tone, `it is an hour good since you spoke last.' The young man nodded assent; `An hour? true, true. We were passing Lyth, as I bethink me, and lowly in thine ear was I murmuring that touching sonnet to the sea I writ of late, beginning, "Thou roaring, snoring, heaving, grieving main which --"' `For pity's sake!' interrupted the other, and there was real earnestness in that pleading tone, `don't let us have it all again! I have heard it with patience once already.'

`Thou hast, thou hast,' the baffled poet replied: `well then, she shall again be the topic of my thoughts,' and he frowned and bit his lip, muttering to himself such words as cooky, hooky, and crooky, as if he were trying to find a rhyme to something. And now the pair were passing near a bridge, and shops were on their left and water on their right; and from beneath uprose a confused hubbub of sailors' voices, and, wafted on the landward breeze, came an aroma, dimly suggestive of salt herring, and all things from the heaving waters in the harbour to the light smoke that floated gracefully above the housetops, suggested nought but poetry to the mind of the gifted youth.


                                 (Old Play)

BUT about she,' resumed the man of prose, `what's her name? You never told me that yet.' A faint flush crossed the interesting features of the youth; could it be that her name was unpoetical, and did not consort with his ideas of the harmony of nature? He spoke reluctantly and indistinctly; `Her name,' he faintly gasped, `is Sukie.'

A long, low whistle was the only reply; thrusting his hands deep in his pockets, the elder speaker turned away, while the unhappy youth, whose delicate nerves were cruelly shaken by his friend's ridicule, grasped the railing near to him to steady his tottering feet. Distant sounds of melody from the cliff at this moment reached their ears, and while his unfeeling comrade wandered in the direction of the music, the distressed poet hastily sought the Bridge, to give his pent-up feelings vent, unnoticed by the passers-by.

The Sun was setting as he reached the spot, and the still surface of the waters below, as he crossed on to the Bridge, calmed his perturbed spirit, and sadly leaning his elbows on the rail, he pondered. What visions filled that noble soul, as, with features that would have beamed with intelligence, had they only possessed an expression at all, and a frown that only needed dignity to be appalling, he fixed upon the sluggish tide those fine though bloodshot eyes?

Visions of his early days; scenes from the happy time of pinafores, treacle, and innocence; through the long vista of the past came floating spectres of long-forgotten spelling-books, slates scrawled thick with dreary sums, that seldom came out at all, and never came out right; tingling and somewhat painful sensations returned to his knuckles and the roots of his hair; he was a boy once more.

`Now, young man there!' so broke a voice upon the air, `tak whether o' the two roads thou likes, but thou ca'n't stop in't middle!' The words fell idly on his ears, or served but to suggest new trains of reverie; `Roads, aye, roads,' he whispered low, and then louder, as the glorious idea burst upon him, `Aye, and am I not the Colossus of Rhodes?' he raised his manly form erect at the thought, and planted his feet with a firmer stride.

. . . Was it but a delusion of his heated brain? or stern reality? slowly, slowly yawned the bridge beneath him, and now his footing is already grown unsteady, and now the dignity of his attitude is gone: he recks not, come what may; is he not a Colossus?

. . . The stride of a Colossus is possibly equal to any emergency; the elasticity of fustian is limited; it was at this critical juncture that `the force of nature could no further go', and therefore deserted him, while the force of gravity began to operate in its stead.

In other words, he fell.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.