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BOOK II.

CHAPTER I.

THE EGYPTIAN GALLERY AT L

WITH those pages which conclude the account of his Egyptian journey, and of which the substance has been recorded in the preceding chapters of the present narrative, the journal of Count Edmond breaks off. It is resumed again at a later date, from which I gather that between the period of the count's return from the East and that at which the journal recommences about a year and a half must have elapsed; and I assume from the silence of the journal in respect of this intervening period, either that the writer of it was during that time too busily occupied to record the daily events of his life, or that those events were of a nature too trivial and insignificant to be recorded.

The first page of the second portion of the journal is dated from the old chateau of the count's father in Silesia. Here Edmond appears to be, as formerly, the idol of the household, and the central figure in the family picture, which, but for the absence of his brother Felix, who, it appears, is still at the Military College, would seem to be complete. The various details of family matters, and the quiet chronicles of country life, which occupy the early pages of this part of the journal, I see no need to recapitulate; and I

shall therefore resume my own recital of this strange history of a life, which I have herein undertaken to set forth, by bringing at once before the reader the first scene which arrested my attention in the perusal of those pages with which the count's narrative recommences. This scene is the first distinct indication I can find of a new phase in the fraternal character of the relations between Edmond and Juliet, and perhaps a new phase in the two characters themselves.

Few, I think, who, after long absence, have been restored to the sight of those they love, will have failed to experience in the first moment of reunion an indescribable sensation, of which the peculiar charm is probably produced by the mysterious commixture in a single influence, or in two that are simultaneous, of that which is familiar with that which is strange. These apparitions are in one and the same moment altogether old and altogether new; the same and yet changed; they soothe, and yet surprise us. Perhaps this complex sensation is never so strongly or so strangely felt as when absence has removed from our sight the silent and delicate stages of that tender, flower-like change by which childhood passes into womanhood, and we breathe with a delicious embarrassment the thrilling and unwonted atmosphere of a new and yet well-known presence in that magic moment which for the first time mingles to sight and sense the ghost of the child we left with the vision of the woman that meets us.

With the happiest emotions of that moment of reunion there mingles a vague, half-conscious sadness. This sense of melancholy has its secret source in the

-never more

imperfect apprehension of some indefinite change in the nature of a happiness which has been a habit of the heart-a happiness of which the permanency has hitherto seemed sufficiently insured by the invariable tranquillity of its character. At that boundary-line before which our accustomed sensations pause abashed and uncertain of themselves, the charming unconsciousness of the child is mingled with the charm of the coming consciousness of the womancharming than in that first moment when she herself is just beginning to apprehend the new nature of her own womanhood. The future and the past-the being that was and the being that will be-hover in a holy twilight over the heaven of that brief time wherein the insubstantial present is but an airy apparition, haunting and beautifying the atmosphere in which memory melts into anticipation, purifying and sublimating the sense by which the presence of it is apprehended, and hallowing the heart into which the sanctity of it is received.

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I have never yet met with a man whose nature, however churlish, callous, or uncultured, has not been, in some part of it, susceptible to this sanctifying influence when confronted with the presence of that mystery of beauty which is unveiled by the first hours. of virgin womanhood. We approach it with a deference such as royalty does not receive from the sleekest of its courtiers; and even when it manifests itself only in that embarrassment which is the feeblest expression of it, it is graced in our behaviors by a certain sacred shyness.

The degree to which Edmond was susceptible to

this influence is apparent in numberless allusions throughout those parts of his journal which I have not thought it necessary to transcribe. His susceptibility to such influences must, indeed, have been proportioned to the extreme tenacity of self-seclusion and reserve which had become the habit of his mind. Within that mind thus habitually locked fast, and as it were impenetrably shut within itself, there existed depths and breadths of a vast mine of undivulged value, of which the multitudinous galleries had not yet been obstructed or choked up by any internal convulsion. Thus the new sentiment all at once, and once for all, entered at every aperture of his consciousness; penetrated, unimpeded, all those empty galleries; filled full the hollow void; sunk down from depths to deepest depths; and illumined with a soft, loving light the inmost recesses of his heart. All things became in him, as in a church, silent and holy. When he spoke with her whom he could no longer call sister, his voice grew softer and deeper. When he was with others in her presence, little that he ever said was spoken to her; all that he ever said was spoken for her.

In short, there was a change in Edmond. It was the change of his feeling for Juliet. Juliet herself was changed. And if there was no change in her feeling for Edmond, the expression of that feeling was at least no longer the same. For her, Edmond had ever been the complete and quintessential embodiment of all that is good and noble. What in others she had found to admire more rarely, and in less degree, was realized to the full perfection in the faultless

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