As to Fancies
As to Fancies
You know how fancies grow. We all do. They come when the last thought of daytime has been put away, and you sit alone with half-closed eyes, just conscious of the last glow of the evening.
And if you are a woman you have a few spray s of mignonette and some pansy faces and a rose in your lap, half-covered by the lace about your idle hands. Or if you are not, there is a little wreath of fragrant gray smoke that floats above your head and clouds the dim room before it drifts lazily out through the window.
Then you let yourself think wild glad things, things that are impossible maybe, but always glad. And there is always a song or a face or a flower, and always a wish.
You are partial to the old fancies and you know every thread and trick of their weaving. The film like rare old lace has been finely, tenderly threaded in and out in the half dark. It cannot endure the glare of the daytime, so you dream it over and over again in the evening, and it is always the same.
Sometimes the fancies are real. You remember how the bit of a girl slipped out of the door in the evening after the last dish had been dried for mother, and ran down the path away and away from the house to be alone with the sunset. All gold and crimson it flamed across the long long stretches of green prairie. You wondered if it was as long as forever between you and the sunset. And it was just as far to the sky on every side. You were so little, but it was yours, all yours, and how you loved it! So much indeed that you could never be anywhere else afterward without feeling shut in and stifled by the obtrusive nearness of everything. You could hear now and then the low whistle of some homing plover.
Then by and by there were stars in the blue sky, and the moon came, round and white. And maybe a rabbit stood and peeped at you through the tall grass before it scampered away. Or if you were very quiet you could watch three or four of them playing and bounding so far that no one would believe it, so it must be a secret; your secret and the rabbits’.
Then a cricket right by your side would start his shrill chirrup, and you roused yourself and walked slowly up the path that lay like a dark ribbon through the tall damp grass that shone and sparkled in the moonlight. Sometimes you stopped to shake off the heavy dew with your hands.
And then you kissed the cool white rose by the window and you hoped, oh, so much, for – you knew not what, and you caught a little sob in your throat and dropped a tear on the silvery petals of the rose.
Always when you dream it over the same little sob comes into your throat, and the longing has grown a little deeper. And are you not always a little nearer its fulfillment? Every time you cling to the fancy a little longer and more tenderly. Every time you have grown a little farther into its beauty.
And isn’t it true after all that fancy is the most real thing in your life? You know that however hard, and stern, and practical you may be you are always the better for it. It is the things that we think are vital. The things we do are often, far too often, the outcome of physical necessity or stubborn environment.
When our hands are busy with common tasks we are far away, perhaps clambering about somewhere in our father’s barn or tossing pebbles from the old bridge into the little stream. Like the child who runs on an errand and plays that he is the king’s messenger, we color the task with a fancy and smile at our work. It is the gladness of the thought that lends the labor joy. And so we all live within ourselves. Maybe not all of us confess it, but we have all builded and peopled our air-castles, and dreamed of the time when our genii should come and touch them and make them real. Expectancy must needs be as universal as childhood, memory as old age. And youth is aspiration. The things we think are ourselves, they are our life. Without time for dreams we grow sordid and starved of spirit.
So when you see the light of fancy kindled on a face, steal softly by and trouble not. It may be then that the soul is dipping its cup at the well-spring of life.
Elsie Mae Blandin, The Kiote, January 1900