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The Story of a Dewdrop   By: (1818-1895)

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The Story of A DEWDROP.

[Illustration]

THE STORY OF A DEWDROP

J. R. MACDUFF D D

WITH FOUR COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON MARCUS WARD & CO BELFAST

1881

FOREWORDS.

To Charlie.

A Dewdrop is a small affair; and the world would not be the least interested, nor a bit the wiser, by knowing how I come affectionately to dedicate the story I have written about it to you . I may tell you it was one line of eleven words, read one night from a musty old volume of last century, which suggested it.

Everybody must have their play hours and moments of recreation. I think I have gone back to other and more serious work all the better after writing a page or two of what follows. I am happy thus to have had my little holiday along with you in this ideal region of quaint conceits.

Shall we hope that others may share our pleasure?

Let us try.

List of ILLUSTRATIONS.

The Procession of the Queen of the Morning (p. 41), Frontispiece.

The Bird talk and its surroundings, 14

The Nightingale and the Dewdrop, 19

The Ascent of the Million Army, 53

The Story of A DEWDROP.

CHAPTER THE FIRST.

Three birds of very favourable repute in these regions met together one evening a Thrush, a Lark, and a Nightingale. And all for what purpose, think you? It was a queer one to hold a solemn conference about a DEWDROP!

Yes, it must be allowed it was an original thought which brought these three feathered friends thus into council; and a pretty talk to be sure they had about it.

They selected, as an appropriate time for preliminaries, the close of a bright day in early summer; just when things in outer nature were looking their best. The snowdrop and crocus had long ago hid their faces to make way for more ambitious rivals. That always pleasant season was a great way past, when you see the drowsy plants (after being tucked up it may have been for weeks in a white snowy coverlet), first roused from their sound winter sleep, yawning and stretching themselves, and rubbing their little eyes, and looking; wonderingly about them, saying "What! is it now time to wake up and dress?" The tree foliage was approaching, if it had not already reached, perfection; all the mosses, too, looked so green and fresh; and how prettily the various ferns were uncoiling themselves among the rocks and shady nooks by the stream; while on this particular occasion the very Sun seemed to have coaxed his setting beams into the production of most gorgeous colouring. Belts of golden cloud were streaking the western sky; such long trails of them, that it was impossible to say whether the great ball of fire, which gave them their glory, had actually gone down behind the horizon, or was just about to do so. At all events, it was unmistakably sundown : though the scene was far removed from northern latitudes, it might be designated by the familiar Scotch "gloamin'." The groves, and dells, and hedgerows, which had kept up a goodly concert the livelong day, were now silent. Their winged tenants had, one after another, slunk to their nests, with very tired throats. They had left, apparently, all, or nearly all the music to the aforesaid brook in the dell. A stone's throw higher up the valley, this latter, fed by recent rains, rattled in gleeful style over a bed of white and grey pebbles the tiny limpid waves chasing one another as if they were playing at hide and seek amid the sedges, king cups, and rushes. But it had now reached a quieter spot where, however, it still kept up a gentle, soothing evensong, a lullaby peculiar to itself, as if it wanted to hush the little birds asleep in their varied leafy cradles. The very cattle, that had been seen lying lazily out of the heat under the beech trees, had ceased their lowings... Continue reading book >>




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