sharp cord bit the flesh cruelly, curling round her bare
chest and shoulders, and leaving a livid mark.
She quivered a little, but she said nothing ; she lifted
her head and looked at him, and dropped her hands to her
sides. Her eyes glowed fiercely; her red curling lips shut
tight ; her straight brows drew together.
" Little devil ! Will you work now % " said the miller.
" Do you think you are to stand in the sun and smell at
flowers—you ! Pouf-f-f!"
Folle-Farine did not move.
" Pick up the sacks this moment, little brute," said the
miller. " If you stand still a second before they are all
housed, you shall have as many stripes as there are sacks
left untouched. Oh, he : do you hear ? "
She heard, but she did not move.
" Do you hear," he pursued. " As many strokes as there
are sacks, little wretch. Now—I will give you three
moments to choose. One !"
Folle-Farine still stood mute and immovable, her head
erect, her arms crossed on her chest. A small, slender,
bronze-hued, half-nude figure amongst the ruby hues of the
gladioli and the pure snow-like whiteness of the lilies.
" Two !"
She stood in the same attitude, the sacks lying un¬
touched at her feet, a purple-winged butterfly lighting on
" Three ! "
She was still mute ; still motionless.
He seized her by the shoulder with one hand, and with
the other lifted the rope.
It curled round her breast and back, again and again and
again; she shuddered, but she did not utter a single cry. He
struck her the ten times ; with the same num.ber of strokes
as there remained sacks uncarried. He did not exert any
great strength, for had he used his uttermost he would have
killed her, and she was of value to him ; but he scourged
her with a merciless exactitude in the execution of his
threat, and the rope was soon wet with drops of her bright
The noonday sun fell golden all around ; the deep sweet
peace of the silent country reigned everywhere ; the pigeons
fled to and fro in and out of their little arched homes; the