stand and be looked at—you are beautiful and you know it,
no doubt ? "
She made a weary sign of assent. Beautiful? What
could it matter if she were so, or if she Avere not, Avhat these
men thought of it ? The beauty that she owned, though so
late a precious possession, a crown of glory to her, had lost
all its fairness and all its wonder since it had been strength
less to bind to hers, the only heart in which she cared to rouse
a throb of passion, since it had been unworthy to draw
upon it with any lingering gaze of love the eyes of Arslan.
He looked at her more closely ; this was a strange crea¬
ture, he thought, who being a woman and in her first youth
could thus acknowledge her own loveliness with so much
candour, yet so much indifference.
That afternoon they halted at a little town that stood in
a dell across the fields, a small place lying close about a
great church tower.
It was almost dusk when they entered it; but it was all
alive With lights and shows, and trumpets and banners ; it
was the day of a great fair, and the merry-go-rounds were
Avhirling, and the trades in gilded cakes and puppets of
sugar were thriving fast, and the narrow streets Avere full of
a happy and noisy peasant crowd.
As soon as the little troop entered the first street a glad
They Avere well known and well liked there; the people
clustered by dozens round them, the Avomen greeting them
with kisses, the children hugging the dogs, the men
clamouring with invitations to eat and to drink and be
They bade her watch them at their art in a rough wooden
house outside the wine taA'crn.
She stood in the shadoAv and looked as they bade her,
\\ liile the mimic life of their little stage began and lived its
To the mind Avbich had received its first instincts of art
from the cold, lofty, passionless creations of Arslfin, from the
classic purity and from the divine conception of the old
Hellenic ideal, the art of the comic stage could seem but
poor and idle mimicry; gaudy and fragrantless as any
painted rose of paper blooming on a tinselled stem.
The crystal truthlessness, the barbaric liberty, the pure