“Well, well, I can’t let you lose your sleep this way, Jason; I’ll get some guards now.”
“If you won’t let me,” said the boy quickly, “you ought to send for Gray.”
The old gentleman looked thoughtful.
“Of course, perhaps I ought—why, I will.”
“He won’t come again to-night,” said Jason. “I shot close enough to scare him, I reckon, Good-night, colonel.”
“Thank you, my boy—good-night.”
It was court day at the county-seat. A Honeycutt had shot down a Hawn in the open street, had escaped, and a Hawn posse was after him. The incident was really a far effect of the recent news that Jason Hawn was soon coming back home—and coming back to live. Straightway the professional sneaks and scandal-mongers of both factions got busy to such purpose that the Honeycutts were ready to believe that the sole purpose of Jason’s return was to revive the feud and incidentally square a personal account with little Aaron. Old Jason Hawn had started home that afternoon almost apoplectic with rage, for word had been brought him that little Aaron had openly said that it was high time that Jason Hawn came home to look after his cousin and Gray Pendleton went home to take care of his. It was a double insult, and to the old man’s mind subtly charged with a low meaning. Old as he was, he had tried to find little Aaron, but the boy had left town.
Gray and Mavis were seated on the old man’s porch when he came in sight of his house, for it was Saturday, and Mavis started the moment she saw her grandfather’s face, and rose to meet him.
“What’s the matter, grandpap?” The old man waved her back. “Git back inter the house,” he commanded shortly. “No—stay whar you air. When do you two aim to git married?” Had a bolt of lightning flashed through the narrow sunlit space between him and them, the pair could not have been more startled, blinded. Mavis flushed angrily, paled, and wheeled into the house. Gray rose in physical response to the physical threat in the old man’s tone and fearlessly met the eyes that were glaring at him.
“I don’t know what you mean, Mr. Hawn,” he said respectfully. “I— "
“The hell you don’t,” broke in the old man furiously. “I’ll give ye jes two minutes to hit the road and git a license. I’ll give ye an hour an’ a half to git back. An’ if you don’t come back I’ll make Jason foller you to the mouth o’ the pit o’ hell an’ bring ye back alive or dead.” Again the boy tried to speak, but the old man would not listen.
“Git!” he cried, and, as the boy still made no move, old Jason hurried on trembling legs into the house. Gray heard him cursing and searching inside, and at the corner of the house appeared Mavis with both of the old man’s pistols and his Winchester.
“Go on, Gray,” she said, and her face was still red with shame. “You’ll only make him worse, an’ he’ll kill you sure.”