Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/313

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"LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI."

He looked up, hope against hope flashing in on him one moment: it was quenched as soon as born; her face had pain on it, but the light that he had once seen there was gone—there was no tenderness for him.

His head sank again:

"Forgive! I would have forgiven you death—I forgive yon more than death. But if you ever meet again one who loves you as I have loved, remember me—and spare him."

The generous answer died in his throat; never again, he knew, would he look upon the loveliness that had betrayed him; he knew that he was going to his death, as surely as though he sank into the sea-depths glistening below, and that when he should lie in the darkness and decay of a forgotten soldier's grave, there would be no pang of memory for him in her heart, no thought that gave him pity or lament in the life to which his own was sacrificed.

He looked yet once again upward to her face, as dying men may look their last on what they treasure; then slowly, very slowly, as though each moment were a separate pang, he loosened his hold upon her, and turned and went through the shadows of the cypress, downward to where the waves were drearily breaking on the strand below.