In the pure and monotonous life of young girls there comes a delicioushour when the sun sheds its rays into their soul, when the flowersexpress their thoughts, when the throbbings of the heart send upwardto the brain their fertilizing warmth and melt all thoughts into avague desire,--day of innocent melancholy and of dulcet joys! Whenbabes begin to see, they smile; when a young girl first perceives thesentiment of nature, she smiles as she smiled when an infant. If lightis the first love of life, is not love a light to the heart? Themoment to see within the veil of earthly things had come for Eugenie.An early riser, like all provincial girls, she was up betimes and saidher prayers, and then began the business of dressing,--a businesswhich henceforth was to have a meaning. First she brushed and smoothedher chestnut hair and twisted its heavy masses to the top of her headwith the utmost care, preventing the loose tresses from straying, andgiving to her head a symmetry which heightened the timid candor of herface; for the simplicity of these accessories accorded well with theinnocent sincerity of its lines. As she washed her hands again andagain in the cold water which hardened and reddened the skin, shelooked at her handsome round arms and asked herself what her cousindid to make his hands so softly white, his nails so delicately curved.She put on new stockings and her prettiest shoes. She laced her corsetstraight, without skipping a single eyelet. And then, wishing for thefirst time in her life to appear to advantage, she felt the joy ofhaving a new gown, well made, which rendered her attractive.As she finished her toilet the clock of the parish church struck thehour; to her astonishment, it was only seven. The desire of havingplenty of time for dressing carefully had led her to get up too early.Ignorant of the art of retouching every curl and studying everyeffect, Eugenie simply crossed her arms, sat down by the window, andlooked at the court-yard, the narrow garden, and the high terracedwalls that over-topped it: a dismal, hedged-in prospect, yet notwholly devoid of those mysterious beauties which belong to solitary oruncultivated nature. Near the kitchen was a well surrounded by a curb,with a pulley fastened to a bent iron rod clasped by a vine whoseleaves were withered, reddened, and shrivelled by the season. Fromthence the tortuous shoots straggled to the wall, clutched it, and ranthe whole length of the house, ending near the wood-pile, where thelogs were ranged with as much precision as the books in a library. Thepavement of the court-yard showed the black stains produced in time bylichens, herbage, and the absence of all movement or friction. Thethick walls wore a coating of green moss streaked with waving brownlines, and the eight stone steps at the bottom of the court-yard whichled up to the gate of the garden were disjointed and hidden beneathtall plants, like the tomb of a knight buried by his widow in the daysof the Crusades. Above a foundation of moss-grown, crumbling stoneswas a trellis of rotten wood, half fallen from decay; over themclambered and intertwined at will a mass of clustering creepers. Oneach side of the latticed gate stretched the crooked arms of twostunted apple-trees. Three parallel walks, gravelled and separatedfrom each other by square beds, where the earth was held in by box-borders, made the garden, which terminated, beneath a terrace of theold walls, in a group of lindens. At the farther end were raspberry-bushes; at the other, near the house, an immense walnut-tree droopedits branches almost into the window of the miser's sanctum.A clear day and the beautiful autumnal sun common to the banks of theLoire was beginning to melt the hoar-frost which the night had laid onthese picturesque objects, on the walls, and on the plants whichswathed the court-yard. Eugenie found a novel charm in the aspect ofthings lately so insignificant to her. A thousand confused thoughtscame to birth in her mind and grew there, as the sunbeams grew withoutalong the wall. She felt that impulse of delight, vague, inexplicable,which wraps the moral being as a cloud wraps the physical body. Herthoughts were all in keeping with the details of this strangelandscape, and the harmonies of her heart blended with the harmoniesof nature. When the sun reached an angle of the wall where the "Venus-hair" of southern climes drooped its thick leaves, lit with thechanging colors of a pigeon's breast, celestial rays of hope illuminedthe future to her eyes, and thenceforth she loved to gaze upon thatpiece of wall, on its pale flowers, its blue harebells, its wiltingherbage, with which she mingled memories as tender as those ofchildhood. The noise made by each leaf as it fell from its twig in thevoid of that echoing court gave answer to the secret questionings ofthe young girl, who could have stayed there the livelong day withoutperceiving the flight of time. Then came tumultuous heavings of thesoul. She rose often, went to her glass, and looked at herself, as anauthor in good faith looks at his work to criticise it and blame it inhis own mind.
"I am not beautiful enough for him!" Such was Eugenie's thought,--ahumble thought, fertile in suffering. The poor girl did not do herselfjustice; but modesty, or rather fear, is among the first of love'svirtues. Eugenie belonged to the type of children with sturdyconstitutions, such as we see among the lesser bourgeoisie, whosebeauties always seem a little vulgar; and yet, though she resembledthe Venus of Milo, the lines of her figure were ennobled by the softerChristian sentiment which purifies womanhood and gives it adistinction unknown to the sculptors of antiquity. She had an enormoushead, with the masculine yet delicate forehead of the Jupiter ofPhidias, and gray eyes, to which her chaste life, penetrating fullyinto them, carried a flood of light. The features of her round face,formerly fresh and rosy, were at one time swollen by the small-pox,which destroyed the velvet texture of the skin, though it kindly leftno other traces, and her cheek was still so soft and delicate that hermother's kiss made a momentary red mark upon it. Her nose was somewhattoo thick, but it harmonized well with the vermilion mouth, whoselips, creased in many lines, were full of love and kindness. Thethroat was exquisitely round. The bust, well curved and carefullycovered, attracted the eye and inspired reverie. It lacked, no doubt,the grace which a fitting dress can bestow; but to a connoisseur thenon-flexibility of her figure had its own charm. Eugenie, tall andstrongly made, had none of the prettiness which pleases the masses;but she was beautiful with a beauty which the spirit recognizes, andnone but artists truly love. A painter seeking here below for a typeof Mary's celestial purity, searching womankind for those proud modesteyes which Raphael divined, for those virgin lines, often due tochances of conception, which the modesty of Christian life alone canbestow or keep unchanged,--such a painter, in love with his ideal,would have found in the face of Eugenie the innate nobleness that isignorant of itself; he would have seen beneath the calmness of thatbrow a world of love; he would have felt, in the shape of the eyes, inthe fall of the eyelids, the presence of the nameless something thatwe call divine. Her features, the contour of her head, which noexpression of pleasure had ever altered or wearied, were like thelines of the horizon softly traced in the far distance across thetranquil lakes. That calm and rosy countenance, margined with lightlike a lovely full-blown flower, rested the mind, held the eye, andimparted the charm of the conscience that was there reflected. Eugeniewas standing on the shore of life where young illusions flower, wheredaisies are gathered with delights ere long to be unknown; and thusshe said, looking at her image in the glass, unconscious as yet oflove: "I am too ugly; he will not notice me."
Then she opened the door of her chamber which led to the staircase,and stretched out her neck to listen for the household noises. "He isnot up," she thought, hearing Nanon's morning cough as the good soulwent and came, sweeping out the halls, lighting her fire, chaining thedog, and speaking to the beasts in the stable. Eugenie at once wentdown and ran to Nanon, who was milking the cow. order hair online
"Nanon, my good Nanon, make a little cream for my cousin's breakfast.""Why, mademoiselle, you should have thought of that yesterday," saidNanon, bursting into a loud peal of laughter. "I can't make cream.Your cousin is a darling, a darling! oh, that he is! You should haveseen him in his dressing-gown, all silk and gold! I saw him, I did! Hewears linen as fine as the surplice of monsieur le cure.""Nanon, please make us a /galette/." clip in hair extensions cheap