Willows by the water glittered, rustling in the blowing breeze.
Mirrored in the limpid distance, silver gilt between the trees, bands of amber streaked the surface, gently rent the shroud of night, freed the sovereignty of darkness, put the dying clouds to flight.
For Willoughby, it was the silent time.
Profiled at the misty margin, contemplating whence she came, bent a water nymph in study, rapt and tranquil, lovely, lonely; a film veiled her slender limbs, limned softly by the sun’s first flame.
Head lifted, she began to straighten, circling arms began to rise, fingers languidly caressed the tresses. Washed with light, she closed her eyes. A vision only, but not wholly, she is very like another’s form: gorgeous daughter of the morning, born into the warmth of dawn.
It always seemed she might be waiting, though never as she seemed so now . . .
Fastening her glowing hair, she drifted to the liquid lip. There, letting fall the gossamer, she slipped to mingle with the ripples. Grey eyes turned to smile a greeting, and white hand lingered in a parting wave . . .
And she was gone.
In the rushes at the lakeside, the dreamer, dreaming, gave a sigh. Could he make the scene substantial? Should he—dare he—even try?