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My Novel - Book 12 - Initial Chapter Post by :proview Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :1500

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My Novel - Book 12 - Initial Chapter

Book Twelfth
Initial Chapter


"Again," quoth my father,--"again behold us! We who greeted the commencement of your narrative, who absented ourselves in the midcourse when we could but obstruct the current of events, and jostle personages more important,--we now gather round the close. Still, as the chorus to the drama, we circle round the altar with the solemn but dubious chant which prepares the audience for the completion of the appointed destinies; though still, ourselves, unaware how the skein is to be unravelled, and where the shears are to descend."

So there they stood, the Family of Caxton,--all grouping round me, all eager officiously to question, some over-anxious prematurely to criticise.

"Violante can't have voluntarily gone off with that horrid count," said my mother; "but perhaps she was deceived, like Eugenia by Mr. Bellamy, in the novel of 'CAMILLA'."

"Ha!" said my father, "and in that case it is time yet to steal a hint from Clarissa Harlowe, and make Violante die less of a broken heart than a sullied honour. She is one of those girls who ought to be killed! All things about her forebode an early tomb!"

"Dear, dear!" cried Mrs. Caxton, "I hope not!"

"Pooh, brother," said the captain, "we have had enough of the tomb in the history of poor Nora. The whole story grows out of a grave, and if to a grave it must return--if, Pisistratus, you must kill somebody--kill Levy."

"Or the count," said my mother, with unusual truculence. "Or Randal Leslie," said Squills. "I should like to have a post-mortem cast of his head,--it would be an instructive study."

Here there was a general confusion of tongues, all present conspiring to bewilder the unfortunate author with their various and discordant counsels how to wind up his story and dispose of his characters.

"Silence!" cried Pisistratus, clapping his hands to both ears. "I can no more alter the fate allotted to each of the personages whom you honour with your interest than I can change your own; like you, they must go where events lead there, urged on by their own characters and the agencies of others. Providence so pervadingly governs the universe, that you cannot strike it even out of a book. The author may beget a character, but the moment the character comes into action, it escapes from his hands,--plays its own part, and fulfils its own inevitable doom."

"Besides," said Squills, "it is easy to see, from the phrenological development of the organs in those several heads which Pisistratus has allowed us to examine, that we have seen no creations of mere fiction, but living persons, whose true history has set in movement their various bumps of Amativeness, Constructiveness, Acquisitiveness, Idealty, Wonder, Comparison, etc. They must act, and they must end, according to the influences of their crania. Thus we find in Randal Leslie the predominant organs of Constructiveness, Secretiveness, Comparison, and Eventuality, while Benevolence, Conscientiousness, Adhesiveness, are utterly nil. Now, to divine how such a man must end, we must first see what is the general composition of the society in which he moves, in short, what other gases are brought into contact with his phlogiston. As to Leonard, and Harley, and Audley Egerton, surveying them phrenologically, I should say that--"

"Hush!" said my father, "Pisistratus has dipped his pen in the ink, and it seems to me easier for the wisest man that ever lived to account for what others have done than to predict what they should do. Phrenologists discovered that Mr. Thurtell had a very fine organ of Conscientiousness; yet, somehow or other, that erring personage contrived to knock the brains out of his friend's organ of Individuality. Therefore I rise to propose a Resolution,--that this meeting be adjourned till Pisistratus has completed his narrative; and we shall then have the satisfaction of knowing that it ought, according to every principle of nature, science, and art, to have been completed differently. Why should we deprive ourselves of that pleasure?"

"I second the motion," said the captain; "but if Levy be not hanged, I shall say that there is an end of all poetical justice."

"Take care of poor Helen," said Blanche, tenderly: "nor, that I would have you forget Violante."

"Pish! and sit down, or they shall both die old maids." Frightened at that threat, Blanche, with a deprecating look, drew her stool quietly near me, as if to place her two proteges in an atmosphere mesmerized to matrimonial attractions; and my mother set hard to work--at a new frock for the baby. Unsoftened by these undue female influences, Pisistratus wrote on at the dictation of the relentless Fates. His pen was of iron, and his heart was of granite. He was as insensible to the existence of wife and baby as if he had never paid a house bill, nor rushed from a nursery at the sound of an infant squall. O blessed privilege of Authorship!

"O testudinis aureae
Dulcem quae strepitum, Pieri, temperas!
O mutis quoque piscibus
Donatura cyeni, si libeat, sonum!"

("O Muse, who dost temper the sweet sound of the golden shell of the tortoise, and couldst also give, were it needed, to silent fishes the song of the swan.")

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My Novel - Book 12 - Chapter 2 My Novel - Book 12 - Chapter 2

My Novel - Book 12 - Chapter 2
BOOK TWELFTH CHAPTER IIIt is necessary to go somewhat back in the course of this narrative, and account to the reader for the disappearance of Violante. It may be remembered that Peschiera, scared by the sudden approach of Lord L'Estrange, had little time for further words to the young Italian, than those which expressed his intention to renew the conference, and press for her decision. But the next day, when he re-entered the garden, secretly and stealthily, as before, Violante did not appear. And after watching round the precincts till dusk, the count retreated, with an indignant conviction that his arts

My Novel - Book 11 - Chapter 17 My Novel - Book 11 - Chapter 17

My Novel - Book 11 - Chapter 17
BOOK ELEVENTH CHAPTER XVIIWhen the scenes in some long diorama pass solemnly before us, there is sometimes one solitary object, contrasting, perhaps, the view of stately cities or the march of a mighty river, that halts on the eye for a moment, and then glides away, leaving on the mind a strange, comfortless, undefined impression. Why was the object presented to us? In itself it seemed comparatively insignificant. It may have been but a broken column, a lonely pool with a star-beam on its quiet surface,--yet it awes us. We remember it when phantasmal pictures of bright Damascus, or of colossal