' Listen!' said the raven, seeming to hold his breath.
I listened, and heard—was it the sighing of a far-off musical wind—or the ghost of a music that had once been glad ? Or did I indeed hear anything ?
' They go there still,' said the raven.
' Who goes there ? and where do they go ? ' I asked.
' Some of the people who used to pray there, go to the ruins still,' he replied. ' But they will not go much longer, I think.'
' What makes them go now ? '
' They need help from each other to get their thinking done, and their feelings hatched, so they talk and sing together; and then, they say, the big thought floats out of their hearts like a great ship out of the river at high water.'
' Do they not pray as well as sing ?'
I No ; they have found that each can best pray in his own silent heart.—Some people are always at their prayers.—Look ! look ! There goes one !'
He pointed right up into the air. A snow-white pigeon was mounting, with quick and yet quicker wing-flap, the unseen spiral of an ethereal stair. The sunshine flashed quivering from its wings.
'I see a pigeon ! ' I said.
' Of course you see a pigeon,' rejoined the raven, ' for there is the pigeon ! ' I see a prayer on its way.—I wonder now what heart is that dove's mother! Some one may have come awake in my cemetery!'
' How can a pigeon be a prayer ? ' I said. I understand, of course, how it should be a fit symbol or likeness for one; but a live pigeon to come out of a heart! '