“’My love’s an arbutus
On the borders of Lene,’”
sang the Maestro, in his gentle voice. “Listen and I will tell you what you must say to Felicia when you crown her Queen of the May.”
The falling sun found the wreath completed and the verse learned, and the two went hand in hand back through the shadowy garden.
“Won’t you make music to-day?” Kirk begged.
“Not to-day,” said the old gentleman. “This day we go a-maying. But I am glad you do not forget the music.”
“How could I?” said Kirk. At the hedge, he added: “I’d like to put a bit of arbutus in your buttonhole, for your May.”
He held out a sprig in not quite the right direction, and the Maestro stepped forward and stooped to him, while Kirk’s fingers found the buttonhole.
“Now the Folk can do me no harm,” smiled the old gentleman. “Good-by, my dear.”
* * * * *
Felicia was setting the table, with the candle-light about her hair. If Kirk could have seen her, he would indeed have thought her beautiful. He stood with one hand on the door-post, the other behind him. “Phil?” he said.
“Here,” said Felicia. “Where have you been, honey?”
He advanced to the middle of the room, and stopped. There was something so solemn and unchancy about him that his sister put a handful of forks and spoons on the table and stood looking at him. Then he said, slowly:
“I come a-maying through the wood,
A-for to find my queen;
She must be glad and she must be good,
And the fairest ever seen.
And now have I no further need
To seek for loveliness;
She standeth at my side indeed—
With which he produced the wreath of Mayflowers, and, flinging himself suddenly upon her with a hug not specified in the rite, cast it upon her chestnut locks and twined himself joyfully around her. Phil, quite overcome, collapsed into the nearest chair, Kirk, May-flowers and all, and it was there that Ken found them, rapturously embracing each other, the May Queen bewitchingly pretty with her wreath over one ear. “I didn’t make it up,” Kirk said, at supper. “The Maestro did—or at least he said the Folk taught him one like it. I can’t remember the thanking one he sang before the feast. And Ken, he says your name’s good Anglo-Saxon and means ‘a defender of his kindred.’”
“It does, does it?” said Ken. “You’ll get so magicked over there some time that we’ll never see you again; or else you’ll come back cast into a spell, and there’ll be no peace living with you.”
“No, I won’t,” Kirk said. “And I like it. It makes things more interesting.”
“I should think so,” said Ken—secretly, perhaps, a shade envious of the Maestro’s ability.
As he locked up Applegate Farm that night, he stopped for a moment at the door to look at the misty stars and listen to the wind in the orchard.