A N O V E L,
F O U N D E D O N
A R E C E N T F A C T:
With the Translation of an
O R I G I N A L M A N U S C R I P T,
FOUND IN THE
B A S T I L E.
I N T W O V O L U M E S.
V O L. II.
PRINTED BY J. S. BARR,
M DCC XC.
[Five Shillings sewed.]
C H A P T E R XXIII.
The effects of absence.
ALTHOUGH Elise had strongly pressed De Montmorency to accede to her father’s advice and accept of his recommendation to Court, yet he was no sooner gone than his absence had a visible effect upon her—she became a prey to fancied ills and was entirely o’erwhelm’d with imaginary misfortunes—her spirits and vivacity were destroy’d by a fixed melancholy, and the lily gain’d sole dominion over those cheeks whose tints, but a few days back, could vie with the rose’s bloom.
She numbered the hours of his absence, and thought the day would never arrive on which she expected to hear of him from Paris—it came at length—even upon quitting her downy pillow she found her spirits much elated—With anxious care she watch’d the avenue to the chateau—the messenger arrived—she received a letter—read her De Montmorency was well—read an account of his flattering reception, and what was more than all the rest, read an undisguised assurance of his everlasting love—again she was happy.
Her first epistle was soon followed by a second, the second by a third—While she was in the habit of hearing thus from De Montmorency Elise was satisfied—if at any time her spirits fail’d she knew where to find comfort—his letters were an antidote to sorrow.—Soon however a cloud of disappointment dimn’d this sunshine of happiness—three days passed and no tidings from De Montmorency; Elise was alarm’d—another three, and still no news; she grew dejected—another three destroyed Hope and she suffered Melancholy to be her constant guest. For some days she had watch’d the gate, and observed that no messenger had arrived from Paris even to her father; there was some little comfort in this—At the end of about a fortnight from the time she received her last letter as she was sitting pensively at her usual window, she beheld a courier coming full speed along the avenue with a packet of letters—she flew down stairs to receive them.
“Without doubt, (said she to herself as she approach’d the man) there is one for me, and I shall again hear some intelligence of my beloved De Montmorency!”
She was deceived, they were all for her father—this was a sad disappointment—however she summoned up all her resolution and carried them to Monsieur de St. Clair, in hopes she might possibly learn some information of our hero from him—Here too she was disappointed, for he perused the letters without taking any notice of their contents, except recounting some trivial circumstances which had occurred at Court.
Elise could contain herself no longer, she retired to her own apartment, and there gave free scope to her grief—her throbing heart beat in quick vibrations at her love’s neglect; her panting bosom heav’d in anxious woe at this apparently cruel indifference—after some time tears came to her relief, and gave ease to her labouring breast.—She recollected his vows of constancy, and her own faithfulness induced her to believe that he would not break them—with this conclusion she determined to wait with patience the arrival of the next courier, as by that De Montmorency might account for this seeming neglect, and convince her that in doubting his truth she had given way to unjust suspicions—thus can the flattery of Hope sometimes prove a balm to heal the pains of an agonized mind.
In a few days after, agreeable to her wishes and expectations, another courier came—again she flew to him, again was disappointed, he had no letter for Elise—She was now almost driven to despair, but still her tenderness got the better of her suspicion, and no sooner did she get by herself than with the tears streaming from her lovely eyes, she burst out in the utmost anguish;
“Some fatal accident has surely befallen him!—he cannot; O, no! I’m sure he cannot forget his poor Elise! will not, no, I know he will not forsake her!—Soon, perhaps too soon shall I hear the dismal tidings of what has happened, and have more reason to lament the cause which prevented his writing, than to condemn him for not having done so!”
Days and weeks moved on with leaden steps without bringing the lovelorn maid the least intelligence of her regretted De Montmorency—distracted with suspence she ventured to seek occasion to mention and enquire after him of her own family, which she thought she might be enabled to do, in the way of common conversation, without any notice being taken—she made the experiment, but without any degree of satisfaction, for her mother knew nothing about him, her brother had not heard, and her father could not tell—Defeated of her hopes, as she was in these attempts, still her restless inquietude was upon the watch, and still conjecturing means to obtain information—Ruminating what step she next should take, it occured to her mind that perhaps his father might have heard of him—she wondered how it was possible she should not have thought of him before—the more she thought of applying to Hubert, the more morally impossible did it appear to her but that he must have had intelligence of his son—from these ideas she was resolved to seize the first opportunity and walk up to the hermitage.
Having form’d this resolution she could find no peace until it was put in force, therefore rising somewhat more early than usual, she proceeded to the dwelling of De Montmorency’s father—the old man received her with the greatest cordiality, shewed her the letters he had received, but, alas! there was none of later date than her own—this was a severe stroke upon her sensibility, and she felt the force of her disappointment in proportion to the certainty of her expectations—This was a stronger proof that she had condemned him unjustly, and that he had fallen a victim to some cruel misfortune!
“His silence (said she) cannot arise from inconstancy; for were he faithless to me, surely he could not forget he has a father.”
Hubert had suffered no less by not hearing from his son than had the gentle Elise—he was affected by her manner and for some time they sat and indulg’d their distress in silence—Hubert felt a kind of parental love for the fair mourner—she loved that son, on whom he doted, and she was beloved by him—was it then unnatural that Hubert should feel a parental affection for her?—they mingled their tears together, and together tried to account for having received no intelligence from him; they were both too well convinced of his love and attention to encourage the smallest idea of its having arisen from wilful neglect—something must have happened to prevent his continuing that correspondence he had so faithfully began, and they trembled at the thought of what that something might be—perhaps, dismal as was the conclusion, perhaps he was no more!
Hubert had for some time felt the natural infirmities of age come fast upon him, a slight fever had rendered their effects more perceptible, and which, together with pining for the absence of his son, had reduced him to a weak enfeebled state, yet as the result of their conference was, that some accident had befallen our hero, he resolved the moment his strength would permit to set out for Paris, seek into the fact, and no longer be kept in suspence.
C H A P T E R XXIV.
A family alarmed by a fever.
UPON Elise’s return from the Hermitage, she found herself very much indisposed—she every hour grew worse, and was obliged to be conveyed to her chamber, where she was confined for some time with a violent fit of illness.
The whole family were in a consternation—they were alarmed for her life—a Physician was sent for, who gave them but little comfort, by declaring her disorder to be a fever of a very dangerous nature.
Six days did it rage with the greatest violence, and on the seventh she became delirious—the name of De Montmorency was continually in her mouth—she repeated it without ceasing.
As Monsieur and Madame de St. Clair stood by her bedside, she would entreat them, in the most melting manner, to fetch De Montmorency to her, for that she should not die contented if she did not see and take a last parting farewell of him.
The ninth day the delirium ceased, and the fever abated—the physicians pronounced her out of danger—the goodness of her constitution overcame the disease, and she recovered but very slowly.
As the disorder of her body abated, that of her mind encreased—she pined in secret for her De Montmorency, and from the fixed melancholy painted in her countenance, seemed as if it would end but with her life.
Her parents were apprehensive, that by indulging her languor, she would bring on a relapse—they suspected the cause—to engage her attention appeared the only way to disappoint their fears, but how this was to be done, required some consultation, as she industriously avoided all company, and every day seemed to give way more and more to the preying of her melancholy.
Young St. Clair was particularly distressed at his sister’s situation—with all his peculiarity of disposition he had a serious regard for her, and besides which he had always considered that her beauty and the fortune with which her father could give her, would certainly ensure some noble alliance—his whole soul was bent upon being connected with the great, and he was ready to sacrifice every consideration to gratify that one principle, of rusticating himself from the commonalty, and being considered as a sprig of nobility—for this he was ready to give up his brotherly affection, for this he was willing to sacrifice his sister.
C H A P T E R XXV.
A journey to
THE resolution which Hubert had made after the conference between Elise and him, he now proceeded to put in execution—his health was not perfectly established, but anxiety to know the fate of his son, made him set out weak and feeble as he then was—The old domestic would have opposed it, but Hubert De Montmorency was determined—The journey was a long one—above two hundred miles—The aged Hubert’s narrow circumstances would not allow him to travel otherwise than alone—he had encroached upon his income to enable his son to appear with credit and respectability.
Before he set out, however, he
resolved to go once more to the castle, though he felt it as a forlorn Hope, to
learn if they had there heard any news from
He went, and as he was passing up the avenue of trees, he met old St. Clair, walking in a solitary thoughtful mood towards the end of the Park—at sight of Hubert he started and turned pale.
“An unhappy distressed parent has
taken the liberty, Sir, (said Hubert) to come and ask if any of your late
dispatches, which have arrived from
“They have not.”—replied Monsieur de St. Clair, without ever looking at his interrogator.
“Perhaps you have not heard lately from your friend to whom you have recommended him; or he perhaps would have noticed whether his success was probable or not.”
“Very likely—but our correspondence is not so frequent as it used to be.”
“I hope my son has not occasioned any difference.”
“No;—I am certain he will do all I requested for him, that is, unless his own conduct prevents it—but I know nothing at all about him at present.”
Without saying a word more, the aged Hubert took his leave, bowed, and measured his way back to his own cottage, where he only stopped to give some necessary directions to his faithful attendant, and then with an aching and anxious heart, began his journey.
It were unnecessary to enter into a detail of the inconveniencies and difficulties which a weak and enfeebled old man must suffer, in making so long a journey without any attendants, especially to one who had so long retired from the world, and in his youth had known better days, suffice it, therefore, to observe they were many and various; and that the wretched Hubert had well nigh sunk under them—He arrived, however, at length, at his journey’s end, and having learnt from his son in what part of Paris the nobleman lived to whom St. Clair had sent him, he instantly bent his way thither—he enquired for him, and after some delays, usual among the servants of the great, he was admitted to his presence, where he no sooner came than,
“An unfortunate father (said he) is come a long journey to seek a son, whom he loves beyond description—to you he was recommended—’tis to you alone I can apply for information, his name is De Montmorency—can your lordship inform me where I may find him.”
The Comte was struck at the name—his cheeks assumed a deadly paleness, and after pausing a moment—
“Is he your son?”
“He is, (said Hubert, with a momentary transport) he is my boy, (his tone of voice immediately changing) but where my lord, oh! tell me where he is?”
“Is it possible you do not know—I should have thought a father the most likely person to have enquired of for the residence of his son—What made you apply to me?”
“Was he not recommended to your lordship by Monsieur de St. Clair?—he told me—
“O, yes, I do remember something of the name—Montmorency; you say!”
“Yes, that was he;—O tell me, pray tell me, my lord, what is become of him?”
“He left me, (replied the Comte) a few days after he came to Paris—and I have never seen him since.”
“Never, seen him since!—(rejoined Hubert) Alas! then, some hapless fate must certainly have befallen him—Oh, merciful Father where shall I seek him now—where shall I find the prop and comfort of my age!”
Without saying a word more, he arose and taking leave of the Comte de —— walked, with an aching heart, out of the hotel, unknowing where to turn his search, or which way to direct his steps.
C H A P T E R XXVI.
A journey interupted, and the vicissitudes of life
exemplified in the story of Guillaume Dupne.
THUS disapointed, Hubert was distressed in the extreme; he resolved not to return home, ’till he had made every possible enquiry.
Several weeks did he wander from street to street, and from almost house to house in search of his son—but still his endeavours were fruitless—no tidings could he hear.—Concluding, therefore, that he must certainly be murdered, he set out for the purpose of returning to his humble home, overwhelmed with the most torturing anguish—there, he thought, he should soon bid adieu to a tormenting world, and resign his breath in peace—But Nature, which had held out pretty well till now, because Hope had always attended her, could not longer endure such an aggrevated weight of misery.
Hubert had not proceeded far on his journey back, when a violent illness, brought on by grief and despair, attacked him—All at once he was seized with a giddiness, and could proceed no farther—There was no house nigh, except a cottage, small, yet neat in appearance—here he was under the necessity of seeking relief—hesitation was in vain, for he found himself grow worse, and approaching the door, with a view to request assistance, all power forsook him and he sunk oppressed on the ground.
This circumstance did not happen without being noticed by the inhabitants, who flew to his assistance—they instantly conveyed him into the cottage, and rendered him every relief in their power; it was sometime, nevertheless, before Hubert recovered—his swoon gave way to their attention, and when he came to, he found himself in a bed, with two young women watching anxiously over him.
Being a little recovered, he thanked them for their kindness in the best manner he was able, and begged to know to whom he stood indebted for such tenderness.
“We are daughters (replied she, who appeared to be the eldest) to Guillaume Du Prix, our father is out at work, but when he comes home, I am sure he will be pleased at what we have done.”
On that instant their father entered—He was much advanced in years, yet healthy and robust, with an indiscribable dignity of countenance—Advancing up to Hubert, he welcomed him to his cottage, with frankness and sincerity, and assured him, that although he could not promise the attendance of Elegance or Wealth, yet Plenty and Content would be his certain guests.
Hubert was surprised at the elegant manner, and polished diction of his host, so much superior to his habitation and appearance.—He had a great curiosity to know what had reduced him to this situation, for reduced from former splendor Hubert was certain he must have been, but his present weakness rendered him at this time unable to make any enquiry.
His kind host, and his daughters, treating him with the greatest tenderness Hubert recovered, by degrees, his health, and was soon able to leave his bed-chamber, and associate with this generous family.
One evening as they were sitting together in deep conversation on the various vicissitudes of human life, Hubert expressed his surprise, at seeing a person of such superior ideas and enlightened mind, in such a reduced situation; at which, the old man sighed deeply, and said, his was a tale of sorrow indeed, but as no incidents of his life, though humble, were disgraced by vice, he would relate them to his guest, if he could think them worth his attention—Hubert bowed, in token of his approbation, and the old man began.
The STORY of GUILLAUME DU PRIX.
“As near as I can remember, it was about forty years ago, that my father met with an unexpected calamity, that reduced his circumstances so low, as to oblige him to carry my mother, my sister, and myself to a seat he had in Brittany, where he had not resided long, when one day, calling us together, he addressed us in the following words.
‘My children, you now see your father reduced from affluence, to a bare subsistance; we are now no longer able to live as formerly—we must accommodate our minds to our condition. You, son, addressing himself particularly to me, are arrived at years of discretion—at an age, when you are able to provide for yourself—chuse some profession—The little we have left will not permit us to keep up the family name—It is my intention to change it to Du Prix, which name I desire you will bear also—Having said this to you, my boy, make choice of some profession—you may by pursuing it be of some use to your parents, and be also a protector to your sister when we are gone.’
“I did not take much time in deliberating, but chose instantly the profession of a soldier—Taking therefore a tender leave of my father and mother, and giving a little advice to my sister, I set out for Paris, and entered myself in the old regiment of Picardy, as a volunteer—By assiduity and attention, I received the praise of the Colonel of our regiment, who would have advanced me to a subaltern officer’s rank, but I refused, alledging, as a reason, that I thought myself superior to that rank already, and would never accept of any other situation, but that of a full commissioned officer—he stared at me, and went away without saying a word.—Not long after, however, he sent for me, and put into my hands a commission—I was penetrated with gratitude, yet wanted words to thank him—He received my attempts, and telling me he had my interest at heart, put into my hand a draught on his banker for 500 livres, as, he said, I should want some necessaries now I was advanced to my new rank.—I could not speak my sense of the favour, my heart was so overwhelmed with gratitude—he saw it, and to relieve me walked out of the tent.
“From that day the Colonel took particular notice of me, and made me his constant companion.—To gain his confidence the more, I related to him the history of my life, not disguising from him my real name—This, though it increased not his friendship for me, increased his respect, and he considered me in birth, as his equal.
“I made under him many campaigns, and had already advanced to the rank of captain, when we were ordered on a secret, and a very important service, what soldier’s term, a forlorn hope.—The night before we set out on our march, the Colonel spent with me, in giving me directions how to manage his affairs in case of his death, at the same time presenting me with his will, told me he had appointed me his executor—I was flattered with this mark of distinction, and in return, requested him, should it be my lot to fall, to take the trouble of acquainting my parents with it. He promised to do it, and we spent the rest of the evening in conversing on our intended expedition, which we agreed would certainly deprive us of the flower of our troops.
“The next morning early, we began our march, and about set of sun, arrived near the destined place, where we halted, and rested upon our arms for that night—At dawn of day we began our march, thinking to surprise the enemy asleep, and thereby gain a victory without much loss of blood—we were disappointed—passing through a narrow defile, the enemy on a sudden burst upon us, and hemmed us in—Surprise, for a few minutes, struck us motionless—sensible however, that something must be done and that quickly, the Colonel looked at me, and gave orders to charge the enemy sword in hand, and cut our way through them—we did so—the engagement was fierce and bloody, for we had superior numbers to contend with—However, we accomplished our ends, though with the loss of a great number of men. The enemy still harrassed us in our retreat, and by a well directed shot, wounded our Colonel mortally—he fell from his horse—I instantly ran up to him and placed him on my knee,—he was on the point of death—the ball had penetrated the coats of the heart—he looked with much affection on me, pressing my hand fervently, and saying, Remember what I told you, expired in my arms—my grief was unutterable—I know not to what ends my rage might have led me, had not the soldiers forcibly conveyed me back to our former station—when a little recovered from my distraction, I remembered the dying request of my friend, and going into his tent, broke open his will, in the presence of three brother officers—It bequeathed the bulk of his effects, which were not very considerable to his only daughter, leaving her in my charge, and to me also, bequeathing a very handsome present.
“After paying the last tribute of friendship to the memory of my departed friend, I proceeded in the duties of my station, ’till the end of the campaign, when I requested leave of absence from my quarters, and proceeded to Aix le Chapelle, where his daughter was, to communicate to her the distressing intelligence of the death of her father.
“The Colonel had placed her for safety, and for cheapness, in a Convent, whither I directed my steps—I was easily admitted to her, and thought at the time, I had never beheld before, so enchanting an object—my bosom, which ’till then had been a stranger to the emotions of love, felt them now, for the first time, and I was so struck, that I could not articulate a word for some time—recollecting at length the purport of my visit, I ventured by slow and gentle degrees, to disclose the melancholy news—giving her, at the same time, a letter, which the Colonel had desired me to bring her—she had not strength enough to read it, but fainted away instantly on the floor—ringing the bell, I disclosed, shortly, the nature of my visit, and left the distressed maid to the care of the people of the Convent, leaving word, that I would call again soon—However, I thought it most prudent to let the first emotions of her grief be over before I went, which I did, at the expiration of a week.—I found the dear girl in deep mourning, lovely in her tears—she received me with great sweetness, and informed me, that her father, in his last letter to her, had appointed me her guardian, paying me at the same time, some compliments, which I will not be vain enough to repeat.
“In this visit, she asked my advice, relative to her future conduct—I gave it her, and in order to divert her melancholy, advised her to suffer me to accompany her to Paris, for the winter—after some little hesitation, she agreed, and we set out as soon as the necessary preparations could be made.
“Why should I tire you with a repetition of the trifling occurrences which happened during our journey—it is true, they were pleasing to me, and I still think on them with pleasure, but suffice it to say, that we arrived at Paris in safety, and that by degrees her grief insensibly wore away. We had not been long there, before I found myself deeply in love with her, and which induced me never to be out of her company.
“The world began to reflect on her conduct, in being with me, and putting herself under the controul of a young man—this hurt my pride, for intending no injury, I could not bear to be suspected, and to prevent it in future, I took an opportunity to disclose my passion, which I did in the warmest and most faithful manner in my power, and pressed a return from her, by hinting at the ill-natured insinuations of the world—she received my declaration with indulgence, and we were soon after, united to each other by the tenderest ties.
“The regiment to which I belonged was soon after this period disbanded, and I among the other officers put upon the half-pay list.—This was such an essential difference to my income, that I found it not only necessary to retrench my expences, but even to adopt some mode of living with the utmost frugality—for neither of us had any family expectations, and our own might encrease.—With the little property therefore left by my wife’s father, I purchased this cottage, and a small quantity of land adjoining.
“Here we lived in perfect happiness a number of years, during which time we were blessed with the two daughters you have seen.
“I should have informed you, that on my return from Germany to France, I made many enquiries, after my family, and learnt, that my mother had died some time before, and that my father had gone to Paris, where he died also—my sister, for ought I know followed them to the grave, for I never, from that day to this, could learn any tidings of her although I have repeatedly made all the enquiries possible.
“Well, Sir, we lived here for some time, happy, contented, and satisfied with each other, we regretted not the lurements of the giddy world.
“After a number of years passed in the utmost harmony, it pleased Heaven to afflict my wife with an illness, which proved fatal to her—She died—her endearments were so essential to my repose, that I still regret her loss; and since that time, I have worn out a miserable existence in wishing that it would please Heaven to provide for my two daughters, and then join me for ever to the deceased partner of my heart.”
Hubert made his host a profusion of acknowledgments for his story—“But, (said he) you have withheld from me your real name; may I, without being considered guilty of impertinence or intrusion, enquire what it is.”
“Most undoubtedly, (replied the old gentleman) my real name is De Velancy.”
“De Velancy?” exclaimed Hubert. starting up.
“It is—why are you surprised?”
“And your sister’s name?” added Hubert.
“Henrietta de Velancy?” replied Monsieur de Velancy.
“By Heavens! the very same—The brother of my dear lamented wife! he whom we so often sought after in vain.”
De Velancy was surprised at this ejaculation, and requested an explanation—Hubert briefly gave it by relating—that he had been acquainted with Monsieur de Velancy, his father, and married Henrietta while they resided at Paris—shortly after which period, her father dying, he removed into the country, where his wife had been torn from him in child-bed.
After this explanation, each paid a tribute of a few tears to the memory of the wife of Hubert, and Monsieur de Velancy introduced his daughters to his guest as their uncle.
The cause of Hubert’s journey, and his distress at the loss of his son was now communicated with more freedom, as he found in their breasts a sympathetic feeling for what he suffered, and an endeavour, by their actions, to sooth his woe.
In this family, who paid him particular attention, Hubert recovered his strength; which he had no sooner acquired than he determined to leave this happy cot, and steer his course homewards, in hopes he should reach the Hermitage before he died, that his bones might be laid near those of his departed wife.
Monsieur de Velancy would have prevailed on him to have staid longer, but anxiety to know if any news had arrived concerning his son made him the more resolved on departing, which he did, after strongly pressing Monsieur de Velancy to bring his two daughters, and remain with him for some time at the Hermitage;—but the old man, attached to his cottage and his books, could not be prevailed upon to leave either.
After a painful and tedious journey, Hubert arrived at his own house, to the great joy of his old servant—No news, however, had been received from his son, and Hubert de Montmorency felt himself not more easy about the fate of his boy, than before he had undertaken his journey—that he was dead he was fully persuaded of, and though sometimes a ray of Hope would break in upon his mind, and tell him that he might yet live—the fond idea lasted but a short time—Reason soon resumed her seat, and told him that the suggestions of Hope, were but unsubstantial and delusive.
C H A P T E R XXVII.
The opening of a pre-concerted plan.
THE endeavours of the St. Clairs for the recovery of Elise were by no means destitute of effect—they were constantly contriving to lead her into scenes of amusement, and had the satisfaction of seeing her health daily improve—the strength of youth enabled her to surmount the fever’s rapacity, and by the peculiar tenderness of her parents together with keeping her constantly engaged, counteracted the anxiety of her mind, and although it would not eradicate De Montmorency from her heart, nor heal her feelings for his loss, yet in a great measure it softened the poignancy of her distress and sooth’d her throbbing breast into a settled calm.
Monsieur de St. Clair was perfectly acquainted with the cause of his daughter’s indisposition therefore the name of De Montmorency was never mentioned, nor the least notice taken of her attachment, least it might keep her passion alive and defeat the plan he had so long had in agitation—and for the success of which he had proceeded so far in having the principal obstacle removed—as it must now plainly appear it was his letter to the Comte de —— which had occasioned our hero’s being conveyed to the Bastile.
This was the plan which was before hinted at as suggested by young St. Clair, and so instantly acceded to by his father: the principal motive that induced the St. Clairs to form this plan and put it in force was a proposal which the Comte de Valgrave had made for the hand of Elise, and which they were sensible could not be obtained without the previous removal of De Montmorency.
Matters being thus circumstanced, as soon as Elise’s health was tolerably established her father thought it time to begin his plan of operations—the Comte was accordingly apprised of this resolution, and invited to come and remain some time at their house—this invitation was accordingly accepted and he very shortly after arrived.
He was received by the family with much pleasure and by Elise with politeness—as a guest of her father it was what he was entitled to—It was but a small space of time that she was left to consider him in that character, being soon made acquainted with the real intentions of his visit.
The Comte, who was rather advanced in life and could boast no personal attractions to recommend him, was connected with some of the first families in France and had a serious attachment for Elise—in conformity with the violence of love was he constantly pestering of her with a declaration of his passion—his love was not only odious and disagreeable to her in itself, but rendered ten times more so, when she drew a comparison, which it was not in her power to avoid, between him and her beloved De Montmorency, whose image still presided in her heart, and whose memory was still as dear to her as ever.
The aversion that Elise entertained against the Comte de Valgrave did not escape the attention of Monsieur de St. Clair—he beheld it with the utmost vexation—he had set his mind upon the match and was determined that it should take place—wishing, however, that it should have the appearance of her own approbation he endeavoured to conquer her dislike by having recourse to persuasion and intreaties; finding these kind of auxiliaries had no sort of influence, he next applied to commands and threats, but with no better success, for she remained totally deaf to every thing that was urged in his favour, and positively refused even to endeavour to entertain a thought in his behalf—the more she was pressed the more strongly did she adhere to her resolution, and at length assured them that she would take refuge in a Convent rather than consent to the union, and should prefer being a Nun to a Comtesse.
C H A P T E R XXVIII.
A proof of falsehood, the cause of
AS Elise was wandering a few days after the Comte de Valgrave’s arrival to the old oak tree, to which she walked every day, to recall past happy hours to her mind, she was met by Hubert de Montmorency’s servant, who informed her that his master had heard from his son, and had sent him with a letter from him, which he delivered into her hands.
Elise was near fainting with delight at this intelligence, she took the letter eagerly, and with trembling haste breaking the seal, read to her inexpressible surprise, the following contents:
“I have been prevented by perpetual engagements from writing to you and my father before.—Monsieur de St. Clair informs me, that he fears you are prevented from acceding to his wishes by some promise to me, to satisfy him, therefore, upon the subject, I take the liberty of addressing you, with the assurance, should such be the case, that I forego all my presuming pretensions, and release you from the bonds of any promise you may have made me, and wish you every happiness.—You will, I hope, pardon me for leaving off so abruptly, when I inform you that I am particularly engaged, and am this moment going with a party to the Comtess de Vieuville’s assembly.
“I have the honour to be,
“Your most devoted servant,
“Charles de Montmorency.”
Elise was struck dumb with astonishment—such an epistle from her De Montmorency!—impossible!—she read it again—and again would she flatter herself, that it did not come from him, but the hand writing was too well known, and convinced her too fatally.
Bursting into a flood of tears, she exclaimed, “Oh! and are all my vows disdained!—is then my love forgotten!—faithless, inconstant De Montmorency—but, (continued she, summoning all her pride to her aid) but thou shalt not triumph over me! thou shalt not force a sigh from my bosom—yes, I will obey thy cruel wishes—an opportunity offers, and I’ll refuse no more!”—With these sentiments she returned home, and going instantly to her father,——“Yes my dear parent, (said she) I will accede to your wishes—I will marry the Comte de Valgrave—and though I cannot give him my love, he shall have no cause to complain of the want of it.”
Monsieur de St. Clair was overjoyed, he flew to the Comte de Valgrave with the pleasing news—the Comte was in raptures.
The day was fixed, and every individual of the two families, except the hapless Elise, was transported at the approaching nuptials—to her it appeared a day of certain misery—but De Montmorency, on whom her virgin affections had been rivetted—he was false!—he had betrayed her!—she yielded therefore to the wishes of her father, that the union should take place as soon as the preparations could be made, which the Comte insisted upon having executed with the utmost magnificence.
C H A P T E R XXIX.
Employment in a prison.
DE MONTMORENCY in Prison without one human creature to speak to—in the Bastile, where solemn silence reigns unbroken, save sometime by the hollow groan of the wretched, perhaps departing captive—he prayed incessantly to Heaven to enable him to support with fortitude, his hapless situation.
His prayers were granted—his horror at being thus unjustly confined, though it preyed on his heart, and often dissolved him into tears, did not occasion a continuance of that fury which had seized him during the first part of his imprisonment.
Books nor article of any kind were allowed that he could amuse himself with—this want of employment rendered his hours exceeding tedious, even when he became a little familiarized to his dungeon, at least when custom had blunted the edge of the horrors of the place—to turn his thoughts from the cruelty of his fate, was not more devoutly wished for than he found difficult to effect—Why he was confined he had long since given up as a fruitless conjecture; yet for want of amusement it would frequently torment his mind—to obviate this he turn’d his thoughts to a thousand things, but there was always something wanting to enable him to put them in practice—at last he therefore determined to have recourse to Poetry.
It has been observed that he was exceedingly fond of the poetical productions of others—He had not, however, invoked the Muse himself before—his forlorn situation tempted him now to try if he possessed any poetical genius, and though debarred of pen and ink, yet necessity taught him invention, and he scratched out his attempts against the wall of his cell, and the result of his first poetic endeavour, was the following lines; which, if they have no intrinsic poetic merit, possess some claim to attention, from being actually written in the Bastile.
O D E to H O P E.
Who, on some rough rocks height,
Woo’st the propitious gale,
And fit’st with straining sight,
To catch the long expected sail!
With eyes fixed on the Horizon’s verge,
Where bellowing loud the swelling surge,
To kiss the Canopy of Heav’n, high heaves,
Which seems to meet the wave, and its salute
While flattering Fancy pourtrays oft the sail,
That from the distant billows seems to rise,
Which (soon withdrawn the dear deluding veil)
No longer meets thy eager eyes:
What tho’ thy heaving breast,
By the full swell of grief be rent,
Still dark Despair is not thy bosom’s guest.
Still forward are thy eyes expecting bent.
From whose full train,
Despair with hollow eye,
And pinching Poverty and Pain,
And mirth-contemning Melancholy fly.
Hail! Oh Hail!
For often hast thou sooth’d this Breast,
And when my Heart wou’d give full sway,
And the dark dictates of despair obey,
Thou, HOPE, hast bid my bosom’s tumults
Yet not to any clime alone
Is thy soothing sway confined;
Where’er I fling my eye, ’tis known,
Thy power is felt by all mankind.
The Captive, on whose form, no grateful gale
Has deigned to blow for many a longing day,
Who long has ceased the voice of friend to hail,
Who long has ceased to feel the solar ray.
Yet still, unhappy wretch! tho’ in his breast,
Swoln Sorrow dwells, and slow consuming
Hopes, as at night, he lays him down to rest,
Returning day light will afford relief.
The Love-lorn Damsel, whose dear swain afar,
Is seeking Honour on the tented plain,
Feeds with fond hopes, her bosom, that from war,
Safe to her arms, he will return again?
And should he not return?—and should he fall!
To woe-dispensing War, a victim given,
Still hopes she, hence, when Death at length
To meet him in the blissful bowers of Heav’n.
Oh! now then o’er my aching mind,
HOPE, thy lenient balsam pour!
And bid me happiness expect to find,
Beyond the present hapless hour.
Oh! from my bosom drive despair!
Nor wonder, HOPE, at this unusual prayer!
For have I not full cause to sigh?
And pour the hot tear from my eye?
For does a Friend’s sweet soothing strain,
Rob me of one, one moment’s pain?
And am I not of Liberty bereft?
And have I not a faithful maid,
Beneath the willows solitary shade,
To mourn my long, long absence, left?
And does not a lov’d parent mourn,
(Adown his cheek, the trickling tear,
Bending quick its sad career)
A Son, who to his arms shall never more
Oh, HOPE! then o’er my aching heart,
Now thy lenient balsam pour!
And bid me Happiness expect to find,
When this heart heaves, this bosom throbs
C H A P T E R XXX.
Memoirs of a Prisoner in the Bastile.
THESE attempts at poetry, it is true, amused his mind for a while, yet a continuance in the same horrid place, filled his bosom with ennui—Other amusements he could not enjoy, for the malice of government seemed with increased violence to be directed towards him—He was not allowed, as many other of the prisoners were, to attend mass in the chapel, or to enjoy the open air in the court yard, nor, as I have before said was he suffered to have books to read, from the library.
Elise was a constant guest in his mind and frequently would he spend hours together, in supplicating Heaven to shower down blessings upon her head—his poor unhappy father too, he would join in those prayers, and entreat comfort for the distress, which his fate must have brought upon the good old man’s declining years—These prayers would often lead his mind to those happy days he had passed, and remembrance would almost enable him, as it were, to pass over his life again; but pleasing as were these hours of reflection, they invariably ended, in being brought to the Bastile, where nothing dwelt but misery and woe.
In defiance therefore of all his fortitude, Despair, with her train of horrible attendants, advanced with a quick pace, and he had certainly sunk under her influence, but for the following event.
Walking, one morning in a silent solitary mood, up and down his dungeon, his coat caught hold of a nail, drove in one of the stones in the wall, and drew it out.
De Montmorency turned round to disengage his coat, and lifting up the stone, beheld, under it, a packet of papers, which he laid hold of with a kind of greedy rapture, and tore them open. They contained the following.
MEMOIRS of a PRISONER, confined in the TOUR de la BAZINIERE of the BASTILE, addressed to whoever should have the misfortune to be the inhabitant of the Dungeon, after him, and should find them.
“HOPELESS, that ever within these walls, happiness again will reach me, I write my unhappy life, for the instruction of him, whose wretched fate it may be to be confined hereafter in this abode of misery and horror.
“Yet, before I relate what my treatment has been in this dreary prison, it is necessary that I should first discover the cause of my confinement in it.—Although, in so doing, I must recall to my imagination, scenes which will draw tears of blood from my aching heart, but the relation of them may be of use to thee, who art unfortunate enough to be in the way of discovering these papers, and I will give it.
“Early in life, I entered into the service of my country, without many friends, and with little money—However, I did not despair of promotion, and like every other soldier of fortune, fondly flattered myself, that merit would ensure its own reward.—Two or three, who were beneath me in rank, and I thought, not superior in military knowledge, or courage, being advanced over my head, soon convinced me, I had reasoned like a fool—perhaps I acted as one—for disappointment in my warmest wishes, induced me to resign my commission, disgusted with a profession, where merit is considered of little consequence, and the least recommendation for advancement in the eyes of the great.
“A small sum of money I had saved—that I ventured in commerce, and sailed as supercargo of a ship, bound to the West Indies.—In this pursuit I was more successful, Fortune smiled on my endeavours, and upon my return, I married a young lady, whom I had long loved—
“Oh! permit the fondness of a husband, to pay her here, a small tribute of affection—
“Thou, my departed Anna, never gavest me one, one moment’s pain—thy conduct was such as a saint might envy, and Heaven look upon with admiration—E’en now though the cold grave has long since torn thee from my arms, my affection is still the same—still do I reflect with rapture on those days we spent together, and that thought which tells me that we shall meet again, is happiness even here and makes me defy the miseries of this dismal mansion—thou art an angel in bliss, and may I soon be with you!
“But to proceed—In many succeeding adventures, I was still successful—my property encreased—happiness smiled around me, and I began to think, that fortune had selected me as one of her greatest favourites, and on whom she meant to be lavish of her bounties.
“While I was going on thus prosperously, one of the companions of my youth, and with whom I had constantly lived in the habits of friendship, became, by misfortunes very much reduced.
“In this situation he applied to me for succour, and as I was at that time in need of some person to assist me in my business, I thought I could do no less than take him, nor did I suppose I should be able to find any other in whom I could repose equal trust and confidence—I took him home to my own house, and from our former intimacy made a point of treating him more like a friend than a clerk—he was attentive, assiduous, and gave me repeated instances to conclude he had my interest very much at heart—oh, Deceit! who, can guard against thy fallacious appearance!—We went on in this manner for some time, and his conduct had gained such an ascendancy over me, that I could readily have entrusted my life and property in his hands.
“Being taken very ill on a sudden, and unable to attend a ship that was ready to sail, and on board of which I had very largely ventured, I felt no hesitation in sending this friend, and investing him with as much power over my property, with respect to its disposal, as I possessed myself.
“In due time I began to reckon upon his return—The ship arrived agreeable to my expectations, but no friend—the captain told me he was gone for England; at first I could not conceive for what purpose, but supposing he had met with an opportunity of disposing of my homeward bound investment to greater advantage there, I was not very uneasy at his not returning with the ship according to my orders; although I could not but think it very singular he had not sent me a letter of advice upon the occasion.
“Six months—a year elapsed—but no friend returned, or a single line of intelligence received—I began now to suspect I was the dupe of a villain—I communicated my apprehensions to my Anna, who, instead of alleviating, rather confirm’d them, by replying she had long considered him as such—A declaration so pointed from those lips, which were never opened by anger or complaint, struck me with astonishment, and I begged her to be more explicit—upon this she informed me that this friend during my absence, had had the temerity to make her a declaration of love, and avow a guilty passion—the manner in which her virtue made her behave upon such a daring insult, had so great an effect upon him, that he had instantly intreated her forgiveness, and promised she should never hear of it again—in this he had certainly kept his word, and she never thought it worth mentioning before, because it might have made me uneasy, and she was in hopes he had repented of it.
“I had risked so much in this adventure, that by the villainy of this false friend, my circumstances were greatly affected—I still possessed a sufficiency, but the vexation I felt at being thus imposed upon, and disappointed in my ideas of accumulated wealth, brought on a fever, which had almost sent me to the grave—ah! why did it not?—I unfortunately recovered, but my wife, who had never left my bed-side during the whole time of my illness, caught the disorder from me—to her it was fatal, and, alas! she died—Her death had such an effect upon me that I suffered a relapse, and was deprived for some time of my reason—it pleased Heaven, however, that I should recover—my cup of sorrow was not yet full—upon that recovery I found myself unable to support my misfortunes with becoming fortitude—these accumulated woes drove me to determine upon retiring from all communications with the world, and made me resolve to put that determination instantly in practice.
“Thus bent upon retirement, I purchased a beautiful little spot in the province of Narbonne, and removing to it, resolved to spend there the remainder of my days—one pledge of the fond affection that subsisted between my Anna and myself alone remained—a daughter, the exact image of her mother, for her the world had still some charms; for her I would have remained in it; but she, knowing my wish, accompanied me willingly, and even with pleasure to this seat of retirement and seclusion—that thou, who perusest these sheets, may form an adequate idea of the beauty of the place I had chosen, I will describe it to thee, for still, tho’ years are past since I beheld it, it is ever present to my tortured imagination.
“In a remote part of the province, about four miles from the little village of ——, are two nearly adjoining hills covered with a very thick wood—a small serpentine path alone leads the traveller to a vale between them—at the end of this path, which is of a considerable length, a lawn, beautiful as the imagination can paint, presents itself to the sight—different clumps of trees dispersed around with an effect so charming as to prove that the sports of Nature are far superior to the efforts of Art, and from the top of each hill a delightful hanging wood descends to the bottom—in a small aperture of the wood a stream of water is seen to flow from the top in rapid torrents into a reservoir below, from whence it continues its course in gentle dulcet meanders along the vale—the lawn is bounded by a small grove of trees, in the midst of which a most pleasing little cot was situated, surrounded with a romantically laid out garden, and its front entirely covered with jessamine.
“Having as I thought been so peculiarly fortunate to meet with this spot at the time its owner was inclined to part with it, I cheerfully made the purchase, and fixed upon it as the place where I would pass the remainder of my days, which I then imagined would be spent calmly and serenely—how vain has proved the flattering thought!—how woefully did I then deceive myself!
“To a man enjoying the full scope of pleasure and hourly tasting the sweets of life, the idea of seclusion may appear with horror; but to one inured to misfortune by a repetition and disgusted with the busy scenes of the world by deceit and disappointment, it will appear to him, as it did to me, that such a retirement must be delightful.
“To this spot, almost instantly after my purchase, my daughter and I removed—to her it appeared little less pleasing than it had done to me, at least her filial affection made her appear perfectly happy, nor could all my penetration discover that she felt the smallest regret in quitting the gay giddy scenes of the metropolis—In our retirement we were accompanied by one faithful domestic who had been several years in my service, and a female who had attended my child from her infancy, and whose attachment to her was so strong that she rather chose to undertake an additional and more subordinate employ than suffer a separation.
“Such was our little family when we took possession of this secluded dwelling, and where though our society was small and removed from any social intercourse with the world, we were neither vapoured by the heaviness of time, nor visited by the lassitude of any ennui, for we carefully divided the day into different avocations and pursuits.
“In the morning, after repeating our prayers and thanksgivings to our heavenly Creator for his mercies towards us, and whose wonderful bounties to mankind we could now more than ever behold and contemplate, we constantly proceeded to attend our live stock, and having fed them, walked to view the progress of vegetation in the garden, and here in general we passed our time until the hour arrived appropriated for breakfast—that being over my daughter and I separated till about an hour before dinner, she to attend to the domestic concerns of our little family and I to my study, which I had previously taken care to furnish with some of our most celebrated authors—upon our meeting we again walk’d until our man inform’d us dinner was ready to be served up—by this exercise we obtained an appetite to our meals, and by their frugality preserved our healths entire—After dinner it was our custom either for me to amuse her by reading some instructive book while she was employed with her needle, or for her to entertain me by playing on the guitar or harpsichord, both of which she had been reckoned to touch with great execution, and to accompany by her voice with much taste and judgement—Another ramble generally succeeded, unless the length of days would not permit, in which case we reversed the latter part of our arrangement and took our walk the first; in some such manner our time was occupied till supper time, after which we again assembled to pay our duties to our Maker, in which our domestics always took a part, and then retired early to our apartments to enjoy a calm and undisturbed repose.
“Think not idly of me, gentle reader, if I here break the chain of my story and pause a moment——
“The sad comparison between those happy, happy days and the present wretched ones, rushes too forcibly on my mind; in this dismal place I cannot avoid ruminating on my former days, nor check the impulsive career of recollection—it will point out the difference! it will shew me the horror of my present situation!—nor is that all, for my daughter—oh, my beloved child! thy remembrance still pierces me to the heart, but, alas! my sorrow’s dry, my tears have ceased to flow!—Stranger, whoe’er thou art, if thou hast children!—if torn from their embraces!—if thou hast cause to fear, yet art kept in ignorance of their fate, then wilt thou be able to judge of what I suffer, and cordially sympathise in my distress, for then will thy feelings be as acute, as torturing as those which now rend my breast and almost rack my lab’ring heart to pieces.
“But to intrude no longer on your patience let me proceed—Three years of uninterrupted tranquility did we enjoy in this sweet spot—Why; alas! was not that happiness permitted to continue?—or why did not Heaven when it thought proper to put a period to it, at the same time put a period to my existence?
“Some few days after the expiration of the third year, which we had spent cheerfully and undisturbed, as my daughter and myself were enjoying one evening the serenity of the scene, observing the departing majesty of the setting sun, and promising ourselves many future days of equal pleasure and enjoyment, a violent scream from the adjoining wood alarmed us—At first we debated whether we should venture to the spot from whence it proceeded—the dictates of humanity prevailed over every other consideration, and we directed our steps towards the place with all the dispatch in our power.
“For some time we search’d in vain, nor could discover the sign of any person near—we stopp’d and after listening a few moments we heard a piteous moan vibrate from the bottom of the hanging wood; thither we went and there found a gentleman extended at his length senseless and apparently dead—his face was covered with blood and his dress, which denoted him a person of some consequence, was much disordered and torn—By examining his pulse I perceived there was still some remains of life, therefore I dispatched my daughter for our man servant in order to render the unfortunate object every possible assistance; I was totally unable to account for his being in such a situation, it was plain that he had not been set upon by robbers as they would have stripped him, nor was it probable that had his murder been premeditated, the parties concerned would have left him until they had completed their intentions—whatever circumstance had brought him to stand in need of relief I was resolved to give it him, and upon the arrival of my man we immediately conveyed him up to our house for that purpose, where, by administering some cordials and letting him blood, he very shortly began to shew signs of returning life, and soon crown’d our endeavours by opening of his eyes.
“Upon examination we found one of his wrists was sprain’d and one knee dislocated, his head was bruised in several parts, and there was a small contusion on the left side from which, although it did not appear to be dangerous, a large quantity of blood had issued—upon coming somewhat to himself he looked round him and surveyed us with manifest astonishment in his countenance—to prevent any ill effects from surprise we as briefly as possible explained to him in what manner we found him, and begged that he would endeavour to compose himself a little while, nor hazard the bad consequences of fatiguing his spirits by unnecessary exertions until he was more ably recovered.—He bowed assent and we left him for more than two hours—at the expiration of that time I thought he might be in want of refreshments and therefore went up with some to him—When I came into the room I found he was astonishingly recovered—he thank’d me in the politest manner for my care and attention, and apologized for the farther trouble which his weakness made him apprehend he should still be under the necessity of giving—that I assured him was my least concern, happy in having had the power to rescue him from such a state of imminent danger, a state in which I confessed my curiosity led me to wish to know how he could be involved.
‘Benevolent stranger, (replied he) the person whom you have laid under such eternal obligations to you is the Comte de S——; my estate lies round this neighbourhood, and I have a house at no great distance, at which, being exceedingly fond of shooting and there being plenty of game in the vicinity, I frequently reside for the pleasure of enjoying the sport—this morning; eager in my favorite amusement, I wandered farther than usual, and the game led me on to the brow of a hill where I had mark’d my birds to settle—with some difficulty I obtained the summit and was preparing to take aim, when by an unaccountable accident my foot slipped and I rolled to the very bottom, where I know not how long I remained before your kindness discovered and induced you to lend me your assistance, and without which I must certainly have perished—you’ve sav’d my life, and may hereafter command it.’
“The Comte de S—— made daily advances in his recovery, yet, though he did not keep his bed above a week, he was nevertheless unable for some time to go out of doors—We, therefore for a while, departed from our usual mode of living, in order to render his confinement as agreeable as possible.
“During that time, his attention to my Ella, was too particular to escape observation; whenever she spoke he listened to her with pleasure, and was continually bestowing the greatest praises on her proficiency in music, excellence in voice, and taste of execution.
“My daughter was not displeased with these flattering compliments, and to deserve which, she took more than usual pains.
“It plainly appeared to me, that a mutual attachment was kindling in their breasts: I own I was rather pleased at the discovery, and did not discourage its progress—it had often occurred to me, that from our present mode of life, my child might be exposed to a variety of inconveniences and dangers at my death, I therefore flattered myself that this instant affection, increasing on both sides, would end at length in an alliance between them, and thus save my dearest child from those evils I apprehended might possibly occur.
“Presumptive as these ideas may perhaps appear to the reader, I cannot still think they were either very romantic or ill founded, for my daughter, though inferior in point of fortune, could still boast an alliance with families equal to his own, and her person was loveliness itself—e’en now in imagination the dear girl stands before me—Her auburn hair in luxuriant curls fell artless and unconfined down her back—her face was that kind of one, from which Painters would wish to copy the countenance of sensibility—her shape was perfect symetry—her person neither too slender nor too much en bon point—in short, in the eyes of a fond parent she appeared all perfection, and if those eyes were not wrong in their judgment, was it at all extraordinary that I should think her worthy of an alliance with the Comte de S——.
“Though sufficiently recovered, the Comte betrayed an evident reluctance to leaving us, and gave as a reason, the beauty of our house, and its situation—He admired our mode of living, and wished himself equally happy—These kind of speeches, were, I saw intended for my daughter, whose blushes convinced me that she was not in the least ignorant of their intended meaning.
“At length the Comte, having no farther excuse for remaining, declared his intentions of leaving us the next day—information had been sent in the first instance to his villa, of the place of his residence, and his servants were ordered to attend early with his carriage.
“This intelligence gave us a sensible concern; I felt a regret at losing his society, and Ella was unusually serious the whole day—her wonted spirits had quite forsaken her, nor could she conceal her sorrow for his departure.
“I had imagined that the Comte, if he possessed any serious affection for my daughter, would have disclosed it to me—nevertheless, in the evening I left them by themselves, resolving, however, from an adjoining chamber to know what the intentions of the Comte were.
“I had scarcely got out of the room, before he gave me a convincing proof that my conjectures were not ill-founded, and that he merely wanted an opportunity to make a declaration of his love to my daughter, by addressing her in these words:
‘Let me, most charming Ella, (said he) seize this moment which fortune seems to have thrown in my way, to acquaint you with the power you have over my heart—your beauty is sufficient to form the chains of love, and your virtues to rivet them—my eyes were not insensible to the one, nor my heart proof against the other—to see you is to admire, and to be acquainted is to love—I yield to the soft influence you have assumed, and thus upon my knee, make you a tender of my heart.’
‘Pray, my Lord!—I beseech you—quit that unseemly posture’—“stammered out my daughter.
‘Not, (returned the Comte) until you have indulged me with some hopes that I shall not sigh in vain—I adore you, lovely Ella,—and to be possessed of your heart, I would reject all the crowns of the universe—tell me then how I shall obtain it, and judge of my passion by my readiness to obey your will—I would cheerfully hazard my life to obtain that jewel, and having obtained it, the study of my future days should be to preserve it.’
‘This is a kind of discourse, my lord, that I——’
‘Must listen to—must did I say!—pardon my abruptness, consider that tomorrow I leave you, and perhaps your father may return in a few minutes, this, therefore, is the only moment that I have a chance of knowing my fate—of knowing whether I shall have reason to bless or curse him, for having preserv’d a life, which your determination must make happy or miserable—let me therefore conjure you to decide upon my doom; yet, ’ere you do it, hear me vow in the presence of Heaven, that my love is as pure as sincere, and sincere as profess’d.’
‘Although I have no reason, my lord, to doubt your sincerity, yet prudence tells me that my pretensions to such an honour as you suggest, are much too slight to expect a performance—reflect but a moment upon the inferiority of our births, fortunes, and situations—consider how many ladies of superior persons to me, and equal rank with yourself, would think themselves honoured by your alliance—consider, what is still more, what your family and connections would say were you to yield to the dictates of a sudden impulse, and how soon you would find reason to regret your folly.’
‘Call not that a folly, which the whole world must admire as a proof of my understanding—who can choose better than where he finds virtue, beauty, and good sense combined—such a combination art thou, my lovely Ella!—and art thou not the daughter of the man who saved my life? that part of my family, therefore, who are pleased that that is saved, must applaud my choice of you, even upon the score of gratitude alone—your objections upon my account, only prove your delicacy, but have no weight—yield then to my entreaties, and bless me with your consent.’
“Thus pressed to acknowledge what her heart approved, yet virgin modesty checking the avowal, she faltered in her voice, and appeared ready to sink with confusion—The Comte conceiving those to be flattering symtoms in his favour, persevered in his vows and entreaties, until he at last drew from her a confession of a mutual esteem, and a promise of never-ending love—this declaration of returning love threw the Comte into raptures—he blessed his stars for having kindled a reciprocal flame in her breast, thank’d her with enthusiasm for her kindness, and applauded her generosity to the skies. In this rhapsody he continued for some time, declaring it would be impossible to live without her—yet, tho’ possessed of her consent, he had his doubts, his fears, his apprehensions—something might interfere to rob him of such a blessing—her father might oppose his wishes—he therefore began to entreat her to consent to be his at once, and by going off privately with him in the morning, put it out of the power of fate to prevent their happiness.
“At this proposition my daughter took the alarm, and charged him with wishing to impose upon her credulity; but he replied with protesting he meant nothing more than to prevent a separation.
‘If you, my Lord, sincerely speak your sentiments, and wish me to be your’s, (replied my daughter) where is the need of any concealment? or why should I attempt to fly clandestinely from my father?—a father who lives but for my happiness, and therefore will not refuse any thing that is likely to be essential to it—no, my lord, I will conceal nothing from him—his tender affection has ever been such as to make me determine that he shall never have cause to complain that his daughter has acted towards him with duplicity and deceit.’
“This steady and dutiful declaration of my daughter’s appeared to have its proper effect, and the Comte protested that nothing but his fear of my refusal could possibly have induced him to make such a proposition; he extoll’d her resolution, but confess’d he should still want courage to apply for my consent lest I should not only refuse but forbid his visits, which he assured her should be frequent, as to be in her presence would constitute the happiness of his future days.
“I now thought I had left them sufficient time by themselves—upon my return I observed my Ella’s countenance was o’erspread with a crimson glow, nor was the Comte without some marks of confusion—this I noticed not, and we shortly became as good company as ever.
“In the morning, agreeable to the Comte’s order, his servants came with his carriage, and after expressing the high sense of the obligation he felt for what I had done, he left us, to regret the loss of that agreeable addition his presence had been to our little society.
“A very few days after the Comte’s departure I began to perceive my child grew discontented with her former pursuits—his absence I saw created a vacuum in her heart which not all the charms of our sweet spot, or my endeavours could fill.
“Notwithstanding the Comte made us a faithful promise on his departure that we should shortly see him again, a month had near elapsed and we had heard nothing from him—my poor Ella grew every day more and more uneasy—the roses faded from her cheeks and she began to droop—she would sedulously contrive to be alone, where often did I discover her drown’d in tears.
“Although I perfectly knew the cause of her grief it was requisite that I should learn it from herself before I attempted to administer any advice—after some importunities she related to me all that had passed between them, and confessed that it was his neglectful absence alone that gave her so much uneasiness—to dispel which I took every means I could think of, but the power unfortunately belonged not to me.
“Alarm’d at her encreasing sorrow, and to prevent its taking too deep possession, I proposed quitting our retirement and once more entering into the bustle of the world—but to this she steadily and invariably objected, nor could I, by any persuasion, draw her consent.
‘No, my father, (she would say) a little while bear with me and I will conquer this silly attachment—’tis very plain the Comte no longer thinks me worth his notice—he neglects, he slights me!—This consideration will soon rouse my pride, and enable me to remember him with no other emotions than contempt for having pretended an attachment he must have been a stranger to.’
“It was sometimes her custom, of an evening to walk to the end of the lawn, alone, while I was amusing myself in the garden.—I frequently observed she wished to indulge her reflections uninterrupted after what had passed, and therefore, at those times I offered not to accompany her.
“One evening, having taken one of these rambles, by herself, she staid later than common—being busily employed I noticed it not at first, and when I did, it was without any kind of alarm, as I supposed she might have walked further than usual—Nevertheless I proceeded to take a turn across the lawn, with a view of meeting her on her return—It began to grow late, and I had got to the usual boundaries of her evenings rambles, without being able to see any thing of her.
“The sun had been set some time, and Night was now beginning to draw her sable mantle over the face of the creation—I continued walking on until I had got a considerable distance out of the vale—Still I could not see her I repeatedly called, as loud as possible, but did not receive any answer.
“I now began to be seriously alarmed, and imagined some accident had happened—I knew not which way to proceed as most likely to find her, but as no time was to be lost, I mounted to the top of the hill, from whence I could see around me for a great distance, but not a single person appeared in sight—I called Ella again and again—but still no answer.
“With precipitation I descended the hill, and returned quickly home—On the way, I indulged myself with the fond supposition, that she might have returned by a different way; but too soon I found I was deceived—she was not there—almost distracted with grief, I dispatched my man to the neighboring village, to enquire if any one had seen her—and though it was quite dark, our trusty female would seek for her beloved mistress, nor could I think of resting a moment from the search of her.
“I trod every path around the vale, for many miles, calling on her name as frequent, and loud as possible—my search was successless—yet I returned not home again ’till the dawn of day.
“Wearied, and almost frantic at her loss, I now proceeded to enquire whether my servants had met with better success; the female had not; my man was not returned—at length he came, and brought intelligence, that no one had seen her, nor had any person passed through the village but the Comte de S——, and a lady in his carriage, in their way to Paris, from his country seat.
“A sudden horror seized me, and the suggestion, that the Comte had forced her from me, flashed like lightning upon my mind.
“Summoning all my fortitude to my aid, I debated within my self, what I should do—I was not long in making my determination, and resolved to set out instantly for Paris. Giving my servants, therefore, a strict charge to make every enquiry they could, lest my suspicions should be groundless, and that she might still be near home, in a similar situation to that from which we had relieved the Comte, I proceeded with every degree of dispatch to follow him.
“My journey, as it may naturally be supposed, was a melancholy one indeed—The idea of what the sufferings of my child must be, perpetually occurred to my aching heart, and almost drove me distracted.
“After a long and tedious journey, I arrived at Paris; and notwithstanding I was nearly exhausted, yet I could not think of allowing my self a moment’s rest, but instantly began to make enquiries in what part the Comte lived, and whether he was then at Paris.
“I was soon directed to his Hotel, towards which I bent my weary steps, but upon my arrival, was informed he was not there—stating, that I had an affair of consequence to communicate, (for I was afraid to hint at the cause of my application, lest his servants might inform him of my being there) they told me he was gone to his villa, at ——, about eight leagues distant, where I should be sure to find him—This intelligence was sufficient to induce me to set off for that place immediately; but although I used all possible speed, I did not arrive at my journy’s, end until it was too late to make any enquiries, as all the family were retired to rest.
“As there was no other house near, and it was quite dark, I was forced to take up my abode on the humble bed of turf—sleep that had long been a stranger to my eyelids, did not condescend to visit them on my lowly pillow, and I spent the night in thinking what methods were best to obtain admittance to the Comte, and to recover my child.
“Cold and comfortless I arose, with the break of day, and walked about, at some distance, ’till I judged the Comte would be risen, not deeming it adviseable, that he should have any knowledge of my approach—I then bent my steps towards the house.
“The servants, on my enquiring for the Comte, said I must send up my name and business, as was customary with those who came there to their master—This I refused to do, but desired they would tell him a person attended, who had business of the utmost consequence to impart—upon this they went up with my message, but as guilt is ever fearful—the Comte returned for answer, that he would not see me, unless I sent up my name—Exasperated at this treatment, and sensible my name would not obtain me admission, I drew a pistol from my pocket (of which I had provided myself with a brace) and threatened his servant with instant death, if he did not conduct me immediately to his master.
“The fellow, frightened at my menaces and resolute air, obeyed—I followed him up stairs, and upon his opening the door, entered the room with the pistol still in my hand.
“The first object that presented itself to my view, was the Comte at breakfast—at sight of me he started from his chair, and turned pale with conscious guilt.
‘Well, villain, (said I) well mayest thou shrink from an injured parent—Where is my daughter?’
‘Your daughter, Sir, (replied he, affecting an air of surprise) I hope no ill has befallen her!’
‘The worst of ills—she is basely stolen from me!’
‘Indeed!—what made you apply to me?—perhaps to assist you in discovering to what place she is conveyed!—that I will with the utmost cheerfulness—but is it possible you can have lost her?’
‘Insulting wretch, (continued I) dost thou, thou who hast basely deprived me of her, ask me if I have lost her?—Yes, ungrateful monster, I have—Thou hast torn her from my arms—Thou, even thou, whom I received into my house in the hour of danger, whom I restored to life, thou hast committed this action horrible to human nature.’
“Still he persisted in his innocence, and put on an air of concern for my situation.
‘Insolent, as well as base, (exclaimed I) dost thou add pity too—but thou shalt not escape the vengeance of an injured father—there, take this pistol, and give me instant satisfaction.’
‘Surely, (returned he, taking the pistol) this is the height of madness—what proof have you that I have taken your daughter? or what right have you to behave in this manner to me without some proofs?’
‘The people in the adjoining village saw you pass through with a lady in your carriage.’
‘What, is there no other lady in the kingdom but your daughter?—ridiculous!’ “returned he with a contemptuous smile, and at the same time laying down the pistol.
‘Instantly tell me where I can find her, where I can recover my child—else take up the pistol again, or you are a dead man.’
“He did so with seeming agitation, and tremblingly desired me to consider what I was about—but I was deaf to any thing he could say, and was just preparing to fire, when the door on a sudden burst open, and with hair dishevelled, and distracted countenance my dear, dear child flew into my arms.
“Those only who have been in a similar situation can judge of my feelings—they were such as no language can describe, no words can paint. I strained her to my heart, and after the first transports were over, I enquired how she came there—Pointing to the Comte——
‘Ask that monster, (said she) demand of him—he best can tell.’
“The insolent falsehoods the Comte had told me, added to the injury and made me desperate with rage; and I should at that instant have put an end to his existence, had not I dropped my pistol at my child’s entrance, and which he had artfully secured.
“All this time he remained silent, observing our transports.—Again I embraced my daughter, and hanging over her with parental fondness, wept with joy at having once more recovered her to my fond embrace—when these emotions were somewhat subsided I prepared to lead her from the hated place.
‘Come, my dearest child, (said I) let us leave this villain to the torments of his own reflections, and quit his cursed dwelling.’
“Taking her by the hand for this purpose, conceive what must have been my astonishment at his getting between me and the door, and saying with a peremptory voice and insolent manner:
‘Hold, Sir! that lady shall not quit this house without my consent—nor shall you, for your arrogance, carry her away.’
“Looking at him with the utmost contempt, for such I felt for his menace—‘And who shall dare to hinder me’—said I.
‘Why, he who dared to bring her hither.’
‘I know, thou disgrace to human nature, thou would attempt much, but I claim my child with a parent’s right, and will not depart without her.’
‘Having proceeded thus far, my Heaven, neither her obstinacy, nor your insolence, shall induce me to part with her—therefore, begone thou wretch, nor compel me to use compulsion.’
“I smiled with disdain at his threats, and was proceeding to take my child with me, when he summoned his servants, and ordered them to turn me out of doors—I was rendered desperate by this command, which his tools of greatness, used to offices of cruelty, prepared to obey.
“Though unarmed, my rage and despair gave me strength—I resisted a considerable time—my child, my injured child clung to me—her shrieks pierced my heart—she knelt to the monster—but neither her cries, her tears, or supplications could melt his harden’d breast, nor change his resolution; at length numbers overcame me—they tore her from my arms with much violence, and thrust me out of the house, shutting the door in my face, against my feeble resistance.
“I know not now what extravagances I was guilty of—I threw myself on the ground—beat my head against the stones—uttered the bitterest imprecations against the ungrateful wretch, who, in return for having saved his life, had plunged me and mine in endless misery.
“The suggestions of despair, at length, gave way to those of deliberation—I endeavoured to obtain admitance again by intreaties, bribery, and force—they were equally ineffectual.
“Disappointed in every attempt, I resolved to proceed instantly to Paris, and lay the whole transaction before my sovereign—Hope flattered me that by so doing I should be certain of redress—I put this resolution into instant practice, but not without frequently turning back, and heaving many a bitter sigh at being thus compelled to leave the present fate of my defenceless child in the power of such a monster.
“When I arrived at Paris, I found no difficulty in procuring admission at Court, and laying my case at the feet of his majesty—I was so fortunate as to receive a promise of my grievances being relieved, for such did I construe, the Comte’s being ordered to appear and answer to my charge.
“A day was appointed for examining into the merits of my complaint, and though every hour was an age when I considered the situation of my Ella; yet, in full hopes of redress, and that I should then have her restored, I waited with patience for the important day.
“The morning previous to that on which the cause was appointed to come on, as I was sitting at breakfast, three soldiers entered my apartment, and presenting me a paper, told me it was de par le Roi—I bowed and thought it was something relative to my case, but was soon undeceived by one of them, who appeared somewhat superior to the rest, telling me I must follow them—I obeyed, and they conveyed me to the Bastile, where they delivered me to the Governor.
“This was a stroke of fate that I was not in the least prepared to encounter—to the villainous Comte I felt I was indebted for being sent to this place, whose name alone is sufficient to chill the soul with horror—my wrongs I found had given way to his power, and justice was once more to be smothered within the walls of a dungeon—the thought that he would now have my daughter unmolested in his power was anguish in the extreme—I grew frantic—cursed him—the king—myself—every body—The Governor appeared very much astonished at the violence of my rage, and shook his head—he said nothing, but entering my name in a large register, and taking away every thing I had about me, except my money, conveyed me to a dungeon called the Tour de la Baziniere.
“Once more, courteous reader, I must request permission to pause awhile—The exertions I have used in bringing my story to this period, have rendered me unable to proceed on the instant—thou too may wish some respite from my tale of woe—take it then here while I compose my deranged mind, when I will again resume my story.
The M E M O I R S Continued.
“AFTER I had been searched and my name entered, as I before related, during which time I never ceased from the ravings of despair, two men were ordered to conduct me to my apartment, for such did they term this horrid place, and I was obliged to attend them through the gloomy mansion, until stopping at a door they opened it, and pointed for me to enter—I obeyed, for I too fatally felt that all resistance would be fruitless—on my entrance to the dungeon a tinder-box with a flint and candle were delivered to me, together with a bottle of water and a small loaf of bread.—after which the inexorable jailor without the appearance of the least concern, or uttering one single word, slamm’d to the iron doors of my prison, whose hollow and tremendous sound struck terror to my very soul, the horrible echo having died away, I could hear him secure the doors with several ponderous locks, bolts and chains.
“To you, whose unhappy lot it is to be in the way of finding these papers, it is needless to relate the agonies of mind I at first indured, for thou wilt too sensibly have experienced the sensations that oppress the bosom of a man shut up in this horrid place, without the least prospect of ever being restored to liberty again.
“That small aperture for light which now barely enables thee, in this woeful dungeon, to tell the day from night, was just sufficient, when I came a little to myself, to shew me, in one corner, a kind of wretched bedstead formed by planks, placed across bars of iron strongly fixed in the wall—upon this a bundle of straw was laid, and this was my only bed.
“Just as I was regreting the departure of cheering Day, who was hastily retiring before the approaches of Night, I heard a noise at the door of my cell—I felt alarm’d—for awful and terrible were the clang of its tremendous fastenings—I knew not but my death might be thought requisite and that the moment was now arrived which was to put an end to all my misery—these thoughts I was, however soon convinced were idle, for upon the door being opened one of those men who had taken me to the cell came in with my supper—I attempted to enter into conversation with my stern jailor, but he put his finger in his mouth, as I supposed in token of being enjoined to silence—on my shewing a disinclination for any food, he took it away with him, and with the same mortifying silence went out and again closed the doors of my prison upon me.
“The sameness of my prison and treatment from those who came near me, during the first part of my confinement leaves me nothing farther to relate upon that head—having remained in this situation about the space of a week, my jailor told me I must go with him for the purpose of being examined by the Governor and some other officers of the Bastile—I followed him into a spacious room where I found several persons sitting in a kind of council—they immediately proceeded to my examination and by threats and entreaties endeavoured to draw from me a confession of the offence for which I had been put into their custody.
“Upon this I attempted to inform them of my whole story, but the moment I began to be a complainant against the Comte they would hear no more but interrupted me with frequent interrogations respecting my own guilt—finding they would pay no attention to the truth, and conscious that I had committed no crime, I disdained making them any farther answer, and was soon after ordered back to my dungeon.
“The governor and his assistants, appeared very much offended and disappointed at what they call’d my obstinate silence, from which I concluded that I had acted wisely, as those extorted confessions I apprehend can only be productive of dangerous consequences to those who were prevailed upon to make them—of this opinion I am now the more convinced therefore let me advise thee, unhappy stranger, if these papers fall into your hands previous to your examination, let it be thy utmost caution to answer no interrogatories, to sign no artfully drawn up papers.
“After I had been before the Governor my keeper became relaxed in his austerity—would sometimes converse—I very much wished for pen, ink, and paper, but which for a long time were not allowed me—at length earnestly requesting them, and putting a Louis d’or into the hands of the Port-clef, as I afterwards understood the jailors were called, he brought them to me.—The next indulgence I obtained was permission to walk in the open air, when one of the Port-clefs always attended me—this permission to view the face of Heaven was not granted me more than once a week, and even then I was not suffered to continue more than an hour at any one time.
“I had been near a month here when I was summoned to the council-hall, a second time, and examined as before—previous to which, the Port-clef told me, that he had heard, if I made confession, I should be released. When I came before the Governor and the rest, they also assured me, that the King would be merciful, if I made an open avowal of my guilt. To this I replied, that I had no doubt of his mercy, but as I was sensible of no offence against him I had nothing to confess.
“This, they declared to be the height of obstinancy, and for which I must expect no favour—it was a reflection of the blackest sort upon the Grande Monarch and his counsellors, to suppose any man was ever sent to the Bastile without being guilty of some heinous offence—it was possible their wisdom could not penetrate the whole plot to the bottom, and therefore, they were always inclined to shew mercy to those who first made the discovery—To this, and a variety of similar kind of arguments I remained silent, having nothing to acknowledge, or any one to accuse but him who had done me so manifest an injury, and by whose artful villainy I had been sent hither—my silence they construed into stubborness, and with many bitter threats and reproaches, I was conducted back to my dungeon again, after being told, that hereafter I need expect no lenity.
“About six months after I had been in this horrid place, my Port-clef seemed all at once, to relax in his behaviour towards me—He would sometimes talk with me upon indifferent subjects—at others, listen to my tale, and express his pity for my sufferings, and sorrow that there was no prospect in being relieved from my misery—in this manner he continued to behave until I was fairly deceived.—I thought I had won him over to my interest, and full of the pleasing hope, I one day asked him whether it was possible for a person to make his escape from the Bastile—he readily answered my question, by replying in the affirmative—and related to me, by what methods one prisoner had escaped.
“This explicitness on his part gave me some confidence, and I now thought I had an opportunity of making one effort, therefore, slipping ten Louis d’ors, into hand, I asked him if he would help an unfortunate, innocent old man to effectuate his liberty.
“He seemed to hesitate—which I looked upon as a good omen, and proceeded to persuade him to consent, with all my rhetoric—this apparently succeeded—for he promised at last, to render every assistance he could, but observed, I must wait with patience for an opportunity.
“Not many days after, he opened my doors, one morning, with cautious silence, and with an air of secrecy, beckoned me to follow him—I did so, with a heart beating with fear, hope and joy—I had got to the bottom of the tower, in which I was confined, and had crossed the court-yard, without hearing or seeing a single soul, when all at once, two soldiers laid hold of me, from behind, and demanded where we were going—My Port-clef made no reply, but was out of sight in a moment—I remained still and silent, being too much surprised to utter a syllable, and from their not pursuing him, was fully convinced, that the whole was a premeditated scheme, and the Port-clef was a traitor.
“The soldiers seizing, carried me instantly to the Governor, who repremanded me sharply, for my, as he termed it, villainous attempt; an attempt which, he said, nothing but conscious guilt could have dictated, and he had now no doubt but it would shortly be discovered, and that I and my accomplices would meet that fate we merited, he would therefore advise me once more to make confession, and save myself by giving up them, as they had one already who might not be so tender of me, and then it would be too late.
“Even wounded as I was by my disappointment, I could not forbear smiling within myself at this last piece of intelligence, whose falsity was too gross to need a moment’s reflection, and which, I knew could only be made use of by the Governor, by way of intimidation, and to drive me to impeach myself, or some other of any crime, it did not matter what—finding his efforts were ineffectual, he ordered two of his men to re-convey me back to my dungeon, and secure me more strongly than before.
“Whoe’er thou art, that finds these papers, and consequently will be then in that melancholy situation I now am suffering in, let me counsel thee never to be so far deceived, by salacious artifice, as to think these Port-clefs will ever favor your escape—They are taught by the Governor to pretend sorrow for your sufferings, in order that thou mayest, by being taken in the act of escaping, be prevailed upon to make confessions of guilt.
“To obtain these confessions, every artifice is tried, and many here, as upon the rack, have been tortured into the confession of crimes they never knew, in hopes by that means they should escape from pain, and be relieved from despair; but which, will never fail to produce consequences equally dangerous and fatal, as they will instantly make your own words a condemnation of yourself, and an excuse for putting an end to your existence.
“From that time, I never saw the Port-clef who had betrayed me; different ones have attended me at different times, but his baseness has taught me to be upon my guard, and though several seeming attempts have been made, I had neither the means or will to be caught again.
“Since my second examination, I have had no more summonses to attend the Governor and his officers, nor heard any thing farther of them.
“Once a week I am permitted to hear mass, and twice a week I walk out in the open air—There, I often see those, who I suspect are unhappy prisoners like myself, but we are never suffered to come near, or speak to each other, even an inclination of the head, would be construed into an offence, and perhaps exclude you from enjoying that little indulgence for a considerable time.—Once a month I have been constantly visited by a surgeon, in order to know if I am in health—A lingering fever held me some time, from which circumstance, I am enabled to advise thee, unhappy stranger, to pretend illness often, as it procured me many indulgences.
“I have now been in this horrid place, as near as I can calculate, turned of eight years, though from its tediousness it appears eight times eight, during all which time, my treatment has been the same—No information have I ever been able to obtain of what is passing in the world, nor any intelligence of my dear child—many times have I solicited permission to send a letter to her and the Comte, but in vain, as any communication from this place is expressly forbid.
“I once asked permission to write to my sovereign, not supposing they would dare to refuse my application, nor doubting he would give me justice, but that they told me was a permission they were strictly enjoined never to grant.
“Perhaps, stranger, it may be my hapless fate never to be released from this mansion of misery—It may be thy happier fate to be restored to liberty again—oh! if it be—comply with the earnest request of a miserable old man, who entreats thee to endeavour to find out his daughter, to relate to her the fate of her father, to convey to her his blessings, his wishes for her happiness—perhaps, though, our merciful Creator has taken her to himself, as the means of saving her from the excesses of her brutal ravisher, and she now shines in Heaven, hovering over the dreary dungeon that holds her hapless father—perhaps, she too like me, is doom’d to pass a life of anguish and has been inured to all the miseries of want and wretchedness—but no, I will not distress myself with such horrid ideas—it cannot be—she knew not guilt, nor will the Father of all mercies withhold his protection from innocence.—I have been forced to write this at different times, and to be very careful in concealing what I had written, least my inexorable Port-clef should find it out—whenever I applied to him for paper, he as constantly asked me what I wrote, and I have always shewn him some scraps of paper, on which I had written some trifling sentences for the purpose of deceiving them some of which he would at times take with him, and I really believe my supply would not have been so easily acquired, but from an idea, they should at some time or other gain information from what I amused myself in writing.
“Since I have nothing farther to relate of importance, either with respect to myself, or my place of confinement, I shall conclude these Memoirs of the wretched writer with a sincere wish that, (although misfortunes must have brought you to the same place) you will be speedily restored to your friends and society; nor know what it is to count over the tedious minutes that pass over in eight years within, I had almost said, the petrifying walls of the BASTILE.”
C H A P T E R XXXI.
A timely discovery.
WHILE De Montmorency was thus amusing himself with the Memoirs of his predecessor in his dismal abode, and which he was obliged to peruse by the greatest stealth, lest his keeper should discover and take them from him, the preparations for the marriage of Elise went on with alacrity.
No expence was spared to render the preparations as elegant and beautiful as the artists could invent—a costly and superb entertainment being thus prepared the polite part of the neighbourhood for miles round were invited to attend the celebration of the nuptials, nor were the peasantry to be excluded from their share in the approaching joy and festivity.
As the wedding-day approached nearer Elise felt her spirits began to fail and her melancholy encrease.
The image of De Montmorency upbraiding her for her inconstancy would frequently present itself to her tortured imagination, and she would lament having given her consent—but then the remembrance of his letter would drive these tender sentiments from her mind and make her fully determine to adhere to her resolution of marrying the Comte de Valgrave.
While Elise was suffering under the contention of these opposite sentiments, the day previous to the one appointed for her to give her hand to the Comte arrived—she was more than ordinarily dejected—with a view to shake it off she proceeded to take a walk in the pleasure grounds, where she wandered about in a solitary manner until she came in sight of the arbour in which De Montmorency had first avowed his passion for her—at the sight of which she stopped—all his tender protestations of love and vows of constancy rushed at once upon her mind.
“There (said she to herself) there is the spot in which the dear deceiver first attempted to assail my heart, impose upon my credulity, and animate my breast with a real, by the most bewitching vows of a feigned passion—O Montmorency, what offence had I committed that thou should take such pains to rob my soul of peace!—O fatal accident that brought me to thy acquaintance! and O rash folly that made me suppose you lov’d Elise!—why did I listen to his artful tale! or rather why do I now indulge the recollection?—Hence from my mind you vain reflections! and thou fatal spot, where I first gave ear to the false deluder and now remindest me of him, both now and henceforth with the utmost dread and caution will I avoid thee.”
So saying she turned from her intended way, and went up a walk that led behind the arbour, in which she had not proceeded far when the sound of different voices arrested her attention—she stopped—the name of De Montmorency vibrated on her ear—this was sufficient to induce Elise to listen, and she soon found it was her father and brother in conversation together—she drew towards the spot, and heard the latter of them distinctly say;
“But do you, Sir, mean to keep him in the Bastile after Elise is married to the Comte?”
“Certainly (replied St. Clair) as it will effectually prevent your sister and him from ever meeting again—especially as I do not consider De Montmorency’s presence likely to encrease her happiness.”
Elise had heard enough to make her completely wretched, yet she was determined to make every possible exertion to hear the remainder of their discourse; in doing of which she heard her father congratulate himself on his invention and happy success in having so well counterfeited De Montmorency’s hand, as to that, and that alone, could they attribute the sudden change in Elise’s sentiments, and her consenting to marry the Comte de Valgrave—Monsieur de St. Clair was not unacquainted with his particular knack of imitating hands, and it is generally supposed that in his profession of Farmier General he had not suffered so useful a qualification to remain dormant.
Thus, as it were, by accident was Elise informed of the deception that had been played her—a deception that had very nearly duped her into an union with a man she detested—Having learnt thus much she had no desire to hearken for more, and to prevent being discovered and suspected of having overheard their conversation, she hastened into the house and instantly retired to her own apartment, for the purpose of contemplating on the discovery she had made.
Here, being alone, she could give full scope to her reflections—all she had heard rush’d at once upon her mind and in the fullness of her heart, exclaim’d with rapture—“My De Montmorency then is still faithful!”—this swell of joy was only momentary, a sudden dampness seized her, and bursting into tears; “But, ah! said she, he is in the Bastile! for loving me he is shut up in a horrid prison! and shall Elise then break her vows to thee?—O never! never! perish the injurious thought!”
How to avoid the marriage with the Comte de Valgrave now engrossed her whole soul—it was appointed for the morrow—there was no time to be lost—necessity made her bold, and there appearing but one expedient she resolved to put it in execution.
C H A P T E R XXXII.
A marriage stopp’d for the want of the
THE morning came which was fondly imagined by the St. Clairs’ would complete their wishes, and prove a day of rejoicing at the castle—every thing was prepared, and they arose with the lark.
The Comte de Valgrave also was already up and dressed, waiting with fond expectation for his charming bride—Elise alone was wanting—she not coming, her woman was ordered to hasten her down stairs to the company, who were already assembled in the saloon.
She went for that purpose, but speedily returned with the intelligence that Elise was not there—this appeared strange, but they thought it possible she might have taken a walk in the garden—they sent thither accordingly to seek her—The servant came back with the information that she was not there.
“Not there?” exclaimed Monsieur de St. Clair, petrified with astonishment.
The Comte de Valgrave appeared much affected at the intelligence, and the whole company were alarmed at her unaccountable absence—they each resolved to partake in the enquiry, and immediately set out different ways in the Park to seek for her—their search was in vain—she was not to be found.
Monsieur de St. Clair was convinced she had eloped to avoid the marriage; he was choaked with rage, nor could any one persuade him to listen to reason—he ordered his horse to be saddled, determined to pursue and bring her back—his son was ready to accompany him, and they set off together—After riding a considerable time, and making a thousand fruitless enquiries, they were under the necessity of returning without her—The wedding was of course deferred—the rejoicings were turned into sadness, and the various preparations were found useless and unnecessary.
This disappointment of his fondest wishes made Monsieur de St. Clair almost distracted—he cursed—he swore—and regardless of the number of persons present, imprecated a thousand curses on the head of his daughter.
The company were disappointed of their promised entertainments; yet, they seemed by their looks not sorry for the disappointment, and returned to their respective homes, applauding the spirit of Elise in refusing to sacrifice herself to the Comte de Valgrave, who was universally disliked for his haughty temper, and severe disposition.
The whole family of the St. Clairs’ were overwhelmed with confusion—different sensations agitated their breasts for the loss of Elise—Madame trembled lest some misfortune had happened to her child—young St. Clair’s pride was wounded at being defeated in an alliance with nobility; and her father was raving for vengeance at being discomfited in his favorite plan—They, however, determined to neglect no means to find out what was become of her; the servants were ordered to disperse themselves different ways, while father and son retired to consult upon what would be the best plan to adopt themselves.
C H A P T E R XXXIII.
A trial of constancy.
THE Memoirs which De Montmorency had found and perused, increased his fortitude—he had not suffered a moiety of the misfortunes as the writer of them, and perhaps it might never be his unhappy lot to bear such accumulated woes. To peruse these papers was his constant amusement—to read them and sigh for his father and his Elise was all he had to do or think of—as he was pondering over them one evening, the doors of his dungeon were silently opened, and a letter was thrown into him—the person who threw it in, shut the doors again so suddenly, as to prevent his seeing who it was—surprised at this action, he broke open the letter, and read the following few words:
“To that person who should procure thee thy liberty, could’st thou be grateful?—Write thy answer; I have enclosed thee pencil and paper, and will come for it to-morrow morning—It will be your own fault if you sleep the next night within these walls.”
De Montmorency was astonished at its contents—he would not believe that he read it right—when he was convinced of this, he suspected some treacherous design—such a one as the old man, in his memoirs, bid him guard against—again he thought this was very unlike to his adventure—it might possibly be intended to grant him his liberty, and should he now decline it through over-caution, it might never happen again; therefore, in the end, he resolved to believe that the writer of the note was his friend, and treat it accordingly—Having come to this resolution, he immediately wrote the following answer:
“Would thou procure me the enjoyment of that invaluable blessing, my life should be devoted to thy service—I cannot be ungrateful.”
The next morning early the prison doors were opened with the same caution and a hand put in, which conceiving was for the purpose of receiving the answer, De Montmorency gave it—upon which the doors were immediately shut, without his being able to see the person that took it.
Anxious and impatient our hero counted over the lingering moments, which seemed to move with more than common slowness—Night, which he had never before covetted, now seemed unwilling to shroud the face of day—it came at length.
At the dead hour of midnight, when silence with all the gloomy horrors reigned, he heard soft footsteps on the stairs—they advanced to his dungeon—a tide of joy rushed into his bosom—the doors of his dungeon opened, and some person entered—he was all terror and agitation, for the darkness of the night prevented his discovering who was his guest, until a dark lanthorn was produced, and then, to his inexpressible astonishment, he beheld the lady whom he had addressed on his first coming to the Bastile, and whom he then thought to be the daughter of the Governor.
A modest blush of confusion prevented her at first from breaking silence which De Montmorency observing he fell upon his knees and invoked a thousand blessings upon her for this extension of her goodness and humanity. Roused, in some measure, by this address from her apparent confusion.
“Stranger, (said she) thy sufferings have moved me—I am resolved to end them—but the escape will be attended with some hazard—it is however in my power to conduct you a way which promises every probability of success.”
“O, most generous maid, (replied De Montmorency eagerly) instantly conduct me to it, and Heaven will reward you for such exemplary goodness.”
“A moment stop—thou must be convinced that thy escape would involve me, should I remain behind, in the most imminent danger, it will therefore be absolutely necessary that I should accompany you.”
“O do not hesitate, but let us fly this moment!”
“I am not surprised, at your impatience, yet it is requisite to act with some caution on my part, for the moment you are extricated from these walls it is possible that you might abandon, and leave me to take care of myself—I must therefore have one solemn promise, before I can consent to release you—I blush to demand it, but the time is precious and I will be brief—from the first moment my eyes beheld you my heart felt new and tender sensations—succeeding days brought you and your misfortune of being confined here more strongly to my mind, and from which I was resolved to deliver you if it was within human possibility—it is now in my power, and I will this moment put it in practice, provided you first swear by every thing that is sacred that, in return for my quitting family and friends for the purpose of procuring your liberty, you will be united to me for life as soon as we have got to a place of safety—swear this and instant freedom awaits thee.”
De Montmorency’s heart was filled with unutterable grief at these words—After some little pause.
“Alas, madam! (said he) you know not how impossible it is for me to comply with your conditions—demand any thing beside and I will most readily obey—my future life shall be dedicated to your service and protection, nor shall I think I can ever sufficiently evince my gratitude—but—but—
“Thou refusest me, then, (replied the lady) nor will accept of liberty if clogg’d with my officious love?”
“Pardon me—I will own it ingenuously—I cannot—my heart is devoted to another.”
“Farewell then!—enjoy thy boasted constancy in prison, where for me thou shalt remain for ever.”
Without waiting for his answer, or saying another word, she burst out of the dungeon, locked the iron doors, and departed, leaving our hero almost petrified with surprise, sorrow and astonishment.
De Montmorency’s expectations had been sanguine—he thought the prospect of liberty had been opened to his view and in one moment it had been shaded over with the cloud of disappointment and by which all his former wretchedness came upon him—the flattering hope that if she did really feel any affection for him she might relent and not leave him to perish in that dismal place gave a momentary cessation to his grief—he knew not, alas! how far the resentment of a slighted woman would carry her—in short she came no more—a deep despondence now took possession of his spirits—not a glimpse of hope or comfort could he draw to his mind—he gave himself up entirely to the suggestions of despair, and incessantly prayed that his existence might find a speedy termination.
C H A P T E R XXXIV.
Prison walls yield to the spirit of Liberty—A
restoration to freedom—and a meeting as happy
IT was about this time that the people of France conceived their monarch had encroached upon that power with which their ancestors had thought proper to invest their sovereign—this they were determined to submit to no longer—nay they considered the original power too much and were resolved to partake of that glowing liberty which is the natural right of all mankind.
This, though it may be construed into rebellion by those who bask in the sunshine of royal favour, and consequently draw their riches and importance from supporting kingly power, was nothing more, in the eye of Reason, than what they had an undoubted right to effect—for this determination was not the clamour of the unenlightened rabble, but the firm resolution of some of the first men in the kingdom, supported by all ranks and descriptions, and countenanced by a prince of the blood royal, whose conduct, on that memorable occasion, must be remembered with admiration wherever Freedom erects her standard, or Liberty dispenses her blessings.
That some should be found ready to obstruct this glorious struggle will not be a matter of surprise as long as Interest is known to bear sovereign sway in many breasts—nor that some excesses should be committed by the lower order of a people emerging into freedom from a state bordering upon slavery at all astonishing, the wonder will be to after ages, how so great a Revolution was obtained at so cheap a rate.
To enter into the particulars of their various struggles is a pleasing task for the future historian’s pen, to him we leave it, and if he has a spark of liberty glowing in his soul he cannot fail of doing justice to their cause.
The Montmorencys had long been celebrated for their patriotism, and well known as the friends of their country—at this period, and on this trying occasion the name was not forgot—enquiries were made after Hubert’s retreat, and being known messengers were instantly dispatch’d to request he would join their cause and aid it with his presence and assistance.
Hubert had long given up all worldly considerations, and the recent loss of his son made him much more indifferent than ever—nevertheless this flattering application of his fellow-subjects to join in their emancipation from monarchal tyranny roused his dormant spirits—he resolved to comply with their wishes and it afforded him exquisite satisfaction to be thought able, at the close of his life, to be of service to his country and to be judged worthy its confidence—his life could not be ended to more advantage.
Quitting therefore his retreat once again he hastened towards Paris, and was received with open arms—his name was a tower of strength and he was honoured with a considerable command in the national militia.
It was his advice and assistance that put the finishing stroke to despotic power. The Bastile he had always look’d upon with aversion—he beheld it as inimical to justice, and a disgrace to his country. Such being his sentiments he felt no hesitation in assenting to its destruction—four hundred men were immediately sent to take possession of it—they arrived before its gates and summoned the Governor to surrender—a flag of truce was displayed from the walls, and the draw-bridge let down for their admission—this ready acquiescence was a pleasing circumstance to the Patriots who were highly delighted with the idea of taking so important a fortress without any bloodshed—Upon the gates being opened forty of their party were ordered to enter, which they had no sooner done than the gates again were closed, the bridge drawn up, and their dismal groans gave notice to their friends of their cruel massacre.
Information of this infamous conduct of the Governor was instantly dispatch’d to De Montmorency, who enraged at so base an action, and determined to revenge those who had been so cruelly betrayed, immediately put himself at their head resolved to take it by storm—he was speedily joined by several thousands who being all actuated by the spirit of liberty, bid defiance to every resistance and soon compell’d the Governor to submit—the bridge was again let down, the gates thrown open, and in rush’d the populace like an impetuous torrent—Their first pursuit was to find out the Governor and those whom they had beheld active during the massacre of their fellow citizens, these they put to instant death—During this action Hubert De Montmorency was busily employed in releasing the unfortunate prisoners from their miserable dungeons—that which confined our hero was among the foremost they opened—he soon learnt the occasion of the bustle, and felt a more than ordinary inspiration to join the glorious cause—as he was proceeding to shew his eagerness to assist in releasing the remainder of the prisoners he heard the voice of his father—Hubert caught the sight of his son—their joy at this unexpected meeting was beyond description, they rushed into each other’s arms, and for a moment were lost to every other consideration—but the clang of heavy chains, echoes of hammers bursting ponderous bars, and acclamations of the people upon rescuing some wretched sufferer, roused them from their transports, and made them quit their own to join the common cause—it was not now a time to enquire or relate how or why our hero had been sent to the Bastile—they proceeded by each other’s side to explore the various cells which cunning ingenuity had invented to torture our fellow-creatures—the variety of wretched objects they met with were not more terrible to behold than they would be shocking to describe—In some parts of the floor they discovered trap-doors, fastened down with strong bolts, which when forced open they found to contain iron cages in which many a poor creature had been starved to death, the skeletons of whom were still remaining in several of them—Small gratings resembling the mouths of caverns closely riveted up were also found in this horrid mansion, from one of which they released a Major W.—when brought out of the cell he stared with wonder and amazement—the sight of the sun, of which he had been deprived for near forty years, astonished him—his hair was a silver white and his beard hung down to his middle—when questioned as to the time of his being there, and for what offence, he looked amazed at the sound of their voices, and answered in a language which no person present could understand.—From another of these places they drew a poor fellow who had been confined a length of time for merely saying the figure of the Virgin Mary was too tawdrily dressed.—Another whom they released had been confined upwards of ten years—his name was La Garoux, and had been sent to the Bastile through the intrigues of the Marquis de C——, whose daughter he had privately married.
In the course of their exploring this cavern of misery De Montmorency and his father came to the door of a dungeon which with the assistance of those about them they forced open—at the farther end of which they beheld a youth sitting in a melancholy posture—he seemed not to comprehend what they were about, or consider them as his deliverers—upon being required he however came out, and judge what was our hero’s wonder, joy, and astonishment when under this disguise he saw and knew his beloved, his adored Elise—regardless of the numbers present they flew into each other’s arms:
“It is, it is my Elise! (exclaimed he as he pressed the enraptured maid to his breast) now kind Heaven amply rewards me for all that is past! this happy moment cancels an age of pain. But how, my dearest Elise, how came you thus disguised?—how was it possible that I should find you thus in confinement?—O! I have a thousand things to ask and tell you of since I saw you last—but since we thus have happily met we now will never part again.”
Notwithstanding Hubert partook of his son’s felicity, he thought it prudent and necessary to put an end to their tender congratulations for the present—for which purpose he reminded him of the glorious cause in which they were embark’d, and charg’d him never to forget, when engaged in the service of his country, that his own private concerns merited but a secondary consideration.
De Montmorency felt the force of his father’s remark and instantly resumed his share in completing that task they had so successfully began—Elise persisted in following the steps of her lover and keeping close by his side during the whole business, while her presence made him proceed with more than ordinary animation until every dungeon was searched and every captive released—the gates and every fastening being destroyed Hubert prepared to retire with his followers, leaving the utter demolition of the walls to the enthusiastic spirit of the populace; who unanimously joined to undertake the laborious task.—That glorious work being atchieved which after ages must admire and applaud, our hero again took his beloved Elise to his arms, and then presented her to Hubert, who now received her with great tenderness and affection—they both felt a strong curiosity to know how it was possible she should have become a prisoner in the Bastile, yet as the place was by no means appropriate for entering into a long detail they forebore any farther enquiry until they arrived at the Hotel where apartments had been prepared for the residence of Hubert.
Here, after taking some refreshment, of which they stood much in need, De Montmorency informed them of all that had happened to him from his leaving home to his being conveyed to the Bastile, the reason for which he had never been able to develope—this drew Elise to her part of the story, and though she felt some compunction in exposing the cruelty, not to say villainy, of her father, she could not conceal any thing from her lover who had been so basely treated on her account—she therefore related how she had been imposed upon, by what means she discovered the imposition and learnt that he was in the Bastile—not only ashamed at having consented to marry the Comte de Valgrave she was resolved to avoid it—this she found could only be done by quitting her father’s house, and to accomplish that she found much difficulty, at length, trusting her attendant whom she had ever found faithful, she procured that man’s attire—rising very early in the morning and putting it on, by the assistance of her maid she got to the next village and from thence proceeded post to Paris—if any pursuit had taken place after her the disguise effectually prevented her being discovered. To see De Montmorency, from what she had heard of the Bastile, she feared would be impossible—she resolved however to partake of his fate—this was not difficult—a few treasonable words spoken in a public place procured her a lodging in the Bastile—when in confinement she had fondly hoped her prison might be near De Montmorency’s—in this hope she had frequently repeated his name, thinking if he heard he would know her voice and comfort her by the sound of his—but no pleasing response confirm’d those hopes, nor gave her reason to believe her plaints were heard—she felt she was disappointed—Hapless as she certainly must be in such a situation, she assured them that it was an infinite degree of consolation to her that she had escaped marrying the Comte de Valgrave, and that she shared in that captivity which had been inflicted upon De Montmorency for no other crime than an unfortunate attachment and constancy to her.
This relation of Elise had a visible effect upon our hero, his eyes sparkled with rapture at this generous avowal of her love, and singular instance of affection—he pressed her to his enraptured bosom and imprinted an ardent kiss upon her ruby lips—nor was the treacherous conduct of her father capable of making the least abatement in his sincere regard for the lovely maid.
It was sufficient for Hubert that his son appeared in the road to happiness, yet he could not withhold his approbation of her heroism—to prevent, as far as possible, their separation in future, he acceded to the entreaties of his son, and consented to their marriage, but not without insisting that every proper respect should first be paid to Monsieur de St. Clair—upon which it was determined that Elise should write to her father to request his consent to their nuptials, the which if he refused they were immediately to be united without it.
C H A P T E R XXXV.
A compliance with a request of the
visit to a Convent.
IN the mean time, our hero recollected the earnest request of the old Prisoner, and resolved to make all the enquiries possible—He proceeded first to the Comte de S——: On enquiring for him he was informed that he had been long since dead, having been killed in a duel with the brother of a sister whom he had debauched. His widow, however, was living, and De Montmorency supposing that some information might be gained from her on the subject, begged to be introduced to her—He opened his business in as delicate a manner as possible—The Comtesse pleased with his address, gave him all the information in her power, which amounted to this—That among her husband’s papers she had found a short memorandum, which led her to suppose, that the lady he wished to find out had made her escape from his house, and retired to a Convent. Our hero thanked her for the information and instantly retired—It was now his care to enquire at every Convent in Paris—He did so, and at last his endeavours were crowned with success—There was a lady of the description, he pointed out, in the Convent of St. Catharine’s.
He begged to be introduced to her on business of the utmost importance—she came—a pale melancholy was fixed in her countenance, which still was lovely in the extreme—De Montmorency being satisfied, from her answers to his interrogatories, that this was the old man’s daughter, proceeded to execute his office in as gentle a manner as possible—By degrees he prepared her for her father’s death, and then presenting her the pacquet, he had found in the Bastile, took his leave.
The next day he called again—She was ill, and confined to her bed, but begged to see him—She thanked him for his kindness, and related to him the events that had happened to her since her father’s confinement. That almost distracted at the treatment her parent had received, she had fallen ill—On her recovery, she endeavoured by every means to escape—This she found very difficult, at first, but at length she effected it—after experiencing a variety difficulties she got back to their villa in Narbonne, from which the Comte de S—— had forced her away—There she remained in the most torturing suspence a whole year, and no intelligence being received of her father, she settled all her worldly concerns—left the servants in the house, and gave them directions, should any news ever arrive from her father, where to find her—She then retired to the Convent, and resolving to spend the remainder of her days there, took the veil—Exhausted with the exertions used in speaking, our hero took his leave—A few days after he enquired respecting her health and was informed that her father’s account of his distresses had made such an impression upon her that she expired the day after he had given her the papers.
“Peace to thee, hapless maid, (said he, as he returned home,) a happier lot awaits thee, no doubt, in a better world than this!—where thou wilt find rest and peace from all thy sorrows.”
C H A P T E R XXXVI.
FOR some time the lovers waited with the most anxious expectation for Monsieur de St. Clair’s answer—Elise’s affections were riveted upon De Montmorency, she resolved to be his at all events, yet her heart panted to be reconciled to her parents—At length the wish’d-for letter came, but its contents were very far from adding to Elise’s felicity, for it contain’d her father’s keenest reproaches, and denounced his heaviest curses on her head if she did not return instantly home.
Although Elise was conscious that her wishes had far out-ran her hopes yet she could not help feeling some disappointment at this cruel epistle of her father’s and letting fall some tears at the harshness of his epithets.
De Montmorency, however, was no otherwise displeased with the letter than its giving him some little apprehension lest it should shake the resolution of his Elise, for he wanted an opportunity to prove that his attachment to her was disinterested and that——
He loved her for herself alone.
The opportunity was now fortunately given him.
“Well, my Elise, (said he) since your father peremptorily refuses his consent to our happiness, let us shew him that we can be so without it—that our felicity is in ourselves, and our minds above the allurements of riches—let us be a living example that that there is as much, if not more, true happiness in an humble cot as in a sumptuous palace.”
This tenderness on the part of her lover was a soothing cordial to Elise’s troubled breast—she felt herself delighted—nevertheless the tears continued to flow from her lovely eyes, but they were no longer the tears of grief but those of joy—De Montmorency quickly kissed them away, and by his tender assiduities soon effaced all traces of her father’s alarming threats and unkindness from her mind.
Hubert too well knew the inconveniencies arising from the want of fortune not to regret Monsieur de St. Clair had refused his consent—he had also fondly hoped that his son would have restored the former splendor of the De Montmorencys, which hopes would, in a great measure, be destroyed by his marrying Elise under the present circumstances—it is true his family pride was much gratified by the recent summons of his countrymen to aid the cause of freedom, and he doted too much upon his son to give him willingly one moment’s uneasiness; agreeable therefore to the promise he had made previous to their application to Monsieur de St. Clair he consented to their nuptuals, and they were married the next morning.
Hubert was himself warmly attached to Elise and he considered it as a happiness that he could boast of two such children.
De Montmorency’s joy was in the extreme, united to Elise he would have considered it a degree of heresy to suppose he had a wish ungratified—nor need we dwell upon the observation that she who had forsaken her parents and home for the sake of her lover was perfectly happy when she had made him her husband.
During this time neither Hubert nor his son were inattentive to the duties of the glorious cause in which they were engaged—they resolved not to quit it while their country required their assistance—The standard of Freedom being once firmly erected they determined to pay a visit to Mons. de Valancy, and then return to Hubert’s delightful cot—in its pleasant shades intending to spend the remainder of their lives, and to partake of that unutterable bliss which alone proceeds from mutual affection and esteem—a bliss, which neither the possession of wealth, titles, or power can of themselves bestow.
T H E E N D.