W. V. HER BOOK
And Various Verses
OTHER BOOKS BY SAME AUTHOR
"THE INVISIBLE PLAYMATE"
"A LOST EPIC AND OTHER. POEMS"
R~+~. K J
" Thank you, Mr. Oakman"
W. V. HER BOOK
.And (V various Verses
With Two Illustrations by C. E. Brock
STONE & KIMBALL
M DCCC XCVI
COPYRIGHT, 1896, BY
STONE AND KIMBALL
W. V., HER BIRTHDAY .. ... 3
The Inquisition. .. 27
The First Miracle ... 29
By the Fireside. I. . 31
By the Fireside. II. . 32
The Raider . .. 33
Babsie-Bird . . 34
The Orchard of Stars ... .36
The Sweet Pea . .37
Brook-side Logic . 38
Bubble-Blowing. . 39
New Version of an Old Game 4
The Golden-Swing-Boat . 42
Another Newton's Apple . 43
Naturula Naturans ..... 44
Wings and Hands . .... 45
Flowers Invisible .. .. 46
Making Pansies. . 47
Heart-ease . .. .48
"Si j'avais un arpent" . 49
HER FRIEND LITTLEJOHN . 53
HER BED-TIME . .. .73
VARIOUS VERSES PAGE
East of Eden . .. 83
Goodwin Sands . .. 92
Trafalgar . .... 97
The Wanderer. I ..... 03
The Wanderer. II. ..... .104.
The Scarecrow. . 1o6
The Haunted Bridge ..... o8
The Stone Age ... .. io
Sea-Pictures. I. . Iz
Sea-Pictures. II . 114
Moonlight . ... 6
Green Pastures ..... 8
The Little Dipper. . ... 120
In the Hills . ... z12
Nature's Magic . .. 122
April Voices . .. z123
Green Sky . .. 128
SUB UMBRA CRUCIS
The Shepherd Beautiful . .131
The Moss . . 135
A Carol ....... 136
When Snow Lies Deep .... .138
Trees of Righteousness" . 140
The Comrades . . I42
Crying, Abba, Father" 145
This Grace Vouchsafe .... 5o
WE are still on the rosy side of the
apple; but this is the last Saturday
in September, and we cannot expect many
more golden days between this and the cry
of the cuckoo. But what a summer we have
had, thanks to one of W. V.'s ingenious sug-
gestions She came to us in April, when
the world is still a trifle bare and the wind
somewhat too bleak for any one to get com-
fortably lost in the Forest or cast up on a
coral reef; so we have made her birthday
a movable feast, and whenever a fine free
Saturday comes round we devote it to
thankfulness that she has been born, and
to the joy of our both being alive together.
W. V. sleeps in an eastern room, and
accordingly the sun rises on that side of the
house. Under the eaves and just above her
window the martins have a nest plastered
against the wall, and their chattering awakens
her in the first freshness of the new morning.
She watches the black shadows of the birds
fluttering on the sunny blind, as, first one
and then another, they race up to the nest,
and vibrate in the air a moment, before dart-
ing into it. When her interest has begun to
flag, she steals in to me in her nightdress,
and tugs gently at my beard till I waken and
sit up. Unhappily her mother wakens too.
"What, more birthdays !" she exclaims in a
tone of stern disapproval; whereat W. V.
and I laugh, for evasion of domestic law is
the sweet marjoram of our salad. But it is
possible to coax even a Draconian parent into
assent, and oh !
Flower of the may,
If mamsie will not say her nay,
W. won't care what any one may say!
We first make a tour of the garden, and it
is delightful to observe W. V. prying about
with happy, eager eyes, to detect whether
nature has been making any new thing during
the dim, starry hours when people are too
sound asleep to notice; delightful to hear
her little screams of ecstasy when she has
discovered something she has not seen be-
fore. It is singular how keenly she notes
every fresh object, and in what quaint and
pretty terms of phrase she expresses her
glee and wonderment. Oh, father, have n't
the bushes got their hands quite full of
flowers? "Are n't the buds the trees' little
This morning the sun was blissfully warm,
and the air seemed alive with the sparkle of
the dew, which lay thick on every blade and
leaf. As we went round the gravel walks
we perceived how completely all the earlier
flowers had vanished; even the lovely sweet
peas were almost over. We have still, how-
ever, the single dahlias, and marigolds, and
nasturtiums, on whose level leaves the dew
stood shining like globules of quicksilver;
and the tall Michaelmas daisies make quite a
white-topped thicket along the paling, while
the rowan-berries are burning in big red
bunches over the western hedge.
In the corner near the limes we came
upon a marvellous spectacle- a huge old
spider hanging out in his web in the sun,
like a grim old fisherman floating in the
midst of his nets at sea. A hand's breadth
off, young bees and new-born flies were busy
with the low perennial sunflowers; he watch-
ing them motionlessly, with his gruesome
shadow silhouetted on a leaf hard by. In
his immediate neighbourhood the fine threads
of his web were invisible, but a little distance
away one could distinguish their concentric
curves, grey on green. Every now and then
we heard the snapping of a stalk overhead,
and a leaf pattered down from the limes.
Every now and then, too, slight surges of
breeze run shivering through the branches.
Nothing distracted the intense vigilance of
the crafty fisherman. Scores of glimmering
insects grazed the deadly snare, but none
touched it. It must have been tantalising,
but the creature's sullen patience was invinci-
ble. W. V. at last dropped a piece of leaf-
stalk on his web, out of curiosity. In a
twinkling he was at the spot, and the frag-
ment was dislodged with a single jerk.
This is one of the things in which she
delights the quiet observation of the ways
of creatures. Nothing would please her
better, could she but dwarf herself into an
"aglet-baby," than to climb into those filmy
meshes and have a chat in the sunshine with
the wily ogre. She has no mistrust, she feels
no repulsion from anything that has life.
There is a warm place in her heart for the
cool, dry toad, and she loves the horned
snail, if not for his own sake, at least for his
" darling little house and the silver track he
leaves on the gravel.
Of course she wanted a story about a
spider. I might have anticipated as much.
Well, there was King Robert the Bruce, who
was saved by a spider from his enemies when
they were seeking his life.
"And if they had found him, would
they have sworded off his head? Really,
father? Like Oliver Crumball did Charles
Her grammar was defective, but her
surmises were beyond dispute; they would.
Then there was the story of Sir Samuel
Brown, who took his idea of a suspension
bridge from a web which hung -but W. V.
wanted something much more engrossing.
"Was n't there never no awful big spider
that made webs in the Forest? "
"And caught lions and bears?"
She nodded approvingly. Oh, yes, there
was once upon a time.
And was there a little girl there? "
There must have been for the story to be
worth telling; but the breakfast bell broke in
on the opening chapter of that little girl's
After breakfast we followed the old birth-
day custom, and plunged into the depths
of the Forest. Some persons, I have heard,
call our Forest the East Woods," and
report that though they are pleasant enough
in summer, they are rather meagre and
limited in area. Now, it is obvious that it
would be impossible to plunge into any-
thing less than a Forest. Certainly, when
W. V. is with me I am conscious of the
Forest--the haunted, enchanted, aboriginal
Forest; and I see with something of her
illumined vision, the vision of W. V., who
can double for herself the comfort of a fire on
a chilly day by running into the next room
and returning with the tidings, It's very
cold in the woods "
If you are courageous enough to leave the
paths and hazard yourself among the under-
wood and the litter of bygone autumns,
twenty paces will take you to the small
Gothic doors of the Oak-men; twenty more
to the cavern of the Great Bruin, and the
pollard tree on the top of which the foxes
live; while yet another twenty, and you are
at the burrows of the kindliest of all insects,
the leaf-cutter bees. Once--in parenthesis
- when a little maid was weeping because
she had lost her way at dusk in the Forest
mazes, it was a leaf-cutter bee that tunnelled
a straight line through the trees, so that the
nearest road lamp, miles away, twinkled right
into the Forest, and she was able to guide her-
self home. Indeed, it will only take ten min-
utes if you do not dawdle, to get to the dread-
ful webs of the Iron Spider, and when you
do reach that spot, the wisest thing you can
do is to follow the example of the tiny
flame-elf when match is blown out clap
on your cap of darkness and scuttle back to
What magical memories have we two of
the green huddle and the dreamy lawns of
that ancient and illimitable Forest! We
know the bosky dingles where we shall find
pappa trees, on whose lower branches a little
girl may discover something to eat when she
is good enough to deserve it. We know
where certain green-clad foresters keep store
of fruits which are supposed, by those who
know no better, to grow only in orchards by
tropical seas. Of course every one is aware
that in the heart of the Forest there is a
granite fountain; but only we two have
learned the secret that its water is the
Water of Heart's-ease, and that if we con-
tinue to drink it we shall never grow really
old. We have still a great deal of the
Forest to explore; we have never reached
the glade where the dog-daisies have to
be chained because they grow so exceed-
ingly wild; nor have we found the blue
thicket it is blue because it is so distant
- from which some of the stars come up
into the dusk when it grows late; but
when W. V. has got her galloping-horse-
bicycle we shall start with the first sun-
shine some morning, and give the whole day
to the quest.
We lowly folk dine before most people
think of lunching, and so dinner was ready
when we arrived home. Now, as decorum
at table is one of the cardinal virtues W. V.
dines by proxy. It is her charming young
friend Gladys who gives us the pleasure of
her company. It is strange how many things
this bewildering daughter of mine can do as
Gladys, which she cannot possibly accom-
plish as W. V. W. V. is unruly, a chatter-
box, careless, or at least forgetful, of the
elegances of the social board; whereas
Gladys is a model of manners, an angel in a
bib. W. V. cannot eat crusts, and rebels
against porridge at breakfast; Gladys idolises
crusts, and as for porridge -" I am sur-
prised your little girl does not like porridge.
It is so good for her."
After dinner, as I lay smoking in the gar-
den lounge to-day, I fell a-thinking of W. V.
and Gladys, and the numerous other little
maids in whom this tricksy spirit has been
masquerading since she came into the world
five years ago. She began the small comedy
before she had well learned to balance her-
self on her feet. As she sat in the middle of
the carpet we would play at looking for the
baby- where has the baby gone? have you
seen the baby?-and, oddly enough, she
would take a part and pretend to wonder, or
perhaps actually did wonder, what had be-
come of herself, till at last we would discover
her on the floor to her own astonishment
and irrepressible delight.
Then, as she grew older, it was amusing
to observe how she would drive away the
naughty self, turn it literally out of doors,
and return as the "Smiling Winifred." I
presume she grew weary, as human nature is
apt to grow, of a face which is wreathed in
amaranthine smiles; so the Smiling Winifred
vanished, and we were visited by various
sweet children with lovely names, of whom
Gladys is the latest and the most indefatiga-
ble. I cannot help laughing when I recall
my three-year-old rebel listening for a few
moments to a scolding, and when she con-
sidered that the ends of justice had been
served, exclaiming, "I put my eyes down "
- which meant that so far as she was
concerned the episode was now definitively
My day-dream was broken by W. V. flying
up to me with fern fronds fastened to her
shoulders for wings. She fluttered round me,
then flopped into my lap, and put her arms
about my neck. If I was a real swan,
father, I would cuddle your head with my
"Ah, well, you are a real duck, Diddles,
and that will do quite as well."
She was thinking of that tender Irish
legend of the Children of Lir, changed into
swans by their step-mother and doomed to
suffer heat and cold, tempest and hunger,
homelessness and sorrow, for nine hundred
years, till the sound of the first Christian
bell changed them again -to frail, aged
human creatures. It was always the sister,
she knows, who solaced and strengthened
the brothers beside the terrible sea of Moyle,
sheltering them under her wings and warm-
ing them against her bosom. In such a case
as this an only child is at a disadvantage.
Even M'rao, her furry playmate, might have
served as a bewitched brother, but after
many months of somnolent forbearance M'rao
ventured into the great world beyond our
limes, and returned no more.
Flower of the quince,
Puss once kissed Babs, and ever since
She thinks he must be an enchanted prince.
In a moment she was off again, an angel,
flying about the garden and in and out of the
house in the performance of helpful offices
for some one; or, perchance, a fairy, for her
heaven is a vague and strangely-peopled
region. Long ago she told me that the
moon was "put up" by a black man -a
saying which puzzled me until I came to
understand that this negro divinity could
only have been the "divine Dark" of the
old Greek poet. Of course she says her
brief, simple prayers; but how can one con-
vey to a child's mind any but the most
provisional and elemental conceptions of the
Invisible? Once I was telling her the story
of a wicked king, who put his trust in a fort
of stone on a mountain peak, and scoffed at.
a prophet God had sent to warn him. "He
was n't very wise," said W. V., for God and
Jesus and the angels and the fairies are
cleverer 'n we are; they have wings." The
"cleverness of God has deeply impressed
her. He can make rain and see through
walls. She noticed some stone crosses in a
sculptor's yard some time ago, and remarked :
" Jesus was put on one of those; then, after
some reflection: "Who was it put Jesus on
the cross? Was it the church people,
father?" Well, when one comes to think
of it, it was precisely the church people -
"not these church people, dear, but the
church people of hundreds of years ago,
when Jesus was alive." She had seen the
world's tragedy in the stained glass windows
and had drawn her own conclusion -the
people who crucified would be the most
likely to make a picture of the crucifixion;
Christ's friends would want to forget it and
never to speak of it.
In the main she does not much concern
herself with theology or the unseen. She
lives in the senses. Once, indeed, she
began to communicate some interesting re-
miniscences of what had happened before
she came here," to this planet; but some-
thing interrupted her, and she has not
attempted any further revelation. There is
nothing more puzzling in the world to her,
I fancy, than an echo. She has forgotten
that her own face in the mirror was quite as
bewildering. A high wind at night is not
a pleasant fellow to have shaking your window
and muttering down your chimney; but an
intrepid father with a yard of brown oak is
more than a match for him. Thunder and
lightning she regards as "great friends; they
always come together." She is more per-
ceptive of their companionship than of their
air of menace towards mankind. Darkness,
unless it be on the staircase, does not trouble
her: when we have said good-night out goes
the gas. But there seems to be some quality
or influence in the darkness which makes
her affectionate and considerate. Once and
again when she has slept with me and
wakened in the dead of night she has been
most apologetic and self-abasing. She is so
sorry to disturb me, she knows she is a
bother, but would I give her a biscuit or a
drink of water?
She has all along been a curious combina-
tion of tenderness and savagery. In a
sudden fit of motherhood she will bring me
her dolly to kiss, and ten minutes later I
shall see it lying undressed and abandoned
in a corner of the room. She is a Spartan
parent, and slight is the chance of her chil-
dren being spoiled either by sparing the rod
or lack of stern monition. It is not so long
ago that we heard a curious sound of distress
in the dining-room, and on her mother
hurrying downstairs to see what was amiss,
there was W. V. chastising her recalcitrant
babe--and doing the weeping herself. This
appeared to be a good opportunity for point-
ing a moral. It was clear now that she
knew what it was to be naughty and dis-
obedient, and if she punished these faults
so severely in her own children she must
expect me to deal with her manifold and
grievous offences in the same way. She
looked very much sobered and concerned,
but a few moments later she brought me a
stout oak walking-stick: Would that do,
father?" She shows deep commiseration
for the poor and old; grey hairs and penury
are sad bed-fellows; but for the poor who
are not old I fear she feels little sympathy.
Perhaps we, or the conditions of life, are to
blame for this limitation of feeling, for when
we spoke to her of certain poor little girls
with no mothers, she rejoined: Why don't
you take them, then?" Our compassion
which stopped short of so simple a remedy
must have 'seemed suspiciously like a
To me one of the chief wonders of child-
hood has been the manner in which this
young person has picked up words, has
learned to apply them, has coined them for
herself, and has managed to equip herself
with a stock of quotations. When she was
yet little more than two and a half years old
she applied spontaneously the name Dapple-
grey to her first wooden horse. Then
Dapple-grey was pressed into guardianship
of her sleeping dolls, with this stimulative
quotation: "Brave dog, watching by the
baby's bed." There was some vacillation, I
recollect, as to whether it was a laburnum or
a St. Bernard that saved travellers in the
snow, but that was exceptional. The word
"twins she adapted prettily enough. Try-
ing once in an emotional moment to put her
love for me into terms of gold currency, she
added : "And I love mother just the same;
you two are twins, you know." A little while
after the University boat race she drew my
attention to a doll in a shop-window:
" Is n't it beautiful? And look at its Oxford
eyes To "fussle one," to disturb one by
making a fuss, seems at once fresh and use-
ful; sorefully" is an acutely expressive
adverb; when you have to pick your steps
in wet weather the road may be conveniently
described as "picky; don't put wild roses
on the cloth at dinner lest the maid should
"crumb them away; and when one has a
cold in the head how can one describe the
condition of one's nose except as hoarse ?
"Lost in sad thought," "Now I have some-
thing to my heart's content," Few tears are
my portion," are among the story-book
phrases which she has assimilated for week-
day use. When she was being read to out
of Kingsley's "Heroes," she asked her
mother to substitute "the Ladies" for "the'
Gorgons." She did not like the sound of
the word; "it makes me," drawing her
breath with a sort of shiver through her
teeth, "it makes me pull myself together."
Once when she broke into a sudden laugh, for
sheer glee of living I suppose, she explained :
" I am just like a little squirrel biting myself."
Her use of the word "live" is essential
poetry; the spark lives" inside the flint,
the catkins."live in the Forest; and she
pointed out to me the "lines" down a
horse's legs where the blood lives." A
sign-board on a piece of waste land caused
her some perplexity. It was not "The pub-
lic are requested this time, but Forbidden
to shoot rubbish here." Either big game or
small deer she could have understood; but
-" Who wants to shoot rubbish, father? "
Have I sailed out of the trades into the
doldrums in telling of this commonplace
little body? for, after all, she is merely the
average healthy, merry, teasing, delightful
mite who tries to take the whole of life at
once into her two diminutive hands. Ah,
well, I want some record of these good, gay
days of our early companionship; something
that may still survive when this right hand is
dust; a testimony that there lived at least
one man who was joyously content with the
small mercies which came to him in the
beaten way of nature. For neither of us,
little woman, can these childish, hilarious
days last much longer now. Five arch,
happy faces look out at me from the sections
of an oblong frame; all W. V.'s, but no two
the same W. V. The sixth must go. into
another frame. You must say good-bye to
the enchanted Forest, little lass, and travel
into strange lands; and the laws of infancy
are harder than the laws of old Wales. For
these ordained that when a person remained
in a far country under such conditions that
he could not freely revisit his own, his title
to the ancestral soil was not extinguished
till the ninth man; the ninth man could
utter his "cry over the abyss," and save his
portion. But when you have gone into the
world beyond, and can no more revisit the
Forest freely, no ear will ever listen to your
" cry over the abyss."
When she had at last tired herself with
angelic visits and thrown aside her fern
wings, she returned to me and wanted to
know if I would play at shop. No, I would
not play at shop; I would be neither pur-
chaser nor proprietor, the lady she called
"Cash" nor the stately gentleman she called
"Sign." Would I be a king, then, and
refuse my daughter to her (she would be a
prince) unless, she built a castle in a single
night; "better'n't" she bring her box of
bricks and the dominoes? No, like Cesar,
I put by the crown. She took my refusals
cheerfully. On the whole, she is tractable
in these matters. "Fathers," she once told
me, "know better than little girls, don't
they?" "Oh, dear, no! how could they?
Fathers have to go into the city; they don't
go to school like little girls." Doubtless
there was something in that, but she per-
sisted, "Well, even if little girls do go to
school, fathers are wiser and know best."
From which one father at least may derive
encouragement. Well, would I blow soap-
I think it was the flying thistledown in
June which first gave us the cue of the soap-
bubbles. What a delightful game it is; and
there is a knack, too, in blowing these
spheres of fairy glass and setting them off
on their airy flight. Till you have blown
bubbles you have no conception how full of
waywardness and freakish currents the air is.
Oh, you who are sad at heart, or weary of
thought, or irritable with physical pain, coax,
beg, borrow, or steal a four or five year old,
and betake you to blowing bubbles in the
sunshine of your recluse garden. Let the
breeze be just a little brisk to set your
bubbles drifting. Fill some of them with
tobacco smoke, and with the wind's help
bombard the old fisherman in his web. As
the opaline globes break and the smoke
escapes in a white puff along the grass or
among the leaves, you shall think of historic
battlefields, and muse whether the greater
game was not quite as childish as this, and
"sorefully less innocent. The charges of
smoke are only a diversion; it is the crystal
balls which delight most. The colours of
all the gems in the world run molten through
their fragile films. And what visions they
contain for crystal-gazers Among the gold
and green, the rose and blue,, you see the
dwarfed reflection of your own trees and
your own home floating up into the sunshine.
These are your possessions, your surroundings
-so lovely, so fairylike in the bubble; in
reality so prosaic and so inadequate when
one considers the rent and rates. To W.
V. the bubbles are like the wine of the poet
-"full of strange continents and new
Flower of the sloe
When chance annuls the worlds we blow,
Where does the soul of beauty in them go ?
"Tell me a story of a little girl who lived
in a bubble," she asked when she had tired
of creating fresh microcosms.
I lifted her on to my knee, and as she
settled herself comfortably she drew my right
arm across her breast and began to nurse it.
"Well, once upon a time "
I WOKE at dead of night;
The room was still as death;
All in the dark I saw a sight
Which made me catch my breath.
Although she slumbered near,
The silence hung so deep
I leaned above her crib to hear
If it were death or sleep.
As low all quick I leant,
Two large eyes thrust me back;
Dark eyes too wise which gazed intent;
Blue eyes transformed to black.
Heavens I how those steadfast eyes
Their eerie vigil kept !
Was this some angel in disguise
Who searched us while we slept;
Who winnow'd every sin,
Who tracked each slip and fall,
One of God's spies not Babbykin,
Not Babbykin at all?
Day came with golden air;
She caught the beams and smiled;
No masked inquisitor was there,
Only a babbling child !
THE FIRST MIRACLE
THE huge weeds bent to let her pass,
And sometimes she crept under;
She plunged through gulfs of flowery grass;
She filled both hands with plunder.
The buttercups grew tall as she,
Taller the big dog-daisies;
And so she lost herself, you see,
Deep in the jungle mazes.
A wasp twang'd by; a horned snail
Leered from a great-leafed docken;
She shut her eyes, she raised a wail
"Mamma Two arms, flashed out of space
Miraculously, caught her;
Fond mouth was pressed to tearful face -
What is it, little daughter? "
BY THE FIRESIDE
R ED-BOSOMED Robin, in the hard
She marks thee light upon the ice to rest;
She sees the wintry glass glow with thy
And let thee warm thy feet at thine own
BY THE FIRESIDE
IN the April sun at baby-house she plays.
Her rooms are traced with stones and
bits of bricks;
For warmth she lays a hearth with little
And one bright crocus makes a merry
HER happy, wondering eyes had ne'er
Till now ranged summer meadows
She would keep stopping everywhere
To fill with flowers her pinafore.
But when she saw how, green and wide,
Field followed field, and each was gay
With endless flowers, she laughed--then
"No use and threw her spoils away.
IN the orchard blithely waking,
Through the blossom, loud and clear,
Pipes the goldfinch, Day is breaking;
Waken, Babsie; May is here !
Bloom is laughing; lambs are leaping;
Every new green leaflet sings;
Five chipp'd eggs will soon be cheeping;
God be praised for song and wings "
Warm and ruddy as an ember,
Lilting sweet from bush to stone,
On the moor in chill November
Flits the stone-chat all alone :
" Snow will soon drift up the heather;
Days are short, nights cold and long;
Meanwhile in this glinting weather
God be thanked for wings and song! "
Round from Maytime to November
Babsie lilts upon the wing,
Far too happy to remember
Thanks or praise for anything;
Save at bedtime, laughing sinner,
When she gaily lisps along,
For the wings and song within her -
"Thank you, God, for wings and song "
THE ORCHARD OF STARS
AMID the orchard grass she 'd stood
and watch'd with childish glee
The big bright burning apples shower'd
like star-falls from the tree;
So when the autumn meteors fell
she cried, with outspread gown,
"Oh my, papa, look Is n't God
just shaking apples down?"
THE SWEET PEA
OH, what has been born in the night
To bask in this blithe summer morn?
She peers, in a dream of delight,
For something new-made or new-born.
Not spider-webs under the free,
Not swifts in their cradle of mud,
But Look, father, Sweet Mrs. Pea.
Has two little babies in bud "
A S the brook caught the blossoms she
Such a wonder gazed out from her face !
Why, the water was all running past,
Yet the brook never budged from its place.
Oh, the magic of what was so clear !
I explained. And enlightened her?
"Why but, father, I couldn't stay here
If I always was running away "
OUR plot is small, but sunny limes
Shut out all cares and troubles;
And there my little girl at times
And I sit blowing bubbles.
The screaming swifts race to and fro,
Bees cross the ivied paling,
Draughts lift and set the globes we blow
In freakish currents sailing.
They glide, they dart, they soar, they break.
Oh, joyous little daughter,
What lovely coloured worlds we make,
What crystal flowers of water !
One, green and rosy, slowly drops;
One soars and shines a minute,
And carries to the lime-tree tops
Our home, reflected in it.
The gable, with cream rose in bloom,
She sees from roof to basement;
"Oh, father, there's your little room !"
She cries in glad amazement.
To her enchanted with the gleam,
The glamour and the glory,
The bubble home 's a home of dream,
And I must tell its story;
Tell what we did, and how we played,
Withdrawn from care and trouble -
A father and his merry maid,
Whose house was in a bubble 1
NEW VERSION OF AN OLD GAME
T HE storm had left the rain-butt brim-
A dahlia leaned across the brink;
Its mirrored self, beneath it swimming,
Lit the dark water, gold and pink.
Oh, rain, far fallen from heights of azure -
Pure rain, from heavens so cold and
Dost thou not feel, and thrill with pleasure
To feel a flower's heart in thine own?
Enjoy thy beauty, and bestow it,
Fair dahlia, fenced from harm, mishap !
"See, Babs, this flower and this below
She looked, and screamed in rapture -
THE GOLDEN SWING-BOAT
ACROSS the low dim fields we caught
Faint music from a distant band -
So sweet i' the dusk one might have thought
It floated up from elfin-land.
Then, o'er the tree-tops' hazy blue
We saw the new moon, low i' the air:
"Look, Dad," she cried, "a shuggy-shue !
Why, this must be a fairies' fair "
ANOTHER NEWTON'S APPLE
WE tried to show with lamp and ball
How simply day and night were
How earth revolved, and how through all
One half was sunshine, one was shade.
One side, tho' turned and turned again,
Was always bright. She mused and frowned,
Then flashed- It's just an apple, then,
'at's always rosy half way round "
Oh, boundless tree of ranging blue,
Star-fruited through thy heavenly leaves,
Be, if thou canst be, good unto
This apple-loving babe of Eve's.
B ESIDE the water and the crumbs
She laid her little birds of clay,
For When some other sparrow comes
Perhaps they '11 fly away."
Ah, golden dream, to clothe with wings
A heart of springing joy; to know
Two lives i' the happy sum of things
To her their bliss will owe !
Day dawned; they had not taken flight,
Tho' playmates called from bush and tree.
She sighed: I hardly thought they might.
Well, God's more clever 'n me! "
WINGS AND HANDS
GOD'S angels, dear, have six great wings
Of silver and of gold;
Two round their heads, two round their
Two round their feet they fold.
The angel of a man I know
Has just two hands so small!
But they're more strong than six gold wings
To keep him from a fall.
SHE'D watched the rose-trees, how they
With green hands full of flowers;
Such flowers made their hands sweet, she
But tenderness made ours.
So now, o'er fevered brow and eyes
Two small cold palms she closes.
"Thanks, darling! "Oh, mamma," she
"Are my hands full of roses? "
"T'HREE faces in a hood."
1. Folk called the pansy so
Three hundred years ago.
Of course she understood !
Then, perching on my knee,
She drew her mother's head
To her own and mine, and said -
"That's mother, you, and me !"
And so it comes about
We three, for gladness' sake,
Sometimes a pansy make
Before the gas goes out.
L AST June how slight a thing to tell !-
One straggling leaf beneath the limes
Against the sunset rose and fell,
Making a rhythm with coloured rhymes.
No other leaf in all the air
Seemed waking and my little maid
Watched with me, from the garden-chair,
Its rhythmic play of light and shade.
Now glassy gold, now greenish grey,
It dropped, it lifted. That was all.
Strange I should still feel glad to-day
To have seen that one leaf lift and fall.
"SI J'AVAIS UN ARPENT"
OH, had I but a plot of earth, on plain
or vale or hill,
With running water babbling through, in
torrent, spring, or rill,
I'd plant a tree, an olive or an oak or willow
And build a roof of thatch, or tile, or reed,
for mine and me.
Upon my tree a nest of moss, or down, or
wool, should hold
A songster--finch or thrush or blackbird
with its bill of gold;
Beneath my roof a child, with brown or
blond or chestnut hair,
Should find in hammock, cradle or crib a
nest, and slumber there.
I ask for but a little plot; to measure my
I 'd say to Babs, my bairn of bliss, "Go,
"And stand against the rising sun; your
shadow on the grass
Shall trace the limits of my world; beyond I
shall not pass.
"The happiness one can't attain is dream
and glamour-shine "
These rhymes are Soulary's; the thoughts
are Babs's thoughts and mine.
HER FRIEND LITTLEJOHN
Her way of "playing at otany"
HER FRIEND LITTLEJOHN
T HE first time Littlejohn saw W. V.- a
year or so ago -she was sitting on
the edge of a big red flower-pot, into which
she had managed to pack herself. A bril-
liant Japanese sunshade was tilted over her
shoulder, and close by stood a large green
watering-can. This was her way of playing
at botany," but as the old gardener could
not be prevailed upon to water her, there
was not as much fun in the game as there
ought to have been.
W. V. was accordingly consoling herself
with telling "Mr. Sandy the recalcitrant
gardener -the authentic and incredible
story of the little girl who was "just 'scruci-
Later, on an idyllic afternoon among the
heather, Littlejohn heard all about that excel-
lent and too precipitate child, who was so
eager to oblige or obey that she rushed off
before she could be told what to do; and
as this was the only story W. V. knew which
had obviously a moral, W. V. made it a
great point to explain that little girls ought
not to be too good; if- they only did
- what- they were told they would be
W. V.'s mother had been taken seriously ill
a few weeks before, and as a house of sickness
is not the best place for a small child, nor a
small child the most soothing presence in a
patient's room, W. V. had undertaken a mar-
vellous and what seemed an interminable jour-
ney into the West Highlands. Her host and
hostess were delighted with her and her odd
sayings and quaint, fanciful ways; and she,
in the plenitude of her good-nature, extended
a cheerful patronage to the grown-up people.
Littlejohn had no children of his own, and it
was a novel delight, full of charming sur-
prises, to have a sturdy, imperious, sunny-
hearted little body of four and a half as his
constant companion. The child was pretty
enough, but it was the alert, excitable little
Her Friend Littlejohn
soul of her which peered and laughed out of
her blue eyes that took him captive.
Like most healthy children, W. V. did
not understand what sorrow, sickness, or
death meant. Indeed it is told of her that
she once exclaimed gleefully, "Oh, see,
here's a funeral! Which is the bride?"
The absence of her mother did not weigh
upon her. Once she awoke at night and
cried for her; and on one or two occasions,
in a sentimental mood, she sighed I should
like to see my father Don't you think we
could run over'?" The immediate pres-
ent, its fun and nonsense and grave respon-
sibilities, absorbed all her energies and
attention; and what a divine dispensation it
is that we who never forget can be forgotten
I fancy, from what I have heard, that she
must have regarded Littlejohn's ignorance
of the ways of children as one of her respon-
sibilities. It was really very deplorable to
find a great-statured, ruddy-bearded fellow
of two-and-thirty so absolutely wanting in
tact, so incapable of pretending," so desti-
tute of the capacity of rhyming or of telling
a story. The way she took him in hand
was kindly yet resolute. It began with her
banging her head against something and
howling. "Don't cry, dear," Littlejohn had
entreated, with the crude pathos of an ama-
teur; "come, don't cry."
When W. V. had heard enough of this she
looked at him disapprovingly, and said,
" You should n't say that. You should just
laugh and say, 'Come, let me kiss that crystal
tear away !' Say it she added after a
pause. This was Littlejohn's first lesson in
the airy art of consolation.
Littlejohn as a lyric poet was a melancholy
"Now, you say, 'Come, let us go,' W.
V. would command.
"I don't know it, dear."
I '11 say half for you -
Come, let us go where the people sell -"
But Littlejohn had n't the slightest notion
of what they sold.
"Bananas," W. V. prompted; say it."
Her Friend Littlejohn
"Oranges?" Littlejohn hazarded.
"Pears!" cried W. V. reproachfully;
"say it "
"And--" with pauses to give her host
chances of retrieving his honour; "pine -
ap pel -
Bananas and pears and pine-appel,'
of course. I don't think you can publish a
"I don't think I can, dear," Littlejohn
confessed after a roar of laughter.
Papa and I published that poem. Pine-
appel made me laugh at first. And after
that you say-
'Away to the market I and let us buy
A sparrow to make asparagus pie.'
Say it "
So in time Littlejohn found his memory
becoming rapidly stocked with all sorts of
nonsensical rhymes and ridiculous pronun-
Inability to rhyme, like inability to reason,
is a gift of nature, and one can overlook it,
but Littlejohn's sheer imbecility in face of
the demand for a story was a sore trial to
W. V. After an impatient lesson or two,
the way in which he picked up a substitute
for imagination was really exceedingly credi-
table. Having spent a day in the "Forest"
- W. V. could pack some of her forests in a
nutshell, and feel herself a woodlander of
infinite verdure- Littlejohn learned which
trees were "pappa-trees" ; how to knock
and ask if any one was in; how to make the
dog inside bark if there was no one; how to
get an answer in the affirmative if he asked
whether they could give his little girl a bis-
cuit, or a pear, or a plum; how to discover
the fork in the branches where the gift would
be found, and how to present it to W. V.
with an air of inexhaustible surprise and
delight. Every Forest is full of "pappa-
trees," as every verderer knows; the crux of
the situation presents itself when the tenant
of the tree is cross, or the barking dog inti-
mates that he has gone "to the City."
Now, about a mile from Cloan Den, Little-
john's house, there was a bit of the real
"old ancient" Caledonian Forest. There
Her Friend Littlejohn
was not much timber, it is true, but still
enough; and occasionally one came across
a shattered shell of oak, which might have
been a pillar of cloudy foliage in the days
when woad was the fashionable dress mate-
rial. I have reason to believe that W. V.
invested all that wild region with a rosy
atmosphere of romance for Littlejohn.
Every blade of grass and fringe of larch was
alive with wood-magic. She trotted about
with him holding his hand, or swinging on
before him with her broad boyish shoulders
thrown well back and an air of unconscious
proprietorship of man and nature.
It was curious to note how her father's
stories had taken hold of her, and Little-
john, with some surprise at himself and at
the nature of things at large, began to fancy
he saw motive and purpose in some of these
fantastic narratives. The legend of the girl
that was "just 'scruciatingly good had evi-
dently been intended to correct a possible
tendency towards priggishness. The boy
whose abnormal badness expressed itself in
" I don't care" could not have been so
irredeemably wicked, or he would never have
succeeded in locking the bear and tiger up
in the tree and leaving them there to dine
off each other. And all the stories about
little girls who got lost there were several
of these were evidently lessons against
fright and incentives to courage and self-
W. V. quite believed that if a little girl
got bewildered in the underwood the grass
would whisper "This way, this way!" or
some little furry creature would look up at
her with its sharp beady eyes and tell her to
follow. Even though one were hungry and
thirsty as well as lost, there was nothing to
be afraid of, if there were only oaks in the
Forest. For when once on a time a little
girl--whose name, strangely enough, was
W. V. got lost and began to cry, did not
the door of an oak-tree open and a little,
little, wee man all dressed in green, with
green boots and a green feather in his cap,
come out and ask her to "step inside," and
have some fruit and milk? And did n't he
say, "When you get lost, don't keep going
this way and going that way and going the
other way, but keep straight on and you are
Her Friend Littlejohn
sure to come out at the other side ? Only
poor wild things in cages at the Zoo keep
going round and round."
And that is "truly and really," W. V.
would add, "because I saw them doing it
at the Zoo."
Even at the risk of being tedious, I must
finish the story, for it was one that greatly
delighted Littlejohn and haunted him in a
pleasant fashion. Well, when this little girl who
was lost had eaten the fruit and drunk the milk,
she asked the wee green oak-man to go with
her a little way, as it was growing dusk. And
he said he would. Then he whistled, and
close to, and then farther away, and still
farther and farther, other little oak-men whis-
tled in answer, till all the Forest was full of
the sound of whistling. And the oak-man
shouted, "Will you help this little girl out? "
and you could hear Yes, yes, yes, yes," far
away right and left, to the very end of the
Forest. And the oak-man walked a few
yards with her, and pointed; and she saw
another oak and another oak-man; and so
she went on from one to another right
through the Forest; and she said, "Thank
you, Mr. Oak-man," to each of them, and
bent down and gave each of them a kiss,
and they all laughed because they were
pleased, and when she got out she could
still hear them laughing quietly together.
Another story that pleased Littlejohn
hugely, and he liked W. V. to tell it as he
lay in a hollow among the heather with his
bonnet pulled down to the tip of his nose,
was about the lost little girl who walked
among the high grass--it was quite up to
her eyes--till she was "tired to death."
So she lay down, and just as she was begin-
ning to doze off she heard a very soft voice
humming her to sleep, and she felt warm
soft arms snuggling her close to a warm
breast. And as she was wondering who it
could be that was so kind to her, the soft
voice whispered, "It is only mother, dearie;
sleep-a-sleep, dearie; only mother cuddling
her little girl." And when she woke there
was no one there, and she had been lying
in quite a little grassy nest in the hollow of
Littlejohn himself could hardly credit the
change which this voluble, piquant, imperious
Her Friend Littlejohn
young person had made not only in the
ways of the house, but in his very being
and in the material landscape itself. One
of the oddest and most incongruous things
he ever did in his life was to measure W. V.
against a tree and inscribe her initials (her
father always called her by her initials and
she liked that form of her name best), and
his own, and the date, above the score which
marked her height.
The late summer and the early autumn
passed delightfully in this fashion. There
was some talk at intervals of W. V. being
packed, labelled, and despatched "with
care to her own woods and oak-men in
the most pleasant suburb of the great
metropolis, but it never came to anything.
Her father was persuaded to spare her just
a little longer. The patter of the little feet,
the chatter of the voluble, cheery voice, had
grown well-nigh indispensable to Littlejohn
and his wife, for though I have confined
myself to Littlejohn's side of the story, I
would not have it supposed that W. V.'s
charm did not radiate into other lives.
So the cold rain and the drifted leaf, the
first frost and the first snow came; and in
their train come Christmas and the Christ-
mas-tree and the joyful vision of Santa Claus.
Now to make a long story short, a polite
note had arrived at Cloan Den asking for the
pleasure of Miss W. V.'s company at Bar-
geddie Mains about a mile and a half be-
yond the old ancient" Caledonian Forest -
where a Christmas-tree was to be despoiled of
its fairy fruitage. The Bargeddie boys would
drive over for Miss W. V. in the afternoon,
and "Uncle Big-John would perhaps come
for the young lady in the evening, unless in-
deed he would change his mind and allow
her to stay all night.
Uncle Big-John, of course, did not change
his mind; and about nine o'clock he reached
the Mains. It was a sharp moonlight night,
and the wide snowy strath sweeping away up
to the vast snow-muffled Bens looked like a
silvery expanse of fairyland. So far as I can
gather it must have been well on the early
side of ten when Littlejohn and W. V. (re-
joicing in the spoils of the Christmas-tree)
bade the Bargeddie people good-night and
started homeward the child warmly muf-
Her Friend Littlejohn
fled, and chattering and laughing hilariously
as she trotted along with her hand in his.
It has often since been a subject of wonder
that Littlejohn did not notice the change of
the weather, or that, having noticed it, he
did not return for shelter to the Mains. But
we are all too easily wise after the event, and
it is to be remembered that the distance from
home was little over three miles, and that
Littlejohn was a perfect giant of a man.
They could have hardly been more than
half a mile from Bargeddie when the snow
storm began. The sparse big flakes thick-
ened, the wind rose bitterly cold, and then,
in a fierce smother of darkness, the moonlight
was blotted out. For what follows the story
depends principally on the recollections of
W. V., and in a great measure on one's
knowledge of Littlejohn's nature.
The biting cold and the violence of the wind
soon exhausted the small traveller. Little-
john took her in his arms, and wrapped her
in his plaid. For some time they kept to
the highroad, but the bitter weather suggested
the advisability of taking a crow-line across
"You're a jolly heavy lumpumpibus, In-
fanta," Littlejohn said with a laugh; "I
think we had better try a short cut for once
through the old oaks."
When they got into some slight cover
among the younger trees, Littlejohn paused
to recover his breath. It was still blowing
and snowing heavily.
"Now, W. V., I think it would be as well
if you knocked up some of your little green
oak-men, for the Lord be good to me if I
know where we are."
You must knock," said W. V., "but I
don't think you will get any bananas."
W. V. says that Littlejohn did knock and
that the bark of the dog showed that the oak-
man was not at home !
I rather thought he would not be, W.
V.," said Littlejohn; "they never are at
home except only to the little people. We
big ones have to take care of ourselves."
"The oak-man said, 'Keep straight on,
and you're sure to come out at the other
side,' W. V. reminded him.
"The oak-man spoke words of wisdom,
Infanta," said Littlejohn. "Come along, W.
Her Friend Littlejohn
V." And he lifted the child again in his
arms. "Are you cold, my dearie-girl? "
"No, only my face; but I am so sleepy."
"And so heavy, W. V. I did n't think a
little girl could be so heavy. Come along,
and let us try keeping straight on. The
other side must be somewhere."
How long he trudged on with the child in
his arms and the bewildering snow beating
and clotting on them both will never be
known. W. V., with a spread of his plaid
over her face, fell into a fitful slumber, from
which she was awakened by a fall and a
"You poor helpless bairn," he groaned,
"have I hurt you?"
W. V. was not hurt; the snow-wreath had
been too deep for that.
"Well, you see, W. V., we came a lament-
able cropper that time," said Littlejohn. "I
think we must rest a little, for I'm fagged
out. You see, W. V., there is no grass to
whisper, This way, this way;' and there are
no furry things to say, Follow me;' and the
oak-men are all asleep; and -and, God
forgive me, I don't know what to do "
"Are you crying, Uncle Big-John?"
asked W. V.; for "his voice sounded just
like as if he was crying," she explained
Crying no, my dear; there's no need
to kiss the crystal tear aiyy But, you see,
I 'm tired, and it's jolly cold and dark; and,
as Mother Earth is good to little children
-- He paused to see how he should
be best able to make her understand. "You
remember how that little girl that was lost
went to sleep in a hollow of the grass and
heard the Mother talking to her? Well,
you must just lie snug like that, you
"But I 'm not lost."
Of course, you're not lost. Only you
must lie snug and sleep till it stops snowing,
and I '11 sit beside you."
Littlejohn took off his plaid and his thick
tweed jacket. He wrapped the child in the
latter, and half covered her with snow.
With the plaid, propped up with his stick, he
vade a sort of tent to shelter her from the
driving flakes. He then lay down beside her
till she fell asleep.
Her Friend Littlejohn
"It's only mother, dearie; mother cud-
dling her little girl; sleep-a-sleep."
Then he must have arisen shuddering in
his shirt-sleeves, and have lashed his arms
again and again about his body for warmth.
In the hollow in which they were found,
the snow-wreath, with the exception of a
narrow passage, a few feet in width where
they had blundered in, was impassably deep
on all sides. All round and round the
hollow the snow was very much trampled.
Worn out with fatigue and exposure, the
strong man had at last lain down beside the
child. His hand was under his head.
In that desperate circular race against cold
and death he must have been struck by his
own resemblance to the wild creatures pad-
ding round and round in their cages in the
Zoo, and what irony he must have felt in
the counsel of the wee green oak-man.
Well, he had followed the advice, had he
not? And, when he awoke, would he not
find that he had come out at the other side?
Hours afterwards, when at last Littlejohn
slowly drifted back to consciousness, he lay
staring for a moment or two with a dazed be-
wildered brain. Then into his eyes there
flashed a look of horror, and he struggled to
pull himself together. "My God, my God,
where is the Infant?" he groaned.
W. V. was hurried into the room, oblivi-
ously radiant. With a huge sigh Littlejohn
sank back smiling, and held out his hand to
her. Whereupon W. V., moving it gently
aside, went up close to him and spoke, half
in inquiry half in remonstrance, "You 're not
going to be died, are you? "
N these winter evenings, thanks to the
Great Northern, and to Hesperus who
brings all things home, I reach my door-
step about half-an-hour before W. V.'s bed-
time. A sturdy, rosy, flaxen-haired little
body opens to my well-known knock, takes
a kiss on the tip of her nose, seizes my um-
brella, and makes a great show of assisting
me with my heavy overcoat. She leads me
into the dining-room, gets my slippers, runs
my bootlaces into Gordian knots in her im-
petuous zeal, and announces that she has
"set the tea. At table she slips furtively
on to my knee, and we are both happy till a
severe voice, Now, father reminds us of
the reign of law in general, and of that law
in particular which enacts that it is shocking
in little girls to want everything they see,
and most reprehensible in elderly people
(I elderly!) to encourage them.
We are glad to escape to the armchair,
where, after I have lit my pipe and W. V.
has blown the elf of flame back to fairyland,
we conspire -not overtly indeed, but each
in his deep mind how we shall baffle do-
mestic tyranny and evade, if but for a few
brief minutes of recorded time, the cubicular
moment and the inevitable hand of the bath-
The critical instant occurs about half-way
through my first pipe, and W. V.'s devices
for respite or escape are at once innumerable
and transparently ingenious. I admit my
connivance without a blush, though I may
perchance weakly observe: "One sees so
little of her, mother; for how delightful it
is when she sings or recites--and no one
would be so rude as to interrupt a song or
recitation to watch the little hands waving
in "the air so blue," the little fingers flick-
ering above her head in imitation of the
sparks at the forge, the little arms nursing
an imaginary weeping dolly, the blue eyes lit
up with excitement as they gaze abroad from
the cherry-tree into the "foreign lands"
beyond the garden wall.
She has much to tell me about the day's
doings. Yes, she has been clay-modelling.
I have seen some of her marvellous baskets
of fruit and birds' nests and ivy leaves;
but to-day she has been doing what dear
old Mother Nature did in one of her happy
moods some millenniums ago making a
sea with an island in it; and around the sea
mountains, one a volcano with a crater blaz-
ing with red crayon; and a river with a
bridge across it; quite a boldly conceived
and hospitable fragment of a new planet.
Of course Miss Jessie helped her, but she
would soon be able, all by herself, to create
a new world in which there should be ever-
blossoming spring and a golden age, and
fairies to make the impossible common-
place. W. V. does not put it in that way,
but those, I fancy, would be the character-
istics of a universe of her happy and inno-
In her early art days W. V. was distinctly
Darwinian. Which was the cow, and which
the house, and which the lady, was always a
nice question. One could differentiate with
the aid of a few strokes of natural selection,
but essentially they were all of the same pro-
toplasm. Her explanations of her pictures
afforded curious instances of the easy magic
with which a breath of her little soul made
all manner of dry bones live. I reproached
her once with wasting paper which she had
covered with a whirling scribble. "Why,
father," she exclaimed with surprise, that 's
the north wind! Her latest masterpiece
is a drawing of a stone idol; but it is only
exhibited on condition that, when you see it,
you must "shake with fright."
At a Kindergarten one learns, of course,
many things besides clay-modelling, draw-
ing, and painting: poetry, for instance, and
singing, and natural history; drill and ball-
playing and dancing. And am I not curious
- this with a glance at the clock which is on
the stroke of seven to hear the new verse
of her last French song? Shall she recite
"Purr, purr or "The Swing "? Or would
it not be an agreeable change to have her
sing "Up into the Cherry Tree," or "The
Busy Blacksmith "?
Any or all of these would be indeed de-
lectable, but parting is the same sweet sorrow
at the last as at the first. However, we shall
have one song. And after that a recitation
by King Alfred! The king is the most
diminutive of china dolls dressed in green
velvet. She steadies him on the table by
one leg, and crouches down out of sight
while he goes through his performance.
The Fauntleroy hair and violet eyes are the
eyes and hair of King Alfred, but the voice
is the voice of W. V.
When she has recited and sung I draw her
between my knees and begin: There was
once a very naughty little girl, and her name
was W. V."
No, father, a good little girl."
"Well, there was a good little girl, and
her name was Gladys."
No, father, a good little girl called W. V."
"Well, a good little girl called W. V.; and
she was 'quickly obedient'; and when her
father said she was to go to bed, she said:
'Yes, father,' and she just flew, and gave no
"And did her father come up and kiss her ?"
"Why, of course, he did."
A few minutes later she is kneeling on the
bed with her head nestled in my breast,
repeating her evening prayer: -
"Dear Father, whom I cannot see,
Smile down from heaven on little me.
Let angels through the darkness spread
Their holy wings about my bed.
And keep me safe, because I am
The heavenly Shepherd's little lamb.
Dear God our Father, watch and keep
Father and mother while they sleep;
" and bless Dennis, and Ronnie, and Uncle
John, and Auntie Bonnie, and Phyllis (did
Phyllis used to squint when she was a baby?
Poor Phyllis !) ; and Madame, and Lucille
(she is only a tiny little child; a quarter
past three years or something like that);
and Ivo and Wilfrid (he has bronchitis
very badly; he can't come out this winter;
are n't you sorry for him? Really a dear
"Any one else ?"
"Auntie Edie and Grandma. (He will
have plenty to do, won't He?) "
"And Teach me "- I suggest.
"Teach me to do what I am told,
And help me to be good as gold."
And a whisper comes from the pillow as I
tuck in the eider-down, -
Now He will be wondering whether I
am going to be a good girl."
EAST OF EDEN
F AR down upon the plain the large round
Sank red in jungle mist; but on the
The cold clear darkness burned with restless
And, restless as the stars, the grim old King
Paced with fierce choleric strides the mon-
Of boulders piled to make the city wall.
Muttering his wrath within his cloudy beard,
He moved, and paused, and turned. The
The huge bent gold that ringed his giant
Gleamed on the jewel-fringed vast lion-
That clothed his stature, ran in dusky play
Along the ponderous bronze that armed his
He fiercely scanned the East for signs of
Then shook his clenched hand above his
And blazed with savage eyes and brow thrown
To front the awful Presence he addressed:
"Slay and make end; or take some mortal
That I may strive with Thee Art Thou so
And yet must smite me out of Thine Un-
Long centuries have passed since Thou didst
Thy mark upon me, lest at any time
Men finding me should slay me. I have
East of Eden
Feeble and hoary with the toil of years -
An aged palsy now, alas, no more
That erst colossal adamant whereon
Thine hand engraved its vengeance. Be
And answer when I charge Thee. Have I
Before Thy fury; have I bade Thee spare;
Hath Thy long torture wrung one sob of
One cry of supplication from my mouth?
But Thou hast made Thyself unseen; hast
In ambush to afflict me. Day and night
Thou hast been watchful. Thy vindictive
Have known no slumber. Make Thyself a
That I may seize Thee in my grips, and
But once on equal terms with Thee-but
Or send Thine angel with his sword of
But no; not him Come Thou, come Thou
Come forth from Thine Invisible, and face
In mortal guise the mortal Thou has
The race of giants, sunk in heavy sleep
Within the cirque of those cyclopean walls,
Heard as it were far thunder in their dreams;
But answer came there none from cloud or
Then cried the aged King;
"A curse consume
Thy blind night fevered with the glare of stars,
Wild voices, and the agony of dreams !
Would it were day "
At last the gleam of dawn
Swept in a long grey shudder from the East,
Then reddened o'er the misty jungle tracts.
The guards about the massive city gates
Fell back with hurried whispers: 'T is the
And forth, with great white beard and gold-
Huge spear, and jewelled fells, the giant strode
To slake his rage among the beasts of prey.
East of Eden
The fierce white splendour of a tropic noon;
A sweltering waste of jungle, breathing flame;
The sky one burning sapphire !
By a spring
Within the shadow of a bluff of rock
The hoary giant rested. At his feet
The cool green mosses edged the crystal
And flowers of blue and gold and rose-red
The weary eye with colour. As he sat
There rose a clamour from the sea of
He heard a crash of boughs, a rush of feet;
And, lo! there bounded from the tangled
A panting tiger mad with pain and rage.
The beast sprang roaring, but the giant
And pashed with one fell buffet bone and
Then staggered with a groan, for, keen and
At that same instant from the jungle flew
A shaft which to the feather pierced his
Shrill cries of horror maddened round the
Oh, Elohim, 't is Cain the King, the King "
And weeping, tearing hair, and wringing
About him raved his lawless giant brood.
But Cain spoke slowly with a ghastly smile:
"Peace, and give heed, for now I am but dead.
-Let no man be to blame for this my death;
Yea, swear a solemn oath that none shall
A hair of him who gives me my release.
Come hither, boy "
And, weeping, Lamech went
And stood before the face of Cain; and Cain
Who pressed a hand against his rushing
Reddened his grandson's brow and kissed his
"The blood of Cain alight on him who lifts
A hand against thy life. My spear, boys! So.
Let no foot follow. Cain must die alone.
Let no man seek me till ye see in heaven
A sign, and know that Cain is dead."
East of Eden
And from the hollow of his hand let fall
A crimson rain upon the crystal spring,
Which caught the blood in glassy ripple and
And reddened moss and boulder.
Swift of stride,
With gold-girt brow thrown back to front the
The hoary giant through the jungle waste
Plunged, muttering in his beard; and on-
Through the deep tangle of the trackless
To reach some lair, where hidden and un-
His savage soul in its last strife might
With God -perchance one moment visible.
A sweltering tract of jungle, breathing flame;
A fiery silence; all the depth of heaven
One blinding sapphire !
Watching by the cliff,
The giant brood stood waiting for the sign.
Behold a speck, high in the blazing blue,
Hung black a single speck above the waste;
Hung poised an hour; then dropped through
leagues of air,
Plumb as a stone; and as it dropped they saw
Through leagues of high blue air, to north
To east and west, black specks that sprang
And then long sinuous lines of distant spots
Which flew converging -growing, as they
To slanting streams and palpitating swarms;
Which flew converging out of all the heavens,
And blackened, as they flew, the sapphire
And jarred the fiery hush with winnowing
Which flew converging on a single point
Deep in the jungle waste, and, as they
Paused in the last long slide with dangling
Then dropped like stone.
Thus knew the giant brood
That Cain was dead.