Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/116

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CHAPTER V.

"AN IGNIS FATUUS GLEAM OF LOVE."

"It was a superb thing—magnificent!"

The most popular personage in the English Cabinet was standing on the hearth-rug of his own library of his wife's chateau of Liramar, South Italy, where he had snatched a brief autumn holiday, nothing altered and little aged since some twenty years before when the beggared Border-lord, in the pride and liberty of his youth and his ruin, had won the great Minister's liking for life, by—a defiance.

Erceldoune laughed, a little impatiently.

"Nothing of the kind! Any other man in the service would have done the same; simplest duty possible."

"Simple duties get done in this world, do they? Humph! I didn't know it. I suppose you expected, when you gave the word to fire, that the brutes would kill you—eh?"

"Of course! I can't think now how they missed