“When the moon is over Pelican Island.” How often Ledscha had repeated this sentence to herself while Hermon was detained by Daphne and her Pelusinian guests!
When she entered the boat after nightfall she exclaimed hopefully, sure of her cause, “When the moon is over Pelican Island he will come.”
Her goal was quickly reached in the skiff; the place selected for the nocturnal meeting was a familiar one to her.
The pirates had remained absent from it quite two years. Formerly they had often visited the spot to conceal their arms and booty on the densely wooded island. The large papyrus thicket on the shore also hid boats from spying eyes, and near the spot where Ledscha landed was a grassy seat which looked like an ordinary resting place, but beneath it the corsairs had built a long, walled passage, that led to the other side of the island, and had enabled many a fugitive to vanish from the sight of pursuers, as though the earth had swallowed them.
“When the moon is over the island,” Ledscha repeated after she had waited more than an hour.
The time had not yet come; the expanse of water lay before her motionless, in hue a dull, leaden gray, and only the dimly illumined air and a glimmering radiance along the edges of the waves that washed the island showed that the moon was already brightening the night.
When its full orb floated above the island Hermon, too, would appear, and the happiness which had been predicted to Ledscha would begin.
A bitter smile hovered around her delicately cut lips as she repeated the word.
Hitherto no feeling was more distant from her; for when love and longing began to stir in her heart, it seemed as though a hideous spider was weaving its web about her, and vague fears, painful memories, and in their train fierce hate would force glad expectation into the shadow.
Yet she yearned with passionate fervour to see Hermon again, and when he was once there all must be well between them. The prediction of old Tabus, who ruled as mistress over so many demons, could not deceive.
After Ledscha had so lately reminded the lover who so vehemently roused her jealous wrath what this night of the full moon meant to her, she could rely upon his appearance in spite of everything.
Various matters undoubtedly held him firmly enough in Tennis—she admitted this to herself after she grew calmer—but he had promised to come; he would surely enter the boat, and she—she would submit to share the night with the Hellene.
Her whole being longed for the bliss awaiting her, and it could come from no one save the man whose lips would seek hers when the moon rose over the Pelican Island.
How tardily and sluggishly the cow-headed goddess who bore the silver orb between her horns rose to-night! how slowly the time passed, yet she did not move forward more certainly that the man whom Ledscha expected must arrive.