For a while he slept; but dreadful dreams soon awoke him, and, remembering where he was, he shook with horror. Low sounds fell upon his ear, movements, he thought, in the black night. He would have shouted to his men, but shame kept him mute. He crossed himself and prayed to the Virgin; then, raising his eyes, he saw through the broken roof a space of sky in which a star shone brilliantly. It brought him comfort; but the next moment he remembered Sagaris, and mental anguish blended with his fears of the invisible.
Again sleep overcame him. He dreamt that an evil spirit, with a face he knew but could not name, was pursuing him over trackless mountains. He fled like the wind; but the spirit was close behind him, and wherever he turned his head, he saw the familiar face grinning a devilish mockery. A precipice lay before him. He leapt wildly, and knew at once that he had leapt into fire, into hell. But the red gleam was that of a torch, and before him, as he opened his eyes, stood one of his faithful attendants who had come to see if all was well with him. He asked for water, and the man fetched him a draught. It was yet long till dawn.
Now he could not lie still, for fever burned him. Though awake, he saw visions, and once sent forth what seemed to him a yell of terror; but in truth it was only a moan, and no one heard. He relived through the fight with the marauders; sickened with dread at the gleam of weapons; flamed into fury, and shouted with savage exultation as he felt his sword cut the neck of an enemy. He was trying to think of Veranilda, but all through the night her image eluded him, and her name left him cold. He was capable only of hatred. At daybreak he slept heavily; the men, approaching him and looking at his haggard face, thought better to let him rest, and only after sunrise did he awake. He was angry that they had not aroused him sooner, got speedily to horse, and rode off almost at the same speed as yesterday. Now, at all events, he drew near to his goal; for a ride of an hour or two he needed not to spare his beast; sternly he called to his men to follow him close.
And all at once, as though his brain were restored by the freshness of the morning, he grasped the thought which had eluded him. Marcian’s treachery was no new thing: twice he had been warned against his seeming friend, by Petronilla and by Bessas, and in his folly he had scorned the accusation which time had now so bitterly justified. Forgotten, utterly forgotten, until this moment; yet how blinded he must have been by his faith in Marcian’s loyalty not to have reflected upon many circumstances prompting suspicion. Marcian had perhaps been false to him from the very day of Veranilda’s disappearance, and how far did his perfidy extend? Had he merely known where she was concealed, or had he seen her, spoken with her, wooed her all along? He had won her; so much was plain; and he could scarce have done so during the brief journey to his villa. O villainous Marcian! O fickle, wanton Veranilda!