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How inexplicable were men! How cruel, bloody, mindless! "Isbel, I'm sorry there's no hope," she said, low voiced. "Y'u've not long to live. I cain't help y'u. God knows I'd do so if I could." "All over!" he sighed, with his eyes looking beyond her. "I reckon I'm glad.... But y'u can do somethin' for or me. Will y'u?" "Indeed, Yes. Tell me," she replied, lifting his dusty head on her knee.

At the sharp scorn of her accent he laughed. "Do you mean that you are proud of your villainy?" she demanded. "Y'u've ce'tainly got the teacher habit of asking questions," he replied with a laugh that was a sneer. A shadow fell across them and a voice said quietly, "She didn't wait to ask any when she saved your life down in the coulee back of the Lazy D."

They met out in the road.... But some one shot dad down with a rifle an' then your father finished him." "An' then, Isbel," added Ellen, with unconscious mocking bitterness, "Your brother murdered my dad!" "What!" whispered Bill Isbel. "Shore y'u've got it wrong. I reckon Jean could have killed your father.... But he didn't. Queer, we all thought."

If the extraordinary menace of the man appalled Neill he gave no sign of it. His gray eye passed from one to another of them quietly without giving any sign of the impotent tempest raging within him. "You're going to lynch me then?" "Y'u've called the turn." "Without giving me a chance to prove my innocence?" "Without giving y'u a chance to escape or sneak back to the penitentiary."

"Jackson; 'way up in Breathitt, at the eend of the new road." "No wonder y'u've been gone so long." "I had to wait thar fer the guns, 'n' I had to travel atter dark comm' back, 'n' lay out'n the bresh by day. Hit's full eighty mile up thar." "Air ye shore nobody seed ye?" The question was from a Marcum, who had come in late, and several laughed.

But he rode off.... And that's all there is to that." "Maybe it's not," replied Jorth, chewing his mustache and eying Ellen with dark, intent gaze. "Y'u've met this Isbel twice." "It wasn't any fault of mine," retorted Ellen. "I heah he's sweet on y'u. How aboot that?" Ellen smarted under the blaze of blood that swept to neck and cheek and temple. But it was only memory which fired this shame.

The shadows shortened and crept back to the woods, night noises grew fainter, and the mists floated up from the valley and Clung around the mountain-tops; but she stirred only when a querulous voice came from within the cabin. "Easter," it said, " ef Sherd Raines air gone, y'u better come in to bed. Y'u've got a lot o' work to do to-morrer."

"What made you light out so sudden, then?" demanded the aggrieved Burns triumphantly. "Because I knew you. That's a plenty good reason. I'm not asking anything for myself. All I say is that my friend isn't fit to travel yet. Let him stay here under a guard till he is." "He was fit enough to get here. By thunder, he's fit to go back!" "Y'u've said enough, Mac," broke in Bannister.

He walked and trotted to suit her will, but when left to choose his own gait he fell into a graceful little pace that was very easy for her. He appeared quite ready to break into a run at her slightest bidding, but Ellen satisfied herself on this first ride with his slower gaits. "Spades, y'u've shore cut out my burro Jinny," said Ellen, regretfully. "Well, I reckon women are fickle."

He tossed his black fur-skin cap half-way to his head, and he wheeled round as he caught it, saying, "Don't care, liberty's better'n larnin', 'nuff sight." "Both are good," said I, "my friend, and we must give them both to the slave." "Give 'em the larnin' after y'u've sot 'em free!" said he; "I'll fight for 'em; don't want to hear nuthin' 'bout nuthin' else but liberty to them that's bound."