“You go on the day shift after this,” he said. “Go to bed now.”
The boy’s eyes glistened, for he had been working for forty-eight hours, and with Mavis and his mother he walked up the hill. At the cottage he went inside and came out with a paper in his hand which he handed to Mavis without a word. Then he went back and with his clothes on fell across his bed.
Mavis walked down the spur with her step-mother home. She knew what the paper contained for two days before was the date fixed for the wedding-day of Marjorie and Gray Pendleton, and Gray had written Jason and Marjorie had written her, begging them both to come. By the light of a lamp she read the account, fulsome and feminine, aloud: the line of carriages and motor-cars sweeping from the pike gate between two rows of softly glowing, gently swinging Japanese lanterns, up to the noble old Southern home gleaming like a fairy palace on the top of a little hill; the gay gathering of the gentlefolk of the State; the aisle made through them by two silken white ribbons and leading to the rose-canopied altar; the coming down that aisle of the radiant bride with her flowers, and her bridesmaids with theirs; the eager waiting of the young bridegroom, the bending of two proud, sunny heads close together, and the God-sealed union of their hearts and lives. And then the silent coming of a great gleaming motor-car, the showers of rice, the showering chorus of gay good wishes and good-bys, and then they shot away in the night for some mysterious bourne of the honeymoon. And behind them the dance went on till dawn. The paper dropped in Mavis’s lap, and Martha Hawn sighed and rose to get ready for bed.
“My, but some folks is lucky!”
On the porch Mavis waited up awhile, with no envy in her heart. The moon was soaring over the crest of the Cumberland, and somewhere, doubtless, Marjorie and Gray, too, had their eyes lifted toward it. She looked toward the little gap in the western hills where Gray’s star had gone down.
“I’m so glad they’re happy,” she whispered.
The moon darkened just then, and beyond and over the dark spur flashed a new light in the sky, that ran up the mounting clouds like climbing roses of flame. The girl smiled happily. Under it tired Jason was asleep, but the light up there was the work of his hands below, and it hung in the heavens like a pillar of fire.
Sitting on the porch next morning, Mavis and Martha Hawn saw Jason come striding down the spur.
“I’m taking a holiday to-day,” he said, and there was a light in his eyes and a quizzical smile on his face that puzzled Mavis, but the mother was quick to understand. It was Saturday, a holiday, too, for Mavis, and a long one, for her school had just closed that her children might work in the fields. Without a word, but still smiling to himself, Jason went out on the back porch, got a hoe, and disappeared behind the garden fence. He came back presently with a tin can in his hands and held it out to Mavis.