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Said, in the darkness, another enchanter: "But far from their choiring the high King sat, in a gold-faced vest and a gold-laced hat, counting heaped monies, and dreaming of more francs and sequins and Louis d'or. Meanwhile the Queen on that fateful night, though avowing her lack of all appetite, was still at table, where, rumor said, she was smearing her seventh slice of bread (thus each turgescible rumor thrives at court) with gold from the royal hives. Through the slumberous pare, under arching trees, to her labors went singing the maid DÃ©niseâ€”" A third broke in here, saying: "And she sang of how subtle and bitter and bright was a beast brought forth, that was clad with the splendor and light of the cold fair ends of the north, like a fleshly blossom more white than augmenting tempests that go, with thunder for weapon, to ravage the strait waste fastness of snow. She sang how that all men on earth said, whether its mistress at morn went forth or waited till night,â€”whether she strove through the foam and wreckage of shallow and firth, or couched in glad fields of corn, or fled from all human delight,â€”that thither it likewise would roam." Now a fourth began: "Thus sang DÃ©nise, what while the siccant sheets and coverlets that pillowed kingly dreams, with curious undergarbs of royalty, she neatly ranged: and dreamed not of that doom which waited, yet unborn, to strike men dumb with perfect awe. As when the seventh wave poises, and sunlight cleaves it through and through with gold, as though to gild oncoming death for him that sees foredoomedâ€”and, gasping, sees death high and splendid!â€”while the tall wave bears down, and its shattering makes an end of him: thus poised the sable bird while one might count one, two, and three, and four, and five, and six, but hardly sevenâ€”" So they continued; but Manuel listened to no more. "What is the meaning of all this?" he asked, of Freydis. "It is an experimental incantation," she replied, "in that it is a bit of unfinished magic for which the proper words have not yet been found: but between now and a while they will be stumbled on, and then this rune will live perpetually, surviving all those rhymes that are infected with thought and intelligent meanings such as are repugnant to human nature." "Are words, then, so important and enduring?" "Why, Manuel, I am surprised at you! In what else, pray, does man differ from the other animals except in that he is used by words?" "Now I would have said that words are used by men." "There is give and take, of course, but in the main man is more subservient to words than they are to him. Why, do you but think of such terrible words as religion and duty and love, and patriotism and art, and honor and common-sense, and of what these tyrannizing words do to and make of people!" "No, that is chop-logic: for words are only transitory noises, whereas man is the child of God, and has an immortal spirit." "Yes, yes, my dearest, I know you believe that, and I think it is delightfully quaint and sweet of you. But, as I was saying, a man has only the body of an animal to get experiences in, and the brain of an animal to think them over with, so that the thoughts and opinions of the poor dear must remain always those of a more or less intelligent animal. But his words are very often magic, as you will comprehend by and by when I have made you the greatest of image-makers." "Well, well, but we can let that wait a bit," said Manuel. And thereafter Manuel talked with Freydis, confessing that the appearance of these magic-workers troubled Manuel. He had thought it, he said, an admirable thing to make images that lived, until he saw and considered the appearance of these habitual makers of images. They were an ugly and rickety, short-tempered tribe, said Manuel: they were shiftless, spiteful, untruthful, and in everyday affairs not far from imbecile: they plainly despised all persons who could not make images, and they apparently detested all those who could. With Manuel they were particularly high and mighty, assuring him that he was only a prosperous and affected pseudo-magician, and that the harm done by the self-styled thaumaturgist was apt to be very great indeed. What sort of models, then, were these insane, mud-moulding solitary wasps for a tall lad to follow after? And if Manuel acquired their arts (he asked in conclusion), would he acquire their traits? "The answer is perhaps no, and not impossibly yes," replied Freydis. "For by the ancient Tuyla mystery they extract that which is best in them to inform their images, and this is apt to leave them empty of virtue. But I would have you consider that their best endures, whereas that which is best in other persons is obliterated on some battle-field or mattress or gallows That is why I have been thinking that this afternoonâ€”" "No, we will let that wait a bit, for I must turn this over in my mind," said Manuel, "and my mature opinion about this matter must be expressed later." But while his thoughts were on the affair his fingers made him droll small images of ten of the image-makers, which he set aside unquickened. Freydis smiled at these caricatures, and asked when Manuel would give them life. "Oh, in due time," he said, "and then their antics may be diverting. But I perceive that this old Tuyla magic is practised at great price and danger, so that I am in no hurry to practise any more of it. I prefer to enjoy that which is dearer and better." "And what can be dearer and better?" "Youth," Manuel answered, "and you." Queen Freydis was now a human woman in all things, so this reply delighted her hearing if not her reason. "Do these two possessions content you, king of my heart?" she asked him very fondly. "No," Manuel said, gazing out across Morven at the cloud-dappled ridges of the Taunenfels, "nor do I look ever to be contented in this world of men." "Indeed the run of men are poor thin-minded creatures, Manuelâ€”"