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The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. VIII: No. 356, October 23, 1886.   By:

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VOL. VIII. NO. 356.

OCTOBER 23, 1886.




BY DANIEL DORMER. Author of "Out of the Mists."




Yet the recollection of that book is helping to soften Hazel. There is a tender bit of writing at the close of the lecture which can hardly fail to reach any woman's heart, unless it be wholly hardened; and Hazel's is not a hard heart. So she muses on it, growing gradually calmer and happier. After all, she might be of some use in the world if she were to try, and if One Divine would be with her.

She stoops down to throw some coal on the fire. She is too much exhausted physically to make it up carefully; but with an effort piles on large blocks and small indiscriminately, then throws in a handful of matches from a box within reach. What strange chaos there seems to be in the grate after a little while! One after another the matches go off with a phiz and short lived flare, and each seems to light up a more curious scene than the last. From being mere piled up blocks of coal in a grate, they grow to be a half blocked up entrance to some unknown place. There is a large shining black portal, half ruined, surrounded with d├ębris . By degrees Hazel's languid curiosity is excited, and she wonders whither it leads. Why should she not explore?... The next match which takes fire lights up the slight form leaning far back in the big chair, with the soft, golden brown hair half loosened, and the dark, shadowed eyes fast closed. And Hazel has passed through the dark gateway, and is in a wonderful world.

What a strange black gateway to have led into so fair a garden! Hazel pauses at the entrance, her eyes glistening, her breath taken away with delight at the beauty of the scene before her. A paradise of fresh green shade and exquisite light and colouring. Wide spreading chestnuts, graceful, feathery birches, and a hundred other trees, clothed and robed in their tender young leaves, mingle with a glory of pink and white spring blossom, which seems to fill the air like a snowstorm in the clear, blue sky. The South wind blows and fans Hazel's cheek, and wafts delicious breath of flowers and sweet brier around her. Beneath the shower of snowy blossom stretches smooth, green grass, and masses of brilliant flowers glow, expanding their petals up towards the sun.

After a while Hazel wanders forward in a dreamy intoxication of delight, every moment discovering fresh beauties. She finds a beautiful grotto, where are large rocks and cascades and running streams and fountains. She enters by a low archway of stone, covered with drooping ferns, and there, right before her, is a large clear pool at the foot of a huge rock. She flushes with the prettiest of shy pleasure and frank admiration at sight of her own reflection.

How beautiful! A girl in a long, white robe, with a sweet, dark eyed face, which she knows to be her own. She is leaning slightly forward, and the eyes so often heavy and weary are brimming with happiness, the lips parted in a smile. Her hair, with its pretty, sunny ripples, is unbound, and the wind blows it slightly back from her shoulders. And, most wonderful and striking of all, a circlet of pure gold rests upon the shapely head, and a second circlet is clasped round the waist. Then she is a queen? No doubt of it. And then comes, to the joy of admiration of all she has seen, the added joy of certainty that all is her own. This is a queen's garden, and she is the happy queen!

More and more dawns gradually upon her. There are those near at hand dear to her, to whom she is also dear, whose queen she is. Oh the joy of it all! She clasps her hands in ecstasy, and the pretty reflection in the pool is more than ever lovely, only she has forgotten it now.

A serious thought must have come into Hazel's mind, for suddenly a different expression appears in her eyes; a look of perplexity and shade of sorrow... Continue reading book >>

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