like the lips of one who nas long kept silence, and may
keep it—until death.
As she saw the old man her eyes changed and lightened
with a smile Avhich for the moment banished all the glooiv
and savage patience from her eyes, and made them mellow
and lustrous as a southern sun.
She paused before him, and spoke, showing her beautiful
white teeth, small and even, like rows of cowrie shells.
" You are well, Marcellin ? "
The old man stai ted, and looked up with a certain glad¬
ness on his own keen visage, whicli had lost all expression
save such as an intense and absorbed retrospection will
" Fool! " he made answer, harshly yet not unkindly,
" When AviU you know that so long as an old man lives so
long it cannot be ' avcU ' with him ? "
" Need one be a man, or old, to answer so ? "
She spoke in the accent and the language of the province,
but with a voice rich and pure and cold ; not the voice of
the north, or of any peasantry. She put her basket down
from off her head, and leaned against the trunk of the
poplar beside him, crossing her arms upon her bare chest.
"To the young everything is possible; to the ol(J
nothing," he said curtly.
Her eyes gleamed Avith a fierce thirsty longing ; she
made him no reply.
He broke off' half his dry bread and tendered it to her.
She shook her head and motioned it aAvay ; yet she was as
hungered as any hawk that has hunted all through the
night and the woods, and has killed nothing. The°grow.
ing hfe, the superb strength, the lofty stature of her made
her need constant nourishment, as young trees need it; and
she was fed as scantily as a blind beggar's doo- and less
willingly than a galley slave.
The kindly air had fed her richly, strongly, continually;
that was all,
" Possible ! " she said slowly, after awhile. " What is
possible ? I do not understand."
The old man, Marcellin, smiled grimly,
"You see that lark? It soars there, and sinews there.
It is possible that a fowler may hide in the grasses • it is
possible that it may be shot as it sings ; it is possible that