Puslapio vaizdai

"Plunged in a gulf of dark despair, We wretched sinners lay,"

and ended with his shout of "Salvation!"


THE cabin of the Reverdys stood on a byway beyond the Gillespies. Sally had joined the girl on her way out of the Temple, and was prancing beside her as they went homeward together.

"Oh, ain't it just great? I feel like as if I could fly. I never seen the Power in Leatherwood like it was to-night. He's sent; you can tell that as plain as the nose on your face. How happy I do feel! I believe in my heart I got salvation this minute. Don't you feel the Spirit any? But you was always such a still girl! I did like the way the women folks was floppun' all round. I say, if you feel the Power workun' in you, show it, and help the others to git it. What do you s'pose he meant by your paw's needun' him?"

"I don't know. Perhaps he will," the girl answered briefly.

"Goun' to tell him? Well, that 's right, Janey. I kep' wonderun' why he did n't come to-night. If Abel had n't be'n so beat out with his work at the Cross Roads to-day, you bet I'd 'a' made him come; but he said I'd git enough glory for both. I believe his talkun' with Squire Braile don't do him no good. You b'lieve Washington and Jefferson was friends with Tom Paine? The squire says they was, but I misdoubt it myself; I always hearn them two was good perfessun' Christians. Kind o' lonesome along here where the woods comes so close't, ain't it? Say, Janey, I wisht you 'd come a little piece with me, though I don't suppose the bad spirits would dast to come around a body right on the way home from the Temple this way-'

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They had reached the point where Sally must part with the girl, who stopped to lift the top rail of the bars to the lane leading from the road to her father's cabin. She let it drop again.

"Why, I'll go the whole way with you, Sally."

"Will you? Well, I declare to gracious, you 're the best girl I ever seen. I believe in my heart I 'll rout Abel out and make him go back home with you."

"You need n't," the girl said. "I'm not afraid to go alone in the dark."

"Well, just as you say, Janey. What do you do to keep from beun' afraid?" “Oh, I don't know. I just think, I suppose."

"Well, I just want to squeal." As they went on, Sally kept talking in her loud, loose voice to keep her courage up. "Well, I declare if we ain't there a'ready! If you just say the word, I'll have Abel out in half a minute, and—” "No," the girl said. "Well, good night.

"Good night." I've got half a

mind to go back with you myself," Sally called as she lifted her hand to pull the latch-string of her door.

Jane Gillespie found her father standing at the bars when she went back. He mechanically let them down for her.

"I thought you would be in bed, Father," she said gently, but coldly.

"I've had things to keep me awake; and it's hot indoors," he answered, and then he demanded, "Well?" If it was his way of bidding her tell him of her evening's experience, she did not obey him, and he had to make another attempt on her silence. "Was Hughey there?" "Hughey? I don't know."

"Did n't he ask to come home with you?"

"I did n't see him. came with me.”

"Yes, I knew that."

Sally Reverdy

She was silent for another moment and then she said:

"Father, I have a message for you. He said, 'I send my peace to him, and it will not return to me.' He said you needed him."

Gillespie knew that she meant Dylks and he knew that she kept out of her voice whatever feeling she had in delivering his message.

In the dark she could not see her father's frown, but she was aware of it in his answer.

"You went there against my will. Well?"

"I believe."

what our cow'd do this morning if it was n't for Joey. But he 'll milk her, him and Benny Hingston between them, somehow.

"You believe? What do you believe?" Benny stayed with him last night."

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"Laban came, but he went back to the Cross Roads, and she 's over for the night with the baby."

"The baby? Oh, I'll be careful!" A joy came into her voice, and the strain left it in something like a laugh.

Early in the morning she crept down the ladder from the loft; her father had looped his cot up against the cabin wall and gone out. Nancy was sitting up in the bed she had made for herself on the floor, coiling a rope of her black hair into a knot at her neck. The baby lay cooing and kicking in her lap. The morning air came in fresh and sweet at the open door. "Oh, Aunt Nancy, may I take her?" she asked.

"Yes; I'll get the breakfast. Your father 'll be hungry; he 's been up a good while, I reckon."

"I'll make the fire first, and then I'll take the baby."

The girl uncovered the embers on the hearth and blew them 'nto life; then she ran out into the corn-field and gathered her apron full of the milky ears and grated them for the cakes which her aunt molded to fry for breakfast. She took the baby and washed its hands and face, talking and laughing with it.

"You talk to it a sight more than you do to anybody else, Jane," the mother said. "Don't put anything but its little shimmy on; it's goin' to be another hot day."

"I believe," the girl said, "I'll get some water in the tub, and wash her all over. There'll be time enough."

"It 'u'd be a good thing, I reckon. But you must n't forget your milkin'. I dunno

"I did forget the milking," the girl said, putting the baby's little chemise on. "But I'll do it now. Sissy will have to wait till after breakfast for her washing." She got the tin bucket from where it blazed a-tilt in the sun beside the back door of the cabin, and took her deep bonnet from its peg. She did not ask why the boys slept alone in the cabin, but her aunt felt that she must explain.

"Laban 's got work for the whole fall at the Cross Roads. He went straight back last night. I come here." She had got through without telling the lie which she feared she must. "I'm goin' home after breakfast."

Jane asked nothing further, but called from the open door, "Sukey, Sukey! Suk, Suk, Suk!" A plaintive lowing responded; then the snapping sound of at cow's eager hoofs; the hoarse drumming of the milk in the bucket followed, subduing itself to the soft final murmur of the strippings in the foam. Jane carried the milk to the spring-house before she reappeared in the cabin with a cup of it for the baby.

"It's so good for her to have it warm from the cow," she said as she tilted the tin for the last drop on the little one's lips. "I wish you 'd leave her here with me, Aunt Nancy."

"It's about time she was weaned," the mother said. "I reckon you better call your father now. He must be ready for his breakfast, bendin' over that tobacco ever since sun-up."

Jane took down the tin dinner horn from its peg, and went to the back door with it, and blew a long, loud blast, crumbling away in broken sounds.

The baby was beating the air with its hands up and down, and gurgling its delight in the noise when she came back. "O Honey, Honey, Honey!" she cooed, catching it up and hugging it to her..

The mother looked at them over her shoulder as she put the cakes of grated

corn in the skillet and set it among the coals on the hearth.

"It's a pity you ha' n't got one of your own."

"I don't want one of my own," the girl said.

"I thought a spell back"-the woman took up the subject again after a decent interval "that you and Hughey Blake was goin' to make a match." The girl said nothing, but her aunt pursued, "Was he there last night?"

"I did n't notice."

"Many folks?" her aunt asked with whatever change or fulfilment of a first intent.

From kneeling over to play with the baby, the girl sank back on her heels, with her hands fallen before her.

"I don't know."

"What did he preach?"

"The Word of God; God's own words. All Scripture; but it was like as if it was the first time you ever heard it."

The girl was looking at the woman, but seemed rapt from the sight of her in a vision of the night before.

"I reckon Satan could make it sound that way," Nancy said, but her niece seemed not to hear her. Nancy stood staring at her, with words bitter beyond saying in her heart-words that rose in her throat and choked her. When she spoke she only said, "Get up, Jane; your father 'll be here in a minute."

"I'm not going to eat anything. I'm going into the woods." She staggered to her feet, and dashed from the door. The child looked after her with outstretched arms and whimpered pitifully, but she did not mind its call.

"Where's Jane?" her father said, coming in at the back door.

"Gone into the woods," she said. "To pray, I reckon."

He sat down at the table-leaf lifted from the wall, and his sister served him his breakfast. He ate greedily, but his hand trembled so in lifting his cup that the coffee spilled from it.

When he had ended and sat leaning back from the board, she asked him:

"What are you going to do?" The old man cleared his throat. "Nothing yet. Let the Lord work His will."

"And let Joseph Dylks work his will, too! I'll have something to say about that."

"Be careful, woman! Be careful!" "Oh, I 'll be careful. He has as much to lose as I have."

"No, not half so much."


WHERE Matthew Braile sat smoking most of the hot forenoon away on the porch of his cabin there came to him rumor of the swift spread of the superstition running from mind to mind in the neighborhood, and catching like fire in dry grass. The rumor came in different voices, some piously meant to shake him with fear in the scorner's seat which he held so stubbornly, some in their doubt seeking the help of his powerful unfaith; but he required their news from them all with the same mocking. They were not of the Scribes and Pharisees, the pillars of the Temple, the wise and rich and proud who had been the first to follow Dylks, but the poorer and lowlier sort who wavered before the example of their betters, and were entirely willing to submit it to the searching of the old Sadducee's scrutiny.

The morning after Abel Reverdy had finished his work at the Cross Roads, and had returned to the cares patiently awaiting him at home, he rode his claybank so hesitantly toward the squire's cabin that his desire to stop and talk was plain, and Braile called to him:

"Well, Abel, what do they think of the prophet over at Wilkins's? Many converts? Many dipped or sprinkled, as the case required?"

Reverdy drew rein and faced the squire with a solemnity presently yielding to his natural desire to grin at any form of joke, and his belief that when the squire indulged such flagrant irreverence as this he must be joking. Yet he answered evasively:


"Nancy stood staring at her, with words bitter beyond saying in her heart-words

that rose in her throat and choked her "

"You hearn't he says now he hain't never goun' to die?"

"No. But I'm not surprised to hear it; about the next thing on the docket. Did he say that at the Cross Roads?"

"Said it right here in Leatherwood. Sally told me the first thing when I got home. You was n't at the Temple last night, I reckon?"

"Well, not last night," Braile said with. an implication that he had been at the Temple all the other nights, which made Reverdy laugh with guilty joy.

"One o' the Hounds-no, it was Jim Redfield hisself-stopped on the way out, and he says: 'What 's this I hear? You say you ain't goin' to die.' And Dylks he lifts his hands up over his head and he says, "This shell will fall off'; and Jim he says, 'I've got half a mind to crack your shell,' and the believers they got round, and begun to hustle Jim off, but Dylks he told them to let him alone, and he says, 'I can endure strong meat, but I must be fed on milk for a while.' What you s'pose he meant, Squire?"

Braile took his pipe out and cackled toothlessly.

"I'm almost afraid to think, Abel. Something awful, though. You say Sally told you?"


"I should think Sally would know what he meant, if anybody." He looked at Abel, and Sally's husband joined him in safe derision. "Tell you anything else?" "Well, no, not just in so many words; but it 'pears he 's been teachin' round all sorts of things in private-like. Who do you reckon he says he is?"

"Not John the Baptist, I hope. I don't know where we should get the locusts and wild honey for him in this settlement. Might try grasshoppers, but the last beetree on the Bottom was cut down when I was a boy. I got a piece of the comb, I remember."

"I don't know if he said John the Baptist; but it was John, anyway. And they say-or that's what Sally hearn tellthat when he was off with Enraghty and Hingston on some 'pointments down

round Seneca there was doun's that 'u'd make your hair stand up."

"You don't happen to know just what the doings were?"

"Well, no, I don't, Squire; but they was doun's to deceive the very elec', from all I hearn."

"That's just what Hingston and Enraghty both are the very elect. What deceived them?"

"Oh, pshaw, now, Squire! You know I don't mean they were deceived! That's just a Bible sayin'. You see, Brother Briggs was sick, and Brother Enraghty went along with Dylks and Brother Hingston to preach in his place."

"Could n't Dylks have done the preaching?"

"I reckon he could; but there was three 'p'intments, and maybe Dylks could n't fill 'em all, and maybe he did n't want to. Fust Brother Enraghty preached in the Temple at Seneca, and then at Brother Christhaven's house off south of that, and then at David Mason's, the local preacher; but Brother Mason has got the consumption, and he could n't preach, so Brother Enraghty had to do all the preachin'." "I see. Well?"

"Well, that was n't anything out o' the common, but what Dylks done to the devil beat all the preachun', I reckon."

"How d' it get out? Devil tell?"

"No. Brother Enraghty told, and Sally she got it poortty straight from the wife of the man that he told it to."

"Go on," Braile said. "I can hardly wait to hear."

"Well, sir, they had just got acrost the Leatherwood, and Brother Enraghty felt as if he was lifted all at once into heaven; air diff'ent and full of joy. Dylks's face got brighter and brighter, and his voice sounded like music. When they got to the top of the hill where you can look back and see the Temple, Dylks turned his horse and stretched out his hands, and says he: 'How ignorant them people is of my true natur'! But time will show 'em.' Well, not just them words, you knowmore dictionary; and they preached with a great outpourun' at Seneca. They did n't

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