Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/84

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never known stole over him as he wakened in the hush of the forest night, paralysed, powerless, strengthless, felled in his full force, slain, like the golden eagle, by a single shot. The heavens, studded with their stars, looked chill and pitiless; the rocks towered upward in the moonlight, shutting him out from all the peopled slumbering world; no sound smote the stillness save the distant sullen moan of the brutes seeking their prey, and the winds sweeping and wailing through the endless aisles of pines;—he died in solitude.

The night wore on; a profound and awful silence reigned around, only broken by the growl of wolves or the scream of foxes from their distant haunts; the ravening cry home on the blast of those who, with each second which passed away, might scent blood from afar off, and track it in their hunger, and come down to rend, and tear, and devour, finishing the work of slaughter. He heard that sullen bay all through the night where he lay, across the dead mare motionless; he could not have stirred a limb, though the fangs of the wild boar had been at his throat, or the wolves in a troop been upon him. Hope or thought of succour he had none; he was in the deep heart of the mountains, where none could come; and her knew too well the lore of desert