Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/311

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conscience alone smote her, a pang of remorse wakened in her. She was silent, looking at him in the shadowy moonlight; she knew that she had ruined his life—a high-souled, patriotic life, full of bright promise and of fearless action—a life laid subject to her, and broken in her hands as a child breaks the painted butterfly.

"God!" he cried, and it was the involuntary cry of a great despair that broke his force down before the woman by whom he had been fooled and forsaken, yet whom he still worshipped but the more the more that he condemned her. "That such beauty should only veil a heart of steel! If you had ever loved—if ever you could love—you could not do such treachery to love as this. I know you as you are, now—now that it is too late, and yet—and yet——"

A single sob choked his voice, he threw himself again at her feet in the sheer blindness of an utter misery, his hands clutching the folds of her dress, his lips pressed in kisses on the senseless laces, conscious alone of the woman who now had no more thought, or need, or tenderness for him than the cold marble that rose above him into the starry stillness of the Bosphorus night.

"And yet there is no crime I would not take on