1106 A PICTURE-BOOK WITHOUT PICTURES
the house, with an extensive prospect over the neighbouring roofs. During the first few days I went to live in the town, I felt low-spirited and solitary enough. Instead of the forest and the green hills, I had here only the grey chimneys to look out upon. And I had not then a single friend ; not one familiar face greeted me.
So one evening I stood at the window, in a desponding mood ; and presently I opened the casement and looked out. Oh, how my heart leaped up with joy ! Here was a well-known face at last—a round, friendly countenance, the face of a good friend I had known at home. In fact, it was the Moon that looked in upon me. He was quite unchanged, the dear old Moon, and had the same face exactly that he used to show when he peered down upon me through the willow trees on the moor. I kissed my hand to him over and over again, as he shone straight into my little room ; and he, for his part, promised me that every evening, when he came abroad, he would look in upon me for a few moments. This promise he has faithfully kept. It is a pity that he can only stay such a short time when he comes. Whenever he appears, he tells me of one thing or another that he has seen on the previous night or on that same evening.
'Just paint the scenes I describe to you!'—this is what he said to me—' and you will have a very pretty picture-book.'
I have followed his injunction for many evenings. I could make up a new ' Thousand and One Nights ', in my own way, out of these pictures, but the number might be too great, after all. The pictures I have here given have not been selected, but follow each other, just as they were described to me. Some great gifted painter, or some poet or musician, may make something more of them if he likes ; what I have given here are only hasty sketches, hurriedly put upon the paper, with some of my own thoughts interspersed ; for the Moon did not come to me every evening—a cloud sometimes hid his face from me.
' Last night!—I am quoting the Moon's own words— ' last night I was gliding through the cloudless Indian sky. My face was mirrored in the waters of the Ganges, and my