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 Paris and Helen have been dead centuries, yet in that universal world of the mind they still live, young and glorious as when the Grecian ploughed through the blue Ægean. The world loves a lover. Troilus stages our own emotions for us in godlier wise than we poor realists can hope to do. We owe an eternal to those who have stood for love in history. All men might well desire to play the Tristan to Iseult of the Irish eyes. We forget Gemma Donati, and follow with Dante's wistful idealism the gleaming figure of Beatrice in Paradise.  
Now the Lord Flavian was one of those happy persons who seem to stumble into heaven either by instinct or good-fortune. God gives to many men gold; to others intellect; to some truth; to few, a human echo, a harmony in the spirit, the right woman in the world. Many of us are such folk that we vibrate vastly to a beautiful face and hail heaven in a pair of violet eyes. The chance is that such a business turns out . It is a wise rule to search the world through to find your Beatrice, or to the end. Happy is the man whose choice is by all the wisest poetry of heaven. Happy is he who finds a as he rakes the ephemeral flower-gardens of life, a eternally bright and beautiful, , unchanging, flashing light ever into the soul. It is given to few to love wisely, to love , to love till death.
That summer day Flavian saw life at its zenith, as he rode through the woods on the way to Gambrevault. The horse had dropped to a , and the man had taken off his helmet and hung it at his saddle-bow. He was still red from the mêlée; his eyes were bright and . The girl at his side looked at him half-timidly, a upon her lip, her glances clouded. The terrific action of the last hour still seemed to weigh upon her senses, and she seemed fated to be the sport of contending sentiments. No sooner had she struggled to some level of saintliness than love rushed in with burning wings, and lo, all the tinsel of her religion fell away, and she was a Eve, a child of Nature.
Flavian watched her with the tenderness of a strong man, who is ready to give his life for the woman he serves. Love seemed to rise from her and play upon him like perfume from a bowl of violets; her eyes transfigured him, and he longed to touch her hair.
"At last."
"Treat me as a man, I hate that ."
"You are a great signor."
"What are titles, , etiquettes to us! I am only great so long as you trust and honour me."
"Your power might appear ."
"As you will."
"Yet war is loose!"
He looked round upon the sea of men that rolled on every hand.
"And war at its worst. I have seen enough in three days to make me your and their principles."
"It is a wicked and business."
"What are you going to do with me?" she said.
"Remove you from the hands of butchers and offal-mongers; put you like a pearl in a casket in my own castle of Gambrevault."
"You the greater ."
"Have I not told you that no woman loves a coward?"
She was silent awhile, with her eyes wistful and , as though some spiritual conflict were passing in her mind. Bitterness escaped in the man's words for all his tenderness and . He needed an answer. Anon she capitulated and appeared to surrender herself absolutely to circumstance. She began to tell Flavian of her by Fulviac, of her vision in the ruined , of the part assigned to her as a woman by heaven. He heard her in silence, finding pleasure in listening to her voice, having never heard her talk at such length before. Her voice's modulations, its , its many tones, were more subtle to him than any music, and seemed to steep in oblivion the grim realities of the last few days. He watched the play of thought upon her face, sun and shadow, calm and unrest. He began to comprehend the he had flung into her life; she was no longer a to him; her her soul in warm and delicate colouring--colouring pathetic and heroically pure. He had a glorious sense of joy in an instinctive conviction that this girl was of all the highest chivalry a man's heart can conceive of.
Though he had a strong suspicion that he could humanise her Madonna for her, he refrained from argument, refrained from on the her so-called crusades had already perpetrated. Moreover, the girl had opened her heart to him with a delicious and innocent . He felt that the hour had blessed him ; that would be gross and impertinent in the light of that sympathy that seemed suddenly to have them like a golden cloud. The girl appeared to have surrendered herself spiritually into his keeping, not sorry in measure that a strong destiny had her doubts for her. They were to let political considerations and the ephemeral of the times sink under their feet. It was sufficient for them to be but a man and a woman, to forget the forbidden fruit, and the serpent and his
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