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  • She did not go to bed, but merely threw off her ball-dress and undid her hair;
  • then she ordered me to build a fire, and she sat by the fire-place, and stared
  • into the flames.
  • "Do you need me any longer, mistress?" I asked, my voice failed me at the last
  • word.
  • Wanda shook her head.
  • I left the room, passed through the gallery, and sat down on one of the steps,
  • leading from there down into the garden. A gentle north wind brought a fresh,
  • damp coolness from the Arno, the green hills extended into the distance in a
  • rosy mist, a golden haze hovered over the city, over the round cupola of the
  • Duomo.
  • A few stars still tremble in the pale-blue sky.
  • I tore open my coat, and pressed my burning forehead against the marble.
  • Everything that had happened so far seemed to me a mere child's play; but now
  • things were beginning to be serious, terribly serious.
  • I anticipated a catastrophe, I visualized it, I could lay hold of it with my
  • hands, but I lacked the courage to meet it. My strength was broken. And if I
  • am honest with myself, neither the pains and sufferings that threatened me,
  • not the humiliations that impended, were the thing that frightened me.
  • I merely felt a fear, the fear of losing her whom I loved with a sort of
  • fanatical devotion; but it was so overwhelming, so crushing that I suddenly
  • began to sob like a child.