"Where is my wife?" growled the ape-man. "Where is the
The man and the panther looked at one another with a look full of meaning; the coquette quivered when she felt her friend stroke her head; her eyes flashed like lightning--then she shut them tightly.
"She has a soul," he said, looking at the stillness of this queen of the sands, golden like them, white like them, solitary and burning like them.
"Well," she said, "I have read your plea in favor of beasts; but how did two so well adapted to understand each other end?"
"Ah, well! you see, they ended as all great passions do end--by a misunderstanding. For some reason ONE suspects the other of treason; they don't come to an explanation through pride, and quarrel and part from sheer obstinacy."
"Yet sometimes at the best moments a single word or a look is enough-- but anyhow go on with your story."
"It's horribly difficult, but you will understand, after what the old villain told me over his champagne. He said--'I don't know if I hurt her, but she turned round, as if enraged, and with her sharp teeth caught hold of my leg--gently, I daresay; but I, thinking she would devour me, plunged my dagger into her throat. She rolled over, giving a cry that froze my heart; and I saw her dying, still looking at me without anger. I would have given all the world--my cross even, which I had not got then--to have brought her to life again. It as though I had murdered a real person; and the soldiers who had seen my flag, and were come to my assistance, found me in tears.'
" 'Well sir,' he said, after a moment of silence, 'since then I have been in war in Germany, in Spain, in Russia, in France; I've certainly carried my carcase about a good deal, but never have I seen anything like the desert. Ah! yes, it is very beautiful!'
" 'What did you feel there?' I asked him.