"The music does not please the dancer—it is too martial. She fears lest her lover should rush off to the wars, and seeks to detain him by the dance of Venus. But he will go. He rises; he speeds away; she breaks off the dance. Ah! what a cry of despair the violin gave just now. She follows, stretching out her empty arms. But it is useless—he is gone. Bah! She snaps her fingers. What does she care! She will dance to please herself, and to show that her heart is yet whole. What a Bacchanalian strain. She whirls and springs and swoops and leaps. She comes near to me, whirling like a Dervish; she recedes, and then comes spinning round again, like a mad creature. And then—oh, hang it! What do you mean? Chaldea, what are you doing?"

Lambert had some excuse for suddenly bursting into speech, when he cried out vigorously: "Oh, hang it!" for Chaldea whirled right up to him and had laid her arms round his neck, and her lips against his cheek. The music stopped abruptly, with a kind of angry snarl, as if Kara, furious at the sight, had put his wrath into the last broken note. Then all was silent, and the artist found himself imprisoned in the arms of the woman, which were locked round his neck. With an oath he unlinked her fingers and flung her away from him fiercely.

"You fool—you utter fool!" cried Lambert, striving to calm down the beating of his heart, and restrain the racing of his blood, for he was a man, and the sudden action of the gypsy had nearly swept away his self-restraint.

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"I love you—I love you," panted Chaldea from the grass, where he had thrown her. "Oh, my beautiful one, I love you."

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"You are crazy," retorted Lambert, quivering with many emotions to which he could scarcely put a name, so shaken was he by the experience. "What the devil do you mean by behaving in this way?" and his voice rose in such a gust of anger that Kara, hidden in the wood, rejoiced. He could not understand what was being said, but the tone of the voice was enough for him. He did not know whether Chaldea was cheating the Gentile, or cheating him; but he gathered that in either case, she had been repulsed. The girl knew that also, when her ardent eyes swept across Lambert's white face, and she burst into tears of anger and disappointment.

"Oh, rye, I give you all, and you take nothing," she wailed tearfully.

"I don't want anything. You silly girl, do you think that for one moment I was ever in love with you?"

"I—I—want you—to—to—love me," sobbed Chaldea, grovelling on the grass.

"Then you want an impossibility," and to Lambert's mind's eye there appeared the vision of a calm and beautiful face, far removed in its pure looks from the flushed beauty of the fiery gypsy. To gain control of himself, he took out a cigar and lighted it. But his hand trembled. "You little fool," he muttered, and sauntered, purposely, slowly toward the cottage.

Chaldea gathered herself up with the spring of a tigress, and in a moment was at his elbow with her face black with rage. Her tears had vanished and with them went her softer mood. "You—you reject me," she said in grating tones, and shaking from head to foot as she gripped his shoulder.

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"Take away your hand," commanded Lambert sharply, and when she recoiled a pace he faced her squarely. "You must have been drinking," he declared, hoping to insult her into common sense. "What would Kara say if—"

"I don't want Kara. I want you," interrupted Chaldea, her breast heaving, and looking sullenly wrathful.

"Then you can't have me. Why should you think of me in this silly way? We were very good friends, and now you have spoiled everything. I can never have you to sit for me again."