THE T BLVE ^ FLOWER

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BY HENRYI VAN DYKE

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Short Story Index

DATE DUE

MAY

9

1984 UO t
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IN U.I A.

Digitized by the Internet Archive
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2012 with funding from

Brigham Young University-Idaho

http://archive.org/details/blueflower01vand

THE BLUE FLOWER .

of Rimmon net .00 Music.50 . The Blue Flower.00 $1. . . 50 The Ruling Passion.50 Out-of-Doors in the Holy Land. and Other Poems .BOOKS BY HENRY VAN DYKE Published by CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS SI. . $1. . $1. Illustrated in color . Little Rivers. $1. Illustrated in color . Illustrated in color . $1. and Other Poems and Other Poems net . . Illustrated in color net Illustrated in color $1.00 $1. Illustrated in color .50 Days Off. The Builders.00 The Toiling The House of Felix. .50 $1. $1.50 Fisherman's Luck.

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In the City of Saloma. .

—Shellot ILLUSTRATED Short Story Index NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS MDCCCCIX . Of the night for the morrow. The devotion to something afar From the sphere of onr sorrow.THE BLUE FLOWER BY HENRY VAN DYKE The desire of the moth for the staz.

. by Charles Scribners Sons Printed. July. March. Septe7nber. IQO7. igoj.Copyright. October. IQ06. July. May.Deccmber. IQ05. October. iqoq. April.iqo2.October. jgo2. JQOS. 1902. November. IQ04. Reprint- ed.

(&0 THE DEAR MEMORY OF BERNARD VAN DYKE 1887-1897 AND THE LOVE THAT LIVES BEYOND THE YEARS .

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came well to me .PREFACE SOMETIMES like parcels in short stories are brought together a basket. this The stories in book have been growing It is at least to- gether for a long time. because the right word has not always been easy to free find. It and try to make them clear and true to has been a slow task. enough to cause a small is man no little shame to how the fruit of so long labour. after all. of course. they really belong to one another. ten years since the first of them. in a hard-worked to write them down others. the story of The Other Wise Man. because they have the same life in them. Then. when one wishes to vii write . and all the others I knew quite I by heart a good while before life. And yet. and I wanted to keep from conventionality in the thought and close It is see to nature in the picture. Sometimes they grow to- gether like blossoms on a bush. could find the time.

will live with a man while he works. So in the long run. the inwrought experience of living may be of value. seems to me that there are two ways in which you stories. yet in the end they enter into the quality of it and bring it a little nearer to the real thing. may give unity to a book of place You may stay in one and write about different themes. neither can tient waiting belongs to it it be made to order. which is always more or less of a secret.PREFACE about is life. . and take new forms from year sees to year. an idea. it But the strangest part of all is the way in which a single thought. And that is a thing which one cannot get in haste. especially about that part of it which inward. up the things that he and and lead his imagination by the hand into It many wonderful and diverse regions. and the best of it doing of tasks that seem not to amount to much. while delay and and interruption may keep a piece of work very small. and light hears. Pa- and rainy days belong sometimes comes in the to it . failure I suppose. preserving viii .

broken chapters from the is None of them taken from other Only one of them — the story of Winifried slightest wisp of and the Thunder. being also might find some meaning little. as I could. and with what this idea. hoping that other men. which all men who various are really alive are following. in them. life. — of times old and new. So I tried to tell them. Or you the may go colours into different places and use as as many of and shapes of life you can really see in the light of the same thought. along ' what paths. I thought that in I could see in certain tales that were tales my mind. There are only long story of books. of lands near and far away. different fortunes Glimpses of traces of this search.ix .Oak —has the a foundation in fact or legend. There is such a thought in this book. It is the idea of the search for inward happiness. Yet I think they are But how to find a name for such a book. all true. as best seekers.! PREFACE always the colour of the same locality.

to stand instead of a name. Novalis. the object of his young hero's quest.PREFACE name that will tell enough to show the thought it and yet not too much to leave free ? I have borrowed a symbol from the old German poet and philosopher. the satisfaction of the heart. 1902. The Blue Flower which he used in his romance of Heinrich von Ofterdingen to symbolise Poetry. Reader. December 1. I have used here to signify happiness. AVALON. will you take the book and see to you ? if it belongs is Whether it does or not. . in the my wish that the Blue Flower may grow garden where you work.

The Lost Word The First Christmas-Tree IX. A Handful of Clay VIII.CONTENTS /. Spy Rock 73 127 Wood-Magk The Other Wise VI. 9 39 IV. The Blue Flower The Source The Mill 1 //. Man 149 199 207 VII. V. 259 . ///.

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the woods!" 138 From a da-awing by Arthur Heming. poised for an instant above the chiloVs fair head —death cruel and imminent by 283 From a drawing Howard Pyle. the beautiful Facing page She murmured again and again name From a drawing a Surely this is 34 by J. "Good-bye. V. R. Then the old man's lips began to move 196 From a drawing by Howard Pyle. Weguelin. it" and she brought him a spray of blue-bells From a drawing 64 by F. K. old cabin! Good-bye. R. the rivers! Good-bye.ILLUSTRATIONS In the City of Saloma From a drawing by Frontispiece J. Linson. DuMond. to the The fields around lay bare From a drawing It moon 278 by Howard Pyle. Weguelin. . "Take is John of Antioch and a gift from his former pupil" this to tell him it 238 From a drawing by C.

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THE BLUE FLOWER .

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restless. his stories. whispering wind. as if it had time to spare. so strange a longing." he said to himself.THE BLUE FLOWER X HE parents were abed and sleeping. The room grew and dark. The boy. Outside the rattling windows there was a light. and wondrous light again. wide-awake and quiet in his bed. I But the Blue Flower else. It seems as if I until had been dreaming slept over into now —or as if I had just a new world. "that was not the thing which filled me with riches. I am not greedy for long for. " Who cared for flowers in the old world where I used to live? I never heard of anyone whose whole heart was I cannot even set tell upon finding a all flower. is what I can think of nothing Never have I felt so before. The clock on the wall ticked loudly and lazily. But now as that I feel 3 —sometimes . was thinking of the Stranger and "It was not what he told me about the treas- ures. as the moon played hide-and-seek through the clouds.

when I cannot see in my mind. It seems to me. All experiences seemed to an edge.THE BLUE FLOWER happy as if I were enchanted. He felt them keenly. the animals and the trees and the flowers used to talk to people. I them perhaps I could understand things used to love to dance. I look at them I can what they want to There must be a great . charmed land of tries. He fell into dire distress to be sharpened and want. every minute. he lived with sorts of men. with incredible swiftness marvellous creatures apall peared and vanished. and suddenly he found himself again. many words that I do not know if I knew more of better. but now I after the music. yet they did not . He was cast into prison. But when it the flower fades from me. in whirling crowds. then is it is like being very thirsty and all alone." like better to think Gradually the boy lost himself in sweet fancies. in lonely huts. He . rich in the sleep. see When say. wandered in far coun- and strange he traversed wild waters . as if they were just going to begin again. "Once upon a time. in battles. That what the other people could not understand. they say.

As he entered he beheld a mighty beam of which sprang from the ground. ever from his beloved. as the dawn was stealing near. falling and flowing all together into a great pool in the rock. Under the mossy stones the bed of the stream. he heard the water secretly tinkling downward. He died and came alive again . He came to a fair meadow on the slope of the mountain. and he followed till on he came near to a vast cavern from which a flood of radiance streamed to meet him. At toward morning. but smooth. his soul grew calm. and then was parted last.THE BLUE FLOWER harm him. yond the meadow was a high of the cliff and in the face an opening like the entrance to a path. 5 . as he climbed upward. Becliff. he loved for- to the height of passion. and the pictures showed more clear and firm. shattering light itself against the roof in countless sparks. The forest grew thinner and lighter. Soon he came to a rocky in gorge in the mountains. ever downward. Seldom the daylight shimmered through the green veil. Dark was easily the way. It seemed as if he were walking alone through the deep woods.

Slipping off his clothes he plunged he bathed in a cloud of sunset. but silent in its rise. he was aware of a new . the pool. He dipped if his hands in it and wet his lips. The waves of the stream were like a bevy of nymphs taking shape around him. the cavern. clinging to him with tender breasts. while he the pressure of the loveliest dreams. into a hollow in the cliff. When he awoke again. Here a felt dimness of slumber shadowed his eyes. lost in delight. stillness and silent in its fall. It seemed as a lively breeze passed through his heart. as he floated onward. a never-broken hush of joy filled and wonder. in. Cool was the dripwalls.THE BLUE FLOWER Brighter was the light-beam than molten gold. as the boy drew near and watched quivered and glanced with the ever-changing colours of a liquid opal. Swiftly the current bore him out of the pool. ping radiance that softly trickled down the and the light that rippled from them was pale blue. It was as A celestial rapt- ure flowed through him. But it. He if felt an irresistible desire to bathe in the pool. The sacred of a shrine. yet keenly sensitive to every impression.

glistening leaves. and cloudless. in a perfect of all hues. grow- ing beside the spring. and almost touching him with its broad.THE BLUE FLOWER fulness of light. clear-blue flower. veined with white as if strange words were written upon them. with unspeaklittle At it. mingled chord of fragrance. Round about were Their odours many other flowers. he felt that it he must go a nearer to when suddenly began to move and more brightly. purer and steadier than the first radiance. Long and able love. The leaves glistened closely 7 drew themselves up . and around the swiftly change. . He saw nothing but the Blue Flower. beside a little fountain. which sparkled up and melted away in silver spray. Dark-blue was the All passion had dissolved . away from him every sound was music every breath was peace . sky. in the open air. But what charmed him most. the rocks were like sentinels protecting him . He found himself lying on the green turf. the sky was like a cup of blessing full of tranquil light. tenderly he gazed at last it. little Dark- blue were the rocks that rose at a distance. was a tall. and drew him with resistless power.

spreading necklace of and the petals showed a sapphires. already flooded with the gold of the morning sun. and awoke in his parents' room. blue. His sweet astonishment grew with the wondrous transformation. . The flower bent itself toward him.THE BLUE FLOWER growing stalk. From the German of Novatis. All at once he heard his mother's voice calling him. out of which the lovely face of a girl smiled softly into his eyes.

THE SOURCE .

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and it as the winds of twilight breathed across they sil- were followed by soft waves of verdure. making a bay of this level country among the hills. But the surface of it was smooth and green. and the plain ran little in through the gate. neither was cov- ered with tawny billows of sand like the desert along the edge of which I had wearily coasted. toward evening. I was toiling day long through heavy sand and grass as hard as wire. fields on a quiet harbour.forgotten. I came upon a place where a gate opened in the wall of mountains. and vineyards with long rows of trimmed maple-trees standing 11 . There were of corn. Now like the bay was not brown and hard and dry. Suddenly. with very turnings of the under sides of like ripples many leaves. and by strangers the Land all of the Half. filled with silken rustling.THE SOURCE I IN the middle of the land that is called by its inhabitants Koorma. it mountains above me.

and in the centre. rested a small. Passing through the fields and gardens and orchards. all encircled I found that they were and lined with channels full of running water. shining city. little boats. There were houses and shops and lofty palaces and all. stream. Red-roofed cottages were scattered everywhere through the sea of greenery. merry river flowing through the main street. like a white ship surrounded by a flock of fair. with abundance of water and a very pleasant sound.THE BLUE FLOWER each one like an emerald goblet wreathed with vines. all that makes a city. I wondered greatly how this beauty had come into being on the border of the desert. but the life and joy of best. and the one thing that I remember 12 was . and flower-gardens as bright as if the earth had been embroidered with threads of blue and scarlet and gold. I followed up one of the smaller channels until it came to a larger it. and olive-orchards frosted over with delicate and fragrant blossoms. and as I walked on beside still going upward. where I saw a sweet. it guided me into the midst of the city.

It was opened by an old man. at the corners of the streets and on the sides of the houses there were fountains crossing a for the drawing of water.THE SOURCE the river. and whom I might ask counsel or a lodging. For in the open square at the edge of the city there were marble pools where the children might bathe and play . There were but few people none of the older folk from in the streets. and something of singular countenance led manner in attractiveness his me to tell him of my strange jourin other lands neyings in the land of Koorma and where I had been seeking the Blue Flower. After much courteous entertainment. who greeted me with kindness and bade me enter as his guest." he answered. "this is is the city which was called Ablis. his friendly and when supper was ended. so I stood and knocked at the door of a house. For their men lived here. and the river made 13 . at every stream was turned aside to run out to the vine- yards . and the river was the mother of them all. that long ago to say. and to inquire of him the name and the story of it his city and the cause of the river which made glad. Forsaken. "My son.

prayers and praises beside without Then the spring would rise to an outpouring. and the water would run down plentifully to make the gardens blossom and the city rejoice. the fields were barren the citv was desolate. THE BLUE FLOWER fields fertile. it back to the and visited it continually. 14 . The Source river must be found again and reopened. who was very sorrowful told the people that it He was vain to dig new cisterns and to keep the channels and trenches clean. "Then there came one from a distant country to see the desolation. So the gardens withered . and their dwellings were full of plenty and peace. so that the water flowed down no more. The channels and the trenches and the marble pools and the basins beside the houses remained. But because of many evil things which have been half-forgotten.. it and offered ceasing. for the water had come onlv from above. and in the broken cisterns there was scanty water. but they were empty. the river was turned aside. The would not flow unless they traced spring. or in the else it was dried up at its source high place among the mountains.

for he was a poor man of lowly aspect.THE SOURCE "So he went forth to open the fountain. and at length he passed out of their sight. I believe that they went out after him secretly and slew him. "and very me how it came to pass. and what was the meaning of it." "I cannot plied the old tell the whole of the meaning. and pools began to gather in the dry river-bed. man had many among the makers of who hated him for his words. But his followers came back to the city ." "That was a strange thing. "for it was many years ago. He little went more swiftly than they could follow him. they found their leader lying dead. Tell I cried. beside the overflowing Source." pitiful. but there were few that went with him." relittle man. A farther on they came to the rising of the river and there. and as they came the river began to run down very gently 15 . But as he climbed his companions saw that little among the rocks streams of water gushed from the places where he trod. and the path upward was steep and rough. after a pause. chiefly cisterns. But this poor enemies in the city.

from the gardens and orchards and the streets of the city. and men made new channels which were also filled. the more abundant became. men and women and children have gone up the mountain-path with singing. and the path grew plainer and easier to find. bringing others with them. All the channels and the basins were supplied with water. and they taught that if it again be forgotten and left unvisited would fail again and desolation return. and that he met in that high place while they remembered praise. So every day. Some of those who were diggers of trenches and hewers of cisterns said that it was their work which had wrought the change. and the more it filled the river. But the wisest and best among the people knew that it all came from should ever the river the Source. They returned to the Source day by day.THE BLUE FLOWER after them. to rejoice be- side the spring from which the 16 river flows and to . The more it the Source was revisited. for they said that their leader was really alive. him and prayed and sang songs of More and more the people learned to go with them. though the form of them his life had changed.

Some of them went alone. And the is name of him who died to find the Source for us that we speak it so dear only when we pray. swiftly and in silence. if you can. others were in groups of two or three. and to-morrow and on the following days you shall see how life goes with us. talking as they went. but Saloma. Already the people were coming forth and turning their steps upward in the mountain-path beside the river. as one who has heard with the murmur of running water woven through my dreams. it. which Peace. others were in larger companies. for there is my son. and they sang together very gladly 17 ." That night a pleasant tale. for I went out early into the to see the was curious manner of the visitation of the Source. Therefore. and the next day I streets. the secret of the city. "But our there are many things yet to learn about cast city.THE SOURCE remember the one who opened River Carita. guest. I bid a room in my house for the stranger. and some that seem dark and a shadow on you to be my my thoughts. We call is it the And the name of is the city no more Ablis. I slept well. and read.

and will nothing about "How green ?" can that be ?" I said it "do they not drink fields of the water. But there were many people who re- mained working in their fields or in their houses. comes and never think where those liear \ comes from and some are who do not believe in the Source it." . some are the busy ones who must visit the fountain at another hour . and whether." "I perceive that you is are a stranger. for the way both short and easy. and if a man were in great haste he could go there a little and return in while. it. and does not make their 18 . since the all the people life of the city depended upon it. or stayed talking on the corners of the streets. the way was so long and so hard that none but the strongest could undertake said he. "Sir.THE BLUE FLOWER and sweetly. and some are it the careless ones who take it life as . But of those who remain behind. so that the children are those who most delight in it. perhaps. Therefore I joined myself to one of the men who walked alone and asked him why did not go to the spring.

And when we came in to the Source. Then we came down again. which flowed from an opening a cliff. and they say that these themselves. It seemed already more bright 19 . There was already quite a throng of people all going in the same direction. and they have digged chan- nels through their gardens. little and made a as it garden of wild-flowers around it fell. singly and in groups. and many more. almost like a chamber hewn in the rock. where there is in searching among the mountains no path. following the river." he said ." this. so they spend the hour of the visitation. and they say that these channels would always have water in them even though the spring should cease to flow.THE SOURCE "It is true. Some of them say also that it is an unworthy thing to drink from a source that another has opened. While I wondered over we kept on in the way. "but these men have made wells close wells fill by the river. I heard the music of many voices and the beautiful name of him who had given his life to find the forgotten spring. and that every man ought to find a new spring for himself.

and the children laughing because the full that marble pools were so they could swim in them. There was plenty of water everywhere. ers to and the maidens coming with their pitchstreet draw from the brimming basins at the corners. among those the people of the not only among who walked together in the visitation of the Source. for I came not onto firm ground with them. for among those who remained many of them were kind and generous.THE BLUE FLOWER and full and joyous. and very pleasant in their conversation. As we passed through the gardens I saw men turning aside to make new channels through vated. but also behind. I found friends city. in the going up the mountain-path morning. and returning to the day of work and the evening of play. For many weeks I stayed in the city of Saloma. all their warmth of welcome and their pleasant ways. They were by nature of 20 the race of those . Yet there was something lacking between me and them. faithful in their work. fields which were not yet city I culti- And as we entered the saw the wheels of the mills that ground the corn whirling more swiftly.

The very quietude and their being perplexed fixity of and estranged me.THE SOURCE who dwell ever in one place . What to transient. seemed to them always a stranger. and none their talk I heard that made an end of hunger. an their life a guest. could not quite understand the way in which it found fulfilment. and with the to best will in the world they knew not how draw me within it. nor share the repose which seemed to them all-sufficient and lasting. In their gardens I perfect. and the world seems to me made to wander in. 21 . Now this was what the people of Saloma could not understand. and none that went to the depth of thought. and none At their feasts I tasted ever the same food. them was permanent. And I. The fixed circle of was like an invisible wall. while I under- stood well their wish to rest and be at peace. even in their thoughts thej went not far abroad. saw ever the same flowers. for my part. But I have been ever a seeker. rather than to abide in one corner of see it and never what the rest has in store. In ever the same words. to me was were inhabitants : They I was a visitor. and for this reason I alien.

When a strange bird flew down from the mounit tains into the gardens. She was quick to feel and answer the newness of every day that dawned. fair-eyed of joy. the river as much bluer than the speedwell. It was she that walked with me most often in the path to the Source. — for to her I had often spoken of "Is it my quest. She went out with me to the fields in the morning and al- most every day found wild-flowers that were new to me. as deeper than the brook. At sunset she drew me to happy games of youths and children. the wonted round of life had not yet grown be a matter of course." she asked. was she that saw it and wondered at it. a girl of thirteen. blue. "as blue as the speed- well that grows beside the brook?" it is is "Yes." 22 .THE BLUE FLOWER The one in all the city of Saloma with whom little I was most at home was Ruamie. the grand- daughter of the old man with whom and I lodged. where her fancy was never tired of weaving new turns to the familiar pasdusk she would sit times. full To to her. In the beside me in an arbour of honeysuckle and question me about the flower that I was seeking.

There was and his fath- er's father's grave. there was 2S ." she asked. it?" "when you saw it. to the house. sweet as honeysuckle when the day warm and still?" "Yes. It in at sunset softly blue against the eastern laid was the day that we little my father to rest the burying-ground among the cedarhis father's grave. I and down measuring the ground. trees." "as is "And the it sweet. it is as much is brighter than the drops of dew as the sun is clearer than the moon.THE SOURCE a 'And is it bright. "as bright as the drops of dew that shine in the moonlight?" "Yes." she asked." "Tell me again. no older than Our house looked out toward the hills. far away and sky. I counted them all. when the paced up others had gone back alone." she asked. I saw it when I was a boy. and why do you seek "Once you. and there were the places for my mother and for my two brothers and for my sister and for me. it is as is much sweeter than the honeysuckle as the night stiller and more sweet than the day.

Then I looked off to the blue like." "Did you follow it." asked Ruamie. so beautiful that filled my with tears as I looked. longing to see the world and to taste happiness before I must sleep beneath the elm-tree. for I was the youngest. like the note of a trumpet very far away. the white road winding before me. and in the western corner where a young elm-tree was growing.— THE BLUE FLOWER room enough for us all . —wishing for something. It seemed to make me sad and rest- less. calling me to come. hills un- and in the heart of them I saw eyes a Blue Flower. be —that would How tall my place. the ferns. I saw the trees. hills. the rocks. I knew not what. It was like a face that smiled at me and promised something. the enfolding closed like leaves.tree be then? I had never thought of it before. the boundary of the little And there. shadowy and dreamworld that I knew. And as I listened the fiower faded into the dimness of the hills. in a cleft between the highest peaks I saw a wondrous thing: for the place at which I was looking seemed to come nearer and nearer to me . so bright. would the elm. "and did 24 . Then I heard a call.

" 25 . it. wherever that "And again ?" the flower. far away among the sparkling waves I saw a little island. when I was a youth." it at the end of the journey. for he was going his dearest to me. Then the call of the distant trumpet it came float- ing across the water." she asked. sailing out into the wide bow of the blue water. and while was sounding a shimmer of fog swept over the island see it and I could no more. I saw seas.THE SOURCE you go away from your home? do that?" "Yes. as soon as I was free. wondrous and dazzling. and in the middle of the tall island the Blue Flower was growing. Ruamie. when the time came. brighter than the sapphire of the sea. we came and there the friend who was good-by. said back to his own country and father's house. with shores of silver sand and slopes of fairest green. and my home is may be. I set out on How could you my journey. "you have seen "Once again. So as I stood ship. After a long voyage upon stormy into a quiet haven. but I was at the still journeying onward.

and I longed for the dwellings of men. "Did you ever find it?" "Never. It shone so it." said the child. But once again I saw the flower. it seemed as I was the only soul living upon earth. It was on the edge of the under the shadow of the great moun- A vast loneliness was round about if me . and the flower was melted away in light." "And now. and the sun rose. desert. three days before I came to Saloma. Then as I woke in the morning I looked up at the dark ridge of the mountains. "you are at home with us. and there against the brightening blue of the sky I saw the Blue Flower standing up clear and brave. There are I find kinds in the fields." I answered. 26 .THE BLUE FLOWER "Was it a real island. new ones every day." will stay while I can. Will you not stay for a long. long while? You may many "I find the Blue Flower here. for the ship sailed another way. close tains. Ruamie. So I rose and travelled on till I came to Saloma. deep and pure that the sky grew pale around Then the echo of the far-off trumpet drifted down the hillsides." asked Ruamie.

THE SOURCE taking her hand in mine as we walked back to the house at nightfall. the place where the and when the call comes I must fol- low it. yet the place where I must abide flower grows. But wherever you go I hope you will find the flower at last. For with you is am at home." In truth there were troubled many things in the city that of the me and made me restless. Others had newly come to the city and were teaching that there was no Source. "I think I understand. For there were some in the city who said that the hours of visitation were wasted. "but how long that may I be I cannot tell. and that the story of the poor man who reopened it 27 ." "Yes. I came to see the said about the meaning of what the old man had shadow that rested upon his thoughts. in spite sweet comfort of Ruamie's friendship and the tranquillity of the life in Saloma. looking at me half in doubt. or in sinking wells along the edge of the desert." said she. and that it would be better to employ the time in gathering water from the pools that formed among the mountains in the rainy season.

while this doubt was yet heavy at midnight And upon me. I saw. whose petals seemed to fall and fade as old I looked. sounding along the crest of the mountains: and as I went out to look where it came from. There were believed them.THE BLUE FLOWER was a fable. and that the hours of visitation were only hours of dreaming. provided only that they worked in the gardens and kept the marble pools repair and basins through the in and opened new canals fields. through the glimmering shape of a blossom of veil of the milky way. and little kissed the hands and the brow of the 28 . As I listened to these sayings it seemed to me doubtful what the end of the city would be. of the I heard the faint calling trumpet. and that it was of small moment whether men went to visit the fountain or not. many who it and many more who said that did not matter whether their words were true or false. since there always had been and always would be plenty of water. the celestial blue. So I bade I farewell to the man in whose house had the learned to love the hour of visitation and Source and the name of him who opened I it.

white town shining far off against the brown like a flake of mica in a cleft of the rocks. came down in the early morn- ing toward the city. It was not easy to find. The trenches and channels little were there. it for the seen. full of care. to look for the Blue Flower. Then I slept that night. and great cracks gaped in the earth as if it still were thirsty. little bay full of was not to be There was only a cliffs. and went forth sadly from the land of Koorma into other lands. 29 . and rising before dawn.THE SOURCE Ruamie who had entered my heart. II In the Book of the Voyage without a Harbour is written the record of the ten years which passed before I came back again to the city of Sa- loma. but there was water in them. on the hillside. and hills as I looked shoulder of the greenery. The fields were lying parched and yellow under the sunrise. for I came down through from a distant the mountains.

wiping the sweat from his brow. sullenly. and the bright embroidery of earth was faded to a sullen gray. and answered. and there were men going 30 among . The girdle of gardens had shrunk all wreath of withered flowers. in and down the main bed of the river I saw only a few shallow puddles. and I passed on into the city. At the foot of an ancient. leafless olive-tree I saw a group of people kneeling around a newly opened well. "They are worshipping the windlass : how else should they fell bring water into their fields?" Then he furi- ously to digging again. instead of the cheerful songs of the vintagers. Even these were fenced and guarded so that no one might come near to them. the creaking of dry windlasses and the hoarse throb of the pumps in sunken like a wells. I asked a man who was digging this be- side the dusty path what might mean. He straightened himself for a moment. joined together by a slowly trickling thread.THE BLUE FLOWER and through the ragged fringes of the rusty vineyards I heard. There was no sound of murmuring streams the streets.

"and doubtit they who have caused should suffer more at than others. But can you in tell me what hour and visita- what manner the people now observe the tion of the Source?" He looked curiously at me and is replied: "I do not understand you. without a flaw." I answered. cry- ing "Water ! Water to sell in !" The marble empty . "is the evil doctrine that has come in to take away the glory of our city." said he. pools the open square were and at one of them there was a crowd look- ing at a man who was being beaten with rods." "It less is a sad change. There inspection of the cisterns no visitation save the wells and the which the Princes of source syndics of the city. carry on daily at every hour. whom we call the Water. officers A bystander told me that the of the city had ordered him to be punished because he had said that the pools and the basins and the channels were not all of pure marble. "For this.THE SOURCE the houses with water-skins on their shoulders. is this What of which you speak?" 31 . and because of this the water has failed.

"Ah. She in aspect. but when I opened and a maiden came forth. with a slender stream of water flowing into it. where all the passers-by seemed in haste and wore weary countenances.THE BLUE FLOWER feo I went on through the street. until I came to the house where I had little lodged. saying: the Blue "You are expected. Have you found Flower?" "Not yet. I was sure 32 . With both hands she welcomed me. «m 'The Source!" she said. was pale and sad but a light of joy face. it the house was closed. it dawned over the snow of her the youth in her eyes that and I knew by was Ruamie. yes. and I would go again with you to visit the Source. but with a tender s half-sad brightness. and a group of children standing near fill with their pitchers. The door of knocked. "but something drew it me back to you. waiting to them. There was a basin here against the still wall. who had walked with me through the vineyards long ago." At this her face grew bright. I would know how fares with you." I answered.

So forsaken was it and so covered with stones and overgrown with wire-grass that I could not have found it but for her guidance. and more sweet. Come. I asked her of the kind old man who had as a stranger. softly. "And where are the men and women." are "Where then the young children whose re* fathers taught them this way and bade them )»> member it." his friends. who once thronged dead?" this pathway? Are they also "They also are dead. let us go up together.THE SOURCE that you would remember it. Have they forgotten?' . And this is the hour of the visitation. But as we climbed the air upward grew clearer. "He dead." "But where are the younger ones who sang here so gladly as they marched upward? Surely they are living?" "They have forgotten. and I questioned her of the things that had come to pass in my absence." Then we went alone through the busy and weary multitudes of the city toward the mountain-path. taken me into his house when is I came She said.

She murmured again and again the beautiful name of him who had died to find it. the rising of the spring had sent a 34 ." visi- "But why have you alone kept the hour of tation? Why have you not turned back with your companions? How have you walked here solitary day after day?" She turned to me with a divine regard. and when she looked up fallen it was as if the dew had on a flower. We the drew near to the Source. and entered into in the rock." Then I saw a few wild-flowers blossoming beside the path. chamber hewn She kneeled and bent over the sleeping spring. We came very slowly down the path along the and rested often beside it. river Carita. for surely. and laying her hand gently over mine. she said. I thought. if many and voices. Her it tears as they fell seemed as the water stirred and rose to meet her bending face.THE BLUE FLOWER "They have forgotten. Her voice repeated the song that had fell once been sung by softly on the spring. "I re- member always.

She murmured again and again the beautiful name. .

.

as we passed by like strangers. "You my breast. forever. back to that which they have forgotten. But none cared for us. Let all me stay with you. The people were fro. and there strife over the was much dispute about them. for it was the day before the choosing of new Princes of Water." There was a smile in her eyes so deep that its 35 . . and building of new cisterns to hold the stores of rain which might fall in the next year. and some of it must flow on to the city. secret is in your heart. So was almost evening when we came back hurrying to and to the streets.THE SOURCE little it more water down its dry bed. and your faithful is keeping of the hours of visitation the only cause why curse the river has not failed altogether and the of desolation returned. and I visit will cherish you Together we will the Source every day and we shall turn the people. and we came unnoticed to the door of the house. sweet soul of the flowers that are dead. and I said to are the life of the city. for Its you alone remember. by our lives and by our words. Then a great within desire of love and sorrow moved Ruamie.

to her lips. which it is still is called Saloma. The low sunset made a circle of golden rays about her head and a strange twin blossom of celestial blue seemed to shine in her tranquil eyes. At the place where the path turned aside to the ruined vineyards I looked back. or once more I Forsaken. for who can tell or death will come to the city.THE BLUE FLOWER meaning cannot be spoken. whose feet can never rest until their task of errors is completed and their lesson of wandering is learned to the end. and passed silent call down the street as one walking in a dream. and do not forget that I shall remember always. But you are of the Children of the Unquiet Heart. for I was born here. as she lifted my hand whether its "Not life so." Behind her quiet voice I heard the that compels us. or whether they will for- get forever. dear friend. and here my life is rooted. Until then go forth. Since then I know not what has befallen the city. Its lot is mine. know that it is one there who re- 36 . But because there is if it lives at all. and answered. nor whether Ablis. whether peo- ple will remember at last.

visitation. .THE SOURCE members. and keeps the hour of treads the steep way. and sometimes I think that long before my seeking and journeying brings it will me to the Blue Flower. and and breathes the beautiful name over the spring. tide the still bloom for Ruamie be- waters of the Source.

.

THE MILL .

.

but are well content to the earth in summer when the world is green. but many fair manors. making merry with song and dance while gather harvest they of 41 corn and apples and . in rested is a land that For in that land there are neither castles nor enchantments. THE MILL I How the Young Martvmor would Become a Knight and Assay Great Adventure W HEN called Sir Lancelot was come out of the Red Launds where he did many deeds of arms. and when the autumn changes green pitch pavilions to gold they among the fruit-trees and the vine- yards. with orchards and fields lying about them and the people that dwell therein have good cheer continually. Of the wars and of the strange quests that are ever afoot in Northgalis Isles. he him long with play and game Beausejour.. till and Lionesse and the Out they hear nothing.

of the discomfiture of 42 . So he began to tell them tales of many things that have been done in the world by clean knights and faithful squires. they doted upon him. though the inhabitants knew not his name and great renown. But of little skill. nor in the fa- mous deeds that he had done battle. For one year there is like another. fair-spoken and full of courtesy and a good man of his hands withal. Of the wars against the Sara- cens and misbelieving men. and so their life runs away. the telling of tales in that land there neither do is men rightly understand the singing of ballads and romaunts. For into what place soever he came he was welcome.THE BLUE FLOWER grapes. and they leave the world to God. and in the white days of winter for pastime they have music of divers instruments and the playing of pleasant games. and again he taught the people new games and feats of skill. and often he lay under the apple- trees sleeping. because he was a very gentle knight. tournament and Yet for his own sake. in Then Sir Lancelot had great ease for a time this quiet land.

very fair in the face and of great stature. His name was Martimor. and in his heart was the hunger of noble tatches and deeds. of the Questing Beast and how King it . King Pellam of Sir Tor that sought the lady's brachet and by the way head of the overcame two knights and smote outrageous like caitiff Abelleus. full of blood and honour. among them that listened to him gladly. And he besought the knight that they might joust together. of and the the strife with the eleven kings battle that was ended but never finished. off the — of these and many matters of pith and moment. So when he heard of Sir Lancelot these redoubtable histories he was taken with desire to assay his strength. Now. told Sir Lancelot. But in the land of Beausejour there were no 43 .THE MILL the Romans when they came to take truage of King Arthur. His legs were as tough as beams of ash-wood. and the people had marvel of his words. Strong of arm was he. Pellinore and then Sir Palamides followed the dolourous stroke unto of Balin that gave . and his neck was like a pillar. was a youth of good blood and breeding.

and for a helmet a round pot of iron. and so marvellously did his harness jangle and smite to- gether as he came. Wherefore they made shift to fashion a harness out of kitchen gear. Thus the point of 44 . his spear and crying " 'Ware !" he dressed his arm. with a brazen platter for a breast-plate. the point hardened in and Sir Lancelot lent to him the sword that he had taken from the false knight that distressed all ladies. and the cover of the greatest of all kettles for a shield.THE BLUE FLOWER arms of war save such as Sir Lancelot had brought with him. whereof the handle stuck down at Martimor's back like a tail. Thus was Martimor accoutred and when he had climbed upon arose lot for the jousting. beneath Right so he rushed upon Sir Lancelot. little. though he was ever a grave call this man." But Martimor was half merry and half wroth. and "Now must we knight. Self Sir Lance- laughed a said. that the horse of Sir Lancelot was frighted and turned aside. La Queue de Fer. And for spear he got him a stout young the fire. fir-tree. his horse. by reason of the tail at his back. there much laughter and mockage.

THE MILL the fir-tree caught him upon the shoulder and came near to unhorse him. Then he cast aside his spear and drew sword. hand. until he was aware that the youth grew hot with the joy of fighting and sought to deal with him roughly and bigly. 45 Then . But the knight guard- ed and warded without distress. laughhis horse." ing. so that not above an ell was left in the youth's fire. lashing heavily as he would hew down a tree. and as Martimor walloped toward him. also Then was the youth full of and he drew sword and made at Sir Lancelot. Then Martimor drew rein and shouted: "Ha! ha! has Iron-Tail done well?" "Nobly hast thou done. his horse in hand and guided him this side making feint now on and now on that. the while he said Lancelot. he lightly swerved. amended "but let not the first stroke turn thy head. until the other breathed hard and was blind with sweat. else will the tail of sec- thy helmet hang down afore thee and mar the ond stroke !" So he kept warily. and with one stroke cut in twain the young fir-tree.

for he weened that he had harmed the youth. him and held him in his arms fast and tended him.THE BLUE FLOWER Lancelot smote him with a mighty stroke upon the head. and So he ran to he liked him passing well. and he fell over the croup of his horse as he were a man slain. and thou in shalt instruct what land I shall seek great adventure. so that Marti- mor's breath went clean out of him. "Pardon?" he cried. Then Sir Lancelot laughed no more. given me such joy my Lord Lancelot Thou hast of my life as never I had beto feel thy might. And when the breath came again lot into his body. and desired the youth that he would pardon him of that unequal joust and of the stroke too heavy. It made me glad And now me how 99 am and I delibred and fully concluded that I also will become a knight. At this Martimor sat up and took him by the hand. fore.' 46 . but with the flat of his sword. and the blood gushed from his mouth. Lance- was glad. "No talk of ! pardon be- tween thee and me. but grieved.

Thus willingly learned the youth of his master. and both sword . praise of princes. and favour of fair 47 . and shew how he might become a well-ruled and a hardy knight to win good fame and renown. and to foin with the and last of all in the laws of honour rule his and courtesy. being instructed the art and craft to man- age and guide a horse then to handle the shield to cut and the spear. whereby a man may own spirit and so obtain grace of ladies. nor was the affiance broken. first in . as ye shall see.THE MILL II How Martimor was Instructed of Sir Lancelot Set Forth to Upon His Sir Quest advise So right gladly did all Lancelot the young Martimor of the customs and vows of the noble order of knighthood. For between these two from the affiance. God. and this brotherhood endured until the last. first there was in close brotherhood and though years and in breeding they were so far apart.

" all things shall be unhappy about "But how and if a man be true in heart. or tune. In them courage in the is envious. else they shall win sorrow and despite by the slaying of better men than they shall .THE BLUE FLOWER "For this I tell thee. even as Balin and his brother Balan slew each the other unknown?" "That less is in God's hand. but him. he may do an ill deed and one that is harmful to his lord or to his friend. and orgulecherous." said Lancelot. lustful cruel. "Doubtassoil all he may pardon and such in their unit is happiness. breaking faith man and woman. to him shall none be true." said Sir Lancelot. "there be many good with lous. shall and to love is And or end they shall come shame and be overcome by a simpler knight than themselves. be . as they sat together under an apple-tree." said 48 ." "And how if a man be entangled in love. and with their paramours they have weary dole and distress is of soul and body for he that false. "yet by some enchantment. forasmuch as the secret of with him. fighters that are false knights." said evil for- Martimor.

For out of this net may not escape. left. or whatever meet him by the way? Or shall he 49 . do?" At this Sir Lancelot was and heaved a great sigh. or by treachery on the other." this "How mav a/ be?" said Martimor. and turn not to right. Then said he: "Rest assured that this man he shall have sorrow enough. and his lady." said Lancelot. and by quests and labours and combats wherein the fierceness of the heart is spent and overcome." "How then shall a man bear himself in the folset lowing of a quest?" said Martimor. "and by keep- ing himself from wine which heats the blood. "Shall he his face ever forward. "jet his love be set upon one that is not lawful for him to have? For either he must deny his love. "By clean living. Therefore say I that he shall not assay to escape. save by falsehood on the one side. and to do honour to them. or else he must do dishonour to the law. which is great shame. What shall he then silent.THE MILL Martimor. by inward joy whereat none in the pure worship of may take offence. but rather right manfully to bear the bonds with which he is bound.

but his gave not. other." cried Martimor. and not for time.THE BLUE FLOWER hold himself ready to answer them that call to him." Then because of to the love that Sir Lancelot bore his Martimor he gave him own armour. and to turn aside from his path for rescue and good service?" "Enough are of questions !" said Lancelot. and the sword that he took from Sir Peris de Forest Savage that distressed shield he all ladies. that must ye do while ye are in the way. True knight taketh his counsel of the Every day is deed. and the good spear wherewith he had unhorsed many knights. for therein let his own rememshield. but what needs to be done. sayit ing "Thou shalt name when thou hast found it. and so shalt thou have both crest and motto." I well beseen. and to succour them that ask help of him. and : he gave to Martimor. nor by hap. So he make a new and in the corner was painted a Blue Flower that this was nameless. And the winning of a quest not by haste. "Now am "and 50 . brance was blazoned. "These for things whereto each man must answer own himself.

most quickly and worthily achieve knighthood. and Sir Lancelot in leather jerkin. 51 . nor distressed ladies. Which way shall I ride. thereby do thy best. but with his shield and sword. rode Martimor rode hill." Then they embraced like brothers. over the Ill How Martimor Came Stayed to the Mill and There was m in a Delay strange countries and So by wildsome ways through many waters and valleys rode Martimor forty days. with naked head. and into the wind. Neither dragons. nor giants.THE MILL my adventures are before me. to the south toward Camelot . but adventure met him none. nor kings imprisoned could he find. and where shall I find them?" "Ride into the wind. and each bade other keep him well. blow the wind never so fierce or fickle. "and what chance soever it it blows thee. nor false knights. westward. as were the it first it and the be last. Take not thy hand So shalt thou from until fulfilled." said Lancelot. nor fays.

or bleed greal. "But here is no adventure.THE BLUE FLOWER "These are world is ill times for adventure. So white rily it stood among the trees. or mayhap One I shall adventure the quest of the Sanor other of these will I achieve. ?5 thought he. and so merit. "the full of meat and sleepy. and so into a val- ley with a swift river flowing through it. or I shall assay the cleansing of the Forest Perilous. 52 . Now must I ride farther afield and undertake some ancient. or I shall win the favour of La Belle Dame Sans Merci. or I shall find Merlin at the great stone whereunder the Lady of the Lake enchanted him and deliver him from that enchantment. for it minded him own country. and made to ride by. and on the river a Mill. whirred the wheel as the water turned and so bright blossomed the flowers in the garden. famous quest wherein other knights have failed and fallen. that Martimor had joy of the of his sight. the best blood of my body." Thus pondering and hill dreaming he came by the road down a gentle with close woods on either hand . Either I shall follow the Questing Beast with Sir Palamides." said he.

There saw he a red and white brachet. And Mar- when she saw him she cried him help. where the young maid soon led him to the mill- pond. At bitterly young maid wept yet more than she had wept for her hound.THE MILL Even then came a young maid suddenly through the garden crying and wringing her hands. But the dragged and buffeted him. yet by no means able to escape. if . and more to win back again. to the dry land. fast swim- ming as ever he could swim. "Alas. and hurtled at him. as were an enemy wrestling with him. caught by the swift stream that ran into the race. so that he had much ado to come where the brachet was. with the brachet in his arm. and made him understand that her little hound was swept away by the water and was near to perishing. and 53 cried aloud. which was great and deep. Which when he had done he was and the fell clean for-spent this upon the ground as a dead man. Then Martimor into the water stripped off his harness and leaped rescue the his legs. At this timor alighted quickly and ran into the garden. and it drew him down. and did marvellously to fierce river little hound.

THE BLUE FLOWER
so goodly a

man

should spend his

life

for

my

little

brachet!" So she took his head upon her knee and
cherished

him and beat the palms of

his hands,

and

the hound licked his face.

And when Martimor
it

opened

his eyes

he saw the face of the maid that
flower.

was fair as any

Then was

she shamed,

and put him gently from

her knee, and began to thank him and to ask with

what she might reward him for the saving of the
brachet.

"A

night's lodging

and a day's cheer," quoth

Martimor.

"As long

as thee liketh," said

she,

"for

my
and

father, the miller, will return ere sundown,

right gladly will he have a guest so brave."

"Longer might I

like," said he,

"but longer

may

I not stay, for I ride in a quest and seek great ad-

ventures to become a knight."

So they bestowed the horse

in the stable,

and

went into the Mill; and when the miller was come

home they had such good cheer with eating of venison

and pan-cakes, and drinking of hydromel, and

singing of pleasant ballads, that Martimor clean

54

THE M
forgot he was in a delay.
fair garret he

I

LL
to his bed in a

And going

dreamed of the Maid of the Mill,

whose name was Lirette.

IV

How

the Mill was in

Danger and

the

Delay

Endured
In the morning Martimor lay
late

and thought
it

large thoughts of his quest, and whither
lead him,

might

and

to

what honour

it

should bring him.

As he dreamed

thus, suddenly he heard in the hall

below a trampling of feet and a shouting, with the
voice of Lirette crying

and shrieking. With that

he sprang out of his bed, and caught up his sword

and dagger, leaping
stair.

lightly

and

fiercely

down the

There he saw three foul
strove with the
miller,

churls,

whereof two

beating him with great

clubs, while the third

would master the Maid and

drag her away to do her shame, but she fought
shrewdly.

Then Martimor rushed upon the

churls,

shouting for joy, and there was a great medley of
55

THE BLUE FLOWER
breaking chairs and tables and cursing and smiting,

and with

his

sword he gave horrible strokes.
miller,

One of the knaves that fought with the

he smote upon the shoulder and clave him to the
navel.

And

at the other he foined fiercely so that

the point of the sword went through his back

and

stuck fast in the wall.

But

the third knave, that

was the biggest and the blackest, and strove to
bear away the Maid, left hold of her, and leaped

upon Martimor and caught him by the middle and
crushed him so that his ribs cracked.

Thus they

weltered and

wrung

together,

and
;

now one of them was above and now

the other

and

ever as they wallowed Martimor smote him with his

dagger, but there came forth no blood, only water.

Then

the black churl broke
mill,

away from him and
and Martimor
after.

ran out at the door of the

So they ran through the garden to the
there the churl sprang into the water,

river,

and

and swept

away raging and foaming. And
shouted,

as he went he

"Yet

will I

put thee to the worse, and mar

the Mill, and have the

Maid !"
"Never while I
56
live

Then Martimor

cried,

shaU

THE MILL
thou mar the Mill or have the Maid, thou foul,
black, misbegotten churl!"
Mill,

So he returned to the

and there the damsel Lirette made him to

understand that these three churls were long time
enemies of the Mill, and sought ever to destroy
it

and to do despite to her and her

father.

One of

them was Ignis, and another was Ventus, and these
were the twain that he had smitten. But the third,
that fled
fiercest

down

the river

(and he was ever the
his

and the most outrageous),

name was

Flumen, for he dwelt in the caves of the stream,

and was the master of

it

before the Mill was built.

"And now," wept
his will with

the Maid, "he must have

had

me and with

the Mill, but for God's
!"

mercy, thanked be our Lord Jesus

"Thank me
"So

too," said Martimor.

I do," said Lirette,

and she kissed him. "Yet

am

I

heavy at heart and fearful, for

my

father

is

sorely mishandled

and

his

arm

is

broken, so that
it.

he cannot tend the Mill nor guard
is

And Flumen

escaped; surely he will

harm us

again.
55

Now

I

know

not, where I shall look for help.'

"Why

not here?" said Martimor.

57

THE BLUE FLOWER
Then
Lirette looked

him

in the face, smiling a

little sorrily.

"But thou

ridest in a quest,"

quoth

she,

"thou mayst not stay from thy adventures."

"A

month," said

he.

"Till

my

father be well?" said she.
he.

"A
she.

month," said

"Till thou hast put

Flumen to the worse?"

said

"Right willingly would I have

to do with that

base, slippery knave again," said he, "but

more

than a month I

may

not stay, for

my

quest calls

me and

I

must win worship of men or ever I become

a knight."

So they bound up the
Mill in order.

miller's

wounds and

set the

But Martimor had much
;

to do to

learn the working of the Mill

and they were busand rye and barley
miller's hurts

ied with the grinding of wheat

and

divers kinds of grain;
;

and the

were mended every day

and at night there was

merry

rest

and good cheer; and Martimor talked

with the Maid of the great adventure that he must
find
;

and thus the delay endured

in pleasant wise.

58

THE MILL
V
Yet More of the
Mill,

and of the Same Delay, oho

of the

Maid

Now
that

at the end of the third month, which was

November, Martimor made Lirette to understand
it

was high time he should ride farther to

fol-

low his quest. For the miller was now recovered,

and

it

was long that they had heard and seen

naught of Flumen, and doubtless that black knave
was well routed and dismayed that he would not

come again. Lirette prayed him and desired him
that he would tarry yet one week. But Martimor
said,

No!

for his adventures were before him,

and

that he could not be

happy

save in the doing of

great deeds and the winning of knightly fame.

Then he showed her

the Blue Flower in his shield

that was nameless, and told her

how

Sir Lancelot

had
it

said that he

must
crest

find

it,

then should he name

and have both
"Does
it

and motto.
garden?" said Lirette.

grow

in

my

"I have not seen
ers are all faded."

it," said he,

"and now the

flow-

59

About the break of day he was wakened by a great roaring and pounding . and Martimor slept ill. with black dow. like wood beasts. So at last two of the gates were lifted and one was broken. and thrust away the logs that were heaped over them. spring over and the voice of Flumen shouted hoarsely and hungrily. and cut with axes. and the logs leaped as they would it. but may fortune that I shall achieve my and now forth must I fare. "Yet will I mar the Mill and have the Maid !" Then Martimor ran with the miller out upon the dam. and driving before them great logs and broken trees." said he. and the 60 flood ran down . So there was sad cheer at night there came a fierce storm with howling wind and plumping rain. river hurled it Thus the and hammered at the mill-dam so that trembled. and saw the river in waves spuming and raving." in the Mill that day.THE BLUE FLOWER 'Perhaps in the month of 'In that May?" said she. month it I will come again. and fought with the river. and they laboured at the gates that held the river back. "for by that time quest. then he looked out of winflood.

while the life beats in my body. wilt stay." said the it "must I mend the gate. 61 . it ran the black face of Flumen sprang above ing. So when ed firm and fast. all three were being bound with iron. But when the gate was mended there came an- other flood and brake the second gate. and there was meat ready for them and they ate strongly and with good heart. still grimly river hurled over the dam. miller." never do. "That shalt thou "by foul or fair. and the voice of Flumen muttered in the dark of winter nights." So he came back with the miller into the Mill. "Yea." "Why "Thou alone?" said Martimor. "Till the gate be mended. then?" said Lirette. I know not.THE MILL ramping and roaring in great raundon. "Now. And when mendthe that was mended there came another flood and brake the third gate." said "For another month?" said she. cry- "Yet will I mar both Mill and Maid." cried Martimor." said he. he. and as it. But how may be done. for surely this will be great travail for a man alone.

" said she. as to that. wrought With her. when the day was spent and the sun rested upon the edge of the 62 . But fear have I of the day when thou ridest forth in thy quest. "for thou art stronger. flowers." "Well." So the delay continued. and was fain of her company with Flumen was great joy to Moreover the him. "this a durable and dogged knave.THE BLUE FLOWER "Yet will I mar —mar—mar—yet is will I mar Mill and Maid. and Martimor was both busy and happy at the Mill. and the Delay was Made Longer Now it when the month of May came to the Mill and Lirette brought a plenty of sweet in the garden. then will we consider and appoint that day. for he liked and loved this damsel well. "when I have over- come this false devil Flumen. strife VI How the Month of May came to the Mill." said he." "Oho!" said Martimor. Art thou feared of him Lirette?" "Not so.

in the garden. But none of them was the flower on his shield. and there the water went seeping 63 . the So while they walked thus days were fair and slowly." said he. it is. and Martimor was fain to comfort her. "Is it this?" she cried. and she brought him a spray "Too slender. and the river ran lowly and were full of gentleness." "Surely this of blue-bells. and Flumen his evil had amended him of and guile was that were firm ways. "and till well I ween that I may not find that flower." him a violet.THE MILL hill. "Too dark. and she showed him all her like flowers that were blue. is it." Then was the Maid cast down. giving said he. as it still. I ride farther in my quest and achieve great adventure. "Too light." "Then here she said. For now that the gates and strong. he found a way down through the corner of the dam. But full of craft false foe. plucking a posy of forget-me-not." said he. went Martimor. where a water-rat had burrowed.

and the whole river ran roaring through the garden." . because Then was Martimor wonderly the river had blotted out the Maid's flowers." she bling. and the mill-pond flowed over and under. "by the faith of my body that foul fiend shall never have thee." "Not so. gnawing ever Presently in the night far at the hidden breach. I will bind him." thought he. and the dam crumbled away. and the Mill shook. and make a the water an- dyke with a gate other to let down way when the floods come. "And one day." said he. till he came to a strait place among the hills. There was a great rock full of caves and hollows. so shall I spoil him of his craft and put him 64 to the worse. holding fast to will him and trem- "one day Flumen have me. "is the hold of the knave Flumen. when thou art gone. came a mizzling and among the hills a cloud brake open. I will compel him. wroth. and there the water whirled and burbled in furious wise.THE BLUE FLOWER and creeping. So he went upward along the river. or die in the deed. cried. rain. "Here." forth. and if I may cut through above this rock in it.

" and she brought him a spray of blue-belK ." Surely this is it.

.

they fell headlong in the stream. by dyke and dam. and his black tongue hung from his mouth like a water-weed. "These be changeable things. as they wrestled and whapped to- gether. by flood and fountain. but meekly to serve them. and ever by night Flumen came and strove with him. Then Flumen sware by wind and wave. so that his eyes stood out like gobbets of foam. "Now shalt thou swear never to mar Mill nor Maid.THE MILL Then he toiled day and night to make the dyke. and did his power to cast him down and strangle him. And at last. will I drown and mar the Mill and the Maid. by rain and river. But Martimor stood fast and drave him back. and even as the Name passed teeth. "now thee." said Martimor. by storm and stream." the neck But Martimor gripped him by and thrust his head betwixt the leaves of the gate and shut them fast." his So he sware. "swear by the Name of God." cried Martimor. by pond and pool. "Ho-o!" shouted Flumen. the gobbets of foam 65 floated forth from the .

And three false knights took her father's court by craft from her to and led her away work their will on a her. Then Martimor came back to the Mill. and the water-weed writhed away with the stream. passing and fair and young. with a sound like singing. and her palfrey was 66 . VII How Martimor Bled for a Lady and Lived for a Maid. as fast as ever she could drive. and came riding on a white palfrey.THE BLUE FLOWER gate. to swear a jolly. But she escaped from them as they slept by well. Thus their hearts waxed light and and they kept that day as it were a love-day. that was daughter to King Pellinore. and the river flowed fair and softly. and us speak of a certain Lady. This was the Lady Beau- vivante. and how His Great Adventure Ended and Began at the Mill Now tall leave we of the Mill and Martimor and the let Maid. over dale. hill and Thus she came to the Mill. and told how Flumen was overcome and made pact.

"will I hear naught. and one rode in yellow. For this have I Then he made ready his horse and his armour. Then came Lady. "Of hiding. "Right well I know your quest. Now this bridge was strait. One rode in black. 61 ." Then the knight in black rode at him lightly. and there she took refuge." said he.THE MILL spent. so that till none could pass there but singly. So they cried Martimor that he should give them passage. and that not Martimor yielded or was beaten down. and stood still as it had been a plump of wood. for they followed a quest. beseeching Marti- mor that he would hide her. who passage makes !" cried it is Martimor. they halted. riding the three knights that followed the fiercely down the hill. And when they came about ten spear-lengths from the bridge. but am I full fain. and the third rode in black and yellow. and a foul one." of defending waited. and defend her from those caitiff knights that must soon follow. and stood forth in the bridge. "Passage takes. and took both spear and sword.

THE BLUE FLOWER but Martin? or encountered him with the spear and smote him backward from his horse. Then came ily. But he fended with his shield that the spear went aside. glaring the one at the other as two 68 . but the spear stuck fast and stood as a stake. and like and they staggered to and fro like drunken men. to take their breath. gave a terrible shout. and rode at Martimor like a wood lion. Such pieces were clipped their helms. that was as big as both his brethren. the knight in yellow. on one side of the bridge. Then they hurtled together rams and each battered other the wind out of So they sat either his body. tracing. and both And lightly they avoided and rushed together. strokes they gave that great and foining. walloping heav- and him the spear pierced through the midst of the body and burst in three pieces: so he fell on his back and the life went out of him. their horses like thunder. and they clapped together horses were overthrown. up from his breast Then the knight in black and yellow. rasing. away from their hauberks. that his head struck the coping of the bridge and brake his neck.

as cheese. it had been a rotten So he lay upon the bridge.THE MILL owls. and the blood ran out of him. "Up ! Martimor. into the Mill. and with a great might he abraid upon his feet. strike again Then the courage came into his body. And Martimor it smote off the rest of his head quite. and smote the black and yellow knight upon the helm by an overstroke so fierce that the sword sheared away the third part of his head. So the knight in black and yellow. fell At this the Lady Beauvivante !" shrieked and wailed. "Hide me these black eggs that hatched evil thoughts. all for-bled: Then Martimor came 69 . and there till he came to the crown of grovelling. because he was heavier. smiting ing. ramping and reel- freshly. for the space of two hours. and scattering blood. snorting. but the damsel Lirette cried loudly. Then they stepped together and fought and thrusting. drave Martimor backward step by step the bridge. and cast into the river." river bore So the them away. panting. And he cried to Flumen. Like- wise did he with the other twain that lay dead be- yond the bridge.

and forthwith he dubbed him knight. Then the Lady and the Maid wept his full and made great dole and unlaced helm. and those three slain! are By whose hand I wonder?" into the Mill. joy of him. by my lady's name. When he came to the bridge all bedashed with blood. for doubtless the 70 . and the bodies of the knights headless." said Lancelot. his and Lirette cherished him tenderly to recover life. and fell down in a swoon.THE BLUE FLOWER "Now sore are ye free. to receive a castle and a fair lady to wife. So while they were thus busied and distressed? came Sir Lancelot with a great company of knights and squires riding for to rescue the princess. when he heard how he had wrought. Then he said that Sir Martimor should ride with him to the court of King Pellinore." said he. "Now. "Now are thou proven worthy of the noble order of knighthood. lady. "here has caitiffs been good fighting. So he came and there he found and had marvel- Martimor recovered of lous his swoon." he cried.

he may. to reward the rescue But Martimor stood in a muse." said Lancelot." said Sir Martimor. taking Lirette by the hand. "this Maid to wield as is is to me liefer to have and my wife than any dame or princess that christened. then. King will confirm And now what sayest thou of ladies ?" "May a knight have his free will and choice here also?" said he." said Lancelot." "What. brother." "Then choose I here will I dwell. then said he. "for "Freely spoken. laughing. no doubt the it." "Well. a knight have his free will and choice of caswill where he abide?" "Within the law. "and by the lady's favour. "According to his fortune." the Mill." said Martimor.THE MILL King would deny him nothing of his daughter. "and by the King's word he may. "so art thou Sir Martimor of the Mill." said Lancelot. "May tles. "is the will the wind And Maid have thee?" 71 ." in that quarter? said Sir Lancelot.

castle." said Sir Lancelot. and a and a lady. "and he that no name." "He that names it shall never find it." to- So Lirette rejoiced Sir Martimor and loved gether during their life-days." said Lirette. and this is the end and the beginning of the Story of the Mill. "with knighthood. Lacks but a motto and a name for the Blue Flower in thy shield." said Sir finds it needs Martimor.THE BLUE FLOWER "I will well. "Now are you well provided. .

SPY ROCK .

.

for when I came nearer I saw that the colour which had caught my eye came from a multitude of closed gentians which never open closely into — blossoms perfection — growing the so together that their blended promise had like seemed a single flower. The hope of finding that hue of distance in a living form. nigh to the woods. For there the deserted road which had been following through the Highlands ran out upon a meadow all abloom with purple loose-strife and golden Saint-John's wort. there was a touch of the celestial colour: blue : of the sky seen between white clouds blue of the sea shimmering through faint drifts of silver mist. 15 . But it was only for a moment.SPY ROCK I JlT must have been near Sutherland's Pond that I lost the I way. The defield. clining sun cast a glory over the lonely and far in the corner. the old and mystery embodied hope of discovering the Blue Flower rose again in my heart.

in former days. Presently I came into a region where the trees were larger and the travelling was easier. to find the road. of ancient stone been. evidently. at last grew more faint in a and uncertain and thicket or a marsh. Wandering among birches. must about to the north just beyond the edge of the mountain. lines of broken rock. Through the woods there ran at intervals long with moss fences. the alders and clumps of gray and there I found a track that looked it but as I tried each one. It was necessary to make the most of the if I lin- gering light. did not wish to be benighted in village of Canterbury. here like it. but a second growth of chestnuts and poplars and maples. came to nothing While I was thus beating about the bush the sun dropped below the western rim of -hills. But it had vanished. the home of human 76 . slanting across the meadow. It was not a primeval forest. The land must have a farm. covered — the ruins.THE BLUE FLOWER So I harked back again. and in that direction I turned. the woods. which lie The little was the goal of my day's march. cultivated. pushing forward as rapidly as possible through the undergrowth. inhabited.

with the re- mains of a crumbling chimney standing sentinel beside it. what sorrows once centred around this cold and desolate hearth-stone? What children forth like birds from this dismantled nest into the wide world? What guests found refuge "Take care! stand back! There is a rattlesnake in the old cellar. long past bloom- ing. but now relapsed into solitude and wilderness. What went joys. grew on the edge of and dropped their scanty and gnarled fruit to feast the squirrels. A little farther on. perhaps." 77 . a straggling clump of ancient lilacs. the dark-green leaves of a cluster of tiger-lilies. a bewildered old bush of sweetbrier. What could the life have been among these rugged and inhospitable Highlands. above this square hollow in the earth. A couple of decrepit apple-trees it.SPY ROCK hopes and desires and labours. And here. marked the grave of the garden. on this niggard and reluctant soil? tillers Where was the house that once sheltered the of this rude corner of the earth? Here. here the house must have stood. in the I little clearing into which now emerged.

His face. behind the ruins of the chimney. But his lips were smiling. and there was no fault to be found. He had risen 78 . and saw. weighed me with a scrutiny as exact as was at bottom indifferent. straight nose. with the about them. a man of an aspect so strik- ing that to this day his face and figure are as vivid in my memory He as if it were but yesterday that I had met him. startled me. a man of power. the face of a man of mark. smooth and pale. with his manner. yet measured it me.THE BLUE FLOWER The voice. sensitive lips it —was it old or young? Handsome certainly was. a long cravat loosely knotted in his rolling collar. His dark eyes. thick and the coal-black and waving. was dressed in black. even more than the words. at least. with high forehead. Yet there was something strange and wild about fine wrinkles it. in a me dream. and at the same time an intensity that seemed to pierce It was as if he saw me through and through. and thin. I drew away suddenly. was in some disorder. the coat of a somewhat formal cut. had a look of unspeak- able remoteness. His head was bare. hair.

laugh- know the snakes is too well." said I. and came forward to greet me." he answered. "I fear of him?" the least in the world. no doubt. that this house. better than they know themselves. at all events. "You will pardon the abruptness of my greet- ing? I thought you might not care to make acquaintance with the present tenant of this old house — at least not without an introduction. "you have done me a real kindness. But how that you stay at such close quarters with this unpleasant tenant? Have you no "Not ing." I answered." "Fallen!" he exclaimed. Before he could strike I should be out of reach." "Certainly not. should have fallen at last to be the dwelling of such a vile creature.SPY ROCK from the broad stone where he had evidently been sitting with his back against the chimney. like this one. once a cheerful home. which is better than the outward is it form of courtesy. 79 Then he repeated the ." "Well. could harm me. It not likely that even an old serpent with thirteen rattles. "it is a grim thought. I know his ways.

The man's body was found with the head crushed in timber. The two boys were who ran away from home is as soon as they were old enough. The farmer was a miser who robbed his mother. teresting It is it is all perfectly simple. I think. —perhaps by a falling The family of our friend the rattlesnake could hardly surpass that record. girl. and in- —immensely interesting. a her mother in a do-weels fit was a cripple." impossible to describe the quiet eagerness. may as honest as the people who lived here before him. and understand. and starved What when she lacked in food. lamed by ne'er- of rage. she made up in drink. and not much more harmful. One of them sentence in the serving a life- State prison for manslaughter. she could. the cool glow of fervour with which he narrated 80 . brother. quarrelled with his his wife.THE BLUE FLOWER word with a questioning accent sure of that? — "fallen? Are you be quite The snake. When the house burned down some thirty years ago. in his way. the woman escaped. One of the children. But why should we blame them —any of them? To one They were who can see only acting out their natures.

It was the manner of the trium- phant pathologist who lays bare some hidden seat of disease. "to find a night's. "it is a pitiful history. But you are on a journey. my satisfaction sir.SPY ROCK this little history. It is my chief pleasure. My journey is a ramble. and as life. attracted me. for I could see how evi- dently he counted on my comprehension and sym- pathy. It surprised and repelled yet it me a little." said is I. it has neither terminus nor time-table. I make my business to know a little of everything. "Well. Which way were you going when you turned shrine ?" aside to look at this dismantled "To Canterbury. lodging at the inn. Or perhaps you me to forward you a little by serving as a guide. too. I will allow and night is must not detain you. much as possible of human not excepting the petty chronicles of the rustics around me." 81 . But how came you to know the story?" it "I? Oh. Rural life not all peace and innocence. or a month's. in studying men. falling." I answered. I earn I find my living by teaching boys.

assuring me that it was in accordance with Master Ward's custom. and pleasanter comit pany. I Come with me a teacher. — so that at last I con- Three minutes' walking from the deserted clear- ing brought us into a travelled road. that he would far rather let me pay him for my lodging than have me go by. but he gave it naturally and pressed with earnest courtesy. finer view. my compan- ion. the breast of the mountain. that he would be much disappointed to lose the chance of talking with an interesting traveller. where is am a thousand feet above the village —purer is air.THE BLUE FLOWER "Then let me commend to you something vastly better than the tender mercies of the Canterbury Inn. for vacation-time. It to the school on Hilltop. His name was Edward Keene he taught Latin 82 . and so on sented." There was something so sudden and unconven- tional about the invitation that I was reluctant to it accept it. Master Isaac Ward is always glad to entertain guests. it in It circled and as we stepped along the dusk I learned something of . There is plenty of room in the house.

" he said. surely?" "Yes. Each fruits tree bears its own fruit. The stock becomes a kind of ani- mate soil for the graft to grow in. dom- inates the other. I gathered. or rather a diversion of interest in another direction." say to grafting? That changes "What do you the fruit. Certainly I have no wish to interfere with them in their doings. is two trees growing together. He spoke of himself with an impersonal candour. There life.SPY ROCK and Greek in the Hilltop School it . for I doubt whether anyone can really change them. I don't care what they do. a double life in it. he had studied for the ministry. and the second the added life. "But what I care about is to know men. you see. on account of a certain loss of interest. but had given up. but a grafted tree It is is not really one tree. and by their you know them. Down 83 the hill-side a song . "Preachers must be always trying to persuade men." little Presently the road dipped into a valley hill and rose again. breasting the slope of a itself wooded which thrust out from the steeper flank of the mountain-range.

THE BLUE FLOWER floated to meet us —that most to live. I began to be afraid. Keene's pace quickened. Dorothy. And soon the singer came in sight. a shape of slender whiteness on the background of gathering night." And 84 . you see. and I will give A It loving heart to thee. or so I fancied. and a face that seemed to breathe purity and trust. was a girl's voice. with a note of tenderness in that thrilled me. with brown eyes and hair. in his." she cried. stepping lightly down the road. She was beautiful even in that dim light. I am not alone. You have been out all day . it fresh and clear. "You have come at last. noble lyric of old Robert Herrick: Bid me and I will live Thy Protestant to be ." he answered ." "Not too late. Edward. "there was no need for fear. that gave it an appealing charm. Or bid me love. Yet there was a trace of anxiety in it. running forward and putting her hand "It is late.

which seemed to match with her unconscious attitude of watchful care. that came tie to me gradually. Yet it would have needed many words to define the sense. was easy to guess the relation between these in the two young people who walked beside me dusk. of tender solicitude for him —almost . There could not be a complete understanding. he introduced me to the daughter of It Master Ward. of something singular in the gether. like the manner of an elder sister. though neither of them might know it. Each one's thought of the other was different from the other's thought of self. lovers. 85 What was the .SPY ROCK keeping her hand. It needed no words to say that they were lovers. and acknowledged for their frankness of demeanour sought no concealment there must be % but I felt that A little rift within the lute. Lovers they surely were. that bound them to- On his part there was a certain tone of half-playful condescension toward her such as one might use to a lovely but ill child. a perfect accord.

the great plain lay at our ing in the sun. gave me just the welcome that had been promised in his name. feet. The supper was waiting. and the evening passed in such happy cheer that the bewilderments and misgivings of the twilight melted away. an elderly. we came to the door of the school. smilfields Northward. able The Master. ragged and tumultuous. comfort- man. A warm flood of light poured out to greet us. and at bedtime I dropped into the nest of sleep as one friends.THE BLUE FLOWER secret. placid. Lifted high above the village. but with thoughts how wide apart. yellow of harvest and green orchards. with steps that kept time. but not the other half? Thus. white roads and clustering towns. who has found a shelter among II The Hilltop School stood on a blessed site. of which each knew half. meadows and groves. it held the crest of the last filled gentle wave of the mountains that the south with crowding billows. with here and there a little city 86 .

fifty miles away. the highway of ancient voyagers since the days of Hendrik Hudson. air. the Head-quarters of Army Wash- ington —down there were the homes of legend and 87 . moving smoothly on way to the great city. and disappearing suddenly as they turned into the narrows between Storm-King and the Fishkill Mountains. tiny . Down there was life. restless. white steamboats. the scenes of massacre and battle. many-coloured —down there was histor}^. crowded with their pygmy inhabitants. — their by distance to a leisurely tran- The bright surface of the stream was furvessels. Lines of filmy smoke. sloops with languid motion tacking against the tide. varied. intricate. the last camp of the of the Revolution. like vanishing footprints in the marked the pas- sage of railway trains across the landscape swift flight reduced sition. rowed by a hundred rowboats creep- ing from shore to shore knots of black barges following the lead of puffing tugs. like huge toy-houses. the hunting-ground of Indian tribes. incessant.SPY ROCK on the bank of the mighty river which curved in a vast line of beauty toward the blue Catskill Range.

and at least To him human the school was the most iminstitutions it —more vital even ex- than the home. The Master was a man dom. THE BLUE FLOWER poetry. on the hilltop. se- cluded. and holding in its quiet heart all the elements of joy and sorrow and tragic conse- quence. yet never separated from the other life. a few views. in the tranquil lucidity of distance. "My school. yet ever busy with own tasks. looking down upon it. And here.. If I can teach these boys to study and play to88 . "is the world in miniature. the dreamlike sleep. the cliffs hills of Rip van Winkle's and caves haunted by the Culprit by the Spy Fay. because held the first real perience of social contact. and visible as in a Claude Lor- raine glass. he had brought home many one theory. portant of observations. of free intercourse with other minds and lives coming from different households and embodying different strains of blood. the solitudes traversed — all out- spread before us. yet woven of the same stuff its peaceful in circumstance. In his of most unworldly wis- youth a great traveller. was our own life." said he.

Classes he knew. Yet he was a most companionable man. What it. and in each one he found. a a friendly hermit. From each one he expected. His daughter Dorothy seemed to me even more fair and appealing by daylight than when in the dusk. to a certain degree. social solitary. Individuals escaped him. character. To him each person the scientific. they learn matters great thing is than how they learn The the bringing out find its place of individual character so that in social it will harmony. I shall make men fit to live and work together less in society. But of the deeper dred traits. the obvious. made up of a hun- coloured and conditioned most vitally secret by something and in itself apparently of slight importance. the fruit of the marked quality." less Yet never man knew concrete than Master of character in the Ward. he was placidly unconscious. a gentle dignity in her look 89 . — the practical. represented a type the poetic. the characteristic.SPY ROCK gether freely and with fairness to one another. I first saw her in her There was a pure brightness brown eyes.

She sang not like an angel. a hard worker. a good player. Canadian chansons. Busied with many little cares. "Come-all- ye's" of Ireland. he was essentially an every-day man. Ballads she loved. Of the two under-masters in the school. In the lengthening even- ings of late August she would play from Schu- mann. He came back to the school. John Graham. and a sound sleeper. from a fishing-excur90 . folk-songs of Germany. or Grieg. haired. plain in the face. she bore them lightly. Sturdy. fair- his opposite in every respect. Mistress of herself and of the house. its But it was in music that her nature widest outlet. she ruled her kingdom without an effort. but like a woman. elder. interpreting the vague feelings of gladness or grief which lie too deep for words.— THE BLUE FLOWER and bearing. quaint old English and Scotch airs. devoted to out-of-door sports. Her spirit overflowed into the lives around her with delicate sympathy and merry found cheer. a soft cadence of expectant joy in her voice. or Chopin. Edward Keene was the was The younger. She was womanly in every tone and motion. yet by no means weak or uncertain.

attractive. enough to season but not to spoil the story. natural. He was in the loved her. The engagement was a fact which he took into account as something not to be changed or questioned. Keene was so much more so brilliant. clearly enough. He was cheerful. and gladly taking from her the frank reliance. giving her the best he had to give. helping to get the school in readiness for the return of the boys in the middle of September. Yet there was nothing of the dis- appointed suitor in his bearing. a few days after my arrival. I liked the way in which he told of his adventures. the ready comradeship which she bestowed upon him. If he envied Keene it —and how could he help — at least he never showed a touch of jealousy or rivalry. How could she help preferring him? Thus the three actors in the drama stood. accepting the situation. I liked. I liked the way in which he took hold of his work. interesting. with a little frank boasting. more than all. his attitude to Dorothy she Ward.SPY ROCK sion. when 91 . When room the other people were only acci- dents to him. He answered much more fully to the poetic side of Dorothy's nature.

"yet I it. Yet he was the one who seemed not perfectly harmony. Ulysses at Ithaca —you be restless to see the world again. but I have compensations. "I if in something beck- am glad you are to stay. not quite at home. and accepted the master's invitation to undertake some of the minor classes in English." said he." said is I. doubtless. I ought not it. The key of the ation lay with him. for he was the dominant personality. wonder at all You will find the life narrow. in the character of Keene.a THE BLUE FLOWER I became an inmate of Hilltop. I hoped happy ending." "One you certainly have." 92 . definitely. "and that one enough to make a man happy anywhere. situ- He was the centre of interest. It and stay on at the school wish to see the little in- was my play — a dis- pleasant comedy." " Ah. And turbed —move forward that yet—what was it to me now and then with forebodings? Some- thing. after will surely your travels." "If you find the to be cramped in life broad enough. thinking of Dorothy. as oned and urged him away.

power." he answered. "you know I don't love else. is "but that is not what I mean. " "Come away. Do you mean that you don't really care for Dorothy Ward ? Do you mean that what you have won in her is an illusion? If so. life. no. "See it?" I "I don't know what you mean. is it with the sense of love is the opposite of knowledge. I could not live without her. you are as wrong as a man can be. eagerly. Love is a kind of an illusion is. mean is that. perhaps." "come away. yes. quickly. that what love Don't you cried. within distinctly narrower. is But not the only reality. sets it fills own little is —but And Knowledge free the only thing that broadens from the tyranny of the parish. You are not true to yourself. —a happy see that?" illusion. something I said. not there that I look for think that love broadit Love —do you ens a man's outlook? To me seems to make him his narrower circle —happier. You've been working too hard at your 93 .SPY ROCK ii^ 'Yes." he answered. It a wider life. man! You are talking nonsense." "No. There something something broader. treason.

and down through the Lonely Heart gorge. it And. He was a magnificent walker. and across the rugged summit of Black Rock. or climb slowly to first ridge of Storm-King. He overflowed with brilliant talk and curious stories of the villages and scattered houses that we could see from our it eyries. At every wider outlook a strange exhilaration seemed to come upon him. There's a maggot in your brain. But he for walking in company . his longest But was not with me that he made 94 . and up to the peak of Cro' Nest. easy. and over the pass of the White Horse." That indeed was what he liked best. Come out for a long walk. But with me he pushed out to the farthest pinnacle that overhangs the river. unwearying. His spirit glowed like a live coal in the wind. to say. steady. He knew every road and lane footpath and cared little in the valleys. every trail among the mountains. strange was not Dorothy whom he chose for his most frequent comrade. With her he would saunter down the the Black Brook path. one compan- ion was the most that he could abide.THE BLUE FLOWER books.

I have seen her go to meet him with a flower in her hand that she had plucked lips trembling. moody. They were solitary. The fit black took him. bitter. Then I could see the anxious look deepen on Dorothy's face. Early on Satur- day he would excuse. talkable was the next day that the reaction came. weighed us. for him. to be gone till day. even Dorothy. and turn away with her too proud to say a word.SPY ROCK expeditions. 95 . analysed us strangers. There was a look in his eyes as he measured us. in But he always and charming. with some slight and all start away on the mountain-road. Holding himself to aloof. dropping the flower on the grass. He waited till she was gone. all as Yes. as if if they irked him. leave the rest of us. John Graham saw it. Sometimes he would not return long after dark. he seemed half-unconsciously to resent the claims of love and friendship. and she would slip away down came back It the road to meet him. too. He was silent. good spirits. yet never giving utterance any irritation. then he picked up the flower and kept it.

"None of us know. only these singular alternations of mood which made Keene now now an intimate the most delightful of friends. circle. She defended him. a They are always uncertain. The master dreamer. "Why and should he be always the same? for that. Once. it The change was inexplica- But certainly seemed to have some connec- tion. we spoke of his re- markable fluctuations of spirit. him act what he don't to do that?" Why do you want him "I don't know." I blamed him. "He gives too is much to his moods. with his long. But what we 96 all want . with a short laugh. labelled him. He in danger of spoiling a fine nature. when he was absent. as cause or consequence." I looked at Dorothy. He lacks self-control. Surely you wouldn't have feel." said Graham. "He way is an idealist.THE BLUE FLOWER There was nothing to take offence at. nothing on which one could lay a finger. He is too great His thoughts make him is restless. sometimes he tired. stranger in the ble. lonely walks.

autumn bronzed and poplars were rusted bare. Summer reddened into fall. The boys came back to the school." until the twilight was with peace. Dorothy." and "A filled la claire Fontame. Keene appeared to encourage their companionship. Dorothy and John Graham were thrown more constantly together. slowly and with a little friction at first. The wheels of routine began to turn again. not as if he were jeal- 97 . Keene's transitions of mood became more frequent and more extreme." and "The Green Woods of Truigha. The ma- The oaks alone kept their crimson glory. He watched them curiously. autumn. will you sing a little for us?" So she sang "The Coulin. and the cloaks of hills spruce and hemlock on the shoulders of the grew dark with wintry foliage. The gulf of isolation that divided him from us when the black days came seemed wider and more unfathomable. sometimes. then smoothly and swiftly as if they into ples had never stopped.SPY ROCK just now is music." and "Flowers o' the Forest." and o* "The Hawthorn Tree." and "The Days the Kerry Dancin'.

THE BLUE FLOWER
ous, but rather as if he were interested in
delicate experiment.

some

At

other times he would be

singularly indifferent to everything, remote, abstracted, forgetful.

Dorothy's birthday, which

fell

in mid-October,

was kept

as a holiday. In the
little

morning everyone

had some

birthday gift for her, except Keene.
the

He had
shadow

forgotten
of

birthday
that

entirely.

The
the

disappointment

quenched

brightness of her face was pitiful.

Even he could
and
him-

not be blind to
hesitated a
self.

it.

He

flushed as if surprised,
in conflict with

moment, evidently

Then a

look of shame and regret came into his

eyes.

He made

some excuse for not going with us

to the picnic, at the Black Brook Falls, with which

the day was celebrated. In the afternoon, as
all

we

sat

around the camp-fire, he came swinging
his long, swift stride,

through the woods with

and

going at once to Dorothy

laid a little brooch of

pearl and opal in her hand.

"Will you forgive me?" he
is

said.

"I hope this

not too

late.

But

I lost the train back
I

from

Newburg and walked home.
98

pray that you may

SPY ROCK
never know any tears but pearls, and that there

may

be nothing changeable about

you but the

opal."

"Oh,

Edward!"

she

cried,

"how

beautiful!

Thank you a thousand
been with us
all

times.

But

I wish

you had

day.

We

have missed you so

much !"
For the
ness
rest of that

day simplicity and
us.

clearhis

and joy came back to

Kecne was at

best, a leader of friendly

merriment, a master of
of
delicate

good-fellowship,

a

prince

chivalry.

Dorothy's loveliness unfolded
sun.

like

a flower in the

But

the Indian

summer of peace was

brief. It
re-

was hardly a week before Keene's old moods
turned, darker and stranger than ever.

The

girl's

unconcealable bewilderment, her sense of wounded
loyalty

and

baffled anxiety, her still look of

hurt

and wondering tenderness, increased from day to
day. John Graham's temper seemed to change, sud-

denly and completely.

From

the

best-humoured

and most
silent,

careless fellow in the world, he

became

thoughtful, irritable toward everyone except

99

THE BLUE FLOWER
Dorothy. With Keene he was curt and impatient,
avoiding him as much as possible, and when they

were together, evidently struggling to keep down

a deep

dislike

and rising anger. They had had

sharp words when they were alone, I was sure, but
Keene's coolness seemed to grow with Graham's
heat.

There was no open quarrel.
to me.
said.

One Saturday evening, Graham came

"You have

seen

what

is

going on here?" he

"Something, at
very sorry for
it.

least," I answered,

"and

I

am

But

I don't quite understand it."
it.

"Well, I do; and I'm going to put an end to

I'm going to have

it

out with

Ned Keene. He

is

breaking her heart."

"But are you
up?"

the right one to take the matter

"Who
"Her

else is there to

do it?"

father."
sees nothing,

"He
tical

comprehends nothing. 'Pracsure

type

to arise

—misunderstandings —come together a —each supply

poetic type

after

while

the other's deficiencies.' Cursed folly
is

!

And

the girl

so

unhappy that

she can't

tell

anyone. It shall

100

SPY ROCK
not go on, I say. Keene
is

out on the road now,

taking one of his infernal walks. I'm going to meet
him."

"I'm afraid
you."

it will

make

trouble.

Let me go with

"The

trouble

is

made. Come

if

you

like.

I'm

going now."

The night
the

lay heavy upon the forest.

Where

road dipped through the valley we could
us.

hardly see a rod ahead of
the

But higher up where

way curved around

the breast of the mountain,

the woods were thin on the left, and on the right

a sheer precipice

fell

away

to the gorge of the

brook. In the dim starlight

we saw Keene striding
out to meet him.

toward

us.

Graham stepped
been,

"Where have you

Ned Keene?" he
Keene
lifted his

cried.

The cry was a
and stood
forward.
still.

challenge.

head
step

Then he laughed and took a

"Taking a long walk, Jack Graham," he answered. "It was glorious.

You

should have been

with me. But

why

this

sudden question ?"
is

"Because your long walk
101

a pretence.

You

are

THE BLUE FLOWER
playing
to see at
false.

There

is

some woman that you go

West

Point, at

Highland

Falls,

who knows

where?"

Keene laughed again.
"Certainly you don't know,
neither do
in
I.

my

dear fellow

;

and

Since when has walking become a vice
in a fierce

your estimation? You seem to be

mood. What's the matter ?"
"I
will
tell

you what's the matter. You have
a brute to the girl you profess

been acting
to love."

like

"Plain words
best.

!

But between
you
to tell

friends frankness

is

Did

she ask

me?"

"No! You know
she would speak.

too well she would die before
are killing her, that
devilish
is

You

what

you are doing with your
teries.

moods and myshear?

You must

stop.

Do you

You must

give her up."

"I hear well enough, and

it

sounds like a word

for her and two for yourself. Is that it?"

"Damn
words go!

you," cried the younger man, "let the
we'll
settle
it

this

way"

and he

sprang at the

other's throat.

102

SPY ROCK
Keene, cool and well-braced, met him with a

heavy blow in the

chest.

He

recoiled,

and

I rushed

between them, holding
for self-control.

Graham

back, and pleading
thus, panting

As we stood

and

confused, on the edge of the
floated
It

cliff,

a singing voice
valley.

up

to us

from the shadows across the

was Herrick's song again:

A

heart as soft, a heart as kind,

A
As

heart as sound

and free

in the

whole world thou canst find.
I'll give to thee.

That heart

"Come, gentlemen,"
madness.
this

I cried, "this

is

folly, sheer

You

can never deal with the matter in
is

way. Think of the girl who

singing down

yonder.
suffer,

What would happen
you should be

to her,

what would she
feelings, if

from scandal, from her own
killed, or

either of

even seriously

hurt by the other? There must be no quarrel be-

tween you."
"Certainly," said Keene, whose poise, if shaken
at
is

all,

had returned, "certainly, you are

right. It

not of

my

seeking, nor shall I be the one to keep

103

tion. But to the explanation. settle You shall come with me on one of my in long walks. Yes! I will give it. I will tell you all about them. "No! to answering He not the person to ask I wonder that he does not see the impropriety." I turned to Graham —"And you?" and then said. it. doggedly: "On one condition. he could not understand if my answer even he believed it. all in this affair. Then is you can be the judge whether there them. the absurdity of his meddling at Besides.THE BLUE FLOWER it up. tell We shall be excused from we the master that we have important business to together. I am willing to let it pass." "And that is?" "Keene must explain. not to Graham. but to you. I say. I make you this proposition." 104 any harm . is "Yes and no!" he Graham's question." He must answer my ques- "Do you accept?" I asked Keene. replied. To-morrow service if is Sunday. He hesitated a little. It is but a small matter at most.

dear Doryes. quickly." he answered. and as we of the Dorothy met us. and to ask Keene's pardon it. were talking. that So we turned to go down the turned. "it was said in haste." said Keene. the most satisfying. "What are you men doing here?" she asked. and about all — about walking— views. is all.SPY ROCK a- 'Docs that satisfy you ?" I said to Graham. 105 . almost a debate." said Keene. "Yes." "Not at all. I am content to leave to it in that way for the present. Now. hill." You simply did not understand. And what for make it still more fair. Which call the best. I bear no grudge. talking about?" What "my were you "We othy. you know do you the view-points in this region. The con- versation was quite warm. For there. "that seems fair enough. that we were talking was it —about walking. coming out shadows. I want to take back I said awhile ago. "I heard your voices from below. the finest will say: the prospect? But I know what you view from the little knoll in front of Hilltop.

" is "Yes. pouring praise of knowledge. "that view that I love best. He had been out his talking ever since we started. by rules which they did not under- They never The looked beyond the edge of their work. wide." she answered gravely. universal knowl- edge." really the all the others Ill There was a softness in the November air that brought back memories of summer. and the lindentrees. routine.— THE BLUE FLOWER when you are tired of looking far away. as Keene and I passed by the ruins of the farm-house again. and a few belated daisies were blooming in the old clearing. and the garden. dull toiling at tasks which they Most men were like. the greatest of life's achievements. early on Sunday morning. as the best of life's joys. you can turn around and see the old school. The practical life was a blind. philosophical life was a spider's web filmy threads of theory spun out of the inner con.o6 . clear. did not stand. I would give up rather than lose that.

human life like a book. I am planning to write a book in the true sense a book of knowledge. a new eagerness sounded "Ever since that day I have inclined to tell felt you you something more about myself. the whole world. and therefore how 107 . Vis- ion was the only real knowledge. nothing substantial in it like it. first met. To see the world. I sure would understand. Knowing did not come by speculating. But the theorist could see only the web which he had spun. its hidden motives. we came by the place where we had in his voice. hill.— STY ROCK sciousness — it touched the world only at certain chosen points of attachment. divine. theorising. how much smaller. to look behind the scenes. its secret life. as to read it is. How different they are from what men dream and imagine and play that they are! How much darker. Thus he had as talked as we climbed the Now. —a great Not a history. You could look through a veil and see the real world lying beyond. book about human but a real view of relations. There was nothing firm. that was the glor- ious thing —most satisfying. life. Knowing came by seeing. not a theory.

have in mind. you must stand apart from it." said "you will have to find some secret spring of inspiration. You must take part in the active of mankind in order really to know it." said I.THE BLUE FLOWER much more jet written ceived call it interesting and wonderful." He stopped short and looked me 108 full in the face. then. You must the full current and life feel its force. "Action is the thing that blinds men. No one has con- —such —perhaps because no one has yet a book as I. You remember Matthew Arnold's line: In actions dizzying eddy whirled. "Well. You be in must get out busy world. . it "But "you have chosen a strange place to write — the Hilltop School — this quiet and secluded region! The stream of humanity is very slow and slender here into the — it trickles. some point of vantage from which you can get your outlook and your insight.' " surely. I might a 'Bionopsis." "A mistake !" he cried." it and above you must look down on I. To know the world it.

It always the same. little After a few minutes we came to a stream. all what means. what most men count the best thing in the world. . came to me. troubled. flowing through a grove of hemlocks. Keene seated himself on the fallen log that served for a bridge and beckoned me to a place beside him. You shall share it! my — the wonder and glory of Of to course I know my conduct has seemed strange it you. almost distracted. there only one of them. "I promised to give you an explanation to-day — is to take you on one of is my long walks. throw away. "is precisely !" what I have Then he turned and pushed along trail so swiftly the narrow that I had hard work to follow him. it You shall see where secret it leads. I have been doubtful. of an age.SPY ROCK "And found that. Sometimes has seemed strange even to me." cried he. A great discovery. I must use 109 make the best of it. I simply could not it. perhaps of many it ages. in danger of los- ing what I value. the opportunity of a lifetime. I have been risking a great deal. Well. yes. The risk was worth while. But it could not be helped.

abnormal. you keep say nothing. perhaps without expert advice? little To wait a would be prudent. in which a clear and careful estimate would be necessary. until you have been with me three times at the place where I am now taking you. it would need patience and skill to test it. once. some disorder of mind. and cryto "Come me I" began make his way up the bed of the brook. follow sprang up. without time and study. without prejuwill you to make me one promise. It was one of the wildest 110 . You will suspend judgment. as if relieved. But you must judge dice. You shall judge for yourself whether I was right or wrong. you will my secret." By of this time it was clear to me that I had to do with a case lying far outside of the life. I ask fairly. at any cost.THE BLUE FLOWER at any danger. for his sake as well as for the sake of others. At ing. without haste. If there was some extraordinary reality behind his mysterious hints. he on. hard to meas- ure. common routine something subtle. I gave him the promise for which he asked. how could I estimate its nature or extent. If Keene was labouring under some strange delusion.

strength — if you are used Otherwise I should 111 . He turned aside for alders. But Keene would eat nothing. a delay." said he. is "On a walk.SPY ROCK walks that I have ever taken. masses of interlacing thickets of stiff young spruces. chevaux-de-frise of dead trees where wind-falls had mowed down the forest. a faint across some deeper bed of moss. no obstacles close-woven . every- thing he pushed forward. ferns branches of witch-hazel and trail trampled down. shaking the drops of water from his face. drank long and eagerly. At mid-day we rested for a half -hour to eat lunch. swamps. walls of lichen-crusted rock. landslides where heaps of broken stone were tumbled in ruinous confusion —through see. drance. and stooping face to the spring by which he had halted. "An Indian trick. it spurs the courage and doubles the to it. the track of his here and former journeys: broken moose-wood. I could there. food is a hin- But this tiny taste of bitter gum a tonic. his He swal- lowed it hastily. except a little pellet of some dark green substance that he flat silver took from a box in his pocket.

Presently we came into a hard-wood forest. now tangled among ily the nameless peaks and ranges. from glimpses here and there. about twice the height of a man. of the mountain-system. and stood to up. the central comb. The way. and from the purity and lightness of the air. calling me come on. through the crowded trunks of the dwarf forest. across our path. bore steadall southward. lifting its top above the sea of foliage. It was a vast rock. and so thick that we could not see beyond them. The trees rose above our heads. Faugh! the flavour He rinsed his mouth again with water. perhaps. I saw a gray mass. open and easy to travel. Breasting a long slope. 112 At its base there . in spite of many brief downward curves where a steep gorge must be crossed. we reached the summit of a broad. like the wall of a fortress. smoothly rounding ridge covered with a dense growth of stunted spruce. rising from the crest of the ridge. But. rising the time.THE BLUE FLOWER not recommend you to try is vile." it. A few yards ahead of us. I judged that we were on far higher ground than any we had yet traversed.

The snakes are now. Look !" The prospect was indeed magnificent." cried my companion. Step Give me your hand — use that point of rock is hold fast by this bush. "there is a rattlers' den somewhere about here. almost dormant. and of imagine that they have found us it — five miles east it is —on a lower ridge. Others think a peak is just back of Cro' Nest. but in their winter quarters they can here ! still strike if you tread on them. All wrong! There but one real Spy Rock —here is ! This earth holds no more perfect view-point. It one of the rare places from which a man may see the kingdoms of the world and all the glory of them. One side of the rock was broken by a slanting gully. and deep crevices almost like caves. it was strange what a vast enlargement of vision resulted from the slight elevation above the surrounding peaks.— SPY ROCK were heaps of shattered stones. "Be careful. it firmly rooted — so! it ? Here we are on Spy Rock You have heard of ! I thought so. The horizon expanded as if by 113 . Other people have heard of it. It was like being lifted up so that we could look over the walls.

" Spy Rock. Every feature of the land- scape seemed scious alive. and meadow. won- der yet. swept around us with a radius of a hundred tain hill Mounlake. And beyond any See! that you would dream possible — Your sight reaches to that dim cloud of smoke in the south? And be- neath it you can make out. You could almost see the world breathe. river and dale.THE BLUE FLOWER magic. quivering. "you don't half see the it." "Ah. far-off city and shimmering water and over all — all lay open to our sight. "Wonderful!" I cried. village and farmland. a vague blotch 114 . The vast circumference of vision miles. You have not learned the power are still of far sight. "Most wonderful! You have found a mount of vision. pulsating with con- beauty. perhaps." he answered. the secret of shut in by the horizon. the westering sun wove a transparent robe of gem-like hues. You "Do you mean it?" to say that you can look beyond "Beyond yours — yes. you don't begin to appreciate eyes are Your new to it. and forest and field.

the I sea. . This !" a phan- tasy.SPY ROCK of shadow. I almost fancied his spirit The magnetism of imposed upon me." I can see more than other men can im- For a moment. expanded rays 115 indefinitely. with the ships coming and going! courses can follow them on their beyond that — Oh! when I am on Spy Rock agine. There reason no why the power of sight should not be cul- tivated. the I can see the great the the spires. or a tiny flash of brightness where the sun strikes buildings. it? New York! But domes. The view is and the air have intoxicated you." said I. Why it be impossible I do not understand. carried me away with him. "you are dreaming. "but I should is only tell you my real experience." "And the straight of light?" I asked. a delusion "It pleases you to call it so." he said. to say. Then sober reason told possibilities. me that he was talking of im- "Keene. strange I could follow him. enlarged. the tides of people whirling through the streets —and — and beyond that. crowded wharves.

— THE BLUE FLOWER "And the curvature of the earth which makes a horizon inevitable?" "Who knows what "Who can prove that a way that there is a raj of light is?" said he. swifter than the but no less fatiguing. each of us see. the restricted The downward journey was ascent. or refracted in some places in is not possible elsewhere? I tell you something extraordinary about is this Spy Rock. an hour after dark. under certain conditions. "You were wrong. By the time we reached the school. "Well?" said "Well!" I answered. There 116 . he. But come. For half an hour. enjoy what he can Then home again life. we have time left. Graham with took the first opportunity of speaking me alone. But Keene was in one of his moods of exa piece of phosphorus hilaration. I was very tired. shall More things are visible here than anywhere else I more than little have told you yet. He glowed like that has been drenched with light. It a seat of power —Nature's observatory." to the nar- rower outlook. it may not be curved.

until a certain time. is no guilt in his moods. It will do no harm to be patient. am puzzled by But I trust you. Keene was hungry for I it. But there something very strange." said he. Already a conviction in regard to it was pressing upon me. the and was almost as eager. though I am far from satisfied. without interruption or denial. and as freely as I resolved to let him talk. For a while he talked little.SPY ROCK is no treason in Keene's walks. this time." Our second expedition was appointed for following Saturday. but scanned the view with wide. We must wait a few days. I can- not form a judgment yet as to what we should do. I have promised not to judge. Are you "This is a curious story. he would. not to speak of satisfied?" it. Indeed. shining eyes. he was more subdued and reserved than he had been the time. 117 Then he began . When we first clambered up on Spy Rock. I agree to wait. desiring to penetrate as quickly as possible into the heart of the affair. "and I it.

and social conflict. I have learned how to look through the I can see. and eccentric passion. life is a secret. I can see how children drink in the fables of religion. which penetrate everywhere. and calling them industrial enterprises or political combinations. but by the rays which are colourless. without understanding them. No. Here. I can see are how the wheels of society moved by the hidden springs of avarice and greed and rivalry. and how prudent men repeat them without 118 . The substance of veil. imperceptible. I have found veil. and hidden crime. "Do you remember Hawthorne's Minister's Black Veil?' It is story of 'The the best comment on human life that ever was written. on Spy Rock. I can see how men down in the great city are weaving their nets of selfishness and falsehood. if you find the right point of view. not by the light-rays only. All humanity wears the black it is But it is not impenetrable. it. irresistible — the rays of the unknown quantity. Everyone has life is something to hide.— THE BLUE FLOWER to tell me stories of the places that we could see strange stories of domestic calamity. transparent. The surface of a mask.

I will follow in a quarter of an hour.SPY ROCK believing them. And remember we are to be here to- gether once more!" Once more! Yes. is not honest and let pure and home. now. Yes. You know These are nightmare visions that ride you. before it is you say not true. and how men and women swear that their dreams are eternal. I can see how the illusions of love appear and vanish. even while they fade. "but I course. Come down. and bondage contentment. calling selfishness devotion. "Stop." will let "I think not. what can never be unsaid. Go you down along you a little way slowly. Not from Spy Rock nor from anywhere see else can you anything at Hilltop that loyal. Down at Hilltop yonder I Ward and John Graham. I come. But me have a few the path minutes here alone. and us go You will see better there than here. man !" I cried. I can see how poor people blind themselves and deceive each other. of am bound to come. and then what must be done? 119 ." said he. can see how Dorothy without knowing it. it without meaning " "Stop.

But on the other hand they might take it too lightly. in the error will. The that led thither was the symbol of his search for happiness — alone.THE BLUE FLOWER How less was this strange case to be dealt with so as to save all the actors. but with truth. It soli- something more than the seat of was the expression of tary trail his temperament. least. an incurable insanity. How make fact. essential life. To me it was certain that the trouble went far deeper than this. It lay in the man's moral nature. at he was no patient for a mad-house it it would be unjust. the others understand it? They might easily conceive it to be something different from the some actual lesion of the brain. as far as possible. me alone was the nature and seat of the disorder known. or perhaps of the use of some narcotic. as the result of overwork. of his chosen and cherished ideal of Spy Rock was his delusion. But this it was not. probably would be impossible to have him committed. in ab- normal form. from need- suffering? That Keene's mind was disordered But to at least three of us suspected already. It of his central was the working out. As : yet. forgetful of life's 120 .

the willingness to live by trust as much as in by sight. as to do like if he had nothing better and yet found it a tiresome pastime. half-contemptuous. re- After our Keene's dark mood turned upon him with sombre intensity. He was a man waiting wearily at a railway station for his train. the power of finding joy and peace the things that we feel are the best. even though we cannot prove them nor explain them? How could he ever bring anything but discord and sor- row to those who were bound to him? This was what perplexed and oppressed me. to nothing. to decide what should be done. observing those around him with half -veiled glances. I needed all the time until the next Saturday to think the question through. indifferent. Dull.SPY ROCK lowlier ties. looking clown upon the world in the cold abstraction of scornful knowledge. But the matter was taken out of latest expedition my hands. restless. Nothing pleased him. he seemed to withdraw into himself. How life was such a first man to be is brought back to the real whose condition the acceptance of a limited out- look. 121 He responded .

ing out. "Let us take our walk to-day. I think "Owe each it?" said he. the school had holiday. is his own preferred as creditor. Early morning he came to me. but she was wounded almost beyond endurance. most of the boys had gone home in the . The intervening Thursday was Thanksgiving Day. But he restrained himself and played Dorothy's suffering could not be hidden. it You owe and friend- You owe man to Dorothy Ward. to do. Stay here and be this to love happy with ship. This the home day. Her loyalty was strained to the breaking point." I answered. Keene's restlessness increased. We have no work Come ! In this clear. She was too tender and true for anger.THE BLUE FLOWER Graham effort." "Speaking of debts. "this is is no day for such an expedition. frosty !" air." 122 . Spy Rock will be glorious "No. To- morrow or Saturday answer just as well for our third walk together. us all. But of course you can do you will like about to-day. controlled his indignation by a constant A dozen times he was on the point of speakfair.

then shouted. deepening at a steady discharge." lifted her He hand and held let it fall. Edward. Absolutely I must go. I am sure. it for an instant. For the last time I beg to stay with us to-day. 123 . The wind whimpered and down fierce. good- by — until the evening." The hours of us. and "You will excuse me. all of There was a sense of Some- thing irretrievable had fallen from our circle. that day passed heavily for disaster in the air. But no one dared to name it. All the stars were hidden. Dorothy. The rain swept last into in spiteful volleys. Nine o'clock. I feel the need of exercise. They Then she stood up. She laid her hand on his arm. ten o'clock passed. his room and sitting. Then he bowed. and Keene did not return. where Dorothy was talked together in low tones. "Do you not go. By midnight we were certain that some accident had befallen him.SPY ROCK About noon he came down from went to the piano. Night closed in upon the house with a changing sky. with pale face and wide-open eyes.

us. Graham watched the girl's every step. and the silence was seldom broken. for we had little heart to talk. as tenderly as a mother looks at her child. In single file we marched through the gray morning. knew only too Dorothy insisted that she must go. the huge. helping her over the difficult places. clearing cold after the storm. pushing aside the tangled branches. declar- ing that it would be worse for her alone at home. lonely ridge. others in different directions to make sure of a complete search Graham and trail that I the doctor and I following the secret well. his eyes resting upon her as frankly. At dwarf last we came to the high. than It if we took her with incredible was how the path seemed to lengthen. At day- break we set out —some of the men going with the Master along Black Brook.— THE BLUE FLOWER It was impossible to go up into the mountains in that pitch-darkness of furious tempest. She would hear no denial. couchant bulk of Spy 124 . But we could send down to the village for men to organise a search-party and to bring the doctor. the forest.

it. pointing to a great bruise on his wrist. that lay open on the rock.SPY ROCK Rock. with his right arm outline of hanging over the edge. "See!" he cried. no breath he was already cold . what is He picked up a flat silver box. shoulder to carry We called to him but there was no answer. was the Keene's form. 125 . There. in death. His face was turned to the sky. with it two tiny punctures in the middle of from which a few drops of blood had oozed. And look. and we hurried to the spot where he was lying. His right hand and arm. and drew a long breath. when he was climbing. He must have this?" fairly put his hand upon perhaps in the dark. The doctor stooped down and examined the hand carefully. his eyes blindly staring. He lifted it to his face. there was no pulse. "a rattlesnake has struck him. The doctor climbed up with me. the side of his neck and face were horribly swollen and livid. It was as if Edward some monster had seized its him and flung him over away. There were two olive-green pellets of a resinous paste in it. on the back of it.

There were tear-marks on her "Well.THE BLUE FLOWER "Yes. Dorothy and Graham were waiting below. "it is Gun j ah. He died in a dream." said. around her. Poor fellow. the most powerful form of Hashish. "I lost him long ago. it saved him from frightful agony." . his coat He had little." I said. and for a We put covered his face and climbed down the rock. "in a dream." are right. it." I him. the narcotic hemp of India." he said. She was shivering a face." "You dream. "you must know We have lost "Ah !" said the girl.

WOOD-MAGIC .

.

the shade of the arbour built for them never so closely and cunningly woven. steals fails The fine sap that through their long.WOOD-MAGIC J. where falling leaves and crumbling tree-trunks and wilting ferns have been moulded by Nature into a deep. like sea-weeds 129 . Their roots delicate. slender limbs pauses and when they are watered by human hands. and where pure moisture of distilling rains and melting snows is held in treasury by never-failing banks of moss —under the verdurous under the ocean- flood of the forest. brown humus ? clean and fragrant filters — in the woods. Elsewhere they will not grow. thread-like tilled take no hold upon the earth and troubled by the fingers of man. though the prepared for them be never so rich. But in the woods. where the sun- light green and golden through interlacing branches. HERE soil are three vines that belong to the an- cient forest. Si- lently the secret of their life retreats and shrinks away and hides itself.

these three their little creeping vines put forth hands with joy. and if you eat of this fruit. Another of the vines of the forest tridge-berry. and if you eat of you will will grow wise in the wisdom of flowers. and the fringed gentian. and where the wood- . glossy leaves. Rubies are hidden is called Parits among will foliage. This it. You know where and the wake-robin. and how the blossoms trust themselves to the winter in their withering. and nothing is lost that yields itself to her quiet handling. to find the yellow violet. and spread over rock and hillock and twisted tree-root and mouldering log. Snowberry.THE BLUE FLOWER waves. and the scarlet sage. you will grow wise in the wisdom of birds. and how the busy hands of Nature are ever weaving the beautiful garment of life out of the strands of death. You will understand how the buds trust themselves to the spring in their unfolding. One of them is adorned its with white pearls is sprinkled lightly over robe of green. and the pink lady-slipper. ever- in cloaks and scarves and wreaths of tiny green. You 130 know where the oven-bird secretes her nest.

following the secret guides them southward. and Cat-Bird. any longer. and you dark lodges of the evergreen thickets inhabited by hundreds of warblers. voices that you know and love . There will be no dead silence for you in the forest. silver bells and the of the hermit.MAGIC cock dances in the air at night . cross-bills make merry in the wind- swept will In the lucent mornings of April you hear your old friends coming home to you. you will catch the key-note of the silver flute of the woodthrush. but you will hear sweet and delicate voices on every side. and Oriole. filling copses with warmth and blue-birds cheer. and the silver harp of the veery. you will watch the lingering and robins and song-sparrows play- ing at summer. and Red- Wing. that In the calm brightness sheltered of winter sunshine. and Tanager.WOOD. heart will answer to them In the frosty stillness of October nights you will see the airy tribes flitcall ting across the moon. and Yellow-Throat. Phoebe. and something in your all. the drumming-log of the ruffed grouse will see the will be easy to find. When they 131 call . while the chick-a-dees and the j uncos and the fields.

sometimes you might mistake them for the one. No marks of warning have been written upon them. a little little rounder than more pointed than the Partridge-berry's. Wood-Magic and you will not know what you have done. Perhaps they are a the Snowberry's. a fragrant emerald tip of balsam-fir. If you find them it is your fortune.THE BLUE FLOWER to you and greet you. leaves of if by chance you pluck the eat them. You will never get away from it. For as }r ou browse your way through the forest. a twig of spicy birch. Its leaves It bears neither flower nor fruit. The sighing of the wind through the pine-trees and the laughter 132 . — the secret that tells itself in is The third of the forest-vines Wood-Magic. you secret for will understand that Nature knows a found a word which man has never song. but the enchantment of the tree-land will enter your heart and the charm of the wildwood will flow through your veins. nipping here and there a rosy leaf of young winter-green. if you taste them it is your fate. are hardly to be distinguished from the leaves of the other vines. sometimes for the other.

In proud cities you . At tables spread with dainty fare you will be hungry for the joy of the hunt. and in the noisy solitude of crowded forest. and a third reaches away to the southward. The snow that has fallen during the night is 133 . I The Cabin by the Rivers Two highways meet before the door. and the smell of a couch of balsamboughs. will weary for the sight of a mountain cathedrals trail in great aisles you will think of the long. streets you will hone after the friendly This is what will happen to you if you eat the this is leaves of that little vine. And what happened to Luke Dubois. and for the angler's sylvan feast. Wood-Magic. arching of the woodland. But there are no travellers passing by. On beds of you will long for the sleep-song of whispering leaves above your head. broad and smooth and white.WOOD-MAGIC of the stream in its rapids will sound through silken softness all your dreams.

and the River of the Way Out. there are no tracks upon the three broad roads ex- cept the paths of the caribou. an outline of the on the mountain-crest quarter of a mile away. But in winter. and the narrow trails made by Luke Dubois on by the rivers. the fire was still snapping his break- in the little stove fast. looking out. The it. On the wall hung his snowshoes. when the ice is firm under the snow. which flows from the great lake. his way to and from his cabin He him leaned in the door-way. and the going is fine. pale February sunrise makes blue shadows on fir-trees sharp and jagged.THE BLUE FLOWER unbroken. In summer the highways are dissolved into three wild rivers — the River of Rocks. and the footprints of the marten and the mink and the fox. which runs down from their meeting-place to the settlements and the little world. Here in the corner were his rifle and some of his traps. the River of Meadows. 134 . Behind in the shadow. which issues from the hills. table half-empty. where he had cooked There was a comforting smell of bacon and venison in the room the tea-pot stood on the .

For ten years it ? have !" worked hard. as he stood at the door.WOOD. and yonder on the burnt hills around the great lake were the places where he watched for the bears." said Luke. "Well. men had made achieved toiling their way in the and by great fortunes. success. They did not work any harder than I do. and up 135 . also "I could do that too. There along the River of Meadows were the haunts of the moose and the caribou where he hunted in the fall. which told how world. The his strength of the had gone and eyes were bright with health. and what have I got for This He orous. stepped out into the morning. alert and vigdeep-chested hills and straight-hipped. and won hard at and then by trading and bar- gaining and getting ahead of other men. Without doubt I am one of the men who can do things. better pay. to himself. I But they got I am twenty-five.MAGIC Under the bunk was a pile of skins. while the snow was falling. It was a book of veritable fairy-tales. His kingdom was spread before him. Half-open on the bench lay the book that he had been reading the evening before. first. into him.

swinging back by secret ways to many a nameless pond and hidden beaver-meadow and . and against leaned the axe. "No !" throwing down the axe. vast. chant walks from his house to his The secrets of bird and beast were known to him of the year brought him its .! THE BLUE FLOWER beside the River of Rocks ran his line of traps. inexhaustible. free. own tribute the woods were his domain. when the ice went out in the spring. the sledge was packed 136 . his cabin that he had built with his own hands. It was snug and warm. He caught it up and he cried. The roof was tight. Among the peaks and valleys of that forest-clad kingdom he could find his way as easily as a meroffice." A couple of hours later. It going out to make my way in the world. Here was his home. the walls were well chinked with moss. the great trout would be leaping in rapid and pool. has began to split wood for the stove. "I'm tired of lasted long enough. every season . all along the streams. I'm this. But small to-day —how lonely pitifully small it looked —and how it His hand-sledge stood beside the door.

on the white surface of the River of the Way Out. He his turned to look back for a moment. and outside of the curtains were large red and yellow pots of artificial flowers and indestructible palms and vulcanised rubber- plants. and waved "Good-bye. the woods !" Good-bye.WOOD-MAGIC with camp-gear and bundles of skins. the rivers! II The House on the Main Street All the good houses in Scroll-Saw City were dif- ferent. Yet they were too. a ghostlike wreath of blue smoke curled from the chimney. 137 . The door of the cabin was shut. in their general expression of putting their best foot foremost and feeling quite sure that they lace curtains in their made a brave show. Luke stood. in his snowshoes. in the number and shape of the curious pinfrom their roofs nacles that rose and in the trimall alike. old cabin! Good-bye. It was a gay sight. hand. They had front parlour windows. mings of their verandas.

but now. gray and heat.ways down the toward the shop and the business. and the work of the scroll-saw was all looped and festooned ticoes around the eaves and por- and bay-windows in in amazing richness. in the summer black and pulpy to the tread. complacent front toward the street-cars and the smaller houses across the way. from the ferrule of which a fountain The paths were of asphalt. a small iron boy holding over his head a parasol squirted. Diana properly dressed and returning from the chase. one eye. the front yard were cast-iron images painted white: a stag reposing on a door-mat. its It might well be satisfied with for it had three more pinnacles than any of neighbours. for Mr. Matthew Wilson were official giving a reception to celebrate the 138 entrance . More- over. side. gritty in winter. but keeping a bold. There were many feet passing over them this afternoon. Matthew Wilson. the principal merchant of Scroll-Saw City. glancing slyly out of the tail of street. itself.THE BLUE FLOWER But by far the bravest of residence of these houses was the Mr. and Mrs. It stood on a corner of Main Street.

old cabin ! Good-bye. the rivers ! Good-bve. the woods 1 .ill* " Good-bye.

.

for said the same things.MAGIC of their daughter she Amanda into a social life which had permeated unofficially for several years. At ter and two maiden ladies in black silk with lilac 139 . The house was were sizzling full of people." " WOOD. Those who jammed in the parlour tried to get into the dining-room. and nobody it listened to what anybody they all else was saying. the minis- and suddenly sank away. in a loud. holding plates of stratified cake and liquefied ice-cream high above their neighbours' heads like signals of distress. so perfectly lovely Amanda Wilson ! looks in that at the —" "How — last business to —" "Wilson's Emporium must be doing good —" "Hear going to keep up the — enlarge the and take Luke Woods all this "Awfully warm day Were you Tompkins' he's store into "Shouldn't wonder here before next — if there might be a wedding The tide of chatter rose and swelled and ebbed six o'clock. and those who were packed in the din- ing-room struggled to escape. full of "Elegant house for a party. danger and Everybody was talking at the same time. shrill voice. But did not matter.

"I did as well as I could. I guess." said Luke. was its the one that kept ness. biggest but one in the whole state. "I want to have a talk with you. make it larger." "I'm glad you think so. And I must say. eye on the shop and the busi- away down the street. if stick . sense. "does the biggest trade in the county. and the plate-glass windows. jingling the keys in his pocket. easy." said the elder man. called the study. give you a share in the business. I want some one to help me run we it." said Mr. and part of the gilt sign. laid down their last plates of ice-cream and said they thought they must be going. Luke Woods. "Pretty good store. You could see the brick front. " their dresses and patted Come into the study. Never had a clerk work You've got good business so hard and so steady. I guess. these building it up. Wilson. "and now I'm about ready to take you in with me." said Mr. Amanda and her mother preened their hair. in your share." The little bookless room." "Yes. We can double 140 it.THE BLUE FLOWER ribbons. you've done last five years. Wil- son to Luke.

—never can be of — you know—but you and sure if these she The voice went on rolling out words comola^ 141 . Sometimes I think." said he. I've had can't say my eye on you! it Now. not at all. guess you I've my daughter Amanda pretty well. of course. "You are very kind." said the other. there's another thing. He heard the tree-tops. cool forest." Luke's thoughts were wandering a little. young man. beyond the dusty street. and the high desks in the office —out to the dim. reason why you shouldn't like make a fortune out of this and have a house just on the other corner. per- haps — "Not right. when you're my age. and the jangling cars. They went out from the stuffy room. the free winds rushing over trail and saw the winding away before him in the green shade." " WOOD-MAGIC to it and spread out. I much about kind of things. "It's fitted for it. all You're well I And like then. Eh? watched you. and the shop full of dry-goods and notions. "I hope you will not be disappointed in me. at all. and the gilt sign. where Snowberry and Partridge-berry and Wood- Magic grow. No it.

" But when Luke came in. I will speak to your daughter. when the elder man stopped me most talking. The Portland steamer had 142 . Every- body was at supper. only question whether — But to-morrow night. pool. Mr. cooled his face. the whistle of the black duck's wings as he circled in the air.THE BLUE FLOWER cently. water-side was strangely deserted. to the store. I think. the distant drumming of the grouse on his log. with your consent. and other voices were sounding faintly in his ears. But something strange was working in Luke's blood." said he at last. To-night I am going down to the store. "I don't know how to thank you. The spray along the He saw the fish rising and a stag feeding among the lily-pads. there is a good deal of work to do on the books. he did not till go He The walked along the street he came to the river. He heard the lisping of the leaves on the little poplar-trees. A couple of schooners were moored at the wharf. generously. "You have The certainly treated is. the rumble of the water-fall in the River of Rocks. Wilson.

as touched the dock. The saffron and golden lights in the sky diffused themselves over the surface of the water." it He put out hand and caught it." he laughed. in the bow a rifle. came a white canoe." said he. empty and astray.WOOD. in the middle there was a roll of blankets and a pack of camp-stuff .MAGIC gone tle out. au large!" And step- ping into the canoe he pushed out on the river. In the stern a good paddle of maple-wood was lying. wonder how it floated down here without being his picked up. Ill The White Canoe "That looks just like my old canoe. "Somebody must have I left it adrift up the river. and 143 . then. drifting and dancing lightly over the opalescent ripples. "Nobody going but me? Well. The row-boats hung idle at their lit- dock. following the gentle turns of the current which flowed past the end of the dock where Luke was standing. "All ready for a trip. Down the river.

The lumber-yards and factories and disconsolate little houses little of the outskirts seemed to melt away.. as he paddled swiftly stream. The night deepened around him and hung out floated its the sky thousand lamps. diving with great commotion as the canoe ran upon them suddenly. the tall grass it was surely the River of Meadows. THE BLUE FLOWER spread from the bow of the canoe in deeper waves of purple and orange. The moon crept up behind the wall of trees and touched the stream with silver. in Far ahead of him ear caught a a bend of the stream. the dew glistened on . back in the forest a fox barked twice. rats Muska swam noiselessly in the shadows. Odours of the woods : on the air the spicy fragrance of the firs the breath of hidden banks of twin-flower. Luke's slosh. A horned owl hooted from the branch of a far dead pine-tree. through the heart of the wilderness. Presently the forest receded: the banks of the river grew broad and open. In a while he was float- ing between dark walls of forest. up The pale yellow gas-lamps of the town faded behind him. as if new sound: 144 . slosh. slosh.

on the but that was soon swept and a fire crackled in the stove. There was tea in the and ham and bread pack in the canoe. I suppose. but Luke knew off how to pry litter one of the staples. Sup- per never tasted better." little Yes. "I cried." said Luke as he rolled himself in the blanket and dropped asleep in a moment." So he caught up his rod from behind the door. and the bear "Good luck all. and got into the canoe and paddled up the 145 . "One more night in the old camp. and dress take him into the him up at the camp. The sun shone in at the door and woke him. "there's must have a trout for breakfast. As he turned the point a black bear came out of the river. cabin at the meeting of The door was padlocked. and stood on the him shore. shaking the water around in glittering spray.WOOD-MAGIC some heavy animal were crossing the wet meadow. after canoe. Squirrels had floor. there was the the rivers. fell." he one waiting for me at the mouth of Alder Brook. "I haven't I'll forgotten how. said Luke. Then a great splash ! Luke swung the canoe into the shadow of the bank and paddled fast. made a out. Ping! said the !" rifle.

bay to bay. swirl all on the water. the mouth of the brook. and the the trout in the river was Up and down the pool he played for half was over. Quietly. He sent his fly out by the edge of the alders. now rustling unseen through a bank of tall alders. until at last the fight want of a net Luke beached him on the gravel bank at the foot of the pool. the canoe went gliding down the stream. There was the broad. and close beside the rapid. from point to point. like a little lake." said need is he. "Seven pounds is if it's an ounce. past the the little down the River of Way Out. dark pool. with a rapid running in at the head. There was a huge great-grandfather of hooked. and ever as it crept along. from cabin. swiftly. the moose loped easily before it.THE BLUE FLOWER River of Rocks. "This my He lucky day. Now all I some good meat to provision the camp." glanced down the river. and on the second point below the pool he saw a great black bull- moose with horns five feet wide. and for an hour. now standing out for a moment bold and black on a beach of white sand 146 — so all day .

Luke paddled on down to him. but the sign over read. and the schooners at the wharf." He went on to the house with the still white iron images in the front yard. Diana was returning from the chase. grunted. in a rocking On the veranda sat a stout man 147 . as near as he dared. Luke pushed the canoe rifle. and the lumber-yards. the great bull stopped and stood with head lifted. to see the first houses went swiftly on with the of the town. The little fountain still squirted from the point of the boy's parasol. He won- dered a his little how he should reach home it in time for engagement. The Big Store. it There was the old shop. "Wilson and Woods Company. It occurred was near evening. But did not seem strange. and stepped quietly over the bushes into the forest. He made the and went up Main Street. and looked down for the He had left it at the cabin ! The moose tossed his huge antlers. Just as the setting sun was poised above the trees. suddenly. the canoe fast at the dock. as he river. that it the stream.WOOD-MAGIC long the moose loped down the stream and the white canoe followed.

THE BLUE FLOWER
chair, reading the newspaper.

At

the side of the

house two
croquet.

little

girls

with pig-tails were playing

Some one
is

in the parlour

was executing

"After the Ball

Over" on a mechanical piano.

Luke

accosted a stranger

who passed him. "Exthis is

cuse me, but can

you

tell

me whether

Mr.

Matthew Wilson's house?"
"It used to be," said the stranger, "but old

man

Wilson has been dead these ten years."

"And who

lives

here

now ?" asked Luke.

"Mr. Woods: he married Wilson's daughter,"
said the stranger,

and went on

his

way.
is

"Well," said Luke to himself, "this
tle queer.

just a

lit-

Woods was m} name
7

for a while,

when

I lived here, but now, I suppose, I'm

Luke Dubois
it.

again.

Dashed

if I

can understand

Somebody

must have been dreaming."
So he went back to the white canoe, and paddled

away up the

river,

and nobody

in Scroll-Saw City

ever set eyes on

him again.

THE OTHER WISE MAN

THE OTHER WISE MAN
i OU know
the East,

the story of the Three
travelled

Wise Men of

and how they

from far away

to offer their gifts at the manger-cradle in Beth-

lehem.

But have you

ever heard the story of the
its

Other Wise Man, who also saw the star in
rising,

and

set

out to follow

it,

yet did not arrive

with his brethren in the presence of the young
child Jesus ?

Of

the great desire of this fourth pilit

grim, and how

was denied, yet accomplished in

the denial; of his

many wanderings and
way

the pro-

bations of his soul; of the long

of his seek-

ing and the strange way of his finding the One

whom

he sought

I

would
in the

tell

the tale as I have

heard fragments of

it

Hall of Dreams, in the

palace of the Heart of

Man.
I

In the days when Augustus
of

Caesar was master

many kings and Herod

reigned in Jerusalem,

there lived in the city of Ecbatana,
Copyright, 1895, by Harper

among

the

& Brothers

THE BLUE FLOWER
mountains of Persia, a certain

man named Arta-

ban. His house stood close to the outermost of the
walls

which encircled the royal treasury. From

his

roof he could look over the seven-fold battlements

of black and white and crimson and blue and red

and

silver

and gold, to the

hill

where the summer

palace of the Parthian emperors glittered like a
jewel in a crown.

Around

the dwelling of Artaban spread a fair

garden, a tangle of flowers and fruit-trees, watered

by a score of streams descending from the

slopes of

Mount

Orontes, and
all

made musical by

innumerable birds. But
soft

colour was lost in the
late

and odorous darkness of the
all

September

night, and

sounds were hushed in the deep
save the plashing of the wa-

charm of
ter,

its silence,

like

a voice half-sobbing and half-laughing

under the shadows. High above the trees a dim

glow of light shone through the curtained arches
of the upper chamber, where the master of the

house was holding council with his friends.

He

stood by the doorway to greet his guests

a

tall,

dark

man

of about forty years, with 152

THE OTHER WISE MAN
brilliant eyes set

near together under his broad
fine,

brow, and firm lines graven around his
lips
;

thin

the brow of a dreamer and the

mouth of a

soldier,
will

a

man

of sensitive feeling but inflexible

—one

of those who, in whatever age they

may

live,

are born for inward conflict and a life of

quest.

His robe was of pure white wool, thrown over
a tunic of
silk
;

and a white, pointed cap, with
sides, rested

long lapels at the
hair.
It

on his flowing black

was the dress of the ancient priesthood

of the Magi, called the fire-worshippers.

"Welcome !" he

said, in his low, pleasant voice,

as one after another entered the

room

—"welcome,
You

Abdus

;

peace be with you, Rhodaspes and Ti-

granes, and with you
are
all

my

father, Abgarus.

welcome. This house grows bright with

the joy of your presence."

There were nine of the men, differing widely
in age, but alike in the richness of their dress of

many-coloured
collars

silks,

and

in

the massive

golden
as

around

their

necks,

marking

them

Parthian nobles, and in the winged
153

circles

of gold

for these are His only Creation . all wisdom and goodness possessing. THE BLUE FLOWER resting upon their breasts. was burning. Then he began Yasna. truth His and His power confessing. the The thoughts and that are true. and for these we make adoration. We praise all the things that are pure. standing beside and waving a barsom of thin tamarisk branches above the fire. Artaban. . the sign of the fol- lowers of Zoroaster. fed it with dry sticks of pine and frathe ancient chant of his grant the oils. where a tiny flame it.. the givers of bounty and blessing We joy in the work of His hands. Surrounded by Holy Immortals. 154. These are supported by Him. and words the deeds that have won approbation . and the voices of companions joined in the hymn to Ahura-Mazda: We worship the Spirit Divine. They took altar at the their places around a small black end of the room.

revealing its simplicity and splendour.. The flame of our holy and love the song of our worship receiving. throbbing as if it the flame responded to the music. and keep us from Pour out the light evil and bondage to badness . Shine on us now in Thy might. sliine on our working and weaving Shine on the whole race of man. Shine on us now through the night. The fire rose with the chant. pilasters of twisted silver stood out against the blue walls. tiles The floor was laid with of dark blue veined with white. and the joy of Thy life on our darkness and sadness. THE OTHER WISE MAN Hear us. believing and unbelieving . Shine on our gardens and fields. the clear-story of round- arched windows above them was hung with azure silk. Mazda ! Thou and livest in truth in heavenly gladness Cleanse us from falsehood. until cast a bright illumination through the whole apartment. the vaulted ceiling was a pavement of blue 155 .

was covered with a heavy curtain of the colour of a ripe pomegranate. to renew your worship and .THE BLUE FLOWER stones. flushed in the east with rosy promise of the dawn. as the scholars of Zoroaster. From At the four corners of called hung four golden magic-wheels. sown with the roof silver stars. embroidered with innumerable golden rays shoot- ing upward from the like floor. looking faithful "at my 156 call. He turned to his friends when the song was ended. like the body of heaven in its clearness. to-night. "You have come around the circle. which opened terrace of the roof. In effect the room was all a quiet. the tongues of the gods. starry night. on which was carved the figure of a winged archer. above them a lintel of the same stone. and invited them to be seated on the divan at the western end of the room. with his arrow set to the string and his bow drawn. an ex- pression of the character and spirit of the master. as the house of a man should be. The doorway between upon the the pillars. the eastern end. azure and silver. there were two dark-red pillars of porphyry . It was." said he. be- hind the altar.

" answered the ven- erable Abgarus. aters. is the is knowledge of the To trace their course to untangle the threads of the mystery of life from the beginning to the end. "The enlightened are never idol- They lift the veil of form and go in to the shrine of reality. "while I tell you of the new light and truth that have come to me through the most ancient of all signs." said Artaban. my father?" well said. We have searched the secrets of Nature together.THE OTHER WISE MAN rekindle your faith in the as this fire God of Purity. We have read also the books of prophecy in which the future is dimly foretold in words that are hard to understand. But the highest of all learning stars. If we could follow 157 . my son. We the all worship not the but Him it is of the whom who it is chosen symbol. and studied the healing virtues of water and fire and the plants. "It is Is it not so. and new light and truth are com- ing to them continually through the old symbols. my father and my friends. then. because purest of is created things." "Hear me. fire. even has been rekindled on the altar. It speaks to us of one Light and Truth.

"for. among the spice-trees of Punt and the gold mines of Ophir?" There was a murmur of assent among the listeners. But is not our knowledge of them stars still still incomplete? Are there not many beyond our horizon to the dwellers in — lights that are known only the far south-land. then it would not be wisdom to look and those wait. who say that 158 . We keep men always looking and waiting for a new sunrise. "The stars. because knows own ignorance." "That does not satisfy me. if the waiting must be endless.THE BLUE FLOWER them perfectly. But we ourselves understand that the dark- ness is equal to the light. And that is the secret of power. nothing would be hidden from us. and that the conflict will never between them be ended. man can be counted. "are the thoughts of the Eternal." said Tigranes. They are numberless." answered Arta- ban. But the thoughts of of his of all life. We should become like new teachers of the Greeks. of the like the years is The wisdom Magi it the greatest its wisdoms on earth. if there could be no fulfilment of it.

"every faithful disciple of Zoroaster knows the prophecy of the Avesta. rather than stranger." 159 . "and it. that have been believed in the But the new sunrise will certainly appear tell in the appointed time. and that the only wise men are their lives in discovering who spend lies and ex- posing the world. to look for one re- who may be a and to whom we must sign our power.' " is "This it is a dark saying. and that the brightness of a great light?" men will see "That is true." said the voice of Abgarus. corruptible. Around him shall a mighty brightness. and to increase the influence of the in their Magi own country.THE OTHER WISE MAN there those is no truth. Do not our own books us that this will come to pass. may be that we shall never understand It better to consider the things that are near at hand. in- and immortal. and the dead shall rise again. 'In that day Sosiosh the Victorious shall arise out of the number of the prophets shall shine in the east country. and carries the word in his heart." said Tigranes. and he make life everlasting.

THE BLUE FLOWER
The
others

seemed to

approve these words.
of agreement manifest

There was a

silent feeling

among them;

their looks responded with that in-

definable expression which always follows

when a

speaker has uttered the thought that has been

slumbering in the hearts of his

listeners.

But Ar-

taban turned to Abgarus with a glow on his face,

and

said:

"My

father, I have kept this prophecy in the

secret place of

my
like

soul.

Religion without a great
fire.

hope would be

an altar without a living

And now
by
also

the flame has burned more brightly, and
it

the light of

I have read other words which

have come from the fountain of Truth, and

speak yet more clearly of the rising of the Victorious

One

in his brightness."
his tunic

He
rolls

drew from the breast of

two small

of fine parchment, with writing upon them,
his knee.

and unfolded them carefully upon
"In the years that are

lost in the past,

long be-

fore our fathers came into the land of Babylon,

there were wise
first

men

in Chaldea,

from whom the

of the

Magi

learned the secret of the heavens.

160

:

THE OTHER WISE MAN
And
of these

Balaam the son of Beor was one of

the mightiest.

Hear

the words of his prophecy

'There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall arise out of Israel.'

"

The

lips

of Tigranes drew downward with con-

tempt, as he said:

"Judah was a captive by the waters of Babylon,

and the sons of Jacob were

in

bondage

to our

kings.

The

tribes of Israel are scattered

through

the mountains like lost sheep, and from the rem-

nant that dwells in Judea under the yoke of
neither star nor sceptre shall arise."

Rome

"And

yet,"

answered

Artaban,

"it

was

the

Hebrew Daniel,
the
counsellor

the mighty searcher of dreams,

of

kings,

the

wise

Belteshazzar,

who was most honoured and beloved King Cyrus.

of our great

A

prophet of sure things and a
of the Eternal, Daniel

reader of the thoughts

proved himself to our people.

And

these are the
sec-

words that he wrote." (Artaban read from the

ond

roll : )

" 'Know, therefore, and understand that

from the going forth of the commandment to
restore

Jerusalem,

unto the Anointed One, the
161


THE BLUE FLOWER
Prince, the time shall be seven

and threescore and

two weeks.' "
"But,

my

son,"

said

Abgarus,

doubtfully,

"these are mystical numbers.

Who

can interpret

them, or who can find the key that shall unlock
their

meaning?"

Artaban answered: "It has been shown to me

and to
Caspar,

my

three companions

among

the

Magi
have

Melchior,

and

Balthazar.

We
We

searched the ancient tablets of Chaldea and com-

puted the time. It
studied the sky,

falls

in this year.

have
year
to-

and

in the spring of the

we saw two of the greatest planets draw near
gether in the sign of the Fish, which
of the Hebrews.
is

the house

We

also

saw a new star there,

which shone for one night and then vanished.

Now

again the two great planets are meeting.
is

This night

their conjunction.

My

three brothers

are watching

by the ancient Temple of the Seven

Spheres, at Borsippa, in Babylonia, and I

am
will

watching here. If the star shines again, they
wait ten days for
will set

me

at the temple,

and then we

out together for Jerusalem, to see and wor162

THE OTHER WISE MAN
ship the promised one
Israel.

who

shall be

born King of
have made
possessions,

I believe the sign will come. I

ready for the journey. I have sold

my

and bought these three jewels
ruby, and a pearl
the King.

—a

sapphire,

a

to carry
to

them as tribute to
pil-

And
who

I ask

you

go with me on the

grimage, that we
the Prince

may have joy

together in finding

is

worthy to be served."
his

While he was speaking he thrust

hand into

the inmost fold of his girdle and drew out three

great gems

—one

blue as a fragment of the night

sky, one redder than a ray of sunrise,

and one as

pure as the peak of a snow-mountain at twilight

—and
him.

laid

them on the outspread

scrolls

before

But
eyes.

his friends looked
veil

on with strange and alien

A

of doubt and mistrust came over their

faces, like a

fog creeping up from the marshes to

hide the
looks of

hills.

They glanced

at each other with
lis-

wonder and pity, as those who have

tened to incredible sayings, the story of a wild
vision,
prise.

or the proposal of an impossible enter-

16S

THE BLUE FLOWER
At
last

Tigranes said: "Artaban,

this

is

a vain
the
It

dream. It comes from too
stars

much looking upon

and the cherishing of lofty thoughts.
in

would be wiser to spend the time

gathering

money

for the

new

fire-temple at Chala.

No

king

will ever rise

from the broken race of
come to the eternal
looks for

Israel,

and

no end

will ever

strife of light

and darkness.

He who

it is

a chaser of

shadows. Farewell."

And

another said: "Artaban, I have no knowl-

edge of these things, and
the royal treasure binds for me.
well."

my

office

as guardian of

me

here.

The

quest
fare

is

not
thee

But

if

thou must follow

it,

And
new

another said: "In

my

house there sleeps a

bride,
this

and I cannot leave her nor take her with
strange journey. This quest
is

me on

not for

me. But

may thy

steps be prospered wherever thou

goest. So, farewell."

And

another said: "I
is

am

ill

and

unfit for hard-

ship, but there

a

man among my
when thou

servants

whom
me

I will send with thee

goest, to bring

word how thou

farest."

164

THE OTHER WISE MAN
So, one

by

one, they left the house of Artaban.
oldest

But Abgarus, the
him the and

and the one who loved had gone,

best, lingered after the others

said, gravely:
is

"My
it

son,

it

may

be that the

light of truth
in the skies,

in this sign that has
will

appeared

and then

surely lead to the
it

Prince and the mighty brightness. Or
that
it is

may

be

only a shadow of the light, as Tigranes
it will

has said, and then he who follows

have a
it is

long pilgrimage and a fruitless search. But
better to follow even the

shadow of the best than

to remain content with the worst.

And

those

who

would

see

wonderful things must often be ready

to travel alone. I

am

too old for this journey, but

my

heart shall be a companion of thy pilgrimage
I shall

day and night, and
quest.

know

the end of thy

Go

in peace."

Then Abgarus went out of the azure chamber
with
tude.
its silver stars,

and Artaban was

left in soli-

He

gathered up the jewels and replaced them in

his girdle.

For a long time he stood and watched

the flame that flickered and sank 165

upon the

altar,

Birds. yet perfect in every part. and the smell of ripened grapes came in brief wafts from the arbours. porphyry to The rouses shiver that runs through the earth ere she from her night-sleep had already begun. Far over the like a lake. rounding itself with purple splendours to a crimson sphere. Jupiter and Saturn rolled together like drops of lambent flame about to blend in one. and spiring upward through rays of saffron and orange into a point of white radiance. crept and chirped among the rustling leaves. the pulsated in enormous 166 vault as if the . cool and the wind that heralds the daybreak was drawing downward from the lofty snow-traced ravines of Mount Orontes. Tiny and it infinitely remote. half-awakened. lifted the heavy curtain. eastern plain a white mist stretched But where the distant peaks of Zagros serrated the western horizon the sky was clear. As Artaban watched them.THE BLUE FLOWER Then he crossed the hall. pillars of and passed out between the the terrace on the roof. a steel-blue spark was born out of the darkness beneath.

fully roused to their song. Vasda. pawing the ground impatiently. and I will go to meet him." he said. riding swiftly which skirted the base of Mount Orontes. saddled and bridled. westward. 167 . and bit as if she shared the eagerness shaking her of its her master's purpose. though she knew not meaning. living of He bowed his hands. lazily high. "The King is coming. He covered his brow with "It is the sign. had been waiting. Before the birds had strong. plain." n All her night long. his head.THE OTHER WISE MAN three jewels in the Magian's girdle had mingled heart and been transformed into a light. the Other Wise along Man the was in the high-road. joyful chant of morning lift before the white mist had begun to from the saddle. the swiftest of Artaban's horses. in stall.

THE BLUE FLOWER How tween a close. In the gray dawn he stir is roused from his bivouac by the gentle of a warm. They conscious together of the subduing spell of nightfall and the quickening joy of daybreak. this dumb affection. The master shares his evening meal with his hungry companion. and looks up into the eyes of his faithful fellow-traveller. sweet breath over his sleeping face. he will thank Him for this voiceless sympathy. and are sleep under the same guardian stars. an intercourse beyond the need of words. —God us both. ready and waiting for the less toil of the day. how intimate is the comradeship be- man and is his favourite horse on a long journey. and feels the soft. moist lips caress- ing the palm of his hand as they close over the morsel of bread. Surely. It a silent. the horse and the and keep our feet from falling and our souls from death! 168 . by whatever calls name he upon his God. They drink at the same way-side springs. un- he is a pagan and an unbeliever. and his morning prayer bless will embrace a double blessing rider. comprehensive friendship.

making the fixed distance every day. feeding in the wide pastures. keeping time to the pulsing of two hearts that are moved with the same eager desire — to conquer space. and galloped away with a thunder of suddenly many hoofs. to devour the distance. and flocks of wild birds rose 169 . He passed along the brown slopes of Mount Orontes.THE OTHER WISE MAN Then. and pushed forward without anxiety. and fifteen was the utmost that he could travel in a day. through the keen morning air. furrowed by the rocky courses of a hun- dred torrents. to attain the goal of the journey. for the route was a hundred and fifty para- sangs. where the famous herds of horses. the swift hoofs beat their tattoo along the road. late into the night. Artaban must indeed ride wisely and well if he would keep the appointed hour with the other Magi . But he knew Vasda's strength. He crossed the level plains of the Nissans. though he must travel and in the morning long before sunrise. tossed their heads at Vasda's approach.

into the ancient city of Chala. Over many a cold and desolate pass. crawling painfully across the wind-swept shoulders of the hills . he looked up at the immense rugged brow out over the road. across many a smiling vale. where the people of 170 . and the proud of his wars and conquests graven high upon the face of the eternal cliff. At Baghistan. and saw the figure of King Darius list trampling upon his fallen foes.THE BLUE FLOWER from the swampy meadows. among by fountains from the mountain thrusting its the rich gardens watered rock. filled where the dust from the threshing-floors air with a golden mist. the fertile fields He traversed of Concabar. with ter- races of yellow limestone full of vines trees. half hiding the the huge tem- ple of Astarte with its four hundred pillars. walled in by precipices. down many a black mountain-gorge. and fruit- through the oak-groves of Carine and the dark Gates of Zagros. wheeling cles in great cir- with a shining flutter of innumerable wings shrill cries and of surprise. where him like the river roared and raced before a sav- age guide.

under tremulous shadows of poplar and tamarind. where the road ran straight as an the stubble-fields arrow through . where the Parthian emperors reigned. and out again by the mighty portal. at nightfall on the tenth day. across the swirling floods of Tigris and the nels many chan- of Euphrates. where he saw the image of the High Priest of the Magi sculptured on the wall if to bless of rock.THE OTHER WISE MAN Samaria had been kept in captivity long ago. over the broad rice-fields. beneath the shattered walls of populous Babylon. following the river. with hand uplifted as the cen- turies of pilgrims. filled from end to end with orchards figs. where the autumnal vapours spread along the course of their deathly mists. peaches and through which the river Gyndes foamed down to meet him. and out upon flat plain. flowing yellow through the corn-lands —Artaban pressed 171 onward until he ar- rived. the among the lower hills . and the vast metropolis of Seleucia which Alexander built. riven through the encircling hills. past the entrance of the nar- row of defile. and parched meadows past the city of Ctesiphon. .

not a leaf rustled.THE BLUE FLOWER Vasda was almost spent. So he did not halt. from it it —only to be prepared for and to meet wisely. as a good horse should do. The grove was close and silent as the tomb. She scented some danger or to fly difficulty . Near the farther end of the darkness an access of caution seemed to fall upon her. and Artaban would gladly have turned into the city to find rest and refreshment for himself and for her. and sighing now and then with apprehension. But he knew that it was three hours' journey yet to the Tem- ple of the Seven Spheres. and began to pick her way more carefully. quivcr- anxiety and dismay. She felt her steps before her delicately. not a bird sang. and he must reach the place by midnight if he would find his comrades waiting. At last she gave a quick breath of stcck-still. in the pale As she passed into the shadow Vasda slackened her pace. and stood 172 . it was not in her heart it. carry- ing her head low. but rode steadily across the stubble-fields. A grove of date-palms made an island of gloom yellow sea.

His pallid dry and yellow as parch- ment. a long. still dwelt in great numbers around the skin. He turned away with a thought of pity. The bony fingers gripped fast. and the beasts of prey slink furtively away. leav- ing the body to that strange burial which the Magians deemed most desert. The chill of death was in his lean hand. as Artaban released it. When they are gone there is only a heap of white bones on the sand.THE OTHER WISE MAN ing in every muscle. bore the mark of the deadly fever which ravaged the marsh-lands in autumn. hem of the Magian's robe and held him 173 . ghostly sigh came from the man's the lips. his His humble dress and the outline of haggard face showed that he was probably one of the He- brews who city. fitting —the funeral of the rise from which the kites and vultures on dark wings. and. dismounted. the arm fell back inertly upon the mo- tionless breast. But. as he turned. The dim starlight re- vealed the form of a man lying across the road. faint. before a dark object in the shadow of the Artaban last palm-tree.

How ister to could he stay here in the darkness to min- a dying stranger? What life claim had this unknown fragment of human upon his com- passion or his service? If he lingered but for an hour he could hardly reach Borsippa at the appointed time. but with a dumb resentment at the impor- tunity of this blind delay.THE BLUE FLOWER Artaban's heart leaped to his throat. Should he risk the great reward of his faith for the sake of a single deed of charity? Should he turn aside. His spirit throbbed and fluttered with the urgency of the crisis. perishing Hebrew? "God of truth and purity. not with fear. the way of wisdom which Thou only knowest. His companions would think he had given up the journey. the life man would surely If Artaban stayed. if only for a moment. he went on now." he prayed. "direct me in the holy path. might be restored. to give a cup of cold water to a poor. him. But die. from the following of the star." to the sick man. They would go without He would if lose his quest. Loosening Then he turned back 174 .

for the caravan that me may depart without me. He unbound the thick folds of the turban and opened the garment above the sunken breast. of the city of Ecto Jerusalem in search of batana. after hour he laboured as only a skilful healer of disease can do. He mingled a draught of one of those simple but potent remedies which he carried always in his girdle — for the Magians were physicians it as well as astrologers —and poured Hour . he carried him to a little mound at the foot of the palm-tree. the man's strength returned At last he sat up and looked about him. "and here to bring back why hast thou sought me my life?" "I am Artaban the Magian. in the rude dialect of the country. "Who art thou?" he said. and moistened the sufferer's brow and mouth. He brought water from one of the small canals near by. and I am going one who is to be born King of all the Jews. a great Prince and Deliverer of men.THE OTHER WISE MAN the grasp of his hand. slowly between the colourless lips. But 175 . I dare not delay any longer upon has waited for my journey.

Artaban rode in haste. here is all that I have left of bread and wine. ran eagerly through the silent plain and swam the channels of the river. May the Lord bring thee in safety to that place. restored by the brief rest. raised his trembling hand solemnly to "Now may Jacob ciful. first But the beam of the 176 rising sun sent a long . but in Bethlehem of Judah. and here strength is is a potion of healing herbs." The Jew heaven. and Vasda.THE BLUE FLOWER see." upon the It was already long past midnight. When thy restored thou canst find the dwellings of the Hebrews among the houses of Babylon. because thou hast had pity sick. She put forth the fled over the remnant of her strength. and like ground a gazelle. For our prophets have said that he should be born not in Jerusalem. the God of Abraham and Isaac and bless and prosper the journey of the merin peace to his desired haven. and bring him ! Stay this : I have nothing to give thee in return tell —only that I can thee where the Messiah must be sought.

Bitterns stood by the stagnant pools and jackals skulked through the low bushes. At the edge of the terrace he saw a little cairn of broken bricks. Artaban rode swiftly around the He dis- mounted and climbed to the highest terrace. hill. anxiously scanning the great mound of Nimrod dis- and the Temple of the Seven Spheres. look- ing out toward the west. but there was no sign of the caravan of the Wise Men. still glittered like a ruined rainbow in the morning light. He caught it up and read: 177 "We have waited past . shattered by the convulsions of nature. and vio- crumbling under the repeated blows of human lence. far or near.THE OTHER WISE MAN shadow before her as she entered upon the final stadium of the journey. and the eyes of Artaban. The huge away desolation of the marshes stretched to the horizon and the border of the desert. and under them a piece of papyrus. The many-coloured terraces of black and or- ange and red and yellow and green and blue and white. could cern no trace of his friends.

passing over the dreary undulations of the desert. camels. cruel net fruit but around briers The stony waste bore no and thorns. high upon the back of like his camel." sat Artaban his down upon the ground and covered head in despair. Man." ni Theke was I a silence in the Hall of Dreams. where was listening to the story of the Other Wise this silence I saw. rock- ing steadily onward a ship over the waves. and buy a train of and provision for the journey. find the We go to King. I may never overtake my friends.THE BLUE FLOWER the midnight. can I cross the desert. "with no "How Babylon. its The land of death spread him. Only God the merciful knows whether I shall not lose the sight of the King be- cause I tarried to show mercy. Follow us across the desert. food and with a spent horse? I must return to sell my sapphire. Through his figure but very dimly. and can delay no longer." said he. The dark ledges of rock thrust them178 .

THE OTHER WISE MAN selves above the surface here and there. and the blue waters of the Lake of Galilee. the Through heat and Magian moved steadily onward. cold. erable By day. its intol- burden on the quivering No living creature moved on the dumb. blighting chill followed the fever of the day. By night the jackals prowled and barked in the distance. or lizards vanishing in the clefts of the rock. and the dark groves of cedars. but tiny jerboas scuttling through the parched bushes. furrowed with dry channels of ancient torrents. and the lion made the black ravines echo with his hollow roaring. Arid and inhospitable mountain-ranges rose before him. 179 . Shifting hills of treacherous sand were heaped like tombs along the horizon. I saw the long. white and ghastly as scars on the face of nature. the fierce heat pressed air. snowy ridge of Hermon. Then I saw the gardens and orchards of Da- mascus. watered by the streams of Abana and Pharpar. and their thickets of myrrh and roses. swooning earth. like the bones of perished monsters. and the valley of the Jordan. while a bitter. with their sloping swards inlaid with bloom.

all and Artaban wondered whether the men had gone up to the hill-pastures to bring down their 180 . Then but the Other Wise Man drew near. "I shall surely find him." and whom they presented their The streets of the village seemed to be deserted. But I must inquire about the visit of my brethren. alone. with the young child. and the highlands of Judah. and to what house the to star directed them. Through all these I followed the figure of Artaban moving at Bethlehem. though I be is and later than my brethren.THE BLUE FLOWER and the fertile plain of Esdraelon. and here I shall behold the rising of the great light. and had laid their gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh at his feet. weary. This the place of which the Hebrew exile told me that the prophets had spoken. "For now at last. bearing his ruby and his pearl to offer to the King. until he arrived And it was the third day after the three Wise Men had come to that place and had found Mary and Joseph." he said. full of hope. and the hills of Ephraim. steadily onward. Jesus. tribute.

Ever has been a spell upon the village . and it was whispered that they were since." she con- tinued. something hangs over are it. said that a star had guided them to the place where Joseph of Nazareth was lodging with his wife and her new-born child. From the open door of a cottage he heard the sound of a woman's voice singing softly. "as suddenly as they had come. child "But the travellers disappeared again. The man of Nazareth took and fled and his mother. from Jerusalem to force a new tax from the and men have the driven the flocks and herds far back among cape hills.THE OTHER WISE MAN sheep. He entered and found a young mother hushing her baby to the rest. visit. They say that the Roman soldiers coming us. there evil going to Egypt. and how they had paid reverence to the and given him many rich gifts. away that same night secretly. afraid at the strangeness of their We were We could the not understand child it." 181 . and hidden themselves to es- it. She told him of the strangers from far East who had appeared and how they in the village three days ago.

But has not seemed good to the God of wisdom to re- ward my search so soon and so easily. The one whom I seek has gone before me.THE BLUE FLOWER Artaban listened to her gentle. His heart warmed to the touch. fighting with his own doubts and was fears. She set food before him. "Kings have been born now in lowlier houses than this. full but willingly offered. and therefore 182 of refresh- . the plain fare of peasants. and following a light that veiled in clouds. "Why ised might not he this child have been the promhimself. as Prince?" its asked within he ere touched soft cheek. rose to minister to the wants of the strange guest that fate had brought into her house. stretching out its rosy hands to grasp at the winged circle of gold on his breast. and now I must to follow the King Egypt. and the favourite it of the stars may rise even from a cottage. It seemed like a greet- ing of love and trust to one who had journeyed long in loneliness and perplexity." laid the The young mother and baby in its cradle. timid speech. in his face and the and child in her arms looked up smiled.

a clangour of brazen trumpets and a clashing of swords. His broad shoulders the portal from side to side. and the peak of his white cap all but touched the lintel. and murmured filled in its dreams. At the sight of the stranger in his imposing dress they hesitated with surprise. mother's face grew white with ter- She clasped her child to her bosom. a shrieking and wailing of women's voices. But suddenly there came the noise of a wild confusion in the streets of the village. as he ate.THE OTHER WISE MAN ment for the accepted fell into it soul as well as for the body. and. the child sweetly a happy slumber. in But Artaban went quickly and stood the filled doorway of the house. Artaban gratefully . and crouched motionless in the darkest corner of the room." The young ror. The captain of 183 the band . and a desperate cry : "The soldiers ! the soldiers of Herod They ! are killing our children. and a great peace the room. covering him with the folds of her robe. The soldiers came hurrying down the street with bloody hands and dripping swords. lest he should wake and cry.

though he were watching the and in his eyes there burned that steady radiance before which even the half-tamed hunting leopard shrinks. "there is is no The house empty. and I am waiting to give this jewel to the prudent captain who will leave in peace. and the bloodhound pauses in his leap. His face was as calm as stars. The pupils of his eyes expanded with lines and the hard of greed wrinkled around his lips.THE BLUE FLOWER approached the threshold to thrust him aside." The clamour and the clang of arms passed down the street as the headlong fury of the chase sweeps by the secret covert where the trembling deer is 184 . soldier silently for He held the said in a an instant. "March on!" he child here. glistening hollow of his hand like a great drop of blood. cried to his men. But Artaban did not stir. captain was amazed at the splendour of the gem. He stretched out his hand and took the ruby." in the He The showed the ruby. and then low voice: "I am me all alone in this place. desire.

said very gently "Because thou hast saved the one. Artaban re-entered the cottage. life of my little may the Lord bless thee and keep thee. Shall I ever be worthy to see the face of the King?" in But the voice of the woman. And man two of my gifts are gone.: THE OTHER WISE MAN hidden. of the river of his life shining through the mist that concealed its course. the Lord make His face to shine upon lift thee and be gracious unto thee. his face to the east He turned and prayed: "God of truth. and I caught only a glimpse. 185 . to save the life of a child. forgive is my sin ! I have said the thing that not. the Lord up His coun5 tenance upon thee and give thee peace. )j IV Again there was a silence in the Hall of Dreams. first interval. deeper and more mysterious than the and I understood that the years of Artaban were flowing very swiftly under the stillness. weeping for joy the shadow behind him. here and there. I have spent for that which was meant for God.

their which lifted sharp points into the intense saffron glow of the sunset sky. a search that never can succeed? Or was there a touch of pity and encouragement ise in that inscrutable smile —a prom- that even the defeated should attain a victory. changeless monu- ments of the perishable glory and the imperishable hope of man. indeed. the mockery of all effort and all aspiration. He looked up into the face of the crouching Sphinx and vainly tried to read the meaning of the calm eyes and smiling mouth. 186 . I saw him again at the foot of the pyramids. seeking everywhere for traces of the household that had come down from Bethlehem. and beneath the walls of the Nile Roman fortress of New Babylon beside the — traces so faint and dim that they vanished before him continually. and finding them under the spreading sycamore-trees of Heliopolis. as Tigranes had said — the cruel jest of a riddle that has no answer.THE BLUE FLOWER I saw him moving in among the throngs of men populous Egypt. Was it. as footprints on the wet river-sand glisten for a moment with moisture and then disappear.

and the wandering should come into the haven at last? I saw him again in an obscure house of Alex- andria. must have appeared long ago. my eyes son.THE OTHER WISE MAN and the disappointed should discover a the ignorant should be prize. If the light of the world and the glory of Israel had been appointed to it come with the greatness of earthly splendour. and made wise. "the King whom is thou seekest not to be found in a palace. nor among the rich and powerful. and acquainted with "And remember. and the blind should see. But the light for which the world 187 ." said he. taking counsel with a Hebrew rabbi. the man of sorrows grief. read aloud the pathetic Israel were writ- words which foretold the sufferings of the promised Messiah spised — the de- and rejected of men. fixing his upon the face of Artaban. The venerable man. bending over the rolls of parch- ment on which the prophecies of ten. or the maglions in is Solomon throned between the Jerusalem. For no son of will Abraham ever again rival the power which Joseph had nificence of in the palaces of Egypt.

pay homage seek But this I know. in plague-stricken cities He made his dwelling where the sick were lan- guishing in the bitter companionship of helpless misery. and the poor were crying for bread. travelling from place to place. and searching among the the people of the dispersion. in He visited the oppressed and the afflicted the gloom of subterranean prisons. the glory that shall rise out of patient and triumphant suffering.THE BLUE FLOWER waiting is a new light. nor how the turbulent kings and peoples of earth shall be brought to acknowledge the Messiah and to him. the royalty of unconquerable "I do not know how this shall love. and the crowded wretchedness of slave-markets. In 188 all this populous . have found a refuge. come to pass. and the weary toil of galley-ships. perhaps. And the kingdom which is to be established forever is a new kingdom. Those who him will do well to look among the poor and the lowly." So I saw the Other Wise Man again and again. He passed through countries where famine lay heavy upon the land. the sorrowful and the oppressed. with whom little family from Bethlehem might.

So the secret purpose of a noble life draws into itself the memories of past joy and past sorrow. it. the hungry. and years passed more swiftly than the weaver's shuttle that flashes back and forth through the loom while the is web grows and the pattern It quest. full of shifting its gleams of azure and rose.THE OTHER WISE MAN and intricate world of anguish. a soft and iridescent light. completed. the last of his jewels. trembled upon surface. It seemed to have absorbed some reflection of the lost sapphire and ruby. and healed the his and comforted the captive. He fed and clothed the naked. seemed almost as if he had forgotten his But once I saw him for a moment as he stood alone at sunrise. It becomes more luit is minous and precious the longer to the carried close warmth of the beating 189 heart. sick. . all is transfused by a subtle magic into its very essence. He had taken from a secret rest- ing-place in his bosom the pearl. though he found none to worship. he found many to help. As he looked at it. a mellower lustre. waiting at the gate of a Roman prison. All that has helped that has hindered it.

ready to die. he had come for the last time He had often visited the holy city all its and had searched lanes and crowded hovels and black prisons without finding any trace of the family of Nazarenes who had it fled from if Bethlehem long ago. was now white as the wintry snow that covered them. but still look- ing for the King. . were dull as embers smouldering among the ashes. city pered in his heart that. at last. V Three-and-thirty years of the had passed away. and something whishe might succeed. that once flashed like flames of fire. I heard the end of the story of the Other Wise Man. The was thronged with strangers. Worn and weary and to Jerusalem. But now seemed as he must make one more effort. His hair. and of its meaning. while I was thinking of this pearl. once darker than the cliffs of Zagros. at It last. before. The children of 190 Israel. and he was life of Artaban still a pilgrim and a seeker after light. was the season of the Passover. His eyes.THE BLUE FLOWER Then.

But on this day a singular agitation was visible in the multitude. thick sound of thousands of bare feet shuffling over the stones. flowed unceasingly along the street that leads to the Damascus gate. had returned to the Temand there had been a con- ple for the great feast." they answered. Currents of excitement seemed to flash through the crowd. and with them another. where there to be an execution. The sky was veiled with a por- tentous gloom. "We called are going. a ful man who many wondei* works among the people. so that they love him 191 . all A secret tide was sweep- ing them one way.THE OTHER WISE MAN scattered in far lands. "to the place Golgotha. and where they were going. Have you not heard robbers are to what has happened? Two famous has done be crucified. fusion of tongues in the narrow streets for many days. called Jesus of Nazareth. The clatter of sandals and the soft. his Artaban joined a group of people from country. is outside the city walls. own who had come up to keep and inquired of them the cause of the tumult. Parthian Jews the Passover.

' How strangely these familiar words ! fell upon the tired heart of Artaban They had led him for a lifetime over land and to sea. and shall come in time to offer my pearl for his ransom before he dies. Could be the same who had been born in Bethlehem thirty-three years ago. at last. The King had cast out. But he said within himself: "The ways of God of men. And Pilate has sent him to the cross because he said that he was the 'King of the Jews. And now they came him mysteriously. and of whose coming the prophets had spoken? Artaban's heart beat unsteadily with is that troubled. and it are stranger than the thoughts may be that I shall find the King. because he gave himself out to be the Son of God." 192 . at whose birth the star had appeared in heaven. But the priests and elders have said that he must die. doubtful apprehension which the ex- citement of old age. arisen. Perhaps he was it already dying. in the hands of his enemies. like a message of despair. but he had been denied and He was about to perish." THE BLUE FLOWER greatly.

THE OTHER WISE MAN So the old man followed the multitude with slow and painful steps toward the Damascus gate of the city. she broke suddenly from the hands of her tormentors. taught by My father was a merchant of Parthia. for the sake of the God of Purity! I also is am a daughter of the true religion which the Magi. but he is dead. dragging a young As the girl with torn dress and dishevelled hair. clasping him around the knees." she cried. She had seen on his breast. It was the old in the conflict in his soul. and threw herself at his feet. which had come to him the palm-grove of Babylon and in cottage at Bethlehem —the conflict between love. "and save me. Just beyond the entrance of the guard- house a troop of Macedonian soldiers came down the street. his white cap and the winged circle "Have pity on me. and I am seized for his debts to be sold as a slave. Save me from worse than death !" Artaban trembled. the expectation of faith and the impulse of Twice the gift which he had consecrated to the 193 . Magian paused to look at her with compassion.

and shuddering tremors ran through the earth heaving convulsively like the breast of one who struggles with mighty grief. Was tation? it his great opportunity. This was the third trial. Never had full seemed so luminous. slave. the darkness of the sky deepened. And is not love the light of the soul? He it took the pearl from his bosom. the ultimate probation. living lustre. — it was inevi- does not the inevitable come from God? One thing only was sure to his divided heart to rescue this helpless girl would be a true deed of love. so radiant. street. He And could not One thing only was mind clear in the darkness of his table. Stones were loosened and crashed into the 194 . or his last temptell. the final and irrevocable choice. daughter! It is the last my treasures which I kept for the King." While he spoke. walls The of the houses rocked to and fro. He laid it in the hand of the "This of is thy ransom. so of ten- der.— THE BLUE FLOWER worship of religion had been drawn to the service of humanity.

quest was over. And if he had not found life. What had he to fear? What had he to hope? He had given away the last remnant of his tribute for the King. He had been true to the light that had been given to him. it could not be other- wise than it had been. incorruptible and im- mortal. The soldiers fled in ter- ror. and had But. He had The parted with the last hope it of finding him. He knew that all was well. But Artaban and the girl whom he had ransomed crouched helpless beneath the wall of the Praetorium. failed. if a failure was all that came out of his best that was possible. It was something more pro- found and searching. even in that thought. reeling like drunken men. One more lingering pulsation of the earthquake 195 ." But he knew that even if he could live his earthly life over again. It was not submission. because he had done the best that he could from day to day. It was not resignation. He had looked for more. accepted and embraced.THE OTHER WISE MAN Dust clouds filled the air. there was peace. tion doubtless that was the He had not seen the revela- of "life everlasting. it.

my Lord! For when saw thirsty. and she heard him say in the Parthian tongue "Not so. I thee an hungered and fed thee? Or drink? in? and gave thee When saw I thee a stranger. And 196 ." He ceased. and clothed thee? When saw sick or in prison. fell and struck the old man on the He lay breathless and pale. with his gray girl's shoulder. shaken from the temple. my King.: THE BLUE FLOWER quivered through the ground. As she bent over him. and the sweet voice came again. as if in answer. The girl turned had spoken from the window above them. A heavy tile. and came unto thee? Three-and- thirty years have I looked for thee. nor ministered to thee. like music sounding from a distance. but she saw no one. but I have never seen thy face. Then the old man's lips began to move. and took thee I thee Or naked. in which the notes are clear but the words are to see if some one lost. roof. head resting on the young and the blood trickling from the wound. fearing that he was dead. very small and still. there came a voice through the twilight.

.Then the old man's lips began to move.

.

His journey was ended. But now words it seemed as though she understood the "Verily I say unto thee. . very faint and far away. thou hast done unto me. Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the it least of these my brethren. His treasures were accepted. lief A long breath of exhaled gently from his lips. The Other Wise Man had found the King.: THE OTHER WISE MAN again the maid heard it." A calm radiance of wonder and joy lighted the first pale face of Artaban like the ray of dawn re- on a snowy mountain-peak.

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A HANDFUL OF CLAY .

.

. in soft clouds. above the earth. in the spring sunshine. Overhead. coarse and heavy its but it had high thoughts of own value. The flowers. clear colours. murmured to the fet- shores in music. It HANDFUL OF CLAY was a handful of clay in the bank of a was only common clay. bent their heads to one another. telling of its release from icy 201 . and said: "Sisters. the trees whis- pered together of the glory which descended upon them when the to expand. and wonit derful dreams of the great place which fill was to virtues in the world when the time came for its to be discovered. surprised with the joy of beauty. A A HERE river. how lovely you have become. as if the dust of thousands of rubies and emeralds were hanging. delicate blossoms and leaves began and the forest glowed with fair. glad of new strength and rejoicing in the unison of all its waters." The river. as the wind caressed them. You make the day bright.

Waiting blindly itself in its bed. nor discouraged." One day the clay where it felt itself taken from the place had waited it. the clay comforted with lofty hopes. The clay was put into a trough and mixed and beaten and stirred and trampled. Glory in due and beauty and honour are coming to me season. so long." it said. "My time will come. over a rough and stony But it was not afraid. for is said to itself: "This is necessary. it was carried it seemed. lifted A it. flat blade of iron it passed beneath and and tossed it into a cart with other lumps of clay. "I was not made to be hidden forever. and far away. But there was consolation in the 202 . and great ships to be floated to the sea.— THE BLUE FLOWER ters. The path on to to glory always rugged." But the hard journey was nothing compared with the tribulation and distress that came after it. as road. Now I am my way play a great part in the world. to which it and the mighty work the wheels of was hurrying many mills to be turned. its swift flight from the snow-clad mountains. It seemed almost unbearable.

A strange power pressed and moulded dizziness it. or a precious vase for the table of a king. "I am intended for some- thing very splendid. its trials. it "Surely. ever brooded upon the bank of the But through dured all. and were kindled about it — fierce and penetrating — hotter than all the heats of summer that had river. it." At last the baking was finished. and through it all the and pain it felt that was taking a new form.A certainly HANDFUL OF CLAY fine thought that something very and noble was coming out of all this trouble. Then an unknown hand put fires it into an oven. a wonderful reward was in store for Then it was put upon a swiftly turning wheel. The clay felt sure that. ." thought. since such pains are taken with me. as it revolved. the clay held itself together and enin the confidence of a great future. if it could only wait long enough. Perhaps I am fashioned for the ornament of a temple. until it and whirled around seemed as if it must fly it into a thousand pieces. set The clay was taken from the furnace and 203 down upon a board.

under the blue sky. but calm enough to reflect. for the was lifted from the board. red and ugly. impartial truth. The clay rebelled at this new disgrace. the flower-pot. am a failure. first every time." 204 . and something — it not what —but something rough and brown and dead-looking. was thrust into the middle of the earth and covered over. nor very clear. to be Surely I filled with dirt and rubbish. "This is the worst of all that has happened to me. Then knew was filled with earth. saying. then it felt that it was not destined for a king's house. not very deep. because it . consummation of straight and its hopes —a common And stiff. a palace of was made without glory it or beauty or honour and murmured against hast thou the unknown maker.THE BLUE FLOWER in the cool air. thus?" "Why made me Many it days it passed in sullen discontent. image that as it upon There. Close beside the board there was a pool of water. the clay saw all its its new shape. The reward was at hand. The tribulation was passed. the reward of patience and pain. nor for art. fell with it.

a stir- change began to come to ring within it Something was Still it —a new hope. the world. 205 . into a great church. stand. close beside "Why have they set me here? Why do all the people look toward us?" And You the other vessel answered. But presently the sunlight fell was set in warm upon and water was it sprinkled over it. "Do you not know? are carrying a royal sceptre of lilies." Then the its clay was content. and day by day as it. One day the and carried clay was lifted again from its place. and silently thanked vessel. it. and the heart of them like pure gold. like itself. So it Still it could not under- whispered to another vessel of clay. It dream was coming true after had a fine part to play in it. Glorious music flowed over It was surrounded with flowers. it maker. though an earthen held so great a treasure. Its all. The people look flower is this way because the the the most wonderful in the world.A HANDFUL it OF CLAY a greenhouse. Their petals is are white as snow. waited. because. and knew not what the new hope meant. was ignorant. where it. in And root of it is your heart.

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THE LOST WORD .

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THE LOST WORD I v^OME is down. Their voices rang out cheerily through the cool air. He had his been wak- ing for hours. Make and come down !" A little group of young men were standing in a street of Antioch. There was a note they were ex- of friendly triumph in their call. as if ulting unconsciously in having begun the advent- ure of the new day before their comrade. come down! The night is past. fifteen hundred years ago —a class of candidates who had nearly finished their years of training for the Christian church. fellow-student They had come to call their Hermas from his lodging. Hermas. 1898. Christ is born tohaste day. by Charles Scribner's Sons . But Hermas was not asleep. It time to be stirring. Peace be with you in His name. and the walls of narrow lodging Copyright. in the dusk of early morning. They were young feel full of that glad sense of risen early life which the when they have is still and come to rouse one who sleeping.

through thing around him. fallen into the very depths of this Hermas had strange self-pity. He was out of tune with everybeen thinking. It seems unreal and causeless. It has little reason in has all the more weariness and is gloom. a sting of resentment in a fever of angry surprise that the world should so soon be a disappointment. to join the company of the Christians. Only two years ago he had been one of the 210 richest . fallen A nameless sorrow and discontent had find upon him. There it. on the look of a perhaps. There is a sadness of youth into which the old cannot enter. the wealthy pagan Demetrius. because the feels man who oppressed by it dimly that it is an unnatural thing that he should be tired of living before he has fairly be- gun to live. but it failure. the dead night. and he could his no escape from the heaviness of own thoughts.THE BLUE FLOWER had been a prison to his heart. But it is even more bitter and burdensome than the is sadness of age. of He had all that he had given up when he left the house of his father. and life so early take it.

it Now he was one of the The worst of was that.THE LOST WORD young men poorest. he was already dissatisfied with The new life was no happier than the old. thusiasm. He He was weary of vigils and fasts. He sat beside hard couch. Doubtless he had found the true it relig- ion. weary of prayers and sermons. for something had happened within him which made a return impossible. weary of studies and penances. on. his sense of duty. lifting his "Come down. and hardly head at the shouts of his friends. its joy and peace had slipped away from He his felt disillusioned and robbed. Awake. his conscience. in Antioch. bound him. Hermas. old careless He could not go back to the pagan life again. you sluggard! Come down! It is Christmas morn. felt like a slave in a treadmill. him. He knew that he must go His honour. waiting without expectancy for the gray dawn of another empty day. and be glad with us!" 211 . though he had made the choice willingly and with a kind of enit. but he had found only as a task and a bur- den.

He joined his 212 . John the Presbyter. But the light in his eyes was clouded and uncertain his smooth cheeks were leaner than they should have been at twenty. more eager. than any of us. re- any company — broad-shouldered. I have been awake since midnight. such as may be found in every century if among the throngs of ordinary men. as to show what the flower of the race should be. "only have patience a moment. It was the perpetual type of vigorous and intelligent young manhood." While they were talking the door opened and Hermas stepped marked in out." "You other. and waiting for the day. does well to be proud of him." he answered listlessly. Our master.. with a head proudly poised on the firm column of the neck. hear him!" said his friends one to anhe puts us all "How to shame! He is more watchful. THE BLUE FLOWER "I am coming. He was a figure to be tall. and short brown curls clustering over the square forehead. and there were downward lines about his mouth which spoke of desires un- satisfied and ambitions repressed. straight-hipped. He is the best man in our class.

and the younger converts. the festival of the birthday of their Master. The ragged crests of Mount Silpius were outlined with pale saffron light. silently Overhead the mystery of daybreak was transfiguring the sky. found to come to pillars their appointed place between the first two of the house. —and The they passed together down the steep street. chiefly The great city. 213 . lay more than half -asleep. a word to another. still pagan. —a nod to one. to stand who were not yet permitted it difficult among the baptised. but the candidates pushed steadily forward.THE LOST WORD companions with brief greetings. lifted curtain of darkness had along the edge of the horizon. were hurrying toward the Basilica of Constantine to keep the new holy-day of the church. bare building was soon crowded. just within the threshold. dressed in white and car- rying lighted torches in their hands. The vast. But mul- titudes of the Christians. There was some good-humoured pressing and jostling about the door. In the central vault of heaven a few large stars twinkled drowsily.

cle At the end of the vista there was a cir- of clearer. as if the sea lifted in the had blossomed like the into waving lilies. the communion-table and the table of offerings in the middle of the church. let our station is beyond you. The call to prayer sounded down the long aisle. The light of many flam- beaux fell. uncertain rays. and the "Amen" was murmur of countless ripples in an echoing place. and at taller last they stood his in their place. Hermas could see the bishop in his great chair. the lofty desks on either side for the readers of the Scripture." little A touch here. under the shadows of the high roof.THE BLUE FLOWER "By your leave. surrounded by the presbyters. over the assembly. Hennas was than com- panions. 214 . as the tide spreads on a calm day into the pillared cavern of Staffa. a little persistence. a courteous nod there. in flickering. Thousands of hands were joyously air. a pa- tience. friends. Will you us pass? Many thanks. he could look easily over their heads and survey the sea of people stretching away through the columns. quiet as if the ocean hardly dared to breathe. steadier radiance.

at first. he seemed at nificance first like a person of no sig- —a reed shaken in the wind. with pale cheeks and wrinkled brow. gray before his time. But there was a look poignant eyes. Soon the longer. Timidly. his place at the foot of the he saw a man standing far off in the lofty bema. and the women answered Hermas had often been carried on those Tides of music s golden sea Setting toward eternity. Short and slender. stronger rolled in. in his deep-set. his heart was a rock that stood mo- The flood passed by and left him un- moved. Looking out from pillar.THE LOST WORD Then the singing began. as he 215 . as the people joined with a broken lit- and uncertain cadence: the mingling of many tle waves not yet gathered into rhythm and harbillows of mony. song sweeping from side to side as the men in the clear antiphony. led by the choir of a hundred trained voices which the Bishop Paul had founded felt its in Antioch. But to-day tionless. the music way. wasted by sickness.

and called who was already Chrysostom. and conflicts. the golden-mouthed preacher. He played on that immense congregation as a master on an instrument. bear- moved onward. and they trembled. all the glances of the multitude to him- that belied his mean appearance and prophewell sied power. brated through the and the sentences and stronger. the guide and trainer of his soul —John of Antioch. the He spoke of the triumphs. 216 .THE BLUE FLOWER gathered self. as the tense voice vistillness. Hermas had felt the magic of his eloquence many a time. growing fuller ing argosies of costly rhetoric and treasures of homely speech in hearts of their bosom. Hermas knew that the preacher had never been more potent. more inspired. whose fame filled the city and began to overflow Asia. the teacher instructing him son in the Christian faith. and to-day. Hermas knew very who his it was: the man who had drawn him from who was father's as a house. He rebuked their sins. He touched their sorrows. they wept. resistless and drawing the men with a magic.

likewise leave the Jewish people. the troubled city. the bloodthirsty tyrant. THE LOST WORD the glories of their faith.. Only let thy coming be to honour and adore. the pomp of the world. to whose name be glory. dissatisfied. was out of sympathy with the eager preacher. thou shalt behold the young Child in an inn. this shall be no hindrance to thee. with trembling joy. erent silence. to the lowly birthplace of Jesus. The strings of his heart were slack and soundless. and they broke out in thunders of applause. and come not hither. nor wise man only an unhappy. Though thou be a king. on this His birthday." The soul of Hermas did not answer to the mu- sician's touch. For though thou be but a shepherd. the Son of God. and hasten to Bethlehem. 217 . therefore. He He was neither shepherd. and forever and forever. questioning youth. with the wise men of the East. the sweet house of spiritual bread. He hushed them into rev- and led them tenderly. and come hither. nor king. Though thou be one of the wise men. there was no response within him. thy purple robe shall profit thee nothing. "Do thou.

heart.THE BLUE FLOWER the joyous hearers. But he did not look back. the sun had already topped the eastern and the ruddy light was streaming through row of archways and over the the long double pavements of crimson marble. Hermas. he entered the broad Avenue of the Col- onnades." they cried. went out with his companions all a man de- parting from a banquet where but he had been "Farewell. harmony he had no Was it for this that he had forsaken his in- heritance and narrowed his life to poverty and hardship? What was it all worth? the The gracious prayers with which converts were blessed young sac- and dismissed before the his ears. In their part. as he turned from them at the door. But Hermas turned his back to the morning. rament sounded hollow in Never had he felt so utterly lonely as in that praying throng. 218 ""- - - ~- * --* . like He fed. and walked with his shadow before him. He was already alone in his When hills. nor wave his hand.

as Hermas passed. 219 . dancers and musicians. the crowd slowly. a story-teller had bewitched a circle of people around him. She put out her hand and caught him by the sleeve. He cleft his way through reluctant swimmer weary of breasting the At the corner of the street where the narrow.THE LOST WORD The street began to swarm and whirl and quiver with the motley life of a huge city: beggars and jugglers. gilded youths in their chariots. The pagan populace of Antioch ure-loving. like a tide. all intoxicated with the delight of living and the gladness of a new day. and smiled in his face. A yellow-haired girl on the edge of the throng turned. spendthrift — reckless. and the wit of the improviser drew forth sighs of interest and shouts of laughter. It was the same old tale of love and adventure that many generations have . But all this Hermas had renounced. listened to it but the lively fancy of the hearers lent new interest. and daughters of joy looking out mere from their windows. pleas- —were preparing for the Saturnalia. populous Lane of the Camel-drivers crossed the Colonnades.

" he are mistaken in me. In all the world there was no other highway as beautiful. "I don't know what you mean. the mountains. but not ungently. "and laugh a bit with us. I "You am poorer than you are. he felt the warm touch of her fingers through the cloth on his arm. It seemed as if she had plucked him by the heart.THE BLUE FLOWER "Stay. said. The richest of all the dwellings was the House 220 . under the cherubim that the Emperor Titus had from the ruined Temple of Jerusalem and to the upon the arch of triumph. It wound for five miles along the foot of villas." she said." But as he passed on. Why do you look so black ? Love is alive yet. He golden stolen fixed left. I know who you are — the son of Demetrius. He turned and climbed the hill to the road that led to the Grove of Daphne. among gardens and planta- tions of myrtles and mulberries." off Hermas shook her hand. You must have bags of gold. went out by the Western Gate. with wide out- looks over the valley of Orontes and the distant. shimmering sea.

was proud of being called "the friend of Julian" and and an when his son joined himself to the Christians. Dememas- was not a sincere fanatic like his royal ter. it acknowledged the unseen God. seemed like He drove the boy from his door and disinherited him. the mansion of Demetrius. He . "This 221 your birthright. to make him a favourite at the court where the old religion was in fashion.THE LOST WORD of the Golden Pillars. He had loyal to reaped a rich reward of his policy. and a strange sense of consistency made him more fiercely it than if it had been a real faith. haughty still house. but he was bitter enough in his professed scorn of the new religion. 55 . blooming with belated flowers. He had won the favor of the apostate Emperor Julian. had opened an easy way to wealth and power for all who would mock and oppose trius Christianity. The glittering portico of the serene. whose vain efforts to restore the worship of the heathen gods. the repose of the well-ordered garden. some twenty years ago. seemed at once to outcast plodding deride and to invite the young is along the dusty road. insult to his father's success.

"How ful. and the babble of innumerable streams. At the foot of a rocky eminence. without religion! These questions about unseen things. Memories of the days and nights of delicate pleasure that the grove had often seen still haunted the bewildered paths and broken fountains. how joy- how easy to live in. these restraints and duties and sacri- 222 . and gave him- to sadness. which had been mysteriously destroyed by fire just after it.'* II Hermas found serted.THE BLUE FLOWER whispered the clambering rose-trees by the gatej and the closed portals of carven bronze said : it "You have sold for a thought —a dream. perhaps about unreal things. the Grove of Daphne quite de- There was no sound in the enchanted vale but the rustling of the light winds chasing each other through the laurel thickets. Julian had restored and reconsecrated sat self Hermas down up beside a gushing spring. beautiful the world would be. crowned with the ruins of Apollo's temple.

" voice at his back. with a courlittle teous inclination. and saw an old man with a long beard and a threadbare cloak (the garb affected by the pagan philosophers) standing behind him and smiling curiously. one of the keepers of the grove? And have you given up your work with the trees J5 to take a holiday as a philosopher? 223 . all. "and who are you that honour me with your company?" "Forgive the intrusion.THE LOST WORD fices — if I were only free from them all. and feel as if all visitors were my guests." "Are you. in a way." said the old man. "Perhaps also a to the fact that I am the oldest inhabitant here. "it is not ill meant. then." "But to what." answered the stranger. and could life as only forget them pleased. it "How is that you answer that which has not been spoken?" said Hermas. then I could live my I and be happy. "Why not?" said a quiet He turned. singular circumstance do I owe this interest?" "To your face. A friendly interest is as good as an introduction.

for it is still But surely it was a strange sacrifice that you brought lo's to celebrate the restoration of Apol- temple?" the ancient goose?" it "You mean said the old man cisely laughing. The priesthood a professional matter." "You speak lightly for a priest of Apollo. as I guess from your dress." said Hermas. "Well. THE BLUE FLOWER "Not at all. if You will agree to that you are a Christian. and the name of Apollo as good as any other. I is is am no bigot. I must confess. as for that. How many altars do *ou think there have been in this grove?" 224 . it." "Oh. and seemed to me not inappropriate.. I think little of My the profession is the care of altars. But it was all that I had. In fact. beginning to be interested "the whole citv must have heard of talked of. You have heard of the incident?" "Yes. I am solitary priest of Apollo whom the Emperor Julian found here when he came to revive the worship of the grove. perhaps was not preit what the emperor expected. some twenty years ago. affectation. The robe of philosophy is a mere it.

the thing that lasts. the to forsake irresistible it which compelled him when he heard John's preaching of 225 . I have had something to do with most time. of a sad countenance for one so young and so Are you a loser in the game?" The words and nias' tone of the speaker fitted Herfits mood as a key the lock. Daphne and Apollo are shadows. for centuries. is the human life that plays around them. of them in my They are transitory. Life the world keeps it is a game. these are realities. and up merrily. including that of the martyr Baby las. and told him the story of his life: his luxurious boyhood spell his father's house. They But give employment to care-takers for a while. Believe me. whose ruined chapel ycu see just beyond us.THE LOST WORD "I do not know. the music and the dances." "Just four-and-twenty. and the thing that interests me. for I know. He in opened his heart to the old man. But the flying maidens and the pursuing lovers. It still The dis- game has been going on ports itself very pleasantly on summer evenings through these shady walks. But you? You are fair.

his lonely year with the ancho- rites among the mountains . "And that I mit's to-day. then." The face. I want what me pleasure. I renounce nothing. I may even say that I can put you in the way of secur- ing it." said the old man. his distaste for poverty. do not wish to think about I only wish to live." he suggested.THE BLUE FLOWER the new religion. "I have been thinking am a fool." said he." "Well. as he 226 . singular smile deepened on his companion's are ready. his discontent with worship. and I think you are its about to see accomplishment. the strict discipline in . There nothing in but a dream. a thought of God. Do you believe in magic?" "I do not know whether I believe in anything. his teacher's house at Antioch his weariness of duty. I it. Indeed. I believe in will give what I see. "to re- "You nounce your new religion and go back to that of your father?" "No . which does not satisfy me. This is not a day on which I care to make profes- sions of faith. soothingly." "A very reasonable wish. I accept nothing. My is life is swept as bare as a herit cell.

you shall enjoy But you do not in the I would is not need to believe in my promise. How do you read that?" "Wealth. The Em- peror Hadrian once read his fortune here from a leaf dipped in the water." answered Hermas. whom No such hard conditions for me! There 227 . You know this is a Castalian fountain. here is "And swelling. Let us see tells us. I am habit of requiring faith of those serve. I like them as little as you do.THE LOST WORD plucked a leaf from the laurel-tree above them and dipped it in the spring." said "What you fame ?" Hermas. not even taking the trouble to look. as he looked at his mean garments. "Suppose we say success and "Yes." said Hermas. "it is all it all. written here. a bud on the stem that seems to be is What here that?" "Pleasure. "let us dismiss the riddles of belief. It is what this leaf already turning 3'ellow. is a tracing of wreaths upon the surof that?" What do you make will." said the stranger I promise that . laughing. "And face. bitterly.

so that you shall never hear it or it. I consent." said Hermas. wet leaf softly icicle young man's . eyes.THE BLUE FLOWER only one thing that I ask. a dream. if I give to you. It is a small thing. mocking. You will be richer without this is all I promise you everything." The stranger across the laid the long. This is the season that you Christians call the Christmas. you can keep your promise. speak again. and you consent?" I ask in return. Do "Yes. and he sank into a profound 228 . "If you can take your price. drawn together there Then all the tangle of pain seemed to be lifted out of him. and you have taken up the pagan custom of exchanging gifts. An of pain darted through them every nerve in his body was in a knot of agony. you must give to me. a word. and really the thing you can best afford to part with: a single word —the me name of Him you word and your it profess to worship. Let all take that that belongs to it entirely out of life. A cool languor of delight flowed back vein. through every sleep. cool. Well.

229 . grasping a smooth branch it. It is a slumber so deep that like it annihilates its is a fragment of eternity. an interval of could not tell life so blank and empty that he whether was long or short. above him and shaking to make sure that he was alive. had changed. Beneath like enchantment of vacancy. The setting sun was shooting arrows of gold under the glossy laurel-leaves. and a thousand years might well pass as one day. to a former state of being. Then he hurried back toward Antioch. stretched his He rose and arms. had stir passed over him when his senses began to again. The ground seemed Already his life to spring beneath his feet. he knew not how. if treading lightly as on air. An it immeasurable period. It was such a sleep that fell upon Hermas in the Grove of Daphne. a day seems a thou- sand years. Something that did not belong to him had dropped away he had returned .THE LOST WORD III There time.

yet curiously familiar to himself — as if he had done with playing a tiresome part and returned to his natural state. Since the sixth hour he calls your continually. my son! good that you have come back to me. and he was ready for anything.THE BLUE FLOWER He felt as if anything might happen to him. "My It is son!" he murmured. shall never leave You me again. I was wrong to send you away. "Hermas. As he drew near to his father's house he saw a confusion of servants in the porch. for I fear the time is short. He was a new man. and has sent for you. my 230 . I have missed you. and the old steward ran down to meet him at the gate. "Lord. his lean fingers picking incessantly at the silken coverlet. a fear." Hermas entered the house at once. His father lay on an ivory couch in the inmost chamber. with- out a care. we have been seeking you everywhere. He was buoyant and free. nothing could amaze him to-day. lord. with shrunken face and restless eyes. The master is at the point of death. name Come to him quickly. You are my son. a doubt.

warm life grasp. and. is "Hermas. come nearer son !" — close beside me. ligion. Hermas. kneeling by the couch. what faith is it? Now your Your secret. forgive me. You found something up your dying life willing to give for — it must have been almost happy. passing —long. gathered his father's cold." At the sound of this broken pleading a strange passion of pity and love took the the throat. His voice shook a little young man by as he answered eagerly "Father. my The young man obeyed. I have changed everything. twitching fingers in his firm. prosper- ous. there is nothing to forgive. like —yet you See. a My re- good policy gone —Julian was my I friend.: THE LOST WORD heir. I have forgiven you. But now he ing —where? My beyond — very dark — am is empty —noththat it afraid. I cannot stay them. my son. Take my hand. —give it to me before I go. But you know something made you better. I 231 am your . soul is rich. I were giv- What was it you found? am ing you everything. the last sands. Tell me.

THE BLUE FLOWER son. The word of hope had vanished. you must believe with all your heart. "Father. He had thought he could lay his hand upon it in a moment. I will gladly will give tell you all that I know. But at the one point where he looked for help he could find nothing. He felt for it blindly and in desperate haste. Some one had taken else it away. I you the secret. wait!" his like The bony hand gripped 232 a vice. I shall find is it in a moment. and strength in—" Where was the word —the word that he had been used to utter night and morning. the . the word that had meant to him more than he had ever known? What had become of it? He groped for it in the dark room of his mind. Father. wait! I have forgotten somethings it has slipped away from me. . but it was gone. was most clear to him: the the lonely soul appealing from his the instant need of comfort and help. There hope — I will tell you presently —oh. and soul. only an empty space. Everything terror of death father's eyes .

a class-room full of earnest students." The voice sank into a dull rattle. The light behind the eyes went out. but meaning. something that he had read long ago." whispered the old man. "Tell me. IV The break with the old life was as clean as faint if it had been cut with a hermit's cell. Some image of a a bare lodging in a back street of Antioch. The fingers closed once more. but it was something that had happened to another per- son. "tell me quickly. like still lingered in his ears. was keeping watch by the dead. the master of the House of the Golden Pillars. There 233 . and the measured sound of chanting. of which he had lost the His new rich for life was full and smooth and rich too any sense of loss to make itself felt. re- mained in Hermas' memory. knife. and relaxed. Hermas.— THE LOST WORD glazed eyes opened wider. and the murmur of great congregations. Some dull echo of the voice of John the Presbyter. for I must go.

There were which the emperor had given him. The estate of Demetrius was even greater than fertile lands the world in Syria had supposed. if they were shod with winged Nothing needed to be considered. the secret cabinets in the master's room were full of precious stones. the rose-garland of pleasure was woven for his head . his cup was over- flowing with the spicy wine of power. The period of mourning for his father came at a fortunate moment to seclude and safeguard him and persecuinsults of- from the storm of tions that fell political troubles upon Antioch after the fered by the people to the imperial statues in the 234 . The servants of the household rejoiced at the young master's return. and the days ran swiftly by as sandals. Everything was ready and waiting for him. and forests of valuable villa timber in Cilicia. the vaults of the chests of gold contained and silver. All that he had to do was to go on. begun.THE BLUE FLOWER were a hundred affairs to busy him. His table was spread. The stewards were diligent and faithful. mar- ble-quarries in Phrygia. prepared for.

prudent and and conservative persons. The friends of Demetrius. "Where have you Athenai's. as this? To see the uncertain lines of dis- youth rounded into firmness and symmetry. Chief among them was Libanius. but fully conscious of the changed pres- ent — this is to behold a miracle in the flesh." It I am never was not to be supposed that the sudden his dis- appearance of Hermas from among 235 former as- . What transformation so magical. changing face of the girl matured into perfect loveliness. He found her a beautiis woman. serious eyes.THE LOST WORD year 387. not forgetting the past. He had ful left her a child. "In a land of tiresome dreams. gathered around Hernias made him welcome to their circle. whose daughter Athenai's had been the play- mate of Hermas in the old days. and going back again. and looking at you with calm. to cover the half -ripe." answered Her- mas. clear. merry. these two years?" said walked together through the gar- den of lilies where they had so often played. "but you have wakened me. his nearest neigh- bour. so charming. as they been. the sophist.

but when they came to the object of his fear name — the one whom he had dis- 236 . It seemed to him as if the messengers spoke in a strange language. Then grief the church was filled with dismay and letters little. Some of his more in- timate companions maintained that his devotion had led him out into the desert to join the ancho- rites. They spoke had betrayed or offended some one. to entreat him to return. House of as its the Golden and of his new life master. made the full sense unintelli- His old companions came to reprove him for leaving them. for two or three days. filtered quickly through the gossip of the city. They disturbed him a but they took no hold upon him. It all sounded as if he vague and futile. to warn him of the peril of apostasy. that he might be lost. There was a fear. At first it was a mystery. As he read the letters there were words blotted out of the writing which gible. Messengers and were sent to Hermas.THE BLUE FLOWER sociates could long remain unnoticed. and reproach. But the news of his return to the Pillars.

The clock pointed to the hour. A happy man him all happiness and farewell. and gave his scribe. and to whom he should return . but it is idle for us to talk together any more. —he heard them any nothing there was a blur of silence in their speech. the young master loosed a of gold and jewels from his neck." the golden collar fall on the mar- But John let ble floor. but the bell did not strike. I have simply forgotten. membrance. Hermas was entertaining Libanius and Athenai's in the banquet-hall. I do not under- stand what he says. to "Take is this to John of Antioch. nor offered sacrifice. At last Hermas refused to see more. One day John the Presbyter stood in the atrium. I wishes am only living. I have not gone to the temple. When the visit of the Presbyter collar it was announced. I do not think about those things any longer. or to spend for the poor of the I will always send him what he wants. nor denied his teaching.THE LOST WORD pleased. "Tell your master that we 237 shall talk to- . and tell him it a gift from his former pupil — as a token of recity.

beautiful boy. love — it was an abundance of felicity so great that the it. When with her. beauty. week after week. Every wish brought own ac- complishment. 2S8 He . the heart of the rose was overflowing fragrance. as he passed sadly out of the hall. filled with Happiness was its heaped upon happiness. worthy to be the heir of such a house. night after night. in due time." said he. Wealth. to trouble began to press upon him. but emerges again a bright and brimming stream. a strong.THE BLUE FLOWER gether again. honour. the bliss of the home unfolded like a rose of a thousand leaves. The love of Athenai's and Hermas was like a tiny rivulet that sinks out of sight in a cavern. The careless comradery of childhood was mysteriously changed into a complete companionship." Day after day. the music of life came Hermas called the feast of her welcome "the banquet of the full chord. month after month. peace. When a child came to them. Athenai's entered the all House of the Gol- den Pillars as a bride. him with the very excess of joy. soul of Hermas could hardly contain it Strangely enough.

Take this to John of Antioch and tell him it is a gift from his former oupil. .

.

—a word waiting my is to be "How deep is our happiness. a bower of jasmine. He spoke of it to Athenais. he knew not how —some expression and culmination of his happiness. a longing to find some outlet for his feelings. below the city. the singers and lute-players had withdrawn. tremulous with inarticulate melody of un- seen birds. "deeper than the der. in as they sat together. There had been music in the garden but now . beloved!" said Hermas. sea that slumbers yon- And yet it not quite full and perfect. one summer evening. with their boy playing at their feet. leav- ing the master and mistress alone in the lingering twilight. There was a secret voice in the hour seeking vainly for utterance spoken. r } et needed to com- plete and secure There was an urgency within him. Under lessness his joyous demeanour a secret fire of rest- began to burn —an expectancy of some- thing yet to come which should put the touch of perfection on his life.THE LOST WORD felt as if there were something it all. There is a depth of joy that we have is still not yet known —a repose of happiness that 239 . he knew not what.

unspoken. it." let us take the boy with us. There is something that undone. "I." she answered. like the king who cast his signet-ring into the sea be- cause he dreaded that some secret vengeance would fall on his unbroken good fortune. I think I know of what it means. this burden. and give Hermas lifted the child in his arms. There fect no per- joy without gratitude. Can you not lead me to it "Yes. Then we shall be perfectly joined in perfect joy. It like being dumb with a heart full of love. have felt it. and turned with Athenais into the depth of the garden. this need. That was an idle terror.THE BLUE FLOWER beyond us. lifting her eyes to his face. unfelt —something ?" we need to complete everything. But we have never it. What is it? I have no superstitions. Come. thanks. There 240 . the music of happiness. It is gratitude —the language is is the heart. We must find the word for and say it together. Hermas. too. this unsatisfied longing. But there is something that oppresses me still like an invisible burden. my dear lord. learned and the want of it troubles us. Have you not too ? felt it.

the double in the "Fair is kingdom of day and night. the sea. with its its mani- and meaning. They stood there. ping light of "Fairer fold music still is life in our breasts. in the glow of morn- shadow of evening. half-speaking and half-chant- ing. ing. silently the shadows gathered at their feet. face downward in the grass. The very breath of being paused. Silently spires the roseate light caressed the tall of the cypress-trees. among the luxuriant flow- A fallen image lay beside it. the boy drowsily resting on his father's shoulder. hand in hand. the sky. The tones of Hermas were clear and low as he began. and under the dripstars. "Fairer and still more fair is love. silently the tranquil stars looked out from the deepening arch of heaven. that its draws us together. and bears 241 . mingles our lives in flow. the supreme moment of felicity wait- ing for its crown. It was the hour of culmination. with wonder of seeing and hearing and feeling and knowing and being.: THE LOST WORD was a dismantled shrine of some forgotten fashion of worship half-hidden ers. in the rhythm of an ancient song the world.

for the world. we praise. Deepest of all our love. He looked for a face. and longs to speak. "Come. reflecting the stars in its bosom. we have is all things. thou charm of peace Open the gates of our hearts. thou crown of ! speech Come. headlong from the sky. for all perfect gifts. and clasped vacancy.THE BLUE FLOWER them along like a river. "Wide is our world. Lift the weight of our joy and bear it upward. struck by an arrow. for love. He sought for a hand. thou ! final word. a hollow space. swung to side to side as if it would burst but not a single note came from it. falls fell. Come. we bless. the and fro within him. "For all good gifts. for life. His heart was bell throbbing and swelling with passion. we are rich. that had 242 . beating from . and saw a void. All the fulness of his feeling. we thank—" As a soaring bird. strong and clear and swift. Life abundant within us is —a measureless it deep. so the song of Hermas At the end of his flight of gratitude there was nothing —a blank.

inexplicable transformation. Golden Ever}'thing moved as smoothly. His felicity was a closed a wall "Let us go back. "the child is heavy upon my shoulder. it to him. as hard as frozen and dead. No of one had sent it. thank for ice. as prosperously. as cold as snow. sense A vague discontent. There was no one to circle. as before. a incompleteness. and go into the The air grows chilly. as delicately. No outward change came to the House of the Pillars." And in the garden it was already night. But in- wardly there was a subtle. There was no meaning in his happiness. is We were mistaken. is The gratitude of life only a dream. final and inevitable of overshadowed existence realised that his from that night when Hennas joy could never go beyond 243 itself. . empty sky. There no one to thank.THE LOST WORD risen upward like a fountain. We will lay him to sleep." he said sadly to Athenai's. fell back from the hail. library.

In his presence Hermas was conscious of a certain irritation. that seemed to mock at reverence. as he called himself. There was a the inscrutable smile of Marcion. like a pair of spies. Hermas could not but make him welcome. and entered like an invited guest. peering out over the smiling mouth and the long white beard. and at first he tried to regard affection as the one him with reverence and through whom fortune had chill in come. as he had been sent for. interested. ready to supply anything that might be needed for its completion. But it was impossible. looking curiously to see it how would continue. a resentful anger against the calm. an anatomist of long it life. and how would act. but thor- oughly indifferent to the feelings of the subject. 244 . after the heart had been removed. He was in the house as one watching a strange experiment tranquil.— THE BLUE FLOWER The next morning seen in the Grove of the old man whom he had Daphne. apif peared mysteriously at the door of the house. frigid scrutiny of the eyes that followed him everywhere. but never since.

"something familiar. foolish. one morning. as they library." answered Marcion . is nothing in is my life What the se- cret?" "Nothing more than the wish to have are growing tired wearies you." "You are jesting with me. I sus- pect you of keeping a secret from me." "And what is that?" "A man singular likeness to a discontented young that I met some years ago in the Grove of Daphne. The play to try a That is Do you want new part?" The question was like a mirror upon which one comes suddenly in a half-lighted room." "But why should that was to be expected. one.THE LOST WORD "Why the do you look at me so curiously?" asked sat Hermas. see Besides." interest you? Surely it "A we thing that we expect often surprises us when it. together in "Do you see anything strange in me?" "No. There that you do not know. my curiosity is piqued. 245 A quick . You of your bargain.

tried and it. There ing rich. at the best could not be very long. Thousat- sands of isfied." From that day Hermas seemed to be possessed with a perpetual haste. "You are right. well-dressed. is nothing original in be- and well-fed. That would be the only fatal mistake: to forfeit anything of the bargain that he had made." is mark "It well said. the highest possible point of felicity. and the passer-by is start- by the look of his own face. It was madness to lose a day. We have been going on stupidly in nothing were possible but what this house. The summit of life had been attained. 246 . as if my father had done before me.THE BLUE FLOWER illumination falls on led it. "I am tired. an uneasiness that left him no repose. "you are a speaking again like man loss after my own heart. men have and have not been Let us do something new. Hencefor- ward the course could only be at a downward. an hour." nodded the old man. It level —perhaps it might be brief. Let us make a in the world. There is no folly but the of an opportunity to enjoy a new sensation." said Hernias.

and filled them with envious admiration. Under den his learned counsel the House of the Gol- Pillars took on a new magnificence. and Marcion should help him to find them.THE LOST WORD He would have it. He sent bought a tract of land alds were discovered in the Caucasus. Banquets of incredible luxury drew the most celebrated guests into its triclinium. and enjoy it all to the full. and hold it. Its fame glittered around the world. He a fleet of wheat-ships to Italy. flies gorgeous moths of pleasure and of appetite. The bees hive. and emer- among the mountains. crowds of inquisitive danced and fluttered in the dazzling light that surrounded Hermas. parasites and flatterers and idlers. swarmed and buzzed about the golden The human greedy insects. He sought favour with the emperor. and the price of it grain doubled while political was on the way. Everything that he touched prospered. Artists were brought from Corinth and dria to adorn it Rome and Alexan- with splendour. but surely had many things that were new. The world might have nothing it better to it give than had already given . and was re- 247 .

beside circus. That year another drop of success fell into his horses. "Beautiful as the son of Hermas" developed swiftly in for child that favouring clime. score of rivals. the new Fortunatus. 248 . add the to it. His brown head was on a level with his father's heart. brimming cup. His black Numidian he which had been training for the world-renowned chariot-races of Antioch. even under the inexplicable shade of dissatisfaction that sometimes veiled it. but grew more perfect. He was the jewel of the House of the Golden Pillars. the pride of Hermas. and turned to drive once more around the people. firm of limb and clear of eye. lost The beauty of Athenais nothing with the passing seasons. won the victory over a Hermas received the prize carelessly from the judge's hands. was a proverb in Antioch and soon men began to . to show himself to the He lifted the eager boy into the chariot him to share his triumph.THE BLUE FLOWER warded with the governorship of the city. At nine years of age he was straight and strong. His name was a word to conjure with. "Fair as the wife of Hermas" .

left rein broke. touching his arm. swinging the chariot it sideways with a grating noise. and balancing himself chariot. little Hermas. his brighter counterpart carved in breathing ivory. and the chariot was dragged onward. clinging to the unbroken rein. proudly on the swaying floor of the As the horses pranced around the ring. was the glory of his life — this matchless son. The axle struck the ground. By But a strenuous effort Hermas kept his place on the frail platform. a filled great shout of applause the amphitheatre. and plunged upon the The They swerved to the right.THE LOST WORD Here. master of success! Hail. They dashed bits. rocking and staggering. startled the horses. the swift of innumerable garments in the air. and dashing against the stone parapet of the arena. their salutations and thousands of spectators waved of praise: "Hail. fortunate Hermas. indeed. In an instant the wheel was shattered. prince of good luck!" The sudden tempest fluttering of acclamation. violently forward. the boy was tossed lightly from his side at the 249 .

At last they opened. now sinking in weariness dull moaning. no bloom. But in the heart of Hermas there was no song. he was lying a broken flower on the sand. no light—only 250 speechless an- . The stars shone and faded. rising in shrill calls of distress helpless house. folded close like lily-buds at night. even as one watches for the morning. but the eyes. the . Hermas watched the white eyelids. VI They carried the boy in a litter to the House of the Golden Pillars. the birds sang and slept among the jasmine-bowers. For hours the child was as quiet as death. sun rose and set the roses bloomed and fell in the garden. summoning the most skilful physician of Antioch to attend him. His head struck the wall.THE BLUE FLOWER first shock. And when like Hernias turned to look for him. Hour after hour that sweet childish voice rang halls ihrough the and chambers of the splendid. now and and senseless laughter. fire of fever was burning in the and the lips were moving in a wild delirium.

bed as he could not bear to be away from now turning back near it. and scented the gloom with close odours of decay. were unrenewed. A a costly manuscript of Theocritus floor. he was impotent to stay or to escape He had done all that he could. as if he could not endure to be The people of the house. The unfilled lamp had gone out. feared to speak to him.THE LOST WORD guish. At nightfall on the second of those eternal days he shut himself in the library. There was nothing left but to wait. even Athenai's. now hurrying to the boy's it. with which the room was sprinkled every day. lation. but it. He saw the shapeless terror that was moving toward him. there was something so vacant and desperate in his face. He paced to and if fro. The sprigs of mignonette and rosemary. leaving a trail of smoke in the air. and a certain fearful looking-for of deso- He was like a man in a nightmare. Through the darkness some one . was into tumbled in disorder on the a chair ing is Hermas sank like man in whom 251 the very spring of be- broken.

a cry. Unless a change comes he cansunrise. He has just fallen asleep. He did not even lift his head. kneeling beside him and speaking very low: "Hermas voice calls — it is almost over — the child! His grows weaker hour by hour. A hand touched him. Is there not last Is there nothing we can do? Is there call. He moans and The for some one to help him. moon is rising now. then he laughs. let no power that can save him? no us one to pity us and spare us? Let us beg for compassion and help. without effort. this was what he wanted — this was the only thing that could bring relief: to pray. It was Athenai's. life!" let us pray for his Yes. How an could he let his boy suffer and die. a prayer? 252 . to find a greater cling to it strength than his own and and plead for mercy and help. To leave this it undone was to be false to his manhood.THE BLUE FLOWER drew near. It breaks my till heart. to pour out his sorrow somewhere. a soft arm was laid over his shoulders. was to be no better than the dumb beasts when their young perish.

the child! Spare the child's life. the child. dislodged floor. it would have helped is all us. lifting Athenais with him. Long ago But it I knew something. A roll of papy- by his touch. if I this hour. The heart of Hermas was like a lump of ice in his bosom. He felt the cool hardness of the polished stone beneath his fingers. touched the marble table. "Out of the depths for pity. He rose slowly to his feet. faint and far off. child is — out of the depths is we call The light of our eyes fading — the dying. Oh. "there is nothing for I think it. rus. and approached hesitatingly." he said. stretched out in supplication. 253 . But I have forgotten all It gone. in this could bring back again now. — Not a word only that deathly blank.THE LOST WORD He sank on his knees beside Athenai's." A slave entered the room while he was speaking. I would give that I have. us to do. fell rustling to the Through the open door. moving cautiously. "It is in vain. at time of our bitter trouble. The hands of Hermas. came the footsteps of the servants. thou merciful .

We are poor." he said. has come again. we are house. Marcion. 254 — . in us. while the lips. passionately." answered Hermas. with disdainful eyes and sneering taunting the unbidden guest. whom we were forbidden to admit to the house." "It is true. I have come you because I have heard that you are in trouble. "we are cursed.a THE BLUE FLOWER if Master. He would take no denial." "Come. there no one that can help knew something long ago. "let us go to In the central hall the two men were standing. I all destitute. when I was with you. wondering slaves looked on in dismay." said Hermas to him. is In all this the world. "My to son. quiet. silent. we are afflicted. He lifted his searching gaze to the hag- gard face of Hermas. seeking to turn him away. desperate trouble. I knew that I should see you again. John." his wife. even though you did not send for me. "John of Antioch. is and the old man Marcion with him. patient. in trouble. trouble ac- Our child is dying. Even now he waits in the peristyle.

lost. I prom- him wealth and pleasure and fame. ised young man parted with bargained with it of his own He me cleverly. rang clear." He "What byter? pointed to Marcion. is like a trumpet. Besides. The old man's lips curled scornfully. describe their own dreams and Who would go about to rob any one of such a thing It is as that? a prize that only a fool would think of taking. a name which none is shall dare to take in There a name which none can lose with- out being tremble. a name!" he sneered* that. be still!" The voice of John hall. A thing of a thing that men make to fancies. But I have lost it I gave it to this man. a name. through the "There vain. the free will. which was a "Servant of demons. hope. What did he give in return? burden — An empty name. O most wise man and holy Presair. before I speak it!" Marcion shrank into the shadow of one of the pillars. There is a name at which the devils Go quickly. — in which we might have found it.THE LOST WORD word. is "A word. A lamp near him tottered on 255 its pedestal . He has taken away from me forever.

wilderness. the may forget Him. or heart has conceived. sent me this night. seeks us in the though we wander far from Him. death no refuge. In the confusion he vanished. existence no peace.THE BLUE FLOWER and fell with a crash. blessed my cold son. name of Him who." agony in the breast of The Hennas dis- 256 . and keeps hope alive forever. Without it the world has no meaning. John turned as he said: to Hernias. The word with which you parted so lightly is the keyword of all life. It is the word that purifies love. and his tone softened "My son. you have sinned deeper than you know. and sent His Son. It is the most precious word that ever ear has heard. even as His Son has again that forgotit. as noiselessly as a shade. listen with all your soul to the name of God our Father. to breathe ten name in the heart that is perishing without Listen. never forgets pities us as name of Him who the you pity your suffering child. the name of Him who. It the name of Him who has given us all life and breath and things richly to enjoy. and comforts grief. is or mind has known. though we us.

Thou hast given. ering flower of human love raised its He stood upright. for it came — the voice of the child. my Father. the life of this my child.THE LOST WORD solved like a fragment of ice that melts in the sum* mer sea. "Out of the depths have Lord! I cried unto Thee. my Father i" deep hush followed the cry. My God. "Listen!" whis- A pered Athenai's. take not Thy gift away from me. his him from head to The lost wa% found. wak- ing from sleep. dew of peace fell on parched soul. breathlessly. clear and low. O my God. and lifted his hands high toward heaven. for my soul trusteth in Thee. A sense of sweet release spread through foot. be merciful to me. The and the withhead again. and calling: "Father!" . my God! Spare O Thou God. Was again it an echo? It could not be.

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THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE .

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steep hill-sides bloom- ing with mystic forget-me-not where the glow of the setting sun cast long shadows down their east- ern slope. deepest gentian bending overhead . violet to the west. diffused — through the air. steel-blue all. an arch of clearest. by Charles Scribner's Sons .THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE I JL HE day before Christmas. as if earth selves to and sky were hushing them- hear the voice of the river faintly mur-. conscious stillness. there was silence at the sun- set hour. eager. All day long there had been a strange and joyful riosity stir among the nuns. valley. muring down the In the cloister. den the walls of the to the east. too. in the centre of the aerial garcloister of Pfalzel. silence over gentle. 1897. A breeze of cucorri- and excitement had swept along the Copyright. Broad snow-meadows glistening white along the banks of the river Moselle. in the year of our Lord 722.

never satisfied with ease and comfort. whose name in the Boniface. Nothing would content him but to into the wild go out heathen. he had refused a bishopric at the court of King Karl. and along the borders of Saxony. sleeping under the trees. A famous vis- had come to the convent. now there. . but. a daring priest a venturesome pilgrim. woods and preach to the Through the forests of Hesse and Thuringia. wonderful scholar. even though they had chosen him as the abbot . What a man he was ! Fair and slight.THE BLUE FLOWER dors and through every quiet itor cell. was Winfried of England. but as straight as a spear and strong 262 an oaken staff. and It Roman tongue was the Apostle of whom men called Germany. a all. a of romance. now here. He had left his home and his fair estate in Wes- sex. always in love with hardship and danger. he would not stay in the rich monastery of Nutescelle. with a handful of companions. more than traveller. he had wandered for years. crossing mountains and marshes. A great preacher.

to hear the pilgrim's story. of dark altars of heathen gods. The little novices had gathered around him. bloody sacrifices. clean and kind. Too well they knew 263 the truth of . What cles tales he had told that day! Not of mirarelics. entranced in ad- miration.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE His face was still young. though he knew much of these things. and black nights in the lonely forest. twining their arms about one another's shoulders and holding closely together. His gray eyes. wrought by sacred not of courts and councils and splendid cathedrals. and weird. and narrow escapes from murderous bands of wandering savages. The older nuns had turned from their tasks and paused. of perils by fire and flood. in passing by. half in delight. of wolves and bears. half in fear. the smooth skin was bronzed by wind and sun. and their eyes bright their faces had grown pale and as they listened with parted lips. and fierce snowstorms. ventures. flashed like fire when he spoke of his ad- and of the evil deeds of the false priests with whom he contended. But to-day he had spoken of long journeyings by sea and land.

looking a princess indeed. daughter of King Dagobert. with veils pure and fair faces . the double row of nuns. But now were over . the excitements of that wonderful day the hour of the evening meal had come the inmates of the cloister were assembled in the refectory. with its dark-brown and beams. At her right hand was the honoured guest. and a snowy veil resting like a crown on her silver hair. Many a one had a brother far away in the wild country to whom if her heart went out night and still day.. in her purple tunic. On the dais sat the stately Abbess Addula. Many a one among them had seen the smoke rising from the ruins of her father's roof. shadowy haU. and at her left hand her grandson. The rafters their long. wondering he were among the living. the ruddy glow of the slanting sunbeams striking upward through the tops of the windows and painting a pink glow 264 . just returned from school. the young Prince Gregor. a big. THE BLUE FLOWER what he spoke. manly boy. with the hood and cuffs of her long white robe trimmed with ermine.

"It is the turn of my grandson to read to-day. "we shall see how much he has learned in the school. and we have 265 . —the passage where he The young voice describes the preparation of the Christian as a warrior arming for battle. "it was taught me by the masters at Treves. Winfried listened smiling.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE high up on the walls. without slip or stumbling. — it was all as beautiful as a and as silent. is the place in the book marked. and the marked place was in the letter of St. my son. Gregor. rang out clearly. rolling the sonorous words." said the abbess to Winfried. It was a copy of Jerome's version of the Scriptures in Latin. "Un- derstandest thou what thou readest?" "Surely. Read. to the end of the chapter. father. Paul to the Ephesians. For this was the rule of the sit in stillness that at the table all should while." answered the boy. while the rest listened." said he. cloister. for a little and then one should read aloud. "That was bravely read. picture." The lad rose from his seat and turned the pages of the manuscript. as the reader paused.

" he cried. And fighting I know. give us again the message of the warrior and armour and all his battle. for I have read of in Virgil and the an- 266 . and the life of warriors and it heroes. my son. so that can understand it. read for me. love the sound of the words. for it likes my grandmother designs me. that was not When we God what pray. But Winfried stopped him with a ing of the hand. I cannot see the meaning though I I know. so that almost I know it by heart.THE BLUE FLOWER read this epistle from beginning to end. speech. my it father. we speak to God. speaks to us. Religion faith. came around to Winfried's book. "and plain. turning as if to Then he began away from the page show his skill. and the doctrines of our and the which life of priests and nuns in the cloister. stammered. bringing the "Take the book. I ask whether thou hast heard He his has said to thee in the common Come." The boy hesitated. blushed. then he seat. in the mother- tongue. friendly lift- "Not so. When we read. my meaning. though me little." to repeat the passage.

or what of armour for a clerk in holy orders. "lest they should be weary.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE cients. But how the two need there is together. So Winfried took the book and closed ing the boy's hand with his own. Treves and I would fain taste for it likes me much." A sign from the abbess. ebbed away down the corridors the three at the head of the table were room. and heard a bit from the more of lives fit soldiers at it. I am sure it is thou. left alone in the darkening Then Winfried began of the soldier into the to translate the parable realities of life. clasp- "Let us first dismiss the others to their vespers. a murmuring of sweet voices and a soft rustling of many feet over the rushes on the floor. He spoke of the combat with 267 self." said he. At every turn he knew how light into the picture out of his to flash a new own experience." it. I can never see. for if there a man in all the world that knows it. Tell is me the meaning. a chanted benediction. and of the . the gentle tide of noise flowed out through the doors and .

Gods they were not. in putting bet- hem to flight with the sword of truth? What ter adventure could a brave man ask than to go forth against them. Gods. rulers of the darkness. a nest among the branches of a great tree shaken still by the winds. and wrestle with them. haven on the edge of a tem- And this is what religion means for 268 ." said Winfried. a pestuous sea. in daring their J anger under the shield of faith. and conquer them? "Look you. my friends. is "how ! sweet and peaceful this convent to-night It is a garden full of flowers in the heart of winter. He spoke for of the demons that men had worshipped centuries in the wilderness. and whose malice they invoked against the stranger who ventured into the gloomy forest.THE BLUE FLOWER wrestling with dark spirits in solitude. they called them. of their riding on and hurling spears of lightning against their foes. but foul spirits of the air. and told weird tales of their dwelling among the im- penetrable branches of the oldest trees and in the caverns of the shaggy the wind-horses hills . Was there not glory and honour in fighting them.

though all the woods are who knows to- what haunts of wrath and cruelty are closed night against the advent of the Prince of Peace? And who shall I tell you what religion means to those are called and chosen to dare. It and to conquer the world for Christ? to It means go against the strongholds of the adversary.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE those who are chosen and called to quietude and prayer and meditation. fighting "Look here. foot. —how a man of the cross is 269 . laced his leg with high about thongs of skin. who knows in the hearts of still? what storms are raving to-night men. and laughed as sudden thought had struck him. and to fight. What helmet is strong enough for this strife save the helmet of salvation? breastplate can What fiery guard a man against these darts but the breastplate of righteousness? What shoes can stand the wear of these journeys but the preparation of the gospel of peace?" "Shoes?" he cried again. if a He thrust out his covered with a heavy cowhide boot. "But out yonder in the wide forest. means to struggle to win an entrance for the Master everywhere.

and worn them ." The boy's eyes sparkled. This called. a woodsman." he said. Yet more than one pair of these have I outworn. 270 . Gregor. broidered with silk I . She shook her head vigorously. have seen the sandals that the monks use on the highroads. laying his brown hand on the youth's shoulder. Better so than in a soft bed with silken coverings. wear the forester's boots with me. if God is gracious to me. Now my hard as iron no rock can cut them. hunter. He turned to his grandmother. a day in the bogs would tear them to shreds. The boots of a warrior.THE BLUE FLOWER shod I have seen the boots of the Bishop of Tours. And die I think. Come. ! —white kid. a — these are my preparation of "Come. that I shall wearing them. a woodsman of the faith. the gospel of peace. thrown away in a single journey. a hunter of the demons. no branches can tear them. and many more shall I outwear ere my journeys are ended. — yes. a subduer of the wilderness. "come. is the life to which we are Be strong in the Lord. feet with the toughest hides. ten pair of them have I worn out and I shoe .

"we were table camped on the bank of the was set for the it The morning meal. "draw not the lad away him to my me side with these wild words. we must go without breakfast." "But the abbess. —"they may fierce pagans of the forest." from help she said. 271 He is . and per- haps starve before we wilderness." said Winfried. flew let could escape from the While they complained. but my comrades cried that was empty. or dash out his brains with their axes. There was food enough and to spare! Never have I seen the righteous forsaken. the provisions were ex- hausted. Winfried "and for a will you take the wood that distaff?" bow to make a "But for him. and up from fall a great pike in the midst of the camp." "Do you asked is fit need him more than the Master does?" . Thy life is too hard He will perish with hunger in the woods. I fear for the child. "Once. I need with my labours. river Ohru." cried the pierce the boy with their ar- rows. nor his seed beg- ging bread. to cheer my old age. a fish-hawk the river with flapping wings." smiling.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE "Nay. father.

not a flower fallen. and laid her hand gently brown hair. too young for the danger and the strife. less than a score of men. A little company of pil- grims." said he. there no horse in the stable to give him. eyes. were travelling 272 ." the grandson of a Gregor looked straight into her "Grandmother. this thou wilt not give me a horse to ride with of God. "I am not sure that he wants to leave is me yet. child in years. She drew close to her side. and he cannot go as king. And if the hero fall early in the bat- he wears the brighter crown. I will go with him afoot. Besides. befits now." "A man tle.THE BLUE FLOWER but a child." man n Two years had passed since that Christmas-eve in the cloister of Pfalzel. not a leaf with- ered." replied Winfried. "but a in spirit. if "dear grandmother." The aged Gregor on his princess trembled a little.

Long marches through the wilderness had stretched his legs and broadened his back. keeping step like a familiar comrade. was the young Prince Gregor. 273 . and on his shoulder he carried an axe. and could make a spray of chips fly around him as he hewed his way through the trunk of a pine-tree. it might not hinder His hunter's boots were crusted with snow. and made a man of His jacket and him in stature as well as in spirit. with his long black robe girt high above his waist. There were no other ornaments of his dress except the bishop's cross hanging on his breast. tall staff in his hand. At the head of the band marched Winfried. with broad. cap were of wolf -skin.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE slowly northward through the wide forest that rolled over the hills of central Germany. Close beside him. He carried a strong. and the silver clasp that fastened his cloak about his neck. Drops of ice sparkled like jewels along the thongs that bound his legs. fashioned at the top into the form of a cross. so that his stride. shining blade. clad in a tunic of fur. He was a mighty woodsman now.

Fierce bears lurked among the rocky passes. and vale. and drawn by two big. . armed with was no child's play. and had not yet learned to fear the face of man. the fetlocks at every step in the Last of all came the rear guard. blowing thick clouds of steam from the their frosty nostrils. The weird woodland. Tiny icicles hung from hairs on their lips. 274. Their flanks were smoking. sombre and covered hill illimitable. in those bows and javelins. loaded with food and the equipage of the camp.THE BLUE FLOWER Behind these leaders followed a pair of teamsters. It days. shaggy horses. and tangled thickets where the lynx and the boar made their lairs. They sank above soft snow. There were wide moors where the wolves hunted in packs as if the devil drove them. —outlaws and sturdy robbers and mad were-wolves and bands of wandering pillagers. table-land and mountain- peak. to cross Europe afoot. The gloomy recesses of the forest gave shelter to inhabitants who were of still more cruel and dangerous than beasts prey. guiding a rude sledge.

swept over the knolls and slopes of land in a mighty ground-swell. so vast. round and gray. so full of endless billows. Gnarled oaks. covered with snow.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE The pilgrim who would pass from the mouth of the Tiber to the mouth of the Rhine must trust in God and keep The travellers his arrows loose in the quiver. rising on the highest ridges into ragged crests. rose in groves like tida] Smooth forests of beech-trees. smooth wake of foam. sea Through this of shadows ran a narrow stream of shining whiteness. in rage. innumerable and monoto- nous. were surrounded by an ocean of it trees. It was as if some great ship had ploughed through the green ocean long it ago. and branches woven together in an unbroken flood of darkest green. with straight. the mul- and firs. But most of titude of pines all. and left behind a thick. with branches twisted and if knotted as waves. crowded through the valleys and over the hills. Along this open track the travellers held 375 . that seemed to be pressing on every side to overwhelm them. like the foaming edge of breakers. —an ancient Roman road. stark trunks.

' And so say I. we and onward now. 'I take no pleasure in the legs of a man. It press will is time to rest. "Nay. If .THE BLUE FLOWER their way. march is done. upon thy For David said only. and the panting of the horses throbbed through the air." said text. and and sleep. my son Gregor. "thou hast tripped. its The sun. The steps of the pilgrims were noiseless. for the hard winter had driven many packs of wolves down from the moors. until we come 276 . he. for I am not minded farther to spare thy legs or mine. shallow arch. dropped behind the if it Darkness followed swiftlv." said Gregor to the leader. who bids us not put confidence in the legs of a man?" Winfried laughed. as had been a bird of prey waiting for this sign to swoop down upon the world. even now. "Father. we can- not see our steps not that be against the to word of the psalmist David. still The pale-blue shadows on the western side of the road grew longer. declining through tree-tops. for the drifts were deep. but the sledges creaked over the dry snow. — heavily. "surely this day's eat. warily.

Thor. is my son. little! is "Courage. and do what must be done this night. Strange things will be seen there. that refreshed them like wine. and the heathen people of the forest are gathered at the thunder-oak of Geismar to worship their god. Winfried turned and spoke to his followers in a cheerful voice. for our camp- ground is not here. and my own heart wearies also for the home in England. will light us presently. and forward yet a The moon plain. brothers. and the snow from the bending branches. and while the to the stroke of the axes. and hew me out fallen across the road. this Draw thy tree that belt tighter. feast to-night. and the path is Well know I that the journey weary. two of to help him. and we will teach our kinsmen to keep a Christmas with us such as 277 . But we sent to lighten their darkness. this But we have work For this is to do before we the Yuletide. and are deeds which make the soul black. where those I love are keeping feast Christmas-eve.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE on our way." the foresters sprang soft fir-wood yielded flew The youth obeyed.

then. Even the horses seemed to take fresh heart. as the following their clew of light through a labyrinth of darkness. and blew the frost from their nostrils as they pushed ahead.THE BLUE FLOWER the woodland has never known. A gate of brightness was opened secretly somewhere in the sky. round moon shone like silver. fringed with alders. and the sound soon died away. behind which a boisterous river ran clashice. There were spaces of meadow-land. until poured over the eastern wall of forest into the road. The merrily through the stringent air . and stiffen up the feeble knees !" A murmur of assent came from the men. ing through spears of Rude houses of hewn logs appeared in the open- 278 . The night grew broader and less oppressive. stars sparkled the small. but they were receding. After a while the road began to open out a little. A drove of wolves howled faintly in the distance. They flat- tened their backs to draw the heavy loads. Forward. little breaths of dreaming wind wandered across the pointed pilgrims toiled bravely onward. Higher and higher it swelled the clear moon-flood. fir-tops.

.The fields around lav bare to the moon.

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Then the group of dwellings. emerged suddenly upon a glade. a larger all and unlighted and beyond. "Here. a giant with contorted arms." 279 . and here the cross of Christ shall break the false hammer of the god Thor. each one casting a patch of inky shadow travellers passed silent upon the snow. and a noise of stamp- ing horses came from the stalls. with many outbuildings and inclosed courtyards. round and level except at the northern side. traversed and climbing to the left. running Then thicket. the road plunged again into a dense it. life. It towered above the heath. three dark very swiftly. They saw no man. from which the hounds bayed furiously. beckoning to the host of lesser trees." cried fried. "here is the Thunder-oak. as his eyes flashed Win- and his hand lifted his heavy staff.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE ings. But there was no other sound of to the moon. they saw a great house. The fields around lay naked that once. except on a path that skirted the farther edge of a meadow. figures passed them. where a hillock was crowned with a huge oak-tree.

and the But to-night these tattered rem- nants of glory were red again: ancient bloodstains against the fire dark -blue sky. fountains of ruby sparks. Not a beam of it sifted through the branches of the oak. flashing of earth. The bright crimson of autumn had long since disappeared.THE BLUE FLOWER III Withered leaves still clung to the branches of the oak: torn and faded banners of the departed summer. pillar of cloud It stood like a between the fire still light of heaven and the crackling. their backs to gathered around the open glade. Seen 280 . their faces toward the oak. ascended through the spreading limbs and flung a illumination fierce upward and around. For an immense in front of the tree. had been kindled Tongues of ruddy flame. pure moonlight that bathed the surrounding forests was quenched and eclipsed here. bleached away by the storms cold. The pale. A it great throng of people were in a half-circle. But his the fire itself was invisible to Winfried and companions.

They will sacrifice a steed to the eat horse-flesh god of war. lifting his it. I heard of it three days ago. It will be at the peril of our least lives if we approach them. "It is the assembly of the tribe. if we would escape death. cross. formless." At his command the sledge was left in the border 281 . black. and drink blood. and to make them strong. At we must hide the cross. it was but thv mys- silhouette of a crowd." cried Winfried. All who swear by been summoned. "for I have come to show its and to make is these blind folk see power." said one of the foresters. terious." "Hide me no staff. and a greater evil to be stayed than the shameful idols. There more to be done here to-night than the slaying of a steed. and took counsel together. vague. "the great night of the council. The travellers paused for a moment at the edge of the thicket. as we passed through one of the old gods have the villages. I have seen it Here the cross must stand and be our rede.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE against that glowing background. eating of meat sacrificed to in a dream.

solemn. white. a thou- sand eyes were bent upon the speaker. white. with the shimmer of silver ornaments and the purity of lamb's-wool. for the multitude were looking intently toward the at the foot of the oak." Swiftly. ye sons A stranger claims the warmth of your fire in the winter night. and as with a single motion. but white.THE BLUE FLOWER of the wood. white. "Hail. Then. as they looked round the curving ranks. middle. White. the glittering byrnies of the warriors standing in close ranks . the robes of the women clustered together at the points of the wide crescent. circle The semi- opened silently in the . Winfried entered with his followers it closed again behind them. with two of the men to guard the rest of the it. they saw that the hue of the assemblage was not black. radiant. Then Winfried's of the forest ! voice rang out. They approached unnoticed. and company moved forward across the all fire open ground. — dazzling. the raiment of a little group of chil- 282 . the fur mantles of the aged men who held the central palace in the circle.

"welcome. figure untouched by the glow was the Hunrad. kins- man. "Your kinsman am of the German brother- hood. whose servant I am." "Welcome. Canst thou work miracles ?" 283 . vanish- ing tinge of blood on snow. fire who and advanced slowly "Who seek are you? Whence come you." answered Winfried. with awe . and be silent . unless. the faces of all all who looked at them and the flickering. then. and what you here?" I. and a message from the AllFather. spectral robe.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE dren who stood close by the fire. and must be done before the moon the middle heaven. dancing radiance of the flames played and glimmered like a faint. beyond the sea. and dead-pale face. flowing hair and beard. have I come to bring you a greet- ing from that land." said Hunrad. for what passes here is too high crosses to wait. with his long. stood with his back to the to meet the strangers. thou hast some sign or token from the gods. white. indeed. The only old priest. "and from England. and over fear.

long since the roots of his its its holy tree have been fed with blood. "Stand then. though I have heard of many has given no power to longs to ." still. This night the great Thor. thou common man. scornfully. miracles have I never wrought. is whom this oak is grieved for the death of Baldur.THE BLUE FLOWER The question came sharply. Therefore leaves have withered before the time. but the All-Father my hands save such as be- common man. and this people because they angry with his worship. This night the death-night of the sun-god. and boughs are heavy with death. of and mighty fear. This night is the hour sacrifice of darkness and the power of winter. beloved of gods and men." said Hunrad. Baldur the Beautiful. have forsaken Long is it since an offering has been laid upon his altar. "and behold what the gods is have called us hither to do. as if a sudden gleam of hope had flashed through the tangle of the old priest's mind. the to god of thunder and war. But Winfried's voice sank lower and his face as a cloud of disappointment passed over he replied: "Nay. sacred. Therefore the Slavs 284 .

O Mighty and Spare us from smiting/ Heave not thy hammer. against us . Tkor.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE and the Wends have beaten us the harvests have failed. we send 285 . the Thunderer? merciless. and the wood of the spear has broken. are not these things true? " A hoarse sound of approval ran through the circle. and the strength has departed from the bow. ye people. in all our Answer me. Angry. Therefore and the wolf-hordes have ravaged the folds. and the wild boar has slain the huntsman. in which the voices of the men and women trees blended. rose and fell in rude cadences. like the shrill wind in the pine- above the rumbling thunder of a waterfall. Take from our treasure Richest Silver of ransom. Therefore the plague has fallen on our dwellings. Plague not thy people. and the dead are more than the living villages. A chant. thee. in battle.

lifted his face Then he and spoke. The old priest stood silent for a moment. Mighty. these "None of things will please the god. Sheep will we slaughter. Smite us no more. Strong wood of wonder. we proffer. Steeds will we sacrifice. His shaggy brows swept down over his eyes like ashes quenching flame. have mercy. Bright blood shall bathe thec^ tree of Thunder. Priceless. Spare us. costly is the offering that shall cleanse your shall send more precious the crimson dew that 286 . Thorf Thcrt With two great stillness shouts the song ended. All our possessions. More sin. and b followed so intense that the crackling of the fire was heard distinctly. Spare us and save us. Goodliest garments. Life-floods shall lave thee.THE BLUE FLOWER Jewels and javelins.

The priest's hand was laid upon in his The boy turned and looked up face. slender and quick. "Here. Bernhard. wilt thou halla. and most intent on the pretty game. with his voice vibrating as when a thick rope is strained is by a ship the chosen swinging from her moorings. to bear a message to Thor?" The boy answered. "here one. Foremost among them. Thor claims your dearest and your noblest gift. and did not notice now that he approached them. priest. the eldest son of the Chief. go to Val- where the heroes dwell with the gods. with blithe brown eyes and laughing his shoulder. Hearken. the darling of the people. Jfe 287 . I will go if my father bids me. ir swift and clear: 'Yes.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE new life into this holy tree of blood." said the old man. so eager were they to see which fiery snake would go highest among the oak branches." Hunrad moved nearer to the fire group of chil- dren who stood watching the and the swarms of spark-serpents darting upward. They had heeded none of the priest's words. lips. was a boy like a sun- beam.

pushed the golden hair from her forehead with one hand. for the way is long. the Chieftain Gundhar. The other dragged at the silver chain about her flesh. my Prince.THE BLUE FLOWER it far away ? Shall I run quickly ? the wolves?" Must I take m v bow and arrows for The ing boy's father. and leaned so heavily on the handle of his spear that the wood cracked. drew his breath deep. Yet no one spoke save Hunrad: "Yes. both bow and spear shalt thou have. A mur sigh passed through the crowd. Irma. And his wife. For I am Gunhar's son. and the defender of my folk. neck until the rough links pierced her the red drops fell and unheeded on her breast.wolf. But in darkness thou must journey for a little space. nor the were. "neither dark- nor the great bear." 888 . and thou art a brave huntsman." said the boy. like the mur of the forest before the storm breaks. and with eyes blindfolded. bending forward from the ranks of women. fear I. standhis among bearded warriors. Fearest thou?" "Naught ness.

It poised for an instant above the child's fair head— death cruel and imminent. .

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Summoning ered arms. One keen cry stood : shrilled out from where the women !" "Me ! take me ! not Bernhard The flight of the mother toward her child was swift as the falcon's swoop. The old man stooped to lift a black hammer of stone from the ground. fche But swifter still was hand of the deliverer. and bade him kneel beside the stone with his face to the east.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE Then the priest led the child in his raiment of fire. Win- moved noiselessly until he stood close behind the priest. — the sacred hammer of the god Thor. Unconsciously the wide arc of spectators drew in- ward toward the centre. lamb's-wool to a broad stone in front of the He his gave him his little bow tipped with steel. silver. he all the strength of his withair. and spear with shining head of He bound the child's eyes with a white cloth. It swung it high in the poised for an instant above the child's fair head —then turned to fall. as the ends of the is bow draw together when the cord fried stretched. Winfried's heavy staff thrust mightily against 289 .

uncertain whether to turn to the right or the left. The The flames leaped As the shout died away the people saw the lady Irma. Even so Winf ried's bold deed fell into the midst of the thoughts and passions of the council. pausing in their flow. from the old man's grasp. with her arms clasped round her child. dash high against the rock. split in twain. with divided im- pulse. IV A swift mountain-flood rolling down hill-side its channel. reverence and joy and confusion surged through the crowd. Winfried. on the altar-stone. foaming and murmuring. and the black striking on the altar's edge.THE BLUE FLOWER the hammer's handle as it fell. higher. A shout of awe and joy rolled along the living branches of the oak shivered. and above them. circle. his face shining like the face of an angel. Anger and wonder. They were at a standstill. Sideways it glanced stone. 290 . a huge rock tumbling from the and falling and con- in mid-stream: the baffled waters broken fused.

die. bring the chieftain's in his Nay. and The angry fell like voices clashed against each other opposing waves. the gods must be appeased. Keep silence now. on the oak rustled and whisfire The flared and sank again. but none are agreed. Let the sacrifice go forward. There is no voice of the council. and gave his "All have spoken. . whether he to live or to die.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE Thej knew not which way to move: to resent the intrusion of the stranger as an insult to their gods. and slay it stead. The old priest crouched by the altar.' ?> 291 . Conflicting counsels troubled the air. Then the chieftain Gundhis spear har struck the earth with decision. the boy must not best horse . or to welcome him as the rescuer of their prince. The withered pered overhead. it will be enough the holy so. there is tree loves the blood of horses. Not a better counsel yet seize the stranger whom make the gods have led hither as a victim his life and pay the leaves forfeit of his daring. His words shall give us is judgment. silent. and let the stranger speak.

who forest. translating into the speech of the people. and began to read. Bow your hearts to his teaching. tongue of the Romans . that he may teach you the only true lead faith. There magic Listen!" Winfried went on to read the it letter. and to you back from the ways of error the path of salvation. on a golden throne. sanctae • et individuae Trmitatis. and appointed him your bishop. of your Depart from 292 evil works. drew a roll of parchment from his bosom. the sacred is the tongue wise that heard and understood is by the in it. but for the gain souls. and baptise you. "We have sent unto you our Brother Boniface. Worship . men of every land. to the people of the Hessians and Thuringians. amen!" A "It murmur is of awe ran through the crowd. "A sits letter from the great Bishop of Rome.THE BLUE FLOWER Winfried lifted himself high upon the altar. Franks and Saxons. In nomin Domini. Hearken to him in like all tilings a father. He comes not for earthly gain.

The dignity of the words imposed mightily upon the hearts of the people." said Gundhar. "Not a drop of blood shall to-night.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE not the false gods. "Tell us. strong. Offer no more bloody sacrifices. and this is the counsel." anfall swered Winfried. then. was a splendid message: proud. Not a life shall be blotted out in the darkness to-night but the great shadow of the tree which hides you from the light of heaven shall be swept away. save that which pity has drawn from the breast of your princess. the Almighty King of Heaven. quieted as They were men who have listened to a lofty strain of music." It ful. for they are devils. Build a house for him that he you. "what is the word that thou bringest to us from the Almighty ? is What thy counsel for the night of sacrifice?" is tribes of the woodland on this "This the word. nor eat the flesh of horses. For 293 . but do as our Brother Boniface commands you. peaceloving. and a church where you ers to the only living may dwell among may offer your pray- God. in love for her child.

ly. Since He has come to earth the bloody sacrifice must cease. thine and one for me. Carefully they felt the ground with their feet. Will you serve brothers. son of the All-Father. thy craft! The king-tree of the forest must and swiftly. their heads bare. troubled voice of assent rose from the throng. is dead. "Bring the axes. one on each side of the oak. is and Saviour of mankind. Fairer He than Baldur the Beautiful. or all is lost !" The two men took their places facing each other. kinder than Freya the Good. His power in the world a helpless god? See. The dark Thor. Now. broken. stirred uneasily. tree his oak. in the shades of Niffelheim he is is lost forever.THE BLUE FLOWER this is the birth-night of the white Christ. on whom Deep T } ou vainly call. lifted his The people Women covered their Hunrad ! head and muttered hoarse! "Thor take vengeance Thor !" Winfried beckoned to Gregor. seeking a firm grip of the 294 . Their cloaks were flung aside. young woodsman. show fall. greater than Odin the Wise. my you call this Does he dwell here? Does he protect it?" A eyes.

whirling wind passed over the tree- tops. Firmly they grasped the axe-helves and the shining blades. sweeping through the air to destroy their foes? A strong. the great wonder of Winfried's life came to Out of the stillness of the winter night. like fierce circling about their quarry. There was a shuddering in the branches. The huge trunk quivered.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE earth. glit- eagles The broad flakes of wood flew from the deepen- ing gashes in the sides of the oak. It gripped the oak by 295 its branches and tore . "art thou angry? Thus we smite thee!" "Tree - god !" answered Gregor. a mighty rushing noise sounded overhead. The axe-heads tered in their rhythmic flight. swung "Tree-god!" cried Winfried. ringing wood. "art thou mighty? Thus we fight thee!" Clang! clang! the alternate strokes beat time upon the hard. with their black hounds of wrath and their arrows of lightning. Was it the ancient gods on their white battle- steeds. Then pass.

Then he turned to the people. "Here is the tim- ber. Peter. groaning and crashing as it split asunder in four great pieces. with no upon it." said he. it Take it up go and carry to the chieftain's hall. with laughter and songs and of love. like a ruined tower. Backward it fell.THE BLUE FLOWER it from the roots. the tree of the Christ-child. "And fir-tree. "already felled and split for your new building. here. amid the divided ruins of the fallen oak. and bowed his head for a moment in the presence of almighty power. You shall keep rites them at home. You shall no more into the shadows of the forest to keep your feasts with secret rites of shame. with top pointing toward the stars. On this spot shall rise a chapel to the true God and his servant St. Winfried let his axe drop. the day The thunder-oak has is fallen. and I think coming when there 296 shall not be a home ." he cried. that shall be the sign of it your new worship. as his eyes fell on a young its standing straight and green. See how Call it points to the sky. "here stain of blood is the living tree.

When they came to the house of Gundhar. of the babe in the manger. of Gundhar. But the boy Bernhard. and car- in joyous procession to the it edge of the glade." So they took the ried it little fir from its place. and laid their heads on the sledge. The horses tossed their load bravely. of the shepherds on the hills. charmed into stillness. The children encircled wonderthe ing. All the people listened. knee. on Irma's in her soft arms. folded grew restless as the story length- 297 . Then Winfried stood beside the chair hall. and the sweet odour of the balsam filled house. on the dais at the end of the and told the story of Bethlehem. as if the it and drew new burden had made lighter. he bade them throw open the doors of the hall and set the tree in the midst of it.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE in all Germany where the children are not gath- ered around the green fir-tree to rejoice in the birth-night of Christ. full of fire-flies. They kindled lights among the branches until it seemed to be tangled it. of the host of angels and their midnight song.

"see. "Mother. my child. They are singing now behind the tree. when the priest was going to send me to Valhalla?" "Oh. flying over the hills of Judea and singing as they flew. and began to prattle softly at his mother's ear." whispered the boy again. "Oh." answered the mother. your dress is red! What are these stains? Did some one hurt you?" The mother "Dear. Suddenly He put his lips close to Irma's cheek again. listened. "do not speak." whispered the child. be still. the last words of Winfried as he But he heard spoke of the angelic messengers.THE BLUE FLOWER ened. and pressed him closer to her side. mother!" he whispered very low. "why did you cry out so loud. hush. closed his mouth with a kiss. Do you hear them? Those angels have come back again. "Mother. and listen!" The boy obeyed. The child his wondered and dreamed and face grew bright. His eyes were heavy with sleep." 298 . laying finger on the stains his upon her breast.

from heaven to men Begin and never cease. chanting their Christmas- hymn: All glory be to God on high. . but others say his was only Gregor and companions at the lower end of the hall. And on the earth be peace ! Good-will. henceforth.THE FIRST CHRISTMAS-TREE And some that it say that it was true.

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