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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Parisians - Book 7 - Chapter 3
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The Parisians - Book 7 - Chapter 3 Post by :edwinc Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :2364

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The Parisians - Book 7 - Chapter 3

BOOK VII CHAPTER III

Yes, celebrities are of rapid growth in the salons of Paris. Far more solid than that of Rameau, far more brilliant than that of De Mauleon, was the celebrity which Isaura had now acquired. She had been unable to retain the pretty suburban villa at A------. The owner wanted to alter and enlarge it for his own residence, and she had been persuaded by Signora Venosta, who was always sighing for fresh salons to conquer, to remove (towards the close of the previous year) to apartments in the centre of the Parisian beau monde. Without formally professing to receive, on one evening in the week her salon was open to those who had eagerly sought her acquaintance--comprising many stars in the world of fashion, as well as those in the world of art and letters. And as she had now wholly abandoned the idea of the profession for which her voice had been cultivated, she no longer shrank from the exercise of her surpassing gift of song for the delight of private friends. Her physician had withdrawn the interdict on such exercise. His skill, aided by the rich vitality of her constitution, had triumphed over all tendencies to the malady for which he had been consulted. To hear Isaura Cicogna sing in her own house was a privilege sought and prized by many who never read a word of her literary compositions. A good critic of a book is rare; but good judges of a voice are numberless. Adding this attraction of song to her youth, her beauty, her frank powers of converse--an innocent sweetness of manner free from all conventional affectation--and to the fresh novelty of a genius which inspired the young with enthusiast and beguiled the old to indulgence, it was no wonder that Isaura became a celebrity at Paris.

Perhaps it was a wonder that her head was not turned by the adulation that surrounded her. But I believe, be it said with diffidence, that a woman of mind so superior that the mind never pretends to efface the heart, is less intoxicated with flattery than a man equally exposed to it.

It is the strength of her heart that keeps her head sober. Isaura had never yet overcome her first romance of love; as yet, amid all her triumphs, there was not a day in which her thoughts did not wistfully, mournfully, fly back to those blessed moments in which she felt her cheek colour before a look, her heart beat at the sound of a footfall. Perhaps if there had been the customary finis to this young romance--the lover's deliberate renunciation, his formal farewell--the girl's pride would ere this have conquered her affection,--possibly--who knows?--replaced it.

But, reader, be you male or female, have you ever known this sore trial of affection and pride, that from some cause or other, to you mysterious, the dear intercourse to which you had accustomed the secret life of your life, abruptly ceases; you know that a something has come between you and the beloved which you cannot distinguish, cannot measure, cannot guess, and therefore cannot surmount; and you say to yourself at the dead of solitary night, "Oh for an explanation! Oh for one meeting more! All might be so easily set right; or if not, I should know the worst, and knowing it, could conquer!"

This trial was Isaura's. There had been no explanation, no last farewell between her and Graham. She divined--no woman lightly makes a mistake there--that he loved her! She knew that this dread something had intervened between her and him when he took leave of her before others so many months ago; that this dread something still continued--what was it? She was certain that it would vanish, could they but once meet again and not before others. Oh for such a meeting!

She could not herself destroy hope. She could not marry another. She would have no heart to give to another while he was free, while in doubt if his heart was still her own. And thus her pride did not help her to conquer her affection.

Of Graham Vane she heard occasionally. He had ceased to correspond with Savarin; but among those who most frequented her salon were the Morleys. Americans so well educated and so well placed as the Morleys knew something about every Englishman of the social station of Graham Vane. Isaura learned from them that Graham, after a tour on the Continent, had returned to England at the commencement of the year, had been invited to stand for Parliament, had refused, that his name was in the list published by the Morning Post of the elite whose arrivals in London, or whose presence at dinner-tables, is recorded as an event. That the Athenaeum had mentioned a rumour that Graham Vane was the author of a political pamphlet which, published anonymously, had made no inconsiderable sensation. Isaura sent to England for that pamphlet: the subject was somewhat dry, and the style, though clear and vigorous, was scarcely of the eloquence which wins the admiration of women; and yet she learned every word of it by heart.

We know how little she dreamed that the celebrity which she hailed as an approach to him was daily making her more remote. The sweet labours she undertook for that celebrity continued to be sweetened yet more by secret associations with the absent one. How many of the passages most admired could never have been written had he been never known!

And she blessed those labours the more that they upheld her from the absolute feebleness of sickened reverie, beguiled her from the gnawing torture of unsatisfied conjecture. She did comply with Madame de Grantmesnil's command--did pass from the dusty beaten road of life into green fields and along flowery river-banks, and did enjoy that ideal by-world.

But still the one image which reigned over her human heart moved beside her in the gardens of fairyland.

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The Parisians - Book 7 - Chapter 4 The Parisians - Book 7 - Chapter 4

The Parisians - Book 7 - Chapter 4
BOOK VII CHAPTER IVIsaura was seated in her pretty salon, with the Venosta, M. Savarin, the Morleys, and the financier Louvier, when Rameau was announced. "Ha!" cried Savarin, "we were just discussing a matter which nearly concerns you, cher poete. I have not seen you since the announcement that Pierre Firmin is no other than Victor de Mauleon. Ma foi, that worthy seems likely to be as dangerous with his pen as he was once with his sword. The article in which he revealed himself makes a sharp lunge on the Government. 'Take care of yourself. When hawks and nightingales fly
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The Parisians - Book 7 - Chapter 2
BOOK VII CHAPTER IIOn leaving De Mauleon and regaining his coupe, Rameau felt at once bewildered and humbled, for he was not prepared for the tone of careless superiority which the Vicomte assumed over him. He had expected to be much complimented, and he comprehended vaguely that he had been somewhat snubbed. He was not only irritated--he was bewildered; for De Mauleon's political disquisitions did not leave any clear or definite idea on his mind as to the principles which as editor of the Sens Commun he was to see adequately represented and carried out. In truth, Rameau was one of
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