The Call of the Cumberlands (Chapter 9, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 9

Lescott had come to the mountains anticipating a visit of two weeks.
His accident had resolved him to shorten it to the nearest day upon
which he felt capable of making the trip out to the railroad. Yet, June
had ended; July had burned the slopes from emerald to russet-green;
August had brought purple tops to the ironweed, and still he found
himself lingering. And this was true although he recognized a growing
sentiment of disapproval for himself. He knew indubitably that he stood
charged with the offense for which Socrates was invited to drink the
hemlock: "corrupting the morals of the youth, and teaching strange
gods."

Feeling the virtue of his teaching, he was unwilling as Socrates
to abandon the field. In Samson he thought he recognized twin gifts: a
spark of a genius too rare to be allowed to flicker out, and a
potentiality for constructive work among his own people, which needed
for its perfecting only education and experience. Having aroused a
soul's restiveness in the boy, he felt a direct responsibility for it
and him, to which he added a deep personal regard. Though the kinsmen
looked upon him as an undesirable citizen, bringing teachings which
they despised, the hospitality of old Spicer South continued unbroken
and a guarantee of security on Misery.

"Samson," he suggested one day when they were alone, "I want you to
come East. You say that gun is your tool, and that each man must stick
to his own. You are in part right, in part wrong. A mail uses any tool
better for understanding other tools. You have the right to use your
brains and talents to the full."

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