"The deep woods saw their battle, and the night
Gave it a genial horror. Blood is there;
The path of battle is traced out in blood."
HUGH GRAYSON, with all his faults, and they were many, was in reality a noble fellow. Full of a high ambition — a craving for the unknown and the vast, which spread itself vaguely and perhaps unattainably before his imagination — his disappointments very naturally vexed him somewhat beyond prudence, and now and then beyond the restraint of right reason. He usually came to a knowledge of his error before it had led too far, and his repentance then was not less ready than his wrong. So in the present instance. The stern severity of those rebukes which had fallen from the lips of Bess Matthews, had the effect upon him which she had anticipated. They brought out the serious determination of his manhood, and, with due effort, he discarded those feeble and querulous fancies which had been productive of so much annoyance to her and others, and so much unhappiness to himself. He strove to forget the feelings of the jealous and disappointed lover, in the lately recollected duties of the man and citizen.
With the good steed of Harrison, which, in the present service, he did not scruple to employ, he set off on the lower route, in order to beat up recruits for the perilous strife which he now began to believe, the more he thought of it, was in reality at hand. The foresters were ready; for one condition of security in border life was the willingness to volunteer in defence of one another; and a five mile ride gave him as many followers. But his farther progress was stopped short by an unlooked-for circumstance. The tread of a body of horse reached the ears of his party, and they slunk into cover. Indistinctly, in the imperfect light, they discovered a mounted force of twenty or thirty men. Another survey made them out to be friends.
" Who goes there? " cried the leader, as Grayson emerged from the bush.
"Friends — well met. There is still time," was the reply.