A Prisoner in Fairyland
When the creation was new and all the stars shone in their first splendour, the
gods held their assembly in the sky and sang 'Oh, the picture of perfection! the
But one cried of a sudden--'It seems that somewhere there is a break in the chain
of light and one of the stars has been lost.'
The golden string of their harp snapped, their song stopped, and they cried in
dismay--'Yes, that lost star was the best, she was the glory of all heavens!'
From that day the search is unceasing for her, and the cry goes on from one to
the other that in her the world has lost its one joy!
Only in the deepest silence of night the stars smile and whisper among
themselves--'Vain is this seeking! Unbroken perfection is over all!'
RABINDRANATH TAGORE. (Prose translation by Author from his original
It was April 30th and Henry Rogers sat in his rooms after breakfast, listening to
the rumble of the traffic down St. James's Street, and found the morning dull. A
pile of letters lay unopened upon the table, waiting the arrival of the
discriminating Mr. Minks with his shorthand note-book and his mild blue eyes. It
was half-past nine, and the secretary was due at ten o'clock.
He smiled as he thought of this excellent fellow's first morning in the promoted
capacity of private secretary. He would come in very softly, one eye looking more
intelligent than the other; the air of the City clerk discarded, and in its place the
bearing that belonged to new robes of office worn for the first time. He would
bow, say 'Good morning, Mr. Rogers,' glance round with one eye on his
employer and another on a possible chair, seat himself with a sigh that meant 'I
have written a new poem in the night, and would love to read it to you if I dared,'
then flatten out his oblong note-book and look up, expectant and receptive.
Rogers would say 'Good morning, Mr. Minks. We've got a busy day before us.
Now, let me see---' and would meet his glance with welcome. He would look
quickly from one eye to the other- to this day he did not know which one was
right to meet-and would wonder for the thousandth time how such an insignificant
face could go with such an honest, capable mind. Then he smiled again as he
remembered Frank, the little boy whose schooling he was paying for, and
realised that Minks would bring a message of gratitude from Mrs. Minks, perhaps
would hand him, with a gesture combining dignity and humbleness, a little note of
thanks in a long narrow envelope of pale mauve, bearing a flourishing monogram
on its back.
And Rogers scowled a little as he thought of the air of gruffness he would
assume while accepting it, saying as pleasantly as he could manage, 'Oh, Mr.
Minks, that's nothing at all; I'm only too delighted to be of service to the lad.' For
he abhorred the expression of emotion, and his delicate sense of tact would
make pretence of helping the boy himself, rather than the struggling parents.