|Bellerophon on Pegasus spears the Chimera [Wikipedia]|
Atalanta curveting, flung forward at the delicate hint of Gaius’ knees pressed inward. She raced breakneck, in exquisite condition, down the steep shingle of the outer mound and landed, like some forward flung gelding of the race-course, feet firm, head delicate, shoulders quivering, wet and with a wild fire of phosphorescent light glinting on her bright flanks. Bellerophon came after. As the heavier horse struck the loosened shingle in his mad down-plunge, Marius, for one exalted second, thought the game was over. With what a hair-breath of a swerve all would be simplified. The great beast with its heavier form, its dark weight, might so easily slide forward; the simple heave beneath would tell, in one second, of some unwonted incident. Marius’ knees, his heavy thighs, unconsciously as if his very soul were lodged there, seemed waiting with some supersense for such sheer incident. For one exalted second, he thought surely on that loose shale, Bellerophon had failed him. In one exalted second, he could see the odd severance of steed from rider. A severance (he visualized it) not more fearful than that of head from body. Dour memory assailed him. The late unofficial expedition to Sardinia. Rome the insuperable. Against his face whipped the dire evening mist of the campagna. Beneath him, he knew in an agonising second, that Bellerophon had gained the soft turf, that Bellerophon was, like Rome, invincible.
|H. D. [Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library]|