One of the species of night-flies, the most beautiful of all, is a source of much amusement to the ladies. Hanging the cage of glittering insects on their verandahs, they sit and watch the crowd of winged visitors attracted by the fire-fly's light. What brings them there, and why the fire-fly's parlor is filled with suitors as a queen's court with courtiers, let this love story tell.
If it is possible, must it not be so? May we not, in our darkness and difficulty, rely upon One who, knowing man's fallen condition, yet said, Increase, and multiply, and replenish the earth? upon One who declared it to be a legitimate source of joy to every mother that a child was born to the world? upon One whose love to all whom He has made is to our love as the light of the mighty sun to a fire-fly's spark wandering in darkness?"
"Whose humor, as gay as the fire-fly's light, Play'd round every subject, and shone, as it play'd; Whose wit, in the combat as gentle as bright, Ne'er carried a heart-stain away on its blade; "Whose eloquence brightened whatever it tried, Whether reason or fancy, the gay or the grave, Was as rapid, as deep, and as brilliant a tide, As ever bore Freedom aloft on its wave!"
Up from the still earth there floated to my nostrils the incense of a dew-drenched landscape, fresh, odorous, wonderfully sweet, and a fire-fly's zigzag lantern came travelling towards me across the darkening meadow. Everything had become very still. It was that magic hour when the voices of the things of the day are hushed, and the things of the night have not yet awakened.
Sweetcakes and tea are indulged in by the visitors, and before they leave an agreement is entered into by which I am to visit their school in the morning before leaving and hear them sing "Bonny Boon" and "The fire-fly's light," in return for riding the bicycle in the school-house grounds.
And that evening Berkley lay at Paigecourt in the chintz-hung chamber where, as a girl, his mother had often slept, dreaming the dreams that haunt young hearts when the jasmine fragrance grows heavier in the stillness and the magnolia's snowy chalice is offered to the moon, and the thrush sings in the river thickets, and the fire-fly's lamp drifts through the fairy woods.
"The fire-fly's light" is sung to the tune of "Auld lang syne," the Japanese words of which commemorate a legend of the tea-district of Uji near Lake Biwa. The legend states that certain learned men repaired to a secluded spot near Uji to pursue their studies.
No one was better acquainted with the character, the deeds, and misdeeds of Hugh Dalton, than the all-seeing Cromwell; and so firm a heart as the Protector's could not but marvel at and admire, even though he could neither approve nor sanction, the bravery of the Fire-fly's commander. Dalton knew this, and, in endeavouring to obtain an authorised ship, acted according to such knowledge.