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Title: Manon Lescaut
Author: Prévost, Abbé, 1697-1763
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Manon Lescaut" ***

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MANON LESCAUT

by

Abbé Prévost



I


  Why did he love her?  Curious fool, be still!
  Is human love the fruit of human will?
        BYRON.


Just about six months before my departure for Spain, I first met the
Chevalier des Grieux.  Though I rarely quitted my retreat, still the
interest I felt in my child's welfare induced me occasionally to
undertake short journeys, which, however, I took good care to abridge
as much as possible.

I was one day returning from Rouen, where I had been, at her request,
to attend a cause then pending before the Parliament of Normandy,
respecting an inheritance to which I had claims derived from my
maternal grandfather.  Having taken the road by Evreux, where I slept
the first night, I on the following day, about dinner-time, reached
Passy, a distance of five or six leagues.  I was amazed, on entering
this quiet town, to see all the inhabitants in commotion.  They were
pouring from their houses in crowds, towards the gate of a small inn,
immediately before which two covered vans were drawn up.  Their horses
still in harness, and reeking from fatigue and heat, showed that the
cortege had only just arrived.  I stopped for a moment to learn the
cause of the tumult, but could gain little information from the curious
mob as they rushed by, heedless of my enquiries, and hastening
impatiently towards the inn in the utmost confusion.  At length an
archer of the civic guard, wearing his bandolier, and carrying a
carbine on his shoulder, appeared at the gate; so, beckoning him
towards me, I begged to know the cause of the uproar. "Nothing, sir,"
said he, "but a dozen of the frail sisterhood, that I and my comrades
are conducting to Havre-de-Grace, whence we are to ship them for
America.  There are one or two of them pretty enough; and it is that,
apparently, which attracts the curiosity of these good people."

I should have passed on, satisfied with this explanation, if my
attention had not been arrested by the cries of an old woman, who was
coming out of the inn with her hands clasped, and exclaiming:

"A downright barbarity!--A scene to excite horror and compassion!"
"What may this mean?" I enquired.  "Oh! sir; go into the house
yourself," said the woman, "and see if it is not a sight to rend your
heart!"  Curiosity made me dismount; and leaving my horse to the care
of the ostler, I made my way with some difficulty through the crowd,
and did indeed behold a scene sufficiently touching.

Among the twelve girls, who were chained together by the waist in two
rows, there was one, whose whole air and figure seemed so ill-suited to
her present condition, that under other circumstances I should not have
hesitated to pronounce her a person of high birth.  Her excessive
grief, and even the wretchedness of her attire, detracted so little
from her surpassing beauty, that at first sight of her I was inspired
with a mingled feeling of respect and pity.

She tried, as well as the chain would permit her, to turn herself away,
and hide her face from the rude gaze of the spectators. There was
something so unaffected in the effort she made to escape observation,
that it could but have sprung from natural and innate modesty alone.

As the six men who escorted the unhappy train were together in the
room, I took the chief one aside and asked for information respecting
this beautiful girl.  All that he could supply was of the most vague
kind.  "We brought her," he said, "from the Hospital, by order of the
lieutenant-general of police.  There is no reason to suppose that she
was shut up there for good conduct.

"I have questioned her often upon the road; but she persists in
refusing even to answer me.  Yet, although I received no orders to make
any distinction between her and the others, I cannot help treating her
differently, for she seems to me somewhat superior to her companions.
Yonder is a young man," continued the archer, "who can tell you, better
than I can, the cause of her misfortunes.  He has followed her from
Paris, and has scarcely dried his tears for a single moment.  He must
be either her brother or her lover."

I turned towards the corner of the room, where this young man was
seated.  He seemed buried in a profound reverie.  Never did I behold a
more affecting picture of grief.  He was plainly dressed; but one may
discover at the first glance a man of birth and education.  As I
approached him he rose, and there was so refined and noble an
expression in his eyes, in his whole countenance, in his every
movement, that I felt an involuntary impulse to render him any service
in my power.  "I am unwilling to intrude upon your sorrows," said I,
taking a seat beside him, "but you will, perhaps, gratify the desire I
feel to learn something about that beautiful girl, who seems little
formed by nature for the miserable condition in which she is placed."

He answered me candidly, that he could not communicate her history
without making himself known, and that he had urgent reasons for
preserving his own incognito.  "I may, however, tell you this much, for
it is no longer a secret to these wretches," he continued, pointing to
the guards,--"that I adore her with a passion so ardent and absorbing
as to render me the most unhappy of human beings.  I tried every means
at Paris to effect her liberty.       Petitions, artifice, force--all
failed.  Go where she may, I have resolved to follow her--to the
extremity of the world.  I shall embark with her and cross to America.

"But think of the brutal inhumanity of these cowardly ruffians," he
added, speaking of the guards; "they will not allow me to approach her!
I had planned an open attack upon them some leagues from Paris; having
secured, as I thought, the aid of four men, who for a considerable sum
hired me their services.  The traitors, however, left me to execute my
scheme single-handed, and decamped with my money.  The impossibility of
success made me of course abandon the attempt, I then implored of the
guards permission to follow in their train, promising them a
recompense. The love of money procured their consent; but as they
required payment every time I was allowed to speak to her, my purse was
speedily emptied; and now that I am utterly penniless, they are
barbarous enough to repulse me brutally, whenever I make the slightest
attempt to approach her.  It is but a moment since, that venturing to
do so, in spite of their threats, one of the fellows raised the
butt-end of his musket.  I am now driven by their exactions to dispose
of the miserable horse that has brought me hither, and am preparing to
continue the journey on foot."

Although he seemed to recite this story tranquilly enough, I observed
the tears start to his eyes as he concluded.  This adventure struck me
as being not less singular than it was affecting.  "I do not press
you," said I to him, "to make me the confidant of your secrets; but if
I can be of use to you in any way, I gladly tender you my services."
"Alas!" replied he, "I see not the slightest ray of hope.  I must
reconcile myself to my destiny in all its rigour.  I shall go to
America: there, at least, I may be free to live with her I love.  I
have written to a friend, who will send me money to Havre-de-Grace.  My
only difficulty is to get so far, and to supply that poor creature,"
added he, as he cast a look of sorrow at his mistress, "with some few
comforts upon the way."  "Well!" said I to him, "I shall relieve you
from that difficulty.  Here is some money, of which I entreat your
acceptance: I am only sorry that I can be of no greater service to you."

I gave him four louis-d'ors without being perceived by the guards; for
I thought that if they knew he had this money, they might have raised
the price of their concessions.  It occurred to me, even, to come to an
understanding with them, in order to secure for the young man the
privilege of conversing with his mistress, during the rest of the
journey to Havre, without hindrance.  I beckoned the chief to approach,
and made the proposition to him.  It seemed to abash the ruffian, in
spite of his habitual effrontery.  "It is not, sir," said he, in an
embarrassed tone, "that we refuse to let him speak to the girl, but he
wishes to be always near her, which puts us to inconvenience; and it is
just that we should be paid for the trouble he occasions."  "Let us
see!" said I to him, "what would suffice to prevent you from feeling
the inconvenience?" He had the audacity to demand two louis.  I gave
them to him on the spot.  "But have a care," said I to him, "that we
have no foul play: for I shall give the young man my address, in order
that he may write to me on his arrival; and be assured that I am not
without the power to punish you."  It cost me altogether six
louis-d'ors.

The graceful manner and heartfelt gratitude with which the young
unknown thanked me, confirmed my notion that he was of good birth and
merited my kindness.  I addressed a few words to his mistress before I
left the room.  She replied to me with a modesty so gentle and so
charming that I could not help making, as I went out, a thousand
reflections upon the incomprehensible character of women.

Returned to my retreat, I remained in ignorance of the result of this
adventure; and ere two years had passed, it was completely blotted from
my recollection, when chance brought me an opportunity of learning all
the circumstances from beginning to end.

I arrived at Calais, from London, with my pupil, the Marquis of ----.
We lodged, if I remember rightly, at the "Golden Lion," where, for some
reason, we were obliged to spend the following day and night.  Walking
along the streets in the afternoon, I fancied I saw the same young man
whom I had formerly met at Passy.  He was miserably dressed, and much
paler than when I first saw him.  He carried on his arm an old
portmanteau, having only just arrived in the town.  However, there was
an expression in his countenance too amiable not to be easily
recognised, and which immediately brought his features to my
recollection. "Observe that young man," said I to the Marquis; "we must
accost him."

His joy was beyond expression when, in his turn, he recognised me.

"Ah, sir!" he cried, kissing my hand, "I have then once again an
opportunity of testifying my eternal gratitude to you!"  I enquired of
him whence he came.  He replied, that he had just arrived, by sea, from
Havre, where he had lately landed from America.  "You do not seem to be
too well off for money," said I to him; "go on to the 'Golden Lion,'
where I am lodging; I will join you in a moment."

I returned, in fact, full of impatience to learn the details of his
misfortunes, and the circumstances of his voyage to America. I gave him
a thousand welcomes, and ordered that they should supply him with
everything he wanted.  He did not wait to be solicited for the history
of his life.  "Sir," said he to me, "your conduct is so generous, that
I should consider it base ingratitude to maintain any reserve towards
you.  You shall learn not only my misfortunes and sufferings, but my
faults and most culpable weaknesses.  I am sure that, even while you
blame me, you will not refuse me your sympathy."

I should here inform the reader that I wrote down the story almost
immediately after hearing it; and he may, therefore, be assured of the
correctness and fidelity of the narrative.  I use the word fidelity
with reference to the substance of reflections and sentiments, which
the young man conveyed in the most graceful language.  Here, then, is
his story, which in its progress I shall not encumber with a single
observation that was not his own.



II


  I loved Ophelia! forty thousand brothers
  Could not, with all their quantity of love,
  Make up my sum.
      SHAKESPEARE.


"I was seventeen years old, and was finishing my studies at Amiens,
whither my parents, who belonged to one of the first families in
Picardy, had sent me.  I led a life so studious and well regulated,
that my masters pointed to me as a model of conduct for the other
scholars.  Not that I made any extraordinary efforts to acquire this
reputation, but my disposition was naturally tractable and tranquil; my
inclinations led me to apply to study; and even the natural dislike I
felt for vice was placed to my credit as positive proof of virtue.  The
successful progress of my studies, my birth, and some external
advantages of person, made me a general favourite with the inhabitants
of the town.

"I completed my public exercises with such general approbation, that
the bishop of the diocese, who was present, proposed to me to enter the
church, where I could not fail, he said, to acquire more distinction
than in the Order of Malta, for which my parents had destined me. I was
already decorated with the Cross, and called the Chevalier des Grieux.
The vacation having arrived, I was preparing to return to my father,
who had promised to send me soon to the Academy.

"My only regret on quitting Amiens arose from parting with a friend,
some years older than myself, to whom I had always been tenderly
attached.  We had been brought up together; but from the straitened
circumstances of his family, he was intended to take orders, and was to
remain after me at Amiens to complete the requisite studies for his
sacred calling.  He had a thousand good qualities.  You will recognise
in him the very best during the course of my history, and above all, a
zeal and fervour of friendship which surpass the most illustrious
examples of antiquity.  If I had at that time followed his advice, I
should have always continued a discreet and happy man.  If I had even
taken counsel from his reproaches, when on the brink of that gulf into
which my passions afterwards plunged me, I should have been spared the
melancholy wreck of both fortune and reputation.  But he was doomed to
see his friendly admonitions disregarded; nay, even at times repaid by
contempt from an ungrateful wretch, who often dared to treat his
fraternal conduct as offensive and officious.

"I had fixed the day for my departure from Amiens.  Alas! that I had
not fixed it one day sooner!  I should then have carried to my father's
house my innocence untarnished.

"The very evening before my expected departure, as I was walking with
my friend, whose name was Tiberge, we saw the Arras diligence arrive,
and sauntered after it to the inn, at which these coaches stop.  We had
no other motive than curiosity.  Some worn men alighted, and
immediately retired into the inn.  One remained behind: she was very
young, and stood by herself in the court, while a man of advanced age,
who appeared to have charge of her, was busy in getting her luggage
from the vehicle.  She struck me as being so extremely beautiful, that
I, who had never before thought of the difference between the sexes, or
looked on woman with the slightest attention--I, whose conduct had been
hitherto the theme of universal admiration, felt myself, on the
instant, deprived of my reason and self-control.  I had been always
excessively timid, and easily disconcerted; but now, instead of meeting
with any impediment from this weakness, I advanced without the
slightest reserve towards her, who had thus become, in a moment, the
mistress of my heart.

"Although younger than myself, she received my civilities without
embarrassment.  I asked the cause of her journey to Amiens, and whether
she had any acquaintances in the town.  She ingenuously told me that
she had been sent there by her parents, to commence her novitiate for
taking the veil.  Love had so quickened my perception, even in the
short moment it had been enthroned, that I saw in this announcement a
death-blow to my hopes.  I spoke to her in a way that made her at once
understand what was passing in my mind; for she had more experience
than myself.  It was against her consent that she was consigned to a
convent, doubtless to repress that inclination for pleasure which had
already become too manifest, and which caused, in the sequel, all her
misfortunes and mine.  I combated the cruel intention of her parents
with all the arguments that my new-born passion and schoolboy eloquence
could suggest.  She affected neither austerity nor reserve.  She told
me, after a moment's silence, that she foresaw too clearly, what her
unhappy fate must be; but that it was, apparently, the will of Heaven,
since there were no means left her to avert it.  The sweetness of her
look, the air of sorrow with which she pronounced these words, or
rather perhaps the controlling destiny which led me on to ruin, allowed
me not an instant to weigh my answer.  I assured her that if she would
place reliance on my honour, and on the tender interest with which she
had already inspired me, I would sacrifice my life to deliver her from
the tyranny of her parents, and to render her happy.  I have since been
a thousand times astonished in reflecting upon it, to think how I could
have expressed myself with so much boldness and facility; but love
could never have become a divinity, if he had not often worked miracles.

"I made many other pressing and tender speeches; and my unknown fair
one was perfectly aware that mine was not the age for deceit.  She
confessed to me that if I could see but a reasonable hope of being able
to effect her enfranchisement, she should deem herself indebted for my
kindness in more than life itself could pay.  I repeated that I was
ready to attempt anything in her behalf; but, not having sufficient
experience at once to imagine any reasonable plan of serving her, I did
not go beyond this general assurance, from which indeed little good
could arise either to her or to myself.  Her old guardian having by
this time joined us, my hopes would have been blighted, but that she
had tact enough to make amends for my stupidity.  I was surprised, on
his approaching us, to hear her call me her cousin, and say, without
being in the slightest degree disconcerted, that as she had been so
fortunate as to fall in with me at Amiens, she would not go into the
convent until the next morning, in order to have the pleasure of
meeting me at supper.  Innocent as I was, I at once comprehended the
meaning of this ruse; and proposed that she should lodge for the night
at the house of an innkeeper, who, after being many years my father's
coachman, had lately established himself at Amiens, and who was
sincerely attached to me.

"I conducted her there myself, at which the old Argus appeared to
grumble a little; and my friend Tiberge, who was puzzled by the whole
scene, followed, without uttering a word.  He had not heard our
conversation, having walked up and down the court while I was talking
of love to my angelic mistress.  As I had some doubts of his
discretion, I got rid of him, by begging that he would execute a
commission for me.  I had thus the happiness, on arriving at the inn,
of entertaining alone the sovereign of my heart.

"I soon learned that I was less a child than I had before imagined.  My
heart expanded to a thousand sentiments of pleasure, of which I had not
before the remotest idea.  A delicious consciousness of enjoyment
diffused itself through my whole mind and soul.  I sank into a kind of
ecstasy, which deprived me for a time of the power of utterance, and
which found vent only in a flood of tears.

"Manon Lescaut (this she told me was her name) seemed gratified by the
visible effect of her own charms.  She appeared to me not less excited
than myself.  She acknowledged that she was greatly pleased with me,
and that she should be enchanted to owe to me her freedom and future
happiness.  She would insist on hearing who I was, and the knowledge
only augmented her affection; for, being herself of humble birth, she
was flattered by securing for her lover a man of family.

"After many reflections we could discover no other resource than in
flight.  To effect this it would be requisite to cheat the vigilance of
Manon's guardian, who required management, although he was but a
servant.  We determined, therefore, that, during the night, I should
procure a post-chaise, and return with it at break of day to the inn,
before he was awake; that we should steal away quietly, and go straight
to Paris, where we might be married on our arrival.  I had about fifty
crowns in my pocket, the fruit of my little savings at school; and she
had about twice as much.  We imagined, like inexperienced children,
that such a sum could never be exhausted, and we counted, with equal
confidence, upon the success of our other schemes.

"After having supped, with certainly more satisfaction than I had ever
before experienced, I retired to prepare for our project.  All my
arrangements were the more easy, because, for the purpose of returning
on the morrow to my father's, my luggage had been already packed.  I
had, therefore, no difficulty in removing my trunk, and having a chaise
prepared for five o'clock in the morning, at which hour the gates of
the town would be opened; but I encountered an obstacle which I was
little prepared for, and which nearly upset all my plans.

"Tiberge, although only three years older than myself, was a youth of
unusually strong mind, and of the best regulated conduct.  He loved me
with singular affection.  The sight of so lovely a girl as Manon, my
ill-disguised impatience to conduct her to the inn, and the anxiety I
betrayed to get rid of him, had excited in his mind some suspicions of
my passion.  He had not ventured to return to the inn where he had left
me, for fear of my being annoyed at his doing so; but went to wait for
me at my lodgings, where, although it was ten o'clock at night, I found
him on my arrival.  His presence annoyed me, and he soon perceived the
restraint which it imposed.  'I am certain,' he said to me, without any
disguise, 'that you have some plan in contemplation which you will not
confide to me; I see it by your manner.'  I answered him rather
abruptly, that I was not bound to render him an account of all my
movements. 'Certainly not!' he replied; 'but you have always, hitherto,
treated me as a friend, and that appellation implies a certain degree
of confidence and candour.'  He pressed me so much and so earnestly to
discover my secret, that, having never up to that moment felt the
slightest reserve towards him, I confided to him now the whole history
of my passion.  He heard it with an appearance of disapprobation, which
made me tremble; and I immediately repented of my indiscretion, in
telling him of my intended elopement.  He told me he was too sincerely
my friend not to oppose every obstacle in his power to such a scheme;
that he would first try all other means of turning me from such a
purpose, but that if I refused to renounce so fatal a resolution, he
assuredly would inform some persons of my intention, who would be able
to defeat it.  He held forth upon the subject for a full quarter of an
hour, in the most serious tone, and ended by again threatening to
inform against me, if I did not pledge him my word that I would return
to the paths of discretion and reason.

"I was in despair at having so awkwardly betrayed myself. However, love
having wonderfully sharpened my intellect during the last two or three
hours, I recollected that I had not yet told him of its being my
intention to execute my project on the following morning, and I at once
determined to deceive him by a little equivocation.

"'Tiberge,' said I to him, 'up to the present moment I thought you were
my friend; and I wished to prove it by the test of confidence.  It is
true, I am in love; I have not deceived you: but with regard to my
flight, that is a project not to be undertaken without deliberation.
Call for me tomorrow at nine o'clock: you shall see my mistress, if it
be possible, and then judge whether she is not worthy of any risk or
sacrifice on my part.'  He left me, with a thousand protestations of
friendship.

"I employed the night in preparing for the journey, and on repairing to
the inn at early dawn, I found Manon waiting my arrival.  She was at
her window, which looked upon the street, and perceiving my approach,
she came down and opened the door herself.  We took our departure
silently, and without creating the least alarm.  She merely brought
away a small portion of her apparel, of which I took charge.  The
chaise was in readiness, and we were soon at a distance from the town.

"You will learn in the sequel what was the conduct of Tiberge when he
discovered that I had deceived him; that his zeal to serve me suffered
no diminution; and you will observe to what lengths his devotion
carried him.  How ought I to grieve, when I reflect on the base
ingratitude with which his affection was always repaid!

"We made such speed on our journey that before night we reached St.
Denis.  I rode alongside of the chaise, which gave us little
opportunity for conversation, except while changing horses; but when we
found ourselves so near Paris, and out of the reach of danger, we
allowed ourselves time for refreshment, not having tasted food since we
quitted Amiens.  Passionately in love as I felt with Manon, she knew
how to convince me that she was equally so with me.  So little did we
restrain our fondness, that we had not even patience to reserve our
caresses till we were alone. The postilions and innkeepers stared at us
with wonder, and I remarked that they appeared surprised at such
uncontrollable love in children of our age.

"Our project of marriage was forgotten at St. Denis; we defrauded the
Church of her rights; and found ourselves united as man and wife
without reflecting on the consequences.  It is certain that with my
easy and constant disposition, I should have been happy for my whole
life, if Manon had remained faithful to me.  The more I saw of her, the
more I discovered in her new perfections.  Her mind, her heart, her
gentleness and beauty, formed a chain at once so binding and so
agreeable, that I could have found perfect happiness in its enduring
influence.  Terrible fatality? that which has been the source of my
despair, might, under a slight change of circumstances, have
constituted my happiness.  I find myself the most wretched of mankind,
by the force of that very constancy from which I might have fairly
expected to derive the most serene of human blisses, and the most
perfect recompense of love.

"We took a furnished apartment at Paris, in the Rue V----, and, as it
afterwards turned out, to my sorrow, close to the house of M. de B----,
the famous Fermier-general.  Three weeks passed, during which I was so
absorbed in my passion, that I never gave a thought to my family, nor
dreamed of the distress which my father probably felt at my absence.
However, as there was yet nothing of profligacy about me, and as Manon
conducted herself with the strictest propriety, the tranquil life we
led served to restore me by degrees to a sense of duty.

"I resolved to effect, if possible, a reconciliation with my parent.
My mistress was to me so perfectly lovable, that I could not a doubt
her power of captivating my father, if I could only find the means of
making him acquainted with her good conduct and merit.  In a word, I
relied on obtaining his consent to our marriage, having given up all
idea of accomplishing it without his approval.  I mentioned the project
to Manon, and explained to her that, besides every motive of filial
love and duty, the weightier one of necessity should also have some
influence; for our finances were sadly reduced, and I began to see the
folly of thinking them, as I once did, inexhaustible.

"Manon received the proposition with considerable coldness. However,
the difficulties she made, being apparently the suggestions of
tenderness alone, or as arising from the natural fear of losing me, if
my father, after learning our address, should refuse his assent to our
union, I had not the smallest suspicion of the cruel blow she was at
the very time preparing to inflict.  As to the argument of necessity,
she replied that we had still abundant means of living for some weeks
longer, and that she would then find a resource in the kindness of some
relations in the country, to whom she should write.  She tempered her
opposition by caresses so tender and impassioned, that I, who lived
only for her, and who never had the slightest misgiving as to her love,
applauded at once her arguments and her resolutions.

"To Manon I had committed the care of our finances, and the house-hold
arrangements.  In a short time, I observed that our style of living was
improved, and that she had treated herself to more expensive dresses.
As I calculated that we could hardly have at this period more than
fifteen or twenty crowns remaining, I did not conceal my surprise at
this mysterious augmentation of our wealth.  She begged of me, with a
smile, to give myself no trouble on that head.  'Did I not promise
you,' said she, 'that I would find resources?'  I loved her too purely
to experience the slightest suspicion.

"One day, having gone out in the afternoon, and told her that I should
not be at home so early as usual, I was astonished, on my return, at
being detained several minutes at the door.  Our only servant was a
young girl about our own age.  On her letting me in at last, I asked
why she had detained me so long?  She replied in an embarrassed tone,
that she did not hear me knock.  'I only knocked once,' said I; 'so if
you did not hear me, why come to open the door at all?'  This query
disconcerted her so visibly, that losing her presence of mind, she
began to cry, assuring me that it was not her fault; and that her
mistress had desired her not to open the door until M. de B----had had
time to go down by the back staircase.  I was so confounded by this
information as to be utterly unable to proceed to our apartment; and
was obliged to leave the house, under the pretext of an appointment.  I
desired the girl, therefore, to let her mistress know that I should
return in a few minutes, but on no account to say that she had spoken
to me of M. de B----.

"My horror was so great, that I shed tears as I went along, hardly
knowing from what feeling they flowed.  I entered a coffee-house close
by, and placing myself at a table, I buried my face between my hands,
as though I would turn my eyes inward to ascertain what was passing in
my heart.  Still, I dared not recall what I had heard the moment
before.  I strove to look upon it as a dream; and was more than once on
the point of returning to my lodgings, determined to attach no
importance to what I had heard.

"It appeared to me so impossible that Manon could have been unfaithful,
that I feared even to wrong her by a suspicion.  I adored her--that was
too certain; I had not on my part given her more proofs of my love than
I had received of hers; why then should I charge her with being less
sincere and constant than myself?  What reason could she have to
deceive me?  Not three hours before, she had lavished upon me the most
tender caresses, and had received mine with transport: I knew her heart
as thoroughly as my own.  'No, no!' I said, 'it is not possible that
Manon can have deceived me.  She well knows that I live but for her;
that I adore her: upon that point I can have no reason to be unhappy.'

"Notwithstanding these reflections, the visit of M. de B----, and his
secret departure, gave me some uneasiness.  I remembered, too, the
little purchases she had lately made, which seemed beyond our present
means.  This looked like the liberality of a new lover.  And the
confidence with which she had foretold resources which were to me
unknown?  I had some difficulty in solving these mysteries in as
favourable a manner as my heart desired.

"On the other hand, she had been hardly out of my sight since we
entered Paris.  However occupied, in our walks, in all our amusements,
she was ever at my side.  Heavens! even a momentary separation would
have been too painful.  I could not therefore imagine how Manon could,
to any other person, have devoted a single instant.

"At last I thought I had discovered a clue to the mystery.  'M. de
B----' said I to myself, 'is a man extensively engaged in commercial
affairs; and Manon's relations have no doubt remitted her money through
his house.  She has probably already received some from him, and he is
come today to bring her more.  She wishes, perhaps, to derive amusement
by and by, from an agreeable surprise, by keeping me at present in the
dark.  She would doubtless have at once told me all, if I had gone in
as usual, instead of coming here to distress myself: at all events, she
will not conceal it from me when I broach the subject myself.'

"I cherished this idea so willingly, that it considerably lightened my
grief.  I immediately returned to my lodgings, and embraced Manon as
tenderly as ever.  She received me as usual. At first I was tempted to
mention my conjectures, which I now, more than ever, looked upon as
certain; but I restrained myself in the hope that she might render it
unnecessary by informing me of all that had passed.

"Supper was served.  Assuming an air of gaiety, I took my seat at
table; but by the light of the candles which were between us, I fancied
I perceived an air of melancholy about the eyes and countenance of my
beloved mistress.  The very thought soon damped my gaiety.  I remarked
that her looks wore an unusual expression, and although nothing could
be more soft or languishing, I was at a loss to discover whether they
conveyed more of love than of compassion.  I gazed at her with equal
earnestness, and she perhaps had no less difficulty in comprehending
from my countenance what was passing in my heart.  We neither spoke nor
ate.  At length I saw tears starting from her beauteous
eyes--perfidious tears!  'Oh heavens!' I cried, 'my dearest Manon, why
allow your sorrows to afflict you to this degree without imparting
their cause to me?'  She answered me only with sighs, which increased
my misery.  I arose trembling from my seat: I conjured her, with all
the urgent earnestness of love, to let me know the cause of her grief:
I wept in endeavouring to soothe her sorrows: I was more dead than
alive.  A barbarian would have pitied my sufferings as I stood
trembling with grief and apprehension.

"While my attention was thus confined to her, I heard people coming
upstairs.  They tapped gently at the door.  Manon gave me a kiss, and
escaping from my arms, quickly entered the boudoir, turning the key
after her.  I imagined that, not being dressed to receive strangers,
she was unwilling to meet the persons who had knocked; I went to let
them in.

"I had hardly opened the door, when I found myself seized by three men,
whom I recognised as my father's servants.  They offered not the least
violence, but two of them taking me by the arms, the third examined my
pockets, and took out a small knife, the only weapon I had about me.
They begged pardon for the necessity they were under of treating me
with apparent disrespect; telling me frankly that they were acting by
the orders of my father, and that my eldest brother was in a carriage
below waiting to receive me.  My feelings were so overpowered, that I
allowed myself to be led away without making either reply or
resistance.  I found my brother waiting for me as they had stated.
They placed me by his side, and the coachman immediately drove, by his
orders, towards St. Denis.

"My brother embraced me most affectionately, but during our ride, he
uttered not a word, so that, as I was not inclined for conversation, I
had as much leisure as I could desire to reflect upon my misfortunes."



III


  That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
  And not their appetites.
        SHAKESPEARE.


"The whole affair was so involved in obscurity that I could not see my
way even to a reasonable conjecture.  I was cruelly betrayed--that was
certain; but by whom?  Tiberge first occurred to me.  'Tiberge!' said
I, 'it is as much as thy life is worth, if my suspicions turn out to be
well founded.'  However, I recollected that he could not by possibility
know my abode; and therefore, he could not have furnished the
information.  To accuse Manon was more than my heart was capable of.
The unusual melancholy with which she had lately seemed weighed down,
her tears, the tender kiss she gave me in parting, made it all as yet a
mystery to me.  I could only look upon her recent melancholy as a
presentiment of our common misfortune; and while I was deploring the
event which tore me from her, I was credulous enough to consider her
fate as much deserving of pity as my own.

"The result of my reflections was, that I had been seen and followed in
the streets of Paris by some persons of my acquaintance, who had
conveyed the information to my father. This idea comforted me.  I made
up my mind to encounter some reproaches, or perhaps harsh treatment,
for having outraged the paternal authority.  I resolved, however, to
suffer with patience, and to promise all that might be required of me,
in order to facilitate my speedy return to Paris, that I might restore
life and happiness to my dear Manon.

"We soon arrived at St. Denis.  My brother, surprised at my long
silence, thought it the effect of fear.  He assured me that I had
nothing to apprehend from my father's severity, provided I showed a
disposition to return quietly to the path of duty, and prove myself
worthy of his affection.  He made me pass the night at St. Denis,
merely taking the precaution of putting the three lackeys to sleep in
my room.  It cost me a pang to find myself in the same inn where I had
stopped with Manon on our way from Amiens to Paris.  The innkeeper and
his servants recognised me, and guessed at once the truth of my
history.  I overheard them say, 'Ah! that's the handsome young
gentleman who travelled this road about a month ago, with the beautiful
girl he appeared so much in love with!  How pretty she was!  The poor
young things, how they caressed each other!  Pity if they have been
separated!'  I pretended not to hear, and kept as much out of sight as
possible.

"At St. Denis my brother had a chariot waiting for us, in which we
started early the next morning, and arrived at home before night.

"He saw my father first, in order to make a favourable impression by
telling him how quietly I had allowed myself to be brought away, so
that his reception of me was less austere than I had expected.  He
merely rebuked me in general terms for the offence I had committed, by
absenting myself without his permission.  As for my mistress, he said I
richly deserved what had happened to me, for abandoning myself to a
person utterly unknown; that he had entertained a better opinion of my
discretion; but that he hoped this little adventure would make me
wiser.  I took the whole lecture only in the sense that accorded with
my own notions.  I thanked my father for his indulgence, and promised
that I would in future observe a better regulated and more obedient
course of conduct.  I felt that I had secured a triumph; for, from the
present aspect of affairs, there was no doubt that I should be free to
effect my escape from the house even before the night was over.

"We sat down to supper.  They rallied me about my Amiens conquest, and
my flight with that paragon of fidelity.  I took their jokes in good
part, glad enough at being permitted to revolve in my mind the plans I
had meditated; but some words which fell from my father made me listen
with earnest attention. He spoke of perfidy, and the not disinterested
kindness he had received at the hands of M. de B----.  I was almost
paralysed on hearing the name, and begged of my father to explain
himself.  He turned to my brother, to ask if he had not told me the
whole story.  My brother answered, that I appeared to him so tranquil
upon the road, that he did not suppose I required this remedy to cure
me of my folly.  I remarked that my father was doubtful whether he
should give me the explanation or not.  I entreated him so earnestly
that he satisfied me, or I should rather say tortured me, with the
following most horrible narration.

"He began by asking me whether I was really simple enough to believe
that I had been really loved by the girl.  I told him confidently that
I was perfectly sure of it, and that nothing could make me for a moment
doubt it. 'Ha, ha, ha!' said he, with a loud laugh; 'that is excellent!
you are a pretty dupe! Admirable idea!  'Twould be a thousand pities,
my poor chevalier, to make you a Knight of Malta, with all the
requisites you possess for a patient and accommodating husband.'  He
continued in the same tone to ridicule what he was pleased to call my
dullness and credulity.

"He concluded, while I maintained a profound silence, by saying that,
according to the nicest calculation he could make of the time since my
departure from Amiens, Manon must have been in love with me about
twelve days; 'for,' said he, 'I know that you left Amiens on the 28th
of last month; this is, the 29th of the present; it is eleven days
since M. de B---- wrote to me; I suppose he required eight days to
establish a perfect understanding with your mistress; so that, take
eight and eleven from thirty-one days, the time between the 28th of one
month and the 29th of the next, there remains twelve, more or less!'
This joke was followed by shouts of laughter.

"I heard it all with a kind of sinking of the heart that I thought I
could not bear up against, until he finished.  'You must know then,'
continued my father, 'since you appear as yet ignorant of it, that M.
de B---- has won the affections of your idol; for he can't be serious
in pretending that it is his disinterested regard for me that has
induced him to take her from you.  It would be absurd to expect such
noble sentiments from a man of his description, and one, besides, who
is a perfect stranger to me.  He knew that you were my son, and in
order to get rid of you, he wrote to inform me of your abode, and of
the life you led; saying, at the same time, that strong measures would
be necessary to secure you.

"He offered to procure me the means of laying hold of you; and it was
by his direction, as well as that of your mistress herself, that your
brother hit upon the moment for catching you unawares. Now, you may
congratulate yourself upon the duration of your triumph.  You know how
to conquer, rapid enough; but you have yet to learn how to secure your
conquests.'

"I could no longer endure these remarks, every one of which struck a
dagger to my heart.  I arose from the table, and had not advanced four
steps towards the door, when I fell upon the floor, perfectly
senseless.  By prompt applications they soon brought me to myself.  My
eyes opened only to shed a torrent of tears, and my lips to utter the
most sorrowful and heartrending complaints. My father, who always loved
me most affectionately, tried every means to console me.  I listened to
him, but his words were without effect.  I threw myself at his feet, in
the attitude of prayer, conjuring him to let me return to Paris, and
destroy the monster B----.  'No!' cried I; 'he has not gained Manon's
heart; he may have seduced her by charms, or by drugs; he may have even
brutally violated her.  Manon loves me.  Do I not know that well? He
must have terrified her with a poniard, to induce her to abandon me.'
What must he not have done to have robbed me of my angelic mistress?
Oh Heaven!  Heaven! can it be possible that Manon deceived me, or that
she has ceased to love me!

"As I continued to rave about returning at once to Paris, and was
perpetually starting up with that purpose, my father clearly saw that
while the paroxysm lasted, no arguments could pacify me. He conducted
me to one of the upper rooms, and left two servants to keep constant
watch over me.  I was completely bewildered.  I would have given a
thousand lives to be but for one quarter of an hour in Paris.  I had
sense enough, however, to know that having so openly declared my
intention, they would not easily allow me to quit my chamber.  I looked
at the height of the windows. Seeing no possibility of escaping that
way, I addressed the servants in the most tranquil tone.  I promised,
with the most solemn vows, to make at some future day their fortunes,
if they would but consent to my escape.  I entreated them; I tried
caresses, and lastly threats; but all were unavailing.  I gave myself
up to despair.  I resolved to die; and threw myself upon the bed, with
a firm determination to quit it only with my life. In this situation I
passed the night and the following day.  I refused the nourishment that
was brought to me next morning.

"My father came to see me in the afternoon.  He tried in the most
affectionate manner, to soothe my grief.  He desired me so urgently to
take some refreshment, that, to gratify him, I obeyed his wishes.
Several days passed, during which I took nothing but in his presence,
and at his special request.  He continued to furnish new arguments to
restore me to my proper senses, and to inspire me with merited contempt
for the faithless Manon.  I certainly had lost all esteem for her: how
could I esteem the most fickle and perfidious of created beings!  But
her image--those exquisite features, which were engraven on my heart's
core, were still uneffaced.  I understood my own feelings:  'I may
die,' said I, 'and I ought to die after so much shame and grief; but I
might suffer a thousand deaths without being able to forget the ingrate
Manon.'

"My father was surprised at my still continuing so powerfully affected.
He knew that I was imbued with the principles of honour; and not
doubting that her infidelity must make me despise her, fancied that my
obstinacy proceeded less from this particular passion, than from a
general inclination towards the sex.  This idea so took possession of
his mind, that, prompted only by his affection for me, he came one day
to reveal his thoughts.  'Chevalier,' said he to me, 'it has been
hitherto my intention to make you bear the Cross of Malta: I now see
that your inclinations do not bend that way.  You are an admirer of
beauty.  I shall be able to find you a wife to your taste.  Let me
candidly know how you feel upon the subject.'

"I answered that I could never again see the slightest difference
amongst women, and that after the misfortune I had experienced, I
detested them all equally.  'I will find you one,' replied my father,
smiling, 'who shall resemble Manon in beauty, but who shall be more
faithful.'  'Ah! if you have any mercy,' said I, 'you will restore my
Manon to me.  Be assured, my dear father, that she has not betrayed me;
she is incapable of such base and cruel treachery.  It is the
perfidious B---- who deceives both her and me.  If you could form an
idea of her tenderness and her sincerity--if you only knew her, you
yourself would love her!'  'You are absolutely a child,' replied my
father. 'How can you so delude yourself, after what I have told you
about her?  It was she who actually delivered you up to your brother.
You ought to obliterate even her name from your memory, and take
advantage, if you are wise, of the indulgence I am showing you.'

"I very clearly perceived that my father was right.  It was an
involuntary emotion that made me thus take part with the traitor.
'Alas!' replied I, after a moment's silence, 'it is but too true that I
am the unhappy victim of the vilest perfidy.  Yes,' I continued, while
shedding tears of anger, 'I too clearly perceive that I am indeed but a
child.  Credulity like mine was easily gulled; but I shall be at no
loss to revenge myself.'  My father enquired of me my intentions:  'I
will go to Paris,' I said, 'set fire to B----'s house, and immolate him
and the perfidious Manon together.'  This burst made my father laugh,
and had only the effect of causing me to be more vigilantly watched in
my cell.

"I thus passed six long months; during the first of which my mind
underwent little change.  My feelings were in a state of perpetual
alternation between hate and love; between hope and despair; according
as, the tendency of each passing thought brought Manon back to my
recollection.  At one time, I could see in her the most delightful of
women only, and sigh for the pleasure of beholding her once more; at
another, I felt she was the most unworthy and perfidious of mistresses,
and I would on these occasions swear never again to seek her, but for
the purpose of revenge.

"I was supplied with books, which served to restore my peace of mind.
I read once again all my favourite authors; and I became acquainted
with new ones.  All my former taste for study was revived.  You will
see of what use this was to me in the sequel. The light I had already
derived from love, enabled me to comprehend many passages in Horace and
Virgil which had before appeared obscure.  I wrote an amatory
commentary upon the fourth book of the AEneid.  I intend one day to
publish it, and I flatter myself it will be popular.

"'Alas!' I used to exclaim, 'whilst employed on that work, it was for a
heart like mine the faithful Dido sighed, and sighed in vain!'



IV


  Now, by the strange enchantment that surrounds thee,
  There's nothing--nothing thou shalt ask in vain.
        ESSEX.


"While in my confinement Tiberge came one day to see me.  I was
surprised at the affectionate joy with which he saluted me.  I had
never, hitherto, observed any peculiar warmth in his friendship that
could lead me to look upon it as anything more than the partiality
common among boys of the same age.  He was so altered, and had grown so
manly during the five or six months since I had last seen him, that his
expressive features and his manner of addressing me inspired me with a
feeling of respect. He spoke more in the character of a mentor than a
schoolfellow, lamented the delusion into which I had fallen,
congratulated me on my reformation, which he believed was now sincere,
and ended by exhorting me to profit by my youthful error, and open my
eyes to the vanity of worldly pleasures.  I looked at him with some
astonishment, which he at once perceived.

"'My dear chevalier,' said he to me, 'you shall hear nothing but the
strict truth, of which I have assured myself by the most serious
examination.  I had, perhaps, as strong an inclination for pleasure as
you, but Heaven had at the same time, in its mercy, blessed me with a
taste for virtue.  I exercised my reason in comparing the consequences
of the one with those of the other, and the divine aid was graciously
vouchsafed to my reflections. I conceived for the world a contempt
which nothing can equal. Can you guess what it is retains me in it
now,' he added, 'and that prevents me from embracing a life of
solitude?  Simply the sincere friendship I bear towards you.  I know
the excellent qualities of both your heart and head.  There is no good
of which you may not render yourself capable.  The blandishments of
pleasure have momentarily drawn you aside.  What detriment to the
sacred cause of virtue!  Your flight from Amiens gave me such intense
sorrow, that I have not since known a moment's happiness. You may judge
of this by the steps it induced me to take.'  He then told me how,
after discovering that I had deceived him, and gone off with my
mistress, he procured horses for the purpose of pursuing me, but having
the start of him by four or five hours, he found it impossible to
overtake me; that he arrived, however, at St. Denis half an hour after
I had left it; that, being very sure that I must have stopped in Paris,
he spent six weeks there in a fruitless endeavour to discover
me--visiting every place where he thought he should be likely to meet
me, and that one evening he at length recognised my mistress at the
play, where she was so gorgeously dressed, that he of course set it
down to the account of some new lover; that he had followed her
equipage to her house, and had there learned from a servant that she
was entertained in this style by M. de B----.  'I did not stop here,'
continued he; 'I returned next day to the house, to learn from her own
lips what had become of you.  She turned abruptly away when she heard
the mention of your name, and I was obliged to return into the country
without further information.  I there learned the particulars of your
adventure, and the extreme annoyance she had caused you; but I was
unwilling to visit you until I could have assurance of your being in a
more tranquil state.'

"'You have seen Manon then!' cried I, sighing. 'Alas! you are happier
than I, who am doomed never again to behold her.'  He rebuked me for
this sigh, which still showed my weakness for the perfidious girl.  He
flattered me so adroitly upon the goodness of my mind and disposition,
that he really inspired me, even on this first visit, with a strong
inclination to renounce, as he had done, the pleasures of the world,
and enter at once into holy orders.

"The idea was so suited to my present frame of mind, that when alone I
thought of nothing else.  I remembered the words of the Bishop of
Amiens, who had given me the same advice, and thought only of the
happiness which he predicted would result from my adoption of such a
course.  Piety itself took part in these suggestions.  'I shall lead a
holy and a Christian life,' said I; 'I shall divide my time between
study and religion, which will allow me no leisure for the perilous
pleasures of love.  I shall despise that which men ordinarily admire;
and as I am conscious that my heart will desire nothing but what it can
esteem, my cares will not be greater or more numerous than my wants and
wishes.'

"I thereupon pictured to myself in anticipation a course of life
peaceful and retired.  I fancied a retreat embosomed in a wood, with a
limpid stream of running water bounding my garden; a library,
comprising the most select works; a limited circle of friends, virtuous
and intellectual; a table neatly served, but frugal and temperate.  To
all these agremens I added a literary correspondence with a friend
whose residence should be in Paris, who should give me occasional
information upon public affairs, less for the gratification of my
curiosity, than to afford a kind of relaxation by hearing of and
lamenting the busy follies of men.  'Shall not I be happy?' added I;
'will not my utmost wishes be thus gratified?'  This project flattered
my inclinations extremely.  But after all the details of this most
admirable and prudent plan, I felt that my heart still yearned for
something; and that in order to leave nothing to desire in this most
enchanting retirement, one ought to be able to share it with Manon.

"However, Tiberge continuing to pay me frequent visits in order to
strengthen me in the purpose with which he had inspired me, I took an
opportunity of opening the subject to my father.  He declared that his
intention ever was to leave his children free to choose a profession,
and that in whatever manner I should dispose of myself, all he wished
to reserve was the right of aiding me with his counsel.  On this
occasion he gave me some of the wisest, which tended less to divert me
from my project, than to convince me of my good father's sound judgment
and discretion.

"The recommencement of the scholastic year being at hand, Tiberge and I
agreed to enter ourselves together at St. Sulpice, he to pursue his
theological studies, and I to begin mine.  His merits, which were not
unknown to the bishop of the diocese, procured him the promise of a
living from that prelate before our departure.

"My father, thinking me quite cured of my passion, made no objection to
my taking final leave.  We arrived at Paris.  The Cross of Malta gave
place to the ecclesiastical habit, and the designation of the Abbe de
Grieux was substituted for that of chevalier.  I applied so diligently
to study, that in a few months I had made extraordinary progress.  I
never lost a moment of the day, and employed even part of the night.  I
soon acquired such a reputation, that I was already congratulated upon
the honours which I was sure of obtaining; and, without solicitation on
my part, my name was inscribed on the list for a vacant benefice.
Piety was by no means neglected, and I entered with ardent devotion
into all the exercises of religion.  Tiberge was proud of what he
considered the work of his own hands, and many a time have I seen him
shed tears of delight in noticing what he styled my perfect conversion.

"It has never been matter of wonder to me that human resolutions are
liable to change; one passion gives them birth, another may destroy
them; but when I reflect upon the sacredness of those motives that led
me to St. Sulpice, and upon the heartfelt satisfaction I enjoyed while
obeying their dictation, I shudder at the facility with which I
outraged them all.  If it be true that the benign succour afforded by
Heaven is at all times equal to the strongest of man's pinions, I shall
be glad to learn the nature of the deplorable ascendancy which causes
us suddenly to swerve from the path of duty, without the power of
offering the least resistance, and without even the slightest
visitation of remorse.

"I now thought myself entirely safe from the dangers of love.  I
fancied that I could have preferred a single page of St. Augustine, or
a quarter of an hour of Christian meditation, to every sensual
gratification, not excepting any that I might have derived even from
Manon's society.  Nevertheless, one unlucky moment plunged me again
headlong into the gulf; and my ruin was the more irreparable, because,
falling at once to the same depth from whence I had been before
rescued, each of the new disorders into which I now lapsed carried me
deeper and deeper still down the profound abyss of vice.  I had passed
nearly a year at Paris without hearing of Manon.  It cost me no slight
effort to abstain from enquiry; but the unintermitting advice of
Tiberge, and my own reflections, secured this victory over my wishes.
The last months glided away so tranquilly, that I considered the memory
of this charming but treacherous creature about to be consigned to
eternal oblivion.

"The time arrived when I was to undergo a public examination in the
class of theology:  I invited several persons of consideration to
honour me with their presence on the occasion. My name was mentioned in
every quarter of Paris: it even reached the ears of her who had
betrayed me.  She had some difficulty in recognising it with the prefix
of Abbe; but curiosity, or perhaps remorse for having been faithless to
me (I could never after ascertain by which of these feelings she was
actuated), made her at once take an interest in a name so like mine;
and she came with several other women to the Sorbonne, where she was
present at my examination, and had doubtless little trouble in
recognising my person.

"I had not the remotest suspicion of her presence.  It is well known
that in these places there are private seats for ladies, where they
remain screened by a curtain.  I returned to St. Sulpice covered with
honours and congratulations.  It was six in the evening.  The moment I
returned, a lady was announced, who desired to speak with me.  I went
to meet her.  Heavens! what a surprise!

"It was Manon.  It was she indeed, but more bewitching and brilliant
than I had ever beheld her.  She was now in her eighteenth year.  Her
beauty beggars all description.  The exquisite grace of her form, the
mild sweetness of expression that animated her features, and her
engaging air, made her seem the very personification of love.  The
vision was something too perfect for human beauty.

"I stood like one enchanted at beholding her.  Unable to divine the
object of her visit, I waited trembling and with downcast looks until
she explained herself.  At first, her embarrassment was equal to mine;
but, seeing that I was not disposed to break silence, she raised her
hand to her eyes to conceal a starting tear, and then, in a timid tone,
said that she well knew she had justly earned my abhorrence by her
infidelity; but that if I had ever really felt any love for her, there
was not much kindness in allowing two long years to pass without
enquiring after her, and as little now in seeing her in the state of
mental distress in which she was, without condescending to bestow upon
her a single word.  I shall not attempt to describe what my feelings
were as I listened to this reproof.

"She seated herself.  I remained standing, with my face half turned
aside, for I could not muster courage to meet her look.  I several
times commenced a reply without power to conclude it.  At length I made
an effort, and in a tone of poignant grief exclaimed:  'Perfidious
Manon! perfidious, perfidious creature!' She had no wish, she repeated
with a flood of tears, to attempt to justify her infidelity.  'What is
your wish, then?' cried I. 'I wish to die,' she answered, 'if you will
not give me back that heart, without which it is impossible to endure
life.'  'Take my life too, then, faithless girl!'  I exclaimed, in vain
endeavouring to restrain my tears; 'take my life also! it is the sole
sacrifice that remains for me to make, for my heart has never ceased to
be thine.'

"I had hardly uttered these words, when she rose in a transport of joy,
and approached to embrace me.  She loaded me with a thousand caresses.
She addressed me by all the endearing appellations with which love
supplies his votaries, to enable them to express the most passionate
fondness.  I still answered with affected coldness; but the sudden
transition from a state of quietude, such as that I had up to this
moment enjoyed, to the agitation and tumult which were now kindled in
my breast and tingled through my veins, thrilled me with a kind of
horror, and impressed me with a vague sense that I was about to undergo
some great transformation, and to enter upon a new existence.

"We sat down close by each other.  I took her hand within mine, 'Ah!
Manon,' said I, with a look of sorrow, 'I little thought that love like
mine could have been repaid with treachery!  It was a poor triumph to
betray a heart of which you were the absolute mistress--whose sole
happiness it was to gratify and obey you.  Tell me if among others you
have found any so affectionate and so devoted?  No, no!  I believe
nature has cast few hearts in the same mould as mine.  Tell me at least
whether you have ever thought of me with regret!  Can I have any
reliance on the duration of the feeling that has brought you back to me
today?  I perceive too plainly that you are infinitely lovelier than
ever: but I conjure you by all my past sufferings, dearest Manon, to
tell me--can you in future be more faithful?'

"She gave me in reply such tender assurances of her repentance, and
pledged her fidelity with such solemn protestations and vows, that I
was inexpressibly affected.  'Beauteous Manon,' said I, with rather a
profane mixture of amorous and theological expressions, 'you are too
adorable for a created being.  I feel my heart transported with
triumphant rapture.  It is folly to talk of liberty at St. Sulpice.
Fortune and reputation are but slight sacrifices at such a shrine!  I
plainly foresee it: I can read my destiny in your bright eyes; but what
abundant recompense shall I not find in your affections for any loss I
may sustain! The favours of fortune have no influence over me: fame
itself appears to me but a mockery; all my projects of a holy life were
wild absurdities: in fact, any joys but those I may hope for at your
side are fit objects of contempt.  There are none that would not vanish
into worthlessness before one single glance of thine!'

"In promising her, however, a full remission of her past frailties, I
enquired how she permitted herself to be led astray by B----.  She
informed me that having seen her at her window, he became passionately
in love with her; that he made his advances in the true style of a
mercantile cit;--that is to say, by giving her to understand in his
letter, that his payments would be proportioned to her favours; that
she had admitted his overtures at first with no other intention than
that of getting from him such a sum as might enable us to live without
inconvenience; but that he had so bewildered her with splendid
promises, that she allowed herself to be misled by degrees.  She added,
that I ought to have formed some notion of the remorse she experienced,
by her grief on the night of our separation; and assured me that, in
spite of the splendour in which he maintained her, she had never known
a moment's happiness with him, not only, she said, because he was
utterly devoid of that delicacy of sentiment and of those agreeable
manners which I possessed, but because even in the midst of the
amusements which he unceasingly procured her, she could never shake off
the recollection of my love, or her own ingratitude.  She then spoke of
Tiberge, and the extreme embarrassment his visit caused her.  'A
dagger's point,' she added, 'could not have struck more terror to my
heart.  I turned from him, unable to sustain the interview for a
moment.'

"She continued to inform me how she had been apprised of my residence
at Paris, of the change in my condition, and of her witnessing my
examination at the Sorbonne.  She told me how agitated she had been
during my intellectual conflict with the examiner; what difficulty she
felt in restraining her tears as well as her sighs, which were more
than once on the point of spurning all control, and bursting forth;
that she was the last person to leave the hall of examination, for fear
of betraying her distress, and that, following only the instinct of her
own heart, and her ardent desires, she came direct to the seminary,
with the firm resolution of surrendering life itself, if she found me
cruel enough to withhold my forgiveness.

"Could any savage remain unmoved by such proofs of cordial repentance
as those I had just witnessed?  For my part, I felt at the moment that
I could gladly have given up all the bishoprics in Christendom for
Manon.  I asked what course she would recommend in our present
emergency. 'It is requisite,' she replied, 'at all events, to quit the
seminary, and settle in some safer place.'  I consented to everything
she proposed.  She got into her carriage to go and wait for me at the
corner of the street.  I escaped the next moment, without attracting
the porter's notice.  I entered the carriage, and we drove off to a
Jew's.  I there resumed my lay-dress and sword.  Manon furnished the
supplies, for I was without a sou, and fearing that I might meet with
some new impediment, she would not consent to my returning to my room
at St. Sulpice for my purse.  My finances were in truth wretchedly low,
and hers more than sufficiently enriched by the liberality of M. de
B---- to make her think lightly of my loss.  We consulted together at
the Jew's as to the course we should now adopt.

"In order to enhance the sacrifice she had made for me of her late
lover, she determined to treat him without the least ceremony.  'I
shall leave him all his furniture,' she said; 'it belongs to him: but I
shall assuredly carry off, as I have a right to do, the jewels, and
about sixty thousand francs, which I have had from him in the last two
years.  I have given him no control over me,' she added, 'so that we
may remain without apprehension in Paris, taking a convenient house,
where we shall live, oh how happily together!'

"I represented to her that, although there might be no danger for her,
there was a great deal for me, who must be sooner or later infallibly
recognised, and continually exposed to a repetition of the trials I had
before endured.  She gave me to understand that she could not quit
Paris without regret.  I had such a dread of giving her annoyance, that
there were no risks I would not have encountered for her sake.
However, we compromised matters by resolving to take a house in some
village near Paris, from whence it would be easy for us to come into
town whenever pleasure or business required it.  We fixed on Chaillot,
which is at a convenient distance.  Manon at once returned to her
house, and I went to wait for her at a side-gate of the garden of the
Tuileries.

"She returned an hour after, in a hired carriage, with a servant-maid,
and several trunks, which contained her dresses, and everything she had
of value.

"We were not long on our way to Chaillot.  We lodged the first night at
the inn, in order to have time to find a suitable house, or at least a
commodious lodging.  We found one to our taste the next morning.

"My happiness now appeared to be secured beyond the reach of fate.
Manon was everything most sweet and amiable.  She was so delicate and
so unceasing in her attentions to me, that I deemed myself but too
bountifully rewarded for all my past troubles.  As we had both, by this
time, acquired some experience, we discussed rationally the state of
our finances.  Sixty thousand francs (the amount of our wealth) was not
a sum that could be expected to last our whole life; besides, we were
neither of us much disposed to control our expenses.  Manon's chief
virtue assuredly was not economy, any more than it was mine.  This was
my proposition. 'Sixty thousand francs,' said I, 'may support us for
ten years. Two thousand crowns a year will suffice, if we continue to
live at Chaillot.  We shall keep up appearances, but live frugally. Our
only expense will be occasionally a carriage, and the theatres.  We
shall do everything in moderation.  You like the opera; we shall go
twice a week, in the season.  As for play, we shall limit ourselves; so
that our losses must never exceed three crowns.  It is impossible but
that in the space of ten years some change must occur in my family: my
father is even now of an advanced age; he may die; in which event I
must inherit a fortune, and we shall then be above all other fears.'

"This arrangement would not have been by any means the most silly act
of my life, if we had only been prudent enough to persevere in its
execution; but our resolutions hardly lasted longer than a month.
Manon's passion was for amusement; she was the only object of mine.
New temptations to expense constantly presented themselves, and far
from regretting the money which she sometimes prodigally lavished, I
was the first to procure for her everything likely to afford her
pleasure.  Our residence at Chaillot began even to appear tiresome.

"Winter was approaching, and the whole world returning to town; the
country had a deserted look.  She proposed to me to take a house in
Paris.  I did not approve of this; but, in order partly at least to
satisfy her, I said that we might hire furnished apartments, and that
we might sleep there whenever we were late in quitting the assembly,
whither we often went; for the inconvenience of returning so late to
Chaillot was her excuse for wishing to leave it.  We had thus two
dwellings, one in town and the other in the country.  This change soon
threw our affairs into confusion, and led to two adventures, which
eventually caused our ruin.

"Manon had a brother in the Guards.  He unfortunately lived in the very
street in which we had taken lodgings.  He one day recognised his
sister at the window, and hastened over to us.  He was a fellow of the
rudest manners, and without the slightest principle of honour.  He
entered the room swearing in the most horrible way; and as he knew part
of his sister's history, he loaded her with abuse and reproaches.

"I had gone out the moment before, which was doubtless fortunate for
either him or me, for I was little disposed to brook an insult.  I only
returned to the lodgings after he had left them. The low spirits in
which I found Manon convinced me at once that something extraordinary
had occurred.  She told me of the provoking scene she had just gone
through, and of the brutal threats of her brother.  I felt such
indignation, that I wished to proceed at once to avenge her, when she
entreated me with tears to desist.

"While we were still talking of the adventure, the guardsman again
entered the room in which we sat, without even waiting to be announced.
Had I known him, he should not have met from me as civil a reception as
he did; but saluting us with a smile upon his countenance, he addressed
himself to Manon, and said, he was come to make excuses for his
violence; that he had supposed her to be living a life of shame and
disgrace, and it was this notion that excited his rage; but having
since made enquiry from one of our servants, he had learned such a
character of me, that his only wish was now to be on terms with us both.

"Although this admission, of having gone for information to one of my
own servants, had in it something ludicrous as well as indelicate, I
acknowledged his compliments with civility, I thought by doing so to
please Manon, and I was not deceived--she was delighted at the
reconciliation.  We made him stay to dine with us.

"In a little time he became so familiar, that hearing us speak of our
return to Chaillot, he insisted on accompanying us.  We were obliged to
give him a seat in our carriage.  This was in fact putting him into
possession, for he soon began to feel so much pleasure in our company,
that he made our house his home, and made himself in some measure
master of all that belonged to us.  He called me his brother, and,
under the semblance of fraternal freedom, he put himself on such a
footing as to introduce all his friends without ceremony into our house
at Chaillot, and there entertain them at our expense.  His magnificent
uniforms were procured of my tailor and charged to me, and he even
contrived to make Manon and me responsible for all his debts.  I
pretended to be blind to this system of tyranny, rather than annoy
Manon, and even to take no notice of the sums of money which from time
to time he received from her. No doubt, as he played very deep, he was
honest enough to repay her a part sometimes, when luck turned in his
favour; but our finances were utterly inadequate to supply, for any
length of time, demands of such magnitude and frequency.

"I was on the point of coming to an understanding with him, in order to
put an end to the system, when an unfortunate accident saved me that
trouble, by involving us in inextricable ruin.

"One night we stopped in Paris to sleep, as it had now indeed become
our constant habit.  The servant-maid who on such occasions remained
alone at Chaillot, came early the next morning to inform me that our
house had taken fire in the night, and that the flames had been
extinguished with great difficulty.  I asked whether the furniture had
suffered.  She answered, that there had been such confusion, owing to
the multitude of strangers who came to offer assistance, that she could
hardly ascertain what damage had been done.  I was principally uneasy
about our money, which had been locked up in a little box.  I went off
in haste to Chaillot.  Vain hope! the box had disappeared!

"I discovered that one could love money without being a miser. This
loss afflicted me to such a degree that I was almost out of my mind.  I
saw at one glance to what new calamities I should be exposed: poverty
was the least of them.  I knew Manon thoroughly; I had already had
abundant proof that, although faithful and attached to me under happier
circumstances, she could not be depended upon in want: pleasure and
plenty she loved too well to sacrifice them for my sake.  'I shall lose
her!' I cried; 'miserable chevalier! you are about then to lose all
that you love on earth!'  This thought agitated me to such a degree
that I actually for some moments considered whether it would not be
best for me to end at once all my miseries by death.  I however
preserved presence of mind enough to reflect whether I was entirely
without resource, and an idea occurred to me which quieted my despair.
It would not be impossible, I thought, to conceal our loss from Manon;
and I might perhaps discover some ways and means of supplying her, so
as to ward off the inconveniences of poverty.

"I had calculated in endeavouring to comfort myself, that twenty
thousand crowns would support us for ten years.  Suppose that these ten
years had now elapsed, and that none of the events which I had looked
for in my family had occurred.  What then would have been my course?  I
hardly know; but whatever I should then have done, why may I not do
now?  How many are there in Paris, who have neither my talents, nor the
natural advantages I possess, and who, notwithstanding, owe their
support to the exercise of their talents, such as they are?

"'Has not Providence,' I added, while reflecting on the different
conditions of life, 'arranged things wisely?'  The greater number of
the powerful and the rich are fools.  No one who knows anything of the
world can doubt that.  How admirable is the compensating justice
thereof!  If wealth brought with it talent also, the rich would be too
happy, and other men too wretched.  To these latter are given personal
advantages and genius, to help them out of misery and want.  Some of
them share the riches of the wealthy by administering to their
pleasures, or by making them their dupes; others afford them
instruction, and endeavour to make them decent members of society; to
be sure, they do not always succeed; but that was probably not the
intention of the divine wisdom.  In every case they derive a benefit
from their labours by living at the expense of their pupils; and, in
whatever point of view it is considered, the follies of the rich are a
bountiful source of revenue to the humbler classes.

"These thoughts restored me a little to my spirits and to my reason.  I
determined first to consult M. Lescaut, the brother of Manon.  He knew
Paris perfectly; and I had too many opportunities of learning that it
was neither from his own estates, nor from the king's pay, that he
derived the principal portion of his income.  I had about thirty-three
crowns left, which I fortunately happened to have about me.  I showed
him my purse, and explained to him my misfortune and my fears, and then
asked him whether I had any alternative between starvation and blowing
out my brains in despair.  He coolly replied that suicide was the
resource of fools.  As to dying of want, there were hundreds of men of
genius who found themselves reduced to that state when they would not
employ their talents; that it was for myself to discover what I was
capable of doing, and he told me to reckon upon his assistance and his
advice in any enterprise I might undertake.

"'Vague enough, M. Lescaut!' said I to him: 'my wants demand a more
speedy remedy; for what am I to say to Manon?'  'Apropos of Manon,'
replied he, 'what is it that annoys you about her? Cannot you always
find in her wherewithal to meet your wants, when you wish it?  Such a
person ought to support us all, you and me as well as herself.'  He cut
short the answer which I was about to give to such unfeeling and brutal
impertinence, by going on to say, that before night he would ensure me
a thousand crowns to divide between us, if I would only follow his
advice; that he was acquainted with a nobleman, who was so liberal in
affairs of the kind, that he was certain he would not hesitate for a
moment to give the sum named for the favours of such a girl as Manon.

"I stopped him.  'I had a better opinion of you,' said I; 'I had
imagined that your motive for bestowing your friendship upon me was
very different indeed from the one you now betray.'  With the greatest
effrontery he acknowledged that he had been always of the same mind,
and that his sister having once sacrificed her virtue, though it might
be to the man she most loved, he would never have consented to a
reconciliation with her, but with the hope of deriving some advantage
from her past misconduct.

"It was easy to see that we had been hitherto his dupes.
Notwithstanding the disgust with which his proposition inspired me,
still, as I felt that I had occasion for his services, I said, with
apparent complacency, that we ought only to entertain such a plan as a
last resource.  I begged of him to suggest some other.

"He proposed to me to turn my youth and the good looks nature had
bestowed upon me to some account, by establishing a liaison with some
generous old dame.  This was just as little to my taste, for it would
necessarily have rendered me unfaithful to Manon.

"I mentioned play as the easiest scheme, and the most suitable to my
present situation.  He admitted that play certainly was a resource, but
that it was necessary to consider the point well. 'Mere play,' said he,
'with its ordinary chances, is the certain road to ruin; and as for
attempting, alone and without an ally, to employ the little means an
adroit man has for correcting the vagaries of luck, it would be too
dangerous an experiment.' There was, he stated, a third course, which
was to enter into what he called a partnership; but he feared his
confederates would consider my youth an objection to my admittance.
He, however, promised to use his influence with them; and, what was
more than I expected at his hands, he said that he would supply me with
a little money whenever I had pressing occasion for any. The only
favour I then asked of him was to say nothing to Manon of the loss I
had experienced, nor of the subject of our conversation.

"I certainly derived little comfort from my visit to Lescaut; I felt
even sorry for having confided my secret to him: not a single thing had
he done for me that I might not just as well have done for myself,
without troubling him; and I could not help dreading that he would
violate his promise to keep the secret from Manon.  I had also reason
to apprehend, from his late avowals, that he might form the design of
making use of her for his own vile purposes, or at least of advising
her to quit me for some happier and more wealthy lover.  This idea
brought in its train a thousand reflections, which had no other effect
than to torment me, and throw me again into the state of despair in
which I had passed the morning.  It occurred to me, more than once, to
write to my father; and to pretend a new reformation, in order to
obtain some pecuniary assistance from him; but I could not forget that,
notwithstanding all his natural love and affection for me, he had shut
me up for six months in a confined room for my first transgression; and
I was certain that, after the scandalous sensation caused by my flight
from St. Sulpice, he would be sure to treat me with infinitely more
rigour now.

"At length, out of this chaos of fancies came an idea that all at once
restored ease to my mind, and which I was surprised at not having hit
upon sooner; this was, to go again to my friend Tiberge, in whom I
might be always sure of finding the same unfailing zeal and friendship.
There is nothing more glorious--nothing that does more honour to true
virtue, than the confidence with which one approaches a friend of tried
integrity; no apprehension, no risk of unkind repulse: if it be not
always in his power to afford the required succour, one is sure at
least of meeting kindness and compassion.  The heart of the poor
supplicant, which remains impenetrably closed to the rest of the world,
opens in his presence, as a flower expands before the orb of day, from
which it instinctively knows it can derive a cheering and benign
influence only.

"I consider it a blessing to have thought so apropos of Tiberge, and
resolved to take measures to find him before evening.  I returned at
once to my lodgings to write him a line, and fix a convenient place for
our meeting.  I requested secrecy and discretion, as the most important
service he could render me under present circumstances.

"The pleasure I derived from the prospect of seeing Tiberge dissipated
every trace of melancholy, which Manon would not have failed otherwise
to detect in my countenance.  I described our misfortune at Chaillot as
a trifle which ought not to annoy her; and Paris being the spot she
liked best in the world, she was not sorry to hear me say that it would
be necessary for us to remain there entirely, until the little damage
was repaired which had been caused by the fire at Chaillot.

"In an hour I received an answer from Tiberge, who promised to be at
the appointed rendezvous.  I went there punctually.  I certainly felt
some shame at encountering a friend whose presence alone ought to be a
reproach to my iniquities; but I was supported by the opinion I had of
the goodness of his heart, as well as by my anxiety about Manon.

"I had begged of him to meet me in the garden of the Palais Royal.  He
was there before me.  He hastened towards me, the moment he saw me
approach and shook me warmly by both hands.  I said that I could not
help feeling perfectly ashamed to meet him, and that I was weighed down
by a sense of my ingratitude; that the first thing I implored of him
was to tell me whether I might still consider him my friend, after
having so justly incurred the loss of his esteem and affection.  He
replied, in the kindest possible manner, that it was not in the nature
of things to destroy his regard for me; that my misfortunes even, or,
if he might so call them, my faults and transgressions, had but
increased the interest he felt for me; but that he must confess his
affection was not unalloyed by a sentiment of the liveliest sorrow,
such as a person may be supposed to feel at seeing a beloved object on
the brink of ruin, and beyond the reach of his assistance.

"We sat down upon a bench.  'Alas!' said I with a deep sigh, 'your
compassion must be indeed great, my dear Tiberge, if you assure me it
is equal to my sufferings.  I am almost ashamed to recount them, for I
confess they have been brought on by no very creditable course of
conduct: the results, however, are so truly melancholy, that a friend
even less attached than you would be affected by the recital.'

"He then begged of me, in proof of friendship, to let him know, without
any disguise, all that had occurred to me since my departure from St.
Sulpice.  I gratified him; and so far from concealing anything, or
attempting to extenuate my faults, I spoke of my passion with all the
ardour with which it still inspired me.  I represented it to him as one
of those especial visitations of fate, which draw on the devoted victim
to his ruin, and which it is as impossible for virtue itself to resist,
as for human wisdom to foresee.  I painted to him in the most vivid
colours, my excitement, my fears, the state of despair in which I had
been two hours before I saw him, and into which I should be again
plunged, if I found my friends as relentless as fate had been.  I at
length made such an impression upon poor Tiberge, that I saw he was as
much affected by compassion, as I by the recollection of my sufferings.

"He took my hand, and exhorted me to have courage and be comforted;
but, as he seemed to consider it settled that Manon and I were to
separate, I gave him at once to understand that it was that very
separation I considered as the most intolerable of all my misfortunes;
and that I was ready to endure not only the last degree of misery, but
death itself, of the cruellest kind, rather than seek relief in a
remedy worse than the whole accumulation of my woes.

"'Explain yourself, then,' said he to me; 'what assistance can I afford
you, if you reject everything I propose?'  I had not courage to tell
him that it was from his purse I wanted relief. He, however,
comprehended it in the end; and acknowledging that he believed he now
understood me, he remained for a moment in an attitude of thought, with
the air of a person revolving something in his mind.  'Do not imagine,'
he presently said, 'that my hesitation arises from any diminution of my
zeal and friendship; but to what an alternative do you now reduce me,
since I must either refuse you the assistance you ask, or violate my
most sacred duty in affording it!  For is it not participating in your
sin to furnish you with the means of continuing its indulgence?'

"'However,' continued he, after a moment's thought, 'it is perhaps the
excited state into which want has thrown you, that denies you now the
liberty of choosing the proper path.  Man's mind must be at rest, to
know the luxury of wisdom and virtue.  I can afford to let you have
some money; and permit me, my dear chevalier, to impose but one
condition; that is, that you let me know the place of your abode, and
allow me the opportunity of using my exertions to reclaim you.  I know
that there is in your heart a love of virtue, and that you have been
only led astray by the violence of your passions.'

"I, of course, agreed to everything he asked, and only begged of him to
deplore the malign destiny which rendered me callous to the counsels of
so virtuous a friend.  He then took me to a banker of his acquaintance,
who gave one hundred and seventy crowns for his note of hand, which was
taken as cash.  I have already said that he was not rich.  His living
was worth about six thousand francs a year, but as this was the first
year since his induction, he had as yet touched none of the receipts,
and it was out of the future income that he made me this advance.

"I felt the full force of his generosity, even to such a degree as
almost to deplore the fatal passion which thus led me to break through
all the restraints of duty.  Virtue had for a moment the ascendancy in
my heart, and made me sensible of my shame and degradation.  But this
was soon over.  For Manon I could have given up my hopes of heaven, and
when I again found myself at her side, I wondered how I could for an
instant have considered myself degraded by my passion for this
enchanting girl.

"Manon was a creature of most extraordinary disposition.  Never had
mortal a greater contempt for money, and yet she was haunted by
perpetual dread of wanting it.  Her only desire was for pleasure and
amusement.  She would never have wished to possess a sou, if pleasure
could be procured without money.  She never even cared what our purse
contained, provided she could pass the day agreeably; so that, being
neither fond of play nor at all dazzled by the desire of great wealth,
nothing was more easy than to satisfy her, by daily finding out
amusements suited to her moderate wishes.  But it became by habit a
thing so absolutely necessary for her to have her mind thus occupied,
that, without it, it was impossible to exercise the smallest influence
over her temper or inclinations.  Although she loved me tenderly, and I
was the only person, as she often declared, in whose society she could
ever find the pure enjoyments of love, yet I felt thoroughly convinced
that her attachment could not withstand certain apprehensions.  She
would have preferred me, even with a moderate fortune, to the whole
world; but I had no kind of doubt that she would, on the other hand,
abandon me for some new M. de B----, when I had nothing more to offer
her than fidelity and love.

"I resolved therefore so to curtail my own individual expenses, as to
be able always to meet hers, and rather to deprive myself of a thousand
necessaries than even to limit her extravagance. The carriage made me
more uneasy than anything else, for I saw no chance of being able to
maintain either coachman or horses.

"I told M. Lescaut of my difficulties, and did not conceal from him
that I had received a thousand francs from a friend.  He repeated, that
if I wished to try the chances of the gaming-table, he was not without
hopes that, by spending a few crowns in entertaining his associates, I
might be, on his recommendation, admitted into the association.  With
all my repugnance to cheating, I yielded to dire necessity.

"Lescaut presented me that night as a relation of his own.  He added,
that I was the more likely to succeed in my new profession, from
wanting the favours of fortune.  However, to show them that I was not
quite reduced to the lowest ebb, he said it was my intention to treat
them with a supper.  The offer was accepted, and I entertained them en
prince.  They talked a good deal about my fashionable appearance and
the apparent amiability of my disposition; they said that the best
hopes might be entertained of me, because there was something in my
countenance that bespoke the gentleman, and no one therefore could have
a suspicion of my honesty: they voted thanks to Lescaut for having
introduced so promising a novice, and deputed one of the members to
instruct me for some days in the necessary manoeuvres.

"The principal scene of my exploits was the hotel of Transylvania,
where there was a faro table in one room, and other games of cards and
dice in the gallery.  This academy was kept by the Prince of R----, who
then lived at Clagny, and most of his officers belonged to our society.
Shall I mention it to my shame?  I profited quickly by my instructor's
tuition.  I acquired an amazing facility in sleight of hand tricks, and
learned in perfection to sauter le coup; with the help of a pair of
long ruffles, I shuffled so adroitly as to defy the quickest observer,
and I ruined several fair players.  My unrivalled skill so quickened
the progress of my fortunes, that I found myself master, in a few
weeks, of very considerable sums, besides what I divided in good faith
with my companions.

"I had no longer any fear of communicating to Manon the extent of our
loss at Chaillot, and, to console her on the announcement of such
disastrous news, I took a furnished house, where we established
ourselves in all the pride of opulence and security.

"Tiberge was in the habit, at this period, of paying me frequent
visits.  He was never tired of his moral lectures.  Over and over again
did he represent to me the injury I was inflicting upon my conscience,
my honour, and my fortune.  I received all his advice kindly, and
although I had not the smallest inclination to adopt it, I had no doubt
of its sincerity, for I knew its source. Sometimes I rallied him
good-humouredly, and entreated him not to be more tight-laced than some
other priests were, and even bishops, who by no means considered a
mistress incompatible with a good and holy life.'  'Look,' I said, 'at
Manon's eyes, and tell me if there is one in the long catalogue of sins
that might not there find a plea of justification.'  He bore these
sallies patiently, and carried his forbearance almost too far: but when
he saw my funds increase, and that I had not only returned him the
hundred and seventy crowns, but having hired a new house and trebled my
expenses, I had plunged deeper than ever into a life of pleasure, he
changed his tone and manner towards me.  He lamented my obduracy.  He
warned me against the chastisement of the Divine wrath, and predicted
some of the miseries with which indeed I was shortly afterwards
visited.  'It is impossible,' he said, 'that the money which now serves
to support your debaucheries can have been acquired honourably.  You
have come by it unjustly, and in the same way shall it be taken from
you.  The most awful punishment Heaven could inflict would be to allow
you the undisturbed enjoyment of it.  All my advice,' he added, 'has
been useless; I too plainly perceive that it will shortly become
troublesome to you.  I now take my leave; you are a weak, as well as an
ungrateful friend!  May your criminal enjoyments vanish as a shadow!
may your ill-gotten wealth leave you without a resource; and may you
yourself remain alone and deserted, to learn the vanity of these
things, which now divert you from better pursuits!  When that time
arrives, you will find me disposed to love and to serve you; this day
ends our intercourse, and I once for all avow my horror of the life you
are leading.'

"It was in my room and in Manon's presence that he delivered this
apostolical harangue.  He rose to depart.  I was about to detain him;
but was prevented by Manon, who said it was better to let the madman go.

"What he said, however, did not fail to make some impression upon me.
I notice these brief passages of my life when I experienced a returning
sentiment of virtue, because it was to those traces, however light,
that I was afterwards indebted for whatever of fortitude I displayed
under the most trying circumstances.

"Manon's caresses soon dissipated the annoyance this scene had caused
me.  We continued to lead a life entirely devoted to pleasure and love.
The increase of our wealth only redoubled our affection.  There none
happier among all the devotees of Venus and Fortune.  Heavens! why call
this a world of misery, when it can furnish a life of such rapturous
enjoyment?  But alas, it is too soon over!  For what ought man to sigh,
could such felicity but last for ever?  Ours shared the common fate--in
being of short duration, and followed by lasting regrets.

"I had realised by play such a considerable sum of money, that I
thought of investing a portion of it.  My servants were not ignorant of
my good luck, particularly my valet and Manon's own maid, before whom
we often talked without any reserve.  The maid was handsome, and my
valet in love with her.  They knew they had to deal with a young and
inexperienced couple, whom they fancied they could impose upon without
much difficulty.  They laid a plan, and executed it with so much skill,
that they reduced us to a state from which it was never afterwards
possible for us to extricate ourselves.

"Having supped one evening at Lescaut's, it was about midnight when we
returned home.  I asked for my valet, and Manon for her maid; neither
one nor the other could be found.  They had not been seen in the house
since eight o'clock, and had gone out, after having some cases carried
before them, according to orders which they pretended to have received
from me.  I at once foresaw a part of the truth, but my suspicions were
infinitely surpassed by what presented itself on going into my room.
The lock of my closet had been forced, and my cash as well as my best
clothes were gone.  While I stood stupefied with amazement, Manon came,
in the greatest alarm, to inform me that her apartment had been rifled
in the same manner.

"This blow was so perfectly astounding, so cruel, that it was with
difficulty I could refrain from tears.  The dread of infecting Manon
with my despair made me assume a more contented air.  I said, smiling,
that I should avenge myself upon some unhappy dupe at the hotel of
Transylvania.  However, she appeared so sensibly affected, that her
grief increased my sorrow infinitely more than my attempt succeeded in
supporting her spirits.  'We are destroyed!' said she, with tears in
her eyes. I endeavoured, in vain, by my entreaties and caresses, to
console her.  My own lamentations betrayed my distress and despair.  In
fact, we were so completely ruined, that we were bereft almost of
decent covering.

"I determined to send off at once for Lescaut.  He advised me to go
immediately to the lieutenant of police, and to give information also
to the Grand Provost of Paris.  I went, but it was to add to my
calamities only; for, independently of my visit producing not the
smallest good effect, I, by my absence, allowed Lescaut time for
discussion with his sister, during which he did not fail to inspire her
with the most horrible resolutions.  He spoke to her about M. G----
M----, an old voluptuary, who paid prodigally for his pleasures; he so
glowingly described the advantages of such a connection, that she
entered into all his plans.  This discreditable arrangement was all
concluded before my return, and the execution of it only postponed till
the next morning, after Lescaut should have apprised G---- M----.

"I found him, on my return, waiting for me at my house; but Manon had
retired to her own apartment, and she had desired the footman to tell
me that, having need of repose, she hoped she should not be disturbed
that night.  Lescaut left me, after offering me a few crowns which I
accepted.

"It was nearly four o'clock when I retired to bed; and having revolved
in my mind various schemes for retrieving my fortunes, I fell asleep so
late that I did not awake till between eleven and twelve o'clock.  I
rose at once to enquire after Manon's health; they told me that she had
gone out an hour before with her brother, who had come for her in a
hired carriage.  Although there appeared something mysterious in such a
proceeding, I endeavoured to check my rising suspicions.  I allowed
some hours to pass, during which I amused myself with reading.  At
length, being unable any longer to stifle my uneasiness, I paced up and
down the apartments.  A sealed letter upon Manon's table at last caught
my eye.  It was addressed to me, and in her handwriting. I felt my
blood freeze as I opened it; it was in these words:


I protest to you, dearest chevalier, that you are the idol of my heart,
and that you are the only being on earth whom I can truly love; but do
you not see, my own poor dear chevalier, that in the situation to which
we are now reduced, fidelity would be worse than madness?  Do you think
tenderness possibly compatible with starvation?  For my part, hunger
would be sure to drive me to some fatal end.  Heaving some day a sigh
for love, I should find it was my last.  I adore you, rely upon that;
but leave to me, for a short while, the management of our fortunes.
God help the man who falls into my hands.  My only wish is to render my
chevalier rich and happy.  My brother will tell you about me; he can
vouch for my grief in yielding to the necessity of parting from you.


"I remained, after reading this, in a state which it would be difficult
to describe; for even now I know not the nature of the feelings which
then agitated me.  It was one of those unique situations of which
others can never have experienced anything even approaching to
similarity.  It is impossible to explain it, because other persons can
have no idea of its nature; and one can hardly even analyse it to
oneself.  Memory furnishes nothing that will connect it with the past,
and therefore ordinary language is inadequate to describe it.  Whatever
was its nature, however, it is certain that grief, hate, jealousy, and
shame entered into its composition.  Fortunate would it have proved for
me if love also had not been a component part!

"'That she loves me,' I exclaimed, 'I can believe; but could she,
without being a monster, hate me?  What right can man ever have to
woman's affections which I had not to Manon's?  What is left to me,
after all the sacrifices I have made for her sake? Yet she abandons me,
and the ungrateful creature thinks to screen herself from my reproaches
by professions of love!  She pretends to dread starvation!  God of
love, what grossness of sentiment! What an answer to the refinement of
my adoration!  I had no dread of that kind; I, who have almost sought
starvation for her sake, by renouncing fortune and the comforts of my
father's house!  I, who denied myself actual necessaries, in order to
gratify her little whims and caprices!  She adores me, she says.  If
you adored me, ungrateful creature, I well know what course you would
have taken; you would never have quitted me, at least without saying
adieu.  It is only I who can tell the pangs and torments, of being
separated from all one loves.  I must have taken leave of my senses, to
have voluntarily brought all this misery upon myself.'

"My lamentations were interrupted by a visit I little expected; it was
from Lescaut.  'Assassin!' cried I, putting my hand upon my sword,
'where is Manon? what have you done with her?'  My agitation startled
him.  He replied, that if this was the reception he was to meet, when
he came to offer me the most essential service it was in his power to
render me, he should take his leave, and never again cross my
threshold.  I ran to the door of the apartment, which I shut. 'Do not
imagine,' I said, turning towards him, 'that you can once more make a
dupe of me with your lies and inventions.  Either defend your life, or
tell me where I can find Manon.'  'How impatient you are!' replied he;
'that was in reality the object of my visit.  I came to announce a
piece of good fortune which you little expected, and for which you will
probably feel somewhat grateful.'  My curiosity was at once excited.

"He informed me that Manon, totally unable to endure the dread of want,
and, above all, the certainty of being at once obliged to dispense with
her equipage, had begged of him to make her acquainted with M. G----
M----, who had a character for liberality.  He carefully avoided
telling me that this was the result of his own advice, and that he had
prepared the way before he introduced his sister.  'I took her there
this morning,' said he, 'and the fellow was so enchanted with her looks
that he at once invited her to accompany him to his country seat, where
he is gone to pass some days.  As I plainly perceived,' said Lescaut,
'the advantage it may be to you, I took care to let him know that she
had lately experienced very considerable losses; and I so piqued his
generosity that he began by giving her four hundred crowns.  I told him
that was well enough for a commencement, but that my sister would have,
for the future, many demands for money; that she had the charge of a
young brother, who had been thrown upon her hands since the death of
our parents; and that, if he wished to prove himself worthy of her
affections, he would not allow her to suffer uneasiness upon account of
this child, whom she regarded as part of herself. This speech produced
its effect, he at once promised to take a house for you and Manon, for
you must know that you are the poor little orphan.  He undertook to set
you up in furniture, and to give you four hundred livres a month, which
if I calculate rightly, will amount to four thousand eight hundred per
annum. He left orders with his steward to look out for a house, and to
have it in readiness by the time he returned.  You will soon,
therefore, again see Manon, who begged of me to give you a thousand
tender messages, and to assure you that she loves you more dearly than
ever.'"



V

  Infected with that leprosy of lust,
  Which taints the hoariest years of vicious men
  Making them ransack to the very last
  The dregs of pleasure for their vanished joys.
        BYRON.


"On sitting down to reflect upon this strange turn of fate, I found
myself so perplexed, and consequently so incapable of arriving at any
rational conclusion, that I allowed Lescaut to put repeated questions
to me without in the slightest degree attending to their purport.  It
was then that honour and virtue made me feel the most poignant remorse,
and that I recalled with bitterness Amiens, my father's house, St.
Sulpice, and every spot where I had ever lived in happy innocence.  By
what a terrific interval was I now separated from that blessed state!
I beheld it no longer but as a dim shadow in the distance, still
attracting my regrets and desires, but without the power of rousing me
to exertion.  'By what fatality,' said I, 'have I become thus degraded?
Love is not a guilty passion! why then has it been to me the source of
profligacy and distress?  Who prevented me from leading a virtuous and
tranquil life with Manon?  Why did I not marry her before I obtained
any concession from her love?  Would not my father, who had the
tenderest regard for me, have given his consent, if I had taken the
fair and candid course of soliciting him?  Yes, my father would himself
have cherished her as one far too good to be his son's wife!  I should
have been happy in the love of Manon, in the affection of my father, in
the esteem of the world, with a moderate portion of the good things of
life, and above all with the consciousness of virtue.  Disastrous
change!  Into what an infamous character is it here proposed that I
should sink?  To share----  But can I hesitate, if Manon herself
suggests it, and if I am to lose her except upon such conditions?
'Lescaut,' said I, putting my hands to my eyes as if to shut out such a
horrifying vision, 'if your intention was to render me a service, I
give you thanks.  You might perhaps have struck out a more reputable
course, but it is so settled, is it not?  Let us then only think of
profiting by your labour, and fulfilling your engagements.'

"Lescaut, who had been considerably embarrassed, not only by my fury,
but by the long silence which followed it, was too happy to see me now
take a course so different from what he had anticipated.  He had not a
particle of courage, of which indeed I have, in the sequel of my story,
abundant proof.  'Yes, yes,' he quickly answered, 'it is good service I
have rendered you, and you will find that we shall derive infinitely
more advantage from it than you now expect.'  We consulted then as to
the best mode of preventing the suspicions which G---- M---- might
entertain of our relationship, when he found me older and of riper
manhood than he probably imagined.  The only plan we could hit upon was
to assume in his presence an innocent and provincial air, and to
persuade him that it was my intention to enter the Church, and that
with that view I was obliged to go every day to the college. We also
determined that I should appear as awkward as I possibly could the
first time I was admitted to the honour of an introduction.

"He returned to town three or four days after, and at once conducted
Manon to the house which his steward had in the meantime prepared.  She
immediately apprised Lescaut of her return, and he having informed me,
we went together to her new abode.  The old lover had already gone out.

"In spite of the submission with which I had resigned myself to her
wishes, I could not, at our meeting, repress the compunctious visitings
of my conscience.  I appeared before her grieved and dejected.  The joy
I felt at seeing her once more could not altogether dispel my sorrow
for her infidelity: she, on the contrary, appeared transported with the
pleasure of seeing me. She accused me of coldness.  I could not help
muttering the words perfidious and unfaithful, though they were
profusely mixed with sighs.

"At first she laughed at me for my simplicity; but when she found that
I continued to look at her with an unchanging expression of melancholy,
and that I could not bring myself to enter with alacrity into a scene
so repugnant to all my feelings, she went alone into her boudoir.  I
very soon followed her, and then I found her in a flood of tears.  I
asked the cause of her sorrow.  'You can easily understand it,' said
she; 'how can you wish me to live, if my presence can no longer have
any other effect than to give you an air of sadness and chagrin?  Not
one kiss have you given me during the long hour you have been in the
house, while you have received my caresses with the dignified
indifference of a Grand Turk, receiving the forced homage of the
Sultanas of his harem.'

"'Hearken to me, Manon,' said I, embracing her; 'I cannot conceal from
you that my heart is bitterly afflicted.  I do not now allude to the
uneasiness your sudden flight caused me, nor to the unkindness of
quitting me without a word of consolation, after having passed the
night away from me.  The pleasure of seeing you again would more than
compensate for all; but do you imagine that I can reflect without sighs
and tears upon the degrading and unhappy life which you now wish me to
lead in this house?  Say nothing of my birth, or of my feelings of
honour; love like mine derives no aid from arguments of that feeble
nature; but do you imagine that I can without emotion see my love so
badly recompensed, or rather so cruelly treated, by an ungrateful and
unfeeling mistress?'

"She interrupted me. 'Stop, chevalier,' said she, 'it is useless to
torture me with reproaches, which, coming from you, always pierce my
heart.  I see what annoys you.  I had hoped that you would have agreed
to the project which I had devised for mending our shattered fortunes,
and it was from a feeling of delicacy to you that I began the execution
of it without your assistance; but I give it up since it does not meet
your approbation.'  She added that she would now merely request a
little patient forbearance during the remainder of the day; that she
had already received five hundred crowns from the old gentleman, and
that he had promised to bring her that evening a magnificent pearl
necklace with other jewels, and, in advance, half of the yearly pension
he had engaged to allow her.  'Leave me only time enough,' said she to
me, to get possession of these presents; I promise you that he will
have little to boast of from his connection with me, for in the country
I repulsed all his advances, putting him off till our return to town.
It is true that he has kissed my hand a thousand times over, and it is
but just that he should pay for even this amusement:  I am sure that,
considering his riches as well as his age, five or six thousand francs
is not an unreasonable price!'

"Her determination was of more value in my eyes than twenty thousand
crowns.  I could feel that I was not yet bereft of every sentiment of
honour, by the satisfaction I experienced at escaping thus from infamy,
But I was born for brief joys, and miseries of long duration.  Fate
never rescued me from one precipice, but to lead me to another.  When I
had expressed my delight to Manon at this change in her intentions, I
told her she had better inform Lescaut of it, in order that we might
take our measures in concert.  At first he murmured, but the money in
hand induced him to enter into our views.  It was then determined that
we should all meet at G---- M----'s supper table, and that, for two
reasons: first, for the amusement of passing me off as a schoolboy, and
brother to Manon; and secondly, to prevent the old profligate from
taking any liberties with his mistress, on the strength of his liberal
payments in advance.  Lescaut and I were to retire, when he went to the
room where he expected to pass the night; and Manon, instead of
following him, promised to come out, and join us.  Lescaut undertook to
have a coach waiting at the door.

"The supper hour having arrived, M. G---- M---- made his appearance.
Already Lescaut was with his sister in the supper room.  The moment the
lover entered, he presented his fair one with a complete set of pearls,
necklaces, ear-rings, and bracelets, which must have cost at least a
thousand crowns.  He then placed on the table before her, in louis
d'or, two thousand four hundred francs, the half of her year's
allowance.  He seasoned his present with many pretty speeches in the
true style of the old court.  Manon could not refuse him a few kisses:
it was sealing her right to the money which he had just handed to her.
I was at the door, and waiting for Lescaut's signal to enter the room.

"He approached to take me by the hand, while Manon was securing the
money and jewels, and leading me towards M. G---- M----, he desired me
to make my bow.  I made two or three most profound ones.  'Pray excuse
him, sir,' said Lescaut, 'he is a mere child. He has not yet acquired
much of the ton of Paris; but no doubt with a little trouble we shall
improve him.  You will often have the honour of seeing that gentleman,
here,' said he, turning towards me: 'take advantage of it, and
endeavour to imitate so good a model.'

"The old libertine appeared to be pleased with me.  He patted me on the
cheek, saying that I was a fine boy, but that I should be on my guard
in Paris, where young men were easily debauched. Lescaut assured him
that I was naturally of so grave a character that I thought of nothing
but becoming a clergyman, and that, even as a child, my favourite
amusement was building little chapels.  'I fancy a likeness to Manon,'
said the old gentleman, putting his hand under my chin.  I answered
him, with the most simple air-- 'Sir, the fact is, that we are very
closely connected, and I love my sister as another portion of myself.'
'Do you hear that,' said he to Lescaut; 'he is indeed a clever boy!  It
is a pity he should not see something of the world.' 'Oh, sir,' I
replied, 'I have seen a great deal of it at home, attending church, and
I believe I might find in Paris some greater fools than myself.'
'Listen,' said he; 'it is positively wonderful in a boy from the
country.'

"The whole conversation during supper was of the same kind. Manon, with
her usual gaiety, was several times on the point of spoiling the joke
by her bursts of laughter.  I contrived, while eating, to recount his
own identical history, and to paint even the fate that awaited him.
Lescaut and Manon were in an agony of fear during my recital,
especially while I was drawing his portrait to the life: but his own
vanity prevented him from recognising it, and I did it so well that he
was the first to pronounce it extremely laughable.  You will allow that
I had reason for dwelling on this ridiculous scene.

"At length it was time to retire.  He hinted at the impatience of love.
Lescaut and I took our departure.  G---- M---- went to his room, and
Manon, making some excuse for her absence, came to join us at the gate.
The coach, that was waiting for us a few doors off, drove up towards
us, and we were out of the street in an instant.

"Although I must confess that this proceeding appeared to me little
short of actual robbery, it was not the most dishonest one with which I
thought I had to reproach myself.  I had more scruples about the money
which I had won at play.  However, we derived as little advantage from
one as from the other; and Heaven sometimes ordains that the lightest
fault shall meet the severest punishment.

"M. G---- M---- was not long in finding out that he had been duped.  I
am not sure whether he took any steps that night to discover us, but he
had influence enough to ensure an effectual pursuit, and we were
sufficiently imprudent to rely upon the extent of Paris and the
distance between our residence and his. Not only did he discover our
abode and our circumstances, but also who I was--the life that I had
led in Paris--Manon's former connection with B----,--the manner in
which she had deceived him: in a word, all the scandalous facts of our
history.  He therefore resolved to have us apprehended, and treated
less as criminals than as vagabonds.  An officer came abruptly one
morning into our bedroom, with half a dozen archers of the guard.  They
first took possession of our money, or I should rather say, of
G----M----'s. They made us quickly get up, and conducted us to the
door, where we found two coaches, into one of which they forced poor
Manon, without any explanation, and I was taken in the other to St.
Lazare.

"One must have experienced this kind of reverse, to understand the
despair that is caused by it.  The police were savage enough to deny me
the consolation of embracing Manon, or of bidding her farewell.  I
remained for a long time ignorant of her fate.  It was perhaps
fortunate for me that I was kept in a state of ignorance, for had I
known what she suffered, I should have lost my senses, probably my life.

"My unhappy mistress was dragged then from my presence, and taken to a
place the very name of which fills me with horror to remember.  This to
be the lot of a creature the most perfect, who must have shared the
most splendid throne on earth, if other men had only seen and felt as I
did!  She was not treated harshly there, but was shut up in a narrow
prison, and obliged, in solitary confinement, to perform a certain
quantity of work each day, as a necessary condition for obtaining the
most unpalatable food.  I did not learn this till a long time after,
when I had myself endured some months of rough and cruel treatment.

"My guards not having told me where it was that they had been ordered
to conduct me, it was only on my arrival at St. Lazare that I learned
my destination.  I would have preferred death, at that moment, to the
state into which I believed myself about to be thrown.  I had the
utmost terror of this place.  My misery was increased by the guards on
my entrance, examining once more my pockets, to ascertain whether I had
about me any arms or weapons of defence.

"The governor appeared.  He had been informed of my apprehension.  He
saluted me with great mildness.  'Do not, my good sir,' said I to him,
'allow me to be treated with indignity. I would suffer a hundred deaths
rather than quietly submit to degrading treatment.'  'No, no,' he
replied, 'you will act quietly and prudently, and we shall be mutually
content with each other.'  He begged of me to ascend to one of the
highest rooms; I followed him without a murmur.  The archers
accompanied us to the door, and the governor, entering the room, made a
sign for them to depart.  'I am your prisoner, I suppose?' said I;
'well, what do you intend to do with me?'  He said, he was delighted to
see me adopt so reasonable a tone; that it would be his duty to
endeavour to inspire me with a taste for virtue and religion, and mine
to profit by his exhortations and advice: that lightly as I might be
disposed to rate his attentions to me, I should find nothing but
enjoyment in my solitude.  'Ah, enjoyment, indeed!' replied I; 'you do
not know, my good sir, the only thing on earth that could afford me
enjoyment.'  'I know it,' said he, 'but I trust your inclinations will
change.'  His answer showed that he had heard of my adventures, and
perhaps of my name.  I begged to know if such were the fact.  He told
me candidly that they had informed him of every particular.

"This blow was the severest of any I had yet experienced.  I literally
shed a torrent of tears, in all the bitterness of unmixed despair; I
could not reconcile myself to the humiliation which would make me a
proverb to all my acquaintances, and the disgrace of my family.  I
passed a week in the most profound dejection, without being capable of
gaining any information, or of occupying myself with anything but my
own degradation.  The remembrance even of Manon added nothing to my
grief; it only occurred to me as a circumstance that had preceded my
new sorrow; and the sense of shame and confusion was at present the
all-absorbing passion.

"There are few persons who have experienced the force of these special
workings of the mind.  The generality of men are only sensible of five
or six passions, in the limited round of which they pass their lives,
and within which all their agitations are confined.  Remove them from
the influence of love and hate, pleasure and pain, hope and fear, and
they have no further feeling.  But persons of a finer cast can be
affected in a thousand different ways; it would almost seem that they
had more than five senses, and that they are accessible to ideas and
sensations which far exceed the ordinary faculties of human nature;
and, conscious that they possess a capacity which raises them above the
common herd, there is nothing of which they are more jealous.  Hence
springs their impatience under contempt and ridicule; and hence it is
that a sense of debasement is perhaps the most violent of all their
emotions.

"I had this melancholy advantage at St. Lazare.  My grief appeared to
the governor so excessive, that, dreading the consequences, he thought
he was bound to treat me with more mildness and indulgence.  He visited
me two or three times a day; he often made me take a turn with him in
the garden, and showed his interest for me in his exhortations and good
advice.  I listened always attentively; and warmly expressed my sense
of his kindness, from which he derived hopes of my ultimate conversion.

"'You appear to me,' said he one day, 'of a disposition so mild and
tractable, that I cannot comprehend the excesses into which you have
fallen.  Two things astonish me: one is, how, with your good qualities,
you could have ever abandoned yourself to vice; and the other, which
amazes me still more, is, how you can receive with such perfect temper
my advice and instructions, after having lived so long in a course of
debauchery.  If it be sincere repentance, you present a singular
example of the benign mercy of Heaven; if it proceed from the natural
goodness of your disposition, then you certainly have that within you
which warrants the hope that a protracted residence in this place will
not be required to bring you back to a regular and respectable life.'

"I was delighted to find that he had such an opinion of me.  I resolved
to strengthen it by a continuance of good conduct, convinced that it
was the surest means of abridging the term of my confinement.  I begged
of him to furnish me with books.  He was agreeably surprised to find
that when he requested me to say what I should prefer, I mentioned only
some religious and instructive works.  I pretended to devote myself
assiduously to study, and I thus gave him convincing proof of the moral
reformation he was so anxious to bring about.  It was nothing, however,
but rank hypocrisy--I blush to confess it.  Instead of studying, when
alone I did nothing but curse my destiny.  I lavished the bitterest
execrations on my prison, and the tyrants who detained me there.  If I
ceased for a moment from these lamentations, it was only to relapse
into the tormenting remembrance of my fatal and unhappy love.  Manon's
absence--the mystery in which her fate was veiled--the dread of never
again beholding her; these formed the subject of my melancholy
thoughts.  I fancied her in the arms of G---- M----.  Far from
imagining that he could have been brute enough to subject her to the
same treatment to which I was condemned, I felt persuaded that he had
only procured my removal, in order that he might possess her in
undisturbed enjoyment.

"Oh! how miserable were the days and nights I thus passed!  They seemed
to be of endless duration.  My only hope of escape now, was in
hypocrisy; I scrutinised the countenance, and carefully marked every
observation that fell from the governor, in order to ascertain what he
really thought of me; and looking on him as the sole arbiter of my
future fate, I made it my study to win, if possible, his favour.  I
soon had the satisfaction to find that I was firmly established in his
good graces, and no longer doubted his disposition to befriend me.

"I, one day, ventured to ask him whether my liberation depended on him.
He replied that it was not altogether in his hands, but that he had no
doubt that on his representation M. G---- M----, at whose instance the
lieutenant-general of police had ordered me to be confined, would
consent to my being set at liberty.  'May I flatter myself,' rejoined
I, in the mildest tone, 'that he will consider two months, which I have
now spent in this prison, as a sufficient atonement?'  He offered to
speak to him, if I wished it.  I implored him without delay to do me
that favour.

"He told me two days afterwards that G---- M---- was so sensibly
affected by what he had heard, that he not only was ready to consent to
my liberation, but that he had even expressed a strong desire to become
better acquainted with me, and that he himself purposed to pay me a
visit in prison.  Although his presence could not afford me much
pleasure, I looked upon it as a certain prelude to my liberation.

"He accordingly came to St. Lazare.  I met him with an air more grave
and certainly less silly than I had exhibited at his house with Manon.
He spoke reasonably enough of my former bad conduct. He added, as if to
excuse his own delinquencies, that it was graciously permitted to the
weakness of man to indulge in certain pleasures, almost, indeed,
prompted by nature, but that dishonesty and such shameful practices
ought to be, and always would be, inexorably punished.

"I listened to all he said with an air of submission, which quite
charmed him.  I betrayed no symptoms of annoyance even at some jokes in
which he indulged about my relationship with Manon and Lescaut, and
about the little chapels of which he supposed I must have had time to
erect a great many in St. Lazare, as I was so fond of that occupation.
But he happened, unluckily both for me and for himself, to add, that he
hoped Manon had also employed herself in the same edifying manner at
the Magdalen. Notwithstanding the thrill of horror I felt at the sound
of the name, I had still presence of mind enough to beg, in the
gentlest manner, that he would explain himself.  'Oh! yes,' he replied,
'she has been these last two months at the Magdalen learning to be
prudent, and I trust she has improved herself as much there, as you
have done at St. Lazare!'

"If an eternal imprisonment, or death itself, had been presented to my
view, I could not have restrained the excitement into which this
afflicting announcement threw me.  I flung myself upon him in so
violent a rage that half my strength was exhausted by the effort.  I
had, however, more than enough left to drag him to the ground, and
grasp him by the throat.  I should infallibly have strangled him, if
his fall, and the half-stifled cries which he had still the power to
utter, had not attracted the governor and several of the priests to my
room.  They rescued him from my fury.

"I was, myself, breathless and almost impotent from rage.  'Oh God!' I
cried--'Heavenly justice!  Must I survive this infamy?' I tried again
to seize the barbarian who had thus roused my indignation--they
prevented me.  My despair--my cries--my tears, exceeded all belief: I
raved in so incoherent a manner that all the bystanders, who were
ignorant of the cause, looked at each other with as much dread as
surprise.

"G---- M---- in the meantime adjusted his wig and cravat, and in his
anger at having been so ill-treated, ordered me to be kept under more
severe restraint than before, and to be punished in the manner usual
with offenders in St. Lazare.  'No, sir!' said the governor, 'it is not
with a person of his birth that we are in the habit of using such means
of coercion; besides, he is habitually so mild and well-conducted, that
I cannot but think you must have given provocation for such excessive
violence.' This reply disconcerted G---- M---- beyond measure and he
went away, declaring that he knew how to be revenged on the governor,
as well as on me, and everyone else who dared to thwart him.

"The Superior, having ordered some of the brotherhood to escort him out
of the prison, remained alone with me.  He conjured me to tell him at
once what was the cause of the fracas.--'Oh, my good sir!' said I to
him, continuing to cry like a child, 'imagine the most horrible
cruelty, figure to yourself the most inhuman of atrocities--that is
what G---- M---- has had the cowardly baseness to perpetrate: he has
pierced my heart.  Never shall I recover from this blow!  I would
gladly tell you the whole circumstance,' added I, sobbing with grief;
'you are kind-hearted, and cannot fail to pity me.'

"I gave him, as briefly as I could, a history of my long-standing and
insurmountable passion for Manon, of the flourishing condition of our
fortunes previous to the robbery committed by our servants, of the
offers which G---- M---- had made to my mistress, of the understanding
they had come to, and the manner in which it had been defeated.  To be
sure, I represented things to him in as favourable a light for us as
possible.  'Now you can comprehend,' continued I, 'the source of M.
G---- M----'s holy zeal for my conversion.  He has had influence enough
to have me shut up here, out of mere revenge. That I can pardon; but,
my good sir, that is not all.  He has taken from me my heart's blood:
he has had Manon shamefully incarcerated in the Magdalen; and had the
effrontery to announce it to me this day with his own lips.  In the
Magdalen, good sir! Oh heavens! my adorable mistress, my beloved Manon,
a degraded inmate of the Hospital!  How shall I command strength of
mind enough to survive this grief and shame!'

"The good Father, seeing me in such affliction, endeavoured to console
me.  He told me that he had never understood my history, as I just now
related it; he had of course known that I led a dissolute life, but he
had imagined that M. G---- M----'s interest about me was the result of
his esteem and friendship for my family; that it was in this sense he
had explained the matter to him; that what I had now told him should
assuredly produce a change in my treatment, and that he had no doubt
but the accurate detail which he should immediately transmit to the
lieutenant-general of police would bring about my liberation.

"He then enquired why I had never thought of informing my family of
what had taken place, since they had not been instrumental to my
incarceration.  I satisfactorily answered this by stating my
unwillingness to cause my father pain, or to bring upon myself the
humiliation of such an exposure.  In the end, he promised to go
directly to the lieutenant-general of police if it were only, said he,
to be beforehand with M. G---- M----, who went off in such a rage, and
who had sufficient influence to make himself formidable.

"I looked for the good Father's return with all the suspense of a man
expecting sentence of death.  It was torture to me to think of Manon at
the Magdalen.  Besides the infamy of such a prison, I knew not how she
might be treated there; and the recollection of some particulars I had
formerly heard of this horrible place, incessantly renewed my misery.
Cost what it might, I was so bent upon relieving her by some means or
other, that I should assuredly have set fire to St. Lazare, if no other
mode of escape had presented itself.

"I considered what chances would remain to me if the lieutenant-general
still kept me in confinement.  I taxed my ingenuity: I scanned every
imaginable gleam of hope--I could discover nothing that gave me any
prospect of escape, and I feared that I should experience only more
rigid confinement, if I made an unsuccessful attempt.  I thought of
some friends from whom I might hope for aid, but then, how was I to
make them aware of my situation?  At length I fancied that I had hit
upon a plan so ingenious, as to offer a fair probability of success.  I
postponed the details of its arrangement until after the Superior's
return, in case of his having failed in the object of his visit.

"He soon arrived: I did not observe upon his countenance any of those
marks of joy that indicate good news.  'I have spoken,' said he, 'to
the lieutenant-general of police, but I was too late, M. G---- M----
went straight to him after quitting us, and so prejudiced him against
you, that he was on the point of sending me fresh instructions to
subject you to closer confinement.

"'However, when I let him know the truth of your story, he reconsidered
the matter, and, smiling at the incontinence of old G---- M----, he
said it would be necessary to keep you here for six months longer, in
order to pacify him; the less to be lamented,' he added, 'because your
morals would be sure to benefit by your residence here.  He desired
that I would show you every kindness and attention, and I need not
assure you that you shall have no reason to complain of your treatment.'

"This speech of the Superior's was long enough to afford me time to
form a prudent resolution.  I saw that by betraying too strong an
impatience for my liberty, I should probably be upsetting all my
projects.  I acknowledged to him, that, as it was necessary to me to
remain, it was an infinite comfort to know that I possessed a place in
his esteem.  I then requested, and with unaffected sincerity, a favour,
which could be of no consequence to others, and which would contribute
much to my peace of mind; it was to inform a friend of mine, a devout
clergyman, who lived at St. Sulpice, that I was at St. Lazare, and to
permit me occasionally to receive his visits.

"This was of course my friend Tiberge; not that I could hope from him
the assistance necessary for effecting my liberty; but I wished to make
him the unconscious instrument of my designs.  In a word, this was my
project: I wished to write to Lescaut, and to charge him and our common
friends with the task of my deliverance.  The first difficulty was to
have my letter conveyed to him: this should be Tiberge's office.
However, as he knew him to be Manon's brother, I doubted whether he
would take charge of this commission.  My plan was to enclose my letter
to Lescaut in another to some respectable man of my acquaintance,
begging of him to transmit the first to its address without delay; and
as it was necessary that I should have personal communication with
Lescaut, in order to arrange our proceedings, I told him to call on me
at St. Lazare, and assume the name of my eldest brother, as if he had
come to Paris expressly to see me.  I postponed till our meeting all
mention of the safest and most expeditious course I intended to suggest
for our future conduct.  The governor informed Tiberge of my wish to
see him.  This ever-faithful friend had not so entirely lost sight of
me as to be ignorant of my present abode, and it is probable that, in
his heart, he did not regret the circumstance, from an idea that it
might furnish the means of my moral regeneration.  He lost no time in
paying me the desired visit."



VI


It is a strange thing to note the excess of this passion; and how it
braves the nature and value of things, by this--that the speaking in a
perpetual hyperbole is comely in nothing but in love.--BACON.


"My interview with Tiberge was of the most friendly description. I saw
that his object was to discover the present temper of my mind.  I
opened my heart to him without any reserve, except as to the mere point
of my intention of escaping.  'It is not from such a friend as you,'
said I, 'that I can ever wish to dissemble my real feelings.  If you
flattered yourself with a hope that you were at last about to find me
grown prudent and regular in my conduct, a libertine reclaimed by the
chastisements of fortune, released alike from the trammels of love, and
the dominion that Manon wields over me, I must in candour say, that you
deceive yourself.  You still behold me, as you left me four months ago,
the slave--if you will, the unhappy slave--of a passion, from which I
now hope, as fervently and as confidently as I ever did, to derive
eventually solid comfort.'

"He answered, that such an acknowledgment rendered me utterly
inexcusable; that it was no uncommon case to meet sinners who allowed
themselves to be so dazzled with the glare of vice as to prefer it
openly to the true splendour of virtue; they were at least deluded by
the false image of happiness, the poor dupes of an empty shadow; but to
know and feel as I did, that the object of my attachment was only
calculated to render me culpable and unhappy, and to continue thus
voluntarily in a career of misery and crime, involved a contradiction
of ideas and of conduct little creditable to my reason.

"'Tiberge,' replied I, 'it is easy to triumph when your arguments are
unopposed.  Allow me to reason for a few moments in my turn.  Can you
pretend that what you call the happiness of virtue is exempt from
troubles, and crosses, and cares?  By what name will you designate the
dungeon, the rack, the inflections and tortures of tyrants?  Will you
say with the Mystics[1] that the soul derives pleasure from the
torments of the body?  You are not bold enough to hold such a
doctrine--a paradox not to be maintained.  This happiness, then, that
you prize so much, has a thousand drawbacks, or is, more properly
speaking, but a tissue of sufferings through which one hopes to attain
felicity.  If by the power of imagination one can even derive pleasure
from these sufferings, hoping that they may lead to a happy end, why,
let me ask, do you deem my conduct senseless, when it is directed by
precisely the same principle?  I love Manon: I wade through sorrow and
suffering in order to attain happiness with her.  My path is one indeed
of difficulties, but the mere hope of reaching the desired goal makes
it easy and delightful; and I shall think myself but too bountifully
repaid by one moment of her society, for all the troubles I encounter
in my course.  There appears therefore no difference between us, or, if
there be any, it is assuredly in my favour; for the bliss I hope for is
near and tangible, yours is far distant, and purely speculative.  Mine
is of the same kind as my sufferings, that is to say, evident to my
senses; yours is of an incomprehensible nature, and only discernible
through the dim medium of faith.'

"Tiberge appeared shocked by my remarks.  He retired two or three paces
from me, while he said, in the most serious tone, that my argument was
not only a violation of good sense, but that it was the miserable
sophistry of irreligion; 'for the comparison,' he added, 'of the
pitiful reward of your sufferings with that held out to us by the
divine revelation, is the essence of impiety and absurdity combined.'

"'I acknowledge,' said I, 'that the comparison is not a just one, but
my argument does not at all depend upon it.  I was about to explain
what you consider a contradiction--the persevering in a painful
pursuit; and I think I have satisfactorily proved, that if there be any
contradiction in that, we shall be both equally obnoxious to the
charge.  It was in this light, only, that I could observe no difference
in our cases, and I cannot as yet perceive any.

"'You may probably answer, that the proposed end, the promised reward,
of virtue, is infinitely superior to that of love?  No one disputes it,
but that is not the question--we are only discussing the relative aid
they both afford in the endurance of affliction.  Judge of that by the
practical effect: are there not multitudes who abandon a life of strict
virtue? how few give up the pursuits of love!

"'Again, you will reply that if there be difficulties in the exercise
of virtue, they are by no means universal and sure; that the good man
does not necessarily meet tyrants and tortures, and that, on the
contrary, a life of virtue is perfectly compatible with repose and
enjoyment.  I can say with equal truth, that love is often accompanied
by content and happiness; and what makes another distinction of
infinite advantage to my argument, I may add that love, though it often
deludes, never holds out other than hopes of bliss and joy, whilst
religion exacts from her votaries mortification and sorrow.

"'Do not be alarmed,' said I, perceiving that I had almost offended his
zealous feelings of devotion.  'I only wish to say, that there is no
more unsuccessful method of weaning man's heart from love, than by
endeavouring to decry its enjoyments, and by promising him more
pleasure from the exercise of virtue.  It is an inherent principle in
our nature, that our felicity consists only in pleasure.  I defy you to
conceive any other notion of it; and it requires little time to arrive
at the conviction, that, of all pleasures, those of love are
immeasurably the most enchanting.  A man quickly discerns the delusion,
when he hears the promise made of livelier enjoyment, and the effect of
such misrepresentation is only to make him doubt the truth of a more
solid promise.

"'Let the preacher who seeks the reformation of a sinner tell me that
virtue is indispensably necessary, but not disguise its difficulty and
its attendant denials.  Say that the enjoyments of love are fleeting,
if you will, that they are rigidly forbidden, that they lead with
certainty to eternal suffering; and, what would assuredly make a deeper
impression upon me than any other argument, say that the more sweet and
delectable they are, the brighter will be the reward of Heaven for
giving them up in sacrifice; but do in the name of justice admit, that,
constituted as the heart of man is, they form here, on earth, our most
perfect happiness.'

"My last sentence restored to Tiberge his good humour.  He allowed that
my ideas were not altogether so unreasonable.  The only point he made,
was in asking me why I did not carry my own principle into operation,
by sacrificing my passion to the hope of that remuneration of which I
had drawn so brilliant a picture. 'Oh! my dear friend,' replied I;
'that it is which makes me conscious of my own misery and weakness:
true, alas! it is indeed my duty to act according to my argument; but
have I the power of governing my own actions?  What aid will enable me
to forget Manon's charms?'  'God forgive me,' said Tiberge, 'I can
almost fancy you a Jansenist[2].  'I know not of what sect I am,'
replied I, 'nor do I indeed very clearly see to which I ought to
belong; but I cannot help feeling the truth of this at least of their
tenets.'

"One effect of our conversation was to revive my friend's pity for me
in all its force.  He perceived that there was in my errors more of
weakness than of vice; and he was the more disposed in the end to give
me assistance; without which I should infallibly have perished from
distress of mind.  However, I carefully concealed from him my intention
of escaping from St. Lazare.  I merely begged of him to take charge of
my letter; I had it ready before he came, and I soon found an excuse
for the necessity of writing.  He faithfully transmitted it, and
Lescaut received before evening the one I had enclosed for him.

"He came to see me next morning, and fortunately was admitted under my
brother's name.  I was overjoyed at finding him in my room.  I
carefully closed the door.  'Let us lose no time,' I said.  'First tell
me about Manon, and then advise me how I am to shake off these
fetters.'  He assured me that he had not seen his sister since the day
before my arrest, and that it was only by repeated enquiries, and after
much trouble, that he had at length been able to discover her fate as
well as mine; and that he had two or three times presented himself at
the Magdalen, and been refused admittance.  'Wretch!' muttered I to
myself, 'dearly shall G---- M---- pay for this!'

"'As to your escape,' continued Lescaut, 'it will not be so easy as you
imagine.  Last evening, I and a couple of friends walked round this
establishment to reconnoitre it; and we agreed that, as your windows
looked into a court surrounded by buildings, as you yourself mentioned
in your letter, there would be vast difficulty in getting you out.
Besides, you are on the third story, and it would be impossible to
introduce ropes or ladders through the window.  I therefore see no
means from without--in the house itself we must hit upon some scheme.'

"'No,' replied I; 'I have examined everything minutely, particularly
since, through the governor's indulgence, my confinement has been less
rigorous.  I am no longer locked into my room; I have liberty to walk
in the gallery; but there is, upon every landing, a strong door kept
closed night and day, so that it is impossible that ingenuity alone,
unaided by some violent efforts, can rescue me.

"'Wait,' said I, after turning in my mind for a moment an idea that
struck me as excellent; 'could you bring me a pistol?' 'Softly,' said
Lescaut to me, 'you don't think of committing murder?'  I assured him
that I had so little intention of shooting anyone, that it would not be
even necessary to have the pistol loaded.  'Bring it to me tomorrow,' I
added, 'and do not fail to be exactly opposite the great entrance with
two or three of your friends at eleven tomorrow night; I think I shall
be able to join you there.'  He in vain requested me to explain my
plan. I told him that such an attempt as I contemplated could only
appear rational after it had succeeded.  I begged of him to shorten his
visit, in order that he might with the less difficulty be admitted next
morning.  He was accordingly admitted as readily as on his first visit.
He had put on so serious an air, moreover, that a stranger would have
taken him for a respectable person.

"When I found in my hand the instrument of my liberty, I no longer
doubted my success.  It was certainly a strange and a bold project; but
of what was I not capable, with the motives that inspired me?  I had,
since I was allowed permission to walk in the galleries, found
opportunities of observing that every night the porter brought the keys
of all the doors to the governor, and subsequently there always reigned
a profound silence in the house, which showed that the inmates had
retired to rest.  There was an open communication between my room and
that of the Superior.  My resolution was, if he refused quietly to
surrender the keys, to force him, by fear of the pistol, to deliver
them up, and then by their help to gain the street.  I impatiently
awaited the moment for executing my purpose.  The porter arrived at his
usual time, that is to say, soon after nine o'clock.  I allowed an hour
to elapse, in order that the priests as well as the servants might be
all asleep.  I at length proceeded with my pistol and a lighted candle.
I first gave a gentle tap at the governor's door to awaken without
alarming him.  I knocked a second time before he heard me; and
supposing of course that it was one of the priests who was taken ill
and wanted assistance, he got out of bed, dressed himself, and came to
the door.  He had, however, the precaution to ask first who it was, and
what was wanted?  I was obliged to mention my name, but I assumed a
plaintive tone, to make him believe that I was indisposed.  'Ah! it is
you, my dear boy,' said he on opening the door; 'what can bring you
here at this hour?'  I stepped inside the door, and leading him to the
opposite side of the room, I declared to him that it was absolutely
impossible for me to remain longer at St. Lazare; that the night was
the most favourable time for going out unobserved, and that I
confidently expected, from his tried friendship, that he would consent
to open the gates for me, or entrust me with the keys to let myself out.

"This compliment to his friendship seemed to surprise him.  He stood
for a few moments looking at me without making any reply. Finding that
I had no time to lose, I just begged to assure him that I had the most
lively sense of all his kindnesses, but that freedom was dearer to man
than every other consideration, especially so to me, who had been
cruelly and unjustly deprived of it; that I was resolved this night to
recover it, cost what it would, and fearing lest he might raise his
voice and call for assistance, I let him see the powerful incentive to
silence which I had kept concealed in my bosom.  'A pistol!' cried he.
'What! my son? will you take away my life in return for the attentions
I have shown you?'  'God forbid,' replied I; 'you are too reasonable to
drive me to that horrible extremity: but I am determined to be free,
and so firmly determined, that if you defeat my project, I will put an
end to your existence.'  'But, my dear son!' said he, pale and
frightened, 'what have I done to you?  What reason have you for taking
my life?'  'No!' replied I, impatiently, 'I have no design upon your
life, if you, yourself, wish to live; open but the doors for me, and
you will find me the most attached of friends.'  I perceived the keys
upon the table. I requested he would take them in his hand and walk
before me, making as little noise as he possibly could.

"He saw the necessity of consenting.  We proceeded, and as he opened
each door, he repeated, always with a sigh, 'Ah! my son, who could have
believed it?'  'No noise, good Father, no noise,' I as often answered
in my turn.  At length we reached a kind of barrier, just inside the
great entrance.  I already fancied myself free, and kept close behind
the governor, with my candle in one hand, and my pistol in the other.

"While he was endeavouring to open the heavy gate, one of the servants,
who slept in an adjoining room, hearing the noise of the bolts, jumped
out of bed, and peeped forth to see what was passing.  The good Father
apparently thought him strong enough to overpower me.  He commanded
him, most imprudently, to come to his assistance.  He was a powerful
ruffian, and threw himself upon me without an instant's hesitation.
There was no time for parleying--I levelled my pistol and lodged the
contents in his breast!  'See, Father, of what mischief you have been
the cause,' said I to my guide; 'but that must not prevent us from
finishing our work,' I added, pushing him on towards the last door.  He
did not dare refuse to open it.  I made my exit in perfect safety, and,
a few paces off, found Lescaut with two friends waiting for me,
according to his promise.

"We removed at once to a distance.  Lescaut enquired whether he had not
heard the report of a pistol?  'You are to blame,' said I, 'why did you
bring it charged?'  I, however, could not help thanking him for having
taken this precaution, without which I doubtless must have continued
much longer at St. Lazare.  We went to pass the night at a tavern,
where I made up, in some degree, for the miserable fare which had been
doled out to me for nearly three months.  I was very far, however, from
tasting perfect enjoyment; Manon's sufferings were mine.  'She must be
released,' said I to my companions: 'this was my sole object in
desiring my own liberty.  I rely on your aiding me with all your
ingenuity; as for myself, my life shall be devoted to the purpose.'

"Lescaut, who was not deficient in tact, and still less in that better
part of valour called discretion, dwelt upon the necessity of acting
with extreme caution: he said that my escape from St. Lazare, and the
accident that happened on my leaving it, would assuredly create a
sensation; that the lieutenant-general of police would cause a strict
search to be made for me, and it would be difficult to evade him; in
fine, that, unless disposed to encounter something worse, perhaps, than
St. Lazare, it would be requisite for me to remain concealed for a few
days, in order to give the enemy's zeal time to cool.  No doubt this
was wise counsel; but, one should have been wise oneself to have
followed it.  Such calculating slowness little suited my passion.  The
utmost I could bring myself to promise was, that I would sleep through
the whole of the next day.  He locked me in my bedroom, where I
remained patiently until night.

"I employed great part of the time in devising schemes for relieving
Manon.  I felt persuaded that her prison was even more inaccessible
than mine had been.  Force was out of the question. Artifice was the
only resource; but the goddess of invention herself could not have told
me how to begin.  I felt the impossibility of working in the dark, and
therefore postponed the further consideration of my schemes until I
could acquire some knowledge of the internal arrangements of the
Hospital, in which she was confined.

"As soon as night restored to me my liberty, I begged of Lescaut to
accompany me.  We were not long in drawing one of the porters into
conversation; he appeared a reasonable man.  I passed for a stranger
who had often with admiration heard talk of the Hospital, and of the
order that reigned within it.  I enquired into the most minute details;
and, proceeding from one subject to another, we at length spoke of the
managers, and of these I begged to know the names and the respective
characters.  He gave me such information upon the latter point as at
once suggested an idea which flattered my hopes, and I immediately set
about carrying it into execution.

"I asked him (this being a matter essential to my plan) whether any of
the gentlemen had children.  He said he could not answer me with
certainty as to all, but as for M. de T----, one of the principal
directors, he knew that he had a son old enough to be married, and who
had come several times to the Hospital with his father.  This was
enough for my purpose.

"I immediately put an end to our interview, and, in returning, I told
Lescaut of the plan I had formed.  'I have taken it,' said I, 'into my
head, that M. de T----, the son, who is rich and of good family, must
have the same taste for pleasure that other young men of his age
generally have.  He could hardly be so bad a friend to the fair sex,
nor so absurd as to refuse his services in an affair of love.  I have
arranged a plan for interesting him in favour of Manon.  If he is a man
of feeling and of right mind, he will give us his assistance from
generosity.  If he is not to be touched by a motive of this kind, he
will at least do something for a handsome girl, if it were only with
the hope of hereafter sharing her favours.  I will not defer seeing
him,' added I, 'beyond tomorrow.  I really feel so elated by this
project, that I derive from it a good omen.'

"Lescaut himself allowed that the idea was not unreasonable, and that
we might fairly entertain a hope of turning it to account. I passed the
night less sorrowfully.

"Next morning I dressed as well as, in my present state of indigence, I
could possibly contrive to do; and went in a hackney coach to the
residence of M. de T----.  He was surprised at receiving a visit from a
perfect stranger.  I augured favourably from his countenance and the
civility of his manner.  I explained my object in the most candid way;
and, to excite his feelings as much as possible, I spoke of my ardent
passion and of Manon's merit, as of two things that were unequalled,
except by each other.  He told me, that although he had never seen
Manon, he had heard of her; at least, if the person I was talking of
was the same who had been the mistress of old G---- M----.  I
conjectured that he must have heard of the part I had acted in that
transaction, and in order to conciliate him more and more by treating
him with confidence, I told him everything that had occurred to Manon
and myself.  'You see, sir,' said I, 'that all that can interest me in
life, all that can command my affections, is in your hands.  I have no
reserve with you, because I have been informed of your generous and
noble character; and, being of the same age, I trust I shall find some
resemblance in our dispositions.'

"He seemed flattered by this mark of candour and confidence.  He
replied in a manner that became a man of the world, and a man of
feeling also, for they are not always synonymous terms.  He told me
that he appreciated my visit as a piece of good fortune; that he
considered my friendship as a valuable acquisition, and that he would
endeavour to prove himself worthy of it, by the sincerity of his
services.  He could not absolutely promise to restore Manon to my arms,
because, as he said, he himself had very little influence; but he
offered to procure me the pleasure of seeing her, and to do everything
in his power to effect her release.  I was the more satisfied with this
frank avowal as to his want of influence, than I should have been by an
unqualified promise of fulfilling all my wishes.  I found in his
moderation a pledge of his sincerity: in a word, I no longer doubted my
entire success.  The promise alone of enabling me to see Manon filled
me with gratitude, and I testified it in so earnest a manner, as to
give him a favourable opinion of my heart and disposition; we shook
hands warmly, and parted sworn friends, merely from mutual regard, and
that natural feeling which prompts a man of kind and generous
sentiments to esteem another of congenial mind.

"He, indeed, exceeded me in the proofs of his esteem; for, inferring
from my adventures, and especially my late escape from St. Lazare, that
I might be in want of money, he offered me his purse, and pressed me to
accept it.  I refused, but said to him, 'You are too kind, my dear sir!
If in addition to such proofs of kindness and friendship, you enable me
to see Manon again, rely on my eternal regard and gratitude.  If you
succeed in restoring altogether this dear creature to my arms, I should
think myself happy in spilling the last drop of my blood in your
service.'

"Before we parted, we agreed as to the time and place for our meeting.
He was so considerate as to appoint the afternoon of the same day.

"I waited for him at a cafe, where he joined me about four o'clock, and
we went together towards the Magdalen; my knees trembled under me as I
crossed the courts.  'Ye heavenly powers!' said I, 'then I shall once
more behold the idol of my heart--the dear object of so many sighs and
lamentations!  All I now ask of Providence is, to vouchsafe me strength
enough to reach her presence, and after that, to dispose as it pleaseth
of my future fate, and of my life itself.  Beyond this, I have no
prayer to utter.'

"M. de T---- spoke to some of the porters of the establishment, who
appeared all anxious to please him.  The quarter in which Manon's room
lay was pointed out to us, and our guide carried in his hand the key of
her chamber: it was of frightful size.  I asked the man who conducted
us, and whose duty it was to attend to Manon, how she passed her time?
He said, that she had a temper of the most angelic sweetness; that even
he, disagreeable as his official duties must render him, had never
heard from her a single syllable in the nature of rebuke or harshness;
that her tears had never ceased to flow during the first six weeks
after her arrival, but that latterly she seemed to bear her misfortunes
with more resignation, and that she employed herself from morning till
night with her needle, excepting some hours that she, each day, devoted
to reading.  I asked whether she had been decently provided for.  He
assured me that at least she had never felt the want of necessaries.

"We now approached her door.  My heart beat almost audibly in my bosom.
I said to M. de T----, 'Go in alone, and prepare her for my visit; I
fear that she may be overcome by seeing me unexpectedly.'  The door was
opened.  I remained in the passage, and listened to the conversation.
He said that he came to bring her consolation; that he was a friend of
mine, and felt deeply interested for the happiness of us both.  She
asked with the tenderest anxiety, whether he could tell her what had
become of me.  He promised that she should soon see me at her feet, as
affectionate and as faithful as ever.  'When?' she asked. 'This very
day,' said he; 'the happy moment shall not be long delayed; nay, this
very instant even, if you wish it.'  She at once understood that I was
at the door; as she was rushing towards it, I entered.  We embraced
each other with that abounding and impassioned tenderness, which an
absence of many months makes so delicious to those who truly love.  Our
sighs, our broken exclamations, the thousand endearing appellations of
love, exchanged in languishing rapture, astonished M. de T----, and
affected him even to tears.

"'I cannot help envying you,' said he, as he begged us to be seated;
'there is no lot, however glorious, that I would hold as comparable to
the possession of a mistress at once so tender and impassioned.'  'Nor
would I,' I replied, 'give up her love for universal empire!'

"The remainder of an interview which had been so long and so ardently
desired by me, was of course as tender as the commencement.  Poor Manon
related all her adventures, and I told her mine: we bitterly wept over
each other's story.  M. de T---- consoled us by his renewed promises to
exert himself in our service.  He advised us not to make this, our
first interview, of too long duration, that he might have the less
difficulty in procuring us the same enjoyment again.  He at length
induced us to follow his advice.  Manon especially could not reconcile
herself to the separation: she made me a hundred times resume my seat.
At one time she held me by my hands, at another by my coat.  'Alas!'
she said, 'in what an abode do you leave me!  Who will answer for my
ever seeing you again?'  M. de T---- promised her that he would often
come and see her with me.  'As to the abode,' he said, 'it must no
longer be called the Magdalen; it is Versailles! now that it contains a
person who deserves the empire of all hearts.'

"I made the man who attended a present as I went out, in order to
quicken his zeal and attentions.  This fellow had a mind less rough and
vulgar than the generality of his class.  He had witnessed our
interview, and was affected by it.  The interest he felt was doubtless
increased by the louis d'or I gave him.  He took me aside as we went
down into the courtyard.  'Sir,' said he, 'if you will only take me
into your service, or indemnify me in any way for the loss of the
situation which I fill here, I think I should not have much difficulty
in liberating the beauteous Manon.'

"I caught readily at the suggestion, and, although at the moment I was
almost in a state of destitution, I gave him promises far beyond his
desires.  I considered that it would be at all times easy to recompense
a man of his description.  'Be assured, my friend,' said I to him,
'that there is nothing I will not be ready to do for you, and that your
fortune is just as certain as my own.'  I enquired what means he
intended to employ.  'None other,' said he, 'than merely to open the
door of her cell for her at night, and to conduct her to the street
door, where you, of course, will be to receive her.'  I asked whether
there was no danger of her being recognised as she traversed the long
galleries and the courts.  He admitted that there was danger, but that
nothing could be done without some slight risk.

"Although I was delighted to find him so determined, I called M. de
T----, and informed him of the project, and of the only difficulty in
the way.  He thought it not so easy of execution. He allowed the
possibility of escaping thus:  'But if she be recognised,' continued
he, 'if she be stopped in the attempt, all hope will be over with her,
perhaps for ever.  Besides, you would be obliged to quit Paris
instantly, for you could never evade the search that would be made for
you: they would redouble their efforts as much on your own account as
hers.  A single man may easily escape detection, but in company with a
handsome woman, it would be utterly impossible to remain undiscovered.'

"However sound this reasoning, it could not, in my mind, outweigh the
immediate prospect of restoring Manon to liberty.  I said as much to M.
de T----, and trusted that he would excuse my imprudence and rashness,
on the ground of love.  I added that it was already my intention to
quit Paris for some neighbouring village, as I had once before done.
We then settled with the servant that he should carry his project into
execution the following day, and to render our success as certain as he
could, we resolved to carry into the prison men's clothes, in order to
facilitate her escape."

There was a difficulty to be surmounted in carrying them in, but I had
ingenuity enough to meet it.  I begged of M. de T---- only to put on
two light waistcoats the next morning, and I undertook to arrange the
rest.

We returned the following day to the Hospital.  I took with me linen,
stockings, etc., for Manon, and over my body-coat a surtout, which
concealed the bulk I carried in my pockets.  We remained but a moment
in her room.  M. de T---- left her one of his waistcoats; I gave her my
short coat, the surtout being sufficient for me.  She found nothing
wanting for her complete equipment but a pair of pantaloons, which in
my hurry I had forgotten.

"The want of so necessary an article might have amused us, if the
embarrassment it caused had been of a less serious kind.  I was in
despair at having our whole scheme foiled by a trifling omission of
this nature.  However, I soon hit on a remedy, and determined to make
my own exit sans-culotte, leaving that portion of my dress with Manon.
My surtout was long, and I contrived by the help of a few pins to put
myself in a decent condition for passing the gate.

"The remainder of the day appeared to me of endless length. When at
last night came, we went in a coach to within a few yards of the
Hospital.  We were not long waiting, when we saw Manon make her
appearance with her guide.  The door of the coach being opened, they
both stepped in without delay.  I opened my arms to receive my adored
mistress; she trembled like an aspen leaf.  The coachman asked where he
was to drive?  'To the end of the world!' I exclaimed; 'to some place
where I can never again be separated from Manon.'

"This burst, which I could not control, was near bringing me into fresh
trouble.  The coachman reflected upon what I said, and when I
afterwards told him the name of the street to which I wished him to
drive, he answered that he feared I was about to implicate him in some
bad business; that he saw plainly enough that the good-looking young
man whom I called Manon was a girl eloping from the Hospital, and that
he was little disposed indeed to ruin himself for love of me.

"Extortion was the source of this scoundrel's delicacy.  We were still
too near the Hospital to make any noise.  'Silence!' said I to him,
'you shall have a louis d'or for the job': for less than that he would
have helped me to burn the Hospital.

"We arrived at Lescaut's house.  As it was late, M. de T---- left us on
the way, promising to visit us the next morning.  The servant alone
remained.

"I held Manon in such close embrace in my arms, that we occupied but
one place in the coach.  She cried for joy, and I could feel her tears
trickling down my cheeks.

"When we were about getting out at Lescaut's, I had a new difficulty
with the coachman, which was attended with the most unfortunate
results.  I repented of having promised the fellow a louis d'or, not
only because it was extravagant folly, but for another stronger reason,
that it was at the moment out of my power to pay him.  I called for
Lescaut, and he came down to the door.  I whispered to him the cause of
my present embarrassment. Being naturally rough, and not at all in the
habit of treating hackney-coachmen with respect, he answered that I
could not be serious.  'A louis!' said he; 'twenty blows of a cane
would be the right payment for that rascal!'  I entreated him not to
destroy us; when he snatched my cane from my hand, and was about to lay
it on the coachman.  The fellow had probably before experienced the
weight of a guardsman's arm, and instantly drove off, crying out, that
I had cheated him, and should hear of him again.  I in vain endeavoured
to stop him.

"His flight caused me, of course, the greatest alarm.  I had no doubt
that he would immediately give information to the police. 'You have
ruined me,' said I to Lescaut; 'I shall be no longer safe at your
house; we must go hence at once.'  I gave Manon my arm, and as quickly
as possible got out of the dangerous neighbourhood.  Lescaut
accompanied us."

The Chevalier des Grieux having occupied more than an hour with his
story, I begged him to give himself a little rest, and meanwhile to
share our supper.  He saw, by the attention we paid him, that we were
amused, and promised that we should hear something of perhaps greater
interest in the sequel.  When we had finished supper, he continued in
the following words.


[1] A favourite tenet of the Mystics, advocated by Madame de Guyon, and
adopted by the amiable and eloquent Fenelon, was, that the love of the
Supreme Being must be pure and disinterested; that is, exempt from all
views of interest, and all hope of reward.  See the controversy between
Bossuet and Fenelon.

[2] The first proposition of the Jansenists was, that there are divine
precepts which good men, notwithstanding their desire to observe them,
are nevertheless absolutely unable to obey: God not having given them
such a measure of grace as is essentially necessary to render them
capable of obedience.--Mosheim's Eccles. Hist., ii. 397.



VII


  . . . How chances mock,
  And changes fill the cup of alteration
  With divers liquors.
        SHAKESPEARE.


"How inscrutably does Providence connect events!  We had hardly
proceeded for five minutes on our way, when a man, whose face I could
not see, recognised Lescaut.  He had no doubt been watching for him
near his home, with the horrible intention which he now unhappily
executed.  'It IS Lescaut!' said he, snapping a pistol at his head; 'he
shall sup tonight with the angels!'  He then instantly disappeared.
Lescaut fell, without the least sign of life.  I pressed Manon to fly,
for we could be of no use to a dead man, and I feared being arrested by
the police, who would certainly be soon upon the spot.  I turned down
the first narrow street with her and the servant: she was so
overpowered by the scene she had just witnessed, that I could hardly
support her. At last, at the end of the street, I perceived a
hackney-coach; we got into it, but when the coachman asked whither he
should drive, I was scarcely able to answer him.  I had no certain
asylum--no confidential friend to whom I could have recourse.  I was
almost destitute of money, having but one dollar left in my purse.
Fright and fatigue had so unnerved Manon, that she was almost fainting
at my side.  My imagination too was full of the murder of Lescaut, and
I was not without strong apprehensions of the patrol.  What was to be
done?  I luckily remembered the inn at Chaillot, where we first went to
reside in that village.  I hoped to be not only secure, but to continue
there for some time without being pressed for payment.  'Take us to
Chaillot,' said I to the coachman.  He refused to drive us so far at
that late hour for less than twelve francs.  A new embarrassment!  At
last we agreed for half that sum--all that my purse contained.

"I tried to console Manon as we went along, but despair was rankling in
my own heart.  I should have destroyed myself a thousand times over, if
I had not felt that I held in my arms all that could attach me to life:
this reflection reconciled me.  'I possess her at least,' said I; 'she
loves me! she is mine! Vainly does Tiberge call this a mere phantom of
happiness.'  I could, without feeling interest or emotion, see the
whole world besides perish around me.  Why?  Because I have in it no
object of affection beyond her.

"This sentiment was true; however, while I so lightly esteemed the good
things of the world, I felt that there was no doing without some little
portion of them, were it only to inspire a more thorough contempt for
the remainder.  Love is more powerful than wealth--more attractive than
grandeur or fame; but, alas! it cannot exist without certain artificial
aids; and there is nothing more humiliating to the feelings, of a
sensitive lover, than to find himself, by want of means, reduced to the
level of the most vulgar minds.

"It was eleven o'clock when we arrived at Chaillot.  They received us
at the inn as old acquaintances, and expressed no sort of surprise at
seeing Manon in male attire, for it was the custom in Paris and the
environs to adopt all disguises.  I took care to have her served with
as much attention as if I had been in prosperous circumstances.  She
was ignorant of my poverty, and I carefully kept her so, being resolved
to return alone the following day to Paris, to seek some cure for this
vexatious kind of malady.

"At supper she appeared pale and thin; I had not observed this at the
Hospital, as the room in which I saw her was badly lighted.  I asked
her if the excessive paleness were not caused by the shock of
witnessing her brother's death?  She assured me that, horrified as she
naturally was at the event, her paleness was purely the effect of a
three months' absence from me.  'You do love me then devotedly?' I
exclaimed.

"'A thousand times more than I can tell!' was her reply.

"'You will never leave me again?' I added.

"'No! never, never!' answered she.

"This assurance was confirmed by so many caresses and vows, that it
appeared impossible she could, to the end of time, forget them.  I have
never doubted that she was at that moment sincere. What motive could
she have had for dissembling to such a degree? But she became
afterwards still more volatile than ever, or rather she was no longer
anything, and entirely forgot herself, when, in poverty and want, she
saw other women living in abundance.  I was now on the point of
receiving a new proof of her inconstancy, which threw all that had
passed into the shade, and which led to the strangest adventure that
ever happened to a man of my birth and prospects.

"As I knew her disposition, I hastened the next day to Paris. The death
of her brother, and the necessity of getting linen and clothes for her,
were such good reasons, that I had no occasion for any further pretext.
I left the inn, with the intention, as I told Manon and the landlord,
of going in a hired carriage, but this was a mere flourish; necessity
obliged me to travel on foot: I walked very fast as far as
Cours-la-Reine, where I intended to rest.  A moment of solitude and
tranquillity was requisite to compose myself, and to consider what was
to be done in Paris.

"I sat down upon the grass.  I plunged into a sea of thoughts and
considerations, which at length resolved themselves into three
principal heads.  I had pressing want of an infinite number of absolute
necessaries; I had to seek some mode of at least raising a hope for the
future; and, though last, not least in importance, I had to gain
information, and adopt measures, to secure Manon's safety and my own.
After having exhausted myself in devising projects upon these three
chief points, I was obliged to put out of view for the moment the two
last.  We were not ill sheltered from observation in the inn at
Chaillot; and as to future wants, I thought it would be time enough to
think about them when those of the moment were satisfied.

"The main object now was to replenish my purse.  M. de T---- had once
offered me his, but I had an extreme repugnance to mention the subject
to him again.  What a degradation to expose one's misery to a stranger,
and to ask for charity: it must be either a man of low mind who would
thus demean himself, and that from a baseness which must render him
insensible to the degradation, or a humble Christian, from a
consciousness of generosity in himself, which must put him above the
sense of shame.  I would have sacrificed half my life to be spared the
humiliation.

"'Tiberge,' said I, 'kind Tiberge, will he refuse me what he has it in
his power to grant?  No, he will assuredly sympathise in my misery; but
he will also torture me with his lectures!  One must endure his
reproaches, his exhortations, his threats: I shall have to purchase his
assistance so dearly, that I would rather make any sacrifice than
encounter this distressing scene, which cannot fail to leave me full of
sorrow and remorse.  Well,' thought I again, 'all hope must be
relinquished, since no other course presents itself: so far am I from
adopting either of these, that I would sooner shed half my blood than
face one of these evils, or the last drop rather than encounter both.
Yes, the very last drop,' I repeated after a moment's reflection, 'I
would sacrifice willingly rather than submit to such base supplication!

"'But it is not in reality a question of my existence!  Manon's life
and maintenance, her love and her fidelity, are at stake! What
consideration can outweigh that?  In her are centred all my glory,
happiness, and future fortune!  There are doubtless many things that I
would gladly give up my life to obtain, or to avoid; but to estimate a
thing merely beyond the value of my own life, is not putting it on a
par with that of Manon.'  This idea soon decided me: I went on my way,
resolved to go first to Tiberge, and afterwards to M. de T----.

"On entering Paris I took a hackney-coach, though I had not wherewithal
to pay for it; I calculated on the loan I was going to solicit.  I
drove to the Luxembourg, whence I sent word to Tiberge that I was
waiting for him.  I had not to stay many minutes.  I told him without
hesitation the extremity of my wants.  He asked if the fifty pounds
which I had returned to him would suffice, and he at once went to fetch
it with that generous air, that pleasure in bestowing which 'blesseth
him that gives, and him that takes,' and which can only be known to
love or to true friendship.

"Although I had never entertained a doubt of Tiberge's readiness to
grant my request, yet I was surprised at having obtained it on such
easy terms, that is to say, without a word of reprimand for my
impenitence; but I was premature in fancying myself safe from his
reproaches, for when he had counted out the money, and I was on the
point of going away, he begged of me to take a walk with him in the
garden.  I had not mentioned Manon's name; he knew nothing of her
escape; so that his lecture was merely upon my own rash flight from St.
Lazare, and upon his apprehensions lest, instead of profiting by the
lessons of morality which I had received there, I should again relapse
into dissipation.

"He told me, that having gone to pay me a visit at St. Lazare, the day
after my escape, he had been astonished beyond expression at hearing
the mode in which I had effected it; that he had afterwards a
conversation with the Superior; that the good Father had not quite
recovered the shock; that he had, however, the generosity to conceal
the real circumstances from the lieutenant-general of police, and that
he had prevented the death of the porter from becoming known outside
the walls; that I had, therefore, upon that score, no ground for alarm,
but that, if I retained one grain of prudence, I should profit by this
happy turn which Providence had given to my affairs, and begin by
writing to my father, and reconciling myself to his favour; and finally
that, if I would be guided by his advice, I should at once quit Paris,
and return to the bosom of my family.

"I listened to him attentively till he had finished.  There was much in
what he said to gratify me.  In the first place, I was delighted to
learn that I had nothing to fear on account of St. Lazare--the streets
of Paris at least were again open to me. Then I rejoiced to find that
Tiberge had no suspicion of Manon's escape, and her return to my arms.
I even remarked that he had not mentioned her name, probably from the
idea that, by my seeming indifference to her, she had become less dear
to my heart.  I resolved, if not to return home, at least to write to
my father, as he advised me, and to assure him that I was disposed to
return to my duty, and consult his wishes.  My intention was to urge
him to send me money for the purpose of pursuing my ordinary studies at
the University, for I should have found it difficult to persuade him
that I had any inclination to resume my ecclesiastical habit.  I was in
truth not at all averse to what I was now going to promise him.  On the
contrary, I was ready to apply myself to some creditable and rational
pursuit, so far as the occupation would be compatible with my love.  I
reckoned upon being able to live with my mistress, and at the same time
continuing my studies.  I saw no inconsistency in this plan.

"These thoughts were so satisfactory to my mind, that I promised
Tiberge to dispatch a letter by that day's post to my father: in fact,
on leaving him, I went into a scrivener's, and wrote in such a
submissive and dutiful tone, that, on reading over my own letter, I
anticipated the triumph I was going to achieve over my father's heart.

"Although I had money enough to pay for a hackney-coach after my
interview with Tiberge, I felt a pleasure in walking independently
through the streets to M. de T----'s house.  There was great comfort in
this unaccustomed exercise of my liberty, as to which my friend had
assured me I had nothing now to apprehend. However, it suddenly
occurred to me, that he had been only referring to St. Lazare, and that
I had the other affair of the Hospital on my hands; being implicated,
if not as an accomplice, at all events as a witness.  This thought
alarmed me so much, that I slipped down the first narrow street, and
called a coach. I went at once to M. de T----'s, and he laughed at my
apprehensions.  I myself thought them ridiculous enough, when he
informed me that there was no more danger from Lescaut's affray, than
from the Hospital adventure.  He told me that, from the fear of their
suspecting that he had a hand in Manon's escape, he had gone that
morning to the Hospital and asked to see her, pretending not to know
anything of what had happened; that they were so far from entertaining
the least suspicion of either of us, that they lost no time in relating
the adventure as a piece of news to him; and that they wondered how so
pretty a girl as Manon Lescaut could have thought of eloping with a
servant: that he replied with seeming indifference, that it by no means
astonished him, for people would do anything for the sake of liberty.

"He continued to tell me how he then went to Lescaut's apartments, in
the hope of finding me there with my dear mistress; that the master of
the house, who was a coachmaker, protested he had seen neither me nor
Manon; but that it was no wonder that we had not appeared there, if our
object was to see Lescaut, for that we must have doubtless heard of his
having been assassinated about the very same time; upon which, he
related all that he knew of the cause and circumstances of the murder.

"About two hours previously, a guardsman of Lescaut's acquaintance had
come to see him, and proposed play.  Lescaut had such a rapid and
extravagant run of luck, that in an hour the young man was minus twelve
hundred francs--all the money he had. Finding himself without a sou, he
begged of Lescaut to lend him half the sum he had lost; and there being
some difficulty on this point, an angry quarrel arose between them.
Lescaut had refused to give him the required satisfaction, and the
other swore, on quitting him, that he would take his life; a threat
which he carried into execution the same night.  M. de T---- was kind
enough to add, that he had felt the utmost anxiety on our account, and
that, such as they were, he should gladly continue to us his services.
I at once told him the place of our retreat. He begged of me to allow
him to sup with us.

"As I had nothing more to do than to procure the linen and clothes for
Manon, I told him that we might start almost immediately, if he would
be so good as to wait for me a moment while I went into one or two
shops.  I know not whether he suspected that I made this proposition
with the view of calling his generosity into play, or whether it was by
the mere impulse of a kind heart; but, having consented to start
immediately, he took me to a shopkeeper, who had lately furnished his
house.  He there made me select several articles of a much higher price
than I had proposed to myself; and when I was about paying the bill, he
desired the man not to take a sou from me.  This he did so gracefully,
that I felt no shame in accepting his present.  We then took the road
to Chaillot together, where I arrived much more easy in mind than when
I had left it that morning.

"My return and the polite attentions of M. de T---- dispelled all
Manon's melancholy.  'Let us forget our past annoyances, my dear soul,'
said I to her, 'and endeavour to live a still happier life than before.
After all, there are worse masters than love: fate cannot subject us to
as much sorrow as love enables us to taste of happiness.'  Our supper
was a true scene of joy.

"In possession of Manon and of twelve hundred and fifty francs, I was
prouder and more contented than the richest voluptuary of Paris with
untold treasures.  Wealth should be measured by the means it affords us
of satisfying our desires.  There did not remain to me at this moment a
single wish unaccomplished.  Even the future gave me little concern.  I
felt a hope, amounting almost to certainty, that my father would allow
me the means of living respectably in Paris, because I had become
entitled, on entering upon my twentieth year, to a share of my mother's
fortune.  I did not conceal from Manon what was the extent of my
present wealth; but I added, that it might suffice to support us until
our fortune was bettered, either by the inheritance I have just alluded
to, or by the resources of the hazard-table."



VIII


This Passion hath its floods in the very times of weakness, which are
great prosperity, and great adversity; both which times kindle Love,
and make it more fervent.--BACON.


"For several weeks I thus continued to think only of enjoying the full
luxury of my situation; and being restrained, by a sense of honour, as
well as a lurking apprehension of the police, from renewing my intimacy
with my former companions at the hotel of Transylvania, I began to play
in certain coteries less notorious, where my good luck rendered it
unnecessary for me to have recourse to my former accomplishments.  I
passed a part of the afternoon in town, and returned always to supper
at Chaillot, accompanied very often by M. de T----, whose intimacy and
friendship for us daily increased.

"Manon soon found resources against ennui.  She became acquainted with
some young ladies, whom the spring brought into the neighbourhood.
They occupied their leisure hours in walking, and the customary
amusements of persons of their sex and age. Their little gains at cards
(always within innocent limits) were laid out in defraying the expense
of a coach, in which they took an airing occasionally in the Bois de
Boulogne; and each night when I returned, I was sure of finding Manon
more beautiful--more contented--more affectionate than ever.

"There arose, however, certain clouds, which seemed to threaten the
continuance of this blissful tranquillity, but they were soon
dispelled; and Manon's sprightliness made the affair so excessively
comical in its termination, that it is even now pleasing to recur to
it, as a proof of the tenderness as well as the cheerfulness of her
disposition.

"The only servant we had came to me one day, with great embarrassment,
and taking me aside, told me that he had a secret of the utmost
importance to communicate to me.  I urged him to explain himself
without reserve.  After some hesitation, he gave me to understand that
a foreigner of high rank had apparently fallen in love with Manon.  I
felt my blood boil at the announcement.  'Has she shown any penchant
for him?'  I enquired, interrupting my informant with more impatience
than was requisite, if I desired to have a full explanation.

"He was alarmed at my excitement; and replied in an undecided tone,
that he had not made sufficiently minute observation to satisfy me; but
that, having noticed for several days together the regular arrival of
the stranger at the Bois de Boulogne, where, quitting his carriage, he
walked by himself in the cross-avenues, appearing to seek opportunities
of meeting Manon, it had occurred to him to form an acquaintance with
the servants, in order to discover the name of their master; that they
spoke of him as an Italian prince, and that they also suspected he was
upon some adventure of gallantry.  He had not been able to learn
anything further, he added, trembling as he spoke, because the prince,
then on the point of leaving the wood, had approached him, and with the
most condescending familiarity asked his name; upon which, as if he at
once knew that he was in our service, he congratulated him on having,
for his mistress, the most enchanting person upon earth.

"I listened to this recital with the greatest impatience.  He ended
with the most awkward excuses, which I attributed to the premature and
imprudent display of my own agitation.  In vain I implored him to
continue his history.  He protested that he knew nothing more, and that
what he had previously told me, having only happened the preceding day,
he had not had a second opportunity of seeing the prince's servants.  I
encouraged him, not only with praises, but with a substantial
recompense; and without betraying the slightest distrust of Manon, I
requested him, in the mildest manner, to keep strict watch upon all the
foreigner's movements.

"In truth, the effect of his fright was to leave me in a state of the
cruellest suspense.  It was possible that she had ordered him to
suppress part of the truth.  However, after a little reflection, I
recovered sufficiently from my fears to see the manner in which I had
exposed my weaknesses.  I could hardly consider it a crime in Manon to
be loved.  Judging from appearances, it was probable that she was not
even aware of her conquest.  'And what kind of life shall I in future
lead,' thought I, 'if I am capable of letting jealousy so easily take
possession of my mind?'

"I returned on the following day to Paris, with no other intention than
to hasten the improvement of my fortune, by playing deeper than ever,
in order to be in a condition to quit Chaillot on the first real
occasion for uneasiness.  That night I learned nothing at all
calculated to trouble my repose.  The foreigner had, as usual, made his
appearance in the Bois de Boulogne; and venturing, from what had passed
the preceding day, to accost my servant more familiarly, he spoke to
him openly of his passion, but in such terms as not to lead to the
slightest suspicion of Manon's being aware of it.  He put a thousand
questions to him, and at last tried to bribe him with large promises;
and taking a letter from his pocket, he in vain entreated him, with the
promise of some louis d'ors, to convey it to her.

"Two days passed without anything more occurring: the third was of a
different character.  I learned on my arrival, later than usual, from
Paris, that Manon, while in the wood, had left her companions for a
moment, and that the foreigner, who had followed her at a short
distance, approached, upon her making him a sign, and that she handed
him a letter, which he took with a transport of joy.  He had only time
to express his delight by kissing the billet-doux, for she was out of
sight in an instant.  But she appeared in unusually high spirits the
remainder of the day; and even after her return to our lodgings, her
gaiety continued.  I trembled at every word.

"'Are you perfectly sure,' said I, in an agony of fear, to my servant,
'that your eyes have not deceived you?'  He called Heaven to witness
the truth of what he had told me.

"I know not to what excess the torments of my mind would have driven
me, if Manon, who heard me come in, had not met me with an air of
impatience, and complained of my delay.  Before I had time to reply,
she loaded me with caresses; and when she found we were alone, she
reproached me warmly with the habit I was contracting of staying out so
late.  My silence gave her an opportunity of continuing; and she then
said that for the last three weeks I had never spent one entire day in
her society; that she could not endure such prolonged absence; that she
should at least expect me to give up a day to her from time to time,
and that she particularly wished me to be with her on the following day
from morning till night.

"'You may be very certain I shall do that,' said I, in rather a sharp
tone.  She did not appear to notice my annoyance; she seemed to me to
have more than her usual cheerfulness; and she described, with infinite
pleasantry, the manner in which she had spent the day.

"'Incomprehensible girl!" said I to myself; 'what am I to expect after
such a prelude?' The adventures of my first separation occurred to me;
nevertheless, I fancied I saw in her cheerfulness, and the affectionate
reception she gave me, an air of truth that perfectly accorded with her
professions.

"It was an easy matter at supper to account for the low spirits which I
could not conceal, by attributing them to a loss I had that day
sustained at the gaming-table.  I considered it most fortunate that the
idea of my remaining all the next day at Chaillot was suggested by
herself: I should thus have ample time for deliberation.  My presence
would prevent any fears for at least the next day; and if nothing
should occur to compel me to disclose the discovery I had already made,
I was determined on the following day to move my establishment into
town, and fix myself in a quarter where I should have nothing to
apprehend from the interference of princes.  This arrangement made me
pass the night more tranquilly, but it by no means put an end to the
alarm I felt at the prospect of a new infidelity.

"When I awoke in the morning, Manon said to me, that although we were
to pass the day at home, she did not at all wish that I should be less
carefully dressed than on other occasions; and that she had a
particular fancy for doing the duties of my toilette that morning with
her own hands.  It was an amusement she often indulged in: but she
appeared to take more pains on this occasion than I had ever observed
before.  To gratify her, I was obliged to sit at her toilette table,
and try all the different modes she imagined for dressing my hair.  In
the course of the operation, she made me often turn my head round
towards her, and putting both hands upon my shoulders, she would
examine me with most anxious curiosity: then, showing her approbation
by one or two kisses, she would make me resume my position before the
glass, in order to continue her occupation.

"This amatory trifling engaged us till dinner-time.  The pleasure she
seemed to derive from it, and her more than usual gaiety, appeared to
me so thoroughly natural, that I found it impossible any longer to
suspect the treason I had previously conjured up; and I was several
times on the point of candidly opening my mind to her, and throwing off
a load that had begun to weigh heavily upon my heart: but I flattered
myself with the hope that the explanation would every moment come from
herself, and I anticipated the delicious triumph this would afford me.

"We returned to her boudoir.  She began again to put my hair in order,
and I humoured all her whims; when they came to say that the Prince of
---- was below, and wished to see her.  The name alone almost threw me
into a rage.

"'What then,' exclaimed I, as I indignantly pushed her from me,
'who?--what prince?'

"She made no answer to my enquiries.

"'Show him upstairs,' said she coolly to the servant; and then turning
towards me, 'Dearest love! you whom I so fervently adore,' she added in
the most bewitching tone, 'I only ask of you one moment's patience; one
moment, one single moment!  I will love you ten thousand times more
than ever: your compliance now shall never, during my life, be
forgotten.'

"Indignation and astonishment deprived me of the power of utterance.
She renewed her entreaties, and I could not find adequate expressions
to convey my feelings of anger and contempt. But hearing the door of
the ante-chamber open, she grasped with one hand my locks, which were
floating over my shoulders, while she took her toilette mirror in the
other, and with all her strength led me in this manner to the door of
the boudoir, which she opened with her knee, and presented to the
foreigner, who had been prevented by the noise he heard inside from
advancing beyond the middle of the ante-chamber, a spectacle that must
have indeed amazed him.  I saw a man extremely well dressed, but with a
particularly ill-favoured countenance.

"Notwithstanding his embarrassment, he made her a profound bow. Manon
gave him no time for speech-making; she held up the mirror before him:
'Look, sir,' said she to him, 'observe yourself minutely, and I only
ask you then to do me justice.  You wish me to love you: this is the
man whom I love, and whom I have sworn to love during my whole life:
make the comparison yourself.  If you think you can rival him in my
affections, tell me at least upon what pretensions; for I solemnly
declare to you, that, in the estimation of your most obedient humble
servant, all the princes in Italy are not worth a single one of the
hairs I now hold in my hand.'

"During this whimsical harangue, which she had apparently prepared
beforehand, I tried in vain to disengage myself, and feeling compassion
for a person of such consideration, I was desirous, by my politeness at
least, of making some reparation for this little outrage.  But
recovering his self-possession with the ease of a man accustomed to the
world, he put an end to my feelings of pity by his reply, which was, in
my opinion, rude enough.

"'Young lady! young lady!' said he to her, with a sardonic smile, 'my
eyes in truth are opened, and I perceive that you are much less of a
novice than I had pictured to myself.'

"He immediately retired without looking at her again, muttering to
himself that the French women were quite as bad as those of Italy.  I
felt little desire, on this occasion, to change his opinion of the fair
sex.

"Manon let go my hand, threw herself into an armchair, and made the
room resound with her shouts of laughter.  I candidly confess that I
was touched most sensibly by this unexpected proof of her affection,
and by the sacrifice of her own interest which I had just witnessed,
and which she could only have been induced to make by her excessive
love for me.  Still, however, I could not help thinking she had gone
rather too far.  I reproached her with what I called her indiscretion.
She told me that my rival, after having besieged her for several days
in the Bois de Boulogne, and having made her comprehend his object by
signs and grimaces, had actually made an open declaration of love;
informing her at the same time of his name and all his titles, by means
of a letter, which he had sent through the hands of the coachman who
drove her and her companions; that he had promised her, on the other
side of the Alps, a brilliant fortune and eternal adoration; that she
returned to Chaillot, with the intention of relating to me the whole
adventure, but that, fancying it might be made a source of amusement to
us, she could not help gratifying her whim; that she accordingly
invited the Italian prince, by a flattering note, to pay her a visit;
and that it had afforded her equal delight to make me an accomplice,
without giving me the least suspicion of her plan.  I said not a word
of the information I had received through another channel; and the
intoxication of triumphant love made me applaud all she had done."



IX


  'Twas ever thus;--from childhood's hour
    I've seen my fondest hopes decay;--
  I never loved a tree or flower,
    But it was sure to fade away;
  I never nursed a dear Gazelle,
    To glad me with its dark-blue eye,
  But, when it came to know me well,
    And love me, it was sure to die.
        MOORE.


"During my life I have remarked that fate has invariably chosen for the
time of its severest visitations, those moments when my fortune seemed
established on the firmest basis.  In the friendship of M. de T----,
and the tender affections of Manon, I imagined myself so thoroughly
happy, that I could not harbour the slightest apprehension of any new
misfortune: there was one, nevertheless, at this very period impending,
which reduced me to the state in which you beheld me at Passy, and
which eventually brought in its train miseries of so deplorable a
nature, that you will have difficulty in believing the simple recital
that follows.

"One evening, when M. de T---- remained to sup with us, we heard the
sound of a carriage stopping at the door of the inn. Curiosity tempted
us to see who it was that arrived at this hour. They told us it was
young G---- M----, the son of our most vindictive enemy, of that
debauched old sinner who had incarcerated me in St. Lazare, and Manon
in the Hospital.  His name made the blood mount to my cheeks.  'It is
Providence that has led him here,' said I to M. de T----, that I may
punish him for the cowardly baseness of his father.  He shall not
escape without our measuring swords at least.'  M. de T----, who knew
him, and was even one of his most intimate friends, tried to moderate
my feelings of anger towards him.  He assured me that he was a most
amiable young man, and so little capable of countenancing his father's
conduct, that I could not be many minutes in his society without
feeling esteem and affection for him.  After saying many more things in
his praise, he begged my permission to invite him to come and sit in
our apartment, as well as to share the remainder of our supper.  As to
the objection of Manon being exposed by this proceeding to any danger,
he pledged his honour and good faith, that when once the young man
became acquainted with us, we should find in him a most zealous
defender.  After such an assurance, I could offer no further opposition.

"M. de T---- did not introduce him without delaying a few moments
outside, to let him know who we were.  He certainly came in with an air
that prepossessed us in his favour: he shook hands with me; we sat
down; he admired Manon; he appeared pleased with me, and with
everything that belonged to us; and he ate with an appetite that did
abundant honour to our hospitality.

"When the table was cleared, our conversation became more serious.  He
hung down his head while he spoke of his father's conduct towards us.
He made, on his own part, the most submissive excuses.  'I say the less
upon the subject,' said he, 'because I do not wish to recall a
circumstance that fills me with grief and shame.'  If he were sincere
in the beginning, he became much more so in the end, for the
conversation had not lasted half an hour, when I perceived that Manon's
charms had made a visible impression upon him.  His looks and his
manner became by degrees more tender.  He, however, allowed no
expression to escape him; but, without even the aid of jealousy, I had
had experience enough in love affairs to discern what was passing.

"He remained with us till a late hour in the night, and before he took
his leave, congratulated himself on having made our acquaintance, and
begged permission to call and renew the offer of his services.  He went
off next morning with M. de T----, who accepted the offer of a seat in
his carriage.

"I felt, as I before said, not the slightest symptom of jealousy I had
a more foolish confidence than ever in Manon's vows.  This dear
creature had so absolute a dominion over my whole soul and affections,
that I could give place to no other sentiment towards her than that of
admiration and love.  Far from considering it a crime that she should
have pleased young G---- M----, I was gratified by the effect of her
charms, and experienced only a feeling of pride in being loved by a
girl whom the whole world found so enchanting.  I did not even deem it
worth while to mention my suspicions to her.  We were for some days
occupied in arranging her new wardrobe, and in considering whether we
might venture to the theatre without the risk of being recognised.  M.
de T---- came again to see us before the end of the week, and we
consulted him upon this point.  He saw clearly that the way to please
Manon was to say yes: we resolved to go all together that same evening.

"We were not able, however, to carry this intention into effect; for,
having taken me aside, 'I have been in the greatest embarrassment,'
said he to me, 'since I saw you, and that is the cause of my visiting
you today.  G---- M---- is in love with your mistress: he told me so in
confidence; I am his intimate friend, and disposed to do him any
service in my power; but I am not less devoted to you; his designs
appeared to me unjustifiable, and I expressed my disapprobation of
them; I should not have divulged his secret, if he had only intended to
use fair and ordinary means for gaining Manon's affections; but he is
aware of her capricious disposition; he has learned, God knows how,
that her ruling passion is for affluence and pleasure; and, as he is
already in possession of a considerable fortune, he declared his
intention of tempting her at once with a present of great value, and
the offer of an annuity of six thousand francs; if I had in all other
points considered you both in an equal light, I should have had perhaps
to do more violence to my feelings in betraying him: but a sense of
justice as well as of friendship was on your side, and the more so from
having been myself the imprudent, though unconscious, cause of his
passion in introducing him here. I feel it my duty therefore to avert
any evil consequences from the mischief I have inadvertently caused.

"I thanked M. de T---- for rendering me so important a service, and
confessed to him, in a like spirit of confidence, that Manon's
disposition was precisely what G---- M---- had imagined; that is to
say, that she was incapable of enduring even the thought of poverty.
'However,' said I to him, 'when it is a mere question of more or less,
I do not believe that she would give me up for any other person; I can
afford to let her want for nothing, and I have from day to day reason
to hope that my fortune will improve; I only dread one thing,'
continued I, 'which is, that G---- M---- may take unfair advantage of
the knowledge he has of our place of residence, and bring us into
trouble by disclosing it.'

"M. de T---- assured me that I might be perfectly easy upon that head;
that G---- M---- might be capable of a silly passion, but not of an act
of baseness; that if he ever could be villain enough for such a thing,
he, de T----, would be the first to punish him, and by that means make
reparation for the mischief he had occasioned.  'I feel grateful for
what you say,' said I, 'but the mischief will have been all done, and
the remedy even seems doubtful; the wisest plan therefore will be to
quit Chaillot, and go to reside elsewhere.'  'Very true,' said M. de
T----, 'but you will not be able to do it quickly enough, for G----
M---- is to be here at noon; he told me so yesterday, and it was that
intelligence that made me come so early this morning to inform you of
his intentions.  You may expect him every moment.'"

"The urgency of the occasion made me view this matter in a more serious
light.  As it seemed to me impossible to escape the visit of G----
M----, and perhaps equally so to prevent him from making his
declaration to Manon, I resolved to tell her beforehand of the designs
of my new rival.  I fancied that when she knew I was aware of the
offers that would be made to her, and made probably in my presence, she
would be the more likely to reject them.  I told M. de T---- of my
intention, and he observed that he thought it a matter of extreme
delicacy.  'I admit it,' said I, 'but no man ever had more reason for
confiding in a mistress, than I have for relying on the affection of
mine.  The only thing that could possibly for a moment blind her, is
the splendour of his offers; no doubt she loves her ease, but she loves
me also; and in my present circumstances, I cannot believe that she
would abandon me for the son of the man who had incarcerated her in the
Magdalen.' In fine, I persisted in my intentions, and taking Manon
aside, I candidly told her what I had learned.

"She thanked me for the good opinion I entertained of her, and promised
to receive G---- M----'s offers in a way that should prevent a
repetition of them.  'No,' said I, 'you must not irritate him by
incivility: he has it in his power to injure us. But you know well
enough, you little rogue,' continued I, smiling, 'how to rid yourself
of a disagreeable or useless lover!'  After a moment's pause she said:
'I have just thought of an admirable plan, and I certainly have a
fertile invention. G---- M---- is the son of our bitterest enemy: we
must avenge ourselves on the father, not through the son's person, but
through his purse.  My plan is to listen to his proposals, accept his
presents, and then laugh at him.'

"'The project is not a bad one,' said I to her; 'but you forget, my
dear child, that it is precisely the same course that conducted us
formerly to the penitentiary.'  I represented to her the danger of such
an enterprise; she replied, that the only thing necessary was to take
our measures with caution, and she found an answer to every objection I
started.  'Show me the lover who does not blindly humour every whim of
an adored mistress, and I will then allow that I was wrong in yielding
so easily on this occasion.'  The resolution was taken to make a dupe
of G----M----, and by an unforeseen and unlucky turn of fortune, I
became the victim myself.

"About eleven o'clock his carriage drove up to the door.  He made the
most complaisant and refined speeches upon the liberty he had taken of
coming to dine with us uninvited.  He was not surprised at meeting M.
de T----, who had the night before promised to meet him there, and who
had, under some pretext or other, refused a seat in his carriage.
Although there was not a single person in the party who was not at
heart meditating treachery, we all sat down with an air of mutual
confidence and friendship.  G---- M---- easily found an opportunity of
declaring his sentiments to Manon.  I did not wish to annoy him by
appearing vigilant, so I left the room purposely for several minutes.

"I perceived on my return that he had not had to encounter any very
discouraging austerity on Manon's part, for he was in the best possible
spirits.  I affected good humour also.  He was laughing in his mind at
my simplicity, while I was not less diverted by his own.  During the
whole evening we were thus supplying to each other an inexhaustible
fund of amusement.  I contrived, before his departure, to let him have
Manon for another moment to himself; so that he had reason to applaud
my complaisance, as well as the hospitable reception I had given him.

"As soon as he got into his carriage with M. de T----, Manon ran
towards me with extended arms, and embraced me; laughing all the while
immoderately.  She repeated all his speeches and proposals, without
altering a word.  This was the substance:  He of course adored her; and
wished to share with her a large fortune of which he was already in
possession, without counting what he was to inherit at his father's
death.  She should be sole mistress of his heart and fortune; and as an
immediate token of his liberality, he was ready at once to supply her
with an equipage, a furnished house, a lady's maid, three footmen, and
a man-cook.

"'There is indeed a son,' said I, 'very different from his father! But
tell me truly, now, does not such an offer tempt you?' 'Me!' she
replied, adapting to the idea two verses from Racine--

  Moi! vous me soupconnez de cette perfidie?
  Moi! je pourrais souffrir un visage odieux,
  Qui rappelle toujours l'Hopital a mes yeux?


'No!' replied I, continuing the parody--

  J'aurais peine a penser que l'Hopital, madame,
  Fut un trait dont l'amour l'eut grave dans votre ame.

'But it assuredly is a temptation--a furnished house, a lady's maid, a
cook, a carriage, and three servants--gallantry can offer but few more
seductive temptations.'

"She protested that her heart was entirely mine, and that it was for
the future only open to the impressions I chose to make upon it.  'I
look upon his promises,' said she, 'as an instrument for revenge,
rather than as a mark of love.'  I asked her if she thought of
accepting the hotel and the carriage.  She replied that his money was
all she wanted."

The difficulty was, how to obtain the one without the other; we
resolved to wait for a detailed explanation of the whole project in a
letter which G---- M---- promised to write to her, and which in fact
she received next morning by a servant out of livery, who, very
cleverly, contrived an opportunity of speaking to her alone.

She told him to wait for an answer, and immediately brought the letter
to me: we opened it together.

"Passing over the usual commonplace expressions of tenderness, it gave
a particular detail of my rival's promises.  There were no limits to
the expense.  He engaged to pay her down ten thousand francs on her
taking possession of the hotel, and to supply her expenditure in such a
way as that she should never have less than that sum at her command.
The appointed day for her entering into possession was close at hand.
He only required two days for all his preparations, and he mentioned
the name of the street and the hotel, where he promised to be in
waiting for her in the afternoon of the second day, if she could manage
to escape my vigilance.  That was the only point upon which he begged
of her to relieve his uneasiness; he seemed to be quite satisfied upon
every other: but he added that, if she apprehended any difficulty in
escaping from me, he could find sure means for facilitating her flight.

"G---- M---- the younger was more cunning than the old gentleman.  He
wanted to secure his prey before he counted out the cash.  We
considered what course Manon should adopt.  I made another effort to
induce her to give up the scheme, and strongly represented all its
dangers; nothing, however, could shake her determination.

"Her answer to G---- M---- was brief, merely assuring him that she
could be, without the least difficulty, in Paris on the appointed day
and that he might expect her with certainty.

"We then resolved, that I should instantly hire lodgings in some
village on the other side of Paris, and that I should take our luggage
with me; that in the afternoon of the following day, which was the time
appointed, she should go to Paris; that, after receiving G---- M----'s
presents, she should earnestly entreat him to take her to the theatre;
that she should carry with her as large a portion of the money as she
could, and charge my servant with the remainder, for it was agreed that
he was to accompany her.  He was the man who had rescued her from the
Magdalen, and he was devotedly attached to us.  I was to be with a
hackney-coach at the end of the street of St. Andre-des-arcs, and to
leave it there about seven o'clock, while I stole, under cover of the
twilight, to the door of the theatre.  Manon promised to make some
excuse for quitting her box for a moment, when she would come down and
join me.  The rest could be easily done.  We were then to return to my
hackney-coach, and quit Paris by the Faubourg St. Antoine, which was
the road to our new residence.

"This plan, extravagant as it was, appeared to us satisfactorily
arranged.  But our greatest folly was in imagining that, succeed as we
might in its execution, it would be possible for us to escape the
consequences.  Nevertheless, we exposed ourselves to all risk with the
blindest confidence.  Manon took her departure with Marcel--so was the
servant called.  I could not help feeling a pang as she took leave of
me.  'Manon,' said I, 'do not deceive me; will you be faithful to me?'
She complained, in the tenderest tone, of my want of confidence, and
renewed all her protestations of eternal love.

"She was to be in Paris at three o'clock.  I went some time after.  I
spent the remainder of the afternoon moping in the Cafe de Fere, near
the Pont St. Michel.  I remained there till nightfall.  I then hired a
hackney-coach, which I placed, according to our plan, at the end of the
street of St. Andre-des-arcs, and went on foot to the door of the
theatre.  I was surprised at not seeing Marcel, who was to have been
there waiting for me.  I waited patiently for a full hour, standing
among a crowd of lackeys, and gazing at every person that passed. At
length, seven o'clock having struck, without my being able to discover
anything or any person connected with our project, I procured a pit
ticket, in order to ascertain if Manon and G---- M---- were in the
boxes.  Neither one nor the other could I find. I returned to the door,
where I again stopped for a quarter of an hour, in an agony of
impatience and uneasiness.  No person appeared, and I went back to the
coach, without knowing what to conjecture.  The coachman, seeing me,
advanced a few paces towards me, and said, with a mysterious air, that
a very handsome young person had been waiting more than an hour for me
in the coach; that she described me so exactly that he could not be
mistaken, and having learned that I intended to return, she said she
would enter the coach and wait with patience.

"I felt confident that it was Manon.  I approached.  I beheld a very
pretty face, certainly, but alas, not hers.  The lady asked, in a voice
that I had never before heard, whether she had the honour of speaking
to the Chevalier des Grieux?  I answered, 'That is my name.'  'I have a
letter for you,' said she, 'which will tell you what has brought me
here, and by what means I learned your name.'  I begged she would allow
me a few moments to read it in an adjoining cafe.  She proposed to
follow me, and advised me to ask for a private room, to which I
consented.  'Who is the writer of this letter?' I enquired.  She
referred me to the letter itself.

"I recognised Manon's hand.  This is nearly the substance of the
letter:  G---- M---- had received her with a politeness and
magnificence beyond anything she had previously conceived.  He had
loaded her with the most gorgeous presents.  She had the prospect of
almost imperial splendour.  She assured me, however, that she could not
forget me amidst all this magnificence; but that, not being able to
prevail on G---- M---- to take her that evening to the play, she was
obliged to defer the pleasure of seeing me; and that, as a slight
consolation for the disappointment which she feared this might cause
me, she had found a messenger in one of the loveliest girls in all
Paris. She signed herself, 'Your loving and constant, MANON LESCAUT.'

"There was something so cruel and so insulting in the letter, that,
what between indignation and grief, I resolutely determined to forget
eternally my ungrateful and perjured mistress.  I looked at the young
woman who stood before me: she was exceedingly pretty, and I could have
wished that she had been sufficiently so to render me inconstant in my
turn.  But there were wanting those lovely and languishing eyes, that
divine gracefulness, that exquisite complexion, in fine, those
innumerable charms which nature had so profusely lavished upon the
perfidious Manon.  'No, no,' said I, turning away from her; 'the
ungrateful wretch who sent you knew in her heart that she was sending
you on a useless errand.  Return to her; and tell her from me, to
triumph in her crime, and enjoy it, if she can, without remorse.  I
abandon her in despair, and, at the same time, renounce all women, who,
without her fascination, are no doubt her equals in baseness and
infidelity.'

"I was then on the point of going away, determined never to bestow
another thought on Manon: the mortal jealousy that was racking my heart
lay concealed under a dark and sullen melancholy, and I fancied,
because I felt none of those violent emotions which I had experienced
upon former occasions, that I had shaken off my thraldom.  Alas! I was
even at that moment infinitely more the dupe of love, than of G----
M---- and Manon.

"The girl who had brought the letter, seeing me about to depart, asked
me what I wished her to say to M. G---- M----, and to the lady who was
with him?  At this question, I stepped back again into the room, and by
one of those unaccountable transitions that are only known to the
victims of violent passion, I passed in an instant from the state of
subdued tranquillity which I have just described, into an ungovernable
fury 'Away!' said I to her, 'tell the traitor G---- M----and his
abandoned mistress the state of despair into which your accursed
mission has cast me; but warn them that it shall not be long a source
of amusement to them, and that my own hands shall be warmed with the
heart's blood of both!'  I sank back upon a chair; my hat fell on one
side, and my cane upon the other: torrents of bitter tears rolled down
my cheeks.  The paroxysm of rage changed into a profound and silent
grief: I did nothing but weep and sigh.  'Approach, my child,
approach,' said I to the young girl; 'approach, since it is you they
have sent to bring me comfort; tell me whether you have any balm to
administer for the pangs of despair and rage--any argument to offer
against the crime of self-destruction, which I have resolved upon,
after ridding the world of two perfidious monsters.  Yes, approach,'
continued I, perceiving that she advanced with timid and doubtful
steps; 'come and dry my sorrows; come and restore peace to my mind;
come and tell me that at least you love me: you are handsome--I may
perhaps love you in return.' The poor child, who was only sixteen or
seventeen years of age, and who appeared more modest than girls of her
class generally are, was thunderstruck at this unusual scene.  She
however gently approached to caress me, when with uplifted hands I
rudely repulsed her.  'What do you wish with me?' exclaimed I to her.
'Ah! you are a woman, and of a sex I abhor, and can no longer tolerate;
the very gentleness of your look threatens me with some new treason.
Go, leave me here alone!'  She made me a curtsy without uttering a
word, and turned to go out.  I called to her to stop:  'Tell me at
least,' said I, 'wherefore-- how--with what design they sent you here?
how did you discover my name, or the place where you could find me?'

"She told me that she had long known M. G---- M----; that he had sent
for her that evening about five o'clock; and that, having followed the
servant who had been dispatched to her, she was shown into a large
house, where she found him playing at picquet with a beautiful young
woman; and that they both charged her to deliver the letter into my
hands, after telling her that she would find me in a hackney-coach at
the bottom of the street of St. Andre.  I asked if they had said
nothing more.  She blushed while she replied, that they had certainly
made her believe that I should be glad of her society.  'They have
deceived you too,' said I, 'my poor girl--they have deceived you; you
are a woman, and probably wish for a lover; but you must find one who
is rich and happy, and it is not here you will find him.  Return,
return to M. G---- M----; he possesses everything requisite to make a
man beloved.  He has furnished houses and equipages to bestow, while I,
who have nothing but constancy of love to offer, am despised for my
poverty, and laughed at for my simplicity.'

"I continued in a tone of sorrow or violence, as these feelings
alternately took possession of my mind.  However, by the very excess of
my agitation, I became gradually so subdued as to be able calmly to
reflect upon the situation of affairs.  I compared this new misfortune
with those which I had already experienced of the same kind, and I
could not perceive that there was any more reason for despair now, than
upon former occasions.  I knew Manon: why then distress myself on
account of a calamity which I could not but have plainly foreseen?  Why
not rather think of seeking a remedy? there was yet time; I at least
ought not to spare my own exertions, if I wished to avoid the bitter
reproach of having contributed, by my own indolence, to my misery.  I
thereupon set about considering every means of raising a gleam of hope.

"To attempt to take her by main force from the hands of G----M---- was
too desperate a project, calculated only to ruin me, and without the
slightest probability of succeeding.  But it seemed to me that if I
could ensure a moment's interview with her, I could not fail to regain
my influence over her affections. I so well knew how to excite her
sensibilities!  I was so confident of her love for me!  The very whim
even of sending me a pretty woman by way of consoling me, I would stake
my existence, was her idea, and that it was the suggestion of her own
sincere sympathy for my sufferings.

"I resolved to exert every nerve to procure an interview.  After a
multitude of plans which I canvassed one after another, I fixed upon
the following:  M. de T---- had shown so much sincerity in the services
he had rendered me, that I could not entertain a doubt of his zeal and
good faith.  I proposed to call upon him at once, and make him send for
G---- M----, under pretence of some important business.  Half an hour
would suffice to enable me to see Manon.  I thought it would not be
difficult to get introduced into her apartment during G---- M----'s
absence.

"This determination pacified me, and I gave a liberal present to the
girl, who was still with me; and in order to prevent her from returning
to those who had sent her, I took down her address, and half promised
to call upon her at a later hour.  I then got into the hackney-coach,
and drove quickly to M. de T----'s.  I was fortunate enough to find him
at home.  I had been apprehensive upon this point as I went along.  A
single sentence put him in possession of the whole case, as well of my
sufferings, as of the friendly service I had come to supplicate at his
hands.

"He was so astonished to learn that G---- M---- had been able to seduce
Manon from me, that, not being aware that I had myself lent a hand to
my own misfortune, he generously offered to assemble his friends, and
evoke their aid for the deliverance of my mistress.  I told him that
such a proceeding might by its publicity be attended with danger to
Manon and to me.  'Let us risk our lives,' said I, 'only as a last
resource.  My plan is of a more peaceful nature, and promising at least
equal success.' He entered without a murmur into all that I proposed;
so again stating that all I required was, that he should send for G----
M----, and contrive to keep him an hour or two from home, we at once
set about our operations.

"We first of all considered what expedient we could make use of for
keeping him out so long a time.  I proposed that he should write a note
dated from a cafe, begging of him to come there as soon as possible
upon an affair of too urgent importance to admit of delay.  'I will
watch,' added I, 'the moment he quits the house, and introduce myself
without any difficulty, being only known to Manon, and my servant
Marcel.  You can at the same time tell G----  M----, that the important
affair upon which you wished to see him was the immediate want of a sum
of money; that you had just emptied your purse at play, and that you
had played on, with continued bad luck, upon credit.  He will require
some time to take you to his father's house, where he keeps his money,
and I shall have quite sufficient for the execution of my plan.'

"M. de T---- minutely adhered to these directions.  I left him in a
cafe, where he at once wrote his letter.  I took my station close by
Manon's house.  I saw de T----'s messenger arrive, and G---- M---- come
out the next moment, followed by a servant. Allowing him barely time to
get out of the street, I advanced to my deceiver's door, and
notwithstanding the anger I felt, I knocked with as much respect as at
the portal of a church. Fortunately it was Marcel who opened for me.
Although I had nothing to apprehend from the other servants, I asked
him in a low voice if he could conduct me unseen into the room in which
Manon was.  He said that was easily done, by merely ascending the great
staircase.  'Come then at once,' said I to him, 'and endeavour to
prevent anyone from coming up while I am there.'  I reached the
apartment without any difficulty.

"Manon was reading.  I had there an opportunity of admiring the
singular character of this girl.  Instead of being nervous or alarmed
at my appearance, she scarcely betrayed a symptom of surprise, which
few persons, however indifferent, could restrain, on seeing one whom
they imagined to be far distant.  'Ah! it is you, my dear love,' said
she, approaching to embrace me with her usual tenderness. 'Good
heavens, how venturesome and foolhardy you are!  Who could have
expected to see you in this place!' Instead of embracing her in return,
I repulsed her with indignation, and retreated two or three paces from
her.  This evidently disconcerted her.  She remained immovable, and
fixed her eyes on me, while she changed colour.

"I was in reality so delighted to behold her once more, that, with so
much real cause for anger, I could hardly bring my lips to upbraid her.
My heart, however, felt the cruel outrage she had inflicted upon me. I
endeavoured to revive the recollection of it in my own mind, in order
to excite my feelings, and put on a look of stern indignation.  I
remained silent for a few moments, when I remarked that she observed my
agitation, and trembled: apparently the effect of her fears.

"I could not longer endure this spectacle. 'Ah!  Manon,' said I to her
in the mildest tone, 'faithless and perjured Manon!  How am I to
complain of your conduct?  I see you pale and trembling, and I am still
so much alive to your slightest sufferings, that I am unwilling to add
to them by my reproaches.  But, Manon, I tell you that my heart is
pierced with sorrow at your treatment of me--treatment that is seldom
inflicted but with the purpose of destroying one's life.  This is the
third time, Manon; I have kept a correct account; it is impossible to
forget that.  It is now for you to consider what course you will adopt;
for my afflicted heart is no longer capable of sustaining such shocks.
I know and feel that it must give way, and it is at this moment ready
to burst with grief.  I can say no more,' added I, throwing myself into
a chair; 'I have hardly strength to speak, or to support myself.'

"She made me no reply; but when I was seated, she sank down upon her
knees, and rested her head upon my lap, covering her face with her
hands.  I perceived in a moment that she was shedding floods of tears.
Heavens! with what conflicting sensations was I at that instant
agitated!  'Ah! Manon, Manon,' said I, sighing, 'it is too late to give
me tears after the death-blow you have inflicted.  You affect a sorrow
which you cannot feel.  The greatest of your misfortunes is no doubt my
presence, which has been always an obstacle to your happiness.  Open
your eyes; look up and see who it is that is here; you will not throw
away tears of tenderness upon an unhappy wretch whom you have betrayed
and abandoned.'

"She kissed my hands without changing her position.  'Inconstant
Manon,' said I again, 'ungrateful and faithless girl, where now are all
your promises and your vows?  Capricious and cruel that you are! what
has now become of the love that you protested for me this very day?
Just Heavens,' added I, 'is it thus you permit a traitor to mock you,
after having called you so solemnly to witness her vows!  Recompense
and reward then are for the perjured!  Despair and neglect are the lot
of fidelity and truth!'

"These words conveyed even to my own mind a sentiment so bitterly
severe, that, in spite of myself, some tears escaped from me.  Manon
perceived this by the change in my voice.  She at length spoke.  'I
must have indeed done something most culpable,' said she, sobbing with
grief, 'to have excited and annoyed you to this degree; but, I call
Heaven to attest my utter unconsciousness of crime, and my innocence of
all criminal intention!'

"This speech struck me as so devoid of reason and of truth, that I
could not restrain a lively feeling of anger.  'Horrible hypocrisy!'
cried I; 'I see more plainly than ever that you are dishonest and
treacherous.  Now at length I learn your wretched disposition.  Adieu,
base creature,' said I, rising from my seat; 'I would prefer death a
thousand times rather than continue to hold the slightest communication
with you.  May Heaven punish me, if I ever again waste upon you the
smallest regard!  Live on with your new lover--renounce all feelings of
honour--detest me--your love is now a matter to me of utter
insignificance!'

"Manon was so terrified by the violence of my anger, that, remaining on
her knees by the chair from which I had just before risen, breathless
and trembling, she fixed her eyes upon me.  I advanced a little farther
towards the door, but, unless I had lost the last spark of humanity, I
could not continue longer unmoved by such a spectacle.

"So far, indeed, was I from this kind of stoical indifference, that,
rushing at once into the very opposite extreme, I returned, or rather
flew back to her without an instant's reflection.  I lifted her in my
arms; I gave her a thousand tender kisses; I implored her to pardon my
ungovernable temper; I confessed that I was an absolute brute, and
unworthy of being loved by such an angel.

"I made her sit down, and throwing myself, in my turn, upon my knees, I
conjured her to listen to me in that attitude.  Then I briefly
expressed all that a submissive and impassioned lover could say most
tender and respectful.  I supplicated her pardon. She let her arms fall
over my neck, as she said that it was she who stood in need of
forgiveness, and begged of me in mercy to forget all the annoyances she
had caused me, and that she began, with reason, to fear that I should
not approve of what she had to say in her justification.  'Me!' said I
interrupting her impatiently; 'I require no justification; I approve of
all you have done.  It is not for me to demand excuses for anything you
do; I am but too happy, too contented, if my dear Manon will only leave
me master of her affections!  But,' continued I, remembering that it
was the crisis of my fate, 'may I not, Manon, all-powerful Manon, you
who wield at your pleasure my joys and sorrows, may I not be permitted,
after having conciliated you by my submission and all the signs of
repentance, to speak to you now of my misery and distress?  May I now
learn from your own lips what my destiny is to be, and whether you are
resolved to sign my death-warrant, by spending even a single night with
my rival?'

"She considered a moment before she replied.  'My good chevalier,' said
she, resuming the most tranquil tone, 'if you had only at first
explained yourself thus distinctly, you would have spared yourself a
world of trouble, and prevented a scene that has really annoyed me.
Since your distress is the result of jealousy, I could at first have
cured that by offering to accompany you where you pleased.  But I
imagined it was caused by the letter which I was obliged to write in
the presence of G---- M----, and of the girl whom we sent with it.  I
thought you might have construed that letter into a mockery; and have
fancied that, by sending such a messenger, I meant to announce my
abandonment of you for the sake of G---- M----.  It was this idea that
at once overwhelmed me with grief; for, innocent as I knew myself to
be, I could not but allow that appearances were against me. However,'
continued she, 'I will leave you to judge of my conduct, after I shall
have explained the whole truth.'

"She then told me all that had occurred to her after joining G----
M----, whom she found punctually awaiting her arrival.  He had in fact
received her in the most princely style.  He showed her through all the
apartments, which were fitted up in the neatest and most correct taste.
He had counted out to her in her boudoir ten thousand francs, as well
as a quantity of jewels, amongst which were the identical pearl
necklace and bracelets which she had once before received as a present
from his father. He then led her into a splendid room, which she had
not before seen, and in which an exquisite collation was served; she
was waited upon by the new servants, whom he had hired purposely for
her, and whom he now desired to consider themselves as exclusively her
attendants; the carriage and the horses were afterwards paraded, and he
then proposed a game of cards, until supper should be announced.

"'I acknowledge,' continued Manon, 'that I was dazzled by all this
magnificence.  It struck me that it would be madness to sacrifice at
once so many good things for the mere sake of carrying off the money
and the jewels already in my possession; that it was a certain fortune
made for both you and me, and that we might pass the remainder of our
lives most agreeably and comfortably at the expense of G---- M----.

"'Instead of proposing the theatre, I thought it more prudent to sound
his feelings with regard to you, in order to ascertain what facilities
we should have for meeting in future, on the supposition that I could
carry my project into effect.  I found him of a most tractable
disposition.  He asked me how I felt towards you, and if I had not
experienced some compunction at quitting you.  I told him that you were
so truly amiable, and had ever treated me with such undeviating
kindness, that it was impossible I could hate you.  He admitted that
you were a man of merit, and expressed an ardent desire to gain your
friendship.

"'He was anxious to know how I thought you would take my elopement,
particularly when you should learn that I was in his hands.  I
answered, that our love was of such long standing as to have had time
to moderate a little; that, besides, you were not in very easy
circumstances, and would probably not consider my departure as any
severe misfortune, inasmuch as it would relieve you from a burden of no
very insignificant nature.  I added that, being perfectly convinced you
would take the whole matter rationally, I had not hesitated to tell you
that I had some business in Paris; but you had at once consented, and
that having accompanied me yourself, you did not seem very uneasy when
we separated.

"'If I thought,' said he to me, 'that he could bring himself to live on
good terms with me, I should be too happy to make him a tender of my
services and attentions.'  I assured him that, from what I knew of your
disposition, I had no doubt you would acknowledge his kindness in a
congenial spirit: especially, I added, if he could assist you in your
affairs, which had become embarrassed since your disagreement with your
family.  He interrupted me by declaring, that he would gladly render
you any service in his power, and that if you were disposed to form a
new attachment, he would introduce you to an extremely pretty woman,
whom he had just given up for me.

"'I approved of all he said,' she added, 'for fear of exciting any
suspicions; and being more and more satisfied of the feasibility of my
scheme, I only longed for an opportunity of letting you into it, lest
you should be alarmed at my not keeping my appointment.  With this view
I suggested the idea of sending this young lady to you, in order to
have an opportunity of writing; I was obliged to have recourse to this
plan, because I could not see a chance of his leaving me to myself for
a moment.'

"'He was greatly amused with my proposition; he called his valet, and
asking him whether he could immediately find his late mistress, he
dispatched him at once in search of her.  He imagined that she would
have to go to Chaillot to meet you, but I told him that, when we
parted, I promised to meet you again at the theatre, or that, if
anything should prevent me from going there, you were to wait for me in
a coach at the end of the street of St. Andre; that consequently it
would be best to send your new love there, if it were only to save you
from the misery of suspense during the whole night.  I said it would be
also necessary to write you a line of explanation, without which you
would probably be puzzled by the whole transaction.  He consented; but
I was obliged to write in his presence; and I took especial care not to
explain matters too palpably in my letter.

"'This is the history,' said Manon, 'of the entire affair.  I conceal
nothing from you, of either my conduct or my intentions. The girl
arrived; I thought her handsome; and as I doubted not that you would be
mortified by my absence, I did most sincerely hope that she would be
able to dissipate something of your ennui: for it is the fidelity of
the heart alone that I value.  I should have been too delighted to have
sent Marcel, but I could not for a single instant find an opportunity
of telling him what I wished to communicate to you.'  She finished her
story by describing the embarrassment into which M. de T----'s letter
had thrown G---- M----; 'he hesitated,' said she, 'about leaving, and
assured me that he should not be long absent; and it is on this account
that I am uneasy at seeing you here, and that I betrayed, at your
appearance, some slight feeling of surprise.'

"I listened to her with great patience.  There were certainly parts of
her recital sufficiently cruel and mortifying; for the intention, at
least, of the infidelity was so obvious, that she had not even taken
the trouble to disguise it.  She could never have imagined that G----
M---- meant to venerate her as a vestal. She must therefore clearly
have made up her mind to pass at least one night with him.  What an
avowal for a lover's ears!  However, I considered myself as partly the
cause of her guilt, by having been the first to let her know G----
M----'s sentiments towards her, and by the silly readiness with which I
entered into this rash project.  Besides, by a natural bent of my mind,
peculiar I believe to myself, I was duped by the ingenuousness of her
story--by that open and winning manner with which she related even the
circumstances most calculated to annoy me.  'There is nothing of wanton
vice,' said I to myself, 'in her transgressions; she is volatile and
imprudent, but she is sincere and affectionate.'  My love alone
rendered me blind to all her faults.  I was enchanted at the prospect
of rescuing her that very night from my rival.  I said to her:  'With
whom do you mean to pass the night?'  She was evidently disconcerted by
the question, and answered me in an embarrassed manner with BUTS and
IFS.

"I felt for her, and interrupted her by saying that I at once expected
her to accompany me.

"'Nothing can give me more pleasure,' said she; 'but you don't approve
then of my project?'

"'Is it not enough,' replied I, 'that I approve of all that you have,
up to this moment, done?'

"'What,' said she, 'are we not even to take the ten thousand francs
with us?  Why, he gave me the money; it is mine.'

"I advised her to leave everything, and let us think only of escaping
for although I had been hardly half an hour with her, I began to dread
the return of G---- M----.  However, she so earnestly urged me to
consent to our going out with something in our pockets, that I thought
myself bound to make her, on my part, some concession, in return for
all she yielded to me.

"While we were getting ready for our departure, I heard someone knock
at the street door.  I felt convinced that it must be G---- M----; and
in the heat of the moment, I told Manon, that as sure as he appeared I
would take his life.  In truth, I felt that I was not sufficiently
recovered from my late excitement to be able to restrain my fury if I
met him.  Marcel put an end to my uneasiness, by handing me a letter
which he had received for me at the door; it was from M. de T----.

"He told me that, as G---- M---- had gone to his father's house for the
money which he wanted, he had taken advantage of his absence to
communicate to me an amusing idea that had just come into his head;
that it appeared to him, I could not possibly take a more agreeable
revenge upon my rival, than by eating his supper, and spending the
night in the very bed which he had hoped to share with my mistress; all
this seemed to him easy enough, if I could only find two or three men
upon whom I could depend, of courage sufficient to stop him in the
street, and detain him in custody until next morning; that he would
undertake to keep him occupied for another hour at least, under some
pretext, which he could devise before G---- M----'s return.

"I showed the note to Manon; I told her at the same time of the manner
in which I had procured the interview with her.  My scheme, as well as
the new one of M. de T----'s, delighted her: we laughed heartily at it
for some minutes; but when I treated it as a mere joke, I was surprised
at her insisting seriously upon it, as a thing perfectly practicable,
and too delightful to be neglected.  In vain I enquired where she
thought I could possibly find, on a sudden, men fit for such an
adventure? and on whom I could rely for keeping G---- M---- in strict
custody?  She said that I should at least try, as M. de T---- ensured
us yet a full hour; and as to my other objections, she said that I was
playing the tyrant, and did not show the slightest indulgence to her
fancies.  She said that it was impossible there could be a more
enchanting project.  'You will have his place at supper; you will sleep
in his bed; and tomorrow, as early as you like, you can walk off with
both his mistress and his money.  You may thus, at one blow, be amply
revenged upon father and son.'

"I yielded to her entreaties, in spite of the secret misgivings of my
own mind, which seemed to forebode the unhappy catastrophe that
afterwards befell me.  I went out with the intention of asking two or
three guardsmen, with whom Lescaut had made me acquainted, to undertake
the arrest of G---- M----.  I found only one of them at home, but he
was a fellow ripe for any adventure; and he no sooner heard our plan,
than he assured me of certain success: all he required were six
pistoles, to reward the three private soldiers whom he determined to
employ in the business.  I begged of him to lose no time.  He got them
together in less than a quarter of in hour.  I waited at his lodgings
till he returned with them, and then conducted him to the corner of a
street through which I knew G----  M---- must pass an going back to
Manon's house.  I requested him not to treat G---- M---- roughly, but
to keep him confined, and so strictly watched, until seven o'clock next
morning, that I might be free from all apprehension of his escape.  He
told me his intention was to bring him a prisoner to his own room, and
make him undress and sleep in his bed, while he and his gallant
comrades should spend the night in drinking and playing.

"I remained with them until we saw G---- M---- returning homewards; and
I then withdrew a few steps into a dark recess in the street, to enjoy
so entertaining and extraordinary a scene. The officer challenged him
with a pistol to his breast, and then told him, in a civil tone, that
he did not want either his money or his life; but that if he hesitated
to follow him, or if he gave the slightest alarm, he would blow his
brains out.  G---- M----, seeing that his assailant was supported by
three soldiers, and perhaps not uninfluenced by a dread of the pistol,
yielded without further resistance.  I saw him led away like a lamb."



X


  What lost a world, and bade a hero fly?
  The timid tear in Cleopatra's eye.
  Yet be the soft triumvir's fault forgiven,
  By this, how many lose--not earth--but heaven!
  Consign their souls to man's eternal foe,
  And seal their own, to spare some wanton's, woe!
        BYRON.


I soon returned to Manon; and to prevent the servants from having any
suspicion, I told her in their hearing, that she need not expect M.
G---- M---- to supper; that he was most reluctantly occupied with
business which detained him, and that he had commissioned me to come
and make his excuses, and to fill his place at the supper table; which,
in the company of so beautiful a lady, I could not but consider a very
high honour.  She seconded me with her usual adroitness.  We sat down
to supper.  I put on the most serious air I could assume, while the
servants were in the room, and at length having got rid of them, we
passed, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable evening of my life.
I gave Marcel orders to find a hackney-coach, and engage it to be at
the gate on the following morning a little before six o'clock.  I
pretended to take leave of Manon about midnight, but easily gaining
admission again, through Marcel, I proceeded to occupy G---- M----'s
bed, as I had filled his place at the supper table.

"In the meantime our evil genius was at work for our destruction.  We
were like children enjoying the success of our silly scheme, while the
sword hung suspended over our heads.  The thread which upheld it was
just about to break; but the better to understand all the circumstances
of our ruin, it is necessary to know the immediate cause.

"G---- M---- was followed by a servant, when he was stopped by my
friend the guardsman.  Alarmed by what he saw, this fellow retraced his
steps, and the first thing he did was to go and inform old G---- M----
of what had just happened.

"Such a piece of news, of course, excited him greatly.  This was his
only son; and considering the old gentleman's advanced age, he was
extremely active and ardent.  He first enquired of the servant what his
son had been doing that afternoon; whether he had had any quarrel on
his own account, or interfered in any other; whether he had been in any
suspicious house.  The lackey, who fancied his master in imminent
danger, and thought he ought not to have any reserve in such an
emergency, disclosed at once all that he knew of his connection with
Manon, and of the expense he had gone to on her account; the manner in
which he had passed the afternoon with her until about nine o'clock,
the circumstance of his leaving her, and the outrage he encountered on
his return. This was enough to convince him that his son's affair was a
love quarrel.  Although it was then at least half-past ten at night, he
determined at once to call on the lieutenant of police.  He begged of
him to issue immediate orders to all the detachments that were out on
duty, and he himself, taking some men with him, hastened to the street
where his son had been stopped: he visited every place where he thought
he might have a chance of finding him; and not being able to discover
the slightest trace of him, he went off to the house of his mistress,
to which he thought he probably might by this time have returned.

"I was stepping into bed when he arrived.  The door of the chamber
being closed, I did not hear the knock at the gate, but he rushed into
the house, accompanied by two archers of the guard, and after fruitless
enquiries of the servants about his son, he resolved to try whether he
could get any information from their mistress.  He came up to the
apartment, still accompanied by the guard.  We were just on the point
of lying down when he burst open the door, and electrified us by his
appearance. 'Heavens!' said I to Manon, 'it is old G---- M----.'  I
attempted to get possession of my sword; but it was fortunately
entangled in my belt.  The archers, who saw my object, advanced to lay
hold of me.  Stript to my shirt, I could, of course, offer no
resistance, and they speedily deprived me of all means of defence.

"G---- M----, although a good deal embarrassed by the whole scene, soon
recognised me; and Manon still more easily.  'Is this a dream?' said
he, in the most serious tone--'do I not see before me the Chevalier des
Grieux and Manon Lescaut?'  I was so overcome with shame and
disappointment, that I could make him no reply.  He appeared for some
minutes revolving different thoughts in his mind; and as if they had
suddenly excited his anger, he exclaimed, addressing himself to me:
'Wretch!  I am confident that you have murdered my son!'

"I felt indignant at so insulting a charge.  'You hoary and lecherous
villain!' I exclaimed, 'if I had been inclined to kill any of your
worthless family, it is with you I should most assuredly have
commenced.'

"'Hold him fast,' cried he to the archers; 'he must give me some
tidings of my son; I shall have him hanged tomorrow, if he does not
presently let me know how he has disposed of him.'

"'You will have me hanged,' said I, 'will you?  Infamous scoundrel! it
is for such as you that the gibbet is erected.  Know that the blood
which flows in my veins is noble, and purer in every sense than yours.
Yes,' I added, 'I do know what has happened to your son; and if you
irritate me further, I will have him strangled before morning; and I
promise you the consolation of meeting in your own person the same
fate, after he is disposed of.'

"I was imprudent in acknowledging that I knew where his son was, but
excess of anger made me commit this indiscretion.  He immediately
called in five or six other archers, who were waiting at the gate, and
ordered them to take all the servants into custody.  'Ah! ah!
Chevalier,' said he, in a tone of sardonic raillery,--'so you do know
where my son is, and you will have him strangled, you say?  We will try
to set that matter to rights.'

"I now saw the folly I had committed.

"He approached Manon, who was sitting upon the bed, bathed in a flood
of tears.  He said something, with the most cruel irony, of the
despotic power she wielded over old and young, father and son-- her
edifying dominion over her empire.  This superannuated monster of
incontinence actually attempted to take liberties with her.

"'Take care,' exclaimed I, 'how you lay a finger upon her!-- neither
divine nor human law will be able, should your folly arouse it, to
shield you from my vengeance!'

"He quitted the room, desiring the archers to make us dress as quickly
as possible.

"I know not what were his intentions at that moment with regard to us;
we might perhaps have regained our liberty if we had told him where his
son was.  As I dressed, I considered whether this would not be the
wisest course.  But if, on quitting the room, such had been the
disposition of his mind, it was very different when he returned.  He
had first gone to question Manon's servants, who were in the custody of
the guard.  From those who had been expressly hired for her service by
his son, he could learn nothing; but when he found that Marcel had been
previously our servant, he determined to extract some information from
him, by means of intimidation, threats, or bribes.

"This lad was faithful, but weak and unsophisticated.  The remembrance
of what he had done at the penitentiary for Manon's release, joined to
the terror with which G---- M---- now inspired him, so subdued his
mind, that he thought they were about leading him to the gallows, or
the rack.  He promised that, if they would spare his life, he would
disclose everything he knew.  This speech made G---- M---- imagine that
there was something more serious in the affair than he had before
supposed; he not only gave Marcel a promise of his life, but a handsome
reward in hand for his intended confession.

"The booby then told him the leading features of our plot, of which we
had made no secret before him, as he was himself to have borne a part
in it.  True, he knew nothing of the alterations we had made at Paris
in our original design; but he had been informed, before quitting
Chaillot, of our projected adventure, and of the part he was to
perform.  He therefore told him that the object was to make a dupe of
his son; and that Manon was to receive, if she had not already
received, ten thousand francs, which, according to our project, would
be effectually lost to G---- M----, his heirs and assigns for ever.

"Having acquired this information, the old gentleman hastened back in a
rage to the apartment.  Without uttering a word, he passed into the
boudoir, where he easily put his hand upon the money and the jewels.
He then accosted us, bursting with rage; and holding up what he was
pleased to call our plunder, he loaded us with the most indignant
reproaches.  He placed close to Manon's eye the pearl necklace and
bracelets.  'Do you recognise them?' said he, in a tone of mockery; 'it
is not, perhaps, the first time you may have seen them.  The identical
pearls, by my faith!  They were selected by your own exquisite taste!
The poor innocents!' added he; 'they really are most amiable creatures,
both one and the other; but they are perhaps a little too much inclined
to roguery.'

"I could hardly contain my indignation at this speech.  I would have
given for one moment's liberty--Heavens! what would I not have given?
At length, I suppressed my feelings sufficiently to say in a tone of
moderation, which was but the refinement of rage:  'Put an end, sir, to
this insolent mockery!  What is your object?  What do you purpose doing
with us?'

"'M. Chevalier,' he answered, 'my object is to see you quietly lodged
in the prison of Le Chatelet.  Tomorrow will bring daylight with it,
and we shall then be able to take a clearer view of matters; and I hope
you will at last do me the favour to let me know where my son is.'

"It did not require much consideration to feel convinced that our
incarceration in Le Chatelet would be a serious calamity.  I foresaw
all the dangers that would ensue.  In spite of my pride, I plainly saw
the necessity of bending before my fate, and conciliating my most
implacable enemy by submission.  I begged of him, in the quietest
manner, to listen to me.  'I wish to do myself but common justice,
sir,' said I to him; 'I admit that my youth has led me into egregious
follies; and that you have had fair reason to complain: but if you have
ever felt the resistless power of love, if you can enter into the
sufferings of an unhappy young man, from whom all that he most loved
was ravished, you may think me perhaps not so culpable in seeking the
gratification of an innocent revenge; or at least, you may consider me
sufficiently punished, by the exposure and degradation I have just now
endured.  Neither pains nor imprisonment will be requisite to make me
tell you where your son now is.  He is in perfect safety.  It was never
my intention to injure him, nor to give you just cause for offence.  I
am ready to let you know the place where he is safely passing the
night, if, in return, you will set us at liberty.'

"The old tiger, far from being softened by my prayer, turned his back
upon me and laughed.  A few words, escaped him, which showed that he
perfectly well knew our whole plan from the commencement. As for his
son, the brute said that he would easily find him, since I had not
assassinated him.  'Conduct them to the Petit-Chatelet,' said he to the
archers; 'and take especial care that the chevalier does not escape
you: he is a scamp that once before escaped from St. Lazare.'

"He went out, and left me in a condition that you may picture to
yourself.  'O Heavens!' cried I to myself, 'I receive with humble
submission all your visitations; but that a wretched scoundrel should
thus have the power to tyrannise over me! this it is that plunges me
into the depths of despair!'  The archers begged that we would not
detain them any longer.  They had a coach at the door.  'Come, my dear
angel,' said I to Manon, as we went down, 'come, let us submit to our
destiny in all its rigour: it may one day please Heaven to render us
more happy.'

"We went in the same coach.  I supported her in my arms.  I had not
heard her utter a single word since G---- M----'s first appearance: but
now, finding herself alone with me, she addressed me in the tenderest
manner, and accused herself of being the cause of all my troubles.  I
assured her that I never could complain, while she continued to love
me.  'It is not I that have reason to complain,' I added; 'imprisonment
for a few months has no terrors for me, and I would infinitely prefer
Le Chatelet to St. Lazare; but it is for you, my dearest soul, that my
heart bleeds.  What a lot for such an angel!  How can you, gracious
Heaven! subject to such rigour the most perfect work of your own hands?
Why are we not both of us born with qualities conformable to our
wretched condition?  We are endowed with spirit, with taste, with
feeling; while the vilest of God's creatures--brutes, alone worthy of
our unhappy fate, are revelling in all the favours of fortune.'

"These feelings filled me with grief; but it was bliss compared with my
prospects for the future.  My fear, on account of Manon, knew no
bounds.  She had already been an inmate of the Magdalen; and even if
she had left it by fair means, I knew that a relapse of this nature
would be attended with disastrous consequences.  I wished to let her
know my fears: I was apprehensive of exciting hers.  I trembled for
her, without daring to put her on her guard against the danger; and I
embraced her tenderly, to satisfy her, at least, of my love, which was
almost the only sentiment to which I dared to give expression.
'Manon,' said I, 'tell me sincerely, will you ever cease to love me?'

"She answered, that it made her unhappy to think that I could doubt it.

"'Very well,' replied I, 'I do so no longer; and with this conviction,
I may well defy all my enemies.  Through the influence of my family, I
can ensure my own liberation from the Chatelet; and my life will be of
little use, and of short duration, if I do not succeed in rescuing you.'

"We arrived at the prison, where they put us into separate cells.  This
blow was the less severe, because I was prepared for it.  I recommended
Manon to the attention of the porter, telling him that I was a person
of some distinction, and promising him a considerable recompense.  I
embraced my dearest mistress before we parted; I implored her not to
distress herself too much, and to fear nothing while I lived.  I had
money with me: I gave her some; and I paid the porter, out of what
remained, the amount of a month's expenses for both of us in, advance.
This had an excellent effect, for I found myself placed in an apartment
comfortably furnished, and they assured me that Manon was in one
equally good.

"I immediately set about devising the means of procuring my liberty.
There certainly had been nothing actually criminal in my conduct; and
supposing even that our felonious intention was established by the
evidence of Marcel, I knew that criminal intentions alone were not
punishable.  I resolved to write immediately to my father, and beg of
him to come himself to Paris.  I felt much less humiliation, as I have
already said, in being in Le Chatelet than in St. Lazare.  Besides,
although I preserved, all proper respect for the paternal authority,
age and experience had considerably lessened my timidity.  I wrote, and
they made no difficulty in the prison about forwarding my letter; but
it was a trouble I should have spared myself, had I known that my
father was about to arrive on the following day in Paris. He had
received the letter I had written to him a week before; it gave him
extreme delight; but, notwithstanding the flattering hopes I had held
out of my conversion, he could not implicitly rely on my statements.
He determined therefore to satisfy himself of my reformation by the
evidence of his own senses, and to regulate his conduct towards me
according to his conviction of my sincerity.  He arrived the day after
my imprisonment.

"His first visit was to Tiberge, to whose care I begged that he would
address his answer.  He could not learn from him either my present
abode or condition: Tiberge merely told him of my principal adventures
since I had escaped from St. Lazare. Tiberge spoke warmly of the
disposition to virtue which I had evinced at our last interview.  He
added, that he considered me as having quite got rid of Manon; but that
he was nevertheless surprised at my not having given him any
intelligence about myself for a week.  My father was not to be duped.
He fully comprehended that there was something in the silence of which
Tiberge complained, which had escaped my poor friend's penetration; and
he took such pains to find me out, that in two days after his arrival
he learned that I was in Le Chatelet.

"Before I received this visit, which I little expected so soon, I had
the honour of one from the lieutenant-general of police, or, to call
things by their right names, I was subjected to an official
examination.  He upbraided me certainly, but not in any harsh or
annoying manner.  He told me, in the kindest tone, that he bitterly
lamented my bad conduct; that I had committed a gross indiscretion in
making an enemy of such a man as M. G---- M----; that in truth it was
easy to see that there was, in the affair, more of imprudence and folly
than of malice; but that still it was the second time I had been
brought as a culprit under his cognisance; and that he had hoped I
should have become more sedate, after the experience of two or three
months in St. Lazare.

"Delighted at finding that I had a rational judge to deal with, I
explained the affair to him in a manner at once so respectful and so
moderate, that he seemed exceedingly satisfied with my answers to all
the queries he put.  He desired me not to abandon myself to grief, and
assured me that he felt every disposition to serve me, as well on
account of my birth as my inexperience.  I ventured to bespeak his
attentions in favour of Manon, and I dwelt upon her gentle and
excellent disposition.  He replied, with a smile, that he had not yet
seen her, but that she had been represented to him as a most dangerous
person.  This expression so excited my sympathy, that I urged a
thousand anxious arguments in favour of my poor mistress, and I could
not restrain even from shedding tears.

"He desired them to conduct me back to my chamber.  'Love! love!' cried
this grave magistrate as I went out, 'thou art never to be reconciled
with discretion!'

"I had been occupied with the most melancholy reflections, and was
thinking of the conversation I had had with the lieutenant-general of
police, when I heard my door open.  It was my father.  Although I ought
to have been half prepared for seeing him, and had reasons to expect
his arrival within a day or two, yet I was so thunderstruck, that I
could willingly have sunk into the earth, if it had been open at my
feet.  I embraced him in the greatest possible state of confusion.  He
took a seat, without either one or other of us having uttered a word.

"As I remained standing, with my head uncovered, and my eyes cast on
the ground, 'Be seated, sir,' said he in a solemn voice; 'be seated.  I
have to thank the notoriety of your debaucheries for learning the place
of your abode.  It is the privilege of such fame as yours, that it
cannot lie concealed.  You are acquiring celebrity by an unerring path.
Doubtless it will lead you to the Greve,[1] and you will then have the
unfading glory of being held up to the admiration of the world.'

"I made no reply.  He continued:  'What an unhappy lot is that of a
father, who having tenderly loved a child, and strained every nerve to
bring him up a virtuous and respectable man, finds him turn out in the
end a worthless profligate, who dishonours him.  To an ordinary reverse
of fortune one may be reconciled; time softens the affliction, and even
the indulgence of sorrow itself is not unavailing; but what remedy is
there for an evil that is perpetually augmenting, such as the
profligacy of a vicious son, who has deserted every principle of
honour, and is ever plunging from deep into deeper vice?  You are
silent,' added he: 'look at this counterfeit modesty, this hypocritical
air of gentleness!-- might he not pass for the most respectable member
of his family?'

"Although I could not but feel that I deserved, in some degree, these
reproaches, yet he appeared to me to carry them beyond all reason.  I
thought I might be permitted to explain my feelings.

"'I assure you, sir,' said I to him, 'that the modesty which you
ridicule is by no means affected; it is the natural feeling of a son
who entertains sincere respect for his father, and above all, a father
irritated as you justly are by his faults.  Neither have I, sir, the
slightest wish to pass for the most respectable member of my family.  I
know that I have merited your reproaches, but I conjure you to temper
them with mercy, and not to look upon me as the most infamous of
mankind.  I do not deserve such harsh names.  It is love, you know it,
that has caused all my errors. Fatal passion!  Have you yourself never
felt its force?  Is it possible that you, with the same blood in your
veins that flows in mine, should have passed through life unscathed by
the same excitements?  Love has rendered me perhaps foolishly
tender--too easily excited-- too impassioned--too faithful, and
probably too indulgent to the desires and caprices, or, if you will,
the faults of an adored mistress.  These are my crimes; are they such
as to reflect dishonour upon you?  Come, my dear father,' said I
tenderly, 'show some pity for a son, who has never ceased to feel
respect and affection for you--who has not renounced, as you say, all
feelings of honour and of duty, and who is himself a thousand times
more an object of pity than you imagine.'  I could not help shedding a
tear as I concluded this appeal.

"A father's heart is a chef-d'oeuvre of creation.  There nature rules
in undisturbed dominion, and regulates at will its most secret springs.
He was a man of high feeling and good taste, and was so sensibly
affected by the turn I had given to my defence, that he could no longer
hide from me the change I had wrought.

"'Come to me, my poor chevalier,' said he; 'come and embrace me.  I do
pity you!'

"I embraced him: he pressed me to him in such a manner, that I guessed
what was passing in his heart.

"'But how are we,' said he, 'to extricate you from this place? Explain
to me the real situation of your affairs.'

"As there really was not anything in my conduct so grossly improper as
to reflect dishonour upon me; at least, in comparison with the conduct
of other young men of a certain station in the world; and as a mistress
is not considered a disgrace, any more than a little dexterity in
drawing some advantage from play, I gave my father a candid detail of
the life I had been leading. As I recounted each transgression, I took
care to cite some illustrious example in my justification, in order to
palliate my own faults.

"'I lived,' said I, 'with a mistress without the solemnity of marriage.
The Duke of ---- keeps two before the eyes of all Paris.  M---- D----
has had one now for ten years, and loves her with a fidelity which he
has never shown to his wife.  Two-thirds of the men of fashion in Paris
keep mistresses.

"'I certainly have on one or two occasions cheated at play. Well, the
Marquis of ---- and the Count ---- have no other source of revenue.
The Prince of ---- and the Duke of ---- are at the head of a gang of
the same industrious order.'  As for the designs I had upon the pockets
of the two G---- M----s, I might just as easily have proved that I had
abundant models for that also; but I had too much pride to plead guilty
to this charge, and rest on the justification of example; so that I
begged of my father to ascribe my weakness on this occasion to the
violence of the two passions which agitated me--Revenge and Love.

"He asked me whether I could suggest any means of obtaining my liberty,
and in such a way as to avoid publicity as much as possible.  I told
him of the kind feelings which the lieutenant-general of police had
expressed towards me.  'If you encounter any obstacles,' said I, 'they
will be offered only by the two G---- M----s; so that I think it would
be advisable to call upon them.'

"He promised to do so.

"I did not dare ask him to solicit Manon's liberation; this was not
from want of courage, but from the apprehension of exasperating him by
such a proposition, and perhaps driving him to form some design fatal
to the future happiness of us both.  It remains to this hour a problem
whether this fear on my part was not the immediate cause of all my most
terrible misfortunes, by preventing me from ascertaining my father's
disposition, and endeavouring to inspire him with favourable feelings
towards my poor mistress: I might have perhaps once more succeeded in
exciting his commiseration; I might have put him on his guard against
the impression which he was sure of receiving from a visit to old G----
M----.  But how can I tell what the consequences would have been!  My
unhappy fate would have most probably counteracted all my efforts; but
it would have been a consolation to have had nothing else but that, and
the cruelty of my enemies, to blame for my afflictions.

"On quitting me, my father went to pay a visit to M. G---- M----.  He
found him with his son, whom the guardsman had safely restored to
liberty.  I never learned the particulars of their conversation; but I
could easily infer them from the disastrous results.  They went
together (the two old gentlemen) to the lieutenant-general of police,
from whom they requested one favour each: the first was to have me at
once liberated from Le Chatelet; the second to condemn Manon to
perpetual imprisonment, or to transport her for life to America.  They
happened, at that very period, to be sending out a number of convicts
to the Mississippi.  The lieutenant-general promised to have her
embarked on board the first vessel that sailed.

"M. G---- M---- and my father came together to bring me the news of my
liberation.  M. G---- M---- said something civil with reference to what
had passed; and having congratulated me upon my happiness in having
such a father, he exhorted me to profit henceforward by his instruction
and example.  My father desired me to express my sorrow for the
injustice I had even contemplated against his family, and my gratitude
for his having assisted in procuring my liberation.

"We all left the prison together, without the mention of Manon's name.
I dared not in their presence speak of her to the turnkeys.  Alas! all
my entreaties in her favour would have been useless.  The cruel
sentence upon Manon had arrived at the same time as the warrant for my
discharge.  The unfortunate girl was conducted in an hour after to the
Hospital, to be there classed with some other wretched women, who had
been condemned to the same punishment.

"My father having forced me to accompany him to the house where he was
residing, it was near six o'clock before I had an opportunity of
escaping his vigilance.  In returning to Le Chatelet, my only wish was
to convey some refreshments to Manon, and to recommend her to the
attention of the porter; for I had no hope of being permitted to see
her; nor had I, as yet, had time to reflect on the best means of
rescuing her.

"I asked for the porter.  I had won his heart, as much by my liberality
to him, as by the mildness of my manner; so that, having a disposition
to serve me, he spoke of Manon's sentence as a calamity which he
sincerely regretted, since it was calculated to mortify me.  I was at
first unable to comprehend his meaning. We conversed for some minutes
without my understanding him.  At length perceiving that an explanation
was necessary, he gave me such a one, as on a former occasion I wanted
courage to relate to you, and which, even now, makes my blood curdle in
my veins to remember."


[1] Who has e'er been at Paris must needs know the Greve,
    The fatal retreat of th' unfortunate brave,
    Where honour and justice most oddly contribute,
    To ease heroes' pains by the halter and gibbet.--PRIOR.



XI


Alack! it is not when we sleep soft and wake merrily that we think on
other people's sufferings; but when the hour of trouble comes, said
Jeanie Deans.--WALTER SCOTT.


"Never did apoplexy produce on mortal a more sudden or terrific effect
than did the announcement of Manon's sentence upon me.  I fell
prostrate, with so intense a palpitation of the heart, that as I
swooned I thought that death itself was come upon me.  This idea
continued even after I had been restored to my senses.  I gazed around
me upon every part of the room, then upon my own paralysed limbs,
doubting, in my delirium, whether I still bore about me the attributes
of a living man.  It is quite certain that, in obedience to the desire
I felt of terminating my sufferings, even by my own hand, nothing could
have been to me more welcome than death at that moment of anguish and
despair. Religion itself could depict nothing more insupportable after
death than the racking agony with which I was then convulsed. Yet, by a
miracle, only within the power of omnipotent love, I soon regained
strength enough to express my gratitude to Heaven for restoring me to
sense and reason.  My death could have only been a relief and blessing
to myself; whereas Manon had occasion for my prolonged existence, in
order to deliver her--to succour her--to avenge her wrongs: I swore to
devote that existence unremittingly to these objects.

"The porter gave me every assistance that I could have expected at the
hands of my oldest friend: I accepted his services with the liveliest
gratitude.  'Alas!' said I to him, 'you then are affected by my
sufferings!  The whole world abandons me; my own father proves one of
the very cruellest of my persecutors; no person feels pity for me!  You
alone, in this abode of suffering and shame--you alone exhibit
compassion for the most wretched of mankind!'  He advised me not to
appear in the street until I had recovered a little from my affliction.
'Do not stop me,' said I, as I went out; 'we shall meet again sooner
than you imagine: get ready your darkest dungeon, for I shall shortly
become its tenant.'

"In fact, my first idea was nothing less than to make away with the two
G---- M----s, and the lieutenant-general of police; and then to attack
the Hospital, sword in hand, assisted by all whom I could enlist in my
cause.  Even my father's life was hardly respected, so just appeared my
feelings of vengeance; for the porter had informed me that he and G----
M---- were jointly the authors of my ruin.

"But when I had advanced some paces into the street, and the fresh air
had cooled my excitement, I gradually viewed matters in a more rational
mood.  The death of our enemies could be of little use to Manon; and
the obvious effect of such violence would be to deprive me of all other
chance of serving her. Besides, could I ever bring myself to be a
cowardly assassin?  By what other means could I accomplish my revenge?
I set all my ingenuity and all my efforts at work to procure the
deliverance of Manon, leaving everything else to be considered
hereafter when I had succeeded in this first and paramount object.

"I had very little money left; money, however, was an indispensable
basis for all my operations.  I only knew three persons from whom I had
any right to ask pecuniary assistance--M. de T----, Tiberge, and my
father.  There appeared little chance of obtaining any from the two
latter, and I was really ashamed again to importune M. de T----.  But
it is not in desperate emergencies that one stands upon points of
ceremony.  I went first to the seminary of St. Sulpice, without
considering whether I should be recognised.  I asked for Tiberge.  His
first words showed me that he knew nothing of my latest adventure: this
made me change the design I had originally formed of appealing at once
to his compassion.  I spoke generally of the pleasure it had given me
to see my father again; and I then begged of him to lend me some money,
under the pretext of being anxious before I left Paris to pay a few
little debts, which I wished to keep secret. He handed me his purse,
without a single remark.  I took twenty or twenty-five pounds, which it
contained.  I offered him my note of hand, but he was too generous to
accept it.

"I then went to M. de T----: I had no reserve with him.  I plainly told
him my misfortunes and distress: he already knew everything, and had
informed himself even of the most trifling circumstance, on account of
the interest he naturally took in young G---- M----'s adventure.  He,
however, listened to me, and seemed sincerely to lament what had
occurred.  When I consulted him as to the best means of rescuing Manon,
he answered that he saw such little ground for hope, that, without some
extraordinary interposition of Providence, it would be folly to expect
relief; that he had paid a visit expressly to the Hospital since Manon
had been transferred from the Chatelet, but that he could not even
obtain permission to see her, as the lieutenant-general of police had
given the strictest orders to the contrary; and that, to complete the
catastrophe, the unfortunate train of convicts, in which she was to be
included, was to take its departure from Paris the day but one after.

"I was so confounded by what he said, that if he had gone on speaking
for another hour, I should not have interrupted him.  He continued to
tell me, that the reason of his not calling to see me at the Chatelet
was, that he hoped to be of more use by appearing to be unknown to me;
that for the last few hours, since I had been set at liberty, he had in
vain looked for me, in order to suggest the only plan through which he
could see a hope of averting Manon's fate.  He told me it was dangerous
counsel to give, and implored me never to mention the part he took in
it; it was to find some enterprising fellows gallant enough to attack
Manon's guard on getting outside the barriere.  Nor did he wait for me
to urge a plea of poverty.  'Here is fifty pounds,' he said, presenting
me his purse; 'it may be of use to you; you can repay me when you are
in better circumstances.'  He added, that if the fear of losing his
character did not prevent him from embarking in such an enterprise, he
would have willingly put his sword and his life at my service.

"This unlooked-for generosity affected me to tears.  I expressed my
gratitude with as much warmth as my depressed spirits left at my
command.  I asked him if there were nothing to be expected from
interceding with the lieutenant-general of police: he said that he had
considered that point; but that he looked upon it as a hopeless
attempt, because a favour of that nature was never accorded without
some strong motive, and he did not see what inducement could be held
out for engaging the intercession of any person of power on her behalf;
that if any hope could possibly be entertained upon the point, it must
be by working a change in the feelings of old G---- M---- and my
father, and by prevailing on them to solicit from the
lieutenant-general of police the revocation of Manon's sentence.  He
offered to do everything in his power to gain over the younger G----
M----, although he fancied a coldness in that gentleman's manner
towards him, probably from some suspicions he might entertain of his
being concerned in the late affair; and he entreated me to lose no
opportunity of effecting the desired change in my father's mind.

"This was no easy undertaking for me; not only on account of the
difficulty I should naturally meet in overcoming his opinion, but for
another reason which made me fear even to approach him; I had quitted
his lodgings contrary to his express orders, and was resolved, since I
had learned the sad fate of my poor Manon, never again to return
thither.  I was not without apprehensions indeed of his now retaining
me against my will, and perhaps taking me at once back with him into
the country.  My elder brother had formerly had recourse to this
violent measure.  True, I was now somewhat older; but age is a feeble
argument against force.  I hit upon a mode, however, of avoiding this
danger, which was to get him by contrivance to some public place, and
there announce myself to him under an assumed name: I immediately
resolved on this method.  M. de T---- went to G---- M----'s, and I to
the Luxembourg, whence I sent my father word, that a gentleman waited
there to speak with him.  I hardly thought he would come, as the night
was advancing.  He, however, soon made his appearance, followed by a
servant: I begged of him to choose a walk where we could be alone.  We
walked at least a hundred paces without speaking.  He doubtless
imagined that so much precaution could not be taken without some
important object.  He waited for my opening speech, and I was
meditating how to commence it.

"At length I began.

"'Sir,' said I, trembling, 'you are a good and affectionate parent; you
have loaded me with favours, and have forgiven me an infinite number of
faults; I also, in my turn, call Heaven to witness the sincere, and
tender, and respectful sentiments I entertain towards you.  But it does
seem to me, that your inexorable severity----'

"'Well, sir, my severity!' interrupted my father, who no doubt found my
hesitation little suited to his impatience.

"'Ah, sir,' I replied, 'it does seem to me that your severity is
excessive in the penalty you inflict upon the unfortunate Manon.  You
have taken only M. G---- M----'s report of her.  His hatred has made
him represent her to you in the most odious colours: you have formed a
frightful idea of her.  She is, on the contrary, the mildest and most
amiable of living creatures; would that Heaven had but inspired you at
any one moment with the desire of seeing her!  I am convinced that you
would be not less sensible of her perfections than your unhappy son.
You would then have been her advocate; you would have abhorred the foul
artifices of G---- M----; you would have had pity on both her and me.
Alas! I am persuaded of it; your heart is not insensible; it must ere
now have melted with compassion.'

"He interrupted me again, perceiving that I spoke with a warmth which
would not allow me to finish very briefly.  He begged to know with what
request I intended to wind up so fervent an harangue.

"'To ask my life at your hands,' said I, 'which I never can retain if
Manon once embark for America.'

"'No! no!' replied he, in the severest tone; 'I would rather see you
lifeless, than infamous and depraved.'

"'We have gone far enough, then,' said I, catching hold of his arm;
'take from me, in common mercy, my life! weary and odious and
insupportable as it henceforward must be; for in the state of despair
into which you now plunge me, death would be the greatest favour you
could bestow--a favour worthy of a father's hand.'

"'I should only give you what you deserve,' replied he; 'I know fathers
who would not have shown as much patience as I have, but would
themselves have executed speedy justice; but it is my foolish and
excessive forbearance that has been your ruin.'

"I threw myself at his feet:  'Ah!' exclaimed I, 'if you have still any
remains of mercy, do not harden your heart against my distress and
sorrow.  Remember that I am your child!  Alas! think of my poor mother!
you loved her tenderly! would you have suffered her to be torn from
your arms?  You would have defended her to the death!  May not the same
feeling then be pardoned in others?  Can persons become barbarous and
cruel, after having themselves experienced the softening influence of
tenderness and grief?'

"'Breathe not again the sacred name of your mother,' he exclaimed, in a
voice of thunder; 'the very allusion to her memory rouses my
indignation.  Had she lived to witness the unredeemed profligacy of
your life, it would have brought her in pain and sorrow to her
grave.--Let us put an end to this discussion' he added; 'it distresses
me, and makes not the slightest change in my determination: I am going
back to my lodgings, and I desire you to follow me.'

"The cool and resolute tone in which he uttered this command, convinced
me that he was inexorable.  I stepped some paces aside, for fear he
should think fit to lay hands upon me.

"'Do not increase my misery and despair,' said I to him, 'by forcing me
to disobey you.  It is impossible for me to follow you; and equally so
that I should continue to live, after the unkind treatment I have
experienced from you.  I, therefore, bid you an eternal adieu.  When
you know that I am dead, as I shall soon be, the paternal affection
which you once entertained for me may be perhaps revived.'

"As I was about to turn away from him:  'You refuse then to follow me,'
cried he, in a tone of excessive anger.  'Go! go on to your ruin.
Adieu! ungrateful and disobedient boy.'

"'Adieu!' exclaimed I to him, in a burst of grief, 'adieu, cruel and
unnatural father!'

"I left the Luxembourg, and rushed like a madman through the streets to
M. de T----'s house.  I raised my hands and eyes as I went along,
invoking the Almighty Powers:  'O Heaven,' cried I, 'will you not prove
more merciful than man!  The only hope that remains to me is from
above!'

"M. de T---- had not yet returned home; but he arrived before many
minutes had elapsed.  His negotiation had been as unsuccessful as my
own.  He told me so with the most sorrowful countenance.  Young G----
M----, although less irritated than his father against Manon and me,
would not undertake to petition in our favour.  He was, in great
measure, deterred by the fear which he himself had of the vindictive
old lecher, who had already vented his anger against him for his design
of forming a connection with Manon.

"There only remained to me, therefore, the violent measures which M.
T---- had suggested.  I now confined all my hopes to them.  They were
questionless most uncertain; but they held out to me, at least, a
substantial consolation, in the certainty of meeting death in the
attempt, if unsuccessful.  I left him, begging that he would offer up
his best wishes for my triumph; and I thought only of finding some
companions, to whom I might communicate a portion of my own courage and
determination.

"The first that occurred to me was the same guardsman whom I had
employed to arrest G---- M----.  I had intended indeed to pass the
night at his rooms, not having had a moment of leisure during the
afternoon to procure myself a lodging.  I found him alone. He was glad
to see me out of the Chatelet.  He made me an offer of his services.  I
explained to him in what way he might now do me the greatest kindness.
He had good sense enough to perceive all the difficulties; but he was
also generous enough to undertake to surmount them.

"We spent part of the night in considering how the plot was to be
executed.  He spoke of the three soldiers whom he had made use of on
the last occasion, as men whose courage had been proved. M. de T----
had told me the exact number of archers that would escort Manon; they
were but six.  Five strong and determined men could not fail to strike
terror into these fellows, who would never think of defending
themselves bravely, when they were to be allowed the alternative of
avoiding danger by surrendering; and of that they would no doubt avail
themselves.  As I was not without money, the guardsman advised me to
spare no pains or expense to ensure success.  'We must be mounted,' he
said, 'and each man must have his carbine and pistols; I will take care
to prepare everything requisite by tomorrow.  We shall also want three
new suits of regimentals for the soldiers, who dare not appear in an
affray of this kind in the uniform of their regiment.  I handed him the
hundred pistoles which I had got from M. de T----; it was all expended
the next morning, to the very last sou.  I inspected the three
soldiers; I animated them with the most liberal promises; and to
confirm their confidence in me, I began by making each man a present of
ten pistoles.

"The momentous day having arrived, I sent one of them at an early hour
to the Hospital, to ascertain the exact time when the police were to
start with their prisoners.  Although I merely took this precaution
from my excessive anxiety, it turned out to have been a prudent step.
I had formed my plans upon false information, which I had received as
to their destination; and believing that it was at Rochelle this
unhappy group was to embark, all my trouble would have been thrown away
in waiting for them on the Orleans road.  However, I learned, by the
soldier's report, that they would go out towards Rouen, and that it was
from Havre-de-Grace they were to sail for America.

"We at once went to the gate of St. Honore, taking care to go by
different streets.  We assembled at the end of the faubourg.  Our
horses were fresh.  In a little time we observed before us the six
archers and the two wretched caravans, which you saw at Passy two years
ago.  The sight alone almost deprived me of my strength and senses.
'Oh fate!' said I to myself, 'cruel fate! grant me now either death or
victory.'

"We hastily consulted as to the mode of making the attack.  The
cavalcade was only four hundred paces in advance, and we might
intercept them by cutting across a small field, round which the high
road led.  The guardsman was for this course, in order to fall suddenly
upon them while unprepared.  I approved of the plan, and was the first
to spur my horse forward--but fate once again relentlessly blasted all
my hopes.

"The escort, seeing five horsemen riding towards them, inferred that it
was for the purpose of attacking them.  They put themselves in a
position of defence, preparing their bayonets and guns with an air of
resolution.

"This demonstration, which in the guardsman and myself only inspired
fresh courage, had a very different effect upon our three cowardly
companions.  They stopped simultaneously, and having muttered to each
other some words which I could not hear, they turned their horses'
heads, threw the bridles on their necks, and galloped back towards
Paris.

"'Good heavens!' said the guardsman, who appeared as much annoyed as I
was by this infamous desertion, 'what is to be done? we are but two
now.'

"From rage and consternation I had lost all power of speech.  I doubted
whether my first revenge should not be in pursuing the cowards who had
abandoned me.  I saw them flying, and looked in the other direction at
the escort: if it had been possible to divide myself, I should at once
have fallen upon both these objects of my fury; I should have destroyed
all at the same moment.

"The guardsman, who saw my irresolution by my wandering gaze, begged of
me to hear his advice.  'Being but two,' he said, 'it would be madness
to attack six men as well armed as ourselves, and who seem determined
to receive us firmly.  Let us return to Paris, and endeavour to succeed
better in the choice of our comrades.  The police cannot make very
rapid progress with two heavy vans; we may overtake them tomorrow
without difficulty.'

"I reflected a moment on this suggestion; but seeing nothing around me
but despair, I took a final and indeed desperate resolution: this was
to thank my companion for his services, and, far from attacking the
police, to go up with submission and implore them to receive me among
them, that I might accompany Manon to Havre-de-Grace, and afterwards,
if possible, cross the Atlantic with her.  'The whole world is either
persecuting or betraying me,' said I to the guardsman; 'I have no
longer the power of interesting anyone in my favour; I expect nothing
more either from fortune or the friendship of man; my misery is at its
height; it only remains for me to submit, so that I close my eyes
henceforward against every gleam of hope.  May Heaven,' I continued,
'reward you for your generosity!  Adieu!  I shall go and aid my
wretched destiny in filling up the full measure of my ruin!'  He, in
vain, endeavoured to persuade me to return with him to Paris.  I
entreated him to leave me at once, lest the police should still suspect
us of an intention to attack them."



XII


The pauses and intermissions of pain become positive pleasures; and
have thus a power of shedding a satisfaction over the intervals of
ease, which few enjoyments exceed.--PALEY.


"Riding towards the cortege at a slow pace, and with a sorrowful
countenance, the guards could hardly see anything very terrific in my
approach.  They seemed, however, to expect an attack.  'Be persuaded,
gentlemen,' said I to them, 'that I come not to wage war, but rather to
ask favours.'  I then begged of them to continue their progress without
any distrust, and as we went along I made my solicitations.  They
consulted together to ascertain in what way they should entertain my
request.  The chief of them spoke for the rest.  He said that the
orders they had received to watch the prisoners vigilantly were of the
strictest kind; that, however, I seemed so interesting a young man,
that they might be induced to relax a little in their duty; but that I
must know, of course, that this would cost me something.  I had about
sixteen pistoles left, and candidly told them what my purse contained.
'Well,' said the gendarme, 'we will act generously.  It shall only cost
you a crown an hour for conversing with any of our girls that you may
prefer-- that is the ordinary price in Paris.'

"I said not a word of Manon, because I did not wish to let them know of
my passion.  They at first supposed it was merely a boyish whim, that
made me think of amusing myself with these creatures but when they
discovered that I was in love, they increased their demands in such a
way, that my purse was completely empty on leaving Mantes, where we had
slept the night before our arrival at Passy.

"Shall I describe to you my heart-rending interviews with Manon during
this journey, and what my sensations were when I obtained from the
guards permission to approach her caravan?  Oh! language never can
adequately express the sentiments of the heart; but picture to yourself
my poor mistress, with a chain round her waist, seated upon a handful
of straw, her head resting languidly against the panel of the carriage,
her face pale and bathed with tears, which forced a passage between her
eyelids, although she kept them continually closed.  She had not even
the curiosity to open her eyes on hearing the bustle of the guards when
they expected our attack.  Her clothes were soiled, and in disorder;
her delicate hands exposed to the rough air; in fine, her whole angelic
form, that face, lovely enough to carry back the world to idolatry,
presented a spectacle of distress and anguish utterly indescribable.

"I spent some moments gazing at her as I rode alongside the carriage.
I had so lost my self-possession, that I was several times on the point
of falling from my horse.  My sighs and frequent exclamations at length
attracted her attention.  She looked at and recognised me, and I
remarked that on the first impulse, she unconsciously tried to leap
from the carriage towards me, but being checked by her chain, she fell
into her former attitude.

"I begged of the guards to stop one moment for the sake of mercy; they
consented for the sake of avarice.  I dismounted to go and sit near
her.  She was so languid and feeble, that she was for some time without
the power of speech, and could not raise her hands: I bathed them with
my tears; and being myself unable to utter a word, we formed together
as deplorable a picture of distress as could well be seen.  When at
length we were able to speak, our conversation was not less sorrowful.
Manon said little: shame and grief appeared to have altered the
character of her voice; its tone was feeble and tremulous.

"She thanked me for not having forgotten her, and for the comfort I
gave her in allowing her to see me once more, and she then bade me a
long and last farewell.  But when I assured her that no power on earth
could ever separate me from her, and that I was resolved to follow her
to the extremity of the world--to watch over her--to guard her--to love
her--and inseparably to unite my wretched destiny with hers, the poor
girl gave way to such feelings of tenderness and grief, that I almost
dreaded danger to her life from the violence of her emotion: the
agitation of her whole soul seemed intensely concentrated in her eyes;
she fixed them steadfastly upon me.  She more than once opened her lips
without the power of giving utterance to her thoughts.  I could,
however, catch some expressions that dropped from her, of admiration
and wonder at my excessive love--of doubt that she could have been
fortunate enough to inspire me with a passion so perfect--of earnest
entreaty that I would abandon my intention of following her, and seek
elsewhere a lot more worthy of me, and which, she said, I could never
hope to find with her.

"In spite of the cruellest inflictions of Fate, I derived comfort from
her looks, and from the conviction that I now possessed her undivided
affection.  I had in truth lost all that other men value; but I was the
master of Manon's heart, the only possession that I prized.  Whether in
Europe or in America, of what moment to me was the place of my abode,
provided I might live happy in the society of my mistress?  Is not the
universe the residence of two fond and faithful lovers?  Does not each
find in the other, father, mother, friends, relations, riches, felicity?

"If anything caused me uneasiness, it was the fear of seeing Manon
exposed to want.  I fancied myself already with her in a barbarous
country, inhabited by savages.  'I am quite certain,' said I, 'there
will be none there more cruel than G---- M---- and my father.  They
will, at least, allow us to live in peace.  If the accounts we read of
savages be true, they obey the laws of nature: they neither know the
mean rapacity of avarice, nor the false and fantastic notions of
dignity, which have raised me up an enemy in my own father.  They will
not harass and persecute two lovers, when they see us adopt their own
simple habits.' I was therefore at ease upon that point.

"But my romantic ideas were not formed with a proper view to the
ordinary wants of life.  I had too often found that there were
necessaries which could not be dispensed with, particularly by a young
and delicate woman, accustomed to comfort and abundance.  I was in
despair at having so fruitlessly emptied my purse, and the little money
that now remained was about being forced from me by the rascally
imposition of the gendarmes.  I imagined that a very trifling sum would
suffice for our support for some time in America, where money was
scarce, and might also enable me to form some undertaking there for our
permanent establishment.

"This idea made me resolve on writing to Tiberge, whom I had ever found
ready to hold out the generous hand of friendship.  I wrote from the
first town we passed through.  I only alluded to the destitute
condition in which I foresaw that I should find myself on arriving at
Havre-de-Grace, to which place I acknowledged that I was accompanying
Manon.  I asked him for only fifty pistoles.  'You can remit it to me,'
said I to him, 'through the hands of the postmaster.  You must perceive
that it is the last time I can by possibility trespass on your friendly
kindness; and my poor unhappy mistress being about to be exiled from
her country for ever, I cannot let her depart without supplying her
with some few comforts, to soften the sufferings of her lot, as well as
to assuage my own sorrows.'

"The gendarmes became so rapacious when they saw the violence of my
passion, continually increasing their demands for the slightest
favours, that they soon left me penniless.  Love did not permit me to
put any bounds to my liberality.  At Manon's side I was not master of
myself; and it was no longer by the hour that time was measured; rather
by the duration of whole days.  At length, my funds being completely
exhausted, I found myself exposed to the brutal caprice of these six
wretches who treated me with intolerable rudeness--you yourself
witnessed it at Passy. My meeting with you was a momentary relaxation
accorded me by fate.  Your compassion at the sight of my sufferings was
my only recommendation to your generous nature.  The assistance which
you so liberally extended, enabled me to reach Havre, and the guards
kept their promise more faithfully than I had ventured to hope.

"We arrived at Havre.  I went to the post-office: Tiberge had not yet
had time to answer my letter.  I ascertained the earliest day I might
reckon upon his answer: it could not possibly arrive for two days
longer; and by an extraordinary fatality, our vessel was to sail on the
very morning of the day when the letter might be expected.  I cannot
give you an idea of my despair.  'Alas!' cried I, 'even amongst the
unfortunate, I am to be ever the most wretched!'

"Manon replied:  'Alas! does a life so thoroughly miserable deserve the
care we bestow on ours?  Let us die at Havre, dearest chevalier!  Let
death at once put an end to our afflictions! Shall we persevere, and go
to drag on this hopeless existence in an unknown land, where we shall,
no doubt, have to encounter the most horrible pains, since it has been
their object to punish me by exile?  Let us die,' she repeated, 'or do
at least in mercy rid me of life, and then you can seek another lot in
the arms of some happier lover.'

"'No, no, Manon,' said I; 'it is but too enviable a lot, in my
estimation, to be allowed to share your misfortunes.'

"Her observations made me tremble.  I saw that she was overpowered by
her afflictions.  I tried to assume a more tranquil air, in order to
dissipate such melancholy thoughts of death and despair.

"I resolved to adopt the same course in future; and I learned by the
results, that nothing is more calculated to inspire a woman with
courage than the demonstration of intrepidity in the man she loves.

"When I lost all hope of receiving the expected assistance from
Tiberge, I sold my horse; the money it brought, joined to what remained
of your generous gift, amounted to the small sum of forty pistoles; I
expended eight in the purchase of some necessary articles for Manon;
and I put the remainder by, as the capital upon which we were to rest
our hopes and raise our fortunes in America.  I had no difficulty in
getting admitted on board the vessel.  They were at the time looking
for young men as voluntary emigrants to the colony.  The passage and
provisions were supplied gratis.  I left a letter for Tiberge, which
was to go by the post next morning to Paris.  It was no doubt written
in a tone calculated to affect him deeply, since it induced him to form
a resolution, which could only be carried into execution by the
tenderest and most generous sympathy for his unhappy friend.



XIII


  Sunt hie etiam sua proemia laudi,
  Sunt lachrymae rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt.
        VIRGIL.

  E'en the mute walls relate the victim's fame.
  And sinner's tears the good man's pity claim.
        DRYDEN.


"We set sail; the wind continued favourable during the entire passage.
I obtained from the captain's kindness a separate cabin for the use of
Manon and myself.  He was so good as to distinguish us from the herd of
our miserable associates.  I took an opportunity, on the second day, of
conciliating his attentions, by telling him part of our unfortunate
history.  I did not feel that I was guilty of any very culpable
falsehood in saying that I was the husband of Manon.  He appeared to
believe it, and promised me his protection; and indeed we experienced,
during the whole passage, the most flattering evidences of his
sincerity.  He took care that our table was comfortably provided; and
his attentions procured us the marked respect of our companions in
misery.  The unwearied object of my solicitude was to save Manon from
every inconvenience.  She felt this, and her gratitude, together with a
lively sense of the singular position in which I had placed myself
solely for her sake, rendered the dear creature so tender and
impassioned, so attentive also to my most trifling wants, that it was
between us a continual emulation of attentions and of love.  I felt no
regret at quitting Europe; on the contrary, the nearer we approached
America, the more did I feel my heart expand and become tranquil.  If I
had not felt a dread of our perhaps wanting, by and by, the absolute
necessaries of life, I should have been grateful to fate for having at
length given so favourable a turn to our affairs.

"'After a passage of two months, we at length reached the banks of the
desired river.  The country offered at first sight nothing agreeable.
We saw only sterile and uninhabited plains, covered with rushes, and
some trees rooted up by the wind.  No trace either of men or animals.
However, the captain having discharged some pieces of artillery, we
presently observed a group of the inhabitants of New Orleans, who
approached us with evident signs of joy.  We had not perceived the
town: it is concealed upon the side on which we approached it by a
hill.  We were received as persons dropped from the clouds.

"The poor inhabitants hastened to put a thousand questions to us upon
the state of France, and of the different provinces in which they were
born.  They embraced us as brothers, and as beloved companions, who had
come to share their pains and their solitude.

"We turned towards the town with them; but we were astonished to
perceive, as we advanced, that what we had hitherto heard spoken of as
a respectable town, was nothing more than a collection of miserable
huts.  They were inhabited by five or six hundred persons.  The
governor's house was a little distinguished from the rest by its height
and its position.  It was surrounded by some earthen ramparts, and a
deep ditch.

"We were first presented to him.  He continued for some time in
conversation with the captain; and then advancing towards us, he looked
attentively at the women one after another: there were thirty of them,
for another troop of convicts had joined us at Havre.  After having
thus inspected them, he sent for several young men of the colony who
were desirous to marry.  He assigned the handsomest women to the
principal of these, and the remainder were disposed of by lot.  He had
not yet addressed Manon; but having ordered the others to depart, he
made us remain.  'I learn from the captain,' said he, 'that you are
married, and he is convinced by your conduct on the passage that you
are both persons of merit and of education.  I have nothing to do with
the cause of your misfortunes; but if it be true that you are as
conversant with the world and society as your appearance would
indicate, I shall spare no pains to soften the severity of your lot,
and you may on your part contribute towards rendering this savage and
desert abode less disagreeable to me.'  I replied in the manner which I
thought best calculated to confirm the opinion he had formed of us.  He
gave orders to have a habitation prepared for us in the town, and
detained us to supper.  I was really surprised to find so much
politeness in a governor of transported convicts.  In the presence of
others he abstained from enquiring about our past adventures.  The
conversation was general; and in spite of our degradation, Manon and I
exerted ourselves to make it lively and agreeable.

"At night we were conducted to the lodging prepared for us.  We found a
wretched hovel composed of planks and mud, containing three rooms on
the ground, and a loft overhead.  He had sent there six chairs, and
some few necessaries of life.

"Manon appeared frightened by the first view of this melancholy
dwelling.  It was on my account much more than upon her own, that she
distressed herself.  When we were left to ourselves, she sat down and
wept bitterly.  I attempted at first to console her; but when she
enabled me to understand that it was for my sake she deplored our
privations, and that in our common afflictions she only considered me
as the sufferer, I put on an air of resolution, and even of content,
sufficient to encourage her.

"'What is there in my lot to lament?' said I; 'I possess all that I
have ever desired.  You love me, Manon, do you not?  What happiness
beyond this have I ever longed for?  Let us leave to Providence the
direction of our destiny; it by no means appears to me so desperate.
The governor is civil and obliging; he has already given us marks of
his consideration; he will not allow us to want for necessaries.  As to
our rude hut and the squalidness of our furniture, you might have
noticed that there are few persons in the colony better lodged or more
comfortably furnished than we are: and then you are an admirable
chemist,' added I, embracing her; 'you transform everything into gold.'

"'In that case,' she answered, 'you shall be the richest man in the
universe; for, as there never was love surpassing yours, so it is
impossible for man to be loved more tenderly than you are by me.  I
well know,' she continued, 'that I have never merited the almost
incredible fidelity and attachment which you have shown for me.  I have
often caused you annoyances, which nothing but excessive fondness could
have induced you to pardon.  I have been thoughtless and volatile; and
even while loving you as I have always done to distraction, I was never
free from a consciousness of ingratitude.  But you cannot believe how
much my nature is altered; those tears which you have so frequently
seen me shed since quitting the French shore, have not been caused by
my own misfortunes.  Since you began to share them with me, I have been
a stranger to selfishness: I only wept from tenderness and compassion
for you.  I am inconsolable at the thought of having given you one
instant's pain during my past life.  I never cease upbraiding myself
with my former inconstancy, and wondering at the sacrifices which love
has induced you to make for a miserable and unworthy wretch, who could
not, with the last drop of her blood, compensate for half the torments
she has caused you.'

"Her grief, the language, and the tone in which she expressed herself,
made such an impression, that I felt my heart ready to break in me.
'Take care,' said I to her, 'take care, dear Manon; I have not strength
to endure such exciting marks of your affection; I am little accustomed
to the rapturous sensations which you now kindle in my heart.  Oh
Heaven!' cried I, 'I have now nothing further to ask of you.  I am sure
of Manon's love. That has been alone wanting to complete my happiness;
I can now never cease to be happy: my felicity is well secured.'

"'It is indeed,' she replied, 'if it depends upon me, and I well know
where I can be ever certain of finding my own happiness centred.'

"With these ideas, capable of turning my hut into a palace worthy of
earth's proudest monarch, I lay down to rest.  America appeared to my
view the true land of milk and honey, the abode of contentment and
delight.  'People should come to New Orleans,' I often said to Manon,
'who wish to enjoy the real rapture of love! It is here that love is
divested of all selfishness, all jealousy, all inconstancy.  Our
countrymen come here in search of gold; they little think that we have
discovered treasures of inestimably greater value.'

"We carefully cultivated the governor's friendship.  He bestowed upon
me, a few weeks after our arrival, a small appointment which became
vacant in the fort.  Although not one of any distinction, I gratefully
accepted it as a gift of Providence, as it enabled me to live
independently of others' aid.  I took a servant for myself, and a woman
for Manon.  Our little establishment became settled: nothing could
surpass the regularity of my conduct, or that of Manon; we lost no
opportunity of serving or doing an act of kindness to our neighbours.
This friendly disposition, and the mildness of our manners, secured us
the confidence and affection of the whole colony.  We soon became so
respected, that we ranked as the principal persons in the town after
the governor.

"The simplicity of our habits and occupations, and the perfect
innocence in which we lived, revived insensibly our early feelings of
devotion.  Manon had never been an irreligious girl, and I was far from
being one of those reckless libertines who delight in adding impiety
and sacrilege to moral depravity: all the disorders of our lives might
be fairly ascribed to the natural influences of youth and love.
Experience had now begun with us to do the office of age; it produced
the same effect upon us as years must have done.  Our conversation,
which was generally of a serious turn, by degrees engendered a longing
for virtuous love.  I first proposed this change to Manon.  I knew the
principles of her heart; she was frank and natural in all her
sentiments, qualities which invariably predispose to virtue.  I said to
her that there was but one thing wanting to complete our happiness: 'it
is,' said I, 'to invoke upon our union the benediction of Heaven.  We
have both of us hearts too sensitive and minds too refined, to continue
voluntarily in the wilful violation of so sacred a duty.  It signifies
nothing our having lived while in France in such a manner, because
there it was as impossible for us not to love, as to be united by a
legitimate tie: but in America, where we are under no restraint, where
we owe no allegiance to the arbitrary distinctions of birth and
aristocratic prejudice, where besides we are already supposed to be
married, why should we not actually become so--why should we not
sanctify our love by the holy ordinances of religion?  As for me,' I
added, 'I offer nothing new in offering you my hand and my heart; but I
am ready to ratify it at the foot of the altar.'

"This speech seemed to inspire her with joy.  'Would you believe it,'
she replied, 'I have thought of this a thousand times since our arrival
in America?  The fear of annoying you has kept it shut up in my breast.
I felt that I had no pretensions to aspire to the character of your
wife.'

"'Ah! Manon,' said I, 'you should very soon be a sovereign's consort,
if I had been born to the inheritance of a crown.  Let us not hesitate;
we have no obstacle to impede us: I will this day speak to the governor
on the subject, and acknowledge that we have in this particular
hitherto deceived him.  Let us leave,' added I, 'to vulgar lovers the
dread of the indissoluble bonds of marriage;[1] they would not fear
them if they were assured, as we are, of the continuance of those of
love.'  I left Manon enchanted by this resolution.

"I am persuaded that no honest man could disapprove of this intention
in my present situation; that is to say, fatally enslaved as I was by a
passion which I could not subdue, and visited by compunction and
remorse which I ought not to stifle. But will any man charge me with
injustice or impiety if I complain of the rigour of Heaven in defeating
a design that I could only have formed with the view of conciliating
its favour and complying with its decrees?  Alas I do I say defeated?
nay punished as a new crime.  I was patiently permitted to go blindly
along the high road of vice; and the cruellest chastisements were
reserved for the period when I was returning to the paths of virtue.  I
now fear that I shall have hardly fortitude enough left to recount the
most disastrous circumstances that ever occurred to any man.

"I waited upon the governor, as I had settled with Manon, to procure
his consent to the ceremony of our marriage.  I should have avoided
speaking to him or to any other person upon the subject, if I had
imagined that his chaplain, who was the only minister in the town,
would have performed the office for me without his knowledge; but not
daring to hope that he would do so privately, I determined to act
ingenuously in the matter.

"The governor had a nephew named Synnelet, of whom he was particularly
fond.  He was about thirty; brave, but of a headstrong and violent
disposition.  He was not married.  Manon's beauty had struck him on the
first day of our arrival; and the numberless opportunities he had of
seeing her during the last nine or ten months, had so inflamed his
passion, that he was absolutely pining for her in secret.  However, as
he was convinced in common with his uncle and the whole colony that I
was married, he put such a restraint upon his feelings, that they
remained generally unnoticed; and he lost no opportunity of showing the
most disinterested friendship for me.

"He happened to be with his uncle when I arrived at the government
house.  I had no reason for keeping my intention a secret from him, so
that I explained myself without hesitation in his presence.  The
governor heard me with his usual kindness.  I related to him a part of
my history, to which he listened with evident interest; and when I
requested his presence at the intended ceremony, he was so generous as
to say, that he must be permitted to defray the expenses of the
succeeding entertainment. I retired perfectly satisfied.

"In an hour after, the chaplain paid me a visit.  I thought he was come
to prepare me by religious instruction for the sacred ceremony; but,
after a cold salutation, he announced to me in two words, that the
governor desired I would relinquish all thoughts of such a thing, for
that he had other views for Manon.

"'Other views for Manon!' said I, as I felt my heart sink within me;
'what views then can they be, chaplain?'

"He replied, that I must be, of course, aware that the governor was
absolute master here; that Manon, having been transported from France
to the colony, was entirely at his disposal; that, hitherto he had not
exercised his right, believing that she was a married woman; but that
now, having learned from my own lips that it was not so, he had
resolved to assign her to M. Synnelet, who was passionately in love
with her.

"My indignation overcame my prudence.  Irritated as I was, I desired
the chaplain instantly to quit my house, swearing at the same time that
neither governor, Synnelet, nor the whole colony together, should lay
hands upon my wife, or mistress, if they chose so to call her.

"I immediately told Manon of the distressing message I had just
received.  We conjectured that Synnelet had warped his uncle's mind
after my departure, and that it was all the effect of a premeditated
design.  They were, questionless, the stronger party.  We found
ourselves in New Orleans, as in the midst of the ocean, separated from
the rest of the world by an immense interval of space.  In a country
perfectly unknown, a desert, or inhabited, if not by brutes, at least
by savages quite as ferocious, to what corner could we fly?  I was
respected in the town, but I could not hope to excite the people in my
favour to such a degree as to derive assistance from them proportioned
to the impending danger: money was requisite for that purpose, and I
was poor.  Besides, the success of a popular commotion was uncertain;
and if we failed in the attempt, our doom would be inevitably sealed.

"I revolved these thoughts in my mind; I mentioned them in part to
Manon; I found new ones, without waiting for her replies; I determined
upon one course, and then abandoned that to adopt another; I talked to
myself, and answered my own thoughts aloud; at length I sank into a
kind of hysterical stupor that I can compare to nothing, because
nothing ever equalled it.  Manon observed my emotion, and from its
violence, judged how imminent was our danger; and, apprehensive more on
my account than on her own, the dear girl could not even venture to
give expression to her fears.

"After a multitude of reflections, I resolved to call upon the
governor, and appeal to his feelings of honour, to the recollection of
my unvarying respect for him, and the marks he had given of his own
affection for us both.  Manon endeavoured to dissuade me from this
attempt: she said, with tears in her eyes, 'You are rushing into the
jaws of death; they will murder you--I shall never again see you--I am
determined to die before you.'  I had great difficulty in persuading
her that it was absolutely necessary that I should go, and that she
should remain at home. I promised that she should see me again in a few
moments.  She did not foresee, nor did I, that it was against herself
the whole anger of Heaven, and the rabid fury of our enemies, was about
to be concentrated.

"I went to the fort: the governor was there with his chaplain. I
supplicated him in a tone of humble submission that I could have ill
brooked under other circumstances.  I invoked his clemency by every
argument calculated to soften any heart less ferocious and cruel than a
tiger's.

"The barbarian made to all my prayers but two short answers, which he
repeated over and over again.  'Manon,' he said, 'was at his disposal:
and he had given a promise to his nephew.'  I was resolved to command
my feelings to the last: I merely replied, that I had imagined he was
too sincerely my friend to desire my death, to which I would infinitely
rather consent than to the loss of my mistress.

"I felt persuaded, on quitting him, that it was folly to expect
anything from the obstinate tyrant, who would have damned himself a
hundred times over to please his nephew.  However, I persevered in
restraining my temper to the end; deeply resolved, if they persisted in
such flagrant injustice, to make America the scene of one of the most
horrible and bloody murders that even love had ever led to.

"I was, on my return home, meditating upon this design, when fate, as
if impatient to expedite my ruin, threw Synnelet in my way.  He read in
my countenance a portion of my thoughts.  I before said, he was brave.
He approached me.

"'Are you not seeking me?' he enquired.  'I know that my intentions
have given you mortal offence, and that the death of one of us is
indispensable: let us see who is to be the happy man.'

"I replied, that such was unquestionably the fact, and that nothing but
death could end the difference between us.

"We retired about one hundred paces out of the town.  We drew: I
wounded and disarmed him at the first onset.  He was so enraged, that
he peremptorily refused either to ask his life or renounce his claims
to Manon.  I might have been perhaps justified in ending both by a
single blow; but noble blood ever vindicates its origin.  I threw him
back his sword.  'Let us renew the struggle,' said I to him, 'and
remember that there shall be now no quarter.'  He attacked me with
redoubled fury.  I must confess that I was not an accomplished
swordsman, having had but three months' tuition in Paris.  Love,
however, guided my weapon. Synnelet pierced me through and through the
left arm; but I caught him whilst thus engaged, and made so vigorous a
thrust that I stretched him senseless at my feet.

"In spite of the triumphant feeling that victory, after a mortal
conflict, inspires, I was immediately horrified by the certain
consequences of his death.  There could not be the slightest hope of
either pardon or respite from the vengeance I had thus incurred.
Aware, as I was, of the affection of the governor for his nephew, I
felt perfectly sure that my death would not be delayed a single hour
after his should become known.  'Urgent as this apprehension was, it
still was by no means the principal source of my uneasiness.  Manon,
the welfare of Manon, the peril that impended over her, and the
certainty of my being now at length separated from her, afflicted me to
such a degree, that I was incapable of recognising the place in which I
stood.  I regretted Synnelet's death: instant suicide seemed the only
remedy for my woes.

"However, it was this very thought that quickly restored me to my
reason, and enabled me to form a resolution.  'What,' said I to myself,
'die, in order to end my pain!  Then there is something I dread more
than the loss of all I love!  No, let me suffer the cruellest
extremities in order to aid her; and when these prove of no avail, fly
to death as a last resource!'

"I returned towards the town; on my arrival at home, I found Manon half
dead with fright and anxiety: my presence restored her.  I could not
conceal from her the terrible accident that had happened.  On my
mentioning the death of Synnelet and my own wound, she fell in a state
of insensibility into my arms.  It was a quarter of an hour before I
could bring her again to her senses.

"I was myself in a most deplorable state of mind; I could not discern
the slightest prospect of safety for either of us. 'Manon,' said I to
her, when she had recovered a little, 'what shall we do?  Alas, what
hope remains to us?  I must necessarily fly.  Will you remain in the
town?  Yes dearest Manon, do remain; you may possibly still be happy
here; while I, far away from you, may seek death and find it amongst
the savages, or the wild beasts.'

"She raised herself in spite of her weakness, and taking hold of my
hand to lead me towards the door:  'Let us,' said she, 'fly together,
we have not a moment to lose; Synnelet's body may be found by chance,
and we shall then have no time to escape.' 'But, dear Manon,' replied
I, 'to what place can we fly?  Do you perceive any resource?  Would it
not be better that you should endeavour to live on without me; and that
I should go and voluntarily place my life in the governor's hands?'

"This proposal had only the effect of making her more impatient for our
departure.  I had presence of mind enough, on going out, to take with
me some strong liquors which I had in my chamber, and as much food as I
could carry in my pockets.  We told our servants, who were in the
adjoining room, that we were going to take our evening walk, as was our
invariable habit; and we left the town behind us more rapidly than I
had thought possible from Manon's delicate state of health.

"Although I had not formed any resolve as to our future destination, I
still cherished a hope, without which I should have infinitely
preferred death to my suspense about Manon's safety.  I had acquired a
sufficient knowledge of the country, during nearly ten months which I
had now passed in America, to know in what manner the natives should be
approached.  Death was not the necessary consequence of falling into
their hands.  I had learned a few words of their language, and some of
their customs, having had many opportunities of seeing them.

"Besides this sad resource, I derived some hopes from the fact, that
the English had, like ourselves, established colonies in this part of
the New World.  But the distance was terrific.  In order to reach them,
we should have to traverse deserts of many days' journey, and more than
one range of mountains so steep and vast as to seem almost impassable
to the strongest man.  I nevertheless flattered myself that we might
derive partial relief from one or other of these sources: the savages
might serve us as guides, and the English receive us in their
settlements.

"We journeyed on as long as Manon's strength would permit, that is to
say, about six miles; for this incomparable creature, with her usual
absence of selfishness, refused my repeated entreaties to stop.
Overpowered at length by fatigue, she acknowledged the utter
impossibility of proceeding farther.  It was already night: we sat down
in the midst of an extensive plain, where we could not even find a tree
to shelter us.  Her first care was to dress my wound, which she had
bandaged before our departure. I, in vain, entreated her to desist from
exertion: it would have only added to her distress if I had refused her
the satisfaction of seeing me at ease and out of danger, before her own
wants were attended to.  I allowed her therefore to gratify herself,
and in shame and silence submitted to her delicate attentions.

"But when she had completed her tender task, with what ardour did I not
enter upon mine!  I took off my clothes and stretched them under her,
to render more endurable the hard and rugged ground on which she lay.
I protected her delicate hands from the cold by my burning kisses and
the warmth of my sighs.  I passed the livelong night in watching over
her as she slept, and praying Heaven to refresh her with soft and
undisturbed repose.  'You can bear witness, just and all-seeing God! to
the fervour and sincerity of those prayers, and Thou alone knowest with
what awful rigour they were rejected.'

"You will excuse me, if I now cut short a story which it distresses me
beyond endurance to relate.  It is, I believe, a calamity without
parallel.  I can never cease to deplore it.  But although it continues,
of course, deeply and indelibly impressed on my memory, yet my heart
seems to shrink within me each time that I attempt the recital.

"We had thus tranquilly passed the night.  I had fondly imagined that
my beloved mistress was in a profound sleep, and I hardly dared to
breathe lest I should disturb her.  As day broke, I observed that her
hands were cold and trembling; I pressed them to my bosom in the hope
of restoring animation.  This movement roused her attention, and making
an effort to grasp my hand, she said, in a feeble voice, that she
thought her last moments had arrived.

"I, at first, took this for a passing weakness, or the ordinary
language of distress; and I answered with the usual consolations that
love prompted.  But her incessant sighs, her silence, and inattention
to my enquiries, the convulsed grasp of her hands, in which she
retained mine, soon convinced me that the crowning end of all my
miseries was approaching.

"Do not now expect me to attempt a description of my feelings, or to
repeat her dying expressions.  I lost her--I received the purest
assurances of her love even at the very instant that her spirit fled.
I have not nerve to say more upon this fatal and disastrous event.

"My spirit was not destined to accompany Manon's.  Doubtless, Heaven
did not as yet consider me sufficiently punished, and therefore
ordained that I should continue to drag on a languid and joyless
existence.  I willingly renounced every hope of leading a happy one.

"I remained for twenty-four hours without taking my lips from the still
beauteous countenance and hands of my adored Manon.  My intention was
to await my own death in that position; but at the beginning of the
second day, I reflected that, after I was gone, she must of necessity
become the prey of wild beasts.  I then determined to bury her, and
wait my own doom upon her grave.  I was already, indeed, so near my end
from the combined effect of long fasting and grief, that it was with
the greatest difficulty I could support myself standing.  I was obliged
to have recourse to the liquors which I had brought with me, and these
restored sufficient strength to enable me to set about my last sad
office. From the sandy nature of the soil there was little trouble in
opening the ground.  I broke my sword and used it for the purpose; but
my bare hands were of greater service.  I dug a deep grave, and there
deposited the idol of my heart, after having wrapt around her my
clothes to prevent the sand from touching her.  I kissed her ten
thousand times with all the ardour of the most glowing love, before I
laid her in this melancholy bed.  I sat for some time upon the bank
intently gazing on her, and could not command fortitude enough to close
the grave over her.  At length, feeling that my strength was giving
way, and apprehensive of its being entirely exhausted before the
completion of my task, I committed to the earth all that it had ever
contained most perfect and peerless.  I then lay myself with my face
down upon the grave, and closing my eyes with the determination never
again to open them, I invoked the mercy of Heaven, and ardently prayed
for death.

"You will find it difficult to believe that, during the whole time of
this protracted and distressing ceremony, not a tear or a sigh escaped
to relieve my agony.  The state of profound affliction in which I was,
and the deep settled resolution I had taken to die, had silenced the
sighs of despair, and effectually dried up the ordinary channels of
grief.  It was thus impossible for me, in this posture upon the grave,
to continue for any time in possession of my faculties.

"After what you have listened to, the remainder of my own history would
ill repay the attention you seem inclined to bestow upon it.  Synnelet
having been carried into the town and skilfully examined, it was found
that, so far from being dead, he was not even dangerously wounded.  He
informed his uncle of the manner in which the affray had occurred
between us, and he generously did justice to my conduct on the
occasion.  I was sent for; and as neither of us could be found, our
flight was immediately suspected.  It was then too late to attempt to
trace me, but the next day and the following one were employed in the
pursuit.

"I was found, without any appearance of life, upon the grave of Manon:
and the persons who discovered me in this situation, seeing that I was
almost naked and bleeding from my wounds, naturally supposed that I had
been robbed and assassinated.  They carried me into the town.  The
motion restored me to my senses. The sighs I heaved on opening my eyes
and finding myself still amongst the living, showed that I was not
beyond the reach of art: they were but too successful in its
application.

"I was immediately confined as a close prisoner.  My trial was ordered;
and as Manon was not forthcoming, I was accused of having murdered her
from rage and jealousy.  I naturally related all that had occurred.
Synnelet, though bitterly grieved and disappointed by what he heard,
had the generosity to solicit my pardon: he obtained it.

"I was so reduced, that they were obliged to carry me from the prison
to my bed, and there I suffered for three long months under severe
illness.  My aversion from life knew no diminution. I continually
prayed for death, and obstinately for some time refused every remedy.
But Providence, after having punished me with atoning rigour, saw fit
to turn to my own use its chastisements and the memory of my multiplied
sorrows.  It at length deigned to shed upon me its redeeming light, and
revived in my mind ideas worthy of my birth and my early education.

"My tranquillity of mind being again restored, my cure speedily
followed.  I began only to feel the highest aspirations of honour, and
diligently performed the duties of my appointment, whilst expecting the
arrival of the vessels from France, which were always due at this
period of the year.  I resolved to return to my native country, there
to expiate the scandal of my former life by my future good conduct.
Synnelet had the remains of my dear mistress removed into a more
hallowed spot.

"It was six weeks after my recovery that, one day walking alone upon
the banks of the river, I saw a vessel arrive, which some mercantile
speculation had directed to New Orleans.  I stood by whilst the
passengers landed.  Judge my surprise on recognising Tiberge amongst
those who proceeded towards the town.  This ever-faithful friend knew
me at a distance, in spite of the ravages which care and sorrow had
worked upon my countenance.  He told me that the sole object of his
voyage had been to see me once more, and to induce me to return with
him to France; that on receipt of the last letter which I had written
to him from Havre, he started for that place, and was himself the
bearer of the succour which I solicited; that he had been sensibly
affected on learning my departure, and that he would have instantly
followed me, if there had been a vessel bound for the same destination;
that he had been for several months endeavouring to hear of one in the
various seaport towns, and that, having at length found one at St. Malo
which was weighing anchor for Martinique, he embarked, in the
expectation of easily passing from thence to New Orleans; that the St.
Malo vessel having been captured by Spanish pirates and taken to one of
their islands, he had contrived to escape; and that, in short, after
many adventures, he had got on board the vessel which had just arrived,
and at length happily attained his object.

"I was totally unable adequately to express my feelings of gratitude to
this generous and unshaken friend.  I conducted him to my house, and
placed all I possessed at his service.  I related to him every
circumstance that had occurred to me since I left France: and in order
to gladden him with tidings which I knew he did not expect, I assured
him that the seeds of virtue which he had in former days implanted in
my heart, were now about to produce fruit, of which even he should be
proud.  He declared to me, that this gladdening announcement more than
repaid him for all the fatigue and trouble he had endured.

"We passed two months together at New Orleans whilst waiting the
departure of a vessel direct to France; and having at length sailed, we
landed only a fortnight since at Havre-de-Grace.  On my arrival I wrote
to my family.  By a letter from my elder brother, I there learned my
father's death, which, I dread to think, the disorders of my youth
might have hastened.  The wind being favourable for Calais, I embarked
for this port, and am now going to the house of one of my relations who
lives a few miles off, where my brother said that he should anxiously
await my arrival."


[1] Some say that Love, at sight of human ties,
    Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies.





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