From the publication of its first chapters the appeal of "Mary" was felt in two or three countries. Mary Makebelieve was not just a fictional heroine--she was Cinderella and Snow-white and all the maidens of tradition for whom the name of heroine is big and burthensome. With the first words of the story James Stephens put us into the attitude of listeners to the household tale of folk-lore. "Mary, Mary" is the simplest of stories: a girl sees this and that, meets a Great Creature who makes advances to her, is humiliated, finds a young champion and comes into her fortune--that is all there is to it as a story. But is it not enough to go with Mary to Stephens' Green and watch the young ducks "pick up nothing with the greatest eagerness and swallow it with the greatest delight," and after that to notice that the ring priced One Hundred Pounds has been taken from the Jewellers' window, and then stand outside the theatre with her and her mother and make up with them the story of the plays from the pictures on the posters?--plays of mystery and imagination they must have surely been.
he would have to go to on the present day, and the chances for and against the making of a little money. At this meal she used to arrange also to have the room re-papered and the chimney swept and the rat-holes stopped up--there were three of these, one was on the left-hand side of the fire grate, the other two were under the bed, and Mary Makebelieve had lain awake many a night listening to the gnawing of teeth on the skirting and the scamper of little feet here and there on the floor. Her mother further arranged to have a Turkey carpet placed on the floor, although she admitted that oilcloth or linoleum was easier to clean, but they were not so nice to the feet or the eye. Into all these improvements her daughter entered with the greatest delight. There was to be a red mahogany chest of drawers against one wall and a rosewood piano against the wall opposite. A fender of shining brass with brazen furniture, a bright, copper kettle for boiling water in, and an iron pot for cooking potatoes and meat; there was
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