Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/13

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THE BORDER EAGLE

welled through the blossoming furze, with something that was almost remorse. It looked strangely like slaughter, in the still golden gleam of the summer day.

If you wonder at it, wait until you see an eagle die on a solitary moorland that was his kingdom by right divine, with all the glorious liberty of life.

The skill which you would have challenged the first marksmen in Europe to have beaten, will look, for a second at least, oddly base, and treacherous, and cowardly, when the Lord of the Air lies, like carrion, at your feet.

Knee-deep in the purple heather, the destroyer leant on his gun, alone on the Scotch side of the Border, with the sea flashing like a line of silver light on his left, and the bold sweep of the Cheviot Hills fronting him. The golden eagle had fallen by no unworthy foe; he was a man of very lofty stature, and of powerful build and sinew, his muscles close knit, and his frame like steel, as became one who was in hard condition from year's end to year's end. His complexion was a clear bronze, almost as dark as an Arab’s, though originally it had been fair enough; his black sweeping moustaches and beard were long, thick, and silken; his eyes, large, and very thoughtful, the hue of the