Ziska eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about Ziska.
her as it seemed for flight.  She began her dance slowly, gliding mysteriously from side to side, anon turning suddenly with her head lifted, as though listening for some word of love which should recall her or command; then, bending down again, she seemed to float lazily like a creature that was dancing in a dream without conscious knowledge of her actions.  The brazen cymbals clashed again, and then, with a wild, beautiful movement, like that of a hunted stag leaping the brow of a hill, the dancer sprang forward, turned, pirouetted and tossed herself round and round giddily with a marvellous and exquisite celerity, as if she were nothing but a bright circle of gold spinning in clear ether.  Spontaneous applause broke forth from every part of the hall; the guests crowded forward, staring and almost breathless with amazement.  Dr. Dean got up in a state of the greatest excitement, clapping his hands involuntarily; and Gervase, every nerve in his body quivering, advanced one or two steps, feeling that he must stop this bright, wild, wanton thing in her incessant whirling, or else die in the hunger of love which consumed his soul.  Denzil Murray glanced at him, and, after a pause, left his side and disappeared.  Suddenly, with a quick movement, the dancer loosened her golden dress and misty veil, and tossing them aside like falling leaves, she stood confessed—­a marvellous, glowing vision in silvery white-no other than the Princess Ziska!

Shouts echoed from every part of the hall: 

“Ziska!  Ziska!”

And at the name Lady Chetwynd Lyle rose in all her majesty from the seat she had occupied till then, and in tones of virtuous indignation said to Lady Fulkeward: 

“I told you the Princess was not a proper person!  Now it is proved I am right!  To think I should have brought Dolly and Muriel here!  I shall really never forgive myself!  Come, Sir Chetwynd,—­let us leave this place instantly!”

And stout Sir Chetwynd, gloating on the exquisite beauty of the Princess Ziska’s form as she still danced on in her snowy white attire, her lovely face alight with mirth at the surprise she had made for her guests, tried his best to look sanctimonious and signally failed in the attempt as he answered: 

“Certainly!  Certainly, my dear!  Most improper ... most astonishing!”

While Lady Fulkeward answered innocently: 

“Is it?  Do you really think so?  Oh, dear!  I suppose it is improper,—­it must be, you know; but it is most delightful and original!”

And while the Chetwynd Lyles thus moved to depart in a cloud of outraged propriety, followed by others who likewise thought it well to pretend to be shocked at the proceeding, Gervase, dizzy, breathless, and torn by such conflicting passions as he could never express, was in a condition more mad than sane.

“My God!” he muttered under his breath.  “This—­this is love!  This is the beginning and end of life!  To possess her,—­to hold her in my arms—­heart to heart, lips to lips ... this is what all the eternal forces of Nature meant when they made me man!”

Project Gutenberg
Ziska from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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