Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/340

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
332
IDALIA

that day to Naples; with twelve or twice twelve hours between them, how could he tell but what again she might be lost to him, how or where or when he might ever recover the clue she had rent asunder?

"If that schooner were only mine!" he muttered unconsciously aloud, as his glance fell on a yacht in the harbour, with her gold figure-head and her brass swivel-guns glistening in the sun; his want of wealth he had never felt, his nature was too high toned, his habits too hardy, his temper too bold; but now for the first time the pang of his beggared fortunes struck heavily on him. Were wealth his own how soon the seas that severed them might be bridged!

A familiar hand was struck on his shoulder as he stood looking across at the grey arc of the Bosphorus, straining his eyes into the offing as though he could pierce the distance and follow her with his gaze.

"You want a yacht? Take Etoile. I am going inland on a special mission into Arabia; bring her back in a year's time, that will be soon enough for me."

Erceldoune turned and saw a man he knew well; a true and tried friend; one with whom