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She left Annie still laughing at her lively, humorous sallies.
How much good one kind, noble heart can do ! and
“How divine a thing a woman may be made!”
"Such was Zuleika-such around her shone
And Zelie woke-woke on the morning after her début—woke to the sudden possession of fame, wealth, power! The plaudits of the evening still
rang in her ears. Was it all real ? Was she the same Zelie who left that couch but four and twenty hours before—hope and fear, both such wearying, painful inmates, struggling in her poor woman's heart, and wan despair brooding in the distance ? Ah, it is a proud thing to wake from dreams of struggles and of failure, not to the sober certainty of waking bliss, but to the intoxicating consciousness of a boundless triumph.
Poor Zelie ! she had earned that triumph dearly, as her pallid cheeks, her eyes surrounded by dark circles, and her feverish hand betrayed.
The sun forced his way through the white and rose-coloured curtains of her windows and her bed - Apollo at the levee of his chosen priestess—his rays fell on the bouquet and white rose crown which alone, of all her tributes, she had placed beside her bed. “ A crown for Zelie, queen of love and song," was embroidered on a ribbon that tied it.
“ It is not a dream,” she said, pressing the ribbon to her pale lips, while several large tears forced themselves from her eyes. “ It is not a dream: I have triumphed, and he is saved! I can lay countless wealth at his feet. Fame will cast its golden halo round this faded form, and he will worship it again. Oh! perhaps, when we have enough to defy the world, he will leave these tumid fogs, these dark abodes, where Croesus loves to dwell—these soulless people; and go back with me to the blue skies, and blue lakes, the balmy air, the proud mountains and sweet valleys bathed in the warm sunshine of my native Florence. Perhaps he will make this guilty devotion-a lawful, happy love; perhaps the holy virgin may yet smile on the lost novice, the wretched Zelie !"
Who, in that wan and weeping girl, would have recognised the proud, impassioned Norma ? The illusion of the stage, the artificial light, and “the magic of the mind” gone, she lay like a broken lily; but the broken lily rears its crest no more, and Zelie would shine again, again, and yet again, and see the nobles of the land enslaved at her feet, and fill with jealous anguish the breast of high-born beauty; and give laws to lawgivers, and fill the world with the name of La Zelie ! La Zelie, a young novice, snatched from the quiet, peaceful service of God, to be offered up at the shrine of mammon.
“Oh! he will love — he will be proud of me," she exclaimed, in her own sweet, pas
sionate Italian, as she sprang from her bed gazed, with unwonted pride, on a form and features which, by the consent of thousands, of all the magnates in the land, were pronounced most beautiful, and, ringing for her attendant, submitted her long black hair to her skill. “Oh, he will love me!” her heart repeated, as the glass reflected her eyes, now bright with passion and hope, and her transparent cheeks, where the crimson tide was ebbing and flowing—“yes, he will love me !" And who was he ?
The idol of that young heart - an idol of clay, but that she knows not yet,
“ His pame and fortune Time alone can tell."
On her dressing-table she found all the papers, and in all there was plentiful incense, offered at the shrine of the new goddess. Her genius was by all pronounced unequalled ; and what was sweeter to her as a woman, her person was proclaimed to be of the highest order of beauty.
It was asserted by all that her noble, grace