“When do you wish to marry me?” she whispered.
“As soon as possible, but my pay is only sixty dollars a month now.”
“We shall make it do,” she answered. “My mother and father and your aunt and uncle and the Hackets and the minister and a number of our friends are coming in a fleet of boats.”
“We are prepared either for a picnic or a wedding,” was the whisper of Kate.
“Let’s make it both,” I proposed to Sally.
“Surely there couldn’t be a better place than here under the big pine—it’s so smooth and soft and shady,” said she.
“Nor could there be a better day or better company,” I urged, for I was not sure that she would agree.
The boats came along. Sally and I waved a welcome from the bank and she merrily proclaimed:
“It’s to be a wedding.”
Then a cheer from the boats, in which I joined.
I shall never forget how, when the company had landed and the greetings were over, Uncle Peabody approached your mother and said:
“Say, Sally, I’m goin’ to plant a kiss on both o’ them red cheeks o’ yours, an’ do it deliberate, too.” He did it and so did Aunt Deel and old Kate, and I think that, next to your mother and me, they were the happiest people at the wedding.
* * * * *
There is a lonely grave up in the hills—that of the stranger who died long ago on Rattleroad. One day I found old Kate sitting beside it and on a stone lately erected there was the name, Enoch Rone.
“It is very sorrowful,” she whispered. “He was trying to find me when he died.”
We walked on in silence while I recalled the circumstances. How strange that those tales of blood and lawless daring which Kate had given to Amos Grimshaw had led to the slaying of her own son! Yet, so it happened, and the old wives will tell you the story up there in the hills.
The play ends just as the night is falling with Kate and me entering the little home, so familiar now, where she lives and is ever welcome with Aunt Deel and Uncle Peabody. The latter meets us at the door and is saying in a cheerful voice:
“Come in to supper, you rovers. How solemn ye look! Say, if you expect Sally and me to do all the laughin’ here you’re mistaken. There’s a lot of it to be done right now, an’ it’s time you j’ined in. We ain’t done nothin’ but laugh since we got up, an’ we’re in need o’ help. What’s the matter, Kate? Look up at the light in God’s winder. How bright it shines to-night! When I feel bad I always look at the stars.”