strong ; I know
my work ; and my will is good. If I am too small, it is not my fault. Surely, some one has thrown a spell over me."
' ' How do you live ? ' '
" In a lodging-house. I do all the chambers, and I mend the linen. They give me a mattress in the garret, and a meal in the morning."
There were some, then, that were more unfor- tunate than myself ! This egoistic thought brought back the pity that had vanished from my heart.
" Listen, my little Louise," I said, in a voice which I tried to make as tender and. convincing as possible. " Places in Paris are very hard. One has to know many things, and the masters are more exacting than elsewhere. I am much afraid for you. If I were you, I would go home again. ' '
But Louise became frightened.
"No, no," she exclaimed, "never! I do not want to go home. They would say that I had not succeeded, that nobody wanted me ; they would laugh at me too much. No, no, it is impossible ; I would rather die! "
Just then the door of the ante-room opened. The shrill voice of Mme. Paulhat-Durand called :
"Mademoiselle Louise Randon! "
"Are they calling me? " asked Louise, fright- ened and trembling.
"Why, yes, it is you. Go quickly, and try to succeed this time."