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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Parisians - Book 9 - Chapter 13
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The Parisians - Book 9 - Chapter 13 Post by :Marta Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :2315

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The Parisians - Book 9 - Chapter 13

BOOK IX CHAPTER XIII

Isaura was seated beside the Venosta,--to whom, of late, she seemed to cling with greater fondness than ever,--working at some piece of embroidery--a labour from which she had been estranged for years; but now she had taken writing, reading, music, into passionate disgust. Isaura was thus seated, silently intent upon her work, and the Venosta in full talk, when the servant announced Madame Rameau.

The name startled both; the Venosta had never heard that the poet had a mother living, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Madame Rameau must be a wife he had hitherto kept unrevealed. And when a woman, still very handsome, with a countenance grave and sad, entered the salon, the Venosta murmured, "The husband's perfidy reveals itself on a wife's face," and took out her handkerchief in preparation for sympathising tears.

"Mademoiselle," said the visitor, halting, with eyes fixed on Isaura. "Pardon my intrusion-my son has the honour to be known to you. Every one who knows him must share in my sorrow--so young--so promising, and in such danger--my poor boy!" Madame Rameau stopped abruptly. Her tears forced their way--she turned aside to conceal them.

In her twofold condition of being--womanhood and genius--Isaura was too largely endowed with that quickness of sympathy which distinguishes woman from man, and genius from talent, not to be wondrously susceptible to pity.

Already she had wound her arm round the grieving mother--already drawn her to the seat from which she herself had risen--and bending over her had said some words--true, conventional enough in themselves,--but cooed forth in a voice the softest I ever expect to hear, save in dreams, on this side of the grave.

Madame Rameau swept her hand over her eyes, glanced round the room, and noticing the Venosta in dressing-robe and slippers, staring with those Italian eyes, in seeming so quietly innocent, in reality so searchingly shrewd, she whispered pleadingly, "May I speak to you a few minutes alone?" This was not a request that Isaura could refuse, though she was embarrassed and troubled by the surmise of Madame Rameau's object in asking it; accordingly she led her visitor into the adjoining room, and making an apologetic sign to the Venosta, closed the door.

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BOOK IX CHAPTER XIVWhen they were alone, Madame Rameau took Isaura's hand in both her own, and, gazing wistfully into her face, said, "No wonder you are so loved--yours is the beauty that sinks into the hearts and rests there. I prize my boy more, now that I have seen you. But, oh, Mademoiselle! pardon me--do not withdraw your hand--pardon the mother who comes from the sick-bed of her only son and asks if you will assist to save him! A word from you is life or death to him!" "Nay, nay, do not speak thus, Madame; your son knows how
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BOOK IX CHAPTER XIIGustave recovered, but slowly. The physician pronounced him out of all immediate danger, but said frankly to him, and somewhat more guardedly to his parents, "There is ample cause to beware." "Look you, my young friend," he added to Rameau, "mere brain-work seldom kills a man once accustomed to it like you; but heart-work, and stomach-work, and nerve-work, added to brain-work, may soon consign to the coffin a frame ten times more robust than yours. Write as much as you will--that is your vocation; but it is not your vocation to drink absinthe--to preside at orgies in the
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