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HOME > Classical Novels > Love Among the Ruins > CHAPTER 16
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 It is impossible for two persons of marked individuality to be much together without becoming more or less one towards the other. We appeal by sympathy, and inspire by contrast. What greater glory falls to a man's lot than to be chastened by the warm May of some girl's pure heart! Yeoland had felt the force of Fulviac's manhood; the more eternal and holier instincts were being stirred in him by a woman's face.  
The man's life had been a transmigration. In his younger days the world had banqueted him; new poignancies had bubbled against his lips in the cup of pleasure. Later had come that weariness, that distaste of pomp, the mood that discovers vanity in all things. Finally he had set his heart upon a woman, a broken reed indeed, and had discovered her a hypocrite, according to the measure of her passions. There had been one brief burst of . He had used his and had disappeared. There had been much stir at the time. A had fallen from the King's crown. Some of Palestine, others of a , others of a cubit of keen steel.
Fulviac had begun life over again. He had fallen back upon elemental interests--had gone hungry, fought for his supper, slept many a storm out under a tree. The breath of the had out luxury; rain had him into hardihood. He had learnt in measure that nothing pleases and endures like . Even his ambition was simple in its audacious .
Now the eyes of the daughter of Rual were like the eyes of a Madonna, and she stood in a circle of white lilies like the spirit of purity. Fulviac had begun to believe in her a little, to love her a little. She stood above all other women he had known. The ladies of the court were superb and , and marvellously kind, but they loved colour and the robe of white. They were like a rich posy for a man to choose from, and gold, , damask or purple. You could love their bodies, but you could not trust their souls.
As for the girl Yeoland, she was very , very enthusiastic, but no Agnes. Her rosary had little rest, and with the suspicions of one not sure of herself, she had striven to make religion and its results satisfy her soul. In some measure she had succeeded. Yet there is ever that echo, that one mysterious being, subtle as the stars, that may come before Christ in the heart. Transcendent spirit of idolatry! And yet it is often heaven-sent, seeing that it leads many a soul to God.
It had become Yeoland's custom to walk daily in the pine wood at the foot of the stairway leading from the northern room. She had discovered a nook, a mile or more from the cliff, a nook where trees stood gathered in a circle about a capped by a square of stone. It was a grave, nameless and without legend. Perhaps a had away there under the sods, or the bones of some old slept within harness. None knew, none cared greatly. Fulviac's men had hinted at treasure, yet even they were kept from the place by a crude and for the dead.
She had wandered here one day and had settled herself on the grassy slope of the grave. The ribbon of her lay over her shoulder. A breeze sang fitfully through the branches, and a golden down as from the clerestory windows of a cathedral. Her lute seemed sad when it made answer to her fingers. Thought was and not devotional, if one might judge by the mood of the music, and the notes were wayward and pathetically void of discipline.
It was while the girl thrummed idly at the that a vague sound floated down to her with the emphasis born of a wind. It was foreign to the forest, or it would not have roused her as it did. As she listened the sound came again from the west. It was neither the distant bay of a hound nor a horn's note. There was something about it, something musical. When it disappeared, she listened for its ; when she heard it again, she puzzled over its nature.
The sound grew clearer at gradual , and then ceased utterly. The girl listened for a long while to no purpose, and then prepared to forget the incident. The decision was . She was startled anon by the sound breaking out at no great distance. There was no doubt as to its nature: it was the clanging of a bell.
Yeoland wondered who could be carrying such a thing in such a place. Possibly some of Fulviac's men were coming home with stolen cattle, and an old bell-wether from some wild moorland with them.
The sound of the bell came very near; it seemed close amid the circling ranks of pines. were cracking too, and she heard the beat of approaching footsteps. Then her glance caught something visible, a of white in the shadows, moving like a ghost. The thing went amid the trees with the bell mute. The girl's doubts were soon set at rest as to whether she had been seen or no. The figure in grey slipped between the pines, and came out into the grass circle about the grave, cowled, masked, bell at girdle, a leper.
The girl stared at it with a cold flutter at her heart. The thing stood under the motionless as stone. The bell gave never a ; a white chin forward from under the ; the masked face was in shadow. Then the bell jangled, and a gruff voice came from the cowl.
"Unclean, unclean!" it said; "avoid the white death, and give alms."
Yeoland obeyed readily enough, put a portion of the grave betwixt herself and the leper, in her
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