THE DRYAD 985
laughing and singing, and wreathing red flowers in her black hair.
' Do not go to Paris !' said the old priest. ' Poor child ! if you go there, it will be your ruin ! '
And yet she went.
The Dryad often thought about her, for they had both the same desire and longing for the great city. Spring came, summer, autumn, winter ; two or three years passed.
The Dryad's tree bore its first chestnut blossoms, the birds twittered about it in the lovely sunshine. Then there came along the road a grand carriage with a stately lady ; she, herself, drove the beautiful prancing horses ; a smart little groom sat behind her. The Dryad knew her again, the old priest knew her again, shook his head, and said sorrowfully,
1 You did go there ! it was your ruin ! Poor Marie ! '
' She poor ! ' thought the Dryad. ' Why, what a change ! she is dressed like a duchess ! she became like this in the city of enchantment. Oh, if I were only there in all the splendour and glory ! it even throws a light up into the clouds at night, when I look in the direction where I know the city is.'
Yes, thither, towards that quarter, the Dryad looked every evening, every night. She saw the glimmering mist on the horizon ; she missed it in the bright, moonlight nights ; she missed the floating clouds which showed her pictures of the city and of history.
The child grasps at its picture-book ; the Dryad grasped at the cloud world, her book of thoughts.
The warm summer sky, free from clouds, was for her a blank page, and now for several days she had seen such a sky.
It was the warm summer-time, with sultry days without a breath of air. Every leaf, every flower, lay as in a doze, and men were like that too. Then clouds arose, and that in the quarter where at night the glimmering mist announced, * Here is Paris.'
The clouds arose, forming themselves like a whole mountain range, and scudded through the air, out over the whole landscape as far as the Dryad could see.
The clouds lay like enormous purple rocks, layer on