I'll be your real Prince Quippi not a a paper-doll, thinkish one, and come after you." "Clear from China?" Leigh queried. "Yes, when I'm a big soldier like my papa, and we'll go off to the purple notches and live." "You don't look like my Prince Quippi," Leigh insisted.
"But I can grow to look like any thing I want to like a big elephant or a hippopopamus or a angel, or any thing," Thaine assured her. "Well, escuse me from any of the free a angel or a elephant. I don't know what the poppy one is, but it's too poppy," Leigh said decisively. There were others in the Grass River settlement who would have envied the mythical Prince Quippi also.
See, the storm didn't get this side of the purple notches; it stayed over there with Pryor Gaines and Prince Quippi." They rode awhile in silence, then Thaine said: "Leigh, I will go up to Careyville and send Doctor Carey down to Cloverdale to see you. It will save you some time at least, and I'll tell him you want to see him particularly and alone.
The sun had disappeared suddenly and the gleam of the blossoms dulled a trifle. Leigh sat down on a slab of shale to study the effect of the shadow. "Are you still looking for a letter that will bring Prince Quippi back?" Thaine Aydelot asked as he climbed up from the rough stream bed to a seat beside her. "I'm watching the effect of sunshine and shadow on the sunflowers," Leigh replied.
With a glad cry, she dropped the blossoms and sprang to her feet. "Prince Quippi couldn't come nor write, so he sent me. Will I do for an answer, Leighlie? I was coming back to the blessed old prairies, anyhow; to my father and mother and the life of a farmer.
"Jo will write all the letters you'll have time to answer," Leigh asserted. "Oh, she says she's going to Lawrence too, if her pa-paw is elected County Treasurer. We'll be in the University together. You'll just have to write to me, Leighlie." "Not unless you go to China. I'll send you a letter there like I used to send to Prince Quippi." There was a sudden pathos in her tone. "Will you?
Oh, Leigh, will you?" Thaine asked, gaily, looking down into her face, white and dainty in the soft light. "Quippi never answered one of them, but I would if I was over there, and I may go yet. There's no telling." Leigh looked up with her eyes full of pain. "Why, I didn't mean to tease you," Thaine declared. "Thaine, Pryor Gaines is to start to China tomorrow.
You see why I forgot." He took a little package from his writing desk and gave it into Thaine Aydelot's hand. The young soldier tried to open it with steady fingers, for the address was in a handwriting he knew well. Inside a flat little box was a card bearing the words: To Prince Quippi, Beyond the Purple Notches. And underneath that lay a withered little yellow sunflower.
In the pause before the first onslaught he thought of many things confusedly and a few most vividly. He thought of Leigh Shirley and her childish dream of Prince Quippi in China the China just beyond the purple notches. He thought of his mother as she had looked that spring morning when he talked of enlisting for the Spanish War. He thought of his father, who had never known fear in his life.
She had to send a letter to Prince Quippi every day or he would think she did not love him. Of course, she loved Uncle Jim best of what she called folks but Prince Quippi was big and brown and handsome; and, strangely enough, the only kind of letter he could read from her was in a flower.