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been practicing some steps by herself, which was true. The Willow had her griefs, and she said, “ 'Tis better to sigh than be dancing." The Poplar cried, “ Hem !” and looked serious; he was not quite sure about this dancing. The Rocks were covered with lichens hundreds of years old, and they said,

“ This is very different music from what moved our ancestors. We know about that music; we have reduced it to perfect rules. Keep to the rules and we will dance; not otherwise," and they sat stiff.

Orpheus wept. “Will no one listen ? ” he cried. “The ground is wet with the blood of heroes, and I sing their souls into life.” Once more he touched his lyre and sang with sweeter power. There was a stir in the forest. The shoots that had lately sprung from the earth, miniature trees, having the perfect structure folded in their tiny forms, whirled in the joyous dance.

The rocks that peeped from the soil joined carefully in the movement. The earth trembled with excitement. Above all sounded the clear voice of Orpheus singing to his lyre. He turned away from the old and sang to the new. He sang and the world grew young again; the young shoots sprang up and waved their branches; the flowers opened their

cups, and the sun filled them with golden light; the air was fragrant with music.

A new song had been sung, a new dance had been led, and when all was at the height Orpheus fled; but the world was young again. Will it ever be different ?

BEFORE THE FIRE

“ AS GOOD AS A PLAY.”

THERE was quite a row of them on the mantel-piece. They were all facing front, and it looked as if they had come out of the wall behind, and were on their little stage facing the audience. There was the bronze monk reading a book by the light of a candle, who had a private opening under his girdle, so that sometimes his head was thrown violently back, and one looked down into him and found him full of brimstone matches. Then the little boy leaning against a greyhound; he was made of Parian, very fine Parian too, so that one would expect to find a glass cover over him: but no; the glass cover stood over a cat, and a cat made of worsted too: still it was a very old cat, fifty years old in fact. There was another young person there, young like the boy leaning on a greyhound, and she too was of Parian: she vas very fair in front, but behind, — ah, that is a secret which it is not quite time yet to tell. One other stood there, at least she

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