The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come
John Fox, Jr.
Part 3 out of 5
trudging along the same road with his cap in his hand, a long rifle over one
shoulder and a dog trotting at his heels. Now and then the boy would look
back and scold the dog and the dog would drop his muzzle with shame, until
the boy stooped to pat him on the head, when he would leap frisking before
him, until another affectionate scolding was due. The old mare turned her
head when she heard them coming, and nickered. Without a moment's hesitation
the lad untied her, mounted and rode up the mountain. For two days the man
and the boy had been "riding and tying," as this way of travel for two men
and one horse is still known in the hills, and over the mountain, they were
to come together for the night. At the foot of the spur on the other side,
boy and dog came upon the tall man sprawled at full length across a
moss-covered bowlder. The dog dropped behind, but the man's quick eye caught
"Where'd that dog come from, Chad?" Jack put his belly to the earth and
crawled slowly forward--penitent, but determined.
"He broke loose, I reckon. He come tearin' up behind me 'bout an hour ago,
like a house afire. Let him go." Caleb Hazel frowned.
"I told you, Chad, that we'd have no place to keep him."
"Well, we can send him home as easy from up thar as we can from hyeh--let him
"All right!" Chad understood not a whit better than the dog; for Jack leaped
to his feet and jumped around the school-master, trying to lick his hands,
but the school-master was absorbed and would none of him. There, the
mountain-path turned into a wagon-road and the school-master pointed with one
"Do you know what that is, Chad?"
"No, sir." Chad said "sir" to the school-master now.
"Well, that's"--the school-master paused to give his words effect--"that's
the old Wilderness Road."
Ah, did he not know the old, old Wilderness Road! The boy gripped his rifle
unconsciously, as though there might yet be a savage lying in ambush in some
covert of rhododendron close by. And, as they trudged ahead, side by side
now, for it was growing late, the school-master told him, as often before,
the story of that road and the pioneers who had trod it--the hunters,
adventurers, emigrants, fine ladies and fine gentlemen who had stained it
with their blood; and how that road had broadened into the mighty way for a
great civilization from sea to sea. The lad could see it all, as he listened,
wishing that he had lived in those stirring days, never dreaming in how
little was he of different mould from the stout-hearted pioneers who beat out
the path with their moccasined feet; how little less full of danger were his
own days to be; how little different had been his own life, and was his our
pose now--how little different after all was the bourn to which his own
restless feet were bearing him.
Chad had changed a good deal since that night after Jack's trial, when the
kind-hearted old Major had turned up at Joel's cabin to take him back to the
Bluegrass. He was taller, broader at shoulder, deeper of chest; his mouth and
eyes were prematurely grave from much brooding and looked a little defiant,
as though the boy expected hostility from the world and was prepared to meet
it, but there was no bitterness in them, and luminous about the lad was the
old atmosphere of brave, sunny cheer and simple self-trust that won people to
The Major and old Joel had talked late that night after Jack's trial. The
Major had come down to find out who Chad was, if possible, and to take him
back home, no matter who he might be. The old hunter looked long into the
"Co'se I know hit 'ud be better fer Chad, but, Lawd, how we'd hate to give
him up. Still, I reckon I'll have to let him go, but I can stand hit better,
if you can git him to leave Jack hyeh." The Major smiled. Did old Joel know
where Nathan Cherry lived? The old hunter did. Nathan was a "damned old
skinflint who lived across the mountain on Stone Creek--who stole other
folks' farms and if he knew anything about Chad the old hunter would squeeze
it out of his throat; and if old Nathan, learning where Chad now was, tried
to pester him he would break every bone in the skinflint's body." So the
Major and old Joel rode over next day to see Nathan, and Nathan with his
shifting eyes told them Chad's story in a high, cracked voice that, recalling
Chad's imitation of it, made the Major laugh. Chad was a foundling, Nathan
said: his mother was dead and his father had gone off to the Mexican War and
never come back: he had taken the mother in himself and Chad had been born in
his own house, when he lived farther up the river, and the boy had begun to
run away as soon as he was old enough to toddle. And with each sentence
Nathan would call for confirmation on a silent, dark-faced daughter who sat
inside: "Didn't he, Betsy?" or "Wasn't he, gal?" And the girl would nod
sullenly, but say nothing. It seemed a hopeless mission except that, on the
way back, the Major learned that there were one or two Bufords living down
the Cumberland, and like old Joel, shook his head over Nathan's pharisaical
philanthropy to a homeless boy and wondered what the motive under it was--but
he went back with the old hunter and tried to get Chad to go home with him.
The boy was rock-firm in his refusal.
"I'm obleeged to you, Major, but I reckon I better stay in the mountains."
That was all Chad would say, and at last the Major gave up and rode back over
the mountain and down the Cumberland alone, still on his quest. At a
blacksmith's shop far down the river he found a man who had "heerd tell of a
Chad Buford who had been killed in the Mexican War and whose daddy lived
'bout fifteen mile down the river." The Major found that Buford dead, but an
old woman told him his name was Chad, that he had "fit in the War o' 1812
when he was nothin' but a chunk of a boy, and that his daddy, whose name,
too, was Chad, had been killed by Injuns some'eres aroun' Cumberland Gap." By
this time the Major was as keen as a hound on the scent, and, in a cabin at
the foot of the sheer gray wall that crumbles into the Gap, he had the
amazing luck to find an octogenarian with an unclouded memory who could
recollect a queer-looking old man who had been killed by Indians --"a ole
feller with the curiosest hair I ever did see," added the patriarch. His name
was Colonel Buford, and the old man knew where he was buried, for he himself
was old enough at the time to help bury him. Greatly excited, the Major hired
mountaineers to dig into the little hill that the old man pointed out, on
which there was, however, no sign of a grave, and, at last, they uncovered
the skeleton of an old gentleman in a wig and peruke! There was little doubt
now that the boy, no matter what the blot on his 'scutcheon, was of his own
flesh and blood, and the Major was tempted to go back at once for him, but it
was a long way, and he was ill and anxious to get back home. So he took the
Wilderness Road for the Bluegrass, and wrote old Joel the facts and asked him
to send Chad to him whenever he would come. But the boy would not go. There
was no definite reason in his mind. It was a stubborn instinct merely--the
instinct of pride, of stubborn independence--of shame that festered in his
soul like a hornet's sting. Even Melissa urged him. She never tired of
hearing Chad tell about the Bluegrass country, and when she knew that the
Major wanted him to go back, she followed him out in the yard that night and
found him on the fence whittling. A red star was sinking behind the
mountains. "Why won't you go back no more, Chad?" she said.
"'Cause I HAIN'T got no daddy er mammy." Then Melissa startled him.
"Well, I'd go--an' I hain't got no daddy er mammy." Chad stopped his
"Whut'd you say, Lissy?" he asked, gravely.
Melissa was frightened--the boy looked so serious.
"Cross yo' heart an' body that you won't NUVER tell NO body." Chad crossed.
"Well, mammy said I mustn't ever tell nobody--but I HAIN'T got no daddy er
mammy. I heerd her a-tellin' the school-teacher." And the little girl shook
her head over her frightful crime of disobedience.
Melissa, too, was a waif, and Chad looked at her with a wave of new affection
"Now, why won't you go back just because you hain't got no daddy an' mammy?"
Chad hesitated. There was no use making Melissa unhappy.
"Oh, I'd just ruther stay hyeh in the mountains," he said, carelessly--lying
suddenly like the little gentleman that he was--lying as he knew, and as
Melissa some day would come to know. Then Chad looked at the little girl a
long while, and in such a queer way that Melissa turned her face shyly to the
"I'm goin' to stay right hyeh. Ain't you glad, Lissy?"
The little girl turned her eyes shyly back again. "Yes, Chad," she said.
He would stay in the mountains and work hard; and when he grew up he would
marry Melissa and they would go away where nobody knew him or her: or they
would stay right there in the mountains where nobody blamed him for what he
was nor Melissa for what she was; and he would study law like Caleb Hazel,
and go to the Legislature--but Melissa! And with the thought of Melissa in
the mountains came always the thought of dainty Margaret in the Bluegrass and
the chasm that lay between the two--between Margaret and him, for that
matter; and when Mother Turner called Melissa from him in the orchard next
day, Chad lay on his back under an apple-tree, for a long while, thinking;
and then he whistled for Jack and climbed the spur above the river where he
could look down on the shadowed water and out to the clouded heaps of rose
and green and crimson, where the sun was going down under one faint white
star. Melissa was the glow-worm that, when darkness came, would be a
watch-fire at his feet--Margaret, the star to which his eyes were lifted
night and day--and so runs the world. He lay long watching that star. It hung
almost over the world of which he had dreamed so long and upon which he had
turned his back forever. Forever? Perhaps, but he went back home that night
with a trouble in his soul that was not to pass, and while he sat by the fire
he awoke from the same dream to find Melissa's big eyes fixed on him, and in
them was a vague trouble that was more than his own reflected back to him.
Still the boy went back sturdily to his old life, working in the fields, busy
about the house and stable, going to school, reading and studying with the
school-master at nights, and wandering in the woods with Jack and his rifle.
And he hungered for spring to come again when he should go with the Turner
boys to take another raft of logs down the river to the capital. Spring came,
and going out to the back pasture one morning, Chad found a long-legged,
ungainly creature stumbling awkwardly about his old mare--a colt! That, too,
he owed the Major, and he would have burst with pride had he known that the
colt's sire was a famous stallion in the Bluegrass. That spring he did go
down the river again. He did not let the Major know he was coming and,
through a nameless shyness, he could not bring himself to go to see his old
friend and kinsman, but in Lexington, while he and the school-master were
standing on Cheapside, the Major whirled around a corner on them in his
carriage, and, as on the turnpike a year before, old Tom, the driver, called
"Look dar, Mars Cal!" And there stood Chad.
"Why, bless my soul! Chad--why, boy! How you have grown!" For Chad had grown,
and his face was curiously aged and thoughtful. The Major insisted on taking
him home, and the school-master, too, who went reluctantly. Miss Lucy was
there, looking whiter and more fragile than ever, and she greeted Chad with a
sweet kindliness that took the sting from his unjust remembrance of her. And
what that failure to understand her must have been Chad better knew when he
saw the embarrassed awe, in her presence, of the school-master, for whom all
in the mountains had so much reverence. At the table was Thankyma'am waiting.
Around the quarters and the stable the pickaninnies and servants seemed to
remember the boy in a kindly genuine way that touched him, and even Jerome
Conners, the overseer, seemed glad to see him. The Major was drawn at once to
the grave school-master, and he had a long talk with him that night. It was
no use, Caleb Hazel said, trying to persuade the boy to live with the
Major--not yet. And the Major was more content when he came to know in what
good hands the boy was, and, down in his heart, he loved the lad the more for
his sturdy independence, and for the pride that made him shrink from facing
the world with the shame of his birth; knowing that Chad thought of him
perhaps more than of himself. Such unwillingness to give others trouble
seemed remarkable in so young a lad. Not once did the Major mention the Deans
to the boy, and about them Chad asked no questions--not even when he saw
their carriage passing the Major's gate. When they came to leave the Major
"Well, Chad, when that filly of yours is a year old, I'll buy 'em both from
you, if you'll sell 'em, and I reckon you can come up and go to school then."
Chad shook his head. Sell that colt? He would as soon have thought of selling
Jack. But the temptation took root, just the same, then and there, and grew
steadily until, after another year in the mountains, it grew too strong. For,
in that year, Chad grew to look the fact of his birth steadily in the face,
and in his heart grew steadily a proud resolution to make his way in the
world despite it. It was curious how Melissa came to know the struggle that
was going on within him and how Chad came to know that she knew-- though no
word passed between them: more curious still, how it came with a shock to
Chad one day to realize how little was the tragedy of his life in comparison
with the tragedy in hers, and to learn that the little girl with swift vision
had already reached that truth and with sweet unselfishness had reconciled
herself. He was a boy--he could go out in the world and conquer it, while her
life was as rigid and straight before her as though it ran between close
walls of rock as steep and sheer as the cliff across the river. One thing he
never guessed--what it cost the little girl to support him bravely in his
purpose, and to stand with smiling face when the first breath of one sombre
autumn stole through the hills, and Chad and the school-master left the
Turner home for the Bluegrass, this time to stay.
She stood in the doorway after they had waved good-by from the head of the
river--the smile gone and her face in a sudden dark eclipse. The wise old
mother went in-doors. Once the girl started through the yard as though she
would rush after them and stopped at the gate, clinching it hard with both
hands. As suddenly she became quiet.
She went in-doors to her work and worked quietly and without a word. Thus she
did all day while her mind and her heart ached. When she went after the cows
before sunset she stopped at the barn where Beelzebub had been tied. She
lifted her eyes to the hay-loft where she and Chad had hunted for hens' eggs
and played hide-and-seek. She passed through the orchard where they had
worked and played so many happy hours, and on to the back pasture where the
Dillon sheep had been killed and she had kept the Sheriff from shooting Jack.
And she saw and noted everything with a piteous pain and dry eyes. But she
gave no sign that night, and not until she was in bed did she with covered
head give way. Then the bed shook with her smothered sobs. This is the sad
way with women. After the way of men, Chad proudly marched the old Wilderness
Road that led to a big, bright, beautiful world where one had but to do and
dare to reach the stars. The men who had trod that road had made that big
world beyond, and their life Chad himself had lived so far. Only, where they
had lived he had been born--in a log cabin. Their weapons--the axe and the
rifle-- had been his. He had had the same fight with Nature as they. He knew
as well as they what life in the woods in "a half-faced camp" was. Their rude
sports and pastimes, their log-rollings, house-raisings, quilting parties,
corn-huskings, feats of strength, had been his. He had the same lynx eyes,
cool courage, swiftness of foot, readiness of resource that had been trained
into them. His heart was as stout and his life as simple and pure. He was
taking their path and, in the far West, beyond the Bluegrass world where he
was going, he could, if he pleased, take up the same life at the precise point
where they had left off. At sunset, Chad and the school-master stood on the
summit of the Cumberland foothills and looked over the rolling land with
little less of a thrill, doubtless, than the first hunters felt when the land
before them was as much a wilderness as the wilds through which they had made
their way. Below them a farmhouse shrank half out of sight into a little
hollow, and toward it they went down.
The outside world had moved swiftly during the two years that they had been
buried in the hills as they learned at the farm-house that night. Already the
national storm was threatening, the air was electrically charged with alarms,
and already here and there the lightning had flashed. The underground railway
was busy with black freight, and John Brown, fanatic, was boldly lifting his
shaggy head. Old Brutus Dean was even publishing an abolitionist paper at
Lexington, the aristocratic heart of the State. He was making abolition
speeches throughout the Bluegrass with a dagger thrust in the table before
him--shaking his black mane and roaring defiance like a lion. The news
thrilled Chad unaccountably, as did the shadow of any danger, but it threw
the school-master into gloom. There was more. A dark little man by the name
of Douglas and a sinewy giant by the name of Lincoln were thrilling the West.
Phillips and Garrison were thundering in Massachusetts, and fiery tongues in
the South were flashing back scornful challenges and threats that would
imperil a nation. An invisible air-line shot suddenly between the North and
the South, destined to drop some day and lie a dead-line on the earth, and on
each side of it two hordes of brothers, who thought themselves two hostile
peoples, were shrinking away from each other with the half-conscious purpose
of making ready for a charge. In no other State in the Union was the
fratricidal character of the coming war to be so marked as in Kentucky, in no
other State was the national drama to be so fully played to the bitter end.
That night even, Brutus Dean was going to speak near by, and Chad and Caleb
Hazel went to hear him. The fierce abolitionist first placed a Bible before
"This is for those who believe in religion," he said; then a copy of the
Constitution: "this for those who believe in the laws and in freedom of
speech. And this," he thundered, driving a dagger into the table and leaving
it to quiver there, "is for the rest!" Then he went on and no man dared to
And only next day came the rush of wind that heralds the storm. Just outside
of Lexington Chad and the school-master left the mare and colt at a
farm-house and with Jack went into town on foot. It was Saturday afternoon,
the town was full of people, and an excited crowd was pressing along Main
Street toward Cheapside. The man and the boy followed eagerly. Cheapside was
thronged--thickest around a frame building that bore a newspaper sign on
which was the name of Brutus Dean. A man dashed from a hardware store with an
axe, followed by several others with heavy hammers in their hands. One swing
of the axe, the door was crashed open and the crowd went in like wolves.
Shattered windows, sashes and all, flew out into the street, followed by
showers of type, chair-legs, table-tops, and then, piece by piece, the
battered cogs, wheels, and forms of a printing-press. The crowd made little
noise. In fifteen minutes the house was a shell with gaping windows,
surrounded with a pile of chaotic rubbish, and the men who had done the work
quietly disappeared. Chad looked at the school-master for the first time:
neither of them had uttered a word. The school-master's face was white with
anger, his hands were clinched, and his eyes were so fierce and burning that
the boy was frightened.
CHAPTER 15. TO COLLEGE IN THE BLUEGRASS
As the school-master had foretold, there was no room at college for Jack.
Several times Major Buford took the dog home with him, but Jack would not
stay. The next morning the dog would turn up at the door of the dormitory
where Chad and the school-master slept, and as a last resort the boy had to
send Jack home. So, one Sunday morning Chad led Jack out of the town for
several miles, and at the top of a high hill pointed toward the mountains and
sternly told him to go home. And Jack, understanding that the boy was in
earnest, trotted sadly away with a placard around his neck:
I own this dog. His name is Jack. He is on his way to Kingdom Come. Please
feed him. Uncle Joel Turner will shoot any man who steels him. CHAD.
It was no little consolation to Chad to think that the faithful sheep-dog
would in no small measure repay the Turners for all they had done for him.
But Jack was the closest link that bound him to the mountains, and dropping
out of sight behind the crest of the hill, Chad crept to the top again and
watched Jack until he trotted out of sight, and the link was broken. Then
Chad went slowly and sorrowfully back to his room.
It was the smallest room in the dormitory that the school-master had chosen
for himself and Chad, and in it were one closet, one table, one lamp, two
chairs and one bed--no more. There were two windows in the little room--one
almost swept by the branches of a locust-tree and overlooking the brown-gray
sloping campus and the roofs and church-steeples of the town--the other
opening to the east on a sweep of field and woodland over which the sun rose
with a daily message from the unseen mountains far beyond and toward which
Chad had sent Jack trotting home. It was a proud day for Chad when Caleb
Hazel took him to "matriculate"--leading him from one to another of the
professors, who awed the lad with their preternatural dignity, but it was a
sad blow when he was told that in everything but mathematics he must go to
the preparatory department until the second session of the term--the
"kitchen," as it was called by the students. He bore it bravely, though, and
the school-master took him down the shady streets to the busy thoroughfare,
where the official book-store was, and where Chad, with pure ecstasy, caught
his first new books under one arm and trudged back, bending his head now and
then to catch the delicious smell of the fresh leaves and print. It was while
he was standing with his treasures under the big elm at the turnstile,
looking across the campus at the sundown that two boys came down the gravel
path. He knew them both at once as Dan and Harry Dean. Both looked at him
curiously, as he thought, but he saw that neither knew him and no one spoke.
The sound of wheels came up the street behind him just then, and a carriage
halted at the turnstile to take them in. Turning, Chad saw a slender girl
with dark hair and eyes and heard her call brightly to the boys. He almost
caught his breath at the sound of her voice, but he kept sturdily on his way,
and the girl's laugh rang in his ears as it rang the first time he heard it,
was ringing when he reached his room, ringing when he went to bed that night,
and lay sleepless, looking through his window at the quiet stars.
For some time, indeed, no one recognized him, and Chad was glad. Once he met
Richard Hunt riding with Margaret, and the piercing dark eyes that the boy
remembered so well turned again to look at him. Chad colored and bravely met
them with his own, but there was no recognition. And he saw John
Morgan--Captain John Morgan--at the head of the "Lexington Rifles," which he
had just formed from the best blood of the town, as though in long
preparation for that coming war--saw him and Richard Hunt, as lieutenant,
drilling them in the campus, and the sight thrilled him as nothing else,
except Margaret, had ever done. Many times he met the Dean brothers on the
playground and in the streets, but there was no sign that he was known until
he was called to the blackboard one day in geometry, the only course in which
he had not been sent to the "kitchen." Then Chad saw Harry turn quickly when
the professor called his name. Confused though he was for a moment, he gave
his demonstration in his quaint speech with perfect clearness and without
interruption from the professor, who gave the boy a keen look as he said,
"Very good, sir!" And Harry could see his fingers tracing in his class-book
the figures that meant a perfect recitation.
"How are you, Chad?" he said in the hallway afterward.
"Howdye!" said Chad, shaking the proffered hand.
"I didn't know you--you've grown so tall. Didn't you know me?"
"Then why didn't you speak to me?"
"'Cause you didn't know ME."
Harry laughed. "Well, that isn't fair. See you again."
"All right," said Chad.
That very afternoon Chad met Dan in a football game--an old-fashioned game,
in which there were twenty or thirty howling lads on each side and nobody
touched the ball except with his foot--met him so violently that, clasped in
each other's arms, they tumbled to the ground.
"Leggo!" said Dan.
"S'pose you leggo!" said Chad.
As Dan started after the ball he turned to look at Chad and after the game he
went up to him.
"Why, aren't you the boy who was out at Major Buford's once?"
"Yes." Dan thrust out his hand and began to laugh. So did Chad, and each knew
that the other was thinking of the tournament.
"Math'matics," said Chad. "I'm in the kitchen fer the rest."
"Oh!" said Dan. "Where you living?" Chad pointed to the dormitory, and again
Dan said "Oh!" in a way that made Chad flush, but added, quickly:
"You better play on our side to-morrow."
Chad looked at his clothes--foot-ball seemed pretty hard on clothes--"I don't
know," he said--"mebbe."
It was plain that neither of the boys was holding anything against Chad, but
neither had asked the mountain lad to come to see him--an omission that was
almost unforgivable according to Chad's social ethics. So Chad proudly went
into his shell again, and while the three boys met often, no intimacy
developed. Often he saw them with Margaret, on the street, in a carriage or
walking with a laughing crowd of boys and girls; on the porticos of old
houses or in the yards; and, one night, Chad saw, through the wide-open door
of a certain old house on the corner of Mill and Market Streets, a party
going on; and Margaret, all in white, dancing, and he stood in the shade of
the trees opposite with new pangs shooting through him and went back to his
room in desolate loneliness, but with a new grip on his resolution that his
own day should yet come.
Steadily the boy worked, forging his way slowly but surely toward the head of
his class in the "kitchen," and the school-master helped him unwearyingly.
And it was a great help--mental and spiritual--to be near the stern Puritan,
who loved the boy as a brother and was ever ready to guide him with counsel
and aid him with his studies. In time the Major went to the president to ask
him about Chad, and that august dignitary spoke of the lad in a way that made
the Major, on his way through the campus, swish through the grass with his
cane in great satisfaction. He always spoke of the boy now as his adopted son
and, whenever it was possible, he came in to take Chad out home to spend
Sunday with him; but, being a wise man and loving Chad's independence, he let
the boy have his own way. He had bought the filly--and would hold her, he
said, until Chad could buy her back, and he would keep the old nag as a
broodmare and would divide profits with Chad--to all of which the boy agreed.
The question of the lad's birth was ignored between them, and the Major
rarely spoke to Chad of the Deans, who were living in town during the winter,
nor questioned him about Dan or Harry or Margaret. But Chad had found out
where the little girl went to church, and every Sunday, despite Caleb Hazel's
protest, he would slip into the Episcopal church, with a queer
feeling -- little Calvinist of the hills that he was -- that it was not quite
right for him even to enter that church; and he would watch the little girl
come in with her family and, after the queer way of these "furriners," kneel
first in prayer. And there, with soul uplifted by the dim rich light and the
peal of the organ, he would sit watching her; rising when she rose, watching
the light from the windows on her shining hair and sweet-spirited face,
watching her reverent little head bend in obeisance to the name of the Master,
though he kept his own held straight, for no Popery like that was for him.
Always, however, he would slip out before the service was quite over and never
wait even to see her come out of church. He was too proud for that and,
anyhow, it made him lonely to see the people greeting one another and chatting
and going off home together when there was not a soul to speak to him. It was
just one such Sunday that they came face to face for the first time. Chad had
gone down the street after leaving the church, had changed his mind and was
going back to his room. People were pouring from the church, as he went by,
but Chad did not even look across. A clatter rose behind him and he turned to
see a horse and rockaway coming at a gallop up the street, which was narrow.
The negro driver, frightened though he was, had sense enough to pull his
running horse away from the line of vehicles in front of the church so that
the beast stumbled against the curb-stone, crashed into a tree, and dropped
struggling in the gutter below another line of vehicles waiting on the other
side of the street. Like lightning, Chad leaped and landed full length on the
horse's head and was tossed violently to and fro, but he held on until the
animal lay still.
"Unhitch the hoss," he called, sharply.
"Well, that was pretty quick work for a boy," said a voice across the street
that sounded familiar, and Chad looked across to see General Dean and
Margaret watching him. The boy blushed furiously when his eyes met Margaret's
and he thought he saw her start slightly, but he lowered his eyes and hurried
It was only a few days later that, going up from town toward the campus, he
turned a corner and there was Margaret alone and moving slowly ahead of him.
Hearing his steps she turned her head to see who it was, but Chad kept his
eyes on the ground and passed her without looking up. And thus he went on,
although she was close behind him, across the street and to the turnstile. As
he was passing through, a voice rose behind him:
"You aren't very polite, little boy." He turned quickly--Margaret had not
gone around the corner: she, too, was coming through the campus and there she
stood, grave and demure, though her eyes were dancing.
"My mamma says a NICE little boy always lets a little GIRL go FIRST."
"I didn't know you was comin' through."
"Was comin' through!" Margaret made a little face as though to say--"Oh,
"I said I didn't know you were coming through this way."
Margaret shook her head. "No," she said; "no, you didn't."
"Well, that's what I meant to say." Chad was having a hard time with his
English. He had snatched his cap from his head, had stepped back outside the
stile and was waiting to turn it for her. Margaret passed through and waited
where the paths forked.
"Are you going up to the college?" she asked.
"I was--but I ain't now--if you'll let me walk a piece with you." He was
scarlet with confusion--a tribute that Chad rarely paid his kind. His way of
talking was very funny, to be sure, but had she not heard her father say that
"the poor little chap had had no chance in life;" and Harry, that some day he
would be the best in his class?
"Yes--ain't you Margaret--Miss Margaret?"
"Yes, I'm Margaret." She was pleased with the hesitant title and the boy's
"An' I called you a little gal." Margaret's laugh tinkled in merry
remembrance. "An' you wouldn't take my fish."
"I can't bear to touch them."
"I know," said Chad, remembering Melissa.
They passed a boy who knew Chad, but not Margaret. The lad took off his hat,
but Chad did not lift his; then a boy and a girl and, when only the two girls
spoke, the other boy lifted his hat, though he did not speak to Margaret.
Still Chad's hat was untouched and when Margaret looked up, Chad's face was
red with confusion again. But it never took the boy long to learn and,
thereafter, during the walk his hat came off unfailingly. Everyone looked at
the two with some surprise and Chad noticed that the little girl's chin was
being lifted higher and higher. His intuition told him what the matter was,
and when they reached the stile across the campus and Chad saw a crowd of
Margaret's friends coming down the street, he halted as if to turn back, but
the little girl told him imperiously to come on. It was a strange escort for
haughty Margaret--the country-looking boy, in coarse homespun--but Margaret
spoke cheerily to her friends and went on, looking up at Chad and talking to
him as though he were the dearest friend she had on earth.
At the edge of town she suggested that they walk across a pasture and go back
by another street, and not until they were passing through the woodland did
Chad come to himself.
"You know I didn't rickollect when you called me 'little boy.'"
"Not at fust, I mean," stammered Chad.
Margaret grew mock-haughty and Chad grew grave. He spoke very slowly and
steadily. "I reckon I rickollect ever'thing that happened out thar a sight
better'n you. I ain't forgot nothin'--anything."
The boy's sober and half-sullen tone made Margaret catch her breath with a
sudden vague alarm.
Unconsciously she quickened her pace, but, already, she was mistress of an
art to which she was born and she said, lightly:
"Now, that's MUCH better." A piece of pasteboard dropped from Chad's jacket
just then, and, taking the little girl's cue to swerve from the point at
issue, he picked it up and held it out for Margaret to read. It was the first
copy of the placard which he had tied around Jack's neck when he sent him
home, and it set Margaret to laughing and asking questions. Before he knew it
Chad was telling her about Jack and the mountains; how he had run away; about
the Turners and about Melissa and coming down the river on a raft--all he had
done and all he meant to do. And from looking at Chad now and then, Margaret
finally kept her eyes fixed on his--and thus they stood when they reached the
gate, while crows flew cawing over them and the air grew chill.
"And did Jack go home?"
"No, he didn't. He come back, and I had to hide fer two days. Then, because
he couldn't find me he did go, thinking I had gone back to the mountains,
too. He went to look fer me."
"Well, if he comes back again I'll ask my papa to get them to let you keep
Jack at college," said Margaret.
Chad shook his head.
"Then I'll keep him for you myself." The boy looked his gratitude, but shook
his head again.
"He won't stay."
Margaret asked for the placard again as they moved down the street.
"You've got it spelled wrong," she said, pointing to "steel." Chad blushed.
"I can't spell when I write," he said. "I can't even talk--right."
"But you'll learn," she said.
"Will you help me?"
"Tell me when I say things wrong?"
"Where'm I goin' to see you?"
Margaret shook her head thoughtfully: then the reason for her speaking first
to Chad came out.
"Papa and I saw you on Sunday, and papa said you must be very strong as well
as brave, and that you knew something about horses. Harry told us who you
were when papa described you, and then I remembered. Papa told Harry to bring
you to see us. And you must come," she said, decisively.
They had reached the turnstile at the campus again.
"Have you had any more tournaments?" asked Margaret.
"No," said Chad, apprehensively.
"Do you remember the last thing I said to you?"
"I rickollect that better'n anything," said Chad.
"Well, I didn't hate you. I'm sorry I said that," she said gently. Chad
looked very serious.
"That's all right," he said. "I seed--I saw you on Sunday, too."
"Did you know me?"
"I reckon I did. And that wasn't the fust time." Margaret's eyes were opening
"I been goin' to church ever' Sunday fer nothin' else but just to see you."
Again his tone gave her vague alarm, but she asked:
"Why didn't you speak to me?"
They were nearing the turnstile across the campus now, and Chad did not
"Why didn't you speak to me?"
Chad stopped suddenly, and Margaret looked quickly at him, and saw that his
face was scarlet. The little girl started and her own face flamed. There was
one thing she had forgotten, and even now she could not recall what it
was--only that it was something terrible she must not know--old Mammy's words
when Dan was carried in senseless after the tournament. Frightened and
helpless, she shrank toward the turnstile, but Chad did not wait. With his
cap in his hand, he turned abruptly, without a sound, and strode away.
CHAPTER 16. AGAIN THE BAR SINISTER
And yet, the next time Chad saw Margaret, she spoke to him shyly but
cordially, and when he did not come near her, she stopped him on the street
one day and reminded him of his promise to come and see them. And Chad knew
the truth at once--that she had never asked her father about him, but had not
wanted to know what she had been told she must not know, and had properly
taken it for granted that her father would not ask Chad to his house, if there
were a good reason why he should not come. But Chad did not go even to the
Christmas party that Margaret gave in town, though the Major urged him. He
spent Christmas with the Major, and he did go to a country party, where the
Major was delighted with the boy's grace and agility dancing the quadrille,
and where the lad occasioned no little amusement with his improvisations in
the way of cutting pigeon's wings and shuffling, which he had learned in the
mountains. So the Major made him accept a loan and buy a suit for social
purposes after Christmas, and had him go to Madam Blake's dancing school, and
promise to go to the next party to which he was asked. And that Chad did--to
the big gray house on the corner, through whose widespread doors his longing
eyes had watched Margaret and her friends flitting like butterflies months
It intoxicated the boy--the lights, music, flowers, the little girls in
white--and Margaret. For the first time he met her friends, Nellie Hunt,
sister to Richard; Elizabeth Morgan, cousin to John Morgan; and Miss Jennie
Overstreet, who, young as she was, wrote poems--but Chad had eyes only for
Margaret. It was while he was dancing a quadrille with her, that he noticed a
tall, pale youth with black hair, glaring at him, and he recognized Georgie
Forbes, a champion of Margaret, and the old enemy who had caused his first
trouble in his new home. Chad laughed with fearless gladness, and Margaret
tossed her head. It was Georgie now who blackened and spread the blot on
Chad's good name, and it was Georgie to whom Chad--fast learning the ways of
gentlemen--promptly sent a pompous challenge, that the difficulty might be
settled "in any way the gentleman saw fit." Georgie insultingly declined to
fight with one who was not his equal, and Chad boxed his jaws in the presence
of a crowd, floored him with one blow, and contemptuously twisted his nose.
Thereafter open comment ceased. Chad was making himself known. He was the
swiftest runner on the football field; he had the quickest brain in
mathematics; he was elected to the Periclean Society, and astonished his
fellow-members with a fiery denunciation of the men who banished Napoleon to
St. Helena--so fiery was it, indeed, that his opponents themselves began to
wonder how that crime had ever come to pass. He would fight at the drop of a
hat, and he always won; and by-and-by the boy began to take a fierce joy in
battling his way upward against a block that would have crushed a weaker soul.
It was only with Margaret that that soul was in awe. He began to love her with
a pure reverence that he could never know at another age. Every Saturday
night, when dusk fell, he was mounting the steps of her house. Every Sunday
morning he was waiting to take her home from church. Every afternoon he looked
for her, hoping to catch sight of her on the streets, and it was only when Dan
and Harry got indignant, and after Margaret had made a passionate defence of
Chad in the presence of the family, that the General and Mrs. Dean took the
matter in hand. It was a childish thing, of course; a girlish whim. It was
right that they should be kind to the boy--for Major Buford's sake, if not for
his own; but they could not have even the pretence of more than a friendly
intimacy between the two, and so Margaret was told the truth. Immediately,
when Chad next saw her, her honest eyes sadly told him that she knew the
truth, and Chad gave up then. Thereafter he disappeared from sports and from
his kind every way, except in the classroom and in the debating hall. Sullenly
he stuck to his books. From five o'clock in the morning until ten o'clock at
night, he was at them steadily, in his room, or at recitation except for an
hour's walk with the school-master and the three half-hours that his meals
kept him away. He grew so pale and thin that the Major and Caleb Hazel were
greatly worried, but protest from both was useless. Before the end of the term
he had mounted into college in every study, and was holding his own. At the
end he knew his power--knew what he COULD do, and his face was set, for his
future, dauntless. When vacation came, he went at once to the Major's farm,
but not to be idle. In a week or two he was taking some of the reins into his
own hands as a valuable assistant to the Major. He knew a good horse, could
guess the weight of a steer with surprising accuracy, and was a past master in
knowledge of sheep. By instinct he was canny at a trade--what mountaineer is
not?--and he astonished the Major with the shrewd deals he made. Authority
seemed to come naturally to him, and the Major swore that he could get more
work out of the "hands" than the overseer himself, who sullenly resented
Chad's interference, but dared not open his lips. Not once did he go to the
Deans', and neither Harry nor Dan came near him. There was little intercourse
between the Major and the General, as well; for, while the Major could not,
under the circumstances, blame the General, inconsistently, he could not quite
forgive him, and the line of polite coolness between the neighbors was never
overstepped. At the end of July, Chad went to the mountains to see the Turners
and Jack and Melissa. He wore his roughest clothes, put on no airs, and, to
all eyes, save Melissa's, he was the same old Chad. But feminine subtlety
knows no social or geographical lines, and while Melissa knew what had
happened as well as Chad, she never let him see that she knew. Apparently she
was giving open encouragement to Dave Hilton, a tawny youth from down the
river, who was hanging, dog-like, about the house, and foolish Chad began to
let himself dream of Margaret with a light heart. On the third day before he
was to go back to the Bluegrass, a boy came from over Black Mountain with a
message from old Nathan Cherry. Old Nathan had joined the church, had fallen
ill, and, fearing he was going to die, wanted to see Chad. Chad went over with
curious premonitions that were not in vain, and he came back with a strange
story that he told only to old Joel, under promise that he would never make it
known to Melissa. Then he started for the Bluegrass, going over Pine Mountain
and down through Cumberland Gap. He would come back every year of his life, he
told Melissa and the Turners, but Chad knew he was bidding a last farewell to
the life he had known in the mountains. At Melissa's wish and old Joel's, he
left Jack behind, though he sorely wanted to take the dog with him. It was
little enough for him to do in return for their kindness, and he could see
that Melissa's affection for Jack was even greater than his own: and how
incomparably lonelier than his life was the life that she must lead! This time
Melissa did not rush to the yard gate when he was gone. She sank slowly where
she stood to the steps of the porch, and there she sat stone-still. Old Joel
passed her on the way to the barn. Several times the old mother walked to the
door behind her, and each time starting to speak, stopped and turned back, but
the girl neither saw nor heard them. Jack trotted by, whimpering. He sat down
in front of her, looking up at her unseeing eyes, and it was only when he
crept to her and put his head in her lap, that she put her arms around him and
bent her own head down; but no tears came.
CHAPTER 17. CHADWICK BUFORD, GENTLEMAN
And so, returned to the Bluegrass, the midsummer of that year, Chadwick Buford
gentleman. A youth of eighteen, with the self-possession of a man, and a pair
of level, clear eyes, that looked the world in the face as proudly as ever but
with no defiance and no secret sense of shame It was a curious story that Chad
brought back and told to the Major, on the porch under the honeysuckle vines,
but it seemed to surprise the Major very little: how old Nathan had sent for
him to come to his death-bed and had told Chad that he was no foundling; that
one of his farms belonged to the boy; that he had lied to the Major about
Chad's mother, who was a lawful wife, in order to keep the land for himself;
how old Nathan had offered to give back the farm, or pay him the price of it
in livestock, and how, at old Joel's advice he had taken the stock and turned
the stock into money. How, after he had found his mother's grave, his first
act had been to take up the rough bee-gum coffin that held her remains, and
carry it down the river, and bury her where she had the right to lie, side by
side with her grandfather and his--the old gentleman who slept in wig and
peruke on the hill-side--that her good name and memory should never again
suffer insult from any living tongue. It was then that Major took Chad by the
shoulders roughly, and, with tears in his eyes, swore that he would have no
more nonsense from the boy; that Chad was flesh of his flesh and bone of his
bone; that he would adopt him and make him live where he belonged, and break
his damned pride. And it was then that Chad told him how gladly he would come,
now that he could bring him an untarnished name. And the two walked together
down to the old family graveyard, where the Major said that the two in the
mountains should be brought some day and where the two brothers who had parted
nearly fourscore years ago could, side by side, await Judgment Day.
When they went back into the house the Major went to the sideboard.
"Have a drink, Chad?"
Chad laughed: "Do you think it will stunt my growth?"
"Stand up here, and let's see," said the Major.
The two stood up, back to back, in front of a long mirror, and Chad's shaggy
hair rose at least an inch above the Major's thin locks of gray. The Major
turned and looked at him from head to foot with affectionate pride.
"Six feet in your socks, to the inch, without that hair. I reckon it won't
stunt you--not now."
"All right," laughed Chad, "then I'll take that drink." And together they
Thus, Chadwick Buford, gentleman, after the lapse of three-quarters of a
century, came back to his own: and what that own, at that day and in that
It was the rose of Virginia, springing, in full bloom, from new and richer
soil--a rose of a deeper scarlet and a stronger stem: and the big village
where the old University reared its noble front was the very heart of that
rose. There were the proudest families, the stateliest homes, the broadest
culture, the most gracious hospitality, the gentlest courtesies, the finest
chivalry, that the State has ever known. There lived the political idols;
there, under the low sky, rose the memorial shaft to Clay. There had lived
beaux and belles, memories of whom hang still about the town, people it with
phantom shapes, and give an individual or a family here and there a subtle
distinction to-day. There the grasp of Calvinism was most lax. There were the
dance, the ready sideboard, the card table, the love of the horse and the dog,
and but little passion for the game-cock. There were as manly virtues, as
manly vices, as the world has ever known. And there, love was as far from lust
as heaven from hell.
It was on the threshold of this life that Chad stood. Kentucky had given birth
to the man who was to uphold the Union--birth to the man who would seek to
shatter it. Fate had given Chad the early life of one, and like blood with the
other; and, curiously enough, in his own short life, he already epitomized the
social development of the nation, from its birth in a log cabin to its swift
maturity behind the columns of a Greek portico. Against the uncounted
generations of gentlepeople that ran behind him to sunny England, how little
could the short sleep of three in the hills count! It may take three
generations to make a gentleman, but one is enough, if the blood be there, the
heart be right, and the brain and hand come early under discipline.
It was to General Dean that the Major told Chad's story first. The two old
friends silently grasped hands, and the cloud between them passed like mist.
"Bring him over to dinner on Saturday, Cal--you and Miss Lucy, won't you? Some
people are coming out from town." In making amends, there was no half-way with
"I will," said the Major, "gladly."
The cool of the coming autumn was already in the air that Saturday when Miss
Lucy and the Major and Chad, in the old carriage, with old Tom as driver and
the pickaninny behind, started for General Dean's. The Major was beautiful to
behold, in his flowered waistcoat, his ruffled shirt, white trousers strapped
beneath his highly polished, high-heeled boots, high hat and frock coat, with
only the lowest button fastened, in order to give a glimpse of that wonderful
waistcoat, just as that, too, was unbuttoned at the top that the ruffles might
peep out upon the world. Chad's raiment, too, was a Solomon's--for him. He had
protested, but in vain; and he, too, wore white trousers with straps,
high-heeled boots, and a wine-colored waistcoat and slouch hat, and a brave,
though very conscious, figure he made, with his tall body, well-poised head,
strong shoulders and thick hair. It was a rare thing for Miss Lucy to do, but
the old gentlewoman could not resist the Major, and she, too, rode in state
with them, smiling indulgently at the Major's quips, and now, kindly, on Chad.
A drowsy peace lay over the magnificent woodlands, unravaged then except for
firewood; the seared pastures, just beginning to show green again for the
second spring; the flashing creek, the seas of still hemp and yellow corn, and
Chad saw a wistful shadow cross Miss Lucy's pale face, and a darker one
anxiously sweep over the Major's jesting lips.
Guests were arriving, when they entered the yard gate, and guests were coming
behind them. General and Mrs. Dean were receiving them on the porch, and Harry
and Dan were helping the ladies out of their carriages, while, leaning against
one of the columns, in pure white, was the graceful figure of Margaret. That
there could ever have been any feeling in any member of the family other than
simple, gracious kindliness toward him, Chad could neither see nor feel. At
once every trace of embarrassment in him was gone, and he could but wonder at
the swift justice done him in a way that was so simple and effective. Even
with Margaret there was no trace of consciousness. The past was wiped clean of
all save courtesy and kindness. There were the Hunts--Nellie, and the
Lieutenant of the Lexington Rifles, Richard Hunt, a dauntless-looking dare-devil, with the ready tongue of
a coffee-house wit and the grace of a
cavalier. There was Elizabeth Morgan, to whom Harry's grave eyes were always
wandering, and Miss Jennie Overstreet, who was romantic and openly now wrote
poems for the Observer, and who looked at Chad with no attempt to conceal her
admiration of his appearance and her wonder as to who he was. And there were
the neighbors roundabout--the Talbotts, Quisenberrys, Clays, Prestons,
Morgans--surely no less than forty strong, and all for dinner. It was no
little trial for Chad in that crowd of fine ladies, judges, soldiers, lawyers,
statesmen--but he stood it well. While his self-consciousness made him
awkward, he had pronounced dignity of bearing; his diffidence emphasized his
modesty, and he had the good sense to stand and keep still. Soon they were at
table--and what a table and what a dinner that was! The dining-room was the
biggest and sunniest room in the house; its walls covered with hunting prints,
pictures of game and stag heads. The table ran the length of it. The snowy
tablecloth hung almost to the floor. At the head sat Mrs. Dean, with a great
tureen of calf's head soup in front of her. Before the General was the saddle
of venison that was to follow, drenched in a bottle of ancient Madeira, and
flanked by flakes of red-currant jelly. Before the Major rested broiled wild
ducks, on which he could show his carving skill--on game as well as men. A
great turkey supplanted the venison, and last to come, and before Richard
Hunt, Lieutenant of the Rifles, was a Kentucky ham. That ham! Mellow, aged,
boiled in champagne, baked brown, spiced deeply, rosy pink within, and of a
flavor and fragrance to shatter the fast of a Pope; and without, a brown-edged
white layer, so firm that the lieutenant's deft carving knife, passing
through, gave no hint to the eye that it was delicious fat. There had been
merry jest and laughter and banter and gallant compliment before, but it was
Richard Hunt's turn now, and story after story he told, as the rose-flakes
dropped under his knife in such thin slices that their edges coiled. It was
full half an hour before the carver and story-teller were done. After that ham
the tablecloth was lifted, and the dessert spread on another lying beneath;
then that, too, was raised, and the nuts and wines were placed on a third--red
damask this time.
Then came the toasts: to the gracious hostess from Major Buford; to Miss Lucy
from General Dean; from valiant Richard Hunt to blushing Margaret, and then
the ladies were gone, and the talk was politics--the election of Lincoln,
"If Lincoln is elected, no power but God's can avert war," said Richard Hunt,
Dan's eyes flashed. "Will you take me?"
The lieutenant lifted his glass. "Gladly, my boy."
"Kentucky's convictions are with the Union; her kinship and sympathies with
the South," said a deep-voiced lawyer. "She must remain neutral."
"Straddling the fence," said the Major, sarcastically.
"No; to avert the war, if possible, or to act the peacemaker when the tragedy
"Well, I can see Kentuckians keeping out of a fight," laughed the General, and
he looked around. Three out of five of the men present had been in the Mexican
war. The General had been wounded at Cerro Gordo, and the Major had brought
his dead home in leaden coffins.
"The fanatics of Boston, the hot-heads of South Carolina--they are making the
"And New England began with slavery," said the lawyer again.
"And naturally, with that conscience that is a national calamity, was the
first to give it up," said Richard Hunt, "when the market price of slaves fell
to sixpence a pound in the open Boston markets." There was an incredulous
"Oh, yes," said Hunt, easily, "I can show you advertisements in Boston papers
of slaves for sale at sixpence a pound."
Perhaps it never occurred to a soul present that the word "slave" was never
heard in that region except in some such way. With Southerners, the negroes
were "our servants" or "our people"--never slaves. Two lads at that table were
growing white--Chad and Harry--and Chad's lips opened first.
"I don't think slavery has much to do with the question, really," he said,
"not even with Mr. Lincoln." The silent surprise that followed the boy's
embarrassed statement ended in a gasp of astonishment when Harry leaned across
the table and said, hotly:
"Slavery has EVERYTHING to do with the question."
The Major looked bewildered; the General frowned, and the keen-eyed lawyer
"The struggle was written in the Constitution. The framers evaded it. Logic
leads one way as well as another and no man can logically blame another for
the way he goes."
"No more politics now, gentlemen," said the General quickly. "We will join the
ladies. Harry," he added, with some sternness, "lead the way!"
As the three boys rose, Chad lifted his glass. His face was pale and his lips
"May I propose a toast, General Dean?"
"Why, certainly," said the General, kindly.
"I want to drink to one man but for whom I might be in a log cabin now, and
might have died there for all I know--my friend and, thank God! my
It was irregular and hardly in good taste, but the boy had waited till the
ladies were gone, and it touched the Major that he should want to make such a
public acknowledgment that there should be no false colors in the flag he
meant henceforth to bear.
The startled guests drank blindly to the confused Major, though they knew not
why, but as the lads disappeared the lawyer asked:
"Who is that boy, Major?"
Outside, the same question had been asked among the ladies and the same story
told. The three girls remembered him vaguely, they said, and when Chad
reappeared, in the eyes of the poetess at least, the halo of romance floated
above his head.
She was waiting for Chad when he came out on the porch, and she shook her
curls and flashed her eyes in a way that almost alarmed him. Old Mammy dropped
him a curtsey, for she had had her orders, and, behind her, Snowball, now a
tall, fine-looking coal-black youth, grinned a welcome. The three girls were
walking under the trees, with their arms mysteriously twined about one
anther's waists, and the poetess walked down toward them with the three lads,
Richard Hunt following. Chad could not know how it happened, but, a moment
later, Dan was walking away with Nellie Hunt one way; Harry with Elizabeth
Morgan the other; the Lieutenant had Margaret alone, and Miss Overstreet was
leading him away, raving meanwhile about the beauty of field and sky. As they
went toward the gate he could not help flashing one look toward the pair under
the fir tree. An amused smile was playing under the Lieutenant's beautiful
mustache, his eyes were dancing with mischief, and Margaret was blushing with
anything else than displeasure.
"Oho!" he said, as Chad and his companion passed on. "Sits the wind in that
corner? Bless me, if looks could kill, I'd have a happy death here at your
feet, Mistress Margaret. SEE the young man! It's the second time he has almost
Chad could scarcely hear Miss Jennie's happy chatter, scarcely saw the shaking
curls, the eyes all but in a frenzy of rolling. His eyes were in the back of
his head, and his backward-listening ears heard only Margaret's laugh behind
"Oh, I do love the autumn"--it was at the foot of those steps, thought Chad,
that he first saw Margaret springing to the back of her pony and dashing off
under the fir trees--" and it's coming. There's one scarlet leaf
already"--Chad could see the rock fence where he had sat that spring day--
"it's curious and mournful that you can see in any season a sign of the next
to come." And there was the creek where he found Dan fishing, and there the
road led to the ford where Margaret had spurned his offer of a slimy
fish--ugh! "I do love the autumn. It makes me feel like the young woman who
told Emerson that she had such mammoth thoughts she couldn't give them
utterance--why, wake up, Mr. Buford, wake up!" Chad came to with a start.
"Do you know you aren't very polite, Mr. Buford?" Mr. Buford! That did sound
"But I know what the matter is," she went on. "I saw you look"--she nodded her
head backward. "Can you keep a secret?" Chad nodded; he had not yet opened his
"Thae's going to be a match back there. He's only a few years older. The
French say that a woman should be half a man's age plus seven years. That
would make her only a few years too young, and she can wait." Chad was scarlet
under the girl's mischievous torture, but a cry from the house saved him. Dan
was calling them back.
"Mr. Hunt has to go back early to drill the Rifles. Can you keep another
secret?" Again Chad nodded gravely. "Well, he is going to drive me back. I'll
tell him what a dangerous rival he has." Chad was dumb; there was much yet for
him to learn before he could parry with a tongue like hers.
"He's very good-looking," said Miss Jennie, when she joined the girls, "but
oh, so stupid."
Margaret turned quickly and unsuspiciously. "Stupid! Why, he's the first man
in his class."
"Oh," said Miss Jennie, with a demure smile, "perhaps I couldn't draw him
out," and Margaret flushed to have caught the deftly tossed bait so readily.
A moment later the Lieutenant was gathering up the reins, with Miss Jennie by
his side. He gave a bow to Margaret, and Miss Jennie nodded to Chad.
"Come see me when you come to town, Mr. Buford," she called, as though to an
old friend, and still Chad was dumb, though he lifted his hat gravely.
At no time was Chad alone with Margaret, and he was not sorry--her manner so
puzzled him. The three lads and three girls walked together through Mrs.
Dean's garden with its grass walks and flower beds and vegetable patches
surrounded with rose bushes. At the lower edge they could see the barn with
sheep in the yard around it, and there were the very stiles where Harry and
Margaret had sat in state when Dan and Chad were charging in the tournament.
The thing might never have happened for any sign from Harry or Dan or
Margaret, and Chad began to wonder if his past or his present were a dream.
How fine this courtesy was Chad could not realize. Neither could he know that
the favor Margaret had shown him when he was little more than outcast he must
now, as an equal, win for himself. Miss Jennie had called him "Mr. Buford." He
wondered what Margaret would call him when he came to say good-by. She called
him nothing. She only smiled at him.
"You must come to see us soon again," she said, graciously, and so said all
The Major was quiet going home, and Miss Lucy drowsed. All evening the Major
"If a fight does come," he said, when they were going to bed, "I reckon I'm
not too old to take a hand."
"And I reckon I'm not too young," said Chad.
CHAPTER 18. THE SPIRIT OF '76 AND THE SHADOW OF '61
One night, in the following April, there was a great dance in Lexington. Next
day the news of Sumter came. Chad pleaded to be let off from the dance, but
the Major would not hear of it. It was a fancy-dress ball, and the Major had a
pet purpose of his own that he wanted gratified and Chad had promised to aid
him. That fancy was that Chad should go in regimentals, as the stern, old
soldier on the wall, of whom the Major swore the boy was the "spit and image."
The Major himself helped Chad dress in wig, peruke, stock, breeches, boots,
spurs, cocked hat, sword and all. And then he led the boy down into the
parlor, where Miss Lucy was waiting for them, and stood him up on one side of
the portrait. To please the old fellow, Chad laughingly struck the attitude of
the pictured soldier, and the Major cried:
"What'd I tell you, Lucy!" Then he advanced and made a low bow.
"General Buford," he said, "General Washington's compliments, and will General
Buford plant the flag on that hill where the left wing of the British is
"Hush, Cal," said Miss Lucy, laughing.
"General Buford's compliments to General Washington. General Buford will plant
that flag on ANY hill that ANY enemy holds against it."
The lad's face paled as the words, by some curious impulse, sprang to his
lips, but the unsuspecting Major saw no lurking significance in his manner,
nor in what he said, and then there was a rumble of carriage wheels at the
The winter had sped swiftly. Chad had done his work in college only fairly
well, for Margaret had been a disturbing factor. The girl was an impenetrable
mystery to him, for the past between them was not only wiped clean--it seemed
quite gone. Once only had he dared to open his lips about the old days, and
the girl's flushed silence made a like mistake forever impossible. He came and
went at the Deans' as he pleased. Always they were kind, courteous,
hospitable--no more, no less, unvaryingly. During the Christmas holidays he
and Margaret had had a foolish quarrel, and it was then that Chad took his
little fling at his little world--a fling that was foolish, but harmful,
chiefly in that it took his time and his mind and his energy from his work. He
not only neglected his studies, but he fell in with the wild young bucks of
the town, learned to play cards, took more wine than was good for him
sometimes, was on the verge of several duels, and night after night raced home
in his buggy against the coming dawn. Though Miss Lucy looked worried, the
indulgent old Major made no protest. Indeed he was rather pleased. Chad was
sowing his wild oats--it was in the blood, and the mood would pass. It did
pass, naturally enough, on the very day that the breach between him and
Margaret was partly healed; and the heart of Caleb Hazel, whom Chad, for
months, had not dared to face, was made glad when the boy came back to him
remorseful and repentant--the old Chad once more.
They were late in getting to the dance. Every window in the old Hunt home was
brilliant with light. Chinese lanterns swung in the big yard. The scent of
early spring flowers smote the fresh night air. Music and the murmur of nimble
feet and happy laughter swept out the wide-open doors past which white figures
flitted swiftly. Scarcely anybody knew Chad in his regimentals, and the Major,
with the delight of a boy, led him around, gravely presenting him as General
Buford here and there. Indeed, the lad made a noble figure with his superb
height and bearing, and he wore sword and spurs as though born to them.
Margaret was dancing with Richard Hunt when she saw his eyes searching for her
through the room, and she gave him a radiant smile that almost stunned him.
She had been haughty and distant when he went to her to plead forgiveness: she
had been too hard. and Margaret, too, was repentant.
"Why, who's that?" asked Richard Hunt. "Oh, yes," he added, getting his answer
from Margaret's face. "Bless me, but he's fine--the very spirit of '76. I must
have him in the Rifles."
"Will you make him a lieutenant?" asked Margaret.
"Why, yes, I will," said Mr. Hunt, decisively. "I'll resign myself in his
favor, if it pleases you."
"Oh, no, no--no one could fill your place."
"Well, he can, I fear--and here he comes to do it. I'll have to retreat some
time, and I suppose I'd as well begin now." And the gallant gentleman bowed to
"Will you pardon me, Miss Margaret? My mother is calling me."
"You must have keen ears," said Margaret; "your mother is upstairs."
"Yes; but she wants me. Everybody wants me, but--" he bowed again with an
imperturbable smile and went his way.
Margaret looked demurely into Chad's eager eyes.
"And how is the spirit of '76?"
"The spirit of '76 is unchanged."
"Oh, yes, he is; I scarcely knew him."
"But he's unchanged; he never will change."
Margaret dropped her eyes and Chad looked around.
"I wish we could get out of here."
"We can," said Margaret, demurely.
"We will!" said Chad, and he made for a door, outside which lanterns were
swinging in the wind. Margaret caught up some flimsy garment and wound it
about her pretty round throat--they call it a "fascinator" in the South.
Chad looked down at her.
"I wish you could see yourself; I wish I could tell you how you look."
"I have," said Margaret, "every time I passed a mirror. And other people have
told me. Mr. Hunt did. He didn't seem to have much trouble."
"I wish I had his tongue."
"If you had, and nothing else, you wouldn't have me"--Chad started as the
little witch paused a second, drawling--"leaving my friends and this jolly
dance to go out into a freezing yard and talk to an aged Colonial who doesn't
appreciate his modern blessings. The next thing you'll be wanting, I
"You, Margaret; you--YOU!"
It had come at last and Margaret hardly knew the choked voice that interrupted
her. She had turned her back to him to sit down. She paused a moment,
standing. Her eyes closed; a slight tremor ran through her, and she sank with
her face in her hands. Chad stood silent, trembling. Voices murmured about
them, but like the music in the house, they seemed strangely far away. The
stirring of the wind made the sudden damp on his forehead icy-cold. Margaret's
hands slowly left her face, which had changed as by a miracle. Every trace of
coquetry was gone. It was the face of a woman who knew her own heart, and had
the sweet frankness to speak it, that was lifted now to Chad.
"I'm so glad you are what you are, Chad; but had you been otherwise--that
would have made no difference to me. You believe that, don't you, Chad? They
might not have let me marry you, but I should have cared, just the same. They
may not now, but that, too, will make no difference." She turned her eyes from
his for an instant, as though she were looking far backward. "Ever since that
day," she said, slowly, "when I heard you say, 'Tell the little gurl I didn't
mean nothin' callin' her a little gal'"--there was a low, delicious gurgle in
the throat as she tried to imitate his odd speech, and then her eyes suddenly
filled with tears, but she brushed them away, smiling brightly. "Ever since
then, Chad--" she stopped--a shadow fell across the door of the little summer
"Here I am, Mr. Hunt," she said, lightly; "is this your dance?" She rose and
was gone. "Thank you, Mr. Buford," she called back, sweetly.
For a moment Chad stood where he was, quite dazed--so quickly, so unexpectedly
had the crisis come. The blood had rushed to his face and flooded him with
triumphant happiness. A terrible doubt chilled him as quickly. Had he heard
aright?--could he have misunderstood her? Had the dream of years really come
true? What was it she had said? He stumbled around in the half darkness,
wondering. Was this another phase of her unceasing coquetry? How quickly her
tone had changed when Richard Hunt's shadow came. At that moment, he neither
could nor would have changed a hair had some genie dropped them both in the
midst of the crowded ball-room. He turned swiftly toward the dancers. He must
The dance was a quadrille and the figure was "Grand right and left." Margaret
had met Richard Hunt opposite, half-way, when Chad reached the door and was
curtseying to him with a radiant smile. Again the boy's doubts beat him
fiercely; and then Margaret turned her head, as though she knew he must be
standing there. Her face grew so suddenly serious and her eyes softened with
such swift tenderness when they met his, that a wave of guilty shame swept
through him. And when she came around to him and passed, she leaned from the
circle toward him, merry and mock-reproachful:
"You mustn't look at me like that," she whispered, and Hunt, close at hand,
saw, guessed and smiled. Chad turned quickly away again.
That happy dawn--going home! The Major drowsed and fell asleep. The first
coming light, the first cool breath that was stealing over the awakening
fields, the first spring leaves with their weight of dew, were not more fresh
and pure than the love that was in the boy's heart. He held his right hand in
his left, as though he were imprisoning there the memory of the last little
clasp that she had given it. He looked at the Major, and he wondered how
anybody on earth, at that hour, could be asleep. He thought of the wasted days
of the past few months; the silly, foolish life he had led, and thanked God
that, in the memory of them, there was not one sting of shame. How he would
work for her now! Little guessing how proud she already was, he swore to
himself how proud she should be of him some day. He wondered where she was,
and what she was doing. She could not be asleep, and he must have cried aloud
could he have known--could he have heard her on her knees at her bedside,
whispering his name for the first time in her prayers; could he have seen her,
a little later, at her open window, looking across the fields, as though her
eyes must reach him through the morning dusk.
That happy dawn--for both, that happy dawn!
It was well that neither, at that hour, could see beyond the rim of his own
little world. In a far Southern city another ball, that night, had been going
on. Down there the air was charged with the prescience of dark trouble, but,
while the music moaned to many a heart like a god in pain, there was no
brooding--only a deeper flush to the cheek, a brighter sparkle to the eye, a
keener wit to the tongue; to the dance, a merrier swing. And at that very hour
of dawn, ladies, slippered, bare of head, and in evening gowns, were
fluttering like white moths along the streets of old Charleston, and down to
the Battery, where Fort Sumter lay, gray and quiet in the morning mist--to
await with jest and laughter the hissing shriek of one shell that lighted the
fires of a four years' hell in a happy land of God-fearing peace and God-given
plenty, and the hissing shriek of another that Anderson, Kentuckian, hurled
back, in heroic defence of the flag struck for the first time by other than an
CHAPTER 19. THE BLUE OR THE GRAY
In the far North, as in the far South, men had but to drift with the tide.
Among the Kentuckians, the forces that moulded her sons--Davis and
Lincoln--were at war in the State, as they were at war in the nation. By ties
of blood, sympathies, institutions, Kentucky was bound fast to the South. Yet,
ten years before, Kentuckians had demanded the gradual emancipation of the
slave. That far back, they had carved a pledge on a block of Kentucky marble,
which should be placed in the Washington monument, that Kentucky would be the
last to give up the Union. For ten years, they had felt the shadow of the war
creeping toward them. In the dark hours of that dismal year, before the dawn
of final decision, the men, women, and children of Kentucky talked of little
else save war, and the skeleton of war took its place in the closet of every
home from the Ohio to the crest of the Cumberland. When the dawn of that
decision came, Kentucky spread before the world a record of
independent-mindedness, patriotism, as each side gave the word, and sacrifice
that has no parallel in history. She sent the flower of her youth--forty
thousand strong--into the Confederacy; she lifted the lid of her treasury to
Lincoln, and in answer to his every call, sent him a soldier, practically
without a bounty and without a draft. And when the curtain fell on the last
act of the great tragedy, half of her manhood was behind it--helpless from
disease, wounded, or dead on the battle-field.
So, on a gentle April day, when the great news came, it came like a sword
that, with one stroke, slashed the State in twain, shearing through the
strongest bonds that link one man to another, whether of blood, business,
politics or religion, as though they were no more than threads of wool.
Nowhere in the Union was the National drama so played to the bitter end in the
confines of a single State. As the nation was rent apart, so was the
commonwealth; as the State, so was the county; as the county, the
neighborhood; as the neighborhood, the family; and as the family, so brother
and brother, father and son. In the nation the kinship was racial only.
Brother knew not the face of brother. There was distance between them,
antagonism, prejudice, a smouldering dislike easily fanned to flaming hatred.
In Kentucky the brothers had been born in the same bed, slept in the same
cradle, played under the same roof, sat side by side in the same schoolroom,
and stood now on the threshold of manhood arm in arm, with mutual interests,
mutual love, mutual pride in family that made clan feeling peculiarly intense.
For antislavery fanaticism, or honest unionism, one needed not to go to the
far North; as, for imperious, hotheaded, non-interference or pure State
sovereignty, one needed not to go to the far South. They were all there in the
State, the county, the family--under the same roof. Along the border alone did
feeling approach uniformity--the border of Kentucky hills. There unionism was
free from prejudice as nowhere else on the continent save elsewhere throughout
the Southern mountains. Those Southern Yankees knew nothing about the valley
aristocrat, nothing about his slaves, and cared as little for one as for the
other. Since '76 they had known but one flag, and one flag only, and to that
flag instinctively they rallied. But that the State should be swept from
border to border with horror, there was division even here: for, in the
Kentucky mountains, there was, here and there, a patriarch like Joel Turner
who owned slaves, and he and his sons fought for them as he and his sons would
have fought for their horses, or their cattle, or their sheep.
It was the prescient horror of such a condition that had no little part in the
neutral stand that Kentucky strove to maintain. She knew what war was--for
every fireside was rich in memories that men and women had of kindred who had
fallen on numberless battle-fields--back even to St. Clair's defeat and the
Raisin massacre; and though she did not fear war for its harvest of dangers
and death, she did look with terror on a conflict between neighbors, friends,
and brothers. So she refused troops to Lincoln; she refused them to Davis.
Both pledged her immunity from invasion, and, to enforce that pledge, she
raised Home Guards as she had already raised State Guards for internal
protection and peace. And there--as a State--she stood: but the tragedy went
on in the Kentucky home--a tragedy of peculiar intensity and pathos in one
Kentucky home--the Deans'.
Harry had grown up tall, pale, studious, brooding. He had always been the pet
of his Uncle Brutus--the old Lion of White Hall. Visiting the Hall, he had
drunk in the poison, or consecration, as was the point of view, of
abolitionism. At the first sign he was never allowed to go again. But the
poison had gone deep. Whenever he could he went to hear old Brutus speak.
Eagerly he heard stories of the fearless abolitionist's hand-to-hand fights
with men who sought to skewer his fiery tongue. Deeply he brooded on every
word that his retentive ear had caught from the old man's lips, and on the
wrongs he endured in behalf of his cause and for freedom of speech.
One other hero did he place above him--the great commoner after whom he had
been christened, Henry Clay Dean. He knew how Clay's life had been devoted to
averting the coming war, and how his last days had been darkly shadowed by the
belief that, when he was gone, the war must come. At times he could hear that
clarion voice as it rang through the Senate with the bold challenge to his own
people that paramount was his duty to the nation--subordinate his duty to his
State. Who can tell what the nation owed, in Kentucky, at least, to the
passionate allegiance that was broadcast through the State to Henry Clay? It
was not in the boy's blood to be driven an inch, and no one tried to drive
him. In his own home he was a spectre of gnawing anguish to his mother and
Margaret, of unspeakable bitterness and disappointment to his father, and an
impenetrable sphinx to Dan. For in Dan there was no shaking doubt. He was the
spirit, incarnate, of the young, unquestioning, unthinking, generous,
reckless, hotheaded, passionate South.
And Chad? The news reached Major Buford's farm at noon, and Chad went to the
woods and came in at dusk, haggard and spent. Miserably now he held his tongue
and tortured his brain. Purposely, he never opened his lips to Harry Dean. He
tried to make known to the Major the struggle going on within him, but the
iron-willed old man brushed away all argument with an impatient wave of his
hand. With Margaret he talked once, and straightway the question was dropped
like a living coal. So, Chad withdrew from his fellows. The social life of the
town, gayer than ever now, knew him no more. He kept up his college work, but
when he was not at his books, he walked the fields, and many a moonlit
midnight found him striding along a white turnpike, or sitting motionless on
top of a fence along the border of some woodland, his chin in both hands,
fighting his fight out in the cool stillness alone. He himself little knew the
unmeant significance there was in the old Continental uniform he had worn to
the dance. Even his old rifle, had he but known it, had been carried with
Daniel Morgan from Virginia to Washington's aid in Cambridge. His earliest
memories of war were rooted in thrilling stories of King's Mountain. He had
heard old men tell of pointing deadly rifles at red-coats at New Orleans, and
had absorbed their own love of Old Hickory. The school-master himself, when a
mere lad, had been with Scott in Mexico. The spirit of the back-woodsman had
been caught in the hills, and was alive and unchanged at that very hour. The
boy was practically born in Revolutionary days, and that was why, like all
mountaineers, Chad had little love of State and only love of country--was
first, last and all the time, simply American. It was not reason--it was
instinct. The heroes the school-master had taught him to love and some day to
emulate, had fought under one flag, and, like them, the mountaineers never
dreamed there could be another. And so the boy was an unconscious
reincarnation of that old spirit, uninfluenced by temporary apostasies in the
outside world, untouched absolutely by sectional prejudice or the appeal of
the slave. The mountaineer had no hatred of the valley aristocrat, because he
knew nothing of him, and envied no man what he was, what he had, or the life
he led. So, as for slavery, that question, singularly enough, never troubled
his soul. To him slaves were hewers of wood and drawers of water. The Lord had
made them so and the Bible said that it was right. That the school-master had
taught Chad. He had read "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and the story made him smile.
The tragedies of it he had never known and he did not believe. Slaves were
sleek, well-fed, well-housed, loved and trusted, rightly inferior and happy;
and no aristocrat ever moved among them with a more lordly, righteous air of
authority than did this mountain lad who had known them little more than half
a dozen years. Unlike the North, the boy had no prejudice, no antagonism, no
jealousy, no grievance to help him in his struggle. Unlike Harry, he had no
slave sympathy to stir him to the depths, no stubborn, rebellious pride to
prod him on. In the days when the school-master thundered at him some speech
of the Prince of Kentuckians, it was always the national thrill in the fiery
utterance that had shaken him even then. So that unconsciously the boy was the
embodiment of pure Americanism, and for that reason he and the people among
whom he was born stood among the millions on either side, quite alone.
What was he fighting then--ah, what? If the bed-rock of his character was not
loyalty, it was nothing. In the mountains the Turners had taken him from the
Wilderness. In the Bluegrass the old Major had taken him from the hills. His
very life he owed to the simple, kindly mountaineers, and what he valued more
than his life he owed to the simple gentleman who had picked him up from the
roadside and, almost without question, had taken him to his heart and to his
home. The Turners, he knew, would fight for their slaves as they would have
fought Dillon or Devil had either proposed to take from them a cow, a hog, or
a sheep. For that Chad could not blame them. And the Major was going to fight,
as he believed, for his liberty, his State, his country, his property, his
fireside. So in the eyes of both, Chad must be the snake who had warmed his
frozen body on their hearthstones and bitten the kindly hands that had warmed
him back to life. What would Melissa say? Mentally he shrank from the fire of
her eyes and the scorn of her tongue when she should know. And Margaret--the
thought of her brought always a voiceless groan. To her, he had let his doubts
be known, and her white silence closed his own lips then and there. The simple
fact that he had doubts was an entering wedge of coldness between them that
Chad saw must force them apart for he knew that the truth must come soon, and
what would be the bitter cost of that truth. She could never see him as she
saw Harry. Harry was a beloved and erring brother. Hatred of slavery had been
cunningly planted in his heart by her father's own brother, upon whose head
the blame for Harry's sin was set. The boy had been taunted until his own
father's scorn had stirred his proud independence into stubborn resistance and
intensified his resolution to do what he pleased and what he thought was
right. But Chad--she would never understand him. She would never understand
his love for the Government that had once abandoned her people to savages and
forced her State and his to seek aid from a foreign land. In her eyes, too, he
would be rending the hearts that had been tenderest to him in all the world:
and that was all. Of what fate she would deal out to him he dared not think.
If he lifted his hand against the South, he must strike at the heart of all he
loved best, to which he owed most. If against the Union, at the heart of all
that was best in himself. In him the pure spirit that gave birth to the nation
was fighting for life. Ah, God! what should he do--what should he do?
CHAPTER 20. OFF TO THE WAR
Throughout that summer Chad fought his fight, daily swaying this way and
that-- fought it in secret until the phantom of neutrality faded and gave
place to the grim spectre of war--until with each hand Kentucky drew a sword
and made ready to plunge both into her own stout heart. When Sumter fell, she
shook her head resolutely to both North and South. Crittenden, in the name of
Union lovers and the dead Clay, pleaded with the State to take no part in the
fratricidal crime. From the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of
thirty-one counties came piteously the same appeal. Neutrality, to be held
inviolate, was the answer to the cry from both the North and the South; but
armed neutrality, said Kentucky. The State had not the moral right to secede;
the Nation, no constitutional right to coerce: if both the North and the South
left their paths of duty and fought--let both keep their battles from her
soil. Straightway State Guards went into camp and Home Guards were held in
reserve, but there was not a fool in the Commonwealth who did not know that,
in sympathy, the State Guards were already for the Confederacy and the Home
Guards for the Union cause. This was in May.
In June, Federals were enlisting across the Ohio; Confederates, just over the
border of Dixie which begins in Tennessee. Within a month Stonewall Jackson
sat on his horse, after Bull Run, watching the routed Yankees, praying for
fresh men that he might go on and take the Capitol, and, from the Federal
dream of a sixty-days' riot, the North woke with a gasp. A week or two later,
Camp Dick Robinson squatted down on the edge of the Bluegrass, the first
violation of the State's neutrality, and beckoned with both hands for Yankee
recruits. Soon an order went round to disarm the State Guards, and on that
very day the State Guards made ready for Dixie. On that day the crisis came at
the Deans', and on that day Chad Buford made up his mind. When the Major and
Miss Lucy went to bed that night, he slipped out of the house and walked
through the yard and across the pike, following the little creek half
unconsciously toward the Deans', until he could see the light in Margaret's
window, and there he climbed the worm fence and sat leaning his head against
one of the forked stakes with his hat in his lap. He would probably not see
her again. He would send her word next morning to ask that he might, and he
feared what the result of that word would be. Several times his longing eyes
saw her shadow pass the curtain, and when her light was out, he closed his
eyes and sat motionless--how long he hardly knew; but, when he sprang down, he
was stiffened from the midnight chill and his unchanged posture. He went back
to his room then, and wrote Margaret a letter and tore it up and went to bed.
There was little sleep for him that night, and when the glimmer of morning
brightened at his window, he rose listlessly, dipped his hot head in a bowl of
water and stole out to the barn. His little mare whinnied a welcome as he
opened the barn door. He patted her on the neck.
"Good-by, little girl," he said. He started to call her by name and stopped.
Margaret had named the beautiful creature "Dixie." The servants were stirring.
"Good-mawnin', Mars Chad," said each, and with each he shook hands, saying
simply that he was going away that morning. Only old Tom asked him a question.
"Foh Gawd, Mars Chad," said the old fellow, "old Mars Buford can't git along
widout you. You gwine to come back soon?"
"I don't know, Uncle Tom," said Chad, sadly.
"Whar you gwine, Mars Chad?"
"Into the army."
"De ahmy?" The old man smiled. "You gwine to fight de Yankees?"
"I'm going to fight WITH the Yankees."
The old driver looked as though he could not have heard aright.
"You foolin' this ole nigger, Mars Chad, ain't you?"
Chad shook his head, and the old man straightened himself a bit.
"I'se sorry to heah it, suh," he said, with dignity, and he turned to his
Miss Lucy was not feeling well that morning and did not come down to
breakfast. The boy was so pale and haggard that the Major looked at him
"What's the matter with you, Chad? Are you--?"
"I didn't sleep very well last night, Major."
The Major chuckled. "I reckon you ain't gettin' enough sleep these days. I
reckon I wouldn't, either, if I were in your place."
Chad did not answer. After breakfast he sat with the Major on the porch in the
fresh, sunny air. The Major smoked his pipe, taking the stem out of his mouth
now and then to shout some order as a servant passed under his eye.
"What's the news, Chad?"
"Mr. Crittenden is back."
"What did old Lincoln say?"
"That Camp Dick Robinson was formed for Kentuckians by Kentuckians, and he did
not believe that it was the wish of the State that it should be removed."
"Well, by --! after his promise. What did Davis say?"
"That if Kentucky opened the Northern door for invasion, she must not close
the Southern door to entrance for defence."
"And dead right he is," growled the Major with satisfaction.
"Governor Magoffin asked Ohio and Indiana to join in an effort for a peace
Congress," Chad added.
"Both governors refused."
"I tell you, boy, the hour has come."
The hour had come.
"I'm going away this morning, Major."
The Major did not even turn his head.
"I thought this was coming," he said quietly. Chad's face grew even paler, and
he steeled his heart for the revelation.
"I've already spoken to Lieutenant Hunt," the Major went on. "He expects to be
a captain, and he says that, maybe, he can make you a lieutenant. You can take
that boy Brutus as a body servant." He brought his fist down on the railing of
the porch. "God, but I'd give the rest of my life to be ten years younger than
I am now."
"Major, I'm GOING INTO THE UNION ARMY."
The Major's pipe almost dropped from between his lips. Catching the arms of
his chair with both hands, he turned heavily and with dazed wonder, as though
the boy had struck him with his fist from behind, and, without a word, stared
hard into Chad's tortured face. The keen old eye had not long to look before
it saw the truth, and then, silently, the old man turned back. His hands
trembled on the chair, and he slowly thrust them into his pockets, breathing
hard through his nose. The boy expected an outbreak, but none came. A bee
buzzed above them. A yellow butterfly zigzagged by. Blackbirds chattered in
the firs. The screech of a peacock shrilled across the yard, and a ploughman's
singing wailed across the fields:
Trouble, O Lawd!
Nothin' but trouble in de lan' of Canaan.
The boy knew he had given his old friend a mortal hurt.
"Don't, Major," he pleaded. "You don't know how I have fought against this. I
tried to be on your side. I thought I was. I joined the Rifles. I found first
that I couldn't fight WITH the South, and--then--I--found that I had to fight
FOR the North. It almost kills me when I think of all you have done "
The Major waved his hand imperiously. He was not the man to hear his favors
recounted, much less refer to them himself. He straightened and got up from
his chair. His manner had grown formal, stately, coldly courteous.
"I cannot understand, but you are old enough, sir, to know your own mind. You
should have prepared me for this. You will excuse me a moment." Chad rose and
the Major walked toward the door, his step not very steady, and his shoulders
a bit shrunken--his back, somehow, looked suddenly old.
"Brutus!" he called sharply to a black boy who was training rosebushes in the
yard. "Saddle Mr. Chad's horse." Then, without looking again at Chad, he
turned into his office, and Chad, standing where he was, with a breaking
heart, could hear, through the open window, the rustling of papers and the
scratching of a pen.
In a few minutes he heard the Major rise and he turned to meet him. The old
man held a roll of bills in one hand and a paper in the other.
"Here is the balance due you on our last trade," he said, quietly. "The mare
is yours--Dixie," he added, grimly. "The old mare is in foal. I will keep her
and send you your due when the time comes. We are quite even," he went on in a
level tone of business. "Indeed, what you have done about the place more than
exceeds any expense that you have ever caused me. If anything, I am still in
"I can't take it!" said Chad, choking back a sob.
"You will have to take it," the Major broke in, curtly, unless--" the Major
held back the bitter speech that was on his lips and Chad understood. The old
man did not want to feel under any obligations to him.
"I would offer you Brutus, as was my intention, except that I know you would
not take him," again he added, grimly, "and Brutus would run away from you."
"No, Major," said Chad, sadly, "I would not take Brutus," and he stepped down
one step of the porch backward.
"I tried to tell you, Major, but you wouldn't listen. I don't wonder, for I
couldn't explain to you what I couldn't understand myself. I--" the boy choked
and tears filled his eyes. He was afraid to hold out his hand.
"Good-by, Major," he said, brokenly.
"Good-by, sir," answered the Major, with a stiff bow, but the old man's lip
shook and he turned abruptly within.
Chad did not trust himself to look back, but, as he rode through the pasture
to the pike gate, his ears heard, never to forget, the chatter of the
blackbirds, the noises around the barn, the cry of the peacock, and the
wailing of the ploughman:
Trouble, O Lawd!
Nothin' but trouble--
At the gate the little mare turned her head toward town and started away in
the easy swinging lope for which she was famous. From a cornfield Jerome
Conners, the overseer, watched horse and rider for a while, and then his lips
were lifted over his protruding teeth in one of his ghastly, infrequent
smiles. Chad Buford was out of his way at last. At the Deans' gate, Snowball
was just going in on Margaret's pony and Chad pulled up.
"Where's Mr. Dan, Snowball?--and Mr. Harry?"
"Mars Dan he gwine to de wah--an' I'se gwine wid him."
"Is Mr. Harry going, too?" Snowball hesitated. He did not like to gossip about
family matters, but it was a friend of the family who was questioning him.
"Yessuh! But Mammy say Mars Harry's teched in de haid. He gwine to fight wid
de po' white trash."
"Is Miss Margaret at home?"
Chad had his note to Margaret, unsealed. He little felt like seeing her now,
but he had just as well have it all over at once. He took it out and looked it
over once more--irresolute.
"I'm going away to join the Union army, Margaret. May I come to tell you
good-by? If not, God bless you always. CHAD."
"Take this to Miss Margaret, Snowball, and bring me an answer here as soon as
The black boy was not gone long. Chad saw him go up the steps, and in a few
moments he reappeared and galloped back.
"Ole Mistis say dey ain't no answer."
"Thank you, Snowball." Chad pitched him a coin and loped on toward Lexington
with his head bent, his hands folded on the pommel, and the reins flapping
loosely. Within one mile of Lexington he turned into a cross-road and set his
face toward the mountains.
An hour later, the General and Harry and Dan stood on the big portico. Inside,
the mother and Margaret were weeping in each other's arms. Two negro boys were
each leading a saddled horse from the stable, while Snowball was blubbering at
the corner of the house. At the last moment Dan had decided to leave him
behind. If Harry could have no servant, Dan, too, would have none. Dan was
crying without shame. Harry's face was as white and stern as his father's. As
the horses drew near the General stretched out the sabre in his hand to Dan.
"This should belong to you, Harry."
"It is yours to give, father," said Harry, gently.
"It shall never be drawn against my roof and your mother."
The boy was silent.
"You are going far North?" asked the General, more gently. "You will not fight
on Kentucky soil?"
"You taught me that the first duty of a soldier is obedience. I must go where
"God grant that you two may never meet."
"Father!" It was a cry of horror from both the lads.
The horses were waiting at the stiles. The General took Dan in his arms and
the boy broke away and ran down the steps, weeping.
"Father," said Harry, with trembling lips, "I hope you won't be too hard on
me. Perhaps the day will come when you won't be so ashamed of me. I hope you
and mother will forgive me. I can't do otherwise than I must. Will you shake
hands with me, father?"
"Yes, my son. God be with you both."
And then, as he watched the boys ride side by side to the gate, he added:
"I could kill my own brother with my own hand for this."
He saw them stop a moment at the gate; saw them clasp hands and turn opposite
ways--one with his face set for Tennessee, the other making for the Ohio. Dan
waved his cap in a last sad good-by. Harry rode over the hill without turning
his head. The General stood rigid, with his hands clasped behind his back,
staring across the gray fields between them. Through the winds, came the low
sound of sobbing.
CHAPTER 21. MELISSA
Shortly after dusk, that night, two or three wagons moved quietly out of
Lexington, under a little guard with guns loaded and bayonets fixed. Back at
the old Armory--the home of the "Rifles"--a dozen youngsters drilled
vigorously with faces in a broad grin, as they swept under the motto of the
company--"Our laws the commands of our Captain." They were following out those
commands most literally. Never did Lieutenant Hunt give his orders more
sonorously--he could be heard for blocks away. Never did young soldiers stamp
out maneuvers more lustily--they made more noise than a regiment. Not a man
carried a gun, though ringing orders to "Carry arms" and "Present arms" made
the windows rattle. It was John Morgan's first ruse. While that mock-drill was
going on, and listening Unionists outside were laughing to think how those
Rifles were going to be fooled next day, the guns of the company were moving
in those wagons toward Dixie--toward mocking-bird-haunted Bowling Green, where
the underfed, unclothed, unarmed body of Albert Sydney Johnston's army lay,
with one half-feathered wing stretching into the Cumberland hills and the
frayed edge of the other touching the Ohio.
Next morning, the Home Guards came gayly around to the Armory to seize those
guns, and the wily youngsters left temporarily behind (they, too, fled for
Dixie, that night) gibed them unmercifully; so that, then and there, a little
interchange of powder-and-ball civilities followed; and thus, on the very
first day, Daniel Dean smelled the one and heard the other whistle right
harmlessly and merrily. Straightway, more guards were called out; cannon were
planted to sweep the principal streets, and from that hour the old town was
under the rule of a Northern or Southern sword for the four years' reign of
Meanwhile, Chad Buford was giving a strange journey to Dixie. Whenever he
dismounted, she would turn her head toward the Bluegrass, as though it surely
were time they were starting for home. When they reached the end of the
turnpike, she lifted her feet daintily along the muddy road, and leaped pools
of water like a cat. Climbing the first foot-hills, she turned her beautiful
head to right and left, and with pointed ears snorted now and then at the
strange dark woods on either side and the tumbling water-falls. The red of her
wide nostrils was showing when she reached the top of the first mountain, and
from that high point of vantage she turned her wondering eyes over the wide
rolling stretch that waved homeward, and whinnied with distinct uneasiness
when Chad started her down into the wilderness beyond. Distinctly that road
was no path for a lady to tread, but Dixie was to know it better in the coming
Within ten miles of the Turners', Chad met the first man that he knew--Hence
Sturgill from Kingdom Come. He was driving a wagon.
"Howdye, Hence!" said Chad, reining in.
"Whoa!" said Hence, pulling in and staring at Chad's horse and at Chad from
hat to spur.
"Don't you know me, Hence?"
"Well, God--I--may--die, if it ain't Chad! How air ye, Chad? Goin' up to ole
"Yes. How are things on Kingdom Come?"
Hence spat on the ground and raised one hand high over his head:
"God--I--may--die, if thar hain't hell to pay on Kingdom Come. You better keep
offo' Kingdom Come," and then he stopped with an expression of quick alarm,
looked around him into the bushes and dropped his voice to a whisper:
"But I hain't sayin' a word--rickollect now--not a word!"
Chad laughed aloud. "What's the matter with you, Hence?"
Hence put one finger on one side of his nose--still speaking in a low tone:
"Whut'd I say, Chad? D'I say one word?" He gathered up his reins. "You
rickollect Jake and Jerry Dillon?" Chad nodded. "You know Jerry was al'ays
a-runnin' over Jake 'cause Jake' didn't have good sense. Jake was drapped when
he was a baby. Well, Jerry struck Jake over the head with a fence-rail 'bout
two months ago, an when Jake come to, he had just as good sense as anybody,
and now he hates Jerry like pizen, an Jerry's half afeard of him. An' they do
say a how them two brothers air a-goin'" Again Hence stopped abruptly and
clucked to his team "But I ain't a-sayin' a word, now, mind ye--not a word!"
Chad rode on, amused, and thinking that Hence had gone daft, but he was to
learn better. A reign of forty years' terror was starting in those hills.
Not a soul was in sight when he reached the top of the hill from which he
could see the Turner home below--about the house or the orchard or in the
fields. No one answered his halloo at the Turner gate, though Chad was sure
that he saw a woman's figure flit past the door. It was a full minute before
Mother Turner cautiously thrust her head outside the door and peered at him
"Why, Aunt Betsey," called Chad, "don't you know me?"
At the sound of his voice Melissa sprang out the door with a welcoming cry,
and ran to him, Mother Turner following with a broad smile on her kind old
face. Chad felt the tears almost come--these were friends indeed. How tall
Melissa had grown, and how lovely she was, with her tangled hair and flashing
eyes and delicately modelled face. She went with him to the stable to help him
put up his horse, blushing when he looked at her and talking very little,
while the old mother, from the fence, followed him with her dim eyes. At once
Chad began to ply both with questions--where was Uncle Joel and the boys and
the school-master? And, straightway, Chad felt a reticence in both--a curious
reticence even with him. On each side of the fireplace, on each side of the
door, and on each side of the window, he saw narrow blocks fixed to the logs.
One was turned horizontal, and through the hole under it Chad saw
daylight--portholes they were. At the door were taken blocks as catches for a
piece of upright wood nearby, which was plainly used to bar the door. The
cabin was a fortress. By degrees the story came out. The neighborhood was in a
turmoil of bloodshed and terror. Tom and Dolph had gone off to the
war--Rebels. Old Joel had been called to the door one night, a few weeks
since, and had been shot down without warning. They had fought all night.
Melissa herself had handled a rifle at one of the portholes. Rube was out in
the woods now, with Jack guarding and taking care of his wounded father. A
Home Guard had been organized, and Daws Dillon was captain. They were driving
out of the mountains every man who owned a negro, for nearly every man who
owned a negro had taken, or was forced to take, the Rebel side. The Dillons
were all Yankees, except Jerry, who had gone off with Tom; and the giant
brothers, Rebel Jerry and Yankee Jake--as both were already known--had sworn
to kill each other on sight. Bushwhacking had already begun. When Chad asked
about the school-master, the old woman's face grew stern, and Melissa's lip
curled with scorn.
"Yankee!" The girl spat the word out with such vindictive bitterness that
Chad's face turned slowly scarlet, while the girl's keen eyes pierced him like
a knife, and narrowed as, with pale face and heaving breast, she rose suddenly
from her chair and faced him--amazed, bewildered, burning with sudden hatred.
"And you're another!" The girl's voice was like a hiss.
"Why, 'Lissy!" cried the old mother, startled, horrified.
"Look at him!" said the girl. The old woman looked; her face grew hard and
frightened, and she rose feebly, moving toward the girl as though for
protection against him. Chad's very heart seemed suddenly to turn to water. He
had been dreading the moment to come when he must tell. He knew it would be
hard, but he was not looking for this.
"You better git away!" quavered the old woman, "afore Joel and Rube come in."
"Hush!" said the girl, sharply, her hands clinched like claws, her whole body
stiff, like a tigress ready to attack, or awaiting attack.
"Mebbe he come hyeh to find out whar they air--don't tell him!"
"Lissy!" said Chad, brokenly.
"Then whut did you come fer?"
"To tell you good-by, I came to see all of you, Lissy."
The girl laughed scornfully, and Chad knew he was helpless. He could not
explain, and they could not understand--nobody had understood.
"Aunt Betsey," he said, "you took Jack and me in, and you took care of me just
as though I had been your own child. You know I'd give my life for you or
Uncle Joel, or any one of the boys"--his voice grew a little stern--"and you
know it, too, Lissy--"
"You're makin' things wuss," interrupted the girl, stridently, "an' now you're
goin' to do all you can to kill us. I reckon you can see that door. Why don't
you go over to the Dillons?" she panted. "They're friends o' your'n. An' don't
let Uncle Joel or Rube ketch you anywhar round hyeh!"
"I'm not afraid to see Uncle Joel or Rube, Lissy."
"You must git away, Chad," quavered the old woman. "They mought hurt ye!"
"I'm sorry not to see Jack. He's the only friend I have now."
"Why, Jack would snarl at ye," said the girl, bitterly. "He hates a Yankee."
She pointed again with her finger. "I reckon you can see that door."
They followed him, Melissa going on the porch and the old woman standing in
the doorway. On one side of the walk Chad saw a rose-bush that he had brought
from the Bluegrass for Melissa. It was dying. He took one step toward it, his
foot sinking in the soft earth where the girl had evidently been working
around it, and broke off the one green leaf that was left.
"Here, Lissy! You'll be sorry you were so hard on me. I'd never get over it if
I didn't think you would. Keep this, won't you, and let's be friends, not enemies."
He held it out, and the girl angrily struck the rose-leaf from his hand to her
Chad rode away at a walk. Two hundred yards below, where the hill rose, the
road was hock-deep with sand, and Dixie's feet were as noiseless as a cat's. A
few yards beyond a ravine on the right, a stone rolled from the bushes into
the road. Instinctively Chad drew rein, and Dixie stood motionless. A moment
later, a crouching figure, with a long squirrel rifle, slipped out of the
bushes and started noiselessly across the ravine. Chad's pistol flashed.
The figure crouched more, and turned a terror-stricken face--Daws Dillon's.
Back to Full Books