In weaving a romance round a real rock and through actual events, this tale has taken no great liberty with fact. It has, indeed, claimed the freedom of fiction only in drawing certain localities and incidents somewhat closer together than they were in reality. And it has done this notably in but three instances: by allowing the Wilderness Road to seem nearer the Ohio River than it really was; by anticipating the establishment of the Sisters of Charity; and by disregarding the tradition that Philip Alston had gone from the region of Cedar House before the time of the story, and that he died elsewhere. These deviations are all rather slight, yet they are, nevertheless, essential to any faithful description of the country, the time, and the people, which this tale tries to describe.
at he was wounded, and instantly darted toward him like a swallow. She caught his rigid rifle arm and clung to it, looking up in his set face. Her blue eyes were already filling with tears while the smile was still on her lips. That was Ruth's way; her smiles and tears were even closer together than most women's are; she was nearly always quiveringly poised between gayety and sadness; like a living sunbeam continually glancing across life's shadows.
"What is it, David, dear?" she pleaded, with her sweet lips close to his ear. "What foolish thing have I said? You must know--whatever it was--that it was all in fun. Why, I wouldn't have you different, dear, if I could! I couldn't love you so much if you were not just what you are. And yet," sighing, "it might be better for you."
She laid her head against his shoulder and drew closer to him in that soft little nestling way of hers. David looked straight over the lovely head, keeping his grim gaze as high as he could. He knew how it would be if his s