The Poisoned Paradise
The sunshine and the song of birds gave her courage. The world began to glitter. Warbling notes came from the bushes, and dew-drops spangled the thread of gossamer. In this world, so fresh, so fair, the happenings of the night before seemed to her an evil dream.
The few peasants she passed gazed at her curiously. Over her shoulder was slung her bundle, and her pale, peaked face between its twin braids of bright hair had all the entreaty of a beaten dog.
As she trudged wearily on she came to a glade, flooded with sunshine and perfumed with pine. Bees droned in the wild thyme, from the fork of a tree a squirrel scolded, on a hollow oak nearby a wood-pecker drummed sonorously. And in the midst of this scene of peace an old man was painting.
He was not a nice old man. His skin was white, the dead white of an onion, and the