“I belave mam” ses she “that this will intrust you.”
But the actor’s gift is not rare, whereas that combination of talents that makes a great short-story writer is met with only once or twice in a generation. Harris’s claims to greatness in this direction cannot justly be denied, though of late years there has been a noticeable tendency to treat his work as though it were not of first-rate importance. His choice of subject, the violence of his thought, his strict honesty of mind, his open contempt for many of his contemporaries—these have brought him enemies whose only method of retaliation is to decry work they will not understand.
When Vanderhoef jogged him awake, the Machine had just made its next move, but the repair-job had taken 50 minutes. As a result the Machine had to make 15 moves in 10 minutes. At 40 seconds a move it played like a dub whose general lack of skill was complicated by a touch of insanity. On his 43rd move Doc shrugged his shoulders apologetically and announced mate in four. There were more flashes. Vanderhoef shook his fist again. The machine flashed:
Joe Kenyon again sought refuge in his "Good God!" He appeared to be completely staggered for the moment, looked back at the house, down towards the iron gates, then threw back his head and gently blew a thin wreath of cigar smoke into the air. "What you going to live on?" he asked abruptly.
This account, because it lacks verification, is not here presented as one true in its details. It is known, however, that as a result of this tragedy or because of some other atrocity committed about this time by the Harpes, William Stewart, sheriff of Logan County, organized a party of about a dozen men to search for the highwaymen. This pursuing party, having reason to believe that the outlaws were traveling south, rushed toward the Tennessee line. In the meantime, however, the cunning Harpes were working their way northward. They stopped a few hours about three miles northeast of Russellville, on the Samuel Wilson Old Place, about half a mile up Mud River from what is now Duncan’s bridge over Mud River on the Russellville and Morgantown road. There the Harpes watered their horses at the same spring that quenched the thirst of the hundreds of people who a few weeks before attended the Great Revival conducted by the Reverends John and William McGee and James M’Gready. Samuel Wilson, an eye witness, in his description of this religious meeting, says: “Fires were built, cooking begun, and by dark candles lighted and fixed on a hundred trees around and interspersing the ground surrounded by
matter of course by the true conception of that which had been hitherto figuratively called affinity; the degrees of affinity expressed in the natural system indicated the different degrees of derivation of the varying progeny of common parents; out of affinity taken in a figurative sense arose a real blood-relationship, and the natural system became a table of the pedigree of the vegetable kingdom. Here was the solution of the ancient problem.
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