Apollo's LyreOn this way, they reached the roof. Christine tripped over it as lightly as a swallow. Their eyes swept the empty space between the three domes and the triangular pediment. She breathed freely over Paris, the whole valley of which was seen at work below. She called Raoul to come quite close to her and they walked side by side along the zinc streets, in the leaden avenues; they looked at their twin shapes in the huge tanks, full of stagnant water, where, in the hot weather, the little boys of the ballet, a score or so, learn to swim and dive.
The shadow had followed behind them clinging to their steps; and the two children little suspected its presence when they at last sat down, trustingly, under the mighty protection of Apollo, who, with a great bronze gesture, lifted his huge lyre to the heart of a crimson sky.
It was a gorgeous spring evening. Clouds, which had just received their gossamer robe of gold and purple from the setting sun, drifted slowly by; and Christine said to Raoul:
`Soon we shall go farther and faster than the clouds, to the end of the world, and then you will leave me, Raoul. But, if, when the moment comes apollo' for you to take me away, I refuse to go with you - well you must carry me off by force!'
`Are you afraid that you will change your mind, Christine?'
`I don't know,' she said, shaking her head in an odd fashion. `He is a demon!' And she shivered and nestled in his arms with a moan. `I am afraid now of going back to live with him...in the ground!'
`What compels you to go back, Christine?'
`If I do not go back to him, terrible misfortunes may happen!... But I can't do it, I can't do it!...I know one ought to be sorry for people who live underground....But he is too horrible! And yet the time is at hand; I have only a day left; and, if I do not go, he will come and fetch me with his voice. And he will drag me with him, underground, and go on his knees before me, with his death's head. And he will tell me that he loves me! And he will cry! Oh, those tears, Raoul, those tears in the two black eye-sockets of the death's head! I can not see those tears flow again!'
She wrung her hands in anguish, while Raoul pressed her to his heart.
`No, no, you shall never again hear him tell you that he loves you! You shall not see his tears! Let us fly, Christine, let us fly at once!'
And he tried to drag her away, then and there. But she stopped him.
`No, no,' she said, shaking her head sadly. `Not now!...It would be too cruel...let him hear me sing to- morrow evening...and then we will go away. You must come and fetch me in my dressing-room at midnight exactly. He will then be waiting for me in the dining-room by the lake...we shall be free and you shall take me away.... You must promise me that, Raoul, even if I refuse; for I feel that, if I go back this time, I shall perhaps never return.'
And she gave a sigh to which it seemed to her that another sigh, behind her, replied.
`Didn't you hear?'
Her teeth chattered.
`No,' said Raoul, `I heard nothing.'
`It is too terrible,' she confessed, `to be always trembling like this!...And yet we run no danger here; we are at home, in the sky, in the open air, in the light. The sun is flaming; and night-birds can not bear to
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