I Thought I'd
Be Where I Could Step Into North Carolina Easy."
"Well, they wanted me to go before the grand jury and testify about
some pistol-shooting down by our house, some friends of mine got into
a little difficulty, - and I did n't want to. I never has no
difficulty with nobody, never says nothing about nobody, has nothing
against nobody, and I reckon nobody has nothing against me."
"Did you come alone?"
"Why, of course. I come across the mountain by a path through the
woods. That's nothing."
A discreet, pleasant, pretty girl. This surely must be the Esmeralda
who lives in these mountains, and adorns low life by her virgin
purity and sentiment. As she talked on, she turned from time to time
to the fireplace behind her, and discharged a dark fluid from her
pretty lips, with accuracy of aim, and with a nonchalance that was
not assumed, but belongs to our free-born American girls. I cannot
tell why this habit of hers (which is no worse than the sister habit
of "dipping") should take her out of the romantic setting that her
face and figure had placed her in; but somehow we felt inclined to
ride on farther for our heroine.
"And yet," said the Professor, as we left the site of the colonel's
thriving distillery, and by a winding, picturesque road through a
rough farming country descended into the valley, - "and yet, why fling
aside so readily a character and situation so full of romance, on
account of a habit of this mountain Helen, which one of our best
poets has almost made poetical, in the case of the pioneer taking his
westward way, with ox-goad pointing to the sky:
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