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CHAPTER I. TWO YEARS AFTER. JUSH!' said Eose, 'do not speak to
her?she does not even see us, ' and stretching out her hand, she
softly drew her husband back. It was Ninon's slender shape that
came fluttering by, seemingly blown on its onward path by the
vagabond evening wind, so listless, so shadowy, so irresponsive
didshe appear, a mere pale resemblance to the fresh, gay young
beauty who had passed this way in all the flush of her careless
youth and love but two short years ago. At her breast and in her
hair, she wore a knot of ribbons of the colour that Michael had
always loved and praised, yet deemed not half so richly dyed as her
beautiful faithful eyes, or one half so soft in their silken gloss
as the sweet red lips he had so often kissed . . . and she wore the
ribbons still, though praise and blame were surely for ever
over-past from the man who lay sepulchred safely in the treacherous
bosom of the smiling sparkling sea yonder. Moving to and fro in her
daily life, sheheeded the speech of no man, nor woman either, save
one. A harsh word to her was no more to her than a kind one; a blow
would have moved her no more than a caress; looks of pity, words of
reproof, were alike lost upon her, and naught of either good or
evil could touch her in the intense isolation of her soul. And so
it was that they who had loved her not in bygone days, having held
her in but light esteem, were moved even to tears by the dumb
anguish of her eyes, and after their simple fashion would do her
kindly service, and evince in fifty ways their sympathy for her
sorrow; but she heeded them not one whit; the world to her was full
of shadows that came and went, went and came, among which she
sought in vain theliving, breathing shape of Michael, her lost
love. It came to pass aft...
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