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nized among the duties of one human being to fect frankness he had traced the history of his another. He had sought her; he had lifted infatuation in a letter to his father, to be comher above her own life. If one human being municated when the latter chose to his mother had ever put its happiness in the hands of an- and sister. Now he was nearing the mountains other, that had been done. If he had not de- again. liberately taught her to love him, he had not tried to prevent it. He could not excuse himself; the thought of gaining her affection had The journey to the mountains was made occurred to him, and he had put it aside. There with a heavy heart. In his absence everything was no excuse; for when she gave her love, he seemed to have undergone a change. Jellico had accepted it, and, as far as she knew, had had never seemed so small, so coarse, so given his own unreservedly. Ah, that fatal wretched as when he stepped from the dusty moment of weakness that night on the moun- train and saw it lying dwarfed and shapeless in tain-side! Could he tell her, could he tell the afternoon sunlight. The State line bisects Raines, the truth, and ask to be released ? the straggling streets of frame-houses. On the What could Easter with her devotion, and Kentucky side an extraordinary spasm of moRaines with his singleness of heart, know of rality had quieted into local option. Just across this substitute for love which civilization had the way in Tennessee was a row of saloons. taught him? Or, granting that they could un- It was “pay-day” for the miners, and the worst derstand, he might return home; but Easter element of all the mines was drifting in to spend -- what was left for her ?
the following Sabbath in every kind of unIt was useless to try to persuade himself that checked vice. Several rough, brawny fellows her love would fade away, perhaps quickly, were already staggering from Tennessee into and leave no scar; that Raines would in time Kentucky,and around one saloon hung a crowd win her for himself, his first idea of their union of slatternly negroes, men and women. Heartbe realized, and, in the end, all happen for the sick with disgust, Clayton hurried into the lane best. That might easily be possible with a dif- that wound through the valley. Were these ferent nature under different conditions-a na- hovels, he asked himself in wonder, the cabins ture less passionate, in contact with the world he once thought so poetic, so picturesque? and responsive to varied interests; but not with How was it that they suggested now only a piti. Easter - alone with a love that had shamed able poverty of life? From each, as he passed, him, with mountain, earth, and sky unchanged, came a rough, cordial shout of greeting. Why and the vacant days marked only by a dreary was he jarred so strangely? Even nature had round of wearisome tasks. He reinembered changed. The mountains seemed stunted, less Raines's last words —"Air ye goin' ter leave beautiful. The light, streaming through the ther po'gal ter die out o' grief fer ye?” What western gap with all the splendor of a mounhappiness would be possible for him with that tain sunset, no longer thrilled him. The moist lonely mountain-top and the white drawn face fragrance of the earth at twilight, the sad pipforever haunting him?
ings of birds by the wayside, the faint, clear That very night a letter came, with a rude notes of a wood-thrush — his favorite— from superscription — the first from Easter. Within the edge of the forest, even the mid-air song of it was a poor tintype, from which Easter's eyes a meadow-lark above his head, were unheeded looked shyly at him. Before he left he had as, with face haggard with thought and travel, tried in vain to get her to the tent of an itin- he turned doggedly from the road up the mounerant photographer, and, during his absence, tain toward Easter's home. The novelty and she had evidently gone of her own accord. The ethnological zeal that had blinded him to the face was very beautiful, and in it was an expres- disagreeable phases of mountain life were gone; sion of questioning, modest pride. “Aren't you so was the pedestal from which he had desurprised?" it seemed to say — "and pleased?” scended to make a closer study of the people. Only the face, with its delicate lines, and the For he felt now that he had gone among them throat and the shoulders were visible. She with an unconscious condescension; his interlooked almost refined. And the note - it was est seemed now to have been little more than badly spelled and written with great difficulty, curiosity - a pastime to escape brooding over but it touched him. She was lonely, she said, his own change of fortune. And with Easter and she wanted him to come back. Lonely – -ah, how painfully clear his mental vision that cry was in each line.
had grown! Was it the tragedy of wasting posIlis response to this was an instant resolu- sibilities that had drawn him to her,— to help tion to go back at once, and sensitive, ease-lov- her,-or was it his own miserable selfishness mg, and pliant as his nature was, there was no after all? hesitation for him when his duty was clear and No one was visible when he reached the a decision once made. With great care and per- cabin. The calm of mountain and sky en
thralled it as completely as the cliff that towered purty high, 'n' he's goin' ter do it at thet behind it. The day still lingered, and the sun- weddin'. Hev somefin'?” he asked, suddenly light rested lightly on each neighboring crest. pulling out a flask of colorless liquid. “Ez ye As he stepped upon the porch, there was a air to be one o' ther fambly, I don't mind tellslight noise within the cabin, and, peering into in' ye thar 's the very moonshine thet caused the dark interior, he called Easter's name. the leetle trouble down in ther valley." There was no answer, and he sank wearily into For fear of giving offense, Clayton took a a chair, his thoughts reverting homeward. By swallow of the liquid, which burned him like fire. the time his mother and sister must know why He had scarcely recovered from the first shock, he had come back to the mountains. He could and he had listened to the man and watched imagine their consternation and grief. Perhaps him with a sort of enthralling fascination. He that was only the beginning; he might be on was Easter's father. He could even see a faint the eve of causing them endless unhappiness. suggestion of Easter's face in the cast of the He had thought to involve them as little as features before him, coarse and degraded as possible by remaining in the mountains; but they were. He had the same nervous, impetuthe thought of living there was now intoler- ous quickness, and, horrified by the likeness, able in the new relations he would sustain to Clayton watched him sink back into a chair, the people. What should he do? where go? pipe in mouth, and relapse into a stolidity that As he bent forward in perplexity, there was a seemed incapable of the energy and fire shown noise again in the cabin, — this time the stealthy scarcely a moment before. His life in the tread of feet,- and before he could turn, a rough mountains had made him as shaggy as some voice vibrated threateningly in his ears: wild animal. He was coatless, and his trousers
“Say who ye air, and what yer business is, of jeans were upheld by a single home-made mighty quick, er ye hain't got er minute ter live." suspender. His beard was yet scarcely touched
Clayton looked up, and to his horror saw with gray, and his black, lusterless hair fell the muzzle of a rifle pointed straight at his from beneath a round hat of felt with ragged head. At the other end of it, and standing in edges and uncertain color. The mountaineer the door, was a short, stocky figure, a head of did not speak again until, with great deliberabushy hair, and a pair of small, crafty eyes. tion and care, he had filled a cob pipe. Then The fierceness and suddenness of the voice, he bent his sharp eyes upon Clayton so fixedly in the great silence about him, and its terrible that the latter let his own fall. earnestness, left him almost paralyzed.
“ Mebbe ye don't know thet I’m ag'in' fur“Come, who air ye? Say quick, and don't riners," he said abruptly, “all o'ye; 'n' ef ther move, nuther.”
Lord hisself hed 'a' tol' me thet my gal would Clayton spoke his name with difficulty. As be a-marryin' one, I would n't 'a' believed he did so, the butt of the rifle dropped to the him. But Sherd hev tol me ye air all right, ’n’ floor, and with a harsh laugh its holder ad- ef Sherd says ye air, why, ye air, I reckon, 'n' vanced to him with hand outstretched : I hev n't got nuthin' ter say; though I hev got
“So ye air Easter's feller, air ye? Well, I 'm a heap ag'in' ye — all o'ye.” yer dad -- that's to be. Shake."
His voice had a hint of growing anger under Clayton shuddered. Good heavens! this the momentary sense of his wrongs, and, not was Easter's father! More than once or twice wishing to incense him further, Clayton said his name had never been mentioned at the nothing. cabin.
“Yeair back a little sooner than ye expected, " I tuk ye fer an officer," continued the old ain't ye?" he asked presently, with an awkward mountaineer, not noticing Clayton's repulsion, effort at good humor. “I reckon ye air gittin' “'n' ef ye had 'a' been, ye would n't be nobody anxious. Well, we hev been gittin' ready fer ye, now. I reckon Easter hain't told ye much 'n' ye 'n' Easter kin hitch ez soon ez ye please. about me, 'n' I reckon she hev a right ter be a Sherd Raines air goin' ter do ther marryin'. He leetle ashamed of me. I hed a leetle trouble air the best friend I've got. Sherd was in love down tharin the valley,– I s'pose you've hearn with ther gal, too, but he hev n't got no grudge about it,— 'n' I've had ter keep kind o' quiet. ag’in' ye, 'n' he hev promised ter tie ye. Sherd I seed ye once afore, 'n' I came near shootin' air a preacher now. He hev just got his license. ye, thinkin' ye war an officer. Am mighty glad He did n't want ter do it, but I told him he Í did n't, fer Easter is powerful sot on ye. had ter. We'll hev ther biggest weddin' ever Sherd thought I could resk comin' down ter ther seed in these mountains, I tell ye. Any o' yer weddin'. They hev kind o'gi’n up ther s'arch, folks be on hand ?” 'n' none o' ther boys won't tell on me. We 'll "No," answered Clayton, soberly; "I think hev an old-timer, I tell ye. Ye folks from ther not.” settlemints air mighty high-heeled, but old Bill “Well, I reckon we kin fill up ther house." Hicks don't allus go barefooted. He kin step Clayton's heart sank at the ordeal of a wed
mes. Be vis -Tes; 'n' thar 's whar Sherd air a fool. I'm
herrere. as furriners, too, but thar hain't no harm in
On ne coon, 'n' thar 's goin' ter be dancin' at this es ei vadin' ef I'm alive.”
Easter shrank perceptibly when her father ze speke, and looked furtively at Clayton, who In raced, in spite of himself, as the rough voice ceea Tared in his ear. Instantly her face grew un
bapps, and contained an appeal for pardon that
he was quick to understand and appreciate.
- Thereafter he concealed his repulsion, and Sa* treated the rough bear so affably that Easter's .-be eyes grew moist with gratitude.
Darkness was gathering in the valley below eura, when he rose to go. Easter had scarcely spoken Cerator to him, but her face and her eyes, fixed always **** is upon him, were eloquent with joy. Once as she
are se passed behind him her hand rested with a timid,
-Reiser caressing touch upon his shoulder, and now as *. Er ve he walked away from the porch she called him **** back. He turned, and she had gone into the
What is it, Easter ?” he asked, stepping mi berself into the dark room. His hand was grasped in rodi. both her own and held tremblingly.
* Don't mind dad,” she whispered softly. To with Something warm and moist fell upon his hand irriy as she unloosed it, and she was gone.
ila was That night he wrote home in a more cheer
ered in ful frame of mind. The charm of the girl's
is of personality had asserted its power again, and ti i rerned hopes that had almost been destroyed by his
2 perch, trip home were rekindled by her tasteful aptunned pearance, her delicacy of feeling, and by her on she beauty, which he had not overrated. He asked
the that his sister might meet him in Louisville afmore her; ter the wedding-whenever that should be. nt of They two could decide then what should be
geht done. His own idea was to travel; and so at his great was his confidence in Easter, he believed
that, in time, he could take her to New York ve Fas- without fear. Canon
XII. M.LV Tak It was plain that Raines— to quiet the old vintie man's uneasiness, perhaps— had told him of his **?l last meeting with Clayton, and that, during the pri absence of the latter some arrangements for a the wedding had been made, even by Easter,
who in her trusting innocence had perhaps is never thought of any other end to their rela
tions. In consequence, there was an unprecedented stir among the mountaineers. The marriage of a “citizen" with a “furriner” was an unprecedented event, and the old moungineer, who began to take some pride in the alliance, emphasized it at every opportunity.
At the mines Clayton's constant visits to the Puntain were known to everybody, but little atention had been paid to them. Now, how
, when the rumor of the wedding seemed confirmed by his return and his silence, of feet, and occasional exclamations of surprise every one was alert with a curiosity shown so and delight. He paused at the threshold, hardly frankly that he soon became eager to get away knowing what to do, and as he turned a titter from the mountains. Accordingly, he made from one corner showed that his embarrassknown his wish to Easter's parents that the ment had been detected. On the porch he was marriage should take place as soon as possible. seized by Easter's father, who drew him back Both received the suggestion th silent assent. into the room. The old mountaineer's face was Then had followed many difficulties. Only as a flushed, and he had been drinking heavily. great concession to the ideas and customs of “ Oh, hyar ye air!” he exclaimed. “ Ye “furriners” would the self-willed old mountain- air right on hand, hain't ye? Hyar, Bill,” he eer agree that the ceremony should take place called, thrusting his head out of the door, you at night; and that after the supper and the 'n' Jim 'n' Milt come in hyar.” Three awkward dance, the two should leave Jellico at day- young mountaineers entered. “These fellers break. Mountain marriages were solemnized air goin' ter help ye.” in the daytime, and wedding journeys were un- They were to be his ushers. Clayton shook known. The old man did not understand why hands with them gravely. Clayton should wish to leave the mountains, "Oh, we air about ready fer ye, 'n' we air and the haste of the latter seemed to give him only waitin' fer Sherd and the folks ter come,” great offense. When Clayton had ventured to continued the mountaineer, jubilantly, winking suggest, instead, that the marriage should be significantly at Clayton and his attendants, who quiet, and that he and Easter should remain on stood about him at the fireplace. Clayton shook the mountain a few days before leaving, he was his head firmly, but the rest followed Hicks, kindled into a blaze of anger; and thereafter, who turned at the door and repeated the inviany suggestion from the young engineer was tation with a frowning face. Clayton was left met with a suspicion that looked ominous. to be the focus of feminine eyes, whose unwaverRaines was away on his circuit, and would not ing directness kept his own gaze on the floor. return until just before the wedding, so that People began to come rapidly, most of whom from him Clayton could get no help. Very he had never seen before. The room was filled, wisely, then, he interfered no more, but awaited save for a space about him. Every one gave the day with dread.
him a look of curiosity that made him feel like It was nearing dusk when he left the camp some strange animal on exhibition. Once more on his wedding-night. Half-way up the moun- he tried to escape to the porch, and again he tain he paused to lean against the kindly breast was met by Easter's father, who this time was of a boulder blocking the path. It was the spot accompanied by Raines. where he had seen Easter for the first time. The young circuit-rider was smoothly shaven, The mountains were green again, as they were and dressed in dark clothes, and his calm face then, but the scene seemed sadly changed. and simple but impressive manner seemed at The sun was gone; the evening star had swung once to alter the atmosphere of the room. He its white light like a censer above Devil's Den; grasped Clayton's hand warmly, and without the clouds were moving swiftly through the a trace of self-consciousness. The room had darkening air, like a frightened flock seeking grown instantly quiet, and Raines began to a fold; and the night was closing fast over the share the curious interest that Clayton had cluster of faint camp-fires. The spirit brooding caused; for the young mountaineer's sermon over mountain and sky was unspeakably sad, had provoked discussion far and wide, and, and with a sharp pain at his heart Clayton moreover, the peculiar relations of the two toturned from it, and hurried on. Mountain, sky, ward Easter were known and rudely appreciand valley were lost in the night. When he ated. Hicks was subdued into quiet respect, reached the cabin, says of bright light were and tried to conceal his incipient intoxication. flashing from chink and crevice into the dark. The effort did not last long. When the two ness, and from the kitchen came the sounds fiddlers came, he led them in with a defiant air, of busy preparation. Already many guests and placed them in the corner, bustling about had arrived. A group of men who stood la- officiously but without looking at Raines, whose zily talking in the porch became silent as face began to cloud. Clayton approached, but he, recognizing none “Well, we 're all hyar, I reckon," he exof them, entered the cabin. A dozen women claimed in his terrible voice. “Is Easter were seated about the room, and instantly their ready ?” he shouted up the steps. eyes were glued upon him. As the kitchen door A confused chorus answered him affirmaswung open, he saw Easter's mother bending tively, and he immediately arranged Clayton in over the fireplace, a table already heavily laden, one corner of the room with his serious attendand several women bustling about it. Above ants on one side, and Raines, grave to solemnity, his head he heard laughter, a hurried tramping on the other. Easter's mother and her assistants came in from the kitchen, and the doors were with swift pain, and as Easter leaned toward filled with faces. Above, the tramping of feet him with subtle delicacy, he touched, not her became more hurried; below, all stood with lips, but her forehead, as reverently as though expectant faces turned to the rude staircase. she had been a saint.
a Clayton's heart began to throb, and a strange Instantly the fiddles began, the floor was light brightened beneath Raines's heavy brows. cleared, the bridal party hurried into the
“ Hurry up, thar!” shouted Hicks, impa- kitchen, and the cabin began to shake beneath tiently.
dancing feet. Hicks was fulfilling his word, and A moment later two pairs of rough shoes in the kitchen his wife had done her part. came down the steps, and after them two slip- Everything known to the mountaineer palate pered feet that fixed every eye in the room, was piled in profusion on the table, but Clayton until the figure and face above them slowly and Easter ate nothing. To him the whole descended into the light. Midway the girl evening was a nightmare, which the solemn paused with a timid air. Had an angel been moments of the marriage had made the more lowered to mortal view, the waiting people hideous. He was restless and eager to get would not have been stricken with more won- away. The dancing was becoming more furider. Raines's face relaxed into a look almostous, and above the noise rose Hicks's voice of awe, and even Hicks for the instant was prompting the dancers. The ruder ones still stunned into reverence. Mountain eyes had hung about the doors, regarding Clayton curinever beheld such loveliness so arrayed. It ously, or with eager eyes upon the feast. Easter was simple enough,—the garment,-all white, was vaguely troubled, and conflicting with the and of a misty texture, yet it formed a myste- innocent pride and joy in her eyes were the rious vision to them. About the girl's brow was questioning glances she turned to Clayton's a wreath of pink and white laurel. A veil darkening face. At last they were hurried out, had not been used. It would hide her face, and in came the crowd like hungry wolves. she said, and she did not see why that should Placing Clayton and Easter in a corner of be done. For an instant she stood poised so the room, the attendants themselves took part lightly that she seemed to sway like a vision, in the dancing, and such dancing Clayton had as the candle-lights quivered about her, with never seen. Doors and windows were full of her hands clasped in front of her, and her eyes faces, and the room was crowded; from the wandering about the room till they lighted kitchen came coarse laughter and the rattling upon Clayton with a look of love that seemed of dishes. Occasionally Hicks would disappear to make her conscious only of him. Then, with with several others, and would return with his quickening breath, lips parted slightly, cheeks face redder than ever. slowly flushing, and shining eyes still upon him, Easter became uneasy. Once she left Clayshe moved slowly across the room until she ton's side and expostulated with her father, stood at his side. Her attendants, who, woman- but he shook her from his arm roughly. like, had been gazing triumphantly around to Raines saw this, and a moment later he led the note the effect of her presence, followed awk- old mountaineer from the room. Thereafter wardly.
the latter was quieter, but only for a little Raines gathered himself together as from a while. Several times the kitchen was filled and dream, and stepped before the pair. Broken emptied, and ever was the crowd unsteadier. and husky at first, his voice trembled in spite Soon even Raines's influence was of no avail, of himself, but thereafter there was no hint of and the bottle was passed openly from guest the powerful emotions at play within him. Only to guest. as he joined their hands, his eyes rested an in- “Why don't
dance?" stant with infinite tenderness on Easter's face, Clayton felt his arm grasped, and Hicks – as though the look were a last farewell, - stood swaying before him. and his voice deepened with solemn earnest- “Why don't ye dance?" he repeated. “Can't ness when he bade Clayton protect and cherish ye dance? Mebbe ye air too good — like Sherd. her until death. There was a strange mixture Well, Easter kin. Hyar, Mart, come 'n' dance in those last words of the office and the man, with ther gal. She air the best dancer in these - of divine authority and personal appeal, - parts." and Clayton was deeply stirred. The bene- Clayton laid his hand upon Easter as though diction over, the young preacher was turning to forbid her. The mountaineer saw the moveaway, when some one called huskily from the ment, and his face flamed with sudden fury; rear of the cabin :
but before he could speak, the girl pressed “Why don't ye kiss ther bride ?"
Clayton's arm and, with an appealing glance, It was Easter's father, and the voice, rough rose to her feet. as it was, brought a sensation of relief to all. "Thet 's right," said her father, approvingly, The young mountaineer's features contracted but with a look of drunken malignancy toward