Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/227

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paths with a fearless careless grace wholly and solely her own.

His frank eyes met hers, and there was in them a passionate pain.

"You bid me pay my debt in the only coin I cannot command. Obey you, I will not. Forget youy I could not."

She smiled.

"Twenty-four hours' absence soon supplies any one with oblivion!"

"It is a year since I saw yon in the Sicilian boat, yet I have not forgotten. I shall not while I have life."

His voice was very low; he was wounded, but he could not be offended or incensed—by her.

She bent her head with a sweet and gracious gesture of amends and of concession.

"True! Pardon me; I wronged you. Nevertheless, indeed rather because, you remember so well—I still say to you, Go, and let us remain as strangers!"

All that was noblest in her spoke in those words: all that lingered, best and truest, in her, prompted them. She wished, for his peace, that he should leave her, because she knew his heart better far than he himself; she wished—now, at the least—