114 THE GOLOSHES OF FORTUNE
certainly not an obvious change, for it is a foolish fancy to imagine a poet different from other people, for among the latter there may be natures more poetical than those of many an acknowledged poet. The difference is only that the poet has a better spiritual memory : he can hold fast the feeling and the idea until they are embodied clearly and firmly in words ; and the others cannot do that. But the transition from an every-day nature to that of a poet is always a transition, and as such it must be noticed in the copying clerk.
' What glorious fragrance ! ' he cried. ' How it reminds me of the violets at Aunt Laura's ! Yes, that was when I was a little boy. I have not thought of that for a long time. The good old lady ! She lived over there behind the Exchange. She always had a twig or a couple of green shoots in water, let the winter be as severe as it might. The violets bloomed, while I had to put warm farthings against the frozen window-panes to make peepholes. That was a pretty view. Out in the canal the ships were frozen in, and deserted by the whole crew ; a screaming crow was the only living creature left. Then, when the spring breezes blew, it all became lively : the ice was sawn asunder amid shouting and cheers, the ships were tarred and rigged, and then they sailed away to strange lands. I remained here, and must always remain, and sit at the police office, and let others take passports for abroad. That's my fate. Oh, yes ! ' and he sighed deeply. Suddenly he paused. ' Good heaven ! what is come to me ? I never thought or felt as I do now. It must be the spring air : it is both charming and agreeable ! ' He felt in his pockets for his papers. ' These will give me something else to think of,' said he, and let his eyes wander over the first leaf. There he read : ' Dame Sigbrith ; an original tragedy in five acts. What is that % And it is my own hand. Have I written this tragedy % The Intrigue on the Promenade; or, the Day of Penance.—Vaudeville. But where did I get that from ? It must have been put into my pocket. Here is a letter. Yes, it was from the manager of the theatre ; the pieces were rejected, and the letter is not at all politely worded. H'm ! H'm ! ' said the copying clerk, and he sat down upon a bench : his