308 THE FOUR GIFTS
She was still gathering them when the door opened and in came Denis.
' Pearls ! Are they really pearls ? ' he asked, falling on his knees also, and looking up at Tephany he perceived others still more beautiful rolling down the girl's cheeks.
' Take care not to let any of the neighbours hear of it, Denis,' said Barba'ik. ' Of course you shall have your share, but nobody else shall get a single one. Cry on, my dear, cry on,' she continued to Tephany. It is for your good as well as ours,' and she held out her apron to catch them, and Denis his hat.
But Tephany could hardly bear any more. She felt half choked at the sight of their greediness, and wanted to rush from the hall, and though Barba'ik caught her arm to prevent this, and said all sorts of tender words which she thought would make the girl weep the more, Tephany with a violent effort forced back her tears, and wiped her eyes.
' Is she finished already ? ' cried Barba'ik, in a tone of disappointment. ' Oh, try again, my dear. Do you think it would do any good to beat her a little ? ' she added to Denis, who shook his head.
' That is enough for the first time. I will go into the town and find out the value of each pearl.'
' Then I will go with you,' said Barbaik, who never trusted anyone and was afraid of being cheated. So the two went out, leaving Tephany behind them.
She sat quite still on her chair, her hands clasped tightly together, as if she was forcing something back. At last she raised her eyes, which had been fixed on the ground, and beheld the fairy standing in a dark corner by the hearth, observing her with a mocking look. The girl trembled and jumped up, then, taking the feather, the pin, and the box, she held them out to the old woman.
' Here they aie, all of them,' she cried ; ' they belong to you. Let me never see them again, but I have learned