[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


I have formerly taken the liberty of holding common, the discovery of such collections would some prefatory discourse with my readers, on cease to be wondered at. “We look," said he, the subject of those little histories which acci- “ for the Histories of Men, among those of high dent enabled me to lay before them. This is rank; but memoirs of sentiment and suffering probably the last time I shall make use of their may be found in every condition. indulgence; and, even if this Introduction • My father," continued my young friend, should be found superfluous, it may claim their “made, since you saw him, an acquisition of pardon, as the parting address of one, who has en- that nature, by a whimsical accident. Standing deavoured to contribute to their entertainment. one day at the door of a grocery-shop, making

I was favoured last summer with a visit from inquiry as to the lodgings of some person of his a gentleman, a native of France, with whose acquaintance, a little boy passed him, with a father I had been intimately acquainted when bundle of papers in his hand, which he offered I was last in that country. I confess myself for sale to the master of the shop, for the ordiparticularly delighted with an intercourse, which nary uses of his trade; but they differed about removes the barrier of national distinction, and the price, and the boy was ready to depart, gives to the inhabitants of the world the appear when my father desired a sight of the papers, ance of one common family. I received, there- saying to the lad with a smile, that, perhaps, fore, this young Frenchman into that humble he might deal with him for his book; upon shed, which Providence has allowed my age to reading a sentence or two, he found a style rest in, with peculiar satisfaction; and was re- much above that of the ordinary manuscripts of warded for any little attention I had in my a grocery-shop, and gave the boy his price at a power to shew him, by acquiring the friendship venture, for the whole. When he got home, of one, whom I found

to inherit all that pater- and examined the parcel, he found it to consist nal worth which had fixed my esteem, about a of letters put up, for the most part, according dozen years ago, at Paris. În truth, such at- to their dates, which he committed to me, as tention always rewards itself; and, I believe, having, he said, better eyes, and a keener curimy own feelings, which I expressed to this osity, than his. I found them to contain a story amiable and accomplished Frenchman on his in detail, which, I believe, would interest one leaving England, are such as every one will own, of your turn of thinking a good deal. If you whose mind is susceptible of feeling at all

. He chuse to undergo the trouble of the perusal, I was profuse of thanks, to which my good offices shall take care to have them sent over to you by had no title, but from the inclination that ac- the first opportunity I can find, and if you will companied them-Ici, Monsieur, (said I, for do the Public the favour to digest them, as you he had used a language more accommodated did those of Annesly and his children,-” My than ours to the lesser order of sentiments, and young Frenchman speaks the language of comI answered him as well as long want of prac- pliment; but I do not choose to translate any tice would allow me in the same tongue,)-Ici, farther. It is enough to say, that I received Monsieur, obscur et inconnu, avec beaucoup de his papers some time ago, and that they are bienveillance, mais peu de pouvoir, je ne goûte those which I have translated, and now give to pas d'un plaisir plus sincere, que de penser, qu'il the world. I had, perhaps, treated them as I y a, dans aucun coin du monde, un cæur honnête did the letters he mentioned; but I found it a qui se souvient de moi avec reconnoissance. difficult task to reduce them into narrative, be

cause they are made up of sentiment, which But I am talking of myself, when I should narrative would destroy. The only power I be giving an account of the following papers. have exercised over them, is that of omitting This gentleman, discoursing with me on the letters, and passages of letters, which seem to subject of those letters, the substance of which bear no relation to the story I mean to comI had formerly published under the title of the municate. In doing this, however, I confess I Man of the World, observed, that if the desire have been cautious : I love myself (and am apt, of searching into the records of private life were therefore, from a common sort of weakness, to imagine that other people love) to read nature woe, in tracing the tale of another's affliction ; in her smallest character, and am often more and, at this moment, every sentence I write, I apprized of the state of the mind, from very am but escaping a little farther from the prestrifling, than from very important circumstan- sure of sorrow.


Of the merits or faults of the composition, in As, from age and situation, it is likely I shall the volumes of which I have directed the pubaddress the public no more, I cannot avoid ta- lication, a small share only was mine ; for their king this opportunity of thanking it for the re- tendency I hold myself entirely accountable, beception it has given to those humble pages which cause, had it been a bad one, I had the power I formerly introduced to its notice. Unknown of suppressing them; and from their tendency, and unpatronized, I had little pretensions to its I believe, more than any other quality belongfavour, and little expectation of it ; writing, oring to them, has the indulgence of their readers arranging the writings of others, was to me only arisen. For that indulgence I desire to retum a favourite amusement, for which a man easily them grateful acknowledgments as an editor; I finds both time and apology. One advantage I shall be proud, with better reason, if there is drew from it, which the humane may hear with nothing to be found in my publications, that may satisfaction ; I often wandered from my own forfeit their esteem as a man.




Formerly, even during the very short space of

the year we were at Belville, it was vain to think LETTER I.

of that domestic enjoyment I used to hope for

in the country; we were people of too much Julia de Roubigné to Maria de Roncilles.

consequence to be allowed the privilege of re

tirement, and, except those luxurious walks I “The friendship of your Maria, misfortune sometimes found means to take with you, my can never deprive you of.”—These were the dear, I mean—the day was as little my own, as words with which you sealed that attachment in the midst of our winter-hurry in town. we had formed in the blissful period of infancy. The loss of this momentous law-suit has The remembrance of those peaceful days we brought us down to the level of tranquillity. passed together in the convent, is often recalled Our days are not now pre-occupied by numberto my mind, amidst the cares of the present. less engagements, nor our time anxiously diYet do not think me foolish enough to com- vided for a rotation of amusements ; I can walk, plain of the want of those pleasures which af- read, or think, without the officious interrupHuence gave us; the situation of my father's tion of polite visitors; and, instead of talking affairs is such as to exclude luxury, but it al- eternally of others, I find time to settle accounts lows happiness; and, were it not for the recol- with myself. lection of what he once possessed, which now Could we but prevail on my father to think and then intrudes itself upon him, he could thus !-Alas! his mind is not formed for conscarce form a wish that were not gratified in the tracting into that narrow sphere, which his forretreat he has found.

tune has now marked out for him. He feels You were wont to call me the little philoso- adversity a defeat, to which the vanquished pher; if it be philosophy to feel no violent dis- submit, with pride in their looks, but anguish tress from that change which the ill fortune of in their hearts. He is cut off from the enjoyour family has made in its circumstances, I do ment of his present state, while he puts himself not claim much merit from being that way a under the cruel necessity of dissembling his rephilosopher. From my earliest days I found gret for the loss of the former. myself unambitious of wealth or grandeur, con- I can easily perceive how much my dearest tented with the enjoyment of sequestered life, mother is affected by this. I see her constantly and fearful of the dangers which attend an exalt- on the watch for every word and look that may ed station. It is therefore more properly a weak- discover his feelings; and she has, too often, ness, than a virtue, in me, to be satisfied with occasion to observe them unfavourable. She enmy present situation.

deavours, and commonly succeeds in her endeaBut, after all, my friend, what is it we have vour, to put on the appearance of cheerfulness; lost? We have exchanged the life of gaiety, of she even tries to persuade herself, that she has tumult, of pleasure they call it, which we led reason to be contented; but, alas! an effort to in Paris, when my father was a rich man, for be happy is always but an increase of our unthe pure, the peaceful, the truly happy scenes, easiness. which this place affords us, now he is a poor And what is left for your Julia to do? In one. Dependence and poverty alone are suf- truth, I fear, I am of little service. My heart fered to complain ; but they know not how of- is too much interested in the scene, to allow me ten greatness is dependent, and wealth is poor. that command over myself, which would make


me useful. My father often remarks, that I pied by the idea of the scene, to forbear atlook

grave; I smile, (foolishly I fear,) and deny tempting the picture. it; it is, I believe, no more than I used to do “When I struck off the high road," said he, formerly; but we were then in a situation that “ to go down by the old avenue, I thought I did not lead him to observe it. He had no con- had lost my way; there was not a tree to be sciousness in himself to prompt the observa- You may believe me as you please, sir; tion.

but, I declare, I saw the rooks, that used to How often do I wish for you, Maria, to as- build there, in a great flock over my head, sist me! There is something in that smile of croaking, for all the world, as if they had been yours, (1 paint it to myself at this instant,) looking for the avenue too. Old Lasune's house, which care and sorrow are unable to withstand; where you, miss, (turning to me,) would frebesides the general effect produced by the inter- quently stop in your walks, was pulled down, vention of a third person, in a society, the mem- except a single beam at one end, which now bers of which are afraid to think of one ano- serves for a rubbing-post to some cattle that ther's thoughts.—Yet you need not answer this graze there ; and your roan horse, sir, which wish of mine; I know how impossible it is for the Marquis had of you in a present, when he you to come hither at present. Write to me as purchased Belville, had been turned out to grass often as you can; you will not expect order in among the rest, it seems, for there he was, my letters, nor observe it in your answers; I standing under the shade of the wall; and, will speak to you on paper when my heart is when I came up, the poor beast knew me, as full, and you will answer me from the sympa- any Christian would, and came neighing up to thy of yours.

my side, as he was wont to do. I gave him a
pieceof bread I had put in my pocket in the morn-

ing, and he followed me for more, till I reached

the very gate of the house; I mean what was

the gate when I knew it; for there is now a rail Julia to Maria.

run across, with a small door, which Le Sauvre

told me they call Chinese. But, after all, the I am to vex my Maria with an account of Marquis is seldom seen there to enjoy these fine trifles, and those, too, unpleasant ones; but she things; he lives in town, Le Sauvre says, eleven has taught me to think, that nothing is insig- months in the year, and only comes down to nificant to her, in which I am concerned, and Belville, for a few weeks, to get money to spend insists on participating, at least, if she cannot in Paris." alleviate my distresses.

Here Le Blanc paused in his narration. I I am every day more and more uneasy about was afraid to look up to see its effect upon my the chagrin which our situation seems to give father ; indeed the picture which the poor felmy father. A little incident has just now low had innocently drawn, had too much afplunged him into a fit of melancholy, which all fected myself.- Lasune's house! my Maria rethe attention of my mother, all the attempts at members it; but she knows not all the ties gaiety which your poor Julia is constrained to which its recollection has make, cannot dissipate or overcome.

I stole, however, a sidelong glance at my Our old servant Le Blanc is your acquaint- father. He seemed affected, but disdain was ance; indeed he very soon becomes acquainted mixed with his tenderness; he gathered up his with every friend and visitor of the family; his features, as it were to hide the effect of the reagę prompting him to talk, and giving him the cital. “You saw Le Sauvre then?” said he privilege of talking.

coolly.—“Yes," answered Le Blanc;“ but he Le Blanc had obtained permission, a few days is wonderfully altered since he was in your sersince, to go on a visit to his daughter, who is vice, sir. When I first discovered him, he was married to a young fellow, serving in the capa- in the garden, picking some greens for his dincity of coachman at a gentleman's in the neigh- ner; he looked so rueful when he lifted up his bourhood of Belville. He returned last night, head and saw me! Indeed I was little better and, in his usual familiar manner, gave us an myself, when I cast my eyes around. It was a account of his expedition this morning.

sad sight to see ! for the Marquis keeps no garMy father inquired after his daughter ; he dener, except Le Sauvre himself, who has fifty gave some short answer as to her ; but I could things to do besides, and only hires another see by his face, that he was full of some other hand or two for the time he resides at Belville intelligence. He was standing behind my fa- in the summer. The walks, that used to be ther, resting one hand on the back of his ohair; trimmed so nicely, are covered with mole-hills; he began to rub it violently, as if he would have the hedges are full of great holes, and Le given the wood a polish by the friction. “I Sauvre's chickens were basking in the flowerwas at Belville, sir," said he. My father made beds. He took me into the house, and his wife no reply; but Le Blanc had got over the dif- seemed glad to see her old acquaintance, and the ficulty of beginning, and was too much occu- children clambered up to kiss me, and Jeanot

[ocr errors]

upon me.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


« ElőzőTovább »