The Grey Cloak (Chapter 19, page 1 of 12)

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Chapter 19

A man's brain can accept only so many blows or surprises at one time;
after that he becomes dazed, incapable of lucid thought. At this
moment it seemed to the Chevalier that he was passing through some
extravagant dream. The marquis was unreal; yonder was a vapor assuming
the form of a woman. He stared patiently, waiting for the dream to

He was staring into a beautiful face, lively, yet possessing that
unmarred serenity which the Greeks gave to their female statues; but it
was warm as living flesh is warm. Every feature expressed nobility in
the catholic sense of the word; the proud, delicate nose, the amiable,
curving mouth, the firm chin and graceful throat. In the candle-light
the skin had that creamy pallor of porcelain held between the eye and
the sun. The hair alone would have been a glory even to a Helen. It
could be likened to no color other than that russet gold which lines
the chestnut bur. The eyes were of that changing amber of woodland
pools in autumn; and a soul lurked in them, a brave, merry soul, more
given to song and laughter than to tears. The child of Venus had taken
up his abode in this woman's heart; for to see her was to love her, and
to love her was to despair.

The tableau lasted several seconds. She was first to recover; being a
woman, her mind moved swifter.

"Do I wear the shield of Perseus, and is the head of Medusa thereupon?
Truly, I have turned Monsieur du CĂ©vennes into stone!"

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