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more recently by Professor Guyot of Boston, 1 bloodless. The last and most famous of these
nothing to the renown of the brave and patriotic The fame of these mighty peaks had reached men who were unfortunately engaged in it, we the ears of our artist, and so fired his imagina- prefer to pass them over in silence. For while tion that they had become the frequent theme the sterner duties of the historian may require of his sleeping and waking dreams. Now so that he should note impartially the evil and the near the realization of these romantic fancies, good that men have done in their day and genno wonder that he rode apart, silent and seri- eration, we, in our idle and pleasant wanderous, with fascinated eyes fixed upon the land- ings, choose rather to remember the old Governscape before him.
or only as the hero and patriot, and in our recBut at length the Tennesseean draws his rein ollections of the spot, to associate the pleasant before the gate of a modest-looking country resi- cottage on Sinking Creek with its present acdence, pleasantly situated almost under the complished and hospitable occupant. shadow of one of the advanced spurs of the It rained heavily during the night, but the Iron Mountains. Here we are on classic ground. morning rose blustering and bright; our adSoon after the war of our Independence, young venturers were upon the road betimes, and ereTennessee, with characteristic impatience of long found themselves amidst the ragged defiles parental authority, undertook to flout her re- of the mountains, with a keen wind blowing in spectable mother, and set up for herself before their faces. But in return, the dreary, leafless she was of age under the name of Franklin or landscape of the lower country had disappeared, Frankland. In those days the people of the and their road followed the course of a dashing, settlements did not understand the art of revo- sparkling, amber-tinted stream, shaded by forlutionizing by ballot, or blackguarding a dynasty ests of perennial beauty. There were waving out of power through the newspapers, but, hav- groves of the silver pine mingled with lofty firs ing recently delivered themselves from a kingly and hemlocks. There was the varnished holly, yoke by force of arms, were more ready to re- gemmed with its scarlet berries, and the snaky sort to the "ultima ratio regum," and had faith laurel, whose dense evergreen masses oftenin bullets and cold steel. Thus it was that times obstructed the road—a wilderness of rich the frequent collisions between the authority of and graceful foliage, defying the icy breath of the old and new governments were not always winter. About noon they halted upon the sum
mit of the Iron Ridge, just on the dividing line between the States. Here they got the first and most imposing view of the Roane, which stands like a mighty sentinel guarding the entrance to a land of giants. Dark-browed and frowning he lifts his head into the calm, blue heaven, inspiring mingled joy and terror. It is a scene to make its mark indelibly upon the memory.
From thence our travelers descended by a winding and romantic road into North Carolina. From the eastern foot of the Iron Ridge their road led them over hill and dale, through field and forest, around the base of the great mountain ; but still over the ever-varying landscape the 6 awful form” of the Roane predominated, and it was from his lonely and mysterious heights they saw the last golden rays of the sun fade out.
“Good-evening, neighbor! How far to Grey | within the next mile encountered a party of three Briggs's?”
jolly fellows, who had evidently had a recent “Well, four or five miles, p'raps -- and are bout with John Barleycorn or some of his kinyou the men that have lost a horse ?"
dred. These gentlemen rushed upon our trav“No! thank Fortune, we've only lost a little elers, whooping and yelling like a troop of Catime."
manches, and when within grappling distance, “Well, now, if I might be so bold, where each singling his man, they simultaneously promight you gentlemen be from?"
posed a horse trade. With equal abruptness “From Jonesborough, friend, and we're go- and unanimity the travelers requested them to ing to see the Mountains.”
go to a very warm place, and kept on their way “From Jonesborough, I wonder! Well, is without drawing rein. The soberest of the trio there any thing encouraging down your way?" balanced himself upon his pony and shouted aft
“Nothing particular, except that they have er them that he had no doubt they were horsediscovered a brass mine down in Buncombe thieves, but the country was up, and they would lately."
be sarved with justice in due time. “Well, now, that'll be waluable and handy A cold, bright December moon now lighted like—to counterfit gold money with and make the dreary path, and a biting wind whistled breast-pins.”
through the naked forest. From his place “But it's getting dark, and we've a lonesome among the stars the dark Roane still looked road before us-good-evening, neighbor." down upon the benighted horsemen. So our friends put their horses to a trot, and “I begin to feel a creeping dread of this
mountain," said Larkin, “as if it were in reality some monstrous ghoul-like creature, following and watching us."
“Bob, my boy," quoth the Squire, “if your toes were as cold as mine your thoughts wouldn't run upon such nonsense."
“Lights ahead !” exclaimed Jones. " That must be Briggs's."
So it was, and without much circumlocution our travelers dismounted and took possession. The women went to prepare beds and supper forthwith, while the strangers readily accepted the place of honor in front of the wide-mouthed, roaring chimney. In the course of time both horses and riders were fed and made comfortable, and the mountaineer's household gathered around the fire, discoursing of the Roane, the corn crops, and the weather.
“Speaking of corn," said Briggs, "reminds
me of a time I wonst had with a painter in this says I, some of the neighbors' children have very mountain."
got lost in the mountain !' And so I listened “ Tell us about it by all means," said the agin, and heard it agin, closter like. Then I Squire.
was sure it was a child, and was startin' off to “P'raps you gentlemen wouldn't believe that look for it, when I looked up, and behold ! a man of my make could outrun a painter in a about fifteen steps off, was a full-grown painter fair race ?"
standin' lookin' me in the face. Well, I said Now Briggs is a stout, broad-shouldered man, it was cold, didn't I? but I broke out into a with a long back and short legs; ho has a rug- sweat as if it was summer; and what do you ged, weather-beaten face, square head, and a think I did ? nose prominent and red withal—but this latter “Why, I hauled them two years of corn out circumstance most probably has nothing to do of my pocket, and fired one at the painter's with his running.
head. It didn't hit him, but just grazed his. After scrutinizing his host the Tennesseean ear, and so I flung the other right quick, and ventured to express a doubt upon the subject. didn't stop to see where that hit, but turned and
“Well, I did do it,” said Briggs, curtly, "and run. Well, as I run I looked backward like, I'll tell you how it was. I was a smart young and I see the critter gallopin' on my tracks; feller, you see, and thought myself a man if I and so I run faster, keepin' down the ridge, wasn't one, and I had a sow that was a kind of about a half or three-quarters. But presently a pet, you see. And so this sow had pigs, you I heard the creeter pantin' behind me, and I see, and would stray off in the mountains every gathered up a little stronger. I didn't make day or two, but most ginerally come home at many tracks in a mile—I didn't; but I was gitnight. Well, one night she didn't come home, tin' blowed a little ; and as I still heard the and early in the mornin' I gits up to look for creeter jumpin' behind me, I couldn't help lookmy sow, and as I passed the barn I puts two in' back, though I knowed I'd lose time by it. ears of corn in my pocket to toll her home with. Well, good Lord! there was the dratted thing Well, there was a little skift of snow on the not three steps from my coat-tail, a-canterin' ground, and I follered up a ridge of the mount- along, and not a hair turned. So I give a jump ain maybe about two mile, but nothing could I down the side of the ridge, and lit in a laurel, see of the sow, nor yet of her tracks.
maybe about fifteen yards down; and, the cussed “So I thought I'd go a leetle further—about thing, it seemed to a missed me, and jumped up a quarter—and reached a pint of rocks, where I into a tree to seo whar I was. stopped and listened. In about a minute it ap “Now, that laurel thicket was borderin' on a peared as if I heard a child cry. “Good Lord,' | clearin', and I got into that, and the beast was
afeard to foller me. But I didn't stop till I got brother about it, and they took the dogs and to the house; and that's what I call beating a their guns, and went out and killed it. It was painter in a fair race.”
a thunderer, I tell ye.” “But,” said the Tennesseean, “I don't think “I'm very doubtful—” said Squire Broadthe panther let himself out.”
“He did,” said Briggs, indignantly. “He “What of ?" asked Briggs, straightening himdone his best.”
self. “ And was that the end of it?" asked Larkin. “Not of the truth of your story, by no means, "No," said the narrator. “I told daddy and but really whether that panther was—”
Here the discourse was interrupted by the fu “Go it, old horse !” exclaimed the Tennesrious clatter of horses' hoofs upon the frozen seean. “He's after you, with his back up !” road, and anon a loud hallo in front of the “By George," cried the Squire, “if I ever house. Briggs hurried out, and presently re- harbored a doubt on the subject of that race, I turned with three strangers, who, after being have none now !". assured that all was right, informed the com “ If he traveled at this rate when he was a pany that they were in pursuit of a horse-thief. boy,” said Larkin, "it must have been a fast Now, there is something delightful in the idea panther that followed him." of a horse-thief. He is the intermediate be As the hill became steeper the guide's pace tween a common rogue and a highwayman. As slackened, and after a while he didn't mind highwaymen have long since starved out of this riding a spell. country, if it ever possessed them, the horse The distance from Briggs's to the summit is thief is the highest order of rogue known, and estimated at five miles. The path is through he is estimated accordingly.
an open forest, steep, and sometimes rocky, but The pursuers were full of mystery and im- a bold horseman would not hesitate to ride the portance, while every body had something to whole distance up and down. Indeed, the feat say bearing on the subject. The Squire stated has been accomplished by several ladies. how the mountaineer had asked him if he had The height of the Roane has been estimated lost a horse, and how the drunken men had at six thousand and thirty-eight feet. Its sumcalled him a horse-thief. The statement was mit is generally bare of trees, but covered with listened to with much interest, and was supposed a luxuriant growth of grass, which in summer to have thrown some light on the subject. It affords excellent pasturage for cattle. This unproved, at least, that the rogue had been about. dulating meadow is spotted with tufts of laurel
Having hastily refreshed themselves and their and stunted firs, and traversed by numerous horses, the night riders mounted, and their de- rocky gullies washed by the springs which ooze parture was the signal for bed.
from the soil in many places ; rounding gently Long before the morning sun had showed his toward the wooded declivities of the mountain face in the frosty vales our adventurers had in every direction except the southwest, where breakfasted, and were on their way toward the it terminates suddenly in a range of stupendous summit of the Roane. The party on horseback, precipices many hundred feet in perpendicular swelled to four by the addition of a friendly height. neighbor, trotted along briskly in Indian file. But the scene which meets the eye while At their head strode Grey Briggs on foot, skip- standing on this summit, who shall attempt to ping from rock to rock with surprising speed and describe ? Any effort to convey to the reader the agility, evidently exhibiting himself before the sensations experienced by the beholder would strangers to substantiate the panther story. indeed be but a vain essay, an idle stringing to