and the rest 
of the South was hot for action. Tennessee, voting 
strongly against secession at the first, had been 
carried out of the Union by the indomitable will 
of its Governor, Isham G. Harris, and finding itself 
out, by a reluctant vote, strongly opposed by the 
mountain district, had consented to the separation. 
Virginia, too, had joined the Confederacy. And 
yet Kentuckians of Southern views had no op- 
portunity to act. The special congressional elec- 
tion in June showed lifty-four thousand majority 
for the Union. This left Kentucky Confederates little 

One afternoon in August Boyd Estill turned from 
the limestone pike that led from Lexington to his 
home, and riding up the avenue lined with tall old 
trees, fiung his rein to Nic, and strode into the house. 

" What news, Boyd ? " asked his father. 

" Nothing, except that I'm sick of this inaction. 
I'm going South to enlist ! " 

His father heard him sadly, but, checking his emo- 
tion, said : " I had come to expect it. I am sorry, very 
sorry. Alas ! my son, I had not thought to live to see 
you fighting against our country. But if you go, you 
go with my blessings upon you, if not upon your 

" Thank you, father. You have been more than 
kind. I would give anything to see things as you do, 
but I can't." 

" Let us keep our truce," said his father. " We 
have had one quarrel and it is over. Let us not dis- 
cuss it again. The home is yours, Boyd. You go 

A Member of the State Guard 279 

forth to do what I am loath to see you do, but you 
are my son still. Where will you go ? " 

** To join Zollicoffer. He is at Knoxville now." 

" Tell me a little more about it. What is moving 
you to this at present? The Governor sympathizes 
with you, and so do the State Guard." 

" Yes, but to be a member of a military organiza- 
tion and to be idle now is intolerable. There is noth- 
ing to fight." 

" But it is only a few months since you were glory- 
ing in Governor Magoffin's position of an armed 

Boyd laughed. " Lincoln has taken us too much 
at our word." 

" You mean that you did not expect him to re- 
spect it ? " 

" Well, at first we did, but just now it is not neu- 
trality we want, but action." 

" For my part, my son, I thank God for every day 
of peace. When I read the accounts of fighting begun 
in Virginia and Maryland, I shudder, and am thankful 
that as yet Kentucky has escaped." 

" I wish we could go with the other Southern 
States," said Boyd. " Have you seen this poem from 
the Memphis Appeal ? It appears to have been written 
to be sung to Yankee Doodle. It reminds us how 
Kentuckians are scattered throughout the States that 
have seceded, and asks us to come with them, I will 
read two or three stanzas : 

" ' Kentucky boys and girls have we — 
From us ye may not take them ; 
Sad-hearted will ye give them up 
And for the foe forsake them ? 

28o Pine Knot 

" 'O Tennessee, twin sister, grieves 
To take thy hand at parting, 
And feel that from its farewell grasp 
A brother's blood is starting. 

" ' It must not be ! — Kentucky, come ! 
Virginia loudly calls thee ; 
And Maryland defenseless stands. 
To share what fate befalls thee. 

" ' Come, ere the tyrant's chain is forged, 
From out the war cloud looming ; 
Come, ere thy palsied knee is bent 
To hopeless ruin dooming ! ' " 

" I have not seen it." said the father. " But I have 
dipped a poem from the Cincinnati Commercial here 
which I greatly admire. You know that in 1850 Ken- 
tucky sent to the Washington Monument a stone on 
which was inscribed : 

" ' Kentucky. — She was the first State to enter the 
Union after the adoption of the Constitution, and will 
be the last to leave.' This poem refers to that in- 
scription : 

" ' " The first to join the patriot band. 

The last bright star to fade and die," 
Oh, first-born daughter of the land. 

Wilt thou thy sacred vow deny ? 
By all the lofty memories bright 

That crown with light thy glorious past, 
Oh, speak again those words of might — 

" The first to come, to leave the last ! " 

" ' The land for which our fathers fought, 
The glorious heritage they gave. 
The just and equal laws they wrought — 
Rise in your might that land to save ! 

A Member of the State Guard 281 

No parricidal daughter thou, 

No stain be on thy fealty cast, 
But faithful to thy boast and vow, 

" Be first to come, to leave the last ! " 

" ' Oh, list not to the siren voice 

That wooes thee to a traitor cause ; 
But answer, " I have made my choice, 

I will support my country's laws." 
Go, spurn disunion's foul cabal. 

All party ties behind thee cast ; 
And still at honor's, duty's call, 

*' Be first to come, to leave the last ! " 

" ' Land of my birth ! how dear to me 

Has ever been thy spotless fame ; 
Oh, may I never, never see 

The brand of traitor on thy name ! 
Go, gird thee in thy armor bright ; 

Be faithful to thy glorious past ; 
And in the battle for the right, 

" Be first to come, to leave the last ' " '" 

" It is beautiful ! " said Boyd. " But, O father, 
I must go with the South ! " 

" Be it so, my son. But my heart still is with you, 
and with my country. I had hoped that you would 
have married ere this, and that I should have turned 
affairs over to you. I am an old man. I would have 
liked that pretty Buzbee girl for a daughter, and to 
have seen you here in the old home, with grandchil- 
dren to play about my knees. But war puts such 
things far out of the way. You hear from her, I sup- 
pose ? " 

" No sir, I do not. I quarreled with her when I 
did with you." 

" And have not made up with her as you have with 
me? She is well worth it, Boyd." 

282 Pine Knot 

" I quite agree with you, sir. And, while I have 
tried to turn my thoughts away from her, I find myself 
caring more for her even than I thought. If she hadn't 
such an old fool of a father " 

" A most unpractical man — a fanatic. I never 
agreed with him. But he is a good man, and sincere, 
though fanatical to a degree. Still, love does not stop 
at such barriers." 

" No, sir, and to tell the truth I plan to see her as 
I go to Knoxville. She is at Pine Knot, I learn, and 
I hope to find her still caring for me as I do for her." 

" Woo her, Boyd. Ay, and marry her if you will, 
and send her here to comfort me while you go off on 
your wild-goose chase. Well, you and I may as well 
talk matters over frankly. We understand each other. 
What came of this last exploit of the State Guard ? " 

" Nothing. I feel as if we had made fools of our- 
selves. Lincoln is laughing at us in his sleeve, I 
doubt not." 

" I dare say. You appealed to neutrality, and to 
neutrality you have had to go." 

" Yes. After Sumter was fired upon, and the call 
for troops was issued, Magoffin sent his distinct re- 
fusal. It was as curt and sharp as could be." 

" It was worse than that. It was insulting." 

" Very well. Perhaps it was. Well, the Northern 
papers urged Lincoln to treat it as an aflfront, assert- 
ing that it contained in it the very principle of State 

" And so it did, but Lincoln was too shrewd to 
interpret it so." 

" You know what he told Garret Davis ? " 

" Yes, that while he held that Kentucky ought to 

A Member of the State Guard 283 

furnish her quota of troops, he would not coerce her, 
nor treat her neutrality as hostile." 

" He went even further to Congressman Under- 
wood, saying that while he hoped Kentucky would 
stand by the Government, if she did not, but would 
preserve her neutrality, he would see that no Northern 
soldier entered the State, and that no hostile foot tread 
Kentucky's soil." 

" That was fair enough on the face of it," said 
Boyd. " But what do we have ? Yankee soldiers 
mustering under our very noses, and received into the 
Federal army as companies and regiments." 

" And so," said his father, " your Guard went out 
to resist invasion ? " 

" Yes, and like the King of France with twice ten 
thousand men, we have marched up a hill and then 
marched down again." 

"What did you find?" 

" These troops are all Kentuckians." 

" And the officers from the regular army ? " 

" They are Kentuckians, too. There is Anderson, 
sent here from Fort Sumter. He is a Kentuckian. 
There is Nelson, right out of the navy, and made a 
general. Why? Simply because he is a Kentuckian, 
and Lincoln will not break his promise. But all the 
time there are these thousands of men mustering at 
Camp Nelson, and virtually holding Kentucky in the 
Union by force of arms. And can we attack them? 
No, for they are Kentuckians. Can Jefif Davis send 
in troops and attack them? No, for he is bound to 
respect our neutrality, and fears to make us more 
solidly Union by invasion. But all this time, though 
Confederates are mustering along the Potomac, and 

284 Pine Knot 

Confederate bugle calls are heard across the river in 
Washington, the line of the Confederacy is pushed a 
hundred miles and more south from the Ohio, and 
held there by men under arms, arms sent by Lincoln, 
and they are drilled by officers sent by Lincoln, but 
we dare not lift a finger because they are Kentuckians ! 
Why, on this last movement of ours we rode on the 
same train, these blue-coated Federal soldiers in one 
car and we in another. Dared we shoot? They are 
Kentucky citizens, bearing arms as they have a right. 
We, too, are Kentucky citizens, bearing arms as we 
have a right. But we are impotent, while they are 
able to muster by thousands, making an army in our 
midst. It is a perfect farce ! The Northern news- 
papers that are crying out against Lincoln for recog- 
nizing the neutrality of Kentucky are the greatest 
fools of the century, unless it is we, who have been 
fooled by supposing that Kentucky's neutrality would 
benefit the South." 

" Yet, the North has criticised Lincoln severely." 

" So it has." 

" I read an article by James Russell Lowell, ask- 
ing ' How often must we save Kentucky, and lose our 
self-respect ? ' " 

" And I have seen a quotation from a Boston min- 
ister, who says sarcastically, ' Abraham Lincoln hopes 
that he has God on his side, but thinks he must have 
Kentucky.' " 

" The truth is," said Boyd, " that Lincoln has un- 
derstood the situation too well. He will hold off until 
the South, angered by this Federal army which it 
sees here, invades the State. All the time he will be 
gaining the sympathy of undecided people, who are 

A Member of the State Guard 285 

ready to turn against which ever party proves the 
aggressor in Kentucky, The State will then have to 
declare itself, and the June elections show that it will 
be for the Union." 

" God grant it ! " said the father. 

" Well, I shall not be here to see it, unless I come 
in with the invaders. I go next Monday to Knox- 

" But what about leaving the State Guard ? " 

" The State Guard ! " laughed Boyd. " That has 
collapsed. They were about gone up before, so many 
have resigned. A few have entered the Federal army, 
but most have gone South. A dozen go with me. We 
shall go straight through to Knoxville, and enlist 
under Zollicofifer." 

" If you must fight at all," said his father, " there 
is no better man on the Confederate side than General 
ZollicofTer. He is a true man and a gentleman, though 
a rebel." 

So the father and son came together after their one 
bitter quarrel, discussed their differences warmly, but 
in kindness, and the son went forth from his father's 
roof to fight in the Confederate army. 



There was a great sensation in Pine Knot when 
the first money was received from Mr. Buzbee. All 
concealment was now at an end, and work was begun 
in earnest. Blake confessed to Renfro that he knew 
of the mine, and, assured by this investment from the 
North, pleaded to be allowed to buy some stock, and 
was sold two shares. Noel Davis, too, was an early 
investor, and a number of the people round about 
sold their cows and made their first payments. Then 
the working force was gathered. It was a motley 
crew. The jail doors were allowed to swing rather 
freely just then, and prisoners were permitted to escape 
on condition of joining the army, and some of them 
preferred to invest in silver. One or two runaway 
slaves came up from the South, and the mine pro- 
prietors were too intent on larger matters to ask them 
many questions, and they were too far back in the 
hills to fear arrest. Goodwin and Noel Davis, how- 
ever, had them in mind as a possible asset in case of 
need. There were some deserters from the two armies, 
who settled their differences peaceably in their quest 
for silver. 


Near the Cataract 287 

For several weeks no building was attempted. 
Renfro favored the immediate erection of a furnace, 
but Goodwin declared the amount of money on hand 
too small, and set the men at work hunting for the trees 
with the compass, square, and trowel, and the search of 
the rock houses for the missing hoards of John Swift. 
At length, as the men wearied of this, the erection of 
a furnace was begun, but work was soon suspended 
awaiting the receipt of more money. The people who 
subscribed for stock were impoverishing themselves to 
pay their assessments, and were only partially satisfied 
by Goodwin's explanation that the greater part of the 
money had been sent away for machinery, some of 
which had to be made to order. 

Smart rode hither and thither, selling stock in the 
mine, and taking as payments all manner of personal 
property, which he disposed of, and credited the same 
to the stock account of the investors. The prices 
allowed were so generous that they offered great 
temptation to those who had anything to sell. When 
Tom Lawson learned that he was credited with thirty 
dollars for his cow, and then found to a certainty that 
Smart had received only twenty-five dollars for her, 
he felt so elated over the matter that he straight- 
way sold Smart his mule, which the Government con- 
tractor at Whitley Courthouse was willing to buy for 
a hundred dollars cash ; and Smart sold him two shares 
of stock, with fifty-five dollars paid up on each. Tom 
Lawson was of two minds about it — delighted to be 
making money so fast, and troubled a little in his con- 
science ; so he spoke to Goodwin about it. Goodwin 
replied that it was all right; that Smart had, indeed, 
been over-generous in the matter, but that it was the 

288 Pine Knot 

policy of the company to favor the neighbors and the 
early purchasers ; and he advised Tom to keep still, 
and hold on to his stock, which would be worth a 
thousand dollars a share some day. 

So matters went on until autumn. 

" You've got to go off for a visit, old gal," said 
Goodwin to his wife. " You've got word that your 
aunt is sick, over in Letcher County, do you under- 
stand ? Smart'll go with ye, and git ye settled down." 

" But I ain't got ary aunt in Letcher," said Mrs. 

"You hain't?" laughed Goodwin. "Well, then, 
you kin sorter adopt one — cyan't she. Smart ? " 

" She's sorter fell heir to one," laughed Smart. 

" Now lookye here," said Goodwin, " when you 
git thar, mebby hit won't be in Letcher, atter all. But 
hit'll be Letcher till you git thar. And hit's your aunt 
you're goin' to see. She's right sick, and I don't 
reckon you'll git back before spring. You'll take the 
boy, and Smart'll take keer of you till I come." 

" What'll you be doin' ? " she asked. 

" I'll be a-^ellin' oflf my hogs and cows and things. 
The war's makin' good prices, and I'll invest in stock." 

" In stock ! " laughed Smart. 

" Peleg," said his wife, " you ain't a-puttin' too 
much into that mine, be ye ? " 

" Well, not skursely," said he dryly. 

" Not skursely ! " echoed Smart with immoderate 

" If you've got ary thing you're sorter sot your 
heart on, you best take it," said Goodwin ; " but you 
mustn't take no more'n what you need for a long visit. 
But you ain't a-comin' back right soon." 

Near the Cataract 289 

" When I come back, Peleg, will you git me a 
new house, or " 

" Yes," said he, " but hit won't be the one we 
talked about. That's too small game. I've had to 
sell a heap of my land around here — for to buy stock, 
you understand — and when I build, hit may not be 
right here. Now that's enough. And don't you say 
a blamed word without that you're goin' to your aunt's 
over in Letcher — you hear? You're a-goin' to start 
a Monday." 

Goodwin spat straight into the fire, looked stern 
and uncommunicative through his glasses till his eyes 
met Smart's, when his face relaxed a little. 

" Quit laughin', you fool ! " he said to Smart, but 
not very severely. 

But Smart only laughed the louder, and as he sad- 
dled his horse to ride ofif after some hogs which Good- 
win had bought, and paid for, in part, with stock, he 
pulled his nondescript hat lower over his close-cropped 
head, and sang gleefully : 

" My true love she lives in Letcher, 

Ho-de-um-de-diddle-a-de-day ! 
She won't come, and I cyan't fetch her, 

Ho-de-um-de-diddle-a-de-day ! 
Chickens is a-crovvin' on the Sourwood Mountain, 

Ho-de-um-de-diddle-a-de-day ! 
Seen so many pretty girls I cyan't count 'em, 

Ho-de-um-de-diddle-a-de-day ! " 

Meantime the school was closing a successful if 
not a brilliant session. There was some prejudice 
against women teachers, and the community was too 
much disturbed about the war and the mine to give 
the school a fair chance. Barbara and Liberty did 

290 Pine Knot 

their duty with fideUty, and Barbara delighted daily 
in the companionship of her friend. 

They laughed together over the ghost, when Lib- 
erty confessed her share in the enterprise, and they 
agreed in their admiration of Fletcher, and in their 
sympathy for Joe Lakes, who still worshiped Lib- 
erty afar ofT, but was too great a man to come to 
school to women. 

They did not see Fletcher, and they seldom talked 
of him; but Barbara cherished the thought that she 
was no longer in honor bound, and easily convinced 
herself that she cared the more for him now that he 
was so far away, and was doing his duty so nobly. 
And yet, and yet, there were times when Barbara 
thought of Boyd Estill. But all the while Liberty 
thought not at all. At least it seemed so; for in the 
moments when Barbara caught her at what might have 
seemed to be thinking, she began humming. There 
was no resisting it, and after awhile Barbara began 
hum.ming with her, though with a heavy heart some- 
times : 

" I'll get another one, skip-t'-m-Ioo ! 
Skip-t'-m'-loo, my darling !" 

All this time Mrs. Buzbee failed visibly. Barbara 
often feared that she would not live till her father's 
return. Once she broached to her mother a topic 
often in her mind, and raised the question whether it 
were not better for her to write to her grandfather, 
and ask to be received again into the old home at 
Lexington. But her mother with great spirit instantly 
vetoed the suggestion. 

" No, no, my child ! How can you think of such 
a thing ? We have burned our bridge behind us. So 

Near the Cataract 291 

long as your father Hves it is impossible. To return 
would be to desert him ! No, no, my child ! " 

" It was for your sake I proposed it, mother, not 
my own." 

" Then for my sake do not mention it again." 
In September word came from Mr. Buzbee that he 
was starting South, and that they must move to 
the falls, as he would be employed there constantly. 
Renfro had a pole cabin hastily constructed, so rude 
and bare that they longed even for the cabin of Deek 
Morgan, and there they moved, when school was out. 
The journey was almost fatal to Mrs. Buzbee, and the 
suspense that followed was nearly intolerable. For 
still Mr. Buzbee delayed to come, and the crowd that 
had gathered about the mine was not one in which 
they could feel at home. And so October came, and 
the rainbow that hovered in the mist above the falls 
fell on the foliage on the hillsides above, and Nature 
was glorious in her shroud. 

Early in October a dozen well-mounted Ken- 
tuckians, who rode like human centaurs, pulled up 
in front of The Best Hotel, and called for refresh- 

" 'Light, gentlemen, and lift your saddles," said 
the pleased proprietor. " If we cyan't treat you good, 
we'll treat you clever." 

He did his best, no doubt, but the well-fed young 
men from the blue grass, whose military experience 
in the State Guard had been mostly of a picnic nature, 
enjoyed the dinner but moderately, and complained 
against Boyd Estill whose whim had brought them 
out of their way. 

292 Pine Knot 

" What is it, Boyd ? Tell us what you wanted in 
Pine Knot?" 

" What have you against Pine Knot ? " asked 

" Nothing except that it is tough as a pine knot," 
answered one of them. 

" You libel it," answered Boyd. 

" Perhaps so. But I pine not for any more of its 
board. Come, let us go on." 

" Rest your horses for an hour," said Boyd, " and 
I will go with you. I must make a visit here. — Land- 
lord, where is the schoolhouse ? " 

" 'Bout half a mile up yan branch. Wha' d'ye want 
o' the schoolhouse ? " 

" I want to see the teacher, Mr. Buzbee." 

" That ain't the way to go, then. He's gone to 

" How long has he been gone ? " 

" Sence 'long about Christmas. Wha' d'ye want 
to see him about ? " 

" I have some business with him. Is — is his family 

" Nope." 

" Did they go to Boston with him ? " 

" Nope. They moved, Mis' Buzbee and Miss Bar- 
bara did. They moved back into the mountains to- 
wards the river a-yistiddy. They're clar to the jump- 
in'-oflf place, whar the water gives its first leap afore it 
gits to the out aidge of the world." 

"Where is that?" 

" That's at the Falls of the Cumberland. Hit's a 
good long ride from here." 

" Boys," said Estill, " Pm sorry, but I must ask 

Near the Cataract 293 

you to ride on without me. I'll meet you in Knox- 
ville. I must go to Cumberland Falls," 

" Ah ! this is the situation is it, Estill ? This is the 
fair puss in the meal? You bring us around Robin 
Hood's barn for an unexplained reason, and lo, it's a 
mountain beauty you're hunting! And you want us 
to ride on, while you go and visit her? No, by the 
girl I left behind me ! " 

" I was jest a-goin' to say," suggested Best, " that 
if you fellers has any notion of goin' to Knoxville, 
hit ain't best for ye to scatter much. They's a heap 
of fellers a-comin' up from Tennessy now lo enlist at 
Camp Dick Robinson, and the most of 'em are right 
smartly in airnest." 

" You think to frighten us? " asked Boyd. 

" No-o. Not adzackly. But if all I've heerd is 
so, something is goin' to take place and happen right 
soon now. They's a heap of fellers moving North, and 
the rebels theirselves is movin' somers. I've heerd 
that old Zolly means to move through the Gap into 
Kaintuck. But I ain't no reb. I've give you fair 
warnin'. My meat's as good to one as another, and 
one man's money's as good as another's to me. I've 
told ye what I think. Now do as ye please." 

Convinced that a visit to Barbara was imprac- 
ticable, yet comforting himself with the thought that 
Knoxville was not so far away, Boyd reluctantly 
joined his companions and moved South, submitting 
to their jests about having taken them out of their 
way for a love afifair. And so Barbara did not see the 
man who loved her. 



There was never a more beautiful autumn. Had 
things been different, Barbara could have gloried in 
those weeks beside Cumberland Falls. But they were 
weeks of constant anxiety and continued disappoint- 
ment. Mr. Buzbee did not arrive, and the hope long 
deferred made their hearts sick. Barbara knew that 
her mother was dying, a martyr she sometimes said 
to herself — and then checked herself in the act of say- 
ing it — a martyr to her father's fanaticism. 

Meantime the men, who had been paid but little, 
and were put off with promises of Mr. Buzbee's re- 
turn, grew almost desperate. Ren fro led them on 
quest after quest, searching for the hidden money. A 
single find just now would be a Godsend. But they 
did not find it. Then they dug ore, and began a fur- 
nace ; but this again was stopped " for lack of funds." 

There was something queenly in Barbara in those 
days. The long, hard winter, the experience in the 
schoolroom, the endurance of suspicion and neglect, 
the positive privation and all had made a woman of 
her. As her mother's strength diminished, her own 
fortitude increased. With a dignity and maturity 
which she had not possessed before she bore those 


The Plunge 295 

anxious days that slowly grew to months. And the 
longest and hardest of them all were those beside the 
falls when the beauty of Nature seemed to be mocking 
her own sad heart. At length her father's delay be- 
came almost intolerable, not only because of her 
mother's extreme weakness, but because of the danger 
from the mutinous men. 

For a time all labor was suspended. Finally, when 
riot threatened, work was resumed, and the small, 
rough furnace was completed. The men set them- 
selves eagerly at the digging of ore, and then came 
another delay while they burned the charcoal. Then 
came the first real sign of a result, for the furnace, 
heated till the flame roared out of the top, reduced 
the rock to a molten mass, and when they punched in 
the clay that stopped the furnace, the liquid metal 
ran out and filled the little trenches that had been 
made for it in the sand. 

The men gave a great cheer. They were seeing the 
silver at last. 

" But this ain't all pure silver," said Goodwin, 
hastening to correct a misunderstanding that might 
be serious. " Hit's 'most all silver, but not all. We'll 
have to cupel it, and for that we'll have to wait till 
Mr. Buzbee gits back. He's on the way now." 

The men accepted this explanation grudgingly. 
Both the workmen and the local capitalists, who had 
recently increased to a considerable number, were 
eager to see the first pure silver. Still, they possessed 
their souls in what for them was patience, and every 
day ran another blast of the unrefined ingots, which 
soon lay rusting about in great heaps. 

At last Mr. Buzbee came. He was a weak and hag- 

296 Pine Knot 

gard man, and barely able to sit upon a horse. Barely 
able to reach the cabin by the falls, he sank upon his 
bed, hardly able to rise and stand by the bed of his 
wife, who seemed to have lived only that she might 
see him again. 

" But, oh, my dear," he said, " it is glorious ! I 
shall not live long, I know. I am a sick man, but I 
have lived to see the triumph of that for which we 
have labored. We wait, my dear, only for the first 
marketable output from our mine. Then the world 
will know ! Then the proclamation may go forth ! 
Then the President may send to Congress his message, 
and add that the money is in sight! Then this awful 
war will cease, and we shall die, but the country will 
be united and free ! " 

Next morning Mrs. Buzbee was worse, and her 
husband was better only because he must be so. 
Goodwin had gone to Rockhold to see about the lead 
that he had ordered to use in cupelling the ingots. 
He left word, however, that he would be back by 
night, and to melt up as much of the ingot as they had 
lead to refine it, and he and Mr. Buzbee would attend 
to it together. 

Mr. Buzbee rose in pain and weakness and came 
to the furnace to see the work that had been done, 

" Is this all ? " he cried, when he saw the rude little 

" All but a cupelling furnace," said Renfro. 

" And where has the money been spent ? " 

" Goodwin says he's put in every cent he got." 

A black suspicion crossed the mind of Mr. Buzbee, 
but it was such a stranger to his thought that he in- 
stantly dismissed it. 

The Plunge 297 

" And what are these ? " he asked, pointing to the 
ingots lying about. 

" That's what we've cast ready for refining." 

" But this is simply pig iron ! " 

" Well, Goodwin said that was the way. Don't it 
count for nothing ? " 

" Possibly — possibly. The rock has been elimi- 
nated. But we must remelt it with lead before we 
get it ready to cupel. Lead and borax. Is there borax 

" Yes, and lead." 

" Well, then, remelt as much of this as there is lead 
and borax to make flux, and spend to-day and to- 
night in getting it ready. Then you must get bones 
enough to give us bone ash to mix with our wood 
ashes for the cupelling. I will give full directions, 
but I must read them over again. Make these prepa- 
rations. We shall see no silver to-day. I will read 
as I sit by Mrs. Buzbee. To-night Goodwin will 
return. To-morrow we will cupel." 

The unpaid, disappointed, brutal men liked it little 
that they were sent out after other material. But it 
was a new sort of work, and hence presumably prog- 
ress. They uncovered the charcoal pit which they 
had burned, and heaped the charcoal near the refining 
furnace. They searched for bones, and found them — 
some they thought were human bones, but these, far 
from making them shudder, only reminded them again 
of Swift, to whose party they presumably belonged. 

All day Mrs. Buzbee grew steadily worse, and Buz- 
bee was so sick that only his duty to his wife and his 
eagerness to see the result of his labors kept him up. 
All day his wife lay, growing weaker; all day he sat 

298 Pine Knot 

by her side, one hand in hers and one holding a book, 
returning her appeaHng look with haggard glances of 
sympathy that quickly sought the pages of his book 

Now and then he would slip away for a moment 
and see to the burning of the bones, and later to the 
making of the little ashen saucers. Then with a 
guilty feeling he would come back, resolved to de- 
vote himself to his wife, but soon he would find 
himself stealing furtive glances at his book. All 
the time the hectic flush was on his own pale, dying 

Another night passed, and in the morning Mrs. 
Buzbee was still alive, but the end was manifestly near. 
Barbara had ceased to hope for anything else, or to 
pray that it might be delayed. Mrs. Buzbee was con- 
scious, and bore her weakness with patience, yet her 
eyes hungered for the undivided thought of her hus- 
band, and that she did not get. 

Goodwin had not returned the night before, but 
was confidently expected early this morning. Against 
his return the furnace was heated, and some of the 
ingots were remelted with lead and borax, and run 
ofif in slag at whose bottom the lead settled, and that, 
as Mr. Buzbee explained, contained the silver. This 
was a revelation to the workmen. The bars which 
they had run out before they had supposed almost 
pure silver. These, as now remelted, left but a paltry 
residuum, and this must be still further diminished. 
Yet doubtless there was silver there, and for this they 

The day wore on. Goodwin did not return. The 
men's faces, aflame with the heat, grew dark with sus- 

The Plunge 299 

picion and passion. The sun set, and the twiUght 

" Put away your book, father," said Barbara. " The 
end is near, I am sure." 

With a sigh he laid his book aside, and took the 
wrist of his wife in his hand. The pulse grew unmis- 
takably fainter. He administered a mild stimulant; 
it was all there was left to do. She brightened and 
looked up in his face and smiled, but it was a 
wan, weak smile, and had in it memories of many 

Blake and Renfro came tiptoeing in, and stopped, 
hushed by the sight before them. At last Renfro 

" Mr. Buzbee," said he, " hit's a sin to say a word, 
but we just got to. Goodwin ain't back, and the men 
are crazy to see silver. They've got some whisky 
somehow, I don't know how, and they're about wild. 
We've told them everything we kin think of to pacify 
them, and we cyan't do it no more. We've got the 
refining furnace hot, and the cupels are all ready. 
Come, jest long enough to finish one little lot, if it 
ain't more than ten cents' worth. We — we wouldn't 
ast it, but if you don't, I believe they'll kill us all by 
morning. The men that lives around here, our own 
sort of folks, you know, they're doin' their best to hold 
'em back. They've got their own little money in it, 
and they're beginning to suspect they ain't been dealt 
with fair. They ain't so desperate as the workmen, 
but they're gittin' right mad, too. Come jest long 
enough to finish one lot, and we won't pester ye no 

Barbara looked at her father, and he turned to her 

300 Pine Knot 

appealingly, as he always looked to some one to decide 
for him in such cases, 

" You must go, father," said she, " but hurry 

He looked at his wife, and her eyes gave their as- 
sent, but she moved her head ever so little, and he 
understood it, and, bending over her, kissed her. Then 
he hurried out. 

The refining crucible was built a little apart from 
the main furnace, and was sheltered by the high walls 
of the blufif. It was glowing with a great heat, and 
the men were gathered about it, for they had been 
told that Renfro and Blake had gone to bring Buzbee. 
Their dark looks brightened a little as the three men 
came walking down. They stood aside and let them 
through to the door of the furnace. 

Mr. Buzbee took the shovel, and, opening the 
muffle, set in a half dozen of the saucer-shaped ash 
dishes, and, taking up the leaden lumps with a pair of 
tongs, placed one in each. 

" It will not take long now," he said. " We will 
open these doors soon that the air may pass through, 
and separate the molten metals. Forgive me, my 
friends, for neglecting you. Only the most painful 
duty has kept me in my home this day. But you 
shall see now that you have not trusted me in vain. I 
am sorry not to have had much experience in this 
work, though I have learned the process by reading. 
Mr. Goodwin, if here, could assist me very much. But 
I can do this, and then I must hasten to my dying 

There was a silence that had in it some element 
of sympathy. The small investors who had put in 

The Plunge 301 

their all stood nearest, and the menacing rabble hud- 
dled a little farther back. 

" We're mighty sorry to call you away," said Jake 
Crawford, " and, much as we want to see this, I for 
one would be willing to let it go for to-night." 

" No, no ! " cried the crowd. 

" No, my friends," said Buzbee ; " you shall see 
silver before I leave you. We will open these doors 
now, and let the oxidation begin." 

After a little while he opened the front door of the 
muffle, and the expectant throng huddled closer. 
Within, a half dozen saucers of boiling lead were bub- 
bling and spluttering and diminishing. 

" Hit gits less and less," said Blake. 

" That is the lead absorbing," said Mr. Buzbee. 
" The silver will remain. And now, watch, for the 
beautiful moment is at hand. You are soon to see the 
coruscation, which will shoot the surface over with 
rainbow streaks ! " 

They gathered nearer, but few could look within 
at one time. Nearest stood Blake and Renfro, and 
the stockholders were behind them. The bubbling 
masses grew less and less, and in one of the cupels it 
disappeared entirely, leaving a thin, leadlike scum. 
A horror seized Mr. Buzbee, and he strained his eyes 
at the next one. In another moment it too was gone, 
and the cupel was empty. A third went out un- 
watched, and the three that remained were sinking 
low. For a moment Mr. Buzbee stood dazed, and 
then the life within him seemed to him to go out, even 
as the lead went out of the ashen saucers, and he stood 
with a vacant stare watching the remaining cupels as 
one by one the metal vanished and left no silver in 

302 Pine Knot 

the bottom. It was a moment of blackness from the 
very pit; of blindness and groping; of stupor, yet of 
pain such as can come only from the refinement of 
cruel torment. 

Fortunately, those behind did not see all this in 
the face of the man whose eyes like theirs were upon 
the furnace door. Nor did many of them see within, 
or all of these understand what they saw. 

" Father, father ! " cried Barbara, running in at the 
moment. " Come ! You must come this moment ! " 

Mechanically he turned, and she took his arm and 
hurried him away. 

Renfro slammed the door of the furnace, and said : 
" Men, this is plumb wicked ! It's plain we ain't 
a-goin' to be able to finish any of this to-night. We're 
keepin' a sick man that's turned heaven and airth for 
us away from his dyin' wife. We just got to leave this 
thing go till mornin'. Mr. Buzbee has done all we 
ast, and more'n we'd orter ast. Now we must let him 
go till mornin'. In the mornin' we'll finish up this 
that's begun, and do some more, and pay you all off. 
— Blake, you help Mr. Buzbee to the house. — Don't 
nobody interfere with this furnace to-night, for if you 
do, when hit's so hot, like as not you'll crack it, and 
we cyan't do nothin' to-morrow if ye do that." 

The men dispersed, though not without grumbling. 
They had waited and been disappointed again and 
again. However, the stockholders assured themselves 
that an honest eflfort had been made in their behalf, 
and this temporarily assured the others. But they 
talked together, and those who had stood back recalled 
Mr. Buzbee's promise of the rainbow streaks, and 
those who had stood near told what they had seen. 

The Plunge 303 

Then the suspicions grew to mutiny, and the anger 
of the drunken rabble rose again. 

Renfro had walked slowly from the furnace, at- 
tended by a group to whom he was explaining the 
need of delay. As soon as he was able he dismissed 
them with a plea that he must go to Mrs. Buzbee's 
bedside. As soon as he was alone he ran with all his 
speed to the rock house that served as a stable. 

" Here, Pete ! " he whispered. " Git up and hitch 
up the mules! Quick! Hitch four to the covered 
wagon, and have 'em ready to start when I come 
back! Put the saddles on to my horse and Blake's, 
and turn the others loose ! " 

Then he hurried to the cabin. Just before him 
entered Granny White. " O Miss Barbara ! " she 
cried, " you alls must run from here right off ! Good- 
win has done run off with the money, and when these 
men find it out, they'll kill you alls — every one of 
you ! " 

Without a word Renfro stepped to the head of 
the bed, and motioned Blake to take the foot. 

"What do you mean to do?" asked Mr. Buzbee, 
but they did not speak. They lifted the straw tick 
with the dying woman on it, and, motioning the others 
to follow, hastened through the door. It was dark, 
and the men at the crucible below found it yet darker 
by reason of the light of the fire which was in their 
eyes while they poked about the slag. 

They laid the pallet in the wagon, and Mr. Buzbee, 
unable longer to sit up, was placed upon it with his 
wife. Barbara and Granny White sat down to care 
for them, though they found themselves unable to do 
much aside from holding on. 

304 Pine Knot 

" Go ! " said Mr. Renfro, and Simon Peter plied 
the whip. The four mules started on a run up the 
river and through the ford, up the steep and sidling 
bank, and on through the dark, rough road that hardly 
could be called a road. 

Blake and Renfro leaped to their saddles. " Start 
on," said Renfro, " and what horses will foller you let 

Then, breaking a switch, he whipped the loose 
horses till they scattered in the woods, some of them 
following down the road after the wagon. 

The noise of the wheels started the men at the 
furnace, and a wild yell broke forth from them. Ren- 
fro struck his spurs and hastened after the wagon, 
which he overtook at the ford. 

" Drive on ! " he cried. " Faster ! Don't stop for 
nothing! " 

Simon Peter jerked his rein and cracked his whip. 
The mules started forward, the wagon lurching heavily 
from side to side in the water. 

" Wait here with me ! " said Renfro to Blake. 
" That's a band of devils straight from hell, and if 
they catch us, our lives ain't worth the cost of a 
coffin! If we had a road we could beat 'em, but a 
man can go faster than a wagon till we get to the 
top o' the mointain ! Wait here by the bank, and 
the first two men that come near enough to shoot, 
shoot ! " 

They had not long to wait. They came dashing 
through the rapids, a cursing, murderous crowd, the 
most brutal well in the front. Big and black their 
shapes rose up in the night, against the faint red of 
the furnace in the distance. 

The Plunge 305 

" Now ! " whispered Renfro, and two sharp reports 
rang out. 

There were cries of pain, there were sounds of 
splashing, and calls for help that drifted swiftly down 
the rapids. One grew silent after a minute or so, but 
the other called in more and more of terror till at last 
a frightful sliriek was drowned in the roar of the falls. 

The two horsemen turned and rode up the hill. 
There was momentary confusion among the pursuers, 
and for a little time it seemed that they had given it 
up, but later they came on again with shoutings more 
terrible. They sounded ominous to the two horsemen 
that guarded the rear of the wagon, but they rode on 
in grim silence. They struck terror to the heart of 
Barbara and Granny White, but they clung on and 
spoke no word. But Mr. Buzbee lay as one incapable 
of pain or terror, dazed, stunned, made senseless by 
this crowning disappointment. Once or twice he 
seemed to realize his condition and cried out, " My 
God ! my God ! why hast thou forsaken me ? " But for 
the most part he lay benumbed, nor heeded the death 
moan in which the spirit of his wife found its release. 

Again the pursuers gained, and again the horse- 
men dropped back and waited in ambush. Again 
their shots were followed by a brief respite, and now, 
the top of the mountain reached, the mules ran dan- 
gerously along the ridge. Simon Peter gave up at- 
tempt to guide them, but gave them their head, and, 
trusting to their instinct to find the road, crouched 
over the pommel of his saddle and urged them on. 
Huge branches struck the wagon. Great stones and 
roots pitched it from side to side. At times it seemed 
that it would be broken and disabled, or its occu- 

3o6 Pine Knot 

pants spilled out, but the faithful black driver still 
urged the mules on. 

But now came a new peril, for behind them as they 
listened they heard the sound of hoofs. The pursuers 
had captured some of the loose horses, and, mounted 
on them, were sure to overtake them. They might 
have hoped to tire out the men on foot and leave them 
behind, but not these. The horses were fresh and 
strong, and the battle would be between two on the 
one side and a number on the other much larger. As 
they listened, the noise of hoofs grew stronger, and 
the voices — and they were cruel and bloodthirsty 
voices — showed that the number was not small. 

" On, Pete, on ! God bless you, old fellow ! Get 
us through to-night, and you're a free man to-mor- 
row ! " cried Renfro. 

And then he added : " Hit's fool talk. He don't 
want to be free, but hit's the only thing I kin think of 
to encourage him." 

Still they moved on, and the miles sped faster now. 
The trail grew into a road, and, while a most atrocious 
one, was better than that over which they had passed 
almost miraculously. But the horsemen were coming 
behind them, and not a mile away. 

" There's one thing we kin do," said Blake. '* We 
kin stop here and unload, and git well back in the 
bushes, and have Pete whip on as fur's he thinks he 
kin git, and then he git off and run, and start the 
mules on." 

" I was thinkin' of it," said Renfro. " It's the only 
thing they's left for us. I'll ride on and tell Pete what 
to do." 

"What's that light?" asked Blake. 

The Plunge 307 

Far down the road a fire shone through the trees, 
and burned out a hemisphere of the October night. 

" On, Pete, on ! " cried Renfro. " Make that fire 
and we're safe ! " 

" Halt ! who comes there ? " The challenge rang 
out clear and strong, but the sentinel stood aside and 
let the wagon pass, for the mules that were white with 
lather could not be stopped at once. 

" Friends ! " shouted Renfro, " and we need help ! 
They's a band of cutthroats atter us ! " 

"Officer of the guard !" called the sentinel. "Turn 
out the guard ! " 

Sleepy men in gray crawled out and got their guns. 
Blake and Renfro stood back a little in the shadow. 
On came the horsemen, pulling up a little for the fire, 
and coming to a halt as they saw the soldiers. 

" Who comes here ? " 

" Friends. Who are you ? " 

" An outpost of General ZollicoflFer's army. Ad- 
vance with the countersign." 

" We don't have it. We're following some people 
that have robbed us." 

" Jake Crawford," called Renfro, " will ye listen 
to reason ? " 

"Is that you, Renfro?" 

" Yes. Be the men that's with you the same sort 
of fellers you be ? " 

" I reckon so. All men from around home here." 

" Put down your guns, men, and hitch your horses, 
and come up to-wards the fire, I want to tell you all 
I know." 

It was not strange, now that they thought of it, 
but it had never occurred to them as they fled, that, 

3o8 Pine Knot 

while the men who chased them on foot and were 
foremost after their blood were the most desperate 
characters in the company, those who came upon the 
horses were those who, holding back from the first 
mad chase, had waited to find their own beasts, and fol- 
lowing, still intent on an explanation and some of 
them on revenge, were less brutal and more reason- 
able than the men on foot. 

Renfro and Blake stepped out into the light. 

" We're unarmed," said Blake. " Shoot if ye want 
to, but hear us first." 

" We don't want to shoot nobody," said one of the 
party, " but we want to know whether it's so that 
we've been robbed." 

" I'm afraid it is," said Rehfro. " But it ain't no 
person you're chasin' that's robbed ye. We've been 
robbed with the rest." 

" Who's done it, then ? " 

" Come and se' down here, and I'll tell ye all I 

They hitched their horses and came into the fire- 
light, with faces dark and threatening, but curbing 
their anger till they could know it all. 

" One thing is certain," said Renfro. " Whoever's 
robbed ye, it ain't Mr. Buzbee. They may not be no 
Mr. Buzbee by this time, for I ain't much idy that him 
or his wife either could outlive a ride like we've took. 
And he ain't said one loud word that I've heerd, so 
I ain't any right to speak for him. But this I know, 
for I read it in his face, that that man's heart died 
when he seen that they v/a'n't no silver in that blast. 
Men, we've all been fooled, and Peleg Goodwin's the 
man. He put that silver into the lead that we cupelled 

The Plunge 309 

it with before, and that's the only silver they is or ever 
was in this mine. That's my honest opinion. And 
he's been keepin' the money that's come, and dolin' 
out a little bit for buildin' here and doin' somethin' 
there, and gittin' trusted for that when he could, and 
he's kept us all a-waitin' till Mr. Buzbee got home, 
so's he could git the last dollar ; and now he's run ofif 
with the money, and left the blame of the failure to 
come on Mr. Buzbee. Men, we've all been fools, and 
Mr. Buzbee, with all his larnin', has got a fool streak 
in him, but he's the kindest-hearted fool God ever 
made, and he never wronged no man out of a cent. 
No more did Blake nor me." 

" Wha' did ye run off fur, if ye wa'n't guilty ? " 
asked Crawford. 

" We wouldn't 'a' done it if we'd been dealin' with 
men like you. And I'll say this, that even you are 
more reasonable atter a good hard ride and a little 
time to think. But if they'd all been like you — men 
from the county here — I'd 'a' stood up like a man and 
told you the truth as fur as I knowed it, if you shot 
me fur it. But you know as well as I do that the men 
that's been workin' there is the most bloodthirsty 
devils that ever spent three nights hand runnin' out 
of the smell of brimstone. And to think of fallin' into 
their hands, with no more reason than so many mud 
torkles and as mad as so many painters, and to think 
of that dyin' woman and that gal — I done just what 
every one of you'd done, and you know it. And I'll 
say this too, that whether it's all clear to ye or not, 
they ain't a man of you but would drap dead fightin' 
before he'd let that gal fall into the hands of them men. 
Ef I'd knowed who was ridin' behind us, I'd 'a' stopped 

3IO Pine Knot 

some distance back. Still, I'd a leetle bit druther have 
my first word with you over somebody's bayonet. — 
Come, Mr. Sentinal, what's the meanin' of this? We 
didn't allow they was ary reb nearer than the Gap." 

" We marched through the Gap," said the sentinel. 

" But this ain't no road from the Gap." 

" We had a fight at Wild Cat, and have changed 
our plan. That is all T want to say," said the officer 
of the guard. " And now, if you wish to see to your 
people in the wagon, pass through the line, and camp 
for the night. We must keep the road clear." 

" Come with us," said Renfro, and the men dis- 
mounted and came in. The wagon was some distance 
along the road, and a detail of soldiers went with them 
to it. Simon Peter had made a light, and had tenderly 
lifted out the bruised body of Mrs. Buzbee, and Mr. 
Buzbee lay on the pallet close by, in great pain of 
body and mind. 

" O my daughter ! " he cried, " what folly have I 
done ! I have killed your mother ; I have ruined all 
who trusted in me! O my God! was ever a soul so 
guilty as I ? " 

Barbara strove to comfort him, but unavailingly ; 
and when he saw the men who had lost their money 
through tjie mine, he raised himself to his knees before 
them and said : " Forgive me, my friends, forgive 
me ! I confess my sin to you as I do to my God ! I 
have not meant to wrong you, but I have ruined you ! 
I have ruined you ! " 

" Now look here, Mr. Buzbee," said Renfro, 
" we've all made a blunder, that's plain. But I ain't 
a-goin' to hear you take all the blame of it. We've 
all been fools, and one man's been a thief. But we 

The Plunge 311 

don't none of us bear you no grudge. We know 
you're a honest man." 

" You are too good — you are too good," said he ; 
and then : " O my poor wife ! My poor daughter ! 
God forgive me ! " Then he relapsed into silence, 
save for a grateful word to Barbara, who sat beside 
him and stroked his hair. 

" Git him a tent," said Granny White to the sol- 
diers, and they pitched a shelter tent over him. He 
sank into a stupor, and Barbara sat beside him. 

The men, with homely but tender care, prepared 
a bed of pine boughs in the wagon, and there laid out 
the body of Mrs. Buzbee, as they were directed by 
Granny White. Then the old woman returned to 
share Barbara's vigil, and at last the thing that seemed 
impossible occurred: the long, hideous night turned 
gray in the east, and the sun rose, bringing with it a 
new day. 

fanatic or philanthropist 

" Barbara Buzbee ! " 

She started to hear her name. 

" Boyd Estill ! How came you here ? " 

" I came faster than I should like to admit. We 
had a fight at Wild Cat, and the Yankees have the 
field. But, Barbara, I am surprised to find you here. 
I am detailed with a guard to escort you to Pine Knot, 
but I did not know it was you. Is your mother really 

For answer Barbara bowed her face in her hands 
and wept. 

" My poor, poor darling ! " said Boyd tenderly. 

" O Boyd," sobbed Barbara, " I am more glad to 
see vou than I can tell! I never needed a friend so 
much ! " 

" And I — O Barbara, I have so much to say 
to you ! " 

They started early and slowly. Barbara rode with 
her father in an ambulance, and the wagon followed 
with the body of Mrs. Buzbee. Renfro, Blake, and 
the men from whom they had been fleeing rode behind, 
and a guard commanded by Estill led the way. A 
messenger was dispatched with a letter to be mailed 

Fanatic or Philanthropist 313 

to Lexington, and it contained a pass from General 
Zollicoffer for Barbara's grandfather, for they could 
not doubt that he would come in this extremity. To- 
ward noon they drew up before the door of Mr. Ren- 
fro's, and he and Simon Peter lifted the body of Mrs. 
Buzbee, and the soldiers carried Mr. Buzbee into the 
house and laid him on the bed. 

There he lay, the man whose life had been a series 
of failures and who died to be forgotten, save by those 
who in after years recalled his memory with a smile. 
But it was a great heart that slowly and more slowly 
beat out its last two days of life in the home that had 
first welcomed him to the mountains. 

When the community knew that he was dying, 
they came out with one accord and stood about the 
yard, and gathered in the house and waited for the 
end. It was touching and beautiful to see their anger 
all forgotten, and even those who had lost their little 
all recalling his kindnesses. Women rode far with 
children in their arms to show the little ones the man 
who had cared for them when they were sick. Men 
talked of the battle at Wild Cat and the war that had 
come so near, and then of the life of this man. All 
thought that he had deceived them or was other than 
he pretended vanished, and popular wrath, content 
if it finds some one on whom to vent itself, concerned 
itself with Goodwin, who was safe enough from their 
revenge. Noel Davis, too, was missing, and there 
were some who believed that he had gone to join 
Goodwin, and others that he had been shot at the ford 
and had gone over the falls. For a good while they 
did not know which was true, but later in the war he 
appeared again. If he had gone over the falls, the 

314 Pine Knot 

Union teamster whose wagon was plundered might 
never have been shot, or Pine Knot burned. 

Mr, Buzbee outHved that day, and toward evening 
Boyd Estill and his men mounted and rode back. 

" I have much to say to you, Barbara," said Boyd, 
" but I realize that this is no time to say it. You will 
go to Lexington, of course, and I shall see you there. 
Yet, before I let you go I must tell you that I have 
never ceased to love you." 

" My true friend," said Barbara, " you have been 
so good, so kind ! I can never repay you." 

" But you still love me ? " 

" O Boyd, don't ask me. I'm afraid I don't ! " 

" Barbara," said he, " I blame myself. I ought 
not to have quarreled with you. And having quar- 
reled and let you go, I ought to have found where you 
were and come to you. I did not know till lately " 

" You could not have come when my need was 
greater," said she. 

" But, Barbara, surely you will not send me away 
heart-broken ? " 

" O Boyd," she said, " I fear you will think me 
ungrateful. You have been so kind to me, and I care 
for you so much ! You are my own, my true friend, 
my brother, my own brave, kind friend. Don't think 
me fickle, Boyd, or heartless ! I care for you, indeed 
I do! I shall never cease to do so. But I do not 
love you. I'm sure I don't, though I like you truly." 

Boyd stopped in amazement. " Is it because I am 
a rebel ? " he asked. 

" Oh no, oh no ! I could love you in spite of that." 

" Or because I am a slaveholder ? " 

Barbara paused a moment and said solemnly : " I 

" I can never repay you.' 

Fanatic or Philanthropist 315 

believe my poor father was right in this at least, how- 
ever far he was wrong in his other opinions, that this 
war will not end till the slavery question is settled. 
No, it is not that." 

" Then, do you love some one else ? " 

She did not answer. 

" Who is he ? " he demanded. 

" I — I have not admitted to myself that I loved 
him. At first for another girl's sake I did not let my- 
self do so, and then for your sake I tried to force him 
from my heart." 

" He does not know that you love him ? " 

" No. He has no hope of it." 

" Then, O Barbara, give me one more chance ! 
Try once more to love me, and let me show myself 
worthy ! I will match myself against him ! Tell me 
what you love him for, and by all that I hold dear I 
will outvie him! Is he wiser, kinder, richer? I shall 
make up what I lack, and come back to you ! " 

" Oh no, it is not that. Boyd, you are twice as 
handsome as he, and your education is far better. And 
no man is a truer gentleman than you ! But he is as 
true, and I have seen him struggling to conquer his 
own passion, struggling to overcome his own igno- 
rance, struggling with the disadvantages of his early 
life and showing his true manhood, and loving with 
no hope of return, he does not know it yet, but I tell 
you — I love him, Boyd. So, do not blame me, but be 
my friend still as you have always been, my truest, 
best friend, except " 

"Except ?" 

" Except James Fletcher." 

Boyd struggled for a time with his own feelings. 

3i6 Pine Knot 

Then he offered her his hand. She took it, and he 
placed his other arm around her waist and kissed her. 

"Good-by, Barbara," he said huskily. " God for- 
give me for letting you go away till we had made up 
our quarrel, and I had made you mine! Good-by. 
We still are friends, that's all I have to say. But this 
man Fletcher, is he in the army ? " 

" Yes," said she, " in the Federal army." 

" We may meet some time ! " he said savagely. 
" No, no ! " he added, " I ought not to grieve you so. 
Good-by. If he loves you more than I do, he deserves 
you. But I shall love you still. O Barbara, I know 
better than ever before how much I love you ! Good- 
by, Barbara." 

" Good-by, Boyd." 

" Looky here ! " said Granny White as Boyd rode 
off, " you didn't send that young feller away, did ye ? " 

" He had to go," said Barbara. " He was under 

" Yes, but that ain't what I mean. He's the feller, 
hain't he?" 

" You mean " 

" The one I tied the thread 'round the coffee grain 

" I'm afraid he is, granny," 

" And you don't mean to say you've let him slip ? " 

" Yes, granny, I've let him slip." 

" Call him back ! call him back ! " cried granny. 

" No, no, granny ! Besides, it's too late. He's 

" What a pity ! what a pity ! " said granny. 

" But, granny, I do not love him ! " 

" Ye do, too ! The foolishness of a gal's talk ! 

Fanatic or Philanthropist 317 

You jist thought ye keered for the preacher because 
you was sorter homesick Uke and he was clost handy ! 
I know you had a sorter admiration for him, but if ever 
I'd a-seed this one, I could 'a' told ye which one ye 
loved ! " 

" You seem to think you know better than I do," 
said Barbara. 

" Sartin I do, and some day you'll know I do," said 
granny. " But they ain't but one thing to do now, 
and that's to take keer of your pappy. He was a good 
man, honey, for all he had so little sense." 

It was several days before Barbara's grandfather 
arrived, and when he came, it was all over. Mr. Buz- 
bee never rallied save for a moment or two at a time, 
when his self-reproachful words and looks made even 
his stupor a relief. But at the end there came a brief 
interval of light and peace, and he drew his daughter 
down and kissed her, saying : " God bless you, my dear ! 
You have been a heroine through it all." And then 
came the end. 

It was a simple burial, with two coffins made of 
planed pine boards, covered on the outside with black 
muslin and inside with white, and the sound of the ham- 
mer just outside smote hard on the heart of Barbara. 
But unnumbered acts of kindness from the people 
about brought real comfort. There was no time for 
a funeral, nor was it expected, according to the custom 
of the country, nor had Barbara the heart for it ; but an 
unlettered mountain preacher, with tears streaming 
down his face, knelt in the clay beside the grave, and 
prayed for the orphan daughter. Then Granny White 
and Liberty led her away, and the earth closed above 
the double g:rave. 

3i8 Pine Knot 

It is not easy to gather incidents of war time in the 
Cumberland Mountains. The multitude of incidents 
so trampled on each other that they were reduced to 
an indistinguishable mass. People occasionally begin 
to talk to their children about those days, and feel as if 
they were talking of other people, and so cease. More- 
over, it was impossible for them to idealize the war. 
The world said, " Yonder is the soldier, the hero." 
The mountaineer said, " Yonder is the man who 
shoots our hogs and burns our fences and robs our 
smoke houses." The world said, " There is the man 
who for his country's sake braves death itself." The 
mountaineer said, "Yonder is the man whom I saw 
skulking, till he found a tree to shoot from." The 
world said, " Yonder are war's awful pomp and glory." 
The mountaineer said, " Here are the carnage, the mur- 
der, the starvation, the heartless cruelty, the unspeak- 
able inhumanity." And so the scenes that for want of 
idealization could never become poetry or art or song 
were blended into one black terror. One may not step 
from a train as it whirls through among those moun- 
tains, and accosting the first man he meets, draw on 
his fund of incident. He must find it in the chance 
remarks and in the talk by the way. But there are 
some scenes that are remembered by a few here and 
there, and there are those people who still sigh when 
they recall that double grave with the background 
of the first battle near at hand that seemed to number 
these twain among its list of the slain. They are scat- 
tered now, and none live near the spot or visit the 
grave, but through the distance in space and time they 
still see the grief of the brave young girl whose father 
and mother lay there side by side. 

Fanatic or Philanthropist 319 

It was a simple thing in its way, but it touched 
Barbara to the heart, when the neighbors prepared a 
pair of wooden headstones and marked them with the 
juice of the pokeberry, as he had showed them how to 
make the blackboard. They asked for the dates of 
her parents' birth, and when she went next to the 
graves they bore these inscriptions : 

B. Jan. 23, 1800. 
D. Oct. 24, 1861. 


Wife of J. Howard Buzbee. 

B. July 3, 1808. 

D. Oct. 22, 1861. 

" John Howard Buzbee, Philanthropist ! " It was 
a grateful tribute suggested by Renfro, and it com- 
forted Barbara that they should have thought to add 
that one word. Then she reflected somewhat bitterly 
that the world at large would have said " Fanatic." 

But it matters little what is said upon a tombstone. 
Long ere it would have rotted, the artillery wheels 
had broken it down, and the world knows not which 
word was there. After all, the difference may not be 
so great. History has been busy with suggestions that 
philanthropist is but fanatic writ large. 



The Bernaugh homestead was old and spacious, 
and there was plenty of room in it for the grand- 
daughter whom the old man brought home from the 

" And now, Barbara," he said, " this is your home, 
yours now, and yours when I die. I drove your 
mother from it — God forgive me! No wrong that 
you can ever do shall ever make you other than mine 
or this home any one's but yours. Your grand- 
mother's legacy is untouched, and is already yours. 
And you must not leave me, my child. These are hard 
times in which we are living. I do not see the end. 
But together we will stay till I leave you for good 
and all." 

" I will not leave you, grandfather," said Barbara. 
" I will stay with you. And, O grandpa, there is one 
thing I want to speak about. Forgive me if I ought 
not. But if I have any money in my own right, may 
I have at once a few hundred dollars of it now ? " 

" What do you want of it ? " asked her grandfather. 
" No crazy abolition scheme, I hope ? Anything but 
that ! Let not that come between us, as it did between 
me and my daughter ! " 

In Lexington 321 

" No, no, grandpa, it is not that," said Barbara. 
" But I want to repay some of the stockholders in the 
mine — not the rich ones or the ones far away who can 
spare it, nor those who themselves were the plunderers 
of others, but the good mountain people who, trust- 
ing my father, and infatuated with the prospect of 
money, sold their cows or mortgaged their homes for 
a few dollars to buy a little of the stock. They are not 
many, and their stock was not paid in full." 

" Can you get me a list of them ? " asked her grand- 

" Mr. Renfro can furnish it, and the sums paid." 

" Get it," said the old man, " and I will do the rest." 

She flung herself on her knees before him and 
thanked him with streaming eyes. 

" No, no, my child ! Not that ! Come, sit on my 
knee instead, and be your mother over again. I am 
a lonely old man, my dear, and all of hope which I 
have in life gathers about you. No, no, don't cry. 
Or, well, run along and have it out, then. I'm a little 
bit unnerved myself." 

Of one duty Barbara felt sure. She ought to notify 
James Fletcher of her changed address. She owed 
it to him for his kindness to invite him to call, even 
if that were all — and that was not all, she was very 
sure. He was at Camp Nelson, probably ; if not, a 
letter addressed there would be forwarded to him. So 
she sat down and wrote a simple note : 

" Dear Mr. Fletcher : I write to inform you of 
the death of my dear parents, and the great sorrow 
which their loss has brought to me. My home is now 
with my grandfather, Mr. William Bernaugh, at Lex- 

322 Pine Knot 

ington. If you have a furlough and are able to visit 
me here, I shall be glad to see you, and my grand- 
father will welcome you to our home, 
" Sincerely yours, 

" Barbara Buzbee. 
" Lexington, Ky., November /, 1861." 

The times were big with destiny then, and every 
day brought forth its surprise. The Kentucky Legis- 
lature, grown more strongly Union under Lincoln's 
tolerant attitude, brought over a few more hesi- 
tating votes on the day when Zollicolifer marched 
through Cumberland Gap, and Pope, on the same 
day, moved another Confederate army across the Mis- 
sissippi and encamped in Kentucky. The Legisla- 
ture demanded the recall of the troops. The Con- 
federates replied that they would withdraw if the 
Union forces were withdrawn. But the Legislature, 
secure in its contention that the Union troops were 
native Kentuckians or Tennessee refugees fled to their 
sister State for protection, and that there was not an 
invading soldier among them, refused to order the 
Union soldiers out, and repeated its demand on the 

The Governor vetoed the bill, because it did not 
demand the same of both armies, and the Legislature 
passed it over his veto. It was by the hardest that they 
made themselves secure in their two-thirds majority 
that enabled them to defy the Governor. To do it 
they had to rely on one man whose constituents had 
ordered him to support the Governor, The member 
who defied his constituents knew that he could never 
return to his home among them, and he was guarded 

In Lexington 323 

day and night by his associates to prevent his assassi- 

Those were stirring times indeed, but the two- 
thirds majority held ; the Governor was shorn of his 
power ; the sentiment of the State, sadly divided, grad- 
ually rallied to the support of the Legislature. And 
then came the final and dramatic act. Neutrality had 
had its day. The men who had adopted it were hoist 
with their own petard. Now, with two Confederate 
armies encamped upon their soil, and refusing to with- 
draw, all pretense of neutrality was at an end. The 
loyal faction of the Legislature had tested its power 
till it knew that it was secure, and then, passing their 
measure over the Governor's veto, they invited the 
Federal Government to send in troops to drive out 
the invaders, and, declaring the loyalty of the State 
to the Union, pledged themselves to keep her there. 
On that day, by authority of the Legislature, the 
Union flag was run up on the State-house at Frankfort, 
and it never afterward came down. 

All this Mr. Bernaugh and his friend Estill talked 
about as they visited back and forth almost daily, and 
each of them talked it over with Barbara, and each 
of them counted her a daughter. The old men were 
both for the Union, but their hearts were heavy when 
they heard how Zollicofifer was defeated and killed 
at Mill Spring, and his army dispersed. 

Then Barbara's heart went down, too. Boyd was 
with ZollicofTer. Had he escaped, or was he killed or 
captured? Day by day she watched the avenue that 
led down to the pike ; night after night she lay awake 
and listened and prayed for Boyd's safety. 

After a fortnight the word came. He had escaped 

324 Pine Knot "" 

to Knoxville, but his brigade was cut to pieces be- 
yond hope of reorganization, and he was going into 
another regiment. Then they thanked God and took 
courage, and with divided sympathies, with prayers 
for the success of the men of the North and for the 
safety of the men of the South, they watched the prog- 
ress of the war. 

If ever an angel came into a home, or two homes 
at once, for that matter, it was Barbara Buzbee, who 
at this time belonged almost as much in one home 
as the other. Neither of the old men asked her ques- 
tions about Boyd; they knew that she had seen him, 
that he had come to her help in time of need, and 
they assumed that the whole affair was settled. In 
ways so indefinite and unconscious that she could 
not contradict them — and she had hardly the heart 
to do it, anyway — they planned under her very eyes for 
a future which centered around her and Boyd. 

Day by day Barbara found herself more absorbed 
in the hopes and plans of the two old men ; their love 
of the Union, their pride and sorrow for Kentucky, 
their glowing admiration of Lincoln, and their anxiety 
for Boyd. Often she thought of Fletcher, and won- 
dered why he had not responded to her letter, but 
more and more completely she ran her life and hope 
into the mold made for them by her grandfather and 
Mr. Estill. 

Indeed, in that distracted time, the two old men 
had but two things left to hope for — the saving of 
the Union and the happiness of " our boy and 

" In vain is the net spread in the sight of any 
bird " ; yet Barbara saw the old men weaving about 

In Lexington 325 

her the net of their fondest hopes, and she had not the 
heart to break it. 

" Barbara," said her grandfather, " you ought to 
be twins. There are too few of you to go round. Pap 
Estill is that selfish he wants you all the time ; and 
I — Lord bless you, my dear, you are your mother 
and your grandmother and your own dear self all 
in one to me. But it's a bit lonely for you here with 
us two old men playing battledoor and shuttlecock 
with you." 

" Dear grandpa," said Barbara, " I am very happy 
with you. Yet I do wish I had a friend. You saw 
my friend Liberty Preston when you were at Pine 
Knot. I want her to come and visit me. Things are 
in a bad way there since Mill Spring battle, and 
it will do her good to come. Besides, I want 

" Send for her right away. Write, and say that 
if she can come I will send for her with horses. And 
I'll send you and the carriage to Crab Orchard to 
meet her. That's as far as the pike goes." 

" I remember very well how far the pike goes," 
said Barbara. 

" Tell her to come by Somerset, the road will be 
better that way now." 

So Liberty came on a visit of indefinite length, 
and the two girls had a happy ride together in the 
carriage from Crab Orchard. 

Liberty brought new life to the home of the Ber- 
naughs. A girl of natural refinement, she quickly 
adjusted herself to the new conditions, and her ward- 
robe was not long in assuming a new appearance. It 
would have been difficult to tell, save for an occasional 

326 Pine Knot 

lapse in speech, which was the mountain and which 
the blue-grass girl ; and Liberty set herself to learn and 
gain as much as possible from the experience. But 
she was loyal to the mountains, and it did both the 
old men good to hear her uncompromising mountain 
loyalty to the Federal cause. 

Cheered by her presence, Barbara grew to her 
old self. The memories of hardship and bereave- 
ment remained, but receded into the background. 
Back and forth the two girls moved between the 
old homes, singing as they went, the slaves run- 
ning to wait upon them, and the old men mak- 
ing their excursions the excuse for more frequent 
visits. But over it all hung the black shadow of 
the war, 

" I never hear you sing * Skip-t'-m'-loo ' now," said 
Barbara. " Why have you stopped ? " 

" You've stopped, too," said Liberty. 

" It was not I who sang it," said Barbara. 

" But it's you that's done it," said Liberty. 

"Done what?" 

" You've ' got another one, skip-t'-m'-loo ' ! " 

" Liberty Preston ! " 

" Now look here, Barbara Buzbee ! I'm done fool- 
ing with you. You're in love with Boyd Estill, and 
what's more you've always been, if you'd only had 
sense enough to have known it. But if you don't 
look out you'll lose him, that's what! And I serve 
notice on you right now that while I'm not going 
out to hunt up any man living, you're not going 
to have Jim Fletcher, and you don't want him, 

" But I've refused Boyd." 

In Lexington 


" Well, you did a foolish thing, that's all. Now, 
don't you break these old men's hearts telling them 
about it, for that don't count. He'll come back some 
day. He won't hold you accountable for what you 
did then. But he won't come many times." 



what's in a name? 

James Fletcher was a good soldier. He carried 
his gun patiently, he fought on the field heroically. No 
duty was too hard for him, and he offered himself for 
services from which other men shrank. Some men 
said it was his religion ; others that he had been crossed 
in love. But he was not morbid or misanthropic. No 
man was more cheerful, even when cheerfulness was 
hardest ; still, there was in his life an undertone of sad- 
ness, as of a man who had come up against his im- 
passable barrier. 

Impassable it was, for he had no hope of winning 
Barbara Buzbee. But he enshrined her image in his 
heart — that is, he enshrined an image there which he 
called Barbara Buzbee, and carefully differentiated it, 
for conscience' sake, from the real Barbara. There 
were two Barbara Buzbees he told himself; one of 
them had refused him, and was engaged to another 
man — her words could mean nothing else — and her he 
must not love. But there was another Barbara Buz- 
bee, the ideal Barbara, whom he cherished as an ideal. 

It was a rather fine discrimination, no doubt; but 
it served its end. It gave a name to Fletcher's ideal ; 
it made it lawful for him to cherish memories which 

What's in a Name ? 329 

else he must have counted sinful, and it gave him the 
slightest basis for a hope. It was just a little less than 
possible that her words had some other meaning ; and 
then, there's many a slip; if anything should happen 
that Barbara Buzbee — the real flesh-and-blood Bar- 
bara — did not marry some other man, it was just pos- 
sible that he still might win her. Sometimes he ad- 
mitted as much to himself. But for the most part he 
lived in the light of the ideal Barbara. 

So it was when the critical hour arrived before Fort 
Donelson, the hour that determined the future of the 
commanding general as well as of the battle. The 
Union right had been forced back by the desperate 
effort of the Confederates to break open a line of re- 
treat, and the boys from the Prairie State who had 
borne the burden of the attack right manfully were 
retreating, and even brave Dick Oglesby and intrepid 
John A. Logan were recalling their broken regiments 
— in that hour when Grant suddenly changed his plan 
and ordered the lost ground to be retaken, and Lew 
Wallace swung out from the center to support the 
right, there was not a braver man among those who 
rushed to the charge than James Fletcher. Shivering 
in the chill wind and wet with the past night's cruel 
sleet — for he had given his overcoat to a wounded 
man — shouting with his camp-meeting voice in echo 
of the rebel yell, struggling through the entangled 
tree tops, wading through the miry clay, close beside 
the flag and never behind it, James Fletcher went. 

There at the mouth of the cannon and against the 
bristling bayonets straight to the top of the hill he 
stood, striking right and left with his gunstock. Hurl- 
ing a rebel gunner headlong as he was about to fire, 

330 Pine Knot 

he grasped the flag as it fell from the hand of the 
wounded color sergeant and planted it on the mud- 
and-log breastwork. Some men thought he was try- 
ing to get killed. But he was not. Straight through 
the smoke of that battle he had followed the flag, his 
sense of duty, and the vision of Barbara Buzbee. 

When it was over, he rescued the wounded color 
bearer and hung the flag above him in the rude field 
hospital. When the roll was called next day, and the 
thinned but proud regiment was falling in to receive 
the surrender, the captain of his company walked down 
the line and in the presence of them all told James 
Fletcher that he was the bravest man in the regiment. 

The men were under a new commander — a quiet, 
modest man, who wore little gold braid, and who 
smoked his cigar in a keen scrutiny of affairs and with 
a dogged determination. The soldiers dififered in their 
estimate of his abilities. But when Fort Donelson 
yielded to his demand for an " unconditional surren- 
der," the soldiers got a clew to the meaning of his 
initials, " U. S. Grant." Opinion concerning him be- 
came more nearly a unit then, and the soldiers followed 
him south to Shiloh and to victory, and then on to 
Appomattox and to the coming of peace. 

It had been a long and weary winter, full of dis- 
couragement and distress. And the substantial vic- 
tories of January and April had later to be won over 
again. For, in the summer, when the line of the Con- 
federacy had been pushed far South, and Nashville and 
Island Number Ten had been captured, there came, 
through incredible blundering, that sudden series of 
backsets culminating in the invasion of Kentucky. 
The Union army that had captured Cumberland Gap 

What's in a Name? 331 

gave it up again, and hastened toward the Ohio River, 
and Kirby Smith threw his seasoned regiments 
through the mountain passes and entered the blue- 
grass region near Richmond, Kentucky. 

Fletcher was back in Kentucky with his regiment, 
one of a few regiments of seasoned troops to sprinkle 
among the raw recruits that made up Nelson's army 
of defense, and he was in the line of skirmishers sent 
out to the Big Hill to dispute the way, and then to 
fall back toward the Kentucky River ; for Nelson had 
chosen his own battle ground, and would meet the 
enemy with the river between, and fight from his well- 
planned intrenchments on the bluffs. 

The soldiers understood that this was the plan of 
the battle, and nothing could have surprised them 
more than to find as they fell back that General Man- 
son had marched out from Richmond to meet the in- 
vaders and to give them battle in the open field. 

What would have happened if Nelson had carried 
out his plan may only be conjectured. But what 
actually happened was the absolute annihilation of the 
Federal command. In no other battle of the war was 
an army so utterly wiped from the earth as in that of 

It was a Saturday, and no one was expecting 
the fight that day. The Legislature was in session at 
Frankfort, secure in its belief that Nelson's defenses 
at the river were strong, and on Saturday night it 
adjourned without concern, to meet at the usual hour 
on Monday, On Sunday morning the members rushed 
into the bedroom of Speaker Burnam, crying : " There 
has been a battle, and we are defeated ! Kirby Smith 
is marching toward Frankfort! Cincinnati is in dan- 

332 Pine Knot 

ger, and the whole North ! He will establish a base 
of supplies on the Ohio River, and cut the country 
in two from the Ohio to the lakes ! " 

The hastily dressed members gathered in the State- 
house, and the Speaker's gavel stilled the noise on 
the floor. " The House will come to order ! We must 
reconsider and rescind the vote of last night adjourn- 
ing till Monday, and cause the record to show ad- 
journment to Sunday morning." It was done accord- 
ingly. " The reading of the record will be omitted. 
It is moved and seconded that we do now adjourn, 
to meet to-morrow at the usual hour, and in Louis- 
ville." The action was quickly adopted. 

Then followed a scene of confusion. A special 
train was ordered, and it drew up a long line of freight 
cars. The State records, the archives, and the docu- 
ments of the Legislature were bundled into wagons 
and loaded into the cars. The money from the State 
Treasury was similarly transported to the train and 
loaded under guard. All the morning and afternoon 
they labored to carry all that was of greatest value 
beyond the reach of the Confederate army. 

The train pulled out in the twilight, and arrived in 
Louisville in the night. Next morning the Legisla- 
ture unpacked itself and held its session in a peri- 
patetic fashion in Louisville. 

The whole North was in terror, as it had good 
reason to be. The danger that all along had threat- 
ened the nation at the East, and which, but for the 
loyalty of Kentucky, would have menaced the Middle 
States all through the war, was suddenly at hand. Nor 
was the terror wholly dispelled till October when 
the battle of Perryville — an ill-managed battle, and 

What's in a Name ? 333 

a meager victory — drove the Confederates from the 

It was at Richmond, in August, that Fletcher again 
distinguished himself. His regiment was so scattered 
that he could hardly find a man whom he knew, and 
all about him were raw troops, undisciplined and 
poorly commanded, driven like sheep before the ruth- 
less and well-trained foe. When Nelson arrived on 
the field, called to the scene by the unexpected sound 
of battle, his curses were loud and deep and unavail- 
ing. He could not rally the disorganized army. 

Fletcher was making his way from the field, and 
one of the last to leave it, when a wounded man in a 
fence corner caused him to turn aside, and he recog- 
nized his colonel. 

" Come, colonel," he cried, " let me help you out 
of here." 

" You can't do it," said the colonel. " I'm sure to 
be captured, and so are you if you stop. Save your- 
self while there is time ! " 

But Fletcher got him up on his own strong back, 
the blood from the colonel's wound dripping warm 
along his arm and hand, and so he carried him, under 
fire, till a flanking party intercepted him and they 
were both made prisoners. The colonel was sent to 
the hospital, where his wound kept him till after the 
battle of Perryville, and so he recovered his freedom. 
But Fletcher went south to Tuscaloosa Prison. 

And so time passed on till one day, in the spring 
of 1863, Fletcher's time had expired, and his regi- 
ment was almost disbanded, though he learned that 
efforts were making to recruit it again to fighting 
strength. How gladly would he enlist again, he said 

334 Pine Knot 

to himself bitterly, if only he were out of here ! Yet, 
in the prison he had found his mission, and on its 
grim walls he hung the mental picture of the ideal 
Barbara. Noting how quickly the loss of self-respect 
broke men down, he laboured to keep the prisoners 
about him clean, to reduce to a minimum the vermin 
that infested the place, and to keep up the courage and 
cheer of his comrades. What hope it was that kept 
him up none knew, and he could only have told that 
it was the desire for the approval of his God and of 
fidelity to the ideal of Barbara Buzbee. 

It was a disagreeable duty, and one which they 
hated, but a certain Kentucky regiment in the Con- 
federate army had seen hard service in several cam- 
paigns, and was assigned for a time to guard duty at 
the prison. One night there came an order for a de- 
tail to be exchanged, and it fell to Captain Boyd Estill 
— he was a captain now — to make out the roll. There 
were certain papers on file, reports as to the condition 
of this man and that, with reasons given by the sur- 
geon or others why such and such a man should be 
exchanged soon, and from these he made his first 
choices. There were others to be chosen, and he ran 
his eye over the long list of names, wondering upon 
what principle he should make his selection. Sud- 
denly a name struck his sight, and his breath came 
quick and fast — ^James Fletcher, and his regiment and 
company. There could hardly be a doubt about it. 
The regiment was a mountain regiment, and the State 
was Kentucky. 

Boyd Estill tipped back in his chair again, and shut 
his eyes and thought. Here was his opportunity, he 
said to himself, and why should he not improve it? 

What's in a Name? 335 

He would not harm the man, he would simply leave 
him. Why should he send him out, and leave another 
man in, perhaps equally deserving ? 

He filled out the list, leaving one name blank, and 
James Fletcher's name was not among those he wrote. 
Then he folded his list and walked out into the night, 
and, pacing up and down, fought out his battle alone. 
It was a hard thing to do, to be sure, but war was 
made up of hard things, and this was an incident of 
war. Why should he let this mountaineer, whom 
chance had thrown between him and his idol, usurp 
the place that belonged to him ? One by one he linked 
together arguments that almost persuaded him to 

Then his heart beat faster as he imagined the re- 
sult. Perhaps Fletcher would not return — that some- 
times happened to men in prison. Some had to stay 
and take the chances. Suppose that should happen, 
and Barbara should learn, as learn she would, that he 
had died in the war? Surely he would be a rival no 
longer. Boyd could aflFord to forget her passing fancy 
for him, and in time, when her heart grew whole 
again, and he returned with his rank, honestly won, 
and the greater honors that were no doubt before him, 
why might he not honestly claim her? 

So for half the night he walked and argued the 
case with his own conscience, and looked up at the 
stars and asked himself whether indeed there was a 
God who concerned himself with such affairs, and 
cared to remember them afterward. 

And so the night wore on, and the struggle within 
him was fierce, and then he thought of the pure soul 
of Barbara, and how she would scorn the man who 

336 Pine Knot 

would do what he was thinking of doing, nay, how he 
would scorn himself. He held his possible self, the 
guilty, selfish self before his face, and lashed him with 
his own manly scorn and contempt. And then he fell 
upon his knees, and looked up at the stars, and went 
in and filled the blank line with the name of James 



It was a beautiful day in the spring of 1863 when 
James Fletcher returned from prison. The men to 
be exchanged were loaded into cars, and a fairly long 
train was made up. 

" We're to be exchanged ! " cried one and another. 

" Shut up ! " growled an older man. " They only 
tell us that to keep us quiet on the cars, I've been 
moved from prison to prison since the fall of '61 — 
Belle Isle, Andersonville, Tuscaloosa — I've been the 
round of the noted winter resorts, and every time I'm 
moved to some hole worse than the last they tell me 
I'm to be exchanged! " 

The hearts of all who heard him fell; and there 
were others who told a similar story of disappoint- 
ment. Surely, and with occasional stops, the train 
moved on, and as night approached they were run upon 
a siding where, in uncertainty and discomfort, they 
waited for morning. 

There never had been such a day as the one that 
dawned — certainly not since the earth was new. The 
sunrise was glorious, and the earth was green and 
clean and fragrant. Oh, how green were the fields 
and how beautiful they looked to the sick, dirty, hun- 


338 Pine Knot 

gry men ! And the uncertainty whether they were to 
step out upon the earth that looked too good to set 
foot upon, or to be imprisoned again, perhaps this time 
in Andersonville, grew almost unbearable. 

At length an officer walked along the train bearing 
a handful of small white flags, and he attached one to 
each car. 

Then the men cheered, for they felt sure that those 
white flags meant that they were about to enter the 
Union lines. Indeed, the Union lines were just across 
the river, and as the train slowly started, they could see 
the Union soldiers turning out in answer to the bugle 
call. Oh, what a clean army it was ! They had worn 
out their old clothes in the winter's service, and all had 
drawn new clothing, and the new buttons could be 
seen farther than the color of the coats that bore them ! 

Slowly the train moved across the river, and then, 
a car at a time, the prisoners were taken out. Two 
Confederate officers compared lists with those of Union 
officers, and checked the men oflf, car by car. 

Within the cars huddled the men in their rags and 
filth ; without stood the clean soldiers in their new 
clothes; and as the prisoners came out, they were 
marched a short distance away to a clean spot where 
the regiments nearest were already making coffee, and 
would soon pitch tents for them. And now and then 
a cheer went up as some one recognized a comrade 
among the returned. 

James Fletcher stood at the open door, helping out 
those who were weaker than himself. Two brawny 
soldiers on the ground below were lifting them down. 

"All out? Well, then, jump down!" And two 
pairs of strong arms were extended to help him. 

With the Rank of Captain 339 

Then occurred an incident which James Fletcher 
remembered all his life ; nor does greater honor come 
often to any man. Back in the crowd two men recog- 
nized him — his old captain, promoted now, the colo- 
nel of another regiment — and the color sergeant, 
now a captain, whose flag he had rescued and whose 
life he had saved at Fort Donelson. These two 
rushed forward, his name on their lips. All unmind- 
ful of their new uniforms and of his foul rags, they 
seized him, an arm around him on either side ; and 
so, amid the cheers of the men in blue and the men 
in rags, they bore him from the prison train out 
into the glorious sunshine. Many a man had a 
warm welcome as he came from the train that day, 
but no man was so warmly welcomed as James 

'■ I never look for greater honor," he said years 
afterward, " nor can so grand a thing happen to me 
again on earth. But I sometimes hope for something 
like it in the day of the new heaven and the new earth. 
I've thought that maybe in that day Jesus Christ would 
cover my rags with his own righteousness, and bear 
me into the kingdom. Then I shall remember that 
day again." 

There was delay in sending the prisoners North, 
but after a few weeks Fletcher was returned to Ken- 
tucky, where his own regiment was recruiting at Camp 
Nelson. There he was glad to meet his old colonel, 
whom he had seen last as he was bearing him from 
the battlefield at Richmond. 

" How are you, Fletcher? " 

The colonel greeted him with a ringing slap upon 
the shoulder and a warm word in his ear. 

340 Pine Knot 

" How are you, colonel ? How did you come 
here ? " 

" I might not have been here but for you. Where 
have you been ? " 

" In Tuscaloosa." 

" Well, you look better fed than some boarders 
from that hotel. Your time expired while you were in 
prison, I suppose you know ; but your pay runs on." 

" I reckon so. And I'm going to enlist again," 

" Of course you are. And in the old regiment." 

" I reckoned it would have been recruited up be- 
fore this time." 

" No, we've been hindered. We had to make the 
regiment over new, and so many men prefer to or- 
ganize new regiments. But we're getting pretty near 
our full strength, and shall move soon. We're camp- 
ing here. We'll take you in, of course." 

" Of course you will." 

" Look here, Fletcher, did you know I recom- 
mended you for promotion ? " 

" No. I've been where news didn't come very fast." 

" Well, it's on record. I'm sorry all the commis- 
sioned offices are taken. Having to get so many men, 
they came in bunches, from abandoned organizations; 
and with what officers they had elected, and what we 
had left over, there are more captains and lieutenants 
than there are places, I hate to see so good a man 
as you carrying a gun." 

" Colonel," said Fletcher, " there is not a man in 
the army too good to be a private." 

" You are right," said the colonel. " I did not 
quite mean what I said. What I should have said 
is, that I am sorry not to be able to place so good a 

With the Rank of Captain 341 

man in a higher position, such as I know you are 
worthy to fill. Perhaps we can get you a brevet rank, 
and something will come of it later. At any rate your 
record is in Washington, and I shall not forget you 
if anything opens." 

" Thank you, colonel, but I am content with mat- 
ters as they are." 

" By the way," said the colonel, " I have been 
carrying a letter for you for a good while. It came 
here and followed our regiment to Fort Donelson and 
Pittsburg Landing, then somehow missed us when we 
came North after Kirby Smith. Finally, it got back 
here again when there was talk of recruiting the regi- 
ment, and when I came it was given to me. I have 
kept it for you." 

It was a dainty little note, black-bordered, quite 
unlike any that Fletcher was accustomed to receive. 
For that matter, he was unaccustomed to much mail. 
He opened it and read Barbara's invitation to him to 
visit Lexington. 

" Colonel," he said, with flushed cheeks, " I want 
to get away for a few days." 

" Very well. Where do you want to go ? Give me 
your address, for I may want to write you." 

" Care of Mr. William Bernaugh, Lexington," said 

" Very well. Don't hurry back if you care to stay. 
I will send you word if the regiment is to move. I'll 
set that down : ' James Fletcher, care of — ' By the 
way, Fletcher, isn't it * Rev. James Fletcher ' ? " 

" I am a minister, sir, but I have dropped my title, 
though I hope not my religion, until after the war." 

" Well, that reminds me. When I said the offices 

342 Pine Knot 

were gone I forgot that of chaplain. Now you know 
as well as I do that some chaplains are good post- 
masters and no more ; and on the other hand, some of 
them are true to the core. Fletcher, I'm going to 
appoint you chaplain, and send for your commission. 
You are to be the regiment's chaplain, sir, with the 
rank of captain." 



James Fletcher rode as far as Lexington, and 
then walked out the pike to the Bernaugh home. He 
had started at once on receiving the message, eager to 
respond to it; yet as he approached the house he felt 
a certain reluctance. He was unused to surroundings 
such as these. Moreover, for what purpose had he 
come? To take advantage of this girl's grief or her 
courtesy and to seek to win her heart against her judg- 
ment? No, he would not. He had received his an- 
swer in good faith ; he would abide by it. The Barbara 
Buzbee of his heart was an ideal against which he 
had striven to measure his performance of duty. The 
Barbara Buzbee whom he was about to see was as 
any other woman to him ; and the Barbara Buzbee of 
his past was dead. So he said to himself. But it is 
easier dealing with a memory that one counts dead 
or with an ideal than with a living woman — or at least 
Fletcher thought so — and he was about to meet Bar- 
bara Buzbee of real life. Just how he should act he 
did not feel sure. 

Slowly he walked up the avenue, stepping aside 
into the blue grass of the lawn to wipe the dust from 
his boots. His uniform, he was glad to remember, 
23 243 

344 Pi'^^ Knot 

though only that of a private, was new, replacing 
the one he had worn out in prison. He would 
have a chaplain's uniform soon ; he almost wished 
he had waited for it. With beating heart, but 
with courage screwed up as when charging a bat- 
tery, he stepped upon the gallery and rang the 

" Ge'man step in ? " asked the colored girl at the 

" Is your master at home ? " asked Fletcher. 

" No, sah ; he done gone to Maws' Estill." 

" Is your young mistress in ? " 

** I ain't right sho. I'll go see." 

Fletcher sat in the high old parlor whose wall paper 
was imported with that which President Jackson 
bought in Paris for the Hermitage. It was all new to 
him and very strange. He wished he had written 
before coming. Who knew whether he would be wel- 
come? He was half resolved to leave his regards and 
go back to Lexington, and then next day back to 

A young lady appeared in the door. 

"Why, Mr. Fletcher! How do you do?" she 

Something familiar in the voice made his heart 

" Miss Barbara," said he, " I am very glad to see 

" Well, Mr. Fletcher ! I'd believe anything rea- 
sonable against you, but not to know your old friends ! 
I wouldn't have believed that." 

" Miss Liberty ! " he exclaimed, " How did you 
come here ? " 

An Ideal and a Reality 345 

" Oh, I rode ! Have I changed so much, Mr. 

" No; it was my stupidity. That is, you have 
changed, but it was not that " 

" Now, I don't think you're getting out of that very 
well. I haven't changed, and I have? No matter. 
You have changed! How fine you look in your uni- 
form ! Stand up, I want to see you ! That will do. No, 
you need not sit so far over there — unless you want to, 
I'm sorry Miss Barbara is not home. But her grand- 
father will be home soon, and he will welcome you." 

Then followed an awkward pause. Fletcher was 
getting his bearings, but Liberty was quite at ease, and 
Fletcher could not make himself believe that she was 
not enjoying his disappointment. He was half angry 
with her, and yet not wholly displeased. At length, 
and with visible efifort, he resumed the conversation : 

" Is — is Miss Barbara far away ? " 

" No ; but she will not be home to-night. She is 
very busy just now. By the way, when did you meet 
Boyd Estill?" 

" I have never met him. I do not know him. Who 
is he?" 

" Miss Barbara's lover." She watched him closely 
as she spoke. It was kinder, she thought, to tell him 
plainly. Perhaps, also, she had other reasons. 

He gave a little start and grew a trifle paler. Then 
he asked, " Does her lover live in Lexington ? " 

" Yes ; that is, Lexington is his home." 

" I knew that she had a lover," said Fletcher 

" You did ? " she asked in surprise. 

" Yes," said he. 

346 Pine Knot 

" How did you know ? " 

" She told me so." 

Liberty wondered how Barbara had told what she 
did not know. In truth it was what she had told, or 
rather what he thought she had told, that had enabled 
him to supplant in his heart the image of the real Bar- 
bara Buzbee and to cherish the ideal for which he 
knew no better name. 

It was something of a shock to Fletcher, to be 
sure, but it was also in part a relief to hear of 
Barbara's lover. He must rename his ideal ; he must 
no longer give it a name that belonged to another 
man's promised wife. It would take an effort, no 
doubt, but he could do it, and he would. He had 
cherished the name, half against his conscience, but 
with the conscious self-delusion that he might have 
misunderstood. There was no longer ground for a 
misunderstanding, and while he sighed, it was in part a 
sigh of relief. Now his duty was clear. 

All these things James Fletcher thought in a half 
minute. Then he said : 

" Miss Barbara's lover is to be congratulated. I 
have the highest respect for her, and sincerely wish 
her and her lover joy." 

Liberty watched Fletcher with a close scrutiny 
which veiled itself in a careless manner. She was 
enjoying the opportunity of telling this man who had 
once passed her for another, that he in turn was sup- 
planted. But her manner changed at his last word. 
She had not the heart to torture a man who met his 
fate so bravely. And then she remembered Boyd, and 
her former question how he had come to know 

An Ideal and a Reality 347 

" There is something strange about this," said Lib- 
erty. " Mr. Estill certainly knows you, and has met 
you somewhere." 

" I am sure I do not remember him. Where have 
we met ? " 

" I don't know. He is a Confederate captain." 

" I hope it was not on the battlefield," said 
Fletcher. " I should be sorry to do anything against 
Miss Barbara's lover." 

" He has done something to you, whether good or 
bad I do not know. But it is on his mind, and troubles 
him, and Barbara too." 

"Where is he?" 

" At his father's home, on the next plantation. You 
are not bound to capture him if I tell you, are you ? " 

" Hardly ; and perhaps, if capture were in order, 
he might capture me." 

" No danger of that," said Liberty sadly. " He is 
very sick." 

" I am sorry, but I do not remember him. I hope 
he is not seriously ill? " 

" We hope not. But he has delirium, and there is 
something on his mind. I am not sure but your com- 
ing is just what he will need. Here comes Mr. Ber- 
naugh. — O grandpa ! " she cried, and the name showed 
how she had grown into the life of the home. " Come 
in at once ! " 

Mr. Bernaugh entered the parlor. 

" This is my friend Mr. Fletcher— Barbara's friend, 

" Mr. James Fletcher? " asked Mr. Bernaugh, seiz- 
ing his hand eagerly. 

" Yes, sir." 

348 Pine Knot 

" Sit down, Mr. Fletcher. You are very welcome, 
sir. You are welcome as a friend of my girls here, 
and welcome for the cause you represent — though 
many of my friends wear gray, sir, many of them. It 
is hard lines for us conservative old folks, sir. But 
you are most of all welcome just now if you can help 
us with our sick boy. Tell me, sir — you are- a man 
of honor — did Captain Boyd Estill ever harm you or 
do a dishonorable thing to you? " 

" Never, to my knowledge," said Fletcher. 

"What did he do?" 

" I do not remember ever meeting him." 

" That is strange. He talks of you constantly." 

" Mr. Fletcher," asked Liberty, " have you been 
in prison? " 

" Yes — in Tuscaloosa." 

" When did you get out ? " 

" Two months ago — in April." 

" That was while Boyd was there," said Mr. Ber- 
naugh with relief. 

" Perhaps," said Fletcher, " it will be as well for 
you to tell me more about him. How does he talk? 
He is delirious, and talks of me ? " 

" Yes, sir. He seems in his delirium to consider 
you a rival for the afifections of Miss Barbara, sir. I 
am right in supposing him to be wrong in this ? " 

" Entirely so, sir," said Fletcher with a frankness 
that surprised himself. 

" Pardon the directness of my question, sir. I have 
no wish to intrude, but you understand matters are of 
such a nature that frankness is necessary." 

" I am entirely willing to tell you," said Fletcher. 
" I have the highest regard for Miss Barbara. I do 

An Ideal and a Reality 349 

not deny that at one time I cherished a hope that she 
would regard me favorably, but we are simply friends, 
and have been so for nearly two years. If — if I have 
ever hoped that she would change toward me, the hope 
has been my own. She has never encouraged it, and 
I am still and only her friend, with best wishes for her 

" I am glad to hear you say so, sir," said Mr. Ber- 
naugh. Fletcher was surprised to find himself glad 
also, and for some reason he was conscious all the 
while that he was the more glad to have Liberty hear 

" Mr. Estill," said Mr. Bemaugh, " is a lifelong 
friend of our family, as his parents and grandparents 
have been before him. He and Barbara have been 
friends and lovers from childhood. You will under- 
stand me when I say that, while I have learned through 
an experience that has cost me years of sorrow not 
to interfere with other people's love affairs, it would 
be a bitter disappointment if through death or dis- 
agreement any change came about in this matter. I 
make this explanation as a partial apology for ques- 
tioning you on the threshold of my home." 

" I understand you, sir," said Fletcher. 

" But you will understand that my reason, after all, 
for so discourteous a proceeding is my anxiety for this 
young man's life — and honor, sir." 

" Do not apologize, sir," said Fletcher. " Ask me 
anything ; or better — since as yet I have no clew to the 
situation — tell me how Mr. Estill talks of me." 

" He was guard officer at the prison in April," 
said Liberty, " and I think he must have been in doubt 
whether to send up your name for exchange or not. 

350 Pine Knot 

He was much run down after a hard campaign, and 
on the verge of this terrible fever, and I think he had 
a struggle over your name. Did you know nothing 
of it?" 

" Nothing," said Fletcher, " but I begin to under- 

** A very hard feature of it, sir, both for his father 
and for me," said Bernaugh, " is that sometimes he 
believes himself to have left you there, a victim of his 
jealousy. Of course we did not know the facts " 

" But we knew he was the soul of honor," said 

" Yes, sir, we knew it," said Mr. Bernaugh, reach- 
ing for his handkerchief, " but when we heard him 
reproaching himself and suffering remorse — anything 

that touches the honor of my family, sir — any " 

The old man sobbed. 

" Let me hasten to confirm your assurance of his 
honor," said Fletcher. " What you say convinces me 
that I am indebted to him for my freedom. If he did 
this believing that I was his rival, he has shown him- 
self a man of the purest honor." 

" Come ! " said Mr. Bernaugh. " We must go 
over ! — Liberty ! Call the carriage. Where are all 
those lazy niggers? — Here you, Bill! You have the 
carriage here in half a minute, you no 'count nigger, 
or I'll wear you out! — Come, sir! — Come, Liberty! 
We must go over ! " 

The carriage was at the door, and Fletcher and Mr. 
Bernaugh were seated within. 

"To Mr. Estill's!" shouted Bernaugh; "and if 
you let the horses stop to graze along the pike, 
I'll — " But the driver understood the spirit of his 

An Ideal and a Reality 351 

order, and the horses were already tearing down the 

What had he done? Fletcher asked himself as the 
carriage whirled along the pike. He had renounced 
Barbara sight unseen. He had come here hoping to 
marry Barbara — yes, he might -as well admit it now. 
That little note had stirred his heart to its depths. He 
had come denying it to himself all the way, but hop- 
ing against his own acknowledgment to himself that 
Barbara had relented. And now, on the very thresh- 
old, and before he had seen her face, he had disclaimed 
her, and conceded the right of a rival. Yet he felt 
strangely at peace with himself, and wishing, in a 
wholly unaccountable way, that Liberty had driven 
over with them. 

" You're a godsend, sir, a special providence," said 
Mr. Bernaugh, who had been talking all the way. 
" You are the very man to save Boyd's life, and re- 
store happiness to our two homes. No man can im- 
agine the agony, yes, sir, the agony, in which I have 
lived. — Bill, you black rascal, if you don't keep those 
horses moving! — Why, sir, I knew that Boyd Estill 
would never do a mean thing, but to hear him confess 
it, sir, to hear him confess it in his delirium — good 
Lord ! It was agony, sir, it was agony ! If any other 
man had said it, I'd have challenged him at six paces, 
sir, old as I am! But to hear him say it, and to be 
unable to disprove it — ! My family, sir, has an 
honorable record far back into Old V'giny, and the 
same of Mr. Estill's! It runs in the blood! Hot- 
headed and high strung — yes, sir ; I know our faults ! 
But honor, sir, honor! And anything that touches 
the honor of my family — ! God bless you, sir! 

352 Pine Knot 

You've saved his life, I know, and the happiness of 
all of us ! " 

This was confusing to Fletcher in a way, but one 
thing he saw as clearly as he ever saw it through the 
battle smoke — his present duty. He might regret 
afterward that he had spoken so quickly, so irrevoca- 
bly. He might see that he had done wrong not to 
make more clear the intensity of his love for Barbara. 
He might long afterward for her whom he had so 
readily given over to another, but to-day, and now, he 
had but one duty, and that was to stand squarely by 
what he had done, and by all honorable means strive 
for the happiness of Barbara and Boyd. 

" God help me," said the old man, when the car- 
riage stopped, " I'm all unnerved ! I can't go in 
now ! " 

" Leave it to me," said Fletcher calmly. " Wait 
for me here in the porch." 

" Yes, yes ! You go in ! — Here, you young nig- 
ger — you, what's your name? — you show Maw'sr 
Fletcher up to Maw'sr Boyd's room I " 

Barbara sai, pale but calm, beside the bed of Boyd 
Estill. The sick man, roused from a troubled sleep, 
gave a moan, and muttered in his delirium : 

" It's an awful place, that prison ! He's starving 
there ! He's dead by this time ! No, he isn't ! He's 
out! I let him out! I wrote his name on the ex- 
change list ! I can see it now, James Fletcher I And 
he'll marry Barbara! No, he shall not! I'll see him 
die there first ! Who's going to know it, anyhow ? " 

And so, as for days past, he fought over again 
the battle he had so bravely won in his night strug- 

An Ideal and a Reality 353 

The door opened, and James Fletcher entered. 
Barbara started. Boyd shrieked. 

" There he is ! " he cried. " I killed him ! " 

Fletcher passed straight past Barbara and went to 
the bedside. Experience in sickness such as this made 
him master of the situation. 

" Be still, Boyd," he said calmly. " You did not 
kill me. You saved my life." 

" I know you ! I know you ! " cried Boyd. " I 
saw you march to the train ! You've come to marry 
Barbara ! " 

" You are mistaken again," said Fletcher. " I've 
come to marry you to Barbara. I'm a preacher, you 
know, a chaplain. You let me out, and they have 
promoted me. But you are too tired to-night. You 
must rest now." 

Barbara started and looked up at Fletcher, and 
then down at Boyd. She turned pale and then flushed, 
and then she wondered if she was in a dream. Where 
had he come from? How did he know? What had 
changed him? She could not answer, but her eyes 
met those of Fletcher, and she saw in them assurance 
and strength of purpose. She trusted him and ac- 
cepted her own part. 

" You're a spirit ! " cried Boyd. " You're the man 
I murdered ! " 

" I'm the man you saved," said Fletcher calmly ; 
" and I'm here to marry you to Barbara. Rest now, 
for we shall have a fine wedding, and you are tired." 

The sick man argued it over and over, but with 
diminishing vigor. Fletcher's calmness reassured him 
at length. 

"Is this true, Barbara?" he asked. 

354 Pij^6 Knot 

" Yes," said Barbara. " It is true. And you must 
rest now, and get ready for the wedding," 

All that night Barbara and Fletcher watched beside 
him. A score of times they told him the same story. 
As often they denied that Boyd had killed his rival. 
As morning drew near, Boyd fell sound asleep, and 
Fletcher motioned Barbara to the couch in the corner, 
where she lay down ; and James Fletcher alone watched 
the night die out and the dawn come in. When Boyd 
awoke after a rest of four hours he was in his right 

" Then it was not a dream," said he. " Thank 

" No," said Fletcher, " it is all true. Drink this 
beef tea now, and go to sleep again ; for before I go 
back to camp I must marry you to Barbara." 

They were anxious days that followed, and the 
delirium returned often, but Fletcher's presence and 
Barbara's assurance came to have a charm that quieted 
even his wildest ravings ; and when, after a week of 
constant watching, the fever abated, the pale, weak 
man clasped Fletcher's strong hand in his own thin 
white one and said : 

" Thank you, chaplain. I reckon you've pulled me 

Fletcher held the sick man's hand in his own firm 
grasp and looked Boyd in the face. " Yes," said he, 
" you will recover, and I shall marry you to Barbara. 
And you are worthy of her, Boyd ! God bless you ! " 

He took Barbara's hand and stood for a moment 
holding a hand of each. Then he placed their hands 
in each other's. 

Barbara stooped and kissed Boyd's white forehead. 

An Ideal and a Reality 355 

Boyd raised his weak arm, and drew her face down 
upon his own. They forgot Fletcher, and when they 
looked up he had gone. They were sitting hand in 
hand, Boyd half propped with pillows and Barbara 
close beside him when Liberty entered. 

" Don't go. Liberty," called Barbara, as she started 
back ; " you are not intruding." 

" I don't reckon you need me," said Liberty. 
" You all look right happy by yourselves." 

" We are so happy, so happy ! " said Barbara. 

"What about Mr. Jim Fletcher?" asked Liberty, 
a little maliciously. 

" He's a hero ! " said Boyd. " He's saved my 

" I reckon he has," said Liberty quietly. 

" It is just like him," said Barbara, " and we are so 
happy ! " 

" So I see," said Liberty, " and now what's going 
to become of the preacher? " 

" Is he in any danger? " asked Boyd. 

" Oh, I reckon not. Only I was thinking you all 
are so happy you don't seem to consider how hard it's 
been for him." 

" I have not forgotten it," said Boyd. 

" Liberty," said Barbara, " I have an idea that the 
preacher will not suffer." 

" What do you mean ? " asked Liberty, flushing. 

" Oh, nothing," laughed Barbara. 

" I don't see the joke," said Boyd. 

" There is no joke," said Liberty. " You ought to 
be ashamed, Barbara. He's broken his heart for you, 
and you all are too happy all by yourselves to appre- 
ciate it." 

356 Pine Knot 

Boyd looked troubled. Liberty sat grave and 
flushed. Barbara hesitated for a moment, and then, 
breaking into a laugh, danced over to Liberty, and 
seizing her hands, half forced her from her seat as she 
tripped around humming : 

" I'll get another one, skip-t*-m'-Ioo, 
I'll get another one, skip-t'-m'-loo, 
I'll get another one, prettier, too, 
Skip-t'-m'-loo, my darling ! " 

But Liberty broke from her and ran from the room. 

There were weeks of careful nursing still in store 
for Boyd, and Liberty shared with Barbara the fatigues 
of those days and nights, 

Fletcher was constantly at hand, and the relation 
between him and Boyd grew to be a very warm one. 
As Boyd grew better and needed less constant care, 
he and Barbara were left more together ; and then 
Fletcher would gladly have been more with Liberty. 
He did not admit that he loved her ; he loved an ideal 
only, and that had lost its name ; but Liberty had cer- 
tainly developed into a very attractive young woman, 
and Fletcher rather longed for her society. But Lib- 
erty rather avoided him, and, except for the care of 
Boyd, they saw less of each other than he could have 
thought possible. The two old men were always at 
hand, too, and what with their desire to show Fletcher 
the farms, and to have him try the best saddle horses 
for the sake of the fresh air, and his own occasional 
errands to Lexington for news of the war. Liberty 
might almost as well have been at No Bus'ness. 

All this time the movements of armies went on. 
Grant was sawing the Confederacy in twain along the 
Mississippi's length, and was tightening his grip on 

An Ideal and a Reality 357 

Vicksburg, and Lee was crossing Mason and Dixon's 
line and invading Pennsylvania. 

June passed away and July came in, and day by 
day the patient improved. And as his strength grew 
they planned together for the wedding, which all agreed 
must occur before Fletcher went back. As his leave 
was uncertain, the two old men went to Lexington 
one Saturday in the beginning of July and obtained 
a marriage license, to be kept till Boyd was stronger 
if possible, but to be used on any day when Fletcher 
found that he must go. 

The next day Fletcher walked with Liberty in the 
orchard toward the pike. It was a hot day, and the 
shade was attractive, and they strolled among the trees 
testing the first ripe harvest sweets and the Carolina 
Junes. It was Fletcher's first real visit with Liberty, 
and he had no mind to shorten it. 

" You look very fine in that chaplain's coat," said 

" And you in that lovely white dress and sunbon- 
net," said he. 

" Oh, thank you ! " she said demurely. " A chap- 
lain should not flatter." 

" I mean it," said he. 

" Do you really like it ? " she asked, standing oflf 
a little and making a courtesy. 

" Yes ; both the dress and you." 

" Oh, shame on you for talking to me so ! And 
Sunday, too." 

" Is that a wrong thing to say on Sunday ? " 

" Not if — You didn't know me the day you came, 
did you? I don't think you were so very glad to 
see me." 

358 Pine Knot 

James Fletcher looked at her. The ideal was still 
in his heart, but an ideal picture is sometimes of the 
decalcomania sort, and capable of transfer. He 
looked again at the pretty, coquettish, plucky little 
woman, and wondered, as during the past weeks he 
had wondered a thousand times, how he had ever 
preached at the face under her white sunbonnet and 
had not seen her beauty as he now saw it. Often of 
late he had thought of renaming his ideal, but had 
stopped when he remembered that Liberty with her 
gayety and coquettish ways was perhaps unsuited to be 
the wife of a minister, or again when he had doubted 
whether in her fine clothes and new surroundings she 
would listen to him. But he looked at her to-day, 
straight through the picture of the ideal, and lo! like 
a dissolving view it took new features, and when he 
sought for the name, it was already named. 

" Are you preparing a sermon ? " she asked in an- 
swer to his stare. 

" It is prepared," said he. " I am about to 
preach it." 

" It is Sunday ; that's a fact. I hope the sermon is 
not long? Where shall I sit? I mustn't get grass 
stains on my new white mull dress ! " 

" Stand, then, if you prefer." 

" Very well. Begin. Is your introduction like 
Preacher Taulbee's, * My dear beloved fr ' " 

" Yes, that is it." 

" ' — iends and neighbors and neighbors' children 
and dying congregation,' " continued Liberty, imitat- 
ing the tone of Mr, Taulbee. 

" You saucy girl ! " said he. " I'm tempted to box 
your ears." 

An Ideal and a Reality 359 

" You can't ! " said she. " I'll pull my sunbonnet 
over them, so." 

There is a point beyond which it is not safe to 
tease a man. The white sunbonnet is by nature the 
most tempting bit of headgear that woman can de- 
vise ; to pass it in all its crisp, white loveliness and not 
peep within is at any time an exercise fit for the pen- 
ance of an anchorite; to see it with a face like Lib- 
erty's peeping out, so maliciously tempting, so de- 
fiantly inviting, was too much for James Fletcher. A 
moment he looked, and then he had her in his arms 
and was kissing her under the sunbonnet with the 
most reckless disregard of its starched frills. 

A full minute he held her so, and then looking 
down, his eyes met hers under the sunbonnet. 

" This isn't very proper for a preacher," said she. 

" I will begin my sermon," said he. " ' My dearly 
beloved ' " 

" I thought you loved Barbara," she added ma- 

" I thought so, too," said he. 

" Are you sure, very sure, you don't love her still ? " 
she asked, 

" I am sure that I love you, truly, and with all my 
heart," said he. " Do you love rae. Liberty ? " 

" You're crushing my dress," said she, " and my 
bonnet is all out of shape." 

He released her, and then deliberately kissed her 

" I like the bonnet better so," said he. " I love 
you. Liberty." 

" I love you, too," she answered, " and the bonnet 
will wash." 

360 Pine Knot 

For half an hour they wandered in the orchard, 
making more real the joy that had come to them both. 
A little cloud of dust far down the limestone pike 
drew their attention. Out of it emerged a horseman 
in the uniform of a Union orderly. 

" Let us go to the fence, and meet him," said 
Fletcher. " He must bring news." 

The orderly drew up at the fence, his horse wet 
and dusty, and saluting, asked, " Is this Chaplain 

" It is," said Fletcher. " Have you orders for 

" Yes, sir. The regiment is to march on Tuesday. 
There's important news, sir." 

" Tell us quickly," said Fletcher. 

" General Lee has been defeated at Gettysburg, sir ; 
and General Pemberton has surrendered Vicksburg to 
General Grant ! Good day, sir ! " 

" Good day." 

They stood watching him as his horse sped away 
back along the pike toward Lexington. 

" This settles the question of the war, thank God ! " 
said Fletcher. " It may end soon or late, but this day 
decides it, and the Union is saved." 

" We must go to the house and tell them," said 

" We have several things to tell them," said 
Fletcher. " Come, let us go." 



The Last Lady of Mulberry. 

A Story of Italian New York. By Henry Wil- 
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♦* By far the most complete and satisfying description that 
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"Taken altogether, 'The Sun of Saratoga' is the best historical novel of 
American origin that has been written for years, if not, indeed, in a fresh, 
simple, unpretending, unlabored, manly way, that we have ever read." — New 
York Mail and Express. 

" A sprightly and spirited romance gracefully written in a crisp, fresh style 
that is simply delightful to read." — Philadelphia Press. 



Each, illustrated, I2mo, cloth, $1.50, 

The Story of the Railroad. 

By Cy Warm AN, author of "The Express Messenger," etc. 
With Maps and many Illustrations by B. West Clinedinst and 
from photographs. 

"As we understand it, the editor's ruling idea in this series has not been 
to present chronology or statistics or set essays on the social and political de- 
velopment of the great West, but to give to us vivid pictures of the life and the 
times in the period of great development, and to let us see the men at their 
work, their characters, and their motives. The choice of an author has been 
fortunate. In Mr. Warman's boolc we are kept constantly reminded of the 
fortitude, the suffering, the enterprise, and the endurance of the pioneers." — 
The Railroad Gazette. 

The Story of the Cowboy. 

By E. Hough, author of "The Singing Mouse Stories," etc. 
Illustrated by William L. Wells and C. M. Russell. 

" Mr. Hough is to be thanked for having written so excellent a book. 
The cowboy story, as this author has told it, will be the cowboy's fitting 
eulogy. This volume will be consulted in years to come as an authority on past 
conditions of the far West. For fine literary work the author is to be highly 
complimented. Here, certainly, we have a choice piece of writing." — Ne-w 
York Times. 

The Story of the Mine. 

As illustrated by the Great Comstock Lode of Nevada. By 
Charles Howard Shinn. 

"The author has written a book not alone full of information, but replete 
with the true romance of the American mine." — Ne-w Tori Times. 

The Story of the Indian. 

By George Bird Grinnell, author of " Pawnee Hero Stories," 
*♦ Blackfoot Lodge Tales," etc. 

"Only an author qualified by personal experience could offer us a profitable 
study of a race so alien from our own as is the Indian in thought, feeling, and 
culture. Only long association with Indians can enable a white man measur- 
ably to comprehend their thoughts and enter into their feelings. Such asso- 
ciation has been Mr. Grinnell's." — Neiv York Sun. 



The Spanish Teacher and Colloquial Phrase 

An Easy and Agreeable Method of Acquiring a Speaking Knowl- 
edge of the Spanish Language. By Francis Butler, Teacher 
and Translator of Languages. New edition, revised and ar- 
ranged according to the Rules of the Spanish Academy, by 
Herman Ritter. i 8mo. Cloth, 50 cents. 

The large sale and continued popularity of this work attest its 

The Spanish Phrase Book ; 

Or, Key to Spanish Conversation. Containing the Chief Idioms 
of the Spanish Language, with the Conjugations of the Auxiliary 
and Regular Verbs. On the plan of the late Abbe Bossut. 
By E. M. DE Belem, Teacher of Languages. 1 8mo. Cloth, 
30 cents. 

This little book contains nearly eight hundred sentences and 
dialogues on all common occurrences. It has been the aim 
of the compiler to insert nothing but what will really meet the 
€ar of every one who visits Spain or associates with Spaniards. 

A Grammar of the Spanish Language. 

With a History of the Language and Practical Exercises. By 
M. ScHELE DE Vere, of the University of Virginia. i2mo. 
Cloth, ^i.oo. 

This book is the result of many years' experience in teaching 
Spanish in the University of Virginia. It contains more of the 
etymology and history of the Spanish language than is usually 
contained in a grammar. 



The White Terror. 

A Romance. Translated from the Provencal by Mrs. 
Catharine A. Janvier. Uniform with " The Reds of the 
Midi" and "The Terror." i6mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

" No one has done this kind of work with finer poetic grrasp or more 
convincing truthfulness than F6Hx Gras. . . . This new volume has the 
spontaneity, the vividness, the intensity of Interest of a great historical 
romance. " — Philadelphia Times. 

The Terror. 

A Romance of the French Revolution. Uniform with 
"The Reds of the Midi." Translated by Mrs. Catharine 
A. Janvier. i6mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

" If Felix Gras had never done any other work than this novel, it would 
at once give him a place in the front rank of the writers of to-day. . . . ' The 
Terror ' is a story that deserves to be widely read, for, while it is of thrilling 
interest, holding the reader's attention closely, there is about it a literary 
quality that makes it worthy of something more than a careless perusal." — 
Brooklyn Eagle. 

The Reds of the Midi. 

An episode of the French Revolution, Translated from 
the Provengal by Mrs. Catharine A. Janvier. With an 
Introduction by Thomas A. Janvier. "With Frontispiece. 
i6mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

"I have read with great and sustained interest 'The Reds of the 
South,' which you were good enough to present to me. Though a work of 
fiction, it aims at painting the historical features, and such works if faith- 
fully executed throw more light than many so-called histories on the true 
roots and causes of the Revolution, which are so widely and so gravely mis- 
understood. As a novel it seems to me to be written with great skill." — 
William E. Gladstone. 



Each, i2taOf cloth, $1.50. Uniform Edition. 

Some Women I have Known. {Nearly ready) 

" Maarten Maartens is one of the best novel writers of this or 
any day." — Chicago Times-Herald. 

" Maarten Maartens stands head and shoulders above the 
average novelist of the day in intellectual subtlety and imaginative 
power." — Boston Beacon. 

Her Memory. With Photogravure Portrait. 

" Maarten Maartens took us all by storm some time ago with 
his fine story christened ' God's Fool.' He established himself 
at once in our affections as a unique creature who had something 
to say and knew how to say it in the most fascinating way. He is 
a serious story writer, who sprang into prominence when he first 
put his pen to paper, and who has ever since kept his work up to 
the standard of excellence which he raised in the beginning." — 
New York Herald. 

The Greater Glory. A Story of High Life. 

"It would take several columns to give any adequate idea of 
the superb way in which the Dutch novelist has developed his 
theme and wrought out one of the most impressive stories of the 
period. ... It belongs to the small class of novels which one 
can not afford to neglect. " — San Francisco Chronicle. 

God's Fool. 

"Throughout there is an epigrammatic force which would 
make palatable a less interesting story of human lives or one less 
deftly told." — London Saturday Review. 

Joost Avelingh. 

" Aside from the masterly handling of the principal characters 
and general interest in the story, the series of pictures of Dutch 
life give the book a charm peculiarly its own." — New York 



History of the People of the United 


By Prof. John Bach McMaster. Vols. I, II, III, 

IV, and V now ready. 8vo. Cloth, with Maps, 

^2.50 per volume. 

The fifth volume covers the time of the administrations of 
John Quincy Adams and Andrevs^ Jackson, and describes the 
development of the democratic spirit, the manifestations of new 
interest in social problems, and the various conditions and plans 
presented between 1821 and 1830. Many of the subjects in- 
cluded have necessitated years of first-hand investigations, and 
are now treated adequately for the first time. 

" John Bach McMaster needs no introduction, but only a greeting. . . . 
The appearance of this fifth volume is an event in American literature 
second to none in importance this season." — New York Times. 

"This volume contains 576 pages, and every page is worth reading. 
The author has ransacked a thousand new sources of information, and has 
found a wealth of new details throwing light upon all the private and public 
activities of the American people of three quarters of a century ago." — 
Chicago Tribune. 

" In the fifth volume Professor McMaster has kept up to the high standard 
he set for himself in the previous numbers. It is hard to realize thoroughly 
the amount of detailed work necessary to produce these books, which con- 
tain the best history of our country that has yet been published." — Philadel- 
phia Telegraph. 

"The first installment of the history came as a pleasant surprise, and 
the later volumes have maintained a high standard in regard to research 
and style of treatment." — New York Critic. 

' ' A monumental work. . . . Professor McMaster gives on every page 
ample evidence of exhaustive research for his facts." — Rochester Herald. 

" The reader can not fail to be impressed by the wealth of material out 
of which the author has weighed and condensed and arranged his matter." 
— Detroit Free Press. 

" Professor McMaster is our most popular historian. . . . He never 
wearies, even when dealing with subjects that would be most wearisome 
under clumsier handling. This fifth volume is the most triumphant evi- 
dence of his art." — New York Herald. 



The International Geography. 

By Seventy Authors, including Right Hon. James 
Bryce, Sir W. M. Conway, Prof. W. M. Davis, Prof. 

Angelo Heilprin, Prof. Fridtjof Nansen, Dr. J. Scott 

Keltie, and F. C. Selous. With 488 Illustrations. 

Edited by Hugh Robert Mill, D. Sc. 8vo. 1088 
pages. Cloth, $3.50. 

" Can unhesitatingly be given the first place among publications of 
its kind in the English language. ... An inspection of the list of asso- 
ciate authors leads readily to the conclusion that no single volume in 
recent scientific literature embodies, in original contributions, the labor 
of so many eminent specialists as this one. . . . The book should find 
a place in every library, public or private, that contains an atlas or 
gazetteer." — The Nation. 

" The attempt to present in one volume an authoritative modern 
summary of the whole of geography as fully as space would permit has 
been admirably successful." — New York Sun. 

" In brief, it may be said to be both a reference book and a con- 
nected geographical history of the modern world, something that any 
one can read with profit in addition to finding it of constant value in 
his library." — Chicago Evening Post, 

" In his entirely studious moments the geographer cherishes above 
all things facts and accuracy. He must, therefore, value very highly 
a work like the ' International Geography.' It should be precious alike 
to the specialist and to the beginner. . . . Small but adequate maps are 
constantly introduced, and there is, finally, a splendid index." — New 
York Tribune. 

"Simply invaluable to students, teachers, and others in need of 
such a book of reference." — IVashington Times. 

" Not only as complete as the limits would allow, but is strictly 
up to date." — San Francisco y4rgonaut. 


A History of American Privateers. 

By Edgar Stanton Maclay, A. M., author of "A History of 
the United States Navy." Uniform with ♦* A History of the 
United States Navy." One volume. Illustrated. 8vo. Cloth, 

After several years of research the distinguished historian of American sea power 
presents the first comprehensive account of one of the most picturesque and absorb- 
ing phases of our maritime warfare. The importance of the theme is indicated 
by the fact that the value of prizes and cargoes taken by privateers in the Revo- 
lution was three times that of the prizes and cargoes taken by naval vessels, 
while in the War of 1812 we had 517 privateers and only 13 vessels in our 
navy. The intimate connection between privateers and the navy, the former 
serving often as a training school for the latter, is brought out in the author's 
narrative. From forgotten monographs, the records of historical societies, from 
unpublished log books, and from descendants of noted privateersmen, he has 
obtained intimate and vivid accounts of the fitting out of the vessels, the 
incidents of their voyages, and the thrilling adventures of the brave sailors who 
manned them. Mr. Maclay's romantic tale is accompanied by reproductions of 
contemporary pictures, portraits, and documents, and also by illustrations by 
Mr. George Gibbs. 

A History of the United States Navy, from 
1775 to 1898. 

By Edgar Stanton Maclay, A. M. With Technical Revision 
by Lieutenant Roy C. Smith, U. S. N. New edition, revised 
and enlarged, with new chapters and several new Illustrations. 
In two volumes, 8vo. Per volume, cloth, $3.50. 

TAis ivork has been adopted as the Text-Book upon United States Naval 
History in the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. 

The Private Journal of William Maclay, 

United States Senator from Pennsylvania, 1 789-1 791. With 
Portrait from Original Miniature. Edited by Edgar S. Maclay, 
A.M. Large 8 vo. Cloth, ;^2. 25. 

During his two years in the Senate William Maclay kept a journal of his 
own in which he minutely recorded the transactions of each day. This record 
throws a flood of light on the doings of our first legislators.