The Gentleman from Indiana (Chapter 4, page 3 of 10)


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Chapter 4

The girl gave a low cry with a sharp intake of breath. "Ah! One grows
tired of this everlasting American patience! Why don't the Plattville
people do something before they----"

"It's just as I say," Briscoe answered; "our folks are sort of used to
them. I expect we do about all we can; the boys look after him nights, and
the main trouble is that we can't make him understand he ought to be more
afraid of them. If he'd lived here all his life he would be. You know
there's an old-time feud between the Cross-Roads and our folks; goes way
back into pioneer history and mighty few know anything of it. Old William
Platt and the forefathers of the Bardlocks and Tibbses and Briscoes and
Schofields moved up here from North Carolina a good deal just to get away
from some bad neighbors, mostly Skilletts and Johnsons--one of the
Skilletts had killed old William Platt's two sons. But the Skilletts and
Johnsons followed all the way to Indiana to join in making the new
settlement, and they shot Platt at his cabin door one night, right where
the court-house stands to-day. Then the other settlers drove them out for
good, and they went seven miles west and set up a still. A band of
Indians, on the way to join the Shawnee Prophet at Tippecanoe, came down
on the Cross-Roads, and the Cross-Roaders bought them off with bad whiskey
and sent them over to Plattville. Nearly all the Plattville men were away,
fighting under Harrison, and when they came back there were only a few
half-crazy women and children left. They'd hid in the woods.

"The men stopped just long enough to hear how it was, and started for the
Cross-Roads; but the Cross-Roads people caught them in an ambush and not
many of our folks got back.

"We really never did get even with them, though all the early settlers
lived and died still expecting to see the day when Plattville would go
over and pay off the score. It's the same now as it was then, good stock
with us, bad stock over here; and all the country riff-raff in creation
come and live with 'em when other places get too hot to hold them. Only
one or two of us old folks know what the original trouble was about; but
you ask a Plattville man, to-day, what he thinks of the Cross-Roads and
he'll be mighty apt to say, 'I guess we'll all have to go over there some
time and wipe those hoodlums out.' It's been coming to that a long time.
The work the 'Herald' did has come nearer bringing us even with Six-Cross-
Roads than anything else ever has. Queer, too--a man that's only lived in
Plattville a few years to be settling such an old score for us. They'll do
their best to get him, and if they do there'll be trouble of an illegal
nature. I think our people would go over there again, but I expect there
wouldn't be any ambush this time; and the pioneers, might rest easier in--"
He broke off suddenly and nodded to a little old man in a buckboard,
who was turning off from the road into a farm lane which led up to a trim
cottage with a honeysuckle vine by the door. "That's Mrs. Wimby's
husband," said the judge in an undertone.

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