Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/286

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steps, that dying it may lend a breath of fragrance to the air she breathes.

"You are born with genius, you are made for sovereignty, and I have nothing that is worthy to bring you;" he said long afier, while his voice sank very low. "Only—only—remember, if ever you need it^ one man's life wiU be yours to be lost for you."

She started slightly where she leaned, with her musing eyes resting on the west; she had forgotten his presence, and his words, though they told her no more than she knew, startled her still with their suddenness. The look of disdainful pain that he had seen before come on her face—the disdain was not for him—but the smile that already to him was the only sun the world held, lingered on her lips a moment.

"A year's pain to a true life—a day's pain, an hour's!—were far more than mine were worth. The daughter of Emperors you called me?—the daughter of men who gamed away their birthright, and played with diadems as idiot children play with olive-stones! Is there much greatness there? Genius!—if I have it, I have sold it, shamed it, polluted it. As for you—I have had so many die for me, I am tired of the shadow of the cypress!"