sheepskin; wide-awake through the calm dark hours ; for
a bed within she knew that she could not pay, and she
would not let any charity purchase one for her.
At daybreak when the others rose she would only take
from them the crust that Avas absolutely needful to keep life
in her. Food seemed to choke her as it passed her lips,—
since how could she tell but what his lips were parched dry
with hunger or were blue and cold in death ?
That morning, as they started, one of the two youths who
bore their traveUing gear and the rude appliances of their
little stage upon his shoulders from village to village when
they journeyed thus—being oftentimes too poor to permit
themselves any other mode of transit and of porterage—fell
lame and grew faint and was forced to lay down his burden
by the roadside.
She raised the weight upon her back and head as she had
been wont to do the weights of timber and of corn for the
miU-house, and bore it onward.
In vain they remonstrated with her; she would not yield,
but carried the wooden framework and the folded canvasses
aU through the heat and weariness of the noonday,
" You would have me eat of your supper last night. I
will have you accept of my payment to-day," she said,
For this seemed to her a labour innocent and just, and
even full of honour whatever men might say: had not Helios
himself been bound as a slave in Thessaly ?
They journeyed far that day, along straight sunlit high¬
ways, and under the shadows of green trees. The flelds
were green with the young corn and the young vines ; the
delicate plumes of the first blossoming lilacs nodded in their
footsteps; the skies were blue; the earth was fragrant.
At noonday the players halted and threw themselves clown
beneath a poplar tree, in a wild rose thicket, to eat their
noonday meal of bread and a green cress salad.
The shelter they had chosen was full of fragrance from
rain drops still wet upon the grasses, and the budding rose
vines. The hedge was full of honeysuckle and tufts of cow¬
slips ; the sun was warmer; the mild-eyed cattle came and
looked at them; little redstarts picked up their CkSimbs;
fi'om a white vine-hung cottage an old woman brought
them salt and wished them a fair travel