BOOK THE FIFTH
10. Chapter X
With these words she turned away. Slowly she crept along by the fori, or
platforms, to the farther side of the vessel, and, pausing, bent low over
the deep; the cool spray dashed upward on her feverish brow. 'It is the
kiss of death,' she said 'it is welcome.' The balmy air played through her
waving tresses--she put them from her face, and raised those eyes--so
tender, though so lightless--to the sky, whose soft face she had never seen!
'No, no!' she said, half aloud, and in a musing and thoughtful tone, 'I
cannot endure it; this jealous, exacting love--it shatters my whole soul in
madness! I might harm him again--wretch that I was! I have saved
him--twice saved him--happy, happy thought: why not die happy?--it is the
last glad thought I can ever know. Oh! sacred Sea! I hear thy voice
invitingly--it hath a freshening and joyous call. They say that in thy
embrace is dishonour--that thy victims cross not the fatal Styx--be it
so!--I would not meet him in the Shades, for I should meet him still with
her! Rest--rest--rest! there is no other Elysium for a heart like mine!'
A sailor, half dozing on the deck, heard a slight splash on the waters.
Drowsily he looked up, and behind, as the vessel merrily bounded on, he
fancied he saw something white above the waves; but it vanished in an
instant. He turned round again, and dreamed of his home and children.
When the lovers awoke, their first thought was of each other--their next of
Nydia! She was not to be found--none had seen her since the night. Every
crevice of the vessel was searched--there was no trace of her. Mysterious
from first to last, the blind Thessalian had vanished for ever from the
living world! They guessed her fate in silence: and Glaucus and Ione, while
they drew nearer to each other (feeling each other the world itself), forgot
their deliverance, and wept as for a departed sister.