FOLLF hARINE II
shapes floated across the cold white surface of the water.
Quaint things, hairy, filmy-winged, swam between her and
the stars. But none of these things had terror for her ;
they were things of the night, with which she felt vaguely
the instinct of kinship.
She was only a little wild beast, they said, the offspring
of darkness, and vileness, and rage and disgrace. And yet,
in a vague imperfect way, the glories of the night, its mys¬
terious and solemn beauty, its melancholy and lustrous
charm, quenched the fierceness in her dauntless eyes, and
filled them with dim wondering tears, and stirred the half-
dead soul in her to some dull pain, some nameless ecstacy,
that were not merely physical.
And then, in her way, being stung by these, and moved,
she knew not why, to a strange sad sense of loneliness and
shame, and knowing no better she prayed.
She raised herself on her knees, and crossed her hands
upon her chest, and prayed after the fashion that she had
seen men and women and children pray at roadside shrines
and crosses ; prayed aloud, with a little beating breaking
heart, like the young child she was.
" Oh Devil! if I be indeed thy daughter, stay with me ;
leave me not alone: lend me thy strength and power, and
let me inherit of thy kingdom. Give me this, oh great
Lord, and I will praise thee and love thee always."
She prayed in all earnestness, in all simplicity, in broken,
faltering language; knowing no better; knowing only that
she was alone on the earth and friendless, and very hungrj
and in sore pain, whilst this mighty unknown King of the
dominion of darkness, whose child she ever heard she was,
had lost her, or abandoned her; and reigned afar in some
immortal world, oblivious of her misery.
The silence of the night alone gave back the echo of her
own voice. She waited breathless for some answer, for some
revelation, some reply; there only came the pure cold moon,
sailing straight from out a cloud, and striking on the waters.
She rose sadly to her feet, and went back along the shining
course of the stream, through the grasses and the mosses,
and under the boughs, to her little nest under the eaves.
As she left the obscurity of the wood and passed into the
fuller light, her bare feet glistening, and her shoulders wet
with the showers of dew, a large dark shape flyi'ag down the