Dwellers in the Hills (Chapter 8, page 2 of 10)


Previous Page
Next Page

Chapter 8

That we could not tell the whims of chance from the plans of Woodford was the best testimonial to this man's genius. One moved a master when he used the hands of Providence to lift his pieces. The accident to Ward was clear accident, to hear it told. At the lower falls of the Gauley, the road home runs close to the river and is rough and narrow. On the opposite side the deep laurel thickets reach from the hill-top to the water. Here, in the roar of the falls, the Black Abbot had fallen suddenly, throwing Ward down the embankment. It was a thing that might occur any day in the Hills. The Black Abbot was a bad horse, and the prediction was common that he would kill Ward some day. But there was something about this accident that was not clear. Mean as his fame put him, the Black Abbot had never been known to fall in all of his vicious life. On his right knee there was a great furrow, long as a man's finger and torn at one corner. It was scarcely the sort of wound that the edge of a stone would make on a falling horse.

Ump and Jud and old Jourdan examined this wound for half a night, and finally declared that the horse had been shot. They pointed out that this was the furrow of a bullet, because hair was carried into the wound, and nothing but a bullet carries the hair with it. The fibres of the torn muscle were all forced one way, a characteristic of the track of a bullet, and the edge of the wound on the inside of the horse's knee was torn. This was the point from which a bullet, if fired from the opposite side of the river, would emerge; and it is well known that a bullet tears as it comes out. At least this is always true with a muzzle-loading rifle. Ward expressed no opinion. He only drew down his dark eyebrows when the three experts went in to tell him, and directed them to swing Black Abbot in his stall, and bandage the knee. But I talked with Ump about it, and in the light of these after events it was tolerably clear.

Previous Page
Next Page


Rate This Book

Current Rating: 2.5/5 (268 votes cast)



Review This Book or Post a Comment