Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/127

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The face of a temptress or an angel?

Erceldoune did not ask, as he sat and dreamt of that memory called up from the depths of thought and shade; then he rose with an impatient disdain of himself, and strode out into the white, warm, Mediterranean night.

Had he refused to surrender his life to any living woman, only to have it haunted by a mere phantom-shape, a hallucination wrought from the fever-fancies of a past delirium?

The great Minister went home; the gathering at Liramar remained with the hostess—Erceldoune with them; the sea breezes were bringing him back, their old force into his limbs, and the mellow air was driving away the danger which for a time had threatened his lungs from the deep chest^wound where the ball had lodged. In physics he did not believe—he never touched them; air and sea-water were his sole physicians, and under them the fallen Titan rose again.

"I took too much killing!" he laughed to one of the men as they drifted down the waters lapping the sunny Sicilian shores, in the brief space which severs the day from the night. He had reported himself ready for fresh service, and the Messenger who was to bring the Italian bag to Palermo would