“The South thrills and calls. After all, though I was born in the Adirondacks, I am Southern, every inch of me. The Westfalls have been Florida folk since the beginning of time.
“There is an interesting nomad in a picturesque suit of corduroy who crosses my path from time to time with an eccentric music-machine. Sometimes I see him gravely organ-grinding for a crowd of youngsters, sometimes—with an innate courtliness characteristic of him—for a white-haired couple by a garden gate. He is wandering about in search of health. Oddly, his way lies, too, through Kentucky and Tennessee, to Florida. He—and Ann, dear, this confidence of his I must beg you to respect, as I know you will—is a Hungarian nobleman, picturesquely disguised because of some political quarrel with his country. He writes excellent verse in French and Latin, is a clever linguist, and has a marvelous fund of knowledge about birds and flowers. Altogether he is a cultured, courtly, handsome man whom I have found vastly entertaining. Romantic, isn’t it?
“A letter to Eadsville, Kentucky, will reach me if you write as soon as this reaches you.
Let him who is more versed in the science of a nomad’s mind than I, say why there was no mention of the hay-camp!
Ann’s answer came in course of time to Eadsville. As Ann talked in sprightly italics, so was her letter made striking and emphatic by numberless underlinings.
“How very romantic!” ran a part of it. “I am mad about your nobleman! Isn’t it wonderful to have such unique and thrilling adventures? I suppose you hung things up on the walls of the cave and built a delightfully smoky fire and that the Hungarian—bless his heart!—trimmed his corduroy suit with an ancestral stiletto, and paid his courtly respects to the beautiful gypsy hermit and fell desperately in love with her, as well he might. I would myself!
“Diane, I simply must see him! I’m dying for a new sensation. Ever since Baron Tregar’s car was stolen from the farm garage and his handsome secretary mysteriously disappeared (by the way, it’s Philip Poynter—Carl knows him—do you?) and then reappeared with a most unsatisfactory explanation which didn’t in the least explain where he had been—only to up and disappear again as strangely as before, and the very next morning—life has been terribly monotonous. And mother had a rustic seizure and made us stay at the farm all summer. Imagine! Dick’s aeroplaned the tops off all the trees!
“Do beg your Hungarian to join us at Palm Beach in January. It would be most interesting and novel and I’ll swear on the ancestral stiletto to preserve his incognito! You remember you solemnly promised to come to me in January, no matter where you were! My enthusiasm grows as I write—it always does. I’m planning a fete de nuit—masked of course. Do please induce the romantic musician to attend. I must have him. I’m sure he’ll enjoy a few days of conventional respectability and so will you. I’ll lend you as many gowns as you need, you dear, delightful gypsy!”