Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Zanoni.

     In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes. 
     Shakespeare.

The next day, at noon, Zanoni visited Viola; and the next day and the next and again the next,—­days that to her seemed like a special time set apart from the rest of life.  And yet he never spoke to her in the language of flattery, and almost of adoration, to which she had been accustomed.  Perhaps his very coldness, so gentle as it was, assisted to this mysterious charm.  He talked to her much of her past life, and she was scarcely surprised (she now never thought of terror) to perceive how much of that past seemed known to him.

He made her speak to him of her father; he made her recall some of the airs of Pisani’s wild music.  And those airs seemed to charm and lull him into reverie.

“As music was to the musician,” said he, “may science be to the wise.  Your father looked abroad in the world; all was discord to the fine sympathies that he felt with the harmonies that daily and nightly float to the throne of Heaven.  Life, with its noisy ambition and its mean passions, is so poor and base!  Out of his soul he created the life and the world for which his soul was fitted.  Viola, thou art the daughter of that life, and wilt be the denizen of that world.”

In his earlier visits he did not speak of Glyndon.  The day soon came on which he renewed the subject.  And so trustful, obedient, and entire was the allegiance that Viola now owned to his dominion, that, unwelcome as that subject was, she restrained her heart, and listened to him in silence.

At last he said, “Thou hast promised thou wilt obey my counsels, and if, Viola, I should ask thee, nay adjure, to accept this stranger’s hand, and share his fate, should he offer to thee such a lot,—­wouldst thou refuse?”

And then she pressed back the tears that gushed to her eyes; and with a strange pleasure in the midst of pain,—­the pleasure of one who sacrifices heart itself to the one who commands that heart,—­she answered falteringly, “If thou canst ordain it, why—­”

“Speak on.”

“Dispose of me as thou wilt!”

Zanoni stood in silence for some moments:  he saw the struggle which the girl thought she concealed so well; he made an involuntary movement towards her, and pressed her hand to his lips; it was the first time he had ever departed even so far from a certain austerity which perhaps made her fear him and her own thoughts the less.

“Viola,” said he, and his voice trembled, “the danger that I can avert no more, if thou linger still in Naples, comes hourly near and near to thee!  On the third day from this thy fate must be decided.  I accept thy promise.  Before the last hour of that day, come what may, I shall see thee again, here, at thine own house.  Till then, farewell!”

CHAPTER 3.IV.

     Between two worlds life hovers like a star
     ’Twixt night and morn. 
     —­Byron.

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Project Gutenberg
Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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