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Chapter 5

For six months they wandered over the face of the earth. It seemed sometimes to Paulina as she lay awake at night in her caravan, jolting, rattling, pounding over strange roads, that they must have done something frightful, have committed between them some fearful sin, that condemned them to eternal wanderings, that drove and goaded them along a haunted road that had no end and must for ever deny to them repose.

They trailed through savage Rumanian villages, and, crossing the wild Carpathian Mountains, found themselves traversing the even more primitive plains of Hungary. They threaded their way toward the Danube, wandering some way beside this stream, only at last to forsake it, and then there were pine forests, and then, inexplicably, Bavaria, with painted houses and gentians spilled like sky upon the meadows. And in a few weeks Switzerland, and then Italy.

They never traveled alone, but were always part of a long procession—trailing with gaudy wagons, gilded chariots, elephants and camels and spotted horses. In the day-time Paulina played with almond-eyed Chinese children that had learned to juggle before they could walk, and petted tawny kittens that were newborn lion cubs, and warmed milk so that the Hindu charmer might tempt his python, and knitted jackets for the shivering monkeys, and made herself useful in a hundred different ways.

Twice a day she danced, in a spangled tunic and pink tights, and at first, freed from the iron supervision of old Vanessi, she danced with a gaiety and abandon that