from multiplying. Yet they boast and believe themselves a prosperous, and certainly are a self-satisfied people—good at bargaining and buying, good at selling and cheating; holding well together for a common interest, and utterly treacherous where interests clash ; proud of their princess and her power, and despising every one they get the better of; never doubting themselves the most honourable of all the nations, and each man counting himself better than any other. The depth of their worthlessness and height of their vainglory no one can understand who has not been there to see, who has not learned to know the miserable misgoverned and self-deceived creatures.'
' I thank you, madam. And now, if you please, will you tell me something about the Little Ones - the Lovers ? I long heartily to serve them. Who and what are they ? and how do they come to be there ? Those children are the greatest wonder I have found in this world of wonders.'
' In Bulika you may, perhaps, get some light on those matters. There is an ancient poem in the library of the palace, I am told, which of course no one there can read, but in which it is plainly written that after the Lovers have gone through great troubles and learned their own name, they will fill the land, and make the giants their slaves.'
' By that time they will have grown a little, will they not ?' I said.
Yes, they will have grown; yet I think too they will not have grown. It is possible to grow and not to grow, to grow less and to grow bigger, both at once— yes, even to grow by means of not growing ! '
' Your words are strange, madam !' I rejoined. 'But