In June, Gray Pendleton closed his college career as he had gone through it—like a meteor—and Jason went for the summer to the mountains, while Mavis stayed with his mother, for again Steve Hawn had been tried and convicted and returned to jail to await a new trial. In the mountains Jason got employment at some mines below the county-seat, and there he watched the incoming of the real “furriners,” Italians, “Hunks,” and Slavs, and the uprising of a mining town. He worked, too, in every capacity that was open to him, and he kept his keen eyes and keen mind busy that he might know as much as possible of the great machine that old Morton Sanders would build and set to work on his mother’s land. And more than ever that summer he warmed to his uncle Arch Hawn for the fight that Arch was making to protect native titles to mountain lands—a fight that would help the achievement of the purpose that, though faltering at last, was still deep in the boy’s heart.
In the autumn, when he went back to college, Gray had set off to some Northern college for a post-graduate course in engineering and Marjorie had gone to some fashionable school in the great city of the nation for the finishing touches of hats and gowns, painting and music, and for a wider knowledge of her own social world. That autumn the tobacco trouble was already pointing to a crisis for Colonel Pendleton. The whip and lash and the destruction of seed-beds had been ineffective, and as the trust had got control of the trade, the raisers must now get control of the raw leaf in the field and in the barn. That autumn Jason himself drifted into a mass-meeting of growers in the court-house one day on his way home from college. An orator from the Far West with a shock of black hair and gloomy black brows and eyes urged a general and permanent alliance of the tillers of the soil. An old white-bearded man with cane and spectacles and a heavy goatee working under a chew of tobacco tremulously pleaded for a pooling of the crops. The answer was that all would not pool, and the question was how to get all in. A great-shouldered, red-faced man and a bull-necked fellow with gray, fearless eyes, both from the southern part of the State, openly urged the incendiary methods that they were practising at home—the tearing up of tobacco-beds, burning of barns, and the whipping of growers who refused to go into the pool. And then Colonel Pendleton rose, his face as white as his snowy shirt, and bowed courteously to the chairman.