Tuesday, December 13, 2011

IN QUEST OF THE SUNSET; by F. Roney Weir; part 4 of 4; June 1915

He looked at her and laughed and slapped his knee. “You're the same old tease you always were, aren't you, Alvira? Want me to tell you? I haven't got the price of a good fiddle and never shall have in this world. When I git up above, I s'pose I shall have to content myself with a harp but I'd darn sight rather have a fiddle.”

They laughed together like children, shutting their eyes tight and gasping in their glee. He sobered to explain.

“I've got my pension but that goes to pay a big debt that I've always had on my hands—a debt my boy incurred--”

“Don't think about it,” she soothed, recognizing the agony in his face. “Don't try to tell me anything about it. It is past and gone now---”

“And the debt is about paid,” he announced. “I'll be scott free in another year, and---”

“How would you like to go back and live on the old place?” she asked suddenly.

“How would I like it? How would I like to go to heaven?”

“How would you like to go back and run the farm? It's my farm yet. I've never been able to bring myself to sell it. I'm homesick to go back, but—I can't go alone---”

“Alvira Dole!” He was staring at her excitedly. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, let us take hold of hands and run—away—home!”

“Why—Alvira! I haven't a cent in the world!”

“I'm almost a rich woman, Rob—as riches go back there in the country. If I stay out here with Vesta and the girls many years longer, though, I won't have a cent to bless myself with. I don't know why it wouldn't be about as commendable to spend my money buying a fiddle for you as paying for bridge whist parties and dinners. I like you better than I do Vesta's family.”

It was getting dusk; the afterglow even, was at an end. He drew her to him and kissed her.

“Fifty years behind time,” he said, “but a blessed kiss after all!”

“If I buy the fiddle you must practice,” she warned.

“Oh, I'll saw away,” he promised. “Why, you know, Alvira Dole, it seems like one of these here fooling dreams that leave you lonesomer than ever when you wake up!”

“We'll give a series of sunset parties,” said Alvira, “where there will be very little good form but lots of good things to eat and much good neighborly feeling of the old-fashioned kind.

“Vesta won't favor this arrangement any to speak of,” she added. “Vesta is my own child but her family and her interests are alien to me. They want to live always in the morning of life. When you really begin to get old is restful to settle into middle-aged ways, to accept the quiet and comfort of afternoon. I shall be very glad, Rob, very glad indeed, to go back home with you and rest.