Moreover, though no longer blest with the spirits of youth, and finding little pleasure in what youth calls pleasure, I had escaped the kind of satiety that seems to attend lives more softly spent than mine had been; and found a very real and unfading enjoyment in witnessing the keen enjoyment of these youthful natures in such liberty as could be accorded and such amusements as the life of this dull and practical world affords.
Among these, two at least are closely similar to the two favourite pleasures of European society. Music appears to have been carried, like most arts and sciences, to a point of mechanical perfection which, I should suppose, like much of the artificial accuracy and ease which civilisation has introduced, mars rather than enhances the natural gratification enjoyed by simpler ages and races. Almost deaf to music as distinguished from noise, I did not attempt to comprehend the construction of Martial instruments or the nature of the concords they emitted. One only struck me with especial surprise by a peculiarity which, if I could not understand, I could not mistake. A number of variously coloured flames are made to synchronise with or actually emit a number of corresponding notes, dancing to, or, more properly, weaving a series of strangely combined movements in accord with the music, whose vibrations were directly and inseparably connected with their motion. But all music is the work of professional musicians, never the occupation of woman’s leisure, never made more charming to the ear by its association with the movement of beloved hands or the tones of a cherished voice. Electric wires, connected with the vast buildings wherein instruments produce what sounds like fine choral singing as well as musical notes, enable the householder to turn on at pleasure music equal, I suppose, to the finest operatic performances or the grandest oratorio, and listen to it at leisure from the cushions of his own peristyle. This was a great though not wholly new delight to Eunane and most of her companions. For their sake only would Eveena ever have resorted to it, for though herself appreciating music not less highly, and educated to understand it much more thoroughly, than they, she could derive little gratification from that which was clearly incomprehensible if not disagreeable to me—could hardly enjoy a pleasure I could not share.