Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/91

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And the sickness of its guilt was on in all its ghastliness, it all its secret craven vileness.

One thought alone seemed left her; was she too late, or could this human life, even in its last hour, be saved, be called back even though it ebbed away?

She felt for the beating of his heart; a quick shudder ran through all her frame—her hand was wet with the blood that had soaked through linen and velvet, and flowed in its deep stream from his breast. Yet she did not shrink, but pressed it there, seeking for the throbbing of the life; the pulse beat slowly, faintly still, beneath her touch—he lived even now. The carrion birds were poised on the boughs, or settled on the rocky ledges, waiting for the prey which soon or late must come to them; the hound was tearing up the moss with his muzzle to the earth; she called him to her; the dog was her friend, her guard, her slave—he came, reluctantly, looking backward at the mosses he had uprooted in his thirst for the scent they gave; she drew him to her, and signed him to look at the dying man where he was stretched across his horse; then pointed to the westward with some words in Silesian. The hound looked upward an instant with earnest, eloquent eyes, trying to read her will