Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/208

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part until I know that we shall meet again. I have not found to night what I have sought so long unceasingly and hopelessly, only to-night once more to lose it."

She drew back slightly, and her face grew paler, while over its brilliance swept a troubled feverish shadow: she answered nothing.

"You can know nothing of me now, but at least you will consent to know more?" he pursued. "A name alone tells little; yet had I had one by which to seek the saviour of my life, it would not have been so long before you had heard mine."

In the hot night, in the perfumed stillness, in the sudden revulsion from the violence of vengeance to the wild sweetness of this woman's presence, words far different reeled through his thoughts and rose to his lips; but they were held back by his own sense of their madness, and by the dignify, nameless yet resistless, which surrounded her.

"You would know my name? It is Idalia Vassalis."

She uttered it almost with defiance, yet a defiance which had a profound sadness in it, like the defiance of the slave.

"And why conceal it so long? Can you not