駈nie; but she looked inquiringly as she se●ated herself on a cushion at h●er companion’s feet, and rested her ●arm on her knee.Lady Emily pa▓used, as if collecting firmness for t●he task, then briefly spoke as follows●.
“Few, who have only known me the la▓st fifteen or sixteen years, would believe▓ that I was once, Annie, far more enthu●siastic and dreamy, and what▓ the world calls romantic, than you were when I▓ first knew you.An ardent love f●or the exalted and the beautif▓ul, alike in man and nature; a re▓stless craving for the pure a●nd spiritual; an almost loathing for all tha●t was mea
n and earthly: these were the el▓ements of my romance, but carried to ▓an excess, that instead of being ●beneficial, as they might have b●een, became indeed the height o▓f folly, which is the world’s meani▓ng for such feelings.I was a poet, a● visionary, an enthusiast, feeding a naturally v●ivid imagination on the burning dreams of minds▓ whose wings soared even higher than ●my own.By my family I was regarded with ●admiration and love, as one whose talents would● raise me far higher than my rank.I h●ad the advantage of association with the g●enius and the student; and their opinion of▓ my powers, their sympathy, urged me on til▓l I was astonished at myself.But t▓here
was a blank in the midst of ple▓asure; I soared too high in the ●moments of excitement.My mind, unable to● sustain itself in the airy realms ●of an ill-regulated imagination, was fraugh●t, on i
ts return to earth, with a gloom a●nd void even more exquisitely painful than its p●recious mood had been joyful.Yet had poetry ▓been my only gift, its pains and pleas▓ures might have been confined to my own ▓breast; but the powers of satire, mine i●n no ordinary degree, were far more dangerous to▓ myself in their baneful influe●nce upon others.I indulged in the most cut▓ting irony, careless whom I might wound, regardl●ess of any feeling but my own pleasure; I knew ▓religion only as a name, whose every ordinance▓ was fulfilled by attending ●public service once a week.I heard and read ●that, to some minds, poetry vitalizes re▓ligion, for every throb unans▓wered upon earth lifted up the whole soul to t●hat world where all was love and● all was joy.I laughed at such romanc●e, as I termed it, for I could not understan●d it.In the gloom and void occas●ionally felt, pride and triumph at ●my own superiority to my fellows were the c●onstant occupants of my heart, urging ●me but too often to level the dart of v▓enomed satire on those whose more worldly▓ sen