“Jenny with a ruff-duff a-kickin’ up the dust,” clicked his feet.
“Juba this and Juba that!
Juba killed a yaller cat!
“Whoop!” yelled old Jason, bending his huge body and patting his leg and knee to the beat of one big cowhide boot and urging them on in a frenzy of delight:
“Come on, Jason! Git atter him, stranger! Whoop her up thar with that fiddle—Heh—ee—dum dee—eede-eedle—dedee-dee!”
Then there was dancing. The fiddler woke like a battery newly charged, every face lighted with freshened interest, and only the colonel and Marjorie showed surprise and mystification. The double-shuffle was hardly included in the curriculum of the colonel’s training school for a gentleman, and where, when, and how the boy had learned such Ethiopian skill, neither he nor Marjorie knew. But he had it and they enjoyed it to the full. Gray’s face wore a merry smile, and Jason, though he was breathing hard and his black hair was plastered to his wet forehead, faced his new competitor with rallying feet but a sullen face. “The Forked Deer,” “Big Sewell Mountain,” and “Cattle Licking Salt” for Jason, and the back-step, double-shuffle, and “Jim Crow” for Gray; both improvising their own steps when the fiddler raised his voice in “Comin’ up, Sandy,” “Chicken in the Dough-Tray,” and “Sparrows on the Ash-Bank”; and thus they went through all the steps known to the negro or the mountaineer, until the colonel saw that game little Jason, though winded, would go on till he dropped, and gave Gray a sign that the boy’s generous soul caught like a flash; for, as though worn out himself, he threw up his hands with a laugh and left the floor to Jason. Just then there was the crack of a Winchester from the darkness outside. Simultaneously, as far as the ear could detect, there was a sharp rap on a window-pane, as a bullet sped cleanly through, and in front of the fire old Jason’s mighty head sagged suddenly and he crumbled into a heap on the floor. Arch Hawn had carried his business deal through. The truce was over and the feud was on again.