Ziska eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about Ziska.

“Beast!” he muttered, “I must try him with a money bribe next time I get hold of him.  I wonder what I shall do with myself now?—­ haunted and brain-ridden as I am by this woman and her picture?”

The hot sun glared in his eyes and made them ache,—­the rough stones of the narrow street were scorching to his feet.  He began to move slowly away with a curious faint sensation of giddiness and sickness upon him, when the sound of music floating from the direction of the Princess Ziska’s palace brought him to a sudden standstill.  It was a strange, wild melody, played on some instrument with seemingly muffled strings.  A voice with a deep, throbbing thrill of sweetness in it began to sing: 

  Oh, for the passionless peace of the Lotus-Lily! 
   It floats in a waking dream on the waters chilly,
     With its leaves unfurled
     To the wondering world,
   Knowing naught of the sorrow and restless pain
   That burns and tortures the human brain;
   Oh, for the passionless peace of the Lotus-Lily!

  Oh, for the pure cold heart of the Lotus-Lily! 
   Bared to the moon on the waters dark and chilly. 
     A star above
     Is its only love,
   And one brief sigh of its scented breath
   Is all it will ever know of Death;
   Oh, for the pure cold heart of the Lotus-Lily!

When the song ceased, Gervase raised his eyes from the ground on which he had fixed them in a kind of brooding stupor, and stared at the burning blue of the sky as vaguely and wildly as a sick man in the delirium of fever.

“God!  What ails me!” he muttered, supporting himself with one hand against the black and crumbling wall near which he stood.  “Why should that melody steal away my strength and make me think of things with which I have surely no connection!  What tricks my imagination plays me in this city of the Orient—­I might as well be hypnotized!  What have I to do with dreams of war and triumph and rapine and murder, and what is the name of Ziska-Charmazel to me?”

He shook himself with the action of a fine brute that has been stung by some teasing insect, and, mastering his emotions by an effort, walked away.  But he was so absorbed in strange thoughts, that he stumbled up against Denzil Murray in a side street on the way to the Gezireh Palace Hotel without seeing him, and would have passed him altogether had not Denzil somewhat fiercely said: 


Gervase looked at him bewilderedly.

“Why, Denzil, is it you?  My dear fellow, forgive me my brusquerie!  I believe I have got a stroke of the sun, or something of the sort; I assure you I hardly know what I am doing or where I am going!”

“I believe it!” said Denzil, hoarsely.  “You are as mad as I am—­ for love!”

Gervase smiled; a slight incredulous smile.

“You think so?  I am not sure!  If love makes a man as thoroughly unstrung and nervous as I am to-day, then love is a very bad illness.”

Project Gutenberg
Ziska from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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