The Lake eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 225 pages of information about The Lake.
publisher shall be permitted to print ‘Evelyn Innes’ and ‘Sister Teresa’ from the original editions, it being, however, clearly understood that they are offered to the public only as apocrypha.  But this permission must not be understood to extend to certain books on which my name appears—­viz., ‘Mike Fletcher,’ ‘Vain Fortune,’ Parnell and His Island’; to some plays, ‘Martin Luther,’ ‘The Strike at Arlingford,’ ’The Bending of the Boughs’; to a couple of volumes of verse entitled ‘Pagan Poems’ and ’Flowers of Passion’—­all these books, if they are ever reprinted again, should be issued as the work of a disciple—­Amico Moorini I put forward as a suggestion.

G.M.

I

It was one of those enticing days at the beginning of May when white clouds are drawn about the earth like curtains.  The lake lay like a mirror that somebody had breathed upon, the brown islands showing through the mist faintly, with gray shadows falling into the water, blurred at the edges.  The ducks were talking in the reeds, the reeds themselves were talking, and the water lapping softly about the smooth limestone shingle.  But there was an impulse in the gentle day, and, turning from the sandy spit, Father Oliver walked to and fro along the disused cart-track about the edge of the wood, asking himself if he were going home, knowing very well that he could not bring himself to interview his parishioners that morning.

On a sudden resolve to escape from anyone that might be seeking him, he went into the wood and lay down on the warm grass, and admired the thickly-tasselled branches of the tall larches swinging above him.  At a little distance among the juniper-bushes, between the lake and the wood, a bird uttered a cry like two stones clinked sharply together, and getting up he followed the bird, trying to catch sight of it, but always failing to do so; it seemed to range in a circle about certain trees, and he hadn’t gone very far when he heard it behind him.  A stonechat he was sure it must be, and he wandered on till he came to a great silver fir, and thought that he spied a pigeon’s nest among the multitudinous branches.  The nest, if it were one, was about sixty feet from the ground, perhaps more than that; and, remembering that the great fir had grown out of a single seed, it seemed to him not at all wonderful that people had once worshipped trees, so mysterious is their life, so remote from ours.  And he stood a long time looking up, hardly able to resist the temptation to climb the tree—­not to rob the nest like a boy, but to admire the two gray eggs which he would find lying on some bare twigs.

At the edge of the wood there were some chestnuts and sycamores.  He noticed that the large-patterned leaf of the sycamores, hanging out from a longer stem, was darker than the chestnut leaf.  There were some elms close by, and their half-opened leaves, dainty and frail, reminded him of clouds of butterflies.  He could think of nothing else.  White, cotton-like clouds unfolded above the blossoming trees; patches of blue appeared and disappeared; and he wandered on again, beguiled this time by many errant scents and wilful little breezes.

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The Lake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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