Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/274

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IDALIA FAIRY-GOLD.

doune went on through the fragrant night, his horse's feet beating out rich odours from the trailing leavess, dizzy with that riot of hope, joy, belief, and desire, which is too tumultuous and impatient for happiness, but yet is happy beyond all that the world holds. She remained long in her solitude upon the terrace, gazing down into the shelving slopes of leaf and blossom, where the fire-flies made the woodland as star-studded as the skies.

"It is too late now—he would never forget now," she murmured. "I tried to save him, and he would not be saved!"

Saved from what? Saved from her.

A little while before, and in her own gardens at Naples, a brave boy, in the brightness of his youth, had been run through the heart in a rapier duel for her sake; and she had not felt a tithe so much pain as lay on her now, so much weary, passionate, and vain regret. Then many had called her heartless, and the mother of the dead boy had cursed her with pitiless curses; none would have called her heartless now.

For seven or eight days time came and passed away, spent thus. He sought her in the warm amber noons, stayed with her amidst the wilderness of roses, and drifted with her down the sunny sea