[He runs to the folding-doors at the back and opens both. Palomides is seen, seated on a bench. He has not had time to turn away his eyes. Ablamore looks fixedly at him, without a word, then re-enters the room. Palomides rises and retreats in the corridor, stifling the sound of his footsteps. The pet lamb leaves the room, unperceived.]
SCENE II.—A drawbridge over the moats of the palace. PALOMIDES and ALLADINE, with her pet lamb, appear at the two ends of the bridge. KING ABLAMORE leans out from a window of the tower.
Were you going out, Alladine?—I was coming in. I am coming back from the chase.—It rained.
I have never passed this bridge.
It leads to the forest. It is seldom passed. People had rather go a long way around. I think they are afraid because the moats are deeper at this place than elsewhere, and the black water that comes down from the mountains boils horribly between the walls before it goes hurling itself into the sea. It roars there always; but the quays are so high you hardly notice it. It is the most deserted wing of the palace. But on this side the forest is more beautiful, more ancient, and greater than any you have seen. It is full of unusual trees and flowers that have sprung up of themselves,—Will you come?
I do not know.... I am afraid of the roaring water.
Come, come; it roars without reason. Look at your lamb; he looks at me as if he wished to come.... Come, come....
Don’t call him.... He will get away.
[The lamb escapes from Alladine’s
hands, and comes leaping toward
Palomides, but slips on the inclined plane of the drawbridge and
goes rolling into the moat.]
What has he done?—Where is he?
He slipped. He is straggling in the heart of the eddy. Do not look at him; there is nothing to be done....
You are going to save him?
Save him? But look! he is already in the tunnel. One moment more, and he will be under the vaults; and God himself will never see him more....
Go away! Go away!
What is the matter?
Go away!—I do not want to see you any more!...
[Ablamore enters precipitately,
seizes Alladine, and draws her
away brusquely without speaking.]
SCENE III.—A room in the palace. ABLAMORE and ALLADINE discovered.