Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/267

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FAIRY-GOLD.

was scarcely so sweet as that she gave him now. He seemed half her own by title of that death-hour in which she had felt for the faint beatings of his heart, and had watched beside him in the loneliness of the Carpathians. She could not forget that this man's strong life would have perished but for her.

He owed her a debt—the debt of faith, at the least. Whatever she might be to others, to him she had been as the angel of life. Moreover, there was in Idalia, overlying the proud earnestness that was in her nature, a certain nonchalance—a certain lauguid carelessness—that made her look little beyond the present hour, and change her temperament as immediate influences prevailed. The tradition of birth gave her some blood of the Commneni in her veins; and the insouciance of an epicurean, with the hanghty power of imperial pride, were blent in her as they had been in Manuel. Therefore, since he had chosen to put aside her first warning, she allowed him now to come as he would.

As for him, life was a paradise—a delirium; and he gave himself up to it. The earth had eternal summer for him, and wore an eternal smile. He sat near her in the shaded light and sweet incense of the chamber, while they spoke of things that