The Ethics of the Dust/Note

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NOTE TO SECOND EDITION

Sentence out of letter from May (who is staying with Isabel just now at Cassel), dated 15th June, 1877:--

"I am reading the Ethics with a nice Irish girl who is staying here, and she's just as puzzled as I've always been about the fireflies, and we both want to know so much.--Please be a very nice old Lecturer, and tell us, won't you?"

Well, May, you never were a vain girl; so could scarcely guess that I meant them for the light, unpursued vanities, which yet blind us, confused among the stars. One evening, as I came late into Siena, the fireflies were flying high on a stormy sirocco wind,--the stars themselves no brighter, and all their host seeming, at moments, to fade as the insects faded.