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   Chapter 13 THE MAN FROM OUTSIDE

The Money Master, Complete By Gilbert Parker Characters: 31948

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


"Oh, who will walk the wood with me,

I fear to walk alone;

So young am I, as you may see;

No dangers have I known.

So young, so small-ah, yes, m'sieu',

I'll walk the wood with you!"

In the last note of the song applause came instantaneously, almost impatiently, as it might seem. With cries of "Encore! Encore!" it lasted some time, while the happy singer looked around with frank pleasure on the little group encircling her in the Manor Cartier.

"Did you like it so much?" she asked in a general way, and not looking at any particular person. A particular person, however, replied, and she had addressed the question to him, although not looking at him. He was the Man from Outside, and he sat near the bright wood-fire; for though it was almost June the night was cool and he was delicate.

"Ah, but splendid, but splendid-it got into every corner of every one of us," the Man from Outside responded, speaking his fluent French with a slight English accent, which had a pleasant piquancy-at least to the ears of the pretty singer, Mdlle. Zoe Barbille. He was a man of about thirty-three, clean-shaven, dark-haired, with an expression of cleverness; yet with an irresponsible something about him which M. Fille had reflected upon with concern. For this slim, eager, talkative, half-invalid visitor to St. Saviour's had of late shown a marked liking for the presence and person of Zoe Barbille; and Zoe was as dear to M. Fille as though she were his own daughter. He it was who, in sarcasm, had spoken of this young stranger as "The Man from Outside."

Ever since Zoe's mother had vanished-alone-seven years before from the Manor Cartier, or rather from his office at Vilray, M. Fille had been as much like a maiden aunt or a very elder brother to the Spanische's daughter as a man could be. Of M. Fille's influence over his daughter and her love of his companionship, Jean Jacques had no jealousy whatever. Very often indeed, when he felt incompetent to do for his child all that he wished-philosophers are often stupid in human affairs-he thought it was a blessing Zoe had a friend like M. Fille. Since the terrible day when he found that his wife had gone from him-not with the master-carpenter who only made his exit from Laplatte some years afterwards-he had had no desire to have a woman at the Manor to fill her place, even as housekeeper. He had never swerved from that. He had had a hard row to hoe, but he had hoed it with a will not affected by domestic accidents or inconveniences. The one woman from outside whom he permitted to go and come at will-and she did not come often, because she and M. Fille agreed it would be best not to do so-was the sister of the Cure. To be sure there was Seraphe Corniche, the old cook, but she was buried in her kitchen, and Jean Jacques treated her like a man.

When Zoe was confirmed, and had come back from Montreal, having spent two years in a convent there-the only time she had been away from her father in seven years-having had her education chiefly from a Catholic "brother," the situation developed in a new way. Zoe at once became as conspicuous in the country-side as her father had been over so many years. She was fresh, volatile, without affectation or pride, and had a temperament responsive to every phase of life's simple interests. She took the attention of the young men a little bit as her due, but yet without conceit. The gallants had come about her like bees, for there was Jean Jacques' many businesses and his reputation for wealth; and there was her own charm, concerning which there could be far less doubt than about Jean Jacques' magnificent solvency.

Zoe had gone heart-whole and with no especial preference for any young man, until the particular person came, the Man from Outside.

His name was Gerard Fynes, and his business was mumming. He was a young lawyer turned actor, and he had lived in Montreal before he went on the stage. He was English-that was a misfortune; he was an actor-that was a greater misfortune, for it suggested vagabondage of morals as well as of profession; and he was a Protestant, which was the greatest misfortune of all. But he was only at St. Saviour's for his convalescence after a so-called attack of congestion of the lungs; and as he still had a slight cough and looked none too robust, and as, more than all, he was simple in his ways, enjoying the life of the parish with greater zest than the residents, he found popularity. Undoubtedly he had a taking way with him. He was lodging with Louis Charron, a small farmer and kinsman of Jean Jacques, who sold whisky-"white whisky"-without a license. It was a Charron family habit to sell liquor illegally, and Louis pursued the career with all an amateur's enthusiasm. He had a sovereign balm for "colds," composed of camomile flowers, boneset, liquorice, pennyroyal and gentian root, which he sold to all comers; and it was not unnatural that a visitor with weak lungs should lodge with him.

Louis and his wife had only good things to say about Gerard Fynes; for the young man lived their life as though he was born to it. He ate the slap-jacks, the buttermilk-pop, the pork and beans, the Indian corn on the cob, the pea-soup, and the bread baked in the roadside oven, with a relish which was not all pretence; for indeed he was as primitive as he was subtle. He himself could not have told how much of him was true and how much was make-believe. But he was certainly lovable, and he was not bad by nature. Since coming to St. Saviour's he had been constant to one attraction, and he had not risked his chances with Zoe by response to the shy invitations of dark eyes, young and not so young, which met his own here and there in the parish.

Only M. Fille and Jean Jacques himself had feelings of real antagonism to him. Jean Jacques, though not naturally suspicious, had, however, seen an understanding look pass between his Zoe and this stranger-this Protestant English stranger from the outer world, to which Jean Jacques went less frequently since his fruitless search for his vanished Carmen. The Clerk of the Court saw that Jean Jacques had observed the intimate glances of the two young people, and their eyes met in understanding. It was just before Zoe had sung so charmingly, 'Oh, Who Will Walk the Wood With Me'.

At first after Carmen's going Jean Jacques had found it hard to endure singing in his house. Zoe's trilling was torture to him, though he had never forbidden her to sing, and she had sung on to her heart's content. By a subtle instinct, however, and because of the unspoken sorrow in her own heart, she never sang the songs like 'La Manola'. Never after the day Carmen went did Zoe speak of her mother to anyone at all. It was worse than death; it was annihilation, so far as speech was concerned. The world at large only knew that Carmen Barbille had run away, and that even Sebastian Dolores her father did not know where she was. The old man had not heard from her, and he seldom visited at the Manor Cartier or saw his grand-daughter. His own career of late years had been marked by long sojourns in Quebec, Montreal and even New York; yet he always came back to St. Saviour's when he was penniless, and was there started afresh by Jean Jacques. Some said that Carmen had gone back to Spain, but others discredited that, for, if she had done so, certainly old Sebastian Dolores would have gone also. Others continued to insist that she had gone off with a man; but there was George Masson at Laplatte living alone, and never going twenty miles away from home, and he was the only person under suspicion. Others again averred that since her flight Carmen had become a loose woman in Montreal; but the New Cure came down on that with a blow which no one was tempted to invite again.

M. Savry's method of punishing was of a kind to make men shrink. If Carmen Barbille had become a loose woman in Montreal, how did any member of his flock know that it was the case? What company had he kept in Montreal that he could say that? Did he see the woman-or did he hear about her? And if he heard, what sort of company was he keeping when he went to Montreal without his wife to hear such things? That was final, and the slanderer was under a cloud for a time, by reason of the anger of his own wife. It was about this time that the good priest preached from the text, "Judge not that ye be not judged," and said that there were only ten commandments on the tables of stone; but that the ten included all the commandments which the Church made for every man, and which every man, knowing his own weakness, must also make for himself.

His flock understood, though they did refrain, every one, from looking towards the place where Jean Jacques sat with Ma'm'selle-she was always called that, as though she was a great lady; or else she was called "the little Ma'm'selle Zoe," even when she had grown almost as tall as her mother had been.

Though no one looked towards the place where Jean Jacques and his daughter sat when this sermon was preached, and although Zoe seemed not to apprehend personal reference in the priest's words, when she reached home, after talking to her father about casual things all the way, she flew to her room, and, locking the door, flung herself on her bed and cried till her body felt as though it had been beaten by rods. Then she suddenly got up and, from a drawer, took out two things-an old photograph of her mother at the time of her marriage, and Carmen's guitar, which she had made her own on the day after the flight, and had kept hidden ever since. She lay on the bed with her cheek pressed to the guitar, and her eyes hungrily feeding on the face of a woman whose beauty belonged to spheres other than where she had spent the thirteen years of her married life.

Zoe had understood more even at the time of the crisis than they thought she did, child though she was; and as the years had gone on she had grasped the meaning of it all more clearly perhaps than anyone at all except her adored friends Judge Carcasson, at whose home she had visited in Montreal, and M. Fille.

The thing last rumoured about her mother in the parish was that she had become an actress. To this Zoe made no protest in her mind. It was better than many other possibilities, and she fixed her mind on it, so saving herself from other agonizing speculations. In a fixed imagination lay safety. In her soul she knew that, no matter what happened, her mother would never return to the Manor Cartier.

The years had not deepened confidence between father and daughter. A shadow hung between them. They laughed and talked together, were even boisterous in their fun sometimes, and yet in the eyes of both was the forbidden thing-the deserted city into which they could not enter. He could not speak to the child of the shame of her mother; she could not speak of that in him which had contributed to that mother's shame-the neglect which existed to some degree in her own life with him. This was chiefly so because his enterprises had grown to such a number and height, that he seemed ever to be counting them, ever struggling to the height, while none of his ventures ever reached that state of success when it "ran itself", although as years passed men called him rich, and he spent and loaned money so freely that they called him the Money Master, or the Money Man Wise, in deference to his philosophy.

Zoe was not beautiful, but there was a wondrous charm in her deep brown eyes and in the expression of her pretty, if irregular, features. Sometimes her face seemed as small as that of a young child, and alive with eerie fancies; and always behind her laughter was something which got into her eyes, giving them a haunting melancholy. She had no signs of hysteria, though now and then there came heart-breaking little outbursts of emotion which had this proof that they were not hysteria-they were never seen by others. They were sacred to her own solitude. While in Montreal she had tasted for the first time the joys of the theatre, and had then secretly read numbers of plays, which she bought from an old bookseller, who was wise enough to choose them for her. She became possessed of a love for the stage even before Gerard Fynes came upon the scene. The beginning of it all was the rumour that her mother was now an actress; yet the root-cause was far down in a temperament responsive to all artistic things.

The coming of the Man from Outside acted on the confined elements of her nature like the shutter of a camera. It let in a world of light upon unexplored places, it set free elements of being which had not before been active. She had been instantly drawn to Gerard Fynes. He had the distance from her own life which provoked interest, and in that distance was the mother whom perhaps it was her duty to forget, yet for whom she had a longing which grew greater as the years went on.

Gerard Fynes could talk well, and his vivid pictures of his short play-acting career absorbed her; and all the time she was vigilant for some name, for the description of some actress which would seem to be a clue to the lost spirit of her life. This clue never came, but before she gave up hope of it, the man had got nearer to her than any man had ever done.

After meeting him she awoke to the fact that there was a difference between men, that it was not the same thing to be young as to be old; that the reason why she could kiss the old Judge and the little Clerk of the Court, and not kiss, say, the young manager of the great lumber firm who came every year for a fortnight's fishing at St. Saviour's, was one which had an understandable cause and was not a mere matter of individual taste. She had been good friends with this young manager, who was only thirty years of age, and was married, but when he had wanted to kiss her on saying good-bye one recent summer, she had said, "Oh, no, oh, no, that would spoil it all!" Yet when he had asked her why, and what she meant, she could not tell him. She did not know; but by the end of the first week after Gerard Fynes had been brought to the Manor Cartier by Louis Charron, she knew.

She had then been suddenly awakened from mere girlhood. Judge Carcasson saw the difference in her on a half-hour's visit as he passed westward, and he had said to M. Fille, "Who is the man, my keeper of the treasure?" The reply had been of such a sort that the Judge was startled:

"Tut, tut," he had exclaimed, "an actor-an actor once a lawyer! That's serious. She's at an age-and with a temperament like hers she'll believe anything, if once her affections are roused. She has a flair for the romantic, for the thing that's out of reach-the bird on the highest branch, the bird in the sky beyond ours, the song that was lost before time was, the light that never was on sea or land. Why, damn it, damn it all, my Solon, here's the beginning of a case in Court unless we can lay the fellow by the heels! How long is he here for?"

When M. Fille had told him that he would stay for another month for certain, and no doubt much longer, if there seemed a prospect of winning the heiress of the Manor Cartier, the Judge gave a groan.

"We must get him away, somehow," he said. "Where does he stay?"

"At the house of Louis Charron," was the reply. "Louis Charron-isn't he the fellow that sells whisky without a license?"

"It is so, monsieur."

The Judge moved his head from side to side like a bear in a cage. "It is that, is it, my Fille? By the thumb of the devil, isn't it time then that Louis Charron was arrested for breaking the law? Also how do we know but that the interloping fellow Fynes is an agent for a whisky firm perhaps? Couldn't he, then, on suspicion, be arrested with-"

The Clerk of the Court shook his head mournfully. His Judge was surely becoming childish in his old age. He looked again closely at the great man, and saw a glimmer of

moisture in the grey eyes. It was clear that Judge Carcasson felt deeply the dangers of the crisis, and that the futile outburst had merely been the agitated protest of the helpless.

"The man is what he says he is-an actor; and it would be folly to arrest him. If our Zoe is really fond of him, it would only make a martyr of him."

As he made this reply M. Fille looked furtively at the other-out of the corner of his eye, as it were. The reply of the Judge was impatient, almost peevish and rough. "Did you think I was in earnest, my punchinello? Surely I don't look so young as all that. I am over sixty-five, and am therefore mentally developed!"

M. Fille was exactly sixty-five years of age, and the blow was a shrewd one. He drew himself up with rigid dignity.

"You must feel sorry sometimes for those who suffered when your mind was undeveloped, monsieur," he answered. "You were a judge at forty-nine, and you defended poor prisoners for twenty years before that."

The Judge was conquered, and he was never the man to pretend he was not beaten when he was. He admired skill too much for that. He squeezed M. Fille's arm and said:

"I've been quick with my tongue myself, but I feel sure now, that it's through long and close association with my Clerk of the Court."

"Ah, monsieur, you are so difficult to understand!" was the reply. "I have known you all these years, and yet-"

"And yet you did not know how much of the woman there was in me!... But yes, it is that. It is that which I fear with our Zoe. Women break out-they break out, and then there is the devil to pay. Look at her mother. She broke out. It was not inevitable. It was the curse of opportunity, the wrong thing popping up to drive her mad at the wrong moment. Had the wrong thing come at the right time for her, when she was quite sane, she would be yonder now with our philosopher. Perhaps she would not be contented if she were there, but she would be there; and as time goes on, to be where we were in all things which concern the affections, that is the great matter."

"Ah, yes, ah, yes," was the bright-eyed reply of that Clerk, "there is no doubt of that! My sister and I there, we are fifty years together, never with the wrong thing at the wrong time, always the thing as it was, always to be where we were."

The Judge shook his head. "There is an eternity of difference, Fille, between the sister and brother and the husband and wife. The sacredness of isolation is the thing which holds the brother and sister together. The familiarity of-but never mind what it is that so often forces husband and wife apart. It is there, and it breaks out in rebellion as it did with the wife of Jean Jacques Barbille. As she was a strong woman in her way, it spoiled her life, and his too when it broke out."

M. Fille's face lighted with memory and feeling. "Ah, a woman of powerful emotions, monsieur, that is so! I think I never told you, but at the last, in my office, when she went, she struck George Masson in the face. It was a blow that-but there it was; I have never liked to think of it. When I do, I shudder. She was a woman who might have been in other circumstances-but there!"

The Judge suddenly stopped in his walk and faced round on his friend. "Did you ever know, my Solon," he said, "that it was not Jean Jacques who saved Carmen at the wreck of the Antoine, but it was she who saved him; and yet she never breathed of it in all the years. One who was saved from the Antoine told me of it. Jean Jacques was going down. Carmen gave him her piece of wreckage to hang on to, and swam ashore without help. He never gave her the credit. There was something big in the woman, but it did not come out right."

M. Fille threw up his hands. "Grace de Dieu, is it so that she saved Jean Jacques? Then he would not be here if it had not been for her?"

"That is the obvious deduction, Maitre Fille," replied the Judge.

The Clerk of the Court seemed moved. "He did not treat her ill. I know that he would take her back to-morrow if he could. He has never forgotten. I saw him weeping one day-it was where she used to sing to the flax-beaters by the Beau Cheval. I put my hand on his shoulder, and said, 'I know, I comprehend; but be a philosopher, Jean Jacques.'"

"What did he say?" asked the Judge.

"He drew himself up. 'In my mind, in my soul, I am philosopher always,' he said, 'but my eyes are the windows of my heart, m'sieu'. They look out and see the sorrow of one I loved. It is for her sorrow that I weep, not for my own. I have my child, I have money; the world says to me, "How goes it, my friend?" I have a home-a home; but where is she, and what does the world say to her?'"

The Judge shook his head sadly. "I used to think I knew life, but I come to the belief in the end that I know nothing. Who could have guessed that he would have spoken like that!"

"He forgave her, monsieur."

The Judge nodded mournfully. "Yes, yes, but I used to think it is such men who forgive one day and kill the next. You never can tell where they will explode, philosophy or no philosophy."

The Judge was right. After all the years that had passed since his wife had left him, Jean Jacques did explode. It was the night of his birthday party at which was present the Man from Outside. It was in the hour when he first saw what the Clerk of the Court had seen some time before-the understanding between Zoe and Gerard Fynes. It had never occurred to him that there was any danger. Zoe had been so indifferent to the young men of St. Saviour's and beyond, had always been so much his friend and the friend of those much older than himself, like Judge Carcasson and M. Fille, that he had not yet thought of her electing to go and leave him alone.

To leave him alone! To be left alone-it had never become a possibility to his mind. It did not break upon him with its full force all at once. He first got the glimmer of it, then the glimmer grew to a glow, and the glow to a great red light, in which his brain became drunk, and all his philosophy was burned up like wood-shavings in a fiery furnace.

"Did you like it so much?" Zoe had asked when her song was finished, and the Man from Outside had replied, "Ah, but splendid, splendid! It got into every corner of every one of us."

"Into the senses-why not into the heart? Songs are meant for the heart," said Zoe.

"Yes, yes, certainly," was the young man's reply, "but it depends upon the song whether it touches the heart more than the senses. Won't you sing that perfect thing, 'La Claire Fontaine'?" he added, with eyes as bright as passion and the hectic fires of his lung-trouble could make them.

She nodded and was about to sing, for she loved the song, and it had been ringing in her head all day; but at that point M. Fille rose, and with his glass raised high-for at that moment Seraphe Corniche and another carried round native wine and cider to the company-he said:

"To Monsieur Jean Jacques Barbille, and his fifty years, good health-bonne sante! This is his birthday. To a hundred years for Jean Jacques!"

Instantly everyone was up with glass raised, and Zoe ran and threw her arms round her father's neck. "Kiss me before you drink," she said.

With a touch almost solemn in its tenderness Jean Jacques drew her head to his shoulder and kissed her hair, then her forehead. "My blessed one-my angel," he whispered; but there was a look in his eyes which only M. Fille had seen there before. It was the look which had been in his eyes at the flax-beaters' place by the river.

"Sing-father, you must sing," said Zoe, and motioned to the fiddler. "Sing It's Fifty Years," she cried eagerly. They all repeated her request, and he could but obey.

Jean Jacques' voice was rather rough, but he had some fine resonant notes in it, and presently, with eyes fastened on the distance, and with free gesture and much expression, he sang the first verse of the haunting ballad of the man who had reached his fifty years:

"Wherefore these flowers?

This fete for me?

Ah, no, it is not fifty years,

Since in my eyes the light you see

First shone upon life's joys and tears!

How fast the heedless days have flown

Too late to wail the misspent hours,

To mourn the vanished friends I've known,

To kneel beside love's ruined bowers.

Ah, have I then seen fifty years,

With all their joys and hopes and fears!"

Through all the verses he ranged, his voice improving with each phrase, growing more resonant, till at last it rang out with a ragged richness which went home to the hearts of all. He was possessed. All at once he was conscious that the beginning of the end of things was come for him; and that now, at fifty, in no sphere had he absolutely "arrived," neither in home nor fortune, nor-but yes, there was one sphere of success; there was his fatherhood. There was his daughter, his wonderful Zoe. He drew his eyes from the distance, and saw that her ardent look was not towards him, but towards one whom she had known but a few weeks.

Suddenly he stopped in the middle of a verse, and broke forward with his arms outstretched, laughing. He felt that he must laugh, or he would cry; and that would be a humiliating thing to do.

"Come, come, my friends, my children, enough of that!" he cried. "We'll have no more maundering. Fifty years-what are fifty years! Think of Methuselah! It's summer in the world still, and it's only spring at St. Saviour's. It's the time of the first flowers. Let's dance-no, no, never mind the Cure to-night! He will not mind. I'll settle it with him. We'll dance the gay quadrille."

He caught the hands of the two youngest girls present, and nodded at the fiddler, who at once began to tune his violin afresh. One of the joyous young girls, however, began to plead with him.

"Ah, no, let us dance, but at the last-not yet, M'sieu' Jean Jacques! There is Zoe's song, we must have that, and then we must have charades. Here is M'sieu' Fynes-he can make splendid charades for us. Then the dance at the last-ah, yes, yes, M'sieu' Jean Jacques! Let it be like that. We all planned it, and though it is your birthday, it's us are making the fete."

"As you will then, as you will, little ones," Jean Jacques acquiesced with a half-sigh; but he did not look at his daughter. Somehow, suddenly, a strange constraint possessed him where Zoe was concerned. "Then let us have Zoe's song; let us have 'La Claire Fontaine'," cried the black-eyed young madcap who held Jean Jacques' arms.

But Zoe interrupted. "No, no," she protested, "the singing spell is broken. We will have the song after the charades-after the charades."

"Good, good-after the charades!" they all cried, for there would be charades like none which had ever been played before, with a real actor to help them, to carry them through as they did on the stage. To them the stage was compounded of mystery, gaiety and the forbidden.

So, for the next half-hour they were all at the disposal of the Man from Outside, who worked as though it was a real stage, and they were real players, and there were great audiences to see them. It was all quite wonderful, and it involved certain posings, attitudes, mimicry and pantomime, for they were really ingenious charades.

So it happened that Zoe's fingers often came in touch with those of the stage-manager, that his hands touched her shoulders, that his cheek brushed against her dark hair once, and that she had sensations never experienced before. Why was it that she thrilled when she came near to him, that her whole body throbbed and her heart fluttered when their shoulders or arms touched? Her childlike nature, with all its warmth and vibration of life, had never till now felt the stir of sex in its vital sense. All men had in one way been the same to her; but now she realized that there was a world-wide difference between her Judge Carcasson, her little Clerk of the Court, and this young man whose eyes drank hers. She had often been excited, even wildly agitated, had been like a sprite let loose in quiet ways; but that was mere spirit. Here was body and senses too; here was her whole being alive to a music, which had an aching sweetness and a harmony coaxing every sense into delight.

"To-morrow evening, by the flume, where the beechtrees are-come-at six. I want to speak with you. Will you come?"

Thus whispered the maker of this music of the senses, who directed the charades, but who was also directing the course of another life than his own.

"Yes, if I can," was Zoe's whispered reply, and the words shook as she said them; for she felt that their meeting in the beech-trees by the flume would be of consequence beyond imagination.

Judge Carcasson had always said that Zoe had judgment beyond her years; M. Fille had remarked often that she had both prudence and shrewdness as well as a sympathetic spirit; but M. Fille's little whispering sister, who could never be tempted away from her home to any house, to whom the market and the church were like pilgrimages to distant wilds, had said to her brother:

"Wait, Armand-wait till Zoe is waked, and then prudence and wisdom will be but accident. If all goes well, you will see prudence and wisdom; but if it does not, you will see-ah, but just Zoe!"

The now alert Jean Jacques had seen the whispering of the two, though he did not know what had been said. It was, however, something secret, and if it was secret, then it was-yes, it was love; and love between his daughter and that waif of the world-the world of the stage-in which men and women were only grown-up children, and bad grown-up children at that-it was not to be endured. One thing was sure, the man should come to the Manor Cartier no more. He would see to that to-morrow. There would be no faltering or paltering on his part. His home had been shaken to its foundations once, and he was determined that it should not fall about his ears a second time. An Englishman, an actor, a Protestant, and a renegade lawyer! It was not to be endured.

The charade now being played was the best of the evening. One of the madcap friends of Zoe was to be a singing-girl. She was supposed to carry a tambourine. When her turn to enter came, with a look of mischief and a gay dancing step, she ran into the room. In her hands was a guitar, not a tambourine. When Zoe saw the guitar she gave a cry.

"Where did you get that?" she asked in a low, shocked, indignant voice.

"In your room-your bedroom," was the half-frightened answer. "I saw it on the dresser, and I took it."

"Come, come, let's get on with the charade," urged the Man from Outside.

On the instant's pause, in which Zoe looked at her lover almost involuntarily, and without fully understanding what he said, someone else started forward with a smothered exclamation-of anger, of horror, of dismay. It was Jean Jacques. He was suddenly transformed.

His eyes were darkened by hideous memory, his face alight with passion. He caught from the girl's hands the guitar-Carmen's forgotten guitar which he had not seen for seven years-how well he knew it! With both hands he broke it across his knee. The strings, as they snapped, gave a shrill, wailing cry, like a voice stopped suddenly by death. Stepping jerkily to the fireplace he thrust it into the flame.

"Ah, there!" he said savagely. "There-there!" When he turned round slowly again, his face-which he had never sought to control before he had his great Accident seven years ago-was under his command. A strange, ironic-almost sardonic-smile was on his lips.

"It's in the play," he said.

"No, it's not in the charade, Monsieur Barbille," said the Man from Outside fretfully.

"That is the way I read it, m'sieu'," retorted Jean Jacques, and he made a motion to the fiddler.

"The dance! The dance!" he exclaimed.

But yet he looked little like a man who wished to dance, save upon a grave.

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