The Heart of the Hills eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 340 pages of information about The Heart of the Hills.
impulse of protecting Gray, and his shame went deeper still.  He did not go to the training-table that night, and the moonlight found him under the old willows wondering and brooding, as he had been—­long and hard.  Gray was too much for him, and the mountain boy had not been able to solve the mystery of the Blue-grass boy’s power over his fellows, for the social complexity of things had unravelled very slowly for Jason.  He saw that each county had brought its local patriotism to college and had its county club.  There were too few students from the hills and a sectional club was forming, “The Mountain Club,” into which Jason naturally had gone; but broadly the students were divided into “frat” men and “non-frat” men, chiefly along social lines, and there were literary clubs of which the watchword was merit and nothing else.  In all these sectional cliques from the Purchase, Pennyroyal, and Peavine, as the western border of the State, the southern border, and the eastern border of hills were called; indeed, in all the sections except the Bear-grass, where was the largest town and where the greatest wealth of the State was concentrated, he found a widespread, subconscious, home-nursed resentment brought to that college against the lordly Blue-grass.  In the social life of the college he found that resentment rarely if ever voiced, but always tirelessly at work.  He was not surprised then to discover that in the history of the college, Gray Pendleton was the first plainsman, the first aristocrat, who had ever been captain of the team and the president of his class.  He began to understand now, for he could feel the tendrils of the boy’s magnetic personality enclosing even him, and by and by he could stand it no longer, and he went to Gray.

“I wanted to kill you that day.”

Gray smiled.

“I knew it,” he said quietly.

“Then why—­”

“We were playing foot-ball.  Almost anybody can lose his head entirely—­but you didn’t.  That’s why I didn’t say anything to you afterward.  That’s why you’ll be captain of the team after I’m gone.”

Again Jason choked, and again he turned speechless away, and then and there was born within him an idolatry for Gray that was carefully locked in his own breast, for your mountaineer openly worships, and then but shyly, the Almighty alone.  Jason no longer wondered about the attitude of faculty and students of both sexes toward Gray, no longer at Mavis, but at Marjorie he kept on wondering mightily, for she alone seemed the one exception to the general rule.  Like everybody else, Jason knew the parental purpose where those two were concerned, and he began to laugh at the daring presumptions of his own past dreams and to worship now only from afar.  But he could not know the effect of that parental purpose on that wilful, high-strung young person, the pique that Gray’s frank interest in Mavis brought to life within her, and he was not yet far enough along in the classics to suspect that Marjorie might weary of hearing Aristides called the Just.  Nor could he know the spirit of coquetry that lurked deep behind her serious eyes, and was for that reason the more dangerously effective.

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The Heart of the Hills from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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