The Worshipper of the Image
Richard Le Gallienne
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The Worshipper of the Image is a Fiction Short Story Book. Evening was in the wood, still as the dreaming bracken, secretive, moving softly among the pines as a young witch gathering simples. She wore a hood of finely woven shadows, yet, though she drew it close, sunbeams trooping westward flashed strange lights across her haunted face. The birds that lived in the wood had broken out into sudden singing as she stole in, hungry for silence, passionate to be alone; and at the foot of every tree she cried "Hush! Hush!" to the bedtime nests. When all but one were still, she slipped the hood from her face and listened to her own bird, the night jar, toiling at his hopeless love from a bough on which already hung a little star. Then it was that a young man, with a face shining with sorrow, vaulted lightly over the mossed fence and dipped down the green path, among the shadows and the toadstools and the silence. Far down the wood came and went through the trees the black and white gable of a little châlet to which he was dreaming his way. Suddenly a small bronze object caught his eye moving across the mossy path. It was a beautiful beetle, very slim and graceful in shape, with singularly long and fine antennae. Antony had loved these things since he was a child, dragonflies with their lamp like eyes of luminous horn, moths with pall like wings that filled the world with silence as you looked at them, sleepy as death loved them with the passion of a Japanese artist who delights to carve them on quaint nuggets of metal.