Part 10, Chapter 8

Part X

Chapter 8

WHILE Alroy, plunged in thought, stood over the body of the officer, there arose a flourish of triumphant music, and a eunuch, entering the pavilion, announced the arrival of Schirene from Kerrund. Almost immediately afterwards, the Princess, descending from her litter, entered the tent; Alroy tore off his robe, and threw it over the corpse.

‘My own,’ exclaimed the Princess, as she ran up to the Caliph. ‘I have heard all. Be not alarmed for me. I dare look upon a corpse. You know I am a soldier’s bride. I am used to blood.’


‘Why so pale? Thou dost not kiss me! Has this unhinged thee so? ’Tis a sad deed; and yet to-morrow’s dawn may light up thousands to as grim a fate. Why? thou tremblest! Alas! kind soul! The single death of this fond, faithful heart, hath quite upset my love. Yet art thou used to battle. Why! this is foolishness. Art not glad to see me? What, not one smile! And I have come to fight for thee! I will be kissed!’

She flung herself upon his neck. Alroy faintly returned her embrace, and bore her to a couch. He clapped his hands, and two soldiers entered and bore away the corpse.

‘The pavilion, Schirene, is now fitter for thy presence. Rest thyself; I shall soon return.’ Thus speaking, he quitted her.

He quitted her; but her humbled look of sorrowful mortification pierced to his heart. He thought of all her love and all her loveliness, he called to mind all the marvellous story of their united fortunes. He felt that for her and her alone he cared to live, that without her quick sympathy, even success seemed unendurable. His judgment fluctuated in an eddy of passion and reason. Passion conquered. He dismissed from his intelligence all cognizance of good and evil; he determined, under all circumstances, to cling ever to her; he tore from his mind all memory of the late disclosure. He returned to the pavilion with a countenance beaming with affection; he found her weeping, he folded her in his arms, he kissed her with a thousand kisses, and whispered between each kiss his ardent love.