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you are not a hard man, I leave it to you! I'm her only friend, she's my only one left; I can't do without her, I tell you I can't! She's made me a new man. Why, look here, Bill Robbins, when I got out of quod in Albany I went down to York to see after my boy; he was nailed, his wife on the Island, nobody in the house but a drunken nigger-wench and that child, a year-old baby. Think of that! I
took the child to carry her to some asylum or other. I had a little money in a safe place. But she trusted me ; she put her little arms around my neck and kissed me — I couldn't let her go ”- great tears were rolling down the old man's cheeks and making his white beard dewy as they dropped —“I swore I'd befriend her and do for her, and be her father while I lived. I've kept my oath, Mr. Wey. mouth, you know I've kept it!”
At this moment the little girl came running from the stable. “Mr. Weymouse," she cried, “'taint ary a egg there! Old Dorky say she very sorry, she didn' know you was a comin' so soon dis morning.”
“My God l” cried the old man, catching her up in his arms and straining her to his bosom, “what would I do without her! what would I be without her!”
"Oh, Grandpa, who made you cry?” she said, putting her hand on his beard, then, wriggling around in his arms, she faced us with a fierce hawk-like look wonderful in such a child, and said, with a repelling motion of her hands :
“Go away! I do not like you! You are very bad !”
“I won't separate you, Dornick, I've got children of my own. Don't bother about that any more, but give me your cellar-key."
Dornick handed him the key out of his pocket, he went into the house, and Dornick sat down on the porch-bench, holding the little girl tightly in his arms, and moaning in a low dumb sort of way, with his eyes bent on the ground, while little Rolypoly, her face all pale, her lips compressed, laid her cheek to his and caressed him. The sense of approaching calamity was already laying its weight upon her. Mr. Weymouth and I turned our faces away, for the sight was rather more than we could bear.
Then Bill Robbins rushed out of the house in a very excited way: "See here, Sam Dornick, is this what you were working on when we peeped in here last night?" He held the block of a half-finished wood-engraving before the old "Yes; what else?”
“Mr. Weymouth, look at that!” cried Bill, putting the block in the rector's hands. It was the picture of a little child sleeping in a crib, and the face, finished, was the face of Rolypoly. “Now, Sam, where did these greenbacks come from? They're not counterfeitthey're the pure stuff.”
“They're pay for work I've done. Look in the little book — you'll see the contract I have with the Cincinnati publishing house." Mr. Weymouth,” said he, brightening up a little, "I wanted to make some provision for my little maid. I'm a good engraver, but I wouldn't touch steel nor copper for fear of temptation, so I taught myself block-work. The profits are just beginning to come in, and I was
going to ask you how to invest them next time you came; but these people won't believe that!” The detective was conquered. "Old Stipple," said he, "you can
. “ pitch into me and welcome. Come here, you pretty little Rolypoly,” said he, taking the reluctant child in his arms, “ will you love me if I love your grandpa ? Will you give me one little kiss if I promise you I will not only not harm him myself, but will keep everybody else from harming him as long as he lives ?”
The child kissed him gravely, as if doing her part of an important contract. “Yes,” she said, “but I can't love you like I do Grandpa, you know." Then she released herself and stood resting at Dornick's knee.
“No, indeed," cried Robbins heartily, “I don't ask it. I only ask you to love me like you do old Dorky, or the cow, or any other dumb critter that can't see beyond the end of his nose.”
E have no fairy world now. Not even the children - for
they draw their faith from the mother's breast and the father's eye — not even the children believe in these tiny “gude neibors," with their queer freaks and moonlit merriment. But before the grown people learned so much, there was somewhat of worth in the old fairy lore, set as it were mosaic-wise in their hard and dull lives of labor and care. They were the thoughts of an ignorant but kindly country-folk, crystallised into poetic, and often lovely, forms; and they were so earnestly believed in that their fancies seem to come to us as if warm from the flesh and blood contact of so many human hands. It was in these that the imagination and faith of the homely working people found free expansion; and their fanciful outlines are like those traced on wall and floor by an old-time wood-fire, that sometimes kindles the poor and narrow chamber into a flush of rosy light, and then dies out in mocking, fitting shadows, moving restlessly up and down like living things.
You see well that those who made these stories, and those who listened and believed, were country people, knowing well the beautiful “permutations and combinations by which Dame Nature works in the fresh sweet-scented spring weather. They had often seen the pink buds push themselves through the brown unsightly
twigs; and the white flower-leaves, like a baby's wee fingers, appear out of the colorless earth. The world of fairy rule is always like a spring — a time of births and transformations and surprises — a plastic, liquid world, and easily moved by the spirit into form, as in the old story of the “Two Sisters,” where the evil words crawl and writhe like lizards and snakes, and the loving ones fall in glittering showers of pearls and diamonds. And the story seems always told with a smile — so merry are these little ones in their-ways and doings.
“Lass uns sehen, wie froh die Götter sind." When the tired laborer falls asleep by the roadside or the unswept hearth, how they delight in surprising him with the finished task or the granted wish! Very wilful too, these tiny godmothers! They are like our pleasures : they will come, but they will not be sought after. And then again, you think of a day in early spring: you have grown tired of watching bare boughs and flowerless meadows, and you forget it all impatiently ; but suddenly, before you can open your eyes, the thrush is singing, every little brook is trickling, the sunshine comes with a touch that can be felt, the buds are bursting open all over the wet garden beds,
“And whether you look, or whether you listen,
You hear life move, or see it glisten.” In these stories too you find no records of civilisation and discoveries and inventions. They are all just a nation of child-folk; and these are the annals of the garden era, in the first dynasty of lovers. You hear the eternal child-heart beat even under the old and wrinkled form, or the growling beast that disguises the enchanted soul. After all, there is a truth sleeping under such stories; for we see disguises all around us. Sometimes it is a cold and unlovely soul with an exquisite mask of Aesh and blood — with eyes that seem so tender, and yet never see you nor your need. And I remember well a poor little burnt child that used to sit opposite to me at church : the features were all blurred and scarred, and yet I felt sure from the meek, patient brown eyes, which looked so glad at any little word of kindness, that here a very sweet and noble nature, hidden out of sight or touch, was waiting for its time of transformation
like the poor princes and princesses of fairy lore. The enchanter Death came at last, with his spell of magic sleep, into the narrow brown house where few visitors ever paused, for it was very poor and still ; and an Angel awoke - perhaps with innocent surprise and gladness to find herself so lovely and so beloved : for she was so ready to love all.
There is a strange kinship hinted at beneath these histories of change — when it is from the human disguise to the likeness of the beast, as in some of the workings of these wondrous elfin witcheries. For within each of us there is a little world, with all the plant and brute phases of growth. I suppose in every nature the fox of cunning creeps; the birds, our winged thoughts, fly; the serpent of evil desire glides, and the white lamb of innocence cuddles up close and warm to its mother's side. We find also a closer likeness, affinity between these myths and early fancies of the human mind
than in later and elaborate results. It is here, in these stories of the heart's fancy and faith, that men stand forth most plainly as brothers. It is the same thought in the fairy enchantment, in the Indian metempsychosis, in the witcheries of Circe, the wehr-wolf of the far North ; although in some of these forms it becomes wholly lovely and poetic, as the mind has developed and enlarged. It is the difference, for instance, between the fairy changeling, taken away into the merry and unhome-like elfin kingdom, and the Grecian myths of the favored of the gods, who, endowed with immortality, stand within their dwellings of light forever. One is the fancy of the child, the other is the dream of the poet - akin, but so unlike also. The lovely and tender old myth of Proserpine is a most striking proof of this resemblance in outline and difference in spirit. It is the beautiful vision of an imagination that is full of the human element; and while it tells our own history also in our changing moods, from the dim and dark underworld of regret to the glimmering skies and fresh lights of hope, it is tender with all a mother's sorrow, rich with all the sweetness of the daffodil-covered meadow and the sprouting grasses of the bright and sunshiny land by the sea-side. It is a poem of exquisite symmetry and significance.
But every truth is always told many times and in diverse tongues. Like King Arthur of the Round Table, it does not die of any hurt; but as he was borne away to the fairy Island of Avilion,
“Where falls not hail, nor rain, nor any snow,
Nor even wind blows loudly,' so it is kept alive in some blooming and mystical fancy until the full time of its recognition; or like the enchanted Kaiser, who may sleep indeed in the Black Hartz Forest, but is not dead, and will surely return again. For the great law of “like unto like " reigns; and the true heart comes, often unconsciously, but always certainly, to the full sight of the truth at last, though it were under a thousand disguises.
Do you remember Rückert's story of the “Golden Marriage "? I remember it so well that it seems to me as if I saw it now, while I sit here watching the great storm of snow in the air whirling madly across ships at offing and great forest trees inland, whirling so fast that with eyes shut I could still see it whirling past me in the dark.' But this story? It was of a miner's daughter, who was betrothed to a young hunter
der Fäger — of the Hartz Forest. The day came, and the hour of their marriage, but her lover returned no more; and the green leaves put forth and fell through many springs and autumns, and still he did not come back. But at last one bright summer morning, as the woman, now gray and old, sits at her door and watches, from habit rather than hope, the opening in yonder shadowy forest, she sees the miners going by to their work. The young men, who were her suitors or comrades then, are now decrepit and wrinkled ; the human world has grown old, though the summer is young. But hearing the reverberations of the blasted rocks stir suddenly through the lonely silence of the glen, a sudden desire awakes within her to go; and there she finds, lying beneath the great rock that has been
cleft in twain by the blast, the bridegroom of fifty years ago - asleep in a death that has kept all the freshness and beauty of his youth, and proves him true and faithful at the last. So perhaps, humanity grows old and weak in its many generations, and passes by these myths and legends carelessly, unwitting of the inner truth which sleeps therein — waiting to be revealed to the soul that loves it — young in the golden loveliness and softly flushed bloom of immortal beauty — true to the love that so long ago chose it in this embodiment and form. For fairy lore is like fairy gold: the soul that is akin to these airy, sunshiny, merry "good neighbors," will find the yellow gold and the sparkling gems; while to doubt, or anxiety, or cunning, they are only withered leaves and dry sticks after all.
We always hear our own. It was no native ear at Lucknow that heard the old pibroch's sound upon the hills that were so far off, but one that had listened to them from infancy. As in the story of “ Beauty and the Beast," the loving heart will always find its roses blooming even in a garden of snow like the father in the lonely but lighted house — only its roses would bloom in the heart rather than the hands, so we must bring the child's wisdom and the child's innocent faith if we would learn these sweet and strange secrets of beauty. Then he who comes to the woods lovingly and alone, will find in their silences and rustling boughs, in the birds swiftly starting from their nests, and the splash and dip of the water, a truer Egeria than Numa saw. In the first early dawning the gray shadows will seem to start up like fauns or hamadryads startled from their lair, and steal away into the gray damp twilight of the thickest trees. The quiet, dark pool, slowly flowing out, and winding close to the banks of green fern, will all at once fall with fresh trickling, as if singing low to itself, and wind out of sight in a thousand “netted” lights and shades, sweeter than any water-nymph of Arcady. For even the heart of a forest is not dumb when a human heart asks of it; and the revelation waits only for the eyes of the seer.
ELLA F. Mosby.