TUBAL CAIN SIMS had long harbored the theory that the juggler’s unexplained and lingering stay in Etowah Cove betokened that he sought immunity here from the consequences of crime, and that he was a fugitive from justice. In no other way could he interpret those strange words, “ for his life ! — his life ! — his life ! ” cried out from troubled dreams in the silence of the dark midnight, — so frequent once, and now so very rare. He had sought to enlist the antagonism and prejudice of the lime-burners, for he would fain rid his house of this ill-flavored association ; but of late their ardor had flagged inexplicably. Only Peter Knowles seemed to abide by their earlier impression, but Peter Knowles was now absorbed heart and soul in burning lime, as the time for its use was drawing near. Sims began to understand their lukewarmness when he noted the interest of the young man in his beautiful daughter: they deemed him now merely a lover. This discovery had come but lately to Sims, for he was of a slow and plodding intelligence, and hard upon it followed the revelations he had overheard through the open door the previous night. It was an occasion for haste. While he loitered, this stranger, encouraged by the vicarious coquetry of Jane Ann Sims, might marry Euphemia; and when he was haled to the bar of justice for his crimes, the Cove would probably perceive in the dispensation only a judgment upon the old couple for having made an idol of their own flesh and blood. He realized, as many another man has done, that in extreme crises, involving risk, quondam friendships are but as broken reeds, and he was leaning stoutly only upon his own fealty to his own best interests, as he jogged along on his old brown mare, with her frisky colt at her heels, down the red clay roads of cove after cove, and through rugged mountain passes into still other coves, on his way to Colbury, the county town. His heart burned hot within him against Jane Ann Sims when he recalled her advice to the man to say nothing to him, the head of the house and the father of the girl! She’d settle him ! Would she, indeed ? And he relished with a grim zest, as a sort of reparation, the fright she had suffered at the bare possibility of an elopement. Then this recollection, reacting on his own heart, set it all a-plunging, as he toiled on wearily in the hot sun, lest this disaster might chance during his absence, and he found himself leaning appealingly, forlornly, on the honor of the very man whom his mission was to ruin if he could. It was he who had refused to dispense with the father’s consent could it be obtained, and only the perfidious Jane Ann Sims had counseled otherwise ; he who had taken note of hospitality and courtesy,—much of which, in truth, had been mere seeming. More than once it almost gave Sims pause to reflect to whom he was indebted for any show of consideration. He had, however, but one daughter. This plea, he felt, might serve to excuse unfounded suspicion, and make righteous a breach of hospitality, and justify cruelty. “ One darter ! ” he often said to himself as he went along, all unaware that if he had had six his cares, his solicitude, his paternal affection, would have been meted out sixfold, so elastic is the heart to the strain upon its resources.

For this cause, despite his softened judgment toward the juggler, he did not flinch when he reached Colbury, and made his way across the “ Square,” where every eye seemed fixed upon him, as if attributing to him some nefarious designs on the liberty of an innocent man. But the town folks of Colbury were far too sophisticated in their own esteem to accord the slightest note to an old codger from the mountains, — a region as remote to the majority, save now and then for a glimpse of an awe-stricken visitor from the backwoods, as the mythical land of Atlantis. For such explorations into the world at large as the ambitious citizens of Colbury adventured led them not into the scorned rural wilds known to them comprehensively as “ ’way up in the Cove.”

Tubal Cain Sims had been here but twice before : once when there was a political rally early after the war, and later as a witness for the defense in a case of murder. The crowded, confused, jostling political experience still thronged unintelligibly the retina of his mind’s eye, but order and quiet distinguished the glimpse vouchsafed him of the workings of justice. He had evolved a great respect for judicial methods, and he felt something like a glow of pride to see the brick court-house still standing so spacious and stately, as it seemed to him, within its inclosures, the surrounding grass green and new, and the oak boughs clustering above the columns of the porch. He was not aware how long he stood and gazed at it, his eye alight, his cheek flushed. If the question had been raised, he would have known at once that the Juggernaut car of justice had held steadily on its inexorable way through all the years that had since intervened, and that his individual lack of a use for it had not banished it from the earth ; but Tubal Cain was not a man of speculation, and it smote him with a sort of gratified surprise to see the court-house on its stanch stone foundations as it was in the days when he and it conserved so intimate a relation. There were two or three lawyers on the steps or passing in at the gate, but he eyed the crafty tribe askance. The value which he placed on counsel was such confidence as he might repose in a shooting-iron with a muzzle at both ends, — as liable to go off in one direction as in the other ; and thus it was that, with a hitch of the reins, he reminded himself anew of his errand, and took his way down the declivity of a straggling little street, where presently the houses grew few and small, dwindling first to shabby tumble-down old cottages, then to sundry dilapidated blacksmith shops, beyond which stretched a rocky untenanted space, as if all habitation shrunk from neighboring the little jail which stood alone between the outer confines of the town and the creek.

Here also he came to a halt, looking at the surly building with recognizing eyes. And to it too these years had not been vacant. All the time of his absence, in the far-away liberties of the mountains, with the unshackled wind and the free clouds and the spontaneous growths of the earth out of its own untrammeled impulse, this grim place had been making its record of constraints, and captives, and limits, and locks, and longing bursting hearts, and baffled denied eyes, and yearning covetings of freedom, the bitterness of which perhaps no free creature can know. Surely, surely, these darkening elements of the moral atmosphere turned the bricks to their dingy hue. The barred windows gave on vague black interiors. A cloud was in the air above, with now and then a mutter of thunder, and the sullen jail lay in a shadow, and the water ran black in the green-fringed creek at the foot of the hill, while behind him at its summit, where the street intersected the open square, the sunlight fell in such golden suffusions that a clay-bank horse with his rider motionless against the blue sky beyond might have seemed an equestrian statue in bronze commemorating the valiance of some bold cavalry leader. Tubal Cain wondered to see the jail so still and solitary ; and where could be the man whom he had pictured sitting in all the luxury of possession on the front doorsteps, smoking his pipe ?

This man of his imagination was the sheriff of the county, who did not avail himself of his privilege to appoint a jailer, but turned the keys himself and dwelt in his stronghold. He was of an overexacting cast of mind. He could never believe a prisoner secure unless with his own hands he had drawn the bolts. On account of the great vogue attained by various crimes at this period, and the consequent overcrowding of the dungeons of the State, a considerable number of federal prisoners had been billeted on the Kildeer County jail while awaiting trial, and by reason of this important charge his vigilance was redoubled. In all the details of his office he carried the traits of a precisian, and was in some sort a thorn in the side of the more easygoing county officers with whom his official duties brought him into contact. Even the judge in his high estate on the bench was now and again nettled by the difficult questions of punctilio with which this servant of the court could contrive to invest some trifling matter, and was known to incline favorably to the salutary theory of rotation in office, — barring, of course, the judicial office. But the sheriff had three minie balls in him which he had collected on various battlefields in the South ; and although he had fought on a side not altogether popular in this region, they counted for him at the polls in successive elections, without the formalities of statutory qualifications and with a wondrous power of reduplication in the number of resulting votes. He was reputed of an extraordinary valor on those hard-contested fields where he had found his bullets, but there were advanced occasionally caviling criticisms of his record on the score that, being incapable of originating a course of action, it never occurred to him to run away when his command was ordered to advance, and that his bravery was simply the fixed stolidity of adhering to another man’s idea in default of any ideas of his own. In proof of this it was cited that when he was detailed among a file to hold a ginhouse full of cotton, and the enemy surprised the guard and captured the building, he alone stood like a stock with his rifle still at a serene shoulder arms, where it was ordered to be, while his comrades undertook a deploying evolution of their own invention at a mad double-quick, without a word of command, showing the cleanest of nimble heels across the country. But he was esteemed by these depreciators a lucky fool, for when he was exchanged he was given the right to wear a chevron on his sleeve ; and since the war, having an affinity for the office of sheriff, he had more than once been obliged to decline to make the race, and lie off a term or two, because of the law which will not permit the office to be held by the same person eight years without an interval. His fad for being in the direct line of the enemy’s fire had only given him some painful hospital experience, for the balls had come to stay ; and apparently the hard metal of his constitution served to assimilate them easily enough, for he was hale and hearty, and bade fair to live to a green old age, and they never made themselves heard of save at election times, when in effect they stuffed the ballot-box.

Having voted for him so often, and with that immense estimate of the value of a single ballot common to the backwoodsman little conversant with the power of numbers. Tubal Cain Sims felt a possessory claim on the sheriff as having made him such. He stood in dismay and doubt for a moment, gazing at the stout closed door that opened, when it opened at all, directly on the descending flight of steps, without any ceremonial porch or other introduction to entrance ; then, after the manner of Etowah Cove, he lifted up his voice in a stentorian halloo and hailed the grim and silent house.

The sound seemed a spell to waken it into life. The echo of his shouts came back from the brick walls so promptly as to simulate two imperative voices rather than the mimicry of acoustics. Sudden pale faces showed at the bars, wearing the inquiring startled mien of alarm and surprise. The rattle of a chain heralded the approach of a great guard-dog dragging a block from around the corner. With his big bull-like head lowered and his fangs showing between his elastic lips, he stood fiercely surveying the stranger for a short time; then — and Tubal Cain Sims could have more readily forgiven a frantic assault, for he had his pistol in his hand — the sagacious brute sat down abruptly, and continued to contemplate the visitor, but with a certain air of non-committal curiosity, evidently realizing that his vocation was not to deter people from getting into jail, but to prevent them from getting out. The pallid faces at the windows were laughing, despite the bars ; and although nettled by the ridicule they expressed, Tubal Sims made bold to lift up his voice again : “ Hello, Enott! Enott Blake ! Lemme in ! Lemme in, I say ! Hello, Enott! ”

The faces of the spectators were distended anew. At those windows where there was more than one, they were turned toward each other for the luxury of an exchange of winks and leers. When a face was alone it grinned jocular satisfaction to itself, and one man, whose face was large and red and facetious, now and again showed a lifted hand smiting an unseen leg, in the extremity of solitary joy. The dog, with his big head still and his drooping lips a-quiver, gave a surly growl of displeasure, when the colt, having somewhat recovered from the fatigues of its long journey, began to frisk nimbly, and to curvet and caracole ; the mare turned her head anxiously about as she watched these gyrations. Tubal Cain glared at the men at the windows. They had little to laugh at, doubtless, but why should they so gratuitously laugh at him ? A tide of abashed mortification carried the blood to his head. His stanch selfrespect had heretofore precluded the suspicion that he was ever the object of ridicule, and now his pride revolted at his plight; but since he could not get at his mockers and inflict condign punishment, naught remained but to manfully persist in his course as if they were not. He dismounted, threw the reins over a hitching-post, advanced through the gate of the narrow yard, his pistol in his hand for fear of the formidable dog, and ascended the steps with a resolute tread. He dealt the door a resounding blow with the butt end of his shooting-iron, crying as he did so upon Enott Blake as a “ dadburned buzzard " to open the door or he would break it down. Suddenly it gave way before him, and by the force of his expectant blow he fell forward into the hall; then it closed behind him with a bang that shook the house.

“ What does this mean ? ” exclaimed an irate voice. “ Jeemes, take his weepon.”

And albeit Tubal Sims stoutly held on to it, a scientific crack on the knuckles administered by a dapper light - haired young man caused the stiff old fingers to relax and yield the pistol to the custody of the law.

He confronted a tall, spare, vigorous man about fifty years of age, with irongray hair worn with a certain straight lank effect and parted far on the side, a florid complexion, and a bright yellowish - gray eye which delivered the kind of glance popularly held to resemble an eagle’s. His look was very intent as he gazed in the twilight of the grimy hall at Tubal Cain Sims, who began to feel a quiver at the lack of recognition it expressed. To be sure, Tubal Sims knew that he had no acquaintance with the man, but he had not somehow counted on this total unresponsiveness to his claim upon the officer.

“ I hev voted fur you-uns fur sher’ff nine time out’n ten,” he said, with the rancor of reproach for benefits conferred unworthily. He stood with a very large majority of the enlightened citizens of the county. Enott Blake had been but recently reelected, but if his canvass were to be made anew it is barely possible that he would have fancied he might have weathered it without the support of this ancient adherent. His office was of the sort which is not compatible with any show of personal favor, and he resented the reminder of political services as an imputation.

“ Well, ye have got a sheriff that knows what attempted house-breaking is,” he said severely. “ And unless ye can show a good reason for tryin ’ to break into that door, ye ’ll find ye have got a sheriff that will take a power o’ pains ye don’t break out again soon.”

Tubal Cain’s face, all wind-blown and red with the sun, and rugged with hard grooved wrinkles, and nervous with the untoward complications of achieving an audience with the man he had ridden so far to see, was shattered from the congruity of his gravity into a sort of fragmentary laughter out of keeping with the light of anxiety in his eyes.

“ Did ye ever hear of a man tryin’ ter break inter a jail?” he demanded.

“ I caught you doin’ it to the best of your ability,” returned the literal-minded sheriff.

Tubal Cain would have felt as if he were dreaming had it not been for sundry recollections of stories of the matterof - fact tendencies of the officer which were far from reassuring. He felt that he could hardly have faced the situation had not the dapper round-visaged young deputy, whose blond hair curled like a baby’s in tendrils on his red, freckled forehead, glanced up at him with a jocose wink as he proceeded to draw the cartridges from the mountaineer’s shooting-iron ; the triumph of capture still in his eye, while he lounged carelessly over the banisters of the staircase to evade the responsibility and labor of standing upright.

“ Own up, daddy,” he cavalierly admonished the elder. “ Tell what you were aimin’ to do. To rescue prisoners ”

— his superior snorted at the very word

— “ or rob us of our vally’bles ? ” The sheriff turned upon the deputy with a stare of inquiry as if wondering what these might be; then, vaguely apprehending the banter, said severely : —

“ Cuttin’ jokes about your bizness, Jeemes, so constant, makes me ’feard it’s a leetle bit too confinin’ for such a gay bird as you. Bar-keepin’ in a saloon would fit your build better ’n the sort o’ bar-keepin’ we do here, I’m thinkin’.”

Enott Blake might be laughed at on occasion, but he had a trick of making other men as serious as himself when he sought to play upon their foibles. The blond deputy’s countenance showed that it had another and deeper tinge of red in its capacity ; he came to the perpendicular suddenly as, without lifting his eyes, he continued to revolve the chambers of the pistol seriatim and to draw the cartridges. He was but newly appointed, and zealous of the favor of his superior.

“ I dunno how I could bear up, though,” he said, with apology in the cadence of his voice, “ if I did n’t crack a joke wunst in a while, considering I’m just broke into harness.”

“That’s a fact,” admitted the martial elder, visibly and solemnly placated. “ Do you know what we were doin’ while you yelled, an’ capered, an’ cut up them monkey-shines in front of the jail ? ” he demanded sternly, turning to Tubal Cain Sims. “ We were cuttin’ a man down that tried to hang himself.”

“ Suicidin’,” put in the deputy, as if making a nice distinction between this voluntary suspension and the legal execution.

“ An’ we were bringin’ the man to himself agin.”

“ He’s crazy, crazy as a loon,” interpolated the deputy in a mutter, pulling the trigger and snapping the hammer of the empty weapon, and sighting it unpleasantly down the hall, aiming alternately at the sheriff and at Tubal Cain Sims, who could scarcely repress an admonition, but for awe’s sake desisted.

“ Or more likely, simulatin’ insanity,” said the sheriff; “ it’s plumb epidemic nowadays ’mongst the crim’nals.”

“Well, he come mighty nigh lightin’ out for a country where no vain pretenses avail,” remarked the loquacious deputy, one eye closed, and drawing a very fine line from the bridge of old Sims’s nose with the empty pistol.

“ This is a country where they don’t avail, either,” retorted the sheriff, “not with any reasonable jury. And twelve men, though liable to be fools, ain’t fools o’ the same pattern. That’s the main thing : impanel a variety o’ fools, an’ the verdic’ is generally horse sense. Now, sir,” turning on Tubal Cain Sims, who could feel his hat rising up on his hair, “ what do you want, anyhow ? ”

“ Ter git out, — that’s all ; ter git out o’ hyar!” exclaimed Tubal Sims, sickened with a ghastly horror of the presentment of the scene they had left, the walls that harbored it, the roof that sheltered it. Oh for the free pure mountain air, the wild untrodden lengths of the mountain wilderness, fresh with the sun and the dew, and the vigor of natural growths, and the sweet scent of woodland ways ! He was suffocated with a moment of this atmosphere ; the deadly prison flavor appalled him. As he cast up his eyes to the high window above the staircase he could have cried out aloud to see the bars, and he gazed at the door in a desperation that started the drops on his brow and brought the blood to his face, as if the intensity of his emotion had been some strong physical effort.

“ What did you get in here for, then ? ” demanded the sheriff. 舠 Most folks have to be fetched.”

Tubal Cain Sims’s heart failed him. Could it be possible that he had ever designed a fate like this for the man who had slept under his roof; who had eaten his bread ; who had refused to maintain secrecy against him ; who considered him and his claims, when his own, his very own, passed them by ? He could not realize it. He refused to credit his cherished scheme ; he felt that if once away from the paralyzing sight of the place, invention would rouse itself anew. Some other device would serve to rid the Cove of the man, and to frustrate his elopement with Euphemia. He could compass a new plan, he was sure, if once more he were free in the clear and open air.

The eagle eye of the sheriff marked the alert turning of Sims’s head toward the door. “ What did you come here for, then ? ” he again demanded.

With hot eyes glancing hither and thither like a wild thing’s in a trap, Tubal Sims replied, with the inspiration of the moment, 舠 I wanted ter view the man I hev voted fur so often an’ so constant.”

Now, the sheriff, like many other great men in their several places, had his vanity, and it is not hard to convince one who has been before the public eye that he fills that orb to the exclusion of any less worthy object. That Tubal Cain Sims should have journeyed fully thirty-five miles from the mountains to feast his eyes upon the resplendent dignity of the sheriff in his oft-resumed incumbency seemed possibly no disproportionate tribute to Enott Blake’s estimate of his own merits. But this view, however flattering, was hardly compatible with the lordly manner in which the old mountaineer had beaten upon the door of the jail, and the imperative tones with which he had summoned forth the servant of the public who owed his high estate to the suffrages of him aided by the likes of him. A wonderful change is wrought in the moral atmosphere of a man by the event of an election. The candidate’s estate is vested by the announcement of the result. He owns his office for the time, and he breathes a free man. It is interesting to see how the muscles of his metaphorical knees straighten out, for the day of genuflection is over. Independence is reasserted in his eye; he bears himself as one who conquers by the prowess of his own bow and spear ; and men whom he would fain conciliate last week need to search his eye for an expression they can recognize. They will be treated no more to that mollifying demonstration, the candidate’s smile.

The defeated aspirant’s once bland countenance, however, has assumed all the contours of the cynic’s. A bitter sort of nonchalance with a frequent forced laugh goes better combined with peanuts, if the place is not too high in the official scale and the candidate of no great social pretensions, since the hulls can be cast off with a flouting gesture which aids the general implication that the constituency may appropriately go hang, for all he cares. He is not hurt, — not he ! He made the race to oblige his friends and party, and he now and again throws out intimations of a bigger piece of pie saving for him as a reward for filling the breach. Meantime peanuts perforce suffice.

Enott Blake, through much placeholding, had become imbued with the candidate’s antagonism to that assumption of all the power residing in the voting masses common to the arrogant but impotent unit. He was never elected by any one man, nor through any definitely exerted political influence. He served the people, and incidentally his own interest, and mighty glad they ought to be to get him, and this was what he felt especially after elections. If ever in the course of a canvass he had a qualm, — and it is said that the least imaginative of men are capable of nightmare, — he had the satisfaction of calling himself a fool thereafter, to think less of himself than people thought of him, and counting endearingly his minie balls. He was a rare instance of a great personal popularity, and he had no mind to abate his pretensions before the preposterous patronage of this old mountaineer who possibly had not paid poll-tax for twenty years. He could no more be said to possess an enlightened curiosity than the hound trained to trail game could be accredited with an inquisitive interest in the natural history of the subject of his quest. It was with the like rudimentary instinct of the pursuit of prey that he felt stirring a predatory intention towring from the intruder the real reason for this strange entrance.

“ No, no, my friend,” he said, with a kindling of his keen eye which expressed a degree of ferocity, “ you can’t come it that-a-way on me. I 'm a mighty fine man, I know, but folks ain’t got to sech a pass as to break into jail for a glimpse of me yet. You don’t get out of that door ” — he nodded his head at it — “till you give me a reasonable reason for your extraordinary conduc’.”

Tubal Cain Sims was silent. His hard old lips suddenly shut fast. His eyes gleamed with a dogged light. He would not speak had he no will to speak, and the officer should see which could hold out the longest at this game. He remembered how often he had hearkened to the complaints of the preternatural quality of his obstinacy with which Jane Ann Sims had beguiled the conjugal way since, a quarter of a century ago, they had left the doorstep of Parson Greenought’s house man and wife. Surely, if it had time and again vanquished Jane Ann Sims, how could the sheriff, a mere man, abide it? He had not, however, reckoned on certain means of compulsion which were not within the power of the doughty contestant for domestic supremacy.

There was no visible communication between the older officer and the deputy. Indeed, Tubal Sims was at first disposed to look upon it lightly, as the invention of youth and inexperience, when the young man said appealingly, “ Ye won’t need handcuffs, Mr. Blake ? Leastwise not till after we come from the jestice’s ? ”

“ Handcuffs ! “screeched Tubal Sims, as violently cast out from the stronghold of his obstinate silence as if he had been hurtled thence by a catapult. “ Ye hev got no right to handcuff me ! I kem hyar of my own free will an’ accord. I ain’t no prisoner. Open that thar door,” he said, lowering his voice to a tone of command and turning majestically to the sheriff. “ Open that door, or I ’ll hev the law of ye.”

“ Not till I have had the law of you,” replied the imperturbable functionary.

“ But, Jeemes,” — he turned with a disaffected aside to his young colleague, — “what d’ ye go namin’ irons for ? ’T ain’t polite to talk ’bout ironin’ a man old enough to be your father.”

James looked about in a vague despair. He had but sought the effect of the mention of shackles upon the imagination, and indeed his words had potently affected the fancy of the only man in the room who possessed that illusive pictorial faculty. The stanch old mountaineer was all a-tremble. What would Jane Ann Sims think of this ? He might have known that this journeying abroad in secret and without her advice would result disastrously ! What indeed would Jane Ann Sims think of this?

“ Open that door ! ” he vociferated. “ Ye hev got no right ter detain ME !”

“What for not? “demanded the sheriff sternly. “What d’ ye call this fix’n’ ? ” He opposed to Tubal Cain Sims’s nose, with the trifling intervenient space of an inch, his own pistol.

“ Shootin’ -iron ! ” sputtered Tubal, squinting fearfully at it.

“ Worn in defiance o’ the law and to the terror o’ the people,” said the sheriff frowningly. “ I have got to be indicted myself or arrest you on that charge. And I reckon you know you ain’t got no right to carry concealed weapons.”

“ Ain’t got no right ter w’ar a shootin’iron ! ” exclaimed Tubal Sims, his eyes starting out of his head.

“ Agin the law,” said the deputy airily.

“ Agin the law ! ” echoed Tubal Sims, his back against the wall, and his eyes turning first to one, then to the other of his companions. “Lord! Lord! I never knowed afore how fur the flat-woods war ahint the mountings ! How air ye goin’ ter pertec’ yerself agin yer neighbor ’thout no shootin’-iron ? ” he asked cogently.

“ By the law,” said both officers in unison.

“ Thar ain’t no law in the mountings, thank Gawd ! ” cried Tubal Sims.

“ There is law here,” declared the sheriff, " and a plenty of it to go round.”

“ Thank Gawd ! ” echoed the pious deputy.

“ Come, old man ! ” said the sheriff. 舠 Come in here an’ set down, an’ sorter straighten out, an’ tell me what in hell ailed ye to come bangin’ on the jail door with a weepon called a shootin’-iron till you git yourself arrested for crim’nal offense. Surely, surely, you have got some reason in you.”

He flung open a door close at hand, and Tubal Cain Sims, his knees trembling under him, so great was the nervous reaction in his metamorphosis from the masterful accuser to the despairing accused, was ushered into a room which seemed to him dark despite the glare of sunlight that fell broadside half across the bare floor from two tall windows, — a gaunt and haggard apartment suggestive of the intention of the building of which it was a part. These windows were not grated, but the fleckings of moving clouds barred the sunlight on the floor, and the mutter of thunder came renewed to the ear. The dust lay thick on the table in the centre of the room. A lounge covered with a startlingly gay quilt was in one corner, where Tubal Cain presumed the sheriff, in moments of fatigue which might be supposed to overpower even his stiff military figure in the deep midnight, slept with one eye open. A desk in the jamb by the fireplace held several bulky books, a large inkstand, a bag of fine-cut tobacco, a coarse glass tumbler which had nothing in it but a rank smell of a strong grade of corn whiskey, and a pipe half full of dead ashes, which the sheriff had hastily laid aside when summoned to the scene of the horrors perpetrated by a forlorn human being in the desperation of the fear of still greater horrors to come.

Tubal Cain Sims’s mind, unaccustomed to morbid influences, could not detach itself from the idea. Despite his absorptions on his own account, he followed as an independent train of thought futile speculations as to where in the building this man might be, — close at hand, and he felt a nervous thrill at the possible propinquity, or in some remote cell and out of hearing ; what had he guiltily done, or was he falsely accused ; had he been really resuscitated, or had the potentialities of life merely flickered up like the spurious quickening of a failing candle before the moment of extinction, and was he even now, while the officers lingered here, dead again, and this time beyond recall; or would he not, left to his own devices, once more attempt his life ? The old mountaineer could not forbear. He turned to the sheriff with an excited eye.

“ Ain’t ye 'feard he ’ll hang hisself again ? ” he said huskily.

The officer stared. “ Who ? ” he inquired, with knitted brow, as if he had forgotten the occurrence absolutely ; then with renewing recollection, “ You can bet your life he won’t.”

“ Why not ? ” asked Sims, the clatter of his boots on the bare floor silent as he stopped short.

The deputy gave a fleering laugh, ending in a 舠 ki-yi ” of the extremity of derision. He had flung himself into a chair, and, with his elbows on the table, looked up with a scornful grin at Tubal Cain Sims, who seemed to entertain solicitude as to the capacities for management and discipline of Enott Blake, famous as the veriest martinet of a drillsergeant years before he ever saw the inside of Kildeer County jail.

This absurd officiousness, however, met with more leniency from the high sheriff. Whether it was that, from his steady diet of commendation, his vanity could afford to dispense with such poor crumbs as Tubal Cain Sims might have it in his power to offer, or whether he was desirous of the emollient effects of indulgence to loosen his visitor’s tongue, he apparently took no heed of this breach of the proprieties.

“He’s all right now. You need n’t have no anxiety ’bout him,”he said, as if it were a matter of course to be brought to book in this way.

“ He can’t hurt himself nor any one else now,” echoed the deputy, taking his cue.

Sims turned from one to the other inquiringly.

“ Got him in a cage,” said the sheriff grimly.

For one moment Tubal Cain Sims silently cursed his curiosity that had elicited this fact for his knowledge and provision for future nightmares. It was of the order of things that sets the natural impulses of humanity and sympathy adverse to all the necessities of law and justice. He stared at the two officers, his gorge rising against them as monsters. Perhaps only his weapon, empty in the deputy’s pistol-pocket, persuaded his apparent acquiescence.

“ Good Lord ! ” he gasped, “ that’s powerful tur’ble, — powerful tur’ble ! ”

The sheriff was no mind-reader. He deemed that the allusion applied to the unjudicial hanging.

“Not so very,” he said, seating himself in a splint-bottomed chair, and elevating his boots to the topmost bar of the rusty, fireless grate. “’T ain’t nigh so bad as havin’ ’em fire the jail,” he added gloomily. “ They have played that joke on me five times. All this part o’ the buildin’ is new. Burnt spang down the last time we had a fire.”

“Take a chair, sir, take a chair,” said the conformable deputy, perceiving that politeness had come to be the order of the day.

Tubal Sims, almost paralyzed by the number and character of the new impressions crowded upon his unaccustomed old brain, still stood staring from one to the other, his sunburned, grooved, lankjawed face showing a sharp contrast with his shock of tow hair, which, having been yellow and growing partially gray, appeared to have reverted to the lighter tint that it had affected when he came into the world. His hat was perched on the back of his head, and now and then he reached up to readjust it there ; some subtle connection surely exists between the hat of a man and his brain, some obscure ganglion, for never does embarrassment beset the latter but the solicitous hand travels straight to the outer integument. His creased boot-legs moved slowly forward with the jeans - clothed continuations above them. He doubtfully seized on the back of a chair, and, still gazing from one to the other of his companions, deposited himself with exaggerated caution on the stanch wooden seat as if he half expected it to collapse beneath him.

“ Now,” said the sheriff smoothly,

“ you are a sensible man, I know, an’ I wish you well. 舡

“How ’bout that thar pistol?” said Tubal Cain Sims, instantly presuming upon this expression of amity.

“ I did n’t make that law,” said Enott Blake testily. “But I’m here to enforce it, and you ’ll find that I know my duty an’ will do it.”

Tubal Sims relapsed into his friendless despair. And once more the deputy essayed a new device.

He turned his round, red, freckled, good-natured face full upon the visitor across the table, and, pushing back his black hat from the blond tendrils that overhung his forehead like an overgrown infant’s, he said, fixing a grave blue eye upon Tubal Sims, “ You came here to tell us about some crime you ’ve s’picioned.”

The sheriff plucked up his faculties as if an inspiration had smitten him. “ You were going to give us the names an’ fac’s as far as you knew or they had developed,” he followed hard on the heels of the pioneering deputy.

“ You caved after you got here, ’cause you wished the man no harm, and the sight o’ the jail sorter staggered you,” pursued the subordinate.

“ But you had some personal motive,” interjected the sheriff, suddenly solicitous for the verisimilitude of the sketch of the interior workings of Tubal Cain’s astounded intellect. “ It has to be a mighty plain, open case, with no s’picion ’bout it, when information ain’t got some personal motive, — justifiable, maybe, and without direct malice, but personal motive.”

Tubal Cain Sims’s head turned from one to the other with a pivotal action which was less suggestive of muscles than of machinery. His eyes were starting from beneath his shaggy, overhanging eyebrows. His lower jaw had dropped. Thus dangled before him, his own identity was as recognizable to him as to their divination. If he had had time to think, there might have seemed something uncanny in this facile meddling with the secrets of his inner consciousness, hardly so plain to his own prognosis as in their exposition, but moment by moment he was hurried on.

“Your personal motive in giving this information,” continued the deputy, “ is because you are afraid of the man.”

“Not for myse’f,” blurted out Tubal Sims. “ Before Gawd, I 'll swear, not for myse’f.” He was all unaware of an impending disclosure of the facts that he had resolved to hide, since all the horrors of the jail, the true, visible presentment of the abstract idea of imprisonment, had burst upon his shuddering realization. He had forgotten his caution. His obstinate reticence relaxed. All the manhood within him roused to the alarum of the possibility that these officers should impute to him fear of any man for his own sake. He lifted a trembling, stiffened old hand with a deprecatory gesture. “ Jes’ one — jes’ one darter ! ” He lowered his voice in expostulation.

“One daughter! ” echoed the sheriff in surprise.

“ Gittin’ interestin’,” murmured the flippant deputy.

“ An’ this hyar man wants ter marry her, an’ she is willin’ ter marry him, an’ — an’ he spoke of runnin’ away.” Tubal Cain Sims brought this enormity out with a sudden dilation of the eyes irresistible to the impudent deputy.

“ Powerful painful to the survivors ! ” he snorted in a choking chuckle, “ but not even a misdemeanor agin the law o’ the land.”

The sheriff’s countenance changed. Not that he apprehended any cause for mirth, for it might be safely said that he had not laughed at a joke for the past six years, and it would have been a matter of some interest to know how he appraised the cachinnation habitually going on all around about him, and which he was temperamentally debarred from sharing. His face merely took on a perplexed and keenly inquisitive expression as he bent his brow as to a worthy mystery.

“ You know a man can’t be arrested for runnin’ away with a young woman an’ marryin’ her,” he expostulated. “ You ain’t such a fool as to think you can take the law to him to prevent that.”

There are few people in this world who do not arrogate to themselves special mental supremacy. Folly is like unto the jewel in the forehead of the toad in that the creature thus endowed is unaware of its possession. Tubal Cain Sims had perceived subacutely the acumen of both the officers, and was emulous of demonstrating his own intellectual gifts. The word “fool ” is a lash that stings, and, smarting, he protested : —

“ The law would purvent it mighty quick by not waitin’ fur him, ef he hed commit crimes.”

“ What ’d he ever do ? ” demanded the sheriff incredulously. And the deputy sat very still and silent.

Now, the peculiarity of being literalminded has special reference to exoteric phenomena introduced for mental contemplation, but is easily coexistent with the evolution of an esoteric train of ideas, the complication of which is nullified by familiarity incident to their production. The sheriff was a plain man, a seriousminded man, who could not see a joke when it was before his nose; so literalminded a man that because he never perceived the latent scheme of another, he himself was never suspected of scheming.

“ What ’d he ever do ? ” he repeated, and it did not occur to Tubal Cain Sims that he had not yet mentioned the juggler’s name, nor so much as suggested his own or the locality whence he came.

“ I ain’t keerin’ ter know whut he done ! ” he asseverated, led on by the non-compliant look of the other. " I know he done somewhut; an’ Phemie ain’t goin’ ter be ’lowed ter marry no evil-doer an’ crim’nal agin the law.”

The pause that ensued was suffered to continue, while the thunder rolled anew, and the dashing of the water of the surly black creek at the foot of the hill came to their ears. The sunshine on the floor faded out suddenly and all at once, and the murky gray light was devoid of any lingering shimmer. If the deputy breathed, he did not hear the heaving of his own chest, so still he was.

The sheriff, having allowed in vain a goodly margin for continuance, went on abruptly : “ That’s the way you fellows, with no sense of the obligations of the law, carry on. You have got no information to give. You have got some personal motive, an’ that’s the way to get an officer into trouble, false arrests an’ charges of stirrin’ up of strife an’ such like, an’ it’s personal motive always. I ’ll bet this man o’ yourn ain’t committed no crime,” and he turned his calm gray eyes on Tubal Cain Sims, seated in the midst of his consciousness of a fool errand to the great country town. Mortified pride surged to his face in a scarlet flood, and vehement argument rose to his lips.

“ Why can’t he sleep quiet nights in his bed, then ? ” he retorted. “ Why do he holler out so pitiful, fit ter split yer heart, in his sleep, ‘ What can I do ? For his life ! — his life ! — his life ! Oh, what can I do — for his life ! — his life ! — his life! ’ ? ”

The wind came surging against the windows with a sudden burst of fury, and the sashes rattled in their casings. As the gust passed to the different angles of the house, the sound of other shaking casements came from the rooms above and across the hall, dulled with the distance, till a single remote vibration of glass and wood told that even in the furthest cells the inmates of this drear place might share the gloomy influences of the storm, though fair weather meant little to them, and naught the sweet o’ the year. A yellow flash, swift and sinister, illumined the dull, gray room, that reverted instantly into its gloom, and, as if the lightning were resolved into rain, the panes showed a fusillade of the hurtling drops, and then their dusty, cobwebbed surfaces were streaked with coursing rivulets mingling together here and there as they ran.

The sheriff sat silently awaiting further disclosures, his eyes on the window, his guarded thoughts elsewhere. “ The same words every night ? ” he asked at last.

“ The same words every night,” repeated Tubal Cain reluctantly, as if making an admission.

“ Oh, you can’t arrest a man for talking in his sleep,” put in the deputy, with the air of flouting the whole revelation as a triviality; and he yawned with much verisimilitude, showing a very red mouth inside and two rows of stanch white teeth.

“ I ain’t sech a fool ez that, Mr. Dep’ty,” snarled Tubal Sims raucously ; “ but puttin’ sech ez that tergether with a pale face an’ blue circles round the eyes, in the mornin’, o’ the stronges’, finest-built, heartiest young rooster I ever seen in my life, — he could fling you or the sher’ff from hyar clean acrost that creek, — an’ layin’ on the ruverbank day arter day fishin’ with no bait on his hook ” —

“ What ’d he catch ? ” queried the deputy, affecting anxious eagerness.

“All he expected, I reckon,” retorted Sims. “ A-layin’ thar, with his hat over his eyes, week arter week; an’ his eyes looked ez tormented ez — ez a deer I shot wunst ez could n’t git up ter run an’ could n’t hurry up an’ die in time, an’ jes’ laid thar an’ watched me an’ the dogs come up. An’ this man’s eyes looked jes’ like that deer’s, — an’ I never let the dogs worry him, but jes’ whipped out my knife an’ cut his throat.”

The deputy’s eyes widened with pretended horror. He snatched a pair of handcuffs from the drawer at the side of the table, and, rising, exclaimed dramatically, “ You say, in cold blood, you whipped out your knife and cut the man’s throat! ”

“Ye think ye air powerful smart, Mr. Dep’ty,’ sneered Sims, out of countenance, nevertheless. “ But thar ain’t much credit in baitin’ an’ badgerin’ a man old enough ter be yer father,” remembering the sheriff’s rebuke on this score, and imputing to him a veneration for the aged.

“Yes, stop that monkeyin’, Jeemes,” Blake solemnly admonished his junior. Then, after silently eying the rain still turbulently dashing against the windows, he said reflectively, “ Don’t ye think, Mr. — Mr. — I disremember your name ? ”

“Sims,—Tubal Cain Sims,” replied the owner of that appellation.

“ Oh yes ; Mr. Sims. Don’t you think the feller ‘s jest a leetle lazy ? There ’s no law against laziness, though it needs legislation, being a deal more like the tap-root of evil than what money is, — though I don’t set up my views against the Good Book.”

“ 'Pears like ’t warn’t laziness, which may be a sin, but makes men fat, an’ ez long ez the pot holds out ter bile, happy. This man warn’t happy nor fat, an’ he looked like the devils hed thar home with him.”

“ Where did he come from, and what’s his name ? ”

“ He ’lowed, one day, from Happy Valley, but he did n’t know where Happy Valley war. An’ he talks like a town man, an’ reads a power, an’ tells tales ez Phemie say air out o’ books ; an’ he gin a show ” —

“ A show ? ” the sheriff interrupted.

“ A juggling show,” pursued Tubal Sims, in better feather since they no longer dissimulated their absorption in these details. “ He calls hisse’f a juggler, though his name is John Leonard.”

“ What’s he live on ? ” demanded the sheriff.

“ The money he made at his show. He ’lowed ter gin more, but the church folks gin it out he war in league with Satan, an’ threated ter dump him in the ruver, so he quit jugglin’.”

The deputy with difficulty repressed a guffaw, but asked, with a keen curiosity, “ Was it a pretty good show ? ”

“ Ye never seen nothin’ like it in yer life. He jes’ ” —

“What sort of lookin’ man is he?” interrupted the sheriff. He cast a glance at the deputy, who unobtrusively began to busy himself with pen, ink, and paper where he sat, and was presently scribbling briskly as Tubal Cain Sims sought to describe the stranger.

“ He looks some like a mountain feller now,” he said. “ He paid my wife ter make him some clothes; but shucks ! ” his eye kindling with the glow of discursive reminiscence, “ the clothes he kem thar in war a sight fur the jay-birds, — leetle tight pants ez kem down no furder ’n that, an’ long stockin’s like a gal’s, an’ no mo’ ’shamed of ’em ’n I am o’ my coat-collar; a striped blackan’-red coat he hed on, an’ long, p’inted reddish shoes.” He paused to laugh, while a glance of fiery excitement and significance shot from the eyes of one officer into those of the other.

Far better than Tubal Sims they knew how to place the wearer of this sophisticated costume. For although their bailiwick was the compass of the county, their official duties carried them occasionally to neighboring cities and their suburbs ; and while rolling so rapidly was not conducive to gathering moss for their own embellishment, it afforded opportunity for observation not altogether thrown away. This man was out of place, — a wanderer, evidently ; but whether a fugitive from justice remained to be proved.

And while Tubal Cain Sims talked convulsively on, hardly realizing whither his reminiscence led, the expert penman was quietly noting down all the traits of description of poor Lucien Royce, — his height, his weight, his size, the color of his hair and eyes, the quality of his complexion, the method of his enunciation, and the polish of his manner, — all in the due and accepted form of advertisement for criminals, minus the alluring sum offered for their apprehension by the governor of the State.

Tubal Cain Sims did not note the cessation of the scraping of the pen, but the sheriff did, and it was within a few moments that he said, “Well, Mr. Sims, this offers no ground for arrestin’ the man. But I ’ll give you a piece of advice, — don’t let him know of your errand here, or he ’ll take French leave of you and take the girl with him. I can’t arrest him for you ” —

“ Courtin’ ’s the inalienable right of man, and, in leap year, of woman too,” sputtered the deputy, with his pen in his mouth and his laugh crowding it.

舠 But you had better keep a strict watch on him for a while,” continued the sheriff; “ and as I have some business up that way, I may come over. But keep that close, or you ’ll lose your daughter. — just one daughter.”

“ One darter,” echoed Tubal Sims, his eyes absorbed and docile as he followed the crafty officer’s speech.

“ Say nothin’ to nobody, and I 'll see you before long.” Then suddenly leaving the subject, with a briskening style he turned to the deputy. “ Jeemes, take Mr. Sims before a magistrate, — Squair Purdy, I ’d recommend, — on a charge of carrying weepons with the intent o’ goin’ armed. Let him know, though, Mr. Sims, ’t was in ignorance of the law, and a-travelin’. Remind him that the code says the statute is to be liberally construed. And remember that Jeemes can’t swear that old army pistol was concealed on no account. I don’t b’lieve Jeemes kin make out a case agin ye. Squair Purdy is mighty lenient.”

“ Ain’t you-uns goin’ ? ” quavered Mr. Sims, distrusting the tender mercies of the facetious James.

“ No, sir,” replied the sheriff, now far away in the contemplation of other matters. “Jeemes, go to the telephone and ring up the cap’n in Knoxville. I want to speak to him.”

It only seemed a great babbling of a little bell in the grim twilight of the hall of the jail as James piloted Tubal Cain Sims out of the door which had so obdurately closed on him. And how should his ignorance conceive that within three minutes the chief of police in Knoxville was listening to the description of poor Lucien Royce, given by the sheriff of Kildeer County, and trying for his life to reconcile its dissimilarities with the physical traits of various missing malefactors sadly wanted by the police in divers localities ?

Charles Egbert Craddock.