“Well!” said Philip. “Well!”
He was shaken a little and cleared his throat, at a loss for words.
“You—you infernal dub!” said Carl. It was all he could trust himself to say.
It was a singular greeting, Mic-co thought, and very eloquent.
THE RAIN UPON THE WIGWAM
To the heart of the gypsy there is a kindred voice in the cheerful crackle of a camp fire—in the wind that rustles tree and grass—in the song of a bird or the hum of bees—in the lap of a lake or the brilliant trail of a shooting star.
A winter forest of tracking snow is rife with messages of furry folk who prowl by night. Moon-checkered trees fling wavering banners of gypsy hieroglyphics upon the ground. Sun and moon and cloud and the fiery color-pot of the firmament write their symbols upon the horizon for gypsy eyes to read.
What wonder then that the milky clouds which piled fantastically above the Indian camp fashioned hazily at times into curious boats sailing away to another land? What wonder if the dawn was streaked with imperial purple? What wonder if Diane built faces and fancies in the ember-glow of the Seminole fire-wheel? What wonder if like the pine-wood sparrow and the wind of Okeechobee the voice of the woodland always questioned? Conscience, soul-argument—what you will—there were voices in the wild which stirred the girl’s heart to introspection.
So it was with the rain which, at the dark of the moon, pattered gently on the palmetto roof of her wigwam.
“And now,” said the rain with a soft gust of flying drops, “now there is Sho-caw!”
“Yes,” said Diane with a sigh, “there is Sho-caw. I am very sorry.”
“But,” warned the rain, “one must not forget. At Keela’s teaching you have fallen into the soft, musical tongue of these Indian folk with marvelous ease. And you wear the Seminole dress of a chief—”
“Yes. After all, that was imprudent—”
“You can ride and shoot an arrow swift and far. Your eyes are keen and your tread lithe and soft like a fawn—”
“It is all the wild lore of the woodland I learned as a child.”
“But Sho-caw does not know! To him the gypsy heart of you, the sun-brown skin and scarlet cheeks, the night-black hair beneath the turban, are but the lure and charm of an errant daughter of the O-kee-fee-ne-kee wilderness. What wonder that he can not see you as you are, a dark-eyed child of the race of white men!”
“I do not wonder.”
“He has been grave and very deferential, gathered wood for you and carried water. Yesterday there was a freshly killed deer at the door of the wigwam. It is the first shy overture of the wooing Seminole.”
“I know. Keela has told me. It has all frightened me a little. I—I think I had better go away again.”