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Title: The Desultory Man - Collection of Ancient and Modern British Novels and - Romances. Vol. CXLVII.
Author: James, G. P. R. (George Payne Rainsford)
Language: English
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                      COLLECTION
                OF ANCIENT AND MODERN
                       BRITISH
                 NOVELS AND ROMANCES.

                     VOL. CXLVII.
                   ---------------

                  THE DESULTORY MAN.



                         THE

                    DESULTORY MAN.


                  BY THE AUTHOR OF
           "RICHELIEU," "THE GYPSY," ETC.



                        PARIS:
              BAUDRY'S EUROPEAN LIBRARY,
                RUE DU COQ ST. HONORE.

     SOLD ALSO BY AMYOT, RUE DE LA PAIX; TRUCHY,
               BOULEVARD DES ITALIENS;
       THEOPHILE BARROIS, JUN., RUE RICHELIEU;
               LIBRAIRIE DES ETRANGERS,
              RUE NEUVE SAINT AUGUSTIN.
                      ----------
                        1836



            ------------------------------
       PRINTED BY A. BELIN, 55, RUE STE. ANNE.



                     DEDICATION.
                 TO MISS M. L. BOYLE.

                   ---------------


MY DEAR MISS BOYLE,

I dedicate to you a work, the greater part of which was written many
years ago, and long before I had the slightest intention of submitting
anything I wrote to public criticism. It was intended originally for
the amusement of some of my personal friends; but many of the papers
got beyond that limited circle, and some I published myself
anonymously in various periodicals [1]. Those which were so published,
received from persons whom I believed to be competent judges, so much
praise that I determined to attempt a longer and more laboured
composition, and to strive without concealment for the approbation of
the public. Many of my friends attempted to dissuade me from so doing;
and, while they assured me that they doubted not my capability of
acquitting myself well, endeavoured to make me look upon literary
efforts in a light in which such ennobling pursuits could never appear
to my eyes.


---------------

[Footnote 1: N.B.--Many more of the tales contained
in these volumes have since been published in periodicals, and I
believe I may say without presumption that they have been uniformly
favourably received, though the author's name was withheld. Thus, as
near as possible, two-thirds of the work have been already before the
public.]

---------------


Suspecting, notwithstanding their praises, that their view was, to
save me from a disappointment which they saw that my own want of
abilities would inevitably call upon me, I induced a friend to lay the
first volume of a romance I had begun, before one to whose judgment I
might well look with full reliance. The opinion which was pronounced
upon that volume led me to proceed at once, without hesitation; but
still I had many a voice raised, amongst my friends, against my
purposes. The dread of criticism was endeavoured to be instilled into
me, the difficulty of calling public attention was displayed to deter
me, the slight foundation for my hopes of fame, the anxiety of
suspense, and the bitterness of disappointment. But still, supported
by the opinion of a few in whom I had greater confidence, I
persevered; and never have regretted that I did so.

You, my dear young friend, are about to try the same adventure; and I
cannot do better than dedicate to you these pages, from the success of
which my first literary hopes were derived. At the same time I cannot
help feeling in regard to your forthcoming romance, a considerable
share of responsibility, as it is upon my opinion, given after having
read it through, and thought of it in every point of view, that you
are about to send it forth to seek the favour of the world. The
feeling of that responsibility has of course been increased by hearing
persons for whom we both entertain a high esteem, address to you the
same dissuasions which were employed towards myself at the outset of
my literary career, and by having been asked whether, with the deep
and sincere regard which my wife and myself feel towards you and all
the members of your immediate family circle, I can judge impartially
of your book. I feel the responsibility however without apprehension,
for I know that I am impartial: and the sincerity of my regard for you
and yours, instead of taking from my impartiality, has only rendered
it more stern and severe. I say to you now, as I said when first I
read the work, "Go on and fear not." I will stake any small literary
reputation I may possess upon your success. Whether the work may have
the vogue of some romances written upon the fashionable _coteries_ of
the day, I do not know; but I think it may have more; and I do not
scruple to assert that every one who can estimate genius guided by
high principles, and the poetry of the heart inspired by noble
feelings and guided by pure taste, will read that work (especially the
second volume) with delight and approbation. This is the best success
which can attend any work: those who are worthy of loving what is
good, and capable of appreciating what is beautiful, will admire and
approve; and a long line of illustrious ancestors, may--if such things
be permitted--look down on you with applause, as you send into the
world a book which contains so much of which you may be justly proud.
I say again, go on to success; and I may add, in the words of Francis
the First, "_Ma lance contre un écu d'Espagne, vous gagnerez la
partie_."

To you then I dedicate the following pages, not because I think them
at all worthy of your acceptance, but because they contain those
things from which I first obtained an augury of future success. May my
auguries in your favour be verified even more fully than in my own
case; but that they will be verified to the full extent of your
expectations, is the strongest conviction of,

               My dear Miss Boyle,
                       Yours most truly,
                           G. P. R. JAMES.

_The Cottage, Great Marlow_,
   26th September, 1836.



                         THE
                    DESULTORY MAN.

                   ---------------

           Ven dulce soledad, y al alma mia
           Libra del mar horrisono agitado
           Del mundo corrompido
           Y benign la paz y la alegria
           Vuelve al dolcente corazon.--MELENDEZ.

I sit alone, with time sufficient before me to put down a record of
the last year of my existence, and with the desire, if be possible, to
gather together into one view, all the thoughts and feelings, and
incidents and anecdotes, which have filled up one of the most painful
periods of my existence. Of the many acts which went before that epoch
I must speak, though briefly, in order that others may comprehend how
I am what I am; but I will not dwell thereon, for the detail might be
tedious to others, and in some degree would be painful to myself,
although, in looking back upon the occurrences of those earlier years,
I already begin to experience that sort of interest which clings in
general to the past. Time acts upon events as upon fine pictures,
softening every harshness, mellowing every tint, and blending all into
richness and harmony. It is true that sometimes he takes away the
brighter colours, and leaves but the darker shades, and in the end is
sure to obliterate all entirely: but even to the last, there is a
pleasure in tracing the faint remains of things once bright, as we
gaze upon an old painting, and seek out, amidst the wreck of beauties,
those that the waves of time have not yet swept away.

The very mention of those days calls up again to view the events they
brought with them, almost as vividly as at the time. In solitude and
silence the images of a thousand things, gone for ever, come back upon
my mind. The past alone is ours; it is our grand possession in the
wilderness of time; it is all that we call our own. Memory fixes her
eyes ever upon it, like a miser watching his treasure, and culls out
the brightest recollections, to place them at the top of her store.
Fancy seeks there for many of the materials for the gay fabrics of
imagination; and wisdom, too, borrows from the past to provide against
the future. Pilgrims as we are, wandering on towards a distant shrine,
over a rough and painful road, let us pluck the wild blossoms that
grow by the road to deck our pillow, ere we lay down to rest; and
though perhaps we can neither give to our own tale, or to that of
others, the same interest with which we have felt or have listened,
still let us gather up, ere it fades into forgetfulness, all that the
old reaper Time lets fall upon our path.

I know not well whether I write for myself or others: whether these
pages will alone serve to recall to my own mind, in after years,
events and tales that are now vivid, but may then be partly effaced
from the tablet of memory; or whether they will afford some amusement
and some instruction to persons who neither know the writer nor are
acquainted with his history. Lest the latter should be the case, I
write the following sketch of my early years:

My name, then, is James Young, and I was born the second son of an
officer in the navy, who had fought in the battle which destroyed the
fleet of Llangara, and in that which immortalized the name of Rodney,
who gained honour and glory, but little worldly wealth; and died in
battle when I had reached the age of eight years, leaving an income of
about twelve hundred per annum for the support of his widow and two
children. I remember well, even at this moment, the people telling me
that my father was dead, and endeavouring to explain to me what death
is. But though I could understand that I should never see my parent
again, and wept bitterly to think that it was so, yet I could not get
my mind to grasp the meaning of being dead, till an accidental
occurrence, which took place a few weeks after the news of my father's
death had reached England, gave me the first tangible idea of death,
and filled me with awe and horror. I had gone out with my brother, who
was five or six years older than myself, and was walking on with him
rapidly towards Hyde Park, when at the corner of Grosvenor Square we
saw a crowd gathered round the step of a door, which I think at that
time belonged to the house of Admiral Berkeley. With boyish curiosity
we pressed near, and I heard some one say as we approached, "Oh! the
man is dead, quite dead, you had better get a shutter, and carry the
body to the workhouse."

The idea of death had never ceased to occupy my mind and excite my
curiosity since I had been told that my father was dead; and I
instantly cried out, "Is he dead? Oh, let me look at him--let me look
at him!" The sound of my childish voice uttering such an exclamation
caught the attention of those around, and whether they believed that I
might be related to the dead person, or were actuated merely by a
sudden impulse, I cannot tell, but they made way instantly, and
letting me into the circle, stood round with a part of their attention
now withdrawn from the former object of their contemplations to
myself, as I stood habited in deep mourning, gazing upon the body,
with all the simplicity, but more than the feelings, of childhood. The
dead man was dressed like a respectable tradesman, and had, I suppose,
fallen down in a fit of apoplexy; but there he lay with his jaw
dropping upon his throat, his glassy eyes wide open, and his limbs
stretched out in all the rigidity of death. People may say what they
please on the similarity of sleep and death, but, even to a child, the
awful difference of the two was so conspicuous, that it seemed to
freeze the blood in my young heart, and I never asked what death is
again.

My brother was destined for the navy, and my father had fancied that
his family interest was sufficiently good to obtain for me the post of
_attaché_ to some embassy, by which means he hoped that I might be
enabled to make my way in the diplomatic world. Four hundred a-year,
three on my reaching one-and-twenty, and one hundred in reversion,
after my mother's death, he had calculated would be sufficient to
procure me the proper education for that mode of life to which I was
destined, and to support me during the toils and privations of the
probationary state of unpaid _attachéship_. The rest of his fortune,
sooner or later, was willed to my brother; and, joined to my mother in
our guardianship and the execution of his will, was his banker and old
friend, Mr. Somers, of whom I shall have to speak much more hereafter.
Within a year after my father's death my brother went to sea, and I
was sent to school, in order to gain so much Latin and Greek as are
needful to an _attaché_, but with especial injunctions to my master to
bestow far more attention upon the living than upon the dead
languages. I was at this time a gay and lively boy, full of fun,
daring, and impudence, but with what neither I nor any one else
suspected, namely, a wild and ungovernable imagination, which was
constantly leading me into scrapes during my youth, and which has
been, by turns, my bane and my consolation since I reached the days of
manhood. The French master at the school was an emigrant and a
gentleman, both by birth and habits; and as the instructions which he
had to bestow upon me were more extended than those which he was
called on to give the rest of the boys, it very naturally happened,
that a closer intimacy and regard took place between us than existed
between himself and the others. I liked his language, too, and his
manners; and soon finding out that my imagination was of a very
irritable nature, he kindly, but perhaps injudiciously, supplied it
with plenty of food, either by telling me tales of the wars of La
Vendée, or by lending me books which he received from a circulating
library to which he subscribed. Although French notions of delicacy
and morality are very different from our own, it is but fair to say,
that in every other respect but that of furnishing excitement to a
fancy already too excitable, he showed much care and prudence in the
books which he selected for me. Poetry he gave me abundantly, both
French and English, but it was of the best kind, and with books of
travels he also supplied me, which sometimes certainly raised my
curiosity on points that might as well have been left to elucidate
themselves, but which had no tendency to weaken my mind or corrupt my
morals. I was idle enough, certainly, but I was tolerably quick in
intellect, and consequently contrived to please all the different
masters in a certain degree, though those I liked best were certain
both to command more of my attention and respect than the others.

At the end of six months I returned home for the holidays, and, on the
very first interrogation in reference to my progress at school,
established, to my mother's full satisfaction, the fact of my being a
miracle of genius and application. Mr. Somers, the banker, had come
down himself to bring me home in his carriage, and after leaving me
some hours with my mother he returned to dine, bringing with him his
little daughter as a playfellow for me. He was a kind good-hearted
man; and, after asking we several questions, to satisfy himself that I
had not misused my time, _he_ also declared himself perfectly
satisfied. I remarked, that both he himself, his servants, and his
daughter, who was then about six years old, were all in mourning, and
I afterwards found that he had lost his wife some months before.

I need dwell no further on my life at school, though the mixed
character of the studies which I there pursued, and the nature of the
books with which the good-natured Frenchman supplied me, gave that
desultory character to my mind which it has never lost. I had a great
greediness for information, without much regularity of arrangement or
steadiness of pursuit; and when I left that school, which was at the
end of two years and a half, I knew a great many things that other
boys did not know, and a great deal less of many things than they did
know.

What was the occasion of my quitting the school remains to be told.
About half a year before I did quit it, my mother became Mrs. Somers,
and my brother, whose ship was at Deal, was present, as well as
myself, at the wedding, which was to give us a new father and a new
home. Mr. Somers was very kind, and looked very happy; my mother was
serious, but her vanity was flattered in various respects, and she
easily found means to persuade herself that she was doing what was
quite right and expedient. My brother, as smart as a naval uniform
could make him, was as gay as a lark, and in robust health; and little
Emily Somers, who was now a sweet girl of about eight years old,
looked all delight, and was only too sure that she should love her new
mamma most dearly. Strange enough to say, I was the only person who
did not fully participate in the gaiety of the occasion. I had been, I
am afraid, a spoilt child; my mother had seemed to love me better than
any thing on earth; and certain it is that, even at that early age, I
felt a degree of jealousy when I thought of any one else except my
brother sharing in her affection. My poor brother was soon destined to
leave me alone in her love. He returned to his ship as soon as the
wedding breakfast was over, and shortly after sailed for the coast of
Spain. One epistle, dated Gibraltar, informed us that he was well and
happy, but the next ship-letter my mother received was written in the
hand of the captain--an old comrade of my father--and its purport was
to inform her, that her eldest son had fallen a victim to one of the
severe fevers which occasionally visit the Peninsula.

My worldly prospects were of course greatly changed by this event. I
was far too young myself--even if at any time of life I could have
known such feelings--to derive the smallest portion of consolation for
the loss of my brother from the acquisition of fortune which thus
befell me: but my mother and Mr. Somers saw the affair both in an
affectionate and in a worldly light. They both grieved sincerely, I am
sure, for my brother, who was, as Mr. Somers declared, a very good lad
indeed; but they both agreed also, that there was a considerable
difference between four hundred and twelve hundred per annum; and my
mother was delighted to believe, and Mr. Somers well pleased to
suggest, that a private tutor might now very well be kept for me at
home, instead of putting Mrs. Somers to the pain of having me always
at a distance from her maternal eye. Thus I at once received the news
of my brother's death and a summons to return to Portland Place, which
was destined to be my home till I set out in the world for myself.

On my arrival I found my mother installed mistress of a splendid
mansion, furnished newly from the garrets to the cellars, with a very
kind and affectionate husband, and a lovely little girl for her
companion in the person of his daughter. Her affection for myself,
however, seemed to have increased rather than diminished, and it was
easy to perceive that my will was to be her law. Two years before,
such a perception would have ruined my disposition for ever, but I had
already been some time at a school with, a great many boys older than
myself. I had been drilled into some kind of discipline by the
masters, and beaten into some knowledge of myself by my elders in the
school. I had learned also a habit of scrutinizing my own thoughts and
feelings, as well as those of other people, very unusual at that
period of life, which has never left me, though I acknowledge that I
have but too often been wrong in my conclusions, not only in regard to
others, but even respecting myself. If our fellows in society can, for
purposes of their own, throw a veil over their actions which we can
seldom penetrate, surely vanity, passion, interest, and every other
modification of selfishness, can, with art a thousand-fold more
specious, still conceal from us the springs and motives of what is
passing in our own bosom. It is only long-confirmed habit, dear-bought
experience, and strong determination, which can tear away the mask
successfully in either case. However, I had a strong sense of what is
just and right also, and I was not long in perceiving that my mother
not only loved me a great deal better than little Emily
Somers--which I should not have objected to, because it seemed
natural--but she also contrived to show that partiality in a manner
which was not fair towards Emily. What Emily did was seldom
right--what Emily said was always nonsense with her stepmother--and
many and many a time have I had to fight Emily's battles, and defend
Emily's cause, and petition in Emily's behalf, when the dear little
creature neither did, nor said, nor desired, any thing but what was
right. Emily felt the change, and as yet remembered her own mother
sufficiently to weep over that change; but she was of a gay and happy
disposition, bearing no malice, forgetting injuries, retentive of
kindness, frank, true, and gentle; yet, withal, with a firmness of
determination on points where some internal principle of rectitude
told her that she should be firm, which contrasted strangely enough
with the general mildness and placidity of her character. I could,
were I so inclined, write down a thousand examples of this peculiar
trait in her character; but as I intend merely to give a sketch of
those years, it will be unnecessary. Suffice it, that when Emily had
positively pledged herself to do or not to do any particular thing, no
one attempted to turn her from it, for we all learned to know that it
would be in vain.

It must be added, however, that these firm resolves were but seldom
taken, and then only upon great occasions, when we were sure, sooner
or later, to discover that Emily was right, for they were the
offspring of firmness and not obstinacy, and I have often seen her
execute her resolve with tears, so great was the struggle between her
inclination and her sense of right.

Soon after my arrival in London, a tutor was found for me, and brought
with him to our family a strong recommendation. Yet, although he was a
learned and clever man, I am not sure that he was exactly the person
best calculated to bring up a youth of a fiery temperament and an
erratic imagination like myself. He had been long in Germany, it
seems, where his mind had become strongly tinged with a sort of
mysticism, a small portion of which soon communicated itself to me,
and which only served to set my fancy wandering more wildly still. But
that was not alone the evil which his residence in foreign lands had
wrought in him. His moral principles had become strangely twisted, and
though he advocated most eloquently the strictest adherence to truth,
and was most rigorous and exact in his notions of justice and equity,
yet, upon many other points, his notions were sadly relaxed. He was a
tall uncouth man, too; by no means thin, but with no breadth of bone,
and only gifted with a considerable quantity of muscle and fat,
covering a frame originally long and narrow. Nor were his manners
peculiarly pleasant, though they were by no means harsh or rude, but
he was extremely fond of a joke, and knew no limit in pursuing it:
often too, before the joke was apparent to other people, his fancy,
tickled by some internal movement of his own mind, would set him off
into long fits of laughter, during which his eyes would stream and his
shoulders shake as if he were actually in convulsions.

Under his care and instructions I remained seven years, reading when
it pleased me, for my mother took care that my own will was the only
measure of my studies. Nevertheless, I read a great deal; for when I
was fatigued by great corporal exercise, the craving of my mind for
constant employment always returned, and I sat down with greediness to
whatever was presented to me. A good deal of Latin, a very little
Greek, an immensity of French, and a certain portion of Italian and
Spanish, were thus run through, with, perhaps, little benefit; but the
whole system of my studies, if that can be called system which had no
regularity, was altered from what it had been when I was at school. It
was my tutor's maxim that a man was born to know every thing, and
consequently, no expurgated editions were put into my hand. The
warmest of the Latin poets, and the least chaste of the French and
Italian, were given to me without ceremony; and where I wanted notes
or interpretations, my worthy tutor supplied them fully, sometimes in
a grave and scientific manner, sometimes laughing till he was ready to
fall from his chair. Immense quantities of English also did I read,
ancient and modern, good and bad--Milton's purity and Rochester's
filth; Southey's inimitable poetry, and the novels of Maria Regina
Roche. Four books especially took possession of my imagination, and
remain to the present time amongst those in which I can read every
day. They were the Arabian Nights, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, and
Southey's Curse of Kehema. My love for Shakspeare, Milton, and
Wordsworth, came at an after period; and towards the age of seventeen,
I began to read the romances of Sir Walter Scott--works which were
calculated to do my mind the most infinite service, to blend the love
of virtue with the spirit of adventure, and tame wild imagination to
the uses of the world.

Fencing, riding, cudgel-playing, varied the time with mathematics,
geometry, and astronomy. History came in for a great portion of my
attention, and books of travels maintained their share. Thus did I
become one of the most desultory beings that the world ever produced;
so that, before I was eighteen years of age, my mind was literally
like a pawnbroker's shop, full of an odd assemblage of unconnected
things, huddled together in the storehouses of memory, unmarked and
disarranged, and difficult to be got at. Many of these stores also
were calculated to be injurious to me in various ways; they did prove
so, certainly, in some degree; but that they did not become more so, I
owe, I believe, to two causes--first, my early fondness for the
writings of Southey, where virtue, robed in poetry and eloquence, is
splendid enough to catch even imagination; and next, my having fallen
in love before I was much exposed to the temptations of the world.

The reader--if any one do read these pages--will easily divine the
object of that early, but not less permanent, affection. Emily Somers
had become, from the circumstances which I have related, my little pet
and protégée. I loved her because I protected and defended her even
against one whom I loved also. But soon I began to take an interest in
the development of her mind, and I used to write out the purest and
most beautiful passages of all I read, to read to her again; and
learned to love her from the sympathy and the reciprocation of mutual
ideas which this produced: but, by the time I was eighteen and she was
sixteen, other feelings began to make themselves felt in my bosom.
Then came the period when, from a very pretty child, she burst forth
into one of the loveliest girls that it was possible to behold, and I
soon learned to love with all the ardent and thrilling passion of
manhood. Such is the history of my affection for her, and it is hardly
necessary to say that it was returned. She had known me from infancy;
she had never met with any thing but kindness at my hands; she had
made me on all occasions her protector and her confidant; and she had
found something even in the faults and foibles of which my character
was composed to excite her interest. Neither did she see much of any
one who was likely to compete with me in any respect. Our society,
though large, was rather general than intimate; my mother was very
averse to the idea of introducing Emily, what she called, _too soon_;
and thus, before she mingled with the world, her heart was given never
to be recalled.

Roving over the earth as I did, from time to time, I had made some
friends and a good many acquaintances; but I did not give them great
facilities of rivalling me in Emily's affection. At Mr. Somers's house
I had my own apartments, where I received my own visitors--not indeed
with any confessed purpose of keeping them away from Emily, but
perhaps with some latent feeling of jealousy, which endured till I
felt certain that I possessed her love in return. In such matters I
was much more learned than she was, and soon found out the state of my
own heart, but I did not so easily convince myself of the state of
her's; for sisterly affection was too cold a return to satisfy so
ardent a nature as mine, and I feared that the feelings which she
entertained towards me might be of no warmer a kind. Perhaps, indeed,
if I had always remained near her, her feelings might have remained
such as I feared they might be; but I was absent from time to time,
and returned from a long visit to Paris, just at that period of
Emily's life when a woman's heart is most open to the more powerful
affections. That she would marry me if I asked her, I felt sure, but I
wished her to love me with all that thrilling ardour which I felt
towards her, and I only learned to believe that she did so by one of
those sudden glimpses which accident sometimes gives us into the
best-concealed feelings. I was accustomed to treat her in every
respect as a sister, to employ every endearing term towards her, and
to use all those kind familiarities which one does to a dear and near
relative. Thus one day, when I was in my twentieth year, and she was
approaching eighteen, I returned from some visits I had been paying,
and, finding her alone in the drawing-room at work, I sat down beside
her, and threw my arm lightly round her.

"I have been spending part of the morning, Emily," I said, "with your
friend Helen ----" (naming a very lovely girl, who was a frequent
visitor at our house); and, as I spoke, I could see the colour come
and go in Emily's cheek in a manner that excited my curiosity.

After a moment, however, she raised her eyes, and said, "She is a very
charming girl indeed, James, and I dare say will make an amiable
wife."

"I dare say she will, Emily," I answered with a smile; "pray do you
know who is to be the happy man?"

"Oh, James, James," she said, shaking her head in a manner that she
meant to be wholly playful, but which certainly had a touch of sadness
in it, "do not try to be mysterious with me, my dear brother. I heard
papa and mamma talking about it this morning, and saying what a good
thing it would be for you and her."

"And did you believe it, Emily?" I exclaimed. "Could you be so
mistaken? But I am glad you have told me, dear girl, for certainly I
will never set my foot in that house again alone, till Helen ---- is
married."

"Dear me! I have forgot something up stairs," cried Emily, starting up
and going towards the door with her face turned entirely from me. But
she passed two looking-glasses ere she reached the end of the room,
and the first showed me something very bright swimming in her eyes and
reflecting the light from the windows; the second displayed those
bright drops running rapidly over her eyelashes, and rolling down her
cheeks. I was by her side in a moment, and, closing the door she had
partly opened, I drew her gently back to the sofa, where, holding her
fondly to my heart, I kissed away the tears from that beloved cheek.
"Dear Emily," I said, "never believe that I am going to marry any one
in the whole world, if Emily Somers will not accept me herself."

It were tedious, perhaps, to detail all that followed. I soon gained a
confession that I was loved as I could desire, but I could not make
Emily promise to be mine positively, till I had spoken both to her
father and my mother, and as we knew that neither would consent to our
union before I had reached one-and-twenty years of age, and judged
that they might make us spend the interval apart if we mentioned the
matter before, we determined--or rather I determined both for Emily
and myself--to say nothing upon the subject till that period had
arrived. The familiarity which had already existed between us gave us
every opportunity of expressing our feelings to each other, and I
promised Emily to claim her hand without further concealment, on the
very day that should see me the master of my own actions.

I knew Emily too well to feel one doubt from the moment that she told
me her heart was mine, and I even took no small pleasure in seeing the
attention and admiration she excited when, at my wish, my mother took
her out into society, and gave several large parties at our own house,
for the purpose of introducing her. At these parties I paid her
ordinary attentions, but no more; and left her entirely to her own
guidance in regard to her conduct towards other men: and yet I cannot
but say, that amongst all who flattered, and courted, and sought the
beautiful heiress of the rich banker, I never saw her give the
slightest encouragement to any one but myself.

I was thus perfectly at my ease; but there was one person that
frequented our house, who was apparently far from being pleased at the
attentions which Emily received. This was the son of a man almost
omnipotent on the stock exchange. His father, born a Jew, and
converted to nominal Christianity by the revelations of self-interest,
had been early connected with Mr. Somers in large pecuniary
transactions, and Alfred Wild, the son, had, in consequence, always
been a privileged visitor in the family. He had received a good
education, was gentlemanly in his manners when no violent passion was
called into action, and often proved a pleasant companion to myself,
when I had nothing else to do. His face was fine, showing the
features of the Hebrew softened and refined by a considerable
admixture of Teutonic blood; his grandmother having been a German, and
his mother an Englishwoman; but at the same time, there were moments
when it assumed an expression both of cunning and of malice which was
any thing but agreeable. To me he was always excessively kind and
civil, and although from very early years he saw more of Emily than
any one else except myself, it never entered my thoughts to be jealous
of him, nor indeed to fancy that he had any particular affection
towards her, till I saw the uneasiness which he could not conceal,
when at any of our parties she was singled out as an object of
attention and admiration by other men. Even when I did perceive this
fact, it gave me no apprehension, for of Emily I was sure; and with
the rest of the family, it was the tale of the village schoolmaster
over again: my mother I had commanded all my life, and she completely
commanded Mr. Somers.

At length my twenty-first birthday arrived, and upon it had been fixed
three great events by the members of our family. Mr. Somers had
previously reserved that morning for winding up his accounts with me
as executor to my father. I had appointed it in my own mind as the day
for demanding Emily's hand, and my mother had issued cards both for a
great dinner-party and for a ball at night. My first meeting on that
morning was with Emily, and a dear and tender meeting it was. I next
visited my mother in her bed-room, where she always breakfasted, and to
her I first told my purpose with regard to Emily. At first she seemed
very much surprised and a little vexed; but Emily had grown
wonderfully in her good graces since she came out, and after a little
while, she told me, only to make my proposal to Mr. Somers, and then
to refer him to her, when she would settle every thing with him as I
wished it.

Poor Emily I could see was in a terrible state of agitation during
breakfast; but I gained a moment ere I followed her father to the
library, to tell her that I had spoken with my mother and obtained her
full consent. Nothing could have afforded her more relief; for towards
her, when my mother did not interfere, Mr. Somers was indulgence
itself, and she had no doubt of his approbation, as soon as she heard
that my mother's had been obtained. The first part of my business with
Mr. Somers was somewhat tedious; for he insisted upon my looking over
the executorial and guardianship accounts, item by item, and then,
taking me to the bank, put me in possession of my own property,
amounting now, by his excellent management, to more than twelve
hundred per annum, independent of my mother's jointure, which was
settled upon a small landed estate.

When this was all done, and we had returned to the house in Portland
Place, I shook my good step-father by the hand, and thanked him warmly
for all the kindness he had shown me, as well as for the prudence and
skill with which he had managed to increase so largely my little
patrimony. "And now, my dear sir," I added, "you very well know that
one favour done always brings on a demand for another; so I am going
to ask you for a present."

"What is that? what is that?" demanded Mr. Somers. "Very happy I am
sure, my dear boy, to give you any thing I have. What is it? Oh, I
guess! The chestnut mare! Well, you may have her. Take her, take her;
she is too gay for me--getting old and heavy, James, now. Take her,
take her!"

"You mistake me, my dear sir," I replied. "The gift I ask is much more
valuable than that. It is neither more nor less than the hand of your
daughter Emily."

The idea had evidently never crossed Mr. Somers's mind till that
moment; and from some cause my application seemed to embarrass him.
"Dear me! Dear me!" he exclaimed, walking up and down the library; "I
declare I do not know what to do--I have not committed myself,
certainly--but yet--well, it does not signify--but what will your
mother say?"

"My mother gives us her full consent, my dear sir," I replied, "and
desired me to beg that you would speak with her on the subject."

"Certainly, certainly! Of course I shall," replied Mr. Somers. "But
what says poor little Emily?--You have taken care to secure her, you
dog, I am sure? What says the poor dear girl?"

"Secured her affection I hope I have, my dear sir," I replied; "but
still she has bound herself by no promises."

"No, no! quite right," replied Mr. Somers; "nor I either, luckily. But
I'll go and speak with your mother, James--I'll go and speak with your
mother;" and he walked towards the door. Ere he reached it, however,
he turned, and, holding out his hand to me, added, "I'm sure you know,
my dear boy, that I will never oppose any thing that may be conducive
to the happiness of Emily and yourself. There may have been a little
talk between me and an old friend about her marriage with some one
else; but I have not committed myself, and I will not oppose your
wishes; so go and tell her so, and make her mind easy, poor girl."

The consultation between Mr. Somers and my mother was soon brought to
a close, and I was called to hear the result. After a sort of half
explanation, by which I found that Mr. Somers, as he had before
hinted, had embarrassed himself by speaking of Emily's marriage to
somebody else, I was told that if I would consent to go abroad again
for half a year, we should be united on my return; but that in the
mean time, I was to leave matters exactly as they were, so that if any
one else made their proposal, Emily might be able to say that it was
from her own free will that she rejected him. As far as I was
concerned this was quite satisfactory, feeling as sure of Emily's
conduct as if she had been already my wife; but to guard her from
troublesome importunity, I made it a stipulation that no one else was
to be suffered to press their suit upon her after the first proposal,
and that in all cases her rejection was to be considered definite.
This was agreed to; and when Mr. Somers was gone, my mother informed
me that this arrangement had been made solely to give him time to
extricate himself from his embarrassment, in order that no persons
might say he had been misleading them with false hopes. She herself,
however, undertook to guard Emily for me, and if possible to keep all
other suitors from teasing her during my absence.

I soon found that she instantly employed the surest means of obtaining
that object by spreading the report of a positive engagement between
Emily and myself. Her maid was first made the depositary of the
secret, and thence it proceeded upwards and downwards in all
directions, so that, ere dinner-time, it had reached my own servant,
who, while I was dressing, congratulated me on the occasion in all due
form. From him also I first learned positively who was the rival
aspirant to the hand of my sweet Emily; for my mother (I suppose from
fears of my violence) had refused to tell me; but my servant had been
recommended to me by no other than my worthy acquaintance, Alfred
Wild, and now with tender malevolence, while he offered me his
felicitations upon my approaching happiness, he took an opportunity of
commiserating the disappointment of his late master and patron.

The day ended happily, Albert Wild did not make his appearance,
Emily's mind was calm, and mine was full of hope and delight. The idea
of visiting the continent was not at all disagreeable to me. I would
certainly rather have taken Emily with me, but I had a great deal of
the boy still in my nature, and many and marvellous were the pleasures
which I anticipated from my short tour. Whither I was to direct my
steps, became the first question, but that was soon decided. I was not
disposed to wander far from home. Emily besought me not to go to
Paris, which I had visited twice before, and which was somewhat
disturbed at the time, and I determined to cross from Brighton to
Dieppe, and roam about Normandy and Brittany till the long six months
were expired. Amongst the desultory stores of information which I
possessed, I knew a good deal of those two provinces of Old France,
and looked forward with much pleasure to exploring a part of the
country, which at that time had not been so much betravelled as the
rest of the country; and as both Emily's heart and my own were
rendered more accessible than ever to all the wiles of imagination, I
willingly promised her to collect every tale and anecdote of the lands
through which I passed, and on my return to make her a sharer in all
the thoughts and feelings that my visit to a foreign country, under
such circumstances, called up in my bosom.

I will not dwell upon the pain I felt in quitting, even for a short
period, one so deeply beloved; for no one, with an imagination less
exciteable than mine was then, can conceive all the vague and whirling
visions of sorrow and misfortune which assailed me in bidding her
adieu for the first time since our affection for each other had grown
into maturity. At Brighton I met with an acquaintance who was bound
also to France, and we agreed to travel together as far as our roads
lay in the same direction. The passage took place without any
occurrence worthy of note, and late in the evening, or rather in the
beginning of the night, we arrived at Dieppe, and took up our abode in
the dwelling of Monsieur Petit, who, at that time, kept the only
tolerable inn which the place possessed.

Notwithstanding love, and the pain of quitting my native land, and the
somewhat sickening feeling of hope delayed, I slept as soundly as it
is possible for man to sleep, and woke late the next morning to see as
bright a sun as ever shone, pouring his rays in at the window. As soon
as I was dressed, I took out pencils and paper to sketch landscapes
and houses, and pen and ink to sketch men and events, and I seldom
ceased to employ either the one or the other for several months. I was
busily preparing them for use when in walked Monsieur Petit to wish me
good morning, and my meeting with him is the first sketch of that
year, the course of which I am about to detail.



                             THE RAMBLE.

Let them think as they will, so I might be at liberty to act as I
will, and spend my time in such a manner as is most agreeable to
me.--DR. ATTERBURY.


"Had I been you, Monsieur Petit," said I, pointing to the great black
rafters overhead, "when I built this house, I would have spared all
that useless wood in the _plafond_, and put it under my feet."

Monsieur Petit assured me, that he had nothing to do with it; for that
the house had been built a hundred years before he was born.

"I forgot," said I, looking at him, and drawing in my own mind a
comparison between the fat well-looking landlord, in his green
_redingote_, and the French innkeeper of a century ago, with his
powdered wig, sallow cheeks and long pigtail, "I forgot, you are
certainly of a newer make." It is truly a different animal, the breed
has changed amazingly.

"But the salon!" added the aubergiste, "the salon, where my friend
waited me to breakfast. He had arranged that himself, and I would
perceive that it was _d'un goût unique_."

I went down to the salon. It was indeed _d'un goût unique_. The walls
were painted in imitation of porphyry, with niches containing the
Venus and Apollo; but the floor was still of brick, the doors had no
idea of shutting, and Venus, with the true spirit of a _ci-devant_,
seemed more ashamed of the straw chairs and dirty deal table for ever
under her nose, than even of her nudity.

"What a strange nation this is!" thought I. Here you will find the
arts and sciences in a cottage, and the loves and graces in a kitchen;
and yet one is often obliged to pick one's steps in the corridor of
princes.

To my friend, France possessed more novelty than to me: and as we
sallied forth to examine the town, the first step in this _terra
incognita_, perhaps he thought me rather cold and uninquisitive; but
what was new to him was old to me, and it had thus lost a part of its
bright freshness. It is wonderful how soon the gilded outside of the
world tarnishes by use.

We wandered through the streets some time, and at length arrived at
the faubourg, called _le Pollet_, the only part of the ancient city of
Dieppe, which escaped the bombardment of 1694. The dress and customs
of its amphibious denizens begin to be somewhat adulterated with the
common modes of the day; but still they are a people quite distinct
from the rest of the inhabitants, and on their _fêtes_ may yet be seen
the red or blue close-fitting coat, with all the seams covered with a
broad white lace, and the black velvet cap, and the immeasurable
garment which clothes their nether man. Their language is also totally
unintelligible to the uninitiated, and there are many among them who
can scarcely speak a word of French.

It is not extraordinary that such people as the Welsh, the Highlanders
of Scotland, and the Bas Bretons, should maintain their ancient
habits; for they may be considered as separate nations; but it _is_
singular that the Polletais, surrounded by the French of Dieppe, and
in constant communication with them, inhabiting alone a petty suburb
of a petty town, should have preserved, from age to age, a total
separation in manner, dress, and language.

Besides the Pollet, the only object we met of any great interest was
the shop of an ivory-worker. In former days the Dieppois had a station
on the coast of Africa, called also Dieppe, which supplied France with
great quantities of spice, but more particularly with ivory; and it
is, perhaps, from this circumstance, that the people of this country
have carried the art of working in ivory to such a high degree of
perfection.

If I remember rightly, Ovid describes the statue of Pygmalion as of
ivory, and the beautiful copies we saw here of several celebrated
figures made me easily conceive how the Greek fell in love with his
own work. Indeed, so much in love were we with the work even of other
people (which never comes half so near our affections as our own),
that it was with some difficulty we got away from the shop, and did
not even do that, until our purses were lighter by several napoleons.

I would advise every one, in entering a foreign country, to remember
that he cannot buy everything, however cheap it may appear. Many a man
has ruined himself by such economy. The ivory we bought was certainly
well worth the money, but we acquired, in addition, a little anecdote
of Napoleon's wars. While we were occupied with our purchases, a young
Frenchman, with but one arm and a red ribbon at his button, looked in
and spoke a few words to the turner, who, after he was gone, told us
his history, with a mixture of fun and sentiment which is peculiarly
French. I afterwards passed through the country in which the scene was
laid, but will tell the story here.


                           THE RECOMPENSE[2]

The sun was shining as fair as the sun could shine in a beautiful May
morning; bright, yet gentle; warm, but fresh; midway between the
watering-pot of April and the warming-pan of June, when, in the
beautiful valley of Vire--every body knows Vire--but, lest there
should be anybody in the wide world who does not, I will point out the
means of arriving at it.


--------------------

[Footnote 2: Such was the original title of this tale, though it was
altered without my being consulted, when It first appeared, to that of
The Lovers of Vire.]

--------------------


Get into the stage-coach, which journeyeth diurnally between London
and Southampton; enjoy the smoothness of the road, bless Mr. M'Adam,
put up at the Dolphin, and yield yourself to the full delights of an
English four-post bed, for no such sweets as stage-coach, smooth road,
or four-post bed, shall you know from the moment you set your foot on
board the steam-boat for Havre, till the same steam-boat, or another,
lands you once more on the English strand.

Supposing you then arrived at Havre--get out of it again as fast as
you can; rush across the river to Honfleur; from Honfleur dart back to
Caen; and after you have paused five minutes to think about William
the Conqueror, put yourself into the diligence for St. Maloe, and when
you have travelled just twelve leagues and a half, you will come to a
long steep hill, crowned by a pretty airy-looking town, whose
buildings, in some parts gathered on the very pinnacle, in others
running far down the slope, seem as if coquetting with the rich
valleys that woo them from below.

Go to bed; and should you bathe your feet
beforehand--which if you are of our faction you will do--walk over the
tiled floor of the inn bed-room, that you may have a fit opportunity
of abusing tiled floors, and of relieving yourself of all the spleen
in your nature before the next morning. Then, if both your mood and
the day be favourably disposed, sally forth to the eastern corner of
the town, and you will have a fair view over one of the loveliest
valleys that nature's profuse hand ever gifted with beauty; the soft
clear stream of the Vire too, is there, winding sweetly along between
the green sloping hills and the rich woods, and the fields and
chateaux, and hamlets, and the sunshine catching upon all its
meanderings, and the birds singing it their song of love, as its calm
waters roll bountifully by them. Look upon it, and you will not find
it difficult to imagine how the soul, even of an obscure artisan in a
remote age, warmed into poetry and music in the bosom of that valley,
and by the side of that stream.

It,	then, in that beautiful Vale of Vire, not many years agone at
Francois Lormier went out to take his last May walk with Mariette
Duval, ere the relentless conscription called him from his happy home,
his sweet valleys, and his early love. It was a sad walk, as may well
be imagined; for though the morning was bright, and nature, to her
shame be it spoken, had put on her gayest smiles as if to mock their
sorrow, yet the sunshine of the scene could not find its way to their
hearts, and all seemed darkened and clouded around them. They
talked a great deal, and they talked a long time; but far be
it from me to betray their private conversation. I would
not, for all the world--especially as I know not one word about
it--except, indeed, that François Lormier vowed the image of Marietta
should remain with him for ever; should inspire him in the battle, and
cheer him in the bivouac; and that Mariette protested she would never
marry anybody except François Lormier, even if rich old Monsieur
Latoussefort, the great Foulan, were to lay himself and fortune at her
feet; and in short, that when his "seven long years were out,"
François would find her still a spinster, and very much at his
service.

"Mais si je perdais une jambe?" said François Lormier.--"Qu'est ce
que c'a fait?" replied Mariette.

They parted--and first to follow the lady. Mariette wept a great deal,
but soon after got calm again, went about her ordinary work, sang her
song, danced at the village fête, talked with the talkers, laughed
with the laughers, and won the hearts of all the youths in the place,
by her unadorned beauty and her native grace. But still she did not
forget François Lormier; and when any one came to ask her in marriage,
the good dame her mother referred them directly to Mariette, who had
always her answer ready, and with a kind word and gentle look sent
them away refused, but not offended. At length good old Monsieur
Latoussefort presented himself with all his money-bags, declaring that
his only wish was to enrich his _gentile_ Mariette; but Mariette was
steady, and so touchingly did she talk to him about poor François
Lormier, that the old man went away with the tears in his eyes. Six
months afterwards he died, when, to the wonder of the whole place, he
left his large fortune to Mariette Duval!

In the mean while François joined the army, and, from a light handsome
conscript, he soon became a brave, steady soldier. Attached to the
great Northern army, he underwent all the hardships of the campaigns
in Poland and Russia, but still he never lost his cheerfulness, for
the thought of Mariette kept his heart warm, and even a Russian winter
could not freeze him. All through that miserable retreat, he made the
best of every thing. As long as he had a good tender piece of saddle,
he did not want a dinner; and when he met with a comfortable dead
horse to creep into, he found board and lodging combined. His courage
and his powers of endurance called upon him, from the first, the eyes
of one whose best quality was the impartiality of his recompense.
François was rewarded as well as he could be rewarded; but at length,
in one of those unfortunate battles by which Napoleon strove in vain
to retrieve his fortunes, the young soldier, in the midst of his
gallant daring, was desperately wounded in the arm. The star of
Napoleon went down, and foreign armies trod the heart of France.

Pass we over the rest.--Mutilated, sick, weary, and ragged, François
approached his native valley, and doubtful of his reception--for
misery makes sad misanthropes--he sought the cottage of Madame Duval.
The cottage was gone; and on inquiring for Madame Duval, he was
directed to a fine farm-house by the banks of the stream. He thought
there must be some mistake, but yet he dragged his heavy limbs
thither, and knocked timidly against the door.

"Entrez!" cried the good-humoured voice of the old dame. François
entered, and unbidden tottered to a chair. Madame Duval gazed on him
for a moment, and then rushing to the stairs called loudly, "Come
down, Marlette, come down, here is François returned!" Like lightning,
Mariette darted down the stairs, saw the soldier's old great-coat, and
flew towards it--stopped--gazed on his haggard face, and empty sleeve,
and, gasping, fixed her eyes upon his countenance. 'Twas but for a
moment she gaz12ed on him thus in silence; but there was no
forgetfulness, nor coldness, nor pride about her heart--there was
sorrow, and joy, and love, and memory in her very glance.

"Oh François, François!" cried she, at length, casting her arms round
his neck, "how thou hast suffered!" As she did so, the old great-coat
fell back, and on his breast appeared the golden cross of the legion
of honour. "_N'importe!_" cried she, as she saw it, "_Voilà ta
récompense_." He pressed her fondly to his bosom. "My recompense is
here," said he, "my recompense is here!"



                            THE PAINTINGS.

A painter must raise his ideas beyond what he sees, and form a model
of perfection in his own mind, which is not to be found in reality,
but yet such a one as is probable and rational.--RICHARDSON.


When I was a child, nothing pleased me so much as the woodcuts in
Gay's fables, and my nurse could do any thing with me if she promised
me a pretty picture. The taste has grown up with me, and I have as
much difficulty in passing a printseller's window without looking in,
as some people have in passing a book-stall. In returning from our
ramble, we fell upon a shop of the kind; but that which most amused us
was an engraving of the departure of Louis XVIII., on the return of
Napoleon from Elba. In truth, there was little to be represented,
except the good old king getting into his carriage in a great fright.
But the object of the painter was to represent the sorrow of the
people of Paris; and for this purpose he has drawn the two sentinels
in tears, one hiding his eyes with his hand, and the other on his
knees, not a little embarrassed with his musket, while a great many
other tragic attitudes were expended in the background. Frenchmen in
many of their undertakings seem striving to do better than nature,
and, consequently, nine times out of ten they caricature what they
attempt. Their most glaring efforts of this kind are in painting and
engraving, and there they appear to have totally forgotten that the
_beau ideal_ does not consist in generating what nature never
produced, but in assembling the most beautiful objects which naturally
harmonize together.

Painting is one of the most purely imitative of the arts, and the
utmost licence which its greatest masters have allowed it, is simply
the power of choosing and combining what is pleasing to the eye, and
rejecting all that can offend it. This, however, does not content the
present school of painting in France. They must have something such as
never was, and never will be, and in their colouring especially they
have succeeded to a miracle.

David's naked Spartans are brilliant instances of how far art can go
beyond nature; for certainly never was any thing seen under heaven
like the skins of those polished gentlemen. Take away the shields and
helmets, and a very slight alteration would convert the three hundred
arming for Thermopylæ, into Diana and her nymphs bathing; and even
then they would be somewhat too pretty, for without doubt the
goddess's hunting-parties, gave her a much more russet tint than David
has thought proper to bestow upon the hardy warriors of Greece.

Perhaps the great corrector of all things, time, may deprive these
pictures of their adventitious glare of colouring; but even then,
though they may be admired for their fine bold outline, one violent
defect can never be banished, the forced and extravagant attitudes of
some of the principal figures. David had certainly a strange penchant
for sans-culotteism; he never missed an opportunity of leaving his
heroes without any apparel except a helmet, which sits rather
preposterously on a naked man.

The grand and dignified simplicity of the ancient masters forms a most
striking contrast with the laboured and overcharged productions of the
present French school. A modern painter, certainly possessing very
great talent, has attempted a picture of the deluge. He has crowded
into it great many horrors, all very horrible; but the principal group
will be sufficient. It consists of a family vainly endeavouring to
escape from the surrounding destruction by climbing a rock in the
foreground. The agonies of such a moment might have been expressed
most touchingly, had the artist chosen to keep within the bounds of
moderation: but no, he must out-herod Herod; and, consequently, he has
contrived to make one of the most dreadful situations the human mind
can conceive actually ludicrous.

The principal figure is that of a man, who, like pious Æneas,
carries his father on his back, certainly not in the most elegant or
picturesque attitude possible, while with one hand he pulls his wife
up after him rather unceremoniously. The wife for her part suffers
considerable inconvenience from a young gentleman behind, who, having
a mortal aversion to being drowned, has got his mother fast hold by
the hair, by means of which he almost pulls her head off her
shoulders.

The whole family are certainly not very comfortably situated; and, in
fact, the old gentleman who is riding on his son's shoulders is the
only one at all at his ease, and he appears to have a very good seat,
and not to care much about it. Yet I have heard this picture lauded to
the skies both in France and England.

Poussin painted a picture on the same subject. It scarcely could be
surpassed. The scene is a wild mountainous desert, which the
ever-rising waters have nearly covered. The ark is seen floating in
the distance, and a solitary flash of lightning, shown dimly through
the thick rain, breaks across the lurid clouds in the background.
Amongst the dull bleak rocks in front, a monstrous serpent winds its
way slowly up, to avoid the growing waves. The sky lowers upon the
earth, and the earth looks heavily back to the sky: all is wild,
silent, and solemn; one awful gloom, and mighty desolation.

In every art but that of music, and perhaps even there in a degree,
nature furnishes us with a standard by which to regulate our taste. In
judging of what is most beautiful in nature herself, there may be many
opinions; but that which is out of nature altogether must always be in
bad taste. The same Being which formed every thing in this beautiful
world formed equally our minds to enjoy and admire it. He made nature
for man, and man for nature, with perfect harmony between his soul and
all that surrounds it; and the least deviation from those forms, to
which the great Artist restrained his work is discord to the human
mind. Whenever we see any thing distorted from its original shape, or
represented in circumstances in which it could not have been placed,
without thinking, of why, our taste revolts as from something
impossible and untrue.

With respect to engraving I can say but little, as I have no knowledge
of the art; but it strikes me that in modern French prints, at least,
there is hardness without force, and feebleness without softness; nor
have I ever seen the beautiful roundness of flesh well represented.

A French, artist of some merit assured me, one morning, that the arts
had now migrated from Italy to receive their highest degree of
perfection in France. In that point, I believe, every other nation on
the face of the earth will be found to differ from this favoured
people.

But there is, however, one observation to be made, not only with
respect to painting, but to all other arts. They are far more
generally diffused in France than in England. The French have always
conceived perfection in the arts to be a part of the national glory.
Their king and statesmen have thought the encouragement of arts and
sciences at home, to be as much a part of their duty, as the defence
of their country in the field, or the maintenance of its interests in
the cabinet; and the wise spirit which has actuated them of course has
produced its result upon the minds of the people. The taste for what
is beautiful--one great step to the taste for what is good--is general
throughout France, and every one strives to gratify it in its degree.
Amongst us it is the wealthy and the great alone, who have the
inclination to seek, or the power to patronize, the arts; and
paintings or statues are found almost solely in their collections. In
France, every second person is taught to draw, whether he succeeds or
not. Every little town has its gallery and museum; all the world are
admitted to study if they like, and improve if they can; and the
chimney-sweep and the peer stand side by side to criticise or admire.



                          THE LOVER'S LEAP.

   Hei milli quod nullis amor est medicabilis herbis.


A walk through a strange town after dark possesses fully as much
interest as a walk in the day-time, if it be but well timed and
properly conducted. There is a pleasure in the very act of exploring,
which can never be so fully enjoyed as when we find our way through
any unknown place half hidden in the obscurity of night. But it is
necessary that it should not be all darkness. We should choose our
time when the greater part of the people have shaken off the load of
cares which weigh them down in the light, and when national character
walks forth freed from the bonds of daily drudgery: yet it should be
long before man has extinguished his mimicry of heaven's best gift,
and whilst most of the shops are lighted up, shining out like diamonds
in the gloom around.

I had been preaching this doctrine to my friend after dinner, till I
fairly persuaded him to turn theory into practice, and try a night
ramble in the town of Dieppe; though our landlord, Monsieur Petit,
who, looking upon us as true Englishmen, doubtless counted upon our
drinking another bottle if we stayed at home, informed us that there
was absolutely _nothing_ to be seen in Dieppe, for that the _theatre_
was closed.

However, forth we sallied, like the Knight of La Mancha and his
Squire, in quest of adventures. At first we tumbled over some posts,
and then hid nearly fallen into the basin; but after this we found our
way into some of the principal streets, which were all filled with a
sauntering do-nothing crowd, and ringing with the idle merry laugh
which always springs from the careless heart of a Frenchman as soon as
he is free from labour or pain. There is no medium with him; merriment
or melancholy, and as much of the first with as little of the last as
Heaven chooses to send.

At the bottom of one of the streets was a low Gothic archway, with a
swinging door, which we saw move backwards and forwards to admit
several persons of a more serious demeanour than the rest. After
considering whether it was love or religion made them look so grave,
we concluded that it was the latter, and determined to attempt, in
person, the adventure of the swinging door, which soon admitted us
into a long high aisle. All was darkness except, where, at the further
extremity, appeared an illuminated shrine, from which sundry rays
found their way down the far obscurity of the church, catching, more
and more faintly, as they came upon the tall columns and the groins of
the arches, and throwing out the dark figures of the devotees who
knelt before the altar. The side aisles and more remote parts of the
building were scarcely at all affected by the light; but passing up in
the shadow of the arches to the right, we came suddenly upon a young
couple engaged in earnest conversation. Probably two of the many whose
open communion is barred by the hand of circumstance, and who had
chosen that spot to tell the feelings they were forced elsewhere to
hide.

The facility which the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic religion lend
to intrigue, requires no comment. But too often the ever-open churches
on the Continent are made a place of rendezvous; frequently with
thoughts which such a sacred spot should scare, but often also for
more pardonable purposes.

I remember a circumstance of the kind which happened under my own
eyes; but ere I begin to tell it or any other story, let me premise
that, as most of my tales are true tales, and as many of the people
who figure in them are still acting their part upon life's busy stage,
I must bargain for one concealment throughout, and take care not to
give the name of the particular person who played this or that part on
this or that occasion. Indeed, most frequently, I shall not even put
down, with any degree of accuracy, the name of the town or place in
which the various events occurred, for this very simple reason; that,
making no pretensions to novelty or invention, and all that I relate
being simple matter of fact, well known in the place where it
occurred, the anecdotes I relate would be easily attached to those who
were the principal actors therein.

Under this discreet view of the case, then, the distinctive
appellation of the town, city, or burgh, in which the following
circumstances occurred, shall be as tightly sealed up in silent
secrecy as a bottle of Hervey's sauce, Ball's patent mustard, or any
other savoury thing which it is difficult to open. However, though I
do not give the name, I may at least give the description, which,
indeed, is necessary to the right understanding of my story.

In a part of France, not a hundred miles from the fine port of St.
Malo, stands a town containing some eight thousand inhabitants;
anciently a fortified place of considerable strength. It is pitched on
the pinnacle of a high hill, with its antique battlements, covered
with time's livery, the green ivy and the yellow lichen, still
frowning over the peaceful valleys around, and crowning the rocky
ridge which confines the river Rance. That valley of the Rance is as
lovely as any in Europe; now spreading out for miles, it offers a wide
basin for the river, which, extending in proportion; looks like a
broad lake; now contracting to a narrow gorge, it confines the stream
between gigantic rocks that rise abruptly from its edge, and sombre
woods that dip their very branches in its waters. But it is where the
town, which I have just mentioned, first bursts upon the sight, that
the scenery is peculiarly picturesque. Winding through a deep defile
of rocks, which cut off the neighbouring view and throw a dark shadow
over the river, the stream suddenly turns a projecting point of its
shores, and a landscape of unequalled beauty opens on the sight. Rich
wooded valleys, with soft green slopy sides, broken with crags, and
diversified with hamlets, are seen diverging in every direction, with
the Rance winding forward in the midst of them; while high in air,
lording it over all around, rises the stately rock on which the town
is placed, with wall and battlement and tower hanging over its extreme
verge. In front, and apparently immediately under the town, though in
reality at about two miles distant from it, lies a high craggy piece
of ground, which the water would completely encircle were it not for a
narrow sort of isthmus which joins it to its parent chain of hills.
This is called the _Courbúre_, from the turn which the river makes
round it; and I notice it more particularly from being the exact scene
of my story's catastrophe.

In the town which I have above described, lived, sometime ago, a very
pretty girl, whom I shall designate by the name of Laure. Her mother
was well to do in the world; that is to say, as things go in Brittany,
where people can live splendidly for nothing at all, and do very well
for half as much. However, _Madame_ could always have her _pot au feu_
and her _poulet à la broche_, kept two nice country lasses, one as
cook and the other as _fille de chamber_, and had once a-year the new
fashions from Paris to demonstrate her gentility. Laure's father, too,
had left the young lady a little property of her own, amounting to
about eighty pounds per annum; so that, being both a fortune and a
belle, all the youth of the place, according to the old Scotch song,
were

               Wooing at her,
               Pu'ing at her,
               Wanting her but could nae get her.

However, there was something about Laure which some called pride, and
others coldness; but which, in truth, was nothing more nor less than
shyness, that served for some time as a complete safeguard to her
maiden heart. At length the angel, who arranges all those sort of
things, singled out a young man at Rennes, called Charles ---- and
gave him a kick with his foot, which sent him all the way from Rennes
to the town in which Laure abode. It is but thirty miles, and angels
can kick much farther, if we may believe the Normans. (I cannot stop
for it now; but some other time, when the reader is in the mood, I may
relate that Breton story of Saint Michael and the Fiend, and you shall
hear how the saint kicked him from hill to hill for forty leagues or
more.)

However, Charles's aunt lived not far from Laure's mother, and many a
time had she vaunted the graces of her nephew's person. According to
her account he was as tall and as straight as a gas-lamp-post, as rosy
as a Ribston pippin; with eyes as brilliant as a red-hot poker, teeth
as white as the inside of a turnip, and his hair curling like the
leaves of a Savoy cabbage; in short, he was an Adonis, after her idea
of the thing: and Laure, having heard all this, began to feel a sort
of anxious palpitating sort of sensation when his coming was talked
of, together with sundry other symptoms of wishing very much to fall
in love.

At length his arrival was announced, and Madame ---- and Mademoiselle
Laure were invited to a _soirée_ at the house of Charles's aunt. Laure
got ready in a very great hurry, resolving, _primo_, to be frightened
out of her wits at him; and, _secondo_, not to speak a word to him.
However, the time came, and when she got into the room, she found
Monsieur Charles quite as handsome as his aunt had represented: but,
to her great surprise, she found him to be quite as timid as herself
into the bargain. So Laure took courage upon the strength of his
bashfulness; for though it might be very well for _one_, she saw
plainly it would never do for _two_. The evening passed off gaily, and
Laure, as she had determined from the first, went away over head and
ears in love, and left the poor young man in quite as uncomfortable a
condition.

I need not conduct the reader through all the turnings and windings of
their passion. Suffice it to say, that both being very active, and
loving each other very hard, they had got on so far in six weeks, that
their friends judged it would be necessary to marry them. Upon this
Laure's mother and Charles's aunt met in form to discuss
preliminaries. They began a few compliments, went on to arrange the
money matters, proceeded to differ upon some trivial points, grew a
little warm upon the subject, turned up their noses at each other,
quarrelled like Turks, and abused each other like pickpockets.
Charles's aunt called Laure's mother an old cat, or something
equivalent! and Laure's mother vowed that Charles should never have
her daughter, "she'd be hanged if he should!"

The two young people were in despair. Laure received a maternal
injunction never to speak to that vile young man again: together with
a threat of being locked up if she were restive. However, the Sunday
after Pâques, Laure's mother was laid up with a bad cold, and from
what cause does not appear, but Laure never felt so devout as on that
particular day. She would not have staid away from mass for all the
world. So to church she went, when, to her surprise and astonishment,
she beheld Charles standing in the little chapel of the left aisle.
"Laure," said he, as soon as he saw her, "ma chère Laure, let us get
out of the town by the back street, and take a walk in the fields."

Laure felt a good deal too much agitated to say her prayers properly,
and, looking about the church, she perceived that, as she had come
half an hour before the time, there was nobody there, so slipping her
arm through that of her lover, she tripped nimbly along with him down
the back street, under the Gothic arch and high towers of the old town
gate, and in five minutes was walking with him in the fields
unobserved.

Now what a long sad pastoral dialogue could one produce between
Laure and Charles as they walked along, setting forth, in the language
of Florian, and almost in the language of Estelle, the poetical
sorrows of disappointed love. It would be too long, however; and the
summary of the matter is, that they determined that they were very
unhappy--the most miserable people in existence--now that they were
separated from each other, there was nothing left in life worth living
for. So Laure began to cry, and Charles vowed he would drown himself.
Laure thought it was a very good idea, and declared that she would
drown herself too. For she had been reading all Saturday a German
romance, which taught such things; and she thought what a delightful
tale it would make, if she and Charles drowned themselves together;
and how all the young ladies would cry when they read it, and what a
pretty tomb they would have, with "Ci gissent Charles et Laure, deux
amans malheureux!" written upon it in large black letters; and, in
short, she arranged it all so comfortably in her own mind, that she
resolved she would not wait a minute.

As ill luck would have it, they had just arrived at that rocky point
which I have before described, called the _Courbúre_, when Charles and
Laure had worked each other up to the necessary pitch of excitement
and despair. The water was before them, and the only question was, who
should jump in first, for the little landing-place from which they
were to leap would hold but one at a time. Charles declared that he
would set the example. Laure vowed it should be no one but herself:
Charles insisted, but Laure, being nearest the water, gained the
contested point and plunged over.

At that moment the thought of what he was going to do came over
Charles's mind with a sad qualm of conscience, and he paused for an
instant on the brink. But what could he do? He could not stand by and
see the girl he loved drowned before his face, like an intruding rat
or a supernumerary kitten. Forbid it heaven! Forbid it love! So in he
went too--not at all with the intention of drowning himself, but with
that of bringing Laure out; and, being a tolerable swimmer he got hold
of her in a minute.

By this time Laure had discovered that drowning was both cold and wet,
and by no means so agreeable as she had anticipated, so that when
Charles approached, she caught such a firm hold of him as to deprive
him of the power of saving her. It is probable that under these
circumstances, her very decided efforts to demonstrate her change of
opinion might have effected her original intention, and drowned them
both, had not a boat come round the _Courbure_ at that very moment.
The boatman soon extricated them from their danger, and carried them
both hone, exhausted and dripping, to the house of Laure's mother. At
first the good lady was terrified out of her wits, and then furiously
angry; but ended, however, by declaring, that if ever they drowned
themselves again, it should not be for love, and so she married them
out of hand.



                     THE CHÂTEAU.

   A naked subject to the weeping clouds,
   And waste for churlish Winter's tyranny.
               --King Henry IV. _Second Part_.


We intended to proceed on our journey the following morning, but our
valet-de-place, who had a longing for more five-franc pieces, put in
the claims of the old château of Arques, and we went to visit it next
day.

I am fond of ruins and old buildings in general, not alone for their
picturesque beauty, but for the various trains of thought they excite
in the mind. Every ruin has its thousand histories; and could the
walls but speak, what tales would they not tell of those antique times
to which age has given an airy interest, like the misty softness with
which distance robes every far object.

No one ought to pass by Dieppe, without visiting the old castle and
town of Arques. It is but a short ride, and the road is far from
uninteresting. The fields are rich, highly cultivated, and decked with
a thousand flowers, and at some distance before reaching Arques, the
ruin is seen on the height above, standing in the solitary pride of
desolation.

A ruin ought always to be separate from other buildings. Its beauties
are not those which gain by contrast. The proximity of human
habitations takes from its grandeur. It seems as if it leant on them
for support in its age. But when it stands by itself in silence and in
solitude, there is a dignity in its loneliness, and a majesty even in
its decay.

Passing through Arques, the château is at some distance, on the height
which domineers the town. The hand of man has injured it more than
that of time. Many of the peasants' houses are built of the stone
which once formed its walls; and the government has, on more than one
occasion, sanctioned this gradual sort of destruction.

What remains of it has, I believe, been either sold or granted to some
one in the town: but, however, a gate has been placed, and some other
precautions taken to prevent its further dilapidation.

A pale interesting boy, with large blue Norman eyes, brought the keys
and admitted us within the outer walls; but a weak castellan for those
gates which once resisted armies! for in truth he could scarcely push
them open. A few more years, and the château d'Arques will be nothing.
It, is, however, still an interesting sight, and so many remembrances
hang by it, that one is forced to dream. Memory is like the ivy which
clothes the old ruin with a verdure not its own.

The county of Talou, of which Arques was the capital, was given by
William the Conqueror to his uncle, in order to attach him more
sincerely to the crown, but the gift had not that effect. Revolt
against his benefactor was the first project that entered into his
head, and he built the castle of Arques, in order to fortify himself
in his new possessions. There he for some time resisted the forces of
the king, and yielded not until his troops were little better than
skeletons with hunger and fatigue.

William revenged himself by clemency, and again loaded his ungrateful
uncle with favours, wishing, as his historians say, rather to attach
him by benefits, than to pursue him as a rebel.

It was here also that the faithful Helie de Saint Saen resisted the
endeavours of Henry I. to carry off the young heir of Normandy, and
from hence he fled with his protégé, demanding from the neighbouring
powers assistance for the child of his dead benefactor.

During the various wars of England and France, sieges and battles
innumerable passed by the château d'Arques, like waves beating against
a rock. But the last most splendid deed it looked on before its ruin,
was the defeat of the armies of the Ligue by Henry IV. of France, the
last chevalier. In the life, in the words, in the actions, even in the
faults of Henry IV., there is the grand generosity of a bright and
ardent spirit, that mingling of great and amiable qualities which
excites interest as well as admiration.

The Ligueurs were ten to one, but; as he said, he had God and his good
right, and he conquered. The same free spirit that bore him through
the battle dictated the manner in which he announced it to his friend
in the well-known words: "Pends toi, brave Crillon, nous avons
combattu à Arques; et tu n'y étais pas!" Had he written pages he could
not have expressed half so much!

One of those same happy speeches of Henry IV. would appear to have
been dexterously borrowed by an Italian poet. In those days of peril,
when no regal distance could exist between the king and his subjects,
Bassompierre's bed lay next to that of the monarch, and Aubigny's next
to him--and both fancied that Henry slept. "Our master is ungrateful,"
said Bassompierre; "he casts all good things at the feet of the
Ligueurs, and we, who have served him with our fortunes and our blood,
are in absolute want."

"What say ye, there?" cried the king. "Do you not know that I am
obliged to _buy_ these Ligueurs? but you are my own."

"Pardon, pardon, Sire!" exclaimed Bassompierre, alarmed for the
effects of his indiscretion.

"Parle donc! parle donc!" replied Henry. "Le roi dort, c'est un ami
qui t'écoute."

Very nearly the same idea is expressed by Metastasio, in the Clemenza
di Tito--

     _Tito_--          Odimi! O Sesto!
          Siam soli i. Il tuo Sovrano,
          Non è presente. Apri il tuo core a Tito,
          Confedati all' amico. Io ti prometto,
          Che Augusto nol saprâ.

It is possible, however, that Metastasio never thought of Henry IV.
when he made Titus speak thus; add, even if he did, the idea was well
adapted, for both in the character of Henry and that of Sully, there
is an antique simplicity which seems essential to grandeur of mind. I
know not how it is, but one naturally looks upon Sully as a Roman. He
too fought at Arques by the side of his master; and it is impossible
to gaze over the plain without feeling that it is a place where great
deeds might be well performed.

From the edge of the hill, about a hundred yards from the château, is
seen the whole field of battle. It is a beautiful scene, with the wide
plain, below, and the river meandering through it; the heights of St.
Étienne, beyond, and the valley narrowing towards Dieppe. On the other
hand rises a high woody hill, with a road winding down to the town,
and the ruins of the castle standing solitary in the midst.

It was at a beautiful time, too, that I saw it. One of those bright
autumn days when the clouds, and the sunshine, and the blue sky seem
all interwoven together. A heavy black storm came sweeping upon the
wind, and for a minute or two involved every thing in mist and in
darkness, and then passed away, leaving behind a rich rainbow, and
nature more beautiful for her tears, and the sun shining out on the
gray ruin, seeming to smile at the decay of man's fabrics, while the
works of Heaven remain unchanged and ever new.



                             LA GALETTE.

Hunger, that most domineering of all tyrants, took advantage of our
ramble to bully us sadly; and though we had not neglected to satisfy
his morning demands, before we set out from Dieppe, he contrived to
force us into a dirty little cottage at Arques, which the people
called "l'Auberge!" It was the strangest combination of kitchen, and
pig-sty, and hen-roost, that ever I saw.

Cooking and cackling and grunting were all going on at once when we
arrived, and some of the joint produce was offered for our luncheon,
in form of a dish of eggs and onions, swimming together in lard. The
people of the house seemed to consider this mess as the acme of
cookery; but in spite of sundry epithets bestowed upon it, such as
_charmant_, _délicieux_, etc., we had bad taste enough to prefer some
plain boiled eggs, whose friendly shells had kept them from all
contamination.

I suppose that particular dishes become as it were national property,
because they are so nasty that no one can eat them, except those who
are brought up to it; but certainly when our mouths have been seasoned
to any of these national messes in our youth, every thing else seems
flat, stale, and unprofitable. They are so intimately combined with
all our early recollections, that, in after years, they form no small
link in that bright chain of memory which binds our affection so
strongly to the days of our infancy.

It is all very bathotic and gross, I know; but, nevertheless, salt
salmon and peas to a Fleming, gruyere to a Swiss, or barley broth and
oatmeal porridge to a Scot, will do more to call up old and sweet
remembrances of home and happiness, and early days, than the most
elaborate description. But all this is nothing to the power which a
_galette_ has morally and physically upon a native of Brittany.

I do not mean to speak any thing profanely, but had Eve been a
Bretonne, Satan might have offered her an apple to all eternity. She
would not have said _thank you_ for it. Nay, had it been a whole
apple-pie, she would but have turned up her nose, and we might all
have been in Paradise up to this present one thousand eight hundred
and twenty-seven. He might have prated about knowledge too, as long as
he liked; it would not have made any difference, for the Bretonnes
have seen no bluestockings since Madame de Sévigné's time, and I never
could find ten of them that knew the difference between London and
Pekin, or that wished to know it. But if the tempter had offered her a
_galette_, good bye Paradise! She could never have withstood it. She
would but have bargained for a little milk, and a piece of butter, and
gone out as quietly as my fire is doing at this moment.

But it may be necessary to explain what sort of a thing a _galette_
is; the receipt is as follows:

Take a pint of milk or a pint of water, as the case may be, put it
into a dirty earthen pan, which has never been washed out since it was
made; add a handful of oatmeal, and stir the whole round with your
hand, pouring in meal till it be of the consistency of hog-wash. Let
the mess stand till next morning, then pour it out as you would do a
pancake upon a flat plate of heated iron, called a _galettier_;
ascertain that it be not too hot, by any process you may think fit. In
Brittany they spit upon it. This, being placed over a smoky wood fire,
will produce a sort of tough cake called a _galette_, which nothing
but a Breton or an ostrich can digest.

In this consists the happiness of a Breton, and all his ideas somehow
turn upon this. If you ask a labouring man where he is going, he
answers, "Manger de la galette;" If it rains after a drought, they
tell you, "Il pleut de la galette;" and the height of hospitality is
to ask you in "pour manger de la galette."

I remember a curious exemplification of what I have said above, which
occurred to, me, during a former residence in Brittany. All orders of
monks, except that of La Trappe, having been long abolished in France,
it is very rare ever to meet with any, except when some solitary old
devotee is seen crossing the country upon a pilgrimage, and then he is
always distinguished by the "cockle hat and staff," under which
insignia he passes unquestioned; being considered _in bond_, as
mercantile folks would say. However, as I was passing one day through
Evran, I was surprised to see a regular Capuchin, walking leisurely
through the streets without any symptoms of pilgrimage about him. He
was a very reverend-looking personage, clad in his long dark robes,
with his cowl thrown back upon, his shoulders, and his high forehead
and bald head meeting the sun unshrinkingly, as an old friend whom
they had been accustomed to encounter every day for many a year. His
long beard was as white as snow, and a single lock of hair on his
forehead marking where the tonsure had ended, made him look like an
old Father Time turned Capuchin.

He was a native of Brittany, I learnt, and had quitted his convent
during the revolution; not, indeed; with any intention of breaking the
vow he had taken, or of abandoning the mode of life he had chosen: but
it was in order to seek an asylum in some foreign country for himself
and his expelled brethren. This he found in Italy, and now, after a
thirty years' absence, he had returned under a regular passport to
sojourn for a while in his own land.

The motives for such a man's return puzzled me not a little. The ties
between him, and the world were broken. Memory and early affections, I
thought, could but have small hold on him: or was it because the past
was so contrasted with the present, that it had become still dearer to
remembrance?

It was not long before I found means to introduce myself to him, and
discovered him to be both an amiable and intelligent man. After some
conversation, my curiosity soon led me to the point. "It is a long way
to travel hither from Italy, father," said I, "and on foot."

"I have made longer journeys, and for a less object," replied he.

"True," I went on, "this is your native land, and whither will not the
love of our country lead us."

The Capuchin smiled. "I did not come for that," said he.

"Probably you had relations or friends whom you remembered with
affection," I added; my curiosity more excited than ever.

"None that I know of," replied the monk.

"You think me very inquisitive," said I.

"Not in the least," he answered; "I am very willing to satisfy you."

"Then let me ask you," I continued, "if you came hither for some great
religious object."

"Alas! no, my son," he replied. "You give me credit for more zeal or
more influence than I possess."

"Yet, surely, you had some motive for coming all this way on foot,"
said I, putting it half as a question, half as an established
position.

"Oh, certainly," he replied, "I had a motive for my journey, and one
that is all-sufficient to a native of Brittany. But it was not from
any great religious or any great political motive; nor was it either
to see my country, my family, or my friends."

"Then for what, in the name of heaven, did you come?" exclaimed I.

"Pour manger de la galette," replied the monk.



        ENGLISH TRAVELLERS ON THE CONTINENT.

     C[oe]lum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.--HORACE.

It was late ere we returned to Dieppe, and we were sauntering quietly
up stairs towards our own apartments, when a waiter, carrying in a
portion of the evening meal to some guests in the public room, showed
just sufficient of the well-lighted _salon_, to tempt us in. On
entering we learned that the table d'hôte supper was over, but we
found seated at the hospitable board of Monsieur Petit, who never
suffered any one to go away empty who was inclined to eat, an English
traveller, who, like ourselves, had arrived too late. A man who wishes
to make any thing of travelling ought to put all his prejudices in the
lumber-room before he sets out, and if he finds them musty when he
comes back, so much the better. On the road they are the most
inconvenient part of his baggage, never useful, and always in the way.
There are few people who adhere to their prejudices more strongly than
the English. We are insular in more than geographical situation, and
amongst the multitude of our countrymen, with the multitude of their
feelings, character, and pursuits, one out of a thousand is not to be
met with on the continent, who is not just as prejudiced as when he
set out--perhaps more so, for finding a strong confirmation of many of
his pre-conceived ideas, he takes it as a confirmation of _all_, and
intrenches himself the more firmly in his original opinions.

It may seem like heresy to say it, but, after having visited many
countries, I am still inclined to think that France in its various
parts, notwithstanding its proximity to our own country, retains more
points of interest, more of the _couleur locale_, than any other land.
But an Englishman, who travels to see France and French people, ought
always to dine at the table d'hôte, wherever he finds one. The higher
classes of all nations are too nearly alike to offer any very striking
points of difference to a casual observer, for the general principle
of all is to conceal what they feel and what they think, at least in
public; but the mixture of a table d'hôte affords almost always
something worth studying. It is in such circumstances that we find the
most legible pages in the book of human nature. The classes of
Englishmen travelling in France are somewhat altered since Sterne's
time. The economical traveller is not so simple as he was then: there
are also travellers who go for luxury; there are travellers for
novelty; there are travellers for information; and there are
travellers who journey forth into the world from the mere necessity of
locomotion. These last are very numerous amongst the English. One of
this class, finding the disease coming on violently, builds himself a
low carriage, with very substantial wheels, and plenty of room for his
feet. He furnishes it with all the peculiar luxuries of London, strews
the left-hand seat with novels, and, placing himself in the interior,
with his servant behind, draws up the windows, and fancies he is
travelling through Europe. The profound meditations which he enjoys in
the inside of his painted box are seldom if ever interrupted, except
when the carriage stops, and he asks, "John, where am I?" The servant
holds open the door, touches his hat, and replies, "At Rome, sir!" and
the traveller, yawning, walks into the inn.

There are several varieties of this class merging into others. One
morning a party of them came into the aisle, when I was in the
cathedral at Rouen (a very beautiful specimen of Gothic building, let
criticism say what it will). The only attention they gave it was one
vacant stare, which wandered heedlessly over the rich ornaments and
the most magnificent combination of arches that architecture can
produce--swore it was _fine_, _very fine_, and walked out. I asked the
valet-de-place who accompanied us, how long English travellers staid
in general, when they visited the cathedral. He said, "About five
minutes; but if they staid longer at all, they generally made it
nearly as long as we had been."

I am not particularly given to cathedral hunting, nor am I fond of
what Forsyth calls "picking the bare bone of antiquity," but when I
meet with any thing either beautiful in itself, or which awakens in my
mind a pleasing train of ideas, I am apt to give it more than five
minutes.

At ---- I met with another traveller, still more decidedly locomotive.
He was a very gentlemanly young man, and I think might have been
something better, but habit had given his mind a sad twist. I asked
him what he thought of the Pyrenees, from whence he had just arrived.
He replied that "the roads were very fine;" he had gone nine miles an
hour up and down hill. I inquired if he had been at Bagnères de
Luchon. "Oh, yes," answered he, "I rode there from Bagnères de Bigorre
in six hours." Such seemed to have been the amount of his observations
on one of the most beautiful countries of Europe. He was travelling
against time.

Many who travel for health, without the command of a very large
fortune, lose, I am convinced, as much by the want of those comforts
they are accustomed to at home, as they gain by change of air.
However, I am equally certain that the mind has far greater power over
the body than we generally imagine; and that the mere rapid change of
scene and incident acts as powerfully as any medicine in the
Pharmacop[oe]ia.

Those who come abroad for economy may certainly now find it either in
France or Germany. In almost all parts of Italy they will find
themselves deceived. There is one thing, however, to be observed,
which is, that English people on the continent do not save by the
cheapness of the country only, but they economize by living as
foreigners do.

There is another class of travellers who come abroad to procure
greater luxuries than they can in England on the same income. I should
be sorry to censure a large portion of my countrymen, but I think that
those are scarcely excusable, who have neither curiosity nor desire of
information, nor limited means, nor ill-health to plead, but who, with
sufficient to maintain their rank in society at home, habitually spend
their fortune in a foreign country. Their virtue at all events is not
patriotism.



                         DIEPPE--THE EVENING.

          Certes he was a most engaging wight,
          Of social glee and wit humane tho' keen,
          Turning the night to day and day to night.
                                CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.



The traveller we met at Dieppe could be included in none of the
classes I have just mentioned. He was a young officer of artillery
returning from the Ionian Isles. He had travelled much in Italy and
Greece, had a great deal of information, was willing to communicate
it, and communicated it well.

I feel myself under a debt to every one who gives me an agreeable
half-hour; and certainly the evening we spent in his society left a
very pleasant impression behind it. For the first few days after we
have quitted our native land, we feel a certain degree of loneliness,
which makes us creep closer to any stray countryman we may happen to
meet, than our national reserve would permit us to do under any other
circumstance. On our part, therefore, there was no backwardness, and
our young officer had been travelling so long, that I dare say he
never remembered what the word _stranger_ meant. In a foreign country,
knowing no one, we were thrown upon each other for amusement, and we
were not long in finding it. Each told his anecdote and his tale. We
peopled the little salon at Dieppe with characters from every quarter
of the globe. We forgot the place, and the time, and more than one
hour had waned after midnight before we retired to rest.

Much of what passed is gone from my recollection, but, amongst other
questions, I remember asking what was the state of a college which had
been founded in a distant country, by a noble countryman of ours?

"The matter," replied he, "is rather oddly ordered at present, for you
must know that, when I saw it, there were eleven professors and three
scholars; but the most singular part of the whole is, that the
professor of theology is a reputed atheist, and the professor of
languages stutters so as to be unintelligible in any. We went from
anecdotes to tales, and one which he said he had heard while crossing
the country from Marseilles towards ---- made an impression on my mind
that will not easily be effaced. He called it"



                  THE STORY OF THE BEAUTY OF ARLES.

          Ah chi mi taglie la mia pace antica,
          E Amore? Io nol distinguo, Alcun mel' dica.
                                        --METASTASIO.


With a frame of iron, a strong fixed mind, and a dauntless determined
spirit, Armand Villars went forth into the world, seemingly well
calculated to sustain its sorrows, and to repel its dangers. There was
a likeness in his mind and person; the beauty of his countenance was
of that stern grave cast which suited his character, and his form was
of the same powerful nature as his spirit.

In youth he was unlike the rest. It was not that his mind was
brighter, but it was that it never bent: and the very energy of his
calmness gave him command amongst his companions, if companions they
may be called, for there is little companionship where there is no
similarity. Yet still they courted him to be amongst them, and might
have taught him to fancy himself above the common level of his kind,
but Villars was proud, not vain. A vain man acts for others, a proud
man for himself. And Villars thought of his own opinion, scarcely
dreaming that others would judge of him at all.

It was remarked of him, even as a boy, that his passions were
difficult to move; but that, like a rock hanging on a mountain's brow,
their tranquillity once disturbed, they carried all before them in
their course; and years, as they passed over his head, by teaching him
greater endurance, rendered his anger, when excited, but the more
dangerous. It was not like the quick flash of the lightning, hasty and
vehement, but as short-lived as it is bright; but it was that calm,
considerate, sweeping vengeance, which, like the snow that gathers
silently on the edge of the precipice, descends to overwhelm all that
is beneath.

He was unrelenting too, for he never dreamed that mercy might be
combined with justice. He would never have pleaded for himself, and he
could not be expected to feel for others.

His youth passed away as the flowing of some undiscovered river, whose
strange waters are never fretted by the barks of far-exploring man. He
knew nothing of any world but the world of his own mind; and his only
commune was with his own feelings, which were as things apart.

And yet there was a bitterness in standing thus alone. There was a
pain even in, the solitude of his own thoughts: and he strove to
assimilate them to something which at least _had been_. He was fond to
pore over the records of ancient virtue, and the history of those firm
inflexible beings, who rooted out from their bosom all the soft
verdure of the heart's kinder feelings, and raised in its place a cold
shrine to unrelenting justice. Here only he seemed to have
imagination: and here would he ponder and dream, till he wondered that
such a state of things did not still exist. He would fain have thought
that virtues like these contained within themselves the principles of
immortality.

He forgot that historians, even when they do not augment the worth of
what they relate, to render it the more worthy of relation, do not
seek to commemorate what is petty. So that the _few great actions_
alone are recorded, while the multitude of meannesses are forgotten.
Like the fabled eagle, that is fond to gaze upon the sun, he fixed his
eyes alone on what was bright. He would ask himself, Why might not
France produce a Brutus or a Cato? Was the soul of man degenerate? Had
it lost that power which sustained it in the inspiring days of ancient
glory? No! He felt the same spirit stirring within _his_ bosom, and he
resolved that he, at least, would live a Roman.

Such were the aspirations of his youth; but they were mixed with
little of that wild warm glow which animates the enthusiast. His
feelings, like the waters of a deep mountain-lake, were calm and cold,
though they were clear and profound. When he did feel, he felt
strongly; but the lighter things of the world passed him by as if they
had not been.

In the same old ill-fashioned town of Arles, which gave birth to
Armand Villars, lived another youth, somewhat elder in point of years,
but far younger in character. We will call him Durand. He was one out
of the many--a gay, brave, thoughtless boy, with a touch of pride, a
good deal of vanity, and an infinity of good-nature. He was one of
those pieces of unmoulded clay, which the world forms and hardens. He
might have been any thing; but in that same school of the world, he
that at first may be any thing generally, at last, learns to be bad. I
have said he was thoughtless; but he was by no means without talents,
and those which he had were suited to his character. He was
penetrating, but not profound; he was active but not industrious; he
had more quickness than wit; more imagination than judgment.

As we generally over-estimate that which we do not possess, we are
inclined to admire qualities opposite to our own. Durand had early
fallen into society with Armand Villars. Habit did much to unite them,
but the very difference of their minds did more; and dissimilar tastes
often led them to the same pursuits.

They would wander together through all the remains of antiquity, with
which the neighbourhood of Arles is enriched. Sometimes they would
linger for hours in the _Champs Élysées_, poring over the tombs and
sarcophagi: sometimes they would, stray near St. Jean, along the banks
of the Rhone, trying to trace out the ancient palace of Constantine;
and sometimes they would stand and gaze upon the river itself, and
almost worship it, as it rolled on in proud magnificence towards the
ocean.

But still the objects which led them, and the combinations produced in
the mind Of each, were very very different. Durand did not look upon
the Rhone merely as an object of picturesque beauty. He loved it as a
mountaineer loves his mountains: he loved it with that instinctive
affection which we feel towards all objects associated with the
earlier and brighter hours of our existence, connected with the first
expansion of our feelings, and commingled with all our youngest ideas.
The grand and the great, in nature, are always matter for remembrance.
They are the landmarks in the waste of years, that guide our memory
back to every thing that is pleasing in the past.

The scene where it happened is still intimately mixed with every
circumstance of happiness, and we love the spot, even when the
pleasure has passed away. The Rhone was the grandest object connected
with any of his infant recollections, and as such he loved it, without
any further combination, or any endeavour to know why.

Villars would not have been satisfied to feel, without knowing why he
felt. The Rhone was nothing to him, without its name in history; but
it recalled to him the days of Cæsar, and every struggle the ancient
Gauls made for the independence of their country: and there was a
feeling of pride mixed with the remembrance, which seemed, in a
degree, to transfer itself to the object that excited it; and he
became almost proud of the Rhone, because he admired the deeds which
its banks had witnessed.

It is a country fertile in ruins. It seems as if time had taken a
barbarous pleasure in leaving there the wreck of mighty works as
trophies of his all-destroying power; and in wandering amidst them,
Durand would mark the elegance of the capital, or the fair proportion
of the architrave which had once adorned some palace or some temple,
whose lord and his parasites, whose idol and its worshippers, had long
been forgotten in the silence of things that are no more; and he would
point out the beauties to his companion who, for his part, would carry
his thoughts back to the days of Rome; to the mind, whose energy had
conceived, and to the men, whose labour had perfected, those giant
fabrics that shame the pigmy efforts of our later times; and while
Durand would laughingly contend, that the Romans were neither braver;
wiser, nor better than the race of modern men, Villars would exclaim
against the degeneracy of mankind, and grieve that he had not lived in
those days of glory and of liberty.

They were at that period of life when passion is strongest, and
imagination most vivid, and when judgment; like a young monarch,
forgets his painful duties and leaves his throne vacant, while he
wanders amongst the pleasures and diversions of his new estate. They
were at this period of life, when the revolution began to throw a new
and too strong light upon the world. In the enthusiasm of republican
spirit, the revival of ancient institutions, and all the brilliant
fantasies which rapidly succeeded each other, many of the wisest and
the best got bewildered; nor was Durand one of the last to adore this
phantasmagoria of antique forms. _His course_ is soon told. He quitted
his native city; but before he went he embraced Villars with all the
ardour of his new sect. He called him "_citizen_" and "_brother_," he
vowed that their friendship should be everlasting.

He joined the army formed for the defence of the republic. His
talents, his daring courage, and some of those accidental
circumstances of fortune which decide not only the fate of men but of
empires, combined to raise him above his compeers. His mind readily
embraced every thing that was brilliant. He was naturally witty, and
shrewdly perceiving that a jest would often pass where a reason would
not, he raised up for himself a sort of philosophy which taught him to
laugh at every thing, good or bad, and with this he passed safely and
honourably through all the vicissitudes of a changing state, and found
himself in the end even as he could have wished to have been--selfish,
heartless, rich, respected, and in power.

The life of Armand Villars was different. For a while he looked upon
the grand scene which was playing before him, and rejoiced at the
revival of ancient virtues--for he hoped that it was so--but yet there
was something in it that he distrusted. He looked for the great
independence of soul, the generous self-devotion, the steady purpose
of right, and the stern patriotism which sacrificed all private
feeling to public good. He looked for Roman laws and Roman spirit, and
he found but a wild chaos of idle names, and an empty mockery of
ancient institutions; and, unwilling to yield the favourite illusion,
he turned his eyes away.

It was then that every Frenchman was called to bleed for his country,
and Villars willingly quitted the ungrateful scenes that were passing
in France, to place himself in the ranks of her defenders. In the
field as in the city, the same calm firm spirit still animated him. He
fought as if life had for him no charms, nor death any terrors. But it
was not the courage of romance. There was none of the headlong ardour
of enthusiasm; there was none of the daring of thoughtless temerity;
there was none of the reckless valour of despair. There was in his
bosom alone the one fixed remembrance that he was doing his duty--that
he was fighting for his country--together with that calm reasoning
courage which knows danger and despises it.

He rose in command, but he rose slowly, and it was not till late in
the campaign of Italy that he attained the rank of colonel. Italy was
a land which had long been the theme of his thoughts. He was now
there, amongst the ruins of that stupendous fabric, the record of
whose ancient glory had been his admiration and delight. He was on the
spot where Romans had dwelt, and he fought where Romans had bled; and
if any thing like ardour ever entered into his nature, it was then.
The habits, too, of his boyish days seemed here to resume their
empire. He would wander, as he had done in youth, among the wreck of
ages past, and indulge in long and deep meditations in the midst of
empty palaces and neglected fanes. He would re-people them with the
generations gone, and conjure up the great and wise of other days. The
first and second Brutus seemed to rise before him--the men who had
expelled a Tarquin, and had slain a Cæsar--he that had sacrificed his
children, and he that had sacrificed his friend to his country.
Virginius, too, and his daughter; and Manlius, and, in short, all the
train of those whose deeds gave a splendour to the times in which they
lived, and whose names history has for ever consecrated.

Italy teems with recollections of every kind: for courage, and wisdom,
and power, and arts and sciences, and beauty, and music, and
desolation, have all in turn made it their favourite dwelling-place;
and though the train of thought which Villars followed was but of one
description, there was matter enough for that; and he might have
indulged it for ever, but that the more busy and Warlike occupation of
the present gave him but little time to ponder over the past. Another
fate too awaited him--a fate which he little dreamt of.

In a skirmish, which took place near Bologna, he was severely wounded,
and carried to the house of an old Bolognese lady, whose rank was
rather at variance with her fortune. For though she prized illustrious
birth, as the purest and most permanent species of wealth, and perhaps
valued it the more, inasmuch as it was the only sort of riches that
remained to her, she nevertheless found it very difficult to make this
refined treasure supply the place of that coarser material, gold; at
least in the opinion of others, who obstinately continued to think,
that rank must have fortune to support its pretensions, or else it is
worse than nothing.

It is supposed, that sometimes their pertinacity almost persuaded her
of this also: but as the old countess had not the one, she endeavoured
to make the other do: and like a poor man, ostentatious of his last
guinea, she contrived to render every one well aware of her rank and
family. However, she was a kind-hearted woman, and though she would
talk of her cousin the prince, and her nephew the duke, the poor and
the sick would always share of what little she had, and when she had
nothing else she would give them a tear.

She received the wounded soldier with all the kindness of her nature.
It mattered not to her of what party or of what country he was. She
was happy enough to have no politics, and as to country, the sick were
always of her own. She received Colonel Villars, therefore, as her
son--she nursed him herself--she did more, she made her daughter nurse
him: and it never seemed to enter into the head of Beatrice, or her
mother, or Villars, that there could be any thing dangerous in it to
either. Yet Villars was handsome, strikingly handsome, and Beatrice
was an Italian beauty, dark, and soft, and graceful; and it was not
long before the touch of her small hand, as she fastened the bandages
on his arm, made a thrill pass through the soldier's breast, which he
did not understand. He fancied that Beatrice must have touched his
wound, and yet her fingers went so softly, that they seemed to tremble
lest they should press it too roughly. Still Villars attributed the
strange thrill that passed across his bosom to that cause. "Or else
what could it be?" he would ask himself. And yet by some odd
perversion of reasoning, Villars always preferred that Beatrice should
fasten the bandages, rather than her mother; although the old countess
went so dexterously to work, that she produced no thrill at all.

Such were his feelings. Now this was the first time that Villars had
ever been tended by female hands. But though this was not the first
time that Beatrice had given her aid to the wounded--for a long war
and its consequent miseries, bringing many calls upon their kindness,
and their hearts being naturally benevolent towards all mankind, the
two ladies had learnt to act almost the part of dames of romance,
and unblushing to assist to their utmost all those who needed
it--though this, I say, was not the first time that Beatrice had lent
her aid to the wounded, it was the first time that she had ever felt
that anxiety for any one, which she now experienced towards Villars.
The loss of blood had weakened him much. His heart was all the softer
for it, and his manner more gentle; and Beatrice began to feel pity,
and admiration, and love; especially when she perceived that the being
so cold and stern to all others was softened towards her. But it went
on in silence in her heart, and in that of Villars, till the assurance
gradually crept upon him that he loved: and he wondered at his
weakness, and then he asked himself, "was it possible that his
affection could be returned?" and sometimes he would hope, and
sometimes he would doubt, till his feelings became too painful for
endurance; and he resolved that he would conquer the passion which
unmanned him, and fly for ever from the object that excited it.

Women are taught to keep their affection, like a rare gem, hidden from
all eyes in the casket of their heart; and it is not till, by some
mishap, the key is lost or stolen, that man finds out what a treasure
there is within. Beatrice heard Villars name the day of his departure
without an apparent emotion. She saw that day approach, too, as calmly
as she had heard it appointed. It is true, that her cheek grew a
little paler, and that her eyes would often rest upon the ground; that
in singing her voice would tremble, and that she did not seem so fond
of music as she had been formerly. But she would laugh when any one
called her thoughtful, and assured her mother that she had never been
in better health.

Villars, as I have said, had made a firm resolution to depart; but,
like most other resolutions in this changeable world, it was not
destined to be kept. The day previous to that which he had fixed for
his departure, the mother of Beatrice was struck with apoplexy, and in
two hours after, the fair creature that he loved was an orphan, alone
in the wide world, drooping in sorrow, and clinging to him for support
in her affliction. Could he leave her? He never asked himself the
question. He stayed, and after a time Beatrice became the bride of
Armand Villars.

New feelings now began to spring up in his heart. The sweeter, gentler
associations of existence now began to cling round him, and mellow the
harshness of his character, like the green ivy twining round the
rugged bark of the oak, and softening its rude majesty. Life took a
new aspect. A brighter sun seemed to have risen over the world. He
forgot the past, and in the delight of the present found a boundless
store of anticipation for the future.

There are few whose fate has been so desolate, that one clear day has
not, at some time, shone through and brightened their existence. Oh,
it is like being in a boat upon a summer sea! Every circumstance of
joy dances round us, like the ripple of the waves in the morning sun.
Heaven seems to smile upon us like the clear blue sky, and the breath
of time wafts us gently, but swiftly, on our course, while hope points
onwards to the far faint line of the horizon, and tells us of a bright
and golden shore beyond.

And who is there, that, when all seems sunshine, would look around him
for a cloud?

Villars dreamed; but that dream of joy was soon to be broken. The tie
which linked him to social being was soon to be rent. Beatrice died,
and with her every gentler feeling of his bosom; and his heart became
their sepulchre, never to be opened again.

Villars became old in an hour. There is no such thing as time. It is
but space occupied by incident. It is the same to eternity as matter
is to infinite space--a portion out of the immense, occupied by
something within the sphere of mortal sense. We ought not to calculate
our age by the passing of years, but by the passing of feelings and
events. It is what we have done, and what we have suffered, makes us
old.

Beatrice died, and the heart of her husband became as a thing of
stone. To any other, perhaps, the daughter she had left him would have
recalled, in a tenderer manner, the joys he had lost, and re-illumined
the bright affections which her death had extinguished. There are some
persons in whose bosom the necessity of affection seems placed by
nature, never to be eradicated. But with Villars it was not so. He
cursed the weakness which had enthralled his heart, and made it either
a prey to love or sorrow; and he fortified himself against the assault
of any mortal feeling. He would do his duty strictly, fully, towards
his child; but that was all which he ever proposed to his own mind.

There was, indeed, one tribute he paid to the memory of Beatrice. She
had loved music. Her mind had been attuned to all harmony; and she had
delighted in all that was bright and sweet in every art which softens
the asperities of human existence. And Villars resolved, he scarcely
knew why, to give his daughter all her mother's accomplishments. It
was like writing her epitaph on the heart of her child. This only
seemed to show the least spark of feeling yet unextinguished in his
breast; for there was now a degree of bitterness mixed with the
original sternness of his character. He looked upon the world with
disappointed eyes, and gladly turned away from the view, for there was
nothing but a desert round about him.

France no longer needed defenders. His duty to his country was done;
and, quitting the army, he collected together his little property, and
retired to dwell near his native town of Arles.

It was more probably chance than any taste for picturesque beauty,
which directed him in the situation he chose for his future residence;
but of all the neighbourhood it was the most lovely and the most
retired. It was surrounded by wood, with the Rhone sparkling through
the trees beyond, and the remains of an antique Roman arch crowning
the hill above. The country was covered with olive-grounds and
vineyards, and scattered with small villages: but there was not for a
considerable distance round--indeed, nowhere near, except in the town
of Arles--a house of any consequence, whose proximity might have
disturbed the solitude of his retirement; and here, for fifteen years,
lived Armand Villars, secluded from a world he despised, seeking no
commune but with his own thoughts, and dividing his time between the
cultivation of his ground, solitary study, and the education of the
daughter which Beatrice had left him.

On their first arrival at their new dwelling, little Julie offered no
particular promise of beauty. Her large, wild, Italian eyes, and the
dark hair which clustered round her forehead, were all that could have
saved her from being called a very plain child. But as years passed
over her head, and she grew towards womanhood, a thousand latent
charms sprang up in her face and person. Like a homely bud that
blossoms into loveliness, her beauties expanded with time, and she
became one of the fairest of nature's works.

Beauty can scarcely be well described. I know not how it is; whether
imagination far exceeds nature, or whether remembrance is ever busy to
recall what love once decked in adventitious charms, but every one has
raised an ideal standard in his own mind, which is fairer to him than
all that painter or statuary ever portrayed. Description, therefore,
must fall far short of what Julie really was. Let all men, then, draw
from their own mind. She was lovely as imagination can conceive; and
there were few of those who, by any chance, beheld her, that were so
critical or so fastidious as to find or fancy a fault in her beauty;
and as the strangers who did see were ever sure to ask, among the
neighbouring peasantry, who she was, and to describe her by her
loveliness, she soon acquired the name of the Beauty of Arles.

It seldom happens that many perfections cluster together. If beauty be
granted, wit is often denied; and if wit and beauty unite, vanity, or
some other deteriorating quality, is generally superadded. But it is
not always so. Nature had dealt liberally to Julie of all her stores.
She might know that she was lovely, for where is the woman that is not
conscious of it; but in her solitude there was none to tell her of her
charms, and she was not vain of them. The bright wild genius, the warm
vivid imagination, that revelled in her breast, and sparkled in the
dark flashes of her eye, was guided and tempered by the softest,
gentlest, heart that ever beat within a woman's bosom. She had no
means of comparing her own mind with that others, and she did not know
that it was superior; and all the accomplishments and knowledge that
her father had taken care she should acquire appeared to her what all
human knowledge really is--but little to that which may be known.

In the mean time, the mind of Armand Villars had undergone scarce any
change; his feelings were the same; but, if at all altered, they were
only the harder and the more inflexible. If his daughter possessed his
affection, it was seldom that any trait of gentleness betrayed it;
and, as if fearful of again loving any human thing, he passed the
greater part of his time in utter solitude, from which even his child
was excluded.

Julie feared her father, but she loved him too. Her heart, like a
young plant, clung to that which it grew beside, however rugged and
unbending; and in those hours which she was allowed to spend with her
parent, she strove to win him from the sternness of his nature, and
draw from him a smile of affection or approbation; and if she
succeeded, it was a source of joy to her for many an after hour.

Her pleasures, indeed, were so few, that she was obliged to husband
them well, and even to seek new ones for herself. She lost none of
those unheeded blessings which nature scatters on the way of
ungrateful man. She had joy in every fair sight and every sweet sound.
To her the breathing of the spring air was a delight, the warbling
maze of the brook a treasure. The notes of the forest birds--nature's
own melody--was to her the sweetest concert; and, thankful for all
that a good God had given, she would long for the wings of the lark to
soar into the blue air and sing her gratitude at the gates of heaven.
She would wander for hours through the fair lonely scenes around, when
the prime of morning glittered over the earth, or when the calm
evening, like a gentle mother, seemed soothing nature to repose; and
her life passed like the waters of the broad Rhone, glittering on in
one sunshiny course amidst all that is beautiful in nature.

Thus went hour after hour, and day after day, in peaceful solitude and
undisturbed repose; ignorant of a corrupted world and all its arts,
and blessed in her ignorance. It was one bright evening in autumn,
when the world was full of luxuriance, before the grape was plucked
from its branch, or the olives began to fall, and the robe of nature,
though somewhat embrowned by the sun of many a summer's day, had not
yet lost all its verdure. Her father had shut himself up in his
solitude, and Julie wandered out towards the ruined Roman arch that
crowned the hill above their dwelling. From the height the whole
country round was exposed to her view. It was a gay scene, where all
the rich gifts of generous nature were spread out at large. The green
foliage of the vine covered all the slopes; and olive-grounds, with
their white leaves glistening in the sun, skirted the vineyards, and
sheltered the peasants' houses and villages that were thickly
scattered over the landscape, while the bright waters of the Rhone
bordered it along, and formed a glittering boundary to the very edge
of the horizon.

Julie gazed on the scene for a moment, and contemplated all its wide
luxuriance. But there was something too general in it. She knew not
why, but she turned away with a sigh, and, descending into the valley,
seated herself under some almond-trees, watching the lapse of a small
brook that wound murmuring along towards the Rhone.

She was buried in contemplation, it matters not of what, when she was
roused by quick footfall coming down the little path that led from the
hill. It was a stranger whom she had never before seen, and one that
she would have fain looked at again if it had not been for modesty's
sake, for he was a sort of being not often beheld in that nook of
earth. In the glance she had of him, when the sound of his footsteps
first called her attention, she saw that he was young and handsome.
But it was not that; there was something more. There was the grace;
the elegance, the indescribable air of the high and finished
gentleman; and Julie, as I have said, would fain, from curiosity, have
taken another look: but, however, she turned away her eyes, and fixed
them again upon the brook, as if deeply interested in the current of
its waters. The stranger passed close by her, and whether he turned to
look at her or not, matters little, but somehow it happened that
before he had got ten yards, he stopped and returned, and, pulling off
his hat with a low inclination of the head, asked her the way to
Arles.

The direction was very simple, and Julie gave it as clearly as she
could; but, nevertheless, the stranger seemed not quite to comprehend,
and lingered as if for further information. So, seeing his
embarrassment, she told him if he would come to the top of the hill,
she would show him the line of the high road, and then he could not
mistake; and accordingly she led the way, and the stranger followed:
and, as he went, he told her that he had sent forward his carriage to
Arles, intending to walk straight on, but he had been induced to quit
the high road, in order to see the beauties of the country.

It was but a few steps to the top of the hill, and could but afford
time for a conversation of five minutes; but, for some reasons which
he did not very well stop to analyze, the stranger would not have lost
them for all the world; therefore he had begun at once, and he
continued with ease, but with a diffidence of manner which showed he
was afraid of offending. He spoke rapidly, as if he feared to lose a
moment, but with that smooth eloquence which wins its way direct to
the sources of pleasure within us; and to Julie's timid and simple
replies he listened as if they contained his fate. When he spoke, in
turn, there was something in his manner perhaps too energetic, but yet
it was pleasing, and Julie attended with no small degree of admiration
and surprise; and before they had reached the top of the hill, she had
settled it in her own mind that he was a being of a superior order.

The high road lay at a little distance, and she pointed it out to him.
The stranger thanked her for the kindness she had shown him again and
again, and still he was inclined to linger; but there was no excuse
for it. Julie afforded him none, and, taking his leave, he bent his
steps towards the road. When he reached it, he turned his head to take
one more glance of the object that had so much interested him, but
Julie was no longer there.

The stranger hurried on to the town, and his first question on
reaching it was directed to ascertain who it was that he had seen.

"Oh!" cried the aubergiste, half interrupting the stranger, though
respectfully, for he had sent forward a splendid Parisian carriage,
with servants and saddle-horses, and more travelling luxuries than
visited that part of the country in a hundred years--"Oh, it must have
been Mademoiselle Villars, the beauty of Arles."--"It could be no one
less," echoed the garçon.

"Villars!" said the stranger--"Villars! It is very extraordinary!"

Now; why it was extraordinary nobody at the inn knew. But it so
happened that early the next morning the young stranger ordered his
horses to be saddled, and his groom to attend him, and setting of with
that kind of ardour which characterized all he did, galloped along the
road towards the spot where he had seen Julie the day before. He gave
a glance towards the hill. She was not there; and, turning his horse
into a road which led down towards the Rhone, he rode straight to the
dwelling of Armand Villars. It had been an old French country-seat, or
château; one of the smaller kind, indeed, but still it possessed its
long avenue of trees, its turrets with their conical slated roofs, and
a range of narrow low building in front, with small loophole windows,
through the centre of which _avant-corps_ was pierced the low dark
arch that admitted into the court-yard. The stranger contrived to make
himself heard, by striking his riding-whip several times against the
gate, which was at length opened by an old man who had long served
with Colonel Villars in Italy, and had followed him to his solitude.

"Could he see Colonel Villars?" the stranger asked. The old grenadier
glanced him over with his eye, and seemed half inclined to refuse him
admittance; but on the young stranger's breast hung several crosses,
which told of deeds done against the enemy, and the heart of the old
soldier warmed at the sight. "Colonel Villars," he said, "was not much
given to seeing strangers, but if Monsieur would ride into the court
he would ask."

The young stranger turned his horse to pass in, but his horse was not
so well inclined to go through the low dark arch as his master, and
showed symptoms of resistance. The stranger again reined him round,
and spurred him towards the gate. The beast became restive, and,
plunging furiously, endeavoured to throw his rider; but the stranger
was too good a horseman, and, angry at his obstinacy, he urged him on
with whip and spur. Unfortunately he did so. The horse plunged,
reared, and threw himself over to the ground, with his master under
him.

His own servant and the old grenadier came immediately to his
assistance, and disengaged him from his horse; but it seemed as if
their aid had been too late. The stranger was wholly insensible. At
first they thought him dead, and it was some minutes before the yet
lingering animation again made itself visible; but as soon as the old
grenadier saw it, he went into the apartment where Villars and his
daughter were, and simply told them that a young gentleman had been
thrown from his horse at the gate, and he believed he was dying.

Pity's purest dwelling is in a woman's breast. Without thinking, Julie
started up, and in a moment had flown to the assistance of the
stranger. Villars followed more slowly. It was a duty to aid a
fellow-citizen, and he proceeded to obey it.

Every man who has fallen off a horse, stunned himself, and broken his
arm, must, or at least ought to, undergo the same treatment. Let us
suppose, then, the duties of humanity paid; let us also imagine that
the stranger, in some degree recovered from his fall, had told that
his name was Charles Durand, the only son of Villars's old friend and
early companion,--and there was a softness even in the memory of those
young days which melted, in a degree, the sternness of the old
soldier. It was more so when he found that Durand, though in place and
in power, and basking in the beams of courtly favour, had not
forgotten him, and had directed his son in passing by Arles to inquire
for his former companion--and _offer him his services at court_, the
young man added, but his voice, rather faltered as he said it. It
might be that he knew the emptiness of such promises in general, or
perhaps that he was too well acquainted with his father's character,
or it might be that his hurt pained him at the moment. But however it
was, when he saw Julie standing by the couch on which he was
stretched, and attending him with the kindness of a sister, he almost
blessed the accident which had given him a title to her care.

I know not how it is, but amongst all the wild theories and dreams
that have been formed about the human heart and its passions, none
ever suited itself to my fancy so well as that--it is an eastern one,
I believe--which supposes the hearts of two persons destined to love
each other formed, by the angel whose task it is, out of the same
clay: so that in whatever regions they may be placed, and in whatever
different state of life, when they do meet, there is always a world of
undefinable sympathies between them, and affections apart from all the
rest of the earth. Perhaps it is only a few, and those by especial
favour, that the angel forms of these twin hearts; all the rest must
wander about the world without any soft companionship of feeling. Be
that as it may, from the very first moment that Charles Durand had met
Julie Villars new sensations had been born in his bosom. She was
lovely, the loveliest perhaps he had ever seen, though he had been
long accustomed to mingle with the bright and the fair; but in her
there was the beauty of simplicity, the charm of native unaffected
innocence, and that was what he had seldom met with at all, and
certainly never before so rarely combined. There were many more----

But what is the use of searching any further for that which made him
love her from the first. Grant but the eastern supposition to be true,
that their hearts were formed of one clay, and the matter is settled
at once. A little superstition, and a few good broad theories, save
man a great deal of trouble and research, and, perhaps, lead him as
right as any of the hundred roads which philosophers and moralists are
always busy paving for him.

During his illness, which was severe from the accident he had met
with, his attachment had time to become fixed; and he did not lose the
opportunity of endeavouring to excite a return. In truth, it was not
very difficult; Julie's heart was cast in nature's gentlest mould, and
this was the first time that any thing like affection had approached
it. From her infancy she had formed for herself companionship from
whatever was near her. She had watched each individual flower as it
blossomed, till she loved it, and loved it only to mourn the fall of
its fragile beauty! She had taught the birds to know her, and to sing
their wild notes in her path without fear. But now, it was something
far far beyond anything she had ever felt or ever dreamt of. What a
new bright state of existence became hers, when Charles Durand's love
first flashed upon her mind. She painted to herself all the charms of
reciprocal attachment in its brightest state. She knew nothing of the
world and its falsehood. She knew nothing of human nature and its
weakness, and she fancied it all without a cloud. She invested every
thing in the verdant colouring of her own heart, and lighted it up
with the sunshine of her own mind, and it made a picture she could
have gazed on for ever.

Before she was aware of his affection, she had looked forward to his
recovery with mingled emotions. There was certainly a good deal of
pleasure, on his account, in the speculation; but she did not like to
think of his departure, which would be the natural consequence. Now
that she knew herself loved, and that she could look upon her own
attachment for him without feat or shame, she never dreamt that a
separation was possible; she yielded her whole soul to the delight of
the moment, and saw nothing before her but one bright interminable
track.

Durand's mind was not so much at ease. There were some blighting
thoughts would come and wither his opening happiness. He knew his
father's ambitious nature, and feared to ask himself how, it would
brook his union with the simple girl of Arles. Brought up amidst
scenes of profligacy and vice, though with a heart naturally good and
pure, Charles might have formed some less honourable scheme for
obtaining Julie, but there was a purity in her every thought that
spread a holy light around her, and he felt that the very idea was
profanation.

In youth, we seldom let foresight give us much annoyance, and Charles
Durand's resource was not to think upon the subject at all. He loved
Julie as deeply as man can love. The idea of losing her was
insupportable, and while the hours slipped away in her society, he
would not debase such unalloyed happiness by one sordid care for the
future.

Whether he heeded not or saw it not, or, from his long seclusion from
the world and natural slowness of affection, did not perceive its
consequences, Armand Villars took no notice of the growing intimacy
between his daughter and the young Durand, probably he never saw it;
for, continuing to live in the same retirement, he suffered the
presence of Charles to make scarce any change in his conduct. He had
merely accorded him a dwelling in his house because he considered it a
duty, and once in the course of each day he paid him a calm, cold
visit, inquired after his health, and recommended him to the care of
his daughter; for, he said, "that was more a woman's task than a
man's;" and the rest of the day he passed in utter solitude.

In the mean time, Durand's health rapidly improved, and he was soon
enabled to accompany Julie in her rambles along the banks of the
Rhone. Oh, what a new world was now opened to her! Nature had acquired
a brighter hue, pleasure a richness it never owned before. All, all
delight was doubled by having some one to participate. There was a new
state of being sprung up for her--the existence of mutual
affection--an existence totally apart from every thing else of earth.

A great change, too, had taken place in all the feelings of Charles
Durand. As he wandered on with Julie, he wondered that the beauties of
nature had never before struck him as they did now. He asked himself
what madness could have taught him to enjoy the false brightness, the
unmeaning whirl, the lying gaiety of such a place as Paris; and, as he
looked at the fair simple girl by his side, he learnt heartily to
despise the artificial beings with whom he had been accustomed to
mingle.

One bright summer evening, they passed by the spot where they had
first met. The same colouring was on the trees, the same bright hues
were glowing in the west, but every thing was richer and lovelier in
their eyes.

"Oh, Julie," said Charles, "how I shall ever bless this spot! I
remember standing by yon old triumphal arch on the hill, and looking
over the wide scene of abundance displayed below. It was rich, it was
beautiful; but as I descended into this valley there was a sweet
calmness, a lovely repose, which left the heart nothing to wish for,
and far more than compensated for the expanse of the other landscape.
Surely it was a type of what I was to feel after having seen you.
Before, the gay world of the capital and its wide indistinct society
seemed to offer a life of delight not to be met with any where else.
But now, to be with you thus constantly, and separated from all the
world but you, is a happiness far beyond my brightest dreams. It has
made me a miser. I would admit none to share it with me for worlds."

Julie answered nothing, but she looked up in Charles's face with a
glance that he had no difficulty in translating. A moment after the
beam in her eye passed away, and was followed by a slight sigh.
Charles would needs have it translated too, and as he could not do it
himself, he applied, to its author. Julie said that she did not know
that she had sighed. Charles assured her that she certainly had.

"I was thinking at that moment," answered Julie, "that I ought as soon
as possible to communicate this to my father. Perhaps it was that
which made me sigh; for though I am sure he loves me, yet he is
naturally so stern that sometimes he frightens me."

A cloud came over Charles Durand's brow, for she forcibly recalled his
thoughts to the point from which he had long essayed to banish them,
and he begged that she would delay the communication she proposed
until he had time to write to his father and ask his consent to their
union. Julie looked down, and contending emotions called the blood
into her cheek. There was something in the idea of the least
concealment repugnant to the bright candour of her mind; and she told
Charles that she was sure it never could be right.

Concealment! Charles assured her that he never proposed such a thing.
No, let their affection be as open as day. If her father himself
perceived it, it was at once avowed; but if he did not, it would be
better to wait till his authorized him to demand her hand. He added
several reasons, to which Julie replied nothing. She was not used to
contend with any one, much less with one she loved; but her heart was
not at ease. It was the first cloud which had obscured the morning of
her life, and it cast a deeper shadow than she had fancied any thing
could throw over her mind! They walked up the hill to the ruined arch
of triumph, and gazed for a moment on the plain below; but Julie's
heart did not expand to the scene. They turned again and wandered down
to the brook, but the valley hid lost a portion of its peace.

Charles expressed a wish to rest there ere they returned. Julie seated
herself in silence where she had been placed when first they met, and
Charles, casting himself down by her side, tried to convince her that
he was right, for he saw that she was not yet satisfied.

"I suppose," said she, turning to him with a smile, though it was
rather a melancholy one--"I suppose I ought to be convinced, for I
have nothing to say in reply. But, at all events, be it as you think
fit. Of course I shall say nothing to my father until you approve of
it. I have never yet wanted confidence in any one."

If the last sentence implied any thing reproachful, Charles did not or
would not perceive it. He took Julie's hand and pressed it to his
lips, while the colour mounted more deeply in her cheek, and her dark
eyes were bent down upon the ground. What she had said, however, was
overheard by another, whose presence neither Julie nor Charles had
observed. Her father, by some chance, had that night, turned his steps
in the same direction that they had, and he now stood before them.

Charles was the first who raised his eyes, and they instantly
encountered the fixed stern glance of Villars.

"Well, young man," said he, in a deep, bitter tone of voice, "you have
rested with me long enough. You have accepted of my care, you have
betrayed my hospitality, you have recovered from your illness, and now
begone."

Charles exculpated himself boldly, but to one that did not attend. He
declared again and again that his every intention was most pure and
honourable.

"Honourable!" repeated Villars, with a scoff. "Whatever were your
intentions, he who could teach a child to deceive her father is
unworthy of my daughter. Begone, sir! I hear no more; never let me see
your face again. Come, weak girl," he added, turning to Julie, down
whose cheeks the tears were rolling in silent bitterness, "wipe away
those tears, and do not let me think you unworthy of your race;" and
he led her back to the château; passing on straight to his own
library.

Julie covered her face with her hands. The tears were still running
down her cheeks, and though she knew her father's inflexible nature,
there was a remonstrance struggling in her heart, to which she would
have fain given utterance, but the stern glance of Villars, which
never left her for a moment, frightened her and took away her words.

An instant after the old servant came in, and told them that M. Durand
desired to see him. Julie clasped her hands and extended them with an
imploring look towards her father. "Silence, child!" cried he; "Julie,
not a word!" and followed the servant from the room.

Whatever might have passed between him and Charles, when he returned
there was a deeper spot upon his brow, and his step had something of
angry haste in it as he advanced to where his daughter sate.

"Julie," said he, "on your duty to me as your father, I command you
never to see that young man again." Julie paused.

"Do you hesitate? Disobedient girl! Mark me, one moment more, and I
cast you off for ever. Julie, you know me. I am not used to say what I
do not perform. Promise me instantly never again willingly to see
Charles Durand, or we are no longer father and child."

It was a dreadful alternative, and Julie promised.

How blighting is the loss of what we love! Affection is as the
sunshine of existence, and when it is gone, the rest is all darkness.
The flowers of life, the beauties of being, are all obscured, and we
wander blindly on through an unseen world, which might as well be a
desert as a garden, in the deep shadow of that starlight night.

It is not so much that which we have not as that which we lose, that
we sigh for. Had Julie never known the charm of mutual affection, all
would still have been bright, but now day after day went by, the blank
of passing existence.

At length the news reached her father that Charles had left Arles,
and, sinking into his usual habits, he permitted Julie to pursue the
rambles she had been accustomed to take. But nature to her had lost
its loveliness. The flowers seemed withered, the song of the lark
sounded harsh, and she wandered slowly on, occupied with sad thoughts.
She raised her eyes to the arch of triumph on the hill above. There
was a figure standing by it, which passed quickly away, but it
recalled to Julie the time she had first seen Charles Durand, and the
hours they had spent there together, and, placing the past happiness
with the present sorrow, the contrast was too strong, and she wept
bitterly.

Though she found no pleasure in the scenes she had formerly loved, yet
she had no inducement to return home. All there was cold, and she
wandered on farther than had been her wont. She had proceeded nearly
an hour, when she heard a quick step behind her. She knew not why, but
it caused her an emotion of fear, and she hurried her pace. "Julie!"
said a voice she could not mistake; "Dear Julie! It is I." She turned,
and Charles caught her in his arms, and pressed her fondly but gently
to his bosom.

Julie said nothing, but hid her eyes upon his shoulder and wept; but
the dreadful promise she had made her father was to be told; and at
length, summoning all her resolution, she did so.

Charles did not appear so much surprised as she expected. "Julie,"
said he, "after the promise you have made, if we part, we part for
ever. Let us never part!"

It was a scheme he had formed immediately on quitting her father's
house, and he now displayed it to Julie in the brightest colours it
would admit of. He had been wandering about the country ever since, he
said. His carriage had been always on the road prepared for a journey.
He had counted much upon his Julie's love. He had procured a passport
for Paris. The moment they arrived she should give him her hand at the
altar. His father should use all means to soften hers, and there could
be no doubt that Villars would soon relent. He pleaded with all the
eloquence of love and hope. Even despair lent him arguments. He had
strong allies, too, in Julie's own breast: her love for him, her fear
of her father, and the dreadful overwhelming thought, that if she once
parted from him she should never see him again. A doubt of him never
entered into her mind; but there was something in the idea of
accompanying him alone to Paris, which made the blood rush into her
cheek. All the delicacy of a pure mind, and the fear of doing wrong,
caused her to shrink from the very thought: a thousand opposing
feelings came one after another through her breast, and gazing
anxiously in the face of her lover, "Oh no, no, Charles!" she replied,
"do not ask me;" and, striving to call up all her sense of duty, she
added, more firmly, "Impossible!"

A deep settled gloom came over Charles's
countenance--a calm impressive look of despair. He took both Julie's
hands in his, and pressed them twice to his lips. "Cruel girl!" he
said, in a low voice, which He strove to command to steadiness; "you
love me less than I thought. Hear me," he continued, seeing her about
to speak, "hear me to the end; for your reply will be my doom. I am
not rash, but I can never live without you. My fate is on your lips.
Am I to live or die? for within an hour after you have quitted me, I
shall have ceased to exist. Speak, Julie! Do you bid me die? for that
is the alternative."

Julie gazed on him for a moment, as if she scarcely comprehended the
import of his words; and then again hid her eyes upon his shoulder and
wept. "Speak, speak, Julie!" cried Charles.

"What would you have me say?" she asked. "You force me to do what I
think wrong. How can I refuse what you wish, when such is the
alternative? Oh! Charles, it is you that are cruel now!"

Charles caught eagerly at the concession. He thanked her again and
again; and he seemed so happy, that Julie could scarce repent that she
had yielded. Yet still she would have lingered; and as Charles led her
gently on towards the spot where his carriage stood, he was obliged to
display a thousand reasons to prove to her that she was doing right;
for, at every step she hung back; and though she wished much to
believe herself justified, yet still the tears trickled down her
cheeks, and her eyes dared not rise from the ground. But hesitation
was now too late, and in a few minutes she was on the way to Paris.

During their whole journey, Charles's conduct was a course of quiet
respectful attention. He strove to soothe Julie's mind; he sought to
amuse it, but he never suffered any gaiety to jar with the sorrowful
tone of her feelings. He seemed to feel, as painfully as she did, the
want of her father's approbation, but he endeavoured to oppose to that
the bright prospect of their future happiness. He spoke of quitting
all the luxuries of Paris for the sole delight of her society; to let
their lives glide away in some beautiful part of the country, love
gilding with its sunshine even the winter of their days. In short, he
called up all the dreams that man is wont to form in the brighter
stage of his existence, when young imagination fashions out every
distant object into some fair shape of its own; and so well did he
image his wishes as hopes, and paint his hopes as certainties, that
Julie suffered her mind to be carried a stage beyond reality, and
forgot the uncomforts of the present in the bright future which he
depicted.

It was night when they arrived in Paris, and an undefinable feeling of
terror and loneliness spread over Julie's mind as she felt herself a
stranger amongst the multitude. Charles seemed instinctively to enter
into her feelings, and gently pressed her hand to his lips, as if he
wished to tell her that there was at least one heart that beat warmly
with hers.

After passing along several long dimly-lighted streets, the carriage
stopped at the hotel to which it had been directed, and Charles
applied himself to make all those arrangements for Julie's comfort,
which she was hardly able to do for herself.

"And now, Julie," said he, "there remains but one thing more; I will
instantly go to my father's hotel, end bring you his consent to our
union."

"Oh, Charles! wait a moment, do not leave me yet," cried Julie; "I can
bear any thing but solitude."

Charles pressed her to his bosom, and, sitting down beside her, gazed
fondly over every lovely feature as she sat with her eyes bent upon
the ground. She saw that he waited merely to gratify her, and that his
mind was fixed upon the interview with his father, and at length,
conquering her feelings, she bade him go.

Charles promised that he would instantly return, and left her, but at
the same time he ordered his servant to stay at the hotel. "Show
Mademoiselle Villars," he said, "the same service as if she were your
mistress, and my wife, which she will soon become."

As soon as Charles was gone, Julie burst into tears. She knew not why,
but there was a deep depression of spirits hung over her which she
could not dissipate, and she wept profusely. She had scarcely reasoned
herself out of giving way to her grief, when Charles returned.

"My father," said he, "is absent a few leagues, from Paris, but he
comes back to-morrow evening. So, dear Julie, my hopes must be
delayed."

Charles saw that she had been weeping, but he took no notice, and
applied himself, during the evening, to wean her thoughts from every
subject of sorrow, and he succeeded, if not in entirely calming, at
least in greatly soothing, her mind. The journey had much fatigued
her, and Charles left her at an early hour. "For your sake, Julie," he
said, "I must not stay in the same hotel with you, but I will be with
you early to-morrow."

It was Charles's task, during the whole succeeding day, to occupy
Julie's thoughts by various subjects of interest, so as to prevent
them ever recurring to her own situation. He gave her mind no time to
fall back upon itself. Neither did he himself wish to think the
approaching interview with his father offered much that he dreaded,
and he would not let his thoughts rest upon it.

At length, however, the evening came, and he again left Julie upon the
same errand that he had done the night before. In going to his
father's hotel, he, walked with extraordinary rapidity, as if he were
afraid that reflection should intrude upon him by the way; but, on
being informed that his father had returned some time, he paused to
collect his thoughts, took two or three turns in the court, and then
entered the room where his parent was.

Far different from the sprightly lad that long ago consorted with
Armand Villars, old Durand, in passing through life, had lost many of
the better qualities which had distinguished him in boyhood:
circumstances had so often induced him to glide from one opinion to
another, that he had but small pretensions to sincerity. Fortune had
made him proud, and the lesser points of morality had gradually become
effaced, in mingling with corrupted society. He was still a man of
courage, of wit, of talent, and, as he had never cried very loud for
any particular party, his changes in political opinion had never been
criticised very severely. He was also a man of pleasure, an Epicurean,
but one that forgot some of the best tenets of his sect. Every thing
was to be sacrificed to pleasure except interest; and all was to yield
to that. His affection for his son was strong, but there was much of
it pride; and though on his return he received him kindly, it was more
like the reception of an old companion than a son.

"Well, Charles," said he, after the first few minutes, "so your broken
arm is whole again: and what has become of the beautiful little nurse
you wrote to me about? You owe her a good deal, in truth."

"I owe her everything, sir," replied Charles, "and as to what has
become of her, she is at this moment in Paris, and----"

"Ha, ha, ha! so that is the way you repay her," interrupted his
father, laughing. "Charles, Charles, you, are a sad libertine. But
take care what you are about; you will certainly get your throat cut.
That sulky old Roman, her father, will not take it quietly, depend
upon it. I remember him when a boy; his anger was not easily moved,
but, when once excited, his vengeance was not like that of a child."

"I rather think, sir, that you mistake me," replied Charles. "Julie is
purity itself. I love her beyond everything on earth, and I have now
come to ask you to sanction my immediate union with her."

The astonishment, the anger, the scorn, which gradually gathered over
old Durand's countenance while his son was speaking, is beyond
expression. "Young man!" cried he, "are you mad? Have you become a
driveller and a fool?"

Charles had expected opposition, and now he used all the eloquence he
possessed, all the entreaties most likely to move. He expressed
himself firm in his resolution of marrying Julie; but declared that he
never could be happy without his father's approbation. But it was in
vain. His father listened to him for a moment, and then, without any
answer whatever, but a look of mingled pity and contempt, left the
room. Charles's heart burned with indignation, and, darting from the
house, he passed rapidly to the hotel. He did not, he would not think,
and he had entered the room where Julie sat, before the first
irritation had passed from his mind.

She was sitting directly opposite, and as he entered she raised her
eyes with such a look of glad expectation, that it quite overwhelmed
him, and, striking his hand against his forehead, he walked up and
down the room for a moment, without speaking.

"In the name of heaven, Charles!" exclaimed Julie, "what is the
matter?"

Charles took her hand, and led her back to the sofa from which she had
risen. "Julie," said he, "my father is as cruel as yours. He refuses
his consent to our union; but be assured----"

At that moment the deadly paleness, the wild despair, of Julie's
countenance, stopped him as he spoke. Charles had deceived himself,
and still more deceived her, with respect to his father. She had never
imagined the possibility of his refusing, and now it came like the
stroke of death. All the horror, all the desolation of her situation
flashed upon her mind. It stunned, it stupified her. Every sense,
every thought was overwhelmed in the wild tempest of her disappointed
hopes, and she sat gazing in the face of her lover in dumb inanimate
despair.

Charles at first attempted to call her to herself, but in vain. She
sat like marble. At length, starting up, "Julie," he cried, "I go
again to my father, and be sure I will bring you his consent, or I
will die at his feet!"--and he quitted the room.

But Julie heard him not. She sat with her hands clasped, and her eyes
fixed upon the door. Her senses were bewildered. A sudden panic seized
her, she knew not of what. She started up, and, as if she flew from
something which pursued her, she ran down the stairs of the hotel into
the street. She passed rapidly along the Rue Royale to the Place Louis
Quinze. The cool air revived her, and thought began to return, when
some one caught her by the arm with a grasp of iron; she turned and
cast herself at his feet.

"My father! Oh heaven, my father!" cried Julie. Villars answered
nothing, but held her tight by the wrist, while he drew a poniard from
his bosom.

"Disgrace your father's name!" said he at length. "If you have a
prayer to offer to heaven, offer it now, for the blood of Villars
shall never flow in impure veins!"

Julie strove to speak, but terror left her no voice. At length she
cried, "Indeed, indeed, I am innocent!"

"Art thou a _liar_ too?" cried Villars, casting his cloak over her
head, and raising his hand. "Thus I wipe out your infamy!"

He plunged the dagger in her bosom--he raised it again, but no--he
could not repeat it--there was a faint smothered cry--a shudder like
the flutter of a dying bird, and then it lay a cold inanimate weight
upon his bosom--It was done! But then the implacable unyielding spirit
which had thus far sustained him forsook him for a moment, and he
stood stupified, without thought, without feeling, without
remembrance.

"I have done my duty!" he cried at last, and hurrying down to the
banks of the river, descended to the very edge, and laid his lifeless
burden in the water--gently, and cautiously, as if he were afraid of
waking her. He gazed upon her--smote his hand upon his breast. "I have
done my duty!" he said, "I have done my duty!" But hell was in his
heart, and he fled.


                   ---------------


When the Union American merchantman was lost on her passage from Havre
to Charleston, there was one man who refused to enter any of the
boats. He had taken his passage at Havre the very day the ship sailed,
and, during the five days which elapsed between her leaving the port
and her being wrecked, he was never heard to proffer a word to any
one. He passed the days and the greater part of the nights, in walking
backwards and forwards, with his eyes fixed upon the deck, and at that
awful moment, when tempest and destruction surrounded them all, the
deadly strife within his own bosom seemed to have rendered him
insensible to the war of elements without.

Some one kindly pressed him to enter one of the boats. "Leave me,
leave me," said he in French; "my grave is made!"

God knows whether it was he, but the passengers who escaped represent
him as of the same age and form as Armand Villars.


                   ---------------


On entering the cemetery of Père la Chaise, proceed directly to the
foot of the first hill, and, turning into the alley to the left, you
will find a plain obelisk of white marble, without epitaph or
inscription, except the simple name "Julie!" It stands in a little
garden of flowers, enclosed with a fence of iron; and I have myself
seen a young officer, with more than one decoration on his breast,
removing those that were withered, and binding fresh wreaths round its
little boundary. It never wanted flowers in any season, for he came
every day to deck it himself, though the colour gradually forsook his
cheek, and pale corroding care was marked in every feature. One day he
came no more, and shortly after he was laid in the earth beside her he
loved. But before he died, he expressly forbade _his_ name also to be
inscribed on the monument which he had raised to his lost Julie.

Such was the tale of our new acquaintance, nearly in his own words;
but as he spoke rapidly and fluently, the time it occupied in telling
was not, or at least did not seem, long. We felt that he had a good
right to call upon us for a return, and finding myself, as usual, when
I wish to recollect a good story, totally bankrupt of memory, I turned
to the friend who had accompanied me from England--a gentleman in
every sense of the word, a man of refined taste and excellent heart. I
was very sure that, if he could so far conquer his laziness as to
begin, whatever he told would prove interesting; but idleness was
predominant, and he was endeavouring to push back the burden to my
shoulders, when Monsieur Petit, who seemed to divine the spirit which
held us so long together, glided into the room, and told us, that if
we were curious in wine, he had some Burgundy so perfect in its kind
that he would beg us just to try it.

We nodded the universal head; and while our worthy host was producing
his nectar, my friend, stimulated by the very anticipation, gave me
one reproachful look for stirring him from his repose, and said,
"Well, well, since it must be so, I will try if I can remember a story
I once heard of our own country, and give you _Two Scenes from the
Civil Wars_."



           TWO SCENES FROM THE CIVIL WARS.


                       SCENE I.

It was late on the night of an early day in spring--perhaps about two
hours past midnight--and yet the inhabitants of a small lonely
dwelling on the edge of a large piece of common-ground, lying about
ten miles from Farringdon House, were all awake and up, and, with
anxious eyes, gazing from the small long windows upon the blank
darkness that hung over the world. A single candle stood upon a plain
oaken table in the midst of the room, by the light of which might be
seen, at one of the windows, a small finely-formed female figure,
which still preserved all the lines of exquisite beauty, though a
certain degree of stiffness, corresponding well with some deep
wrinkles on the cheek, and with the white hair that was braided from
the forehead, spoke the passing of many years under the petrifying
power of Time, since that form had been in its prime, and the beauty,
which still lingered, had known its first expansion. Leaning over her
shoulder was a second figure so like the first--but with every grace
which time had nipped in the other, just blown; with the cheek
unwithered, and the brow unseared--that it seemed a living picture of
what the other had been some twenty years before--a portrait in a
family picture-gallery, where human loveliness may see and moralize on
all the graces that the eternal reaper has gathered as he flew.

At the second window was a somewhat untidy maid-servant, contrasting
strongly, in her slatternly disarray, with the plain neatness which
decked the two other figures, whose garb I shall not pause to
describe; let it suffice that it was of white, and fashioned in the
mode of the time, A. D.164-, though either poverty, simplicity of
taste, or deference to the puritanical mania of the day, had deprived
it of every extraneous ornament.

The night upon which the whole party looked out was dark and sad; for
the moon had gone down, and the clouds over head, though not
particularly heavy, were quite sufficiently so to hide every star, and
cast a deep gray shadow over the wide extent of undulating moorland
which, in the day-time, stretched away for many a mile within view. A
few faint streaks of pale light upon the edge of sky separated the
darkness of the heavens from the darkness of the earth, and marked
where the prospect ended; and thitherward were turned the eyes of all,
watching with strained and anxious gaze a particular point on the dim
horizon, where, every now and then, bright red flashes, sudden and
sharp, but circumscribed and momentary, broke upon the night, followed
by a distant report as quick and transitory.

No one spoke while those flashes continued; but the silence itself
seemed to show the intense anxiety which was felt, by the tenants of
that chamber, in regard to the events of which they obtained so dim
and unsatisfactory a view. At the end of five minutes, however, the
sudden bursts of light entirely ceased; the reports were no longer
heard; and the elder of the two ladies, turning away from the window,
said, in a low voice, "It is over: God's will is wrought by this
time!"

The younger said nothing; but, clasping her fair hands together,
raised her eyes towards the dark, heavens, while her full sweet lips
moved silently, offering up a petition to that never-closed ear which
hears the still voice of the heart's thoughts as plainly as the
loudest-tongued appeal.

In a moment after, the clattering sound of horses' feet was heard
coming quickly down the road. At first it was faint and distant--the
dull heavy tramp of several fleet steeds galloping over moist
ground; but soon it came nearer and nearer--left the turf of the
common--clanged over the firm and stony road--came close to the
house--passed it--and died away in the distance.

"They are flying!" said the younger lady. "Oh, my mother, they are
flying! Surely some of the dark powers of the air must assist those
bloodthirsty fanatics. They are flying; do you not hear the horses
galloping on?"

"Nay, nay, Margaret," replied the other, "it may be the roundheads who
fly. Though Goring and his cavaliers marched by here, we cannot tell
what way the struggle may have turned, or on what side he attacked the
rebels. So it may well be the traitors that fly themselves. But look
out, look out; your eyes are younger than mine, and less dimmed with
tears; perchance you may catch a passing glimpse that will give us
glad news."

The younger lady pressed her eyes close to the window; and though, by
this time, the first party of fugitives had passed the house, yet the
distant sound of others coming nigh met her ear; and she continued to
gaze upon the faint line of the road towards a spot where the yellow
glare of the gravel, which distinguished it from the ground about it,
was lost in the general darkness of the common. At length three dark
figures came forward with tremendous speed; at first so near together,
and so hidden by the night, that she could hardly distinguish them
from each other; but gradually the forms became more and more clear;
and, as they darted past the house, she exclaimed in a glad tone,
"They are the rebels, they are the rebels flying for life! I see their
great boots, and their morions without crest or plume!"

"But they may be pursuing those who went before," said her mother,
with a less elated tone; "they may be the followers, and not the
flyers, Margaret."

"No, no, they are flying, in good sooth!" replied the young lady; "for
ever and anon they turn their heads to look behind, and still they
urge their horses faster each look. But they are gone! And now pray
God that victory may not cost us dear! I would that my brother were
come back, and Henry Lisle."

"Fie, Margaret, fie!" said her mother; "give God undivided thanks; for
if my son and your lover be both left upon the field of battle, we
ought still to feel that their lives were well-bestowed to win a
victory for their royal master."

Margaret covered her eyes with her hands, but made no answer; and, in
a moment after, fresh coming sounds called her again to the window. It
was a single horseman who now approached; and though he rode at full
speed, with his head bent over the saddle, yet he continued his course
steadily, and neither turned his look to the right or left. As he
approached the house, his horse started suddenly from some object left
by the road-side, plunged, and fell; and the rider, cast with
frightful violence from his seat, was thrown on his head upon the
ground. A deep groan was, at first, the only sound; but, the moment
after, the horse, which had borne him, starting up, approached close
to the body of its master, and, putting its head to where he lay, by a
long wild neigh, seemed at once, to express its sorrow and to claim
assistance.

"If it be Essex or Manchester, Fairfax or Cromwell, we must render him
aid, Margaret," said the mother; "never must it be said that friend or
enemy needed help at my door, and did not meet it. Call up the hind's
boy, Bridget; open the door, and bring in yon fallen man."

Her commands were speedily fulfilled; for though brought low in her
estate, the Lady Herrick was not one to suffer herself to be
disobeyed. The stranger was lifted from the ground, placed in a chair,
and carried into the house. His eyes were closed; and it was evident
to the elder lady, as she held the candle to his face, that, if not
killed, he was completely stunned by his fall. He was a hard-featured
man, with short grizzled hair, and a heavy determined brow, on which
the lines of habitual thought remained, even in the state of stupor
into which he had fallen. He was broadly made and muscular, though not
corpulent; and was above the middle size without being tall. His dress
consisted of a dark gray coat, which clove to him with the familiar
ease of an old servant; and a brown cloak, which, in truth, had lost
much of its freshness in his service. Above his coat had been placed a
complete cuirass, the adjustment of which betrayed great symptoms of
haste; and by his side he wore one of those long heavy blades of plain
steel which had often been the jest of the cavaliers.

His head was uncovered either by hat or morion; and the expanse of his
forehead, the only redeeming point in his countenance, was thus fully
displayed. The rest of his face was not only coarse in itself, but bad
in its expression; and when, after some cold water had been thrown
over it, he revived in a degree and looked around, the large, shrewd,
unsatisfactory eyes which he turned upon those about him had nothing
in them to prepossess the mind in his favour.

The moment that consciousness had fully returned, he made an effort to
start upon his feet, but instantly sunk back again into the chair,
exclaiming--"The Lord has smitten me, yet must I gird up my loins and
go, lest I fall into captivity."

"Fear not, fear not!" replied Lady Herrick, whose humanity was
somewhat chivalrous, "you are in safety here; wait for a while till
you are better able to mount, and then get you gone, in God's name,
for I seek not to foster roundheads more than may be. Yet stay till
you can ride," she added, seeing his hand again grasp the chair as if
to rise; "women should know no enemies in the hurt and wounded."

"Nay, but, worthy lady," replied the parliamentarian, "should the crew
of the Moabitish General Goring follow me even here, to smite me hip
and thigh, as they have vowed to do to all who bear arms for godliness
sake, or to bear me away captive--"

"Fear not, fear not!" answered the lady; "none should dare, by my
hearth's side, to lay hands on one that common mercy bade me take in
and shelter--fear not, I say. That is right, Margaret," she added
seeing her daughter pour some wine into a glass for the use of the
stranger; "take that, it will revive you, and give you strength to
speed on."

"Nast thou caught the stranger's horse, Dickson?". she demanded,
turning to the boy who had aided in bringing in the commonwealth man,
and who now re-entered the room after a momentary absence.

"He is caught and made fast below," replied the lad; "and here are my
young master and Master Henry Lisle coming up from the court. They
have beaten the roundheads, and killed Colonel Cromwell, and taken his
whole army prisoners!" Scarcely had he time to pour forth this rapid
tide of news when the door was thrown open, and two young cavaliers,
in broad hats and plumes, followed one another rapidly in, each taking
with the lips of the two ladies that dear liberty consecrated to
intimacy and affection. "Welcome, welcome, my gallant son!" cried the
mother, as she held the first to her bosom.

"My own dear Margaret!" whispered the young gentleman who had
followed, as he took the unresisted kiss which welcomed him back from
danger and strife. But further congratulations of every kind were
suddenly stopped, as the eyes of the two cavaliers fell upon the
stranger; who had now recovered strength to rise from his seat, and
was anxiously looking towards the door beyond them.

"Who, in the devil's name, have we here?" cried Sir George Herrick.
"What cropped-eared villain is this?"

In vain his mother explained, and strove to pacify him. The sight of
one of the rebels raised again in his bosom all the agitating fury of
the fight in which he had been just engaged; and neither the prayers
of his mother or his sister, the promises they had made to the
stranger, or their remonstrances to himself, had any effect. "Ho,
boy!" he exclaimed, "bid your father bring a rope. By the Lord of
heaven, I will hang this roundhead cur to the oak before the door?
Bring a rope, I say!" and, unsheathing his sword, he advanced upon the
parliamentarian, calling upon his companion to prevent his escape by
the door.

The stranger said not a word, but bit his nether lip; and, calmly
drawing his tuck, retreated into one corner of the room, keeping a
keen fixed eye upon the young cavalier, who strode on towards him.
Margaret, seeing that all persuasion was vain with her brother, turned
her imploring eyes to Henry Lisle, who instantly laid his hand upon
his companion's cloak, "What now?" exclaimed the other, turning sharp
upon him.

"This must not be, George," replied the other cavalier.

"Must not be!" thundered Sir George Herrick; "but it shall be! Who
shall stay me?"

"Your own better reason and honour, I trust," replied the other. "Hear
me--but hear me, Herrick! Your lady mother promised this fellow safety
to stay and to go; and upon her promise alone, she says, he staid. Had
that promise not been given, we should not have found him here. Will
you slay a man by your own hearth, who put confidence in your mother's
word? Fie, fie; let him go! We have slain enough this night to let one
rebel escape, were he the devil himself."

Sir George Herrick glared round for a moment, in moody silence, and
then put up his sword. "Well," said he, at length, "if he staid but on
her promise, let him take himself away. He will grace the gibbet some
other day. But do not let me see him move across the room," he added,
with a look of disgust, "or I shall run my blade through him whether I
will or not."

"Come, fellow, get thee gone!" said Henry Lisle, "I will see thee
depart;" and while his companion fixed his eyes with stern intensity
upon the fireplace, as if not to witness the escape of the roundhead,
he led him out of the chamber to the outer door.

The stranger moved forward with a firm calm step, keeping his naked
sword still in his hand, and making no comment on the scene in which
he had been so principal a performer.

As he passed through the room, however, he kept a wary glance upon Sir
George Herrick; but the moment he quitted it, he seemed more at ease,
and paused quietly at the door while the boy brought forward his
charger. During that pause, he turned no unfriendly look upon Henry
Lisle; and seemed as if about to speak more than once. At length he
said in a low voice, "Something I would fain say--though God knows we
are poor blinded creatures, and see not, what is best for us--of
thanks concerning that carnal safety which it may be doubted
whether----"

"No thanks are needed," interrupted Henry Lisle, cutting across what
promised to be one of the long harangues habitual with the fanatics of
that day, "no thanks are needed for safety that is grudgingly awarded.
I tell thee plainly, that, had it not been for the lady's promise, I
would willingly have aided in hanging thee with my own hands; and,
when next we two meet face to face, we shall not part till the
life-blood of one or other mark our meeting-place!"

"It may be so, if such be God's will," replied the parliamentarian,
"and I pray the Lord to give me strength that I may never be found
slack to do the work appointed me."

"Thou hast never been so yet, though it be the work of the evil one,"
answered Henry Lisle, and then added, "I know thee, though none else
here does, or it had fared harder with thee in despite of all
promises."

"Thou knowest me!" said the stranger, without testifying any great
surprise, "then thou doest the better deed in Israel; and I will
trust, notwithstanding thy present malignancy, that the day of grace
may yet come to thee. Farewell!"

Thus saying, he put his foot in the stirrup, and mounting somewhat
heavily the horse which was now brought up for him, rode away across
the common.

Time flew--years passed--the temporary success obtained by General
Goring over the forces of Oliver Cromwell was swept away and forgotten
in a tide of brilliant triumphs won by the parliamentary general, who
trod upon steps of victory to the government of an empire. He had
conquered his opponents by the sword; he had conquered his partisans
by hypocrisy; he had subdued all to his will, and, under the name of
Lord General, ruled with more power than a king.

In the mean while, Sir George Herrick and Henry Lisle had fought to
the last in the cause of their ancient monarchs; and their zeal--like
that noblest of human energies, hope--had grown but the stronger under
the pressure of misfortune and distress. Amongst the various chances
of the civil war, five times had the day been appointed for the union
of Henry Lisle with Margaret Herrick, and five times had some
unforeseen mishap intervened to delay what all so much desired. Each
day that went by, Lady Herrick, with means quite exhausted and hopes
quite depressed, longed more and more to see her child united to a man
of talent, and firmness, and resource; and each battle that passed by,
Sir George Herrick, struck with a presentiment of approaching fate,
thanked God that he had lived to place his sister's hand in that of
his friend.

The last time the marriage was suspended, was on the fatal-call to
Worcester field, where Sir George Herrick fell; and Henry Lisle only
escaped to bear his companion's last request to Margaret, that without
further pause or delay, without vain ceremonies or useless tears, she
would give herself, at once, to her promised protector. Their wedding
was a sad one--no glad peal, no laughing train, announced the union of
the two lovers; and, ere the day of their bridal was spent, Henry
Lisle was a prisoner, journeying towards the tower of London. His
trial was delayed some time; but when it took place it was soon
decided. No evidence was wanting to his full conviction of loyalty to
his king; and the block and axe was the doom pronounced upon him. A
brief three days lay between him and death; and Margaret, who was
permitted to see him, clung in agony to her husband's bosom. Lady
Herrick to whom he had been more than a son, gazed, for some time,
with equal agony, upon his fine, but faded countenance, which, worn by
toil, and anxiety, and long imprisonment, was still more clouded by
the hopeless despair of her he loved. But suddenly, without a word,
the mother turned away, and left the prison.


                      SCENE II.

It was in that great and unequalled hall, whose magnificent vault has
overhung so many strange and mighty scenes in English history, and
whose record of brief and gorgeous pageants reads as sad a homily on
human littleness, as even the dark memorials of the tomb. It was in
Westminster Hall, on the 16th day of December, that, with the clangour
of trumpets and all the pomp and splendour both of military and civil
state, a splendid procession moved forward to a chair or throne,
raised on some ornamented steps at the further extremity of the
building, Judges, in those solemn robes intended to give dignity to
the judgments they pronounce, and officers, dressed in all that
glittering panoply destined to deck and hide the rugged form of war,
moved over the echoing pavement between two long ranks of soldiers,
who kept the space clear from the gazing and admiring multitude. But
the principal figure of the whole procession, the one on which all
eyes were turned, was that of a stout, broad-built man, with a dingy,
weather-beaten countenance, shaggy eyebrows, and a large red nose. His
countenance was as unprepossessing as can be conceived; nor was his
dress, which consisted of plain black velvet, at all equal to those
which surrounded him: But there was something in his carriage and his
glance not to be mistaken. It was the confidence of power, not the
extraneous power of circumstance and situation, but of that contracted
internal strength which guides and rules the things around it. Each
step, as he planted it upon the pavement, seemed destined to be rooted
there for ever; and his eye, as it encountered the glances of those
around, fell upon them with a calm strength which beat them to the
dust before its gaze. Passing onward, through the hall, he ascended
the steps which raise the chair of state; and, turning round, stood
uncovered before the people. The two keepers of the great seal,
standing on his right and left, read a long paper called the Institute
of Government, by which, amongst other things, the Lord General,
Oliver Cromwell, was named Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of
England. The paper was then signed, an oath was administered, and,
putting on his hat, the figure which had advanced to the chair sat
down, amidst the acclamations of the people, while all the rest
continued to stand around uncovered.

Various other ceremonies were performed; and then the great usurper,
rising from his seat, led back the precession towards the door of the
hall; but scarcely had he traversed one half of its extent, when a
woman, who had been whispering to one of the soldiers that lined the
way, pushed suddenly past, and cast herself at Cromwell's feet. "An
act of grace, Lord Protector!" she exclaimed, "an act of grace, to
bring a much needed blessing on the power you have assumed!"

"What wouldst thou, woman?" demanded Cromwell "somewhere I have seen
thy face before, what wouldst thou? If thy petition be conceived in
godliness, and such as may be granted with safety to these poor
disturbed realms, it shall not be refused on such a day as this."

"When Colonel Cromwell failed in his attack on Farring-House;" said
Lady Herrick--for it was she who knelt before him: "and when General
Goring surprised and cut to pieces his troops at night near Warnham
common"--Cromwell's, brow darkened, but still she went on--"he fled
from a disaster he could not prevent, and was cast from his horse,
stunned, at the door of a widow woman, who gave him shelter. He was
the enemy of her and hers, and flying from a battle in which her own
son had fought; and yet she gave him rest and comfort, and opposed
that very son, who would have shed his blood by her hearth. There,
too, Henry Lisle interposed to save his life, and was successful;
otherwise, Lord Protector, I tell thee, thou wouldst never have sat in
that seat which thou hast taken this day. Condemned by, your judges
for acting according to his conscience, I now ask the life of Henry
Lisle, in return for the life he saved. Grant it--oh, grant it, as you
are a man and a Christian!"

Cromwell's brow was as dark as thunder; and after gazing on her for a
moment in silence, his only reply was, "Take her away; the woman is
mad--take her away and put her forth; but gently--gently--bruise not
the bruised--so--now--let us pass on; for, in truth, we have been
delayed too long."

Put out of the hall by the soldiers; her last hope gone; her heart
nearly broken for her child and her child's husband, Lady Herrick
wandered slowly on towards that sad place where she had left all that
was dear to her. The gay and mighty cavalcade, which conveyed the
usurper back to his palace, passed her by like one of those painful
dreams which mock us with sights of splendour in the midst of some
heavy woe; and before she had threaded many more of the solitary
streets, robbed of their population by the attractive ceremony of the
day, a single trooper galloped up, gazed on her for a moment, and rode
on. At the tower, no formalities were opposed to her immediate
entrance of the prisoner's chamber--she was led to it at once; the
door was itself open; an unsealed paper lay upon the table; Henry held
Margaret in his arms; and tears, which she never before had seen in
his eyes, now rolled pitifully down his cheeks, and mingled with those
of his bride; but, strange to say, smiles were shining through those
tears, and happiness, like the rainbow sun, beamed through the drops
Of sorrow.

"Joy, mother, joy!" were the first and only words. "Joy, mother,
joy!--Henry is pardoned!"


                   ---------------


By the time the second scene was over, the bottle was out and the
clock struck one. The lamps, too, were burning low and dim, and it
would have been an excellent moment for a ghost story to wind up the
evening. But our dear new-found friend was about to set out by the
steam-packet for England, early the next morning; our horses were
ordered for Rouen at six o'clock, and we were forced to say good
night.

The next morning we were punctual to our hour, and reached the fine
old city of the Seine, whilst day was still shining bright upon it.
The place itself is too well known to need description, and nothing
occurred of any interest that is not comprised in a single letter
which I wrote thence to a friend now dead. It was never sent, and is
only worth preserving as a memorial of the first suspicion that
entered my mind, that my servant might not be dealing fairly with me,
a suspicion which; if it had been then confirmed, might have saved me
many a long hour of misery.



                  TO W. H----, ESQ.
                                   _Rouen_, 1824.
My dear H----,

You will be surprised to find that we have got no farther on our
pilgrimage than Rouen, but my desultory habit of never proceeding
straight to any object, and suffering myself to be tempted always by
the collateral; makes our progress slow. We arrived here, through some
beautiful valleys, filled with manufactories of cotton: and after
passing by a long alley of fine trees, wound through a number of
narrow dull streets, to the Hotel----, which, though one of the best
in the town, still offers that mixture of finery and filth which
pervades all French inns. The _salle à manger_, I am convinced, has
never been swept or cleaned since its construction. The dirt may
sometimes have been kicked out by accident, but can never have been
removed intentionally.

Our breakfast was served to us on very handsome plate; but a pig,
followed by some turkeys, walked in from the court with a cabbage-leaf
in his mouth, and with true French urbanity, seemed very much inclined
to keep us company at our meal. Although we explained to him in the
clearest manner that we wished to be alone, we had some difficulty in
keeping him out, as the door would not shut, and he appeared to have
right prescriptive to a free entrance. Shortly after, we had the
company of our landlady, who, though much more _élégante_ than a
person of the same class in England, has the most tremendous tongue
that ever woman was blessed with. She began upon her own history, and
went through it from the beginning even unto the end. She informed us
that her husband was _bête_, but _bon_, explained to us her opinions
upon various points of morality which did not exactly coincide with
our own, and was then going to enter upon another story--when, as we
could not get rid of her as we had got rid of the pig--we wished her
good morning, and took a ramble through the town.

The general appearance of Rouen is dull, but there is an air of
antiquity about it which I have often found wanting as a
characteristic in places considerably older than this. One of the
first things which attracted our notice was the beauty of the women:
certainly never did I see such a number of pretty faces, as there are
here framed and glazed at shop windows, with their large dark eyes
glancing at us like diamonds as we pass by. But this is no subject for
you, Sir Stoic; old mouldering monuments, and crumbling ruins, will
better suit your musty, antiquarian soul. You would revel were you
with us here. This place is one great museum of ancient buildings:
every thing smacks of old days; and memory has plenty of occupation in
raking up all the histories that each object recall.

I have seen good paintings of the Cathedral as it appeared some years
ago, before the spire was burnt; and though the people lament very
much its fall, I cannot say that I think the building has lost by the
accident. The spire was light and elegant certainly, but it did not
seem to me to harmonize well with the rest of the church. I believe
that we wore out the patience of our valet-de-place, staying nearly
three hours to examine every part of it, and admiring and re-admiring
the beautiful combinations which the light Gothic arches present at
every step you take along the aisles. Round some of the principal
columns there is a curious sort of open balcony, which I do not
remember to have seen any where else, and which has a very pleasing
effect.

After remaining so long in the interior we mounted the tower, and
proceeding through a little door which led to the outside, found
ourselves amongst all the grotesque figures with which our good Norman
ancestors ornamented their churches. There were monkeys, and bears,
and parrots, and dragons, and devils, and saints; all pellmell,
jostling against each other, without any respect for persons.

It was singular to remark, that the iconoclastic spirit of the French
revolution had found out the statues of the saints and martyrs even up
here, and chopped their heads off without mercy, leaving the devils as
the proper images of the spirit of the time. It certainly was the most
ridiculous fury that ever seized a mad nation, to think of beheading
blocks of marble. When the sans-culottes entered the town of Nancy in
Alsace, they found, amongst other things, the statues of Apollo and
the nine muses; these they immediately christened the King and the
royal family, and proceeded to guillotine them on the spot. The busts
of Voltaire and Rousseau were about to undergo the same fate, but the
librarian of the town saved them, by announcing them as the very
patriarchs and apostles of the revolution.

Immediately after the Cathedral, we saw the Abbey church of St. Ouen.
It wants the vast solemnity of the other, but more than makes up for
it, by the correctness of the proportions, and the minute elegance of
all the parts. A very beautiful effect is produced by the disposition
of the font, which is so placed as to reflect almost the whole
interior of the building.

From St. Ouen we went to the Library, whose principal curiosity seems
to be an old illuminated psalm-book, which must have cost a world of
useless labour to the monk who, as the librarian informed us with no
small emphasis, occupied fifty years of his life in painting it.
Afterwards, in rambling through the town, we came to the spot where
poor Jeanne d'Arc was burnt. It is called La Place de la Pucelle; and
in a neighbouring house we were shown the cabinet in which, it is
said, her judges deliberated their cruel sentence. It is a dark,
gloomy, octagonal room, lined with black oak; and one naturally
repeoples it with the merciless countenances of those who once sat
there, to gratify their bloodthirsty malice on the poor enthusiast who
had been the means of their overthrow. There can be little doubt that
the Maid of Orleans was nothing but a visionary, and as such became
the tool of Agnes Sorrel and her party, to whom the delivery of France
front the English yoke is really to be ascribed.

A great part of the common dwelling-houses in Rouen bear evident marks
of their ancient construction, but the one I have just mentioned, in
the Place de la Pucelle, is particularly worthy of remark, on account
of a curious relief on one of the pavilions, representing the famous
meeting of Henry VIII. and Francis I. between Guisnes and Ardres. Most
of the figures are very perfect, and on various parts of the building
there are some curious sculptures and arabesques. Before the
revolution, the number of churches in Rouen, must have been immense;
at every step the vestiges of some of these edifices present
themselves, converted into workshops or storehouses: and there remain
a great many, still appropriated to the purposes of religion. The
French possess an infinity of monuments of this kind, but they are not
careful of them. It is truly disgusting to see quantities of dirty
stalls and outhouses raised against their finest buildings, and all
sorts of nuisances practised against them in midday. The interior is
also often spoiled by the bad taste of those who have the charge of
them; frequently we find the fine stonework painted all sorts of
colours; no qualm of conscience opposes itself to adding a Greek
doorway or skreen to a Norman church; and the horrid daubs of pictures
which are to be met in the finest churches in France, would disgrace a
barber's shop.

The churches in Rouen, are, I believe, without exception Gothic, which
appears to me to be far better suited than any other architecture to
the character of the Christian religion. There is that pensive kind of
shade which invites the mind to thought. The grandeur of the objects,
and the vastness of the proportions, make us feel our own littleness:
we find ourselves as nothing in the temples we ourselves have made;
and our thoughts naturally turn to Him who created all.

Certain it is, that the purer the religion, the less is it connected
with external appearances; but so little have we the power of
abstracting our ideas from the immediate matter of our senses, that
there are few who have not, at some time, felt that a great degree of
solemnity in all which surrounds us, is absolutely necessary, when we
would turn the whole current of our thoughts towards the sublime
object of our devotion. Pomp and show, and stage effect, are beneath
the dignity of religion; but when under a dispensation which guides
the heart and its feelings, as well as the body and its actions, the
creature kneels to adore its Creator, the solemnity of every object
around can never be too great for such an awful occasion.

The religion of the Greeks, in harmony with their climate, their
customs, and their minds, was one of striking and brilliant
ceremonies, formed to excite the passions and dazzle the imagination;
with more show than feeling, more elegance than solemnity.

The architecture of their temples was consonant both to the nature of
the people and their religion, light, rich, and graceful, and full of
forms more calculated to excite pleasure and admiration, than thought
or devotion, it had far more grace but less grandeur than the Gothic.
Its very perfection is the cause of its wanting solemnity. The pillars
are exactly proportioned to the building, and the ornaments to the
parts which they adorn; every thing is gradual and easy; but in Gothic
architecture, all is abrupt and striking. The minute ornaments which
are too small to distract the attention from general effect, give, by
contrast, an additional vastness to the high pointed arches, and
enormous columns. The very disproportion of the parts makes the whole
appear larger than it really is, the soul of man seems to have power
to expand amidst the gigantic vaults, under which he walks as an
insect; and his mind naturally takes a tone from the solemn vastness
of the building.

To you, who are almost as great a Goth as myself in these points, I am
not afraid to express my opinions; although I have no architectural
knowledge to support them. I am apt to judge alone from my feelings,
and certainly I never experience the same sensation of awe in any
other building that I do in a Gothic cathedral.

Nothing has occurred to myself worth commemorating since our arrival
in this city, if I except some suspicions which have assailed me
regarding my worthy servant Essex. You remember the fellow and his
extreme plausibility. Amongst other points of his character he
affected no slight dislike to his former master, your acquaintance
Wild; representing him as the most violent and malevolent of human
beings. On going to the post-office myself, the other day, I saw fixed
up amongst the letters which have not been forwarded for want of
postage, one addressed to no other person than Alfred Wild, Esquire,
and that address, too, written in the precise hand which delivers me
my weekly accounts. What, this means I do not know; but I mentioned to
my friend B----, while the fellow was in the room, the fact of having
seen a letter addressed to Wild, but not forwarded for want of
postage. The next day the letter was no longer there. This, however,
might be nothing, did I not feel very sure that--at whose instigation
I know not--the rascal gives himself the trouble of watching me in my
various rambles through the town. If I detect him, he will return to
England with a broken head, although he can find out but little in my
goings forth which can injure

                                   Your's ever,
                                        J---- Y----



                            THE JOURNEY.

          Quatuor hinc rapimur viginti et millia rhedis
          Mansuri oppidulo quod versu dicere non est
          Signis perfacile est. Venit vilissima rerum
          Hic aqua.                            HORACE.



What can it be? It can not be food, nor climate, nor customs, which
make two races of people, living side by side, so very different from
each other. Certain it is, that beauty stops short at the gates of
Rouen; and that from thence to Berney, they are the ugliest,
ill-looking generation that ever I beheld. Not a pretty face was to be
seen for love or money. Nature seemed to have expended all her beauty
upon the scenery.

About three leagues from Rouen we stopped at the foot of a high hill,
and climbing amongst some fine oaks to the left, arrived at the top of
a pinnacle, which commanded the whole country round. It was as
beautiful a view as can be conceived. One vast forest, with
innumerable valleys winding away towards the horizon covered with rich
wood; but as the withering touch of time had not affected all the
trees alike, the thousand autumnal tints of the foliage, and the
various shadows thrown by the undulations of the country, offered a
variety and richness of colouring seldom to be equalled.

The height where we stood had anciently been fortified, and some parts
of the walls are still remaining, which bear the name of _The Château
of Robert le Diable_. Whence the celebrated legend of that personage
derives its origin I know not. The only account I could obtain of him
in this part of the country was from an old woman not to be relied on.

"In the old times," she said, "when Normandy was separate from France,
the lord of that castle, _The Comte Robert_, was a bold, wild young
man, rather famous for doing what he ought not to have done. His lady
mother had been a strange, solitary being, living separate from all
the world after her husband's death, only entertaining herself with
books, which the people judged to be of sorcery, because nobody but
herself understood them, and only talking with spirits; so the people
said, though nobody had ever been present at any of these ghostly
_conversazione_. Be that as it may--in her last moments she was
attended by a capuchin of the neighbouring monastery, who was so
horrified (it appeared) at the confession of her monstrous sins, that
he was seen to stagger out of the castle like one distracted; and when
one of the servants, entirely from love to his mistress, and without
any curiosity whatever, ran after him to ask, what was the matter, he
replied, like a man out of his senses, swearing that he would not
drink the other bottle and crying out that the young count was _the
devil_, and his mother not a whit better. Now the valet, who was a
very religious man, and believed every thing a capuchin said to him,
returned to the castle and told all the people that, his young master
was _the devil_.

"'_C'est le diable_,' said the valet. '_Le diable!_' cried the butler,
laying his finger on his proboscis. '_Le Diable!_' exclaimed the
écuyer, pulling up his boots. '_Le Diable!_' said the countess's maid,
getting closer to the écuyer. 'Do not be frightened, Jeannette,'
whispered he, 'the devil himself shan't hurt you--' What he said more
was lost in a buzz. 'Fie! don't be blasphemous, Roger,' cried
Jeannette, 'who knows what may happen?' and so they talked it all
over, and agreed that it was very possible that the young count might
be _the devil_.

"When the old lady was safely dead and buried, Count Robert ordered
his cellar to be replenished, for it had fallen much to decay; and
getting together a great company of young knights and nobles, they
fell into all manner of excesses; hunting till they were tired, eating
till they were full, and drinking till they were drunk, bespattering
the _old_ women with dirt from their horses' feet, and kissing the
_young_ ones in a very unbecoming manner. So that every body cried out
that Count Robert was--_le diable_.

"Now it so happened that the Count fell in love with the abbess of the
convent of Beauchamp, whom her brother, the Marquis of Millemonte, had
caused to take the veil. He having some religious scruples and qualms
of conscience to paying the dower her father had left her, in case she
entered into the state of matrimony. Nevertheless, the count, who
cared little about religious matters, set his brains to work; and
taking the method of the famous Count Orry, he obtained admission to
the convent; so that every body cried out more than ever, that Count
Robert was certainly--_le diable_.

"The news of this occurrence was not very palatable to the Marquis of
Millemont, but Count Robert heeded not whether he liked it or no, and
went on in revelry and feastings, till one night, the marquis, with a
large company, suddenly broke in upon him, and began to lay about him
without mercy. Now, though the count was as drunk as the sow of a
certain celebrated personage, he fought so hard, that every one swore
Count Robert was _le diable_; till, overpowered by numbers, he was
driven, with the few of his followers who remained alive, from chamber
to chamber, even to the outer wall; whence, sooner than be taken, he
threw himself down into the ditch of the castle; and all those who
were by vowed and averred, that the water where he fell hissed and
fizzed, as if a piece of hot iron had tumbled into it, which
completely convinced all the world that Count Robert was really
nothing but _le diable_.

"From that time to this," said the old woman, "the château has gone
gradually to decay. I remember it, standing high above every thing
around, but now the upstart trees measure their height against it, and
in the greenness of their youth seem to mock its forlorn old age,
forgetting that they shall decay and fall like it, and like me. Every
year robs it of something; and it is only wonderful that it has not
fallen before, as for many a century it has never been inhabited: for
who would dwell in the château of _Robert le Diable?_"

I hated sentiment at that time of my life; and as the _old_ woman was
beginning to grow somewhat sentimental on the old castle, we wished
her good morning, and proceeded as fast as we could to Berney. The
postmaster, or rather the post-mistress, for it was a women, was very
civil and good-tempered, and as she kept an hotel into the bargain, we
should have lodged with her, had it not been for a wet court-yard
between the inn and the street. It had been originally carpeted with
straw, which had since been beaten into a mash and wetted with a
fortnight's rain, so that with the assistance of a number of oxen,
horses, goats, and pigs, it had been rendered quite impassable. We
went then to _l'Equerre_ where we were shown through the kitchen into
a single room with two beds. I hinted to the landlady, that we should
require two rooms, and here began our first battle. She had no idea,
it appears, of people occupying two rooms, when one would do. But I
kept to my point, and told her that an Englishman always required a
room to himself. She said that it was very extraordinary. I agreed to
that, but told her that the English were an extraordinary nation, and
when they could not get two rooms they always went away. Thereupon,
she instantly gave us what we required, though she had vowed fifty
times before that she had but that one apartment vacant.

While dinner was preparing we went out to visit the churches, and
walked through the beautiful valley of Charentonne. We staid a moment
in the cemetery, but there was only one tomb to be distinguished from
the routine of epitaphs commonplace. On the one I speak of appeared a
broken rose, rudely sculptured in the stone, and below were written
some lines, the idea of which was better than the versification.

   "Flower of a day, that blossom'd but to die,
    In native earth thine earth-born beauties lie:
    Not so thine odour, tho' thy stem be riven,
    It, on the blast that broke thee, rose to heaven."

On our return to the inn, our dinner was placed before us. It
consisted of some soup and bouilli, some abortive trout, that I
believe on my conscience were originally intended for gudgeons, a
stewed hare, or _civet de lièvre_ (which probably was some poor
unfortunate cat, for I never could get a sight of the hare-skin), and
some plates of vegetables. I saw by this that our bill would be high;
for, on the same principle that "he ne'er forgives who does the
wrong," an innkeeper who serves you ill always makes you pay for it.

I was not disappointed. Our charges, next morning, were at least twice
as much as by any reasonable calculation they ought to have been; and,
consequently, I struck off one half of the bill. The landlady vowed
that she would not take one sous less than she demanded, and I vowed
that I would not give her one sous more than I offered. She swore I
should not quit the house till I had paid it. I informed her that the
carriage was at the door and that I was going. She said she would go
to the maire. I told her to make haste, then, for that I was in a
hurry. She flew into a violent passion, and I affected to fly into
another. I counted out the half of the bill upon the table; she took
it up and put it in her pocket, and the matter being thus settled, we
both recomposed our faces. I wished her good morning and perfect
health; and she expressed hope, that if we again passed through
Bernal, she should have _le plaisir infini de notre pratique_.

Happy, happy, happy people! An English landlady would have growled for
two hours afterwards.

There is more of the _beau ideal_ of cottage life in France than in
England. One meets with more of those bright and striking points of
original character among the peasantry of France in a day, than one
would find in England in a month. All over the world cultivation has
put nature out of fashion, and man is all the smoother but none the
brighter for it; but, however, it sometimes happens that in our
wanderings we find little bits of pure unadulterated nature that are
worth any price; and when I meet with such, I ask Memory to pick them
up and put them in her pocket for me. It is true that she, careless
slut, often drops what is good, and hoards up what she had better cast
away; but still I have a little treasure in her hands, consisting
simply of bright pictures that I have gathered together as I journey
on. Things seen for a moment and passed by. A group of children
playing; a girl drawing water, a striking effect of light and shade,
or the passing away of a storm, will give me more pleasure and remain
longer upon my memory than all the graces and attitudes even of a
Taglioni.

In passing through Normandy alone, a painter, who could sketch
rapidly, with taste and imagination to guide him, might soon fill his
portfolio with groups that would set him above all the artists in the
world. I remember as we drove out of Bernay, there was a girl standing
at the window of a cottage by the road-side; she was young, and her
form had all the loveliness of youth, the wild grace of nature, and
the richness of simplicity. Her hands leaned upon the bar of the
window, and she seemed watching the progress of a cloud that flitted
across the blue sky, with her eyes raised towards heaven, and her
brown hair falling back from her face. She was worth all the Magdalens
that ever were painted.

The gardens of the Guinguettes, too, are prodigal of undisguised
nature. In the evening of a summer Sunday, all the youth of the
neighbourhood assemble there to dance away the afternoon, and all is
harmony and joy. Nature has full room to act, and she always does it
beautifully.

I know not well which is the cause and which the effect--whether a
French peasant's peculiar amusements render him a better tempered
animal than an Englishman of the same class, or whether it is a
disposition naturally gentler, that leads him to those amusements.
Certain it is, that his amusements are generally milder in their kind,
and more good-humoured in their execution than an Englishman's; and I
cannot help thinking, that if our country magistrates would but
encourage and revive the nearly forgotten rural sports of our
ancestors, many good feelings which have been lost; would come back
with those innocent pastimes.

The object of all mankind is happiness; and the object of all good
lawgivers is to secure the greatest possible portion of it to those
they govern. Every thing that renders the people gentler among
themselves, renders them happier; and there is no greater bond of
union amongst a whole nation, than general attachment to ancient
customs.

In France, every thing is done for the people's amusement. The
government aid it; the magistrates encourage it; and the rich, look on
with pleasure, while the poor enjoy themselves. It unites all classes
of society by the strongest ties; and while an Englishman sits
drinking before a public-house, abusing the laws he neither knows nor
understands, a Frenchman dances away his hours, contented with himself
and all the world.

Among the lower classes of the peasantry (I do not, speak of the
inhabitants of cities) the evils of the revolution were little felt.
The conscription was the only thing that affected them; and whilst
almost every other class lost the better part of their character they
remained the same. They may be savage in their resentments, but it
needs real injury to excite them; and in their amusements they are
mild, cheerful, and orderly. At the fairs and at different fêtes,
where there are various sports and prizes supplied at the expense of
government, it is truly astonishing to see the general good humour and
regularity which prevails; and, in spite of the gensdarmes who stand
looking on like the ushers of a school on a half-holiday, nature is
not at all checked to produce it. On the contrary, she is always
breaking forth; and it is the very spirit of happiness which she
breathes, well pleased with herself and with all around her. I have
often wished for the pencil of a Wilkie to sketch the faces, I have
seen grinning at a merry-andrew, or watching the efforts of a poor
devil on a tourniquet,[3] striving to keep the unsteady machine on the
balance, till he arrives at the prizes within his view; and just when
he fancies that he grasps success, round flies the tourniquet and down
he falls amongst the people--and what then? Why the people laugh, and
he laughs too; and takes his place at the end of the file to try his
luck again.


--------------------

[Footnote 3: The tourniquet consists of two triangular pieces of wood
fixed at about three yards distance from each other on a horizontal
pole, which serves for an axle-tree; from each angle of the one to the
corresponding angle of the other is drawn a rope; and the whole
machine is suspended at about four feet from the ground. At one end is
placed a pole, on which hang the prizes; and at the other is a ladder
for the aspirant to mount. The tourniquet is held steady till he is
firmly fixed, with each of his feet resting on one of the side ropes,
and his hands clasping the centre one; and then he is left to make his
way to the prizes at the other end. As long as he can keep himself
exactly balanced all is well; but the least pressure more to one side
than the other, destroys the equilibrium, and round goes the
tourniquet.]


                   ---------------


I once saw a country girl watching her lover trying hard to win a
tempting mouchoir, which no doubt they had both determined to be the
finest thing in the world to deck her out next Sunday at mass. She
looked timidly round her every now and then, as if she feared that the
eagerness she felt in her heart should shine out before the world, and
then she fixed her eyes upon her lover again, while he got on by
degrees, till at last the mischievous tourniquet turned him and his
hopes upside down together. The long compressed breath burst from the
girl's lips in a deep sigh, but the lad gave a gay look through the
crowd, and a smile to where his mistress stood, as much as to say--"I
am not beaten yet;" and took his place again. But there were half a
dozen to try their fortune before him; and as they came nearer and
nearer the poll on which the prizes hung, he regarded them anxiously;
and I could see that it was not he hoped they would fall, but that he
feared they would take the very mouchoir he had fixed his heart upon.
I do not know why, but something had made me determine that one way or
another the girl should not go away without a mouchoir; and so now,
having an interest in the matter, when it came to his turn again I
watched him as eagerly as any one. But he managed well, and proceeding
slowly and cautiously came near the prizes, gave a spring at the
mouchoir, and brought it to the ground. In the triumph of his heart he
could not help holding it up to his mistress, which called a laugh
from the people. But it mattered little; the girl paid for her
mouchoir with a blush; and taking the arm of her lover walked away as
happy as a princess--nay a great deal happier.



                  WORDS AND THINGS.

      And all the rest is leather and prunella.


As we rolled on at a very tolerable pace, towards le Mans, we met a
troop of conscripts on the road; forced from their homes, torn from
all early and dear associations--and there they were, as gay as larks,
singing and laughing till the welkin rang. Yet the French people do
not like the conscription. The government of Napoleon had become
intolerable from it; and the irksome taxes comprised under the title
of _droits réunis_, was another source of discontent. It is a very
general mistake to suppose that words are merely the representatives
of ideas, when every day experience shows us that a change in words is
often of much more consequence than a change in things. The Bourbon
family, on their restoration, promised that the _conscription_ should
be abolished, and that the _droits réunis_ should no longer exist; and
consequently their names were expelled from the catalogue of
government terms: but as it was found absolutely necessary that the
king should be supplied with soldiers, and the state with money, the
name of _jeunes soldats_ was substituted for _conscrits_, and
_contributions indirectes_ for that of _droits réunis_. This proved
highly satisfactory to all; and there were only a few weak-minded
individuals, who took snuff, and pretended that, in reality, things
remained just as they were.

We rolled on.--One little act of kindness, one smile from a warm and
benevolent heart, is worth all the cant and politeness in the world.
It was a changeable autumn day, and as we came to the top of the hill
which overlooks the rich valley of Gacé, a dark heavy storm, which had
obscured the sky for more than an hour, suddenly broke away, and left
the whole scene beaming in light and loveliness. My friend was much
fatigued, and as we were about to change horses here, we agreed to
stay and dine. The post-house was the inn, and, on driving up to the
door, a fine portly old man, and two black-eyed blooming girls, came
out to greet the travellers on their arrival with so much frankness
and good-nature in their faces that, had we been travelling on life
and death, we must even have stayed to dinner there. The first room in
all Norman inns is the kitchen, and thither Monsieur Butet led us, and
introduced us in form to _Madame sa femme_, who was the counterpart of
her husband--the same age and size for a woman as he was for a man,
with the same look of hilarity and health, and the same frank open
countenance that bade you welcome before she spoke. Every thing, too,
around them was clean and neat, and bespoke a family of cheerful
regularity. My feet were very wet with getting in and out of the
carriage to pay the postboys, so the two girls took me under their
special protection, and setting me by the side of the large chimney,
blew up the fire to dry me, while Madame Butet got, the dinner ready,
and her husband showed my friend to a room where he could lie down. I
will not say they were civil--civil seems a mercenary word--they were
kind.

At dinner they gave us the best of every thing they had; and if we
required any little change, it was done with alacrity and good humour.
The two girls served us, and laughed and talked, and showed their
white teeth, as if they had known us for a hundred years; and the
father came in to ask if we had every thing we wished. After dinner he
begged to know if he should put to the horses, for, if we intended to
go to Alençon that night it was growing late; but we told him that we
intended to spend the night with him. He made us a low bow, and said
that we did him too much honour, that his was a poor, little inn, and
they had nothing to offer us but good will. The _bourg_, too, had
nothing curious or interesting to amuse us, he added; yet he must say,
that though he had visited many places, he had never seen a sweeter
valley, or a neater little town than Gacé.

The next morning was market-day, and before the windows we had all the
women of the country round, in their high white caps and bright gowns
either of blue or red. Amongst other commodities, one which had a
great sale was the sabot, or wooden shoe; and Mademoiselle Butet
advising me to buy a pair to put on in getting out of the carriage, I
begged her to send for some to let me see. When they came, she tried
them on for me herself, showed me how to wear them, chaffered the
vender down five or six sous in the price, and carried them off to
show her father what a pretty pair of sabots she had bought for
Monsieur.

We had every reason to be contented at Gacé; we were well lodged, and
fed, and treated, and the bill was but a trifle. It contained only one
word--"bonne chère," good cheer; and was not more simple than the
people themselves.

I was almost afraid that some little thing might lower these good
souls in my opinion; but no, it went on to the last in the same kind,
good-humoured, unpretending way. They had welcomed us like friends,
and so they bade us farewell; and coming all out to the door, they
wished us a pleasant journey, and many happy years, and looked after
us long as we drove away.

Several circumstances amused me much in passing from Alençon to le
Mans: but I gradually got tired of my position, and was not at all
sorry when the carriage drove up to the inn. It was a cold, cheerless,
drizzly night, as one could wish for; and as I hate to take the worst
view of a place, by looking at it through a mist of any kind, I turned
my eyes obstinately towards the large arched entry of the inn, without
regarding whether the town was black, white, or gray. There was, a
little sort of bureau on the left hand, and at the door was standing
one of the most interesting beings I ever beheld. It was altogether a
picture we seldom meet with. The light fell sideways, and showed as
beautiful a face as any in the world, in that deep relief of light and
shade which Rembrandt only knew how to manage. It was very fair, and
very pale; the hair was simply braided on the forehead under a cap
shaped like a nun's; and the long dark eyes, as they were turned
towards the spot where we stood, caught the light, but seemed more to
absorb than to reflect it. There was a degree of quiet peace in the
attitude, and a tranquil calmness in the countenance, which expressed
a thoughtful mind, and a gentle unperturbed spirit, better than any
eloquence could have done it; and the silver cross which hung by a
black ribbon round her neck and rested on her hand, seemed to point
out more particularly the bent of her thoughts. I know not why (for I
never scrutinize my motions), but as I passed by, I instinctively
pulled off my hat. My companion was equally struck with myself; and
one of our first questions went to obtain further information. "She
was daughter (they told us) of the mistress of the house, and intended
to become _religieuse_."

I asked if there was any reason. Perhaps some sorrow had given her
mind that bent--some disappointment of that kind which rests on
woman's heart like a blight, till the whole tree withers? but they
told us no; that she had always been thus. She was, it seems, one of
those calm, quiet spirits, which are as strangers in the midst of the
busy world, taking no part in its cares and its joys, and looking
sorrowfully upon all the evil that is done and suffered, She was very
good, the people said, and very charitable, and every body loved her;
and for the moment I felt a degree of grief that her heart had never
met any one that was worthy of its affection. But no, it was better
not; for love is but a brighter name for pain; and God forbid that a
spirit which turned towards heaven, should be weighed down by any of
the passions of earth.

In the evening I missed my friend for half an hour; and when he
rejoined me, "I have been talking with our nun," said he, "over the
fire." But I begged him not to tell me any thing about it. "I would
not have done it for the world," said I.

"Why not?" demanded he:--and as some one else may ask the same
question, and think I meant differently from that which I did, I will
give the reasons now, as I gave them then. I would not have done it
for the world; for I never like to compare the paintings of fancy with
the originals. Realities are seldom the pleasantest parts of life.
Hope, memory, and, even enjoyment, are more than half imagination.
Every thing is mellowed by distance; and when we come too near, the
airy softness is lost, and the hard lines of truth are offered harshly
to the eye. Half our sorrows are the breaking of different illusions:
sometimes they must be broken; but when, without danger to himself, or
injury to others, man can enrich the scene before him with ideal
beauties, he is foolish to examine minutely the objects of which
it is composed. The cottage, with its broken thatch and shining piece
of water in the foreground, is picturesque and beautiful in a
landscape;--but what is the reality? The dwelling of misery, decorated
with a horse-pond! The splendid pageants, that dazzle the lesser
children at a theatre, are but dirty daubs of paint and tinsel; and it
is the same with the stage of the world. It never answers to be behind
the scenes. In life, I have met with but two things equal to what I
fancied them--sunrise from a mountain, and a draught of water when I
was thirsty.


                   ----------------


                    A FRENCH COOK.


There is no man on earth, I believe, who has not figured to himself a
sort of animal totally distinct from every thing else in nature, and
called it in his own mind a _French cook_.

It is, in a manner, an historical character; and from the very nursery
we accustom ourselves to picture him with a long pigtail and a
nightcap, skinning cats and fricasseeing frogs. But the breed is
nearly extinct: I had sought for one of the true race all over France
with the zeal and fervour of an antiquary, and long had only the
mortification of finding every kitchen filled with plump, greasy
professors (who for fat and solemnity, might have occupied any chair
in a Dutch university), skimming their dirty saucepans, and
mercilessly compounding mutton and beef to supply the cravings of a
nation who have nearly abandoned frogs,[4] snails and vipers, to feed
upon the same gross aliments as the English. As I have said, much had
been my mortification; but there was a reward in store for me, Le
Valliant could not have been more gratified when he first met with the
giraffe than was I, when, on entering the kitchen at le Mans, my eyes
fell upon the minister of the culinary department. It was the _beau
ideal_ of a French cook! and had Hogarth seen him, he would have made
him immortal.


--------------------

[Footnote 4: Be it remarked, that this is not entirely the case. In
all parts at France frogs are still in high repute. The snail,
_escargot_, is a favourite food of the people of Lorraine; and, in the
south of France, I have been asked whether I liked _anguille de haie_
or _anguille de rivière_; meaning, whether I preferred eels or
snakes.]

--------------------


He was about sixty, and as thin as could be well desired. His
complexion was _café au lait_, set off by a pair of small eyes, high
up in his head, as black as jet, and sparkling like the charcoal under
his saucepans; while his hair, as white as snow, stuck out in full
friz, like a powder-puff, and supported a candid nightcap, which,
leaning slightly to one side, let the tassel sway peacefully over his
left ear.

Whether it was from constantly leaning to the side of royalty (for he
had been an _émigré_), or from some accident, I do not know, but one
of his legs was rather shorter than the other. This, however, nothing
deteriorated the dignity of his deportment; and when he appeared in
the midst of stews and sauces, with his gray jacket, his snowy apron,
and his knife by his side, my imagination became exalted: his nightcap
assumed the appearance of a wreath; his jacket transformed itself into
pontifical robes; his knife became the instrument of sacrifice; the
_b[oe]uf au naturel_ changed to the bellowing victim; the kitchen to
the porch of the temple; and I began to fancy myself in ancient
Greece, when suddenly he advanced towards us with a smiling air, and
placed chairs for us by the fire. "Sit down English gentlemans," said
he, in a barbarous corruption of my native language; "sit down, sit
down. Oh! I go make you nice dinner. I be in England; I make the
kitchen to Lord Salisbury. Do you understand Lord Salisbury?
_Connaissez-vous_ Lord Salisbury."

What between himself and his English, I have seldom met any thing
equal to him. He had all the importance, too, of his profession; there
was a gravity in his emptiness, and a politeness in his gravity. When
he cooked, his whole soul seemed in the dish; but when any one
addressed him, his face relaxed into a smile, and the dish was forgot.
The pride of his heart was in his saucepans, which hung up in
innumerable shining rows above our heads, burnished like the armour of
Achilles, and from those saucepans he produced fare worthy the great
Lucullus. Indeed, he was the best cook I ever met; but that is easily
accounted for. He had been cook to a seminary of Catholic priests, and
quitted it upon some quarrel. The good father directors, soon finding
how much their palates lost by his absence, wished him to return; and
he showed with no small triumph a letter he had received to that
effect. I copied, and give it word for word. The colouring might be
heightened, but it is better as it is; and, as a specimen of an
epistle from a priest to a cook, it is unique:--

   "MON CHER MONSIEUR,    "_Paris_, 8 _Juillet_ 1823.

"Voici ce que Monsieur le Supérieur m'a dit de vous répondre. 'Si vous
voulez être bien raisonnable, bien gentil, être bon chrétien, vous
conformer en tout aux règles de la maison, vous n'avez qu'à revenir au
plus tôt. Je ferai votre affaire.' Voilà ses propres paroles.

"Je me réjouis de cette heureuse nouvelle que je vous apprends. Je dis
que c'est pour vous une heureuse et très-heureuse nouvelle, car où
peut-on être mieux que dans une maison où, si l'on veut, l'on peut se
sanctifier si facilement et mériter le bonheur du paradis? Venez donc
au plus vite, venez dans ce saint séminaire, où vous vous rendrez
digne du ciel, j'en suis sûr. Je suis avec amitié votre très-devoué,

                             "JEAN-BAPTISTE C----."

"P. S. Je me porte beaucoup mieux."



                          THE TABLE D'HÔTE.

   If our landlord supplies us with beef and with fish,
   Let each guest bring himself, and he brings the best dish.
                                         --RETALIATION.


The table d'hôte of the Boule d'Or at le Mans was like an _olla
podrida_. There was a little of every thing; all the odd ends and
scraps of society bashed up in one dish. Next to me, on the left, was
an old noble, Grand Cordon of one of the orders of merit, who had come
to put his son to the college at la Flèche. He had seen much of the
world--had been an emigrant and a wanderer. There were the traces of
many sorrows, dangers, and cares, on his countenance; but if ever the
heart finds an interpreter in the eye, his had not been hardened by
the trials of life. He had that sort of urbanity in his face, which
probably in youth had been accompanied by a gayer and a quicker
spirit, though years had left nothing but the calm placidity of
demeanour, which, if it does not spring from benevolence, at least
appears to do so.

On my other hand was a young travelling linen draper--a good example
of French education. He had been brought up at a college, but that had
not spoiled him for trade. He would talk with equal learning of Horace
and cambric, and spoke as scientifically of the measurement of angles
as the measuring of ribbons. He had scraps of Latin and samples of
cloth, and added, moreover, a political system, which was certainly of
his own manufacture. Neat my friend sat a very elegant old man, with a
long-waisted Windsor gray coat, and ruffles, in the mode of 17--, to
his shirt, which peeped timidly out from under the cuffs of his coat,
like a ci-devant ashamed to show himself amongst the upstarts of
fashion. They were kept in countenance, however, by a powdered wig,
with two long rows of curls on each side, and a tapering pigtail that,
like a ship, furrowing its way through the sea, marked the coat with a
white track all down the centre of his back. Towards the end of the
meal, a priest, newly arrived, came in with his servant, and they both
sat down to table together. Each was as dirty as can well be imagined,
but the master was, in this respect, pre-eminent. Nature had kneaded
him with a round, fat, copper-coloured face, which had evidently
little acquaintance with soap and water, and his black rugged beard
apparently went from Sunday to Sunday without the touch of innovating
steel. His hands, which probably fate had originally designed for
pig-driving, were now as dirty as if they still followed that
employment, and these he thrust unmannerly into the dish, without
vouchsafing a word or a look to those around him.

It is the poetry of life to see a man superior to his station, and
rising above his fate; but it is distressing to find the station thus
degraded by the man. However, he and his servant sat together; and
talked together, and ate together; and, most probably, the servant
would have been very ill pleased if he had dined on meaner fare than
his master. A Frenchman of this class can live upon any thing. If he
cannot get better, a galette and butter-milk, or soupe maigre and a
beurrée, will content him. But, if they be within reach, two services
and a dessert are not at all too much for him. An Englishman of the
same rank never aspires to more than a piece of meat and a mug of ale;
but he must have that, or he cries starvation.

The French have a kind of irritable jealousy towards the English;
which sometimes makes them forget their general politeness; Give them
but a civil word, make the least advance, and they receive you with
open arms; but show them that cold reserve, with which an Englishman
generally treats all strangers, and every Frenchman's hand is on his
sword.

I believe we had been rather silent during dinner, but the young
traveller on my right soon commenced snarling against the English. He
began about manufacturers, as something in his own line; saying that
we pretended to rival the French, but if we lowered our duties we
should soon find how far we were surpassed by the taste and elegance
of French productions. The émigré on my right, said that he was not
quite convinced of that. The superiority of our machines, the industry
of our population; and the vastness of our resources, he said gave us
infinite advantages over every competitor; and he was afraid that
France would be obliged to call forth all her energies before she
could equal us, without thinking of going beyond.

The gentleman in the ruffles observed mildly, that England must have a
very unproductive climate. He had lived long, he said, upon the coast
of Brittany, and remarked constant boat-loads of fruit, vegetables,
and eggs, embarked for England. The fruit and vegetables he could
understand; for that entirely depended upon the atmosphere, but he
could not imagine why we had no eggs. I replied that it was, probably,
because our hens being naturally of colder constitutions than the
French fowls, had a greater penchant for celibacy.

"The truth is," said the old nobleman, "that those who have never been
in England, do not know what England is. Her productions are perfectly
capable of supplying her population, but her immense wealth giving her
the means of excess, she is not content with what she absolutely
wants, but drains other countries of their necessaries to furnish her
with luxuries, and the least check throws the burden on the lower
orders.

"True," said the young traveller, "England is glad enough to drain
other countries; and without doubt, she now only proposes to open her
ports, to overburden us with her useless gold, in exchange for our
substantial commodities. England talks of her liberal policy, but it
is her own interest only she consults, and would gladly ruin the world
to enrich herself with its spoils."

There was something very warm came rising into my cheek, but the old
emigrant made a slight inclination, as much as to say, "let me answer
him," so I said nothing.

"You are very wrong, sir;" replied he to the young man. "You are
wrong, and unjust. At a period too unhappy to France for a Frenchman
willingly to recal, did England take any unhandsome advantage of her
position? Who would have refused her, if she had demanded ten times
more than she required? And since then, of what has she defrauded the
nations? Of what has she robbed the world? Her only object has been to
guard and protect her commerce which, is her existence; and this she
has scarcely done as much as her able policy and successful arms gave
the title to expect, and the power to exact. So much for her
government; now for her people. No one shall say one word against them
before me. When I was an exile and a wanderer, without a country, and
without a friend, the English received me, protected me, supported me.
The nation gave me the means of existence, and individuals made that
existence happy. France is the country of my youth and of my love: in
my young days I drew my sword for her, but have never unsheathed it
against her. France shall have my bones when I die, and my affection
while I live; but England shall ever have my gratitude, and Englishmen
my esteem."

He spoke, and the fire that had animated him, passed away, and left
his countenance as mild and tranquil as it had been before.

At Tours I parted from the friend who had hitherto accompanied me, as
he intended to visit Blois and Orleans, while I was bent upon
wandering awhile in Brittany, which to my mind, filled as it was with
the memories of La Vendée and of the war of loyalty was quite a new
land of romance. To Rennes I first bent my steps, and there
accidentally made some acquaintances who proved very serviceable in
directing my steps aright to the various places of interest in the
province. I shall not, however, pause to narrate all my excursions, as
I am not writing an itinerary of Brittany--though to say the truth I
know few parts of the world which present more points of interest.
There is a frankness and good humour, too, about the people, which is
very agreeable. They want perhaps a part of the refinement of the
Parisians; but they make up in sincerity for all deficiencies in
polish. I cannot, indeed, say that their morality is very rigid, nor
can I boast that while I remained amongst them I avoided the ordinary
errors into which youth and inexperience are but too apt to fall. The
thought of Emily Somers, however, as well as still holier thoughts,
kept me from any very reprehensible conduct, and I took care by
constantly writing to her to prevent her from fancying that I had
forgotten her even for a moment.

I had been absent from England between four and five months when some
occurrences took place which must be mentioned. After various
expeditions to different parts of the country, I was thinking of
turning my steps towards my native land, and had returned to Rennes
with that view, when I was again called back half way to Nantes by a
tale which I may call



                       THE PEASANT OF BRITTANY.

                              CHAPTER I.

There is, in a wild and unfrequented part of Brittany, a small
farm-house, which I was now led to visit with as much reverence as many
a devout worshipper has felt, at the shrine of his saint. It is
situated at the distance of about a league from the small town of
Nozay, and is within sight of a solitary windmill on the hill beyond
that place, called the _Moulin à vent de Bolhalard_. Around it are
about thirty acres of arable land, sheltered by the slopes that sweep
down towards it on three sides; but beyond that little patch of
cultivation, the hills around are, as every one knows who has visited
that part of France, covered with heath, which, on the table-land at
the summit, ends in the sandy unproductive sort of track called
_landes_. It is a bleak and desolate scene, and, even when the sun
shines in all his summer brightness, its aspect is wild and solitary;
but when, as is frequently the case, the sky above is covered with
cold gray clouds, or when the chill easterly wind sweeps over the
unprotected plains, there are few places that I know which offer an
appearance of more cheerless dreariness than the farm of Dervais.

Early one day in the beginning of the month of June, and in the year
1794, the old farmer, who at that time cultivated the little spot of
productive land which I have mentioned, and fed his sheep upon the
neighbouring heaths, stood before his door gazing up towards the sky,
as if to ascertain what sort of weather was to predominate during the
day. I may be permitted to describe him; for the name of La Brousse
should live for ever, where honour, and good faith, and generous
devotion, are valued amongst men. Like the generality of Breton
peasants, he was tall, bony, and powerful, with long arms and muscular
hands, which, even at that period of his life, would have performed
many a feat of extraordinary strength. He must have been more than
sixty years of age, and the long curling locks of white hair, which,
like every Breton, he preserved with reverential care, hung down upon
his shoulders, and over a forehead high and broad as that of Milton.
Persons who had been accustomed to mark the features common to
particular counties in England, would have taken him for a Cornish
man, by the peculiar cast of his countenance; and it is more than
probable that his blood was derived from the same stock. His eye was
of a clear dark blue, beneath a marked overhanging eyebrow; and his
long straight pose, and rounded chin, offered traces of beauty which
had survived even the ruinous effects of time. His dress was simply
that of a peasant of the province. The expression of his countenance
at the time I speak of, was stern and melancholy. Well, indeed, might
it be so; for, in the Vendean wars of the preceding year, his two
sons, his only children, had fallen in fighting gallantly against the
revolutionary tyranny; and, childless in his old age, he stood and saw
his country each day accumulating crimes, and drowning her best hopes
in blood.

As he paused before his cottage-door on the day I mention, and gazed
up to the sky, he saw nothing but thin gray clouds drifting slowly
over the wide awful expanse of heaven, promising one of those warm wet
days which so often serve as a link between the summer and the spring;
but, when he let his glance sink to the side of the hill, he beheld a
young woman descending towards him by a little path, which traced its
wavy line amongst the heath and fern, till both heath and fern were
lost in arid _landes_ beyond.

"Some one seeking milk," he thought at first, as his eye rested on the
figure; and he was about to turn into his house, to see whether he had
any to spare; but there was something in the form of the approaching
visitor, something in the step and in the air, that made him pause,
and watch her coming more closely, while a strong expression of
anxiety gradually, appeared in his straining eye.

She came on rapidly, as if in haste, and yet with a wavering and
uncertain step, like one much wearied. When nearer, too, he saw that
her clothes were not those of a peasant girl, and through haste, and
terror, and fatigue, there shone an air of grace and dignity not to be
mistaken. La Brousse took an involuntary step to meet her; and, as if
he understood it all at once--as if he saw that she was the wife
or child of some Vendean chief, flying from the revolutionary
butchers--the words, "Poor thing!" were murmured ere he asked a
question.

When she came near, the spectacle she offered was a sad one. She was
young and graceful, and exquisitely beautiful, but weariness, sorrow,
and terror were written in every line of her countenance, while her
dress was soiled and torn, and dabbled in many parts with blood. Her
story was soon told; for none of those attached to the cause of
royalty, even in the times of the bitterest persecution, ever
hesitated to rely entirely upon the loyalty and honour of the Breton
peasantry; so that Clara de la Roche, the daughter of the unhappy
marquis of that name, who fell in the route of Mans, related her tale
to the ears of the good farmer La Brousse, with as much confidence, of
sympathy, protection, and good faith, as if she had been relating it
to the ears of a parent. After her father's death she had followed the
fortunes of her only brother, through all the horrors of the Vendean
war, till he also had fallen about a week before; and from that time
she had wandered on, without companion or home, friend or protector,
through a country in which famine was fast treading upon the steps of
war; where her only food was obtained from charity; and where some of
the many horrible deaths which had been invented by the diabolical
cruelty of revolutionary tyranny, awaited her the moment she set her
foot within the walls of a town. Good old La Brousse had once given
shelter to her brother after some unsuccessful effort in the royal
cause; and she had now sought him out, and besought him with tears, to
let her live even as a servant in his house, till some of those dreams
of triumphant loyalty, in which the Vendeans still indulged, should at
length be realized.

The old man led her in as tenderly, and as affectionately, as if she
had been his own child, set before her all his cottage afforded,
soothed her sorrow, and spoke the sweet hope of better days, and
happier fortunes. "She could not act as his servant," he said, looking
at her small beautiful hands; "for her appearance would at once betray
her; but the daughter of a noble royalist, and especially a child of
the house of La Roche, should never want bread or protection, while
old La Brousse could give it, though the very act might cost his life.
Mademoiselle, however, must consent to lie concealed," he added; and
he showed her how the back of one of those _armoires_, which are so
common in that country, had been contrived to act as a door to a
little room beyond, which was lighted by a concealed window, and
which, though extremely small, was neat and comfortable. Here, La
Brousse told her, she must spend the greater part of her day, as her
brother had done while he lay concealed in his house; but that, at
night, when the doors and windows were all closed, she might come
forth in security, and towards dusk might even venture to take a walk
across the _landes_.

The prospect of such a state of existence would have been horrible
enough to most people; but to Clara de la Roche it offered that
blessed repose and security--that temporary cessation of terror, and
horror, and fatigue--which had filled every hour of her being during
the months just past; and with joy she took up her abode in the
chamber, which, indeed, was little different from a prison in any
thing but the name. While the good old peasant was still in the act of
showing her how to open and to close the door at will, a step was
heard behind them; and, turning quickly round, Clara beheld a pretty
peasant girl, of about eighteen or twenty, entering the cottage; while
old La Brousse told her not to be afraid, as it was only Ninette, a
cousin's child, who kept his house for him, and who might be trusted
as much as himself. Clara had no fears when she beheld a peasant, and
she felt too, as most women would feel, that although she might see
but little of Ninette, yet there was great comfort in having one other
of her own sex constantly near her. The peasant girl too, habituated
to such scenes, seemed to understand her situation at once, and came
forward to speak to her with much kindness; but the tidings that she
had seen horsemen upon the hill, riding about as if in search of some
one, abridged all ceremony, and Clara at once took up her abode in her
place of concealment.

Scarcely was the door in the back of the _armoire_ closed, and the
interior of the cottage restored to its usual aspect, when Clara, as
she listened anxiously, heard the tramp of horse--to her ears a sound
accursed--and the shouting voice of soldiery disturbing the quiet
solitude in which she had taken refuge. In another moment they entered
the cottage, and she soon found that she herself together with several
other royalists, was the object of their search. With breathless
anxiety she continued to listen while the whole house was examined,
with the exception of the very spot in which she lay concealed. Nor
was her fear to end, even when the soldiers had satisfied themselves
that she was not there; for, having given the farm of Dervais as a
rendezvous to several of their comrades scattered over the hill, the
dragoons remained for several hours, drinking, singing, and mingling
together in a foul strain, which they called conversation, blasphemy,
ferocity, boasting, and ribaldry. At length, however, after many a
weary moment spent by Clara in intense anxiety, the soldiers were
joined by their their companions; and, mounting their horses, they
once more rode away, leaving her to a longer interval of peace and
security than she had known for many months.



                              CHAPTER II.

To the inhabitants of La Brousse's cottage the rest of the day passed
in peace. With the old man and his young relative it went by in their
usual occupations. To Clara de la Roche it passed in sleep; for grief
and fatigue weighed heavy upon her eyelids, and she had not known one
undisturbed hour of secure repose for many a long day. She was still
asleep, when a light tap on the concealed door awoke her, and the
voice of Ninette was heard, informing her that she might venture out
of concealment, as the house was closed for the night. Clara now found
herself in complete darkness, and had some difficulty in opening the
door; but at length she discovered the spring, and issued forth
gladly--for, whatever security it may bring along with it, confinement
to one small space is never without its pain. The wide kitchen of La
Brousse's farm-house was only lighted by one small resin candle; but
the eyes of Clara de la Roche were dazzled for a moment, and she was
in the midst of the room, ere she perceived another figure besides
those of the good farmer and his young relation. It was that of a man
of about six-and-twenty years of age, dressed in the garb of a
peasant, and with a complexion so bronzed by the sun, as to speak
plainly habits of constant exposure and toil. But still there was
something in his appearance which at once made Clara de la Roche doubt
that he was altogether that which he seemed. It was not alone that his
face and his figure were as handsome and as finely formed as it is
possible to behold; for impartial nature as often bestows her more
perfect gifts upon the children of active industry as upon those of
cultivation--and his was evidently a frame inured to toil and
exertion; but it was that, with all, there was a calm grace, and
easiness of position and of movement which is generally acquired, not
given--which springs more frequently from cultivation of mind than
from perfection of body--and which is difficult of attainment, even
under every advantage of station and fortune.

When Clara entered, he was leaning with one hand upon a large oaken
chair, his head slightly bent, and his eyes raised towards the opening
door; but the moment he perceived that the steadfast gaze with which
he regarded the fair fugitive raised a bright blush upon her cheek, he
dropped his look to the ground; and, though there was space enough for
all, drew back a step, as if to give her greater room to advance.

Old La Brousse, who saw their eyes meet, and the surprise that
painted itself on Clara's countenance at beholding a stranger,
instantly came forward to quiet her apprehension, by saying, "My
nephew, Mademoiselle!" But though Ninette looked from Auguste to the
face of the young lady, with a glance that seemed to claim Clara's
admiration for the handsome young peasant, yet she appeared, the
moment after, to think that the eyes of Auguste de la Brousse
expressed somewhat more of admiration for the fair fugitive than was
necessary or becoming. The whole family, however, were kind and gentle
towards her, and Clara sat down with them to their homely supper.
Ninette was soon all gaiety; but the young peasant was grave, and even
sad. Nevertheless, in the course of the evening, he spoke to
Mademoiselle de la Roche more than once; and, when Clara retired to
her place of concealment, she needed no other voice to tell her that
neither his birth nor his education had been amongst the peasantry of
Bretagne.

To some persons, who he could be, and what could be his real
situation, would have afforded matter for much thought and
speculation; but Clara de in Roche settled it in her own mind at once.
"He must be one of the young nobility of la Vendée," she thought. "He
could be none else than one, like herself, seeking refuge in
concealment and incognito from persecution and destruction;" and, of
course, a bond of sympathy and esteem was instantly established
between her own heart and that of the young stranger.

She saw neither him nor La Brousse, however, during the whole of the
next day, though Ninette visited her more than once, and often turned
the conversation to Auguste. It is wonderful how keen women's eyes are
in seeing into other women's hearts; and although Clara herself was
yet scarcely nineteen, and had possessed as few opportunities as any
one of judging what love is, yet she was not long in discovering that
there was a spark of affection for the young stranger lighted in the
bosom of poor Ninette, which she feared, from what she suspected of
his real station, might prove hereafter dangerous to her peace. Many
were the questions that she asked concerning Auguste's history; and
Ninette, with whom the subject was a favourite one, replied to them
all, although, at the same time, she thought that Mademoiselle was
somewhat too particular in her inquiries. The answers that Clara
received, however, were not such as tended to clear away her
suspicions. Ninette declared that Auguste came from a branch of old La
Brousse's family, which had long inhabited another part of the
country, and that he had not been more that ten days at the farm,
whither he had come to help his uncle, who found some difficulty in
carrying on his agricultural operations since the death of his two
sons.

At night, as soon as the house was completely closed in, and all
prying eyes excluded, Clara again ventured from her place of
concealment; and certainly, if she had before appeared handsome in the
eyes of Auguste, she now, refreshed by repose, looked loveliness
itself. Clara could not but feel that she was admired; and perhaps, at
another moment, the admiration of the young stranger--whose tone, and
manner, and language, as well as his appearance, all belied the
character he assumed--might not have been unpleasant to a heart
naturally gentle and affectionate, and ready to cling to any thing for
support and consolation. But she saw, at the same time, that every
look which Auguste turned towards her, every word that he addressed to
her, inflicted a pang upon Ninette; and though Clara well knew that
the passion the poor girl was nourishing could only end in her ruin,
if the object of it was base, and in her unhappiness, if he were noble
and virtuous, yet her heart was not one willing to inflict pain upon
any human being; and she remained cold, silent, and reserved, where,
she would gladly have confided her feelings, her sorrows, and her
hopes.

During the course of the day that followed, Ninette scarcely came near
the place of Mademoiselle de la Roche's concealment; and although, two
days before, Clara had regarded it with delighted satisfaction, as the
first secure resting-place she had found for long, she now began to
feel the confinement and the solitude irksome. Her own thoughts, which
were full of painful memories, varied by hardly any thing but
apprehensions as painful, were certainly not the sweetest of
companions during the long hours of a solitary summer's day, and she
would have given much for a book to while away the time. At length,
however, night came, and this time it was the voice of La Brousse
himself that gave the signal for her to come forth. Ninette was
sitting pettishly in one corner of the room, while Auguste stood by
the table with his hand resting upon a small packet of books, which he
was not long in offering to Clara, as a means of occupying her
solitary hours. He did so with the calm and graceful ease that
characterized his every action; but there was a light in his eye as he
did so, that added a pang to all those that Ninette was already
inflicting on herself, and gave even Clara no small pain on her
account, though her own heart beat, and her own cheek burned, she
scarce knew why.

Clara would fain have shrunk into herself, although the society even
of a peasant was a relief, after the long hours of solitude which she
had lately passed; but good old La Brousse strove to win her into
cheerfulness, by all that simple unaffected kindness could effect; and
the young stranger, without attempting to assume the air or tone of a
lower station than her own, led her onward into conversation in
despite of her determination, by a gentle, unobtrusive mingling of
respect and tenderness, in which there was nothing to repress or to
repel.

The conduct of Ninette, indeed, acted as a restraint upon all. She sat
gloomy and frowning, biting her pretty lips in silence, while old La
Brousse chid her, though not unkindly, for her ill-humour; and the
young stranger, unconscious of the feelings he had himself excited,
gazed upon her with surprise. Perhaps it was Clara de la Roche alone
that saw and understood the real motives of the poor girl's behaviour,
She did not, indeed, know that from the first hour that Auguste la
Brousse, as the young stranger called himself, had set his foot across
the threshold of the farm of Dervais, Ninette had determined that he
should be her lover whether he would or not. She did not know that he
had treated her from the first with cool indifference; nor that
Ninette, in order to attract his admiration, had coquetted herself
into a passion for him, which had received no encouragement; but she
clearly saw that love was at the bottom of the poor girl's heart, and
she felt grieved that her presence should in any way give her a
foretaste of the disappointment that she was destined ultimately to
undergo. Her own heart, however, was clear. She could not but
acknowledge to herself, indeed, that the young stranger was perhaps
the handsomest man she had ever yet beheld; that his beauty was not
alone the beauty of feature, but the beauty of expression also; that
he was graceful in person; and that his conversation had a varied
power, which carried attention into admiration, and a tone of noble
feeling that gave admiration the basis of esteem. But the heart of
Clara de la Roche, though kind, and gentle, and tender, was not one
easily to be won. The scenes in which she had mingled--the dangers,
the sorrows, the privations which she had undergone--had raised her
spirit above all lighter things; and the only qualities that could win
her love, were those which had been tried by the fiery ordeal of
difficulties and perils. Though she was but nineteen, she had learned
to distrust imagination, and rely upon deeds rather than appearance.

There was another safeguard, too, to her heart. Her hand, she knew,
had been promised by her father to the son of an old and dear
friend; and although she had never yet met him to whom she was
destined--though the death of her father and brother left her free
from all such engagements--yet a touch of the same enthusiasm which
inspired the loyalty of her house, mingled with her veneration for
her father's memory, and made her set a watch upon her own feelings,
lest she should ever be tempted to violate the promise that he had
given.

The evening passed, however; and at length, Clara again retired to her
place of concealment. Sleep came not near her pillow for many hours;
for the pain that her presence was inflicting upon Ninette, grieved
her deeply, and she revolved in her own mind the idea of quitting the
asylum she had found, and once more seeking an abode where her sojourn
might occasion no uneasiness, except such as was absolutely
inseparable from her situation. We will not say, indeed, that when she
looked into her own heart, she might not there find some feelings that
confirmed her in such a purpose. She did not love the young stranger,
it is true; for she was one of those who had been taught early to
avoid the first seeds of any thing that we do not wish to cultivate.
But she would not but acknowledge that he was amiable, interesting,
graceful, and handsome; and he was, moreover, the only one so gifted
that she was likely to behold, if she remained where she was. She
determined then, ere long, to make her way, if possible, to the house
of some relations in the neighbourhood of Rennes.



                             CHAPTER III.

While Clara was in this state of uncertainty, she remained in all the
watchfulness of doubt; but when her resolution was once formed, she
fell into a profound sleep, from which she did not wake till late upon
the subsequent morning. The sun had been up for several hours, and the
small room, to the precincts of which she was confined, was close and
oppressive; and after listening for a few moments at the partition, to
ensure that no strangers were in the farm, she knocked gently, to call
the attention of Ninette.

No one answered; but on listening again, she plainly heard the young
_paysanne_ bustling about her usual occupations in the kitchen, and
she once more endeavoured to make herself heard. Still no reply was
returned, and concluding that some danger existed, of which she was
not aware, she desisted, and merely opened a small window, consisting
of a single pane of glass, which, concealed amongst the masonry,
served to give a portion of air and light to the apartment itself,
without being discernible from the courtyard into which it looked.

Clara succeeded in drawing back the window, as she had done before on
the preceding day; and a soft fresh air of summer, that now breathed
warm and fragrant upon her cheek, made her long for peace and freedom.
The little aperture was too high to afford any view of the world
without; but Clara paused to listen, in order that her ear might not
be quite so much prisoner as her eye. The first sounds she heard from
the court, however, were not the most welcome. There was the tramp of
armed men, with the grounding of muskets; and the next moment she
could distinguish plainly from the other side, the voice of old La
Browse speaking angrily to Ninette as he entered the kitchen in haste.

"Base girl!" he cried, "what means these soldiers without? You have
betrayed us, Ninette--you have betrayed us--and have brought the stain
of treachery upon my hearth! Out upon thee!--out upon thee! base
girl!"

Even as he spoke there were other sounds in the cottage; and it was
now evident that the house was in the hands of a party of the
revolutionary troops from Nantes. Clara trembled in every limb; but
she gently drew near and listened at the door that opened into the
_armoire_, while the commandant of the detachment, with many a threat
and many a blasphemy, interrogated old La Brousse upon the place of
her concealment. She was mentioned by name--her person was described,
and there could be no earthly doubt that the information which led to
the search that was then in progress had been accurate and precise.
Still old La Brousse held out; and as the soldiers seemed ignorant of
the exact place of her concealment, he sternly refused to aid them by
a word. At, length there was a pause; and then the voice of the
commandant was again heard in a tone of command.

"Take him out into the court," he said. "Draw up a party--place the
old brigand against the barn-door, and give him a volley! Let us see
whether the wolf will die dumb! If she be given up, you save your
life, old man!"

"It is not worth saving," replied La Brousse; and there was a noise of
feet moving towards the door. As we have said, Clara de la Roche
trembled in every limb; but she did not hesitate: with a firm hand,
she withdrew the bolt of the concealed door, and in the next moment
stood before her pursuers. The scene around her was one that might
well make her heart quail. In the midst of a number of ferocious
faces, sat the well-known Carrier, one of the most sanguinary monsters
which the French revolution had generated. His naked sword lay beside
him on the table, and with his hand he pointed to the door, towards
which a party of the soldiers were leading poor old La Brousse. In the
other corner of the apartment, overpowered by the consciousness of
base treachery, lay fainting on the floor the unhappy Ninette, not
even noticed by those to whom she had betrayed the secret intrusted to
her; and several soldiers were seen descending the staircase that led
to the rooms above, through which they had been prosecuting an
ineffectual search. The suddenness of Clara's appearance, and her
extraordinary beauty, seemed for a moment to surprise even Carrier
himself, and starting up, he gazed upon her for an instant, at the
same time making a sign with his hand to the soldiers who were leading
the old farmer towards the door.

Clara was very pale, and her heart beat with all that hurried
throbbing to which the struggle between horror, terror, and noble
resolution, might well give rise. "I claim your promise, sir!" she
said, advancing towards the leader of the revolutionary force: "I
claim your promise, sir! You said, if Clara de la Roche were given up,
yonder old man's life should be spared."

Carrier paused, and still gazed upon her; but his pause proceeded from
no feeling of mercy towards poor old La Brousse, nor from any
difficulty in finding an excuse for violating his promise. Such
considerations never impeded the progress of a Jacobin. He did pause,
however; and with a look, conveying to the mind of the unhappy girl
more feelings of repugnance than the aspect of death itself might have
done, he answered; "You are as bold as you are beautiful. Knowing
yourself to be a brigand,[5] and the daughter of a brigand, are you
not afraid?"


--------------------
[Footnote 5: The name of brigand was the common term applied by the
revolutionists to the Vendeans.]

--------------------


"I have done no wrong," replied Clara, "and why should I fear?"

"Well, well," he answered, "the time may come, and the time will come,
when you will fear; and when such is the case, send for Carrier, who
may then, perhaps, find means to console you. As for that old
brigand," he added, assuming an air of dignity, "I will keep my word.
Set him free; but take care, Citizen La Brousse, how you venture to
shelter an aristocrat again. There will be no mercy for a second
offence."

Clara looked upon her own fate as sealed, but she thanked Heaven that
her safety had not been purchased by the blood of the devoted old man;
and, patiently suffering herself to be placed on horseback, she was
led away towards Nantes, the streets of which city, and the river
which flowed past its streets, were every day stained with the blood
of creatures, young, and fair, and beautiful as herself.

As the last soldiers wound away from the farm, the leader selected
five from amongst them, and gave some orders in a whisper, which
instantly made them turn from the line of march that their comrades
were pursuing, and take the path over the hill. This done, he himself
rode up to the side of the unhappy girl he had captured, and poured
into her ears a strain of wild and ferocious raving about revolutions,
mingled with words of impure and fearful import, that made her heart
sink.

At length they approached the town of Nantes. It was a beautiful
evening in the height of summer, with the whole sky full of purple
light; while the splendid city, rising from the banks of the water,
was reflected in a thousand glistening lines from the bright bosom of
the river. The air was light and soft; the heavens were calm and
cloudless; there were birds singing in the tranquil freshness of the
evening; and every thing spoke of peace and happiness. But as the
party which escorted Clara de la Roche approached the banks of the
Loire, her eye rested on a large boat, filled with human beings of
every age, and sex, and class--from the old man with snowy hair, to
the curly-headed child--from the lovely girl of eighteen, to the aged
matron whose remaining hours could have been but few at best--from the
old chivalrous noble of France, to some refractory Jacobin--from
virtue and purity itself, to her who gained the means of life, or of
luxury, by the abandonment of all holiness of heart. They were tied
together; and though some wept and cast down their eyes, while others
looked up, appealing to the glowing heaven above them, all were
silent. At length two or three ferocious-looking wretches, who had
been pushing the boat forward towards the centre of the river, leaped
into a smaller boat by its side. A cannon-shot was heard as a signal,
a rope was drawn, which seemed to pass under the larger bark; it
rolled for a moment, as if upon a stormy sea--settled heavily
down--there was a loud parting shriek, as its human freight bade the
earth adieu for ever, and a howl of fierce delight from the monsters
that lined the shore.

Clara closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, the boat, with
all that it contained, was gone; but where it had last appeared, the
waters were rushing and bubbling, as if the shallow river scarcely
concealed the struggles of the two hundred victims who at that moment
had found eternity beneath its waves. The brain of the poor prisoner
reeled; her heart felt sick; the next moment sense forsook her, and
she fell from the horse that had borne her through such a scene of
crime and horror. A brief pause, of happy forgetfulness followed next;
and then, when her eyes opened, she found herself in a close dark
dungeon, with a multitude of her fellow-creatures lying round her, in
loathsomeness, and misery, and disease, and despair.



                             CHAPTER IV.

It was night, and the farm of old La Brousse was left in solitude, for
he had indignantly sent the unhappy girl, who had betrayed the secrets
of his dwelling, back to her family; and suspecting that his own life
and liberty had not been left to him, when much smaller offences were
daily visited with death, without some treacherous motive, he had
himself gone forth to seek, in the most obscure parts of the desolate
track amidst which his house was situated, the young stranger whom we
have seen under the name of Auguste. By some evil chance, however,
they had missed each other; and, after the place had remained for some
time without the presence of a single breathing thing, the door was
gently opened and the young stranger entered, habited as usual in the
dress of a peasant. He looked round the vacant kitchen in some
surprise at seeing it dark and untenanted, and then, approaching the
foot of the stairs, he pronounced the names of La Brousse and Ninette.
No answer was of course returned; but while he was anxiously striving
to obtain a light from the half extinct embers, the door was again
unclosed, and the old farmer stood beside him.

"Haste, haste, La Brousse!" cried the young man, "Get me a light, and
bring me my sabre and my bugle. I hear Carrier is roaming the country
with one of his infernal bands of murderers. He must be met with ere
he returns to Nantes; and I have named the rendezvous for daybreak
to-morrow at the Mill of Bohalard."

"It is in vain, Monseigneur!" replied the old man, "it is in vain! By
this time he is in Nantes; and he has dragged Mademoiselle de la Roche
along with him."

Had there been a light in the chamber, the countenance of Auguste
might have shown the old farmer that deeper and more powerful feelings
were excited in his bosom by those words, than either common
friendship or the peculiar interest of Clara's situation could
inspire; but there was no light, and while the young Vendean remained
in horror-struck silence, his companion proceeded rapidly to detail
all that had occurred during the morning.

Even when he had done, Auguste made no reply for several minutes; and
his first words were only, "My sabre and my bugle!"

Casting himself down in a chair, while the old man went to bring the
articles he demanded, from the place where they were concealed, the
other covered his eyes with his hands, and remained for several
moments in deep and painful thought, from which he only roused himself
for a moment to bolt the door by which he had entered. La Brousse at
length returned; and Auguste, while buckling on his sabre and slinging
the horn over his shoulder, grasped his arm and whispered, "Up to the
high window, La Brousse! I heard a noise but now in the court. Arm
yourself as best you can, and then bring me news of what you see
below--quick! the moon is shining!"

The old man speedily came back with a fowling-piece in his hand, and a
broadsword by his side; and he now replied in the same low tone, that
there were men evidently skulking under the shadow of the barn.

"You see why your life was spared, La Brousse," said his young
companion. "It is but that, by granting you a longer space, I might be
entrapped along with you. But they shall find that we can sell our
lives dearly. What say you? shall we go forth?"

"With all my heart, Monsieur le Comte," answered the stout old man. "I
have nothing to care for now, and nothing to regret but the fate of
that poor young lady; and perhaps I might not have been able to serve
her, even if they had let me live."

"We may both serve her yet!" answered his companion. "Now open the
door!" and drawing with one hand a pistol, which had lain concealed in
a thick silk handkerchief that was tied round his waist, he held his
bugle in the other, and prepared to go forth the moment the way was
clear. As soon as his foot was beyond the threshold, "Qui va là?" was
shouted from several different sides of the court-yard; and the next
moment five men with levelled muskets advanced into the moonlight,
exclaiming, "Rends-toi, brigand!"

He raised the bugle to his lips, and for all reply, blew one long loud
blast, waving back La Brousse who was following him, and then sprang
once more into the cottage. For a moment the soldiers seemed
uncertain; but, as he retreated, the word "Fire!" was given, and the
next instant the five muskets were at once discharged. Three of the
balls whistled through the doorway; but by that time the young Vendean
was himself masked by the wall, and had forcibly pulled the old farmer
back out of the line of fire.

"Now, La Brousse, now!" he exclaimed, again starting forward into the
court as soon as the muskets were discharged, and levelling his pistol
at the head of the foremost assailant. The old man was by his side in
an instant, taking a steady, fearless aim, by the light of the moon,
at the left-hand man of the attacking party. The soldiers rushed
forward, but ere they closed there were two distinct reports, and the
odds were reduced to three against two.

The struggle that followed, however, was a fierce one. It was the bold
heart and the strong hand doing the bidding of hatred and revenge. Old
La Brousse, notwithstanding the load of years, overpowered one of the
assailants that might have been his son, and cast him headlong to the
earth, while Auguste cut down another; but the third sprang upon the
old farmer, while struggling to terminate the contest with his first
opponent, and, seizing him behind, mastered his arms and tied them in
a moment with all the skill of a jailer. At that instant Auguste
turned upon him; but the man that La Brousse had overpowered now rose
up but little hurt, and the young Vendean found himself attacked at
once by two well-armed men, each equal to himself in personal
strength. The game they seemed resolved to play was a deadly one;
while one kept him engaged, the other loaded his musket, and the fate
of Auguste seemed decided; but scarcely had the cartridge been crushed
down into the gun, when a large stag-hound dashed down from the high
grounds into the court, and at once sprang to the throat of the second
soldier, at the very instant he was levelling his weapon at the head
of the young Vendean. Self-preservation--always the strong principle
of man's nature--made him turn the gun upon the faithful dog; but the
unwieldy length of the musket at that time used in the French service,
rendered it nearly impossible to bring the muzzle to bear upon the
body of the animal, as it still hung by the grasp it had taken of his
throat; and, in attempting to effect his purpose, the soldier fired
and missed entirely his four-footed assailant, while the recoil of the
gun, unsupported by his shoulder, shattered and disabled the hand by
which it was held.

The dog, however, was accompanied by still more serviceable allies;
and in a minute or two after, while Auguste still prolonged the combat
with his opponent, and the gallant hound still held his grasp of the
other, nine or ten men, in the wild costume of Vendean soldiers,
warned by the bugle of their leader, poured into the court and
overpowered all resistance.

The revolutionary soldiers were made prisoners in an instant; and as
there were many words of very doubtful augury in regard to their fate
passing amongst the Vendeans, they pleaded hard for life. For a moment
or two no one heeded their entreaties, and Auguste himself gazed upon
them with a look expressive of contempt rather than pity, while his
companions untied the hands of good old La Brousse. "Bring out a
light, La Brousse!" said the young man, "I would fain see the face of
at least one of those gentry. His voice does not seem unknown to me."

The light was brought, and held alternately to the countenances of the
two men who had prolonged the contest so fiercely, when the glare of
the burning resin lighted first upon the features of a young, and then
upon those of a middle-aged man, without displaying any extraordinary
brutality of expression, or any marks of those savage passions which
might be expected in the willing followers of the bloodthirsty
Carrier.

"'Tis as I thought," cried Auguste, as he gazed upon the face of the
elder. "How is it, fellow, that you, who were so long faithful to our
cause, are now amongst the foremost of its base adversaries, and are
especially chosen to capture the son of your ancient master and
benefactor?"

"I was faithful to your cause," replied the man, with an abruptness
which the revolutionists greatly affected, "as long as I had no
opportunity of abandoning it; and I was chosen to capture you, because
I knew your person. But I am pleading for my life--or rather for that
of one to whom life is more valuable--this young man here, my son; and
I know well that I must offer something more than words to purchase it
at your hands. Listen to me then--if you will spare us and set us at
liberty, I will set free her who was taken from this place this
morning."

"Ha!" cried Auguste; "free and unharmed?"

"Free and unharmed as she went," replied the other. "You had better
take my offer, for it is her only chance for life."

"But how can I trust you?" demanded the young Vendean "you who have
already proved yourself false and faithless?"

"Neither false nor faithless!" replied the soldier. "Your father
forced me to join a cause of which he had never asked my opinion, and
should not have wondered at my quitting it without asking his
permission. But I waste words; you require some better assurance of my
good faith than a mere promise, and I offer you here my son. Keep him
in your hands; and if I do not deliver over to you Clara de la Roche,
safe and well, at the time and place I shall appoint, shoot him on the
spot."

Some further conversation ensued, which it is unnecessary to detail.
The soldier named the time--the night following--and the place--a
sequestered spot upon the banks of the Loire, about two miles above
the city of Nantes. He spoke boldly in regard to his power of
performing what he promised. His son willingly undertook to be his
surety; and after some discussion amongst the Vendeans, in regard to
the propriety of liberating him, he was at length set free, and
departed.



                              CHAPTER V.

It was a soft calm night, with the moon shining clear and sweet in the
sky, and one or two planets wandering like boats of light over the
surface of the profound blue ocean of the heavens. All the world, too,
was hushed in sleep; and, as the young Vendean took his way toward the
spot appointed for the exchange of the two prisoners, not a sound was
to be heard but the steps of his own party. That party, however, was
reduced to four; for, feeling that he had no right to peril lives
which might be of infinite import to the noble cause he had espoused,
in an enterprise which he could not but acknowledge was wholly
inspired by personal attachment, Auguste had positively refused the
company of any but old La Brousse, and one other attached friend who
would take no refusal. Between them they led the young soldier who had
remained in their hands as a hostage; and as they advanced through a
winding dell, the tall trees of which hid the Loire from their sight,
they paused at every aperture in the thick foliage, to gaze out
anxiously over the waters. A thin light haze, however, was rising over
the river, and though its course could be plainly discerned, yet
the more minute objects which moved upon its bosom--if there were
any--were hidden from their sight. At the low sandy landing-place,
where they at length arrived, all was still obscure; and they remained
till the wind brought upon their ears, the chime of the distant clocks
of Nantes, striking the hour of midnight. Almost immediately
afterwards, the dull sound of oars was heard from the water, and a
small boat was seen shooting up the middle of the stream. In it there
appeared but two persons, and one of them was evidently a female. The
heart of the young Vendean beat quick, while the rower pulled on and
then guided his boat direct to the landing-place. It glided rapidly
through the water, touched the shore, and in a moment after the hand
of Clara de la Roche was clasped in that of her deliverer.

The young soldier was immediately set at liberty; and, without the
interchange of a word, sprang into the boat, and was dropping down the
Loire with his father, while Clara, hardly believing her senses, was
hurrying on with her new companions towards a spot where horses had
been prepared to carry them away from pursuit.

"Oh, sir, I feel that I have to thank you for more than life!" she
said at length, turning to him whom we have called Auguste.

"For nothing--nothing, dearest girl!" he answered. "Nay, do not
start!" he added, marking the surprise which the expression he had
used towards her called forth: "nay, do not start! Did not the man who
set you at liberty tell you, that it was into the hands of Auguste de
Beaumont he was about to deliver you? Did he not say, that it was to
the care and guidance of your promised husband that he was about to
yield you?"

Clara had no time to reply; for, ere she could express by one word any
of the mingled emotions which such tidings might well call up in her
heart, there was a rustle in the trees--a rush of many feet--a
momentary struggle; and, in the end, she found herself once more a
prisoner by the side of her lover, while a troop of revolutionary
soldiers from Nantes insulted them by every sort of bitter mockery and
coarse jest.

"Well, well! we have set the rat-trap to some purpose!" cried one.
"So, brigand, you thought to carry a prisoner away from the town of
Nantes without even paying the fees!" exclaimed another. "She is your
promised wife, too, is she?" said a third. "Well, to-morrow you shall
have a republican marriage of it!" Amidst such jeers, the prisoners
were dragged on to Nantes, now understanding well that the brief
liberation of Mademoiselle de la Roche had been but a trap to decoy
the whole party. Few words were spoken amongst the prisoners.
Consolation was in vain--hope there was none--Robespierre lived, and
death was the only prospect. Auguste de Beaumont pressed the hand of
Clara, and Clara whispered with a few bitter tears, "You have
sacrificed yourself for me!"

This was all that passed, ere in separate dungeons they were left to
wait their approaching fate--Clara enduring with the true fortitude of
woman, and Auguste de Beaumont chafing at his chains, with the
impetuosity of one who had never been aught but free.

It would be more harrowing than interesting to detail the passing of a
night in the dungeons of a revolutionary prison. That night, however
long and dreadful it might seem to Clara de la Roche, passed at
length; and, by daylight, the minions of the grossest tyranny that
ever darkened the earth, came to drag the unhappy girl to the fate
reserved for all that was great and noble in France. Strange however
to say, that fate did not seem in her eyes so appalling as one might
suppose. Weary of persecution, and terror, and flight, and
uncertainty, and grief, there was an anticipation very like a feeling
of relief; in the thought of one brief step leading to immortality,
and peace, and joy; and she advanced to the cart destined to drag her
to the place of execution, with greater alacrity than her tyrants were
accustomed or willing to behold. In the fatal vehicle were already
placed Auguste de Beaumont, the friend who had accompanied him on his
ill-starred expedition, and good old La Brousse, the farmer of
Dervais. They waited but for her alone, and, when she was placed in
the car, the word was given to march.

The procession moved forward through the streets of Nantes, towards
the river, escorted by a small body of cavalry; and, though the hour
was yet early, it was remarked that large crowds were collected to see
a sight which certainly had not the advantage of novelty in that
unhappy town. There was a deep solemn stillness, too, in the
multitude, as the cart rolled through the midst of them, that had
something in it portentous as well as awful; and a low murmur, like
the rush of a receding wave, was heard as the history of the two
younger victims was whispered amongst the people.

The tyrants, however, had no dread, and the vehicle went slowly on;
when, in passing the end of a narrow street which led towards the
Place d'Armes, the clatter of a horse's feet at full gallop was heard
from a parallel avenue. The horse galloped on, but the street was
filled with people, and for a moment there were heard loud murmurs at
the further end. The next instant came a profound silence, during
which nothing was distinguishable but the creaking of the heavy
cartwheels, and the slow tramp of the soldiers' horses; but then, one
loud stentorian voice shouted, with a sound that was heard through the
whole street, "ROBESPIERRE IS DEAD!!! DOWN WITH THE TYRANTS!!!"

A cry of joy, and triumph, and encouragement, burst from the multitudes
around. As if bound together by some secret arrangement--though none,
in truth, existed, save detestation of the sanguinary tyranny of the
Jacobins--As if animated by one spirit--though men of almost every
party were present--the crowds rushed on from every quarter upon the
cart, which was dragging new victims to immolation. The soldiers were
overpowered in a moment; one or two were killed on the spot. The cords
that tied the prisoners were cut--a thousand hands were held out to
give them aid--a thousand voices cried, fly here, or fly there; but at
length one more prudent than the rest, exclaimed, "To the gates! To
the gates!" and in five minutes Auguste de Beaumont, bearing Clara in
his arms, and followed by their fellow prisoners, was clear of the
city of Nantes.

One of the heroes of the Bocage, Auguste was well experienced in every
art for baffling a pursuing enemy. No sooner was the tumult in the
city known, than Lamberty called forth the troops, and Carrier mounted
his horse. But the news met them in the street, that on July the 27th
just four days before--Robespierre, their patron and example, had
ended his days upon the public scaffold.

Terror took possession of them; their measures for repressing the
rising, or for overtaking the fugitives, were weak and vacillating;
and ere night, Auguste de Beaumont and Clara de la Roche were far from
all pursuit.

Time passed, and the struggle of loyalty and good faith against
oppression, tyranny, and crime, continued in La Vendée for some months
longer; but when, at length, the cause became desperate, and hope was
at an end in France, a small fishing-boat conveyed Auguste de Beaumont
and his bride to England. In regard to old La Brousse, he calmly
returned to the house he had ever inhabited, and, strange to say,
received no molestation therein, till death fell upon his eyelids as a
tranquil sleep.

Carrier and Lamberty, it is true, had little time to think of the
victims who had escaped them, or to point them out to others. Their
fate is well known, and surely was well deserved. As for Ninette, who
had betrayed to the revolutionary rulers the refuge of Mademoiselle de
la Roche, she is said to have married a corporal in the guard, who
afterwards rose to the rank of a general, and who displayed no great
tenderness towards his lady in subsequent years, although her chief
fault in his eyes was, that she did not bear her blushing honours with
as much grace as he could have desired.



                            THE DISASTERS.

After visiting the cottage of old La Brousse, I proceeded by a cross
road, and hired horses to the little town of Redon which I had never
seen; and, arriving at night, I entered, as usual, the public room of
the inn. A party of four French officers were there assembled; and
amongst them one with whom I had been well acquainted at Rennes. He
was a frank, gallant young fellow, somewhat hasty and irascible, but
still generous and kind-hearted withal. It is the rarest thing in the
world to see French officers drink too much; but, on the present
occasion, the bottle had evidently been circulating rapidly, and my
friend, whom I shall call Monsieur de la Grange, in order to cover his
real name, rose and embraced me, on perceiving who it was, with a
degree of enthusiasm proportioned to the quantity of wine he had
imbibed. I, for my part, was affected by a sort of intoxication of
another kind, and forgetting that many of the French officers were but
the children of the revolution, I related my visit to the cottage of
old La Brousse in very high-flown language. La Grange scarcely
suffered me to come to an end before he called the object of my
admiration. "A cursed old Chouan!" Words ensued of a sharp and angry
nature, generating others bitterer still; and before I had tasted the
supper which the aubergiste busied himself to prepare for me, a
challenge had been given and received. The only difficulty was the
time and place. I had no friends in that neighbourhood who could give
me assistance on such an occasion, and I proposed to void our
differences at Rennes. This, however, the French officers could not
agree to, as they had been detached from the garrison of Rennes only
two days before, and my want of a friend was removed by the kindness
of an officer of infantry who was present; and who offered, if I would
trust in him, to give me every aid in his power.

I accepted his proposal with pleasure; the meadows near the town were
appointed for the meeting, and the hour named five o'clock the next
morning. I will not dwell upon my feelings during that night, nor even
upon the rencontre of the next morning, as the consequences were more
important to me than the event itself. To say the truth, I felt less
upon the subject than I ought to have done, and could scarcely get my
mind to grasp the belief that I might be killed. I knew that such
might be the case, but yet it did not come home to me; and though I
sat down calmly to write to Emily in case of the worst, and to make my
will in her favour, yet I did it but with little care, making sure
that I should have to tear it next day. I was woke out of a sound
sleep by my second, whose gentlemanly kindness and attention towards a
foreigner, under such circumstances, well deserve my gratitude, and
proceeded with him through a cold, damp, misty morning to the field.
Leaving every thing of course to be settled by those around us, my
adversary and myself soon brought our own part of the business to an
end, I remaining severely wounded in my right arm, and he being led
from the field with his hand so completely disabled, that I believe he
has never yet recovered the use thereof.

We had not taken the precaution to take a surgeon with us from the
town, and consequently, notwithstanding all our own efforts and those
of our seconds also, we were both faint from the loss of blood by the
time we reached the inn. To do my antagonist but justice, however, let
me say, ere I go further, that ere we quitted the field, he grasped my
left hand with his (for the right of each was disabled), and taking
all the blame upon himself, expressed bitter sorrow for what had
occurred. On arriving at the town, too, there was but one surgeon to
be found: La Grange insisted upon his attending to me first, and my
wounded arm was accordingly subjected to all the torture of surgical
investigation. The man of healing, however, seemed really to
understand his business; and according to his direction I went to bed,
where I soon fell asleep. It was but, however, to wake with great
fever, and when I proposed to go on to Rennes on the following day,
the surgeon assured me that the consequences of my stirring from my
bed for the next week might be the loss of my arm, the bone having
been injured though not broken.

Thus was I kept in the little town of Redon for nearly a month, my
wound seeming to get worse instead of better. One of the greatest
annoyances which I suffered, was the not being able to write to
various friends with whom my correspondence was already somewhat in
arrear; but I still took measures to relieve the minds of those who
were most dear to me from anxiety, by making my servant write twice
under my dictation to Mr. Somers, giving a full account of all that
had occurred, and begging him to assure Emily and my mother that I,
was not seriously hurt.

I also directed Essex, for such was the servant's somewhat lordly
name, to write to the director of the post at Rennes, begging him to
forward all letters which might arrive at that place, to Redon; but no
letters reached me, and at length my anxiety grew so great that,
notwithstanding the damp heat of the weather, and my surgeon's
strenuous opposition, I put horses to my carriage, and set out for
Rennes.

I certainly had felt very feverish and ill for two or three days
before I took this resolution, but that only strengthened me in it, as
I attributed the feeling of general illness which I now experienced,
to the air of the place, which was not particularly healthy. This view
was perhaps right, but I had not acted upon it soon enough, for before
I reached Rennes, I was in a state of delirium from typhus fever, and
I have very little remembrance of any thing that occurred to me during
the fortnight which followed.

When I recovered my consciousness, I found myself in the wretched inn
at Rennes, in a state of the most deplorable weakness, mental and
corporeal; and strength returned so slowly, that for several days the
medical men would not even suffer me to speak, except to ask for what
I wanted. My first inquiry, after this prohibition was removed, was
for letters from England, but they would not suffer me to have those
which had arrived, merely telling me that all my friends were well.

At the end of another fortnight, several letters were given me, and I
looked over them eagerly to find the handwriting of Emily Somers.
There were none from either my mother, Mr. Somers or Emily, and I
hastily opened one which I saw was from the hand of my intimate friend
B----, but how did it begin?

"My dear Young,

"I have anxiously, but hesitatingly, thought of writing, to offer you
some words of consolation. Every day since your mother's death--"

The letter, dropped from my hand, and I fell back in the chair in a
state of stupor, from which it required three or four days to rouse
me. The letters, which had been sealed with red wax, had been given to
me by the surgeons not anticipating such a result; but the sudden news
which I then received, threw me back in my recovery, and ten days more
elapsed before they would suffer me to read those sealed with black,
which they had at first withheld, The first I now opened was from Mr.
Somers. It consisted merely of a few lines, informing me drily that my
mother had been taken ill in the night, and died before the following
morning.

"Sir Henry Halford informs me," he went on to say, "that the disease
which so speedily terminated her life, must have been long undermining
her constitution; but I cannot help adding, that the reports she has
heard of her son's conduct on the continent, had greatly affected her
spirits, whatever effect they might produce upon her health."

I looked to the date, it was more than two months old; and I hurriedly
turned to another letter, on which I recognised the handwriting of
Emily. It was of a later date, not more than a month had elapsed since
it had been written, and it began.

"Dearest, dearest James,

"I cannot--I will not--believe all they tell me of you, although your
long and unaccountable silence would seem to give weight to what they
say. I write to you by stealth, I confess, but I feel it my duty,
after all that has passed, to beg you, if you still love Emily Somers,
and would save her from misery, to come over to England without an
hour's delay----"

The surgeon stood by me while I read, but the effect was very
different now; my arm was nearly well, and in all respects I was
better than I had been when I read the former letter. These, too,
stirred up within me an energy to meet the exigency of the moment
which communicated itself even to my corporeal frame. I saw that there
was evil going on, and destruction to all my hopes hanging over my
head, like the Persian's sword, by a single hair; but it raised a
spirit to resist and to struggle, and, instead of yielding either to
grief or apprehension, I called loudly for my servant. As soon as he
appeared, I demanded if he had carefully sent the letters I had
dictated to him at Redon, and I fixed my eye upon him with a firm
conviction of having been deceived. His colour wavered like that of a
love-sick girl, while he replied that he had; and I instantly
answered, "Sir, you are a lying scoundrel, and no longer my servant!"
He then proceeded to be insolent, but I begged the surgeon to send him
out of the room, and in a few brief words explained to him, that
matters even more important to me than life called me to England, and
that I must set out the day after the subsequent one.

The worthy surgeon, who was both kind and skilful, seemed not a little
astounded at my determination; but finding that it was immovable, he
replied, "Well, then, you must make no exertion in the interim. Let me
arrange the business of your passport, settle your affairs, and make
all your preparations. I will then accompany you to the coast, and do
all I can to prevent this dangerous necessity from producing your
death."

I agreed to his proposal at once, and never had more cause to be
thankful than I had for having confided in him. He, at my request,
paid Master Essex, and sent him out of the house; engaged me another
servant, who saved me all exertion; and, after taking a world of
trouble, he not only got me safely started on my journey, but, by
skilful management, contrived that the fatigue and change of air
should not only not retard my convalescence, but should improve my
health. At Havre I entered the steam-boat, and kept myself perfectly
quiet on board till we landed, gaining strength from the sea air, and
preventing myself even from thinking, lest I should take from myself
the powers which I had a presentiment that I should need in their full
activity. I slept a good deal on board the vessel, so that when we
arrived at Southampton I felt myself quite sufficiently well to
proceed at once to Louden. I arrived in town about five o'clock in the
morning, and, forcing my way into the Clarendon, wrote a note to Mr.
Somers, telling him of my arrival, alluding briefly, but firmly, to
false reports having been spread of my conduct, and mentioning the
fact of my having been ill for two months, and ignorant of all that
had passed in London. This I left with the waiter, ordering it to be
sent at eight o'clock, at which time Mr. Somers rose, and then lay
down to rest myself till nine, When the servant called me at that
hour, he put an answer to my letter into my hands. It was to the
following effect:

     "Dear Sir,
I have just received your's, which requires great consideration, and
in the course of the morning I will call upon you. In the mean time
let me hint, that as my daughter Emily is at present engaged to Mr.
Alfred Wild, your visits in Portland Place might be considered
indecorous.

                       "Your's truly,
                              CHARLES SOMERS."


The mystery, then, was solved. She was engaged to Alfred Wild; but
that engagement, I well knew, could only have been brought about by
some foul deceit; and I resolved, that, if I lived at least, it should
never be executed. Indignation was now my best friend, for it kept me
from feeling any thing else; and notwithstanding Mr. Somers's
injunction to the contrary, I instantly, I instantly ordered a coach
and proceeded to Portland Place. Mr. Somers, I found, had just gone
out; and, without asking any further questions, I walked straight up
stairs to the drawing-room, passing the servant who opened the door,
and in whose demeanour I observed a degree of lazy carelessness very
different from the smart activity which had reigned throughout the
household during my mother's life. In the great drawing-room there was
no one; but, pushing open the folding-doors, I entered the little
drawing-room, and was at once in the presence of Emily Somers.

She was sitting gazing on an unfolded letter--it was the one I had
sent her father in the morning--and the tears were still rolling
rapidly down her cheeks. At the sound of my step she started up, gazed
at me wildly for a moment, as if she hardly knew me--and well she
might doubt whether it was the same person who had left her--and then
at once cast herself into my arms and wept aloud.

It is scarcely possible to tell all that passed, but I found that her
father, after showing her my letter, had gone out in a state of
terrible agitation to the father of Alfred Wild, what to do she did
not fully explain; but in her whole account there was a confusion and
a wildness, which showed me that there was much, very much, that I did
not comprehend; and I should have been naturally led to investigate
all the facts in the first place, had not her reiterated exclamations
of "Then you do love me still, James? You have not forgotten me? You
have not acted as they said?" induced me first to vindicate myself. I
told her all that had happened. I related the duel, my sickness, the
conduct of my servant, and, with imprecations on the head of Alfred
Wild, I told her that I believed, from the first, the man Essex had
been bribed to furnish matter against me. She turned very pale at the
language which I used towards my enemy, and certainly it was violent
and improper; but, interrupting what she was about to say upon it, I
eagerly entreated her to explain how she had been entrapped into an
engagement with a man she neither loved nor esteemed, and to promise
me solemnly to consider that engagement as nothing when compared with
her troth plighted to myself.

"What could I do, James? What can I do?" she exclaimed, "when my own
father besought, entreated, almost went on his knees to his own
child--when they persuaded me that you loved me no longer, and that
you were living with the wife of another man!"

"But surely, Emily," I cried, "you do not hesitate now which
engagement is to be kept--the one obtained by fraud and falsehood, or
the prior one, sealed by affection and esteem. You do not, you cannot
hesitate, or you are not my Emily--not the Emily I left!"

"I am--I am your Emily," she replied, casting herself again upon my
bosom, "and I do not hesitate, James; but indeed you do not know all,
and I am afraid that I must not tell you all; but I will go on my
knees to my father to beseech him to tell you the whole, and if he
loves me as he says, to break all ties with that wretched man."

"Wretched indeed!" I cried; "but _I_ will find a means to break them,
Emily, and in the mean time promise me--"

But at that moment there was a furious knock at the street-door. "It
is he! It is he!" cried Emily, starting up as pale as death, "I
cannot, I will not see him any more! But, oh! James, go home quick,
for my father will be with you soon, and I would not have you miss him
for the world."

I tried to detain her for one word more, but there was the sound of a
hasty step running up stairs, and darting from me, she rushed out of
the room. I followed to the door, and just caught a sight of her
retreating figure as at the top of the great staircase she turned to
enter her own room. Coming up the flight of steps below me, however,
was an object which called all my thoughts into another direction. It
was Alfred Wild himself, and never shall I forget the expression of
his countenance as our eyes met. Rage, jealousy, disappointment, and
fiendish malice, were all as plainly to be read there, as the thunder
can be seen in the lurid cloud, even before it bursts: but feelings as
bitter were in my heart, and as he came rapidly up the staircase I
strode forward to meet him. We met at the top of the staircase. "What
do you do here?" I cried. "How dare you ever to set your foot again in
a house that you have made miserable by your falsehood and your
baseness?"

"Beggarly puppy!" he began to reply; but I gave him no time to proceed
further; for catching him by the collar and the back, with the
momentary strength of overpowering indignation, I cast him from the
top of the stairs to the bottom; and then following him, as he rose
bewildered with his rapid descent, I spurned him with my foot into the
hall. He did not offer to strike me again, but snatching his hat from
the hands of one of the servants who had picked it up as he rolled
down stairs, he shook his clenched fist at me, with his teeth set
fast, and darting through the open door, sprang into his curricle and
drove away.

For my part I hastened back to the Clarendon, and instantly wrote a
now to my friend B----, begging him to come to me directly; and even
while waiting his arrival, I sat down, I am sorry to say, with all the
fierce feelings of a Cain in my heart, and penned a note to the man
who had so bitterly injured me, calling upon him to meet me the next
morning in order to atone with his blood for the calumnies he had
uttered against me. In less than half an hour B---- was with me; and I
put the note into his hands, telling him the fact which had given rise
to such a measure. He read it over; but did not approve. It was so
fierce, he said, and violent, that he could not let me send it. I then
told him to dictate one to me, and I would write it, provided it
admitted of no compromise; for I would accept no apology. He agreed,
and I sat down to the task; but ere I had written the first words the
waiter came in and put a note into my hand.

It was from Emily, and contained but a few words, but those few words
were important. She wrote to me, she said, to warn me, lest I should
madly hurry forward to destroy both her happiness and mine. From what
I had let drop, she continued, while speaking with her, as well as
from the noise she had heard after she had left me, she augured ill of
my intentions towards the man who had injured me, and she wrote to
prevent me from committing an act which would place an eternal bar
between her and me. Her religion, she said, and all her feelings
taught her to look upon the man who killed another in a duel as a
murderer, and such a one should never have her hand. She could not,
she added, and would not attempt to argue the matter at length with
me, but she thought it right at once to inform me, however dearly she
might love me, she would never, under any change of circumstances,
become my wife if Alfred Wild were slain by my hand. A few words of
tenderness were added, which went sweetly to my heart, but did not at
all tend to make me suppose that Emily would fail in keeping her
determination. I knew her too well to believe that she would change;
and starting up, somewhat to B----'s surprise, I walked in much
agitation once or twice up and down the room. I felt myself obliged,
at length, to show him Emily's letter, and after some further
explanation, he advised me kindly to let the matter rest for the
present, as I had vindicated my own honour by inflicting personal
chastisement upon my adversary.

While we were still talking over the matter, the waiter announced that
a gentleman desired to speak with me, and I ordered him to be shown
in, expecting to see Mr. Somers. The visitor, however, was a stranger,
but his business was soon explained. He came on the part of Mr. Alfred
Wild, he said, to ask the name of any friend with whom he could
arrange the preliminaries of a meeting, which I must perceive was
inevitable. I immediately pointed to my friend B----, and informed
Captain Truro that we had been already talking over the matter, and
then whispering to B---- not to let the meeting be deferred beyond the
next morning, I left them together, retiring to my own bed-room.

In about ten minutes B---- called me, and informed me that the hour
and place had been fixed for six, on Wandsworth Common. Captain Truro
was gone, and my friend remained with me some time, making every sort
of necessary arrangement, but he remarked my eye often resting upon
Emily's letter, and kindly said, "You must not think of that letter,
Young. I dare say Miss Somers will view the matter in a different
light when she finds that you have not been the challenger."

"No, no!" replied I, "in her opinion it will be just the same. But as
you say, I must not think of the letter, for I have but one course
before me. I do not feel at all inclined to let such a scoundrel
escape, and I cannot do so if I would; for not to fire at him would be
tacitly to acknowledge that I felt myself in the wrong."

"I am afraid it might be so construed, indeed!" replied my friend;
"but at all events take my advice, and make up your mind exactly how
you are to act, for I have known very fatal consequences ensue from
hesitation in such circumstances."

The rest of the day past much as may be imagined. I was agitated,
undoubtedly; but it was with strong contending passions. I had some
faint conviction that Emily was in the right, and that to kill another
in a duel was as much murder as to slay a fellow-creature under the
influence of any passion whatever. Against this thought I had nothing
to support me but the world's opinion; and in order to feel as little
like a murderer as possible, I strove to forget the injuries I had
received, and to think that I was only acting in conformity to the
code of honour; but still, whenever my mind dwelt upon Alfred Wild,
and I thought of how nearly he had deprived me of Emily, or fancied
that he might still bar my way to her I loved so deeply, I felt
passions rising up in my bosom which I trembled to examine. I tried
then to occupy my mind with the expectation of Mr. Somers's visit; but
he never came, and at dinner my friend B---- returned, having
determined to sleep at the Clarendon that night, that his early rising
might not alarm his own family, and perhaps produce some interruption
of our proceedings.

During the evening he strove to occupy my mind with other thoughts,
after having satisfied himself that I was quite prepared, as far as
worldly matters went, for any event which might occur on the following
morning. At four o'clock the next day we were called, and breakfasted
by candle-light, and in the gray of an autumnal morning got into the
carriage with the case of pistols, and with my new French servant upon
the box; wondering what it all could mean. We first drove to the house
of the surgeon, who had been previously warned of our coming, and then
rolled on to Wandsworth as fast as we could. Here we arrived a full
quarter of an hour before our time, and leaving the carriage on the
road we wandered about the common. I was very chilly from the morning
air, and I could not but wonder at how differently I now felt,
agitated as I was by violent and terrible passions, from what I had
experienced on the former silly duel in Brittany, where I was agitated
by no passions at all, and could almost have laughed at the whole
business. Some five minutes before the time, also, my adversary
appeared, and never did I see a countenance expressing more malevolent
feelings than his did at the moment when we met. I could see his eye
fixing fiercely upon me, and his lips muttering, as if he could
scarcely refrain from giving utterance to all the hatred that was in
his heart. I felt not much less towards him; but I had sufficient
command over myself to prevent it from appearing, and waited with
sufficient appearance of calmness while the ground was measured and
the pistols loaded. The only words which were spoken by either my
adversary or myself, were occasioned by the seconds measuring twelve
paces.

"Twelve!" he exclaimed; "why the devil not make it eight?"

"Eight, by all means, gentlemen," I said. "I cannot be too near him."

"Over a handkerchief, if you like," he added; but B---- interfered,
exclaiming, "Nonsense! Nonsense, gentlemen! You must leave all that to
us, if you please."

The ground was accordingly measured, and B----, putting the pistol in
my hand, said, in a low tone, "Keep your side to him, and your arm
masking your side. The words will be, _One--two--three--Fire!_ You are
a good shot, I know of old, and he is too angry to hit you; so, if you
try, you may perhaps wound him without killing him."

Whether it was that he saw my eye upon him, marking him well, or what,
I do not know; but while the seconds were taking their places, I saw a
degree of agitation suddenly come over my adversary, and his knees
rather bend and shake. At that moment, however, Captain Truro began to
give the signals; and as he went on I raised my pistol, exactly at the
word "Fire" pulling the trigger. It went off with a sharp, clear,
ringing sound, and I evidently saw him reel. But he now slowly and
deliberately raised his weapon, which he had not done before, and
pointed it at me with a steady aim. We all looked on with some feeling
of anxiety, no doubt; but at that moment his left knee began to bend.
His hand seemed agitated with a convulsive jerk, and at the very
instant that he pulled the trigger he fell back upon the turf. The
ball passed through my hat, half an inch above my head; but I
instantly ran forward with the other, to see what had occasioned his
fall. Captain Truro and B---- raised him, and we found the ground
beneath dyed with blood. The surgeon, who was at a little distance,
now came up, and, aided by the rest, stripped off his coat and
waistcoat. The bosom of his shirt was actually dripping with gore;
and, pulling it down, there instantly appeared that small aperture
through which the waters of life were flowing away so fast. For a
moment the cold air seemed to revive him. At least he opened his eyes
as the surgeon held his head upon his knees, and I am certain that he
saw me, for the expression of his pale, ghastly features, which at
first had been calm, became, for an instant, full of hatred. The next
instant, his eyes rolled fearfully in his head ere they became fixed;
and never will the sight of that countenance be obliterated from my
memory.

The surgeon pointed with his finger to the carriage.

"Do you want your instruments?" demanded Captain Truro.

"There is no use of instruments here, sir," replied the surgeon in a
low voice, "he is dead! What I mean is that you had all better get
into the carriage, and be gone as fast as possible. Stop not till you
are in France, for this seems to have been a bad business. Send me one
of the servants, however, and bid the other carriage drive up as near
as possible."

I would fain have lingered; but B---- and Captain Truro forced me
away, and the former got into my carriage with me. The latter declared
he would stay by the body of his friend, and take care of his own
safety afterwards.

"On the road to Brighton!" cried B---- to the postilions, "As fast as
you can go!"

They very well understood the cause, and set off at full gallop, while
I sank back in the corner of the carriage, clasping my hands over my
eyes, in the vain attempt to shut out the image of that dark ghastly
countenance, with the rolling meaningless eyes, as they had glared
upon me, ere the triumph of death was complete.

B---- was also very much affected, and for some way not a word was
spoken. At length, fancying that he ought to attempt to console me, he
spoke a few words, to which I replied, intending to answer as firmly
as I could; but it was with the strangest sensation that I ever
experienced that I found that I was talking incoherent nonsense;
knowing what I ought to say, conscious that I was not saying it, and
yet feeling it impossible so to rule my mind as to utter what I
wished. B---- looked at me aghast, and I could just contrive to say
"Wait a little! wait a little! I am confused and ill!" That was the
last sensation and those the last words that I remember for some time.

It was hardly to be expected, that rising from a sick bed, I should
take such a journey, undergo such agitations, and pass through such
scenes without suffering in the end. I did not exactly what is called
relapse, for the illness that followed bore but little analogy to that
which I had suffered before. They called it a brain fever, which I
suppose means inflammation of the brain, but at all events, it kept me
for three weeks on a sick bed without the use of my senses; and, when
I was restored to consciousness, it seemed only to be that I might
suffer the more acutely; for what was I to wake to?--the consciousness
of being a murderer, the knowledge that Emily was lost to me for ever!

I found myself in a small cottage at Worthing, with my French servant
and my friend B---- attending me with the most devoted kindness. As
soon as he found that I was able to comprehend him, B---- told me that
before I reached Brighton, I had been in a state of furious delirium,
raving incessantly of a hideous face that looked at me; and that
consequently perceiving that it would be impossible to cross in the
public steam-boat next morning, he had turned off with me from
Brighton to Worthing, where he had taken the first cottage he could
find.

"At first," he continued, "I assumed feigned names both for yourself
and me; but I perceive already by the newspapers, that it was
unnecessary, as the family have announced their intention not to
prosecute."

My health now daily improved; but still it was very slowly, for the
physician who attended me could in no way minister to the mind
diseased, and in addition to deep remorse for what I had done--for
sending a sinful fellow-creature to his long account, with all his
worst failings hot about him--in addition to grief for the loss of her
I loved, a loss which I felt to be as certain as if she no longer
existed, there was yet another dreadful weight upon my mind, which
overcame all powers of resistance in my heart, and rendered my
recovery slow and imperfect. I never attempted to close my eyes at
night without being visited by a horrid vision, the effect of an
over-excited imagination, which kept me awake till two or three
o'clock in the morning.

The ghastly countenance of him I had slain seemed gazing at me from
between the curtains. Whichever way I turned, whichever way I looked,
there it was, with the two dim rolling eyes fixed upon me, and that
same look of inveterate hatred animating every pale feature. In vain I
reasoned, in vain I struggled: there it was every night, and sometimes
it haunted me in the day also. At first the torture was dreadful, for
I tormented myself beforehand with the expectation of its appearance;
but as my corporeal strength increased, and the powers of my mind in
some degree returned, I struggled with the delusion, and so far
conquered my own feelings, as to banish the sight from my thoughts
when the object was not actually before me.

After I had been gradually recovering for about a week, however, I met
with another blow, which not only threw me back, but embittered
feelings which were sad enough before. Not being able to write myself,
I had dictated to B---- a few lines to Emily, telling her how I had
suffered, and that I was convalescent; trusting that, however firm she
might be in her determination, she would be glad to hear of my
recovery, and perhaps hoping, against my better knowledge of her
character, that by gradually renewing our intercourse I might
eventually lead her to break her resolution against me. At the end of
three days, however, B----'s letter was returned to him, opened,
indeed, and evidently read, but without a word of comment or reply. He
found himself bound to tell me, and a dead sort of desolation,
amounting to despair, fell upon my heart, which it is impossible to
describe.

Nevertheless, my corporeal health continued to improve, and my mental
health also; at least so far, that the wild and horrible vision of my
dying adversary began to trouble me less frequently. If I fatigued
myself severely, I could fall asleep without seeing that ghastly
countenance; and, after discovering that it was so, I took means to
produce that effect every night, so that in time I banished it from my
pillow entirely. In the day, however, it would still sometimes intrude
upon me; and though my mind had recovered a sufficient degree of
vigour to struggle against my own feelings, though I revolved many a
plan for conquering them altogether, and determined and re-determined
to make some great effort in order to shake off the melancholy that
hung upon me, yet for several weeks I failed to carry my schemes into
effect, and remained in a state of hopeless despondency. All the
morning I passed in walking along the sea-shore, gazing upon the
rolling waves, or siting with my hands covering my eyes, and brooding
over the past. Towards night I always endeavoured to fatigue myself as
much as possible, but this was the only exertion I made. I never
opened a book--I never wrote a line--and all my days passed in the
same dull monotony.

B---- was very kind, endeavouring by all means to soothe me, and bring
my mind back to some degree of tone. Almost all his time he devoted to
me; once or twice, indeed, visiting London, and now and then going
upon a fishing excursion, into which he endeavoured to tempt me, by
many an eloquent description of the pleasures he derived from the
sport. At length, one day when he returned from London, and found me
still apparently in the same state, though in truth I had passed the
two preceding days in fresh determinations to exert myself, he sat
down and read me a homily on mental weakness, wilful repining, and
self-abandonment, with so much kindness and feeling, joined to so much
good sense and eloquence, that my often broken resolutions took a
firmer character than they had ever yet done, and I replied, "Well,
well, B----, do not suppose that I have not been thinking of all this;
and I have determined to change my conduct, as far as possible to cast
away thought, and to mingle again with the world, seeking in its noise
and turbulence, distraction from my own thoughts. But I cannot do it
here in England, B----. If you like to accompany me, I am ready now to
set out for any part of the world. I will try to make you as good a
companion as I can; and though I shall never again be what I have
been, yet I feel now that I can cover over my melancholy from the eyes
of the world, and may soon, perhaps, laugh the more loudly because it
is all hollow within; and if I laugh, 'tis that I may not cry; but
never mind, I am prepared to do it now. A few days ago I could not
have done it; but I have been schooling and tutoring my own heart, and
I find that I can play my unreal part in the world's drama like
another; feeling that I am but acting all the time, it is true, but
not without a hope, indeed, that I may sometimes deceive my own heart
as well as the eyes of others. My plan now will be, to give my mind
constant occupation--to leave no moment of the day unemployed--to see
every thing--to mark every thing--to mingle with every thing, as I
travel on. If the road offer nothing but stones, to examine every
stone as I pass, sooner than let my mind rest even for one moment on
itself; and, in short, to live as much out of myself as it be possible
for man to do. You said, the other day, that you had no tie to
England; and if such a plan suit you, let us set out together. Leave
me when you are tired of me and my ways; but in the mean time be to me
a companion and friend, and keep me, by your presence, from many of
those evil actions into which I might otherwise perhaps be hurried, by
the recklessness of bitter disappointment, and the hopeless, fearless
dreariness of remorse."

My friend B---- willingly entered into my views. Few arrangements were
necessary to either of us. I had but one letter to write, and it was
merely a letter of business to my banker; for Mr. Somers, on settling
his executorial accounts with me on my coming of age, had requested
that I should bank with another house, as he thought it better in
general for friends and relatives to keep all their money matters
separate. Thus my first act in mingling again with the world was as
simple and uninteresting as it well could be; but yet it was a trial,
and I delayed a whole day before I could make up my mind to begin.
When I did, the matter proved more easy than I had expected. The
answer was merely one of business, written by a clerk; though in the
banker's own hand appeared a postscript, saying, "Mr. Somers and Miss
Emily are as well as can be expected."

Those few words had nearly overset all my firmness, but after a
struggle I regained it again, and, two days afterwards, we left our
cottage for Brighton. Three days had now elapsed since my imagination
had called up again that dreadful countenance, and with a sort of
fearful, anxious hope, I began to trust that I should see it no more.
As the carriage drove up to "The York," however, it was dark; and
there it was again before me, in the very passage, and it required
every exertion of my reason to enable me to go on. B---- saw me
shudder and hesitate, and in a low voice asked what was the matter.
"Oh that face!" I answered with a groan. "Hush!" he said,
understanding me in a moment, for I had before told him of this
infirmity, "Hush! Conquer it always, and it will go of entirely in
time. It is less frequent, you see, already!" The sight of the waiters
hanging round stimulated me to exertion, and walking on I entered the
inn, the face of course vanishing before me.

During the whole evening I hardly dared look round the room, however;
and to begin at once with my plan of occupation, I made my servant
give me my writing-desk, and sat down to write sketches of any thing
on earth,--my own observations, my own feelings, the appearance of
external objects, any thing in short that would engross my mind. I
have preserved the first night's work of the pen even to the present
moment; but it is wild, vague, and scarcely coherent. Nevertheless I
pursued the same plan afterwards, with better success, whenever I had
an evening unoccupied, writing down whatever I happened to recollect
of occurrences last past. Those stray sheets give a better picture of
my mind, and the progress which I made towards a better state of
health and feeling, than any thing I could write at present; and I add
them therefore to these pages, with no further alteration than may
leave the narrative unbroken.

Late at night we embarked in the steam-boat for Dieppe, intending to
follow nearly the same route which I had pursued on a former occasion,
but instead of turning into Brittany, to go on from Tours into the
south of France, the air of which provinces the physician at Worthing
thought might be beneficial to me.

Of course there was much in England that I wished to forget. Sickness,
and sorrow, and pain of every kind, and I felt sure that nothing would
do me more general good, than to leave my own land, and all its
remembrances behind me, according to the plan I have just mentioned,
and to travel into France, where I had spent many happy days once
before. As I pondered over my journey, the thought of those times had
come back upon my heart like a gleam of sunshine in the midst of
winter, and warmed me into energy to undertake it.

It was night, then, when we set out; and while the steam-boat cut her
way through the darkness, I felt as if I were leaving sorrow behind
me, but as day broke, and the far faint line of my native land
appeared bright and soft between the waters and the sky, all the
remembrance of my youth, all the hopes that had failed, and the
pleasures that had fled, came rushing upon memory, and made it one of
the most painful moments of existence. Thank God, there was no one to
see me. I was alone upon the deck.

The rising of the sun is always one of the most superb sights in
nature, but is never so splendid as when he comes over the sea. The
very waves seemed emulous to catch his beams, and a flight of light
feathery clouds in the zenith, met the rays even before they reached
the earth, and kept blushing with brighter and brighter hues till the
whole day burst upon the sky.


         "El sol, velando en centellantes fuegos
          Su inaccessible magestad, preside
          Qual Rey al universo, esclarecido
          De un mar de luz, que de su treno corre."


It was one of the most magnificent mornings I ever beheld, and I tried
to fix my whole mind upon it, and to call up every train of ideas that
might occupy my attention. I brought to my remembrance a multitude of
descriptions from various poets of the rising day, and wondered to
what poetical fancy the ancients were indebted for the allegory of
Aurora (one of the most splendid fictions which adorns their
mythology), I tried to imagine that I saw the goddess of the morning
opening the gates of light. I forced upon recollection the paintings
of Marmontel, and Byron, and Shakspeare, and Milton, and Homer. But in
vain--my thoughts still wandered to all I was leaving, and my eye
still turned towards the lessening shores of England; till the far
lumen of my native land grew fainter and fainter upon the sky, till
one object after another, like every joy of existence, was gradually
lost to the sight, and blue distance closing over all, I was in the
midst of the ocean with nothing but waves around me. It was but too
good an image of my own fate.



                             THE WAKING.

     Ah! che non sol quelle, ch' io canto o scrivo
       Favole son; ma quanto temo, o spero,
       Tutto è menzogna, e delirando io vivo
     Sogno della mia vita è il corso intero.
                               --METASTASIO.


It was one of the sweetest sleeps I had ever enjoyed. Fatigue had been
bountiful to me, and given me back a blessing I had not known for many
a weary night. It is only when we have lost them, for a time, that we
learn to appreciate Heaven's gifts. The whole world is full of sweets
that we taste not, till sickness teaches us that our very faculties
are joys, or confinement makes us esteem the wooing of Heaven's free
air, the choicest blessing of existence. God has loaded us with
bounties, and yet man, the spoiled child of creation, whimpers for the
toys he cannot gain.

It was one of the sweetest sleeps I had enjoyed for long, and when I
woke and saw the sun shining through a window down to the floor, the
massy black rafters of the ceiling, with wood enough to build twenty
modern houses, the old-fashioned gilt chairs, and the cabinet with
cherubim's heads at all the corners, the tiled floor, and wide vacant
chimney, together with the looking-glass and its long frame, half
occupied by the portrait of a lack-a-daisical shepherd piping behind a
squinting shepherdess, and Cupid looking out from behind a bush, all
sorts of recollections of a French seaport came crowding upon me.

From the window was a gay scene, with the people of the market
jostling, bustling, and chattering, and flirting about, with a
thousand lively colours in their garments. And there was the old
lumbering diligence before the door, and the pump, and the beggars,
and the shoe-blacks; those that will do any thing, and those that will
do nothing, and all the hangers-on of a French inn. Wherever I turned,
it was France all over; and for a moment I fancied that I had never
quitted it, that I had never gone back to England, that I stood there
still, where I had stood less than a year before, and that the
interval, with all its sorrows, was but a dream, a melancholy dream.

I cherished the illusion: I called up every image of those days; I
thought of all the gay scenes I had witnessed, and the bright, and the
kind, and the happy with whom I had then mingled. I recalled the
friends that had entwined themselves with the best feelings of my
nature: those who had made me no stranger in a foreign land. I saw the
smile with which I had always been welcomed, and the extended hand and
the beaming eye. My thoughts were turned from every painful
recollection. I dwelt for one moment in the temple of oblivion, and
then busy craving memory, that "meddlesome officious ill," came in,
and did it all away.

It was but a moment, but it was a moment snatched from pain. It was
but an illusion, but it was a happy one. Passing on rapidly through
the country, my mind seemed every day to recover its tone. I saw no
more of the horrid countenance which had so fearfully haunted me, till
one day entering the cathedral of Suez, in Normandy, while the horses
were changing, we stopped near a new and handsome monument, the white
stone of which shone out in strong contrast with the dim and gloomy
aisles. B---- asked the sacristan who was with us, the name of the
person to whom it was erected.

"It is raised by the family of Monsieur Guillon," he said. "Poor young
gentleman! He was killed in a duel about three years ago!"

I started, and raised my eyes, and instantly from behind one of the
large heavy pillars looked out the ghastly countenance of my dying
enemy, with the same look of bitter hatred convulsing his pale
features, that they had borne ere his eyes closed for ever.



                         THE PLACE OF DREAMS.


I suppose that all human beings feel alike on those points, but
certainly when the sun shines I am materially happier; his brightness
seems to penetrate into the heart, and to make it expand like a
flower.

The first decidedly fine weather we had had since our arrival in
France, began at Le Mans, and during our journey towards Tours,
through a country that became richer and more rich as we advanced;
scarcely a cloud overshadowed the sky, except occasionally one of
those light summer vapours that, skimming along over the landscape,
gave a partial shadow as it passed, enough to vary, but not darken,
the scene.

At Château du Loir we began to meet with the abundance of Touraine.
Fine peaches at six for four sous, and delicious pears at a price
still lower, with grapes for a penny the cluster, all began to show
that we progressed in a land of summer. It was here, too, that the
first vineyards made their appearance, climbing up the sides of the
hills on each side of the road, and giving a luxuriant colouring to
the view, though not, indeed, offering half the picturesque beauties
which are attributed to them by imagination.

Tours--I know not why, but it excited in my mind a sensation of
melancholy. When I visited it before, was at the time of the unhappy
and ill-contrived revolt of Berton at Saumur; and returning with the
officers of a party of the troops that had been sent to disperse his
undisciplined forces, we spent several agreeable days in the antique
capital of Touraine. In general, we are fond of fixing upon some spot
for building our castles in the air, and Tours and the Loire had
yielded me many a foundation for those unsubstantial structures,
which, as they so often do, had crumbled away, and left me nothing but
the ruins behind.

Independent of individual associations, too, Tours is one of those
places which has many recollections attached to it, especially since
the Wizard of the North has raised again the fallen walls of Plessis
les Tours, and conjured up the king of the people, Louis XI., the
effects of whose hatred to the nobility were felt even in the
eighteenth century. But his mulberry-trees are no more, and all that
he did for the commerce of his favourite city is equally fallen to
nothing. The abbey of St. Martin, whose abbots were once kings of
France, is almost entirely destroyed, though there are two of the old
towers still standing, at so great a distance from each other as to
show the enormous extent of the ancient building. Besides all this,
are there not a thousand shadowy visions come floating down the sea of
time from the dreamy ages of chivalry and romance--Charles VII. and
his knights, Alençon, Dunois, the Maid of Arc, and Agnes Sorrel? The
beautiful Gabrielle d'Estrées too, owed her birth to Tours: but,
unlike Agnes Sorrel, her best quality was her beauty, and for _that_
her countrywomen are still deservedly famed.

In many respects it is a magnificent town. The Rue Royale, the
Cathedral, the bishop's palace, and a fine bridge over the river, are
the first objects the eye falls upon in entering the city; but before
all, is the Loire itself, flowing on in calm majesty through the
richest part of one of the most fertile countries in the world. Its
banks were covered with all nature's choicest gifts at the time we
entered Touraine, and, as if feeling the loneliness of the scene, the
stream seemed to linger amidst the beauty that surrounded it. Long,
long ago, it was the song of the troubadours. The Langue d'Oc and the
Langue d'Oil took its waters for a boundary, and many noble deeds have
rendered it famous in history. It was the birth-place, too, of the
Count of St. Maurice, whose fate, with all its curious turns of
fortune, told over the glowing fruit and the sparkling wine of the
land in which he dwelt, had deeper interest than it may have here. He
who narrated the tale called it.



                    THE FATE OF THE DUC DE BIRON.

Francis, Count of St. Maurice, was born at Tours, in the year 1580.
His father perished in battle before his eyes opened to the day, and
his mother scarcely survived his birth a week. His patrimonial
property had been wasted in the wars of the League, and his only
inheritance was his father's sword, and a few trembling lines written
by his dying mother to the famous Baron de Biron, with whom she was
distantly connected by the ties of blood. A trinket or two, the
remnant of all the jewels that had decked her on her bridal day, paid
the expense of arraying the dead wife of the fallen soldier for the
grave, and furnished a few masses for the repose of both their souls;
and an old servant, who had seen her mistress blossom into woman's
loveliness, and then so soon fade into the tomb, after beholding the
last dread dear offices bestowed upon the cold clay, took up the
unhappy fruit of departed love, and bore it in her arms, on foot, to
the only one on whom it seemed to have a claim. Biron, though stern,
rude, and selfish, did not resist the demand. Ambition had not yet
hardened his heart wholly, nor poisoned the purer stream of his
affections; and gazing on the infant for a moment, he declared it was
a lovely child, and wondrous like his cousin. He would make a soldier
of the brat, he said, and he gave liberal orders for its care and
tending. The child grew up, and the slight unmeaning features of the
infant were moulded by time's hand--as ready to perfect as to
destroy--into the face of as fair a boy as ever the eye beheld. Biron
often saw and sported with the child, and its bold, sweet, and
fearless mood, tempered by all the graces of youth and innocence, won
upon the soldier's heart. He took a pride in his education, made him
his page and his companion, led him early to the battle-field, and
inured him almost from infancy to danger and to arms.

Although occasionally fond of softer occupations--of music, of
reading, and the dance--the young Count of St. Maurice loved the
profession in which he was trained. Quick-sighted and talented, brave
as a lion, and firm as a rock, he rose in his profession, and obtained
several of those posts which, together with the liberality of his
benefactor, enabled him, in some degree, to maintain the rank which
had come down to him without the fortune to support it. Attaching
himself more and more to Biron every year, he followed him in all his
campaigns and expeditions, and paid him back, by many a service and
many a care, the kindness he had shown him in his infancy: so that
twice had he saved the marshal's life, and twice, by his active
vigilance, had he enabled his leader to defeat the enemy, before he
himself had reached the age of eighteen.

Gradually, however, a change came over the mind of Marshal Biron.
Henry IV., his too good master, became firmly seated on the throne of
France, and Biron, attributing all the king's success to his own
support, thought no recompense sufficient for his services, no honours
high enough for his merit and his deeds. Henry was anything but
ungrateful, and though, in fact, he owed his throne to his birth, and
to his own right-hand, more than to any man on earth, he,
nevertheless, loaded Marshal Biron with all the honours in his power
to bestow. He was created a duke and peer of France, high-admiral, and
lieutenant-general of the king's armies; and many a post of
distinction and emolument raised his revenues and his dignity
together. But still he was not satisfied: pride, ambition, and
discontent, took possession of his heart; and he meditated schemes of
elevating himself, till the insanity of ambition led him to thoughts
of treason. His manners, too, grew morose and haughty: he was reserved
and distant to those he had formerly favoured, and his household
became cold and stately.

At the same time, a change, but a very different change, had taken
place in the bosom of the young St. Maurice; and to explain what that
change was, a fact must be mentioned, which is in itself a key to all
the new feelings and the new thoughts, the new speculations and the
new hopes, which entered into the bosom of the young, but fortuneless
count, about the end of the year 1600. About eight years before that
period, there had been added to the family of the Duke de Biron a
young niece, of about nine years old, a lively, gentle girl, with
bright hair and soft blue eyes, and pretty childish features, that had
no look but that of innocence when they were in repose, but which
occasionally took a glance of warm, happy eagerness, with which we
might suppose an angel to gaze on the completion of some bright and
mighty work. In her childhood, she played with the young St. Maurice,
till they loved each other as children love; and just at that age when
such things become dangerous to a young girl's heart, fluttering
between infancy and womanhood, the Duke de Biron was ordered to
Brussels on the arrangements of the peace, and taking St. Maurice with
him, he sent Mademoiselle de la Roche-sur-Marne to a convent, which
she thought very hard, for her father and mother were both dead, and
all that she loved on earth the Duke carried away with him.

St. Maurice was left behind at Brussels to terminate some business
which Marshal Biron had not concluded, and when, after some lapse of
time, he returned to France, and joined the Duke at the Citadel of
Bourg, where that nobleman commanded for the King, he found Marie de
la Roche no longer the same being he had left her. The bud had at once
burst forth into a flower, and a flower of most transcendent
loveliness. The form which his arm had encircled a thousand times, in
boyish sport, had changed in the whole tone of its beauty. Every line,
every movement, breathed a different spirit, and woke a different
feeling. The features too, though soft as infancy, had lost the
roundness of infancy, and in the still innocent imploring eyes, which
yet called up all the memory of the past, there was an eloquent glance
beaming from the woman's heart, in which childhood was all outshone.

The young Count felt no alteration in himself, but was dazzled and
surprised with the change in her, and felt a sudden diffidence take
possession of him, which the first warm unchanged welcome could hardly
dispel. She seemed scarce to dream that there was a difference, for
the time that she had spent in the convent was an unfilled blank,
which afforded scarce a circumstance to mark the passage of a brief
two years. The Duke de Biron received his young follower with rough
kindness, but there were always various causes which kept him more
from the society of St. Maurice than formerly. There were many
strangers about him, some of whom were Italians, and St. Maurice saw
that much private business was transacted, from a knowledge of which
he was purposely excluded. The Duke would take long, and almost
solitary rides, or go upon distant expeditions, to visit the different
posts under his government, and then, instead of commanding at once
the young soldier's company, he left him to escort Mademoiselle de la
Roche to this fair sight or that beautiful view. In the pride and
selfishness of his heart, he never dreamed it possible that the poor
and friendless Count of St. Maurice would dare to love the niece of
the great Duke de Biron, or that Marie de la Roche would ever feel
towards him in any other way than as the dependent follower of her
uncle.

But he knew not human nature. Mademoiselle de la Roche leaned upon the
arm of St. Maurice as they strayed though the beautiful scenery near
Bourg, or yielded her light form to his grasp, as he lifted her on
horseback; or listened to him while he told of battles and dangers
when he had followed her uncle to the field, or gazed upon his
flashing features and speaking eye while he spoke of great deeds, till
her heart beat almost to pain whenever his step sounded along the
corridors, and her veins thrilled at the slightest touch of his hand.
St. Maurice, too, for months plunged blindly into the vortex before
him. He thought not--he hesitated not at the consequences. But one
feeling, one emotion, one passion filled his bosom,--annihilated
foresight, prudence, reflection, altogether,--took possession of heart
and brain, and left the only object for his mind's conception--love!

It went on silently in the bosom of each; they spoke not what was in
their hearts; they hardly dared to look in each other's eyes for fear
the secret should find too eloquent a voice; and yet they each felt
and knew, that loving, they were beloved. They could not but know it,
for, constantly together, there were a thousand voiceless, unconscious
modes of expression, which told again and again a tale that was but
too dear to the heart of each. And yet there is something in the
strong confirmation of language which each required for the full
satisfaction of their mutual hopes, and there are moments when passion
will have voice. Such a moment came to them. They were alone; the sun
had just sunk, and the few gray minutes of the twilight were speeding
on irrevocable wings. There was no eye to see, no ear to hear, and
their love was at length spoken.

They had felt it--they had known it long; but the moment it was
uttered--its hopelessness--its perfect hopelessness--seemed suddenly
to flash upon their minds, and they stood gazing on each other in awe
and fear, like the First Two, when they had tasted the fatal fruit of
the knowledge of good and evil. But the never-to-be-recalled words had
been breathed, and there was a dread, and a hope, and a tenderness,
mingled with every glance that they turned upon one another.

Still the Duke de Biron did not see, for his mind was so deeply
engrossed with the schemes of his mad ambition, and the selfishness of
his pride, that nothing else rested in his thoughts for a moment.
Messengers were coming and going between him and the Duke of Savoy, a
known enemy to France, and whenever he spoke with St. Maurice, it was
in terms of anger towards the good King Henry IV., and of praise and
pleasure towards the cold-hearted monarch of Spain. Often, too, he
would apparently strive to sound the disposition of his young
follower, and would throw him into company with men of more art and
cunning than himself, who would speak of the destruction of the
Bourbon line as necessary for the good of France and the tranquillity
of Europe, and insinuate that a time might be at hand when such a
sacrifice would be completed. St. Maurice frowned, and was silent when
the design was covered, as often happened, with much art, and boldly
spoke his mind against traitors when the treason was apparent.

At length one day he was called to the presence of the Duke, whom he
found alone. "Come hither, St. Maurice," said his friend; "I have
brought you up, young Count, from your infancy to your manhood--I have
been your friend in fair days and foul--I taught you the duty of a
soldier, and the duty of an officer--I have raised you higher than any
other man in France could do, or would do--and now tell me--whether do
you love best Henry of Bearn or me?"

"Your words, my lord," replied St. Maurice, "taught me in early years
to love the King, and your actions taught me to love yourself; but the
honour of a French noble teaches me to love my duty, and that joins
ever with my love towards my King."

"Ha!" exclaimed Biron, his dark brow burning, "must you teach me what
is duty?--Begone, ungrateful boy!--leave me--thus, like the man in
the fable, we nourish serpents in our bosom, that will one day sting
us--begone, I say!"--St. Maurice turned to quit the cabinet, with
feelings of sorrow and indignation in his heart: but grief to see his
benefactor thus standing on the brink of dishonour and destruction,
overcame all personal feeling, and he paused, exclaiming, "Oh! my
lord, my lord! beware how you bring certain ruin on your own
head ----." But remonstrance only called up wrath. Biron lost all
command over himself. He stamped with his heavy boot till the chamber
rang; he bade St. Maurice quit his presence and his dwelling; he
stripped him, with a word, of all the posts and employments which he
had conferred upon him, and bade him, ere two days were over, leave
the castle of Bourg, and go forth from his family; a beggar as he had
entered it. Nor alone, in his rash passion, did he content himself
with venting his wrath upon his young follower, but he dropped words
against the monarch and the state, which left his treasonable
practices beyond a doubt.

The young Count heard as little as possible, but hurried from the
presence of a man whom pride and anger had frenzied, and hastening to
his chamber, he paused but to ponder over all the painful
circumstances of his own situation. Nothing was before him but
despair, and his brain whirled round and round with that vague, wild
confusion of painful ideas, which no corporeal agony can equal. The
predominant thought however, the idea that rose up with more and more
frightful prominence every moment, was the necessity of parting from
her he loved--and of parting for ever, without one hope, without one
expectation to soothe the long cold blank of absence. He could have
borne the unjust and cutting unkindness of the Duke--he could have
borne the loss of fortune, and the prospect of that hard, fierce
struggle which the world requires of men who would rise above their
original lot--he could have borne the reverse of state and of station,
comfort and fortune, without a murmur or a sigh; but to lose the
object in which all the ardent feelings of an ardent heart had been
concentrated, was more, far more than he could bear. Thus he pondered
for near an hour, letting the bitter stream of thought flow on, while
every moment added some new drop of sorrow, as reflection showed him
more and more the utter hopelessness of all his prospects.

The setting out of a large train from before his window, first roused
him from his painful dream, and though he knew not why, he felt
relieved when he beheld the Duke de Biron himself lead the way,
caparisoned as for a journey. The next moment found him beside
Mademoiselle de la Roche. Her eyes were full of tears, and he
instantly concluded she had heard his fate; but it was not so. She was
weeping, she said, because her uncle had come to her apartments very
angry on some account, and had harshly commanded her back to her
convent the next day; and as she told her lover, she wept more and
more. But when he in turn related the Duke's anger with him, and his
commands to quit the citadel--when he told her all the destitution of
his situation--and hopelessness of winning her when all his fortune on
the earth was his sword and a thousand crowns, Marie de la Roche wept
no more, but drying her bright eyes, she put her hand in his, saying,
"St. Maurice, we will go together! We love each other, and nobody in
the world cares aught about us--my uncle casts us both off--but my
inheritance must sooner or later be mine, and we will take our lot
together!"

Such words, spoken by such lips, were far more than a lover's heart
could resist. Had he been absent when that scheme was proposed--had he
not seen her--had he not held her hand in his--had her eyes not looked
upon him, he might have thought of difficulties, and prudence, and
danger, and discomfort to her. But now her very look lighted up hope
in his heart, and he would not let fear or doubt for a single instant
shadow the rekindled beams. He exacted but one thing--she should bring
him no fortune. The Duke de Biron should never say that he had wedded
his niece for her wealth--if she would sacrifice all, and share his
fate, he feared not that with his name and with his sword, and her
love to inspire him, he should find fortune in some distant land.
Marie doubted not either and willingly agreed to risk herself with him
upon the wide unknown ocean of events.

It seemed as if all circumstances combined to enable them more easily
to make the trial. The Duke de Biron had gone to Fontainbleau, boldly
to meet the generous master he had determined to betray, and the old
chaplain of the citadel, whose life St. Maurice had saved at the
battle of Vitry, after many an entreaty, consented to unite him that
very night to his young sweet bride. Their horses were to be prepared
in the gray of the morning, before the sun had risen, and they doubted
not that a few hours would take them over the frontier, beyond the
danger of pursuit.

The castle was suffered to sink into repose, and all was still; but at
midnight a solitary taper lighted the altar of the chapel, and St.
Maurice soon pressed Marie to his heart as his wife. In silence he led
her forth, while the priest followed with trembling steps, fearful
lest the lightest footfall should awaken notice and suspicion; but all
remained tranquil--the lights in the chapel were extinguished, and the
chaplain retreated in peace to his apartment.

There was scarcely a beam in the eastern sky when St. Maurice
glided forth to see if the horses were prepared. He paused and
listened--there was a noise below, and he thought he heard coming
steps along some of the more distant corridors. A long passage
separated him from his own chamber, and he feared to be seen near that
of Marie, and be obliged at once to proclaim his marriage, lest her
fair fame should be injured. He therefore determined to hasten
forward, and strive to gain his own part of the building. He strode on
like light, but at the top of the staircase a firm hand was laid upon
his shoulder, and a loud voice demanded, "Who are you?" St. Maurice
paused, undetermined whether to resist and still try to shake of the
person who stopped him, or to declare himself at once; but the dim
outline of several other figures against a window beyond, showed him
that opposition was vain, and he replied, "I am the Count of St.
Maurice; why do you stop me, sir?"

"In the King's name, I arrest you, Count of St. Maurice," replied the
voice; "give me your sword."

"In the King's name, or in Marshal Biron's, gentlemen?" demanded St.
Maurice, somewhat bitterly. "You jest with me, gentlemen; my lord the
Duke I may have offended, but the King never."

"I said in the King's name, young gentleman," replied the other
gravely, taking the sword, which St. Maurice yielded. "You, sirs," he
continued, turning to those who stood near, "guard the prisoner
closely, while I seek for the Baron de Lux."

St. Maurice was detained for a few minutes in the corridor, and then
bade to prepare to journey to Fontainbleau. The whole castle was now
in confusion, and all the principal officers of Marshal Biron, the
Count found, were, like himself, under arrest. At his earnest
entreaty, the Count de Belin, who commanded the party of royal troops,
permitted him to take leave of her he had so lately wedded, though
only in his presence. Marie de la Roche-sur-Marne was drowned in
tears, but alarm for her uncle's safety easily accounted for that, and
the few low words of comfort and assurance which St. Maurice spoke,
betrayed not at all the secret of their union. She suffered him to
speak uninterrupted but by her sobs; but when he bent over her hand he
raise it to his lips, with the formal courtesy of the day, all was
forgotten but her love and her despair, and casting herself into his
arms, she hid her eyes upon his shoulder, and wept with the bitter
agonizing tears of unavailing love.

The old Count de Belin gently unclasped her arms, and removed St.
Maurice, who turned, and grasping his hand, said, with a meaning look,
"Sir, you are a soldier and a gentleman--our confidence, I am sure, is
safe?"

"Upon my honour," replied the officer; laying his hand upon his heart,
and St. Maurice was satisfied. He was soon after put on horseback, and
conducted with several others to Fontainbleau, from whence he was
immediately carried to Paris, and lodged in the Bastile. But it may be
now time to turn to him whose weak ambition had brought ruin on his
own head.

As is well known, the Duke de Biron, summoned by the king to his
presence on clear information of his treason, proceeded at once to
Fontainbleau, depending fully on the fidelity of the very man who had
betrayed him, and entered the gardens in which Henry was walking, at
the very moment when the monarch was declaring, _that beyond all doubt
he would not come_. He advanced at once towards the king, and Henry,
whose frank and generous heart would fain have believed him less
guilty than he really was, embraced him according to his custom,
saying, "You did well to come, Lord Duke, otherwise I should have gone
to seek you;" and, taking him by the hand, he led him into another
garden, where he could speak with him unobserved. There Henry at once,
with the noble candour of a noble heart, told him that good
information had been received, of his having carried on a long
correspondence with the enemies of the state. "Speak the truth, my
lord," he added; "tell me all, and, good faith, no one shall know it;
the matter shall go no further, and all it shall cost you shall be a
sincere repentance."

The Marshal replied, proudly, that he had nothing to confess, and that
his purpose in coming, was to meet his accusers. There was a rudeness
in his answer, which was not the boldness of innocence; and Henry,
turning away, rejoined the court. Still the king tried more than once
during the day to win from the traitor one repentant word. He again
and again solicited him to speak. He sent his friends to him, and his
relations; and though urged by his council--before which full proofs
of the Marshal's guilt had long been laid, and which had taken
prompt measures, as we have seen, for securing his followers and
dependents--still Henry's heart rebelled against his better judgment,
and would not suffer him to order his arrest. "If this matter be
tried, and proved against him," said the King, "justice must have its
way, for the sake of public example; but I would fain avert the
necessity." At length, even at midnight, Henry once more called his
treacherous servant to his presence; and again begged him, for his own
sake, to confess his fault. "Let me hear from your own mouth," said
the monarch, "that which with great sorrow I have heard from too good
authority; and on a frank acknowledgment, I promise to grant you
pardon and kindness. Whatever crime you may have committed or
meditated against my person, if you will but confess it, I will cover
it over with the mantle of my protection, and forget it myself."[6]


--------------------
[Footnote 6: These two remarkable speeches are upon record.]

--------------------


"Sire!" replied the Marshal boldly, "I have nothing to say but what I
have said. I did not come to your majesty to justify myself, but to
beg you only to tell me my enemies, that I may seek justice against
them, or render it to myself."

Henry turned away disgusted, and the Duke advanced through the door of
the saloon into the antechambers beyond. At the door of that, however,
which led out upon the staircase, he was met by the Count de Vitry,
who, seizing his right hand in his own left, caught the hilt of
Biron's sword with the other hand, exclaiming, "The King commands me
to give an account of your person, sir. Yield me your sword."

Biron started, and a mortal paleness came over his face; for it would
seem that he never dreamed for a moment, either that the monarch had
accurate information of his treason, or would proceed to do justice
against him. He suffered himself to be disarmed, however, and led to a
secure apartment, where, after he had recovered from his first
surprise, he passed the night in violent and intemperate language,
injurious to his own cause, and indecent in itself. From thence he was
conveyed to the Bastile, and his trial proceeded with great rapidity.
A thousand efforts were made to save him, by his friends and
relations; and Henry was besieged, wherever he appeared, with tears
and petitions. But the day of mercy had gone by; and the same monarch
who had almost supplicated his rebellious subject to say one word that
might save himself, now sternly declared that justice must take its
course; and that whatever the law awarded, without fail should be put
in execution.

In the meanwhile, St. Maurice passed his time in bitter meditations,
confined in a dull cell of the Bastile, which, though not absolutely a
dungeon, contained nothing but one of those small narrow beds whose
very look was like that of the grave, a crucifix, and a missal. The
hours and the days wore on, and he saw no one but the people who
brought him his daily food, and a few persons passing occasionally
across the inner court of the Bastile; so that solitude and sad
thoughts traced every day deeper and deeper lines upon his heart, and
upon his brow. He thought of her whom he loved--of what her situation
was, and what it might be; and when that was too painful, he turned
his mind to his own fate, and tried to look it calmly in the face, but
still the image of Marie rose up in every scene, and reduced all the
native resolution of his heart to woman's weakness.

He was thus one day cast heedlessly on his bed, when the door of his
cell opened, and the jailer desired him to follow. St. Maurice rose
and obeyed, and a few minutes brought him to a larger chamber, which
he was bade to enter. At the other side of the room there stood a
middle-sized man, habited in a plain suit of rusty black velvet, with
strongly marked aquiline features, and gray hair and beard. His eye
was keen and quick, his forehead broad and high, and there was
something peculiar in the firm rooted attitude with which he stood,
bending his eyes upon the open door. Even had St. Maurice never seen
him before, he could never have doubted that he was a King.

"Come hither, Sir Count," said Henry IV. abruptly; "tell me all you
know of this treason of the Duke de Biron. Tell me all, tell me true,
and, by my faith, you shall have full pardon."

"Sire," replied St. Maurice, "when my father died in the service of
your majesty, and my mother left this world a few days after my birth,
I was left a penniless orphan, for all our fortunes had been lost in
your royal cause----" Henry knitted his brow--"I was a beggar,"
continued St. Maurice, "and the Duke de Biron took pity on me--brought
me up--led me to the field--protected--provided for me----"

"Hold! hold! Hold!" cried the King. "Say no more! say no more--get you
gone--yet stay--I seek not, sir, this unhappy man's death. Justice
shall be done, but no more than justice--not severity. If you know
anything which can mitigate his offence, speak it boldly, and the King
will thank you; anything that may render his crime less black."

"I know little, Sire, of the Marshal's late conduct," replied the
Count, "for in truth I have been less in his confidence than formerly;
but this I know, and do believe, that he is one of those men to speak,
aye, and to write, many base things in a hasty and a passionate mood,
that he would be the last on earth to act."

Henry mused for a moment in silence, and then, without any farther
observation, ordered St. Maurice back again to his cell.

Another long week passed, and day after day grew more weary and
horrible than the last. Each hour, each moment, added to anxiety,
uncertainty, and expectation, already beyond endurance. The rising and
the setting of the sun, the heavy passing away of the long and tardy
minutes, the wide vague infinity through which apprehension and care
had leave to roam, overwhelmed his mind, and shook even his corporeal
strength. Each noise, each sound, made him start; and the very opening
of his cell door brought with it some quick indistinct fear. It is
said that those long accustomed to solitary confinement, get inured to
the dead, blank vacancy of existence without action, lose hope, and
fear, and thought, and care; and exist, but hardly can be said to
live. But St. Maurice had not yet had time to let one of the fresh
pangs of his situation become lulled by the opiate of custom, and
every moment of its endurance was a moment of new agony. He heard no
tidings, he received no comfort, no hope from any one. The very joys
that he had known, and the love he valued most, became a torture to
him; his own heart was a burden, and while the future was all dark and
lowering, the past was full of regret, and prolific of apprehension.

At length, one evening, an unusual number of footsteps traversing the
court below, called him from the bed on which he usually cast himself
in prostrate despondency, and he beheld, from the small window of his
cell, a number of people gathered together in the open space, of a
quality which showed at once that some great and formal act was about
to take place within the walls of the prison. The Chancellor was
there, and various judges and officers of the Parliament, and a number
of the municipal body of Paris were on the spot, with clerks and
serjeants, and the two chief _prévôts_. A small body of soldiers also
guarded the different doors of the court, and on the side next to the
garden was raised a scaffold, about five feet above the ground, at the
foot of which a strong man in black stood, with two others of an
inferior grade, examining the edge of a large heavy sword, which was
suddenly put into the sheath on the sound of some voices at the other
side of the court.

At that moment the Duke de Biron was brought in through the opposite
door, accompanied by several of the officers of the prison. His dark
swarthy countenance was not a shade paler than usual, and, with his
hat and plume upon his head, he walked boldly forward with an erect
and daring carriage; but as his eye first fell upon the scaffold, he
paused a single instant, exclaiming, "Ha!" He then strode forward
again, as if he had been marching against an enemy, and came to the
foot of the ladder which led to the scaffold. There he paused and
looked round him with furious and impatient eyes, as if he would fain
have vented the wrath that was in his heart upon some of those around
him.

"Sir Chancellor! Sir Chancellor!" he cried, "you have condemned a man
more innocent than many you have suffered to escape, and that upon the
evidence of two perjured villains. You have done injustice, sir, which
you could have prevented, and you shall answer it before God.--Yes,
sir, before Him to whose presence I summon you before a year pass
over." Then turning to the commandant, he added, "Ah, Monsieur de
Roissy, Monsieur de Roissy! had your father been alive, he would have
aided me to quit this place. Fie! fie! is this a fate for one who has
served his country as I have?"

"My Lord Duke," said the Chancellor, "you have heard the sentence of
your peers, and it must now be executed. The King commands me to
demand the insignia of that noble order to which you once belonged."

"There, sir, take it!" cried the Duke, giving him his star and riband.
"Tell the King, that though he treat me thus, I have never broken one
statute of the order to which my deeds in his service raised me.
Pshaw!" he continued, turning from the priest, who now pressed him
to confess--"I make my confession aloud. All my words are my
confession.--Still," he added, as his eye rested for a moment on the
scaffold and all the awful preparation for his fate, "still, I may as
well think awhile of where I am going."

He then spoke for a few minutes with the priest who stood by his side.
His countenance grew calmer and graver; and after having received
absolution and the sacrament, he looked for a brief space up towards
the sky, then knelt down before the scaffold, and prayed for same
time, while a dead silence was maintained around--you might have heard
a feather fall. As he still knelt, the sun broke out, and shone calmly
and sweetly over the whole array of death, while a bird in the
neighbouring garden, wakened by the sunshine and the deep stillness,
broke into a clear, shrill, joyful song, with the most painful music
that ever struck the ear.

The prisoner started on his feet, and, after looking round for an
instant, mounted the scaffold with the same bold step wherewith he had
approached it. His eyes, however, still had in them that sort of wild,
ferocious gleam, which they had exhibited ever since his arrest; and
though he seemed to strive for calmness, and displayed not a touch of
fear, yet there was an angry spirit in his tone as he addressed those
around him. "I have wronged the King," he said, sharply, "I have
wronged the King. 'Tis better to acknowledge it. But that I ever
sought his life is a lie and perjury. Had I listened to evil counsel,
he would have been dead ten years ago. Ah! my old friends and
fellow-soldiers," he added, turning to the guards, "why will none of
you fire your piece into my heart, instead of leaving me to the vile
hands of this common butcher?" And he pointed to the executioner.
"Touch me not," he continued, seeing the other approach him with a
handkerchief to bind his eyes--"touch me not with those hellish
fingers, or, by heavens, I will tear you limb from limb! Give me the
handkerchief."

He then cast his hat away from him, and bound his own
eyes--knelt--prayed again for a moment--rose suddenly up as the
executioner was about to draw the sword--withdrew the covering from
his sight--gazed wildly round him for an instant, and beckoned one of
the officers to tie up his long hair under the handkerchief. This was
immediately done, and his eyes being covered, he called out, "Haste!
haste!"

"Repeat the _In manus_, my lord," said the executioner, taking the
heavy sword, which had hitherto been concealed by the attendants.

Biron began to repeat the psalm of the dying--the blade glittered in
the air--swayed round the head of the executioner; and before the eye
could trace the blow which ended the earthly career of the unfortunate
but guilty soldier, his head was severed at once from his body, and
Biron was no more.

A feeling of intense and painful interest had kept St. Maurice at the
window till the moment that the unhappy soldier covered his own eyes
with the handkerchief; but then a sensation of giddy sickness forced
him away, and he cast himself down once more, with bitterer feelings
than ever at his heart. The world seemed all a hell of cares and
sorrows, and he could have died that moment with hardly a regret.
After he had lain there for nearly two hours, he once more rose, and
approached the window. The crowd were all gone, but the dark scaffold
still remained, and the young soldier drew back again, saying to
himself, "Who next? who next?" He lay down and tried to sleep, but his
throbbing temples and his heated blood rendered the effort vain.
Strange wild images rose up before his eyes. Fiends and foul shapes
where grinning at him in the air. Fire seemed circling through his
veins, and burning his heart; he talked; with no one to hear--he
raved--he struggled--and then came a long term of perfect
forgetfulness, at the end of which he woke as from a profound sleep.

He was weak as a child, and his ideas of the past were but faint and
confused. The first thing, however, that returned to memory was the
image of his cell, and he cast his heavy eyes around, in search of the
bolts, and bars, and grated windows; but no such things were near. He
was in a small but handsome room, with the open lattice admitting the
breath of many flowers, and by his side sat an old and reverend dame,
whom he had never seen before. A few faint but coherent words, and the
light of intelligence re-awakened in his eye, showed the nurse, for
such she was, that the fever had left him, and going out of the
chamber, she returned with a soldier-like man, whom St. Maurice at
once remembered as the old Count de Belin, who had arrested him at
Bourg. Many words of comfort and solace were spoken by the old
soldier, but St. Maurice was forbidden to utter a syllable, or ask a
question, for several days. A physician, too, with grave and solemn
face, visited him twice each day, and gave manifold cautions and
warnings as to his treatment, which the young gentleman began soon to
think unnecessary, as the firm calm pulse of health grew fuller and
fuller in his frame. At length one day, as he lay somewhat weary of
restraint, the door opened, and Henry IV. himself stood by his
bed-side. "New, faith, my good young Count," said the monarch, "I had
a hearty mind to keep you to silence and thin bouillon for some days
longer, to punish certain rash words spoken in the Bastile, casting a
stigma upon royal gratitude for leaving faithful friends, who had lost
all in our behalf, to poverty and want. But I have lately heard all
your story, and more of it than you thought I ever would hear; and
therefore, though I shall take care that there be no more reproaches
against my gratitude, as a punishment for your crimes, I shall sell
you as a slave for ever. Come hither, sweet taskmaster," he added,
raising his voice, "and be sure you do all that woman can--and that is
no small power--to tease this youth through all his life to come."

As the King spoke, the flutter of a woman's robe--the bright, dear
eyes--the sweet, all-graceful form,--the bland glad smile of her he
loved, burst upon the young soldier's sight; and she, forgetting fear,
timidity, the presence of royalty--all, all but love, sprang forward
at once, and bedewed his bosom with her happy tears.



                           SAINT RADIGONDE.


It was fair-time when we arrived at Poitiers, and twelve o'clock at
night, so that we had some difficulty in getting beds; but going into
the kitchen, by dint of a little love, and a great deal of civility, I
prevailed upon the chambermaid to give us two which had been reserved
for a couple of gentlemen expected from Tours.

When I returned to the hall I found my friend with two Frenchmen, Now,
under all circumstances, an Englishman generally keeps the distance of
two yards between him and a stranger; but as I had determined to go
through the world precisely as I would do through a menagerie, and to
see all the strange beasts that are in it, I approximated myself, in
general, to all those whom Heaven threw in my way. The two Frenchmen
were waiting for supper, and so were we; therefore without more ado we
all sat down together, and as I much wished to find out the famous
field of Poitiers, I soon began to ask a great many questions. But
they knew nothing about it. They had never heard of it; and they had
lived in the neighbourhood for years, so that they were sure the
battle I spoke of could not have happened in their day. "Most probably
not," said I. "It must have been before the revolution," said the
other Frenchman, who was a good, fat, substantial farmer, come into
the town to buy and sell at the fair. "But as Monsieur was fond of
curious things," he added, "he ought by all means to see the church of
St. Radigonde, where the mark of the Saviour's foot was still to be
beheld." And he set to tell me how it happened, and all about it. His
story was somewhat after his own fashion, it is true, but it is not a
whit the worse for that. "Saint Radigonde," he said, "was a Catholic,
and the sister of _Clovis_; who was father to _Henri Quatre_." "I
thought that they were more distantly related," said I. But he stuck
to his biography, and continued. "Well, Clovis was a very warlike
monarch as well as his son, and being engaged in a most tremendous
battle, he sent to his sister to desire her prayers, which she very
readily granted him; and while thus piously engaged, our Saviour
appeared to her and promised her the victory for her brother, leaving
the mark of his foot in the marble.

"Clovis triumphed over his enemy, and so great was his gratitude for
this manifest interference of Heaven in his favour, that he instantly
became a sincere Catholic. For you know," said the narrator, "that
before that time he was a _Protestant_."

"I have heard," replied I, "that he was a Pagan."

"A Pagan or a Protestant," said he, "it is all the same thing."

I was well pleased with any absurdity. The memory of more poignant
griefs had worn away so far as to permit my feeling amused with many
things--pleasure I derived from but few! Under the attack of very
severe griefs, imagination is the first of the mind's soldiers that
yields or revolts to the enemy; but, as those griefs pass on, leaving
us conquered, imagination, is the first to return to console us.
Grief, when it grows fanciful, is in its first stage of amelioration.
Then comes the power of laughing long before we learn again to enjoy.



                           THE CURIOSITIES.


I am as fond of seeing curiosities as any other grown child that ever
existed; and as my companion was of the same mind as myself, the first
thing we did the morning after our arrival at Poitiers, was to visit
the ruins of the amphitheatre; which are very little worth seeing,
except to those who love ruins for their own sake. The arena is filled
up with gardens, and though the whole site is perfectly well marked
out, but little of the walls exist at present. It was the son of the
proprietor who showed us over the spot. He might be an idiot, or he
might not, but he gave us no information, and kept grinning at us, and
listening to our foreign dialect with evident marks of horror and
astonishment. On our departure he followed us into the street, and
still kept staring in our faces, till my friend appealed to my better
knowledge of France to ascertain what he wanted. I answered, "_A
franc_." My companion was incredulous, but I put my hand in my pocket,
and drawing one out, I begged the young gentleman to give it to "_la
domestique_." He took it immediately, with great satisfaction, and
whether the servant ever received it or not, is between her young
master and herself.

We went to the church of St. Radigonde too. It is really singular how
prone the human mind is to lend itself to every sort of absurdity. We
are made of odd clay certainly, of so soft a temper in our youth, that
it takes the first form it happens to find, and then hardening there,
would sooner break than quit it. There were a dozen old women at the
church door, who make a livelihood by fixing themselves in the suite
of Saint Radigonde, and we were instantly assailed by _la bonne Ste.
Radigonde prie pour vous_, together with much counting of rosaries,
and all the rest of Catholic begging. On entering the church we found
an iron grating with a fine figure of the saint, dressed in a blue
cloak powdered with _fleurs de lys_, not at all unlike one of the
figures placed at the head of a ship. There, too, was what they are
pleased to call the foot-mark of our Saviour, covered with some bars
of iron, and an inscription above, to give authority to the falsehood.
Round about it were scattered several pieces of money, from a sous
to a franc, which my companion, in his fisherman's slang termed
ground-bait.

Farther on is the tomb of the saint, with a silver lamp ever burning,
the gift of Anne of Austria, in gratitude for the restored health of
Louis XIV. after his illness at Metz, which the Queen attributes
entirely to Saint Radigonde. In imitation of this royal credulity,
multitudes of persons affected with various maladies have hung up at
the shrine little effigies of the afflicted parts, modelled in wax: so
that there are enough of waxen legs and arms to furnish the largest
doll-shop in Europe. Passing through a low arch, we descended by a few
steps to the sort of vault in which lies the stone coffin, supposed to
contain the body of Saint Radigonde. This, the pious take care to
adorn with large tapers, much to the gratification of the priests and
the wax-chandlers.



                        THE BOTTLE OF SAUTERN.

               Benedetto
               Quel claretto
               Che si spilla in Avignone.--BACCO IN TOSCANA.


We were tired with our ramble, for besides the amphitheatre and Saint
Radigonde, we had been to the cathedral and the promenades, and had
walked for two or three miles along the road towards Paris, to see the
beautiful rocky scenery which flanks the entrance to the town, and
which we had passed the night before by moonlight. Finding that we
could actually eat no dinner at the inn, (they were all so occupied
with the people of the fair,)we strolled out to a restaurateur's in
the neighbourhood, before the door of whose house a woman, with a
voice like a Stentor, and a face like Baron G----, was singing the
acts of our Saviour, in a sort of little booth covered all over with
gospel pictures, which the man who played the accompaniment pointed
out with his fiddlestick, one by one, as she came to them in her song.

We went into the _restaurant_, and notwithstanding the multitude of
the fair, met with a very good dinner, composed of heaven knows what.
There is no use of inquiring into these things.

After dinner we ordered a bottle of Sautern, which was marked in the
_carte_ at _two francs ten sous_. It was in a kind of despair that we
did it, for the red wine was worth nothing. It came.--People may talk
of Hocheim, and Burgundy, and Hermitage, and all the wines that ever
the Rhone or the Rhine produced, but never was there wine like that
one bottle of _Sautern_. It poured, out as clear as the stream of hope
ere it has been muddied by disappointment, and it was as soft and
generous as early joy ere youth finds out its fallacy. We drank it
slowly, and lingered over the last glass, as if we had a presentiment
that we should never meet with anything like it again. When it was
done, quite done, we ordered another bottle. But no--it was not the
same wine. We sent it away, and we had another--in vain--and
another--there was no more of it to be had.

It was like one of those days of pure unsophisticated happiness, that
sometimes break in upon life, and leave nothing to be desired; that
comes unexpectedly--last their own brief space, like things apart--and
are remembered for ever.



                        THE FIELD OF POITIERS.


"It is very strange," said I, "that no one can tell me where it lies."

But I forgot that the French, very wisely, never remember the battles
they lose: and as here their kingdom was overthrown, and its king
taken prisoner, they of course made the more haste to forget it. So I
desired my guide to conduct me to the Pierre Levée, and resolved to
seek the field of battle myself.

It is simply a Celtic monument, the Pierre Levée, and is only curious
from its insulated situation; but as I always like to have the best
information going, I asked the guide what he thought of it.

Common people have two ways of disposing of things that they would not
else know what to do with. If they want to send them away, they send
them to the devil; if they do not know where they come from, they
bring them from heaven. This latter was the case with my guide and the
Pierre Levée; so he told me, that it dropped from the skies four
hundred thousand years ago.

As _this_ is a more probable account than any I have read or heard of,
concerning these Celtic monuments; and as it fixes the date precisely,
I feel myself bound not to withhold it from the world.

I sought the field of battle by myself, and a long and weary search it
was. No one could give me any account of it, and many had never heard
of any battle there at all. There was a spot struck me at length, as
offering the most probable position. I pitched the Black Prince's camp
on a small rising ground, and disposed King John's army round about
him, so that he could not escape. There was a wood that covered the
archers, just in front; and a wide open space, having the advantage of
the field, which I filled up with horse. Then there was a body of
strong men at arms resting on the village below, flanked by the spears
of the guard; and down between the English and the river, was the
whole division of Ribemont and Clermont. I drew it out in my own mind
as clearly as possible. It was as fine a battle as ever was seen; and
I set my heart upon its being just there.

There was a group of peasants playing at the door of a grange, and as
I saw one whose face I liked. I went up and asked him whether there
had not once been a famous battle there. But he made me half angry by
telling me, "No, that it was farther on." He overthrew all my host, as
completely as Edward did that of France. "Tenez, monsieur," said he
"you see that high tree in the distance; if you walk straight towards
it, about a quarter of a league on this side, you will find a heap of
large stones which we call _les pierres brunes_. You are then on the
field of battle." I asked if he was sure. "He was certain," he said,
"for that he had ploughed there often; and many a large bone, and
rusty piece of armour, had he turned up with the ploughshare."

They were almost the words of Virgil.


    "Scilicet et tempus veniet cum finibus illis
     Agricola, incurvo terram molitus aratro,
     Exesa inveniet scabrâ rubigine pila,
     Aut gravibus rastris galeas pulsabit inanes,
     Grandiaque effossis mirabitur ossa sepulcris."


I followed the peasant's directions, and found myself certainly in the
midst of that field, where the few struggled against the many, and
conquered--where the mild warrior received his fallen enemy as a
brother, and taught him, if not to forget, to bear his captivity. Were
there many such adversaries, mankind would blush to draw a sword.

And it was here, that there were deeds of valour and of strength; of
cruelty and generosity, and fury and calmness; of inconsiderate daring
and cool calculating wisdom, and all that sum of good and evil which
buys the bauble glory.

And for what did they bleed? For what did they fall?--the heroes of
that splendid field of carnage?--to be forgotten! To have their bones
turned up and ground by the iron of the plough, and their unhonoured
dust trodden by the peasant's heel. The knight's sword rusting in
peace beside his enemy's corslet, and the ashes of the coward and the
brave amicably mingling in their native earth. To be forgotten! Their
very burial-place unknown, but to the hind whose ground they fattened
with their blood, and the pale antiquary who rakes amongst their bones
for something ancient! The deeds that, even in dying, they fondly
fancied would be immortal, overwhelmed beneath the lumber of history,
or blotted out by fresher comments on the same bloody theme! The names
they thought engraved deep in the column of Fame, erased by Time's
sure destroying hand! The thrones they fought for and the realms they
won, past unto other dynasties; and all the object of their mighty
daring as unachieved as if they had not been!

Such is the history of every field of battle.[7]


--------------------

[Footnote 7: I have left the above passage exactly as it was written
many years ago, though I perceive that the same ideas have returned to
me in writing another work, and have clothed themselves in very nearly
the same language. I did not perceive the fact till one work was
printed and the other in the press; but the accident was sufficiently
interesting to me to leave the passage here, where I could blot it
out.]

-------------------



                            THE DILIGENCE.


By this time we had given up the system of posting, A man who does not
travel in the diligence loses one half of what he ought to see. From
Poitiers to Angoulême, we had two places in the _coupée_, or front
part. Our companion was a tall, good-looking man, who at first did not
make any great show of politeness. He had been a military man, and
perhaps took us for what French soldiers were accustomed to call
Pekins.

Marshal ---- once being invited to dine with Talleyrand, was much
after the hour appointed.

"We have waited for you, sir," said Talleyrand, on his arrival. The
marshal said he could not help it, that he had been detained by a
Pekin, just as he was going out.

"What do you call a Pekin?" asked the statesman.

"Nous appelons Pekin," replied the marshal, "tout ce qui n'est pas
militaire."

"C'est comme nous," said Talleyrand coolly: "nous appelons militaire,
tout ce qui n'est pas civil."

Our companion, however, soon fell into conversation. It is a bait that
Frenchmen cannot resist; and now he was polite and agreeable as he had
at first been repulsive; but when he found that I was not only
acquainted with many persons he himself knew, but was also fond of all
field sports, his civility knew no bounds. Nothing would satisfy him
but a promise that we would visit him at M----, where he was
receiver-general: and there he would give us inexhaustible amusement
both in hunting and shooting. Pardon me, my dear Count, if this ever
falls into your hands; but when you can be so amiable a companion as
you afterwards proved, you ought never to repel a poor stranger, who
lies at your mercy for the comfort of a long journey.

We stayed but a day at Angoulême. Indeed there is nothing beautiful in
the town, except the view from the height on which it is placed; and
nothing amusing, except the marine school, which, the government have
placed here, in the most inland position they could find.

On the arrival of the diligence, which was to carry us to Bordeaux, we
found that all the places were taken but four, I forget who was in the
_coupèe_: in the centre there was the strangest mixture that can be
imagined. There appeared a Bordeaux merchant, three nuns, a libertine
officer of dragoons, and two pointer dogs his companions.

In the _rotonde_ with us were the keeper of the _bureau des
diligences_ (or stage-coach-office) and his daughter. If any were to
draw her picture from the same class in England, how much mistaken
they would be! She was everything that youth, and beauty, and simple
elegance, could make her. Set her in a drawing-room and call her a
princess, and there was nothing in her manners would give the lie to
the appellation. She had never before been from her home, and was now
going to see the great fair at Bordeaux; and she was full of the
eagerness of youth, curiosity, and inexperience: but there was no
inelegance about it: her sensations were always gracefully expressed,
and seemed to amuse her as much as any one else.

As the sun rose next morning and shone in at the window of the
diligence, the light fell upon her fair face and braided dark hair, as
she lay asleep upon the shoulder of her father, who gazed upon her
closed eyes and motionless features with that peculiar look of soft
affection alone to be seen in the face of a parent. It was as lovely a
picture as I ever saw. He caught my eyes fixed upon them; but there
was nothing in my look that could give offence, and he smiled, looking
back upon his child once more, and saying, "Pauvre enfant!" He spoke
as if he felt at once that I could enter into all his sensations. Many
a man--I am afraid many of my own countrymen--would conceal such
feelings, simply from the fear of being laughed at; yet surely, of all
sorts of _mauvaise honte_, that is the worst which makes us ashamed of
what is pure and noble, and natural and beautiful. A few more leagues
brought us to Bordeaux. But as I have a story to tell, I must not
pause long even to give an idea of the town in which the scene is
laid. I will allow myself two pages and a half.

Bordeaux is certainly one of the handsomest towns in France., The old
city, like most other old cities, is narrow and confined. The builders
of that day seem to have imagined that there was not room enough in
the world for them, and have therefore packed their edifices into as
small a space as possible. The finest parts of the town are beyond the
old walls, the line of which is still to be distinguished by the
appellation of Fossé, given to the new streets, now built upon their
former site. The river, being, as it were, the wet-nurse of Bordeaux,
the houses have accumulated upon the bank, following the bend of the
Garonne, in one of the most splendid crescents that can be conceived;
and a beautiful bridge of seventeen arches, with a fine simple
triumphal gate, at the end of the Rue des Salinières, adds not a
little to the beauty of the scene.

The town is formed, in general, of a light kind of stone, very easily
worked, which, perhaps, is one cause why the private hotels and
principal streets are so magnificently decorated in the upper
stories--but it is in the upper stories alone, for the ground-floor is
generally occupied by petty ill-contrived shops, and never by any
means harmonizes with the higher parts of the building. I have seen
the lower story of a princely habitation tenanted by a cobler, and a
small pastry-cook's dirty shop below one of the finest houses in
Bordeaux.

The theatre, too, which is a very superb piece of architecture, has
its arcades crammed full of book-stalls and old-clothes shops. In
short, the incongruity which mingles more or less in everything
French, shows itself nowhere more strongly than in the buildings of
this town, certainly one of the most beautiful in France.

Bordeaux occupies a much larger space than is absolutely necessary for
its population. Long rows of trees, planted in the finest streets,
magnificent public gardens, and promenades, now fill the ground, which
in the city's earlier days would have been piled up with story above
story, and warehouse over warehouse, till earth groaned under the
load. But luxury follows commerce, and the great merchants of Bordeaux
must have room to breathe; this, however, is not without its
consequence,--the extent of the city makes it fatiguing to walk from
one end to the other. As Doctor Pangloss would have said, "Men were
made to be carried; in this best of all possible worlds, and therefore
we have carriages." Now, those who have none of their own, are
plentifully provided with _fiacres_, which are generally far superior
to those of either London or Paris.

The cathedral is a fine gothic building, the towers, of which make a
beautiful object in the view, when seen from the heights beyond the
town, but in point of architecture it is far inferior to many others
in France.

Bordeaux is highly susceptible of embellishment, which, indeed, it
receives every day in the greatest degree. Formerly, between the _Quai
des Chartrons_ and the _Chapeau Rouge_, stood a sort of citadel,
called the _Château Trompette_. This has been thrown down since the
peace, and the site, together with the glacis, has been levelled and
portioned out for new buildings and promenades. Many a tale, however,
is told in Bordeaux of the old citades, and amongst others one of a
MISER'S STEP-SON.

When the army of the Duke of Wellington was marching upon Toulouse, a
deputation was sent to him from the royalists of Bordeaux, promising
that if he would detach a small force in that direction, the town
should be given up to him for the king. Immediately Rumour, with her
thousand tongues, sent about the town all manner of reports: lying
here, and lying there, till she frightened all the peaceable
inhabitants out of their wits. The commandant of the Château Trompette
was resolved (they said) to defend it, for Napoleon, to the last; and
there he lay, with a formidable force, keeping the tri-coloured flag
flying continually, and threatening to turn his cannon on the town if
it submitted to the English. On the other hand, came the news that the
British and Spanish forces were marching upon Bordeaux, and that their
general threatened, if a shot was fired in its defence, to give the
town up to the fury of the soldiers; and immediately, murder,
assassination, pillage, and rapine, got into all the old women's heads
in the place; and nothing was thought of by every one of them but to
find some hole in which to hide their daughters and their money, till
the storm had blown over.

There was at that time living at Bordeaux, an old Welsh lady of the
name of Jones; and, like Jephtha, judge of Israel, she was blessed
with one fair daughter whom she loved passing well. She had continued
to live on in France, through peace and war, without minding any one;
and, as she said, had never been frightened at any thing, since her
poor dear husband's death, till she heard that the English and
Spaniards were going to take Bordeaux by 'sault.[8] For the Spaniards,
she understood, were voracious savages; as to the English, she did not
mind them.


--------------------

[Footnote 8: She told me the story herself, heaven rest her soul! and
I use her own phraseology as nearly as a faulty memory will permit.]

--------------------


At the time of the French revolution, old monasteries were to be sold
for an old song, and nunneries were to be had for the having. Thus it
so happened, that in those days, Monsieur Emanuel Latouche (who had
once been a Jew, and had become professionally a Christian, though he
was strongly suspected of being of no religion at all,) had acquired,
under a revolutionary sale, the property of the convent which lay on
the one side of the Rue de l'Intendance, and the monastery which lay
on the other. Now Monsieur Emanuel Latouche, for reasons best known to
himself, espoused a certain French lady; his marriage with whom
appeared to be the proximate cause of his Christianization; and having
imbibed her fortune and bought the buildings aforesaid, he set up as a
great dealer in marine stores. After a certain period of connubial
felicity, the lady died; and left to the care and guidance of Emanuel
Latouche, a certain remnant of herself, called a son, which she had
had by a former marriage; and, as Monsieur Latouche was reputed to
cheat all the world, he was by no means so inconsistent as not to
cheat his own step-son, at least so it was generally supposed. Finding
that it would be a much better speculation to let the monastery
aforesaid, he prevailed upon old Mrs. Jones, whom we have heretofore
mentioned, to take a great part of it, assuring her, as a further
inducement, that, in case she should in future have any thing to hide,
he could show her a place in that very house which would never be
discovered by the keenest eyes.

It is not known whether Mrs. Jones was biassed by this information or
not; but, however, she took up her abode in that part of the monastery
which looks down on the Marché St. Dominique on the one hand, and on
the Theâtre Français on the other; and Monsieur Emanuel Latouche, with
his step-son, continued to live in the old convent on the other side
of the Rue de l'Intendance. It was by these means that an intimacy
first took place between pretty Lucy Jones and Edward Fontange, the
step-son of Monsieur Emanuel Latouche.

There can be no doubt, since Horace says it, that the best plan is to
begin in the middle of a story; but there is, notwithstanding, some
trouble in working up one's lee way. Being arrived at the point we
have now reached, however, all the rest is simple. Having put a
handsome young man and a pretty girl together, what in the name of
Heaven can they do but fall in love with each other? It is what they
always do in novels, and poems, and plays, and I am afraid in real
life too, for propinquity is a terrible thing; and, for my own part, I
am a firm believer in animal magnetism, that is to say, as far as
attraction and repulsion go. However that may be, Edward Fontange and
Lucy Jones tried very hard to fall in love with each other, and, after
a short time, succeeded to a miracle; so much so, indeed, that Mrs.
Jones, perceiving what was going on, thought fit to speak to M.
Latouche upon the subject, desiring to know if he intended to take his
step-son into business with him; in which case she should not scruple,
(she said,) to give him her daughter.

But M. Latouche informed her that he should do no such thing, that his
step-son was no better than a beggar, whom he had educated out of
affection for his dearly beloved wife deceased, and that, further, he
would not give him a farthing, or do anything else for him in the
world; whereupon Mrs. Jones quarrelled with Monsieur Emanuel Latouche,
called him a miserly old curmudgeon; and, going home, turned young
Fontange out of her house, and bade her daughter Lucy think no more of
the young vagabond.

Now love being, as Mrs. Jones herself admitted, no better than a pig,
the best way of making him go on is to pull him back by the hind-leg;
and, consequently, Lucy Jones, who was the most obedient creature in
the world, thought more than ever of Edward Fontange, saw him on every
occasion that she could contrive, and, it is supposed, let him now and
then take a stray kiss, without saying any thing but "Don't," which
he, being a Frenchman, did not at all understand.

It was at this time that the Duke of Wellington's army crossed the
Pyrenees; and fear took possession of Mrs. Jones, who was not only
terrified for her daughter Lucy, but also for certain sums of money,
which she had kept long under lock and key. What was to be done? She
puzzled a long time; but, in a moment, the words of Monsieur Emanuel
Latouche came to her remembrance. He could show her (he had said) a
place in that very house which would never be discovered by the
keenest eyes; and as she thought of it, her hopes became exalted; she
seized a candle from the table, without saying a word, and rushed into
the cellar. For where could it be, she asked herself, but in the
cellar? Lucy, who beheld her mother so suddenly seized with the spirit
of locomotion, naturally imagined she was mad, and followed her as
fast as she could. Her first supposition appeared confirmed, when
entering the cellar, she found her mother gazing fixedly upon a small
iron cross in the wall. "There it is, sure enough," cried Mrs. Jones;
"there it is!"

"Are you out of your senses, mama?" demanded Lucy, respectfully; "are
you mad? There's what?"

"Why the terraqueous suppository, girl," answered Mrs. Jones, who had
forgotten a considerable portion of her English during her residence
in France. "The terraqueous suppository, which that old curmudgeon,
Latouche, told me of when he attrapped me into taking this old
conventicle."

"I do not see any repository at all," said Lucy; "I see nothing but
the cellar wall and an iron stancheon to keep it up."

"Nonsense," said Mrs. Jones, "I'll have a mason this minute, and get
to the bottom of it." So away she ran and brought a mason; but the
first thing was to make him keep secresy; and having conducted him in
pomp to the cellar, she shut the door, and made her daughter Lucy give
him the Bible. "Swear!" said Mrs. Jones, in a solemn tone, like the
Ghost in Hamlet--"Swear!"

The mason held up his hand.

"Swear never to reveal," etc. etc.

"_Je jure tout ce que vous voudrez_--I swear any thing you like,"
replied the mason; and Mrs. Jones, finding this oath quite
comprehensive enough, set him forthwith to work upon the wall just
under the iron cross; when, to the triumph of Mrs. Jones and the
astonishment of Lucy and the mason, a strong plated door was soon
discovered, which readily yielded them admission into a small chamber
only ventilated by a round hole, which seemed to pass through the
walls of the building and mount upwards to the outer air. Nothing else
was to be found. The rubbish was then nicely cleared away, a chair and
a table brought down, and the mason paid and sent about his business;
when, after having looked in the dark to see that there were no
sparks, for the chamber was all of wood, Mrs. Jones and her daughter
mounted to upper air, and retired to bed, not to sleep, but to
meditate over the _convent subterranean_.

It was about the middle of the next day that an officious neighbour
came in to tell Mrs. Jones that the British forces were approaching
the town. "There could be no danger," he said; "but nevertheless the
tricolored flag still flew on the walls of the Château Trompette, and
Lord Wellington had sworn he would deliver the town to the soldiery if
there was a shot fired. It was very foolish to be afraid," he said,
trembling every limb, "but the people were flying in all directions,
and he should leave the town too, for he had no idea of being
bayonetted by the Spaniards."

"Let us shut the street-door," said Lucy, as soon as he was gone, "and
all go down together to the hole in the wall, and when it's all over
we can come out."

"No," replied Mrs. Jones; "you, Lucy, and the maid, shall go down; but
I will stop here, and take care of my property; perhaps I may be able
to modulate their barbarosity."

"Lord, ma'am!" cried the maid, "you'll be killed--you'll be
ill-treated."

Mrs. Jones replied, very coolly, that they never would think of
killing an old woman like her, who had but a few years to live, and
she was not afraid of anything else.

The maid then vowed if her mistress remained she would stay with her,
and the tears rolled, down her cheeks at the idea her self-devotion.
Lucy said, very quietly, that she also would stay with her mother. But
Mrs. Jones would not hear of it, finding her daughter very much
resolved to do as she said, she had recourse to a violent passion,
which was aided by the noise of a drum in the street, and seizing Lucy
by the arm, she snatched up the box that held her money, carried them
both down stairs to the cellar, and pushing them into the dark
chamber, shut the door with a bang; after which, she returned to the
maid, for whose safety she had not the same maternal regard, and
waited the event with "indomptible" fortitude.

In the mean time Lucy remained in the dark. The first thing she did,
was to feel about for the chair, and sitting, down, she had a good
opportunity of crying to her heart's content. She was still engaged in
this agreeable occupation, when she heard a knocking as if somebody
wished to come in. Lucy wiped her eyes and listened. It could not be
her mother--she would have come in at once without any such ceremony;
besides, it did not seem to come from that side. Lucy listened again;
the knocking continued, but evidently came from the opposite part of
the chamber, and appeared not so near as the cellar. Lucy now got upon
her feet, trembling as if she had the palsy, and began to approach the
sound. She knocked over the table, and almost fainted with the noise;
she picked up the table and knocked over the chair, and then again,
_vice versâ_, stopping awhile between each to take breath.

Having arranged all that, she tumbled over her mother's money-box,
broke her shins, and hopped about the room on one foot with the pain
for full five minutes; then not being able to find the chair, she
leaned against the wainscot for support; but the wainscot gave way.
with a crack as if it moved on hinges, and she had almost fallen
headlong into another room as dark as the first.

Lucy now doubted whether she ought to be most surprised or frightened,
but fright had decidedly the majority when she heard something move in
this same dark chamber on the opposite side to that by which she
herself had entered. Now Lucy, though she had never studied modern
tactics was possessed of many of those principles which are supposed
to constitute a good general, and in the present instance, not having
an opportunity of reconnoitring her ground, and finding her forces
totally inadequate to meeting an adversary of any kind, she resolved
upon making a retreat under cover of darkness, but unfortunately she
had neglected to observe which way she had advanced, and for a moment
could not find the entrance into the other chamber. The noise which
she had at first heard of something moving, increased; she became more
and more bewildered, ran this way and that, till--ugh! she ran against
something soft and warm, which caught fast hold of her, and in this
interesting position she fainted. What could she do else?

O ye bards and "romanciers," give me some delicate description of a
young lady recovering from a fainting fit! But no--when Lucy opened
her eyes, she found herself sitting in the manner that European young
ladies and gentlemen generally sit, with an engaging youth, no other
than Edward Fontange, sitting beside her in mute despair, and from
time to time, fanning her face with the tails of his coat, while a
lamp, with its accompanying phosphorus-box, stood by with its dim
light, showing in more gloomy horrors the walls of a dark vault,
which, to the terrified eyes of Lucy, seemed interminable.

Forgetting all the "ohs!" and the "ahs!" of the two lovers, together
with question and answer without end, be it briefly stated, that
Edward Fontange had never contrived to forget Lucy Jones; and always
remembering that it was his want of fortune which had broken his
love-dream, he incessantly meditated the means of remedying that
wherein fate had wronged him. But all ordinary plans demanded years,
long years, to perfect, and love would brook no delay. He had heard,
however, of hidden treasures, and of monks who had concealed immense
sums during the revolution, and he bethought him of searching the
cellars of the old convent where he lived, without ever dreaming that
he should there, find a subterranean communication with the dwelling
of his Lucy. Upon his first examination, he was struck, like Mrs.
Jones, by an iron cross in the wall, and resolved, like her, to come
to the bottom of it the first opportunity.

The first opportunity arrived with the arrival of the British troops,
for his good step-father, not having the most courageous disposition,
flew instantly to the country with his wealth, and left Edward to take
care of the house. No sooner was he gone, than poor Edward descended
to the cellar, and with a good pick-axe and a strong arm, set to work
upon the cellar-wall. He soon, like Mrs. Jones, discovered a door, and
a small chamber exactly similar to her's. Examining this more closely
than she had done, he soon found his way to an extensive vault, and on
narrowly viewing the walls with his lamp, he discovered another iron
cross, smaller than the former. Here he set to work again with his
pick-axe, when suddenly he thought he heard a noise as if something
fell. He listened, and hearing it again, he blew out his lamp for fear
of an intruder. Two or three subsequent clatters succeeded, then a
creak as if of an opening door, and immediately after, he clearly
heard some one move and breathe in the vault.

Whether it was curiosity, or one of those odd presentiments that
sometimes come over us, or any other of the many motives by which we
may conceive a man in such circumstances to be actuated, does not
matter, but his prudence left him: he advanced to find out what it was
that produced the noise; got hold of a woman's gown, and in a minute
after, had his own fair Lucy fainting in his arms. As may be supposed,
he lighted his lamp, and, on finding who it was, went through all the
stages of surprises; consternation, and anxiety, He then tried several
ways of bringing her to herself, amongst which was kissing her more
than once, but that did not answer at all, for the more he kissed her
the more dead she seemed to be. But at length, as I have said, after a
reasonable time, she opened her eyes, and then she had violent fits of
astonishment, etc., which were calmed and appeased by hearing an
account very similar to that which has just been recited.

Lucy had no curiosity at all, she cared for nobody's affairs but her
own; nevertheless, simply out of affection for Edward, she insisted on
his going on with his researches under the little iron cross in the
wall while she was present. She would not have it delayed a moment,
and looked on as if she had been the most curious person in the world.
Edward worked away. The wall was soon demolished, and behind it
appeared no door, but a small cavity and a small wooden chest.

"Here it is! here it is!" cried Edward, in a transport of joy, taking
it out and setting it on the ground. "Lucy, dear Lucy, you are mine at
last. I would give nothing for the treasure if my dear Lucy did not
share it."

Lucy could do nothing but cry, for the generosity of her lover's
sentiments left her no other answer. However, she took the lamp and
both knelt down to look what was written on the top, when, O horror!
the only word which met their view was "Reliques." Edward, gazed on
Lucy, and Lucy looked at Edward without saying anything.

"Well, let us see, at all events," said Edward at last, and taking up
the pick-axe he very soon opened the case, when sure enough nothing
presented itself but old bones and mouldering scraps of linen. "Sacre
blue!" cried Edward. Lucy said nothing, but she thought, the same.

"Hark!" cried her lover, "there is your mother."

But no, they listened--there was nobody; and they again turned to gaze
upon the box.

"Lucy," said Edward, "I am very unfortunate to lose you again in this
manner."

"You do not lose me, Edward," said Lucy; "do you think it is money I
care about."

Edward caught her to his breast, held her there a moment, then
starting back, much to Lucy's surprise, "It's all nonsense," cried he,
"old bones could never be so heavy." Then down he went upon his knees,
and away with the relics; the first tier was bones, and the second
tier was bones, but the third was of bright shining Louis d'ors, and
Edward starting up, caught Lucy in his arms and kissed and re-kissed
her till he had almost smothered the poor girl.

The next thing was, what was to be done with the money, for though
Edward believed himself to be the legitimate owner thereof, yet he had
some twinges as to its being found in the premises of his step-father;
at length, after many pros and cons, "Go you back, Lucy," said her
lover, "to the room where you were, and be not afraid, for there is no
danger to the town or any one in it: for my part, I'll take the money
and away to M. G----r, who was a good friend to my poor mother; he is
the soul of honour, and will tell me what I can do honourably;--one
more kiss, and then good-bye, but say nothing to anybody of what has
happened till you hear from me."

It was two days after this that Monsieur Emanuel Latouche paid a visit
to Mrs. Jones, for the apparent purpose of congratulating her upon the
quiet and peaceable state of the town, but in reality to inform her
that his scapegrace step-son had found a treasure in his cellar and
run away with the same; "but," said Emanuel, "I will make him refund
every sous, or send him to the galleys for a robber."

"Surely," said Mrs. Jones, "you would never think of sending your
wife's child to the galleys, Monsieur Latouche!"

"I would send my own father," replied Emanuel. As he spoke, the door
opened, and in walked no other than Edward Fontange and his mother's
friend Monsieur G----.

Now Emanuel Latouche looked rather blank to see this accompaniment to
the tune of his step-son, but thinking it probably best to attack
rather than be attacked, he began upon poor Edward in most merciless
terms, reproaching him with ingratitude, threatening him with the
galleys, and asking him, if the house where he found the treasure was
not his.

"I think not," replied Monsieur G---- to this last question--"I think
not, Monsieur Latouche; it certainly is not, if you bought that house
with the money of that young man's mother which was left to him at her
death: take my advice, be content with what you have, for I am not
very sure that if this matter were investigated, you yourself might
not find your way to the galleys instead of sending him there."

There was something in the tone of Monsieur G---- that wonderfully
calmed Emanuel Latouche, who at first had been inclined to fight it
out strongly, but upon second thoughts; he swore he was ill
treated--very much ill treated; but as "sufferance was the badge of
all his tribe," he walked out of the room, grumbling as he went. And
as for the rest--why, "Hey, for the wedding!"



                         A PARTY OF PLEASURE.

Every one knows that there is a vast tract of barren sand, called by
the French people Landes, which, skirting the Bay of Biscay, extends
for many hundred miles, from the mouth of the Gironde into the Spanish
province of Biscay. The breadth of this sandy zone is from twenty to a
hundred miles, all of which is wild, sterile, and desolate, the only
relief to the bleakness of these moors being the shadow of several
vast forests of pine, which have been planted at different times in
the patriotic hope of winning the desert into cultivation. Such a
tract is, of course, thinly peopled, but still it is so in a degree,
and there are even to be found spots of luxuriant fertility, first
cousins to the oasis of Ammon _côte de la mer_. One of the wildest
parts, however, lies between Bordeaux and a little fishing town called
La Teste, situated on the edge of the "Basin d'Arcachon," a large
inlet from the Bay of Biscay, to which it is joined by a narrow
channel of some leagues in length.

It had long been my wish to explore these Landes, and at length an
advertisement appearing in one of the papers that a diligence would go
to La Teste one day in the Christmas week, I instantly caught at the
idea, and my travelling companion, a M. de B----, and myself, engaged
places in this conveyance under the idea of seeing the Landes at our
ease. However, one of the party cried off the night before, and De
B---- and myself set out without him armed with a partridge-pie and a
pair of pistols. The diligence was crowded with a company consisting
of two Jew brokers, three pointer dogs, an exciseman, and two
sportsmen, together with guns and brandy bottles, and having been
drawn slowly for about two leagues through roads that would be a
disgrace to the Sandwich Islands, our conductor made us get out to
lighten the carriage.

The wildness of a desert now began to reign around us. Vast tracts of
sand and uncultivated moor; with large, pine forests, were the only
objects visible, except when a cart, exactly like a hog-trough covered
with a gipsy's tent, was drawn past us by two dun oxen, while the
master, stretched at his full length with his head out at the front,
goaded them on with a long stick; the whole giving a very Hottentotish
appearance to the scene. It also sometimes happened that we
distinguished, moving across the distant sky, an elevated being, who
from his long thin shanks and shapeless body, you might have taken for
a large ostrich or a gigantic crane, but would never have fancied to
be a human creature, until near inspection let you into all the
machinery of stilts and sheepskins. Just after passing one of the
forests, I was surprised to hear the first notes of Corelli's hymn to
the Virgin, whistled clear and shrill in the distance; but it soon
varied into a wilder air, and the musician approached us with immense
strides, lifting his stilts high over every obstacle, without ever
ceasing to knit a pair of stockings which he held half-finished in his
hand. We wondered at his coming so near, for the Landois generally
avoid all strangers, but on entering into conversation with him, we
found that he had served in the army, spoke tolerable French, and was
more civilized altogether than the rest of his countrymen. However,
after an absence of seven years, old habits had resumed their empire;
he came back to his deserts, once more mounted his stilts, and went
whistling about, knitting stockings and tending sheep; as contentedly
as if he had never seen fairer countries or mixed in more busy scenes.

After stopping here a minute or two, De B---- and myself walked
merrily after the other travellers, who had gone on to a solitary
little _auberge_ called the Croix de Hins, and on our arrival found
the good woman busily engaged in slaying the cock which was to serve
for our dinner. The diligence arrived half an hour after us, and
having here imbibed a reasonable quantity of vinegar, by courtesy
termed wine, together with garlic and other delectable savours, we
once more entered our machine and again commenced our journey. I say
commenced, for the diligence was never destined to finish it. About a
hundred yards from the inn it plunged into a most profound rut, which,
like the problem of the longitude, set all getting through it at
defiance: and, in fine, after having spat, sworn, pushed, pulled, and
stamped, damned the road, cursed the vehicle, and flogged the horses,
the postilion informed us that he could go no farther, and was about
to retread his steps towards Bordeaux.

The landlord of the _auberge_, seeing that we were poor wayfaring
strangers, and most charitably wishing to take us in, was equally
against our proceeding, either backwards or forwards, assuring us that
we should be murdered if we went on, and frozen if we went back. The
country before us, he said, was all under water, and filled with
carniverous savages, who lived upon mutton and woodcocks, and if we
returned it would be midnight before we arrived at Bourdi-ou, as he
called it in his Gascon jargon.

All this tremendous description induced our fellow-travellers to
return whence they came, but De B---- and myself, animated with the
ancient spirit of chivalry, and fully prepared to encounter windmills
and giants, procured a couple of guides, and proceeded on our journey
on foot.

The first thing which excited my companion's attention, was the face
of one of our guides, which, if it would not have furnished Salvator
with a bandit, would have served Mrs. Radcliff very well for an
assassin, which name we instantly bestowed upon him. De B---- pointed
out to me also, that this good gentleman, with his dogged scowl and
averted look, had a trick of whispering to the other guide the moment
our eyes were off him, and ceased the moment we looked at him. Now as
my friend had a considerable sum upon his person, which he had not
thought fit to leave at his lodgings, all this made him regard the
guides with a jealous eye; nor were his uncomfortable sensations at
all diminished by our friend the assassin entering into conversation
with us and entertaining us with a most terrific account of the
robbers, murderers, troglodytes, and barbarians inhabiting the Landes.
About four o'clock we came to the last house we were to meet with, and
having gone in to get some refreshment, I took out one of my pistols,
made the guide admire its exquisite workmanship, and boasted that I
could kill a sparrow with it at twenty yards distance. This had rather
an odd effect, his note was instantly changed. He told us that they
were all honest people in the Landes, and swallowed all he had said
before with wonderful facility.

The night was beginning to fall when we quitted this house, the
country wilder and more deserted than before; and shortly after, our
guide quitted every vestige of a path and led us into the depth of the
forest, which consists entirely of enormous pines raising themselves
singly out of the light sand, without any underwood whatever, except
some scattered knots of heath, the only shrub which will grow in that
ungrateful soil.

Night fell heavily without a star; we were walking up to our ancles in
sand, (the most fatiguing thing one can imagine,) and on arriving at
the ford of La Motte, we found it impassable from the quantity of rain
which had fallen. We had now to wander along in the darkness seeking
for another ford. We kept as near the river as we could, but the
country was all under water, and at length the guide swore he had lost
the way; he said, however, that he knew of a hut where he could get a
lantern.

That a man who had lost his way, should know where to get a lantern,
appeared so strange, that I now began to have serious doubts of his
intentions, and insisted on his going on, following the course Of the
river. After proceeding for a long and weary way, the sound of a
water-mill caught my ear, and the guide running on crossed the little
bridge and threw open the door of the mill. A broad glare of red light
instantly burst forth upon the darkness, and the precise scene of "The
Miller and his Men" presented itself in the interior. The hearth was
occupied by a lighted pile of wood, fit to roast an ox, and round a
table covered with dishes and immense large bottles, ten or twelve men
were seated, whose rugged beards of many days' growth, dirty
countenances and strange apparel, did not bespeak them of the orderly
class of human beings. They had all been drinking hard, and round
about were scattered carbines, pistols, and implements of all sorts
that the least accorded with the peaceful trade of a miller.

Seeing that there was no retreating, I walked directly in, and though
at first they did not seem well to understand the motives of our
visit, the miller, who, though not drunk, was scarcely sober, came
forward to speak to me. He had first, I must remark, been spoken to by
our whispering guide, and now he vowed that we should stay there the
night; that it was madness to go forward, the country was under water,
and we had still five leagues to travel. On my expressing my intention
of proceeding, he grew angry, swore, _Pardi_, I _should_ stop, and
with a large oath asked what I was afraid of. I told him that I was
afraid of nothing, but only intended to go on. His brow was getting
more and more cloudy, but however, the guide drew him aside and spoke
to him for a moment or two. What he said I do not know, but thereupon
our miller snatched one of the large bottles from the table, and
coming forward held out his hand to me. "_Eh bien!_" he exclaimed,
"_touchez la! Nous sommes amis_." And filling a glass for himself and
another for me, he knocked his hard against mine, drinking to our
better acquaintance. He then opened the gate of the other bridge, and
suffered us to depart in peace. Far be it from me to judge harshly of
him, but I have since heard that he is generally suspected of carrying
on more than one illicit trade, and all the people to whom I mentioned
the subject at La Teste, did not seem to relish the idea of passing a
night under his roof, though they all said he was _un brave homme! un
fort brave homme!_[9]


--------------------

[Footnote 9: Some circumstances were discovered afterwards in regard
to a traveller for some mercantile house, who had been murdered in the
Landes, which threw greater suspicion on my friend the miller, and
caused him to betake himself elsewhere.]

--------------------


We now recommenced our journey in utter darkness, and as we proceeded,
found half the country underwater; but nevertheless, we went on,
sometimes stumbling over the stumps of trees and bushes; sometimes
jumping from sand-hill to sand-hill, sometimes over our ancles in
sand, and sometimes up to our middles in water. I was extremely
fatigued when we arrived at the mill, but now, hour after hour, and
league after league, went by, and the weariness began to be
insupportable. We all fell several times in the sand, from pure
exhaustion. No one can have an idea of the overpowering sensation of
fatigue which we experienced. My head turned giddy--all the powers of
life seemed failing--and I firmly believe that another mile would have
ended all; but at last we caught sight of a distant light. It gave us
new courage, and with a strong effort we reached the village inn, from
whence this ray of hope had proceeded. It was the last exertion I
could make, and I fell into a chair by the fire without speech or
motion.

But woman, gentle woman, came to my aid with the kindness of a
ministering angel, although clothed in the form of a pippin-faced
landlady, a cocoa-nut-headed chambermaid, and, half-a-dozen old Gascon
women, who would have beaten any witch in Lapland out of the field.
Blessed sleep succeeded, and I was idle enough to dream nothing all
night. The morning had not long dawned, however, When I was woke by a
variety of uncouth sounds in a sort of measured cadence, proceeding
from before the window of the room in which I slept, and I was obliged
to recollect that it was Christmas-day ere I could make anything of
the noise.

But even when this was remembered, and I comprehended that the good
folks of Guizan, where I then was, were singing Christmas carols, or,
as they are called in France _Noels_, still the language was such a
strange compound, that I had to summon all the Gascon in my brain to
any aid, before I could gather anything like common sense. Let those
try that like--


         "Rebeillats bous, mainades
          Canten nadau alégremen,
          Lou Hillet de Marie
          Nous bau de saubement."


On getting up, the first thing that attracted my attention was a sight
of the people's feet and legs passing by the top of the window without
their bodies, the height of their stilts carrying the rest of their
persons so high in air that the low window of the _auberge_ only
afforded a view of half a man at a time. Be it remarked, however, that
at Guizan the use of stilts is quite a work of supererogation. In the
sandy parts of the Landes this contrivance is very necessary to enable
the shepherds to follow their flock; but Guizan, situated upon a
little oasis of extremely fertile land, by the side of Basin
d'Arcachon, requires no such machinery. From the window of the
_auberge_ nothing was to be seen but green meadows and vineyards, with
large fields of maize; and a rose-tree growing against the house was
even then, at Christmas, in full bloom. All this formed a strange
contrast with the day before, when our eyes had been wearied from
morning till night by the endless expanse of barren sand, or the
sombre monotony of pine forests. Guizan seemed a little paradise; and
The people, supposing our taste to be similar to that of Cowslip, who
declares in the "Agreeable Surprise,"

              "If I was a goddess, I'd have roast duck."

treated us with roast ducks for breakfast; dinner, and supper.

Here, in this secluded nook of earth, live about five hundred souls,
cut off from free communication with their fellows by the broad sands
on one side, and by the Bay of Biscay on the other; and yet I never
saw a happier looking race. English gentlemen, it may easily be
supposed, are rather rare animals in the famous city of Guizan, and,
consequently, during the three days we stayed, at all our meals we had
a large congregation to see the wild beasts eat. Our landlord set
himself down at a small distance to tell us stories and amuse us
between mouthfuls; his son and daughter lingered round with their
fingers in their mouths; the pippin-faced landlady and the
cocoa-nut-headed chambermaid bustled about with plates and dishes,
while a whole host of Landois poked in their heads through the
half-open door.

Strange to say, that amongst a people who thus crowded round two
strangers with the curiosity of Esquimaux, were yet to be found a
billiard-table and a ball-room--and stranger still; the village
possessed both players and dancers who would not have disgraced the
first city in Europe.

The original place of our destination, _La Teste_, lay at the distance
of a few miles, and having procured horses and a guide, we set out the
next day to pay it a visit. The way lay through a tract which seemed
to consist of nothing but pathless wilds, but on looking nearer, we
found that even here the careful hand of man was to be traced. The
sand was in many places propped up with hurdles to give a fastening
for the roots of trees; and we observed that large slips had been cut
out from the bark of the various pines, to draw the turpentine, which
was suffered to collect in little tanks at the foot of each tree.

Meeting with nothing at La teste particularly worthy of attention, we
returned to our _auberge_ at Guizan, and it being Sunday evening, we
found all the villagers assembled in the ball-room to conclude the day
with a dance. It was really a delightful sight. In one corner of the
room was a mountain of _sabots_ and stilts, and, in the centre, all
the young people of the village were dancing in their wooden socks to
the sound of a most infamous fiddle, with a degree of grace and
agility that would have done credit to the opera. In the meantime, the
elder persons were sitting round, holding back the children, and
dandling the infants to the time of the dance. There was nothing harsh
in the picture: it was all smiling good-nature and untaught native
propriety of demeanour.

Our next day's trip was to explore the shores of the Basin d'Arcachon,
which is a large inlet from the Bay of Biscay, of about thirty-eight
leagues in circumference, joined to the main sea by a narrow channel
less than a league in width. Nothing very curious presented itself,
except the immense quantity of wild fowl by which the place is
literally infested. The view, however, as the mist cleared away,
became wild and singular. The indented shores of the bason--sometimes
rising into high hills of light yellow sand, sometimes entered down
to the very water's edge with large forests of black pine, over
whose dark masses appeared occasionally glimpses of some far blue
mountains--made up altogether a strange and sombre scene, which was
not without the beauty of sublimity. Sailing on along the bason, we
passed the end of a long avenue, cut in the heart of one of the
deepest forests, which displayed at the extreme of its perspective a
small white chapel, dedicated to _Notre Dame d'Arcachon_. This is a
place of pilgrimage to which the deep-sea fishermen repair to offer up
prayers for their success, before setting out on their voyage. If
their fishing prove good, the Virgin probably hears no more of it, but
if they meet with a bad cast, they come back and curse our Lady for
her pains. We extended our excursion to the Bay of Biscay, and having
enjoyed for a few minutes the contemplation of the vast unbounded
ocean, we returned to Guizan, with a grand storm coming on from the
north-west.

Such is an account of my first visit to that desolate tract of sand
called the Landes, extending along the shores of the Bay of Biscay,
from the mouth of the Gironde to Bayonne. Upon different occasions I
have since crossed it in every direction; from Bordeaux to the Teste
de Buch, from La Teste to Mont de Marson, and from Guizan to Bayonne.

It happened that I had once taken up my abode for a few days in one of
the small cottages near the ford of Lubie, in the very heart of the
Landes, where a few poor huts are huddled together, as if they sought
protection, in their near companionship, against the encroaching
enmity of the solitary desert. The occasion of my being there matters
not to my present object--suffice it, that by a little kindness I had
gained the good-will of the shrivelled old Parens and his wife, who
owned the tenement, and that the said good-will had been mightily
increased by a small donation of money, which, though a trifle to me,
was more than they could have gained in many a month by their
unprofitable occupation of gathering the resin or _goudron_ from the
pines in the forest round about. From their youth to their age they
had dwelt in the desolation, and withered in the solitude, of the
bleak wastes that surrounded them; nor did they seem to have ever
entertained a wish beyond the confines of that cheerless place, which,
however solitary, however desert, had seen the birth and extinction of
all their hopes and passions; had been the scene of all their cares
and happiness, and was the spot where all their treasure of memory
lay, now that Hope had spread her wings and fled to a world beyond.

Seldom had either of them visited Bordeaux, which they seemed to
consider as the _ultima Thule_. Yet the old man was looked upon as a
kind of oracle by the few Landois in the neighbourhood, many of whom
were indeed the offspring of his own loins; and others, a second race
beyond. But kindred was not his only right to reverence; he was
learned in all the ancient superstitions of the Landes, and the
depository of all the old customs and habits of his race--customs and
habits always most sacred to people who live thus separate from their
fellow-men.

I was often in the habit of walking out in the evening after it was
dark, to enjoy that sort of perfect solitude which I had never seen
but there; but I always remarked, when I made my preparations to that
effect, a degree of uneasiness come over the countenance of my host,
which he seemed to seek some opportunity of expressing in words. At
length he ventured to remonstrate. It was dangerous, he said,--it was
wrong. My first question was of course directed to ascertain in what
the danger consisted. He said it was tempting Providence. The sands
were full of bad spirits, and Heaven knows what might happen if they
found me wandering about there alone after the sun had set and the
moon had risen. The remembrance of the Arabian siltrims immediately
crossed my mind, and, perhaps, caused me to smile; and the old man
shook his head sadly, saying, that he had too much cause to know that
such fears were just. The English, he said, being all Protestants,
which he supposed meant atheists, did not believe in spirits, and that
I would only laugh at him if he were to tell me all that he knew; but
nevertheless, there were things which had happened not far from that
spot which would make me tremble if I heard them.

My curiosity was now excited, and, giving up my walk, I begged him to
tell me to what he alluded.

In reply, he told me a variety of tales, some approaching probability,
some simply extravagant. But that which struck me most was the
following. I give it in his own words, noted down immediately after.


                           ---------------


                       THE STORY OF THE BAD SPIRIT.


Many years ago I lived at Guizan, and gained my bread as a fisherman,
like most of the other inhabitants of the place. I had been married
about five years, and had one child, which was the most beautiful in
all the village, and my wife and I doted upon it; for it was so sweet
and good-tempered that it was scarcely ever known to cry, and would
play about the cottage all day without ever troubling any one. It so
happened, that being out one time in a storm, my wife vowed an
offering to our Lady at Arcachon, in case of my safe return; so that
the next time I went upon the Basin d'Arcachon, I took her and our
little girl into the boat, and sailing along the shore, I landed them
just where the forest opens, and one can see the chapel of Notre Dame,
at the end of the long avenue of pines. While I sailed on upon the
bason (for I was not going that day to the high seas,) my wife went up
to the chapel, with my little girl running by her side; and when she
went in to say her prayers, she left the child playing about in the
wood hard by. However, on coming out again she could not find her
little girl, and was looking all round, when she suddenly heard
something cry in the wood. You may judge how quick she ran, but
nevertheless she was just in time, for when she came up, there was
poor little Donine, lying on the ground, with her eyes almost starting
out of her head, as if she had been strangled. It was a long time
before her mother could bring her to herself; but when she could
speak, she said that a great woman in white had come out of the wood,
and had coaxed her to go along with her, but that when she got her so
far from the chapel, she caught her by the throat, and squeezed her so
tight that she forgot everything else till she found herself in her
mother's arms. As this was evidently one of the bad spirits, we were
very anxious about it; for these evil beings, when once they have
resolved the destruction of any one, never quit their purpose till it
is accomplished. So we got a cross which had been blessed, and tied it
round Donine's neck, and bade her never to take it off, for fear of
the white woman. Well, while she was young, several times when she had
been out for a moment or two, after night had fallen, she would run
into the cottage all panting with fear, and crying out that she had
seen the white woman. But, as she grew up, we left Guizan, and came to
live here, and we had three or four other children, so that the matter
was forgotten. When she was about sixteen, however, she fell in
company with the son of the miller at the Croix de Bury; and as she
had grown up as beautiful as she was when she was a child, he
persuaded his friends to come and ask her in marriage, though they
were somewhat against it at first, for we were poor and they were
rich; but the matter was soon settled on our part, and they were
promised to each other.

One evening, a week or two before they were to be married, they went
out together to a wedding at La Mothe, and he was to see her safe home
at night. While they were there (as he told us afterwards,) he saw the
cross hanging round her neck, and as it was of a peculiar shape, he
made her take it off to let him look at it; which she did willingly
enough, thinking of nothing but her lover, and having long forgotten
all about the woman; so that she did not remember to get it back
again. They went on dancing till it was dark, and then came away
together; but before they had gone far, she asked him for the cross,
and he then remembered that he had left it behind. So he said that he
would run back and fetch it in a minute, if she would wait there for
him; but she, fearing nothing, said she would walk on, and he would
soon overtake her. Accordingly, away he went, and got the cross from
the house, and ran off as hard as he could to overtake Donine. As he
came into the little wood between this and La Mothe, his heart seemed
to misgive him, he said, and he thought he heard some one cry; so he
ran the faster, to come up with her; but suddenly his foot struck
against what he thought a bush, and he fell. As he did so, his hand
touched something that was smooth and soft, like a woman's cheek, and
looking near, he found that it was Donine, lying senseless in the
path. He called to her, but she made no answer; and taking her up in
his arms, he ran with her, like a madman, till he came to our door.

The old man's voice became troubled, and his wife had been weeping
silently for some time. All that I could gather further was, that
Donine was gone for ever, and that her lover, reproaching himself both
for having taken away the cross, and for having left her in the wood,
soon fell into consumption; to which the inhabitants of the Landes are
particularly subject.

"My wife and I," added the old man, "had other children, whom we loved
as well as poor Donine, but he, poor fellow, had only her, and he did
not remain long behind. So that the bad spirit had two victims to
satisfy her instead of one."


                           ---------------


In whatever country it has been my fate to sojourn, I have always
accustomed myself to mingle with the people, and in doing so, I have
observed, that a belief prevails in every part of the world, that
there does exist another order of beings, distinct from the material
creation.

I was one day talking over the subject with a friend who had been long
in India, and his arguments as well as a tale he told me of an
apparition, not unlike that which had appeared to poor Donine, though
of a more beneficent character, struck me forcibly. He was in general
a very still, quiet man, listening attentively, speaking little, and
never entering into long discussion; but upon the first mention of a
doubt regarding the existence of spirits between the mortal beings of
earth and the Deity, he roused himself in a way that I had never seen
before, and in the somewhat sonorous language which he always used
even in his shortest speeches, poured forth opinions which were
evidently the result of long and intense thought.

"In every land to which fate has conducted my footsteps," he said,
amongst every nation with whom it has been my lot to sojourn, I have
uniformly found a belief in the existence of intermediate beings,
forming a link in the grand chain of nature, between man and the
Deity, The foolish pride of philosophy, believing nought but what is
brought within the immediate range of its circumscribed vision, would
fain establish that the great Creator has stayed his omnipotent hand
at that strange compound of spirit and matter called man; or else
would seek to prove that God has only employed the grosser part of
existing things, and that man himself was totally material. Analogy,
however, (which is the only means of argument within our power,)
totally opposes itself to both of these two theories. In regard to the
last, the thousand varied forms which we every day behold, and the
thousand beautiful and minute grades by which matter is led from the
simple clod to the most perfect of our conceptions, proves evidently
the will of the Deity to vary and employ all that which is within the
immensity of his power. To admit that there is a God, is to admit that
there is a spirit. I have ever held a disbelief in the existence of
such a thing as a rational atheist, and if there is spirit, analogy
teaches us that. God would somewhere and in some way link it with
matter: as we find that every class of things are connected with each
other, so that it is often difficult to distinguish the bird, the
beast, the fish, and the reptile, from the approximating being in
another class, so that it is even difficult to say where animation
begins, and where the vegetable or mineral ceases. Thus we have every
reason to suppose that the Almighty would continue the chain of his
creation without a gap; and link the earthly part of man to that
essence which approximates more nearly to himself. In regard to the
second theory: how it has pleased Omniscience to carry on the system
beyond this world, its denizens cannot hope here to know; but it is
analogical to conclude, that God has not limited himself to the
variations of matter, but has equally willed the existence of other
classes of beings, continuing the same grand gradations throughout the
whole of his sublime creation.

"It has always appeared to me, that some latent truth will ever be
found in opinions, which are held by all nations. There are hidden
chains of reasoning perfectly undefinable, which go on in the minds of
all men, and convince them of particular facts, with a certainty
beyond demonstration which no argument can overthrow, and no sophistry
can materially shake. Of this nature is man's persuasion of his own
existence, and of the existence of a material world. But there are
also other convictions, which, though not so perfectly established,
and equally incapable of proof, may be considered almost certainties
by the general conclusion of all nations to that effect.

"I have just said, that in all the countries in which it has been my
fate to reside, I have ever found a conviction prevail of the
existence of a class of beings, (if I may use the expression), just
beyond the limits of clay; in fact, our next link in the chain of
existence. This belief was of course expressed under the form of a
thousand superstitions, but still the foundation was the same; and as
I always make it a point of sparing even prejudices, when I cannot
remove them, instead of jesting at the tales which I have at different
times heard upon the subject, I have always listened with attention,
and given way to the feelings of those who recited them. So often has
this occurred to me, and so great a wanderer have I been, that I have
at present by me sufficient notes of the various vague forms which
this belief takes in different countries, to compile an epitome of the
superstitions of almost all nations.

"When a part of the English troops," he continued, "marched from
India, to co-operate with our army in Egypt, I eagerly seized the
opportunity thus offered of visiting in safety several interesting
countries, which I might never again have the means of seeing. I
easily obtained permission to accompany the army, and set out as upon
a party of pleasure; but before our landing, I was seized with a
violent fever; and all that my friend Colonel M---- could do for me,
was to leave me in charge of a respectable Arab, at Cossier, while the
army pursued its march towards the Nile. I need not repeat all that
has been said upon Arab hospitality; it is a well known fact, that the
highest degree of that virtue is to be found amongst a people, the
business of whose life is rapine and plunder. But my host was of a
very superior description: and having broken bread and eaten salt
together, I was, as he expressed himself, his brother, and truly as a
brother, did he treat me. He was a merchant, carrying on a
considerable trade in gums and spices, and every year he made a
journey into Egypt, where the luxury of the Mamelukes offered a ready
mart for his merchandize. It wanted but a short time to his annual
expedition, and when I had recovered from my illness, I was glad
enough to wait a few weeks, till such time as I could cross the desert
under the protection of his escort. When the time for our departure
arrived, we sat out, guarded by a tribe of the Arabs of the desert,
whom my friend and his companions hired as a protection to their
caravan. On our journey, as there was not water wherewith to perform
the ablutions prescribed by the Mahommedan religion, the dry sand of
the desert was used as a substitute; and observing my host, or, as I
may call him, my protector, for such indeed he was on every occasion,
I remarked, that with particular prayers, he took care to bare his
arms, and rub the sand from the tip of his little finger to the joint
of the elbow; but what most attracted my curiosity, was the appearance
of a leathern thong, serving to bind upon his arm a small leaden
tablet thickly engraved with a peculiar character, which I immediately
perceived to be neither Arabic nor Persian.

"During my residence in his house, that degree of intimacy had arisen
between us, which warranted my asking the meaning, of what I had seen.
He was a man of much simplicity of character, though possessing very
considerable information; and the innumerable questions which he was
in the habit of asking me relative to England and India, had induced
me to inquire much into the various customs of his country, on which
subject he had been uniformly frank and explicit, to a degree not
common among the Arabs. On the present occasion, however, no sooner
had I demanded what was the reason he wore a piece of lead bound upon
his arm, after the fashion that I had seen, than I perceived the blood
rising high in his dark cheek; and he replied, with no small
hesitation, that it was nothing particular. My curiosity was still
mere strongly excited by his reluctance to explain, and I pressed him
upon the subject.

"'I know,' said he in reply, 'that the Franks are all atheists, and do
not believe in the existence of spirits, therefore, Sheik----,' naming
me, 'would only laugh at his brother if he were told the history of
that talisman.'

"However, on my assuring him that he could not believe in spirits more
fully than I did, his countenance cleared, and with the habitual piety
of a Mussulman, thanking God for having enlightened me, he promised to
tell me the next day the whole story of the piece of lead and its
cabalistic inscription.

"About half-past one on the morning following, we began our march; and
as it was uncommonly cold, my friend Abul Coumel and myself rode
forward as fast as we could, leaving the caravan to follow. The plain,
to the west, was bordered by high rocks of red granite, and we made
all speed to reach them before daybreak, on account of the shadow
which their various indentations afforded; for in that country, though
the nights are chilling the extreme, no sooner does the sun rise above
the horizon than the air becomes heated as by a furnace, and
travelling from that moment is almost impossible. The morning was just
breaking when we reached the granite mountains, and choosing a spot
which afforded some shade, and at the same time commanded a view of
the plain, so that we might not lose the caravan, we dismounted from
our horses, and seated ourselves under the rock. Abul Coumel (as well
as myself, who had by this time acquired some Arab habits), took
several pieces of coarse bread from his wallet, and shared them with
his horse. He then turned towards Mecca and said his prayers; after
which he seated himself by me, wrapped his barrakhan around him, to
keep him from any drifting sand, and proceeded with the tale connected
with his talisman."


                           ----------------


                     ABUL COUMEL AND HIS TALISMAN.


Truth, (said Abul Coumel) is as the waters of the Zemzem well, a gift
which Allah gives to these that believe in him. I delayed to tell
thee, my brother, how I became possessed of this talisman, until such
time as we should be amongst these rocks, because it was here that I
received it, in the manner that I am about to relate. About fifteen
years ago, ere the hand of time had mingled my beard with white, I was
returning from Cairo to Cossier, after having disposed of all my
merchandize to Ibraham Bey, who being a careful and avaricious man,
bought up all the goods which came into Egypt, and afterwards retailed
them at a great profit to his less provident companions. My heart was
glad, because the road to riches was before me, and I forgot the
proverb, "In the midst of prosperity there is danger." Accordingly,
the slow journeys of the caravan became hateful in my sight, and I
lingered on the green banks of the Nile, thinking, with a swift horse,
to overtake the rest of my company ere they had proceeded more than a
day's journey. I was accompanied by a slave, whose horse carried the
bags of water, and early in the morning we set out joyfully on our
way; and as we went along the slave sang sweetly, and told many
pleasant tales to beguile the time, so that the desert rang to our
music and laughter. But it was thus we, forgot to make haste, and when
morning broke we had not proceeded half so far as we thought to have
done. The hot wind now began to blow; and to gain strength, we took a
part of the water we had brought with us, and gave part to our horses,
and so we proceeded; but the slave sang no more, and the desert looked
the more dreary, because we were alone. We rode on for four hours
longer, and then came to the summit of these hills, where we had
expected to overtake the caravan; but we looked all around, to the
east, and the west, the north, and the south, and not a living thing
was within sight; all that we could see was a boundless sky, and a
boundless plain, and dry sand, and a burning sun. However, we
descended from the hills and took our way along the plain; but silence
was upon our lips, for we feared to open our mouths lest we should
increase the thirst we had little means to satisfy. At length, after
two hours more, the slave said "Master, I thirst," and I bade him take
some of the water, but to use it frugally. Nevertheless, he, seeing
that I took none, was ashamed to drink before his master, so that we
rode on with our thirst still unquenched; and at the end of another
hour he said, "Master, I must drink, or I die." So turning round, I
beheld that his face was changed, and his eyes had become like blood,
and I said, "Drink, why hast thou not slackened thy thirst before?"
But he answered not, and in a moment the bridle dropped from his hand,
and he fell off his horse upon the sand. It was all in vain that I
poured what yet remained of the water into his mouth or upon his
forehead. Azraël claimed him for his own: his lips were black; and his
tongue had grown dry and yellow, like the withered heart of an old
sycamore tree.

Now, finding that he was dead, and that the thirst was gaining also
upon me, I sucked the inside of the water bags, for there was no water
in them, and mounting my horse I rode on in search of a well; and I
went along the sand like lightning, for the fear of death was behind
me. But no well could I find, and every instant the fire within my
heart and on my lips grew more and more burning; I felt as if a
serpent were eating my eyeballs; and when I looked round upon the
desert and the angry sky, the world seemed all to be in flames. For
another hour I rode on, and then I felt a few drops of water, for they
were not tears, start out of my eyes and roll over my cheeks, burning
as they went. I knew that it was the sign of death, and my heart
turned sick when I thought of my own home and the pleasant shores of
the Red Sea; and giving up hope, I turned towards these rocks, to find
some spot where I could at least die in the shade; but ere I reached
them life was forgotten, and I remembered the world no more.

What happened for some time, I know not, but at length I woke as from
a deep sleep, yet so weary did I feel that I could not move hand nor
foot; but I could see that I was lying at the mouth of a cave, and the
large stars were shining bright in the sky. As soon as I began to
move, a sweet woman's voice said, "Rest thee, brother; be thy cares at
peace, for God has seen thee in the desert, and has brought thee
help." And the voice was as soft and musical as the wind of heaven. So
I lay still, but I could not sleep for weariness; and all through the
night I saw a white figure moving round me, and every now and then it
poured some cool liquor on my lips, and murmured what seemed a prayer,
in a tongue that I could not understand. At length, towards morning, I
fell into a sound sleep, and after a long time was wakened by some one
kissing my forehead; whereupon I opened my eyes, and beheld, a woman,
more beautiful than can be described. I was now strong with repose,
and I rose up on my feet; but no sooner had I done so than the woman
gave a great cry, and fled into the depth of the cave.

It was in vain that I called, and in vain that I sought, touching the
rock all round; no one answered, and no one was to be found; and after
a time I went out of the cave and found my horse feeding upon some of
the rushes of the desert. I then went into the cave again, and lay
down where I had been lying before, upon the bed of dry straw,
thinking that the beautiful woman would come back when she thought I
was asleep; but it was not so. And after having lain there some time,
I heard two or three persons come into the cave, and one of them said,
"Here is Abul Coumel, lying dead also." Upon which I opened my eyes,
and found that it was a party of my friends, who had come back from
the caravan to seek me. When I told them what had happened, at first
they laughed at me, and said I had dreamed; but presently, seeing the
bed of straw that had been made for me, they began to search also, but
found no one, neither could they by any means discover another outlet
to the cavern. At length they all determined that it must have been
one of those spirits of the desert called Siltrims; but I maintained
another opinion, for the Siltrims are always a malevolent and wicked
race; whereas, this, by its actions, showed itself to belong to that
order of genii, which were at first rebellious, but which, having
submitted, are allowed to wander about the earth, doing good actions,
and counteracting the efforts of the evil genii. In this I was
confirmed when I came to say my prayers, for I then perceived that
during the night a piece of lead had been bound round my arm, which
was evidently a talisman against all bad spirits; and ever since that
time, in addition to the prayers appointed by the law, I every day
thank God for having sent one of these good spirits to my relief.


                           ---------------


Such was the story told by my Indian friend; and thousands of such
tales are still common in the Landes of France. The similarity of
character which prevails amongst the superstitions of all countries
and all nations, from Indus to the pole, may, perhaps, be the effect
of tradition, more probably the effect of the universal principles of
human nature, acting upon an indefinite, but no less deeply implanted
conviction of the existence of another order of beings nearly
approaching to ourselves in the scale of creation. While I remained in
the Landes, I gathered together a great number of these stories, which
were found in abundance round the Christmas fireside of our little
inn at Guizan. Nothing, however, of any great interest, affecting
ourselves, occurred during our farther residence in the Landes, and
after staying a few days longer we procured two of the horses which
are employed in carrying fish from La Teste to Bordeaux, and proceeded
to the latter city, at a pace well calculated to dislocate every bone
in our skins.



                               BOBECHE.

                                 And in his brain,
          Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
          After a voyage, he hath strange places crammed
          With observations, the which he vents
          In mangled forms.


Distance of time, like distance of space, gives to everything that
sort of indistinctness which excites curiosity and even admiration.
The deeds of our forefathers, as they gradually fade away and lose
their place among the things that are, become clothed with an unreal
splendour, and the habits and customs of other days, however
insignificant in themselves, acquire a degree of interest as they
recede from us, as much owing to their age as their originality. I
will own I am fond of prying into old fashions and peculiarities;
there is something attractive in their simplicity; and, in travelling
along, whenever I find any vestige of the kind, I am as much rejoiced
as ever was antiquary who had fished up a noseless bust out of the
Tiber.

Amongst all the usages of former times, none was better than that of
the court-fool, or licensed jester; but now-a-days men's vices and
their weaknesses have become too irritable, and few are inclined to do
penance under the scourge of satire.

Satirical talent is the most dangerous thing in the world. Those who
possess it may be admired, but they are seldom liked; and who would
barter love for admiration? In other days, none but a wit could be a
fool, but now none but a fool would be a wit.

There is a man in France who, by some odd mistake of nature, has been
born a couple of centuries too late, and has thus been deprived of an
opportunity of turning either his wit or his folly to account. Poor
Bobeche found it did not answer in Paris; the scene was too large for
him; and he has retired for a time to Bordeaux, to exercise his
talents amongst the Gascons; and here every evening he harangues the
multitude from a little stage erected in the Alées de Tourny.
Sometimes it is a dialogue between the fool and another; sometimes a
soliloquy; and the people listen to both with profound respect and
attention. I have often mingled with the crowd, and stood for a good
hour, not so much to listen to his jests, as to examine the jester;
for he is the only approximation to the old court-fool I ever saw. Of
course his dress is peculiar to himself. It consists of a small
three-cornered cocked-hat, stuck on one side of his head, and a close
red coat of the ancient cut. His countenance has a strange mixture of
vacancy and meaning, of solemnity and fun. He seems always to be
searching for one idea, and stumbling upon another by accident, and
appears scarcely to know whether it be wit or nonsense when he has
uttered it; and in truth there is, nine times out of ten, somewhat of
both. But still, he keeps his imperturbable gravity; and his round
unmeaning face, and dull leaden eye, prepossess you in favour of his
folly; so that any wit which he displays has the greater effect, from
giving no notice of its approach.

Bobeche has the same failing as all his predecessors: he has no
respect for the great. In fact, he cares not upon whom or on what
subject he breaks his jest. It must have its way, light were it will;
and they say that he has more than once been obliged to expiate the
offences of his noddle by two or three weeks' cool reflection in
prison. If this be true, it has not made him a whit the wiser; for I
have heard the very questions most tender in France made the subject
of his unlucky witticisms, and the king and every member of the
government sported with in turn.

Bobêche is not "le Glorieux," but it is a variety of the same genus.
The extraordinary author of Waverley is always true to nature in his
depiction of character, and it has been a great subject of interest to
me to trace in remote spots and corners of the earth the original
lines which he has beautifully copied, and very often to find _that_
realized, which I had before imagined to be merely the conception of a
brilliant imagination.

Though I have undertaken to tell my own history, I feel a strange
disinclination to speak much of myself, especially during my stay at
Bordeaux. My mind was in that vacillating and unsettled state which is
perhaps the most painful that human nature can endure. It was at that
point where sorrow degenerates into both levity and bitterness, the
most dangerous of all conditions; but a letter which I wrote about
this time, and which has since fallen into my hands again, will give a
better picture of my state of thought than any thing I could write
now.


MY DEAR R----,

Surely if I am an odd being, as you say, you are another! What in the
name of heaven could induce you to write to any other person at
Bordeaux about the letter which lay at the post-office for you?
However, I have taken the business out of your friend's hands, and
sent it on to you myself. It was in verity my own letter, and, as you
will see by the post-marks, has been upon its travels for some time.
The truth is, I put it in the post for Boulogne, where I fancied you
were, and to which it went without the postage being paid. Some friend
of yours at Boulogne, you being gone, put your London address upon it,
without _affranchissement_, and in consequence it was sent back to the
postmaster here, and so forth.

What its contents were, I quite forget; some great nonsense, I dare
say. But who in this age of the world would write sense, when Feeling
has been strangled for a traitor, Virtue publicly whipped for breaking
all the commandments, Generosity turned out to beg his bread, and
Charity (I do not mean ostentation) sent to the treadmill? In short,
when Vice is triumphant, Folly is sure to come in for a share in the
administration, and Nonsense becomes the only patron to whom a wise
man can apply. There is no such thing, my dear R----, as being mad in
this world. It is only being in the minority; and instead of saying
that a man has been put in a lunatic hospital, we ought to say that he
has been confined by the majority. However, I hope that my letter,
which was a sad raw cub when it left my hands, has been improved by
travelling, in which case it may give you some amusement.

You ask me a variety of questions, to very few of which I can reply.
What has made me stay at Bordeaux so long is a problem which I should
be happy if any one could solve for me. It has been from no particular
or general attraction. Here the climate is disagreeable, and the
society, generally, not much better. There are few that I care about,
there is none that I love, there is little to amuse, there is little
to interest. It must have been by some law of gravitation that I
settled down here, and until some propelling force of sufficient power
acts upon me, I suppose I shall not budge.

Your next question is, "When do you return to England?" I cannot tell.
The very idea is wretchedness to me. I think it was the Helvetii--was
it not?--who, without rhyme or reason, collected together all the
provisions they could find, burnt their towns and villages, and left
their own country to seek another. But with me it is not from any
distaste to England that I leave it. I love it because it is my
country. I love it for its free institutions and noble privileges; for
its brave spirits and generous hearts; and I am proud of it for its
grand pre-eminence over a corrupted world. But it is a country where I
have suffered much and lost much, and I cannot calmly think of
returning to the scenes which must recall so much bitterness.

But, to change the subject, I have been to see a curious receptacle
for our mortality. It is a sort of bone-house, called "_Le Caveau des
Morts_," placed under the tower of an old church, now converted into a
station for a telegraph. The first notice we had of such a place being
in existence, (for the people of Bordeaux know nothing,) was the sight
of the name placarded on the door, and entering, we found ourselves in
the inside of an old Gothic building, in company with an animal that
at first view might be taken for Caliban. He was a shapeless man,
dressed in a rough, shaggy coat, that descended to two feet clad in
immeasurable _sabots_. On his head he wore a large black nightcap,
that alone suffered to appear the lower part of his face and two small
dark eyes, together with the tips of a pair of elephantine ears. For
the first few minutes we could get nothing from him but a kind of
growling bark, which proved to be cough, and he himself turned out the
sexton and bell-ringer, and very readily, in consideration of a franc,
conducted us down a narrow staircase in the wall, to descend which, I
was obliged to bow my head, and my companion to go almost double.

On getting to the bottom we entered an almost circular vault, roofed
by Gothic arches and paved with the mouldering remains of frail
humanity. B---- took the candle from our sexton, and standing in the
midst, held it high above his head, looking like some colossal
spectre; while the light gleamed faintly round, catching on the groins
of the vault and the rows of ghastly dead, half skeleton half mummy,
which were ranged along the walls. As soon as he had lighted a lamp in
the middle, our guide, in the true tone of a showman at a fair, began
to give us an account of the place and what it contained. He told us
first, that the ground on which we stood was fifty feet deep in dead.
When the family vaults of the cemetery, he said, were full, the bodies
which were not found corrupted were removed to this cavern, and took
their station against the wall, as we saw them; and pointing to the
one next the door, he assured us that it had lain in the earth for
five hundred years, although the skin and flesh, dried to a thick kind
of leather, were still hanging about its bones. He then went round
them all, occasionally giving us little bits of their history, which
might or might not be true, sometimes moralising and sometimes
jesting, bringing strongly to my mind the grave-digger in Hamlet. It
was strange to see him, just dropping into the grave, joking with the
grim tenants of the tomb as if he were himself immortal. At length, he
conducted us once more into the upper air of the tower, from whence we
immediately issued into the most populous part of Bordeaux, swarming
with the busy and the gay, the beautiful and the strong, all hurrying
through an agitated existence towards the same great receptacle we had
just left. It was a strange contrast.

The cathedral here is not so fine as many others we have seen. A few
days ago we heard a fine military mass, at which the archbishop
assisted. I was pleased with the service, notwithstanding all the
overdone stage-effect of the Catholic ceremonies; but after the
soldiers had marched out and the church was cleared, it was most
disgusting to observe the effects of the French people's bad habit of
spitting. There was actually a rivulet of saliva on each side of the
church where the military stood. The archbishop is one of the best men
in existence, but they say rather superstitious. A good story is told
of him here, which, most probably, has its portion of falsehood. His
cook-maid, it is said, gave herself out as possessed by a demon. Now,
Monseigneur having no taste for such an inmate as this in his
cook-maid or his house, proceeded instantly to exorcise the gentleman,
ordering his chaplain to put his head to the lady's stomach and
collect the devil's answers.

"Does the devil speak?" asked the archbishop, after a long address to
the unearthly visitant.

"Yes," replied the chaplain.

"What does he say?" demanded the prelate.

"He says," answered the other, "_Je m'en fiche--i. e_. I do not care a
groat."

So the archbishop gave it up as a bad job.

You say true: it is an extraordinary country, "La belle France;" but
yet, in other days, I used to find much in it that gave me pleasure;
and amidst the many faults that crowd upon the eye of a stranger on
his first visit to any foreign country, I could descry many good
qualities. At present my eye is jaundiced, and I dare not judge. I
should be sorry to form an opinion of France from Bordeaux, but
certainly there is vice enough here to supply a moderate kingdom.

I do not remember whether I have given you any account of Bordeaux
before; if so, pardon the repetition. Not satisfied with the ordinary
means of gambling, the good people have here invented one for
themselves expressly. The price of brandy, you must know, is
excessively subject to variation, and upon this they speculate, making
bargains for time, as our stock-jobbers do, by which means fortunes
are lost and won with extraordinary facility. The life of one of these
men is brandy: he rises thinking of brandy--he writes about brandy all
the morning--at dinner he talks about it--at the coffee-house he asks
the news of brandy--at the theatre he makes a bargain between the
acts, and then going to bed he dreams of a hogshead.

The upper classes of the Bordelois have the reputation of being not a
little depraved. The next rank is a degree less corrupt; and lower
down comes a race rather famous. You have heard of course of the
Grisettes of Bourdeaux, and certainly they do appear the prettiest
little beings that ever were turned out of a band-box, as they go
tripping along the streets with their neat shoes and well-turned ankle
and leg, which they do not at all scruple to show somewhat more than
necessary. When in their working-dress, they wear a handkerchief
shrewdly twisted round their head, a gown of common printed muslin,
but cut in the most elegant form, and a little black silk apron, with
a pocket on each side before, into which they put their hands to keep
them warm in the winter.

Their dress at balls, and on fête days, is of the richest materials
that can be found--expensive silks of the brightest colours, and a
quantity of lace, which is principally displayed in the cap, that is
then substituted for the handkerchief on the head. I am sorry to say
that these young ladies are not generally famous for their morals. It
is not, indeed, to be expected that they should be so. The same
disgrace is not attached to the loss of virtue in this class as it is
in England. If I may use the expression, they do not lose cast as they
would with us, and are far from being disgraced amongst their fellows,
by any degree of immorality except infidelity. All this does not
prevent them from marrying when they arrive at a certain period of
life, and making often better wives than those who, in the higher
ranks, never went astray till they were married.

It is extraordinary, amidst this general dissolution of morals, how
our fair countrywomen at Bordeaux keep themselves from all
contamination. As you may suppose, there are a multitude of English
families here, and I have never yet heard, a whisper against the
female part of them. I know several persons here; some very agreeable,
some who might be very agreeable if they would; but in general the
society is confined to cold formal dinner-parties, which are little
calculated to promote _sociality_. I do not at all thank a man for
giving me a dinner. I can always get that for myself; but if he
invites me to meet pleasant people, and adds one happy hour to the
little stock of enjoyment that man can find in life, he lays me under
an absolute obligation.

There are many Protestants in Bordeaux, and consequently a Protestant
chapel, which I have attended frequently. Did you ever remark how
intolerant a persecuted sect becomes? The horrible severities
exercised for long upon the French Protestants have excited in them
the most violent hatred to the Church of Rome; and even from the
pulpit they do not spare their mother church. There is, however, here
one of the best preachers I have ever heard, a Monsieur Vermeille. His
sermons are by no means equally good; but I have heard him on many
occasions burst into the most powerful strain of eloquence you can
conceive. But my own eloquence is becoming rather tedious, and
therefore I shall merely bid you farewell.

                              Your's ever,
                                        J.P.Y.



                              LA CHASSE.

          *   *   *   *   But if the sylvan youth,
          Whose fervent blood boils into violence,
          Must have the chase, behold, despising flight,
          The roused-up lion, resolute and slow,
          Advancing full on the protended spear.--THOMSOM.


I had been wandering about one day in the neighbourhood of Bordeaux,
indulging a variety of desultory meditations, following the uneven
tenor of my own mind, sometimes sad and sometimes gay, and sometimes
of that odd mixed nature where melancholy and mirth are so intimately
commingled, that there is no separating them, when turning round an
angle in the road, I had a figure before me whose occupations puzzled
me not a little. He was one of that class of beings now nearly
extinct, who still cling with pertinacity to powder and pigtails. His
face was round, his cheekbones high, his complexion mummy-coloured,
his nose turned up and primed with snuff, and in the cavities on each
side stood two little dark eyes like black currants shining through a
dumpling. The castor which covered his head was intended for a modern
hat, but it had still a strange hankering for the form of the
old-fashioned shovel, far more pinched behind than before, with the
rear rim strongly turned up, as if to avoid the collar of his coat. It
seemed that his head had been so long accustomed to wear cocked-hats,
that whatever he put upon it assumed something of that form. To finish
the whole, on each side under the brim lay two long rows of powdered
curls, which flew off in an airy pigtail behind. This sort of man
ought to be recorded, for in the course of years it will become
unknown, like the mammoth; and strange remnants of whigs and pigtails
will be found to puzzle the naturalist and antiquary.

But it was his occupation that I did not understand. He was creeping
along by the side of a ditch, with his knees bowed, and eagerness in
his air, and ever and anon he clapped to his shoulder a long machine,
which seemed of a mongrel breed, between a duck-gun and a cross-bow;
having the long barrel and stock of the one, and the arc and cord of
the other. Continually as he placed it at his shoulder, I heard
something plump into the ditch, on which he shook his head with
evident mortification, and proceeded a little farther. I followed at
the same stealthy pace, and he seemed rather flattered than
discomposed by the attention I gave to his movements. At length he
look a long and steady aim, drew the trigger, the bow twanged, and
rushing forward with a shout of exultation, he seized an immense frog
he had just shot, and held it up in triumph by the leg.[10]


--------------------

[Footnote 10: Those who imagine this to be a jest deceive themselves;
I have seen the same more than once since.]

--------------------


"Qu'elle est belle! Qu'elle est belle!" cried he, turning to me as I
came up. "It was a long shot, too," he added.

I paid him a compliment upon the achievement, and asked if he had had
much sport.

He said, "No, that the weather was so hot that the frogs kept
principally to the water, and they had been so much hunted that they
were very wild."

"How!" cried I; "you do not shoot them sitting?"

He told me that he did, and asked me how I thought they ought to be
shot?

I told him that to shoot them sitting was mere poaching, that he ought
to take them in the leap.

He said "that a young man like me might do those things, but for an
old man like him it was not so easy, but, however, that he would try."

I assured him that he ought to do so, and having examined his
_arbalète_, I left him to endeavour to shoot frogs flying if he could.

As I went home I could not help moralizing upon the change which has
taken place in Frenchmen since the revolution--a change which has
altered them entirely, and yet left them nearly as different from the
English as ever. I then asked myself in what the difference between us
and our neighbours consisted, and I laid down in my own mind a whole
table of



                            DISTINCTIONS.

                        Liberiùs si
          Dixero quid, si fortè jocosiùs, hoc mihi juris
          Cum veniâ dabis.--HORACE.


They may be true or they may be false, but I beg it to be understood
that they are given with perfect good humour towards a people for many
of whom I have a high personal regard.

An Englishman is proud, a Frenchman is vain. A Frenchman says more
than he thinks, an Englishman thinks more than he says. A Frenchman is
an excellent acquaintance, an Englishman is a good friend. A Frenchman
is enterprising, an Englishman is indefatigable. An Englishman has
more judgment, a Frenchman more wit. Both are brave, but an Englishman
fights coolly, a Frenchman hotly. The latter will attack anything, the
former will be repulsed by nothing. An Englishman in conversation
seems going a journey, a Frenchman is taking a walk. The one plods
hard on to the object in view, the other skips away from his path for
the slightest thing that catches his attention. There is more
advantage in conversing with the one, more pleasure with the other. An
Englishman generalizes, a Frenchman particularizes. An Englishman when
he tastes anything says that it is good, that it has an agreeable
flavour; a Frenchman describes every sensation it produces in his
mouth and throat, from the tip of the tongue down to the stomach, and
winds it up with a simile. An Englishman remarking an opera-dancer
sees that she dances well, with grace, with agility; a Frenchman notes
every _entrechat_, and can tell to a line where her foot ought to
fall. An Englishman must have a large stock of knives and forks to
change with every plate: a Frenchman uses but one for all, and it
sometimes serves him for a salt-spoon, too. An Englishman in his own
country must have two rooms; a Frenchman can do very well with one; he
dines there when he cannot go out, receives his company there, and can
do everything there. A married Englishman requires but one bed, a
married Frenchman must have two. In general an Englishman is willing
to submit to the power of the law, but inclined to resist military
force; the contrary proposition is the case with the French.

A Frenchman is constitutionally a happier animal than an Englishman.
He is born a philosopher. He enjoys to-day, he forgets the past, and
lets to-morrow take care of itself. No misfortunes can affect him,
he floats like a bit of cork on the top of the waves which seem
destined to overwhelm him. He makes his servant his confidant, the
coffee-house his library, the man next him his friend, the theatre his
fireside;--and his home--but he has nothing to do with that.

He is gay, witty, brave, and not unfeeling, but his character is like
the sand on the sea-shore, where you may write deeply, but a few waves
sweep it away for ever. That perverted word 'sentiment' in its true
sense he knows little of. But are there many men in all the world who
know much more.

A Frenchman is not so insincere as he has been called. It is true he
makes vehement professions which mean nothing, but he makes them in a
language the expressions of which are all overcharged, and in a
country where they are justly appreciated. As money, the
representative of labour, has in every country its relative value, so
words, the current coin of conversation, vary in import amongst
various nations, and have a rate of exchange with foreigners. Thus, if
an Englishman takes a Frenchman's professions at the value the same
would hear in England, it is his own fault, for the rate of exchange
is against them. Besides, they are _obliged_ to use large words, there
is no small change in France. In conversation, as well as in commerce,
there is nothing circulating but heavy five-franc pieces. A boot is
said to fit "_divinement_," and a tailor tells you that there is "_de
quoi se mettre à genoux devant_" the coat he has just made for you. I
have heard a boot-jack called _superb_, a pair of stockings
_magnifique_, and a wig _angelique_. A man offered me "_poudre à la
rose_," to make my boots slip on; and an old woman who had strayed a
kitten, called it "expatriating her cat." An Englishman says, "I am
glad to see you;" a Frenchman "_Je suis ravi de vous voir_." It comes
to the same thing in the end. Everything in France is _au dessus du
vraisemblable_, and the language not more than the rest. An
Englishman's passions are like his own coal fire, difficult to kindle;
but long before they go out, have more heat than flame, more intensity
than brilliancy. A Frenchman is  like a fire of wood that crackles and
flames and blazes, that is lighted in a minute, and in a minute
extinguished.

The French, though they are daily improving, are still certainly a
dirty people,[11] not in their persons but in their houses and habits.
In this, as in everything else, they are the most inconsistent nation
in the world. In their habitations there is the strangest mixture of
splendour and want of cleanliness, and in their manners an equal
mingling of elegance and coarseness. One must often walk up a
staircase where every kind of dirt is to be found in order to arrive
at a palace, and a thousand things that shock all notions of delicacy
are here openly done and talked of by the most polite.


--------------------

[Footnote 11: These passages were written thirteen or fourteen years
ago, since which time France has made the most extraordinary progress
that any country in Europe can boast. England has also advanced, but
the change is certainly not so striking between what she is now and
what she was then, as that which has taken place in France in the same
period; but it may be taken as a proof of the justice of these
remarks, that France has become much more English than England has
become French.]

--------------------


A Frenchman's politeness consists much more in small talk and petty
ceremonies than in any real elegance of person or of mind. They have
told the world so often that they are the most civilized nation in
Europe, that the world believes it. It is true, they have an immensity
of the jargon of society, a quickness in catching and appreciating the
tastes and ideas of others, and a great fund of good-nature, which
makes them love to see all around them at their ease; but their vanity
stands much in the way of their politeness. An Englishman may perhaps
over-rate both himself and his country, but he is contented with his
own opinion, and cares little what others think on the subject; but a
Frenchman wishes every one to acknowledge, and takes the greatest
pains to prove, that France is the first country and himself the first
man in the world. A Frenchman, however, has much more of the two great
principles on which real politeness is founded than an Englishman. He
is by nature an infinitely more good-humoured being, and he has more
of that inestimable quality which he himself calls _tact_.

If the French called themselves simply the most polite nation in the
world, we might be inclined to admit the claim. When they say they are
the most _civilized_, we instantly deny it. I have seen an actress and
a famous actress too, stop in the midst of one of Racine's finest
speeches to spit in her pocket handkerchief, before the whole
audience. I asked the gentleman next me if such were a common
occurrence. He seemed surprised at the question, and said, what could
she do? She must spit! Did we not spit in England? he asked. I told
him not in general, and never in genteel society. He said, "Oh!" and
without doubt did not believe a word I said; for, let it be remarked,
that the French generally have no more idea of our manners and customs
than if we were placed at one pole and they at the other. A great
proportion of the French people look upon us as a kind of Sandwich
Islanders--imagine that we never see the sun--that our atmosphere is
one constant fog--that we eat nothing but beef and potatoes--that we
drink nothing but tea and porter--and that our only ripe fruit is.
baked apples.[12] Let me do them justice, however; rarely or ever
would an Englishman have been insulted by the populace of France with
those brutal appellations which the lower classes in England did not
fail to bestow upon the French, when they discovered them in the
streets of London during the war. If the higher class of society in
France, is not so refined as the same class in England, and I do not
scruple to say that it is not, there is much more urbanity, and real
or acquired politeness, amongst the peasantry of the former country.
One or the greatest differences, however, between the two countries is
the one which is least favourable to England and the most honourable
to France. France is always anxious to improve, and the whole nation
drags on the unwilling few. England is always suspicious of
improvement, and the talented few drag on the unwilling nation.


--------------------

[Footnote 12: This appears somewhat exaggerated now, but it was very
little so when the passage was written; and opinions as absurd have a
thousand times been uttered by men otherwise well informed in my
presence. Some late books of travels in this country, however, would
tend to show that the French have not yet much enlarged their
knowledge of England and the English.]

--------------------


I have hitherto in general spoken of French men; what shall I say of
French women? If I say but little, it is not that I think them in any
degree less charming, less graceful, less fascinating than others have
thought. To criticise them would be a task invidious and not for me.
If they have anything about them that might as well be altered, I say,
heaven forbid that it should be otherwise; for as perfection is
certainly not to be found amongst men, it would place too terrible a
difference between the sexes if it were to be met with in women.



                               BEGGARS.

               I'll bow my leg and crook my knee,
               And draw a black clout o'er my e'e;
               A cripple or blind they will ca' me,
                 While we shall be merry and sing.
                                             THE GABERLUNZIE MAN.



There is a singular mode of begging existing at Bordeaux, which at all
events has the merit of novelty. In passing along the Cours de Tourny,
which is lined on each side by a row of fine elms, the eye is
attracted by a number of little boxes, and cups, with a small slit in
the top, large enough to admit a two-sous piece. Some of these are
fixed to the trees, and some are placed in the centre of a chair left
at the road side, without any one to guard it. It was some time before
it struck me that this was for the purpose of soliciting charity; but
upon inquiry, I found that it was an invention of late years, which at
first had considerable success. The originator did not at once hazard
his little box on the highway without interpretation, but fixed a
placard upon one of the trees just above it, stating that it belonged
to a "pauvre malade," who could not quit his bed; and, adding a list
of as many misfortunes as he thought necessary, he summed up by
begging the charitable passenger to drop his alms into the _coffre_
below.

As he neglected to take out a patent for his invention, of course
there immediately appeared an infinity of other "pauvres malades," who
contrived to levy a considerable contribution from the inhabitants of
Bordeaux. Some placed a chair to represent their person: some were
afflicted with one disease, some another. In short, various
improvements took place, the thing being understood, and everybody
knowing what the box meant, the placard was dispensed with, and the
passenger's imagination was left to supply any malady for which he had
a particular predilection.

Begging is in France a perfect trade, and by no means one of the least
profitable. The streets, the highways, and all public places are
infested with troops of beings of the most miserable appearance, with
everything, that rags, filth, and disease can do to make them equally
objects of disgust and compassion. But let it not be thought that
these wretches, often scarcely human, are left to so sad a fate by any
mismanagement of the many excellent charitable institutions of France.
Misery is their profession. To cure than of their maladies would be a
robbery, and to furnish them with any employment, they would consider
as one of the worst sorts of tyranny. Idleness is their liberty, and
disease is their fortune. A sore leg is at any time better than a
trade, and a withered arm is a treasure.

In the towns, they have particular stations, which may be looked upon
as shops where they expose their miseries, as they would any other
kind of merchandise. There was one, I remember, at Bordeaux, who had
scarcely any vestige of form left. He used to come to his station on
horseback, (for he was a man of some consideration), and setting
himself on the ground, he displayed his legs, which were dreadfully
deformed; as a tradesman sets out his goods in his shop window.

All the cottages that border the high road are filled with little
mendicants, who rush forth at the first sound of a carriage, and
torment the unhappy traveller, sometimes for miles. One of their most
common methods of begging is to throw a bunch of flowers into the
window, and then never quit the vehicle till they are paid for them.
Such a mode of soliciting charity may seem very poetical; but never in
my life did I see such a race of dirty, ragged, pertinacious little
vagabonds.

It is the same all over France. In every thing else the various
provinces differ essentially, but in beggars they are all equally well
supplied. I have visited the north, the south, the east, and the west
of France, and have found no visible difference. From the Place de la
Comédie, at Bordeaux, passing along the allées and the Cours de Tourny
to the Place Dauphine, a distance of about half a mile, I once met
three-and-twenty beggars; and on the bridge at Pau I have counted
nineteen. Although many of those who are now common mendicants, played
parts, more or less conspicuous, in the French revolution, I do not
believe that it added greatly, if at all, to the number of beggars in
France. The wars of the League and those of the Fronde certainly did
add to the number; but in those wars there was no purifying principle,
no ennobling motive on the part of the insurgents: all was
selfishness, vice, or caprice. In speaking of the wars of the Fronde,
Voltaire says:


Les Anglais avaient mis dans leurs troubles civiles un acharnement
mélancolique et une fureur raisonée. Ils donnaient de sanglantes
batalles et le fer décidait tout.

Les Français, au contraire, se précipitaient dans les séditions par
caprice et en riant. Les femmes étaient à la tête des factions,
l'amour faisait et rompait les cabales.--VOLTAIRE--SIECLE DE LOUIS
XIV.


Amongst the beggars in the streets of Bordeaux there is an old man,
said to have been bourreau, or executioner, in that city, during the
revolution. Perhaps an executioner is one of the most extraordinary
beings in nature. Cut off from all human feeling, to embrace by choice
the occupation of deliberately slaying his fellow-creatures, seems a
paradox in the history of man. There is certainly a strange principle
of destructiveness mingled with all nature, in a way and for reasons
that we cannot divine. But here seems an innate cruelty getting the
better of all that man learns from his infancy. An executioner must be
a being apart from all nature, who, without passion or prejudice to
stimulate him, throws off all feeling of humanity, breaks from all
social charity, and exposes himself to the abhorrence of mankind, for
the sole delight of embruing his hands in human blood.

Before the revolution the office of bourreau was confined to
particular families. It was a curse that descended from generation to
generation; all fled from, all detested the unfortunate man fated to
be the instrument of his fellows' death, and he himself, cut off from
society with kindred beings, often grew morose and cruel, destroying
without regret that race which refused him all community.

But when this odious inheritance was abolished, and it became a
voluntary act, thousands stepped forward eager for the office of
blood-spiller, and in all the horrors which succeeded, no one was ever
wanting to do the work of death.

As the office of executioner is the most extraordinary that man can
choose, so perhaps the French revolution is the most extraordinary
event in the history of mankind.

It seems as if all nations were more or less like a man subject to
occasional fits of insanity, and that they cannot proceed beyond a
certain period without an unconquerable desire to destroy everything,
which at other times they are most careful to preserve. From some of
these maladies they recover, and have afterwards a more perfect health
than if they had never occurred, but often the effects of the disease
remain long after it has itself ceased.

The French revolution in general, taking it from its very commencement
to its close, produced some good amidst a mass of evil; but there were
particular periods, when all thought of right seemed abandoned, which
did as much as the destruction of all order, the abolition of all law,
the contempt of all religion; and the annihilation of every principle
and every feeling, can effect towards a nation's overthrow. It often
happens that man in doing wrong in one way, unintentionally do good in
another; but those who governed France at the periods of which I
speak, with a comprehensiveness of mind which, happily for the world,
is not always attendant upon crime, contrived to be uniform at least
in evil; and left no one good act for which history could accuse them
of inconsistency. At the same time, they took care to prove to the
world, by a rare combination of qualities, that it was in ill alone
that they were uniform, by mixing the maddest display of folly with
the affectations of philosophy, and uniting levity with slaughter.
Humanity shudders at the remembrance of such deeds; not alone because
they were bloody, but at the horrid frivolities with which they were
accompanied. It appears as if the love of destruction had seized like
a mania upon all the nation with a power ungovernable, had taken the
place of every better feeling, and left every weakness and every
defect in more than original force.

Never was the national levity of the French more conspicuous than
during great part of the reign of terror. While every day shed fresh
blood, and the deputy who superintended the work of murder at Nantes,
found the guillotine but a means of slaughter in detail, not at all
suited to his comprehensive mind; while he fell upon the happy
expedient of embarking his victims in a covered boat, and sinking them
wholesale in the river: at that very time the opera was as fully
attended and the card-tables as gay as ever; jokes were cut upon the
guillotine by those who were next to undergo its stroke, and the
murderer handed his snuff-box to the victim whom to-morrow he
condemned to death. In future ages the minute points of this vast
tragedy will scarcely be believed. Many of its horrors are but faintly
remembered even now, and the benefits which accrued from it are far
overrated. The _dîme_, the _corvée_, and almost all the _droits
seigneuriaux_ were falling or had fallen even before the actual
revolution began, and every other abuse would have gradually yielded
to the power of time and the increase of knowledge. But the French
were not contented to wait; they slew a good king, deluged their
fields in blood, and stained their annals with crime, to obtain what a
few years would have peaceably brought about.

France has never yet perfectly recovered the revolution; the character
of the people has been injured by it, and all the foundations of
society have been shaken. No definite ideas regarding any of the great
questions which affect the happiness of a community have been left;
and though it is not improbable that from this chaotic condition a new
and brighter system may arise, yet the state of transition has already
lasted long enough to be an intolerable evil. Though I am inclined to
believe that in France, as in other countries, an improvement in
morals has taken place in regard to religion, the bad results produced
by the revolution have been very extensive. Yet it is curious to
observe, that among all the blasphemies and follies with which the
French amused themselves at that period, a feeling of the absolute
necessity of some religion manifested itself continually. Even in
their greatest absurdities, it is evident. At the moment that a statue
to eternal sleep was erected, pointing to the tomb, it was proposed to
grant a patent to the Almighty for the invention of the world, upon
condition that he ceased to meddle with human affairs. At another
time, fruits and all things necessary to the support of man were
proposed as the object of human adoration; but the conviction of our
dependence upon some superior being, and the necessity of worship, was
always breaking forth.

The revolution has, in a manner, divided the kingdom into various
sects, of which the three principal are bigots, sceptics, and
hypocrites. The bigots consist in general of that portion of the
higher ranks who actually suffered in the revolution, and that portion
of the lower whom it neither enlightened nor led astray. The sceptics
consist of those who either never had any religion, or who lost it in
the theories and sophistry of the day, and these form the great bulk,
I am sorry to say, of the thinking and scientific in one class, and
the vicious and thoughtless of another. The hypocrites are those in
all stations to whom long practice in political dissembling has given
a facility in dissembling altogether. There are two other sects. The
French protestant and the unbigotted and enlightened French catholic,
but these are few in comparison. They comprise, however, many of the
most talented and most virtuous of the nation.

The sceptics are, of course, divided between many opinions. Many are
materialists; one or two fancy themselves atheists, but a great
majority follow what they call a purism. They allow the existence of a
supreme Being, are doubtful in regard to the immortality of the soul,
and profess to hold the moral doctrine of the Evangelists, although
they deny it a divine origin. They labour, according to the reasoning
of various pseudo-philosophers, to prove that the moral code of
Christianity was merely a compilation by the eclectists of Alexandria
from the most celebrated doctrines of the ancient philosophers, joined
with the principle of universal charity which they own to be found in
no other composition than the gospel. But they attempt by no means to
dispose of the sect of Christians mentioned in the celebrated letter
from Trajan to Pliny; nor to account for the extraordinary
circumstance of the philosophers of Alexandria having borrowed the
name of Christ, (as they suppose,) and having raised upon it such an
apocrypha of history, circumstances, and details, all of which could
have been contradicted at the time, had they been false. According to
their own theory they are obliged to imagine much more and believe
much more without proof, than if they were to receive the history
which the divine volume gives of itself.

From all that I have seen in France of the consequences of their great
national calamity, I am convinced, that however revolutions may call
forth latent talent, and acuminate the mind of man, however necessary
they may sometimes be as a defence to liberty and a check to tyrants,
general virtue owes them little, and the very principles of social
happiness are by them destroyed.



                              LA BREDE.

        Tutta fra se di se siessa invaghita.--BERNARDO L'UNICO.



What the world are accustomed to consider as great and brilliant
actions, have very often their origin in pride or ostentation, while
home virtues, and less obtrusive qualities, though their motive does
not admit of doubt, and their nature is mixed with no evil, are
scarcely ranked in the catalogue of good deeds, and even if known are
rarely appreciated. The rich man who spends a part of his fortune and
bestows a portion of his time on public charities, claims unanimous
applause as his just reward, and mankind are willing to grant it
without any investigation, either of his actions or their incitements;
but the man who without possessing any wealth to give, delights to see
every one cheerful and happy around him, and finds his pleasure in his
fellow-creature's peace, receives but small gratitude, and meets with
little admiration.

For my own part, I am thankful to every one who gives me happy
moments. There was a little circle at Bordeaux, in which I have spent
some of the most pleasant hours of my existence. The follies and
vices, the turmoil and discontent, of a large city never set foot
there. It was composed of a few, that could feel and enjoy all that
was beautiful in art or nature, whose native resources were equal to
their own contentment, and who without shunning, required nothing from
the world. Time passed not slowly with them; music, and reading, and
conversation succeeded; each borrowing a charm from the other, and
linking themselves together; so that the evenings flew insensibly; and
the hour of our separation always arrived before we were aware of its
approach.

In the mornings, we often left the town and spent the day in the most
beautiful parts of the environs; and the scenery was always sure to
suggest some new idea, which again celled forth a thousand more, and
every one happy themselves, endeavoured to add to the happiness of
others. It was in one of these expeditions that we went to visit the
little town and château of La Brède, once the residence of the famous
Montesquieu. The house is a true old French _château_, with its
turrets, and drawbridges, and garden within the ditch, and loopholes
for firing through the walls and all the little _et cæteras_, which
carry one's mind back to ancient days; but the devil, or some spirit
hostile to antiquity, has put it into the proprietor's head to
whitewash the towers of La Brède; and there they were, hard at it,
trying to metamorphose the old mansion of Montesquieu into the
likeness of a Cockney cottage on the Hampstead road.

The owner was absent, but we were admitted immediately, and taken, in
the first place, into the apartment where Montesquieu had composed his
_Esprit des Lois_. A little more reverence for old times had been
shown here; the room was exactly in the state he left it when he died;
there was his arm-chair, and all the rest of the old damask furniture,
spotted and stained in a truly classical manner; and there was the
hole the sage had worn in the marble by resting his foot with
mathematical precision always on one spot. We saw it all--all, which
is nothing in itself, but something in its associations. We were then
taken through the house, which appeared a large rambling kind of
building; but, to tell the truth, I do not recollect much about it,
except one large hall of very vast dimensions, where lay an old
helmet, which something tempted me to put upon my head, and which I
once thought must have remained there for ever, for, as if to punish
me for the whim, during some time I could get it off by no manner of
means. I have said that I remember little about the house; the reason
was this--I was thinking more at the time of the woman who showed it
to us than of anything else in it, aye, or of Montesquieu into the
bargain. Now there may be many people who would judge from this
confession, that she was some pretty _soubrette_, whose beauty had
taken my imagination by the ear. But no such thing: not that I am not
fond of beauty in every shape, but the case was different in the
present instance. What or who she was I do not know; but if Dame
Fortune had placed her in any other situation than that of a lady, the
jade of a goddess ought to be put in the pillory for a cheat and an
impostor. Her dress was of that dubious description which gave no
information; but her manners--her air--her look--told a great deal.
She was grave without being sad. It was a sort of gentle gravity, that
seemed to proceed more from a calm, even disposition than from any
grief or sorrow; and when she smiled, there was a ray of pure, warm
light came beaming from her eyes, and said that there was much
unextinguished within. They were as fine eyes, too, as ever I beheld.
Yet she was not handsome; though, if I were to go on with the
description, perhaps I should make her out a perfect beauty, for I
saw nothing but the expression, and that was beautiful. I could draw
her character, I am sure, and would not be mistaken in a single
line; for her voice was exactly like her eyes, and when the two go
together one cannot be deceived; there was a mild elegance in it
that was never harsh, though sometimes it rose a little, and
sometimes fell, and gave more melody to the French tongue than ever
I had heard before.

Now reader, for aught I know, you may be as arrant a fool as ever God
put breath into--for I hope and trust this book will be read not by
the wise part of mankind only--should that be the case, Lord have
mercy upon the publisher. But do not be offended. You may, (under the
same restrictive "for aught I know,") be as wise as king Solomon or
wiser; but, whatever be your portion of wit, you will have seen, in
all probability, long before now, that there was something in this
girl that interested me not a little. What that was can be nothing to
you, for it proceeded from private feelings and private recollections,
which you would make nothing of if you knew them this minute.

However, there was a question which none of us could decide: was she
one of the family of the château or was she not, and how were we to
bestow the little donation usually given to the servants under such
circumstances? However, the elder lady of the party took it upon
herself; and while I was standing in the garden where Montesquieu used
to work with his own hands, figuring to myself the philosopher of the
laws, digging away in his full nightcap and variegated dressing-gown,
she put the money, into the hands of her companion, begging that she
would give it to the servants. The other looked at her with a smile
which might have been translated half a dozen ways. It might have
been, "I am a servant myself"--it might have been, "I see your
embarrassment." But, however, she said that she would give it to them,
and bidding her adieu, we proceeded to the carriage. We had scarcely
all got in, when she came tripping over the drawbridge, with a bouquet
of flowers in her hand. She gave them with one of those same bright
smiles, saying, that perhaps we might like to have "_Quelques fleurs
du jardin de Montesquieu_." We took them thankfully, and she
re-entered the house, leaving us more than ever in doubt.



              THE CHATEAU DE BLANCFORD.

      Quant è bella giovinezza
        Che si fugge tutta via
        Che vuol esser lieto, sia
      Di doman non c'è certezza.--TRIOMFO DE BACCO.


There is scarcely any character in the range of history, which I am so
much led to admire as that of Edward the Black Prince. Combining all
the brightest qualities of a hero and a man, his glorious actions and
his early death, all give him a title to our interest and admiration.
One of the last excursions which we made with the friends I have just
mentioned was to a little town called Blancford. It lies, as it were,
behind Bordeaux, upon an eminence which commands all the country
round, with a far view over the plains of Medoc, and the bend of the
Garrone lying at your feet. In a valley, at a short distance, stand
the walls of an old castle, in which the Black Prince is said to have
passed some of the last hours of his existence; and this was the real
object of our pilgrimage.

Having ordered dinner, and left the carriage at Blancford, we wandered
down, through some of the beautiful lanes, all breaking forth into the
first blossoms of spring, to the ruins of the old château, which
afford a sad picture of the decay of human works.

The walls, built to resist armies, had crumbled to nothing before the
power of Time. We nevertheless amused ourselves for more than an hour,
climbing amongst the old ivy-grown remains, and fancying the various
beings that, from time to time, had tenanted that spot now so
desolate. It was all imagination, it is true; but 'tis one of the
greatest arts in life, thus to give food to fancy and to supply her
with materials from the past. It is less dangerous than borrowing from
the future. I forget whether it is Lord Kaimes, or Allison, or who,
that accounts for the pleasure which we feel in the sublime and
beautiful, principally from the exercise of the mind in new
combinations. I feel that there is some truth in it; for when I can
let my imagination soar without restraint, I try to separate myself,
as it were, from her, and view her, as I would a lark, rising and
singing in the sky, and enjoy her very wanderings.

So much amusement did we derive from our speculations that we lingered
there long. A variety of shrubs and foliage had decorated the old ruin
in a fantastic manner; and as we descended into one of the dungeons,
where probably many a captive had told his solitary hours, a free wild
bird started out, at our approach and took its flight into the
unconfined air. On the highest pinnacles of the walls, where the hand
of man could never reach, Nature has sown little groups of wild pinks,
that hung bending in the wind, as if to tempt one to take them. I
endeavoured in vain to obtain some of them, for one of the ladies of
the party, between whom and my friend B---- feelings were growing up
which ended in much happiness at an after period. To punish my
awkwardness, they called upon me to write a ballad on the subject. I
did my best to comply, for we all strove to bring our little share of
amusement into the common stock, and I felt myself more peculiarly
bound to contribute, as I believed in my heart that many of these
amusements, and especially that of whiling away the evening with
little tales and sketches, had been devised for the purpose of turning
my mind from every painful thought. These contributions gradually
accumulated into a short miscellany, which, as it comes decidedly into
the recollections of this year, I will give, as far as my memory
serves, and call it "Scraps."

We left the old castle with a feeling of regret. We had had time to
establish a kind of friendship with it, and did not like to quit it.
After dinner we wandered on to the brow of the hill, and sitting down,
watched the landscape as the closing evening varied all its hues. It
had been a fine clear day; no pain had reached us ourselves and no
storm had come across the sky--all had been bright and unshadowed. The
last moments of such a day are precious, for who can say what
to-morrow will bring forth? and all feeling it alike, we lingered on
till the edge of the sun touched the horizon, and then returned to
the busy haunts of man.



                           SCRAPS.--NO. I.

                       THE LADY AND THE FLOWER.



    There be of British arms and deeds
      Who sing in noble strain,
    Of Poitiers' field, and Agincourt,
      And Cressy's bloody plain.

    High tales of merry England,
      Full often have been told,
    For never wanted bard to sing
      The adieus of the hold.

    But now I tune another string,
      To try my minstrel power,
    My story of a gallant knight,
      A lady, and a flower.

    The noble sun, that shines on all,
      The little or the great,
    As bright on cottage doorway small,
      As on the castle gate.

    Came pouring over fair Guienne
      From the far eastern sea;
    And glisten'd on the broad Garrone,
      And slept on Blancford lea.

    The morn was up, the morn was bright,
      In southern summer's rays,
    And Nature caroll'd in the light,
      And sung her Maker's praise.

    Fair Blancford! thou art always fair,
      With many a shady dell,
    And bland variety and change
      Of forest and of fell.

    But Blancford on that morn was gay,
      With many a pennon bright,
    And glittering arms and panoply
      Shone in the morning light.

    For good Prince Edward, England's pride,
      Now lay in Blancford's towers,
    And weary sickness had consumed
      The hero's winter hours.

    But now that brighter beams had come
      With Summer's brighter ray,
    He called his gallant knights around
      To spend a festal day.

    With tournament and revelry,
      To pass away the hours,
    And win fair Mary from her sire,
      The lord of Blancford's towers.

    But why fair Mary's brow was sad
      None in the castle knew,
    Nor why she watch'd one garden bed,
      Where none but wild pinks grew.

    Some said that seven nights before
      A page had sped away,
    To where Lord Clifford, with his power
      On Touraine's frontier lay.

    To Blancford no Lord Clifford came,
      And many a tale was told,
    For well 'twas known that he had sought
      Fair Mary's love of old.

    And some there said, Lord Clifford's love
      Had cool'd at Mary's pride,
    And some there said, that other vows
      His heart Inconstant tied.

    Foul slander, ready still to soil
      All that is bright and fair,
    With more than Time's destructiveness,
      Who never learn'd to spare!

    The morn was bright, but posts had come
      Bringing no tidings fair,
    For knit was Edward's royal brow
      And full of thoughtful care.

    The lists were set; the parted sun
      Shone equal on the plain,
    And many a knight there manfully
      Strove fresh applause to gain.

    Good Lord James Talbot, and Sir Guy
      Of Brackenbury, he
    Who slew the Giant Iron arm
      On Cressy's famous lea.

    Were counted best; and pray'd the prince
      To give the sign that they
    Might run a course, and one receive
      The honours of the day.

    "Speed knights! perhaps those arms that shine
      In peace," Prince Edward said,
    "Before a se'nnight pass, may well
      In Gallic blood be dyed.

    "For here we learn that hostile bands
      Have gather'd in Touraine,
    And Clifford with his little troop,
      Are prisoners, or slain.

    "For with five hundred spears, how bold
      Soe'er his courage show,
    He never would withstand the shock
      Of such a host of foe."

    Fair Mary spoke not; but the blood
      Fled truant from her cheek,
    And left it pale as when day leaves
      Some mountain's snowy peak.

    But then there came the cry of horse,
      The east lea pricking o'er;
    And to the lists a weary page
      A tatter'd pennon bore.

    Fast came a knight, with blood-stain'd arms,
      And dusty panoply,
    And beaver down, and armed lance,
      In chivalric array.

    No crest, no arms, no gay device
      Upon his shield he wore,
    But a small knot beside his plume
      Of plain wild pinks he bore.

    For love, for love and chivalry,
      Lord Clifford rides the plain!
    And foul lies he who dares to say
      His honour ere knew stain!

    And Mary's cheek was blushing bright,
      And Mary's heart beat high,
    And Mary's breath, that fear oppressed,
      Came in a long glad sigh.

    Straight to the prince, the knight he rode,
      "I claim these lists," he cried,
    "Though late unto the field I come
      My suit be not denied.

    "For we have fought beside the Loire,
      And dyed our arms in blood,
    Nor ever ceased to wield the sword
      So long as rebels stood.

    "Hemmed in, I one time never thought
      To die in British land,
    Nor see my noble prince again,
      Nor kiss his royal hand.

    "But well fought every gallant squire,
      And well fought every knight,
    And rebels have been taught to feel
      The force of British might.

    "And now in humble tone they sue,
      To know thy high command,
    And here stand I these lists to claim,
      For a fair lady's hand.

    "For Mary's love and chivalry
      I dare the world to fight;
    And foul and bitterly he lies
      Who dares deny my right!"

    "No, no, brave Clifford," Edward said,
      "No lists to-day for thee,
    Thy gallant deeds beside the Loire
      Well prove thy chivalry.

    "Sir Guy, Sir Henry, and the rest
      Have well acquit their arms,
    But Edward's thanks are Clifford's due
      As well as Mary's charms.

    "My lord, you are her sire," he said,
      "Give kind consent and free,
    And who denies our Clifford's right
      Shall ride a tilt with me."

    Gay spake the prince, gay laugh'd the throng,
      And Mary said not nay,
    And bright with smile, and dance, and song,
      Went down the festal day.

    And when Lord Clifford to the board
      Led down his Mary fair,
    A knot of pinks was in his cap,
      A knot was in her hair.

    For it had been their sign of love.
      And loved by them was still,
    Till death came gently on their heads
      And bowed them to his will.

    And now though years have passed away,
      And all that years have seen,
    And Clifford's deeds and Mary's charms
      Are as they ne'er had been.

    Some wind, as if in memory,
      Has borne the seeds on high,
    To deck the ruin's crumbling walls,
      And catch the passing eye.

    They tell a tale to those who hear,
      For beauty, strength, and power,
    Are but the idlesse of a day,
      More short-lived than a flower.

    Joy on, joy on, then, whilst ye may,
      Nor waste the moments dear,
    Nor give yourselves a cause to sigh,
      Nor teach to shed a tear.



                           SCRAPS.--No. II.

                      LINES TO A WITHERED ROSE.


    I cast thee from me, poor child of day
      Like the lost heart that bore thee now wither'd and dead,
    To open no more in the sunshiny ray.
      Thy fragrance exhausted, thy loveliness fled.

    'Tis the bright and the happy, the fresh and the gay,
      Alone that are fitted to flaunt in man's sight,
    When withered, far better to cast them away,
      Than to mock their dull hues with the glitter of light.

    No culture can ever restore thee thy bloom,
      Or waken thy odour, or raise up thy head,
    The wretch's last refuge, the dust and the tomb,
      Is all I can give, now thy sweetness has fled.

    O who would live on, when life's brightness is past,
      When the heart has lost all that once bade it beat high?
    When hopes still prove false, and when joys never last,
      'Tis better to wither--'tis better to die.

    I cast thee from me--away to the earth,
      More happy than others that must not depart,
    Doom'd to bear on their grief 'neath the semblance of mirth,
      With silence of feeling, and deadness of heart.



                          SCRAPS.--No. III.

          DESULTORY CONVERSATIONS WITH THE MAN IN THE MOON.
                      BY A TRAVELLED GENTLEMAN.


I have wandered almost all over the face of this globe, which,
notwithstanding everything that geographers have said upon the
subject, appears to me to be nothing more nor less than a great melon;
and I am much mistaken, if, when Parry gets to what we call the North
Pole, he does not find it to be only a stalk.[13] But as I was saying,
I have wandered almost all over it, and in so doing, I have met with a
great many extraordinary characters, but with perhaps none more
singular than the person with whom I held the conversations which
follow.


---------------

[Footnote 13: This was written before the discoveries of Sir John
Ross.]

---------------


Now, though I do not suppose anybody will have the hardihood to doubt
my having had what Sterne calls an affair with the moon, in which, as
he justly observes, there is neither sin nor shame, yet, for the
gratification of the present society, I am very willing to explain how
I first became acquainted with the gentleman from whom I have since
derived so much moonlight and information.

I remember one day when I was at Shirauz, I had been out into the
Vakeel's garden, drawling away my time, as is usual with me, and
finding myself tired, I went into the tomb of Hafiz, squatted myself
down in a corner, and began stroking my beard slowly with my right
hand like a pious Mussulman. Several Persians came in while I was thus
employed, and seemed wonderfully edified by my piety and solemnity,
and after they were gone I fell asleep.

I always make a point of dreaming; indeed I should think I lost one
half of my existence if I did not. During our dreams is perhaps the
only portion of our being, that we live without doing any harm to
ourselves or anything else.

That evening I jumbled a great many odd things in my head, and whether
it was the influence of Hafiz's tomb or what, matters little, but I
became critical in my sleep. I quarrelled with my old friend
Shakspeare--I found out all his anachronisms. "How the mischief, sir,"
said I "could you be such a fool as to make the Delphic oracle exist
at the same time with Julio Romano in the Winter's Tale?" Shakspeare
hung his head. "And, besides," I continued, "having written many a
stiff sentence, which neither you yourself nor any one else
understand, you have stolen, most abominably stolen, from Saadi. 'And
the poor beetle that we tread upon, etc.,' is absolutely the same as
that passage in which he says, 'Life is sweet and delightful to all
who possess it, and the ant feels as much as the hero in dying.'
Billy, Billy! I am afraid you have not taken enough pains to correct
your sad propensity to deer stealing."

"My dear sir," answered Shakspeare mildly, laying his hand upon the
sleeve of my vest, "I never heard of Saadi in all my life; and let me
assure you, that it is perfectly possible for two authors to think
alike, aye, and write very much alike too, without at all copying from
each other."

"But the reviewers don't think so," said I.

"There were no reviewers in my day," answered Shakspeare. "I have been
plagued enough with commentators, Heaven knows! but with reviewers,
thank God, I have had nothing to do. Why, my dear sir, I should have
died under the operation."

Shakspeare was going on, but the last call to evening prayer, which a
bell-mouthed muezzin was bellowing from a neighbouring minaret, put a
stop to his oratory by wakening me from my dream.

It was a beautiful evening; the sun was just going down over far
Arabia; the sky was purpled with the last rays of his departing
splendour, the evening breath of the rose pervaded all the air, and
the ear of heaven was filled with the reposing hum of creation. I
offered up my prayers with the rest, and then stood gazing at the
great orb of light as he sunk to his magnificent repose.

The moment that the last bright spot of his disk had disappeared, the
eastern world was all darkness. No soft twilight in that climate
smooths the transition from the warm light of day to the depth of
night; but to compensate, the stars shine more brightly and come
quicker upon the track of day, and in a moment a thousand beaming
lights broke out in the heaven as if they were jealous that the sun
had shone so long; while on the earth, too, the fire-flies kept
hovering about as if the sky "rained its lesser stars upon our globe."

Men have strange presentiments sometimes, and we have a great many
great instances of them in a great many great men. Now whether it was
a presentiment that I should meet the Man in the Moon that evening,
which made me linger out of the city, I cannot tell at this interval
of time. But so it was that I did linger, and got wandering about down
in the valley till the moon rose clear and mild, and weaving her
silver beams with the dark blue of the sky, it became all one tissue
of gentle light. Just at that moment, on a bank where the moonbeams
appeared all gathered together, I saw a little old man with a dog by
his side and a lantern in his hand--take him altogether, not at all
unlike Diogenes.

Wherever I go I adopt the country that I happen to be in, lest at a
pinch it should have nothing to say to me, not as most men do, by
halves, growling like a bear all the time they do it; no, but
altogether as a man does a wife, for better, for worse--laws, manners,
superstitions, and prejudices. Now, had I followed this excellent
custom in the present instance, I ought, in Persia, to have imagined
my old man to be a Ghole _instanter_, or, at best, a Siltrim; but
somehow forgetting a few thousand years, I could not get his likeness
to Diogenes out of my head, and walking up to him, I asked him if he
were looking for an honest man, adding, that if he were, I should be
happy to help him, for that I wanted one too.

"No," said the old man, "I am looking for sticks."

"Sticks!" echoed I, "you will find none on this side of the
valley--you must cross the stream, and amongst those bushes you will
find sticks enough."

"But I cannot go out of the moonshine," said the old man.

I now began to smoke him, (as the vulgar have it.) "Ho, ho!" said I,
"you are the Man in the Moon, I take it?"

"At your service," said my companion, making me a low bow.

"Well, then," I continued, "I will go and gather you a faggot, and
afterwards we will have some chat together, and you shall tell me
something about your habitation up there, for I have often wished to
know all that is going on in it."

The Man in the Moon seemed very well pleased with the proposal. The
sticks were soon gathered, and sitting on the bank together, he set
the lantern down beside him whistled to his dog, which was one of
those little, black, round-limbed, short-tailed curs, which seem of no
earthly use but to bark at our horses' heels, and then entered into
conversation without further ceremony. Indeed, ever after, in the many
conversations which I have had with him, and which perhaps the
malicious may term fits of lunacy, I have had reason to think of him
as I did at first--namely, that he was a very shrewd, chatty old
gentleman, not at all slack in showing any knowledge he possessed, and
who, if he had not read much, had at least seen a good deal.


                       CONVERSATION I.-PERSIA.

"Sages and philosophers," said the Man in the Moon, "always show the
certainty of what they advance by the descrepancy of their opinions.
You must have remarked, my dear young friend----"

"I beg your pardon," interrupted I, "it is rather an odd appellation
to bestow upon a man of my standing, who have more white hairs in my
head than black ones."

The Man in the Moon burst out laughing with such a clear, shrill,
moonlike laugh, that he made my ears ring. "Why you are but a boy,"
said he, "in comparison to me, when you consider all the centuries
that I have been rolling round and round this globe. But listen to me.
You must have remarked that no two wise men ever were known to think
alike upon the same subject, while the gross multitude generally
contrive to coincide in opinion, and, right or wrong, don't trouble
their brains about it. Now, while in every age different theories have
been formed amongst the learned respecting the moon and its structure,
the vulgar have uniformly come to the same conclusion--namely, that it
is made of cream-cheese."

"But, my dear sir," cried I, "remember that science very often, like a
part of algebra, sets out with a false position; the error of which
being subsequently discovered and corrected, leads to a just
conclusion."

"As you say," replied the Man in the Moon, "philosophy is little
better than a concatenation of errors."

"I did not say any such thing," interrupted I.

"Well, well, don't be so warm," he continued, "I am not going to
discuss the point. I will now tell you what it really is, which is
better than all theory. The common classes have not judged with their
usual sagacity about the moon, which is not, in fact, made of
cream-cheese, nor, indeed, as Mr. Wordsworth obscurely hints, in his
profound old poem of 'Peter Bell,' has it any similarity to a little
boat, except that of carrying me about in it. Nor is it a crepitation
from the sun, nor a windfall from the earth, which has gone on in
_statu quo_ ever since Galileo took the business out of the sun's
hands by crying out, _E pur se mouve_. As to all that Ariosto said
upon the subject, that is a pure fudge. No, sir, the moon is----but I
must tell you that another time, for I see that I must be gone!" So
saying, he snatched up his lantern, laid his faggot on his shoulder,
and called to his dog, who appeared to have a mortal aversion to the
excursion, for no sooner did he perceive his master's intentions than
he clapped his tail between his legs, and ran away howling.

"Truth! Truth!" cried the Man in the Moon to his dog. "I call him
Truth, sir, for he is very difficult to be caught hold of," said the
old man, when he had got him; and now, having tied him by a string, he
wished me good bye, and began walking up a moonbeam which soon
conducted him out of sight.



                           SCRAPS--No. IV.

                        A YOUNG LADY'S STORY.


It was somewhere in Italy--the precise spot matters but little; one
might fix it anywhere, from the Milanese to Calabria, though in all
probability it was some place in the southern part of that beautiful
land which has met the fate that so often follows loveliness--ruin
even for its charms.

It was the close of a burning day about the middle of September; there
had been a sort of feverish heat in the air during the whole morning,
which, as the evening came on, settled down into an oppressive
sultriness, that impeded respiration, and rendered the whole world
languid and inactive. All was still, but it was not the stillness of
repose. No animal enlivened the scene, but where a heavy crow took its
long, slow flight across the sky, or a straggling fire-fly gave a dull
and fitful gleans amongst the dank vapours that came reeking up from
the flat marshy fields on either side of the road.

A solitary traveller rode along towards the dark wood before him, and
ever and anon seemed to turn his eyes towards the edge of the horizon,
where enormous masses of deep bleak clouds appeared to swallow up the
setting sun. From time to time the roll of distant thunder announced
the coming storm; and as darkness grew over the face of the earth
quick flashes of lightning started like genii of fire from the gloom,
and shed a livid horror on the scene. The traveller hurried on
dismayed, while torrents of rain began to drench the bosom of nature;
but strange to say, and unaccountable, he never once thought of
returning to the inn where he had spent the day, and which was not
half a league behind. However, as storms, like all other uncomfortable
things, are rarely of eternal duration, the one in question began to
subside. The rain ceased, and the traveller went on at an easy pace,
hoping every moment to find some hospitable shed where he might dry
his clothes and wait out the rest of the tempest.

The road at length turned off abruptly to the right, and narrowing
insensibly, assumed the appearance of a winding lane, at the end of
which stood a house of respectable, but dreary, aspect. The traveller
paused: a strange, undefinable, dreamy apprehension took possession of
his mind, and though by a strong effort he forced himself to proceed,
it was not without something like a presentiment of evil that he
clambered through a gap in the garden-wall, leading his horse by the
bridle.

The first object that struck his view was a tall white figure,
standing in a menacing attitude, at the end of a long, bleak, gravel
walk. Start not; it was not a ghost, though the traveller was
half-inclined to think so, till he walked up to it, and found that it
was merely a noseless, moss-grown statue, rising from a wilderness of
weeds which had once been an arbour. Our traveller smiled at his
mistake, and leaving his horse to explore the garden alone, he made
the best of his way to the house. It was a square building of gray
stone, and as the pale lightning gleamed from time to time on its
broken windows and yawning doors, it looked astonished and frightened
at its own solitude. The traveller participated in its emotions, and
as he entered the dreary vestibule his heart sunk within him. There
were doors on either side, and a staircase at one end of the
vestibule, but the traveller felt no inclination to penetrate into the
interior of so gloomy an abode--the more so, as it appeared totally
uninhabited, and every one knows that such places are always the most
alarming, seeing that there must be some cause for leaving them thus
to their fate. The wind moaned sadly through the half-opened doors,
and the traveller's situation became every moment more unpleasant; so
that he resolved at last to do that which he might as well have done
at first, namely, return to the inn, and wait for the morning to
continue his journey. The dead leaves which the wind had driven into
the vestibule rustled fearfully under his feet as he walked towards
the door; but he made his exit in safety, and taking his horse by the
bridle, regained the broken garden wall with a step of forced
composure, for the traveller wished sadly to persuade himself that he
was not frightened at all. When, however, he found himself safe on
horseback, and in a fair way of reaching the inn, the rapidity of his
movements and the long deep shudder which accompanied his parting
steps, gave sufficient evidence of the uneasiness of his sensations.

Arrived at the place of his destination, of course his first inquiry
was on the subject of the mysterious habitation he had left; so while
he drank some warm wine to raise his spirits, he sent for the landlord
to tell him all about it. The host stared,--he had never heard of such
a place. The traveller described its position and appearance exactly.
The landlord had been born and brought up in that neighbourhood but
had never seen either lane or house answering the description.

The boys of the inn were called, but they were as ignorant, or as
lying, as the host, who said, with a smile, that perhaps his guest was
mistaken.

This was not to the borne; the traveller offered a reward to any one
who would accompany him in a second visit to the house in question. As
money does great things, he had soon more than one volunteer, and off
they set with lights and horses. They travelled on for some way at a
rapid pace, and the stranger frequently stopped to look about him,--no
house was to be seen. He perfectly recognized every object on the road
which he had seen before, to a certain point, but there it assumed a
new appearance. He must have passed the lane, he thought, and turned
back again, amid the stifled merriment of his companions, but neither
lane nor house was visible. All was straight, flat, and uniform. The
traveller was as grave as a judge, but the rest could no longer
conceal their laughter, and he himself, feeling rather shy on the
subject, was glad to dismiss them with the promised reward.

He then proceeded on his journey alone, endeavouring to persuade
himself that his late adventure was a dream, or something very like
it. Scarcely, however, were the people of the inn well out of sight
when, strange to say, the road bent mysteriously, as if by magic, to
the right, and there it stood--the enchanted house at the end of the
lane!!!

This time (thought the traveller) I will pierce the mystery, if it
cost me my life. Leaving his horse in the lane, he entered the garden
by the breach in the wall; he passed the old statue, he ascended the
broken steps, and soon found himself in the solitary vestibule. There
his nervous terrors redoubled. It seemed as if all the inhabitants of
the Red Sea had agreed to haunt his imagination at once. Still,
however, he went on, and began to mount the ruined staircase. He had
reached the first landing, and was about to continue his ascent, when
the whole building seemed to give way at once, and he sunk senseless
amid the crashing ruin.

11 was a bright, clear, autumnal morning; all nature seemed to waken
refreshed from her sleep; the dew began to sparkle in the early beams;
the birds sang up the rising sun; and the clouds of night rolled
sullenly away, as if to avoid the brilliant presence of the day, when
some peasants, who were gaily going forth to their morning labour,
were suddenly struck by seeing a horse saddled and bridled, but
without a rider, engaged in cropping a scanty breakfast of the herbage
which grew at the side of the road. A few steps further showed them
our poor traveller, lying senseless and bleeding near a heap of
stones. The good souls took him up, and carried him to one of their
cottages, where they succeeded in bringing him once more to life. It
was only, however, for a short period. He gave directions for sending
off a messenger to his friends, and to the inquiries concerning the
state in which he was found, replied, by relating the above adventure,
after which he lingered for an hour or two without speaking, and
expired.

The people of the neighbourhood are divided in opinion respecting the
traveller's narrative. Some opine that he fell asleep on his horse,
dreamed the whole story, and was killed by a very opportune and
natural tumble. But others, with much more show or probability,
attribute the whole to the machinations of some evil spirit.



                            SCRAPS--No. V.

                         THE LAW OF BABYLON.

                               MEMOIR.


Sheweth,

That although there be one person in this society who has obstinately
and wilfully refused to make any contribution in writing towards our
evening's amusement, it is, nevertheless, proposed to excuse him on
the same principle that the grand Desterham of Babylon excused a
certain wit of that city.

Be it known, then, that the laws of Babylon were all founded on the
grand principle, that crimes are simply diseases, and that punishments
are the remedies by means of which alone the malefactor can be cured
of the malady under which he labours. Thus, when a man was afflicted
with the thieving disease, they applied hanging, which was found
infallible. For minor maladies, such as lying, cheating, swearing,
etc., they had various remedies;--the bastinado, ear-slitting,
nose-cutting, actual cautery, and many others; but it was all for
the patient's good, and to cure him of his ailment. Now, in Babylon,
as in all large and flourishing cities, one of the greatest and most
unpardonable crimes was wit. It was held as the most dangerous species
of treason, and punished accordingly, especially as the grand
Desterham, at the time I speak of, had once been suspected of having
thought a witty thing, though he never said it, and was of course much
more severe than any other judge, in order to prove his zeal for the
law, and abhorrence of witty practices.

It happened in the moon Assur, at twenty-three o'clock in the
forenoon, twenty-five thousand years four days and seven minutes after
the world's creation--as specified in the indictment, and copied into
the register of the court--a certain citizen of Babylon was brought
before the grand Desterham and his four colleagues, charged upon oath,
with being a wit and a traitor. After the court had slept over
five-and-twenty witnesses for the accusation, the prisoner was put
upon his defence, being first told that he was indefensible.

The prisoner, however, undertook to prove that he was not a wit but a
fool. "For," said he, "if I had possessed any wit, I should not have
been fool enough to show it. If, therefore, I have not shown any, you
must acquit me of having any; and if I have shown any, you must
pronounce me to be a fool for so doing, and consequently must acquit
me any way."

The judges all looked at one another, and not understanding what the
prisoner meant they judged it to be blasphemy, and ordered him to be
bastinadoed on the soles of his feet, after which they proceeded to
judgment on the accusation, and unanimously found the prisoner guilty.

But the prisoner's counsel running over the indictment with his nose,
found a flaw therein. For whereas it was stated that the time
was twenty-five thousand years four days and seven minutes
after the creation of the world; it was proved by the chief
astrologico-astronomer to the Empire, that it was only twenty-five
thousand years four days, six minutes and a half, so that the prisoner
saved his life by half a minute, and was dismissed with the court
with a suitable admonition.

But the warning was in vain, he soon fell into his old courses; and
one unlucky day was again brought before the grand Desterham, his
guilt clearly proved, and finally he himself ordered to be hanged, in
the hope that this application might entirely remove the disease.

The grand Desterham himself assisted at the operation, and the poor
patient was exhibited on a high scaffold with a rope about his neck.

"Citizens of Babylon," said he, addressing the people, "rejoice! You
shall soon see into what elevated situations wit brings a man in this
sublime empire."

As he spoke the hangman hoisted him up, but the grand Desterham
vociferated, "Cut him down, cut him down; he is incorrigible."

The other members of the court objected greatly; but the grand
Desterham quoted the universal principle of the law, and added, "that
as the patient before them was evidently incurable, the remedy could
have no effect."

The poor wit was therefore allowed to go at liberty, but the grand
Desterham brought an old house over his head, for he was shortly after
banished, being strongly suspected of good sense and judgment, though
it was never clearly proved against him.



                           SCRAPS.--No. VI.

                     WRITTEN IN A BOOK OF DREAMS.


    This life 's a dream--so all have thought,
      Philosophers and poets too,
    And rhyme and reason both have wrought,
      To prove what most have felt is true.

    The warrior's dream 's a fiery chaos,
      For glory ever flying on;
    The statesman's an unceasing race,
      Full often lost and seldom won.

    The merchant dreams of loss and gain,
      And gold that never brings content;
    The student's a dull dream of pain,
      'Midst mouldered books and hours misspent.

    The lover in his airy hall
      Has joy-dreams ever in his view,
    And, though the falsest of them all,
      His dream perhaps is sweetest too.

    The poet's dream 's a dream of dreams,
      Of phantoms seen and passed away,
    Like dancing moats in sunny beams
      Which shine but while they cross the ray.

    Yes, all's a dream, but who would part
      With one fond vision fancy knows,
    One bright delusion of the heart
      For all that waking reason shows?

    Who'd quell the notes Hope gaily sings,
      Because they're tuned so witchingly?
    Who'd pluck Imagination's wings,
      Because they bear her up too high?

    Let those who would so close this page,
      Where many dreams recorded lie;
    It ne'er was meant to please the sage,
      But feeling's heart and fancy's eye.



                          SCRAPS.--No. VII.

                                RABAS.


There is a garden near Bordeaux called Rabas, which may be considered
the perfection of bad taste in gardening; I never saw anything so
studiously ugly. There are straight walks as mathematically unnatural
as if they had been laid out by an inhabitant of Laputa. There are
hermitages, cottages, and wilderness, fit for Bagnigge Well's
tea-gardens, together with sundry lions and tigers glaring in painted
pasteboard. All the trees are pared as closely as possible, and there
is eke a labyrinth for people to lose themselves, or not, as they like
best.

It was in the said gardens of Rabas, which belong to a rich family in
the neighbourhood, that these lines were written, at the request of a
young lady who was expected soon to change her name.


                                RABAS.

    Remember the moments of pleasure when past,
      For they keep still a trace of their lovliness, Lady,
    Let the memory too of these flat gardens last,
      With their trees cut so straight, and their straight walks so shady.

    Come pledge me the oath I dare ask of thee yet,
      Come pledge me the oath that their memory claims,
    These gardens and moments, ah! ne'er to forget,
      While your name is Anna, and my name is James.

    But, Lady! O Lady! your sex is so fickle,
      There is no believing a word that they say;
    Old Time like a reaper walks on with his sickle,
      And gathers no emptier harvest than they.

    Not content with discarding their fashions and dresses,
      With their very own names they don't scorn to make war;
    Thus while 'Young' my identity ever expresses,
      You soon may be somebody else than you are.

    Come, find me some oath that more surely may bind thee;
      Come swear then by something that never shall change,
    By the grace with which nature has lavish entwined thee,
      Which time ne'er shall alter nor fortune estrange.

    By thy smile's witching power, by thy mind's airy flight,
      That lark-like soars high o'er the place of its birth,
    And tuning its song in the porches of light,
      Seems to sorrow that e'er it must sink to the earth.

    Come swear then--but what can I swear in return?--
      To remember thee ever wherever I rove,
    Though my heart may be dead, and my breast but its urn,
      I offer thee friendship--'tis better than love.



                       DOMESTIC LIFE IN FRANCE.

     Mortel, qui que tu sois, prince, brame, ou soldat,
          Homme! ta grandeur stir la terre
          N'appartient point à ton état,
          Elle est toute à ton caractère.--BEAUMARCHAIS.



There are two words wanting in French which an Englishman can scarcely
do without, _comfort_ and _home_. The hiatus is not alone in the
language, the idea is wanting. Speak to a Frenchman of pleasure, he
can understand you--of gaiety, amusement, dissipation, he has no
difficulty: but talk to him of _comfort_, and explain it how you will,
you can never make it intelligible to him. In like manner, he will
comprehend everything that can be said on the theatre, the
coffee-house, the club, the court, or the exchange; but _home_--there
is no such thing. _Chez-soi_ is not the word: _intérieur_ comes nearer
to it, for that particularises, but still it is not home--home, where
all the affections of domestic life, all the kindly feelings of the
heart, all the bright weaknesses of an immortal spirit clad in
clay--where all, all the rays of life centre, like a gleam of sunshine
breaking through a cloud, and lighting up one spot in the landscape
while all the rest is wrapt in shadow. We may carry ambition, pride,
vengeance, hatred, avarice, about with us in the world; but every
gentler feeling is for _home_: and miserable is he who finds no such
resting-place in the wide desert of human existence.

I speak not of all Frenchmen. I have met some who had the feeling in
their hearts, and scarcely knew what it meant. They had formed
themselves a home, but had not a name for it. But these are the
accidents, and in the generality of French families it is not, nor it
cannot be so.

Marriage in France is one of the most extraordinary things that ever
was invented. It is a state into which men enter, seemingly, from a
principle of inevitable necessity--the _besoin de se marier_, or else
who would engage their fate to that of a person whose mind, education,
and disposition, is generally wholly unknown to them? The first
principle of a woman's education all over the world is deceit. She is
taught, and wisely taught, to conceal what she feels. But in France
they try to teach her not to feel it at all. Educated in the greatest
retirement, watched with the most jealous suspicion, as soon as a
favourable opportunity presents itself, she is brought forward to show
off all her accomplishments, before a man, who is destined for her
husband, and is bidden to assume his tastes, and coincide in his
opinions. Little affectation, however; is necessary. It is all a
matter of convention. The one party wishes for a wife, and marries
without knowing anything about her; the other wishes for liberty, and
is married without caring to whom. This is the great change in a
Frenchwoman's life. While single she is guarded, and restrained in
everything; each action each word, each look is regulated; but the
moment she is married all is freedom, gaiety, and dissipation. From a
caterpillar she becomes a butterfly, and flutters on amongst the
multitude to be chased by every grown child that sees her. These are
not the materials for happiness! But this is not all. Every
circumstance, every custom on these occasions leaves little room for
the expectation of domestic felicity.

A young lady is to be married, and a young gentleman is found in the
necessary predicament. She is promised a certain dower, and he is
possessed of a certain fortune, into the state of which, as in duty
bound, her parents make the strictest inquiry. But the case is widely
different on the part of the young gentleman. No inquiry must be made
by him. The character of his future bride it is impossible for him to
know, that of her relations concerns him little, and into their means
of giving the dower they promise, he is forbidden to inquire, on pain
of excommunication. Any doubt on the subject would show that their
daughter did not possess his love!--O that prostituted name love! used
every day to quality the basest and most ignoble feelings of our
nature.

But to go on with the history of a French marriage. The contract
generally imports, that the father of the young lady shall pay a
certain yearly sum to her husband, and a further sum is promised to be
left her at the death of her parents. The benefits of this arrangement
are obvious and manifold, and well calculated to check the exorbitant
power which husbands have over their wives.

A part of the ceremony, and one of the most essential, is the
_corbeille de marriage_, or wedding present from the lover to his
bride. This is scarcely a matter of courtesy alone, as some might
imagine, but almost of right, which the young lady would yield upon no
consideration whatever. It is a sort of price, and is expected to be
the amount of two years' revenue.

The _corbeille_ is a basket lined with white satin, and containing a
variety of articles of dress and jewellery. One indispensable part is
a cashemere; and the rest is made up of laces, diamonds, and all the
thousand little nothings which enter into the composition of a fine
lady.

The civil ceremony at the commune is all which the present law
requires, but the religious part is seldom if ever dispensed with. The
first takes place generally in the morning, without any display. The
ceremonies of the church however are delayed till near midnight, and
have in general the advantage of new scenery, dresses, and
decorations. The higher the class, and the better the taste of the
parties, of course, the simpler are all the arrangements, and the
fewer and more nearly connected are the persons present. With such a
system is it possible that there can be such a thing as _home?_ That
it is possible--that it may be found, is one of the finest traits of
the French character. All their habits, all their customs, from time
immemorial, have been opposed to domestic life; and yet they
occasionally create it for themselves.



                             TRAVELLING.

   Ye glittering towns with wealth and splendour crown'd,
   Ye fields where summer spreads profusion round,
   Ye lakes whose vessels catch the busy gale,
   Ye bending swains that dress the flowery vale,
   For me your tributary stores combine,
   Creation's tenant, all the world is mine.--THE TRAVELLER.



What was the cause of our setting out so late the personage who
certainly had the chief hand in it best knows, but it was between four
and five o'clock in the afternoon before we got from the door of the
Hôtel de France, on our way towards Pau and the Pyrenees.

The carriage, too, was unlike anything that the ingenuity of man ever
before invented; not indeed from itself, but from its appendices:
every hole and corner was crammed with all sorts of conveniences.
There was a whole subjunctive mood of comforts---everything that we
might, could; should, or ought to want, piled up in grotesque forms
both inside and out. I never saw anything like it but the carriage of
a lady, whom I once met coming from Italy, and that, indeed,--Heaven
help her, poor thing, for I am sure when she was in it she could not
help herself.

At length, however, we did set off, and passing by several
_guingettes_, or, as it may be translated, tea-gardens, though they
drink no tea there, left Bordeaux behind us and proceeded on our way
to Langon. It was night ere we reached Barsac, not more worthy fame on
account of its good wines than its bad pavements. For what purpose
they were constructed, I defy any one to explain; but they answer
three objects, breaking carriages, laming horses, and jolting the
unfortunate traveller to such a degree, that were there any thing
contraband in his composition, it would be sure to be shaken out of
him.

At Langon we stopped to supper, during which important avocation, we
were waited on by a smiling, black-eyed country girl with scarcely a
word of French to her back; for be it remembered, that here, on the
banks of the Garonne, all the peasantry speak Gascon, as their mothers
did before them; and after having made several ineffectual attempts to
arrive at our little attendant's intellects, through any other channel
than that of her native tongue, I was obliged to have recourse to that
as a last resource. Never did I perceive joy and satisfaction so
plainly depicted, as in her countenance, when she heard the first two
or three words of Gascon which came out of my mouth; but the effect
was not so good as might have been anticipated, for in that language
she had no lack of expressions, and would fain have entered into a
long conversation with me, which put my knowledge to the stretch.
However, in the mean time, my companion, from what whim I know not,
had persuaded the rest of the people in the house, that I was a
Chinese, to which, perhaps, my fur travelling cap lent itself in a
degree. He explained to them also, that China was the country from
whence tea was brought, and to this, I believe, we were indebted for
the best tea the place could afford, and for being stared at all the
rest of the evening.

We travelled on from Langon with the intention of sleeping at Bazas,
but by the time we arrived at that place, the night was so far wasted,
that we agreed to continue our route without stopping.

The dress of the country people now began to vary; we had no longer
the high Rochelle caps, which the women in Bordeaux sometimes wear,
and which resemble very much the helmet of Hector, in the picture of
his parting from Andromache; nor the neat twisted handkerchiefs, with
which the grisettes dress their heads, but, as a substitute, a flat,
square piece of linen, brought straight across the forehead, and tied
under the chin in the fashion of the Landes. We had lost, too, the
neat, pretty foot and well-turned ankle, with the stocking as white as
snow, the shoe cut with the precision of an artist, and sandled up the
leg with black ribbon; and instead had nothing but good, stout, bare
feet, well clothed in dirt, and hardened by trotting over the rough
roads of the country. The men were generally dressed in blue carter's
shirts with the Bearnais berret, not at all unlike in shape the Scotch
blue bonnet, but larger, of a firmer texture, and brown colour.

We breakfasted at Roquefort, celebrated, I believe, for nothing
although there is a sort of cheese which carries the name of Roquefort
about with it, and in the town is a pottery, said to be upon English
principles. This we did not see, but pursued our journey to Mont de
Marsan, the capital of the Landes, where we began to enjoy de benefits
arising from monopoly when applied to posting, being obliged to wait
nearly an hour for horses. Monopoly may be called injustice to the
many for the benefit of a few. In great public works, which no one man
could have the means to execute, and where individual competition is
either impossible or destructive, governments are but just to grant
particular privileges to the companies of men who undertake them, and
to secure to them a reward apportioned to the enterprise; but, in
every instance where various persons can place themselves in
comparison one with another, in the service of the public, the public
alone can minutely judge, and justly reward, and by so doing secure to
itself the best servants at the lowest price. The French government,
however, are rather fond of monopoly; that of posting is only one
amongst several. As far as a monopoly can be well organised for the
benefit of the public, posting in France is so. One postmaster is
stationed in every town, who has alone the right to furnish horses for
the road. He is obliged by law to be provided with a certain number,
according to the size and position of the place in which he is
established, but this number is very frequently insufficient, and not
always complete.

Many provisions are made for rendering the postilions attentive to
their duty, and civil to the traveller. Their recompense is fixed by
the post-book at fifteen sous per post of two leagues; but the
ordinary custom is to give them double, and generally something more,
which they make no scruple of demanding, though positively forbid to
do so by their instructions. Every postmaster is obliged to hold a
register, in which any complaint either against himself or his
postilions may be recorded by the traveller, and countersigned by the
next commissary of police. This is generally visited every month, and
the punishment consequent on any serious charge is very severe.

Our delay at the Mont de Marsan enabled us to walk through the town,
which seemed to our post-bound eyes an ill-built, straggling place
enough, with the people not very civil, and the streets not very
clean. Notwithstanding, we found our inn, the cleanest and neatest we
had seen in France; I could have fancied myself in old England if they
would but have charged the Sautern ten shillings a-bottle.

The want of horses here was but a prelude to what we were to meet
further on, for at Grenade we found that two carriages, which had
preceded us, were waiting for the return of the postilions from Aire:
so to make the best of it, we ordered our dinner and strolled out to
the bridge over the Adoure, where we amused ourselves by talking all
the nonsense that came into our heads, and watching some washerwomen
washing sheets in the stream below. They do it with extreme dexterity,
taking the largest sheet one can imagine, and after having folded it
in their hands, with one sweep extend it flat upon the surface of the
river; they then dip the end next them, and catching a little of the
water pass it rapidly over the whole by drawing the sheet quickly to
the bank.

After having watched this proceeding for some time, we returned to
dinner, which consisted principally of the legs of geese salted, a
favourite dish all over this part of France; and then amused ourselves
by scrutinizing the antics of a large black monkey in the inn-yard.

I have an invincible hatred towards a monkey. It is too like
humanity--a sort of caricature that nature has set up, to mock us
little lords of creation. To see all its manlike, gentlemanlike ways
of going on, gave me a bitter sense of humiliation. It is very odd, that
we should thus dislike our next link in the grand chain of the universe.



                      A PRIME MINISTER'S MONKEY.

Il mio cuore gl'inalza un monumento dentro me stesso, tanto durevole
quanto la mia vita. Aveva egli della bonta per me: ma e per chi mai
non ne avea?
                                                  GANGANELLI.


Several years ago I went one day to dine with the Duc de R----. The
world say that he was not the greatest of ministers, but he was much
more--he was the most amiable of men. However, that does not signify,
he is dead now: and if politicians have forgotten him, he at least
made himself a memory in the affection of the good, and the gratitude
of the poor.

He lived at that time in the Rue de Bac; and as I knew him to be
punctual, I got into the cabriolet exactly at nine minutes and three
quarters before the time he had appointed; for I calculated that it
would take me just so long to drive from the end of the Rue de la Paix
to the Rue de Bac, allowing one minute for a stoppage, and half a
minute for a call I had to make at ---- It does not signify where, for
surely much mischief could not be done in half a minute.

However, the stoppage did not take place; and I changed my mind about
the call; so that I was nearly as possible one minute and a half
before my time. The duke was still more incorrect, for he was three
minutes and a half after his. Thus, by the best calculation, there
were exactly five minutes to spare. Accordingly, a page showed me into
a saloon to wait the arrival of the duke. Now there was a fire in the
_salon_, (I did not say a stove,) no, but an actual fire, with an
arm-chair on one side and the duke's favourite monkey; on the other.
So I sat myself down in the arm-chair, and began considering the
monkey; who seemed not at all pleased with my presence. He grinned, he
mowed, he chattered, and every now and then made little starts forward,
showing his white teeth all prepared to bite me, I am not fond of
being bit in any way, so I first of all took up the tongs, thinking to
knock his brains out if he attacked me; but then, I thought that it
would be cowardly to use cold iron against an unarmed monkey; and
putting down the tongs I resolved on kicking him to atoms if he
pursued his malicious inclinations. But just at the moment that we
were in this state of suspended hostilities, the duke came in to make
peace, like some more potent power between two petty sovereigns.

"I was just speculating monseigneur," said I, "upon the policy of
kicking a prime minister's monkey."

"It would be bad policy with some men," said the duke, smiling; "but I
hope that Jackoe has given you no reason to use him so severely."

"None precisely, as yet, my lord," replied I; "but he threatened more
active measures, and, I believe, we should have come to blows if you
had not come in."

"It was only fear," said the duke; "fear that makes many men as well
as monkeys assume a show of valour; for Jackoe is a very peaceable
gentleman: are not you, Jackoe?"

The monkey, with a bound, sprung into the duke's arms; and I never saw
a more complete contrast than there was between the fine intelligent
countenance of the minister, and the mean, anxious, cunning face of
the ape.

"By heaven!" cried I, "it is the best picture I ever saw."

"What?" asked the duke.

"Why, your excellence and the monkey," answered I; and for fear he
should misunderstand me, I added boldly what I thought, "It has all
that contrast can do for it. It is it once the two extremes of human
nature. You monseigneur, at the height of all that is great and noble,
and the monkey coming in at the fag end, a sort of selvage to
humanity."

"You do not consider the monkey as a human being?" asked the duke.

"If he is not," said I, "in truth he is very like it."

Monsieur de S---- coming in interrupted the duke's reply, but by his
affection for the animal, I do not think we differed much in opinion.



                                AIRE.

    Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
    These little things are great to little men.--THE TRAVELLER.


O Aire, Aire! It shall never forget thee. Not because Alaric king of
the Visigoths made thee his habitation, but because within thy walls
were we detained a whole night for want of horses, devoured by vermin,
pestered by postilions, and bamboozled by innkeepers.


Be it known to every traveller, of every kind, sort, and description,
whatever be his aim, object, or occupation; wherever he comes from, or
wherever he is going, that if he travel in a "_petite caliche_," with
two persons in the inside, and one servant on the out, together with
a compliance to all the forms and regulations, as laid down in the book
of French posts, he is not obliged by law to have more than two horses
to the said _calèche_, paying for each at the rate of forty sous per
post. But be it equally known, that at every relay he comes to, the
postmaster will endeavour to force upon him a third horse, which
being then thirty sous per post for each horse, will be then ten sous
more than he would otherwise pay. Now every man may easily make the
calculation for himself, and settle the accounts between his comfort
and his pocket as he likes best. The rich traveller will say, "Hang
the ten sous!" the poor traveller will say, "Why, it is a
consideration!" The avaricious traveller will always have his thumb
between those two leaves of the post-book; and there will be one
sort of traveller who will say, "Though _I_ can afford to lose it,
there may be some who follow that cannot, and therefore I will not
submit to the imposition."

Now we being poor travellers, and in the category above mentioned
respecting the _calèche_, we held out for our ten sous per post, and
met little annoyance on that account, till we arrived at Aire; but
there the postilion would insist upon being paid for three horses,
though we had had but two. I called for the postmaster. He was not to
be found, and as it was apparent from the number of carriages having
priority of ours, which were waiting in the inn-yard for want of
horses, that we should not be able to depart that night, we took a
stroll down to the river, leaving the angry postilion keeping guard
over our vehicle.

At the ford, just arrived from the Pau side of the Adoure, we met two
carriages proceeding to the same miserable inn where we were lodged.
They were filled with a lovely family from our own dear land, and I
know not why, before we knew who or what they were, we could have
sworn to them, and proudly too, for our country people.

In a few minutes the postilion rode after us, desiring us, in a sulky
tone, to pay him, and as we found that the postmaster had now returned
we went back with him. There was nothing to be said against the law,
and in consequence the matter was decided in our favour; we paid the
sum due, and for the sake of his insolence gave the postilion but
thirty instead of forty sous, which we had been in custom of paying.

As soon as he had got it his rage broke forth in the most violent
abuse of England and Englishmen. Everything that his fancy could
invent in the way of vituperation was poured upon us, the more
especially as he perceived that it highly amused a crowd of French
_laquais_ and postilions, who had nothing better to do than to look
on. I let him proceed as long as he pleased, and then, as he was going
to mount his horse, and ride away, I stopped him; desired the
postmaster to produce his register, took a pen from the ink, and was
about to inscribe my complaint in form. But now the whole scene was
changed; nothing was heard but prayers and entreaties that I would
give up my design. The postmaster gently opposed my approach to the
book. The postmaster's wife took hold of the skirts of my coat; and
assured me that the "boy was ruined" if I insisted. "Utterly ruined,"
echoed the postmaster. He was "_bon garcon_," some of the neighbours
said, "but _mauvaise tête_."

I replied, that his _mauvaise tête_ must be corrected, and made a show
of insisting; but now they became clamorous. Could I have the heart,
they asked, to throw him for ever out of bread? I said that if that
were the consequence perhaps I might not. They assured me it was, that
he would never be employed again, and used so many arguments, that I
had a good opportunity of relinquishing what I had scarcely intended
seriously; and, with a very grave admonition, suffered our youth to
ride away.

Of all the wretched places that ever poor traveller was tormented in,
the most wretched is that inn at Aire. No dinner was to be got, for
all that was in the house had been given to the English family we had
seen arrive. No milk was to be had for our tea. Only one bed-room was
vacant, with two dirty beds, filth, fleas, bugs, and a bad smell.
However, here we laid down in our clothes; but no sooner were we
asleep than we were galloped over by the vermin in every direction--it
was like a charge of light horse. At length, with the morning came the
happy news that there were horses; and away we went towards Pau. I can
fancy a Catholic soul getting out of purgatory nearly as happy as we
were to leave Aire.

We now met a great many of the peasantry, men and women, riding the
short mountain horses. The features of the people, as well as the
scenery, were here very different from what they had been in the
neighbourhood of Bordeaux, and all showed that we were entering Bearn.
Here, as in many other parts of France, no such thing is thought of as
a side-saddle for a woman, who rides exactly like a man, and very
frequently quite as well. I once knew a lady in Brittany, who, both
for mustachios and horsemanship, would have done admirably for a
cavalry officer.

The country gradually rose into hills, generally richly cultivated and
scattered with wood; but nothing was yet to be seen of the Pyrenees.
The character of the scenery was generally very much like that of
Devonshire, but there was a great difference in the peasantry, who
were here poor and ill-looking in comparison.

Going up a steep ascent, as we approached nearer to Pau, we were
tormented by a parcel of little, dirty, ragged children, who, with a
peculiar kind of tormenting drony song, kept begging by the side of
the carriage; there were at least twenty of them, who, with flowers in
their hands, continued to run by our side for near a mile. At length
they left us; and, on reaching the top of the hill, an unrivalled
scene burst upon our view. Immediately below was a broad plain, or
rather valley, with a little world of its own within its
bosom--villages, and hamlets, and vineyards, and streams, rich in
fertility, and lighted up with sunshine--all peaceful, and sweet, and
gentle;--while directly behind the hill that bounded it on the other
side, rose the vast line of the Pyrenees, in all nature's grandest and
most magnificent forms. It is impossible to describe the effect that
such mountain scenery produces--one gasps, as it were, to take it all
in. After contemplating for any time those immense works of nature, if
we turn to look at the dwellings of man, which seem crouching
themselves at the feet of their lofty neighbours, the lord of the
creation dwindles to an insect, and the proudest of his palaces looks
like the refuge of a caterpillar. Before we can reconcile ourselves to
our own littleness, we have to remember that this insect, with his
limited corporeal powers, has found means to make the vast world, and
all that it produces, subservient to his will and conducive to his
comfort, and then, indeed, his mind shows as exalted and powerful as
his body is feeble and insignificant.

I cannot help thinking, that there is a sort of harmony between the
spirit of man and all external nature; the heart expands and the mind
enlarges itself to all that is bright and grand. A wide, beautiful
scene steals us away from selfish griefs and cares; and it would
appear to me impossible to do a bad or a base action in the presence
of these awful mountains.



                     THE BIRTH-PLACE OF HENRI IV.


Even in the most monotonous existence, every day gives rise to so many
little accidents, each of which bears its comment and its counter
comment, and its subsequent and collateral ideas, that were one to
write a diary, in which thoughts had a place as well as circumstances,
we should pass one half of our time in recording the other.

Three hundred and sixty-five registers every year of one's life! Aye,
and registers crammed full, too; for where is the man whose paucity of
ideas is so great that he has not at least five in a second?--If they
would but invent a way of writing them, what a blessing it would be!
for at least fifty escape past redemption while one is engaged in
transcribing a word of three syllables.--Thus I have forgotten what I
was going to say! But certainly it is the most extraordinary thing in
nature, and clearly shows of what a different essence is the soul from
the body, that mind so far outstrips every corporeal faculty. Before
the tongue or the hand can give utterance or character to any one
word, thought has sped on before for some hundreds of miles, called at
every post-house on the way, ordered new horses and refreshments, and
is often, alas! obliged to come back to his master, whom he finds
lumbering on in a heavy post-chaise, the Lord knows how far behind.

But, to return, for surely I have quitted the subject far enough. If
I were to write an exact account of everything that happened at Pau,
and everything we said and thought thereupon, it would make a goodly
volume and be sufficiently tiresome, no doubt; but as I am getting
rapidly towards the end of the first half of that period which I have
undertaken to commemorate, and have yet got all my journey through the
Pyrenees to tell, I must not dilate.

Nevertheless, I love narrative and hate description; and I would a
great deal rather tell everything simply as it happened, and what it
called up in my own mind, than huddle them all together, like an
account of the Chinese empire in a book of geography, beginning with
the boundaries and ending with the Lord's Prayer in Chinese.

However, as it must be done, I will begin boldly, and give a regular
account of Pau, the chief town of the Basses Pyrenées--a very neat
little place, situated on the ridge of a hill, crowned by the château
where that love and war-making monarch, Henri Quatre, first saw the
light of day. In the valley below runs a broad, shallow river, called
the Gave[14] of Pau, which frets on with the tumultuous hurry of a
mountain stream, and dashing petulantly over every little bank of
stones it meets in its way, passes under a pretty stone bridge, which
leads on the road to the Eaux Bonnes, and to the village of Jurançon,
famous for its wines. Beyond the town, proceeding along the ridge of
the hill, (which runs with the course of the river due west), there is
a fine park planted with beech-trees, which afford a complete shade
from the heat of the sun. The highest walk, extending for nearly a
mile, commands a most beautiful and ever-changing view of the
mountains, which lie, pile above pile, stretched along the whole
extent of the southern sky. Indeed, they form a scene of enchantment,
and are never for a moment the same--sometimes so involved in mist,
that they form but a faint blue background to the nearest
hills--sometimes so distinct, that one might fancy he saw the
izzard[15] bounding from rock to rock. The course of the sun, also
alters them entirely by the difference of the shadows; and the clouds,
frequently rolled in white masses half-way down their peaks, give them
an appearance of much greater height than when they stand out in the
plain blue sky. But however they may appear, even at the times they
are clearest, there is still that kind of airy uncertainty about them
which makes one scarcely think them real. They seem the bright
delusion of some fairy dream, and indeed, I was almost inclined to
suppose it a deception, when on waking the third morning after my
arrival, I looked for the mountains, and found that, like Aladdin's
palace, they were gone--not a vestige of them remaining--not a trace
where they had been. The sky, indeed, was cloudy, but the day
otherwise fair; and to any one unaccustomed to mountain scenery, it
would appear impossible that any clouds could hide objects at other
times seen so near. But so if was: for two days we saw nothing of
them, and then again the curtain of clouds rose majestically from
before them, and left the whole as clear and grand as ever.


---------------

[Footnote 14: "Gave" signifies water; and in
the Pyrennees this name is given to all the
mountain-streams.]

[Footnote 15: The chamois of the Pyrennes.]

---------------


The best view is certainly from the park, where, looking over the
river and the village of Jurançon, scattered amongst beeches and
vineyards, the eye runs up a long valley, marked at various distances
with clumps of trees and hamlets, and every now and then a tall poplar
or two lessening in the perspective, till the first rising rocks
appear beyond, seeming to block up the pass, and increasing one above
the other, more and more faint and misty, till the abrupt "Pic du
Midi" towers above them all, looking like a cloud upon the distant
sky.

The climate of Pau is variable, but never very bad; the changes, while
I was there, were frequent, but not very excessive. Lodging is dear
and scarce, but every other convenience and luxury abundant and cheap,
so long as one keeps within the range of nature's productions, for the
arts have made but small progress in the town since Henri Quatre's
time.

The country round is rich in itself, and richly cultivated; and,
indeed, it is not often that scenes of such sublimity are mingled with
so much fertility. From the window of our lodgings, we could look over
a wide view, covered with woods and vines, large fields of maize and
corn, with peach and plum-trees growing in the open country, and the
bright red blossom of the pomegranate mixing with the dark foliage of
the other trees, and forming a strong contrast, not unlike that of the
rich valley with the rocky mountains beyond.

The society here is very agreeable during the winter. There are many
English, who have made it their residence; but it is too distant, and
too retired, for those of our countrymen whose extravagance, or whose
crimes, have driven them from their native country; nor have any of
the coldly proud, or ostentatiously rich, yet found their way thither.
The English, therefore, are gladly received, and even esteemed, by the
French of Pau, who (unlike the natives of many other parts of France)
have no cause to be afraid that either their purse or their
consequence will suffer by admitting British travellers to their
society: The best parts of the French character, also, are to be met
with here, while many of the vices which find a hot-bed in great
cities are lost in this retirement. I should suppose that the climate
of Pau was healthy; the people seem strong, and with their brown
skins, small black eyes, long dark hair, and the peculiar cap they
wear, put me in mind of Calmuck Tartars. They are in general short,
broad made, and muscular. In almost every other country we daily see
huge mountains of flesh, that look like tumuli for entombing the soul;
but there is nothing of the kind at Pau. They are sturdy, but not
fat--well-fed, but not pampered. As I am speaking of the inhabitants
of Pau, I must not forget the nightingales, the lizards, and the
butterflies, which form no contemptible part of the population. The
lizards are actually in millions, basking in the sun, and walking
leisurely about, with all the insolence of a tolerated sect. No sooner
does the sun begin to set, than the nightingale renders the whole air
musical with its song. There is a little valley just below the town,
warm, tranquil, and wooded, and here they congregate in multitudes,
and wait for the night to begin their tuneful competition. I have,
indeed, occasionally heard them in the day, even here, where the day
is intensely hot, but it is only for a moment--a sort of rehearsal for
the evening; and I must confess, that however beautiful the notes may
be in themselves, they want half the charm in the broad light. They
seem peculiarly appropriated to the night. There is a sort of
plaintive melody about them, that is lost in all the gay buz and
bustle of sunshine. But at night, when the dull crowd, whose
feelings are more purely animal, have left Nature to her own quiet
pensiveness--when there is no sound to distract, and no light to
dazzle--the song of the nightingale comes like the voice of the spirit
rising alone to heaven, with that kind of melancholy, solitary
sweetness, which harmonises so sweetly with anything vast and
beautiful.

I am not very well sure that I could make my feelings on the subject
understood, and therefore I will not try, but go onto the butterflies,
some of which are extremely beautiful. There is a superstition amongst
the common people concerning one of these insects they call "the
angel." They suppose that the etherial spirits visit earth under its
form, and that whoever is fortunate enough to have one of them in his
house, is exempt from the friendly visits of all evil spirits, and
from many of the common misfortunes of life. On which principle, they
do not at all scruple to catch them--and, angel or no angel, stick
them on a cork with a large pin. But this is nothing to a diabolical
way they have of making fishing-lines in Spain.



                              FLEURETTE.


I know not, in truth, how it has happened, but certain it is, that a
great portion of the inhabitants of Pau have a very strong resemblance
to Henri Quatre. One might indeed say, here, that he was the father of
his people, at least there is a great family likeness. However, the
Bearnais are both fond and proud of him. All the shop-windows are full
of portraits of the warm-hearted monarch and very often is added that
of poor Fleurette, the gardener's daughter. She was the first object
of his love. He was very young, when one of the princes of his family
passing through Bearn, accompanied him to the archery-ground. There
were many of the youths of the neighbourhood shooting for the prize,
which was a bouquet of flowers fastened on the butt; and many a
Bearnaise girl looking on, and hoping that her lover would be the
winner. Amongst others were Fleurette and her father, the old gardener
of the château. She was a lovely, simple, country girl, and the young
prince, scarcely less simple than herself, felt strongly attracted
towards the gardener's daughter. Apparently it was without any design
that he first began to speak to her; but the charm grew upon him:
insensibly his language became more ardent, and then first began that
sort of undefined courtship, which has from thenceforward been called
"Conter Fleurette." He was so occupied it seems, that he did not even
perceive that all the rest had missed the mark, till his cousin
turned, saying to him, "Shoot, Henri; shoot Henri;" and gave him the
bow. His arrow did not miss, and at once lodged in the bouquet, which
was no sooner won than given to Fleurette.

What were the use of telling a long story about an every-day matter?
Henry loved and was loved in return; but Fleurette was a country girl,
and her lover was her prince. It is easy to imagine all the stages of
the business. She commenced by admiring him as her prince; as such,
too, she was flattered and pleased by his attention. She began to
think less of the rank and more of the lover. She forgot the rank
altogether, but he himself became more dear. She loved him not as a
prince but as a man, and yielded as a woman. And then all the golden
dreams of hope and passion came hovering round her. She never fancied
such a thing as broken faith. She never thought that princes could
betray. She never believed that Henri's heart would change. He would
love her, and she would love him, until their lives did end. His glory
would be her pride, and his good be her happiness.

Thus it went on from day to day; every evening he stole away from the
castle to meet her. There was a pleasure in the secrecy, though all
the world knew how matters went; and when any one asked where the
prince was gone, the reply was, "Conter Fleurette."

At length it so happened, that amongst other guests at the château was
a fair girl whose rank and beauty gave Fleurette some pangs. The world
said that Henri was to receive her hand; and the ceaseless tongue of
Fame kept ringing it in Fleurette's ears, till her cheek began to turn
pale, and she often wandered into the woods to think in solitude. On
one fair day, while she was thus employed, the prince and her rival
passed before her. She could no longer doubt, for Henri held her hand,
and there was an ardour in his eyes, and a tenderness in his manner,
which Fleurette had wished, and hoped, and believed, were never shown
to any but herself.

The hour of their meeting came; and Henri stole from the castle to the
place of rendezvous. It was close to a spring which, falling from the
rock, had formed a deep basin for itself below; and, round about, the
trees had grown up, nourished by its waters; and as if in gratitude
bent down over the clear still pool, hiding it from the rays of the
obtrusive sun.

Henri waited--all was calm, and still, and silent;  but there was no
Fleurette. He grew anxious, alarmed--perhaps his heart smote him. He
walked rapidly backwards and forwards, when suddenly he saw a scrap of
paper lying in his path. He hurried back to the castle, opened it, and
read, "You have passed near me."

The prince's agitation called instant inquiry upon him. But all
mystery, all concealment was now over; an agony of fear and doubt had
taken possession of his mind; and calling loudly to others to aid in
his search for Fleurette, he hurried from the château. Servants
followed with lights, and soon found the unhappy girl, whose sorrow
had been short, though keen. She had chosen the wild basin, the spot
near which had so often been the scene of her happiness, now to be her
grave. Her heart had never loved but once, and broken to find that
love betrayed.

Henry was nearly frantic, but remorse was now in vain. Her father,
too, who was left in the world alone--the tale had reached him, and he
came to where his poor child lay. His eye first fell upon her lover;
he clasped his hands, while agony and wrath struggled hard in his
bosom. "O that thou wert not my prince!" he cried, "O that thou wert
not my prince!" and he cast himself down beside her.

It was long ere Henri forgot Fleurette; perhaps he never forgot her,
for that first passion which sheds a new light upon our being--the
brightest thing our youth has ever known--hangs fondly round
remembrance, and yields neither to years nor sorrows. Time softens it;
but memory hallows it; and on the tomb raised in our heart to past
affection, is graven, an inscription which nothing can erase--"To the
brightest friend of our youth, Early Love"--so runs the epitaph, "this
sepulchre is given by Experience, Memory, and Regret;" Hope too would
have added her name, but her eyes were dim with tears.

The character of Henri Quatre would certainly have been brighter had
he wanted those failings of which poor Fleurette was the first victim:
yet, as a man of strong passions, in a dissolute age, as a king, a
conqueror, a soldier, warm, generous, enthusiastic, our sterner
morality is but too much inclined to unbend towards him, and to
attribute his faults to the same ardent nature which might lead him
occasionally into error, but which carried him on to so many noble
exploits.

The love, that the Bearnais bear to the memory of their native prince
is beyond all bounds. In the reign of a vainer monarch, Louis XIV., a
subscription was opened at Pau for erecting a statue to Henri. Louis
liked statues to nobody else but himself: and though he did not
absolutely prohibit the proposed monument, he caballed and intrigued
with the people of the place, till he forced them to change their
original intention into erecting a statue to himself, instead of one
to his progenitor.

It was accordingly fixed in its place with great pomp; but in an
inscription on the pedestal the Bearnais took care to state, that the
statue was erected, "à Louis XIV. roi de France et de Navarre, _petit
fils_[16] de notre grand Henri."


---------------

[Footnote 16: "To Louis XIV., king of France and Navarre, grandson of
our great Henry." The force of the satire is not to be rendered in an
English translation.]

---------------



                           THE EAUX BONNES.

Nulla di più immirabile che un suolo il più fertile sotto il clima più
bello, ovunque intersecato di vive acque ovunque popolato da
villaggi.--GANGANELLI.


From the higher range of the Pyrenees, which forms as it were an
immense barrier between France and Spain, run a multitude of lateral
valleys, each enclosing within its bosom its streams, its villages,
and its plains, possessing its own peculiar race of inhabitants, its
own usages and superstitions, and often having little communication
with any world beyond its boundary of mountains. One of the sweetest
and (until late years) one of the least frequented of these valleys,
is the Valley d'Ossau, which leads apparently in a direct line to the
foot of the Pic du Midi de Pau. I had often stood in the park, and
looked up the long vista of hills before me, fancying a thousand
things in the blue indistinctness of distance, and lending it as many
charms as imagination can bestow on uncertainty; a longing took
possession of me, to approach myself nearer to these airy hills whose
fairy brightness haunted me: and I was never satisfied till we were on
our way to the Eaux Bonnes. Of this little watering place, lying in
the deepest recesses of the mountains, report had told such tales,
that I got out of patience with my own fancy for believing them. You
stupid fool, said I, to Imagination, you are only getting up a
disappointment for yourself and me; methinks experience ought to have
made you wise by this time; witness all the unpleasant scrapes into
which you have plunged me. Just as I was reasoning thus with Fancy,
came by a blind man, led by a dog; the sturdy cur would come into our
court-yard, for some little affair of his own, and kept tugging and
pulling at the rope which tied him, till the blind man, who felt he
was going wrong, but did not know by what means to set him right, was
fain to comply and let him have his own way. So I gave up the matter
too, and we ordered horses for the Eaux Bonnes, for it was impossible
for the blind man's dog to tug him into our court-yard one bit more
violently than my fancy tugged me into the mountains. And hereby I
leave and bequeath the similitude between a blind man and his dog, and
any man and his fancy, to any person who may be disposed to profit by
the same; giving up all right, title, and claim whatever; upon the
said similitude or simile, and declaring and avowing that I will have
nothing more to do with it. Always provided, nevertheless, and be it
hereby understood and agreed, that these presents be no further
considered as gift, bequest, donation, or legacy, than as far as in me
lies to give, bequeath, or devise, the similitude or simile aforesaid,
inasmuch as it may have been uninvented, unpossessed, and
unappropriated, by any other person or persons whatsoever, otherwise,
this item to be null, void, and of no effect, anything hereinbefore
said to the contrary notwithstanding.

By the time the horses came the next morning, I had quite resolved to
be very much disappointed; and I got into the carriage, with precisely
the same sort of unwillingness that the animal usually cited as the
most striking example of consistency evinces when it is obliged to run
according to its driver's will instead of its own. However, the day
was fine, and nature seemed resolved to smile me into a good-humour.
We rattled down through the town, passed the bridge over the river,
commented on the number of beggars, admired the view of the town from
the banks, and then turning in amongst the lesser hills which lie to
the left of the valley d'Ossau, lost at once the prospect of the
mountains, and might have forgotten that we were in the Pyrenees.

Indeed, the soft slopes covered with meadows and fields, handsome
modern houses and pleasure-grounds, and streams that flowed gently on
with scarcely more force than sufficient to turn a mill, took from us
all remembrance that we were within a few miles of some of the highest
mountains in Europe.

As we proceeded, however, the scene gradually began to change; the
houses were less frequent, and seemed to gather themselves into
villages, the rivers became more rapid, and the country, though highly
cultivated, assumed the appearance of a fine park; large clumps of oak
and fir, lying scattered in every direction, and the tops of the hills
hiding themselves in deep plantations. Still we saw nothing of the
Pyrenees, and even the people seemed to differ in nothing from the
common Bearnois of Pau, except, indeed, that the women had discarded
their shoes as well as stockings, or rather carried them in their
hands instead of on their feet.

We stopped at last to change horses at Savignac. A gentle slope leads
from the village through some thick trees into the valley; and dashing
down with all the _éclat_ of fresh horses and postilion we found
ourselves, in a moment, in a scene that leaves description, and almost
imagination, behind.

The valley winding up to the Peak, again lay before us; but we were
now amongst the mountains indeed, and on either side, at the distance
of less than half a mile, rose crags, and precipices, and hills
covered with pine, towering to the very sky, and forming, as it were
the impassable walls of the garden into which we were entering;--for
it was a garden. Up to the very foot of the rocks, and climbing up the
hills, wherever a spot of vegetable mould was to be found, the highest
cultivation was extended, and the most extraordinary verdure. The hay
and the corn harvest were both in progress at the same time and the
new-mown fields appeared as if covered with rich green velvet, on
which the large trees and rocks threw a beautiful transparent shadow.
There were a thousand little objects of interest that filled up every
spot the eye could rest upon, and satisfied it altogether. The valley
all along was spotted with small villages, which seemed to creep for
shelter close to the foot of the mountains. Not far on, stood a high
rocky mound covered with the ruin of some feudal castle, and below lay
a hamlet with its little church and the path winding up to it.
Multitudes of small mountain-bridges crossed the river all the way up
its course, as it came dashing and foaming over a bed of rocks. The
crags, on either side, were broken and interspersed with rich hanging
wood, and kept narrowing in the distance, till they seemed to meet,
precipice over precipice, with the high conical Pic du Midi, rising
purple above them all; and at the same time the warm sunshine, pouring
over the hills, gave to all the further parts of the valley a kind of
luminous indistinctness. I cannot describe it! It was a congregation
of the grandest and the most minute, the most opposite and the most
harmonious beauties, that nature can produce!

After having staid some time to admire, we passed on over a light,
elegant little bridge, and followed an excellent read towards the Eaux
Bonnes. In a valley which turns away to the left, lay the little town
of Alurdi, scattered amongst some lesser hills. Part of it has been
twice destroyed by avalanches, but the people still continue to build
up the houses exactly on the same spot.

However grand the hills may appear, the eye, unaccustomed to such vast
objects, does not judge rightly of their height till it compares them
to something with which it is familiar. The steeple of Alurdi served
us as a guide to estimate the objects around, and the effect was so
extraordinary, that we both laughed on measuring it against the
mountain behind. I am sure I know not why I laughed, for there is
nothing in the littleness of man's works to make him merry; but so it
was, and we went on.

Approaching Laruns, the valley appears terminated by high crags, and
we could just distinguish the road to Spain, leading into a deep
ravine, which seems scarcely more than a crevice in the rock. But
here, turning off to the left, we passed through the town of Laruns
itself, which is as odd a building as ever I beheld. Perhaps some
people might find a great deal of amusement in searching into the
history of the place, for both the materials and structure appear of
an antique date. The lower story of the houses are only inhabited by
the cows; pigs, and horses; and the number of pretty faces which the
sound of a carriage called stare at the travellers, seemed as if they
were looking out of the drawing-room windows. The streets are so
narrow, that it is scarcely possible to pass; neither did I see a shop
of any kind in the place. Over many of the doors we remarked the form
of a serpent interlaced with two bars of iron, and the windows, which
were without glass, consisted only of a kind of gothic frame of black
marble, giving an extraordinary church-like appearance to the houses.

After passing through Laruns, as we entered another long valley to the
left, we turned to take one more look at that which we were quitting.
It was quite fairy land, a perfect scene of enchantment. The valley,
full of villages, hamlets, and cultivation, undulating in a thousand
slopes, and broken by woods and rivers, was all lighted up by the
clear rays of the declining sun; while the wild heavy rocks and
mountains to the west, rose in deep masses against the sky, no longer
separated into detached portions, but all confounded in profound
shadow, and airy, uncertain obscurity.

Language is all emptiness, and fails before any thing great or strong.
Reader, I must take you to the valley d'Ossau, and set you where I
stood, and win the sun to shine upon it as then he shone, before I can
make you comprehend its loveliness.

We soon lost sight of it. After going on for a short time amongst some
English-looking hedge-lanes, we again came out upon the edge of the
hill; the road passing along the brink of a steep descent, at the
bottom of which ran the river, roaring amongst the rocks. At one part,
we found the people engaged in banking up the road, which was not upon
the surest foundation possible, and which, having apparently a strong
dislike to an elevated situation, was rather inclined to slip down
into a more humble station in the valley below. The way taken, or
rather the method in which they were proceeding to prop up the road,
was somewhat curious. About twenty men and women were employed, some
in digging earth for the embankment, others in carrying it to the
spot. The machinery of a wheelbarrow never seemed to have entered
their imagination, but as soon as a shovel full of earth was dug out,
the women took it on their heads, in a small wooden trough, not at all
unlike a butcher's tray, only not so large, and thus carried it at a
slow pace to its destination, talking all the way; so that, upon a
fair calculation, each woman could fill up about a cubic yard per
diem.

It was not long now before we reached the Eaux Bonnes, a little town
consisting of about a dozen large white houses, thrust into a gorge of
the mountains. They are generally divided into small bed-rooms, and
fitted alone for lodging the greatest possible number of the strangers
who come to drink the waters. In fact, it looks as if a bit of
Hastings, or Tunbridge Wells, and that a bad bit too, had been
exported to the Pyrenees. The well is highly sulphureous, tasting most
disagreeably of bad eggs; but it is supposed to have the most
extraordinary effect in the cure of consumptive complaints, and thus,
either for fashion or health, there are a great many people who come
to drink of its waters.

The morning after our arrival, I wandered down to a cascade in the
valley. I have seen much grander waterfalls, but rarely one more
beautiful. By my eye, I should guess the height to be about forty
feet. The scenery round is richly wooded, rocky, and picturesque, and
the body of water considerable; but the principal effect is produced
by the stream, after having fallen eight or ten feet, striking a
projecting piece of a crag and rising back again in foam and spray,
almost to the same height as that from which it fell. It then again
descends, rushing down over the rock, with a roar which is heard for a
great distance. At particular times, the sun, finding a way for its
beams across the woody screen that hides it from above, shines upon
the foaming mist that always rises from the water, and arches it with
a sunbow. But I am not sure that it is not more beautiful without, in
the calm simplicity of the white rushing stream, the dark rocks, and
hanging wood.



                          THE EAUX CHAUDES.

    *     *     *      *      On ev'ry nerve
    The deadly winter seizes, shuts up ev'ry sense,
    And o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
    Lays him along the snows a stiffen'd corse,
    Stretch'd out and bleaching in the northern
       blast.--THOMSON.


Blood-horses do not suit precipices, I am very well aware of that; but
the two beasts which they brought forth to carry us to the Eaux
Chaudes, were so tremendously irregular in appearance, so like the
mountains they were destined to climb, that when I got across the
ridge of my unfortunate hack, I could have fancied myself astride upon
the Pic du Midi. However, they did very well, much better in all
probability than better beasts would have done, and thus they went
away, jogging on, lashing themselves with their tails, and kicking
most unmercifully to get rid of the flies, but always with a kind of
solemn gravity, which showed them well accustomed to it all, and
neither at all inclined to discompose themselves nor their riders. As
we went on, returning on the path we had passed the day before, we saw
all the world in the fields getting in the harvest, trotting up and
down the mountains with their bare feet, and as gay as the larks that
were singing over their heads. To bring home the hay, they gather it
into large linen cloths, forming packages very like feather beds these
they roll down the hills as far as they can. When they cannot do so,
they carry them, as they carry everything all through the mountains,
on their heads; and difficult as the man[oe]uvre may seem, we saw more
than once a girl stoop down to drink at a well, satisfy her thirst,
and rise again, without ever removing the immense load of hay she
carried on her head.

We were soon again in the beautiful valley d'Ossau, passed through
Laruns, and following the road which I have said we saw going towards
Spain, we entered a deep ravine, or pass in the mountains, where five
men might dispute the passage with a world. There is not more room
than for three horses abreast; and the rocks around rise high, bare,
and inaccessible. At the end of the pass, the river which we had lost
appeared pouring out into a deep hollow covered with rocks, trees, and
underwood, the ravine widened into a narrow valley, varying from two
to six hundred yards wide, while stupendous mountains rose on every
side and shut out the world. Here some pious soul has hollowed out a
little chapel in the rock, where the traveller may turn in to pray;
and there could scarcely be a spot more solemn. In these passes, too,
the storms of the winter months are most tremendous, with hurricanes
and whirlwinds of snow so dreadful, that it is a common saying, "Here
let not the father expect his son, nor the son expect his father." I
have been told that this proverb originated in the story of a youth
who had gone to hunt the izzard in the valley of Héas, when one of
these storms occurred. His father, alarmed for his safety, went out to
seek him. The young man arrived with his game, but finding his father
absent on his account, returned to look for and bring him back. It
would appear that the son had found, his parent almost overpowered by
the storm, and being strong and vigorous had taken him in his arms to
carry him home, for they were afterwards found lying together buried
in the snow.

After keeping for some way along the steep which overhangs the river
to the right-hand, we crossed a little bridge called _Le Pont Creusé_,
and passed under the rocks to the left. It now becomes a country of
cataracts, for every quarter of a mile a stream comes bursting over
the top of the mountains, and descends from fall to fall for six or
eight hundred feet. A very picturesque figure presented itself in our
way; it was that of a Spanish smuggler, with his large sombrero,
netted hair, and loaded mule; and I could not help remarking in his
countenance, a kind of wild independence which I had not seen amongst
the French mountaineers. God knows how he came by it, whether from his
race or his country, or the continual habit of encountering and
conquering dangers and difficulties in his illicit traffic, but there
was something fine and grand, though bad, in the expression, not only
of his face but figure.

Soon after passing him we arrived at the Eaux Chaudes, which consists
simply of two ranges of houses built between the river and the
mountain. The style of the place is exactly like that of the Eaux
Bonnes, but it possesses several different springs, although the
general nature of the waters appeared to me much the same as those of
the former fountains.

Near the Eaux Chaudes is a mountain, called _La Montagne de la
Grotte_, from a famous cavern situated near its summit, whose extent
cannot exactly be ascertained, on account of a stream which impedes
the passage at about three hundred yards from the entrance.

At the village we made an agreement with a guide to conduct us to the
grotto. He was a shrewd, intelligent fellow, and spoke tolerable
French, a thing rather rare in that part of the country; but he had
acquired also a very excellent notion of the method of cheating
travellers, together with a true French estimation of English purses
and gullibility. Let me here remark, that the inhabitants of the
Pyrenees, as far as I have seen, have little of the simplicity of
mountaineers. The season for drinking the mineral waters bringing a
great influx of strangers to spots at other times almost deserted, has
taught the people of the country to gain as much as they can, and make
hay while the sun shines, by cheating all the travellers within their
reach to the utmost, so that whoever is obliged to employ them had
better make their bargain beforehand.

Our guide having furnished himself with the necessary candles, etc.,
we proceeded along the valley, and crossed a bridge called _Le Pont
d'Enfer_. I know not why, but in all mountainous countries they seem
fond of attributing some of their bridges to the devil. In Wales, in
the Alps, in the Pyrenees, one-half of them derive their name from
that black personage, who, I should suppose, had something more
serious to think about than building bridges. That which we now passed
over had nothing very diabolical in its construction, and having again
crossed the stream, our guide pointed out to us the grotto with a
stream pouring down from it into the valley. It seemed a kind of
garret-window in the mountain, which itself was little less
perpendicular than the side of a house. We were told, however, that we
might ascend on horseback, and on putting it to the proof, found that
which had appeared impracticable, not only possible but easy, rendered
so by means of a zig-zag path, which conducted by easy stages to the
very mouth of the grotto. Arrived there, we were obliged to stop to
cool ourselves, for the air of the interior was actually freezing.

I have always been disappointed in grottos and caverns; and this, like
all the rest which I have seen, gratified me but little. It was a vast
hole in the mountain, filled with large petrefactions in a great
variety of forms; one of which, descending from above in the shape an
elephant's trunk, kept pouring forth a heavy shower of water, forming
pools, that emptied themselves into the river in the centre. It was
altogether far more curious than beautiful; and whether it was that my
mind was not in train to enjoy, or what, I know not, but I found
little to interest and less to admire.

However, after having dined at the Eaux Chaudes, on passing through
the deep ravine by which we had come, we had again new subject for
pleasure in the view down the lovely valley d'Ossau. We returned to it
with that feeling which man experiences on coming back to something
loved, and we naturally called it _our valley_.

It was on the hills near the Eaux Bonnes that I first met with that
luxuriance of flowers for which the Pyrenees are famous. The morning
before our departure, I took a walk over the mountains to a cascade
higher up in the valley than that which we had formerly seen, and in
the course of an hour gathered more than forty different species of
flowers, a great many of which I had rarely seen before. The
butterflies were nearly as numerous, and as brilliant in colour, and I
was almost tempted to catch some of them; but as I had no means of
preserving them, to have done so would have been but useless cruelty.

We lingered for several days at the Eaux Bonnes, enjoying ourselves
much; for it was one of those spots in which we can well live, "the
world forgetting." Every morning offered some new expedition through
beautiful scenery; and in wandering amongst the rocks and woods, by
the side of the bright streams, and over the blue tops of those
ancient mountains, a calm and placid thoughtfulness fell upon me,
different in every respect both from the fits of dark gloom which had
been so frequently my companions, and from the wild and reckless
spirit of excitement, by conjuring up which, I strove at other times
to gain assistance, to wage my constant warfare against Memory.

How long I might have remained there I do not know, had I not been
driven thence by a return of my mental malady, which, though the fits
were less frequent, more easily banished, and less painful in their
effects, had never left me entirely. At Bordeaux I had suffered once
or twice from the same delusion; and I only seemed to escape by
constant occupation of mind and body.

In the present instance, I had roamed out early one morning, and had
climbed one of the highest mountains during the continuance of a fog
which I knew to be the forerunner of a bright summer's day. I was
alone; but I ascended the mountainside so far, as to have all the
vapours below me, and to get the blue sky around me. The whole world
below was covered with the fog, which lay condensed and even, like a
calm wide ocean, while round about on every side, from the surface of
the mist, rose innumerable the granite peaks of the mountains,
offering the same aspect which doubtless they had done when they
looked down long centuries before upon the universal deluge. It was an
extraordinary scene, and I paused to gaze upon it long; but as the sun
advanced, he dispelled the mists, and descending by the valley of the
cascade, I stopped by the side of the falling water. After gazing upon
it for a moment, I raised my eyes, when suddenly, through the spray of
the fall and amongst the bushes on the other side, I saw again that
fearful countenance. Covering my eyes with my hand, to shut it out, I
hurried back to the inn, and told my friend B---- what had occurred.

"Let us return to Pau," was his only reply, and we accordingly set out
at once. My command over my mind, however, was now greater than it
formerly had been; and ere we reached that place I had regained my
calmness, and was prepared to act my allotted part with the rest.



                             THE FRIENDS.

          *    *    *    *    *    *  Nor purpose gay,
          Amusement, dance or song, he sternly scorns,
          For happiness and true philosophy
          Are of the social still and smiling kind.--THOMSON.


Our cook--yes, our cook--for we took it into our heads to keep house
at Pau, and did not repent of it, for Therese behaved as well in our
household as ever girl did, and besides other merits, could make fruit
tarts and British dishes, having lived two years with the English
family that I have said we met at Aire.

Our cook then, on our return from the Eaux Bonnes, was called upon for
her accounts, inasmuch as cooks must eat and drink like other animals,
and we had told her to provide herself with what she liked during our
absence. Her bread and her wine formed a regular weekly bill apart,
but farther than that, her expenses amounted to--and she was as fine a
fat rosy-cheeked lass as one would wish to see--amounted to the sum of
three-halfpence per diem. I could scarcely forbear laughing, but I did
so for the good of society. If I had laughed she would have charged
the next people two-pence a-day, as long as she lived, and rightly
too, for surely no one would be economical and laughed at for their
pains?

Two days after our first arrival in this little capital of the Basses
Pyrenees, we strolled down into a valley below the town, and loitered
along by the banks of the river, seeing several groups pass us,
knowing no one, and known of none, and perhaps not wishing a little to
place ourselves in the midst of some of them, and have our share of
the conversation of Pau as well as the rest. At length, however, a
party came near, and I began to have a strange undefined remembrance
of the form of one of the persons composing it. I was not wrong, I had
known her just before she left school; there was all the change from
an interesting girl to a lovely young woman; but it was the same
person, and she had not forgotten me either. We were kindly greeted,
and quickly became no longer strange even with the rest of the party.
To know them was to have the highest regard for them all. We were glad
to seek their acquaintance, and acquaintance soon ripened into
friendship. Within their little circle we found all that could be
desired--talents, and grace, and cheerfulness, and nature, and in
their society we had some of the happiest hours we met with on the
continent.

Whether my companion had told tales of my rhyming propensities, or
whether I had been my own accuser, I forget: but I was soon called
upon for verses, and drawings. I agreed to contribute if others would
do so too; and we once more drew a magic circle round us in which the
spirit of poetry and romance rose up and whiled away many an hour at
our bidding. Some of the pieces which I myself contributed I know were
bad enough, I was sorry that I had written them; but I now only
remember one or two--the rest of the tales and anecdotes were given by
others. The first thing of the kind which I shall transcribe was
occasioned by a lady accusing me of having composed nothing for her--I
asked for a subject, but she replied that I must choose one myself,
she would give me "nothing."


                           ---------------


                               NOTHING.

                   'O quantum est in rebus inane!'


    'Tis nothing all--our hopes our fears,
    Our pleasure's smiles, our sorrow's tears,
    Our dreams of pride, our thoughts of care,
    Are lighter, emptier than air.

    'Tis nothing all--the splendid earth,
    The boons of art's, or Nature's birth,
    With all that memory recalls,
    From nothing rose--to nothing falls.

    The emmet Man toils on in vain
    To monument his hours of pain,
    While giant Time pursues his way,
    And marks his footsteps with decay;

    Tracing on all that he destroys
    The epitaph of man's short joys,
    The sentence of the great and small,
    The certainty--'tis nothing all.

    'Tis nothing all--the mighty man
    Who conquer'd realms and world's o'erran;
    What is he now? Himself? his fame?
    A heap of dust--an empty name.

    Rome! Rome! Where is the wealth, the power,
    The pride of thy meridian hour,
    Thy tyrant standard which, unfurl'd,
    Waved o'er a tributary world?

    'Tis nothing all--and Canæ's plain,
    And Carthage towers, and Leuctra's slain,
    And all the deeds that deathless seem
    Are broken, like an idle dream.

    Without the better hope that flows
    From the pure skies o'er human woes,
    Like sunset ere the night succeed,
    All would be nothingness indeed.

    And yet we love to leave behind,
    Some faint memorial to mankind,
    A trace to fellow things of clay
    Of something kindred passed away.

    And when Time's work is wrought on me,
    Some eye perchance these lines may see,
    Without which, to the world and you,
    My memory had been nothing too.


One of the families of which our little circle was now composed had
passed some time in Brittany; and amongst the first stories
contributed was one by Colonel C----, under the awful title of
"Le Sorcier," preceeded by some observations upon that province.



                             LE SORCIER.


The introduction of customs does much more to conquer a country than
even an invading army. Lorraine, Alsace, and Franche Comté, were
annexed to France by Louis the Fourteenth. By imparting to them the
manners and habits of the French people, he soon rendered them easy
under their new yoke; and fettering their minds by the chains of
custom, he secured himself effectually against all danger of revolt.
Not so in regard to Brittany. A decided fief of the crown of France,
and long, by failure of male issue as well as alliance with the house
of Bourbon, merged entirely into that kingdom, the inhabitants of the
ancient dukedom of Bretagne still obstinately retained their old
manners and customs, looking upon their barbarism as a sort of
privilege, and repelling all attempt at improvement as a commencement
of tyranny, and a first effort to deprive them of their liberties. If,
as is very much the case, France in general is many years behind
England in all the arts of life, Brittany is at least a century behind
the rest of France, but more especially that part of the country
called La Basse Bretagne. We must, of course, except the higher
classes, the majority of whose members, by long association with the
rest of the French nobility, have acquired the general manners of the
country. There are, nevertheless, several families who, retired in the
wilds of the land, retain, in some degree, the habits of their
ancestors; but it is of the lower classes that I would speak at
present. I saw but little of that part of the country, but I heard
much of it from several persons who had frequented La Basse Bretagne,
and as far as I have been able to learn, the inferior orders are
characterized by but few good customs. Lazy, dirty, and slovenly in
their persons and habitations, they possess corresponding qualities of
mind: they are, I was assured, most frequently obstinate, ignorant,
superstitious, and vindictive; yet at the same time are hardy,
courageous, and resolute, opposing a sort of sullen, inert,
unconquerable resistance, to all attacks upon either their rights or
prejudices. We read of a refractory mule upon whom a lion was let
loose, in the ducal menagerie at Florence, but who, retiring into a
corner, received the monarch of the woods on his first attack with
such a severe kick, that he was fain to forbear any further aggression
upon so sullen an enemy. In this manner did the Bas Bretons receive
Louis the Fourteenth, who would willingly have given them some degree
of civilisation: but they repelled all his efforts; and every foot of
the roads which he attempted to carry through the forests and wilds of
that impregnable country, was actually cut at the point of the
bayonet. If they have at all changed since that time, it has been by
such very slow and imperceptible degrees, that the amelioration can
scarcely be traced. They retain their own unseemly garb; they speak
nothing but their own inharmonious language; they wallow in their own
indigenous dirt, and, I am told, transmit the itch as an heirloom
from generation to generation. In many of their habits, they resemble
the lower Irish; but the comparison would be unfair to our Hibernian
brethren.

The people of La Haute Bretagne are much more civilized, but still, in
the lower ranks of life, are a very simple, ignorant, poor race, with
many habits and customs and superstitions peculiar to themselves,
which render them highly interesting to a traveller.

Having stated thus much, to give some slight idea of the people to
whom I am about to introduce my hearers, I will proceed to tell an
anecdote, the authenticity of which I can safely vouch for, as it
occurred within my own immediate observation.

Every one has heard of the Whisperers of Ireland, who pretend to, and
really possess, the extraordinary art of taming the wildest horses,
which they apparently accomplish, by the simple process of whispering
in their ears, This faculty of whispering is not at all confined to
Ireland, however, but is common, in different forms, to a great many
other countries. Every one has heard of the Laplander's habit of
whispering in the ear of his rein-deer; and in various parts of
Brittany, several of these whisperers are to be met with, whose
success is invariable. They are there called _Sorciers_, and generally
exercise the trade of farriers, curing horses of a variety of diseases
in a manner truly extraordinary. One time, being at the little village
of Bècherel, we had an opportunity of seeing the skill of the
Sorcier put to the proof. Our worthy host, Monsieur de G----, had
shortly before purchased a beautiful horse, whose only defect appeared
to be, that nobody could ride him; and we do believe that Alexander
himself would have found no means of taming this Bucephalus. After
having spent a whole morning together with our host and his groom, in
the vain endeavour to conquer the vicious spirit of the animal, our
friend, Monsieur de G----, shrugged up his shoulders, with the usual
gesture of a Frenchman when he is forced to have recourse to some
unpleasant expedient. "_Il n'y a pas de remède_," said he; "the horse
must be sent to the sorcier;" and accordingly he gave orders to his
_garçon d'écurie_ to take it down the next morning to the village at
which the aforesaid sorcier made his abode. This occasioned inquiries,
the answers to which soon determined us not to allow the taming of the
shrew to take place without our presence; and on the first expression
of a wish to be on the spot at the time, our friend, whose hospitable
kindness and desire to give us all kinds of information and pleasure
during our visit to his house we shall not easily forget, instantly
arranged a party for the next morning, in order to let us see the
effect of the sorcier's power, in the first instance, and afterwards
shoot over the ground in our return to the _manoir_.

About six in the morning we set out, on horseback, for the dwelling of
the sorcier, with a groom leading the horse in question, who remained
quiet enough as long as no one attempted to mount him. However, after
riding about six miles, as we came near the place of our destination,
M. de G---- resolved to see whether the distance might not, in some
degree, have quelled the spirit of the animal, and giving his own
horse to the groom, he mounted the other, who let him fix himself very
peaceably in the saddle, but at the moment out friend attempted to
urge him forward every muscle in his body seemed to be animated with
rage. He reared, he plunged, he kicked, and left no means untried to
shake his rider from his back. M. de G---- was a good horseman, and
kept his seat; but he soon found that his situation was not a pleasant
one, and attempted to dismount; but this the animal would not suffer
either, rearing more tremendously than before, and showing a strong
inclination to throw himself over on his Master. Just at this moment,
a short, sturdy little man, attracted by the noise, came forth
from the blacksmith's shop, towards which we had been apparently
directing our steps, and approaching the spot, looked on for a moment
as a spectator, merely exclaiming, "_le coquin_"! At length, the
groom, impatient of his apparent apathy, cried out, "Mais souffle
donc, François! Il va tomber, je te dis."

"Does Monsieur wish it?" demanded the sorcier, for such he was.

"Nom de Dieu!" cried the groom; "S'il le veut!"

As soon as he had said these words the sorcier watched his
opportunity, and threw his arms round the horse's neck, who, not
accustomed to such embraces, reared more violently than before,
raising the little man off the ground with him. But he kept his hold,
not at all embarrassed, and contrived in that awkward situation, to
fix his mouth upon the orifice of the animal's ear. What he did, we
know not. No one can suppose that the mere breathing in the animal's
ear could have any effect; but his hands were occupied holding tightly
round his neck, and the only thing we could observe was that firm
pressure of the mouth upon its ear. However, in a moment, the animal
became less restive, stood still, shivered a little, as with cold, and
from that moment his spirit was gone.

Monsieur de G---- dismounted, paid the sorcier his ordinary fee, which
was no more than a few francs, and after the excitement, and surprise,
and all that sort of thing, had passed away, we took to our guns and
turned our steps homeward. It may well be supposed that our
conversation for the rest of that day turned very much upon the
sorcier; and, after several anecdotes of the same nature as the above,
M. de G---- related the following.

"Our Curé," said he, "is a very excellent good man, but a little
superstitious; and, about two years ago, hearing a great deal about
this sorcier and his feats of magic, he considered it his duty to
preach against him; which he did so effectually for more than one
Sunday, that the poor blacksmith lost all his custom; and as the
priest had taught the peasantry to consider him as somewhat worse than
the devil, he might have starved, if a circumstance had not happened
which delivered him from the anathema.

"Our good Curé had saved from his stipend a few hundred francs, with
which he determined to buy himself a horse, to enable him to visit the
farther parts of his extensive _cure_ with less inconvenience.
Accordingly, when the fair of Dinan came round, he set out, and,
confident of his own judgment, bought himself a beast, which,
doubtless, he imagined possessed all the qualities with which horse
was ever indued. It was brought home the next day, and in the face of
the whole parish, the saddle was placed on his back, and the Curé
mounted.

"The horse stood stock still. The Cure gave him a gentle cut with his
whip. The beast did not budge. The priest then applied a smarter blow.
The horse lashed out behind, and in a minute the Cure was seen flying,
like, a black swan, into the pond before his own door, while the
horse, as if quite satisfied with the exploit, stood as immoveable as
a stone, with his head down to his knees, and his ears bent back upon
his neck.

"What could be done?--the Cure was not a man to try it again; and
though he offered his horse a bargain to every one in the village,
nobody would buy it. Day after day passed, and the horse stood in the
stable, eat the Curé's corn, and did nothing. More than once, the idea
of applying to the sorcier occurred to the Curé. At first he could not
resolve upon such a thing; and many an argument did he hold with
himself concerning the propriety of it. At length, however, the
necessity of the case overcame his scruples, and he determined to send
him to the sorcier; but how to do it, now became a serious question.
He had preached so much against the practice that he was ashamed of
yielding to it himself.

"At length, however, he took courage, and one dark night led the horse
with his own hands all the way to the house we were at this morning.
As soon as our friend François saw him, 'Ah, Monsieur le Curé,' said
he, 'I thought you would come to me at last; but do you think I will
cure your horse after you have ruined me?' The Cure now tried all his
eloquence; but the sorcier was as hard as a flint; however, at length,
he was somewhat moved.

"'Allons, Monsieur le Curé,' said he, 'I will make a bargain with you.
You have preached me down when I could do you no good; you shall now
preach me up--and I'll cure your horse.' This was a hard pill to
swallow, and François would do nothing to gild it; but what could the
Curé do? The priest could get on no longer without his horse, and the
horse would not budge a step under the Curé. So there was only one
question asked: 'Has the devil anything to do in the matter?' 'Not a
whit!' answered François; and the horse being left at the sorcier's
for security, _on Sunday_, we had a sermon completely clearing
François from the accusation of dealing with the devil; and _on
Monday_ the Curé was cantering all over the country."

"I will tell you a much more extraordinary story of a cure than that,"
exclaimed the colonel's brother, as soon as the tale of the Sorcier
was read. "It occurred in Brittany, too; under my own eyes, also,
while I lived at the house of an excellent Breton, a Dr.
R----.

"Every one has heard of the mania for leeches which has lately
prevailed in France. Like all other manias, this did not long confine
itself to the capital or its environs, but rapidly spread to every
province and, every department; and, like the blood, which, impelled
by the heart, finds its way to the most minute corners and remote
extremities of the human frame, the doctrine of universal
leechification gradually insinuated itself to the ultimate ends of his
Most Christian Majesty's dominions. Not a canton so small but read the
work of Monsieur Brousset; not a town so diminutive but had its
regular consumption of leeches averaged amongst other articles of
first necessity; not an apothecary's shop so insignificant, but
possessed its dozen or two of jars replete with these little black
benefactors of humanity; and not a pond nor a ditch where might not
occasionally be seen some unfortunate wight up to his neck in the
water, with a peculiar sort of net in his hand, endeavouring to entrap
the aquatic practitioners to come and perform phlebotomy gratis. If a
man had a pain in his head, he was ordered to apply leeches; if he had
a pain in his toe, it was all the same thing. The gout, the apoplexy,
a dropsy, or a consumption; the head-ache, or the heart-ache, or the
stomach-ache, were all treated after the same fashion; and leeches
were voted _nem. con_. the universal panacea applicable to every
disease which afflicts poor little humanity. In short, the doctors
were saved a great deal of trouble, the patients were probably none
the worse, the apothecaries grew fat as well as the leeches, and many
a man made a fortune, who, if it had not been for his _sangsues_,
would probably have been _sans sous_.

"At the time that this practice was becoming general, my worthy friend
and landlord, Monsieur le Docteur, was smitten with the desire of
sucking his patients' blood--not personally, but by proxy; so that of
all the words that the French Academy permit the nation to make use
of, and which, when I left them, consisted of thirty-two thousand
seven hundred and sixty one and a-half[17], the word most frequently
in the mouth of Monsieur le Docteur was _sangsue_.


---------------

[Footnote 17: He afterwards explained that he had been admitted once
to the making of a new word by the French Academy, and left it in the
middle.]

---------------


"But before I proceed farther, I must briefly tell you, what sort of a
machine a French doctor in a country town is. It is a thing that walks
upon two legs, or trots upon four, as occasion serves; that knows
nothing of medicine, a good deal of surgery, and will go ten miles for
two shillings. My worthy friend, then, Monsieur le Docteur ----,
resided at Quimper, in La Basse Bretagne. His fame was high, and not
without cause, so that if a man fell off a tree and broke his neck
within fifteen miles of Quimper, Monsieur le Docteur was sure to be in
at the death.

"When last I was in Brittany, I spent six weeks very pleasantly with
the Doctor and his family, and, as he was a good horseman and a
pleasant companion, I accompanied him more than once when he rode to
visit some country patients. Thus I was conducted one day to the
little village of Kerethnac, some ten miles from Quimper, where my
friend had plenty of occasions to exercise his curative propensities.
One man had broken his leg, another had dislocated his wrist, and a
third had a sore throat. To this last, without loss of time, the
Doctor ordered the application of twenty leeches, seemingly sorry that
he could not prescribe them for the others also; and having dispatched
his business as quickly as possible, we remounted our horses and
returned to Quimper. The road was a pleasant one, and two days after,
when Monsieur le Docteur proposed to revisit Kerethnac, I was not
unwilling to accompany him. On arriving at our journey's end, I went
into all the huts with my friend. Huts they were, indeed,--a
combination of pig-sty, cow-house, and bedchamber. But to proceed.
After having looked at the broken leg, and ordered some camphorated
spirit for the dislocated wrist, the Doctor entered the house of his
sore-throated patient, the first piece of whose goods and chattels
that presented itself being his wife.

"'Well, my good woman,' said the Doctor, 'how is your husband
to-day?--better, no doubt.'

"'O yes, surely,' answered the woman. 'He is as well as ever, and gone
to the field.'

"'I thought so,' continued Monsieur le Docteur. 'The leeches have
cured him! Wonderful effect they have! You got the leeches, of
course.'

"'Oh, yes, Monsieur le Docteur, they did him a deal of good, though he
could not take them all.'

"'Take them all!' cried our friend. 'Why my good woman, how did you
apply them?'

"'O, I managed nicely,' said the wife, looking quite contented with
herself. 'For variety's sake, I boiled one half and made a fry of the
other. The first he got down very well, but the second made him very
sick. But what he took was quite enough,' continued she, seeing some
horror in the Doctor's countenance, 'for he was better the next
morning, and to-day he is quite well.'

"'Umph!' said the Doctor, with a sapient shake of the head. 'If they
have cured him that is sufficient; but they would have been better
applied externally.'

"The woman replied that she would do so next time; and I doubt not,
that if ever fate throws a score of unfortunate leeches into her power
again, she will make a poultice of them."


                           ---------------


"But there is no miracle in your story, my good brother," exclaimed
the colonel, as the other concluded; "you vowed you would tell a much
better story than mine. Now my friend's horse was cured by a whisper,
your patient's sore-throat by an emetic; the one was miraculous the
other nothing more than common.

"O, if you want a miracle," replied his brother, "you shall have one,
and out of the same province also."


                           ---------------


                              A MIRACLE.

Prince Hohenloe, I mean the great miracle-monger of Germany; has
surely said enough and done enough to convince Europe, Asia, Africa,
and America, that miracles are quite as easy now-a-days, as they were
a thousand years ago, and that good Dame Nature has grown somewhat
doating, and will let him do anything he likes with her. Now, I
believe it thoroughly, for more reasons than one, and do not scruple
to call all the world fools who disbelieve it. At all events, I am
sure to have one half of the old women of Europe on my side; and
besides, I can vouch the matter from ocular observation: that into
say, not that Prince Hohenloe commits miracles, but that even without
him, they are as easy as ever--so easy, I am sure I could do one
myself. But to my tale.

There is a deep embowering lane, not far from Corsieul, where the road
winds slowly down between two high cliffy banks, till it comes to a
low dell, through which flows one of the clearest streams I ever saw,
so pure, so beautiful, the peasants have seemingly thought it next to
sacrilege to hide it even by a bridge, and left it openly to traverse
the road and wash your horse's weary feet before he begins the long
ascent of the opposite hill. Though steep and fatiguing, that road has
still a peculiar sort of charm, which compensates the trouble of
climbing to the top; and even were the ascent less difficult, one
would be tempted to linger long in the sweet contemplative shade and
silence that hangs about it. The rocky banks break into a thousand
picturesque forms; and wherever a patch of vegetable earth has been
able to fix itself, there has sprung up the richest verdure, varied by
a thousand shrubs, and herbs, and flowers,--honeysuckle, and
eglantine, and sweet-briar, and the pure, large convolvulus„ and the
deep blue pervanche, the lily of the fields, the hyacinth and the
violet. Above, the trees hang, as if planted in the air, and throw a
green, soft shade across the rich tints of the road, except where a
gleam of sunshine breaking through, catches upon the salient points of
the rock and chequers the deep shadows of the leaves with a dancing
light. The silence to the ear has the same effect as the shade to the
eye; for there no sound is to be heard, except when some wild bird
bursts into song amidst the trees above, or when a low, sweet murmur
rises up from the stream below. There is, as I have said, a magical
charm in the whole, which compels one to linger in his progress; yet
there is a reward in store for those who climb to the top; for
suddenly the whole scene changes, and one of the most extensive
prospects bursts upon the eye that can be conceived; hills, and
valleys, and villages, and woods, and streams, mingled in gay
confusion, growing fainter and fainter in the distance, till the far
ocean closes the whole, looking like a faint cloud upon the border of
the sky, from which indeed it would scarcely be distinguished, did not
the bold Mont St. Michel rise abruptly up, and catching all the rays
of the sun, mark the limits of the horizon. In front, as a sort of
foreground to the landscape, stands the little chapel of St. Anne,
with a few houses surrounding it, and a group of trees sheltering it
from the wind.

I was one day riding to Corsieul with my friend, Monsieur R----, to
see the curious Roman remains which have been found in that
neighbourhood, when, as we mounted the hill, and came suddenly in
sight of the chapel of St. Anne, we saw a vast variety of booths and
tents, with a multitude of people, men, women, and children, in all
their gay holiday attire, waiting round the chapel for the
commencement of the mass. "I had forgot that to-day is the fête of St.
Anne," said R----, "would you like to see a miracle. There is one
performed here every year."

"Above all things, let us see it," replied I. So we dismounted, and
went into the chapel. There were a great many people waiting about, to
see (I suppose) if they could get a bit of miracle too; but above all
others, we remarked one old woman, with whom the saint had to deal
more particularly. She seemed very poor, and very devout; for, not
being able to kneel, from her lameness, she sat before the shrine
telling her beads, and praying as hard as she could; while a young
priest stood beside her to keep off the profane vulgar, being probably
of opinion, with the copy-line, that, "evil communications corrupt
good manners." However, we remarked that her dress was that of a
remote canton, and we learned from the people round that she was a
stranger, come from a great way to see what St. Anne would do for her.
"A prophet is no prophet, in his own country," says the old proverb,
and I rather think that saints take care not to practise their
miracles upon their next-door neighbours. However the mass commenced,
and at the appointed place the old lady began to cry out. The priests
swung their censers at her head, as if they would have broke it; and
before the mass was over, the miracle was completed, and the lame
woman firmly re-established on her legs.

We spent a very pleasant day at Corsieul, and before we returned, it
was dark. In passing by the Chapel of St. Anne, however, we saw all
the tents and booths, illuminated; cider and _eau de vie_ handing out
in abundance; and, in short, a complete fair, in honour of the miracle
and the saint. Hearing the dulcet notes of a cracked fiddle in one of
the tents, we dismounted and went in, when, to our surprise, we beheld
the miraculous old lady dancing away as hard as she could, and doing
_dos-à-dos_ with a bumkin of Corsieul. Now let those deny miracles
that like--I saw this myself. I do not mean to say I saw that the
woman was lame, but I will swear that she danced.


                           ---------------


Our next evening's contributions were of a more serious character, and
the two first came from the pen of my excellent friend Colonel W----,
whose long residence in India, though it had injured his health, and
whitened the hair upon his brow, had not taken away one fine feeling
or impaired one high principle.



                         THE REPROOF OF ALLI.


In a country, situated at the northern extremity of India, and upon
the very verge of the delicious valley of Cachemere, which it rivalled
in beauty and surpassed in luxury, lived Alli el Assur, the glory of
his illustrious house. None of the Oolasses of Afghaunistan had ever
produced so many great men, none had ever so glittered with treasure,
none had ever so shone in arms, as the tribe of Assur. But the fame of
his ancestors was to the glory of Alli as the pale light of the
morning-star, when the sun begins to beam upon the heavens. The day
rose upon his splendour but to set upon his magnificence. Every hour
saw his riches increase, and every hour saw his power extended.

But not for wealth alone was he famed; his wisdom and his knowledge
were wafted to every quarter of the earth. The morning heard his words
repeated in the east; the evening listened to his saying in the west:
the southern star beheld his advice followed, and his counsels were
borne on the wings of the north wind. For in the dawning of his youth,
Alli had travelled over distant countries, and wandered among unknown
people. Fringuistan had imparted to him all her arts; and all the
wonders of Africa had been displayed before his eyes. He had conversed
with the Moolaks of all lands, and spoke the tongues of many nations.

And Alli knew that he was wise. The pride of knowledge revelled in his
heart, and he said, "There is no God, for I cannot see him, neither
can mine ear hear his voice; and if there exist a Being governing the
mighty universe with power and wisdom, why is evil permitted in the
world? and why has he acted as he has done? It is against my reason to
believe this thing, neither can my mind give it credit."

At five hours' journey from one of the palaces of Alli el Assur, there
dwelt a certain hermit, who was much revered for his wisdom and
sanctity, and much loved for the mildness of his heart. He lived afar
from the rest of his race, because he loved contemplation, not that he
loved not man: and in the solitude of the desert he waited for the
angel of death.

And a desire entered into the heart of Alli to hear the words of the
Solitary: "For where is the learned man," exclaimed he, "with whom I
have not conversed and where is there knowledge that I have not sought
for it?"

He mounted his horse while day was yet young in the sky; and, while
the dew which evening had left still glittered undisturbed on the
bosom of the flowers, proceeded, without attendants, to seek the place
where the hermit made his abode. Nature was robed in her beauty, as a
young bride, to meet the warm glances of the early sun: and the heart
of Alli was glad, and expanded to the loveliness of the world. He
directed his course by the river Hydaspes, that, like a golden lizard,
drew along its mazy track, in the beams of the rising day. Its limpid
waters seemed living in the rays, so full were they of motion and of
music; and the rays, like divers, seemed to dip through the
transparent waves, and raise the bright pebbles from the bottom to the
surface of the stream. The banks were covered with flowers, and gay
water-lilies, like youthful maidens in their pride of beauty, danced
upon the bending waves. All was at first fresh and delightful, as the
spring of early life; but soon the sun rose high above the mountains,
the birds retired to the shadow of the trees, the wild beasts couched
in the deepest recesses of the jungle, and Alli grew weary and faint
with the heat of noon. However, the river itself, as if tired of the
glare of sunshine, led its waters into the gloom of the forest, and
Alli, following its course, quickly heard the roaring voice of the
cataract, and his heart was rejoiced, for the dwelling of the hermit
looked upon the fall of the waters. The sound grew louder and louder,
the trees fell away from the strife of the stream, and the river again
appeared forcing its way between the high rocks, which, approaching
gradually towards each other, constrained it to plunge furiously over
the precipice into the valley below.

Sitting at the foot of the crags was an old man, whose white beard
descended below his girdle. His dress was as simple as his heart was
pure; his form was stately and erect, and his eye beamed with the
light of a benevolent spirit. More than a hundred winters had shed
their snows upon his head, and more than a hundred summers had led him
to the brink of the grave: his look was fixed upon the mist which
arose from the cataract: his mind was bent upon the cloud which hangs
over eternity; and his soul was elevated with the thoughts of death.

Alli dismounted and saluted the man of years. "My son," said the
hermit, "thou seemest fatigued with exercise, and exhausted with the
heat. Enter into this cave, which is my dwelling; eat of the food
which is prepared for the stranger; rest and refresh thyself; and when
thy limbs have recovered their vigour, and thy mind is calmed by
repose, come and we will hold communion of this world, and what is
beyond."

Alli entered the cavern, and returned after a short space, and sitting
down by the old man, he poured forth the thoughts of his bosom.

"How beautiful is nature!" said he; "how lovely in every season! how
mild in spring! how gay in summer! how luxuriant in autumn! how grand
in the winter storm! and yet to man the spring brings illness, the
summer yields fatigue, the autumn demands his labour, and the winter
sees his death! Miserable in the midst of perfection, desolate in the
heart of plenty, and wretched is he, even in the moment of enjoyment.
What is he but a mixture of clay rendered sensible to pain, and
affections destined to be quelled in death? And yet this animated mass
of earthly sorrow vainly pictures to himself a Being whom he calls all
good, who sees his misery, yet will not alleviate it, and who gave him
being but to render him unhappy. Can this thing be? No!--there is no
God. It is but the monstrous imagination of man's own heart!"

"What is there," answered the old man, "that has not a cause? And if
each thing has a cause, all must have a cause; and that which was the
cause of all, must have power over all, must love all, and protect all
which it caused. And what is man, the insect of an hour, that he
should say, I cannot understand, therefore I will not believe? Alli el
Assur! (for by thy thoughts do I know thee,) listen to the words of
experience--hearken to the voice of years--mark what I shall say to
thee; for I am old, and thine own wisdom shall tell thee that my words
are true!

"Know then, that at the bottom of the sea there is a certain animal,
whose size is so minute, that ten of them would stand upon the point
of thy scimitar. This animal never stirs from the place of its birth;
and the term of its life is shorter than the being of a butterfly. It
so happened, that as insect of this kind fell, by chance, upon the
back of one of those large amphibious creatures which sometimes betake
themselves to the land, and thus it was carried within sight of the
dwelling of man. When it returned to its companions of the ocean, it
related all the wonders it had seen, but found no one to believe.

"'Thou tellest us,' said one, 'that there is a being on the earth
whose size is immense, and whose faculties are so wonderful, that all
nature is open to his view; whose vast sight could comprehend the
whole of this rock; and in short, whose senses are excellent in every
particular: and yet thou sayest, that this being is stupid enough to
move from place to place without being forced to do so and has the
excessive folly to live on the land instead of dwelling in the sea,
the natural element of all creatures existing. But granting even all
that to be true, thou hast also said, that this great being builds
himself a shell to creep into. Now, were he endowed with the powers
you describe, he would of course, sit still at ease in one place, and
enjoy the fluid that circulates round him, as we do. In this, as well
as in a thousand other points, thy story is improbable and
inconsistent, nor can we believe it, for our senses tell us it is not
true.'

"'My friend,' replied the travelled insect, 'attempt not to scan the
actions of a being above thy comprehension, nor measure his power by
thy own littleness. Neither tell me that this being is not, because
thy mind is too confined to reconcile his deeds to thine own ideas.'

"Man! man! vain man!" continued the hermit, "how much less art thou in
comparison to the most High God, than is that insect in comparison to
thee! Measure thyself by that mountain. Art thou not small? Yea, as a
worm. How petty is the part which that mountain forms in the bulk of
the earth. That great earth, on which thou art but an atom, is little
to many of the planets; it is insignificant to the sun; it is as a
grain of dust amongst the millions of orbs, which even thy limited
sight can behold in the firmament; and what is it to the immensity of
eternal space?[18] Look at that grain of sand: canst thou tell me its
fabric? canst thou separate its parts? No!--Stretch thine ambitious
soul; try to grasp the idea of infinity of time, of space, of matter.
Thou canst do neither. And wilt thou, who canst not comprehend either
the greatest or the least, wilt thou measure the actions of
Omnipotence, by the standard of thine own littleness, and deny his
power, because thou dost not understand its operations?


---------------

[Footnote 18: My worthy friend maintains that our knowledge of
astronomy is very inferior to that possessed by the ancient tribes of
Asia.]

---------------


"No, Alli el Assur, return to thine own dwelling, and be wise enough
to know, that the wisdom of the wisest is, to the works of the
Almighty, but as a drop of water to the ocean; aye, to an ocean of
oceans: and henceforward, never deny because thou canst not
comprehend; but learn, that with all thy knowledge thou knowest
nothing."



                        THE VISIONS OF HASSAN.


The day faded into twilight; the flowers ceased to look upon the sun:
the bulbul poured his notes of melody unto the star of the evening;
and sleep stole over the sorrows and weariness of the universe. But
while the eyes of a world were closed, Hassan the destitute woke to
grief and meditated on despair.

"This morning," exclaimed he, "I was great amongst the greatest, a
prince among princes, an eagle on a rock; but midday saw me in the
hands of mine enemies, as a gazelle struck by the falcon; and evening
beholds me as a wandering star, as the genii torch which is hurled
into the vacancy of night: cast down from my throne, exiled from my
land, wandering I know not whither. O Allah! Allah! great is thy
wisdom, and merciful thy providence; suffer not my heart to blaspheme,
nor my soul to doubt that thou art the Highest." Thus saying, Hassan
cast himself upon the earth, and groaned in the bitterness of his
misery. While he lay thus prostrate and grovelling like a slave upon
the ground, he heard a voice, like thunder, echoing through the
mountain.

"Hassan!" said a voice, "weak child of clay, humbled in thy career of
pride, dost thou murmur that God hath chastised thee? Now look into
the valley before thee, and say, what dost thou see?"

Hassan raised his head and looked into the valley. "I see," replied
he, "a great stream, and there is a cloud at its source, and a
whirlpool at its conclusion, so that I see not from whence it comes,
neither behold I whereunto it goeth."

"That," said the voice, "is the stream of life. The cloud is the time
of man's birth. Beyond is the eternity past. The whirlpool is the time
of man's death, and beyond is the eternity to come. All must float
from the one to the other, and what man shall say that his lot is
harder than another? for death is a cup of which all must taste, and
life is a trial which all must endure. Therefore is God good from the
beginning even unto the end. Now bow down thy head unto the earth;
give praise unto Allah, and then look into the valley once more."

Hassan did as the voice commanded.

"And now what seest thou?" said the voice.

"I see," answered Hassan, "a cottage and a palace; and there is above
them both a fearful storm of lightning and thunder; and, lo! the bolt
strikes the palace, and the cottage is untouched."

"That palace," said the voice, "is prosperity, and that cottage is
adversity. The lightning strikes the proud and passes by the humble,
and glory is due to God, for his name is the Impartial. And again,
what dost thou behold?"

"I see," said Hassan, "a large nest upon a high place, and in it there
lies a young bird. A fox approaches the nest, and the young bird is
destroyed; and now behold an eagle drops upon the fox, and it also is
no more."

"Thou shalt not hurt the smallest," said the voice, "lest the greatest
frown upon thee; nor shalt thou injure the weakest, for the strongest
beholds thine actions; and glory is due to God, for his justice is
retributive. Now bow down thine head and pray, that thou mayest be
able to endure." And Hassan prayed. "Once more, what dost thou
behold?"

"It is my capital city in flames," said Hassan with a firm voice; "and
I see my palace crumbling in the fire, and I see a woman striving to
escape;" and the voice of Hassan became weak, as with great fear. "O
Allah! save her," cried he; "it is her I have injured! it is Zelekah
it is my beloved!" And he started forward to snatch her from the
flames; but as he was about to plunge over the edge of the precipice,
his arm was caught by one behind him. The vision passed away, and the
valley once more relapsed into the darkness of night.

Hassan turned round, and by the trembling light of the stars, beheld a
man of venerable years and benevolent deportment. Hassan was about to
speak, but the old man commanded him to listen; and Hassan instantly
remembered the voice he had before heard.

"Listen unto me," said the old man, "for what thou hast seen is all a
vision, Thy capital city sleeps in peace; but it is no longer thine.
Thy palace still stands in its strength; but thou art an exile from
its walls. Thy Zelekah lives secure; but thou hast lost her by thine
own passions. I am thy good genius, and hadst thou before listened to
my voice, thou wouldst have been even now the lord of a fair land; the
master of a willing people; the bridegroom of thy beloved. When thou
soughtest first the love of Zelekah, the cottage girl, did not a voice
remind thee, that thou hadst vowed to wed the daughter of the Caliph,
and none but her; and did it not whisper, that though without vice
thou mightest sacrifice thine ambition to thy passion, it was criminal
to break thine oath, and dishonourable to forget thy promise; and when
thou didst carry away by force the girl that loved thee well but loved
virtue better, did not the same voice say; 'Thou art acting wrong;
thou art misusing the power of a prince; thou art violating the rights
of thy people?' Man, man! must thy good genius ever speak in thunder
to make thee hear?"

Hassan hid his eyes with his hands, and the geni went on.

"Thou art punished by the loss of thy throne; thou art punished by the
loss of thy beloved: but still more shalt thou be punished, by hearing
that Zelekah, the cottage girl, was the daughter of the Caliph,--was
thy promised bride--whom the wisdom of her father had absented from
the too great splendour of his court."

"Allah! Allah!" cried Hassan; "deeply, but justly, hast thou chastised
my wickedness."

"There is peace," said the geni, "in repentance. It is still in thy
power to retrieve thy fortunes, and thou shalt ever be wiser from thy
sorrows. Go, and remember, that when thou thinkest thyself most alone,
then is the eye of God upon thee, and that every bad deed incurreth
the wrath of Him to whom the greatest sovereign of the earth is but as
a worm, yea, less than the meanest of insects. That God himself is
good, and by no means will he endure evil."

Hassan cast himself at the feet of the geni; but when he raised his
eyes, the old man was no longer there, and he found himself lonely on
the brink of the precipice; but nevertheless his heart was much
lightened, and his mind was calm; and, instead of yielding to despair,
he now prepared for whatever fortune could inflict, or constancy
endure; and laying himself down, sleep came over his eyes, and lulled
the sorrows of his heart.

The morning was bright in the east; the sunbeams wandered over the
hills; the flowers perfumed the early breeze; the woods were melodious
with the warbling of the birds; and creation was animated with the
wakening hum of life; when Hassan woke from his slumber, chastened by
adversity, and strengthened by repose. "When," said he, "when have I,
on the glittering alcove, resting on softness and surrounded by
luxury, when have I tasted of calm so unbroken, and sleep so grateful,
as on this barren rock, unguarded by any but by Providence, and unseen
but by the eye of the Almighty?" And kneeling towards Mecca, he said
the prayer of the morning. When he had concluded, he rose, and
descended into the valley below, by a narrow path, which wound round
the side of the mountain.

At the bottom of the hill, surrounded by tall palm trees, rose a
spring of clear water, pouring music and freshness upon the air
around; and as he drew nigh, Hassan beheld the form of a woman bending
ever the fountain, and a strange feeling came over his heart, a
mingling of joy and fear; for he felt as one that comes back to the
home of fathers, and knows not what tidings shall greet his return.
But as he drew near, he saw a leopard touching amongst the trees, and
prepared to spring upon the girl beside the fountain. Now the heart of
Hassan was as the heart of a lion, calm, and without fear; and drawing
his scimitar, he smote the wild beast and drove him forth, wounded and
howling, to the woods; and turning towards her he had, saved, as his
mind had presaged, he beheld the light of his soul.

Zelekah extended her arms towards him.

"O Hassan!" cried she, "and have I then found thee?"

Hassan pressed her to his heart.

"Did Zelekah seek for him that had wronged her," he asked; "could she
still love the tyrant who tore her against her will from the humble
habitations of peace and the lowly mansions of uninterrupted quiet?"

Zelekah answered not, but her silence had a voice, and Hassan's heart
was glad.

"O Zelekah?" said he, "I have learned, by my follies and my
punishment, what experience will teach to all men, that adversity may
try the body, but that our soul is tried by prosperity. I have failed
in the ordeal, and am unworthy to enjoy the advantages which my own
deeds have forfeited, and which the hand of justice has withdrawn; but
still if thy love remain, Hassan is happier as an exile than as a
prince. Come, let us retire to some humble spot; far from cities and
from man's resort, where we may live with peace the number of our
days; and when Azrael shall knock at our gate, we shall meet the angel
of death with resignation." And Hassan and Zelekah fled from the
world, and found peace in solitude.

Time flew away with his silent wings, changing the face of the world;
and a heavy war vexed the kingdom from which Hassan had been driven.
The people remembered him with regret, and began to ask amongst
themselves, "Why have we not Hassan, who led us on to victory; on
whose scimitar sat the death of our enemies? Hassan, the strong arm of
war--the mighty man in the battle--the prince that we have chosen, is
slain, and our foes rejoice in our defeat. Why have we not Hassan to
deliver us from our enemies?"

And Hassan heard the tidings; and baring his arm, he flew to the
battle, and smote the enemies of the land: and the people rejoicing,
seated him gladly on his throne. Zelekah shared his joy, as she had
shared his sorrow; and peace and abundance dwelt in the land, and
justice and mercy stood on each side of the throne: for Hassan never
forgot his vision on the mountain, and remembered that God is good,
great, and impartial; and that evil will by no means be endured by the
Almighty.


                           ---------------


After such efforts to amuse and instruct as these on the part of one
so much more entitled to repose than ourselves, neither I, nor the
friend who was with me, could refuse to do, our best in some more
laboured composition than a few verses, and, by the third night after,
we had produced the two tales which follow.



                       THE STORY OF AZIMANTIUM.

We are weary of the present--Let us turn and rest our minds for a
while upon a tale of the past.


There was a dreamy stillness in the air--there was a golden glory over
the sky--there was a music in the far-off hum of distant nature
sinking to repose--there was a fragrance in the soft breath of the
valley, as it stole timidly through the multitude of drowsy flowers,
as if afraid to wake them from their evening sleep; all told of one of
those few days which last in loveliness from their dawning to their
close--so full of every fine essence of joy, that we tremble to see
them pass, lest we should never find anything so beautiful upon earth
again. The whispering murmur of the small long waves, as they wooed
the quiet sands upon the seashore--the pale and timid lustre of the
stars, as they shone out, one by one, through the still purple
heaven--the slow changes of a rosy cloud, as it dallied with an unseen
wind--spoke peace!--Peace, the first, last, great blessing--the
mightiest of promises--the object of virtue, of wisdom, of
knowledge--the only desire that experience leaves--the hope beyond
our life--the glory of eternity--Peace!

High-eyried on the rocky eminence, where now the overthrown stones of
a massy wall tell of cities and their dwellers, past like shadows down
the dim vista of the gone, stood the fair town of Azimantium, with its
long-disused battlements, its temples, and its columns, marked in fine
lines of shadowy purple, high upon the broad expanse of the rich
evening sky. The mountain on which it stood, clothed in the splendid
robe of the setting day's calm violet-colour, hung over the valleys
and the plains around, with an air of protecting majesty. On one side,
a gentle slope, covered with green pastures, and clumps of high trees,
with ever and anon a temple or a villa in their shade, declined softly
towards the fair land of Greece--the country of poetry and song--to
which Azimantium had long belonged. Two other sides, that towards the
Euxine,[19] and that which looked over Thrace, were rough and steep,
broken with gigantic crags; and though many a piece of smooth short
turf intervened between the masses of cold gray stone--though many a
tree waved its leafy arms, as if in sport, above each rugged cliff,
and many a green parasite trailed its fantastic garlanding of verdure
over the harsh and stony limbs of the mountain--no footing was there
for things of mortal mould. The goat, the sure-footed goat, looked
down, with sidelong glance, from the flat summit above, but tempted
not the descent; the fox earthed himself at the foot; and but the
eagle, of all living things, in his kingly loneliness, chose it for
his dwelling, from its very solitude. The fourth side turned towards
the barbarian enemies of the Grecian name, and frowned defiance in one
savage, dark, unbroken precipice.


---------------

[Footnote 19: See Procopius _de Edificiis_, lib. iv. cap. xi. Several
reasons have induced me to place Azimantium on the very shores of the
Euxine.]

---------------


But now all was peace around. Splendour, and feasting, and music,
reigned through the Grecian empire. The brow of every man was calm and
joyful, the voice of every one was rich in poetry and song; and it
would have seemed that nothing but a smile had ever curled the lip, or
danced in the eye. O fatal softness! O hard lot of man! that peace can
never rest without power! that enjoyment can never continue without
strength! that the shield, and the glaive, and the javelin, should be
the only safeguards of tranquillity!

All was peace. Many a century of decaying years had swept over the
proud fabric of the Roman Empire and what had been mighty was now
hastening towards a name. The men who had conquered a world, mouldered
in the dust; and their children were contented to enjoy. The arms
which should have wielded the sword, or braced on the shield, now only
raised the cup, or struck the lyre. Voices which, in former days,
would have breathed the soul of freedom to the swelling hearts of a
mighty people, or pleaded for the laws before that senate which should
have been immortal, now sung the loose and ribald song, in The halls
of luxury and the resorts of intemperance, or urged some vain and
subtle theme, in schools that had become schools of folly. Honour was
no longer to the brave, or to the good; and, though peace spread over
the whole eastern realm, it was peace bought by tributary gold; won by
degradation, and spent in effeminacy, indulgence, and vice.

One small city alone, of the whole empire, still held within its walls
the nobler spirit of Rome's ancient days. One small city alone, like
an altar to some sublime but nearly forgotten deity, upheld the flame
of virtuous courage--simple, grand, noble, independent--enjoyed the
smile of peace, but feared not the frown of war, reposed without
softness, and rejoiced without debauchery. That city was Azimantium.
Its youth, trained to the nobler amusements, only descended from the
free mountain-air of their sky-surrounded dwelling to war with the wild
beasts of the forests around, or to chase the swift deer over the
Thracian plains. Such were their sports of peace; and if a lingering
influence of the genius-breathing climate taught the Pentelican marble
to start into life, woke the Achaian flute, or struck the Teian lyre,
the godlike spirit of a purer age gave fire to the song, and vigour to
the statue.

The mighty and majestic scenes amidst which they beat, raised and
dignified the hearts of Azimantium; and though the passions of
humanity were there in all their force, the better soul, the nobler
purpose of the mind, linked those passions to all that is grand and
dignified in nature. The aspirations of the spirit, and the desires of
the body, were not waging the horrific struggle mutually to destroy
each other; but, joined together in thrilling fellowship, like the
immortal twins of Laconia, they strove alone to guide and elevate each
other. Love dwelt in Azimantium; but it was that brighter love,
wherein the radiant share of the deathless soul infests the earthly
portion with a blaze of light.

I have said that it was the evening of a summer's
day--a day such as is hardly known to more northern climates--a day on
which the kingly charioteer of heaven seems to hold some high
festival, and robe himself in more majestic lustre. The sunshine had
passed, and it was evening--but an evening full of rays. It seemed as
if some mysterious power had robbed the daylight of half its beams, to
weave them into purple with the dark-blue woof of night, and then had
studded it over with golden stars, to curtain the cradle of the
sleeping earth.

Through the still calm valleys at the foot of the mountain of
Azimantium--by the side of the living stream that sparkled onward on
its brief gay course--amidst tall and scattered trees, where the
nightingale raised his glorious anthem to the first star--wandered
two of the children of that city, who had seen no other dwelling, and
never desired to do so. They had risen from infancy in scenes which
had every day grown dearer; and as years had flown, mutual love,
uncrossed, unopposed, untainted, had given those scenes a light, whose
spring was in their own hearts, a charm wrought by that potent magician,
Affection. They loved as fully as mortal things can love; and from all
external nature, from every song, from every sight, a sweet communion
of thrilling enjoyments gathered itself round their mutual hearts. The
memory of all their past was together; the joy of the present was
tasted together; the future--misty and vague as that dim profound must
ever be--they never dreamed could be otherwise than, together. One
month had yet to fly ere the dearest; because the most durable, tie
was to bind Honoria to Menenius for ever; and now they wandered alone
through those sweet valleys, and amidst those soft scenes, unwatched,
undoubted, by those whose duty was to guard and protect, because there
was not one heart within the bounds of the city, who dared to think
that Honoria was unsafe with Menenius.

They talked of love and hope; and those bright visions that, in the
summer-morning of our youth, dance before our dazzled and untaught
eyes, came thick upon them: and they lent each other willing aid to
raise fabric after fabric, out of thin air alone, till the
unsubstantial architecture reached to the very sky. O how they dreamt!
and though a sultry and unnerving air grew up, one knew not whence,
casting a sort of doubtful faintness on Honoria's frame; and though
vague rumours of danger to the state, and new demands from the
pensioned enemies of the Eastern Empire, had reached the ears of
Menenius, an atmosphere of their own hope surrounded them, in which
joy seemed to breathe secure.

They had wandered long, pouring their souls into each other's bosom,
till at length they turned to mount the gentle assent that led them to
their home. And yet they lingered, and yet they paused to take another
look over the twilight world which spread out beneath, wider and wider
at every step as they ascended; and to say, "How fair!" and still to
speak one kind word more. As thus they paused beneath a group of tall
trees, near which an ancient tower marked the burial-place of the
great of other days, and stretched their eyes over the darkening
landscape, a sudden feeling of terror shot through Honoria's
breast--she knew not why. She heard nothing, she felt nothing, she
saw nothing, which could awaken fear, and yet with a sudden and
instinctive impulse, she clung to Menenius, exclaiming "What is
coming?"

The horses that were feeding on the slope, with a shrill cry broke in
madness down the hill; an eagle started from the rock below, and
screaming, soared into the sky; while the lover cast his strong arm
round her he loved, and unconsciously laid his hand upon his sword.
All felt the dreadful coming of some great change.

It came--with a roar like the accumulated thunder of a thousand
storms! The lightning, bursting from no visible cloud, swept over the
clear blue sky, and shone amongst the stars; and, in the livid blaze,
the towers of Azimantium, with each line dark and clear on the broad
glare, were seen to quiver, and rock, and fall; while, beneath the
lovers' feet, the earth heaved and panted, as if the globe were rent
with dying agonies. The air was one wild scream--the sky, from pole to
pole, was all on fire--the ground refused its footing. Then came a
moment of dead calm. All was silent! all was still! and Menenius felt
Honoria's arms relax the terrified clasp in which they held him! "It
is over, beloved," whispered he, as if to break the restored
tranquillity even by his voice: "It is over; thank God, the earthquake
has passed by!"

But before the words were well pronounced, a fitful gleam, a broader
flash, another roar, swept through the air; the ground yawned and
quivered; the tottering tower beside them was hurled in crashing ruins
over the brink. Menenius caught at a tree for support; but it, too,
shaking like a willow bough in a storm, swayed to and fro, and
staggered as if plucked up by some gigantic force. Its boughs crashed;
its centuried roots gave way, and rushing on those who had sought
support in its strength, it overwhelmed them in its descent. What was
the lover's only thought as he fell? To save her he loved; and by a
sudden, scarcely conscious, effort of all his natural vigour, he kept
her off, while the uprooted tree was dashed upon himself.

                         *     *     *     *
                         *     *     *     *
                         *     *     *     *

The earthquake had passed by, and become a thing of memory. Nineteen
of the towers of Constantinople had fallen; the walls of Azimantium
lay broken and destroyed; and on the day which was to have lighted the
marriage torch for Honoria and Menenius, the lover lay, slowly
recovering from the evening of the earthquake, and the beautiful girl
watched him with glad, yet anxious eyes. The father of Menenius, too,
stood beside him, and marked the reviving glow in his son's cheek with
joy, although there was a deep and thoughtful shadow on his brow,
which brightened into something of triumph and of hope, as his eye ran
over the bold and swelling muscles of his frame, and thought that but
a few days more would restore that frame to all its pristine vigour.
The triumph and the hope were those of a true son of ancient Greece,
for they were kindled and inspired by the proud thought that the
energetic strength of mind and body which were no longer united in
himself; would, in his son, prove the safeguard of his country.

He had news to tell which might well have quelled the feeble spirits
of that degenerate age, but Menenius was a child of Azimantium, and
knew not fear, even though crushed, and sick, and wounded. He had
borne the cautions of the leech, and the restraint of a sick chamber,
with somewhat of impatience and disdain; but when his father told him
that the false Bishop of Margus had opened the gates of that city to
the barbarian Attila, the destroyer of arts, the waster of empires,
the scourge of God; that unnumbered myriads of the Huns were pouring
over the frontier barriers of the eastern empire; that Sirnium and
Sardica, Ratiaria and Naissus, had fallen, and that but a few days
more would see the blood-gorged savages beneath the rocks of
Azimantium, Menenius became docile as a lamb to all that might hasten
his recovery.

Honoria's cheek grew pale, and her lip forgot its smile, but not a
word of fear was breathed upon the air, and her dark, dark eye shot
out rays of more intense and brilliant light, as she gazed on each
piece of her lover's armour, and scanned them jealously for fault or
flaw.

                         *     *     *     *
                         *     *     *     *
                         *     *     *     *

There was a cry through the whole of Greece, "They come! They come!"
Over the fields, through the valleys, on the mountains; from voice to
voice, and castle to castle, and city to city, the cry went forth,
"Death to the nations! They come They come! Vultures, prepare to
feast! They come! They come!"

All fell down before them or fled, and those who timidly spoke but the
name of war, died by their own hearths. Fortress after fortress, town
after town, was attacked and taken, and plundered and destroyed; not
one stone was left upon another, and captivity and the sword shared
the children of the land between them; and still went on the cry,
"They come! They come! Vultures, prepare! They come! They come!"

The weak luxurious Romans of that degenerate day, knew not the very
arms with which to oppose their barbarous enemies. What did the song
avail them? What the dance? What the wine-cup and the feast? Could the
soft-tongued sophist cheat the dark Hun from his destined prey? Or the
skilful lawyer shew Attila the code which forbade the strong to
plunder and subject the weak? No, no! After three disgraceful scenes
of defeat, all fled, or yielded, or died, or were made slaves, and the
whole land was red with flaming cities, and with blood-stained fields.

At length, the watchers on the steep of Azimantium beheld a dim cloud
sweeping over the distant prospect, so vast, so mighty, that the whole
land seemed teeming with a fearful birth. "They come! They come!" was
all the cry; "They come! They come! The myriads of the North!
Warriors, prepare your swords! They come! They come!"

On they swept, like the wind of the desert. The ruined walls of
Azimantium, rifted by the earthquake, offered nothing to oppose their
progress. Three sides, indeed, were defended by Nature herself, but
the fourth was free, and up the soft slope they rushed, tribe upon
tribe, nation upon nation, flushed with conquest, hardened to
massacre, eager for spoil, contemptuous of danger and death.

Across the narrowest part of the approach--where the steep natural
rock on one side, and the chasm left by the overthrown tower on the
other, impeded all passage by the smooth ascent--in long bright line,
with casque, and buckler, and blade, stood the youth of Azimantium,
between their dear familiar homes and the dark enemy. On rushed the
Huns, with glad eyes gleaming in the fierce thirst for blood, The
horsemen came first, their harness loaded with the golden ornaments of
plundered cities, and hanging at each knee the bleeding head of a
fresh slain Greek, while myriads of foot swarmed up behind them, so
that, to the eyes above, the whole steep appeared alive with a dark
mass of rushing enemies. An ocean of grim faces was raised to the
devoted city, and glared upon the young band of Azimantines, as the
first-prepared sacrifice to the god of victory.

Nearer and more near they came. Forth flew the Scythian javelins, and,
repelled from a thousand shields, turned innocent away, and then, the
gazers from the house-tops of Azimantium might see the closer fight
engaged. The unbroken line of gallant champions still maintained the
strife against the swelling multitude that rushed like a tremendous
sea upon them. Barbarian after barbarian fell stricken from his horse,
and still they saw the battle rage, and swarms of fresh enemies pour
up to the assault. Still waved the swords, still advanced the spears,
and still the bands of Azimantium held their narrow pass, while behind
them stood the old men of the town, to encourage them by the presence
of their fathers--to carry them fresh arms--to bear away the dead.

But oh, what a sight it was, when first the gazers beheld four of the
parents separate from the rest of the wavering crowd, and, bearing a
heavy burden, come back towards the city! Oh, with what terrified
speed did mothers, and sisters, and wives, and the beloved, rush forth
to meet the ghastly spectacle, and learn the dreadful truth! And oh,
how they crowded round, when the old men laid down their load, and the
cloak cast back, shewed the fair boy stricken in his spring of beauty,
the red blood clotted in his golden hair; the energy of being passed
from his young eyes, and the "pale flag of death advanced" where the
joy of life had reigned.

His sister wrung her hands and tore her hair, and wept, but his mother
gazed calmly, proudly, painfully, upon the clay. Then bending down to
take one kiss of his cold cheek, "Weep not," she cried, "weep not,
Eudocia, for your brother! He, the first, died for his country! My
child is in heaven!"

"They come! They come!" was shouted from below! "Fly to the altars!
Lo, they come! they come!" and breaking through the line of brave
defenders, on rushed a body of the Huns. On, up the steep they urged
their horses, reeking with blood and battle--on, on, towards the city.
The women fled to the churches and to the shrines, but there was none
to defend the town; the streets were vacant; the youths and old men
had alike gone forth to battle; the Huns were at the gate, and all
seemed lost.

It was then that Menenius, red from the brow to the heel with the
blood of his enemies, shouted to his brave companions to follow him,
and hurling a gigantic Scythian down the steep, with one bound he
passed the chasm, and lighted on a point of rock where the foot of man
had never stood before--another brought him to a higher crag, whence a
small green ridge ran round the steepest of the precipice under the
city walls.

One after another his bravest comrades followed. Some missed their
footing and were dashed to atoms on the rocks below; but still another
and another succeeded, for Azimantium knew not fear. The Huns were on
their threshold, and who dared hesitate? A hundred of the most agile
passed the depth, pursued the green path, cleared another and another
spring, reached the city wall, climbed over its ruined stones, and in
the narrow entrance street met the victorious Huns, who had paused to
plunder the first shrine they found.

No words were spoken: nor javelins nor arrows were now used: brow to
brow, and sword to sword, the struggle was renewed. But who can
conquer men who combat for their hearths? The Huns fell, died, or were
driven backs; for that narrow way had no outlet but by the gate
through which they had entered, and the close street where fought the
youth of Azimantium. Not a Grecian glaive fell in vain, and at every
step Menenius trod upon a slain barbarian. Like a reaper, each sweep
of his unceasing arm made a hollow vacancy in the rank before him, and
death grew so fearfully busy amongst the Huns, that vague imaginings
of some supernatural power being armed to their encounter, took
possession of their bosons. The form of the young hero swelled to the
eyes of their fancy. "It is a god!" they cried; "it is a god!" They
shrank from his blows--they turned--they fled. Those who were behind
knew not the cause of terror, but caught it as it came. Each saw his
fellow flying, and, touched by the same dim unnerving influence,
sought but to fly. "A god! a god!" they cried, and rushed forth
tumultuously on those who followed towards the city.

The broken line of Azimantium through which they had forced their way,
now divided into two by the barbarian multitude, still waged terrific
warfare on either side, while Menenius, pressing on with his
companions, drove the ferocious Huns from the gate. The contagious
terror of the fugitives spread to those without, and all were hurrying
down the descent, when one chief rushed through the struggling crowd.
"A god?" he cried. "This hand shall try his immmortality!" And on he
urged his steed against Menenius.

For an instant the Greeks paused in their pursuit, and the barbarians
rallied from their flight, and all eyes turned upon the Hun and his
opponent. The fate of Azimantium--the last relic of Grecian and of
Roman glory--hung upon that brief moment. An instant decided all, for
before fear could become hope in the hearts of the Huns, the charger
of the barbarian chief was wild upon the plain, and he himself, cleft
to the jaws, lay motionless before Menenius. A thousand souls seemed
in the hero's bosom, and plunging into the midst of the enemies, he
drove them down the steep. All Azimantium followed, and their
footsteps were upon the necks of the dying. The rout was complete, and
terror and dismay hung upon the flank of the defeated Huns; but still
Menenius urged the furious pursuit. On, on he cleft his way. He marked
not, he saw not who was near, he heeded not, he felt not what opposed
him. His eye was fixed upon a white and fluttering object which was
borne along amidst the brown masses of the flying barbarians, and
towards it he rent his way, while his unwearied arm smote down all
things that impeded his progress, as if but to make a path to that.

As long as the rout and the pursuit were confined by the narrow sides
of the ascent to Azimantium, he kept that one spot in view; but
afterwards, when the path of the flyers opened out upon the plains,
the horse which bore it carried it away from his straining eyes, while
the gray falling of the evening gave every distant thing a vague,
shadowy, uncertain form, like the objects of the past seen through the
twilight memory of many years.--He followed it to the last--night fell,
and it was lost.

With triumph and with song the children of Azimantium wound up towards
the city. Joy! joy! joy! was in their hearts and victory upon their
brows. They had overcome the myriads, they had conquered the
invincible! they had rolled back the barbarian torrent from the gates
of their glad city, and every step that they took among the unburied
dead of the enemy, told they had won for themselves both victory and
peace. With a quick step, but with a cast-down eye and a knitted brow,
Menenius, the hero of the triumph, followed the path up the hill.
Every voice was glad, every heart seemed joyful, but his; but there
was a fear, a dread, a conviction in his bosom, that his was the home
that had been plundered of its treasure, his was the hearth to be for
ever desolate. He strode on to the town, and joy and glory hailed him;
and gratitude and admiration proclaimed his name to the skies. They
called him the deliverer of his country, the saviour of his native
place--they saluted him as victor--they acknowledged him as chief.

"Honoria?" he asked, "Honoria?" but no one answered. Honoria was gone.
Since the entrance of the Huns into the city, Honoria had not been
seen; and casting himself down upon a couch, he hid his eyes in cloak,
while gladness and rejoicing filled the midnight air, and all
Azimantium was one high festival.

'Twas strange, 'twas wonderfully strange! that one small city of the
greatest empire in the world--while an inundation of barbarians poured
over the land--while fortress and town were cast down and levelled with
the earth--while legions fled dismayed, and nations bowed the head--and
while the very suburbs of Constantinople, the imperial city, beheld
the fearful faces of the Huns,--'twas strange, 'twas wonderfully
strange, that one small city should stand in its solitary freedom,
bold, fearless, and unconquered. 'Twas strange, 'twas wonderfully
strange! Yet the deeds of the children of Azimantium are recorded in
an immortal page, wherein we read, that "they attacked in frequent and
successful sallies, the troops of the Huns, who gradually declined
their dangerous neighbourhood; they rescued from their hands the spoil
and the captives, and recruited their domestic force by the voluntary
association of fugitives and deserters."[20]


---------------

[Footnote 20: Gibbon.]

---------------

In every sally, in every irruption made by the Azimantines into the
vast tract of country now covered with the Huns, Menenius was the
leader; and in the fierce incessant warfare thus carried on, he seemed
to find his only consolation, his only enjoyment. At other times, he
would sit sad and gloomy, his vacant eye fixed unobserving upon space,
and his heart meditating sad dreams. In the visions of the night, too,
when weariness dimmed the fire in his heart, and suffered his eyes to
close, the white and fluttering object he had pursued in the fight of
Azimantium would again be carried off, while imagination would fill up
all that sight had not been able to ascertain, and the form of
Honoria, torn away from him by the barbarian, would hold forth its
phantom arms, and implore aid and succour in vain. Then his vigorous
and manly limbs would writhe with the agony of his dreaming soul, till
horror and despair would burst the bands of sleep, and he would start
again upon his feet to wreak his great revenge upon the enemy. And yet
there was a quality in his soul which--although while an adverse sword
was drawn, or a threatening bow was bent, his step was through blood
and carnage, his path was terror and death,--yet there was a quality
in his soul which suspended the uplifted blow when the suppliant and
the conquered clasped his knee; and many was the train captives which
he sent home to the city; the pledges of future security and respect
to Azimantium.

At length when seventy cities had fallen before the Scythian hordes,
and nought but ruins were left to say where they had been, and to
point to after ages the sad moral of an empire's decay, the weak
Theodosius, unable to protect his subjects, or defend himself, agreed
to treat with the mighty Barbarian, and to buy precarious peace with
gold and concession, when he dared not purchase true security by the
sword. Attila dictated the conditions and Theodosius yielded to all
his demands but one, with which the emperor had no power to comply;
and that was, that the city of Azimantium should restore the captives
taken from the Huns. Attila felt how little power a feeble and
degenerate monarch could have over a fearless, noble, unconquerable
race; and he felt, too, that all his own power, great and battle-born
as it was, could scarcely suffice to crush the hearts of Azimantium.
The monarch of all the Eastern empire confessed his inability to
compel the restoration of the captives; and Attila, the terror of the
world, the scourge of God, the conqueror of nations, treated on equal
terms with the small city of Thrace.

Oh, how the heart of Menenius beat, when the monarch of the Huns, by
the mouth of his envoys, proposed that all prisoners taken between his
myriads and the city of Azimantium should be mutually restored! And
oh, how his bosom heaved, when, surrounded by the Hunnish cavalry, the
little knot of Azimantine captives were conducted up the hill! But
were was Honoria? where was the beloved?

The Huns declared that they had delivered all, and Honoria was not
there--Honoria, without whom all was nothing. Ten of the principal
barbarian chiefs were detained as hostages for the safety of her who
had not returned; while the envoys of Attila were sent back to learn
the savage monarch's will. The reply soon came, that if any of the
chiefs of Azimantium dared to trust himself in the dominions of
Attila, he should have free means and aid in making every search for
the captive said to be detained. Maximin and Priscus, the messengers
added, were then on their journey as ambassadors from the imperial
court to the king of the Huns, and if the Azimantine chief would join
them at Sardica, he would be conducted to the presence of Attila, who
loved the brave, even when his enemies.

Menenius sprang upon his horse, and followed by a scanty train, took
the way to Sardica, his heart torn with the eternal struggle of those
two indefatigable athletes, Hope and Fear. Still, as he went, his eye
roamed over the landscape--for even the absorbing sorrow of his own
breast had not obliterated his love for his country--and how painful
was the sight upon which the eye rested! Desolation--the vacant
cottage, the extinguished hearth, the threshold stained with blood,
the raven and the vulture gorged and gorging, the mangled and unburied
slain, the overthrown cities, the deserted streets through which the
speedy grass was already growing up where multitudes had trod--the
grass--the verdant and the speedy grass, which, like the fresh joys of
this idle world, soon covers over the place that we have held when
once we are passed away--ruin, destruction, death--such was the aspect
of the land. And as he gazed and saw--the thought of all the broken
ties and torn fellowships, the sweet associations and dear thrilling
sympathies dissolved, the wreck of every noble art, the scattering of
every finer feeling, which the blasting, withering, consuming
lightning of war had there accomplished, found an answering voice deep
in the recesses of his own wrung and agonized heart. At the ruins of
Naissus--for one stone of the city scarcely remained upon the
other--he joined the legates of the emperor, and with them pursued his way.
His mind was not attuned to much commune with his fellows; and though
Priscus, with learned lore, tempted him to speak of science, and arts,
and philosophy; and Maximin, with courtly urbanity, which softened and
ornamented the sterner firmness of his character, and Vigilius, the
interpreter, with subtle and persuasive art, strove to win the
Azimantine chief to unbend from his deep gloom, Menenius could neither
forget nor forgive, and sadness was at once in his heart and upon his
brow.

Over high mountains, through brown woods, across dark and turbulent
rivers, the ambassadors were led on by that part of the barbarian army
which was destined to be both their protection and guide. They saw but
few of the inhabitants of the country, and little cultivated ground.
Droves of oxen and sheep seemed the riches of the land. Pasture
appeared to be the employment of the people, and war their sport.

Their march was regulated by the Huns who accompanied them, and by
them also was each day's journey limited. The spot for pitching their
tents was exactly pointed out, and the hour for departure was not only
named, but enforced. Each day, long before that hour came, Menenius
was on foot, and he would wander forth in the morning sunshine, and
gaze through the deep vacuities in the woods, or let his eyes rest
upon the misty and uncertain mountains, while the vast wild wideness
of the land would force upon his heart the madness of hoping that his
search would prove successful.

Thus had he gone forth one morning, when, in the glade of the forest
where their tents were raised, he saw before him one of the barbarians
whom he had never beheld before. The cold stern eye of Menenius rested
on him for an instant, and then turned to the dim woods again. There
was nothing pleasing in his form or in his countenance, and Menenius
was passing on. He was short in stature, but broad as a giant, and
with each muscular limb swelling with vigour and energy. His head was
large and disproportioned--his face flat--his brow prominent--his
colour swarthy. A few long and straggling hairs upon his chin, and
deep lines of powerful thought, told that he had long reached manhood,
while his white and shining teeth, and his bright keen, speckless eye,
spoke vigour undecayed by one year too many.

"Whither stray'st thou, stranger?" said the barbarian; "can a Greek
enjoy the aspect of solitary nature; can the dweller in cities--the
pitiful imitator of the meanest of insects, the ant--can he look with
pleasure on the wilds that were given man for his best, and original
home?"

"Thou art ignorant, Hun!" replied Menenius, "and with the pride of
ignorance, despisest that which thou dost not comprehend. Man, in
raising cities and ornamenting them with art, only follows the
dictates of nature herself. To the brutes she gave the wild world, but
added no intellect to her gift, for the world, in its wildest state,
was sufficient. To man she gave intellect, and the whole universe,
full of materials, on which to employ it. He who is most elevated by
nature herself, will use her gifts in the most diversified ways, and
he who least uses them, approaches nearest to the brute.--Nay,
barbarian, roll not thy furious eyes on me; I sought thee not, and he
who speaks to me must hear the truth."

For several minutes, however, the Hun did roll his eyes with an
expression of fury that strangely contrasted with his perfect silence.
Not a word did he speak--not a quiver of the lip betrayed the
suppression of any angry tone, and it was not till the fierce glance
of his wrath was completely subdued, that he replied, "Vain son of a
feeble face, upon whose necks Attila, my lord and thine, has trod,
boast not the use of arts which have reduced thy people to what they
are, and made them alike unfit for war and peace. Look at their bones
whitening in the fields; look at their cities levelled with the
plains; look at their manifold and wicked laws, which protect the
strong and oppress the weak; look at their silken and luxurious
habits, which effeminate their bodies and degrade their minds. This is
the product of the arts thou praisest. This is the degrading
civilisation that thou huggest to thy heart."

"Not so, Hun," replied Menenius: "the corruption which thou hast seen
with too sure an eye, springs not from art, or knowledge, or
civilisation. It springs from the abuse of wealth and power. The Roman
empire was as a man who, covered with impenetrable armour, had
conquered all his enemies, and finding none other to struggle with,
had cast away his shield and breastplate; and lay down on a sunny bank
to sleep. In his slumber, new adversaries came upon him, his armour
was gone, and he was overthrown. The armour of the empire was courage,
decision, and patriotism, the slumber was luxury, and thus it was that
the myriads of thy lord penetrated to Constantinople, and destroyed
the cities. The arts thou despisest, because thou knowest them not,
had no share in bringing on the slumber which has proved so
destructive; but let the Huns beware, for the giant may awake."

"Ha!" cried the barbarian, with a triumphant smile, "what is the city
that could stand an hour, if Attila bade it fall?"

"Azimantium!" replied Menenius.

The Hun threw back his broad shoulders, and glared upon the Thracian
chief with a glance more of surprise than anger--then gazed at him
from head to foot, visited each particular feature with his eye, and
marked every vigorous and well-turned limb with a look of scrutinizing
inquiry. "Thou art Menenius!" he exclaimed abruptly, after he had
satisfied himself, "Thou art Menenius! 'Tis well! 'Tis well!--I deemed
thou hadst been Maximin."

"And had I been so," asked Menenius, "would that have made a
difference in thy language?"

"Son of a free and noble race," replied the Hun, "ask me no further.
That which may well become thee to speak, would ill befit the
suppliant messenger of a conquered king; and that which I would say to
the vanquished and the crouching, could not be applied to the brave
and the independent. Happy had it been for thy country had she
possessed many like to thee, for then she would have fallen with
honour: and happy, too, had it been for Attila, my lord, for then his
triumphs would have been more glorious."

Menenius was silent. The tone of the Hun was changed. The rudeness of
his manner was gone; and though he spoke with the dignity of one whose
nation was rich in conquests, there was no longer in his language the
assumption of haughty superiority which he had at first displayed.

"And thou," said Menenius, at last--"Who am I to fancy thee?"

"I am Onegesius, the servant of Attila the King," replied the Hun;
"and mark me, chieftain of a brave people. Hold but little communion
with the slaves of Theodosius as they pass through the dominions of
the Huns. The lion may be stung by the viper, if he lie down where he
is coiled. Now, farewell;" and thus speaking the Hun turned, and with
a proud, firm step, each fall of which seemed planted as for a combat,
he took his path away from the Grecian tents.

                         *     *     *     *
                         *     *     *     *
                         *     *     *     *

The ambassadors pursued their way, and, after some days, encamped late
at night upon the banks of the dark and rushing Tebiscus.

The heavens were obscured by heavy leaden clouds driven by the wind
into large masses, through the breaks of which, a dull and sickly moon
glared forth with a fitful and a watery light upon the misty earth.
The dim shapes of shadowy mountains, too, were vaguely sketched upon
the sky, covered with quick passing shades, while ever and anon the
winds howled forth their melancholy song, a wild and sombre anthem to
the grim genius of the scene around.

The tents were pitched, the plain meal was over, the mead had passed
round, and sleep had relaxed every weary muscle of the travellers'
limbs, when suddenly a hurricane rushed over the whole scene, the
river rose, the rain came down in torrents, and the temporary
encampment was in a moment overthrown. Drenched and terrified, the
legates of the Emperor disengaged themselves with difficulty from
their falling pavilions, and called loudly for help. Noise and
confusion spread around, and the roaring stream rising quickly over
the meadow in which they had been sleeping, the howling of the
overpowering wind, and the heavy pattering of the rain, added to the
disturbance and fear of the scene.

A moment after, a blazing light upon the nearest hill rose like a
beacon to direct their steps, and thither the ambassadors were led by
the Huns.

Menenius, after he had provided for the safety of his horses and
attendants, followed the rest. As he approached the light, he saw, by
the figures of several Huns supplying a large fire of dry reeds with
fresh fuel, that it had been raised on purpose to guide any travellers
overtaken by the storm, to a place of shelter and repose. Attention
and kindness awaited him, and he was instantly led into a large wooden
house, where Priscus and Maximin were already seated by a cheerful
hearth, at which a young widow, the wife of Attila's dead brother
Bleda, was busy in the gentle cares of hospitality. Along the extreme
side of the apartment was drawn a line of Scythian slaves, armed as
became those who waited on the widow of a king; and as Menenius
entered, their rank was just closing, after having given exit to a
form which made the Thracian chief, start forward, as his eye caught
the last flutter of her retiring robes. "Who passed?"--he exclaimed,
abruptly, forgetting, in the anxious haste of the moment, all idle
ceremony. "Who passed but now?"

"Ella, the daughter of the king, and her maidens," was the reply. The
heart of Menenius sunk, and his eye lost its eager fire. In a few
brief words he excused his abruptness; but the widow of Bleda was one
of those whose kind hearts find excuses better than we can urge them.
"The maiden is fair," she said, "and well merits a stranger's glance.
In truth, she knew not that there was another guest of such a mien
about to be added to our hearth, or she would have staid to pour the
camus and the mead. Much would she grieve were she not here to show
that part of hospitality." And Bleda's widow sent a maiden to tell her
niece that Menenius, the Azimantine chief, sat by the fire untended.

She came--a dark-haired girl, with a splendid brow, and eyes as pure
and bright as if a thousand diamonds had been melted to furnish forth
their deep and flashing light. A rose as glorious as that upon the
brow of morning warmed her cheek, and a quick untaught grace moved in
her full and easy limbs, like those of a wild deer. But she was not
Honoria; and the eye of Menenius rested on her, as on a fair statue,
which, in its cold difference of being, however lovely, however it may
call upon admiration, wakens no sympathy within our warmer bosoms.

She, however; gazed on him, as on something new, and strange, and
bright; and there was in her glance both the untutored fire of artless
nature, and the fearless pride of kingly race, and early acquaintance
with power. For a moment she stood, and contemplated the Thracian
chief, with her sandalled foot advanced, and her head thrown back, and
her lustrous eye full of wild pleasure; but then suddenly a red flush
rose in her cheek, and spread over her brow, and, with a trembling
hand, she filled a cup of mead, touched it with her lips, gave it to
Menenius, and again retired.

Menenius lay down to rest, but his dreams were not of her whom he had
seen. Gay visions of the former time rose up and visited his brain.
From out the dreary tomb of the past, long-perished moments of joy
and hope were called, as by an angel's voice, to bless his
slumber--Honoria--Azimantium--happiness.

Pass we over the onward journey. After a long and tedious march, the
ambassadors arrived at the royal village of the Huns, which was then
surrounded by uncultured woods, though at present the rich vineyards
of Tokay spread round the land in which it stood. Houses of wood were
the only structures which were boasted by the chief city of the
monarch of one half the earth; and to the eye of the Greeks,
everything seemed poor and barbarous in the simplicity of the Huns.
Yet, even lowly as were their cottage palaces, they had contrived to
bestow much art on their construction. Fantastic trelliswork, and rich
carved screens, and wreathed columns, cut of polished and variegated
woods, were scattered in every direction; and while the first faint
efforts of an approach to taste were to be found in the taller
buildings and in the more correct proportions of the royal dwellings,
the idea of war--the national sport and habitual passion, of the
people--was to be seen in the imitative towers and castles with which
they had decorated their dwellings of peace.

Attila himself had not yet returned from his last excursion; but a day
did not elapse before his coming was announced by warrior after
warrior who arrived, their horses covered with gold, and their
follower's laden with spoil. All his subjects went forth to gratulate
their conquering monarch; and the Greeks, standing on a little
eminence, beheld his approach. First came innumerable soldiers, in
dark irregular masses, and then appeared chieftain after chieftain,
all the various nations that he ruled. Then was seen a long train of
maidens, in white robes, walking in two lines, each bearing aloft in
her hand one end of a fine white veil, which, stretching across to the
other side, canopied a row of younger girls, who scattered flowers
upon the path. Behind these, mounted on a strong black horse, clothed
in one uniform dark robe, without jewel, or gold, or ornament
whatever, came the monarch whose sway stretched over all the northern
world.

As he advanced, he paused a moment, while his attendants raised a
small silver table, on which the wife of one of his favourite chiefs
offered him refreshments on his return. He was still at some distance,
but the Greeks could behold him bend courteously to the giver, and
raise the cup to his lips. The table was then removed, and onward came
the king--nearer--more near--till Menenius might distinguish the
features of the dark Hun he had met in the forest.

Menenius sat in the lonely hut which had been appointed for his
dwelling, and while the shadows of night fell like the darkening hues
of time, as they come deeper and deeper upon the brightness of our
youth, hope waxed faint in his heart, and dim despondency spread like
twilight over his mind. Alone, in the midst of a wild and barbarous
land, the depths o, whose obscure forests were probably unknown even
to the fierce monarch whose sway they owned, how could he, unfriended,
unaided, dream that he would ever discover that lost jewel, which had
been torn from the coronet of his happiness? Never! never! never to
behold her again! To journey through a weary life, and fall into the
chill, solitary tomb, without the blessed light of those dear eyes
which had been the starlike lamps of his existence--to dwell for ever
in ignorance of her fate, while his fancy, like the damned in Hades,
could find nothing but the bitter food of horror and despair--Such was
his destiny.

"Attila the king!" exclaimed a loud voice, as he pondered, and
Menenius stood face to face with the Monarch of the North, while the
light of the pinewood torch glared red upon the dark features of the
Scythian, and gave to those grim and powerful lines a sterner
character and fiercer shade. His voice was gentle, however; and,
seating himself on the couch, he spoke with words which had in them a
tone of unshared, undisputed, unlimited authority, but elevated by the
consciousness of mental greatness, and tempered by admiration and
esteem.

"Chief of Azimantium," said the Hun, "while the slaves of a vain and
treacherous king wait long ere they are permitted to breathe the same
air with Attila, the king of nations disdains not to visit the leader
of the brave. Mark me, thou chief of the last free sons of Greece! The
sword of thy country is broken--the sceptre of thine emperors passed
away. The seed is gathered which shall sow grass in the palaces of
kings--the clouds are collected which shall water the harvest of
desolation. Greek, I boast not of my victories--it sufficeth Attila to
conquer. But calmly, reasonably measure thy people against mine, and
think whether the small band of Azimantines, were they all inspired by
the God of battles with courage like thine own, could save the whole
of degenerate Greece from the innumerable and warrior people of the
north. What--what can Azimantium do, all unsupported, against a world?"

"Each son of Azimantium," replied Menenius, "can offer up a hecatomb
of Scythian strangers, and give his soul to heaven upon the wings of
victory. This will Azimantium--and then--perish Greece!"

A shadow passed across the monarch's brow.

"Be not too proud," he said, "be not too proud! A better fate may yet
befall thy city and thy land. So well does Attila love Azimantium,
that he claims her as his own from the Greek emperor; and to win her
citizens to willingness, he offers his daughter--his loved--his lovely
daughter to her chief. Pause!" he added, seeing the quivering of
Menenius' lip: "pause and think! Reply not! but remember that thus may
Greece be saved--that the safety or destruction of thy land is upon
thy tongue. Pause, and let the sun rise twice upon the meditation of
thine answer."

Thus spoke the monarch, and in a moment after, the Azimantine chief
was once more left to solitude. Deep and bitter was the smile of
contempt that curled the lip of Menenius; for in the proud glory of
his own heart, he forgot how low Greece had fallen amongst the people
of the earth, and in the imperishable memory of his love, the mention
of another bride was but as the raving of insanity. "I!--I!--Menenius
of Azimantium! wed the daughter of the barbarian! I become a subject
of the Hun!--I forget Honoria!"

Another day went down, and Menenius, with the Grecian ambassador, was
seated in the halls of Attila, at the banquet which the proud monarch
gave at once to the envoys of the Eastern and Western empire. On a
raised platform in the midst of the hall was the couch and table of
Attila, covered with fine linen and precious stuffs, while fifty small
tables on either side were spread out for the guests invited to the
royal feast. An open space was before the board of the monarch, and
behind him the hall was filled with a dark fantastic crowd of guards,
and attendants, and barbarian slaves.

On the same couch with Attila sat his daughter
Iërnë--that beautiful daughter whom Menenius had beheld at the
dwelling of Bleda's widow; and as the Azimantine chief passed by, and
poured the required libation to "Attila the Brave," the maiden's eyes
fixed motionless on the ground, and the blood rose fast into her
cheek, like the red morning sun rising up into the pale twilight sky.
Menenius passed on unchanged and cold, and took his place with
Maximin, the ambassador of Theodosius.

The fare of Attila was plain and rude, but the tables of his guest
were spread with all that the fearful luxury of Rome itself could have
culled from earth and sea. Ere long the cupbearer filled the golden
goblet, and the monarch, rising from his couch, drank to Berec, the
bravest of the Huns. Again, after a pause, he rose, but the cup was
given him by his daughter, and Attila drank to Menenius, the bravest
of the Greeks. Quick and sparkling flowed the mead, and then an old
gray man poured to the wild chords of a barbaric lyre, a song of
triumph and of battles, while at every close he proclaimed, Attila's
bridal day. At length a bright troop of young and happy maidens led
in, surrounded by their linked arms, three brighter than themselves,
from whom the Monarch of the North was about to choose a new partner
for his mighty throne. Their faces were veiled; but through the long
white robes that clothed them shone out that radiant light of grace
and beauty which nothing can conceal. Slowly, as if reluctant, they
were brought into the monarch's presence.

Why quivered the lip of Menenius? Why strained his eye upon that first
veiled figure? The veil is gone!--To him! to him she stretched forth
her hands!--The table and the banquet are dashed to atoms at his feet;
and Honoria is in Menenius' arms.

A thousand swords sprang from their sheaths--a thousand javelins
quivered round the hall. "Traitor! Madman! Sacrilegious slave!" was
shouted in a thousand fierce voices, and a thousand barbarous tongues.
But unquailing in the midst stood the Azimantine chief--his left arm
round the beating heart of his young bride--his right, armed with that
sword which had bowed many a hero to the dust, raised appealing to the
Scythian king. "Monarch of the Huns," he cried, "this is the captive I
have come to seek. As you are a man--as you are a warrior--as you are
a king!--by your oath--by your honour--by your justice! yield her to
me, her promised husband, and put us safely off your land. Then if of
all these brave and mighty men," he added with a frown, "who draw the
sword against a single Greek, there be but ten who will meet me brow
to brow on the battle plain, I will write it in their blood that I am
neither slave nor traitor, but a bold man, who dares to claim and to
defend his own!"

Fierce wrath, stern revenge, majestic admiration, had swept over the
countenance of Attila, like the broken masses of a rent thunder-cloud
hurled over the sky by the succeeding blast.

"Hold!" he cried; "Warriors! put up your swords. Chief of Azimantium!
you rob me of a bride; but if this be the captive you have come to
seek, Attila's word is given, and safely, surely, she shall be
returned to her home, were she as lovely as the moon, But with you,
Greek, with your companions, Maximin, Priscus, and Vigilius, the king
has still to deal, and, after what has befallen this day, expect
nothing more than justice." As he spoke, he rolled his dark eyes
fearfully around, then suddenly raised his hand, exclaiming, "Now,
warriors! now!" and before he could strike a blow, Menenius,
unprepared, was seized on all sides, and bound tight in every limb,
together with the envoys from Theodosius.

All, for an instant, was wild confusion. Honoria, with the other
women, were hurried from the hall; and Menenius found himself ranged
with Priscus and Maximin before the throne of Attila; while, in the
deathlike, ashy, quivering countenance of Vigilius, the interpreter,
who stood beside him, he read detected guilt and certain death.

"Hired murderers, sent by an imperial slave to slay his conqueror and
master," exclaimed Attila, after he had gazed for some minutes upon
the Greeks, "do ye not tremble to find your baseness exposed in the
eyes of all the universe? Stand forth, Edecon, and tell the warriors
of Attila, how these men came here, under the garb of ambassadors, to
slay by treachery, in peace, the king that, by battle, they could not
vanquish in war. And you warriors, lay not your hands upon your
swords--Attila will do justice to Attila."

At the command of the king, Edecon, who had been ambassador for Attila
at Constantinople, stood forth, and declared, that in an interview
with the Eunuch Chrysaphius, that favourite of the weak Monarch of the
East had proposed to him the assassination of his master, and offered
him an immense reward. He had affected to consent, and had that very
day received a purse of gold and jewels from Vigilius, the
interpreter, who was privy to the whole. The plot he had instantly
communicated to Attila, and the purse he now produced. Maximin and
Priscus, he doubted not, were cunning men, sent to accomplish the
scheme with art; and Menenius, beyond question, was the daring
murderer to strike the final blow.

Maximin spoke loudly in his own defence, and Priscus learnedly on the
improbability of the tale, while the mouth of Vigilius opened, and his
lips quivered, but no sound found utterance. Menenius was silent, but
he fixed his bold eye upon Attila, who glared upon them all like a
tiger crouching for the spring.

"Maximin and Priscus," said the king, at length, "ye are innocent! Let
them be freed. As for yon trembling traitor, guilt is in his eye and
on his cheek; but the sword that should smite Vigilius would be
disgraced for ever, and find no blood in his coward heart. Let him buy
his life, and pay two hundred pounds weight of gold to him he sought
to bribe.--As for thee, Chief of Azimantium--"

"Thou knowest I am guiltless, Hun!" replied Menenius, "and bonds such
as these have pressed upon my arms too long."

"Of thy guilt or innocence I know nought," replied the King; "but this
I know, that I will guard thee safely till thine Emperor send me the
head of Chrysaphius, the murdering slave who first sought to tempt my
subjects into treachery. Away with Vigilius, till he pay the purchase
of his base life; and away with this Azimantine, till Orestes and
Eslaw, my envoys, bring me the head of the eunuch from my slave the
Emperor."

                 *     *     *     *
                 *     *     *     *
                 *     *     *     *

In the solitude of a dark unlighted hut, stretched upon a bear's hide,
which had been cast down for his bed, lay the young Chief of
Azimantium, pondering his hard fate, while the sounds of many a gay
and happy, voice without, struck with painful discord upon his
unattuned ear. Dark and melancholy, the fancies flitted across his
brain like the visions of dead friends seen in the dim atmosphere of
troubled sleep, and he revolved in his mind that bold cowardice of his
ancestors, which taught them to fly from the sorrows and dangers of
their fate, by the sure but gloomy passage of the tomb. Was it virtue,
he asked himself, or vice? wisdom, or insanity, that allied the last
despair to the last hope, and made self-murder the cure of other ills?
And, as he thought, sorrow took arms against his better mind, and
whispered like a friend, "Die! Die, Menenius! Peace is in the grave!"
A new and painful struggle was added to the evils of his state, and
still he thought of death as hours and days went by.

Nor was this all; for, as the Dacians tame the lions for the imperial
shows, the Hum strove to break his spirit, and subdue his high heart,
by reiterated anxieties and cares. Now, he was told of wars with the
Empire, and the fall of Greece: now, strange whispers were poured into
his ear, of some direful fate reserved for himself: now, he heard of
the great annual sacrifice offered at the altar of Mars, where a
hundred captive maidens washed the platform with their blood. But
still, like the great hero of the mighty founder of the Epic song, he
rose above the waves that poured upon his head, and still answered,
"Never! never!" when the name of Azimantium was connected with the
dominion of the Huns.

It was one night when a darker melancholy than ever oppressed his
mind, and despondency sat most heavy on his soul, that the door was
cast open, and a blaze of light burst upon his sight. His eyes,
familiar with the darkness, refused at first to scan the broad glare;
but when at length they did their office, he beheld, in the midst of
her slaves, that fair girl Iërnë, whose offered hand he had refused.
Her cheek, which had been as warm as the last cloud of the summer
evening was now as pale as the same cloud when, spirit-like, it flits
across the risen moon. But her eye had lost none of its lustre; and it
seemed, in truth, as if her whole soul had concentrated there to give
fuller effulgence to its living light.

"Chief of Azimantium," said the maiden, "it is my father's will that
you be freed, and I--that the generosity of Attila should know no
penury--I have prayed, that though Menenius slighted Iërnë, he should
wed the woman of his love even in Iërnë's father's halls. My prayer
has been granted--the banquet is prepared--the maiden is warned, and
the blushes are on her cheek--a priest of thine own God is
ready.--Rise, then, Chief of Azimantium, and change a prison for thy
bridal bed. Rise, and follow the slighted Iërnë."

"O lady!" answered Menenius, "call not thyself by so unkind a name.
Write on your memory, that, long ere my eyes rested on your
loveliness, Honoria was bound to my heart by ties of old affection;
and, as your soul is generous and noble, fancy all the gratitude that
your blessed words waken in my bosom. Oh! Let the thought of having
raised me from despair--of having freed me from bonds--of having
crowned me with happiness, find responsive joy in your bosom, and let
the blessing that you give, return and bless you also."

Iërnë pressed her hand firm upon her forehead, and gazed upon Menenius
while he spoke, with eyes whose bright but unsteady beams seemed
borrowed from the shifting meteors of the night. The graceful arch of
her full coral lip quivered; but she spoke not; and, waving with her
hand, the attendants loosened the chains from the hands of the
Azimantine, and, starting on his feet, Menenius was free.

                 *     *     *     *
                 *     *     *     *
                 *     *     *     *

In the brightness and the blaze of a thousand torches, the chief of
Azimantium stood in the halls of Attila, with the hand of Honoria
clasped in his own. Sorrow and anxiety had touched, but not stolen,
her beauty--had changed, but not withered, a charm. Every glance was
softened--every feature had a deeper interest--and joy shone the
brighter for the sorrow that was gone, like the mighty glory of the
sun when the clouds and the tempests roll away.

The dark monarch of the barbarians gazed on the work he had wrought,
and the joy that he had given; and a triumphant splendour, more
glorious than the beams of battle, radiated from his brow. "Chief of
Azimantium," he said, "thou art gold tried in the fire, and Attila
admires thee though a Greek--not for the beauty of thy form--let girls
and pitiful limners think of that!--not for thy strength and daring
alone--such qualities are for soldiers and gladiators; but for thy
dauntless, unshrinking, unalterable resolution--the virtue of kings,
the attribute of gods--Were Attila not Attila, he would be Menenius.
Thou hast robbed me of a bride! Thou hast taken a husband from my
daughter; but Attila can conquer--even himself. Sound the hymeneal!
Advance to the altar! Yon priest has long been a captive among us,
but his blessing on Honoria and Menenius shall bring down freedom
on his own head."

The solemnity was over--the barbarian guests were gone, and through
the flower-strewed passages of the palace, Honoria and Menenius were
led to their bridal chamber; while a thousand thrilling feelings of
joy, and hope, and thankfulness, blended into one tide of delight,
poured from their mutual hearts through all their frames, like the
dazzling sunshine of the glorious noon streaming down some fair valley
amidst the mountains, and investing every object round in misty
splendour, and dreamlike light. The fruition of long delayed hope, the
gratification of early and passionate love, was not all; but it seemed
as if the dark cloudy veil between the present and the future had been
rent for them by some divine hand, and that a long vista of happy
years lay before their eyes in bright perspective to the very horizon
of being. Such were the feelings of both their bosoms, as, with linked
hands and beating hearts; they approached the chamber assigned to
them; but their lips were silent, and it was only the love-lighted eye
of Menenius, as it rested on the form of his bride, and the timid,
downcast, but not unhappy glance of Honoria, that spoke the world of
thoughts that crowded in their breasts.

A band of young girls, with the pale Iërnë at their head, met them
singing at the door of their chamber. The maidens strewed their couch
with flowers, and Iërnë gave the marriage cup to the hand of Honoria;
but as she did so, there was a wild uncertain light in her eye, and a
quivering eagerness on her lip, that made Menenius hold Honoria's arm
as she was about to raise the chalice to her mouth.

"Ha! I had forgot," said the princess, taking back the goblet with a
placid smile, "I must drink first, and then, before the moon be eleven
times renewed, I too shall be a bride. Menenius the brave! Honoria the
fair! Happy lovers, I drink to your good rest! May your sleep be
sound! May your repose be unbroken!"

And with a calm and graceful dignity, she drank a third part of the
mead. Honoria drank also, according to the custom; Menenius drained
the cup, and the maidens withdrawing, left the lovers to their couch.
Honoria hid her eyes upon the bosom of Menenius, and the warrior,
pressing her to his bosom, spoke gentle words of kind assurance. But
in a moment her hand grew deathly cold. "Menenius, I am faint," she
cried: "What is it that I feel? My heart seems is it were suddenly
frozen, and my blood changed into snow.--O Menenius! O my beloved! we
are poisoned; I am dying! That cup of mead--that frantic girl--she has
doomed us and herself to death."

As she spoke, through his own frame the same chill and icy feelings
spread. A weight was upon his heart, his warm and fiery blood grew
cold, the strong sinews lost their power, the courageous soul was
quelled, and he gazed in speechless, unnerved horror on Honoria,
while, shade by shade, the living rose left her cheek, and the "pale
standard" of life's great enemy marked his fresh conquest on her brow.
Her eyes, which, in the hour of joy and expectation, had been bent to
the earth, now fixed on his with a long, deep, earnest, imploring gaze
of last affection. Her arms, no longer timid, circled his form, and
the last beatings of her heart throbbed against his bosom. "Thou art
dying!" she said, as she saw the potent hemlock spread death over his
countenance, "thou too art dying! Menenius will not leave Honoria even
in this last long journey.--We go--we go together!"

And faintly she raised her hand, and pointed to the sky, where,
through the casement, the bright autumn moon poured her melancholy
splendour over the Hungarian hills. A film came over her eyes--a dark
unspeakable gray shadow and oh, it was horrible to see the bright
angel part from its clay tabernacle!

In the athletic frame of the lover, the poison did not its cruel
office so rapidly. He saw her fade away before his eyes--he saw her
pass like a flower that had lived its summer day, in perfume and
beauty, and faded with the falling of the night. He could
not--he would not so lose her. He would call for aid--some precious
antidote should give her back to life. He unclasped the faint arms
that still clung upon his neck. He rose upon his feet, with limbs
reduced to infant weakness. His brain reeled. His heart seemed
crushed beneath a mountain: but still he staggered forth. He heard
voices before. "Help! help!" he cried, "Help, ere Honoria die!"
With the last effort of existence, he rushed forward, tore
open the curtain before him, reeled forward to the throne on
which Attila held his midnight council--stretched forth his arms--but
power--voice--sense--being--passed away, and Menenius fell dead at
the monarch's feet.

"Who has done this?" exclaimed the king, in a voice of thunder. "Who
has done this? By the god of battles, if it be my own children, they
shall die! Is this the fate of Menenius? Is this the death that the
hero of Azimantium should have known? No! no! no! red on the
battle-field--gilded with the blood of enemies--the last of a slain,
but not a conquered host--so should the chief have died. Menenius!
Kinsman in glory! Attila weeps for the fate of his enemy!"

"Lord of the world! Lord of the world!" exclaimed a voice that hurried
from the chambers beyond, "thy daughter is dead in the arms of her
maidens; and dying, she sent thee word, that sooner than forbear to
slay her enemies, she had drunk of the cup which she had mingled for
them."

                 *     *     *     *
                 *     *     *     *
                 *     *     *     *

Attila smote his breast. "She was my daughter," he exclaimed, "she
was, indeed, my daughter! But let her die, for she has brought a stain
upon the hospitality of her father; and the world will say that
Attila, though bold, was faithless."

There was woe in Azimantium, while with slow and solemn pomp, the
ashes of Honoria and Menenius were borne into the city.

In the face of the assembled people, the deputies of Attila, by oath
and imprecation, purified their lord from the fate of the lovers. The
tale was simple, and soon told, and the children of Azimantium
believed.

Days, and years, and centuries, rolled by, and a race of weak and
effeminate monarchs; living alone by the feebleness and barbarism of
their enemies, took care that Azimantium should not long remain as a
monument of reproach to their degenerate baseness. Nation followed
nation; dynasty succeeded dynasty; a change came over the earth and
its inhabitants, and Azimantium was no more. Still, however, the rock
on which it stood bears its bold front towards the stormy sky, with
the same aspect of courageous daring wherewith its children
encountered the tempest of the Huns.

A few ruins, too--rifted walls, and dark fragments of fallen
fanes--the pavement of some sweet domestic hearth, long cold--a
graceful capital, or a broken statue, still tell that a city has been
there; and through the country round about, the wild and scattered
peasantry, still in the song, and the tale, and the vague tradition,
preserve in various shapes, The Story of Azimantium!



                     THE FISHERMAN OF SCARPHOUT.

                  TWO CHAPTERS FROM AN OLD HISTORY.


                              CHAPTER I.


About midway between Ostend and Sluys, exposed to all the fitful wrath
of the North Sea, lies a long track of desolate shore, frowning no
fierce defiance back upon the waves that dash in fury against it;
but--like a calm and even spirit, which repels by its very tranquil
humility the heat of passion and the overbearing of pride--opposing
nought to the angry billows, but a soft and lowly line of yellow
sands. There nothing grows which can add comfort to existence; there
nothing flourishes which can beautify or adorn. Torn from the depths
of ocean, and cast by the storm upon the shore, sea-shells and
variegated weeds will indeed sometimes deck the barren beach, and now
and then a green shrub, or a stunted yellow flower, wreathing its
roots amidst the shifting sand, will here and there appear upon the
low hills called _Dunes_. But with these exceptions, all is waste and
bare, possessing alone that portion of the sublime which is derived
from extent and desolation.

It may be well conceived that the inhabitants of such a spot are few.
Two small villages, and half-a-dozen isolated cottages, are the only
vestiges of human habitation to be met with in the course of many a
mile; and at the time to which this tale refers, these few dwellings
were still fewer. That time was long, long ago, at a period when
another state of society existed in Europe; and when one class of men
were separated from all others by barriers which time, the great
grave-digger of all things, has now buried beneath the dust of past-by
years.

Nevertheless, the inhabitants of that track of sandy country were less
different in habits, manners, and even appearance, from those who
tenant it at present, than might be imagined; and in original
character were very much the same, combining in their disposition
traits resembling the shore on which their habitations stood, and the
element by the side of which they lived--simple, unpolished, yet
gentle and humble, and at the same time wild, fearless, and rash as
the stormy sea itself.

I speak of seven centuries ago--a long time, indeed! but nevertheless
then, even then, there were as warm affections stirring in the world,
as bright domestic love, as glad hopes and chilling fears as
now--there were all the ties of home and kindred, as dearly felt, as
fondly cherished, as boldly defended as they can be in the present day;
and out upon the dull imagination and cold heart that cannot feel the
link of human sympathy binding us to our fellow beings even of the
days gone by!

Upon a dull; cold, melancholy evening, in the end of autumn, one of
the fishermen of the shore near Scarphout gazed over the gray sea as
it lay before his eye, rolling in, with one dense line of foaming
waves pouring for ever over the other. The sky was black and heavy,
covered with clouds of a mottled leaden hue, growing darker towards
the north-west, and the gusty whistling of the rising wind told of the
coming storm. The fisherman himself was a tall, gaunt man, with hair
of a grizzled black, strong marked, but not unpleasant features, and
many a long furrow across his broad, high brow.

The spot on which he stood was a small sand-hill on the little bay
formed by a projecting ridge of Dunes, at the extremity of which stood
the old castle of Scarphout--even then in ruins, and at the time of
high tide, separated from the land by the encroaching waves, but soon
destined to be swept away altogether, leaving nothing but a crumbling
tower here and there rising above the waters. Moored in the most
sheltered part of the bay, before his eyes, were his two boats; and
behind him, underneath the sand-hills that ran out to the old castle,
was the cottage in which he and his family had dwelt for ten years.

He stood and gazed; and then turning to a boy dressed in the same
uncouth garments as himself, he said, "No, Peterkin, no! There will be
a storm--I will not go to-night. Go, tell your father and the other
men I will not go. I expect my son home from Tournai, and I will not
go out on a stormy night when he is coming back after a long absence."

The boy ran away along the shore to some still lower cottages, which
could just be seen at the opposite point, about two miles off; and the
fisherman turned towards his own dwelling. Four rooms were all that it
contained; and the door which opened on the sands led into the first
of these: but the chamber was clean and neat; everything within it
showed care and extreme attention; the brazen vessels above the wide
chimney, the pottery upon the shelves, all bore evidence of good
housewifery; and as the fisherman of Scarphout entered his humble
abode, the warm blaze of the fire, and the light of the resin candle
welcomed him to as clean an apartment as could be found in the palace
of princes.

He looked round it with a proud and satisfied smile; and the arms of
his daughter, a lovely girl of fourteen, were round his neck in a
moment, while she exclaimed in a glad tone, speaking to her mother who
was busy in the room beyond, "Oh, mother, he will not go out to sea
to-night!"

Her mother, who had once been very beautiful--nay, was so still--came
forth, and greeted her husband with a calm, glad kiss; and sitting
down, the father pulled off his heavy boots, and warmed his strong
hands over the cheerful blaze.

The wind whistled louder and louder still, the sea moaned as if
tormented by the demon of the storm, and few, but dashing drops of
heavy rain, came upon the blast, and rattled on the casements of the
cottage.

"It will be a fearful night!" said the fisherman, speaking to his
daughter. "Emiline, give me the book, and we will read the prayer for
those that wander in the tempest."

His daughter turned to one of the wooden shelves; and from behind some
very homely articles of kitchen furniture, brought forth one of the
splendid books of the Romish church, from which her father read a
prayer aloud, while mother and daughter knelt beside him.

Higher still grew the storm as the night came on; more frequent and
more fierce were the howling gusts of wind; and the waves of the
stirred-up ocean, cast in thunder upon the shore, seemed to shake the
lowly cottage as if they would fain have swept it from the earth.
Busily did Dame Alice, the fisherman's wife, trim the wood fire;
eagerly and carefully did she prepare the supper for her husband and
her expected son; and often did Emiline listen to hear if, in the
lulled intervals of the storm, she could catch the sound of coming
steps.

At length, when the rushing of the wind and waves seemed at their
highest, there came a loud knocking at the door, and the fisherman
started up to open it, exclaiming, "It is my son!" He threw it wide;
but the moment he had done so, he started back, exclaiming, "Who are
you?" and pale as ashes, drenched with rain, and haggard, as if with
terror and fatigue, staggered in a man as old as the fisherman
himself, bearing in his arms what seemed the lifeless body of a young
and lovely woman.

The apparel of either stranger had, at one time, cost far more than
the worth of the fisherman's cottage and all that it contained; but
now, that apparel was rent and soiled, and upon that of the man were
evident traces of blood and strife. Motioning eagerly to shut the
door--as soon as it was done, he set his fair burden on one of the low
settles, and besought for her the aid of the two women whom he beheld.
It was given immediately; and although an air of surprise, and a look
for a moment even fierce, had come over the fisherman's countenance on
the first intrusion of strangers into his cottage, that look had now
passed away; and, taking the fair girl, who lay senseless before him,
in his strong arms, he bore her into an inner chamber, and placed her
on his wife's own bed. The women remained with her; and closing the
door, the fisherman returned to his unexpected guest, demanding
abruptly, "Who is that?"

The stranger crossed his question by another--"Are you Walran, the
fisherman of Scarphout?" he demanded, "and will you plight your oath
not to betray me?"

"I am Walran," replied the fisherman, "and I do plight my oath."

"Then that is the daughter of Charles, Count of Flanders!" replied the
stranger. "I have saved her at the risk of my life from the assassins
of her father!"

"The assassins of her father!" cried the fisherman. "Then is he dead?"

"He was slain yesterday in the church--in the very church itself, at
Bruges! Happily his son was absent, and his daughter is saved, at
least, if you will lend us that aid which a young man; who is even now
engaged in misleading our pursuers, promised in your name."

"My son!" said the fisherman. "His promise shall bind his father as if
it were my own. But tell me, who are you?"

"I am Baldwin, Lord of Wavrin," replied the stranger. "But we have no
time for long conferences, good fisherman. A party of assassins are
triumphant in Flanders. The count is slain; his son, a youth, yet
unable to recover or defend his own without aid: his daughter is here,
pursued by the murderers of her father; she cannot be long concealed,
and this night, this very night, I must find some method to bear her
to the shores of France, so that I may place her in safety, and, as a
faithful friend of my dead sovereign, obtain the means of snatching
his son's inheritance from the hands of his enemies, ere their power
be confirmed beyond remedy. Will you venture to bear us out to sea in
your boat, and win a reward such as a fisherman can seldom gain?"

"The storm is loud," said the fisherman; "the wind is cold; and ere
you reach the coast of France, that fair flower would be withered
never to, revive again. You must leave her here."

"But she will be discovered and slain by the murderers of her father,"
replied Baldwin. "What, are you a man, and a seaman, and fear to dare
the storm for such an object?"

"I fear nothing!" answered the fisherman, calmly. "But here is my son!
Albert, God's benison be upon you, my boy," he added, as a young man
entered the cottage, with the dark curls of his jetty hair dripping
with the night rain. "Welcome back! but you come in an hour of
trouble. Cast the great bar across the door, and let no one enter,
while I show this stranger a refuge he knows not."

"No one shall enter living," said the young man, after returning his
father's first embrace: and the fisherman taking one of the resin
lights from the table, passed through the room where the fair unhappy
Marguerite of Flanders lay, recovering from the swoon into which she
had fallen, to a recollection of all that was painful in existence.

"Should they attempt to force the door," whispered the fisherman to
his wife, "bring her quick after me, and bid Albert and Emiline
follow." And striding on with the Lord of Wavrin into the room beyond,
he gave his guest the light, while he advanced towards the wall which
ended the building on that side. It had formed part of some old
tenement, most probably a monastery, which had long ago occupied the
spot, when a little town, now no longer existing, had been gathered
together at the neck of the promontory on which the fort of Scarphout
stood.

This one wall was all that remained of the former habitations; and
against it the cottage was built; though the huge stones of which it
was composed were but little in harmony with the rest of the low
building. To it, however, the fisherman advanced, and placing his
shoulder against one of the enormous stones, to the astonishment of
the stranger it moved round upon a pivot in the wall, showing the top
of a small staircase, leading down apparently into the ground. A few
words sufficed to tell that that staircase led, by a passage under the
narrow neck of sand-hills, to the old castle beyond; and that in that
old castle was still one room habitable, though unknown to any but the
fisherman himself.

"Here, then, let the lady stay," he said, "guarded, fed, and tended by
my wife and children; and for you and me, let us put to sea. I will
bring you safe to Boulogne, if I sleep not with you beneath the waves;
and there, from the King of France, you may gain aid to re-establish
rightful rule within the land."

"To Boulogne," said the stranger, "to Boulogne? Nay, let us pause at
Bergues or Calais, for I am not loved in Boulogne. I once," he added,
boldly, seeing some astonishment in the fisherman's countenance, "I
once wronged the former Count of Boulogne--I scruple not to say it--I
did him wrong; and though he has been dead for years, yet his people
love me not, and I have had warning to avoid their dwellings."

"And do you think the love or hate of ordinary people can outlive long
years?" demanded the fisherman; "but, nevertheless, let us to
Boulogne; for _there_ is even now the King of France: so said a
traveller who landed here the other day. And, the king, who is come,
they say, to judge upon the spot who shall inherit the long vacant
county of Boulogne, will give you protection against your enemies, and
aid to restore your sovereign's son to his rightful inheritance."

The Lord of Wavrin mused for a moment, but consented, and all was
speedily arranged. The fair Marguerite of Flanders, roused and cheered
by the care of the fisherman's family, gladly took advantage of the
refuge offered her, and found no terrors in the long damp vaults or
ponderous stone door that hid her from the world; and feeling that she
herself was now in safety, she scarcely looked round the apartment to
which she was led, but gave herself up to the thoughts of her father's
bloody death, her brother's situation of peril, and all the dangers
that lay before the faithful friend who, with a father's tenderness,
had guided her safely from the house of murder and desolation.

He on his part, saw the heavy stone door roll slowly to after after
the princess, and ascertaining that an iron bolt within gave her the
means of securing her retreat, at least in a degree, he left her, with
a mind comparatively tranquillized in regard to her, and followed the
fisherman towards the beach.

There the boat was found already prepared, with its prow towards the
surf, and one or two of the fisherman's hardy companions ready to
share his danger.

The Lord of Wavrin looked up to the dark and starless sky; he felt the
rude wind push roughly against his broad chest; he heard the billows
fall in thunder upon the sandy shore! But he thought of his murdered
sovereign, and of that sovereign's helping orphans, and springing into
the frail bark, he bade the men push off, though he felt that there
was many a chance those words might be the signals of his death.
Watching till the wave had broken, the three strong seamen pushed the
boat through the yielding sand; the next instant she floated; they
leaped in, and struggling for a moment with the coming wave, the bark
bounded out into the sea, and was lost to the sight of those that
watched her from the shore.



                      THE FISHERMAN OF SCARPHOUT.

                              CHAPTER II.


There were tears in the blue eye of the morning, but they were like
the tears of a spoiled beauty when her momentary anger has gained all
she wishes, and the passionate drops begin to be chequered by smiles
not less wayward. Gradually, however, the smiles predominated; the
clouds grew less frequent and less heavy, the sun shone out with
shorter intervals, and though the wind and the sea still sobbed and
heaved with the past storm, the sky was momently becoming more and
more serene.

Such was the aspect of the coming day, when the unhappy Marguerite of
Flanders again opened her eyes, after having for a time forgotten her
sorrow in but too brief repose. For a moment she doubted whether the
past were not all a dream; but the aspect of the chamber in which she
now found herself, very different from that which she had inhabited in
her father's palace, soon recalled the sad reality. And yet, as she
gazed round the room, there was nothing rude or coarse in its
appearance. Rich tapestry was still upon the walls; the dressoir was
still covered with fine linen and purple, and many a silver
vessel--laver, and ewer, and cup, stood ready for her toilet. The small
grated windows, with the enormous walls in which they were set, the
faded colours of the velvet hangings of the bed in which she had been
sleeping, the vaulted roof, showing no carved and gilded oak, but the
cold, bare stone, told that she was in the chamber of a lone and
ruined fortress; but one that less than a century before had contained
persons in whose veins flowed the same blood that wandered through her
own.

Rising, she gazed out of the window, which looked upon the wide and
rushing sea, and she thought of the good old Lord of Wavrin and his
dangerous voyage; and, like the figures in a delirious dream, the
forms of the old fisherman, and his beautiful daughter and fair wife,
and handsome, dark-eyed son, came back upon her memory.

A slight knock at the door roused her; but her whole nerves had been
so much shaken with terror that she hardly dared to bid the stranger
enter. At length, however, she summoned courage to do so, and the fair
and smiling face of Emiline, the fisherman's daughter, appeared behind
the opening door.

Torn from the fond, accustomed things of early days, left alone and
desolate in a wild and unattractive spot, surrounded by dangers, and
for the first time exposed to adversity, the heart of Marguerite of
Flanders was but too well disposed to cling to whatever presented
itself for affection. Emiline she found kind and gentle, but though
younger, of a firmer mood than herself, having been brought up in a
severer school; and to her Marguerite soon learned to cling.

But there was another companion whom fate cast in her way, from whom
she could not withhold the same natural attachment, though but too
likely to prove dangerous to her peace. Morning and evening, every
day, Albert, the fisherman's son, who had been left behind by his
father to afford that protection which none but a man could give,
visited her retreat in the company of his sister; and Marguerite was
soon taught to long for those visits as the brightest hours of her
weary concealment.

But in the meantime the fisherman returned no more. Day passed after
day; morning broke and evening fell, and the boat which had left the
shore of Scarphout on that eventful evening, did not appear again. The
eye of the fisherman's wife strained over the waters, and when at
eventide the barks of the other inhabitants of the coast were seen
approaching the shore, his children ran down to inquire for their
parent--but in vain.

About the same time, too, fragments of wrecks--masts, sails, and
planks--were cast upon the sands, and dark and sad grew the brows of
the once happy family at the point of Scarphout. The two other men
whom he had chosen to accompany him were unmarried, but their
relations at length gave up the last hope, and the priest of Notre
Dame de Blankenbergh was besought to say masses for the souls of the
departed. The good old man wept as he promised to comply, for though
he had seen courts, and lived in the household of a noble prince, he
loved his simple flock, and had ever been much attached to the worthy
man whose boat was missing.

Marguerite of Flanders, with a fate but too intimately interwoven
with, that of the unfortunate family at Scarphout, had been made
acquainted with the hopes and fears of every day, had mingled her
tears with Emiline, and had even clasped the hand of Albert, while she
soothed him with sympathetic sorrow for his father's loss. "Mine is an
unhappy fate," she said, "to bring sorrow and danger even here, while
seeking to fly from it myself."

"Grieve not, lady, in that respect," replied Albert, raising her hand
to his lips; "we have but done our duty towards you, and our hearts
are not such as to regret that we have done so, even though we lose a
father by it. Neither fear for your own fate. The times must change
for better ones. In the meanwhile you are in safety here, and should
need be, I will defend you with the last drop of my blood."

The morning that followed, however, wore a different aspect. Scarcely
were matins over, when the good old priest himself visited the cottage
of the fisherman, and proceeded to those of his companions, spreading
joy and hope wherever he came. What, it may be asked, was the source
of such joy? It was but a vision! The old man had dreamt, he said,
that he had seen the fisherman of Scarphout safe and well, with a net
in his hand, in which were an innumerable multitude of fishes. And
this simple dream was, in that age, sufficient to dry the eyes of
mourning, and bring back hope to bosoms that had been desolate.

Albert flew to communicate the tale to Marguerite of Flanders, and
there was spoken between them many a word of joy--joy that so often
entwines its arms with tenderness. He now came oftener than ever, for
the old priest by some means had learned that he took an interest in
all the changing fortunes of the state of Flanders, and daily the good
man brought him tidings, which sometimes he felt it a duty, sometimes
a pleasure, to tell to the lonely dweller in the ruined castle.

He found, too, that his presence cheered her, and that his
conversation won her from her grief. She began to cling even more to
him than to his sister; for he knew more of the world, and men, and
courts, than Emiline, and he thought it but kind to afford her every
solace and pleasure he could give. Each day his visits became more
frequent, and continued longer.

Sometimes he would liberate her, after a sort, from her voluntary
prison, by taking her, with Emiline, in his boat upon the moonlight
sea, or even by leading her along, under the eye of Heaven's queen,
upon the smooth sands, when the waves of a calm night rippled up to
their feet. At other times he would sit upon the stones of the old
battlements, rent and rifted by the warfare of ages, and would while
her thoughts away from herself by tales of other days, when those
battlements had withstood the assault of hosts, and those halls had
been the resort of the fair and brave, now dust.

Then, again, he would give her tidings which he had gained while
dwelling at Namur or at Tournai; reciting the gallant deeds of the
servants of the Cross in distant Palestine, or telling of the horrors
of captivity in Paynimrie; and then, too, he would sing, as they sat
above the waters, with a voice, and a skill, and a taste, which
Marguerite fancied all unequalled in the world.

Day by day, and hour by hour, the fair inexperienced princess of
Flanders felt that she was losing her young heart to the youth of low
degree; and yet, what could she do to stay the fugitive, or call him
back to her own bosom from his hopeless flight? It was not alone that
Albert was, in her eyes at least, the most handsome man she had ever
beheld, it was not alone that he was gentle, kind, and tender, but it
was that on him alone she was cast for aid, protection, amusement,
information, hope; that her fate hung upon his word, and that while he
seemed to feel and triumph in the task, yet it was with a deep,
earnest, anxious solicitude for her peace and for her security.

And did she think, that with all these feelings in her bosom, he had
dared to love her in return--to love her, the princess of that land in
which he was alone the son of a poor fisherman? She knew he had--she
saw it in his eyes, she heard it in every tone, she felt it in the
tender touch of the strong hand that aided her in her stolen wanderings.
And thus it went on from day to day, till words were spoken that no
after-thought could ever recall, and Marguerite owned, that if Heaven
willed that her father's lands should never return to her father's
house, she could, with a happy heart, see state and dignity pass away
from her, and wed the son of the Fisherman of Scarphout.

But still the fisherman himself returned not. Days had grown into
weeks, and weeks had become months, yet no tiding of him or his
companions had reached the shore, and men began to fancy that the
vision of the old priest might be no more than an ordinary dream. Not
so, however, the family of the fisherman himself. They, seemed to hold
the judgment of the good man infallible, and every day he visited
their cottages bringing them tidings of all the events which took
place in the struggle that now convulsed the land.

By this time, the King of France had roused himself to chastise the
rebels of Flanders, and to reinstate the young count in his dominions.
He had summoned his vassals to his standard, and creating two
experienced readers marshals of his host, had entered the disturbed
territory with lance in the rest. Little armed opposition had been
made to his progress, though two or three detached parties from his
army had been cut off and slaughtered. But this only exasperated the
monarch still more, and he had been heard to vow that nothing but the
death of every one of the conspirators would satisfy him for the blood
of Charles the Good, and of the faithful friends who had fallen with
him.

Such was the tale told by the good priest to Albert, the fisherman's
son, one day towards the end of the year, and by him repeated to
Marguerite of Flanders, who heard it with very mingled feelings; for
if a momentary joy crossed her heart to think that the murderers of
her father would meet their just reward, and her brother would recover
the coronet of Flanders, the fear, the certainty that she herself
would be torn from him she loved, overclouded the brief sunshine, and
left her mind all dark.

The next day, however, new tidings reached Albert, and filled his
heart with consternation and surprise. Burchard, the chief murderer of
the dead count, had, it was said, dispatched a messenger to the King
of France, to bid him either hold off from Bruges, or send him a free
pardon for himself and all his companions, lest another victim should
be added to those already gone from the family of the dead count. "I
have in my power," he had added, "the only daughter of Charles, called
by you the Good. I know her retreat--I hold her as it were in a chain,
and I shall keep her as a hostage, whose blood shall flow if a hard
measure be dealt to me."

Albert fell into deep thought. Could it be true, he asked himself,
that Burchard had really discovered Marguerite of Flanders? If so, it
were time, he thought, to fulfil one part of his father's directions
concerning her, at any cost to himself; and as those directions had
been, in case danger menaced her in her retreat, to carry her to sea,
and, landing on the coast of France, to place her in the hands of the
king or his representative, it may easily be conceived that the
execution thereof would be not a little painful to one for whom each
hour of her society was joy.

The more he pondered, however, the more he felt that it must be done;
but it happened that, for the last three days, four or five strange
sail had been seen idly beating about not far from the coast, and
Albert determined, in the first instance, to ascertain their purpose.
With some young men from the neighbouring cottages, he put to sea, and
finding an easy excuse to approach one of the large vessels which he
had beheld, he asked, as if accidentally, to whom they belonged, when,
with consternation and anxiety, he heard that they were the ships of
"Burchard, Prévôt of St. Donatien."

Returning at once to the shore, he dismissed his companions and sought
his father's cottage; but there he found that tidings had come during
his absence that the King of France had advanced upon Bruges, and that
Burchard had fled with his troops; but the same report added, that the
rebels, hotly pursued by the chivalry of France, had directed their
flight towards the sea-shore. Time pressed--the moment of danger was
approaching; but still great peril appeared in every course of action
which could be adopted. The escape by sea was evidently cut off; the
retreat of Marguerite of Flanders was apparently discovered; and if a
flight by land were attempted, it seemed only likely to lead into the
power of the enemy.

With her, then, he determined to consult; and passing through the
vaults, he was soon by the side of the fair unfortunate girl, whose
fate depended upon the decision of the next few minutes. He told her
all; but to her as well as to himself, to fly seemed more hazardous
than to remain. The high tide was coming up; in less than half an hour
the castle would be cut off from the land; the King of France was hard
upon the track of the enemy, and various events might tend to favour
her there.

"I would rather die," said the princess, "than fall living into their
hands; and I can die here as well as anywhere else, dear Albert."

"They shall pass over my dead body ere they reach you," answered he.
"Many a thing has been done Marguerite, by a single arm; and if I can
defend you till the king arrives, you are safe."

"But arms!" she said. "You have no arms."

"Oh! yes, I have," he answered. "No one knows the secrets of this old
castle but my father and myself; and there are arms here too for those
who need them. Wait but a moment, and I will return."

His absence was as brief as might be; but when he came back,
Marguerite saw him armed with shield and casque, sword and battle-axe;
but without either haubert or coat of mail, which, though they might
have guarded him from wounds, would have deprived him of a part of
that agility which could alone enable one to contend with many.

"If I could but send Emiline," he said, as he came up, "to call some
of our brave boatmen from the cottages to our assistance here, we
might set an army at defiance for an hour or two." Marguerite only
answered, by pointing with her hand to a spot on the distant sands,
where a small body of horsemen, perhaps not a hundred, were seen
galloping at full speed towards Scarphout. Albert saw that it was too
late to call further aid; and now only turned to discover where he
could best make his defence in case of need.

There was a large massy wall, which, ere the sea had encroached upon
the building, ran completely round the castle, but which now only
flanked one side of the ruins, running out like a jetty into the
waters which had swallowed up the rest. It was raised about twenty
feet above the ground on one side, and perhaps twenty-five above the
sea on the other; and at the top, between the parapets, was a passage
which would hardly contain two men abreast. Upon his wall, about
half-way between the keep and the sea, was a small protecting turret,
and there Albert saw that Marguerite might find shelter, while, as
long as he lived, he could defend the passage against any force coming
from the side of the land. He told her his plans; and for her only
answer, she fell upon his neck and wept. But he wiped her tears away
with his fond lips, and spoke words of hope and comfort.

"See!" he said, "the sea is already covering the _chaussée_ between us
and the land, and if they do not possess the secret of the vaults,
they cannot reach us till the tide falls."

When he turned his eyes to the shore, the body of horsemen were within
a mile of the castle; but then, with joy inexpressible, he beheld upon
the edge of the sand-hills, scarcely two miles behind them, a larger
force hurrying on, as if in pursuit, with banner and pennon, and
standard displayed, and lance beyond lance bristling up against the
sky.

"The King of France; the King of France!" he cried; but still the
foremost body galloped on. They reached the shore, drew up their
horses when they saw that the tide was in; turned suddenly towards the
cottage; and the next moment Albert could see his mother and Emiline
fly from their dwelling across the sands. The men at arms had other
matters in view than to pursue them; but Albert now felt that they
were aware of the secret entrance, and that Marguerite's only hope was
in his own valour.

"To the turret, my beloved!" he cried, "to the turret!" And half
bearing half-leading her along, he placed her under its shelter, and
took his station in the pass. A new soul seemed to animate him, new
light shone forth from his eye; and, in words which might have suited
the noblest of the land, he exhorted her to keep her firmness in the
moment of danger, to watch around, and gave him notice of all she saw
from the loopholes of the turret.

Then came a moment of awful suspense, while in silence and in doubt
they waited the result; but still the host of France might be seen
drawing nearer and more near; and the standard of the king could be
distinguished floating on the wind amidst a thousand other banners of
various feudal lords. Hope grew high in Albert's breast, and he
trusted that ere Burchard could find and force the entrance, the
avenger would be upon him. He hoped in vain, however, for the murderer
was himself well acquainted with the spot, and had only paused to
secure the door of the vaults, so that his pursuers could not follow
by the same means he himself employed. In another minute loud voices
were heard echoing through the ruin, and Albert and Marguerite
concealing themselves as best they could, beheld the fierce and
bloodthirsty Prévôt with his companions seeking them through the
castle.

Still onward bore the banners of France; and ere Burchard had
discovered their concealment, the shore at half a bow-shot distance
was lined with chivalry. So near were they, that, uninterrupted by the
soft murmur of the waves, could be heard the voice of a herald calling
upon the rebels to surrender, and promising pardon to all but the ten
principal conspirators. A loud shout of defiance was the only reply;
for at that very moment the eye of Burchard lighted on the form of
Albert as he crouched under the wall, and the men at arms poured on
along the narrow passage.

Concealment could now avail nothing; and starting up with his
battle-axe in his hand, he planted himself between the rebels and the
princess. The French on the shore could now behold him also, as he
stood with half his figure above the parapet; and instantly, seeming
to divine his situation, some cross-bowmen were brought forward, and
poured their quarrels on the men, of the Prévôt as they rushed forward
to attack him. Two or three were struck down; but the others hurried
on, and the safety of Albert himself required the cross-bowmen to
cease, when hand to hand he was compelled to oppose the passage of the
enemy. Each blow of his battle-axe could still be beheld from the
land; and as one after another of his foes went down before that,
strong and ready arm, loud and gratulating shouts rang from his
friends upon the shore.

Still others pressed on, catching a view of Marguerite herself, as, in
uncontrollable anxiety for him she loved, she gazed forth from the
turret-door, and a hundred eager eyes were bent upon her, certain that
if she could be taken, a promise of pardon, or a death of vengeance at
least, would be obtained; but only one Could approach at a time, and
Albert was forming for himself a rampart of dead and dying. At that
moment, however, Burchard, who stood behind, pointed to the
castle-court below, where a number of old planks and beams lay rotting
in the sun.

A dozen of his men then sprang down, caught up the materials which he
showed them, planted them against the wall beyond the turret, and soon
raised up a sort of tottering scaffold behind the place where
Marguerite's gallant defender stood. He himself, eager in the strife
before him, saw not what had happened; but she had marked the fatal
advantage the enemy had gained, and, gliding like a ghost from out the
turret, she approached close to his side, exclaiming, "They are
coming!--they are coming from the other side!--and we are lost!"

Albert turned his head, and comprehended in a moment. But one hope was
left. Dashing to the earth the next opponent who was climbing over the
dead bodies between them, he struck a second blow at the one beyond,
which made him recoil upon his fellows. Then casting his battle-axe
and shield away, he caught the light form of Marguerite in his arms,
sprang upon the parapet, and exclaiming, "Now God befriend us!"
plunged at once into the deep sea, while, at the very same moment, the
heads of the fresh assailants appeared upon the wall beyond.

A cry of terror and amazement rang from the shore; and the king of
France himself, with two old knights beside him, rode on till the
waters washed their horses' feet. Albert and Marguerite were lost to
sight in a moment; but the next instant they appeared again; and, long
accustomed to sport with the same waves that now curled gently round
him as an old loved friend, bearing the head of Marguerite lifted on
his left arm, with his right he struck boldly towards the shore.

On--on he bore her! and like a lamb in the bosom of the shepherd, she
lay without a struggle, conquering strong terror by stronger
resolution. On--on he bore her! Glad shouts hailed him as he neared
the shore; and with love and valour lending strength, he came nearer
and more near. At length his feet touched the ground, and throwing
both arms round her, he bore her safe, and rescued, till he trod the
soft, dry sand. Then kneeling before the monarch, he set his fair
burden softly on the ground--but still he held her hand.

"Hold! nobles--hold!" cried the king of France, springing from his
horse. "Before any one greets him. I will give him the greeting he well
has won. Advance the standard over us! Albert of Boulogne, in the name
of God, St. Michael, and St. George, I dub thee knight! Be ever, as
to-day, gallant, brave, and true. This is the recompense we give. Fair
lady of Flanders, we think you owe him a recompense likewise; and we
believe that, according to our wise coast laws, that which a fisherman
brings up from the sea is his own by right. Is it not so, my good Lord
of Boulogne?" and he turned to a tall old man beside him. "You, of all
men, should know best; as for ten years you have enacted the
_Fisherman of Scarphout_."

The nobles laughed loud, and with tears of joy the old count of
Boulogne, for it was no other, embraced his gallant son, while at the
same time the Lord of Wavrin advanced, and pressed Marguerite's hand
in that of her deliverer, saying, "Her father, sire, by will, as you
will find, gave the disposal of her hand to me, and I am but doing my
duty to him in bestowing it on one who merits it so well. At the same
time it is a comfort to my heart to offer my noble lord, the Count of
Boulogne, some atonement for having done him wrong in years long gone,
and for having, even by mistake, brought on him your displeasure and a
ten years' exile. He has forgiven me, but I have not forgiven myself;
and as an offering of repentance, all my own lands and territories, at
my death, I give, in addition, to the dowry of Marguerite of
Flanders."

We will not pause upon the death of Burchard, Prévôt of St. Donatien.
It was, as he merited, upon a scaffold. Explanations, too, are
tedious, and _the old history_ tells no more than we have here told,
leaving the imagination of its readers to fill up all minor
particulars in the life of the _Fisherman of Scarphout_.

These tales were followed by a moral essay on the Use of Time, which
none of the party would acknowledge, though it was strongly suspected
to be the production of a young lady, in the assumed character of an
old man.



                           THE USE OF TIME.


Time, considered in the same light as the other possessions of man, is
certainly of them all the most valuable, as so very small portion is
allotted to each individual. Yet every means are employed by the great
bulk of mankind to waste that of which our quantity is so diminutive,
every art is used to dissipate what will naturally fly from us, every
ilea is bent on driving away that which we can never recall.

Our first thought, on awaking from sleep is, How shall I spend the
day? Surely it ought rather to be, How shall I best employ those
moments of which Heaven has given me so few? which of the various
modes of filling my time will be most consonant to reason and
virtue--will most redound to mine own honour--will be most
advantageous to society?

There is no art which would be more beneficial to the world, or which
is less practised, than the economy of moments. A thousand spaces
present themselves in the life of every man, which are left
unoccupied, even amidst the bustle of pleasure, or the anxiety of
business--too small to be employed in serious study, too sudden and
evanescent to offer opportunity for any prolonged enjoyment. But these
vacuities might almost always be used to produce either some harmless
gratification to ourselves, or some benefit to others; some
improvement of our corporeal or intellectual faculties, or some scheme
for giving satisfaction, or acquiring happiness. Man need never be
idle, even for an instant. If the accident of the moment deprive him
of books, the page of nature will most frequently be before him.
Should this also be excluded from his view, let him turn his
consideration to the tablet of his own mind; let him correct its
errors, let him engrave move deeply the lines of right; let him
strengthen the powers of reason, by examining and arranging his own
thoughts; let him think, but not dream; and he will find an
inexhaustible fund of employment and delight--a fund which is always
replete with improvement, and which is constantly accessible to his
research.

Moments are the most precious treasures we possess; and by them most
frequently is the fate of man decided. The ultimate effects of the
impulse or accident of an instant will frequently give a colouring to
the whole picture of our future life; either shadow it with sorrow or
brighten it with prosperity. Moments, therefore, ought never to be
neglected: they ought never to be wasted in idleness, nor remain
unguarded by vigilance; for, in their passing, they hurry on our fate;
and on their occupation and event our happiness here and hereafter
depends.

Procrastination is another of the most idle ways of wasting
time:--more destructive to happiness, more baneful to society, more
hostile to virtue and reason, than almost any other custom short of
actual vice. It weakens the mind, it cheats the understanding, and
induces a state of intellectual imbecility, always increasing and never
to be overcome. It is not alone that we substitute resolutions for
actions, and spend in determinations those moments which ought to be
employed in doing service to ourselves or benefiting society; but the
mental cowardice grows upon us, and we lose the power even of resolving,
where action is necessary, and where doubt is still more dangerous
than error; perplexing our mind with distressing hesitation, as
opposite to necessary caution as real prudence is to headlong rashness
and blind timidity. Procrastination has been called "the thief of
time." It is worse! It is the murderer of man's best friend.

Was all our time filled with the obvious duties which present
themselves to our view--engaged in the harmless pleasures that at
every step lie in our path, or employed in well-directed observation
and moral improvement were those vacant moments, which men feel so
burthensome, snatched eagerly for the acquirement of knowledge, or the
reciprocation of benefits--the advantage to mankind would be, not
alone the increased enjoyment of existence, but also, escape from
temptation to evil, and security in the path of right.

Notwithstanding these observations, every man will find that he cannot
always compel his mind to any particular object; and that, when he
wishes to employ profitably a vacancy in his time, he must allow his
thoughts to follow in a degree their former course; or at least, guide
them into a new channel by some easy means of communication.

I have often myself experienced this restiveness of imagination; and
whether it be from the weakness of age, or a natural drowsiness of
constitution, I know not; but, whenever I endeavour to force my ideas
towards subjects unassimilating with previous impressions, especially
when at all under the influence of bodily fatigue, my mind seeks to
escape from the burdensome employment I would impose on it, by taking
refuge in the arms of slumber.

I had one day striven hard to fix my thoughts upon subjects very
nearly connected with the foregoing observations, although, at the
moment, I was fatigued and exhausted with exercises and occupations
unknown and dissimilar to my secluded habits; and as I endeavoured to
arrange my ideas in a more distinct form, gradually they lost their
course, became more and more confused, and I dropped asleep.

If it be natural for the weary meditator to sleep, it is still more
natural for the poet or essayist to dream; and, indeed, I have a
custom of carrying on, during the hours of repose, that train of
thought, which has occupied me while awake; dressed indeed in a more
fanciful garb, and marshalled with all the extravagance of
uncontrolled imagination.

On the present occasion, no sooner had I closed my eyes, than, as
usual, the ideas which I had impressed on my mind again appeared, but
in somewhat of a different form. The whole objects in the room,
however, were unchanged, even in the visions of my sleep. I still
reclined in my easy chair. My table, littered with papers, was before
me--the picture of my great grandfather stared me in the face from the
other side of the room--my wig hung in its usual recess by the
fireplace--my snuff-box remained half open on the table; and my red
morocco slippers rested on their own peculiar stool, undisturbed by
intruding feet.

Ina few minutes, as I fixed my eyes upon the picture of my great
grandfather the reverend effigy began to move; the next instant the
figure descended from the back-ground, and bowing with all the formal
grace of one thousand seven hundred and seven, advanced toward the
table. I returned the salutation of my revered, ancestor, and begged
him to be seated--I could do no less for one who had made such
advances--and then, in all that absurd caricature of real life, which
dreams occasionally display, we began to pour forth an overwhelming
flood of compliments upon each other, in which, however, the
copiousness of my great grandfather had considerably the advantage.
Indeed, he seemed resolved to indemnify himself in that one night for
the ages of silence he had passed within his frame.

At length, after an oration too long to be repeated, and which, in
truth, I scarcely understood, he informed me, that knowing my desire
to see all the moments of my passed life, he had come out of the
canvass on purpose to gratify me; and that he would immediately call
them to my sight, exactly as they had really been, in distinct
classes, and in regular routine.

As he concluded, he rapped the snuff-box, with which he was
represented in the portrait, and in a moment, the room was filled with
little winged boys, resembling our pictures of cherubim. "These," said
my ancestor, "are the first twenty years of thy life. You may observe,
that most of them are blind, for men, like kittens, do not open their
eyes until they have been some time in the world--those that appear
all over prickles, and who flutter about with such vehemence, are the
moments wasted in love--those with sleepy air, swarthy complexion, and
dusty wings, have passed you while poring over old authors and musty
volumes; and those that fly about casting somersets in the air, like
tumbler pigeons, are the instants spent in balls and assemblies in the
giddy days of youth."

"But why," demanded I, "do so many that I see carry a scull, more
especially those that bear a smile upon their lips, as if they mocked
the memento in their hands?"

"All those," replied he, "are moments wasted; some in folly, some in
actual vice, and some passed by, unfilled by action, or unemployed by
thought; but all alike, the winged hasteners of mortality."

"But are not all the others the same?" demanded I, "even those who
appear so calm and placid; those few, those very few, who neither
laugh nor frown, but whose looks are full of expression, and whose
unclosed eyes seem to beam with approbation--surely all moments tend
alike towards the tomb?"

"Those," replied he, "are the instants given to the doing of good
deeds and to the pursuit of virtue; and they lead us even beyond the
tomb; through the portal of death, open the gates of life, and smooth
our passage to eternity."

He now called to view the next twenty years of my life, and directly
another winged crowd appeared, some of whom bore ladders, many of the
steps whereof were broken or irregular; and these, I was told, were
the moments given to the delusions of pride and the dreams of
ambition. Others were little gloomy-looking imps, which, however,
often when they would seem to frown the most, would suddenly assume a
smile, so placid and beaming, that a ray from heaven appeared to have
fallen upon their features. These, I found, were the moments of
well-conducted study, calm reflection, and self-examination. Some,
again, had no bodies; and their wings were decked with all hues and
colours, as if each were a rainbow; but at the same time, like the
painted follower of the summer cloud, they were thin, transparent, and
unsubstantial. These, he informed me, were times of vain imaginations,
and unreasonable desires. A multitude came next; many of whom had the
brow bent, and the corners of the mouth drawn into a kind of sneer.
There were others, whose features at once displayed a tear and a
smile, both so bright, it was impossible to say which was the most
radiant. Of these two sorts, the first were the moments of cynicism
and misanthropy; and the second displayed the times given to
particular charity or general benevolence.

"And now," said my great grandfather, "for the next twenty years."

"Stop, stop, my dear sir," cried I, "remember I am not sixty yet."

"Fifty-nine years, six months, three days, eleven hours,
five-and-twenty minutes, four seconds," replied he in an angry tone.
The fearful recapitulation put an end both to my dream and my slumber;
and starting up in my chair, I found--the clock striking.


                           ---------------


There were many other contributions, but I have only kept a copy of
two more, the first of which was suggested by the apprehensions
expressed by one of the party, lest the multiplication of
steam-engines should ultimately exhaust all the fuel in the world.
The second was occasioned by a reference made to the days when we
had first met, by one in whom the equanimity of a high mind had
preserved all the freshness of extreme youth.



                            THE LAST FIRE.

                          A VISION OF STEAM.

[As I sat, a few nights ago, reading in the newspapers many alarming
calculations concerning the consumption of fuel by the multiplication
of steam-engines, I fell into a dose, when the following awful and
prophetic vision presented itself to my eyes. Immediately on waking,
it fell naturally, as it were, into verse; and I think the subject too
important to be withheld from public consideration.]


                           ---------------


   I slept; and, in a vision, to my eyes
   Nature's last tragedy appeared to rise.
   Man's climbing mind had subtilised each art,
   Sublimed the whole, and perfected each part.
   Laws, arts, and arms, had undergone a change,
   Not less magnificent because most strange.
   Steam, mighty steam! had superseded all--
   Made horses bankrupts, and made bread to fall.
   Steam-boats, steam-guns, steam-kitchens, and steam-coaches,
   To this perfection made the first approaches:
   But this was nothing to the wondrous steaming
   The future showed me as I lay a-dreaming.
   Vain in description to waste precious paper--
   Suffice it, Europe was one cloud of vapour!

   But, ah! alas! that vapour e'er should feel
   The rotatory roll of Fortune's wheel!
   Fuel grew dear! French forests fell like grass;
   Tynemouth, Wall-end, and Kennell, cried, "Alas!"
   Nor even could the Indian savage roam
   Through ancient woods, his dim primeval home.
   Long every shrub, and bush, and branch, and tree,
   Had heated boilers, and had ceased to be;
   And men were forced to turn to uses vile
   Full many a laboured, many a learned pile.
   Many a volume too, and many a tome,
   Sharing alike the universal doom,
   Now proved a blessing, where they proved a bore,
   And blazed with fire they never knew before!
   Wondrous! with what avidity men brought
   Those solemn works with wit and learning fraught,--
   State records, parliamentary debates,
   Polemic tracts, and essays upon states,--
   To light the fire which every parish vowed
   To warm the noses of the coal-less crowd.

   Romances next were hurled into the flame;
   Next poets, play-writers, historians, came;
   Last, Homer, Virgil, Milton, Shakspeare, Scott,
   With many a sigh, were added to the lot:
   But these the unwilling owners e'en confessed
   Burned longer, clearer, brighter, than the rest.
   Next furniture was fetched--drawers, tables, chairs,
   Beds, stools, and every sort of wooden wares;
   Till men were forced to seek the aid of stones
   To bear their dinners and to rest their bones;
   Till all was burnt. Then surly Winter rose,
   And took blue wretches by the frozen nose;
   And sad it was to see each chilly wight,
   With hands in pockets and coat buttoned tight,
   Run up and down the waste, uncovered earth,
   Cursed with black cold, sad enemy to mirth;
   And, as they ran, remorse their bosoms tore,
   For joys they'd heedless cast away before.
   Dandies and Russians, Dutchmen, bargemen, tars,
   Regretted wasted pipes and lost cigars;
   And patriot Catholics and Irish priests
   Thought good wood wasted on heretic beasts,
   Called Smithfield fire-lighting a thriftless trade,
   And bloody Mary but a wasteful jade.

     Vainly they ran! No cheering warmth they found,
   And the dull sky upon their mis'ry frowned;
   And when they entered in their doorless homes,
   'Twas stony coldness all like empty tombs.
   With frenzied energy they dug the ground,
   Or dived the sea. Nor coal nor wood they found!
   And many a wretch would lay him down to die,
   And welcome Death without one envious sigh;
   No terrors found they in his icy stare--
   They could not well be colder than they were.
   Still many raged and struggled for warm life,
   And waged with cold and death unequal strife,
   Dined on raw cabbages, devoured raw beef,
   Gained indigestion, but gained no relief.

     One man there was--a waterman by trade,
   Erst in green coat and plated badge arrayed;
   Men called him Fish, and rightly him did call--
   For he could dive and swim, possessing all
   The useful attributes of finny birth--
   Finding the water warmer than the earth,
   He spent his time in diving; and one day
   Found in the river's bottom, where they lay
   Hid from the danger of devouring flames,
   The stakes that Cæsar drove into the Thames!
   "Ho, ho!" cried he; "I've found a treasure here,
   Shall warm me snugly till the rolling year
   Bring's jolly summer." So with might and main
   He tugged them forth and bore them to the plain:--
   But, now he'd got them, he had still to learn
   That wood when wet is difficult to burn.
   Quick-witted in himself, he well divined,
   Though cold at heart, some warmth remained behind;
   And having ranged the timber with much art,
   He sat and dried it with his broadest part.
   A long, long week, seven weary nights and days,
   Drying the expectant pile he careful stays.
   Thus o'er her nest the mother eagle broods;
   Or thus the ph[oe]nix of Arabian woods
   Sits on his aromatic pile, whose fire,
   Of new life redolent, shall soon aspire.

     At length 'twas dry! Now with an eager hand
   Two flints he seized and fired each rotten brand--
   Each rotten brand a grateful ardour showed;
   Forth burst the flame, and on the sky it glowed.
   High rose the flame; too high, alas! for now
   An ancient woman, on a mountain's brow,
   Running some worsted through a needle's eye,
   (What is it not old women will descry?)
   Found out the fire for Fish that furtive flamed,
   And forth with scream and shout the fact proclaimed.
   "A fire! A fire! A fire!" the beldam cried;
   "A fire! A fire!" the village all replied;
   "A fire! A fire A fire!" was echoed far and wide.

     Each babe took up the tale, each ancient sire,
   Though deaf, and blind, and lame, repeated "Fire!"
   High, low, rich, poor, good, bad,--all cold the same,--
   Loud shouted "Fire!" and kindled at the name.
   First hamlets, villages, assumed the cry;
   Through burghs and cities then the tidings fly;
   All traced them back to where they first began;--
   All bawled out "Fire!" and as they bawled they ran.
   Now Fish, who selfishly had hoped alone
   T' enjoy the fire that he himself had won,
   Astonished sees the world around him swarm--
   Millions on millions, eager to get warm!

     On, on, they rushed, one on the other prest;
   And still the crowd behind impelled the rest.
   All nations, languages, heights, features, hues,
   That the wide universe could then produce,
   Running, and jostling, scrambling, tumbling came,
   Jammed into marmalade around that flame.

     Then Fish, indignant, cried with loud command,--
   A brandished boat-hook in his dauntless hand,
   "Stand back, my masters! You may all be d----d!
   The fire's my own, and I will not be bammed!
   Or since the generous ardour fires your soul
   To seek this genial flame, from either pole,
   With me, its lord, possession to contend,
   And squeeze me flat my right while I defend--
   Thus I defy you, caitiffs all, and dare
   The bold to follow, and my fate to share!"[21]

     Proudly he said, and sprang into the flame:
   High o'er his head the fiery eddies came;
   The crowd beheld, and, maddened with the sight,
   Dashed on the blaze, and perished in the light.
   The fire was out; but still they onward rushed:--
   The far extremes the narrow centre pushed,
   Squeezed, jammed, cast down, one on the other rose.
   And many a mortal trod on his own nose.
   Each in his eagerness his fellow mashed:
   The sun went down--and all the world was quashed!!!


---------------

[Footnote 21: The hero of this tale is, or rather was, a real
character (like all the other true heroes in the true tales of this
true history). His name was Peter Fish, a waterman, plying at
Hungerford Stairs, and many a time has his wherry borne me over the
Thames, when I was a reckless schoolboy. He was a good-humoured soul
as ever lived, rather fond of the bottle and of a little
rhodomontade.]

---------------



                         THE VOYAGE OF LIFE.


    I wish I could as merry be
    As when I set out this world to see,
    Like a boat filled with good companie,
      On some gay voyage sent.
    There Youth spread forth the broad white sail,
    Sure of fair weather and full gale,
    Confiding life would never fail,
      Nor time be ever spent.

    And Fancy whistled for the wind;
    And if e'en Memory looked behind;
    'Twas but some friendly sight to find,
      And gladsome wave her hand;
    And Hope kept whispering in Youth's ear,
    To spread more sail and never fear,
    For the same sky would still be clear
      Until they reached the land.

    Health, too, and Strength tugged at the ear,
    Mirth mocked the passing billows' roar,
    And Joy, with goblet running o'er,
      Drank draughts of deep delight;
    And Judgment at the helm they set,
    But Judgment was a child as yet,
    And lack-a-day! was all unfit
      To guide the boat aright.

    Bubbles did half her thoughts employ,
    Hope she believed, she played with Joy,
    And Passion bribed her with a toy,
      To steer which way he chose.
    But still they were a merry crew,
    And laughed at dangers as untrue,
    Till the dim sky tempestuous grew,
      And sobbing south winds rose.

    Then Prudence told them all she feared;
    But youth awhile his messmates cheered
    Until at length he disappeared,
      Though none knew how he went.
    Joy hung his head, and Mirth grew dull,
    Health faltered, Strength refused to pull,
    And Memory, with her soft eyes full,
      Backward her glance still bent.

    To where, upon the distant sea,
    Bursting the storm's dark canopy,
    Light, from a sun none now could see,
      Still touched the whirling wave.
    And though Hope, gazing from the bow,
    Turns oft,--she sees the shore,--to vow,
    Judgment, grown older now I trow,
      Is silent, stern, and grave.

    And though she steers with better skill,
    And makes her fellows do her will,
    Fear says, the storm is rising still,
      And day is almost spent.--
    Oh, that I could as merry be
    As when T set out this world to see,
    Like a boat filled with good companie,
      On some gay voyage sent!



                      THE PRISON AND THE CASTLE.


   For, ah! what is there of inferior birth
   That breathes or creeps upon the dust of earth--
   What wretched creature, of what wretched kind,
   Than man more weak, calamitous, and blind?--POPE'S HOMER.


In such amusements as I have described passed our evenings at Pau; but
the days were generally spent in roaming through the beautiful scenery
in the neighbourhood. At length, however, the time for drinking the
mineral waters arrived, and we prepared to migrate with the rest.
There were two objects however in Pau which we had not yet seen.

Hitherto, we had lingered away our time without either visiting the
prison or the castle; and, as we were about to set out the next day
for Cauterets, we proceeded to the old château, though the evening was
beginning to close in. We were well aware that there was little to be
seen, but to have quitted the capital of Bearn without seeing the
birth-place of Henry IV., would have been a high offence.

I hate prisons--there is something so repulsive in beholding man
debarred the first privilege of nature, that, however necessary it may
be to the safety of society, it makes me sick at heart to see it. No
man, I have been told, felt this so much as Howard, and it was this
that first caused him to turn the energies of his truly great mind
towards alleviating the concomitant misery of those who were already
wretched enough.

However, my object was to give my mind as much occupation of every
kind as I could, and we accordingly proceeded to the prison, where the
first sight that presented itself, was that of a maniac in a frightful
state of insanity. We paused for a moment to inquire if nothing could
be done for the unhappy being; and then as we were crossing the court,
the voice of one of the prisoners singing in the tower above, caught
our ear, and we stopped again to listen. The air and the voice were
both peculiarly beautiful, and I easily obtained the words, which I
now subjoin. I will not attempt to describe the effect of the sight of
the maniac and the sound of that song.



                           PRISONER'S SONG.

                                  1.
          I know not, and I care not, how
            The hours may pass me by,
          Though each may leave upon my brow
            A furrow, as they fly;

                                  2.
          What matters it? Each still shall take
            One link from off the chain,
          Which binds me to this bitter stake
            Of sorrow and of pain.

                                  3.
          Time, like a rower, plies his oar,
            And all his strokes are hours;
          Impelling to a better shore
            Of sunshine and of flowers.

                                  4.
          I've tasted all that life can give
            Of pleasure and of pain;
          And is it living, thus to live
            When joys no more remain?

                                  5.
          I've tasted women's ardent lip,
            Glowing with Love's first fire;
          And yet been forc'd the cup to sip
            Of coldness or of ire.

                                  6.
          All nature has had charms for me,
            The sunshine and the shade;
          The soaring lark, the roving bee,
            The mountain and the glade.

                                  7.
          And I have been the tempest's child,
            And known the lightning's touch;
          Mark'd midst the mad storm's warfare wild
            Too little or too much.

                                  8.
          And I have seen my own blood flow
            Red, in the deadly strife;
          And others I have taught to know
            How dear they held to life.

                                  9.
          I've play'd with being as a toy,
            Till things have lost their form,
          Till danger has become a joy,
            And joy become a storm.

                                 10.
          I've lov'd as man has seldom lov'd,
            So deeply, purely, well;
          I've prov'd what man has seldom prov'd,
            Since first from bliss he fell.

                                 11.
          Mine eye again can never see
            What once mine eye has seen;
          This world to me can never be
            What once this world has been.

                                 12.
          Speed on! O speed! my bark, speed on--
            Quick o'er life's troubled waves;
          The one that comes, the one that's gone,
            What lies beneath them? Graves.



The first apartment we were show into contained the prisoners
sentenced to detention for longer or shorter periods, according to
their crimes. They were all working hard, and, seemingly, cheerfully;
and the jailer told me, that a great object of those to whom the
government of the prison was committed was to give the prisoners
habits of industry, and to prevent them, by all means, from becoming
utterly debased; so that, when they again receive their liberty, they
may become better members of society instead of worse. Their principal
occupation seemed in straw-work; and as this is an easy and light
task, and fills up the moments which would otherwise prove tedious in
confinement, they all appeared rather glad of it than otherwise. A
portion of the emolument proceeding from their labour goes towards
defraying the expenses of the prison, and a portion is reserved for
the prisoner, in order that, when he goes back into the world, he may
not again be driven to crime by poverty.

We next visited the apartment where were confined prisoners who had
incurred severer punishment. They were generally persons condemned to
the galleys for seven years or for life, and were waiting here till
their sentence should be put in execution. When we entered there were
several groups playing at piquet for sums of one or two sous. Amongst
others was a lawyer, who had been sentenced to the galleys for
forgery. I have generally remarked that those condemned for any
serious crime have a heavy stupid expression of countenance and dull
unmeaning eye; but this man was an exception. In his face there was
plenty of keen, piercing cunning, with a touch of sarcastic
bitterness, which showed itself also in his speech. He spoke to us for
some time, and, like all villains, tried to darken his view of mankind
till it became of the same hue as his own character. He took it for
granted that all men were rascals, but only that he had been an
unfortunate one.

From hence we went to the dungeons, where still deeper crimes awaited
their reward. A damp obscure stone passage led to the cell where two
murderers were confined expecting their execution. They were
Spaniards, and had left nothing in the perpetration of their crime to
excite anything but horror. Their victim had been one of their
countrymen, who, having fled from the troubles and dangers which
distressed his native land, had contrived to carry away a small sum to
support him in his exile; and this proved the cause of their guilt and
of his death. The evidence against them had left not a doubt of the
facts, but yet they were suffered to linger on from week to week, not
knowing which day would be their last, while (_as we were told_,) the
Spanish ambassador pleaded their cause at Paris, and endeavoured to
procure a commutation of their punishment, on account of their having
shown themselves _staunch royalists_. They seemed to be heavily and
almost cruelly chained, but nevertheless to mind it but little,
smoking their cigars, and counting their rosaries with great _sang
froid_.

I spoke a few words to them in Spanish concerning their situation, to
which they replied without any show of feeling, appearing very
cheerful, quite careless about dying, and not particularly contrite.

Although there be no doubt that the long habit of indulging in any
passion gives a peculiar expression to the countenance and sometimes
even a cast to the features, I put little faith in physiognomy, in the
general acceptation of the word; but I could not help remarking, that
the heads of these two men were precisely similar to those of all
murderers whom I have seen, almost spherical in shape, with the
forehead low but rather protuberant, and the eye dull and heavy.

We went next to see the room in the castle where Jeanne d'Albret
brought forth the heroic Henry IV., heard the story of her singing
even in the pains of child-birth in order that the infant might prove
a strong and resolute man, and were gratified with a sight of the
tortoise-shell in which he was cradled--though, be it remarked that
one tortoise-shell cradle was burnt during the revolution. Afterwards,
however, the governor of the castle produced the present one as
genuine, asserting that the one demolished  was not that which had
served the monarch for a cradle. Thus that which is shown at present
has acquired the additional interest of uncertainty, notwithstanding
which, the Bourbon family have surrounded it with gilt helmets and
spears, tinsel and tawdry, which might well suit a toy-shop but not
the birth-place of Henri Quatre.

As we were to set out very early the next morning for the mountains,
we proposed to rest early, but did not fulfil that purpose. On the
contrary, we sat late talking over all the pleasant moments which we
had snatched from fate, in the little capital of Bearn, and our
lucubrations ended in an


                            ADIEU TO PAU.

   Adieu, perchance for but a day,
     Perchance for many a year;
   While life's bright part shall slip away,
   And Hope shall yield to Memory,
     With many a tear.

   But if imagination too,
     Be not amongst things been,
   Her magic power shall call to view,
   The kind, the good, that brightened you,
     Re-peopling the scene.

   Adieu, sweet congress of fair things,
     Stream, mountain, valley, plain;
   And e'en when Time man's winter brings,
   Remembrance still shall lend me wings,
     To visit thee again.



                               LOURDES.

  Dim grottos, gleaming lakes, and fountains clear.

I believe it to be all the same, after all, whether a man travels or
not; he's a stupid, cross-grained, drudging animal, not half so good
as the horse that drags him on his road. Blest with reason, it serves
him less than the instinct of the brute; with experience constantly
flogging him for his errors, he never corrects them; half of his time
he forgets what is right, and when he remembers it he never puts it in
practice.

Such were my reflections on finding--what? that John had forgotten
that most indispensable requisite to an Englishman's comfort, the
tea-kettle, at the instant we were leaving Pau. He had done so at
every place where he had stopped on the road, and now he had to bring
it down stairs, to tie it on the carriage, to cover it with the
oil-skin, and, in short, to detain the whole party, postilion, and
horses, and all, for at least five minutes.

Now, being very well aware that when I begin to moralize on trifles I
am never in the best humour in the world, and judging by this
infallible sign that I was in an ill temper, from having got up at
four o'clock in the morning, I placed myself deep in the corner of the
carriage, and pretended to fall asleep, for fear I should quarrel with
my companion, which, Heaven knows, would have been no easy matter.
However, as the carriage drove out of Pau, and began rolling along, in
a dull gray morning, over smooth ground, it became no longer a
pretence, and I began seriously to make reparation for my morning's
idleness--I mean for not having slept; as I consider, not to sleep at
the moments properly appropriated for it, just as great a piece of
idleness as any other misuse that man makes of his time.

I finished my nap as we crossed a bridge over the Gave not very far
from Lastelle. My friend who, it appears, had occupied himself much
like myself, woke up at the same time, and looking back to Pau, which
we saw diminishing afar, I am sure we both, thought of the friends we
left there, of the kindness they had shown to wandering strangers, and
the peaceful hours we had known in their society. I may never more see
them again; if so, God bless them, for I am sure they deserve it.

It was scarcely past midday when we arrived at Lourdes. The approach
is not unlike some of Mrs. Radcliffe's descriptions; the hills
beginning to rise high and craggy on each side, with a wild torrent
rushing in a valley below; and beyond, the Castle of Lourdes, starting
up on a high rock in the midst, sometimes seen and sometimes hidden,
as the road winds along the side of the mountain. It was market-day at
Lourdes, and a curious scene, the whole place being impassable for the
crowd of the Bearnais, with their Calmuck countenances and broad
berrets, and the Bearnaises, each covered with a red or white
triangular hood, edged with a black border, hiding the greater part of
the head, and falling low down on the shoulders.

I have before mentioned the sightseeing propensities of my companion
and myself; and though I had abjured grottos, as the most
unsatisfactory of all things, the first of our movements was towards
the "_Spelunque_ (or cavern,) _du Loup_." It lies some way on the
other side of the river, and, on arriving, we found the entrance so
low that we were obliged to go in, not upon our hands and knees, but
upon our faces. The guide went first, and then my friend, who is six
feet three, so that I thought he would never have done--there was such
a quantity of him.

The cave widens rapidly after the entrance, elevating itself to a
great height, and resembling in many places the niches and aisles of a
Gothic cathedral. In the end it is terminated by a deep well, into
which the guide threw some pieces of stone, which continued echoing,
as they fell, for several minutes. But the most curious thing we
observed was the soil near the mouth of the grotto, which appeared
entirely formed from the fragments of insects. We examined several
portions of this black sort of earth and uniformly found it composed
of parts of the legs, wings, and corslets, of what had apparently been
small beetles.

After the cavern, we went, in a different direction, to visit a lake
said to occupy the spot where a mountain once stood, which suddenly
disappeared at the time of an earthquake. The only beauty of the place
was the reflection of the hills around in the deep smooth water, and
one might almost fancy they saw the ghost of the vanished mountain
haunting its old abode and looking up from the bottom of the lake.

The whole of the country round is strewed with old towers and castles,
which have been erected at different periods; some to check the
descent of the mountaineers, who used here, as well as in Scotland, to
exact a kind of black mail from the inhabitants of the low lands; some
to guard against the Moors, who, during their residence in Spain, used
frequently to invade and ravage the country; and some are even
attributed to the Romans, but I should think, from their appearance,
with little foundation for the supposition.

However, like all mountaineers, the people are full of old legends;
and ancient superstitions, driven from the more civilized globe, seem
to have refuged themselves in the obscurity of these unfrequented
hills.

They tell a droll story of the lord of one of the old castles of which
I have just spoken, not at all unlike "Alonzo the Brave and the fair
Imogine," but still more like the story of the noble Morringer.



                     THE DEVIL AND THE CRUSADER.

   Ae day as the carle gaed up the lang glen,
     Hey and the rue grows bonny wi' thyme,
   He met wi' auld Nick, wha said, how do ye fen,
     And the thyme it is wither'd and rue is in prime.
   I've got a bad wife, sir, that's a' my complaint,
     Hey and the rue grows bonny wi' thyme,
   For, saving your presence, to her ye're a saint.
     And the thyme it is wither'd and rue is in prime.
                                                KELLYBURN BRAES.


Is those good old times so much to be regretted, when every noble had
the right and privilege of administering justice or injustice on his
own vassals, when hanging was in the hands of the gentry, and law in
the mouth of every feudal chief--when the crumbling towers, where the
moping owl now sits in melancholy solitude, were peopled with the gay,
and the bright, and the fair--when the courts where the lonely
wind whistles as in mockery of their emptiness, resounded to the clang
of arms and the voice of the trumpet--when feast and revel filled those
halls, where now sits nothing but silence and desolation;--the bravest
of the brave was the Lord of the Château de B----, and the fairest of
the fair was his lady. Beauty and wit were her's, and courage and
wealth were his, and all thought the Marquis the happiest of mortals,
except himself. How it came about, and why, does not appear, but a
violent hatred took place between the Marquis and a neighbouring
Baron, but histories do not mention that the Marchioness participated
in her husband's dislike.

Some said, that the Marquis was jealous, and called him "poor man!"
but as if to give them all the lie, and prove that he loved his wife
dearly and suspected her not at all, he came to a sudden resolution to
call together his vassals and retainers and join the crusade, for it
was just about this time that Peter the Hermit went through Europe
like a mad dog, infecting everybody with a desire to bite the
Saracens. Every wise man makes a will, and the Marquis wisely
calculating that a man who goes to cut other folk's throats, may find
some one by the way to cut his own, caused to be made and delivered
his last will and testament, leaving all his goods and effects, real
and personal, to his dearly beloved wife in case of his death; and
further adding a proviso, that if he did not return or send a
messenger announcing his existence within seven years, she might look
upon him as dead to all intents and purposes, and marry again to her
heart's content: but he made it a private request, that she would
never espouse the obnoxious Baron, which she promised faithfully, not
to do.

Now when the will was made as above stated by the Marquis's chaplain,
who could read and write, the Marquis, who could not, made a cross at
the bottom and stamped the wax with the pommel of his sword, and the
Marchioness kissed her lord and wept bitterly to think of his dying at
all.

At length the dreaded day of departure came. The vassals and retainers
marched out of the castle in gallant array, and the Marquis's page
told him that his charger was prepared, whereupon the Marchioness
fainted--dead as a stone. The Marquis waited till she had recovered,
and then snatched himself away and departed, while the Marchioness,
with flowing tears and streaming hair, stood in the highest tower
watching the horsemen till the top of the last spear was hid behind
the mountain, and then she came down and said to the servant, "At home
to nobody but the Baron."

                      *     *     *     *     *

In the mean time the Marquis joined the crusaders, arrived safely in
the Holy Land, and for some time performed prodigies of valour; till
at length one of these same prodigies conducted him into a Saracen
prison, where he lingered, like good King Lusignan, living principally
upon roasted chestnuts and mare's milk, for there were no cows in
Jerusalem. His fortitude would have melted a heart of stone, but as it
did not melt the stones of the prison, it served him but little,
although being of an ingenious turn, he used occasionally to carve
figures on little sticks, and Make whistles out of a marrowbone when
he could get one.

In these dignified employments had the Marquis expended many years,
and memory, who impudently keeps throwing in our teeth all that is
disagreeable, could not forbear telling him, that the sun had seven
times run his course since last he left his mountain castle in the
Pyrenees; and on this was he meditating, when suddenly up started a
gentleman, whom he instantly perceived to be the devil.

There is no one more ill-used, in my opinion, than the above-named
personage. However broad his back may be, surely all the sins are laid
to his charge, and of which he is as innocent as the child unborn, are
well sufficient to bow it. The poor devil! O luxury, pride, vain
glory, avarice, anger, hatred, revenge, and all uncharitableness;
what, what would ye do if ye had not his shoulders to cast your burden
upon? _O vanitas vanitatis!_ But as I was saying, the devil walked
into the dungeon, whereupon the crusader crossed himself. "My dear
sir," said his black majesty, "don't disturb yourself; such old
friends ought not to stand upon ceremonies."

The crusader made him a low bow, saying, that the devil really had the
advantage of him, and that he was not aware of having the pleasure of
his acquaintance.

"Not personally, indeed," said the devil, "but you have done me so
much service one way or another, that I owe you some return. You
stare, my dear sir, but you have sent to my dominions, with your own
hand, three-and-thirty Saracens, two renegades, and an atheist. Between
you and me, it is all the same to me," said the devil, "of what
religion they are, so that I have them safe; and now I have got to
give you a piece of news and make you a proposal." And then the
devil--whether it was that he does not patronize love of any kind, or
whether he thought that the Marchioness had had enough of it to answer
his purpose, or what, I don't know, but he told the Marquis, that as
he had neither returned nor sent during seven years, his wife was that
very night going to give her hand to the obnoxious baron, and he
farther offered to carry him back instantly to his own château in the
Pyrenees, if they could agree upon the terms.

This tickled the Marquis's fancy, but the devil was rather exorbitant,
demanding the knight's heart and soul. The crusader replied, that his
heart was his king's and his soul was his God's, and so that would not
do. The devil then asked for all his wealth at his death, and to be
instantly installed his chaplain, if he could prove that he had taken
orders. The Marquis answered, "_L'habit ne fait pas le moine_." The
devil then made several other proposals, but the knight was a
stickler, and did not think a bad wife worth much. So at last the
devil took off his hat saying, "What your honour pleases," leaving it
to his own generosity; and the crusader, who had learnt to be a screw,
said he would only give him the remains of his supper.

"You are a hard man," said the devil, "but never mind! jump up!"--and
down he bent his back for the Marquis to mount. The knight sprang into
the seat, stuck his knees into the devil's sides, and away they went
like a flash of lightning till they arrived at the château, where they
put the good people in no small confusion. The knight walked first and
the devil came after, and all the servants ran into the banquet-hall
crying, "The Marquis! the Marquis!" Up jumped the Baron, up jumped the
Marchioness, up jumped the guests.

The Marquis's movements were rather rapid; he walked into the hall,
claimed his wife, kicked the Baron, wished the company good night,
overturned the supper table and spoilt the supper, so that when order
was restored, and he called for something to eat, there was nothing to
be had but a dozen of nuts and a bottle of wine. The knight cracked
the nuts, but, according to his bargain, took care to throw the shells
over his shoulder for the devil, and when he had drank his wine, threw
the bottle behind him too: but the devil was too old a bird to be
caught with chaff, and had been gone half an hour before. So the
crusader pulled off his boots and went to bed.



                               ARGELES.

   Et nunc omnis ager nunc omnis parturit arbos,
   Nunc frondent silvæ nunc formosissimus annus.--VIRGIL.


There was nothing more to be seen at Lourdes but the castle, and as
that is now used only as a state prison we did not visit it. In scenes
where liberty seems the charter of the place, as it does in these
mountains, its loss is doubly dreadful. Besides, we had seen enough of
prisons at Pau.

At Lourdes the Pyrenees really begin, in this direction, and from
thence to Argelés, we passed through a valley which made us feel the
whole force and truth of the expression of "_a smiling country_."
Richly cultivated at their bases, on each side rise mountains, covered
with fields of somewhat less luxuriance to their very summits. Yet
they lose none of their character of mountains, for from the midst of
a smooth verdant turf, a mass of cold rugged rock will ever and anon
break out and hang frowning over the road; and in other places where
the mountaineers have carried up the vegetable mould to the top of the
crags, which they frequently do, a small green meadow will appear
spreading soft and rich, in the midst of perfect desolation. At the
further extremity, the view penetrates into several other valleys,
which give long perspectives of hills sloping to meet hills and far
passes winding on into the misty distance, till some obtrusive
mountain comes with its blue head and shuts the scene.

Frequent villages are strewed all through the valley of Argelés, and
every now and then some old ruin raises itself from amongst the trees,
connecting the history of the past with the present beauties of the
scene. The tower of Vidalos forms a striking object all along the
road, standing on a wooded height, in the midst, and seen from every
part of the valley.

The best and most extensive view near Argelés, is from an elevation to
the north-west of the town, called Le Balandrau, and certainly it
commands one of the most splendid panoramas that can be conceived.
Here, as in all the valleys of the Pyrenees, a mountain torrent runs
in the midst; the lower part is filled with towns and villages and
woods; convents, and ruins, and feudal castles rise next, with the
hamlets they formerly protected still clinging around them; and above,
on every side, are seen the immense mountains over which the industry
of man has spread a rich robe of cultivation. The sun, as it wanders
over them, entirely changes their aspect, from time to time, without,
however, robbing them of their beauty; sometimes, throwing them into
deep shadow, all the minute parts are lost in one grand obscurity,
sometimes, shining full upon them, a thousand objects of interest are
displayed, softened and harmonized as they recede by the airy
indistinctness of distance.

It had been our intention to proceed direct from Lourdes to Cauterets,
but there was a charm in the valley of Argelés which there was no
resisting, and we dismissed the horses, resolving to stay at the
little inn, however bad the accommodation might be. But we were
agreeably disappointed in our _auberge_. The people were civil and
attentive, the beds clean and good, the prices moderate, and even had
we been true French _gastronomes_, we must have been well contented
with our fare.

We spent the day in wandering about the valley, seeking for new
beauties, and enjoying all we saw; and in the evening retired to rest
full of ideas of loveliness, and contented with the day.



                              CAUTERETS.

          Hîc secura quies et nescia fallere vita,
          Dives opum variarum, hîc latis otia fundis
          Speluncæ, vivique lacus, hîc frigida Tempe.--VIRGIL.


The next morning we proceeded to Pierrefitte; and while some little
alteration was taking place in the harness before we could go on
towards Cauterets, a gendarme came up and asked for our passports. I
luckily had mine in my pocket, though it had never been signed for the
Pyrenees, but it answered very well, and was civilly returned,
scarcely looked at. Not so happened it to a poor traveller on foot,
who it appeared had no passport to show. When a man is in the wrong,
and wishes to go on in the same way, he has but two resources, to
bully or sneak. The poor traveller chose the first, and a violent
quarrel ensued with the gendarme, who swore that he should not proceed
one step without showing his passport, called out very loud about
doing his duty, slapped his hand upon his heart, and talked about his
honour. Finding that bully would not answer, the traveller had nothing
for it but to sneak, so he asked the gendarme to come and drink a
bottle of wine with him. The gendarme did not accept the invitation,
but he drank the wine, and the traveller having paid for it walked on
upon his way, while the other remained on the spot, to prove, to all
who doubted it, what an honourable man he was, and how well he did his
duty.

When the harness was all completely arranged, we passed on through the
little town, and turning to the right entered the gorge of Cauterets.
Here again was a new change of mountain scenery gaining in grandeur
what is lost in richness and cultivation. From Pierrefitte the road
suddenly turns into a deep ravine, with the river rushing below, and
immense masses of crag rising many hundred feet above. But it is not
even here the bare, cold, lifeless stone. Every spot where the root of
a tree can fix itself, every ledge where the least earth can rest, is
abundant in vegetable life, and all sorts of beautiful foliage seem
striving to form a screen for the gray rock from which they spring.
The road winds on through this sort of scenery, changing at every
step, till, approaching Cauterets, the valley gradually widens, and
again high mountains surround it on every side, but far bolder than
those of Argelés, and covered near the tops with dark forests of
pines and sapins.

Cauterets is a complete watering-place, a sort of barrack, which gets
filled to the head the moment that fashion gives orders to march from
the greater cities. As soon as the sound of the postman's whip was
heard, all the inhabitants rushed to their windows to see who was to
be added to their little world; and amid the number of white bonnets
and blue, red bonnets and gray, which Paris had brought forth and
Cauterets contained, we were fortunate enough to discover two or three
with the owners of which we could claim acquaintance; and then there
was pulling off of hats, and bowing of heads, and so forth, while a
thousand gaping applicants stood round the carriage pressing for our
"linge à blanchir," or for us to "manger chez-eux," so that there was
practice enough in the art of refusing to train one for a prime
minister.

We put up at the hotel of old Madame Lapierre, who is an original in
her way. Some fifty years ago (I suppose) she kept a little _auberge_
at Cauterets, when Cauterets was scarcely heard of. She has grown,
into opulence as it has grown in fame and size, and now is one of the
richest persons of the place. But still little Madame Lapierre retains
all her old habits: six days of the week, trots about the kitchen in
her original dirt, peeps into the saucepans, counts the onions, and
scolds the servants, and the seventh puts on a clean muslin cap, and
brings in one of the dishes herself, to show how fine she is. Withal
she really is a very good old soul, civil, kind, and obliging; the
only thing is, that there is no understanding a word that she says,
for speaking _patois_ sixty or seventy years has broken all the teeth
out of her head, and spoilt her articulation.

Cauterets was as full as it could be. The violent hot weather had
driven all the world out of large towns, and health, pleasure,
curiosity, and fashion brought them all to the Pyrenees. Truly, truly,
they could not have chosen a sweeter spot; grandeur and beauty become
so familiar to the eye, that all the rest of the world does indeed
look "stale, flat, and unprofitable." Besides, there are a thousand
little lovely nooks unhackneyed by itineraries, which one is
constantly finding out for one's self. I hate itineraries, they are a
sort of Newgate Calendar, a record of all the common tours which have
been executed for the last century. The Pyrenees have been but little
tourified, or if they have I knew nothing about it, which came to the
same thing.

There is a great difference between the Alps and the Pyrenees; the
Alps are a country of mountains, the Pyrenees a chain. In Switzerland
one is obliged to go to seek mountains: in the Pyrenees they start
forward upon one; all that is beautiful and sublime is near at hand,
and nature seems fond of changing from one form of grandeur to
another.

Cauterets is surrounded on every side by majestic hills, and the walk
to each of the sulphureous springs, of which there are several,
displays new beauties at every step. That called La Raillère is the
most frequented, and beyond it is a rich woody scene, dim and still,
with the river divided into three or four streams, breaking over a
high crag, and then foaming on under a small bridge of planks, which
leads across from one rock to another. To the left lies a beautiful
valley, to which we made an excursion with all the gay folks of the
place. The ladies were carried in machines called _chaises à
porteurs_, consisting simply of chairs fixed on poles and covered in
with oil-cloth on all sides but one; these are carried between two
men, whose dexterity is wonderful, bearing their burden up steep
rocks, and over broken crags which seem quite impassable. Altogether
they are not ugly in a landscape, and as we pedestrians stood upon the
top of the hill and watched two-and-twenty of them following more
slowly up the winding ascent, it had a very curious and pleasing
effect. The pleasure of our party, however, was soon spoiled by a
heavy rain, which came on and drove us back towards the town.
Unfortunately, this is too frequent an occurrence in mountainous
countries, and though the Pyrenees are less subject to it than many
other places, they still are by no means exempt.

Though, in all probability, the good effect produced by visiting these
waters, is more to be attributed to, the exercise, fine air, and
beautiful scenery, than the benign influence of the nymph, yet I have
seen two or three glasses from the well of La Raillère act in an
extraordinary manner upon one of my friends, enabling him to walk for
many miles without fatigue, which his health would not have permitted
without some strong stimulus. However, the effects generally
attributed to these fountains of the Pyrenees are rather amusing. The
accounts published of them begin like the puff of a French charlatan,
who states, that though some men make extravagant pretensions for
their nostrum, that is not his case, there are only one or two
diseases which his remedy is adapted to cure; and then he goes on to
recite all the maladies incident to human nature.

The waters of Cauterets are thus stated to be specific in wounds,
rheumatisms, affections of the liver, and the spleen, intermittent
fevers, consumption, disease of the skin, and paralyses; and "etc." is
put at the end to gratify the imagination of the reader, in case he
should have any nondescript complaint which has not been enumerated.



                           THE LAC DE GAUB.

          Care selve beate
          E voi solinghi e taciturni orrori
          Di riposi e di pace alberghi veri
          O quanto volentieri
          A rivedervi io torno.--GUARINI.


It often happens in the Pyrenees, that the place one goes to see is
less worth seeing than the road which leads to it. We set out early in
the morning for the Lac de Gaub, and passing the principal fountain of
Cauterets, turned to the right where the path wound in amidst enormous
rocks and forests of sapins, with not a vestige left of the civilized
world,--all wild, and rough, and desolate, with the high peaks of the
mountains almost shutting out the rays of the sun. The road, if it can
be called a road, appears almost impracticable even on foot, but our
guides told us, that the Spanish mules are frequently driven along it,
and I have more than once since seen the Spaniards pass it on
horseback.

The river, during its course through this valley, forms four principal
cascades. The first, called "De Cirizet," is very beautiful, falling
headlong down through a deep cleft in the rock, which is entirely
covered with dark woods. The second, called "Le Pas de l'Ours," is
connected with the other by the very tragical history of a poor bear.
Be it known, then, that at the first waterfall, grew in days of yore a
wild cherry tree, from which, by corruption, it acquired the name of
Cirizet. It was first of all "La Cascade du Cerisier," the cataract of
the cherry-tree, and from its root etymologists will have no
difficulty in deriving "La Cascade Cerizet." A poor bear, who, like
Parnell's hermit, far in a wild remote from public view, had grown
from youth to age in harmless simplicity was wont every day to descend
from his mountain hermitage and make a frugal meal upon the cherries
that grew beside the fall.

However, it so unfortunately happened, that bruin was induced to vary
his diet. The demon came tempting him in the shape of a shepherd and a
flock of sheep and luxury, that most penetrating evil, found its way
even up to his cave, whispering that every country gentleman ought to
kill his own mutton.

Bruin suffered himself to be seduced by the charms of one of the
sheep. It is supposed, that finding his virtue failing, he resolved to
fly, but lingered still to give it one last embrace. However that may
be, the separation was too cruel for either to bear, and his tender
friend expired in his arms. Heart-stricken, bruin carried her mortal
remains to his cave; and for some days was so overpowered with grief,
that he abandoned his favourite walk to the cherry-tree cascade. At
length, however, he once more took his way towards it, but ha, hapless
tale! the cruel shepherd had watched his path, and dug away the
support from the very stone over which his way lay as he passed the
second cascade. Bruin advanced ruminating over his lost mutton;--he
put his two forefeet upon the treacherous stone;--the stone gave way,
and down he rolled headlong into the torrent, paying dear for not
having contented himself with cherries.

The Pas de l'Ours, unconnected with its little tragedy, would be less
interesting and is less beautiful than the fall of the Pont d'Espagne,
where the path passing over the stream by a little wooden bridge,
leads through the Port de Cauterets into Spain. Here two rivers
flowing diagonally through long mountain passes, till they come near
the brim of a precipice, plunge over the edge of the rock and meet in
the deep chasm below, foaming and thundering as they join. Nothing can
be more magnificent than to stand on the few unshaped trunks of trees
which form the bridge, and look down upon the meeting of the waters,
for ever rushing on with a dazzling whiteness and unceasing roar,
while a thousand flowers are growing peacefully on the very brink; and
a variety of shrubs and trees are dipping their branches in the spray.

When we were there the sun shone strongly on the mist which the fall
raises, and arched it with a sunbow, that hung flickering over the
waters like the banner of the contending streams.

The road which had been ascending all the way, now began to mount
rapidly as if seeking the very clouds, and in about half an hour we
reached the small mountain lake called the _Lac de Gaub_, situated at
a great height above the level of the sea, but surrounded by hills
still more elevated. It is calm, silent, and solitary; though the turf
that dips itself in the clear waters of the lake is carpeted with a
thousand flowers of every hue and living with many a painted
butterfly, yet there is a solemn stillness in the whole, which makes
one afraid of speaking for fear of breaking the silence which has
dwelt for ages amongst those mountains. The waters, too, harmonized
with the rest; they were deep, clear, and calm, without a ripple upon
their bosom. I could have fancied them the waters of oblivion, and
took a draught to try, but it did not answer. The only living being in
the place, appeared to be a solitary fisherman, who makes his abode in
a miserable hut by the side of the lake. He is the picture of Charon,
and looks withered and blackened by solitude.

His dwelling, which was built of rough stones piled one on the other,
boasted neither window nor chimney. The light entered by an aperture
in the wall turned from the prevailing wind, and the smoke escaped, or
not, as it liked best, by a hole in the roof, made for its
convenience; and yet "canopies of costly state" would not perhaps have
rendered our fisherman a happier man. He had a dry and caustic humour
about him, which might spring from the concentration of his own
thoughts in his loneliness; and, of the economy of human life, he had
at least acquired so much knowledge, as to cheat his fellow-creatures
with as little remorse as he hooked a trout.



                             ST. SAUVEUR.

     Intorno a queste fonti siedon sempre
     Bei damegelli e candide donzelle
     Tenere e fresche e di leggiadro aspetto
     Che invitan tutti a ber quell' acque dolce.
                    TRESSINO. L'ITALIA LIBERATA DA GOTI.



Rumour, that winged demon, whose business and pleasure it is to
torment man, like a gnat that comes just when he is enjoying his
morning's sleep, and, buzzing for ever about him, sings its indistinct
song in his ears, till he has neither rest nor peace--came tormenting
us at Cauterets, with the news of St. Sauveur being so full that if we
did not put horses to the carriage, and set out without delay, we
should find ourselves worse off, in point of lodging, than even where
we were, although my friend was obliged to go into his room sideways,
for fear of knocking down some of the utensils, and I might have just
as well been in an oven, for I was precisely above the kitchen fire.

I have just been bleeding one of my candles. The wax had gained so
much upon the wick, that it was ready to die of repletion, till,
making an incision with the point of the snuffers, I let out a
sufficient quantity to relieve it, and the flame burnt up brighter
than before. I cannot help thinking that man is like a candle. The
cold part is his body, the melted spermaceti is his blood, the wick is
his brain, and the flame, though chemists prove it to be only the
combustion of gas, produces light and heat, of which we know nothing,
any more than of the spirit.

So we set off from Cauterets as hard as we could drive; but before we
got to Pierrefitte my friend's strength failed him, and we were
obliged to stop at that town for the night.

From Gavarnie to Lourdes may be considered as forming but one
valley,--sometimes, indeed, contracting into narrow passes, sometimes
opening into wide basins, but always marked, or rather connected, by
the river, which, entering at the Cascade of Gavarnie, flows on in
nearly a direct line to Lourdes.

At Pierrefitte, the valley contracts to a deep gorge, like that which
leads to Cauterets, but the scenery round bears a softer character.
The defile is much narrower, the hills more green and smiling, and
though, perhaps, the whole may be more beautiful, it appears to want
grandeur, after having seen Cauterets. For some way the road winds
round the projecting bases of the hills, till at length it opens upon
the beautiful valley of Luz, presenting a rich scene, not unlike the
basin of Argelés. Here, also, scattered villages and ruined castles
are the first things that present themselves, and shortly after
appears the town of Luz, in the lower part of the valley, and St.
Sauveur on an eminence to the right. The latter is a beautiful little
place, consisting of nineteen or twenty houses, nested in a woody part
of the mountain, and looking far over the scene of loveliness around.

We arrived just in time to be too late; the lodgings which we expected
to find vacant had been taken by some one else; and we were obliged to
put up much in the same way that we had done at Cauterets; but the
place was so beautiful, so smiling, so cheerful in itself, that we
could not be out of humour with anything in it.

Madame de Gontaut Biron, one of the most amiable beings I ever met,
has made St. Sauveur her favourite summer abode, and has taken pains
to display its beauties to the greatest advantage. She has planned and
carried into execution many of the principal embellishments of the
place; and Madame de Gontaut's bridge, and Madame de Gontaut's seat,
and Madame de Gontaut's walks, are always the most beautiful that can
be found. Her rank and her fortune gave her the means of making
herself respected, but she has used them to a better purpose, and made
herself loved. She combines all the high _ton_, the uncommunicable
ease and elegance of a woman to whom courts have ever been familiar,
with a degree of originality and _bonhomie_ which takes off from the
flatness of great polish. She knows every poor person in the village,
and if they are sick or in distress it is to Madame de Gontaut that
they fly for assistance. She relieves their wants, she promotes their
happiness, she looks upon them as her children and they almost worship
her. Her's is not alone that sort of general charity, which gives but
for the sake of giving, without knowledge of the object or interest in
the distress: she discriminates in her bounty, and doubles it by the
manner in which it is done; for her words are as kind as her actions.
I have met her often going down to the Springs, leaning on the arm of
one, of the common porters of the place, asking after his family,
inquiring into his affairs, and advising him in their regulation, with
as much kindness as if he had been her son.

There is all the difference in the world between the benevolence which
cheers and raises its object and the charity which humiliates.

A custom exists at St. Sauveur of bowing to every lady one meets in
the street. Now, as the whole town is not two hundred yards long, and
it is crammed as full as it can hold one may calculate fairly upon
having to pull off one's hat at least a hundred times whenever a
necessity exists of walking from one end to the other on a sun-shiny
morning. God knows, I did not grudge it them, but it ought to be put
into the list of expenses. My companion did much better, for he walked
about the town with his hat under his arm, which did just as well.



                               BAREGES.

          Quis tumidum guttur miratur in alpibus?--JUVENAL.


It is an extraordinary fact, that between the Valley d'Ossau and the
Valley de Baréges an entire change takes place in the population. I
never saw a handsomer race than the people at the Eaux Bonnes, and the
Eaux Chaudes. At Cauterets beauty had forsaken the fair sex: the men
were well-formed and good-looking, but the women quite the reverse;
and at St. Sauveur, Luz, and Baréges, men, women, and children were
all ugly together. A few days after our arrival at St. Sauveur we went
over to Baréges, which is but at a little distance, and on our road
met all the goblin shapes of fairy tales completely realized, and a
great many more far too disgusting for description.

In this neighbourhood there are a great many people afflicted with the
goitre. Nor had I any idea of its effects till I saw it here. This
monstrous appendage to each side of the neck is horrid in itself, but
those afflicted with it to any great degree, lose entirely the hue of
health, become squalid and emaciated, and very frequently end in
idiocy. There is no describing their appearance; and one can scarcely
wonder at the treatment the ignorant mountaineers used to show them of
old, considering them cursed of God, and driving them from all human
intercourse.

The Cretins, or idiots, are also very common in the Pyrenees, and a
large village near Bagneres de Begorre is almost entirely peopled with
them, But these wretched beings are not at all held in the same degree
of horror as the Caghots, or goitrous, who for many centuries were
supposed, even by the physicians of the towns adjacent to the
Pyrenees, to be the descendants of persons afflicted with the leprosy
of the Greeks. It appears, however, to be now ascertained, that this
disease proceeds from something suspended in the water of mountainous
countries, which, being taken into the system, produces these
obstructions of the glands. Knowing very little either of medicine or
chemistry, my inquiries of course were limited; but from what I have
been able to learn, the malady is confined to particular districts,
both in the Alps and Pyrenees, while others in the vicinity are quite
free from it. In Derbyshire the same disease is common, while in the
mountains of Scotland and Wales I believe it is little known. An
analytical comparison of the water of the districts in which this
malady prevails might throw great light upon the subject, and be of
much service to a portion of mankind, who, though happily not very
numerous, are well worthy of compassion on account of their
sufferings.

The road to Baréges is not particularly beautiful, and the town itself
is hideous. Two rows of ill-built houses, forced into a narrow space
between the river and the mountain, crammed full of the sick and the
maimed, is what Baréges appears at first sight. Its mineral springs
are the strongest in the Pyrenees, and famous for the cure of gun-shot
wounds. There is a large hospital for soldiers, who saunter up and
down the single street, in which scarcely a whole man is to be met
with at once; and yet Baréges is the gayest place in the country;
there are nothing but balls and parties every night. In short, it is a
great dancing hospital, in which all the world caper on in the best
way they can with such limbs as they have got left.

Such is Baréges in the summer; in the winter every one quits it,
except a few shepherds and a few bears, who take possession of the
empty houses while the snow lasts. Everything at Baréges is made to be
carried away--shutters, doors, windows, and even staircases, so that
nothing but the skeleton of a town is left when once the migration
begins. Two things render it nearly uninhabitable after October--the
tremendous overflowings of the river and the avalanches, called here
_lavanges_, which frequently destroy great part of the town. It is not
alone that they overwhelm all that they approach, but as they come
everything trembles and falls before they touch it, without it be of
the most solid construction. Such is the report of the country people,
who, in their figurative language, say that all nature fears the
_lavange_; but any effect of the kind must proceed from the pressure
of the air by the rapid progress of such an immense mass. Many efforts
have been made to guard Baréges from this calamity by means of
planting trees on the heights; but, as seldom a year passes without
its occurrence, the young trees can afford no obstacle to the
avalanche.



                              GAVARNIE.

   Alps frown on alps, or rushing hideous down,
   As if old Chaos was again returned,
   Wide rend the deep and shake the solid pole.--THOMSON.


In returning to St. Sauveur, we saw the mountains, in whose breast it
rests, as they ought to be seen to know them in their greatest
magnificence. It was about half-past two, and the sun shone in such a
manner as to cast a kind of blue airy indistinctness over the whole,
hiding all the minuter parts, and leaving them in grand dark masses,
marked decidedly upon the bright sunshiny sky. Although we had risen
considerably from Luz, the sun was already hidden by the mountains to
the south-west, and all the valley was in shadow. As I have before
remarked, when the hills are seen covered with fields half-way to the
top, scattered all over with trees, or broken into separate masses of
rock, the multitude of objects prevents the eye from estimating their
height justly; but it is when they are thus thrown together, in one
uniformity of shade, that they appear in their true grandeur.

But as I have got upon my hands a long journey to the most splendid of
nature's works, I must proceed on my way as quickly as possible. It
would be tedious to describe the journey from St. Sauveur to Gedre, as
it is little better than a repetition of that from Pierrefitte to Luz
on a smaller scale. The passes are narrower, the basins more
circumscribed, and the mountains rise higher and more perpendicularly
on each side. The road, which soon becomes unfit for a carriage,
sometimes sinks to a level with the Gave, and sometimes rises high on
the sides of the mountain; and as my horse had a talent for stumbling,
together with a peculiar predilection for the edge of the precipice,
the insurance upon my neck would have been somewhat hazardous. Of
course during a twelve miles' ride through that part of the country,
we found a great many spots of peculiar beauty, but if I were to tell
all I saw, I should never have done with the long stories of lovely
hamlets nested in the wood that overhangs the stream, and marble
bridges that carry the road across it, and rugged mountain heads that
hide it from the sun.

At Gedre there is a famous grotto which every one talks about a great
deal more than it deserves. A deep cleft in the rock overhung with
woods, amidst the Gave de Héas to the valley, where it joins the other
river. There is a great degree of soft quiet and stillness in the
sound of the waterfall, and the deep shade of the wood hanging down
and dipping its branches in the clear pools formed at the foot of the
rock. The whole is certainly very beautiful, but not meriting the
extravagant praises which have been bestowed upon it.

At this village, Gedre, is the last general _bureau_ of the French
_douanes_, and here we were obliged to take out a kind of passport for
our horses, that they might be allowed to return, Here also I engaged
a guide, named Rondo, to conduct me the next morning to the Brèche de
Roland: and we then proceeded on our way, skirting along the foot of
Mount Comelie, till we arrived at a spot called the Chaos or Payrada,
which seems as if a mountain had been violently overthrown, and
strewed the valley with its enormous ruins. Blocks of granite
containing from ten to a hundred thousand cubic feet, scattered at
large, or piled one upon another, fill up a space of nearly half a
mile. No tree, no vegetation is to be seen; all is death, and
desolation, and silence, except where the Gave rushes angrily through
the rocks, and seems to hasten its progress to escape from such a
wilderness of destruction.

About a mile more brought us to the village of Gavernie, wildly
situated in the midst of flowers, and snows, soft fields, and
tremendous mountains.



                       THE CASCADE OF GAVARNIE.

      Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum.--HORAT. EPIST.


The village of Gavarnie once belonged to the order of the Temple, and
we were shown the little church, said to have been erected by those
military monks. There is nothing peculiar in the building, and the
only thing which pretends to interest, is a collection of skulls, said
to be those of eight knights who were beheaded on the little green, at
the time of the barbarous extermination of their order. I believe,
that as far as any truth goes, they might just as well call them the
heads of eight Roman emperors. But it is no great matter--could every
Templar come back and swear to his own, they would be the only persons
concerned after all; and till that can be the case, one head does
quite as well as another.

After visiting the church, we followed the course of the river towards
the famous Cirque de Gavarnie. On setting out from the village, it
seemed as if we could touch it; but it fled before us, and shortly a
thick cloud came over it like a veil. We walked on, however, crossing
several large basins, which had formerly been filled with water, and
arrived at last in the midst of that gigantic amphitheatre, to which
all other of nature's works appear but faint essays of her power. The
whole was at first filled with the cloud, and we could scarcely
distinguish any of the objects around; but gradually the vapour rose
and passed away, and we found ourselves standing in the midst of the
semi-circle of black marble, rising abruptly fourteen hundred feet in
height, round an area of nearly a league. There is no describing it;
the soul is lost in the vastness that it contemplates, and it is long
before the eye can comprehend the grandeur of the objects before it.
High above the amphitheatre lies the mountain, pile upon pile, to the
very sky, like gigantic steps carpeted, with snow. Nine or ten small
streams are continually pouring over the edge of the precipice, and
tracing a long white line upon its dark surface; but a river far more
considerable than the rest, shoots over the eastern side of the
amphitheatre, from a height of twelve hundred and sixty feet, forming
the famous cascade of Gavarnie.

There was still a line of heavy cloud drawn across the very summit of
the fall, and below, it separated into dense thick mist, while the
stream itself continued for ever pouring silently on between the two,
like time between two indistinct eternities. At the same time, the sun
had long, long sunk to us, and the world below was all in shadow,
while far above the cloud, glittering in a kind of golden splendour,
rose the icy summits of a far higher mountain, beaming with an airy
unearthly light, like the faint glimpse of some more brilliant world.

Description can do nothing for it, imagination can do little. It must
be seen and felt.

Although such towering heights still remained above us, we had already
risen so far, that we found the snows lying at the foot of the
amphitheatre, and were told that they never melt. After falling from
the height, the river collects in a small basin below, and forcing its
passage under the snow, forms the famous Pont de Neige[22] of
Gavarnie.


---------------

[Footnote 22: Bridge of Snow.]

---------------


Far above the Cirque de Gavarnie, and the snows and the ices which
hang upon its edge, appears another perpendicular wall of rock,
running along nearly from east to west, and forming a barrier between
France and Spain; and nearly in the centre of this, appears a deep
cleft like an embrasure--the famous Brèche de Roland. For here it is
said that the Paladin Orlando, or Roland, as he is called in France,
pursuing the army of the Moors, cleft the rock of three hundred feet
in height, with one blow of his enchanted sword, and opened a passage
into Spain. The story goes on to say, that Orlando was on horseback.

I looked in vain to see the footpath that was to conduct me the next
day to the breach. I could discover nothing but one perpendicular
precipice, and returned to Gavarnie, puzzling myself how it was to be
accomplished.



                        THE BRECHE DE ROLAND.

     E'en now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
     I sit me down a pensive hour to spend,
     And placed as high above the storm's career,
     Look down where hundred realms appear,
     Lakes, forests, cities, plains extended wide,
     The pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
                                    GOLDSMITH--THE TRAVELLER.


While we were at dinner, my musical-named guide, Rondo, arrived from
Gedre, and came in to speak to me, walking with the peculiar bounding
step of mountaineers. A picturesque figure he was too, with his
spear-headed pole, conical cap, cow-skin sandals, and an elegant
bissack of netted cotton, which hung under his left arm. He was a small,
slightly made mountaineer, with pale dark complexion, bright black
eyes, and a countenance lit up with calm intelligence. He told us so
many stories of accidents from storms in attempting to reach the
Brèche, that my companion whose health utterly prevented him from
ascending, became alarmed on my account, and begged me not to go
unless the day should prove perfectly clear.

At half-past three the next morning, Rondo called me; and having
dressed myself as warmly as possible, I went down stairs in the dark.
The stairs led immediately into the middle of the kitchen, on the
floor of which were stretched the beds of half a dozen families
belonging to the inn, There were mine host and hostess, her sister and
her sister's husband, and two or three cousins and their partners, on
either side; quite patriarchal. I don't know whether this proceeded
from the inn being very full, or whether it was usual, but so it was,
that in the obscurity I tripped at the first mattress, and tumbled
head foremost between a young lady and her husband, causing a sudden
and violent separation, and certainly putting asunder those whom the
church had joined together. The young lady started up, and I believe
at first, as there was no seeing in the matter, took me for her
husband, so that her first address was rather more tender than it
otherwise would have been, but at that moment Rondo came in with a
light, _sans cérémonie_, and enabled me to extricate myself from my
very doubtful situation.

We now provided ourselves with the necessary implements for our
journey: spear-headed poles, _crampons_ for our feet, a bottle of
brandy, and some cold meat, and setting out from Gavarnie, soon
arrived at the foot of the Tours de Marborée. The morning was foggy,
and by this time it had begun to drizzle; Rondo shook his head at the
weather, saying that we should have a storm; so we sat down among the
flowers, with which the whole place was carpeted, and held a council
of war.

The mountaineers always use the most figurative language, and my guide
explained to me his apprehensions; saying, that when the French mist
meets the Spanish mist on the top of the mountain, they fight for the
breach with thunder and with hail; that there had been threatening of
war in the sky for many days, but that now it menaced more than ever,
and that if the storm came when we were amidst the glaciers, where
there was no shelter, death would be our portion: for that was a
country, he said, where there was no good God.

However, never liking to give up what I have once undertaken without
succeeding, and as it appeared that if the storm overtook us before we
reached the ice, we could find some place of refuge from the hail,
which was the most dangerous enemy we had to encounter, I determined
to go on, at least as far as the snow, and then let our further
progress be determined by the weather.

Our first effort was to pass a hill composed of loose fragments of
stone, which gave way at every step. This conducted us to the foot of
the precipice, on the west side, where we paused, under a shelving
rock, till the rain had somewhat abated. Thence we went a little way
round the base, and found the path, if path it could be called, for it
was nothing but a narrow irregular break in the rock, almost as
perpendicular as the rock itself, and only more practicable on account
of the steps formed in it by the broken layers of stone.

We soon passed this, and then walking along a narrow ledge formed in
the precipice, we came to another natural stair of the same kind,
which conducted us to the height of four or five hundred feet, where
we scared two eagles, (or I rather believe vultures) from the rock,
which continued screaming and wheeling round our heads during great
part of the ascent; and doubtless we had their best wishes for our
speedy passage to the bottom.

Turning then in a degree away from the Marbarée, we came to a piece of
turf slanting in an extreme angle, and so slippy with the rain, that
we could scarcely keep our feet. We passed then again to the east, and
once more, to my great satisfaction, began climbing the firm rock; but
this did not last, and we had to change several times from rock to
turf, before I found myself at the summit of the amphitheatre, on a
level with the top of the cascade, which, as the clouds began to clear
away, I could plainly perceive projected violently over the edge of
the opposite precipice, losing itself in mist below.

It is seldom that one has an opportunity of looking down a
perpendicular height of fourteen hundred feet: and I stood enjoying
the sensation for much longer than I believe my guide judged _à
propos_, for he seemed scarcely to know whether he ought to let me
stand there or not. The tinkling of the sheep-bell, and a loud
barking, two sounds I little expected to hear there, roused me from my
dreaming, and conducted us towards the flock of a Spanish shepherd,
which was wandering at large under the care of two enormous dogs, who
now appeared mounted on the projecting rocks that flanked their
charge, baying loudly at our approach.

No shepherd was with the flock, but we soon discovered his abode by a
large iron pot of milk that stood at the entrance. He had chosen the
little hollow under a shelf of the rock, and fenced it in with a wall
of loose stones which rose breast-high, forming a dwelling of about
seven feet by four. I went up to the little wall and looked over upon
the shepherd, who lay extended on his cloak reading. I asked him what
he was about, and looking up without the least appearance of surprise,
he answered that he was _studying_. I demanded what was the subject of
his study, to which he replied by stretching out his arm towards me,
with a dirty dog's-eared book of Spanish letters on geography. It is
probable that the conversation might have lasted for some time in the
same manner, he lying on his back, and I looking over the wall, had
not Rondo come up, and desired him to give us some milk. The call on
his hospitality instantly roused him, and he sprang upon his feet, one
of the most picturesque figures I ever beheld.

He was a youth of sixteen or seventeen, of very perfect, though almost
gigantic proportions. Before he came out of his den, he placed his
large broad-brimmed hat on his head, which gave a sort of bandit
expression to his full dark eyes and sunburnt countenance: He wore two
double-breasted Spanish jackets, covered with hanging buttons. His
feet were shod with the sort of mountain sandal called _espardin_, and
in a crimson sash round his waist, he wore a sharp-pointed knife,
nearly two feet long, which though only used for the simple purpose of
cutting his bread, might have served very well on more murderous
occasions. In short, he was a most romantic sort of gentleman in
appearance; but he speedily lighted a fire, boiled us a large portion
of his milk, and pressed us to his simple treat, with a cheerfulness
and frankness smacking of ancient days. He joined with us too in
conversation; told us that it was nearly a month since he had seen a
human creature, and then it was his father, who had brought him six
loaves of the black bread he set before us.

The shepherd seemed anxious to know what brought us to the Brèche de
Roland; and when I told him, in the best Spanish I could muster, that
it was but simple curiosity, he shook his head with a smile. I asked
him why he did so, doubting whether he understood me; but he answered,
that he could not imagine any one coming to such a place unless it
were to feed sheep.

One thing, however, he told us, which set our minds perfectly at ease
with respect to the safety of our further progress. He assured us that
there were no clouds on the other side of the breach, and that there
would be no storm that day. My guide seemed to place perfect
confidence in his judgment, and with this prognostic we again set out.

After about half an hour's more climbing, the clouds entirely cleared
away, the wind blew strongly, the sun shone glittering on the snow
before us, and all announced as fine a day as we could have desired.
the mountain was all shining as if strewed with diamonds, for the last
drops of rain were crowded upon every blade of grass, and nested in
the bosom of every flower. Nature, as if to mock the snows, had
covered the whole turf to their very edge with blossoms, and the rich
blue iris, and a very delicate white flower I had never seen before,
were actually growing within the verge of the region of frost. As most
of these had already past in the valleys, I gathered as many as I
could for Madame de Gontaut; and then having fixed our _crampons_,
which were but clumsy, we proceeded to climb the ice.

To the east was an immense glacier stretching over the highest part of
the Marborée. It was of deep blue ice, and I could distinguish layer
above layer, resting nearly vertically, which prevented all approach
on that side. Stretching east and west, was the rocky wall, which
forms the highest crest of the Pyrenees, and due south, cleft through
as with a sword, the Brèche de Roland; but between us and it lay
another glacier, at an inclination of about sixty degrees, which made
the direct ascent impracticable. To the westward, however, was a large
tract of soft snow, by which we were enabled to make our way to the
side of the latter glacier, and cross instead of attempting to climb
it. We proceeded very well up the snow, for about a quarter of an
hour, at the end of which time we came to ice covered with drift, and
rendered unsound by the percolation of a stream.

Here the _crampon_ on my left foot turned round, by the strap coming
undone, and my foot gave way, but I was still firmly fixed by my
climbing-pole and my right foot. However, Rondo, who was about twenty
yards distant, was alarmed and ran to my assistance, when both his
feet slipped and he went flying like lightning towards the edge of the
precipice. I could do nothing to save him: when suddenly, after having
gone about two hundred yards, he struck his pole into the deep ice,
and having regained his feet, returned to me, as quietly as if nothing
had happened.

We now began to cross the glacier transversely, cutting steps with a
hatchet, and after passing more than one deep chasm from six inches to
two feet in breadth, we arrived at the crest of the mountain, so that
I could stretch out my hand and touch it. Between France and Spain
this natural barrier rises perpendicularly from the ice, and is said
to be from three to six hundred feet in height.

It has an extraordinary effect to stand upon those immense masses of
ice, and feel the vivid rays of the summer sun. The rarefaction of the
air did not at all affect my breathing, but the humidity had become so
condensed under the glass of my pocket-compass, that I could scarcely
ascertain the direction of the various objects. Retracing in a degree
our steps, we now without further difficulty reached the Brèche de
Roland; and here, for the first time, I turned round to contemplate
the scene below.

Mountain beyond mountain, valley leading into valley, stream flowing
into stream, till the fading distance and the boundless sky did not
meet, but blended in each other. On one side, were the whole mountains
of Bearn, on the other, the whole mountains of Aragon, far, and clear,
and blue. It seemed as if a giant ocean of enormous waves had suddenly
been frozen, and that I stood upon their highest pinnacle.

The icy barrier around appeared to cut us off from all nature. It was
perfect solitude; there was not a flower, there was not a living
creature; the very eagles we had left below: there was not a sound but
that of the lonely wind whistling shrilly through the chasm in the
mountain. Where we stood, we seemed far above creation, and at our
feet lay all the vast and varied world, nor had I ever fancied that
world so grand.

How magnificent are all thy works, great God of Nature!



                            THE DISCOVERY.


In coming from the mountain, while I was yet far above the surface of
the vulgar earth, I saw my friend standing, watching my descent, upon
one of the hills of shingle which lie at the bottom of Gavarnie, and I
hastened on to meet him. There was some degree of agitation in his
manner as we met, and as he grasped my hand, he said, "Do you know,
Young, something very extraordinary has happened to me since you have
been gone."

"Something extraordinary it must have been indeed," I replied, "to
stir you from your calm placidity. But, tell me, what is it?"

"Extraordinary indeed," he replied; "but come on towards the inn. Do
you know, I have seen the same appearance which has so long tormented
you--I have seen again that terrible countenance which will never quit
the memory of either of us!"

"Good God! is it possible?" I exclaimed; "then it is no delusion!"

"It is certainly the most extraordinary thing in the world," he
replied; and then proceeded to inform me, that as he was coming down
to breakfast, while looking along the dark passages at the top of the
stairs, that fearful countenance had glared upon him for a moment in
terrible distinctness. With prompt presence of mind he had instantly
rushed towards it, but found nothing but the long corridors and empty
rooms of the inn. On our return we called for the book of travellers'
names, but our own were the only English names that it contained; and
not a little agitated, we mounted our horses and returned to St.
Sauveur.

Without pausing any longer there than was merely necessary to pack the
carriage, we set out for Bagneres de Bigorre, and thence proceeded
towards Tarbes. More than once we canvassed the extraordinary
circumstance that had occurred; and notwithstanding all our efforts to
be philosophical, it is in vain to deny that I at least felt a greater
degree of superstitious awe in regard to the object which had so often
tortured me, than ever I had done before. Previously I had looked upon
it as a delusion, originating in a partial derangement of my own
brain; but now that my friend had seen it also, it acquired the
importance of a terrible reality. Every hour it weighed more and more
upon my mind, and I saw that B--- was sorry that on the impulse of the
moment he had communicated to me the fact of his having witnessed the
same strange occurrence.

As we had set out somewhat late from Bagneres, however, the shadows
were coming over the mountains long before we reached Tarbes, and as
my friend B---- was rather indisposed, we determined, if the little
town of St. Martin afforded a good inn, to halt there for the night.
Our postilion informed us that the inn was "_admirable_," and driving
up to the door we saw a crowd round it sufficient to show that it was
well frequented.

There were, amongst others, five or six gendarmes on horseback
surrounding a little cart, in which appeared a man loaded with irons,
with another police soldier beside him. What was my surprise, however,
on beholding, when the cart turned to drive off, no other than my
former servant Essex, in the person of the apparent criminal. The man
evidently saw me, and turned away his head; and as I had but slight
grounds to love his acquaintance, I took no farther notice, merely
thinking, "The rascal seems likely at length to meet his deserts."

As B---- stepped out of the carriage, however, and walked into the
inn, the landlord asked him if Monsieur had come to see the body of
the gentleman who had been murdered. He replied, by asking, what
gentleman; and, while the host answered that there was then lying in
his front room the body of a gentleman who had been murdered by his
own servant as he was coming from a château in the neighbourhood,
where he had been to pay a visit, B---- walked on to the door where,
from the number of people, and the appearance of one or two gendarmes,
it seemed the corpse lay for inspection.

The crowd made room for him to pass, and I was following, but he
suddenly drew back and grasped my arm, exclaiming, "Good God! Young,
do not come in here--and yet do! It is Wild!"

"Wild!" exclaimed I, rushing in; "what do you mean?" But there needed
no farther question. There, on the deal board, which usually served
the little _auberge_ for a public table, lay stretched the body of my
enemy, Alfred Wild, at, least if mortal eyes might be trusted. My
hand, it is true, had stretched him on the earth, my eyes had
witnessed the convulsive agony of death, the surgeon had pronounced
him to be dead, and the newspapers had announced his death; yet, there
he lay, or some one so like him, that his own father would not have
known the difference.

"Do you recognise the body, sir?" demanded one of the gendarmes, seeing
me gazing upon it with feelings which no pen can describe, so mingled
were they of hope and relief, and horror and surprise. "Do you
recognise the body? for in all the letters and papers which have been
found upon him he is called by one name which I do not choose to
mention at present, while that in his passport is Monsieur Auguste de
Vallançay."

"I think I do recognise the body," I replied; "and if it be the same
his name is not Vallançay, but Alfred Wild."

"Précisement!" replied the gendarme; "that is the name on several
letters which were found in his pockets. But we are going to send to
the gentleman at the château, whom some people believe to be his
father."

"Come away, Young," cried my friend; "this will be, at all events, a
relief to your mind, and I trust may be but one step to your
happiness. Come away; perhaps I had better go, before the horses are
taken off, and break this event to the unhappy man's father."

"No!" I answered; "No; you are unwell yourself: I will go, and perhaps
the task, painful as it is, may be some atonement for what I inflicted
on the old man before."

B---- made some opposition, but I would yield to none; and getting
into the carriage, begged the people round to direct the postilion to
the château they had mentioned. The man knew it well, and in about
three-quarters of an hour we were passing through a pair of old gray
stone gates.

It was now quite dark, and the man, half peasant, half footman, who,
after ringing five or six times, made his appearance, admitted me with
somewhat surly scrutiny to a large vestibule, in which was burning one
small ill-trimmed lamp. He then opened a door at one side, and
announced "The English gentleman" upon which a voice immediately
exclaimed, "If he had not the impudence of the devil, he would not
show his face here again--but I will soon settle that! Send him in!"

"Some mistake!" I thought, obeying the words I had overheard, rather
than the servant's half-muttered directions, and walked into a large
old-fashioned saloon, somewhat better lighted than the hall. At the
farther end was a table covered with the materials for making tea, and
at the left-hand side sat two persons, on whom my eyes were of course
instantly fixed. But before a vague sort of intuition could become
really perceptive, a cry of joy met my ear, and in a moment Emily
Somers, my own Emily, was in my arms. "It is James, papa! Oh, it is
our own dear James!" she cried, and the happy tears flowed fast and
long.

There was no mistaking the tone, the manner, or the action. Emily at
least was glad to see me, and her father seemed so also, if I might
judge by the hearty and reiterated shake of the hand which he now gave
me. But how all this, had come about remained to be explained, and it
was but by confused and desultory fits and starts that I gained an
insight into what I am now about to write down.

The first light which was thrown upon the matter was by Mr. Somers
himself, who when he found that I had come thither accidentally,
supposing the tenants of the château to be very different people, cut
across Emily's delight at seeing me, and withdrew her hand from mine.

"Stay, stay, Emily," he cried, "as Mr. Young does not know what has
occurred, it is fit that he should be informed before he commits
himself by a word. Remember, my love, his opinions may be altered as
well as our fortunes."

"No, no, papa! No, no!" replied Emily. "For once, I will be bold and
answer for him."

"But let me tell him at least," said Mr.
Somers.--"Soon after you left us for France, Mr. Young, one or two of
my speculations were unsuccessful, and left me a loser of nearly fifty
thousand pounds; but that was nothing, and would never have been felt,
had not, just afterwards, the great house of Kinnerton and Badenham,
in Calcutta, failed to an immense amount. That was a shock to many a
house, as well as mine, and people began to draw largely upon me;
still I could have done very well if the London house of the same name
had held firm; but on calling there, though they assured me of their
perfect competence to meet all claims, I saw cause to doubt. What
could I do? To press them was to make them stop sooner, without
helping myself, and, to prepare against the worst, I went to my old
friend Samuel Wild, who talked about supporting me with half a
million, if it were necessary; but when he came in the evening he made
it a condition that his son was to have my Emily.

"It was no time to trifle, and I told him all--her engagement to
you--and everything. But he replied, that his son could prove that you
did not care anything about her, and a great deal more which it is
unnecessary to repeat. We held out for long; writing to you, and
receiving no answer, and seeing every now and then letters from your
servant Essex to young Wild's valet, telling him a great many stories
about you, which we have found to be false, as we have since passed
through that part of the country and seen many who knew you and did
you justice.

"However, the matter seemed plain enough then. Difficulties increased;
the London house of K---- and B---- failed; a regular run was made
upon our bank. Old Wild stood firm, and would do nothing unless Emily
would consent. I saw nothing before me but poverty and disgrace both
for me and her, and I do believe I almost went on my knees to my own
child to save us both. Well, sir, she did consent, and immediately Mr.
Wild paid in, in one morning, three hundred thousand pounds. We
declared our intention of paying everything in gold; the credit of the
house rose higher than ever, when suddenly, who should come over but
yourself. Your letter first opened my eyes; for, by showing me that
you had been ill and unable to write for two months, and that your
servant had been playing the rascal with you, you proved to me that I
had been cheated also. Well, my dear boy, I went away to old Wild,
resolving, at all events, to do you justice, let come what would; and,
producing your letter, I told him that his son must make good his
charges or I should not suffer Emily to keep her engagement. He then
thought fit to bully, and told me, that before six-and-thirty hours
were over he would close the doors of my bank. I feared that he had
the power to do so, but still he could not take from me my honesty,
and I left him in the same determination. The first thing was, if
possible, to save my credit; and I went to several old friends,
telling them the real state, of the case, that I could meet all, but
that it might require time. They promised to meet the next morning,
and thus the day was spent without my seeing you.

"The next morning took place that unfortunate duel, and my friends
also met; but ere they came to any decision, not only all that old
Wild had paid in was drawn out of the bank, but every one, with whom
he had a word to say came pouring in with draft upon draft. There was
no stemming the current, and before noon the bank stopped. You may
conceive what a state we were all in, and then came the news that you
had killed young Wild in a duel. Poor Emily was more dead than alive;
and to make matters worse, before nightfall there was an execution in
the house. We went out of it the next morning, and, to cut my story
short, when all the affairs were wound up, which did not take a couple
of months, all debts were paid off, twenty shillings in the pound, and
eight hundred per annum clear was left for myself. So I came out, my
dear boy, triumphant; but still Emily begged me not to try it any
more, but let us live upon what we have. We determined for a time to
come to France. And now, James, if you love poor Emily Somers, with
little or nothing, as well as you loved the heiress of the rich
banker, there she is, take her, and God's blessing be upon you both."

I need not say what was my reply, but it was soon made, and I now
found that the letter which my friend B---- had written for me to
Emily had never been received by her, the house in Portland Place
having been taken possession of by Alfred Wild's father, who doubtless
had opened and returned it. My stay at Worthing, and illness there,
were known both to Emily and her father; and Mr. Somers, conceiving
that I must have seen the wreck of his affairs mentioned in the
newspapers, had himself requested my banker to tell me when he wrote
that Emily and himself were as well as could be expected, which had
been done with true commercial brevity.

Alfred Wild, in the meantime, had been carried home to his father's
house, but the report had already spread that he was dead; and from
the moment that his father saw him in the condition in which he was
brought home, the old man never spoke for any other purpose than to
give orders for persecuting the family of Mr. Somers.

Great loss of blood, however, and excessive pain--for the ball had
lodged in some very sensitive part--had made Alfred Wild faint upon
the field at the moment he was about to fire at me; but he had
suffered no mortal wound; and though he had fainted and recovered
several times ere he reached his father's house, yet before night he
was sufficiently recovered to know all that was passing round him.
Enmity towards myself and love for Emily Somers were still the
predominant passions of his heart; and conceiving some vague scheme of
obtaining her and punishing me, he besought his father to give out the
story of his death.

He found the execution of the scheme more easy than he imagined, for
the report was in all the newspapers that he had died on the spot
where he fell; and his parsimonious father's only objection arose from
the expense of putting the family in mourning and the trouble of
concealment. When he heard, however, what was the object, and that
revenge upon me and on the family of his former friend was thus to be
obtained, a chord was struck in the old man's bosom, the tone of which
was not the less powerful because it had seldom vibrated before. He
declared that he would give a hundred thousand pounds--he might have
said his heart's blood--to ruin me and the family of Mr. Somers, and
measures were instantly taken to carry his son's design fully into
effect. The death was regularly inserted in the newspapers, the whole
house was shut up, the servants were clothed in black, and those
necessarily trusted were bribed to secresy.

I am not even sure that a false funeral was not performed; but,
nevertheless, rumours of something strange got about, even before Mr.
Somers quitted London. Had I remained in England, I should most likely
have discovered the deceit; for Captain Truro had positively declared
in several circles that his friend had not died immediately, as had
been at first supposed, but, on the contrary, had revived once or
twice in the carriage on their way home. No coroner's inquest being
reported on the body, also caused doubt, and the gratuitous
announcement that the family did not intend to prosecute did not
silence rumour.

As soon as he could travel, it seems, Alfred Wild, having re-engaged
his confederate Essex in the scheme against me, set out from London
for the purpose of following Emily, who, with her father, had taken
refuge in a beautiful spot amongst the Pyrenees.

Whether it was with or without design--whether he had discovered the
dreadful delusion with which remorse tortured me, and followed me with
the fiendish purpose of confirming it--or whether his pursuing the
same course was accidental--I cannot tell, but certain it is that
during the whole of my journey through France he had been near me, and
I cannot even now be sure of which were the occasions when my fancy
deceived me, which those when I beheld his real countenance.

Speaking French like a native, and having assumed a French name, he
passed unsuspected, and at length presented himself at the château
which had been hired by Mr. Somers, in order to throw off his disguise
and pursue his claim to the hand of Emily.

Neither the worthy banker nor his daughter were much surprised by his
re-appearance, for, as I have said before, they had already learned to
doubt the story of his death; but though he made his long constancy,
the severe treatment he had suffered, and the vehemence of his
passion, all pleas for Emily's hand, she rejected him still with cold
abhorrence, and he left the house in not the best mood of mind. He,
had brought his servant Essex to the château with him, to guide him,
as the man had been previously sent forward from St. Sauveur to
discover the house.

Master and servant, however, knew each other to be base, and many a
disgraceful dispute had arisen between them already. As long as Essex
had his master in some degree in his power by possessing his secret,
he knew that he could wring as much money from Wild as he wanted; but
as soon as ever he found, by his master's visit to Mr. Somers, that
the whole was to be divulged, he determined upon a scheme for the
purpose of, at one blow, taking vengeance of Wild for some former
offences, and of enriching himself with the contents of a pocket-book
which he knew to be valuable. The proximity of Spain was a great
inducement for executing, at once, a design he had long meditated, for
Essex was citizen of the world, and with a well-furnished purse could
make himself happy in any country. Thus, as they returned on horseback
from the château, a few angry words from the master brought on a few
insolent ones from the servant. Albert Wild, it seems, must have
turned to reply; for he was found not two minutes after, with the
wound of a pistol-ball, running from temple to temple. Essex was
instantly pursued and taken by the _gardes chasses_, who came up at
the report of fire-arms, and being found with his master's pocket-book
and a lately-discharged pistol, perceived that he had lost the stake
for which he had played, confessed all, and ended his life upon the
scaffold.


                           ---------------


I have hurried on to the conclusion of the history of Alfred Wild and
his servant; but of course, when Emily and her father had given me an
account of all that had befallen them up to the moment at which I had
again found them after so long an absence, I too had my tale to tell.
Though the first sketch was brief, yet the after details were long in
telling, for Emily would know all and everything; and while I spoke,
the deep and varied emotions which crossed her countenance, the
intense interest that every incident I related, every feeling I
acknowledged called up in the pure bland mirror of her face, was
compensation a thousand and a thousand fold for all that I had
suffered.

The pains, the cares, the sorrows of the past had taught us all that
sad lesson, the darkest, most grievous which experience forces on
us--ever present doubt of each future moment;--and it was agreed that
Emily should become mine as speedily as possible. But, alas! who can
stretch his power over the next half-hour and say, "It shall be at my
disposal!" Our marriage was appointed to take place before the end of
the month and we were making preparations to hurry back to Bordeaux
for that purpose. But Mr. Somers was obliged to attend the criminal
court at Tarbe, on the trial of the prisoner Essex. The agitation
and heat were more than he could bear, and after having given his
evidence clearly and distinctly, he was seen to fall. I hastened to
his assistance, and found that he had been suddenly struck with palsy.
Borne back to his own house, medical aid was speedily procured; and
he soon recovered the possession of all his faculties, but my
marriage with Emily was of course delayed; and the physicians having
recommended him to try the waters of Baréges, for the complete
restoration of his health, we removed thither, and remained till the
close of the season. His health certainly improved in a degree, but
still his corporeal powers were so much impaired, his danger so
great, and his situation so painful, that all thought of more joyful
events was of course put aside.

After our return from Baréges, a friend in whom he placed great
reliance, recommended him to a Parisian physician; and although we
were obliged to wait for the return of spring, we proceeded towards
the French metropolis as soon as the weather was sufficiently warm to
permit of our performing the journey without danger to the invalid. It
was accomplished by slow stages, and we arrived in Paris in the
beginning of June. For a time the health of Mr. Somers seemed to
improve under the new treatment to which he was subjected, and so far
had he proceeded in his convalescence, that my marriage with Emily was
fixed to take place within a month. The unfortunate twenty-sixth of
July, 1830, however intervened, and the outbreaking of the last French
revolution, found us tied to Paris without the possibility of quitting
a capital in which, during all former political convulsions, crimes of
the deepest dye had been committed. My anxiety for Emily and Mr.
Somers was of course very great, for no one had any right to expect
that the French populace would show such noble and magnanimous
forbearance as they then did, and the re-enactment of some, at least,
of the horrors of former days was reasonably to be anticipated. When,
however, the great struggle was over, and a revolution was effected,
which, by its splendid moderation and magnificent integrity of
purpose and accomplishment, must be received as the atonement and
expiation of the former bloody and insane catastrophe, Mr. Somers,
over-excited by the reports which we could not shut out from his ears,
relapsed into a state worse than that from which he had partially
recovered. In the mean time, I applied myself as far as possible to
relieve those individual cases of   sorrow and distress which every
great social convulsion must leave behind. In the course of my efforts
for that purpose, a little narrative of suffering fell into my hands,
which may not be uninteresting--perhaps not uninstructive. It came to
me through a third person, and the ultimate fate of the unhappy man
who wrote it, I could never discover. It was as follows:--



                   THE HISTORY OF A FRENCH ARTISAN
                     DURING THE LAST REVOLUTION.


I was born in the beautiful valley of the Seine, near the small town
of Bonnières. It is a lovely place, and I will say no more of it; for
in sitting down to write all the miseries and horrors that have
visited me since I left it, the fair calm spot of my birth, and the
sweet peaceful scenes of my boyhood, rise up like the reproachful
spirit of a noble parent before a criminal son, and upbraid me for
having ever quitted my tranquil home.

My father, though but the gardener at the château, was also a small
_propriétaire_; and, in his spare time, used to cultivate his own
fields by the banks of the river. The château had been purchased by
Monsieur V----, the rich bookseller in Paris; and in hanging about
the house while a child, I became a great favourite with the good
Parisian. Still my principal patron was Monsieur le Curé of Bonnières,
who discovered in me an amazing genius for my catechism, taught me to
read and write, gave me a smattering of Latin, and declared, that if
I took pains and behaved well, he and Monsieur V---- between them,
would procure me the means of studying, and make me a clergyman like
himself.

My ambition was flattered with the prospect; and during my early
years, the dream of my future honours was always before me; but, as I
grew up and learnt to dance upon the green with the girls of the
village, my sentiments insensibly changed. I began to think of leaving
off dancing, and being grave, and serious, and never marrying--each
with an augmented degree of horror. The decisive blow, however, was
struck, when I had seen three times Mariette Dupont. We were both as
young as we well could be to fall in love; but she was so beautiful,
and her soft dark eyes looked so imploringly into one's heart, that
from the very first moment I saw her, I felt an inclination to put my
arm round her, and say, "Thou shalt be my own; and I will guard thee
from sorrow, and care, and adversity; and shelter thee from every
blast that blows in the bleak cold world around."

But on this I must not pause either, for the memory of such dreams is
bitterness. The matter went on--I loved Mariette, and she----Ay! that
joy is at least my own--lasting--imperishable, and the annihilation
of a world could not take it from me--She loved me--deeply, truly,
devotedly--through life--to the tomb!

Years flew by; and we were married; for my father had never liked the
thought of my becoming a priest, which he looked upon as being buried
alive. He said I should do much better to labour as my ancestors had
done; or, since I had a superior education, could read and write, and
understood Latin, I might easily make my fortune in Paris. So he
willingly gave his consent to my marriage with Mariette. Monsieur
V---- the bookseller, said it was always right to let fools have their
own way; and the Curé frowned and united us, merely observing, that
he had bestowed his time and attention very much in vain.

By my father's counsel, we determined to go to Paris immediately, for
he and my brother were both sure that I should there become a great
man, and Mariette had no doubt of it. "Besides," my father said, "if
you do not get on there, you can come back here, and help to take care
of our own ground, while I work at the château."

To Paris we went, and took a small lodging in the Faubourg
Poissonnier, where, for two or three weeks, Mariette and myself spent
our time and our money in love and amusement. We were not extravagant,
but we were thoughtless; and surely a three weeks' thoughtlessness was
but a fair portion for such happiness as we enjoyed.

At length I began to think of seeking something to do; and I had
sufficient self-confidence to fancy I could even write in a newspaper.
Forth I went to propose myself; and Marietta's eyes told me how high
were her anticipations of my success. To the proprietors of the
Constitutionnel, my first application was made; but the gentleman I
saw bent his ear to catch, my provincial jargon--looked at me from
head to foot--told me I was dreaming; and turned upon his heel. How I
got out of the house I know not; but when I found myself in the street,
my head swam round, and my heart swelled with mingled indignation,
shame, and disappointment.

It required no small effort to force myself to enter the office of
another newspaper of much repute. Here I mentioned my pretensions, in
a humbler tone, and only proposed that something from my pen might be
received as an experiment. The clerk to whom I spoke bore my message
into an inner room, and returned with a calm, business-like face, to
inform me that all departments were full.

This had occupied me the whole morning; and I now returned to
Mariette, who instantly read my mortification in my countenance. She
asked no questions, but only cast her arms round my neck, and with a
smile, which was not gay, though it was not desponding, she whispered,
"Do not be vexed, Frank. They cannot know yet how clever you are. When
they see more of you, they will be glad enough to have you. Besides,
we can go back again to Bonnières."

The thought of returning unsuccessful to my own home, was not what I
could endure. I imagined the cold eye of the curate; and the
disappointment and surprise of my father and brother; and the jeers
and the wonder of the whole village; and I determined to do anything
rather than go back to Bonnières.

The landlord of our lodgings was a tinman, a great politician, and a
literary man. All his information, however, was gathered from a paper
called the G----, which he cited on every occasion. To the office of
the G---- then, I went, after dinner; and, having taken a couple of
turns before the door, to gather resolution, I went and modestly asked
when I could see the editor. One of the young men in the office
answered that Monsieur ---- was then in the house, and ushered me into
another room. Here I found a gentleman writing, who looked up with a
pleasant and intelligent expression and pointing to a seat, asked my
business.

As I explained it to him, his countenance took a look of great
seriousness; and he replied, "I am extremely sorry that no such
occupation as yeti desire can be afforded you by the editors of the
G----, for we have applications every day, which we are obliged to
reject, from writers of known excellence. I am afraid, also that you
will find much difficulty in obtaining what you seek, for one of the
worst consequences of bad government is now affecting the whole of
France. I mean the undue proportion between the number of the
population and the quantity of employment. Where the fault lies, I
must not presume to say, but that there must be a great fault
somewhere is evident; otherwise every man who is willing to labour,
would find occupation."

It has struck me since, that there must often be causes for want of
employment, which no government could either control or remedy; but,
at the time, his reasoning seemed excellent; and all I felt was
renewed disappointment, and a touch of despair, which I believe showed
itself very plainly in my face, for the editor began to ask me some
farther questions, which soon led me to tell him my precise situation.

He mused, and seemed interested; but for a moment replied nothing. At
length, looking at me with a smile, he said, "Perhaps, what I am about
to propose to you, may be very inferior to your expectations;
nevertheless it will afford you some occupation."

The very name of occupation was renewed life, and I listened with
eagerness, while he offered to recommend me to a printer, as what is
called a reader, or corrector of the press. I embraced his proposal
with unutterable thankfulness; and having ascertained that I was
capable of the task, by, some proof-sheets that lay upon the table, he
wrote a note, to Monsieur M----, the printer and put it into my hand.
I could almost have knelt and worshipped him, so great was the change
from despair to hope.

With the letter in my hand I flew to the printing-house, was tried and
received; and, though the emolument held out was as small as it well
could be, my walk home was with the springing step of joy and
independence; and my heart, as I pressed Mariette to my bosom, and
told her my success, was like that of a great general in the moment of
victory, before the gloss of triumph has been tarnished by one regret
for the gone, or one calculation for the future. I was soon installed
in my new post; and though what I gained was barely enough for the
necessaries of life, yet it sufficed; and there was always a dear warm
smile in the eyes I loved best, which cheered and supported me
whenever I felt inclined to despond or give way.

It is true, I often regretted that I could not procure for Mariette
those comforts and those luxuries which I little valued myself; but
she seemed to heed them not, and every privation appeared to her a
matter of pride--to be borne rather as a joy than a care. Six months thus
passed; and they were the happiest of my life, for though I laboured,
I laboured in the sunshine. I had perfectly sufficient time also, to
make myself thoroughly acquainted with the whole art of printing, and
to fit myself for the task of a compositor, which, though more
mechanical, was more lucrative; and it became necessary that I should
gain more, as a change was coming over Mariette which promised us new
cares and new happiness. Strange, that when I looked upon her languid
features, and her altered shape, she seemed to me a thousand times
more lovely, than in all the fresh graces of expanding womanhood! And
when fears for her safety mingled with the joy of possessing her--when
her calm sweet eyes rested long and fixedly upon me, as if she strove
to trace out the image of her future child in the looks of its
father--a new and thrilling interest appeared to have grown up between
us, which was something more than love.

At length, one of the compositors having gone to conduct a printing
office at Rennes, my object was accomplished; and I obtained his
vacant place. Still the emoluments were infinitely small, for the book
trade was bad, and of course the printers suffered. Sometimes there
was plenty of work, and sometimes there was none; and the whole of my
companions murmured highly at the government, whose imbecility and
tyrannical conduct, they said, had destroyed the commerce of the
country; and done everything to ruin and degrade the press. There was
many a busy whisper amongst us, that nothing could save the nation but
a new revolution; and as we all felt more or less the sharp tooth of
want, we madly thought that no change would be detrimental to us. I
doubted some of the opinions that I heard; but one of my comrades
worked at the G----, which had now become a daily paper, and he used
often to give us long quotations, which convinced us all that the
government was opposed to the wishes of the whole nation, and that any
change must be for the better.

During the autumn, I contrived to save some little portion of my
wages; but the rigour of the winter, and the quantity of wood we were
obliged to burn, soon consumed all that I had laid by; so that the
provision for Mariette's confinement became a matter of serious and
dreadful anxiety. One morning, however, I received a letter from my
brother, telling me that my father had died suddenly on the preceding
night. I will not rest upon all that I felt. I had always been the
slave of my imagination; and it had been one of my favourite vanities
to think how proud my father's heart would be to see me raise myself
high in the world, and how comfortable I should be able to render his
old age, when the smile of fortune should be turned upon me. But now
he was dead, and those dreams all broken.

The little patch of ground which we possessed was of course divided
between me and my brother; and my portion was instantly sold to
provide for the occasion which was so near at hand. The depression of
all property, and the haste with which I was obliged to effect the
sale, rendered it the most disadvantageous that can be conceived; and
what with the expenses of Mariette's confinement, a long illness
which she underwent after, and a fit of sickness which I suffered
myself--before the end of March my stock of money was reduced to fifty
francs.

Work was by this time sufficient and regular, so that I could maintain
myself, Mariette, and our boy. We had, indeed, no superfluity; we knew
no luxury; and the external enjoyments which I saw many possessing,
far less worthy than ourselves, were denied to us.

Mariette bore it all with cheerfulness, but I grew gloomy and
discontented, and the continual murmurs at the government, which I
heard amongst my companions, wrought upon me. I gradually began to
dream that everything unpleasant in my situation was attributable to
the state of society in which I lived. Every political change now
seemed to irritate and affect me. Whereas, before I heard a word of
politics, I used to work on with hope and activity, encountering
hardships boldly, and feeling them the less, because I did not let my
mind rest upon them, I now dwelt upon every uncomfort, and magnified
it in my own eyes for the purpose of making it a greater reproach to
the government, whose evil measures, I thought, caused it. I would
pause long in my work to read scraps from a newspaper, and to comment
on the folly and tyranny of our rulers; and thus I met several
reproofs for my slowness and negligence.

The fires in Normandy I heard of with indignation and horror, and I
attributed them all to the ministers, whose wickedness I thought was
capable of any baseness, till one day I heard one of my more violent
companions observe, that the incendaries were very much in the right,
to burn down the barns and destroy the grain, as by making the great
mass of the people as miserable and pennyless as themselves, they
would force them to bring about a revolution, which would set all
things to rights. Besides, he asked, what right had a rich man to
corn, when the poor were starving?

The elections for the chamber of deputies were another great source of
anxiety to me; and when I found they were all liberal, I felt nearly
as much satisfaction as if I had been elected myself. At length the
meeting of the chambers approached; and many a warm discussion took
place amongst the journeymen printers, on the questions likely to be
brought under consideration. Every one said that the ministers must go
out, or dissolve the chambers; but many observed with a shrewd glance,
that neither the dissolution of the chambers, nor the resignation of
the ministers, would satisfy the people. "We must have a change,"
they said--"complete change;" and several began to talk boldly of
revolution.

The continual irritation and discontent I felt, had their effect on my
countenance; and Mariette grew anxious about me. She did all she could
to soothe me--sat with her arms round my neck, and endeavoured to
persuade me that I should be happier if I did not think of politics.
"Kings and governments," she said, and said truly, "could only provide
for the general good; and that there must always be many in every
country whose fate destined them to labour and live hard. She could
not but think," she added, "that the way to be happy, was for every
one to try, by his own exertions, to improve his own condition; and
neither to envy his neighbour nor to meddle with affairs in which he
was not well practised."

She sought to induce me, too, to return to Bonniéres. We had never
been so happy since we left it; and so sweetly, so perseveringly did
she urge a request which I saw was made for my sake more than her own,
that at length I consented to go, and, quitting all the vain dreams
which had led me to Paris, to re-assume the class and occupation of my
fathers.

We had not money to go by the diligence; but we were both good
walkers; and the baby, being brought up by hand--and that upon the
simplest food--would prove but little encumbrance.

This determination was taken on Sunday the 25th of July, and the next
day I gave my employer notice that, at the end of the month, I should
quit him. In the meantime we determined to save every sous that was
possible, in order to provide for our expenses by the way, for which
we had hitherto made no reserve.

On the Monday following, I joined the rest of the printers, and we
worked through the day in tranquillity. At night, however, as I was
returning over the Pont Neuf, I met one of my companions, who grasped
my hand, asking, with a look of intense eagerness, "If I had heard the
news?" The suddenness of the question, and his look of anxiety,
alarmed me. I knew not well what I dreaded, but, at all events, my
fears were all personal. His tale soon relieved me of my apprehensions
for Mariette and our child; but raised my indignation to the highest
pitch against the government. The King, he told me, had violated the
charter, struck at the liberty of the press, altered the law of
election, and reduced the people to a nation of slaves.

Distant shouts met our ears as we were crossing the Rue St. Honoré;
and hurrying on in the direction from which they proceeded, we came
upon an immense multitude; who were breaking the lamps, and yelling
execrations against the government.

I was well enough inclined to join them; but remembering Mariette, I
returned home, and told her all that occurred. As I spoke, a paleness
came over her beautiful face, so unusual, so ghastly, that it made me
start. It seemed as if some warning voice had told her that every
happy dream was at an end--that the eternal barrier had fallen between
us and joy for ever. The next morning everything seemed to have passed
by, which had disturbed the tranquillity of the town on the previous
evening--the streets were quiet, and the people engaged in their usual
occupations. Mariette mind appeared somewhat calmed; but still she
looked at me anxiously, as she saw me about to depart, and made me
promise more than once, that I would go straight to my work, without
mingling with any mob I might see.

I kept my word; and, though I saw several groups of people gathering
round the corners of the streets, where the obnoxious ordonnances were
posted up, I did not even stop to read, but hurried on to the
printing-house with all speed. The scene in the work-rooms was
different from any I had ever beheld. All the presses were standing
still; and the workmen, gathered into knots, were each declaiming more
violently than the other, on the infamy and folly of the government;
and, with furious gestures, vowing vengeance. The overseer came in
soon after, and with some difficulty got us to our work; but, about
twelve o'clock; the proprietor of the establishment himself appeared,
and told us to leave off our labours.

"My good friends," said he, "the government has annihilated the
liberty of the press. The type of several of the journals has been
seized this morning. Our liberties are at an end without we secure
them by our own force. Far be it from me to counsel tumult or
bloodshed--the law is quite sufficient to do us justice. However, I
have determined, as well as Monsieur Didot and all the other printers,
to cease business, and discharge my workmen." We were then paid the
small sum owing to each, and dismissed, with a caution to be quiet and
orderly, and to trust to the law; though the very fact of turning out
a number of unemployed and discontented men, upon such a city as
Paris, seemed to me the very best possible way of producing that
tumult which we were warned to avoid.

I soon after found, that it was not alone the printers who had been
discharged, but that almost all the workmen in the city had been
suddenly thrown out of employment. As I returned home, there was a
sort of ominous silence about the town that had something fearful in
it. Not ten persons were to be seen upon the Quais, which are usually
so crowded; and it seemed as if the whole population had been
concentrated on particular points.

To my great surprise, on entering my lodging, I found my brother
sitting with Mariette, and holding our infant on his knee, while the
child looked up in his face and smiled, as if it knew that those were
kindred eyes which gazed upon it. My brother soon told me the occasion
of his coming to Paris, which was to buy seeds and plants for the
hot-house at the Château; and about three o'clock, as everything was
quiet, I went out with him.

As we passed onward, we soon saw that all was not right. The shops
were closed--the gates of the Palais Royal were shut--groups of gloomy
faces were gathered at every corner--and the whole town wore the dull,
heavy aspect of a thunder-cloud, before the storm bursts forth in all
its fury. A few gendarmes were to be seen, but no extraordinary
military force appeared; and gradually the same sort of yelling shouts
came upon our ear that I had heard the night before.

As we approached the Rue St. Honoré, the cries became louder; and
turning down the Rue des Bons Enfans, we found ourselves suddenly in
the crowd from which they proceeded. It consisted of about five
hundred men and boys, all unarmed. Some had stones in their hands, and
some had sticks; but no more deadly weapons could I discern amongst
them. A great proportion of the mob were discharged printers, and I
was instantly recognised by several of my fellow-workmen, drawn into
the crowd with my brother, who was very willing to go, and hurried on
towards the Place Vendôme, whither the rioters were directing their
steps, with the purpose of attacking the house of Monsieur de
Peyronnet, one of the obnoxious ministers.

The numbers in the Rue St. Honoré were in no degree tremendous; but as
we entered the place Vendôme, I saw an equal body coming up the Rue
Castiglione, and another approaching by the Rue de la Paix. A largo
force of mounted gendarmerie was dawn up in the square; and shortly
after, a party of the guard, and the troops of the line, appeared.
There seemed to be considerable hesitation on both parts to strike the
first blow; and as long as we kept to shouts the military remained
passive. What took place towards Peyronnet's house, I could not
discover, my view being obstructed by the heads of the people; but
there seemed a considerable tumult in that direction; and a moment
after, a lad beside me threw an immense brick at the head of the
officer of gendarmerie, crying, "A bas le Roi! Vive la Charte!"

The missile took effect, knocked off the officer's hat, and covered
his forehead with a stream of blood. That instant the word was given
to charge; and in a moment we were driven down the Rue St. Honoré in
confusion and terror. My brother could not run so fast as I could, and
at the corner of the Palais Royal, I found, that he was left several
yards behind, while the horses were close upon him. I instinctively
started back to assist him, and seeing no other means, I seized a
wine-cask that stood at one of the doors, and rolled it with all my
strength between him and the soldiers. The nearest gendarme's horse
stopped in full course, stumbled and fell over the barrel. A loud
shout of gratulation and triumph burst from the people; and turning in
their flight, they discharged a shower of bricks and stones upon the
advancing cavalry, which struck more than one horseman from his
saddle, and afforded time for my brother and myself to join the rest,
which we did amidst great cheering and applause, as the first who had
actually resisted the military. Elated by the cheer, my brother
entered with enthusiasm into the feelings of the multitude, while I
felt as if I had committed a crime, in injuring men who were but doing
their duty.

A temporary cessation of hostility now occurred between the people and
the soldiery. The gendarmerie established themselves in the Place du
Palais Royal, some troops of the line took possession of the Rue St.
Honoré, and the mob occupied the end of the Rue Richelieu, and the
corners of the Rue Montpensier, where the new and incomplete buildings
afforded plenty of loose stones, which were soon again used as
missiles against the gendarmes. I would fain now have got away and
returned home, but my brother would remain; and my companions,
remembering the affair of the barrel, put me forward as a kind of
leader; so that vanity joined with enthusiasm to make me continue,
while the thought of Mariette came from time to time across my memory
with a thrill of dispiriting anxiety.

The next two hours passed all in tumult. The soldiers  charged us
several times, and we fled, but still returned to our position as they
re-assumed theirs. Many shots were fired, but few tell, and muskets,
fowling-pieces, pistols, and swords began to appear amongst the crowd,
while in one or two places I discerned the uniform of the National
Guard, and two or three youths from the Polytechnic School. Darkness
soon after this came on; the multitudes opposed to the soldiery were
increasing every minute, and a cry began to run through the crowd, "To
the gunsmiths' shops! To the gunsmiths' shops!"

Instantly this suggestion was obeyed. We dispersed in a moment. Every
gunsmith's shop in the neighbourhood was broken open, and almost
before I was aware, I was armed with a double-barrelled gun and a
brace of pistols, and provided with powder and ball. The shop from
which these instruments of slaughter were procured was one at the end
of the Rue Vivienne, and as I came out, I paused to consider which way
I should now turn.

"Let us go to the Corps de Garde near the Exchange," cried one of the
men who had been near me all the day. "Lead on, _mon brave_," he
continued, laying his hand upon my shoulder, "you shall be our
captain." I looked round for my brother, but he was no longer there,
and I followed the man's suggestion. As we went, by the advice of one
of the Polytechnic School, we put out all the lamps, and spread the
cry everywhere to do the same.

It was now quite dark, and our numbers increased at every step as we
advanced. Opposite the Corps de Garde, at the Bourse, a small body of
soldiers was drawn up, and two or three torches were lighted. A
warning to stand off! was given, as soon as the troops heard our
approach, and as we still advanced, increasing our pace, a volley
instantly followed. A ball whistled close by my ear and made me start,
but still I rushed on; and the soldiers, seeing the multitude by which
they were attacked, attempted to retreat into the guard-house.

We were upon them, however, before the doors could be closed, and a
terrific struggle took place, man to man. One strong fellow closed
with me, and the strife between us soon grew for life. Our feet
slipped, as we fell together, rolling over and over, wrapped, with a
sort of convulsive fold, in each other's arms, All thought was out of
the question; but suddenly getting one of my hands free, I brought the
muzzel of a pistol close to my opponent's head, and fired, For an
instant his fingers pressed more tightly round my throat--then every
muscle was in a moment relaxed, and as I sprang up, he rolled
backwards on the pavement.

The fury of excitement was now upon me, and hearing some shots still
ringing within the guard-house, I was rushing towards it, when I
perceived the multitude pouring forth, and a thick smoke with some
flashes of flame, streaming from the windows. The guard-house was on
fire, and in an instant the sky was in a blaze. I stood to look at it,
for a moment, as the fire-light flashed and flickered upon the dark
and demon-like figures that surrounded the pile, and on the various
dead bodies that lay in the open space the people had left, as in awe,
between them and the destruction they had wrought. It was a fearful
sight--sweet memories of peace and home rushed upon my brain--I
shuddered at my own deeds, and turning from the whole vision of
excited passion before my eyes, I ran as hard as I could to reach my
home.

O never did I feel the thought of returning to the secure arms of her
I loved, so exquisite, as at that moment! and I flew up the stairs
rather than ran. I opened the door and entered. Mariette was kneeling
by the cradle of our child. She did not hear me come in. I pronounced
her name. At first she made no reply; but then turned round with a
face that will haunt me to the grave and pointed to the cradle. I
sprang forward and looked. There were traces of blood and bloody
bandages strewed about, and round the poor infant's white and delicate
shoulder were the compresses and dressings of a fresh wound.

"Good God, Mariette!" I exclaimed, "how is this? How?"

"I heard firing in the streets," she answered, with an awful degree of
calmness, "I feared for my husband--ran out to see; and not daring to
leave it all alone, I took my child to death. I had scarcely gone a
yard, when a shot struck it my arms."

Through the whole of that dreadful night, Mariette and I sat by the
cradle of our dying child--silent as the grave, with our eyes fixed
upon its pale and ashy countenance, and hardly daring to lift our
looks towards each other. From time to time it gave a faint and
torturing cry, but in general, seemed in a panting sort of sleep, till
towards four in the morning, when the breathing stopped, and I know
not what gray shadow fell over its calm sweet face. I did not think it
was dead; but Mariette threw her arms round my neck, and hid her eyes
upon my bosom.

It was nearly midday on the Wednesday, when one of my companions came
to tell me that the man who, it was reported, had been seen with me
the day before, had been killed by a shot on the Boulevards, and I
hastened after the messenger to ascertain the truth; for my brother
had not yet re-appeared. He led me to the door of the Exchange, over
which the tri-coloured flag was now flying in triumph, but on each
side of the gate was stretched a dead corpse, and the first I saw was
indeed my brother. Rage and revenge took possession of my whole heart.
I joined the brave men who were marching down to the Place de Grève;
and from that moment, I entered into every act of the revolution, with
all the enthusiasm, the zeal, the fury of the rest.

It is needless to detail every scene I witnessed, and every struggle
in which I shared. Suffice it, I was in most of those that
occurred--at the taking and re-taking of the Hôtel de Ville--at the
storming of the Louvre, and at the capture of the Tuileries. The
enthusiasm amongst us was immense and overpowering; and the moderation
and heroism with which it was conducted, reconciled me fully to the
revolution. From time to time I ran home to soothe and console my poor
Mariette, and to snatch a mouthful of bread, for our purse was now so
low that we did not dare to purchase anything else. Mariette ate
little while I was there, but she assured me that she had plenty, and
that she generally took something while I was gone in the middle of
the day. Grief and anxiety had worn her sadly; the lustre had quitted
her eye, and the rose had left her cheek: and she looked at me so
sadly, so painfully, as I went away, that every time I determined it
should be the last.

At length the royal troops were beaten out of Paris, and the palace
where monarchs had revelled, fell into the hands of the people. A few
of the National Guard and a few of the common people was selected, as
to a post of high honour, to guard the Tuileries during the night,
under the command of a student of the Polytechnic School. I was one of
those fixed upon; and having sent, by a comrade, a message to
Mariette, which he forgot to deliver, I remained for the night in
those scenes of ancient splendour. There was something awfully
melancholy in the solitary palace and feeling of compassion for the
dethroned king grew over my heart as I sat in the midst of the
magnificent halls that he might never see again. As soon as we were
relieved the next morning, I flew to Mariette. She had passed a night
of the most dreadful anxiety, my comrade having, as I have said, never
delivered my message. Her eye was hollow and her cheek was sunk, but
all seemed forgotten when she beheld me safe; and seeing me fatigued
and faint, she made me eat some bread and drink a glass of water,
almost weeping that she had not something better to give me.

As the last bit touched my lip, a vague thought struck me that she had
had none herself, and I insisted on her telling me. She cast her arms
round me, and assured me with a smile, that it did her more good to
see me eat than to take anything herself; but I at length drew from
her that all our money was expended, and that she had not tasted
anything for two days.

I thought I should have gone distracted; and after remaining for a few
minutes stupified as it were, I ran to the printing-house to see if I
could get work, and induce the overseer to advance me a single franc
to buy some bread for my poor Mariette.

The office, however, was shut up, and I knocked in vain for
admittance. I then turned to the lodging of one of my fellow-printers,
who might lend me, I thought, even a few sous. I hurried up the narrow
dirty staircase where he lived, and went into his room; but the sight
I saw soon convinced me he wanted assistance as much as I did. He was
sitting at an uncovered table, with five children of different ages
about him. His cheek was wan and hollow; and as I entered, he fixed
his haggard eye upon the door, while his little girl kept pulling him
importunately by the arm, crying, "Give me a piece, papa--I will have
a piece of bread." "Lend me a franc," cried he, as soon as he saw me;
"my children are starving--I will pay you when I get work."

I told him my own condition; but he burst forth in the midst, as if
seized with a sudden frenzy, trembling with passion, and his eye
glaring like that of a wild beast. "You are one of the revolutionists
too. God's curse and mine upon you! See what your revolutions have
brought! My children are starving--every artizan in Paris is beggared
and unemployed. I am starving--my wife is dying for want of medicines
in that bed--all these dear infants are famished; and all by your
cursed revolutions! Out of my sight! Begone! for fear I commit a murder."

With a heart nearly breaking I returned home, and folding my poor
Mariette in my arms, I gave way to tears, such as had never stained my
cheeks before. She tried to sooth me--and smiled and told me that
really she was not hungry--that she did not think she could eat if she
had anything: but oh! I could not deceive myself. I saw famine on her
cheek, and heard faintness in her tone; and after a long fit of
thought, I determined to go to Monsieur V----, the great bookseller,
who had been so kind to me while a boy. I told Mariette my errand, and
as Paris was now nearly as quiet as ever, she willingly let me go.

It was a long way, and I had to cross the whole city, so that it was
late when I arrived. Even then I found that Monsieur V---- was out;
but the servant told me I could see him the following morning at nine.
With this cold news I was forced to return; and no one can conceive
what a miserable night I spent, thinking that every hour was an hour
of starvation to the dear creature by my side. She lay very still but
she slept not at all, and I felt sure that the want of rest must wear
her as much as hunger.

When I rose, she seemed rather sleepy, and said she would remain in
bed, and try for some repose, as she had not closed her eyes since
Monday. It was too early to go to Monsieur V----, so I hurried first
to the printing-office, for I hoped the tranquillity which was now
returning, might have caused Monsieur M---- to resume his usual
business. I only found the porter, who told me that there was no
chance of the house opening again for weeks at least, if not months,
and with a chilled heart I proceeded to the house of Monsieur V----.

Admission was instantly granted me, and I found the great bookseller
sitting at a table with some written papers before him, on which he
was gazing with an eye from which the spirit seemed withdrawn to rest
upon some deep absorbing contemplation within. He was much changed
since I had seen him, and there were in his appearance those
indescribable traces of wearing care, which often stamp, in legible
characters, on the countenance, the misfortunes which man would fain
hide from all the world. There was a certain negligence, too, in his
dress, which struck me; but as he received me kindly, I told him all
my sorrows, and all my wants.

As I spoke, his eyes fixed upon me with a look of painful and intense
interest, and when I had done, he rose, closed the door, and took a
turn or two thoughtfully in the room. "What has ruined you," said he
at length, pausing before me, and speaking abruptly, "has ruined me.
The revolution we have just passed through has been great and glorious
in its character, and all the world must look upon it with admiration;
but it has made you and me, with hundreds, nay thousands, of
others--beggars--ay, utter beggars. It is ever the case with
revolutions. Confidence is at an end throughout the country, and
commerce receives a blow that takes her centuries to recover. The
merchant becomes a bankrupt--the artizan starves. I have now seen two
revolutions, one bloody and extravagant, the other generous and
moderate, and I do not believe that at the end of either of them,
there was one man in all France who could lay his hand upon his heart
and say, that he was happier for their occurrence; while millions in
want and poverty, and millions in mourning and tears, cursed the day
that ever infected them with the spirit of change.

"To tell you all in one word: within an hour from this time I am a
bankrupt, and I am only one of the first out of thousands. Those
thousands employ each thousands of workmen, and thus the bread of
millions is snatched from their mouths. I do not say that revolutions
are always wrong; but I do say that they always bring a load of
misery, especially to the laborious and working classes--and now leave
me, good youth. There is a five-franc piece for you. It is all I can
give you, and that, in fact, I steal from my creditors. I pity you
from my soul, and the more perhaps, because I feel that I need pity
myself."

The five-franc piece he gave me, I took with gratitude and ecstasy. To
me it was a fortune, for it was enough to save my Mariette. I hastened
home with steps of light, only pausing to buy a loaf and a bottle of
wine. I ran up stairs--I opened the door. Mariette had not risen. She
slept, I thought--I approached quietly to the bed. All was still--too
still. A faintness came over my heart, and it was a moment or two
before I could ascertain the cause of the breathless calm that hung
over the chamber. I drew back the curtain, and the bright summer
sunshine streamed in upon the cold--dead--marble cheek of all that to
me had been beautiful and beloved!


                           ---------------


When the extraordinary heat of the weather which, during the whole of
July was extremely oppressive, had somewhat subsided, a slight change
for the better took place in our invalid; and our hopes of a permanent
amendment of his health began to revive. One night, however, after
Emily and myself had been gazing from the balcony of the hotel over
the gardens of the Tuileries, and watching star after star come out in
the deepening sky, we turned back into the room, and sitting down at
her writing-desk, I wrote upon a scrap of paper some of the feelings
with which the night always filled my heart, and which fell without an
effort into verse.



                              THE NIGHT.

     The night--the night--the solemn night!
       The silent time of thought;
     The kingdom of the pale moonlight
     And mem'ry, when things gone and bright
       Are back to mortals brought.

     The night--the night--the brilliant night
       Clothed in her starry robe:
     When sweet to Hope's ecstatic sight,
     Come future dreams that day's hard light
       Had banished from the globe.

     The night--the night--the peaceful night!
       The pause, when each calm joy,
     Which Time, that oft unpitying wight,
     Has spared or granted in his flight,
       Is known without alloy.

     The night--the night--how dear the night!
       Since now its dreams are sweet;
     Since Hope and Love have made it bright,
     And changing darkness into light,
       Have bade its shadows fleet.


"Take another sheet of paper, my dear boy," said Mr. Somers, when he
saw that I had done, "and be kind enough to write a note for me." I
did as he requested, when, to the surprise of Emily, and myself, he
dictated a letter to the chaplain of the embassy, expressing his wish
that he would perform the marriage ceremony between his daughter and
myself on the morning of the Thursday following. It was then Tuesday,
and a few words of astonishment rather than opposition broke from
Emily's lips, but he added at once, "Let it be so, my dear child! It
is your father's particular request."

Emily said no more; but hid her eyes for a moment on his bosom, and
the note was dispatched. With the greatest possible privacy the
ceremony was performed, and Mr. Somers, who had made an effort to be
present, was lifted into the carriage, and proceeded with us to a
house we had taken for the time, in the Val de Montmorency. The next
day he appeared greatly better; but at night, about half an hour after
he had left us, his servant came suddenly to call us, and, running to
his room with Emily, we found him with the last breath of life hanging
on his lips. All medical aid proved vain, and when it was all over,
Emily and I both felt that it must have been some presentiment of
approaching fate that had caused him to hurry our marriage.

Emily has now been long my own, linked to me for life by that sweet
indissoluble bond which no two hearts worthy of happiness ever wished
less firm and permanent than it is. Changes may come over my destiny,
misfortunes may fall upon me again, but I look calmly on to the
future; and fear not that such sorrows will ever darken the autumn of
my days as those which frowned upon their spring, and which it has
been my task to detail in the foregoing pages.[23]


---------------

[Footnote 23: To guard against all mistakes, it may be as well to
state, that all the tales, etc., which appear in the preceding pages,
are the productions of one author, whether they be placed in the
mouths of various persons or not, with the single exception of that
called a "Young Lady's Story," which occupies ten pages, and is placed
here principally to convince her that the efforts of her pen lose
nothing by comparison with those of an old and practised writer.

It was my intention to have given a list of errata which the reader
will have perceived are exceedingly numerous in the preceding pages.
Their numbers indeed prevent me from fulfilling that purpose, and I
think it but fair to remark, that though at least one half of them may
perhaps be attributable to the printers, the other half must rest upon
my own shoulders, as nothing has so soporific an effect upon me, as
the reading of my own works, and the very dullest work of another will
keep me awake, when two pages of what I call my wittiest compositions
will send me sound asleep. Heaven forbid that they should have the
same effect upon others, at any time but that at which "nature's sweet
restorer" may be especially requisite to the refreshment of the mental
or corporeal faculties of my readers.]

---------------



                       THE END.





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