“Heroes are such uncomfortable people in everyday life, Billie,” she said. “Everybody, even Dad and mother, keep telling me how everlastingly grateful I must be to him for saving my life. I don’t see what I can do except thank him, and I have done that.”
“Treat him decently,” Billie suggested, encouragingly. “Even if you don’t like him, hide it.”
“Oh, I like him well enough,” Kit answered, “only he’s never seemed like Ralph, and Honey, and you. I guess I’ve always resented every one thinking he was so wonderful. It was as though he had had a sort of sweet revenge on me for taking him for a berry hooker.”
She stopped as Ralph and Jean came slowly up the drive together. Jean’s arms were filled with early goldenrod, and she had some woodbine leaves fastened in a close fillet crown about her smooth dark hair. Ralph came up the veranda steps and seated himself on a pile of straw mats beside the willow chair.
“We’ve just decided,” he announced, “and Jean says I may tell you all. It’s going to happen in September, so she can go west with me. How do you like your new brother, Kit?”
“I approve,” answered Kit, solemnly. “You know I’ve always liked you, Ralph, and I hereby bestow the hand of Jean upon you with all my blessings. Are you going to let her keep on painting?”
“She can do anything she likes,” Ralph promised. “And if she can find any more beautiful scenery than we have in Saskatchewan and throughout Northwest Canada, then I’ll live and die right here in Gilead.”
If it had been any one but Ralph MacRae, Mrs. Robbins said, the family would never have given its united consent to Jean’s marriage, but ever since that first summer when he had arrived at Greenacres as their unknown landlord, Ralph had been accepted as one of the family circle.
Piney and Honey were delighted over this new bond between the two families.
“We will be all cousins by marriage now,” Piney said, “and if you girls don’t let me be a bridesmaid, too, I’ll never pass your portals again.”
The wedding was set for the twentieth of September, and the last of the tent colony departed two weeks previously. The boys had gone first of all, and then the art students. The night before they left there had been a moonlight lawn party up at Greenacres, with dancing in a pavilion of young willows built by the boys. Kit declared she had never imagined anything so easy and so striking. With a good floor laid for dancing, they had erected a framework and then tied the willow trees to this on the four sides of the pavilion. Crisscrossing overhead were rows of Japanese lanterns. Old Cady Graves paced up and down playing his violin, as usual, and calling off for the quadrille, in his high pitched rhythmic cadence.