Seem kinder s'prised to see me," said the Stetson, grimly. " Hev ye got a pistol?
Young Jasper glared at him in helpless ferocity.
He drew a long-bladed penknife from his pocket, and tossed it at Rome's feet.
"Jes' move over thar, will ye?"
The Lewallen took his stand against the cliff. Rome picked up the fallen rifle and leaned it against the ledge.
"Now, Jas Lewallen, thar's nobody left in this leetle trouble 'cept you 'n' me, 'n' ef one of us was dead, I reckon t'other could live hyeh, 'n' thar'd be peace in these mount'ins. I thought o' that when I had ye at the eend o' this Winchester. I reckon you would 'a' shot me dead ef I had poked my head over a rock as keerless as you." That is just what he would have done, and Jasper did not answer. "I've swore to kill ye, too," added Rome, tapping his gun; "I've got a cross fer ye hyeh."
The Lewallen was no coward. Outcry or resistance was useless. The Stetson meant to taunt him, to make death more bitter; for Jasper expected death, and he sullenly waited for it against the cliff.
"You've been banterin me a long time now, 'lowin' as how ye air the better man o' the two; n' I've got a notion o' givin' ye a chance to prove yer tall talk. Hit's not our way to kill a man in cold blood, 'n' I don't want to kill ye anyways ef I kin he'p it. Seem s'prised ag'in. Reckon ye don't believe me? I don't wonder when I think o' my own dad, 'n' all the meanness yo folks have done mine; but I've got a good reason fer not killin' ye-ef I kin he'p it. Y'u don't know what it is, 'n' y'u'll never know; but I'll give yer a chance now fer yer life ef y'u'll sw'ar on a stack o' Bibles as high as that tree thar that y'u'll leave these mount'ins ef I whoops ye, 'n' nuver come back ag'in as long as you live. I'll leave, ef ye whoops me. Now whut do ye say? Will ye sw'ar?