Diane was quite sure it would not and later Philip departed for the hay-camp in the best of spirits. In the morning Diane found a conspicuous placard hung upon a tree. The placard bore a bombastic ode, most clever in its trenchant satire, entitled—“To a Wild Mosquito—by One who Knows!”
Since an ill-fated occasion when Mr. Poynter had found a neatly indited ode to a wild geranium written in a flowing foreign hand, his literary output had been prodigious. Dirges, odes, sonnets and elegies frequently appeared in spectacular places about the camp and as Mr. Poynter’s highly sympathetic nature led him to eulogize the lowlier and less poetic life of the woodland, the result was frequently of striking originality.
Convinced that Mr. Poynter’s eyes were upon her from the hay-camp, Diane read the ode with absolute gravity and consigned it to the fire.
The minstrel’s attitude toward the hay-nomad might be one of subtle undermining and shrugging ridicule, but surely with his imperturbable gift of satire, Mr. Poynter held the cards!
Still another morning Diane found a book at the edge of her camp.
“I am dropping this accidentally as I leave,” read the fly leaf in Philip’s scrawl. “I don’t want you to suspect my classic tastes, but what can I do if you find the book!”
It was a volume of Herodotus in the original Greek!
Buckwheat was cut, harvest brooded hazily over the land and the fields were bright with goldenrod when Diane turned sharply across Virginia to Kentucky.
“It is already autumn,” she wrote to Ann Sherrill. “The summer has flown by like a bright-winged bird. For days now the forests have been splashed with red and gold. The orchards are heavy with harvest apples, the tassels of the corn are dark and rusty, and the dooryards of the country houses riot gorgeously in scarlet sage and marigold, asters and gladiolas. The twilight falls more swiftly now and the nights are cooler but before the frost sweeps across the land I shall be in Georgia.
“For all it is autumn elsewhere, here in this wonderful blue grass land, it is spring again, a second spring. The autumn sunlight over the woods and pastures is deeply, richly yellow. There are meadow larks and off somewhere the tinkle of a cow bell. Oh, Ann, how good it is to be alive!
“Ages ago, in that remote and barbarous past when I lived with a roof above my head, there were times when every pulse of my body cried and begged for life—for gypsy life and gypsy wind and the song of the roaring river! Now, somehow, I feel that I have lived indeed—so fully that a wonderful flood tide of peace and happiness flows strongly in my veins. I am brown and happy. Each day I cook and tramp and fish and swim and sleep—how I sleep with the leaves rustling a lullaby of infinite peace above me! Would you believe that I lived for two days and nights in a mountain cave? I did indeed, but Johnny was greatly troubled. Aunt Agatha stuffed his head with commands.