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

Evans, Mildred
They do come back,   pp. 38-39


Page 38

WISCONSIN LITERARY MAGAZINE
They Do Come Back
STEP LIGHTLY, dear-there, careful-An-
drew's boat!" The girl landed very awkward-
ly on the soft pleasant earth. But she forgot to be em-
barrassed; her awe was too great. The air gently stir-
ring with a pleasing, light drowsiness, seemed visible-
opalescent. It hung about strange trees and shrubs and
flowers, and softened the rocks that rose gracefully
along the shore. Even the castles and palaces, farther
inland, were veiled in delicate sunsets. Everything in-
vited, and the girl felt a vivid ectasy and anticipation.
"Andrew, draw up the boat and wait," sighed the
fairy again from the rock. "We may need you-but
I hardly believe it." For the girl's happy face had
turned suddenly toward her. This fairy was soft and
delicate; her garments swayed lightly and effused a
shadowy, butterfly dust. She moved in a summer cloud
fashion, and her voice was no more than a clear, deli-
cate murmur.
"Who are you?" asked the girl bluntly. Then un-
consciously checking her voice, "What is all this? Oh,
show it to me now. I'm so happy. How sweet the
blossoms smell, and how lovely you are. Take me to
the big palace first, with the lavender dome. Why, I
believe that the flowers are anemones; larger than any
I have ever seen. And the fruits of the trees are beau-
tiful; Fruit and blossoms together. How odd! By
the way, where did Andrew find that large shell for a
boat?" She turned and watched the bent old fellow
tugging at his shell. "He wouldn't tell me-he's dis-
gusting. Perfectly dumb!"
"Come, come," said the fairy. "You are a chatter-
box. I'll show you the land and the people and tell
you all, but don't rush so. Why hurry? There is
eternity."
"Quite so," replied the girl, "but one must think of
lessons and engagements and-why did you speak of
eternity, anyway? I hate the word!"
"You are impetuous. Come this way to the palace.
Step lightly over hill and dell,
Glide o'er the brooks and smooth-worn rocks,
Breathe now the fresh and lovely air,
And soon you'll come to-where?
I shall tell' you directly. Mind you don't crush too
many flowers. You mortals-fresh from earth are so
careless; thoughtless."
They were passing streams, and green-gold trees,
over downy grass, by pillars, sparkling white and pea-
cock blue. The girl was stilled by the quiet glory.
Then they came to the palace and inside was life.
People moved and breathed-a man and woman were
sitting together. The sudden shock drove away all
joy, and-"What a hideous woman!" the girl whis-
pered.
"Sh-sh-she has her heart's desire. Her dream is
fulfilled. A lover is here with her; for eternity."
"But, when she looks in the mirror and knows that
her lover must see her-her horrible face! Oh, it isn't
right, and in this lovely place."
"She has her heart's desire," repeated the fairy ir-
ritably.
"Well, but-"
"Come, there is a great deal more to see, and remem-
ber you understand nothing as yet."
They saw a languid scholar; white-faced, emotion-
less, in a great library. Shelves of books closed him in;
books covered the tables and chairs, and he paid no
heed to the quiet guests.
"Think of the contentment; for a scholar," breathed
the fairy, but the young earth-creature found the air
heavy and oppressive, and she turned impatiently to go.
"Next, next?" she asked and breathed the pure air
again.
"Well-? I'll show you children, eternal children,
my dear. They are at azure palace."
"What a sweet child!" said the girl, vaguely wond-
ering how they had arrived so quickly. "She is beauti-
ful. Why her dolls are like real children, and see the
tiny real auto and doll house. Dear me, how I should
have enjoyed these things as a child. Her parents kiss
her a great deal. They seem very fond of her. What
ideal childhood, fairy."
"Yes, this child of the slums dreamed each day of
an ideal home where there would be toys of all kinds;
no dirty little brothers and sisters to care for, and a
father and mother with no thought save of love for
her. She is infinitely happy."
"She is infinitely happy," the girl said slowly, "yet
her step is not like my little sister's.  Her eyes are
beautiful-but, are they child's eyes?"
The little girl suddenly saw them and ran to the
stranger, clasping her hand impulsively. She began to
say something, but - "Giovanna!" interrupted the
fairy, lightly.  The child's lips quivered, and she
walked slowly back to the toys and parents.
"What had she to say? Why did you stop her?"
demanded the girl angrily. "I fancy she would have
explained this place to me. You aren't doing it very
well. I don't know what my feelings are; whether I
love it or hate it. I don't-are you casting a spell on
me?" she asked indignantly.
November, 1918
38


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