The old singers have said many a fine and lovely thing about lusty spring. From their pages there seems to come a whiff of clean and healthy perfume from many dead Mays. In sweet and matterful verse they have sung their praises; but, oh! no singer, old or new—none, at least, that was but human—none but a God-intoxicated man could tell the glories of that serenely shining and suave morn.
One so seldom sees the best part of a summer day! Buried in swinish slumber, with window-curtains heedfully drawn, and shutters closely fastened, between us and it, we know nothing of the stately pageant spread outside our doors.
It is wasted; nay, not wasted, for the birds have it. It is so early, that the gardening-men are not yet come to their work. Every thing is as wet as though there had been a shower, but there has been none.
Talk of the earth moving round the sun—he himself the while stupidly stock-still—let them believe it who like; is not he now placidly sailing through the turquoise sea? Below, the earth is unfolding all her freshened meadows, bravely pied with rainbow flowers. There is a very small soft wind, that comes in honeyed puffs and little sighs, that wags the lilac-heads, and the long droop of the laburnum-blooms. The grass is so wet—so wet—as we swish through it, every blade a separate green sparkle. The young daisies give our feet little friendly knocks as we pass.
All round the old flowering thorn there is a small carpet, milk-white and rose-red, of strewn petals. Every flower that has a cup, is holding it brimful of cool dew. Vick is sitting on the top of the stone steps, her ears pricked, and her little black nose working mysteriously as she sniffs the morning air.
On the bright gravel walk stands the jackdaw, looking rather a funereal object in his black suit, on this gaudy-colored day; his gray head very much on one side, his round, sly eyes turned upward in dishonest meditation. A worse bird than Jacky does not hop. His life is one long course of larceny, and I know that if he had the gift of speech, he would also be a consummate liar. I kneel on the walk, and, holding out a bit of cake, call him softly and clearly, “Jacky! Jacky!” He snatches it rudely, with a short hoarse caw, puts one black foot on it, and begins to peck.
“Jacky! Jacky!” say I, sorrowfully, “I am going to be married! Oh, you know that? You may thank your stars that you are not.”
As I speak, my tears fall on his sleek black wings and his dear gray head. I try to kiss him; but he makes such a spiteful peck at my nose, that I have to give up the idea. Thus one of my good-byes is over. By the time that they are all ended, and we have returned to the house, I am drowned in tears, and my appearance for the day is irretrievably damaged. My nose is certainly very red. It surprises even myself, who have known its capabilities of old. Bobby, always prosaic, suggests that I shall hold it in the steam of boiling water, to reduce the inflammation. But I have not the heart to try this remedy. It may be sky blue, for all I care. Nose or no nose, I am dressed now.