Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

Rodman the Keeper, an electronic edition

by Constance Fenimore Woolson [Woolson, Constance Fenimore, 1840-1894]

date: 1880
source publisher: D. Appleton and Company
collection: Genre Fiction

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II.

STEPHEN WAINWRIGHT traveled, on principle. He had been, on principle, through Europe more than once, and through portions of Asia and Africa; in the intervals he made pilgrimages through his own country. He was not a languid traveler; he had no affectations; but his own marked impersonality traveled with him, and he was always the most indistinct, unremembered person on every railroad-car or steamboat. He was the man without a shadow. Of course, this was only when he chose to step out of the lime-light which his wealth threw around his every gesture. But he chose to step out of it very often, and always suffered when he did. | | 286 He was for ever adding up different opinions to find the same constantly recurring sum total of " no consequence." After each experience of the kind he went back into lime-light, and played at kingship for a while. He had been doing this for twenty years.

One day he came to Ellerby on the top of the stage. Nine Methodist ministers in the inside, returning from a missionary meeting, had made the lonely road over the mountains echo with their hearty hymns. One small brother climbed out at the half-way station on the summit, and, after drinking copiously from the spring, clasped his hands behind him and admired the prospect. Wainwright looked at him, not cynically, but with his usual expressionless gaze. The little minister drank again, and walked up and down. After a few moments he drank a third time, and continued to admire the prospect. Wainwright recalled vaguely the Biblical injunction, " Take a little wine for thy stomach's sake," when, behold! the small minister drank a fourth time hastily, and then, as the driver gathered up the reins, a last and hearty fifth time, before climbing up to the top, where Wainwright sat alone.

"I am somewhat subject to vertigo," he explained, as he took his seat;" I will ride the rest of the way in the open air, with your permission, sir."

Wainwright looked at him. " Perhaps he was weighting himself down with water," he thought.

The brother had, indeed, very little else to make weight with: his small body was enveloped in a long linen duster, his head was crowned with a tall hat; he might have weighed one hundred pounds. He could not brace himself when they came to rough places, because his feet did not reach the floor; but he held on manfully with both hands, and begged his companion's pardon for sliding against him so often.

"I am not greatly accustomed to the stage," he said; " I generally travel on horseback."

"Is there much zeal in your district?" said Wainwright. | | 287 It was the question he always asked when he was placed next to a clergyman, varying it only by " parish," " diocese," or "circuit," according to appearances.

"Zeal," said his companion—" zeal, sir? Why, there isn't anything else!"

"I am glad to hear it," replied Wainwright.

The little minister took the remark in good faith.

"A believer? " he asked.

"Certainly," replied Stephen.

"Let me shake you by the hand, brother. This is a noble country in which to believe. Among these great and solemn peaks, who can disbelieve or who go contrary to the will of the Lord?"

Stephen made no answer, and the brother, lifting up his voice after a silence, cried again, "Who?" And, after a moment's pause, and more fervently, a second " Who?" Then a third, in a high, chanting key. It seemed as if he would go on for ever.

"Well," said Stephen, "if you will have answer, I suppose I might say the moonlight whisky-makers."

The little brother came down from the heights immediately, and glanced at his companion. "Acquainted with the country, sir?" he asked in a business-like tone.

"Not at all," said Stephen.

"Going to stay at Ellerby awhile, perhaps?"

"Perhaps."

"Reckon you will like to ride about; you will need horses. They will cheat you in the village; better apply to me. Head is my name—Bethuel Head; everybody knows me." Then he shut his eyes and began to sing a hymn of eight or ten verses, the brethren below, hearing him chanting alone on the top, joining in the refrain with hearty good will. As soon as he had finished, he said again, in a whisper, " Better apply to me," at the same time giving his companion a touch with the elbow. Then he leaned over and began a slanting conversation with the brother who occupied the window-seat on | | 288 his side; but, whenever he righted himself for a moment, he either poked Wainwright or winked at him, not lightly or jocularly, but with a certain anxious, concealed earnestness which was evidently real. " Head is my name," he whispered again; " better write it down—Bethuel Head." And when Wainwright, who generally did imperturbably whatever other people asked him to do, finding it in the end the least trouble, finally did write it down, the little man seemed relieved. " Their blood has dyed the pure mountain-streams," he whispered solemnly, as the coach crept down a dark gorge with the tree-branches sweeping its sides; " but I shall go out, yea, I shall go out as did David against Goliath, and save one man—one!"

"Do," said Stephen. What the little brother meant he neither knew nor cared to know; going through life without questions he had found to be the easiest way. Besides, he was very tired. He had never " rejoiced in his strength," even when he was young; he had always had just enough to carry him through, with nothing over. The seven hours on the mountain-road, which climbed straight up on one side of the Blue Ridge, and straight down on the other, now over solid rock, now deep in red clay, now plunging through a breakneck gorge, now crossing a rushing stream so often that the route seemed to be principally by water, had driven him into the dull lethargy which was the worst ailment he knew; for even his illnesses were moderate. He fell asleep mentally, and only woke at the sound of a girl's voice.

It was twilight, and the stage had stopped at Ellerby Mill. Two of the ministers alighted there, to take horse and go over solitary roads homeward to small mountain-villages, one ten, one fifteen miles away. Brother Bethuel was leaning over the side, holding on to his tall hat, and talking down to a young girl who stood at the edge of the roadway on a bank of ferns.

"Masters is better, Miss Honor," he said, "or was the last time I saw him; I do not think there is any present danger."

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"I am very glad," answered the girl with earnestness; her eyes did not swerve from the little minister's face, although Wainwright was now looking down too. " If we could only have him entirely well again!"

"He will be!—he will be!" answered Brother Bethuel. " Pray for him, my sister."

"I do pray," said the girl—" daily, almost hourly" Into her dark eyes, uplifted and close to him, Wainwright could look directly, himself unnoticed as usual; and he read there that she did pray. " She believes it," he thought. He looked at her generally; she did not appear to be either extremely young, or ignorant, or commonplace, exactly. " About eighteen," he thought.

"He has asked if his father has been told," continued the minister.

"No, no; it is better he should know nothing," said the girl. " Can you take a package, Mr. Head?"

"Yes, to-morrow. I abide to-night with Brother Beetle."

"I will have it ready, then," said the girl.

The stage moved on, she waved her hand, and the minister nodded energetically in return until the road curved and he could see her no longer. His tall hat was tightly on his head all this time; politeness in the mountains is not a matter of hat. They were but half a mile from Ellerby now, and the horses began to trot for the first time in eight hours. Brother Bethuel turned himself, and met Wainwright's eyes. Now those eyes of Wainwright were of a pale color, like the eyes of a fish; but they had at times a certain inflexibility which harassed the beholder, as, sometimes, one fish in an aquarium will drive a person into nervousness by simply remaining immovable behind his glass wall, and staring out at him stonily. Brother Bethuel, meeting Wainwright's eyes, immediately began to talk:

"A fine young lady that: Miss Honor Dooris, niece of Colonel Eliot—the low-country Eliots, you know, one of our most distinguished families. I venture to say, sir, that strike | | 290 at an Eliot, yes, strike at an Eliot, and a thousand will rise to beat back the blow. It would be dangerous, sir, most dangerous, to strike at that family."

"Are they troubled by—by strikers?" asked Stephen.

"Nobody ever harms anybody in this blessedly peaceful country of ours," said the little minister in a loud, chanting voice. Then he dropped to a conversational tone again. " Miss Honor has been to the library; she is writing some ' Reflections on the Book of Job,' and is obliged of course to consult the authorities. You noticed the old library, did you not?—that small building in the grove, opposite the mill; her father was one of the trustees. The front steps are down, and she is obliged to climb in by a back window—allowable, of course, to a trustee's daughter—in order to consult the authorities."

"And on Job they are such as—?"

"Well, the dictionaries, I reckon," said Brother Bethuel, after considering a moment. " She is not of my flock; the Eliots are, of course, Episcopalians," he continued, with an odd sort of pride in the fact. " But I have aided her—I have aided her."

"In the matter of Masters, perhaps?"

Brother Bethuel glanced at his companion quickly in the darkening twilight. He caught him indulging in a long, tired yawn.

"I was about to say, general charity; but the matter of Masters will do," he said carelessly. " The man is a poor fellow up in the mountains, in whom Miss Dooris is interested. He is often ill and miserable, and always very poor. She sends him aid when she can. I am to take a bundle to-morrow."

"And she prays for him," said Wainwright, beginning to descend as the stage stopped at the door of the village inn.

"She prays for all," replied Brother Bethuel, leaning over, and following him down with the words, delivered in a full undertone. Brother Bethuel had a good voice; he had preached | | 291 under the open sky among the great peaks too long to have any feeble tones left.

"I do not believe anybody ever prays for me," was Wain-wright's last thought before he came sharply into personal contact with the discomforts of the inn. And, as his mother died when he was born, perhaps he was right.

The next morning he wandered about and gazed at the superb sweep of the mountains. Close behind him rose the near wall of the Blue Ridge; before him stretched the line of the Alleghanies going down toward Georgia, the Iron Mountains, the Bald Mountains, and the peaks of the Great Smoky, purple and soft in the distance. A chain of giant sentinels stretched across the valley from one range to the other, and on these he could plainly see the dark color given by the heavy, unmixed growth of balsam-firs around and around up to the very top, a hue which gives the name Black Mountain to so many of these peaks.

It was Sunday, and when the three little church-bells rang, making a tinkling sound in the great valley, he walked over to the Episcopal church. He had a curiosity to see that girl's eyes again by daylight. Even there, in that small house of God where so few strangers ever came, he was hardly noticed. He took his seat on one of the benches, and looked around. Colonel Eliot was there, in a black broadcloth coat seventeen years old, but well brushed, and worn with an air of unshaken dignity. The whole congregation heard him acknowledge every Sunday that he was a miserable sinner; but they were as proud of him on his one leg with his crutch under his arm as if he had been a perfected saint, and they would have knocked down any man who had dared to take him at his Sunday word. The Colonel's placid, dimpled wife was there, fanning herself with the slowly serene manner of her youth; and two benches were full of children. On the second bench was Honor, and the man of the world watched her closely in his quiet, unobserved way. This was nothing new: Wainwright spent his life in watching people. He had | | 292 studied hundreds of women in the same way, and he formed his conclusions with minutest care. He judged no one by impulse or intuition, or even by liking or disliking. What persons said was not of the slightest importance to him in any way: he noted what they did The service was in progress, and Honor was down upon her knees. He saw her confess her sins; he saw her bow her head to receive the absolution; he saw her repeat the psalms; he watched her through every word of the Litany; he heard her sing; and he noted her clasped hands and strong effort of recollection throughout the recital of the Commandments. Then he settled himself anew, and began to watch her through the sermon. He had seen women attentive through the service before now: they generally became neutral during the sermon. But this girl never swerved. She sat with folded arms looking at the preacher fixedly, a slight compression about the mouth showing that the attention was that of determination. The preacher was uninteresting, he was tautological; still the girl followed him. " What a narrow little round of words and phrases it is!" thought the other, listening too, but weary. " How can she keep up with him? " And then, still watching her, he fell to noticing her dress and attitude. Poor Honor wore a gown of limp black alpaca, faithful, long-enduring servant of small-pursed respectability; on her head was a small black bonnet which she had fashioned herself, and not very successfully. A little linen collar, a pair of old gloves, and her prayer-book completed the appointments of her costume. Other young girls in the congregation were as poorly dressed as she, but they had a ribbon, a fan, an edge of lace here and there, or at least a rose from the garden to brighten themselves withal; this girl alone had nothing. She was tall and well rounded, almost majestic, but childishly young in face. Her dark hair, which grew very thickly—Wainwright could see it on the temples—seemed to have been until recently kept short, since the heavy braid behind made only one awkward turn at the back of the head. She had a boldly cut | | 293 profile, too marked for regular beauty, yet pleasant to the eye owing to the delicate finish of the finer curves and the distinct arch of the lips. Her cheeks were rather thin. She had no grace; she sat stiffly on the bench, and resolutely listened to the dull discourse. "A good forehead," thought Wain-wright, " and, thank Fortune! not disfigured by straggling ends of hair. ' Reflections on the Book of Job,' did he say? Poor little soul!"

At last the service was ended, the sermon of dull paraphrases over; but Wainwright did not get his look. Honor sat still in her place without turning. He lingered awhile; but, as he never did anything, on principle, that attracted attention, he went out with the last stray members of the congregation, and walked down the green lane toward the inn. He did not look back: certain rules of his he would not have altered for the Queen of Sheba (whoever she was). But Brother Bethuel, coming from the Methodist meeting-house, bore down upon him, and effected what the Queen of Sheba could not have done: himself openly watching the church-door, he took Wainwright by the arm, turned him around, and, holding him by a buttonhole, stood talking to him. The red wagon of the Eliots was standing at the gate; Mrs. Eliot was on the front seat, and all the space behind was filled in with children. Black Pompey was assisting his master into the driver's place, while Honor held the crutch. A moment afterward the wagon passed them, Pompey sitting at the end with his feet hanging down behind. Brother Bethuel received a nod from the Colonel, but Madame Eliot serenely failed to see him. The low-country lady had been brought up to return the bows and salutations of all the blacks in the neighborhood, but whites below a certain line she did not see.

Evidently Honor was going to walk home. In another moment she was close to them, and Stephen was having his look. The same slight flush rose in her face when she saw Brother Bethuel which had risen there the day before; the same earnestness came into her eyes, and Stephen became | | 294 haunted by the desire to have them turned upon himself. But he was not likely to have this good fortune; all her attention was concentrated upon the little minister. She said she had the package ready; it would be at the usual place. He would take it up, he replied, at sunset. She hoped the moon would not be hidden by clouds. He hoped so too; but old Marcher knew the way. She had heard that the East Branch was up. He had heard so also; but old Marcher could swim very well. All this was commonplace, yet it seemed to Wainwright that the girl appeared to derive a certain comfort from it, and to linger. There was a pause.

"This is my friend," said Brother Bethuel at last, indicating Stephen with a backward turn of his thumb; " Mr.—Mr.—"

"Wainwright," said Stephen, uncovering; then, with his straw hat in his hand, he made her a low bow, as deliberate as the salutations in a minuet, coming up slowly and looking with gravity full in her face. He had what he wanted then—a look; she had never seen such a bow before. To tell the truth, neither had Stephen; he invented it for the occasion.

"Met him on the stage," said Brother Bethuel, "and, as he is a stranger, I thought, perhaps, Miss Honor, the Colonel would let him call round this afternoon; he'd take it as a favor, I know" There was a concealed determination in his voice. The girl immediately gave Stephen another look. "My uncle will be happy to see you," she said quickly. Then they all walked on together, and Stephen noted, under his eyelashes, the mended gloves, the coarse shoe, and the rusty color of the black gown; he noted also the absolute purity of the skin over the side of the face which was next to him, over the thin cheek, the rather prominent nose, the little shell-like car, and the rim of throat above the linen collar. This clear white went down to the edge of the arched lips, and met the red there sharply and decidedly; the two colors were not mingled at all. What was there about her that interested | | 295 him? It was the strong reality of her religious belief. In the character-studies with which he amused his life he recognized any real feeling, no matter what, as a rarity, a treasure-trove. Once he had spent six weeks in studying a woman who slowly and carefully planned and executed a revenge. He had studied what is called religion enormously, considering it one of the great spiritual influences of the world: he had found it, in his individual cases so far, mixed. Should he study this new specimen? He had not decided when they came to the porch of the inn. There was no hurry about deciding, and this was his place to stop; he never went out of his way. But Honor paused too, and, looking at him, said, with a mixture of earnestness and timidity: " You will come and see uncle, I hope, Mr. Wainwright. Come this afternoon." She even offered her hand, and offered it awkwardly. As Wainwright's well-fitting, well-buttoned glove touched for an instant the poor, cheap imitation, wrinkled and flabby, which covered her hand, he devoutly hoped she would not see the contrast as he saw it. She did not: a Dooris was a Dooris, and the varieties of kid-skin and rat-skin could not alter that.

Brother Bethuel went on with Honor, but in the afternoon he came back to the inn to pilot Stephen to the Eliot ravine. Stephen was reading a letter from Adelaide Kellinger—a charming letter, full of society events and amusing little comments, which were not rendered unintelligible either by the lack of commas, semicolons, and quotation-marks, and the substitution of the never-failing dash, dear to the feminine pen. The sheets, exhaling the faintest reminiscence of sandal-wood, were covered with clear handwriting, which went straight from page to page in the natural way, without crossing or doubling or turning back. There was a date at the top; the weather was mentioned; the exact time of arrival of Stephen's last letter told. It can be seen from this that Adelaide was no ordinary correspondent.

Stephen, amused and back in New York, did not care | | 296 much about the Eliot visit; but Brother Bethuel cared, and so, with his usual philosophy, Stephen went. They talked of the mountains, of the mountain-people, of the villagers; then Brother Bethuel took up the subject of the Eliot family, and declaimed their praises all the rest of the way. They were extremely influential, they were excessively hot-tempered; the State was in a peculiar condition at present, but the Eliots held still the old wires, and it would be extremely dangerous to attack the family in any way. Stephen walked along, and let the little man chant on. He had heard, in this same manner, pages and volumes of talk from the persons who insist upon telling you all about people in whom you have not the remotest interest, even reading you their letters and branching off farther and farther, until you come to regard those first mentioned as quite near friends when the talker comes back to them (if he ever does), being so much nearer than the outside circles into which he has tried to convey you. Stephen never interrupted these talkers; so he was a favorite prey of theirs. Only gradually did it dawn upon them that his stillness was not exactly that of attention. The only interest he showed now was when the minister got down to what he called the present circumstances of the family. It seemed that they were very poor; Brother Bethuel appeared determined that the stranger should know precisely how poor. He brought forward the pathetic view.

"They have nothing to eat sometimes but corn-meal and potatoes," he said. This made no impression.

"The brook rises now and then, and they live in a roaring flood; all the small articles have more than once been washed away"

"Any of the children?" inquired Wainwright.

"Once, when the horses were lame, I saw Honor go to the mill herself with the meal-sack"

"Indeed!"

"Yes, and carry it home again. And I have seen her scrubbing out the kettles"

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Wainwright gave an inward shudder. " Has she any education at all?" he asked, with a feeling like giving her money, and getting away as fast as possible: money, because he had for twenty-four hours made her in a certain way a subject of study, and felt as if he owed her something, especially if he went disappointed.

"Sir, she has a finished education," responded the little minister with dignity; "she can play delightfully upon David's instrument, the harp"

At this moment they came to the plank and the ditch.

"I will go no farther," said Brother Bethuel, "and—and you need not mention to the Colonel, if you please, that I accompanied you hither." Then he stood on tiptoe, and whispered mysteriously into Stephen's ear: "As to horses, remember to apply to me—Brother Head, Bethuel Head. A note dropped into the post-office will reach me, a man on horseback bringing the mail up our way twice each week. Bethuel Head—do not forget" He struck himself on the breast once or twice as if to emphasize the name, gave Stephen a wink, which masqueraded as knowing but was more like entreaty, and, turning away, walked back toward the village.

"An extraordinary little man," thought the other, crossing the plank, and following the path up the ravine by the side of the brook.

The Colonel sat on his high, unrailed piazza, with the red wagon and a dilapidated buggy drawn up comfortably underneath; Honor was with him. He rose to greet his visitor, and almost immediately asked if he was related to Bishop Wainwright. When Stephen replied that he was not, the old gentleman sat down, and leaned his crutch against the wall, with a good deal of disappointment: being a devoted churchman, he had hoped for a long ecclesiastical chat. But, after a moment, he took up with good grace the secondary subject of the mountains, and talked very well about them. With the exception of the relationship to the Bishop, he, with the | | 298 courtesy of the South, did not ask his guest a single question: Stephen could have been a peddler, a tenor-singer, a carpetbag politician, or a fugitive from justice, with perfect safety, as far as questions were concerned.

Honor said nothing. It was refreshing to be with a girl who did not want to go anywhere or do anything. She had really asked him to come, then, merely to please the old Colonel. A girl of gold. But, alas! the girl of gold proved herself to be of the usual metal, after all; for, when half an hour had passed, she deliberately proposed to her uncle that she should take their visitor up the hill to see the view. Now, Stephen had been taken numerous times in his life to see views; the trouble was that he always looked directly at the real landscape, whatever it was, and found a great deal to say about it, to the neglect of the view nearer his side. He did not think it necessary now to play his usual part of responsive politeness to this little country-girl's open manœuvre; he could go if she insisted upon it, he supposed. So he sat looking down at the brim of his hat; but noted, also, that even the Colonel seemed surprised. Honor, however, had risen, and was putting on her ugly little bonnet; she looked quietly determined. Stephen rose also, and took leave formally; he would go homeward from the hill. They started, he by this time weary of the whole State, and fast inclining toward departure early the next morning.

He did not say much to her, or look at her; but, in truth, the path through the corn was too steep and narrow for conversation: they were obliged to walk in single file. When they had reached the summit, and Stephen was gathering together his adjectives for his usual view-remarks, he turned toward his companion, and was surprised to see how embarrassed she appeared; he began to feel interested in her again—interested in her timid, dark eyes, and the possibilities in their depths. She was evidently frightened.

"If," she commenced once, twice—then faltered and stopped.

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"Well?" said Stephen encouragingly: after all, she was very young.

"If you intend to stay in Ellerby any length of time—do you?"

"I really have not decided," said Stephen, relapsing into coolness.

"I was only going to say that if you do stay, we, that is, I—we, I mean—shall be happy to see you here often"

"Thanks."

"The view is considered fine," faltered the girl, pulling off her gloves in desperate embarrassment, and putting them deep down in her pocket.

Stephen began his view-remarks.

"But what I was going to say," she continued, breaking in at the first pause, " was, that if you should stay, and need—need horses or a—guide, I wish you would apply to Mr. Head."

"They are in a conspiracy against me with their horses," thought Stephen. Then he threw a hot shot: "Yes; Mr. Head asked me the same thing. He also asked me not to mention that he brought me here"

"No; pray do not," said Honor quickly.

He turned and looked at her: she began to blush—pink, crimson, pink; then white, and a very dead white too.

"You think it strange?" she faltered.

"Not at all. Do not be disturbed, Miss Dooris; I never think anything"

"Mr. Head is poor, and—and tries to make a little money now and then with his horses," she stammered.

"So I—judged"

"And I—try to help him"

"Very natural, I am sure"

He was beginning to feel sorry for the child, and her poor little efforts to gain a few shillings: he had decided that the Colonel's old horses were the wagon-team of this partnership, and " Marcher " the saddle-horse.

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"I shall certainly need horses," he said aloud.

"And you will apply to Mr. Head?"

She was so eager that he forgot himself, and smiled.

"Miss Dooris," he said, bowing, "I will apply to Mr. Head, and only to him; I give you my word"

She brightened at once.

The golden shafts of the setting sun shone full in her face: her dark eyes did not mind them; she did not put up her hand to shield herself, but stood and looked directly into the glittering, brilliant western sky. He put his quizzical expression back out of sight, and began to talk to her. She answered him frankly. He tested her a little; he was an old hand at it. Of coquetry she gave back not a sign. Gradually the conviction came to him that she had not asked him up there for personal reasons at all. It was, then, the horses.

When he had decided this, he sat down on a stump, and went on talking to her with renewed interest. After a while she laughed, and there came into her face that peculiar brilliancy which the conjunction of dark eyes and the gleam of white, even teeth can give to a thin-cheeked brunette. Then he remembered to look at her hands, and was relieved to find them, although a little roughened by toil, charmingly shaped and finely aristocratic—fit portion of the tall, well-rounded figure, which only needed self-consciousness to be that of a young Diana. The girl seemed so happy and radiant, so impersonal in the marked attention she gave to him, which was not unlike the attention she might have given to her grandfather, that Wainwright recognized it at last as only another case of his being of no consequence, and smiled to himself over it. Evidently, if he wanted notice, he must, as it were, mount the horses. He had had no especial intention of making excursions among the mountains; but that was, apparently, the fixed idea of these horse-owners. They were, for some reason, pleased to be mysterious; he would be mysterious also.

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"I hope Mr. Head's horses are good ones?" he said confidentially; "I shall need very good horses."

All her color gone instantly, and the old cloud of anxiety on her face again.

"Yes, they are good horses," she answered; and then her eyes rested upon him, and he read trouble, fear, and dislike, succeeding each other openly in their dark depths.

"Is it because I am a Northerner, Miss Dooris?" he said quietly. He had made up his mind, rather unfairly, to break down the fence between them by a close question, which so young a girl would not know how to parry.

She started, and the color rushed up all over her face again.

"Of course, it is all right," she answered hurriedly, in a low voice. "I know that the laws must be maintained, and that some persons must do the work that you do. People can not always choose their occupations, I suppose, and no doubt they—no doubt you—I mean, that it can not be helped."

"May I ask what you take me for?" said Wainwright, watching her.

"We saw it at once; Mr. Head saw it, and afterward I did also. But we are experienced; others may not discover you so soon. Mr. Head is anxious to pilot you through the mountains to save you from danger."

"He is very kind; disinterested, too."

"No," said Honor, flushing again; "I assure you he makes money by it also."

"But you have not told me what it is you take me for, Miss Dooris?"

"It is not necessary, is it?" replied Honor in a whisper. "You are one of the new revenue detectives, sent up here to search out the stills."

"An informer—after the moonlight whisky-makers, you mean?"

"Yes."

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Wainwright threw back his head and laughed out loud, as he had not laughed for years.

"I am not sure but that it is a compliment," he said at last; "no one has ever taken me for anything particular before in all my life." Then, when he was sober, "Miss Dooris," he said, "I am a man of leisure, residing in New York; and I am sorry to say that I am an idle vagabond, with no occupation even so useful as that of a revenue detective."

In spite of himself, however, a touch of contempt filtered into his voice. Then it came to him how the club-men would enjoy the story, and again he laughed uproariously. When he came to himself, Honor was crying.