“Salut, Milord de Quinet.”
“Bon soir, Chamilly,” replied he, soberly.
“Aha, thou melancholy friend, the liver again, eh?”.
We were strolling along the half illuminated Grosvenor street under the elms. The dim, substantial mansions in their grounds and trees, pleased my foreign eyes and I was glad to find the city of Alexandra able to vie with the great cities of the world, and I thought of her as near, and for, the moment, could not understand the humor of Quinet.
“You don’t seem to know,” said he, “at least, I thought I would tell you—that Miss Grant has gone away,”—he stopped and looked at me earnestly.—“I sympathise with you.”
“Away!” I caught my breath. My spirits sank with disappointment. Alas! Heaven seemed to ordain that my passion for her should never become, a close communion, but only keep this light, ethereal touch upon me.
And so Quinet knew. “I do not ask you how: evidently you have known it all along?” (It was the first time I had been spoken to about my love for her, and it made me feel peculiarly.) “Mon ami, Quinet, tu es heureux ne pas aimer. Que penses tu de ma chere?”
“Go on, my friend Chamilly; be steadfast, for thou could’st not have chosen a sweeter, lovelier, holier divinity. O my friend, be steadfast and be happy. Yes, as thou hast said, I have known this.”
Quinet was diverting our steps along up leading streets which tended towards the Mountain, and soon we reached the head of one, where a wall met us.
“This way,” he said, striking aside into a field which formed part of the Park. “Adieu, civilization of street lights!” and he pressed up into a dark grove where I stumbled after, and next, under the twilight of a sky full of stars, could descry dim outlines of the surroundings of our path and even of the Mountain, silent above us like a huge black ghost. We toiled up the steep stair, guiding ourselves by feeling, and in a few minutes Were at Prospect Point, that jutting bit of turf on the precipice’s edge where the trees draw back and allow in daytime a wide view of the city and surrounding country, and we both stood breathless there in the dimness, in front of a sight bewilderingly grand enough to of itself take one’s breath away.
Above were the radiant constellations. Below, between a belt of weird horizon and the dark abyss at our feet, the city shone, its dense blackness mapped out in stars as brilliant and myriad-seeming as those overhead,—a Night above, a Night below! Once before had I looked from that crag upon Montreal, in a memorable sunset hour, and remembered my impression of its beauty. Below, the scarped rock fell: the tops of trees which grew up the steep face lost themselves, lower, in a mass of grove that flourished far out, and besieged the town in swollen battalions and columns of foliage. Half overwhelmed by this friendly assault, the City sat in her robes of grey and red, proud mistress of half-a continent, noble in situation as in destiny. A hundred spires and domes pointed up, from streets full of quaint names of saints and deeds of heroes. The pinnacled towers of Notre Dame rose impressively in the distance. Past ran the glorious St. Lawrence, with its lovely islands of St. Helen’s and the Nuns’.