Extract from Sylvie
and Bruno (1889)
Lady Muriel and her father gave me a delightfully
warm welcome. They were not of the folk we meet in fashionable
drawing-roomswho conceal all such feelings as they may chance
to possess beneath the impenetrable mask of a conventional placidity.
The Man with the Iron Mask was, no doubt, a rarity
and a marvel in his own age: in modern London no one would turn
his head to give him a second look! No, these were real people.
When they looked pleased, it meant that they were pleased: and
when Lady Muriel said, with a bright smile, Im very
glad to see you again! I knew that it was true.
Extract from Sylvie and
Bruno Concluded (1893). Ch. XIX
And now ensued quite the strangest of all the
strange experiences that marked the wonderful year whose history
I am writing; the experience of first hearing Sylvies voice
in song. Her part was a very short one- only a few wordsand
she sang it timidly, and very low indeed, scarcely audibly, but
the sweetness of her voice was simply indescribable; I have never
heard any earthly music like it.
Tis a secret, and so let us whisper
And the name of the secret is Love!
On me the first effect of her voice was a sudden
sharp pang that seemed to pierce through ones very heart.
(I had felt such a pang only once before in my life, and it had
been from seeing what, at the moment, realized ones idea
of perfect beautyit was in a London exhibition, where, in
making my way through a crowd, I suddenly met, face to face, a
child of quite unearthly beauty.) Then came a rush of burning
tears to the eyes, as though one could weep ones soul away
for pure delight. And lastly there fell on me a sense of awe that
was almost terrorsome such feeling as Moses must have had when
he heard the words Put off thy shoes from off thy feet,
for the Place whereon thou standest is holy ground. The
figures of the children became vague and shadowy, like glimmering
meteors: while their voices rang together in exquisite harmony
as they sang:
For I think it is Love,
For I feel it is Love,
For Im sure it is nothing but Love!