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IDALIA

realise that he could be laid low and powerless as any reed levelled by the wind! Instinctively he lifted his right arm to raise himself—that right arm which had never failed him yet in battle, in storm, in the death-grapple, or in any blow dealt in love of justice, in hatred of dishonour—it fell nerveless and broken. Then he realised that his strength was gone; and for the sole time in his life, Erceldoune could have turned his face to the wall and wept like a woman.

"I remember," he said, faintly. "I remember now. The cowards shot me down, and she saved me. Tell them I destroyed 'the papers;' but——"

The words died away unintelligible to the nun, his head fell back,^and his eyes closed; he felt how utter was his weakness. He lay exhausted, his thoughts wandering over all that past of peril which had long been a blank to him, and which now slowly and by degrees returned to memory, striving to realise what manner of thing this could be, this calamity of stricken strength which his life had never before dreaded or conceived. Sweeping like fire through his blood, and filling his frame as with fresh life, there came with consciousness recollection of the murderous gang who had stretched him there, and fierce, natural thirst for vengeance on his