“I thought it was over,” she said, “and that you were gone. Go, dear, or this will drive me mad. Perhaps, sometimes, you will write me.”
He knelt beside her and kissed her, and then he rose and went.
But for many a year was he haunted by that scene of human misery enacted in the weird chamber of the dead. Never could he forget the sight of Mildred lying in the sunlight, with the marble face of mocking calm looking down upon her, and the mortal frames of those who, in their day, had suffered as she suffered, and ages since had found the rest that she in time would reach, scattered all around—fit emblems of the fragile vanity of passions which suck their strength from earth alone.
When Arthur got out of the gates of the Quinta Carr, he hurried to the hotel, with the intention of reading the letters Mildred had given him, and, passing through the dining-room, seated himself upon the “stoep” which overlooked the garden in order to do so. At this time of year it was, generally speaking, a quiet place enough; but on this particular day scarcely had Arthur taken the letter from his pocket, and—having placed the ring that it contained upon his trembling finger, and repudiating the statement, marked “to be read first,” on account of its business-like appearance—glanced at the two first lines of Angela’s own letter, when the sound of hurrying feet and many chattering voices reminded him that he could expect no peace anywhere in the neighbourhood of the hotel. The second English mail was in, and all the crowd of passengers, who were at this time pouring out to the Cape to escape the English winter, had come, rejoicing, ashore, to eat, drink, be merry, and buy parrots and wicker chairs while the vessel coaled.
He groaned and fled, in his hurry leaving the statement on the bench on which he was seated.
Some half-mile or so away, to the left of the town, where the sea had encroached a little upon the shore of the island, there was a nook of peculiar loveliness. Here the giant hand of Nature had cleft a ravine in the mountains that make Madeira, down which a crystal streamlet trickled to the patch of yellow sand that edged the sea. Its banks sloped like a natural terrace, and were clothed with masses of maidenhair ferns interwoven with feathery grasses, whilst up above among the rocks grew aloes and every sort of flowering shrub.
Behind, clothed in forest, lay the mass of mountains, varied by the rich green of the vine-clad valleys, and in front heaved the endless ocean, broken only by one lonely rock that stood grimly out against the purpling glories of the evening sky. This spot Arthur had discovered in the course of his rambles with Mildred, and it was here that he bent his steps to be alone to read his letters. Scarcely had he reached the place, however, when he discovered, to his intense vexation, that he had left the enclosure