“This lord must be either a magician or a nabob,” thoughtfully remarked Marianne; “it must have required millions to effect all this.”
Natalie asked neither whether he was a magician, a millionaire, or a nabob; she only thought she was to see him, and be allowed to thank him—nothing further.
“Will he come now?” she constantly asked of the humble and slavishly devoted Joseph Ribas; “will he come now that his house is prepared for his reception?”
“It is adorned only for you, princess,” humbly replied Ribas. “The count, my master, wishes for nothing but to see you in a habitation worthy of you!”
But what was this luxury, what cared she for these treasures the value of which she was incapable of estimating, and which were indifferent to her? She who had no conception of wealth or of money?—she, who knew not that there was poverty in the world, and who, raised in an Eden separated from the world, had no idea that hunger had ever made its appearance within it—she knew only the sorrows of the happy, the deprivations of the rich; she had never had either to struggle against real misfortune or to experience real want and deprivation.
Now, indeed, a deeper sorrow had entered into her life; she had lost her beloved paternal friend, Count Paulo; and Carlo, also, had been torn from her! That was certainly a more profound sorrow, and she had wept much for both of them,—but yet that was no real misfortune. She had never yet lost the whole substance of her life; for those two, however much she might always have loved them, had nevertheless, not entirely filled out her life; they had been a part of her happiness, but not that happiness itself.
And she awaited happiness! She awaited it with ecstasy and devotion, with feverish hope and glowing desire! She knew not and asked not in what this happiness was to consist, and yet her heart yearned for it; she called for this unknown and nameless happiness with a throbbing bosom and tremulously whispering lips!
She was so much alone, she had so much time for dreaming, and intoxicating herself with fantastic imaginations! She was surrounded by a fabulous world, and she was the fairy of that world! But out of that fabulous world she sometimes longed to be, out of the ideal into the real; she yearned for truth and actuality. Then she would call Joseph Ribas to her side and bid him relate to her of that unknown lord, his master.