To which Diane’s answer was eminently satisfactory.
“Last night as Johnny was getting supper,” she wrote, “our minstrel appeared with a great bunch of silver-rod and I begged him to stay to supper. He was greatly gratified and when later I confessed my indiscreet revelation to you—and your invitation—he accepted it instantly. He will be honored to be your guest, he said, provided of course he may depend upon us to preserve his incognito. That is very important. Do you know it is astonishing how I find myself keyed up to the most amazing pitch of interest in him—he’s so mysterious and romantic and magnetic.
“Your constant craving for new and original sensations brings back a lot of memories. Will you never get over it?
“I shall probably leave the van with Johnny at Jacksonville and go down by rail. There are certain spectacular complications incident to an arrival at Palm Beach in the van which would be very distasteful, to say the least. Besides, I’d be later than we planned.”
For most likely, reflected Diane, nibbling intently at the end of her pen, most likely Palm Beach had never seen a hay-camp and much Mr. Poynter would care!
THE LONELY CAMPER
The west was yellow. High on the mountain where a mad little waterfall sprayed the bushes of laurel and rhododendron with quicksilver, the afterglow of the sunset on the tumbling water made a streak of saffron. The wings of a homing eagle were golden-black against the sky. Over there above the cornfields to the west there was a cliff and a black and bushy ravine over which soared a buzzard or two. Presently when the moon rose its splendid alchemy would turn the black to glowing silver.
A Kentucky brook chuckled boisterously by the hay-camp, tumbling headlong over mossy logs and stones and a tangled lacery of drenched ferns.
Philip laid aside a bow and arrow upon which he had been busily working since supper and summoned Dick Whittington. Beyond, through oak and poplar, glowed the camp fire of his lady.
“Likely we’ll tramp about a bit, Richard, if you’re willing,” said he. “Somehow, we’re infernally restless to-night and just why our lady has seen fit to pile that abominable silver-rod in such a place of honor by her tent, we can’t for the life of us see. It’s nothing like so pretty as the goldenrod. By and by, Whittington,” Philip felt for his pipe and filled it, “we’ll have our wildwood bow and arrows done and we fancy somehow that our gypsy’s wonderful black eyes are going to shine a hit over that. Why? Lord, Dick, you do ask foolish questions! Our beautiful lady’s an archer and a capital one too, says Johnny—even if she does like beastly silver-rod.”
Somewhat out of sorts the Duke of Connecticut set off abruptly through the trees with the dog at his heels.