The screams had arisen from fright. The invaders
had piled brush about the cabin, and threatened to
burn it down while they guarded the door with their
rifles unless Pete could be produced. The dead
preacher still lay across the threshold.
Marshall stirred among the men, and sought out
Patterson, but finding he had been drinking, realized
the futility of argument and his own helplessness,
and once more hurried along the trail to regain
Portia's side. As he neared the flat rock he saw
lights twinkling among the shadows. She had been
missed by the party, and Craig had returned for
them with a lantern. John, hurrying on, stumbled
over something across the path. It was Josephus,
lying faint from loss of blood. Marshall ran on for
the light, and with Craig's assistance they roused
him. Then, while Portia held the lantern, they
stanched the bleeding and bound the wound, using
all their handkerchiefs and tearing his shirt sleeve
in strips to bind them. The ball had passed through
the fleshy part of his arm, and glancing had lodged
in his breast.
*' I wish I had a drop of old Toplins' stuff now,"
said Craig. " Got any whiskey, Joe ? "
The Drive Home 183
" Naw, sah," he said weakly.
*â¢ We can never get him to the wagon in this
state," said John.
" Here," said Portia, diving her hand into her
pocket and drawing out a dehcate Httle fih'gree
smelUng bottle. " Will this be of any service? "
'* Just the thing. Here, Joe, take a sniff. That 's
a man. Can you stand? " said Craig.
" I reckon, sah."
" Then we '11 hurry," said Marshall. *' They may
be after him if we don't make haste." Josephus
straightened himself with a quick start, and they
" That last remark seems to be of more service
than your smelling bottle," said Craig. They walked
slowly and silently. Reaching the anxious, waiting
crowd at last, they were greeted with excited excla-
mations and questions.
'' What was the trouble ? " " What were those
men after?" ** Why didn't you come along with
us? " " We have had such a fright about you ! "
" Portia," said Mrs. Percy, " where on earth were
you? We supposed you were on ahead, â you were
the first to leave the cabin. Your grandfather has
'* Why, I was all right," said Portia, turning to
her grandfather, and anxious to avoid questions.
" Mr. Marshall was with me. But now what shall
we do with this poor fellow ? "
" Alexander might take him home in the car-
riage," replied her grandfather. " If the ladies
could â "
** We can ride in the wagon ; of course we can/'
I 84 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" You would better be a little careful what you
do, or rather how you do it," said Mr. Clark. " You
don't want the whole community down on you."
" Here," said Mr. Percy, " I can arrange that.
You who live here, get yourselves home. You need
know nothing about it. Loan Mr. Betts and me the
carriage, and Alexander, and the rest of you pile in
the wagon and drive on."
'' Mr. Percy is right," said Mr. Betts. " I will go
with him gladly." The rest of the party hastily
seated themselves in the wagon without ceremony,
where room was easily found for one more.
" Mr. Russell, we brought your rug," said Portia.
" Was that what you were beckoning for at the
gate ? "
" No, Miss Van Ostade, it was for you â I â we â
that is â I wanted you to ride with us, but somehow
we seemed to get started without you. Please keep
the rug â and â "
" Oh, we don't need it, thank you," said Portia,
and hastened to take her place in the buckboard,
lest she be urged to go with the rest. They started,
and she drew a long sigh of relief. Looking back
in the darkness, she dimly saw Josephus being
helped into the carriage.
" Poor fellow ! How old Clarissa will feel ! " she
" She '11 take on terribly, but she may be thank-
ful it was no worse. A little more and that ball
would have reached his heart." Portia shuddered.
â¢' It was kind of you, and courageous too, to ride
back with me." He wished to change the subject,
and spoke the thought uppermost in his mind.
The Drive Home 185
*' Why so? Oh, because you thought me afraid
when we drove along here? I was only indulging
my imagination then, but â I do believe I saw
those men prowling along in the underbrush."
" I have no doubt you did ; and very few women
would be as brave." He looked in her face. He
thought she would not know the look his eyes had
for her in the darkness, but she vaguely felt it.
She drooped her head. " I am not courageous,
only cowardly. I should have had to answer all
their questions, you know, so I avoided them.
Curiosity seems to me sometimes horrible," she
'* Of course they will want to know why we stayed
and what happened when we get home, but I will tell
them all, and you must go directly to your room."
A little wave of grateful feeling swept through
her heart. Ah, he was making a place for himself
there, surely, surely, with the delicate tact which
comes by nature to some men, and which others
stumble through a whole lifetime without.
" I wish I knew â " she began and stopped.
"What do you wish you knew? "
** I do and I don't. I am cowardly. I wish I
knew what is happening, yet I would not dare,"
she covered her eyes with her hands as if to keep
out the sight. " It was awful to see them shoot men
down. And that good old preacher, so earnest !
He looked like a spirit with those gleaming eyes,
I and his white head, preaching there in the dim
" Don't think of it any more. He died at his
post, like a soldier on the field of battle." She still
I 86 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
kept her hands over her face. '* Think of something
else," he said gently. " Are you aware what a
perfect night this is?"
** Yes, yes, I am. When the world all around
them is so beautiful, how can people be so wicked !
It is sentimental bosh that the beauty of nature
has a softening effect."
" All souls are not awakened, you know," he was
glad to lead her thoughts away through the channel
of argument. *' They are not sensitive to beauty."
" But Mr, Patterson seems sensitive, â how anxious
he was that I should not suffer, even when he was
so cruel to them." She shivered.
** Where is your shawl? "
" Here in my lap. I do not need it."
" You must let me put it around you nevertheless.
Don't you know that people take cold more easily
after excitement ? " He placed it comfortably over
her shoulders, but his hand shook a little as he
gathered it together under her sweet chin. '* There !
Now I shall feel more comfortable even if you
don't," he said with a laugh. And well he might,
had he known how surely, unknown even to herself,
he was folding himself in with that fleecy white wrap.
*' Thank you. I wish we were at home. I wish
we had never come out this evening. It seems a
sacrilegious thing to look back at now."
He would try argument again. '' I begin to think
you misunderstand yourself," he said. ** Where
was all that feeling of aversion when you were pity-
ing them? Own up. Did n't you forget they were
all negroes, and feel just the same as if they were
The Drive Home 187
** Oh, no, no ! I did n't, I did n't. I caught my-
self feeling thankful that they were not white people.
Oh, why do you make me own up? I did n't. Oh, the
shame of it ! I prayed to be forgiven, there while
I waited for you to come back, and the next
moment I caught myself feeling the same again ;
and in the cabin, I felt as if I could not stay crowded
in with them. I presume if I am ever good enough
to go to heaven I shall find them there, and they
will forgive me."
John laughed a contagious, irresistible laugh.
The great rocks hemming them in on either side
took it up in merry echoes. The stream they were
fording seemed to repeat the sounds ; and the
wagon rattled on before.
Portia looked at him gravely. " Why do you
laugh? " she said.
" Forgive me," he replied. " Won't you laugh
a little? Is it so serious a matter that you feel
yourself different, set apart from these people? I
can't imagine your feeling any other way."
" Perhaps I could n't, but my white skin is no
credit to me. I might have been one of them."
" But since you were given a white skin, you .^'
cannot be blamed for having white tastes."
She was silent. He wished she would talk again,
and flicked at the gray horse impatiently, making
him take a livelier pace. What could he say t
Would she ever talk with him again with the hght-
heartedness and laughter that she did a couple of
hours ago? The moon, riding high in its course,
hung over the hills, a glowing, molten ball, and
threw its rays in Portia's face, giving her spirituelle
1 8 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
countenance a white, evanescent look, as if she
were intangible, and would presently fade from his
side, and become part of the quivering light. He
felt a frantic desire to lay hands on her and detain
her by force. The tenderness so lately come into
his heart kept his tongue tied, lest he betray him-
self and say that which would only keep her from
him. He framed one thought after another in set
words, but they died on his lips unuttered. He,
the quick-witted, the ready-tongued, was silent.
This travelled, educated, well-poised, light-hearted
winner of friends was floundering in a chaos of
unuttered, unutterable thoughts and feelings, be-
cause the little god of love had followed him into
these wilds and shot an arrow into his heart and
then laid his finger on his lips. Ah, well ! Let
him triumph over our hero. Have not all the
greatest heroes of the world bowed before him â
done him homage? Nay, more. Has he not even
created heroes out of common souls, this masterful
Soon they were within hearing distance of the
voices from the wagon. Then Portia roused her-
self as from a dream in which his presence had
" Why, we must be nearly home."
"I think so," he replied, checking the swinging
pace into which his impatience had urged the little
gray, with a quick movement of regret.
Portia sighed. "What can I do, what shall I
do, to rid myself of the remembrance of this even-
" Don't think of it ; don't. Why should you ?"
The Drive Home 189
" Because it is there, and will stay by me as
another awful scene has. Only that was simply
awful, â this was wicked."
John made no reply, and she looked away at the
great ball of fire rolling over the mountain's crest.
" Look at the moon. I never saw it so wonderful.
Now these dead pines are making black marks over
its face. It is like this evening, â beautiful, and
*' Not forever," he said with a smile. ".We shall
soon pass the pines, and then â "
** I know what you mean, â but now, â at this
very minute, â we cannot know what they may be
doing back there."
** It would do no good if we did. They have the
law in their own hands just now, and there is a
measure of justice in it, on the whole. They wished
to retake that nigger that has been murdering and
thieving about the country. They can't allow him
to run at large, and some of them had been conceal-
Portia suddenly bowed her head, and covered her
face. *' Mr. Marshall," she said, in an awe-struck
voice, " I am to blame for this evening's awful work.
I am to blame."
" What an unheard of idea ! Your brave interces-
sion saved matters from being worse; you can have
that for your satisfaction."
" I can't. Wait till you understand. I must tell
you. You will blame me, but you will help me â
tell me what to do?" She told him rapidly of her
fright and of her yielding to the entreaties of Jose-
phus next morning to say nothing. ** Now you see
1 90 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
how I am to blame. If I had not yielded â if he
had been taken â this would not have happened.
We are weak and foolish, we women. In trying
to be charitable, we overstep the mark. In my
misplaced pity, I have done this terrible thing,"
John was silent, and Portia's heart thumped ir-
regularly during the pause. She grew cold with
anxiety and drew her shawl closer about her. Her
mouth became dry. She opened her lips to speak,
but said nothing. He leaned over and tucked the
robes gently about her.
" You are cold," he said.
" Oh, Mr. Marshall, help me. Blame me if you
will, you can't help it â but â "
" No, Miss Van Ostade, I do not blame you. You
acted nobly, doing the best you knew. It is a com-
fort sometimes to think we are not such important
factors in the affairs of this world as we think we
are. If you had stayed in the North, do you think
this thing would not have happened? It was bound
"Would I not better have spoken, though?" she
asked, slightly comforted.
" We can't tell ; Josephus may have been right.
He 's a good sensible fellow for a nigger. There
is something behind all this," he added hurriedly as
they were nearing the house. *' I shall question
Patterson and learn what I can ; in the mean time,
say nothing about your adventure, I beg of you.
It won't do to have that get about. If I ma}^ I will
drop in to-morrow with any news I have been able
to pick up."
The Drive Home 191
" Oh, will you ? I won't worry grandfather, or
mamma, but I had to tell some one my anxiety, â
it was too dreadful to keep."
" Won't you dismiss it now, at least until you hear
from me again? "
" I will try, â â¢ and â and thank you." She gave
him her hand gratefully and then hurried up the
stairs with her guests. The small darky drove the
gray home, and John stood talking affairs over with
Hanford Clark a few moments, and then walked
slowly back to Miss Katherine's.
"WHY N'T YO' SHOOT TURRER MULE?'^
THE morning dawned dull and drizzly. The
sun looked out on the world with one bril-
liant smile and then crept behind the heavy clouds
that hung over the mountains, as if the sight of the
grewsome thing dangling, hacked and bruised, from
the great gum-tree beside the cabin in the gorge,
had caused him to hide his head in very shame.
The linnets and finches fluttered restlessly from
tree to tree, round and round the old gum as if
they constituted an investigating committee ; while
the rain fell softly on the earth, pattering over green
leaves, and dripping alike from the soiled rags of
Pete Gunn and the laurel blossoms in the thicket;
washing the blood stains from the threshold of the
log church, and bathing the face of the old preacher
who had fallen there when he went where he might
watch the '' gates lift up their heads to let the King
of glory through."
It was election day. All was peaceful in the little
village. The white voters congregated at the polls
in Budd's saloon, and about the post-office and
depot. There was much quiet discussion and con-
siderable drinking. Hanford Clark was pumped
cunningly about the views taken at the new board-
ing-house concerning the raid on the cabin, but he
evaded the talk, and questioned in turn as to the
"Why n't yo' Shoot Turrer Mule?" 193
probable cause of Monk's prolonged absence at
** What does he mean by staying away?" he
asked. He sat with his back to the group of
loungers, and his hand on the button of the tele-
graph machine on his desk, while it ticked monoto-
" Skeered, I reckon," said Patterson, with a half-
smile. His eyes gleamed with a peculiar light as
they rested on Hanford's face.
" Yas, he's skeered fas' enough," said another;
** them smooth, cheeky kind is mighty big cowards."
"Afraid? I guess not. What's he afraid of?"
The last speaker thrust his tongue in his cheek,
and Patterson turned away.
" Hello ! Wait a minute. Here 's a message for
him. Don't any of you know where he is?" A
languid interest awoke in the crowd, and the machine
ticked on. " He 's wanted down in Broadgate."
" I reckon they du, 'long 'bout this time," said
" Let *em want 'im,""3trw:^*em ; I ain't hunt'n' can-
didates fer 'em."
" Ef they can't hang on tu their durned, slippery
candidates, let 'em hunt 'em up themselves."
They dispersed, and Hanford was left to his own
meditations. He decided, unless pressed to do so
by some hostility, not to bring up the subject again.
Judson Chaplain was elected to the office Monk
had hoped to win, quite to the satisfaction of the
No negroes attempted to go to the polls. Jose-
phus lay groaning in his cabin loft, while a few of
1 94 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
their bravest gathered quietly at the scene of the
last night's trial by lynch law, and cared for their
dead unmolested. The body of the old preacher
was committed to the keeping of the hillside where
they had laid their beloved teacher, Miss Mann, and
Pete Gunn was buried in the gorge. The coroner's
jury " sat on them," and found the cause of the
death of one to be hanging, and of the other acci-
dental shooting, and there was an end of the mat-
ter, so said the voters ; possibly the old preacher
knew better, âwho can tell?
During the morning John visited his old nurse.
She came hobbling to the door to meet him. " I
knowed yo' 'd come, honey, â we 's in a heap o'
He heard Josephus groaning overhead, and his
heart filled with pity for the old woman who had
carried him in her arms and nursed him. She sat
down by the hearth and gazed into the embers (as
if she saw into another time and place), with an
expression of hopeless sorrow on her face.
" Don't take on, mammy. Joe shall be taken
care of. Is he badly hurt?"
*' I do' know, honey. He nuvva say nufifin', â jes'
clum up yandah in de night 'daout wakin' me, an'
dar he a-lyin'. Oh, Lawd ! I kyan' git up dar fo'
tu he'p 'im. I done holla up is he hu'ted, an' he
tol' me. Oh, honey, de Lawd done po'in' aout de
vials o' he's wrath on yo' ol' mammy."
*' No, mammy, no," said John, comfortingly ; " the
Lord is n't angry with you. That is n't the trouble."
He climbed the ladder to Joe's loft and found
the poor fellow delirious from thirst and exhausted
" Why n't yo' Shoot Turrer Mule ? " 195
from loss of blood. He brought him water and
food, and as he moved over the creaking boards
he could hear Clarissa's voice in a low monotone
praying the Lord to ** punish he's ol' mudder
an' leab de boy 'lone." " She 's crazy with her
trouble," he thought. " What earthly thing does
she think she is being punished for?" She stood
at the foot of the ladder as he came down and laid
a trembling hand on his arm.
" I 'clar' yo' dat like yo' paw, I kyan' look on
yo* face 'daout my hea't go jump like hit baoun'
tu cry aout. Oh, honey, honey, don't come heah
no mo'. Ef yo' come heah, dey '11 hu't yo' some
way mo' 'n likely. Dar 's de curse o' de Lawd on
yo' ol' mammy, honey ; yo' kyan' he'p none. Dar 's
Joe been talkin' he's fool talk wid de niggahs 'baouts
de votin'. Dat ar hu-come dey kill de mule, an'
now dey like tu kill Joe tu. Go yo' way, honey.
Leab yo' ol' mammy b'ar de trouble like she done
b'ar heap o' trouble yo' do' know nuffin' 'baout.
I kyan' hab no ha'm fall on yo' haid."
'* You stop fretting, mammy. I 'm all right. I '11
send a boy to look after Joe, and a doctor to fix
him up again, and he'll be as good as new."
"No doctah won' come heah, mine yo' dat. Yo'
sen' de boy, an' I '11 sen' up de maount'n fo' Jake
Hat'away. He knows a heap 'baouts yarbs 'nd
doctorin'. Dey '11 trick yo' some way ef dey larns
yo' been heah."
*' No, they won't, mammy. Joe's too badly hurt
to be fooled with. Don't you let any herb doctor
come near him. I '11 send a good man from Ashe-
ville, a Northern man, to doctor Joe, and you must
I 96 When the Gates Lilt Up their Heads
do everything he tells you to. Don't let any one
meddle with him. Hear?"
Later in the day Portia came to see her. Not
daring to take her usual walk, she had Alexander
drive, and Mrs. Percy and the children accom-
panied her. Arrived at the stream with the tree
for a foot bridge, Alexander suggested that the
children go hunt for " posies." " Dis heah 's mighty
fine place fo' posies," he said. " Ef anybody come
erlong dis-a-way, I gwine tell 'em de bo'din'-haouse
folkses hunt'n' posies."
It had not occurred to Portia that there was any
reason why she should not look after Josephus in
common humanity. Now she realized that the old
coachman was wishing to save her from criticism
by not allowing the boarding-house equipage to
be seen standing near the cabin, so she took the
delicacies she had brought and walked on alone.
It was too wet for posy hunting, and they all sat
in the carriage until her return.
Portia found the old woman crouching over the
coals and talking to herself, while Josephus moaned
'' Why, Clarissa ! You must have some one here
who can go up and look after him," said Portia.
" Yas, Miss Po'tia; young Mars'r John say he
gwine sen' a boy tek keer on 'im."
'' And a doctor, â is n't there any doctor you can
" I do' know, Miss Po'tia, Mars'r John say he
gwine sen' doctor fom Asheville."
" How good of him ! " said Portia, gratefully. It
was as if he had done her an especial favor by
*' Why n't yo' Shoot Turrer Mule ? " 197
coming up to her ideal of him instead of falHng
below it. " Of course he would look after her,
poor old creature," she said to herself as she hur-
ried back to the carriage in the dampness.
During the afternoon two white men came to the
cabin and inquired for Josephus. One of them
pulled a pair of handcuffs from his pocket as
Clarissa pointed up the ladder without speaking,
in answer to their questions. They climbed up
and found the wounded man lying in a half-stupor,
moaning and talking incoherently.
'* Why n't yo' tek 'im 'long? " said the old woman,
bitterly, as they mounted their horses to ride away
without him. ** Likely yo' has use fo' 'im. He 's
good tu hang yit, ef he is half daid."
" He '11 die fo' mo'nin'. We hev no use fo' a
dead niggah," said one.
" Yas, we hev mo' use fo' a dead niggah 'n we
hev fo' a live one," said the other.
" Yo' has heap o' use fo' a daid niggah dese
days. I done seed de time yo' willin' tu gib a
heap fo* a right smaht live niggah like Joe war,"
she continued to call after them. " I done seed
de time yo 'd hunt fo' 'em like dey been made o'
cl'ar gol', ef dey git fo' tu run away. Live niggah
wuth a heap dem days. Why n't yo' shoot turrer
mule? Hit a right smaht mule fo' shootin'."
She went muttering back into the cabin, and
replenishing the fire sat down before it as was her
wont, gazing into the burning fragments as if she
read there the history of her race.
" Hit sarved Joe like he 'd ought tu be sarved
fo' hid'n* a murderin', thievin' niggah," said one
of the men.
198 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
** They '11 know whar they b'long after this, I
reckon. A little skeer won't du 'em any harm/*
was the reply.
*'Goin' round by th' mill?"
** Wal, yes. I reckon I will."
'' I 'm thinkin' I '11 go thet road tu." They turned
their horses' heads in the direction of Throop's mill
and rode out of sight.
During that day the cowed negroes scarcely
stirred out of their cabins, but after the darkness
had fairly covered the hills Gabriella Gunn left her
home, and taking a crosscut over a steep rise and
through a cotton patch, and a bit of pine woods,
reached the small clearing belonging to Josephus
and his mother.
*' I 'lowed yo' 'd drap in," said Clarissa, as her
visitor took a roll of butter and four new-laid eggs
out of a cloth in which she had tied them. The
doctor had come and gone, leaving Josephus more
comfortable, and bringing the boy with him John
had promised to send.
Long into the night the two women sat by the
fire and talked. " I tol' Joe quit talkin' 'bouts de
votin' ; I tol' 'im leab dat ar tu de white folkses.
Niggahs ain' no use fo' a votin' papah, nohow."
They talked in low tones while Gabriella told of
the raid in all its details, over and over, while her
companion questioned and smoked.
" I 's seed a heap o' ha'd times," said the old
woman at last; ''but ef Joe dies, hit '11 be de wust
"OL' MISSUS' RETURN"
AFFAIRS in Patterson soon settled to their
even tenor. Considerable stir was made in
Broadgate over Monk's mysterious disappearance,
until it was accepted that he had taken himself off
for reasons of his own, when his room was broken
open and his effects sent to relatives in the North,
none of whom seemed to care enough for him to
inquire into the matter. His apartments were re-