AFTER THE RAIN.
“The very earth, the steamy air,
Are all with fragrance rife;
And grace and beauty everywhere
Are bursting into life.
Down, down they come, those fruitful stores,
Those earth-rejoicing drops;
A momentary deluge pours,
Then thins, decreases, stops.”
“There seems likely to be a change in the weather,” said grandpapa one morning at breakfast. “The wind has got round to the west, and there are clouds about.”
“I am so glad,” said Mary.
“So am I,” added Annie. “It has been too hot for the last two or three weeks.”
“We shall all be glad to see a little rain,” said grandpapa; “the garden wants it badly enough, and so do the newly-mown fields.”
Grandpapa was right, for sure enough during the day there were many cooling showers, which made everything out of doors look bright and fresh.
In the evening grandmamma sat at work in the drawing-room by the open doors which led straight into the garden, and the children were with her.
Jack was lying on the floor with his face to the garden, and supposed to be reading a book; while the little girls were busy with some easy fancy-work, making something to take home to their mother when they left Woodside.
Jack seemed to be more interested in something out of doors than he was in his book. At last he exclaimed, “Grandmamma, do look; isn’t that a beautiful white fleecy cloud?”
“Yes, it is indeed, Jack. Clouds are beautiful and well worth looking at.”
The girls put down their work and went to the doors to look out, or rather up, at the deep blue sky, covered with patches of downy white.
“That cloud looks as if it were made of snow mountains and caves,” said Mary. “See how it changes its shape: now there is another cloud coming to it: now they have melted into one.”
“The sky is one beautiful thing that you can watch anywhere, in town or country, in summer or winter,” said grandmamma. “It is like a picture-book that is always open; and the pictures are always changing.”
The children stood and watched the clouds as they sailed about like majestic swans. Some moved faster than others, and came in front of them. They mingled and they parted, and took all sorts of shapes. The colour changed from pure white to delicate gray; and again a stormy cloud appeared, dark with rain that would fall somewhere before long.
“O grandmamma, look!” they all exclaimed, as the evening sun shone from behind a cloud, gilding its edges with gold.
At last, when they had been for some time feasting their eyes with the beauty of cloudland, something else struck Jack, and he said, “How sweet everything smells after the rain!”
“Yes, it does, Jack. The very gravel paths and garden mould smell fresh; and as to the flowers, they are sweeter than ever.”