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Scotland (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 5
in pencil, in watercolor, in oils. He showed me also his poems, and, at last, a longer one, for which pencil and graver had alike been laid aside. All these he kept in a great cabinet she had brought with her to their housekeeping; and it seemed to me that he also treasured every flower she had dropped, every slender glove she had worn, every ribbon from her hair. I could not wonder, seeing his passion as it was. Who would not thrill at the touch of some such slight memorial of Mary of Scotland, or of Heloise? and what was all the regal beauty of the past to him? He found every room adorned when she was in it, empty when she had gone,--save that the trace of her was still left on everything, and all appeared but as a garment she had worn. It seemed that even her great mirror must retain, film over film, each reflection of her least movement, the turning of her head, the ungloving of her hand. Strange! that, with all this intoxicating presence, she yet led a life so free from s
Puritan (Ohio, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
sided in unbroken calm. These superb tints implied resources only, not a struggle. With this torrent from the tropics in her veins, she was the most equable person I ever saw, and had a supreme and delicate good-sense, which, if not supplying the place of genius, at least comprehended its work. Not intellectually gifted herself, perhaps, she seemed the cause of gifts in others, and furnished the atmosphere in which all showed their best. With the steady and thoughtful enthusiasm of her Puritan ancestors, she combined that charm which is so rare among their descendants,--a grace which fascinated the humblest, while it would have been just the same in the society of kings. Her person had the equipoise and symmetry of her mind. While it had its separate points of beauty, each a source of distinct and peculiar pleasure,--as, the outline of her temples, the white line that parted her night-black hair, the bend of her wrists, the moulding of her finger-tips,--yet these details were l
she must not fail of that mission. She was kicking about the bed, by this time, in her nightgown, and holding her pink little toes in all sorts of difficult attitudes, when she suddenly said, looking me full in the face: If my mother was so high up that she had her feet upon a star, do you think that I could see her? This astronomical apotheosis startled me for a moment, but I said unhesitatingly, Yes, feeling sure that the lustrous eyes that looked in mine could certainly.see as far as Dante's, when Beatrice was transferred from his side to the highest realm of Paradise. I put my head beside hers upon the pillow, and stayed till I thought she was asleep. I then followed Kenmure into Laura's chamber. It was dusk, but the after-sunset glow still bathed the room with imperfect light, and he lay upon the bed, his hands clenched over his eyes. There was a deep bow-window where Laura used to sit and watch us, sometimes, when we put off in the boat. Her veolian harp was in th
so far as her jointless anatomy permitted. This being ended, the doll and her mistress reposed together, and only an occasional toss of the vigorous limbs, or a stifled baby murmur, would thenceforth prove, through the darkened hours, that the one figure had in it more of life than the other. On the next morning Kenmure and Laura came back to us, and I walked down to receive them at the boat. I had forgotten how striking was their appearance, as they stood together. His broad, strong, Saxon look, his manly bearing and clear blue eyes, enhanced the fascination of her darker beauty. America is full of the short-lived bloom and freshness of girlhood; but it is a rare thing in one's life to see a beauty that really controls with a permanent charm. One must remember such personal loveliness, as one recalls some particular moonlight or sunset, with a special and concentrated joy, which the multiplicity of fainter impressions cannot disturb. When in those days we used to read, i
uest, and then bequeathed me, as she wrote, to Janet and baby Marian. It was a pleasant arrangemenole; but breakfast-time drew near at last, and Janet's honest voice was heard outside the door. I clasp, and a silvery voice to prattle. I sent Janet out to sail, with the other servants, by way oive and beautiful marionnette. Then she placed Janet in the middle of the floor, and performed the in Marian's behalf. I had easily persuaded Janet to let me have a peep every night at my darlinAfter one moment of such bliss she could go to Janet, go anywhere; and when the same graceful prese somehow strayed into a confidential talk with Janet about her mistress. I was rather troubled to seemed that Laura's constitution was not fit, Janet averred, to bear these irregular hours, early e passed through the hall and went up stairs. Janet met us at the head of the stairway, and asked oking over his shoulder, said merely, What? Janet said, continued Marian, in her clear and metho[2 more...]
ok, his manly bearing and clear blue eyes, enhanced the fascination of her darker beauty. America is full of the short-lived bloom and freshness of girlhood; but it is a rare thing in one's life to see a beauty that really controls with a permanent charm. One must remember such personal loveliness, as one recalls some particular moonlight or sunset, with a special and concentrated joy, which the multiplicity of fainter impressions cannot disturb. When in those days we used to read, in Petrarch's one hundred and twenty-third sonnet, that he had once beheld on earth angelic manners and celestial charms, whose very remembrance was a delight and an affliction, since it made all else appear but dream and shadow, we could easily fancy that nature had certain permanent attributes which accompanied the name of Laura. Our Laura had that rich brunette beauty before which the mere snow and roses of the blonde must always seem wan and unimpassioned. In the superb suffusions of her cheek
ail of that mission. She was kicking about the bed, by this time, in her nightgown, and holding her pink little toes in all sorts of difficult attitudes, when she suddenly said, looking me full in the face: If my mother was so high up that she had her feet upon a star, do you think that I could see her? This astronomical apotheosis startled me for a moment, but I said unhesitatingly, Yes, feeling sure that the lustrous eyes that looked in mine could certainly.see as far as Dante's, when Beatrice was transferred from his side to the highest realm of Paradise. I put my head beside hers upon the pillow, and stayed till I thought she was asleep. I then followed Kenmure into Laura's chamber. It was dusk, but the after-sunset glow still bathed the room with imperfect light, and he lay upon the bed, his hands clenched over his eyes. There was a deep bow-window where Laura used to sit and watch us, sometimes, when we put off in the boat. Her veolian harp was in the casement, brea
en her great mirror must retain, film over film, each reflection of her least movement, the turning of her head, the ungloving of her hand. Strange! that, with all this intoxicating presence, she yet led a life so free from self, so simple, so absorbed, that all trace of consciousness was excluded, and she was as free from vanity as her own child. As we were once thus employed in the studio, I asked Kenmure, abruptly, if he never shrank from the publicity he was thus giving Laura. Madame Recamier was not quite pleased, I said, that Canova had modelled her bust, even from imagination. Do you never shrink from permitting irreverent eyes to look on Laura's beauty? Think of men as you know them. Would you give each of them her miniature, perhaps to go with them into scenes of riot and shame? Would to heaven I could! said he, passionately. What else could save them, if that did not? God lets his sun shine on the evil and on the good, but the evil need it most. There was a
Michel Angelo (search for this): chapter 5
nless they could pilot us to some world where the splendor of her loveliness could match their own. Twilight faded, evening darkened, and still Kenmure lay motionless, until his strong form grew in my moody fancy to be like some carving of Michel Angelo's, more than like a living man. And when he at last startled me by speaking, it was with a voice so far off and so strange, it might almost have come wandering down from the century when Michel Angelo lived. You are right, he said. I haveMichel Angelo lived. You are right, he said. I have been living in a fruitless dream. It has all vanished. The absurdity of speaking of creative art! With all my life-long devotion, I have created nothing. I have kept no memorial of her presence, nothing to perpetuate the most beautiful of lives. Before I could answer, the door came softly open, and there stood in the doorway a small white figure, holding aloft a lighted taper of pure alabaster. It was Marian in her little night-dress, with the loose blue wrapper trailing behind her, le
, each reflection of her least movement, the turning of her head, the ungloving of her hand. Strange! that, with all this intoxicating presence, she yet led a life so free from self, so simple, so absorbed, that all trace of consciousness was excluded, and she was as free from vanity as her own child. As we were once thus employed in the studio, I asked Kenmure, abruptly, if he never shrank from the publicity he was thus giving Laura. Madame Recamier was not quite pleased, I said, that Canova had modelled her bust, even from imagination. Do you never shrink from permitting irreverent eyes to look on Laura's beauty? Think of men as you know them. Would you give each of them her miniature, perhaps to go with them into scenes of riot and shame? Would to heaven I could! said he, passionately. What else could save them, if that did not? God lets his sun shine on the evil and on the good, but the evil need it most. There was a pause; and then I ventured to ask him a questio
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