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in huge goblets more delicately fashioned than giant bubbles. The dining-room was in darkness, but from the table a tall sconce of candles cast forth a trembling brilliance, so that the four gray heads, nodding so close together, glistened like silver in the glowing, wavering light that flung fantastic shadows upon the wall behind them. They looked like figures in a play.

The doctor was stout and bearded, with a loud merry laugh and a high, bald, intelligent forehead.

The lawyer, Vanderkerk, looked more like a priest. He had a smooth Jesuitical face, blanched hair and a soft musical voice.

Paul Martens was a lean hawk of a man with a hatchet face, huge hands, untidy grizzled hair and a booming laugh.

They were, as Rosing often remarked, the only intelligent men in Bruges, by which he meant that they took more interest in the artistic matters so dear to him, than in the business reports from the Bourse or the drab politics of Brussels. He understood nothing of such things and thought the excellent merchants of the town more stupid than animals.

He, to his friends, would always be "the Russian," the glamourous savage who had somehow allowed himself to be tamed, and who represented in their monotonous lives all that was vivid, colorful, exotic. He appreciated their admiration and became when in their company a more vital being than was the elderly, forgotten and disappointed artist of every day.

He said to them, laughing: "I know you think I have settled down now and never mean to stray from home, but just wait a few years, my friends, and then see if I shall have forgotten what it is to be a gipsy!"

"Do you intend to travel again, Rosing?" asked Vanderkerk in his gentle voice.