The girl entered, her rosy face rising from her furs, and she seemed to flood the poor little room with warmth and light and make it poor indeed. She sat down and felt the deep black eyes burning at her not unkindly now and with none of her own embarrassment, for she had expected to find a woman bowed with grief and she found her unshaken, stolid, calm. For the first time she noticed that Jason had got his eyes and his brow from his mother, and now her voice was an echo of his.
“They’ve got dogs atter my boy,” she said simply.
That was all she said, but it started the girl’s tears, for there was not even resentment in the voice—only the resignation that meant a life-long comradeship with sorrow. Marjorie had tried to speak, but tears began to choke her and she turned her face to hide them. She had come to comfort, but now she felt a hand patting her on the shoulder. “Why, honey, you mustn’t take on that-a-way. Jason wouldn’t want nobody to worry ’bout him—not fer a minute. They’ll never ketch him—never in this world. An’ bless yo’ dear heart, honey, this ain’t nothin’. Ever’thing ’ll come out all right. Why, I been used to killin’ an’ fightin’ an’ trouble all my life. Jason hain’t done nothin’ he didn’t think was right— I know that—an’ if hit was right I’m glad he done hit. I ain’t so shore ‘bout Steve, but the Lord’s been good to Steve fer holdin’ off his avengin’ hand even this long. Hit’ll all come out right— don’t you worry.”
Half an hour later the girl on her way home found Colonel Pendleton at his gate on horseback, apparently waiting for some one, and, looking back through the carriage window, Marjorie saw Gray galloping along behind her. She did not stop to speak with the colonel, and a look of uneasy wonder crossed his face as she drove by.
“What’s the matter with Marjorie?” he asked when Gray drew nigh. The boy shook his head worriedly.
“She’s been to the Hawns,” he said, and the colonel looked grave. Twenty minutes later Mrs. Pendleton sat in her library, also looking grave. Marjorie had told her where she had been and why she had gone, and the mother, startled by the girl’s wildness and distress, had barely opened her lips in remonstrance when Marjorie, in a whirlwind of tears and defiance, fled to her room.
On through the snowy mountains Jason went, keeping fearlessly now to the open road, and telling the same story to the same question that was always looked, even when not asked, by every soul with whom he passed a word: he had gone to the capital when the mountain people went down, he had been left behind, and, having no money, was obliged to make his way back home on foot. Always he was plied with questions, but news of the death of the autocrat had not yet penetrated that far. Always he was gladly given food and lodging, and sometimes his host or some horseman, overtaking