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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about The Dark Flower.
for ever!  And, as he ran, he made little desperate efforts to mop his face, and brush his clothes.  There were the gates, at last—­two hundred yards away.  The train, he could hear no longer.  It must be standing in the station.  And a sob came from his overdriven lungs.  He heard the guard’s whistle as he reached the gates.  Instead of making for the booking-office, he ran along the paling, where an entrance to the goods’-shed was open, and dashing through he fell back against the honeysuckle.  The engine was just abreast of him; he snatched at his sleeve and passed it over his face, to wipe the sweat away.  Everything was blurred.  He must see—­surely he had not come in time just not to see!  He pushed his hands over his forehead and hair, and spied up dizzily at the slowly passing train.  She was there, at a window!  Standing, looking out!  He dared not step forward, for fear of falling, but he put out his hand—­She saw him.  Yes, she saw him!  Wasn’t she going to make a sign?  Not one?  And suddenly he saw her tear at her dress, pluck something out, and throw it.  It fell close to his feet.  He did not pick it up—­he wanted to see her face till she was gone.  It looked wonderful—­very proud, and pale.  She put her hand up to her lips.  Then everything went blurred again and when he could see once more, the train had vanished.  But at his feet was what she had thrown.  He picked it up!  All dry and dark, it was the flower she had given him in the Tyrol, and stolen back from his buttonhole.

Creeping out, past the goods’-shed, he made his way to a field, and lay down with his face pressed to that withered thing which still had its scent. . . .

The asphyxiated speculation in his guardian’s eyes had not been without significance.  Mark did not go back to Oxford.  He went instead to Rome—­to live in his sister’s house, and attend a school of sculpture.  That was the beginning of a time when nothing counted except his work.

To Anna he wrote twice, but received no answer.  From his tutor he had one little note: 

My dear Lennan,

“So!  You abandon us for Art?  Ah! well—­it was your moon, if I remember—­one of them.  A worthy moon—­a little dusty in these days—­a little in her decline—­but to you no doubt a virgin goddess, whose hem, etc.

“We shall retain the friendliest memories of you in spite of your defection.

“Once your tutor and still your friend,

Harold Stormer.”

After that vacation it was long—­very long before he saw Sylvia again.

PART II

SUMMER

I

Gleam of a thousand lights; clack and mutter of innumerable voices, laughter, footsteps; hiss and rumble of passing trains taking gamblers back to Nice or Mentone; fevered wailing from the violins of four fiddlers with dark-white skins outside the cafe; and above, around, beyond, the dark sky, and the dark mountains, and the dark sea, like some great dark flower to whose heart is clinging a jewelled beetle.  So was Monte Carlo on that May night of 1887.

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