A PICTURE-BOOK WITHOUT PICTURES 1139
prison wall—where words fail, sounds can often speak. My rays could only light up isolated notes, so the greater part of what was written there will ever remain dark to me. Was it the death-hymn he wrote there ? Were these the glad notes of joy ? Did he drive away to meet his death, or hasten to the embraces of his beloved ? The rays of the Moon do not read all that is written by mortals.'
' I love the children,' said the Moon, ' especially the quite little ones—they are so droll. Sometimes I peep into the room, between the curtain and the window-frame, when they are not thinking of me. It gives me pleasure to see them dressing and undressing. First, the little round naked shoulder comes creeping out of the frock, then the arm ; or I see how the stocking is drawn off, and a plump little white leg makes its appearance, and a little white foot that is fit to be kissed, and I kiss it too.
1 But about what I was going to tell you. This evening I looked through a window, before which no curtain was drawn, for nobody lives opposite. I saw a whole troop of little ones, all of one family, and among them was a little sister. She is only four years old, but can say her prayers as well as any of the rest. The mother sits by her bed every evening, and hears her say her prayers ; and then she has a kiss, and the mother sits by the bed till the little one has gone to sleep, which generally happens as soon as ever she closes her eyes.
I This evening the two elder children Mere a little boisterous. One of them hopped about on one leg in his long white nightgown, and the other stood on a chair surrounded by the clothes of all the children, and declared it was a tableau, and the others were to guess what it was. The third and fourth laid the playthings carefully in the box, for that is a thing that has to be done ; and the mother sat by the bed of the youngest, and announced to all the rest that they were to be quiet, for little sister was going to say her prayers.
II looked in, over the lamp, into the little maiden's bed, where she lay under the neat white coverlet, her hands