Excerpt from Flower-O'-the-Corn
It was thus that he first saw her, blue and white among the gold, and ever after in his heart of hearts he called her, like those others, flower-o'-the-corn. Common folk in England call a certain gay, laughing, defiant bloom Cornﬂower. In France little chil dren leap up and shout aloud, Bluet! Bluet when they catch sight of it. For it is a precious thing to them. And Maurice Raith, who in answering my lord's letters had a genius for finding the right word, knew at once that for this girl whom he met among the harvest fields there was no other name possible but just flower-o'-the-corn. So flower-o'-the-corn she was till Time grew old.
It was the age of the Grand Louis - the Fourteenth of the name (louis the least of all great kings and great men), and question and answer were still quick and straight as the give-and-take of sword-play. That is, save about the Court of the King, where all things grow naturally crooked as the 'head of a thorn stick that is cut from the hedge-root to fit the hand of him who cuts it.
But of this pride of life in high places we shall see little, having for the most part to do with the living and dying of poor men embattled against the powers of this world, against spiritual wickednesses in high places - together with the strange ever-new to-and-fro of life - and especially with what men will do for love, each according to his spirit and his understanding of the meaning and inwardness of the word. Such is our preamble.
Flower-o'-the-corn stood up, her hands clasped lightly behind her. There was a bunch of blossoms between them which she had just gathered, and she stopped short in the song she was singing - as a bird pulses out the gladness of its heart and the vivid brevity of life. Maurice thought that he had never seen so fair a thing - no, not in the dreams of the night - as this maid who fronted him suddenly among the waving cornlands of the Meuse valley.
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