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^ ^^ - ^w^C ^ 

E L O I S A. 


V O t. I. 

E L O I S A: 

O R, 

O F 



Mr, J. y. ROUSSEAU, 





(Found atnongft the Author's Papers after his DeceaTe.) 









1- ' '" 

1M8 L 




/^ RE AT cities require publick theatres, 
^^ and romances arc neceffary to a corrupt 
people. I faw the manners of the times, 
and have publifhed thefe letters. , Would 
to heaven I had lived in an age when I ought 
rather to have thrown them in the fire ! 

Though I appear only as the editor of 
this work, I confefs I have had fome Ihare 
in the compofition. But am I the fole au- 
thor, and is the entire correfpondence fifti- 
tious ? Ye people of the world, of what im- 
portance is it to you ? Certainly, to you it 
is' all a fidHon. 

Every horieft man will avow the books 

.• which he publilhcs. I have prefixed my 

name to thefe letters, not with a defign to 

appropriate them to myfelf, but that I 

might be anfwerable for them. If they 

^ Vol, I. A deferve 



defervc ccnfurc : let it fall on me : if they 
have any merit, I am not ambitious of the 
praife. If it is a bad book I am the more 
obliged to own it : I do not wifh to pafs 
for better than I am. 

As to the reality of the hiftory, I de- 
clare, that, though i have been fcveral 
times in the country of the two lovers, I 
never heard either of Baron d'Etange, 
his daughter, Mr. Orbe, Lord B , 
or Mn Wolmar. I muft alfo inform the 
reader that there are feveral topographical 
crrot^s in this work ; but, whether they 
are the eflfedts of ignorance or defign, I 
leave undetermined. This is all I am at 
liberty to fay : let every one think as he 

The book feems not calculated for an 
extenfive circulation, as it is not adapted 
to the generality of readers. The ftyle 
will offend people of tafte, to auftere men 
the matter will be alarming, and all the 
fentiments will feem unnatural to thofe who 
Jcnow not what is meantby the word virtue 
\t ought to difpleafe the devotee, the libeiv- 
,tine, the philofopher; to fhock all the 
ladies of gallantry, and to. fcandalife. every 
modeft. woman. By whoni, therefore, will 



it be approved ? Perhaps only by myfclf. 
Certain I am, however, that it will not 
meet with moderate approbation from any 

Whoever may refolve to read thefe let- 
ters ought to arm himfelf with patience 
againft faults of language, rufticity of 
ftile, and pedantry of expreflion; he ought 
to remember that the writers are neither 
natives of France, wits, academicians, 
nor philofophers ; but that they are young 
and unexperienced inhabitants of a remote 
village, who miftake the romantick extra- 
vagance of their own imagination for 

Why fliould I fear to fpeak my 
thoughts ? This colledtion of letters, with 
all their gothick air, will better fuit a mar- 
ried lady than books of philofophy : it may 
even be of fervice to thofe who, in an irrc- 
gular courfe of life, have yet prcferved 
fome aflfcdion for virtue. As to young 
ladies, they are out of the queftion -, no 
chaftc virgin ever read a romance : but if 
perchance any young girl fliould dare to 
read a fingle page of this, flic is inevitably 
loft. Yet, let her not accufe me as the 
caufc of her perdition : the mifchief was 
A 2 done 


done before ; and fince fhe has begun Irt 
her proceed, for Ihc has nothing worfe to 

May the auftere reader be difgufted in 
the firft volume, revile the Editor, and 
throw the book into the fire. I (hall not 
complain of injuftice j for probably, in his 
place, I might have afted in the fame 
manner. But if, after having read to the 
end, any one fhould think fit to blame 
me for having publifhed the book, let himj 
if he pleafes, declare his opinion to all the 
world, except to me ; for I perceive it 
would never be in my power to cfteem fuch 
a mair. 

PR E- 





IT IS by no means my defign to fwcll the vo- 
lun)e, or detain the reader from the pleafure 
he may reafonably expeil in the perufal of this 
work : I fay reafonably^ becaufe the author is a 
writer of great reputation. JVIy fole* intention 
is to give a concife account of my conduft in 
the execution of this arduous ta(k; and to antici- 
pate fuch accufations as may naturally beexpeft- 
ed from fome readers: I mtnn^thofe who are but 
imperfeftly acquainted with the French lan- 
guage, or who happen to entertain improper 
ideas of tranflations in general. 

If I had chofen to preferve the original title, 
it would have flood thus: yulia^ or the' new 
Eloifa^ in the general title page ; and, in the par- 
ticular one. Letters of two lovers^ inhabitants of 
a fmall village at the foot of the AlpSy colUSied and 
publijhed^ &c. Whatever objedtion I might 
have to this title, upon the whole, my princi^. 
pal reafon for preferring the name of Eloifa to 
that of Julia, was, becaufe the publick feeme4 
unanimous in diftinguifhing the work by th^ 
A 3 fprmer 

former rather than the latter, and I was the more 
eaflly determined, as it was a matter of no im* 
portance to the reader. 

The Englifli nobleman who a£is a confider* 
able part in this romance is called in the origi- 
nal Lord Bomjlony which I fuppofe M. Rouf- 
feau thought to be an Englifh name, or at leaft 
very like one. It may poffibly found well 
enough in the ears of a Frenchman } but I believe 
the Engliib reader will not be offended with me 
for having fubftituted that of Lord B «— - in its 
room. It is amazing that the French novelifts 
ibould be as ignorant of our common names, 
and the titles of our nobility, as they are of 
our manners. They feldom mention our coun- 
try, or attempt to introduce an £ngli(h charac- 
ter, without expofing themfelves to our ridicule. 
I have feen one of their celebrated romances^ 
in which a Britiib nobleman, called the Duke 
of Workinjheton^ is a principal perfonagc \ and 
another, in which the one identical lover of the 
heroine is fometimes aDuke, fometimes an Earl, 
and fometimes a fimple Baronet. Catomhridge 
is, with them, an Engliflicity: and yet they 
endeavour to impofe upon their readers by pre- 
tending their novels are tAnflations from the 

With regard to this chef (Tceuvre of M. 
Rouflfeau, it has been received with uncommon 
avidity* in France, Italy, Germany, Holland^ 
and,infhort, in every part of the Continent where 
the French language is underftood. In England, 




befides a very confiderable number firft im- 
ported^, it has been many times reprinted ; 
but,, hew much foever the world might be de- 
lighted with the original, I found it to be the 
general opinion of my countrymen, that it was 
•ne of thoie boolcs which could not poiEbly be 
trahflated with any tolerable degree of juftice to 
the authour : and this general opinionjl own, waa 
a motive with me for undertaking the work. 

There are, in this great city, a confiderablo 
number of induftrious labourers, who maintain 
themfelves, and perhaps a niumerous family, by 
writing for the- bookfellers, by whom they arc 
ranged in. feparate clafles, according to theit 
different abilities^; the very loweft clafs of all 
being that of Tran/laUrs. Now, it cannot be 
(uppofed that men, who are deemed incapable 
of better employment, can be perfe^y ac* 
quainted either with their own or with any othei 
language: befides, were they ever fo well qua- 
lified, it becomes their duty to execute as much 
work in as little time as poffibl^ ; for, at all 
events, they muft have bread : therefore, it were 
unreafonable to expe£l they (hould fpend their 
precious moments in poring over a difficult 
fcntence, in order to render their verlion the 
more elegant. This I take to be the true reafon 
why our tranfiations from the French are in 
general fo extremely bad. 

I confefs, the idioms of the two languages 

are very different, and that therefore it will, in 

fome inftances, be impoffible to reach the deli- 

A 4 cacy 

cacy of expreffion in an elegant French writer^ 
but, in return, their language is frequently h 
vague and diffufe, that it muft be entirely the 
fault of the Englifia tranilator if he dpes not often 
improve upon his originaj ; but this will nevei 
l^e the cafe, unlefs we fit down with a defign tQ 
tranflate the ideas rather thaa the words of out 

Moft of the tranflations which I have read,' 
appear like a thin gaufe fpread over the original ; 

" the French language appears through every pa-i 
ragraph; but this is entirely owing to the want 
of attention, or want of ability, in thetranf- 
lator. Mr. Pope, and fome few others, have 
fhown the world, that not only the ideas of the 
moft fublimc writers may be accurately exprefled 
in a tranflation, but that it is poffible to im- 
prove and adorn them with beauties peculiar to 
the Engliflt language, - 

If, in the following pages, the reader ex^ 
pefts ^to find a fervile, literal tranflation, he 
will be miftaken. 1 never could, and never 
will, cojfy the failings of my author, be his 
reputation ever fo great, in thofe inftances 

' where they evidently proceed from want of at- 
tention, M. Rouffeau writes with great ele- 
gance, but ,he fometimes wants propriety of 
thought, and accuracy of expreffion. 

As to the real merit of this performance, the 
Hniverfal approbation it has mdt with is a 
ftronger recomm^endation than any thing I could 
fay in its praife. 










Publifhed fince his ELOISA, and intended a» 
a Prsfac£ to that Work. 



THE following Dialogue wa^ originally intended 
as a Preface to Eloisa ; but its form and length 
permitting me to prefix to that Work only a few ex^ 
traSfs from it, I now publijh it entire^ in hopei 
that it will be found to contain fome ufeful hints 
concerning Romances in general. Beftdes^ I thought 
it proper to wait till the Book had taken its chance^ 
before I dif cuffed its inconveniences and advantages^ 
being unwilling either to injure the Bookfellery or 
fupplicatc the indulgence of the Publick. 


^.nriHERE, take your manufcript: I have 
X read it quite through. 

JR. ^ite through? I underftand you: you 
think there are not many readers will follow your 

N. FelJucy velnema. 

R. Turpe £sf mifirabile. But let me have your 
fincere opinion. 

N. I dare not* 

JR. You have dared to the utmoft by that fin- 
gle word : pray, explain yourfelf^ 

N. My opinion depends on youranfwerto 
this queftion: Is it a real, orfidlious correfpon- 

R* I cannot perdeive the confequence. la 
order to give one's fentiments of a book, of what 
importance can it be to know how it was. writ* 

N. In this cafe it is of great importance. A 
portrait has its merit if it refembles the^original, . 
ke that original ever fo ftrange^ but4a.api<^ure 
A 6 which 


whicHisthe produce of imagination, every human " 
figure fliould refemble human nature, or the 
pifture is of no value: yet, fuppoftng them both 
good in their kind, there is this difference, the 
portrait is interefting but to a few people, whilflr 
the piSure will pleafe the pdplick-in general. 

R. I conceive your meaning. If thefe letters 
are portraits, they are unintereftingj if they are 
piftures, they arq. ill 4onQ, Is. it ? 

N Precifely, 

R. Thus I (hall fhatch your anfwers before * 
you /peak. But, as I cannot reply diredtly to- 
your queffion, I muift beg leave topropofeone 
ill my turn. Suppofe the worft : my Eloifa—- 

N. O! if (he h;id really exifted. 

R. Well. 

N. But certainly it is no more tkan a fi<Sion.. 

R. Beit fo. 

N, Why, then,^ there never was any thing 
more abfurd : the letters are no letters, the ro- 
mance IS no roma^ice, and * the perfo»ages arc 
people of another world. 

R. I am forry for it, for the (akef of this- 

N. Confole yourfelf; there i6 fto want of 
fools among us j but your's have no exiftence in 

R. I could No, 1 perceive the drift of* 

your curiofity. But why do you judge fo pre- 
cipitately? Can you be ignorant how yridely 
human nature differs from itfelf ? how oppofite 
its charadterifticks ? how prejudice and manners 
vary according to times, placo6> and age. Who - 

S « 


is it that canprefcribe bounds to nature, and fay. 
Thus far fhalt thou go, and no farther? 

N. If fuch reafoning were allowed, monfters, 
giants, pygmies, and chimeras of all kinds might 
be fpecifically admitted into nature : every ob- 
jeft would be disfigured, and wefliould have na 
common model of ourfelves. I repeat it, in ^ 
pi(Sure of human nature every figure flioiild re- 
femble man, 

R. Iconfefsit; but, then, we fhould diftiif* 
guifli between the variety in human nature and 
that which is eflintial to it. What would you 
fay of one who fhould only be' able to know 
mankind in the pifture of a Frenchman ? 

N. What would you fay of one, who, without 
cxprefling features or fhape, ftiould paint a hu- 
man figure covered with a veil ? Should we not 
have reafon to afk, where is the man ? 

R, Without exprefling features or fhape -^ Is 
thisjuft? There is no perfeftion in human 
nature : that is, indeed^ chimerical. A young 
virgin in love with virtue^ yet fwerving from its 
di£latcs,but reclaimed by the horrour of a greater 
crime— ^a too eafy friend puniifacfd at laft by her 
own heart for her culpable indulgence — a young 
man, honeft and fenfible, but weak; yet in 
Words a philolbpher — an old gentleman bigotted 
to his nobility, and facrificing every thing to 
opinion— a generous and brave Englilhman, 
paffionately wife> and> without reafon, always 
leafoning. ' .. 


N, A hufband, hofpi table and gay, eager to 
introduce into his family his wife's quondam 

R. I refer you to the infcription of the plate, 

N, Les belles ames — Vaftlyfine! 

R. Ophilofophy! What pains thou takeft 
to contraft the heart, and leffen human nature ! 

N. It is fallacioufly elevated by a romantick 
imagination. But to the point — The two 

friends What do you fay of them ? — and that 

fudden converfion at the altar? — divine grace, 
no doubt. ■ ■ 

R. But, Sir— . 

N. A pious chriftian, not inftrufting her 
children in their catechifm j who dies without 
praying; whofe death neverthelefs edifies the 
parfon, and converts an Atheift— O ! 

R. Sir 

jV. As to the reader being interefted^ his con* 
cem is univerfal, and therefore next to none. 
Not one bad a£tion i not one wicked man to 
make us fear the good. Events fa natural, 
and fo fimple, that they fcarce deferve the name 
of events — ^no furprife — ^no dramatick artifice-f— 
every thing happens juft as it was expe£led. Is 
it worth while to regiftex fuch actions as ^very 
man may fee any day of his life in bis own houfe,. 
or in that of his neighbour i 

R. So then you would have common men, and 
uncommon events ? Now, I fhould rather deiire 
the contrary. You took it for a romance : it is 



not a romanccj but, as you faid before, a col- 
ledion of letters. 

N. Which are no letters at all : this, I thinks 
I faid alfo. What an cpiftolary ftilc 1 How full 
ofbombaft! What exclamations ! What pre- 
paration ! How emphatical to exprefs common 
ideas I What big words and weak reafoning ? 
Frequently neither fenfe, accuracy, art, energy^ 
nor depth. Sublime language and grovelling 
thoughts. If your perfonages are in nature, 
confefs, atleaft, that their ftile is unnatural. 

R, I own, that in the light in which you are 
pleafed to view them it muft appear fa, 

N. Do you fuppofe the publick will not judge 
in the fame manner^ and did you not aik my 
opinion ? 

JR. I did, and I anfwer you with a defign to 
have it more explicitly : now, it appears that you 
would be better pleafed with letters written on 
purpofe to be printed* 

N. Perhaps I might ; at leaft, I am of opinion 
that nothing fliould be printed which is not fit 

jR. So that in books we Ihould behold man-^ 
kind only as they choofe to appear. 

N. Moft certainly,. as to the authour ; thofe 
whom he reprefents, fuch as they are. But in 
thefe letters this is not the cafe. Not one ftrong 
delineation^not a finglc perfonagc ftrikingly 
charaacrifed— no folid obfervations— no know- 
ledge of the world. What can be learnt in the 



little fphere of two or three lovers or friends 

conftantly employed in matters only relative to 


R, We may learn to love human nature, 
whilft in extenfiv.e fociety we learn to hate man- 
kind.. Your judgement is fevere; that of the 
publick ought to be ftill more fo. Without com- 
plaining of injuftice, I will tqll you, in my turn, 
in what light thefe letters appear to me j riot (o 
much to excufe theii: defe<5ls, as to difcover 
their fource. 

The perceptions of perfons in retirement are 
very different from thofe of people in the great 
world J their paflions being differently modified 
are differently expreffedi their imaginations,con- 
ftantly impreffed by the fame objects, are more 
violently affefted. The fame fmall number of 
images conftantly return, mix with every idea> 
and create thofe ftrange and falfe notions fo re- 
markable in people who fpend their lives in 
folitude ; but does it follow that their language 
isenergick? No, it is only extraordinary; it is 
in our converlation with the world that we learn 
to fpeak with energy: iirft, becaufe we muft 
fpeak differently and better than othcrs^and then, 
being every moment obliged to affirm what may 
not be believed, and to exprefs fentimcnts which 
we do not feel, we endeavour at a pcrfuafive 
manner, which fupplies the place of interior pet-: 
fualion. Do you believe that people of real lien-i. 
fibility cxprcfs themfelves with that vivacity, 
€nergy> and ardoui: which you to much admire i^ 



©ur drama and romances? No— true paffion^ 
full ofitfelf, is rather difFufive than ei&phatical ;i 
it dpes not even think of perfuafion, as it never 
fuppofcs that its exiftence can be doubtful. In. 
cxpreiSng its feelings, it fpeaks rather for the fake 
of its own cafe than to inform others. Love is 
painted with more vivacity in large cities, but» 
is it in the village, therefore, lefs violept ? 

N. So, then, the weaknefs of the expreffion is a 
proof.of the ftrength of the paffion* 

R, Sometimes, at Icaft, it is an indicatfon of 
its reality. Read but a love-letter written by anr 
authour who endeavours to fhine as a man of wit: 
if he has any warmth in his brain, his words* 
will fet fire to the paper -, but the flame will fpread' 
no farther : you may be charmed, and perhaps a 
little moved, but it will be a fleeting agitation^ 
which will leave nothing except the remcm-^ 
berance of words. On the contrary, alette r 
really didated by love, written by a lover in- 
fluenced by a real paffion, will be tame, difFufe,, 
prolixj unconnefted, and full of repetitions : 
his heart, overflowing vvith the fame fentiment» 
conftantly returns to the fame expreflions, and 
like a natural fountain flows continually without 
being exhauftcd. Nothing brilliant, nothing 
remarkable : one remembers neither words nor 
phrafcs; there is nothing to be admired, nothing 
ftriking : yet we are moved without knowing 
why. Though we are not ftruck with ftrength 
of feotiment, we are touched with its truth, and 
our hearts, in fpite of us, fympathife with the 



writer. But men of no fcnfibility, who ki;iow 
nothing mofe than the flowery jargon of the 
paiiions, are ignorant of thofe beauties, and de* 
fpift them. 

N. I am all attention. 

R. Very well. I fay, that in real lovc-lct- 
ters the thoughts are common, yet the ftilc is 
not familiar. Love is nothing more than an il- 
luAon; it creates for itfelf another univerfe; it 
is furrounded with objefts which have no exift- 
ence but in imagination, and its language is al- 
ways figurative; but its figures are neither juft 
nor regular: its eloquence confifts in its dif- 
order, and when it reafons leaft it is moft con- 
vincing. Enthufiafm is the laft degree of this 
paffion. When it is arrived at its greateft height, 
its objed appears in a ftate of perfe£lion 5 it then 
becomes its idol 5 it is placed in the heavens j 
and, as the enthufiafm of devotion borrows 
the language of love, the enthufiafm of love alfo 
borrows the language of devotion. Its ideas 
prefent nothing but Paradife, angels, the virtue 
of faints, and the delights of heaven. In fuch 
tranfport, furrounded by fuch images, is it 
not natural to* expeft fublime language? Can it 
poflibly debafe its ideas by vulgar expreffions i 
Will it not on the contrary raife its ftile,and fpeak 
with adequate dignity ? What then becomes of 
your epiJiolaryJiiU? It would do mighty weU, 
to be fure, in writing to the objed of one's ado- 
ration : in that cafe, they are not letters, but 

N. We 

N. We fliall fee what the world will fay. 
R. No: rather fee the winter on my head* 
There is an age for experience, and another fof 
recolleftion. Our fenfibility may be extin-i^ 
guifhed by time; but the foul which was once 
capable of that fenfibility remains. But to re- 
turn to our lettcfrs : if you read them as the 
work of an authour who endeavours to pleafe, or 
piques himfelf on his writing, they are certainly 
deteftable. But, take them for what they are, 
and judge of them in their kind. Two or three 
young people, fimple, if you will, but fenfible, 
who, mutually expreffing the real fentiments of 
their hearts, have no intention to ditphy their 
wit. They know and love each other too well 
forfelf-admiration to have any influence among 
- them. They are children, "and therefore think 
like children. They are not natives of France, 
bow then can they be fuppofedto write correftly ? 
They lived in folitude^ and therefore could 
know but little of the world. Entirely filled 
with one fingle feniiment, they are in a con- 
ftant delirium, and yet prefume to philofophife. 
Would you have them know how to obferve, to 
judge, and to reflea? No: of thefe they arc 
ignorant; but they are vcrfed in the art of love, 
and all their words and anions are connected 
with that paffion. Their ideas are extravagant, 
but is not the importance which they give to 
thefe romantick notions more amufing than all 
the wit they could have difplayed i They fpeak 
of every thing; tbcy areconftantly miftakcn; they 



teach US' nothing, except the knowledge of them- 
felvei *y but, in making themfelves known, they 
obtain our afie^iion. Their errours are more eii^ 
gaging than the wifdom of the wife. Their ho- 
neft hearts, even in their tranfgreiEons, bear ftill 
the prejudice of virtue, always confident and al- 
ways betrayed. Nothing anfwers their expe£lu- 
tioDs;. every event ferves to undeceive them. 
They arc deaf to the voice of difcouragingtriith : 
they find nothing correfpond with their own feel-» 
ings, and, therefore, detacliing themfelves from 
the reft of the univerfe, they create in their fepa- 
ratefociety a little world of their own, which 
prefents an entire new fcene, 

^.- 1 confefs that a young fellow of twenty, 
and girls of eighteen, though not uninftrufted, 
ought not to talk like philofophers, even though 
they may fuppofe themfelves fuch. I own alfo, 
for this diftindiion has not cfcaped me, that thefe 
girls became wives of merit, and the young man 
a better obferver. I make no comparifon be- 
tween the beginning and the end of the work. 
The detail of domeftick occurrences may efface, 
in fome meafure, the faults of their younger 
years : the chafte and fenfible wife, the worthy 
matron, may obliterate the rememberance of for- 
mer weakneft. But even this, iS a fubjeft for 
criticifm : the conclufion of the work renders 
the beginning reprehenfible : one would imagine 
them to be two different books, which ought 
not to be read by the fame people. If you in- 



tended to exhibit rational perfonages, why would 
you expofe them before they were become fo ? 
Our attention to the leflbns of wifdom is dc- 
ftroyed by the child's-play by which they are 
preceded : we are fcandalifed at the bad before 
the good can edify us. In (hort, the reader 
is offended, and throws the book afide in the 
very moment when it might become fervice- 

R. On the contrary, I am of opinion,- that 
to thofe who are difgufted with the beginning 
the end would be entirely fuperfluous ; and that 
the beginning will be agreeable to thofe readers 
to whom the concluiion may be ufeful. ' So that 
thofe who do not read to the end will have loft 
-nothing, becaufe it is an improper book for 
them; and thofe to whom it may be of fervice 
Would never have read it if it had begun with 
more gravity. Our leffons can never be ufeful 
unlefs they are fo written as to catch the attention 
ef thofe for whofe benefit they were calculated. 

I may have changed the means, and not the 
'©bje£l. When I endeavoured to fpeak to men^ 
I was not heard ; perhaps, in fpeaking to chil- 
dren I fliall gain more attention; and children 
wauW have no more relifli for naked reafon than 
for medicines ill difgui'fed. 

Cofi air egrofanciulporgiamo aj^erfi 
Dtfoave licor gV or It delvafo \ 
Succhiamari ingannato in tanto ei bfVff 


mU dialogue on the 

But, on the margin of the cup 
Let honey drop by ftealth 5 
Drinking the hitter potion up. 
They're cheated into health. 

N. Here, again, I am afraid you are deceived : 
they will fip on the edge of the veffel, but will 
not drink the liquor. 

, jR. Beitfo: it will not be my fault: I fhall 
have done all in my power to make it palatable. 
My young folks are amiable ; but to love them 
at thirty it is neceffary to know them when they 
were ten years younger. One muft have lived 
with them a long time to be pleafed with their 
company; and, to tafte their virtues, it is ne- 

■ ceflary we fliould firft have deplored their fail- 
ings. Theirletters are notintereftingatfirft 3 but 
we grow attached by degrees, and can neither 
continue nor quit them. They are neither ele- 
gant, eafy, rational, fenfible, nor eloquent; but 
there is a fenfibility which gradually communi- 
cates itfeif to our hearts, which at laft is found 
to fupply the place of all the reft. It is a long 
romance, of which no one part has power to 
move us, and yet the whole produces a proper 
^ffeSt. At leaft, fuchwere its efFe<ft upon me. 
Pray, were not you touched in reading it i 

N, No ; yet I can eafily conceive your being 
afFefled : if you are the authour, nothing can be 
more natural ; and if not, I can ftill account for 
it. A man of the world can have no tafte for 
tbe extravagant ideas, the aftc<3:ed pathos, and 
falfe reafoning of your good folks j but they will 


fUit a reclufe, for the reafon which you have 
given : now, before you determine to publifli 
the manufcript, you would do well to remem- 
ber that the world is, not compofed of hermits* 
All you can exped is that your young gentle- 
man will be taken for a Celadon, your Lord B— 
for a Don Quixote, your young damfels for two 
Aftreas, and -that the world will laugh at them 
for a company of fools. But a continued folly 
cannot be entertaining. A man fhould write 
like Cervantes before he can expect to engage 
his reader to accompany him through four 
volumes of nonfenfe. 

jR. The very reafon which would make you 
fupprefs this work will induce me to print it. 

N. What ! the certainty of its not being read ? 

R. A little patience and you will underftand 
me. As to morals, I believe that all kinds of 
reading are ufelefs to people of the world : firft^ 
becaufe the number of new books which they 
run through fo generally contradi£t each other 
thattheir efFedlis reciprocally deftroyed. The 
few choice books which deferve a fecond perufal 
are equally ineffeftual : for, if they are written in 
in fupport of received opinions, they are fuper- 
fiuous; and if in oppofition they are of no 
ufe ; they are too weak to break the chain vi^hich 
attaches the reader to the vices of fociety. A 
man of the world may poffibly, for a moment, be 
led from his wonted path by the didatesof mo- 
rality; but he will find fo maay obftacles in the 
tvay, that he will fpeedily return to his former 
4 courfe« 


'courfe. I am perfuaded there are few people, who 
*have had a tolerable education, that have not made 
this eflay at leaft once in their lives 5 but, find- 
ing their efforts vain, they are difcouraged front 
any future attempt, and confider the morality of 
"books as the jargon of idleniefs. The farther we 
''retreat from bufinefs, great cities, and nume* 
rous focieties, the more'the obftacles to morality 
diminifh. There is a certain point of diftance 
where thefe obftacles ceafe to be infurmount- 
-able, and there it is that books may be of uk% 
When we live in folitude, as we do not then 
read with a defign to difplay our reading, we are 
lefs anxious to change our books, and beftow on 
them more reflexion $ and as theif principles find 
lefs oppofition from without, their internal im- 
preflion is more efFe<ftual. In retirement, the 
want of occupation, obliges thofe who have no 
refource in themfelves, to have recourfe to books 
of amufement. Romances are more read in the 
|>rovincial towns than at Paris, in towns lefs than 
in the country, and there they make the deepeft 
impreflion — the rcafon is p*lain. 

Now, it happens unfortunately that the books 
which might amufe, inftruft, and confole the 
people in retirement, who are uhhappy only ill 
their o'^n imagination, are generally calculated 
to make them ftrll more Hiffatisfied with their 
fituaticfi. People of rank and fafhion are the 
fole' perfonages of all our romances. The re- 
fined tafte of great cities, court maxims, the 
fplcndour of luxury, and Epicurean mordity; 



thcfe are their precepts, thefe their ieflbns of in* 
■ ftru£tion. The colouring of their falfe virtues 
tarnifhes their real ones. Polite manners are 
fubftituted for real duties, fine fentiments for 
good a£lions, and virtuous fimplicity is deemed 
want of breeding. 

What effe6l muft fuch reprefentations produce 
in the mind of a country gentleman, in which 
his Treedom and hofpitality is turned into ridicule, 
and the joy which he fpreads through his nugh- 
bourhood is pronounced to be a low and con- 
temptible amufement? What influence muft 
they not have upon his wife, when fhe is taught 
that the care of her family is beneath a lady of 
her rank ; and on his daughter, who, being in- 
• ftruiled in the jargon and aiFeftation of the city, 
difdains for his tlownifh behaviour the honeft 
neighbour whom fhe would otherwife have mar- 
ried. With one confent, afliamed of their ru- 
fticity, anddifgufted with their village, they 
leave their ancient manfion, which foon becomes 
a ruin, to refide in the metropolis; where the 
father, with his crofs of St. Louis, from a gen- 
tleman becomes a {harper; the mother keeps a 
gaming houfe; the daughter am ufesherfelf with 
a circle of gamefters: and frequently all three, 
after having led a life of infamy, die in mifery 
and dilhonour. 

Authours, men of letters, and philofopbers 
are conftantly infinuAting, that in order to fulfill 
the duties of fociety, and to ferve our fellow- 
creatures, it is neceflTary that we Ibould live in 
Vol,. I. B great 


great cities: according to them, to fly from 
Paris is to hate manicindj people in the country 
are nobody in their eyes^ .to hear them talk, one 
would imagine that where there are no penfions, 
academies, noropen tables, thereisnoexiftencc. 
AH our productions verge to the fame goal. 
Tales, romances, comedies, all are levelled at the 
country : i\\ coiifpite to ridicule ruftic fimplicity; 
they all difplay, andtxtol, the pleafures of the 
-great world: it is a fbame not to know them; 
•and not to enjoy them, a misfortune. How 
^many of th«fe (harpers and proftitutes, with 
HB^hiCh^Paris is fo amply provided, were firft fe- 
duced by the expert tion of thefe imaginary 
pleafures? Thus prejudice and opinion con- 
tribute to eflfWt the political fyftem, byattra^ing 
the inhabitants of each country to a fingle point 
of territory, leaving all the reft a defert: 
thus nations are depopulated, that their capitals 
may flouriflij and this frivolous fplendour, with 
which fools are captivated, makes Europe vei^c 
with celerity towards its ruin. The happinefs 
of fliankind requires that we fhould endeavour 
to ftop this torrent of pernicious maxims. The 
cmploymentof the clergy is to tell us that we 
muft be good and wife, without concerning 
them felves about the fucccfsof their difcourfcs; 
but a good citizen, who is really anxious to pro- 
mote virtue, fhould not only tell us to be good, 
4)ut endeavour to make the path agreeable which 
will lead happinefs. 

1 N. Pray 

N. Pt^Yj .my good friend, take breath for 
a momenc. \ am no enemy to ufcful dcfigns; 
and I have been fo attentive to your reafoning, * 
that I believe it will be in my power to conii- 
nuc your argument. You.are clearly of opinion^ 
that to give to works of imagination the only 
utility of which they are 'capable, they muft 
have an cffcQ: diametrically oppofite to that 
which their authours generally prppofe; they 
muft combat .every human inftitution, re- 
duce all things to a ftate of nature, make man- 
kind in love with a life of pe^ce and fimpliciiy, 
dcftroy their prejudices and Opinions, infpire 
them with a tafte for true pleafure, keep -them 
diftant from each other, and, inftead of exciting 
people to crowd into large cities, perfuade them 
to Ipread themfelvcs all over the kingdom, that 
every part may be equally enlivened, I alfo 
comprehend, that it is not your intention to 
create a world of Arcadian fliepherds, of illu* 
ftrious peafants labouring on their own acres^ and 
philofophifing on the works of nature, nor any 
other romantic beings, which exiftonly in books; 
but to convince mankind that in rural life there 
are many pleafures which they know not how 
to enjoy J that thefe pleafures are neither fo in- 
Apid nor fo grofs as they imagine; that they are 
fufceptible of tafte and delicacy j that a fenfibic 
man, who fhould retire with his family into the 
country, and become his own former, might 
enjoy more rational felicity, than in the midft 
Qf, the amufements of a great cityj that a good 
B 2 houk'^ife 


houfcwlfe may be a moft agreeable woman, that 
flie may be as graceful and as charming as any 
town coquet oF them all ; in fhort, that the moft 
tender fentiments of the heart will more efFec- 
tually animate fociety than the artificial lan- 
guage of polite circles, where the ill-natured 
laugh of fatire is the pitiful fubftitute of that 
real mirth which no longer exifts.— Have I not 
hit the inark ? 

R. It is the very thing; to which I will add 
but one reflexion. We are told that romances 
difturb the brain : 1 believe it true. In conti- 
nually difplaying to the reader the ideal charms 
of a fituation very different from his own, he 
becomes diffatisfied, and makes an imaginary 
exchange for that which he is taught to admire. 
Defiring to be that which he is not, he foon be- 
lieves himfelf adlually tnetamorphofed, and fo 
becomes a fool. If, on the contrary, romances 
were only to exhibit the pictures of real objefts, 
of virtues and pleafures within our reach^ they 
would then make us wifer and better. Books 
which are defigned to be read in folitude fliould 
be written in the language of retirement : if they 
are meant to inftruft, they (hould make us in 
love with our fituation ; they fliould combat and 
deftroy the maxims of the great world, by 
fliowing them to be falfe and defpicable, as they 
really are. Thus, Sir, a romance, if it be well 
written, oratleaftif itbeufeful, muftbehiffed, 
damnedj and defpifed by the polite world, as 
being a mean, extravagant, and ridiculous per- 
formance j 

formance; and thus what is folly in the eyes of 
the world is real wifdom. 

N. Your conclufion is felf-evident. It is 
impoflible better to anticipate your fall, nor to 
be better prepared to fall with dignity. There 
remains but one difficulty: People in the coun- 
try, you know, take their cue from us. A book 
calculated for them muft firft pafs the cenfure 
of the town : if we think fit to damn it, its cir- 
culation is entirely flopped. What do you fay 
to that ? 

R. The anfwer is quite fimple. You fpeak 
of wits who refide in the country; whilft I 
would be underftood to mean real country folks.. 
You gentlemen who fhine in the capital have, 
certain prepoffefiions of which you muft be 
cured : you imagine that you govern the tafteof alL 
France, when in fad three fourths of the king- 
dom do not know that you exift. The books 
which are damned at Paris often make the for- 
tune of country bookfellers. 

N. But why will you enrich them at the ex- 
penfe of our*s? 

R. Banter me as you pleafe; I (hall perfift. 
Thofe who afpire to fame muft calculate their 
works for the meridian of Paris ; but thole who 
write with a view to do good muft write for the. 
country. How many worthy people are there^ 
who pafs their lives in cultivating a few paternal 
acres, far diftant from the metropolis, and who 
think thcmfelves exiled by the partiality of for- 
tune?. During the long winter evenings, de- 
B 3 prived 


privedof /ociety, they pafs the time in reading 
fuch- books of amufement as happen to fall into 
thtir hands. In their ruftick fimplicity they do 
not pride themfelves on their wit or learning j 
they read for entertainment rather than inftruc* 
tion ; books of morality and philofophy are en- 
tirely unknown to them. As to your romances, 
Aey are fo far from being adapted to their (iiua- 
tion, that they ferve only to render it infupport- 
able. Their retreat is reprefented tobe a defert, 
fo that, wbilft they afford a few hours amufement, 
ih^y pfe)>ire for them whole manths of regret 
a'nd difcontfent. Why may I not fuppofe^ that, 
by fortie fortunate accident, this book, likemar^y 
Others of flill lefs merit, will fail into the hands 
of thofe inhabitants of the fields, and that the 
jSleafing pifture of a lifeexadly refembling their^s 
^rll render it more Colerabl'e f I have great plea- 
fvtte in the idea of a married ct>uple reading this 
rrdvel tdgcthtr, imftibing frefli* courage to fup- 
port iheir common la'feours, and perhaps-new de- 
frgris 16 renrfer them ufeful. How can they 
poilibly contemplate the reprefentation of a happy 
femily without attempting to imitate thfe pleafing 
model? How can they be affcdted' with the 
charms of conjugal anion, even where love is 
tc^nting, without increafiiig and confirming 
ffeeir own attachment ? In quitting thieir book, 
they will neither Be difcontentcd with their fitua- 
fitJrtl, rtor difguftecf at their labour : on the con- 
trary, cytryohjtSt around them- will afJume a more 
delrghtfuF afpeft, their duties will feem ennobled, 


their tafte for the plcafures of nature will revive j 
her genuine fenfations will be rekindled in their 
hearts, and, perceiving happinefs within their 
reach, they will learn to tafte it as they ought : 
they will perforin the fame funAions, but with ' 
another foul ; and what they did before as pea- 
l^nts only, they will now tranfad as real pa* 

N. So far, you fail before the wind. Hu- 

fbands, wives, matrons but, with regard to- 

voung gjrls : do you fay nothing of thofe ? 

fL N'o. A modeft girl will never re^d book* 
of love. If (he (hould complain, of having 
t>eca injut)ed by the penufal of the.fe voluniesy 
iheis unjuft: (he has loft no virtue; for (he 
had none to-lofe. 

N. Prodigious! attend to this, all y^^ ^mo-^ 
rouj writers j for thus ye are all. j uftifisd^ 

R. Provided they arejuftiiied by. thein QWQ 
hfi^ts, and the objedt of tbpir writings. 
N. And is that t]\.e cafe with you? 
jR. I anj toQ proud, to aniwer that queftion^ 
hxxt £loifa« had a certain rule by which (he formed 
her judgement of books* : if you like it, ufe 
it in judging of this. Authours have endear 
voured to make the reading of romances fer- 
viceable to youth. There never was a more idle 
projed. It is juft fetting (ire to the houfe in 
Qrder to employ the engines. Having conQeive4 
this ridiculous idea,^ inftead of direding theoio* 
rafgf their writing;s towards its. prefer ohj^e£tj 
B 4 it 


it is conftantly addrefled to young girls*, with- 
out confidering that thefe fiave ho (hare in the 
irregularities complained of. In general, though 
their hearts may be corrupted, their condufl: is 
blamelefs They obey their mothers, in expec- 
tation of the time when it v(\\l be in their power 
to imitate them. If the wives do their duty, be 
afiured the girls will not be wanting in their's. 

N, Obfervation is againft you in this point. 
The whole fex feem to require a time for iiber- 
tinifm, either in one ftate or the other. It is 
a bad leaven, which muft ferment foon or late. 
Among a civilized people, the girls are eafy, 
and the wives difficult, of accefs ; but where 
mankind are Icfs polite it is juft the reverfe : 
the firft confider the crime only, and the. latter 
thefcandal. The principal queftion is, how to 
be beft fecured from temptation : as to the crime, 
it is of no confideration. 

jR. If we were to judge by its confeqUenceSj 
one would be apt to be of another opinion. 
But let us be juft to the women: the caufe of 
th ir irregularities is lefs owing to themfelves 
than to our ba{l inftinitions. The extreme in- 
equality in the different members of the fame 
family muft ncceffarily ftifle the fentiments of 
nature, The vices and misfortunes of children 
are owing chiefly to the father's unnatural de- 
fpotifm. A young wife, unfuitably efpoufed, 
and a viftim to the avarice Or vanity of her pa- 
tents, glories in effacing the fcandal of her former, 
* virtue 

f This regards joply th& modem Etogliih romances* 


virtue by her prefent irregularities. If you 
would remedy this evil, proceed to its fource. 
Publick manners can only be reformed by begin- 
ning with private vices, which naturally arife 
from parents. But our reformers never proceed 
in this manner. Your cowardly authour^ preach 
only to the dppreflfedj and their morality caa 
have no efFe<ft, becaufe they have not the art ta 
addrefs themoft powerful, 

N. You, Sir, however, run no rifle of being 
accufed of fervility; but may yoi^ not p. iHbly 
be toofincere? In ftriking at the root of this 
evil, may you not be the caufe of more — 

R, livil! tov/hom? In times of epidemical 
contagion, when all are infeded from their in- 
fancy, would it be prudent to hinder the. 
diftribution of falutary medicines, under a 
pretence that they might do harm to people 
in health i You and I, Sir^ differ fo widely 
on this pointy that if it w^re reafonable to 
expeft that thefe letters can meet with any 
fuccefs,^ I am perfuaded they will do more good, 
than a better book. 

N, Cettainly your females are excellent 
preachers. I am pleafed to fee you reconciled: 
with the ladies ; for I was really concerned wheii* 
you irripofed filence on the (ex.* 

R. You are too fevers : L muft' bold my 
tongue: I am neither fo wife nor fo foolifh as t^ 
l)e always in the right. Let us leave this bone 
fcr the criticks. 

B 5 JKL With. 

*See tke UUtrto M. d*Alembert J^r Us S^c^cluk> 

jrxxit DtALOC^e ON THE 

N. With all flf^hcait, left they ftomld want 
one. Biil^ ri>pp>ofe ymi ba<l n^hing to feaf fr^m 
any mhef qiWtfSer, feov7 v«ril) yo« cxcufrtd a cer- 
fairi fttere ^nfoc of the ffage thofe wa*m de-» 
i^i^rf^iofisj and imffai&oiteii feittlmcmtSy which 
s^k fo freqiM^nt m thefelectefs ? Show me a fceite 
instnyof our theatrical j^iiecesr e^a) to that in 
the wood at Clafens, or that of tJle dreffing-rooro. 
Read the letter on theatrical artifif<^ments ; read 
the whole colleflion. In (hort, be confiftejit, or 
fenoance your formci* opinions. What would 
you have one think f 

R. I would have the cfitickd be confiftent with 
themfelv^s, and not judge till they have tho- 
roughly examined. Let me intreat you to read 
once more with attention the parts you have 
Mentioned ; read again the preface to Narcijfe^ 
and you will there find an anfwer to the accu- 
fation of inconfiftency. Thofe forward gentle- 
Wen, who pretend to difcover that fault in the 
I)ivin du Village^ will undoubtedly think it much 
more glaring in this work. They will only aft 
in character j but you — 

N, I recolleft two paflages*. You do not 
much efteem your contemporaries. 

Rs Sir, I am alfo their Contemporary! O, 
why was I not born in an age in which I ought 
to have burnt this colleSion ! 

N. Extravagant as ufual I however, to a cer- 
tain degree, your maxims are juft. For inftance; 
ff your £k)ifa had been chafte from the begin- 
: ■ ning 

♦ fxtf^ct to NareiJe-^Ltiln I M. d*Al«inbtrt. 

niag» iw' wouldhaveajforckd us tefs inftru^on i 
foD tawhonm would Ihe have ferved as a^ model f 
In the moit corrupt ages maniclnd ar«^ fondof 
thfinoftipevfiirdieibas of morality^ tbcoiy 6xg^ 
pUes the place of praSke : and^ at the ftnall ex^ 
pfniieo£aljocl«leirurtt*readiiig, they iatisfytbe 
remnant of theiu t^afle for vistue. 

R. Sublime authours, relax^a* little- your per^St 
models, if youexpe<£l thatwefliauld endeavour 
to imitate them. To what purpofe doyou vaunt 
unfpotted purity ? rather (how us that which may 
be secovered, and perhaps there are fome whqe 
will attend to your inftrudions. 

N. Your young hero has already madetbofe 
reflexions ; but, no matter;^ you would be thought 
no lefs culpable In having Qiown us what is done^ 
in order to fhow what ought to be done. Befides,^ 
to infpire the girls with love, and to make wives^ 
reftrved, is overturning the order of things, and 
. recalling thofe trifling morals which are now to- 
tally profcribed by philofophy. Say what you: 
will, it is very indecent, nay fcandalous,. for ^ 
girl to be in love : nothing but a hufbami caa 
authorife a lover. It was certainly very impo- 
liticktobe indulgent to the unmarried ladies,.wha 
are not allowed to read you^ and fevere upoa 
the married ones, by whom you ape to bcjudgcfd. 
Believe me, if you were fearfu) of fucccfs, yoa 
anay be quite eaiy : you have taken. &ifficient 
care to avoid an affront of that nature Be it as> 
it may, I ftall not betray your confidence.. I 
kope your imprudence will not carry you too* 
B & V . far- 


fi^r. If you think you have written ajaufeful book^ 
ptiblifli it; but by all means conceal your name.^' 

.R. Conceal my name! Will an honeft man 
fpeak to the publick from behind a curtain ? Will 
he dare to print what he does not dare to own t 
I am the editor of this bookj and I ilhall cer^ 
tain ly fix my name in the title-page. 

N. Your name in the title-page ! 

jR» Yes, Sir, in the title-page. 

N» You are furely in jeft ! • 

R. I am pofitively in eameft. 

N. What, your real name ? Jean , Jacques 
Rouffiauy at full length ! 

R Jean Jacques Roujfeau at full length. 

N You furely don't think— What will the 
world fay of you ? 

R, What they pleafe. I don't print my name 
with a defign to pafs for the authour, but to be 
anfwcrable for the book. If it contains any 
thing bad, let it be imputed to me ; if good, L 
defire no praife. If the work in general defcrves. 
ccnfure there is fo much more reafon for pre- 
fixing my name : I have no. ambition to pafs for 
better than I am. 

N. Are you content with that anfwer ? 

R Yes, in an age when it is inipoffible lot 
any one to be good* 

N. Have you forgot les belles ames ? 

it By nature belles^ but corrupted by your 

N. Ani fa we fball behold in the title-page of 

a book 

abookoflove*epiftles, by J. J. Raufiou^ Ci-- 
tixen of Gtneua ! 

R. No, not Citizen of Geneva. I fliall not 
profane the name of my country. I never pre* 
fix it but to thofe writings by which I think It 
will not be difhonoured. 

N. Your own name is no diihonourable one. 
and you have fome reputation to lofe. This 
mean and weak performance will do you no fer* 
vice. I wilh it was in my power todifTuade you; 
but, if you are determined to proceed, I approve 
of your doing it boldly and with a good grace. 
At leaft this will be in character. But, a-prc^s,. 
do you intend to prefix your motto I 

R. My bookfeller a(ked me the fame queftion^ 
and I thought it fo humorous that I promised to 
give him the credit of it. No, Sir, I Ihall not 
prefix my motto to this book; neverthelefs, I am 
now lefs inclined to relinquifli it than ever. Re* 
member that Ithought of publifbing thefe letters 
at the very time when 1 wrote againft the theatres^ 
andthatadefireof accufingoneof my writings has 
not made me difguife truth in the other, I have 
accufed myfelf before-hand, perhaps with more 
ieverity than any other perfon will accufe me* 
He who prefers truth to fame may hope to prefer 
it^to life itfelf. You fay that weoughc to be con^ 
fiftent : I doubt whether that be poffible to man; 
but it is not impoffible to a£l with invariable 
truth. Tliis I will endeavour to do. 

N. Why then, when I aflc whether you arc 
the authour of thefe letters, do you evade the 
quefiiQB I 

R. I 

xxxtm I>rALOaVE ON TBE 

R. I wift not'lie, even m that cafe. 

N. But you refufe to fpeak the truth. 

R. It is doing honour to truth to keep it fecrct. 
Vott .would have lefs difficulty with one who 
made no fcrupfe of z, lie. Bcfides, you know 
men of tafte are never mrftaken in the pen of an 
authpur. How can you aft a ^cftion which k is 
your bufirfefs t6 refolve ? 

N. rhave no doubt with regard to fome of 
the letters ; they are certainly your's : but in 
others you are quite invifible, and I much doubt 
the peffibility of difguife in this cafe. Nature, 
who does not fear being known, frequently 
changes her appearance ^ but art is often dif- 
covered, by attempting to be too natural. Thefe 
cpiftles abound with faults that the moft arrant 
fcribbler would have avoided. Declamation^ 
repetitions, contradictions, &c. in fhort, it is im- 
poffible that a man who can write better could 
ever refolve to write fo ill. What man in his 
fenfes would have made that fooHfli Lord B— 
advance fuch a fhpcking propofal to Elorfa ? Or 
what authour would not have corrected the ridi- 
culous behaviour of this young hero, who> 
though pofitively refolved to die, takes good care 
to apprize all the world of his intention, and 
finds himftif at laft in perfed hfeafth ? Would 
not any writer have known that he ought tofup- 
port his characters with accuracy, and vary his 
ftile accordingly, and he would then infallibly 
have excelled even nature hcrfelf ? 


I hafve otjfeFVctl, ttert rn a very imimate focfcty 
both ftile and ckarafter^ are extremtly fimUar, 
and that when two fouls are clofely united, thetr 
thooghi^, word^, and a&ions will be nearly the 
fame. This Eloifa, a»fte is reprefented, ought 
to be an ab folate enchantrefs ; alt who approach 
her ought immediately to refembk her^ all her 
friends fliould fpeak one langoage : but thefe 
cfFefts are much eafier felt than imagined; and 
even if it were poffible to exprefs them, it would 
be imprudent to attempt it. An authour muft 
be governed by the conceptions of the multitude, 
and therefore all refinement is improper. This 
is thetouchftone of truth, and in this it is that a 
judicious eye will difcoverreal nature. 

R. Well, and fo jrou conclude-^ 

N. I do not conclude at all : I am in doubt; 
and this doubt has tormented me irtexpreffibly, 
during the whole time I fpent in reading thefe 
letters. If it be all a fiction, it is a bad per« 
formance; but fay that thefe two women have 
really exifted, and I will read their epiftles once 
a year to the end of my life. 

R. Strange ! what fignifies it wbedier they 
ever exifted or not? They arc no where to be 
found : they are no more. 

N. No more ! So they a£hially did exift. 

R. The concluiiofi is conditional: if they 
ever did cxift, they are now no more.. 

N. Between you aiid I, thefe little fubtikiet 
are more conclufive than perplexing. 

R. They 


R. They are fuch as ^you force me to ufe^ 
that I may neither betray myfelf nor tell an 

N. In fhort^ you may do as you think'proper ;. 
your title is fuificient to betray you. 

R. It difcQvers nothing relative to the matter 
in queftion; for who can tell whether I did not 
find this title in the manufcript ? Who knows 
whether I have not the fame doubts which you 
have? Whether all this myftery be not a pretext 
to conceal my own ignorance ? 

N. But, however, you are acquainted with 
the fcene of aftion. You have been at Vevaiy, 
in the Pays de Vaud* 

R. Often; and I declare that I never heard 
either of Baron d'Etange, or his daughter. The 
name of Wolmar is entirely unknown in that 
country. I have been at CA7r^»J,. but never faw 
any.houfe like that which is defcribed in thefe 
letters. I paflTed through it, in my return from 
Italy, in the very year when the fad cataftrophe 
happened, and I found nobody in tears for the 
death of Eloifa Wolmar. In (hort, as much as 
I xran recolle£t of the country, there are, in 
thefe ktters^ feveral tranfpofitions of places, 
and topographical errours, proceeding either 
from ignorance in the authour, or from a defign 
to miflead the reader; This is all you wiW learn 
from me on this point, and you may be afTured 
that no one elfe fliall draw any thing mor^ from^ 

K All 


N. All the world will be as curious as I am. 
If you print this work, tell the publick what you 
have told me. Do more, write this converfation 
as a Preface : it contains all the information 
neceflary for the reader. 

R. You are in the right. It will do better 
than any thing I could fay of my own accord. 
Though thefe kind of apologies feldom fucceed. 

N. True, where the authour fpares himfelf. 
But I have taken care to remove that objedion 
here. Only, I would advife you to tranfpofe the 
parts. Pretend that I wanted to perfuade you to 
publifh, and that you objeded. This will be 
more modeft, and will have a better tScA. 

R. Would that be confiftent with the character 
for which you praifed me a while ago ? 

N. It would not. I fpoke with a deflgn t^ 
try you. Leave thmgs as they ^re* 

E L O I S A. 

E L O I S A- 



I MUST fly from you, Eloifaj I feel I muft. 
I ought not to have ftaycd with you fo long j 
or rather, I ought never to have beheld 
you. But now, what can Idol On what 
ihall I determine ? You have promifed me your 
friendihip ; conftder my perplexity, and give me 
your advice. 

You are fenfible that I only came into the 
family in confcquence of an invitation from 
your mother* Believing, me poflcfled of fome lit- 
tle knowledge, fhe thought I might be of fervlce 
in the education of her beloved daughter, in » 
fituation where proper maders were not to be 
obtained. Proud to be inflrumental in adding 
any embellifhment to fo fine a natural genius, 
I ventured on the perilous taflc, unmindful of 
the danger, or at leaft fearlefs of the confc- 
quence. I will not tell you that I begin to 
(ufFer for my prefumption. I hope I flxall never 
fo far forget myfelf as to fay any thing which yoa 


44 E L O I S A. 

ought not to hear, or fail in that refpeft which 
is due to your virtue even more than to your 
birth or perfonal charms. If I muft fufFer, I 
have the confolation at leaft of fufFering alone ; 
nor could I enjoy any happinefs at the expenfe 
of your's. 

And yet I fee and converfe with you daily : 
in the mean while I am but too fenfible that 
you innocently aggravate a misfortunfe which 
you cannot pity, and of which you ought to be 
ignorant. It is true, I know what prudence 
dictates in a cafe like this, where there is no 
hope ; and I fhould certainly follow her advice 
if I could reconcile it to my notions of probity.. 
But, how can I with decency quit a family 
into which J was fo kindly invited, where I have 
received fo many obligations, and where, by 
the tendereft of mother'^, 1 am thought of fome 
utility to a daughter whom fhe loves more than 
all the world? How can I refolve to deprive 
this aftedionate parent of the pleafure fhe pro- 
pofes hcrfelf in one day furprifingher hufband 
with your improvements, which fhe now con- 
ceals from his knowledge with that view? Shall 
I impolitely quit the houfe without taking leave 
of her? Shall I declare to her the caufe of my 
retreat, and would not (he have reafon to be 
oflFended with this confeffion from a man whofe 
inferior birth and fortune prevent his afpiring to 
the happinefs of being your's ? 

There feems but one method to extricate me 
from this embarrafTment : the hand which 
1. ■ involved 

£ L O t S A/ 45 

involved me in it muft alfo relieve nae. As you 
arc the caufe of my offenfc, you muft infli<a 
my punlfhment : out of compaffion, at leaft deign 
to baniih me from your prefence. Show my 
letter to your parents j let your doors be fhvtt 
againft me ; fpurn me from you in what manner 
you pleafe: from you I can bear any'thing ; but 
of my own accord 1 have no power to fly from 
you. . 

Spurn me from you ! fly your prefence! and 
why ? Why fhould it be a crime to be fenfible 
of merit, and to love that which we cannot fail 
toefteem? No, charming Eloifa ! your beauty 
might have dazzled my eyes, but it never would 
have mifled my heart, had it not been animated 
with fomething yet more powerful. It is that 
captivating union between a lively fenfibility and 
invariable fweetnefs of difpofition; it is that 
tender feeling for the diftrefles of your fellow- 
creatures 5 it is that anuzing juftnefs of fentj- 
ment, and that exquifite tafte, which derive tljfeir 
excellence from the purity of your foul; it is, 
in a word, thofe charms of your mind more thaft 
thpfe of your perfon which I adore. I confefs 
it may be poffible to imagine beauties ftill more 
tranfcendently perfeft j but more amiable, and 
more deferving the heart of a wife and virtuous 
man —no, no, Eloifa, thatis impoflible. 

I am fometimes inclined to flatter myfelf that 
as there is a parity in our years, and a fimilitude 
in our tafte, there is alfo afecret fympathy in 
our aflfeaioiis. We are both fo young that our 


46 E L O I S A. 

naturiB can .hitherto Jwvc received no felfe bias 
from any .thing adventitious, and all our in- 
clinations /eem to coincide. Before we have 
.imbibed »the uniform prejudices of the world, 
.jOur general perc^tions feem uniform 3 and why 
jmay I not Xi^ppofe the fame concord in oiir 
Jiearts, which in our judgement is fo ftrikingly 
apparent? Sometimes it happens that our eyes 
meet; involuntary fighs betray our feelings^ 
.tears. fteaLfrom—*-0 1 my Eloifa ! if this uni- 
fon of foul ihould bea divine impulfc ■ 'if hea- 

ven.ihould have deftined us all the power on 

earth—- — Ah, pardon me ! I am bewildered : I 

thave miftalcen a vain wifh for hope : the ardour 

-of my defires gave to their imaginary objefl: a 

folidity which did not exift. I forefee with 

horrour the torments which my heart is preparing 

.for itfelf. I do not feek to indulge my weak- 

nefs ; if it were in my power I would hate it. 

You may judge of the purity of my fentiments 

by the favour I aflc. Deftroy, if poffible, the 

fource of the poifon that both fupports and kills 

nie. I am determined to efFe<ii my cure or my 

death, ^nd I therefore implore your rigorous in- 

junftign, as a lover would fupplicate your com- 


Yes, I promife, I fwear, on my part, to do 
every thing in my, power to recover my reafon; 
or. to bury my growing anxiety in the inmoft 
receffes of my foul. But, for heaven's fake, 
turn from me thofc lovely eyes that pierce me to 
the "heart; fuiFer me no longer to gaze upon 


JL L JO I S A. 47 

.that .£ace, that ,Qiien, rthofe arnis, thofe hands, 
thofe flowing locks, .that engaging gefture: 
jiifa|ipoint the imprudent avidity of my leaks; 
^o longer let.meiiear that enchanting voiced 
which cannot he .heard without emotion : be, 
alas ! in every refped another woman, that my 
foul may return to its former tranquillity. 

Shall 1 tell you without apology i when we 
are en^ged in the puerile amufemcntSrQf thefe 
.long evenings, you cruelly permit me, in the 
preftnce of the whole family, to increafe.a flame 
that is already but too violent. You axe not 
more referred to me than to any other, iil^&en i 
yellerday you almoft fufFered me, as a forfeit, to ^ 
take a kife: you made but a faint refiftance. \ 
Happily I did not ^perHft. I, perceived, l^y^n^y r 
increafing palpitation, that I was ruChin^g ^pon 
my ruin, and therefore flopped in time. If 
I had daredcto indulge my inclination, ,that jcifs 
would have been accompanied with^ny laft/igb, 
and J Ihould have died, the happieft of mortals. ^ ^■^'^ 

for heaven's fake »kt us quit thofe .chiJdifli 
amufements, fince they may. poffibiyrbe attended 
with fuch fatal confequences : even the moft 
Ample of them is not without its danger. I trem- 
ble as often as our hands meet, and I know not 
bow it happens, but they meet continually. I 
ftarttbe infiant.I feel thiK touch of your finger ; 
lamfeifed with,a fev^^, .;br ratherdeliriwm, in 
thefe fports; my feafes gi»dually iorfake/me, 
and when i am ttiuis^ahfent, -wbat iCan I (ay. 

4S E L O I S A, 

what can I do, where hide myfelf, or how be 
anfwerable for my condudl ? 

The hours of inftrudion are no lefs dangerous 
tban'thofe of amufement. Your mother or your 
coufin no fooner leave the room than I obferve 
a change in your behaviour. You at once affume 
an air fo ferious and cold, that my refped, 
ahd the fear of offending, deftroy my prefence 
of mind, and deprive me 6f myjudgeftient : fo 
that it is with difficulty a;id trembling that I 
gabble over a leffoh, which even your excellent 
talents are unable to purfue. This affedled 
change in your behaviour is hurtful to us both : 
you confound me, and deprive yourfelf of in- 
ftruflion, whilft I am entirely at a lofs to account 
for this fudden alteration in a perfon naturally 
fo- even-tempered and reafonable. Tell me, 
pray, tell me, whyyouarefofprightlyinpublick, 
and fo referved when by ourfelves ? I imagined 
dt ought to be juft the contrary, and that one 
fhould be more or lefs upon one's guard in pro- 
portion to the number of fpecftators. But, inftead 
of this, when we are alone you are ceremonious, 
and familiar when we join company. If you 
deign to be more equal, probably my torment 
will be lefs. 

If that compaffion which is natural to elevated 

minds can move you in behalf of -an unfortunate 

youth, whom you have honoured with fome 

' (hare in your efteem, you have it in your power, 

-^y a fihSn change in your conduft, to render his 

fitHation lefs irkfome, and to enable him, with 


£ L O I S. A* 4f 

more traxiquilUtyy txkfttpport hh ill^nce^ 9s^ his 
fofterij^s: but if you find yotucfelf sottauch94 
wif^ hrs fituation, and aredetecmio^ to exerf 
your power tQ ruin htm, he wiU acqui^c^ wi(h<^ 
out murmuring : he wou^d rather-r-much rath^ry 
periib by your ordcF, than incur your ddfplea- 
AuFc by his indifcretion. Now, though yotuars* 
become miftref^ of m^y future deftiny, I cannot 
rq>roach rayfelf with having indulged the leaft 
prefumptive hope. If you have been fo kix>d a^ 
to read my letter, you have complied with all I 
ftould have dared to requeft, even though I had 
no. refufal to fear. 




OW ftrangely was I deceived in my firft 
letter! Inlteadof alleviating my pain, I 
have increafed my diftrefs, by incurring your dif- 
pleafure: and, alas! that, 1 find, is the leaft 
fupportable of all misfbrtnnes. Your filence, 
your cold and referyed behaviour, but too plain- 
ly indicate my doom. You have indeed granted 
one part of my petition, but it was to punilh mc 
with the greater feverity. 

£ pot ch^ amor di me mfice- accorta 
Fur i biondi capelli aUor *velatif 
' £ ramcr^/guardo mfiracBlt^. 
At (iyftance kept from my prefuoiptuous love. 
Your fiair and flowing locks no mor« are itoa^ 
And evoi'y kind and teoder look reftrainM«. 

Vol, I. C You 

50 E L O I S A; 

You have withdrawn that innocent famlHaiitjr 
in publick of which I fooliihly complained ; and 
in private you are become ftill more fevere : you 
are fo ingenioufly cruel, that both your complai- 
fance and referve are equally intolerable. 

Were it poffible for you to conceive how 
much your indiiFerence affefts me, you would 
certainly think my puniihment too rigorous. 
What would I not give to recal that unfortunate 
ktter, and that I had borne my former fufferings 
without complaint! So fearful am I of adding 
to my ofFenfe, that I ihould never have ven- 
tured to write a fecond letter, if I did not flatter 
myfelf with the hopes of expiating the crime 
J committed in the firft. Will you deem it any 
fatisfaftion if I confefs that I miftook my own 
intention i or fliall I proteft that I never was 
in love with you?- O! noj 1 can never he 
guilty of fuch a horrid perjury! The heart 
which is imprelTed with your fair image muft not 
be polluted with a lie. If I am doomed to be 
Ainhappy — he it fo. I cannot ftoop to any thing 
mean or deceitful to extenuate my fault. My 
;<pen refufes to difavow the tranfgrelfion of which 
my heart is but too juftly accufed. 

Methinks I already feel the weight of your 
indignation, and await its final confequence as 
a favour which I have fome right to expecS: ; for 
the paffion which confumes me deferves to be 
punilhed, but not defpifed. For heaven's fake, 
do not leave me to myfelf J condefcend, atleaft, 
Jto determine my fate; deign to let me know 


C L O I S A. 51 

your pleaTure* I will obey implicitly whatever 
you think proper to command* Do you im- 
pofe eternal filence ? 1 wil 1 be filent as the grave. 
Do you banifli me your prefence ? I fwcar that 
I will never fee you more. Will my death ap- 
peafe you ? that would be -of all things the leaft 
<lifEcult. There are no terms which I am not 
ready to fubfcribe, unlefs they (hould enjoin me 
not to love you j yet, even in that I would obejr 
you — if it were poflible. 

A hundred times a day I am tempted to throw 
myfelf at your feet, bathe them with my tears, 
and to implore your pardon, or receive my 
death j but a fudden terrour damps my refolu** 
tion i my trembling knees want power to bend { 
my words expire upon my lips, and my foxrl 
finds no fupport againft the dread of offending 

Was ever mortal in faterriblea fituationl My 
heart is but too fenfible of its offcnfe, yet can- 
not ceafc to offend : my crime and my rcmorfe 
confpirein its agitation, and, ignorairt of^mfy 
^eftiny, I am cruelly fufpended between the' 
«hop^ of 'your compafEon and the fear of puniih- 

But, no! I do not hope— I have no right to 
hope*— I aik no indulgence, but that you will 
haften^my fentence. Let your ^uft revenge be 
fetisfieii. Do you think me fufficiently wretched,* 
to be thus reduced to foUicit vengeance on my 
own head i Puni(h me, it is your duty; but if^ 
you retain the leaft degree of compaifionfor me, 
• C 2 d# 

^z E U a I' S A*^ 

do. not, I befeech you, drive nhe to-fferpair with 
thofe cold looks, and that air of reftrve and dif- 
content. When once a criminal is condemned 
£0 die, allrefcntment^ibould ce»fe« 

Ji HJ ^li*"'"*^^-?'^ 

L E T T E R nj. 


DO not be impatient, i^adam ; this is. tht 
laA importunity you will? reqeive f-noo^ me. 
Littl^ d\^ \ appce^end, in the dawn of my paf- 
fton, whatta trajn of ills I was preparing for 
myft^lf ! I th^n .forcfaw none greater than that 
of a. hopel^fs p^ffion, which reafon, in time, 
might overcome; but I foon experienced one 
much more intolerable in the pain which I felt 
at your difpleafure, and now the difcovery of 
your uneafinefs i& inivnit^ly more a^i<^ing than 
all the reft, O Eloifa! I percdv^ it with bitter- 
nefs of foul, my complaints afFe<Sl your peace 
of mfnd« You continue invincibly filentj but 
^y heart is toa apttentive no$ to pe^ietrate into 
the fecret agit^tijM^s of your mii>d> Your eyes 
appear gloomy, thoughtful, and fixed upontbef 
ground; fpm^Unqs tbey w^mder^ an4fallun- 
defignedly upon me 5 your bloom, fack^, an un- 
uf^ial p^qieA; overfpre^ds yowi^ cheel^;, youp 
^ftipty £K>rfal&s& you ; you feem.opprefTe^. witb 
grief^, and the^ unalterable f^reetni^i^ of j^Qurdi^ 
pofition.aloi^^ qn)%t>les you, to pceibrve tbefl^dow> 
ef youf iiipftj.gffpd-humpur. 


pr t: f S M ^3 

- rWthfttber it be difOugh ftan&biKty, yifdaln^ or 
even tiompaffidn ferniy^fufFenrngs^ I fee yoa:Bre 
»ffe6kcd bythom. I fear, however^ tdmignient 
your lUftrerfs, -and am tnore tAihappy oii this 
accottiit, thsan 'ftafiteised *with ihe hopt it might 
poffi)ly'oociilon^ for^ if I km^iw myfelf, yoixr 
bappbids^^ mfmitdy dearer lOfnle thanwiy owni 

I dKW begm 110 "be <enfibVe tfeak 1 yiidged \^y 
wrowedttfly kyf tke feeliftgB of irfiy heatt, aftid 
peceiVc t66 tetJfes tH« what I ^ *rft took fdr 
a «eeti*ig ^pkfcfiff « but to irrfep«*bly inter- 
woven #?fli ih^ "fiituTe deftkiy. It w ;^ur >ate 
melancholy t!hat has ittade tfie tnweafing- pro* 
grcfs of my malady appstrcntr The luftre of 
ycur-eycs, the delicate glowof yew cdm-plcxton, 
your excellent underftanding, and all the ^- 
chantment of your former vivacity, could not 
have affefted me half fo much as your prefent 
manifeft dejeftr^n, Be a'fruVed, divine maid, 
if it were poffibj.cfor you'to^fcel the intolerable 
flame^ which your laft eight penfive4ays of hmr- 
guor and difcontent have kindled in my foul, 
you your&lf would fiuidd^r at the mifery yoii 
have caufed. But there is now tio.Temedy: 
my defpair whi'^a's ihisit nothing A ut th^ coll 
tomb will extinguifh the xaging fire within my 

'Be it To;: lie that canhbt commkad ieScSty 
may at ieaft ^deferj^e it. Yaa mzy ptMMf^ 
obliged -toHionoifr. with -y^dur ^eem the nfjWI 
whom yott did net deign to aofw^ I ahi ybah^ 
and may, perchance, one day, meHt the regard 
C 3 of 

54 B L O I S A. 

of which I am now unworthy. In the mean 
time, it is necefTary that I ihould reftore to you 
that repofe which I have loft for ever, and of 
which you are, by my prcfence, in fpite of my- 
felf, deprived. It is but juft that I alone (hould 
fuffer, fmce I alone am guilty. Adieu, then, 
too charming Eloifa! Refume your tranquillity, 
and be again happy. To-morrow I am gone 
for ever. But be affured, that my violent, fpot- 
lefs pai&on for you will end only with my life; 
that my heart, full of fo divine an obje<d, wiU 
never debafe itfelf by admitting a fecond im- 
preffion -, that it will divide all its future homage 
bctwen you-apd virtue, and that no other flame 
fhall evcjf profane the ahar at which Bloifa was 

BIL LE T !• 


E nottoo pofitive in your opinion that your 
abfentre is become neceflary. A virtuous 
heart would overcome its folly, or be filent, and 
thus might become, perhaps, too formidable.—* 
But you-^Ai^d yet you may ft^. 



., IT was a long time filent : youlr cold indifference 
fcffctd me to fpealc at laft. Virtue may poffibly 
get the better of folly, but who can bear to be 
^efpif^pd by thofe they love i I muft be gone. 

* i . . • * • • • ' 

.-• - ' IBILLBT 

B L O I S A« 51 

^ " ' B I L L E T IL 


NO, Sir, after what you have (eemed tQ 
feel; after what you have dared to tell 
me ; a man, fuch as you feign yourfelf, will 
not fly— he will do more. 

A N s w E R» 
I Have feigned nothing except z nioderati 
paffion in a heart filled with defpair. To-mor- 
row you will be fatisfied — ^and, notwithftandii^ 
what you may then fay, I fhall have done lefs- 
than it would be to fly from you. ^ 



OOLISH youth! if my life be dear if 
thee,^ attempt not thy own. I am befet^ 
and can neither fpeak nor write to you till t<>» 
morrow— Wait! 


L E T T E R IV. * 


MUST I then, at laft, confefs, the fatal, 
the ill-difguifed fecrett How often have 
I fworn that it ihould never burft from my heaft 
but with my life ! Thy danger wrefts it from 
me. It is gone, and my honour is loft forever. 
Al^s ! I have but too religioufly performed my 
C 4 vow; 


^ E L t S A. ^ 

vow : can there be a death more cruel than to 
furvlve one's honour? 

What fhall 1 fky ? lib^ Ihall 1 break the pain- 
T6l fihrncef or, raither, hare I not faM all, and 
krh I not aflready td6 weH tinderftodd ? Alas! 
thou haA ffeen too rmich ^t to divine th^ reft* 
Imperceptibly deluded ihtb the fnare of tkt fed«- 
cer, I fee, without "being able to avoid it, the 
horrid precipice before me. Artful man ! it 
IS hot iby paidTon, but yhjne, t^hichejccitfes thy 
prefumption. Thou ob'ferveft 'tile diftra^flion ot* 
toy foul 5 thou availeft thyfelf of it to accOm.- 
plifh my ruin ; and, now thou haft ' rendered 
me defpicable, my greateft misfortune is, that I 
am forced tobehoWtbeenl-fotBu-cleiincable light. 
Ungrateful wretch'! in fetwi^n - /or my efteem, 
thou haft ruined me. Had I fuppofed thy heart 
capable of exulting, belieVe me thou hadft ne- 
Hher enjbycd this tritnnph. 

Wen thou fchbwc*, ^6 it will inereaffe thy 
Tdnt^ft, thM: thete wfts ftot in my (bul one vi- 
cious inclination. My virtue «nd innocence 
were inexpre^iblydear^«ie, and I pleafcd my- 
felf with the hopes of cherifliing them in a life 
of induftrious fimplicity. But to what piirpofe 
my endeavour, fincclicaVenrcjeds my offering? 
1l he vcfy firft d^y we met, 1 imbibed th^poifon 
^fcfi Tibv^ infers "my fetiftfes and ^my reafon : I 
Wt it infl^ntly, ^-nd thine eyes, thy fentiments, 
*thy difcourfe, thy guilty *pen, d^ily increafe it?s 

• 1 have 

E t (S r 8 A. ry 

i have ncglefled nothing to ftop the progrcfs 
of this fatal pafTion. Scnfible of my own weak- 
nefs, how gLdly would 1 have cvkded the at- 
tack J but the eagernefs of my purfuit hath baf- 
fled my precaution A thoufand times I have 
tefolved to caft myfelf at the feet of thofe wbo 
gave me being — a thoufand times 1 have deter- 
ttiined to open to them my guilty heart : but they 
can form no judgement of its condition ; they 
would apply but common remedies to a defperate 
difeafe : my mother is weak and without autho- 
Hty 5 I know the inflexible feverity of my father, 
and I (hould bring down ruin and difhonour 
ypon myfelf, rny family, and thee. My friend 
is abfent, my brother is no more. 

I have not a proteftor in the world to fav.e me 
from the perfecution of my enemy. In vain 1 
implore the afliftanceof Heaven ; Heaven is deaf 
to the prayers of irrefolution.' Every thing ccmi- 
fpires to increafe my anxjcty — every circum- 
flance combines to abandon me to myfelf, or 
rather xruelly to deliver me up to thee— all na- 
ture feems thy accomplice— my efforts are vain, 
I adore thee in fpite of myfelf. And fhall that 
heart which, in its full vigour, was unable to 
rcAft, fliaU It only half forrender? Shall' a 
heart which knows no diffimulatipn attempt to 
tonceal the poor remains of its wdakncfs? No^ 
the firft ttcp was the moft difficult, and the only 
one which I ought never tohave tal«;en, ^Shall 
1 now l) ftop at the reft ? No} that firft 
• C 5 ' ' ' ' ' ■ ■ falfe 

58 E L O I S A. 

falfe ftep plunged me into the abyfs, and my dc« 
gree of mifery is entirely in thy power. 

Such is my horrid fituation, that I am forced 
to turn to the authour of my misfortunes, and 
implore hisprotedlionagainft himfelf. I might — 
I know I might — have deferred this confeffion 
of my defpair: I might, for fome time longer, 
have difguifed my (hameful weaknefs, and by 
yielding gradually have imoofed upon myfelf. 
Vain diiEmulation \ which could only have flat- 
tered my pride, but could not fave my virtue, 
I fee but too plainly whither my iirft errouf tends, 
and fhall not endeavour to prepare for, but to 
cfcape perdition, 

Neverthclefs, if thou art not the very loweft 
of mankind-— if the leaft fpark of virtue lives 
within thy foul — if it retain any veftige of thofe 
fentiments of honour which feemed to penetrate 
thy heart, thou canft not poffibly be fo vile as to 
take any unjuft advantage of a confeiHon forced 
from me by a fatal diftradlion of my fenfes* 
No } 1 know thee well : thou wilt fupport my 
weaknefs, thou wilt become my fafeguard, thou 
wilt defend my perfon againft my own heart. 
Thy virtue is the laft refuge of my innocence; 
my honour dares confide in thine, for thou canft 
not preferve one without the other. Ah 1 let thy 
generous foul preferve them bothj^ and at leaft, 
for thy own fake, be merciful. 
, Qood God f am I thus fufEciently humbled ? 
I write to thee on my knees j I bathe my paper 
with my tears ; I pay to thee my timorous ho- 

E L O I S A«. , 59 , 

mage : and yet thou art not to believe me fgno- 
rant that it was in my power to have reverfed 
the fcenej and that, with a little art, which 
would have rendered me defpicable in my 
own eyes, I might have been obeyed and Wor-« 
fliipped. Take the frivolous empire, I relin- 
quilh it to my friend; but leave me, ah ! leave 
me, my innocence. I had rather live thy flave, 
and preferve my virtue, than purchafe thy obe^ 
dience at the price of my honour* Shouldeft 
thou deign to hear me, what gratitude mayeft 
thou not claim from her who will owe to thee 
the recovery of her reafon? How charming muft 
be the tender union of two fouls unacquainted 
with guilt! Thy vanquiflied paffions will prove 
the fourceof happinefs, and thy pleafures will he 
worthy of heaven itfelf. 

I hope, nay I am confident, that the man to 
whom I have given my whole heart will not belie 
my opinion of his generofity ; but I flatter myfeliF, 
alfp, if he is mean enough to take the leaft ad- 
vantage of my weaknefs, that contempt and in- 
dignation willreflior^ my fenfes, and that I am 
not yet funk fo low as to fear a lover for whom I 
fliould have reafon to bluft. Thou fhalt be 
virtuous, or bedefpifed; I will be refpefted, or 
be myfelf again : it is the only hope I have left,' 
preferable to the hope of death. 

--/>'.«;-r. J. 

C 6 LET T E R 

^ B L O I S A« 

L E T T £ R ¥• 

^O feLOlSA. 

CELESTIAL 4)owers! I poffefled a foul ca- 
pable of affli£Hon : O infpire«e with one 
that can bear felicity! Divine Jove! fpiritof my 
exiftenc^, O fopport me ! for I fmkdownoppref- 
ibd with^xtacy. How inexpreiTible are the charms 
ctf virtue J How invincible the power of a be* 
k>ved objeA ! fortune, pkaAire, tranfport, bow 
poi^anftt yeor Jwmprefion ! Q, how fball I with* 
&»ni the irdipfd torrent of l>lifs. wlikh overflows 
my beai^) «n4 how difpel the i(pprch«>fions of a 
ttmo^iis maftd ? Eloife^— nb I nay Eldifa on her 
krte^l my Eloifa wee^ 1-^ — ^Shall fee to whom 
the univerfe ihould bend fu'pplica^ t^e hiah 
who adores bet* to t>e cateful of her honour, 
and to prefervie his own ? Were it poflible for 
me to be,out of htmotr w*ith you, I Should be a 
irttk angi'y at your fears^: they are diigraceful 
to us both. Learn, thou diafte awd heavenly 
beauty, t6 know tjc^tter the nature of thy empire. 
If 1 adore thy charming perfon, is it not foi* 
the purity of that foul by vi^hich it is animated, 
and which "bears fuch ineffable marks .of its di- 
vine origin? You tremble with apprehertfion ! 
good Ood ! what hath fee to fear, wlio ftanfipfs 
with reverence and honour every fentimcnt fee 
infpires ? Is there a man upon earth who could 
^ vile enough jCo offer the leaft itifult to fuch 


B L O I S A; 6i 

Permit, O permit mc, to enjoy tlie niiex« 
pcficd happinefs of being beloved— belored by 
fnch Ye princes of the world, 1 now look 

down iip6n your grandeur. Let me read a thou« 
£ind and a thotffand times that enchanting epiftle 
where thy tender fcntiments are painted in fuch 
ftrong and glowing colours; where I obferve 
tvith tranfport, notwithftandlng the violent agi- 
tation of thy foul, that even thetnoft lively paf- 
fibfts of a noble heart never lofe fight of virtue?, 
Whfrt monfter, aftor having read that affeding 
fetter^ coald take advantafge of your generous 
confeffion, and attertpt a crime whiqh muft in- 
fa^hbly make him wretched and defpicable even 
to hifnftflf. No, my deareft Eloifa, there can 
bfenbthing tofeat froiti a friend, a lover, who 
iftulft ever bdlntapablc of deceiving you. Though 
I ftiould tfttirfety have loft my reafba, though the 
difcompofarebf rhy fen'fcs Should hourly increafe, 
your perfon will fclways appear ko me, not only 
the moft beautiful, but the 'ftioft facrcd depofit 
^fth vtrhJdi mortal Vas ever entrufted. My 
paffion,lHceits objeft, is unalterably pure. The 
hotrid idea of inccfft does not fliock me more than 
the thought of polluting your heavenly charms 
with a facrHcgioas touch : you are not more i«- 
. Viola'bly fafe with your o^i parent than with 
your lover. If ever thkt happy lover Ihould in 
your prefence forget himfelf but for a moment 
O, 'tis impoflible* When I am no longer in 
love with virtue, my love for Eloifa muft expire : 


6z E L O I S A. 

on my firft ofFenfe, withdraw your affe£Hon, and 
caft me off for ever. 

By the purity of our mutual tendernefs, 
therefore, I conjure you, banifh all fufpicion. 
Why fhould your fear exceed the paffions of your 
lover ! To what greater felicity can I afpire, 
when that with which I am bleft is already 
more than I am well able to fupport ? We are 
both young, and in love unexperienced, it is true; 
but is that honour which cpndufts us a deceit- 
ful guide ? can that experience be needful which 
is acquired only from vice? I am ftrangely de- 
ceived, if the principles of reftitude are not 
rooted in the bottom of my heart. In truth, 
my Eloifa, I am no vile feducer, as, in your 
defpair, you were pleafed to call me; but am 
artlefs, and of great fenfibility, eafily difcover- 
ing my feelings, but feeling nothing at which I 
ought to blufh. To fay all in one word, my love 
for Eloifa is not greater than my ab^qrence of a 
crime. I am even doubtful, whether the love 
which you infpire be not in its nature incom- 
patible vnth Tice ; and whether a corrupt heart 
could poiSbly feel its influence. As for me, tte 
more I love you, the more exalted are my fen- 
timents. Can there te any degree of virtue^ 
however unattainable for its own fake, to which 
I would not afpire to become more worthy of 
Eloifa ? 


E L O I S A. 63 

L E T T E R VI. 


IS my dear coufin refolv^d to fpend her whole 
life in bewailing her poor Challiot, and will 
flie forget the living becaufe of the dead? I 
fympathife in your grief and think it juft, but 
ihall it therefore be eternal ? Since the death of 
your mother fhe was afliduoufly careful of your 
education ; fhe was your friend rather than your 
governefs. She loved you with great tendernefs, 
and me, for your fake : her inftrudions were all 
intended to enrich oi|r hearts with principles of 
honour and virtue. All this I know, my dear^. 
and acknowledge it with gratitude ; but, confefs 
with me alfo, that in fome refpeds fhe aded very 
imprudently } that fhe often indifcretely told us 
things with which we bad no concern j that fhe 
entertained us eternally with maxims of gallan- 
try, her own juvenile adventures, the manage- 
ment of amours; and that to avoid the fnares 
of men, though fhe might tell us not to give 
.car to their proteftations, yet Ihe certainly in- 
ftruded us in many things with which there was 
no neceifity for young girls to be made acquaint- 
ed. Refleft, therefore, upon her death as a mif- 
fortune, not without fome confolation. To 
girls of our age her lefTons grew dangerous, and 
who knows but heaven may have taken her from 
us the very moment in which her removal be- 
came neceflary to our future happinefs. Re^ 
4 member 

^4 B L iO I S A. 

member the falutary advice you gave me when 
I was deprived of the beft of ^brothers. Was 
Challiot dearer to you ? Is your lofs greater than 
mine ? 

Return, my dear; &e has no longer any^oc* 
cafion for you, Alas! whilft your are wa:ilmg 
your time in fuperfluous afflidion, may not your 
^bfence bp prodadive of greater evils f Why are 
you not afraid, who know the beatings of my 
fceart, to abandon your friend to misfortunes 
which your prefence might prevent. O Clara ! 
-ftrange things have happened fince your depart- 
tarc* You will tremble to heat the danger to 
whkh I have been expofed by my imprudence. 
Thank heaven, I hope I have now nothiirg tb 
fear : but unhappily I affti as it were at themercy 
pf another. You alone can reftorc me to my- 
4elf : haAe, therefore, to my affiftance. So long as 
your attendance was of ferviccto poor Challiot 
i was filent 5 I fhotild tven have been th'c fii^ to 
exhort you to fach an zik of benevolence : but, 
nowflie i^ no move, her fatnily zifc become the 
«>bje<fts of jdur chatty;: of this dbHgaftron we 
txyuld bcttet acquit onrfirfves if we were toge-- 
ther, atrd your gratitude might be difcharged 
without neglefting your friend. 

Since my faCther took his leave of us we havt 
tefumed our formet manner of living. My tno- 
ther leaves me lefe frequently akjnej not that 
fltehas any fufpicion. Her vi fits employ morfe 
time than it 'would be proper f6r m€ to Ipare 
irotn my littk ft\idies, and in her abfence Bab 


E L O I S A. 65 

fills her place but negligently. Ni)t7, thotf^ I 
do h0t think my good mother fufficiently watch- 
-ful, I canftot refolve to tell her fo. I wOuW 
willingly provide for my own fafety without 
lofmglitr cfteem, and you alone are capable of 
mairaging this nutter. R^um, then, my dear 
Chra, pr^yfhlje return. I regret every leffon at 
'^hich you arc not prefent, and am fearful of be- 
cotstirhg-too learned. Our preceptor is not only 
a tntfn<^f great merit, but of exemplary virtue^ 
and therefore more dangerous. I am too well 
fktisficd with him to be fo with myfelf. For 
with girls of our age, it is always fafer to bfc two 
than one, be the ift^n ever fo virtuous. 

L E T 1^ E R Vir. 

T ^Jiiderftand, and tremble for you : not that 
JL I thhik yoor danger fo great as yourimagi- 
Jiation weuld fuggeft. Your fears make me lefs 
apprehenfive for the prcfent 5 but I am terrified 
with the thought of what may hereafter happen, 
<Should you be unable to conquer your paffion^ 
what will become of you ! Alas, poor Challiot, 
how often has Ibe foretold that your firft *figh 
would mark 'yoar fortune. AU ! Eloi(a, fo 
youwg, and thy deftiny already accomplifbed? 
M«ch I fear we Iball find the want of that fen- 
-fible woman, whom, in your opinion, we have 
ioft for our advantage. Sure I am, it would be 


66 E L q I S A. 

advantageous for us to fall into ftill fafer hands ; 
but fhe has made us too knowing to be governed 
by another, yet not fiifficiently fo to govern our- 
felves : fhe only was able to fhield us from the 
danger to which, by her indifcretion, weareex- 
pofed. She was extremely communicative, and, 
confidering our age, we ourfelves feem to have 
thought pretty deeply. The ardent and tender 
friendfhip which had united us, almoft from our 
cradles, expanded our hearts, and ripened them 
into fenfibility perhaps a little premature* We 
are not ignorant of the paiSons, as to their 
fymptoms and efFefls ; the art of fuppreffing 
them feems to be all we want. Heaven grant 
that our young philofopher may know this art 
better than we. 

By we you know who I mean : for my part, 
Challiot ufed always to fay, that my giddinefs 
would be my fecurity in the place of reafon, 
that I fliould never have fenfe enough to be in 
love, and that I was too conftantly foollfli to 
beguilty of a great folly. My dear Eloifa, be 
careful of yourfelf ! the better fhe thought of 
your underftanding, the more fhe was appre- 
henfive of your heart. Neverthelefs, let not 
your courage fink. Your prudence and your 
honour, I am certain, will exert their utmofl, 
'jUid I affure you, on my part, that friendfhip 
fliall do every thing in its power. If we are too 
knowing for our years, yet our manners have 
been hitherto fpotlefs and irreproachable. Be* 
lieve me, my dear, there are many girls, who, 


E L O I S A; 67 

though they may have more fimplicity, have left 
virtue than ourfelves : we know what virtue 
means, and are virtuous by choice s and that 
feems to me the moft. fecure. 

And yet, from what you have told me, I 
Jhall not enjoy a moment's repofe till we meet 5 
for, if you are really afraid, your danger is not 
entirely chimerical. It is true, the means of 
prefervation are very obvious. O^e word to 
your mother, and the thing is done : but I un- 
derftand you ; the expedient is too conclufive : 
you would willingly be afTured of not being 
vanquiibed, without lofing the honour of having 
fuftained the combat. Alas ! my poor coufin— 
if there was the leaft glimmering— — Baron d*E- 
tange confent to give his daughter, his only 
child, to the fon of an inconfiderabk tradefmaa 
^thout fortune ! Doft thou prefume to hope he 
will f— or what doft thou hope ?-^what wouldft 
thou have ? poor Eloifa !— -Fear nothing,however, 
on my account. Your friend will keep your 
fecret. Many people might think it more ho- 
neft to reveal it — perhaps they are right. For 
my part, who am no great cafuift, I have no 
notion of that honefty which is incompatible 
with confidence, faith, and friendfhip I ima- 
gine that every relation, every age, hath its pe- 
culiar maxims, duties, and virtues; but what 
might be prudence in another, in me would be 
perfidy; and that to confound thefe things, 
would more probably make us wicked, than 
wife and happy. If your love be weak, we uriU 


' eB E L O I S A. 

ovcrconie it ; but, if it be extreme, vioknt nxea^ 
Aires may produce a tragical ca^flrof^e^ SLod 
-friemdfhip will attempt nothing for which it 
cannot be anfwerable* After all, I flatter my- 
felf that 1 {ball have little reafon to complaici of 
your condoift when I have you once under nry 
€y«. You Ihall fee wbat it k to have a duenna 
of eighteen! 

You know, my d^ar girl, that I am not abfent 
iif>on pleafure 5 and really thie country is not fo- 
agreeable in the fpring as you imagine: one 
fuiFers at this time both beat and cold j for the 
trees afford us no feade, and in the houfe it is 
too cold to live witfhoutfire. My father too, in 
the midft of his building, begins to perceive 
ihat tbegassette cofmes later hither tbain tx> townj, 
to that we all wOk to return, suid I hope to 
^embrace you in a few days. But what caufes 
ttiy inquietude is, that a few days make I know 
not what number of hours, many of which are 
ideftaned to the philofopher — to the philofopher, 
couftn! you underftand me. Re^pember that 
■the cl^xck ftrikes thofe hours entirely for him ! 

Do not bliifli, my dear girl, ttirn down your 
eyes, or look grave : your features will not fuf- 
ferit. You know I i!iever,in my life, could weep 
without laughii:^, •nni yet I have not lefs fenfi- 
bility than other peopk : I do not feel our fep&-> 
ration lefs fevcrely, nor am I kfs atf if^cd witk 
the lofs of poor Challiot. Her fatBiJy I am re- 
iblved never to abandon, and 1 iincerely thank 
taf kmd {tietd lor btr |)romi^c to ai&ft me : but 


B L O I S A. 69 

t^lct flip an oppOTtimity of doing good were 
to-be nt> more myftlf. 1 confcfs the gooAcrea- 
turt was rather too talkative, free enough on 
certain* occafions, a little indifcrete with young 
girls^ and that fhc was fond of old ftories and 
times paft: fo that I do rot fo much regret the 
qualities of her mind, though, among fome bad 
ones, many of them were excellent : the loft 
wbich I chiefly deplore is the goodnefs of her 
heart, and that mixture of maternal and ftflerly 
affijftion, whteh mkde her inexpfeffibly dear to 
me. My mother Ifcarce knew; I am Indeed 
beloved bjr my father as much as it is poffible 
for him to love : your amiable brother is no 
more; an* I very feldom fee my own. Thus 
am I lefe alone, almoft defolate, as an drpharl. 
You are my only confolation. Yes, my Eloifa 
iives, and I will weep no more I 

P. S. For fear of an accident, 1 fliall direft 
tins letter to our preceptor. 



OMy fair Eioiia^ what aftrange capricious 
' deity is Love ! My prefeot felicity feem$ 
fax taexoeed my ipoft fanguiii^ ^xpe&ations, an4 


^ It is plaiiv th«r« %$ 1 ckafm hert, and the reader 
^ill find many w the eojuFieioC this correfpondence. 
Several of the letters are loft, others are Aippr^flfed, and 
fbme have been curtailed $ but f\\ttt appears to be nothing 
^renting clTential to the ftory. 

70 E L O I S A* 

.yet I amdifcontented. You lovemc, youcon^ 
fefs your paffion, and yet I figh. My pre- 
fumptuous heart dares to wiih dill farther, 
though all my wifhes are gratified, I am pu-? 
niflied with its wild imaginations; they render 
me unhappy in the very bofom of felicity. Do 
not, however, believe thatl have forgotten the 
laws, you have impofed, or loft the power of 
obedience : no ; but I am difpleafed to find the 
obfervance of thofe laws irkfome tomealone; 
that you, who not long ago wasallimbecillity, 
are now become fo great a heroine ; and that 
you are fo exceiSvely careful to prevent every 
proofof my integrity. 

How you are changed, and you alone, within 
thefc two months ! Where is now your langour, 
your difguft, your dejeded look? The graces 
have again re fumed their poft; your charms are 
ail returned ; the new blown rofe is not more 
frefli and blooming j you have recovered your 
vivacity and wit J you rally, even me, as for- 
merly ; but what hurts me more than all this, is, 
that you fwear eternal fidelity with as much 
gaiety and good-humour as if it were fomething 
droll or indifferent. 

O, my fair inconftant! is this the chara£ler- 
iftick of an ungovernable paffion ? If you were 
in any degree, at war with your inclinations, 
would not the conftraint throw a damp upon your 
enjoyments? O, how infinitely more amiable 
ybu virere, when left beautiful ! How do I regret 
itat fj^tbetick palenefs, that jprecious affurancc 


R L O I 8 a; 71 

«f a lover's happinefs, and hate that fprightly 
heakh which you have recovered at the expenfe 
of my repofe ! Yes, I could be much better fa- 
dsfied with your indifpoiition, than with that ' 
air of content, thofe fparkling eyes^ that bloom* 
ing complexion, which confpire to infult me. 
Have you already forgot the time when you were 
ghd to fue for mercy i O, Eloifa ! the violent 
tempeft hath been very fuddenly allayed. 

But what vexes me moft, is, that, after ha* 
viiig committed yourfelf entirely to my honour, 
you (hould feem apprehenfive and miftrufUul 
where there is no danger. Is it thus I am reward- 
ed for my difcretion? Does my inviolable re* 
fped deferve to be thus affronted ? Youffatber's 
abfence is fo fax, from giving you more liberty, 
that it is nowalmoft impoffible to find you 
alone. Your conjiant coufin never leaves you a 
moment. I find we are infenfibly returning to 
our former. circumlpecftion, with this difference 
only, what was then irkfome to you is now be- 
;Come matter of amufement. 

What recompenfe can I expe6i for the purity 
of my adoration, if not your efteem ? And to what 
j)urpofe have I abfiained even from the leaft in* 
jdulgence, if it produces no gratitude? In ihort, 
I am weary of fuffering ineffedlually, and of 
living ina ftate of continued felf-denial, without 
being allowed the merit of it. I cannot bea^r 
to be defpifed whilft you are growing every day 
more beautiful. Why am I to gaze eternally on 
^ofe delicious fruits which my lips dare not 

touch \ 

jt E L O I & A. 

touch ? Muft I relinq.ui(h all hope, withoiit the 
{msfz&ion of 9 voluntary facriAoe ? No, fmce 
you depend no longer upon my honour^ it ftand? 
vdeafed from its vaii» engagements; your owa 
precautioiM are fufficient. You are ungrateful, 
and I am «oo fcrupulous ; but for the future i 
lam refotved not to- reje<% the happmefs which 
fortune, in fpitc of you, may throw in my way* 
Be it as- it will, I find that I have taken upon 
me a charge that is above my capacity. Eloifa, 
you are once more your own guardian, f raruft 
refign the dcpofit which I cannot preferve with- 
out being tempted to a breach of faith, and 
which you yourfclf are able to fecure with lefs 
difficulty than you were pleafed to imagine. 

I fpeak ferioufly! depend upon your own 
ftrength, elfe banift me, or, in other tvords, 
deprive me of exiflrence. The promife I made 
was rafh and inconfiderate ; and I am amazed 
how I have been able to keep it fo long. I con- 
fcfs it ought to remain for ever inviolable; but 
of that I now perceive the impoflibility. Hfe 
who wantonly cxpofts his virtue to fuch fevere 
tryals defcrves to fell. Believe me, faireft a- 
mong women ! that you will alwajrs be honoured 
and refpeded by him who valued life only ort 
your account ? but reafon may forfake me, and 
my intoxicated fcnfcs may hint the perpetratten 
of a crime, which, in my cooler hours, Ifliould 
abhor. I am, however, happy in thereflexioti 
that I have not hitherto abufed your confidence. 
Two whole montl» have 1 triumphed over 


E L O 1 S A. 73 

myfelf 5 but I am entitled to the reward due to as 
manv ages of torment. 



I Comprehend you : the pleafures of vice, and 
the reward of virtue, would juft conftitute 
the felicity you wifli to enjoy. Are thefe your 
morals ? Truly, my good friend, your generofity 
was of fhort duration. . Is it pof&ble that it could 
Be entirely the efFedl of art i There is fome- 
thing ludicrous, however, in complaining of my 
health. Was it that you hoped to fee it entirely 
deftroyed by my ridiculous paffion, and ex* 
pcfled to have me at your feet, imploring your 
pity to favc my life? or did you treat mc with 
refpe£t whHft I continued frightful, with an in- 
tention to retraft your promife as foon as I 
fhould in any degree become an objedl of de- 
iire ?— I fee nothing fo vaftly meritorious in fuch 
' afacrifice. 

With equal juftice, you are plcafcd to reproach 
me for the care I have lately taken to prevent 
thofe painful combats with yourfclf, when in 
reality you ought to deem it an obligation. You 
then retr^dl your engagement, on account of its 
being too burjhenfomc a duty; fo that in the 
fame breath you complain of having too much 
and of not having enough to do. Recolledl 
yourfelf a little, and endeavour to be more con- 
fident, that your pretended fufFcrings may have 

Voul. D alcfs 

74 E L O I S A. 

a lefs frivolous appearance : or perhaps it would 
be more advifeabJe to put off that diflimulation 
which is inconfiftent with your charader. Say 
what you will, your heart is much better fatisfied 
with mine than you would have me think. 
Ungrateful man! you are but too well ac- 
quainted with its feelings. Even your own Ict- 
tel- contradidis you by the gaiety of its ftile : you 
would not have fo much wit if you had lefs 
tranquillity. But enough of vain reproach to 
you: let me now repro;:ch myfelf: it will pro- 
bably be with more reafon. 

The content and ferenity with which I have 
been blefled of late is inconfiftent with my former 
declaration, and I confefs you have caufe to be 
furprifed at the contraft. You were then a wit- 
nefs to my defpair, and you now behold in me 
too much tranquillity J hence you pronounce me 
inconftant and capricious. Be not, xny good 
friend, too fevere in your judgement, 'Fhis 
heart of mine cannot be known in one day. 
Have patience, and, in time, you may pro- 
bably difcover it to be not unworthy your re- 

Unlefs you were fenfible how much I was 
fhocked when "I firft deteded my heart in its 
paffion for you, it is impoflible to form any idea 
of what I fufFered. The maxims I imbibed in 
my education were fo extremely fevere, that 
love, however pure, feemcd highly criminal. I 
was taught to believe that a young girl of fen- 
fibility was ruined the moment ibe fufFered a 


E L O I S A. 75 

tender cxpreffion to pafs her lips : my difordered 
jinagination confounded the crime with the con- 
feflion of my love, and 1 had conceived fo ter- 
rible an idea of the firft ftep, that 1 faw little or 
no interval between that and the laft. An ex- 
treme diffidence of myfeJf increafed the alarm; 
the ftruggles of modefty appeared to be thofe of 
virtue; and the uneafinefs of filence feemed the 
importunity of defire. The moment I had fpoke 
I concluded myfclf loft beyond redemption ; and 
yet I muft have fpoken or have parted with you 
for ever. Thus, unable to difguifc my fenti- 
ments, I endeavoured to excite your generofity, 
and, depending rather upon you than on myfelf, 
I chofe to engage your honour in my defcnfe, as 
I could have little relianceonarefourceof which 
I believed myfelf already deprived. 

I foon difcovered my errour: I had fcarce 
opened my mind when I found myfelf much 
eafier; the inftant I received your anfwer I be- 
came perfe<^ly calm; and two months experi- 
ence has informed me that my too tender heart 
hath need of love, but that my pafHons can reft 
fatisiied without a lover. Now, judge, you who 
area lover of virtue, what joy i muft have felt 
at this difcovery. Emerged from the profound 
ignominy into which my fears had plunged me, 
I now tafte the delicious pleafure of a guiltlefs 
paffion : it conftitutes all my happinefs: it hath 
had an influence on my temper and health : I 
can conceive no paradife on earth equal to the 
union of love and innocence. 

D 2 I feared 

76 % h Q t S A. 

I feated you i^o longer; and when I ehd^a* 
•Voured to avoid being alone with ,you> it was 
-rather for yout fake than my own* Youreye^^ 
yourfighs, betrayed more transport than pru-* 
-dence: but though ^ou hs^d forgotten the bounds 
:you yourfelf prefcrib^d, /fhouldnot. 

Alas, my friend, I wifli I could communicate 
to you that tranquillity of foul .which I i>ow en- 
joy ! Would it wei-e in my power to teach ypU 
to. hte contented and happy! What fqar, what 
.fliame can embit^rolir felicity? Inthebofompf 
loye we might t^lk of virtue without a bluib, 
E «i;V tlpiaeer £in Vmefiade acctnto^ 
Ami tafte the pleaftire&iBnQcence bc;ftQW8. 
And. yet a^ftrange foreboding whifpers to. ray 
heart, that thefe are the only-days ofhappinefs 
allotted us by heaven. O ur future profpc<9:pre- 
fents nothing to my view, but abfence, anxiety^ 
dangers, and difficulties. The leaft change in 
©ur prefent fituation tauft - neceffarily be for the 
worfci Were we even united for evqr, lam 
not certain whether our happinefs would Jiot 
be deftroyed by its excefs \ the moment of poilef- 
fion is a dangerous crifis. 

I conjure thee, my kind, my only friend, . Jo 
endeavour to calm the turbulence of thofe- vain 
. dcfires, which are always followed by regret,. xe- 
pentance, and forrow. Let us peaceably enjoy 
©ur prefent felicity. You have a pleafure in 
giving me inftfuftion, and you know but too 
well with what delight I Hftento be inftrufted. 
Let your leflbns be yet more frequent, that we 


E L O r S A. ff 

may be as little afunder as decency will allow. 
Our abfent moments (hall be employed in writ-* 
ing to each other, and tKu$ none of the precious 
time will pafs in vain, which one day poffibly 
we might give the world to recal. Would to 
heaven that our prefent happinefs might end 
only with our lives! To improve one's under- 
ftanding, to adorn one's mind, indulge one's 
heart: can there poffibly be any addition to our 


T O £ L O I S A. 

HOW entirely was my Eloifa in the right 
when fee fekl that I did not yet know hot 
fafficiently f I conftantly flatter mjtfelf that I 
have difcovered every excellence of her foulj 
when new beauties daily meet my obfervation. 
What woman, but yourfelf, could ever unite 
virtue and tendernefs, fo as to add new charms 
to both \ In fpite of myfelf I am forced, to ad- 
mire and approve that prudence which deprives 
line of all comfort, and there is fomething foex- 
ceflively engaging in the manner of impofing 
your prohibitions, that I almoft receive them 
^Vith delight. 

1 am every day more pofitive that there is nb 

happinefsequaltothatof beingbelovedbyEloifa; 

and (o entirely am I of this opinion that I would 

liot prefer even thcperfbn of Eloifa to the polTeffion 

. D3 of 

7S E L O I S A. 

her heart. But, why this bitter alternative? 
Can things be incompatible which are united ia 
nature ? ,Our time, you fay, is precious; let us 
enjoy our good fortune without troubling its 
pure ftream with our impatience. Be it fo : 
but ihall we, becaufe .we are moderately happy, 
, reject fupreme felicity? Is not all that time loft 
which might have been better employed? If it 
were poffible to live a thoufand years in one 
quarter of an hour, what purppfe would it an- 
fwer to tell over the tedious numbers of days as 
they paffed? 

Your opinion of our prefent fituation is very 
juft : I am convinced I ought to be happy, and 
yet I am much the reverfe. The dictates of 
wifdom may continue to flow from your lips, but 
the voice of nature is ftronger than your's : and 
how. can we avoid liftening to her, when {he 
fpeaks the language of our own hearts? Of all 
^fublunary things, I know of nothing, except 
yourfclf, which deferves a moment's attention. 
Without you, nature would have no allurements : 
her empire is in your charms, and there Ihe is 

Your heart, divine Eloifa, feels none of this. 
You are content to ravifh our fenfes, and are 
not at war with your own. It Ihould feem that 
your foul is too fublime for human pafHons, and 
t"hat you have not only the beauty but the purity' 
of angels — a purity which murmuring I revere, 
and to which I would gladly afpire. But, no: 
lam condemned to creep upon the earth, and to 


E L O I S A. 79 

behold Eloifa a conftellation in the heavens. O ! 
may you continue to be happy though I am 
wretched ! enjoy^ your virtues j and perdition 
catch the vile mortal who (hall ever attempt to 
tarnifti one of them ! Yes, my Eloifa, he happy, 
and I will endeavour to forget my own mifcry, 
in the recolleftion of your blifs. If I know my 
heart, my love is as fpotlefs as its adorable ob- 
je<5t. The paffions which your charms havg'en- 
flamed are extinguifhed by the purity of your 
foul: I dare not difturb its ferenity. When 
ever I am temj)ted to take the leaft liberty, I find 
myfelf reftrained rather by the dread of inter- 
rupting your peace of mind, than by the fear of 
offending. In my purfuit of happinefs, , I have? 
confidered only in what degree it might affeft 
my Eloifa ; and, finding it incompatible with 
her's, lean be wretched without repining. 

With what inexplicable, jarring fentiments 
ybu have infpired me ! I am at once fubmiffive 
and daring, mild and impetuous. Your looks 
inflame my heart with love, and when 1 hear 
your voice I am captivated with the charms of 
innocence. If ever I prefume to indulge a 
wifhful idea, it is in your abfence. Your image 
in my mind is the only objedt of my paffionate 

And yet I languiih and confume away; my 
blood is all on fire, and every attempt to damp 
the flame ferves biit to increafe its fervour. Stilf 
I have caufe to think myfelf very happy ; and 
fo I do» Surely I have little reafon to complain^ 
D 4 .when 

So E L O I S A. 

when I would not change my fituatlon with th« 
greateft monarch upon earth; B^t yet fome 
fiend torments me, whofe purfuits it is impoffi- 
ble to elude. Methinks I would not die, and 
yet I am daily expiring ; for you only I wifh to 
live, and you alone are the caufe of my death. 



MY attachment to my dear friend growi . 
every day ftronger; your abfencc be- 
comes infupportable, and 1 have no relief but 
in my pen. Thus, my love keeps pace with 
your's ; for I judge of your paffion by your r^al 
fear of offending : your fomer fears were only 
feigned with an intent to advance your caufe. 
It is an eafy matter to diftinguiQi the dictates of. 
an afflided . heart from the frenfy of a heated 
imagination, and I fee a thoufand times more 
aiFedion in your prefent conftraint than in 
yaur former delirium, 1 know alfo that yoiu: 
Situation, reftrained as it is, is not wholly be- 
reft of pleafure. A fincere lover muft be very 
happy in making frequent facrifices to a grate- 
ful miftrefs, whenhe is aflured that not one of • 
them will be forgotten^ b^t that fhe will treafure 
the rememberance in her heart. 

But "who knows whether, prefuming on my 
fenfibility, this may not be a deeper, and there- 
fore a more dangerous plot than the former ? ' O, 

no I 

E L O I S A. Si 

ho! the fufpicion was unjuft; you certamly 
cannot mean to deceive me : and yet prudenct 
tells me to be more fufpicious of compaffion 
than even of love; for I find myfelf more afFi^c- 
ted by your refpe<a than by all your tranfport: 
fo that, as you are growii more honeft, you art 
become ih proportion more formidable. 

In the overflowing of my heart I will tell yod 
k truth, of which your own feelings cannot fail 
to convince you : it is, that in fpite of fortune, 
parents, and of ourfelves, oiir fates are united 
for ever, and we can be only happy or miferable 
together. Our fouls, if I may ufe the expref- 
fion, touch in all points, and we feel an entire 
coherence: corrcft me if I fpeak unphilofophi- 
caily. Our defliny may part us, but canndt 
difunite us. Henceforward our pains and plea- 
fures muft be mutual; and, like the magnets, 
of which I have heard you fpeak, that have the 
fame motion though in different places, we 
{hould have the fame fenfations at the two ex- 
tremities of the world. 

Banifb, therefore, the vain hope, if you ever 
entertained k, of oiclufive^ happinefe to be pur- 
chafed at the ex penfe of mine. Do not flatter 
yourfelf with the idle profpedl of felicity founded 
upon Elotia's -difhonour, or imagine that yoii 
could'behold my ignominy atid my tears with- 
out horrour^ Believe me, my dear friend, I knoW 
your heart better than yourfelf. A paffion fa 
tender and fo true cannot poffibly excite anim* 
flpure delire ; but we are fo atuched, that if we 
D 5 wcr« 

82 E L O I S A. 

were on the brink of perdition it would be im- 
poflible for us to fall fingly ; of my ruin your's 
is the inevitable confequence. 

I Ihould be glad to convince you how necef* 
fary it is for us both that I (hould be entrufted 
with the care of our deftiny. Can you doubt 
that you are as dear to me as myfelf, or that I 
can enjoy any happinefs exclufive of your's ? 
,No, my dear friend, our intereft is exaftly 
the fame, but I have rather more at ftake, and 
have therefore more reafon to be watchful. I 
own I am youngeft; but did you never obferv6 
that if reafon be generally weaker, and fooner 
apt to decay in our fex, it alfo comes more early^ 
to maturity than in your's? as in vegetation the 
mod feeble plants arrive fooneft at their perfeftioh 
and difTolution. We find ourfelves, from our 
lirft conception of things, entrufted with fo 
valuable a treafure, that our dread of confequen- 
ces foon unfolds our judgement, and an early fenic 
of our danger excites our vigilance. 

In fliort, the more I refledl upon our fituation, 
the more I am convinced that love and reafon 
join in my requeft : fufFer yourfelf, then, to be 
led by the gentle deity: for, though he is blind, 
he is not an ufelefs guide. 

1 am not quite certain that this language of 
my heart will be perfeftly intelligible to your's, 
or that my letter will be read with the fame emo- 
tion with which it was written : nor am I con- 
vinced that particular objcfts will ever appear 
to us in the fame light; but certain I am, that 


E L O I S A; 85 

theadvice of either which tends Icaft towards fepa- 
rate happinefs, is that which we ought to follow. 


TO E L O I S A, 

O'My Elbifa, how pathetick is the language 
of nature ! How plainly do I perceive in 
your laft letter the fercnity of innocence, and 
the follicitudc of love ! Your fentiments are ex- 
prefled without art or trouble, and convey a more 
delicate fenfation to the mind than all the re- 
fined periods of ftudied elocution. Your reafons 
are incontrovertible, but urged with fuch aiv 
air of fimplicity, that they feem lefs cogent at 
firft than they really are 5 and your manner of 
exprefling the fublimeft fentiments is fo natural 
and eafy, that without reflexion one is apt tO' 
miftake them for common opinions- 
Yes, my Eloifa, the care of our deftiny fliall 
be entirely your*s : not becaufe it is your right,, 
but as your duty,, and as a piece of jufticc I ex- 
peftfrom your judgement, for the injury you 
have done to mine. From this moment to the- 
end of my life, I refign myfclf to your will ;. 
difpofe of me as of one who hath no intereft 
of his own,, and whofe exiftence hath no con- 
nexion but with you. Dpubt not that I will fly. 
from my refolution, be the terms you impofe. 
ever fo rigorous ^ for though I myfelf ftiould pro- 
fit nothing by my obedience, if it adds but one: 
jpttoyour felicity I am fufliciently rewarded., 
D 6 Therefore: 

«4 E L O 1 S A. 

Therefore, I relinquifh to you, without referve, 
the entire care of our common hap'pinefs : fecure 
but your own and I will be fatisfied. As for me, 
who can neither forget you a fingle moment, 
nor think of you without forbidden emotion, I 
>vill now give my whole attention to the employ- 
ment you were pleafed to aiSgn me. 

It is now juft a year fince we began our 
ftudies, and hitherto they have been direfteil 
partly by chance, rather with a defign to confult 
your taite than to improve it. Befides, our 
hearts were too much fluttered to leave us the 
perfe<9: ufe of our fenfes. Our eyes' wandered 
from the book, and our lips pronounced words, 
without any ideas. I remember, your arch 
coufin, whofe mind was unengaged, ufed fre- 
quently to reproach us with want of conception j 
me fcemed delighted to leave us behind, and 
foon grew more knowing than her preceptol'j 
Now, though we have fometimes fmiled at her 
pretenfions, fhe is really the only one of the three 
who retains any part of our reading. 

But, to retrieve, in feme degree, the time we 
have loft (Ah ! Eloifa, was ever time more hap-, 
pily fpent?) L have formed a kind of plan, which 
may poffibly, by the advantage of method, in fome 
meafurecompenfate our neglect. I fend it you en- 
clofed; we will read it together^ at'prefeht Iffiall 
only make a few general obfervationson th^fubjeft. 

If, my charming friend, we were inclined to 
parade with our learning, and to ftudy for the 
world rather than forourfelves, my fyftem would 


t L O \ 6 A. I5 

*^e a bSa '6nh\ 'for it tends bnly toextVaa 'a littlfe 
Yrom a v'aft multi^licitjr of things, and frbfrt k 
large library to feledia fmall number of book^. 

Science, in geher^, may be confidered a^ k 
coin of ^rcat value, but of ufe to thfe 'poffeflo^ 
bnly in as much as it is cd^nmunicated toothers'; 
It is valuable biit as a commodity in tra^e'k. 
Take from the learned the pleafure of bein^ 
lieard, and their love of khovyrfedge wotild va* 
'ni(b. They do not ftudy to obtain wifdpM, 
but the reputation of it : "philofophy woiild haVte 
no charms if the philofopher had no admffers. 
Tor our part^, who have jio deftgn.but to im- 
prove our mind^, it will be nioft advifeable ib 
*read little rfiid think'miich 5 or, which is b^tei*, 
frequently to talk over the fubje<9!s on whixrh We 
Tiav^ been readiilg. I am of opinion, when 
'once the umlerftanding is a little developed by 
Vefiexion, St is better to re^fon for- ourfelves 
than to depend tipon books for the difcovery Of 
tnith;'fdr by that means it will make a much 
ftronger iirfprei&on :' tn^hilft on the contrary, 1^ 
taking things for granted,, we view objedls by 
halves, and in a borrowed • light. We are born 
rich, fays Mohtagne, and yet our whole educa- 
'tibn confifts in borrowing. We are taught to 
-accumulate continually, and, like true mifers, we 
choofe rather to ufe the wealth of other meh, 
'than break into our own^ore. 

I confefs there afe many people whdm the me- 
thod I prdpofe would not fuit, who ought to read 
much and think little^ becaufe every borrowed 


86 E L O I S A. 

reflexion is better than any tbing they could 
have produced. But I recommend the contrary 
to you, who improve upon every book you read* 
Let us, therefore, mutually communicate our 
ideas; 1 vv^ill relate the opinions of others, then 
you fhall tell me your's upon the fame fubjedt, 
.and thus (hall I frequently gather more inftruc- 
tion from our ledlure than yourfelf. 

-The more we contract our circle, the more 
necisflary it is to be circumfpefl: in the choice of 
our authours. The grand crrour , of young ftu- 
dents, as I told you before, is a too implicit de- 
pendence upon books, and too much diffidence 
in their own capacity ; without reflefling that 
they are much lefs liable to be miflpd by their 
own reafon, than by the fophiftry of fyftemati- 
cal writers. If we would but confult our own 
feelings, we (hould eafilydiftinguifli v/r^a^ and 
beauty: we do not want to be taught either of 
thefe: but examples ofi.e:^tremc virtue and fuj- 
perlattve beauty are lefs common, and thefe are 
therefore more difficult to be underftood. Our 
vanity leads us to miftakeour own weaknefs fca 
that of nature, and to think thofe qualities chl-^ 
merical which we do no^ perceive within ouc- 
felves; idJenefs and vice reft upon pretended 
impoffibility, and men of little genius conclude 
that things which are uncommon have no ex- 
iftence. Thefe errours wq muft endeavour 
to eradicate, and, by ufing ourfelves to contem- 
plate grand objefls, deftroy the notion of their 
impoffibility: thus, by degrees^ our emulation 


E L O I S A, «7 

is rouzed by example, our tafte pefines, and 
every thing indifferent becomes intolerable. 

But let us not have recourfe to books for prin- 
ciples which may be found within ourfeLves. 
What have we to do with the idle difputes af 
philofophers concerning virtue and happinefs? 
Let us rather employ that time in being virtuous 
and happy which others wafte in fruitlefs enr 
quiries after the means: let us rather . imitate 
great examples, than bufy ourfelves with fyftems 
and opinions. 

I always believed, that virtue was in reality 
aftive beauty ; or at leaft that they were inti- 
mately conne£led, and fprang from the fame 
fource in nature. From this idea it follows, 
that wifdom and tafte are to be improved by the 
fame means, and that a mind truely fenfible of 
the charms of virtue muft receive an equal im- 
preifion from every other kind of beauty. Yet, 
accurate and refined perceptions are to be ac- 
quired only by habit; and hence it is, that we 
fee a painter, in viewing a fine profpeft or a good 
pidlure, in raptures at certain obje<Sls, which 
a common obferver would not even have feen. 
How many real injpreifions do we perceive, 
which we cannot account for ? How many Je* 
ne-fais-quois frequently occur, which tafte only 
can determine? Tafte is, in fome degree, the 
microfcope of judgement; it brings fmall obj efts 
to our view, and its operations begin where thofe 
of judgement end. How then fhall we proceed 
in its cultivation i By exercifing our fight as 


S* E L 6 i S A: 

Well a^ feeliilg, and by Judging of the beaufifol 
from infpeftion, as we judge of virtue from 
ftnl^tion. I am perfuaded thiere may be fome 
hearfe upon which the firft fight even tf Eloifit 
Vould make no impreflion. 

For this reafon, my lovely fchohr, I limit 
your fhidies to books of tafte and manners; 
F<yr this reafon, changing my precepts into ex^ 
tangles, I fhall. give you no other definitions of 
virtue than the piftures of virtuous men ; nor 
other rules for writing well, than books which 
Tire well wrrtten. 

Be not furprifed that I have thus contracted 
the clrcrie of your ftudies j it will certarnly render 
them more ufeful : I am convinced, by daily 
experience, that all inftruSion which tends not 
to improve, the mind is not worthy your atten- 
tion. We will difmifs the languages, except 
.the.ltaliaiT, which you underftand and admire. 
We will difcard our elerftenfs of algebra and 
^ometry. We would even quit our philofophy^ 
Vere it not for the utility of its terms. We 
•will, for ever, renounce modem hrftofy, except 
that of our own couritry, ^nd that only onac- 
cbunt of our liberty, and the ancieflt fimpHcity 
*of our manners : for let nobody perfuade y6U 
\hat the hiftory of one's bWn country is tbfe 
^inoft ititerefting-— it is falfe. Thehiftory of fonie 
^^oiintries will not even bear reading. Themofi: 
interefting hiftory is, that which furnilhes the 
^Imoft examples, manners, and charaSers ; ii\ ^ 
word, the moft mftnl^ion. Wc are told th^t 



E L O I S A. $g 

we poffefs all thefe in as great a degree as the 
ancieijts; but, turn to their hiiloriea, and you 
will be convinced that this is alfo a miftake. 

There are people, whbfe faces are Co unmean- 
ing, that the J^eft painter cannot . catch their 
likenefs, and there are governments fo uncha^ 
ra6leriftick as to want no hiftorian ; but able 
hiilorians will never be wanting where there is 
matter deferving the pen of a good writer. In 
fliort, they tell us that men are alike in all ages, 
that their virtues and vices are the fame, and 
that we admire-tlie ancients only becaufe they 
are ancients. This is alfo falfc — in former times 
great efFefts were produced by trifling caufes, 
but in our days it is juft the reverfe. The an- 
cients were contemporary with their hiftorians,' 
and yet we have learnt to admire them : fhoiild 
pofterity ever admire our modern hiftorians, they 
certainly will not have grounded their oi)inion 
iipon our's. 

Out of regard to our conftant companion I c6n*' 
fent to. a few volumes of belles-lettres, which I 
fliould not have recommended to you. Except 
Petrarch, Taflb, Metaftafio, and the beft 
French theatrical autnours, I leave you none of 
thofe amorous poets^ whicli are the common! 
amufemtnt of your fex. The moft infpired o? 
them all cannot teach us to love ? Ah ! Eloifa;^ 
we are better inflruftedby our own hcdrts ! The 
phrafes borrowed from books dre cold ind infipid 
,to us who fpeak the language of oiir fouls. It iS 
a kind of readihg virhith Cram';^s the imagiridtiori; 


go E L O I S A. 

enervates the mind, and dims its original bright- 
nefs. On the contrary, real love influences all our 
fentiments, and animates them with new vigour. 



I Told you we were happy, and nothing proves 
it more than the uneafinefs we feel upon the 
leaft change in our fituation: if it were not true, 
why fliould two days reparation give us fo much 
pain ? I fay us, for I know my friend fhares my 
impatience ; he feels my uneafinefs; and is un- 
happy upon his own account : but, to tell me 
this were now fupcrfluous. 

We have been in the country fincc laft night 
only; the hour is not yet come in which I fliould 
fee you if I were in town j and yet this diffance 
makes me already find your abfence almoft in* 
fupportable. If you had not prohibited geo- 
metry, I fliould fay that my inquietude increafes 
in a compound ratio of the intervals of time and 
fpace ; fo fenfible am I that the pain of abfence 
is increafed by diftance. I have brought with 
me your letter, and your plan of ftudy, for my 
meditation ; I have read the firft already twice 
over, and own I was a good deal affefted with the 
conclufion, I perceive, my dear friend, that 
your paflion defer ves the name of real love, be- 
caufe you fl:ill preferve your fenfe of honour, 
and are capable of facrificing every thing lo 


£ L O I S A. 91 

Virtue. To delude a woman in the difguife of 
her preceptor is furely, of all the wiles of feduc- 
tion, themoft unpardonable; and he muft have 
very little refource in himfelf, who would at- 
tempt to move his miftrefs by the afliftance of 
rpmance. If you had availed yourfelf of phi- 
lofophy to forward your defigns, or if you had 
endeavoured to. eftablifh maxims favourable to 
your intereft, thofe very methods of deceit would 
foon have undeceived me ; but you have more 
honefty, and are therefore more dangerous. 
From the firft moment I perceived in my heart 
the leaft fpark of love, and the defire of a lafting 
attachment, I petitioned heaven to unite me to 
^a man whofe foul was rather amiable than his 
perfon ; for well I knew the charms of the mind, 
were leaft liable to difguft, and that probity and 
honour adorn every fen ti men t of the heart. I 
chofe with propriety, and therefore, like Solo- 
mon, I have obtained, not only what I afked 
for, but alfo what I did not aflc. I look upon 
this as a good omen, and 1 do not defpair but I 
(hall, one day, have it in my power to make my 
dear friend as happy as he deferves. We have 
indeed many obftaclesto furmount, and the ex- 
pedients are flow, doubtful, and diiBcult. I dare 
not flatter myfelf too much : beaflTured, how- 
ever, that nothing fhall be forgotten which the 
united efforts of love and patience can accom- 
plifti. Mean while, continue to humour mjr 
mother, and prepare yourfelf for the return of. 
father, who at laft retires, after thirty years fer- 


92 P L O I S A. 

vices. You miift learn to ehaure the haughtinefs 
ota hafty old gentleman, jealous of his honour, 
wlio will love yoir without flattering, ahd efteem 
you without riaany profeffions. 

* I broke off here to take a ramble in the neigh- 
bouring woods. You, my amiable friend— you 
were my companion— or rather X carried you 
in my heart. I fought thofe paths whicli I ima- 
gined we fliould have trod, and marked the (hades 
which feemed worthy to receive us. The de- 
lightful folitude of the groves feemed to heighten 
our fenfibility, and the woods themfelves ap-' 
peared to receive additional beauty from the pre- 
fence of two fuch faithful lovers. 

Amidft the natural bowers of this charming 
place, there is one ftill more beautiful than the' 
reft, with which I am moft delighted, and where 
fbr that reafon I intend to furprife you. It mill? 
riot be faid that 1 want generofity to reward' 
your conftant refpeft. 1 would convince you, 
in fpite of vulgar opinions, that voluntary fa- 
vours are more valuable than thofe obtained by 
importunity. But, left the ftrength ,of your ima- 
gination (hould lead you too far, I muft inform 
you, that we will not vifit thefe pleafant bowers 
'without my conjldnt companion 

. Now 1 have mentioned my coufin, I am de- 
termined, if It does not difpleafe you, that yoU 
fliall accompany her hither on Mond?.y next^ 
You muft hot fail to be with her at tT^n o'clock. 
My rnother's chaife will be there about that 
time; ydu idhall fpend the whole day with Us', 


, E L O t S A. 9j 

^l^>cl;We will return all together the next day after 


I had written fafar v^hen I bethought myfelf^ 

-that I have not the fame opportunity here, for 

^tjhe conveyance of my letter, ^s in town. I 
once had an inclination to fend ypuo^ie of .your 

Jsooks by Guftin the gardeijer!s fop, apd jfo en* 
cJpfe my letter in the cover : but ^s. there js a ppfli* 
bility that you may xiot be aware of this cpntri- 

.vance, it would be unpardonab^y imprudent to 
rifkourall on fo precarious a bottom. I muflr, 

^t^prefore, Jbe contented to fignify the intended 
rendezvous on Monday by a billet, and I my- 
felf,will give you this letter. '^ Befides, I was a 
little apprehenfive left you, might comment too 

-freely on the myftery of the bower. 



AH ! ,Elpifa, iilpifa » .what have ypu done? 
. You flf^eant to reward me, and you are the 
p^pfe pf .ixiy ruii):— I^m intoxicated, or, rather, 
.lam. mad — My>})rains are, turned— aH my fenfes 
.^e.difordftccd l?y .this fatal kifs. Y^u d^figned 
tp alleviate my pain j ^but you ,have cruelly in- 
cceafe'd my to/m^t. The poifon I have imbibed 
from ypur Ups.w.ill d<?ftrpy,nie-7-my blood boils 
, within my vpin^— I .fl)^l,^iej,and your pity will 
butbaft^n^my de^th. 



^4 £ L O I S A. 

O immortal rememberance of that illufive, 
frantick, and enchanting moment! Never, 
never to be effaced fo long as Eloifa lives within 
my foul.— Till my heart is deprived of all fenfa- 
tion, thou wilt continue to be the bappinefs and 
torment of my life ! 

Alas ! I poffeffed' an apparent tranquillity ; 
refigned my felf entirely to your fupreme will, 
and never murmured at the fate you condefcended 
to prefcribe. I had conquered the impetuous 
Tallies of my imagination — I difguifed my looks, 
and put a lock upon my heart — I bift half ex- 
preffed my defires, and was as content as poffible. 
Thus your billet found me, and 1 flew to your 
coufin : we arrived at Clarens ; my heart beat 
quick at the fight of my beloved Eloifa; her 
fweet voice caufed a ftrange emotion; I became 
almoft tranfported, and it was lucky for me that 
your coufin was prefent to engage your mother's 
attention. We rambled in the garden, dined 
comfortably, you found an opportunity, un- 
perceivcd, to give me your charming letter, 
which I durft not open before this formidable 
witnefsj the fun began to decline, and we batt- 
ened to the woods for the benefit of the (hade. 
Alas ! I was quite happy, and I did not even 
conceive a ftate of greater blifs. 

As we approached the bower, I perceived, 
not without a fecret emotion, your fignificant 
winks, your mutual fmiles, and the increafing 
glow in thy charming cheeks. Soon as we en- 
tered, I 5^as furprifed to fee your coufin ap- 


B L O I S A. 9$ 

proach me, and with an affc£led air of humility, 
aft me for a kifs. Without comprehending 
the myftery, I complied with her requeftj and, 
charming as fhe is, I never could have had a 
more convincing proof of the infipidity of thofe 
fenfations which proceed not from the heart,. 
But what became of nie a moment after, when 

I felt my hands fhook— a gentle trcmour— 

thy balmy lips — —my Eloifa'is lips— —touch, 
preffed to mine, and myfelf within her arms? 
Quicker than lightening a fudden fire darted 
through my foul : I feemed all over fcnfible of 
the raviihing cohdefcenfion, and my heart funk 
down oppreiTed with infupportable delight, 
when all at once I perceived yoiir colour change, 
your eye& clofe; you leant upon your coufin, 
and fainted away. Fear extinguiibed all my 
joy, and my happinefs vanquifhed like a flia- 

I fcarce know any thing that has paffcd fince 
that fatal moment. The impreffion it has made 
on my heart will never be effaced. A favour I 

.'*-^ it is an extreme torment ^No, keep thy 

kiffes — I cannot bear them they are too pene- 
trating, too painful they diftraft me. lam 

no more myfelf, and you appear to me no more 
the fame objeft. You feem not as formerly 
chiding and fevere; but, methinks I fee and 
feel you lovely and tender as at that happy in- 
ftant when 1 preffed you to my bofom. O Eloifa! 
whatever may be the confequence of my ungo- 
vernable paffion, ufe me asfeverely as you pleafe, 

I can* 

96 E L O I S A. 

I cannot exlft in my prefent condition, and I 
perceive! muft at lafl: expire at your feet— —or 
in your arms. 

L E J T E R XV. 


IT is neceflary, my dear friend, that we fliouW 
part for forne time : I aik it as the firfl: proof 
of that obedience you have fo pften promife<i» 
• If I am urgent in my requeft, you may be aflu- 
red 1 have good reafon for it : indeed I have, and 
you are too well convinced that I muft,; to be 
ajble to take this refolutionj for your part y9u 
will be fati^fied fince it is my defire. 

You have long talked pf taking a journey into 
. V^lais. I wifiiyou wowlJ.determine to go be- 
fore the approach of the winter. Auturan, in 
this country, ;ftill wears amildandfereneafpciSl ; 
but you fee the tops 9f the mountains a(re already 
white, and fix weeks later you ihould not have 
my cpnfent to take fuch a rough journey 1 ^e- 
folve, therefore, to fet out to-morrow :- you will 
write to me by thedir^ion which I fhall fend, 
^nd you will give me your's when you arrive at 
, Sion. 

You would never acquaint me with the fitua- 

, tion of your i^ffaiiis j but you are not in your 

own country; your fortune I know is fmall, 

^^dl am p^rfuaded you muft diminilh it here, 


E L O I S A. ^ 

where you ftay only on my accotint. I look 
upon myfelf therefore as your purfe-bearer, and 
fend you a fnMill matter in the little box^ which 
you muft not open before the bearer. I will 
not anticipate difficulties, and I have loo great 
an efteera for you to believe you capable of 
making any on thisoccafion. 

£ beg you will not return without my per- 
miffion, and a)fo that you will take no leave of 
us. You may wrtte t© my m o ther or me, merely 
to inform us that fome unforefeen bufinefs re* 
quires your prefence j that you are obliged to 
depart immediately ; stnd you may, if you pleafe, 
fend me fome dire^ons coAcerningmy ftudies,^ 
till you return. You muft be careful to avoid 
the leaft appearance of myftery. Adieu, my 
ikar friend^ and forget not that you take with 
you the heart and foul of £loifa« 


A N S W I R. 
VERY line of your terrible fetter made. 

me fhudder. But I will obey you: I have 
promifed, and it is my duty — yes, you fliall be 
obeyed. But you cannot conceive— no, barba- 
rous Eloifa, you will never compre^^nd hoviF 
this cruel facrifice afFc^ls my heart. There 
wanted not the tryal in the bower to increafe my . 
fenfibility. It was a mercilefs refinement of . 
Vox., I , £ ., inhAinaanitj,.; 


$8 E L O I S A. 

inhumanity, and I now defy you to make ffle 
more miferable. 

I return your box unopened. To add igno- 
miny to cruelty is too much : you are, indeed^ 
the miftrefs of rtiy fate, but not of my honour. 
i will myfelf ^rcferve this fadred depofit. Alas ! 
it is the only treafure I haVe left !• and I will 
iiever part with it fo long as I live. 



YOUR letter excites my compaffion; It 
is the only fenfelefs thing you have evei* 

I affront yolir honout*! I would rathef facri«* 
lice my life. Do you believe it poffible that I 
fhould mean to injure your honbur? Ingrate! 
too well thou knoweft that for thy fake 1 had 
almoft facrificed my own. But, tell me, what is 
this honour which I have offended ? Aik thy gro- 
veling heart, thy indelicate foul. How defpicable 
aft thou if thou haft no honour but that which i^ 
unknown to Eloifa! Shall thofe whofe hearts are 
one fcruple to fhaf-e their poffeffions f bhall 
he who calls himfelf mine refufe my gifts? 
Since when is it become diftionourable to receive 
from thofe we love? But the man is deipifed 
whofe wants exceed his fortune. Defpifed ! by 
whom? By^ thofe abjed fouls who place theixr 
honour m their wealth, ^nd eilimate their virtue 


E L t> I S A. 99 

by their weight of gold. But, is this the liDnour 
of a good man ? Is virtue lefs honourable be* 
caufe it is poor ? 

Undoubtedly, there are prefents which a matt 
of honour ought not to accej^t ; but I muft tell 
you, thofe are equally diihonourable to the per«» . 
foil by whom they are offered; and that what 
may be given with honour, it cannot be diflio- 
nOUrable to receive : now, my heart is i'o far from 
reproaching me with what 1 did, that it glories 
in the motive. Nothing can be more defpiciible 
than a man whofe love andaflxduities are bought, 
except the woman by whom they are purchafed. 
But where two hearts afe united, it is fo reafoh- 
able and juft that their fortunes fliould beia 
common, that if I have referved more than my ' 
ihare, I think myfelf indebted to you for the 
overplus. If the favours of love are rcjeftcd, 
how fliall our hearts exprefs their gratitude ? 

But, left you (hould imagine that in my de* 
j(ign to fupply your Wants I was inattentive to 
m'y own, I will give you an indifputable proof 
of the contrary. Know, theh, that the purfe 
which I now return contains double, the fum 
it held before, and that I could have redoubled 
it if I had pleafed. My father giv^s me a cer- 
tain allowance, moderate indeed, but which 
my mother's kindnefs renders it unneceffary for 
me to touch* As to my lace and embroidery, 
they are the produce of my own induftry. It i$ 
true, I was not always fo rich ; but, I know 
not how, my attention to a certain fatal paflibn 
£ 2 has 


4oa E L O I S A. 

h^ of late made me negle<^ a thoufand little ex^ 
penfive fuperfiuities ; which is another xeafon 
why I fliould difpofe of it in thia manner : it is 
but juft that yoit ihouki be humbled as a punifb- 
mextt fcET the evil you havecaufed^ andthatluYe 
ibould expiate the crimes it occa(ions« 

But, to the point. You fay your honour will 
not fttffer you to accept my gift. If this be true, 
I have nothing more to fay^ and am entirely of 
opinion that you cannot be too po£tive in this 
rifftSt. If, therefore, you can prove this to be 
the cafe, I defire it nuy be done clearly^ incon- 
teftably, and without evafion ; for you know I 
liate all appearance of fophiftry. You may 
then return the purfe j I will receive it without 
complaining, and you (hall hear no more of this 

You will be pleafed, however,, to remember, 
that I neither like falfe honour, nor people who 
«re aftededly pun£^ilious. If you return the 
box without a jujttification, or if your juftifica- 
tionbenot fatisfa£tory, we muft meet no-more. 
Think of this ! Adieu ! 



I Received your prefent — I departed withoitt 
taking leave, and am now a confid^sAledi- 
Itance from you. Am I fufficiently jdiedient'? 
R your tyranny feti«fi«d i 

U can 

B L O r S A. loi 

I can give you no account of my journey } fof 
I remember nothing more than that I was three 
days in travelling twenty leagues. Every ftep I 
took (eemed to tear my foul from my body, and 
to anticipate the pain of death. I intended to 
have given you a defcription of the country 
through which I paffed. Vain projeS ! I be- 
held nothing but you, and can defcribe nothing 
but Eloifa. The repeated emotions of my heart 
threw me into a continued diftradion : I imagi- 
ned myfelf to be where I was not: I had hardly, 
fenfe enough left to afk or follow my road, 
and lam arrived at Sion without ever leaving 

Thus I have difcovered the fecret of eluding 
yaour cruelty, and of feeing you without difobey*- 
ing your command. No, Eloifa, with all your 
rigour, it is hot in your power to feparate m^e 
from you entirely. I have dragged into exile 
but the mod inconfiderable partof myfelf j my 
foul muft remain with you forever: withim* 
punity it explores your beauty, dwells in rap- 
ture upon every charm ; and I am happier in 
^fpite of yoH than I ever was by your per* 

Unfortunately, I have here fome people to 
vifit, and fome ncceffary bufxnefs to tranfadl. I 
toi leaft wretched in folitude, where I ^an em- 
ploy all my thoughts upon Eloifa, and tranfport 
royfelf to her in imagination. Every employ^ 
ment which calls oiF my attention is become 
infupportable. 1 will hurry over my affairs, 
E 3 - that 

iM B L O 1 S A. 

that I may be foon at liberty to wander througk 
the folitary wilds of this delightful country. 
Since I muft not live with you, I will fbun all 
fociety with mankind. 




Am now detained here only by your order. 
Thofc five days have been more than fufE- 
cientto finifii my own concerns, if things may b(l 
Jo called in which the heart has nointcreft: 
fo that now you have no pretence to prolong my 
lexile, unlefs with defign to torment me. 

I begin to be very uneafy about the fate of 
iny firft letter. It was written and fentby the 
poft immediately upon my arrival, and the di* 
region was exadly copied from that which yott 
tranfmitted me : I fent you mine with equal 
care: fo that if you had anfwered me punctual- 
ly, I muft have received your letter, be fore now* 
Yet this letter does not appear, and there is no 
•poffible fatality which I have not fuppofed to be 
the caufe of its delay. O Eloifa, how many 
"unforefeen adcidents may have happened in the 
Tpace of one week, to diffolve the moft perfed 
-union that ever exitted ! 1 (huddcr to think that 
there are a thoufand means to make me mifer- 
able, and only one by which I can poffibly be 
happy. Eloifa, is it that I am forgotten ! God 
forbid! that were to be naiferable indeed. 1 
> ' am 

E Xi O I S A. It) 

dm prepared for any other misfortune ; but all 
the powers of my foul ficken at the bare idea of 

O no ! it cannot be : I am convinced my 
fears are groundlefs, and yet my apprehenfions 
continue. The bitternefs of my misfortunes 
increafes daily ; and, as if real evils were not 
fufficient to deprefs my foul, my fears fupply 
pie with imaginary ones to add weight to the 
others. At firft my grief was much more toler-» 
>able. The trouble of a fudden departure, and 
the journey itfelf were fome fort of diflipation ! 
but this peaceful folitudeaffembles all my woes. 
Like a wounded foldier, I felt but little pain 
till after I had retired from the field. 
- . How ofteh have I laughed at a lover, in ro* 
mance, bemoaning the abfence of his miftrefs ! 
Little did I imagine that your abfence would ever 
be fo intolerable to me! I am now fenfible how 
improper it is for a mind at reft to judge of other 
men's paffionsj and howfoolifh, to ridicule the 
fenfatioiis we have never felt. I muft confefs^ 
however; I have great confolation in refle£ling 
that I fufFer by your command. The fufFerings 
which you are pleafed to ordain are much lefs 
paiitful than if they wereinflidted by the hand of 
fortune; if they give you any fatisfadion, I 
fhould be ferry not to have fufFered : they are! 
the pledges of their reward j I know you too 
well to believe you would exeixife barbarity for 
its own fake. 

E 4 If 

104 S L ID r S A. 

If your dcfign he to put me to the proof, I 
will murmur no more. It is but jiift that you 
(hould knbw whether J am conftant, endued 
v/ith patience, docility ; and, in fhort, worthy 
oftheblifs you defign me, Gods! if this bfg 
your idea^ I ftiall complain that I have not fuf- 
fered half enonigh. Ah, IJloife, for heaven's 
fake fupport the flattering expe<Slation in my 
heart, and invent, if you can, fome torment 
better proportioned, to the reward. 



I Received both your letters at once, and I 
perceive, by yOur anxiety in the fecond con- 
cerning the fate of the other, that when imagi- 
nation takes the lead of rcafon, the latter is not 
always in hafte to follow, but fuiFers her, fome* 
times, to proceed alone. Did you fuppofe, 
when you reached Sion, that the poft 
waited only for your letter, that it would be 
delivered to me the inftant of his arrival here, 
and that my ^nfwer would be favoured with equal 
defpatch? No, no,' my good friend, things 
do not always go on fo fwimmingly. Your 
two epiflles came both together^ becaufe the 
poft happened not to fet out till after he had re- 
ceived the fecond. It requires fome time to di- 
ftribute the letters ; my agent has not always an 
immediate opportunity of meeting me alone, 


E L O I S A. lof 

and the poft from hence does not return the daj 
after his arrival : fo that all things calculated, 
it mufi be at leaft a week before we can receive 
an anfiver one from the other. This I have ex* 
plained to you with a defign, once for all, to 
fatisfy your impatience. Whilft you are ex- 
claiming againft fortune and my negligence, you 
fee that I have been bufied in obtaining the in- 
formation neceffary to infure our correfpondence, 
and prevent your anxiety. Which of us have 
been beft employed j I leave to your own deci- 

Let us, my dear friend, talk no more of pain; 
rather partake the joy I feel at the return of my 
kind father, after a tedious abfence of eight 
months. He arrived on Thurfday evening, 
fince which happy moment I have thought Of no- 
body elfe*. O thou, whom, next to the Au- 
thour of my being, I love more than all the 
world ! why muft thy letters, thy complainings 
afFeft my foul, and interrupt the firft tranfports 
of a re-united, happy family i 

You expeft to monopolife my whole atten- 
tion. But, tell me, could you love a girl whofe 
paffion for her lover could cxtinguifli all aiFe£tion 
for her parents ? Would you, becaufe you are 
uneafy, have me infenfible to the endearments of 
a kind father? No, my worthy friend, you 
muft not embitter my innocent joy by your un- 
juft reproaches. You, who have fo much fen- 
, E 5 libility, 

• The Lady Teems to have forgdt wh?t flic faid m the 
preceding paragraph. 

io6 E L O I S A. 

libility, can furely conceive the facred pleafures 
of being prelTcd to the throbbing heart of a tender 
parent. Do you think that in thofe delight- 
ful moments it is poffible to divide one's affec* 
tion ? 

Sol cbe fin figlia to mi rammento adejo* 

' When all I think of, is that Tin his child. 
Yet, you are not to imagine I can forget yoiu 
Do vtre ever forget what we really love ? No, the 
more lively impreflions of a moment have no 
power to efFace the other. I was not unaffefted 
yrith your departure hence, and fhall not be dif- 
pleafed to fee you return. But — ^be patient, 
like me, becaufe you muft, without aiking any 
other reafon. Be aflured that I will recall you 
asfoon as it is in my power; and remember, 
that thofe who complain loudeft of abfence do. 
not always fuffer moft. 



HO W was I tormented in receiving the 
letter which I fo impatiently ex pefted I I 
waited at the poft-houfe. 7'he mail was fcarce 
opened before I gave in my name^ and began to 
importune the man. He told me there was a 
letter for me — my heart leaped — I atked for it 
with great impatience, and at laft received it. 
O Eloifa ! how I rejoiced to behold the well- 
Juiown hand ! A thoufand times would I have 


E L O I S A. |07 

kiffed the precious chara^rs, but I wanted re- 
folution to prefs the letter to my lips, or to open 
it before fo many witnefles. Immediately i re* 
tired j my knees trembled ; I fcarce knew my 
way ; 1 broke the feal the moment I had palTed 
the firft turning i I ran over, or rather devoured, 
the dear lines, till I came to that part which fo 
movingly fpeaks your tendernefs and afFe£lioa 
for your venerable father — I wept ; 1 was ob- 
ferved j I then retired toa place of greater privacy^ 
and there mingled my joyful tears with your'Sr 
With tranfport I embraced your happy father, 
though I hardly remember him. The voice of 
nature reminded me of my own, and I ihed fitOs^ 
tears to his memory. 

O incomparable Eloifa ! what cdn you poffibl]^ 
learn of me? It is from you. only can be learnjt 
every thing that is great and good,, and . f^ ecially 
that divine union of nature, love,, and vii^tue, 
which never exifted but in. you. Every virtuous 
affection is diftinguilhed in your heart by a fen«> 
fibility fo peculiar to yourfelf, that for the better 
JTcgulatioaof my own, asmyadions are already 
fubmitted' to your will, I perceive my fenti^- 
mentsalfo muft be determined by your's. 

Yet, what a difference there is between yoMp' 
fituationand mine! I do not mean as- to rank. 
or fortune; fincere^ffedtion, and dignityof foul; 
want none of thefe. Butyou are furrounded by 
a number of kind friends who adore you — ac^ 
tender mother, and a father who loves you as 
bis only hope-^a friend and coufin who feems to 
E 6 breather 

io8 K L O I S A. 

breathe only for your fake : you are the omamenrf 
and oracle of an entire family, the boaft and ad- 
miration of a whole to wn~thefc, all thefe, di- 
vide your fenfibility, and what remains for love 
4s but a fmall part in comparifon of that which 
isravifhed from you by duty, nature, and friend- 
ihip. But I, alas! a wanderer without a fa- 
mily, and almcft without country, have no one 
but you upon earth, and am poflTdTed of nothing 
but my love. Be not, therefore, furprifed, 
though your heart may have more fenfibility, 
that mine (houM know better how to love; and= 
that you, who excel me in everything elfe, muft 
yield to me in this refpeft. 

You need not, however, be appreheniive left 
I (hould indifcreetly trouble you with my com- 
plaints. No, I will not interrupt your joy, be- 
caufe it adds to your felicity, and is in. its nature 
laudable* Imagination ihall re)prelent the pathe- 
tick fcene; and iince I have no happinefs of my 
own, I will endeavour to enjoy your's. 

Whatever may be your reafons for prolong- 
ing my abfence, I believe them juft; but, though 
I knew them to be otberwife, what would that 
avail ? Have 1 not promifed implicit obedience ? 
Can Ifuftcrmoreinbeingfilcnt, than in parting 
from you i But remember, Eloifa, your foul now 
direfts two feparate bodies, ^nd that the one flic 
animates by choice will continue the mod faithful . 

N9J0 piu forte : 
Fahricato da^noi^ mndalUifarU* 

Joined by the ftronged bonds. 

Which we ouifelveS} ;uid not blind fortune, tied. 


E L O I S A. 109 

No, Eloifa, you fhall hear no repining. Till 
•you are pleafcd to recall mc from exile, I will 
try to deceive the tedious hours in exploring the 
mountains of Valais, whilft they are yet prac- 
ticable, I am of opinion that this unfrequented 
country defcrvesthe attention of fpeculativecu- 
riofity, and that it wants nothing to excite ad- 
miration but a fkilful fpeftator. Perhaps, my 
excurfion may give rife to a few obfervations 
that may not be entirely undefenring your peru- 
fal. To amufe a fine lady one (hould defcribe 
a witty and polite nation; but I know my 
Eloifa will have more pleafure in a piAure where 
flmplicity of manners and niral happinefs are the 
principal objefe. 




T length the ice is broken — you have been 

mentioned. Notwithftanding your poor 

opinion of my learning, it was fufficient to fur- 

. prife my father ; nor was he lefs pleafed with 

my progref§ in mufick and drawing* : Indeed, to 

the great aftonifhment of my mother, who was 

. prejudiced by your impofitionf on ber^ he was 


" * A mighty accomplished A^^olar at twenty years of age 
to have acquired fuch a variety oif improvtT9e»c. At thir- 
ty> indeed, ibe feiicitates herfelf that fbe 1$ no longer fo 
tery knowing* 

f Alluding to a letter written by him to her mother In' a 
Ycry equivocjil iiile, which is fupprefTed* 

lio B L O I S A* 

(atisfied with my improvement in every thing ex- 
cept heraldry, which he thinks I have negleded* 
But all this could not be acquired without a 
mafter : I told him mine, enumerating ^t the fame 
time all the fciences he propofeci to teach me, 
except one. He remembers to have feen you fe- 
veral times on his lalt journey, and does not ap- 
pear to retain any impreffion to your difadvantage* 
He then enquired about your fortune ? — He was 
told it was not great. — Your birth? — he was 
anfwered, hanejl. This word honejl founds very- 
equivocal in the ears of nobility : it excited Ibme 
fufpicions, which were confirmed in the ex- 
planation. As foon as he was informed that 
your birth was not noble, he afked what you 
bad been paid per month. My mother replied,, 
that you had not only refufed to accept a ftipend, 
but that you had evon rejected every prefent fhe 
had offered. This pride of your*s fcrved but to 
enflame his own — who, indeed, could bear the 
thought of being obliged to a poor plehian? 
Therefore, it was determined that a ftipend 
fliould be offered, and that, in cafe you refufed 
it,' notwithftanding your merit, you fliould be 
difmifled.— Such, my friend, is the refult of a 
converfation held concerning my moll honoured 
mafter, dufing which his very humble fcholar 
was not entirely at eafe. I thought I could not 
be in too great hafte to give you this informa- 
tion, that you might have fufficient time to con*- 
fider it maturely. When you are come to a 
re&Iution, dp not fail to let me know it^ for it 

£ L O I $ A. r»i 

is a matter entirely within your own province^ 
and beyond my jurifdidion. 

I am not much pleafed with your intended ex* 

curiion to the mountains : not ttvit I think it 

will prove an unentertaining diffipadon^ or that 

your narrative will not give me pleafure; but I 

am fearful left you may not be able to fupport the 

fatigue. Befides, the feafon is already too far 

advanced. The hills will foon be covered with 

fnow, and you may poffibly fufFer as much from 

cold as fatigue. If you fhould fall fick in that 

diftant country, I fhould be inconfolable. Come 

therefore, my dear friend, come nearer to your 

Eloifa : it is not yet time to return to Vevai ^ but 

I would have you lefs rudely fituated, and fo a$ 

to facilitate our correfpondence. I leave the 

. choice of place to yourfelf : only take care that 

it be kept fecret from the people here, and be 

difcreet without being myfterious. 1 know you 

will be prudent for your own fake, but doubly 

fo for mine. 

Adieu ! I am forced to break off. — You know 
I am obliged to be very cautious. But this is 
not all : my father has brought with him a vene- 
rable ftranger, his old friend, who once faved 
his life in battle. Judge, then, of the reception 
he deferves ! To-morrow he leaves us, and wc 
are impatient to procure him every fort of enter- 
tainment tjhat will beft exprefs our gratitude to 
fuch a benefador. I am called, and muft finilb. 
Once more, adieul 


\iz E L O I S A. 




Have employed fcarce eight days in furveying 
a country that would require fome years. 
But, befides that I was driven ofF by the fnow, 
I chofe to be before the pdft who brings me, I 
hope, a letter from Eloifa. In the mean time. I 
begin this, and fhall afterwards, if it beneccf- 
fary, write another ih anfwcr to that which I 
fcall receive. 

I do not intend to give you an account of my 
journey in this letter; you fhall fee my remarks 
when we meet; they would take up too much 
of our precious correfpondence. For the prefent, 
it will be fufficient to acquaint you with the 
fituation of my heart. It is but juft to render 
you an account of that which is entirely your's. 

I fet out dejedted with my own fufferings, 
but confoled with your joy; which held me 
fufpended in a ftate of langour that is not dif- 
agreeable to true fenfibility. Under the condufl 
of a very honcft guide, I crawled up the 
towering hills, through many a rugged, unfre- 
quented path. Often would I mufe, and then, 
at once, fome unexpeded objeft caught my at- 
tention. One moment I beheld ftopendous 
Tocks hanging ruinous over my head; the next 
I was enveloped in a drizzling cloud, which arofe 
from a vaft cafcade that dafliing thundered againft 
the rocks below my feet ; on one fide, a perpe- 
tual torrent opened to my view a yawning abyfs, 


E L O I 6 A. II}' 

*" which my eyes could hardly fathom withfafety ; 
fometimes 1 was loft in the obfcurity of a hang* 
ing wood, and then was agreeably aftonifhed 
with the fudden opening of a flowery plain. A 
furpriiing mixture of wild and cultivated nature 
points out the hand of man, where one would irna* 
gtnemah had never penetrated. Here you behold 
a horrid cavern, and there a human habitation ; 
vineyards where one would expe£l nothing but 
brambles ; delicious fruit among barren rocks, and 
corn-fields in the midflof clifFs and precipices. 

But it is not labour only that renders this flrange 
country (o wonderfully contrafted 5 for here na- 
ture fcems to have a fingular pleafure ir a^ing 
contradi^ory to herfelf, fo different does ihe ap- 

. pear in the fame place in different afpefts. To- 
wards theeaft the flowers of fpring— tothc fouth 
the fruits of autumn-*and northwards the ice of 
winter. She unites all the feafbns in the fame 
infant, every climate in the fame place, difFerent 
foils on the fame land, and, with a harmony 
el fe where unknown, joins the produce of the 
plains to thofe of the higheft Alps. Add to thefe, 
theillufions of vifion, the tops of the mountains 
varioufly illumined, the harmonious mixture of 
light and ibade, and their different tff^As in the 
morning and the evening as t travelled ^ you 
may then form fome idea of the fcenes which 
engaged my attention, and which feemed to 
change as I pafled, as on an enchanted theatre ; 
for the profpeft of mountains being almoft per- 
pendicular to the horizon, ftrikcsthc eyeat the 



114 E L O I S A. 

fame inftant, and more powerfully than that o^ 
a plain, where the objeds are feen obliquely and 
half concealed behind each each other. 

To this pleafmg variety of fcenes I attributed 
the ferenity of my mind during my firft day's 
Journey. \ wondered to find that inanimate 
beings fhould over-rule our moft violent paffions, 
and defpifed the impotence of philofophy for hav- 
ing lefs power over the foul than a fucceifion of 
lifelefs objedls. But, finding that my tranquillity 
continued during the night, and even increafe^I 
with the following day, 1 began to believe it ' 
flowed from fome other fource, which I had not 
yet difcovered. 1 hat day 1 reached the lower 
mountains, and, pafling over their rugged tops, 
.at Lft afcended the higheft fummit I could 
poffibly attain. Having walked a while in the 
clouds I came to a place of greater ferenity, 
whence one may peacefully obferve the thunder 
and the ftorm gathering below — Ah! too flatter- 
ing jDi6tureof human wifdom, of which the ori- 
ginal never exifted, except in thofe fublime re* 
gions whence the emblem is taken. 

Here it was that I plainly difcovered, in the * 
purity of the air, the true caufe of that return- 
ing tranquillity of foul, to which I had been 
.fo long a ftranger. This impreflion is generaj., 
though not univerfally obferved. Upon the tops 
of mountains, the air being fubtle and pure, wc 
refpire with greater freedom, our bodies are more 
adivc, our minds more ferene, our pleafures lefs 
ardent, and our pafjions much mo^re moderate. 
. . Our 

^ L O I S A. us 

Our meditations acquire a degree of fublimity 
from the grandeur of the objefts around us. It 
feems as if, being lifted above all human fo- 
ciety, we had left every low, terreftrial fenti- 
ment behind; and that as we approach the aethe- 
.real regions the foul imbibes fomething of their 
eternal purity. One is grave without being me- 
lancholy, peaceful but not indolent, penfive yet 
contented: our defires lofe their painful vio* 
lence, and leave only a gentle emotion in our 
hearts. Thus the paffions which in the lower 
world are man's greateft torment, in happier 
climates contribute to his felicity. I doubt much 
whether any violent agitation, or vapours of the 
mind, could hold out againft fuch a fituation ; 
and I am furprifed that a bath of the reviving and 
wholefome air of the mountains is not frequently 
prefcribed both by phyfick and morality. 

Slut n9n paiazzip non teatn o loggia, 
Ma'n lor n/ece urC ahete^ unfaggio^ unfln% 
Tra tcrba verde e*l bel monle vicino 
Levari di terra al del nofir" imtelletto. 

Nor palace, theatre, nor proud exchange, 

Here lift their heads ; but fir-trees, beech, and pine^ 

0>r verdant valleys, and on pieafant hills. 

Lift up the thoughtful mind from earth to heaveni 

Imagine td yourfelf all thefe united impref- 
fions; the amazing variety, magnitude, and 
beauty of a thoufand ftupendous obje£ls; the 
pleafureof gazing at anentire new fcene, ftrange 
birds, unknown plants, another nature, and a 
«ew world. To thefe even the fubtilty of the. 


i\6 E L O I S A. 

air Is advantageous ; it enlivens the natural co^ 
lours of objefts, renders them more diftinft, and 
brings them as it were nearer to the eye. In 
fliort, there is a kind of fupematural beauty in 
thefe mountainous profpefts which charms^ 
thefenfes of the mind both into a forgetfulnefs of 
one's felf and of everything in the world. 

I could have fpent the whc^ time in contem- 
plating thefe magnidcent landfcapes, if I had not 
found ftill greater pleafure in the convcrfation of 
the inhabitants. In my obfervations you will 
find a flight iketch of their manners, their ilth- 
plicity, their equality of foul^ and of that 
peacefulncft of mind which renders them happy 
by an exemption from pain, rather than by the 
enjoyment of pleafure. But what I was unable 
todefcribe, and which is aloioft impoffible to be 
conceived, i« their difinterefted faumanicy aad 
Jiofpitable zeal td oblige every ftranger whom 
chance or curiofity brings to vifit them. This I 
myfeif continually experienced — I who was en- 
tirely unknown, and who was conducted from 
place to place only by a common guide. When, 
in the evening, I arrived in any hamlet at the 
foot of a mountain, each of the inhabitants was 
fo eager to have me lodge at his houfe that I 
was always embarrafled which to accept ; and he 
who obtained the preference fecmcd fo wdl 
pieafed that, at iirft, I fuppofed his joy to arife 
from a lucrative profpeil ; but i was amazed, 
after having ufed the houfe like an inn, to find 
my boil not only refufe to accept the leait gra- 

- tuity 

E L O I S A. 117 

tulty, but offended that it was offered* I found 
it univerfally the faine# So that it was true hof- 
pitality, which, from its unufual ardour, I had 
miftaken for avarice. So perfectly diilnterefted 
are thefe people, that during eight days it was 
not in my power to leave one dollar among 
them. In fhort, how is it poiSble to fpend 
money in a country where the landlord will not 
be paid for his provifions, nor the fervant for his 
trouble, and where there are no beggars to be 
found? Ncvcrthelefs, money is "ty no means 
abundant in the Upper Valais, and for that very 
reafon the inhabitants are not in want; for the 
neceflaries of life are plentiful, yet nothing is fent 
outofthecountry; they are notluxuriousat home, 
nor is the peafant lefs laborious. If ever they 
have more money they will grow poor, and. of this 
they are fo fehfible, that they tread upon mines of 
gold, which they ^re determined never to open. 

1 was at firft greatly furprifed at the difference 
l)etween the cufloms and manners of thefe peo- 
ple and thofe of the Lower Yalais ; for in the 
road through that j>art of the country to Italy 
travellers pay dearly enough for their paffage. 
An inhabitant of the place explained the myflery. 
^* The ftrangers (lays he) who pafs through the 
IfOwer Valais are chiefly merchants, or people 
who travel in purfuit of gain; it is but juft that 
they fhould leave us a part of their profit, and 
that we fhould treat them as they treat others ; 
but here travellers meet with a different re- 
ception^ becaufe we are aifured their journey 


118 E L O I S A. 

ttiuft have a difinterefted motive: they vifit US 
out of friendfhip, and therefore we receive them 
as our friends. But, indeed, our hofpitalityisnot 
vfery expenfive; we have bMt few vifitors." — » 
" No wonder (1 replied) that mankind (hould 
avoid a people, who liVe only to enjoy life, arid 
not to acquire wealth, and excite envy, Happy> 
defervedly happy, mortals ! I am pleafed to 
think that one muft certainly refemble you in 
fome degree, in order to approve your manner^ 
and tafte your fimplicity?' 

What I found particularly agreeable whilft I 
continued among them was the natural eafe and 
freedom of their behaviour. They went about 
their bufmefs in -the houfe as if I had not been 
there; and it was in my power t6 aA as if 
I were the fole inhabitsint. They are entirely un- 
acquainted with the impertinent vanity of doing 
the honours of the houfe ^ as if to remind the 
ftranger of his dependence* When I faid no* 
thing, they toncluded I was fatisfied to live in 
their manner; but the leaft hint was fufficientto 
make them comply with mine, without any re- 
pugnance or aftonifhment. The only com- 
pliment which they made me, when they heard 
that I was a Swifs, was, that they looked Upon 
me as a brother, and I ought therefore to think 
myfelf at home. After this, they took but little 
notice of me, not fuppofing that I could doubt 
the fincerity of their offers, or refufe to accept 
them whenever they eould be ufeful. The fame 
fimplicity fubfifts among themfelves : when the 



E L O I S A. 119 

children are once arrived at maturity, all diftinc-* 
tion between them and their parents feems to 
have ceafed j their domefticks are feated at the 
fame table with their mafter; the fame liberty 
reign$ in the cottage as iri the republick, and each 
family is an epitome of the ftate. 

They never deprived me of my liberty, except 
when at table : indeed, it was always in my power' 
to avoid the repaft; but being onCe feated I was 
4*liged to fit late, and drink much. <« What! 
(faid they) a Swifs and not drink!" For my own 
part, I confefs I am no enemy to good wine, and 
have no diflike to a chearful glafs 5 but I diflike 
compulfion. I have obferved that deceitful men 
are generally fober, and that peculiar referve at 
table frequently indicates a duplicity of fonl. 
A guilelefs heart is not afraid of the unguarded , 
eloquence, and afFedlionate folly which com- 
monly precede drunken nefs j but we ought always 
to avoid excefs. Yet even that was fometimes 
impoffible among thefe hearty ValafianSj their 
wine being ftrong, and water abfolutely excluded. 
Who could aft the philofopher here, or be ofr 
fended with fuch honeft people? In flxort, 1 
drank to fhow my gratitude, and fince they re- 
fufed to take my money; 1 made them a compli- 
mentof myreafon. 

They have another cuftom, not lefs embar* 
raffing, which is praftifed even in the houfes- 
of the magiftrates thei?ifelves : I mean that 6f^ 
their wives and daughters (landing behind one's 
chair, and waiting at table like fo many fervants. 


120 B L O I S A^ 

This would be infiipportable to the gallantry of 
a Frenchman, efpecially as the women of this^ 
country are in general fo extremely handfome^ 
that one can hardly bear to be thus attended by 
the maid. You may certainly believe them 
beautiful, fince they appeared fo tome; for my 
eyes have been accuftomed to £loifa, and are 
therefore extremely difficult to pleafe. 

As for me, who pay more regard to the man* 
iitrs of the people with whom I reiide, than to 
any rules of politenefs, I received their fervices 
in lilencc^ and with a degree of gravity equal ta 
that of Don Quixote when he was with the 
Duchefs^. I could not, however, help fmiling 
now and then at the contraft between the rough 
old grey beards at the table, and the charming 
complexion of the fair nymphs in waiting, in 
whom a fingle word would excite a blufh^ which 
rendered their beauty more glowing and confpi- 
cuous. Not that I could admire the enormous 
compafs of their necks, which refemble in 
their dazzling whitcnefs only that perfeft model, 
which always formed in my imagination (for 
though veiled, 1 have fometimes ftolcn a glance) 
ithat celebrated marble which is fuppofed to ex- 
<el in delicate proportion the moft perfcft work 
of nature. 

Be not furprifed to find me fo knowing in 
myfterics which you fo carefully conceal : this 
hath happened in fpite of all your caution^j for 
one fenfe inftrufts another, and, notwithftanding 
the moft jealous vigilance, there will always 
4 remain 

£ 1. O I S A« i2t 

renuin 4ome friewlly interftice or o^r^ through 
wlMch the fight pcrfortne the office of the touch. 
The curiotM eye bufiljr infinuates itfeif with im- 
punitjr under the flowers of a nofegay, wanders 
beseatb the tpr^adkig gaufe, and conveys that 
elaftick refiflance to the haiid which it dares not 

farU 'Mfpar diUe mammi Mor^e * entity 
fmi^U mHrui me ria^re invida ntefiai 

iBiadih mt^' agli§ccbiil<varco cbiude^ 
V amortfi fen/ur gia nm arrtfia. 

In vain lies half- coocoalM the lender breaft. 
Or gently heaves beneath th^ invidions veft \ 
Through th* eavidus covering darts the lover's fight. 
And rioM •» thefameof ^bncl delight. 

I am ialfo not quite fatisfied with the drefs of 
the ValakAan ladies : their ^owns are raifed fo 
very high behind, that they all appear round- 
iiiouldered ; yet this, together with their little 
black coifs, and other peculi^i ties of their drefs, 
has a finjular efFe<a, and wants neither fimpli- 
qity iiojr elegance. I (hall bring you one of 
their complete fuits, which I dare faywill fit 
you^ it was made to the fineft Ihape in the whole 

But, whilfti travelled with delight thefe re- 
gions, which are fo little known,and fo deferying 
of admiration, where was my Eloiia? W9S 
Ibe baniChed my memory? -forget my £loifa! 
Forget my own foul 1 Is it poffible for me to be 
Qne momeiit of my life Alope, who exift pnly 
through her ? O, no ! our fouls are infeparable^ 

Vol. I. F an*> 

i22 E L O 1 S A. 

and, by inftind, change vtheir fituation tOge«; 
ther, according to the prevailing ftate of mind. 
When I am in forrow it takes refuge with 
your*s, and feeks confolation in the place where 
you are; as was the cafe the day I left you. 
When I am happy, being incapable of enjoy* 
ment alone, they both attend upon me, and our' 
pleafure becomes mutual : thus it was during 
my whole excurfion. I did not take one ftep 
without you, nor admire a fingle profpeft with- 
out eagerly pointing its beauries to Eloifa. The 
fame tree fpread its fhadow over us both, 
and we conftantly reclined againff the fame 
flowery bank. Sometimes, as we fat, I gazed 
with you at the wonderful fcene before us, and 
fometimes on my knees turned with rapture to 
an obje£t more worthy the contemplation of 
human fenfibility. If I came to a difficult pafs, 
I faw you fkip over it with the adivity of the 
bounding doe. When a torrent happened to 
crofs our path, I prefumcd to prefs you in my 
arms, walked flowly through the water, and was . 
always forry when I reached the oppoAte bank. 
Every thing in that peaceful folitude brought 
you to my imagination j the pleafing awefulnef^ 
of nature, the invariable fen nity of the air, the 
grateful fimplicity of the people, their conftant 
and natural prudence, the unaffedied modefty^ 
and innocence of the fexj. in fhort, every ob- 
jeft that gave pleafure to the eye or to the heart 
feemed infeparably connected with the idea of 


K L O I S A. 123 

Divine maid ! have I often tenderly exclaimed, 
O that we might fpend our days in thefe un- 
frequented mountains, unenvyed and unknosvn I 
Why can I not here colleft my whole foul into 
thee alone, and become, in turn, the univerfe 
to Eloifa ! Thy charms would then receive the 
homage they deferve; then would our hearts 
tafte without interruption the delicious fruit of 
the foft paffion with which they are filled : the 
years of our long Elyfium would pafs away un- 
told, and when the frigid hand of age fhould 
have calmed our firft tranfports, the conftant 
habit of thinking and afling from the fame prin- 
ciple would beget a lading friendship no lefs 
tender than our love, whofe vacant place fhould 
be filled by the kindred fentiments which grew 
and were nourifbed with it in our youth. Like 
this happy people, we would pradiice every duty 
of humanity, we would unite in afts of benevo- 
lence, and at laft die with the fatisfadlion of not 
having lived in vain. 

Hark!— it is the pofV. I wiH clofe my 
letter, and fly to receive another from Eloifa. 
How my heart beats? Why was I roufed 
from my reverie? I was happy at leafl in 
idea. Heaven only knows what I anj to be in 


124 E L 6 I S A. 



I Sit down to give you an immediate anfwerlD 
that artick of your letter concerning the 
fiipend. Tfaank God, it requires no reflexioii. 
Mf fentiments, my Eloifai on this fubJe&Aie 

In what is called honour there is amatenal 
Mdiftin£lion ^tween tliat which is founded on tte 
opinion of the world, and that which is defived 
from felf efteem. The firft is nothing but the 
loud voice of foolifli prejudice, which h«is ift> 
4nore (lability than the wind; but the hafis of 
s£he latter is fixed in the eternal truths of mom- 
Jjty* The -honour of the world may be of ad- 
^smtage with rog^rd to fortune ; but, as it cannot 
reach the foul, it. has no influence on real hap- 
pincfs. True honour, on the contrary, is the 
very effence of felicity ; for it is that alone in- 
fpires the permanent interiour fatisfa<Stion which 
conftitutes the happinef» of a rational being. 
Let us, my Eloife, apply thofe principles to.yo«r 
queftion, and it will be foon refolved. 

To become an inilru£tor of philofophy, and 
like the fool in the fable receive monqy for 
teaching wifdom, will appear rather low in the 
eyes of the world, and, 1 own, has fomething 
in it ridiculous enough. Yet, as no man can 
fubfift merely of himfelf, and as there can be 
nothing wroni; in eating the fruit of one's la- 


B L O I 8 A. 115 

IkuuT) we will regard this opinion of mankin4 
a$ a pUcc of fooliih prejudice, to which it would 
be madnefs to facrifice our happinefs. 1 know 
you will notefle^m me the lefs on this accouat| 
nor ihaU I deferve aaore pity for living upon the 
talents I have cultivated. 

But, my Eloifa, there are other things to be 
confidered. Let us leave the multitude, and 
look a little into ourfelves. What (hall I in 
reality be to yow father, in receiving from him 
a ialary for inftruding his daughter? Am I not 
from that moment a mercenary, a hireling, a 
fovant? And do not 1 tacitly pledge my faith' 
for his fecurity, like the meanett of his dome« 
fticks I Now, what has a father to lofe of greater 
ralne than his only daughter, even though flie 
iperenotan Elotfa? and what fliould the man do 
who had thus pledged his hitii^ and fold his fer«> 
vice?-*-Ought he to ftife the flame withia Ui 
kf eaft ? Ah I Eloifa, that 70a know to be im» 
poftble : or fiioold he rather indulge his paffiott, 
and wound, in the moil fenfible part, the man 
who has an undoubted right to hi9^ fidelity i In 
this cafe I behold a perfidious teacher, trampling 
under foot one of the mofl facred bonds (k fo-> 
ciety*, a feducer, a domeftick traitor, whom 
F 3 the 

* Unhappy youth I not to perceive, that to fuffer him-^ 
felf to be paid in gratitude what lit refufed in money - 
was infinitely more criminal. Under the roafk of in-' 
fir u A ion he corrupted her heart ^ inftead of aourifl»me»t 
kt gives her poifoa, and it thanked by a deluded nothir 
ior the ruin of her child* Nevertbelefi » one may pcrceiv* 

126 E L O 1 S A, 

the law hath juftly condemned ' to die, I hope 
Eloifa underftands me — I do not fear d^ath, but 
the ignoniiny of deferving it, and my own con- 

When the letters of your name*s-fakc and 
Abelard fell into your hands, you remember 
my opinion of the condu£l of that prieft. I 
always pitied Eloifa : (he had a heart made for 
love : but Abelard feemed to deferve his fate, as 
he was a ftranger both to love and virtue* 
Ought I then to follow his example ? What 
wretch dares preach that virtue which he will 
not pra6life! Whofoever fitffers himfelf to be 
thus blinded by his paffions will foon find him- 
felf punifhed in a loathing for thofe very fenfa- 
tions to which he facrificed his honour* There 
can be no plcafure in anjr enjoyment which the 
heart cannot approve, and which tends to fink 
jn our eflimation the ohjt€t of our love. Ab- 
ftrad the idea of per'fe&ion, and our enthufiafiii 
vanifhes : take away our efteem, and love is at 
an end. How is it poffible for a woman to ho- 
nour a man who difhonours himfelf? and how 
jcan he adore the perfon who was weak enough 
to abandon herfelf to a vile feducer ! Mutual 
contempt, therefore, is the confequence j their 
very paffions will grow burthenfome, and they 


in liim a finre'^e love for virtue ; hut it is too foon difll- 
pated by his paflions ; that with all his fine preaching, 
iinlels hi)* youth he admitted as an excufe, he is no better 
than a wicktd fellow. The twolovers, however, defenff 
Tome compaffion ^ the mother is chiefly in fault. 

E L O I S A. 127 

will have loft their honour without finding hap 
pinefs. --^ 

But how different, my Eloifa, is it with two 
lovers of the fame age, influenced by the fame 
paffion, united by the fame bonds, under no par- 
ticular engagements, and both in poffeffion of 
their original liberty. The moft {qvctc laws can 
infliiSl no other punifhment than the natural 
confequences of their paffion: their fole obliga- 
tion is to love eternally j and if there be in the 
world fome unhappy climate, where men's au- 
thority dares to break fuch facred bonds, they 
are furely punifhed by the crimes that muft in* 
evitably enfue. 

Thefe, my ever prudent and virtuous Eloifa, 
are my reafons: they are indeed but a frigid 
commentary on thofe which you urged with fo 
much fpirit and energy in one of your letters ; 
but they are fufficient to (how you how entirely 
I am of your opinion. You remember that I 
did not perfift in refufing your offer, and that, 
notwithfhinding the firft fcruplesof prejudice, 
being convinced that it was not ineonfiftent with 
my honour, 1 confented to* open the box. But, 
in the prefect cafe, my duty, my reafon, my 
love, all fpealc too plainly to be mifunderftood. 
If 1 muft choofe between my honour and Eloifa, 
my heart is prepared to refign her — I love her 
too well to purchafe her at the price of my bo« 


I3f K L O I S A* 



YO U will eafily believe, my dear friend, 
how extremely I was entertained with the 
agreeable account of your late tour. The ele- 
gance of the detail itfelf would have engaged 
my cfteem, even though its authour had been 
wholly a ftrangerj but its coming from you 
was a circumftance of additional recommen- 
dation. 1 could, however, find in my heart 
to chide you for a certain part of it, which you 
will eafily guefs, though I could fcarce refrain 
from laughing at the ridiculous fineiTe you made 
life of to ihcher yourfelf under Taflb. Have 
you never really perceived the wide difFerencc 
that (houldbe made between a narration intended 
for the view of the public, and that little (ketch 
of particulars which is folely to be referred to 
the infpe£lion of your miftrefs. Or is love, 
with all its fears, doubts, jealoufies, and fcru« 
pies, to have no more regard paid to it than the 
mere decencies of good-breoding are intitled to i 
Ccmid you be it a moment's lofs to conceive 
that die dry precifenefs of an authour muft be 
difpleafing, where the pai&onate fentiments of 
infpiring tendernefs were expelled ? And could 
you deliberately refolve to difappoint my expec- 
tations i But I fear I have already faid too much 
on a fubjed which perhaps had better been en- 
tirely paffed over. Befides, the contents of 
your laft letter have fo clofcly engaged my 


thoughts, that 1 have had no letfure to attend 
to the particulars of the former. Leaving then^. 
mj dear friend, the Valais to fome future op-:> 
portuAity» let us now fix our attention on what 
more immediately concerns ouriieivest-twe fliaU) • 
find fufficient matter for employment. 

I very clearly forefaw what your fentiment*'; 
would be, and indeed the time we have knowit • 
each other had been fpent to little purpofe if 
our conjedures were ftill vague and uncertain* 
If virtue ever (hould forfake us, be aflured it 
will not, cannot, be in thofe inftances, which 
require refolution and refignation*. When Ac 
aflault is violent, the firft ftep to be taken is 
refinance; and we (hall ever triumph, I hope, 
folpng as we are forewarned of our danger, A 
ftate of carelefs fecifrity is the moft to be dread- 
ed, and we may be taken by fap ere we perceive 
that the citadel is attacked. Thfe moft fatal 
circiimftance of all, is the continuance of mif- 
fortunesj their very duration makes them dan- 
gerous to a mind that might bear up againft the 
fharpeft tryals and moft vigorous fudden onfets ; 
it may be worn out by the tedious preflure of 
inferior fufferings, and give way to the length 
of thofe affliiftions which have quite exhaufled 
its forbearance. This ftruggle, my dear friend^ 
foils to our lot. We are not called upon to fig- • 
najifeourfelvesbydeedsof heroifin, or renowned 
F 5 exploits i 

^ The fequ^l will but too well inform the reader, tbat 
this aftcrtion of Eloifa's was extremely ill grounded.. 

ijo £ L O I S A. 

exploits; but wc arc bound to the more painftil 
taikof fupporting an indefatigable refiftrance, and 
enduring misfortunes without theleaft relaxation. 

I fortfaw but too well the melancholy event. 
Our happinefs is paflTed away like a morning 
cloud, and ourtryalsare beginning without the 
leaft prufpe£l of any alteration for. the better. 
Every circumftance is to me an aggravation of 
my diftrefs, and what at other times would have 
paflfed unheeded and unobfervcd, now fervesbut 
too plainly to increafe my difmay : my body 
fympathifes with my mind in this diftreffed fitu- 
ation; the one is as fpiritlefs and languid as the 
other is alarmed and apprehenfive. Involuntary 
tears are ever ftealing down my cheeks, with- 
out my being fcnfible of any immediate caufe of 
forrow. I do not indeed forefee any very diftreis- 
ful events, but' I perceive, alas, too well, my 
fondeft hope§ blafted, my moft fanguine expec- 
tations difappointed, and what good purpofe can 
it ferve to water the leaves, when the plant iSs 
decayed and withered at the root. 

I feel myfelf unable to fupport your abfence. 
I feel, my dear friend, that I can never live 
without you, and this is a freih fubjedt to me of 
continual apprehenfions. How often do I tra- 
verfe the fcenes which were once the witnefles 
of our bappy interviews; but, alasl you are no 
where to be found, I conftantly expeft you 
at your ufual time; but the time comes and 
goes without your return. Every obje^ of my 
fenfes prefects a new monument, and every ob« 


E L O I S A. t%i 

jeSt, alas { reminds me that I have loft you. 
Whatever your fufferings may be in other re- 
fpe£bs, you are exempted,' however, from this 
aggravation. Your heart alone i« fuflkient to 
remind you of my unhappy abfence. Did you 
but know what endlefs pangs thefe fruidefs 
expectations, thefe impatient longings perpetu- 
ally occafion, how they embitter and increafe 
the torments I already feel, you would without 
befitation prefer your condition to mine. 

If, indeed, I might give vent to my fad tale^ 
tod truft the tender recital of my mimberlcfs 
t^oes to the kind bofom of a faithful friend^ I 
might be relieved in fom2 degree of my misfor* 
tunes. ';(ut even this relief is denied me, except 
when I find opportunity to pour a few tender 
itghs into the compaffionatebofomof my coufmr 
but in general I am conftrained to fpeak a Ian* 
guage quite foreign to my heart, and to afliime 
an air of thougbtlefs gaiety, when Iaa).readjr 
to fink into the grave* 

£ new poter mat dir^ 
Morirmi Sen to I 

Ye Gods ! how dreadful is the pain,. 
To^foffer and muft not complain. 

A further circumftance of my diftrefs, if any 
ihing more diftrefsful can yet be added,, is,, that 
fliy diforder is continually increafing^. I have of 
kite thought fo gloomily, that I feldom now 
Ibthk other wife s and* the more anxiety I fed. at. 
F 6 the 

I3> M L O t S A. 

the femembffftnce of our paft pleafures, the more 
9^r\j do I indulge myklf in the painful re« 
coUeSdon. Tell me, my dear, dear friend, if 
you can tell me by experieace^ how nearly alJied 
is loveto thi» tender forrow, and if difquiet and 
uneafinefs itielf benot the cement of the warm<i- 
•ft affeaioAsf 

I have a tboufand other things to fay, but 
firft I would iain know, exaAly, where you are* 
Befides, this train of thinking has awakened my 
paffioti) and indeed rendered me unfit for writing 
any more. Adieu, my dear friend, and though 
I am oUig^ to lay down my pen, be aftured X 
ean never think of parting with you. 


AS this comes to your bands by a water- 
man, an entire ftranger to me, I (hall 
onlyr.(ay at. preient that I have taken up my 
quarters at Meilleriiy on the oppofite fhore., 
I (hall now have an opportunity of feeing, 
at leaft, the dear place which I dare not ap* 



WHAT a wonderful alteration has a^ 
fhort fpace of time produced in my: 
affairs! The thoughts of meeting, delightfiiji 
as they were, are now too much. a]k^ie4 wit^Pi 


E L O I S A. 131 

dirquleting apprehenfions. What fhould have 
been the objed of my hopes is now, alas ! be- 
come the /ubjeft of my fears 5 and the very fpi- 
rit of difceroment, which on moft occaAons i$ 
to ufeful . now ferves but to difmay, to difquiet, 
and torment me. Ah, Eloifa! too much fenfi- 
bility, too much tendernefs, proves the bittereft 
curfe inftead of the choiceft bleiSng : vexation 
and difappointment are its certain confequences. 
The temperature of the air, the change of the 
feafbns, the brilliancy of the fun; and thicknefs 
of the fogs, are fo many moving fprings to the 
unhappy pofleflbr, and he becomes the wanton 
fport of their arbitration: his thoughts^ his 
fatisfadion, his happinefs, depend on the 
blowing of the winds, and the different points 
of eaft and weft can fadden or enliven his 
expediations : fwayed as he is by prejudices, 
and diftrafted by paffions, the fcntiments of his 
heart find continual oppofition from the axioms 
of his head. Should he perchance fquare his 
conduA to the. undeviable rule of right, and fet 
up truth for his ftandard, inftead of profit and 
convenience, he is fure to fall a martyr to the 
maxims of his integrity; the world will join 
in the cry, and hunt him down as a common ene- 
my . But fuppofing this not the cafe, honefty and 
uprightnefs, though exempted from perfecution, 
are neither of them the channels of honour, nor 
the road to riches : poverty and want are their 
infepara}ile s^ttendants,. and man/ by adhering 
to th^ c»e, ncceflarilx attaches himfelf to the 


134 B L O I S A. 

inheritancebf the other; and by this means he 
becomes his own tormenter. He will fearch 
for fupreme happinefs, without taking into the 
account the infirmities of his nature. Thus his 
dfFedions and his reafon will be engaged in a 
perpetual warfare, and unbounded ideas and 
defires muft pave the way for endlefs difappoint- 

This fitualion, however difmal, is neverthe- 
lefs the true one, in which the hard fate of my 
worldly affairs, counteracted by the ingenuous 
and liberal turn of my thoughts, have involved 
me, and which is aggravated and increafed by 
your father's contempt and your own milder fen- 
timents, whkh are at once both the delight and 
difquict of my life. Had it not been for thee,, 
thou fatal beauty, I could never have expe- 
rienced the infupportable contraft between the 
greatnefs of my foul, and the low eftate of my 
fortune. I fhould have lived quietly, and died 
contented, in a iituation that would have been . 
even below notice. But to fee you without 
being able to poiTefs you — to adore you, wfthout 
raifing myfelf from my obfcurity — to live in the 
fame place, and yet be feparated from each other,. 
is a ftruggle, my deareft Eloifa, to which I am 
utterly unequal. I can neither renounce you, 
nor furmount the cruelty of my deftiny— I cait 
neither fubduc my defires, nor better my for--^ 
tune. ' ^ 

But, as if this fituation itfelf were not (uffi** 
ciently tormentuig^thehorroursgf it are increafed 


E L O I S A. 135 

by the gloomy fucceffion of ideas ever prefent to 
my imagination. Perhaps, too, this is heightened 
by the nature of the place I Jive in— it is dark- 
it is dreadful : but then it fuits the habit of my 
foul ; and a more pleafant profpeft of nature 
would refle£l little comfort on the dreary view 
within me. A ridge of barren rocks furround 
the coaft, and my dwelling is ftill made more 
difmal by the uncomfortable profpefls of win- 
ter. And yet, Eloifa, 1 am fenfible enough that 
if I were once forced to abandon you, I ihould 
ftand in need of no other abode, no other feafon* 

While my mind is diftraded with fuch con^ 
tinual agitations, my body too is moving as it 
were in fympathy with thofe emotions* I run 
to and fro', climb the rocks, explore my whole 
diftrid, and find every thing as horrible with- 
out, as I experience it within. There is no 
longer any verdure to be feen, the grafs is yel- 
low and withered, the trees are ftripped of their 
foliage, and the north-eaft blaft heaps firow and 
ice around me. In fhort, the whole face of 
nature appears as decayed to my outward fenfes^ 
as I myfelf from within am dead to hope and 

Amidft this rocky coaft I have found out a 
folitary cleft, from whence I have a diftinft view 
of the dear place you inhabit. You may eafily 
imagine how I have feafted on this difcovery» 
and refreflied my fight with fo delightful a pro- 
fpedt. I fpent a whole day in endeavouring to 
difcern the very boufe, but the diftance» alas, 
S i« 

136 E L O I S A. 

is too grrat for my efforts; and imagination was 
forced to fupply what my wearied -fight was 
unable to difcover. I immediately ran to the 
curate's, and borrowed his telefcope, which pre- 
fented to my view, or at leaft to my thoughts, 
the exaA fpot I defired. My whole time has 
been taken up ever lince in contemplating thofe 
walls that enclofe the only fpurce of my com- 
fort, the only objc^ of my wiihes : notwith« 
ftanding the inclement feverity of the ieafon, I 
continue thus employed from day-break until 
evening. A fire, made of leaves and a few drjr 
flicks, defends me in fome meafure from the in- 
tenfenefs of the cold. This place, wild and un- 
cultivated as it is, is fo fuited to my tafte, that I 
am now writing to you in it, on a fummit which 
the ice has feparated frem the rock. 

Here, my dearcft £loi&, jrour unhappy lover 
Is enjoying the laft pleafure that perhaps he may ^ 
ever rclifh on this fide the grave* Here, in {pit9 ' 
of every obftacle, he can penetrate into your 
very chamber. He is even dazzled with your 
beauty, and the ^enderoefs of your looks re- 
animates his drcfoping foul; nay, he can wiih for 
thofe raptures which he experienced with you 
in the grove. Alas! it is all a dream> the idle 
phantom of a proje£iing nind. Pleafing as it is» 
it vaniibes like a vifioo, and I am foon forced 
to awake from fo agreeable a delirium; and 
yet even theii I have full employment fur my 
thoughts. I admire and rev^e the purity of 
your fentHiiftntSy the innocence of yovr life: I 


E L O I S A. 15; 

trace out in my mind the method of your daily 
condud, by comparing it with what I formerly 
well knew in happier days, and under more en- 
dearing circumftances : I find you ever atten- 
tive to engagements which heighten your cha- 
racter : need I add that fuch a view moft mo- 
vingly afFedls me. In the morning I fay to my- 
fclf, flbc is juft now awaking from calm and 
gentle fl umbers, as frelh as the early dew, and 
as compofcd as the moft fpotlefs innocence, and 
is dedicating to her Creator a day which ihe 
determines fhall not be loft to virtue. She is 
now going to her nK>ther, her tender heart all 
fufceptible of the foft ties of filial duty: ihe is 
either relieving her parents from the burthen of 
doaieftick cares, footbing their aged fbrrows, 
pitying their infirmities, or excufing tboie in- 
difcr^tons in others which flic knows not how 
to allow in berfelf. At another time, flic is em'i> 
ploying berfelf in works of genius or of ufe, 
ftoring her mind with valuable knowledge, or 
reconciling the elegancies c^ life to its more 
fobct occupations. Sometimes I fee a neat and 
ftudied funpUcity fet off thofe charms which need 
no fuch recommendations; and at others fhe is 
confulting her holy paftor on the circumftances 
of indigent merit. Here ihe is aiding, com- 
forting, relieving the orphan or the widow; 
there ihe is the entertainment of the whole circle 
of her friends, by her prudent and fenfible con- 
verfation. Now fhe is tempering the gaiety of 
youth with wifdom and difcretipn: and fome 


138 E L O I S A. 

few moments (forgive me the prefumption) you 
beftow on my haplefs love. I fee you melted 
into tears at the perufat of my letters, and can 
j)erceive your devoted lover is the fubje<St of the 
Jines you are penning^ and of the paflionate 
difcourfj between you and your coufm. — Oh, 
JSloifa, fhall we never be united? — Shall we 
never fpend our days together?— Can we, Eloifa! 
can we part for ever f No, far be that thought 
from my foul. I ftart into frenzy at the very 
idea, and my diftempered mind hurries me 
from rock to rock. Involuntary fighs and 
groans betray my inward diforder : I roar out 
like a lionefs robbed of her young. I can do 
every thing but lofe you ; there, is nothing-^Mio, 
jiothing, I would not attempt for you, at the 
ii(kof my life. 

I had written thusfar, and was waiting an op« 
portunity to convey it, when your laft vame to 
my hands from Sion. The melancholy air it 
breathes has lulled my griefs to reft. Now, 
now, am I convinced of what you obferved long 
ago, concerning that wonderful fympathy be»» 
tween lovers. Your forrow is of the calmer, 
mine of the more paffionate kind ; yet, though 
the affeftion of the mind be the fame, it takes 
its colour in each from the different channels 
through which it runs; and, indeed, it isbutna* 
turai, that the greateft misfortunes (hould pro- 
duce the moft difquieting anxieties ; but why do 
I talk 6f misfortunes i They would beabfolute- 
ly infupportable. No, be aflured, my Eloifa, 


B L O I S A. 139 

that the irrefiftible decree of heaven has defigned 
us for each other. This is the firft great law we 
are to obey, and it is the great bufinefs of life 
to calm, footh, and fweeten it while we are here. 
i f^y and lament it too, that your defigns are 
too vague and inconclufive for execution. You 
feem willing to conquer infurmountable diffi- 
culties, while at the fame time you are negleding 
the only feafible methods. An enthuQaftick idea 
of honour has fupplanted your reafon, and your 
virtue is become little better than an empty de« 

If, indeed, itwerepoffible for you to remain 
, always as young and beautiful as you are at pre- 
fent, my only wiih, my only prayer to heaven 
would be, to know of your continual happinefF^ 
. to fee you once every year, only once, and then 
fpend the reft of my time in vieveing your man- 
lion from a&r, and in adoring you attiong the 
rocks. But, behold, alas, the inconceivable 
fwiftnefs of that fate, which is never at reft. It 
is conftantlypurfuing, time flies haftily, the op- 
portunity is irretrievable, and your beauty— even 
your beauty, is circumfcribed by very narrow 
limits of exiftence : it muft fome time or 
other decay and wither away, like a flower that 
s fades before it is gathered. In the mean time^ 
lam confuming my health, youth, ftrength, in 
continual forrow, and wafte away my years in 
complaining. Think! oh think, Eloifa! that 
we have already loft fome time j think too that 
it will never return, and that the cafe will be the 


t40 E L O I S A» 

feme with the jeus th»t are to comCy if we 
fiiffe^ them to pa& bj negle^Sedukd ummproved. 
O fottd, miftaken fair ! you are laying plans for 
a futurity at which 3K>tt may never arrive^ and 
ncgleding iheprefcntn^wnents, which can never 
be retrieved. You are - fo anxious and intent 
on that uncertain hereafter, forget that 
in the mean while our hearts melt' away like 
fnow before the fun. — Awake, awake, my dear- 
eft Eloifa, from fo fatal a delufion! Leave all 
your concerted fchemes, the wanton {allies of a 
fruitful fancy, and determine to be happy. Come, 
my only hope, my only joy! to thy fond ex- 
peeing lover's arms : come, and reunite the hl« ^ 
therto divided portions of our exiflence. Comet 
and» before heaven^ kt tis folemnly fwear to live , 
and die for each other. Yoa have no need, I 
am fure, of any encouragement, any exhorta* 
tion8,to^earupagainftdtefearof want. Though 
p<K>r, provided we are happy, what a treafure 
will be in our pofieffion ! But let us not fo infult 
either the dignity or the humanity of the fpecies, 
as to fuppofe that this vaft world cannot furniih 
an afylum for two unfortunate lovers. But we 
need notdefpair whilel have health and ftrength; 
the bread earned by the fweat of my brow will 
be more relifhing to you than the moft coftly ban* 
quet which luxury could prepare. And, indeed, 
can any repaft, provided and (eafoned by love, 
be infipid? Oh my angel, if our h^pinefs^ 
were fure tolaft us but one day, could you cruelly 
refolve to quit this life without tafting it. 


£ L O I S A. j^t 

One weird move, and I have done*—* You 
kftovy Eloiia, the^ife which was formerly aaadc 
#f the Fock of Leucada-^ic was the laft (ad re* 
fu£e of difappointed lovers. The place I an 
f>ow in, and my own diftrefled fituation, bearbut 
too cloie a refemblance — The rock as cia^gy— 
Che water deep-'^aad I am in 4d|i»ir I 

I. K T T £ R XXVa. 

TitOM CLAllA. 

IHave been lately fo diftradeii with care and 
grief, that is with much difficulty I have 
been able to Xiunmon fufficient ftren^tb for writ* 
ing. Your misfortunes andmioe are ik>w at 
their utmoft crifis. In fhort, the lovely Eloifa 
is very dangeroufly iH, and, ere this can reach 
you, may perhaps he no more. Tbe mortifica- 
tion (he underwent in parting with you iirft 
brought on hei-diforder, which was confiderably 
ancr^fcd hy tome ^^y in^erefting difcourfe <he 
lias finee had with her fiither. This has been 
ftill heightened by circualfUnces of additional 
aggravation ; .and, as tf all this wove t»o little, 
your laft letter «anie in laid, 9mi -coqopleted 
what, alas I was already fcaroe fupport Ale. The 
^riifal of it afieSed her (b fenfibly, that, after a 
whole night ^ violent tgitatiojis and cruel 
^Uggl^ ^c ^f^^ fei&d with a high fever, which 
has iikcreafed to fuch a degree, that (he is now 
^delirious. Even iArlibJi^ fttuafti^Q ihe as perpetu* 


t42 B L O I S A. 

ally calling for you, and fpeaks of you with (lich 
emotions as plainly point out that you alone 
arc the ohjcSt of her more fober thoughts* Her 
father is kept out of the way as much as poflible, 
which is no inconfiderable proof that my aunt 
fufpe^s the truth- She has even aflced me, with 
fome anxiety, when you intended to return ? 
So entirely does her concern for her daughter 
outweigh every other conflderation, I dare 
fay fhe would not be forry to fee you here. 

Come, then, I intreat you, as foon as you 
poffibly can. I have hired a man and boat to 
tranfmit this to you; he will wait your orders, 
and you may come with him. Indeed, if you 
ever expeft to fee our devoted Eloifa alive you 
muft not lofe an inftant. 



ALAS! my dear Clara, how is the life you 
have reftored me embittered by your ab- 
fence ! What fatisfadion can there be in my 
recovery, when I am ftill preyed upon by a more 
violent diforder? Cruel Clara! to leave me, 
when I ftand moft in need of your affiftance. 
You are to be abfent eight days, and perhaps by 
that time my fate will be determined, and it 
will be out of your power to fee me more. Oh ! 
if you did but know his horrid propofals, and the 
manner of his ftatingdiem! To elope— —to 


£ L O I S A. 143 

follow him— —to be carried off.— ^— What i 
-wretch ! But of whom do I complain ? My 
heart, my own bafe heart, has fatd a thoufand 
times more than ever he has mentioned. Good 
God, if he knew all! Oh, it would haften my 
ruin— I iboikld be hurried to deftrudion — ^be 
forced to go with him— —I fhudder at the very 

But has my father then fold me ? Yes, he has 
coniidered his daughter as mere property, and 
hath configned her with as little remorfe as a 
trader would a bale of goods. Hepurchafes his 
own eafeand quiet at the price of all my future 
cofnfort, nay, of my life itfelf— — for I fee but 
too well I can never furvive it. Barbarous, 
unnatural, unrelenting father! Does he de- 
ferve ?— — But why do 1 talk of deferving ? He 
is the beft of fathers, and the only crime I can 
alledge againft him, is his defire of marrying me 
to his friend. But my mother, my dear mother, 
what ha$ ffae done ? Alas ! too much — (he has 
loved me too much ; and that very love has been 
jny ruin. 

What (hall I do, Clara ? What will become 
of me ? Hans is not yet come. I am at a lofs 
how to convey this letter to you. Before you 
receive it, before you return — perhaps a vaga- 
bond, abandoned, ruined, and forlorn. It is 
over, it is over : the time is come. A day — an 
hour — perhaps a moment— But who can refift 
their fate ? — Oh ! wherever I live, wherever I 
die, yrhether in honour or difljonour, in plenty or 


144 £ L O 1 S A. 

in poverty, in pleafure or in defpair, remember, 
I befeech you, your dear, dear friend. But mif- 
fortunes too frequently produce changes in our 
afFe&ions. If ever I forget yoa, mine muft be 
altered induced ! 



STAY— *ty, where you are! I tfitreat, I 
conjure you— -never, never think of retwn- 
ing — at leaft, not to me,. I ought never to fee 
you more : for now, alas 1 I can never behold 
you as I ought. Where wert thou, my tender 
friend, my only fafeguard, my guardian angel t 
When thou wert gone, ruin inftantly enftwd. 
Was that fatal abfence of your's fa indHpenfible, 
fo nccdTary, and couldft thou leave thy friend 
in the moft critical time of danger i What an 
inexhauftible fund of remorfe haft thou laid up 
for thyfelf by fo Mameable a negleft ! It will be 
as bitter, as lafting, as my forrows. Thy lofs 
is indeed as irretrievable as my own, and it were 
as difficult to gain another friend equal to your- 
felf, as, alas ! it is impoffibie to recover my inno- 

Ah ! what have I faid? I can neither fpeak 
nor yet be filent ; and to what purpofe were my 
illence, when my very forrows would cry out 
againft met And does not all nature upbraid 
me with my guilt ? Docs not every objc^ 
4 around 

E L O I S A. 145 

around me remind me of my fhame ? I will, I 
muft, pour my whole foul into thine, or my 
poor heart will burfl. Canft thou hear all this^ 
my fecure and carelefs friend, without applying 
fome reproaches at leaft tothyfelf? Even thy 
faith and truth, the blind confidence of thy 
friendfhip, but above all thy pernicious indul*- 
gencies, have been the unhappy inftruments of 
my deftruftion. 

What evil genius could infpirc you to invite 
him to return— him, alas ! who is now the cruel 
autbour of my difgrace ?— And am I indebted to 
his care for a life which he hath fince made in^ 
/upportable by his cruelty ? Inhuman as he is, 
let him fly from me for ever, and deny himfelf 
the favage pleafure of being an eye-witnefs to 
my forrows. — But why do^ rave thus P — He is 
not to be blamed — I alone am guilty — I alone 
. am the authour of my own misfortunes, and 
fhould therefore be the only obje6l of anger and 
refentment. But vice, new as it is to me, has 
already infefted my very foul; and the firft 
difmal efFeft of it is difplayed in reviling the 

No, no, he never was capable of being falft 
to his vows. His virtuous foul difdains the low 
artifice of impofing upon credulity, or of injur- 
ing her he loves, Doubtlefs, he is much more 
experienced in the tender paflions than I ever 
was, fince he found no difHculty to overcome 
himfelf, and I, alas! fell a vidim to my unruly 
dcfires. How often have I been a witnefs of 

Vol. 1. G his 

146 E L O I S A. 

his ftruggles and his viflory, and when thi vio- 
lence of his tranfports feemed to get the better 
©fhisrcafon, he would ftop on a fudden, as a 
if awed and checked by virtue, when he might 
have led on to a certain triumph* I indulged 
myfelf too much in beholding fodahgerous an 
objefl:, I W2K afflifted at his fighs, moved with 
his in treaties, and hielted with his tears : I 
Ihared his anxieties when I thought I was only 
pitying them. I have feen him fo affedledj that 
he feemed ready to faint at my feet* Love alono 
might perhaps have been my fecurity; but com- 
paffion, O my Clara, has fatally undone me. 

Thus, my unhappy paflion affumed the form 
of humanity, the more eafily to deprive ftie of 
the afliftance of virtue. That very day he had 
been particularly importunate, and preffed me 
to elope with him. This propofal, connefted 
as it was with the mifery and diftrefs of the beft 
of parents, (hocked my very foul j nor could I 
think with any patience of thus embittering 
th^ir comforts. The impofEbility of ever ful- 
filling oUr plighted troth, the nedeffity there 
was of concealing this impoffibility froni him, 
the regret which I felt at deceiving fo tender and 
paflionate a lover, after having flattered his ex- 
pedlations — all thefewcre dreadful circumftances, 
which leflened my refolution, increafed my 
weaknefsj blinded and fubdued my rcafon. I 
was then either to kill my parents, difcard my 
lover, or ruin myfelf: without knowing what I 
did, I refolved on the latter j and forgetting every 


E L O I S A. 147 

thing elfe, thought only of my love. Thus, 
one unguarded minute ha^ betrayed me to endlefs 
mifery. 1 am fallen into the abyfs of infamy, 
from whence there is rto return j and if 1 am to 
live, it is only to be wretched. 

However, while I am here, forrow fliall be 
my only comfort. You, my deareft friend, are 
my only refource : oh ! do not, do not leave me ! 
do not, 1 conjure thee, rob me of thy friendfhip. 
I have indeed lott all pretentions to it, but my 
Situation makes it requifite, my diftrefles now 
demand it. If you cannot efteem, you may at 
leaft pity (o wretched a creature. Come, then, 
my dear Clara, and opf>n thy heart, that! may 
pour in my Complaints. Receive the tears of 
your friend ; fliield her, if poffible, from the 
contempt of herfdf; and convince her fhe hath 
not loft every thing, by her ftill pofl'efTing your 



OH ! my dear, dear friend, what have you 
done ! you who \yere the praife of every 
parent, and the envy of every child. . What a 
mortal blow has virtue itfelf received through 
your means, who w6re the very pattern of dif- 
cretion ! But what can I" fay to you in fo 
dreadful a fituation? Can I think of aggrava- 
ting your forrows, and woundiiig aheart already 
G 2 opprefled 

14S E L O I S A. 

opprefled with grief; or can I give you a coin- 
'fort, which, alas! I myfelf want ? Shall 1 rc- 
■fleft your image in all the difmal colours of 
your prefent diftrefs; or fliall I have recourfc 
to artifice, and remind you not of what you are, 
but of what you ought to be ? Do thou, moft 
wholly and unfpotted Friendfhip, fteal thy foft 
veil over all my awakened fenfes, and merci- 
fully remove the fight of thofe difafters thou 
we'rt unable to prevent. 

Vou know I have long feared the misfortune 
-you are bewailing. How often have I foretold 
it, and, alas ! how often been difregarded ? Do 
you blame me then for having trufted you too 
much to your own heart ? Oh ! doubt not but I 
would have betrayed you, if even that could 
have been made the means of your prefervation ; 
but I knew better than your felf your own tender 
fenfatlons, I perceived .but too plainly that 
death or ruin were the melancholy alternatives ; 
and even when your apprehenfions made you 
banifh your lover, the only matter then in que- 
flion, was, whether you fliould defpair, or he be 
recalled. Y<5u will eafily believe how dread- 
fully 1 was alarmed, when I found you <leter- 
mined as it were againft living, and juft on the 
verge of death. Charge not then your lover, 
nor accufe yourfelf of a crime of which lalone 
am guilty, fince I forefaw the fatal ciFefts, and 
yet did not prevent them. 

I left you indeed againft my inclination, but 
I was cruelly forced to it. Oh 1 could I have 


B L O r S Av 149 

Ibrcfcen the near approach of yourdeftruftlon, I 
would have put every thing to the hazard fooner 
than have complied. Though certain as to the 
event, I v^as miftaken as to the time of it» I' thought 
your weaknefs and your diftemper a fufficient 
fecurity during fo (hort an ab fence, and forgot 
indeed the fad dilemma you was fo foon to cx- 
. perience. I never confidered that the weaknefs 
of your body left your mind more defenfelefs 
in itfelf, and therefore more liable to be betrayed. 
Miftaken as I was, I can fcarce be angry with, 
myfelf, fince this very errour is the means of 
feving your life. I am not, Eloifa, of that 
Ivardy temper which can reconcile me to thy 
lofs, as thou wcrt to mine. Had I indeed loft 
you, my defpair would have been endlefs; and, 
unfeeling as it may feem, I had rather you fhould 
live in forrow, I had almoft faid in difgracc, 
than not to live at all. 

But, my dear, my tender friend, why did you 
cruelly perfift in your difquietude? Wherefore 
fhould your repentance exceed your crime, and 
your contempt fall on the objed which leaft of 
all deferves it— yourfelf? Shall the weaknefs 
of one unguarded moment be attended with fo 
black a train of baleful confequences ? And are 
not the very dangers you have been ftruggfing 
with,, a felf-evident demonftration of the great- 
Defs of your virtue? You lofe yourfelf fo en- 
tirely in the thought of your defeat, that you 
have no leifure to confider the triumphs by 
Virhich it was preceded. If your tryals have been 
G 3 fharper, 

150 £ L O I S A. 

fhiirper, your conquefts more numerous, and 
your refiftance more frequent, than thofe who 
have efcaped, have not you then, I would afk, 
done more for virtue than tliey? If you can find 
no circumftances to juftify, dwell on thofe at 
leaft which extenuate and excufe you. ^I my- 
felf am a tolerable proficient in the art of love, 
and though my own temper fecures me againft 
its violent emotions, if ere I could have felt fuch 
a paflion as your's my ftruggles would have 
been much fainter, my furrender moreeafy, and 
more dilhonourable. Freed as 1 have been from 
the temptation, it reflecfts no honour on my vir- 
tue. You are the chafter of the two, though 
perhaps the moft unfortunate, 
^ You may perchance be offended tBat I am 
fo unreferved ; but unhappily your fituatton 
inakcs it r.tccfT^ry* 1 wilh from my foul, 
what I have faid were not applicable to you; 
for I deteft pernicious ' maxims more than bad 
adions*. If the deed were not already done^ 
and 1 could have been fo bafe to write, and you 
to read and hear thefe axioms, we both of us 
muft be nuuibered in the wretched clafs of the 
abandoned. But, as matters Itand at prefent, 
my duty as your friend requires this ar my hands, 
and you muft give me the hearing, or you are 
loft for ever. It or you ftill poffefs a thoufand 


• ThJsfentiment is a very juft one. Diforderly paf- 
(10ns had to bad aflions. But pernicious maxims corrupt 
ths uiulei Handing, the very fource and fpring of goodj 
and cut off the poffibility of a return to virtue. 

fi L O I S A. isi 

rare endowments, which a proper eftccm of 
yourfelf can alone cultivate and preferve. Your 
real worth will ever exceed your own opinion 
of it. 

Forbear then giving way to a felf-difefteem 
more dangerous and deftrudive than any weak- 
nefs of which you could be guilty. Does true 
love debafe the foul ? No ; nor can any crime, 
which is the refult of that love, ever rob you 
of that enthufiaftick ardour for truth and honour, 
which foraifed you above yourfelf ? Are therd 
not fpots vifible in the fun ? How many amiable 
virtues do you ftill retain, notwithftanding one 
errour, one relaxation in your condudi? Will 
it make you lefs gentle, lefs lincere, lefs modeft, 
lefs benevolent ? Or will you be lefs worthy 
of all our admiration, of all our praife? Will 
honour, humanity, friendfiiip, and tender love 
be lefs refpeded by you, or will you ceafe to re- 
vere even that virtue with which you are no lon- 
ger adorned ? No, my dear, my charming 
£loifa, your faithful Clara bewails and yet adores 
thee 'y ftie is convinced that you can never fail 
admiring what you may be unable to praflife. 
Believe me, you have much yet to lofe before 
you can fink to a, level with the generality of 

After all, whatever have been your failings, 
you yourfelf are ftill remaining. I want no 
other comfort, I dread no other lofs than you. 
Your firft letter fhocked me extremely, and 
would have thrown me into defpair, had I not 
G 4 been 

ijs E L O I S A. 

been kindly relieved at the fame time, by the 
arrival of your laft. What ! and could you 
leave your frie^^^ could you think of going 
without me? You never mention this your 
greateft crime, ft is this you Ihould blufh at ; 
this too you fhould repent of. But the un- 
grateful Eloifa negledls all friendfhip, and thinks 
only of her love. 

I am extremely impatient till I fee you, and am 
continually repining at the flow progrefsof time. 
We are to ftay at Laufanne fix days longer ; 
I fhall then fly to my only friend, and will then 
either comfort or fympathife, wipe away her 
tears or (hare her forrows. I flatter myfelf I 
(hall be able to make you Hften rather to the 
foothing tendernefs of friendfhip, than the harih 
language of reflexion. My dear coufin, we 
jnuil: bewail our misfortunes, and pour out our 
hearts to each other in filence ; and, if poffible, 
by dint of future exemplary virtue, bury in obli- 
vion the memory of a failing which can never 
be blottecf out by tears. J^hsl how much 
.do we now mifs our poor Challiot ! 




HAT an amazing myftery is the con- 

duft and fentiments of the charming 
Eloifa! Tell me, I befeechyou, by what fur- 
prifmg art you alone can unite, fuch inconfiftent 
counterading emotions ? Intoxicated as I am 


E L O I S ^A. 1S3 

with love and delight, my foul is overwhelmed 
with grief and with defpair. Amidft the moft 
exquifite pleafures, 1 feel the moft excruciating 
anxieties ; nay, the very enjoyment of thofe plea- 
fures is made the fubjefl of felf-accufa ion, and 
the aggravation of my diftrefs. Heavens! what 
a torment to be able to indulge no one fenfation 
but in a perpetual ftruggle of jarring paflions: 
to be ever allaying the foothing tendernefs of 
love with the bitter pangs of reflexion ! A - 
ftate of certain mifery were a thoufand times 
preferable to fuch doubtful difquietude. To 
what purpofe is it, alas ! that I myfelf have 
been happy, when your misfortune can torment 
me much morefenfibly than my own? In vain do - 
yoii attempt to difguifc your own fad feelings, , 
when your eyes will betray what your heart la- 
bours to conceal; and can thofe expreilive eyes 
hide any thing from love's all penetrating fight? 
Notwithftanding your aflumod gaiety, i fee — I 
fee the cankering anxiety; and your melancholy,, 
veiled as you may a fmile, .afFcdls me 
the more fenlibly. - 

Surely you need no longer 'difguife any thing 
from mei While I was in your mother's room 
yefterday, Qie was accidentally called out, and 
left me alone. In- the mean -time, I heard fighs 
that pierced my very foul. Could I, think youy 
be at a tofs to guei's the fatal caufe ? I went up 
to the place from which they feemed to proceed, 
and, on going into your chamber, perceived the 
goddefs of my heart fitting on the floor, her 
G 5 head 

1S4 E L O 1 3 A. 

head reclining on a couch, and almoft drown- 
ed in tears. Oh ! had my blood thus trickled 
down, I fliould have felt lefs pain. Oh ! how my 
foul melted at the fight! Remorfe ftung me to 
the quick. What had been my fupremeft blifs, 
became my excruciating punifhment. I felt only 
then for you, and would have freely purchafed 
with my life your former tranquillity. I would 
fain have thrown myfelf at your feet, kifled off 
your falling tears, and, burying them at the bot- 
tom of my heart, have died or wiped them 
away for ever; but your mother's return made 
me haften back to my poft, and obliged me to ' 
carry away your griefs, and that remorfe which 
can never end but in death. 

Oh ! how am I funk and mortified by your 
forrow ! How you muftdefpife me if our uniori 
is the caufe of your own felf-contempt, and if 
what has been my fupreme happinefs proves the 
deftruftion of your peace ? Be more juft to your- 
felf, my deareft Eloifa, and lefs prejudiced 
againft the facred ties which your own heart ap- 
proved. Have you notafted in ftriit conformity 
to the pureft laws of nature? Have you not vo- 
luntarily entered into the moft folemn engage- 
ments? Tell me, then, what you have done, 
that all laws divine, as well as human, will not 
fufficiently juftify ? Is there any thing wanting 
to confirm the facred tie, but the mere formal 
ceremony of a publick declaration ? Be wholly 
mine, and you are no longer to blame. O my 
dear, my lovely wife, my tender and chafte 


E L O I S A. 155 

companion, thou foother of all my cares, and 
objeftofall my wiflies, oh! think it not a crime 
to have liftened to your love; but rather think 
it will be one to dilbbey it for the future. To 
marry any other man, is theonlv imputation you 
can fix on your unimpeached honour. Would 
you be innocent, be ever mine. The tic that 
unites us is legal, is facred. Thedifregarding this 
tie fhould be the principal objefl of your concern. 
Love from henceforward can be the only guar- 
dian of your virtue. 

But, were the foundation of your forrows ever 
fo juft, ever fo neceffary, why am I robbed of 
my property in them ? Why ftould not my eyes 
too overflow and (hare your grief? You Ihould 
have no one pang that I ought not to feel, no 
one anxiety that I ought not to fliare. My heart 
then, my jealous heart, but too juftly reproaches 
you for every fingle tear you pour not into my. 
bofom. Tell me, thou cold, diflembling fair, 
is nut every fecret of this kind an injury to my 
paflion ? Do you fo foon forget the promife you 
fo lately madef Oh! if you loved as I do, my 
happinefs would comfort you as much as your 
concern afFeds me, and you would feel my plea- 
fures as I fhare your anxieties I 

But, alas ! you confidcr me as a poor wretch 
whofe reafon is loft amidft the tranfports of de- 
light; you are frightened at the violence of my 
joy, and compaflionate the extravagance of my 
delirium, without confidering that the utmoft 
ftrength of human nature is not proof againft 
G 6 cndlefs 

156 E L O I S A. 

endlefs pleafures. How, think you, can a poor 
weak mort. 1 fupport the ineffable delights of in- 
finite happinefs? How do you imagine he can 
bear fuch exutick raptures without being loft to 
every other confiderat^on ? Do not you know that 
reafon is limited, and that no underftanding 
can command itfelf at all times, and upon alloc-^ 
cafions ? Pity then, I befeech you, the diftrac- 
tion you occafion, and forgive the errours you 
yourfelf have thrown me into. I own freely 
to you, I am no longer mafter of myfelf. My 
foul is totally abforbed in your's. Hence am I 
the more fitly difpofed to hear your forrows, 
and the more worthy to participate them. Oh, 
my deareft Eloifa ! no longer conceal any thing 
from your other felf. 



THERE was a time, my dear friend, when 
the ftile of our letters was as eafy to be 
underftofi)d as the fubjeft of them was agreeable 
. and delightful : animated as they were with the 
warmth of a generous pafSon, they ftood in need 
of no art to elevate, no colourings of a luxuriant 
fancy to heighten them. Native fimplicity was 
their beft, their only charader. That time, alas ! 
is now no more, it is gone beyond the hope of 
return 5 and the firft melancholy proof that our 
hearts are lefs interefted, is that our correfpon- 
dence is become lefs intelligible. 


E L O I S A. 1(7 

You have been an eye-witnefs of my concern, 
and fondly therefore imagine you can difcover 
its true fource. You endeavour to relieve me 
by the niere force of elocution, and, while you 
are thinking to delude me, are yourfelf the dupe 
of your own artifice. The facrifice I have made 
to my paffion is a great one indeed ; yet, great as 
it is, it provokes neither my forrow nor my re- 
pentance. But I have deprived this paffion of 
its moft engaging circumftances— there lies the 
caufe ! that virtue which evhanted every thing 
around it, is itfelf vaniihed likea dream. Thofe 
incxpreffible tranfports which at once gave vi- 
gour to our afFe£lions, and purity to our defires, 
are now no more. We have made pleafure our 
fole purfuit, and neglected happinefs has bid 
us adieu for ever. Call but to mind tjhofe 
Halcyon days, when the fervency of our paffion 
bore a proportion to its innocence, when the 
violence of our afFeflions gave us weapons againft 
itfelf! Then the purity of our intentions could 
reconcile us to reftraint, while with comfort we 
reflefted, that even thefe reftraints ferved to 
heighten our defires. Compare thofe charming 
times with our prefent fituation. Violent emo- 
tions, difquieting fears, endlefs fufpicions, per- 
petual alarms, are the melancholy fubftitutes of 
our former gay companions. Where is that zeal 
for prudence and difcretion which infpired every 
thought, directed every a(aion, and refined the 
delicacy of our love ? Is the paffion itfelf altered 
•r rather are we not moft miferably changed ? 


15» E L O I S A. 

Our enjoyments were formerly both temperate 
and lafting; they are now degenerated into 
tranfports, refembling rather the fury of mad- 
riefs than the carefles of love. A pure and holy 
flame once glowed in our hearts, but now we 
are funk into mere common lovers, through a 
blind gratification of fenfual appetites. We 
can now think ourfelves fufSciently happy, if 
jealoufy can give a poignancy to thofe pleafures, 
which even the very brutes can tafte without it. 

This, my dear friend, is the fubjeft which 
nearly concferns lis both, and which indeed pains 
me more on your account than my own. I fay 
nothing of thediftrefs which is more immediatejy 
mine. Your difpofition, tender as it is, can 
fufHciently feel it: confider the fhame of my 
prefent fituation, and, if you ftill love me, give 
a figh to my loft honour. My crime is un- 
atonable, my tears then I fhould hope will be 
as lafting as my difhonour. Do not you, then, 
who are thecaufe of this forrow, feek to deprive 
me of this alfo. My only hope is founded in 
its continuance. Hard as my lot is, it would 
be ftill more deplorable if I could ever be com- 
forted. The being reconciled to difgrace is the 
laft, worft ftate of the abandoned. 

1 am but too well acquainted with the clr- 
cumftances of my condition, and yet, amidft ajl 
the horrour they infpire me with, 1 have one 
comfort left — It is indeed the only one, but it 
is agreeable. You, my dear friend, are its con- 
ftant objefti andfincel dare no longer confider 
5 myfelf. 

£ L O I S A. 159 

myfelf, I take the greater fatisfadlion in think- 
ing of you. The great (hare of felf-efteem which 
you, alas ! have taken from me, is now tranf- 
ferred entirely toyourfelf j and you are become 
the more dear to me for making me hate myfelf. 
Love, even the fatal love which has proved my 
deftrudion, is become the material circum- 
ftance in your favour. You are exalted while 
I am abafed 5 nay, my very abafement is the 
caufe of your exaltation. Be henceforward then 
my only hope. It is your*s to juflify my crime 
by your copduft. Excufe it at leaft by your 
virtuous demeanour. iVJay your merit caft a veil 
over my difgrace, and let the number of your 
virtues make the lofs of mine lefs perceptible. 
Since 1 am no longer any thing, be thou my 
whole exiftence. The only honour I have left 
is folely centered in thee; and while thou art 
in any degree refpedled, I can never be wholly 
defpifed or rejefted. 

However forry I may be for the quick re- 
covery of my health, yet my artifice will no 
longer ftand me in any ftead. My countenance 
will foon give the lie to my pretences, and I 
fhall no longer be able to impofe on my parents 
a feigned indifpofition. Be quick then in taking 
the fteps we have agreed on, before I am forced 
to refume my ufual bufinefs in my family. I 
perceive but too plainly, that my mother is fu- 
fpicious, and continually watches us.^ My fa- 
ther indeed feems to know nothing of the mat- 
ten His pride has been hitherto our fecurity. 


i6o E L O I S A. 

Perhaps bethinks it impoflible that a mere tutor 
can be in love with his daughter. But, after all, 
you know hts temper. If you do not prevent 
him, he will you : do not then, through a fond 
defire of gaining your ufual accefs, banifli your- 
felf entirely from the poifibility of a return. 
Take my advice, and fpeak to my mother in 
time. Pretend a multiplicity of engagements, 
in order to prevent your teaching me any longer ; 
an^ let us give up the fatisfadion of fuch fre-i- 
quent interviews that we may make fure, at 
leaft, of meeting fometimes. Confider, if. you 
are once fliu tout, it is fo/everj but if you can 
refolve to deny yourfelf for a time, you may then 
come when you pleafe, and in time and by ma- 
nagement may repeat your vifits often, without 
any fear of fufpicion. I will tell you this 
evening fome other fchemes I have in view for 
our more frequent meeting, and you will then 
be convinced that our conjiant coufin, at whofe 
prefence you have fo often murmured, will n6w 
be very ufeful to two lovers, who, in truth, , 
ihe ought never to have left alone.. 



AH! my dear friend, what a miferable afy-^ 
lum for lovers is a crowded affembly! 
What inconceivable torment, to fee each other 
under the reftraint of what is called good breed- 
ing ! 

E L O I S A. i6i 

ing! Surely abfence were a thoufand times 
more fupportable ! Is calmnefs and compofure 
compatible with fuch emotions ? Can the lover 
be fclf-confiftent, or with what attention can 
he confider fuch a number of objefls, when one 
alone poffeffes his whole foul ? When the heart 
is fired, can the body be at reft ? You cannot 
conceive the anxiety I felt, when I heard you 
"were coming. Your n^me feemed a reproach 
to me, and I could not help imagining that the 
whole company's attention was fixed upon mc 
alone. I was immediately Toft, and bluflied fo 
exceedingly, that my coufm, who obferved me, 
was obliged to cover me with her fan, and pre- 
tend to whrfperme in the ear. This very arti- 
fice, fimple as it was, increafed my apprehen- 
fions, and I trembled for fear they ihould per- 
ceive It. In fliort, every, the moft minute, cir* 
cumftance was afrefli fubjeft for alarm ; never 
did I fo fully experience the truth of that well- 
known axiom, that a guilty confcience needs 
no accufer. 

Clara pretended to obferve that you was 
equally embarraffed, uncertain what to do, not 
daring either to advance or retire, to take notice 
of me or not, and looking all round the room 
to give you a pretence, as fhe faid, to look, at 
laft,-on me. As I recovered from my confu- 
fion by degrees, I perceived your diftrefs, till, 
by Mrs. ficlon's coming up to you, you was 

I per- 

i62 E L O I S A. 

I perceiv^e, my dear friend, that this manner 
of living, which is embittered with fo much 
conftraint, and fweetened with fo little pleafure, 
is not fuited to us. Our paiEon is too noble to 
bear perpetual chains. Thefe publick affemblies 
are only fit for thofe who are ft rangers to love, 
or who can witli eafe difpenfe with ceremony. 
My anxieties are too difquieting, and your in- 
difcretions too dangerous : I cannot always have 
a Mrs. Belon to make a convenient diverfion. 
Let us return, let us return to that calm ftate 
of life from whence I have fo inadvertently 
drawn you. It was that fituation which gave 
rife and vigour to our paffion; perhaps too it may 
he weakened by this diffipated manner of living. 
The trueft paffions are formed and nouriflied in 
retirement. In the bufy circle of the world 
there is no time for receiving impreilions, and 
even, when received, they are confiderably 
weakened by the variety of avocations which 
continually occur. Retirement too beft fuits 
my melancholy, which, like my love, can be fup- 
ported only by thy dear image. I had rather fee 
you tender and paffionate in my heart, than 
under conftraint and diftipation in an aft*emb]y» 
There may perhaps come a time, when I fliall be 
forced to a much clofer retreat. O that fuch 
time were already come! Common prudence, 
as well as my own inclinations, require that I 
fhould inure myfelf by times to habits which ne- 
ceffity may demand. Oh! iftlY& crime itfelf 
could produce the caufe of its atonement 1 The 


E L O I S A. 163 

picafing hopes of being one day ■ But I fhall 
inadvertently fay more than I am willing on the 
defign I have in view. Forgive me this one 
ftcret, my dear friend; my heart fhall never 
conceal any thing that would give you pleafure ; 
yet you muft, for a time, be ignorant of this. 
All I can fay of it at prefent is, that love, which 
was the occafion of our misfortunes, ought to 
furnifh us with relief. You may reafon and 
comment upon this hint as much as you pleafe; 
but I pofitively forbid all queftions. 



NOf ffMT njedrete mm 
Qamhier gV affetti mie/, 
Bn lumi ond* tmparai 
Afofp'trar (tamof. 

N09 DO, the fond and faithful heart 

Can ne''er inconftant prove, 
Mean while the fpeaking eyes impart 

The expreflive looks of love. 

HOW greatly am I indebted to dear Mrs. 
Belon for the pleafure fhe procured me ! 
Forgive me, my deareft Eloifa, when I tell you, 
that I even dared to take fome pleafure in your 
diftrefs, and that your very anxiety afforded me 
jnoft exquifite delight. Oh ! what raptures did 
I feel atthofe ftolen glances, that downcaft mo- 
defty, that care with which you avoided meet- 

i54 E L O I S A. 

ing my eyes ! What then, think you, was the 
employment of your too, too happy lover ? Was 
lie indeed converfing with Mrs. Belon ? Did 
you really think fo, my lovely Eloifa? Oh, no, 
enchanting fair ! he was much more worthily 
employed. With what an amazing fympa- 
thy did my heart (hare each emotion of thine ! 
With what a greedy impatience did I explore 
the beautiful fymmetry of thy perfon I Thy 
love, thy charms, entirely filled my whole foul,, 
which was hardly able to contain the ravifliing 
idea. The only allay to all this pleafure, was, 
that I feafted at your expenfe, and felt the tender 
fenfations which you, alas!' was abfolutely un- 
able to participate. — Can I tell one word that 
Mrs. Belon faid to me? Could I have told it,, 
at the very time fhe was fpeaking ? Do I know 
what anfwers I made ? Or did fhe. underftand 
me at all ? But indeed how could fhe compre- 
hend the difcourfe of one who fpoke without^ 
thinking, andanfwered without conceiving the 

Com* huom, cheparchi" afcolti, e nulla intende. 

Like men who hear, but nothing underftand. 

I appeal to the event for a confirmation. She 
has fince told all the world, and perhaps you 
among the reft, that I have not common fenfe; 
but what is flill worfe, not a fingle grain of wit, 
and that I am as dull and foolifh as my books. 
But no matter how fhe thinks, or what fhe fays 
of me. Is not Eloifa the fole miflrefs of my 


B L O I S A. 165 

fatc^ and does not (he alone determine my fu- 
ture rank and eftimation? Let the reft of the 
world fay of me ,what they think proper ; my- 
felf, my underftanding, and my accomplilh-. 
ments, all abfolutcly depend on the value you 
are pleafed to fix on them. 

Be aflured neither Mrs. Belon, nor any fu* 
perior beauty, could ever delude my attention 
from Eloifa. If, after all this, you ftill doubt 
my fincerity, andean injure my love and your 
own charms fo much as ftill to fufpefl: me, pray 
tell me, how I became acquainted with every 
minute particular of your conduft? Did not I 
fee you (hine among the inferior beauties, like 
the fun among the ftars, that were eclipfed by 
your radiance ? Did not I fee the young fellows 
hovering about your chair, and buzzing in your 
ear ? Did not I perceive you fingled out from 
the reft of your fex to be the objeft of univerfal 
admiration? Did not I perceive their ftudied 
alHduities, their continual compliments, and 
your cold and modeft indifference, infinitely 
more affefting than the moft haughty demeanour 
you could poilibly have aflumed ? Yes, my 
Eloifa, I faw the efFeft produced by the fight 
of your fnowy delicate arm, when you pulled 
off your glove 5 I faw too that the young ftran- 
ger who picked it up feemed tempted to kifs the 
charming h^nd that received it. And did not 
1 fee a ftill bolder fwain .whofe fteady ftare 
obliged you to add another pin to your tucker ? 
All this may perhaps convince you I was not , fo 
'" . abfent 

i£6 £ L O I S A. 

abfent as you imagine; not that I was in the leaft 
jealous ; for I know yoqr heart was not caft in 
fuch a mold as to be fufceptible of every paffion : 
nor will you, I hope, think otherwife of mine. 

Let us then return to that calm, bleft retire- 
naent, which I quitted with fuch regret. My 
hearifinds no fatisfadion in, the tumultuous hurrjr 
of the world. Its empty, tinfel pleafures dif-^ 
pofe it only to lament the want of more fubftan- 
tiahjoys the more feelingly, and make it pre- 
fer its own real fufFerings to the melancholy train 
of continual difappointments. Surely, Eloifa, 
we may attain much more folid fatisfa£lion, in 
any fituation, than under our prefent reftraint. 
And yet you feem to forget it. To be fo near 
each other for a whole fortnigTit without meet- 
ing ! Oh, it is an age of time to an enamoured 
enraptured heart! Abfence itfelf would be in- 
finitely more fupportable. Tell me to what 
end can you make ufe of a difcretion, which 
occafions more misfortunes than it is able to 
prevent? Of what importance can it be to 
prolong a life, in which every fucceeding mo- 
ment brings freflj punifliment ? Were it not 
better, yes, furely, a thoufand times, to meet 
once more at all events, and then fubmit to our 
fate with refignation. 

I own freely, my dear friend, I would fain 
kn<3w the utmoft of the fccret you conceal. 
There never was a difcovery that could intereft 
me fo deeply : but all my endeavours are in vain. 
I can> however, be as filent as you could wifb, 


E L O 1 S A. 167 

and reprefs my forward curlofity. But may I 
not hope foon to be fatisfied ? Perhaps you are 
ftill in the caftle building fyftem. O, thou 
dear objc6t of rriy afFeftions ! furely now it is 
high time to improve all our»fchemes into reality, 

P, S. I had almoft forgot to tell you that M. 
Roguin made me an ofFei of a company in the 
regiment he is raifing for the king of Sardinia. 
I was highly pleafed at this fignal mark of that 
brave man's efteem, and, thanking him for his 
kindnefs, told him, the fhortnefs of my fight 
and great love of a ftudious and fedentary life 
unfitted me for fo aftive an employment. My 
love can claim no great fhare in this facrifice. 
Every one,^ in my opinion, owes his life to his 
country, which therefore he ihould not rifk in 
the fervice of thofe princes to whom he is no 
ways indebted ; much lefs is heat liberty to let 
himfelf out for hire, and turn the nobleft pro- 
feffion in the world to that of a vile mercenary. 
Thefe maxims I claim by inheritance from my 
father; and happy enough fliould 1 be, could I 
imitate him as well in his fteady adherence to 
his diity, and love to his country. He never 
would enter into the fervice of any foreign 
prince, but in the year 17 12 acquired great re- 
putation in fighting for his country. He ferved 
in many engagements^ in one of which he was 
wounded, and at the battle of Wilmerghen was 
fo fortunate as to take a ftandard from the enemy 
in the fight of General Sacconex. 


1^ £ L O I S A. 



I Could never think, my dear friend, that 
what I hinted of Mrs. Belon in jeft could 
have excited folong or fo ferious an explanation. 
An over eagernefs in one's own defenfe is fome* 
times produftive of the very reverfe of its in- 
tention, and fixesa lafting fufpicion, inftead of 
removing or lightening the accufation. Th« 
moft trifling incidents, when attended to mi- 
nutely, immediately grow up into events of im- 
portance. Our fituation indeed fecures us from 
making this cafe our own ; for our hearts arc 
too bufy to liften to mere punftiliosj though 
all difputes between lovers on points of little 
moment have too often a much deeper foun- 
dation than they imagine. 

I am rather glad, however, of the opportunity 
which this accident has given me, of faying 
fomewhat to you on the fubje<3: of jealoufy — a 
fubjedi which, alas, but too nearly concerns 
me. I fee, my dear friend, by the fimilitudeof 
our tempers and near alliance of our difpofi- 
tions, that love alone will be the great bufinefs 
of our lives^: and furely when fuch impreifions 
as we feel have been once made, love mu ft either 
extinguifh or abforb every other paflion. The 
leaft relaxation in our paiEon muft inevitably 
produce a moft dangerous lethargy — a total 
apathy— an indifference to every enjoyment, and 

a dif- 

E L O I S A. 169 

a diA-elifli of ercry prefent comfort would very 
ibon take place, if our affections were once 
cooled, and indeed life itfelf would then become 
a burthen. With refpeck to myfelf, you can- 
not but perceive, that the prefent tranfports 
of my pailion could alone veil over the horrour 
of my difafirous fituation, and the fad alter- 
native propofed to my choice, is the extrava- 
gance of love, or a death of defpair. Judge, 
then, if after this I am able to determine a point 
on which the bappincfs or mifcry of my future 
life fo abfolutely depends. 

If I 'may be allowed to know any thing o£ 
my own temper and difpofitioQ, though I am 
oftentimes diftraAed with violent emotions, it 
is but feldom that tbcir influence can hurry me 
into aftion. My forrows muft have preyed on 
my heart for a long time before 1 could ever be 
prevailed on to difcovertbe fource of them to 
their authour; and being iirmly perfuaded that 
there can be no offenfe without intention, i 
would much rather fubmit to a thoufand real 
fubjeflrs of complaint than ever come to an ex- 
planation. A difpofition of this kind will nei- 
ther eafily give way to fufpicion, nor be anxiouf- 
ly concerned at the jealoufy of others. Oh I 
fliield me, gracious heaven, from the tormenting 
pangs of groundlefs jealoufy ! — I am fully 
affured that your heart was made for mine, and 
no other; but fdf-deceit is of all others 
the moft eafy impofition: a tranfient liking is 
often miftaken for a real paffion, as it is difficult 

Vol. I. H to 

tyo E L O I S A. 

fo diftinguifh the effe£ls pf fudden fancy from 
the refult of a fmcere and fettled afFedion. If 
you yourfelf could doubt your own conftancy 
without any reafon, how could you blame me, 
were I capable of miftrufting you?— But that 
way leads to mifery. So cruel a doubt as that 
would embitter the remainder of my life. I 
ihould figh in fecret without complaining, and 
die an inconfolable martyr to my paffion. 

But let me intreat you to prevent a misfortune, 
the idea of which ihocks my very foul. Swear 
to me, my dear, dear friend ! but not by love, 
ibr lovers oaths are never kept but when they 
are unnecefTarily made 5 but fwear by the facred. 
name of honour, which you highly revere, that 
I (hall ever be the confident of your inmoft 
thoughts, the Jfepofitory of all your fecrets, the 
witnefs of all your emotions, and if perchance 
(which gracious heaven avert !) if any change 
ihould take place in your affcdions, fwear 
moreover that you will inftantly inform me of 
fo interefting a revolution. Think not to ex^ 
cufe yourfelf, by alledging that fuch a change is 
impoffible. I believe — -I hope-^nay, I am well 
affured of your fincerity : oblige me, however, 
Und prevent all falfe alarms 5 take from me the 
poffibility of doubting, and fee u re my prefenC 
peace. To hear my fate from you, how hard 
foevfer it might^be, were much better than, 
through ignorance of the truth, to be perpetu- 
ally expofed to the tortures of imaginary evils. 
Some comfort, fome alleviation of my forrows 


E L O I S A. 171 

would arife from your rcmorfe. Though my 
affe£lions muft ceafe, you would neceffarily 
become the partner of my griefs : and even my 
own anxiety, when poured into your brcaft, 
would feem lefs diftrafting. 

It is on this account, my dear friend, that I 
congratulate myfelf more efpecially on the fond 
choice of my heart; that honour ftrengthens and 
confirms the bond which affe<ftion firft begun ; 
and that my fecurity depends not on the violence 
of paflion, but the more fober and fettled dict- 
ates of principle: it is this which cements, at the 
fame time that itenfures the aflFe<^ions ; it is this 
virtue that muft reconcile us to our woes. Had 
it been my fad misfortune to have fixed ray 
aiFe&ions on a lover void of principle, even 
fuppofing thofe afFedtions fliould continue un- 
changeable, yet what fecurity fliould I have of 
the continuance of his love f By what methods 
could I filence thofe perpetual mifgivings that 
would be ever rifing in my mind, and in what 
manner could I be aflured that I was not impofed 
on, either by his artifice or- my own credulity? 
But thou, my dear, my honourable friend, who 
haft no dark defigns to cover, no fecret frauds 
to praflifc, thou wilt, I am well aflured, prefei!ve 
the conftancy thou haft avowed. You will never 
l>e (hamed out of your duty, through the falfe 
baftifulnefs of owning an infidelity ; and when 
you can no longer love your Eloifa, you will, 
frankly t^ll her fo— ryes, you will fay, My Eloifay 
H 2 I do 

I7» E L O I S A. 

I do not— But I cannot — indeed, I cannot, £nifl^ 
the fentence. 

What do you think of my propofal ? I am 
fare it is the only one I can think of to pluck up 
jealoufy by the root. There is a certain deli- 
cacy, a tender confidence, which pcrfuades me 
to rely fo entirely on your fincerity, as to mako 
me incapable of believing any accufation which 
comes not from your own lips. Thefe are the 
good effe^s I expe<ft from your promife; for 
though I fhouid eafily believe that you are as 
fickle as the reft of your fex, yet I can never be 
perfuaded that yoii are equally falfe pnd deceit- 
ful ; and, however I might doubt of the con-* 
fiancy of your afFedions, I can never bring 
tnyfelf to fufpcft your honour. What a plea- 
fure do I feel in taking precautions in this matter, 
which I hope will always be needlefs, and to 
prevent the very poffibility of a change, which 
I am perfuaded will never happen ? Oh ! how 
delightful it is to talk of jealoufy to fo faithful 
a lover ! If I thought you capable of incon- 
fiancy, I fhouid not talk thus. My poor heart, 
would not be fodifcreet in the time of fo much 
danger, and the leaft real diftruft would de- 
prive me of the prudence neceffary for my fe^u- 

This fubjeft, honoured majier^ may be more 
fttlly difcufled this evening \ for your two hum^ 
Ue fchclars are to have the honour of fwpping 
with you at my uncle's. Your learned con»- 
i^entaries on the Gazette have raifed you fo 


B L O r S A* 175 

highly in his eftecm, that no great artifice was 
wanting to perfuade him to invite you. The 
daughter has put her harpfichord in tune, the 
father has been poring over Lamberti, and I 
ihall perhaps repeat the leflbn I firft learnt in 
Clarens grove. You who are a mafter of every 
fcience muft adapt yout knowledge and inftruc* 
dons to our feveral capacities. Mr. Orbe (who 
is invited you may be fure) has had notice given 
him to prepare a diflertation on the nature of the 
King of Naples*s future homage ; this will give 
us an opportunity of going into my coufin's 
apartment. There, vafTaljOn thy knees, before 
thy fovereign miftrefs, thy hands clafped in 
her's, and in the prefence of her chancellor, 
thou fhalt vow truth and loyalty on evdry occa- 
Cort : I do not fay eternal love, becaufe that is 
a thing which no one can abfolutely promife ; 
but truth, fincerity, and franknefs are in every 
one's difpofal; to thefe therefore thou Ihaltfwear. 
You need not vow eternal fealty ; but you muft 
imd fliall vow to commit no aA of felonious in* 
tention, and at leaft to declare open war before 
you (hake ofF the yoke. This done, you (ball 
feal it with an embrace, and be owned and ac- 
knowledged for a true and loyal knight. 

Adieu, my dear friend j the expedatidns 1 
have formed of this evening have given me all 
thefe fpirits. I ihall be doubly blefled to fee you 
a partaker of my joy. 

a 3. LETTER 

174 E L O I S A* 



KISS this welcome letter, and leap for joy 
at the news I am going to tell you: but 
be affured that though my emotions (hould prove 
lefs violent 1 am not a whit lefs rejoiced. My 
father being obliged to go to Bern on ac- 
count of a law-fuit, and from thence to Soleure 
for his penfion, propofes to take my mother 
along with him, to which (he is the more wil- 
ling to confent, as (he hopes to receive benefit 
from the journey and change of air. They were 
fo obliging as to offer to take me along with 
them. I did not think proper to fay all. I thought 
on the occafion ; but their not being able to - 
find convenient room for me made them change 
their intentions with refpe£t to my going, and 
they are now all endeavouring to comfort me for 
the difappointment. I was obliged to aflume a 
very melancholy air, as if almoft inconfoleable ; 
and, ridiculous as it is, I have diflembled fo 
long, that I am fometimes apt to fancy I feel a 
real forrow. 

I am not, however, to be abfolutely my own 
miftrefs while my parents are abfent, but to live 
at my uncle's ; fo that during the whole tim« 
I fliall be always with my conjiant coufin. My 
mother choofes to leave her own woman behind : 
Bab, therefore, will be confidered as a kind of 
governefs to me. But we need not be very ap- 
prehenfive of thofe whom we have no need either 


B L O I S A. 175 

to bribe or to truft, but who may be eafily got 
fid of whenever they grow troublcfome, by 
means of any trifling allurement. 

You will readily conceive, I dare fay, what 
opportunities we fliall have of meeting during 
their abfence; but our difcretion muft furnifh 
thofe reftraints which our fituation has taken 
off for awhile, and we muft then voluntarily 
fubmit to that referve, to which at prefent we 
are obliged by neceffity. You mutt, when I 
am at my coufin's, come no oftener than you 
did before, for fear of giving offenfe, and I hope 
there will be no need of reminding you of the 
afliduous refpe<S and civility, which her fex and 
thefacred laws of hofpitality require; and that 
you yourfelf will fufEciently confider what is 
due to the friendfhip that gives an afylum to 
your love. I know your eager difpofition j but 
I am convinced, at the fame time, that there are 
bounds which can reftrain it. Had you never 
governed your violence by the known laws of 
honour, you had not been troubled at prefent 
with any admonitions, at lead with none from 

But why that downcaft look, that lowering 
2iir ? Why repine at the reftraints which duty 
prefcribes ? Be it thy Eloifa's care to footh and 
foften them. Had you ever caufe to repent of 
having liftened to my advice ? Near the flowery 
banks of the head of the river Vevaije' there 
ftandsa folitary hut, which ferves fometimes as 
a Ihelter to fportfmen, and furely may alfo 
H 4 ikelter 

176 It L O I S A. 

ifeclter lovers.^ Hard by the manfion-hcMifc which 
belongs to Mr. Orbc arefcveral thatched dairj* 
houfes, fufficieiitly remote, which may ferve »s 
a retirement for love and pleafure, ever the trueft 
friends to ruftick fimpUcity. The prudent milk- 
maids will keep the fecretj for they have often 
need o'f fccrccy. The ftreams which water the 
adjoining meadows are bordered with flowering 
ibrubs, and charming fhady groves, while at 
fome little diftatice the thicknefs of the neigh- 
bouring woods feems to promife a more gloomy 
and fectuded retreat. 

Al helfcggio tipcjfof emhrdfo e fofco^ 
N$ mai pafiori apfrejfan^ nehifolci* 

. Some fweet recefs within the du/kyihade^ 

Which fhepherd Twain nor cow- herd e*er approach. 

In this delightful place, no veftiges are feen 
ef human toil, no appearance of ftudied and la- 
borious art J every objed prefents only a view of 
the tender care of nature, our common mother. 
Here then, my dear friend, we fhall be only 
«nder nature's direflions, and know no other 
law but her's. At Mr. Orbe's invitation, Clara 
has already perfuaded her father to take the di- 
verfion of hunting for two or three days in this 
part of the world, and to carry the two infc- 
parables with him. Thefe infeparables have 
others likewife clofely connefled with them, as 
you know but too well. The one, afluming the 
cbarader of mailer of the houfe, will confe- 
quently do the honours, while the other with 


# L O t S A. 177 

left parade wiH do thofe of a dairy-houfc for his 
Eloifa, and this rural hut, dedicated to love, wiU 
be to them the Temple of Gnidus. To fucceed 
the more efFeSually in this tharming projcft^ 
there will be wanting a little previous contri* 
Vance, which may be eafily fettled between us, 
and the very confideration of which will form ai 
part of thofe pleafures they are intended to pro* 
duce.— Adieu, my dear life! I leave ofF ab* 
ruptly for fear of being farprifed. The heart of 
thy devoted Eloifa anticipates, alas ! too eagerly 
the pleafures of the dairy-houfe. 

P. 5. Upon fecond thoughts, I begin to be 
of opinion that we may meet every day without 
any great danger ; that is, at my coufin's every 
other day, and in the field on every intermediate 


THEY left me this very niorning — my 
tender father, and ftill fonder mother, took 
leave of me but juft now ; overwhelmed their 
beloved daughter (too unworthy, alas ! of all 
their affeftion) with repeated careffes. For my 
own part, indeed, I did not feel much relufl^nce 
at this feparation ! I embraced them with art 
outward appearance of concern, while my un- 
grateful and unnatural heart was leaping within 
me for joy. Where, alas ! is now that happy 
H 5 time 

178 E L O I S A* 

time, when I led an innocent life under their 
continual obfervation, when my only joy was 
their approbation— my only concern their ab- 
fence or negleft ? Behold now the melancholy 
reverfe ! Guilty and fearful as I now am, the 
very thought of them gives me pain, and the 
j^ecolledion of myfelf makes me blufh with con- 
fufion. All my virtuous ideas now vanifh away 
like a dream, and leave in their ftead empty dif- 
quietudes and barren remorfe, which, bitter as 
they are, are neverthelefs infufEcient to lead m© 
to repentance. Thefe . cruel reflexions have 
brought on all that forrow which the taking 
leave of my parents was unable to efFedl : and- 
yet immediately on their departure I felt an. 
agony of grief. While Bab was fetting things 
to rights after them, I went into my mother's 
room, as it were mechanically, without knowing 
what I did, and feeing fome of her clothes lying 
fcattered about, I took them up one by one, 
kiffed th«m, and bathed them with my tears. 
This vent to my anxiety afforded me prefent eafe, 
and it was fome comfort to me to refle£l that 
I was ftill awake to nature's (oft emotions, and 
that her gentle fires were not entirely extin- 
guilhed in my foul. — In vain, cruel tyrant ! doft 
thou feek to fubjeft this weak and tender hearty 
to thy abfolute dominion : notwithftanding all 
thy fond illufions, it ftill retains the fentiments 
of du^y, ftill cherifties and reveres parental rights, 
much more facred than thy own. 


E L O I S A. 179 

Forgive me, my dear friend, thefe involun- 
tary emotions, nor imagine that I carry thefe re- 
flexions farther than I ought, Love*s foft mo- 
ments are not to beexpefted amidft the tortures 
of anxiety, I cannot conceal my fufferings from 
you, and yet I would not overwhelm you with 
them; nay, you mu ft know them, though not 
to fhare, yet to foften them. But into whofe 
bofom dare I pour them, if not into thine ! Are 
not yoxi my faithful friend, my prudent counr 
fellor, my tender comfort ? ' Have you not been 
foftering in my foul the love of virtue, when, 
alas! that virtue itfelf was no longer in me? 
How often (hould I have funk under the preffure 
of my afflictions had not thy pitying hand re- 
lieved me from my forrows, and wiped away 
my tears ? It is your tender care alone fupports 
me. I dare not abafe myfclf while you continue 
to efteem me, and I flatter myfelf, that if I 
were indeed contemptible, none of you would 
or could fo honour me with your regard. — I am 
flying to the arms of my dear coufin, or rather 
to the heart of a tender fifter, there to repofe 
the load of grief with which I am opprefTed. 
Come thither this evening, and contribute to 
reftore to me that peace and ferenity, of which 
I have long been deprived. 


»8o £ L I S A. 



NO, Eloifa, it isimpoffiblc! lean never 
bear to fee yoo every Aiy, if I am always 
to be charmed in the manner I was laft night. 
My affedlion muft ever bear proportion to the 
difcovery of your beauties, and you are an in- 
cxhauftiblefource of endlefs wonder and delight, 
beyond my utmoft hopes, beyond my moft fan- 
guine expeflations ! What a deliciou* even- 
ing to me was the laft ! what amazing raptures 
did I feel! O enchanting forrow! How infi- 
nitely doth the pleafing languor of a heart foften- 
edby concern furpafs the boifterous pleafures, 
the foolifli gaiety, and the extravagant joy with 
which a boundlefs paffion infpires the ungovern- 
able lover ! O peaceful blifs ! never, never 
fhall thy pleafing idea be torn from my memory ! 
Heavens, what an enchanting fight ! it was ex- 
tafy itfelf, to fee two fuch pcrfed beauties em- 
brace each other fo affe<Sionately ; your face re- 
clined upon her breaft, mixing your tender tears 
together, and bedewing that charming bofom, 
jull as heaven refreflies a bed of new-blown 
flowers. I grew jealous of fuch a friendfbip, 
and thought there was fonlething more inte- 
refting in* it than even in love itfelf. I was 
grieved at the impoflibility of confoling you, 
without difturbing you at the fame time by the 
violence of my emotion. No, nothing, nothing 


B L O I 8 A. r8| 

upon earth is capable of exciting To pleafing a 
fenfation as your mutual cafefies. Even the 
fight of two lovers would have been left de- 

Oh ! how could I have admired, nay, adored 
your dear coufin, if the divine Eloifa herfetf 
had not taken up all my thoughts I You throw,, 
my deareft angel, an irrefiftible charm on every 
"thing that furrounds you* Your gown, your 
gloves, fan, work, nay, every thing that was 
the objeft of my outward fenfes, enchanted my 
very foul, and you yourfelf completed the en- 
chantment. Forbear, forbear, my dear Eloifa,. 
nor deprive me of all feniation, by making my 
enjoyment too exquifite. My tranfports ap- 
proach fo nearly to phrenzy, that 1 begin to be 
apprehenfive I fliall lofe my reafon. Let me, at 
leaft, be fenfible of my felicity — let me at leaft 
have a rational idea of thofe raptures, which are 
more fublime, and more penetrating, than my 
glowing imagination could paint.— How can you 
think yourfelf difgraced ? This very thought is 
a fure proof that your fenfes likewife are afFe£tcd. 
Oh, you are too perfect for frail mortality! I 
fhould believe you to be of a more exalted, purer 
fpecies, if the violence of my pafficm did not 
clearly evincfe that we are of a kinder frame. 
No human being conceives your excellence; 
you arc unknown even to yourfelf; my heart 
alone knows and can eftimate its Eloifa. Were 
you only an idol of worfhip, could you have 
been enraptured with the dull homage of ad- 

i82 £ L O I S A. 

miring mortals ? Were you only an angel, how 
much would you lofe of your real value ! 

Tell me, if you can, how fuch a pafiion as 
mine is capable of increafing ? I am ignorant 
of tlie means, yet am but too fenfible of the fail. 
You are, indeed, ever prefent with me, yet there 
are times in which your beautiful image is pe- 
culiarly before me, and haunts me as it were 
with fuch amazing afUduity, that neither time 
nor place can deprive me of the delightful ob- 
jeft. I even believe you left it with me in the 
dairy-houfe, in the conclufion of your laft let- 
ter ; for, fince you mentioned that rural fpot, I 
have been continually rambling in the fields, 
and am always infenfibly led towards the place. 
Every time I behold it, it appears ftill more 

Nen vide il mondoji Uggiadri retmiy 
Ne moJeU venta maiji 'verdi frondi. 

The world afford? not fuch a charming fcene. 
Of gently-waving trees and hedge-rows green, 

I find the country more delightful, the ver- 
dure frelher and livelier, the air more temperate 
and ferene than ever I did before ^ even the fea- 
thered fongfters of the fky feem to tune their 
tender throats with more harmony and pleafurc ; 
the murmuring rills invite to love-infpiring dal- 
liance, while the bloflbms of the vine regale me 
from afar with the choiceft perfumes. Some 
fecret charm enlivens every pbjed, or raifes my 
fenfations to a more exquifite degree. I am 


E L O I S A. 183 

tempted to imagine that even the earth adorns 
herfelf to make a nuptial bed for your happy 
lover, worthy of the paffion which he feels, and 
the goddefs he adores. — O, my Kloifa^ my 
dearer, better half! Ictus immediately add to 
thefe beauties of the fpring, the prefence of two 
faithful lovers. Let us carry the fentiments of 
true pleafure to places which comparatively afford 
but an empty idea of it. Let us animate all 
nature, which is abfolutely dead without the ge- 
nial warmth of love. Am I yet to flay three 
days, three whole days ! Oh ! what an age to a 
fond expeSing lover ! Intoxicated with my paf- 
fion, I wait that happy moment with the moft 
melancholy impatience. Oh! how happy fhould 
we be, if heaven would annihilate thofe tedious 
intervals which retard the blifsful moment ! 



THERE is iK)t a fingle emotion of your 
heart which I do not fhare with the ten- 
dered concern. But, talk no more of pleafure, 
whilft others, who have deferved much better 
than either of us, are fuffering under the preffure 
of the fevereft affliction. Read theenclofed, 
and* then be compofed if you can. I, indeed, 
who am well acquainted with the good girl who 
wrote it, was not able to proceed without flbed- 
ing tears of forrow and compaffion. The 


i84 E L p r S A. 

fecoUeftion it gave me of my blameablc negli* 
gence touched my very foul j and, to my bitter 
confufion, I perceive but too plainly that a 
forgetfulnefs of the principal points of my d'uty 
has Extended itfelf to all thofe of inferiour con- 
fideration. I had promifed this poor child to 
take care of her : I recommended her to my 
mother, and kept her in fome degree under my 
continual infpecSion: but, alas ! when I became" 
vinable to proted myfelf, I abandoned her too,^ 
and expofed her to worfe misfortunes than evea 
I myfelf have fallen into. I fhudder to think 
that had I not been roufed from my careleflhefs, 
in two days time my ward would have been 
ruined ; her own indigence, and the fnares of 
others, would have ruined — for ever ruined, a 
modeft and difcreet girl, wha may hereafter 
poffibly prove an excellent parent. O, my dear 
friend ! can there be fuch vile creatures upon 
earth, who would extort from the depth of mi- 
fery what the heart aloijie (hould give ? That 
any one can fubmit to receive the tender embraces 
of love from the arms of famine itfelf ! 

Can you be unmoved at my Fanny's filial 
piety, at the integrity of her fentiments, and the 
fimpHcity of her innocence ? But are you not 
affecftedwith the uncommon * tenderncfs of the 
lover, who will fell even himfeff to affift hif 
poor miftrefs ? Would not you thtnk yourfelf 
too happy to be the inftrumentof uniting a cou- 
ple fo well formed for each other ? If we, alas f 
(whofe fituation {o much refcmble^ their's) do 


, E L O I S A* 18s 

not compaffionate lovers who are united by na- 
ture, but divided by misfortunes, where elfe 
can they feek relief with a probability of fuccefs i 
Fpr my own part, I have determined to make 
fome amends for my neglecft, by contributing 
my utmoft endeavours to unite thefe two young 
people. Heaven will, I hope, affift the generous 
undertaking, and my fuccefs may prove a good 
omen to us, I defire, nay, conjure you, by all 
that is good and dear to you, to fet out for Ncuf- 
chatel the very moment you receive this, or to- 
morrow morning at fartheft. You will then go 
to M. Mervcilleux, and try to obtain the joung 
man's difcharge ; fpare neither money nor en- 
treaties. Take Fanny's letter along with you. 
No breaft, that is not abfolutely void of allfen- 
timents of humanity, can read it without emo- 
tion. In ibort) wiMtrver money it may coft, 
whatever pleafure of your own it may defer, be 
fure not to return without an entire difcharge 
for Claudius Anet. If you do, you may be af- 
fured, I fhall never enjoy a fingle moment's fa- 
tisfadion during the remainder of my Hfc. 

I am aware that your heart will be raifing 
many objeAtons to the propofal I have made; 
but can you think that 1 have not forefecn all 
thofc objedions ? Yet, notwithftanding, I repeat 
my requeft ; for virtue muft either be an empty 
name, or it requires of us fomc mortifying felf- 
denials. Our appointment, my friend, my 
dear, dear friend, though loft for the prefent, 
ma)|^be made again and ^gain. A few hours of 


i86 E L O I S A. 

the moft agreeable intercoufe vanifli like a flafh 
of lightening J but when the happinefs of an 
honeft couple is in your power, think, only think, 
what you are preparing for hereafter, if you ne- 
gleft the opportunity : on the ufe, then, of the 
prcfent time depends an eternity of contentment 
or remorfc. Forgive fuch frequent repetitions; 
they are the overflowings of my zeal. I have 
fatd more than was neceflfary to any honeft man, 
and an hundred times too much to my dear friend. 
I well know how you abominate that cruel turn 
of mind which hardens us to the calamities of 
others. You yourfelf have told meathoufand 
times, that he is a wretch indeed who fcruples 
giving up one day of pleafure to the duties of 



FORGIVE this interruption, from a poor 
girl in defpair, who, being ignorant what 
to do, has taken the liberty of addreifing herfelf 
to your benevolence; for you. Madam, are never 
weary of comforting the afflidled, and I am fo 
unfortunate, alas! that 1 have tired all but God 
Almighty and you with my complaints. I am 
very forry I was obliged to leave the miftrefs you 
had been fo kind to put me apprentice to, but 


E L O I S A. 187 

«n my mother's death (which happened this 
-winter) I was obliged to return home to my 
poor father, who. is confined to his bed with the 
pal fey. 

I have never forgotten the advice you gave 
wiy mother, to try to fettle me with fome honeft 
man, who might be of ufe to the family. Claud 
Anet (formerly in your father's fervice) is a very 
fober difcreet perfon, mafter of a good trade, and 
has taken a liking to me. Having been already 
fo much indebted to your bounty, I did jiot 
dare to apply to you for any further affiftance, 
fo that he has been our only fupport during the 
whole winter. He was to have married me this 
fpring, and indieed had fet his heart upon it ; 
but I have been fo teifed for three years rent due 
laft Eafter, that, not knowing where to get fo 
niuch money, the young man lifted at once in 
M. Merveilleux's company, and brought me all 
the money he had received for inlifting. M. 
Merveiileux ftays at Neufchatel about a week 
longer, and Claud Anet is to fet out in three or 
four days with the reft of the recruits. So that 
we have neither time nor money to marry, and 
he is going to leave me without any help. If, 
through your intereft, or tjie Baron's, five or fix 
weeks longer might be given us, we would en- 
deavour in that time either to get married, or 
repay the young man his money. But I am fure 
he^can never be prevailed on to take the money 

I re- 

i8S £ L O I S A. 

I received this morning fomc great ofFers from 
a very rich gentleman, but, thank God, I hare 
refufed them. He told me, he would come again 
to-morrow to know my mind ; but I defired him 
not to give himfelf fo much troubk, and that he 
knew it already. By God*s afliftance, he fhall 
have the fameanfwer to-morrow. I might in- 
deed apply to the parifh; but one is fo defpifed 
after that, that my misfortunes are better than 
fuch a relief, and Claud Anet has too much 
pride to think of me after this. Forgive the 
liberty I have taken ; you arc the only pcrfon I 
could think of, and I feel myfirlf fo diftrcffed, 
that I can write no more about it. 

Honoured Mtdam, 

Your humble Servant to command, 

Fannt &S0KAR]>* 


A N S V^ £ R* 

I Have been wanting in point of memory, and 
you, Fanny, have been deficient in your con- 
fidence in me j in fhort, we have both of us 
been to blame, but I am the moft inexcufablc. 
However, I Ihall now endeavour to repair the 
injury which my neglefl: may have occafioned. 
Bab, the bearer of this, has or4cr$ to fatisfy your 


E L O I S A. Ig9 

more immediate wants, and will be with you 
again to-morrow, for fear the gentleman 'fhould 
return. My coufm and i propofe calling on 
you in the evening j for I know you cannot leave 
your poor father alone ; and indeexl I fhall be 
glad of this opportunity, to infpefl your oeco- 
nomy a little. 

You need not be uneafy on Claud Anet's ac- 
count : my father is from home, but we (hall 
do all we can towards his immediate releafe. Be 
affured, that i will never fgrget you, nor your 
generous lover. Adieu, itiy dear, and may God 
ever blefs you, I think you much in the right 
for not having recourfe to publick charity. Such 
fteps as thofe are never to be taken, while 'the 
hearts and purfes of benevolent individuals are 
open and acceffibie. 



I Have received your letter, and fhall fet out 
this inftant. — This is all the anfwer I (hall 
make. O Eloifal how could you cruelly fup- 
pofe me poffeffed of fuch afeliifh, unfeelingheart? 
But you command, and (hall be obeyed. I 
would rather die z thoufand times than forfeit 
your efteem* 




E L O 1 S A. 


Arrived at Neufchatel yefterday morning, 
and on enquiry was told that M. Merveil- 
leux was juft gone into the country. I followed 
him immediately, but as he was out a hunting 
all day, I was obliged to wait till the evening, 
before I could fpeak with him. I told him the 
caufe of my journey, and defired he would {et 
a price on Claud Anet's difcharge^ to which h« 
raifed a number of objedions. I then concluded 
that the moft effeftual method of anfwering 
them, would be to increafe my offers, which I 
did in proportion as his difficulties multiplied. 
But, finding, after fome time, that I was not 
likely to fucceed, I took my leave, having pre- 
viously defired the liberty to waiton him the next 
morning ; determined in my own mind not to 
ftir out of the houfe a fecond time till I hac^ ob- 
tained my requefl: by dipt of larger offers, fre- 
quent importunity, or in (hort by whatever means 
1 could think moft effedual. I rofe early next 
morning to put this refolution in pradife, and 
was juft going to mount my horfe, when I re- 
ceived a note from M. Mervcilleux with the 
young man's difcharge, in due form and order. 
The contents of the note were thefe : 

« ENCLOSED, Sir, is the difcharge you 

" requeft. I denied it to your pecuniary offers, 

* « but have granted it in confideration of your cha- 

5 ** ritable 

B L O I S A. 191 

** ritable defign, and defire you would not think 
•* that I am to be bribed into a good aftion." 

You will eaCly conceive, by your own fatis- 
faflion, what joy I muft have felt. But, why is 
it not as complete as it ought to be ? I cannot 
poffibly avoid going to thank, and indeed to re- 
imburfe M. Merveilleux: and if this vifit, ne- 
ceflary as it is, fhould retard my return a whole 
day, as I am apprehenfivc it will, is he not ge- 
nerous at my expenfe ? But, no matter : 1 have 
done my duty toEloifa, and am fatisfied. Oh f. 
what a happinefs it is thus to reconcile benevo- 
lence to love ! to unite in the fame a£lion the 
charms of confcious virtue with thefoft fenfa- 
tions of the tendereft afFeftion. I own freely, 
Eloifa, that I began my journey full of forrow 
and impatience : I even dared to reproach you 
with feeling too much the calamities of others, 
while you remained infenfible to my fufferings, 
as if I alone, of all created beings, had been un- 
worthy your compaffioA. I thought it quite 
fearbarous in you, after having difappointed me 
of my fweeteft hopes, thus unncceffarily and 
wantonly, as it were, to deprive me of a hap- 
pinefs which you had voluntarily promifed. As 
thefe fecret repinings are now happily changed 
intoa fund of contentment and folid fatisfa£tion, 
to which I have hitherto lived a ftranger, I have 
already enjoyed the recompenfe you bade me ex- 
pecSt : you ipoke from experience. Oh ! what 
an amazing kind of empire is your's, which can. 


k9t E L O I S A. 

convert even difappointment into pleafure, and 
caufe the fame fatisfadion in obeying you, as 
could refult from the greateft felf-gratification ! 
O my deareft, kindeft Eloifa, you are. indeed - 
an angel ; if any thing could be wanting to con- 
firm the truth of this, your unbounded empire 
ovei: my foul virould be a fufficient confirmation. 
Doubtlefs it partakes much more of the divine 
nature, than of the human ; and who can refift 
the power of heaven ? And to what purpofc 
fhould I ceafe to love you, fince you muft ever 
remain the objeft of my adoration ? 

P. S. According to my calculation we ihall 
have five or fix days to ourfelves before your 
mother returns. Will it be impofEble for you, 
during this interval, to undertake a pilgrimage to 
the dairy-houfe ? 



REPINE not, my dear friend, at this yn- 
expefted return. It is really more advan- 
tageous to us than you can pofiibly imagine ; 
and, indeed, fuppofing our contrivances could 
have cftcfted what our regard to appearancje has 
induced us togiye up, we fhould have-fucceeded 
no better. Judge what would have been the 
confequence, had we followed our inclinations. 
I fhould have gone into ^the country but the 
very evening before my mother's return, fhould 
4 have 

E L O I S A. 193 

have been font for thence, before I could have 
poffibly given you any notice, and muft confe- 
quently have left you in the moft dreadful anxi- 
ety; we ihould have parted juft on the eve 
of our imaginary blifs, and the difappointment 
would have been cruelly aggravated by the near 
approach of our felicity. Befides, notwith- 
ftanding the utmoft precautions we could have 
taken, it would have been known that we were 
both in the country; perhaps, too, they might 
have heard that we were together ; it would have 
been fufpefied at leaft, and that were enough. 
An imprudent avidity of the prefent moment, 
would have deprived us of every future refource, 
and the remorfe for having neglefted fuch an aft 
of benevolence would have imbittered^ the re* 
mainder of our lives. 

Com.pare, then, I befeech you, our prefent 
fituation with that I have been defcribing. Firft, 
your abfencehas been produftive offeveral good 
effects. My Argus will not fail to tell my mo- 
ther, that you have been but feldom at my cou- 
fm's. She is acquainted with the motives of 
your journey; this may probably prove a means 
of raiiingyou in herefteem, and how, think you, 
can they conceive it poffible that two young 
people who have an afte£tion for each other 
fliould agree to feparate at the very time they 
are left moft at liberty? What an artifice have 
we employed to deftroy fufpicions which are 
but too well founded ! The only ftratagem in 
my opinion confiftentwith honour, is the carry- 

Vol. !• I ing 

1§4. E L O I S A. 

ing ourdifcretion to fuch an incredible height^ 
that what is in reality the utmoft effort of fclf- 
denial, nray be miftakcn for a token of indif^ 
ference* How delightful, my dear friend, muft 
a paflion thus coneealed be to thofe who enjoy it ! 
Add to this the pleafing confcioufnefs of having 
united two defpairing lovers, and contributed to 
the happinefs of fo deferving a couple. You 
have feen my Fanny : tell me, is not fhe a 
charming girl i does (he not really deferve every 
thing you have done for her? Is not fhe too 
beautiful and too unfortunate to remain tong un- 
married, without fome difafter? And do you 
think that Claud Anet, whofe naturalgood dif- 
pofition has miraculoufly preferved him during 
threeyears fervice, could haverefolution to conti- 
nue three years more without becoming as perfi- 
dious and as wretched as all thofe of thatprofef- 
fion? Infteadofthat they love, and will be united; 
they are poor, and will be relieved; they are 
honeft, and will be enabled to continue fo! for 
my father has promifcd them a competent pro-^ 
-vifion. What a number of advantages then has 
your kindnefs procured to them, and to our- 
felves; not to mention the additional obligations 
you have conferred on me ! Such, my friend, 
are the certain effeSs of facrificcs to virtue j 
which, though they are difficult to perform, are 
always grateful in rememberance. No one ever 
repented of having performed a good acStion. 

I fuppofe, you will fey, with my conjiant coufm^ 
that all this is mere preaching, and indeed it is 


E L O I S A. 195 

but too true that I no more praftife what I 
preach than thofe who are preachers by pvofeflion. 
How:ever, if my difcourfes are not (o elegant, • 
I have the fatisfaftion to find that they are not 
So entirely thrown away as their's. 1 do not deny 
it, my dear friend, that I would willingly add 
as many virtues to your charafter, as a fatal in- 
dulgence to love has taken away from mine; 
and Eloifa herfelf having forfeited my regard, 
I would gladly efteem her in you. Per fedt af- 
fection is all that is required on your part, and 
the confequence will flow eafy and natural. With 
what pleafure ought you to reflecl, that you are 
continually increafing thofe obligations, which 
love itfelf engages to pay ! 

My coufin has been miade privy to the conver- 
fation you had with her father, about Mr. Orbe, 
and feems to think herfelf as much indebted to 
you, as if we had never been obliged to her in 
our lives. Gracious heaven, how every parti- 
cular incident contributes to my happinefs ! How 
dearly am I beloved, and how am I charmed 
with their affedion! Father, mother, friend, and 
lover, all confpire in their tender concern for my 
happinefs, and, notwithftanding my eager en- 
deavours to requite them, I am alv^ays- either 
prevented Or outdone. It fliould feem, as if all 
the tendereft feelings in nature verged towards 
n?y heart, whilft I, alas ! have but one fenfation 
to enjoy them, 

I forgot to mention a vlfit you are to receive 

to-morrow morning. 'Tis from Lord B— > lately 

I 2 come 

196 £ L O I d A. 

come From Geneva, where he has refided abbiit 
dght months : he told me he had feen you at 
Sion, in his return from Italy. He found you 
Very melancholy, but fpeaks of you in general 
in the manner you yourfclf would wifli, and in 
which I have long thought. He commended you 
fo a-propoS to my father yefterday, that he has 
prejudiced me already very much ill his favour: 
and indeed his converfation is fenfible, lively, 
and fpirited. In rec^iting heroick actions, he 
J*aifes his voice, and his eyes fparkle, as men 
lifually do who are capable of performing the 
deeds they relate. He fpeaks alfo emphatically 
in matters of tafte, efpecially of the Italian 
mufick, which he extols to the very fkies. He 
often reminded me of my poor brother. But 
his lordfhip feems not to have facrificed much 
to the Graces; his difcourfe in general is rather 
nervous than elegant, and even his underftand- 
ing feems to want a little polifliing. 

Letter xlv. 


I Was reading your laft letter, the fecond time 
only, when Lord B came in. But, as 

I have fo many other things to fay, how can I 
think of his lordfhip ? When two people are 
entirely delighted and fatisfied with each other^ 
what need is there of a third perfon ? However, 
fince you feem to defire it, 1 will tell you what 

I know 

E L O I S A- 197 

I know of him. Having paffed the Semplon, 
he came to Sion, to wait for a cha fe which was 
to come from Geneva to Briguej and as want 
of employment often makes men feek fbciety, 
we foon became acquainted, and as intimate 
as the referve of an Knglifliman, and my natural 
love of retirement, would permit. Yet we foon 
perceived, that we wore adapted to each other; 
there is a certain union of fouls which is eafily 
difcernable. At the end of eight days, we were 
full as familiar as we ever were afterwards, 
and as two Frenchmen would have been in the 
fame number of hours. He entertained me with 
an account of his travels; and knowing he was 
an Englifliman, I immediately concluded he . 
would have talked of nothing but piftures or 
buildings. But I was foon pleafed to find, that 
his attention to the politer arts had not made him 
negle<9: th^ ftudy of men and manners: yet 
whatever he faid on thofe fubje6ls of refinement 
was judicious, and in tafte, but with modefty 
and diffidence. As far as I could perceive, his 
opinions feemed rather founded on reflexion 
than fcience, and that he judged from efFe<S!:s, 
rather than rules, which confirmed me in my 
idea of his excellent underftaftding. He fpoke 
to me of the Italian mufick with as much enthu- 
fiafm as he did to you, and indeed gave me a fpe- 
cimen of it; his valet plays extreniely well 
on the violin, and he himfelf tolerably on the 
violoncello. He picked out what he called fome 
very afFeiling pieces, but whether it was by 
I 3 being 

igS E L O I S A. 

being unufed to it, or that mufick, which is fd 
foothing in melancholy, lofes all its foft charms' 
when our grief is extrenne, I muft own I was not 
much delighted; the melody was agreeable, but 
wild, and without the leaft expreffion. 

Lord B— was very- anxious to know my 
fituation, I accordingly told him as much as 
was neceffary for him to know. He made an 
offer of taking me with him into England, and 
propofed feveral advantages, which were no in- 
ducements to me in a country where Eloifa was 
not. He had formerly told me that he intended 
to pafs the winter at Geneva, the fummer at Lau- 
fanne, and that he would come to Vevai before 
he returned into Italy, 

Lord B is of a lively, hafly temper, but 

virtuQus and fteady. He piques himfelf on 
being a philofopher, and upon thofe principles 
which we have frequently difcuffed. But I really 
believejiis own difpofition leads him naturally 
to that which he imagines the effcti of method 
and fludy, and that the varnifh of ftoicifm, with 
which he gloffes over all his actions, only covers 
the inclinations of his heart. 

I do not know what want of polifli you have 
found in his manner; it is really not very en- 
gaging, and yet I cannot fay there is any thing 
difgufting in it. Though his addrefs is not fo 
fafy and open as his difpofition, an*d he feems to 
defpife the trifling pun6^ilios of ceremony, yet 
his behaviour in the main is very agreeable: 
though he has not that refcrved and cautious 


E L O I S A. 199 

pditeneft, which confines itfelf alone to mere 
outward form, and which our young officers 
learn in France, yet he is lefs fol icitous about 
diftinguifhing men and their refpedlive fituations 
at firft fight, than he is affiduous in paying a 
proper degree of refpefi to every one in general. 
Shall I tell you the plain truth ? Want of ele- 
gance is a failing which women never overlook, 
and I fear that, in this inftance, Eloifa has been 
a woman for once in her life. 

Since I am now upon a fyftem of plain-deal- 
i"g> give n^c leave to affure you, my pretty 
preacher, that it is to no purpofe that you en- 
deavour to invalidate my pretenfions, and that 
fermons are but popr food for a famifhed lover. 
Think, think of all the compenfations you have 
promifed, and which indeed are my due 5 but 
though every thing you have faid is exceeding 
juft and true, one vifit to the dairy- houfe -would 
have been a thoufand times more agreeable. 



WHAT, my friend, ftill the dairy-houfe? 
Surely this dairy-houfe fits heavy on your 
heart. Well, coft what it will, I find you muft 
be humoured. But, is it poflible you can be fo 
attached to a place you never faw, that no other 
will fatisfy you ? Do you th ink that love, who 
raifed Armida's palace in the mid ft of a defert, 
cannot give us a dairy-houfe in the town ? Fanny 
I 4 is 

200 E L O I S A. 

is going to be married, and my father, who has 
no objedion to a little parade and mirth, is re- 
folved it fhall be a publick wedding. You may 
be fure there will be no want of noife and tu- 
mult, which may not prove unfavourable to a • 
private converfation. You underftand me. Do 
not you think it will be charming to find the 
pleasures we have denied ourfelves in the effe<3: 
of our benevolence ? 

Your zeal to apologize for Lord B— — was 
unneceflary, as I was never inclined to think ill 
of him. Indeed, how fliould I judge of a man, 
with whom I fpent only one afternoon? or how 
can you have been fufEciently acquainted with 
him in the fpace of a few days? I fpoke only, 
from conjedure ; nor do I fuppofe that you can 
argue on any better foundation : his propofals to 
you are of that vague kind of which ftrangers 
are frequently lavifli, from their being eafily 
eluded, and becaufe they give them an air of 
confcquence. But your chara£ler of his lord- 
Ihip is another proof of our natural vivacity, 
and of that eafe with which you are prejudiced 
for or againft people at firft fight. Neverthelefs, 
we will think of his propofals more at leifure. 
If love fhould favour my projeft, perhaps fome- 
thing better may ofFer. O, my dear friend, 
patience is exceeding bitter; but its fruits arc 
moft delightfully fweet. 

To return to our Englifhman : I told you, he 
appeared to have a truely great and intrepid foul ; 
but that he was rather fenfible than agreeable. 


E L O I S A. 201 

You fecm almoft of the fame opinion, and then, 
with that air of mafculine fuperiority, always 
vifible in our humble admirers, you reproach 
me with being a woman once in my life; as if 
a woman ought ever to belie her fex. 

Have you forgot our difpute, when we were 
reading your Republick of Plato ^ about the moral 
diftin£lion between the fexes i I have ftill the 
fame difficulty to fuppofe there can be but one 
common model of perfection for two beings fo 
eflentially different. Attack and defcnfe, the 
affurance of the men, and modefty of the women, 
are by no means* effedls of the fame caufe, as the 
philofophers have imagined; but natural inftitu- 
tions which may be eafily accounted for, and from 
which may be deduced every other moral diftinc- 
tion. Befidcs, the defigns of nature being dif- 
ferent in each, their inclinations, their perce|i- 
tions ought neceffarily to be directed according^ 
to their different views: to till the grourMJ,. and 
to nourifli children, require very oppoiite tailes. 
and conftitutions. A higher ftature, ftronger 
voice and features, feem, Indeed, to be no indif- 
penfible marks of diftindtion ; but this external 
difference evidently indicates, the intention of 
the Creator in the modification of the mind. 
The foul of a perfect woman and a perfect maa 
ought to be no more alike than their faces. AIL 
our vain imitations of your fex are abfurd; they 
expofe us to the ridicule of feufible men, an J 
difcourage the tender paffions we were made ta 
infpire. In fliort, unlefs we are near fix feet 
I 5 higk 

202 E L O I S A. 

high, have a bafe voice, and^a beard upon our 
chins, we have no bufinefs to pretend to be 

What novices are yon lovers in the art of 
reproaching ! You accufe me of a fault which. 
I have not committed, or of which, however, 
you are as frequently guilty as myfelf j and you 
attribute it to a defeft of which I am proud. 
But, in return for your plain dealing, fufFer me to 
give you my plain and fincere opinion of your 
lincerity. Why, then, it appears to be a refine- 
ment of flattery, calculated, under the difguife 
pf an apparent freedom of expreifion, to juftify 
to yourfelf the enthuliaftick praifes, which, upon 
every occafion, you are fo liberally pleafed tobe- 
ftow on me. You are fo blinded by my imaginary 
perfections, that you can difcover no real ones 
to excufe your prepoflTeiEon in my favour. 

Believe me, my friend, you are not qualified 
to tell me my faults. Do you think the eyes of 
love, piercing as they are, can difcover imper- 
fetStions f No, it is a power which belongs only 
to honeft friend {hip, and in that your pupil Clara' 
is much your fuperior. Yes, my dear friend, 
you ftiall praife me, admire me, and think me 
charming, and beautiful, and fpotlefs. Your praifes 
pleafe without deceiving me j I know it to be 
the language of error, and not of deceit ; that 
you deceive yOurfelf, but have no defign to de-^ 
celve me, O, hew delightful are the illufions 
of love! and furely all its flattery is truth ; for 
the heart fpeaks, though the judgement is filent. 
5 The 

E L O I S A. 203 

The Jover who praifes in us that which we dd 
not poflefs, reprefents our qualities truely as.they 
appear to him ; he fpeaks a falfity without being 
guilty of a lie ; he is a flatterer without mean- 
nefs, and one may eftcem without believing 

I have heard, not without fome little palpi- 
tation, a propofal to invite two philofophers 

to-morrow to fupper. One is my Lord B , 

and the other a certain fage, whofe gravity hath 
fometimes been a little difcompofed at the feet 
of a young difciple. Do you know the man? 
If you do, pray, defire that he will to-morrow 
preferve the philofophick decorum a little better 
than ufual. I fhall take care to order the young 
damfcl to caft her eyes downward, and to appear 
in his as little engaging as poflible. 



MALICIOUS girl ! Is this the circumfpee- 
tion you promifed ? Is it thus you fpare my 
heart, and draw a veil over your charms ? How 
often did you break your engagements ! Firft,. 
as to your drefs ; for you were in an undrefs,. 
though you well know that you are never more 
bewitching. Secondly, that modeft air and 
fweetnefs in your manner, fo calculated for the 
gradual difplay of all your graces. Your cqht 
yerfation more refined, more ftudied» more witty 
I 6 than 

204 E L O I S A. 

than ufual, which made every one fo uncom- 
monly attentive, that they fecmed impatiently 
to anticipate every fentence you fpo^e. That 
delightful air you fung below your ufual pitch, 
which rendered your voice more enchantingly 
foft, and which made your fong, though French, 
pleafe even Lord B — . Your down-call eyes, 
and your timid glances, which pierced me to the 
foul ; in a word, that inexpreiSble enchantment 
which feemed fpread over your whole perfon, to 
turn the brains of the company, even without' 
the leaft apparent defign. For my part, I know 
not how to behave; but, if this is the method 
you take to be as little engaging as pojJibUy I af- 
iure you, however, it is being infinitely too 
^uch fo for people to retain their fenfes in your 

I doubt much whether the poor Englifli phi- 
lofopher has not perceived a little of the fame 
influence. After we had conduced your coufin 
home, feeing us all in high fpirits, he propofed 
that we fhould retire to his lodgings, and have a 
little mufick, and a bowl of punch. While his 
fervants wereaffembling, he never ceafed talking 
of you ; but with fo much warmth, that, I con- 
fefs, I fhould not hear his praife from your lips 
with as much pleafure as you did from mine. 
Upon the whole, I am not fond of hearing.any 
body fpeak of you, except your coufin. Every 
word feems to deprive me of a part of my fe- 
cret, or my pleafure, and whatever they fay 
appears fo fufpicious, or is fo infinitely fliort of 


E L O I S A. 205 

what I feel, that I would hear no difcourfe upon 
the fubjeft but my own. 

It is not that, like you, I am at all inclined 
to jealoufy : no, I am better acquainted with 
the foul of my Eloifa ; and I have certain fure- 
ties that exclude even the poifibility of your in- 
conftancy. After your proteftations, I have no- 
thing more to fay concerning your other pre- 
tenders J but this Lord, Eloifa equality of 

, rank your father's prepoffefEon In fliort, 

you know my life is depending. For Heaven's 
fake, deign to give me a line or two upon this 
fubjeS — one fingle word from Eloifa, and I fball 
be fatisfied for ever. 

I pafled the night in attending to, and play- 
ing, Italian mufick j for there were fome duets, 
and I was forced to take a part. I dare not yet 
tell you what effeft it had on me 5 but, I fear, 
I- fear, the impreffion of laft night's fupper in- 
fluenced the harmony, and that I miftook the 
cffeQ. of your enchantment for the power of 
mufick. Why (hould not the fame caufe which 
made it difagreeable at Sion, give it a contrary 
efFeft in a contrary fituation f Are not you the 
fource of every afFedion of my foul, and am I 
proof againft the power of your magick I If it 
had really been the mufick which produced the 
enchantment, every one prefent muft have been 
affedled in the fame manner ; but whilft I was 
all rapture and extafy, Mr. Orbe fat fnoring in 
an arm chair, and, when I awoke him with 
my exclamations, all the praife he bellowed 


2o6 E L O r S A. 

was, to alk whether your coufin underftood 

All this will be better explained to-morrow ; 
for we are to have another concert this evening! 
His lofdlhip is determined to have it complete^ 
and has fent to Laufanne for a fecond violin, 
who, he fays, is a tolerable hand. On my partj 
I fhall carry fome French fcenes and cantatas. 

When I firft returned to my room I funk into 
my chair, quite exhaufted and overcome; for 
want of praSice I am but a poor rake : but I no 
fooner took my pen to write to you, than I 
found myfelf gradually recover. Yet I muft 
endeavour to fleep a few hours. Come with me, 
my fweet friend, and do not leave me whilft I 
flumber : but, whether thy image brings me pain 
or pleafure, whether it reminds me, or not, of 
Fanny's wedding, it cannot deprive me of that 
delightful moment, when 1 Ihall awake and re- 
collect my felicity. 



AH ! my Eloifa 1 how have I been enter* 
tained ! What melting founds ! what mu- 
fick ! O delightful fource of fenfibility and plea- 
fure! Lofe not a moment; colleft your operas, 
your cantatas, in a word, all your French muiick I 
then make a very hot fire, and caft the vynetched 
ftuffinto the flames j be fure you ftir it well, 


E L O I S A. 207 

that, cold as it is, it may once at leaft fend forth a 
little warmth, Make this facrifice to the God of 
tafte, to expiate our mutual crime, in having 
profaned your voice with fuch doleful pfalmody^ 
and {o long miftaken a noife that ftunned our 
ears for the pathetick language of- the heart. 
How entirely your worthy brother was in the 
right! and in what unaccountable ignorance 
have I lived, concerning the produ<^ionsof that 
charming art 1 It gave me but little pleafure, and, 
therefore, I thought it naturally impotent. Mu- 
fick, I fatd, is a vain found, that only flatters 
the car, and makes little or no imprefiion upon 
the mind. The efFeft of harmonick founds is en- 
tirely mechanical or phyfical ; and what have 
thefe to do with fentiment ? Whyftiould I expccft 
to be moved with mufical chords more than with 
a proper agreement of colours ? But I never 
perceived, in the accents of melody applied to 
thofe of language, the fecrct but powerful uni- 
fon between mufick and the paffions, I had no 
idea that the fame fenfations which modulate 
the voice of an orator, gives the 'finger a ftill 
greater power over our hearts, and that the encr- 
getick expreiEon of his own feelings is the fym- 
pathetick caufe of all our emotion. 

This leffon I was taught by his lordfhipV 
Italian finger, who, for a mufician, talks pretty 
fenfibly of his own art. ** Harmony (fays he) i» 
nothing more than a remote acceffory in imita- 
tive mufick; for, properly fpeaking, there is not 
in harmony the leaft principle of imitation. In- 

2oa E L O I S A. 

deed, it regulates the tones, confirms their 
propriety, and renders the modulation more di- 
ftinft ; it adds force to theexprefSon, and grace 
to the air. But from melody alone proceeds 
that invincible power of pathetick accents over 
the foul. Let there be performed the moft ju- 
dicious fucceffion of chords, without the addi- 
tion of melody, and you would be tired in lefs 
than a quarter of an hour , whilft, on the con- 
trary, a fmgle voice, without the affiftance of 
harmony, will continue to pleafe a confiderable 
time. An air, be it ever fo fimple, if there 
be any thing of the true pathos in the compo- 
fition, becomes immediately interefting 5 but, on 
the contrary, melody without exprefEon will 
have no cffeA ; and harmony alone can never 
touch the heart. 

** In this (continued he) confifts the errour of 
the French with regard to the power of mufick. 
As they can have no peculiar melody in a language 
void of mufical accent^ nor in their uniform and 
unnatural poetry, they have no idea of any other 
efFedl than that of harmony and a loud voice, 
which, inftead of foftening the tones, renders 
them more intolerably noify : nay, they are even 
fo unfortunate in their pretenfions, that they 
fufFer the very harmony they expeiSl to efcape 
them; for, in order to render it more complete, 
they facrifice all choice, they no longer diftin- 
guifh the powers and eiFe<Sls of parti cellar tones, 
their compofitions are overcharged, they have 
fpoilt their cars, and are become infenfible to 


E L O I S A. 209 

every thing but noife: (o that, in their opinion, 
the fineft voice is that which roars the loudeft. 
Having no original ftyle or tafte of their own, 
they have always followed us heavily, and at a 
great diftance, and fince their, or rather .6ur 
Lulli, who imitated the operas which were then 
common in*Italy, we have beheld them, thirty 
or forty years behind us, copying, mutilat- 
ing, and fpoilingour ancient compofitions, juft 
as other nations do by their fafhions. When- 
ever they boaft of their chanfons^ they pronounce 
their own condemnation; for if they could ex- 
prefs the paffions^ they would not fet wit to mu- 
iick: but becaufe their mufick is entirely inca- 
pable of any exprefSon, it is better adapted to 
chanfons than operas, and our's is more fit for 
the latter, becaufe it is extremely pathetick." 

He then repeated a few Italian fcenes with- 
out iinging, made me fenfible of the harmony 
between the mufick and the words in the recita- 
tive, between the fentiment and the mufick in 
the airs, and in general the energy which was 
added to the expreiSon by the exadl meafure, 
and the proper choice of chords. In (hort, 
after joining to my knowledge of the Italian the 
moft perfect idea in my power of the oratorical 
and pathetlck emphafis, namely, the art of fpeak- 
ing to the ear and to the heart in an inarticulate 
language, I fat down, and gave my whole at- 
tention to this enchanting mufick, and, by the 
emotions I felt, foon perceived that there is a 
power in the art infinitely beyond what I 


2IO E L O I S A. 

imagined. It is impoiEtle to defcribe the vo- 
luptiious fenfation which imperceptibly flole upon 
me. It was not an unmeaning fucceflion of 
founds, as in our mufical recitals. Every phrafc 
imprefled my brain with fomenew image, or con- 
veyed a frefli fenfation to my heart. The plea- 
fure did not flop at the ear; it penetrated my 
foul. The performance, without any extraor- 
dinary effort, feemed .to flow with charming 
facility; and the performers appeared to be all 
animated by one foul. The finger, who was 
quite mafter of his voice, exprefled, with eafe, 
all that the mufick and the words required. Upon 
the whole, I was extremely happy to find my- 
felf relieved from thofe heavy cadences, thofe 
terrible efforts of the voice, that continual com- 
bat between the air and the meafure, which in 
our mufick fo feldom agree, and which is not lefs 
fatiguing to the audience than the mufician. 

But when, after a fuccefiion of agreeable airs, 
they flruck into thofe grand pieces of exprefiion, 
which as they paint, excite the more violent paf- 
fions, I every moment loft the idea of mufick, 
fong, imitation; and imagined I heard the real 
voice of grief, rage, defpair. Sometimes rae- 
thought I favv a weeping difcon folate mother, 
a lover betrayed, a furious tyrant, and the fyQi- 
pathy was frequently fo powerful that I could 
hardly keep my feat. I was thus affeded, be^ 
caufe I now fully conceived the ideas of the com- 
pofer, and therefore his judicious combination of 
founds afted upon me with all its force. No, 


E L O I S A. an 

Eloifa, it is impoffible to feci thofe imprcffions 
by halves; they are cxceffive or not at all; one 
18 either entirely infenfible, or raifed to an immo- 
derate degree of enthufiafm ; either it is an un- 
intelligible noife, or an impetuofity of fenfation 
that hurries you along, and which the foul can- 
not poffibly refift. 

Yet I had one caufe of regret throughout the 
whole; it was, that any other than my Eloifa 
fhould form founds that were capable of giving 
me pleafure, and to hear the moft tender ex- 
preffions of love from the mouth of a wretched 
eunuch. O, my lovely Eloifa ! can there be any 
kind of fenfibility that belongs not to us ? Who 
is there that can feel and exprefs better than we, 
all that can poffibly be expreffedor felt by a foul 
melting into love and tendernefs i Where are 
thofe who in fofter and more pathetick accents 
could pronounce the Cor mio^ the Idolo amato ? 
Ah ! what energy would our hearts add to the 
expreiSon, if together we fhould ever fmg one 
of thofe charming duets which draw fuch deli- 
cious tears from one's eyes ! I conjure you to 
tafte this Italian mufick as foon as poffible, either 

at home or with-your coufin. Lord B will 

order his people to attend when and where you 
fhall think proper. With your exquifite fen- 
fibility, and more knowledge than I have of the 
Italian declamation, one fingle effay will raifc 
you to a degree of enthufiafm at leaft equal to 
mine. Let me alfo perfuade you to take a few' 
Icflbns ©f this virtuofo; I have begun with him 


212 E L O I S A. 

this morning. His manner of inftruftion is 
iimple, clear, and confifts more in example than 
precept. I already perceive that the principal 
requifiteis to feel and mark the time^ to obferve 
the proper em phafis, andinfteadof fwellingevery 
note, to fuftain an equality of tone; in fhort, to 
refine the voice from all that French bellow^ing, 
that it may become more juft, expreffive, and 
flexible. Your's, which is naturally fo foTt and 
fweet, v^ill be eafily reformed, and your fenfibility 
will foon inftruft you in that vivacity and cx- 
prefiion, which is the foul of Italian mufick. 

E'' I can tar che neW* animojifente. 
The fong that's to the foul fo fweet. 

Leave, then, for ever leave, (hat tedious and 
lamentable French fing-fong, which bears more 
refemblance 16 the cries of the cholick than the 
tranfports of the paffions ; and learn to breathe 
thofe divine founds infpired by fenfation, which 
only are worthy of your voice, worthy of your 
heart, and which never fail to charm and fire the 



YOU know, my dear friend, that I write to 
you by ftcalth, and in continual apprehen- 
fion of a furprife. Therefore^ as it is impoffi- 
ble for me to write long letters, I muft confine 
myfelf to thofe parts of your's which more efpe- 


EL G I S A. 213 

■Gially require anfwering, or to fupply what .was 
left unfaid in our converfations, which, alas! arc 
no lefs clandelline than our interchange of let- 
ters : at leaft, I (ball obferve this method to-day : 
your mentioning Lord B— will make mc 
negltSt the reft. 

And fo you are afraid to lofe me, yet you talk 
tomeof finging! furely, this was fufficient caufc 
for a quarrel between two people who were lefs 
acquainted. No, no, you are not jealous, it is 
evident: nor, indeed, will I be fo; for I have 
dived into your heart, and perceive that which 
another might miftake for indifference, to beabfo- 
lute confidence. O ! what a charming fecurity 
is that which fprings from the fenfibility of a 
perfect union! Hence it is, I know, that from 
your own heart you derive your good opinion 
of mine; and hence it is you are fo entirely 
juflified, thatlfhould doubt your affedioir, if 
you were more alarmed. 

I neither know nor care whether Lord B 
has any other regard for me than all men have for 
girls of my age. But of what confequence are 
his fentiments of the matter? Mine and my fa- 
ther's are the only proper fubjeds of enquiry; 
and thefe are both the fame as they were with 
regard to the two pretended pretenders, of whom 
you fay you will fay nothing. If his exclufioa 
and their's will add to your repofe^ reft fatisfied. 
How much foever we might think ourfelves ho- 
noured in the addreffes of a man of his lordftiip's 
rank, never, with her own or her father's con- 


4*4 E L O t S A. 

fcnt, would Eloifa Etange become Lady B— — . 
Of this you may be very certain : not that you 
are hence to conclude that he was ever thoughc 
of in that light. I am pofitive you are the firft 
perfon who fuppofed that he has the leaft incli* 
nation for me. But, be that as it will, I know 
my father's fentiments as well as if he had al* 
ready decl^ired them. Surely, this is fufficient 
to calm your fears 5 at leaft it is as much as it 
concerns you to know. The reft is matter of 
mere curiofity, and you know I have refolved 
that it (hall not be fatisfied. You may reproach 
me as you pleafe with referve, and pretend that 
our concerns and our intereft arc the fame : if I 
had always been refer ved, it would now have been 
lefs important. Had it not been for my indif- 
cretion, in repeating to you fome of my father's 
words, you would never have retired to Meil- 
Icrie, you would never have written the letter 
which was the caufe of my ruin: I fliould ftill 
have poffeffed my innocence, and might yet have 
afpired to happinefs. Judge, then, by my fuffer- 
ings for one indifcretion, how I ought to dread 
the commiflion of another ! You are too violent 
to have any prudence. You could with lefs dif- 
ficulty conquer your paffions than difguife them. 
The leaft fufplcion would fet you raving,. and the 
moft trivial ,circumftances would confirm all your 
f\ifpicions. Our fecrets would be legible in your 
face, and your impetuous zeal would fruftrate 
all my hopes. Leave, therefore, to me the cares 
of love, and do you preferve its plcafures only^ 


fi L 1 S A. iij 

You, furely, have no reafon to complain of this 
divifion : acquiefce, and be convinced that all 
you can poflibly contribute to the advancement 
of our felicity, is, not to interrupt it. 

£ut, alas! what avail my precautions now? 
Is it for me to be cautious how I ftep, who am 
already fallen headlong down the precipice, or 
to prevent the evils with which I am already op-^ 
prefled ? Ah ! wretched girl ! is it for thee to 
talk of felicity ? Was ever happinefs compatible 
with fliame and remorfe? Cruel, cruel fate! 
neither to be able to bear nor to repent of my 
crime J to be befet by a thoufand terrours, 
deluded by a thoufand hopes, and not even to 
enjoy the horrible tranquillity of defpair. The 
queftioni^ not now of virtue and rcfolution, but 
of fortitude and prudence. My prefent bufinefs is 
not to extinguifli a flame which ought never to 
expire, but to render it innocent, or to die guilty* 
Confider my fituation, my friend, and then fee 
whether you dare depend upon my zeal. 

L E r T E R L. 


IR^fufed to explain to you, before we parted 
yefterday,^ the caufe of that uneafmefs you 
remarked in me, becaufe you were not in a con- 
dition to bear reproof. In fpite, however, of 
my averfion to explanations, I think I ought to 
do it now, to acquit myfelf of the promife I 
then made you, 

I know 

2i6 E L O I S A. 

I know not whether you may remember 
your laft night's unaccountable difcourfe and 
behaviour ; for my part, I fliall remember them 
too long for your honour or my repofe ; indeed, 
they have hurt me too much to be eafily forgot- 
ten. Similar expreflions have fometimes reached 
my ears from the ftreet; but I never thought 
they could come from the lips of any worthy 
man. Of this, however, I am certain, there are 
no fuch in the lover's diftionary, and nothing 
was farther from my thoughts than that they 
fhould ever pafs between you and me. Good 
heaven ! what kind of love muft your's be^ thus 
to feafon its delights! It is true, you were 
fluflied with wine, and I perceive how much one 
muft overlook in a country where fuch excefs 
is permitted. It is for this reafon* I /peak to you 
on thefubjecS ; for yoii may be aflured that, had 
you treated me in the fame njanner when per- 
fcAly fobef, it fliould have been the laft oppor- 
tunity you fliould ever have had. 

But what alarms me mott on your account is, 
that the condud of men in liquor is often no 
other than the image of what paffes in their 
hearts at other times. Shall I believe that, in 
a condition which difguifes nothing, you difco- 
vered yourfelf to be what you really are? 
What will become of me if you think this morn- 
ing as you did laft night? Sooner than be 
liable to fuch infults, I had rather extinguifti fo 
grofs a paflion, and lofe for ever a lover who, 


E L O I 8 A. 2\f 

{6 ignorant how to rcfpcft his miftrefs, deferves 
fo little of her efteem. 

Is it, pofiible, that you who delight in 'vir- 
tuous fentiments fliould have fallen inco that 
cruel errour, and have adapted the notion, that 
a lover once made happy need no longer pay any 
regard to decorum, and that thofe have no title 
to rrfpoft wbofe cruelty is no longer to be feared* 
AlasL had you always thought thus^ your power 
would have been lefe dreadful., and IXhouId have 
been kfs unhappy. But miftake not, my friend ^ 
nothing is fo pernicious tetrue lovers as the pre- 
judices of the worlds fomany taUcof love, and 
{o few know what it is, that moft people miflake 
its pure and gentle laws for the vile maxims of 
an abje^ commerce, which, foon fatiated, has 
recourfe to the mofifters of imagination, and, 
in or^r to fupport itfelf, finks into depra- 

PoiEbly, I may be miftaken; but it feems 
to me that true love is the chaftcft of all hu- 
n(ian Connexions; and that its facred flame 
fhould purify our natural inclinations, by con- 
centring them in one objcft. It is love that fe- 
cures us from temptation, and makes the whole 
fex indifferent, except the beloved individual. 

To a woman indifferent to love, every man 
is the fame, and all are men; but to her whofc 
heart is truely fufceptible of that refined paflion, 
there is no other man in the world but herjover. 
W hat do I fay ? Is a lover no more than a nun ? 
He is t being far fuperiour ! There exifts not 

Vol. I. K a man 

2i8 E L O r S A. 

a man in the creation wItK her who truely loves ; 
her lover is more, and all others are leis; they 
Jive for each other, and are the only beings of 
their fpecics. They have no defines 5 they lov^. 
The heart is not led by, but leads the fenfes, 
and throws over their errburs the veil of delight. 
There is nothing obfcene but in lewdnefs and 
its grofs language. Real love, always modeft, 
feifes not impudently its favours, but deals . 
them with timidity. Secrefy, filence, and a 
timorous baflifulnefs heighten and conceal its 
delicious tranfports; its flame purifies all its 
carefTes, while decency and chaftity attend even 
its moft fenfual pleafures. It is love alone that 
knows how to gratify the defires without tref- 
paffing on modefty. Tell me, you who once 
ktiew what true pleafures were, how can a 
cynick impudence be confident with their en- 
joyment? Will it not deprive that enjoyment 
of all its fVreetnefs ? Will it not deface that 
image of perfecStion which reprefents the beloved 
objedit? Believe me, my friend, lewdnefs and 
love can never dwell together — they are incom-^ 
pattble. On the heart depends the true happi- 
nefs of thofe who love; and where love is ab- 
fent, nothing can fupply its place. 

But, fuppofing you were fo unhappy as to 
be pleafed with fuch immodeft difcourfe, how 
could you prevail on yourfelf to make ufe of 
it fo indifcretely^ and addrefs her who was fo 
dear to you, in a manner of which a virtuous 
man ought certainly to be ignorant ? ^ince" 
• 4 • when 

K L O I S A.' iij 

when is it become delightful to afflidl the objcft 
one lores ? and how barbarous is that pleafure 
which delights in tormenting others? I have 
not forgotten that I have forfeited the right I 
had to be refpeSed : but if ever 1 .{hould forget 
it, is it you that ought to remind me of it? 
Does it belong to the authour of my crime to 
aggravate my punifhment ? Ought he not rather 
to adminifter comfort? All the world may 
have reafon to defpife mc, but you have none. 
Ibis to you I owe the mortifying fituation to. 
which I am reduced ; and furely the tears I have 
£hed for my weaknefs call upon you to alleviate 
my forrow. I am neither nice nor prudifh. 
Alas ! I am but too far from it ; 1 have not 
been even difcretc. You know too well, ufi- 
grateful as you are, that my fufceptible heart 
can refufe nothing to love. But, whatever I 
may yield to love, I vnll make no conceffions 
to* any thing lefs ; and you have Inftrufted me 
too well in its language to be able to fubftitute 
one fo different in its room. No terms of abufe,' 
nor even blows, could have infulted me more 
than fuch demonftrations of kindnefs. Either 
renounce Eloifa, or continue to merit her 
efteem, I have already told you I know no 
love without modefty 5 and, how much foevet 
it may coft me to give up your's, it will coft ' 
me ftill more to keep it at fo dear a price. 

I have yet much to fay on this fubjeft ; but 
I muft here clofe my letter, and defer it to' 
another opportunity. In the mean time, pray- 
K 2 obfervc 

220 E L O I S A. 

obfefve Ont efte£l df your miftaken tnslxims re- 
garding the immoderate ufe of wiile. I am 
very lenfible your heart is not to blaine ; tut 
you have deeply wounded hiine ; antl, without 
knowing what you did, afflrfled a mind too 
cafily atarmed, and to which nothing is irt-* 
ilifFercnt that comes from you. 

L E t T E R Lf, 

TO ELOlfeA. 

THERE is not a line in your letter that 
does not chill the blood in my veins ; and 
i can hardly be perfuaded, after twenty times 
reading, that it is.addreffed to me. Who, I? 
Can I have offended Eloifa? Can I have pro- 
faned her beauties? Can the idol of my foul, 
tb whom every moment of my life I offer up my 
adorations — can fee have been the objeS of my 
iflfults ? No, I would have pierced this heart a 
thoufind times, before it fhould have formed fo 
barbarous a defign. Alas ! you know bat little 
of this heart, that flies to proftrate itfclf at your 
feet— 'a heart anxious to contrive for thee a new 
fpecies of homage, unknown to human beings. 
Ah ! my Eloifa, you know that heart but little, 
if you accufe it of wanting towards you the 
ordinary refpeft which even a common lover en- 
tertains for his miftrefs. — Is it pofTible I can 
have been iinpudent and brutal ? I, who deteft 
the language of immodefty, and never in njiy 
life entered into places where it is held ! But that 

I I feould 

£ L O I S A. 221 

I {hould repeat fuch difcourfe to you ; that I 
Ihould aggravate your juft indignation ! Had I 
been the moft abandoned of men, |iad I fpent 
ray youth in riot and debaucbery, had even a 
t^fte for fenfiial aqd ihameful pleafures found a 
plajce in the heart where you riefide^ tell mc, 
t-loifa, my angel, tell me, how was it poflible- 
I copjd have betrayed before you that impu- 
4en.ce, which no one can haye but in the pre- 
fe^c^ of thofewbo are themfelves abandoned 
enough to approve it. Ah, no ! it is impo/Bble. 
One look of your's had fe;iled my lips, and cor- 
rp6led my heart. Love would hayc veiled my 
i«j>pejtuaM^ idpfires bepjeath the charms of you? 
modefty; while in the fwec't union of our (oul^ 
ifafiii owi3k delirium only would have led the 
iciiies aftray. I appeal to your own tcftiroony, 
if ever, in th$ utmoft ex^travagance of an uu* 
bounckd pa&on, I ceafed to revere its charming 
obje&. If I recfiivfid the reward of my love^ 
did { ever take an advants^e of my bappinefs^ 
to do violence to your bafhfi^iaefs ? If tkc? 
trembling hand of an ardent but timid lover hath 
fometimes prefumed too far, did, he ever with 
brutal ticmcrity profane you charms ? If ever aa 
indifcrete tranfport drew aiide their veil, t^ougli 
but for a moment, was not that of modelly a$ 
foon fubftituted in its place ? Unalterable a$ 
the chaftity of your mind, the flame that glows 
in mine can never change. 'Is not the afie(3:ing 
and tender union of our fouls fv^ientto con-^ 
ilitujte our happinefs ? Does not in this alone 
K 3 con lift. 

±22 E L O I S A. 

confift all the happinefs of our Jives ? Have we 
2 wifh to know or tafte of any other ? And 
canfl thou conceive this enchantment can be 
broken ? How was it polfible for me to forget 
in a moment all regard to chaftity, to our love, 
my honour, and that invincible reverence and 
refpeft which you muft always infpire, even in 
thofeby whom you are not adored ? No ; I can- 
not believe it. It was not I that offended you. I 
have not the leaft remembrance of it; and, were 
I but one inftant culpable, can it be that my rc- 
morfe fhould ever leave me ? No, Eloifa, fome 
demon, envious of happinefs too great for a 
mortal, has taken upon^him my form, to deftroy 
my felicity, 

Neverthelefs, I abjure, I deteft a crime which 
I muft have committed, fince you are my ac- 
cufer, but in which my will had no part. How 
do I begin to abhor that fatal intemperance, 
which once feemed to me favourable to the 
cffufions of the heart, and which has fo cruelly 
deceived mine ! I have tound myfelf, therefore, 
by a folemn and irrevocable vow, to renounce 
wine from this day as a mortal poifon. Never 
ihall that fatal liquor again touch my lips, be- 
reave me of my fenfes, or involve me in guilt to 
which my heart is a ftrangcr. If I ever break 
this folemn vow, may the powers of love inflift 
on me the punifhment I deferve ! May the image 
pi Eloifa that inftant forfake my heart, and 
abandon it for ever to indifference and defpair. 


E L O I S A. 223 

But, think not I mean to expiate my crime 
By fo flight a mortification. .This is a precau- 
tion, and not a punifhment. It is from you 
1 expe& th^ which I deferve; nay, I beg it of 
you, to confole my afHiftion. Let offended love 
avenge itfelf, and be appeafed : punifh without 
hating me, and I will fuffer without murmur- 
ing. Be juft and fcvere; it is neceffary, and I 
muft fubmit; but if you would riot deprive mc 
of life, you muft not deprive me of your heart. 



WHAT! my friend renounce his bottle 
for his miftrefs ! This is, indeed, a fa- 
crifice ! I defy any one to find me a man in the 
four cantons more deeply in love than yourfelf. 
Not but there may be found fome young frenchi- 
fied petit-maitres among us that drink water 
through affeftation ; but you are the firft Swift 
that ever love made a water-drinker, and ought 
to ftand as an example for ever in the lover's 
chronicle of your country, I have even been 
informed of your abftinent behaviour, and have 
been much edified to heai: that, being to fup 
laft night with M. de Vueillerans, you faw fix 
bottles go round after fupper, without touching 
a drop i and that you fpared your water as. 
little as your companions did their wine. This 
ftate of felf- denial and penitence, however, 
K 4 muft 

aa4 E L O I 8 A. 

muft have iaAed alr^iady tbcee'days, and in three 
days you muft have abftained from win€ at leaft 
for fin meals. Now, to the abfti»<ence for fji: 
meals, obftrvedthrowgfe fidelity, may be ^ddcdfix 
others dirough fear, fix through fbame, fij^ through 
habit, and fix more through obftinacy. Hoiir 
many motives ipigbt be found to prolong thi$ 
mortifying abftinenc<?, of which love alpne will 
have all the credit ? But can love coi}dcrc6i>4 
to pride itfelf^in a m^rit to which it bath no juft 
pretenfions ? 

This idle raillery vmy poflibly be as difagree- 
able to you, as your talk the other night was 
to me : it is time^ therefore, to flop its career. 
You are naturally of a fecious turn, and I have 
perceived ere now that a tedioi6 fcene of trifling 
haxJi heated you as much as a long walk ufualjy 
cixxss a fat mnn j but I take nearly the fame ven- 
geance of you as Henry the Fourth took of the 
l)ukc of Main^ : your fovereign alfo will imitate 
the cjeoiency of that heft of kings. In like 
manner, 1 am afraid left, by virtue of your 
contrition and excufes, you fliould in the end 
makp a merit of a fault fo fuHy repaired; I 
will, therefore, forget it immediately, left, by 
deferring njy forgivenefs too lon^, it fliould be- 
come rather an afl; of ingratitude than genero- 

With regard to your refolution of renouncing • 

your bottle for ever, it has not fo much weight 

wit^h me as perhaps you may imagine ; ftrohg 

paffioiM think nothing of 4bef€ trifling facrifices^ 

. . and 

£ L O I S A. 2t; 

and love wfll not be! fatisfied with gallantry. 
There is l?efi4es more of addrefs fometimfes th'a ii 
refolution, in making for the prefent moment an 
advantage of an uncertain futurity, and in reap- 
ing beforehand the credit of an eternal abfti'- 
nence, which may be renounced at pleafure. 
But, my good friend, is the abufe of every 
thing that is agreeable to the fenfes infcparablc 
from the enjoyment of it? Is drunkennefs ne* 
ceflariiy attached to the taftc of wine ? and is 
phrlofophy fo cruel, or fo ufeUfs, as to offer no 
other expedient to prevent the immoderate ufa 
of agreeable things, than that of giving them up 
entirely i 

If you keep true to your engagement, you de- 
prive your felf of an innocent pleafure, and en- 
danger your health in changing your manner of 
living : oh the other hand, if you break it, yot> 
cpmnwt a double offenfe againft love ; and even 
your honour will ftand impeached, 1 will make 
ufe, therefore, on this occafion of my privi- 
lege ; and do not only releafe you from the ob- 
fervance of a vow, which is null and void, as 
being made without my confent ; but do abfo- 
lutely forbid you to obfervc it beyond the term' 
I am going to prcfcribe. On Thurfday next 
my Lord B— — is to give us a concert. At 
the collation i will fend you a cup, about half: 
Alii of a pure and wholefome neStzr ; which it 
19 my will and pleafure that you drink off in my: 
prefence, after having made; in a few drops, i 
241 e^qiiatory iibatipn totbis.Qraees, My pep.i-^ 
. , . K '5 tent 

*26 E L ,0 I S A. 

tent IS permitted afterwards to return to the 
fober ufe of wine, tempered with the chryftal 
of the fountain ; or as your honeft Plutarch has 
it, moderating the ardours of Bacchus, by a 
communication with the nymphs. 

But to our concert on Tuefday : that blun- 
derer Regianino has got it into his head that I 
am already able to fing an Italian air, and even 
a duo with him. He is defirous that I fhould 
try it with you, in order to fhow off his two 
fcholars together ; but there are certain tender 
paffages in it dangerous to fing before a mother, 
when the heart is of the party : it would be 
better, therefore, to defer this tryal of our {kill 
to the firft concert we have at our coufin's. I 
attribute the facility with which I have ac-< 
quired a tafte for the Italian mufic to that which 
IXiy brother gave me for their poetry : and for 
which I have been fo well prepared by you, that 
I perceive ealily the cadence of the verfe : and, 
if I may believe Regianino, have already, a to- 
lerable notion of the true accent, I now begin 
every leffon by reading feme paffages of Taffo^ 
or fome fcene of Metaftatio; after this, he 
makes me repeat and accompany the recitative, 
fo that I feem to continue reading or fpeaking 
all the while \ which 1 am pretty certain could 
never be the cafe in the French mufick. After 
this I praflife, in regular time, the expreffipn of 
true and equal tones ; an exercife which the. 
noife I had been accuftomed to rendered diffi- 
cult enough. At kngtb wc pafs on to the air, 


£ L O I S A 227 

v^herein he demonftrates that the juftnefs and 
flexibility of the voice, the pathetick expreflion, 
the force and beauty of every part, are naturally 
affeded by the fweetnefs of the melody and pre- 
cifion of the meafure -, infomuch that what ap- 
4>eared at firft the moft difficult to learn need 
hardly be taught me. The nature of the muiick 
is fo well adapted to the found of the language, 
and of fo refined a modulation, that one need 
only hear the bafs, and know how-to fpeak, to 
decypher the melody. In the Italian mufick all 
thepaffions have diftin£l and ilrong expreffion^ : 
diredlly contrary to the ' drawling, difagreeable 
tones of the French, it is always fweet and 
eafy, and at the fame time lively and affe<^ing ; 
its fmalleft efforts ^iroduce the greateft effe^. 
In fhort, I jBnd that this muiick elevates the 
foul, without tearing the lungs, which is juft 
the mufick I want. On - Tuefday then, my 
• ckar friend, my preceptor, my penitent, my 
apoftle, alas ! what are you not to me ? Ab» 
why fhould there be only one title wanting ! 

P. 5.— Do you know there is fome talk of 
fuch another agreeable party on the water, asi 
■we made two years ago, in company with poor 
Challiot ? How raodefl was then my fubtle pre- 
ceptor! How he trembled when he handed me 
out of the boat ! Ah, the hypocrite ! How 
greatly changed is he ! 


tat B L O t S A. 


THUS «vtry thing confpires todifconcert 
otir fthemcs, €very thing difappoiirts our 
hopes, cYery ihlhg betrays a pafRon which hea- 
vfiti ought to fanfiHy ! And ape we always to 
fee the <port of fortune^ the unhappy vifiims of 
^elufive e^peftation I Shall we ft ill pant in pur- 
fiikof pleafuw, wtthotttevcr attaining it ? Thofe 
. nuptials, w4iicfa were fo impatiently expefted, 
were firft to have been celebrated at Clarens ; 
4>«t the tad weather oppofed it^ and the cere- 
»ony was performed in town: however, we had 
fttH fonr»e Iroiws t)f a private interview; but we 
were fo dofdy befet by officious importunity, 
fh^t it .was iiiipoiBMe for us both to efcape at the 
feme i«ftaat. At laft a favourahSe opportunity 
ofFei^ but w^ ^re tigfHn aifa|^pointed *by cfce 
cmelfeft of mt>lfhers, and -that whfch oughtttb 
have been the moflsentof our felicity went-nea'r 
to have proved ouf deftru^ion. Nevei:tb^efs,. 
I am fo far from being difpnayed by thefe nuno^- 
berlefs obftacles, that they ferve but to in- 
flame my refolution. I know not by what new 
powers I am^himate^, but I fee] an int;repiditjr 
of foul to whi^h I have been hitherto igno- 
rant j' and iif you are infpired with the fame fpi- 
rit, this evening, this very evening, I will per- 
form my promifcs, and difcharge at once all the 
obligations of love. 


B {^ O I ^ A. 2<9 

Weigh this affair maturely, and confkJcr wcH 
at what fate y^u eftunate your life ^ for the ex- 
pedient I am going to propofe may probably 
lead u$ to the grave. If thou art afraid, read no 
fafther ; but if thy heart (brinks no more at the 
point of a^word than formerly at theprecipice of 
MeUlerie, m^ne (hares the danger, and hefitate^ 
-no kmger. Be attentive! 

Bab, vrtio generally lies in my chamber, has 
been ill thefe three days, and though I offered 
to attend her, (he is removed in (pitcof me: 
^at as (he is now fpmewhat better, pofiifbly to- 
morrow fcc may return. The ftairs which lead 
to my mother's apartment and mine are atfpm6 
dtftance from the room were they fup, and, at 
that hour, the reft of the houfe, except the 
4citchen, is entirely wiinhabited. Thedarknefs 
of the night wJil then favour your progrefe 
through the ilre^ without the leaft rifk qf her 
'4fig<>breFv^,.andyoU'aFe not unacquainted with 


1 ib^Keve I hzve^H enough to be undcrftootf. 
Come this afternoon to Fanny'^^ I will there 
explain the reft, and give the neceflary inOruc-t- 
tien« : but if that ftould be impoffiblei you will 
^nd them in writing, in the old place, to vvhich 
1 configo this ktter. The fubjeft is too im- 
fortant to betrt^ed with any perfon living. 

O ! I^e the violent palpitation of your beaj^t I 
Ho^ I feel your tranfpprts ! No, no, my charms 
ing fnend, we v(tM not -quit this fiiort exiftence 
without having tafted happincfs* Yet, remem- 

239 £ L O I S A. 

her that the fatal moment is ehvironed with the 
horrours of death ! That the way to blifs is ex* 
tremely hazardous,, its duration full of perils^ 
^nd your retreat beyond meafure dangerous^ 
ihat if we are difcovered, we are inevitably 
loft, and that to prevent it fortune muft be 
jmcommonly indulgent. Let us not deceive 
ourfelves : I know my father too well to doubt 
that he would not inftantly pierce your heart, 
or that even I fhould not be the firft vidiim tg 
his revenge ; for certainly he would fliow me no 
mercy, nor indeed can you imagine that I would 
lead you into dangers to which! myfelf were not 

Remember, alfo, that you are not to have the 
leaft dependence on your courage ; it will not 
bear a thought : I even charge you very exprefsly 
to come entirely unarmed 5 fo that your intrer^ 
4)idity will avail you nothing. If we are fur- 
j>rifed, I amrefolved to throw myfelf into your 
arms, to grafp you to my heart, and thus to re- 
ceive the mortal blow, that they may part us no 
more ! fo ihall my exit be the happieft moment 
f>f my. life. 

. Yet I hope a milder fate awaits us : we farely 
defeive it^ and fortune muft at laft grow weary 
of herinjuftice. Come,, then, thou}oyofmy 
heart, life of my life, come and be reunited to 
thyfelf. Come, under theaufpices of love, and 
xeceive the reward of thy obedience and thy fa- 
cfiiices. O come and confe6> even in the bo-» 
. - . fom 

£ L O I S A. Z31 

fom of pleafure, that from the union of hearts 
proceed its greaU^ft delights. 



AM I then arrived !-*-how my heart flut- 
ters in entering this afyluin of love F 
Yes, Eloifa, I am now in your clofet : I am in 
the fanSuary of my foul's adored. The torch 
of love lighted my fteps, and I pafled through 
the houfe unperceived—— Delightful manfion? 
happy place ! once the fcene of tendernefs and 
iiifant love fupprefled ! Thefe confbious walls 
have feen my growing, my fuccef&ful paffion, and 
will now a fecond time behold it crowned with 
blifs : witnefs of my eternal conftancy, be wit- 
nefs alfo of my happinefs, and conceal for ever^ 
the tranfports of the moft faithful and molt for- 
tunate of men. 

How charming is this place of concealment ! 
Every thing around me ferves to inflame the 
ardour of my paffion. O Eloifa, this delightful 
fpot is full of thee, and my deiires are kindled 
by every footftepof thine^ Every fenfe is at 
Oftce intoxicated with imaginary blifs. Ah al-* 
njoft imperceptible fweetnefs, more exquiiite 
than the fcent of the rofe, and more volatile than * 
t!ii^t of the Iris, exhales from every part. I 
fapcy I hear the delightful found of your voice.' 
Every part of your/cattered drefs prefentstomy 


252 E L O I S A. 

gloNTtng imagination the charms k has con* 
cealed. That light head-drefs, which is adorned 
by thofc bright locks it afFe<Sbs to hide^ that fimplc 
elegant defliabillcj which difplays fo well the tafte 
of the wearer J thofe pretty fli-ppers, that fit fo 
eafily on your little foet ; th^h ftays, which en- 
circle and embrace joi^r flender— - — •J[iea^ens, 
ijirhat a char oping (hape ! how the top of t^e 
flpmacber is waved in two gentle curves — -r- 
l^;^urip^8 fight ! the whalebone has yielded ti> 

tjf^eif i;iK^>r.^i$o|i4n delicious in^preflSqn ! let me 

4ciy9Mr it widitiiles! — — O Gods ! l\ow/hall 
I .bp ^le t9 b^r ?— Ah! p[\etbinks,I fe^ already 
^rte^iJ^qr b^rt beat foftly andermy l^appy hand I 
^loifa, 4py ch^tming Eloifa^j I fee, I feel i;he at 
cyery pore. We r^w breath tl^e fame air. .Ffqw, 
thy deUy infls^mes ^ind torments me ! My im- 
Ritijf n<::« i* iqfup439rtabU. O, cotne^ fly, Jfloifa, 
fly toipy.^r^s^ ,Qr I agi undope! Hq.w fortu- 
nate it was to find pen, ink, and paper ! By ex- 
prjsflJn^ what I /eel, I mo4erate nriy ec<J:acy, zjid 
give a mrn tp my t^anfpor.ts, by atten^ptin^ ta 
4cfcribe tfhenip 

Haf I hear a n»oife — r-Should it be her in- 
{)yman father !-rJ do not tl^ink pfiyfelf a cow- 
y 4 .] / b ut .de^th would terjify me juft now. 
My defp^ir woi^ld be ec^ual to the ardour wl\ich 
cppfi^q:>e^ .me. Gfant me, good heaven, but 
ope more hour to live, and I refign the reinain- 
der of my life to thy utrooft rigour. What im- 
patie|\ce! what fears! what cruel palpitation! 
i^li ! t^e door opens ! It is ihe I ic is.Eloifo f *I 


E L Q I S A. 233 

fte her enter the chawbef aM lock the door. 
My heart, my feeble heart, finks ypder its agi- 
tations. Let me recover myfelf, apd gather 
ftrength to fupport the bljfs that overwie),mf 

L E T T E R LV. 


OH ! let US die, my fweet friend ! kt us die, 
thou beft hulmsd of my hjeart ! How &ail wis 
kefieafter fupport an infipid life^ wko& pieaftHres 
w« have alread)^ ftxhauiW? Teli ai«, if tfc<^ 
canfl, what I cxp^hjnoid hOt night: give m« aa 
idea ofawhiQk life fpe«U iu tha fa^)^ ma4i4icr, 
ofjlot iii^^uitan«3£iflc«CiQ tvhieh has nothing kit 
that «an f itaal the pleafurcs i have et^oyedf. 

i had ta^edblifs, and formed a coHcefitkln of 
Jiftp^inclSt But, aiasi I had only dreamt of 
tme pl^afuro, aed concpi^ed oniy dae faappineft 
«f A child ! My fenC^s dacety^ m^y uocefiaed 
hfiart ; I fought fuprem^ delight in their gr^tifica^ 
iifffi % ^ai I fi^d that the end of (bniLial pleafures 
i? Imi ih» b^innijng of mm* 0» thow ehgice 
l©3»fler-pieee of iiature's works; diyioe Eloifai 
tQ ih^ ec^atiek pofleiBon.of whom all the tranfr 
ip^-i^ q{ the dxoft ardent paiSoH hardly fuffice { 
Yet it is not tho«fe traafports I regret the metUr* 
Ahi QO : deny me, if it muft he fo, tho& iuc* 
to|LJpa;tij3g favours, (^ the ^BxijoymeAt of which^ 
nevj9rthelefi$, I wotiid die a thoufan^ deaths, bul: 
reftore m^ all the bdifs ii^hickdoes Aot depend on 


234. E L O I S A. 

them, and it will abundantly exceed them; Re* 
ftorc me that intimate connexion of fouls, wliich 
you firft taught me to know, and have fo well 
mftrudted me to tafte. Reftore to me that de- 
lightful languor, accompliflied by the mutual 
effufions of the heart. Reftore to me that en- 
chanting fluml)er that lulled me in your breaft 1 
Reftore to me the yet more delicious moments 
when 1 awoke; thofe interrupted fighs, thofe 
jmeltiiig tears, thofe kifles flowly, fweetly im- 
prefted in voluptuous languifiiment ; let me hear 
thofe foft, thofe tender com plaints,^midftwhofc 
gentle murmurs you prefted fo clofe thofe hearts 
which were made for each other. 

Tell me, Eloifa, you, who ought from your 
own fenfibility to judge fo well of mine, do you 
think I ever tafted real love before ? My feelings 
are greatly changed fince yefterday ; they feem 
to have taken a lefs impetuous turn ; but more 
agreeable, more tender, and more delightful. 
Do you remember that whole hour we fpent, in 
calmly taking over the circumftances of our 
love, and of the fearful confeq'uences of what 
might happen hereafter, by which the prefent 
moment was made the more interefting ? That 
ihort hour in which a flight apprehenfion of fu- 
ture forrow rendered our converfatioa the more 
aflPecSing. I was tranquil, and yet was near my 
Eloifa. I adored her, but my defires were 
jcdlm. I did not even think of any other feli- 
xity than to perceive your fate clofe to mine, td 
feel your breath on my check, and your aria 
« about 

E L O I S A. 2J5 

abeut my neck. What a pleafing tranquillity 
prevailed overall my fen fes ! How refined, how 
lading, how conftant the delight ! The mind 
pofTefled all the pleafure of enjoyment, not mo- 
mentary, but durable. What a difference is there 
between the impetuous fallics of appetite, and a 
£tuation fo calm and delightful 1 It is the firfl: 
time I have experienced it in your prefence ; 
and judge of the extraordinary change it has 
cffefted. That hour I fliall ever think the hap- 
pieft of my life, as it is the only one which I 
could wifh fhould have been prolonged to eter- 
nity. Tell me, then, Eloifa, did I not love you 
before, or have I ceafed to love you fince? 

If 1 ceafe to love you I What a doubt is that ! 
Do I ceafe to exift, or does not my life depend 
more on the heart of Eloifa than my own I I 
feel, I feel you are a thoufand times more dear 
to me than ever ; and I find myfelf enabled, 
from the flumber of my defines, to love yoi^ 
more tenderly than before. My fentiments, it 
is true, are lefs paffionate, but they are more 
affectionate, and are of a different kind : with'^ 
^ut lofing any thing of their force, they are 
multiplied ; the mildnefs of friendfliip moderates 
the extravagance of Iqve; and I can hardly con- 
ceive any kind of attachment which does not 
Hnite me to you. O, n^y charming miftrefs I 
my wife ! my fitter ! my friend ! By what name 
ihall I exp-refe what I feel, after having ex- 
haufted all thofe ^hich .are dear to^the heart of 

man ? , . 


2^6 E L I S A. 

Let me now confefs a fufpicion which, to my 
(hame and mortification, I have entertained 5 
it is that you are more capable of love thaii my-„ 
fclf. Yes, my Eioifa, it is on you that my life, 
my being depends: I revere you with all the 
faculties of ray foul ; but your's cx)ntains more of 
love. I fee, I feel, that love hath penetrated 
deeper into your heart than mine. It is that 
which animates your charms, which prevails iw 
your difcourfe, which gives to your eyes that 
penetrating fweetnefs, to your voice fuch mov- 
ing accents: it is that which your prefence 
aloQe imperceptibly communicates to the hearts 
of others, the tender emotions of your own* 
Alas ! how far s^ I from ilich an independent 
ftate of love !-^I feek the ei^jopncnt, s^d you 
the love, of the beloved obje^ ;-^i am tranfport'^ 
ed, an^ you enamoured; not all my tranfpprts 
aree4}Ual toyqur languiihiAg fpftnefs ; and it is 
in fuch fen^tions as y^ux's only, th^tt fupssisifi 
felicity Gon£fis. It is hut &nc^ ycS^i^y tk^ 
I have kno^a fuch refined ple^fure. Yqu havfi 
left me fonaething of that incoacei^dUe eh^.9l 
peculiar tp your&lf ; and I am perf^aded t^ 
your fweet breath hath infpiired me ^th a new 
ibul. Hafte, then, I conjure you, to complete 
the work you have begun. Take from me aJi 
that remains of ndne, a/id give me a foul en- 
tirely your's. No, angclick beauty, ceJefljal 
maidi ho fentiments but fuch as your's can do 
honour to your charms. You alone are wojtbjr 
to in fpire a per fed paiSon: you alone ar^ ca^} 


1 L I S A, .2^if 

j)ablc of fdeling it. Ah ! give me your heart, 
jny Eloifa, that 1 may love you as you deferve. 

■l i 

L R T T E R LVf. 


JHaVe ^ plecfe of information for my dear 
eoUfin, in which fhe willfihd herfelf a little 
ititerefted. Lift night th^ere happened an af- 
fair bet^V^iien your friend and Lord B ■ which 
thay poftibly become ferioua. Thus it was, as I 
liad It frbrh Mr. Orbe, ii^ho was preffent, and 
Vhb gave hie the following account this morh*- 

Having fupped with his lordfhip, and enter- 
^ined thenifelves for acduple of hours with their 
tniifick, they fat down to chat aiid drink punch* 
Vour friend drank only onfe fingle glafs mixed 
with water. The other ^wb were not ^uitte fo 
fober; for though Mr. Orbe declares he was not 
- touched, 1 intend to givie him my opinion of 
that matter fomfe other time. You naturall;^ 
became the fubjeft of their converfation j for 
you know this Englifhmah can talk of nobody 
elfe. Your friend, who did nbt much relilh 
his Ibrdfeip's difcourfe, feemed fo little obliged 
to him for his confidence, that at laft my lord, 
fluihed with liquor, and piqued alt the coldnefs 
of his manner, dared to tell him. In cortiplaih- 
ing of your indifference, tbat it was not fo jge- 
neral as might be imagined, anrf th^t thoft wbo 
were filent had lefs reafon to complain. You 


e3f8 B L O I S A. 

know your friend's impetuofity : he inftamly 
took fire, repeated the words with great warmth 
and infult, which drew upon him the //>, and 
they both flew to their fwords. Lord B— , 
who was half feas over, in running gave his 
ancleafudden twift which obliged him to dagger 
to a chair. His leg began immediately to fwell, 
and this more efFeftually appeafed their wrath 
than all Mr. Orbe's interpofition. But as he 
continued attentive to what paiTed, he obferved 
your friend, in going out^ approach his lordfhip^ 
and heard him whifper : " jfs/oonas you areabUto 
walky you will let me know it^ or IJhall take care 
to inform my/el/.'* — *^ Tou need not give your/elf 
that trouble (faid the other, with a contemptuous 
fmile) you Jhall know it time enough.*' ^^^^ JVeJhall 
fee^' returned your friend, and left the room, 
Mr. Orbe, when he delivers this letter, will tell 
you more particularly. It is your prudence that 
muft fuggeft the means "of ftifling this unlucky 
affair. In the mean time, the bearer waits your 
commands, and you may depend on his fecrefy. - 

Pardon me, my dear, my friendfliip forces 
me to fpeak : I am terribly apprehenfive on your 
account. Your attachment can never continue 
Jong concealed in this fmall town; it Is indeed 
a miraculous piece of good fortune, confidering 
it is no^ two years fince it began, that you are 
not already the publick talk of the place. But it 
will very foon happen, if you are not extremely 
cautious. I am convinced your charadler would 
long fince have fuffered, if^you had been Icfs ge- 

B L O I S A. 239 

merally beloved ; but the people are fo univerfally 
prejudiced in your favour, that no one dares to 
fpeak ill of you, for fear of being difcredited and 
defpifed. Ncverthelefs, every thing muft have an 
end i and much I fear that your myftery draws 
near its period. 1 have great reafon to apprehend 
that Lord B — -'s fufj[)icions proceed fromfome 
difagreeable tales he has heard. Let Dfie intreat 
you to think ferioufly of this affair. The 
watchman has been heard to fay, that, fome 
time ago, he faw your friend come out bf your 
houfe at five o'clock in the morning. Fortunate - 
ly he himfelf had early intelligence of this report^ 
and fpund means to filence the fellow; but what 
iignifies fuch filence ? It will ferve only to con- 
firm the reports that will be privately whifpered 
to all the world. Befides, your mother's fuf-. 
picions are daily increafing. You remember her 
frequent hints. She has feveral times fpoke to 
me in fuch ferious terms, that if fhe did not dread 
the violence of your father-s temper, I am ccr- 
tain fhe would. already have opened her mind to 
him; but (he is confcious that the blame would 
fall chiefly on herfelf. 

It is impoffible 1 (bould repeat it too often ; 
think of your fafety before it be too late. Prevent 
thofe growing fufpicions which nothing, but his 
abfeijce can difpcl : and, indeed, to be fincere 
with you,, under what pretext can he be fupppfed 
to continue here ? Poffibly, in a few weeks more . 
his removal may be to no pujrpofe. If the leaft 
ctrcumftance fliould reach your father's ear you, 


ii6 t L t> i S A. 

will have caufe to tremble at the indignation of 
an old officer, To tenacious of the honour of his 
family, and at tile petulance of a violent youth. 
6ut wemuft fifft endeavour to terminate the af- 
fair with Lord B — »-, for it were in vain to at- 
tempt to perfuade your friend to decamp, till 
that is in fome fliap^ accotnplithed. 


L fe T t E k LVIt. 


Have beeh informed^ my friend, <iF whcit has 
paffed bstweeh you and my Lord B*-^ ( smd 
from a perfeA knowledge of the &d^ I hffve 
a mind to diftufs the aRliiir^ and give yoo my 
opinion of the condu-<ft you ought to obferve ofi 
this Mcafidti, agreeably to the (bntimentti ydu 
pfofcfs, artd df whi<5h I fti^^ofe you do -lot 
itmke only ah idle parade. ~ 

I do riot concert! myfeJf whether you are 
ikilled in fencing, norwhether you think your- 
i^lf capable of tont^mKng with a man who is 
famous all over Europe for his fuperior dexterity 
in tb^t art, having fought fivfe or Rx times in his 
life, ahd always killed, wounded, ordifanned 
his man. I khow that in iuch a cafe as your's, 
people confult not their (kilJ, but their courage; 
and that the faihionable method to be revenged 
of a man who has ihfulted you, istoletfeiift rim 
you through the body .^ B^t, let us pflfsover 
this wj/r maxiin; yo« wUl tell me that your 


S L O I S A. 241 

honour and mine are dearer to you than life« Thi^^ 
therefore, is the principle on which we muft 

To begin with what immediately concerns 
yourfelf. Can you ever make it appear in what 
refpefl you were perfonally offended by a con- 
verfation that related folely to mti We (hall 
fee prefently whether you ought, on fuch an oc- 
cafion, to take my caufe upon yourfelf : in the 
mean time, you cannot but allow that the quar« 
xel was quite foreign to your own honour in par- 
ticular, uhlefs you are to take the fufpicion of 
being beloved by me as. an aftront. . I muft own 
you have been infulted ; but tkea it was after 
haying begun the quarrel yourfelf by aa atro- 
cious affront y and, as I have had frequent opr 
portunities, from the many military people ia 
our family, of hearing theiie horrible queftiont 
debated, I am noc to learn that one outrage com- 
mitted in return to another does npt annul the 
firft, and that he' who receives the iirft infultis 
the only perfon offended. It is the fame in this 
cafe, as in a rencounter, where the aggreflbr is 
only in fault : he who wounds or kills another 
in. his own defenfe, is not confidered as being 
guilty of murther. 

To come now to myfelf ; we will agree that 
I was infuited by the converfation of my Lord 
B — r-, although he faid no more.of me than he 
might juftify. But do you know what you arc 
about in defending my caufe with fo much 
warmth and indifcretion ? You aggravatehis in- 

Vol- L ' L fultsj 

24» E L O I 6 A. 

iults; you prove that he was in the right ; yotl fti 
crificemy honour to the falfe punftiliosoflyour'^, 
and defame your miftrefs, to gain at nioft tht 
reputation of a good fwords-itian. Pray, tell me 
what affinity there is betweeli your manner of 
juftifying me and my real jufti-fication ? Do you 
think that to Engage in my behalf With fo much 
heat is any great proof that there are no con- 
nexions between us i And that it is fufficient to 
ftow ycJUr courage j to convince the world you 
are not my lover i Be affured, my Lord B — 's 
infinuations are lefs injurious to me than your 
condud. It is you alone who take upon your- 
ielf^ by thisbuflle, topublifh and confirm them* 
He may, perhaps, turn afide the point of youJr 
fword in the conflift ; but neither my reputation, 
nor perhaps my life, can be fecured againft the 
fatal blow which your ra(h duel will give them. 

Thefe reafons arc too folid to admit of a re- 
ply 5 but I forefee you will oppofe cuftom to 
reafon; you will tell me there is a fatality in 
fome things, which hurries us away in fpite of 
outfelves : that a man is in no cafe whatever to 
fuffer the lie to be given him; and that, when 
an affair is gone to a certain length, .it is impof- 
fible to avoid fighting or infamy. We will 
examine into the validity of this argument. 

Do not you remember a diftinfiion you once 
made, on a very important occafion, between real 
and apparent honour ? Under which of thefe 
clafi'es fliall we rank that in queftipn i . For my 
part, X cannot fee that it will even admit of a 

. doubt 

E L O I S A. MS 

dbabt. What comparifon is there between the 
glory of cutting another's throat, and the tefti- 
mony of a good confcience ? and of what import- 
ance is the idle opinion of the world, fet in 
competition with true honour, whofe foundation 
is rooted in the heart ? Can we be deprived, of 
virtues we really poffefs by falfe afperfions of 
calumny? Does the infult of a drunken man 
prove fuch infults deferved i Or does the honour 
of the virtuous and prudent lie at the mercy of the 
firft brute or blockhead he meets i Will you tell - 
me that fighting a duel fhows a man to have cou-* 
rage, and that this is fufficientto efface the dif- 
honour, and prevent the reproach due to all other 
vices ? I would aik you, what kind of honour can 
dictate fuch a deciflon ? Or what arguments j uf-* 
tifyit? On fuch principles a fcoundrel need only 
to fight, to become a man of probity : the affer- 
tions of a liar become true when they are main- 
tained at the point of the fword ; and, if you 
were even accufed of killing a man, you have 
only to kill a fecond, to prove the acCufation falfe. 
Thus virtue, vice, honour, infamy, truth, and 
falfehood, all derive their exiftence from^the 
event of a duel : a fencing- fchool is the only 
court of jufticej there is no other law than 
violence, no other argument than murther : all 
the reparation due to the infulted, is to kill them ; . 
and every ofFenfe is equally wafli^d away by the 
blood of the offender or the offended. If wolves 
themfelves could reafon, would they entertaii^ 
maxims more inhuman than tbefe ? Judge your- 
L 2 ' * ' , felf. 

^44 E L O I « A. 

fclf, from the fituation y^u areio, whetber I ex- 
aggerate their abfurdity. What i$ it you refent ? 
That the lie has been given yQu on an occafion 
wherein you adually a/&rted a jEaifehpod. Do 
you intend to 4eftrpy the truth> by killing mgt 
you would punifli for having told iti Do yott 
ponfider that, in rifting the Aiccefsof ^d^ri, 
you cAll h^Ycn to witnefe th^ truth of ^ lie* and 
impioufly bid the SMpr^we Difpoftf of events 
fuppprt tbe cattfe of i^juftie^ wi give the tri- 
umph to f^Ufeho^ i Doc^ »ot fcch ab(i»rdity 
(hock you f D^^ i^^^t fucb iuipiety make you 
fluwlde^r? Gpoi<?0di wluit a wretched feoie 
cf honour »$ that, which is k6 afraid of vice 
than reproach ; and will not permit that anocher 
(hopld give u« the lic^ which our own heart's 
had given tis hefore ? 

Do you, who wouid have every one profit by 
their reading, make ufe of your*s : fee tf you can 
find one infta«iceof a challenge being given, 
when the world abounded with heroes? Did the 
moft valiant men of antiquityevcr think of re- 
venging private injuries by perfonal coinbat? 
Did Caefar fend a challenge to Cato, or Pompey 
to Caefar, in confequencc of their many reciprocal 
affronts ? or was the greateft warriour of Greece 
difgraced, becaufc he put up with the threats of 
being cudgelled? Manners, I know, change 
with the times ; but are they all equally com-» 
mendable? Or is it unreafonable to enquire 
whether thpfe of any times are agreeable to the 
diftatesof true honour ? This is not of a fickle 


£ L O I S A. 34; 

or diangesrble nature r trtfe honour does not de^^ 
prad on time, ptafce, or prejudree^ it can neither 
be annihilated, nor generated anew; bat has its 
Conftant foorce in the heart of the virtuous man, 
and in the unalterable rules of bis conduA. If 
die moft enlightened, the moft brave, the moft 
Tirtuous peopte upon earth had no duefs, I will 
'Venture to daclare it not an inftitution of honour, 
bat a horrid and favage cuftom, worthjr its bar* 
barotts origin. It remains for you to determine 
iP7hether, when his own life, or that of another, 
is in queftron, a man of real honour is to be go« 
Verned by the nwde, or if kt be fi^ a» greater in* , 
fiance of true courage fe»rrftft the a4f»rd tp2tn- 
ity otcuHom^thsmUKwAf t»f vibmHu> it. WlMt 
would be your opinion of a man wtoo^flioirid re- 
gulate bis condo^ by the mode, in places wliere 
iifftrent cuftoms are efiabFiflicd. At Meftna or 
Napks he wovld not challenge bis man, bttt 
tvait for him at the corner of a ftreet, and ftab 
him in tbeback. Thi^ is called bravery in thofe 
countries, where honour confifts; in killing yOOr 
enem/, and not in being killed by bim yourfetf. 
Beware, then, of confound ing the facredttaiftcdf 
honour with that barbarous prejudice, which fab- 
je&,s every vmue to the decifoct of the fword, 
atnd is only adapted to make men daring villains! 
Will it be faid this cuftom may be made nfeof is 
a fupplement to the rules of probity ? Wherever 
probity prevails is not fuch a foppkmcnt ufelefs^? 
And what fball be faid to the man who expofes 
bk life in order to be exempted from being vii- 
L 3 tuous ? 

:246 E L O I S A. 

tuous ? Do you not fee that the crimes, which 
ibame and a fenfe of honour have not prevented, 
arefcreened and multiplied by a falfe (hame, 
and the fear of reproach ? It is this fear which 
makes men hypocrites and liars : it is this which 
makes them embrue their hands in the blood of 
their friends, for an idle word, which ought to 
be forgotten, or for a merited reproach, which 
rhey ought patiently to fufFer. It is this which 
transforms the abufed and fearful maid into an 
infernal fury: it is this which arms the hand of 
the mother againft the tender fruit of— I fbud- 
der at the horrible idea, and give thanks at lead 
to that Being who fearcheth the heart, that be 
hath banifhed far from mine a fenfe of that dia- 
bolical honour, which infpires nothing but 
wickednefs, and makes humanity tremble. 

Look into yourfelf, therefore, and confider 
whether it be permitted you to make a deliberate 
attempt on the life of a man, and expofe youi's 
to futisfy a barbarous and fatal notion, which 
has no foundation in reafon or nature. Confider 
whether the fad reflexion of the blood fpilt on 
fuch occafions can ceafe to cry out for vengeance 
on him who has fpilt it. Do you* know any 
crime equal to wilful murther? If humanity alfo 
be the bafis of every virtue, what muft be 
thought of the man whofe blood-thirfty and 
depraved difpofition prompts him to feek the life 
of his fellow-creature ? Do you remertiber what 
you have yourfelf faid to me, againft entering 
into foreign fervice ? Have you forgotthat a good 


B L O I S A. TJff 

•citisen owes his life to his country, and has not 
a right to difpofe of. it, without the pcrrriiffion 
of its laws, and much lefs in dire£l oppofition 
to them? O, my friend, if you have a fincere 
regard for virtue, learn to purfue it in its owri 
way, and not in the ways of the world. I will 
own fome flight inconvenience may arife from it> 
but is the word virtue no more to you than aa 
empty found f and will you pradife it only when 
it cofts you no trouble? I will aflc, however, in 
what will fuch inconvenience confift ? In the 
whifpers of a fet of idle or wicked people, who 
feek only to amufe themfelves with the misfor- 
tunes of others, and have always feme new 
tale to propagate, A pretty motive truely, to en- 
gage men to cut each other's thr ats ! If the 
philofopher and man of fenfe regulate their be- 
haviour, on the moft important occafions of life^ 
by the idle talk of the multitude, to what pur- 
pofe is all their parade of ftudy, when they are at 
laft no better than the vulgar ? Dare you not 
facrifice your refentment to duty, to efteem, tQ 
friendCbip, for fear it fhould be faid you are 
afraid of death ? Weigh well thefe circum- 
ftances, my good friend, ^and I am convinced 
you will find more cowardice in the fear of that 
reproach than in the fear of death. The brag- 
gard, the coward, would, at all hazards, pafs for 
brave men. 

Ma verace valor ^ ben che negUtto, 
E" difeflejfo afefreggio ajfai cbiaro 

But real valour, howfoe'erneglefted, 

la ftill the fame, and from affronts reipe^led. 

L 4 He 

245 E L O I S A. 

He wbo affefis to meet ietnh without fear b 
a Kar, All men fear to die ; it w a Jaw with all 
fcnfiblc beings, without which every fpecies of 
mortals would foon be deftroyed. This fear is 
the firtple emotion of nature, and that not in 
itfelf indifferent, but juft, and conformable to the 
order of things. AH that renders it IhamefuP, or 
Waraeable, is, that it may fbnretimes prevent ns 
from doing good, and the proper difcharge of our 
duty. If cowardice were noobftacleto virtue it 
tf ouM ceafe to be a vice. Whoever is more 
attslched talife than to his duty, 1 own, cannot 
be truely virtuous; but can you, who pique 
yourfelf on afling rationally, explain to me what 
fort of merit there is in braving death in order to 
be guilty of a crime ? 

Bur, taking it for granted that amanexpofes 
bimietf to contempt in refufing a challenge; 
whichcofitempt is moft to be feated, that erf others 
for doing right, or that o{ ourfeives for having 
z&td wrong ? Believe me, he who has a proper 
eftecm for himfelf, is little fenfible to the unjuil 
reprtttch caft on him hy others, and is only 
2tfntiS of deferving it. Probity and rirtue depend 
not on the opinion of the world, but on the na* 
ttTTtoff!hmg9', and thoogh all mankwd Ihoufd 
approve of the z&ion you are about, h would 
not be lefsfltamefu! in rtfelf. But it is a falfe na- 
tion, that to refrain from it, through a virtuous 
motive, would be bringing youpfelfintocontempt. 
The virtuous man, whofe whole life is irre- 
proachable^ and who never betrayed amy marks 


E L a r s a: 249 

of cowardice. wUl refufe ta ftain^hia hands with 
blood, and will be only the more reipedied for 
fuch refufal. Always ready to fepve his country, 
ta prote£t the weak, to difcfearge his doty on the 
moft dangerous occafKMis, and to defend, in every 
juft and reafonable caufe, what is dear «o him,at 
the haizardof his life, he difplays throughout the 
whole of bh conduct that unfhaken fortitude 
winch is infeparaMe fvomr true courage. Ani- 
mated bytbeteftimonyof atgoodconfcience*, be 
appears undaunted, and neither flks ffbm, nor 
fceks his enemy. It is eafily obferved that he 
fears lefs to die than to a& bafely ; that he dreads 
the crime, but not the danger. If at any time the 
meao prejudices of the world raife a clamour 
againft him, the condu£l of his whole life is his 
teftimony, and every a^tipn is approved by a 
behaviour fo uoiformily irreproachable. 

But do you know what makes this modera- 
tion fo painful to the geuu*ality of men i 1th 
the difficulty of Aipporting it with propriety. 
It is the neceffiQr they lie under of never im- 
peaching it by an unworthyaftion : for if the fear 
of doing ill does not r^raia men in one cafe, 
^wby fhottld it in afiother,. wbene that reftraint 
may be attributed to a nxotft natural motive ? 
Hence, it is pJain it does ftotiprbceed from virtue, 
but cowardice V andii iS'Wilib ju^ice t&at fuch 
feruplss are laughed aX(, asappear only in cafes of 
danger. Have y©u. wx obferved that pcrfons 
captitous, and ready to affront others, are^ for 
the Bioft party bad anes, who^ f<w kxf of having 
L 5 the 

2SO E L O I S A. 
the contempt in which they are univerfally held 
publickly expofed, endeavour to fcreen^by fome 
honourable q\x2are\Sj the infamy of their lives; 
Is it for you to , imitate fuch wretches as thefe ? 
Let us fet afide men of a military profeffion, who 
fell their blood for pay; and who, unwilling to 
be degraded from their rank, calculate from their 
intereft what they owe to their honour, and 
know to a {hilling the value of their lives. -Let 
Us, my friend, le^ve thefe gentlemen to their fight- 
ing. Nothing is lefs honourable than that ho- 
nour about which they make fuch a noife; and 
which is nothing more than an abfurd cuftom, 
a falfe imitation of virtue, which prides itfelf in 
. the greateft crimes. Your honour is not in the 
power of another: it depends on your felf, and 
not on the opinion of the world; its defenfeis 
neither in the fword nor the buckler, but in a 
life of integrity and virtue; a proof of greater 
courage than to brave death in a duel. 

On thefe principles you may reconcile the en- 
comiums I have always beftowed on true va- 
lour, with the contempt I have as conftantly 
expreffed for the bafe pretenders to courage. I 
admire men of fpirit, and hate cowards; I 
would break with a |>ufillanimous lover, who 
Ihould betray the want of a proper rcfolution in 
cafes of danger, and think, with all the reft of 
my fex, that the ardours of true courage heighten 
tbofeof love. But I would have fuch courage 
exerted only on lawful occafions, and not an 
idle parade made of it) when it is ui^necefiary, 

i as 

E L O I S A. 2S« 

as if there was fome fear of not having it ready 
when it (hould be called for. There are cowards, 
who will make one e*flFort to exert their courage, 
that they may have a pretence to avoid danger 
the reft of their lives. True fortitude i^ mor^ 
conftant, ancl lefs impetuous j it is always what 
it ought to be, and wants neither the fpur nor ' 
the rein : the man of real magnanimity carries 
it always about him j in fighting he exerts it 
againft his enemy, in company agaihft calumny 
and falfehood, and on a fick bed againft the, 
attacks of pain, and thehorrours of death. That 
fortitude of mind which infpires true courage is 
always exerted 5 it places virtue out of the reach 
of events, and does not confift in braving danger,, 
but in not fearing it. Such, my friend, is the 
merit of that courage I have often commended^ 
^nd which I would admire in you. All other 
pretences to bravery are wild, extravagant, andj 
brutal ; it is even cowardice to I'ubmit to themj 
and I defpife as much the man who runs himfelf 
into needlefs danger, as him who turns his back 
on that which he ought to encounter. 

If I am not much miftaken, I have now made 
it clear, that, in this your quarrel with Lordr 

B ,. your own honour is not. at all corice/n-; 

cd ; that you bring mine in queftion by draw-: 
jng your fword to avenge it j that fuoh condudb 
is neither juft, reafon able, -nor lawful ; that it 
by no means agrees with th^ fentim^nts yoit- 
profefs, but belongs only to bad men, whor 
make ufe of their courag42 as, a f«pplemeiit;toj' 
L 6 . virtues 

2^2 S L O I S A. 

icirtues they do not poffefs, or to officers that 
fight not for honour but intcrcft j that there h 
more true courage in defpifing than adopting ft; 
that the inconveniences to which yoti expofe 
yourfelf by rqeSingit arc infeparable from the 
practice of your duty, and are more apparent • 
than real; in fine, that men who* arc the moft 
ready to recur to the fWord are always tbofe of 
the moft fufpicious charaflfers. From all which 
I conclude, that you cannot either give or ac- 
cept a challenge on this occafion, whhout giving 
up atoncethecaufe of reafon, virtue, honour, 
and Eloifa, Canvafs my arguments as yoirpleafc, 
heap fophifm on fophifm as you Will, it will J>e 
alivays found that a man of true courage is not 
a coward, and that a man of virtue cannot be 
without honour. And I think I have dcmon- 
ftrated as clearly, that a man of true courage ^ 
defpifes, and a man of virtue abhors duelling. 

I thought proper, my friend, in fo ferious and 
important an affair, to fpeak to you only the 
plafn language of reafon, and toreprefent things 
fimply as they are. If I would have defcribed 
them as they appear to me^ aird engaged the 
pafiions and'humanity iathc caufe, I fliould have 
addreffed you in a different ftyle. You know 
that my father had the misfortune, fn his youth, 
to kill his antagonift in a diiel ; that antagonift 
was his friend, they fought with regret, . but 
were obliged to it by that abfurd notion of a 
point of honour. That fatal blow which de-* 
priwd the one ojf life, robbed the other of his 
4 peace 

E L O I 8 A. «53 

peace of mind for ever. From that trme has the 
inoft crwelremorfe rnccflantly preyed on hisheart : 
he ia often heard to figh and vreep- m ppfvaee: 
Iria mtag^nation ftill reprefems to tnm the fatal 
Heel, thfoft bjr hw cruef hand into the breafl^ the 
man be loved : hi» (Iinnber» are d^urfoed by tht 
appearances of hia pale and bfeedrng friend: he 
leoka with teriour on the mortal woond : he en« 
deavoufs to ftopthe blood that ilows from it: 
he is feifed with horrour, and cries out. Will 
this eorpfe never ceafe purfuing me? It Is 
five years' fince he loft the only fuppo/t of his 
name, and hope of his fiermrlyj fince when, he 
has reproached himfeif with hts death, as a jtift 
judgement from heaven, which avenged on him 
the lofs of that unhappy father, whom be de- 
prived of an only fon. 

I muftconfefs that all this, added tomynatisral 
averfion to cruelty, fills me with fuch horrour at 
duels, that I regard* them as inftances of the 
foweft degree of brutality into which mankind 
can poffibly defcentf, ^ I look upon thofe, who 
gochearfully to a dutl, in no other light than 
as wild beafts going to tear each other to pieces; 
and, if there remains the leaft fentiment of hu- 
manity within them, I think the murthered lefs 
to be pitied than the murtherer* Obferve thofe 
men who are accuftomed to this horrid prafikei 
they only brave remorfe, by ftifting the voice of 
nature j they grow by degrees cruel and infenli- 
ble; they fport with the lives of others, and 
their puniftuxient for having turned a deaf ear 


254 E L O I S A. 

to humanity, is to lofe at length every fenfe of it^ 
How fhbcking muft be fuch afituation? Is it 
poffible you can defire to be like them ? No, you 
were never made for fuch a ftate of deteftable 
brutality : be careful of the fir ft ftep that leads 
to it: your mind is yet undepraved and innocent : 
begin not to debafe it, at the hazard of your life, 
by an attempt that has no virtue, a crime that 
has no temptation, and a point of honour 
founded only on abfurdity. 

I have faid nothing to you of your Eloifa ; fha 
will be a gainer no doubt, by leaving your heart 
to fpeak for her. One word, only one word„ 
and I leave her to you, ,You have fometimes 
honoured me v^ith the endearing name of wife ; 
perhaps I ought at thU time to bear that of mo- 
ther. Will you leave mfe a widow before we are 
legally united i 

P. 5. I make ufe of an authority in this let- 
ter which no prudent man ever refifted. If 
you refufe to fubmit to it, I have nothing fur- 
ther to fay to you : but think of it well before- 
hand. Take a week's time for reflexion, and to 
meditate on this important fubjedl. It is not for 
any partiQular reafon I demand this delay, but 
for my own pleafure. Remember, I majke ufe 
only on this occafion of a right, which you your- 
felf have given me over you, and which extends 
at leaft to what I now require. 


E L O I S A. 255 



I Have no intention, in writing to your Lord- 
fliip, to accufe or complain of you; fince 
you are pleafed to affront me, I muft certainly 
be the offender, though I may be ignorant of my 
offenfe. Would any gentleman feek todilho- 
nour a reputable family without a caufe ? Surely 
no: therefore fatisfyyour revenge, if you believe 
itjuft. This letter will furnifh you with an 
cafy method of ruining an unhappy girl, who 
can never forgive herfelf for having offended 
you, and who commits to your difcretio.i that 
honour which you intend to blafl. Yes, my 
Lord, your imputations were juft : I have alover^ 
whom I lincerely love; my heart, my perfon, 
are entirely his, and death only can diffolve our 
union. This lover is the very man whom you 
honour with your friendfhip, and he deferves it, 
becaufe he loves you, and is virtuous. Never- 
thelefs, he muft perifh by your hand. Offended 
honour, I know, can be appeafed only by a 
human facrifice. I know that his own courage 
will prove his deftru<ftion. I am convinced, that 
in a combat in which you have fo little to fear 
his intrepid heart will im))atiehtly ru(h upon the 
point of your fword. I have endeavoured to re- 
ftrain his inconfiderafe ardour, by the power of 
reafonj but, alas! even whilfti was writing, t 
was confcious of the inutility of my arguments :* 


2s,6 E L O I S A. 

What opinion foev^r I may have of his virtue, 
I do not believe it fo fublime as to detach him 
from a farfe point of honour. You may fafely ^ 
anticipate the pleafure you will have in piercing- 
the heart of your friend : bttt be aflTured, bar- 
barous man, that you fliall never enjoy that of 
being witnefs to my tears and my defpair. No, 
I fwear by that facred flame which fills my 
whole heart, that I will not i^rvive one fingle 
day the man for whom alone I breathe ! Yes, 
Sir, you will reap the glory of having, in one 
inftant, fent to the-grave two unhappy lovers, 
wbofe ofFenJe was not intentional, and by whoot 
you were honoured and efteemcd. 

I have heard, my lord, that you have a great 
foul, and a feeling heart : if theic will allow yoa 
the peaceful enjoyment of your revenge, heaven 
grants when 1 am no more, that they may in* 
fpire you with fome compafion for my pocu^dif- 
con folate parents, whofe grief for their only 
child will endure for ever. 



ISeife the firft moment, in> obedience to your 
commands, to render an account of mypr#^ 
ceedings. I am this inftant returned from m-y 
vifit to Lord B— , who is not yet able to walk 
without fupport. I gave him your letter, which 
he opened with impatience, H^ Ibowcd fome. 


E L O I S A. 257 

emotion while he was reading: be paufcdj 
read it a fecond time, and the agftation of his 
mind wa$ then more apparent. When he had 
done, the(e were \m words : '' Ttmknowy Sifj that 
tffftnrs of honour have their fixed rules^ which can^ 
n^ be £fpenfei wrtb. Tou were a witnefs /y 
what pajfid in this. It muft he regularfy deter-^ 
mined, Choofe two of yotir friends^ and give yaur'^' 
Jelf the tranble to return with them hither to^mor^- 
wow mornings and you fiall then know my r^-. 
bttion." I urged the impropriety of making others 
acquainted with an affair which had happened 
among OQiMvts. To which he hafti ly repKed ; 
^ I know what ought to ie done^ andJhaUaStfroperly. 
Bring your two friends ^ or I have nothing to fay to 
you.** I then took my leave, and hare ever 
fmcit racked my brain indFeAually to penetrate 
Into his deftgn. Be it as it will, I (ball fee you 
this evening, and to-morrow (ball zA as you 
may adviie. If you think proper that I fhould 
wait on his lordfliip with my attendants, I wilt 
take care to cboofe fuck as may be depended on, 
at all events. 

L B T T E R LX. 


AY aCde your fears, my gentle Eloifa; 
and, from the following recital of what 
has happened, know and partake of thefenti- 
ments of your friend • 

I was fo fdl of indignation when I received 

. your 


^58 E L a I S A. 

your letter, that I could hardly read it with ther 
attention it deferved. 1 fhould have made fine 
work in attempting to refute it: I was then too* 
rafh and inconfiderate. You may be in the 
right, faid I to myfelf, but I will never be per-, 
fuaded to put up an affront injurious to my Eloifa* 
r-Though I were to lofeyou, and even die in a 
Iferong caufe, I will never fufFer any one to (how 
you lefs refpeft than is your due: butwhilft I 
have life you fliall be revered by all that approach 
you, even as my own heart reveres you. I did. 
not hefitate, however, on the week's delay you. 
required ; the accident which had happened to 
Lord B— — , and my vow of obedience, con- 
curred in rendering it neceffary. In the mean 
time, being reiblved, agreeably to your com- 
mands, to employ that interval in meditating on 
the fubjeft of your letter, 1 read it over again 
and again, and am reflecting on it continually j 
not with a view, however, to change my defign, 
but to juftify it. 
. I had it in my hand this morning, perufing 
again, with fome uneafinefs of mind, thofe too 
fenlible and judicious arguments that made againft 
me, when fomebody knocked at the door of my 
chamber. Itwas opened, and immediately en-^ 
tered Lord F — ' — , wichout his fword, lean- 
ing on his cane ; he was followed by three gen*- 
tlemen, one of whom I oblerved to be Mr. 
Orbe. Surprifed at fo unexpected a vifit, I 
waited filently for the confcquence; when my 
lord requefted of me a moment's audience, and 


E L O IS A. 259 

begged leave to fay and do as he pleafed with-^ 
out interruption. '' Youmuft (fays he) give me 
your exprefs permiffion: the prefence of thefe 
gentlemen, who are your friends, will excute 
ypu from any fuppofed indifcretion." I promifed 
without hefitation not to interrupt him, when, 
to my great aftoniihment, his lordfhip imme- 
diately fell upon his knee. Surprife4 at feeing 
him in fuch an attitude, I would have rai fed him 
up; but after putting me in mind of my 
promife, he proceeded in the following words : 
*' I am come. Sir, openly to retrad the abufe, 
which, when in liquor, I uttered in your com*, 
pany. The injuftice of fueh behaviour renders 
it more injurious to me than to you; and there- 
fore I ought publickly to difavow it, I fubmit 
to whatever punifhment you pleafe to inflid on 
me, and fhall not think my honour re-eftablifh- 
ed, till my fault is repaired. Then, grant me 
the pardon I a/k, on what conditions you think 
fit, and reftore me your friendfhip.*' — '* My lord 
(returned 1)1 have the trueft fenfe of your ge- 
nerofity and greatnefs of mind, and take a plea- 
fure in diftinguifhing between the difcourfe 
which your heart diftates, and that which may 
efcape you when you are not yourfelf ; let that 
in queftion be forever forgotten." I immediately 
raifed him, and falling into my arms, he cor- 
dially embraced me. Then turning about to the 
company, *' Gentlemen (faid he) L thank you 
for your complaifance. Men of honour, like 
you (added he, with a bold air and refolute tone 


a6c E L O I S A. 

of Toice) knaowtltm, he who Mbusttpm^ the m^ 
)my he. has 4ofie wiU not firbtni e to n^eire an 
injury ham ztij mta^ You maf pobUfli what yoQ 
bare feeir." He then snvfted all of qs co fop with 
btm this eveniftgy and thegentkinert left ow. We 
}i9€re nafooner alone, tl»an his tordflup etsiteraced 
me again, in a more teodet and fidemdly manner; 
then taking me by the band and Seating tonn* 
ielf down by roe» ** Happjrman (faW he) may 
you Jong ei»)oy the feHchy youdefcitcl the heart 
of Eloif»idyo«r^S, may you be both" — " What 
do you mean, my lord? (faid I, interrupting 
bim :) have y^ loSk you* femfesif''— " No (re- 
turned he, ijouling) but I wa$ very near MUng 
them, and it bad perhaps been aU over wrthr me, 
jf ihe who took them away had notr eftored them." 
He then gave me a letter that I was ftirprifed to 
fee wi^itten by a hand, wbich acfet before ^rotc 
toany man butmyC^. What emoeiofksdid I feel 
in its perufal ! I traced the paAon^ of an m« 
jcwmparabfk woman, who would make a facriftec 
of herfelf to fave her lover; and I difcovered 
Eloifa. But when I came to the paflage, wherein 
ihe protefts (be wodd never furvive the moft 
fortufrateof men, haw did^ I not Audder at the 
dangers I had efcaped ! J coald not help com* 
planing that I was loved too well, a«d my fears 
convinced me you are mortal. Ah i rcftore me 
that coorage of which you have deprived mfe! 
1 had enough to fct dfeath at defiance, when it 
threatened only myfcif, but I fhrunk whien my 

better half vras in danger. 


B L O S S A. t<f 

WUk I was iiidulgiiig atffelf in tliefe cruel 
reflexiotks, I paid tittle attention t6 his lordfliip's 
iifcovLTfej till I heard the name of Elmia. Hi^ 
C(myer£idon gare me pkaftire, as it did tiot excite 
my jealoufy. He feetned extfefBely to regret 
h^ hadng difturbed our mutttal paAon and yxyut 
»poie : he refpefts you indeed beyond any othec* 
woman in the world ; and, being a(hamed to 
excufe httnfelf to you, begged me to receive hii 
apology in y^ur name, and to prevail on you to 
accept it. «* I confider you (fays he) as her re- 
pcefentative, and cannot humble my/elf too 
nuch to oneAeloyes ; being incapable^ without 
having eomprotnifed this affiair, to addrcfs my- 
felf perfenally to her, or even mention her name 
to jovk/* He frankly confefTed to me he had en- 
tertained for you thofe fentiments, which ever/ 
of¥c muft do who looks on £toifa : but that hi^ 
was rather a tender admiration than love ; that 
he had formed neither hope nor preteniion, but 
had given up all thoughts of either on hearing 
of ^>ur C^iHiexions; and that the injurious dif- 
courfe which efcaped him was the effect of li- 
quor, and not of jealoufy. He talked of love 
like a philpfopher, who thinks his mind fupcrior 
to the paiEons; but, for my part, lammiftaken 
if he has not already fek a pafion M^ieh will 
prevent any other from taking deep root in his 
breaft. He miftakes a weakneft of heart for 
the efk& of reafon ; but I know, that to love 
Eloi&t send he willing to renounce her^ is not 

amoftg the yirtues of huatan nature. 


%6€ j£ L O I S A. 

He to give him the hiftory ^^ our 
amour, and an account of the caufes whi ^re^ 
vented our happinefs. I thought that, after the 
explicitnefs of your letter, a partial confidence 
might be dangerous and unreafonable. I mad^ 
it therefore complete, and he liftened to me witl^ 
an attention that convinced me of his fmcerity; 
More than once I faw the tears come into his 
eyes, v^rhile his heart feemed moft tenderly af-^ 
fe£ted : above all, I obferved the powerful im-i 
preffions v^hich the.triumphs of virtue made on 
his niind ; and I pleafe myfelf in h^iying raifed 
up for Claud Anet a new protedor, no lefs 
zealous than your father. When I had done, 
*' Thereare neither incidents nor ad ventures (faid 
he) in what you have related j and yet the ca- 
taftrophe of a Romance could not equally affe£l 
me ; fo well is a want of variety atoned for by 
fentiments ; and of ftriking aftions fupplied by 
inftances of a virtuous behaviour, Your's are 
fuch* extraordijuary minds that they are not to 
be guided by common rules: your happinefs is 
not to be attained in the fame manner, nor 
is it of the fame fpecies with that of others. 
They feek power and pre-eminence 5 you re- 
quire only tendernefs and tranquillity. There is 
blended with your affeilions a virtuous emula- 
tion, that elevates both j and yoiu would be lefs 
deferving of each other if you were not mutu- 
ally in love. But love, he prefumed to fay, will 
one day lofe its power (forgive him, Eloifa, that 
blafphemouaexpjreiHoxi, fpoken in the ignqraiice 
' . of 


£ L O I S A. .^^3 

of b' heart) the power of love ( faid he) will one 
day ue loft, while that of virtue will remain. — O, 
myEloifa! may our virtues but fubAft as long 
as our love ! Heaven will require no more. 
' In fine, I found that the philofophical inflexi- 
J^ility of his nation had no influence over the na- 
tural humanity of this honeft £ngliAman; but 
•that his heart was really 4nterefted in our diffi- 
culties. If wealth and credit can be ufeful to 
us, I believe we have fome reafon to depend on 
his fervice. But, alas ! how fhall credit or 
riches operate to make us happy ? . 

This interview, in which we did not count 
the hours, lafted till dinner-time 3 I ordered a 
pullet for dinner, after which we continued 
our difcourfe. Among other topicks, we fell 
upon the ftep his lordfhip had taken, with regard 
to myfelf, in the morning, on which I could not 
help expreffing my fvrprife at a procedure fo fo- 
lemnand uncommon. But, repeating the reafcms 
he had already given me, he added^ that to give 
a partial fatisfa6tion was unworthy a man of 
'Courage: that he ought to make a complete one 
-or none at all, left he ihould only debafe him- 
/elf, without making any reparation; and left 
a conceflSon made involuntarily, and with an 
ill grace, fhould be attributed to fear. " Befides 
{continued he) my reputation is eftabliOied ; I 
can do you juftice without incurring the fufpit 
cion of cowardice; but you, who are young, and 
J uft beginning the world, ought to clear your*- 
ifelf fo well of tlie firft affair you are engaged in 


^ E L O I 6 A. 

as to tempt no one to involve you in a fecond. 
The viroflcl \s full of thofe artful cowards, who 
are \ip<m thJe catchy as one may fay, to tafte 
their oian^ that is, to £nd out (ofne greater cow- 
ard than them&lves to (how their valour upon. 
I would tifire a man of honour, like you, the 
troubk of phaftifiiig fuch fcoundrels ; I had ra^ 
ther, if they want a lefibn, that they (hould 
t^ke it of me than you : for one quarrel, more 
or lefsy on. the bands of a man who has already 
had many, fignifies nothing : whereas, it is a 
kind of difgrape to hare bad but one, and the 
iover/of ElOiifa (hpuld be exempt from it." 

This is, in abftrail, my long converfatioh 
with Lord B ■ -> ; of whkh I thought propd: 
to give you an account, that you might prefcribe 
the manner in which I ought to bebave to him. 

As you ought nowxo be composed, chafe' from 
your miindt 1 {Conjure you, thofe dreadful ap- 
fi<fbt0&ons which have found a place there for 
(pmQ days paft. Think of the care you fhould 
take in the uncertainty of your prefent condi- 
tion, Ob I ftpuld you foon give me life in a third 

being! Should a charming pledge t^Too 

flatt^ing hope ! d<>ft thou come again to de- 
ceive *n€?'^I wi&l I fear I I am loft in per- 
plexity ! Oh 1 Tbou deareft cbarit»er of my 
heart, let us live but to love, and 1^ heaven dif- 

P. S. I forgot to tell you that my lord oiFered 
me your letter, and that I made no difficulty 


E L O I S A. 265 

•f taking it J thinking it improper that it (hould 
remain in the hands of a third perfon. I will 
return it you the firft time I fee you : for, as to 
myfelf, I have no occafion for it; it is deeply 
engraven in my heart. 



I^TiRlNG my Lord B— — hither to-morrovvr, 
Ik -D that I may throw myfelf at h is feet, as he has 
™ done at your's. What greatnefs of mind! 
What generofity ! Oh ! how little do we feem, 
compared to him! Preferve fo ineftimable a 
friend as you would the apple of youreye. Per- 
haps he would be lefs valuable, were he of a 
more even temper; was there ever a man with- 
out fome vices who had great virtues? 

A thoufand diftrefles of various kinds had 
funk my fpirits to the loweft ebb; but your let- 
,ter has rekindled my extinguifhed hopes. In 
<iiflipating my fears, it has rendered my anxiety 
the more fupportable. I feel now I have ftrength • 
enough to bear up under it. You live^ you love 
me; neither your own, nor the blood of your 
friend has been fpilt, and your honour is fev 
cured; I am not then completely miferable. 

Fail not to meet me to-morrow. I never had 

fo much reafon for feeing you, nor fo little hope' 

of having that pleafure long^ Farewell, my 

dear friend, inftead of faying, let us live but to 

Vol. r. M love. 

266 E L O I S A. 

love, you fhould have faid, alas ! let us love 
that we may live. 



MU S T I be always, my dear cou|P#, un- 
der the neoeility of performing the moft 
difagreeable offices of friendfliip i Muft I always, 
in the bitternefsof my own heart, be giving a§f _-. i 
fiiftion to your*8, by cruel intelligence? QhdFij 
fentimcnts, alas ! arc the fame, and you are feii- 
ftble I can give no new uneafinefs to you which 
I have not firft experienced myfelf. Oh ! that I 
could but conceal your misfortune without in- 
•reafing it ! or that a friendfhip like our's were 
not as binding as love! How readily might I 
throw off that chagrin I am now obliged to com- 
municate ! Laft night, when the concert was 
OTcr, and your mother and you were gone home^ 
in company with you^^ friend and Mr. Orbe, our 
two fathers and Lord B~— were left to talk poli.- 
ticks together; the difagrecablenefs of the fub- 
jeA, of which indeed I am quite furfeited, foon 
made me retire to my own chamber. In about 
half an hour, I heard the name of youT friend 
repeated with fome vehemence; on which I 
found the converfation had changed its fubjeA, 
and therefore liftened to it with fome attention ; 
\i^A I gathered by what followed, that his 
lordihip had ventured to propofe a match be- 
tween you and your friend, whom he frankly 


% L O r S A^» 267 

called hi$t apd on whom, as fucfe, he offered t© 
nuke a fuUable fettUtnent, Your father rejedled 
the propofal with difdaia, and upon that the 
converfation began to grow warm. *' I muft telt 
yon. Sir ((aid my lord) chat, notwitbfianding 
your prejudices, he ts of all men the moft wor* 
thy of her, and perhaps the moft likely to make 
her happy. He has received from nature every 
^ift chat is independent of the world ; and has 
anbfUiihed them by all thofe talents which de- 
pended on himfelf. He is young, tali,- welU 
Blade, and ingenious: he has the* advantages . 
of educatiQii, feofe, manners, and courage; he 
has a fine genius and a found mind ; what then 
does he require to make him worthy of your 
daughter ? Is it a fortune ? He fliall have one« 
A third part of my own will make him the richeft 
man of this country : nay, I will give him, if it 
be neceflary, the half. Does he want a title? 
ridiculous prerogative, in a country where nobi* 
liCy is more troublefome than ufefui I But doubt 
it not, he is noble: not that his nobility is made 
out in writing upon an old parchment^ but it is 
engraven in indelible characters on his heart. 1 ii 
a word, if you prefer the dictates of reafon and 
fenfe to groundlefs prejudices, and if you love 
your daughter better than empty titles, you will 
give her to him." 

On this your father exprcffed himfelf in a vio- 
lent paffion : he treated the propofal as abfurd 
and ridiculous. ^' How! my lord! (faid he) is it 
poffiblc a man of honour, as you are, can enter- 
M a tuiu 

26t E L O i S A. 

tain fuch a thought, that the laft furviving tranch 
of an illuftrious family fliould go to lofeand d€^ 
grade its name, in that of nobody knows who ; 
a fellow without home, and reduced to fubfift 
upon charity,"-*— *^ Hold Sir (interrupted my 
lord) you are fpeaking of my friend; confidef 
that I muft take upon myfelf every injury done, 
him in my company, and that fuch language as 
is injurious to a man of honour, is more fo to 
him who makes ufe of it. Such Fellows are more 
refpeftable than all the country 'fquiresin Eu- 
rope; and I defy you to point out a more 
honourable way to fortune, than by accept- 
ing the debts of efteem, or the gifts of friend- 
fhip. If my friend does not trace his de- 
fcent, as you do, from a long and doubtful fuc- 
ccflion of anceftors, he will lay the foundation, 
and be the honour of his own houfe ; as the firft 
of your anceftors did that of your's. Can you 
think yourfelf difhonoured by your alliance M 
the head of your family, without falling under 
the contempt you have for him ? How many 
great families would fink again into oblivion, if 
we refpecSed only thofe which defcended from 
truely refpeftable originals I Judge of the paft 
by the prefent; for two or three honeft ci- 
tizens ennobled by virtuous means, a thouw 
fand knaves find every day the way to ag- 
grandife themfelves and families. But, to what 
end ferves that nobility, of which their defcen- 
dants are fo proud, unlefs it be to prove the in- 
5 juftic« 

£ L O I S A. z6g 

juftice and infamy of their anceftors* ? There 
are, I muft confefs, a great number of bad men 
among the common peopl^ ; but the odds are 

. always twenty to one againft a gentleman, that 
he isdefcended from a fcoundrel. Let us, if you 
will, fet afide defcent, and compare only merit 
and utility. You have borne arms in the fervice 
and pay of a foreign prince 5 his father fought 
without pay in the fervice of his country. If 
you have well ferved, -you have been well paid ; 
and, whatever honour you may have acquired by 
arms, a hundred Plebeians may have acquired 
ftill more. 

** In whatconfifts the honour, then (continued 
my lord) of that nobility of which you are fo 
tenacious ? How does it afFeS the glory of one's 
country, or the good of mankind ? A mort^ 

- enemy to liberty and the laws, what did it ever 
produce in moft of thofe countries where it has^ 

. flouriflied, but the rod of tyranny, and the op- 
preflion of the people ? Will you prefume to 
boaft, in a republick, of a rank that is deftruflive 
to virtue and humanity ? Of a rank that makes 

. its boaft of flavery, and wherein men bhifh to 
be men? Read the annals of your own coun- 
try : what have any of the nobility merited of 
her? Were any of her deliverers nobles? 
The Furjisy the Tells, the Stoufachers, were 
M 3 they 

•-Tirular grants are not very common in the pi^efent 
age, exc«pt thofe which are bought, or are obtained by 
placemen i the moft honourable appendage to which, t^iat 
\ know of, is the privilege of not being hanged. 

470 B L O I S A. 

they gentlemen? Wbat, then^ is tbatjd>furd bo- 

nour about which ]rou make fo much noifef" 

Tbink> my dear} what I furred to hear this 
refpe<^a^le man thus injure, by an ilUconcerted 
application, the caufe of that friend wfaom he 
endeavoured to kive. Your fa tbeir besng irri- 
tated by fo many galling^ though general invec- 
^ivesj ftro?c to retort them by periianal Ones. 
He toM his l^rd&ip plainly, that never any 
m^n of his condition talktd in the manner he 
had done. ^^ Trouble not yourfelf to plead ano- 
ther's caufe (added he tou^hly :) htmourabk as 
you are ftiled, I doubt much if you could make 
your own good, on the fubj^t^in ^ueftion. You 
demand my daughter for your ptet^nded friend, 
w^ithout knowing whether you ate jrtMirfelf ^n 
equ^kl ms^tch for heri and I kno# enou^ of tb« 
£)ngliAi nobility to entettftin^ fr^ih your dif« 
courfe, a very indifferent opiflidn <)f jrourV/' 

To this his Urdfliip anfwered^ <« Whatever 
you may think of me, Sirj^ I &ouId be very forry 
to be able to give no other ^roof of cny merit 
than the name of a man who di^ five hundred 
years ago. If you kaoW the nobility t»f England^ 
ypu know that it is thckaft prgudiced^ beft in- 
formed, moft fenfible, and braveft of all Europe ; 
after which, it is nvedlefs to aik whether itbe the 
moft ancient $ Ibr, when w^ tdfc of what ia, we 
never mind what has been. We are not, it is 
true, theflaves, but thefriends of our prince; not 
the 6ppreirors of a people, hut thfi r leaders • The 
guardians of liberty, the ptUarS of 0ur country, 


E L O I S A. 271 

mni the Aipport of die throne) we maintsiin an - 
equilibrium between the peofle and the king. 
Our firft regards are due to die nation, our fe* 
tcond to him that governs : we confult not his 
Wiil but his juti prerogative. Supreme judges in 
the ifoule of Feers^ and fometimes kgiflators, 
we render equal juftice to the king and people, 
and fuffer no ooe to fay God and ftyfivord^ but 
«nly God imd my rights 

«< Such, Sir (continued he) is that refpedlable 
nobility with whieh you are unacquainted) as 
ancient ai any other, but more proud of its me- 
rit than of its anchors. I am one, not the 
loweft in rank of that illuftriows Ofder> and be- 
lieve, whatever be your prettnfions, that 1 am 
your equal in every refpeftv I have afifter un- 
^larried ; <he is j^oung, amiable, rich, and in 
no wife inferior to Eloifa, except in thofe 
'qualities whith with you pafs for nothing. 
Now, Sir, if after being enamoured with your 
daughter, it were poffibk for any one to change 
theobjeft of his afieftfens, and admire another, 
I Aiould think it an hon^our to accept the man 
for my brother, though without a fortune, whom 
1 propofe to you for a fbn with half my dftate/' 
i I knew matters would only be aggravated 
by your fadier's reply ; and though i was ftruck 
widi admirauon' at my Lord B^^— «^'s genero*- 
iity, I faw plainly that he would totally ruin the 
negociatioti he had undertaken. I went in, 
therefore, to prevent things from going farther. 
My Mienuice broke olF the converfation, and 
M 4 immediately 

272 E L O I S A. 

immediately after they coldly took leave of each 
other and parted. As to my father, he be- 
haved very v^ell in the difpute. At firft he^fecond- 
ed the propofal ; but, finding that your's would 
hear nothing of it, he took the fide of his bro- 
ther- in-law, and by taking proper opportunities 
to moderate the conteft, prevented them from 
going beyond thofe bounds they would certain- 
ly have trefpaffed, had they been alone. After 
their departure, he related to me what had hap- 
. pened ; and, as I fore fa w where his difcourfe 
would end, I readily told him, that things be- 
ing in fuch a fituation, it would be improper 
the perfon in queftion fhould fee you fo often 
here; and that it would be better for him not 
to come hither at all, if fuch an intimation would 
not be putting a kind of afFront on Mr, Orbe, 
his friend 5 but that I fliould defire him to bring 
Lord B— lefs frequently for the future. 
This, my dear, was the beft I could do, to pre- 
vent our door being entirely fhut againft him. 

But this is not all. The crifis in which you 
ftand at prefent obliges me to return to my forr 
mer advice. The affair between my Lord B — -— 
and your friend has made all the noife in town 
which was natural to expedt. For though Mr. 
■Orbe has kept theorigi^M caufeof their quarrel 
a fecret, the circumftances are too publick to 
fufFer it lo lie concealed. Every one has fufpi- 
cions, makes conje<9:ures, and fome go fo far as 
to name Eloifa. The report of the watch was 
jQot fo totally fupprelled as not to beremembened; 


E L O I S A. 27J 

and you are not ignorant, that, in the eye of the 
world, a bare fufplcion of the truth is look- 
ed upon as evidence. All that I can fay for 
your confolation is, that in general your choice 
is approved, and every body thinks with plea- 
fure on the' union- of fo charming a couple. 
This confirms me in the opinion that your friend 
has behaved himfelf well in this country, and is 
not lefs beloved than yourfelf. But what is the 
publick voice to your inflexible father ? All this 
talk has already reached, or will come to his 
ear ; and I tremble to think of the effeft it may 
produce, if you do not fpeedily take fome mea- 
fures to prevent his anger. You muft expeft from 
him an explanation terrible to yourfelf, and 
perhaps ftill worfe for your friend. Not that 
I think, at his age, he will condefceadto chal- 
lenge a young man he thinks unworthy his 
fwbrd r but the influence he has in the town 
wiH fumifh him, if he has a mind to it, with a 
thoufand means to ftir up a party againft him ; 
and it is to be feared that his paffion will be too 
ready to excite him to do it. 

On my knees, therefore, I conjure you, my 
dear friend, to think on the dangers that fur- 
round you, and the terrible rifk you run, which 
taci'eifts every moment. You have been ex- 
tremely fortunate toefcape hitherto, in themidft 
of fuch hazards j. but, while it is yet time,, I-^ 
beg of you to let the veil of prudence be^thrown 
over the fecrct of your amours ; and not to pufli 
your fortune farther, left it fhould irivolve 
M 5 in 

374 E L O I S A. 

in your misfortunes the man who has been tiie 
caufc of them. Believe me, my dear, the 61- 
ture is uncertain ; a thoufand accidents may hap- 
pen imexpeSedly in yo«i favour; but, for the 
prefent, I have Csad^ and repeat it moft earneftly, 
fend away your friend, or you are undone. 



ALL that you forefaw, my dear, is cpme to 
pafs. Lafl night, about an hour after we 
got home, my father entered my mother's apart- 
ment, his eyes fparkling, and his countenance in- 
flamed with anger; in a word, fo irritated as I 
never faw him before. I found immediately that 
he had either juft left a quarrel, or was feeking 
occafion to begin one : and my guilty confciencc 
made me tremble for the confe^uence. 

He began, by exclaiming violently, but in 
(«* general terms, againft fuch mothers as indif- 
%^^ cretely invite to their houfes young fellows with- 
" put family or for«tune, whofe acquaintance 
only brings fbame and fcandal on thofe who 
cultivate it. Finding this not fufficient todraw 
an anfwer from an intimidated woman, he 
brought up particularly, as an example, what 
had pafied in her own houfe, fmce fhe had in- 
troduced a pretended wit, an empty babler, 
more Et to debauch the mind of a modeft young 


n L 6 1 S A. 27? 

Wttttikn than to mftruift her in atijr thing that is 

My wwWier^ who trd# fa# flife coaM g^ 
littte by ht>l4ing h^ tohgue) tb6k Mfn dp Ht the 
word debaudi, and 4fked what ht had tvfr feefi 
in the Cdttduft, dr knew of the character ^ 
the perfon he ipoke of> to atithorile fuch bale 
fufpictont^ *^ Id1diiK>tcot)cei>e(fte added) that 
genius and merit were to be excluded from (^ 
cietjr. To wh^m^ pray, would you have your 
houfe open, if fine talefits and good behaviour 
have no pretenfions to admittance ?" — *' To our 
equals, ntadam (he repHed hi a fury ;) to iuch 
as tnlght repair the honour of a daughter if they 
aouid injure it."-^" No, Sir{faid fee) but raAer 
to people of virtue who OAittot injuw It/*^*-*. 
<« Khow^ ma4atn, that the prefumptioii of fblli-^ 
citing an alliance with my family, Without a title 
to that honour, is highly injurious.'*—^*' So for 
from thinking it injurious (returned my nVothef) 
I think it, <m the contrary, the hlgheft mark 
of efteem : but I know not that the petftm you 
exclaim againft has madeany fuchprrtehfiohi^.''*— ^ 
** He has done it, madam, and will do worfe,v 
if I do not take proper care to prevtM 'hjm;^ 
but, for the future, I ftall take upon myfelf the 
charge you, have executsed ft) ilL'' 

On this begkrt a dangeit)tis altercation bt* 
tween them ; by which I found they wete both 
ignorant of thofe reports, which ydU fay have 
been l\>read abdut the town. DurSiig this time, 
your unworthy toufin could, nevtrthdefs, have 
M 6 wiflied 

^l(> E L O I S A. 

wiflied herfelf buried an hundred feef in the 
earth. Think of the beft and moft abufed of 
mothers lavifliing encomiums on hqr guilty 
daughter, and praifing her for all thofe virtues 
flie has loft, in the moft refpedfuJ, or rather 
to me the moft mortifying terms. Think of an 
angry father, profufe of injurious expreffions^ 
and yet, in the height of his indignation, not 
letting one efcape him in the leaft refleding on 
the prudence of her, who, torn by remorfe, and 
humbled with fhame, could hardly fupport his 

Oh ! the inconceivable torture of a bleeding 
heart, reproaching itfelfwlthunfufpefted crimes! 
How depreffing and infupportable is the bur- 
then of unmerited praife, and of an efteem of 
which the heart is confcious it is unworthy !' 
I was, indeed, fo terribly oppreffed, that, in or- 
der to free myfelf from fo cruel a fituation, I 
^as juft going, if the impetuofity of his temper 
would have given me time, to confefs -all. But' 
he was fo enraged as to repeat over and over a 
hundred times the fame things, and yet to diver- 
fify the fubj eft every moment. He took notice 
offny looks, caftdown, andaffrighted, inconfe- 
quence of my remorfe ^ and if hedid not conftrue 
them intothofe of my guilt, he did into looks of 
my love j but, to (hame me the more, he abufed 
the objeft of it in terms fo odious and contempt- 
ible, that| IB fpite of all my endeavours, I could 
not let him proceed without interruption. I 
know^ot whence, my dear, I h^ fo much cou- 


E L O I S a; 277 

rage, or how I came fo far to trefpafs the bounds 
of modefty and duty : but, if I ventured to breafc 
for a moment that refpeSful filence they dic- 
tate,! fuffered forit, asyou will fee, veryfeverely. 
** For heaven's fake, my dear father (faid I) be 
pacified: never could your daughter be in danger 
from a man defe4*ving fuch abufe." I had feared 
fpoken, when, as if he had felt himfelf reproved 
by what I faid, or that his paffion wanted only a 
pretext for extremities, he flew upon your poor 
friend, and for the firft time in my life, 1 received 
from him a box on the ear : nor was this ali^ 
but, giving himfelf up entirely to his paflion, 
be proceeded to beat me without mercy, not- 
withftanding my mother threw herfelf in be-, 
tween us, to fcreen me from his blows, and 
received many of thofe which were intended for 
me. At length, in running back to avoid them, 
my foot flipped, and I fell down with my face 
againft the foot of a table. 

Here ended the triumph of paffion, and begajx 
that of nature. My fall, the fight, of my blood, 
my tears, and thofe of my mother greatly af- 
feiSled him. He raifed me up, with an air of 
afflidion and follicitude ; and having placed me 
in a chair, they both eagerly enquired where L 
was hurt. I had received only a flghtbruife oa 
my forehead, and bled'only at the nofe. I faw, 
neverthelefs, by the alteration in the air and 
voice of my father, that he was difpleafed at 
what he had done. He was not, however, im- 
mediately reconciled to me^ paternal authority 


37t B L O I 8 A. 

^id' iMt permit fo abrupt a tluui^; biith« apa« 
logisod with HMUiy tender excufes to my mo^ 
ther } and I faw plainly, by the looks he caft oft 
me) to whom half of his apologies were xiidt«> 
re&\f addrefled. Surely, my dear, there is no 
confttfionfoaffefiingasthat of a tender father, 
«^o thiidcsbimielf to blame in histreataxentof a 

Supper being ready, it was ordered to be put 
back, that I might have time to compoTe my- 
felf; and my father, unwilling the fervants 
ihould fee any thing of my difDrder, went 
himfelf for a glafs of water ; while my mother 
was batfaing^ the contufion on tny foreheads 
Ah I my|dear, how I pitied her! already in 
a very ill smd hmguifliing ftate of health, 
bow gladly wouU fiie have been excufed from 
being witnefs lo fuch a fcene! How little 
leis did file ftand in need of affiftance than 1 1 

At fupper, my father did not fpeak to me, 
but I could fee his iilence was the effe6lt>f &ame, 
and notof difdain: he pretended to find every 
thing extremely good, in order to bid my mo- 
ther help me to it| and, what touchedme the 
moft fenfibly was, that he took all occaftons to 
call me his daughter, and not Eloifa^ as is cu« 
ftomary with him« 

After fupper, the evening was fo cold that 
my mother ordersd a fire in her chamber : 
fbe placing herfelf on one fide, and my ^ 
thef on the other, I went to take a chair, to fit 
down in the middle^ whexi, laying hold of my 


E L O I f A. ^Tf 

gown^ and drawing me gently toluniy keflated 
tne on his icnce, without Cp^Akig « wcNrd% 
This was done isunediAtely, And bf a fort of 
involuntary impulfe, that he feedied lo be ahnoft 
fbrry for it a moment after^aids* But I Was 
OB his knee, and he could not well pmfli me ftom. 
him again, and what added to his apparent CM- 
defcenfion, be was obliged to fu^ort tat With 
his arms in tfaaC attitode. AU this pa&d in a 
kindofivludantfUence} but I pettieived him, 
every now and tbeni wUf to give me an invo« 
kifttary embrace, mlAtHk however he refiAtd, at 
the fame time oodea^uriiig to ftifle a fig(i| 
which canvelkvftt^he bottom of his heatt* A 
certain falfe fliame prtfviensed his (Hiternal arms 
&tmi clafpmg me with that tendernefs he too 
plainly fiek : a certain gravity^ he w«ts aftamed 
to depart Irraei, a ooofaiion be dttift iiot orer- 
come, occaffoned between a father and fats daugh- 
ter At &me charming embarraffinent) as love 
and modefty catiA; between lovers $ in the mean 
while, a fiioft afiedionate mother, transited 
with (kafiire, fecivdy eftjo;^^ the delightful 
fight. IfawtIfeltitali,andoookliioloiigerfup-* 
port afceneof fitch mehing tendemefv. I pre<« 
tended to flip downi aml^ to (tn myfelf, threw 
my arm round my ibsther^s vieck, laying my face 
tUnk to his venerabje ci^dt^ which I prelfed 
with ^peated ki&s^ and bathed with mylars. 
At the fame time, by thofe which flowed pknti* 
fuUy fvota his eyes, I coidd perceive him great" 
}y reiievod i while my HK^ier embraced us bodi, 


2fe E L 'O 1 S A, 

and pirtook of our trahfports. How (weef, 
how peacefful is innocence! which alone waS 
wanting to make this the moft delightful mof^ 
mentof my life ! 

This morning, laffitude, and the pciin I felt 
fron^my, fiaU,- Having keptmein bed later than 
ufual, my father came into my chamber before 
1 was up ^ when afking kindly after my health, 
he fat down by the fide of my bed ; and taking 
one of my hands into his, he condefcended fo 
faras to kifs it fevcral times, calling me at the 
fame time his dear daughter, and expreffing his 
forrow for his refentment. I told him, I fhould 
think myfelf but too happy to^»faffer as 'much 
every day, to have the pleafure he then gave me 
in return ; and that the fevereft tieatment I could 
receive from him would be fully recompenfed 
by the fmalleft inftance of his kindnefs. 
^ Then, putting on a more ferious air, he re- 
^un)ed the fubjeft of yefterday, and fignified his 
pleafure in civil but pofitive terms. ** You know 
(fays he) the hufband I defign for you: I in- 
timated to you my intentions concerning him on 
my arrival, and (hall never change them, on that 

bead. As to the man whom Lord B fpoke of, 

though I fliall not difpute the merit every body 
allows him, I know not whether he has of him- 
felf conceived the ridiculous hopes of being allied 
to nie, or if it has been inftilled into him by 
others; but, be affured, that, had I even no 
other perfon in view, and he was in pofleffion of 
all the guineas in England, I would never ac- 

E L O I S A; zli 

cept him for my fon-in-law. I forbid you, 
therefore, either to fee or fpeak to him as long as 
you live, and that as well for the fake of his ho- 
nour as your own. I never indeed felt any great 
regard for him^ but now I mortally hate him, for 
the outrages he has been the occafion of my com- 
mitting,. and fhall never forgive him the violence 
I have been guilty of/* 

Having faid this, he rofe and left me, without 
waiting for my anfwer, and with the fame air of 
feverity which he had juft reproached himfelf for , 
^ffuming before. Ah ! my dear coufin, what an 
infernal monfter is prejudice j that depraves the 
heft of hearts, and puts the voice of nature every 
moment to filence! 

Thus ended the explanation you predicted, 
,and of which I could not comprehend the rea- 
fon till your letter informed me. I cannot well 
tell what revolution it has occafioned in my 
mind ; but I find myfelf ever fince greatly al- 
tered. I fecm to look back with more regret 
to that happy time, when I lived content and 
tranquil with my family friends around me : and 
that the fenfe of my errour increafes with that 
of the bleffings of which it has deprived me. 
Tell me, myfevere monitor, tell me, if you dare 
be fo cruel, are the joyful hours of love all gone 
and fled ? And will they never more return i 
Do you perceive, alas ! how gloomy and hor- 
rible is that fad apprehenfion ? And yet, my 
father's commands are pofitive ; the danger of 
my lover is certain. Think, my dear Clara, 


aia E L O I S A. 

<m the ftfiilt of fuch oppofite ttiotioiw, dtfti^Of- 
ing the tIftAs of cath other in ttijrfceai-t. A 
kiad of ftupWity has titken poffeffion of me, 
^ich lOftkts 1M Itlfftoft infeftfibk^ And leaves 
me neither th^ uf« of n^y pa^ni n(» my rea^ 
ftm. The pfeleftt moment, you tell me, is 
critical — f know, 1 feel it is: and yet I was 
never more incapable to condtid myfelf than 
n6w. I have lit down more than twenty times 
to write to my lover ! but 1 am i^ady to fink at 
every line. 1 have no refource, my dear 
friend, but in you. Let me prevail on you then 
to think, to rpeak, to ad for me. I put my- 
felf into your hunds: whatever ftep you think 
proper to take, 1 hereby confirm beforehand 
every thing you do; t commit to your friend- 
Jhip that fad authority over a lover which 1 have 
bought fo dear. Divide me for ever from my- 
felf. KiH me, if I muft die ; but do not forcfe 
me to plunge the dagger in my own breaft. O, 
my good angd ! my proteftreft ! what an em- 
ployment do 1 engage you In I Can you have 
the courage to go through it ? Can you find 
means to foften its^feverity i It is not my heart 
rione you will rend to pictres. You know, 
Clara, yes, you know, how fmcerely I am be- 
loved ; that 1 have not even the confolation of 
being the moft to be pitied* Let my heart, I 
befeech you, fpcak from your lips, and let your*$ 
fympathife with the tender compaffion of love^ 
Comfort the poor unfortunate youth, tell b4m^ 
ah! tell him again and again*^0 you «0t think 


B L O 1 S A. i8} 

fo, my dear friend ? do you not think - that, in 
fpiteof prepoffcffions and prejudice, infpiteof 
all obfiacles and croiTes, Heaven has made us 
for each other ? Yes, tell him fo— I am fure 
of it— *-we are deftin«d to be happy. It is im- 
poffible for me to loft fight of that profpe6l : 
it is impoffible for me to give up that delightful 
hope. Tellhim, therefore, not to be too much 
affli^ed ; not to give way to defpair. You need 
not trouble yourfelf to exȣt a promile of eter* 
naliove and fidelity; and ftill tefs to make hiai 
a ntedkfs promife of mine. Is not the aiTur- 
ance of both firmly rooted in our hearts ? Do 
we not feel that we arc indivifibk, an4, that w« 
have but one mind between ut i Tell him only 
to iMipe^ mkI that though fottune perfecuces us, 
h^ may plaoe his confidence in love ; which I 
ftn certain^ my doar coufin^ Will in fome way or 
other tompen&te for the evils itmakel us fuffer 9^ 
as I ^tn that, however heaven may difpofe of as, 
i^e (hail not live long from each other* 

P. 5. After I bad \ffihttn the above, I went 
into my mother's apartiinent, but found myfelf 
fo ill that I was obliged to return, and lie down 
on the bed. I even perceived— -*-al as! I am 
afraid*— —indeed, my dear, I am a&raid the 
fall I had laft night will be of mu<^ worfe 
confequence than I imagined. If fo, all is 
over with me ! all my hopes are vaniihed at 


z%4 E L O I » A. 



MY father hath this morning related to me 
the convcrfation he had yefterday with 
you. I perceive with pleafure that your expec- 
tations of what you are pleafed to call your hap- 
pinefs are not without foundation : you know, 
I hope, that it will prove mine too. EAeem and 
:friendfhip are already in your poffeffion, and all 
of that more tender fentiment of -which my heart 
• is capable is alfo your's. Yet, be not deceived 5 as 
a woman, I am a kind of monfter; by whatfo- 
ever ftrange whim of nature it happens I know 
not, but this I know, that my friendfliip is 
-more powerful than my love. When I tell you 
that my Eloifa is dearer to me than yourfelf, you 
only laugh at me; and yet nothing can be more 
certain. Eloifa is fo fenfible of this, that (he 
is more j.ealous for you than you are for yourfelf. 
And whilft you are contented, fhe is upbraiding 
me, that I do nor love you fafficiently. I am 
even fo ftrongly interefted in every thing which 
concerns her, that her loverandyou hold nearly 
the fame place in my heart, though irt a different 
manner. What I feel for him is friendfhip 
only; but it is violent: for you, I think, I per- 
ceive fomething of a certain paflion called love; 
but then it is tranquil. Now^ though this might 
appear fufficiently eq^uivocal to difturb the repofe 


fi. t I § A.' %ti 

^ a jealous mind, I do not believe it will caufe 
much uneafinefs to you. 

How far, alas! are thefe two poor fouls from 
that tranquillity which we prefume -to enjoy!" 
and how ill does this contentment became ais^ 
whilft our friends arfe in dcfpair! Jt. is decreed 
they muft part^ aod perhaps, this may be the: 
very inftant of their eternal fcparation. Who 
knows but their mutual dejedlion, with whichf 
we reproached them at the concert, might be a- 
foreboding that it was the laft time they fhould 
ever meetf To this hour your friend is ig- 
norant of his deftiny. In the fecurity of his heart 
he ft ill enjoys the felicity of which he is already 
deprived* In the very inftant of defpair he taftes^ 
in id^, ihq fhadow of happinefs ; and like one 
who is on the brink of fudden death, the poor^ 
wretch dreams of exiftence, unapprehenfive of 
his fate. O heavens ! it is from me he is to 
receive the fad fentence. O friendfliip divine! 
the idol of my foul ! arm me, I befeech thee, 
with thy fecret cruelty. Infpire me with bar- 
barous refolution, and enable me to perform this 
fed duty with becoming magnanimity ! 

I depend on your affiftance, and I fhould 
expeft it even if you loved me lefs; for I know 
your tender heart ; it will have no need of the 
zeal of love when humanity pleads. You will 
engage our friend to come to me- to-morrow 
morning; but be fure not to mention a fyllable. 
of the affair. To day I muft not be interrupted* 
I iball pafs the afternopn with Eloifa* Endea- 

2t6 B L O I S A. 

voMif to fiod Lord B-'^-****^ and bring bim witb - 
you about eight o'clock thi9 evening, diat we 
t»Ay cfllsifi to fone determination concerning 
tbe d^ortureof tbis unhappy man, and endea^ 
vottf to prevent bis defpair. 

I have great confidionce in his reMution, adcbd 
to our precautions, and I have ftil) greater de- 
pendence on bis paffion for Eloifa : her wit), tho 
dangiar of her life and honour, are motives wbich 
he cannot rcfift. Be it aa it will, you may b« 
afiured that I fliall i»e dream of marriage till 
Eloifa has reoovered ber peace of mind, i will 
not ftain the matrimonial knot with die tears of 
my friend. So that, if you really love me, youc 
intereft will fiecond your generofity, and it be- 
comes your own afair, rather than that of an- 



ALL is over ! and, in fpite of her indiferetion^ 
my EloUa is in fafety. Her fecrers are 
buried in filence» She is Aill loved and che- 
riflied in the midft of her friends and reIations» 
peJTeffing every one's efteem, and a reputation, 
without blemifli. Confider, my friend, and trem- 
ble for the dangeis which, through motives 
of loveoribame, through fear of doing too little 
Of too much, you have run. Learn hence, too 
food Off too fearful girl^ never more to attempt 


E L O I S A. 2(87 

to rencoficile fentimcnts (o incompatible ; and 
thank heavea^ that, through a hapfMiicf) pecu* 
liar to fouHeif, you kave ef^capcd the evik that 
direatened you. 

1 would fpare your fbrrowing heart the parti* 
cularsof your lover's cruel and neceflary depar- 
ture. But you defired ta know them ; I pro* 
miied you ihould, and will keep a»y word with 
that fincerity which ever AibfiAed between us* 
Read on then^ my dear and unhappy friend ; 
read on^ but exert yourcourage> and maintain 
your refolution. 

The plan I had concerted, and of which 
I advi fed you yefterday, was punduaHy followed 
in every particular. On my return home, I 
found Mr. Orbe and my Lord B— -i with 
wholn I immediately began, by declaring to the 
latter how much we were both affeAed by his 
heroiek generofity • I then gave them urgent rea- 
fons for the immediate departure of your friend^ 
and told them the dificulties I forefaw in bring- 
ing it about. His lordihip was perfeAly fen- 
fible that it was neceflary, and expreffed much 
ferrow for the elFeds el his imprudent seat. 
They both agreed it was proper to haflen the 
feparation determined, and to lay hold of the firft 
\mocnent of con(btt, to prevent any new irrefo- 
lution ; and to (hatch him from the danger of de- 
lay. I would have engaged Mr. Orbe to make 
the aeceffiiry preparations, unknown to your 
friend; but his lordihip, regarding this affair as 
his owiH infifted on taking charge of it. He 


%m E L O I 8 A» 

accordingly promifed rnc, that his chaife (hould 
be ready at eleven o'clock this morning, adding 
that he would carry him ofF under fome other 
pretext, and accompany him as far as it might 
be neceflary ; opening the matter to him at lei- 
fure. This expedient, however, did not appear 
to me fufficiently open and fincere, nor would I 
confent to expofe him, at a diftance, to the firft 
effefts of a defpair, which might more eafily 

efcape the eyes of Lord B than mine* 

For the fame reafon, I did not clofe with his lord-, 
fhip's propofal of fpeaking himfelf to him, and 
prevailing on him tp depart. I forefaw thatne- 
gociation would be a delicate affair, and I was 
unwilling to truft any body with it but myfelf | 
knowing much better how to manage his fen- 
fibility, and alfo that there is always a harfh- 
nefs in the arguments of the men which a woman 
beft knows how to foften, I conceived, never- 
tbelefs, that my lord might be of ufe in prepar- 
ing the way for an eclairciffement j being fen- 
fible of the effefts which the difcourfe of a man 
of fenfe might have over a virtuous mind; and 
what force the perfuafions of a friend might give 
to the arguments of a phijofopher. 

I engaged Lord B- — :, therefore, to pafs 
the evening with him, and without faying any 
thing direftly of his lltuation, to endeavour to 
difpofe his mind infenfibly to a ftoical refolu- 
tion. " You, my lord, who are fo well ac- 
quainted with EpiiStetus (fays I) have now aa 
opportunity of making fome real ufe of him, 


E L O I S A. 289 

Diffmguilh carefully between real and apparent 
gdod, between that which depends on ourfelves 
and what is dependent on others. Demonftrate 
to hiin> that, whatever threatens us from with- 
t>ut, the caufe of evil is within us ^ and that the 
*wife man, -being always on his guard, has his 
liappinefs ever in his own power." I underftood 
by his lordfhip's anfwer that this ftroke of irony^ 
^ich could not ofFend him, ferved to excite 
his zeal, and that he counted much on fending 
his friend the next dzy well prepared. This, in- 
deed, was the moft I expected ; for in reality, E 
place no great dependenct, any more than your- 
fclf, on all that verbofe philofophy. And yet 
1 am perfuaded a virtuous man muft always feel 
fome kind of fliame, in changing at night the 
opinions he embraced in the morning, and in de- 
fying in his heart the next day wliat his reafon 
dilated for truth the preceding night. 

Mr. Orbe was defirous of teing of their 
party, and paffing the evening with them ; 
but t6 this I objefted ; as his prefencc might 
only difturb, or lay a reftraint on the con- 
verfation. The intereft I have in him does not 
prevent me from feeing he is not a match 
for the other two. The mafculine turn of 
thinking in men of ftrong minds gives a pecu- 
liar idiom to their difcourfe, and makes them 
converfe in a language to which Mr. Orbe is a 
ftranger. In taking leave of them, I thought 
of the' efFe£ls of his lordflxip's drinking punch ; 
and, fearing he might, when in liquor, anti;- 
Vot. 1. N cipatc 

290 E L O I S A. 

cipate my defign, I laughingly hinted ae much 
to him: to which he anfwered, I might be 
aiTured he would indulge himfelf in fuch habitis 
only when it could be of no ill efeft;. bujt 
that he was no fl^ve to cufiom -, that the inter* 
view intended concerned Eloifa's honour^ thfi 
fortune and perhaps the life of a man» and that 
man his friend. ^* I (hall drink my punch (con* 
tinuedhe) as ufual, left it fbould giv6 our cofi» 
verfationan a^ir of referve and preparatioa;. but 
that punch (hall be mere lemonade ; and^. as he 
dripks nQne, he will not perceive it." — Don't you 
think it, my dear, a great mortification^ to have 
contraded habits that make fuch precautions as 
thefe neccffary ? 

I pafTed the night in great agitation of mind^ 
not altogether on your account. The innocent 
pleafures of our early youth, the agreeablenefs 
of our long intimacy, and^e clofer connexions 
that have fubfitted between us for a year paft, 
on account of the difficulty he met with in fee- 
ing you— all this filled me with the moft dif^ 
agreeable apprehenfions of your feparation. I 
perceived I was going to lofe, with the half of 
you, a part of my own exiftence. Awake and 
reftlefs, liay counting the .clock, and when the 
morning dawned, I Ihuddered to think it was the 
dawn qf that day which might fix the dcfliny 
of my friend. I fpent the early part of the 
morning in meditating on my intended difcourfe, 
and in refleSing on the imp4;effions it might 
make. At length the hour drew nigh, and my 


E L O I S A. 291 

expe£bed lafitor entered. He appeared much 
troubled, and haftily afked me after you : for he 
had heard, the day after your fevere treatment 
from your father, that you was ill, whtgh was 
jrefterday confirmed by my Lord B— *, and that 
you had kept your bed ever fince. To avoid 
entering into particulars on this fubjefl?, I told 
him I had left you better laft night, and" that he 
would know more by the return of Hans, whom 
I had fent to you. My precaution was to no 
purpofe, he went on aflcing me a hundred que- 
ftions, to wbi^h^ as they only tended to lead me 
from my purpofe, I made fliort anfwcrs, and took 
upon me to interrogate him in my turn. 

I began, by endeavouring to found hisdifpo- 
iition of mind, and found him grave, methodi- 
cal, and reafonable. Thank heaven, faid I to 
myfelf, my philofopher is well prepared. No* 
thing remained, therefore, but to put him to the 
tryal. It is anufual cuftom to open bad news 
by degree^; but the knowledge I had of the 
furious imagination of your friend, which at 
half a word's fpeaking carries him often into the 
moft paffionate extremes, determined me to take 
a contrary method; as- I thought it better to 
overwhelm him at once, and adminifter comfort 
to h-im afterwards, than needlefsly to multiply 
his griefs, and give him a thonfand pains inftcad of 
one. Affu.ming, therefore, a more ferious tone, 
and looking at him very attentively ; " Have you 
ever experienced, my friend (faid I) what the 
fortitude of a great mind is capable of ? Do you 
N 2 think 

,29c £ n O I S A« 

think it poifible for a man to renounce the ob^ 
jefl: he truely loves ?" I had fcarce fpokc, before 
heftarted up like a madman j and, clafping his 
hands together, flruck themagainft his forehead, 
eying out, ** I underflandyou, Eloifa is dead ! my 
Eloifais dead !" repeated he, in a tone of defpair 
and horrour that made me tremble. " I fee through 
your vaincircumfpedion, your ufelefs cautions, 
that only render my tortures mpre lingering and 
cruel." Frightened as I was by fo fudden a tran- 
fport, I foon entered into the caufe : the new& 
he had heard of your illnefs, the le&ure which 
Jliord B— had read him, our appointed meet- 
ing this morning, my evading his queftions, and 
thofe I put to him, were all fo many collateral 
circumftances combining to give him a falfe 
alarm. I faw plainly alfo what ufe 1 might have 
made of his miftake, by leaving him in it a few 
minutes, but I could not be cruel enough to do 
it. The thought of the death of the perfoa 
one loves is fo fhocking, that any other what- 
ever is comparatively agreeable ; I haftened ac* 
cordinglytomaketheadv^antage of it. '* Perhaps^ 
(faid I) you will never fee her again,- yet fhe is 
alive, and ftill loves you. If Eloifa were dead, 
what could Clara have to fay ? Be thankful 
to heaven that, unfortunate as you are, you do 
not feel all thofe evils which might have over- 
whelmed you.'' He was fo furprifed, foftruck, 
fo bewildered, that, having made him fit down 
again, I had leifure to acquaint him with what 
it was necefTary for him to know. At the 


E L O I S A. zgi 

fimc time I reprefented the generous behaviour 
of Lord B — — in the moft amiable lights 
in order to. divert his grief, by exciting, in his 
honeft mind, the gentler emotions of gratitude. 
V You fee (continued I) theprefent ftate of af- 
fairs Eloifa is on the brink of deftru^ion^ 
)uft ready to fee herfelf expofed ta publick 
difgrace by the refentment of her family, by the 
T ioJence of an enraged father, and her own de- 
fpair. The danger increafes every moment^ 
and, whether in her own, or in the hand of 
a father, the poinard is every inftant of her life 
>vithin an inch of her heart. .There remains 
but one way to prevent thefe misfortunes, and 
that depends entirely on you. The fate of 
Eloifa is in your hands. Try if you have the 
fortitude to fave her from ruin, by leaving heri 
fince £he is no longer permitted to fee you, or 
whether you had rather ftay to be the authour 
and witnefs of her difhonour ? After having done 
every thing for you, fhe puts your heart to the 
tryal, to fee what you can do for her. It is afto* 
nifhing that fhe bears up under her diftrefles. 
You are anxious for her life; know then that her 
life, her honour, her all depends on you." 

He heard me without interruption ; and no 
fooner perfeflly comprehended me, than that 
wild gefture, that furious look, that frightful air, 
which he had put on juft before, immediately 
difappeared. A gloomy veil of forrowand con- 
fternation i{)read itfelf over his features, while 
his mournful eyes and bewildered countenance 

•^ N 3 betrayed 

t94 E L O I S A. 

betrayed the fadnefs of his heart. In this fi- 
tuation he couM hardly open iiis lips to make 
ir.c an anfwer. ** Muft I then go ? (faid he, in k 
peculiar tone;) it is well — I will go. Have 
i not lived longenough ?" — ** No (returned I) not 
fo, you fhould ftill" live for her who loves you. 
Have you forgot that her life is dependent on 
your's?" — " Why then fhould our lives be fcpa- 
rated? (cried hej) there was a time^ — It is not 
yet too late — " 

I afFedled not to under (land the laft words, and 
was endeavouring to comfort him with fomd 
hopes, which I could fee his heart rejefted, 
-when Hans returned with the good news of your 
health. In the joy he felt at this (he cried out) 
** My Eloifa lives — let her live, and if poffible 
be happy. I will never difturb her repofe — I will 
only bid her adieu — and, if it muft be fo, will 
leave her forever.*' 

" You furely know (faid I) that you are 
«ot permitted to fee bcr. You have already 
bidden farewell, and are parted. Confider^ 
therefore, you will be more at eafe when you 
are ait a greater diftance, and will have at leaft 
the c6nfoJation to think you have Secured, by 
your departure, the peace and reputation of her 
you love. Fly, then, this hour, this mornent ; 
nor let (o great a facrifice be made too ilow. 
Hafte, left even your delay fliould catife the ruiu 
of her to whofe fecurity you have devoted your- 
lelf."— *^ What I (faid be in a kind of fury) (hall I 
depart withput feeing \^x ? Not fee ber again ! 


« L O I S A. 295 

We will bofth perifli if it muft be fo. I know 
flje will not think much to die with me. But I 
will fee her, whatever may be the confequence; 
I will lay both my heart and life at her feet, before 
I am thus torn from myfelf."' — It was not diffi- 
cult for me to fliow the abfurdity and cruelty 
of fuch a projeft. But the exclamation of. 
Shall I fee her no more I repeated in the tnoft 
doleful accents, feemed to demand of me fome 
tonfolation. *' Why (faid I to him) do you make 
your misfortunes worfe than they really are ? 
Why do you give up hopes which Eloifa herfelf 
trtitertains ? Can you believe fhe would think 
X>f thus parting with you, if (he conceived you 
were not to meet again ? No, my friend, you 
dught to know the heart of Eloifa better. You 
dught to know how much fhe prefers her love 
to her life. I fear, alasl too much 1 fear (this 
I confefs I have added) fhe will ibon prefer it to 
every thing. Believe me, Eloi-falives in hopes, 
fince iQie confents to live: believe me, the cau- 
tions which her prudence didtates regard your- 
self more than you are aware of ^ and that fhe 
is more careful of herfelf on your account than 
her own.'' I then took out your laft letter; and, 
fliowing him what were the hopes of a fond de- 
luded girl, animated his, by the gentle warmth 
of her tender expreilions. Thefe few lines 
feemed to diflil a falutary balfam into his en- 
venomed heart. His looks foftened, the tears 
rofe into his eyes, and I had the fatisfaflion of 
feeing a forrowful tendernefs fucceed by degrees 
N 4 ta 

396 E L O I S A. 

to hfe for.Qier defpair ; but your laft words, fo 
moving, fo heart- felt, we Jhall not live long^ 
. ajunder^ made him burft into a flood of tears. 
** No, Eloifa, my dear Eloifa ! ( faid he, raifing his 
voice, and kiffing the letter) no, we (hall not live 
long afunder. Heaven v^^ill either join bur hands 
in this world, or unite our hearts in thofe eter- 
nal manfions where there is no more feparation," 
He was now in the temper of mind I wiflied 
to have him; his former fullen forrow gave 
me much uneafmefs. I (hould not have per- 
mitted him to depart in that difpofition ; but, 
as foon a^ I fa\Y him weep, and heard your en* 
dearlng name come from his lips with fo much 
tendernefs, I wa? no longer in apprehenfions for 
his life; for nothing is lefs tender than defpair. 
The foft emotions of his heart" now diflated, 
an objeftion which I did not forefee. He fpoke 
to me of the condition in which you lately fuf- 
pe£led yourfelf to be j protefting he would rather 
die a thoufand deaths than abandon you to thofe 
perils that threatened you. I took care to fay 
nothing about the accident of your fall ; telling 
him only that your expeftations had been dif- 
appointed, and tlfat there were no hopes of that 
kind. To which he anfwered with a deep figh, 
** There will remain then no living monumentof 
my happinefs; it is gone, and'*— Here his heart 
feemed too full forexpreffion. 

After this, it remained only forme to execute 
the latter part of your commifBon; and for 
which I did not think, after theintimacy in ^hich 


E L O I S A< /97 

you lived, that any preparation or apology was 
neceflary. I mildly reproached him, therefore, 
for the little care he had taken of his affairs; 
tfcllinghim, that you feared it would be long be- 
fore he would be more careful, and that in the 
mean time you commanded him to take care o( 
himfelf for your fake, and to that end to ac- 
cept of that fmall prefent which I had to make 
him from you^ He feemed neither offended at 
the offer, nor to make a merit of the accept- 
ance; telling me only, that you well knew no- 
thing could come from you that he fhould not 
receive with tranfport ; but that your precautioo. 
was fuperfluous, a little houfe which he hai 
fold at Grandfon, the remains of his fmall pa-t 
trimony, having furniflied him with more money/ 
than he ever had, at any one time in his life. ** Be- 
fides (added he) I poffefs fome talents, from, 
which I can always draw a fubfiftence. I fhall. 
be happy to find, in the exercife of them,, fome, 
-diverfion from my misfortunes; and, fince L 
have feen the ufe to which Eloifa puts her fu- 
perfluities, I regard it as a treafure facredto the; 
widow and the orphan, whom humanity will» 
never permit me toneglefl." I reminded him ofi 
his former journey to the Valais, your letter^, 
and 'the precifenefs of your orders. ** The fame 
reafons (faid I) now fubfift"— « The fame ! (in* 
terrupted-he) in an angry tone. The penalty 
©f my refufal then, was* never to fee her more;; 
if ftie will permit me now to ftay, T will ufe it. 
«n thofe conditions. If I obey, why does (he, 
N 5 puhilh 

29* E L O I S A. 

punifli me ? If I do not, what can flie do worfe 
than punifli mc? The fame reafons! ( re- 
peated he^with feme impatience.) Our union then 
was juft commenced ^ it is now at an end, and 1 
part from her perhaps for ever ; thiere is . no 
longer any connexion between us, we are going 
to be torn afundcr," He pronounced thefe laft 
words with fuch an oppreffioil of hearty that I 
trembled with the apprehenfions of his relapfing 
into that difpofition of mind, out of which I 
had taken fo much pains to extricate him. I af- 
fcfted therefore an ai^ of gaiety, and told him, 
with z fmile, that he was a child, and that I 
would be his tutor, as he flood greatly in need 
of one, ** I will take charge of this (faid I) and, 
that we may difpofe of it properly in the bufi- 
nefs we (hall engage in together, I infift upon 
knowing particularly the ftate of your affairs." I 
endeavoured thus to divert his mejancboly ideas 
by that of a familiar correfpondence to be kept 
up in his abfencej and he, whofe fimpli- 
city only fought to by hold of every twig,, 
as one may fay, that grew near to you, came 
eafily into my defign; We accordingly fettled 
the addrefsof our letters; and,' as the talking 
about thefe regulations was agreeable to him, I 
prolonged our difcourfe on this fubjeft till Mr. 
Qrhe arrived ; who, on his cnterance, made a 
fignal to me that every thing was ready. Your 
friend, who eafily under flood what was meant, 
then defired leave to write to you ; but I would 
not permit him. I faw that an excefs of ten- 


E L O r ^S A. 299 

dernefs might overcome him, and that, after he 
had got half way through his letter, we might 
find it impoffible to prevail on him to depart. 
** Delays (faid I) are dangerous; make hafte to 
go i and, when you are arrived at the end of 
your firft ftage, you may write more at your 
eafe." In faying this, I madeafign to Mr. Orbe, 
advanced towards him with a heavy heart, and 
took leave. How he left me I know notf 
my tears preventing my fight; my head began 
alio to turn round, and it was high time my part: 
was ended. 

A moment afterwards, however, I hear<f 
them go haftily down ftairs ; on which I went 
to the ftair-head, to look after them. Therclfaw 
your friend, in all his extravagance, throw him- 
felf on his knees, in the middle of the ftairs, and 
kifs the fteps ; while Mr.. Orbe had much to dp 
to raife him from the cold ftones, which jhc 
prefled with his lips, and to which he duhg 
with his hands^ fighing moft bitterfy. For n^y 
part, I retired, that I might not expofe myfelf 
to the fervants. 

Soon after, Mr.Orbe returned, and^ with tears 
in his eyes, told me it was all oyer, and that 
they were fet out. It feems the chaifc was ready 
at his door, where Lord B > ■ - was watting foe 
our friend, whom, when his lordihip faw,. he 
ran ta meet him, and,, with, the moft cordial 
expreflions of friend (hi pi, placed him in the 
chaife, which drovje ofF with thei» liipe light- 



E L O I S A, 



HOW often have I taken up, and flang 
down my pen ! I hefitate in thefirft pe- 
riod : I know not how, I know not where, to 
begin. And yet it is to Eloifa I would write. 
To what a fituation am I reduced f That time 
is, alasf no more, when a thoufand pleafing ideas 
crowded on my mind, and flowed inexhauftibly 
from my pen, Thofe delightful momentrof 
mwtual confidence^ and fweet efFufion of fouls,, 
are gone and fled. We live no Ipnger for each 
other — We are no more the fame perfons, and 
I no longer know to whom I am writing. Will 
you deign to receive, to read my letters? 
Will you think them Sufficiently cautious and 
referved ? Shall I preferve the ftile of our for- 
mer intimacy? May I venture to fpeak of a 
paflion extinguifhed or defpifed ? and am^I not 
to make as diftant approaches to Eloifa, as oa 
the firft day I prefumed to write ? Good hea- 
vens ! how diflFerent are the tedious hours of my 
prefent wretchednefi? from thofe happy, thofe de- 
lightful days 1 have paffed ! I but begin to exift, 
and am funk into nothing. The hopes of life that 
warmed my heart are fled, and the gloomy pro- 
fpefl: of death is all before me. Three revolv- 
ing years have circumfcribed thehappinefs of my 
«xiftcncc. Woul4 to God I had ended them, ere 

I had 

E I; O f S A. 

Ihadknown the mifery of thus (Iirvlving my- 
felf ! Oh! that Ihad obeyed the foreboding dic- 
tates of my heart, when once thofe rapid mo- 
ments pf delight were pafied, and life prefentedit 
nothing to my view for which- I could wifli to* 
live ! Better, doubtlefs,. had it been that I had 
breathed no longer, or that thofe three yeara 
pf life -and love I enjoyed could be extrafted 
from the number of my days. Happier is it 
never to tafte of felicity thaato have it fnatched 
fromoutfve^joymei^t. Had I been, exempted 
from that fatal interval of happinefs j. had L ef- 
caped the firft enchanting, look that animated 
me to a new life, I might ftHl have preferved 
myreafon, have ftill been fit to difcharge the 
common offices of life, and have difplayed per-^ 
baps fome virtues in the duration of an infipid 
exiftence,^ One moment of dehifion hathchangi^ 
jgd the fcene,- I have ventured, to contemplate 
with rapture an ob^e£^ on ^hich I fhould^ not 
have dared to look. Th is prefumption has pror 
duced its neceflary cfe£t, and led me infenfibly 
to ruin -^ I ambecomea frantick,.deKiious wretch^, 
a ferviledifpirited being, that drags along his 
xhain in ignominy and <Iefpair«. 

How idle are the dreams of a diflra^ed mind'! 
How flattering,, how deceitful the wifhes of the 
wandering heart, that difclaims them asfoonas 
iiiggeftedl Tawhatenddq we feek, againft 
real evils, imaginary remedies, .that are no fooner 
thought of than rejeded ? Who, that hath feen 
and felt the power of love^ can think it poffiblp 


3^ £ L O I S A. 

there fliould he a happinefs which I woUld pur- 
chafe at the price of the fupreme felicity of my 
firft tranfports? No, itisimpolBble — Let heaven 
deny me all otherbleffings ; let me be wretchcitf, 
but I will indulge iriyfelf in the rememberance 
of pl^afures paft. Better is it to enjoy the re- 
collciStion of my palthappinefs, though embitter* 
cd,with prefent forrow, than to be forever happy 
without Eloifa. Come then, dear image of my 
love, thou idol of my foul ! come, and take pof- 
fef&0n of a heart'that beats^ only fctt' thiee j live 
in exile, alleviate my forrows, re-kindle my ex- 
tinguifhed hopes, and prevent me from falling 
into defpair. This unfortunate breaftihail ever 
be thy inviolable fandluary, whence neither the 
powers of heaven or earth (hall ever expel thee. 
If I am loft to happinefs, I am not to love, 
which renders me worthy '6f it— aiore irrcfift- 
able as the charms that gave it birth. Haifed on 
the immoveable foundations of merit and virtue^ 
it can never ceafe to exift in a mind that is im- 
mortal : it needs no future hope for its fupport^ 
the rememberance of what is paft will fuftainjt 
for ever. 

But, how is it with my Elolfii? With het 
who was once fo fenfible of love? Can that 
iacred flame be extinguifhed inher pure and fuf- 
ceptible breaft ? Can fhe have loft her tafte 
lor tfeofe celeftial raptures, which fhe alone 
could feel or i«fpire ? — She drives me from het 
prefence without pity, banifhes me with fliame,. 
^iv€8 me up to defjpair^ and fees not, through the 


E L O I S A* 30J 

erroar which mifleads her, that in making me 
miferable, fhe robs herfelf of bappinefs. Be- 
lieve me, my Eloifa, you will in v^n feek ano- 
ther heart a-kin to your's. A thotifand will 
dottbtlefs adore you, but mine only is capable 
of returning your love. 

Tell me, tell me fincerely, thou deceived or 
deceiving girl, what is become of thofe pro- 
jeSs we formed together in fecret ? Where are 
fled thofe vain hopes, with which you fo oftea 
flattered my credulous fimplicity i What fay 
you now to thaj^i^crcd union my heart panted 
after, the fecret iraufe of fo many ardent fighs^ 
and with which your lips and your pen have (o- 
often indulged my hopes j I prefumed^ alasi 
©n your promifes, to afpire to the facred name 
of hulband, and thought myfelf already the moft 
fortunate of men. Say, cruel Eloifa, did you 
not flatter me thus only to render my difappoint- 
ment the more mortifying, my afiliftion the 
more fevere? Have I incurred this misfortune 
by my own fault ? Have I been wanting in 
obedience, in traflability^ in difcretion ? Have 
you ever feen me fo weak and abfurd in my de- 
jBres, as to deferve to be thus rejeAed ? or have 
I ever preferred their gratification to your ab- 
folute commands ? I have done^ I have ftudied, 
every thing to pleafe you, and yet you renounce 
me. You undertook to make me happy, and 
you make me miferable. Ungrateful woman t 
account with me for tbe truft I d^pofited in your 
hands J account with me for my heart, after 




Bavihg feduced itby afupreme felicity that raifed' 
me to an equality with angels. I envied not 
their lot ; I was the happi^ft of beings;, though 
now, alas! I am the moft miferable ! A fingle 
moment has deprived me of every thing, and 
I am fallen inftantaneoufly from the pinnacle of 
bappinefsto theloweft gulf ofmifery. I touch 
even yet the felicity that efcapes me ; I haveftiH 

hold ofit,-and.lofe it for ever. Ah» 

could 1 but believe!— —if the remains of falfe 

hope did not flatter^ Why, why, ye rocks o£ 

Meillerie, whofe precipices my wandei-ing eye 
{6 often meafured, why did you not affift my^ 
defpair ! I had then lefs regretted life, ere cnjoy.<^ 
ment had taught me its value.. 




BEING arrivedat Bcfan^on, I take the firlt 
opportunity to write to you the particulars of 
our jtoumeyj which,, if not paffed very agree-, 
ably, has at leaft b^en attended with no ill ac-^ 
eident. Your friend* is as well in health as 
canbe-expe6ted for a man fo fick at heart. He 
even endeavours to. affefl outwardly a kind of 
tranquillity, to which his heart is aftranger ; an^ 
being afliamat of his weaknefs, lays himfelf 
under a good deal of reftraint before me. This 
i^nly ferved, however, to betray the fecret agi- 
tations of bis mind 3 and though I feemed to 


E L O I 8 A. 3C5 

be deceived by his behaviour, it was only to 
leave him to his own thoughts, with the view 
of oppoitng one part of his faculties to reprefs 
the efFeft of the other. 

He was much dejected during the firft day*!5 
journey, which I made a fhort one, as I faw 
the expedition of our travelling increafed his 
«neafinefs. A profound filence was obferved on 
both fides j on my part, the rather, as I am fen- 
fible that ill-timed condolance only embitter^ 
violent affliction. Coldnefs and indifference eafily 
find words, but filent forrow is in thofe cafes the 
language of true friendfhip. I began yefterday 
to perceive thefirft fparks of the fury which na- 
turally fucceeded. At dinner-time we had been 
fcarce a quarter of an hour out of the chaife^ 
before he turned to me, with an air of impa-^ 
tience, and afked me, with an ill-natured fmile^ 
** Why we refted a monient fo near Eloifa ?'*" In. 
the evening he afFedted to be very talkative^ but 
without faying a word of her, alking the fame 
queftions over and over again* He wanted one 
moment to know if we had reached- the French 
territories, and the next if we fliould foon arrive 
at Vjevai. The fir ft thing he did at every flage 
was to fit down ta write ^ letter, which he 
rumpled up, or tore to pieces, the moment after- 
wards. 1 picked up. two or three of thefe blotted 
fragments, by wJuch you. may judge of the 
fituation of his mind. I believe, however, he^ 

has by this time written a complete letter. - 

The extravagance which thefe firft fymptoms of 


3o5 E L O I S A. 

pafEon threaten iseafily forefeen j hxtt I camiot 
pretend to guefs what will be its effeft, or how 
long may be its continuance; thefe depend on a 
combination of circumftances, as the charafter 
of the man, thedegree and nature of his paflion, 
and of a thoufand things which no human faga- 
city can determine. For my part, I can anfwer 
for the tranfports of his rage, but not for the 
fullennefs of his defpair ? for, do as we will, 
€very man has always his life in his own power. 
I flatter myfelf, however, that he will pay a due 
regard to his life and my affiduities; though I 
depend lefs on the effefts of my zeal, which ne- 
verthelefs fhall be exerted to the utmoft, than on 
the nature of his paffion, and the character of his 
miflrefs. The mind cannot long employ itfelf 
in contemplating a beloved o&jed, without c<>n- 
tradiing a difpofitioii fimilar to what it admires. 
The extreme fweetncft of Eloifa's temper <nuft, 
therefore, have foftened the har&nefs of thai 
paflion it infpired : and I doubt not but love, in a 
man of fuch lively paffions, is always more aftive 
and violent than it would be in others. 1 have 
fome dependence alfo upon his heart : it was 
formed to ftruggle and to conquer. A love like 
his is not fo much a weaknefs, as ftrength badly 
exerted. A violent and unhappy pafTion may 
fmother for a time, perhaps for ever, fome of his 
faculties; but it is itfelf aproof of their excel- 
lence, and of the ufe that may be made of them 
to cultivate his underftanding. The fublimeft 
wifdom is attained by the fame vigour of mind 


E L O I S A. 507 

which gives rife to the violent paffioas ;. and phi- 
lofophy muft be attained by as fervent a zeal as 
that which we feel for a miftrefs. 

Be affured, lovely Clara^ I intereft myfelf no 
lefs than you in the f^te of this unfortunate 
couple; not out of a fentiment of compaffion, 
which might perhaps be only a weaknefs, but 
out of a due regard to juftice and the fitnefs of 
things, which require that every one (hould be 
difpofed of in a manner the mod; advantageous 
to hirafelf and to fociety. Their amiable minds 
were doubtlefs formed by the hand of nature 
for each other. In a peaceful and happy union, 
at liberty to exert their talents, and difplay their 
virtues, they might have enlightened the world 
with the fplendour of their example. Why (hould 
an abfurd prejudice then crofs the eternal direc- 
tions of nature, and fubvert the harmony of 
thinking Beings? WHy {hould the vanity of a 
cruel father thus hide thetf light under a huJheU 
and wound thofe tender and benevolent hearts, 
which were formed to footh the pangs of others ? 
Are not the ties of marriage the moft free, as 
as well as the moft facred of all engagements? 
Yes, every law to lay a confiraint on them is 
unjuft. Every father who prefumes to form 
or break them is a tyrant. This chafte and holy 
tie of nature is neither fubjedled to fovereign 
power nor parental authority ; but to the au- 
thority only of that common parent who hath 
the power over our hearts, and, by commanding 


9o9 t L O I S A. 

their union, can at the fame time malcc tfitm 
Ibve each other^ 

To what end are natural conveniencies fa- 
crificed to thofe of opinion ? A difagreement ia 
rank and fortune lofes itfelf in marriage, jjor 
doth an equah'ty therein tend to make the mar- 
riage ftate happy J but a difagreement in perfon 
and difpofition ever remains,, and is that which 
makes it necelTarily miferable*. A chilcf, that 
has no rule of conduft but her fond paffionj^ 
will frequently make a bad choice, but the fa- 
ther, whahas no other rule for his than the opinioa 
of the world, will* make a worfe. A daughter 
may want knowledge and' experience to form a 
proper judgement of the difcretion and condu<3i 
of men ; a good father ought doubtlefs in that 
cafe to advife her. He has a right, it is even his 
duty to fay, ** My child, this is a man of pro- 
bity, or that man is aknave j.this is a man of fenfe^ 


'^ In Come countriies, agreement in rank and fortune U 
held fo far preferable to that of nature and the heart, that 
an inequality in the former is judged fufficient to preventer 
diflblve tbemo(b happy marriages, without* any regard jto 
the- honour of the unfortunate lovers, who are daily made- 
afacrifice to fuch odious pi^judices. I heard, once a cele* 
brated caufe pleaded before the Parliament at Paris>. 
wherein the diftin6tion of rank publickly and infolently 
oppofed honefty, juftice, and the conjugal vow ; the un- 
worthy parent, who gained- his cauie, difinheritmg his 
fon, becaufe be a& the parx.of a villain. Ths 
fair fex are, in that polite country, fubjeQed in the- 
greatefl: degree to the tyranny of the laws. Is it to be^ 
wondered at that they fo amply avenge themfclves in.the. 
iooftnchof their man ners ? 

E LOIS A. 309 

«r that is a fool." Thus far ought the father to 
Judge, the reft of right belongs to the daughter. 
The tyrants, who exclaim that fuch maxims 
tend to difturb the good order of fociety, are 
thofe who, themfelves, difturb it moft. 

Let men fank according to their merit; and 
letthofe hearts be united that are obje&s of each 
other^s choice. This is what the good order of 
fociety requires; thofe who would confine it to 
tirth or riches are the real difturbers of that 
order ; and ought to be rendered odious to the 
publick, or punifhed as enemies to fociety. 

Jufiice requires that fuch'abufes fhould be re« 
drellbd : it is the duty of every man to fet him- 
felf in oppofitioh ta violence, and to ftrengtheh 
the bonds of fociety. You maybe aflured, there* 
fore, that, if it be poffible for me to efFe^i the 
union of thefe two lovers, in fpite of an obfti- 
nate father, I (hall put in execution the intention 
of heaven, without troubling myfelf about the 
approbation of men. 

You, amiable Clara, are happy in having a 
father, who doth xibt prefume to judge better 
than yourfelf of the means of your own happi- 
nefs. It is not, however, from his greater faga- 
city, perhaps, nor from his fuperiour tendernefs, 
that he leaves you thus miftrefs of your own 
choice : but what fignifies the caufe if the efFe^ 
be the fame? or whether, in the liberty he al- 
lows you, his indolence fupplies the place of his 
reafon? Far from abufing that liberty, tKe 
choice you have made, at twenty years of age, 


310 B L O I S A. 

muft meet with the approbation of the moft dif- 
crete parent. Your heart, taken up by a friend* 
ihip without example, had little room for love. 
You have yet fubftituted in its place every thing 
that can fupply the want of paffion ; and though 
lefs a lover than a friend, if youfhouldnot happen 
to prove the fondeft wife, you will be certainly 
the moft virtuous^ that union, which prudence 
dictated, will increafe with age, and end but 
with life. The impulfe of the heart is more 
blind, but it is more irrefiftable; and the way to 
ruin, is to lay one's felf under the cruel neceiSty 
of oppodng it. Happy are thofe whom love unites 
as prudence didtates, who have no obftacles to 
furmount, nor difficulties to encounter! Such 
would be our friends, were it not for the unrea- 
fonable prejudice of an obftinate father. And 
fuch, notwithftanding, may they be yet, if one 
of them be well advifed. by your's and Eloifa's 
example, we may be equally convinced that it 
belongs only to the parties themfelves to judge 
how far they will be reciprocally agreeable. If 
love be not predominant, prudence only directs 
the choice, as in your cafe; if paffion prevail, 
nature has already determined it, as in Eloifa's. 
So facred alfo is the law of nature, that no hu- 
man being is permitted to tranfgrefs it, or can 
tranfgrefs it with impunity ; nor can any con- 
fideration of rank or fortune abrogate it, without 
involving mankind in guilt and misfortune. 

Though the winter be pretty far advanced, 
and I am obliged to go to Rome, I fhall not 


B L O I S A. 3ir 

leave our friend till I haVe brought him to fuch 
a confiftency of temper that I may fafely truft 
him with himfelf. I fhall be tender of him, as 
well on his own account, as becaufe you have 
entrufted him to * my care. If I cannot make 
him happy, I will endeavour, at leaft, to make 
him prudent j and to prevail on him to bear the 
evils of humanity like a man. I purpofe to fpend 
a fortnight with him hei'e ; in which time I hope 
to hear from you and Eloifa; and that you will 
both affift me in binding up the wounds of a 
broken heart, as yet imaffefted by the voice of 
reafon, unlefs it fpeak in the language of the 

Enclofed is a letter for your friend. I beg you 
will not truft it to a meffenger, but give it her 
with your own hands. 


Annexed to the preceding Letter. 

WHY was I not permitted to fee you be* 
fore my departure? You were afraid 
our parting would be fatal ! Tender Eloifa ! be 
comforted — I am well— I am at eafe — I live — I 
think of you— —I think of the time when I was 
dear to you— —My heart is. a little oppreffed— 
The chaife has made me giddy— -^-My fpirits 
are quite funk — I cannot write much to-day ; 
to-morrow, perhaps, I fhall be able to — or I 
ihall have no more occafion ■ ■ 


3U E L O I 3 A. 

Whither do thefc horfes hurry me fo faft? 
Where is this man, who calls himfelf my friend, 
going to carry me? Is it from Eloifa? Is it 
by her order that I am defpatched fo precipitately 
away ? Miftaken Eloifa ! — How rapidly doe? 
the chaife move ! Whence come I i Where 
am I going? Why all this expedition? Are 
ye afraid, ye perfecutors, that I (hould not fly 
faft enough to ruin ? O friendfbip I O ipye| 
is this your contrivance? are theie your fa* 
vours ? — 

Have you confulted your heart in driving me 
from you fo fuddenly ? Arc you capable, tell 
me Eloifa, are you capable of renouncing me 
forever ? No, that tender heart ftill loves me, I 

know it does In fpite of fortune, in fpite of 

itfelf, it will love me for ever,— -I fee it, yoii 
have permitted yourfelf to be perfuaded*— — 
What lafting repentance are you preparing for 
yourfelf !—— Alas ! it will be too late— —how ! 
forgot me ! I did not know your heart ! 
Oh ! confider yourfelf, conflder me, confider— 
hear me : it is yet time enough — 'twas cruel to 
banifb me : I fly from you fwifter than the wind, 
fc— Say but the word, but one word, and I re- 
turn quicker than lightening. Say but one 
word, and we will be united for ever. We 
ought to be — —We will be Alas ! 1 com- 
plain to the winds*--- — I am going again ^I 


• Itlappcar? by the fcquel,tbat thefc fufpicionsfcll ujioia 
Lord Br— *i and that Giara applies them to herfelf. 

E L O I S A. 313 

am going to live and die far from Eloifa — — 
Live ! did I fay i It is impoflible — — 



YOUR coufin will give you information 
concerning your friend. I imagine, alfo, 
he has written to you h'lmfelf by the poft. Firft 
fatisfy your impatience on that head, that yoa 
may afterwards perufe this letter with compo- 
fure; for I give you previous notice, the fub- 
jeflof it demands your attention. I know man- 
kind; I have lived a long lime in a few years, 
and have acquired experience at my own coft; 
the progrefs of the paflions having been my road 
to philofophy. But of all theextraordinary things 
that have come within the compafs of my ob- 
fervation, I never fa w any thing equal to you 
and your lover. It is not that cither the one or 
the other has any peculiar charafleriftick, where- 
by you might at firftbe known and diftinguiflicd, 
and through the want of which your's might well 
enough be miftaken, by a fuperficial obferver, 
for minds of a common and ordinary caft. You 
are eminently diftinguiftied, however, by this very 
difficulty of diliinguifhing you, and In that the 
features of a common model, fome one of which 
is wanting in every Individual, are all equally 
perfeft in you. Thus every printed copy that 
comes from the prefs has its peculiar defedls, 
which diftinguifli it from the reft of its kind ; and 
Vol. I. O if 

314 E L O I S A. 

if there fhould happen to corae one quite perfe<3, 
however beautiful it might appear at firil fight, 
it muft be accurately examined to know its per- 
feflion. The firft time I faw your lover, I was 
ftruck as with fomething new j my good opinion 
of him increafing daily, .in proportion as 1 found 
caufe. With regard to yourfelf, it was quite 
o'therwife ; and the fentiments you infpired were 
fuch as I miftook for thofe of love. The im- 
prefEon you made on me, however, did not 
arife fo much from a. difference of fex, as from 
a charadleriftical perfeilion, of which the heart 
cannot be infenfible, though love were out of 
the queftion. I can fee what you would be, 
though, without your friend j but I cannot pre- 
tend to fay what he would prove without you. 
Many men may refemble him, but there is but 
©ne Eloifa in the world. After doing you an 
injury, which I fhall ;iever forgive myfelf, your 
letter foon convinced me of the nature of my 
fentiments concerning you. I found I was not 
jealous, and confequently not in love. I faw 
that you were too amiable for me j that you de- 
ferved the firft-iruits of the heart, and that mine 
was unworthy of you. 

From that moment I took an intereft in your 
mutual happinefs, which will never abate j and, 
imagining it in my power to remove every ob- 
ftacle to your blifs, I made an indifcrete appli- 
cation to your father; the bad fuccefs of which 
is one motive to animate my zeal in your 
favour. Indulge me fo far as to hear me, and 


E L O £ S A. 315 

|>erhaps I may yet repair the mifchief I have oc- 
caftoned^ Examine your heart, Eloi fa, and fee 
if it be poiEble for you to exti|igui{h the flame 
with which it burns. There was .a time, per- 
haps, when you would have flopped its progrefs; 
but if Eloi fa fell from a ftate of innocence, 
how will fhe refift after her fall? How will 
flie be able to withftand the power of love 
triumphing over her weaknefs, and armed with 
the dangerous weapons of her pa^ pleafurcsf 
Let not your heart impofe on itfelf; but re- 
nounce the fallacious prefumption that feduces 
you — you are undone, if you are (till to com- 
bat with love: you will be debafed and van- 
quiflied, while a fenfe of your debafement will 
by degrees ftifle all your virtues. Love has in- 
finuated itfelf too far into your mind, for you 
ever to drive it thence. It has eaten its way^ 
has penetrated into its inmoft recefl'es, like u 
corrofivemenftruum, whofe impreflions you will 
never be able to efface, without deftroying at 
the fame time all that virtuous fenfibility you 
received from the hand of nature — root out love 
from your mind, and you will have nothing left 
in it truely eftimable. Incapable of changing 
the condition of your heart, what then remains 
foryou to do? Nqthing fure but to render your 
union legitimate. To this end, I will propofc 
to you the only method which now offers. Make 
ufe of it while it is yet time, and add to inno- 
cence and virtue the exercife of that good fenfc 
with which heaven has endovved you. 

O 2 I have 

3i6 E L O I S A. 

I have a pretty confiderable eftate in York- 
fhire, which has been long in our family, and 
was the feat of my anceftors. The manfion- 
houfe is old, but in gcoJ condition, and conve- 
nient; the country about it is folitary, but plea- 
fant and variegated. The river Oufe, which 
runs through the park, prefents at once a charm- 
ing profpedt to the view, and affords a commo- 
dious tranfport for all kinds of neceflaries. The 
income of the eftate is fufficient for the reputa- 
ble maintenance of the mafter, and might be 
doubled in its value, if under his immediate in- 
fpcdlion. Hateful prepoffeffion, and blind pre- 
judices harbour not in that delightful country ; 
the peaceful inhabitant of which preferves the 
ancient manners, whofe fimplicity prefents to 
you a pifture of the Valois, fuch as is defcribcd 
by the afFefting touches of your lover's pen. 
Thiseftate, Eloifa, is your's, if you will deign to 
accept it, and refide there with your friend. 
There may you fee accomplifhed all thofe tender 
wifties with which he concludes the letter I have 
juft hinted at. 

Come, amiable and faithful pair ! thcchoiceft 
pattern of true lovers j come, and take poffeflion 
of a fpot deftined for the afylum of Jove and 
innocence. Come, and, in the face of God 
and man, confirm the gentle ties by which you 
are united. Come, and let your example do 
honour to a country where your virtues will be 
revered, and where the people, bred up in inno- 
cence and fimplicity, will be proud to imitate 


E L O I S A. 517 

them. May you enjoy in that peaceful retire- 
ment, and with the fame fentiments that united 
you, the happinefs of fouls truely refined ! may 
your chafte embraces be crowned with offspring 
refembling yourfelves ! may you fee your day* 
lengfhenedto an honourable old age, and peace- 
fully end them in the arms of your children! 
and may our pofterity, in relating the ftory of 
your union, affedingly repeat, ** Here was the 
afylum of innocence^ this was the refuge of the two 

Your deftiny, Eloifa, is in your own power. 
Weigh maturely the propofal I make to you, 
and examine Oiily the main point; for, as to- 
the reft, I Ihall take upon myfelf to fettle every 
thing with your friend, and make firm and ir- 
revocable the engagement into which I am 
willing to enter, I fhall take tharge alfo for 
the fecurity of your departure, and the care 
of your pcrfon till" your arrival There you 
may be immediately married without difficul- 
ty: for with us, a girl that is marriageable 
has no need of any one's con fen t to difpofe of 
herfelf as fhe pleafes*. Our laws contradifl: 
not thofe of nature; and although there fome- 
times refult from their agreement fome flight 
inconveniencies, they are nothing compared 
to thofe it prevents, I have left at Vevai 
my valet-de-chambre, a man of probity and 
O 3 courage, 

♦ It is to be obfenred, that thefe letters were wiitten be- 
fore the a£l of parliamenti calljKi the marriage a^, had 
paired in Eivgland, 

51* E L O I S A. 

courage, as well as difcreet, and of approved 
fidelity. You may cafily concert matters with 
him, either by word of mouth, or by letter, 
with the affiftance of Reggianino, without the 
latter's knowing any thing of the affair. When 
every thing is ready, we will fet out to meet 
you, and you Ihall not quit your father's houfe 
but under the conduft and protediion of your 

I now leave you to think of my propofal: 
but give me leave to fay again, beware of the 
confequences of prejudice, ^nd thofefalfe fcru- 
ples, which too often, under the pretext of 
honour, conduA us to vice. 1 forefee what will 
happen to you if you rejeft my offers. The ty- 
ranny of an obftinate father will plunge you into 
an abyfs you will not be aware of till after your 
fall. Yourgentlenefs of difpdfition degenerates 
fometimes into timidity: you will fall a facri- 
fice to the chimerical diftin^ion of rank*; you 
will be forced into an engagement which your 
heart will abhor. The world may approve yout 
conduft, but your heart will daily give the lip to 
publick opinion ; you will be honoured, and yet 
contemptible in your own opinion. How much 
better is it to pafs your life in obfcurity and 
virtue ! 

P. S.^-'Being in doubt concerning your refolu- 
tion, I write to you, unknown to your friend; 

* Cbiifierical diftIn6Vion of rank ! It is an Englifli peer 
tliat talks thu8. Can there be any reality in all this^ 
Reader, what think you of it ? " * 

E L O I S A. 319 

Tcft a refufal on your part ffaould ruin at once the 
expectations I have formed of the good efFefts 
my care and advice may have upon his mind. 



OH ! my dear, in what trouble did you 
leave me laft night I and what a night did 
I pafs in reflecting on the contents of that fatal 
letter! No, never did fo powerful a temptation 
aflail my heart; never did I experience the like 
agitation of mind : nor was ever more at a lofs 
to copipofe it. Hitherto, reafon has darted fome 
ray of light to direCl my fteps; on every em- 
barraffing occaflon, I have been able to difcern 
the moft virtuous part, and immediately to em- 
brace it. But now, debafed and overcome,, my 
rcfolution does nothing but fluCiuate between 
contending paffions : my Weak heart has now 
no other choice than its foibles; and fo deplor- 
able is myblindnefs that, if I evenchoofe for the 
beft, my choice is not directed by virtue, and 
therefore I feel no lefs remorfe than if I had 
done ill. You know who my father defigns for 
my hufband : you know, alio, to whom the in- 
diflbluble bond of love has united me: v/ould 
.1 be-virtuous, filial obedience and plighted vows 
impofeon me contradi<Elory obligations. Shall 

i follow the inclinations of my heart? . 

Shall I pay a greater regard to -a lover 
O 4 than 

2,20 E L O I S A. 

than to a parent? In liflening to the voice of 
cither love or nature, I cannot avoid driving the 
one or the other to defpair. In facrificing my- 
fclf to my duty, I muft either way be guilty of a 
crime, and which cvrr party I take, I muft die 
criminal and unhappy. 

• Ah, my dear friend ! you, who have been my 
conttant and only refourcc, who have faved me 
io often from death and defpair, oh! think of my 
prefent horribie flate of mind ; for never were 
3 our kind offices of confolation more ncceffary. 
•You know I have liftened to your advice, that 
I have followed your counfel : you have feen 
how far^ at the cxpcnfe of my happinefs, I have 
paid a deference to the voice of fricndfbip. 
Take pity on me, then, in the trouble you have 
brought upon me. As you have begun, conti- 
nue to affift me; fuftain my drooping fpirits, 
and think for her who can no longer think for 
hcrfelf. You can read this heart that loves you, 
you know it better than I; learn then my diffi- 
culties, and choofe in my ftead, fince I have 
r.o longer the power to will, nor the reafon to 
chcofe for myfelf. 

Read over the letter of that generous Eng- 
lifliman: read it, my dear, again and again. 
Are you notafFedled by the charming picture he 
has drawn of that happinefs which love, peace, 
and virtue have yet in (lore for your friend? 
Mow ravifhing that union of fouls I What in- 
cxpreffible delight it affords, even in the midft of 
remorfe. Heavens! how would my heart re- 

E L O I S A. 321 

joice in conjugal felicity! AndMs innocence 
and happinefs yet in my power ! May I hope 
to expire with love and joy, in the embraces of 
a beloved hulband,amidft the dear pledges of his 
tendernefs ! Shall I hefitate then a moment, 
and not fly to repair my faults in the arms of 
him who feduced me to commit them ? Why 
do I delay to become a virtuous and chafte mo- 
ther of an endearing family ? — Oh ! that my pa- 
rents could but fee me thus raifed out of my 
degeneracy! That they might but fee how well 
I would acquit myfelf, in my turn, of thofe fa- 
cred duties they have difcharged towards nje ! — 
And your's! ungrateful, unnatural daughter 
(might they not fay) who (hall difcharge your's 
to them, when you are fo ready to forget them? 
Is it by plunging a dagger into the heart of 
your own mother, that you prepare to become 
a mother yourfelf f Can fhe, who difhonours 
her own family, teach her children to refpeil 
their'&f Go, unworthy objedl of the blind fond- 
nefs of your doting parents \ Abandon- them to 
their grief for having given you birth; load 
their old age with infamy, and bring their grey 
hairs with forrow to the grave. Go, and 

enjoy, if thou canft, a happinefs purchafed at 
fuch a pr.ic^* 

Good God! what ^ horrours furround me! 
. (hall I fly by ftealth from my native country, dif- 
honour my family, abandon at once father, mo- 
ther, friends, relations, and even you, my^ear 
Clara > you, my gentle friend, Jfowell beloved of 
O 5 my 

32a E L O I S A. 

my heart : you, fwho from our earlieft infancy 
have hardly ever been abfent from me a day— 
fliall I leave you, lofe you, never fee you more i 
— — vAh, no! May never— —How wretched, 
how cruelly afflifted is your unhappy friend ! 
She fees before her a variety of tvils; and nothing 
remains to yield her confolation. — But, my mind 
wanders — fo many con Aids furpafs my ftrength, 
and perplex my reafon : I lofe at once my forti- 
tude and uhderftanding, I have no hope but in 
you alone, Advife me— choofe for me— or leave 
me to perifh in perplexity and defpair. 



THERE is too juft caufe, my dear Eloifa, 
for your perplexity : I forefaw, but could 
not prevent it : I feel, but cannot remove it: 
nay, what is ftill worfe in your unhappy fitu* 
ation, there is no one that can extricate you but 
yourfelf. Were prudence only required, friend- 
fhip might poflibly relieve your agitated mind; 
were it only neceffary to choofe the good from 
the evil, miftaken pafSon might be over^ruled 
by difinterefted advice. But in yourcftfe, what-' 
ever fide you take, nature both authorifes and 
condemns you; reafon, at the fame time, com- 
mends and blames you ; duty is filcnt, or con- 
tradifts itfelfj the confequences are equally to 
be dreaded on one part or the other : in the mean 


E L O I S A. 323 

while,you can neither fafely choofenor remain un- 
determined J you have nothing but evils to take 
your choice of, ajid your heart is the only proper 
judge which of them it can beft fupport. I 
own, the importance of the deliberation fright- 
ens, and extremely affli£ls me. Whatever de- 
ftiny you prefer, it will be ftill unworthy of 
you; and, as lean neither point out your duty, 
nor conduft you to happinefs, I have not the cou- 
rage to decide for you. This is the firft refufal 
you ever met with from your friend ; and I feel, 
by the pain it cofts me, that it will be the laft : 
but 1 (hould betray your confidence, fhouldl take 
upon me to diredl you in an affair, about which 
prudence itfelf is filent ; and in which your beft 
and only guide is your own inclination. 

Blame me not wrongfully, Eloifa, nor con- 
demn me too foon. I know there are friends fo 
circumfpeft that, not to expofe themfelves to 
. confequences , they refufe to give their advice on 
difficult occafions, and by that referve but in- 
creafethe danger of thofe they fhould ferve.Think 
me not one of thofe ; you will fee prefently if 
this heart, fincerely your's, is capable of fuch 
timid precautions : permit me, therefore, inftead 
of advifing you in your affairs, to mention a lit- 
tle of my own. 

Have you never obfervcd, my dear, how much 
every one who knows you is attached to your 
perfon ? — —That a fi^ther or mother fhould be 
fond of an only daughter is not at all furprifmg; 
that an amorous youth fhould be infl^.med by 
O 6 ' a lovely 

3H E L O I S A. 

a lovely object is alfo as little extraordinary j 
but that, at an age of fedatenefs and maturity, 
a man of lb cold a difpofition as Mr. Wolmar 
ihould be taken with you at firft fight j that a 
whole family ftiould be unanimous to idolife 
you ; that you fhould be as much the darling 
of a man fo little afFeftionate as my father, and 
perhaps more fo than any of his own childrrti ; 
that friends, acquaintanee, domefticks, neigh- 
bours, that the inhabitants of a whole town, 
ihould unanimoufly join in admiring and refpeft- 
ing you; this, my dear, is a concurrence of 
circumftances more extraordinary; and which 
could not have happened, did you not pofTefs 
fomething peculiarly engaging. Do you know, 
Eloifa, what this fomething is? It is neither 
your beauty, your wit, your affability, nor 
any thing that is underfiood by the talent of 
pleafing : but it is that tendernefs of heart, that 
fvveetnefs of difpofition, that has no equal; 
it is the talent of loving others, my dear, that 
makes you fo univerfally beloved. Every other 
charm may be withftood, but benevolence is ir- 
refiftable; and there is no method fo fure to ob- 
tain the love of others, as that of having an af- 
feflion for them. There are a thoufand wo- 
men more beautiful; many are as agreeable; 
but you alone poflefs, with all that is agreeable, 
that fed ucing charni, which not only pleafes,but 
affeiSs and raviflies every heart. It is eafily per- 
ceived that your's re'quefts only to be accepted, 
and the delightful fympathy it pants after flies 
to reward it in turn. 


E L O I S A. 325 

You fee, for injftance, with furprife, the in- 
credible affeftion Lord B has for your 

friend : you fee his zeal for your happinefs 5 you 
receive with admiration his generous oiFers^ 
you attribute them to his virtue only. My dear 
coufin, you are miftaken. God forbid I fliould 
extenuate his Lordfliip's beneficence, or under- 
value his greatnefs of foul ! but, believe me, 
his zeal, difinterefted as it is, would be lefs fer- 
vent, if under the fame circumftances he had to 
do with different people. It is the irrefiftable 
afcendant you and your friend have over him 
that, without his perceiving it, determines his 
refolution, and makes him do that out of affec- 
tion, which he imagines proceeds only from mo- 
tives of generofity. This is what always* will 
be effeded by minds of a certain temper. They 
transform, in a manner, every other into their 
own likenefs 5 having a fphere of aftivity where- 
in nothing can refill their power. It is impof- 
fible to know without imitating them, while 
from their own fublime elevation they attraft all 
ihat are about them. It is for this reafon, my 
dear, thatneither you nor your friend will per- 
haps ever know mankind 5 for you will rather 
fee them fuch as you model them, than fuch 
as they are in themfelves. You will lead the 
way for all thofe among whom you live ; others 
-will either imitateor fly from you; and perhaps 
you will meet with nothing in the world fimilar 
to what you have hitherto feen. 


J26 E L O I 8 A. 

Let us come now to myfelf ; to me whom the 
tie of confanguinity, a fimilarity of age, and 
above all, a perfeft conformity of tafte and hu- 
mour, with a very cppofite temperament, have 
united to you from your infancy. 

Congiuvii erwi gV Mtrgbi, 
Ma piu congiukti i cori \ 
Co nf or me ira V etate. 
Ma *l penfier piu conforme* 

By birth in perfon clofe allied. 

Yet clofer Hill in mind! 
Near in our years, yet in our thoughts 

More intimately joinM^ 

What, think you, has been the eSeSt of that 
captivating influence, which is felt by cvety 
one that approaches you, on her who has beeti 
intimate with you from her childhood? Can 
you think there fubfifts between us but an 
ordinary connexion ? Do not mine eyes com- 
municate their fparkling joy in meeting your's ? 
Do you not perceive in my heart the pleafure 
of partaking your pains, and lamenting with 
you? Can I forget that, in the firft tranfports 
of a growing paffion, my friendfliip was never 
difegreeable ; ajid that the complaints of your 
lover could never prevail on you to fend me 
from you, or prevent me from being a witnefs 
to your weaknefs? This, my Ehoifa, was a 
critical jundlure. I am fenfible how great a 
facrifice you made to modefty, in making me 
acquainted with an errour I happily efcaped. 


E L O I 5 A. 3*7 

l^ever (hould I have been your confident had I 
been but half your friend — no, our fouls felt 
themfelves too intimately united for any thing 
ever to part them. 

What is it that makes the friendfliip of wo- 
men, I mean of thofe who are capable of 
love, fo lukewarm and fliort-lived? It is the 
interefls of love — it is the empire of beauty- 
it is the jealoufy of conqueft. Now, if any 
thing of that kind could have divided us, we 
ihould have been already divided. But, were my 
heart lefs infenfible to love, were I even ignorant 
that your affeftions are fo deeply rooted a,s to end 
but with life, your lover is my friend, my bro- 
ther : who ever knew the ties of a fincere friend- 
ihip broken by thofe of love ? As for Mr. Orbe, 
he may be long enough proud of your good 
opinion, before it will give me the Icafft unea- 
finefs ; nor have I any ftronget inclination to 
keep him by violence, than you have to take 
him from me. Would to heaven I could cure 
you of your paffion, at the cxpenfe of his I 
Though I keep him with pleafure, I fhould with 
greater pleafure refign him. 

With regard to my perfon, I may make what 
pretenfions I pleafe to beauty; you will not 
fet yourfelf in competition with me ; for I am 
fure it will never enter into your head to de- 
fire to know which of us is the handfomeft. I 
muft confefs, I have not been altogether fo 
indifferent on this headj but knew how to 
give place to your fupcriority, without the 


3«» E L O I S A. 

leaft momfication. Methinks I am. rather 
proud than jealous of it; for as the charms 
of your features are fuch as would not be- 
come mine, they take nothing from me, whereas 
I think myfelf handfome in your beauty, ami- 
able in your graces, and adorned with your ta- 
lents; thus, t pride myfelf in your perfections, 
and admire myfelf the moft in you. I (hall liever- 
choofe, however, to give pain on my own ac- 
count; being fiifficiently handfome in myfelf 
for any ufe 1 have for beauty. Any thing more 
isneedlefs; and it requires not much humility 
to yield the fuperiority to you. 

You are doubtlefs impatient to know, to what 
purpofe is all this preamble. It is to this-^I 
cannot give you the advice you requeft. I have 
given you my reafons forit; but, notwithftand- 
ing thi^, the choice you fhall make for your felf 
will at the fame time be that of your friend ; 
for, whatever be your fortune, I am refolved 
to accompany you, and partake of it. If you 
go, I follow you. If you ftay, fo do I. I have 
formed a determined and unalterable refoliition* 
It'is my duty, nor (hall any thing prevent me. 
My fatal indulgence to your paflion has beeii 
your ruin : your deftiny ought, therefore, to be 
mine; and, as we have been infeparable from 
our cradles, we ought to be fo to the grave.—-* 
I forefee you will think this an abfurd prbjcft; 
itisr, however, at bottom, amoredifcreet one, 
perhaps, than you may imagine: I have not the 
fame motives for doubt and irrcfolutlon as you 


E L O I S A. 329 

h.ive. In the firft place, as to my family; if 
1 leave an eafy father, I leave an indifferent one, 
who permits his children todojuft as they pleafe, 
more through negle<ft than indulgence : for you 
know he interefts himfelf much more in the 
affairs of Europe than his own, and that his 
daughter is much lefs the obje<Sl of his concern 
than the Pragmatick Sanftion. I am befidcs not 
like you, an only child, and ihall be hardly 
miffed among thofe that remain. 

It is true, I leave a treaty of marriage juft on 
the point of being brought to a conclufion. 
Manco-^^maU^ my dear ; it is the affair of Mr. 
Orbe, if he loves me, to confole himfelf for the 
difappointment. For my part, although I ^^t^ta 
his charadier, am not without affeftion for his 
perfon, and regret in his lofs a very honeft man, 
he is nothing to me in comparifon to Eloifa. 
Tell me, is the Soul of any fex \ 1 really can- 
not perceive it in mine. I may have my fancies, 
but very little of love. A hufband might be ufe- 
ful to me J but he would never be any thing to 
me but a hulband j and that a girl who is not 
ugly may find every where. But, take care, mjr 
dear coufin, although /do nothefitate, I do not 
fay that pu ought not; nor would I infinuate 
that jou fhould refolve to do what / am refolved 
to imitate. There is a wide difference between 
you and me; and your duty is much feverer 
thaft mine. You know that an unparelleled 
affedlion for you poffeffes my heart, and almoft 
flifles every other fentiment. From my infancy 

1 have 

33i> £ L O I S A. 

I have been attached to you by an habitual 
and iirefiftable impulfe ; fo that 1 perfedly love 
no one elfej and if I have feme few ties of na- 
ture and gratitude to break through, I Ihall be 
encouraged to do it by your example. I fhall 
faytomyfelf, I have but imitated Eloifa, and 
&all think myfelf juftified# 



IUnderftand you, my dear Clara, and thank 
you. For once, at leaft, I v^^ill do my 
duty ^ and ihall not be totally unWoJCtby of your 




OUR Iordfhip*s laft letter has affefted me 
in the higheft degree with admiration and 
gratitude; nor will my friend, who is honoured 
with your protection, be lefs fo, when he knows 
the obligations you would have conferred on us. 
The unhappy, alas! only know the value of 
benevolent minds. We had before but too 
tnzny reafons to acknowledge that of your's, 
whofe heroick virtue will never, be forgotten, 
though after this it cannot furprife us. 

How fortunate fliould I think myfelf to live 
under the aufpices of fo generous a friend, and 
to reap from your benevolence that happinefs 


E. L O I S A. 331 

which fortune has denied mt. But I fee, my 
lord, I fee with defpair, your good defigns will 
be fruftrated ! niy cruel deftiny will counteratSt 
your friendfliip 5 and the delightful profpe<5t of , 
the bleffings you offer to my acceptance ferves 
only to render their lofs more fcnfible. You 
offer a fecure and agreeable retreat to two per- 
fecuted lovers ; you would render their paffioa 
legitimate, their union facred ; and I know that^ 
under your protection, I could eafily elude the 
purfuits of my irritated relations. This would 
complete our love, but would it enfure our 
felicity? Ah! no: if you would have Eloi fa 
contented and happy, give her an afylum yet 
more fecure, an afylum from fhame and re- 
pentance. You anticipate our wants, and, by aa . 
unparelleled generofity, deprive yourfelf of y^ur 
own fortune to beftow on us. More wealthy, 
more honoured by your benevolence than my 
own patrimony, I nwiy recover every thing I 
have loft, and you will condefcend to fupply the 
place of a father.— Ah! my lord, fball I be 
worthy of another father when I abandon him 
whom nature gave me ? 

This is the fource of the reproaches my 
wounded Confcience makes me, and of thofe fe* 
cret pangs that rend my heart. 

1 do not enquire whether I have a right to 
difpofe of myfelf contrary to the will of thofe 
who gave me birth j but whether I can do it 
without involving them in a mortal affliction; 
whether I can abaudon them without bringing 


332 E L O I S A. 

them todefpairj whether, alas! I have a right 
to take away their life wha gave me mine f 
How long has the virtuous mind taken upon it- 
felf thus to balance the rights of confanguinity 
and laws of nature f Since when has the feel- 
ing heart prefumed thus nicely to diftinguifh 
the bounds of filial gratitude? Is it not a 
crime to proceed in queftioning our duty to 
its very utmoft limits? Will any one fo- 
fcrupuloufly enquire into its extent, unlefj 
they are tempted to go beyond it ? Shall 
1 cruelly abandon thofe by whom I live and 
breathe — thofe who fo tenderly preferve the life 
and being they gave me — thofe who have no 
hope, no pleafure, but in me ? A father near 
fixcy years of age I A mother weak and lan- 
guifhing! I their only child ! Shall I leave 
them without help in the folitude and troubles 
of old age 5 at a time when 1 fhould exercife 
towards them that tender follicitude they have 
Javiflicd on me? Shall I involve their latter 
days in (hame and forrow ? Will not my troubled 
confcience inceflantly upbraid me, and repre- 
fent my dcfpairing parents breathing out thcfr 
laft in curfe$ on the ungrateful daughter that 
forfook and dilhonoured them ? — No, my lord, 
virtue, whofe paths 1 have forfaken, may in 
turn abandon me, and no longer adluate my 
heart 3 but this horrible idea will fupply its dic- 
tates, will follow, will torment me every hour 
of my life, and make me mifcrable, in the midft 
4>f happinefs. In a word,, if I. am doomed to 


B L O I S A. 333 

"be unhappy the reft of my days, I will run the 
rifque of every other remorfe ; but this is too 
horrible for me to fupport. I confefs, I cannot 
invalidate your arguments. I have but too great 
an inclination to think them juft : but, my lord, 
you are unmarried j don't you think a man ought 
to be a father hioafelf, to advife the children of 
others? As to me, I am determined what to 
do : my parents will make me unhappy, I know 
they will : but it will be lefs hard forme to fup- 
port my own mifery than the thought of hav- 
ing been the caufe of their'.s ; for which reafon, 
1 will never forfake my father's houfe. Begone, 
then, ye fweet and flattering illufions ! Ideas of 
fo defii;cable a felicity ! Go, vanifhlike a dream: 
for fuch I will ever think ye. And you, too 
generous friend, lay afide your agreeable defigns, 
and let their rememberance only remain in the 
bottom of a heart, too grateful ever to forget 
ihcm. If our misfortunes, however, are not too 
great to difcourage your noble mind ; if your 
generofity is not totally exhaufted, there is yet 
a way to exercife it with reputation, and he, 
whom you honour under the name of friend, may 
under your care be deferving of it. Judge not 
of him by the fituation in which you now fee 
him J his extravagance is not the effeftof pufil- 
lanimity, but of an ambitious and fufccptible dif- 
pofition making head againft advcrfity. There 
is often more infenfibility than fortitude in ap- 
parent moderation : common men know no- 
thing of violent forrovv, nor do great pafEons 


5S4 E L O I S A. 

ever break out in weak minds. He pofledes all 
that energy of fentiment which is the charac- 
teriftickof a noble foul ; and which is, alas ! the 
caufe of my prefent defpair. Your lofdfliip may 
indeed believe me, had he been only a common 
man, Eloifa had not been undone. 

No, my lord, that fecret prepoffeffion in his 
favour, which was followed by our manifeft 
cfteem, did not deceive you. •He is worthy of 
all you did for him before you were acquainted 
with his merit j and you will do more for him, 
if poffible, as you know him better. Yes, be 
your lordfhip his comforter, his patron, his 
friend, his father j it is both for your own fake 
and Kis I conjure you to this; he will juftify 
your confidence, he will honour your bcnefafti- 
ons, he will praftife your precepts, he will imi- 
tate your virtues, and will learn your wifdom. 
Ah! my lord, if he Ihould become in your 
hands what he is capable of being, you will 
have reafon to be proud of your charge. 




ND do you, too, my dear friend f my 
only hope! do you come to wound 
afrefh my heart, opprefled already with a load of 
for row ! I was prepared to bear the (hocks ofad- 
verfity j long has my foreboding heart announc- 
ed their coming ; and I fliould have fupported 


fi L O I S A. 53$ 

them with patience; but you, for whom I fufier ! 
infupportable ! I am ftruck 'with horrour to fee 
my forrows aggravated by one who ought to al- 
leviate them. What tender confolations did not 
I promife myfeJf to receive from you ? But all 
arc vamfhed with your fortitude! How often have 
I not flattered myfelf, that your magnanimity 
would ftrengthen my weaknefs ; that your de» 
ferts would eiFace my errour; and your elevated 
virtues raifed tip my debafed mind I How many 
times have I not dried up my tears, faying to 
myfelf, I fuflFer for him, it is true, but he is 
worthy— I am culpable, but he is virtuous-^I 
have a thoufand troubles, but his conftancy fup* 
ports me ; in his love I find a recompenfe for all 
my cares. Vain imagination ! on the firft iryal 
thou haft deceived me ! Where is now that 
fublime paflion which could elevate your fenti- 
ments, and difplay your virtues ? What is be- 
come of thofe high-boafted maxims? your 
imitation of great examples ? Where is that 
philofopher whom adverfity could not (hake, yet 
falls before the firft accident that parts him from 
his miftrefs ? How fhall I hereafter excufe my 
ill-condu6l to myfelf, when in him that feduced 
me, I fee a man without courage, effeminate; 
onewhofe weak mind finks under the firft re- 
verfe of fortune, and abfurdly renounces his rea - 
fon the moment he has occafion to make ufe of 
it ? Good God ! that in my prefent ft ate of 
humiliation I fhould be reduced to blufh for my 
choice, as much as for my weaknefs. 


3SS E L O I S A, 

Reflefl a little — ^^think how ftr you forget 
yourfelf; can your wandering and impatient 
mind ftoop fo low as to be guilty of cruelty ? 
Do you prefume to reproach me ? Do you com- 
plain of me ?— complain of Eloifa ! Barbarous 
man ! ■ ■■ How comes it that remorfe did not 
bold your hand? why did not the moft en- 
dearing proofs of the tendereft paffion that 
ever exifted deprive you of the power to in- 
fult me i How defpicable muft )>e your heart, 
if it can doubt of the fidelity of mine ! — But 
no, you do not, you cannot doubt it; I defy 
your utmoft impatience to do this ; nay, even at 
this inftant, while I exprefs my abhorrence of 
your injufticc, you muft fee, too plainly, the 
caufe of the firft emotion of anger I ever felt in 
my life. 

Was it you that afked me whether I had not 
ruined myfelf by my inconfiderate confidence, 
and if my defigns had not fucceeded ? Hov^ 
would you not blu(h for fuch cruel infinuations, 
if you knew the fond hopes that feduced me, if 
you knew the projefts I had formed for our mu- 
tual happinefs, and how they are now vaniOied 
with all my comforts. 1 dare flatter myfelf ftill, 
you will one day know better, and your re- 
morfe amply revenge your reproaches. You 
know my father's prohibition j you are not ig- 
norant of the publick talk ; I forefaw the confe- 
ciuences; I had them reprefented to you by 
iwy coufin : you were as fenfible of them as we, 
find fox our mutual prefer vation it was neceffary- 
to fubmit to a fcparation. 

I, there- 

B L O I S A. i^y 

1, therefore, drove you away, as yoti inju* 
rioufly term it. But for whofe fake was I in- 
duced to this? Have you no delicacy ? Un- 
grateful man ! it was for the fake of a heart 
infcnfible of its own worth, and that would ra- 
ther die a thoufand deaths than fee me rendered 
infamous. . Tell me, what would become of 
you, if I were given up to ihame ? Do yoa 
think you could fupport my dishonour i Come, 
cruel as you are, if you think fo; come, and 
receive the facriiice of my reputation with th^ 
fame fortitude as I will ofFer it up. Come back, 
n6r fear to be difclaimed by her to whom yoti 
"were always dean I am ready to declare, in 
the face of heaven and earth, the engagements 
of our mutual pai&on; I am ready boldly ta 
declare you my lover, and to expire in your arms 
with affeSion and (bame, I had rather the 
w.hole world (hould know my tend«rnefs thuit 
that you (hould one moment doubt it v the (hafts 
of ignominy wound not (6 deep as your rer 

I conjure you, let us for ever put ah end to 
thefe reciprocal complaints ; they are to me in- 
tolerable. Good heavens 1 how can thofe who 
love each other delight in quarrelling; and lofe 
in tormenting themfelves thofe moments in 
which they (land in need of mutual confola- 
tion ! No, my friend, what end does it fervc 
toaffefi adifagreement which does not fufefift ? 
Let us complain of fortune, but- not o£ love. 
Never did it form a more perfect, a more lafting. 

Vol. I. P union i 

a^s E L O I S A. ' 

luiion; our fouls are too intitnately blended eiter 
.to be feparated : nor can vre live apart from each 
other, but as two parts of one being. How is 
it, then, that you only feel your own griefs I 
Why do you not fynipathife with thofe of youT 
friend f Why do you not perceive in yow 
hrcd& the heart^it fighs of her's ? Alas I thef 
are moie 2Sc!&ing than your impaiiioned ra*' 
viags! If you pal'tookxrf' myiuffei-ings, yon 
would ev^n ,morc fevcmly feel them than your 

You hyfour fitoation is deplorable ! Think 
«f Eloifa's, and lament only for her. Confidert 
In our eommoi^ misfonune, the diiierent ftate of 
your fex and mine, ami judge which is moft de- 
plorable. Afiefledhy violent paffions., to pre* 
jtend to be infeoBble; a prey to a thoufaod 
griefs, to be obliged to appear chearfid and con^ 
tent ; to have b ferenetcountenance with ^^t> 
tated mindi to fpeak always contrary to one*« 
thou^htsj todjfjguii^all wefeel; to be deceitful 
through obligation, and tofpeak untruth througin 
^anodefty ; fuch is the hahitual fiuiation of every 
young woman of my age. Thus we pafs thi 
prime of our youth, under the tyranny of de^ 
corum, which is at length aggravated by thajt 
of our p^eiits, in forcing us into an unfuitahk 
marriage. Jn vain, however, would me^i lay m 
reftraint on the inclinations ; the heart gives 
lawtoitfelf) it eludes the fhackles of flayery^ 
;ind bcftow$ itMf at its owo pleafure* 


fi L O I S A. 339 

clogged with a yoke of iron, which heaven 
does not impofe on us, tkey unite the body 
Without the foul] theperfon and the inclina- 
• tions are feparateJy engaged, and an unhappy 
Ti£lim is forced into guilt, by obligfng her to 
€hcer into a &cred engagement, which fhe wants, 
in one refpe^ or other, an effential power to 
fulfill. Are there not fome yo»ng women moi*e 
difcreet? Al^! i kno<w tkef e ar e. Thereare 
thofe that have never loved! Peace be with 
them ! They have withftood that fatal paflion! 
I would alfe have reftfted rt. They are more 
-virtuous ! Do they love virtue betttr than I ? 
'Had it not been for you, for you alone, I had 
«ver loved it. — Is it then true that I love virtue 
no longer ?— — Is it you that hath ruined me, 
and is it I who muft confole you ? But what 
will become of me ? The confbfation of friend- 
fhip is weak where that of love is wanting ! 
Who- then can give me comfort in my afflic- 
tion ? With what a dreadful fituation am I 
threatened? I, who, for havings committed a 
crime, fee myfelf ready to he plunged into a 
new icene of guilt, by entering into an ab^ 
horred, and perhaps inevitable marriage? Where 
ihall I find tear& l^fikient to mourn my gutit 
and lament my tov«r, if t yield ? On the other 
hand, how ftall I find refohition*, in-myprefent 
depreilioaof mind, to ^efift^ Methinks, I fee 
already the fury of an Lncenfed father! I feel 
myfelf already moved by the erics ef nature! I 
feel my hcart-ftringstom by the pangs of love. 
Pa* Deprived 

340 E L O I 8 A. 

Deprived of thee, I am without rcfourcc, with- 
out fupport, without hope ; the paft is difgrace- 
ful, the prefent afiiiiSiog, and the future terrible. 
I thought I had done every thing for our hap- 
pinefs, but we are only made more miferable, 
by preparing the way for a more cruel repara- 
tion. Our fleeting pleafure is paft, while the 
remcrfe it occafioned remains, and the (hamc 
which overwhelms me is without alleviation. 

It belongs to me, to me alone, to be weak 
and miferable. Let me then weep and fuffer} 
iny tears are inexhauftible as my fault is irre- 
parable, while time, that fovereign cure for al- 
moft tvery thing, brings to me only new mo- 
tives for tears : but you, who have no violence 
to. fear, who arc unmortified by fliame, whom 
nothing conftrains to difguife your fentiments: 
you, who have only juft tafted misfortune, and 
poffefs at leaft your former virtues unblemifhed j 
how dare you demean yourfeif fo far, as to figh 
^nd fob like a womaa, or betray your impa- 
tience like a madman? Have not I merited 
contempt enough on your account without 
your increafing it, by making yourfeif con-, 
tcraptible ; without overwhelming me at once 
with my own infamy and yoitrs ? Recall then 
your refolution j learn to bear your misfortunes, 
and be like a man: be yet, if I dare to fajr 
fo, the lover of Eloifa. If I am no longer 
worthy to animate your courage, remember at 
leaft, what I once was. Deferve, then, what 
for your fake I have ceafed to be 3 and, though 


K L O I S A. 341 

you have difhonoured me once, do not diflib- 
nour me again. — No, my beft friend, it is not 
you that 1 difcover in that effeminate letter, 
which I would forget for ever, and which I 
look upon already as difowned by you, I hope, 
dd)afed and confufed as I am, I dare hope, the 
rememberance of me does not infpire fentiments 
fo bafe ; but that I am more refpedied by a heart 
it was in my power to inflame, and that I fhall 
not have additional caufe to reproach myfelf it\ 
your weaknefs, 

Happy in your misfortune, you have met 
with the mod valoable recompenfe that was ever 
known to a fufceptible mind. Heaven, in your 
adverfity, has given you a friend -, and has made 
it doubtful whether what it has beftowed is not 
a greater bleffing than that which it has deprived 
you of. Love and refpeft that too generous 
man ; who, at the cxpenfe of his own eafe, 
condefcends to intereft himfelf in your peace 
and prefervatjon. How would you be affe£ted) 
if you knew every thing he would have done 
for you ! But what fignifies exciting your gra« 
titude to aggravate your affliction ? You have 
no need to be informed how much he loves you, 
to know his worth ; and you cannot refped 
bim as he deferves without loving him as you 


34^ E L O I S A. 



YOUR paffion prevail* over your delicacJV 
and you know better how to fuffcr than co- 
make a merit of your fufferings. You would 
othecwife never have written in a ftrain of re- 
proach toEloifa, in her prcfent fituation. Be- 
caufeyou are uncafy, tcucly, you muft aggravate 
her uneafmefs, which is greater thair your's. I 
have told you a thoufonrf time* that I never faw 
fo grumbling a lover as you: always ready to' 
difpute about nothings love is to you a ftate of 
warfare: or» if fometimes you are a little trad- 
able, it is only that you may have an opportunity 
to complain of having htetk fo% How diCagrec* 
able muft be fuch lovers^^. and how happy do I 
think myfelf in never having had any but fuch 
. as I could difmifs when I pleafed^^ without a 
tear being (bed on either fide ! 

You muft change your tone, beUeve me, if 
you would have Eloifa furvive her prefent di- 
ftrefs : it is too much for her to fuppor t her owa 
grief and your difpleafure. L#earn for ojice tO' 
foothe her too fufceptible heart: you owe her the 
^moft tender confolation : and ought to be afraid 
left you (hould aggravate your misfortune by 
lamenting it. At leaft, if you muft complain, 
vent your complaints againft me, who am the 
only caufe of your feparation. Yes, my friend 
you guefled right : I fuggefted to her the part 


E L O I S A. 343^^ 

hit bonour and fecarity ttquired her to take;' 
or rather I obliged her to take it, byexag^^ 
gerating her danger: I prevailed aifo on yoir 
to depart, and we all hatre but done our duty« 
I did more, however, than this* I prevented , 
iier from accepting the oflSsrs of Lord B ■ ■ ;. 
I have prevented your being happy; but the 
happinefs of Eloifa is dearer to me than your's : 
J knew fhe could not be happy after leaving her 
parents to fhame and defpalr ; and I can hardly 
xromprehend, with regard to yourfelf, what kind 
of happineffi you can tafte at the expenfe of 
her's. Be that what it will, fuch has been my 
condu£t and offenfe j and fince you delight in 
quarrelling with thofe you love, you fee the 
occaiion you have to begin with me alone : if . 
in this you do not ceafe to be ungrateful, you 
will at leaft ceafe to be unjuft* For my part^ 
jn whatever manner you behave to me, I fhall 
always behave the fame towards you : fo long 
as Eloifa loves you, you will be dear to me, and 
more I cannot fay, I am not forry that I never 
oppofed or favoured your paffion* The difin- 
tereAed friendfhip which always a£tuated me in 
that affair juftifies me equally in what I have 
xlone for and againft you ; and if at any time I 
interefted myfelf in your paffion more perhaps 
than became me, my heart fufficiently excufed 
me. I fhall never blufli for the fervices I was 
able to do my friend, nor fliall reproach myfelf 
becaufe they were ukhts* I have not forgot 

. a 

344' E L O I S a; 

what you formerly taugiit me, c^ . the fortitude 
of the wife man under misfortunes ; and fancy 
I could remind you of feveral maxims to that 
purpofe : but I have learned, by the example of 
Eloifa, that a girl of my age is, to a philofo- 
phcr> a bad preceptor^ •aW a dangerous pupiU 


r MAY 1 « lb4d