Esmerelda - Frances Hodgson Burnett

Esmerelda: By Frances Hodgson Burnett

ESMERALDA By Frances Hodgson Burnett
SCRIBNER'S MONTHLY VOL. XIV. MAY, 1877. NO. 1. pp. 80-91

To begin, I am a Frenchman, a teacher of languages and a poor man;--necessarily a poor man, as the great world would say, or I should not be a teacher of languages and my wife a copyist of great pictures, selling her copies at small prices. In our own eyes, it is true, we are not so poor--my Clelie and I. Looking back upon our past we congratulate ourselves upon our prosperous condition. There was a time when we were poorer than we are now, and were not together, and were, moreover, in London instead of in Paris. These were indeed calamities: to be poor, to teach, to live apart, not even knowing each other--and in England! In England we spent years; we instructed imbeciles of all grades; we were chilled by east winds, and tortured by influenza; we vainly strove to conciliate the appalling English; we were discouraged and desolate. But this, thank lebon Dieu! is past. We are united; we have our little apartment--upon the fifth floor, it is true, but still not hopelessly far from the Champs Elysees. Clelie paints her little pictures, or copies those of some greater artist, and finds sale for them. She is not a great artist herself, and is charmingly conscious of the fact.

"At fifteen," she says, "I regretted that I was not a genius; at five and twenty, I rejoice that I made the discovery so early, and so gave myself time to become grateful for the small gifts bestowed upon me. Why should I eat out my heart with envy? Is it not possible that I might be a less clever woman than I am, and a less lucky one?"

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