A Man Four-Square by William MacLeod Raine Page 1 of 245

Prologue

A girl sat on the mossy river-bank in the dappled, golden sunlight. Frowning eyes fixed on a sweeping eddy, she watched without seeing the racing current. Her slim, supple body, crouched and tense, was motionless, but her soul seethed tumultuously. In the bosom of her coarse linsey gown lay hidden a note. Through it destiny called her to the tragic hour of decision.

The foliage of the young pawpaws stirred behind her. Furtively a pair of black eyes peered forth and searched the opposite bank of the stream, the thicket of rhododendrons above, the blooming laurels below. Very stealthily a handsome head pushed out through the leaves.

"'Lindy," a voice whispered.


The girl gave a start, slowly turned her head. She looked at the owner of the voice from steady, deep-lidded eyes. The pulse in her brown throat began to beat. One might have guessed her with entire justice a sullen lass, untutored of life, passionate, and high-spirited, resentful of all restraint.

Hers was such beauty as lies in rich blood beneath dark coloring, in dusky hair and eyes, in the soft, warm contours of youth. Already she was slenderly full, an elemental daughter of Eve, primitive as one of her fur-clad ancestors. No forest fawn could have been more sensuous or innocent than she.

Again the man's glance swept the landscape cautiously before he moved out from cover. In the country of the Clantons there was always an open season on any one of his name.

"What are you doin' here, Dave Roush?" the girl demanded. "Are you crazy?"

"I'm here because you are, 'Lindy Clanton," he answered promptly. "That's a right good reason, ain't it?"



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