Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

fancies merely, but to know them all as realities. Little did our eyelids close in sleep that night. Long before the sun's rays found their way down into our murky abode, we were up and dressed and waiting.

Now, unless you may be disposed to fancy from the irreverent way in which Great-heart joked about us as “tadpoles,” that we bore any resemblance whatever to those hideous little deformities, pray let us say once and for all that we were then, and are of course now, fairies,-of the first water, too,-not, it is true, quite full-fledged ones, because not old enough by a year or two, yet nevertheless nymphs, or nymphets rather, in embryo, possessing certain elfin powers to be developed shortly in all their glory, when the time came for the endowment of them. We understood that this would be at such time as our Great Queen next came our way to hold her Court. Arrived at the specified age, we were always to hold ourselves in readiness for a summons,

Because you have read of the old folk as Croaker and Spottie, and rightly conjectured them doubtless as of the heavy frog and toad genus, do not think that we resembled them. We write in no spirit of contempt for our dear parents. Far from that; we love and honour them, and know that, of their kind, they are most good and noble specimens. Still they belonged not to the elfin tribe. As we grew older, they never tried to cope with us in argument or matters of worldly interest. The circumstances of our birth, our great intelligence, above all our travelled experiences, placed us above the possibility of mistake in many things our parents could know nothing about. Hence, with great good judgment and tact, they kept their places.

There are to be no pictures to illustrate this story, so we must take upon ourselves the task of trying to conjure up before you what we were like in those days, instead of some more cunning limner, employed for the purpose, doing it for us.

It is not an easy matter. We can think of no better plan than going to the stage for an illustration, suggested by a visit we paid to the theatre when with you.

There we saw some very beautiful facsimiles of ourselves as we exist down here.

You will probably all be acquainted with the only orthodox stage water-nymph. Tall, slender, goggleeyed, with a superabundance of flaxen hair, great lack of skirt, and consequent abnormal display of leg. Dressed in clinging garments of gauze, green and bespangled, with ornaments of coral and of shell, a star of silver on her brow, generally with a wand (circling in the air continuously), always with a song and a dance. Light and airy in all her actions, full of grace in every movement, with a divine expression

of gentleness about the eye, a retroussé inclination on the part of the nose. Complexion of a dazzling lustre, teeth of pearly whiteness. Possessed of an inordinate longing for pirouettes on every possible occasion, always accustomed to abject obedience, and invariably at will invisible. Taking away the wand we did not carry; the star, too, we were as yet not privileged to wear; omitting the power of invisibility which had as yet not been bestowed upon us, magnifying the description altogether, and heightening the implied beauty of features, you have as nearly as possible a correct picture of us, Trixie and Dot, in our home below at that time, as we are able to present to you. We were extremely alike in face, much unlike in disposition, as this narrative will duly set forth. Ages, nine and eight respectively. We must tell you, too, that although below there, subject to those fairy rules and laws which governed the juvenile band, yet, at that period, that is, directly we touched your earth, all such power left us. Then we became at once only little flesh-and-blood mortals like you who may read these lines. Beautiful, nay lovely, to gaze upon, no doubt; yet, remember, nothing more than mortals in sense and feelings. Our hair, here but flaxen, almost towey, changed for the better into a glorious gold ; our bodies filled out to plumper proportions, legs especially gaining much in appearance thereby; gauzy raiments changed into frocks of fashionable cut. Our complexions became more radiant, if anything, and there was certainly no appearance of moisture about us in clinging shell or seaweed. No wonder, wherever we went, we made a great and well-deserved sensation.

And Great-heart, our hero, what of him? In appearance, quite an ordinary man, like many of the thousands of others it was our lot to encounter during our short visit to you; nothing unusual in form or dress to mark him out from the crowd. His face bore no regularity of feature, or special point by which it could have been called handsome

-if that alone can make a face beautiful, (there was a scar upon the cheek, too)--then you will be disappointed perhaps. Yet it was one that should have been full of beauty to all to us it always was ; for under the indifferent air lurked a power of strength for good ; in the languid grey eyes shone a depth of kindness; his bronzed skin was for ever ready to flush in the cause of injustice or oppression to the weak. If you once took the trouble to look at Great-heart, you would gaze again. If you knew aught of character, you would think, and rightly too, that the man you saw was, for all his blasé look, no objectless being. He would appear, no doubt, as a man of the world, yet as one who had ceased to be so for himself. Man of the world without doubt he was, inasmuch as a great knowledge of its ways made him so. Birth, opportunity, misfortune,-evidently of late,—wealth, too, had placed opportunities for its study in his path, of which he had to the full availed himself. Of whatever weakness Great-heart had in his time been guilty, to whatever ill-results they may have led for himself and others, it was evident that, long before we knew him, the stream of his life had been turned into its right channel, to flow on in good and kindness to the end. Man of the world he was, in that he moved therein, and took his lessons from his fellow-mortals. But not one in those selfish pleasures and vanities in which the most of you, alas ! let, in heedless carelessness, that precious time slip by. Great-heart had atoned for past follies. Bitter had been the christening, manly the repentance. But in that teaching sorely bruised had been the body, deeply lacerated the heart. Past trouble and sorrow sat in the constant melancholy in eye and face. The network of lines on and around them told of many an hour of anguish. Yet through that ordeal of trial had he happily passed. He looked as if the griefs passed through had smothered the bad, and sent up that good within him to rest upon the surface of his life for always. Do not think that our hero was a

« AnteriorContinuar »