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conviction, had grown paralytic and half-crazed,
and not even the strongest-minded of the
inhabitants of the village could pass by where the
hag wonld lie crouching in some sunny corner,
a hideous spectacle, mumbling and mowing, or
at intervals bursting into impotent shrieking
rages at some fancied affront, without shuddering
and crossing themselves.

Great preparations were made, as usual, for
the fête of Auray. The altar of Sainte Suzanne,
the patroness of the village, was newly
decorated, and adorned with fresh flowers, among
which shone conspicuous some of the curé's
best roses, and various specimens of young
Claude's skill in horticulture. Next came
the procession, with all its attendant pomps
of music (so called), banners, and priestly
vestments, rich with silk, gold, and embroidery;
and then the fair, where, in booths, were
collected enough bad gingerbread to sicken
the youth of both sexes of Auray for the next
ten days. Beside these were ornaments of
glass and china, dolls, toys, baskets, brooms,
mats, watering-pots, farm, garden, and household
implements of every description; and as to
melons, large, pale yellow, smooth-coated fruits,
closely related to pumpkins, it seemed as if all
the land about Auray must have been exclusively
devoted to their culture. You saw them
piled in heaps, you saw them separately, you
saw them whole, you saw them divided; the air
was redolent of melons, the ground was encumbered
with melon-rinds; women carried them
under their arms, men cut them up with the
clasp-knife that answers to every mechanical
need of the French peasant, and children gnawed
every eatable particle from the rinds. Then there
were swings and merry-go-rounds, with wooden
horses, and boards for a game distantly related
to bagatelle, and there was shooting at a plaster
figure with the arbalète or cross-bow, and there
were a few shows of a humble character.

But the great attraction was reserved for the
evening, when, in an interval of the dancing,
some wonderful performances, chiefly of a
dramatic character, though the acrobatic,
pyrotechnic, and prestidigitatory elements of
entertainment were not wanting, were to take place,
executed by a strolling company.

The public, on the payment of one sou
for those who were content to stand, of three
for such as desired the luxury of seats, were
admitted into a temporary enclosure formed
of mats, canvas, and old tarpaulins stretched
on posts planted in the sward, and the
entertainment commenced by a short, wiry
individual, with a swarthy face, keen black eyes, and
fabulous head of frizzly black hair, performing a
frenzied dance, blindfold, in a space of about
two square yards, where were laid six eggs,
without breaking one of them. This feat
completed, amid the applause of the spectators, the
gentleman, tearing the bandage from his eyes,
made a sweeping bow to the company, and
retreated with a short backward run behind the
canvas screen, which formed the green-room.

In a few seconds issued from the same retreat
a dark hard-featured woman, looking considerably
past forty, though she had probably hardly
reached that age, accompanied by a slight girl
of from fifteen to seventeen, who, though thin
and worn-looking, had some beauty in a pair of
large soft blue eyes, and a profusion of rich-
waved brown hair.

Having sung one or two songs, to the woman's
accompaniment on a cracked guitar, the girl,
taking from her hand a tambourine, began to
dance to the same music, and the spectators
were in the height of their enjoyment, when
there came a movement from behind, attended
with a cry that sent a shudder through the
assembly, and Jeanne, clearing the way before
her as the course of some furious animal divides
the densest crowd, plunged forward, and seizing
the left hand of the dancer, turned upwards the
under side of the wrist. There, traversed by
blue veins, and agitated by the throbbing of the
pulse, was a rose-coloured mark, in size and
shape not unlike a rose-leaf.

"My child!" the poor soul shrieked, and
clasped the dancer in an embrace in which
seemed to be concentrated all the love so long
cheated of its object; but the girl shrank from
her in terror, and it was to the dark woman
that she appealed with cries of "Mother!"
for protection. Then came a struggle, a whirl,
a heavy fall, the crash and smell and smoke of
extinguished lights, a confusion from which the
girl with difficulty extricated herself, and when
the terrified bystanders at last succeeded in
separating the women, the gipsy's lifeless head
dropped forwardshe was dead.

Jeanne lingered two days between life and
death, between reason and insanity. At the last
she recovered sufficiently to establish beyond
doubt the identity of the little dancer with her
stolen child. Assisted in her last moments
by the curé, and attended by Claude and Rose,
her daughter, she passed out of her troubled
life quietly and in peace.

Claude took Rose to his own home, and
married her as soon as it was possible to get
through the brief preliminaries necessary. They
lived, and died, and were buried peacefully at
Auray, where, as has been said, many of their
descendants are still settled, and where this
chain of circumstances is still preserved.

The Twelfth Journey of
Will appear in No. 65.