The Baldwim Lbrary
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Lily and Water-Lily.
THE DAINTY BOOKS.
Uniform with this volume, price 2s. 6d. each.
BY L. B. WALFORD.
FOR GROWN-UP CHILDREN.
Illustrated by T. Pym.
BY FRANCES E. ChOMPTON.
Illustrated by T. Pym.
BY CONSTANCE MILMAN.
Illustrated by Edith Ellison.
BY THE HON. E. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN.
A HIT AND A MISS.
Illustrated by L. Leslie Brooke.
BY MABEL WOTTON.
A MANNERLESS MONKEY.
Illustrated by Edith Ellison.
LONDON: A. D. INNES & CO.,
31 & 32, BEDFORD STREET, STRAND, W.C.
THE-RONANCE OF -AWATER k LILY.
.4 -:: s
fHirk Pxichael is naught to Satomel
:&elechoed JuLdith scoffingly-
THE DAINTY BOOKS.
Lily and Water-Lily.
By A. Comyns Carr.
Illustrated by Winifred Smith.
A. D. Innes 6' Co.,
31 &6 32, Bedford Street, Strand, W.C.
THE WHITE LILY ... ... ... ... 9
THE ROMANCE OF A WATER-LILY ... ... 83
THE WHITE LILY.
LILY AND WATER-LILY.
THE WHITE LIL Y
IN a land a long way off, that nobody knows the
name of, and that nobody has ever been able
to find again when once they have lost the road to it,
the flowers of the earth have spirits within them, that
can talk to the hearts of children who listen.
Every flower that blows has a home in that
On the mossy banks beneath the chestnut woods
yellow primroses and sweet violets and little blue
hepaticas make a beautiful pattern on the green turf,
while the white star of Bethlehem smiles from among
its delicate leaves above them; and out upon the
12 Lily and Water-Lily.
open hillsides-where the tiny silver-grey leaves of
the olive trees make too fine and transparent a tracery
against the blue sky to prevent the sun from warming
the earth-bright anemones, pink and purple and
fiery scarlet, bloom gaily in thousands, and pretty
striped crimson tulips lift their dainty heads among
the growing wheat.
Such flowers as these bloom near to the blue sea,
but away from the sea and away from the hot breezes
that blow across it, meadows are fresher and greener,
and land-streams ripple merrily down from the
mountains to grow into calm rivers in the plain.
Behind the rivers, the mountains that were once
their home stand blue in the distance, and upon the
plains the white and lilac crocus, the golden daffodils,
and heavy-scented narcissus make merry in the
spring-time, waiting for the forget-me-nots to open
their blue eyes upon the banks, and the great yellow
lilies to spread their breasts to the stream when the
summer is at its height.
There are so many flowers in that country, and the-
The White Lily. 13
sky is so kind to them with its rain and its sunshine
in season, the moon shines so softly upon them when
the night is clear, and the fireflies in May-time flit
so gaily at night upon them, that perhaps it is no
wonder.they grow cleverer than other flowers, and
have hearts that beat so full of life that they can take
a part in the lives of children who are akin to them.
And in that country children and flowers and beasts
are all the children of one mother, whose name is
Mother Earth, and so they are all brothers and sisters,
and can all talk to one another so long as they love
Mother Earth is a very kind mother if her children
are obedient, but if they do what she has forbidden
them to do, they get punished directly.
And she gives all her children a great many rules
to follow before she sends them out into the world.
There are as many rules for the beasts and the
flowers as there are for the children, and some of
them are very tiresome rules indeed, and very hard
to remember-all the more so as Mother Earth does
Lily and Water-Lily.
not come to remind her children of what she has told
them to do, as mothers do in other countries, but
expects them to remember it all for being told once,
and punishes none the less severely because the excuse
is that the rule was forgotten.
All the children of Mother Earth have their use
and their work to do in the world.
Some birds and beasts and insects are meant to be
the food of others of her children, and not one of
them but should help to make all that is good grow
on the earth if it does what it was intended to do.
Thus the bees, as they fly from flower to flower,
kissing those whom they love and sucking honey for
their own food, carry the honey also from one flower
to another, and so make.the flowers grow and become
many more on the land.
So the birds, as they pick the seeds of flowers to
carry to their own nests, fly with them across vast
tracts of country, and plant them in distant lands
where, but for their innocent work, such flowers would
never have bloomed at all.
The White Lily. 15
On one of the prettiest banks of the prettiest
torrents that ripple down towards the stately rivers
in that far-off land, a slender and spotless lily grew
beneath weeping willows and looked out upon the
The world that he saw was a wilder world than the
land beside the blue sea or on the blue plains.
Great hills were around him, with tall pine-woods
upon their crests, under whose shade the purple
columbine and crimson foxglove, the red rhododen-
dron and the flaming tiger-lily, bloomed side by side
with the tender cyclamen that lays its ears back, as
though in imitation of the soft little rabbits that run
through the carpet of bilberry plants at its feet.
Above his head was a great cliff, upon whose
summits the tops of the pine trees stirred in the
breeze as the plume of the helmet of a great warrior,
and within all the little fissures and furrows of whose
great face the red-berried arbutus tree, the white
acacia, the purple-flowered Judas-tree, and the grace-
ful mountain ash with its cockades of scarlet, found
16 Lily and Water-Lily.
a nook to root in that they might adorn the nakedness
of the vast frontal.
The lily was a strange, shy flower, and could not
bear to live in the eye of all the merry flower world
up on the open hillsides and meadows, and had
begged Mother Earth to let him leave his gay
companions to come down here in the quiet dell and
watch the stream ripple by.
And as he watched the stream ripple by he watched
something else too.
Every morning when the sun had been up an hour
or two and the air was warm and soft, and the hum
of insects mingled with the singing of the birds and
the rushing of the torrent, there used to come, hand-
in-hand down the rugged path that wound about
the side of the cliff, two of the prettiest little children
that ever were seen.
Their hair was soft and bright and curling, golden
in the sunshine and brown in the shade; their eyes
were sweet and loving, and shone like the clear water
of the brook that rippled past at their feet; their faces
The While Lily.
were white and fair, with
'Z roses growing on their
cheeks, and when they
./ smiled their pretty teeth
were as white as the lily-
And they did smile
very often, and laugh
too. As they tripped
hand-in-hand down the
rough pathway they
laughed to feel the
flowers and the grasses
Ai kiss their tender, bare
ho.~ d ped feet, and laughed again
and- to see how they slipped
upon the green and pink
mosses that grew upon the stones and were wet with
the dews of the night.
They laughed at the dragon-flies that floated past
them in the warm air; they laughed at the squirrels
Lily and Water-Lily.
that ran up and down among the tree-trunks; they
laughed at the fish that shot the tiny waterfalls and
leapt up in the hot sunshine on the water; and they
laughed at the song of the thrush in the rustling
chestnut trees; and their laughter was as sweet as the
ripple of the water itself, or as the singing of the birds
in the copses.
The names of the children were Pearl and Ruby,
and every morning when the sun shone, the lily that
stood there in the shade heard that pretty laughter
float from afar over the meadows and through the
pine-woods, and lifted his white head-lightly in the
breeze and watched for the children to come.
The children never looked at the lily. They had
not learnt to know him yet; there were so many
merry and bright flowers around whom they grew to
know very easily, and the lily lived in the shade, and
did not try to be seen.
But the lily looked for the children, and when the
sky rained down its showers, although the kindly
freshness was meat and drink to him, he was sorry
The While Lily.
because those whom he loved could not sport in the
Fortunately, it did not often rain in that lovely
land, and the children were always happy, laughing
aloud as they told one another that they had the
whole day to play in, the whole day in which to grow
as the flowers did, and open beneath the sun and
sleep beneath the moon.
Every day the children found new flowers to greet
them that had bloomed in the night while they had
been sleeping; every day they made new friends and
learned new lessons.
And their friends were not only in the pretty
They had companions also among the beasts of
the forest-noble stags, tender gazelles, beautiful
antelopes. Ruby was even sworn comrades with a
good-natured old brown bear, who used to come down
the mountains and take him away for long rambles
in places where he never would have dreamed of
going by himself.
Lily and Water-Lily.
The two would often be gone for days together,
the bear carrying Ruby on his back whenever the
way was too difficult or the slender little limbs
became too weary; and during these long separa-
tions from her brother, little Pearl would console her-
self in the society of a friendly little field-mouse, with
whom she had for long been on closest terms of
Ruby was not very partial to the field-mouse.
Being a boy, he was inclined to think it stupid and
foolish; but Pearl understood it better, and always
knew how to make it talk.
If it had not been for the field-mouse, and for a
pair of pretty thrushes, who were so devoted to Pearl
that they came every night and strewed leaves on
the ground to make her a bed, the little girl would
have fared badly when Ruby was away; but the
mouse was indefatigable in working for her, and
would spend whole days laboriously collecting fruits
and berries and nuts, which he would keep stored
up in a safe place, and bring to her when she was
SThe White Lily. 21
hungry and was too tired herself to go foraging for
Pearl was just a tiny little bit afraid of Ruby's
friend, the bear, and would not have cared to go with
them on their rambles, even if they would have made
her welcome ; she much preferred spending her time
with the field-mouse, who was just a tiny little bit
afraid of the bear too.
The mouse was the funniest little creature in the
world; it made her laugh all day long. And yet it
was so good-tempered, and so fond of Pearl, that it
never minded how much she made fun of it; which, of
course, made the friendship much more pleasant than
if it had been touchy and given itself airs.
Pearl would sit under the broad shade of the
sweeping trees, resting her bare limbs upon the soft
grass and letting the flowers kiss her face; and she
would take a naughty delight in upsetting all the
plans that the mouse made for her comfort, pretend-
ing not to see when he had laid her dinner out, and
bursting into peals of laughter when she saw him
22 Lily and Water-Lily.
labouring along with a nut or a strawberry which
she would eat at a mouthful, and yet which took the
poor little creature all his time to bring safely to
Sometimes the mouse would get tumbled over by
some flighty little squirrel or hasty rabbit, or by
some anxious hare flying from before a fox, and then
its precious burthen would go rolling down the path,
and the poor little mouse would go rolling after it,
terrified out of its wits, and with no thought but to
hide itself from sight.
All these things amused Pearl continually and
kept her constantly laughing.
Not that she would have let any one-squirrel, nor
hare, nor rabbit-hurt her little friend ; but there was
no harm in being amused by his efforts and his fears,
and he was not to blame for Mother Earth having
sent him out with such a very funny shape.
Pearl was really very fond of the mouse, and very
glad that it was not afraid of her.
For the mouse was afraid of Ruby, and afraid of
The While Lily.
the bear, and afraid of a great many more of its
brothers and sisters in the animal and child world,
but it had never been afraid of Pearl.
It would run in and out among her golden hair and
upon her neck, and eat nuts and grains out of her
mouth, and sit upon her shoulder with its tiny bright
eyes looking into her face, and ask her all about her
troubles and her fun.
Though the mouse was such a little tiny thing, and
seemed to have the most need of the two of care and
supervision, it never talked of itself, and never asked
for anything for itself; and yet it must have had its
little troubles too, when other larger creatures crushed
its home to pieces with their great feet, or when the
magpies and the weasel stole all its stores of winter
But the mouse was very fond of Pearl, and though
it had to run up and down a great, great many times
before it got enough to make Pearl a dinner, it was
never tired, because Pearl was its friend.
Now, the mouse was a friend also of the white lily,
24 Lily and Water-Lily.
and it was very fond of going to the mossy bank
beneath the willows and telling its gentle comrade
all the things that it was wont to do and to talk of
with pretty little Pearl.
The lily used not to answer very much, but he
seemed to be very fond of hearing the mouse talk
about Pearl, and whenever he strayed and spoke of
other things, the lily always managed somehow to
lead the conversation back again to the topic that
Sometimes the mouse would suggest that he should
bring Pearl to the place where the lily lived, and
make them known to one another, but whenever this
was spoken of, the lily always seemed to shrink up
into himself, and begged that his friend would do no
such thing, for that he was quite content to watch
Pearl at her play, and would prefer to wait until she
found him out for herself.
The lily was a shy flower.
It was in vain that the mouse suggested that when
one lived the life of a recluse, as his friend did, it was
THE 43WHITE LILY]I-
Tey wwkhe d the fishes. as -thezy a )apt ,
The White Lily.
difficult for other flowers and children to find one out;
but the lily was quite determined, and would not
allow the mouse.to bring Pearl to see him.
Nevertheless, the lily thought a great deal about
Pearl, and watched for her coming .every day of his z:
One day the children were late coming down the
path under the great cliff towards the torrent-bed.
It is true that Ruby did not always come. When
he was out a-hunting with the bear or the stag, or
even when he was coursing with the hares, he would
sometimes be away, as we have said, whole days
together. But Pearl scarcely ever missed a day.
She was very fond of the river.
She was very fond of the fish.
When the weather was hot she would stand in the
water, making little ripples play. over her pretty
white feet, and she would make bridges with her soft
little hands for the fishes to leap over.
She would laugh when they leapt and glided away
in the clear water.
28 Lily and Water-Lily.
She never wanted to catch them; and when the
handsome kingfisher stood on the bank and put his
great beak down and snapped up the little fish for
his dinner, she was very sorry, although, of course,
she knew that Mother Earth had given him leave to
do that, and so he was not to be blamed.
But to-day Pearl was very late.
And it was not because she was in the fields
with the mouse, because the mouse had missed her
too at breakfast-time, and had scampered away to
his friend, the lily, to know if there were any news
He had had a particularly nice breakfast ready for
Pearl-a luscious arbutus berry and two sweet little
filberts. What could any little girl want more ?
And he was very much disappointed that Pearl had
not come to eat it.
To be sure, as he told the lily, she might be tired
and still sleeping on the bed which the thrushes had
made for her.
There had been a turtledove's wedding in the glen
The White Lily.
by moonlight the night before, and it would be no
wonder if Pearl were weary.
The mouse told the lily all about it.
He had not been invited himself-for birds were
rather exclusive people, and never had been known
to get on well with mice-but he knew that Pearl
had had a great success.
It had been a lovely wedding; goldfinches and
love-birds, two and two, for bridesmaids, in the most
lovely dresses ever seen, and two handsome wood-
peckers for best men.
The glowworms had carried the lamps and the fire-
flies all the candles, of which there had been hundreds
and thousands-never such a blaze seen before.
The nightingales had sung the marriage hymn, and
the thrushes the wedding march when the affair was
all over; but the mouse swore that, if his opinion
had been asked, Pearl's voice, singing and laughing
through the woods, was far more beautiful than
anything that birds could do.
But then no one had asked the mouse's opinion;
30 Lily and Water-Lily.
for he would not have been considered an impartial
judge on that particular question, his preference for
Pearl being well known through all the country-side,
and his appreciation of the merits of birds not being
so well assured.
The show had been a fine thing; but even all the
revelry that there had been was not enough to
account for Pearl's prolonged absence, and both the
lily and the mouse began to grow anxious.
The mouse went off to search for Pearl as soon as
he found that his friend knew nothing of her; but the
lily was obliged to stay where it was, and could only
wait and watch.
And, waiting, he began to be aware of a strange
foreboding of evil.
The sun shone as brightly as it did yesterday, the
birds' song was as gay, the breeze in the trees stirred
as softly, and the breath of all the flowers was as
sweet upon the warm air; but somehow the lily felt
as though there were a blight in the summer's day,
as though something unlucky were going to happen.
The White Lily.
He listened and listened, but there was no sound
of laughter across the meadows, and the sun had lost
its brightest smile, and the shadows were beginning
to grow long upon the grass before the children
appeared at last-this time, and for the first time
since the lily had known them, without a smile upon
their pretty lips.
What was the reason of the sad change ? Children
who have never lived in that country would never
guess the reason; but the lily knew what it was
directly he saw Pearl and Ruby come down the path.
The children had disobeyed one of their great
In Pearl's hand, as she came slowly down across
the stones, was one of the blossoms of the earth.
Yes; for the first time in their lives the children
had not been content to believe what their mother
had told them without question. They had wanted
to see for themselves whether what she had said was
true; they had plucked one of her flowers to see if
it would really die.
32 Lily and Water-Lily.
The lily was very sad as he looked at what the
children had done.
The plant that lay across Pearl's bosom was a long
trailing garland of beautiful pointed green leaves with
hanging purple flowers. It was one of the very
prettiest plants that grew upon the hedgerows, and
yet the lily, as he looked at it in Pearl's hand,
shuddered; for he knew that it had a very sure way
of revenging itself for the wrong that had been done
to it-he knew that it was a poison plant.
Pearl came slowly forward, looking intently at the
slender tendrils that had wound themselves about her
arms and throat.
"Brother," said she at last to the boy who walked
beside her, "Mother Earth has deceived us. This
flower that you plucked for me is not dying at all.
It is as fresh as when you gave it me. It clings to
me so tightly that I can scarcely tear it away. But
I am tired of it. I do not think it is such a very
pretty flower after all. I see many fairer blossoms
around which I would rather have."
The White Lily.
"No; it is an ugly flower," answered Ruby. "I
only plucked it to see if what we had been told was
true. As you say, it is not true, and so I suppose we
may just pick as many flowers as ever we like."
"Of course, Mother Earth did say that we should
be punished if we picked the flowers," murmured
Pearl, ruefully; "but if we know better, why need we
remember what she said ? "
Pearl looked wistfully at all the many glorious
blossoms that were opening their hearts to the sun-
shine, and, as she looked, a grey shadow overspread
her own face in place of the brightness that had
always been there, and her sweet eyelids drooped.
"Pearl, Pearl! what is the matter?" cried Ruby.
"Why do you look so strange? "
Pearl shook herself as though she were trying to
awake from a dream. "I don't know," she said. I
don't know what is the matter with me; but I don't
feel the same as I felt a little while ago. Do you
feel the same, Ruby ?"
Ruby seemed to consider. "I don't know," he
34 Lily and Water-Lily.
murmured at last, undecidedly. "But don't let us
think about it any more. Throw away the flower,
and come and play."
He put out his hand to tear it from her bosom, and
as he did so he saw that the slender tendrils were not
so delicate as they seemed; he saw that Pearl's white
flesh was scarred and bruised, that the purple creeper
had left its mark upon her.
Pearl's eyes filled with tears, and she trembled as
she looked at the little pink marks upon her neck;
but still more she trembled, and her blue eyes grew
larger with fear, as she saw that the plant which
Ruby now held lay limp and withered in his grasp,
where but an instant before it had smiled so gay and
Oh, Ruby, Ruby, see what we have done !" she
cried. "What Mother Earth said was true. The
flower is dying."
For an instant Pearl and Ruby lay their curly
heads together, intent on this strange and unknown
thing which they had never seen before, tenderly
The While Lily.
lifting the pretty pointed leaves that had grown so
limp, and the purple bells that hung their heads;
then, with a quick movement of horror, Ruby flung
the garland wildly from him as far as his strength
would send it. -
It fell into the running stream and was whirled
away in its eddies.
The lily looked at Pearl; he was sick at heart.
But nothing worse happened.
The little red marks upon her neck began to die
away, and the colour came back to her cheek.
"Come," said Ruby again, "let us go and play."
He gave her his hand, and they tripped away across
the turf as they were wont to do.
Ruby had been away from Pearl for three days,
hunting over the mountains with the stags, and Pearl
had looked forward to this morning's sport with her
brother again, for she was very fond of Ruby.
They went down to the river's edge, and stepped
into the water.
When there were two of them, they could make
36 Lily and Water-Lily.
far better bridges for the fish to leap over, for they
stood on either side of the torrent, and reached hands
across under the ripples, and the fish-being very
good-natured fish-jumped over the hands instead of
passing down under them.
To-day it was a very hot day, and Pearl and Ruby
lay quite down in the water, so that the fish should
have more of a piece of work when they came; they
lay in the water and waited.
But though they waited patiently enough, some-
how or other no fish seemed to be coming; the
stream seemed to be quite dead and dull and empty.
It was not amusing, and Pearl sat up at last and
sent Ruby to ask the squirrels for some nutshells to
make boats of, by way of a change.
Ruby brought the nutshells, and they got. the fleet
ready to sail, but, though there did not seem to be a
breath of wind or a ripple on the stream, the little
boats that usually floated so prettily down the reach
all struck upon unseen stones to-day and slowly got
swamped, and sank in the tiny eddies.
The White Lily. 37
into tears at
tears she had
ever shed. RSY A'E'"
it's all of no .TrE
use," she cried.
different to .
what it was
not happy any more."
Ruby put his arm around her and tried to comfort
her, but she drew herself pettishly away.
There was no comfort in Ruby's arm any more, for
he was as unhappy as she was.
And the lily looked on pitifully out of the shade.
He would have liked to comfort Pearl, he would have
liked to help her ; but he did not know of any way
in which he could do so.
Lily and Water-Lily.
The children came up out of the water. Their
laughter, which was wont to ripple forth as merrily as
the brook itself, was stilled now, and their eyes were
no longer bright.
They dried their limbs upon the soft grass, and
stood hand-in-hand, thinking of how they should
They had never had to think before of how they
should amuse themselves; it had always come quite
They stood there on the bank and watched the
Presently a beautiful blue-and-green kingfisher
darted past them like a flying emerald in the air.
"There," said Pearl, "let us see if he is luckier
than we were, and if he will find any fish in the
They waited a while,-and sure enough the king-
fisher, who had stood silently poised on the water's
edge, now made a dart down into the nearest pool
with its long bill, and brought up a little shining
The White Lily. 39
grayling which it pierced with the sharp point of its
beak, and then slowly swallowed.
Pearl watched the kingfisher intently. She had
often, very often, seen it do the same thing before,
but she had never thought so much about it.
"If the kingfisher may eat the fishes, and Mother
Earth does not punish him, I wonder why we may
not pick the flowers ?" said she presently, pouting her
pretty lips and knitting her smooth brow till she no
longer looked like the pretty little girl that Mother
Earth had made of her, but like somebody quite
"I don't know why, I am sure," answered Ruby,
Pearl turned and walked up the meadow to the
bank where the lily grew.
She parted the willows with her hands, and walked
up the bank, Ruby following. There she stood still
The air was fragrant as she had never felt it
before, no, not even on a hot summer's eve, when
Lily and Water-Lily.
the sun had lain full on the violet-beds all day
"Why, how sweet it is in here! cried Pearl, and
the pretty smile came back once more to her face.
"What can it be ? "
She looked around her, but the lily stood back in
the shade, and she could not see him without looking
for him, and so she passed him by.
She went out on the other side of the little copse,
into the broad sunshine that lay on the torrent-bed
under the great cliff. And Ruby followed her.
The butterflies were sporting out there in the hot
air, thousands of them, up and down over the flowers,
blue and yellow and scarlet.
Come, let us play with the butterflies," said Ruby.
"They are prettier than the flowers."
Now, Pearl was wont to stand still in the light,
and stretch out her arms and invite the butterflies to
come to her. And they would come and settle all
over her white neck, until she was decked out as with
a hundred jewels, and then she would laugh with joy.
The White Lily.
But to-day something ailed the butterflies. Pearl
stood still a long while, and not one of them came
near her. They all flitted away on the haze of heat
and left her alone.
The tears came into her eyes, but she dashed them
Ruby stamped his foot.
It seemed quite absurd that everything should be
changed because Pearl had plucked a garland from
off a hedge.
He began to run after the butterflies, stretching
out his hands to catch them. At first they would
not be caught; they flitted in front of him and
got away from him. But at last his hand did close
over one, a beautiful red butterfly with handsome
spots on it.
"Ah I have got one," he cried.
But when he opened his hand there was only a
little golden dust upon his fingers, and a crushed
wing fell to the ground. The children knew that the
butterfly also was dead.
42 Lily and Water-Lily.
They did not speak, they only looked at one
"Well," said Ruby at last, "it would only have
lived till the evening. The hares told me that
butterflies only live one day."
Pearl did not say anything, but she wondered
whether the butterfly would have been any the more
content to die before it need, because it could only
have lived one day in any case.
"It isn't as if we had killed an oak, that can live
a thousand years, or even an animal that lives until
the winter," continued Ruby. "All the things would
die just the same some time, even if we had nothing
to do with it."
"Of course," said Pearl, brightening a little.
" Mother Earth kills them all when she likes, so why
shouldn't we kill just a few when we like? Lots of
other things do. Why, even the mouse kills plants,
and I'm sure it's a very kind little creature."
This reflection seemed to afford Ruby some scant
consolation too, for he remembered that he had
The White Lily.
certainly often seen his friend, the bear, kill things,
and he began to be rather thankful that the bear
happened to like him, and had never wanted to kill
He put his arm round Pearl, and together they
began to walk up into the forest. Since the flowers
and the fishes and the butterflies afforded them such
scant pleasure, perhaps it would be a good thing to
try in what mood the birds and animals would be.
They walked through the shady glades, looking
out for their acquaintance.
They were on speaking terms with a good many
partridges and pheasants and rabbits, and were
quite intimate with a gazelle and a couple of
hares. As for the singing birds, as the mouse had
told the lily, Pearl was an immense favourite with
But most strange to relate, to-day they either met
none whom they knew or those whom they knew
avoided them, for there was not a doubt about it
that they did not get within speaking distance of
Lily and Water-Lily.
any of their friends, much less within chance of a
The squirrels scampered away just as if they were
frightened, and the birds took wing and flew through
"Let us go and see if the mouse is at home," said
Pearl, pettishly, when they had tried to get some fun
out of the forest for some time without any result.
She was not going to pretend that she minded the
behaviour of her acquaintance, but she did mind it
They went away out of the forest back into the
fields, till they came to the little hole where the mouse
Pearl told Ruby to stand out of the way, for the
mouse had often been a little bit afraid of Ruby, and
she was not going to have the mouse turn away from
her too because Ruby was there.
So Ruby stood right away out of sight, and Pearl
went up to the door of mousie's dwelling, and called
out to him.
The White Lily. 45
She called many times, but he neither answered nor
showed himself, so she concluded that he must be
Of course, he was very often out, quite as often as
he was at home.
"I shan't come again," said little Pearl, with her
head in the air. "He'll be running after me soon
enough. I dare say he is waiting for me now, poor
fellow, by the tree where we always have dinner."
She turned away and went back to Ruby. But as
she went, she looked just once to see if the mouse
was in sight.
Why, he was at home all the while.
When he thought her back was turned, he peeped
out to see.
There were the little bright eyes that she knew,
and the little pointed nose at the door! He drew
back as quick as lightning when he saw that she
was looking, but Pearl had seen for all that.
She had seen, and her eyes filled with burning tears
46 Lily and Water-Lily.
of mortification, but she was not going to pretend
that she had seen.
She went back to Ruby without a word. And
together they went out of the forest back towards
The sun was beginning to sink at last, and the heat
was no longer so great as it had been.
But the children were languid-as they were not in
the habit of being.
They wandered idly down the torrent-bed under
the cliff, till they came to the little copse where the
The sweet scent stole towards them once more
in the evening air, and they turned in under the
"I want to find out what it is that smells so good
here," Pearl said.
The lily saw them coming.
The evening breeze stirred his leaves, and made
Pearl was walking a few steps in front of Ruby.
The White Lily.
She walked slowly with her head bent down-out
That was, perhaps, how she came at last to notice
the gentle white flower that grew in the shade.
She stopped and looked at it. Then she bent
down and smelt it.
"Why, it is this, Ruby," said she. What a strange,
lovely flower! How soft and green its leaves are,
and how sadly it hangs its head I cannot see its
She knelt down on the soft moss and touched the
flower with her little tender hand, and put her little
tip-tilted nose to it because it was so sweet.
The breeze that. rustled through the trees passed
over the lily once more and made him tremble
Pearl lifted the drooping head and looked into the
starry white face.
"How beautiful it is !" she murmured. How pure
and how transparent its petals are! and see the crown
of gold upon its head."
Lily and Water-Lily.
Ruby did not answer, although he was looking down
upon the flower.
"How I wish it were mine!" murmured Pearl
She stretched out her hand towards the flower.
"Don't pluck that, Pearl! don't pluck it!" cried
Ruby. "It is so beautiful."
"That's why I want to have it for my own,"
answered Pearl, "to wear upon my bosom."
"But it will die," argued the boy.
"I don't believe all the flowers die," said the little
girl, obstinately. "It is only the bad flowers, that
deceive and scratch, who die. And this sweet flower
will always be true and kind, I know. I will take
great care of it."
She put her hand upon the lily, closed her little
white fingers around its slender stem, and was just
going to snap it off.
Again the breeze passed over the lily, and again it
trembled in every leaf.
But just as cruel Pearl was about to ruin this
The White Lily. 49
tender life for the sake of her own selfish pleasure,
something ran across her hand and so startled her
that she jumped up and let go the flower.
She looked down to see what it was, and there,
shrinking away from her in the brushwood, she saw
her friend, the field-mouse.
At first Pearl was inclined to be angry. The mouse
had behaved very badly to her; she thought it was
a very rude thing for a mouse to do-to pretend
to be out when a little girl went to see him, and
when he was really at home all the while.
She stooped down towards the lily once more, and
pretended not to have seen her friend.
But again the little creature darted out from its
temporary retreat and ran over Pearl's hand.
Then it ran back and fetched a large strawberry
that it had left a little way off, and came and showed
it to Pearl, and retreated again, as though offering her
a reward if she would do what he wanted.
The little creature was so funny that at last. Pearl
began to laugh.
Lily and Water-Lily.
"Very well, mousie, I won't pick the flower this
time," she said; "only you must behave properly,
then. You must come here and talk to me sensibly."
The mouse made no answer.
It only ran forward into the grass, and remained
looking at Pearl to see if she would follow.
"It's you he is afraid of, Ruby," said she. "Go
out yonder into the meadows and wait for me."
Ruby went out, and Pearl followed the mouse.
She called to it when she got a little way forwarder,
and sat down upon the grass and beckoned it to
But the mouse did not come as it always used to.
It stopped and looked at Pearl and ran up and
down and round her, undecided.
Pearl was angry.
If the mouse no longer cared for her as he used
to do, she certainly was not going to care for the
mouse-a little wretched, ugly thing, that was only
fit to laugh at and make fun of!
Out in the fields the flowers were blooming gaily
The White Lily. 51
on every side, and the flowers were not going to
shrink away and be frightened. If the mouse was
going to be silly, well, the mouse could go its own way,
and Pearl would play with the flowers.
She turned in a pet, and ran back again to Ruby.
"Let us go back again and pick the pretty white
lily, Ruby," said she. "The mouse is tiresome to-day,
and I don't want to play with him any more."
Ruby was standing on a little knoll surrounded
by a bed of lovely little purple flowers that looked
up at him with strange, wistful faces, in the midst of
which shone two bright eyes.
The flowers were thoughts, and they were good
thoughts; for as Ruby stood among them, the evil
wishes that he had had faded away, and he did not
feel as though he wanted to go back and pick the
white lily now.
"Let us try and forget about it, Pearl," he said.
"I think we should be much happier if we amused
ourselves as we used to do."
He took Pearl's hand and led her away from the
Lily and Water-Lily.
bank where the lily grew, and past the great cliff on
into the open country.
The sun, which had gone behind a cloud, shone out
again with tender radiance before it sank to its
setting, and the children thought that once more
they could be happy.
They wandered on hand-in-hand till they came to
a great field full of tall handsome purple poppies
that were just beginning to close up their blossoms
for the night. For the sun had set by this time and
the darkness was drawing near.
"Let us lie down here and rest," said Ruby. I
am weary. Do not let us wait to go back to the forest
for the night. Here we can rest as safely, and the
tall flowers will hide the morning sun from our eyes."
It was the first time that the children had ever
rested away from the forest tree beneath which the
little thrushes and linnets spread the covering of
leaves for their couch. But, though she said nothing,
Pearl was afraid lest the birds should shun them to-
night just as the pheasants and squirrels had shunned
The White Lily. 53
them in the morning, and she did not at all want to
lay herself open to such mortification again.
So she gave in to Ruby's proposal, and they lay
down together amid the poppies.
Was there some evil spell upon the poor children
ever since they had plucked that garland of purple
flowers in the morning?
Sleep fell upon them, it is true, but it was not the
sweet and refreshing sleep that they had always
They slept many hours.
When they awoke the clouds all over the sky were
painted with gold and pink, and the sun was just
going to rise upon the land. The rosy colour fell
upon the ripples of the river, and upon the tops of
the trees, and upon the tops of the mountains above
the trees, and the land looked like fairy-land indeed.
And presently the sun came-a great golden ball,
gilding everything with its light.
The flowers opened their petals with the night dew
still fresh upon them, and the drops of it shone like
Lily and Water-Lily.
diamonds in the brightness; and the birds took their
heads from under their wings, and began to sing their
first morning song; and the hares and the squirrels
and the rabbits crept out of their holes and ran gaily
along in search of their first morsel.
But though Pearl and Ruby had slept as many
hours as usual, and though the land upon which they
opened their eyes was just as fair as ever to see, they
had no heart to notice or rejoice in anything. Their
sleep had done them no good.
They did not know why they felt so weary; but
this was the reason.
When they had lain down at night they had not
stopped to consider, as they had. always done before,
whether they were hurting anything that grew by
what they did. Up till now they had never caused
the death of anything; their tread was so light that,
as they ran upon the grass, the daisies and the king-
cups lifted up their heads again beneath their feet,
and they had never thoughtlessly stepped upon any-
thing that could break with their weight.
The White Lily. 55
But yesterday there had come a change over them,
and they had forgotten to think.
So when they lay down they crushed the tall
poppies with their bodies, and maimed them for ever,
and the poppies breathed upon the children as they
slept, and gave them of their subtle poison; for they,
too, were flowers of death.
The children rose and stretched their weary limbs,
and as they looked upon the place where they had
lain they saw the havoc that they had made.
56 Lily and Water-Lily.
But somehow the breath of the poppies seemed to
have deadened their feelings as well as their limbs,
for they did not seem to care, as they would have
done two days ago, about the crushed beauties that
had stood up yesterday so tall and fair.
A moment they looked at the spoiled places; but
then, without a word to one another, they hastened to
the stream where they were wont every morning to
bathe their limbs after the night's rest.
They hoped that the water would make them
fresh again, and as merry as they had been before;
but somehow this morning even the pure river could
not wash away their weariness; the water only
washed their bodies, and left their hearts just as they
The white lily saw them go by as they passed along
the bank towards the cliff.
He was very sad as he looked at Pearl, for her face
had changed very much, and she scarcely looked now
like the sunny child whom he had first known.
She had one of the poppy petals still clinging to
The White Lily.
her hair, and the lily guessed that she must have
been lying down among the poppies, and he knew
what a strange influence poppies have upon children;
and he was all the more sad because he was afraid
that Pearl must be even more unhappy than she was
He wished that he could do something to cure
Pearl, and he thought that there was something he
could do, but he did not know how to do it.
The day wore on once more towards evening.
It had been fair and glorious, but to the eyes of
the children there had still been that unseen cloud
before the sun, which had dimmed the whole of the
The beasts of the forest, the birds of the air, and
the little animals of the wood shunned them still;
the mouse was nowhere to be seen, and the fishes
would not come to be played with.
The flowers alone stood where they had always
stood, and behaved as they had always done, and the
children took their fun of the flowers.
Lily and Water-Lily.
They seemed to have lost even the remembrance of
Mother Earth's command now; they seemed to have
forgotten even to be sorry. They plucked the flowers
recklessly wherever they went, and then left them,
almost as soon as they were plucked, to wither and
die upon the ground where they had lately bloomed
Iris and columbine, blue hyacinth and golden
daffodils, buttercups and dark-eyed narcissus, were
cast aside in a way that the children could not have
believed possible in the days when it was their
pleasure and their pride to be the friends and
guardians of all the things that lived together with
them on the earth.
As they roamed along the banks of the stream,
and through the meadows and the woods, tokens of
their cruel destruction greeted them on every side,
and, though they kept repeating to one another that
there were still such crowds of flowers left a-blooming
that one could not miss those that were gone, they
did not feel at all happy when they passed by and
The White Lily.
saw handfuls of blossoms lying dead and limp where
they had thrown them in the morning.
Weary at last with the toil of pleasure, Ruby
begged that they should go back once more to the
poppy-field, and sleep as they had slept before.
But Pearl, as she had passed to and fro in front of
that great cliff where the mountain ash grew so fear-
lessly, and the tops of the fir trees on the summit
waved like the plumes of warriors in battle-Pearl
had seen something which she wanted to see again.
"You go back to the poppies, Ruby," said.she. "I
am tired. I want to stay here and think."
So Pearl sat down on the grassy bank that was
beneath the rock, and Ruby wandered away over the
The stream rippled peacefully by beyond her, the
scent of the fir trees on the cliff came to her, still
fragrant from the sun's heat that had lain upon them
all day, and through the scent of the fir trees came
strange whiffs of another scent that Pearl did not
recognize, but which was really the breath of the
60 Lily and Water-Lily.
white lily that stood hard by under the trees and
watched what Pearl did.
But Pearl was not thinking of the white lily now;
no, nor even of the poor little field-mouse, who had
been her constant friend, and who, even now, was
running about under the trees and looking anxiously
at his old companion.
She had seen a new friend, after whose companion-
ship she now hankered sorely. He grew upon the
face of the great cliff beneath whose shadow she sat,
and he was a great tall, splendid tiger-lily, who stood
proudly up among the paler flowers that humbly
surrounded him, and looked out haughtily upon the
world from off the perilous ledge of rock upon which
he had so ambitiously taken root.
Pearl could not see the tiger-lily from where she
sat, and as soon as Ruby was out of sight, and she no
longer feared that he would prevent her from doing
what she wanted, she got up and went across to the
edge of the stream, whence she could look up at the
thing that she coveted.
The White Lily.
The blood-red glow of the setting sun behind her
lit up all the face of the great cliff with a magic fire,
and among the mountain ash bushes and sprays of
yucca and white feather-grass that adorned its fifty
fissures, she saw the great stately flame-coloured
flower standing beyond all the rest on its ledge of
rock, and seeming to beckon to her with its drooping
head in the breeze.
And, as she gazed, the crimson sunset glowed into
its very heart, and made the tongue of flame within
it quiver like a burning snake in a goblet of shining
It was no wonder that little Pearl was entranced,
for the tiger-lily was a glorious sight, with the sunset
upon him, and when she saw how beautiful he was
she stretched out her hands and gave a little cry.
I must reach him somehow," she cried to herself.
"It is a terrible cliff to climb; but I will climb it
somehow, for I must get at him. I must have him
for my own."
62 Lily and Water-Lily.
She little knew what-she was going to attempt, and
there was nobody by to warn her.
Ruby, who should have been her protector, had
fallen once more under the influence of the fatal
poppies, and was lost to her.
If she had known in what danger he was; if she
had known that he had taken one of those dangerous
flowers to his heart, and that even now he was suck-
ing in that deadening sleep from its strange purple
petals ;-if she had known it, perhaps she might even
have forgotten herself in her anxiety to awaken
But she did not know it any more than Ruby
knew that she was meditating such a dreadful step as
she now thought of, standing there and holding out
her hands towards the towering cliff.
If she could but have understood what they said,
there were friends by even now who were warning
her; but she had lost the keenness of her hearing for
the voices of beasts and birds and flowers, and she
'did not hear what they whispered.
The While Lily. 63
The little mouse ran around her feet, but she did
not see him; and upon the evening air the scent of
the white lily floated heavy with its message to her
senses, but she did not understand.
Both of them were warning her to take care, but
she would not be warned, and, like many other
children have done since, she went her own way.
Tossing her golden hair behind her, she ran forward
towards the cliff.
Its base was adorned with barberry and ash bushes,
and of these she took hold with her soft little hands,
while she planted her bare feet bravely upon the
sharp points of the undermost ledge of rock.
For a few moments the whole glade was hushed to
The birds no longer sang, the breeze no longer
rustled in the trees, the dragon-flies no longer
hummed as they sailed past in the warm air; even
the torrent no longer chattered idly on its way, but
seemed to change its voice to one of plaintive sadness
as it flowed onward to the river.
64 Lily and Water-Lily.
Although she had to-day lost their confidence, all
the things in the valley loved Pearl, and they were
sorry to watch her running to her destruction.
The lily was very, very sorry, and he watched
She put one foot firmly before the other, bravely
disregarding the sharpness of the rock that cut and
wounded her soft flesh, and with her delicate hands
she boldly grasped the strong ash boughs, or even the
prickly acacia and arbutus that grew upon her way.
She was very fearless and very skilful, but not so
skilful as to be able to escape the punishment of her
own foolish disobedience.
As she came nearer to the ledge where the tiger-
lily grew, she began to feel her head grow dizzy and
her footing less secure.
But the fiery flame of the flower swam before her
eyes when she lifted them up, and nodded its head to
her in the breeze, and she would not give up the
She put her foot on the stump of an arbutus bush,
Thlehite Lily. 65
that jutted out from the rock, and, catching hold of
a kindly shrub above her, lifted herself at last to the
level of the ledge.
The coveted thing was close to her hand, and she
- stretched out her fingers to pluck the prize.
What was it that swam before her eyes ?
Had the height to which she had climbed turned
her dizzy and dulled her senses?
The lily was no longer there !
It seemed to be further up still!
It seemed to be trying to disappoint her, and the
sunset was dying out, and when night was come she
would not be able to see.
The tears stood in Pearl's eyes, and her breath
Oh, beautiful tiger-lily !" she cried, "let me reach
you now that I have come so far See, see, what I
have dared for you. Do not reftise to belong to me! "
She felt for a higher place whereon to put her foot,
and once more stretched out her hand in the growing
66 Lily and Water-Lily.
A flowering Judas-tree grew out of a cleft in the
rock. It was on that that she put her foot, and at
last-oh, happy Pearl!-her fingers closed around
the strong, straight stem of the coveted flower, and
she felt its faint perfume upon her face.
Happy-but only for a moment.
Before she had had time to bend the tall stem
towards her, the branch of the faithless Judas-tree,
that for ever is an emblem of treachery among trees
and flowers, snapped beneath her weight, and, with
one terrible cry, Pearl fell backwards into the ravine
The night wore away, and still Ruby slept.
The moon rose and climbed the sky and sailed
away through the fleecy clouds towards the horizon
once more, and still Ruby slept.
Though he had closed his eyes long before the
flowers and the birds had closed theirs, he slept still.
A purple poppy lay upon his breast, clasped tightly
in his brown hand, and he could not wake.
The White Lily.
He dreamed of Pearl-he dreamed of danger to
Pearl and of danger to himself, and yet he could not
He saw poor Pearl stretching out her hands to him
across a sea that seemed to him to be all red, and he
wanted to go to her and drag her across to the land
where they would both be safe once more; but there
was a weight of lead upon his feet and he could not
move, and meanwhile Pearl drifted away, and he
could not see her any more.
He cried as he slept, for his heart was heavy, and
unconsciously he took the poppy flower on his breast
and threw it away from him.
It was dead already, and he turned away from it
in his dream and stretched out his hands towards the
He slept till the moon was high in the heavens,
and he might have slept longer still but that their
good mother, in her compassion, sent a shower of rain
down upon the earth, which refreshed poor Ruby once
again, and drove the weight of sleep from his eyes.
Lily and Water-Lily.
It was only a very little shower-heavy while it
lasted, but soon over-and when Ruby rubbed his
eyes and sat up, the moon had sailed out from behind
the rain-cloud, and was shining down as sweetly as
ever upon the world.
He looked about him at first still drowsily, and
not caring to rouse himself further. But presently
he noticed that Pearl was not lying by his side, as
she had always lain when he slept down here in the
valley; and then suddenly his dream flashed across
He leapt to his feet, all the drowsiness dropped
from him, and he ran back along the valley as hard
as he could run.
What was it that he saw ?
At the foot of the great rock, full in the rays of
the moonlight, lay Pearl, still and senseless, all her
golden hair spread out beneath her head, her soft
limbs powerless and her face white as the moon itself.
Ruby's heart froze within him-and he did not dare
The White Lily. 69
This was the meaning of his dream.
Pearl was dead !
He had neglected and forsaken her-he who
should have guarded her most, and now she was
He covered his face with his hands and began to
It was some few moments before he took courage
to draw near the place where lay the little white
As he did so he was conscious once more of that
strange, sweet scent which already had struck both
the children as something unlike anything they had
ever felt before, and, kneeling down beside the little
prostrate figure, he saw that Pearl was not alone and
He saw that close to her neck nestled her poor
little friend, the field-mouse, with bright eyes fixed
upon her white face, and upon her breast lay a white
flower with other tiny blue blossoms at its side.
It was from this flower that the strange perfume
70 Lily and Water-Lily.
came so strongly, and as he bent down to look closer,
Ruby recognized the white lily whom Pearl had
wanted to pick that morning in the glade.
What did it mean?
Had she picked it after all ? and was this the cause
of her sad plight ?
The leaves of the lily were strong, and his starry
face looked patiently up to the moonlit sky, as though
he were waiting for something that he hoped to
happen: he was not dying yet, but Ruby knew that he
would die, only now he could think of nothing else
but his poor little sister.
He did not notice how still the little mouse sat
upon Pearl's bosom, close to where the lily lay, and
how his restless eyes travelled incessantly from the
white flower on her heart to her little pale face, as
if he too expected something to happen.
At another time Ruby would have wondered at the
mouse, and why he sat there, and was not even afraid
of him as he used to be.
But now he could only kneel with Pearl's little cold
The White Lily. 71
hand clasped in his, and his eyes fixed on her face,
watching if she should move.
And at last, yes, he felt quite sure that she had moved.
He stifled the cry of joy in his heart, lest he should
miss any word that she might speak.
She opened her eyes, but it was not at him that
she looked; her head was turned away from him,
and she did not seem able to lift it.
Her gaze fell upon the little mouse nestling upon
"What, mousie!" said she faintly. "Are you
"Yes, dear mistress," answered the mouse, in a
little gentle voice. I have never left you."
"How good you are to me, mousie!" said Pearl,
again. "And I was unkind to you."
She paused a moment, and then she said-
"Tell me what has happened to me, mousie. I
"The tiger-lily tempted you, and you climbed for
him," said the mouse, "and your foot slipped."
72 Lily and Water-Lily.
I remember now," said Pearl. "He seemed to go
further and further from "me the higher I climbed.
And just as I thought I had got him, I fell. Oh, I
thought I was dead !" And Pearl shuddered.
Ruby clasped her hand wildly. "Oh, Pearl, Pearl,
how could I ever have left you ?" he cried. "But I will
never leave you again. I will take care of you now."
Pearl smiled as she heard Ruby's voice.
It wasn't your fault," she said. I was disobedient
and cruel. I wanted the tiger-lily. I was glad that
you went away, so that I could try and get it. But
oh, it was dreadful, and now do you think I shall
"Oh no, Pearl, no; you mustn't die," cried poor
Ruby, in despair. "What should I do if you died ?"
He stroked Pearl's hand tenderly, and then, looking
at the lily on her breast, whose leaves were already
beginning to droop a little, he said, "Why did you
pick the poor white lily, Pearl ? "
He could not quite get over the idea that Pearl was
somehow suffering for having plucked the white lily.
The White Lily. 73
"The white lily !" repeated she. "I never plucked
the white lily "
"But he is lying on your breast now," said Ruby.
Pearl put down her little hand to her bosom. Yes;
there lay the flower, as Ruby said.
"I don't understand," murmured she. "What can
it mean ? I'm sure I never picked the white lily."
"No," said a small voice at her side. "I picked
It was the mouse who had spoken.
Pearl looked down at him.
Ever since she had discovered his presence she had
held her hand over him in the old affectionate way
that she had been used to have towards him.
"You ? Impossible," said she.
"No; it was very difficult; it took me a long time,
but it was not impossible," he answered.
Then it was very wicked and cruel of you, mousie,"
said Pearl. "For now the poor lily will die."
"I know," said the mouse. "I did it to save you."
"To save me?" murmured Pearl.
Lily and Water-Lily.
"Yes," the mouse replied. "The plant that you
picked yesterday was poison, but the white lily is
a healing plant, and can cure many ills and many
hurts. I thought it would cure you."
Pearl was silent. "It was very kind of you to
want me to be well again," she said at last; "but I
don't think you ought to have picked the white lily."
"The white lily begged me to pick him," answered
the mouse. "It wanted to see if it could not make
"Ah! if it can only make you well, Pearl," cried
Ruby, "never mind even if it should die! It is better
that the lily should die than you."
Pearl lay still with a puzzled look on her face.
"I should like to be well, Ruby," said she at last;
"but I do mind that the lily should die. I mind
very much. This morning, I know, I wanted to
pick the white lily myself. I thought only of how
pretty it was. But now that I know how sweet it is,
I don't want it to die. I like it much better than the
tiger-lily, who seemed so beautiful. I want it to live."
The White Lily.
"That cannot be," said the mouse. "See, its leaves
are fading fast."
Pearl gave a sigh, and as she did so the sweet
scent of the flower came to her, and she sat up.
Ruby clasped his hands for joy when he saw that
his sister was cured, but Pearl had no thought for
herself or even for Ruby.
She wanted to see if the white lily were really fading.
Alas! it was quite true: its delicate leaves were
drooping and its white petals were tarnished.
Pearl took it up in her soft, warm hands, and held
it close to her soft, warm neck. She thought, perhaps,
the warmth would make it live again, but she had
forgotten the poppies and all the flowers that she and
Ruby had plucked yesterday, or she might have known
that what the mouse had said would prove true.
She sat there with the lily in her hands, and her
warm tears dropped down into its heart, and as they
dropped its sweet perfume floated into her own heart
and spoke to her a sweet message.
Nobody could hear what the lily said excepting
76 Lily and Water-Lily.
Pearl herself, and Pearl never told anybody; but it
was something that must have made her happy, for
there was a smile upon her face, even though her
tears still flowed sadly down. The moon sailed
through the sky, and, until her silver face had sunk
behind the edge of the world, Pearl sat still and held
the white lily to her heart.
But when the moon was quite gone, and the rosy
morning had crept through the cold dawn once again
to kiss the stream and the meadows into life, Pearl
saw that the lily was dead.
With the rosy colour of the coming day the roses
had crept back into her own cheeks again, but even
as she had grown strong and well, the lily had grown
faint and had drooped, and now that the day was
here in all its beauty, Pearl was as beautiful as ever,
but the white lily was dead. She kissed its faded
leaves, and as she did so one of the little blue flowers
that had grown about its roots, and which the mouse
had plucked with it, fell into her bosom, and she
said to herself that she would never forget..
The White Lily.
And then she stood up.
The little mouse was upon her neck, and she held
the dead lily to. her heart, and walked down with it
towards the stream.
Ruby walked at her side, and together they stood
beside the rippling water and laid the lily upon the
bosom of the stream. The stream carried it away
upon its eddies, and Pearl bent down her head and
kissed the little mouse upon her bosom.
"If it hadn't been for you," she said, "even the
good lily could not have made me well again. I used
to think you a silly little thing, only good for fun
and frolic, and I was very angry when you ran away
from me; but you are a good little friend, and now I
shall always love you."
Many bright days passed away.
Winter days, when the soft snow lay on the herbs and
trees, and buried flowers that were warm beneath the
earth's breast, when the sunbeams made diamonds all
over the fairy, forest world, and the wood and the world
78 Lily and Water-Lily.
were silent, waiting for the spring to come; spring
days, when the brook gushed forth again, and every
leaf and timely flower burst its cosy shell, and began
to grow with the growing year, and the flush of the
orchards lay pink upon the valleys, and the golden
daffodils spread a carpet for the field-mouse and the
squirrel; summer days, when the scent of the
flowers was heavy, and the yellow butterflies sported
in the hazy air, and the fireflies floated down the
moonlit glades; sweet autumn days, when the land
was soft and mellow, and every growing thing that
had prospered came to the time of its fruit.
And all through these many days Pearl and Ruby
came to the brookside beneath the great cliff, and
tended the plant of the dead lily that grew beneath
the trees on the green bank.
The little mouse used to come with them, and, when
Pearl was tired, he would run about and serve her
just as he used to do, while Ruby watered the plant
that they all loved.
And one moonlight night, when the summer was
The White Lily.
ripe once more and the flower-world was all alive again,
they stood and looked down upon the lily plant.
And, lo, among its dark leaves they saw that
another tall and slender stem had grown up, and
that upon its head a crown of purest white petals
was opening out to the rays of the moon.
The mouse stood upon Pearl's shoulder, and trembled
to see what she would do.
The moonbeams played upon her face, and he could
see that she was very pale.
She looked a long while at the fresh lily, and then
she said slowly-
It is very beautiful, and I am glad that it has come;
but it is not the lily that I knew. No; I would rather
have you for a friend, mousie, even though you are
And as she said the words, and kissed the mouse
upon her shoulder, he ran down and away from her,
and while she stood there, wondering and alarmed,
suddenly there appeared before her a boy who was
not Ruby, because he was even more beautiful, a boy
8o Lily and Water-Lily.
with strange, bright eyes, in which she seemed to
recognize the spirit of a friend.
And as she looked at him he came forward and
took her hand.
Sweet little Pearl," he said, I have loved y6u
for a long time, although until now I have been no
beautiful flower, but only a poor little insignificant
field-mouse. But to-day you have said that you
would rather have me for a friend than even the
fairest blossom of the glade, and by that word you
have made me what I am, and I have come to love
you and to be your friend for ever."
With that he bent down and kissed Pearl, and led
her out into the broad white moonlight; but Ruby
remained beside the lily.
He remained beside it and looked down into its
pure and candid heart.
"I dare not pluck you, dear lily," he said.
"Through my care you have grown and thrived and
blossomed, and I love you too dearly. But I cannot
leave you. I will not leave you till you die."
The White Lily.
And when he bent down and kissed the flower, that
happened which had happened when Pearl kissed the
little mouse-it grew in the silver sea till it was a
maiden far more lovely than little Pearl, in Ruby's
And that night there were two weddings in the
glen; and each one was more beautiful than the
turtledove's wedding, when Pearl had been chief
bridesmaid ; for Pearl herself walked at the Prince's
side, and Ruby led the lovely lily-maiden by the
hand, and there were more love-birds than any one
ever heard of for bridesmaids, and the handsomest
-kingfishers on the river-bank for best men.
And the beasts of the forests came around once
more, and were not fierce, because they were not
afraid, and the nightingales positively screamed for
joy, and the flowers made humble obeisance as the
beautiful couples went by; the glowworms came with
their lamps, and the fireflies flashed their blue light;
every one lent help and good will, and when the night
began to wear away, the nightingales said the blessing.
82 Lily and Water-Lily.
And all the time the moon shed her quiet
light in the glade, but upon the ridge of the great
cliff the pine trees waved their crests like the plumes
of the helmets of warriors in battle.
I MT HAT-NGHT *TE E*iELE*- TWO WEDDINGN 5-IN-THE EAL
ROMANCE OF A 4WATER-LILY.
THE ROMANCE OF A WATER-LILY.
A FAIRY'S LOVE.
T HE shades of evening fell softly upon the valley
S of the Rh6fie. Where the river made many
marshy islets, creeping towards the lake, a veil of
grey vapour lay lightly above the meadows, and the
tall poplars stood as ghostly sentinels against the
black rock-precipices that rise from the western
But upon the distant glaciers of Mont Blanc the
setting sun left a fiery rosiness still, and the little
village of Aigremont, far up on the sunny slope of
the fertile eastern shore, was mellow yet in the linger-
ing sunlight and the merry rest of eventide.
86 Lily and Water-Lily.
"Yes, thou art very proud of thy pretty lover, with
his golden curls and his milk-white skin," cried a bold,
buxom maid, who stood with her companions beside
the shady village well; but I can tell thee I would
not give a kiss for a man who is so fearsome of his
handsome face and limbs that he shrinks from a
precipice rather than save one of his herd from
There was a roar of laughter, and all eyes were
turned towards a tall and slender maiden who stood
erect beneath the walnut tree, waiting until her
copper pitcher was filled at the slowly trickling
"Michael d'Orsiguet is naught to me," said she,
proudly, and her short upper lip curled and her deep
grey eyes looked straight at the unwary speaker.
Oh, hark! Michael is naught to Salome!" echoed
another damsel, scoffingly. "And yet who else
dances with her on the green at fairs ? who else brings
her posies from the Alps ? With whom else does
she sing in the rionda? and who is it who carols
The Romance of a Water-Lily. 87
huchees under her window at night? Oh no, he is
nothing to her "
The short lip only curled a little more, and the
grey eyes gazed steadily.
"I cannot help his singing," said she, quietly.
"The birds sing because God made them, and I
cannot still them."
"Nay," replied a swarthy youth in the offing,
" Mistress Salome cannot help the ways of fools ; but
it is not for that to be supposed that she listens to
her own father's cowherd "
The lip did not uncurl, but the eyes dropped, the
pure profile was turned away, and only the flaxen
tresses were presented to the bystanders; the pitcher
was nearly full.
D'Orsiguet or no d'Orsiguet," continued the last
speaker, his fortunes are fallen, and he is no match
now for the daughter of Farmer Duplessis."
The proud head was raised again and the grey
eyes flashed, and the lips, trembling with anger,
opened to speak, but at that moment the gay
Lily and Water-Lily.
carolling of an elaborate jidel fell upon the air,
executed with all the finish of an operatic singer, and
the figure of a tall and comely youth descended the
path towards the trees.
Salome turned once more to her pitcher; her lips
trembled still, but upon the grey eyes and the pale
face that suns had tanned so little all the former
coldness fell like a shadow.
Ah! now, for whom are those pretty scales?"
whispered Judith, the girl who had first spoken.
" Dost thou suppose that Michael would have come
down to the well to see us ? "
The youth stood on a little rock just above
Salome. His eyes were fastened on her; he seemed
to have none for anybody else, yet she never glanced
at him, nor did her cheek flush with pride or pleasure
at the knowledge of his gaze.
He was well named; as he stood there he was as
a very image of the saint himself. The evening sun
shone on his golden curls and into his blue eyes, but
the gladness on the sweet mouth had slowly faded,
The Romance of a WVater-Lily. 89
and the curved upper lip closed over the full lower
Hast lost any more of thy master's cattle over the
precipices of Jaman?" asked the youth who had
sneered at him before behind his back.
Michael turned his head for a moment, but only
for a moment, for when he answered the speaker his
eyes were fastened once more on Salome, watching
how she would take his words.'
"God forgive me!" said he, humbly, and it was
evident enough that he was not speaking to the
churlish scoffer. "I sat and played on my pipe, and
the heifer gave me the slip."
"Thou hadst best have been a musician, methinks,
than a simple cowherd," sneered Judith.
"Ay, if whistling into a reed be all the duty of an
Alpine cattle-herder," added the bully, "there might
be others who could vie with thee, mayhap; but I
have heard tell that the work needs presence of mind
"Courage! echoed Michael, the quick red leaping
Lily and Wlater-Lily.
to the sunburn of his fair skin, and making it of a
Ay! couldst at least have brought thy master
the skin of the poor beast!"
"Methinks thou dost not know or dost not
remember the precipices of Jaman," replied Michael,
The Romance of a Wfater-Lily. 9I
with a glance as near to scorn as his gentle beauty
"Ay, I know them well enough!" laughed the
bully. "And wert thou not such a pretty saint
Michael as thou art, thou wouldst not, perchance,
be in the service of Farmer Duplessis! "
The glance at Salome was unmistakable, and a
general laugh followed that brought a faint flush to
the marble whiteness of the girl's cheek.
"When Michael d'Orsiguet comes for his wage to
the farm, I fear me he will learn that he is no longer
in the service of Farmer Duplessis," said she, in a low
voice, but with her grey eyes flashing fiercely as she
turned them on her fair adorer.
Well done, Salome ;" and Come, thou hast shown
a bit of spirit at last," came from all sides in varied
tones of rough raillery; and only one voice cried
sharply, Let the girl alone, for Heaven's sake! she
hath done naught against you."
It was the voice of a buxom woman of middle age,
who now approached the fountain with her vessel.
92 Lily and Water-Lily.
The eyes of the loiterers rested on her good-
humouredly, one and all; even the most malicious
could not manage to pick a quarrel with Mother
Falaise-she was too entirely free from malice herself.
"Ah! you always had a soft corner for Michael,
my mother," laughed Judith, as she helped Salome
hoist her copper water-vessels on to the yoke for her
And who else should have it if not I, who nursed
him at my breast when his own mother was laid in
the earth?" declared the woman, stoutly, looking
towards the comely youth who stood where he had
first appeared, but with a face set and stony as
though transfigured by grief. And then, guessing
his pain, but with the tact of affection refraining from
noticing it, she added, "For shame on you all to
twit a man with his ill luck! It's you that are
cowards : not he. Ay, and it'll serve you right if the
fairy's milk gets some damage on your sills this night,
and misfortune comes your way next. Most like the
milk for the fairies was sour last night on Farmer
SThe Romance of a Water-Lily. 93
Duplessis' window, and that's how the mishap befell
the herd at all."
Several of the lads laughed at this, and Judith said
"I thought that old story was a worn-out tale
But Salome had looked up and Michael even
clasped his hands, waiting on her words.
"I always set the fairies' portion," said the girl,
"Ay, and last night it was poisoned," added the
youth; "for I saw it curdled, and tasted it; and
beneath the window there was a sprig of henbane."
The people looked from one to the other in
unacknowledged horror, and a low exclamation
escaped Salome's lips; but the girl Judith dropped
her eyes and grew rosy red.
She burst forth, however, presently with a rough
laugh, Ah! you were singing your fine roundelays
beneath Mistress Salome's window, I suppose. That
is how you came to be by. Well, I for one have no
Lily and Water-Lily.
faith in these old folks' tales. They're nonsense.
If Farmer Duplessis' heifer fell over the precipices of
Jaman, it was not because the fairies were offended
and ceased to protect the cattle; it was because their
herder was a coward."
The red leapt once more to Michael's cheek, but
Salome only grew a little paler, and set her lips more
"Ay, the young mistress has but served him out
his deserts," cried another.
But Mother Falaise made reply, Come, lad, never
starid there dumfounded," cried she, gaily. Whether
Mistress Judith does or not, I believe in the old tales,
and if one is true, so may another be. Say the
milk was poisoned by some cowardly hand of jealous
maiden or envious youth "-and the dame glanced at
the handsome couple and then at the flushed and
angry face of the spiteful Judith-" thou hast no need
to take the name of coward so quietly for all that.
Come, let me show thee a way to give them all the lie.
I warrant-hunter or no hunter, hero or no hero-
The Romance of a Water-Lily. 95
there's not a man here would brave the fairies of the
Rh6ne islets if he believed in them. Dost know the
tale, Salome? He who at the full moon plucks a
handful of the lilies that blow where lake and river
meet, may chance to see one of the fairies to whom
they belong, and he who sees the fairy"-added
Mother Falaise, dropping her voice to a dramatic
whisper-" is a dead man within the year."
Again youths and maidens looked from one to the
-other, and a shadow fell upon the little company
that was not only the shadow of twilight as the sun
sank behind the mountains.
Only Michael's face was as though transfigured by
joy as he gazed still at Salome, who glanced at him
now with her lips parted and fear in her grey eyes.
"Ay, my mother, 'tis a good thought," cried he,
gaily. "I will go. The moon is propitious-she is
at the full. This very even will I go. And Mistress
Salome will perchance accept the lilies of the Rh6ne
fairies in token of my sorrow at the misfortune that
Lily and Water-Lily.
"'Twill be a better posy than a handful of gentian
and mountain-pink, at any rate," laughed Judith;
"and though thou wilt not risk thy life, o' my think-
ing, thou mayst wet thy feet, and that would be a
peril to thee."
Michael took no notice of the taunt, but it seemed
as though Salome did, for the momentary betrayal of
anxiety for her lover was quickly followed by a return
of her former hardness as she replied-
"I have no need for posies. Neither is it with me
that thou hast to reckon, Michael d'Orsiguet, but with
"Nay, come now, Salome," declared the Mother
Falaise, "every one knows well enough that it is thou
who art mistress at the farm. Be not so haughty,
maiden. It becometh thee not."
The last words were spoken in a low tone. as the
dame took her turn at the spring; but Salome took
no notice, and, without another word, slowly began
her ascent towards the farm.
"Salome is no fool, after all," laughed Judith.
The Romance of a Water-Lily. 97
" She will take the handful of lilies for what they are
worth. She knows well enough that no sane man
believes in fairies, and if this feat is a display of
Nay," interrupted Michael, quickly, for now that
Salome was gone his gentleness had risen in a storm
as the soft snow before a hurricane-" no; it is not
meant for any display of courage. Thou art right-
no sane creature believes in fairies, and if Mistress
Salome's heart is poisoned, as the foolish pot of cream
was poisoned on her window-sill-it is by no agency
unknown. I look not to meet the fairy of the
Rh6ne, yet if Mistress Salome will but take the lilies
for what they are worth--, well, I shall be content."
So saying he leapt from the boulder where he stood,
and, swinging himself down on to the grass slope
behind it, disappeared into the pine-wood at his left.
A roar of laughter greeted his departure, for if
Michael, the dreamy, the love-sick piper, had so
openly confessed his doubt of the fable, no one could
dare to acknowledge a secret belief in it.
Lily and Water-Lily.
Oh, the brave hero!" "A fine St. Michael,
indeed !" were the exclamations that followed him as
he went, and above them the voice of Mother Falaise
Come, which of you will go down to-night and
pluck the fairy's lilies at the moonrise ?"
But Michael heeded them not. He cared nothing
for their taunts; sensitive as he was, he cared nothing
for their rough usage; he cared only for one thing in
this world-Salome's smile, Salome's kindness. And
if he gave any heed to the jealous gibes of his com-
rades, it was only because, with a lover's unerring
instinct, he guessed that she cared for them, he
guessed that they injured him in her eyes.
A coward It had struck her like a stone ; he had
seen it. And she had said that that night he would
be discharged her service.
Oh, how cold she had looked She had frozen his
But it beat now wildly, as he climbed the hill upon
the slippery fir-needles. She stood on the top, which
The Romance of a Water-Lily. 99
she had reached by the path. The farm nestled into
the hillside above them-white walls and a thatched
roof secured by huge stones; it had a fringe of vine
before its door and a background of vines behind it.
He could hear the farm-servants call to one another,
the sound of the churning in the dairy, and the
poultry in the yard. But a little fir-covered knoll
hid them from sight, and he placed himself boldly in
her path. The afterglow was fading, and the short
Southern twilight would soon be dusk. She started a
little, but stood still perforce, and he spoke without delay.
"Dear mistress," said he, and his full, rich voice
quivered, and in his blue eyes was a prayer, "do not
send me from you thus! Do not tell me that there
is no way in which I can earn your forgiveness. Ah!
in what have I so deeply offended? Tell me, for the
love of Heaven!"
She did not look at him, but he could see that the
hand that steadied the copper vessel trembled a little.
"How dare you stop my way ?" said she at last.
"Let me pass! "