Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/294

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IDALIA

that woman had been Idalia. She had been long thus a name on his ear, and in his schemes, and when at last she had become known to him, he had learned to wonder no more at the name's magic.

To tell her this he had never nentured, really audacious as his temper was: circumstances united them closely in some things, but with all his tact and all his daring, he had never been able to seduce himself into the self-flattery of deeming that she would heed his love-words. She heard so many, the story had no attraction for her; and apart from his own sense of how contemptuously careless she was of how men suffered for her, was the reluctance of chafing pride to acknowledge that he also paid the life-coin of his surrender to one who could tempt like Calypso, and remain cold as Casta Diva, while her spells worked.

Yet he could not restrain one mask of the passion—jealousy—as he sat that night beside her, in the dining-hall of the Turkish villa, and stretched himself from his pile of cushions to lift from the carpet a white riding glove, that caught his eye where it lay.

"A stray waif of our beggared laird's, is it not, madame? He has been here to-day?"

"If you mean Sir Fulke Erceldoune, he only left