The Parisians — Volume 03
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The Parisians — Volume 03

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The Project Gutenberg EBook The Parisians, by E. B. Lytton, Book 3. #166 in our series by Edward Bulwer-LyttonCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: The Parisians, Book 3.Author: Edward Bulwer-LyttonRelease Date: March 2005 [EBook #7739] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on May 20, 2003]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE PARISIANS, B3, LYTTON ***Produced by David Widger THE PARISIANSBy Edward Bulwer-LyttonBOOK III.CHAPTER I.The next day the guests at the Morleys' had assembled when Vane entered. His apology for unpunctuality was ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook The Parisians, by E.B. Lytton, Book 3. #166 in our series by EdwardBulwer-LyttonCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers*****Title: The Parisians, Book 3.
Author: Edward Bulwer-LyttonRelease Date: March 2005 [EBook #7739] [Yes,we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on May 20, 2003]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG***EBOOK THE PARISIANS, B3, LYTTON Produced by David Widger <widger@cecomet.net>THE PARISIANSBy Edward Bulwer-LyttonBOOK III.
CHAPTER I.The next day the guests at the Morleys' hadassembled when Vane entered. His apology forunpunctuality was cut short by the lively hostess."Your pardon is granted without the humiliation ofasking for it; we know that the characteristic of theEnglish is always to be a little behindhand."She then proceeded to introduce him to theAmerican Minister, to a distinguished Americanpoet, with a countenance striking for mingledsweetness and power, and one or two other of hercountrymen sojourning at Paris; and this ceremonyover, dinner was announced, and she badeGraham offer his arm to Mademoiselle Cicogna."Have you ever visited the United States,Mademoiselle?" asked Vane, as they seatedthemselves at the table."No.""It is a voyage you are sure to make soon.""Why so?""Because report says you will create a greatsensation at the very commencement of yourcareer; and the New World is ever eager towelcome each celebrity that is achieved in the Old,—more especially that which belongs to yourenchanting art.""True, sir," said an American senator, solemnly
striking into the conversation; "we are anappreciative people; and if that lady be as fine asinger as I am told, she might command anyamount of dollars."Isaura coloured, and turning to Graham, asked himin a low voice if he were fond of music."I ought of course to say 'yes,' answered Graham,in the same tone; "but I doubt if that 'yes' would bean honest one. In some moods, music—if a kind ofmusic I like—affects me very deeply; in othermoods, not at all. And I cannot bear much at atime. A concert wearies me shamefully; even anopera always seems to me a great deal too long.But I ought to add that I am no judge of music; thatmusic was never admitted into my education; and,between ourselves, I doubt if there be oneEnglishman in five hundred who would care foropera or concert if it were not the fashion to say hedid. Does my frankness revolt you?""On thecontrary, I sometimes doubt, especially of late, if I am fond of music myself.""Signorina,—pardon me,—it is impossible that youshould not be. Genius can never be untrue to itself,and must love that in which it excels, that by whichit communicates joy, and," he added, with a half-suppressed sigh, "attains to glory.""Genius is a divine word, and not to be applied to asinger," saidIsaura, with a humility in which there was anearnest sadness.
earnest sadness.Graham was touched and startled; but before hecould answer, the American Minister appealed tohim across the table, asking if he had quotedaccurately a passage in a speech by Graham'sdistinguished father, in regard to the share whichEngland ought to take in the political affairs ofEurope.The conversation now became general, verypolitical and very serious.Graham was drawn into it, and grew animated andeloquent.Isaura listened to him with admiration. She wasstruck by what seemed to her a nobleness ofsentiment which elevated his theme above thelevel of commonplace polemics. She was pleasedto notice, in the attentive silence of his intelligentlisteners, that they shared the effect produced onherself. In fact, Graham Vane was a born orator,and his studies had been those of a politicalthinker. In common talk he was but theaccomplished man of the world, easy and frankand genial, with a touch of good-natured sarcasm;but when the subject started drew him upward tothose heights in which politics become the scienceof humanity, he seemed a changed being. Hischeek glowed, his eye brightened, his voicemellowed into richer tones, his language be cameunconsciously adorned. In such moments theremight scarcely be an audience, even differing fromhim in opinion, which would not have acknowledgedhis spell.
When the party adjourned to the salon, Isaura saidsoftly to Graham, "I understand why you did notcultivate music; and I think, too, that I can nowunderstand what effects the human voice canproduce on human minds without recurring to the"art of song."Ah," said Graham, with a pleased smile, "do notmake me ashamed of my former rudeness by therevenge of compliment; and, above all, do notdisparage your own art by supposing that anyprose effect of voice in its utterance of mind caninterpret that which music alone can express, evento listeners so uncultured as myself. Am I not toldtruly by musical composers, when I ask them toexplain in words what they say in their music, thatsuch explanation is impossible, that music has alanguage of its own untranslatable by words?""Yes," said Isaura, with thoughtful brow butbrightening eyes, "you are told truly. It was only theother day that I was pondering over that truth.""But what recesses of mind, of heart, of soul, thisuntranslatable language penetrates and brightensup! How incomplete the grand nature of man—though man the grandest—would be, if you struckout of his reason the comprehension of poetry,music, and religion! In each are reached and aresounded deeps in his reason otherwise concealedfrom himself. History, knowledge, science, stop atthe point in which mystery begins. There they meetwith the world of shadow. Not an inch of that worldcan they penetrate without the aid of poetry and
religion, two necessities of intellectual man muchmore nearly allied than the votaries of the practicaland the positive suppose. To the aid and elevationof both those necessities comes in music, andthere has never existed a religion in the worldwhich has not demanded music as its ally. If, as Isaid frankly, it is only in certain moods of my mindthat I enjoy music, it is only because in certainmoods of my mind I am capable of quitting theguidance of prosaic reason for the world ofshadow; that I am so susceptible as at every hour,were my nature perfect, I should be to themysterious influences of poetry and religion. Doyou understand what I wish to express?""Yes, I do, and clearly.""Then, Signorina, you are forbidden to undervaluethe gift of song. You must feel its power over theheart, when you enter the opera-house; over thesoul, when you kneel in a cathedral.""Oh," cried Isaura, with enthusiasm, a rich glowmantling over her lovely face, "how I thank you! Isit you who say you do not love music? How muchbetter you understand it than I did till this moment!"Here Mrs. Morley, joined by the American poet,came to the corner in which the Englishman andthe singer had niched themselves. The poet beganto talk, the other guests gathered round, and everyone listened reverentially till the party broke up.Colonel Morley handed Isaura to her carriage; theshe-mountebank again fell to the lot of Graham.
"Signor," said she, as he respectfully placed hershawl round her scarlet-and-gilt jacket, "are we sofar from Paris that you cannot spare the time tocall? My child does not sing in public, but at homeyou can hear her. It is not every woman's voicethat is sweetest at home."Graham bowed, and said he would call on themorrow. Isaura mused in silent delight over thewords which had so extolled the art of the singer.Alas, poor child! she could not guess that in thosewords, reconciling her to the profession of thestage, the speaker was pleading against his ownheart.There was in Graham's nature, as I think itcommonly is in that of most true orators, awonderful degree of intellectual conscience whichimpelled him to acknowledge the benignantinfluences of song, and to set before the youngsinger the noblest incentives to the profession towhich he deemed her assuredly destined; but in sodoing he must have felt that he was widening thegulf between her life and his own. Perhaps hewished to widen it in proportion as he dreaded tolisten to any voice in his heart which asked if thegulf might not be overleapt.
CHAPTER II.ON the morrow Graham called at the villa at A———. The two ladies received him in Isaura'schosen sitting-room.Somehow or other, conversation at firstlanguished. Graham was reserved and distant,Isaura shy and embarrassed. The Venosta had thefrais of making talk to herself. Probably at anothertime Graham would have been amused andinterested in the observation of a character new tohim, and thoroughly southern,—lovable not morefrom its naive simplicity of kindliness than fromvarious little foibles and vanities, all of which wereharmless, and some of them endearing as those ofa child whom it is easy to make happy, and whomit seems so cruel to pain; and with all the Venosta'sdeviations from the polished and tranquil goodtaste of the beau monde, she had thatindescribable grace which rarely deserts aFlorentine, so that you might call her odd but notvulgar; while, though uneducated, except in theway of her old profession, and never havingtroubled herself to read anything but a libretto andthe pious books commended to her by herconfessor, the artless babble of her talk every nowand then flashed out with a quaint humour, lightingup terse fragments of the old Italian wisdom whichhad mysteriously embedded themselves in thegroundwork of her mind.
But Graham was not at this time disposed to judgethe poor Venosta kindly or fairly. Isaura had takenhigh rank in his thoughts. He felt an impatientresentment mingled with anxiety andcompassionate tenderness at a companionshipwhich seemed to him derogatory to the position hewould have assigned to a creature so gifted, andunsafe as a guide amidst the perils and trials towhich the youth, the beauty, and the destinedprofession of Isaura were exposed. Like mostEnglishmen—especially Englishmen wise in theknowledge of life—he held in fastidious regard theproprieties and conventions by which the dignity ofwoman is fenced round; and of those proprietiesand conventions the Venosta naturally appeared tohim a very unsatisfactory guardian andrepresentative.Happily unconscious of these hostileprepossessions, the elder Signora chatted on verygayly to the visitor. She was in excellent spirits;people had been very civil to her both at ColonelMorley's and M. Louvier's. The American Ministerhad praised the scarlet jacket. She was convincedshe had made a sensation two nights running.When the amour propre is pleased, the tongue isfreed.The Venosta ran on in praise of Paris and theParisians; of Louvier and his soiree and thepistachio ice; of the Americans, and a certaincreme de maraschino which she hoped the SignorInglese had not failed to taste,—the creme demaraschino led her thoughts back to Italy. Then