What she meant was, of course, that Walewski’s breeding, his dignity and uprightness, might be regarded only as a temporary repose for the impish, harsh-voiced, infinitely clever actress. Of course, it was all this, but we should not take it in a mocking sense. Rachel looked up out of her depths and gave her heart to this high-minded nobleman. He looked down and lifted her, as it were, so that she could forget for the time all the baseness and the brutality that she had known, that she might put aside her forced vivacity and the self that was not in reality her own.
It is pitiful to think of these two, separated by a great abyss which could not be passed except at times and hours when each was free. But theirs was, none the less, a meeting of two souls, strangely different in many ways, and yet appealing to each other with a sincerity and truth which neither could show elsewhere.
The end of poor Rachel was one of disappointment. Tempted by the fact that Jenny Lind had made nearly two million francs by her visit to the United States, Rachel followed her, but with slight success, as was to be expected. Music is enjoyed by human beings everywhere, while French classical plays, even though acted by a genius like Rachel, could be rightly understood only by a French-speaking people. Thus it came about that her visit to America was only moderately successful.
She returned to France, where the rising fame of Adelaide Ristori was very bitter to Rachel, who had passed the zenith of her power. She went to Egypt, but received no benefit, and in 1858 she died near Cannes. The man who loved her, and whom she had loved in turn, heard of her death with great emotion. He himself lived ten years longer, and died a little while before the fall of the Second Empire.
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