A Prisoner in Fairyland
Even as a luminous haze links star to star,
I would supply all chasms with music, breathing
Mysterious motions of the soul, no way
To be defined save in strange melodies.
Paracelsus, R. BROWNING.
Daddy's story, meanwhile, continued to develop itself with wonder and
enthusiasm. It was unlike anything he had ever written. His other studies had the
brilliance of dead precious stones, perhaps, but this thing moved along with a
rushing life of its own. It grew, fed by sources he was not aware of. It developed
of itself--changed and lived and flashed. Some creative fairy hand had touched
him while he slept perhaps. The starry sympathy poured through him, and he
thought with his feelings as well as with his mind.
At first he was half ashamed of it; the process was so new and strange; he even
attempted to conceal his method, because he could not explain or understand it.
'This is emotional, not intellectual,' he sighed to himself; 'it must be second
childhood. I'm old. They'll call it decadent!' Presently, however, he resigned
himself to the delicious flow of inspiration, and let it pour out till it flowed over into
his daily life as well. Through his heart it welled up and bubbled forth, a thing of
children, starlight, woods, and fairies.
Yet he was shy about it. He would talk about the story, but would not read it out.
'It's a new genre for me,' he explained shyly, 'an attempt merely. We'll see what
comes of it. My original idea, you see, has grown out of hand rather. I wake every
morning with something fresh, as though'--he hesitated a moment, glancing
towards his wife-- 'as if it came to me in sleep,' he concluded. He felt her
common sense might rather despise him for it.
'Perhaps it does,' said Rogers.
'Why not?' said Mother, knitting on the sofa that was her bed at night.
She had put her needles down and was staring at her husband; he stared at
Rogers; all three stared at each other. Something each wished to conceal moved
towards utterance and revelation. Yet no one of them wished to be the first to
mention it. A great change had come of late upon Bourcelles. It no longer
seemed isolated from the big world outside as before; something had linked it up
with the whole surrounding universe, and bigger, deeper currents of life flowed
through it. And with the individual life of each it was the same. All dreamed the
same enormous, splendid dream, yet dared not tell it--yet.
Both parents realised vaguely that it was something their visitor had brought, but
what could it be exactly? It was in his atmosphere, he himself least of all aware of
it; it was in his thought, his attitude to life, yet he himself so utterly unconscious of
it. It brought out all the best in everybody, made them feel hopeful, brighter, more
courageous. Yes, certainly, he, brought it. He believed in them, in the best of
them--they lived up to it or tried to. Was that it? Was it belief and vision that he
brought into their lives, though unconsciously, because these qualities lay so