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HOME > Classical Novels > Love Among the Ruins > CHAPTER 25
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 Two days had passed since the secret assembly in the house of Sforza, Gonfaloniere of Gilderoy. They had buried Duessa and Balthasar by night in the rose garden, by the light of a single lantern, with the fallen for a . It was the evening before the day when the land should rise in arms to and oppression. On the morrow the great cliff would be , its marching through the black pine woods on Avalon and Geraint.  
Towards eve, when the sky was clear as a single , Fulviac came from his parlour seeking Yeoland, to find her little empty. A strange smile played upon his face as he looked round the room with crucifix, frame, and prayer-desk, with rosary hung thereon. He picked up her , thrummed the , and broke broodingly into the sway of some southern song:
"Ah, woman of love,
With the stars in the night,
I see thee above
In a circlet of light.
On the west's scutcheon
I mark thy device;
And the shade of the forest
Makes gloom of thine eyes,
To me."
He ended the , kissed the riband, and set the lute down with a certain . The postern stood open and him. He passed out down the cliff stairway to the forest.
An indescribable peace the woods, a silence such as the shepherd on the hills knows when the stars to his soul. Fulviac walked slowly and thought the more. He felt the altitude of the forest stillness as of miles of , windless æther; he felt the of a woman's face; he felt the strangeness of the new philosophy that appealed to his heart. Nothing is more fascinating than watching a spiritual in one's own soul; watching some great power breaking up the crust of custom and habit; pondering the while on the eternal mysteries that baffle reason.
He found Yeoland amid the pines. She had been to the forest grave and was returning towards the cliff when the man met her. She seemed whiter than was her , her dark eyes looking solemn and shadowy under their . She seemed marvellously fair, marvellously pure and fragile, as she came towards him under the trees.
Something in Fulviac's look startled her. Women are like the sea to the cloudy moods of men, in that they catch every sun-ray and shadow. An indefinite something in the man's manner made her restless and . She went near to him with questioning eyes and laid her hand upon his arm.
"You have had bad news?"
"Something has troubled you?"
She looked at him , a suspicion of reproach, pity, and understanding in her eyes.
"Is it , your conscience?"
"My conscience? Have I had one!"
"You have a strong conscience."
"Deo gratias. Then you have it, madame."
A of infinite bitterness and seemed to in his mood. It was a moment of self-speculation. The girl still looked up into his face.
"Why did you kill that woman?"
"Her dead face haunts me, I see it everywhere; there is some strange shadow over my soul. O that I could get her last cry from my ears!"
Fulviac, with a sudden burst of cynicism, broke into grim laughter, a sound like the of dry bones in a closet. The girl shrank away with her lips .
"Why cannot you trust me with the truth?"
"Truth is not always beneficent. It was a matter of policy, of ."
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