where the countess was following with a loving gaze her three children, who, with their light hair, their bright trinkets, and their pink and prosperous flesh, were playing in the grass, under the care of the governess. At a distance of twenty steps they halted respectfully, the man with uncovered head and holding his cap in his hand, the woman, timid under her black straw hat, embarrassed in her dark woollen sack, and twisting the chain of a little leather bag, to give herself confidence. The undu- lating greensward of the park rolled away in the distance, between thick clusters of trees.
" Come nearer," said the countess, in a voice of kind encouragement.
The man had a brown face, skin tanned by the sun, large knotty hands of the color of earth, the tips of the fingers deformed and polished by the continual handling of tools. The woman was a little pale, with a gray pallor underlying the freckles that besprinkled her face, â€” a little awk- ward, too, and very clean. She did not dare to lift her eyes to this fine lady, who was about to examine her inconsiderately, overwhelm her with torturing questions, and turn her inside out, body and soul, as others had done before. And she looked intently at the pretty picture of the three babies playing in the grass, already showing man- ners well under control and studied graces.
They advanced a few steps, slowly, and both of