Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 579 pages of information about Zanoni.
of our loss like the company of those who have no loss to mourn.  Go back to thy solitude, young orphan,—­go back to thy home:  the sorrow that meets thee on the threshold can greet thee, even in its sadness, like the smile upon the face of the dead.  And there, from thy casement, and there, from without thy door, thou seest still the tree, solitary as thyself, and springing from the clefts of the rock, but forcing its way to light,—­as, through all sorrow, while the seasons yet can renew the verdure and bloom of youth, strives the instinct of the human heart!  Only when the sap is dried up, only when age comes on, does the sun shine in vain for man and for the tree.

Weeks and months—­months sad and many—­again passed, and Naples will not longer suffer its idol to seclude itself from homage.  The world ever plucks us back from ourselves with a thousand arms.  And again Viola’s voice is heard upon the stage, which, mystically faithful to life, is in nought more faithful than this, that it is the appearances that fill the scene; and we pause not to ask of what realities they are the proxies.  When the actor of Athens moved all hearts as he clasped the burial urn, and burst into broken sobs; how few, there, knew that it held the ashes of his son!  Gold, as well as fame, was showered upon the young actress; but she still kept to her simple mode of life, to her lowly home, to the one servant whose faults, selfish as they were, Viola was too inexperienced to perceive.  And it was Gionetta who had placed her when first born in her father’s arms!  She was surrounded by every snare, wooed by every solicitation that could beset her unguarded beauty and her dangerous calling.  But her modest virtue passed unsullied through them all.  It is true that she had been taught by lips now mute the maiden duties enjoined by honour and religion.  And all love that spoke not of the altar only shocked and repelled her.  But besides that, as grief and solitude ripened her heart, and made her tremble at times to think how deeply it could feel, her vague and early visions shaped themselves into an ideal of love.  And till the ideal is found, how the shadow that it throws before it chills us to the actual!  With that ideal, ever and ever, unconsciously, and with a certain awe and shrinking, came the shape and voice of the warning stranger.  Nearly two years had passed since he had appeared at Naples.  Nothing had been heard of him, save that his vessel had been directed, some months after his departure, to sail for Leghorn.  By the gossips of Naples, his existence, supposed so extraordinary, was wellnigh forgotten; but the heart of Viola was more faithful.  Often he glided through her dreams, and when the wind sighed through that fantastic tree, associated with his remembrance, she started with a tremor and a blush, as if she had heard him speak.

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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