child coming straight towards him in the full crimson glow
of the setting sun, and Avith the flame of the poppies all
He hardly knew why he looked at her, but when he had
oncf? looked his eyes rested there.
She had the hues of his youth about her; in that blood-
red light, amongst the blood-red floAvers, she made him
think of women's forms that he had seen in all their grace
and their voluptuous loveliness clothed in the red garment
of death, and standing on the dusky red of the scaffold as
the burning mornings of the summers of slaughter had
risen over the land.
The child was all alone before him in that intense glow as
of fire ; above her there was a taAvny sky, flushed hero and
there with purple ; around her stretched the solitary level
of the fields burnt yellow as gold by the long months of
heat. There were sti'ipes on her shoulders blue and black
from the marks of a thong.
He looked at her, and stopped her, why he hardly knew,
except that a look about her, beaten but yet unsubdued, at¬
tracted him. He had seen the look of yore in the years of
his youth, on the faces of the nobles he hated,
" Have you been hurt ?" he asked her in his harsh,
strong voice. She put her heavy load of faggots down and
stared at him,
" Hurt ? " She echoed the word stupidly. No one ever
thought she could be hurt ; what was done to her was
punishment and justice,
" Yes. Those stripes—they must be painful ? "
She gave a gesture of assent with her head, but she did
"Who beat you ?" he pursued.
A cloud of passion swept over her bent face.
" You Avere wicked ? "
" They said so."
" And Avhat do you do when you are beaten ? "
" I shut my mouth."
« For what ? "
" For fear they should know it hurt me—and be glad."
Marcellin leaned on his elm stick, and fastened on her his
keen passionless eyes with a look which, for him who