π1r

Idomen.

π1v π2r

Idomen;

Or,
The Vale of Yumuri.

By Maria Del Occidente.

“Truth is strange—stranger than fiction.”
Maria Gowen Brooks

New-York:
Published By Samuel Colman.
18431843.

π2v

Advertisement.

Before the story of Idomen was finished, some parts of
it were published by a friend in a weekly paper, for the purposes
of revision. The same friend took out a copy-right, and
deposited the title page, with its motto, in the office of the
clerk of the district where the instrument was procured. A
copy of the same instrument was placed in the hands of a well
known counsellor-at-law residing in the same district, and, in
case of a full edition, will appear in the usual manner; this
impression is considered merely as a proof.

J. Douglas, Printer, 34 Ann Street.

π3r

Preface.

Idomen, or the Vale of Yumuri, is a story which,
on account of its subject and tendency, not only admits
of a preface, but absolutely demands one.

To such as read for mere amusement, it may seem,
perhaps, of little value; but the physician and physiologist,
or the theologist and metaphysician, may, perhaps,
be induced to look at it more than once; because every
one of its pictures is drawn and coloured from nature,
and of the truth of The Confessions, those who read
them may be as well assured as of the beatings of their
own hearts.

There are few deeds within the power of mortal perpetration;
which excite more grief and horror, than suicide;
and though lightly passed over by the thoughtless,
because of its frequent occurrence, no one who reflects or
feels at all
can deem it a subject unworthy of inquiry or
attention.

To see, as it were, the inmost soul of one who bore all
the impulse and torture of self-murder without perishing;
is what can very seldom be done: very few mortals, indeed,
have memories strong enough to retain a distinct
impression of past suffering; and few, although possessed
of such memories, have the power of so describing their
own sensations as to make them apparent to another.

*3 π3v vi

To say nothing of anxiety respecting a future existence,
how intense must be the anguish which can entirely
overcome our natural hopes and love of life! and how
much keener still the torment which can surmount our
fear of that dismal and repulsive process which, in the
present state of things, death must ever involve.

The elegant Greek, or the Roman who became his imitator,
might easily resolve on a change of being: a form
cold, but still beautiful, was laid on a fragrant pile, and
covered with flowers and perfumes; a vivid flame dissolved
what was still lovely; while the pure unsullied ashes,
in an urn of some precious material, were kept, to be
pressed to the heart of some friendly survivor, who believed
(and perhaps with reason), that the dear spirit, or
its manes, was still to witness of his devotion. The Greeks attributed four distinct parts to man:—the
body, which is resolved to dust; the soul, which, as they
imagined, passed to Tartarus or to the Elysian fields, according
to its merits; the image which inhabited the infernal
vestibule; and the shade which wandered about the sepulchre.
This last they were accustomed to invoke three
times, and libations were poured out to this as well as to the
manes or gods who were the genii of the dead, and had the
care of their ashes and wandering shades.—See Voyages d’
Antenor
. This note will also be found in Zophiel, or the
Bride of Seven.

In some instances, even—as was the case with the
pious Artemisia, the ashes of the once adored were swallowed
in Every one must remember that the monument erected by
Artemisia to her husband, the beautiful Mausolus, was considered
one of the seven wonders of the world. She drank
his ashes in her wine, and her spirit, two years after, followed
his whom she had so much loved.
the same cup which had touched his lips while π4r vii
still warm and ecstatic; in the hope that these only remains
might mingle with the blood which had glowed in
the beauty of his presence.

But, as we live now, reptiles and rottenness must be
thoughts synonymous with death. And how many beautiful
forms have, voluntarily, been given over, even to
these, merely to escape from a present misery, too intense
to be long endured.

However, self-immolation may be made fascinating by
philosophers, let those who meditate on a deed so dreadful
in itself and its consequences, be restrained, if possible,
by looking at the Confessions of Idomen. Let
them obseve the excess of her pain, and the nature and
process of its cure. Godwin, in his Life of Mary Wolstoncroft, makes
an excellent observation on a similar subject. This woman,
excellent in herself, though mistaken in her views of the world,
was once induced to an attempt at self-destruction. Wounded
by the perfidy of one she had loved and trusted, her misery
became so extreme that no ray of hope seemed to glow
for her; but heaven frustrated her own dark design, and she
was afterwards one of the most happy of mortals.

I must here be permitted to wander a little from my
subject. This nineteenth century is called, by many,
“the age of improvement;” “the great developer of intellect;”
“the age of morality and of religion” (Heaven grant
that the eulogy may be made true, if not exactly so at
present.
) Much is said about utility, but (let me most
humbly ask), of what utility is any thing on earth, unless
it can be made conducive to the virtue and happiness of earth’s inhabitants?

*4 π4v viii

The beings of this sphere come into an existence, on
it, in a state of unqualified helplessness. No infant could
long survive his birth, unless Love stood near to preserve
him. The new-born infant may be likened to Hope
—the newly-made corse to Despair. Should the form
nourished in hope be consigned, unthought of, to hope’s
opposite?—Without love, the infant must perish; without
love, the corse must become not only “what the living
fear,”
but what the living sometimes cannot touch
without danger of a most dreadful disease. A young surgeon known to the writer of these remarks,
was several weeks very ill, and narrowly escaped with his
life, in consequence of something received into his system
through a scratch of his hand, while employed in the necessary
though very horrid process of dissecting a deceased fellow
creature.

Dissolved by a pure flame, the earthly dwelling of a
soul which must be immortal will join, immediately, that
celestial matter in which the planets move. How far
preferable, therefore, is flame, to either earth or water,
for the giving of “dust to dust,” as the sacred writings
enjoin!

When every stream of this “New World” has been
navigated, and when roads are cut through all its forests,
it may be that some being, even of this hemisphere, may
abstract himself, a little, from the charms of gold, ease,
and notoriety; and turn his power and reason to the
kindly purpose of saving the forms of those he loves from
what even thought dares not dwell upon. A beautiful
custom may be thus revived, though Idomen and her story
be forgotten.

π5r ix

To the fact of the swallowing and subsequent delivery
from poison, (exactly as related in The Confessions,)
there is one, or more, still living, who can bear witness;
a circumstance which, (taken in connection with the
prayer preceding the deed,) very strongly induces a belief
in the immediate agency of such unseen delegates, as
may well be supposed to operate in the complicated mechanism
of nature.

How far any mortal may be influenced or acted on by
such invisible agents, as are suffered by Deity to exert
their powers, holy or unhallowed, is a subject for an interest
the most profound.

The most wonderful and beneficent intelligence which
has ever yet appeared upon earth, is said to have uttered
this exclamation: “Thinkest thou not, if I should pray
to my Father, that he would send me, at this moment,
legions of angels?”

This is certainly enough to sanction, to the adorers of
Him who thus hath spoken, a belief in unseen protectors.

The more powerful and expanded the mind of a mortal
may be, the more sensible it becomes of the influence of
intelligences independent of itself. In support of this
assertion, passages may be brought from the lives of those
who are called “men of genius”, while every religion of
which the records are saved from oblivion, will present,
of this influence, a proof still more potent. Indeed, the
very title of “man of genius,” could have been derived
from nothing else than that belief in good and evil genii, *5 π5v x
(or as Christians call them, angels), in which the classic
countries believed.

A desperate criminal resorts sometimes to the cord, or
to the dagger, either to escape from corporeal pain, or to
revenge himself on such as he knows or believes will exult
in his torment or disgrace; but, generally speaking,
it will be found that persons of tender and generous dispositions
are those most in danger of self-destruction. Suicides often leave behind them such memorials and
vestiges, as cause them to seem more worthy than most of
the compeers who survive them.

Alas! for such persons, if they cast aside spiritual aid
and trust to what is called “their own reasoning powers!”
No intelligence which an earthly form can envelope,
was ever strong enough to depend entirely on itself,
in every distressing emergency.

No mortal (at least none capable of great actions,)
was ever more reasonable than Washington, of America;
yet, it is said that even he was once known to despair.
A crisis also in the life of Peter the Great of Russia, exemplifies
in an equal degree, that no mortal can trust to himself.
This sovereign, by his “own reasoning powers,” had acquired
firmness and self-denial enough to disguise himself
and labour, for years, as a poor mechanic, to effect a favorite
design; but when this design was more than half effected,
the mere danger of seeing it prematurely blasted was sufficient
to deprive him of those very “reasoning powers”
which had formed it: by hazarding a battle with the Swedes
he would have rushed to certain destruction. What saved
him? the entreaties of a once poor peasant girl, whom he
had espoused? was there no heavenly guardian concerned?
See Voltaire’s Life of Charles XII.
A friend, at the moment when he would have π6r xi
rushed to inevitable death, held the bridle of his warhorse,
and drew him gently from the temptation. Was
this friend, or was he not, commissioned by some heavenly
being? Can any mortal answer this question?

Many very useful persons there are, who can conceive
of no delight higher than the one afforded by their daily
meals; or that common creative process, the mystery and
sublimity of which is entirely lost sight of in their grossness.
For such as these, suicide is never to be feared.
Nay, even the flesh of a suicide, in case of an emergency
of hunger, would be eaten by them with as little emotion,
as they would feel in wringing the glossy neck of a dove.
Persons like these, if they can think at all, are very liable
to be atheists; and well may they adopt the belief of
atheists; because, feeling in themselves so little spirit to
ascend, they may very naturally suppose that “clod to
clod”
will be the last of them.

Others there are, more nearly allied to their creator, who
find or imagine in some mortal, a resemblance to Deity,
and adore according to their own conceptions. Such, in
case of losing the object so chosen and endowed, are in
great danger of suicide; if bereaved by death, they hasten
to follow and rejoin; if, as sometimes must happen,
they find or suppose themselves deceived or betrayed,
their tortures become so severe, that they are glad to rush
from the cruelty of earth, and to throw themselves upon
the mercy of Him who made them; far better would it be
to bear, and await the relief of his wisdom; for after all
that can be urged, what has any one done to merit a perfecct
and immediate happiness?

π6v xii

Let those who are capable of discerning their god in a
mortal, avert both eyes and ears from the fallacies and
falsehoods of the audacious—the delights of their souls
are such as cannot be even faintly conceived by the utterers
of cold and narrow speculations; neither can their
sufferings, which most often preponderate, be soothed or
pirited by such as never felt them.

Those there are, who, from loss of happiness, become
sick at the light of the sun. Let such be content to suffer
a little, before they resolve on a deed which has once
made them shudder. Let them cling, as it were, to the
sandals of an unseen father, who cannot disapprove their
adoration. However intense may be the cold and darkness
of their despondency, it will as surely pass away, if
they can only bear it awhile, as that flowers and verdure
will spring from those sods of Canada, which are seen
crushed and hidden with snow-drifts; or that night and
clouds must give place to those heavens of gold and azure
which show, in bold relief, the mamey and palm-tree of
Cuba.

The protection and support of intelligencies, or beings
unknown and superior to themselves, is needful to all
who can love!

The preceding reflections have been first presented,
because the being who offers them believes, in the inmost
depths of her heart, that the soothing and direction of
such feelings as sometimes impel to self-immolation, would
add more to the sum of earthly happiness, than even the
breaking of the bonds of those blacks who labour under π7r xiii
masters. On the state in which our thoughts can be
kept, depends our principal enjoyment. Many have so
far relied on this conviction, as to suppose an equal share
of happiness in the bosom of every son and daughter of
Eva, the first taster of discontent. Upon this, philosophers
must decide. Incompetent to meddle with any
great political question, the relatress of the story of Idomen
can only say, that the happiness of the first pair, before
their expulsion from their native garden, can seldom
be more fully realised than on a flourishing coffee estate,
where the sable labourers among its fruits and flowers,
are directed by wisdom and benevolence.

The peace and plenty depicted in the little domain of
Dalcour, in the epilogue of the story, is not an exaggeration:
the same effects may be produced by any man of
moderate fortune, if endowed with the same taste and
character as the one represented. That excessive quickness and luxuriance of vegetation
which, at first, tempted many to exchange commerce for
agriculture, can, however, only be found where the forests
are newly felled. The earth, when laid bare to the sunbeams,
and tortured for the wants of many, becomes, even
within the tropics, exhausted ere many years are flown.
From the wilderness alone can an immediate elysium be
realised.

Not only slavery, but servitude, of all kinds, seems, at
first sight, unjust and offensive; but how avoid it?—
Were the hopes of the alchymist realised, even gold could
not buy us food; and could a perfect equality be established
among all people, who would dress for us our
food when procured? Were every individual perfectly π7v xiv
“free and equal,” every individual would soon be far
more wretched than slaves are now, even with a bad
master. Arts would cease, and barbarism deface the
fairest countries; many even would groan and die; for
who could long endure the severe and sordid toil which
would fall on every individual, if condemned, unassisted,
merely to supply the daily wants of his own nature?

It may be said, that, in a state of the perfect equality
mentioned, persons would form themselves into bands,
and, by turns, assist each other. If so, it would soon be
perceived that some could think, and organise, while
others could do nothing but toil under their direction.
This difference once understood, all idea of external equality
must, of course, give immediate place to it.

In endeavoring to give happiness to those who are
said to bear the image of Deity, as much attention must
be given to their inclinations and capacities, as to those
of inferior animals.

A dolphin cannot endure the air; and an eagle must
die in the limpid waves of the Bahamas. Between one
and another of those descended from the first mistress of
Paradise, there is said to be full as much difference as
between some beautiful milk-white courser and the ruddy
contented groom who washes his hoofs or braids his flowing
mane.

The pretty flying-fish, which sometimes comes, as it
were, to welcome a vessel to the tropics, ventures often
out of its native element, on excursions of pleasure or
beneficence; but the slightest hurt will kill him, and he π8r xv
must soon return to his own silvery fluid, or his wings
will be dry and useless. Is it not often thus with the
minds of philosophers and philanthropists? Tired of a
universe which almost bounds their vision, they are fain
to soar to a purer and more charming region; but having
risen just high enough to see there is something still beyond,
their powers for flight are exhausted, and back to
earth they must descend.

No mortal ever moved upon this nether sphere, more
benevolent, or less selfish and cruel, than Bartolomeo
de las Casas
; yet, he it was who first proposed and effected
the bringing over the ocean of blacks, (who were
already slaves to those of their own colour,
) to be the slaves
also of white men.

The natives of Cuba, as well as the gentle and highly
civilized Peruvian, wept, repined, and perished beneath
those galling tasks imposed by the avarice of Spain; According to every account, no form of government of
which any records are preserved, could possibly have been
more favourable to virtue and happiness than that of Peru,
before the conquest of Pizarro. The mildness and excellence
of its laws and customs, both public and private, were
such as it is pleasing to contemplate. An exception to this
mildness consisted in the penalty to which were subjected
the Virgins of the Sun, who lived in a similar manner
to that of the Vestals of ancient Rome. Their vows, however,
were so seldom broken, that long lives might be passed
without a single instance of the infliction of this penalty.—
The magnificence of public works within the Peruvian empire,
gave evidence both of wisdom and industry. One immense
road from Quito to Cusco, a distance of fifteen hundred
English miles, was raised above the rest of the country,
and furnished with buildings convenient for travellers. Yet
those who toiled cheerfully for their sovereign and priests,
who assisted with their own hands, could not live beneath
the control of men who had given them treachery in return
for good faith and confidence.—See notes to Les Incas,
by Marmontel
.
π8v xvi
while beneath those self-same tasks, the limbs of the negro
became rounder, and the ivory of his mouth was
shown in smiles. This was enough to satisfy him, who
well might be termed a true and guileless bearer of the
crucifix, that the change he had caused was not a bad
one. By signs like these alone, can the intentions of
heaven or nature be made known to humanity.

Nourished for many years by the labours of ebony fingers,
no one can possibly feel for the negro a sympathy
more pure and intense than the writer of these observations.
The same has lived many days and weeks entirely,
as it were, (or rather as it is) at their mercy; the same
has assisted at the birth of many, and, of some, closed the
eyes with her own hands, ere the flowery sods hid them
forever; the same has given out ribands and beads for their
dances; the same has knelt to heaven, at the dreadful
sound of the lash, and prayed, in an agony, to the God of
mercy and of justice. The sounds of prayer was nightly;
the notes of festivity were frequent, and the echo of the
last seldom heard; otherwise, who but a fiend could endure
to live long in the midst of them?

Whites are still bought and sold in Asia, to say nothing
of that servitude or slavery which every poor person is
condemned to suffer.

Neither is servitude confined to the poor alone, except, π9r xvii
indeed, in the sense that every son of Eva is poor. As
regards the subject of individual toil, the greatest of mortals
are more on a level with the most humble, than is,
by any means, supposed or understood. “By the sweat of
thy brow shalt thou eat bread,”
was the first curse imposed;
by pains only shalt thou taste pleasure, is the law
which no mortal can evade. Lady Morgan, in a little work entitled The Boudoir,
mentions her surprise, when a very young girl, at finding an
English Duchess (whom she had visited a little too early),
with hammer and nails in her hands, ascending a ladder to
fasten up some classic wreaths which were to ornament her
rooms for the evening. Many attendants were about her,
but none of them had sufficient understanding to relieve her
of a task so irksome.

A planter in the midst of five hundred sable vassals,
must either toil almost as severely as either of them, or
derive little benefit from their assistance.

Without the labour of queens and princesses, many
of the heroes of antiquity must have gone without garments
or ornaments.

In the present age, (despite of the improved state of
manufacture,) a young queen or princess, even, must do
much towards the arrangements of her own habiliments,
and go patiently through many a weary process, whenever
she may wish to appear in the full splendour of her
beauty; because a delicate taste or perception of the
beautiful is the gift of so very few (except, indeed, excellent
artists,) that every lady is disfigured who relies solely
on her tire-women.

According to an excellent historian, poor Mary, Queen π9v xviii
Scots
, took “much pains” to preserve a velvet dress,
merely for the adornment of a death foreseen to be inevitable.

It is the common error of every inferior intelligence, or
order of beings, to suppose those a little above them have
nothing to do
; yet even the creator and his delegates are
known to us only by their deeds and employments.

Would to heaven and to the nature of things that pain
was not the lot of any mortal!—were all persons just,
kind and beneficent, even slavery itself would be desirable.

Could those principles be inculcated, now, which during
the dark ages, were by a few, absolutely acted on,
a greater improvement would be wrought in this world
than has been effected by all the lectures and works on
education which have appeared during the last semi-century.
Could it always be held disgraceful to hurt a
person thrown by heaven or circumstance in our power;
could it always be made a rule to spare a fallen enemy;
could it always be considered as beneath the hand warmed
by gentle blood, to hurt anything defenceless;—could
these thoughts and feelings be thoroughly understood and
generally diffused, dependence of all kinds would cease
to be misery, and that on which it is said, “hangs all the
law and the gospel,”
would be practical as the division of
one flowery meadow from another; then, indeed, would
the kingdom of heaven be come.

Of that punishment which, in every system of religion,
is expressed by the strongest and most terrific metaphor, π10r xix
opinions, of course, are as various as the subject is vague.
Analogy and experience, however, must convince every
one capable of reflection, that suffering is and must be
the natural result of crime. “An eye for an eye and a
tooth for a tooth,”
is expressive of what will be felt by
all who have inflicted pain, while tasting themselves that
pain’s equivalent. Every wound maliciously given to a
heart, sensitive and confiding, every needless blow inflicted
by cruelty, on a skin black or white, will be as surely
requited and felt in return, as that warmth is necessary
to life, or that blood flows from a gash.

The state of the negro at the present day, attracts more
of the public attention than that of those suffering poor who
in colour, more resemble the firmament; but, as regards the
jetty African, provide plentifully for his meals; give him
the female he prefers; let him have means to procure a few
trinkets and ornaments, and above all, exact no task beyond
his strength or capacity. Thus provided for, the
brilliant rows between his pouting lips are disclosed by as
much happiness as he, probably, is capable of tasting.

Of the sons and daughters of the country of gold and
ivory, the maker of these poor remarks is so much the
friend, that she could not, without a thrill of anguish, see
their bright eyes dimmed with tears, or a single matted
curl torn cruelly from their shining foreheads. Should
any of the genii come to the guidance of an intellect
enshrined in ebony, ungenerous, indeed, would it be to
oppose either deed or wish to its advancement.

To whom, indeed, could be presented a field more vast, π10v xx
or alluring than to a black man of genius. (Could such
a being be found?)

The improvement and civilization of almost a quarter
of the globe, with all the luxury which wealth and climate
present, are objects which seem to articulate the
words: come, do, and take! Nay, the work is already
begun at Liberia. Could any black man finish it, the slavery
of his race would cease.

Of the beautiful island of Hayti, the African is sovereign,
with those means of improvement which commerce
can bring at his call from the most civilized countries of
Europe. By the free possession of that island have his
glory or his happiness increased? This might seem a
question worth no less than a hearing and an answer. Recent events in Hayti, may possibly furnish an answer.
It is worthy of remark that the Swiss, the German, the Irishman,
and indeed, white men of almost every nation, will rush
in crowds, when a “land of promise” is described to them;
with no other means than their own energy, they obtain by
toil, a passage over the ocean, and often, absolutely bind
themselves out as slaves, pro tempore, merely for the remote
prospect of calling their own, a little land, which can only
be reclaimed from the wilderness by a continuation of their
toil. The negro does no such thing: he must be put on board
a vessel and have his passage paid; and when landed at last,
in a fertile country, he will scarcely, unless in some degree
compelled, do work enough to support his own life. He has
not, like the white man, an ideality of distant and future
good.

Could a few sable youths and maidens be found who
would hasten to that island purchased with blood, and
induce to some exertion the urchins, who roam naked,
(looking like little statues of bronze,) through its woods π11r xxi
and plantain groves; or would they even assist in setting
plantains and bananas about the confines of Liberia, the
banners of the elephant might easily be spread. But of
what avail are those laws and permissions which invite
the two most opposite colours to the same couch and table?

Nature will always step forward as the common queen
and legislatrix. Her edicts are stamped in characters too
strong and definite to perish because they are misinterpreted.
Licentiousness or necessity may often break her
commandments; but the fair descendants of the fair mistress
of Eden, are proud of their locks, like the sunbeams
of Euphrates; their arms and bosoms like his lilies; and
eyes the colour of his waves like the skies at noon, or when
dark beneath the shade of his willows. Will these ever
set aside those rules of taste and beauty, which even the
birds of the garden and wilderness know how to respect
and to observe? The lines which came to memory, as if to be inserted, are
so very applicable to the subject that I make a note of them.
They are composed by Addison, in Latin, and translated, (I
believe,) by Dr. Goldsmith. During childhood, they were
put into my hands by persons whom I must ever respect.—
A perusal of the classics is not, now, the fashion of the day;
but a cultivation of the virtue of sincerity must surely produce
far better resuls than that fastidiousness which has followed
their disuse, and which serves only to lend a deeper
shade to hypocrisy. The nature of birds is thus described:
Chaste are their instincts, faithful is their fire, No foreign beauty tempts to false desire: The snow-white vesture, and the glittering crown, The simple plumage or the glossy down, Prompt not their love. The patriot bird pursues His well acquainted tints and kindred hues. Hence thro’ their tribe no mixed polluted flame, No monster brood to mark the groves with shame: But the chaste black bird, to his partner true, Thinks black alone is beauty’s favorite hue: The nightingale, with mutual passion blest, Sings to his mate and nightly charms the nest, While the dark owl to woo his partner flies, And owns his offspring in their yellow eyes.

π11v xxii

While the lives of every variety of mortals must be
kept up by food and fire, hands must be found to fell the
forest, and to delve in the earth for roots and water; whether
these hands should be black or white, can only be
determined by the wonderful artist who nerves and tints
them. May all who toil, and are toiled for, receive and
give kindness in return!

On the subjects involved in the story of Idomen no
more remains to be said. It is many years since the
writing of its pages was begun, and many of those looks
for which they were transcribed from the tablets of the
inmost soul can never, now, be cast on them.

Before even the thought of this transcription a few
germs of laurel were plucked for the wearing of their
scribe, by a philanthropist, a bard and an historian, from
his own full and well-deserved wreath. His beautiful form,
though in ruins, remains still upon earth; but his more
beautiful intelligence seems recalled to its native heaven
while death is reluctant to strike.

Should that most benevolent intelligence, (be it either
on earth or in heaven,) take cognizance of what a most
grateful votarist has said, may it judge of her according
to her sincerity, and pardon and rectify her errors.

π12r xxiii

The vivid germs, bestowed by a hand so excellent, that
votarist can scarcely hope to wear; born, as she is, in a
new world, far distant from the home of the bard of Madoc,
although familiar to his lyre; or should the wreath,
begun by such guileless generosity be ever permitted on
temples once throbbing to be encircled, it is now steeped
in so many tears that its leaves may want strength to unfold,
neither, haply, can its blossoms expand in any way
that has been hoped either of warmth or loveliness.

π12v
A1r

Idomen.

Prologue.

A stranger newly transported from the snows
of the north, and placed in a piazza not far
from the shores of Cuba, becomes, if he has
the least sensibility, inebriate with warmth and
fragrance. Inhaling the perfume of orange
trees, and surrounded with fields of coffee (with
its glossy green leaves growing in wreathes
with crimson berries, or white blossoms,) he
moves, looks, and speaks as if under the influence
of enchantment. Let him who sighs
for death, come hither; a light veil will soon
be spread over all the scenes of memory, and
the climate, if it does not destroy, may, at
least, shorten his material term.

Ambrosio del Monte, a young Cuban, educated
in Germany Many of the most opulent inhabitants of the island
of Cuba send their children to Germany, for the purposes
of education.
had proposed to me a visit
to a cavern near the valley of Yumuri. At six
in the morning we were on horseback, with A A1v 2
negro attendants. The air was sweet with the
yellow flowers of malva; and a small herb bearing
blossoms of cerulean blue, still trembled
with the large dew drops of a refreshing night.

The sun had just arisen with that burst of
splendor known only in the tropics. A few
solitary pelicans were seen about the bay of
Matanzas
, whose broad, semi-circular expanse,
smooth and bright as a mirror, reflected every
object around it in light of the richest colors.
A party of young men were just entering
a small boat to go to a vessel moored at a distance
in the harbor. “It is more beautiful,”
said one of them, “than the Bay of Naples.”

We passed through the town, and were soon
beside the lucid Yumuri, as it glided insensibly
between banks of eternal verdure, reflecting
every flower and leaf that hung in profusion
around it. I could but muse, a moment, on
that happy people who once lived and loved
in these retreats, and passed as calmly to their
graves as this stream to the bay, which so
sweetly and silently engulfs it. They welcomed
the christian to their abodes and‐where
are they now?

We soon entered the woods, and descended
to the first large and murky apartment of a
cavern that had never been explored. This cavern, at a very short distance from the
flourishing town of Matanzas, is seldom visited, because
those in its neighborhood are intent only on their mercantile
avocations. Though it has never been entirely
explored, many apartments of it have already been entered.
An intelligent geologist would find, in it, much
to admire.
There
are few things in nature that awaken more fearful
sensations than an unknown labyrinth in
the earth. Our negroes were afraid; our A2r 3
lights too ill guarded to proceed, and we were
soon glad to abandon this craggy temple of
darkness for the breath of flowers and of heaven.

Leading our horses through the trees, we
found a path cut through a thicket, which had
else been impervious. Innumerable creeping
plants had climbed from tree to tree, entangling
the branches with their verdant meshes, and
now hung waving and floating on the air in
wreaths and luxuriant masses.

The path was just wide and high enough to
allow us to mount our horses, but soon opened
into a spacious avenue of bamboo. The
spectacle to me was astonishing. Immense
reeds planted in clusters, and at equal distances,
had reached at least fifty feet in height.
Their strong stems, bending gracefully, and
crossing each other near the summit, formed
a vast arch or aisle of the Gothic order. There was on the road from Matanzas to the partido
Guamacaro
, in 18241824, a bamboo aisle or avenue, like the
one described, nearly half a mile in length; it led to the
central building of a plantation owned by a French gentleman.
Some of the researches of Sir William Jones give reason
to believe that the first idea of Gothic architecture
was indeed derived from the growth of bamboo.
The
roof, of small innumerable leaves of a grassy
texture, was impenetrable to the sun; and the
tall clustered columns whence it sprung were,
many of them, bound together with a natural A2 A2v 4
tracery of ipomea, and convolvuli, still fresh
and vivid.

For the eighth of an English mile we rode
under this shapely bower, which looked as if
reared by magic. But art had merely directed
the hand of nature. An old man planted
the reeds, and a few years had completed the
magnificent structure.

The moaning of the smaller dove was heard
near us, and the high verdant arches above our
heads, were disturbed by the black wings of the
Judio, whose nest was concealed in them.

Noon was fast approaching, and the heat of
the sun without, was intense. We alighted
from our horses, and treading on a thick carpet
of fallen leaves proceeded leisurely through
the charming walk, till it gave us the vista of
a coffee plantation, divided into compartments
and enclosed with broad hedges of lime trees,
cut in the form of a thick wall, and filled with
fruit and blossoms. On my first visit to the island of Cuba (in 18231823),
I was struck with the beauty of these hedges: they seemed,
as it were, a wall of verdure, at least five feet in
thickness. The plantations where I saw them, were then
new, and they were impervious even to light, by reason
of leaves and blossoms. They were cut perfectly smooth
at the height of about five feet, except that some trees, at
equa-distances, were suffered to shoot to their natural
height.

In the centre of an open space, stood a
dwelling formed of stakes driven into the
earth, and woven together with wild plants, in
the manner of basketry. A rustic piazza of
tasteful shape, was surrounded by sweet scented
shrubs, and twined with passion flowers,
convolvuli, and that delicate creeper called by
the French la chevelure de Venus. A lawn in
front was covered with the fine grass of Bermuda, A3r 5
which, spread like mats on the borders
of every flower bed, prevented the feet from
being soiled by the red mould of the country.

In the centre of the lawn surrounded by
flowers, and protected by a thick bower of
grenadilla, was a bason formed of the lime of
the island converted into plaster, and from a
vase cut from the lime rock, (standing on a pedestal,
and ornamented with spar, from some
neighboring cavern,) gushed a small stream of
filtered water.

Low hedges of those roses which are always
in bloom, and emit a faint odor, like that
of the violet, added to the cheerfulness of the
scene. The hollow trunk of a palm tree had
been cut into convenient pieces, which stood
elevated round the bason, and were filled with
honey by the wild bees, while borders of red
head (or ipecacuana) seemed almost alive with
the humming birds which it had been planted
to allure. This plant makes a pretty border for flower beds;
the stocks, of a light green, are very succulent, entirely
destitute of leaves, and surmounted by blossoms of
a deep red colour, which particularly attract the humming
bird.

Warm and weary, we were hesistating whether
to advance farther or to return again to the
woods, when a negro appeared with a message
from his master, inviting us to rest beneath
his roof until evening.

We found waiting for us, in the piazza, an
elderly person, whose benign countenance was
shaded by hair still profuse, although white as
the ipomea which opens at sunset upon hedges
of lime and prickly pear. The neat arrangementA3 A3v 6
of his linen dress with the gentle composure
of his manner, increased the favorable
opinion conceived before, from the taste of
his rural embellishments.

We accepted an invitation to dine, and were
soon shown into little apartments where we
found cots to repose upon, defended from the
mosquitos by clean transparent muslin, purchased
at Matanzas; gourds of different shapes
and sizes supplied the place of basons and
ewers, and were filled with water, cold from
the tank and filtering stone.

We threw off our riding dresses, and after
bathing and dressing in fresh linen, yielded to
the allurement of the pillows prepared for us,
and enjoyed the luxury of that noonday sleep,
so grateful and necessary after any tropical excursion.
The health of many foreigners would be preserved,
if they knew a little more of physiology, or the nature of
their own systems. By taking a little necessary repose,
even the amount of their industry would be rather increasedK4 K4v 224
than diminished. “None but dogs and foreigners
are up at this hour,”
is a common adage among the
Spanish inhabitants of Cuba, while retiring, after their
principal meal, for the purpose of a refreshing siesta.

At three we were summoned to the table,
where two other guests, who were wayfaring
men, also took their places. The virtue of hospitality still exists, in a great degree,
among the plantations of Cuba. A party of travellers,
though unknown to the proprietor, are often received
and refreshed.

Soup of a turtle, taken by accident in the
river, was served in the turtle’s own shell, cutlets
of the white meat of the same turtle, a
young peacock, a guinea fowl, doves from the
cote, and parrots served in pastry, formed the
principal course; side dishes of rice grown on
the plantation, and sweet potatoes, (which had
ornamented its provision grounds with their
glossy vines and purple blossoms) were brought
at the same time with large vegetable eggs A4r 7
dressed with crumbs of bread; the unripe plantain
appeared in small pieces browned at the
fire; and the same fruit wholly ripe was roasted
and served in the fresh juice of the sugar
cane. Next came shell fish, red as coral, from
the bay of Matanzas, and small oysters, with
flat purple shells, each of which contains a
small pearl. In those oysters which I have seen, the pearl was
not perfectly white; but, perhaps, might be bleached by
some chemical preparation.
Milk, curdled by the climate,
pressed into the form of a heart, and laid on
rose leaves, was eaten with cream and a syrup
boiled with blossoms of the orange tree.

The wine that sparkled in our glasses was
the purest of Bordeaux and Xeres. A fragrant
anana, fresh guayavas, rose apples, fig-bananas,
and sapadillas, were profusely heaped at the
dessert, and coffee from a neighboring secadero
finished the bountiful repast. Not a dish or fruit is mentioned at this meal that has
absolutely not been tasted by the writer.
Fresh
leaves, curiously folded, had, during this course
of fruits, supplied the place of richer vessels; I cannot forbear dwelling, for a moment, on the
extreme beauty of the plaintain leaf. When newly formed,
it is so carefully rolled, by nature, so as to present the
form of a spear. During the rainy season of 18401840, a negress
unrolled one in my presence; it was full five feet
in length, and two and half feet in breadth, and resembled
silk of a beautiful green, striped with different shades
of the same colour; while the central stem or supporter,
rather less than three quarters of an inch in diameter,
appeared like a slender wand of the finest polished ivory.
When perfectly grown, however, these leaves unfold of
themselves, and soon after break into strips.

and the only servants, save our own, who appeared
at table, were two young negresses selected
for a comeliness not common among women
of their color. They were clad in a single
tunic of white linen, with blue handkerchiefs
upon their heads; their waists were encircled
with belts woven of the purple shoots of some
gaudy creeper of the forest, while their glossy
black necks and bare round arms were ornamentedA4 A4v 8
with collars and bracelets of the scarlet
grains of the coral plant which had grown
near their own habitations.

The sun was near sinking when we rose from
table and repaired to the grounds that first attracted
us. The hospitable Dalcour showed
us specimens of spar from caverns or grottos in
his neighborhood. We admired the ingenuity
of his fountain, from which the water flowed
slowly, but filtered and ready for use, while
the high light roof above it, shaded by two
clusters of bamboo, and thickly covered with
vines of the luxuriant grenadilla, protected the
bason from the sun and formed a cool retreat
from the ferver of noon when too oppressive.

“This water,” said Dalcour, “comes from
a neighboring tank, kept always full by the
rains that fall upon our secadero. It is conducted
through tubes of bamboo smeared with
the bitumen or liquid coal that oozes from a
rock at Camarioca. It is but a frail material!
—yet even these simple reeds may last as long
in the bosom of the earth, as he who placed
them there is permitted to remain upon its surface.”

We wandered about the grounds till the
brief delicious twilight was fading, and then
sat down to rest in a little arbour at the extremity
of an alley, where orange trees were
growing, alternately with low pomegranates.
Trees were seen, here and there, bearing a A5r 9
fruit of the color of a glowing peach, but shaped
like an inverted pear, and surmounted by
that dangerous nut, in the form of a Turkish
crescent.

Our bower, slightly woven of guana, was
covered with the vine of the passion flower,
and shaded by the acacia of Florida. A hammock
near its entrance, was suspended from
two trees of the Otaheite almond.Into this
Ambrosio threw himself, and lay rocking and
looking at the sky that still tinted the foliage
with its colors.

All the beauties of the island, seemed united
on this flourishing plantation. “In the tropics,”
said Dalcour, “nature is active and profuse,
and such adornments as these are easily
procured and assembled. On a new plantation in Cuba, a man of taste may
do almost every thing he chooses, in the way of natural
or rural embellishments.
In this particularly the French
stand pre-eminent. Those who toil for gold only, usually
die either before or soon after it is obtained; while their
quarrelling survivors seldom reflect enough on past benefits,
to allow them even a tombstone.
Yet the traveller
in Cuba can find little to examine except our
numerous caves. The dwellings of the planter
are generally new and simple. Bamboo
form his only arches and palm trees his only
columns. Nothing can be more curious and beautiful, than
the natural caverns and grottos of Cuba. A Frenchman,
near the Cafetal Hermila, (where the writer of this K5r 225
note lately resided,) lived for many months in one of
these natural shelters, which situated, far up, on the side
of a precipitous hill, was almost an elegant dwelling. A
projection of the rock formed the place for his bed; and
a little way from the entrance, which was protected by a
door of wild vines, stood a hand-mill for grinding his
maize or Indian corn. In this place lived the planter,
till his coffee trees were set; his negroes, afterwards,
had time, under his direction, to make another domicile.
I saw the cave, while the stain of the smoke of his fire
was still visible; but it was afterwards destroyed, for the
lime and limestone at its base.
A grotto, not far from the same place, formed a perfect
Chapel of Nature; a concretion, shaped like a baptismal
font, and always full of pure drops, was kept supplied
by another concretion, which depended from the
roof, and looked like an angel’s head rudely sculptured.
This last existed but two years ago, and probably still
remains; being on the side of a rocky hill, in the midst
of a tangled wood.
I once visited a grotto in the same neighbourhood, but
probably (as I recollect going one afternoon with a party
on horseback,) about three miles distant from the one
last mentioned. This little natural abode, contained
three apartments; some columns in it were so complete,
as to seem made by art; while others were about half-
formed; a slender cone or pyramid arose from the floor or
base, while another of the same shape depended from the
roof, with a drop as pure as dew at its extremity. An
entire column was formed by the meeting of these two
points. In one of the apartments was a soft soil, and a
natural tank filled with the clearest filtered water. High
pointed arches were filled with innumerable bats, which
flew about with a humming sound as we entered with
waxen tapers, because of the declining sun.
We could not have found our way, either to or from
this grotto, (through the thick woods tangled with innumerable
vines,) except for the assistance of an intrepid K5 K5v 226
overseer, or administrador, who had been a soldier
under Napoleon; he, (with a sabre, such as were generally
worn in Cuba at that time,) cut a path through the
tendrils hanging from the branches above, and the luxuriant
foliage beneath, which had almost shut up the narrow
path. Our horses were obliged to proceed, with
their riders bending closely over their necks. The moon
being at that time invisible, we were compelled to be
very careful in thus making our way back to our retreat.
This last-mentioned grotto was seen by the writer in the
year 18241824; the other very recently.
As soon as respiration ceases the
remains of the stranger are cast into the earth.
His substance soon changes to flowers and
weeds; and death is an event so common, that
few find leisure for a sigh even when it occurs
in their circle.”

“The man of feeling, when disgusted
with coldness or perfidy, retreats to the pages of
romance, and seeks in the fields of imagination
such beings as he has vainly panted to behold A5 A5v 10
and possess in reality. Yet, false and insipid
as it seems at first sight,—life—real, every-day
life, abounds with incidents often more wild
and affecting than creations of the most fervid
fancy. Poor Idomen! who will not forget
thee when I am no more?”
“And who was
Idomen?”
I said. “Her story,” returned Dalcour,
“is long;—if you will hear it, remain
with me till to-morrow.”

The rays of the moon, which had now arisen,
were playing in the silver locks of our
bland host, and glancing, faintly reflected, over
the jetty curls of Ambrosio del Monte, as they
peeped between the large meshes of the net
work of the hammock that still supported him.
The tube rose, or azucena, burthened the
mild atmosphere, with a perfume resembling
that of the magnolia; while its tall spires, full
of blossoms, were seen between the trees of the
alley. The faint odour of the coffee fields,
from time to time, mingled with our breathing.
The rose that keeps always in flower was growso
near, that even amid so much aroma,
we could distinguish its light fragrance like
that of the violet.

Moonlight in these climates, produces a remarkable
effect; it seems to penetrate the system
through the pores and conduits of the
skin, and produces that softness of languor so
difficult to overcome or resist. The way to
our home, though not very far, lay through A6r 11
thickets almost impervious; the pleasing fatigue
of the morning had also been enough for
my companion; we remained with the courteous
stranger, and desired him to relate his
story. Dalcour rose a moment, drew aside
the flower and leaves that the moonbeams might
enter more freely; and placing me by his side
on a turf seat covered with Bermuda grass, began
thus, the relation which seemed overflowing
from his memory.

A6v

Recital.

The Fireside.

“Various misfortunes had determined me to
visit the new world. Far advanced in the path
of my life, my wishes were few. I sought only gold
enough to retire to some humble recess; and
hoped for no other pleasure, than to find at
last, some being capable of friendship, that I
might sometimes unburthen my heart, by expressing
my real sentiments.
After many commercial adventures, I found
myself in P――d, the most northern capital
of the still new American republic. I sadly
followed my affairs, finding little to interest
one whose feelings had not yet recovered their
tone after many and severe afflictions.
Burleigh, a merchant of middle age, heard
me refuse an invitation for the evening, on the
plea of not speaking sufficient English to be
tolerable in the company of ladies. On the
following night he said to me, ‘come to my
house; my wife sings and speaks French; and,
perhaps in this part of the world, there are not A7r 13
many like her.’
The evening was cold; and
books had already fatigued me; I followed him
to his house, merely because it was indifferent
to me whither I went.
Snow fell fast upon our heads as we entered
the door of Burleigh, and the light of his warm
saloon gave me a feeling like pleasure.
No group of cold matrons or gay laughing
girls were awaiting me. One female alone appeared,
dressed in white, and sitting on a crimson
sofa, drawn near to the fire. She was
teaching an evening hymn to a fair curly-haired
child, who sat upon her knee in all the loveliness
of infancy.
The room was furnished in good taste, and
in a style of luxurious convenience rare even
in the richer dwellings of those semi-anglo regions.
Tapers of wax stood upon a table where
books and some loose music lay scattered.
The lady arose at my entrance, held her fair
boy by the hand, and courtsied with that mixture
of diffidence and expectation which bespeaks
the keenest sensibility. ‘Idomen,’
said my conductor, ‘I have brought to you a
stranger, from the country you wish to see;—
show him your books, and entertain him as
well as you can.’
Idomen, despite of her maternity, had an air
of extreme youth, and blushed as she spoke in
my language; yet I soon drew her into conversation,
and perceived in her a fervor and taste A7v 14
for the elegant arts, not commonly found even
in the most classic countries.
I took the child upon my knee; played with
his soft hair, and told his mother that, despite
the coldness of the climate, I was reminded of
Venus and her son, in the island of Cyprus.—
‘But where?’ said she, as the colour of her
cheek became brighter, ‘where are Apollo and
Adonis?’
After tea and cakes had been served, Madame
Burleigh
, at the request of her husband
sang a few songs in French, which she told me
had been learned at Quebec; and said also,
that she had been to Philadelphia. It scarcely need be remarked that, in the fine arts,
Philadelphia far preceded any other city of the North
American republic
.
Pleased with her warmth and artlessness, I
proposed visiting her daily, and reading with
her the works of some favorite masters, in my
language. She cast a doubtful glance at her
husband, who bade her accept my offer.
The following morning I returned; Idomen
had already lying on her table, Atala, and
Letres sur la mytologie. I had brought
with me a volume of Jean Jaques Rosseau, and
turned to that lyrical scene, so charming to artists
of the higher order, Pygmalion ou la statue
qui s’amine.
—The readiness with which it
was translated surprised me; but the feeling
which it caused to be disclosed filled me with
compassion.
A8r 15 It was long since any being had interested
me like this; I cultivated the favor of Burleigh,
and often played with him at cards and draughts
while Idomen was busied with her child or the
affairs of her household; but while thus engaged
with the husband, I never forbore to observe
every action of his gentle companion.
This young and dutiful woman, calmly as
she seemed to pass her life, was a being full of
passions; yet these passions had never been
awakened. The perfect serenity which reigned
upon her fair forehead, was like that of the
ocean on a still summer morning,—alas! for
the storms that might arise. It was pleasing
to observe the harmlessness of her thoughts upheld
as they were by a sentiment which enabled
her to make the most difficult sacrifices,
without murmur or a shade of petulance.
Formed in every nerve for the refinements
of pleasure, she cheerfully undertook the most
wearisome employments; and deprived herself
whole weeks, even of the consolations of music.
Still, a natural taste or perception of the
beautiful caused Idomen to make the most of
those advantages which nature had in kindness
bestowed upon her; and her dress always varied
from the fashion of the day, enough to be
in good conformity with the style of her countenance
and figure. Idomen wished to please,
she wished to be beautiful; but every engraving
or description which from childhood had A8v 16
fallen into her eager hands had been absolutely
devoured, and both memory and fancy were so
filled with an exquisite ideal, that she thought
humbly and even despondingly of her own attractions.
In the circle which surrounded this woman
there was not one being whose thoughts bore
the slightest affinity to those which filled her
own intellect. Her husband it was true, loved
her to the utmost of his nature; he even overrated
her accomplishments, and was proud
when he saw her admired. But Burleigh was
sensual, unskilled in the mysteries of the heart;
and Idomen, though ministering to his pleaures,
became often the object of his petulance.
Many of her hours had been passed in weeping;
she felt that she was not happy, but never
thought of repining; for she had yet to learn
that happiness existed, unless in those scenes of
fiction, which beguiled her hours of loneliness.
In the circle where Burleigh lived, married
women were not used to receive the least attention
from any other than their husbands.—
Occupied with the cares of their household,
they dreamed of nothing beyond it; and generally
on becoming wives, laid aside every art
or accomplishment which, while maidens, they
had begun to cultivate. The innocent amusements
of Idomen were so often looked upon
with blame, that she rather concealed than displayed
them.
A9r 17 The matrons of her neighborhood said, ‘so
much of books and singing leads to idleness.’

From mere natural docility and the painfulness
of censure, Idomen did as they directed;
and often sat whole weeks, making those household
articles, which to them, was sufficient
employment.
But imagination sought refuge from inanity;
for the heart will still pant, though the
hands and persons are enchained. Madame Burleigh,
while thus restricted, composed many
flowing verses, which when the task was done,
were written on scraps of paper with her pencil.
By praises and gentle attentions, I won entirely
her confidence, and my conversation
had, for her at least, the charm of a first friendship.
The mind, accustomed to find solace
only in itself, is long in gaining confidence
sufficient to pour forth its thoughts even to the
ear of kindness; yet still I succeeded in obtaining
a few glances at the soul of this woman.
Burleigh, she told me, had educated and protected
her, at a period when her family, by a
reverse of fortune, were in a state of dismay
and embarrassment. A loved and accomplished
sister, who was now no more, had shared
with her mother, she said, the care of her infancy,
and given her the name Idomène, as it
is written in French, but she was called in A6 A9v 18
her family Idomen. ‘And is your husband,’
I said, ‘your only relative now?’ ‘I have,’
she returned, ‘an uncle and cousins; but they
are in distant countries, and absorbed in the
toils of commerce. My husband has been to
me, in the place both of father and brother;
and duty and gratitude demand that I should
serve and obey him in everything.’
Tears fell from her eyes as she spoke; and
the melancholy firmness of her accents was
sadly and singularly in contrast with her
soft sunny complexion, and the expression,
sometimes almost voluptuous, of her ever varying
countenance.
A prince, thought I, might be proud of thee,
Idomen, for a daughter; but, in scenes where
thy lot seems cast, to be what thou art is a
misfortune.
The North American republic at that time,
was agitated by a war with the mother country,
whose language it will speak forever.
My uncertain fortune called me to this island
‘of fruits and flowers, and soft breezes’
said Ambrosio del Monte, as he rose and quitted
his hammock, plucking from the vine of
the grenadilla, a superb flower, which had the
sun shone instead of the moon, would have
looked like a purple Nothing can be more luxuriant than the blossom
of this vine or creeper. It bears a close resemblance to
the passion flower, passa cerulea, except that it is
three times as large. The leaf of the plant is, however,
entirely different, being broad and curled. A fruit, resembling
the musk melon, is the product of these splendid
flowers.
coronet. Dalcour smiled
and spoke to him in Spanish. The young
man called to his negro and strolled slowly toward
the piazza, while lights in the rustic hall A10r 19
began to glimmer through the foliage and blossoms.
The courteous host proceeded:—‘I did not
tell Idomen I would return, but promised myself
to visit again the cold but picturesque region
where she lived. My parting was sad
and regretful, but I left her in the bosom of affluence.’
‘I had traversed so much of the world, that
few objects were new to me. To reflect on
the events of my life, was like opening a Sibylline
volume, of which the worst oracles were
fulfilled. Yet the innocent being who had
crossed in my path so lately, held now, a large
space in the fields of my imagination; I felt for
her, I knew not what of pity and solicitude;
but, son of casualty as I was, how could I benefit
one to whom the gifts of fortune were not
entirely denied?
In this island I formed a friendship with
one of your country. The broken ties of exile,
the conflicting interests and vicissitudes which
follow in the train of commerce, have all less
effect on the German than on men of other
countries; accustomed to reflection, his mind
becomes his world. Governed by laws created
for himself, the calm expansion of his soul
remains pure and unbroken; even amidst the
selfish mass who wrangle and wound each
other, at every step around him. In the midst
of every thing which can blacken and pollute, A10v 20
a native integrity remains fresh and unsullied
in his bosom; as dew contained in the cup of
that flower to which travellers fly for refreshment
amid the marshes of Florida, A flower in the form of a cup, and containing a draft
of dew, has been described in the earlier notices of Florida.
or as the
cool clear draft contained in those vines which
hang pendant from the forest trees of Cuba,
when the vertic rains cease to fall. This vine of Cuba bears a small inferior sort of grape.
A small gourd becomes immediately full from a large one
when cut with a sabre, such as are commonly worn by
horsemen in that country.
To a German I confided,—the little wealth
won from the wreck of my fortunes was placed
in the hands of a German, and thire treat
which has called forth your praises was chosen
for me by a German.’”

The Stranger.

Dalcour ceased, held his watch a moment
towards the moon, and said to me, “where is
your friend?”
“He lingers in the house,” I
replied, “to write billet doux, or compose
seguidillas. A young ‘Cubana’ has enchanted
him, and his fancy is now too full to suffer
him to listen.”

A11r 21

The evening was not far advanced. The
admirer of Idomen looked at me enquiringly,
resumed his seat and proceeded:

“Before taking possession of this little domain,
I was called once more to the States of
North America
. Late in the season I went
again to P――d. A mania had possessed
the merchants of that coast, for investing the
fruits of their toil in privateers, which swarmed
from their ports during a war with Britain.
Some were enriched by the experiment; but
Burleigh had been nearly ruined.
Again I visited Idomen; her household was
reduced, but a degree of elegance was still
preserved about her person and apartments.
She expressed a lively joy at my return.—
‘Pass wtiith us,’ she said, ‘this evening.—
Pharamond, my cousin, has promised to come;
and will bring with him a beautiful person,
whom I once saw, for a moment, when still
almost a boy, in a little boat, on the river St.
Lawrence
, in Canada.’
At an early hour in the evening, I returned.
Idomen wore black because of the loss of some
friend, but the covering of her arms was transparent,
It may be recollected that the dress of ladies, at that
time, was almost Grecian.
and her fair hair was braided and arranged
with more than usual attention. Every
thing which she thought could entertain,
was collected and placed in her drawing room.
A11v 22 Burleigh soon entered with some neighbors,
who were quickly placed at a whist table; but
I remained sitting on the sofa, with Idomen,
who waited for her cousin.
Three blossoms of narcissus were on her
bosom, with a small sprig of myrtle, and relieved
by her mourning dress, had an effect so
pretty that I immediately noticed them.
The snow lay in the streets without, and
the wood fire blazed briskly within, (the same
as when for the fist time I came to the dwelling
of Burleigh;) while the freshness and fragrance
of these solitary flowers, bore as strong
a contrast to the season of the year, as she who
wore them to those who surrounded her. ‘I
never saw,’
said Idomen, ‘the narcissus bloom
in winter before. These were called forth
from their bulbs by a poor Hollander, who
sold them lately, for a subsistence; there were
but three, and I have plucked them in honor
of my three most valued friends.’
‘You recollect
the fable,’
I said, ‘Narcissus perished for
the love of himself, and nothing remained of
him but this flower; which, upon your mourning
robe looks so very white, and beautiful.’

‘Echo,’ she replied, ‘perished for the love
of Narcissus, and nothing remains of her but
a sound.’
Poor Idomen! her words were like
an oracle of her own destiny!—my story alone,
is her echo, and who will repeat it when these
lips are closed forever?—when the blood of A12r 23
this heart, which so yearned to her, is changed
to tropical verdure.”

Dalcour arose, stood a moment at the entrance
of the arbour, put his hands awhile to his forehead,
and then continued thus his recollections:

“The door soon opened, and Pharamond
Lloyd
presented Ethelward, the promised beautiful
stranger.
The endeavor of Madame Burleigh to acquit
herself well of the honors of her husband’s
house, prevented at first, the full effect of his
appearance; but, as soon as introduction was
over, one of the milk white hands of Ethelwald
was thrown careless over the keys of an open
piano, which was drawn towards one side of
the fire, and the eyes of the lady were arrested;
but the party at whist thought more of
their game than of melody; and as those who
remained were just four, Idomen soon desired
us to sit down to another table, lest music
might disturb those who were intent upon
their play.
The solicitous hostess was placed opposite to
her beautiful guest, whom she had not yet had
leisure to observe, because of the numerous attentions
which it was necessary to pay to others,
but wax lights were soon upon the table and
all at last were seated. Lloyd dealt the cards,
and there was nothing to impede the glances
of Idomen, which were either riveted to the
face or wandering eagerly over the hair and A12v 24
admirable bust of her partner. Her whole
soul seemed abroad in the looks she cast on
him. Placed directly opposite, the eyes of
Ethelward were continually encountering hers,
and expressed an undissembled satisfaction.
I looked alternately at each; and while surveying
the young stranger, I could hardly forbear
sharing in the sentiment of delight which
appeared at this moment to have entire possession
of her whose countenance I was watching.
At the period of their utmost splendor I had
seen the capitals of Europe. The beauties of
Asia, I had admired, and wandered over much
of America. But never had I witnessed before
such an assemblage of personal wonders, as
now met my eyes in the unconscious young
man before me.
His age at this time was twenty-three years;
his stature much exceeded six feet, and his figure,
though still supple and slender, had attained
enough of obesity to give that roundness
of surface so much admired by painters.
The ancient Romans, sometimes fed their
gladiators with a chosen food, to make them
look more beautiful;—but here, what tints and
contour had been refined by a process of nature,
from the snowy earth of Canada!
The complexion of the youth was so fair, as
to seem almost preternatural; but the expansion
of his forehead, a certain stateliness of B1r 25
carriage; the turn of his neck, and the noble
outline of his whole person, perserved him despite
of his uncommon softness, from the slightest
appearance of effeminacy. A smile of voluptuous
sweetness played, as he spoke, about
his exquisite mouth, and disclosed rows of
teeth as white and free from stain or blemish,
as bleached pearls newly taken from the oyster.
Still, a purity and even anxiety of expression,
relieved at intervals the mild brilliancy of his
eyes; and a strength of arm almost gigantic,
was forgotten in the delicacy of his manners,
and a certain indescribable grace which seemed
beaming and floating, as it were, over his
whole person.
Idomen, towards the close of the visit, sang
at the desire of her husband.
Secure in her faith, Burleigh was entirely
free from jealousy, and delighted to show her
to strangers and foreigners.
Some ladies had joined the party, and cards
were laid aside. Ethelwald was enamoured
of music; he sang, with Pharamond Lloyde,
some of these wild boat songs peculiar to the
peasants of Canada, and spoke of the beauty of
his native river. The evening was finished,
and when the hour of parting drew near he
went carelessly to the piano forte, and accompanied
himself in one of those simple but
touching airs derived from the troubadours of
France, and still heard from many a lip on
the snowy banks of the St. Lawrence.
B B1v 26 A few years’ residence in Europe had improved
the natural taste of the performer, and
tender cadences of Italy sometimes heightened
the effect of his closes, without conveying
the faintest idea either of study or display.—
Every stanza that he sang had this conclusion: Quand on aime,On aimera toujours,Toujours davantage.
No one ever sings well without feeling, for
the moment, what he utters. The soul of Ethelwald
seemed to warm every note and word;
he looked up; and his curling hair, of a pale,
golden brown, shone so brightly between the
flames of two waxen tapers, that it was not difficult
to imagine an irradiation round his
forehead, like that sometimes given by painters
to the god of verse and of the lyre. The
room was warm; and small particles of moisture
had oozed through the pores of his spotless
skin, and glistened like points of diamonds.
Idomen was standing near me, and said in a
low tone, ‘does he not seem some creature
of mythology, with flesh composed of ambrosia
and ichor instead of mortal blood; are not the
sublime and beautiful united and personified in
him? In height and outline might he not be
the model for a warrior? And yet the colors
that adorn him are more delicate than those
admired even in the fairest damsel! As the
body of Hector when dragged on the earth
round the city beloved of Venus, was preserved B2r 27
from every wound and stain; so the beauty
of this being of our world, seems protected
by some deity from all the wounds and stains
of mortality.’
The eyes of all in the room were attracted,
at this moment, towards the stranger, and the
words of Madam Burleigh were not heard, except
by the friend who was listening to her.—
I feared lest the feelings of this woman were
combined with those of the artist: yet even
if so, I knew the character of Idomen; I trembled
not for her honor, but I feared for her
life or tranquillity.
On the following day before twelve, I again
sought the dwelling of Burleigh, and found the
young mother engaged, as was her custom, in
instructing her fair-haired boy.
I brought with me Les Incas, for Idomen,
when I first knew her, had wished, as I remembered,
for that alone of all the writings of Marmontel.
I waited for some household arrangements;
then desired her to read to me a little,
as had once been her pleasure.
Madame Burleigh met my request with the
same compliance as ever, but her lips pronounced
as if by mechanism. Her thoughts
could not be fixed on the subject before her;
the quickened beating of her heart was seen
through her white morning robe, and her
cheeks were red with the fever of excitement.
‘Have you dreamed,’ I said, ‘of your beautiful
guest?’
‘I have not dreamed,’ answeredB2 B2v 28
Idomen, ‘but here are some verses that I had
just written down, when little Arvon returned
from walking.’
Ethelwald, as I anticipated, was the subject
of the verses. They were smooth, glowing,
and full of such classical allusions, as might
naturally be brought to memory by the scene
of the preceding evening; still I was happy
to find in them more of the fervor of taste than
the disorder of a newly conceived love.
I asked many questions of her who stood
blooming before me, for I wished to discover,
if possible, what channel her thoughts might
have taken. Idomen answered with perfect
artlessness; she delighted to speak of the beautiful
Canadian, but the terms of her praises,
extravagant as they were, seemed scarcely,
even to me, exaggeration.
She did not know the nature of her sentiments,
neither could I at first divine them.—
Accustomed to the ties and restraints of her
early union, Madam Burleigh never thought,
for a moment, of any delight inconsistent with
them. Admiration for this object filled the
void in her heart, and was indulged in with
perfect innocence. Those feelings which destroy
the health and peace of the lover, had never
yet been awakened. The warmth of a
passionate soul seemed directed from its usual
course, and entirely subjected to the empire
of a guileless intellect. She could, even at
that period, have knelt at the feet of the chef B3r 29
d’œuvre
of Nature that enchanted her; but
the slightest breath of sensuality would have
caused an excess of pain, by turning the currents
of her thoughts from that course of etherial
ecstacy in which they were free to wander.
After this I could conceive of the sentiment
which animated Petrarch of Italy, when he refused
the offer of the pontiff, his patron; and
declined receiving in marriage that Laura, the
mere thought of whose displeasure could deprive
him of peace and of health. See life of Petrarch, by a lady. Hobhouse, in his
notes to one of the cantos of Childe Harold, is a little
offensive in doubting the Platonism of Laura and her
lover; but situated as both of them were, no other kind
of attachment was possible. A contemporary said to
Plato, who was conversing on ideas, “I can see a table,
but not the idea of a table.”
Some there are, however,
who can see the idea, no less than the material. Le
Sage
makes even Gil Blas understand the nature of such
love as that of Petrarch; as evinced by a passage in his
account of Donna Aurora de Guzman. A most beautiful
conception of the power of soul over sense, exists in the
Atala of M. de Chateaubriand.
Ethelwald, at this time, was also peculiar in
mind as in person; in him appeared none of
the grossness of selfishness of a young votary
of pleasure: he listened to his own praises
with a species of gratitude; and no feeling of
vanity could have induced him to cause injury
to her who so freely bestowed them. Before
I left the house of Burleigh, he had come
with Pharamond Lloyde, and brought copied
music to Idomen. I listened awhile to their
songs and conversation, then withdrew to
look after my affairs, and reflect upon the
destinies of those whom I had left to a few
fleeting moments of present happiness.
Ethelwald, at an early age, had entered the
British army, in Canada; and after the victory
of the allied powers at Waterloo, had remained
two years in Europe. But in that profound
peace which succeeded the fall of Napoleon,
the services of young officers were not needed;
and he was now returning, on half pay, to live B3v30
with his father, on the banks of his native St.
Lawrence
.
In walking through the streets of P――d,
after leaving the house of Idomen, I twice met
this young Canadian. The day was pleasant.
He wore a neat blue undress, such as was common
at that time to Englishmen of his quality.
His cheeks glowed with the coolness of
the air; and a travelling cap of dark fur, was
gilded and relieved by the hair that curled in
light ringlets around it.
His mien, gait, and stature, united with so
uncommon a face, were sufficient to call forth
surprise from all the sober citizens of P――d,
who were passing to or from their employments;
while little children who were returning
from school gazed steadfastly awhile on
the stranger, or uttered exclamations of delight.
Pharamond Lloyde was to return to Canada
very soon; and I knew, would come with his
friend to take leave of Madam Burleigh, before
evening on the following day. I yielded to
the wish to be present at this interview, and
sought the tasteful home of the woman I most
admired.
Ethelwald occupied a part of the sofa where
Idomen was sitting; and both endeavored to
persuade her cousin to stay another week at
P――d. Lloyde said it was impossible to
be longer from Quebec; and some circumstance,
as it appeared, compelled his brilliant
companion to bear him company.
B4r 31 Idomen had yielded her imagination entirely
to the influence of the scene. ‘Well,’ said
she, ‘may I desire you to remain,—you seem
to me like an incarnation of the sun,—like a
living Apollo. In your presence I forget that
there is any thing like pain in existence!—
When I look at you and hear you speak, I feel
as if transported to the regions of beauty and
of music.’
These praises were not lost on the Canadian;
though born and educated amidst the
snows and forests of the St. Lawrence, he had
wandered through the galleries of the Louvre,
where all those chefs d’œuvre were assembled,
which, after the fall of Napoleon, were restored
to the cities that bemoaned them; and a
natural taste for the beautiful had made him a
lover of the arts.
The winter sun was declining and the guests
arose to depart. A small present of music was
laid upon her piano, and accepted by Idomen.
The young men took their leave in the English
manner; a shake and pressure of the hand,
and an utterance of the words, ‘God bless
you!’
Pharamond assumed the right of consanguinity,
and touched his lips to those of
his blooming cousin. The friend who so lately
had been liked to an Apollo, or an incarnation
of the sun, seemed wishing to follow his
example; and was withheld less, perhaps, by
the immediate presence of others, than by that
strong sense of respect and propriety, so sacredly B4v 32
observed both by French and English
Canadians
, when admitted to the drawing-room
of a lady.
Madam Burleigh ran through the passage,
and accompanied her visitors to the door,
which they closed gently after them, because
of the coldness of the air. The wood fire fell
in the drawing-room, and while I hastened to
look at it, the latch of the street door was
touched from without. It was Ethelwald; he
had returend a moment, and asked of Idomen,
in a low hurried tone, a kiss such as had been
given to her cousin. A few words ensued and
he was gone.
In a moment, my friend was in the room; a
little agitated, but radiant with warmth and
animation. ‘Did you grant his request?’ I
said. Idomen answered, ‘am I not a wife?—
Stranger as he is, why should he so have returned?
—and yet he only asked of me the
same proof of friendship I had given in his
presence to Pharamond; I need not have been
so cold; and now I suppose, he will forget me!’”

The sweet toned bell of the plantation, at
this moment, sounded. The hour of nine had
arrived, and the negroes of the field were retiring
to sleep in their cottages, not far from
the principal dwelling.

Dalcour led me to the hall, where another
light repast was awaiting us.

Small birds, and shell fish from the bay or B5r 33
river, were served with wine of Bordeaux, and
followed by fruits and coffee.

The same two young negresses appeared as
before, with their collars and bracelets of the
grains of the coral plant; their turbans of blue
handkerchiefs, and their short robes or tunics
of clean linen, bound by girdles of crimson tendrils;
while below them their jetty ancles were
conspicuously circled with scarlet bracelets of
grains like those about their arms.

Ripe fig-bananas, of a small delicious variety,
were brought to us in baskets, woven for
the occasion, of the same broad, fresh green
leaves which had shaded them while See note the seventh of this work. growing.

The rind had been stript from the mellow
fruit, which before was bursting from it; and
the luscious straw-colored pulp looked as if
beginning to melt upon the green rural vessel
that supported it.

We soon arose from supper and retired to
the piazza. Ambrosio complained of fatigue;
he had written his seguidillas and billets-
doux
, to his pretty “Cubana,” and his thoughts
were still absent and wandering about the long
lashes of her eyes and the glossy black tresses
of her hair. After bidding good night in
Spanish, he retired to his sylvan apartment; entered
a bath formed of the hollow trunk of a palm
tree, prepared in a little alcove, and curtained
with muslin like his bed. Clean and refreshed,
he lifted the veil of his cool couch; adjustedB5 B5v 34
on it his own travelling pillow of silk covered
with lawn, placed himself in an attitude
of luxuriant repose, and thought till he dreamed
of Raphaëla.

I soon rose to follow my friend, but the
night seemed too lovely for sleep. My kind
host stood before me in all the beauteousness
of age as described by a bard of Britain. His
every feeling was awakened by the story he
might never relate again. The moonlight
seemed melting over his thick silver hair and
linen dress. He looked as if loth to retire;
and I entreated him to continue his story.

The Discovery.

Dalcour soon drew me towards a sofa, woven
of bajuca by one of his skillful negroes,
and drew forth footstools of the same sylvan
material. After seeing me at ease, he remained
awhile absorbed in recollection. the perfume
of the flowers came gently wafted over
us; and the charm of pleasure and repose
seemed blended with his melancholy accents,
as he again proceeded in his story.

“Soon after the scene depicted, I left again
the country of Idomen, and was constrained to
make several voyages between France and revolutionized
Hayti. The little I had embarked
in commerce, was, at length, successful. I B6r 35
had been to this island and soothed. The
softness of its climate,—the wildness of its recesses,
—the surprising quickness of its vegetation,
—all combined to fix the wavering
choice of one whose hopes had often been scattered.
I had found here also, a friend, an excellent
and honorable German. He saw this
spot where a little coffee had been planted, and
learned that its possession was within the narrow
limits of my fortune. Authorized by letters,
he obtained it for me; and hither, at last
I came, and found solace and amusement in
making these little arrangements which now
call forth your approval.
More than five years had elapsed since I saw
and admired Madam Burleigh. My letters to
her husband had now, for two years, been unanswered.
Relieved from the bustle of commerce,
I began to reflect more intensely on
what might be the probable destiny of the
woman he had cherished and protected. I resolved
to go again to P――d, and waited but
to plant my estate.
Penetrating a few leagues into the country
to procure young coffee and fruit trees, I turned,
as is usual for solitary travellers, from the
rough, unpleasant highway, into the alleys of
a fine coffee plantation, in Guamacaro.
A few moments brought me to the line of
the principal entrance. A noble avenue, half
an English mile in length and leading to the casa grande, or house of the master, was B6v 36
shaded by palm, orange, and mango trees.—
Between these were planted roses, oleanders,
jessamines, tuberoses, and many other shrubs
and flowers emitting a grateful odour.
At convenient distances were seats, sheltered
by arches of lattice work, and covered,
like those before us, with vines of the passion
flower, convolvulus, and many other odorous
creepers, whose nature it is to climb in
wreaths, and attach themselves with tendrils.
I felt inclined to alight; and left my horse
to the care of the negro who followed me, walking
slowly forward through the shade. I soon
found myself in front of a small edifice standing
a little back from the avenue, and adorned with
jessamines and lyrias.
It was a temple built of the lime stone, abundant
in all its neighborhood, which still lay in
heaps in the higher and less cultivated parts
of the plantation.
The little structure was elevated four steps
from the earth, having in front, an entablature
supported by four white columns, in good accordance
with the rules of Doric architecture.
A French overseer stood at the door, and
invited me to enter. The ceiling within was
slightly concave; and the building seemed to
have served for a library and music room.—
Books were seen packed in boxes; and a few
pictures and ornaments had been taken down
from the walls.
The resident master of the estate was lately B7r 37
deceased; and the face of the man who bad
me welcome was shaded with melancholy.His
late employer, he said, was from the north,
and the building we were in had been erected
by a lady, his niece, who came to the island in
deep mourning; and who, a few months before
the sudden death of her uncle, had been summoned,
by a letter, to leave the pleasant place
she had made and visit a relation in Canada.
In a corner of the room stood a little basket
containing what appeared to be slips of waste
paper. I took it to the window, and how was
I surprised, to see fragments of torn verses,
in the hand writing of Idomen!
I asked many questions of the administrador.
He knew little of the lady, except that
she was kind and courteous, and that she sometimes
seemed afflicted; that the planters of the
neighborhood had spoken much about her because
of the singularity of her pleasures and
employments, when contrasted with their own
pursuits; and because, though still young and
said to be without fortune, she seemed indifferent
to establishing herself in marriage; she
was fond of flowers, and had rode and rambled
much about the fields; and when her library
was finished, she had passed in it a part of every
morning.
I now remembered that Idomen had told me
of an uncle. Here, then, he had lived; and
here, had probably, been past the first year of
her widowhood! Idomen was now at liberty B7v 38
to love, but Idomen was now a wanderer. She
was gone to visit her cousin Pharamond at
Quebec. Amid the snows and ice of the St.
Lawrence
, who would supply for her the
warmth of a tropical sun? I thought of the
handsome Ethelwald, and felt, for her, I knew
not what of solicitude.
I returned thoughtfully to my home, which
then, had not had time to bear its present aspect
of adornment. I immediately wrote to
Madam Burleigh, and wished her all happiness
and peace; yet offered, if adversity should
threaten her, my humble roof and all that remained
to me for her protection.
For two months I went not even to Matanzas;
every day was passed in marking out improvements,
directing my workmen, and planting
trees and shrubs which needed little care
save that of nature. There is scarcely any beautiful design of flowers
and shrubs, which may not be effected in Cuba. The
rose is not a native of the country; but when brought
from other climates, where it blooms but one month in
the year, it will keep perpetually in blossom. From 1839-12–1841-05December,
1839, till May, 1841
, I was actually supplied
every morning from one favourite tree, bearing small
white roses.
My German friend had gone to reside at
Havana; and I had been entirely careless of
what transpired in my neighborhood. At length
I rode to the smiling town, to purchase wine
and linen for my household.
Near the margin of the Yumuri, not a half
league from my own dwelling, I observed, for
the first time, a small house, ornamented with
boxes of flowers, and giving proof of more care
than is common with the inhabitants of this
island. A white female servant stood at the
door of the principal apartment, and I saw
within books, pictures, and a piano forte.
B8r 39 In the course of the morning, I enquired of
a foreign merchant, whether strangers had
lately arrived? ‘Madam Burleigh,’ answered the Englishman, ‘or as our Spanish friends
call her, Dona Idomen, has come, and lives
alone, with her servant, though safe, in being
near a Spanish family. The lady is said to be
amiable, but singular in her tastes. What
friends can she possess, who have suffered her
to come unprotected to a country like this?—
She has no doubt returned to look after a bequeathment
of her uncle Llewellyn Lloyde,
with whom she lately passed a year, on his estate,
at Guamacaro. It is about six months
since he died suddenly.’
I waited to hear no more, but concluded my
business as speedily as possible; and at the decline
of the sun, stopped at the dwelling I had
remarked in the morning. It had been a full
month, tenanted by Madam Burleigh.
Idomen received me half screaming with
joy and astonishment. The five past years had
left no traces on her countenance. Her person
was simply but carefully adorned; and her
cheeks, neck, and arms, displayed the soft
roundness of health. Her dress was black but
light, thin and graceful; and a few jessamines
and orange blossoms were fragrant in her fair
braided hair.
‘Idomen,’ I said, ‘we meet again for my consolation.
I know now what may have befallen
you; but now, at least, you seem in hope and B8v 40
in health; you have not yet reached the age
of Sappho when she perished at Leucate; but
happy am I that no Phaon has been your destruction.’
Tears were my answer, but they
were tears of a softened recollection.
My servants and horses were weary, and
longed for their own nightly shelter. I took
leave of my newly found hope, but not before
having tendered her my eternal friendship, and
the utmost I possessed, either of life or its sustenance.
I soon passed the wood, regained my own
piazza, and threw myself into a hammock, but
the charming events of the day had indisposed
me for sleep. My negroes, pleased with
my return, served my evening repast with all
that they could of alacrity.
My white administrador, reported the amount
of labor; my four black mayorales
came to pay their respectful obeisance, and to
speak to me of their own affairs, either of love
or convenience. One asked for his favorite in
marriage, another to rebuild his cottage thatched
with palm leaves.
Having dismissed them all to their rest,
and taken a bath of malva, A bath with an infusion of malva, is held in great esteem
by the Cubanas. It is said, by them, to allay fever,
and to heal the system after bruises or fatigue.
I sought at the
hour of eleven, a sofa in this same piazza, like
this which now supports us. Alas! how different
were my feelings!
B9r 41 The sky with all its constellations looked blue
and beautiful as it now looks. These flowers
returned not their fragrance as I breathed; but
all were planted and springing to luxuriance.
The scenes of strife and danger I had passed,
returned but in dim perspective to my
soothed imagination. I looked out upon my
little domain, with a sense of security and
pleasure. My watch dogs slept; the negro who
kept guard at my sheltered portal, sounded a
few notes on a pipe of his own construction.
His sable favorite heard, and crept softly to
rejoin him, through the budding coffee trees,
bearing a present of ground nuts or manies,
from her own garden, and roasted at the nightly
fire that still burned in front of her cottage. In the hottest nights within the tropics, the negroes
are fond of fire, and will, if allowed, sleep very near it.—
Accidents, however, were so frequent, that on many estates
in Cuba, their fires could only be kindled on the
ground without their cottages.
The wild ipomea waved her delicate tendrills,
as if preparing to embrace my newly rooted
bamboos. The night blooming Cereus was
ready to spring open in the woods; the dew
fell warmly in the moonlight;—all was teeming
and quick with the life of vegetation.
How strongly doth hope entwine herself
with the sensations of man; she reddens his
lip when a child, and follows, playing with his
silver hair, even to the brink of his last resting
place!
B6 B9v 42 I was happy, I knew not why. Sixty summers
had passed over my misfortunes. Did I
hope that Idomen would devote her glowing
years to my solitude?—No! The power that
has granted this blooming shelter to the needs
of my declining age, knows well that I wished
not a sacrifice. To sooth and protect was all
—and that was enough for my happiness.”

Dalcour was silent for a moment, and I saw, by
the moonbeams, that tears were trickling from
his eyes. He arose, walked into the hall,
and awakened a negro, who, with turban of
blue handkerchief, and bracelets of vegetable
coral, on his arms and ancles, was sleeping
with smiles upon his mat and blanket—Benito
awoke slowly; but perforated as soon as he
arose, an unripe cocoa nut, filled two goblets
with its cool The milk or juice of the cocoa-nut, can be obtained
in large quantities, only while the shell of the nut is green
and tender.
delicious liquid, and presented
them to us, on one of the leaves of its tree
which he had twisted and woven into a salver.

The friend of Idomen soon gained his composure.
He quaffed the sweet nutrition and
spoke a word to the negro. Benito went out
and returned with a napkin and a cup, borne
nupon the same salver of cocoa-leaf, and formed
of the shell of a ripe nut, filled with water,
pure from the filtering stone, and scented with
blossoms of the orange tree.

B10r 43

My sensitive host bathed his eyes, lips and
forehead, and received a newly opened cluster
of tuberoses from the hand of the faithful Benito,
whose Spanish good night was returned
with benignant courtesy.

We both sat down again upon the sofa of
bajuca; Dalcour handed me the flower, and
seemed pleased thus to resume his story:

“Early the next morning I repaired to the
house of Madam Burleigh attended by the good
boy Benito, who had found for her breakfast
some rip fig-bananas and an avocado pear,—
that fruit or vegetable marrow so cooling and
grateful to the palate, when eaten with the
light bread of Matanzas.
It was nine o’clock when we arrived. The
convolvulus was still unwilted by the sun, and
the malva with its yellow blossoms, was spread
like a carpet near the threshold.
Idomen stood at the door to receive us.—
She was dressed in a white morning robe, after
the English manner, and a passion flower,
of a small singular variety, was placed amid the
natural curls on the left side of her forehead.
Her whole aspect was serene, and fresh as the
air she was breathing. Unequal in years and
born in a distant quarter of the world, she met
me with all the heart healing delight of a perfect
and unalloyed confidence.
Not far from our view, flowed the smooth
stream Yumuri. The hills rose on our left,
covered with eternal verdure and crowned with B10v 44
a few palmettos, whose plumy tops were waving
softly in the sun.
I held a moment the hand of Idomen, and
was happy. The moaning of the smaller dove
was heard from a neighboring thicket of shrubs
bound together with lianas; but a black vulture
descended and stalked before us in gloomy
stateliness. I looked at the bird and shuddered.”

The Confessions.

“Madam Burleigh told me, that for a year,
she had not read. To think of the scenes
that had past, was now, sufficient amusement
for her hours of pleasure and reflection.
The recent events of reality were still passing
in her memory, and affected more intensely her
thoughts than even those works of feeling and
fancy which had once so strongly attracted
her.
‘I am,’ she said, ‘surprised at my own
contentment. Before I saw you, I had no certain
good in view, yet despite of all that has
befallen me, I have felt, since established in
this cottage, as if sustained by some pleasing
hope.’
‘Happy climate,’ I exclaimed, ‘what a power
dost thou possess of throwing a bright misty B11r 45
veil over every obtrusive recollection! Idomen,
you have accepted my friendship;—you
do not doubt my integrity. Tell me, then, all
that has passed to you. Confide in me, even
as in thy God when thou addressest thyself to
him in prayer!’
This speech brought tears to her eyes.—
Sweet, sweet tears of gratitude and guileless
confidence! who else had ever dropped them
for me?
Souls have existence upon earth, fully capable
of friendship! but scattered are they, far
apart, by time, circumstance, and that pride
which shudders at rejection. How many pass
to the grave, without knowing even one fellow
being! How pines, in secret, the solitary
philanthropist, who wastes his benevolence upon
ingrates; and lavishes upon those who heed
it not, that love of which the mere knowledge
would have been heaven to a bosom of reciprocity!
The breakfast table was occupied and removed.
We retired to a little boudoir separated
by a white curtain from the principal apartment.
Here stood a sofa, and near it a small
work-table, adorned with a vase of tuberoses,
pomegranate and lime blossoms.
Idomen sat down and busied her hands as
when I first had known her. I placed myself
by her side on the sofa, and entreated her to
describe to me the days of her absence.
‘Life,’ she said, ‘was new when I first saw B11v 46
you at P――d. A void was in my heart,
but misery, save that of many griefs in childhood,
I never yet had tasted.’
‘After my cousin and Ethalward had departed
and you, my friend were gone, perhaps never
to return, I began to reflect on my condition.
Our affairs grew worse and worse. Vessel
after vessel had been taken at sea, and Burleigh
my husband, sought relief from his fears, in
such amusements as suspended recollection.
A stranger to need and to economy, his expenses
increased with his misfortunes.
I lingered sadly at home, took care of my
darling boy, and endeavored to make what
little retrenchment I could, to avert, if possible,
the ruin which I knew was pending.
The neighbors who surrounded us became
less warm in their attentions. “I foresaw
from the first, what every thing would come
to,”
said a lady who came to visit me. “Mrs.
Burleigh
,”
said another, “your piano, I am
afraid, must soon be closed. I foresee that you
must soon be obliged to make a change in your
way of living.”
I too, foresaw enough. I
knew that some change must be at hand, but
a vague hope sustained me.
Our table had been hospitable, our doors
open to many; but to part with our well garnished
dwelling, had now become inevitable. We
retired with one servant, to a remote house of
meaner dimensions; and were sought no longer
by those who had come in our wealth.
B12r 47 I looked earnestly around me; the present
was cheerless, the future, dark and fearful.—
My parents were dead, my few relatives in
distant countries, where they thought, perhaps,
little of my happiness.
Burleigh I never had loved, other than as a
father and protector; but he had been the benefactor
of my fallen family, and to him I owed
comfort, education, and every shadow of pleasure,
that had ever glanced before me, in this
world. But the sun of his energies was setting,
and the faults which had balanced his
virtues, increased as his fortune declined.—
He might live through many years of misery;
and to be devoted to him was my duty while
a spark of his life endured. I strove to nerve
my heart for the worst. Still there were moments
when fortitude became faint with endurance;
and visions of happiness that might
have been mine, came smiling to my fevered
imagination. I wept and prayed in agony.
Still heaven was kind to me, for I felt not
the suffering of want. The disgusting lamp,
with its oil of sea animals, took the place of
my neat waxen tapers; but my rooms were
decent and comfortable, and my wood fire well
supplied.
Burleigh passed many of his evenings, I
knew not where. Perhaps it was a fault that I
never had complained of his absence, and that
I forbore reproach, and shrunk when rough
answers were made to me.
B12v 48 My little Arvon said his prayers and went
early to bed, and many a long hour I sat alone
arranging his garments and my own. My
hands were employed, but thought could not
be confined.
During evenings like these, fancy wandered
sometimes in pleasant fields, and many verses
came flowing to be arranged, and were written
on slips of paper in my work basket.
Wakeful, sometimes, in the night, I listened
to the moaning of the winds of winter, and to
the breathing of my sleeping husband; beguiling
my fears of what might come, by thinking
of plans for its endurance.
In these reveries, I said in my heart, “when
a little child I could make verses, I will strive
to excel in Poetry. The poets are distinguished;
fame attracts friends, and if I can have
friends, sincere and elegant friends, poverty
and seclusion will be nothing. Alas! how was
I mistaken!”’
In uttering this exclamation, Idomen became
disconcerted. She dropped, while, the cambric
she was sewing, and half concealed her
face with a cluster of flowers that I had brought
for her. Their odour was powerful, resembling
that of the little plant mignionette; I had
plucked them from a tender tree that I had
brought, for its fragrance, from Guamacaro;
and I now blest them for their influence.
Idomen subdued her emotion. My eyes
were fixed on her, and she seemed to divine C1r 49
that I was reading her inmost thoughts. ‘I
will tell you all,’
she said, ‘and yet, in those
dark moments I have described, I thought of
the stranger Ethalward, only as a picture I had
seen, or as the beautiful delineation of some
poet.’
‘Could I have seen him, in those days, I
would not for worlds that he should have looked
upon my unhappiness. In my former pleasant
drawing room, I had sighed for the image
(when it came smiling to my soul,) that I
now endeavored to banish from a dwelling-
place that seemed to me so dreary.
In this secluded dwelling-place my first
crime was committed—do not start or shrink
at the word!—crime, indeed it as, but a crime
that passed only in intellect,—this material
form that your early praises conspired, oh!
my friend, to make me value, has been guarded,
in kindness, by heaven!’
I felt assured, but said only: ‘This, indeed,
is thy promise, continue.’
She paused a moment
and resumed: ‘The man of the world
might laugh;—the prude, male or female,
might condemn. In my own bosom I felt
sometimes half guilty, and sometimes grateful
to providence for the amusement and solace
afforded me. Crime, even though it were, it
healed my sickening spirit, and saved me, perhaps,
from the gloomy prostration of despair.’
C C1v 50 ‘There lived at P――d an uncommon man,
descended from some of the Scottish settlers
of New England. His name was Brikmoor
Grant
. He had passed with reputation, through
one of the best Universities of the New
World
.
In a country where wealth is divided, and
few individuals have much, the merit and
learning of Grant obtained for him sufficient
distinction. He had risen by his qualities and
efforts, above the restraints of poverty, and
moved in the most refined circles of merchants
whose earnings had escaped the wreck of
wars and of winds, and of men who had studied
at school and were successful in the learned
professions. In the cities of the North
American Republic
, such are the only nobility.
Birkmoor Grant, when a little child, had suffered
the sorrows of an orphan; and seemed
to have feeling and taste.
In a note, written amidst a thousand hopes
and fears, I sent to him requesting an interview,
and received him with trembling, when
he came, yet succeeded, at last, in expressing
the desire I had formed of publishing some of
my verses.
Oh! my ever valued friend, whom heaven
allows me to meet again, in the solitude of
this island, after so many eventful years! the
praises first received from you in the snowy
region of my birth, were then still resounding C2r 51
in my heart, and gave courage to impart my
design.
I spoke with emotion, and earnestness;
Grant heard me with attention, and promised to
lend me his assistance.
I now became happier than before; charmed
and amused, I went cheerfully through the labors
of my little household; copied, translated
and composed.
Secluded from the world, and pained by the
cold regards of some whom I had known in
better fortune, the visits of Birknoor Grant afforded
me the utmost relief. He looked over
my verses and my prose; scrutinized and praised.
Save a few, my dear friend, shown to you,
these verses, which then became so great a solace
to me, had never been read by any mortal.
Burleigh, my husband, so far from cultivating
letters, very seldom even read or wrote;
even his letters on business were written by
others at his dictation. Still, nature had implanted
in him, the highest and most perfect
veneration for learning and the elegant arts;
and no student or tyro, ever asked him in vain
for a subscription.
Persons like this overrate the ability of others;
Burleigh declared himself no judge of what
I wrote, but favored the visits of Grant, and saw
how my hours were employed with satisfaction
and encouragement.
C2 C2v 52 Caution and coldness characterize, it is
said, men of the Northern republic. Of the first,
Birkmoor Grant had his share; yet his actions
to me, were most friendly; and the fervor of a
gratitude, expressed from the depths of my
soul, threw him sometimes off his guard, and
drew from him words of passion.
“Your visits,” I said, “with a little music and
poetry, are, now all the pleasure of my existence!
At the future I dare not look:—the
prospect is too doubtful—too dismal. May I
even hope, always, for your friendship.”
“Always,
so help me God!”
was the answer.—
He was pale, he trembled, and drops of perspiration
appeared and stood upon his forehead—
How many oaths are uttered that never reach
even so deep as the memory of him who speaks
them!
This scene transpired of a morning, when
he whom heaven had sent as the friend of my
dark hours, alone, was sitting, by my side, over
a MSS.manuscripts which he had read, marked, and corrected.
It was but a momentary meeting of
souls destined soon to be severed, or wrapt in
that impenetrable envelop which shrouds the
best thoughts of mortal beings. If we ever
meet again, in time or eternity, gratitude will
still expand the sentiments of mine, and his
cannot suffer with remorse, for injury either
done or caused to me.
Birkmoor Grant, when my friend, had reached C3r 53
the age of thirty, and passed as a model in
morals and good conduct. His company was
sought by the gayest circles around him; and
many a father and mother were pleased when
he visited their daughters. His person, besides,
was excellent, in height, figure, and
features; and his crisped hair, blacker than
the raven of Canada, the snake of the Mississippi,
or the vulture that stalked this morning
by the limpid and flowery Yumuri.
Besides these endowments of nature, which
had been trained to produce more effect than
is common with men of his country and profession,
the manners of Grant were cultivated;
and he piqued himself on being able to shut up
his books, and to look when he pleased, like a
man of the world.
I often wrote pages merely for the pleasure
of hearing him read a few words. His visits
were frequent; sometimes in the presence of
Burleigh and my son; sometimes in my hours
of solitude.
Often when drest for some neighboring ball
or festival, he would come ere the evening had
advanced, and spend half an hour at our fireside.
At one of these intervals, I said to him,
in sincerity: “How kind of you to remain here
so long in quiet conversation with a recluse,
while a circle of gay young girls have, perhaps,
attired themselves to please you, and are now,
perhaps, waiting in expectation.”
“Because,” C3 C3v 54
he answered, “it is here that I am to find my
happiness.”
A shade of self-complacency marked the
rest of his visit, as well as an evident satisfaction
that his presence was fully appreciated; and
that his voluntary absence from a more happy
company was considered in the light of a sacrifice.
Soon after this, I had reason for less of gratitude.
A year had passed in a pleasant and
harmless friendship; but the motives of Grant
were now changed and apparent. He uttered
sentiments that I could not answer; and gave
me to perceive, that beneath the veil of my retired
misfortunes, he was capable of a deed that
must afterwards be concealed by falsehood.
Here, then, was my crime. I had not courage
to part with his visits immediately. Do
not start, my friend, or blame me too deeply.
These visits were dangerous, but no more. Could he basely avail himself of a weight of
circumstances that I struggled continually to
bear? Could he sacrifice a sincere friend to
himself, and conceal the deed by duplicity? A
thought like that, alone was sufficient for my
preservation. Yet, I suffered him to hope, for
a while, and to think himself completely beloved.
That sufferance alone seemed a crime to
me, and the sense of a mental debasement, added
at intervals to my torments. Still, his
company continued to be a solace and amusement; C4r 55
till, at last, instead of reproaches I gave
him a copy of these verses, which were a close
to our readings together in Italian:
To meet a friendship such as mine, Such feelings must thy soul refine As are not oft of mortal birth: ’Tis love without a stain of earth, Fratello del mio cor. Looks are its food, its nectar sighs, Its couch the lips, its throne the eyes, The soul its breath, and so possest Heaven’s raptures reign in mortal breast, Fratello del mio cor. Though friendship be its earthly name, Purely from highest heaven it came; ’Tis seldom felt for more than one, And scorns to dwell with Venus’ son, Fratello del mio cor. Him let it view not, or it dies Like tender hues of morning skies, Or morn’s sweet flower of purple glow, When sunny beams too ardent grow, Fratello del mio cor. A charm o’er every object plays, All looks so lovely, while it stays, So softly forth in rosier tides, The vital flood ecstatic glides, Fratello del mio cor, C4 C4v 56 That wrung by grief to see it part, A very life drop leaves the heart; Such drop, I need not tell thee, fell, While bidding it for thee, farewell. Fratello del mio cor. The habitual prudence of Grant preserved
him, I doubt not, from pain—he loved the less
as he esteemed the more; and not very long
after this, sought a girl of fortune in marriage.
I had no time to think of him more, for soon
my whole soul became absorbed, and every
moment devoted. Poor Burleigh had caught
a fever by a series of imprudent exposures,
against which, all remonstrance had been vain.
By his bed I continually watched, reflecting
upon benefits received at his hands, and on the
large amount of good dispersed in the sphere
around him. Wayward and petulant, immoveable
in will, and with character unformed, save
by circumstances, his faults had increased
with misfortune; but his soul remained full of
generosity. He died, and my boy was an orphan.
Pale with grief and watching, I saw him deposited
in the earth; and of those who had
sought and received from him, a few appeared
as my comforters.’”

Dalcour arose, paced with me a few moments
the leafy piazza, shook the fragrance
from a jessamine of Florida that hung like a
curtain between the rustic pillars, and asked C5r 57
me if I was not yet weary of listening to the
story he had begun. Pleased with the melody
of his voice, I had shared the melancholy pleasure
that he evidently took in its recital. I
plucked a rich carnation from a vase of limestone
that stood raised from the earth, and sat
down again upon the sofa of bajuea, inhaling
the perfume of the flower that so lately had
luxuriated near me.

Dalcour called to a negro who assisted in
keeping the night watch; a mocking bird of
Virginia was soon hung in his cage, upon the
lattice of grenadilla that overshadowed the
fountain, and the notes of the bird, softened
by a little distance, were heard at intervals,
as the friend of Idomen continued again his recital:

“Madam Burleigh had paused, and I saw that
she was agitated. Fearing to exhaust her too
much, I arose to depart, recommended an
early meal and siesta; and obtained from her
a promise to ride with me, for health, at the
decline of the sun.
Protected from the heat by an umbrella of
peculiar construction, I rode slowly into the
town; procured neat trappings for a lady’s
pony, and returned to wait the time of the
passeo at my own growing plantation.
At five o’clock I returned again to the
dwelling of Idomen, while Benito, my excellent
negro, followed in my track, with a pony
reared and broken in the neighborhood.
C5v 58 For the use of ladies, few horses are more
delightful than those of Cuba, and this was one
of the most gentle. I had purchased him for
his beauty, easy step, and obedience to the
rein, and my heart now exulted in seeing him
adorned for a friend, endeared to me by so
many circumstances.
The saddle cloth I had procured in the morning
was blue bordered with yellow, and in the
Spanish taste. Though favorable to the dress
of the rider, I half regretted its concealment
of the fine mottled sides of the gentle gray
creature, who curved his neck as Idomen
mounted to her seat.
Benito, my negro, loved the animal, and had
taken of him unusual care. On this occasion
he had fastened round his neck It is not uncommon to see a creolean horse with flowers
about his head and neck.
a garland of
my newly blown roses, and named the pretty
creature as he stood still to receive this first
ornament Ojo-dulce. The dress of Idomen
was light gray, bordered with black; thrown
open because of the warmth of the air, and
showing frills of neat lawn at the neck, hands,
and bosom. She wore on her head a fine
palm-leaf hat of the country, surrounded by a
wreath, woven, as she waited my arrival, of
blossoms from an orange tree in her enclosure.
C6r 59 The sun was approaching his decline with
more than usual resplendency; and the expressive
face of my companion, seemed beaming
with health and pleasure. Her light exercise;
—the odor of her flowers;—the colors of
twilight;—the melting, as it were, of the whole
sky;—a sense, perhaps, also of confidence in
my protection;—the whole charming present
combined, had steeped for the moment her
heart, as if in a flood of balm; and scenes and
beings at a distance, were banished awhile,
even from that memory which so closely and
constantly retained them.
A blood-warm bath, perfumed with orange
flowers, and softened with an infusion of malva,
is not more grateful to the form weary of
exertion, than hours like that to souls that
have suffered from sorrow.
We rode through Matanzas;—it was the
hour of the passeo. Numerous volantes adorned
with silken fringe and silver plating passed
each other in the streets, filled with ladies
entirely unveiled and dressed for the evening.
It was pleasant to hear the music of their greetings,
and to see the quick, peculiar movement
of their small hands, waved in salutation; yet
we soon passed through the town towards the
Rio San Juan, and sought the cool borders of
the bay.
Refreshed by the breeze of the waters, we
rode slowly on till attracted by a group of trees C6v 60
placed by nature, in singular order, than alighted
a moment from our horses, to examine the
bowery retreat.
A wild fig tree had formed itself on an old
wall In 18291829, this singular group of trees was still standing
on a road bending near the bay of Matanzas, and
leading into the country. The wild fig tree, or as the
French call it, figuier maudit, may be seen in Cuba,
in every state of its curious and surprising formation.
perhaps of some early Spanish settler, for
no vestige of the edifice remained, save only
that portion which distinctly appeared through
the meshes of the curious plant, which rising
above it in the air were united in a stately trunk.
Large masses of luxuriant foliage, extended
themselves on high, in a circular form; and
relieved with their dark deep green, eight tall
silver shafted palmettos standing round it at
a pleasant distance.
The whole seemed a temple of nature. Visit
it, when you ride with Ambrosio. Perhaps
he will sketch it with his pencil. The spot to
me had a charm, and indeed, so had every thing
beheld on that day and lovelier evening. While
we still lingered, looking alternately at the
scene and the colors of the sea and sky, a gentleman
passed us followed by two servants
with laden horses, as if returning to the country.
He looked at us both with scrutiny, and
saluted Idomen in Spanish by her christian
name; she waved her hand with some emotion C7r 61
and said, in return, ‘Vaya, señor, con
Dios.’
The sun was near sinking; yet the rider
proceeded slowly, looking back till we remounted
our horses. ‘His name’, said Idomen, ‘is
Belton; I knew him at Guamacaro, as the very
intimate friend of my deceased uncle Lewellyn.’
We passed back through the town at a
quickened pace, for, at this time, but few volantes
were found lingering in the duskiness.
I left Madam Burleigh at her door, promising
to return the next morning after breakfast.—
Assisted by Benito, I threaded my way through
the dark wood, bending closely to the neck of
my pony, to avoid the boughs and vines that
swept over us, till we gained the commodious
avenue of my newly planted bamboos.
My contented negroes came severally to
welcome my return. They had washed their
arms and faces at their own tank, and brought
with them little children to witness the safety
of their master.
Supper was already spread, and as soon as
I could I retired. But when bathed and composed
upon my pillow, the looks of the stranger
who had spoken to Idomen by the wild
fig-tree, seemed present again ere I slept.
As soon as the labors of another day were
directed, I took with me again my faithful negro,
and repaired to the dwelling of my friend. C7v 62
Benito brought on his horse a vase of tuberoses
in water, together with the blossoms of
that little tree, more fragrant than the mignonnette
of France; covered from the sun with
fresh plantain leaves. Madam Burleigh received
them unwilted. I had become more
anxious than ever to hear the rest of her adventures.
She waited but to taste with me the
milk of a cocoa-nut, placed the flowers I had
brought on a little table of her cool curtained
boudoir, and thus continued her narrative:
‘When poor Burleigh was laid in the earth,
my health, for some weeks, continued wretched,
but I struggled for fortitude and composure,
and assistance was not long withheld.—
Lewellyn Lloyd, my uncle, soon heard of my
bereavement, and sent for me to come to this
Island.
To see another country and climate was
pleasing to my imagination; but it grieved me
to part with little Arvon. A friend, once dependent
on my husband, remained still attached
and unchanged. He urged the necessity
of my absence, and promised to take care of
my boy till I could send or come to reclaim
him. I saw that he loved the child, and trusted,
with tears, my dear little orphan to his assurances.
My autumnal voyage to this island was long
and interrupted by storms. Sick and tossed
upon the waves I scarcely rose from my pillow, C8r 63
and the whole of three successive weeks
was but pain and hurried reflection, cheered at
intervals with hopes of the future.
The winds became hushed as we approached,
and beneath the clear waters of the Bahamas,
the sea-flowers were seen upon the sands.
The odour of plants and ripened coffee came
greeting our senses while still upon the bosom
of the ocean. To see the distant land was renovation,
and cold, storms, and sickness were
forgotten.
It was noon when we entered the fine harbor
of Havana, and the first day of the week.
The scene that arose before us, seemed too
wildly picturesque for reality. Beings of all
tints and complexions, between the light Spanish
olive, and the jetty black of Africa, seemed
crowded to gaze on our arrival; arrayed in
clean white garments, they looked as if prepared
for a festival. Sunday in Catholic countries, is always af estivala festival, and
most on that day wear clean dresses.
The day was warm but not oppressive. The
castles Moro and Punto, rose gilded with the
sun, on each side; and about the dark ledges
of the wave worn cliffs that support them, stood
groups of men and boys, angling, as if for pastime,
in the waters of the bay beaneath them;
their unsoiled linen dresses were relieved by
the color of the rocks; and the whole seemed
like a sketch from the vivid fancy of some painter.
C8v 64 But why should I pause to describe emotions
known by so many? The feelings of those
who come from a land of snows and leafless
forests to those beautiful islands of the sun,
are well known, my friend, to you. “And
yet,”
I returned, “to hear the description from
thy lips, surpasses to my heart, the reality as
it looked to my eyes. Now that I have become
thy father and protector, I hope to see
all in thy presence. The beauties of the country
are known to me well; proceed, then, to
tell me of thyself. Disclose to me every incident,
as it comes to thine own soul in truth.”’
Idomen looked at me and continued: ‘Unaccustomed to the sight of a relative, my
uncle Lewellyn Lloyd received me with unhoped
for affection.
A few days were passed in Havana. That
haven of adventurers from many countries has
seldom been presented to the world, either in
verse or romantic story; yet scenes are daily
passing in its courts, which outvie the inventions
of fiction.
We rode on the beautiful paseo; listened to
the music of the opera; and visited the tomb
of Columbus. How rude is the bust of marble;
and yet as I stood by it, in the cool cathedral,
the soul of the hero seemed present.
Llewellyn soon became impatient to see me
at his home in Guamacaro. Two days we
rode slowly in a volante, curtained with green C9r 65
silk, through the alleys of blooming plantations.
On the grounds of the Conde de Loreto,
the fruits that were lying in heaps, seemed
enough to fill a city with luxury.
But one night was passed at Matanzas, and
riding slowly through the sun we reached ere
the fourth evening of our journey the Cafétal
San Pablo,
the same that you saw at Guamacaro.
A French mayoral had ornamented the
place as well as he could for my reception.—
The hall within looked gloomy, but flowers
were twined round the simple pillars without,
edged every walk, and bloomed and breathed
in every alley. The calmness of the scene
gave me pleasure. Here I might ride, write
verses, and look at the sky and verdure.
The twilight was nearly past, when I stood
with Llewellyn, in the piazza, glancing far
down the darkening avenue of palms, orange,
and mango trees. Two hundred expectant
negroes came soon in a line, two by two,
conducted by white overseers, to welcome the
relation of their master; they all bent the knee
an instant, and uttered the Spanish commendation.
Soon after drawn up in a ring they
repeated an evening prayer; then retired to
the lawn before their cottages, to sup and pass
the evening at the sport they most delighted
in.
It soothed me to be welcomed with festivity.C6 C9v 66
Would to heaven that fear and pain had
never been made necessary to mortals!
At half-past nine the sweet toned bell of the
estate resounded through the fresh dewy air;
I retired soon to my bed-room, entered a blood-
warm bath, and lay me down, protected from
the insects by clean white lawn of France.
It was long before I sank into sleep. The
varied objects of the day were floating in succession
through my mind; and mosquitos that
sang without my barrier of lawn seemed darting
and striving to reach me, while fresh from
the North and sanguineous.
When dreams at last began to mingle with
reality, the pleasant morning bell soon banished
them; and a noise like the waves of the sea
seemed rushing towards the roof where I slept.
It was but the numerous doves, who had come
from their cote at the well known sound of
the bell, and lighted on the dwelling of their
master, to wait for a repast of maize, daily
strown for them, thus early, before the steps
of the piazza. Vultures may stalk by these
rivers, but Cuba is a region for the dove. Many beautiful doves are natives of the woods of
Cuba. I have seen them of the size of a fieldfare or robin;
and the delicate little creatures utter the most plaintive
moan that it is possible to conceive of.
When I rose all was verdure and brilliancy.
The sun had risen in his beauty, but the dew
was still heavy upon the flowers. Palmettos,
papayas, trees of the Otaheite almond, and
dark plumy clusters of bamboo, rose high
against the clear blue firmament.
C10r 67 The large flocks of doves had dispersed, but
green chattering parrots were tearing with
their ivory beaks the rind of the most acid
oranges. Lizards of various colors—green,
blue, flame-like vermillion, and velvet black,
glided out to bask in the sun, and to lap with
their soft tiny tongues the large drops hanging
near the The tameness of the small lizard is very surprising.
When approached by a human being it never attempts
to move, but continues lapping the dew or standing
perfectly still, with a certain expression in its eyes
which might seem to indicate reason. There was once, K6v 228
I am told, a superstition, which taught that the lizard
was on certain occasions sent to warn persons of danger.
The degree of heat that the negro can endure, is very
astonishing. I have seen women take their little children
to the secaderos, or coffee dryers, at the hottest season
and hottest hours of the day, where they would sit and
luxuriate in the sunbeams, though eggs might almost
have been cooked on the plaster beneath them.
branches.
To pace the cool piazza, to inhale the respiration
of flowers, to banquet the eye with
soft tints and shades; to feel upon the cheeks
and forehead, caresses from the fresh morning
breezes, for a while was sufficient amusement.
The limbs of the negroes that passed to and
fro among the trees were round and glossy
with health, their labors were light and cheerful,
and their far native land forgotten. Singing,
in low hum, rude songs of their own composing,
they lived all day among the flowers
of an eternal spring; plucking the red berries
of the coffee fields, or trimming broad hedges
of lime trees, continually in fruit and blossom.
The noonday beam that endangers the brain
of the white man, to them was but pleasure
and rejoicing. Their jetty black skins became
I have never, in Cuba, seen the slightest frost;
but there are some days in winter, when a little fire is
grateful, although very few indulge in it except the negroes.
smoother and more supple in its heat, and
they welcomed its hottest reflection like the
serpent that glides from his retreats in the vernal
season of the north. Ripe fruits were their
nightly repast, their sports music and dancing.
C5 C10v 68 The few wants they knew, in a state so near
to that of nature, were promptly and easily
supplied, and they lived careless of to-morrow
as the birds that feasted on their orange
trees.
The purple-shelled crab, that leaves his
traces in the red soil of their gardens, must remember
his path to the sea; the ant that devours
their coffee plants, must plan and choose
a retreat ere he delves his subterranean abode;
but the negro leaves all to his master. In the
power of men wise and humane, how happy
are even ignorance and slavery!
For six months I lived in tranquillity. The
neighboring planters with their families, were
early and frequent in their visits; and Llewellyn,
my uncle, was kind, and satisfied with
my endeavors to please him;—but my boy,
my darling boy, was absent and fatherless.
At length that curiosity felt, ever, at the
arrival of a stranger, began to be fast subsiding.
My relation and protector spent much
of his time at Matanzas. Alone, amid the
shades of San Pablo, I had power to choose
and arrange my own rural amusements. In
all my life, before, I never had lived in the
country; and no where could nature have appeared
in a softer aspect.
In the morning I directed the household,
and then read or wrote a few hours. In the
twilight a pony was brought to the piazza, C11r 69
and I rode through the fields and alleys accompanied
by some neighbor or domestic.—
This mode of life was new, and inspired a contentment
that I seldom before had tasted. No
external amusement was sighed for, every hour
was occupied, and every flower and insect a
subject for admiration and wonder.
But this calm was of short duration. A
friendly merchant died, and embarrassments
were perceived in the affairs of him who protected
me; while some other secret affliction
seemed preyed on his mind and spirits. My
sense of contentment fled; and the future again
became threatening; though, so lately, it had
scarcely claimed a care, save that of thoughts
and plans for the welfare of my absent boy.
Two owners of estates in Guamacaro had
intimated a wish for my hand; but uncharmed
with their manners and wholly unacquainted
with their sentiments, my sould could not otherwise
than revolt at a contract so immediate.
It was said to Llewellyn“your niece, it is
very true, can depend on herself for amusement,
and make herself contented as she is;
yet still, as she has no fortune to depend on,
it will be better, both for herself and for you, to
get her off your hands by a prudent marriage.”

Thus was the offer made, and thus was it urged
to me. Loth to sell myself, I knew not
what to answer; and said, only, that having
been a wife even from childhood to the beginning C11v 70
of the still present year, I wished to be
at liberty, so far as with gratitude I might, at
least for a little while longer. My uncle said
no more, but grew every day cooler and cooler.
A year was finished at San Pablo: the planter
who had caused my uneasiness, took little
pains to win my esteem, yet often spoke secretly
to Llewellyn. Pressed, pained and distrustful,
I knew not how to proceed, when a
letter arrived from Canada: Pharamond Lloyde,
my cousin, had lost by sudden death, his young
and beautiful wife, and entreated of me a visit
of consolation. Llewellyn saw the letter and
made no effort to detain me.
With a thousand dark misgivings I prepared
to leave, again, this sweet island of flowers
and forgetfulness.
The planter, who had been to me more
reasonable and respectful than the rest, came
to San Pablo on the eve of my departure, and
a tear was on his sun-burned cheek. Why
did he not sooner evince some real affection.
Every thing was ready. I had prayed earnestly
to heaven for direction in my resolves,
and went, half promising to return;—yet as I
stepped into the volante which was to bear me
to Matanzas, there came to my heart a sensation
resembling the touch of death.
A vessel in which ladies were passengers,
left, before three days had passed, its morring
in the beautiful bay. Llewellyn and the friend C12r 71
who had dropped a tear at San Pablo, went
with me together in a boat when the time of
her sailing approached. It was the month of
March, the coffee trees were in full blossom,
and the sea winds for many miles before us,
were rich with the perfumes of the island.—
The eyes of both my conductors were beaming
with regret and tenderness as we parted.
Alas! I never saw them more! The little
boat that bore them was soon out of sight;
and both, ere another year had passed, were
embarked on the sea of eternity!’

The scenes and events that follow, were
passed”
, said Dalcour, “in a country far
distant from me, yet I learned them from the
lips of Idomen, and have written them since,
in my language. I keep them preserved in my
cabinet with the verses and designs of her
whom I cherished but to lose again: go with
me to my inner apartment, and I will show
them to you.”

I followed Dalcour across the hall towards
a passage that I had not remarked; but now
that he had ceased to speak, I perceived that
he was pale and exhausted, and begged him
to retire till the morning.

The apartment of Ambrosio was still, as I
passed by it to my own; and I threw myself
at once upon my pillow and found the refreshment
of sleep needful in every clime, but most
needful in the tropics.

C12v 72

Like Idomen at San Pablo, I was awakened
in the morning by the sounding wings of tame
doves. The sweet tones of the bell soon followed.
I lay listening to the various noises
of the plantation till I heard the voice of Dalcour,
then arose to bear him company among
the fair scenes of his creation.

At nine, a breakfast was served which might
tempt the most delicate gastronome. Jellies,
oysters containing pearls, small birds, a flavorous
paste made with the tender grains of
unripe maize, fried slices of ripe bananas, melting
avocado pears, and honey of the country,
carefully taken from the comb, and scented
with the blossoms of the orange tree; these
viands were served with light bread, rice and
wine, and followed by coffee and chocolate.
While, for palates less easily excited, garlic,
anchovies and the bring scarlet pimiento, could
be brought at a moment’s warning, yet would
ill have accorded, in their odor, with two large
vases of flowers which Benito had placed upon
the table.

Ambrosio, as soon as he arose from the meal,
gave pencils and tablets to his negro, and repaired
to the avenue of bamboo, to sketch its
green arches in perspective. Before another
hour had passed away, the biographer of Idomen
sent for me to come to his most secret
retirement.

A narrow passage between partitions of basket D1r 73
work like the greater part of the dwelling,
conducted to a small apartment, secluded in
one of the wings, and lighted by two small
windows entirely concealed with flowers and
foliage. Different from all the rest, this one
little room, or closet, was neatly finished with
fine plaster, and hung, wherever there was
space enough, with choice paintings or engravings.
Two cases for books were each of
them surmounted by a bust of fine marble, one
a copy of the Belvidere Apollo, the other a
little resembling Canova’s Venus from the
bath
.

A round French table, in the centre, was
faced with marble wrought in mosaic, and the
floor that we trod upon, was also a pavement
of marble. In a niche, or indentation in one
of the sides of the room, stood a small stove of
porcelain, to be heated during those few winter
weeks when cold reaches even to Cuba,
and changes the colour of the cheeks and lips,
though it cannot harm the tenderest Great pains must be taken in order to preserve
papers in the West Indies: letters, engravings, and even
books bound in boards, are soon devoured by the insects.
leaf.

A pretty French cabinet, alose of porcelain,
and delicately painted, stood open, and seemed
reserved for papers and choice relics, which
elsewhere might be injured by the Great pains must be taken in order to preserve
papers in the West Indies: letters, engravings, and even
books bound in boards, are soon devoured by the insects.
insects.

“This,” said Dalcour, “is my oratory.—
Here but one domestic ever enters, and seldom
any stranger; here I sometimes come, in
the hours of midnight and reflection; and here
I pass those few days, when the sun is D D1v 74
farthest distant, and when, though gathering
flowers all the while, the creole wraps his
cloak closely round him.”

My attention was immediately arrested by
an oval painting, apparently of some ancient
master, on each side of which, on a small projection
or table of marble, stood two waxen tapers
in candlesticks of carved alabaster, and
covered with glasses. The picture presented
half the figure of a woman of light complexion
and mild expression of countenance, who held
on a scarf, in her lap, fresh flowers of a temperate
region, exquisitely tinted and delineated.

Dalcour seemed pleased with my attention,
and said that he had purchased the picture in
France, because of its resemeblance to Idomen.

The English verses of her whose memory
was so dear to him, were rolled with his own
MSS.manuscripts which he seemed to wish me to copy:—
I preferred to hear the story from his lips, as
before, and promised to wait till the moonlight
might be shining again his piazza. The
glowing beams of the sun seem never in accordance
with those deep feelings of the heart
which shrink from the common observation,
and seldom can well be expressed even to the
best earthly friend; but the tongue will sometimes
gain courage when evening conceals the countenance.

I wished to read and write, at least, so many
of the verses as related to the story half D2r 75
told to me; for I was fain to take the whole to
my country as a fragment of the distant new
world.

I saw that a cushion of silk was lying upon
the too cold marble before the picture of Idomen;
and conceived of the fond superstition
which caused a knee sometimes to bend there.
The light task even that I proposed, seemed, in
such a retreat, profanantion; and yet, to take to
any other place, those papers, once warm in the
hand of the very friend so cherished in memory,
might be still more repugnant to one who
so worshipped an ideal; but Dalcour soon relieved
my embarrassment, by requesting me
to wait where I was, in possession of the papers,
till he joined me. One small silken ottoman
supplied the place of the other seats, and that
I was to sit on with my tablets.

At three I rejoined del Monte. A meal, a
siesta, and a ride about the grounds, filled well
the other hours till moonlight. Ambrosio, before
the time of the passeo, had gone through
the wood to Matanzas, but promised to return
the next morning, and finish his sketch of the
fine arched perspective of the avenue of bamboo
by which we entered.

As soon as the twilight had faded, I dressed
myself afresh in cool linen, and sat down upon
the sofa of bajuca to wait for the coming of
my sensitive and bland entertainer. He had
not joined in our afternoon exercise, but came D2 D2v 76
to me newly bathed, and retaining the odor
of orange flower water. Refreshed from a
long repose, he felt not the last night’s wakefulness;
and, handing me a cluster of flowers,
proceeded soon with his story, as it came from
the lips of Idomen, to be written forever on his
memory. The tones of Idomen herself could
scarcely have been more plaintive than those
of the fervent old man, who seemed to inherit
the soul of one of the troubadours of his country.
He paused awhile, to recollect her words,
and then continued thus her narration. “We
had left the land of sunshine and sweets. The
month of April had begun, yet snow storms
greeted the return of our vessel to the country
of my birth place.”

“‘P――d seemed no longer my home, yet
there many duties detained me. When a few
months had passed, I took with me my darling
boy, and went, over mountains and through
woods, to Canada,—to the country of Ethelward
— to a land of deeper snows and wilder
forests than even the one where my soul had
first waked to consciousness. Yet music,
beauty, and love, had power to make even, on
the ice of the St. Lawrence, a paradise unknown
to me before.
Little Arvon, then eight years of age, was
my only attendant and companion. It was
autumn. The wild scenery of northern America
was tinted with the most beautiful colors, D3r 77
that autumn ever wears in the world.—
The bold barren cliffs of the mountains;—the
cold mountain streams, strown with fallen
leaves,—the desolate branches, despoiled of
their foliage by piercing winds, or still bearing
that foliage painted, by early frost, with the
richest gold and crimson, might be likened to
the gorgeous vestments of a queen who stands,
with all her train, amid the shrinkings and
sufferings of poverty.
How strong was the contrast of those bare
dark rocks and forests, already half dismantled,
to the flowers and everlasting verdure
that fleeces those shores and tangled deserts,
and return to the smiles of the sun, every day
that he rises in Cuba!
Rude cultivators of the ruder soil, and traders
who carried their contraband, merchandize
to Canada, from the flourishing republic,
were all our travelling society. Both farmer
and trader were kind to little Arvon and to his
mother. Bearing good will to all mankind,
we were helpless ourselves, because alone; but
be it to the honor of those regions, continual
good offices were received on our way, and no
evil done or designed to us.
We stopped at Montreal for refreshment;
and a passage for us was taken in the steamboat,
which then, but for a few years, had roared
through the waves of the St. Lawrence.
In all the varied climates and vast extent D3 D3v 78
of the new world, what stream can compare
with this? The wild aborigines of the country,
first called it the “great river;” and that name
in their own soft language, composes the word
Ladaüanna, which sounds like the music of the
waves. An aged This chief in 18261826, (and who for aught I know, still
is there,) resided with his family at Lorette, the cathlic
village, about nine miles from Quebec, where Indians
live in peace and happiness, in a state of semi-civilization.
His name was Lauanaui, to which had been
had been prefixed the names Nicholas Vincent. Thinking the
House of Assembly were not sufficiently mindful of
his nation, he went himself to England, and had several
personal interviews with George IV. He spoke and
wrote English.
chief of the Hurons, who
learned to write of white men, traced afterwards,
that name at Lorette, on a leaf of my
pocket book, with a hand that had scalped his enemies.
Beautiful Ladaüanna! how clear and sparkling
art thou to the eye! to the lip how sweet
and salutary. A cataract, the wonder of the
world, is formed by the waters that rush to
the sea through thy channel. And, near the
soft ripple of thy brink, was born the most
lovely of mortals.
A night and nearly a day had been passed
upon the waves, which, near to the shores,
were beginning to be “candied with ice.” A
passing storm had caused our course to be retarded.
D4r 79 It was colder than usual in October, but
the brilliant tints of the northern New World
had not yet faded into russet. The leaves of
the walnut were still like burnished gold, and
those of the maple of a glowing scarlet; while
tall flourishing pines, with their various evergreen
companions, seemed defying the approach
of winter. A light fall of snow had
powdered the foliage, and faintly sparkled in
the pale rays of the sun, just escaped from his
clouds to set clearly; like some mortal who
vanquishes misfortune to die when his path becomes
pleasant.
Oh Nature! in whatever climate thou art
seen, how many charms adorn thee! Where
the last dwelling of the white In the year 18311831, (I know not what may have
been done since,) one might stand on a rampart of Quebec,
and see plainly the last dwelling of civilized man intervening
between himself and the North pole. Huts of
the savages, were, of course, scattered beyond. My attention
to this circumstance was directed by a gentleman
in the profession and practice of law, who had lived
in Canada fifty years in matrimony with the same lady.
man is seen
towards the northern polar ocean, I have beheld
thee, crowned with rocks, and admired
thy rude magnificence. In these regions of
burning Cancer, thy temples are ever bound
with flowers.’
After this brief rhapsody was finished, I
left Idomen a moment; and finding Benito in
the small, shady court within, I received from
him a ripe guayava, and cut it in parts to present
it, on a leaf, to her who was speaking for
my pleasure. Its pulp of bright rose color,
enclosed by a rind of pale gold, could not tempt
her to soil her lips at that moment; but I laid
it on the table before her, to emit a rich fragrance,
as she continued:
D4 D4v 80 ‘When the steamboat was near approaching
the Canadian town, Trois Rivieres, I felt
cold and retired to the cabin of ladies, leaving
Arvon in safety on the deck.
A thousand emotions were crowding to my
heart, as I sat a moment in solitude, while all
was noise and bustle above. The boat stopped
opposite to a place that awakened to me
no other than pleasing recollections; yet my
heart, I knew not why, beat violently. A hope
was obtruding itself, vague and indefinite in
its nature, but strong and exciting in its effects;
and I called on my utmost resolution
to suppress and subdue it. My sense of the
past became dim, and the present was scarcely
realized, when little Arvon came running
with pleasure in his eyes, and entreated me to
go up to the deck with him.
I followed him to the door of the cabin.—
“Mother,” said the expectant boy, “they say
Mr. Ethelwald is coming; is not that the beautiful
gentleman that held me on his hand, when
I was very little, in your drawing room at
P――d?”
A small boat had advanced from
the shore, with one person besides the rowers.
It was indeed, Ethelwald. Half overpowered,
I concealed myself within the door-way, where
I was standing.
He did not remember Arvon, but with eyes
beaming beneficence, and a smile that seemed
the epitome of every thing delightful either on D5r 81
earth or in heaven, he lifted the highly pleased
child, extending his arm a moment, like the
well-known Peruvian chief in a tragedy of the
German Kotzebue.
Every eye was immediately arrested by
this playful exhibition of strength, so picturesque
and so uncommon.
As soon as I had regained self-possession
enough to appear, I called Arvon to me, and
bade him ask the stranger to come a moment
to the door where I stood.
Short as had been our stropping before
Trois Rivieres, the steamboat was again ready
to proceed. Ethelwald came at my summons,
he took my trembling hand, discolored by the
frosty atmosphere, but his own hand, beautiful
in its strength, was white as the petals of
the magnolias of Florida, and warm and soft as
down beneath the wing of the ptarmigan of
Canada.
The beams of the coldly setting sun seemed
clinging to his fair curly hair; his cheeks
were glowing with execise; but his beautiful
nostrils were white and symmetric as if sculptured
by the hand of a Phydias.
He looked, I cannot describe his looks!—
A seraph descending on Mount Hermon, or a
god revealing himself in the manner conceived
by Homer, seemed realized in this mortal
of the northern New World, whose birth place
was still within the glance of the tawny savage
of the forest.
D5v 82 My tongue, at last, served me to say:—
“Has the change of five years been complete?
or can you still perceive in me a friend?”

“I can, I can!” he exclaimed; but ere he
could add another syllable, his Canadian rower
came running, to hasten his departure.—
The bell of the boat rang violently, for night
was fast descending on the river. “Let me
hope that we shall meet again,”
were his
words; he pressed, and shook gently my hand,
and in one moment more had sprung into his
boat and was gliding away through the duskiness.
It was dark, but I saw him gain the shore.
I held little Arvon by the hand and drew him
gently from the deck, but the boy was not inclined
for sleep. The scene just passed, had
struck forcibly on his memory, and he seemed
to take pleasure in recalling the events of his
infantine life.’
Here Idomen looked at me; and I said, ‘I
also at P――d have held on my knee in
friendship, your little flaxen haired Arvon.’
‘That orphan boy, is now,’ she replied, ‘with
strangers; will you help me to protect him,
if I send for him to this land of flowers?’

‘Can you still ask’ I returned? ‘To whom but
to him and to you is the rest of my life to be
devoted?’
How strong were the feelings of maternity
which caused her to revert to her child, so D6r 83
soon after thinking of one who was likened, in
her mind, to a seraph.
To prevent all expressions of gratitude, I
said:
‘But, Idomen, of what did you dream on
the night following this interview with the
handsome Ethelwald?’
‘Call him not handsome!’
said she, suddenly; ‘from a term so
common as that, his looks can never be conceived,
—you ask me, my friend, of what I
dreamed, but that night I closed not my eyes.
The dull trembling noise of the machine, that
was forcing our prow through the river, hitherto
had but caused me to sleep. When I
thought of my expected arrival and meeting
with Pharamond, my anticipation had, I scarcely
knew why, been gloomy.’
‘But now, the scene lately passed had followed
me to my pillow, and my narrow but
comfortable bed was pressed, not in sleep, but
in reverie. Fear vaguely whispered of something
to be suffered, but pleasure was predominant
in my soul. Alas! who could ever bear
misfortune, were it not for the aid of some
sweet vision or some passing incident?
Early the next morning, we stopped at
Quebec. The powerful vapor that had impelled
us was escaping with its loud roaring
noise, and all was bustle and tumult on the
deck above. But few greetings of friends had
taken place, ere I heard the voice of Pharamond, D6v 84
who had come to look for us. A sense
of all that had befallen me struck suddenly to
my heart, and I could not forbear trembling as
I presented to him my Arvon, now an orphan.
It was soon after my early marriage that,
for the first time in my life, I saw my cousin
Pharamond. He then made journeys to visit
me, and was never weary of expressing to me
his affection. Now he remarked my unusual
paleness, and I thought his kiss of welcome
was coldest I ever had received from him.
The streets were still nearly bare of snow,
and a caleche took us to his dwelling. Few
cities in the world are more varied and picturesque
than the gray fortress of Quebec. I had
seen it once before, on a summer excursion. I
had stood upon the green sods around its hanging
citadel, and overlooked the broad bason
of the Ladaüanna. The mouth of the
stream Montmorency, could be seen from the
harbor where we lay, and the murmur of its
distant cataract, narrow, but higher than Niagara,
had been sweet to my ears even in this
dull morning. But the day was cloudy, and
though Pharamond tried to be cheerful as we
passed through the cold narrow streets, a constraint
appeared in his manners, which I never
had observed before. Of this he himself
was sensible, and desired me to attribute it to
the loss of a well-beloved wife.
The house we entered was high above the D7r 85
river, in a street leading to that gate of the
fortress called H――. Every room was fitted
up with a comfort that was perfectly English.
Nothing seemed intended for display. A low
dining room, warmed by a stove of molten iron
covered with devices, was the first apartment
we entered; and the three servants of the establishment
were all which, at the moment,
greeted our arrival. “Mother,” said little Arvon,
as soon as we were left alone, “do you
think you shall love to live here?”
I thought of the sofas and carpets of my
own pleasant drawing rooms, where the boy
had first sported in his infancy;—where you,
now, had first played with his curls, while you
praised my music and poetry. I thought next
of the flowery walks and fields of this island.
I thought of many other things; but when I
thought, also, of the late meeting with Ethelwald,
I felt that I could endure the gloom of
the approaching winter.
It pained me more than any thing else, to
see little Arvon look sad; but while I caressed
and strove to amuse him, Pharamond returned
with a young relation and took him to walk
on the ramparts, and to see the troops of the
garrison at their accustomed daily parade.—
English soldiers in their neat showy dresses,
and Scots in their highland attire, can no where
present a finer spectacle than among the rocks D7v 86
of Quebec; the scene of the death of Wolf, of a picture by West, and the strong hold of
British America.
While alone and dressing for dinner, there
came to my mind a reason for that shade of
coldness which appeared in the manners of my
cousin. Llewellyn Lloyde, our uncle, was reputed
as a man of wealth; Pharamond had
thought me his favorite; and when he requested
my visit, thought it probable that a rich
planter, his relation, would leave his sunny
fields to attend me during the summer.
On the contrary, I had come, alone with
my orphan boy; and with looks expressive of
sadness, rather than the joy he expected.
At dinner I endeavored to speak on subjects,
that I knew had once been charming to
my cousin, and I saw him beguiled at intervals,
into something like his former cheerfulness.
Day passed after day, and the scenery around
was renovating to my health and spirits.
After breakfast in the morning, I walked
on the ramparts with little Arvon; stood with
him near the hanging citadel, and sat with him
sometimes on the cannon that frown upon the
brink of the precipice that overlooks the bason
of the river. The plains of Abraham skirted
with trees, the distant hills, taking from
the northern atmosphere a thousand beautiful
tints; the gray walls and towers of the fortress,
all appeared to me as seen through a mist of D8r 87
enchantment. Even the cold of the climate
was almost forgotten. I felt an enthusiasm,
deeper than I had ever known before, even, my
friend, amid the eternal verdure of these scenes
of forgetfulness.
Two weeks passed away in this manner,
and I entertained the friends of my cousin,
who passed at home those hours not devoted
to his affairs.
Constantly, but not impatiently, I expected
intelligence from Ethelwald; when one day
a letter arrived, bearing the arms of an ancient
family; it was conceived in terms of
friendship, heightened even to tenderness;
and signed by the names in full, Walter Rodolph
Arno Ethelwald
. Regret was expressed
that a letter only was obliged to supply the
place of an immediate visit.
How inspiring is such an incident! keep
the heart filled with a pleasing sentiment, and
all worldly misfortunes are easy to bear.
A vague apprehension of some impending
danger and misfortune still, intruded itself on
my mind, but I had, now, many moments of a
hope, that in itself was almost happiness.
Yet another change was soon to take place.
Letters on urgent and unexpected business
summoned my cousin immediately to England.
No time could be lost, for the river would very
soon be frozen. His home must soon be
abandoned. I saw that he was pained and D8v 88
embarrassed on my account; but I soon thought
how to relieve him. A young relation was
going to his seminary at N――t, there I
could place little Arvon, and remain near my
boy during the absence of Pharamond.
The plan was approved and executed.—
Pharamond resolved to embark from a port in
the United States, and accompanied me himself
to the seminary, but eleven miles from
Trois Rivieres.
Ethelwald came, while we stopped in preparing
to be rowed across the river, already
very cold and crusted with ice near its borders.
His looks were warmth and summer. He gave
many charges to the boatmen of his native
stream. They rowed with care and swiftness,
and sang all the way to their oars, which seemed,
in their accustomed hands, as if only used
to beat the time of their melodies.
Pharamond placed my boy in the seminary,
and had found for me, the best accommodations
in the little village near him. The affairs
of my cousin were pressing; he waited
but to see us established, and bade an affecttionate
adieu.
The principal fathers of the seminary were
excessive in their kindness to Arvon, and paid
to me early visits; speaking in general terms,
and saying nothing on the difference of religion.
The chapel and other buildings where they D9r 89
taught, were of gray stone, and stood upon
the high banks of the river Nicolet. Gardens
were seen where a hill declined on one side,
but on the other side, which was its summit,
arose a thick grove of tall pines, where the
students were permitted to take exercise.—
the roofs and spires of the whole were covered
with plates of tin, and such was the purity
of the climate that these plates retained always
their brightness. They looked in the distance
like polished silver, glittering in the sun, and
relieved by the dark green of the pine tress.
Every thing was novel and picturesque.—
The inhabitants of the village were simple in
their manners; gay, kind and hospitable. I
soon found myself, alone, in a family descended
from one of the old nobles of France, but
living, now, in the usual manner of the country.
Ethelwald had promised to visit me, on the
third day after my arrival; and I busied myself
as soon as I could, in arranging the little parlor
assigned to my use, by the family.
Never till now, had I been so fully sensible
of a great change in my condition. I had no
piano forte; the room was warmed by a dim
stove, and the furniture rude and inelegant;
yet still a sofa and carpet, although of no costly
texture, threw over it an air of luxury, when
compared with most of the dwellings of this
little home in the forest.
D6 D9v 90 At the neighboring seminary Ethaelwald
had been placed in his childhood; the scene,
therefore, would not be strange to him; he was
familiar alike with the opulent nobles of Europe,
and the savage sons of the desert who
still hunt the beaver in those wild but fertile
recesses.
The house where I lived was warm; and on
the morning of the expected visit I dressed myself
in white, and placed a carnation, which
bloomed all the winter, on a small table near
the window, where I had spread books and music.
This window looked towards the seminary;
the clock of the chapel had just sounded eleven;
and I perceived a large fine figure aproaching
the declivity that led to my dwelling. A
knock was soon heard; my heart beat quickly
as I ran to receive the expected; and a greeting
ensued, like those between friends of
many years.
The organ of my greatest pleasure, has
been to me, from childhood, the eye. Not a
gleam of beauty was ever lost on Idomen,
though born amid puritans, in a retired village
of the new world.
The charms, of every thing I had seen,
seemed concentrated and enhanced in him
who then stood before me. Even you, my
friend, educated, as you have been, amid
the paintings and statues of Europe, you who D10r 91
have wandered through the Louvre and Vatican,
and seen the chefs d’œuvre of Florence,—
even you, my friend, expressed wonder, when
you looked upon him first at P――d.
Five years had passed away since that interview;
the figure of Ethelwald had gained
in fulness, but colour and proportion were
still unencroached upon. He wore a military
undress of blue, lighter than usual, and the
linen disclosed at his neck, hands, and bosom,
was white as the snows of his birth place.
We stood near the window whence I had
watched his approach; and my soul, as he
spoke, drank a nectar of music and of beauty;
too potent for one so weak.
His hair, though a shade darker than when
I first beheld him, still clustered in golden
ringlets; his teeth had lost none of their stainless
and pearly perfection; his hand, though
nerved with the strength of a Theseus or of a
Hercules, was white as the faintest infant princess
ever bleached by the moist air of Britain.
His age was now within two years of thirty;
but the fabled Venus, as she stepped from
her shell could not have been imagined more
exempt from blemish or discolor.
He had lived much in the freezing air of
his native woods and rivers; he had buffeted
the same winds that tinge, with deep brown,
the wrinkled cheek of the Canadian peasant,
as he sings and smiles at his toil; but it seemed D10v 92
as if sun and elements had admired and
passed by him untouched.
Ethelwald, for a moment, observed my attention.
“When you saw me,” he said, “at
P――d, you likened me to Apollo; but now
you see me a mortal—almost an old man.”

My quick answer was, what then am I?—
“When your hair is gray,” he returned, “mine
will be white; and in that thought there is
comfort.”
Such a speech from such a creature!
—how could I do otherwise than feel it
even as I did?
Three hours, which seemed but as a moment,
he remained, with me, in conversation,
and then departed to meet an engagement.
The lands appertaining to Nicolet had
been purchased by a British officer from a former
French Seigneur, and their proprietor now
lived with his family at a commodious cottage
called the manor house. Thither Ethelwald
repaired to dress and dine, but returned to me
early in the evening.
He had brought with him from trois Rivieres
the miniature picture of a brother, who
died in the British army in India. A little history
of their family ensued after looking at
this. Of a “beauteous hand of brethren,”
Walter Rodolph Arno was the last. All but
him, had been snatched in early youth from a
world they were formed to adorn;—from a
world whose other inhabitants their persons D11r 93
entirely surpassed. The Canadian families
around, remembered them with regret and enthusiasm;
and looked upon the last who remained,
as something too fair to stay long.
The picture lay before us on the table, and
during the intervals of conversation, Ethelwald
read from a little book he had brought with it,
many extracts and specimens of verses once
breathed by voices he could hear no more, and
copied by hands of his kindred, whose beautiful
whiteness had become but the gray dust of
the earth.
Softened by such reflections, the charm of
his presence was enhanced. The flight of
hours was unheeded, the interview was uninterrupted;
except that from time to time some
one of the family walked in through a half open
door, that led to their own apartment, spoke a
few words in French, and retired again.
The clock of the seminary, to our utter
surprise, struck eleven; the hours of our host
were early, and Ethelwald arose to return to
the manor house. As he threw on his
warm, furry cloak, my eyes glanced an instant
round the little apartment, the humble
scene of a visit so delightful; and was suddenly
and forcibly struck with the contrast between
that scene and the brilliant figure before
me. Here then, I said to myself, has lingered
so many hours, one to whom Catharine
of Russia would have opened with her own D11v 94
hand, the richest chamber of her palaces.—
Have you not, I said, passed a dull evening?—
“Would to heaven,” he returned, “that my
evenings might all be like this!”
I said no more, for his answer had deprived
me of utterance. Ethelwald bade good night
in the English manner, pressing my hand that
trembled with a pleasure so extreme, that I
felt not the parting till he was gone.
I retired immediately to my room, washed
in the sweet water of the neighboring river,
and threw myself quickly in bed. Sleep I
could not. Even coherent thought was impossible.
I counted till after four, the striking
of the seminary clock; and at seven I counted
it again, with the impression of vague but
sweet dreams.
I thought that Ethelwald would cross the
river early for his home at Trois Rivieres;
but at ten he came again, to pass another half-hour.
It seemed still a dream as I followed to the
door this being so unlike the rest of mortals.
“Stand not here,” he said, “you may take cold
and die too,—and then—all will be past.”
A
thought of the early death of his six brothers
and sisters, was, it seemed, passing through
his mind.
I returned to my little drawing room, stood
till I could see him no more at my window
that looked towards the seminary, and then D12r 95
sat myself down in the chair he had lately risen
from. The smiling picture of his brother
was suspended to the chain about my neck. I
placed it before my eyes, sat leaning upon the
table, and for an hour moved not my position.
I know not what I thought, but during that
hour, I had no wishes. I sat in a stupor of
delight; and to move again, I felt neither
strength nor inclination. Could mortals long
endure a state of happiness?
A sentiment of pain recalled me to myself.
Little Arvon ran into the room. He had felt
himself ill, and his benevolent instructors had
yielded to his wishes, and let him come suddenly
to visit me.
It was but a sense of confinement that affected
him; but the slightest uneasiness of this
sensitive orphan boy, went always through my
heart, like an arrow tipped with poison.
The worthy family around me gave him
jelly of currants and raspberries, that grow in
abundance where the forests have been newly
cut down. I soon consoled him and went out
with him to walk on the banks of the still unfrozen
river, that hastened with its tributary
waves to the beautiful Ladaüanna.
The day was warmer than usual, and tracks
of the hare and ptarmigan were seen in the
sparkling snow. A party of Indians had
come to the village to sell, for the approaching
winter, moccasins, wrought with the quills of D12v 96
the porcupine, stained with the most brilliant
colors; and snow shoes curiously woven
of the soft pliant skin of the deer. We saw
them in a group at a distance, as we followed
the bending of the stream.
The squirrel glided lightly through the sun,
still apparently employed in collecting his last
winter stores from the scattered walnut and
beech trees. The river was crusted with ice
at its borders, but took, at its still flowing
channel, the bright blue of the sky, against
which, the spire of the chapel of the seminary
was glittering like polished silver. Tin is a common covering for house tops and
spires of church in Canada, where it neither rusts nor
corrodes.
My boy was happy in these scenes. The
excitement of travelling and the liberty he had
lately enjoyed, made confinement of any kind,
irksome, but the priests were kind and gentle;
they thought of his state as an orphan and a
stranger that knew not their language. They
allowed him to visit me daily, and promised
to vary his aliments in any way his health might
require.
My solicitude for this child was extreme.
I thought of his friendless state, and felt that
my own happiness must be secondary to the
duty I owed him. He passed with me the day,
and at night returned to the seminary.
The next day brought me letters and papers
from Ethelwald, and my table seemed
covered with his name.
It was said, in Europe, at this period, that E1r 97
“the world was at peace,” and many regiments
were disbanded. Ethelwald was now an officer
on half-pay, but holding a civil employment
which occupied his time and attention.
For three days he came not, but every morning
brought a note; and a pleasing perturbation
that I had not power to overcome, took
entire possession of my faculties.
A small protestant or English chapel had
been built near the manor house; there I
was invited to dine at the conclusion of the
evening services. Ethelwald, who crossed the
St. Lawrence late on Saturday evening, came
at the proper hour, to attend me.
The chapel, surrounded by trees of the forest,
was new, simple, and unadorned. There
was no music save the voices of those who attended.
Ladies were near me, but my most
admired sat opposite; and when he sang—his
expression, or what I felt, would be lost in a
faint description. To look at beauty and listen
to its music, are given to our conceptions
as types or specimens of the ecstacies of heaven.
Has any one lived a life without tasting a
single day of happiness?—happiness in accordance
with the pantings of the heart which
feels it?—happiness, for the time, so large as
to leave no room for wishes?
One day, at least, of such happiness, has
been mine. One day! A single point between E E1v 98
two masses of dulness and solicitude made
sufferable by a few pleasures,—often uncheered
with hope, and sometimes blackened by
despair.
On the scenes of that day, let me dwell,
oh, my friend, a moment longer! The voice
of Ethelwald gave the tone in which I sang to
the Most High. His arm supported me as I
descended the steps of the sanctuary; and I
thought, as I felt its warm gentle pressure,—
Heaven has materialized a being of my fancy
and exceeded her wildest idea.
The English of Canada are very exact in
their etiquette. We all had walked to church,
and on reaching the hall of the manor house,
every one immediately retired to be rid of furs
and moccasins, and to dress, for the approaching
meal, in an evening garb, however plain.
At table Ethelwald was beside me. The
first wine of the repast, was poured by his
hand, raised to my lips at his request, and tasted
at the same time with his. He saw my
light soup almost undiminished, and helped
me himself, from a choice partridge or Canadian
pheasant, snared in the neighboring woods
by some semi-civilized Indian; but pleasure
had risen too high, even for the refreshment
of food, and the little I could swallow, seemat
that moment, a difficult interruption.
From time to time, I caught a glance, as
his white hand raised to his lips, the white E2r 99
morsel of bird on the fork of silver. His hair
shone in the light of the tapers; the warmth
of the well furnished room had brought to the
transparent skin of his forehead, such lucid
particles of dew as you, my friend, once beheld,
with me, at P――d. I looked at him
again, and thought, does he, indeed, nourish
himself with food, and has he blood like mortals?
Pardon, oh, my excellent friend, the unreasonable
emotions I describe! Some fiend,
perhaps, tempted to destroy, but he whom I
loved, at least, was not unworthy.
The clergyman, to whom we had lately
listened, our polite host and hostess, and a
young girl, the daughter of their friend, with
a lover to whom she was betrothed, formed,
with two other guests, the evening party.
No amusement was introduced, because it
was the first day of the week, and the family
were of the church of England. We merely
conversed or sang a little to the piano. Ethelwald
lost no opportunity of placing himself at
my side; and whenever sitting at a distance,
his eye never failed to meet mine, with an expression
that comforted my soul.
The hour for retirement too soon arrived;
the use of a cariole had been declined. I was
guarded from the cold by thick garments of
the north, and Ethelwald led me to my dwelling.
E2 E2v 100 The first moon of winter was shining, and
cast, as we walked, our united shadows on the
sparkling white path that slightly crisped beneath
our footsteps. Alas! if my love was but
a shadow, it was not delineated on snow!…
The tablets on which it was engraved will be
carried with me to eternity.
I fain would have spoken, but words were
denied me; neither did Ethelwald speak much;
of much there was no need, the tone of his
voice was enough to tell me all that my heart demanded.
From time to time he drew my arm
closer beneath his, or lifted me from the earth
wherever the frozen path had been roughened.
The house where I lived had a little hall in
front. The door was partly of glass, and a
light shone through it from within; my beautiful
friend, before it opened, would fain have
pressed his lips to mine, but withdrew them
at my faint repulse,—asked pardon,—lifted me
over the threshold, it was too late at night for
him to cross, and withdrew with a pressure of
the hand.
The Canadian servant slept, but my bedroom
as always kept warm; I ran to it in
haste, and as I threw off my outer garments,
and remembered who had helped to wrap them
around me, I felt astonished at having twice
denied him what I gave every day to my son.
“Man is not made for rapture;” could Idomen
—a woman, therefore in the second grade E3r 101
of mankind, and weaker perhaps, than even
that second grade should be—could Idomen
long have endured a happiness like that of the
day which had just passed away forever?
Sleep, that loves to hover over grief, keeps
kindly at a distance from pleasure. On that
night, sleep was long in banishment from my
pillow.
When I closed my eyes, a moment, I
dreamed of being clasped in the arms of my
friend, and awoke with the vivid imagination,
alarmed, and reflecting on my state—something
whispered that my thoughts were dangerous
—but no!—there was no guilt in him
who caused them.
I was wakeful, and the night was still. I
could not hear a sound save the breathing of
some of the family, through the thin walls of
my chamber. Fearful, and reflecting on my
dreams, other scenes began to rush upon my
mind. I thought upon my darkest years; and
then the last day I had passed would come to
me, entire and like a smiling picture. What
a contrast of pleasure and of pain!—Which
was my future to resemble? The doubts that
ensued were almost insufferable; and I strove,
as I had often done before, to beguile my perturbed
feelings by endeavoring to condense
them into verses.’
Here Idomen rose a moment, and gave me
from her port folio, a few leaves of paper numberedE3 E3v 102
as if in succession, and fragrant with
braided knots of that odorous grass, found by
Indians in the woods of Canada; these dry relics
of a distant country were sweet, even near
the flowers that surrounded us.
Having rested till I read the verses, Idomen
again, thus continued: ‘In the morning
I arose weak and languid but happy,—
though doubts would intrude themselves. A
day had passed almost without nourishment
and a night almost without sleep. My soul
had been full and satisfied, but my countenance
shewed traces even of this slight irregularity.
The eye and the blood are made of earth; celestial
food makes them brighter for a while,
but that which comes from the ground can
alone preserve them from perishing.’
‘I washed me for renovation, in the soft
sweet water of the neighboring tributary
stream, braided my hair as well I could, and
swallowed an egg like drink from its shell, as
I had been taught at sea, to supply the deficiency
of appetite. This manner of taking sustenance while exhausted
with any powerful emotion, is noted here for its excellent
effect.
Ethelwald could not stay long, but came
before he went to cross the river; he seemed
anxious for my health, and gave me many cautions.
As we stood near the window whence E4r 103
I watched his coming and departure, he took
my weak hand that trembled in his, and pressed
me a moment to his heart. Even then I
had power to draw back—resistance to the
highest delight, had become to me involuntary
as breath. Yet why and what did I resist?
No ill was intended—no dishonor could possibly
have been perpetrated. Was it some
spirit who abridged me of a pleasure like its
own in heaven?—where souls meet the souls
that were made for them, and love is pure
though ineffable.
Ethelwald again asked pardon; renewed
his cautions, and parted with a promise of return.
I watched his fine figure till it disappeared
by the dark pines of the seminary. It
was the hour for a visit from little Arvon, and
I stirred not till I saw him approach.
The next morning brought me no letter;
but the day following, a packet arrived. He
must think of me, I said, while absent, or he
would not take pains to write so much.
The letters of this friend, born in a snowy
region, still half a desert, and serving as hunting
grounds to the red sons of the forest—
those letters, which I still retain, were delicate,
easy, flowing—perhaps models in their
kind. With the education of him who wrote
them, no particular pains had been taken, but
an exquisite natural taste for all that is beautiful,
had given to him what never can be E4 E4v 104
taught. I dare not read them, now; but I
sewed them in satin of rose color, and keep
them ever near me.
On that day, when the dearest of them
came, of many delightful pages, this passage
enchanted my attention: “I fear you were almost
angry with me when last I stood at your window;
but oh! with how little reason? I feel for
you the warmest regard, may I not also say affection.”
These words I read over many times, and
thought till I had scarcely power to move.—
When I walked they sounded in my ears, but
doubt and presentiment came over my heart
like a damp. I feared to believe myself happy,
but now, I dared not think of the alternative.
The next day all thought was impossible,
for Ethelwald, ere noon, was in my drawing-
room. The weather had become very cold; he
brought me warm gloves, and books, and moccasins
of the country, for Arvon.
No allusion was made, by my friend, to
that passage of his letter, which had sunk so
deeply in my heart; but my looks must have
well convinced him, that he felt no affection
unreturned. “My fortune,” said he who enchanted
me, “is small. If I go to India promotion
will follow.”
I would have gone with
him to the ends of the earth! This I felt but
told him not; some adverse power restrained E5r 105
my tongue. I looked at the being before me,
thought of little Arvon, and uttered not a definite
word. The picture of Ethelwald’s brother
was fastened to a chain about my neck;
he saw it and said, “I cannot give you that,
but I will give you mine.”
His picture! besides
the inimitable original, no gift could
have been so delightful. Have you got it?—
I asked with emotion; but something invisible
restrained me, and I claimed not his promise
in words. Was not this the crisis of my
destiny?…and did not my evil fate prevail?
It was no longer a time to say more; two
Canadian visitors entered, and claimed the
civility of us both. One arm of Ethelwald
was mine, the young visitors by turns, shared
the other. We walked by the pine grove of
the seminary, and along the path leading to
the manor house. The banks of the river
N…t
were covered with snow; and
snow clouds were gathering in the heavens.—
We returned to an early repast, but the sun
was near setting ere it ended. Ethelwald lingered
till twilight. The winter day was too
short; the cold was fast increasing; the broad
Ladaüanna would soon close; and while closing
might be impassable for many days.
Ethelwald seemed to look with regret at
the shadows gathering without my window;—
the snow began to fall in large flakes; by forestE5 E5v 106
and river he had eleven English miles to
go; yet he still seemed inclined to linger.—
the company who had followed us from the
dining table, left the room a moment to look
at some painted doe skin dresses, lately purchased
from the Indians; his exquisite mouth
was near mine in speaking low, and I gave
him what had thrice been denied. “Is this
first kiss,”
said a voice from the deepest recesses
of my soul, “the seal of thy death or of
thy happiness?”
I shuddered. To die with
him that I loved, at that moment, had been more
than I can fancy of heaven; but to see him no
more on earth, was what I dared not think upon.
It had already become dark; and the family
gathered round the door, as Ethelwald made
his adieus, smiling at the storm he was to
brave.
I mingled, as accustomed, in the amusements
of the evening; and even sang songs to
please others; but to me, all was insipid; every
thing seemed hollow and unmeaning, for
the joy of my soul was withdrawn.
From time to time, expressions were dropped
in praise of him, who, so lately, had made
paradise of the little dim room; and then,
while I heard his name, I was happy.
Most of the company had known his family,
and described with enthusiasm, the beauty
of his mother, and then the last sister he had E6r 107
lost…“When she died,” they said, “Walter
Rodolph
tore his bright hair; and it was feared
he would that day follow this last of his
beautiful brethren.”
He seemed to be regarded by the artless
speakers around me, as a being unlike the rest
of men; and they paid to me a species of homage,
because I was the subject of his attention.
At nine o’clock refreshments of the country
were served; thin cakes, dipped in syrup
of the same maple, which, in autumn, decorates
their forests with foliage scarlet as the tulip,
—walnuts, butternuts, jelly of red currants,
sweetmeats of wild plums, and conserve of
raspberries that grow so profusely where the
thick woods have been felled.
A boat song or chanson sur l’eau, was sung
at my request. The rhymes seemed as if composed
extemporally; but the simply pleasing
air was one of those which accord most sweetly
with the murmuring rivers and cascades, so
abundant in the rocky wilds of Canada. The
chorus or refrain, ran thus:
Voila long tems que je t’aime, Jamais je ne t’oublierai. In its course, the words also struck my ear: J’ai perdu ma maitresse, Jamais ne je la retrouverai, Pour on bouquet de rose Que je lui ai refusé Je voudrois que la rose Fut, encore au rosier. E6v 108 The songs at length, were over, the dim
stove replenished with boughs from the neighboring
woods; and before the clock of the
seminary struck eleven, every head beneath
our roof was on its pillow.
“Beware,” says Plato, “of the kiss.”
Many, perhaps, have found by experience that
Plato had reason for that caution.
While still at Quebec, even after the banquet
of a letter bearing the four beautiful
names of my friend, my slumbers were but little
interrupted. My heart had received an
impression, but the stamp had not, then, drawn
blood. Now, it had sunk below the surface
to a depth that was soon to be discovered.
Memory was too faithful. I feared not for
Ethelwald; for a Canadian boatman, who
loved him, was his conductor. The winds,
besides, were not violent; and the river of his
birth was well known were he crossed. But
the first hurried pressure of my lips, given as
he was going forth to meet a storm, braved on
my account, had been returned with an eagerness
that was now felt again and again.—
When I sank to a momentary sleep, it seemed
as if his arms supported me;—but fears mingled
with my dreams, and I woke, startled and
unrefreshed.
In the morning, the cold had increased;
and two days passed without a word from Trois
Rivieres
. On the third day some boatmen E7r 109
made their way over the closing river in an
Indian canoe of bark, sometimes trusting to
the waves, and sometimes dragging over ice,
their light manageable vessel. By these means
a letter reached me, which related in a playful
manner the return of him who left me, for
his home, on the last stormy night.
The winds had not been violent, but the
waves were about to congeal, and the darkness
was so bewildering that the rower had
missed his way. These words were in the letter
of Ethelwald: “The poor fellow was in
such a fright, that he left the boat entirely to me;
but fortunately, a dear little nun, soon hung out
a light from the highest window of her convent”

(at Trois Rivieres,) “we soon saw it, and were
conducted in safety to our landing.”
The letter telling this was affectionate, but
I thought I could perceive in it a slight difference
from the others. It promised a visit
soon, but left the dear when untold.
While expecting one beloved or admired,
there is always a certain preparation which
occupies both mind and person. The sweet
Ladaüanna, was frozen, and could now, I knew,
be crossed. Three days I braided my hair,
and placed music and a flower of winter on
the table near my favorite window. But still,
I looked in vain, towards the slope of the hill
of the seminary, for that figure, which could
not be mistaken. I did all I could to be cheerful, E7v 110
but, at night, retired sadly to my pillow.
On the fourth morning came—not my
friend but a letter dated late on the night
preceding.
Ethelwald to write to me, had retired from
a convivial circle; in “the moment of mirth,”
he had thought of his solitary expectant; his
lines, though entirely unguarded, were such
as might well be dear to me. They were
meet for no eye but that of a friend, and I
prized them the more that they were not.
Yet the fifth, sixth, and seventh day passed;
—still Ethelwald was absent. He came no
more, like a god of Grecian mythology, to diffuse
light and summer through my lone and
wintry habitation.
My nights became almost sleepless—my
days passed in fruitless excitement. The
beautiful being who had charmed me, kept continually
embodied to my mind;—and I often
sank upon my couch, exhausted by that strong
mental effort which was constant, and wore
on my system, though entirely unconscious
and involuntary. My earthly frame was too
weak for the continual demands of “ideality.”
Every day I grew thinner and thinner, till
I realized the words of the psalmist beloved
by protestants and puritans: “My beauty
wasteth away, even as a moth fretteth a garment.”
The thought was bitterness!—even
now, how far was I inferior to the object of a E8r 111
love and admiration, too wild and intense
to be endured or to endure? Was all this
change in a week?—how then could I live, if
deprived…I dared not think of it!…
The family around, perceived in me a difference,
but ascribed it to mal de pays.
The pastor of the English chapel near the
manor house, visited me as one of his flock.
This was a man, destitute of worldly prudence,
but his heart was kind and good. He perceived
that my health was declining, and reverted
to the visits I had received, till I thought he
suspected the state of my feelings. He did
not enquire what had passed, but told me that
the friends of Ethelwald were, now, overwhelming
him with fêtes and invitations. So much
of the time of their favorite, they were determined
should not be passed among the pine
trees of N――t. Alas! what had I done,
that strangers should conspire against my happiness?
In the picturesque towns of Canada, there
lived families who had beautiful daughters;
and he, who was an ornament to every room
that he entered, and to every street where he
walked, had lived single to the age of twenty-
eight. Must this paragon of the country be
monopolized—and perhaps, even carried off
by a stranger whom nobody knew?—(A Yankee?)
At the castle of St. Louis, at Quebec, the E8v 112
fair sons and daughters of fair Britain, were
wont to be often assembled. Ethelwald,
(though born in Canadian America, and apparently
unconscious of the merits he possessed,)
was a man whose fortune would have been
made had he lived in the time, and been seen
by a Catharine of Russia. Ethelwald must
adorn the handsome groups at the castle. So
thought Lady D――e, while directing the arrangement
of her drawing room, or looking
from her window, far over the magnificent basin
Nothing could exceed the magnificence of the prospect
from the window of the Castle of St. Louis, which
has since been destroyed by fire.
of the spreading Ladaüanna.
This lady lived, in effect, as the vice-queen
of her providence. The handsome officer from
England, the amiable descendant of France,
the half-civilized Indian of the forest Nicolas Vincent Zauanaui, the same grand chief of
the Hurons who had an audience of George IV in England,
went sometimes with his wife, who also spoke
English, to the Castle.
all,
with the females whom they loved, delighted
in paying to her, their varied homage. The
wishes of this lady were seconded by the power
of her husband, and her regards had been
directed to Ethelwald.
Had these things transpired but one month
before, I should have lost a few brief days of
pleasure, yet escaped such degrees of pain as E9r 113
are felt but by few among mortals. But now
hope had been indulged; the arrow had entered;
and to tear it forth again was a torment
more dreadful than death.
Three other days and nights passed away,
and still I saw not the friend whose presence
had become to me, as needful as the sun to a
garden of the north.
Hitherto, I had almost disdained the gifts
of the world and of fortune; the mere want of
them might now
, be my perdition. I felt myself
as a withering blossom, which God alone,
could resuscitate; and yet, I was too weak
even to ask of heaven, the only dew which
could restore me. The reptile of suspicion
was creeping towards my heart, and the winds
that blew over me, seemed chill from the deserts
of despair.
I dared not write to Ethelwald, nor to ask
of him the cause of his absence; to find him
cold or unfaithful was more to be dreaded,
even than the pain of the burning suspense I
endured.
While still in this miserable state, Henry
Arlington
, the commercial partner of my absent
cousin, Pharamond, came to visit me in
my retirement. He seemed shocked at the
change in my manners and countenance, yet
spoke of the gay manner in which Mr. Ethelwald
had lived, particularly for the last two
weeks.
E6 E9v 114 The devotion of this breathing image of a
deity, to a retired woman, had, it appeared,
been discussed in every circle; and every effort
had been made to amuse and detain Ethelwald.
“Lord D――e, our Governor,” said Arlington,
“exerts himself to obtain promotion
for his new favorite. A succession of parties
are contrived for him; his head will be turned
with vanity; and I am told, even now, he intends
getting published some of your verses,
in praise of his own beauty.”
I felt a sickness at my heart; but so strong
was the self-command, acquired while I lived
with poor Burleigh, that I now succeeded in
suppressing all violent emotion. During the
whole conversation, I had been walking the
room with Arlington, but perceiving that my
steps began to falter, I sat down as we approached
the sofa.
During all my life, I had never fainted save
from loss of blood; but strength at this moment
had entirely forsaken me.
Arlington saw that I was ill, but that he
had noticed when he first entered. He now
changed the subject of his speaking; and
strongly advised me to leave awhile little Arvon,
my son, and visit his wife at Quebec. I
promised that if not better I would come; and
he soon after left me, promising to return the
next day before proceeding on his way to
Montreal.
E10r 115 It was difficult to sit through the daily repast
when he was gone;—soup, bird, and
sweetmeats, were as slips of paper on my
tongue, for all external sense of taste was benumbed
by the feelings that absorbed me. I
retired to my chamber and lay down awhile
on my couch, unconscious of the passing of
hours, but awake to a conflict indescribable.
When the hour for tea had arrived, the
Canadian servant came to call me to that little
drawing-room where I had passed days and
hours resembling heaven; but my head ached;
I desired to be left to repose, but slept not,
for I could not weep.
The night passed in thoughts that devoured
me. Had Ethelwald felt no regard?—had
he visited me only for amusement? Could
he wound me to the quick, to gratify a trifling
vanity?—Could he, who had seemed so tender
and noble, unreflectingly doom me to perish?
—to think so unworthily of one so dear,
was worse than to leave him forever.
Have I then, I thought, become an inconvenience?
—He whom the world caresses shall
soon, if so, be set at ease.
My thoughts became insufferable; I threw
myself from side to side upon my bed, and
made and rejected a hundred plans of procedure.
Fixing at length upon one—one stern
resolve, I found, as I reflected on it, as it were,
a cruel alleviation of my torment.
E10v 116 In the morning I arose weak and languid,
but firmly intent upon my purpose.
I first gathered together music, papers,
gloves, and every little poof of kindness which
the beautiful Ethelwald had brought to me.—
Then with excessive pain I penned a note, the
contents of which have now fled from my memory,
and brought a large sheet of paper to enclose
the packet I had made.
While folding the ample envelope, the first
thing I saw was music, presented by this friend
of times past, when I first knew him at P――d,
—so young—so beautiful—so apparently unconscious
and sincere!
For five years I had looked at this music,
and never till now, with other emotions than
those of pleasure. A shriek almost escaped
me as it disappeared beneath the paper I was
folding. I felt as if acting against some strong
resistance, and every nerve seemed strained,
as I doubled the last corner of the paper that
enclosed it.
When it was entirely out of sight, I could
proceed better, and lighted my taper at the
stove.
The packet was soon fastened with a riband,
and seal of black bearing my usual impression.
I looked at it, when alone, and shrank back
—was it not the seal of my destiny? and did
not some unseen being direct the movements
of that morning?
E11r 117 Scarcely had I finished when Arlington
came, as he had promised, to ask if I had any
commands for him. Here, I said, is a parcel
and a letter. Will you present them to Mr.
Ethelwald
as you pass through Trois Rivieres?
He looked for an instant at the packet and at
me, and then said, “Mrs. Burleigh, you are
certainly ill, and I fear lest I said too much
during yesterday’s conversation. It is not
for me to ask what are the contents of this
letter and parcel; but let me advise you not
to send them till you have had time for reflection.”
I have reflected, was my answer, and
when once resolved it is better to execute.
Arlington was intent upon business; and
being in haste to accomplish it, he took the
parcel and letter and departed, repeating his
wishes to see me, ere long, at Quebec.
When again left alone, I endeavored to
find consolation, and to resign myself to the
will of Heaven, to that spirit who, felt but unseen,
marks out the destiny of mortals.
I strove to applaud myself for what I had
done, as an act of generosity and duty;—but
ere the next day had passed, came a letter
from Ethelwald.
With a feeling, haply, like that of the savage
warrior of the woods, whose death song
is composed, I broke the seal of this paper,
traced by the hand of one far dearer and more
charming to me, than life to the hunter of the
forest.
E11v 118 Had the words of this letter been either
light or indifferent, pride would have been
awakened, and the passions that follow in her
train might have assisted me in recovering
from the shock. But every expression of my
beloved was that of gentleness and sorrow.
After telling me that his absence had been
entirely the result of unavoidable circumstances,
“How could you, for a moment,” he
continued, “believe a report which would
prove me, if true, a false friend, base in feeling
and in character? ought you not first to
have considered?—Every thing once mine you
have returned; have I deserved this at your
hands? You say ‘let us not meet again.’
I will not visit you if you desire it not, but if
we meet by accident, I cannot be so inconsistent,
as not to continue to evince for you the
regard I have felt and expressed.”
Thus wrote Ethelwald, a seraph in mind
as in form, under circumstances, where any
other man would have shown both pique and
resentment. Every line of the paper in my
hand was breathing with tenderness, combined
with a sense of injury, which renewed with
double force every feeling of my love and admiration.
All excuse and self-complacency forsook
me; degraded in my own eyes, I felt as if unworthy
either of heaven or of earth.
My frame was already weak with what I E12r 119
had suffered of suspense; now all power seemed
also forsaking my mind, save one only of
self-torture. Still I sank not entirely; accustomed
from childhood, to reflect much, and
often thrown upon my own resources, I made
constant effort to look calmly at the worst and
to seek for hope and amusement in vague and
distant objects.
The hymn, which you will find among my
papers, of that winter which I shudder to think
of, was the fruit of one of many sleepless nights.
It depicts but faintly, the suffering that became
less intense whenever I could express the
slightest pang of it in verse.
Sire of the universe,—and me, Dost thou reject my midnight prayer? Dost thonu withhold me e’vn from thee? Thus writhing, struggling ’gainst despair? Thou know’st the source of feeling’s gush, Thou know’st the end for which it flows— Then—if thou bid’st the tempest rush, Ah! heed the fragile bark it throws! Fain would my heaving heart be still— But pain and tumult mock at rest: Fain would I meekly meet thy will, And kiss the barb that tears my heart. Weak I am formed, I can no more, Weary I strive, but find not aid,— Prone on thy threshold I deplore, But ah! thy succour is delayed! E12v 120 The burning, beauteous orbs of day, Amid its circling host upborne, Smiles, as life quickens in its ray— What would it, were thy hand withdrawn?— Scorch—devastate the teeming whole Now glowing with its warmth divine! Spirit whose powers, of peace, control Great nature’s heart, oh! pity mine! That winter which I tremble to recall at this
moment of vivid recollection;—that winter
allowed one day of happiness, which memory
will always retain, and fly to the picture she
has made of it, when the present is dull or languid
—all the pain of that winter, which to
think of, oh! my friend, makes me shudder
even in thy presence, and while breathing the
perfume of these flowers—the pain of that
winter and of my life, was, perhaps, too small
a price for the happiness of such a day!’

Thus,” exclaimed Dalcour, “doth nature
evince her kindness! The mind, where she
reigns, casts aside the remembrance of pain,
and treasures every moment of pleasure, to
look upon with joy, through the varying path
of futurity. Idomen could forget months, and
even years of suffering, to dwell upon the memory
of one day; and the color that now mantled
on her cheek, almost pale before she spoke,
arose from the excitement of that long past
day of satisfaction.

F1r 121 I wished to prolong the sentiment so pleasing,
tho’ indefinite, and was fain not to suffer
my friend to revert immediately to scenes that
I knew must follow. I presented to the now
smiling Idomen, an orange, brought by Benito
on a piece of fresh plantain leaf. The faithful
boy had peeled it with his ebony fingers,
(kept always pliant and unsoiled for the light
labors he loved,) and opened it, without spilling
a drop of nectarious juice, at its own delicate
divisions.
Idomen swallowed it in complacency, but
said:—‘My friend, do not fear to exhaust me;
the scenes I soon shall describe were indeed,
terrible, while passing, but to speak of them
now, amid flowers and fruits presented to me
by the hand of friendship, I feel to be almost
a pleasure. So the mariner, while seated on
deck of a new skiff, on a calm sea, rosy
with twilight, reverts to the horrors of a wreck,
escaped only one voyage before.’
‘I know not, yet, the will of heaven; but
whatever fate may be marked out for me, the
past, at least, is certain, and mine.
I would not give the scenes past with Ethelwald,
with all their pain of more than many
deaths, for a whole long life of calm happiness.’

This again,” said Dalcour, “is nature!
and yet, I knew it well to be but a passing hyperbole,
the overflow of excessive excitement F F1v 122
which gushed, in this speech, from the lips of
her who had suffered. Had the chocie been
offered, Idomen would have been found obedient
to duty and to reason.

When a few brief moments were passed,
I again desired Madame Burleigh to proceed,
in sincerity, with her story; but her lips were
still moist with the fragrant gift I had presented.
She retired to the court, a moment, and
rinced, habitually, the delicious sweetness of
the orange from the well kept ivory of her
mouth. No care was ever spared by Idomen
to preserve from a decay, so common among
the fragile beauties of the new world, such
gifts as should always be guarded, because
they are received from heaven. But when
this moment had been given to the angel of
health, she sat down again by my side, remained
a little while silent, and thus continued her
story:
‘In beings formed to taste it keenly, the desire
of happiness is strong. Happiness, in its
utmost excess, had been but lately in my view.
Had my own hand broken the cup, which heaven
had presented? I asked myself this,
and conceived, for the first time in my life of
the torments ascribed to those wretched souls
in perdition, who have been shown, for a moment,
the delights of paradise, to be told that
their own sins have shut them, forever, from
the scene. Alas! with such a consciousness, F2r 123
what need of the fires of matter, or the scorching
of external arteries?
In the midst of such reflections as these,
came a card from the manor house. A
large ball was to be given, and Ethelwald, I
knew, would be invited.
But one month before, with that pleasure
could I have adorned myself to meet him at
such a festivity!—but now?—the thought was
a stab to my heart; annihilation, even, would
at that moment, have been preferable.
Ethelwald, I thought, would be there; and
gay, thoughtless persons might come, also, on
purpose to look, in curiosity, on one, to whom
the present favorite of the world around him,
had devoted whole days, and even weeks. To
meet such persons, would require my utmost
health and firmness; how, then, pained and altered
as I was, could I sustain the glances of
scrutiny?
I feared to meet the gaze of the multitude;
yet one look of kindness from him I had offended,
would have been to me like the dew-cup
of the deserts of Florida, to the slave dying of
thirst, yet fugitive, and fearing to return to the
well or fountain of his master. This flower, in the form of a cup, and containing a
draft of pure dew, was said, by early writers, to be found
in the stagnant marshes of Florida. A note to the same
effect has already been given in this work.
The night of the ball arrived, and the cold F2 F2v 124
increased to an intensity which, mingled with
the heat of stoves, pained every vein and artery
on the surface of my sensitive skin. The
pain of my heart was still keener; but a faint
gleam of hope was like the sun of approaching
spring.
A young relative of my host, had come to
N――t for the ball; and learned, with unfeigned
regret, that I was too ill to go. Her
name was Elmire; she, I knew, would speak
of me to Ethelwald, and the next day, oh!
heaven!—might bless me with an interview.
A dress of pale blue was chosen by this
gentle girl. Azure, celestial azure, was the
favorite colour of him who reigned in my
thoughts. With an impulse, accompanying
my natural love of beauty, I assisted at her
toilet, and helped to arrange her fair locks so
as best to comport with the style and colour
of her face, neck, and garments.
When all was finished, her hair, countenance
and vestments were so complete in the
harmony of tints, as to waken in me, when I
looked at her, despite of the pain at my heart,
a feeling almost delightful.
I felt, as it were, a spirit too sad to enter
paradise, who comes weeping to fold the robes
of some messenger to that smiling region.
The reputation for loveliness is generally
obtained by some circumstance. Often, after
hearing the praises of a belle of some town or F3r 125
village, a stranger, while beholding her among
her companions, is heard to ask, “which is the
beauty?”
With the gentle Elmire it was otherwise.
She had never been vaunted. Few travellers
go searching for violets or lilies of the valley,
when rose and magnolias are flaunting, in
their fragrance, around them; yet violets and
lilies, were they near at hand, would often
be chosen in preference.
When Elmire was complimented, she blushed,
turned aside, and spoke of the beauty of
her mother.
That mother soon came to N――t, to
take back Elmire to her home. In her youth
she had lived at a remote township, in the
midst of Canadian forests; and her mortal form,
though entirely neglected, remained still, as
little impaired as nature, unassisted by mortal
skill, could, in any climate, have preserved it.
The happy peasants of her neighborhood had
named her in their simplicity, l’ange des bois.
Her beauty, except that of Ethelwald, was the
most perfect I have ever seen. Both have lived,
and will probably cease to live, in some
one of the groves or cities of a country, without
other poets than the savage archers of the
forest.
When such forms of beauty come on earth,
perhaps, ere they fade or change, some model
is made of them for heaven. Or perhaps, they F3 F3v 126
come to show for a moment, some glimpse of
what, in heaven, is eternal, when forms shall
take the cast of divinity, and every lovely particle,
that seemed lost and scattered upon
earth, shall be called and united to its own, to
smile and to bloom forever.
When Elmire was gone, I felt weak, and
retired to my couch,—there, though I slept
not, the night was less painful than those
which had preceded it; for a glimmer
of hope was in view, as I looked forward to
the morning.
Ethelwald was to be at the ball; could he
leave N――t without seeing that friend, to
visit whom he had so lately crossed the Ladaüanna
in storms?
At four o’clock, the young visitor returned.
I heard some of the family arise to admit
her, but feared to call and ask her questions.
When the soul has suffered much, it clings
to the faintest hope, even as the infant, whose
mouth is sore, clasps with his little transparent
hand the smooth coral and silver bells, and
shrinks from the food presented.
It seems better to embrace an illusion than
to hazard, by certainty, the renewal of ineffable
pain. With the first, a little rest was possible
—the last would have banished repose entirely
from my pillow.
In the morning, ere breakfast was ready, F4r 127
Elmire came to my bed-side. She told me
that Ethelwald had danced little, and spoken
with her, often, through the evening; that he
expressed sorrow at not seeing me as he expected;
the more, as a party of friends had
engaged him to cross the river as soon as
the company should separate, to proceed with
them at that early hour, upon the frozen St.
Lawrence
to Quebec.
Besides this intelligence, a note soon arrived
from my beloved, which evidently had
been penned during the late festivity. Of
tenderness it was full, like the letters I still
preserved, but the hurry of the scene, and the
influence of mirthful companions, were, also,
both perceived in its contents.
Hope now fled, and the light, again, was
misery. Elmire wished me to return with
her and with her mother, to their residence at
Trois Rivieres.
At any other time I should have shrunk
from the cold; but change of place is often desirable
to the wretched.
I sawmysaw my little Arvon, and prepared, on the
second day after the ball, to accompany the
mild Elmire, with her father and her mother,
to their abode.
Eight English miles we had proceeded over
the country, when our cariole descended to
the ice of the Ladaüanna, which seemed like
a pavement of crystal.
F4 F4v 128 The whole snowy landscape was magnificent,
but to look at it long, could be done, only
at the peril of death or mutilation. During the intense cold of Canada, it is not uncommon
for careless travellers, to freeze dangerously their
ears and faces.
The quicksilver of the the thermometer stood
at a point which it reaches but in few parts of
Europe. The same degrees of latitude in the
New World, are well known to be far colder
than in those eastern regions long inhabited
by civilized man.
In the frozen Ladaüanna, there are always
open chasms. Through these, as is said by
the peasants, “the great river breathes.”
How superb was its breath on that day!
Our cariole, drawn by a little thick-haired
Canadian horse, seemed but as a speck in the
snowy immensity around us.
One English mile we had rode upon its frozen
waves, and another mile was yet to be past.
I held over my mouth my closely furred
hood, and only made bare my eyes to look at
the scene before me,—at the breath of the vast
river.
Through those deep chasms or mouths,
through which breathed the Ladaüanna, arose
clouds of vapor, mounting to the sky,—assuming
the form of phantoms;—mingling light and
shade,—and sparkling in the cold beams of the
distant sun of winter.
F5r 129 I thought of the depths whence arose those
brilliant vapors,—and an idea darted through
my soul. Could I throw myself into the midst
of these shining particles, the warm wave beneath
would receive me, and how soon could
I be safe from all the disappointments of the
world!
Attended as I was, I could not stir from the
cariole. Had escape at that moment been
possible, the thought would have been obeyed,
perhaps, as suddenly as conceived. It
could not be—yet my mind from that moment
became possessed with a design, which heaven
alone had frustrated.
After two or three hours, we ascended the
bank of the river, and soon reached the dwelling
of Madame C――l, in a street of Trois Rivieres.
The rest of the family appeared and welcomed,
with embraces, Elmire and their parents.—
L’ange des bois was living in one of those
low-roofed abodes of her country, which display
all the charms of hospitality.
The table was already spread. Canada,
with its still few inhabitants, is a country of
ease and of plenty. Soup was followed by
venison and birds of the forest, kept frozen in
snow, since the autumn.
Wild nuts, wild fruits preserved in the sugar
of the maple, and the beautiful apples of
Montreal, kept always bright and unfrozen, No apples in the world are more beautiful than those
of Montreal. The sunny side of the mountain near that
city, is favorable for gardens; the inhabitants have a sort
of passion for its culture; and fruits are abundant around
it.
F5 F5v 130
and fair as the fruit of the fabled Hesperides,
composed the dessert, while pieces of ancient
plate told the families of Europe from which
my kind hostess and her children had descended.
Their present was happy; their past was
tender regret; and pleasing hopes adorned
their future.
Madame C――l spoke freely, herself, of her
uncommon personal perfections, but took no
pains either to display or to embellish them.
Untinctured either with vanity or ambition,
she confided in the love of her husband; and
thought only of him, her children and her
household.
Yet her face was still of fair colors, while
nothing could exceed its outline; her hair was
still shining; her light brown eyes softly
bright; her lips full and red; and her hands,
though much used, white and taper.
The dwelling where Ethelwald was born
could be seen from her window. She had
known his mother and brethren, and spoke of
them all in terms of love and admiration.
I have said that the friend whose absence
made me miserable, was he last who survived
of his family. Madame C――l spoke of the
favor he had lately obtained in the sight of
the governor of the province, and said it was F6r 131
surprising that one like Ethelwald, had already
remained so long, contented in the place of
his nativity.
The verses, oh! my early and constant
friend, which drew from you so much concern
for my happiness, when I showed them to
you at P――d, were given anonymously to a
journal of the day, and when printed, with the
permission of my husband, were sent, still
anonymously, to Ethelwald. His soft eyes
had read them;—his musical voice had pronounced
them;—his kind heart had suspected
whence they came;—and his white hands, after
five years had passed, unfolded and showed
them to me again, one delicious evening at
N――t. Five years he had remained contented
near the roof of his childhood, and
sometimes read in secret, a few verses, the
only proof of regard from a woman, whom he
had then known but a week. Why did he
preserve them?—What scenes have since transpired?
—Why had our late meetings been permitted
by heaven?
This I unconsciously asked of my soul,
now so deeply troubled. I heard and rejoiced
at his honors;—but when I thought of myself,
my whole being, as it were, seemed shivering
within me, and the design I had formed
while crossing the ice of the Ladaüanna, absorbed
every inward thought with renewed
intensity.
Yet, dark as was all within me, I responded F6v 132
to the country of my fair hostess and her
beloved. I listened to their artless songs of
the country, and sang them others, in return,
though with a voice that, in my own ear, was
hollow, and with a feeling entirely indescribable.
By many an early struggle I had learned
the art of seeming cheerful to those around
me, while my heart, in secret, was desolate or
suffering. Thus, sometimes, on a sod of Florida,
are seen pale flowers and verdure, while
the hollow darkness beneath it, is tenanted by
a serpent and her progeny.
Early the next day, the father of Elmire
conducted me back to N――t. The cold
had a little diminished; but the breath of the
Ladaüanna still mounted in columns to the
skies, and its waters, covered with snow, resembled
rocks of crustal, heaped with feathers
of the ptarmigan. I thought of my design
of yesterday, and wished that its current was
flowing.
N――t, which had lately seemed beautiful,
N――t, with its dark gray seminary
and glittering spires, with its grove of pines
and river, broad, my friend, as the Seine of thy
country, though but small as a tributary of the
St. Lawrence. N――t, with its happy little
dwelling, where I had passed the sweetest
moments of my life, seemed now the dearest
place for my tomb, and I longed to lay me down
in the bosom of a land that seemed to me as a
foster mother.
F7r 133 I deemed that the world could, to me, be no
longer as before; yet even for years ere this
period, vague hopes for the future were sometimes
all that made it endurable.
My desire, now, was for death; but what
would become of my boy, of my fair little Arvon,
already too much an orphan?—would not
suicide also, be guilt?—to me it had never
seemed a crime;—still there was a doubt!
I pondered long in secret, and went through
long trains of reasoning. Arguments, whispered,
perhaps, by some evil spirit, arose in
favor of my purpose.
Men of ancient times,—men who thought
much, men who lived nearer than we to the
time of the creation, believed, that at least,
two genii attended the steps of every mortal.
The adorable bearer of the cross said nothing
to disprove this belief;—he, even, was tempted,
and prayed to be delivered from temptation.’
Idomen was weak and overwhelmed; the
power that preserved her was not mortal. ‘Oh!
father of spirits, desert me not again! for I
know I live only by thy protection.’

I trembled,” said Dalcour, “as I looked
intently on the blooming fair-haired woman by
my side. Her face was covered with her
hands. Of those which are called the stormy
passions, her heart was entirely destitute.—
Anger, hatred, and revenge, endanger the
peace of others; but far more dangerous to F7v 134
the possessor is an excess of these feelings,
which are good only when governed by reason
or by heaven.

Idomen soon recovered her composure,
and said:—‘I have promised, oh! my friend,
to tell thee all; I conceal not a thought or a
sentiment; thy regard would possess no charm
for me, if obtained by falsehood or deceit.’
‘See me, then, as I am!—Behold that Idomen
whom heaven has preserved, and esteem
her still, if thou wilt. Without fault, there is
said to me no human being; happy then, is
she who is still esteemed, when all her faults
are made apparent!’

Proceed,” I said, “in thy story, as thou
hast begun. My esteem, Idomen is already
thine. Truth for me, is enough. I do not ask
perfection. While the tongue is unsoiled with
falsehood, there is little corruption at the heart.”

“Yet dreadful, said Idomen, were the hours
that I would depict to thee! I soon resolved
fully on death. My imagination heavily employed
itself in devising means to execute a
deed that might free me, at once, from the
world and all its evils. Yet great as was at
this time, my suffering, its endurance even
seemed preferable to the shock that might be
felt by my boy.
Yet my Arvon had, now, become acquainted
with those around him; he spoke French a
little, and was contented. Seeing my droopD2 F8r 135
state, he desired me, with his own lips,
that I loved, to go to Quebec, stay till I was
better, and then return to him again.
His innocent wishes determined me. I
wrote to Henry Arlington that my health required
a change of scene, and a young relation
was immediately sent to escort me.
I parted with my child, as I thought for
the last time on earth. My sleepless nights
had continued. After once more crossing
the frozen Ladaüanna, and while stopping at
Trois Rivieres, I desired my young attendant
to procure for me a phial of Laudanum, to be
used at discretion. The black potion was
obtained, and carefully secured in my portmanteau.
Refreshments were served at an inn; eat I
could not, but feeling a deep thirstiness, I swallowed
from time to time, an egg, in some wine
of France, mixed with water of the Ladaüanna.
Our hardy Canadian driver took care of his
long-haired pony; and we soon proceeded on
our course upon the frozen waves of the river.
My young conductor perceived not the
state of my feelings. He was one whom I had
known and regarded; and whenever he conversed
I listened with a sort of indescribable
suspense. But during long intervals of silence
as we proceeded slowly on the ice, I sat occupied
entirely with such thoughts as but
served to strengthen my purpose. I am weak, F8v 136
I said in my soul, and may fall into utter despondency;
—nay, if this deep mental suffering
should continue, even reason may ere long,
forsake me; it is better to be dead than a
maniac.
All day we glided on, as lonely as a little
boat at sea; and at night ascended the bank
of the river, and stopped for rest at a village.
On the third day we reached the snow
crowned fortress of Quebec. Arlington was
lately married. His companion, though gay,
was deeply imbued with an admiration of belles
lettres
, and seemed pleased to receive me for
her guest.
The cause of my illness was easily divined
by Marian; she loved to watch the progress
of the passion which had so consumed me,
and watched it with a feeling like those of poets
when they read a tragedy.
Marian was piquante, lively, shrewd, and
teeming with wit and sarcasm; yet her manners,
to me, were softened to a degree of respect
and almost of tenderness. Perhaps some
guardian spirit, acted on her heart at that
time, and secretly commissioned her to preserve
me.
Arlington’s house was in one of the broader
streets within the gray walls of the lofty
tower-flanked fortress, and to my surprise, I
was told that a hotel nearly opposite was the
temporary abode of him I loved.
F9r 137 To be so near was a deep satisfaction, but
the hand of despair had grasped my heart, and
was cold there.
Ethelwald, when apprised of my arrival,
called upon Mrs. Arlington, and desired to see
me. How lately could I have flown to him!
But now trembling, exhausted, my lips, cheeks
and hands, rough with the fever of my blood,
and the cold winds of the river, I went to
the drawing-room to see him, once more, from
whom I thought soon to part forever.
He took my weak hand in the manner of
friends in the country. His own hand, (mid
winter though it was,) was warm, moist with
a light perspiration, and whiter than the milk
of the cocoa-nut, or petals of the fragrant magnolia.
The touch of that hand, it seemed to me,
was enough to make the dead awaken, and my
heart, half petrified as it was, felt almost a
thrill, in return for it.
At first my eyes were cast down; I constrasted
the fullness of the happiness of him before
me, with the feelings that devoured my
peace.
A sentiment of pride came over my heart.
Friends and fortune, I thought, may desert
me,—but at least, I have courage to die. Vain
boast of a desolate soul! power even to seek
the grave, is not given to every wretch who
sighs for it.
F6 F9v 138 The tone of the voice of Ethelwald, despite
of every endeavor, very soon caused my lids
to rise. I wished not to trust myself to look
at him; but my eyes, as soon as raised, were
riveted.
The most perfect health adorned his beauty;
he seemed encircled by a vapour of softness
and of briliancy; and his countenance
was so full of benevolence, that I fain would
have knelt and wept before him.
But Marian Arlington was present, and her
voice turned the current of my emotions.—
I saw her shrewd dark eye glancing first
upon me, and then on her other visitor.—
I wished her to leave the room for a moment, but
could not ask her, and a strong sentiment of
pride restrained me while beaneath her observation;
—pride in one who sought the grave!
Alas! what an enigma is every thing mind
to itself! During such intervals as that, do
not unseen beings shed their influences?
The moment was past. Marian ran to the
window, and said that a carriage was driving
to the door of the opposite hotel. It contained
a party that Ethewald was to join. He
took leave; but I could not, as I once had done,
find strength to follow him to the door.
‘After all,’ said Marian, when he was gone,
‘of what value is beauty in a man?—your favorite,
I am sure, is vain, and you will make
him more so. No! for him I am determined
you shall not distress yourself.’
F10r 139 I was not in a state to answer. I retired
to my room near the saloon where we sat,
bathed my aching head in the waters of the Ladaüanna,
and endeavored to gain strength for
the day.
With great effort, I succeeded in dressing
for dinner at five. Some friends of my hostess
came in, and the theatre was proposed.
My faint refusal was not taken; neither had
I energy enough to resist with firmness.
At N――t, Ethelwald had once spoken
to me of his walks through the Louvre while
at Paris. ‘With what pleasures,’ he said,
‘could he lead me to the statues and pictures
which had most engaged his attention.
I may at least hope,’
he continued, ‘that you
will walk with me, some day, round the fortress
of Quebec, and look with me at the prospect
from its ramparts.’
From these ramparts
may be seen the last dwelling of civilized man,
intervening in all the vast wilderness between the
castle of St. Louis and the brink of the arctic
ocean. See note 20.
We were, now, both in the same fortress;
yet the walks of Ethelwald were taken with
others, and Idomen was in the care of strangers!
The friends of Arlington were ready in
their attention; but after the arm which had
lately supported me, to lean upon another was
like death.
F10v 140 In the course of the theatric entertainment,
I looked a moment towards the box of Lord
D――e
, and saw him who had appeared to
me like a deity, on earth, surrounded by gay,
trifling ladies, who kept him in continual conversation.
I dared not take another glance; when returned
I was too ill to sup, and retired to my
pillow, reflecting on the next day’s purpose.
Alone in the darkness of the night, and disturbed
only by the sound of carriages, returning
at intervals from scenes of festivity, I lay
endeavoring to be calm, and to silence those
doubts which conscience continually presented.
Words like these came to my mind:—
what tie have I to the earth, save that only of
my child?—him I cannot benefit, even though
I strive to remain. At best, I am weak; if I
droop continually, at last, what shall I become?
a burden, a burthen? alas!—even now, what
am I else? If I live in misery like this, reason
must ultimately forsake me. How terrible
for poor little Arvon, who has looked on me
only as a being loving and beloved! How very
far more terrible to look upon a maniac;—upon
one, perhaps, even loathsome, than to see
me only in memory;—(as he knew me, oh, my
friend, when you first took him on your knee!)
children are soon taught to bend their minds
to new objects. Arvon, even now, can bear my F11r 141
absence; he has learned to like what is around
him; and if there be kindness on earth, he will
find better friends than I! No! no! he shall
never see his mother an object for other feelings
than those of love!
Towards morning I slept from exhaustion;
at nine, I arose to breakfast with Marian, and
afterwards retired to write.
My purpose had now become fixed, and despite
of the night I had passed, my appearance,
though pale, was calm to those around me; but
if the soul which now warms me be eternal,
the remembrance of that day, so calm to those
around
, will continue to the latest eternity.
I first wrote separate letters to Arlington
and to Marian, beseeching, for the sake of
compassion, and as they valued their own futurity,
to conceal from my son the manner of
my death. I then wrote to Pharamond, told
him that I was ill, and that I felt I should never
see him more. I then recommended little
Arvon to his care, and besought him to petition
our uncle, Llewellyn Lloyde, in favor of
my orphan boy, as soon as he should return to
the beautiful river, and find me no longer on
earth.
To write these letters seemed a duty, but
it was a terrible one, I know not what death
I may die, but no greater pain, I am sure, upon
earth, can be suffered. To swallow the
poison, when compared with it, was a trifle.
F11v 142 I next looked over a small trunk of papers.
From time to time they had been saved, when
my imagination was under the influence of a
strong but vague hope that I should, one day
or other, be loved and renowned; and live longer
than my natural life, in the history of the
country of my forefathers, and that where I
first beheld the light. No mortal, I said, shall
smile at the fancies of lonely Idomen!—and
the few long preserved papers were burned at
the same taper, where I had just sealed, with
black, my letters of death.”
“Here Madame Burleigh shuddered, and
again exclaimed: ‘You have bid me, my
friend, speak truth to you, even as to God!—
I know not why, but what I felt in burning
these papers, in resigning this vague hope—
this indescribable illusion, caused me a pain
even greater and more sickening than the
certainty of leaving life, and my child. Yet
love for Ethelwald was stronger even than this
hope or illusion, for it forced me to resign a
flattering possibility which, from childhood,
had mingled with my reveries.’
‘At five o’clock, instead of appearing at
dinner, I lay exhausted on my bed. Marian
was kindness itself; she knew not what I had
been doing, but imagined that I suffered because
Ethelwald had not come in the morning.
With her own hands she brought me nourishment
—soup, light wafers, and jelly of the beautiful F12r 143
apples of Montreal. In the evening she
remained at home, with some intimate friends
of her selection, and came frequently to my
room. Perceiving that I slept not, she brought
her companions to my bed-side, determined
that my own regrets should be lost in the
charms of conversation.
Despite of my heaviness of heart I perceived
her delicate attentions, and felt for her, esteem
and gratitute.
In the morning I breakfasted in bed. Appetite
I had none, but I swallowed, to give me
strength
, an uncooked egg and some jelly, and
promised at five, to be present in the drawing
room. My earthly affairs seemed concluded,
and I strove to give to friendship the last day
of my existence, in a world where it is often
sought in vain.
When the day was nearly spent, I arose,
called forth all the strength that remained to
me, bathed carefully, dressed myself in white,
and succeeded in braiding with my trembling
hands, the hair, which your praises, oh, friend
of my retreat, first taught me to value at P――d;
and when Marioan saw me, she placed in it a
few dark leaves of a laurel, cultivated in a lower
apartment of her home. I had once looked
for laurels more lasting.’

Idomen,” I returned, “let they hopes continue!
If heaven has planted laurels in thy
reach, thou hast now, a friend, whose humble F12v 144
power may, at least, help thee to gather them!
She looked at me an instant, and proceeded:”

“The saloon of Marioan overlooked the street;
there the family party had assembled before
descending to the dining room. On entering,
I found them at the windows, and went to look
with the rest. Ethelwald was walking down
the snow-covered pavement, together with a
young man of exquisite beauty, though of a
style entirely different from his own. The
last was like an animated statue of brown marble;
the first like a celestial visitant.
The stranger was a Thespian of uncommon
personal endowments; within the walls of
Quebec, good scenic representations were seldom
enjoyed, and every lover of the elegant
arts caressed and entertained the present visitor.
Ethelwald looked up toward our windows
with a smile, which, to see, was worth a whole
year of common happiness! with a smile that
should have healed and consoled, but my heart
was closely grasped by the strong hard hand
of despair.
At table, remarks were made on the two
that had walked together; on the favorite Thespian,
and on him who lately had been favored
by the governor or viceroy of the province.—
Another guest came in at the dessert, and added
that a certain lady of wealth and beauty
was evidently making endeavors to gain the G1r 145
heart of Ethelwald. To her, and to every one
beside, it was a wonder that he had lived so
long in quiet, on the banks of his native river.
I spoke not a word on the subject; but I
heard enough to determine me, even if I had
not before been resolved.
The whole party were against going to the
theatre, and Marian would not leave me at
home. I know not why it was, but I felt no
reluctance in going, although shrinking as before,
from every arm that supported me.
How potent, yet how complicated and indefinite,
are the varying motives of the soul!
to ourselves how unaccountable! to the world
how utterly inexplicable!
The taking of means not to see another
morning, had all day, absorbed every energy.
Yet I spent at the theatre, the eve of my meditated
death, and even the scene represented
is still impressed upon my memory.
H――n, the Thespian visitor, had chosen
for his apperance, the part of Kotzebue’s
Rolla, and the light dress of a Peruvian chief
displayed to full advantage the grace and symmetry
of his figure. His hair was wild and
thick, his eye dark and piercing. A white
tunic fell to the knee, and was confined lightly
round the waist with a cincture of gold and
serpent skin. A small golden sun shone at
his breast, and another on each shoulder.—
His fine neck was bare; and his finished limbs, G G1v 146
except their bracelets, bore nothing but a thin
silken covering, which seemed, in closeness
and colour, like the skin of a warrior of Potosi.
Ethelwald, I knew, was present, and admiring
also the fine form of the mimic Peruvian;
but I dared not look towards the place where
he sat, for fear of a prying glance from the lady
who would fain abridge his liberty.
We retired, when the tragedy was over,
and at ten, I sat at the supper table, with Arlington
and Marian, who said she thought me
recovering, and that she hoped soon to see me
returned to spirits. To spirits, I replied, I indeed,
hope soon to be restored! Something
whispered to my heart, at that moment, ‘take
heed lest those spirits be evil.’
At eleven I retired to my room, with the
intent to do my last earthly deed.
When carefully bathed in the waters of the
river I loved, when my hair was combed and
parted, when I had put upon my feet, which I
thought would never wander more, white slippers
and hose of Cuba, I folded about me a
white morning robe, just washed, by a laundress
of Canada, in the waters of the Ladaüanna.
May my weary soul, I said, be washed
and made free from stain, even as I now
endeavor to throw from this material form,
every particle of soil or pollution!
To finish this last toilette, now made for
my mother earth, I went and looked sadly in G2r 147
the mirror of my chamber. The expression
of my own eyes was too dreadful to be contemplated;
I turned away and shuddered.
Papers and a pencil were always kept near
in my hours of solitude; I wrote and sealed a
brief letter to him whose visits once seemed
to me like those of a messenger from heaven.
It was now past midnight, the letters I had
written were placed beneath the pillow of my
bed; and I held in my hand the same large
phial filled with black juice of the poppy
which had been procured at Trois Rivieres.
All was ready. I heard a carriage stop at
the opposite hotel, and found myself involuntarily
at the window.
A few dim lights were still burning, and as
the door opened, I saw a figure, which I knew
to be Ethelwald; and it appeared to me that
he turned and looked a moment towards my room.
Three days have passed, I exclaimed, and
he has not come, though so near! Yet, even
if he still regards me, how can I wish to be a
cloud to his brilliant days?
No! I will die, while there is still a hope
that he loves me!—at this a thousand thoughts
were poured like a flood into my soul. I remembered
the scenes at N――t. I contrasted
the sweetness of his breath—of the
kiss which seemed so warm and true, with the
black fœtid draught, which, even as I held it in G2 G2v 148
my hand, my sense shrank from inhaling.—
The soft mystic warmth which had seemed
to encircle his beauty, came to my mind in
contrast with the coldness of my own bed of
death. I returned from the window, knelt
down by the pillow I had smoothed, and earnestly
repeated this prayer to heaven.
Creator of suns and of systems, thou who beholdest
thousands of worlds at a glance, yet regardest
the sparrow and her brood, father who
carest for the pains of an insect, look down upon
her who implores thee!
If the death I seek be permitted, oh, take me
to some other state of being. Purify me, as thou
wilt, with suffering, but make me, at last, not
unworthy.
If the deed I would do be a crime, deign to
interpose thine omnipotence!
Author of daily miracles, which seem, to the
eyes of mortals, but the mere workings of nature,
regard me at this crisis! Thou who canst only
punish to perfect, save me from too deeply offending.
If to swallow this poison be a deed
beyond forgiveness, act secretly but surely upon
the conduits of my blood, and withold its effect
from the heart I now lay bare to thee.
Creator, thou who knowest me better than I
have wisdom to know myself, if punishment be
needful, give me strength to endure it. If I die
in sin, requite not that sin upon he innocent!
Giver of life, protect thou my child upon this G3r 149
earth, and, when it be time, send him gently beyond
the bourne of mortality.
When these words were pronounced to the
supreme director of men and more perfect angels,
I swallowed the contents of the phial;
rinced carefully my mouth and hands, passed
a handkerchief of white lawn over my head
and beneath my chin, (as if done to the newly
expired,) and tied it closely near the temple.
I then lay gently down, held to my nostrils
a handkerchief wet with water of the orange
flower, and expected my last earthly sleep.
To my utter astonishment, no heaviness or
stupor came over me. I lay perfectly at ease,
wooing, as it were, the slumbers of death.—
But instead of the expected sleep, I felt a light
pleasing sensation; my bed seemed as if rocked
with a gentle motion; and thoughts circled
through my brain in a manner vague and
confused, but pleasant in their nature and impression.
I know not how long this delirium continued,
or whether I slept at all; but when daylight
appeared through the windows, I felt myself
still alive and sick, as at my first voyage
on the ocean.
The wants and necessities of these forms
of matter are more imperious while on earth,
than even the cravings of the soul. Till the
hour for breakfast, I lay violently ill, and G3 G3v 150
could think of nothing else save preserving my
bed and dress unsoiled from the black profuse
ejection.
At nine o’clock Marian came in. My dress,
my looks, and the odor of the draft I had swallowed,
told her, at once, what had been done.
I asked her, as a friend, to conceal the discovery
she had made. Marian consented, but
first, exacted from me, an assurance that I
had no more poison in my chamber.
From the first, she had loved to watch the
course of my feelings, subjected entirely, as
they were, to the power of a passion, by every
one spoken of with pleasure; by every
modern person deemed romantic; to every
heart known a little; but felt, in its excess, by
few.
The curiosity of her whose care saved my
life, was now, more excited than before; and
with feelings, like those awakened by a tragedy
of Schiller, she left me sleepy from exhaustion
and flew to prepare restoratives.
In the course of that very morning came
Ethelwald;—had I died he would have been
called in to look upon me!—he was told that I
lay slightly indisposed; and another evening
had come, ere Marian let me know of his visit.
Exhausted as I was, a lively regret took possession
of my soul; for, had I known he was
beneath the roof, I would have seen him, even
as I lay, and told to him the cause of my suffering.
G4r 151 But destiny had differently ordained; and
Marian, perhaps, while her kindness saved
me from death—(for even the effect of the
poison must have killed without her care and
gentleness;)—Marian, perhaps, was commissioned
to separate my days from those of him
I loved, even as darkness at the beginning of
the world, was separated from light and animation.
Carefully nursed and nourished, in three
days I was able to rise; but the vivid regret I
had felt, at not seeing once more, when he
came, the bright being, whose estrangement
made life insupportable, was succeeded by a
despair more dull and heavy than before.”

“It is little,” said Dalcour, “to read or tell
the story of a stranger; yet even that sometimes
agitates and disturbs; and we cannot
speak minutely, of sufferings endured by ourselves,
without strong and fatiguing emotion.
Idomen wished to continue, but I saw that her
strength was overtasked. At the hour of the
passeo, I knew that two friends were expected
from Matanzas, and I left her to spare her spirits,
and to emerge from the past to the present.

The sun was high and powerful, but the
way to my woods was not long. I mounted
my creolian pony, languid with the hottest
hours of day, and resting on his saddle the
staff of my green silken umbrella, I proceeded,G4 G4v 152
half concealed in its deep concave, towards
the shady groves of my dwelling.
Benito followed, bearing my change of
dress on a little horse, brought a light near
the palm-covered cottage of his mother. A
palm leaf hat of his own weaving, covered his
woolly locks. Large drops of oozing moisture
ran down his black, glossy forehead,
made cool by the profuse evaporation. The
careless, happy negro was humming extemporal
airs, and never thought once of the sun.
The edges of the heart-leaved convolvulus
(or morning glory) were beginning to roll inwards,
even in my shady pathway. It was
the hour for refreshment and repose. I retired
to my vine woven chamber, and as soon
as its shade had cooled me, I bathed me with
sponges of the river, and put on fresh linen
for my lonely repast and siesta.
A soup, enriched with nutritious roots
from my garden, was boiled at my fire every
day, and sent, when I had tasted, to the women
with young children in my hospital, to be
shared with any who were sick. This, with a
speckled guinea fowl, and a heart of fresh curds
laid on rose leaves, were my simple but luxurious
banquet.
Fig-bananas and fragrant guayavas were
presented on fresh, green leaves, and set before
me, at the dessert, with a vase of such
flowers as I loved. I sat long, alone at table,
musing on Idomen and her story.
G5r 153 The powers she possessed of feeling both
pleasure and pain, were, as it seemed to me,
but proofs of the depth of her genius; for who
can describe or conceive of that which he never
has felt? Amid so many griefs and transitions,
it seemed to me a subject for wonder,
that her reason, ever active and reflecting, had
not been even more disordered than the truth
of her narrative had proved it.
Her present healthful appearance, though
absent, and still loving Ethelwald, gave assurance
of her mind’s elasticity. Her fancy was
evidently feasting on some vague hope of seeing
him again. Her passion I deemed an illusion;
happy as she had described him, and
surrounded by gay, friendly circles; it was
not probably that one so admired, at his home,
would appreciate the character of Idomen, at
a distance, or prove for her the love of a storied
knight-errant or troubadour.
Yet his reign over her warm imagination
was still undiminished and entire; and for that
I felt a secret satisfaction, as it guarded her
heart from new attachments.
I knew the full strength of gratitude in a
soul like hers whom I admired, and resolved
to become her protector, in any way comporting
with her wishes.
I would favor her cultivation of the muses,
and take her to polished Europe, when at last
she might wish to study there. Ethelwald, I G5v 154
doubted not, would yield to the attractions
of some fair daughter of Britain;—while
reason, friendship, gratitude, the welfare of
her child, and, what is so strong in an artist, the
hope of success in her art,—every inducement
would conspire to obtain for me, even the hand
of Idomen, if necessary to her safety or to her
honor.
Benito slung my colored hammock of Otaheite,
and I took my siesta in the woods. No
nauseous worm or reptile is found either in
the fruits or among the thick leaves of Cuba.
The pretty lizard, so entirely fearless of man, The tameness of the small lizard is a surprising circumstance;
it seems to put entire confidence in human
beings, and never moves when they approach, unless
driven by violence. Its eyes are very beautiful, and
seem to express wisdom or thoughtfulness.

I loved always to contemplate, and welcomed
his delicate eyes, whenever he approached
my solitude.
At sunset, I went with Benito, to where
the branches of the night flowering cereus had
clasped themselves like serpents, around fallen
trunks of palmetto. A curious fruit is
sometimes found on these plants, shaped like
a tapering pear, and covered with prickles
like the leafless stem that it grows upon.—
Chance smiled upon our search, for we found
two of these rare luscious apples, or pulpy coverings
of seed. As I saw them closely swelling, G6r 155
near the serpentine branch that bore them,
I could but think of the fruit presented by the
invader of paradise.
But one, far unlike a destroyer, now sought
them, for her, whom he wished to adorn his
paradise. Benito, as he stood, wove a basket
of leaves, and I placed the rare fruit that had
crowned my search, in my cabinet of porcelain,
till morning.
At ten, the next day, I found Madame Burleigh
in expectancy. I gave flowers for her
boudoir; but reserved the fruit of the night
blooming cereus to change the current of
her thoughts when perturbed by the scenes
she depicted.
‘A few brief incidents,’ said Idomen, ‘will
finish, oh! my friend, the gloom of my many
adventures, and reveal the whole past life of
her whose heart is laid bare to thee!’
‘Again I had strength to go through the
routine of the day; but half that day was
spent in lassitude on the sofa.
Light soups and jellies, presented by the
hand of Marian, with the charm of her conversation,
preserved the little life I still retained.
The presence of this friendly companion,
had in it, I knew not what of animation
and influence; yet the faint joy it imparted
was only as the light of a passing taper,
flashing at intervals through the iron grated
aperture of the dungeon, in which my soul sat G5G6 G6v 156
imprisoned. The gloom that hung over me,
became deeper and deeper; and I doubted
the care of heaven, though so lately preserved
from death.
No! I secretly exclaimed, if heaven had
preserved, heaven would comfort!
Even Marian, I know well, (while her lips
amuse me with gentle words, and her hands
present me with sustenance,) is reading the
tablets of my mind, like some story, half real
and half imaginary. As I become weaker she
will be weary;—but no! I will retire in time.
I was now able to walk out. An elderly
lady who had come from N――t, brought me
a letter penned with the infantine hand of my
dear absent little Arvon. Every thought of
horror returned; and I feared that I might
live to give him pain.
The bearer of Arvon’s letter was going out
to buy ribands and artificial flowers for the toilet
of her village daughters, and desired me
to bear her company, and taste the fresh air to
my own benefit. I went with her to choose
these little adornments of festivity; passed
from door to door, and stopped at the rooms
of an apothecary.
Candies prepared with healing herbs for
the colds of winter, were purchased for Arvon
and her children. I spoke of the noise made
by vermin in the night, and said I would give
her arsenic to destroy the disturbers of her
sleep. A youth, when asked, produced some; G7r 157
but said that much caution was needful when
arsenic was used in a family.
How much, I said, would destroy a human
being?—“two grains” returned the young man,
“would occasion the death of the strongest
soldier in this garrison.”
I bought what might
fill a large shell of a walnut of England; kept
half myself and gave the other half to my companion,
who, I knew, would leave Quebec very
soon, and could not return again to the parlor
of Arlington. She left me at my door, and
went farther.
I returned to my room to dress for dinner,
and laid aside the deadly purchase. Little
was now to be done, the letters of death I had
written were still by me, and sealed. A few
more words on their envelop was sufficient.—
The same vestments of white which had wrapped
me for a dreadful purpose had again been
freshly washed in the waves of the Ladaüanna.
Beautiful name of a beautiful river, my lips
even at that dismal hour, took almost a pleasure
in speaking thee; and my chilled heart,
even then, could frame good wishes for the
forest chief Nicolas Vincent Zaunanaui, a Catholic Indian Chie. who first had pronounced its
voweled syllables.
St. Lawrence, if indeed thy spirit can watch
near the noble stream, baptized with thy name G7v158
by thine adorers, pity and protect the wild
children of the woods, who still cross its waves
in their canoes of bark, who still border their
moccasins with the hair of the elk, and transfix
with their arrows, the wild speckled pheasant,
and the ptarmigan, white as thy sorrows.
Again I was taken with the family party to
the theatre; but Ethelwald was not there.—
Once, since my baffled attempt, I had seen him,
but the spirits which were wont to rush forth
in joy at his presence, had forsaken me; neither
did Marian forbear her watching for one
moment. The wish still remained of confessing
to him all I had felt; but the power for
such a confession was denied me.
Again I saw the mimic Peruvian, but the
picturesque scene was now lost on me. Again
I sat at the supper table, but could not smile
with the rest.
Requesting some sweetmeats for a soreness
of the throat, I retired to my room as
soon as was consistent with courtesy.
Letters of death were again placed under
my pillow; I bathed myself once more in the
waters of the river I loved, and wet a white
kerchief of Cuba, in perfume of orange flowers,
which had blossomed there. Again I breathed
to Heaven, the same prayer, my friend,
which I have repeated to thee; but it was
breathed with less of fervor and more of heaviness
than before.
G8r 159 At last, after pausing a moment, I chose
from the sweetmeats sent to my room by Marian,
a wild plumb of Canada, and mixed with
it as much arsenic as the quantity of its own
stone and pulp. The whole was swallowed.
I rinced, carefully, my throat, teeth and lips;
tied a white handkerchief beneath my chin, and
lay down once more, to my doom, unless heaven
should avert it.
A heavy sleep came over me, together
with a dull impression that I was now, tempting
and offending a Deity who had lately interposed.
How entirely dependent are mortals! Men
have boasted of, at least, the power to die;…
but even that power they possess not. Some
higher hand must concur, before even death
can be obtained, by any wretch, who would
rush to an unknown state, to escape from the
torments of this world. The sufferer may
complain of destiny, and strike his own heart
in impatience; but heaven alone can vouchsafe
to him, the eternal stillness of the tomb!
In the morning I again awoke, not in world
of spirits, but on earth, and deathly sick. My
offended vitals spurned and flung the heavy
mineral, with an effort more painful and violent
than was caused by the juice of the poppy.
Marian, at the hour of breakfast, came to
my room, and sent for a young physician, her
relative, who staid by me till the poison was G8v160
ejected. When I lay more at ease, they both
endeavored to act upon my fears, but spoke
less of a future existence than of ingratitude,
dishonor, and defacement of my form while
on earth. Concealment of what I had done
was only obtained by promising that I would
make no farther attempt to leave this world.
For the term of three months I gave a promise;
and fearing to distress me, they did not
exact one forever.
Three days I lay ill, in bed, thinking that
the poison might still destroy, though in a
manner less easy than I had hoped for. Marian
was constant in her attentions; she brought
me such nourishment as could be taken without
effort, she sang, conversed, read, and employed
ever pleasing art to amuse and beguile
me of suffering.
Her cares, her conversation, the charms of
her mind, were a balm, perhaps, sent by heaven,
to heal and restore me to the path intended
for my treading.
In four days I could rise again; but a light
eruption, the effect, perhaps, of the mineral I
had swallowed, was spreading itself over the
whole surface of my form. Of this my physician
in kind wisdom availed himself. “Your
system”
, he said, “is peculiar, no poison that
you can procure will give you death;—you
have twice tried the experiment; but disease
may be easily induced; and even now, you
are fortunate in escaping defacement.”
G9r 161 How inexplicable are the changes of our
hearts; and how necessary to mortals is the
sympathy of earthly contemporaries! The
confidence of two persons who kept my secret,
produced upon my soul a stronger effect than
the utmost of her own reasoning powers.
Thus, often, some slight external succor,
restores action in the palsied energies which
have baffled every inward exertion.
I had promised to live, and my pain, however
keen, must be endured. The mere circumstance
of having a promise to keep, acted as a
support, and urged and impelled to effort.
Rumors continued to float around, that a
fair lady, with a fair fortune, was still ardent
in her attempts on the heart of him who seemed
to me like Phœbus.
I knew that if I lingered in Quebec, I must
sometimes meet in public, both the idol and
the nymph that would enchant him. The fatal
packet send from N――t had in every
worldly sense
, exonerated Ethelwald from farther
regard for her who folded it.
I looked upon myself, changed, emaciated,
escaped, as by a miracle from death, and contrasted
the joyous presence of him I loved,
with my own sadness and dejection.
I could not bear the thought that mere pity
should ever take the place of that tender
and impassioned attachment which, however
evanescent, had existed.
G6 G9v 162 The time was short since Ethelwald
had crossed, to see me, the Ladaüanna in
storms; but, to me, it had seemed an age of
suffering. I would not, now, that he should
look upon me; I would even avoid a meeting
with him of whom the mere sight was heaven.
In the midst of these revolving emotions,
a letter arrived from the pine grove of N――t,
and I resolved to return to my child.
The same young relation who had brought
me to Quebec, took me back to the wild lonely
village where my happiest moments had been
passed.
Wrapped closely from the air, I endured
the first hours of our journey; breathing many
a secret prayer to heaven, and during long
intervals of silence, binding up, as it were, my
disordered thoughts into verses.
The month of March was begun; the excess
of cold had diminished; but the beautiful
river was still frozen and hard as a rock of
crystal.
By degrees I was attracted by the scene.
I threw back my close furry hood, and perceived
that I once more could look around and
breathe the free air without danger.
Waves, rocks, trees and mountains, buried
and fleeced with snow, assumed forms the
most fantastic.
A path on the river before us, was marked
out by dark boughs of evergreen, set up by G10r 163
friendly hands in the snow, to direct the lonely
traveller. The snow in Canada is often so deep, as to cover
the walls and fences of every common inclosure. On
such occasions, the roads are marked out by branches of
evergreen.
Our little rough-haired horse
of the country was driven by a faithful singing
Canadian, and our cariole skimmed like some
bird of winter, over a vast expanse of whiteness,
or as it were, through a wilderness of
brilliancy.
We rode low upon the river, but as we
passed its banks, huge snow-drifts, at intervals,
seemed rising even to the heavens. Every
thing sparkled in the sun; the winds were
hushed; the sky was blue above us; and looked
as serene as the countenance of him I fled
from beholding. Spring, though distant, was
preparing to approach; I respired the pure
breath of the desert, and my soul caught returning
animation.
I felt the movement of a pleasure whose
organs had long been inactive; it rushed
through my soul like something new, and the
palsied sense was resuscitated. Beautiful nature,
how darkly involved is the heart when
its pains counteract thine influence!
These feelings continued but a moment;
yet they left a refreshment behind them, and
the poignancy of reflection was softened as
we rode one day longer upon the frozen Ladaüanna.
To persons who deserved my gratitude, I
had promised to live three months; and no
promise once given to any mortal by Idomen
had ever, in her life, been broken.
G10v 164 In three months more the waves would
again be unlocked; and a hope now began to
dawn that my heart again might be healed.
Ere the term of my promise could expire,
the vast rocks of ice would be riven, and I
should view the magnificent spectacle of the
river regaining his liberty. In three months
more his waters would flow on in peace and
beauty, and then—if heaven willed me not on
earth, and my wretchedness still should continue,
I could find me a hiding place from the
world in the depth of his pure sweet bosom;
and be hidden alike and forever from the eyes
both of pity and cruelty. Thus whispered
my still sickly fancy, but a cure was begun
in my soul.
In the morning we crossed the great river,
and rode over the slightly yielding snow, till
the tall pines of the seminary seemed beckoning
our approach to N――t.
As the clock of the seminary struck twelve,
the kind inmates of my former dwelling came
rushing to the door to receive me. Each in
turn expressed a sorrow that my health was
not yet recovered, but said that my eyes looked
better than when I had left them for Quebec.
O hope! how the first faint gleam of thy twilight
has power to change the countenance
of a mortal, so fallen in the night of despair!
Notice was sent to the seminary, and little G11r 165
Arvon flew to embrace me. He said it was
the cold that made me sick, but now, spring
was coming, I would be well again.
My young conductor remained but a day,
and departed, followed by my blessings.—
Would to heaven I could essentially befriend
him, and every other being, who has done to
me the slightest deed of kindness.
I feared a recurrence of pain, and avoided
the temptations of solitude. I walked daily with
Arvon on the snow, or sat in the midst of the
family and neighbors, preparing his linen for
the summer. Employment is sweet when busy
for those whom we love.
The gentle Elmire came again from Trois
Rivieres
. She spoke often of Ethelwald, and
repeated what he had said, at the ball, whither
I had seen her depart, with braided hair and
dressed in azure. A vague possibility that,
at length, he might come to seek, once more,
the friend he had loved to visit, soon entered
my heart with her accents, and assisted in restoring
me to health. Every thing around
me had been hallowed by his touch of presence;
a glimmer of hope was blended with
pleasing remembrance, and conspired to make
the long day supportable.
But lately I had shrunk from my mirror,
and said in the language of the passionate bard
“my beauty consumeth away;—my heart is
smitten and withered;”
but now the color G11v 166
seemed fain to spread itself again on my
cheeks, and roundness was returning to the
arms which had nothing to embrace but little
Arvon.
It is bitter to look forward to life, when
despoiled of an illusion of felicity, yet now, I
could resolve to bear the prospect and endeavor,
at least, to be worthy of the idol to whom
I should have fallen in sacrifice, save only for
the hand of heaven.
Meantime, the rivers burst, roaring from
their imprisonment, and vast masses of ice
were heaped like mountains on their shores.—
The murmuring boughs of the forest, had
cast off their cold incrustations; the skies
were clear and blue; the early birds of spring
were returning; and the snow fast dissolving,
near the earth, paid a thousand, thousand tributes,
to the thousand rivers and rivulets now
hastening to their giant sovereign, the magnificent
Ladaüanna.
The sweetness of breezes through forests;
the rushing of over-swollen waves; the rapturous
cries of birds; the dropping of waters
from boughs and housetops; all mingled their
melodies with the songs of the ever tuneful
peasants of this country of streams and cascades.
My heart still smarted with its recent
wounds; but a flood of gratitude seemed poured
warmly over it; and thanks burst forth to G12r 167
heaven that I had still sensation for the present.
The large suffocating stove was now moved
from the hall of our dwelling; fragrant branches
from the forest took their place upon the
large cheerful hearth; and while they crackled
into flame, the neighboring children would
often assemble and sing there, the boat-songs
of their fathers.
No walks could be taken save on snow-
shoes like an oval sieve, made by the savages
of doe-skin cut into threads, and woven or
or knotted like net-work. Binding closely to the
souls of our feet, these light far-spreading sandals,
I walked daily with Arvon, on the banks
of the river of the village.
Letters from Pharamond had arrived, at a
warmer port, distant from Quebec; and reached
us by coming far over the still snow-covered
country.
My cousin arrived at Quebec as soon as
the ice had departed. The three months of
my promise had nearly expired. It was now,
the month of June, and relief had come to my
soul, like cool balm to the temples of the sick
of a fever.
I could but regard this relief as a sign from
heaven to encourage me to remain on earth.
Yet in all concerning powers invisible, the mind
is sometimes shaken with doubts; and it constantly
asks itself the question: Does heaven, indeed, G12v 168
commune with me in secret, or is it but
a fond dream of fancy?
I could not trust myself entirely. I dared
not return to Quebec, for I shuddered at the
thoughts of a renewal of the terrible temptations
which had passed.
Power unseen, yet protecting, which I
fain would obey in gratitude, was not the new
energy which sustained and gave wisdom to
walk with caution, a breath from the infuser
of souls?
When Pharamond, at length, found time
to spend time one day at N――t, letters had arrived
from Cuba, relating the sudden death of
Llewellyn, my uncle, and so lately my friend.
Tears streamed from my eyes, which but
three months before were tearless; he who
had parted with me half in anger, was now, no
longer upon earth. My mourning dress for
poor Burleigh had not yet been entirely laid
aside. My friend next in affinity was now, no
more, and fresh weeds of black declared the
renewal of sorrow.
Worldly concerns, for a while, were banished
by grief for the deceased; but when
Pharamond had left me again, they returned
and pressed upon my thoughts.
My supplies would soon be exhausted, unless
the once kind Llewellyn had thought of
me before he left this world. I felt that my
duty as a mother, must be set above all selfish H1r 169
wishes. I thought of Arvon, and, for a moment,
regretted that I had not given myself
in sacrifice to the wishes of my uncle, now no
more; a union of interest would have secured
independence to myself and to my orphan,
with the power of benefiting others; but the
deep reluctance I had felt, had been seconded
by fears and scruples, lest truth and honor
might be violated.
To Pharamond I shrank from obligation;
once, indeed, he had expressed for me the warmest
regard. He saw me, when almost a child,
married, and obedient to the slightest wish of
my protector. “Idomen,” he then said to me,
“could I find another like yourself,—but you
are estranged by marriage; and even if you
were not, the relationship between us would
be an invincible barrier. What choice have I,
then, but to devote myself to fortune and to
celibacy?”
My cousin, since that period, had
seen a woman that pleased him, wedded and
lost her, and now, was again entirely devoted
to commerce and to worldly acquisition.
I resolved to return to Cuba; my only relation
there, was dead; but all species of fear
for myself had fled with the brilliant excess of
the happiness which late had bewildered me.
My little fair-eyed Arvon, who would protect
his minority, educate him, and prepare him
for the world? I thought of the planter who
had wept when I left him at Cuba, and warmly H H1v 170
solicited my return. He might extend to my
child his support and affection. That mortals
are changeable, I had reason to know too well;
but I thought of my escape from death, and
trusted in the power that protected me.
The timid doe that finds her shelter in the
forest, afar from the low white dwellings that
overlook the Ladaüanna, will brave danger in
defence of her young; the delicate dove of Cuba
will struggle and flutter in defence of the
inmates of her nest; but even the lioness of
Africa is weak when beset with perils.
Meantime, the short glowing summer of
Canada, was accomplishing the term of its intensity.
The snows of eight returning moons
had enriched the earth with their deposites, and
she, now, in her gratitude, became prodigal
of fruits and flowers. Flowers of a darker
dye, or fruits of more luscious flavor, regale
not our senses, oh, my friend, even in the leafy
retreats of this island beloved of the sun!
The violets of the gardens of the priests,
were tinged with purple like the mountains,
when seen in autumn from the gray stony
ramparts of Quebec. The roses of Persia,
with theirs would be rivalled in sweetness.—
The robes of the ancient kings of Tyre, or the
shells upon the beaches around us, could not,
if compared, outvie the velvet purple of their
heart’s ease.
Their full clusters of grapes were ripening H2r 171
to jet and to amber. Their currants or cerinths,
hung in clusters of alternate topaz and
ruby. Melting raspberries of black, red and
white, lined the walls of their enclosure; and
a small, curious melon lay roughly on the dark
prolific soil, yet scarcely yielded, in taste or
fragrance, to the anana with its golden embossment,
enclosed in its green folded covering,
from the sun, whose neat beams have made
it mellow.
So sweet was the brief produce of these
gardens, long buried in snow, which bloom
beneath the care of a seminary of priests on a
tributary stream of the St. Lawrence.
Agitated as had been my own bosom, I
could not look without emotion on the tranquil
and innocent lives of the men who adorned
these retreats. Here, sheltered from the
world, sad, as it were, even from themselves,
they followed not the beckonings of hope, and
were strangers to fear and inquietude.
The depths of their hearts I could not see,
or what springs of passion were concealed
there, but their lips breathed humanity and
kindness.
To priests I entrusted my son, and the mother
and the orphan were respected. With
priests, I walked in these fair gardens, which
but lately had formed the base of snow-drifts;
and beheld glowing fruits upon the branches
that, when I first looked upon the silvery spire H2 H2v 172
of the chapel near them, were sparkling with
icy incrustations. The feelings of ages had
passed since that time, through my bosom,
and still were retained by memory.
The superior of the seminary of the pine
grove had taken up earth every summer, while
endured the few moments of his recreation;
and every summer, with hands washed for sacred
offices, had formed one step of a circular
mound, and covered it with sods of sweet
grass. When, on the seventh year, the green,
fragrant base of seven steps was completed,
there was placed on it a column woven into
shape with wicker; and other years still must
elapse ere the newly planted vines could entwine
it.
“Such,” said the peaceful architect “is the
fragile nature of men’s labors. The ancient
pyramids of the Nile, thought their projectors
have been for ages forgotten, are less permanent
to the eyes of the Eternal than this column
to the youth of N――t.”
The nothingness of this life, for a moment,
was fully presented to my intellect; and I conceived
of the sentiments of those, who in different
ages of the world, have retired to commune
with the future, and calmly wait a passage
to eternity. No beings on earth can possibly lead lives more
blameless, than the Catholic fathers in Canada. The didirector
of the seminary alluded to, was accustomed to pronounce
weekly homilies to the youth under his care, together
with a large assemblage of neighbouring villagers,
and tears would often stream from his eyes while endeavouring
to impress upon them the truths of his religion.
The Roman church is truly said to be, above all others,
favourable to taste. Even in this remote place, the chapel
was adorned with many pictures, some of them very
beautiful. The superior, however, was an accomplished
man, who had fled from France during the massacres of
the revolution. Children from Protestant families were
admitted at this seminary for the purpose of education;
where the severest punishment they ever received was
that of being, after a fault, compelled to kiss the earth.
In this harmless community of men, without
earthly hope, I could have placed my orphan
boy, to pass his days unruffled by those H3r 173
pains which encircle fame, fortune and pleasure.
I could even myself have entered the
convent at Trois Rivieres, and listened as long
as I lived, to the waves of the Ladaüanna.—
But the thought crossed my mind as a shadow,
not as a reality to be followed.
Many have said that “the will of mortals is
their destiny;”
and in many a crisis of mortal
life, the saying may seem to be truth; but
whence comes the energy which urges our
will to fruition, or the circumstance that makes
it inevitable?
The summer so brief and beautiful was
more than half passed away; and before the
return of the snows of autumn, again I must
be upon the ocean.
Before I could again embark for this island
of flowers and forgetfulness, six hundred English
miles must be traversed by land, by lake,
and by river. Pharamond had made arrangements
for my journey, and dear little Arvon
was appeased by my promise to send for him,
wherever I might stay.
The sweet August of Canada was almost
passed when my cousin appeared, once more,
at the village of the moments of my happiness.
The parting with Arvon and my kind inmates
was over; and we glided, once more, in a batteau.
The beautiful Ladaüanna was warm and
smooth as a mirror; the songs of the boatmen
were low; and at intervals they dipped their H3 H3v 174
oars in silence, save the warblings of the bright
drops that fell from them.
My heart was full of pertubration; and
when at intervals, I spoke, it was to recommend
earnestly to Pharamond, the boy I was
leaving behind—yet whom, like the fabled
pelican, I would fain have nourished with my
blood. Still, when we approached the opposite
shore of the river, and saw, at a distance,
the Convent of Trois Rivieres, a thousand other
sentiments and sensations came rushing and
mingling with those which, so lately, were true
to maternity.
Duty had triumphed over love; but the
broad stream we so sweetly were gliding over,
had been crossed when rough with storms, by
Ethelwald, to see me. On the banks we were
approaching he was born; and a strong desire
took possession of my senses to behold him,
once more, ere I departed.
To the momentary wishes of my agitated
thoughts, heaven and circumstance were propitious.
While resting in a dwelling that
overlooked the river, we learned that the ornament
of the simple town of his birth had
been greeted early in the morning. He had
left, for a few days, the fortress of Quebec,
and the streets of Trois Rivieres were enlivened
by his presence.
The day was unusually warm, I had once
more bathed in water from the river I loved, H4r 175
and dressed, for our repast, in the thinnest of
my mourning attire. I looked earnestly in the
small mirror of my bed-room-for-one-night,
and saw with a deep satisfaction that some
roundness of contour had returned again to
my person. I dropped a moment, on my knee,
and thanked the Almighty for his benefits.
A dessert of fragrant melons and raspberries
from newly-felled forests, was served with
dried fruits brought from distant climates by
the commerce of Britain, and sometimes tasted
in this spot, even by the savage hunter of
the desert.
While we still sat lingering at the board,
the coming of a stranger was announced. He
bent as he entered the door; it was but the
self same figure which before had been present
to my soul; but to look upon the heavenly
reality was a delight so supreme, that the
past and the future were as nothing.
The bliss of the deity is but love. Those
who have known what is love in perfection,
though on earth, and but for a moment, need
not ask what reward awaits the just.
The sun was declining in its beauty; we
sat over the dessert, and the brim of one glass
of the tears of the grape was pressed to my
lips as those of Ethelwald touched another.—
We drank to those who were away; but our
souls at that moment were rushing towards
each other, and could see no object but the
present.
H4 H4v 176 Scarcely a drop was swallowed save by
Pharamond, who soon threw himself upon the
sofa, so oppressed with heat, that sleep was
with difficulty resisted.
I stood near a window, with Ethelwald,
whom I never had seen before in summer.—
The intense sun of that season, so brief in
his country, had slightly tinged his forehead,
which seemed amid the snows of winter too
spotless for an earthly material. But the
charm of his expression seemed enhanced;
and as his light golden hair was faintly moved
by the zephyrs of his own native river, I
thought I could feel by sympathy, every thrill
of those delicate arteries that made him a being
of sensation.
The twilight became paler and paler: sleep
had possessed itself of Pharamond, and we both
looked from the window, upon the waves darkening
with shadows, yet still tinted with rose
color. Here was, now, at least, an opportunity
for some explanation of the past. But the
past and the future were as nothing; to see
and to feel were so much, that every other organ
was inactive. An innate sense told me
I should speak, but my tongue could find only
broken sentences.
Do you remember, I said,…“I am not,”
replied he, whom I looked upon, “I never can
be ungrateful!”
…I felt the soft warm pressure
of the hand into which mine had fallen, H5r 177
and that we were to part forever, melted or vanished
from my intellect, as a thing which could
not be possible. In moments like the one depicted, there is something
very inexplicable. When parting from a country,
with a strong probability of never returning, I have felt
so happy in the immediate presence of esteemed persons,
as to make it impossible to realise that we haply might
never meet again, and surely never again under the same
circumstances. The many things which ought to be said
are banished by the vague illusion of another meeting;
but when the parting is over, and the fair opportunity
past, then comes the torment: we think of what might
have been, and could almost tear ourselves to pieces for
our own folly and forgetfulness.
A word or a promise must have united our
destinies, but neither word nor promise was
spoken. Something both wished to impart,
seemed struggling to burst forth from our lips,
but neither had the power of utterance…
What mysterious influence reigned absolute
till the dear opportunity was no more?—That
question can only be answered by the being
who marks out, on the map of eternity, the
path to which mortals are to wander.
Our tongues were like tongues of the entranced;
the countenance of Ethelwald, though
now shaded by evening, appeared to me anxious
and wishful. I long to hear or say something
definite;—but alas! it was impossible to
break the ineffable silence of expectancy.
I know not how much time had passed, but
the moon had risen and was shining; and a
servant, at length, came in, to ask of Pharamond
directions for our morning departure.—
A bustling noise, and the moving of travelling
trunks ensued; it was time for the inn doors
to close.
Ethelwald seemed reluctant to go; and I
began to shudder and tremble, and could not
even say remain with me. Pharamond arose,
gave directions to the servants, and appeared
as I thought, impatient. The constant companionH5 H5v 178
of my thoughts pressed my hand closely
and departed.
I saw him from the window, in the moonlight,
his noble form, slowly receding on the
shores of the river of his birth. His eyes, to
the last, seemed turning frequently back towards
my window…oh, heaven of heavens,
shall I never behold him again?—to
what purpose then, has he been known to me?’

Here,” said Dalcour, “I arose a moment,
and asked of Benito, those fruits of the night‐
flowering cereus which had been gathered
the evening before, and were not kept by this
favorite negro in a small vase of marble from
France. They were the first of their kind that
Idomen had ever seen, and the current of her
thoughts was insensibly changed as she admired
them.

I cut into halves, with a knife of silver,
one of the sweet juicy apples or formations,
divested it of its outward prickles, and by tasting
one portion myself, compelled Madame
Burleigh
to swallow the other. This, with
the usual process of rinsing the sweetness of
fruits from her lips, and the ivory within them,
diverted her mind from what it dwelt on, and
calmed the over-rising emotion. She looked
at me, thanked me for my care, smiled gently,
and resumed:
‘The hurry of travelling admits of no consideration;
and perhaps its principal charm is H6r 179
the decision it continually demands. The
boat would go at a certain hour in the morning,
and those who would depart must be ready.
Till twelve at night, I was occupied in
making those arrangments most necessary to
cleanliness and to order; and at six in the morning,
I arose. The bell of departure was ringing,
as we stepped from the shore to the vessel.
I had nerved myself, as well as I could, to
walk in the path traced by heaven; yet my
eyes, from time to time, wandered round in
the hope of encountering a form transcendent
above all others. But a letter was all that
came; it was placed in the hand of Pharamond,
who did not present it to me, till far on our
way to Montreal.
I lay down on my berth to break the seal;
it was tender but not conclusive—“give me,”
said Ethelwald, “your address, and you shall
receive from me a full explanation.”
The hurry of the changing scene, a thousand
doubts, a thousand wishes, a thousand
fears and regrets—all combined to overpower
the cooler energies of reason, that might have
been enough for my happiness.
I remembered all that I had suffered, and
thought Ethelwald cold and ungrateful in allowing
me, thus to leave his country—and yet
my pains had never been known to him, and H6v 180
the greatest offence that had been given, my
own hand had committed when I sent to him
the packet sealed with black.
But the last brief, delightful interview, was
still so vivid on my memory, that my mind
dazzled by the present, looked not calmly upon
past events. Of my answer to the last
note of him, who had seemed to me a seraph,
I can only remember this sentence:—“I go,
perhaps never to return—I ask no explanation
—may every happiness attend you.”
Having slept but little in the night, I sent
to excuse myself to Pharamond from sitting at
his side while at table; drew closely the curtain
of my berth, and clung for refreshment
to my pillow. Thought would not be bidden
to rest, but sported as it were, with the stings
of inquietude; and the lines tied round with a
riband of carnation, come flowing to be arranged
on that day.
Demoustier thus describes the young hunter
of Cyprus, when he inspired that sentiment
which proved the cause of his death:—
“He was not immortal, but of that enchanting
age when life resembles immortality.”

The same might have been said of Ethelwald,
when first seen at P――d.
Since sending the fatal black-sealed package,
I had scarcely thought of making verses,
but the sight of my idol had been like the influence
of the god of Delphos. The stanzas, H7r 181
perhaps, are unpolished, for I never had the
heart to retouch them.
Had the blest fair who gave thee birth, Lived where Ægean waves are swelling, Ere yet calm reason came to earth, Warm Fancy’s lovelier reign dispelling, The Sire of Heaven, she had believed, To stamp thy form had ta’en another, In allusion to the fable of Jupiter and Alemana. And all who saw had been deceived, And given the Delphic God a brother. And many a classic page had told Of nymphs and goddessses admiring; Altars, libations, harps of gold, And milk-white hecatombs expiring. And oh! perchance there had remained Some Phidian wonder—still, still breathing Love—life—and charms—past—but retained;— And warmth and bliss had still seemed wreathing, Softly around the Heaven-touched stone, As now a light seems, from thee, beaming— While thought—sense—lost in looks alone, Grows dubious if awake or dreaming. And must thou pass?—nor picture show, Nor sculpture, what my lyre is telling?— To feeble lyre!—as morn’s bright glow Fades o’er the river near they dwelling?— Spirit of Titian! hear and come, If come thou mays’t, a moment hither, H7v 182 Leave thy loved Italy, thy home— Oh! let but one acanthus wither, Round her loved ruins, while thou stay’st— Come to these solitudes, and view them; Must genius ne’er their beauties taste?— Nor tear of rapture ever dew them? View the dark rock—the melting blue Of mount and sky so soft embracing— The bright broad stream,—but beauty, hue, Life, form, are here,—all else effacing. Nature, to mock the forms of bliss Which fervid mortals have created, From their own soul’s excess, made this,— And gazed at her own powers elated. Fragrant o’er all the western groves The tall magnolia towers unshaded, But, soon, no more the gale he loves Faints on his ivory flowers; they’re faded. The full-blown rose, mid’st dewy sweets, Most perfect dies; but, soon returning, The next born year another greets, When summer fires again are burning. Another rose may bloom as sweet, Other magnolias ope in whiteness,— But who again, fair scenes, shall meet, The like of him who lends you brightness?— Come, then, my lyre, ere yet again Fade these fresh fields I shall forsake them— But some fond ear may hear thy strain When all is cold which thus can wake them. H8r 183 Though disappointed in the regard and
constancy of Pharamond, he still held and will
ever hold a large space in my affections.
At the hour of the principal repast, with
strict injunction that I should swallow them,
he sent me bread, soup, and fruit from the
plentiful table of the boat, that bore us, against
the current of the river, with a noise like the
roaring of Niagara.
At length the dull murmur of waves and
machinery assisted me in gaining repose; but
ere the twilight had faded, I went out to walk
upon the deck; for soon I must part, perhaps
forever, with a kinsman now doubly endeared
to me, by a thousand regrets and recollections.
Pharamond gave me his arm; spoke kindly,
and bade me be supported; and his was the
only arm upon which, since my walks at N――t,
I could lean upon without a shudder.
The long northern twilight was beautiful.
The track of the engine that propelled us was
seen like a glittering serpent on the far perspective
of the river, whose limpid course it
had disputed. Yet, despite of the rumbling
noise and foaming agitation of our course, the
light batteaux of the peasants were seen near
the fertile shores, or crossed the far off trail
with strong arms trained to the oar. The
scene around was so lovely and peaceful that
it reminded me, as we streamed along, of paradise
when Eve was driven forth.
H8v 184 The scenes I was so rapidly leaving were
those most entwined with my affections. The
waters of the pure, sweet river, sparkled and
reflected the deepening color of the sky. I
thought of him born upon its banks, and of
the doubtful future that awaited me. Tears
gushed from my eyes, and it seemed to me at
that moment, a far happier lot to be sunken in
the Ladaüanna, than to part, with those who
drunk of it, forever.
I talked much with Pharamond, and his
voice had softened to a tone as tender and encouraging,
as when he first beheld me just
expanding to the figure of womanhood.
At ten o’clock my cousin mildly compelled
me to retire to sleep for refreshment—but
my head and heart were too full for sleep, and
the verses tied with riband of purple and rose
color, were half of them pencilled ere I rested.
To the River of St. Lawrence The first time I beheld thee, beauteous stream, How pure—how smooth—how broad thy bosom heaved! What feelings rushed upon my heart!—a gleam As of another life, my kindling soul received. Fair was the day, and, o’er the crowded deck, Joy shone in many a smile;—light clouds, in hue, As silvery as the new-fledged cygnet’s neck, Cast, as they moved, faint shadows on the blue Soft, deep, and distant, of the mountain chain It will be seen that the writer had in imagination a
long extent of the St. Lawrence, from the spot where
these stanzas were composed, no mountains are to be
seen.
Wreathing and blending, tint with tint, and traced H9r 185 So gently on the smiling sky;—in vain Time—scene—has changed; ’twill never be effaced.
Now o’er thy tranquil breast, the moon-beams quiver— How calm the air—how still the hour—how bright! Would thou wert doomed to be my grave, sweet river,— How blends my soul with thy pure breath to night. The dearest hours that soul has ever known, Have been upon thy brisk; would it could wait— And, parted, watch thee still;—to stay and moan With thee, were better than my promised fate. Ladauüanna! monarch of the north! Father of streams unsung, be sung by me!— Receive a lay that flows resistless forth! Oh! quench the fervor that consumes, in thee! I’ve seen more beauty on thy banks—more bliss— Than I had deemed were ever seen below;— Dew falls not on a happier land than this:— Fruits spring from desert wilds, and love sits throned on
snow.
Snows that drive warmth to shelter in the heart;— Snows that conceal, beaneath their moonlight heaps, Plenty’s rich embryo;—fruits of flowers that start To meet their full-grown Spring, as strong to earth he
leaps.
How many grades of life thou viewest; thy wave Bears the dark daughter of the woods, as light She springs to her canoe; and wildly grave, In the whole extent of the Western hemisphere,
there is, perhaps, no place where can be found grades of
civilization more entirely opposite to each other. Three
daughters of the Duke of Richmond were once seen, in
the height of their beauty and refinement, looking from
the window of their own drawing room upon the female
savage who crossed the St. Lawrence in a canoe of bark,
as small as to be tied about her waist. By this contrivance K7v 230
the Indian girls can right their frail vessels when
upset.
Views the “great spirit” mid the fires of night.
H6 H9v 186 A hardy race, sprung from the Gaul, and gay, Frame their wild songs and sing them to the oar; And think to chase the forest-fiends away, Where yet, no mass-bell tinkles from the shore. The pensive nun throws back the veil that hides Her calm, chaste eyes; straining them, long to mark, When the mist thickens, if perchance theirre bides The peril—wildering on—some little bark. And trims her lamp and hangs it in her tower; Not as the priestess did of old; (she’s driven To do that deed by no fierce passion’s power,) But kindly—calmly—for the love of heaven. Who had been lost; what heart from breaking saved; She knows not—thinks not;—guided by her star. Some being leaps to shore;—’twas all she craved,— She makes the holy sign, and blesses him from far. The plaided soldier, in his mountain pride, Exulting, as he treads with statelier pace,— Views his white limbs reflected in thy tide, While wave the sable plumes that shade his manly face. The song of Ossian mingles with thy gale,— The harp of Carolan’s remembered here, The bright-haired son of Erin, tells his tale, Dreams of his mistly isle, and drops, for her, a tear. Thou’st seen the trophies of that deathless day, Whose name bright glance from every Briton brings, When half the world was marshalled in array, And fell the great, self nurtured “king of kings.” Youthful Columbia, ply thy useful arts, Rear the strong nurseling thy fair mother bore, H10r 187 Called Liberty. Thy boundless fields, thy marts,— Enough for thee; tempt these brown rocks no more. Or leave them to that few, who blind to gold, And scorning pleasure, brave with higher zest A doubtful path; mid pain, want, censure, bold— To pant one fevered hour, on Genius’ breast. Nature’s best loved, thine own, thy virtuous West, Chose for his pencil a Canadian sky; Bade Death recede, who the fallen victor prest, And made perpetuate, his latest sigh. In allusion to West’s celebrated picture, The death
of General Wolfe.
Sully, of tender tints transparent, fain I would thy skill awhile; for memory’s showing, To prove thy hand the purest of thy train, A native beauty from thy pencil glowing. Or he who sketched the Cretan; gone her Greek; She, all unconscious that he’s false or flying, Sleeps, while the light blood revels in her cheek So rosy warm, we listen for her sighing. Vanderlyn— see his picture of Ariadne. Could he paint beauty, warmth, light, happiness? Diffused around like fragrance from a flower;— And melody—all that or sense can bless, Or soul, concentrate in one form his power, I’d ask. But Nature, Nature, when thou wilt, Thou canst enough to make all art despair;— Guard well the wondrous model thou hast built, Which these, thy nectared waves, reflect and love to bear. H10v 188 Nature, all powerful Nature, thine are ties That seldom break. Tho’ the heart beat so cold, That Love and Fancy’s fairest garland dies— Tho’ false, tho’ light as air, thy bonds may hold. The mother loves her child;—the brother yet Thinks of his sister, tho’ for years, unseen;— And seldom doth the bridegroom quite forget Her who hath blest him, once, tho’ seas may roll between.
But can a friendship, pure and rapture-wrought, Endure without such bonds?—I’ll deem it may, And bless the hope it nurtures;‐beauteous thought,— Howe’er fantastic—dear illusion,—stay! O! stream O! country of my heart! farewell! Say, shall I e’er return? shall I once more— Ere close these eyes that looked to love—Ah tell! Say, shall I tread again thy fertile shore?— Else, how endure my weary lot—the strife, To gain content when far—the burning sighs— The asking wish—the aching void—oh, life! Thou art and hast been, one long sacrifice!
At eight in the morning, we were landed,
and sat, in a breakfast room, at Montreal.—
Pharamond could go with me no farther; the
season for the merchant of Canada was quickly
passing away, and vessels were waiting at
Quebec to be freighted under his direction.
I was left with a friend of my cousin, who
had grown old amid the toils of commerce;
but his soul was the seat of rectitude. The H11r 189
well known name of Horace Gear, was spread
over the wide provinces which Britain retains
in America, and was familiar alike to the merchants
of the neighboring republic.
This just man had a wife and children, to
whom he was tenderly attached; he expressed
surprise at my loneliness, and my courage
to attempt so long a journey and voyage, without
any protection, save of strangers. Yet,
after reflecting a moment, he said, in a tone
of emotion; “Emma, my wife, might be forced
to do the same, if storms should destroy my
shipping, and I should be called to leave this
world. May God ensure towards her the
same good will that I feel!”
A faithful girl
was procured to attend me, and an elderly
friend of my kind host, who was now, on a
visit of pleasure, offered to go with me to New
York
. At that city, increasing in commerce,
another merchant, known alike to Horace
Gear
, and to my cousin, had directions by
letter, to receive me, and to provide a safe
passage to this island.
Gear was opulent and respected, and his
table was profuse and hospitable; his fair wife
was not well, but a female relation presided.
He wished to present me to his friends, and
said: “I should like better to know your
heart bestowed, on some one here, than to see
you trust yourself, so fearlessly, to the dangers
of the sea and to fevers.”
H11v 190 Courtesy required of me exertion; but
when forced to take the arm of a stranger, in
passing from room to room, my heart shrank
within me; for I thought of scenes at N――t,
and of the arm which had there, been mine.
The day was fixed for my departure; and
the traveller appointed to escort me, seemed
pleased the better, as I promised to leave every
thing to his direction. Bourn was the name
of this companion, entirely unknown; of years
he had numbered seventy; in his youth he had
emigrated from Britain; and he told me that
all he possessed, had been gained by the trees
of the desert, which he caused to be felled
around him, and then sent them, in rafts,
through many rivers, to freight vessels for his
native land. Few, in these northern domains,
could excel him in fortune; the sports of the
hunter gave him health; and the strength of
his manhood was prolonged. I listened to the
story of his life; of his dangers when lost in
the forest—of his many adventures with the
Indians; and the beautiful daughters of the
woods, which, during his course, he had seen.
His memory was clear and vigorous; and his
intellect, untired with study, made eager records
of the present.
I had little to do, save to listen; and to
see awakened, as he spoke, the unspent ardor
of a soul, which must soon leave its earthly
material.
H12r 191 How pleasant to my ear, are the accents
which flow from minds long retained in this
world. To meet a warm generous intelligence,
unbattered by the sieges of years, awakens in
my heart a sigh for the elixir of life.
I knew not the country we were passing
through, and Bourn shook his scarcely gray
locks, and smiled at my utter surprise, when
told we were approaching Niagara. He had
longed to behold, that greatest of curiosities,
—and now that time and circumstance favoured,
he knew I would pardon a deceit practised
only to betray me into pleasure.
Sorrow, for a few days’ protraction of my
journey, was lost in the sudden expectation of
seeing the wonder of half a world, formed as it
is, by the peerless Ladaüanna, which traverses
forests and lakes to make the most stupendous
spectacle known either in the old or new
continent.
Would that the wheels of the machinist,
might never be rolled within the light of its
rainbows, or mingle their clatter with the deep
solemnity of its murmur!
America has rivers and torrents enough
for the wants and the wealth of her people.—
The soul need not be bartered for bread, nor the
scene which most exalts her aspirations be defaced
for the grinding of grain, or the weaving of
earthly habiliments.
Northern half of the new world, and ye fair H12v 192
isles which are called its mother, encircle the falls
of Niagara
, protect them with the spell of your
power, and consecrate the spectacle to “God the
infuser of souls!!”
The earth trembled beneath our feet as we
reached an inn near the beautiful abyss. For
the first day the roar was deafening, and when
first led to the brink I could not stand unsupported;
but sank upon my knees to endure the
confused and overwhelming sensation.
Seven days we remained in the neighborhood,
and when more familiar with the noise,
self possession, at last was restored to me.
The first view had been as nothing; for
the varieties of the scene were infinite. Every
point presented views entirely new, and
each, as we gazed, seemed astonishing above
all the rest.
On the side of the precipice which belongs
to the republic, one branch of the vast torrent
rolls over a trembling cliff higher, and a little
detached from the immense rock of the centre;
and midway down the steep, projects a
threatening crag accessible to the footsteps of
the daring.
At this point One can go to the ledge here alluded to, by means of
what is called the Biddle staircase.
the amazing height of the fall
strikes the deepest impression on the senses.
A rude stair-case winds down, and gives access
to a ledge of the precipice whence travellers
may obtain a view.
I1r 193 On this crag is sometimes seen a solitary
human figure in dark, fearful relief, against
the sparkling foam of the headlong stream,
which he can touch with his hand, while distant
alike from the summit, and the terrible
gulf beneath. Be it savage, cradled in danger,
or civilized man nerved by thought, the
head aches to behold a mortal thus poised between
beauty and death.
At different hours of the day appear the most
vivid rainbows, which change their soft beds of
foam, resembling down, with the rise and decline
of the sun; while the tints of the whole
mass of waters, are more tenderly exquisite
even than the colors of the sky.
The same waves that cause all this splendour
would pass by the happy dwelling where
he whom I loved, first saw light. They form
the most beautiful of cataracts, and ere they
could reach the sea, would bathe and give drink
to the most beautiful of mortals!
On the brink of the precipice appertaining
to Britain, and near where the river falls in
the figure of a vast crescent, a high overhanging
rock has been shaped by nature like a table,
and on the level of its top, a slight building
is placed for refreshment to the weary.—
On the last evening of our stay, my conductor
sat within its shelter, holding in his hands a
book in which travellers record their sensations.
“The feelings of a lady,” said Bourn, I I1v 194

“will be finer than those of a hunter or feller
of forest tress; go out awhile, alone, upon the
rock, and think of something to write in this
volume, that I may never hold again. I will
trace your name in my own rude hand, which
dipped in blood, like that of savages, has taken
with them, skins from the doe, ermine and
castor.”
I went out, but trembled all the while; and
when the aged hunter came to seek me, I gave
him the verses tied with riband of pea-green
and lilac—colours most predominant in the
dolphin while dying, in agony to himself, but
in beauty and pleasure to those around him—
the colors of the Dolphin and of the Falls of Niagara.
Stanzas to Niagara Spirit of Homer! thou whose song has rung From thine own Greece to this supreme abode Of Nature—this great fane of Nature’s God— Breathe on my brain!—oh! touch the fervid tongue Of a fond votaress kneeling on the sod. Sublime and beautiful, your chapel’s here?— Here, ’neath the azure dome of heaven, ye’re wed— Here, on this rock, which trembles as I tread! Your blended sorcery claims both pulse and tear, Controls life’s source and reigns o’er heart and head. Terrific—but, oh!—beautiful abyss!— If I should trust my fascinated eye, I2r 195 Or hearken to thy maddening melody, Sense—form—would spring to meet thy white foam’s
kiss—
Be lapped in thy soft rainbows, once, and die.
Colour, depth, height, extension—all unite To chain the spirit by a look intense!— The dolphin, in his clearest seas—or thence Ta’en, for some queen, to deck of ivory white, Dies not, in changeful tints, more delicately bright. Look!—look!—there comes, o’er yon pale green expanse,
Beyond the curtain of this altar vast, A glad young swan;—the smiling beams that cast Light from her plumes, have lured her soft advance— She nears the fatal brink—her graceful life has past. See note at the end of the volume.
Look up!—nor her fond foolish fate disdain;— An eagle rests upon the wind’s sweet breath— Feels he the charm?—woos he the scene beneath? He eyes the sun—nerves his dark wing again— Remembers clouds and storms—yet flies the lovely
death.
“Niagara! wonder of this western world, And all the world beside! hail, beauteous queen Of cataracts!” an angel, who had been O’er heaven and earth, spoke thus—his bright wings
furled
And knelt to Nature first, on this wild cliff unseen.
Niagara may almost complete my story.—
Brought safely to New York, by the aged hunter,
my conductor, a vessel was found ready
to sail.
I2 I2v 196 I wished to see nothing in this city of commerce,
save only one gallery of pictures; and
even he who had grown old amid deserts,
could perceive beauty in some of these.—
The fine arts are learned by inspiration, and a
true love of them comes from nature, and nature
alone.
Placed safely on board a good vessel with
the mail I had brought from Montreal; recommended
to those who bore me on my way in
such terms as I knew would be regarded; I
bade farewell, forever, to the courteous stranger
of the forest, who had been to me so excellent
a guide. We parted with warmth and
regret, in the hope of meeting only in heaven.
These verses were composed as I lay,
doubtful of the future, and musing continually
on the past.
The summer flowers not yet are past, The distant bower not yet is sear;— Why do I shrink, as wave and blast Blend in low murmurs to my ear? But late this weary form could brave Autumnal blast or wintry storm;— I stood upon thy frozen wave, Ladauüanna, and was warm. That wave upon my glowing lip, Melted to nectar; and the air, But froze my breath, to let it drip Like summer dew-drops, from my hair. I3r 197 Why to wild forests have I knelt, As to heaven’s shrine, I need not tell,— But ask no more than half I felt, For every yellow leaf that fell. Oh, how I loved!—the coldest glen, The pine tree bending ’neath its ice, The snows that form the black bear’s den, To me, bore flowers of paradise. Hours of enchantment, life and light, Can ye be fled to come no more?— No!—heart, if thou had’st known a blight, Less pain were at thy wounded core. Sweet spirit of the desert wild, Who lent thy plaintive harp to me, And loved me, when a pensive child, Oh, guard my lone maturity! For, like the ocean bird, I roam, From wave to wave, nor look for rest;— The sea my path, the world my home, My guide a flame that burns my breat! Tossed three weeks upon the waves of
autumn, I reached this warm Island, but to
learn that the friend I most relied on—he who
saw me depart with tears, was no longer on
earth to give me welcome. He had died on
his way to the North, where haply he had
wished to meet me.
The blow, for a time, was terrible; but the
God who bereaved gave also. The friendly Lorington,
he who found me this dwelling, came I3 I3v 198
soon to tell me, that my uncle Llewellyn, ere
he left the world, had provided enough for my
necessities. Leonora, the Spanish lady of
this last friend, came also to invite me to her
home; and with her I remained, until this retreat
could be made ready for my shelter.’
Thus finished the narrative of Idomen.—
The hour of her repast was approaching; I
saw her arrange the fruits and flowers I had
brought, while a place was prepared for me
at table.

The Catastrophe

At the hour of the siesta I departed with
Benito, who hung, in a neighboring thicket,
my hammock of coloured ndianIndian grass; and
lay down himself, near me, on the f resh turf of
malva—while our horses slightly confined, had
liberty enough to sleep and to feed upon the
verdure around them. Half slumbering, half
reflecting on plans for the future, I lay till the
sun declined; then returned through the woods
to my own dwelling.
A letter was waiting me, from the friend
who had purchased this retreat. My presence I4r 199
was required at Havana, and he who presented
the paper, had come to take my place while
gone, in directing the labors of my plantation.
My stay need be only fourteen days, but I
shrunk from leaving, so soon, the woman who
found comfort in my presence.
Yet the settlement desired in my affairs,
was needful, even to Idomen; for my fast increasing
cafetal, was to be for her use as
well as mine. This plantation before my purchase
was called Santa Teresa; It is very common in Cuba, to name plantations after
favorite ladies
; the Spanish names, however, are usually
those of particular saints.
the name
still remained cut in wood, but I changed it
ere I went for that of Idomen, resolving to
procure at Havana, letters of silver to be placed
at my portal.
To embark for two weeks for Havana required
but an evening’s preparation; and before
eleven in the morning, I stood at the door of
her who made every morning cheerful.
A volante with curtains of green silk,
closely drawn for the morning, had already
preceded my visit; and Lorington and Leonora
were sitting on the sofa, with Idomen.
A sadness came over the countenance of
my friend, when I said I must be absent for
two weeks; but Lorington smiled, and promised
all the care she might require.
Benito still lingered at the door, by his I4 I4v 200
horse, laden with fruits; I went to speak with
him a moment, and glanced towards the limpid
Yumuri. A black vulture was again stalking
at its margin, with the stateliness of a
plumed hearse.
Leonora had come to invite Madame Burleigh
to dine at her home, in the heart of Matanzas.
The manner of her living pleased me,
and brought to mind the cities of antiquity.—
We entered by the large door; the hall or
principal apartment was furnished with sofas
of silk, and butacas or easy chairs of the
country. A door, curtained with lawn, led
from this to the nuptial chamber, and we passed
through an airy refectory, to the inner
court, planted with flowers and shrubs, and
surrounded by small apartments; while the
side farthest from the front, and allotted to the
use and employments of servitude, was entirely
concealed by screens and foliage. The
floor of the court, (or its alleys between beds
of flowers) was paved, and on a level with the
principal apartment.
You have seen this form of building; it is
not uncommon in Cuba; but neatness, order
and comfort, distinguished the hospitable dwelling
of Lorington, the friend of the stranger.
The sparkling black eyes of Leonora spoke
vivacity rather than languor, and instead of
that roundness of form most remarked in the
ladies of this island of ease, in her was seen
the image of lightness.
I5r 201 Seldom at rest, she changed our seats
from one silken sofa to the other; from the
hall to the open refectory, where birds were
hung in cages decked with ribands of many colors.
The flowers of her court were fragrant in
the dews of evening, when placing herself at the
door of the refectory to inhale the sweet air
around them, she sung a few wild Spanish airs
that thrilled through the bosom of Idomen.—
Leonora had never been taught music, but a
true ear and a natural taste had given her peculiar
sweetness in the expression of strains
on a minor key, and in every chromatic passage.
Her songs, her pleasing Spanish accents,
and her cheerfulness, were charming to my
guileless Idomen; but still an unwonted dejection
came over her, as she sat or moved
with Leonora.
I felt, as I looked at her, even as the mother,
who leaves, for the first time, her infant;
for Idomen was dear to my soul as the last
born darling that smiles upon the bosom of
maternity when all its brethren are no more.
Yet, for fear, there seemed no reason.—
I left her in the care of the same friends with
whom she was safe before I saw her. The manner
of her life, beside, was innocent and regular
as nature.
At six in the warm, fair morning, the beautiful
bay glowed with light, and the steamboatI5 I5v 202
was ready for departure. Pirates might
be lurking near the shores, or some bold privateer
of Columbia might be hostile to the
islanders of Ferdinand, but fears entered not
in the scene. During the years 18271827 and 1828’28, pirates were swarming
around the coast of Cuba; and the steamboat between
Havana and Matanzas was once or twice boarded by
privateers from the neighboring continent.
Mothers, with eyes of love, and forms
rounded by indulgence, sat in indolent happiness,
amid groups of smiling children; young
girls, with long braided black hair, and lashes
curling on their cheeks, cast livelier glances
among the strangers, and waved their small
hands as they saw, from time to time, an acquaintance;
while black female slaves, loving
and obese, sat down upon the floor, around
them, sinking often to sleep upon each other’s
laps when their services were not required.
The ease and content that reigned among
these Cuban families, formed a vivid contrast
to the faces of foreign merchants; playing, as
most of them are, at a desperate game with
Fortune.
My affairs at Havana were finished, ere the
second week was ended. When arrived at
the port of my home, it was near sunset. The
first being I met was Lorington, who told me
that Madame Burleigh was very ill of a fever;
but begged me to set myself at ease, as every
thing possible had been done for her.
I6r 203 Perceiving a public volante, I threw myself
into it, and was driven to that dwelling
near the banks of the flowery Yumuri, where
Idomen so lately had met me, in the beauty of
health and sincerity.
A mulatress hired for her nurse, came
softly to the door to receive me. A mild
French physician soon followed, who recommended
perfect stillness, and said that the fever
had already been heightened by imprudence.
I knew not how to contain myself, but after
whispering a moment, crept softly to the bedside
of Idomen. Good heaven, what a change
had come over her—she slept, but pain was
expressed in every laboured respiration.
Her long fair hair, which had once been
so carefully arranged, was now half concealed
by a cap of linen, and wet with vinegar to
allay the aching of her head. The roundness
had departed from her cheeks; she had been
profusely bled—on her temples were the traces
of leeches; and burning cataplasms were
bound upon her arms and feet. And all this
change had been wrought in three days!
From nurse, physician, and the white servant,
who was weeping, I could glean but a
broken account. Madame Burleigh had taken
cold, while walking one evening, after it had
rained, with her Spanish friend, Doña Leonora;
and while still indisposed, had received I6v 204
letters from Canada. Her head, for two days,
had ached, and the slightest uneasiness was
dangerous; but a state of incipient fever, is
too often disregarded at Cuba, and no physician
had been called.
While Idomen was still in this state, a
planter had come from the country who had
lived on intimate terms with Llewellyn Lloyde,
her uncle.
The name of this planter was Belton—the
same who passed when I stood, with her who
now lay suffering, by the wild fig-tree near the
bay.
Belton had been told of my late attendance
on the niece of his friend; and urged by jealousy
or some worse passion, had questioned
her roughly on the subject. He told her that
her character was in jeopardy on account of
the freedom of my visits; and that her present
way of living was ruinous, not only to herself,
but disgraceful to her child and to all her
relations in Canada.
The brain of the unfortunate Idomen was
already too much inflamed; and the thoughtless
violence of this disturber awoke a thousand
recollections, and touched upon chords
which, before, were too highly strained. Attempting
to frame an answer, she sank back
upon the sofa, and gave evidence of fever and
delirium.
Belton, surprised and alarmed, had called I7r205
both nurse and physician, before even the
friendly Lorington had suspected the approach
of a malady.
The scene had been past but two days;
and he who caused it had retired to the country,
as if fearing to witness a death which
might be the result of his senseless accusation.
The most painful thoughts had possessed
themselves of the wandering mind of the sufferer.
Nurse, physician, and every one who
came near, seemed to her, as enemies united
to injure and disgrace her; even her medicine
was rejected as a draught that contained some
treachery. She now slept from exhaustion, but
her fever was still at its climax.
When poor Idomen opened her eyes, I
gently approached to take her hand, hoping
to soothe and comfort her. She knew me, but
started and shrieked as if in an agony of fear.
‘Leave me! leave me,’ she said ‘even your
friendship is denied to me; plots are laid for
my disgrace and dishonor, and death alone
can be my preserver!’
The cataplasms upon her arms and feet
became more painful from the slightest movement;
and I could almost have cursed myself
for disturbing her. I dared not agitate her
more, but retired to a corner of the room and
listened to her wild incoherency. I would
fain have watched over her all night, but shocked I7v 206
and thrown into confusion by the agony of
a being so dear to me; and vexed, wounded
and astonished at the suspicion which Belton
had cast on me, I knew not how to proceed.
The wild talking of Idomen ceased, and
perceiving she had again sunk to sleep, I desired
the physician to remain while I went to
consult with Lorington, on the means of quieting
her fears—determined in my heart, that
was bleeding for her, not to leave her again
in this world.
How vain were my precautions! fatal solicitude,
that defeated the care it would ensure!
Lorington kindly returned with me, intending
to watch some lucid interval; and to whisper
peace to the sufferer.
I had gone but half an English mile, and
hastened the calesero who drove us. Arriving
half breathless, I found the principal
door standing open as usual for the air, and
Lorington stole softly to the curtained apartment
of Madame Burleigh, to see if she still
were sleeping. What were our feelings?—
The bed was untenanted, but still warm with
the life of her who had pressed it. Both house
and enclosure were searched; but neither
nurse, servant, or any living being was to be
found. We stood a moment as if struck with
a bolt from the skies, and knew not what to
think, or what to do.
At last, a negro entered the house, and I8r 207
told us the Señora was in the river. Scarcely
had he finished when the nurse also entered,
agitated with recent haste. The physician,
she said, had been called suddenly to his own
child, who was sick; and that no blame should
fall on him or on her, for even I, myself, had
thought the Señora asleep when I left her.
The woman, still trembling, added, as I
frantically questioned her, that she had but
stepped a moment from the bed-room to the
court to get an orange—that while she was
out of sight, the sick lady had sprung from
her bed, and despite of the soreness of her
feet, had flown, like a bird, towards the Yumuri.
‘I saw her,’ continued the mulatress,
‘before she had gone far, and ran after her;
she seemed standing on a small rock; but before
I could reach her she was gone. I called
assistance as soon as I could, and people
still are looking for her. This negro can tell
where she fell, but if they find her she will be
dead, and I must be here to receive her.’
While the woman still spoke, we were on
our way to the spot. A handkerchief, worked
with the name of Idomen, was hanging on a
shrub on the rock. All night and the next
day was spent in such search as could be
made; but no other trace has been found.”

These last sentences were uttered in broken
tones, and Dalcour left my presence for
the first time since we met, abruptly. While I8v 208
I still paced the piazza, knowing not whether
to retire or to remain, I saw his door open
through the lattice of the hall, and knew that
he again was returning.

Our seats were resumed upon the sofa of
bajuca. The mourner of Idomen had wept, but
his face had since been bathed, and his silver
locks were composed again. “I had thought,”
he resumed, “to have spoken with calmness,
for more than a year has passed since the
scenes so bitter to describe.”

“That Idomen Burleigh should have lived
but for such an end, seems to like a frustration
of the plans of Heaven, that I scarcely
can believe she is no more. A vague idea
sometimes takes possession of my mind that
she still lives, and I shall see her again. Powers
above, whether she may be, deny her
not your protection!
The boy, Arvon, has not been told that
his mother is dead. I write monthly to Pharamond
Lloyd
, and remit sums for the child
that I have kissed, as he sat upon the lap of
her whom I loved to look upon. I now seek
for some trusty friend to go for me to the
shores of the St. Lawrence, and persuade the
son of Idomen to come to these flowery shades,
devoted henceforth to be his paternal domain.”
I9r

Epilogue.

After listening to the story of Idomen, I
soon went to Matanzas. Ambrosio del Monte
had gained the heart of his soft-eyed Raphaëlla;
and when he returned to his paternal
roof, to ask a sanction of his nuptials, I was
pleased in being asked, by the feeling Dalcour,
to make my home at his abode.

The gracefulness of his declining years, and
the friendship he so soon had conceived for
me, enhanced in my imagination, the deep effect
of his narrative.

I obtained permission to write the story,
even as it flowed from his lips, and to make
such extracts as I chose from manuscripts,
which, like the memory of her who traced
them, were treasured as if relics of a divinity.

I wrote a few hours in the morning; sometimes
beneath a tent of thin muslin or lawn,
spread in the woods to preserve me entirely
from insects; but oftener was preferred the
coolness of my own retired apartment. The I6 I9v 210
room of the picture of Idomen I had been allowed
to enter; but I forbore to remain there
a moment longer than was necessary to replace
the papers, taken from their cabinet of
porcelain, every day by the hands of Dalcour,
and given confidingly to my care, with the
silver key of the oratory.

The idolatrous respect which thus guarded
the remains of the departed was more fully
transfused through my soul, as I studied the
fragments left by Idomen.

Finished specimens, designs of poems entirely
new in their subject, and seemingly the
conceptions of a master, made me wish for life
and leisure, if it were only to give to my country
the outlines of this unknown being of the
new world, and I burned to become a disciple
of the dead, and to finish them as well as I
might.

The quiet pursuits of a man of letters accord
with my taste and capacity far better
than the bustle of the world. Health, with
the kindness of a benefactor secluded even as
he whose roof Those who go to the island of Cuba for health,
can only preserve it by living in a manner similar to that
of Dalcour. Excess, either in toil, exercise, or diet, are
dangerous in every climate; and in the tropics, they are
very soon fatal. Imprudence, impatience for gain, and a
want of that knowledge of his own system which is necessary
to every human being, are the causes of more
deaths than even the fever of the country.
nnow gives me shelter, will be
enough for my success. May I rise from the
flames and fragments of her, who is deplored,
even as a phœnix, though less brilliant, to console
the guardian of the first.

The hours of my recreation were passed with
my bland protector, and I found in his daily
mode of life, a constant model for improvement.

I10r 211

He tasted the sweetness of leisure, and at
the same time, accomplished much. The concerns
of his estate were conducted with perfect
regularity; but every task required was
consistent with ease and indulgence. The
fruits of his flourishing fields were made ready
at home, then sent to a merchant at Matanzas.
The principal accounts of the whole
were kept, and written out, with his own hand;
but two or three hours in the morning entirely
sufficed for their completion.

In governing and supplying the wants of
more than a hundred human beings, but one
white man was employed; and he was not allowed
to punish, unless with the consent of
his superior. The delinquents of each preceding
day were kept in confinement till a
certain hour of the morning, when their master,
in person, gave audience; if any suffered
pain or injury, they were either relieved or
righted; if any justly merited punishment, its
infliction was not withheld; yet the sound of
the lash was seldom heard; and the penalty
of the greatest offence could not exceed a certain
limit.

At sunset, the whole band were assembled
in a ring, and repeated, by turns, an evening
prayer; they were then dismissed to their
amusement, till the sweet toned bell sounded
ten. The routine of their evening was varied
according to their wishes. Many prepared I10v 212
themselves a meal, of rations given out at noon,
and now united with the fruit of their own
little gardens. The palates of all dark people
appear to require strong excitements.—
Garlic, and the strong acid of the lime, predominates
often in their succulent ollas; and
the bright scarlet pimiento, which might well
be called vegetable fire, was not only boiled
with their favorite repasts, but eaten fresh
from its stem, like nectarines by the ladies of
Europe. The large crab that wanders through
the coffee fields, was often arrested in his
course, to be boiled with their other meats;
and some, retaining the taste of Africa, would
still roast serpents and insects; and eat them,
unseen, by their fires.

Plenty, and even profusion, pervaded this
little domain of a man wise and benevolent,
but sloth and waste were discouraged. Plantain
groves, with their broad leaves and sweet
mellow clusters, were free to every inhabitant;
but to cut down a shoot to no purpose, was
held in the light of an offence.

Composed, beneath the roof of one who was
worthy to be followed, I conformed entirely
to his customs; and gave the same time to
the labors of fancy as was passed, in business,
by him who so gently lent his favors. Always
at his side in the time of exercise, rode
at the hour of the passeo, sometimes on horseback,
to Matanzas, to see through the colours I11r 213
of the brightly declining sun, the greetings of
its loveliest inhabitants.

Ladies in open volantes, their black braided
hair, decked with jewels or fresh flowers, for
the evening, appeared in their sweetest smiles;
cavaliers, darkly handsome, followed often in
other volantes, their fine heads uncovered save
with locks like ebony; and the waving of
hands softer than theirs was returned with varied
expression.

Scenes like these were before us; but when
we looked at the sky, palmettos rising high
amid the beautiful light, marked the narrow
boundary of the pueblo, and seemed beckoning
to our leafy abode.

When oppressed with heat or weariness,
Dalcour would ride slowly through the smooth
alleys of his plantation. Sometimes, entering
the woods, we cut with sabres the hanging
vines that hindered our course; while our
ponies gently bowed their heads to avoid the
tangled luxuriance.

To me, as to Idomen, every leaf, flower and
insect, was a page illuminated for my reading.

The white blossoms of the coffee fields had
dropped from their glossy wreathes, and berries
were forming in their places. The sugar
cane was green and tender; the sun was fiercely
advancing towards its vertic height, and the
earth was preparing to hide herself from his
glances in a mantle of sparkling showers.

I11v 214

The hours of labour, nourishment and recreation,
had pased in regular succession, and
I went with Dalcour to his flower twined piazza,
to pass a few moments in the coolness
of night, before the bell sounded for repose.
The moon was absent, and darkness hung over
the foliage.

I looked through the trees upon the beautiful
sky, and saw what I thought an uncommon
number of those meteors called falling stars.

Dalcour returned to the hall with a small
lantern of crystal and silver, in which was
burning the pure spirits of sugar cane; it was
the light carried in his own hand, to the woods,
when he sought for the blossoms of the night-
flowering cereus.

Holding on high this tasteful substitute for
moonlight, my bland host walked towards his
fountain (on the dewy Bermuda grass) and
waving it gently in the air, repeated with an
invited cadence “cocuya.”

The white locks of the graceful old man,
attired in spotless linen, and surrounded by a
circle of rays from his lantern of crystal and
silver; his figure relieved by the darkness of
night, and, amidst the foliage, his benign countenance
raised towards the sky—the whole
combined seemed something more than mortal;
and something more than mortal they
were, for a refined intelligence enhanced and
beautified every object surrounding Dalcour.

I12r 215

While glancing at this living picture, curiosity
for an instant, was suspended, but soon
returned with renewed force when I saw those
which had seemed to be meteors, drawing
near to the person of my friend as if fraught
with love and reason.

They were but winged insects, once probably,
worms upon the earth. Yet it is no figure
of Fancy to call them creatures of light.

My protector took them as they descended,
and placed one upon my hand. It evinced
no fears, and made no endeavor to escape, but
crept slowly beneath the linen of my sleeve,
as if delighted with the warmth of humanity.

I placed two of these creatures in an open
vase of glass, with pieces of the tender sugar
cane, and set them on a stand by my bed-side.
Towards morning I awoke, and they were still
luminous. I held my watch towards the vase,
and saw how the time had advanced. A half
finished copy of a poem of Idomen was lying
beneath my pillow, and I read by their light many
verses. Holding the vase within the muslin
enclosure of my couch, I felt that a sensible
warmth had emananted from the insects
within it; they came out and crept upon my
arm, yet all night the case had been open, and
they had not attempted to leave it. Brilliant
confiding creatures, you seemed to trust and
love me, and therefore I love you again!—
“Let those who will study your natures”; I speak
only of what I saw of you.

I12v 216

The regular hours of my protecting friend,
his light but nourishing table—his affectionate
conversation, and, above all, the interest
he took in my pursuits and welfare, had combined
in restoring me to health.

Educated for the church of Luther, and at
the same time fascinated by the charming muses
of my country, the hours that are claimed
by rest, I had given to the blandishments of
Fancy. My health had become enfeebled, and
seemed as if lost forever. To the warmth of
this Island I was sent for its recovery, and my
daily wants were supplied by the kindness of
an absent brother.

Gently, but earnestly pressed, the little to
be known of my life, was confided to him who
asked it
, with the truth even of his Idomen.—
A promise of permanent assistance was the
fruit of my undisguised confidence. Dalcour,
reflective and delicate, soon offered to give
me such employ as might set aside the painfulness
of dependence, and increase his own happiness
in mine.

I had made sufficient progress in the language
of the country to converse and understand
the broken accents of the negroes; and
in them, I began the study of man in his natural
state. The difference wrought by civilization
between the greatest and meanest,
seems at first sight to be immense; but the
kings of Europe, beneath canopies of silk and K1r 217
gold, look always for their solace and happiness
to the same throbs of the heart which are
felt, with equal fullness, by the slave in his
palm-covered hut, amid the fruits and perfumes
of Cuba. Nature, fair daughter of God, and
executrix always of his will, the heart chords
of a prince and of a slave, give out, at thy powerful
touch, the same notes of the music of
bliss.

The soldier, the sailor and the slave, are
punished with touches of the thong, and tears
flow for their sufferings.

The stabs of scorn and contumely are given
in the highest halls of liberty, but none can
look upon the heart which bleeds or gangrenes
as it repels them!

I composed short addresses in Castilian,
pure, but simple as the soul infused through
the jetty arteries that tinted the skins of my
hearers.

The Saturday of christians was the night of
their weekly dances; drums of their own construction
were placed on the lawn before their
cottages with rude lyres, and flutes of four
notes. I repaired as the twilight was fading
to the entrance of the aisle of bamboos, and
ascended a pedestal of limestone erected near
the second cluster. No negro was ordered
to attend; but the white mayoral told his band
that the senor Herman Albrecht would speak
of things in that world to which men go when K K1v 218
they are dead. The curiosity of the savage,
and his veneration for that which is told but
unseen
, are greater than even those of the philosopher.
The dance for a while, was suspended;
and on this, and every time when I
spoke, my words were received and remembered.

The scene was impressive and singular. In
the deep archway near the plantation, a sable
audience assembled; every eye was fixed upon
my countenance; the twilight had nearly departed,
but the far perspective of the high
pointed aisle of verdure was not entirely hidden
with darkness; and cocuyas from time to
time appeared amid its lesser arches, like stars
falling from the thick shapely roof of trembling
leaves.

But the vertic rains were approaching; and
Dalcour had found in me, one whom he dared
trust to bring to him the child of Idomen.

The summer would be long enough to suffer
me to go to the St. Lawrence and return
to these shades, ere the forest of the North
cast aside their autumnal covering.

The most earnest entreaties had been made
that the sickness and loss of his mother should
not be made known to Arvon Burleigh; and
recent letters from Pharamond Lloyde declared
that the boy knew not yet an event so difficult
to conceal from him. I was bid to win
the love of the orphan, and to speak of my protector K2r 219
as one who would be to him in place of
parent and kindred. When his feelings are
thus prepared, I am to mention the nature of
his loss, in a manner to leave upon his mind
the hope of a restoration.

A vessel will sail to-morrow; I go with reluctance
from this home of repose and beneficence.
Heaven grant that I bring safely, a
charge so dear to myself and to my own benefactor.
These pages I leave behind me, to
be kept in a cabinet of Porcelain, not far from
the papers of Idomen.

Thus finished what appeared to be an oral
narrative, written down when newly listened
to; the name affixed was Herman Albrecht.—
This young German left the valley of Yumuri
soon after the appearance of cocuyas in the
year 18271827. On the same year, when the berries
of the coffee trees were beginning to be
red, he returned safely with the boy Arvon
Burleigh
, and was retained as his tutor, by
Dalcour. He had lingered at the Falls of Niagara,
pursued the course of the St. Lawrence,
listened to the songs of Canadian boatmen,
and spoken with Pharamond and Ethelwald.
The hand of the last was still sought in vain;
and when told of the fate of Idomen, that white
hand was raised to conceal his countenance,
and he rushed suddenly from the presence of
those around him. His heart was true and
gentle; but the sorrows of the children of happinessK2 K2v 220
are only as transient clouds that cross
lightly, in summer, a firmament of gold and
azure.

The story of Idomen, with all that occurred
previous to the departure of the young
Lutheran, was arranged with some regularity,
but a few disjointed notes were all from which
a sequel could be gathered. Some of these
were by the same hand as the principal narrative,
while some were evidently written by another.
The boy Arvon Burleigh was brought
from the snows of the Ladaüanna, to be bathed
in the warm rains of Cuba. Every commission
of Dalcour had been faithfully performed;
and every thing put in train to amuse
and improve the mind of the sensitive orphan.

Of the son of Madame Burleigh Herman Albrecht
became the friend, and for some time,
at least, found health and contentment beneath
the leafy roof of his patron; but recalled suddenly
to Bavaria, by a brother who had loved
and cherished him, a rough copy of his MS.manuscript
was left him in Cuba, and translated for me
verbally, into my own mother tongue, by the
German friend of Dalcour.

Some part of the story must therefore have
passed through four translations.

Madame Burleigh, as it appears made her
confessions in English; Dalcour wrote them
down in his beloved native French; and Herman
Albrecht
has given the whole story, in K3r 221
the language of his country. My own version
must be far inferior to the rest, but the
genuine expressions of the heart are the same
in every idiom.

K3 K3v
K4r

Notes.

Many of the most opulent inhabitants of the island
of Cuba send their children to Germany, for the purposes
of education.
This cavern, at a very short distance from the
flourishing town of Matanzas, is seldom visited, because
those in its neighborhood are intent only on their mercantile
avocations. Though it has never been entirely
explored, many apartments of it have already been entered.
An intelligent geologist would find, in it, much
to admire.
On my first visit to the island of Cuba (in 18231823),
I was struck with the beauty of these hedges: they seemed,
as it were, a wall of verdure, at least five feet in
thickness. The plantations where I saw them, were then
new, and they were impervious even to light, by reason
of leaves and blossoms. They were cut perfectly smooth
at the height of about five feet, except that some trees, at
equa-distances, were suffered to shoot to their natural
height.
This plant makes a pretty border for flower beds;
the stocks, of a light green, are very succulent, entirely
destitute of leaves, and surmounted by blossoms of
a deep red colour, which particularly attract the humming
bird.
The health of many foreigners would be preserved,
if they knew a little more of physiology, or the nature of
their own systems. By taking a little necessary repose,
even the amount of their industry would be rather increasedK4 K4v 224
than diminished. “None but dogs and foreigners
are up at this hour,”
is a common adage among the
Spanish inhabitants of Cuba, while retiring, after their
principal meal, for the purpose of a refreshing siesta.
The virtue of hospitality still exists, in a great degree,
among the plantations of Cuba. A party of travellers,
though unknown to the proprietor, are often received
and refreshed.
In those oysters which I have seen, the pearl was
not perfectly white; but, perhaps, might be bleached by
some chemical preparation.
I cannot forbear dwelling, for a moment, on the
extreme beauty of the plaintain leaf. When newly formed,
it is so carefully rolled, by nature, so as to present the
form of a spear. During the rainy season of 18401840, a negress
unrolled one in my presence; it was full five feet
in length, and two and half feet in breadth, and resembled
silk of a beautiful green, striped with different shades
of the same colour; while the central stem or supporter,
rather less than three quarters of an inch in diameter,
appeared like a slender wand of the finest polished ivory.
When perfectly grown, however, these leaves unfold of
themselves, and soon after break into strips.
On a new plantation in Cuba, a man of taste may
do almost every thing he chooses, in the way of natural
or rural embellishments.
In this particularly the French
stand pre-eminent. Those who toil for gold only, usually
die either before or soon after it is obtained; while their
quarrelling survivors seldom reflect enough on past benefits,
to allow them even a tombstone.
Nothing can be more curious and beautiful, than
the natural caverns and grottos of Cuba. A Frenchman,
near the Cafetal Hermila, (where the writer of this K5r 225
note lately resided,) lived for many months in one of
these natural shelters, which situated, far up, on the side
of a precipitous hill, was almost an elegant dwelling. A
projection of the rock formed the place for his bed; and
a little way from the entrance, which was protected by a
door of wild vines, stood a hand-mill for grinding his
maize or Indian corn. In this place lived the planter,
till his coffee trees were set; his negroes, afterwards,
had time, under his direction, to make another domicile.
I saw the cave, while the stain of the smoke of his fire
was still visible; but it was afterwards destroyed, for the
lime and limestone at its base.
A grotto, not far from the same place, formed a perfect
Chapel of Nature; a concretion, shaped like a baptismal
font, and always full of pure drops, was kept supplied
by another concretion, which depended from the
roof, and looked like an angel’s head rudely sculptured.
This last existed but two years ago, and probably still
remains; being on the side of a rocky hill, in the midst
of a tangled wood.
I once visited a grotto in the same neighbourhood, but
probably (as I recollect going one afternoon with a party
on horseback,) about three miles distant from the one
last mentioned. This little natural abode, contained
three apartments; some columns in it were so complete,
as to seem made by art; while others were about half-
formed; a slender cone or pyramid arose from the floor or
base, while another of the same shape depended from the
roof, with a drop as pure as dew at its extremity. An
entire column was formed by the meeting of these two
points. In one of the apartments was a soft soil, and a
natural tank filled with the clearest filtered water. High
pointed arches were filled with innumerable bats, which
flew about with a humming sound as we entered with
waxen tapers, because of the declining sun.
We could not have found our way, either to or from
this grotto, (through the thick woods tangled with innumerable
vines,) except for the assistance of an intrepid K5 K5v 226
overseer, or administrador, who had been a soldier
under Napoleon; he, (with a sabre, such as were generally
worn in Cuba at that time,) cut a path through the
tendrils hanging from the branches above, and the luxuriant
foliage beneath, which had almost shut up the narrow
path. Our horses were obliged to proceed, with
their riders bending closely over their necks. The moon
being at that time invisible, we were compelled to be
very careful in thus making our way back to our retreat.
This last-mentioned grotto was seen by the writer in the
year 18241824; the other very recently.
It is unpleasant to observe the indifference with
which death is regarded, among the commercial inhabitants
of this warm island. In the midst, however, of
their blind indifference, events frequently occur, which,
in pathos, might baffle the most romantic description.
Nothing can be more luxuriant than the blossom
of this vine or creeper. It bears a close resemblance to
the passion flower, passa cerulea, except that it is
three times as large. The leaf of the plant is, however,
entirely different, being broad and curled. A fruit, resembling
the musk melon, is the product of these splendid
flowers.
See life of Petrarch, by a lady. Hobhouse, in his
notes to one of the cantos of Childe Harold, is a little
offensive in doubting the Platonism of Laura and her
lover; but situated as both of them were, no other kind
of attachment was possible. A contemporary said to
Plato, who was conversing on ideas, “I can see a table,
but not the idea of a table.”
Some there are, however,
who can see the idea, no less than the material. Le
Sage
makes even Gil Blas understand the nature of such
love as that of Petrarch; as evinced by a passage in his
account of Donna Aurora de Guzman. A most beautiful
conception of the power of soul over sense, exists in the
Atala of M. de Chateaubriand.
K6r 227 See note the seventh of this work. A bath with an infusion of malva, is held in great esteem
by the Cubanas. It is said, by them, to allay fever,
and to heal the system after bruises or fatigue.
Continuation of a note at page 60. The seed or germ of this curious plant, is said to be
deposited by birds among the branches of some lofty tree.
However that may be, filaments resembling a small brown
cord are seen pendant from an immense height, growing
where they take root. Other shoots, springing up, meet
other depending filaments, and interlace themselves about
the tree whence they sprung, until at last they entirely
conceal and destroy it, forming of themselves, by means
of its support, an immense tree in its place; when full
grown, a dead trunk may generally be seen through interstices
near its root; when half formed about the other
tree, which is still alive, I have heard it called, in derision,
“a Scotchman embracing a Creole.”
Many beautiful doves are natives of the woods of
Cuba. I have seen them of the size of a fieldfare or robin;
and the delicate little creatures utter the most plaintive
moan that it is possible to conceive of.
The tameness of the small lizard is very surprising.
When approached by a human being it never attempts
to move, but continues lapping the dew or standing
perfectly still, with a certain expression in its eyes
which might seem to indicate reason. There was once, K6v 228
I am told, a superstition, which taught that the lizard
was on certain occasions sent to warn persons of danger.
The degree of heat that the negro can endure, is very
astonishing. I have seen women take their little children
to the secaderos, or coffee dryers, at the hottest season
and hottest hours of the day, where they would sit and
luxuriate in the sunbeams, though eggs might almost
have been cooked on the plaster beneath them.
I have never, in Cuba, seen the slightest frost;
but there are some days in winter, when a little fire is
grateful, although very few indulge in it except the negroes.
Great pains must be taken in order to preserve
papers in the West Indies: letters, engravings, and even
books bound in boards, are soon devoured by the insects.
In the year 18311831, (I know not what may have
been done since,) one might stand on a rampart of Quebec,
and see plainly the last dwelling of civilized man intervening
between himself and the North pole. Huts of
the savages, were, of course, scattered beyond. My attention
to this circumstance was directed by a gentleman
in the profession and practice of law, who had lived
in Canada fifty years in matrimony with the same lady.
Tin is a common covering for house tops and
spires of church in Canada, where it neither rusts nor
corrodes.
See note 20. The snow in Canada is often so deep, as to cover
the walls and fences of every common inclosure. On
such occasions, the roads are marked out by branches of
evergreen.
K7r 229 No beings on earth can possibly lead lives more
blameless, than the Catholic fathers in Canada. The didirector
of the seminary alluded to, was accustomed to pronounce
weekly homilies to the youth under his care, together
with a large assemblage of neighbouring villagers,
and tears would often stream from his eyes while endeavouring
to impress upon them the truths of his religion.
The Roman church is truly said to be, above all others,
favourable to taste. Even in this remote place, the chapel
was adorned with many pictures, some of them very
beautiful. The superior, however, was an accomplished
man, who had fled from France during the massacres of
the revolution. Children from Protestant families were
admitted at this seminary for the purpose of education;
where the severest punishment they ever received was
that of being, after a fault, compelled to kiss the earth.
In moments like the one depicted, there is something
very inexplicable. When parting from a country,
with a strong probability of never returning, I have felt
so happy in the immediate presence of esteemed persons,
as to make it impossible to realise that we haply might
never meet again, and surely never again under the same
circumstances. The many things which ought to be said
are banished by the vague illusion of another meeting;
but when the parting is over, and the fair opportunity
past, then comes the torment: we think of what might
have been, and could almost tear ourselves to pieces for
our own folly and forgetfulness.
In the whole extent of the Western hemisphere,
there is, perhaps, no place where can be found grades of
civilization more entirely opposite to each other. Three
daughters of the Duke of Richmond were once seen, in
the height of their beauty and refinement, looking from
the window of their own drawing room upon the female
savage who crossed the St. Lawrence in a canoe of bark,
as small as to be tied about her waist. By this contrivance K7v 230
the Indian girls can right their frail vessels when
upset.
See direction to the end of the volume at page
195. “If I should trust my fascinated eye,”—the attention
of the reader is also called to the meaning of this line. It
is said, that at the brink of any great precipice, there is
a certain mysterious influence, which tempts to a nearer
and nearer approach, till death is inevitable. I know not
whether this belief be or be not founded in truth: as for
myself, I never, when near such places, could stand at
all, and have always been obliged to resort to a kneeling
or sitting posture.
Page 202. See the description of groups in a steamboat
from Havana to Matanzas, in the year 18261826. An
Irish gentleman, who was present at the scene depicted,
said it was “happiness in heaps.” In the New World,
however, the passion for change is so intense that nothing
remains very long. The steamboats on the north of Cuba
have now lost the oriental character of their appearance,
and assimilate to those of the northern republic.
Those who go to the island of Cuba for health,
can only preserve it by living in a manner similar to that
of Dalcour. Excess, either in toil, exercise, or diet, are
dangerous in every climate; and in the tropics, they are
very soon fatal. Imprudence, impatience for gain, and a
want of that knowledge of his own system which is necessary
to every human being, are the causes of more
deaths than even the fever of the country.
Page 215. The description of the cocuya, as found
here, is by no means exaggerated; its account of their
qualities and manners, (if I may use the expression,) is
mere matter of fact. Persons, however, may remain
many months in the island, without seeing one of these
insects, as they appear only at the beginning of the rainy
season. I once succeeded in bringing twenty of them K8r 231
alive to the north of America, where they lived three
weeks after my arrival; the voyage, also, was twenty-
one days long. During these six weeks the insects devoured
large quantities of tender sugar cane, cut fresh
from the field for their support. At sea, they lay in a
sort of sleep or torpor; but when immersed, every day,
in a vase of blood-warm water, (as is necessary, always,
for their preservation
,) they became, for a time, resuscitated
and active, and would emit a brilliant phosphoric
light. When sleeping, however, the sailors thought of
them merely as “ugly black bugs, with two dim yellow
eyes.”
They have, however, black eyes, besides two
yellow spots on each side of the head, which are not organs
of sight, but which emit an astonishing brilliancy
when the creature takes its evening excursions. The
principal light, however, is emitted from their breast,
which they open with a snapping noise while flying.—
Forty of them died on the voyage, and twenty lived, as
has been said, three weeks after, when the sugar cane
upon which they fed became sour. Honey and common
sugar was presented in its place, but they died one by
one. Their warmth, tameness, and apparent love of human
beings, are things worthy of remark.
I cannot close this volume without noting some of my
personal observations on the most useful tree of the country,
of the scene of the story of Idomen. The palm tree
of Cuba is not like the date or the Guinea palm, neither,
probably, like that palm tree to which Herodotus ascribes
three hundred and sixty-five different uses; it is, however,
a great natural curiosity. One large leaf, or branch,
falls regularly every month of the year, leaving a ring
around the trunk of the tree, by which its age may be
computed. I have never studied the botany of the tropics,
and speak only of what particularly arrested my attention
during walks, for more than a year, in a long
avenue planted alternately with palm and orange trees,
with shrubs and flowers planted bewteen.
K8v 232 To the leaf or branch which falls monthly, is attached
a slip of bark, or something like it, of a vivid green
without, within as white as unsoiled satin. This slip,
being five or six feet in length and three or four in breadth,
is useful for many purposes. Tacked together with some
of the strong fibres of the parent tree, they make an excellent
carpet for the floor of a grotto or any other rude
dwelling; they also make a very good mat. The negroes,
when they sleep upon the ground, often envelope themselves
in these natural coverings; they also sometimes
cut them into sandals, and bind them on their feet, after
the manner of the ancient nations.
When a number of these trees are planted together,
they do not all blossom at the same time. I have observed
them during the whole rainy season, and seen a few
in flower at different intervals. Two or three large clusters
of small blossoms appear just beneath the tuft of
leaves or branches, and generally, where I lived, were
covered with wild bees. A heap of fallen petals lay at
the foot of the trees in blossom, and the murmur of the
insects getting honey, called one’s attention to the summit.
The palm trees of the avenue already mentioned, had
gained a height of forty feet from the ground to the tuft
of foliage, and every month added a ring of four or five
inches to their altitude.
The number of leaves or branches corresponds to
that of the months of the year; one must not, however,
count the leaf ready to fall, nor the two new ones which
are always seen springing out.
The leaf or branch which falls every month, seems a
natural provision for the covering of the roofs of cottages;
the berries produced from the blossoms serve as food
for many domestic animals; and the stems of these clusters
of berries are used, without any preparation, as
brooms for the purpose of cleanliness. Except my own
apartments, these brooms were used throughout the
house where I lived.
K9r 233 The trunk of the palm tree being hollow, the woodpecker
delights to make his nest in it. I have been pleased
with seeing the pretty head of this bird through a little
aperture, as he threw out chaff from the dwelling he had
shaped within.
After peeling off the leaves or branches of a palm tree,
as is sometimes done, one by one, there appears a substance
formed of incipient leaves, but as white as ivory
cut for miniature pictures; this, at table, is considered a
great delicacy, when dressed with milk in the manner of
artichokes. It is a luxury, however, which can only be
had in wild places; for after taking away this heart of
its foliage, the whole tree is said to die. Palm leaf hats
are known as an article of commerce; and many creoles,
both white and black, are taught in their infancy to make
them.
Page 195. “An eagle rests upon the wind’s sweet breath! Feels he the charm? woos he the scene beneath?” Those travellers who saw the falls of Niagara while
the country about them was still a perfect wilderness,
have said that many birds, and sometimes even eagles,
would sail, as it were, upon the current of air, until retreat
was impossible.
Since the falls have become a fashionable resort, wild
animals, of course, have most of them deserted the place;
water fowl, however, are now not very unfrequently deceived
by the smoothness of the current, and perish in
the manner of the swan described on the page mentioned.
With solitary birds of the air, it also might once have
been the case. Dr. Goldsmith observes, that on some of
the stupendous cliffs of Norway, the numerous birds are
so unaccustomed to the sight of man, that they know not
his power to hurt them, and suffer themselves to be taken
with the hand; even birds, however, are soon taught by
experience to fly from danger. M. de Chateaubriand’s K6 K9v 234
description of the cataract of Niagara, and of the river
Mississippi
or Mechacebe, while both were untouched
by any hand save that of Nature, is fine, perhaps, as any
thing of the kind ever written.
K10r
  • Page 11, line 6 from top, for flower and leaves, read
    flowers and leaves.
  • Page 14, line 8 from bottom, for letres read lettres.
  • Page 20, line 8 from top, for To a German, read In a
    German.
  • Page 20, line 10 from top, for thire, &c. read this retreat.
  • Page 25, line 6 from top, for and disclosed, read disclosing.
  • Page 25, line 8 from top, for oyster, read shell.
  • Page 25, line 7 from bottom, for the evening was finished,
    read the evening was soon finished.
  • Page 27, line 13 from top, for or tranquility, read or her
    tranquillity.
  • Page 44, line 14 from bottom, for pleasure, read leisure.
  • Page 46, line 16 from top, for pending, read impending.
  • Page 47, line 2 from bottom, for shrunk, read shrank.
  • Page 56, line 15 from bottom, for dispersed, read dispensed.
  • Page 56, line 12 from bottom, for circumstances, read cir-cumstance.
  • Page 68, lines 1 and 2 from bottom, for In the twilight,
    read At the decline of the sun.
  • Page 75, line 16 from top, for one small silken, &c. read
    one silken, &c.
  • Page 78, line 6 from bottom, for LaunanaueLauanaui, read Zauanaui.
  • Page 80, line 8 from top, for awakened to me, read awakened
    in me.
  • Page 88, line 3 from top, for his seminary, read the seminary.
  • Page 97, line 12 from top, for who crossed, read who had
    crossed.
  • K10v 236
  • Page 157, line 1 from bottom, for chic, read chief.
  • Page 1579, line 8 from bottom, for in world, read in a
    world.
  • Page 183, line 2 from bottom, for steamed, read stormed.
    We regret extremely this mistake, as it spoils a passage
    which had been commended by persons of taste.
  • Page 185, line 9 from bottom, for fruits of flowers, read
    fruits and flowers.
  • Page 185, line 7 from bottom, for viewest, read view’st.
  • Page 195, line 9 from bottom, for all the world, read half
    the world.
  • Page 212, line 3 from bottom, for rode, read I rode.
  • Page 216, line 9 from top, for had given, read had been
    given.
K11r