“I don’t need anything more than your ‘well done,’ Granny,” answered my Gouverneur Faulkner as he laid a gentle hand on the trembling shoulder of the nice old lady. “This youngster here got the word from Mary and you can give him both of the liver wings if you want to show your gratitude to him.”
“God bless you, young gentleman, and you shall have anything that Granny Bell has to give you in gratitude. Now draw up two chairs and fall to, boys,” and as she spoke she set the dishes of a beautiful odor upon a very clean table beside the stove.
“Is it that I may wash the grease stains of the car from my hands before eating, dear Madam?” I asked of her.
“Back porch, you’ll find the bucket and pan and towel, youngster. I can’t wait for you,” made answer my Gouverneur Faulkner as he laughed and began upon the repast that must of necessity be a hurried one.
THE CAMP HEAVEN
And I was very glad indeed that he did not go with me for that toilet to my hands, for it might have happened that a noise would have deprived me of a very beautiful thing that I discovered, through a window under a vine of roses that opened upon that back porch.
A very pretty young girl, with hair the color of the maize in the fields, lay upon a white bed beneath a quilt of many colors. Her sleeping garment was drawn back from her breast, against which lay a little human person drinking therefrom with much energy. The eyes of the mother were closed and her arm held the babe loosely as if in a deep dreaming. I softly poured the water into the basin, made clean my hands and quietly withdrew into the kitchen, with much care that I did not awaken her. On my cheeks I could feel a deep glow of color, and something within my heart pounded with force against my own breast under its gay red coat of a hunting man. I could not raise my eyes to those of my Gouverneur Faulkner and I ate not as much of that good breakfast as Robert Carruthers could have consumed if the woman in his heart had not been so stirred.
And all of that long day in the soft early spring which was bursting into a budding and a flowering under the feet of our horses and above our heads in the trees, it was the woman Roberta that rode at the side of my Gouverneur Faulkner, with her heart at an ache under her coat of a man. It was with a difficulty that I forced my eyes to meet and make answer to the merriment and joy of the woods in his deep ones; and I was of a great gladness when the descending of the sun brought a moon-silvered twilight down upon us from the young green branches of the large trees of the forest through which we rode.
“Time to make camp. We’ve got to old Jutting Rock. You are halfway up between heaven and earth, youngster,” said my Gouverneur Faulkner as he drew to a halt his horse in front of me and pointed down into the dim valley that lay at our feet.