Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/94

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89
THE VIRGIN'S GOD-CHILD.

low trees—had been, by the help of a few rough, upright stones, converted into a well that a few willows shaded over.

A young peasant girl sat on a stone near this well, her arm resting upon one of the large red earthern jugs which are universally used in these parts, and have from time immemorial been brought over from the opposite coast of Cornwall, which was once inhabited by a kindred race. I stepped towards her; for even at a distance I was attracted by the peculiar and surprising charm of such an apparition in this lonely and savage spot. She was of a remarkably pure and touching order of beauty, and the simple costume of the district, poor but delicately clean, the blue gown with a broad red border, the brown kerchief around the head, and which fell over her shoulders and bosom like a pair of wings, the small bare feet, the round arm leaning on the red pitcher—all formed an unspeakably charming tout ensemble. She greeted me in the dialect of the country, with so gentle a voice, and such a frank, friendly glance and nod, that I could not resist the temptation to become somewhat better acquainted with her, which would, I knew, in all probability be the result of a little conversation. As I approached, returning her greeting, and wiping away the drops that stood on my brow, she praised the water of the well, and offered me some to drink; and upon