Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/85

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"SOUFFRIR EN ROI."

and camp not to know that all chance of life was over, that his last hour was here, and that if the vulture and the bear did not track him out, he would die of the loss of blood alone; or that if his frame bore up against the exhaustion of his wounds through the day which would soon dawn, he would perish but the more slowly, and the more agonisingly, of famine and of thirst.

Time wore on; the stars grew large as the morning drew near, and his eyes gazed upward at them where he lay in the pass of the defile; a thousand nights on southern seas, in tropic lands, in eastern aisles of palm, through phosphor-glittering waters while his ship cleft her way, through the white gleam of snow steppes while the sleigh bells chimed, through the torchlit glades of forests while the German boar or the French stag was hunted to his lair, drifted to memory as the moon shone down on him through the break in the massed pine-boughs;—for he had ever loved the mere sense and strength of life; all


"the wild joys of living, the leaping from rock to rock,
The strong rending of boughs from the fir-tree, the cool river shock
Of a plunge in a pool's living water,—the hunt of the bear,
And the sultriness showing the lion is couched in his lair."

And he knew that this glory was dead in him for