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faces of both as white and unseeing as the It was the babe, a beautiful little girl, dead.

with big, gray eyes like Nucky's and Thereafter Nucky spent every possible Blant's, and such a tiny, white face, and moment with his brothers in the jail, and so pathetic and patient a smile, that Miss several times Miss Loring stopped in with Loring's heart was wrung within her. him. Blant's anguish was terrible to see. “Seem' like it 'll pine to death if it don't In vain Nucky and Miss Loring, Ezry get to see Blant,” explained Nucky; "so I and the other prisoners, and even the jail- brung it over." keeper, argued with him and tried to con- "Please bring it back to spend the night vince him he should not reproach himself with me!" implored Miss Loring. so bitterly or give way to such utter de- But Blant would by no means consent spair and grief. His one reply was: “I to this; not for an instant should it depart have killed my best friend. My heart is from his arms during the time it had to broke'. Life has no more charms for me. stay. Nucky reported afterward: "It just I hope to God the law will kill me and grabbed aholt of him the minute it seed put me out of my misery.” The strange him, and laid its head on his breast, and fact also developed that he had had a fore- would n't turn him a-loose even to eat or warning of Rich's death. For three con- sleep. All the other boys tried to get it to secutive days before Old Christmas, once come to them, but it would n't go even to when he was riving boards for the roof, Ezry. And Blant he set up and helt it in once when he was climbing the mountain his arms all night.” in search of a lost cow, once when he was The process of separating the babe from sitting with the babe in his arms before Blant next day was such a painful one that the fire, he had had visions of Rich stand- there was not a dry eye in the jail. ing beside him, headless; and so strong Court was not to sit until the middle of had been the impression that he had told March, when the trial of Blant and Ezry Rich the first thing when they met Christ- would come off. Of course Ezry would mas morning, and had warned him to be acquitted, -"contempt" was nothing, be specially careful what he did that - and at first it was hoped that Blant day.

would be acquitted, too, the absence of For weeks he was thus inconsolable and intention in his killing of Rich was so desperate. The first relief came one Sat- patent, and his grief so cruel and overurday when Nucky and Miss Loring were whelming a punishment in itself. But as at the jail. A neighbor from over on the weeks passed on there was a growing Trigger stopped his nag at the jail win- sentiment among the solid men of the dow, and told Blant, through the bars, county that a short penitentiary sentence that "the babe just whimped and cried in his case would be a very good thing, day and night for him, and could n't be and would make all the young men in the pacified noway.” At this Blant laid his region more careful with their guns in the head on the table where the other prison- future. Of course if Blant had killed a ers were playing cards and wept, the first Cheever, it would not be so imperative for tears he had shed, and they seemed to the law to step in,- the Cheevers were wash away some of his burden. A day or perfectly able to attend to their own aftwo later, a message came from Powder- fairs, but this thing of shooting wild and horn which should certainly have com- killing the wrong man was a menace to forted him some: Mrs. Tarrant, Rich's the whole community, and ought not to mother, sent word to him that though he go unpunished. Also, Kent County was, had “darkened the light of the sunball” and prided itself on being, more law-abidfor her, she freely forgave him.

ing than Boyne; and this chance to make The following Friday, Nucky asked an object-lesson of a Boyne boy was not to and received permission to make a visit be overlooked. home over the week-end; and the next These various rumors as to public opinafternoon Miss Loring was surprised to ion were carried to Blant by passers-by, see him out in the road in front of the cot- callers, and the jail-keeper himself; while tage, on his paw's nag, with a small bun- from Trigger came more and more disdle carried very carefully on one arm. tressing news every day. The Cheevers, This he unwrapped to show Miss Loring. taking advantage of the situation, were


marauding, shooting hogs, burning fodder- happens, and however well I like you, stacks, etc. Mr. Marrs was worn out and law is law, and I 'm obligated by my distracted in his mind by the unaccus- oath, and aimin' to do my whole duty. tomed load of cares, and as for the babe, I really think a heap of you, Blant, and its grief was working on it to a dangerous I'd hate right smart to have to kill extent. “It 's fairly pindling away,”. you." "Nothing but a pitiful little passel of One Tuesday morning early in March, bones," "Some days don't touch ary mor- Miss Loring started down to the village sel of victuals," "Favors a little picked post-office. When she reached that place bird," "Aiming to die if he don't get back in the road where it was necessary to walk to it soon,” were successive messages that the fence some distance on account of the reached the jail.

frightful mud-holes, she was surprised and The situation was freely discussed by delighted to see that a gang of men were Blant and Ezry and the other prisoners, working the road, and to recognize in mostly nice boys, arrested for only slight them Blant and Ezry and the other prisoffenses, such as moonshining and cele- oners. They were picking the shale from brating Christmas too enthusiastically, and the mountain-side, and shoveling it into by the jail-keeper; and one day Blant ex- the bottomless holes. All appeared happy pressed his mind as follows:

to feel the warm sunshine and breathe the “Yes, I don't know as I like the notion fresh air again, and worked with a will, of going down there to Frankfort very talking merrily with chance passers-by, well. If the law would just hang me, the keeper, who leaned on his rifle, enterI'd feel better. But I reckon there ain't ing amiably into the conversation. Miss no hopes of that; I ought to have recol- Loring was relieved to see Blant's face relected the prejudice they got again' hang- laxed and almost cheerful, and to know ing in this country. The way I look at it, that time was in a measure healing his a life for a life is just common justice.

She hoped that the last news she But what good or justice it will do any- had had from Trigger— that the babe was body to coop me up in Frankfort for a nothing but a feather and would soon couple of year' or more when I 'm so bad' blow away–had not reached him. needed at home, I fail to see.

Here I am,

The two succeeding days the cottage with a living to make for the folks, and boys made every excuse to go up the road the outdacious maneuvers of the Cheevers and exchange words with the road-gang. to keep down, and the babe to raise, - you By great good fortune, Nucky had the might say with my hands running-over kitchen-job, and, running errands for the full, -and now they aim to shut me up housekeeper to and from the village, had where I can't do none of it! It ain't rea- frequent chances to see his big brothers. sonable. Now, if they was to send me off Friday noon he brought word that the to the Philippynes or somewheres to fight mud-holes were filled, and the boys were for 'em, I could see some sense in that, now preparing to blast out rock and widen because then I'd do 'em a heap of good. the road at a point still nearer the school. But just to shut me up where I can't never All that afternoon heavy detonations rent see no sunshine, or do nothing but set and the air, and puffs of smoke were visible think, why, seems like it 's more than I from the school-garden, where it was alwant to face."

most impossible for Miss Loring to keep “You ought to have thought of that her boys at work. sooner," admonished the keeper. "You Saturday, too, the blasting continued at done a mighty near-sighted job when you intervals. About two in the afternoon the sent for the sheriff; I would n't have be- wash-girls had finished their labors and lieved it of you, Blant. Nobody would n't were out “passing the ball” in the schoolhave thought of arrestin' you; they 'd 'a' yard, and the boys, under Miss Loring's knowed you never meant no harm to Rich. supervision, were washing the last winBut I reckon your mind was clean un- dows and scrubbing the last floor in the hinged by misery. And now you 've made cottage. Joab, on his knees, plying a your bed, you got to lay in it. Whatever scrubbing-brush, with an occasional droll you do, take warnin' and don't try no glance at Miss Loring, was chanting motricks here on Because, whatever notonously,



on me.

“Let the women do the work, do the work, the trees! the trees! Oh, God, they're do the work,

to 'em! They 're safe!" Let the men do the laying around,"

After a few parting shots into the tim

ber, the keeper shook his head, philosophiwhen several loud, near-by gunshots sent cally shouldered his gun, and turned to everybody flying to the front yard. Up the other prisoners, who had come down the steep mountain-side facing the cottage the road behind him. “Well, boys," he two men were leaping, while down in the remarked, “I done my best, as the law road below ran a third, stopping only to required. But they got too good a start aim and fire.

It was right pyeert of 'em to “It 's Blant and Ezry!" called out a stand on the far side from me when that dozen voices. “Go it, boys ! Run! oh, last blast went off, and gain that much of run!”

a start. That was as plucky a race for All the school was by this time at the life as ever I see; and I hain't sorry I fence, breathlessly watching the hard ascent. never killed 'em. I put Blant's arm out The mountain was cleared half-way up, of business for a while, but I 'm free to not a tree or a rock affording shelter. The say I'm glad it was n't no vital. Yes, sir, keeper, selecting a vantage-ground just I don't know when I ever made the acoutside the cottage gate, took his stand quaintance of two nicer, cleverer boys there, and grimly proceeded to do his than them; and I think it was mighty “whole duty,” firing calmly, swiftly, and sensible of 'em not to stay and stand trial. surely at the Aying figures. In running That 'ere Blant is as perfect a gentleman accompaniment to the gunshots, Nucky's as ever I seed, and hain't got a criminal voice rang out sharp and clear. “Keep to bone in him. To send him to Frankfort the right a little grain!" "Drap down in would be just plumb ridiculous and scanthe swag there, so 's he can't hit you so dalous. He never ought to have give' easy!” “Make for the timber!". Bullets himself up when he killed Rich; that was raised tiny clouds of dust about the feet of the dad-burn foolishest thing ever I bethe fugitives, and in the slope just ahead held. But of course he was momentarily of them. The seconds seemed ages; the distracted by grief and not accountable. watchers' hearts stood still. Once Blant Well, I hope it has learnt him a lesson to stopped short, clutching his left arm; then think twice in future. And now I reckon he ran on again more swiftly than ever, he 'll lay out in the woods a spell, though the arm dangling strangely. Nucky's I 'm sure nobody would n't te low-down voice, edged with agony, faltered no more enough to hunt him, and it 's again' the than did the bullets. “Can't you move no law, anyhow, that a man's life shall be quicker 'n that? Once you reach them twice in jeopardy for the same offense, trees, he'll never hit you. Oh, hurry! and then he'll go home, and settle the hurry! Seems like I could crawl faster. Cheevers, and cheer up his pap, and raise You're getting near now. The trees! what 's left of that pore little babe.”

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