A2r

Desmond.

A
Novel,
in Two Volumes.

By
Charlotte Smith.

Volume I.

Dublin:
Printed for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. Moore, W.
McKenzie
, H. Colbert, A. Grueber, B. Dornin,
J. Jones, J. Rice, W. Jones, J. Mehain,
G. Draper, R. McAllister
G. Folingsby
. 1792M.DCC.XCII.

A2v A3r

Preface.

In sending into the world a work so
unlike those of my former writings, which
have been honored by its approbation, I
feel some degree of that apprehension
which an Author is sensible of on a first
publication.

This arises partly from my doubts of
succeeding so well in letters as in narrative;
and partly from a supposition, that
there are Readers, to whom the fictitious
occurrences, and others to whom the political
remarks in these volumes may be
displeasing.

a3 To A3v ii

To the first I beg leave to suggest, that
in representing a young man, nourishing
an ardent but concealed passion for
a married woman; I certainly do not
mean to encourage or justify such attachments;
but no delineation of character
appears to me more interesting,
than that of a man capable of such a
passion, so generous and disinterested as
to seek only the good of its object;
nor any story more moral, than one that
represents the existence of an affection so
regulated.

As to the political passages dispersed
through the work, they are for the most
part, drawn from conversations to which
I have been a witness, in England and
France, during the last twelve months.
In carrying on my story in those countries,
and at a period when their political
situation (but particularly that of the latter)
is the general topic of discourse in
both; I have given to my imaginary characters
the arguments I have heard on
both sides; and if those in favor of one
party have evidently the advantage, it is
not owing to my partial representation,
but to the predominant power of truth and A4r iii
and reason, which neither can be altered
nor concealed.

But women it is said have no business
with politics—Why not?—Have they no
interest in the scenes that are acting
around them, in which they have fathers,
brothers, husbands, sons, or friends engaged?
—Even in the commonest course
of female education, they are expected
to acquire some knowledge of history;
and yet, if they are to have no opinion of
what is passing, it avails little that they
should be informed of what has passed, in
a world where they are subject to such
mental degradation; where they are censured
as affecting masculine knowledge if
they happen to have any understanding;
or despised as insignificant triflers if they
have none.

Knowledge, which qualifies women to
speak or to write on any other than the
most common and trivial subjects, is
supposed to be of so difficult attainment,
that it cannot be acquired but by the sacrifice
of domestic virtues, or the neglect
of domestic duties.—I however may
safely say, that it was in the observance,
not in the breach of duty, I became an Author; A4v iv
Author; and it has happened, that the
circumstances which have compelled me
to write, have introduced me to those
scenes of life, and those varieties of character
which I should otherwise never
have seen: Tho’ alas! it is from thence,
that I am too well enabled to describe
from immediate observation,

“The proud man’s contumely, th’ oppressors
wrong;
The laws delay, the insolence of office.”

But, while in consequence of the affairs
of my family, being most unhappily
in the power of men who seem to
exercise all these with impunity
, I am become
an Author by profession, and feel
every year more acutely “that hope
delayed maketh the heart sick.”
I am
sensible also (to use another quotation)
that

“―Adversity— Tho’ like a toad ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in its head.”

For it is to my involuntary appearance
in that character, that I am indebted,
for all that makes my continuance in the world A5r v
world desirable; all that softens the rigor
of my destiny and enables me to sustain
it; I mean friends among those, who,
while their talents are the boast of their
country, are yet more respectable for the
goodness and integrity of their hearts.

Among these I include a female friend,
to whom I owe the beautiful little Ode
in the last volume; who having written
it for this work, allows me thus publicly
to boast of a friendship, which is the
pride and pleasure of my life.

If I may be indulged a moment longer
in my egotism, it shall be only while I
apologize for the typographical errors of
the work, which may have been in some
measure occasioned by the detached and
hurried way, in which the sheets were
sometimes sent to the press when I was at
a distance from it; and when my attention
was distracted by the troubles,
which it seems to be the peculiar delight
of the persons who are concerned in
the management of my children’s affairs,
to inflict upon me. With all this the
Public have nothing to do: but were it proper A5v vi
proper to relate all the disadvantages
from anxiety of mind and local circumstances,
under which these volumes have
been composed, such a detail might be
admitted as an excuse for more material
errors.

For that asperity of remark, which
will arise on the part of those whose
political tenets I may offend, I am prepared;
those who object to the matter,
will probably arraign the manner, and
exclaim against the impropriety of
making a book of entertainment the
vehicle of political discussion. I am however
conscious that in making these slight
sketches, of manners and opinions, as
they fluctuated around me; I have not
sacrificed truth to any party—Nothing
appears to me more respectable than
national pride; nothing so absurd as
national prejudice—And in the faithful
representation of the manners of other
countries, surely Englishmen may find
abundant reason to indulge the one,
while they conquer the other. To those
however who still cherish the idea of our
having a natural enemy in the French
nation, and that they are still more naturally
our foes, because they have dared to A6r vii
to be freemen, I can only say, that against
the phalanx of prejudice kept in constant
pay, and under strict discipline by interest,
the slight skirmishing of a novel writer
can have no effect: we see it remains
hitherto unbroken against the powerful
efforts of learning and genius—though
united in that cause which must finally
triumph—the cause of truth, reason, and
humanity.

Charlotte Smith.


London
A6v B1r

Desmond.

Letter I.

To Mr. Bethel.

Your arguments, my friend, were decisive;
and since I am now on my way—I hardly know
whither, you will be convinced that I attended
to them; and have determined to relinquish the
dangerous indulgence, of contemplating the
perfections of an object, that can never be mine.
Yes!—I have torn myself from her; and, without
betraying any part of the anguish and regret
I felt, I calmly took my leave!—It was five days
ago, the morning after she had undergone the
fatiguing ceremony of appearing, for the first
time since her marriage, at court on the birthnight.

I had heard how universally she had been admired,
but she seemed to have received no pleasure
from that admiration—and I felt involuntarily
pleased that she had not.—Her husband—
I hate the name—Verney; had already escaped
from the confinement, which this ceremony of
their appearances had for a day or two imposed
upon him; and was gone to I know not what
races; she named the place faintly and reluctantly
when I asked after him; and I did not
repeat the question: there was however another
question which I could not help asking myself; Vol. I. B does B1v 2
does this man deserve the lovely Geraldine?—
Alas!—I know he does not; cannot: the sport
of every wild propensity or rather of every prevailing
fashion, (for it is to that he sacrifices rather
than to his own inclinations) I have too
much reason to believe he will dissipate his fortune,
and render his wife miserable.—But is it
possible she can love him?—Oh, no!—it is surely
not possible—when through the mild grace and
sometimes tenderness of her manner, I remark
the strength and clearness of her understanding;
when I observe, how immediately she sees the
ridiculous, and how quickly her ingenuous and
liberal mind shrinks from vice and folly—I believe
it impossible that the hour can be far distant,
if indeed it is not already arrived; when
the flowers, with which the mercenary hands
of her family, dressed the chains they imposed
upon her, will be totally faded; and when, whatever
affection she now feels for him, if any does
exist, will be destroyed by the conviction of
Verney’s unworthiness—Ah! where will then
an heart, like hers, find refuge against the horrors
of such a destiny—would to heaven I had
become acquainted with her before that destiny
was irrevocable—or that I had never known her
at all.

When I was admitted to her dressing-room
the last time I saw her—she was reading; and
laid down her book on my entrance—I was ill,
or had appeared so to her; when I had seen her
a few days before—she seemed now to recollect
it with tender interest—and when, in answering
her enquiries, I told her I intended going abroad
for some months; I should have thought—had
I dared to indulge the flattery of fancy—that she
heard it with concern, “we shall not then see you B2r 3
you this year in Kent,”
said she, “I am very
sorry for it,”
she paused a moment, and added,
with one of those smiles which give such peculiar
charms to her countenance, “but I hope
you will regain your health and spirits—and I
think we shall certainly have you among us again
in the shooting season.”
—I know not what was
the matter with me, but I could not answer her;
and the conversation for some moments dropped.

She resumed it after another short silence, and
asked me when I had seen her brother?—“He
talks,”
said she, “of going to the Continent
also this summer, and I wish you may meet him
there—your acquaintance could not fail of being
advantageous in any country, but particularly
a foreign country, to a young man so new
to the world as he is; and one, so unsettled in
all his plans, from temper and habit, that I am
ever in pain lest he should fall into those errors,
which I every day see so fatal to those who enter
into the world unexperienced like him—without
a guide.—Should you happen to meet with him
abroad, I am sure you have friendship enough
for us all, to direct him.”

I seized with avidity an opportunity of being
serviceable to any one who belongs to her—I had
not seen Waverly for some time, and imagined
he was gone back to Oxford; but I assured her,
that if Mr. Waverly could make it convenient
to go when I did to Paris, I should be extremely
glad to be useful to him, and happy in his company.

Pleased with the earnest manner in which I
spoke, she became more un-reserved on this subject.
“You know a little of my brother,” said
she, “but it is impossible, on so slight an acquaintance,
to be aware of the peculiarities of his B2 temper B2v 4
temper—peculiarities that give me so many fears
on his account. It is not his youth, or the expensive
style in which he sets out, that disquiet
me so much as that uncommon indecision of
mind, which never allows him to know what he
will do a moment before he acts; and some how
or other he always continues, after long debates
and repeated changes, to adopt the very worst
scheme of those he has examined. I may say to
you that this defect originated in the extreme
indulgence of his parents—a very considerable
part of my father’s estate would have gone into
another branch of the family, had he not had a
son—and it happened his six eldest children
were daughters, so that when this long-wishedfor
and only son was born, he became of more
consequence to my father and mother than the
rest of their family: and we, his three sisters,
who survived, have through our lives hitherto
uniformly seen our interest yield to his.—But,
believe me, we should have never murmured,
(at least I can answer for myself)—at whatever
sacrifices have been made, had they contributed
to render him really and permanently happier,
but the continual enquiries that were made of
what he would do, and what he would like, while
nothing was ever offered to him but variety of
gratification, have, I think, coincided with his
natural temper to produce that continual inability,
to pursue any study or even any pleasure
steadily.—My father’s death, and his being of
age, have rendered him master of himself and his
fortune; but he cannot resolve what to do with
either of them, and my apprehensions are, that
he will fall into the hands of those who will determine
for him, and dispose of both, rather for
their own advantage than for his. I have thereforefore B3r 5
encouraged, as much as possible, his halfformed
inclination to go abroad—but he talks
so vaguely about it, and varies so much in his
projects, that I doubt whether he will ever execute
any of them.—If you really would allow
him to accompany you—yet I know not how to
ask it, your society would perhaps determine him
to the journey, and prevent his meeting any of
those inconveniencies to which young travellers
are exposed.”

I believe my lovely friend mistook the expression
which my eager acquiescence threw into my
countenance, for what might be produced by the
embarrassment, of wishing to escape with civility
from an unwelcome proposal—for she hesitated
—yet, without giving me time to reply,
said, “but perhaps I am taking a very improperr
liberty with you—I ought to have recollected,
that in this expedition you probably have a party,
to which any addition may be unwelcome; and
that you have so slight an acquaintance with my
brother”

I interrupted her.—“It is enough for me,
that he is your brother—that alone would make
me wish to render him every service in my power
—even if I had never seen him.”
—I had said
more than I ought; more than I intended to say.
—I felt instantly conscious of it, and I now confusedly
hurried into professions of personal regard
for Waverly, far enough from being sincere;
and assurances, that, as I went for change of air
and scene, which my health and spirits required,
I should make no party, unless it was with one
friend, to whom my society might be useful—
“and when that friend,” added I, “is your
brother.”
—I was relapsing fast into the folly, of
which, but a moment before, I repented.—I saw her B3v 6
her change colour, and for the first time since
the rise of this attachment—which will end only
with my life—I had said, what to a vain woman
might have betrayed it.

Geraldine seemed now solicitous to change the
conversation, but this I would not do, till I had
made her promise to write to her brother, as
soon as she could learn where he was; and mention
to him my intended journey, and my readiness
to begin it with him immediately.

I assured her, that if I met Waverly before
I left London, I would endeavour to fix his departure
with me, and giving her my address, that
he might write to me at Margate, reluctantly,
and with pangs, such as are felt only when
soul and body part”—I bade her adieu!

She looked concerned, and gave me her lovely
hand, which I dared not press to my lips—but,
as trembling, I held it in mine, she wished me
health and happiness, a pleasant journey, and a
prosperous return, in that soul-soothing voice
which I always hear with undescribable emotions.
—More tremulously sweet than usual, it
still vibrates in my ears, and I still repeat to
myself her last words—“Farewell, Mr. Desmond,
may all felicity attend you.”

Now, you will call this wrong, ridiculous,
and romantic.—But spare your remonstrances,
dear Bethel, since I obey you in essentials, and
am going from England, rather because you desire
it, than because I am convinced that such an an
affection as I feel ought to be eradicated.—Do
you know against how many vices, and how
many follies, a passion, so pure and ardent as
mine, fortifies the heart?—Are you sure that
the evils you represent as attending it, are not
purely imaginary, while the good is real?—I expect, B4r 7
expect, however, a heavy lecture for all this,
and it were better not to add another word on
the subject.

Your’s ever, with true regard,

Lionel Desmond.

I forgot to add, that though my journey is
certainly decided upon, because I hope to find,
in the present political tumult in France, what
may interest and divert my attention; yet,
I will not fail to deliver to your relations the
letter you enclosed in your last—and to avail
myself of it as an introduction to Mrs. Fairfax,
and her family, as soon as I arrive at Margate.
—You imagine, that the charms of one or other
of your fair cousins will have power enough to
drive, from my heart, an inclination which you
so entirely disapprove—though I am too well
convinced of the inefficacy of the recipe, I try
it you see—in deference to your opinion—just as
a patient, who knows his disease to be incurable,
submits to the prescription of a physician he
esteems.—As soon as I have delivered my credentials
you shall hear from me again.

Let- B4v 8

Letter II.

To Mr. Desmond.

Yes!—you have really given an instance of
extreme prudence—and, in consequence of it,
you will, I think, have occasion to exert another
virtue, which is by no means the most eminent
among those you possess; the virtue of patience.
—So!—you have really undertaken the delightful
office of bear-leader—because the brother of
your Geraldine cannot take care of himself—
and this you call setting about your cure, while
you continue to dispute, whether it be wise
to be cured or no—and, while you argue
that a passion for another man’s wife may
save you from abundance of vice and folly,
you strengthen your argument to be sure wonderfully,
by committing one of the greatest acts
of folly in your power.—And as to vice, I hold
it, my good friend, to be a great advance towards
it, when you betray symptoms (which no woman
can fail to understand) of this wild and
romantic passion of yours, or, as you sentimentally
term it, this ardent and pure attachment—
an attachment and an arrangement I think are
the terms now in use, I beg pardon if I do not
always put them in the right place.

But seriously—do you know what you have
undertaken in thus engaging yourself with Waverly?
—and can you bear to be made uneasy by
the caprices of a man who is of twenty minds
in a moment, without ever being in his right
mind.—Your only chance of escaping, as you have B5r 9
have now managed the matter is, that he will
never determine whether he shall go with you or
no.—Some scampering party will be proposed
to a cricket match in Hampshire, or a race in
Yorkshire; one friend will invite him to a ball
in the West of England, and another to see a
boxing match in the neighbourhood of London:
and while he is debating whether he shall make
any of these engagements, or which, or go to
France with you, you will have a very fair opportunity
of leaving him—unless (which from
the style of your last letter I do not expect) you
should yourself change your resolution on the
best grounds; and find your romantic and your
patriotic motive for a journey to France, conquered
at once by the more powerful enchantments
of one of my fair cousins.

While, from your fortune being entrusted to
my management by your grandfather till you
were five-and-twenty, I considered myself as
your guardian, I forbore to recommend to either
of these young women, because they were my
relations—But now as you are master alike of
yourself and of your estate, yet are still willing
to attend (at least you say you are) to the opinion
of a friend who has lived fourteen years longer
in the world than you have. I am desirous that
you should become acquainted with them, and
that you should judge fairly, since that must be
to judge favourably, of women who are so universally
and justly admired; who certainly are
most highly accomplished: and have fortunes to
assist whoever they marry, in supporting them in
that rank of life to which they will do so much
honour—this you call an extraordinary style of
advice, from a man who, in the noon of life,
has renounced that world, whose attractions he B5 recom- B5v 10
recommends to you; but that, at hardly nineand-thirty,
I have no longer any relish for it,
arises, not from general misanthropy, but from
particular misfortune, and against those calamities
of domestic life that have embittered my days,
I wish to guard yours—by giving you some of
my dearly-bought experience.

You have talents, youth, health, person and
fortune—a good heart and an ardent imagination
—these, my dear Desmond, are advantages very
rarely united, and when they do meet, all the
first are too often lost by the fatal and irregular
indulgence of the last. This is what I fear for
you—but my lecture must terminate with my
paper—my good wishes ever follow you; let me
hear from you soon—and believe me ever

Yours,

E. Bethel

Let B6r 11

Letter III.

To Mr. Bethel.

My visit to your friends is paid, and I met
such a reception as I might expect from your recommendation
—would I could tell you, that it
has answered all the friendly expectations, or
rather hopes, you formed of it: but you expect
an ingenuous account of my sentiments in regard
to these ladies; and you shall have them.

Mrs. Fairfax has been certainly a very fine
woman, and even now has personal advantages
enough to authorise her retaining those pretensions,
which it is easy to see she would, with
extreme reluctance, entirely resign.—It is however
but justice to add, that her unwillingness
to fade, does not influence her to keep back the
period when it is fit her daughters should bloom
she rather runs into the contrary extreme;
and with solicitude, which her maternal affection
renders rather an amiable weakness, she is
always bustling about, to shew them to the best
advantage; and, as she is perfectly convinced
that they are the most accomplished young women
of the age, so she is very desirous of impressing
that conviction on all her acquaintance
—for the rest I believe she may be a very good
woman; and I have only to object to a little too
much parade about it; and that she talks rather
too loud—and rather too long.

My first introduction to her was not at her
own house, for entering one of the libraries
about two o’clock on Thursday noon, I observed,B6 served, B6v 12
that the attention of the few people who
so early in the season assembled there, was engrossed
by a lady who was relating a very long
story about herself, in a tone of voice, against
which, whatever had been the subject, no degree
of attention to any other could have been
a defence. I was compelled therefore, instead
of reading the paper where I was anxious to see
French news, to join the audience who were
hearing—how her lease was out, of an house she
had in Harley-street, and all the conversation
held between herself, her landlord, and her attorney
about its renewal. But how at last they
could not agree; and so she had taken another in
Manchester Square, which she described at full
length—“The Duchess,” continued she,
“and lady Lindores, and lady Sarah, were all
so delighted
when they found I had determined
upon it—and lady Susan assured me it would
delay at least her winter’s journey to Bath
‘Oh! my dear Mrs. Fairfax,’ said lady Susan, ‘you
have no notion now, how excessively happy we
shall all be, to have you so near us—and your
sweet girls!—their society is a delightful acquisition
——Miss Fairfax’s singing is charming,
and I so doat upon Anastatia’s manner of reading
poetry, that I hope we shall see a great deal
of both of them.’”

Though I at once knew that this was the lady
to whom I was fortunate enough to have a letter
of recommendation in my pocket, it was not
easy with all that mauvais honte with which you
so frequently accuse me, to find a favourable
moment to make my bow and my speech, between
the end of one narrative and the beginning
of another, with such amazing rapidity did
they follow each other: and I should have retiredtired B7r 13
without having been able to seize any such
lucky interval, if this inexhaustible stream of
eloquence had not been interrupted by the sudden
entrance of a young man who seemed to be
one of Mrs. Fairfax’s intimate acquaintance,
and who said he came to tell her, that a raffle,
in which she was engaged at another shop, was
full, and that her daughters had sent him to desire
she would come. “There is nobody now,
madam, to throw,”
said this gentleman, “but
you and I; and Miss Anastatia being the highest
number, thinks she shall win the jars—but as
for me, I cannot go back this morning, for I
am engaged to ride”
“Oh, but I desire you
will,”
replied Mrs. Fairfax, “it wont take
you up a minute, and I will have it decided—
for I hate suspence.”
“Yes madam,” said
another gentleman who had been among the
listeners, “you may hate it—but there is nothing
that Waverly loves so much, if one may
judge by the difficulty he always makes about
deciding upon every thing—and if the determination
of the raffle depends upon him, you will
hardly know who the jars are to belong to this
season.”
“I protest, Jack Lewis,” cried
Waverly, whom I now immediately knew,
though his cropped hair and other singularities
of dress had at first prevented my recollecting
him—“I protest you do me injustice—I am
the steadiest creature in life—and I would go
now willingly—but upon my soul I’m past my
appointment.”

“And what signifies your appointment?”
replied the other.—“What signifies whether
you keep it or no?”
“Why, that’s true,” answered
my future fellow-traveller, “to be sure
it is of no great consequence, neither—so if you desire B7v 14
desire it, I’ll go with you, Ma’am, though really
I hardly know.”
—He was beginning to hesitate
again, but Mrs. Fairfax took him at his word,
and they went out together; however, before
they had reached the place where the possession
of the China jars was to be decided, I saw Waverly
leave the lady, and go I suppose to keep
the engagement, which he allowed a moment
before was of no consequence. As for myself,
as soon as I recovered from the effects of the
first impression made by Mrs. Fairfax’s oratory,
which perhaps the weakness or irritability of
my nerves rendered more forcible that it ought
to be, I collected courage enough to follow her;
and in a momentary pause that succeeded her
losing her raffle, which would now have been
finally settled she said, had Waverly been present,
I advanced and delivered your letter.

She received it most graciously; and even retired
from the groups she was engaged in, to
read it. I took that opportunity of addressing
myself to Miss Fairfax, who is certainly a very
pretty woman; she seemed however cold and
reserved; and, I thought, put on that sort of
air which says—“I don’t know, Sir, whether
you are in style of life to claim my notice.”

These little doubts, however, which I readily
forgave, were immediately dissipated, when her
mother appeared with your letter in her hand—
and said, “Margarette, my dear, this is Mr.
Desmond
—the friend and ward of Mr. Bethel,
I am sure you will be as rejoiced as I am in this
opportunity of being honoured with his acquaintance.”
—I saw instantly, that the young lady recollected,
in the friend and ward of Mr. Bethel,
a man of large, independent fortune.—The
most amiable expression of complacency was immediately 3 B8r 15
immediately conveyed into her countenance;
and, as I attended her and her mother home,
I perceived that two or three gentlemen, who
came with her also, and towards whom she had
before been lavish of her smiles, were now almost
neglected, while she was so good as to attend
only to me.—At the door of their lodgings
I took my leave of them, after receiving the
very obliging invitation to dine with them the
next day. Anastatia was not with them. Miss
Fairfax
told me, that, as soon as she had thrown
for the jars, she went home, “for Anastatia,”
said she, “is excessively fond of reading and reciting
—and, her reading master, a celebrated
actor at one of the theatres, happening to be
here by accident, she would not lose the opportunity
of receiving a lesson.”
“She does excel,
assuredly,”
said the elder lady, “in those accomplishments,
as Mr. Desmond, I think will say,
when he hears her.”
—I expressed my satisfaction
at the prospect of being so gratified, and then
took my leave.

Yesterday morning I saw Waverly, who
seemed to embrace, with avidity, the project of
going with me to Paris—I represented to him
the necessity of his knowing, precisely, his own
mind, as I cannot remain here more than four
or five days.—He assures me, that nothing can
prevent his going, and that he will instantly set
about making preparations.—Indeed, my good
friend, you were too severe upon him.—He is
young, and quite without experience, but he seems
to have a good disposition, and an understanding
capable of improvement.—There is too, a family
resemblance to his sister, which, though slight, and
rather a flying than a fixed likeness, interests me
for him; and in short, I am more desirous of curing
than reckoning his faults.

He B8v 16

He dined with Mrs. Fairfax yesterday, where
I was also invited, and where a party of nine or
ten were assembled. The captivating sisters displayed
all their talents, and I own they excel in
almost every accomplishment.—I have seldom
seen a finer figure taken altogether, than the
younger sister, and indeed, your description of
the personal beauty of both, was not exaggeration.
—To their acquirements, I have already
done justice: yet, I am convinced, that, with
all these advantages, my heart, were it totally
free from every other impression, would never
become devoted to either.

It would be nonsense to pretend to give reasons
for this.—With these caprices of the imagination,
and of the heart, you have allowed
that Reason has very little to do.

One objection however, to my pretending to
either of these ladies, would be, that every degree
of excellence on which you seem to dwell.
—Always surrounded by admiring multitudes;
or, practising those accomplishments by which
that admiration is acquired, they seem to be in
danger of forgetting they have hearts—appearing
to feel no preference for any person, but those who
have the sanction of fashion, or the recommendation
of great property; and, affluent as they
are themselves, to consider only among the men
that surround them, who are the likeliest to
raise them to higher affluence or superior rank.

Of this I had a specimen yesterday—Waverly
seems to have an inclination for Miss Fairfax,
and as he and I were the two young men in the
party of yesterday, who seemed the most worthy
the notice of the two young ladies, I was so
fortunate as to be allowed to entertain Miss
Anastatia
, while Waverly was engaged in earnestnest B9r 17
discourse by Miss Fairfax, who put on all
those fascinating airs which she so well knows
how to assume.—I saw that poor Waverly was
considering whether he should not be violently
in love with her, or adhere to the more humble
beauty, for whom he had been relating his penchant
to me a few hours before, when the door
suddenly opened, and a tall young fellow, very
dirty, and apparently very drunk, was shewn
into the room.—The looks of all the ladies testified
their satisfaction: and they all eagerly
exclaimed, “Oh! my lord, when did you arrive,
who expected you?—how did you come?”

—Without, however, attending immediately to
these questions, he shook the two young ladies’
hands, called them familiaryfamiliarly by their Christian
names: and then throwing himself at his length
on a sopha, he thus answered—“Came!—why,
curse me if I hardly know how I came here—
for I have not been in bed these three nights—
Why, I came with Davers, and Lenham, and
a parcel of us.—We were going to settle a
wager at Tom Felton’s—But, rat me, if I
know why the plague we came through this
damned place, twenty miles at least out of our
way.—How in the devil’s name do ye contrive
to live here, why, here is not a soul to be seen?”

—Then, without waiting for an answer to this
elegant exordium, he suddenly snatched the hand
of the eldest Miss Fairfax, who sat near him,
and cried, “But, by the Lord, my sweet Peggy,
you look confoundedly handsome—curse me if
you don’t.—By Jove, I believe I shall be in
love with you myself.—What!—so you have
got out of your megrims and sickness, eh!—
and are quite well, you dear little toad you,
eh?”
—The soft and smiling answer which the lady B9v 18
lady gave to an address so impertinently familiar,
convinced me she was not displeased with it: the
mother seemed equally satisfied; and I saw, that
even the sentimental Anastatia forgot the critique
on the last fashionable novel, with which she
had a moment before been obliging me; and
cast a look of solicitude towards that part of the
room, where this newly-arrived visitor, whom
they called Lord Newminster, was talking to
her sister in the style of which I have given you
an example—while poor Waverly, who had at
once lost all his consequence, sat silent and mortified,
or if he diffidently attempted to join in
the conversation, obtained no notice from the
lady, and only a stare of contemptuous enquiry
from the lord.—As, not withstanding the favor
I had found a few hours before, I now seemed
to be sinking fast into the same insignificance, I
thought it better to avoid a continuance of such
mortification, by taking my leave; Waverly, as
he accompanied me home, could hardly conceal
his vexation—yet was unwilling to shew it;
while I doubt not but Mrs. Fairfax and the
young ladies wewere happily entertained the rest of
the evening by the delectable conversation of
Lord Newminster.

I shall probably write once more from hence.

Your’s, ever and truly,

L.D.

Let- B10r 19

Letter IV.

To Mr. Desmond.

I am sorry my prescription is not likely to
succeed; I had persuaded myself that the youngest
of my fair cousins was the likeliest of any woman
of my acquaintance, to become the object
of a reasonable attachment.—Surely Desmond
you are fastidious—you expect what you will
never find, the cultivated mind and polished
manners of refined society, with the simplicity
and unpretending modesty of retired life—they
are incompatible—they cannot be united; and
this model of perfection, which you have imagined
and can never obtain, will be a source of
unhappiness to you through life.

I told you in a former letter, that I would
endeavour to give you a little of my dearlybought
experience.―You know that I have
been unhappy; but you are probably quite unacquainted
with the sources from whence that unhappiness
originates—in relating them to you I
may perhaps convince you, that ignorance and
simplicity are no securities against the evils which
you seem to apprehend in domestic life; and
that the woman, who is suddenly raised from
humble mediocrity to the gay scenes of fashionable
splendor, is much more likely to be giddily
intoxicated than one who has from her infancy
been accustomed to them.

At one and twenty, and at the close of a long
minority, which had been passed under the care
of very excellent guardians, I became master of a very B10v 20
a very large sum of ready money, and an estate
the largest and best conditioned that any gentleman
possessed in the country where it lay.—I
was at that time very unlike the sober fellow I
now appear—and the moment I was free from
the restraint of those friends, to whose guardianship
my father had left me, I rushed into all the
dissipation that was going forward, and became
one of the gayest men at that time about town.

With such a fortune it was not difficult to
be introduced into “the very first world.”
The illustrious adventurers and titled gamblers,
of whom that world is composed, found me an
admirable subject for them; while the women,
who were then either the most celebrated ornaments
of the circle where I moved, or were endeavouring
to become so, were equally solicitous
to obtain my notice—and the unmarried part of
them seemed generously willing to forget my
want of title in favour of my twelve or thirteen
thousand a year.—I had, however, at a very early
period of my career, conceived an affection, or
according to your phrase, an ardent attachment
to a married woman of high rank—but I had at
the same time seen enough of them all, to determine
never to marry any of them myself.

Two years experience confirmed me in this
resolution, but by the end of that time I was relieved
from the embarrassments of a large property.
—In the course of the first, the turf and
the hazard table had disburthened me of all my
ready money; and, at the conclusion of the second,
my estate was reduced to something less
than one half.—I then found that I was not, by
above one half, so great an object to my kind
friends as I had been—and, when soon afterwards
I was compelled to pay five thousand pounds B11r 21
pounds for my sentimental attachment—when
the obliging world represented my affairs infinitely
worse than they were, and I became afraid
of looking into them myself, I found the period
rapidly approaching when to this circle I should
become no object at all.

My pride now effected that, which common
sense had attempted in vain; and I determined
to quit a society into which I should never have
entered.―I went down to my house in the
county where almost all my estate lay; sent for
the attorney who had the care of my property,
and with a sort of desperate resolution resolved
to know the worst.

This lawyer, whose father had been steward
to mine, and to whom at his death the stewardship
had been given by my guardians, was a
clear headed, active and intelligent man: and
when he saw himself entrusted with fuller powers
to act in my business than he had till then
possessed, he set about it so earnestly and assiduously,
that he very soon got successfully through
two law suits of great importance: raised my
rents without oppressing my tenants—disposed
of such timber as could be sold without prejudice
to the principal estate—sold off part of what
was mortgaged to redeem and clear the rest;
and so regulated my affairs, that in a few
months, from the time of his entirely undertaking
them, I found myself relieved from every
embarrassment, and still possessed of an estate of
more than five thousand pounds a year. The
seven that I had thrown away gave me however
some of the severe pangs that are inflicted by
mortified pride.—Nabobs and rich citizens
became the ostentatious possessors of manors
and royalties in the same county, which were once B11v 22
once mine; and some of my estates—estates that
had been in my family since the conquest, now
lent their names to barons by recent purchase,
and dignified mushroom nobility.

I fled therefore from public meetings, where
I only found objects of self-roproachself-reproach, and made
acquaintance with another set of people, among
whom I was still considered as a man of great
fortune; and where I found more attention,
and, as I believed, more friendship than I had
ever experienced in superior societies.

More general information and more understanding
I certainly found; and none of my new
friends possessed a greater share of both than my
solicitor, Mr. Stamford—he had deservedly obtained
my confidence, and I was now often at
his house, when his family seemed to vie in trying,
to render agreeable to me.

His wife was pleasing and good humoured,
and he had several sisters, some married, and two
single, who occasionally visited at his house; and
it was not difficult to see, that in the eyes of the
latter, Mr. Bethel, with his reduced fortune,
was a man of greater consequence than he had
ever appeared to the high born damsels among
whom he had lived in the meridian of his prosperity.

I was not however flattered by their attention
or attracted by their coquetry—they were pretty
enough, and not without sense, but they had
both been very much in London; and I thought
too deeply initiated, if not into the very fashionable
societies, yet into the style of those which catch,
with imitative emulation, the manners and ideas
those societies give.—Mr. Stamford seemed desirous
of giving both these ladies a chance of
success with me, for they were alternately brought B12r 23
brought forward for about twelve months—
at the end of which time they were both perhaps
convinced that they had neither of them
any great prospect of it, for then the family
of a widow sister was invited, none of whom
I had ever seen, or hardly heard mentioned before.

The father of this family, a lieutenant in the
army, had married the eldest of Stamford’s sisters,
when he was recruiting in the town where
she then lived—by which he so greatly disobliged
the friends on whom he depended, that though
he had a very large family, they never afforded
him afterwards the least assistance; and about two
years before the period I now speak of, he had
died at Jamaica, leaving his widow and seven
children, with very little more than the pension
allowed by Government to subsist upon.—Of
these children the two eldest were daughters;
who, from the obscure village their mother was
compelled to inhabit in Wales, were now come
to pass the winter at the house of their uncle in
a large provincial town.—On entering one
morning Stamford’s parlour, in my usual familiar
way, I was struck with the sight of two
very young women who were at work there;
the elder of whom was, I thought, the most
perfect beauty I had ever seen.—When I met
Stamford, I expressed my admiration of the
young person I had just parted from, and enquired
who she was—he told me she was his
niece, and briefly related the history of his sister’s
family.

At dinner, as Stamford invited me to stay, I
could not keep my eyes from the contemplation
of Louisa’s beauty, which the longer I beheld
it, became more and more fascinating; the unaffectedaffected B12v 24
innocence and timidity of her manners,
rendered her yet more interesting—she knew
merely how to read and write: and had, till now,
never been out of the village, whither her mother
had retired when she was only six or seven
years old—and her total unconsciousness of the
beauty she so eminently possessed, rivetted the
fetters which that beauty, even at the first interview,
imposed.

Her uncle was not, however, so blind to the
impression I had received; yet he managed so
well, that, without any appearance of artifice
on his part, I was every day at the house; and,
in a week, I was gone an whole age in love. I
soon made proposals, which were accepted with
transport. I married the beautiful Louisa—and
was for some time happy.

Mr. Stamford had immediately the whole
management of my fortune, in the improvement
of which, he had now so much interest; and
in his hands it recovered itself so fast, that, tho’
I made a very good figure in the country, I did
not expend more than half my income.—The
money thus saved, Stamford put out to the best
advantage—and I saw myself likely to regain
the lost consequence I so much regretted: a
foolish vanity, to which I sacrificed my real felicity.

Stamford, who had all the latent ambition
that attends conscious abilities, as a man of business,
had, till now, felt that ambition repressed
by the little probability there was of his ever
reaching a more elevated situation.—But he saw
and irritated the mortified pride which I very ill
concealed—and, by degrees, he communicated
to me, and taught me to adopt those projects,
by which he told me I should not only be relieved C1r 25
relieved from this uneasy sensation, but rise
to greater consequence than I had ever possessed.

“You have talents,” said he, “and ought to exert
them.—In these times, any thing may be done
by a man of abilities, who has a seat in Parliament.
Take a seat in the House of Commons,
and a session or two will open to you prospects
greater than those you sacrificed in the early
part of your life.”
—I took his advice, and the
following year, instead of selling, at a general
election, the two seats for a borough which belonged
to me, I filled one myself, and gave the
other to Stamford, who, conscious as he was of
possessing those powers, which, in a corrupt government,
are always eagerly bought, had long
been solicitous to quit the narrow walk of a
country attorney, and mount a stage where those
abilities would have scope.

In consequence of this arrangement, I took
a large house in town; where Stamford and his
family had apartments for the first four or five
months.—At the end of that time, he had managed
so well, that he hired one for himself.—
Artful, active, and indefatigable, with a tongue
very plausible, and a conscience very pliant, he
soon became a very useful man to the party who
had purchased him. Preferments and fortune
crowded rapidly upon him, and Stamford, the
country attorney, was soon forgotten, in Stamford
the confident of ministers, and the companion
of peers.

I was not, however, entirely without acquiring
some of the advantages he had taught me
to expect.—I obtained, by what I now blush to
think of, (giving my voice in direct opposition
to my opinion and my principles,) a place of Vol. I. C six C1v 26
six hundred pounds a year: which, though it
did little more than pay the rent of my house in
town, was, as Mr. Stamford assured me, the
foretaste of superior advantages.—But, long before
the close of this session of Parliament, I
discovered, that far from being likely to recover
the fortune I had dissipated, I was, in fact, a
considerable loser in pecuniary matters.—Alas!
I was yet endeavouring to shut my eyes against
the sad conviction, that I had sustained, a yet
heavier and more irreparable loss; domestic happiness,
and the affection of my wife.

Dazzled and intoxicated by scenes of which
she had till then had no idea, Louisa, on our
first coming to town entered, with extreme avidity
into the dissipation of London—and I indulged
her in it, from the silly pride of shewing
to the women among whom I had formerly lived,
beauty which eclipsed them all.—They affected
to disdain the little rustic, whom they maliciously
represented as being taken from among the
lowest of the people.—The admiration however
with which she was universally received by the
men, amply revenged their malignity, but, while
it mortified them, it ruined me.

Louisa lived now in a constant succession of
flattery, by which perhaps a stronger mind might
have become giddy.—She had princes at her toilet
and noblemen at her feet every day, and from
them she soon learned to imagine, that had she
been seen before she threw herself away on me,
there was no rank of life, however exalted, to
which such charms might not have given her pretensions.
—That love, which till this fatal period
she seemed to have for me—that gratitude of
which her heart had appeared so full (for I had
provided for all her family) even her affection for C2r 27
for her children, was drowned in the intoxicating
draughts of flattery, which were every day
administered to her—and when the time came
for our returning into the country, she returned
indeed with me, but I carried back not the ingenuous,
unaffected, Louisa; whose simplicity,
rather than her beauty had won my heart.―
Ah! no!—I saw only a fine lady eager for admiration;
willing to purchase it on any terms, and
sullen and discontented when she had not those
about her from whom she had been so accustomed
to receive it.—That happiness was lost to me for
ever. I had long been conscious, but I still
hoped to preserve my honor—and that I might
detach my wife from those whose assiduity it
seemed to be the most endangered, I determined to
make a journey into Italy.—She neither promoted
or objected to the scheme, but a few days
before that, which I had fixed on to begin our
journey, she left the house, and put herself under
the protection of a man who disgraces the
name he bears.

I pursued the usual course in these cases; I
challenged and fought with him—I was slightly,
and he was dangerously wounded; and by way
of further satisfaction I heard, that my wife attended
him in his illness, and as soon as he was
able to travel, accompanied him to the South of
France.

I then thought of pursuing that method of
vengeance, which had some years before been
successfully employed against myself, and had
begun the preliminary steps towards it, when
Stamford, the now prosperous uncle of my wife,
undertook to dissuade me—he represented to me
that any money I could obtain, would only be
considered as the price of my dishonour—and C2 that C2v 28
that such a publication of misconduct in the
mother of my children would be very injurious
to them, particularly to my little girl―that
therefore it would, upon every account, be better
to suffer him to negociate an accommodation
with—I stopped him short, without hearing to
its close, this infamous and insulting proposal—
and desired him to leave my house; no longer
doubting, from comparing this with other instances
that now occurred to me, that he had
sold the person of his niece to her seducer, with
as much sang froid as he had before sold his own
conscience to the minister.

Impressed by this opinion, and being too
well convinced of the futility of those chimerical
plans with which he had lured me from independence
and felicity, I determined never more
to hold converse with him: and to divest myself,
as soon and as completely as possible of all regret,
for a worthless and ungrateful woman.—I therefore
took all my affairs into my own hands, accepted
the chiltern hundreds, and selling my seat
for the remainder of the seven years, I resigned
at once my place at court, and my place in parliament;
for by the latter I now felt, that I had
unworthily obtained the former.—Then, letting
the family house where I had resided in the neighbourhood
of Stamford, I settled myself at this
smaller place; the only property I possess at a
distance from my native county.

Here I have now lived nearly eight years, and
between the education of my children, and the
amusement afforded me by my farm, I hope I
shall end those years at least not so unhappily as
they began.—Of the woman once so beloved, I
can now think with sorrow and pity rather than
resentment, for she is dead—and I wish her errors C3r 29
errors to be forgotten and forgiven by the world,
as I have forgiven, though I cannot forget them.
—Though released by her death from any matrimonial
engagement, I have no intention again
to hazard my happiness, but apply all my time
in improving the remains of my estate for my
son; to render him worthy to enjoy it—and to
educate my daughter in such a manner, that
although she promises to possess her mother’s
beauty, she may not be its victim.—For this
purpose it will soon be necessary for me to
quit occasionally the solitude where I have regained
my peace, and return to those scenes
among which I lost it; for I am determined my
little Louisa shall see the world before she is settled
in it; that she may learn to enjoy it with
moderation, or resign it with dignity.

In looking forward, my dear friend, to this
period, now not very remote, I have thought
that a wife of yours would be the person to
whom I should best like to entrust so precious
a charge as my charming girl on her first entrance
into life.—Thus you see that I had, in recommending
a wife to you, no very just claim to the
disinterestedness of which I have sometimes
boasted—but so goes the world. I have tired
myself, and exhausted my spirits, by this detail
of what I always avoid recalling, when it can
serve no purpose but to renew fruitless regret—
May, however, the narrative which has cost
me some pain, serve to convince you, that such
woman as the two Fairfaxes, are much less
likely to sacrifice their honour on the altar of
vanity, than the rural damsel from the Welch
mountains or northern fells. I hope to hear
from you, as you promise, once more before
you depart——It is impossible to help again C3 offering C3v 30
offering my congratulation on your fortunate
choice of Waverly for a travelling companion
—nor can I avoid admiring the effect of family
likeness

Adieu! your’s ever,

E. Bethel.

Let- C4r 31

Letter V.

To Mr. Bethel.

You are very good to have taken so much
trouble, and to have entered on a detail so painful
to yourself for my advantage—be assured,
my good friend, I feel all my obligations to you
on this, and on innumerable occasions; and that
I should pay to your opinion the utmost deference
were not my marrying now, perhaps my
ever marrying at all, quite out of the question
—for I believe I shall never have an heart to
bestow, and without it I can never solicit that
love, which, so circumstanced, I can neither
deserve nor repay.

You tell me, Bethel, that I vainly expect to
meet the cultivated mind and polished manners
of refined society, united with the simple and
unpretending modesty of retired life, while the
idea I have thus dressed up as a model of perfection,
will embitter all my days—It will indeed!
—but it is not the search that will occupy, or
the idea that will persecute me—it is the reality,
the living original of this fair idea, which I
have found—and found in possession of another
—yes my friend—Geraldine unites these perfections
—and adds to them so many others, both
of heart and understanding, that were her person
only an ordinary one, I could not have
known without adoring her. I will not, however,
dwell upon this topic—for it is one on
which you do not hear me with pleasure, and it is C4 not C4v 32
not fit that I indulge myself in what I feel while
I write about her—though I can only do so
while I write to you, for no other person on
earth suspects this attachment, nor do I ever
breathe her name to any ear but yours.

I force myself from this subject then; though
there is not in the world another that really fixes
my attention an instant; not one that has any
momentary attraction, unless it be the transactions
in France.—I am waiting here for Waverly,
who is gone to Bath, to take leave of his
mother: a measure which, on her writing to
him to desire it, he adopted with only two debates
—whether he should go round by London,
to bid adieu to his dear Nancy, a nymph who
lives at his expence; or proceed directly to
Bath.—As I foresaw that his dear Nancy might
chuse to visit the Continent too; or might apprehend
his escape from her chains, and therefore
prevent his going himself, I most strongly
enforced the necessity of his obeying his mother’s
summons in the quickest way possible;
declaring to him, that, if he detained me above
a week, I must absolutely go without him.—
This, as he is now very eager for the journey,
and speaks no French, so that he would be
subject to many difficulties in travelling alone,
at length determined him to go straight to Bath
and return immediately; on which conditions
I agreed to wait a week where I am, though,
since I must go, I am extremely impatient to
be at Paris—and would have made this sacrifice
of time to nothing but the service of Geraldine
in serving her brother.

Since I wrote to you last, I have passed part
of several days with Mr. Fairfax’s family,
without seeing any cause to change my opinion of any part C5r 33
part of it.—But all my observations tend rather
to confirm that which I formed on my first introduction.
—The foolish vanity, whence originates
so many stratagems to heighten their consequence,
that affectation which carries them
into the superior ranks of life, to applaud and
flatter there, that they may acquire, in their
turn, greater superiority over that class where
fortune has placed them, and be looked up to
as the standards of elegance and fashion, because
they lifelive so much with the nobility, and the sacrifices
they are ever ready to make of their own
dignity, in order to obtain this: such conduct,
I say, has something in it so weak and so mean,
that no accomplishments, beauty or fortune
could tempt me to connect myself with a woman
who had been educated in such a course of
unworthy prejudice.—Surely, my friend, if you
have ever remarked this mal de famille, you,
who have not much reason to venerate the influence
of aristocracy in society, would not have
supposed that either of these ladies, even if they
would deign to accept my fortune in apology for
my being only Mr. Desmond, (with hardly a
remote alliance to nobility) could have given
me in marriage that felicity, which I am sure
you wish I may find.―You have probably,
therefore, suffered this trait of character, though
it strongly pervades the whole family to escape
you.

Yesterday morning Miss Fairfax was so obliging
as to invite me to be of a party she had
made to ride out: or rather allowed me to attend
her, together with Waverly and another
gentleman, who neither of them came—I however
waited on her by her own appointment at
the hour of breakfast, and found her sitting at C5 the C5v 34
the tea-table with her mother, her sister, and
the Lord Newminster; who, notwithstanding
his complaints of the dulness of the place, had
returned hither after having settled his wager.—
He was stretched upon a sopha—with boots on
—a terrier lay on one side of him, and he occasionally
embraced a large hound, which licked
his face and hands, while he thus addressed it.
“Oh! thou dear bitchy—thou beautiful
bitchy—damme, if I don’t love thee better than
my mother or my sisters.”
—Then, by a happy
transition, addressing himself to the youngest
Miss Fairfax, he added, “Statia, my dear, tell
me if this is not a divinity of a dog—do you
know that I would not part with her for a thousand
guineas.”
“Here Tom,” speaking to
the servant who waited, “give me that chocolate
and that bread and butter”
—the man obeyed,
and the noble gentleman poured the chocolate
over the plate, and gave it altogether to the
divinity of a dog—“was it hungry?” cried
he—“was it hungry, a lovely dear?—I would
rather all the old women in the country should
fast for a month, than thou shouldest not have
thy belly full.”
—The ladies, far from appearing
to think this speech unfeeling or ridiculous,
were lavish in their praises of the animal; and
Miss Fairfax, who seems more desirous than
her sister to attract the attention of its worthy
owner, said, “my Lord, do you think she has
had enough?—shall I give her some more chocolate?
——or send for a plate of cold meat?”

She then caressed the favourite, and fed it from
her fair hands; while I, who had been a silent
and unnoticed spectator since my first entrance,
contemplated with more pity than wonder, this
sapient member of our legislature: who having, at C6r 35
at length, satisfied the importunity of one of the
objects of his solitude, turned to the other, and
hugging it with more affection than he would
probably have shewed to the heir of his titles,
he cried, “my poor dear Venom when will you
pup?—Peggy!—will you have one of her puppies?
—they are the very best breed in England.
—Damme now, do you know, my cursed fellow
of a groom lost me the brother to this here bitch
a week or two ago—and be cursed to his stupid
soul—and now I have got none but Venom left
of that there breed.”
At this period his lamentation
was suddenly suspended by the doors
being opened; and the entrance of a figure who
gave me the idea of a garden roller set on its
end, and supported by two legs: I found it,
however, on a second view, a person I had often
seen; and immediately recognized to be General
Wallingford
; who, as soon as he could recover
his breath, which seemed to have been
lost for a moment by exertion and agitation,
thus began:

“So Madam!—so!—this is astonishing—
this last news from France.—This decree fills
up the measure of that madness and folly which
has always marked the conduct of that beggarly
set who call themsevesthemselves the National Assembly!
—The evil is however now so great, that it
must, it must absolutely cure itself; this decree
is decisive—they have crushed themselves.”

Mrs. Fairfax now enquired what it was?
“Why—I have letters, Madam,” replied the
General, “from my friend Langdale, who was
passing through Paris on his way to Italy, (for
as to making any stay there now, it is impossible
for a man of fashion so far to commit himself as
to stay in such a scene of vulgar triumph and popular C5v 36
popular anarchy) Langdale, saw too much of it
in three days; and his last letter states, that by
a decree passed the nineteenth of June, these
low wretches, this collection of dirty fellows,
have abolished all titles, and abolished the very
name of nobility.”
“The devil they have?”
cried Lord Newminster, raising himself upon
his elbow, and interrupting a tune he had been
humming, a mezza voce; “the devil they have?
—then I wish the King and the Lords may
smash them all—and be cursed to them—I wish
they may all be sent to hell—now damme—do
you know if I was King of France for three
days, I would drive them all to the devil in a
jiffy.”

The more sagacious General cast a rueful
look at the wise and gallant projector of an impossible
exploit: and then, without attempting
to demonstrate its impracticability, he began
very gravely to descant on the shocking consequences
of this decree. Sentiments in which
Mrs. Fairfax very heartily joined.—“It will
be impossible, I fear,”
said the General, “at
least, for some time, for any man of fashion to reside
pleasantly at Paris, which I am extremely
sorry for, for it is a place I always used to love
very much; and I had great inclination to pass
the autumn there.—For my part, I’ve never observed,
but that the people had liberty enough—
Quite as much, I am convinced, as those wrongheaded,
ignorant wretches, that form the canaille
ought to have, in any country; ’tis a very terrible
thing when that corrupt mass gets the
upper hand, in any country; but, in the present
instance, the misery is, that certain persons
among even les gens comme il faut, should be
absurd and senseless enough to encourage the brutes, C7r 37
brutes, by affecting a ridiculous patriotism, and
calling themselves the friends of the people.”

“Rot the people,”—cried the noble Peer:
“I wish they were all hanged out of the way,
both in France and here too.—What business
have a set of blackguards to have an opinion
about liberty, and be cursed to them? Now
General I’ll tell you what, if I was a French
nobleman now, and had to do with them, damme
if I did not shew the impudent rascals the difference.
—By Jove, Sir, I’d set fire to their
assembly, and mind no more shooting them all,
than if they were so many mad dogs.”

Though it was used on behalf of his own
system of politics, the extreme ignorance and
absurdity which this language betrayed, made
the General decline answering or approving it;
but he was infinitely attentive to the more pathetic
lamentations of Mrs. Fairfax, which were
thus expressed.—“Well! I really think, my
dear General, that in my whole life, I never
was so shocked at any thing, as at what you
tell me: Heavens! how my sympathising heart
bleeds, when I reflect on the numbers of amiable
people of rank, compelled thus to the cruel necessity
of resigning those ancient and honorable
names which distinguished them from the vulgar
herd! and who are no longer marked by their
titles from that canaille with which it is so odious
to be levelled.—ThyThey might, in my mind, as
well have robbed them of their property, and
have turned them out to perish in the streets, if
indeed that is not done already.”

“No;” replied the General “that has not
happened yet, but doubtless it will, and, indeed,
they might as well have done it at once,
for they have made Paris so insupportable to people C7v 38
people of fashion, that it must, of course, become
a mere desert.—Nobody of any elegance
of manners can exist, where tradesmen, attornies,
and mechanics have the pas.—The splendour
of that beautiful capital is gone: the glory
of the noblesse is vanished forever.”

“Come, come, my dear General,” answered
the lady, “let us hope not; a counter-revolution
may set all to rights again, and we may
live to see these vulgar people punished for their
ridiculous ambition, as they deserve. My heart,
however bleeds to a degree for the noblesse, particularly
for two most intimate friends of mine,
women of the highest rank, who are, without
doubt, included in this universal bouleversement.
—It was only this last winter, when one of them,
la Duchesse de Miremont, who was then in
England, said to me—‘Ah! ma très
chere & très aimable madame Fairfax, je vous en
reponds que’
—”

The Lady, had in an instant, forgotten the
calamities of her foreign friends in her eagerness
to display her own consequence; but I
found it impossible to attend, with patience, to
the rest of the dialogue between her and the
General, and was meditating how, with the
least appearance of rudeness, I could make my
escape, when Miss Fairfax’s horses were brought
to the door, and my servant immediately afterwards
arrived with mine.—She rose to go; and
turning towards Lord Newminster said, with
extreme softness—“Does not your Lordship
ride this morning?”
“No, my dear Pegg,”
answered he, yawning in her face as he spoke;
“I cannot undertake the fatigue, for I was up
at eight o’clock to see a set too between the
Ruffian
and Big Ben, who are to fight next week C8r 39
week for a thousand.—I sparred a little myself,
and now I’m damned tired, and fit for nothing
but a lounge; perhaps I may meet you in my
phaeton an hour hence or so, that’s just as the
whim takes me.”
—The Lady then, in the same
gentle tone cried—“Oh creature! equally idle
and ferocious!”
—while he folded his arms, and
re-settling himself, with his two dogs upon the
sopha, declared, that he felt himself disposed to
take a nap.

The old General, more gallant and more
active, notwithstanding his gout and his size,
now led Miss Fairfax to her horse; and, as he
assisted her to mount it, he seemed to whisper
some very tender sentence in her ear; if I could
guess by the peculiar expression of his features,
while I had nothing to do but wait while all
this passed, and when the ceremony was finished,
to ride silently away by her side.—We had
hardly, however, quitted the town, when the
young Lady thus began:—“This is really very
frightful news, Mr. Desmond, that General
Wallingford
has brought us to-day.—Do you
not think it extremely shocking?”
“No, Madam,
not at all; I own myself by no means
master of the subject, but from all I do know, I
feel myself much more disposed to rejoice at,
than to lament it.”

“Impossible, Mr. Desmond!—Surely I misunderstand
you!—What! are you disposed to
rejoice that nobility and fashion are quite destroyed?”

“I am glad that oppression is destroyed;
that the power of injuring the many is taken
from the few.—Dear Madam, are you aware of
the evils which, in consequence of the feudal
system, existed in France? A system formed in the C8v 40
the blindest periods of ignorance and prejudice;
which gave to the noblesse, not only an exemption
from those taxes which crushed the people
by their weight, but gave to the possessors of
les terres titrés,every power to impoverish and
depress the peasant and the farmer; on whom,
after all, the prosperity of a nation depends.—
That these powers are annihilated, no generous
mind can surely lament.”

“I hope,” replied Miss Fairfax, with more
asperity than I thought my humility deserved—
“I hope, Sir, I am not ungenerous, nor quite
ignorant, neither, of the history of France
But I really must own, that I cannot see the
matter in the light you do.—Indeed, I can see
nothing but the most horrid cruelty and injustice.”

“In calling a man by one name, rather than
by another!—My dear Miss Fairfax, the cruelty
and injustice must surely be imaginary.”

“Not at all, in my opinion, Sir,” retorted my
fair antagonist.—“A title is as much a person’s
property as his estate; and, in my mind, one
might as well be taken away as another—And
to lose one’s very birth-right, by a mob too, of
vulgar creatures.—Good Heaven! I declare the
very idea is excessively terrific; only suppose the
English mob were to get such a notion, and in some
odious riot, begin the same sort of thing here!”

“Perhaps,” replied I (still, I assure you,
speaking with the utmost humility) “perhaps
there never may exist here the same cause; and,
therefore, the effect will not follow.—Our nobility
are less numerous; and, till within a few
years, that titles have became so very common,
they were all of that description which could be
ranked only with the haut noblesse of France; they C9r 41
they are armed with no powers to oppress, individually,
the inferior order of men; they have
no vassals but those whose service is voluntary; and,
upon the whole, are so different a body of men
from that which was once the nobility of France,
as to admit no very just comparison, and no
great probability of the same steps ever being
taken, to annihilate their titles; though they
possess, in their right of hereditary legislation,
a strong, and to many, an obnoxious feature
which the higher ranks in France never possessed.
—However, we will, if you please, and
merely for the sake of conversation, suppose that
the people, or, if you please, the vulgar, took
it into their heads to level all those distinctions
that depend upon names—I own I see nothing
in it so very dreadful, it might be endured.”

“Yes, by savages and brutes, perhaps,”
replied the Lady, with anger flashing from her
eyes, and lending new eloquence to her tongue,
“but I must say, that I never expected to hear
from a man of fashion, a defence of an act so
shamefully tyrannous and unjust, exercised over
their betters by the scum of the people; an act
that must destroy all the elegance of manners,
all the high polish that used to render people,
in a certain style, so delightful in France. By
degrees, I suppose, those who can endure to stay
in a country under such a detestable sort of government,
will become as rude and disgusting
as our common country ’Squires.”

I saw by the look with which this speech was
delivered, that I was decidedly a common country
’Squire.—“Unhappily,” replied I, “my
dear Miss Fairfax, the race of men whom you
call common country ’Squires, are almost, if
not entirely annihilated in England; though no 3 decree C9v 42
decree has passed against them—A total change
of manners has effected this.”
I was going on,
but with great vivacity she interrupted me.—

“So much the better, Sir, they will never
be regretted.”

“Perhaps not, Madam, and as we are merely
arguing for the sake of conversation, let me just
suppose that the same thing might happen, if all
those who are now raised above us by their
names, were to have no other distinction than
their merits.—Let me ask you, would the really
great, the truly noble among them (and that
there are many such nobody is more ready to allow)
be less beloved and revered if they were
known only by their family names? On the
other hand, would the celebrity of the men of
ton be much reduced? For example, the nobleman
I had the honour of meeting at your house
to-day.—He is now, I think, called Lord Newminster.
Would he be less agreeable in his
manners, less refined in his conversation, less
learned, less worthy, less respectable, were he unhappilly
compelled to be called, as his father was
before he bought his title, Mr. Grantham?”

I know not whether it was the matter or the
manner that offended my beautiful aristocrate,
but she took this speech most cruelly amiss, and
most inhumanely determining to avenge herself
upon me; she replied with symptoms of great
indignation in her countenance, “That she
was truly sorry to see the race of mere country
’Squires did still exist, and that, among those
where, from fortune and pretensions, she should
least have imagined they would be found.”

(This was me.) That as to Lord Newminster,
by whatever name he might at any time be
called, she should, for her part, always say and think, C10r 43
think, that there were few who so completely
filled the part of a man of real fashion among
the nobility; and not one, in any rank of life,
who, in her mind, possessed a twentieth part of
his good qualities.

The manner in which this was uttered, was
undoubtedly meant to crush at once, and for
ever, all the aspiring thoughts, that I, presuming
on the strength of my fortune, might peradventure
have dared to entertain.—Overwhelmed
by the pretty indignation, as much as
by the unanswerable arguments of my angry
goddess, I began to consider how I might turn
or drop discourse where I was so likely to suffer
for my temerity, when I was relieved by the appearance
of a carriage, at a distance, which, she
said, she knew to be Lord Newminster’s phaeton;
and, without any further ceremony than
slightly wishing me good-morrow, she cantered
away to meet it—leaving me, as slowly I trotted
another way, to congratulate my country on the
pure notions of patriotic virtue with which even
its women are impressed; and, on such able
supporters of its freedom, as Lord Newminster
in the upper, and General Wallingford in the
lower House.—Alas! my opposite principles,
however modestly and diffidently urged, have
lost me, as I have since found, for ever, that
favour, which without being a man of fashion,
I was once so happy as to enjoy from your fair
relations: for whenever, in the course of the
next two or three days, I happened to meet
them, I was slightly noticed, that I apprehend
our acquaintance will end here.—Condole with
me, dear Bethel; and, to make some amends,
let me soon hear from you.

I have C10v 44

I have had, very unexpectedly, a letter from
Mr. DangbyDanby, my mother’s sole surviving brother;
who, absorbed in his own singular notions
and amusements, has hardly seemed to recollect
me for many years.—He has heard, I
know not how (for I have long had no other
communication with him, than writing him an
annual letter, with an annual present of game
and venison since I became of age) that I am
going to France; and he strongly remonstrates
upon the danger I shall incur if I do, both to my
person and my principles.—He entreats me not
to try such a hazardous journey; and hints, that
his fortune is too large to be despised.—I don’t
know what this sudden fit of solicitude means,
for though I am the only relation he has, I never
had any reason to think I should benefit by his
fortune; and your care, my dear Bethel, has
precluded the necessity of my desiring it. I shall
answer him with great civility, however, but
certainly make no alteration in my plan.

Adieu! my friend—fail not to write if you
hear any thing of the family of Verney.

Your’s ever,

Lionel Desmond

Let- C11r 45

Letter VI.

To Mr. Bethel.

I had waited for Waverly the week I had
promised to wait—the last day of that week was
come: and I was going to enquire for a passage
to Calais or Dunkirk, when I met Anthony,
his servant, in the street. The poor fellow was
covered with dust, and seemed half dead with
fatigue; “Well Anthony where is your master?”
“Oh! lord sir,” answered he, “my master
has changed his mind about going to France,
and sent me post from Stamford in Lincolnshire,
Sir, where he is gone with some other
gentlemen, to an house, one Sir James Deybourne
has just by there;—Sir, I have hardly
been off the saddle for above six-and-thirty
hours; and we had no sooner got down there,
than master sent me off post to your honor; to
let you know, Sir, that he could not, no how
in the world, go to Paris with you at this
time.”

“But did he not write;” “why, no Sir, he
was going to write I believe, but somehow his
friends they persuaded him there was no need of
it; so, Sir, he called me, and bid me, that I
should deliver the message to you, about his not
coming, the soonest I possibly could: and so,
Sir, I set off directly, and he told me to say that
he should write in a very little time; and he
hoped he said, that I would make haste, to prevent
your honor’s waiting for him.”

I had at this moment occasion to recollect,
how nearly Waverly was related to Geraldine;
to prevent my feeling some degree of anger and resent- C11v 46
resentment towards him.—I sent, however, his
poor harassed servant to my lodgings, where I
ordered him to refresh himself by eating and
sleeping; and then went to see about my passage
to France.

I afterwards sauntered into one of the libraries,
and took up a book; but my attention
was soon diverted, by a plump, sleek, short,
and, altogether, a most orthodox figure; whose
enormous white wig, deeply contrasted by his
peony-coloured face, and consequential air, declared
him to be a dignitary, very high, at least
in his own esteem.—On his entrance he was
very respectfully saluted by a thin little man in
black; whose snug well-powdered curls, humble
demeanor, and cringing address, made me
suppose him either a dependent on the plump
doctor, or one who thought he might benefit by
his influence—for he not only resigned the newspaper
he was reading, but bustled about to procure
others;—while his superior, noticing him
but little, settled himself in his seat, with a magisterial
air—put on his spectacles, and took
out his snuff-box; and having made these arrangements,
he began to look over the paper of
the day; but seeing it full of intelligence from
France, he laid it down, and, “As who should say I am Sir Oracle,”
he began an harangue, speaking slowly and
through his nose.

“’Tis an uneasy thing”, said he, “a very
uneasy thing, for a man of probity and principles
to look in these days into a newspaper.—
Greatly must every such man be troubled to
read of the proceedings that are going forward in C12r 47
in France.—Proceedings, which must awaken
the wrath of heaven; and bring down upon
that perfidious and irreverent people its utmost
indignation.”

The little man took the opportunity the solemn
close of this pompous oration gave him to
cry—“very true, Doctor, your observation is
perfectly just; things to be sure have just now
a very threatening appearance.”
“Sir,” resumed
the grave personage, “it is no appearance,
but a very shocking reality. They have
done the most unjust and wicked of all actions
in depriving the church of its revenues.—
’Twere as reasonable, Sir, for them to take my
birth-right or your’s.”

“I thought, Doctor,” said a plain looking
man, who had attended very earnestly to the
beginning of this dialogue—“I thought, that
the revenues and lands of the church, being the
property of the state, they might be directed by
it into any channel more conducive, on the opinion
of that state, to its general good; and
that it appearing to the National Assembly of
France
, that this their property was unequally
divided; and that their bishops lived like
princes, while their curates Curées-rectors had hardly the
means of living like men,—I imagined—”

“You imagined, Sir?—And give me leave
to ask what right you have to imagine?—or
what you know of the subject!—The church
lands and revenues the property of the state!—
No, Sir—I affirm that they are not—That they
are the property of the possessors, as much, Sir,
as your land and houses, if you happen to have
any, are your’s.”

“Not quite so, surely, my good Doctor,”
replied the gentleman mildly—“My houses and C12v 48
and lands—if, as you observe, I happen to
have any, were probably either acquired by
my own industry, or were my birth-right.—
Now Sir”
—He would have proceeded, but
the Divine, in an angry and supercilious
manner interrupted him—“Sir, I wont argue,
I wont commit myself, nor endeavour to
convince a person whose principles are, I see,
fundamentally wrong.—But no man of sense
will deny, that when the present body of French
clergy took upon them their holy functions—
that they then became, as it were, born again
—and—and—and by their vows—”

“But, my worthy Sir, those vows were
vows of poverty.—They were vows, by which,
far from acquiring temporal goods; the means
of worldly indulgencies, they expressly renounced
all terrestrial delights, and gave themselves
to a life of mortification and humility.—
Now, it is very certain, that many of them not
only possessed immense revenues, wrung from
the hard hands of the peasant and the artificer,
but actually expended those revenues.—Not in
relieving the indigent, or encouraging the industrious;
but in gratifications more worthy
the dissolute followers of the meretricious scarletclad
lady of Babylon, than the mortified disciples
of a simple and pure religion.”
Then, as
if disdaining to carry farther an argument in
which he had so evidently the advantage against
the proud petulance of his adversary, the gentleman
walked calmly away, while the Doctor,
swelling with rage, cried, “I don’t know who
that person is, but he is very ignorant, and very
ill-bred.”
“’Tis but little worth your while,
Doctor,”
cried the acquiescent young man, “to
enter into controversial discourse with persons so D1r 49
so unworthy of the knowledge and literature
which you ever throw into your conversation.”

“It is not, Sir,” answered the Doctor; “it
were indeed a woeful waste of the talent with
which it has pleased heaven to entrust me, to
contend with the atheistical pretenders to philosophy,
that obtrude themselves but too much
into society.—However, Sir, a little time will
shew that I am right, in asserting, that a nation
that pays no more regard to the sacred order,
can never prosper:—but, that such horrible sacrilegious
robbery, as that wretched anarchy,
for I cannot call it government, has been guilty
of, will draw down calamities upon the miserable
people; and that the evil spirit, which is let
loose among them, will prompt them to deluge
their country with blood, by destroying each
other.”

“So much the better, Doctor,” cried a fat,
bloated figure, in a brown riding wig, a red
waistcoat, and boots—so much the better—I
heartily, for my part, wish they may.”
This
philanthropic personage, who had till now been
talking with an old lady about the price of soals
and mackarel that morning at market, now
quitted his seat, and squatting himself down
near the two reverend gentlemen, proceeded
briskly in his discourse, as if perfectly conscious
of its weight and energy.—“Yes Doctor, I
vote for their cutting one anothers throats, and so
saving us the trouble—The sooner they set
about it, the better I shall be pleased, for, as for
my part, I detest a Frenchman, and always did.
—You must know, that last summer, I went
down to Brighton, for I always go every summer
to some of these kind of watering places.—
So, as I was observing, I went down to BrightonVol. I. D ton D1v 50
in the month of August, which is the best
part of the season, because of the wheat ears
being plenty; but, I dont know how it happened,
I had an ugly feel in my stomach: what was
the meaning of it I could not tell: but, I quite
lost my relish for my dinner, and so I thought it
proper to consult a physician or two on the case;
and they advised me to try if a little bit of a sail
would not set things to rights; and told me,
that very likely, if I went over the water, I
should find my appetite.—So, Sir, I determined
to go, for riding did me no good at all; and so
of course I was a little uneasy.—So, Sir, I even
went over the herring pond.—I was as sick as a
horse, to be sure, all night; but however, the
next morning, when we landed on French
ground, there was I tolerably chirruping, and
pretty well disposed for my breakfast.—Oh, ho!
thinks I, this will answer, I believe.—However,
I thought I would lay by for dinner, for the
Monsieur at the inn told us he could let us have
game and fish.—But lord, Sir, most of their
provisions are nothing to be compared to ours;
and what is good they ruin by their vile manner
of dressing it.—Why, Sir, we had for dinner
some soals—the finest I ever saw, but they were
fried in bad lard; and then, Sir, for the partridges,
there was neither game gravy, nor
poiverade, nor even bread sauce.—Faith, I had
enough of them and their cookery in one day;
so, Sir, the next morning I embarked again for
old England. However, upon the whole, the
thing itself answered well enough, for my appetite
was almost at a par, as I may say, when
I came home. But for your French, I never
desire to set eyes on any of them again—and
indeed, for my part, I am free to say, that if the whole D2r 51
whole race was extirpated, and we were in possession
of their country, as in justice it is certain
we ought to be, why, it would be so much the
better—We should make a better hand of it in
such a country as that a great deal.—I understand,
that one of the things these fellows have
done since they have got the notion of liberty
into their heads, has been, to let loose all the
taylors and tinkers and frisseurs in their country,
to destroy as much game as they please.
Now, Sir, what a pity it is, that a country
where there is so much, is not ours, and our
game-laws in force there.—And then their
wine; I can’t say I ever saw a vineyard, because,
as I observed, I did not go far enough up
the country: but, no doubt, we should manage
that matter much better; and, upon the whole,
considering that we always were their masters, my
opinion is, that it would be right and proper for
our ministry to take this opportunity of falling
upon them, while they are weakening each
other; and, if they will have liberty, give them
a little taste of the liberty of us Englishmen;
for, of themselves, they can have no right notion
of what it is—and, take my word for it, its
the meerest folly in the world for them to think
about it.—No, no; none but Englishmen, freeborn
Britons, either understand or deserve
it.”

Such was the volubility and vehemence with
which this speech was made, that the Doctor
could not find any opportunity to interrupt it.—
Whatever were his opinions of the politics of the
orator, he seemed heartily to coincide with him
in the notions he entertained on the important
science of eating. He therefore (though with
an air of restraint, and as if he would cautiously D2 guard D2v 52
guard his dignity from the too great familiarity
with which the other seemed to approach him)
entered into another dissertation on the French
revolution, anathematising all its projectors and
upholders, with a zeal which Ernulphus might
envy; and, in scarce less charitable terms,
branding them with the imputation of every
hideous vice he could collect, and ending a
very long oration with a pious and christian
denunciation of battle and murder, pestilence
and famine here, and eternal torments hereafter,
for all who imagined, aided, or commended
such an abomination.

The gentleman who had visited France for
the restoration of his appetite (and who had
formerly, as I learned afterwards, kept a tavern
in London, and was now retired upon a
fortune) seemed unable or unwilling to distinguish
declamation from argument, or prejudice
from reason—He appeared to be delighted by
the furious eloquence of the churchman, whom
he shook heartily by the hand.—“Doctor,”
cried he, “I am always rejoiced to meet with
gentlemen of your talents and capacity; you
are an honour to our establishment; what you
have said is quite convincing indeed; strong,
unanswerable argument: I heartily wish some
of my acquaintance, who pretend to be advocates
for French liberty, were to hear you—I
believe they’d soon be put to a non-plus—You’d
be quite too much for them, I’m sure. Pray,
Doctor, give me leave to ask, what stay do you
mean to make in this place? I shall be proud
to cultivate the honour of your acquaintance; if
you are here next week, will you do me the favour
to dine with me on Wednesday—I’ve a
chicken-turtle, which promises well—the first I’ve D3r 53
I’ve received this season, from what I call my
West-Indian farm; a little patch of property I
purchased, a few years since, in Jamaica.—As
to the dressing of turtles, I always see to that
myself, for I am extremely particular; though,
I must say, my negro fellow is a very excellent
hand at it—I have lent him more than once to
perform for some great people at t’other end of
the town.—If you’ll do me the pleasure, Doctor,
to take a dinner with me I shall be glad;
and, indeed, besides the favour of your company,
I would fain have the four or five friends that
I’ve invited for that day, to hear a little of your
opinion upon these said French matters.”

Though the Doctor had, till now, hesitated
and seemed to doubt whether he did not descend
too much from his elevated superiority,
in encouraging the forwardness of his new acquaintance;
this proposal, flattering at once
his pride and his appetite, was irresistible.—
He, therefore, relaxing from the air of arrogant
dignity he usually wore, accepted very graciously
of the invitation to assist in devouring the
chicken-turtle, and then these two worthy
champions of British faith and British liberty,
entered into conversation on matters, which,
seem as it should, were neither last nor least in
their esteem. This was an enquiry into the
good things for the table, that were to be found
in the neighbourhood; in praise of many of
which, they were extremely eloquent.—The
Doctor complained of the scarcity of venison,
but added, that he expected an excellent haunch
in a few days, from a nobleman, his friend and
patron; of which, Mr. Sidebottom (for such
was the name of this newly acquired friend)
was requested to partake.—This request was, of D3v 54
of course, readily assented to, and they, at length
left the shop together, having settled to ride to a
neighbouring farm-house, where Mr. Sidebottom
assured the Doctor, that he had discovered
some delicate fat ducks and pigeons, of peculiar
size and flavour.—“I even question,” said he,
“whether there will not be, in about a week’s
time, some nice turkey powts.—The good woman
is very clever about her poultry, and if she
has had tolerable luck since I saw her, they
must now be nearly fit for the dish.”
—In this
pleasing hope, the two gentlemen departed together;
I followed them at a little distance, and
saw them accosted by a thin, pale figure of a
woman, with one infant in her arms and another
following her; her dress was not that of a
beggar, yet it bespoke extreme indigence; I
fancied she was a foreigner, and my idea was
confirmed when I heard her speak; she stepped
slowly, and, as it seemed, irresolutely, towards
the two prosperous men, who were going in
search of fat ducks and early turkeys; and, in
imperfect English, began to relate, that she
was a widow, and in great distress. “A widow,”
cried Mr. Sidebottom, “why you
are a Frenchwoman; what have you to do
here? and why do you not go back to your
own country? This is the time there for beggars
—they have got the upper hand. Go, go,
mistress; get back to your own country.”

The poor woman answered, that she had travelled
towards Dover with her two children, in
hopes of getting a passage to France; but that
they having been ill on the road, her little stock
of money was exhausted; “and therefore,”
said she, “I was advised to come hither, Sir,
in hopes of procuring, by the generosity of the D4r 55
the company who frequent this place, wherewithal
to pay my passage to France; for unless
I can produce enough for that purpose, no commander
of a vessel will take me.”

“And let me tell you, they very properly
refuse,”
said Mr. Sidebottom, “you had no
business that I know of in England, but to take
the bread out of the mouth of our own people;
and now I suppose you are going to join the fish
women, and such like, who are pulling down
the king’s palaces.”
—The unhappy woman cast
a look of anguish on her children, and was
quietly relinquishing this hopeless application,
when the Doctor, more alive to the tender solicitations
of pity than Mr. Sidebottom, put his
hand into his pocket, and then in a nasal voice
and in a magisterial manner, thus spoke:—
“Woman! though I have no doubt but that
thou art a creature of an abandoned conduct,
and that these children are base born; yet, being
a stranger and a foreigner, I have so much
universal charity, that, unworthy as I believe
thee, I will not shut my heart against thy petition.
If thou art an impostor, and wickedly
imposest upon that charity, so much the worse
for thee; I do my duty in bestowing it, and the
wrong rests with thee! Here! Here is—sixpence!
which I give thee towards thy passage!
Go, therefore, depart in peace; and let me not
have occasion to reprove thee to-morrow for
lingering about the streets of this place: where,
as people of fortune and consideration come for
their health, they ought not to be disturbed and
disgusted by the sight of objects of misery. I
don’t love to see beggars in these places; their
importunity is injurious to the nerves.—Let me
hear of you no more—Our laws oblige us to provide
for no poor but our own.”

The D4v 56

The Doctor having thus fulfilled two great
duties of his profession, those of giving advice,
and giving alms, strutted away with the worthy
Mr. Sidebottom; who wisely considered that
the turnpike through which he must pass in his
tour after good dishes, would demand the small
money he had about him, he therefore forebore
to add to the bounty of the Doctor towards the
unfortunate petitioner, who, feeling some degree
of alarm from the remonstrance she imperfectly
understood, remained for a moment gazing
on the six-pence, which she yet held in her
hand. She then clasped the youngest of her
children to her breast, took the hand of the other
as he clung to her gown, and burst into tears.
In a moment, however, she dried her eyes, and,
leaning against the rails of the parade, she cast
a despairing look towards the gay groups who
were passing, yet seemed examining to which
of them she might apply with most hope of
success. At this moment I approached nearer
to her; but she did not see me till I spoke to her
in French, and inquired, how I could assist her.
The voice of kindness, in her own language,
was so soothing, and I fear so new, that she
was for some moments unable to answer me;
the simplicity of the narrative with which she
at length satisfied my inquiry, convinced me of
the truth of all she related.

She told me that her husband, the son of a
reputable tradesman at Amiens, had married
her, the daughter of a very inferior one, against
his father’s positive injunctions, who had thereupon
dismissed him from the business to which
he had been brought up, and left him to the
world. That thus destitute, with a wife, and
soon afterwards a child to support, he had acceptedcepted D5r 57
the offer of an English gentleman to accompany
him to England, “where he behaved
so well,”
continued she, “that his master, who
was a good man, became much his friend, and
hearing he had in France a wife and child, whom
he loved, he not only gave leave, but money to
have us fetched over. Some months after, Sir,
the gentleman married a very rich lady from the
city, who wished him to part with his French
servant; but though he prevailed upon her to
let him keep a person who had been very faithful
to him, the lady never liked him. In less
than a twelvemonth after his marriage, my husband’s
master was taken ill of a fever and died.
My husband sat up with him many nights, and
by the time his master was carried to the grave,
he fell ill himself of the same distemper; and
his lady being afraid of the infection, hurried
him out of the house to the lodging where I
and my children lived. There he lay dreadfully
ill for three weeks, during which time the lady
sent a physician to him once or twice, but afterwards
went into the country, and thought no
more about him; so that we had nothing to support
this cruel illness, but what my husband
had saved in his service; which, with a wife
and two children to keep out of his wages, to
be sure, could not be much. He got through
the fever, Sir, but it had so ruined his blood,
that he went almost immediately into a decline;
and it is now three weeks since he died, leaving
me quite destitute with these two children. I
applied for help, in this my utmost distress, to
the widow of his late master, in whose service
he certainly lost his life. After waiting a great
while for an answer, she sent a gentleman to me
with a guinea, which was, she said, all she D5 should D5v 58
should ever do for me; and she advised me to
get back to France. This, by the assistance of
the gentleman that brought me this money, who
touched with pity for my situation, raised for
me, among his friends, above a guinea more,
I attempted to do; but on the road my children
fell sick, and my money was all expended in
procuring them assistance: so that now I have
no means of reaching France, where, if I could
once get, I hope my parents, poor as they are,
would receive me, and that I should be able
some way or other to earn my bread and my
children’s.”

I hope it is unnecessary to say, that I immediately
set the widow’s heart at ease on this
score; and undertook to pay for her’s and her
children’s conveyance.

Yesterday evening then I embarked. The
wind was against us, and the sea ran extremely
high; but I was impatient to be gone; and
though the master doubted whether he could
cross to Dunkirk, I was impatient, and pressed
him to get under weigh, which he did, notwithstanding
the unpromising appearance of the weather.

I sat upon deck, looking towards the shore,
when I saw, though we were by this time at a
considerable distance from it, a group of people
who seemed to be making signals to the men in
the vessel. I bade the master observe them, and
he distinguished, by his glass, a boat attempting to
put off, in which he told me he imagined some
other passengers, who had arrived after we had
come on board, might be. He requested, therefore,
that I would give him leave to lay to and
wait for it, which I readily granted; and as the
waves were now extremely high, we continued, with D6r 59
with some apprehensions, to watch the boat,
which was a very small one, and which often entirely
disappeared.

At length by the great exertion of the fishermen
who were in it, the boat came along side,
and one of the men hailing the master, told him
he had brought a gentleman and his two servants,
who were but just arrived from London in great
haste, for a passage to France.

Three rueful figures did indeed appear in the
boat; and in the first of them that was helped
up the side of the vessel, I recognised Waverly!

Sick to death, wet to the skin, and I believe,
not a little frightened by the tossing of the boat,
he could not immediately answer the questions I
put to him. At length he told me, that the day
after he had sent off Anthony he altered his
mind, and set out post to overtake me before I
sailed. “But now,” said he, “I wish somehow
I had not come till next week; for setting off
in such a hurry, I have not brought my horses
and carriages as I intended; and have only that
portmanteau of cloaths with me.”
I was almost
tempted to tell him he had then better return
on shore, and wait for the accommodation he
thus regretted; but I thought of Geraldine,
and detesting myself for my petulence, began
to condole with, instead of blaming the halfdrowned
Waverly, whom I immediately advised
to change his cloaths and go to bed, for he suffered
extremely from the motion of the vessel,
and again wished himself on shore. On the
shore, however, to which, in less turbulent
weather, a little encouragement might have sent
him, he had now no inclination to venture, but
took my advice and retired to the cabin; from
whence Anthony came up in a few moments
with a letter in his hand, which he said his masterter D6v 60
had forgot to give me. I looked at the direction
—it was the writing, the elegant writing,
of Geraldine. I opened it with trembling hands,
and a palpitating heart. Heavens! does she
write to me? Dare I hope she remembers me?
—I have employed every moment since in reading
and in copying it, that you may see how
elegantly she writes, though I cannot part with
the original. With what delight I retrace every
word she has written; with what transport kiss
the spaces between the lines, where her fingers
have passed. But you have no notion of all this,
and will smile contemptuously at it, as boyish
and romantic folly.——My dear Bethel, why
should we call folly that which bestows such
happiness, since, after all our wisdom, our felicity
depends merely on the imagination? I feel
lighter and gayer since I have been in possession
of this dear letter, the first I ever received from
her! Waverly’s little foibles disappear before its
powerful influence. It acts like a talisman, and
hides his faults, half of which I am ready to
think virtues, since without his indecision I
should never have received it. Oh! with what
zeal will I endeavour to execute the charge my
angelic friend gives me to watch over the conduct
of her brother. He is really not a bad
young man; and I particularly rejoice at his
being here, as I have learned from him, this
morning, that the people with whom he went
from Bath into Lincolnshire are gamblers,
who have won a considerable sum of money of
him. From such adventures, I hope to save
him in future; and admitting it possible that his
unsettled temper may sometimes occasion me
some trouble, I shall remember that he is the
brother of my adorable Geraldine, and the task will D7r 61
will become a pleasure.—Farewell, my friend,
you know my address at Paris. I shall go on this
evening to Amiens, where I shall, perhaps, be
detained a day by the affairs of my poor protegée
and her children, who must be put into some way
of subsistence before I leave them.

I am, ever, my dear Bethel,

Faithfully your’s,

Lionel Desmond.

Let D7v 62

Letter VII.

I have now, my dear Bethel, been some
days in this capital, without having had time to
write to you; so deeply has the animating spectacle
of the 14th, and the conversation in which I
have been since engaged, occupied my attention.
—I can now, however, assure you—and
with the most heart-felt satisfaction, that nothing
is more unlike the real state of this country,
than the accounts which have been given of it
in England: and that the sanguinary and ferocious
democracy, the scenes of anarchy and
confusion, which we have had so pathetically
described and lamented, have no existence but
in the malignant fabrications of those who have
been paid for their misrepresentations.

That it has been an object with our government
to employ such men; men, whose business
it is to stifle truths, which though unable to
deny, they are unwilling to admit; is a proof,
that they believe the delusion of the people necessary
to their own views; and have recourse
to these miserable expedients, to impede a little
the progress of that light which they see rising
upon the world. You know I was always interested
in this revolution; (you sometimes
thought too warmly) and I own, that till I came hither, D8r 63
hither, I was not sufficiently master of the subject,
to be able to answer those doubts which
you often raised, as to the permanency of the
new system in France—But I think, that candid
and liberal as you are; and with such principles
of universal philanthropy as you possess,
I shall now have no difficulty in making you as
warmly anxious, as I am, for the success of a
cause which, in its consequence, involves the
freedom, and, of course, the happiness, not
merely of this great people, but of the universe.
I had letters of introduction to several gentlemen
here; among others, to the ci devant Marquis
de Montfleuri
—A man, in whom the fire
of that ardent imagination, so common among
his countrymen, is tempered by sound reason;
and a habit of reflection, very unusual at his
time of life, to a native of any country, but
particularly to one of this, where corruption
has long been a system, from the influenceinfluence of
which, it was hardly possible for young men of
property and title to escape.—Montfleuri, however,
though born a courtier, is one of the
steadiest friends to the people—and it is from
him that I have heard a detail of the progress of
this great event, on which, I believe you may
depend; and I will, in my two or three next
letters, relate it in his own words.

In the mean-time, my friend, I have infinite
pleasure in describing to you the real state of
Paris, and its neighbourhood—Where there is
not only an excellent police, but where the natural
gaiety of the people now appears without
any restraint, and yet, certainly, without any
disorder.—Where the utmost care is taken of
the lives of the commonalty, of whom a great
number perished yearly in Paris, by the furious
manner in which the carriages of the noblesse were D8v 64
were driven through the streets, where there are
no accommodations for the foot passenger—and
where the proud and unfeeling possessors of those
splendid equipages (the disappearance of which
has been so much lamented in England) have
been known to feel their rapid wheels crushing
a fellow creature, with emotions so far from
those of humanity, as to have said, “tant mieux,
il y à toujours assèz de ces gueux” “So much the better, there are always enough of those
shabby rascals.”
I know not whether, in the numerous anecdotes of this kind,
that have been collected, it has ever been related, that a very
few years since, a young Frenchman of fashion—one of “the
very first world,”
was driving through the streets of Paris, with
an Englishman, his acquaintance, in a cabriolet, in the rue St.
Honoré
, which is always extremely crowded, his horse threw
down a poor man, and the wheels going over his neck, killed
him on the spot.—The Englishman, with all the emotions of
terror, natural on such an incident, cried out—Good God, you
have killed the man!—The charioteer drove on; saying, with
all possible sang froid“Eh bien, tant pis pour lui”—Well
then, so much the worse for him.
Is it not natural
for a people, who have been thus treated,
to retaliate with even more ferocity than has
been imputed to them?—and can it appear surprizing,
that when the remark has been made,
that there are now fewer magnificent carriages
in the streets of Paris than there were formerly,
they have answered, “mais il y en a encore
trop.” “But there are still too many.”

One of the greatest complaints which the discontented
here have made—One, on which the
eloquent declaimers among us have the most
loudly insisted, is the levelling principle which
the revolutionists have pursued.—Certainly, it
is a great misfortune to the nobility to be deprived
of the invaluable privilege of believing themselves D9r 65
themselves of a superior species, and to be compelled
to learn that they are men.

I was assured, in London, that I should find
Paris a desert—How true such an assertion is,
let the public walks, and public spectacles witness;
places, where such numbers assemble, as
are hardly ever seen collected in London (unless
on very extraordinary occasions;) yet, where
even in the present hour, when the ferment of the
public mind cannot have subsided, there is no
disorder, no tumult, nor even that degree of
disturbance, which the most trifling popular
whim excites among us.

It is, however, at these places, the people
are to be seen, and not their oppressors.—And
if it is only these latter that constitutes an inhabited
country, Paris will remain, perhaps,
deserted, in the eyes of those who are described
by General Wallingford and Mrs. Fairfax—as
“people of fashion”les gens comme il faut
While the philosopher, the philanthropist, the
citizen of the world; whose comprehensive mind
takes a more sublime view of human nature than
he can obtain from the heights of Versailles or
St. James’s, rejoices at the spectacle which
every where presents itself of newly-diffused
happiness, and hails his fellow man, disencumbered
of those paltry distinctions that debased
and disguised him.

Such a man—with heart-felt satisfaction repeats
that energetic, and in regard to this
country, prophetic sentence of our immortal
poet.

“Methinks I see in my mind a noble and
puissant nation, rousing herself like the strong
man after sleep; and shaking her invincible
locks.—Methinks I see her, an eagle mewing her D9v 66
her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled
eyes at the full mid-day beam; purging and unscaling
her long abused sight at the fountain itself
of heavenly radiance, while the whole flock of
timorous and noisy birds, with those that love
the twilight, flutter about, amazed at what she
means, and in their envious gabble, would
prognosticate a year of sects and schisms.—” Milton on the liberty of unlicensed printing.

After this, my friend, I will now add a word of
my own.—My next letter will give you some of
the conversation of Montfleuri. When shall I
hear from you.—And when will you indulge me
with some account of your neighbours.—Pray
forget not what, even in this scene, is still nearest
the heart

Of your’s,

L. Desmond.

Let- D10r 67

Letter VIII.

To Mr. Bethel

Montfleuri, with whom I have
passed many pleasant and instructive hours since
I have been here, has desired me to go with him
to his estate on the banks of the Loire, about
fifteen miles from Lyons, where business will
soon call him. From thence, he proposes taking
me to the chateau of his uncle, the ci-devant
Count d’Hauteville in Auvergne, where I am
to witness the pangs of aristocracy, reluctantly
and proudly yielding to a necessity which it execrates;
and my friend, afterwards, accompanies
me to Marseilles, where, I believe, I shall
embark for Italy, or, perhaps, for the Archipelago
—I know not which—It depends on I
know not what. (There is a sentence a little
in the Waverly style)—I was, however, going
to say, that it depends on the state of my mind,
whether my absence from England shall be
longer or shorter:—If I could return to see Geraldine D10v 68
Geraldine happy, and not to regret that she is
happy with Verney.—If I could feel, when I
behold her, all that disinterested affection, which
the purity of her character ought to inspire,
without forming wishes and hopes that serve only
to torment me, I would return through Italy in
a few months to England. You tell me absence
will effect all this, and restore me to reason.—
I rather hope it than believe it; and even,
amidst this interesting scene, I catch myself continually
carrying my thoughts to England; and
imagining where Geraldine is—and enquiring
whether she has not new sources of uneasiness
in the encreasing dissipation of her husband.

What attractions for me has her very name.—
It is with difficulty I recall my pen, and my
wandering spirits, to endeavour to recollect,
whether I told you how much disturbed poor
Waverly was at the French post-horses and carriages,
with which we travelled from Dunkirk;
and how often he cursed his improvident haste,
which had made him set out without his own
horses and carriages.—At Abbeville, he seemed
strongly disposed to have sent Anthony back to
have fetched them; and, at Amiens, still more
inclined to return and bring them himself; nor
had he quite settled the debate when I came
back from an absence, that was occasioned by
the settlement of my poor protegée and her children,
which I managed with less difficulty than
I expected.—All this trifling I could bear from
Waverly, and forgive it as boyish folly.—
But it provokes my spleen to see a fellow have
no more idea of the importance of the present
period in France—If ever he can be brought to
think about it at all, it is only to raise a debate,
whether he should have resigned his title calmly, had D11r 69
had he been a French nobleman?—which usually
terminates in the wise declaration, that he should
have thought it a little hard.

Now will you pique yourself upon your sagacity
in foreseeing that I should be sometimes
peevish at the foibles of my fellow-traveller; it
is, however, merely a transitory displeasure, and
one thought of Geraldine dissipates it at once.—
Since we have been at Paris, there is so much
to engage him, that he has been very little with
me; and here are several Englishmen of his
acquaintance, who have taken the trouble of
deciding for him, off my hands; all my care
being to help to keep him, as much as possible,
from the gaming houses, in obedience to his
sister’s wishes, which are my laws.

While he saunters away his time in a morning
in the Palais Royal, and in the evening at the
theatres, and in suppers with the actresses I
am deeply, and more deeply interested by the
politics of the country.—Montfleuri passes
much of his time with me; and, therefore, I
will give you a sketch of his character and his
history.

He is now about five-and-thirty, a fine manly
figure, with a countenance ingenuous and commanding.
—He has been a fop, and still retains
a something of it in his dress and manner, but
it is very little visible, and not at all disgusting;
perhaps, less so than that negligence which
many of his countrymen have lately affected, as
if determined, in trifles, as well as in matters
of more consequence, to change characters
with us. The father of Montfleuri died
in America, and as an only son, he was the
darling of his mother; who, being anxious
that her daughters, of whom she had four, might not D11v 70
not be an incumbrance on an estate which his
father had left a good deal embarrassed, compelled
the second and youngest of them to become
nuns; and married the eldest and the third, who
were remarkably beautiful, to the first men who
offered—Montfleuri had no sooner the power by
the new regulations, than he took his youngest
sister, who is not yet eighteen, from the convent,
where she was on the point of taking the
vows; and, to the second, who has taken them,
he offers an establishment in his own house, if
she will leave her monastery, which is near his
estate in the Lyonois.—To conquer her scruples
and to prevail upon her to return to his house,
is part of his immediate business in that country
—His mother, whose mistaken zeal he reveres,
and for whose fondness, however unjust,
he is grateful, has been dead a few months, and
left him at liberty to follow the generous dictates
of his heart.

It is not so easy for him to break the cruel
bonds which that fatal partiality put on his other
sister; I mean the third, for the eldest is a widow.
—This third sister, who is called Madame
de Boisbelle
, I have seen; and, in finding her
a very lovely and interesting woman, have, with
extreme concern, heard that her husband is one
of the most worthless characters in France;
where, however, he is not at present, being a
fier aristocrate, and having quitted his country
rather than behold it free.

Madame de Boisbelle, is now, therefore, at
the hotel of her brother, with Mademoiselle
Montfleuri
, his younger sister; and they are to go
with us to Montfleuri in a few days.

I was yesterday with Montfleuri at a visit
he made to a family of fashion, where, in the evening,ing, D12r 71
people of all parties assemble; and where
the lady of the house piques herself upon being
a bel esprit, and giving to her guests the utmost
freedom of conversation. When we went in,
a young abbé, who seemed to have an excellent
opinion of his own abilities, was descanting on
the injustice of what had been done in regard
to the clergy.—The sneering tone in which
he described the National Assembly, by the
name of “ces Messieurs qui ont pris la peine
de nous reformer,” Those gentlemen who have taken the trouble to reform us.
and the turn of his discourse,
made it evident, that under a constrained
or, at least, an affected moderation and candour,
he concealed principles the most inimical and
malignant to the revolution.—His discourse was
to this effect.

“In every civilized country, there is no
doubt of the supremacy of the church; more
especially in this, where, ever since the baptism
of Clovis, it has made one of the great principles
of the state.—All eccelesiastical property,
therefore, ought undoubtedly to be sacred;
and, to invade it, is to commit sacrilege.
I will not go into scriptural proofs of this axiom,
I will only speak of the immorality and injustice
of those measures which have been taken against
it. It is well known, that much of the revenues
of the church arise from gifts; from legacies
given by Clovis and his pious successors;
or, by other high and illustrious persons, to
raise houses of piety, where the recluse and
religious might pray for the repose of the souls
of these eminent persons.—To fulfil these purposes,
a certain number of men, renouncing
the honours and emoluments of the world, have given D12v 72
given their lives to this holy occupation; and
is it not just they should enjoy the lot they have
thus chosen in peace? Is it not just that, if they
have resigned the pleasures of this world, they
should be allowed its necessaries, while they are
smoothing the passage to, or securing the happiness
of the other, for those, who trust to their
sanctity and their prayers?—Besides, permit me
to remark, that many of the monastic estates
have been waste lands, which have been cultivated
and reclaimed by their former possessors;
that, among the various societies of religious
men, many have well earned their support, by
undertaking the education of youth, while others
have been employed in the charitable office of
redeeming slaves from captivity.—Perhaps there
might be some little disproportion between the
emoluments possessed by the superior and inferior
clergy; but it was always possible for these latter
to rise by their zeal and good conduct; and,
I must be permitted to think, that messieurs nos
reformateurs
, have not enough considered what
they were doing; when instead of rectifying,
with a tender hand, any little errors in the ecclesiastical
order, they have destroyed it; instead
of pruning the tree, they have torn it up forcibly
by the roots.—If the nation was distressed
in its revenues, by—by—by I know not what
cause, the clergy offered four hundred millions
of livres Making upwards of sixteen and an half millions sterling. towards its assistance—a generous and
noble offer, which ought to have been accepted.”
—The abbé ceased speaking with the air of
a man, who thought he had not only produced
arguments, but such as it would be impossible to E1r 73
to controvert.—Montfleuri, however, who
seemed of another opinion, thus answered him.

“You have asserted, Sir, that in all civilized
countries, the church forms a supreme
branch of the legislature.—This is surely not the
fact: I will not, however, enter into a discussion
of how far it is so in other countries, or
how far it ought to be so in any, but reply to the
arguments which you have deduced from its
power in our own.—You must allow me to remark,
that the antiquity of an abuse is no reason
for its continuance—And if the enormous
wealth of the clergy be one, it ought not to be
perpetuated, unless better reasons can be brought
in its favour, than that it commenced at the conversion
and baptism of Clovis; who, guilty of
horrible enormities, and stained with blood, was
taught to hope, that, by erecting churches, and
endowing monasteries, the pardon of heaven
might be obtained for his crimes: and, in doing
so, he certainly did not make a bad bargain for
himself; for it cost him only that of which he
robbed his subjects. It was with their toil and
misery he thus purchased the absolution which
the monks gave him for murder and oppression
—It was their tears, and their blood, that cemented
the edifices he raised . Some sentences here are drawn from a little French pamphlet,
entitled Lettre aux Aristo-theocrate Français.
I believe the same may be said of the foundations
made by those monarchs, whom you call
his pious successors. The weak bigot Louis
the Seventh
—the ferocious sanguinary monster
Louis the Eleventh, are, I suppose, among the
most emininent of the list.—Of what efficacy
those prayers might be, that were thus obtained, Vol. I E I shall E1v 74
I shall say nothing, since that is matter of opinion.
—It is plain, however, that the nation
does not now believe them useful to its welfare,
and therefore, with great propriety, turns into
another channel, that wealth, which it no longer
deems beneficial in this. I think you will not
deny that the most useful of the clergy are the
curés, who live on their cures; whose time
should be given up to the really christian and
pious purposes of instructing the poor, visiting
the sick, and relieving the temporal necessities
of their parishioners, by such means as they
possess; though it too often happened that they
had hardly wherewithal to supply themselves
with the necessaries their humble manner of life
required.—An error, in the distribution of money
appropriated to the church, which in the
present system, will, I apprehend, be remedied.
I cannot agree with you, that the tree is torn
up by the roots: I should rather say, that its
too luxuriant branches, which prevented the
production of wholesome fruit, are reformed;
and the whole reduced nearer to the proportion,
which may secure it from being destroyed by
the storms that pass by, through the disproportion
of its head.—You have, Sir, declined entering
into those scriptural proofs of their sacred
nature, which you intimated were to be brought
in support of the ancient establishments; a fortunate
circumstance for me, as on that ground
I must have felt my inferiority.—But, from what
I know of the subject, I have always supposed,
that whatever spiritual resemblance there might
be between the primitive fathers of the church
and their present successors, there was certainly
very little in their temporal conditions. It does
not appear ever to have been the expectation of the E2r 75
the saints and martyrs, that those who followed
them in their holy calling, should become temporal
princes, or possess such immense revenues
as the higher clergy enjoyed in this country, of
whom, you know, Sir, that there were some
whose yearly incomes amounted to eighty, an
hundred, two, three, four hundred thousand
livres a year.
As to that rank of them who lived in convents,
I will not enquire whether piety or idleness
decided their vocation—I will believe that
it may, in numerous instances, have been the
former motive—and that in others, the unhappy,
or the guilty, might seek, in these retreats, shelter
from the miseries of life, or leisure to make
their peace with heaven.—But men, carried into
religious retirements by such motives, would
probably be content with mere necessaries of
life, which are not taken from them; it is not
therefore these men who complain.—To the
monks, I am disposed to allow all you can urge
in their favour, as to thee ducationthe education of youth, and
the redemption of prisoners, though these merits,
and particularly the latter, have been much
disputed (probably from the misrepresentation that
have been made of the manner of executing these
charges)—I will go farther, and enumerate one
obligation the world owes them, which you have
over-looked, or do not think it of consequence
enough to mention.—I mean, that to them we
are indebted for the preservation of those precious
relicts of antiquity, which, but for the
security which superstition enabled them to give,
would have perished in the ferocious turbulence
of the dark ages. But, Sir, with all the disposition
imaginable, to allow the monastic institution
all the honour they can assume, I still E2 cannot E2v 76
cannot be of opinion that the good works they
have given birth to, even in their utmost extent,
balance the various evils which these communities
occasion to the nation that supports
them. As to the mendicant orders, surely the
suppression of them cannot be complained of.—
The vow of poverty taken by capucins, recollets,
&c. &c. may now be executed in humble privacy,
for which the state will provide during
the lives of those have taken these vows, and
they will no longer be in a degraded condition
of life, which must be a continual tax to the
pious, while it gave to the light-minded a subject
of ridicule, and to the indifferent, of disgust.
I need hardly insist on the miseries to
which monastic vows, made at a time of life
when no civil contract would be binding, have
condemned individuals of both sexes.—Wretches,
who having thus thrown themselves, yet
living, into the tomb, have afterwards existed
only to curse their being.—I will not retouch
the disgusting pictures that have been so frequently
exhibited, of the wretchedness, or the
vices that have prophaned these dark recesses,
built for far other purposes; nor enlarge upon
the deluges of blood, the variety of tortures by
which the monks have established their power
over the ignorance and apprehensions of mankind.
—What then should prevent a nation from
re-assuming grants; which, admitting they were
originally given to good purposes, have long
since been perverted? Certainly, Sir, you cannot
assert, that le haut clergé, the higher rank of
ecclesiastics in our day, whose declined authority
and lessened revenues you regret, resemble, in
any instance, those apostles who professed poverty
and humility, and went about doing good? E3r 77
good?—Though I am, on the other hand, ready
to admit of their resemblance to their more immediate,
though still remote predecessors, the
bishops who lived as long ago as the reign of
Louis le Debonnair. One of our historians Millot.
speaks of them as being, at that period, ‘men
who were, for the most part, become great lords,
possessing vast domains and many vassals; and,
while they governed the minds of the people,
entirely devoted to a court.—Men, whose ample
revenues enabled them to gratify every
worldly inclination, and to enjoy luxuries
which soon made them lose sight of their spiritual
duties, and neglect their original vocation.’
—”

A young man, whom I had not till now noticed,
took advantage of a pause to interrupt
Montfleuri.―“Well,” said he, in English,
“and what then? it proves that those worthies
knew how to live; and, I am sorry with all my
soul, that their successors, the old bucks of our
own times, are thrown out as they are.—When
I was at Paris last, I was always sure of a couvert
at the table of an archbishop, and an excellent
table it was; then, at that time, there were
many of the haut clergé who gave comfortable,
and even elegant establishments to two or three
pretty women, to whose parties one was always
welcome.—Now there is an end of all that—
the poor bishops are gone upon their travels, and
their chere amies upon the town; which, in regard
to its society, I am sure is very far from
being improved; for, instead of the agreeable sort E3v 78
sort of people one used to converse with, one
now only meets queer fellows; who bore one to
death with long preachments about their freedom,
their constitution, and the rights of the
people; and, after all, I don’t see that any of
these things are much changed for the better.—
As to people, that is, the canaille, of whose happiness
there is so much talk, I don’t think, myself,
that they are so much happier than they
were before; indeed, I have heard it affirmed
by those who are much more interested in the
matter, and more acquainted with it than I am,
that they are not at all happier since this boasted
revolution, nor at all better off.”

Montfleuri, who had, I saw, conceived a
very mean opinion of this individual, of a nation
he loves and esteems, answered very calmly
“The objection you have made, Sir, to the
reduction of the higher clergy; the evils you have
deduced from it are certainly most convincing.
—In regard, however, to the opinions which
have, you say, been delivered by good judges of
the subject on the happiness of the people; perhaps,
the best way of ascertaining the justice of
those remarks, would be to refer you to the people
themselves, as being alone competent to decide.

Enquire of them, whether they are not
better for being relieved from the taille, from
the gabelle, from the imposts levied at the gates
of every town, on every necessary of life; for
the relief they have obtained from those burthens
that were imposed upon them, because
they were poor; while their illustrious compatriotstriots E4r 79
were exempt, because they were noble. “Ce gouvernement serait digne des Hottentots,” says Voltaire,
“dans lequel il seroit permis à un certain nombre d’hommes
de dire, c’est à ceux qui travaillent à payer—Nous ne devons
rien payer, parceque nous sommes oisifs.”

Ask the aged peasant, who is no longer able to
labour for his own subsistence; ask the mother of
a group of helpless children, if they are not the
happier for being assured, that the son, the husband,
on whom their existence depends, cannot
now be torn from the paternal cottage; and, to
execute some ambitious scheme of a weak king
or a wicked minister, be enrolled against their
inclination in a mercenary army?—Let the soldier,
who is now armed for the defence of his
country, a country sensible of the value of the
blood he is ready to shed for its freedom, tell
you whether he is not happier for the consciousness
that he cannot be compelled to carry devastation
into another land as a slave, but shall
hereafter guard his own as a freeman; ask the
husbandman, whose labours were coldly and
reluctantly performed before, when the fermiers-
general
, and the intendants of the provinces,
devoured two-thirds of their labour, if they do
not proceed more willingly and more prosperously
to cultivate a soil from whence those locusts
are driven by the breadth of liberty? Enquire
of the citizen, the mechanic, if he reposes
not more quietly in his house from the certainty
that it is not now liable to be entered by the
marechaussées, and that it is no longer possible
for him to be forcibly taken out of it by a lettre
de cachet
, in the power of a minister, or his secretary,
his secretary’s clerk, or his mistress?
Let the voice of common sense answer, whether
the whole nation has gained nothing in its dignity,nity, E4v 80
by obtaining the right of trial by jury, by
the reform in the courts of judicature; where,
it is well known, that formerly, every thing
was given to money or to favour, and to equity
and justice, nothing?—As to the prejudice that
all these alterations have been to the manners of
society, to that, indeed, I have nothing to say.
I must lament that, in shaking off the yoke, we
have been so long reproached for wearing, we
have not taken care to preserve, unfaded, all
those elegant flowers with which it was decorated.
The complaint, perhaps, is well founded,
for I have heard it before; and, particularly
from the ladies of your country, Sir; to whom,
I am afraid, the name of a Frenchman will
hereafter give no other idea than that of a savage;
a misfortune which, as I greatly admire
the English ladies, nobody can more truly regret
than I shall.—But I shall tire you, Sir, by thus
dwelling on a subject which you have just observed
is very ennuyant; and, therefore, will leave you
to Monsieur l’Abbé de Bremont, whose ideas,
on public matters, seem more happily to meet
your own.”

Montfleuri then walked away, and, with me,
joined the party of the lady of the house, who
was at play in another room.—The conversation,
round the table, took another turn, and we
soon afterwards went away; and, as the evening
was warm, strolled into the Luxembourg Gardens,
where my friend continued, as I will relate
in a future letter, to speak on the predisposing
causes of the revolution—and on its effects.

I am so late now, as to the post, that I have
only time to entreat you to write to me immediately,
that I may receive your letter before I leave E5r 81
leave Paris, which will be within these fifteen
days.—The ten last have passed without
my receiving a single line from you.—Adieu!
dear Bethel,

Your’s truly,

Lionel Desmond.

E5 Let- E5v 82

Letter IX.

To Mr. Bethel.

It is very uneasy to me, my dear Bethel, to
be so long without hearing from you.—I am
willing to believe, that you are absent from
Hartfield, and wandering with my little friends,
Harry and Louisa, on one of your usual summer
tours; and that, therefore, you have not
received my letters, and know not whither to
direct.—I would, indeed, rather believe any
thing than that you have forgotten me, unless
it be, that illness has prevented your writing.
Waverly has had only two letters from his
youngest sister since he left England; and they
hardly mention the Verney family, as Fanny
Waverly
is with her mother at Bath, where
they usually reside.

Were my heart less deeply interested for my
friends in England, I should be quite absorbed
in French politics; and, could those friends be
even for a little while supplied by foreign connections,nections, E6r 83
the family of Montfleuri would be
that where I should chuse to seek them.—But
the tender interest I feel for some individuals in
England, no time, no change of scene can weaken;
my heart

“Still to my country turns with ceaseless pain, And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.” Goldsmith.

I will not indulge this train of thought; it
will be better to continue to relate the conversation
I had with Montfleuri in the latter part of
that evening, of which I described the beginning
in my last letter.

As we walked together towards the Luxembourg
Gardens
, he asked me if I knew the
young Englishman, whose argument, in defence
of the enormous revenues of the bishops, was
so very convincing. “Not even by name,”
answered I; “and so far I am from wishing to
enquire, that I would I could forget having
heard such frivolous folly in my native language.”
Montfleuri smiled at the warmth with
which I spoke. “I can forgive,” said he,
“the short view of an unexperienced boy just
come from his college, or the trifling inconsequence
of a mere petit maitre, who knowing
nothing beyond what the saunterers in a coffeehouse,
or the matrons of a card-table have taught
him to repeat by rote; talks merely as a child
recites his lesson, without being capable of affixing
one idea to the sentences he utters.—Such
people are perfectly harmless, or rather bring
into ridicule the cause they attempt to defend;
but, when I meet, as too often I have done, English- E6v 84
Englishmen of mature judgment and solid abilities,
so lost to all right principles as to depreciate,
misrepresent, and condemn those exertions
by which we have obtained that liberty they
affect so sedulously to defend for themselves;
when they declaim in favour of an hierarchy so
subversive of all true freedom, either of thought
or action, and so inimical to the welfare of the
people, and pretend to blame us for throwing
off those yokes, which would be intolerable to
themselves, and which they have been accustomed
to ridicule us for enduring: I ever hear
them with a mixture of contempt and indignation,
and reflect with concern on the power of
national prejudice and national jealousy, to
darken and pervert the understanding.

All, however, that I have ever heard from
such men, has served only to prove to me, either
that they fear for their own nation the too great
political consequence of ours, when our constitution
shall be established; or know and dread,
that the light of reason thus rapidly advancing,
which has shewn us how to overturn the massy
and cumbrous edifice of despotism, will make,
too evident, the faults of their own system of
government, which it is their particular interest
to skreen from research and reformation.—But
how feeble are all the endeavours of this political
jealousy on one hand, and the yet obstinate
prejudices of papal superstition on the other, to
obscure this light in its irresistible and certain
progress; more rapid and more brilliant from
the vain attempt to intercept and impede it.—
‘Ne sentez vous pas,’ says Voltaire very justly
‘—Ne sentez vous pas, que ce qui est juste, clair,
évident, est naturellement respecté de tout le monde, & que E7r 85
& que des chimeres ne peuvent pas tojours s’attirer
la même vénération?’ “Are you not sensible, that what is just, clear, and evident,
must be naturally attended to—And that chimeras cannot always
be held in veneration?”

The sudden change that has taken place in
this country, from the most indolent submission
to a despotic government, to the adoption of
principles of more enlarged liberty than your
nation has ever avowed, appeared so astonishing,
and so unaccountable, to those who beheld
the event at a distance, that they believed it
could not be permanent. Our national character,
a character given us by sar, and which
we are said still to retain—That vehement,
fierce, and almost irresistible, in the beginning
of an action, we are soon repulsed and dismayed
—Encouraged the persuasion, that the revolution
would prove only a violent popular commotion;
and that when our first ardour was
abated, the spirit of our ancient government,
taking advantage of this well-known disposition
of the French people, would gradually resume
its influence; and perhaps, by a few concessions
of little consequence, induce us to submit again
to that system, which a momentary frenzy had
suspended. But I, who, though as dissipated
as most men, was neither an unobserving or
disinterested spectator of what was passing, have
for some years seen, that our government was
approaching rapidly to its dissolution, and, that
many causes unknown, and unsuspected, were
silently uniting to accelerate its ruin.

The advocates for despotism consider the
reigns of Henry the Fourth, and Louis the
Fourteenth
, as evidences in favor of their system;tem; E7v 86
but allowing, that the former was an excellent
man, and worthy to be entrusted with
the power of governing a great people (which
can hardly be allowed to Louis the Fourteenth),
what a black and hideous list of regal monsters
may be brought to contrast the most favourable
pictures that can be drawn of these monarchs.
The various murders and assassinations which
stain the annals of the last princes of the House
of Valois; and, above all, the massacre of St.
Bartholomew
, reflect disgrace on a nation,
which, even at that dark period, could tolerate
and obey such forociousferocious tyrants, and still more,
on the sanguinary superstition which gave them
a pretence to commit these enormities. The
same bigotry, however, delivered his insulted
country from the last of this odious race; Henry the Third. but
it opposed, in his successor, a man who seemed
born for the political salvation of his people,
and who became afterwards the best king that
France ever boasted.—Brought up like the
mountaineers, over whom only it was once
likely he should reign, his heart had never been
hardened, nor his frame enervated by the flatteries
or luxuries of a court.—He had not been
taught, that to be born a king is to be born
something more than man.

The admirable dispositions he had received
from nature, were so much improved in the
rigid school of adversity, in which so many
years of his life were passed, that his character
was fixed, and prosperity and power could not
destroy those sentiments of humanity and goodness
which made him, throughout his whole
reign (even amidst the too liberal indulgence of some E8r 87
some weaknesses and errors) consider the happiness
of his people as the first object of his government.
But his life was embittered, and his
endeavours for the good of his subjects continually
opposed, by the restless suspicion, and
encroaching ambition of the priests of that religion,
to which, to save the effusion of his people’s
blood, he was a reluctant, and perhaps,
not a very sincere convert. Till at length the
same execrable fanaticism raised against him the
murderous hand of Ravaillac, and with him
perished the hopes of France; a nation that,
had he lived, would probably have possessed
prosperity and happiness, with a considerable
portion of political liberty.

The treasure that the wise œconomy of the
Duc de Sully had amassed for him, to carry on
his projects, which would have secured a long
and universal peace, were instantly, on his death,
dissipated among the hungry and selfish nobility
that surrounded his widow. Mary of Medicis.

The early part of the reign of the weak
and peevish bigot his son, Louis the Thirteenth,
was marked by a faint attempt to restore something
like a voice to the people, by a convocation
of les etats généreaux. The last assembly of that description that was called in
France.

But this was rather an effort of the nobility
against the hated power of the Italian favourites,
the Conchinis, than meant to restore to
the people any part of their lost rights.

The whole of this reign was rendered odious
by the continual wars on the subject of religion, which E8v 88
which deluged the country with blood; by the
factions, which existed even in the family of the
prince upon the throne; where the mother was
armed against her son, the son against his mother;
and the brothers against each other.—All
practising, in turn, every artifice that perfidy
and malignity could imagine; and sacrificing
every thing to their own worthless views.—
When to these ruinous circumstances was added
an ambitious aristocracy, ready on every occasion
to take advantage of the weakness of the
monarch, and the discord in his councils, it is
easily seen that nothing but the resolute courage,
and strong talents of Richelieu could have prevented
the total destruction of France as a monarchy;
it would, but for him, have been broken
into small republics, and small principalities;
the first would have been possessed by the
Huguenots, and the latter by the principal nobility;
who, whenever they opposed the court,
and flew into rebellion, revolted not against measures,
but men.—It was the favourites of Louis
the Thirteenth
that provoked them, and not the
encreasing oppression of the people.—The unhappy
and plundered people, who equally the
victims of the monarch, the nobles, and the
priests, were pillaged and destroyed by them all.

But the thick cloud of ignorance which covered
Europe, was yet but slowly and partially
rolling away: it was during this period that
Galileo was imprisoned in Italy “There I visited,” says Milton, “the celebrated Galileo,
then poor and old, and a long time a prisoner in the dungeon
of the Inquisition, for daring to think otherwise in astronomy
than his Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought.”
for his discoveries
in astronomy; and that the Descartes
was accused of impiety and atheism.

“The E9r 89

The reign of Louis the Fourteenth was
more propitious to knowledge.—His encouragement
of science and literature has, in the immortality
it has conferred upon him, led many
writers to forget the ostentatious despot, in the
munificent patron.—Fascinated by his manners,
dazzled by the magnificence of his public works,
and elated by his victories, his people felt for
him the most enthusiastic attachment, and loved
even his vices; vices which the servile crowd
of nobles around him, found it their interest to
imitate and applaud; while the priests also made
their advantage of these errors, obtaining by
them the means of dictating to a man who was
at once a libertine and a devoté.—The revocation
of the edict of Nantz; the cruel and absurd
persecution of the Protestants, were among
the follies that they led him to commit; and
depopulated and impoverished his country,
which, at his death, soon after the close of an
unsuccessful war, was in a state of almost total
bankruptcy; yet, so bigotted were we then to
the system of passive obedience, so attached to
unlimited monarchy, that throughout the long
reign of his great-grandson, Louis the Fifteenth. the murmurs of
the people were feeble and disregarded; though
their burthens were intolerable, though they
were imposed by a prince who, without any of
the virtues of his predecessor, had more than his
vices; and, though the sums thus extorted from
the hard hands of patient industry, were either
expended in disgraceful and ill-managed wars,
or lavished in the debaucheries of the most profligate
court See la Vie privée de Louis XV. that modern Europe has beheld. From E9v 90
From the infamous means that to support all
this, were then practised to raise money; from
the heavy imposts that were then laid on the
country, France has never recovered; but perhaps,
in the discontents which these oppressions
created, silent and unmarked as they were, the
foundation was laid for the universal spirit of
revolt, to which she is now indebted for her
freedom.

In the mean-time, the progress of letters,
which Louis the Fourteenth had encouraged,
was insensibly dispelling that ignorance that
alone could secure this blind obedience.—The
president, Montesquieu had done as much as a
writer, under a despot, dared to do, towards developing
the spirit of the laws, and the true principles
of government; and, though the multitude
heeded not, or understood not his abstract
reasoning, he taught those to think, who gradually
disseminated his opinions. Voltaire attacked
despotism in all its holds, with the powers
of resistless wit.—Rousseau with matchless eloquence:
—and, as these were authors who, to
the force of reason, added the charms of fancy,
they were universally read, and their sentiments
were adopted by all classes of men.

The political maxims and œconomical
systems of Turgot, and the application of these
principles by Mirabeau, excited a spirit of enquiry,
the result of which could not fail of being
favourable to the liberties of mankind; and
such was the disposition of the people of France,
when the ambitious policy of our ministry sent
our soldiers into America to support the English
colonists in their resistance to the parent
state.”

I here E10r 91

I here interrupted my friend, by remarking,
that so deep is the resentment which the English
still entertain against his nation for this interference,
that I had heard many rejoicing over
the most unpromising picture they could draw
of the present state of France; and, when they
have imagined the country deluged with blood,
and perishing by famine, have said—“Oh! the
French deserve it all for what they did against
us in America.”

“And yet, my dear Sir,” answered Montfleuri,
“these good countrymen of your’s are
a little inconsiderate and inconsistent: inconsiderate
in not reflecting, that the interference
which seems so unpardonable, was the act of the
cabinet, not of the people, who had no choice,
but went to be shot at for the liberties of America,
without having any liberty of their own;
and, inconsistent inasmuch, as they now exclaim
against the resolution we have made to deprive
our monarchs of the power of making
war; a power which they thus complain has
been so unwarrantably exerted—These are some
of the many absurdities into which a resolution
to defend a pernicious system, betrays its ablest
advocates. However, our court has found its
punishment; blinded by that restless desire of
conquest, and their jealousy of the English,
which has ever marked its politics, our government
did not reflect that they were thus tacitly
encouraging a spirit subversive of all their
views; nor foresee, that the men who were sent
out to assist in the preservation of American
freedom, would soon learn that they were degraded
by being themselves slaves; and would
return to their native country to feel and to assert
their right to be themselves free.

“I was E10v 92

I was then a very young man; but my
father, who was a colonel in the regiment of
Nassau, and who died in America, took me
with him in despite of the tears and entreaties
of my mother—I saw there such scenes as have
left an indelible impression on my mind, and
an utter abhorrence for all who, to gratify their
own wild ambition, or from even worse motives,
can deliberately animate the human race
to become butchers of each other.—Above all,
it has given me a detestation of civil war, for
the fiercest animosity with which the French
and English armies have met in the field, was
mildness and friendship in comparison of the
ferocity felt by the English and Americans,
men speaking the same language, and originally
of the same country, in their encounters with
each other. I saw, amidst the almost undisciplined
Americans, many instances of that enthusiastic
courage which animates men who
contend for all that is dear to them, against the
iron hand of injustice; and, I saw these exertions
made too often vain, against the disciplined
mercenaries of despotism; who, in learning
to call them rebels, seemed too often to
have forgotten that they were men. How little
did I then imagine, that a country which seemed
to be devoted to destruction, could ever be
in such a state as that in which I have since beheld
it.—Yes, my friend, I revisited this country
two years since, in which fourteen years
before I had served as an ensign, when it was
the seat of war.—I see it now recovered of those
wounds, which its unnatural parent hoped were
mortal, and in the most flourishing state of political
health.

What E11r 93

What then becomes of the political credit
of those who prognosticated, that her productions
would be unequal to her wants; her legislatures
to her government.—I know not how
far the mother-country is the worse for this disunion
with her colonies—but, I am sure, they
are the better; and nothing is more false than
that idea of the veteran statesman, that a country
under a new form of government, is destitute
of those who have ability to direct it.—
That they may be unlearned in the detestable
chicane of politics, is certain; but they are
also uncorrupted by the odious and pernicious
maxims of the unfeeling tools of despotism;
honest ministers then, and able negociators
will arise with the occasion.—They have appeared
in America; they are rising in France
—they have, indeed, arisen; and, when it is
seen that talents and application, and not the
smile of a mistress, or a connection with a parasite,
give claims to the offices of public trust;
men of talents and application will never be
wanting to fill them.”

Montfleuri here paused a moment; and a
sentence of Milton’s, of whom you know I
am an incessant reader, immediately occurred
to me as extremely applicable to what he had
been saying; I repeated it to him in English,
which he understands perfectly well.

“For, when God shakes a kingdom, with
strong and healthful commotions, to a general
reforming, it is not untrue that many sectaries
and false teachers are then busiest in seducing:
but yet more true it is, that God then raises,
to his own work, men of rare abilities and
more than common industry; not only to look
back and revise what hath been taught heretofore,fore, E11v 94
but to gain further, and go on some
new and enlightened steps in the discovery of
truth.” Milton on the Liberty of unlicensed Printing.

Here our conference was ended for this time,
at least, on politics. We took a few turns
among the happy groups who were either
walking, or sitting, to enjoy the most beautiful
moon-light evening I ever remember to
have seen; and I then returned to my hotel, and
went to my repose, determined to indulge the
pleasing hope of having letters from England
on the morrow, as it was post day; but, I am
again most severely disappointed.—Waverly,
however, has letters from his sisters—they lay
on the table in the room where we usually sit,
for he is gone with, I know not what party, to
Chantilly.—I see that one of them is directed
by the hand of Geraldine.—I have taken it
up an hundred times, and laid it down again—
It is sealed with an impression of the Verney
arms—It is heavy, and seems to contain more
than one or two sheets of paper; perhaps there
is a letter in it for me.—Yet, why should I
flatter myself?—The other letter is from Fanny
Waverly
—I recollect her hand, for it a little resembles
her sister’s.—Would to heaven Waverly
was come back—He went on a sudden, and named
no time for his return; and my time, these last
two days, has been wasted in the most uneasy
expectation; for I can think of nothing but the
purport of these letters.—If they assure me
of the health and content of Mrs. Verney, for I
will try to break myself of calling her Geraldine
(because I always long to add my to that
beloved name)—I will endeavour to account, dear E12r 95
dear Bethel, for your silence, by believing that
you are travelling with your children; and set
out as cheerfully as I can, with Montfleuri and
his sisters, on Monday, which is the day fixed
for our departure.—I hoped, a few days ago,
that I had determined Waverly to go with us,
but he has since made some new acquaintance,
and has probably some new schemes.

Adieu! You know me to be ever
most faithfully your’s,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- E12v 96

Letter X.

After being once more compelled to
change my plan on account of the indecision of
Waverly, who did not return to Paris till some
days after he had written to me to say he should
be there; he arrived, and I saw these letters,
which alone would have induced me to wait.—
But I was extremely mortified to find, that instead
of an account of Geraldine herself, it was
only a long letter about health and prudence,
which Mrs. Waverly, who has the gout herself,
has employed her daughter to write for her to
her son. In a postscript, however, she adds
some trifling commissions on her own account,
which, as Waverly set out the next day for
Rheims, with the same scampering party with
whom he was just returned from Chantilly, he
left for me to execute: judge whether I did not
undertake them with pleasure, with delight, and
whether I regretted the two days longer that
were thus passed in her service at Paris.—This
circumstance gave me an opportunity of writing
to her.—And so, my dear Bethel, I shall have
a letter from her before I quit this place, whither
I have entreated her to direct. Do not
now give me one of your grave, cold lectures— 1 and F1r 97
and blame me for the inconsistency of flying
from my country to conquer a passion which I
still take every opportunity of cherishing.—
Without this affection, I feel that my life would
sink into tasteless apathy; and I cannot, my
rigid Mentor, discover the immorality of it, in
its present form. On the contrary, I am convinced,
that my apprehensions of rendering
myself unworthy of the esteem, which, I now
believe, Geraldine feels for me, acts upon me
as a sort of second conscience.—What ought
not that man to attempt, who dares hope ever
to become worthy of her heart?—But I dare
not; nor do I ever trust myself with so presumptuous
a thought.—Her friendship, her esteem
may be mine—But I am getting into regions,
where your cold and calm philosophy
cannot, or will not follow me.

I return, therefore, to mere matter of fact;
and to thank you for your long-expected and
long wished-for letter.—It is tolerably interspersed
with lectures, my good friend—but I
thank you for them, because I know they are
the effusions of anxious friendship—and still
more, I thank you for the account you give me
of yourself, your children, and all other friends,
for whom you think I am interested, except the
Verneys, whom you cruelly leave out of the
list—and relative to them, therefore, I form
many uneasy conjectures, so that, instead of
saving me from pain, you have inflicted it; my
apprehensions, probably, go beyond the truth;
but Geraldine is unhappy, I know she is.—In
every English newspaper that I have seen since
I left London, there is some account of Verney’s
exploits upon the turf—and of his winning
or his losings.—Some of Waverly’s acquaintance,Vol. I. F quaintance, F1v 98
whom I accidentally conversed
with at Paris, spoke of him in terms of high
approbation, as to use their own cant, “a devilish
dashing fellow—a good fellow”
—and such
epithets as convinced me he is sacrificing the
happiness of that lovely woman to the glory of
being talked of——The only species of fame
which seems to give him any pleasure.

I am now at Montfleuri, in the Lyonois.—
Had I not felt, as I travelled hither, a strange,
uneasy sensation, which I acknowledged to be
a weakness, in reflecting on the encreasing distance
between me and Geraldine; and had I
not very uneasy apprehensions about her brother,
who is gone with a set of very dissipated boys,
they hardly know whither themselves, my journey
to this place would have been one of the
most agreeable I ever made.

I have twice before travelled the direct road
from Paris to Lyons.—Montfleuri, who is the
most cheerful companion in the world, has himself
a great taste for rural beauty, and therefore,
though every part of this country is, of
course, well known to him, he had particular
pleasure in turning out of the road to shew me
any view, or building, which he thought worth
my observation, Our journey, by this means,
was of eight days continuance—and eight days
have been seldom more pleasantly passed.

I have said very little hitherto of Montfleuri’s
two sisters, who are with us; and who are by
no means objects to be passed in silence, in the
account you wish to have of my wanderings.—
Though I, you know, “bear a charmed heart,”
and therefore cannot, like our friend Melthrope,
enliven my narrative with details of my own
passions for a sprightly French woman, or an elegant F2r 99
elegant Italian. I am persuaded, that were I
to be shewn, in succession, the most celebrated
beauties in all the kingdoms through which I
shall pass, I thus should still apostrophise Geraldine:
“I scorn the beauties common eyes adore, The more I view them—feel thy charms the more.”
But I am talking of her instead of Madame de
Boisbelle
, who is very beautiful and very unhappy,
two circumstances that cannot fail to
make her extremely interesting; perhaps she is
rendered yet more so by the unfailing variety of
her manner.—There are times when her naturally
gay spirits sink under the pressure of misfortune;
sometimes her ill-assorted marriage,
which has put her into the power of a man
altogether unworthy of her; the embarrassment
of his affairs, and the uncertainty of her fate,
recur to her in all their force; and she escapes
from company, if it be possible, to hide the
languor and depression she cannot conquer.—
During our journey, however, this was not
easily done, and I often remarked with pain,
these cruel reflections fill her fine eyes with
tears, and force deep sighs from her bosom.—
But this disposition was as a passing cloud obscuring
the brilliancy of the summer sun.—The moment
her attention is diverted from this mournful
and useless contemplation, by some new object,
or yields to the tender raillery of her brother,
who is extremely fond of her, the gayest
smiles return again to her expressive countenance;
her eyes regain their lustre, and she
passes almost instantaneously from languid dejection,
to most brilliant vivacity.—Without F2 having F2v 100
having ever had what we call a good education,
Josephine (for I have learned from her brother,
and at her own desire, to drop the former appellation
of Madame de Boisbelle) Josephine has
much of that sort of knowledge which makes
her a pleasant companion; and a fund of native
wit, which, though it is rather sparkling than
impressive, renders her conversation very delightful.
—She has a pretty voice, and plays well
on the harp.—Yet all she does has so much of
national character in it, that it would become
only a French woman, and I think I should not
admire one of my own countrywomen, who
possessed exactly the person, talents and manners
of my friend’s sister.—I do not know whether
you perfectly understand me, but I understand
myself; though, perhaps, I do not explain myself
clearly.

The little mild Julie is yet too young to have
any very decided character.—The religious
prejudices which she received in her early infancy
(for at nine years old her mother determined
to make her a nun) have sunk so deeply
in her mind, that I much doubt whether they
will ever be erased. This has given to her disposition
a melancholy cast, which, though it
renders her, perhaps, interesting to strangers,
her brother sees with concern.—I perceive that
there is, at times, a very painful struggle in her
mind, between her wish to obey and gratify
him in entering into the world, and her fears of
offending Heaven by having failed to renounce
it; and, I am afraid, there are moments which
any absurd bigot might take advantage of, to
persuade her, that she should yet return to that
state whither Heaven has summoned her.

Julie, F3r 101

Julie, however, is extremely pretty, though
quite in another style of beauty from her sister.
Waverly admired her, on first seeing her, as
much as it is in his nature to admire any woman;
and, for three days, I fancied it possible
that the fair and pensive nun might fix this
vagrant spirit. I even began to consider, how
(if the affair should become more serious) Geraldine,
as much as she wishes her brother married,
would approve of his chusing a woman
of another country, and another religion from
his own; and, I had settled it with myself, to
give no encouragement to the progress of his
attachment, till I knew her sentiments.—
I might, however, have saved myself all my
wise resolutions, for Waverly immediately afterwards
making some fortunate additions to his
number of English acquaintance (Mr. Chetwood,
the able advocate for episcopalian luxury
is one) has since passed all his time among
them; and seems to have lost, in their company,
every impression that the gentle Julie, and her
fascinating, though very imperfect English, had
made.—He has promised, either to come hither
within ten days, or to meet me at Lyons in
the course of a fortnight; but I do not expect
that he will do either the one or the other.

I do not know whether you love the description
of places, or whether I am very well qualified
to undertake it, if you do.—However, I
will endeavour to give you an idea of the habitation
of Montfleuri, and of the country round
it, where his liberal and enlightened spirit has,
ever since he became his own master, been occupied
in softening the harsh features of that
system of government, to which only the poverty and misery F3v 102
misery of such a country as this could, at any time,
be owing
.

The chateau of Montfleuri is an old building,
but it is neither large nor magnificent—for
having no predilection for the gothic gloom in
which his ancestors concealed their greatness,
he has pulled down every part of the original
structure, but what was actually useful to himself;
and brought the house, as nearly as he
could, into the form of one of those houses,
which men of a thousand or twelve hundred a
year inhabit in England.

Its situation is the most delicious that luxuriant
fancy could imagine.—It stands on a gentle
rise, the river there, rather broad than deep,
makes almost a circuit round it at the distance
of near half a mile.—The opposite banks rise
immediately on the south side into steep hills of
fantastic forms, clothed with vines.—They
are naturally indeed, little more than rocks; but
wherever the soil was deficient, the industry of
the labourers, who are in that district the tenants
of Montfleuri, has supplied it; and the wine
produced in this little mountainous tract is particularly
delicious. These pointed hills suddenly
sink into a valley, or rather a narrow pass,
which thro’ tufts of cyprus that grow among the
rocks, gives a very singular view into the country
beyond them.—Another chain of hills then
rise; and these last were the property of a convent
of monks, whose monastery is not more
than a mile from the house of my friend.—In
the culture of these two adjoining ridges of
vineyards, may be seen the effects of the management
of the different masters to whom they
belong.—The peasants on the domain of Montfleuri
are happy and prosperous, while in the line F4r 103
line of country immediately adjoining to his,
though the good fathers have taken tolerable
care of their vineyards, has every where else
the appearance of being under a languid and
reluctant cultivation.—On the top of one of
the highest of these hills is the ruin of a large
ancient building, of which the country people
tell wonderful legends. I have never yet explored
it, but it is a fine object from the windows
of this house; and I rejoice, that Montfleuri,
who has purchased the estate of the convent,
will now be able to preserve it in its present
romantic form, from the farther depredations
of the neighbouring hinds, who, whenever
their fears yielded to their convenience,
were in habits of carrying away the materials
for their own purposes; and have, by those
means, done more than time towards destroying
this monument of antiquity.—I, who love, you
know, every thing ancient, unless it be ancient
prejudices, have entreated my friend to preserve
this structure in its present state—than which,
nothing can be more picturesque: when of a
fine glowing evening, the almost perpendicular
hill on which it stands is reflected in the unruffled
bosom of the broad river, crowned with
these venerable remains half mantled in ivy, and
other parasytical plants, and a few cypresses,
which grow here as in Italy, mingling their
spiral forms among the masses of ruin.

The whole of the ground between the house
and the river, is the paternal estate of Montfleuri.
—It is now divided, the lower grounds
into meadows, and the higher into corn inclosures,
nearly as we separate our fields in England.
—The part most immediately adjoining to
the house he has thrown into a paddock, and
cut those long avenues, which in almost every direction F4v 104
direction pointed towards the house into groups
of trees: breaking as much as possible the lines
they would yet describe, by young plantations
of such trees as are the most likely, by their
quick growth, to overtake them in a few years.
—But, I am not quite sure, that I do not wish
he had left one vista of the beautiful and graceful
Spanish chestnut remaining.—I know this
betrays a very gothic and exploded taste, but
such is the force of early impressions, that I
have still an affection for “the bowed roof”
the cathedral-like solemnity of long lines of tall
trees, whose topmost boughs are interlaced with
each other.—I do not, however, defend the purity
of my taste in this instance; for nature certainly
never planted trees in direct lines.—But
I account for my predilection, by the kind of
pensive and melancholy pleasure I used to feel,
when in my childhood and early youth, I walked
alone, in a long avenue of arbeal, which led
from a very wild and woody part of the weald
of Kent, to an old house my father, at that
period of my life, inhabited. I remember the
cry of the wood peckers, or yaffils, as we call
them in that country, going to roost in a pale
autumnal evening, answered by the owls, which
in great numbers inhabit the deep forest-like
glens that lay behind the avenue.—I see the
moon rising slowly over the dark mass of wood,
and the opposite hills, tinged with purple from
the last reflection of the sun, which was sunk
behind them.—I recall the sensations I felt,
when, as the silver leaves of the aspins trembled
in the lowest breeze, or slowly fell to the ground
before me, I became half frightened at the encreasing
obscurity of the objects around me,
and have almost persuaded myself that the grey trunks F5r 105
trunks of these old trees, and the low murmur
of the wind among their branches, were the dim
forms, and hollow sighs of some supernatural
beings; and at length, afraid of looking behind
me, I have hurried breathless into the house.

No such sombre tints as these, however,
shade the environs of Montfleuri’s habitation.
Ever since he became master of this place,
which, till then had been very much neglected,
he has been endeavouring to bring it as near as
possible to those plans of comfort and convenience
which he saw were followed in England,
and of which, it must be acknowledged, the
French, in general, have not hitherto had much
idea. In this pursuit, he has succeeded much
better than I ever saw it done in France before;
and were it not for a few obstinate and prominent
features that belong to French buildings,
which it is almost impossible for him to remove,
it would be easy for me to imagine myself in
some of the most beautiful parts of England.—
A little fancy would convert the vineyards into
hop-gardens (if hops could be supposed to grow
on such eminences); nor would they be much
injured by the comparison; for, when the vine
of either is in leaf, the hop, seen at a distance
has the most agreeable appearance.—At other
times, neither the one or the other are, as far
as the beauty of the landscape is considered,
very desirable objects.

At this season, however, when the peasantry
around the chateau of Montfleuri are preparing
for the vintage—when the people, happy
from their natural disposition, the effect of soil
and climate—happy in a generous and considerate
master; (and now more rationally happy,
from the certainty they enjoy, that no changes F5 can F5v 106
can put them, as once it might have done, into
the power of one who may not inherit his virtues)
when they are making ready to avail
themselves of this joyous season. The expression
of exultation and content on their animated
faces, is one of my most delicious speculations.

Montfleuri, whose morality borders, perhaps,
a little on epicurism, imagines, that in this
world of ours, where physical and unavoidable
evil is very thickly sown, there is nothing so
good in itself, or so pleasing to this Creator of
the world, as to enjoy and diffuse happiness.—
He has therefore, whether he has resided here
or no, made it the business of his life to make
his vassals and dependents content, by giving
them all the advantages their condition will allow.
—The effect of this is, that instead of
squalid figures inhabiting cabins built of mud,
without windows or floors, which are seen in
too many parts of France (and which must continue
to be seen, till the benign influence of
liberty is generally felt). The peasantry in this
domain resemble both in their own appearance,
and in the comfortable look of their habitations,
those whose lot has fallen in those villages of
England, The English have a custom of arrogantly boasting of the
fortunate situation of the common people of England—But let
those, who, with an opportunity of observation, have ever had
an enquiring eye and a feeling heart on this subject, say whether
this pride is well founded. At the present prices of the
requisites of mere existence, a labourer, with a wife and four
or five children, who has only his labour to depend upon, can
taste nothing but bread, and not always a sufficiency of that.
—Too certain it is, that (to say nothing of the miseries
of the London poor, too evident to every one who passes
through the streets) there are many, very many parts of the country,
country, where the labourer has not a subsistence even when
in constant work, and where, in cases of sickness, his condition
is deplorable indeed—realized in the melancholy, but just picture,
drawn in Knox’s Essay, No. 150, entitled, A Remedy
for Discontent.
—Yet we are always affecting to talk of the
misery and beggary of the French—And now impute that
misery, though we well know it existed before, to the revolution.
——To the very cause that will in a very few years remove
it.
where, the advantages of a good landlord F6r 107
landlord, a favourable situation for employment,
or an extensive adjoining common, enable the
labourers to possess something more than the
mere necessaries of life, and happily counteract
the effects of those heavy taxes with which all
those necessaries of life are loaded.

Oh! my friend! let those of our soidisant
great men who love power, and who are, with
whatever reluctance, compelled at length to see,
and the hour is very rapidly approaching, when
usurped power will be tolerated no longer:—
Let them, if nothing but the delight of governing
will satisfy them, have recourse to the method
Montfleuri has pursued; and then, the
best and sincerest of all homage, the homage of
grateful hearts may be theirs.—I am convinced,
that not even the family pride which, in feudal
times, actuated the Irish and Scottish clans, could
produce, in the cause of their chieftains, a zeal so
ardent and so steady, as that with which the dependants
of Montfleuri would defend him at
home, or follow him into the field, were there
occasion for either.

It is, indeed, a singular sight, to observe the
mutual attachments that exist between this gay
and volatile man, and his neighbours, whom
he will not allow to be called dependents, since
no beings, he says, capable of procuring their
own subsistence are dependent.—He enters, however, F6v 108
however, with rational but warm solicitude into
the interests of the humblest of them, and should
not, he says, be happy if there was among them
an aching heart which he had neglected to put
at ease, whenever it depended on him.

The neighbourhood, however, of the seignory
which belongs to the monks, was, till now, a
great impediment to all the plans which his benevolence
suggested to him.—These reverend
fathers encouraged in idleness, those whom
Montfleuri was endeavouring to render industrious;
and, the alms given away at the gates
of the convent, without affording a sufficient
or permanent support to the poorer class of his
people, was yet enough to give them an excuse
for indolence, and a habit of neglecting to seek
their own subsistence; in many other instances
too, the influence of the monks has counteracted
that of Montfleuri.—It is not quite three
years since he lost near a third of the adults, and
a fourth of the children of his villages, by a
malignant small-pox that broke out among
them; for the monks had taught the people to
believe, that inoculation, which he had long
earnestly wished to introduce, was an impious
presumption offensive to heaven.

These men, however, are now dispersed;
those who adhere to the monastic vows, are gone
into other communities; others have taken advantage
of the late change to return to that
world which they had reluctantly renounced;
and one only, among two-and-twenty, accepted
the offer which Montfleuri made to those
whom he thought the most respectable among
them; and whom he, therefore, wished to save
from any inconveniencies that might attend an
involuntary removal—This proposal was to fit up F7r 109
up one of the wings of the house (which he
had destined for other purposes) for the reception
of those who chose to stay; and of supplying to
them, at his own expence, every gratification
to which they had been accustomed, that their
reduced income did not enable them to enjoy.—
Most of those to whom this generous offer was
made, treated it either with resentment or scorn:
father Cypriano, a Portuguese, who has lost all
attachment to his own country, or for some
reason or other does not wish to return to it,
accepted the proposed accommodation, with
some little changes, according to a plan of his
own.—He told Montfleuri, that though he had
no great attachment to any of the members of
the society, yet that there would be something
particularly comfortless in residing alone, where
he had been accustomed to see so many of his
brethren around him; and that, though he in
reality courted solitude in preference to society,
it was not exactly there he wished to enjoy it;
but, that if Montfleuri would allow the workmen
employed about the house to raise for him,
in a sequestered spot which he pointed out, a
sort of hermitage after a plan of his own, he
would be happy to avail himself of his bounty,
and to end his days on his estate.—I need hardly
say, that my friend most readily acceded to his
wishes; and, during his late absence, father
Cypriano
has, on the rocky borders of the river,
which are there concealed by some of the thickest
woods I have seen in France, built an hermitage
exactly corresponding to the ideas I had formed
of those sort of habitations from Don Quixote
or Gil Blas.—It is partly an excavation in the
hard sand rock that rises above the river; it is
situated about two hundred yards from it, and is partly F7v 110
partly composed of hard wood, which supports
the roof, and enlarges the scite of the building
(if building it may be called.) The outward
room is paved with flat stones, and the inner is
boarded; there, is his little bed, his crucifix,
and two chairs.—The other apartment contains
only a table; the seats of turf and moss, that
surround it, and a sort of recess where he puts
his provisions, which are furnished him daily
from Montfleuri, with an attentive liberality,
of which the good anchoret even complains,
though he never refuses it.—Montfleuri tells me
that there is something singular in the history of
this venerable man, with which he is not acquainted;
but that, as he seems very communicative,
he will endeavour, some day when we
are together, to engage him in an account of
his life.

This anchoret, as a being to which we are
never accustomed (unless it be to a hired or to a
wax hermit in some of our gardens) has led me
away strangely from what I was going to tell
you of the use to which Montfleuri has destined
the dissolved monastery.

He has fitted it up as a house of industry;
not to confine the poor to work, for he abhors
the idea of compulsion, but to furnish with easy
and useful employment, such as by age, or infirmity,
or infancy, are unfitted for the labour
of the fields.—And here he also means that the
robust peasant may, when the rigour of the season,
or any other circumstance deprives him of
occupation abroad, find something to do within;
nothing, however, in the way of manufactures
is to be attempted, farther than strong coarse
articles, useful to themselves, or in the culture
of the estate.—I think the sketch Montfleuri has F8r 111
has given me of his plan an admirable one; it
is yet only in its first infancy; but, if it succeeds,
as I am sure it must, I will establish such
an house on my own estate, whenever I settle
there.

Whenever I settle there!—Ah! Bethel, that
expression recalls a thousand painful ideas from
which I have been vainly trying to escape.—
Alas; I shall never settle there! or, if ever I
do, it will be as a solitary and insulated being,
whose pleasures will soon become merely animal
and selfish, because there will be none to share
them.—A being who, though weary of the
world, will find no happiness in quitting it.—
Methinks I see myself rambling at four or fiveand-fifty,
over grounds which I shall have none
to inherit; and surveying, with the dull eye of
torpid apathy, improvements which, when I
am gone, there will be none to admire; and
which will then, perhaps, “Pass to a scrivener, or a city knight.”

Yes, I shall be, I doubt not, that forlorn
and selfish being, an old batchelor; one, who
having no dearer ties to sweeten his weary existence,
is surrounded by hungry parasitical relations,
or is governed in his second childhood
by his house-keeper.

You will smile, I suppose, at this apostrophe,
and would even laugh, when you know the
moment at which it occurs—when the lovely,
the bewitching Josephine herself, is waiting for
me to walk with her; and, “in these sportive
plains, under this genial sun, where, at this
instant, all flesh is running out, piping, fiddling,
and dancing to the vintage, and every step that’s taken, F8v 112
taken, the judgment is surprised by the imagination.
—” Sterne.
How shall I resist her?—The first
grapes are to be gathered in a few days on the
opposite hills; the peasants singing the liveliest
airs, have been this evening carrying up their
implements for this delightful operation;—Julie
and her brother are gone already to see them; and
Josephine sent me, a few moments since, a note,
in which she gaily reproaches me for want of
gallantry in thus making her wait this lovely
evening. Oh! were it but Geraldine who expected
me!—were it Geraldine who waited for
me, to lend her my arm in this little expedition.
—I have once or twice, as Madame de Boisbelle
has been walking with me, tried to fancy her
Geraldine, and particularly when she has been
in her plaintive moods. I have caught sounds
that have, for a moment, aided my desire to be
deceived.—But, as the lady herself could not
guess what made me so silent and inattentive,
some sudden etourderie not at all in harmony
with my feelings; some trait, in the character
of her country has suddenly dissolved the charm,
and awakened me to a full sense of the folly I
was guilty of.

But I see, at this moment, Josephine herself,
who condescends to beckon to me, and to express
her impatience at my delay.—Farewell,
my friend, I shall hardly write again from hence.

Ever your’s most faithfully,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- F9r 113

Letter XI.

To Mr. Desmond.

“In those sportive plains, and under this
genial sun, where, at this instant, all flesh is
running out piping, fiddling, and dancing to
the vintage; and every step that is taken, the
judgment is surprised by the imagination.”

With the lovely Josephine beckoning to you as
you sit at your window!—and reproaching you
for want of gallantry!—

Bravo, my friend!—This will do—I see,
that though my first advice did not succeed, my
second infallibly will.—“Go, search in England
for some object worthy of those affections
which, placed as they are now, can only serve
to render you miserable—Or if that does not do
—if you are become, through the influence of this
romantic attachment, too fastidious for reasonable
happiness—go abroad, dissipate your ideas,
instead of suffering them to dwell continually
on a hopeless pursuit; and you will find change of F9v 114
of place and variety of scenes are the best remedies
for every disease of the mind.”
—Thus
I preached; and I now value myself on the
success of my prescription, though I did not
foresee this kind Josephine, who will undoubtedly
perfect the cure.—At your age, my good
friend, a lovely and unfortunate woman—who
probably tells you all her distresses—who leans
on your arm, and whose voice you endeavour
to fancy the tender accents of Geraldine—will,
I will venture to prophecy, soon, cease to please
you, notwithstanding you “bear a charmed
heart,”
only in the semblance of another.—And
as to any engagements, you know, such as her
having a husband, and so forth, those little impediments
“make not the heart sore” in France.
In short, I look upon your cure as nearly perfected,
and by the time this letter reaches you,
I doubt not, but that you will have begun to
wonder how you could ever take up such a notion,
as of an unchangeable and immortal passion,
which is a thing never heard or thought
of, but by the tender novel writer, and their
gentle readers.—Madame de Boisbelle seems the
Woman in the world best calculated to win
you from the absurd system you had built; and
had you been a descendant of Lord Chesterfield’s,
and his spirit presided over your destiny,
he could hardly have led you to a scene so favourable
to dissultory gallantry, and so fatal to
the immortality of your attachment, as the house
of Montfleuri.

Thus, believing your cure certain, I venture
to tell you what I know of Verney.—You will
still, perhaps, receive it with concern; but it
will no longer awaken your quixotism.—You
will not, I think, now offer Verney half your estate F10r 115
estate to save his wife from an uneasy moment
or strip yourself of nine or ten thousand pounds
to supply his deficiencies at Newmarket, where
the next meeting would probably create the
same deficiency, and, of course, the same necessity.

Verney, then, I am sorry to say, has at length
parted with his estate in this country: I am
more sorry to say, that he has parted with it to
Stamford, to whom, as I have been lately informed,
it has been long mortgaged.

The final settlement of this matter, which
has, I find, been sometime in agitation, has
happened only within this month; and in consequence
of it, Mr. Stamford, or, I should rather
say, Sir Robert Stamford, for he is almost
as lately raised to the dignity of a Baronet, took
possession, about ten days since, of the house,
which he bought ready furnished, and he is, for
the present, living there with his family. I am
not, as you will easily believe, much delighted
with this, either on his own account, or because
of the style of living which he will introduce
into the country. A very small part of his
grounds adjoins to my wood-lands.—He is said
to be a very great savage, in regard to game;
and though I care very little myself about that
perpetual subject of country contention, it will
be very disagreeable to me to have my tenant
subject to the vexations of this petty tyrant.—
I do not know whether I have told you of the
places he now enjoys, nor how they have enabled
him to encrease the splendor of his appearance,
or the luxury of his table, by which
he strengthens his interest. In the latter, he is
said to excel, from talents and taste; and that
more good dinners have of late been eaten at his F10v 116
his house for the benefit of the English government,
by those who are intrusted to carry it on,
than have ever before been prepared for the like
purposes.—He is supposed to be one of those
fortunate persons, who being deep in the secret,
are enabled to take advantage of every fluctuation,
to which the proceedings of ministry give
rise, in the value of the public funds; and by
this means principally, to have secured beyond
the reach of fortune, that wealth which he has
so rapidly, and, in the apprehension of many
people, so wonderfully accumulated.—He has
already, since his immediate neighbourhood
gives him a considerable degree of interest with
the tradesmen of W―, been courting their
favor, with a meanness, equal to that arrogance
with which he treats all who are, or may be, his
equals; and from whom he expects nothing
equal to the cringing servility with which he
fawns upon his titled friends, and those who
have helped to raise him to his present seat; or
the junto, by whose united strength he means
to keep it.—

I have forgot poor Verney’s affairs in my account
of this great man: but I own the incident
of his coming into the neighbourhood
has vexed me, more, perhaps, than it ought
to do.—I shall not feel it very pleasant to absent
myself from those public meetings, which, as
a magistrate, I have thought it my duty to attend,
because Sir Robert will now take the chair
on account of his new rank.—Yet, certainly,
I shall as little like to meet a man, by whom I
know I have been grossly and irreparably injured;
and whose private and public character
are equally hateful to me.—To him, I may well
address the lines of Shakespeare,

—“Your F11r 117 “Your heart Is crammed with arrogancy, spleen, and pride; You have by fortune, and your friends high favor, Gone lightly o’er low steps—and now are mounted Where powers are your retainers.”

I believe, my friend, it is a weakness to be
disturbed at such a man.—I will name him then
no more; but proceed to tell you all I know farther
of Verney, which is merely, that the money
he received from Sir Robert, more than what
his estate was already mortgaged for (which did
not amount to above six thousand pounds) was
immediately paid away to satisfy debts of honor;
and that he is now raising money on his northern
estates, in which he finds some difficulties on
account of his wife’s settlements. This I hear
from such authority, that I cannot doubt the
truth of it.—I enquired of my informer, why,
if Verney had discharged such considerable debts
of honor by this last transaction, he had immediate
occasion to encumber his Yorkshire estates?
—My acquaintance laughed at my calling
six thousand pounds a considerable debt, and
told me, that if that sum had paid all the demands
that were the most immediately pressing
on his friend Verney, which he knew they did
not, that he would have occasion for at least as
much again for the October meeting; and therefore,
was trying to raise all he wanted at once.—
This was said by no means in the way of a secret,
or, as of a design of which Verney had
any notion of being ashamed; and the young
man who related it to me, and who is one of
the set to which he belongs, spoke of it rather
as complaining, that it was a confounded shame,
that as Verney had married a girl of no fortune,
or next to none, he should have been drawn in to F11v 118
to make such an unreasonable settlement upon
her, as prevented his raising money upon his
estates. I am very sorry for Mrs. Verney, but
I have long foreseen this.—She will, undoubtedly,
have too much firmness of mind, and attention
to the interest of her children, to give
up her settlement; and it will always afford the
family a certain degree of affluence.—You may
assure yourself, that were the whole treasures of
the East to find their way into the pocket of
her husband, he would finally possess no more,
for there is nothing but the impossibility of parting
with it, that can ever keep any property
whatever in his possession.

So much, dear Desmond, for private news
from England; as for public news, you probably
receive it from those who are better qualified
than I am to speak upon it.—You know I am
not by any means partial to your present arrangements;
yet, as I do not yet see the success of
the new modes of government that have been
taken up in France, I am not sanguinely looking
out for changes, as you seem to be.—Perhaps
this coldness is owing to the observations I
made in my short and unfortunate political career.
—I saw then such decided selfishness in all
parties, so little sincerity, so little real concern
for the general good in any, that it imprest me
with an universal mistrust of all who profess the
science of politics.—Your friend, Montfleuri,
however, seems to be sincere.—But for many
of those whom the abbé termed messieurs les reformateurs,
they appear to me to be wavering
and divided in their councils, and breaking into
parties, which occasions me again to entertain
some doubts of the permanency of the revolution.
—I am certainly a warm friend to its principles.1 ciples. F12r 119
—I only hesitate to believe, that there is
steadiness and virtue enough existing among the
leaders, to apply those principles to practice.—
I conclude, therefore, as I began, with a quotation
from Sterne—and I say with uncle Toby
“I wish it may answer.”

I have no expectation of hearing from you
very soon again, as from your last letter, this
seems likely to be long in reaching you.—But
I am persuaded, that the interest you take in
French politics on one hand; and on the other,
the interest the fair Josephine takes in your’s,
will restore to you your gay spirits—and to me
my rational friend.

You know I remain, ever,
Most faithfully your’s,

E. Bethel.

Let- F12v 120

Letter XII. Written before the receipt of the foregoing.

To Mr. Bethel.

Reluctantly—Oh! how reluctantly,
I quitted, three days since, the cheerful
abode of Montfleuri, where every countenance
beamed with pleasure and content, for this
mournful residence.—A residence, where mortified
and discomfited tyranny seems to have
taken up its sullen station; and with impotent
indignation to colour with its own gloomy hand
every surrounding object.—The Comte
d’Hauteville
is the brother of Montfleuri’s mother:
and though they are as opposite in their
principles, and in their tempers, as light and
darkness, Montfleuri has so much respect for
his uncle, and so much goodness of heart, as to
fulfil a promise he required of him, when the
latter left Paris, that he would come to him for ten G1r 121
ten days.—Unable to endure a country, where
his power, and as he believes, his consequence
is diminished, Monsieur d’Hauteville is preparing
to quit France.—His nephew thinks he can
dissuade him from this resolution, and reconcile
him to the terrible misfortune of being free
among freemen, instead of being a petty tyrant
among slaves—While the Comte himself entertained
hopes that he could convert his nephew,
or, at least, lessen his extravagant zeal for that
odious democratic system he has embraced.—
That both will fail in these their expectations,
is already very evident.—I must give you, however,
a sketch of our journey, and of our reception,
to enable you to form some idea of this
place, and of its possessor.

We set out in my chaise—neither of us in
very gay spirits, though those of Montfleuri
are not very easily depressed. But our taking
leave of Josephine and Julie, who saw their
brother depart with tears, though he is so soon
to return;—the melancholy which he knew
hung over this house, and perhaps the heavy
atmosphere, which just then prevailed, contributed
to make him pensive, and from the same
causes that render a Frenchman of his disposition
grave, an Englishman naturally feels disposed
to hang himself. I had, besides the additional
vexation of leaving the house of Montfleuri,
without having received, as I expected, a letter
from Mrs. Verney during my stay there.

The beginning of our journey, therefore,
was dismal enough.—Towards evening, we
stopped at the convent where Montfleuri’s other
sister is a professed nun. I was not permitted
to see her; but he returned in worse spirits than
he set out, exclaiming against the odious superstition,Vol. I. G stition G1v 122
that had condemned so amiable a young
woman, to so many years of rigid confinement,
(for she is a Carmelite) and has given, he says,
to her mind, a tincture of sadness, which he
fears it will always retain. When he comes
back, it is to be decided, whether or no, she
quits her convent.—He has a small property
near the little town of Aique mont where, as
he had some business to settle, we remained all
night; and where, I have occasion again to remark,
the affection which all who are connected
with him feel for Montfleuri.—We did not
quit Aiquemont till late the following day.—
The weather was so unusually warm, that we
travelled slowly, and it was the evening of yesterday
before we approached the end of our journey.

The country though which we travelled,
was, in many parts, beautifully romantic; but,
within about three leagues of the chateau
d’Hauteville
, it opens into one of those extensive
plains that are very frequent in Normandy,
though not so usual in this part of France.—
Over these dead flats, a straight road usually
runs for many miles, and the dull uniformity of
the prospect is broken only by the rows of pear
or apple trees, which are planted upon it in various
directions.

A few plantations of vines had here an even
less pleasing effect.—In some of them, however,
people were at work; but we no longer heard
the cheerful songs, or saw the gay faces that we
had been accustomed to hear and see in the
Lyonois.—At length, Montfleuri pointed out
to me, at the extremity of this extensive plain,
the woods, which he said surrounded the habitation
of his uncle.—The look of even ill managed
cultivation soon after ceased; and over a piece G2r 123
piece of ground, which was grass, where it was
not mole-hills, and from whence all traces of
a road were obliterated, we approached to the
end of an avenue of beech trees; they were
rather the ruins of trees; for they had lost the
beautiful and graceful forms nature originally
gave them, by the frequent application of the
ax; and were, many of them, little better than
ragged pollards.

A few straggling trees of other kinds, that
had been planted and neglected, were mingled
among the rows of beech on either side; but
were, for want of protection, withering in
leafless platoons.
—Not a cottage arose to break
the monotony of this long line of disfigured vegetation.
—Nothing like a lodge, animated by
the cheerful residence of a peasant’s family,
marked its termination; but the paling, which
had once divided it from the plain, had either
fallen down for want of repairing, or had been
carried away by the country people for fuel, in
a country where it seemed to be particularly
scarce.

Slowly, and through a miserable road, we
traversed this melancholy avenue, without seeing,
for some time, a human creature.—It
seemed to lengthen as we went, and had already
lasted above a mile and a quarter, when we observed
a figure quickly walking towards us,
with a gun on his shoulder, whom I, at first,
supposed to be the Count himself. The man
seemed, by his step and manner, to be in eager
pursuit of something; but I could perceive, by
his action, that, on observing an English chaise,
he changed the object of his attention, and advanced
towards us in a sort of trot, which, from G2 his G2v 124
his lank figure and grotesque habit, had a very
ridiculous effect.

Under a full dress coat, of a reddish brown,
and had once been lined with sattin, appeared a
waistcoat of gold-flowered brocade, the flaps
reaching to his knees, and made, I am persuaded,
in the reign of Louis ci-devant le Grand.—
What appeared of his breeches, under this magnificent
juste au-corps was of red velveret,
forming a happy contrast to a pair of black
worsted stockings.—The little hair which grew
on each side of his temples had been compelled,
in despite of its reluctance and incapability, to
assume the form of curls, but they seemd to
have fled, d’un manière la plus opiniatre du monde
from his ears; a little hat, like what I recollect
having seen in caracature prints, under the name
of Chapeau a le Nevernois, covered the rest of
his head; but this, as he approached us, was
deposited under his arm, notwithstanding the
incumbrance of his gun.

“This is a curious fellow,” said Montfleuri
to me as I approached him, “he is my uncle’s
confidential servant, and more singularly original
than his master—A tremendous aristocrate,
and miserable at the loss of dignity which he
believes he has sustained.”
—Then addressing
himself to the man, who was by this time very
near us, “Aha! my old friend, La Maire,”
cried he, “how are you?—How is Monsieur
d’Hauteville
?”
—The old man, not at all satisfied
with the manner of this address, stepped
back, laid his hand on his breast, and, with a
cold and formal bow, replied, “that he had
the honour to assure Monsieur le Marquis de
Montfleuri
, that Monseigneur le Comte
d’Hauteville
was as well as, under the present 3 melancholy G3r 125
melancholy circumstances of the kingdom, any
true Frenchman could be.”
—There was something
so very ludicrous in the method and matter
of this answer, that Montfleuri did not attempt
to resist his violent inclination to laugh—
an impoliteness in which I could as little forbear
to join.—“Well, well, Monsieur le Maire,”
cried Montfleuri, “I am glad to hear my uncle
is only indisposed from his national concerns—
So open the chaise door, my old friend, and I
will walk up to the house with this English
gentleman, who has been so good as to accompany
me.”

Le Maire turned his little fierce black eyes
upon me, as Montfleuri announced me to be an
Englishman, and, with a look which I could
not misinterpret, muttered something as with a
jerk he shut the chaise door—“Ah curse those
English, no good ever comes where they are.”

“Well, but Le Maire,” said Montfleuri,
“what are you shooting at this time in the evening?
what were you so eagerly pursuing when
we first saw you?”
“Partridges, Monsieur
le Marquis
, partridges; I saw a great number
of them feeding round the house just now,
young ones, hardly able to fly, and I was resolved
not one of them should escape.”

“Mais à quoi bon cela?” enquired Montfleuri,
“of what use will that be, since if they
are so young they are unfit to eat?”

“A quoi bon Monsieur le Marquis?” replied
the old domestic, very indignantly;
“Mais c’est que je ne veux pas, qu’il y reste, dans G3v 126
dans le domaine un seul perdrix pour ces gueux
du village; qui ont la liberté infâme de chasser
sur les terres de Monseigneur le Comte d’Hauteville
—Ah! je les épargnerai bien, ces marauds,
là, la peine de prendre le gibier, & si je les reconterai,
je ferai bien leur affaire.” “Why is it, because I would not have remain on the whole
estate, one single partridge for those beggarly rogues of the
village, who have the infamous liberty of killing the birds on my
my lord’s grounds. I’ll spare them the trouble, rascals as they
are, of taking game, and, if I met them—I should do their
business.”
“But how do their business?” “Why, Monsieur le Marquis,
perhaps I might fire a few shot among those scoundrels.”

“You have, then, a decided call for exhibiting on the lanthorn
post?”
“Be it so: I had rather be hanged than live
where those fellows are my equals, and have the liberty of
hunting.”

“Mais comment leur affaire?” said Montfleuri.
“Eh! Monsieur le Marquis,” answered
Le Maire, “c’est que je pourrais bien, donner
quelque coups de fufil à ces coquins.”

“Tu as donc une vocation décidé pour la
lanterne?”
“Soit, Monsieur le Marquis,
j’aimerai mieux être pendu par ces gens détestables,
moi, que de vivre où ils sont mes égaux,
& où ils vont à la chasse.”
“You see now,”
said Montfleuri, turning to me, “the style
which even the domestics of the noblesse assumed
towards the peasantry and common people.—
This fellow has imbibed all the insolent consequence
of those among whom he has lived; and
though roturier himself conceives, that he derives
from the honor of being the idle valet to a
nobleman, a right to despise and trample on
the honest man who draws his subsistence from
the ground by independent industry.”
By this
time we were arrived at the gate of the cour d’honneur,
which is surrounded on three sides by the
chateau.—There had once been a straight walk,
leading from the termination of the avenue to the steps G4r 127
steps of the house, but it was now covered with
thistles and nettles; the steps were overgrown
with green moss, and when the great door
opened to let us in, it seemed an operation to
which it was entirely unaccustomed.

Le Maire, however, extremely solicitous for
the dignity of his master, had hurried in before
us, and sent one servant to wait at this door,
and a second to shew us the way to the apartment
where Monseigneur was to receive us.—
This was in a salle à compagnie, on the first floor,
where, after passing through three other cold
and half furnished rooms, we, at length, arrived.
—The Count, who is a handsome man,
above sixty, received me with cold politeness;
his nephew with a sort of sullen kindness: it
seemed as if he at once embraced him as a relation,
and repulsed him as an enemy.—About
half an hour after our arrival, I heard that the
Count was to send, the next day, a courier to
Clermont, by whom I might dispatch letters to
England.—I had this and two or three others to
write; and, I thought that it was better to let
the Count and his nephew begin their political
controversy without the presence of a third person;
for these reasons, as soon as supper was
over, which was very ill dressed, and served in
very dirty plate, I desired to be conducted to
my apartment. Having mounted a very broad
staircase of brick and wood, and passed through
a long corridor, which seemed to lead to a part
of the house very remote from that I had left,
I was shewn into a sort of state bed-chamber;
one of those where comfort had formerly been
sacrificed to splendour, but which now possessed
neither the one nor the other: and, on opening
the door, I was sensible of that damp, musty smell, G4v 128
smell, which is usually perceived in rooms that
have been long unfrequented.

The wainscoting was of cedar, or some other
brown wood, finely carved; the hangings of a
dull and dark blue Lyon’s damask; a high canopy
bed of the same, stood at one end of the
room, and, at the other, was a very large glass
reaching from the ceiling to the floor; but
which, by the single candle I had, served only
to reflect the deep gloom that every object offered.
—A great projecting chimney of blood coloured
marble, over which another mirror supported
a large carved trophy, representing the
arms of the family; a red marble table, and
four or five high-backed, stuffed chairs, covered
with blue velvet, completed the furniture of the
room; which, floored as it was with hexagon
bricks, composed, altogether, one of the most
funeral apartments I ever remember to have
been in.

I sat down, however, and wrote my letters;
but having done them, I felt no inclination to
sleep, and therefore, opening the croisée, I leaned
upon the railing, which, in houses built as this
is, forms a clumsy sort of balcony to every window.
—The day had been unusually close and
sultry, and with the night, the thunder storm,
produced by the heated atmosphere, approached.
—I now heard it mutter at a distance, and soon
after saw, from the south-west, the most vivid
lightening I ever remarked, breaking from those
majestic and deeply-loaden clouds, which the
brightness of the moon above them made very
visible.—In a country so level as that is, for
many miles round the chateau d’Hauteville, the
horizon is, of course, great and uninterrupted,
and I saw to advantage the progress of the storm; G5r 129
storm; a spectacle I have always had great pleasure
in contemplating.

When the imagination soars into those regions,
where the planets pursue each its destined
course, in the immensity of space—every planet,
probably, containing creatures adapted by the
Almighty, to the residence he has placed them
in; and when we reflect, that the smallest of
these is of as much consequence in the universe,
as this world of our’s; how puerile and ridiculous
do those pursuits appear in which we are so
anxiously busied; and how insignificant the
trifles we toil to obtain, or fear to lose. None
of all the little cares and troubles of our short
and fragile existence, seem worthy of giving us
any real concern—and, perhaps, we never truly
possess the reason we so arrogantly boast, till we
can thus appreciate the real value of the objects
around us.

Heaven knows, my dear Bethel, that I am
far enough from enjoying this philosophic tranquility
—I have entrusted you with my waking
reflections—Dare I ask your indulgence for the
wild wanderings of my mind, when reason resigned
her seat entirely to “thick-coming fancies.”

The hurricane had entirely subsided, and the
rain-drops fell slowly from the roof, I still continued
at the window, for my thoughts were
fled to England, and I had only a confused recollection
of where I was; till I found myself
extremely cold, and turning, saw my candle expiring
in the socket. I then recollected, that
it was time to go to my bed, and to seek in
sleep, relief against the uneasy thoughts that had
dwelt upon my mind about Geraldine. On
looking, however, towards it, it again seemed G5 so G5v 130
so comfortless and gloomy, that I fancied it
damp; and though no man possesses a constitution
more fortified against such accidents, or
cares less about them, I had no inclination to
undress myself, or, though I was weary, to
sleep; I wished for a book, but I happened,
contrary to my usual custom, not to have one
in the small portmanteau I had brought from
Montfleuri; and having nothing to divert my
attention from the cold gloom that surrounded
me, I became tired of hearing the dull murmurs
of the sinking wind howl along the corridor—
and I, at length, determined to try to sleep.

Still, however, the notion of the dampness
of the bed detering me from entering it, I took
only my coat off, and wrapping myself in a
flannel powdering gown, I threw myself on the
embroidered counterpane, and soon after sunk
into forgetfulness. I know you will say I am
as weakly superstitious as a boarding-school
miss, or as “the wisest aunt telling the saddest
tale”
to a circle of tired and impatient auditors.
—I am conscious of all this, yet I cannot help
relating the strange phantoms that haunted my
imagination.

I believed myself at the same window as
where I stood to observe the storm; and, that
in the Count’s garden, immediately beneath it,
I saw Geraldine exposed to all its fury.—Her
husband seemed at first to be with her, but he
disappeared, I know not how, and she was left
exposed to the fury of the contending elements,
which seemed to terrify her less on her own account,
than on that of three children, whom she
clasped to her bosom, in all the agonies of maternal
apprehension, and endeavoured to shelter
from the encreasing fury of the tempest.—I hastened, G6r 131
hastened, I flew, with that velocity we possess
only in dreams, to her assistance: I pressed her
eagerly in my arms—I wrapt them round her
children—I thought she faintly thanked me;
told me, that for herself, my care was useless,
but that it might protect them.—She was as
cold as marble, and I recollect having remarked,
that she resembled a beautiful statue of
Niobe, done by an Italian sculptor, which I
had admired at Lyons.

While I was entreating her to accept of my
protection, and to go into the house, I suddenly,
by one of those incongruities so usual in sleep,
fancied I saw her extended, pale, and apparently
dying on the bed, which I had objected to go
into, with the least of her children, a very
young infant dead in her arms.—Distracted at
such a sight, I seized her hand—I implored her
to speak to me—She opened languidly those
lovely eyes, which I have so often gazed on
with transport—they were glazed and heavy—
yet, I thought, they expressed tenderness and
pity for me—while, in a low, tremulous voice
she bade me adieu!—adieu, for ever!

I now shrieked in frantic terror—I tried to
recall her to life by my wild exclamations—I
would have warmed, in my bosom, the cold
hand I held, when she gently drew it from me,
and pointing to her two children, whom I now
saw standing by the side of the bed, clinging to
a young woman, who was, I fancied, Fanny
Waverly
, she said, in a yet lower and more
mournful tone—“Desmond!—if you ever truly
loved me, it is there you must shew your affection.”
—I then saw the last breath tremble on
those lovely lips—it was gone—Geraldine was
lost for ever!—And, in an agony of despair, suc G6v 132
such as, thank Heaven, I never was conscious
of waking; I threw myself on the ground.—
The violence of this ideal emotion restored me
to myself.—I awoke—my face bathed in tears,
and in such confusion of spirits, that it was long
before I could recall myself to reason, and to a
clear conviction, that all this was only a dream.
So strong was the impression, that I dared not
hazard feeling it again by sleeping.—I therefore
put on my great coat, and as the moon now
shone in unclouded radiance, I went down into
the garden, and wandered among the bosquets
and treillage that make its formal ornaments.—
Still the figure of Geraldine pursued me, such
as I had seen her in this distressing vision—Still
I heard her voice bidding me an eternal adieu!
—I would have given the world to have had
some human being to have spoken to, that these
imaginary sounds of plaintive sorrow might
have vibrated in my ears no longer, but I was
ashamed of awakening Montfleuri, had I known
where to have found him—And my servant
Warley, I had left at Montfleuri, to bring my
letters after me.

I continued, therefore, to traverse this melancholy
garden—Sometimes resolving to conquer
my weakness, and return to my bed, and
then shrinking for the apprehensions of being
again liable to the terror I had just experienced.
At length, I heard the clock of the church
strike three—I followed the sound for two or
three hundred paces, through a cut walk that
led from the garden towards it, and entering
the church-yard, which is the cimetiére of a
large village, I was again struck with a circumstance
that had before appeared particularly dismal.mal. G7r 133
I mean, that there are in France no
marks of graves, as in England, “Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap.”
Here all is level—and forgetfulness seems to have
laid her cold oblivious hand on all who rest within
these enclosures.

No object appears in the mournful spot I was
now contemplating, but a cross, on which a
dead Christ painted, and representing life, as
closely as possible, was suspended; the moonbeams
falling directly on this, added to the
dreary horrors of the scene.—I stood a few moments
looking on it, and then was roused from
my mournful reverie by the sound of human
voices, and of horses feet.—I listened, and found
these sounds came from the farm-yard, which
was only two or three hundred paces before me.
—Hither I gladly found my way, and saw the
vine-dressers, and people employed in the making
wine, preparing for their work, and going to
gather the grapes while the dew was yet on
them. Rejoiced to find somebody to speak to,
I entered into conversation with them, and for
a moment dissipated my ideas—I followed them
to the vine-yard, assisted in their labours, and
was equally astonished and pleased to hear, how
rationally these unenlightened men considered
the blessing of their new-born liberty, and with
what manly firmness determined to preserve it.

There was among them a Breton, who appeared
to have more acuteness and knowledge
than the rest; with him, I shall take an opportunity
of having farther discourse.

It is now one o’clock at noon.—I have had
an hour’s conversation with Montfleuri—I have paid G7v 134
paid my morning compliments to the Count—
I have been amused with the ridiculous anger of
Le Maire, whom Montfleuri has been provoking
to display it, on the subject of the abolished
titles—Yet, even after all this, the impression
I received in my sleep is not dissipated
—Yet, I am certainly not superstitious.—I
have, assuredly, no faith in dreams, which are,
I know, but

“The children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain phantasy, And more inconstant than the vagrant winds.” Shakespeare.

I shall hear from England, perhaps, to-morrow,
or Friday, and then be able to laugh at my
weakness, as much as you have probably done
in reading this. I hear the Count’s courier is
ready to set out for Clermont. I must, therefore,
hastily bid you, dear Bethel, adieu!

Lionel Desmond.

Let- G8r 135

Letter XIII. Written before the receipt of Bethel’s last letter.

To Mr. Bethel.

Montfleuri came into my room yesterday
morning with letters in his hand, which
he had just received from his own house—I
asked eagerly for mine, but there were none,
and my servant yet remains waiting for them.—
I expressed, perhaps too forcibly, what I felt—
impatience and disappointment; when Montfleuri,
as soon as these emotions had a little
subsided, asked me gaily, “whether I had
many near and dear relations in England, for
whose health I was so extremely solicitous as to
injure my own by my anxiety?”
—I replied,
“that though I had very few relations, and
with those few seldom corresponded, yet, that
I had friends to whom I was warmly attached.”

“And some lovely and fond woman also, I
fancy,”
interrupted he; “for, my dear Desmond,mond G8v 136
the friendship, however great, that subsists
between persons of the same sex, creates
not these violent anxieties.—Ah! my good
friend, I fancy you are a very fortunate fellow
—As to my two sisters, they seem, by their letters,
to be quite enchanted with you; and Josephine
(whose tears, indeed, at our parting, I
did not before attribute all to my own account)
declares in this letter, that if I do not soon return
with my English friend, she and Julie must
rejoin us here, notwithstanding their dislike to
this melancholy place; for, that since we have
left Montfleuri, it is become so extremely trieste,
that they are half dead with lassitude and ennui.
You remember, I dare say, hearing fine sentimental
speeches from Josephine about the
charms of solitude and the beauties of nature.—
Now nature was never more beautiful than it is
at this moment in the Lyonois, yet is my gentle
Josephine most marvellously discontent. Desmond,
do tell me how you manage to bewitch the
women in this manner?”

I was neither gay enough to enjoy this raillery,
or coxcomb enough to believe that Madame
de Boisbelle
regretted me at Montfleuri.—
Indeed, I rather felt hurt at her brother’s speaking
of her thus lightly; but with him this vivacity
is constitutional.—He has besides, from
education, habit, and principles, much freer
notions than I have about women.—He again
enquired of me of what nature was my English
attachment—a question I declined answering;
for the name of Geraldine is not to be prophaned
by his suspicions, or even his conjectures.—
Were I to say that my passion for her is as pure
and holy as that of a fond brother for a lovely
and amiable sister, which I am almost sure it is, he G9r 137
he would turn my Platonism into ridicule; or,
if he could be persuaded to believe that such a
passion exists, he would think that she was a
prude, and that I am an ideot; and to this,
though I can forgive it, because he does not
know Geraldine, I will not expose myself.

I heartily wish the time fixed for our stay here
was expired—I am weary of the place—The
frigid magnificence in which we live is very
dull, and the perpetual arguments between the
Count and his Nephew, are sometimes, at
least, distressing.—The former, with that
haughty obstinacy that endeavours to set itself
above the reason it cannot combat, defends,
with asperity and anger, those prejudices, in
obedience to which he is about to quit his country
—Though could he determine to throw them
off, he might undoubtedly continue at home,
as much respected, and more beloved than ever.
he was in the meridian of his power.

The dialougesdialogues, which he is fond of holding
with Montfleuri, have not unfrequently been
carried on with so much warmth on his side, as
to alarm me, lest they should produce an open
rupture; for what the old Count wants in soundness
of argument, he makes up in heat and declamation.
—His nephew, however, has so
much good temper, and such an habitual respect
for him, that he never suffers himself to be
too much ruffled; and d’Hauteville, after the
most violent of these contentions, is under the
necessity of recollecting, that it is on his nephew
he must depend for the care of his pecuniary
concerns (a matter to which he is by no
means indifferent) when he goes into the voluntary
exile to which he chuses to condemn himself.
He also recollects, that he owes to Montfleurifleuri G9v 138
a considerable sum of money, part of his
mother’s fortune; which, together with the arrear
of interest he has always evaded paying by
the chicanery of the old laws; and, he now
fears, that when equal justice is established, this
claim may be revived and enforced by Montfleuri.
—Thus it is rather interest than affinity
that prevents his breaking with his nephew;
and that compels him, with averted and reluctant
ears, to hear those truths which Montfleuri
speaks to him, with the same coolness,
and as much divested of considerations of personal
interest, as his nephew would speak before
a conclave of cardinals, or, if it could be
collected, of emperors.

To-day, after dinner, Montfleuri happened
to be absent, and the Count taking advantage of
it, began to talk to me, whom he wishes to
win over to his party, on the subject nearest his
heart—the abolition of all titular distinctions in
France—He went back to the earliest records
of the kingdom to prove what I never doubted
—the antiquity of titles, as if that were an irrefragable
proof of their utility.—“My God,
Sir!”
cried he, “is it possible—that you—that
you—who are, without doubt, yourself of noble
blood”
“Pardon me, Sir,” said I, “for interrupting
you, but if that be of any weight in
the argument you are going to use, it is necessary
to tell you, your supposition is erroneous
—I am not noble.—My ancestors, so far as I
ever traced them, which is indeed a very little
way, were never above the rank of plain country
gentlemen; and, I am afraid, towards the
middle of the last century, lose even that dignity
in a miller and a farmer.”
“Well, Sir,”
continued the Count, in whose esteem I had gained G10r 139
gained nothing by this humble disclosure of
my origin.—“Well, Sir, however that may
have been—you are now, I understand, from
the Marquis, my nephew, a man of large fortune
and liberal education—and therefore, in
your own country, where noblesse is not so much
insisted upon, you have, undoubtedly, mixed
much with men of high birth, and eminent
consideration.”
“Really, Sir, you do me an
honor in that supposition, to which I am not
very well entitled. With us, it is true, that a
considerable fortune is a passport to such society;
and had I found any satisfaction in enlisting myself
under the banners of either of those parties,
who are always contending for the good of old
England, I might have been admitted among
the old and middle aged, who are busied in arranging
the affairs of the public; or among the
young, who are yet more busy in disarranging
their own. But having no taste for the society
of either the one or the other, I can boast of
only one titled friend in my own country; and
he is a man whom I love and honor for the virtues
of his heart, not for the splendor of his situation.
—Possessing an illustrious name and a
noble fortune, he has a dignity of mind, and a
sensibility of heart, which those advantages not
unfrequently destroy. Could we, among our
numerous nobility, boast of many such men,
their conduct would be a stronger argument in
favor of the advantages of a powerful aristocracy,
than the most dazzling shew of a birthday
exhibition, or the most plausible vindication
of titular distinctions that we have ever
yet heard.—There may, for ought I know,
be others equally respectable for their private
virtues, but they have not fallen within my observation;
and judging, therefore, of the greater part G10v 140
part of them through the medium of public report,
I have felt no wish to approach them
nearer.”
“However you may think of individuals,
Sir,”
said the Count, “you surely are
not so blinded, so infatuated, by the doctrines
that have obtained most unhappily for this
country, as not to feel the necessity that this order
of men should exist.—You must know, that
the wisdom of our ancient kings created this
distinction, that is to say, they thought it expedient
to raise the brave and valiant above the
common level of mankind, by giving them
badges and titles of honor, in order to mark and
perpetuate their glorious deeds, and stimulate,
to emulation, their illustrious posterity—now
—if these well-earned rewards are taken from
their descendants—if these sacred distinctions be
annihilated, and the names of heroes past, be
erased from the records of mankind—I assert,
that there is an end, not only of justice, but of
emulation, subordination—all that gives safety
to property, or grace to society—and the world
will become a chaos of confusion and outrage.
—What!—shall a man of trade, a negociant,
an upstart dealer in wine, or wood, or sugar,
or cloth, approach one in whose veins, perhaps,
the blood of our Lusignans and Tancreds circulates.
—The same blood which, in the defence
of our holy religion, was shed in Palestine.
—I say, shall a mushroom, a fungus approach
these illustrious descendants of honored
ancestors, and say, ‘Behold, Oh! man of
high descent, I am thy equal, my country declares
it!’”

Indignation here arrested the eloquence it had
produced, and gave me an opportunity of saying,
“My dear Sir, the united voices of commonmon G11r 141
sense, nature, and reason, declared all
this long ago, though it is only now you are
compelled to hear them. As to the degradation
of Messieurs, the present descendants of your
Lusignans and Tancreds, if it be a degradation
to be accounted only men, I really am much
concerned for them; but for the ill effects it
otherwise produces, inasmuch as such motives
fail as might excite them to equal these their
great progenitors, I cannot understand that
there is in that respect much to regret.—The
days of chivalry will never, I apprehend, return;
the ravings of a fanatic monk will never
again prevail on the French to make a crusade.
—Nay,”
added I, smiling, “there seems but little
probability that they will soon be called upon to
take arms, in a cause which has in later times
appeared of greater moment—I mean, rescuing
what one of your writers calls ‘le vain honneur du
pavillon,’ The vain honor of the flag, which, till within a few years,
the English have always insisted on having struck to them in
the Narrow Seas.
from the arrogant superiority of us
presumptuous islanders. The real value of
both these objects, for which so much blood
has been wasted, seems to be better understood,
the real interest of humanity to appear in its
proper light. Since, therefore, we no longer
have occasion to follow the example of those heroes
who have bled for either—Why contemplate
them with such blind reverence? I suppose,
Sir, you will not say, that the frantic expeditions
to the Holy Land, preached by Peter
the Hermit
, answered any other purpose than
to depopulate and impoverish your country and
mine. Nor will you maintain, that either
France or England have gained any thing but taxes G11v 142
taxes and poverty by the continual wars with
which we have been harassing each other,
through a succession of ages. Surely then it is
time to recall our imaginations from these wild
dreams of fanaticism and heroism—Time to
remove the gorgeous trappings, with which we
have drest up folly, that we might fancy it
glory.—The tinsel ornaments we have borrowed
as the livery of this phantom, are become
tarnished and contemptible—Let not regret
then, that the hand of sober reason tears off
these poor remaining shreds, with which virtue
disdains to attempt encreasing its genuine lustre;
with which selfishness and folly must fail
to hide their real deformity.—Have patience
with me yet a moment—while I ask—whether
you really think, that a dealer in wine, or in
wood, in sugar, or cloth, is not endued with
the same faculties and feelings as the descendant
of Charlemagne; and whether the accidental
advantages of being able to produce a long pedigree
(which, notwithstanding the infinite virtue
ascribed to matrons of antiquity, is, I fear,
often very doubtful) ought to give to the noble
who possesses it, a right to consider every lower
rank of men as being of an inferior and subordinante
species”

“So, Sir,”—angrily burst forth the Count
“So, Sir!—I must, from all this, conclude,
that you consider your footman upon an equality
with yourself.—Why then is he your footman?;”
This argument has been called unanswerable.

“Because—though my footman is certainly
so far upon an equality with me, as he is a man,
and a free-man; there must be a distinction in local G12r 143
local circumstances; though they neither render
me noble, or him base—I happen to be
born heir to considerable estates; it is his chance
to be the son of a labourer, living on those estates.
—I have occasion for his services, he has
occasion for the money by which I purchase
them: in this compact we are equal so far as
we are free.—I, with my property, which is
money, buy his property, which is time, so
long as he is willing to sell it.—I hope and believe
my footman feels himself to be my fellowman;
but I have not, therefore, any apprehension
that instead of waiting behind my chair, he
will sit down in the next.—He was born poor—
but he is not angry that I am rich—so long as
my riches are a benefit and not an oppression to
him.—He knows that he can never be in my situation,
but he knows also that I can amend
his.—If, however, instead of paying him for
his services, I were able to say to him, as has
been done by the higher classes throughout Europe,
and is still in too many parts of it—‘you
are my vassal—you were born upon my estate—
you are my property—and you must come to
work, fight, die for me, on whatever conditions
I please to impose;’
—my servant, who
would very naturally perceive no appeal against
such tyrannical injustice, but to bodily prowess
would, as he is probably the most athletic of
the two, discover that so far from being compelled
to stand on such terms behind my chair,
he was well able either to place himself in the
next, or to turn me out of mine.— ‘Ceux qui disent G12v 144
disent que tous les hommes sont égaux,’ “Those who say that all men are equal, say that which is
perfectly true, if they mean that all men have an equal right
to personal and mental liberty; to their respective properties; and
and to the protection of the laws: but they would be as certainly
wrong in believing that men ought to be equal in trusts,
in employments, since nature has not made them equal in their
talents.”
says
Voltaire‘Ceux qui disent que tous les hommes
sont égaux, disent la plus grande vérité
s’ils entendent que tous les hommes ont un droit
égal à la liberté, à la propriété de leurs biens,
& à la protection des loix.—Ils se tromperaient
beaucoup, s’ils croyaient que les hommes,
doivent être égaux par les emplois, puisqu’ils
ne le sont pas par leurs talens.’” “Those who say that all men are equal, say that which is
perfectly true, if they mean that all men have an equal right
to personal and mental liberty; to their respective properties; and
and to the protection of the laws: but they would be as certainly
wrong in believing that men ought to be equal in trusts,
in employments, since nature has not made them equal in their
talents.”

“Voltaire!” impatiently exclaimed the
Count, “why always Voltaire?—one is perfectly
stunned with the false wit and insiduous
misrepresentations of that atheistical scribbler.”

Against the defender of the family of Calas;
the protector of the Sirvens; the benefactor of
all mankind, whom he pitied, served, and
laughed at; the Count now most furiously declaimed,
in a long and angry speech, which, as
it possessed neither truth or argument, I have
forgot.—Towards the close of it, however, he
had worked himself into such a state of irritation,
that he seemed on the point of forgetting
that on which he so highly values himself—
“Les manières de la vieille cour.”

The entrance of a man of the church, whose
diminished revenues had yet had no effect,
either in reducing his figure, or subduing his
arrogance, made a momentary diversion in my
favour.

But the Count was now heated by his subject:
and, being reinforced with so able an auxiliary,
he returned to the charge.—He related
the subject of our controversy to his friend, who, H1r 145
who, while he spoke, surveyed me with such
looks, as one of the holy brotherhood of the Inquisition
may be supposed to throw on the unhappy
culprit whom he is about to condemn to
the flames on the next auto de fé—In a manner
peculiar, I trust, to la vielle cour ecclesiastique,
he gave me to understand, that he considered
me as an ignorant atheistical boy; and, that
his abhorrence of my principles was equalled
only by his contempt for my country and myself.
“Voltaire,” said he, “Voltaire, Monsieur
l’Anglois
, is a wretch with whose name
I sully not my mind; a monster whose pernicious
writings have overturned the religion and
the government of his country.”
The manner
in which this was said, brought to my mind an
expression which Voltaire puts himself into the
mouth of such a character.—“Ah! nous serions
les maîtres du monde, sans ces coquins de
gens d’esprit.” “Ah! we should be masters of the world, were it not for
those rascally wits.”
I continued to listen to the
discourse which the Count now resumed; the
purpotpurpose of which was to convince me, that the
decree of the nineteenth of May, was subversive
of all order, and ruinous alike to the dignity
and happiness of a state.—At length he
stopped to recover his breath, and gave me an
opportunity of saying, “if, Sir, I might be
once more permitted to quote so obnoxious an
author Voltaire. as him of whom we have just been
speaking, I should say, that ‘Le nom est indifférent;
il n’y a que le pouvoir qui ne le soit
pas.’ “The name is immaterial: it itis the power only that is of
consequence.”
—If the name of noblesse was so connected Vol. I. H with H1v 146
with the power of oppression, that they could
not be divided, the nation had a right to take
away both; if otherwise, it might, perhaps,
have been politic to have divided them, and
have left to the French patricians, these sounds
on which they seem to feel that their consequence
depends; together with the invaluable
privileges of having certain symbols painted on
their coaches, or woven on their furniture;
and of dressing their domestics in one way rather
than in another.—A great people who had every
thing on which its freedom and its prosperity
depended to consider, must surely have seen
such objects as these with so much indifference,
that had they not been evidently obnoxious to
the spirit of reform, they would have left them
to the persons who so highly value them; persons
who resolve to quit their country because
they are no longer to be enjoyed in it.—The
framers of the new constitution, had they not
been well convinced of the inefficacy of mere
palliation, would not, certainly, by destroying
these distinctions (matters in themselves quite
inconsequential) have raised against the fabrick
they were planning, the unextinguishable rage
and hatred of a great body of men; but would
have left them in quiet possession of these baubles
so necessary to their happiness.”

“Hold, Sir,” cried the Count, whose impatience
could no longer be restrained—“Hold,
Sir, and do not speak thus contemptuously I entreat
you, of an advantage which it is very truly
said, no man undervalues who is possessed of it.
—You, Sir, have owned that your family is
roturier—How then, and at your time of life,
when the real value of objects cannot have been
taught you by experience; how then can you pretend H2r 147
pretend to judge of that which is appreciated by
the wisdom of ages, and has been held up as
the reward of heroic virtues.—Baubles!—Is it
thus you term the name a man derives from his
illustrious ancestors—Bauble!—are the honors
handed down to me, from the first d’Hauteville,
who lived under Louis le Gros, the sixth in descent
from Charlemagne, to be thus contumaciously
described by the upstart politics of modern
reformers.”

I was really concerned to see the poor man
so violently agitated, and replied, “My dear
Sir—I allow much to the pride derived from ancestry
—Where the dignity of an house has been
supported, as I doubt not, but that you have
supported yours; but let me on the other side
say, that there are but too many who certainly
inherit not, with their names, the virtues of
their progenitors. You recollect a maxim of
Rochefaucault’s on this subject, which, as I
remember to have heard, that he is a favourite
author of your’s, you will allow me to bring
forward in support of my argument—‘Les
grands noms abaissent au lieu d’élever, ceux qui
ne savent pas les soutenir.’ “Great names degrade, instead of raising, those who
know not how to support them.”
—Maxime 94, de Rochefaucault.
Besides, how
many are there, both in your country and mine,
who are called noble, who cannot, in fact, refer
to the examples of a long line of ancestry,
to animate them, by example, to dignified conduct.
—How very many, who owe to money,
and not hereditary merit, the right they assume
to look down on the rest of the world. It is
true, that for the most part, that world repays
their contempt; and it is from the vulgar only, H2 who H2v 148
who venerate a new coronet, which is generally
‘twice as big as an old one’—that they receive
even the ‘knee homage’, this valued appendage
gives them. ‘Les Rois sont des hommes
commes des pieces de monnoie; ils les sont valoir
ce qu’ils veulent, & l’on est forcé de les recevoir,
selon leurs cours, & non pas selon leur
véritable prix.’” “Kings give value to men as they do to coin; they mark
them with what stamp they please; and the world receives
them according to this imaginary estimate, and not according
to their real value.”
Rochefaucault, Maxime 158.

“Let such men, then,” said Monsieur
d’Hauteville
, “let such be erased, with all my
heart, from the catalogue of noble names.—Indeed,
it is well known, that we never considered
such as belonging to our order.—I argue not
about them—but for those, whose blood gives
them pretensions to different treatment.—Ah!
Monsieur Desmond, if it were possible—but it
is not—for you to understand my feelings, you
would comprehend, how utterly impossible it is
for me, at my time of life, to continue in this
lost and debased country, to drag on an existence,
from which every thing valuable is
gone, and which is consequently exposed to indignity
and scorn—Would they not erase my
arms? change my description? tear down the
trophies of my house?”
—These ideas seemed
so deeply to affect the Count, that his respiration
again became affected; his eyes appeared to
be starting from his head; and he assumed so
much the look of a man on the point of becoming
insane, that I thought it more than time
to conclude a conversation, that I should not
have continued so long, had he not seemed to
desire it.

With H3r 149

With inveterate prejudice, thus fondly
nursed from early youth, it were hopeless to contend
—In the mind of Monsieur d’Hauteville,
this notion of family consequence is so interwoven,
so associated with all his ideas, that, as
the ivy coeval with the tree, at length, destroys
its vital principle, this sentiment now predominates
to the extinction of reason itself—
“These prejudices,” says an eminent living
writer, Priestley’s Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever. “arise from what are commonly called
false views of things, or improper associations
of ideas, which, in the extreme, become delirium,
or madness; and is conspicuous to every
person, except to him, who actually labours
under this disorder of mind.”

I withdrew, therefore, as soon as I could,
ing Monsieur d’Hauteville with his friend;
who, I am sure, had his looks possessed the
power imputed to those of the Basilisk, would
then have concluded my adventures.—As I
passed through the last anti-room, and turned
my eyes on the drawing of a great genealogical
tree, which covers one side of it, I could not
help philosophizing on the infinite variety of the
modes of thinking among mankind—The difference
between my consideration of such an
object, and that bestowed on it by Monsieur
d’Hauteville
, struck me forcibly. Had I such
a yellow scroll, though it described my descent
from Adam or Noah, from a knight of the
flaming sabre, or a king of the West Saxons
—I should probably, on the first occasion
that such a material was wanted, cut it
into angular slips, and write directions on
the back of these parchment shreds, for the
pheasants and hares that I send to my friends— While H3v 150
While Monseigneur le Comte d’Hauteville is
going to leave his native country, because the
visionary honor he derives from this record, are
not ostensibly allowed him in it—Exclaiming,
poor man! to the National Assembly, “Oh!
ye have— ‘From my own windows torn my houshold coat; Raz’d out my impress; leaving me no sign To shew the world I am a gentleman!’” Shakespeare’s Richard the Second.

I here conclude this long letter, though I
shall not seal it to night, because I have here
much time on my hands, and cannot employ it
better than in writing to you; and because, I
hope to dispach by the same conveyance that
takes this, an answer to those which I hope to
have from you—for surely, my servant will be
here to-morrow or Tuesday, with the letters
that I have so long expected to be directed to the
chateau de Montfleuri, from England; and
which I now await, with hourly and increasing
impatience.

Vale—Vale et me ama

,

L. Desmond.

Let- H4r 151

Letter XIV. Written before the receipt of Bethel’s last letter.

To Mr. Bethel.

Did I not name to you a Breton, who had
something in his air and manner unlike others
of the peasantry?—Whenever I have observed
him, he seemed to be the amusement of his fellow
labourers; there was an odd quaint kind of
pleasantry about him; and I wished to enter
into conversation with him, which I had yesterday
evening an opportunity of doing.—
“You are not of this part of France, my
friend?”
said I—“No, Monsieur—I am a Breton
—And now, would return into my own
country again, but that, in a fit of impatience,
at the excessive impositions I laboured under,
I sold my little property about four years ago,
and now must continue to ‘courir le monde,
& de vivre comme il plaroit à Dieu’”
Sterne
has, I think, translated that to be upon nothing. My H4v 152
My acquaintance did not appear to be fond of
such meagre diet. “But, pray,” said I, “explain
to me, what particular oppressions you
had to complain of, that drove you to so desperate,
and as it has happened, so ill-timed a
resolution.”

“I believe,” replied he, “that I am naturally of
a temper a little impatient, and it was not much
qualified by making a campaign or two against the
English; the first was in a ship of war, fitted out
at St. Malo’s—or, in other words, Monsieur, a
privateer; for though I was bred a sailor, and
loved fighting well enough, I was refused even
as Ensigne de vaisseau, Answering, I believe, to our midshipmen. on board a king’s ship,
because I was not a gentleman—My father, however,
had a pretty little estate, which he inherited
from his great, great grandfather—But he
had an elder son, and I was to scramble through
the world as well as I could—They wanted,
indeed, to make me a monk; but I had a mortal
aversion to that métier, Trade—profession. and thought it better
to run the risque of getting my head taken off
by a cannon ball, than to shave it—My first
debut was not very fortunate—We fell in with
an English frigate, with whom, though it was
hopeless enough to contend, we exchanged a
few shot, for the honor of our country; and
one of those we were favored with in return,
tore off the flesh from my right leg, without
breaking the bone—The wound was bad
enough, but the English surgeon sewed it up,
and before we landed, I was so well as to be
sent with the rest of our crew to the prison at
Winchester—I had heard a great deal of the humanity H5r 153
humanity of the English to their prisoners, and
supposed I might bear my fate without much
murmuring; but we were not treated the better
for belonging to a privateer.—The prison was
over-crowded, and very unhealthy—The provisions,
I believe, might be liberally allowed by your
government, but they were to pass through the
hands of so many people, every one of which had
their advantage out of them, that, before they
were distributed in the prison, there was but little
reason to boast of the generosity of your countrymen.
To be sure, the wisdom and humanity
of war is very remarkable in a scene like this,
where one nation shuts up five or six thousand
of the subjects of another, to be fed by contract
while they live; and when they die, which twothirds
of the number seldom fail to do—to be
buried by contract—Yes!—out of nine-andtwenty
of us poor devils, who were taken in our
little privateer, fourteen died within three weeks;
among whom, was a relation of mine, a gallant
fellow, who had been in the former wars with
the English, and stood the hazards of many a
bloody day—He was an old man, but had a
constitution so enured to hardships, and the
changes of climate, that he seemed likely to see
many more—A vile fever that lurked in the
prison seized him—My hammock (for we were
slung in hammocks, one above another, in those
great, miserable rooms, which compose, what
they say is, an unfinished palace) was hung
above his, and when he found himself dying,
he called to me to come to him—‘’Tis all over
with me, my friend,’
said he—‘N’importe one
must die at some time or other, but I should
have liked it better by a cannon ball—Nothing,
however, vexes me more in this business, than H5 that H5v 154
that I have been the means of bringing you
hither to die in this hole—’
(for, in fact, it was
by his advice, I had entered on board the privateer)
‘However, it may be, you will out-live
this confounded place, and have another touch
at these damned English.’
National hatred,
that strange and ridiculous prejudice in which
my poor old friend had lived, was the last sensation
he felt in death—He died quietly enough,
in a few moments afterwards, and the next day
I saw him tied up between two boards, by way
of the coffin, which was to be provided by contract;
and deposited in the fosse that surrounded
our prison, in a grave, dug by contract, and of
course very shallow, in which he was covered
with about an inch of mold, which was by contract
also, put over him, and seven other prisoners,
who died at the same time!—My youth,
and a great flow of animal spirits, carried me
through this wretched scene—And a young officer,
who was a native of the same part of
Britany, and who was a prisoner on parole, at
a neighbouring town, procured leave to visit the
prison at Winchester, and enquired me out—
He gave me, though he could command very
little money himself, all he had about him, to
assist me in procuring food, and promised to try
if he could obtain for me my parole, as he knew
my parents, and was concerned for my situation
—But his intentions, in my favor, were soon
frustrated, for, on the appearance of the combined
fleets in the Channel, the French officers,
who were thought too near the coast, were ordered
away to Northampton, while, very soon
afterwards, a number of Spaniards, who had
among them a fever of a most malignant sort,
were sent to the prison already over-crowded, and H6r 155
and death began to make redoubled havock
among its wretched inhabitants—Of so dire a
nature was the disease thus imported, that while
the bodies that were thrown over-board from
the Spanish fleet, and driven down by the tide
on the coasts of Cornwall and Devonshire, carried
its fatal influence into those countries, the
prisoners, who were sent up from Plymouth,
disseminated destruction in their route, and
among all who approached them; thus becoming
the instruments of greater mischief, than the
sword and the bayonet could have executed.—
Not only the miserable prisoners of war, who
were now a mixture of French, Spanish, and
Dutch perished by dozens every day; but the
soldiers who guarded them, the attendants of the
prison, the physical men who were sent to
administer medicines, and soon afterwards, the
inhabitants of the town, and even those of the
neighbouring country began to suffer—Then it
was that your government perceingperceiving this ‘blessing
of war’
likely to extend itself rather too far,
thought proper to give that attention to it,
which the calamities of the prisoners would
never have excited. A physician was sent down
by Parliament, to examine into the causes of
this scourge; and in consequence of the impossibility
of stopping it while such numbers
were crowded together, the greater part of the
French, whom sickness had spared, were dismissed,
and I, among others, returned to my
own country. I, soon after, not discouraged by
what had befallen me, entered on board another
privateer, which had the good fortune to capture
two West-India ships, richly laden, and to bring
them safely into l’Orient, where we disposed of
their cargoes; and my share was so considerable,ble, H6v 156
that I determined to quit the sea, and return
to my friends—When, in pursuance of
this resolution, I arrived at home, I found my
father and elder brother had died during my absence;
and I took possession of the little estate
to which I thus became heir, and began to think
myself a person of some consequence. In commencing
country gentleman, I sat myself down
to reckon all the advantages of my situation
—An extensive tract of waste land lay on one
side of my little domain—On the other, a forest
—My fields abounded with game—a river ran
through them, on which I depended for a supply
of fish; and I determined to make a little warren,
and to build a dove-cote. I had undergone
hardships enough to give me a perfect relish
for the good things now within my reach;
and I resolved most piously to enjoy them—But
I was soon disturbed in this agreeable reverie—
I took the liberty of firing one morning at a
covey of partridges, that were feeding in my
corn; and having the same day caught a brace
of trout, I was sitting down to regale myself on
these dainties, when I received the following
notice from the neighbouring seigneur, with
whom I was not at all aware that I had any
thing to do.

‘The most high and most powerful seigneur,
Monseigneur Raoul-Phillippe-Joseph-Alexandre-Cæsar
Erispoé, Baron de Kermanfroi
, signifies
to Louis-John de Merville, that he the
said seigneur is in quality of Lord Paramount,
is to all intents and purposes invested with the
sole right and property of the river running
through his fief, together with all the fish
therein; the rushes, reeds, and willows that
grow in or near the said river; all trees and plants H7r 157
plants that the said river waters; and all the
islands and aits within it—Of all and every one
of which the high and mighty lord, Raoul-Phillippe-Joseph-Alexander-Cæsar
Erispoé, Baron
de Kermanfroi
, is absolute and only proprietor
—Also, of all the birds of whatsoever nature
or species, that have, shall, or may, at any time
fly on, or across, or upon, the said fief or seigneury
—And all the beasts of chase, of whatsoever
description, that have, shall, or may be found
upon it.’
—In short, Sir, it concluded with informing
me, the said Louis-Jean, that if I, at
any time, dared to fish in the river, or to shoot
a bird upon the said fief, of which it seems my
little farm unluckily made part, I should be delivered
into the hands of justice, and dealt with
according to the utmost rigor of the offended
laws. To be sure, I could not help enquiring
within myself how it happened, that I had no
right to the game thus fed in my fields, nor
the fish that swam in the river? and how it was,
that heaven, in creating these animals, had
been at work only for the great seigneurs!—
What! is there nothing, said I, but insects and
reptiles, over which man, not born noble, may
exercise dominion?—From the wren to the
eagle; from the rabbit to the wild-boar; from
the gudgeon to the pike—all, all, it seems, are
the property of the great. ’Twas hard to imagine
where the power originated, that thus deprived
all other men of their rights, to give to
those nobles the empire of the elements, and the
dominion over animated nature!—However, I
reflected, but I did not resist; and since I could
no longer bring myself home a dinner with my
gun, I thought to console myself as well as I
could, with the produce of my farm-yard; and I con- H7v 158
I constructed a small enclosed pigeon-house,
from whence, without any offence to my noble
neighbour, I hoped to derive some supply for
my table—But, alas! the comfortable and retired
state of my pigeons attracted the aristocratic
envy of those of the same species, who inhabited
the spacious manorial dove-cote of Monseigneur;
and they were so very unreasonable
as to cover, in immense flocks, not only my
fields of corn, where they committed infinite
depredations, but to surround my farm-yard,
and monopolize the food with which I supplied
my own little collection, in their inclosures.
As if they were instinctively assured of the protection
they enjoyed as belonging to the seigneur
Raoul-Phillippe-Joseph-Alexander-Cæsar Erispoé,
Baron de Kermanfroi
; my menaces, and
the shouts of my servants, were totally disregarded;
till, at length, I yielded too hastily to
my indignation, and threw a stone at a flight of
them, with so much effect, that I broke the leg
of one of these pigeons; the consequence of
which was, that in half an hour, four of the
gardes de chasse Game-keepers. of Monseigneur appeared, and
summoned me to declare, if I was not aware,
that the wounded bird which they produced in
evidence against me, was the property of the
said seigneur; and without giving me time either
to acknowledge my crime, or apologize for it,
they shot, by way of retaliation, the tame
pigeons in my enclosures, and carried me away
to the chateau of the most high and puissant
seigneur Raoul-Phillippe-Joseph-Alexander-
sar Erispoé, Baron de Kermanfroi
, to answer
for the assault I had thus committed on the personson H8r 159
of one of his pigeons—There I was interrogated
by the Fiscal, who was making out a proces
verbal
; and reproved severely for not knowing
or attending to the fact, so universally acknowledged
by the laws of Britany, that pigeons
and rabbits were creatures peculiarly dedicated
to the service of the nobles; and that for a vassal,
as I was, to injure one of them, was an
unpardonable offence against the rights of my
lord, who might inflict any punishment he
pleased for my transgression—That indeed, the
laws of Beauvoisis pronounced, that such an
offence was to be punished with death; but
that the milder laws of Britany condemned the
offender only to corporal punishment, at the
mercy of the lord—In short, Sir, I got off this
time by paying a heavy fine to Monseigneur
Raoul-Phillippe-Joseph-Alexander-Cæsar,
Erispoé, Baron de Kermanfroi
, who was extremely
necessitous, in the midst of his greatness.
—Soon afterwards, Monseigneur discovered
that there was a certain spot upon my estate,
where a pond might be made, for which he
found that he had great occasion; and he very
modestly signified to me, that he should cause
this piece of ground to be laid under water, and
that he would either give me a piece of ground
of the same value, or pay me for it according
to the estimation of two persons whom he would
appoint; but, that in case I refused this just and
liberal offer, he should, as Lord Paramount,
and of his own right and authority, make his
pond by flooding my ground according to law.

I felt this proposal to be inconsistent with
every principle of justice—In this spot was an
old oak, planted by the first de Merville, who
had bought the estate—It was under its shade 2 that H8v 160
that the happiest hours of my life had passed,
while I was yet a child, and it had been held in
veneration by all my family—I determined then
to defend this favourite spot; and I hastened to
a neighbouring magistrate, learned in the law
—He considered my case, and then informed
me, that, in this instance, the laws of Britany
were silent, and that therefore, their deficiency
must be supplied by the customs and laws of the
neighbouring provinces—‘The laws of Maine
and Anjou,’
said he, ‘decide, that the seigneur of
the fief, may take the grounds of his vassal to
make ponds, or any thing else, only giving him
another piece of ground, or paying what is
equivalent in money—As precedent, therefore,
decides, that the same thing may be done in
Britany, I advise you, Louis-Jean de Merville,
to submit to the laws, and on receiving payment,
to give up your land to Monseigneur Raoul-
Phillippe-Joseph-Alexander-Cæsar Erispoé,
Baron de Kermanfroi
.’

It was in vain I represented that I had a
particular taste, or a fond attachment to this
spot. My man of law told me that a vassal had
no right to any taste or attachment, contrary to
the sentiments of his lord—And, alas!—in a
few hours, I heard the hatchet laid to my beloved
oak—My fine meadow was covered with
water, and became the receptacle for the carp,
tench, and eels of Monseigneur—And remonstrances
and complaints were in vain!—These
were only part of the grievances I endured from
my unfortunate neighbourhood to this powerful
Baron, to whom, in his miserable and half furnished
chateau, I was regularly summoned to do
homage ‘upon faith and oath’—Till my oppressions
becoming more vexatious and insupportable,able, H9r 161
I took the desperate resolution of selling
my estate, and throwing myself again upon the
wide world—Paris, whither I repaired with the
money for which I sold it, was a theatre so new,
and so agreeable to me, that I could not determine
to leave it till I had no longer the means
left of playing there a very brilliant part; when
that unlucky hour arrived, I wandered into this
country, and took up my abode with a relation,
a farmer, who rents some land of Monseigneur
the Count d’Hauteville
, and here I have remained,
at times, working, but oftener philosophizing,
and not unfrequently regretting my dear oak,
and the first agreeable visions that I indulged on
taking possession of my little farm, before I was
aware of the consequences of being a vassal of
Monseigneur Raoul-Phillippe-Joseph-Alexander-Cæsar
Erispoé, Baron de Kermanfroi
, and
indeed sometimes repenting that I did not wait
a little longer, when the revolution would have
protected me against the tyranny of my very
illustrious neighbour.”

De Merville here ended his narrative, every
word of which I found to be true; and I could not
but marvel at the ignorance or effrontery of those
who assert that the noblesse of France either possessed
no powers inimical to the general rights of
mankind, or possessing such, forbore to exert
them. The former part of his life bears testimony
to the extreme benefits accruing from war,
and cannot but raise a wish, that the power of doing
such extensive good to mankind, and renewing scenes
so very much to the honor of reasonable beings, may
never be taken from the princes and potentates of the
earth
. I thus endeavour, dear Bethel, by entering
into the interests of those I am with, to
call off my thoughts from my own, or I should find H9v 162
find this very long space of time, in which I
have failed to receive letters from England, almost
insupportable.

At the very moment I complain, I see my
servant Warham approaching the house—I fly,
impatiently, to receive news of Geraldine, of
you, of all I love; and hope to have a long, a
very long letter to write, in answer, to-morrow,
to those I expect from you—We go back to
Montfleuri the next day, this will therefore be
the last pacquet you will receive from hence.

Lionel Desmond.

Note The latter part of this narrative is a sort of free
translation of parts of a little pamphlet, entitled, Histoire
d’un malheureux Vassal de Bretagne, écrite par lui-même,

in which the excessive abuses to which the feudal system gave
birth, are detailed.
Let- H10r 163

Letter XV. Answer to letter XI.

To Mr. Bethel.

What did I say to you, dear Bethel, in
my letter of the 1790-08-2929th of August, that has given
you occasion to rally me so unmercifully about
Madame de Boisbelle; and to predict my “cure”,
as you call it—I cannot now recollect the contents
of that letter, but of this I am sure, that
I never was more fondly attached to the lovely
woman, from whom my destiny has divided me,
than at this moment; or ever saw the perfections
of other women with more indifference—
Were it possible for you, my friend, to comprehend
the anguish of heart which I have felt ever
since your last letters gave me such an account
of the situation of Verney’s affairs—You might
be convinced, that time, absence, and distance,
have had no such effect in altering my sentiments;ments; H10v 164
and that the sister of my friend Montfleuri,
were she even as partial to me, as some trifling
occurrences I have related, may have led you to
imagine, can never be to me more than an
agreeable acquaintance—far from being able to
detach my mind from the idea of Geraldine’s
situation—I have undergone continual raillery
from Montfleuri, for my extreme dejection,
ever since I heard it—If these distressing scenes
should become yet more alarming, I shall return
to England—There I shall, at least, learn the
progress of that ruin, which, though I cannot
wholly prevent, I may, perhaps, soften to her,
for whose sake alone, I deprecate its arrival—
Restless and wretched, I left Hauteville, hardly
conscious of the progress of my journey; and
since I came hither, have had a return of that
lurking fever which made my health one pretence
for my quitting England.

Montfleuri is not here, but was detained by
business at Aiguemont—I expect him to-morrow;
and shall then determine whether to bend
my course southward with him, or northward,
on my return to England. I cannot describe
to you how wretched I am—Surely, you never
loved, or you would not ridicule feelings so
acute as mine—Nor would you suppose that I
should think about my fortune, if the sacrifice
of any part of it could secure the peace and
competence of a being for whom I could lay
down my life. I intended to have continued a
little narrative of all that happens to me—of the
persons I meet—and of the conversation I hear
—but your raillery has changed my purpose.
Of whom can I speak here, but of Josephine
and Julie; and if I tell you that they wept with
pleasure on my arrival, and have since exerted them- H11r 165
themselves, with unceasing solicitude, to divert
the melancholy they cannot but perceive—You
would again renew that strain of ridicule about
the former, which I so little like to hear—This
prevents my telling you of a walk which Josephine
engaged me to take with her last night
to the ruin on the hill, of which, I believe, I
gave a slight description in some former letter—
nor will I, for the same reason, relate the conversation
that passed there—When seating herself
on a piece of a fallen column, she began,
after a deep sigh, and with eyes swimming in
tears, to relate to me the occurrences of her
unfortunate life.

Could I help listening to such a woman?—
Could I help sympathizing in sorrows which she
so well knows how to describe?—Alas! when
she complains that her mother betrayed her into
marriage with a man, for whom it was impossible
she ever could either feel love or esteem—
When she dwells on all the miseries of such a
connection, on the bitterness with which her
life is irrecoverably dashed—The similiarity of
her fate to that of Geraldine, awakens in my
mind a thousand subjects of painful recollection,
and fruitless regret—My tears flow with hers;
and she believes those emotions arise from extreme
sensibility, which are rather excited by
the situation of my own heart.

This kind of conversation so entirely engrossed
us last night, that I heeded not the progress
of time; and the sun had been for some
time sunk behind those distant mountains that
bound the extensive prospect from the eminence
we were upon, before I recollected that
we had a river to cross, and a very long walk
home.

When H11v 166

When these circumstances occurred to me,
I suddenly proposed to Madame de Boisbelle to
return—She had then been shedding tears in
silence, for some moments, and starting from
the melancholy attitude in which she sat, she
took my hand, and gently pressing it, said, as I
led her among the masses of the fallen buildings
that impeded our path—“To the unhappy, sympathy
and tenderness, like your’s, is so seducing,
that I have even trespassed on the indulgence
your pity seems willing to grant me—
I, perhaps, have too tediously dwelt on incurable
calamities, and called off your thoughts too
long from pleasanter subjects and happier women!”
—I answered—(not, I own, without
more emotion than I wished to have shewn) that
I had indeed listened. . . .

Dear Bethel, I here broke off, on receiving
intelligence that a messenger from Marseilles
had a pacquet to deliver to me. I hurried to
meet him, and received from a man sent express,
the letter I enclose, from Anthony, Waverly’s
old servant.

As I am not sure that my presence in England
can be useful to Geraldine, and have some
hopes that at Marseilles, it may yet save her
brother, I shall therefore hasten thither; but,
at the earnest entreaty of the ladies of this family,
I shall wait till noon to-morrow, by
which time Montfleuri will certainly be returned.
I have therefore dispatched my servant to
the next post house to order four horses hither
to-morrow—I have no hope that Waverly will
yield to reason, but his fluctuating character,
which is usually so much against him, is here
my only reliance—Direct your letters, till you
hear from me again, to the care of Messieurs Duhamel H12r 167
Duhamel and Bergot, at Marseilles; and do
not, I beseech you, my dear friend, trifle with
my unhappiness, but give me as exact an account
as you can collect of Verney’s affairs. As soon
as possible I hope to hear from you.

Your’s affectionately, ever,

Lionel Desmond.

Let- H12v 168

Letter XVI. Inclosed in the foregoing.

To Lionel Desmond, Esquire.

Sir.


Hoping you will excuse this freedom—
this is to let you know, that Master changed
his mind as to joining your honors party at my
lord the Count of Hottevills as he promised
faithfully, and instead thereof, set out with the
gentlemen as he was with for this place; where
they have introduced him to a family as is come
to settle near here since the troubles in the capitol;
which is, a mother, a son, and two daughters.
And master have lived with this family
all’s one as if it were his home—I know no
harm of the females—they are handsome young
women—that is the two daughters: but the son,
tho he appears so grand and fashinable, is as I
hear a sort of sharping chap—or what we call in 1 I1r 169
in England a black legs—He has won a good
deal of money of master, as I have reason to
think; but that does not altogether signify so
much as the intention they have persuaded him
into amongst them, to marry one of the mamselles;
which if something does not happen to
make him change his mind he will certainly do
out of hand—I can assure you honour’d Sir, I
never knew master so long in the same mind
ever since I have been in his service as upon
this occasion—And I thought proper to let you
know, because I am certain that my old lady,
nor no part of his relations could like of this
thing, and particularly his sister Mrs. Verney,
who said so much to him in my hearing about
being drawn in to marry, and advised him by
all means to consult you, before ever he resolved
upon any scheme whatever—I was so bold as to
tell this to my master, who was not angry indeed
with me, as he is a very good natured gentleman:
but he ask’d if so be I thought that he
was to be always a child in leading strings.

I thought it best, seeing this affair is still
going on to advertise your honor of it; and if
you think it proper to put an end thereto by
your hinterference I think there is no time to
be lost.

From Sir
Your dutiful humble servant
to command


Anthony Booker.

Vol. I. I Let- I1v 170

Letter XVII.

To Miss Waverly at Bath.

Why did I flatter myself, dearest Fanny,
that the numberless distresses which have lately
surrounded me, would either bring with them
that calm resignation which should teach me to
bear, or that total debility of mind that should
make me forget to feel all their poignancy.—Is
it, that I sat out in life with too great a share of
sensibility? or is my lot to be particularly
wretched?—Every means I take to save myself
from pain—to save those I love—on whom, indeed,
my happiness depends, serves only to render
me more miserable.—How ill I have succeeded
in regard to my brother, the enclosed
letter will too well explain!

Why did I ever involve Desmond in the
hopeless task of checking his conduct.—I am
so distressed, so hurt, that it is with the utmost
difficulty I write.—However, as the generous exertions I2r 171
exertions of this excellent young man have, for
the present, rescued my brother from the actual
commission of the folly he meditated, though
perhaps at the expence of a most valuable life,
you will communicate to my mother this very
unfortunate affair, and desire her directions in
regard to recalling her son.

Perhaps I ought to say all this to her myself;
but I am really so shaken by this intelligence,
that it is not without great difficulty I can write
to you.—My fortitude, which you have of late
been accustomed to compliment, has, I know
not why, quite forsaken me now: and, methinks,
I could bear any thing better, than that
such a man as Desmond should be so great a
sufferer from his generous attention to a part of
my family.

I have been very ill ever since the receipt of
this melancholy letter; and, it is only to-day,
though I received it on Thursday, that I have
had strength enough to forward it to you.—I
am now so near being confined, that the people
who are collected about me, weary me with
their troublesome care, and will not let me have
a moment to myself.

It would have been a comfort to me, my
Fanny, to have had your company at this time;
but I know that this incident will add to the reluctance
with which my mother would have before
borne your absence from her; and, therefore,
I will not again name it, nor suffer myself
to make those complaints, in which we (I mean
the unhappy) too frequently indulge ourselves,
without considering that this querulous weakness
is painful to others; and, to ourselves, unavailing:
—for, alas! it cures not the evils it
describes.

I2 As I2v 172

As to Mr. Verney, he has never been at
home since the October meeting, nor have I
ever heard from him.—His friend, Colonel
Scarsdale
, called at my door on Tuesday, and
was, by accident, admitted.—He made a long
visit, and talked, as usual, in a style which I
suppose I might admire (since all the world allows
him to be very charming) if I could but
understand what he means. However, though I
am so tasteless as not to discover the perfections
of this wonderful being, I endured his conversation
from three o’clock till half past five; in
hopes, that as he is so much connected with
Mr. Verney, I might learn from him where
my husband is—But he laughed off all my enquiries
unfeelingly enough; and, all I could
collect was, that Mr. Verney is now, or at least
was a few days since, at the house of one of
their mutual friends in Yorkshire.—I anticipate
the remark you will make upon this—You who
are so little inclined to spare his follies, or, indeed,
those of any of your acquaintance; and,
it is too true, that when he is at home, it makes
no other difference to me than that of destroying
my peace without promoting my happiness.
—I check my pen, however—and when I look
at my two lovely children, I blame myself for
being thus betrayed into complaints against their
father.—Alas! why are our pleasures, our tastes,
our views of life so different?—But I will stifle
these murmurs; and, indeed, I would most willingly
drop this hopeless subject for ever. Let
me return to one that gives, at least, more favourable
ideas of human nature, though it can
only be productive of pain to me—I mean—to
poor Desmond.—Oh! Fanny, what a heart is
his!—How noble is that disdain of personal danger, I3r 173
danger, when mingled with such manly tenderness
such generous sensibility for the feelings
of others!—When we saw so much of him in
Kent the first year of my marriage, we used, I
remember, to have little disputes about him—
but they were childish. Do you not recollect
that when I contended for Lavater’s system, I
introduced him in support of my argument?—
His was the most open, ingenuous countenance
I had ever seen; and his manners, as well as all I
could then know of his heart and his temper,
were exactly such as that countenance indicated.
You then, in the mere spirit of contradiction,
used to say, that this ingenuous expression was
often lost in clouds for whole hours together;
and that you believed this paragon was a sulky
sort of an animal.—Did you ever believe that
such a striking instance of disinterested kindness
towards your own family would so confirm my
opinion?—Yet while I write he suffers—perhaps
dies! the victim of that generous and
exalted spirit which led him to hazard his life,
that he might fulfil a promise I, who have so
little a right to his friendship drew from him—
A promise that he would flawed-reproduction2-3 characters attentive to the
conduct of my brother!

Indeed, Fanny, when my imagination sets
him before me wounded, in pain, perhaps in
danger (and it is an image I have hardly lost for
a moment since the receipt of this cruel intelligence)
I am so very miserable, that all other
anxieties of my life, multiplied as they have
lately been, are unheeded and unfelt.—But
why should I write thus—why hazard communicating
to you, my dear sister, a portion
of that pain from which I cannot myself escape?

I will I3v 174

I will bid you good night, my Fanny. It is
now six-and-thirty hours since I have closed my
eyes—I will try to sleep, and to forget how very
very long it will be before I can hear again from
Marseilles.

Write to me I conjure you—tell me what
are my mother’s intentions as to sending for my
brother home. And be assured of the tender
affection of your

Geraldine Verney.

P. S. Did you ever hear of this Madame
de Boisbelle
? and do you know whether she is
a widow or married?—Young, middle aged or
old?—She is sister to Mr. Desmond’s favourite
French friend, Montfleuri; and, if she has any
heart, must have exquisite pleasure in softening,
to such a man as Desmond, the long hours of
pain and confinement.—I suppose he has forgotten
that I read French tolerably; however,
perhaps, it was better to let the surgeon write.
—How miserable is the suspence I must endure
till the arrival of the next letters.

Let- I4r 175

Letter XVIII. Enclosed in the foregoing to Miss Waverly.

To Mrs. Verney.

Madam,

It is at the request of Mr. Desmond, that
I take the liberty of addressing you. His anxiety,
on your account, has never forsaken him in the
midst of what have been certainly very acute
sufferings; not unattended with danger.

It may be necessary to enter into a detail of
the causes that prevent his writing himself, on
a subject, which nothing but the impracticability
of his doing, would, I am sure, induce him
to entrust to a stranger.

It is now four days since I received a summons
to attend, at the distance of three miles from I4v 176
from the city, an English gentleman, who had,
on that morning, been engaged in an affair of
honor. I had not till then the honor of knowing
Mr. Desmond—whom I found terribly
wounded by a pistol shot in the right arm.—
The ball entering a little below the elbow, had
not only broken, but so shattered the bone, that
I am afraid the greatest skill cannot answer the
consequences.—Besides this, there was a bullet,
from the first brace of pistols which were fired,
lodged in the right shoulder, which, though it
was so situated as to be extracted without much
difficulty, greatly encreases the inflammation,
and of course, the hazard of the other wound,
where the sinews are so torn, and the bone in
such a state, that the ball could not be taken
out without great pain. I did all that could be
done, and Mr. Desmond bore the operation
with the calmest fortitude. I left him at noon,
in what I thought as favourable a way, as was
possible, under such circumstances; yet I found,
on my return in the evening, that he had a
great deal of fever; and I am concerned to say,
this symptom has ever since been encreasing.—
Though much is certainly to be hoped for,
from the youth, constitution, and patience of
the sufferer—I can by no means say I am certain
of a fortunate event.

The dispute, in consequence of which this
disagreeable accident happened, originated, I
find, about your brother, Mr. Waverly; who,
entangled by the artifices of a family well known
in this country, had engaged to marry one of
the young ladies—a step which was thought, by
Mr. Desmond, as indeed it was universally,
very indiscreet.—The interference of Mr. Desmond I5r 177
Desmond
to prevent it, brought upon him the
resentment of the ladies brother, the young
Chevalier de St. Eloy; and the duel ensued.

I found, very early in the course of my attendance,
that the mind of my patient was as
much affected as his body; and that the greatest
pain he felt, was from being rendered incapable
of writing to you, madam.—He at length asked
if I would be so good as to write what he
would dictate, as it was the only way by
which he could communicate his situation to
you. His advice is, that the relations of Mr.
Waverly
recall him immediately to England.
He is now at Avignon, but notwithstanding
what has happened, Mr. Desmond seems to
think him by no means secure from the artifices
of a family that has gained such an ascendancy
over him.—I made notes with my pencil, as I
sat by his bedside, and indeed promised to adhere
to the words he dictated; but I think it
my duty, madam, in this case, to tell you my
real sentiments, and not to palliate or disguise
my apprehensions.—As soon as the affair happened,
I sent, by Mr. Desmond’s desire, an
account of it to his friend, whose house, in
the Lyonois, he had, I found, recently left;
and to day this friend, Monsieur de Montfleuri,
arrived here express, with his sister, Madame
de Boisbelle
.—They both seem extremely interested
for the health of my patient, and have
attended him, ever since their arrival, with unceasing
assiduity.—He appears pleased and relieved
by their presence; and indeed I imagined
that he would rather have employed one of them
to have the honor of writing to you; but he
said Monsieur de Montfleuri could write but
little English, and his sister none.

I5 I believe, I5v 178

I believe, madam, that to receive the honor
of your commands, would be particularly gratifying
to my patient, of whom I most sincerely
wish that I may be enabled, in a few days, to
send you a better account.

I am, madam,
Your most obedient,
and most humble servant,


William Carmichael.

Let- I6r 179

Letter XIX.

To Mr. Desmond.

I never was so distressed in my life, my
dear Desmond, as I was at the account of your
accident; which I received yesterday from Miss
Waverly
.—I came hither about ten days ago by
the advice of my friend Banks, who thinks the
waters will decide, whether the something I
have about me is gout or no; and thought of
nothing less than of receiving intelligence here,
that you lie dangerously wounded at or near
Marseilles, in a quarrel about Waverly.—This
is no time to preach to you.—But I beg, that
immediately upon the receipt of this letter, you
will let me know if I can be of any use to you;
and, if I can, be assured that nothing shall prevent I6v 180
prevent my coming to you instantly. I hope
you know, that I am not one of those who can,
with great composure, talk over and lament
their friends misfortunes, without stirring a
finger to help them.—My life, which has long
afforded me no enjoyment worth the trouble of
living for, is only of value to me, as it may be
useful to my children, and the very few friends
I love.—You once, I remember, on an occasion
of much less importance, scrupled to send
for me because you said you knew it was in the
midst of harvest:—it is now in the midst of
the wheat season; yet, you see, I am at Bath;
and, if a trifling, half-formed complaint, which
is not serious enough to have a name, could
bring me thus far from home, surely the service
of my friend Desmond would carry me much—
much farther.

I shall be extremely uneasy till I hear from
you, and would, indeed, set out directly, if I
could imagine you are as ill as Miss Waverly
represents you.—But besides that, her account
is inconsistent and incoherent. I know all
misses love a duel, and to lament over the dear
gallant creature who suffers in it.—This little
wild girl seems half frantic, and does nothing
but talk to every body about you, in which she
shews more gratitude than discretion.—Your
uncle, Danby, who is here on his usual autumnal
visit, has heard of your fame; and came
bustling up to me in the coffee-house this morning,
to tell me, that all he had foreseen as the
consequence of your imprudent journey to
France, was come to pass; that you were assassinated
by a party whom your politics had
offended; and would probably lose your life in
consequence of your foolish rage for a foolish revolu- I7r 181
revolution.—I endeavoured, in vain, to convince
him that the affair happened in a mere
private quarrel—a quarrel with an avanturier,
in which you had engaged to save a particular
friend from an improper marriage.—The old
Major would not hear me.—He at length granted,
that instead of being assassinated, you might
have fought, but that still it must have been
about politics; and, to do him justice, he judges
of others by himself, which is the only way a man
can judge.—Very certain it is, nay, he openly
professes it, that he never loved any body well
enough in his life, to give himself, on their account,
one quarter of an hour’s pain.—The
public interests him as little—he declares, that
he is perfectly at ease, and therefore, cares not
who is otherwise; and as to all revolutions,
or even alterations, he has a mortal aversion
to them.—Miss Waverly tells me she has written
to you, by desire of her mother, to thank
you for your very friendly interposition, and
has given you an account of all your connexions
in England.—This I am very sorry for, because
I am afraid she can give you no account of the
Verney family that will not add to the present
depression of your spirits; indeed she cannot,
with truth, speak of their situation favourably;
and, if truth could say anything good of Verney,
Miss Waverly seems little disposed to
repeat it.—She is naturally satirical, and hates
Verney, to whom she thinks her sister has
been sacrificed; so, that whenever they meet,
it is with displeasure on her side, and with contemptuous
indifference on his:—but Fanny,
whenever she has an opportunity of speaking of
him, takes care that the dark shades of his
character shall have all their force.—Allow, my 2 dear I7v 182
dear Desmond, something for this in the account
you may, perhaps, hear.—Let me have
early intelligence of you I conjure you; and I
again beg you to remember, that you may command
the presence, as in any other way, the
best services of

Your’s most faithfully,

E. Bethel.

Let- I8r 183

Letter XX.

To Mr. Bethel.

I use another hand, my dear friend, to
thank you for your letter of the fourteenth,
which reached me yesterday.—Your attentive
kindness in offering to come to me, I shall never
forget: though I do not avail myself of it,
because I know such a journey can be neither
convenient or agreeable to you; and because it
is in your power, and in yours only, to act for
me in England, in an affair on which the tranquility
of my mind depends. Tranquillity—
without which, the progress of my cure will
be slow; and that single reason will, I am persuaded,
be enough to reconcile you in the task
I now solicit you to engage in.

A letter from Miss Waverly, which I received
by the same post that brought yours, 1 has I8v 184
has rendered me more than ever wretched.—
Good heavens! in what a situation is the woman,
so justly adored by your unhappy friend,
at a moment when he cannot fly to her assistance!
—She had lain-in only ten days, when
her sister wrote to me.—There are two executions
in the house, one for sixteen hundred, the
other for two thousand three hundred pounds.
Verney is gone, nobody knows whither. And
Geraldine, in such a situation, has no father,
brother, or friend to support her.—Yet the natural
dignity of her mind has, it should seem,
never forsaken her.

A little before her confinement she wrote to
thank me for my friendship to her brother, and
to deplore its consequences—(Oh, Bethel! for
how much more suffering would not her tender
gratitude overpay me) but of herself, of her
own uneasiness, she said nothing; nor should
I have known it but for Fanny Waverly;
whom her mother has, at length, sent to the
suffering angel, and who has given me a dreadful
detail of the supposed situation of Verney’s
affairs—I say supposed, because there is nothing
certainly known from himself; and these
debts were only discovered by the entrance of
the sheriff’s officers. I cannot rest, my dear
Bethel, whilst Geraldine is thus distressed. My
thoughts are constantly employed upon the
means of relieving her; but a cripple as I am,
and so far from England, I must depend on you
to assist me.—Since then you were so good as to
offer to come hither, I hope and believe you
will not hesitate to take a shorter journey, much
more conducive to my repose, even than the
satisfaction of seeing you.—Go, I beseech you,
to London—enquire into the nature of these debts; I9r 185
debts; and, at all events, discharge them; but
concealing carefully at whose entreaty you take
this trouble; even concealing yourself, if it be
possible—I send you an order, on my banker,
for five thousand pounds, and if twice the sum
be wanted to restore to Geraldine her house,
and a little, even transient repose, I should
think it a cheap purchase.

Do not argue with me, dear Bethel, about
this—but hear me, when I most solemnly assure
you, that far from meaning to avail myself
of any advantage which grateful sensibility
might give me over such a mind as her’s, it is
not my intention she shall ever know of the
transaction; and I entreat you to manage it for
me accordingly. While I find her rise every
moment in my esteem, I know that I am becoming
—alas! am already become unworthy hers.
—Do not ask me an explanation; I have said
more than I intended—but let it go.—The
greatest favor you can do me, Bethel, is to
execute this commission for me as expeditiously
as possible, and it will give you pleasure to hear,
that I am so much better than my surgeon expected,
from the early appearances of my wound,
that it is probable I shall be able to thank you
with my own hand, for the friendly commission
I now entreat you to undertake. I am already
able to move my fingers, though not to guide a
pen. My arm however, is yet in such a state,
as renders it very imprudent, if not impossible
for me, to leave the skilful man, who has, contrary
to all probability and expectation, saved
it from amputation; which, at first, seemed
almost unavoidable. Montfleuri wishes that
I may remove to his house, in the Lyonois, as
a sort of first stage towards England; but I have I9v 186
have been already too much obliged to him,
and his sister, Madame de Boisbelle. He attended
me himself day and night, while there
was so much danger, as Mr. Carmichael apprehended,
for many days after the accident;
and since he has been absent, his sister, has
with too much goodness given me her constant
attention.—Montfleuri has been to Paris, and
returned only yesterday. He sees my uneasiness
since the receipt of Miss Waverly’s letter—
Madame de Boisbelle too sees it, and what is
worse, my medical friends perceive it, from
the state of my wound; so that as it is impossible
for me, my dear friend, either to conceal or
conquer it, my sole dependence for either peace
of mind, or bodily health, is on your friendly
endeavours to remove it.

How long, how very long, will the hours
seem that must intervene before I can hear that
this is done; and what shall I do to beguile
them? Montfleuri talks to me of politics, and
exults in the hope that all will be settled advantageously
for his country, and without bloodshed;
I rejoice, most sincerely rejoice, in this
prospect, so favourable to the best interests of
humanity; but I can no longer enter with
eagerness into the detail of those measures by
which it is to be realized.—One predominant
sensation, excludes for the present, all the lively
interest I felt in more general concerns, and
while Mrs. Verney is――but it is not