Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/240

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
232
IDALIA

cing through the vastness of the space for the Countess Vassalis, met instead the eyes of Victor Vane.

His first sensation was one of intense dissppointment, the next of intolerable impatience, the third of reckless hatred. He did not pause to remember how improbable it had been to think that she would have invited him alone to dine at her table; how unreasonable it was to suppose that a titled woman of so much youth and so much brilliance could live in solitude the life of a recluse; how natural it must be that she was acquainted with a man of fashionable repute and aristocratic habits, who lived chiefly abroad, and knew almost every continental family of note; he remembered none of these things; he only realised his disappointment, he only saw before him the colourless face of the guest he had once entertained, and to whom he had felt that quick contemptuous dislike which a noted rider, an untiring sportsman, a desert-hunter, and a traveller impervious to fatigue, was certain to conceive for a delicate dilettante, an idle flâneur, a rusé silken speculator and courtier, such as Vane appeared to him.

Something in the very attitude of this man, moreover, as he leant against a marble console playing with a scarlet rose, and humming a Spanish Bolero