He said to himself over and over, "Well, I can live without her if I must," but at this stage the mere thought was an actual stab in his vitals. What, after all, was life, wealth, fame, if you couldn't have the woman you wanted—love, that indefinable, unnamable coddling of the spirit which the strongest almost more than the weakest crave? At last he saw clearly, as within a chalice-like nimbus, that the ultimate end of fame, power, vigor was beauty, and that beauty was a compound of the taste, the emotion, the innate culture, passion, and dreams of a woman like Berenice Fleming. That was it: that was it. And beyond was nothing save crumbling age, darkness, silence.