With many salams, the strangers were ushered into my presence by an old white-haired servitor of Media's, who with a parting conge murmured, "From Queen Hautia," then departed. Surprised, I stood mute, and welcomed them. The first, with many smiles and blandishments, waved before me a many-tinted Iris: the flag-flower streaming with pennons.
Advancing, the second then presented three rose-hued purple-veined Circea flowers, the dew still clinging to them. The third placed in my hand a moss-rose bud; then, a Venus-car. "Thanks for your favors! now your message." Starting at this reception, graciously intended, they conferred a moment; when the Iris-bearer said in winning phrase, "We come from Hautia, whose moss-rose you hold."
"Then merry may she be, whoe'er she is; and though woe be mine, I turn not from that to Hautia; nor ever will I woo her, though she woo me till I die; though Yillah never bless my eyes." Night passed; and next morning we made preparations for leaving Mondoldo that day.
This done, they earnestly eyed Yoomy; who, after much pondering, said "I speak for Hautia; who by these berries says, I will enlighten you." "Oh, give me then that light! say, where is Yillah?" and I rushed upon the heralds. But eluding me, they looked reproachfully at Yoomy; and seemed offended. "Then, I am wrong," said Yoomy.
Yes, Hautia! enlightened I had been but where was Yillah? Then I recalled that last interview with Hautia's messengers, so full of enigmas; and wondered, whether Yoomy had interpreted aright. Unseen, and unsolicited; still pursuing me with omens, with taunts, and with wooings, mysterious Hautia appalled me. Vaguely I began to fear her.
"All thanks to Hautia then; the bud is very fragrant." Then she pointed to the Venus-car. "This too is sweet; thanks to Hautia for her flowers. Pray, bring me more." "He mocks our mistress," and gliding from me, they waved witch- hazels, leaving me alone and wondering. Informing Media of this scene, he smiled; threw out queer hints of Hautia; but knew not what her message meant.
At first this affair occasioned me no little uneasiness, with much matter for marveling; but in the novel pleasure of our sojourn in Odo, it soon slipped from my mind; nor for some time, did I again hear aught of Queen Hautia.
Said Media, "Well done, Taji, you have killed a queen." "Yet no Queen Hautia have these eyes beheld." Said Babbalanja, "The thrice waved oleanders, Yoomy; what meant they?" "Beware beware beware." "Then that, at least, seems kindly meant," said Babbalanja; "Taji, beware of Hautia."
Then the damsels floated on. "Was ever queen more enigmatical?" cried Media "Love, death, joy, fly to me? But what says Taji?" "That I turn not back for Hautia; whoe'er she be, that wild witch I contemn." "Then spread our pinions wide! a breeze! up sails! ply paddles all! Come, Flora's flute, float forth a song."