No need to tell her that her courage must not falter at that last moment, which would soon come. He knew it, as he looked straight into those steadfast, loving[Pg 131] eyes. She clung to his hand and stooped and kissed it, too; then she went to the children and took them, quivering and crying, into the other room, and closed the dividing door.
He turned and went back to the cabin, where his wife stood at the door, with the children clinging to her. From down the north road there came a blood-freezing yell, and a shot, reverberating, rattling from hill to hill, muffling into silence among the crowding pines. She had been sufficiently ashamed of herself thereafter, and totally unable to understand her own evil[Pg 312] impulse. As she lay swinging in the hammock, she remembered this and many other things connected with that abhorred period of compulsory civilization and of success. The hot, close, dead, sweet smell of the petunias, wilting in the August sun, and the surface-baked earth came up to her. It made her vaguely heartsick and depressed. The mood was unusual with her. She wished intensely that her husband would come back.