Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/337

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"LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI."

now, in his weakness and his misery, he could have flung himself down on the tawny sands and wept like a woman for the hopes that were scattered, for the glory that was dead.

Another moment, and he had crossed the labyrinth of the garden, thrown himself into saddle, and turned back towards the city. The Greeks idly lying under the shelter of their fishing or olive feluccas drawn up on the shore, and the Turks sitting on their cocoa-nut mats under the shadow of fig-tree or vine at the entrance of their huts, stared aghast at the breathless horse, thundering along the sea-road through the noontide heat, his flanks covered with foam, and the white burnous of his Giaour rider floating out upon the wind. Down the steep pathways, over the jagged rocks, across the flat burning levels of sand, and under the leaning grape-covered walls, Erceldoune rode, reckless of danger, unconscious of the fierce sun-fire pouring on his stead.

He had sworn to follow her, whether her route were seaward to Europe, or eastwards into the wild heart of Asia. Pride, reason, wounded feeling, wavering faith, none of them availed to turn him from his course. He was true to his oath; and the madness was upon him that in the golden verse of