Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/330

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IDALIA

nothing of her, knew not whether she were wedded or unwedded, but he knew that the world had one meaning alone for him now—he loved her. That she could ever answer it, he had barely the shadow of a hope; there was much humility in him; he held himself but at a lowly account; though a proud man with men, he would have felt, had he ever followed out his thoughts, that he had nothing with which to merit or to win the haughty and brilliant loveliness of Idalia; he would have felt that he had no title and no charm to gain her, and gather her into arms that would be strong, indeed, to defend her until the last breath of life, as they had been strong to strangle the bear in the death grasp and to tame the young wild horse on the prairies, but that had no gold to clasp and fling down at her feet, no purples of state and of wealth to fold round her, bringing their equal royalty to hers. That he himself could attract her, he would have had little belief; he did not see himself as others saw him; he did not know that his vigorous magnificence of form, his dauntless manhood, his generous unselfishness, his untrammelled freedom of thought and deed, might charm a woman who had been tired by all, won by none; he was unconscious of any of these in his own person, and he would