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Evans, Mildred (ed.) / Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XVIII, Number 2 (November 1918)

Durrie, Janet
The mermaid,   p. 39

Page 39

"Indeed, no. Calm yourself. You are only very
hard to satisfy. Besides, you are dull. Can you not
see, stupid, that this is the land of realized dreams?
If a human person wishes for one thing very much more
than anything else. he often drems himself right into
Andrew's boat, and lo-his dream may become true
real forever. Aren't you impressed?" she asked rather
"One dream, only, you say, fairy?"
"One dream. Odd girl! How many would you
have. You are very greedy. One dream is enough
for most people. Are you not like other people of the
"Indeed not", the girl raised her head. "I am 'un-
usual'. In my life are several great dreams; all beauti-
e 1 i   i
tul, but very different. They are for fame-and for
glorious freedom-and perhaps even love," she added
haughtily to hide her rough shyness.
"But wouldn't you like one to be perfect? Not
one of them could be so on earth. Think hard; for
your chance of ideality is here."
"Ideality! What a bore. Fancy being in a single
state all of one's life. I like action, and-difference.
Why," she added feeling vaguely intellectual. "With-
out variation, any state would become a mere continu-
ation of nothing. I couldn't give up freedom for love
or love for freedom-on earth, I think that such matters
are arranged rather well, but I don't-the blossoms are
making my head ache. They are like church lilies on
the Sunday after Easter. How the ground sinks in.
I'm so tired from walking. I believe I-you have a
tear in your dress, fairy,-that is queer-I thought-"
She looked into the fairy's eyes, and became dizzy at
their horrible depths.
"Andrew, the boat!" exclaimed the fairy, in a mis-
erably human tone.
"Yes, I should like to go," said the girl weakly. "I
am rather faint and dizzy, and-I long for my earth."
"You were very kind to me. Please pardon me for
criticizing," she added sweetly, stepping into the shell.
"Your island is very, very lovely." But she noticed
another rent in the fairy's garment, and there was no
more butterfly dust about her.
On the smooth shell lining she sank down relieved,
and soon the sickening sweetness was gone they had
wafted far off on the glassy water. But, of course,
she looked back, and far off the island shone; a scintill-
ating bit of color, flashing diamond lights, and points
of gold. Perhaps in fancy the silver voice came over
the waters, and the anemones sent a delicate fragrance.
At any rate, the girl leaned forward and said with a
little catch in her voice-"Andrew, Andrew, have I
been horribly mistaken? Oh, I must have dreamed one
dream a little more than the rest or I shouldn't have
gotten into your boat at all."
The waves lap round and around and around,
And I lie white-bodied upon the rocks;
Shall I swim out to you there afar,
O sea gull flying with never a sound,
Shall I come out to you where you are?
My body is slender and white as thine,
And I glide so silently past the rocks,
Past the rocks that glisten,
And ears that listen,
And eyes of monsters
That strangely shine.
And the huge sea monsters
Under the sea
Would blink their great
Glassy eyes at me,
And my long, dark hair
Would about me fly
As I look up and smile
At the cold chill sky
And slide thru the waters' black mystery.
November, 1918

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