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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Parisians - Book 9 - Chapter 14
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The Parisians - Book 9 - Chapter 14 Post by :Marta Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :1178

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The Parisians - Book 9 - Chapter 14

BOOK IX CHAPTER XIV

When 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 much I value, how sincerely I return, his friendship; but--but," she paused a moment, and continued sadly and with tearful eyes--"I have no heart to give to him-to any one."

"I do not--I would not if I dared--ask what it would be violence to yourself to promise. I do not ask you to bid me return to my son and say, 'Hope and recover,' but let me take some healing message from your lips. If I understand your words rightly, I at least may say that you do not give to another the hopes you, deny to him?"

"So far you understand me rightly, Madame. It has been said, that romance-writers give away so much of their hearts to heroes or heroines of their own creation, that they leave nothing worth the giving to human beings like themselves. Perhaps it is so; yet, Madame," added Isaura, with a smile of exquisite sweetness in its melancholy, "I have heart enough left to feel for you."

Madame Rameau was touched. "Ah, Mademoiselle, I do not believe in the saying you have quoted. But I must not abuse your goodness by pressing further upon you subjects from which you shrink. Only one word more: you know that my husband and I are but quiet tradesfolks, not in the society, nor aspiring to it, to which my son's talents have raised himself; yet dare I ask that you will not close here the acquaintance that I have obtruded on you?--dare I ask, that I may, now and then, call on you--that now and then I may see you at my own home? Believe that I would not here ask anything which your own mother would disapprove if she overlooked disparities of station. Humble as our home is, slander never passed its threshold."

"Ah, Madame, I and the Signora Venosta, whom in our Italian tongue I call mother, can but feel honoured and grateful whenever it pleases you to receive visits from us."

"It would be a base return for such gracious compliance with my request if I concealed from you the reason why I pray Heaven to bless you for that answer. The physician says that it may be long before my son is sufficiently convalescent to dispense with a mother's care, and resume his former life and occupation in the great world. It is everything for us if we can coax him into coming under our own roof-tree. This is difficult to do. It is natural for a young man launched into the world to like his own chez lui. Then what will happen to Gustave? He, lonely and heart-stricken, will ask friends, young as himself, but far stronger, to come and cheer him; or he will seek to distract his thoughts by the overwork of his brain; in either case he is doomed. But I have stronger motives yet to fix him a while at our hearth. This is just the moment, once lost never to be regained, when soothing companionship, gentle reproachless advice, can fix him lastingly in the habits and modes of life which will banish all fears of his future from the hearts of his parents. You at least honour him with friendship, with kindly interest--you at least would desire to wean him from all that a friend may disapprove or lament--a creature whom Providence meant to be good, and perhaps great. If I say to him, 'It will be long before you can go out and see your friends, but at my house your friends shall come and see you--among them Signora Venosta and Mademoiselle Cicogna will now and then drop in'--my victory is gained, and my son is saved."

"Madame," said Isaura, half sobbing, "what a blessing to have a mother like you! Love so noble ennobles those who hear its voice. Tell your son how ardently I wish him to be well, and to fulfil more than the promise of his genius; tell him also this--how I envy him his mother."

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BOOK IX CHAPTER XVIt needs no length of words to inform thee, my intelligent reader, be thou man or woman--but more especially woman--of the consequences following each other, as wave follows wave in a tide, that resulted from the interview with which my last chapter closed. Gustave is removed to his parents' house; he remains for weeks confined within doors, or, on sunny days, takes an hour or so in his own carriage, drawn by the horse bought from Rochebriant, into by-roads remote from the fashionable world; Isaura visits his mother, liking, respecting, influenced by her more and more; in those
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BOOK IX CHAPTER XIIIIsaura 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.
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