His unkempt beard moved up and down with the rhythm of the song. In the harshness of light and shade that worked in his face, he had an air that suggested a solitary monk capable of accomplishing a century of penance. "How amusing he is!" said Therese. "He is making a spectacle of himself for himself. He is a great artist." "Darling, why will you insist that Monsieur Choulette is not a pious man?

But in another garret, another workingman, sober, sad, and a chemist, swears to himself that he will commit an expiatory murder." He rose and said good-night. She called him back. "Monsieur Vence, you know that I was serious. Bring Choulette to me."

If you had been able to read my mind that night you would have screamed with fright." Therese smiled: "Farewell, Monsieur Choulette. Do not forget my medal of Saint Clara." He placed his bag on the floor, raised his arm, and pointed his finger: "You have nothing to fear from me. But the one whom you will love and who will love you will harm you. Farewell, Madame."

The Countess and Choulette asked Miss Bell to read to them the verses she was writing. She excused herself from reciting her uncertain cadence to the French poet, whom she liked best after Francois Villon. Then she recited in her pretty, hissing, birdlike voice. "That is very pretty," said Choulette, "and bears the mark of Italy softly veiled by the mists of Thule."

That is the reason why your verses are unequal. I have understood it." The poet accepted this praise, persuaded that he had unwittingly deserved it. "You have faith, Monsieur Choulette," said Therese. "Of what use is it to you if not to write beautiful verses?" "Faith serves me to commit sin, Madame." "Oh, we commit sins without that."

The good Madame Marmet, whose nephew was a captain in the artillery, was shocked at the violence with which Choulette attacked the army. Madame Martin saw in this only an amusing fantasy. Choulette's ideas did not frighten her. She was afraid of nothing. But she thought they were a little absurd. She did not think that the past had ever been better than the present.

Dechartre was there, reciting verses of Dante, and looking at Florence: "At the hour when our mind, a greater stranger to the flesh. . ." Near him, Choulette, seated on the balustrade of the terrace, his legs hanging, and his nose in his beard, was still at work on the figure of Misery on his stick.

Miss Bell was already listening, and her face wore the fervent expression of an angel sculptured by Mino. Choulette told them it was a rustic and artless work. The verses were not trying to be beautiful. They were simple, although uneven, for the sake of lightness. Then, in a slow and monotonous voice, he recited the canticle.

"Ah," she said, "I have forgotten his name. When we talk with Monsieur Choulette we call him Quentin Matsys, because he resembles the old men of that painter." As they were turning the corner of the church to see the facade, she found herself before the post-box, which was so dusty and rusty that it seemed as if the postman never came near it.

Vence replied that she must not try to learn. He confessed that he was the idealist historian of the poet, and that the adventures which he related of him were not to be taken in the literal and Judaic sense. He affirmed that at least Choulette was publishing Les Blandices, and desired to visit the cell and the grave of St. Francis.