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THE BLACK WOLF'S BREED

Nothing was more distant from him than the gilded furnishings, the frescoes, the marble Venus at his elbow. Beside her table, alone, and abstracted as Jerome, the woman toyed with a dainty fan; her impassive beauty, born of rigid training, betrayed not the inner desolation. Her face was calm and serious enough, the skin lay smooth and glowed with all those delicate tints that women love.

Her quietude reminded me of the slumbering ocean, glassy and tranquil, whose unmarred surface conveyed no hint of sunken ships beneath, of cold dumb faces tossing in the brine, of death-abysses where wrecks abandoned lie.

I slipped away without rousing a protest from Jerome, and closing the door softly left them to their meditations and to each other.