TWELVE BY THE MAIL
: You must not shout so ! ' said the sentry.
' Certainly, I may shout ! ' retorted the man. ' I'm Prince Carnival, travelling under the name of February 1'
The third now got out. He looked like Fasting itself, but carried his nose very high, for he was related to the 1 Forty Knights', and was a weather prophet. But that's not a profitable office, and that's why he praised fasting. In his buttonhole he had a little bunch of violets, but they were very small.
' March ! March !' the fourth called after him, and slapped him on the shoulder. ' Into the guard-room ; there is punch ! I can smell it.'
But it was not true ; he only wanted to make an April fool of him ; for with that the fourth began his career in the town. He looked very jovial, did little work, but had the more holidays.
' Up and down it goes with one's humour !' said he ; ' now rain, now sunshine. I am a kind of house and office-letting agent, also a manager of funerals. I can both laugh and cry, according to circumstances. Here in this box I have my summer wardrobe, but it would be very foolish to put it on. Here I am now ! On Sundays I go out walking in shoes and silk stockings, and with a muff ! '
After him, a lady came out of the carriage. She called herself Miss May. She wore a summer costume and overshoes, a light green dress, and anemones in her hair, and she was so scented with woodruff that the sentry had to sneeze.
' God bless you ! ' she said, and that was her salutation.
How pretty she was ! and she was a singer, not a theatre singer, but a singer of the woods, for she roamed through the gay green forest, and sang there for her own amusement.
' Now comes the young dame !' said those in the carriage.
And the young dame stepped out, delicate, proud, and pretty. It was easy to see that she was Mistress June, accustomed to be served by drowsy marmots. She gave a great feast on the longest day of the year, that the guests might have time to partake of the many dishes at her table. She, indeed, kept her own carriage ; but still she travelled in the mail with the rest, because she wanted to show that she was not high-minded. But she was not