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    WE are travelling to Paris to the Exhibition.

    Now we are there. That was a journey, a flight without
magic. We flew on the wings of steam over the sea and across
the land.

    Yes, our time is the time of fairy tales.

    We are in the midst of Paris, in a great hotel. Blooming
flowers ornament the staircases, and soft carpets the floors.

    Our room is a very cosy one, and through the open balcony
door we have a view of a great square. Spring lives down
there; it has come to Paris, and arrived at the same time with
us. It has come in the shape of a glorious young chestnut
tree, with delicate leaves newly opened. How the tree gleams,
dressed in its spring garb, before all the other trees in the
place! One of these latter had been struck out of the list of
living trees. It lies on the ground with roots exposed. On the
place where it stood, the young chestnut tree is to be
planted, and to flourish.

    It still stands towering aloft on the heavy wagon which
has brought it this morning a distance of several miles to
Paris. For years it had stood there, in the protection of a
mighty oak tree, under which the old venerable clergyman had
often sat, with children listening to his stories.

    The young chestnut tree had also listened to the stories;
for the Dryad who lived in it was a child also. She remembered
the time when the tree was so little that it only projected a
short way above the grass and ferns around. These were as tall
as they would ever be; but the tree grew every year, and
enjoyed the air and the sunshine, and drank the dew and the
rain. Several times it was also, as it must be, well shaken by
the wind and the rain; for that is a part of education.

    The Dryad rejoiced in her life, and rejoiced in the
sunshine, and the singing of the birds; but she was most
rejoiced at human voices; she understood the language of men
as well as she understood that of animals.

    Butterflies, cockchafers, dragon-flies, everything that
could fly came to pay a visit. They could all talk. They told
of the village, of the vineyard, of the forest, of the old
castle with its parks and canals and ponds. Down in the water
dwelt also living beings, which, in their way, could fly under
the water from one place to another- beings with knowledge and
delineation. They said nothing at all; they were so clever!

    And the swallow, who had dived, told about the pretty
little goldfish, of the thick turbot, the fat brill, and the
old carp. The swallow could describe all that very well, but,
"Self is the man," she said. "One ought to see these things
one's self." But how was the Dryad ever to see such beings?
She was obliged to be satisfied with being able to look over
the beautiful country and see the busy industry of men.

    It was glorious; but most glorious of all when the old
clergyman sat under the oak tree and talked of France, and of
the great deeds of her sons and daughters, whose names will be
mentioned with admiration through all time.

    Then the Dryad heard of the shepherd girl, Joan of Arc,
and of Charlotte Corday; she heard about Henry the Fourth, and
Napoleon the First; she heard names whose echo sounds in the
hearts of the people.

    The village children listened attentively, and the Dryad
no less attentively; she became a school-child with the rest.
In the clouds that went sailing by she saw, picture by
picture, everything that she heard talked about. The cloudy
sky was her picture-book.

    She felt so happy in beautiful France, the fruitful land
of genius, with the crater of freedom. But in her heart the
sting remained that the bird, that every animal that could
fly, was much better off than she. Even the fly could look
about more in the world, far beyond the Dryad's horizon.

    France was so great and so glorious, but she could only
look across a little piece of it. The land stretched out,
world-wide, with vineyards, forests and great cities. Of all
these Paris was the most splendid and the mightiest. The birds
could get there; but she, never!

    Among the village children was a little ragged, poor girl,
but a pretty one to look at. She was always laughing or
singing and twining red flowers in her black hair.

    "Don't go to Paris!" the old clergyman warned her. "Poor
child! if you go there, it will be your ruin."

    But she went for all that.

    The Dryad often thought of her; for she had the same wish,
and felt the same longing for the great city.

    The Dryad's tree was bearing its first chestnut blossoms;
the birds were twittering round them in the most beautiful
sunshine. Then a stately carriage came rolling along that way,
and in it sat a grand lady driving the spirited, light-footed
horses. On the back seat a little smart groom balanced
himself. The Dryad knew the lady, and the old clergyman knew
her also. He shook his head gravely when he saw her, and said:

    "So you went there after all, and it was your ruin, poor

    "That one poor?" thought the Dryad. "No; she wears a dress
fit for a countess" (she had become one in the city of magic
changes). "Oh, if I were only there, amid all the splendor and
pomp! They shine up into the very clouds at night; when I look
up, I can tell in what direction the town lies."

    Towards that direction the Dryad looked every evening. She
saw in the dark night the gleaming cloud on the horizon; in
the clear moonlight nights she missed the sailing clouds,
which showed her pictures of the city and pictures from

    The child grasps at the picture-books, the Dryad grasped
at the cloud-world, her thought-book. A sudden, cloudless sky
was for her a blank leaf; and for several days she had only
had such leaves before her.

    It was in the warm summer-time: not a breeze moved through
the glowing hot days. Every leaf, every flower, lay as if it
were torpid, and the people seemed torpid, too.

    Then the clouds arose and covered the region round about
where the gleaming mist announced "Here lies Paris."

    The clouds piled themselves up like a chain of mountains,
hurried on through the air, and spread themselves abroad over
the whole landscape, as far as the Dryad's eye could reach.

    Like enormous blue-black blocks of rock, the clouds lay
piled over one another. Gleams of lightning shot forth from

    "These also are the servants of the Lord God," the old
clergyman had said. And there came a bluish dazzling flash of
lightning, a lighting up as if of the sun itself, which could
burst blocks of rock asunder. The lightning struck and split
to the roots the old venerable oak. The crown fell asunder. It
seemed as if the tree were stretching forth its arms to clasp
the messengers of the light.

    No bronze cannon can sound over the land at the birth of a
royal child as the thunder sounded at the death of the old
oak. The rain streamed down; a refreshing wind was blowing;
the storm had gone by, and there was quite a holiday glow on
all things. The old clergyman spoke a few words for honorable
remembrance, and a painter made a drawing, as a lasting record
of the tree.

    "Everything passes away," said the Dryad, "passes away
like a cloud, and never comes back!"

    The old clergyman, too, did not come back. The green roof
of his school was gone, and his teaching-chair had vanished.
The children did not come; but autumn came, and winter came,
and then spring also. In all this change of seasons the Dryad
looked toward the region where, at night, Paris gleamed with
its bright mist far on the horizon.

    Forth from the town rushed engine after engine, train
after train, whistling and screaming at all hours in the day.
In the evening, towards midnight, at daybreak, and all the day
through, came the trains. Out of each one, and into each one,
streamed people from the country of every king. A new wonder
of the world had summoned them to Paris.

    In what form did this wonder exhibit itself?

    "A splendid blossom of art and industry," said one, "has
unfolded itself in the Champ de Mars, a gigantic sunflower,
from whose petals one can learn geography and statistics, and
can become as wise as a lord mayor, and raise one's self to
the level of art and poetry, and study the greatness and power
of the various lands."

    "A fairy tale flower," said another, "a many-colored
lotus-plant, which spreads out its green leaves like a velvet
carpet over the sand. The opening spring has brought it forth,
the summer will see it in all its splendor, the autumn winds
will sweep it away, so that not a leaf, not a fragment of its
root shall remain."

    In front of the Military School extends in time of peace
the arena of war- a field without a blade of grass, a piece of
sandy steppe, as if cut out of the Desert of Africa, where
Fata Morgana displays her wondrous airy castles and hanging
gardens. In the Champ de Mars, however, these were to be seen
more splendid, more wonderful than in the East, for human art
had converted the airy deceptive scenes into reality.

    "The Aladdin's Palace of the present has been built," it
was said. "Day by day, hour by hour, it unfolds more of its
wonderful splendor."

    The endless halls shine in marble and many colors. "Master
Bloodless" here moves his limbs of steel and iron in the great
circular hall of machinery. Works of art in metal, in stone,
in Gobelins tapestry, announce the vitality of mind that is
stirring in every land. Halls of paintings, splendor of
flowers, everything that mind and skill can create in the
workshop of the artisan, has been placed here for show. Even
the memorials of ancient days, out of old graves and
turf-moors, have appeared at this general meeting.

    The overpowering great variegated whole must be divided
into small portions, and pressed together like a plaything, if
it is to be understood and described.

    Like a great table on Christmas Eve, the Champ de Mars
carried a wonder-castle of industry and art, and around this
knickknacks from all countries had been ranged, knickknacks on
a grand scale, for every nation found some remembrance of

    Here stood the royal palace of Egypt, there the
caravanserai of the desert land. The Bedouin had quitted his
sunny country, and hastened by on his camel. Here stood the
Russian stables, with the fiery glorious horses of the steppe.
Here stood the simple straw-thatched dwelling of the Danish
peasant, with the Dannebrog flag, next to Gustavus Vasa's
wooden house from Dalarne, with its wonderful carvings.
American huts, English cottages, French pavilions, kiosks,
theatres, churches, all strewn around, and between them the
fresh green turf, the clear springing water, blooming bushes,
rare trees, hothouses, in which one might fancy one's self
transported into the tropical forest; whole gardens brought
from Damascus, and blooming under one roof. What colors, what

    Artificial grottoes surrounded bodies of fresh or salt
water, and gave a glimpse into the empire of the fishes; the
visitor seemed to wander at the bottom of the sea, among
fishes and polypi.

    "All this," they said, "the Champ de Mars offers;" and
around the great richly-spread table the crowd of human beings
moves like a busy swarm of ants, on foot or in little
carriages, for not all feet are equal to such a fatiguing

    Hither they swarm from morning till late in the evening.
Steamer after steamer, crowded with people, glides down the
Seine. The number of carriages is continually on the increase.
The swarm of people on foot and on horseback grows more and
more dense. Carriages and omnibuses are crowded, stuffed and
embroidered with people. All these tributary streams flow in
one direction- towards the Exhibition. On every entrance the
flag of France is displayed; around the world's bazaar wave
the flags of all nations. There is a humming and a murmuring
from the hall of the machines; from the towers the melody of
the chimes is heard; with the tones of the organs in the
churches mingle the hoarse nasal songs from the cafes of the
East. It is a kingdom of Babel, a wonder of the world!

    In very truth it was. That's what all the reports said,
and who did not hear them? The Dryad knew everything that is
told here of the new wonder in the city of cities.

    "Fly away, ye birds! fly away to see, and then come back
and tell me," said the Dryad.

    The wish became an intense desire- became the one thought
of a life. Then, in the quiet silent night, while the full
moon was shining, the Dryad saw a spark fly out of the moon's
disc, and fall like a shooting star. And before the tree,
whose leaves waved to and fro as if they were stirred by a
tempest, stood a noble, mighty, and grand figure. In tones
that were at once rich and strong, like the trumpet of the
Last Judgment bidding farewell to life and summoning to the
great account, it said:

    "Thou shalt go to the city of magic; thou shalt take root
there, and enjoy the mighty rushing breezes, the air and the
sunshine there. But the time of thy life shall then be
shortened; the line of years that awaited thee here amid the
free nature shall shrink to but a small tale. Poor Dryad! It
shall be thy destruction. Thy yearning and longing will
increase, thy desire will grow more stormy, the tree itself
will be as a prison to thee, thou wilt quit thy cell and give
up thy nature to fly out and mingle among men. Then the years
that would have belonged to thee will be contracted to half
the span of the ephemeral fly, that lives but a day: one
night, and thy life-taper shall be blown out- the leaves of
the tree will wither and be blown away, to become green never

    Thus the words sounded. And the light vanished away, but
not the longing of the Dryad. She trembled in the wild fever
of expectation.

    "I shall go there!" she cried, rejoicingly. "Life is
beginning and swells like a cloud; nobody knows whither it is

    When the gray dawn arose and the moon turned pale and the
clouds were tinted red, the wished-for hour struck. The words
of promise were fulfilled.

    People appeared with spades and poles; they dug round the
roots of the tree, deeper and deeper, and beneath it. A wagon
was brought out, drawn by many horses, and the tree was lifted
up, with its roots and the lumps of earth that adhered to
them; matting was placed around the roots, as though the tree
had its feet in a warm bag. And now the tree was lifted on the
wagon and secured with chains. The journey began- the journey
to Paris. There the tree was to grow as an ornament to the
city of French glory.

    The twigs and the leaves of the chestnut tree trembled in
the first moments of its being moved; and the Dryad trembled
in the pleasurable feeling of expectation.

    "Away! away!" it sounded in every beat of her pulse.
"Away! away" sounded in words that flew trembling along. The
Dryad forgot to bid farewell to the regions of home; she
thought not of the waving grass and of the innocent daisies,
which had looked up to her as to a great lady, a young
Princess playing at being a shepherdess out in the open air.

    The chestnut tree stood upon the wagon, and nodded his
branches; whether this meant "farewell" or "forward," the
Dryad knew not; she dreamed only of the marvellous new things,
that seemed yet so familiar, and that were to unfold
themselves before her. No child's heart rejoicing in
innocence- no heart whose blood danced with passion- had set
out on the journey to Paris more full of expectation than she.

    Her "farewell" sounded in the words "Away! away!"

    The wheels turned; the distant approached; the present
vanished. The region was changed, even as the clouds change.
New vineyards, forests, villages, villas appeared- came
nearer- vanished!

    The chestnut tree moved forward, and the Dryad went with
it. Steam-engine after steam-engine rushed past, sending up
into the air vapory clouds, that formed figures which told of
Paris, whence they came, and whither the Dryad was going.

    Everything around knew it, and must know whither she was
bound. It seemed to her as if every tree she passed stretched
out its leaves towards her, with the prayer- "Take me with
you! take me with you!" for every tree enclosed a longing

    What changes during this flight! Houses seemed to be
rising out of the earth- more and more- thicker and thicker.
The chimneys rose like flower-pots ranged side by side, or in
rows one above the other, on the roofs. Great inscriptions in
letters a yard long, and figures in various colors, covering
the walls from cornice to basement, came brightly out.

    "Where does Paris begin, and when shall I be there?" asked
the Dryad.

    The crowd of people grew; the tumult and the bustle
increased; carriage followed upon carriage; people on foot and
people on horseback were mingled together; all around were
shops on shops, music and song, crying and talking.

    The Dryad, in her tree, was now in the midst of Paris. The
great heavy wagon all at once stopped on a little square
planted with trees. The high houses around had all of them
balconies to the windows, from which the inhabitants looked
down upon the young fresh chestnut tree, which was coming to
be planted here as a substitute for the dead tree that lay
stretched on the ground.

    The passers-by stood still and smiled in admiration of its
pure vernal freshness. The older trees, whose buds were still
closed, whispered with their waving branches, "Welcome!
welcome!" The fountain, throwing its jet of water high up in
the air, to let it fall again in the wide stone basin, told
the wind to sprinkle the new-comer with pearly drops, as if it
wished to give him a refreshing draught to welcome him.

    The Dryad felt how her tree was being lifted from the
wagon to be placed in the spot where it was to stand. The
roots were covered with earth, and fresh turf was laid on top.
Blooming shrubs and flowers in pots were ranged around; and
thus a little garden arose in the square.

    The tree that had been killed by the fumes of gas, the
steam of kitchens, and the bad air of the city, was put upon
the wagon and driven away. The passers-by looked on. Children
and old men sat upon the bench, and looked at the green tree.
And we who are telling this story stood upon a balcony, and
looked down upon the green spring sight that had been brought
in from the fresh country air, and said, what the old
clergyman would have said, "Poor Dryad!"

    "I am happy! I am happy!" the Dryad cried, rejoicing; "and
yet I cannot realize, cannot describe what I feel. Everything
is as I fancied it, and yet as I did not fancy it."

    The houses stood there, so lofty, so close! The sunlight
shone on only one of the walls, and that one was stuck over
with bills and placards, before which the people stood still;
and this made a crowd.

    Carriages rushed past, carriages rolled past; light ones
and heavy ones mingled together. Omnibuses, those over-crowded
moving houses, came rattling by; horsemen galloped among them;
even carts and wagons asserted their rights.

    The Dryad asked herself if these high-grown houses, which
stood so close around her, would not remove and take other
shapes, like the clouds in the sky, and draw aside, so that
she might cast a glance into Paris, and over it. Notre Dame
must show itself, the Vendome Column, and the wondrous
building which had called and was still calling so many
strangers to the city.

    But the houses did not stir from their places. It was yet
day when the lamps were lit. The gas-jets gleamed from the
shops, and shone even into the branches of the trees, so that
it was like sunlight in summer. The stars above made their
appearance, the same to which the Dryad had looked up in her
home. She thought she felt a clear pure stream of air which
went forth from them. She felt herself lifted up and
strengthened, and felt an increased power of seeing through
every leaf and through every fibre of the root. Amid all the
noise and the turmoil, the colors and the lights, she knew
herself watched by mild eyes.

    From the side streets sounded the merry notes of fiddles
and wind instruments. Up! to the dance, to the dance! to
jollity and pleasure! that was their invitation. Such music it
was, that horses, carriages, trees, and houses would have
danced, if they had known how. The charm of intoxicating
delight filled the bosom of the Dryad.

    "How glorious, how splendid it is!" she cried,
rejoicingly. "Now I am in Paris!"

    The next day that dawned, the next night that fell,
offered the same spectacle, similar bustle, similar life;
changing, indeed, yet always the same; and thus it went on
through the sequence of days.

    "Now I know every tree, every flower on the square here! I
know every house, every balcony, every shop in this narrow
cut-off corner, where I am denied the sight of this great
mighty city. Where are the arches of triumph, the Boulevards,
the wondrous building of the world? I see nothing of all this.
As if shut up in a cage, I stand among the high houses, which
I now know by heart, with their inscriptions, signs, and
placards; all the painted confectionery, that is no longer to
my taste. Where are all the things of which I heard, for which
I longed, and for whose sake I wanted to come hither? what
have I seized, found, won? I feel the same longing I felt
before; I feel that there is a life I should wish to grasp and
to experience. I must go out into the ranks of living men, and
mingle among them. I must fly about like a bird. I must see
and feel, and become human altogether. I must enjoy the one
half-day, instead of vegetating for years in every-day
sameness and weariness, in which I become ill, and at last
sink and disappear like the dew on the meadows. I will gleam
like the cloud, gleam in the sunshine of life, look out over
the whole like the cloud, and pass away like it, no one
knoweth whither."

    Thus sighed the Dryad; and she prayed:

    "Take from me the years that were destined for me, and
give me but half of the life of the ephemeral fly! Deliver me
from my prison! Give me human life, human happiness, only a
short span, only the one night, if it cannot be otherwise; and
then punish me for my wish to live, my longing for life!
Strike me out of thy list. Let my shell, the fresh young tree,
wither, or be hewn down, and burnt to ashes, and scattered to
all the winds!"

    A rustling went through the leaves of the tree; there was
a trembling in each of the leaves; it seemed as if fire
streamed through it. A gust of wind shook its green crown, and
from the midst of that crown a female figure came forth. In
the same moment she was sitting beneath the
brightly-illuminated leafy branches, young and beautiful to
behold, like poor Mary, to whom the clergyman had said, "The
great city will be thy destruction."

    The Dryad sat at the foot of the tree- at her house door,
which she had locked, and whose key had thrown away. So young!
so fair! The stars saw her, and blinked at her. The gas-lamps
saw her, and gleamed and beckoned to her. How delicate she
was, and yet how blooming!- a child, and yet a grown maiden!
Her dress was fine as silk, green as the freshly-opened leaves
on the crown of the tree; in her nut-brown hair clung a
half-opened chestnut blossom. She looked like the Goddess of

    For one short minute she sat motionless; then she sprang
up, and, light as a gazelle, she hurried away. She ran and
sprang like the reflection from the mirror that, carried by
the sunshine, is cast, now here, now there. Could any one have
followed her with his eyes, he would have seen how
marvellously her dress and her form changed, according to the
nature of the house or the place whose light happened to shine
upon her.

    She reached the Boulevards. Here a sea of light streamed
forth from the gas-flames of the lamps, the shops and the
cafes. Here stood in a row young and slender trees, each of
which concealed its Dryad, and gave shade from the artificial
sunlight. The whole vast pavement was one great festive hall,
where covered tables stood laden with refreshments of all
kinds, from champagne and Chartreuse down to coffee and beer.
Here was an exhibition of flowers, statues, books, and colored

    From the crowd close by the lofty houses she looked forth
over the terrific stream beyond the rows of trees. Yonder
heaved a stream of rolling carriages, cabriolets, coaches,
omnibuses, cabs, and among them riding gentlemen and marching
troops. To cross to the opposite shore was an undertaking
fraught with danger to life and limb. Now lanterns shed their
radiance abroad; now the gas had the upper hand; suddenly a
rocket rises! Whence? Whither?

    Here are sounds of soft Italian melodies; yonder, Spanish
songs are sung, accompanied by the rattle of the castanets;
but strongest of all, and predominating over the rest, the
street-organ tunes of the moment, the exciting "Can-Can"
music, which Orpheus never knew, and which was never heard by
the "Belle Helene." Even the barrow was tempted to hop upon
one of its wheels.

    The Dryad danced, floated, flew, changing her color every
moment, like a humming-bird in the sunshine; each house, with
the world belonging to it, gave her its own reflections.

    As the glowing lotus-flower, torn from its stem, is
carried away by the stream, so the Dryad drifted along.
Whenever she paused, she was another being, so that none was
able to follow her, to recognize her, or to look more closely
at her.

    Like cloud-pictures, all things flew by her. She looked
into a thousand faces, but not one was familiar to her; she
saw not a single form from home. Two bright eyes had remained
in her memory. She thought of Mary, poor Mary, the ragged
merry child, who wore the red flowers in her black hair. Mary
was now here, in the world-city, rich and magnificent as in
that day when she drove past the house of the old clergyman,
and past the tree of the Dryad, the old oak.

    Here she was certainly living, in the deafening tumult.
Perhaps she had just stepped out of one of the gorgeous
carriages in waiting. Handsome equipages, with coachmen in
gold braid and footmen in silken hose, drove up. The people
who alighted from them were all richly-dressed ladies. They
went through the opened gate, and ascended the broad staircase
that led to a building resting on marble pillars. Was this
building, perhaps, the wonder of the world? There Mary would
certainly be found.

    "Sancta Maria!" resounded from the interior. Incense
floated through the lofty painted and gilded aisles, where a
solemn twilight reigned.

    It was the Church of the Madeleine.

    Clad in black garments of the most costly stuffs,
fashioned according to the latest mode, the rich feminine
world of Paris glided across the shining pavement. The crests
of the proprietors were engraved on silver shields on the
velvet-bound prayer-books, and embroidered in the corners of
perfumed handkerchiefs bordered with Brussels lace. A few of
the ladies were kneeling in silent prayer before the altars;
others resorted to the confessionals.

    Anxiety and fear took possession of the Dryad; she felt as
if she had entered a place where she had no right to be. Here
was the abode of silence, the hall of secrets. Everything was
said in whispers, every word was a mystery.

    The Dryad saw herself enveloped in lace and silk, like the
women of wealth and of high birth around her. Had, perhaps,
every one of them a longing in her breast, like the Dryad?

    A deep, painful sigh was heard. Did it escape from some
confessional in a distant corner, or from the bosom of the
Dryad? She drew the veil closer around her; she breathed
incense, and not the fresh air. Here was not the abiding-place
of her longing.

    Away! away- a hastening without rest. The ephemeral fly
knows not repose, for her existence is flight.

    She was out again among the gas candelabra, by a
magnificent fountain.

    "All its streaming waters are not able to wash out the
innocent blood that was spilt here."

    Such were the words spoken. Strangers stood around,
carrying on a lively conversation, such as no one would have
dared to carry on in the gorgeous hall of secrets whence the
Dryad came.

    A heavy stone slab was turned and then lifted. She did not
understand why. She saw an opening that led into the depths
below. The strangers stepped down, leaving the starlit air and
the cheerful life of the upper world behind them.

    "I am afraid," said one of the women who stood around, to
her husband, "I cannot venture to go down, nor do I care for
the wonders down yonder. You had better stay here with me."

    "Indeed, and travel home," said the man, "and quit Paris
without having seen the most wonderful thing of all- the real
wonder of the present period, created by the power and
resolution of one man!"

    "I will not go down for all that," was the reply.

    "The wonder of the present time," it had been called. The
Dryad had heard and had understood it. The goal of her ardent
longing had thus been reached, and here was the entrance to
it. Down into the depths below Paris? She had not thought of
such a thing; but now she heard it said, and saw the strangers
descending, and went after them.

    The staircase was of cast iron, spiral, broad and easy.
Below there burned a lamp, and farther down, another. They
stood in a labyrinth of endless halls and arched passages, all
communicating with each other. All the streets and lanes of
Paris were to be seen here again, as in a dim reflection. The
names were painted up; and every, house above had its number
down here also, and struck its roots under the macadamized
quays of a broad canal, in which the muddy water flowed
onward. Over it the fresh streaming water was carried on
arches; and quite at the top hung the tangled net of gas-pipes
and telegraph-wires.

    In the distance lamps gleamed, like a reflection from the
world-city above. Every now and then a dull rumbling was
heard. This came from the heavy wagons rolling over the
entrance bridges.

    Whither had the Dryad come?

    You have, no doubt, heard of the CATACOMBS? Now they are
vanishing points in that new underground world- that wonder of
the present day- the sewers of Paris. The Dryad was there, and
not in the world's Exhibition in the Champ de Mars.

    She heard exclamations of wonder and admiration.

    "From here go forth health and life for thousands upon
thousands up yonder! Our time is the time of progress, with
its manifold blessings."

    Such was the opinion and the speech of men; but not of
those creatures who had been born here, and who built and
dwelt here- of the rats, namely, who were squeaking to one
another in the clefts of a crumbling wall, quite plainly, and
in a way the Dryad understood well.

    A big old Father-Rat, with his tail bitten off, was
relieving his feelings in loud squeaks; and his family gave
their tribute of concurrence to every word he said:

    "I am disgusted with this man-mewing," he cried- "with
these outbursts of ignorance. A fine magnificence, truly! all
made up of gas and petroleum! I can't eat such stuff as that.
Everything here is so fine and bright now, that one's ashamed
of one's self, without exactly knowing why. Ah, if we only
lived in the days of tallow candles! and it does not lie so
very far behind us. That was a romantic time, as one may say."

    "What are you talking of there?" asked the Dryad. "I have
never seen you before. What is it you are talking about?"

    "Of the glorious days that are gone," said the Rat- "of
the happy time of our great-grandfathers and
great-grandmothers. Then it was a great thing to get down
here. That was a rat's nest quite different from Paris. Mother
Plague used to live here then; she killed people, but never
rats. Robbers and smugglers could breathe freely here. Here
was the meeting-place of the most interesting personages, whom
one now only gets to see in the theatres where they act
melodrama, up above. The time of romance is gone even in our
rat's nest; and here also fresh air and petroleum have broken

    Thus squeaked the Rat; he squeaked in honor of the old
time, when Mother Plague was still alive.

    A carriage stopped, a kind of open omnibus, drawn by swift
horses. The company mounted and drove away along the Boulevard
de Sebastopol, that is to say, the underground boulevard, over
which the well-known crowded street of that name extended.

    The carriage disappeared in the twilight; the Dryad
disappeared, lifted to the cheerful freshness above. Here, and
not below in the vaulted passages, filled with heavy air, the
wonder work must be found which she was to seek in her short
lifetime. It must gleam brighter than all the gas-flames,
stronger than the moon that was just gliding past.

    Yes, certainly, she saw it yonder in the distance, it
gleamed before her, and twinkled and glittered like the
evening star in the sky.

    She saw a glittering portal open, that led to a little
garden, where all was brightness and dance music. Colored
lamps surrounded little lakes, in which were water-plants of
colored metal, from whose flowers jets of water spurted up.
Beautiful weeping willows, real products of spring, hung their
fresh branches over these lakes like a fresh, green,
transparent, and yet screening veil. In the bushes burnt an
open fire, throwing a red twilight over the quiet huts of
branches, into which the sounds of music penetrated- an ear
tickling, intoxicating music, that sent the blood coursing
through the veins.

    Beautiful girls in festive attire, with pleasant smiles on
their lips, and the light spirit of youth in their hearts-
"Marys," with roses in their hair, but without carriage and
postilion- flitted to and fro in the wild dance.

    Where were the heads, where the feet? As if stung by
tarantulas, they sprang, laughed, rejoiced, as if in their
ecstacies they were going to embrace all the world.

    The Dryad felt herself torn with them into the whirl of
the dance. Round her delicate foot clung the silken boot,
chestnut brown in color, like the ribbon that floated from her
hair down upon her bare shoulders. The green silk dress waved
in large folds, but did not entirely hide the pretty foot and

    Had she come to the enchanted Garden of Armida? What was
the name of the place?

    The name glittered in gas-jets over the entrance. It was

    The soaring upwards of rockets, the splashing of
fountains, and the popping of champagne corks accompanied the
wild bacchantic dance. Over the whole glided the moon through
the air, clear, but with a somewhat crooked face.

    A wild joviality seemed to rush through the Dryad, as
though she were intoxicated with opium. Her eyes spoke, her
lips spoke, but the sound of violins and of flutes drowned the
sound of her voice. Her partner whispered words to her which
she did not understand, nor do we understand them. He
stretched out his arms to draw her to him, but he embraced
only the empty air.

    The Dryad had been carried away, like a rose-leaf on the
wind. Before her she saw a flame in the air, a flashing light
high up on a tower. The beacon light shone from the goal of
her longing, shone from the red lighthouse tower of the Fata
Morgana of the Champ de Mars. Thither she was carried by the
wind. She circled round the tower; the workmen thought it was
a butterfly that had come too early, and that now sank down

    The moon shone bright, gas-lamps spread light around,
through the halls, over the all-world's buildings scattered
about, over the rose-hills and the rocks produced by human
ingenuity, from which waterfalls, driven by the power of
"Master Bloodless," fell down. The caverns of the sea, the
depths of the lakes, the kingdom of the fishes were opened
here. Men walked as in the depths of the deep pond, and held
converse with the sea, in the diving-bell of glass. The water
pressed against the strong glass walls above and on every
side. The polypi, eel-like living creatures, had fastened
themselves to the bottom, and stretched out arms, fathoms
long, for prey. A big turbot was making himself broad in
front, quietly enough, but not without casting some suspicious
glances aside. A crab clambered over him, looking like a
gigantic spider, while the shrimps wandered about in restless
haste, like the butterflies and moths of the sea.

    In the fresh water grew water-lilies, nymphaea, and reeds;
the gold-fishes stood up below in rank and file, all turning
their heads one way, that the streaming water might flow into
their mouths. Fat carps stared at the glass wall with stupid
eyes. They knew that they were here to be exhibited, and that
they had made the somewhat toilsome journey hither in tubs
filled with water; and they thought with dismay of the
land-sickness from which they had suffered so cruelly on the

    They had come to see the Exhibition, and now contemplated
it from their fresh or salt-water position. They looked
attentively at the crowds of people who passed by them early
and late. All the nations in the world, they thought, had made
an exhibition of their inhabitants, for the edification of the
soles and haddocks, pike and carp, that they might give their
opinions upon the different kinds.

    "Those are scaly animals" said a little slimy Whiting.
"They put on different scales two or three times a day, and
they emit sounds which they call speaking. We don't put on
scales, and we make ourselves understood in an easier way,
simply by twitching the corners of our mouths and staring with
our eyes. We have a great many advantages over mankind."

    "But they have learned swimming of us," remarked a
well-educated Codling. "You must know I come from the great
sea outside. In the hot time of the year the people yonder go
into the water; first they take off their scales, and then
they swim. They have learnt from the frogs to kick out with
their hind legs, and row with their fore paws. But they cannot
hold out long. They want to be like us, but they cannot come
up to us. Poor people!"

    And the fishes stared. They thought that the whole swarm
of people whom they had seen in the bright daylight were still
moving around them; they were certain they still saw the same
forms that had first caught their attention.

    A pretty Barbel, with spotted skin, and an enviably round
back, declared that the "human fry" were still there.

    "I can see a well set-up human figure quite well," said
the Barbel. "She was called 'contumacious lady,' or something
of that kind. She had a mouth and staring eyes, like ours, and
a great balloon at the back of her head, and something like a
shut-up umbrella in front; there were a lot of dangling bits
of seaweed hanging about her. She ought to take all the
rubbish off, and go as we do; then she would look something
like a respectable barbel, so far as it is possible for a
person to look like one!"

    "What's become of that one whom they drew away with the
hook? He sat on a wheel-chair, and had paper, and pen, and
ink, and wrote down everything. They called him a 'writer.'"

    "They're going about with him still," said a hoary old
maid of a Carp, who carried her misfortune about with her, so
that she was quite hoarse. In her youth she had once swallowed
a hook, and still swam patiently about with it in her gullet.
"A writer? That means, as we fishes describe it, a kind of
cuttle or ink-fish among men."

    Thus the fishes gossipped in their own way; but in the
artificial water-grotto the laborers were busy; who were
obliged to take advantage of the hours of night to get their
work done by daybreak. They accompanied with blows of their
hammers and with songs the parting words of the vanishing

    "So, at any rate, I have seen you, you pretty
gold-fishes," she said. "Yes, I know you;" and she waved her
hand to them. "I have known about you a long time in my home;
the swallow told me about you. How beautiful you are! how
delicate and shining! I should like to kiss every one of you.
You others, also. I know you all; but you do not know me."

    The fishes stared out into the twilight. They did not
understand a word of it.

    The Dryad was there no longer. She had been a long time in
the open air, where the different countries- the country of
black bread, the codfish coast, the kingdom of Russia leather,
and the banks of eau-de-Cologne, and the gardens of rose oil-
exhaled their perfumes from the world-wonder flower.

    When, after a night at a ball, we drive home half asleep
and half awake, the melodies still sound plainly in our ears;
we hear them, and could sing them all from memory. When the
eye of the murdered man closes, the picture of what it saw
last clings to it for a time like a photographic picture.

    So it was likewise here. The bustling life of day had not
yet disappeared in the quiet night. The Dryad had seen it; she
knew, thus it will be repeated tomorrow.

    The Dryad stood among the fragrant roses, and thought she
knew them, and had seen them in her own home. She also saw red
pomegranate flowers, like those that little Mary had worn in
her dark hair.

    Remembrances from the home of her childhood flashed
through her thoughts; her eyes eagerly drank in the prospect
around, and feverish restlessness chased her through the
wonder-filled halls.

    A weariness that increased continually, took possession of
her. She felt a longing to rest on the soft Oriental carpets
within, or to lean against the weeping willow without by the
clear water. But for the ephemeral fly there was no rest. In a
few moments the day had completed its circle.

    Her thoughts trembled, her limbs trembled, she sank down
on the grass by the bubbling water.

    "Thou wilt ever spring living from the earth," she said
mournfully. "Moisten my tongue- bring me a refreshing

    "I am no living water," was the answer. "I only spring
upward when the machine wills it."

    "Give me something of thy freshness, thou green grass,"
implored the Dryad; "give me one of thy fragrant flowers."

    "We must die if we are torn from our stalks," replied the
Flowers and the Grass.

    "Give me a kiss, thou fresh stream of air- only a single

    "Soon the sun will kiss the clouds red," answered the
Wind; "then thou wilt be among the dead- blown away, as all
the splendor here will be blown away before the year shall
have ended. Then I can play again with the light loose sand on
the place here, and whirl the dust over the land and through
the air. All is dust!"

    The Dryad felt a terror like a woman who has cut asunder
her pulse-artery in the bath, but is filled again with the
love of life, even while she is bleeding to death. She raised
herself, tottered forward a few steps, and sank down again at
the entrance to a little church. The gate stood open, lights
were burning upon the altar, and the organ sounded.

    What music! Such notes the Dryad had never yet heard; and
yet it seemed to her as if she recognized a number of
well-known voices among them. They came deep from the heart of
all creation. She thought she heard the stories of the old
clergyman, of great deeds, and of the celebrated names, and of
the gifts that the creatures of God must bestow upon
posterity, if they would live on in the world.

    The tones of the organ swelled, and in their song there
sounded these words:

    "Thy wishing and thy longing have torn thee, with thy
roots, from the place which God appointed for thee. That was
thy destruction, thou poor Dryad!"

    The notes became soft and gentle, and seemed to die away
in a wail.

    In the sky the clouds showed themselves with a ruddy
gleam. The Wind sighed:

    "Pass away, ye dead! now the sun is going to rise!"

    The first ray fell on the Dryad. Her form was irradiated
in changing colors, like the soap-bubble when it is bursting
and becomes a drop of water; like a tear that falls and passes
away like a

    Poor Dryad! Only a dew-drop, only a tear, poured upon the
and vanished away!

                            THE END