A FAERIE ROMANCE. 213
Come not thou too near the maid,
Clasp her not too wild; Else the splendour is allayed,
And thy heart beguiled.
A crash of laughter, more discordant and deriding than any I had yet heard, invaded my ears. Looking on in the direction of the sound, I saw a little elderly woman, much taller, however, than the goblins I had just left, seated upon a stone by the side of the path. She rose, as I drew near, and came forward to meet me. She was very plain and commonplace in appearance, without being hideously ugly. Looking up in my face with a stupid sneer, she said: " Isn't it a pity you haven't a pretty girl to walk all alone with you through this sweet country ? How different everything would look! wouldn't it? Strange that one can never have what one would like best! How the roses would bloom and all that, even in this infernal hole! wouldn't they, Anodos ? Her eyes would light up the old cave, wouldn't they?"
" That depends on who the pretty girl should be3" replied I.
" Not so very much matter that," she answered; " look here."