He went down our garden path whistling, his cap on the back of his head, and I looked after him with the warm and comforting sense that the world is just that much better for such as he.
The boy was now, in his last high school year, planning to study law—all the Maynes took to law as a duck to water. Brave, simple-hearted, direct, clear-thinking, scrupulously honorable,—this was one of the diamonds used to cut the rough hard surface of Slippy McGee.
On a morning in late March, with a sweet and fresh wind blowing, a clear sun shining, and a sky so full of soft white woolly clouds that you might fancy the sky-people had turned their fleecy flock out to graze in the deep blue pastures, Laurence Mayne and I brought John Flint downstairs and rolled him out into the glad, green garden, in the comfortable wheel-chair that the mill-people had given us for a Christmas present; my mother and Clelie followed, and our little dog Pitache marched ahead, putting on ridiculous airs of responsibility; he being a dog with a great idea of his own importance and wholly given over to the notion that nothing could go right if he were not there to superintend and oversee it.
The wistaria was in her zenith, girdling the tree-tops with amethyst; the Cherokee rose had just begun to reign, all in snow-white velvet, with a gold crown and a green girdle for greater glory; the greedy brown grumbling bees came to her table in dusty cohorts, and over her green bowers floated her gayer lovers the early butterflies, clothed delicately as in kings’ raiment. In the corners glowed the ruby-colored Japanese quince, and the long sprays of that flower I most dearly love, the spring-like spirea which the children call bridal wreath, brushed you gently as you passed the gate. I never see it deck itself in bridal white, I never inhale its shy, clean scent, without a tightening of the throat, a misting of the eyes, a melting of the heart.
Across our garden and across Miss Sally Ruth Dexter’s you could see in Major Appleby Cartwright’s yard the peach trees in pink party dresses, ruffled by the wind. Down the paths marched my mother’s daffodils and hyacinths, with honey-breathing sweet alyssum in between. Robins and wrens, orioles and mocking-birds, blue jays and jackdaws, thrushes and blue-birds and cardinals, all were busy house-building; one heard calls and answers, saw flashes of painted wings, followed by outbursts of ecstasy. If one should lay one’s ear to the ground on such a morning I think one might hear the heart of the world.
“Hallelujah! Risen! Risen!” breathed the glad, green things, pushing from the warm mother-mold.
“Living! Living! Loving! Loving!” flashed and fluted the flying things, joyously.