The imprecation suited the rough fellow who uttered it. He had pointed out of doors as he spoke, and scarcely lowered the strange tones of his voice, yet of all the rabble who surrounded him only two persons understood his meaning—a fading, sickly girl, and the red-haired woman, only a few years her senior, who led the swearing man by a chain, like a tame bear. The Nuremberg magistrates had had Cyriax’s tongue cropped for gross blasphemy, and listeners could scarcely comprehend the words he mangled in his gasping speech. The red-haired woman dropped the knife with which she was slicing bread and onions into a pot, and looked at her companion with an anxious, questioning glance. This exclamation induced the other vagabonds to glide along the wall to the nearest door, intending to slip out.