552 THE STONE OF THE WISE MEN
And if one strophe sounded painfully—
Each mortal thinks of himself alone, This truth has been shown, how often !
on the other side the answer pealed forth—
A mighty stream of warmest love All through the world shall bear us.
She heard, indeed, the words—
In the little petty whirl here below, Each thing snows mean and paltry;
but then came also the comfort—
Many things great and good are achieved, That the ear of man heareth never.
And if sometimes the mocking strain sounded around her—
Join in the common cry; with a jest Destroy the good gifts of the Giver,
in the blind girl's heart a stronger voice repeated—
To trust in thyself and in God is best; His will be done for ever.
And whenever she entered the circle of human kind, and appeared among young or old, the knowledge of the true, the good, and the beautiful beamed into their hearts. Whether she entered the study of the artist, or the festive decorated hall, or the crowded factory, with its whirring wheels, it seemed as though a sunbeam were stealing in —as if the sweet string sounded, the flower exhaled its perfume, and a living dew-drop fell upon the exhausted leaf.
But the Evil Spirit could not see this and be content. He has more cunning than ten thousand men, and he found out a way to compass his end. He betook himself to the marsh, collected little bubbles of the stagnant water, and passed over them a sevenfold echo of lying words to give them strength. Then he pounded up paid-for eulogies and tying epitaphs, as many as he could get, boiled them in tears that envy had shed, put upon them rouge he had scraped from faded cheeks, and of these he composed a maiden, with the aspect and gait of the blessed blind girl, the angel of thoroughness ; and then the Evil One's plot