a fall in peeping over chasms, for a glimpse of the
page; but immediately, and still with a bent head,
she turned her face to where the load of virginal blossom,
whiter than summer-cloud on the sky, showered and drooped
and clustered so thick as to claim colour and seem,
like higher Alpine snows in noon-sunlight, a flush
of white. From deep to deeper heavens of white,
her eyes perched and soared. Wonder lived in her.
Happiness in the beauty of the tree pressed to supplant
it, and was more mortal and narrower. Reflection
came, contracting her vision and weighing her to earth.
Her reflection was: “He must be good who
loves to be and sleep beneath the branches of this
tree!” She would rather have clung to her first
impression: wonder so divine, so unbounded, was
like soaring into homes of angel-crowded space, sweeping
through folded and on to folded white fountain-bow
of wings, in innumerable columns; but the thought of
it was no recovery of it; she might as well have striven
to be a child. The sensation of happiness promised
to be less short-lived in memory, and would have been
had not her present disease of the longing for happiness
ravaged every corner of it for the secret of its existence.
The reflection took root. “He must be good
. . . !” That reflection vowed to endure.
Poor by comparison with what it displaced, it presented
itself to her as conferring something on him, and she
would not have had it absent though it robbed her.
She looked down. Vernon was dreamily looking
She plucked Crossjay hurriedly away, whispering that
he had better not wake Mr. Whitford, and then she
proposed to reverse their previous chase, and she
be the hound and he the hare. Crossjay fetched
a magnificent start. On his glancing behind he
saw Miss Middleton walking listlessly, with a hand
at her side.
“There’s a regular girl!” said he
in some disgust; for his theory was, that girls always
have something the matter with them to spoil a game.
MISS MIDDLETON AND MR. VERNON WHITFORD
Looking upward, not quite awakened out of a transient
doze, at a fair head circled in dazzling blossom,
one may temporize awhile with common sense, and take
it for a vision after the eyes have regained direction
of the mind. Vernon did so until the plastic vision
interwound with reality alarmingly. This is the
embrace of a Melusine who will soon have the brain
if she is encouraged. Slight dalliance with her
makes the very diminutive seem as big as life.
He jumped to his feet, rattled his throat, planted
firmness on his brows and mouth, and attacked the
dream-giving earth with tremendous long strides, that
his blood might be lively at the throne of understanding.
Miss Middleton and young Crossjay were within hail:
it was her face he had seen, and still the idea of
a vision, chased from his reasonable wits, knocked
hard and again for readmission. There was little