Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/104

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prostration, in which all vitality seems suspended, and in which a lulled, dreamy, listless meditation is all of which we are left capable; he knew them now as he lay gazing at the altar, with its dead Christ and its white river-lilies, and the bowed form of the kneeling nun, while all sense of pain, of weakness, of thirst for the just vengeance he would rise and reach drifted from him, merged and lost in one memory. A memory luminous, angel-like, as are the imaginations which fill the mind of painters with shapes divine and visions of beauty, but such as had never entered the life or the thoughts of this man till now, when, in the sunset stillness of the lonely oratory at Monastica he saw ever before him, with the depths of an unspeakable compassion in her fathomless eyes, the face of the woman who had saved him.

Where was she ?

He questioned ceaselessly for many days each of the Order who came to his bedside and tended him with skilled care, and brought him fruits and sherbet, and prayed for him at the altar, where the lilies were placed fresh with every dawn, and the dead God looked down with serene and mournful smile. He insisted that a woman had come to him in the defile when he lay there dying, and had given him