Jemina, the Mountain Girl by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Birth of Love
Every day little Jemina worked the still on her side of the stream, and Boscoe Doldrum worked the still on his side.
Sometimes, with automatic inherited hatred, the feudists would throw whiskey at each other, and Jemina would come home smelling like a French table d'hôte.
But now Jemina was too thoughtful to look across the stream.
How wonderful the stranger had been and how oddly he was dressed! In her innocent way she had never believed that there were any civilized settlements at all, and she had put the belief in them down to the credulity of the mountain people.
She turned to go up to the cabin, and, as she turned something struck her in the neck. It was a sponge, thrown by Boscoe Doldrum--a sponge soaked in whiskey from his still on the other side of the stream.
"Hi, thar, Boscoe Doldrum," she shouted in her deep bass voice.
"Yo! Jemina Tantrum. Gosh ding yo'!" he returned.
She continued her way to the cabin.
The stranger was talking to her father. Gold had been discovered on the Tantrum land, and the stranger, Edgar Edison, was trying to buy the land for a song. He was considering what song to offer.
She sat upon her hands and watched him.
He was wonderful. When he talked his lips moved.
She sat upon the stove and watched him.
Suddenly there came a blood-curdling scream. The Tantrums rushed to the windows.
It was the Doldrums.
They had hitched their steers to trees and concealed themselves behind the bushes and flowers, and soon a perfect rattle of stones and bricks beat against the windows, bending them inward.
"Father! father!" shrieked Jemina.
Her father took down his slingshot from his slingshot rack on the wall and ran his hand lovingly over the elastic band. He stepped to a loophole. Old Mappy Tantrum stepped to the coalhole.