“I was absorbed,” she continued, “in the effort that had thrown Enva into the slumber of obedience. I did not know or feel where I was or what I had next to do. My thought, still concentrated, had forgotten its accomplished purpose, and was bent on your danger. Somehow on the cushioned pile I seemed to see a figure, strange to me, but which I shall never forget. It was a young girl, very slight, pale, sickly, with dark circles round the closed eyes, slumbering like Enva, but in everything else Enva’s very opposite. I suppose I was myself entranced or dreaming, conscious only of my anxiety for you, so that it seemed natural that everything should concern you. I remember nothing of my dream but the words which, when I came to myself in the peristyle, alone, were as clear in my memory as they are now:—
“’Watch the hand and read the eyes;
On his breast the danger lies—
Strength is weak and childhood wise.
“’Fail the bowl, and—’ware
Rests on him the Sovereign’s life,
Rests the husband’s on the wife.
“’They that would his power command
Know who holds his heart in hand:
Silken tress is surest band.
“’Well they judge Kargynda’s
Steel to peril, pain, and blood,
Surely through his mate subdued.
“’Love can make the strong a slave,
Fool the wise and quell the brave ...
Love by sacrifice can save.’”
“She again!” I exclaimed involuntarily.
“You hear,” murmured Eveena. “In kindness to me heed my warning, if you have neglected all others. Do not break my heart in your mercy to another. Eive”——
“Eive!—The prophetess knows me better than you do! The warning means that they now desire my secret before my life, and scheme to make your safety the price of my dishonour. It is the Devil’s thought—or the Regent’s!”
As I could not decide to send Eive forth without home, protection, or control, and Eveena could suggest no other course, the days wore on under a domestic thunder-cloud which rendered the least sensitive among us uncomfortable and unhappy, and deprived three at least of the party of appetite, of ease, and almost of sleep, till two alarming incidents broke the painful stagnation.
I had just left Eive’s prison one morning when Eveena, who was habitually entrusted with the charge of these communications, put into my hands two slips of tafroo. The one had been given her by an amba, and came from Davilo’s substitute on the estate. It said simply: “You and you alone were recognised among the rescuers of your friend. Before two days have passed an attempt will be made to arrest you.” The other came from Esmo, and Eveena had brought it to me unread, as was indeed her practice. I could not bear to look at her, though I held her closely, as I read aloud the brief message which announced the death, by the sting of two dragons (evidently launched by some assassin’s