It looked suspicious—a white man asking a negro for food, and Jason had learned enough in the Blue-grass to guess the reason for the old darky’s hesitation, for he added quickly:
“I don’t want to walk all the way back to that white house where I was goin’ to get something to eat.”
A few minutes later the boy was devouring cornbread and bacon so ravenously that again he saw suspicion in the old darky’s eyes, and for that reason when he struck the turnpike again he turned once more into the fields. The foot-hills were in sight now, and from the top of a little wooded eminence he saw the beginning of the dirt road and he almost shouted his gladness aloud. An hour later he was on top of the hill whence he and his old mare had looked first over the land of the Blue-grass, and there he turned to look once more. The sun was up now and each frozen weed, belated corn-stalk, and blade of grass caught its light, shattered it into glittering bits, and knit them into a veil of bewildering beauty for the face of the yet sleeping earth. The lad turned again to the white breasts of his beloved hills. The nation’s army could never catch him when he was once among them—and now Jason smiled.
Back at the little capital, the Pennyroyal governor sat pat behind thick walls and the muskets of a thousand men. The militia, too, remained loyal, and the stacking up of ammunition in the adjutant-general’s office went merrily on. The dead autocrat was reverently borne between two solid walls of living people to the little cemetery on the high hill overlooking the river and with tribute of tongue and pen was laid to rest, but beneath him the struggle kept on. Mutual offers of compromise were mutually refused and the dual government went on. The State-house was barred to the legislators. To test his authority the governor issued a pardon— the Democratic warden of the penitentiary refused to recognize it. A company of soldiers came from his own Pennyroyal home and the wing of the mountain army still hovered nigh. Meanwhile companies of militia were drafted for service under the banner of the dead autocrat. The governor ate and slept in the State-house—never did he leave it. Once more a Democratic mob formed before the square and the Gatling-gun dispersed it. The President at Washington declined to interfere.
Then started the arrests. It was declared that the fatal shot came from the window of the office of the pale, dark young secretary of state, and that young mountaineer was taken—with a pardon from the governor in his pocket; his brother, a captain of the State guard, the ex-secretary of state, also a mountain man, and still another mountaineer were indicted as accessories before the fact and those indictments charged complicity to the Pennyroyal governor himself. And three other men who were found in the executive building were indicted for murder along