Standing on the great hanging rock before his cabin, Thryng imagined himself absolutely solitary in the centre of a wide wilderness. Even the Fall Place, where lived the Widow Farwell, although so near, was not visible from this point; but when he began exploring the region about him, now on foot and now on horseback, he discovered it to be really a country of homes.
Every mule path branching off into what seemed an inaccessible wild led to some cabin, often set in a hollow on a few acres of rich soil, watered by a never failing spring, where the forest growth had been cut away to make cultivation possible. Sometimes the little log house would be perched like a lonely eagle's nest on a mere shelflike ledge jutting out from the mountain wall, but always below it or above it or off at one side he found the inevitable pocket of rich soil accumulated by the wash of years, where enough corn and cow-peas could be raised for cattle, and cotton and a few sheep to provide material for clothing the family, with a few fowls and pigs to provide their food.
Here they lived, those isolated people, in quiet independence and contented poverty, craving little and often having less, caring nothing for the great world outside their own environment, looking after each other in times of sickness and trouble, keeping alive the traditions of their forefathers, and clinging to the ancient family feuds