When at last I grew sleepy, kind maids arranged a couch of snowy linen for me, and I slept until the banquet royal was over when the guests returned to their homes.
But me lord, the butler, eyed me with questioning curiosity.
“Aw me lad, h’and where did your father get ’is blooming costume?” he asked.
“Mother supplied it, good sir,” I answered.
“Hi say, me lad,” he laughed, “your mother h’is a grand lydie, you tike me word for h’it; h’in h’England they would decorate that suit with the h’order h’of the garter!”
“Honi soit, qui mal y pense!” I lisped.
A MAID OF YAVAPAI.
To S. M. H.
(An idyllic sketch.)
People from every land sojourn in Arizona.
From the Atlantic’s sandy coasts, the icy shores of crystal lakes, from turbid miasmatic swamps—east, north and south, they come.
Over mountain, canyon and gulch they roam, prospecting nature’s grandest wonders.
But the purest gold on Arizona’s literary field, that was found by the genius of a lonesome valley’s queen, the song-lark of our “Great Southwest.”
From the sheltering tree of her ancestral hall shyly she fluttered forth.
Among stony crags of the sierra, on fearsome dizzy trails, in the somber shadows of virgin forests, in the rustling of wind-blown leaves (the seductive swish of elfin skirts) she heard the voices of Juno’s sylvan train. Enchanted she listened to the syren’s call, and ere the echo died within her ear she had devoted her talent to literature, a priestess self-ordained in Arizona’s temple of the muses.
In the flight of her poetic mind she met his majesty, king of the hills, the mountain-lion at the threshold of his lair and toyed with his cubs, princes and heirs to freedom.
She heard the were-wolf scourge of herds, fierce lobos snarl in silent groves of timber and shivered at the coyote’s piercing yelps from grave yards in the valleys.
At nighttime, in her lonely camp the dread tarantela disturbed her rest and in day’s early gloam a warning rattle of creepy serpents sounded her reveille:
“Fair maid, awake, arise in haste! When darkness vanishes with dawn, heed our alarm-clock in the morn!”
She spoke not to the sullen bear, in cautious silence passed him by and shunned the fetid breath of monster lizards and venom stings of centipedes and scorpions; but woman-like she feared the hydrophobia-skunk more for its scent than for its deadly poison.
She heeded not the half-tamed Indian on the trail; but the insolent leer of Sonora’s scum, the brutalized peon, the low caste chulo of Chihuahua, froze into the panic-stare of abject terror under the straight glance of her eye. The slightest motion of her tender hand to him augured a sudden death, for she was of Arizona’s daughters, invulnerable in the armor of their self-reliant strength, a shield of lovely innocence, white as the snow is driven.