538 THE BOTTLE-NECK
that this was the identical bottle which she had already once seen thrown aloft in honour of her and of her friend on the day of rejoicing in the greenwood, in the time of her youth.
The bottle had no time for thought, for it was quite startled at thus suddenly reaching the highest point in its career. Steeples and roofs lay far, far beneath, and the people looked like mites.
But now it began to descend with a much more rapid fall than that of the rabbit; the bottle threw somersaults in the air, and felt quite young, and quite free and unfettered; and yet it was half full of wine, though it did not remain so for long. What a journey ! The sun shone on the bottle, all the people were looking at it; the balloon was already far away, and soon the bottle was far away too, for it fell upon a roof and broke ; but the pieces had got such an impetus that they could not stop themselves, but went jumping and rolling on till they came down into the courtyard and lay there in smaller pieces yet; only the Bottleneck managed to keep whole, and that was cut off as if it had been done with a diamond.
' That would do capitally for a bird-glass,' said the cellar-man ; but he had neither a bird nor a cage ; and to expect him to provide both because they had found a bottle-neck that might be made available for a glass, would have been expecting too much ; but the old maid in the garret, perhaps it might be useful to her ; and now the Bottleneck was taken up to her, and was provided with a cork. The part that had been uppermost was now turned downwards, as often happens when changes take place ; fresh water was poured into it, and it was fastened to the cage of the little bird, which sang and twittered right merrily.
' Yes, it's very well for you to sing,' said the Bottleneck.
And it was considered remarkable for having been in the balloon—for that was all they knew of its history. Now it hung there as a bird-glass, and heard the murmuring and noise of the people in the street below, and also the words of the old maid in the room within. An old friend had just come to visit her, and they talked—not of the Bottle-neck, but about the myrtle in the window.
■ No, you certainly must not spend two dollars for your