BLTC Press Titles

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The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour

Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

Fairy fancies

by Lizzie Selina Eden


'And / heard every word that they spoke together there,' cried the Ruby-red Light; 'the giant lime-tree which bore my lamp stood quite close.'

And the Violet-blue one spoke: 'The giant lime that hid us stood close enough; I heard also what they said to each other, and, oh! another also overheard it all!'

'Who was the other?' asked the Owl.

'A grave young man, who leant with his arms folded on the stem of the old lime-tree just beneath me. Jasmine-bushes, from which the white star-blossoms were already fallen, concealed him from the others; yet his dark eyes wandered everywhere till they settled at last on the face with the dark-blue child-eyes which shone beneath the corn-flower wreath; but, alas! even so much loveliness could not bring a smile to his lips.'

'I also saw the pale dreamer,' spoke the Golden-yellow Light. 'An iron basket of brightcoloured flames stood quite close, and in the blazing light little Schabernack, the spirit of the sparks, jumped and skipped. Full of merriment at the joyous fete, it seemed to scoff and jeer at that serious man. It prattled disjointed talk, which I heard and understood. "Pshaw! why are you so deeply smitten? Does the pain burn at your heart? Oh! extinguish it!—you can quench it. Ho! water here ! — quench love's glow! extinguish it!—extinguish it!—ha! ha!" Crackling and snapping it jumped high, sometimes flinging a spark on his shoulder, sometimes one in his hair. He took no notice—he did not feel it. There—puff—it seized on his hand; the mischievous glowworm gave it a hot sting,—that attracted his notice. He shrank together as he glanced down, and his dark look fell on a deep old scar on his hand.'

'Did you notice his painful laugh?' asked the Violet-blue Light. . 'Ah! but tell us now, what those two beneath the rose-blossoms were talking about!' begged the Water-lily.

The Red Flame quickly answered, 'I would willingly, if I had only understood what it was about—joke and laughter,—merry children's talk. At last a rose-thorn caught the girl's fluttering dress; the young man loosened the thin gauze from the thorn, and in so doing gave it a little rent. The girl scolded the rude thorn. He said the rose-bush must not he blamed, as it had only tried to detain her. The only thing he was surprised at was, that it ever allowed her to go. She said the thorn, however, might have been more careful, as it was a pity to tear her dress. "The rose-bush has also lost a twig, torn from it," said he. "Look here, do you think, if one once held you fast and firm, that it could let you again go free without pain—without a wound?"'

'Did you hear the sigh of a sad heart from under the lime-tree?' added, in a whisper, the Blue Flame.

'The young man stooped,' continued the other again, 'and broke three freshly opened roses from the broken bough. He gave them to her and said, "She must perceive that she was so like the roses, that it was pardonable that the bush had mistaken her for one." They were pale, soft-coloured flowers, and were tinted also with a tender pink. These roses men called " maiden blush." There she stood, a perfect picture of these sweet bright blossoms. The sweet " maiden blush" rose before the young man. Blushing, she cast down her dark eye-lashes; she held the roses in her right hand, and had pulled them in pieces before she knew what she was about.'

'Are human beings always so cruel with poor flowers?' asked the Water-lily.

'The young man also said she was cruel,' said the Flame, 'tearing those lovely roses without remorse. "However, they should not die in this way—they should not be trodden under foot," said he, and gathered the torn petals from the ground, and strewed them in the flames of the nearest fire-basket.'

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