The Vagabond, already weary from the morning's tasks, lounged at his desk. Philosophy texts stared at him as if to say only they mattered and the day in all its May glory was naught. Note books, bearing no sign of service, lay scattered on the desk; Anatole France was there in "The crime of Sylvestro Bonnard"; and somewhere there also was Omar Khayyam, the winter sage. Then, sandwiched, unhappily it seemed, between a man of science on one side and a philosopher on the other was "Alice in Wonderland."
"But now where to begin again?" thought the Vagabond; and he recalled the story of the donkey starving between two loads of hay.
"Begin with wine," cried a happy voice, "begin with verse. Do not all feasts begin with wine?"
And the Vagabond turned the pages of the immorial Rubalyat:
"Here with a loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--And Wilderness is Paradise now."
Are not those happy thoughts," asked the Votes, "is that not golden philosophy?"
"Well, spoken," answered the philosopher adjusting his spectacles and stepping from his book"--happy thoughts indeed; but to make men wise, to show what is real--that is the treasure of my work. And that I should think is supreme."
"My dear Sir," came a child's voice from the direction of Anatole France, "we shan't have time for an argument here; but if I may say so, Mr. Philosopher, sometimes I feel that the smallest little ragamuffin who goes along the road with his shirt tail sticking out through a hole in his pantaloons knows more about what is real and important than all you old spectacled people in your institutions and academies. To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything. I am imaginary. That is to exist, I should certainly think. I am dreamed of and I appear. Everything is only dream, Mr. Philosopher and as nobody ever dreams about the dry things you say they never really exist."
And she stamped her foot so loudly that the Vagabond awoke from his reverie. He put on his hat, plucked a bud from a tree and started for the circus.