Beautiful and melancholy music sounded for half of the day down from his window to where the birds sat; it had a strange charm for the doves, they thought it was some new kind of nightingale come down from heaven. The little old monk sat in his Carmelite frock, with his hands laid together on his knees and his head down on his breast, and listened with his whole soul; to him too it came as a voice from heaven, and seemed to call him away to a better land; great tears often fell from his eyes, but they were not sorrowful tears, they were tears of love, tears which were called forth by a feeling of some great happiness which was coming for him, but which he could not rightly understand. He was, as you know, a very old man, the oldest in all the monastery.
ABOUT THE KIND OLD MONK AND THE MUSICIAN, AND ABOUT THE TURTLE-DOVES WHO MADE THEIR NEST NEAR HIS WINDOW.
Heavenly music from the young man’s room was heard every day;—finer and finer it sounded. As early spring came on, he grew very poorly; the little old monk used to bring him his meals into his chamber, because it tired him to go up and down the long stone staircase to the great eating-room. There never was anybody so kind as the little old monk.
A pair of young doves were hatched in the nest, and when the sun shone in at the window, the young man used to sit in his dressing-gown, with a pillow in his chair, and look down into the cypress-tree where the turtle-doves’ nest was; he would sit for hours and look at them, and many beautiful thoughts passed through his mind as he did so. Never had his heart been so full of love as now. The little old monk used to sit on a low seat before him, waiting for the time when he asked for his violin, which was a great happiness for them both. The musician loved the old monk very much, and often, when he played, he desired to pour bright and comfortable thoughts into his innocent soul.
It was the end of March; the turtle-doves were all preparing for their flight to England; the pair that had built their nest under the musician’s window had a home in some quiet woods in Surrey, where it was delightfully mild and pleasant even in winter, but they never were there in winter, although the wood had the name of Winterdown. It was a lovely wood: broad-leaved arums and primroses, and violets blue and white, covered the ground in spring, and in summer there were hundreds and hundreds of glow-worms, and the old tree-trunks were wreathed with ivy and honeysuckle. It was a very pleasant place, and near to it a poet’s children were born; they had wandered in its wilds, had gathered its flowers, and admired its glow-worms, and listened to the turtle-doves, when they were very young; now, however, their home was near London; they only went to Winterdown about once a year for a great holiday. The old turtle-doves talked about the poet’s children in Winterdown, and the young doves fancied that they lived there always.