When he reached his front door he heard his boy whistling like a happy lark in his room at the head of the stairway. The sounds pierced him for one swift instant and then his generous heart was glad for the careless joy of youth, and instead of going into his office he slowly climbed the stairs. When he reached the door of the boy’s room, he saw two empty trunks, the clothes that had been in them tossed in a whirlwind over bed and chair and floor, and Gray hanging out of the window and shouting to a servant:
“Come up here, Tom, and help put my things back—I’m not going away.”
A joyous whoop from below answered:
“Yassuh, yassuh; my Gord, but I is glad. Why, de colonel—”
Just then the boy heard a slight noise behind him and he turned to see his father’s arms stretched wide for him.
Gray remained firm. He would not waste another year. He had a good start; he would go to the mines and begin work, and he could come home when he pleased, if only over Sunday. So, as Mavis had watched Jason leave to be with Marjorie in the Blue-grass, so Marjorie now watched Gray leave to be with Mavis in the hills. And between them John Burnham was again left wondering.
At sunset Gray Pendleton pushed his tired horse across the Cumberland River and up into the county-seat of the Hawns and Honeycutts. From the head of the main street two battered signs caught his eye—Hawn Hotel and Honeycutt Inn—the one on the right-hand side close at hand, and the other far down on the left, and each on the corner of the street. Both had double balconies, both were ramshackle and unpainted, and near each was a general store, run now by a subleader of each faction—Hiram Honeycutt and Shade Hawn—for old Jason and old Aaron, except in councils of war and business, had retired into the more or less peaceful haven of home and old age. Naturally the boy drew up and stopped before Hawn Hotel, from the porch of which keen eyes scrutinized him with curiosity and suspicion, and before he had finished his supper of doughy biscuits, greasy bacon, and newly killed fried chicken, the town knew but little less about his business there than he himself. That night he asked many questions of Shade Hawn, the proprietor, and all were answered freely, except where they bore on the feud of half a century, and then Gray encountered a silence that