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then she spread a sheepskin by the bowl, and, kneeling on it, stirred the yucca roots vigorously in the water. The suds mounted, a pretty sight. Chii beckoned me to take her place on the sheepskin. I knelt, facing east, and with the bestalked corn-ear as a dipper Chii put some suds on the top of my head, dabbing twice with the corn-dipper. She did this four times, praying the while. Over against the wall Sixtaime sang a low song, the asnaya ritual song of his clan. Now Chii's place on my right was taken by her daughter, Naboi, also, in accordance with Hopi kinship nomenclature, my aunt. The dipping rite was repeated without prayer. It was the turn of Öte, the grandson, a boy of eight, and then of his sister, a year-old baby, whose hand was made to clasp the cornstalk by her mother and directed in the proper way. The baby was followed by Agnes and "Nettie's mother," the two clanswomen from other houses.
My "father," aside from his song, took no part in this washing, nor did the husband of Naboi, who belonged, of course, to another clan; besides, headwashing is always a woman's function. Now I think of it, it is a puzzle why Öte, "my little father," took part. I did not think to ask about it at the time. At
Zuñi one might have suspected that the little boy was destined to be a klathmana, one who changes his sex because he prefers the work and interests of women; but among the Hopi there are none of these men-women.
The ritual washing over, my aunt proceeded to give my head a thorough washing, also my face. Here I misbehaved, I suspect. The water running down my neck I ignored, but I wiped my eyes. Fortunately, however, not too much, for Chii had now to rub my face with corn-meal, and the skin had to be wet for the meal to stick. With the washing they had washed away my "old name and life." Rubbing on the meal meant I was to start anew; I was being given new life.
Chii rubbed my face and chest, and my right hand she filled with the cornmeal from her small glass bowl. On top of the meal in my hand she laid the ear of corn, stalk outward. "Nettie's mother," who had been the last to en
gage in the washing rite, now stepped up, knelt by me, took the ear of corn, and with a circular motion waving it four times toward me she said in Hopi, "Talasveñsi, thus named, may you live to be old and your life prosper." She replaced the corn-ear in my hand for the next to use in a similar way. Agnes seemed not to have thought of a name in advance, and she knelt there with bowed head for two or three minutes, trying to think. Finally she thought of Yuyuhuñnöma, and pronouncing it, she repeated the formula of blessing. In the reverse order that was being followed it was the baby's turn; but this time the baby was passed over, and the little boy took position, naming me Suñawaimana, Pretty Girl. There was a little laughter over this, but whether the joke was on me or on the little boy I had to guess. To these names, following the ritual, daughter and mother of the house added Kümaiyaunöma and Kumawaisi.
"Thank you for us all; it is done," said my aunt, and with a smile to each on my part, my "father" led the way back across the plaza and on beyond to the shrine at the edge of the mesa, where live in stone some of the guardians of the town, chiefs, like Mountain Lion or Bear or Sun, who had said of old that they were withdrawing from their disobedient people, to live somewhere else, and yet to live, too, in these stones. "Pray to us, and we shall hear you," they had said. Into this pahoki, or place for paho, or prayer-sticks, Sixtaime indicated that I was to sprinkle the meal I still held in my hand. Guessing at the correct ritual, I held the meal to my mouth to breathe from, and then with a fourfold sweeping gesture sprinkled it into the shrine. The proper prayer I did not know, so Sixtaime prayed for me as I sprinkled, formulas much like those used in the naming rite; but in this case it is said to be the sun to whom one tells one's name, and from whom one asks for long life and prosperity.
Back in my house,—that is, the house of what would now be considered my own clar, the Mustard clan,-Sixtaime told the household my several names: Talasveñsi, or Corn Pollen; Yuyuhöñnoma, or Cloud-Covered Rain-Streaks; Suñawaimana; Kümayaunöma; and
Kümawaisi, the last two names referring each to the corn-meal that is rubbed on the face. Yuyuhuñnöma appeared to appeal to them most; that was the name they thought would "stick." I, too, liked it best. It describes, as one may suppose, the familiar phenomenon of a heavy rain-cloud fringing along its lower edge into slanting streaks of rain, and a phenomenon that is commonly expressed in Pueblo Indian art by the design of a semicircle over parallel straight lines.
For Yuyuhuñnöma and all these other names, I sad to John, who was interpreting, I wanted to thank my "father," and I would thank him in Zuñi fashion. So taking his right hand in mine, I raised it toward my mouth, breathing in from it. Without unclasping my hand, my "father" drew it in turn toward his mouth and breathed in. This handclasp at Zuñi, and probably elsewhere, is not, directly at least, a gesture of thanks; it serves as a greeting or farewell to priests or doctors. However, knowing the elasticity in application of Pueblo Indian patterns, it occurred to me just then as a suitable expression of feeling on the part of a visitor from Zuñi. Giving thanks at all was an innovation, too, for the thanksgiving was properly the other way around. My "father" and his "sisters" were supposed to give thanks to me for becoming their child; nevertheless, it seemed to me at the moment that some expression of gratitude was due my "father" from me as a white. Too thorough an affect of assimilation is, after all, not acceptable, as I had lately learned from the story about a certain white visitor at Hano whom they had liked very much in the beginning, and "then did n't like any more" because she began to dress as a Hopi girl. Moccasins were all very well, I was told (I was wearing moccasins), but when it came to wheeling the hair, hair-wheels were for Hopi girls, not for white girls.
Well, relevant or not as was my Zuñi hand-clasp, it served to remind Sixtaime of a visit he had once paid Zuñi. He talked about it. Finally he said that now he, too, would give me a name, a Zuñi name, and he took from me the ear of corn and, waving it in front of me, named me in Zuñi Utean E'le, Flower
Girl, a name, as John interpreted, which referred to all the blossoms of Zuñi, the blossom of every plant that grew at Zuñi.
To Zuñi in two days I was scheduled to return. Meanwhile the next day I carried in to Nettie's mother, who was preparing to feed her working party on the return from the fields that afternoon, a basket-placque heaped with corn-meal, -one always did that for one's aunt on such occasions, and just before leaving the mesa very early in the morning I called on Chii and her household to say good-by. This time we all talked English, fairly fluent English at that. The buggy was driving off when "my little father" came running after us with the present of a little pottery bowl. For some reason the large bowl in which my head had been washed had not been given to me, according to rule, and Sixtaime had been apologetic about the omission; they would repair it, he said, when I came back to them, and this little bowl was, I suppose, an earnest of that expectation. It was a pleasant departure into the translucent desert.
Back in Zuñi I returned John's picture to Flora, telling her the story of my visit, and incidentally showing her the ear of corn which I was to keep as "my mother" until I died. "Yes, we do that, too," said Flora. When he first visited them, John's head had been washed by her household. On that it seemed to occur to her that I might wonder why they had never performed the rite for me, also a stranger and their friend. "But because we are what we are," she said, referring to the high position of her family in the hierarchy, "they would not let us wash the heads of white people-or of Navaho." I was unmerciful.
"The Muki would not wash the head of a Navaho, either," I observed; "but they wash the head of a Melika-as yet."
Flora admired my new Hopi names. Then I told her that I had got besides a Zuñi name "your own English name in our Zuñi language Utean E'le, Flower Girl, or Flora. That name came to you from the Romans; it came to me from that Muki man of the Water clan who became my father."
His Absolute Safety
By SANDRA ALEXANDER
Illustrations by John R. Neill
YNTHIA WARING opened her eyes as Honora came into the room with her early cup of tea, and stretched her arms high
above her head.
"Leave the windows, Honora," she commanded yawningly. "I want to smell it." She turned on her side and looked out through the frame of ramblers, out through the branches of old trees and beyond to the sound, sparkling as only salt-water can on a clear spring morning. She took a deep breath, and closed her eyes to taste it more completely.
Honora put the tray down on a table beside the low bed and fussily made straight a rug. She seemed on the verge of saying something, but Cynthia opened her eyes and voiced it for her.
"It 's good to be back, Honora."
The woman nodded her prim head, with all the privilege of an old servant. Evidently she did not trust herself to speak; and yet emotions were the last things in the world one would have accused Honora of possessing.
"Yes," Cynthia went on lazily; "it is good to be back. The old place has n't changed very much. I think we'll settle down this time, Honora, for good. That would please you, would n't it?" Still Honora did not speak. Cynthia went on: "Ten years is a long time to be away from home. My conscience hurts me in its sentimental spot; it does, Honora."
"Cook says the Dunlaps still live next door." Honora spoke for the first time that morning.
"The Dunlaps? Yes, of course." There was no need to tell her the Dunlaps still lived next door. How well she knew it!
She drew herself to the side of the bed and took the mules Honora held out to her. She walked over to the window.
No, it had not changed, unless it was more beautiful than she remembered. Had the sound always melted away in the distance like that? And was the shore that marvelous shade of green? She had forgotten. And ten years in one's hardy border did make a difference, of course. The delphiniums were giants. Evidently the people who had taken the house had done themselves rather well as to a gardener.
"Cook says Mrs. Dunlap's death was real sudden," Honora contributed again a little later, as she wielded an expert brush in and out of Cynthia's red hair.
Cynthia bent her head away from the woman's eyes.
"I think I'll have a blue muslin frock this morning, Honora," she said by way of answer.
"Blue muslin, ma'am!"
The shocked amazement of the woman's tone made Cynthia bite her lip to keep from laughing aloud. She nodded her head at the prim image confronting her in the glass. Honora resumed her brushing.
"We have n't a blue muslin ma'am!" Cynthia straightened her face.
"Oh, we have n't a blue muslin - not a blue muslin with ribbons? Dear me! Well, we must get one right away. Something about the sound seems to call for it. A white frock will do; and you might hurry, Honora."
A little later she went slowly down the shallow stair and out through the broad front door. The irregular stone terrace, with its tubs of fat hydrangeas and the tightly stretched awnings flapping above, seemed something she had missed for years. It was good to be back. She had been teasing Honora this morning, but she had spoken more truly than she thought. How had she stayed away so long? She stood still and looked at the sound again. The peace and beauty of it made her heart ache. She went on
down the flagged path and stopped by the iris bed.
"A garden is a lovesome spot
she quoted soberly. How they had grown! She remembered when she had set them out. It was the month after her husband had died. She remembered how she had felt as she stood and watched the man dig the trenches; sad and sweet. Yes, she had felt sad and sweet, not sad because he was dead, but sad because she felt sorry for herself. She smiled whimsically, and, stooping, broke a stalk of the purple stuff.
She went on a little farther to where the hedge was lower and looked over at the place next door. It had not changed either. She stood still, staring, a little smile around her mouth. "Nothing has changed," she told herself happily. And as she watched, a man came out from between some thick evergreens and made for the boat-house at the edge of the lawn.
Her breath quickened, but she kept perfectly still. He must see her. She waited motionless, her eyes on him until he looked up.
"Good morning!" she called, and waved the iris stalk at him. The man came to a sudden halt. Cynthia laughed. Her laugh went as clear as a little chime across to him. He took an uncertain step or two and then came hurriedly and stood on the other side of the hedge. Cynthia shook the stalk at him again. "Boo!" she said.
"Why, it's Cynthia Waring!" the man said, as though it were the strangest fact in all the world.
"Of course it is. How do you do, Kenneth?" Cynthia extended one hand primly across the hedge top.
"When did you get back?" he demanded.
"Last night," Cynthia replied, her eyes dancing.
"And you did n't let any one know?"
"No; I remembered I went away rather suddenly, and so-" She shrugged her shoulders.
"Well! well!" said the man, heartily. To Cynthia it seemed forced. She looked at him intently for an instant and lowered her eyes.
"I'm so surprised I can't seem to think of anything."
The old Kenneth could have thought of something to say. She moved her shoulders restlessly.
"Yes," she said finally, "I suppose you are surprised. Ten years-that 's a long time."
"Has it been ten years?" considered it. His astonishment seemed almost as great as it had been at her appearance there on the other side of the hedge.
Cynthia's hands plucked nervously at the little green leaves of the hedge that divided them. Neither seemed to have any desire to pursue the subject further.
"You 've been around the world, have n't you?" he inquired presently in the brisk tone one uses when bent upon making a conversation.
"Once or twice," Cynthia said, and looked anywhere but at him.
"That must have been interesting." "Yes," said Cynthia, "it was quite." Then they were both silent. Presently Cynthia spoke again. "And you, Kenneth-what about you?"
"I? Why, we just stayed on here. You-you heard about Charlotte?"
"Yes, in France. I'm sorry-" She stopped. She had n't been sorry; why say so?
The man did n't notice her pause.
"Two years ago. It was quite sudden," he went on soberly.
"So Honora told me this morning." "Oh, you still have Honora?" seemed glad to change the subject.
Cynthia was glad, too.
"Oh, yes, I managed to keep her somehow or other," she informed him. "Honora has the unique distinction of having served notice all over the world. Once she resigned from my service in mid-ocean." Cynthia laughed, and the man laughed with her.
"Good old Honora!" said the man. The conversation again came to another halt. Cynthia sighed.
"How are the children?" she inquired rather desperately.
"Fine!. Alix is quite a big girl, and Ken is at Harvard."
"Not really?" She looked at him meditatively. He was older, she told herself. And why not? Ten added to forty made fifty. She had n't thought of it before, at least not in that way. Ten added to twenty-four made She shivered a trifle.
"I had forgotten I had n't breakfasted." She held out her hand. "Come over and see me and send the children," she added.
"Oh-er-thanks. I will. They'll be glad to come."
She turned, and walked back to the house. What a hopeless farce that had been! How often in the last ten years she had planned this very meeting the perfect understanding of it! They had each said and done all the inane things possible. She had n't said a single word she had meant to say, not a word she wanted to say. Stupid! He had been so
constrained. There had not been the slightest adjustment. Oh, well, it was hardly fair to judge him. Even after short absences harmonies must be adjusted, and ten years were, after all, ten years. Before she reached the house she had forgiven his awkwardness, forgiven him everything. She had recovered her humor of the morning.
It was with her the rest of the day as she went about the house poking into corners and doing a hundred needless things. It was with her as she cut and arranged flowers in her long, dim drawing-room. It was with her as Honora hooked her into a tea-gown. And it stayed until she heard his step on the terrace outside the French windows.
She had known all along he would come at that hour and that way. She put aside her book and went to meet him. He took both the hands she held out to him.
"I've been thinking about you all day," he stated. "I must have behaved queerly this morning. To tell the truth, Cynthia, I was absolutely flabergasted-"
"Never mind," she interrupted quickly.