FOLLE-FARINB. 46 \
shall toss aloft in triumph the name that is now nothing aa
the dust is,—nothing as you are, Folle-Farine!"
She heard in silence to the end.
On the height of the roof-tops aU was stiU; the stars
seemed to beam close against her sight; below was the in¬
finite space of the darkness, in which lines of light glittered
where the haunts of pleasure lay; aU creatures near her
slept; the wind-sown plants blew to and fro, rooted in the
spaces of the stones.
As the last words died softly on the quiet of the air, in
answer she reached her hand upward, and broke off a tuft
of the yelloAv wall-blossom, and cast it out with one turn of
her wrist down into the void of the darkness.
"What do I say?" she said, sloAvly. "What? Well,
this: I could seize you, and cast you down into the dark
below there, as easily as I cast that tuft of weed. And
why I hold my hand I cannot tell; it would be just,"
And she turned away and walked from him in the gloom
slowly, as though the deed she spake of tempted her.
The poverties of the city dcvoui'cd her incessantly, like
wolves; the temptations of the city crouched in wait for
licr incessantly, like tigers. She was always hungry, always
heartsick, ahvays alone; and there was ahvays at her ear
.some tempting voice, telling her that she Avas beautiful and
was a fool.
Yet she never dreamed once of listening, of yielding, of
taking any pity on herself.
Was this virtue? She never thought of it as such; it
was simply instinct; the instinct of a supireme fidelity, in
>'h:ch all slighter and meaner passions Avere absorbed and
Once or twice, through some lighted casement in some
l.imp-lit wood, Avhere the littk- gay boats flashed on fairy
lakes, she Avould coldly watch that luxury, that indolence,