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BROWNIE AND THE DAME

 

YOU know the browniebutdoyou know thedame

the gardener's dame She had learning knew verses by heart could even write them herself with ease only therhymes"clinchings" she called them caused her a little trouble She had the gift of writing and of talkingshemight verywellhavebeen a pastor or atleast a pas- tor's wife"The earth is lovely in its Sunday gown"saidshe and this thought she had put intowordsand"clinching" and had set it in a poem so long and beautifulThe student MrKisserupthenamehasnothing to do ith the story),wasanephew and on a visit to the gardenerhe heardthedame's poemand it did him good hesaidever so much good"You have soul madam"

said he

"Stuff and nonsense said the gardener"don't be putting such ideas into herhead a woman shouldbea body a decent body and look afterherpotsothatthe porridge may not be burned"

"I will takeawaythat burnt taste with a piece of burning charcoal" said the dame"and thenI will take the burnt taste from you with a little kiss One wouldthink that you only thought of cabbages and potatoesand yet you love theflowers"anesoshe kissed him"The flowers are the soul" said she

"Lookafter your pot saidhe and went into the garden that was hispot and he looked after it But thestudent sat and talked with the dameHer beautiful words"The earth is lovely" hemade quite a sermonaboutin his ownway

"The earth is lovelymake it subject unto youwas said and we became its rulers Some are so with the mind some with the bodyone is sent into theworld likean exclamation mark another like a Printer's dash sothat one may well ask'What is he doing here' One becomes a bishop another only a poor schoolmaster but all is wisely ordered The earth is lovely and always in itsSunday dressThatwasathought-stirring poemdame, full of feeling and geography"

"You have soul Mr Kisserup" said the dame"muchsoul Iassure youOnegets clearness in oneselfwhen one talks with you"

And so theywent on talking as beautifully and as well but out in the kitchen there was also one who talked and that was the brownie the little browniedressed in grey with a red cap Youknow himBrownie sat in thekitchenand was thepot-watcherhe talked but no oneheard him except thebigblack pussy cat

"Cream-thief" as the dame called himThe brownie was so angry with her because she did not believe in his existence he knew she had certainly never seen him but still she must with all her learningknow that he did exist and might have shown him a littleattention It never occurred to her on Christmas Eve tosetso much as a spoonful of porridge down forhimall his ancestors had got that and had got it from dames who hadabsolutely no learning the porridge had been swim-ming in butter and cream Itmade the cat's mouth water to hear ofit

"She calls me an idea!"said thebrownie"thatis beyond all my ideasShe actually denies meThat Ihave listenedtoandnow Ihave listened againshe sitsand wheezes to that boy-whacker the student Isay with the goodman' Mind your pot' that she doesn't donowIshall make it boil over" And Brownie puffed at the firewhich blazed and burned" Hubblebubble- hish"——thepot boiled over"Now Ishall go inand make holes in the goodman'ssocks said Brownie"Iwillunravela big hole in the toe and the heel so there willbesomethingto darn unless she must go and make poetry Dame poet- ess darnthe goodman's stockings"

The cat sneezed at that he had a cold although healways wore furs

"Ihave opened the diningroomdoor"said Brown- ie"there is clotted cream there as thick as gruelIf you won't lick it Ishall"

"IfI shall have the blame and the blows" said thecat"let me also lick the cream"

"First the creamthenthe licking"said the brown ie"ButnowIshall go into the student's roomhang his braces on the lookingglassand put his socks in thewa ter-jug then hewillthinkthatthepunch has been too strongandthathe is giddy in theheadLas nightI sat on the woodstack beside the dogkennel Itake a great pleasure in teasing the watchdog Ilet my legs hangdownanddangleThedogcouldnotreachthemhowever high he jumped that made him angry he barked andbarked Idingled and dangled itwas aracket The studentwoke up with itand got upthree times to look outbut he did notseeme althoughhe had spectacles on healways sleeps withspectacles"

"Say mew when the dame is coming"said the cat"Iam rather deaf Iam not well today"

"You arelickingsick" said Brownie"lick away, lick the sickness awaybutdry your whiskerssothatthe cream may not hang there.NowI will go and listen"

And Browniestoodbythedoorandthedoorstood ajartherewasno one inthe room exceptthedame and the student they talked about what the student so finelycalled"that whichoneought tosetaboveallpotsand pansin every household the gifts of the soul"

"MrKisserup"said thedame"now Ishallshow you something in this connection whichI have never yetshown to any earthly soul least of all to a man my littlepoems some arerather long however Ihave calledthem'Clinchingsby a gentlewoman'."

And she took out of the drawer a writingbook with a lightgreen cover and two blots of ink on it"There ismuchthatisearnestinthis book"saidshe"Ihavethe

strongest feeling for what is sorrowfulHere now is'The sigh in the Night''My EveningRed' and'WhenI got Klemmensen my husband You can pass over thatal- though it has feeling and thought'The Housewife's Du ties' is the best piece all verymelancholy in that lies mystrength Onlyonepiece is jocular it contains some lively thoughts such as onemayalso have thoughts about,—— you mustnot laugh atmeabout being a poetess Itis on ly known to myself and my drawerand now also to you Mr Kisserup Iam veryfondofpoetry it comes over me it teases and rules and reigns over me Ihave expressedit in thetitle'Little Brownie' You know the old peasant belief in the browniewho in always playing tricks in the house Ihave imagined thatI myself was the house andthatpoetry thefeeling within me was the browniethe spiritwhichrules in meHis power and greatness I have sungin'Thelittle Browniebut you must promise me with hand and mouth never to disclose it to my husband orany one Read it aloud so thatI can hear if you under stand my writing"

And the student read and the dame listened and thelittle brownie listened toohewas eavesdroppingyou knowandhad just come when the title"The little Brown- ie" was read

" That concerns me" said he"what can she have writtenabout meOh Ishall pinch her pinch her eggs pinch her chickenshound the fat off her fat calfWhat a dame"

And he listened with pursedup mouth and long ears but as he heard about Brownie's glory and powerand his lordship over the dameit was Poetry you know that shemeant but the brownie took it literally the little fellowsmiledmoreandmore his eyes sparkled with joythere came somethingof a superior air into the corners of his mouth he lifted his heels and stood on his toes and became awholeinch taller than before hewasdelighted with what was said about the little brownie

"The dame has soul and great breeding Ihave done the woman greatinjusticeShehas set me inher' Clinch ings' which will be printed and read Now the cat willnotget leave todrinkher cream Iwill dothatmyselfOne drinks less than twothat is always a saving andthatI willintroduceand respectandhonour the dame"

"What a human creature he is the brownie" saidthe old cat" only a sweet mew from the damea mew about himself and he at once changes hismindThe dameissly

But she wasnot sly it was thebrowniewho was ahuman being

If you cannot understand thisstory then ask butyou must not ask the brownie nor the dame either

 


 

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