The Daughter of an Empress eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 430 pages of information about The Daughter of an Empress.


“It is now high time!” said Joseph Ribas, one day, as, coming from Natalie, he entered the boudoir of Count Alexis Orloff.  “Now, your excellency, the right moment has come!  You must show yourself, or this curious child will consume herself with a longing that has changed her blood to fire!  She thinks of nothing but you; with open eyes she dreams of you, and without the least suspicion that any one is listening to her, she speaks to you, ah, with what modest tenderness and with what humble devotion!  I tell you, your excellency, you are highly blessed.  There is no child more innocent, no woman more glowing with love.  And she knows it not; no, she has not the least suspicion that she already loves you with enthusiasm, and thirsts for your kisses as the rose for the morning dew!  She knows nothing of her love!”

“She shall learn something of it!” said Orloff, laughing.  “It will be a pleasant task to enlighten this little unknowing one as to her own feelings.  And I flatter myself I understand how to do that.”

“Endeavor, above all things, your excellency, to realize the ideal she bears in her heart.  She expects to see nothing less than an Apollo, whose radiant beauty will annihilate her as Jupiter did Semele!”

“Well, in that, I hope she has not deceived herself,” responded Orloff, with a self-satisfied glance into the mirror.  “If I am not Jupiter, yet they call me Hercules, and he, you know, was the son of Jupiter, and, indeed, his handsomest son!”

“And be you not only a Hercules, but a Zephyr and Apollo, at the same time.  Make her tremble before your heroic character, and at the same time win her confidence in your humble, modest love—­then is she yours.  You must cautiously and noiselessly spread your nets, you must not wound her delicate sensitiveness by a word or look, or she will flee from you like a frightened gazelle!”

“Oh, should she wish to flee, my arms are strong enough to hold her!”

“Yet is it better to hold her so fast by her own enthusiasm, that she shall not wish to flee,” said Ribas.  “You must entirely intoxicate her with your humble and respectful love—­then is she yours!”

“Does she know I am coming?” thoughtfully asked Orloff.

“No, she knows nothing of it.  She sits in the garden and sighs, occasionally grasping the golden guitar that lies on her arm, and asks of the flowers:  ’What is the name of my unknown friend?  In what star does he dwell, and how shall I invoke him?’”

“I will, then, surprise her!” said Orloff.  “Let her anticipate my coming, but do not promise it.  It begins to grow dark.  Where is she, evenings?”

“Always in the garden.  There she sighs and dreams of you!”

“Persuade her to go into the house, and let it be well lighted up!  I would appear to her in the full splendor of the lights!  Ha, you ragamuffins, you hounds, bring me my oriental costume, the richest, handsomest; hasten, or I will throttle you!”

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The Daughter of an Empress from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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