“Now, wasn’t that curious?” said Jason, and Mavis nodded silently.
All the time they had been drifting along the backward current of memories, and perhaps it was that current that bore them unconsciously along when they rose, for unconsciously Jason went on toward the river, until once more they stood on the little knoll whence they had first seen Gray and Marjorie ride through the arched opening of the trees. Hitherto, speech had been as sparse between them as it had been that long-ago day, but here they looked suddenly into each other’s eyes, and each knew the other’s thought.
“Are you sorry, Mavis?”
She flushed a little.
“Not now”; and then shyly, “are you?”
“Not now,” repeated Jason.
Back they went again, lapsing once more into silence, until they came again to the point where they had started to part that day, and Mavis’s fear had led him to take her down the dark ravine to her home. The spirals of smoke were even rising on either side of the spur from Jason’s cottage and his mother’s home, and both high above were melting into each other and into the drowsy haze that, veiled the face of the mountain. Jason turned quickly, and the subdued fire in his eyes made the girl’s face burn and her eyes droop.
“Mavis,” he said huskily, “do you remember what I said that day right here?”
And then suddenly the woman became the brave.
“Yes, Jasie,” she said, meeting his eyes unflinchingly now and with a throb of desire to end his doubt and suffering quickly:
“And I remember what we both did—once.”
She looked down toward the old circuit rider’s house at the forks of the road, and Jason’s hand and lip trembled and his face was transfigured with unbelievable happiness.
“Why, Mavis—I thought you—Gray—Mavis, will you, will you?”
“Poor Jasie,” she said, and almost as a mother to a child who had long suffered she gently put both arms around his neck, and, as his arms crushed her to him, lifted her mouth to meet his.
Two hours it took Jason to go to town and back, galloping all the way. And then at sunset they walked together through the old circuit rider’s gate and to the porch, and stood before the old man hand in hand.
“Me an’ Mavis hyeh want to git married,” said Jason, with a jesting smile, and the old man’s memory was as quick as his humor.
“Have ye got a license?” he asked, with a serious pursing of his lips. “You got to have a license, an’ hit costs two dollars an’ you got to be a man.”
Jason smilingly pulled a paper from his pockets, and Mavis interrupted:
“He’s my man.”
“Well, he will be in a minute—come in hyeh.”
The old circuit rider’s wife met them at the door and hugged them both, and when they came out on the porch again, there was Jason’s mother hurrying down the spur and calling to them with a half-tearful laugh of triumph.