She and the black Venus had both been very homesick during the first six months. The constant staccato roll of the unfamiliar French had chilled and bewildered them. N ow, after two years of hard work, Venus could comprehend a few ordinary sentences, although her great, good-humoured lips found it impossible to shape themselves to the delicate form of the strange words; while Jean spoke quite ﬂuently with a pretty accent and a method of construction totally original. When she had first come she had tutoyé'd everyone impartially, and such Frenchmen as visited the Maison Roget had found this especially delightful. Even now, when not thinking, she assumed this habit with a calmness which made it doubly amusing.