"I remember asking Dad for permission to climb a bluff
"He will weigh thee," she said; "and that which His own hand created will He separate from that which was thine own wilful wrong--and this, sure, He will teach thee how to expiate."
"Clo," he cried again -"thy mother--she was but a girl, and died alone--I did no justice to her!--Daphne! Daphne!" And he shook beneath the bed-clothes, shuddering to his feet, his face growing more grey and pinched.
"She loved thee once," Clorinda said. "She was a gentle soul, and would not forget. She will show thee mercy."
"Birth she went through," he muttered, "and death--alone. Birth and death! Daphne, my girl--" And his voice trailed off to nothingness, and he lay staring at space, and panting.
The duchess sat by him and held his hand. She moved not, though at last he seemed to fall asleep. Two hours later he began to stir. He turned his head slowly upon his pillows until his gaze rested upon her, as she sat fronting him. 'Twas as though he had awakened to look at her.
"Clo!" he cried, and though his voice was but a whisper, there was both wonder and wild question in it--"Clo!"
But she moved not, her great eyes meeting his with steady gaze; and even as they so looked at each other his body stretched itself, his lids fell--and he was a dead man.
CHAPTER XXIV--The doves sate upon the window-ledge and lowly cooed and cooed