A PICTURE-BOOK WITHOUT PICTURES 1117
young and fiery. A hare jumped across the road and startled them, and they fairly ran away. The sober old maid, who had for years and years moved quietly round and round in a dull circle, was now, in death, rattled over stock and stone on the public highway. The coffin in its covering of straw tumbled out of the hearse, and was left on the high road, while horses, coachman, and hearse flew off in wild career. The lark rose up carolling from the field, twittering her morning lay over the coffin, and presently perched upon it, picking with her beak at the straw covering, as though she would tear it up. The lark rose up again, singing gaily, and I withdrew behind the red morning clouds.'
I It was a wedding festival,' said the Moon. ' Songs wore sung, toasts were drunk, everything was rich and grand. The guests departed ; it was past midnight. The mothers kissed the bride and bridegroom, and I saw these two alone by themselves, though the curtains were drawn almost quite close. The lamp lit up the cosy chamber. ' I am so glad theyare all gone now, "he said,and kissed her hands and lips, while she smiled and wept, leaning on his breast as the lotus flower rests on the rushing waters, and they spoke soft and happy words. " Sleep sweetly," he said, and she drew the window curtains to one side. " How beautifully the moon shines," she said ; '' look how still and clear it is." Then she put out the lamp, and there was darkness in the room, but my rays beamed even as his eyes did. Womanliness, kiss thou the poet's harp, when he sings of life's mysteries.'
II will give you a picture of Pompeii,' said the Moon. 11 was in the suburb in the Street of Tombs, as they call it, where the fair monuments stand, in the spot where, ages ago, the merry youths, their temples bound with rosy wreaths, danced with the fair sisters of Lais. Now, the stillness of death reigned around. German mercenaries, in the Neapolitan service, kept guard, played cards and