Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/218

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times-told story to her. And yet—she saw that this man would suffer, and she foresaw that he would suffer through her. She pitied him, as it was not in her commonly to pity.

"I saw you in Sicily, surely?" he pursued. "For one moment, as you passed in a lateen-boat?"

"I was in Sicily a year ago; I dare say you might have seen me."

"You travel much?"

"Who does not in our days?" she answered, with carelessness, but carelessness that veiled a refusal to speak further of herself, which was impenetrable. She had every grace of womanhood, but beneath these she had a haughty and courtly reticence that was impassible. "Travel has one great attraction—it leaves little room for reflection. You like it yourself?"

"Yes, I like it. A courier's suits me better than any life, except a soldier's, would have done. However, it was not with me a matter of preference; I was ruined; I was glad of any post."

He said it frankly, and with the indifference which his decayed fortunes really were to him; but he saw that she was rich, he beard that she was titled, and he would not form her friendship under false colours,