“Huc-cum you-all gettin’ eve’y thing pink, Miss Becky?” Mandy asked.
“For a change,” said Becky.
And how could she tell old Mandy that she had felt that in a rose-colored world everything should be rose-color?
She tried on each frock deliberately. She tried on every pair of slippers. She tried on the wraps, and the hats which came up finally with Calvin staggering beneath the bulkiness of the box. She was lovely in everything. And she was no longer the little Becky Bannister whom Dalton had wooed. She was Mademoiselle Midas, appraising her beauty in her lovely clothes, and wondering what Dalton would think if he could see her.
Becky did not, after all, wear the pink gingham. The Judge elected to go on horseback, so Becky rode forth by his side correctly and smartly attired in a gray habit, with a straight black sailor and a high stock and boots that made her look like a charming boy.
They came to Pavilion Hill to find the boarders like the chorus in light opera very picturesque in summer dresses and summer flannels, and with Mrs. Paine in a broad hat playing the part of leading lady. Mr. Flippin, who was high-priest at all of the county barbecues, was superintending the roasting of a whole pig, and Mrs. Flippin had her mind on hot biscuits. The young mulatto, Daisy, and Mandy’s John, with the negroes from the Paine household, were setting the long tables under the trees. There was the good smell of coffee, much laughter, and a generally festive atmosphere.
The Judge, enthroned presently in the Pavilion, was the pivotal center of the crowd. Everybody wanted to hear his stories, and with this fresh audience to stimulate him, he dominated the scene. He wore a sack suit and a Panama hat and his thin, fine face, the puff of curled white hair at the back of his neck, the gayety of his glance gave an almost theatric touch to his appearance, so that one felt he might at any moment come down stage and sing a topical song in the best Gilbertian manner.
It was an old scene with a new setting. It was not the first time that Pavilion Hill had been the backgrounds of a barbecue. But it was the first time that a Paine of King’s Crest had accepted hospitality on its own land. It was the first time that it had echoed to the voices of an alien group. It was the first time that it had seen a fighting black man home from France. The old order had changed indeed. No more would there be feudal lords of Albemarle acres.
Yet old loyalties die hard. It was the Judge and Mrs. Paine and Becky and Randy who stood first in the hearts of the dusky folk who served at the long tables. The boarders were not in any sense “quality.” Whatever they might be, North, East and West, their names were not known on Virginia records. And what was any family tree worth if it was not rooted in Virginia soil?