« PreviousContinue »
in all the beauty of harmonizing tints, from a thousand flowers - beauty in masses, or loveliness in detail —all eloquent in their seemingly thoughtful silence.
Mirrors, designedly hung within the hall, reproduced the enchanting view ; thus mellowed into that evanishing vagueness of the fancy, in a dream.
Conservatories of different forms, adapted to the aspect, glowed with the warmth of tropical flowers to prolong the enchantment of nature, even throughout the frost of winter.
The chateau was a circular building, templeshaped, surrounded by a peristyle, and topped by a cupola — the observatory of the philosophical sensualist.
A statue of Sylvanus stood on one side of the entrance or vestibule, and, opposite, one of Bacchus, ivy-crowned. There seemed a meaning in the position of these emblems on the ground-floor, as if to indicate that, although not denied a place --- nay, rather invited to enter-sensual pleasure was kept at its proper level.
As you ascended the winding staircase, proofs of exhaustless contrivance and fancy startled the eye on every side. An Arcadian landscape had changed the walls into a living scene of nature. Other scenes succeeded. Here was the shady bank—Tempe agitated by the zephyrs; there the towering pine and white poplar, mingling their hospitable shade for the weary shepherd and his panting flocks. A stream of shining waters darting past seems to struggle as
it rushes along those winding banks. Further on, reclining on the tender sward, other shepherds with their flocks enjoy an hour, and sing ('t is so life-like), to the sound of the reed, the song that is most pleasing to the god that loves the flocks and Arcadia's shady hills.
A few steps higher you saw the figure of MIRTH
" Whom lovely Venus, at a birth,
laughing from her niche; and the next turn of the ascent presented the Goddess of Beauty, radiant with smiles; whilst at her feet, as it were stealing from behind (for he was partly concealed), the little imp of Love was offering to the goddess his fatal arrows. There was an inscription on the pedestal,
· Vincant quibus ALMA DIONE,
Faverit, et toto qui volat orbe puer !* Beside the door of the hall was a bust of Socrates. It looked towards the library, which was opposite ; and the refined sensualist tickled the fancy by placing beside the door of the library another bust, with a countenance expressive of discontent, as though it would change places if it could,-intended for Alcibiades, the wayward pupil of Socrates.
As you approach the hall or banqueting-room, a
* Go, conquer all ! If Venus aid thee, and the boy that wings The rolling ball.
THE DECEITS OF VICE.
secret spring in the floor threw open the doors, and a statue of PLEASURE fixed attention.
This conception was the boast of the sensualist.
Contiguous to this apartment was another, ovalshaped, and splendidly decorated. Lamps of a peculiar construction, with glittering lustres, hung from the ceiling. The walls were painted with taste similar to that which adorned the staircase. The same genius conceived the design. But the scenes depicted were more tender, more mysterious.
The arched ceiling displayed the azure-blue of the skies, star-bespangled ; and here and there a light fleecy cloud, seemed to float suspended.
In this recess were held the nightly revels of the Chateau Valremy. Here was prepared Leonard Devigne's temptation ; here he began his career of libertinism. Long was that night destined to be remembered as a tempest, an earthquake, a flood, or the fall of an avalanche-by those who have outlived the night of tribulation. Oh, Innocence !-a dew-drop in the cup of a flower : touch it-it is lost for ever!
In this remembered spot took place the promised meeting of the master and pupil.
COUNT VALREMY; OR, REVENGE.
Why must we part so soon, my friend ?” “ 'Tis my father's wish; he urges me to visit Rome as soon as possible.”
“The cunning rogues.' " Who?”
“It matters not. I was thinking of a promise I made. Well, well; if you must go, so be it. I'll soon follow you."
“Do you say so ? How delightful! You promise ?”
“I promise. I know not how it is, but I have felt consumedly depressed all the morning : I cannot shake off the feeling. It must be your threatened departure, my friend ; for you interest me strongly. Short as has been hitherto the duration of our friendship, my affection is perfect: you are my younger brother. But there is another cause of
my affection, besides the kindred qualities of your mind.
It is this? you bear a striking likeness to the first, the only woman I ever loved.”
“What! Lucille ?”
“Yes, my friend; my poor Lucille! I have just returned from visiting her monument. I have wept, but am not consoled.”
“ Shake off this sadness, my dear Count. Remember what you said to me on that memorable morning, after that memorable night. Sadness, you said, “is but the desire of joy; now in the temple of pleasure all desires are fulfilled-you are in it.' Oh, well do I remember how you convinced me of my gains in mind and heart by that delightful discussion we had on the relation of body to mind. I was delighted as well as surprised by the ideas which you evolved from my mind ; and I agreed with you in ascribing them to what you called 'the prime fulfilment.' My depression vanished. I have never known it since. And can you not console yourself—you, whose words were to me so omnipotent?"
“ Possibly I can, my friend; but somehow I relish this sadness, and yet it afflicts me. 'Tis connected with a dream I had last night.”
“What! you a believer in dreams!"
“I believe in everything that suits my purpose. Dreams have made me cautious; I have taken precautions : untoward events have been averted.”
“ Well; the dream last night?"
“I dreamt that Lucille stood before me, frantic with anguish, gasping the words, "Oh, beware!'