A STRANGE HOSTESS 99
' When you know me, call me by the name that seems to you to fit me,' she replied : ' that will tell me what sort you are. People do not often give me the right one. It is well when they do.'
' I suppose, madam, you live in the cottage I saw in the heart of the moon ? '
'1 do. I live there alone, except when I have visitors. It is a poor place, but I do what I can for my guests, and sometimes their sleep is sweet to them.'
Her voice entered into me, and made me feel strangely still.
' I will go with you, madam,' I said, rising.
She rose at once, and without a glance behind her led the way. I could see her just well enough to follow. She was taller than myself, but not so tall as I had thought her. That she never turned her face to me made me curious—nowise apprenhensive, her voice rang so true. But how was I to fit her with a name who could not see her ? I strove to get alongside of her, but failed: when I quickened my pace she quickened hers, and kept easily ahead of me. At length I did begin to grow a little afraid. Why was she so careful not to be seen ? Extraordinary ugliness would account for it : she might fear terrifying me ! Horror of an inconceivable monstrosity began to assail me : was I following through the dark an unheard-of hideousness ? Almost I repented of having accepted her hospitality.
Neither spoke, and the silence grew unbearable. I must break it!
' I want to find my way,' I said, ' to a place I have heard of, but wiiose name I have not yet learned. Perhaps you can tell it me ! '
' Describe it, then, and I will direct you. The stupid