Cleanin' Up the County


‘THAR ain’t no spring on this-hyar road. But effen you-all is thirsty, thar’s a big spring th’ough the timber ter the left. Hain’t no path ter hit, ye might say, but hit won’t mis-putt me none to stanter a ways ’ith you-all.’

John, with the wisdom of dogs, gave the bearded mountaineer one long look, and, discrediting the story of a spring, disappeared toward a fringe of willows bordering the distant river.

We were thirsty and tired, and we ‘stantered’ what seemed a long way. Suddenly the man, with no preamble, said, ‘I reckon I’ll jist turn back now.’ And he set off down the hill. We gazed at each other in astonishment.

‘Hi there!’ called Peter. ‘Where’s the spring?’

‘Mister, jist kim down hyar a minute, an’ I’ll tell ye somep’n.’

I offered Peter the rifle I carried, but he refused it, and walked back down the hill. I followed him with an anxious eye, my finger on the trigger of the gun. For all day we had seen fresh boughs in the road pointing to dim paths that led to sequestered nooks where one might place a piece of money on a stump, turn one’s back, and, after a decent interval, find there ‘a snort o’ liquor.’

But more than hidden stills I feared the motor cars — not much smaller than the desolate cabins before which they stood. For the manufacture of moonshine is an old, dignified, established business in the mountains, but the get-rich-quick distributors are often reckless ‘furriners,’ and their cars sometimes carry intoxicated parvenus.

After what seemed a long time, Peter climbed the hill, pushed Sisyphus into the shade of a sweet gum tree, and carefully rolled a cigarette. I whistled for John and waited.

‘The man,’ said Peter, ‘tells me that you are a mighty likely womern.’

‘Indeed! He might have blurted that out before me. I should n’t have cared. Is that what he called you back to tell you?’

‘I gathered as much. He advised us to “go on a leetle furder, camp fur the night, and turn back at sunup.” We are almost at the county line, and they’re “cleanin’ up” the next county. Now just how bright is the face of danger to you this afternoon?'

‘Radiant, as always. Cleanin’ up a county should n’t dim it.’

‘It’s this. They are chasing out the moonshiners in dead earnest in the next county, and the moonshiners are doubly ferocious and suspicious of informers. He says that the whole county is given over to religious revivals. “Thar hain’t nobody kin git a snort o’ liquor, exceptin’ they take Communion at church, ’ithout gittin’ shot at. Both sides is pow’ful het up, an’ effen they wuz ter git hit inter thar haids you-all wuz informers, they might take a crack at you-all frum behint a rock afore they knowed better. They is Gawddlemighty keerful jist now, fur ivery other man in the county is a deputy sheriff. An’ that-air womern o’ yourn a-pintin’ a gun at me up ther hill is a pow’ful likely womern to run a chancet o’ bein’ a widder womern.” ’

‘ The man’s judgment is sound. Anyone can see that! But back trails are not thrilling. Let’s go on. It’s only one night before we get to the village. Nothing can happen in one night.’

‘It would n’t take longer than one night to shoot a man. But it’s coming on to rain, and the tent is leaking. We can get beeswax and oil to paint it in the village. We can reach Avola tomorrow afternoon and go in a safe camp near the town—safe unless they take us for evolutionists.’

‘Oh, we look like fundamentalists. We could pass anywhere now.’

John came, a streak of white through the green field, and we set out at a rapid pace for the church, where the mountaineer had said there was ‘a good well o’ water; an’ ’bout half a quarter furder a store kep’ by a furriner frum Texas.’

‘And now,’ said Peter, ‘effen inybody says ter us, “Jist move on and don’t look back,” we’re jist ter move on. An’ effen inybody stanters with us kinder offen the road, we’re not ter be curious-like, but jist talk pleasant-like that we is takin’ a tower fur the womern’s health.’

‘Oh, we always do that!’


It was twilight when we came to a small frame church crouched in a sallow, dank hollow, surrounded with pines. But the pump was painted a cheerful pink, and the water was delicious. The doors were locked, and I peered through an open window at the back. ’Why, it is a schoolhouse! There is a little blackboard. But there’s a pulpit, and a Bible.’

Suddenly there came a few great drops of rain, and the thirsty earth answered at once with rich perfume.

‘The lantern is empty!’ cried Peter. ‘I’ll run up to that store for kerosene. Back in a minute.’

I looked about for a place to trench for our leaking tent. We often slept in schoolhouses; but a church — that is different. Schoolhouses in the mountains are used for anything other than school. In a summer’s wandering we had found but one schoolhouse functioning properly. But that one rewarded us. It was the first week of school, and the tall, erect young mountaineer who was the teacher apologized for lack of order. Order! Why, the petrified children sat on hard benches like little statues.

‘It is extremely difficult to maintain order at first in a strange settlemint,’said the teacher carefully. ‘But after I whoop a few of the larger pupils several times they settle down. Hit’s — it’s a new neighborhood to me.’

We sat on the front bench and watched a little boy, with hair so white it had a cast of blue, as he glowered at the primer on the teacher’s knee.

‘Now this is A,’ said the teacher. ‘Look at it good.'

The boy backed away, and looked up scowling. ‘How do ye know hit’s A?’ he asked contemptuously.

‘Because hit’s right thar in the book’ — falling into the vernacular from the shock. The boy scratched his brown leg with a bare foot. Then, as if considering it too trifling a matter for contention, he said, ‘Huh! All right, hit’s A.’

As we left, Peter asked the boy his name, which was Elmer Bond, and slipped him a quarter. He vows that child is destined to wipe out fundamentalism in his state.

The rain delayed. I prepared the ‘jambalaya’ and set it on the camp fire I had built. It makes a comforting supper on rainy nights — that, with cookies bought from a village housewife, and tea. For ‘tea is the boy for the woods.’

Peter ran down the hill with the lighted lantern, and we hurried to cut pine boughs for a bed — though, unless one has learned the art of making a pine-bough bed, there is need for a chiropractor by midnight.

‘We’ll sleep in the schoolhouse,’ said Peter.

‘The church,’ I corrected. ‘I hope no one will see our light. They may know nothing of sanctuary.’

As the door was locked, Peter threw in a great armful of boughs through the window, and I started to cast in my smaller contribution. There was a crash, the sound of an overturned bench, and the front door slammed.

Peter dragged me back out of the light of the fire and whispered, ‘ Be quiet! It’s that fellow from the store, spying. He has n’t any stock in the store. It’s a bootlegging joint.’

Presently from the wood across the road from the church sounded ‘Halloo! Halloo!’ Peter, from behind a tree, answered with another halloo, and around the church strode the Texas ‘furriner’ and stood before the fire. He was tall and rangy, and his moustaches were fierce and wide. His flannel shirt gleamed red in the firelight, and there was a pistol in the holster at his belt. He carried a jug. ‘Say, stranger, why n’t you answer? I ben a-hollerin’, fur I could n’t locate yore camp. Hyar’s the key ter the church. It’s goin’ ter rain like hell and blazes. Better sleep thar. I reckon you’re jist driftin’ and ’ll move on ter-morrow. And hyar’s a jug o’ milk I thought yore womern might like.’

He unlocked the door, but refused to enter with us.

‘No, it’s goin’ ter rain cats and dogs and nigger babies. So long.’

I could n’t keep the quaver from my voice. ‘He was listening inside the church! If we had said the wrong thing I might be here alone now.’

‘Oh, I guess not,’ said Peter, but without conviction.

We pushed Sisyphus into the church, and supper was served in grand style on a desk. The milk the Texan had brought us was, of course, buttermilk.

Sweet milk is so called, and is churned sweet. Buttermilk is a beverage. It looked delicious, but with my first taste I set down the cup. ‘Taste it! Is he trying to poison us?’ Peter tasted the milk from my cup, and looked serious. He poured himself another cup, and grinned. ‘I think,’ he said, ‘the next county is on our nerves. I’m afraid I left the soap in your cup at noon.’


It was cool, and the rain drummed softly on the shingles, and the pinebough bed was delightfully fragrant. John curled up at the foot, and I drew the blanket about me in the perfect peace that comes from an all-day tramp on the open road. Peter took the Bible from the pulpit and said, ‘We may as well bone up for the next county; I’ll read you to sleep.’

There is no sleep, at least to me, so deep or so sweet as that into which we sink while a familiar voice reads from a book, well written, but not so eloquent that it wakes the mind to wonder, or the heart to ecstasy. For undirected thoughts will seek dark paths that lead away from the sea of sleep; and music with its melody and rhythm lulls the body, but the soul stirs uneasily and at the mystery of beauty wakes to ancient pain; and too often the beating, baffled wings of prayer pursue us, spent and bewildered, to the very shore of sleep.

Peter chose to read from the Psalms. But who could sleep while David bares his great human heart to God!

Long ago, someone — was it wellloved Peter Ibbetson?—taught me to cry ‘Crac’ to the reveille of ‘Cric’ which the patient reader calls to find if I am still awake. And what a rare pleasure to turn back a moment from the engulfing wave of sleep and to float away again on its deep calm tide.

‘Peter,’I say apologetically, ‘would you mind changing the subject?’

He switches to Revelation. But outlandish horned beasts emerge from the shadows, and Death on the pale horse bears down upon me, and all the gigantic pageantry of Revelation thunders past.

‘Crac!’ I cry desperately, sitting up wide-awake.

Peter laughs, and in a low monotonous voice, which blends with the gentle drumming of the rain on the roof, reads a page of ‘ begats ’ — and I know no more till the morning sun streams through the dusty windows of the church.

We stopped at the store to return the jug, and to thank the Texan for our night’s shelter.

‘Stranger,’ he said, ‘sence you appear to be driftin’ to Avoly, it’d better your hand, I believe, to take the trail to the left and cut off some miles. By the help and assistance o’ good luck and some sense you’ll come out on top of the mountain whar the road leads down to the dad-gasted town that’d give any growed-up man the popeyed willies jist to look down on!’

Remembering the warning of the friendly mountaineer, we meekly took the trail to the left. With the aid of our pocket compass and the moss on the north side of the trees, we wandered north over great boulders and through small canyons, tying a rope to John’s chain and hauling longsuffering Sis up and down precipices by main force.

‘That bootlegger,’ said Peter, ‘must have had his lingering doubts that we might report stills to the next county.’

There was lunch, and a long rest, on the summit of the mountain, and the setting sun was flinging rosy fleece over a sea of faintest green when we came to the outskirts of the village. A man who was sweeping out a church said, ' ’Bout half a quarter back o’ the church thar’s a good campin’ spot whar thar’s good water in the crick.’ He called after us, ‘Thar’s a big meetin’ goin’ on hyar! Kim over ter-night! We’re cleanin’ up the whole consarned county!’

It was an ideal spot for a camp. A low, rounded hill crowned with tall pines. Below ran a clear stream where great symmetrical sweet gums guarded the blooming laurel. We spread our blankets beneath the haughty pines that stared down in silent scorn upon the deciduous trees that pay court to rivers and when winter comes stand stark and humiliated. For in the veins of the Southern pine runs liquid fire.

Suddenly the full moon is here, and the river and the moon sing together. For while by day the streams murmur, it is only at night that the waters wake and sing.

We lay weary, but not exhausted, on our bed of pine needles, and presently from the church came the sound of voices singing ‘Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war.’ There was a certain pathos in the thought that here were people calling on their deepest instincts to root out a one-time innocent custom dear to them through generations, to prove their allegiance to a law more honored in the breach than in the observance over all America. Then we fell asleep to the pleasant drone of ‘The Sweet By and By.’


The following morning we left John to guard camp, and carried the wheel of Sisyphus to the village for repairs. Before the combined blacksmith’s shop and garage stood a young but dissipated-looking automobile surrounded by a small group of men. Peter took the wheel inside to the blacksmith, and I listened to the animated conversation of the men about the car.

‘How you stand on the cow, Ramsey?’ asked an old mountaineer. ‘I’m whole hawg or nothin’ fur the man. Hain’t no use bein’ a plumb fool effen a man is a Christian.’

Ramsey answered: ‘Hit’s a case o’ a man perviden fur his own family, which the Bible says a man orter do first! ’

‘Wal,’ said the first speaker, ‘hit air a curious thing that the onliest folks that object ter the cow deal is the Holy Rollers and one infi-del. Never knowed ’em to agree afore!’

‘Hit’s my opinion,’ said another, ‘thet Brother Martin hes bit off more’n he kin chaw this time — in regards to cows. Hit air outen his line! A preacher better let business alone, and stan’ squar’ on preachin’ thet Jesus Christ’s the Son o’ God!’

‘Shucks!’ said the first speaker. ’Iverbody in the world knows Jesus Christ’s the Son o’ God. Thar hain’t no use re-peatin’ hit all the time. Brother Martin is aimin’ at makin’ practical Christians.’

‘All I kin say, he’s stirred up Avoly and this settlemint. An’ whichiver way he decides hit Sunday mornin’ thar’s goin’ ter be argumints and hard feelin’s. I believe in stickin’ ter the Gospel. A feller kin work out his own practical experience.’

I was tremendously interested, and felt it was unfortunate that Peter should appear from the shop just then and we should have to hurry on to the store for beeswax and linseed oil to paint our tent while the sun shone.

Two women leaned over a gate talking together. ‘I wusht to the Lord that cow’d niver been borned!’ cried one. ‘Pappy don’t talk o’ nothin’ else, and hain’t hauled up a stick o’ timber sence last Sunday. I ben pickin’ splinter offen the back fence fur firewood fur cookin’ iver sence that-air pesky cow-trouble was turned loose on us!’

Farther on an old man, evidently deaf, put his hand to his ear and called to a young fellow working in his garden, ‘How ye standin’ on the cow, Jim?’

‘’Pears lak hit seems thet I jist cain’t make up my mind noways!' yelled the young man, frowning, and stopping to lean on his hoe. ‘But I got twell ter-morrow mornin’. Maybe I’ll get enlightenmint afore mornin’.’

‘Peter,’ said I, ‘have we by any chance wandered into India? Why, a sacred cow is the one topic of conversation here! Try to find out what it’s all about.’

There were two stores, but we selected the one that held the post office. For we had learned that here, beside the ubiquitous checkerboard behind the stove, usually sat the wisdom club of the village. Peter bought his material for painting the tent, and then selected himself an empty nail keg with the group behind the stove. Women are debarred from the wisdom club. The two vital questions discussed are sex and religion. And a mountain man considers a woman sufficiently endowed by nature and by God with both. Hers not to reason why, hers but to do and die.

So I waited in the front of the store, and bought a dozen eggs from a tall, sad woman, who took off her blue sunbonnet and fanned herself wearily.

‘Have you walked far?’ I asked.

‘Not ter say fur,’ she replied in her thin, monotonous voice. ‘A leetle better’n two mile. But I hain’t no ’count. I jist got over the flus, an’ I got a enlarged melt. Hit runs up and down in my side. Jist putt yore hand thar and feel hit.’

I hastily asked her if she had consulted a physician.

‘Yeah. I thought hit war a chillcake in my side, but I wint ter thet doc over in Springdale — thet fat doc — I disremember his name. He ’lowed hit war high blood pressure a-movin’ hit up and down thetaway. But I hain’t murch use fur thim newfangled docs. Jist afore I kim down ’ith the flus, I stayed ’ith Arreny Reed, — she thet wuz Arreny Wear, ye know, — an’ whin the baby kim thet fat doc frum Springdale wuz thar. She had the peartest leetle boy ye iver see. But thet doc said thar war another; an’ hit could n’t be borned nohow. Arreny kep’ beggin’ fur her snuff, an’ thet fool doc would n’t let me give hit to her. I slipped out ait’ got a fresh althy stick, but he cotched me afore I could dip hit inter the snuff can and slip hit to Arreny. Finally the doc sets down by the haid o’ the baid an’ says, pow’ful solemn, “Wal, Mis’ Reed, I done all I kin. We’ll hafter sind ter Springdale fur instermints. I’ll give you some easin’ medicine now.”

‘Arreny hollers, “You gimme my snuff! I don’t want none o’ yer easin’ medicine! Gimme my snuff!” ’Fore the doc kin say inything, I grabs the snuff can an’ hands hit to Arreny. Her hand is trimblin’, an’ afore she gits hit under her lip hit scatters on the quilt; an’ Arreny begins ter sneeze, an’ tother wuz borned to oncet! Peartest leetle gal ye iver see! Thim docs don’t; know murch nowadays.’

I tried, hopelessly, to give the woman some idea of diet. But well I knew that all the good green food from her garden must be cooked with pork ‘afore hit’s fitten fur humans.’ Even lettuce is never eaten without ‘bein’ wilted ’ith ham grease.’ But I bought the three shriveled oranges displayed in the show case. The woman accepted them reluctantly and gave me no thanks, but her eyes shone.


Peter appeared, and as we set out I asked if he had learned anything regarding the sacred cow of the village.

‘The city preacher from Springdale,’ he said, ‘put a question to Avola at the church last Sunday. He is to speak on the quest ion to-morrow morning. We’ll go to church. He asked them to think on the question, but I suppose he did n’t know they would think of nothing else. A man had a cow to sell which he had priced at forty dollars. Some mountain cow, I’d say! A stranger moves in who belongs to the same church as the man with the cow, and wishes to buy it. The owner, who knows that the stranger comes from afar, — a better country, where cows are cows, — sells him the cow for fifty dollars. Was the man justified in raising the price on his Christian brother? The village is divided against itself, and as the preacher is running for the legislature his friends are uneasy, for whichever way he decides it’s bound to lose him some votes. I’m wondering just how that preacher will sidestep.’

At camp we hurriedly prepared to paint the tent. As I dipped my brush in the hot mixture, I looked up and whispered, ‘A visitor.’

Slowly down the hill walked a very tall, deep-chested man, who carried a shotgun.

‘I seen you-all at Perry’s store,’ he said, seating himself under a pine, ‘an’ I jist ’lowed I’d stanter over an’ see how you-all wuz comin’ on.’

We explained that it was necessary to go on with our work, and apologized. He turned great gentle blue eyes upon me and said in a voice of velvet: ‘I’m the constable o’ Avoly. I seed Billy Godbehere a-sneakin’ th’ough thet fenced-in field across the road frum you-all’s tint. The deppity sheriff’s got Billy’s cow shet in thar. Hit hain’t rightly none o’ my business, but the sheriff’s a-lookin’ fur Billy Godbehere, an’ hit would n’t surprise me none effen thar wuz a leetle mite o’ a ruckus. Joe don’t reely aim ter shoot Billy, I reckon. Hit’s likely, though, he’ll shoot eround ’nuff ter putt the fear o’ God in Billy.’

‘What,’ said Peter, rolling Billy Godbehere’s name delightedly under his tongue, ‘ has Billy Godbehere done? ’

‘He air lettin’ the boys hev liquor. I tole Billy ter stop hit whin we-all begin cleanin’ up the county. He don’t ’pear ter take hit serious a-tall. Thet’s Billy a-runnin’ th’ough the field now,’ he drawled. ‘An’ hyar kims Joe after him lickety-split! I reckon you-all better pick out a tree ter git behint.’

He selected his own tree with surprising agility for so large a man, and we choseadjacent trees. Peering around my tree, I saw across the lane in the fenced field a tall man running zigzag from one persimmon clump to another, while a short, square-set man pursued him, waving a gun and yelling, ‘Hold up, Billy! I aim ter shoot!’ But the tall man ran on, dodging and doubling, and evidently trying to reach the fence.

Suddenly a bullet whined through the boughs above us. The constable turned edgeways to his tree and stood as still and as erect as an Indian. Another bullet sang high above us, and the spectacle was lost to me until I heard a great shouting and a motor rattled down the lane from the direction of the town. It stopped for a second; the tall man, with a mighty leap, cleared the fence and fell into the car, which vanished down the road. That car, even in its own class, was no doubt socially extinct, but it cleared the river in one jump and tore up the hill on the other side with amazing speed.

The short man climbed the fence, slowly crossed the lane, and sank at the foot of the constable’s tree. Wiping the sweat from his face with his sleeve, he gasped,‘Now wuz n’t thet a sight on airth how Billy Godbehere got erway!

I see Lee Ramsey’s new car settin’ afore the shop, an’ I knowed the Ramseys and Godbeheres is kin. But Lee ’lowed the car wuz plumb busted. Said he’d hafter haul hit inter Springdale fur a new amature, an’ somep’n inside needed a assanine torch. I might a knowed Lee lied! Say, Link, why n’t ye kim over ’n’ holp? ’Stid er settin’ hyar on yer hunkies watchin’ Billy git erway!’

‘Wal,’ drawled the constable in his gentle voice, ‘fust place, I wuz n’t settin’ on no hunkies whilst you wuz a-shootin’ plumb at these strangers — an’ one a womern, too. I hain’t no deppity sheriff. I’m a constable, pyore and simple. I got troubles enough ’ith my court. I don’t ricollict o’ hyarin’ o’ yore holpin’ me none in the argumints round Piney Hill Church when I wuz follerin’ up my sorter mixed-up settlin’ o’ law an’ Christianity at one lick.’

‘I ’low thet wuz different,’ said the sheriff. ‘Hit wuz thet mixed up hit’d take a lawyer an’ a preacher ter settle hit.’

‘I jist puzzled th’ough hit rightly, effen hit did start some argumint. I’ll leave hit ter this stranger. Hit war thisaway.’

The little sheriff bit off a comforting chew of tobacco, and Peter rolled a cigarette.

‘Jeff Ross, he driv up ter ther meetin’ at Piney Hill Church one night frum sellin’ a wagonload o’ watermelons an’ mushmelons at Springdale, an’ he lit right out fur the mourners’ bench an’ claimed he got religion right off. He smelt strong o’ liquor and pranced round onseemly, an’ the young folks on the back seat sniggered. Next mornin’ I up an’ fined him five dollars — as a constable, o’ course. But whin Jeff Ross he kim ter church thet night an’ claimed he kim th’ough an’ wuz saved the night afore, I remitted his fine — as a Christian, o’ course. Hit ain’t fur me ter say thet Jeff did n’t git shed o’ his sins thet night whin he wuz tight. I don’t noways aim ter shorten ther Sperrit’s powr, but I ’lows GawddlemightyHisself might find hit handier ter convart a skunk lak Jeff Ross whin he’s sorter softened up an’ out er hisself. An’ I’m hyar to say a man hed better git. religion whin he kin — drunk er sober. Thar’s a heap o’ argumints ’bout how I handled thet case round erbout ther settlemint, but I claim I done right twicet! ’

‘My opinion,’ said Peter judicially,‘ is that you showed a great deal of wisdom, and a cold, correct nerve. You done right twicet.’

‘Ter-morrow is Sunday,’ said the constable softly, ‘an’ thar’s a big baptizin’ in the river back o’ my place. You-all kin go home ’ith me after meetin’ an’ go to the baptizin’ an’ stay all night. Hain’t no preachin’ Sunday night. I’ll kim in ther big wagon an’ haul you-all’s little contraption erlong. Your womern ’pears to like dogs. I want you-all ter see my houn’s. I ben offered more’n seventyfive dollars fur ole Tod.’

I exchanged a glance with Peter and accepted the invitation. It was on our road to Springdale, and I liked the constable, and I wanted to see Tod.


The next morning we tied John to the Wheel of Sisyphus and left the cart near an open window of the crowded church. Peter sat with the men at the right, and I with the meek sisters at the left. The portly preacher from Springdale looked over the faces in his congregation with shrewd, kindly eyes. He read for the morning lesson the seventh chapter of Saint Matthew, and took his text from the first verse: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ The sermon was simple, tolerant, and even fervent. And his impressive voice ended solemnly: ‘With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’

Then suddenly he stepped down from the little platform and with a friendly smile addressed us. ‘Here speaks the politician, not the preacher,’ I thought.

But the frozen Sabbath faces in the congregation never changed by the flicker of an eyelash, though each man knew the question of the day was now before the house. Only Peter smiled delightedly at the masterly manner in which the candidate for the legislature sidestepped.

For we must first of all learn charity. Who can read the heart of a man who has a cow to sell? God alone can do that. The question he had propounded each man must answer for himself according to the dictates of his own conscience, but bearing in mind his own limitations and the necessity for charity. Beware of judgment. The day the man offered the cow for forty dollars he may have been in financial distress, and, hoping for a quick sale, put too low a price on the cow. He may the next day have been offered more for cream and butter, thus enhancing the cow’s value. His children may have been so attached to this particular cow that they must be pacified by an extra ten dollars. His wife may have held an interest in the cow which the man had forgotten the day before.

Who are we to judge a man selling a cow? Is a merchant unjust that his prices fluctuate with the market? The price of cows may have risen overnight.

Solemnly and impressively he closed with the warning words: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’

We all sang ‘Scatter Seeds of Kindness,’ and arose to receive the benediction. (Peter afterward declared that the appropriate song would have been the one we heard at a Sunday-school concert in another county: ‘You Can’t Make a Monkey Out of Me.’)

Outside there were loud expressions of admiration. Their preacher had ‘got by’! For the mountaineer, condemned by lack of practice and of opportunity to the harmlessness of the dove, accords generous, if wistful, homage to the man with the wisdom of the serpent.

The little sheriff met us at the door and cried, ‘I reckon you-all niver seen a slicker talker ’n Brother Martin nowhar a-tall! He knowed he’d bit off more’n he could chaw, an’ he jist switched the Bible onter us. He’ll git ivery vote in this-hyar settlement!’

We lifted Sis into the big wagon with the four delighted children. The constable called in his caressing voice to the sleek mules, ‘Git erlong, now!’ and we jolted away down the hot sandy road with John trotting proudly beside us.