Imágenes de páginas

of a creature moving about in worlds make us more than half ashamed of the not realized ;” the revenant is entirely sincerity of our interest. Loch Houran comme il faut. All goes weirdly and well tower is reduced once for all to the up to the moment of the final catas- rank of the Castle of Udolpho. trophe, which it would have been so It would be unfair, however, to close easy, one would think, to manage with with a captious complaint this tolerably the same fine and faultless ambiguity. long and yet imperfect survey of the If only the haunted tower had been work of one of the ablest female writers made to crumble without warning of its of this or any time. The very fact that own inevitable decay, putting forever Mrs. Oliphant has shown herself capable, beyond the reach of investigation the in mature age, of taking an entirely mysteries which had pervaded it, the fresh departure, and starting anew the conclusion would have been perfectly discussion of a question so intensely consistent and credible, and the reaction and everlastingly interesting to all her in the reader's mind would probably readers that her views must needs be have been toward wonder and faith. met by every variety of opposition as The lovers might still have been buried well as every degree of assent, is proof beneath the ruin, and then exhumed in itself that the resources of her menalive, if their merciful author absolute- tal vitality are greater than even her ly would.

But the antiquated and taw. most faithful admirers have imagined. dry machinery of the secret chamber, Long may we continue, not merely to be the mystic lamp, the winking portrait, entertained by the lighter exercises, but and the alchemist “properties gener- stimulated by the graver speculations, of ally test our credulity too severely, and this open, vigorous, and brilliant mind.

Harriet Waters Preston.


The 6

“ Sech a rumpus


remembering how she looked when he

talked of the rescue of Rick Tyler. It is seldom, in this world at least,

gang o' men” — actively dethat a man who absents himself from scribed by his mother as “ lopin' roun' church repents it with the fervor of re- the mill" - lingered long in conclave gret which Amos James experienced this morning. Perhaps their views had when he heard of the unexpected pro- a more confident and sturdy effect from ceedings at the Notch.

being propounded at the top of the dad-burn my luck voice, since the insistent whir of the - I mought never git the chance ter busy old mill drowned all efforts in a see agin!” he declared, with a pious lower tone; but it was very generally sense of deprivation. And he thought the opinion that Micajah Green had it had been a poor substitute to sit on transcended all the license of his official the doorstep all the forenoon Sunday, character in making the arrest at the "ez lonesome ez a b’ar in a hollow place and time he had selected. tree,” because his heart was yet so raw “I knows,” commented one of the and sensitive that he could not see Do- disaffected, “ ez it air the law o' Tennesrinda’s pink sun-bonnet without a rush see ez a arrest kin be made of a Sunday, of painful emotion, or her face without ef so be it must. But 'pears like ter me

got thar.”

't war nuthin' in this worl' but malice an' and Amos James leaned against the meanness ez tuk ch'ice o' the minute hopper. the man hed stood up ter preach the “Waal, ez fur ez 'Cajah Green could Word ter arrest him. 'Cajah Green

'Cajah Green know, he'd hev been a-preachin' then, mus' hev tuk keerful heed o' time, an' argyfyin' his own righteousness; an' jes' got thar spang on the minute.” 'Cajah laid off ter kem a-steppin' in with “ He

w-war n't p-p-preachin' the his warrant ter prove him a liar an' conWord,” stuttered Pete Cayce, antag- vict him o' siunin' agin the law 'fore his onistically. “He hed jes' 'lowed he congregation." W-W-war n't fit ter preach it. No more “ 'Pears like ter me ez pa’son war war ne."

sorter forehanded,” said Pete, captiousHe had come down from the still to ly. “He hed proved hisself a liar 'fore treat for meal for the mash. He was the sher'ff got thar ; saved 'Cajah the willing to wait, — nay, anxious, that he trouble." might bear his share in the conversa- “I hearn,” said another man, “ez tion.

pa'son up-ed an' 'lowed ez he did n't He tilted his chair back against the b'lieve in the Lord, an' prophesied his wall, and nodded his long, drab-tinted own downfall an' his trial 'fore the locks convincingly.

sher'ff The water whirled around the wheel; “ He d-d-did ! ” shouted Pete. “We the race foamed with prismatic bubbles, never knowed much more arter 'Cajah flashing opal-like in the sun; the vague an' the dep’ty kem ’n we did afore. lapsing of the calm depths in the pond Pa’son said they'd gird him an' t-t-take was like some deep sigh, as of the full- him whar he did n't want ter g-go, - an' ness of happiness or reflective content, so they d-d-d-did." - not pain. The water falling over the “ D-d-did what?” mockingly dedam babbled in a meditative undertone. manded Amos James, with unnecessary All sounds were dominated by the whir rancor, it might have seemed. of the mill in its busy, industrial mono- Pete's infirmity became more prody, and within naught else could be nounced under this cavalier treatment. heard, save the strident voices pitched “ T-t-take him w-w-w-whar he did n't on the miller's key and roaring the gos- W-W-w-want ” — explosively — “ter go, sip. Through the window could be seen ye fool, you !” the rocky banks opposite, their summits " Whar ?" tufted with huckleberry and sassafras “D'ye reckon he wanted ter go ter bushes and many a tangle of weeds; the jail in Shaftesville ?" demanded Pete, dark shadow in the water below; the with scathing scorn. His sneering lip slope of the mountain sising above. A exposed his long, protruding teeth, and branch, too, of the low-spreading chest- his hard-featured face was unusually renut-oak, that hung above the roof of pellent. the mill, was visible, swaying close with- “ Hev they tuk him ter jail, — the out; it cast a tempered shade over the pa'son ?- Pa’son Kelsey ?” exclaimed long cobwebs depending from the rafters, Amos James, in a deeply serious tone. whitened by the dust of the flour. The He looked fixedly at Pete, as if he might rough, undressed timbers within were thus express more than he said in words. of that mellow, rich tint, intermediate There was indignation in his black eyes, between yellow and brown, so restful to even reproach. He still leaned on the the eye. The floor was littered with hopper, but there was nothing between bags of corn, on which some of the men the stones, for he had forgotten to pour lounged; others sat in the few chairs, in more corn, and the flurry and industry of the unsentient old mill was like then the other, stretching out first one the bustle of many clever people, - a rough boot, then the other, to signify the great stir about nothing. He wore his various points of the dilemma. broad-brimmed white hat far back on Amos James did not laugh. He still his head. His black hair was sprinkled gravely gazed at the narrator. with flour and meal, and along the “Why n't he git bail ? ” he demanded curves of his features the


flakes gruffly. ,had congregated in thin lines, bringing “ Waal, he did n't-'kase he could n't. out the olive tint of his complexion, and The old man, he fixed the bail without intensifying the sombre depths of his so much dilly-dallyin' an' jouncin' 'roun' eyes.

in his mind ez ye mought expec'. He Pete returned the allusion to his de- jes' put on his specs, an' polished his fective speech by a comment on the old bald noodle with his red h-b-handintentness of the miller's gaze.

kercher, an' tuk a fraish chaw o'terbacco, “ Ye look percisely like a ow-el, an' put his nose in his book, an' tuk it Amos, — percisely like a old horned out ter brag ez them crazy bugs in ho-ho-hooter," he declared, with a laugh. N-N-Nashvul sent him a book ev'y “ Ya-as,” he continued, “they did take time they made a batch o' new laws, pa’son ter jail, beiu' ez the jestice that pore, prideful old critter mus' hev been the sher'ff tuk him afore -old Squair lyin'! -- an' then he put his nose in his Prine, ye know-h-he could n't decide book agin, like he smelt the law an' ez ter his g-guilt. The Squair air so trailed it by scent. 'T war n't more 'n oncertain in his mind, an' wavers so ez

haffen hour 'fore he tuk it out, an' say ter his knowledge, that I hev hearn ez the least bail he could take war a thouev'y day he counts his toes ter make sand d-d-dollars fur the defendant, an' sure he's got ten. So the old Squair five hunderd fur each of his sureties, – b-hummed and h-h-hawed over the evi like it hev been in ev'y sech case 'fore dence, an' he 'l-lowed ter Pa’son K-Kel- a jestice s-sence the Big Smoky Mounsey ez he could n't b'lieve nuthin' agin tings war made.” him right handy, ez he hed sot under his Pete laughed, his great fore-teeth, his P-preachin' many a time an' profited by flexible lip, his long, bony face and tanit ; but thar war his cur'ous performin' gled mane, giving him something of an 'bout’n the gaynder whilst Rick got off, equine aspect. His mood was unusually an' he hed hearn ez pa’son turned his jocular; and indeed a man might expe back on the Lord in a s'prisin' way. rience some elation of spirit to be the Then the Squair axed how he kem ter only one of the “lopers round” at the prophesy his own arrest ef he hed done mill who had been present at a trial of nuthin' ter bring it on. The Squair such significance. The close attention 'lowed 't war a serious matter, a pen' accorded his every word demonstrated tiary offense; an' he war n't clar in his the interest in the subject, and the gufown mind; an'he up-ed an' downed, faws which greeted his sketch of the faan' twisted an' turned, an' he did n’t miliar character of the old “Squair” know what ter do: so the e-end war he was a flattering tribute to his skill as a jes' committed Pa’son Kelsey ter jail, raconteur. The peculiar antagonism of ter await the action o' the.g-g-g-gran' his disposition was manifested only in jury."

the delay and digressions by which he Pete gave this detail with some hu- thwarted Amos James's eagerness to mor, wagging his head back and forth to know why Parson Kelsey had not been imitate the magisterial treatment of the admitted to bail. He could not accuquandary, and putting up first one hand, rately interpret the lowering indignation of the miller's look, and he cared less for “He axed w-w-why Pa'son Kelsey did n't the threat it expressed. Cowardice was g-gin bail. He did gin it, but ’t-t war n't not predicable of one of the Cayce tribe accepted." Perhaps it might have been agreeable “What fur ?" demanded Amos, refor the community if the discordant lapsing into interest in the subject, and Pete could have been more readily inti- leaning back against the hopper. midated.

“Waal," said Pete, preferring, on the “ Why n't pa’son gin the bail, then?” whole, the distinction of relating the demanded Amos, again.

proceedings before the magistrate to the “He did gin it,” returned Pete, per- more familiar diversion of bickering, versely.

“pa’son, he 'lowed he'd gin his gran'dad “ Waal, then, how'd the sher'ff take an' his uncle ter go on his bond ; an' the him ter jail?"

Squair, arter he hed stuck his nose into “ Right down the county road, ez ye his book a couple o' times, an' did n't see an' me an' the rest of us hyar in the nuthin' abolishin' gran'dads an' uncles, Big Smoky hev worked on till sech he tuk it out an' refraished it with a C-c-cattle ez 'Cajah Green an' his buz- pinch o' snuff, an’’lowed he'd take gran'. zardy dep'ty hain't got no sort'n c-chance dad an' uncle on the bond. An' then o' breakin' thar necks over the rocks an' up jumped Gid Fletcher, the blacksmith sech."

over yander ter the Settlemint, - him “ Look a hyar, Pete Cayce, I'll Aling it war ez swore out the warrant, an' ye bodaciously over that thar bluff !” ex- demanded the Squair would hear his claimed Amos James, darkly frowning. testimony agin it. That thar 'Cajah

A rat that had boldly run across the Green, he. sick-ed him on, all the time. floor a number of times, its whiskers I seen Gid Fletcher storp suddint wunst, powdered white, its tail white also, and an’ wall his eye 'round onsartin' at 'Cagayly frisking behind it, had ventured so jah Green, ez ef ter make sure he war close to the miller's motionless foot that a-sayin' all right. An' 'Cajah Green, when he stepped hastily forward it he batted his eye, ez much ez ter say, sprang into the air with a wonderfully "Go it, old hoss !' Sure ez ye air born human expression of fright; then, with them two fixed it up aforehand.” a sprawling anatomy and a scuttling “I do de-spise that thar critter, 'Casound, it sped away to some dark cor- jah Green !” exclaimed one of the men, ner, where it might meditate on the who was sitting on a sack of corn in the escaped danger and take heed of fool- middle of the floor. “ He fairly makes hardiness.

the trigger o' my rifle itch! I hope he “ W-w-what would I be a-doin' of, won't kem out ahead at the August Amos Jeemes, whilst ye war a-flingin' election. The Big Smoky 'll hev ter m-me over the b-b-bluff ?" demanded git him beat somehows; we can't hev Pete, pertinently.

him aggervatin' 'roun' hyar another two “What ails ye, ter git tuk so suddint year.” in yer temper, Amos ?” asked another The fore-legs of Pete Cayce's tilted of the baffled listeners, who desired chair came down with a thump. He rather to promote peace and further the leaned forward, and with a marked gesdetail of Parson Kelsey's examination ture offered his big horny paw to the before the magistrate than to witness man who sat on the bag of corn; they one of Pete Cayce's acrid contentions. solemnly shook hands as on a compact. “ Amos jes' axed ye, Pete, why pa'son Amos James still leaned against the war n't admitted ter bail."

empty hopper, listening with a face of “ H-h-he never done, now," said Pete. angry gloom as Pete recommenced :

Waal, the Squair, he put his nose bough of the overspreading chestnutinter his book agin, an' then he 'lowed oak, at the deep, transparent water in he'd hear Gid Fletcher's say-so. An' the pond. The dark, lustrous reflecGid, — waal, he 'll be mighty good metal tion of the sassafras and huckleberry fur the devil's anvil ; I feel it in my bushes on the summit of the vertical bones how Satan will rej'ice ter draw rocky bank was like some mezzotinted Gid Fletcher down small, — he got up landscape under glass. A frog on one an' 'lowed ez pa’son an' his uncle an' of the ledges at the waterside was a his gran'dad did n't wuth two thousand picture of amphibious content; somedollars. They hed what they hed all ter- times his mouth opened and shut quickgether, an' 't war n't enough, — 't war n't ly, with an expression, if not beautiful, wuth more 'n a thousan', ef that. An' implying satisfaction. Pete lazily caught so the Squair, — waal, he looked toler’- up a stick which he had been whittling. ble comical, a-nosin' in his book an' The slight missile flew through the air, a-polishin' off the torp o' his head with catching the light as it went. Its aim his red handkercher, an' he war ez on- was accurate, and the next moment the easy an' onsartain in his actions ez a man monotony of the placid surface was consortin' accidentally with a bumbly broken by the elastically widening cirbee. He tried 'em all powerful in thar cles above the spot where the frog temper, bein' so gin over ter backin' an' jumped in. fo'thin'; but ez he war the jestice they “The pa'son," he said languidly, hed ter sot 'round an' look solemn an're having satisfactorily concluded this exspec'ful. An' at las' he said he could n't ploit, - "at fust it looked like the accept the bail, ez 't war insufficient. c-critter could n't make it out, — he The dep'ty looked like he'd jump up 'peared toler’ble peaked an' white-faced, an' down, an' crack his heels together ; but the way he behaved ter the sheriff 'peared like he war glad fur true. An' 'minds me o' the tales the old men tell the Squair, he 'lowed ez the rescue war 'bout'n Hangin' Maw an' Bloody Feller, a crime ez mought make a jestice keer- an' them t'other wild Injuns that useter ful how he tuk insufficient bail. Enny. aggervate the white folks in the Big body ez would holp a man ter escape Smoky, — proud an' straight, an' lookfrom custdy would jump his bond him- in' at 'Cajah Green ez ef he war jes' self, though he war tol'ble keerful ter the dirt under his feet. Waal, pa’son explain ter pa’son ez he never onder- 'lowed, calm an' quiet, ez I'd be skintook ter charge either on him, nuther. nin' a deer or suthin', ez he'd ruther An' he hed ter bear in mind ez he be obligated ter his own f-folks for that oc'pied a m-m-mighty important place holp, but ez that could n't be he'd git in the l-law,

though I can't see ez it bail from others. 'T war n't m-much air so mighty important ter h-h-hev ter matter jes' till he could 'pear 'fore the say, 'I dunno; let the court decide.'” court, fur nuthin' could be easier 'n ter

Amos James remembered the hopper prove ez he hed n't rescued Rick Tyler, at last. He turned, and, as he lifted a nor never gin offense agin the law. An' bag and poured in the corn, he asked, he turned round ez s-s-sure an' quiet ter his eyes on the golden stream of grain, - Pa'son Tobin, who hed kem along ter

“An' what did pa’son say when he see what mought be a-doin', an' sez he, fund it out?”

• B-Brother Jake Tobin, you-uns an' Pete Cayce laughed, his big teeth some o' the c-church folks, I know, will making the facetious demonstration pe be 'sponsible fur the bail.' An' ef ye 'll culiarly prouounced. He was looking b’lieve me, Brother Jake Tobin, he got out of the window, through the leafy up slanch-wise, an' in sech a hurry the

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »