Miss Ensor gave a gesture of despair and applied herself to her pie. The hirsute face of Mr. Simson had lost the foolish aggressiveness that had irritated Joan. He seemed to be pondering matters.
Mary hoped that Joan was hungry. Joan laughed and admitted that she was. "It's the smell of all the nice things," she explained. Mary promised it should soon be ready, and went back to her corner.
A short, dark, thick-set man entered and stood looking round the room. The frame must once have been powerful, but now it was shrunken and emaciated. The shabby, threadbare clothes hung loosely from the stooping shoulders. Only the head seemed to have retained its vigour. The face, from which the long black hair was brushed straight back, was ghastly white. Out of it, deep set beneath great shaggy, overhanging brows, blazed the fierce, restless eyes of a fanatic. The huge, thin-lipped mouth seemed to have petrified itself into a savage snarl. He gave Joan the idea, as he stood there glaring round him, of a hunted beast at bay.
Miss Ensor, whose bump of reverence was undeveloped, greeted him cheerfully as Boanerges. Mr. Simson, more respectful, rose and offered his small, grimy hand. Mary took his hat and cloak away from him and closed the door behind him. She felt his hands, and put him into a chair close to the fire. And then she introduced him to Joan.
Joan started on hearing his name. It was one well known.
"The Cyril Baptiste?" she asked. She had often wondered what he might be like.
"The Cyril Baptiste," he answered, in a low, even, passionate voice, that he flung at her almost like a blow. "The atheist, the gaol bird, the pariah, the blasphemer, the anti-Christ. I've hoofs instead of feet. Shall I take off my boots and show them to you? I tuck my tail inside my coat. You can't see my horns. I've cut them off close to my head. That's why I wear my hair long: to hide the stumps."
Mary had been searching in the pockets of his cloak. She had found a paper bag. "You mustn't get excited," she said, laying her little work-worn hand upon his shoulder; "or you'll bring on the bleeding."