" That means the chaff;—less than the chaff,—the
" It means me."
They were sUent, only bending on her their bright curious
They saw that she was unspeakably wretched ; that some
great woe or shock had recently fallen on her, and given her
glance that startled horror and blanched her rich skin to an
ashen pallor, and frozen, as it AA^ere, the very current of the
young blood in her veins.
They were silent a little space. Then whispered to¬
" Come with us," they urged. " We too go to Paris, We
are poor. We follow art. We will befriend you,"
She was deaf to them long; being timid and wild of
every human thing. But they were urgent; they were
eloquent; these young girls with their bright eyes; these
men Avho spoke of art; these wanderers who went to the
In the end they pressed on her their companionship.
They too were going to Paris; they spoke of perils she
would run, of vouchers she would need: she wondered at
their charity, but in the end walked on Avith them—fearing
the Red Mouse,
They were mirthful gentle people, so she thought: they
said they followed art; they told her she could never enter
Paris nameless and alone: so she went. The chief of the
little troop watched wocideringly her step, her posture, her
barbaric and lustrous beauty, brilUant still even through
the pallor of grief and the weariness of fatigue ; of these he
had never seen the like before and he knew their almost
priceless value in the world, and of the working classes and
street mobs of Paris.
" Listen," he said suddenly to her. " We shall play to¬
night at the next town. Will you take a part ?"
Walking along through the glades of the wood, lost in
thought, she started at his voice,
" I do not know what you mean ?"
" I mean—wiU you share y-ourself with us ? We will give
you no words. It will be quite easy. What money we
aake we divide amongst us. All you shall do shaU be to