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Teleny -- Oscar Wilde -- Chapter I

We never knew--or didn't read Wilde's biographies carefully--but the Irish author is attributed with the authorship of an erotic novel of exceptional proportions, Teleny. Lustspiel's friend Martin D. alerted us to the book's existence, and we're going to reprint it sensual page by page on our platform. Here's the first chapter, with its steamy lines tastelessly enlarged for your convenience. The cover picture is by Paul Cadmus.



CHAPTER I

"TELL me your story from its very beginning, Des Grieux," said he, interrupting me; "and how you got to be acquainted with him."
"It was at a grand charity concert where he was playing; for though amateur performances are one of the many plagues of modern civilization, still, my mother being one of the lady patronesses, I felt it incumbent to be present."
"But he was not an amateur, was he?"
"Oh, no! Still at that time he was only just beginning to make a name."
"Well, go on."
"He had already sat down at the piano when I got to my stalle d’orchestre. The first thing he played was a favourite gavotte of mine—one of those slight, graceful, and easy melodies that seem to smell of lavande ambrée, and in some way or other put you in mind of Lulli and Watteau, of powdered ladies dressed in yellow satin gowns, flirting with their fans."
"And then?"
"As he reached the end of the piece, he cast several sidelong glances towards—as I thought—the lady patroness. When he was about to rise, my mother—who was seated behind me—tapped me on my shoulder with her fan, only to make one of the many unseasonable remarks women are for ever pestering you with, so that, by the time I had turned round to applaud, he had disappeared."
"And what happened afterwards?"
"Let me see. I think there was some singing."
"But did he not play any more?"
"Oh, yes! He came out again towards the middle of the concert. As he bowed, before taking his place at the piano, his eyes seemed to be looking out for someone in the pit. It was then—as I thought—that our glances met for the first time."
"What kind of a man was he?"
"He was a rather tall and slight young man of twenty-four. His hair, short and curled—after the fashion Bressan, the actor, had brought into vogue—was of a peculiar ashy hue; but this—as I knew afterwards—was due to its being always imperceptibly powdered. Anyhow, the fairness of his hair contrasted with his dark eyebrows and his short moustache. His complexion was of that warm, healthy paleness which, I believe, artists often have in their youth. His eyes—though generally taken for black—were of a deep blue colour; and although they ever appeared so quiet and serene, still a close observer would every now and then have seen in them a scared and wistful look, as if he were gazing at some dreadful dim and distant vision. An expression of the deepest sorrow invariably succeeded this painful glamour."
"And what was the reason of his sadness?"
"At first, whenever I asked him, he always shrugged his shoulders, and answered laughingly, 'Do you never see ghosts?' When I got to be on more intimate terms with him, his invariable reply was—'My fate; that horrible, horrible fate of mine!' But then, smiling and arching his eyebrows, he always hummed, 'Non ci pensiam.'"
"He was not of a gloomy or brooding disposition, was he?"
"No, not at all; he was only very superstitious."
"As all artists, I believe."

"Have you never seen a ghost?"

"Or rather, all persons like—well, like ourselves; for nothing renders people so superstitious as vice."
"Or ignorance."
"Oh! that is quite a different kind of superstition."
"Was there any peculiar dynamic quality in his eyes?"
"For myself of course there was; yet he had not what you would call hypnotizing eyes; his glances were far more dreamy than piercing, or staring; and still they had such penetrating power that, from the very first time I saw him, I felt that he could dive deep into my heart; and although his expression was anything but sensual, still, every time he looked at me, I felt all the blood within my veins was always set aglow."
"I have often been told that he was very handsome; is it true?"
"Yes, he was remarkably good looking, and still even more peculiar, than strikingly handsome. His dress, moreover, though always faultless, was a trifle eccentric. That evening for instance, he wore at his button-hole a bunch of white heliotrope, although camellias and gardenias were then in fashion. His bearing was most gentlemanly, but on the stage—as well as with strangers—slightly supercilious."
"Well, after your glances met?"
"He sat down and began to play. I looked at the programme; it was a wild Hungarian rhapsody by an unknown composer with a crack-jaw name; its effect, however, was perfectly entrancing. In fact, in no music is the sensuous element so powerful as in that of the Tsiganes. You see, from a minor scale—"
"Oh! please no technical terms, for I hardly know one note from another."
"Anyhow, if you have ever heard a tsardas, you must have felt that, although the Hungarian music is replete with rare rhythmical effects, still, as it quite differs from our set rules of harmony, it jars upon our ears. These melodies begin by shocking us, then by degrees subdue, until at last they enthrall us. The gorgeous fioriture, for instance, with which they abound are of a decided luxurious Arabic character, and—"
"Well, never mind about the fioriture of the Hungarian music, and do go on with your story."
"That is just the difficult point, for you cannot disconnect him from the music of his country; nay, to understand him you must begin by feeling the latent spell which pervades every song of Tsigane. A nervous organization—having once been impressed by the charm of a tsardas—ever thrills in response to those magic numbers. Those strains usually begin with a soft and low andante, something like the plaintive wail of forlorn hope, then the ever changing rhythm—increasing in swiftness—becomes "wild as the accents of lovers' farewell," and without losing any of its sweetness, but always acquiring new vigour and solemnity, the prestissimo—syncopated by sighs—reaches a paroxysm of mysterious passion, now melting into a mournful dirge, then bursting out into the brazen blast of a fiery and warlike anthem.
"He, in beauty, as well as in character, was the very personification of this entrancing music.
"As I listened to his playing I was spell-bound; yet I could hardly tell whether it was with the composition, the execution, or the player himself. At the same time the strangest visions began to float before my eyes. First I saw the Alhambra in all the luxuriant loveliness of its Moorish masonry—those sumptuous symphonies of stones and bricks—so like the flourishes of those quaint Gipsy melodies. Then a smouldering unknown fire began to kindle itself within my breast. I longed to feel that mighty love which maddens one to crime, to feel the blasting lust of men who live beneath the scorching sun, to drink down deep from the cup of some satyrion philtre.
"The vision changed; instead of Spain, I saw a barren land, the sun-lit sands of Egypt, wet by the sluggish Nile; where Adrian stood wailing, forlorn, disconsolate for he had lost for ever the lad he loved so well. Spell bound by that soft music, which sharpened every sense, I now began to understand things hitherto so strange, the love the mighty monarch felt for his fair Grecian slave, Antinöus, who—like unto Christ—died for his master's sake. And thereupon my blood all rushed from my heart into my head, then it coursed down, through every vein, like waves of molten lead.
"The scene then changed, and shifted into the gorgeous towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, weird, beautiful and grand; to me the pianist's notes just then seemed murmuring in my ear with the panting of an eager lust, the sound of thrilling kisses.


The scene then changed

"Then—in the very midst of my vision—the pianist turned his head and cast one long, lingering, slumberous look at me, and our glances met again. But was he the pianist, was he Antinous, or rather, was he not one of those two angels which God sent to Lot? Anyhow, the irresistible charm of his beauty was such that I was quite overcome by it; and the music just then seemed to whisper:

"'Could you not drink his gaze like wine,
Yet though its splendour swoon
In the silence languidly
As a tune into a tune?' 

"That thrilling longing I had felt grew more and more intense, the craving so insatiable that it was changed to pain; the burning fire had now been fanned into a mighty flame, and my whole body was convulsed and writhed with mad desire. My lips were parched, I gasped for breath; my joints were stiff, my veins were swollen, yet I sat still, like all the crowd around me. But suddenly a heavy hand seemed to be laid upon my lap, something was hent and clasped and grasped, which made me faint with lust. The hand was moved up and down, slowly at first, then fast and faster it went in rhythm with the song. My brain began to reel as throughout every vein a burning lava coursed, and then, some drops even gushed out—I panted.——
"All at once the pianist finished his piece with a crash amidst the thundering applause of the whole theatre. I myself heard nothing but the din of thunder, I saw a fiery hail, a rain of rubies and emeralds that was consuming the cities of the plain, and he, the pianist, standing naked in the lurid light, exposing himself to the thunderbolts of heaven and to the flames of hell. As he stood there, I saw him—in my madness—change all at once into Anubis, the dog-headed God of Egypt, then by degrees into a loathsome poodle. I started, I shivered, felt sick, but speedily he changed to his own form again.


Standing naked in the lurid light

"I was powerless to applaud, I sat there dumb, motionless, nerveless, exhausted. My eyes were fixed upon the artist who stood there bowing listlessly, scornfully; while his own glances full of eager and impassioned tenderness, seemed to be seeking mine and mine alone. What a feeling of exultation awakened within me! But could he love me, and me only? For a trice the exultation gave way to bitter jealousy. Was I growing mad, I asked myself?
"As I looked at him, his features seemed to be overshadowed by a deep melancholy, and—horrible to behold—I saw a small dagger plunged in his breast, with the blood flowing fast from the wound. I not only shuddered, but almost shrieked with fear, the vision was so real. My head was spinning round, I was growing faint and sick, I fell back exhausted in my chair, covering my eyes with my hands."
"What a strange hallucination, I wonder what brought it about?"
"It was, indeed, something more than an hallucination, as you will see hereafter. When I lifted up my head again, the pianist was gone. I then turned round, and my mother—seeing how pale I was—asked me if I felt ill. I muttered something about the heat being very oppressive.
"'Go into the green room,' said she, 'and have a glass of water.'
"'No, I think I had better go home.'
"I felt, in fact, that I could not listen to any more music that evening. My nerves were so utterly unstrung that a maudlin song would just then have exasperated me, whilst another intoxicating melody might have made me lose my senses.
"As I got up I felt so weak and exhausted that it seemed as if I were walking in a trance, so, without exactly knowing whither I wended my steps, I mechanically followed some persons in front of me, and, a few moments afterwards, I unexpectedly found myself in the green room.
"The saloon was almost empty. At the further end a few dandies were grouped round a young man in evening dress, whose back was turned towards me. I recognized one of them as Briancourt."
"What, the General's son?"
"Precisely."
"I remember him. He always dressed in such a conspicuous way."
"Quite so. That evening, for instance, when every gentleman was in black, he, on the contrary, wore a white flannel suit; as usual, a very open Byron-like collar, and a red Lavallière cravat tied in a huge bow."
"Yes, for he had a most lovely neck and throat."
"He was very handsome, although I, for myself, had always tried to avoid him. He had a way of ogling which made you feel quite uncomfortable. You laugh, but it is quite true. There are some men who, when staring at a woman, seem all the while to be undressing her. Briancourt had that indecent way of looking at everybody. I vaguely felt his eyes all over me, and that made me shy."
"But you were acquainted with him, were you not?"

He had an indecent way of looking at everybody

"Yes, we had been at some Kindergarten or other together, but, being three years younger than he, I was always in a lower class. Anyhow, that evening, upon perceiving him, I was about to leave the room, when the gentleman in the evening suit turned round. It was the pianist. As our eyes met again, I felt a strange flutter within me, and the fascination of his looks was so powerful that I was hardly able to move. Then, attracted onwards as I was, instead of quitting the green room, I walked on slowly, almost reluctantly, towards the group. The musician, without staring, did not, however, turn his eyes away from me. I was quivering from head to foot. He seemed to be slowly drawing me to him, and I must confess the feeling was such a pleasant one that I yielded entirely to it.
"Just then Briancourt, who had not seen me, turned round, and recognizing me, nodded in his off-hand way. As he did so, the pianist's eyes brightened, and he whispered something to him, whereupon the General's son, without giving him any answer, turned towards me, and, taking me by the hand, said:
"'Camille, allow me to introduce you to my friend Réné. M. Réné Teleny—M. Camille Des Grieux.'
"I bowed, blushing. The pianist stretched forth his ungloved hand. In my fit of nervousness I had pulled off both my gloves, so that I now put my bare hand into his.
"He had a perfect hand for a man, rather large than small, strong yet soft, and with long, tapering fingers, so that his grasp was firm and steady.
"Who has not been sentient of the manifold feelings produced by the touch of a hand? Many persons seem to bear a temperature of their own about them. They are hot and feverish in mid-winter, while others are cold and icy in the dog-days. Some hands are dry and parched, others continually moist, clammy, and slimy. There are fleshy, pulpy, muscular, or thin, skeleton and bony hands. The grasp of some is like that of an iron vice, others feel as limp as a bit of rag. There is the artificial product of our modern civilization, a deformity like a Chinese lady's foot, always enclosed in a glove during the day, often poulticed at night, tended by a manicure; they are as white as snow, if not as chaste as ice. How that little useless hand would shrink from the touch of the gaunt, horny, clay-coloured, begrimed workman's hand, which hard, unremitting labour has changed into a kind of hoof. Some hands are coy, others paddle you indecently; the grip of some is hypocritical, and not what it pretends to be; there is the velvety, the unctuous, the priestly, the humbug's hand; the open palm of the spendthrift, the usurer's tight-fisted claw. There is, moreover, the magnetic hand, which seems to have a secret affinity for your own; its simple touch thrills your whole nervous system, and fills you with delight.
"How can I express all that I felt from the contact of Teleny's hand? It set me on fire; and, strange to say, it soothed me at the same time. How sweeter, softer, it was, than any woman's kiss. I felt his grasp steal slowly over all my body, caressing my lips, my throat, my breast; my nerves quivered from head to foot with delight, then it sank downwards into my reins, and Priapus, re-awakened, uplifted his head. I actually felt I was being taken possession of, and I was happy to belong to him.
 
Priapus, reawakened

"I should have liked to have said something polite in acknowledgment for the pleasure he had given me by his playing, still what unhackneyed phrase could have expressed all the admiration I felt for him?
"'But, gentlemen,' said he, 'I am afraid I am keeping you away from the music.'
"'I, myself, was just going away,' quoth I.
"'The concert bores you then, does it?'
"'No, on the contrary; but after having heard you play, I cannot listen to any more music to-night.'
"He smiled and looked pleased.
"'In fact, Réné, you have outdone yourself this evening,' said Briancourt. 'I never heard you play like that before.'
"'Do you know why?'
"'No, unless it is that you had such a full theatre.'
"'Oh, no! it is simply because, whilst I was playing the gavotte, I felt that somebody was listening to me.'
"'Oh! somebody!' echoed the young men, laughing.
"'Amongst a French public, especially that of a charity concert, do you really think that there are many persons who listen? I mean who listen intently with all their heart and soul. The young men are obliging the ladies, these are scrutinizing each other's toilette; the fathers, who are bored, are either thinking of the rise and fall of the stocks, or else counting the number of gas-lights, and reckoning how much the illumination will cost.'
"'Still, among such a crowd there is surely more than one attentive listener,' said Odillot the lawyer.
"'Oh, yes! I dare say; as for instance the young lady who has been thrumming the piece you have just played, but there is hardly more than one,—how can I express it?—well more than one sympathetic listener.'
"'What do you mean by a sympathetic listener?' asked Courtois, the stock-broker.
"'A person with whom a current seems to establish itself; some one who feels, while listening, exactly as I do whilst I am playing, who sees perhaps the same visions as I do—'
"'What! do you see visions when you play?' asked one of the bystanders, astonished.
"'Not as a rule, but always when I have a sympathetic listener?'
"'And do you often have such a listener?' said I, with a sharp pang of jealousy.
"'Often? Oh, no! seldom, very seldom, hardly ever in fact, and then——'
"'Then what?'
"'Never like the one of this evening.'
"'And when you have no listener?' asked Courtois.
"'Then I play mechanically, and in a humdrum kind of way.'
"'Can you guess whom your listener was this evening?' added Briancourt, smiling sardonically, and then with a leer at me.


Among the public of a charity concert, do you think there are people who listen?

"'One of the many beautiful ladies of course,' quoth Odillot, 'you are a lucky fellow.'
"'Yes,' said another, 'I wish I were your neighbour at that table d'hôte, so that you might pass me the dish after you have helped yourself.'
"'Was it some beautiful girl?' said Courtois questioningly. Teleny looked deep into my eyes, smiled faintly, and replied:
"'Perhaps.'
"'Do you think you will ever know your listener?' enquired Briancourt.
"Teleny again fixed his eyes on mine, and added faintly:
"'Perhaps.'
"'But what clue have you to lead to this discovery?' asked Odillot.
"'His visions must coincide with mine.'
"'I know what my vision would be if I had any,' quoth Odillot.
"'What would it be?' enquired Courtois.
"'Two lily-white breasts with nipples like two pink rosebuds, and lower down, two moist lips like those pink shells which opening with awakening lust, reveal a pulpy luxurious world, only of a deep coralline hue, and then these two pouting lips must be surrounded by a slight golden or black down——'
"'Enough, enough, Odillot, my mouth waters at your vision, and my tongue longs to taste the flavour of those lips,' said the stock-broker, his eyes gleaming like those of a satyr, and evidently in a state of priapism.
"'Is not that your vision, Teleny?'
"The pianist smiled enigmatically:
"'Perhaps.'
"'As for me,' said one of the young men who had not yet spoken, 'a vision evoked by a Hungarian rhapsody would be either of vast plains, of bands of gipsies, or of men with round hats, wide trousers and short jackets, riding on fiery horses.'
"'Or of booted and laced soldiers dancing with black eyed girls,' added another.
"I smiled, thinking how different my vision had been from these. Teleny, who was watching me, noticed the movement of my lips.
"'Gentlemen,' said the musician, 'Odillot's vision was provoked not by my playing, but by some good-looking young girl he had been ogling; as for yours they are simply reminiscences of some pictures or ballets.'
"'What was your vision, then?' asked Briancourt.
"'I was just going to put you the same question,' retorted the pianist.
"'My vision was something like Odillot's, though not exactly the same.'
"'Then it must have been le revers de la, medaille—the back side,' quoth the lawyer, laughing; 'that is, two snow-clad lovely hillocks and deep in the valley below, a well, a tiny hole with a dark margin, or rather a brown halo around it.'
"'Well, let us have your vision now,' insisted Briancourt.
"'My visions are so vague and indistinct, they fade away so quickly, that I can hardly remember them,' he answered, evasively.
"'But they are beautiful, are they not?'
"'And horrible withal,' quoth he.
"'Like the god-like corpse of Antinöus, seen by the silvery light of the opaline moon, floating on the lurid waters of the Nile,' I said.
"All the young men looked astonished at me. Briancourt laughed in a jarring way.
"'You are a poet or a painter,' said Teleny, gazing at me with half-shut eyes. Then, after a pause: 'Anyhow you are right to quiz me, but you must not mind my visionary speeches, for there is always so much of the madman in the composition of every artist.' Then, darting a dim ray from his sad eyes deep into mine, 'When you are better acquainted with me, you will know that there is so much more of the madman than of the artist in me.'
"Thereupon he took out a strongly-scented fine lawn handkerchief, and wiped the perspiration from his forehead.
"'And now,' added he, 'I must not keep you here a minute longer with my idle talk, otherwise the lady patronesses will be angry, and I really cannot afford to displease the ladies;' and with a stealthy glance at Briancourt,
'Can I?' he added.

All the young men looked astonished at me

"'No, that would be a crime against the fair sex,' replied one.
"'Moreover, the other musicians would say I did it out of spite; for no one is gifted with such strong feelings of jealousy as amateurs, be they actors, singers, or instrumentalists, so au revoir.'
"Then, with a deeper bow than he had vouchsafed to the public, he was about to leave the room, when he stopped again: 'But you, M. Des Grieux, you said you were not going to stay, may I request the pleasure of your company?'
"'Most willingly,' said I, eagerly.
"Briancourt again smiled ironically—why, I could not understand. Then he hummed a snatch of "Madame Angot," which operetta was then in fashion, the only words which caught my ears being...

"'Il est, dit-on, le favori,'

...and these were marked purposely.
"Teleny, who had heard them as well as I had, shrugged his shoulders, and muttered something between his teeth.
"'A carriage is waiting for me at the back door,' said he, slipping his arm under mine. 'Still, if you prefer walking——'
"'Very much so, for it has been so stiflingly hot in the theatre.'
"'Yes, very hot,' added he, repeating my words, and evidently thinking of something else. Then all at once, as if struck by a sudden thought, 'Are you superstitious?' said he.
"'Superstitious?' I was rather struck by the quaintness of his question. 'Well—yes, rather, I believe.'
"'I am very much so. I suppose it is my nature, for you see the Gipsy element is strong in me. They say that educated people are not superstitious. Well, first I have had a wretched education; and then I think that if we really knew the mysteries of nature, we could probably explain all those strange coincidences that are ever happening.' Then, stopping abruptly, 'Do you believe in the transmission of thought, of feelings, of sensations?'
"'Well, I really do not know—I——'
"'You must believe,' added he, authoritatively. 'You see we have had the same vision at once. The first thing you saw was the Alhambra, blazing in the fiery light of the sun, was it not?'
"'It was,' said I, astonished.
"'And you thought you would like to feel that powerful withering love that shatters both the body and the soul? You do not answer. Then afterwards came Egypt, Antinous and Adrian. You were the Emperor, I was the slave.'
"Then, musingly, he added, almost to himself: 'Who knows, perhaps I shall die for you one day!' And his features assumed that sweet resigned look which is seen on the demi-god's statues.
"I looked at him bewildered.
"'Oh! you think I am mad, but I am not, I am only stating facts. You did not feel that you were Adrian, simply because you are not accustomed to such visions; doubtless all this will be clearer to you some day; as for me, there is, you must know, Asiatic blood in my veins, and——'
"But he did not finish his phrase, and we walked on for a while in silence, then:
"'Did you not see me turn round during the gavotte, and look for you? I began to feel you just then, but I could not find you out; you remember, don't you?'
"'Yes, I did see you look towards my side, and---'
"'And you were jealous!'
"'Yes,' said I, almost inaudibly.
"He pressed my arms strongly against his body for all answer, then after a pause, he added hurriedly, and in a whisper:
"'You must know that I do not care for a single girl in this world, I never did. I could never love a woman.'
"My heart was beating strongly, I felt a choking feeling as if something was griping my throat.
"'Why should he be telling me this?' said I to myself.
"'Did you not smell a scent just then?'
"'A scent,—when?'
"'When I was playing the gavotte; you have forgotten perhaps."
"'Let me see, you are right, what scent was it?'
"'Lavande ambrée.'
"'Exactly.'
"'Which you do not care for, and which I dislike; tell me, which is your favourite scent?'
"'Heliotrope blanc.'
"Without giving me an answer, he pulled out his handkerchief and gave it to me to smell.
"'All our tastes are exactly the same, are they not?' And saying this, he looked at me with such a passionate and voluptuous longing, that the carnal hunger depicted in his eyes made me feel faint.
"'You see, I always wear a bunch of white heliotrope; let me give this to you, that its smell may remind you of me to-night, and perhaps make you dream of me.'
"And taking the flowers from his button-hole, he put them into mine with one hand, whilst he slipped his left arm round my waist and clasped me tightly, pressing me against his whole body for a few seconds. That short space of time seemed to me an eternity.
"I could feel his hot and panting breath against my lips. Below, our knees touched, and I felt something hard press and move against my thigh.
"My emotion just then was such that I could hardly stand; for a moment I thought he would kiss me—nay, the crisp hair of his moustache was slightly tickling my lips, producing a most delightful sensation. However, he only looked deep into my eyes with a demoniac fascination.
"I felt the fire of his glances sink deep into my breast, and far below. My blood began to boil and bubble like a burning fluid, so that I felt my---, (what the Italians call a 'birdie,' and what they have portrayed as a winged cherub) struggle within its prison, lift up its head, open its tiny lips, and again spout one or two drops of that creamy, life-giving fluid.
"But those few tears—far from being a soothing balm—seemed to be drops of caustic, burning me, and producing a strong, unbearable irritation.
I was tortured. My mind was a hell. My body was on fire.
"'Is he suffering as much as I am?' said I to myself.
"Just then he unclasped his arm from round my waist, and it fell lifeless of its own weight like that of a man asleep.


What the Italians call a 'Birdie'

"He stepped back, and shuddered as if he had received a strong electric shock. He seemed faint for a moment, then wiped his damp forehead, and sighed loudly. All the colour had fled from his face, and he became deathly pale.
"'Do you think me mad?' said he. Then, without waiting for a reply: 'but who is sane and who is mad? Who is virtuous and who is vicious in this world of ours? Do you know? I don't.'
"The thought of my father came to my mind, and I asked myself, shuddering, whether my senses, too, were leaving me.
"There was a pause. Neither of us spoke for some time. He had entwined his fingers within mine, and we walked on for a while in silence.
"All the blood vessels of my member were still strongly extended and the nerves stiff, the spermatic ducts full to overflowing; therefore, the erection continuing, I felt a dull pain spread over and near all the organs of generation, whilst the remainder of my body was in a state of prostration, and still—notwithstanding the pain and languor—it was a most pleasurable feeling to walk on quietly with our hands clasped, his head almost leaning on my shoulder.
'"When did you first feel my eyes on yours?' asked he in a low hushed tone, after some time.
"'When you came out for the second time.'
"'Exactly; then our glances met, and then there was a current between us, like a spark of electricity running along a wire, was it not?'
"'Yes, an uninterrupted current.'
"'But you really felt me just before I went out, is it not true?'
"For all answer I pressed his fingers tightly.
"'I never knew a man whose feelings coincided so well with mine. Tell me, do you think any woman could feel so intensely?'
"My head sank down, I could not give him any answer.
"'We shall be friends?' said he, taking hold of both my hands.
"'Yes,' said I shyly.
"'Yes, but great friends, bosom friends, as the English say.'
"'Yes.'
"Thereupon he clasped me again to his breast and muttered in my ear some words of an unknown tongue, so low and musical, that they almost seemed like a spell.
"'Do you know what that means?' quoth he.
"'No.'
"'Oh, friend! my heart doth yearn for thee."


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