He was not blind. He saw the muddy skin, the thick lips, the soiled, ragged lace. They would have disgusted him in another woman.
But this was--Lisa. There was no more to be said.
These outside trifles would fall off when she came into his life. Even with them she was the breath and soul of it.
She saw the difference between them more sharply than he did. She had been cast for a low part in the play, and knew it. Sometimes she had earned the food which kept her alive in ways of which this untempted young priest had never even heard. There was something in this clean past of his, in his cold patrician face and luxurious habits new to her, and she had a greedy relish for it all.
She had been loved before, caressed as men caress a dog, kicking it off when it becomes troublesome. George's boyish shyness, his reverent awe of her, startled her.
"He thinks Lisa Arpent a jeune fille--like these others. A little white rose!" she thought, and laughed. She would not tell him why she laughed, and muttered an oath when he stupidly insisted on knowing.
He was the first lover who had ever believed in her.
She had begun this affair simply to punish the "old woman"; the man in it had counted for nothing. But now, as they crossed the gangway, she looked up at him with eyes that for the moment were honest and true as a child's, and her firm hand suddenly trembled in his.