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Full text of "Les Confidences: Confidential Disclosures"

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c 

Lbïv,; 



Jëarbatl) ï^ibinit^ âri)ool 




ANDOVER-HAKVARD THEOLOOICAL 
LIBRARY 



CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 



From the eetate 
of 



JOHN ORAIUll BROKS 



Harrara DlTlnlty School 
1875. 



"\ 



/ 



J 



' ■ / 



*/ 






LES CONFIDENCES. 



COIFIDENTIAL DISCLOSTJRES, 



BT 



ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE, 

AUTHOR OF '* HUTORT OF THB OtMmimam,*' ** ■ârHAM»* ITA IfO 



TRÂimUkTBD FBOM TBB flUlOB 



EUGÈNB PLUNKETT. 



JStEW JSDinOTSC» 



NEW YORK: 
D. APPLETON AND OOMPANT, 

846 A 888 Bboadwat. 
1I.DOOO.LTII. 



CAMBmOQBC MA9Bl 



SAtersd acoording to Act of Congress, in tbe year 18tl^ 
Bt D. AFPLBTON et COMPANY, 

In the Clerk*s Office of the District Ck>uTt of the United States for tbe SoutlMni 

Distrinof New York. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 



CONFIDENTIAL DISCLOSURES. 

BT 

A. DE LAMARTINE. 



PREFACE. 
Lrrmt to M. Pbo«pe& Oitichard, of Bten-Asbol 

« « « « « jjg^ ^g come to the subject of thy letter. 
Tbou makest inquiry : " What can be the nature of thèse 
Confidences, of which a daily paper, whose circulation in France 
and in Europe is immense, announces the publication in its 
columns?" Thou art justly astonished at the sight of the 
domestic pages of my obscure life thus surrendered by me, 
during my lifetime, to the indiffèrent gaze of some thousands 
of reaaers of feuilletons * , 

** This publicity/' sayest thon, '* blights the matters of tl^e 
he^rt, axkd feuilletons are the base coin of books. Why dost 
thou commit this fault?" addest thou, with that soiuewhat 
harsh frankness which is the stoicism of real friendship. " Is 
't to nourish thyself with thine own feelings ? — ^They will be- 
IcMig less to thyself when they belong to every one. Is it for 
glory's sake ? There is no glory in the cradle ; it is only to 
be foimd on the tombs of a yery small number of men. Celeb- 
rity is only the glory of the passing hour ; it bas no morrow. 
Is it for money's sake ? Seeking it in one's own veins is diving 
too deep and paying too dear for it ! Explain ail this, for it is 
incompréhensible to me ; or pause, if it be not too late.'' 

Alas ! my friend, I will explain myself ; but I begin by ad- 

' ' ■ ■ ■>! ■ r I ■! I I 1 II 

* Name given to the spmce oocupied in Freach new^mpers by litentfy 
and crUieal artielefl, as well as to tbotie articles themselTes.— Ta. 

1* 



6 LAMARTINE. 

inîttîng with humility that thou art right on ail pointa. When 
thou wilt hâve listened, however, with a slightly partial ear to 
my explanation, it will be thy turn sorrowfully to admit, per- 
haps, that I hâve not done wrong. Hère are the facts, in al) 
their nakedness ; they are also a confidential disclosure, and not 
the least indiscreet, perhaps. 

Thou rememberest the days of our youth, those autumn 
days which I used to spend with thee at thy mother's solitary 
mancr-house in Daupluny, on that hill of "Bien- Assis, which 
hardly swells above the plains of Crémieux, Uke the lessening 
wave that brings a vessel to the strand. From hère I can yet 
see the terrace with its vine-clad arcades ; the spring in the 
garden, beneath the weeping-willows which thy mother had 
just planted, and some sprig ôf which, no doubt, now sheds 
its leaves above her grave ; the deep woods behind, which 
rang, of a morning, with the voices of thy dogs ; the parlor, 
adorned with the portrait of thy father in the uniform of a 
gênerai ofiicer, with a red riband of the olden time ; finally, 
the turret, ail fiUed with books, the key of which thy mother 
kept, and which was never opened save under her supervision, 
through fear that our hands might cuU hemlock for parsley 
amid that thick and deceitful végétation of the human mind, 
where the panacea grows so near the poison. 

Dost thou also remember thy vacation joumeys to Milly, 
where thou didst know my mother, who loved thee almost as 
a son? Her pleasing face, hereyes filled with the tendemess 
of her soûl ; the tones of her voice, betra3dng and at the samo 
time awakening émotion ; her smile of peace, in which goodness 
always beamed, in which the slightest shade of raillery never 
contracted her lips— hâve they remained in thy memory ? 

" What connection," wilt thou say to me, " is there between 
ail this — ^the manor-house of Bien- Assis, the little house of 
Milly, my mother and thine, and the publication of thèse pages 
of thy youth ?" 

Thou shalt see. 

My mother had the habit— contracted at an early period, in 
the somewhat Roman éducation which she had received at 
Saint Cloud-^f placing an interval of méditation between 
the day and slumber, as sages seek to place one between life 
and death. When every one had retired to rest in her house ; 
when her children were slumbering in their little beds around 
her own; when nought was to be heard but their regular 
breathing in the chamber^ the noise of the wind against the 



LES CONFIDENCES. 7 

window-shutters, the barking of the dog in the yard, slia 
would gently open the door of a closet tnat was filled with 
books, educational, devotional, bistorical ; she would seat ber-' 
self in front of a small writing-desk, made of rose-wood inlaid 
with ivory and mother-of-pearl, whose différent compartments 
had the shape of clusters of orange flowers, and remove from 
a drawer several sheets of paper bound together in gray paste- 
board like account-books. She would write on those sheets 
for an hour or two, without once raising her head, and with- 
out allowing the pen once to tarry in suspense above the paper 
to awût the descent of a word in its proper place. That was 
the doïnestic history of the day, the annals of the hour, the 
fleeting remembrance of things and feeling^, seized in its flight 
and stopped in its course ère night had lent it wings ; the 
happy or sorrowful dates, the family events ; the fall of the 
sand of time arrested in the hour-glass, the outpourings of 
anxiety and melancholy, the outbursts of gratitude and de- 
light; the prayers to God/yet warm, which had gushed from 
the heart ; ail the feeling notes of a nature that lives, loves, 
enjoys, suffers, blesses, invokes, adores — in a word, a written 
soûl! 

Thèse notes, thus thrown upon paper at the close of each 
day,. like drops of her existence, increased at last, and formed, 
at her death, an immense and precious réservoir of remem- 
brances for her children. There are twenty-two volumes of 
them. I bave them always within my reach ; and when I wish 
again to find, again to see, again to hear my mother's soûl, I 
open one of them, and that soûl appears to me. 

Now, thou knowest how hereditary habits are. Alas ! why 
are not virtues also hereditary ? . . . . This habit of my mo- 
ther became mine at an early period. . When I left collège 
she showed me those pages, and said to me : 

** Follow my example : give a mirror to thy life. Grant an 
hour to the registering of thy feelings and to the silent exami- 
nation of thy conscience. It is good, during the day, before 
the commission of this or that act, to think : ' It will make me 
blush before myself to-night as I write it down.' It is also 
grateful to fasten on the joys which escapë us or the tears 
that fall from our eyes, to find them, some years after, on 
thèse pages, and to say to ourself : ' This then is what made 
me happy ! This then is what made me weep T It teaches 
us the mutability of feeUngs and things ; it makes us prize 
pleasures and sorrows, not according to their value at tlie mo* 



8 LAMARTINE. 

ment, which decei^es us, but according to the value of eter* 
nity, which alone deceives us not V 

I hearkened to thèse words, and obeyed. I did not obey 
literally, however. I did not, like ray mother, write down every 
day, the day that had passed. The headlong course of life, 
the impetuosity of passion, the sed active influence of plaoes, per- 
sons, thoughts, and events ; the disgust awakened by an oft- 
troubled conscience, which I could only hâve contemplated 
with humiliation and pain, hindered me from keeping that reg- 
ister of my steps in life with the pious regularity of that saintly 
woman. But from time to time, during those hours of calm 
when the soûl rests itself, during those periodsof solitude 
when the heart remembers kindnesses and likenesses, during 
those lifeless times of existence when one lives only in the 
past, I wrote, (carelessly, and without reflecting whether any 
eye but mine own would ever read thèse pages,) I wrote, say 
I, not ail, but the principal émotions of my internai life. With 
the end of my pen I stirred the hot or cold ashes of my past 
existence. I breathed on those cinders in my heart to reani- 
mate their light and beat in my bosom a few days longer ! I 
did this at six or seven différent periods of my life, in the form 
of notes, none of which bas any connection with the other 
save the identity of the soûl that wrote them. 

This much said, follow me yet a moment, and forgive the 
length of my letter. 

Five or six years àgo, in order to work in peace at the His- 
tory of the French Révolution, I had gone, during the summer, 
and taken refuge in the Uttle isle of Ischia, situated in the 
middle of the Gulf of Gaëta, and separated from the continent 
by that beautiful sea, without which no site is complète for 
me — the visible infinité which makes the eye feel the limits of 
time and catch glimpses of that existence which is boundless. 
Ischia, as thou wilt perceive by perusing thèse pages, bas 
always been dear to me from another cause. It was the scène 
of two of the most touching réminiscences of my life : one as 
sweet and juvénile as infancy, the other as serions, strong, and 
durable as manhood. We love the spots where we bave 
loved. They seem to préserve our heart of former times for 
us, and to restore it to us whole and uninjured, that we may 
love again. 

One day, then, during the summer of 1843, 1 was alone on 
the terrace of the fisberman's small house which I inhabited, 
Ijtng in the shade of ai lemon-tree, gazing at the sea, listening 



LES OONFIDSirCES. 9 

io iiB wares, which bring and cany away tbe rnstlinff shelkof 
its sliores, and breathing the breeze sent into the air by the 
under-tow of eacb billow, like tbe btunid fans whicb pocHr ne- 
grœs wave above tbe brows of tbeir masters in our tropical 
climes. The day previons, I bad finisbed culling from tbe 
memoirs, manuscripts, and documents which I bad brought 
with me for " The History of the Girondists." I was in want 
of materials. 

I bad reopened those which never fail us,— our remem* 
brances. I was writing» on my knee, tbe story of Graziella, 
that moumf ul and fascinatîng presentiment of love with which 
I bad formerly met in that very same gulf, and I was writing 
it in yiew of the Isle of Prockla, in view ci the ruins of the 
little bouse amid the yines and the garden on tbe seasbore, 
which her shade yet seemed to be pomting ont to me with its 
finger. I saw on tbe sea a boat under full sail, approaching 
through sheets of foam beneath a buming sun. A young man 
and a young woman were seeldng to shelter tbeir brows m the 
shade of the mast. 

The door of the terrace opened. A little boy of Ischia, 
serving as guide to those wbo bad newly arrived in tbe island» 
entered and abruptly announced a stranger. 

I saw a tall and supple young man draw near ; bis pace was 
slow and measured, like that of a person wbo is burdened 
with a thought, and fears to let it fall ; a black beard encircled 
bis manly and benevolent countenance, wbose profile stood out 
from the blue heavens -in two pure Grecian lines, like those 
physiognomies of tbe young disciples of Plato which are found 
m tbe sand of tbe Pyrœus, on medals or on sculptured stones 
of a sbaded white. I recognised the walk, the profile, and the 
Yoice of Eugène Pelletan, one of the friends of my second âge. 
This name is known to thee as that of one of the writers wbo 
bave the greatest share of the early bnlliancy of our future 
glory in tbeir first pages, — ^living presentimonts of thoughts 
that are to bloom ; precursors of that âge when we wiil only 
be represented by our prayers and wishes. I love Pelletan 
with that inclination which we bave for the future. I welcome 
bim as a pièce of good news and as a friend. He is one of 
those men wbo never importune you, but wbo aid you to tbink 
as well as to feel. 

He bad left bis youthful and gracions wife at a bouse on the 
beach. After having conversed for a moment about France 
and about the island in which, as be liad casually beard at 



10 LAMARTINE. 

Naples, I bad souglit retirement, he noticed the leaves which 
were on my knees and the half-consumed pencil whicli was 
between my fingers. He asked me what I was doing. '' Do 
you wish to hear it/' returned I, " while your wife is sleeping 
away the fatigue of the voyage, and while you are restmg 
yourself against the trunk of that orange-tree f I will read it 
to you." And, while the sun was sinking behind JSpomeo, a 
high mountain on the island, I read a few pages of the story 
of Graziella. The spot, the hour, the shade, the sky, the sea, 
the perfume of the trees, spread thernselves over the colorless 
and scentless pages, and in his mind awakened the illusion of 
the unexpected and the far-distant. He seemed to be moved. 
We closed the book. We descended to the seashore; du- 
ring the evening, in company with his wife, we strolled over 
the island ; I granted him a night's hospitality, and he de- 
parted. 

I remained at Ischia until the first autumnial storms, and 
then set out myself for Samt Point. 

It was pressing business which called me back there ; res 
augusta domi, as Horace says; a moumful saying which the 
modems bave translated hy aomestic penury, vexations (^Jbrtune, 
difficulties ofliving accordmg to one's station. " How dost thou 
know them ?" sayest thou to me, no doubt " Couldst thou not 
free thyself from them by honorably servinj^ thy country, which 
bas never precluded thee from the career ofits uberally-reward- 
ed negotiations ?" That is true: but since 1830, I hâve pre- 
ferred to serve, at my own cost, in the army of God, an unpaid 
defender of the thoughts which bave no budget on the earth. 
Be that as it may, I was abruptly and unexpectedly asked to 
refund a considérable amount which I had borrowed in order 
to redeem from my relatives the estate and the bouse of my 
mother, that Milly which was so well known to thee, and where 
we bave so often roamed and dreamed together, when thou 
wast sizteen years old and I fifteen. At my mother's démise, 
that bit of heart rather than of land was about to be sold to 
be divided in five parts, neither of which belonged to me. It 
was about to pass into unknown hands. My sisters and my 
brothers-in-law, who were as sorely afflicted as myself, gener- 
ously offered me every means of saving the common reposito- 
ry of their remembrances. I was richer then ; I made a super- 
natural effort; I purchased Milly. I hoped to end my days 
there. The weight of that land, every inch of which I paid 
for with borrowâ money, crushed me for a long time. I joy- 



LES CONFIDENCES. 11 

ously submitted to that burden, in order not to sell a îeelmg 
with each furrow. I never rcpented me of it ; I do not repent 
me of it yet. But at length tne hour when I must either siok 
or sell was approaching. I delayed in vain. If time kui 
wings, the mterests of a principal bave tbe swiftness and tbe 
weight of a raîl-car. 

I was agonized I wallowed in my distress. I would 

make up my mind, tben fall back from the resolution taken. 
From a distance I gazed with despair at that little gray steeple 
on the side of the nill, at the roof of the bouse, at the tops of 
tbe linden-trees whicb are known to tbee, and which are to be 
seen above the tiles of the village. I said to myself : " I will 
never dare to tread this road agaîn ; I will never dare to cast 
my eyes this way again. Ypn steeple, von hill, yon roof, and 
yonder walls will reproach me ail my hfetime for having sur- 
rendered them for a few bags of crowns î And thèse worthy 
inhabitants ! And thèse honest and poor vine-dressers, who 
are my foster-brothers, and with whom I bave passed my 
childhood's days, eating^ the same bread at the same table ! 
What will they say ? What will become of them when thev 
are informed that I bave sold their fields, their vineyards, theu: 
homes, their cows and their goats, and that a new landlord^ 
who loves them not, will overmrow and ruin — ^to-morrow per- 
haps — ^their whole destiny, which, like my own, is deeply root- 
ed in this ungrateful yet native soil ?" 

And I always retumed more perplexed and more tormented 
than ever. But the hour was pressing. I summoned one of 
those men who are respected in the country, who purchase 
property at wholesale to sell it again at retail, one of thosè in- 
telligent corners of earth; and I said tohim: '' Sell as much of 
Milly for me as will make a hundred thousand francs ;" or 
rather, as Shakspeare's Merchant of Venice said to the Jew» 
*' Sell a pièce of my flesh for me !" 

This man, whom thou knowest, for he comes from thy 

place, M. M , was tender-hearted. I perceived tears in 

bis eyes. He would bave given bis profit to bave spared me 
that sorrow ; but it was too late for délibération. We went 
together through the grounds, imder a vague pretext, to 
examine what part of the estate could be most conveniently 
separated from the rest, and be divided into lots suitable to 
tbe buyers of the neighborhood. But it was then that the 
embarrassment became more intricate, and the anguisb more 
heart-rending between us. '' Sir," said be to mB> ei;te>tâkD% 



12 LAMARTINB. 

his arm and dividing the air with a gesture as a sunreyor 
divides a pièce of land, " hère is a lot which might easily be 
sold together, and which would not make too great a breach 
In the remainder." — " Yes," answered I, " but it is the vîne- 
yard planted by my father the year of my birth. and which he 
always cnarged ns to keep, in memory of him, as the best 
part of the estate irrigated with his perspiratîon." — "Welî, 
then/' resùmed the appraiser, "hère is another that would 
greatly tempt buyers with Hmited means, because ît is fit for 
cattle." — " Yes," retumed I, " but it may not be done ; it's 
the river, the meadow ând the orchard where our mother 
iised to make us play and bathe in our childnood, and where 
she nursed with so much care those appié, apricot, and cherry 
trees for us. Let us seek elsewhere. — " That hillock behind 
the house ?" — " Why, that's the hill that closed in the garden 
and stood opposite ihe wîndow of the family parlor. Who 
could look at ît now without weeping?" — *'That cluster of 
houses apart from the rest, with those slanting vines which 
descend into the valley ?" — " Oh ! that's the résidence of my 
sisters* foster-father and of the old woman who reared me 
with so much love. I might as well purchase two places in 
the cemetery for them, for they would soon be brought there 
by the griei with which they would see themselves driven 
from their home and their vineyard." — " Well, then, the main 
building, with the out-houses, thegardens, and the space around 
the enclosure ?" — " But I wish to die there in my father's bed. 
It's impossible ; it would be the smcide of ail domestic feel- 
ings."— " What hâve you to say a^ainst the bottom of yon- 
der dale which cannot be perceived from y our Windows ?" — 
" Nothing more than that it contains the old grave in which 
were buried before my own eyes, dming ^^y childhood, my 
little brother and a sister for whom I hâve so bitterly moumed. 
Let us go elsewhere ! everywhere hère we would mutilate a 
sacred sentiment." 

We walked onward in vain ; we found nothing which could 
be separated from the rest without carrying on at the same 
time a shred of my soûl. In the evening I retumed moum-: 
f ully to the house. I did not sleep. 

On the foUowing moming the country letter-carrier handed 
me a package of letters. Among them was one from Paris. 
The superscription was written in one of those clear, running, 
brief hands which bétoken promptness, exactitude, and firm- 
nèss of purpose and mind in the volubUity of the writing. I 



LES CONFIDENCES. J 8 

opened ît It was from M. de G ; "M. Pelletaii,*' said 

he^ " has spoken to me ^rith wanntli of some pases of R«inem- 
brances of Childhood, tp the perusal of which ne liatened at 
Isckia, Will you send them to the Pre$seJ It will send you 
in ezcliange, the amount that you may ask." I replied, with- 
out hesitating, by thanks and a refusaL "The price offered 

by the paper/' said I to M. de G , " is far above the value 

of a few worthlèss pages ; but I could never make up my 
mind to publish the dust-covered relies of my mcmory, which 
are deyoid of interest for any other glanée than my own/' 

/Oie letter w^ sent. Six days alterwards, the notary came 
to draw up the plan of the sale of Milly. The agent had at 
length carved oflf a part of it, worth fifty thousand francs, 
which was ready to find a buyer. The deed was on the table. 
TVîth a single word I was about to remove that portion for- 
ever from my sight. My hand trembled, my gaze became 
OFerclouded, my heart failed me. 

At that moment my door was opened. The letter-carrier 
entered. tle threw on the table a letter from Paris. M. de 
G — • — in^ist^d with a kindness which had the accent and the 
appearance of, friendship. He granted me three years to 
accuston myself to the thought. Distance smoothed away 
the angles c^ eyery diffîculty. It weakened every thing, and 
at the same time veiled every thing. I did not hide from 
myself any of the gall that the engagement into which I was 
about to enter would, distil for me. On one side I weighed 
the sorrow it w:ould awaken to see indififerent eyes running 
over the thirobbing fibres of my heart, laid bare beneath glan- 
ées which know not indulgence; on the other, the bitter 
angiûsh of my heart, from which my own hand was about to 
tear another pièce by the deed of sale. It was necessary 
either to make a sacrifice of ,self-loye or a sacrifice of feeling. 
I placed my hand before my eyes; I made my choice with my 
heart. I took the scheme of the sale of Milly from the hands 

of the notary. I tore it to pièces^ and replied to M. de G : 

"I accept. Milly was saved and I was bound. Think of 
Bien- Assis and condemn me, if thou darest. jin my place, 
wouldst thou bave acted differently ? 

Quiet thy fears, however. In deliveriog up thèse simple 
pages, I bave only surrend ered myself. In them there is 
neither a name, nor a memory, which can suffer a pam or be 
oyerclouded by my indiscrétion. I baye met but few wicked 
people on my joumey through life. I bave lived in an atmo^ 

2 



14 LAMARTINE. 

pbere of goodneM, genîus, generosity, • love, and virtue. 1 
only remember the good. I forget the othcrs without anj 
effort. My soûl is like those sieyes in which the gold-washers 
of Mexico galber bits of tbe pure métal in the torrents of tbe 
Cordilleras. Tbe sand falls tbrougb tbem, tbe gold remains. 
Wbat good is it to burden one's memory witb wbat does not 
serve to nourisb^ deligbt, or console tbe beart ? * * * * 
Now, wben tbe grief of tbat publicity to be endured, 
weigbs too beavily on my mind ; wben I picture to myself 
tbe pity of some, tbe smiles of otbers, tbe indifférence of ail, 
as tbey tum over tbese pages wbicb sbould bave remmned in 
tbe sbade — ^like tbefts committed on tbe modestv of life, or on 
tbe privacy of tbe domestic beartb ; I saddle my borse, I 
ascend at a slow pace tbe pebbly patb of Milly ; I look to tbe 
rigbt and to tbe left, in tbe fields and amongst tbe yines, at 
tbe peasants, wbo greet me at a distance witb an affectionate 
nod, a friendly gesture, and a smile of gratitude ; I go and seat 
myself under tbe beams of tbe autumnal sun, in uie fartber- 
most corner of tbe garden, wbence tbe best view is to be bad 
of tbe patemal roof, tbe vineyards, tbe orcbard ; I contemplate 
witb a moistened eye tbat little square bouse, witb tbe immense 
ivy planted by my motber, wbicb rounds its angles, and makes 
tbem green, like natural props sprung from tbe eartb to keep 
our old walls from crumbling away before I do ; I listen to tbe 
Sound of tbe vine-dressers' pick moving tbe soil on tbe bill 
wbicb I bave preserved for tbem ; I see, rising from tbeir roofs 
of lava, tbe smoke of tbe fire ligbted on tbeur old beartbs by 
tbe women, to call tbçm back from tbe fields ; I watcb tbe 
sbadow of tbe linden-trees lengtbened by approacbing nigbt, 
and see tbem stretcb towards me Uke croucbing pbantoms 
coming to lick my feet and bless me. ♦ ♦ ♦ * 

Do tbou tbe same ; tbou, my old friend ! Be indulgent I 
And if tbou canst not approve, at least excuse me, as tbou 
tbinkest of tbe walls and tbe trees beneatb wbicb tbou didst 
grow up in tbe atmosphère of tby first years, surroimded on 
aU sides by tbe memory of tby forefatbers ! . . . 

A. DK LAMARTINE 

Saint Point, Lecemler 25tk, 



LES CONFIDENCES. 
CONFIDENTIAL DISCLOSURES. 

BT 

A. ])£ LAMARTIl^R 

BOOKI. 

NOTE I. 

To * * * . 

You wish to know the first half of my life ! For you love me : 
but you only love me in the présent and in the future. My past 
life escapes you ; it is a part of me which is stolen from you • 
it must be restored to you. And to me also will it be some- 
times sweet, often painful, to go back for you, and with you 
alone, as far as those living and hidden springs of my existence, 
my feelings and my thoughts. When the stream is abeadv 
ezhausted and turbid, and flows between arid sands, but vl 
tumultuous waFes which are already bitter, who would not 
like, ère those waves are lost in the common océan, to reascend 
the long windings of its course, billow by billow, and valley by 
Valley — to admire with his eye, and gather in the hoUow of 
his hand, its first surges shooting from the rock, hid beneath 
the leaves, as fresh as the snow which showers them down, 
as blue and as deep as the sky above the mountain which in 
them is reflected ? Ah ! that which you ask me to do will be 
a deUghtful refreshment for my soûl, and at the same time an 
affectionate and gratified curiosity for you. I am verging on. 
that doubtful period of human life when the man who has 
attained one-half of the years which are allotted by the Al- 
mighty to the most favored mortals, feels as if he were hangins 
for a moment between the two parts of his existence, and 
hardly knowa whethcr he is still ascending, or has already 

2* 



18 LAMARTINE. 

commenced to trayel downwards. That is the hour for those 
who jet take an interest in themselves, or in whom others take 
an interest, to pause an instant — ^to look backwards, and 
through the gloom which already begins to gather and con- 
tend for their possession, to seize again upon the sites, the 
hours, the persons, the sweet memories which evening obUt- 
erates, and to which they would like to give that etemal life 
in anoUier's hcart wjiich ail thèse things hâve in their own. 
But, whoin about to commence unrolling for you thèse folds 
01 my recollections, which are so entirely private and so care- 
fuUy closed, I feel streams of affection, melancholy, and 
sorrow, rush up In burning gushes from the depths of my 
bosom and almost smother my voice with ail the sobs of my 
past life. They were as if asleep, but they were not dead ; 
it may be that I am wrong to stir them — perhaps will I not be 
able to continue. Silence is the winding-sheet of the past : it 
is sometimes impious, often dangerous to raise it. But even 
when it is raised piously and lovingly, the first moment is a 
cruel one. Hâve you sometimes passed through any of the 
most terrible trials of life? I hâve passed through them 
twice, and I never think of them without shuddering. 

Death bas l'obbed you by surprise, and during your absence, 
of one of those beings in whom you live more than in yourself 
— a mother, a child, an adored wife. Brought back by the fatal 
intelligence, you arrive ère the earth bas reccived the sacred 
deposite of that body wrapped in etemal slumber. You cross 
the threshold, you ascend the stairs, you enter the chamber, 
you are left alone with God and Death. You fall upon your 
knees beside the bed, you remain for whole hours with arms 
eztended, with face pressed against the curtains of the funereal 
couch. You rise at last ; you take a few precipitate or slow 
steps at random through the room : now you approach ; anon 
you draw back from that bed on which a spotless sheet, thrown 
over a motionless body, reveals while it covers the form of the 
being that you will never see again. A terrible doubt fastens 
upon you ; the loved face bas no shroud on it. I can raise 
it ; I can gaze upon it once more. Must I see it again as 
death bas made it ? Must I kiss that brow through the cloth ? 
and never behold that departed face again except in memory, 
and with the hue, the look, the expression, which it bore in 
life ? Which is best for the consolation of the living, for the 
worship of the dead ? Problem not to be solved ! I too readily 
conçoive that it should be self-administered, and that it should 



LES CONFIDENCES. 10 

be dîfferently answered. As to myself, I baye also put it to 
myself ; but instinct bas always prevailed over argument. I 
wisbed again to see ; I bave seen again ! And it bas not 
cbanged tbe tender piety of remembrance wbicb I wisbed to 
impress upon myself ; but tbe memory of tbe animated and 
livmg face, confoundiag itself in my ibougbts witb tbe memory 
of tbe face tbat was motionless» and as if canrod in marble by 
tbe band of deatb, bas left in my soûl — ^in ail tbat concerna 
tbose faces wbicb are petrificd in my affections — sometbing 
tbat tbrobs like life — sometbing tbat is immutable like immor- 
tality. 

In opening tbis sealed book of my memory for you, I expe- 
nence sometbing of tbat fecling of besitation. Èeneatb tbe 
yeil of obHvion lies a dead body : it is tbe corpse of my youtb ! 
How many deligbtful pictures, but also bow many bleeding 
regrets will be reanimated witb it ! It matters not ; you de* 
sire it ; I obey you. In wbat gentler and more pious band 
could I place tbe yet smoking asbes of wbat was once my 
beart, tbat tbey may be preseryed a few days longer ? 



NOTE II. 

My God ! I bave often regretted tbat I was bom ! I ba^e 
often wisbed to fall back even into notbingness» ratber tban 
adyance tbrougb so many falseboods, so many sufferings, and 
so many successive losses, towards tbat loss of ourselves wbicb 
we call deatb ! Still, even in tbose moments of terrible faint- 
beartedness, wben despair overmasters reason, and wben man 
forgets tbat life is a task imposed upon bim to finisb, I bave 
always said to myself : " Tbere are some tbings wbicb I would 
regret not to bave tasted — a motber's milk, a fatber's love, tbat 
relationsbip of beart and seul between brotbers, bousebold 
affections, joys, and even cares !" Our family is evidently our 
second self, more tban self, cxisting before self, and surviving 
self witb tbe better part of self. It is tbe image of tbe boly 
and loving unity of beings revealed by tbe small group of 
créatures wbo bold to one anotber, and made visible by feel- 
îng ! I bave often understood wby family ties sbould be ex- 
tended. But destroy tbem ! . . . . Tbat is a blaspbemy against 
nature, and an impiety against tbe buman beart I Wbat 






20 LAMARTINE. 

would become of ail tbose affections which are born with them» 
and which build their nest beneath the pateraal roof ! Life 
would bave no source ; it would not know whence it came, nor 
wbither it is going. Ail those affections of the soûl would 
become abstractions of the brain. Ah ! God's master-work 
was ordaining that those of liis laws which are the most pow- 
erfuUy preservative of humamty, should at the same timo be 
the most delightful feelings of self ! So long as we do rot 
love we do not understand. 

Happj is he who by God's will îs born of a cood and hoir 
familj. It is the first of ail the blessings of destiny. And 
when I say a good family, I do not mean a noble family of 
that nobility which men honor and register on parchment. 
There is a nobility in ail stations. I bave known^families of 
husbandmen in which that purity of sentiment, that chivalry ot 
honesty, that flowcr of delicacy, that legitimacy of traditions 
which is called nobiUty, were as visible in their actions, theii 
features, their language, their manners, as they ever were in 
the highest monarchical races, There is a nobility of nature 
as well as of society, and it is the best. It matters little on 
what floor above the street, or of what size in the fields, the 
domestic hearth is, provided it be the asylum of piety, integ 
rity, and those family affections which it perpétuâtes. The 
prédestination of a child is the bouse in which he is born. His 
soûl is made up especially of the impressions which he remem- 
bers. The glance of our mother's eye is a part of our soûl, 
which pénétrâtes into us through our own eyes. Where is 
there one amongst us who, when he merely sees that glance 
in imagrination or in a dream, does not feel something descend 
into his thoughts which calms their agitation and brightens 
their serenity ? 

God granted me the favor to be born in one of those chosen 
familles which are as a sanctuary of piety, where you only 
breathe the good réputation left behind them by a few gén- 
érations as they passed in succession through life ; a family 
without any great lustre, but without any stain, placed by 
Providence in one of those intermediate ranks of society in 
which one belongs to the nobility by name, and at the same 
time to the people by mediocrity of fortune, simplicity of life, 
and by a résidence in the country, in the midst of peasants, 
with the same habits and nearly tne same eraployments. If I 
had to be born ag<ain, it is still there that I would wish to be 
dotn. Tlio station is a gcod one to allow you to see and un- 



LES CONFIDENCES. 21 

derstand tho yarious conditions of humanîty — lialf-way. Not 
high enough to be envied, not low enough to be contemned ; 
an acciurate and précise point at which meet and unité the élé- 
vation of thought ^rhich is produced hy the élévation of the 
point of observation, the simplicity of feeling which is pre- 
served by familiarity with nature. 



NOTE III. 

On the banks of the Saône, as you aseend the stream, a 
few leagues from Lyons, between villages and meadows, on 
the side of a hill which hardly swells above the plains, rises 
the small but graceful town of Maçon. Two gothic steeples, 
decapitated by the Révolution and wasted by time, attract the 
eye and the thought of the traveller who descends towards 
Provence, or towards Italy, on the steamboats which furrow 
the river from mom till night. Below thèse ruins of the 
ancient cathedral, eztend, for about half a league in length, 
long rows of white bouses, and the quays where the mer- 
chandise of the South of France and the produce of the vine- 
yards of Maçon are shipped and unshipped. The upper part 
of the town, which is not seen from the river, is abandoned to 
silence and repose. It looks like a Spanish town. In the 
summer, grass grows between the stones of the pavement. 
The high walls of the old convents darken its narrow streets. 
A collège, a hospital, several churches, some rebuilt, others 
crumbling away and serving as storehouses for the coopers of 
the place ; a large square, planted with linden-trees at both 
ends, where the children play, where the old men seat them- 
selves in the sun when the weather is fine ; long faubourgs of 
low houses which wind up to the very top of the hiU ; a few 
handsome résidences with one side fronting the town, while 
the other faces the country and is hid in verdure ; and, in the 
neighborhood of the square, five or six hôtels or large man- 
sions, which are almost always closed, and which, in winter, 
are inhabited by the ancient familles of the province ; such is 
the sight presented by the upper town. It is the quarter of 
what were formerly called the nobility and clergy ; it still 
is the quarter of the magistracy and of land-holders. It 
is always the same everywhere: people descend from the 
heîghts to work, and reascend to rest themaeWe^. Tgl^ 



22 LAMARTINE. 

retire from the bustle of life as soon as ihej bave ilm com- 
forts. 

At one of the corners of that square — ^wbich was a ram- 
part previous to the Révolution, and which stîli retains that 
Dame — stands a large and high house, with but few Windows, 
whose massive walls, blackened hj the rain and scorched by 
the sun, bave been joined for more than a century by enor- 
mous clamps of îron. A high and wide'door, preceded by 
a flight of two steps, gives entrance to a long vestibule, at the 
extremity of which a heavy stone staircase shines in the light 
which enters throu^h a gigantic window, and ascends froin 
floor to floor to lead to numerous deep apartments. That is 
the house in which I was bom. 



NOTE IV. 

My grandfather was still living. He was an aged noble* 
man who had served a long time in the armies of Louis XIV. 
and Louis XV., and who had received the cross of Saint Louis 
at the battle of Fontenoy. When he returned to his native 
province with the rank of a cavalry-captain, he brought back 
with him the habits of élégance, splendor, and pleasure which 
he had contracted at court or in the garrisoned towns. The 
owner of a handsome fortune in ms birthplace, he had 
marrîed a rich heiress of Franche Comté, who had brought 
him as a dowry broad lands and deep forests in the neigh- 
borhood of Saint Claude and in the défiles of the Jura, not 
far from Geneva. He had six children, three sons and three 
daughters. According to the notions of the times, the entire 
fortune of the family had been reserved for the elder son. 
The second, in spite of himself, had entered the pnesthood, 
for which he had not the slightest calling. Of the three 
daughters» two had been thrust into couvents, the other was a 
canoness, and had taken her vows. My father was the last 
bom of that numerous family. At the âge of sizteen, he had 
been made to join the service and enter the same régiment in 
which his father had served before him. He was never to 
marry : that was the rule of that period. He was to grow 
old in the humble rank of a captain of cavalry, which he had 
attained at an early date ; viât the patcmal roof from tîme 
to time when on forloi^h; slowly gain the cross of Saint 



LES CONFIDENCES. 23 

Louis, the sole aim of the ambition of ail couniry genUemen; 
theiiy when advanced in years, and provided with a small pen- 
sion from the king and a still smaller patrimonial portion, 
vegetate in the topmost chamber of some old castle belonging 
to bis elder brolker, superintend the gardener, hunt with the 
pastor, break the horses, romp with the children, play chess 
or backgammon with tihie neighbors — ^the bom toady to erery- 
body ; a domestic slave, happy to be so ; loved, but neglected 
by every one, and thus finislung his life, unnoticed, without 
property, witiiout a wife, without children, xmtîl infirmities an4 
siclmess banish him from the parler to the naked chamber, 
where hang his helmet and his ôld sword against the wall, and 
until the &y when the other tenants of the castle say— ''The 
Chevalier is dead.'* 

My father was the Chevalier de Lsunartme, and this was the 
life that had been reserved for him« Modest and respectful, 
he would hâve accepted it with a sigh, but without a munnur. 
An event happened which abruptly changed ail thèse arrange* 
ments g£ fate. His elder brother became valetudinair ; his 
médical attendants advised him not to marry. He said to his 
fath^ : ** We must marry the Chevalier." This produced a 
gênerai insurrection of ail the family feelings, of ail the prejn- 
dices of custom in the mind and in the heart of the old noble- 
man. Chevaliers were never made to be married. My father 
was left with his régiment An adjoumment was made from 
year to year of this difficulty which was so shocking, especiaily 
to my grandmother. Many the Chevalier ! that was mon- 
strous ! On the other hand, to permit the humble race and 
obscure name to become extinct, was a crime against one's 
own blood. It was important that some décision should be 
made ; and yet no détermination was taken, and the Bevolu- 
tîon was approaching. 



NOTE V. 

There wss at that period in France, and there is at the 
présent time in Germany, an institution, both religions and 
secular at the same time, of which it would be difficuk for us 
to form an idea now-a-days without smiling, so closely were 
fé&ffoa and tbe w<»rld there drawn togeUiet and ecomningled 



24 LAMARTINE. 

in a oontrast which was cbarming and at the same time severe. 
It was what is called a chapter of noble canonesses. Thèse 
ohapters were thus formed: 

In a province and in a site which were generally well chosen, 
not far from some large town whose yicina^ animated that 
sort of uncloistered convent, the rich and noble families of the 
kingdom sent those of thetr daughters to live, who, after hav. 
ing stood what was called the test, evinced no taste for tht» 
secladed life of a nuDnery, and to whom, however, thebr 
parents were not able to give a suffîcient dowry to enable 
them to many. 

They gave them each a small portion, and built for them a 
handsome house enclosed in a little garden on a unlform plan; 
thèse houses were grouped around the chapel of the chapter. 
They were sorts of free cloisters placed next to one another, 
but with doors half-open to the world ; something like an im- 
perfect secularization of the religions orders of former times — 
a refined and gentle transition between the church and the 
world. Thèse young girls were sent hère so soon as they 
reached their fourteenth or fifteenth year. They began by 
living under the supervision of those canonesses who were 
most advanced in âge, who had already taken their vows, and 
to whose care they were committed by their friends. Then, 
8o soon as they were twenty years old, they took charge of 
their own household, associateid themselves with one or two ol 
their companions, and lived together in little groups of two or 
threé. 

They seldom lived at the chapter ezcept during the fine 
season. In winter, they were called back to the neighboring 
towna to spend some six months of pleasure in the bosom of 
their families, and to adom the parlors of their mothers 
During their résidence at the chapter, they were restricted to 
nothing, except to go twice a-day and sing in the chapel ; and 
even from this the slightest pretext was suffîcient' to exempt 
them. In the evening, they would assemble at one time at the 
abbess's house, at another in one of thebr own dwellings, to 
play, converse, and read, without any rule to foUow other than 
their own tastes, without any supervision other than that of an 
aged canoness, who was the indulgent guardian of that charm- 
ing flock. They were obliged, however, to retum to theu* own 
résidences at a stated hour. Men were supposed to be ex- 
clnded from thèse assemblies, but there was an exceptioc 
which conciliated every thing. The younger canonesses wcie 



LES CONFIDENCES. 25 

each permitted to receive their brotbers' yîsits doring eertaîn 
days of the week, and they could introduce them to their 
friends at the social meetings of the chapter. On thèse occa- 
sions the most tender friendships were naturally formed be- 
tween the young offîcers who came to spend a few dayg with 
their sisters, and the youthful friends of those sisters. The 
formation of thèse ties was certainly followed from time to 
time by an elopement, or by mysterious whisperings in the 
chapter; but a pious réserve, an irreproachable propriety, 
generally characterized those extremely délicate relations of 
intimacy, and those sentiments mutually felt, reanimated by 
annual visits to the chapter, often residted in loye-matches, 
which at that period were of such rare occurrence in Frenoh 
■ocîety. 



NOTE VI. 

One of my father's sistérs was a canoness in one of those noble 
chapters in the Beaujolais, on the banks of the Saône, between 
Lyons and Maçon ; she had taken hervows in her twenty-first 
year. She had a house there which my grandfather had 
built for her. In this house she harbored a charming friend, 
sixteen years old, who had just entered the chapter. My fa- 
ther, while visiting his sister at Salles, (that is the name of the 
village,) was struck with the charms, the superiority of mind, 
and the angelic nature of that young lady. The youthful 
recluse and the handsome offîcer loved one another. My 
father's sister naturally became the confidant of their mutual 
affection. She favored their love, and after many years of 
coDstancy, after many obstacles had been overthrown, after 
much family opposition had been vanquished, the decrees of 
fate — ^whose most powerful minister is «iways love — ^were ful- 
fiUed, and my fether became the husband of my sister's friend. 



NOTE VII. 

Alice des Boys — ^that was our mother's maiden name — ^was 
the daughter of M. des Roys, the chief-steward of the Duke of 

a 
/ 



26 LAMA&TINE. 

Oiieaiis. Madam des Roys, his wife, was under-govemess «f 
that prinoe'g cbildren, and the favorite of that l^utiful axA 
▼irtuoQB dachess whom the Révolution respected even while 
it drove her from her palace, and led her sons into exile, and 
her husband to the scaffold. M. and Madam des Roys had 
lodgings in the Palais Royal in winter, and at Saint Cloud in 
summer. My mother was bom at the latter place, where she 
was reared along with the King Louis Philip, in that respeet- 
ful familiarity which always springs up between children who 
are nearly of the same âge, aad who share the same lessooa 
and the same pastimes. 

How often has our mother spoken to us about the éduca- 
tion of that prince, who had been driven îrom the land of his 
birth by one révolution ; who was to be placed upon a throne 
by another ? There is not a fountain, nor a walk, nor a grass- 
plot in the gardens of Saint Oloud with which we did not 
become famiSar through her recollections of childhood, before 
we saw it ourselves. For her. Saint Cloud was her Milly, her 
cradle, the spot where her first thoughts had blossomed, 
bloomed, grown and s^ensthened with the plants in that 
beauteous park. AU the loud-sounding names of the eighteenth 
century were the first which had stamped themselves on hei* 
memory. 

Madam des Roys, her mother, was a woman of rare mérita. 
Her duties in the family of the first prince of the blood-royal 
drew around her many of the celebrities of that period. Vol- 
taire, at the time of his last short joumey to Paris, which was 
a triumph, came and paid a visit to the ycmng princes. My 
mother, who was not more than seven or eight years old, was 
présent at the interview ; and though so young, she saw, by 
the impression produced on those who surroundâ her, that she 
was gasing on one who was something more than a king. Vol- 
taire s attitude, his costume, his cane, his gestures, his words, 
remamed mdeUbly graven on that childish memory, like the 
imprint ôf an antedCfuvian being in the rocks of our mountains. 

D'Alembert, Laclos, Madam de Genlis, Buffon, Florian, the 
English historian Gibbon, Grimm, Morellet, M. Necker; the 
statesmen, scholars, and pMlosopbers of that day, lived in 
the Society of Madam des Roys. She had been particularly 
acquainted with the most immortal of them ail, J. J. Rousseau. 
My mother, though very pious and extremely obedient to the 
infiezible dogmas of Gatholicism, had retained a deep admira- 
tion for that great man, no doubt because he had more than a 



LES OONFIDENGES. S7 

geniiiSy because he had a bouI. Bhe dîd not bdoog io tbe re* 
%ioa of bis genius, but to tbe religion ai bis beaii. 



NOTE VIII. 

Tbe Duke oi Orléans, wbo was aiso tbe Count de Beaujo* 
lais, bad tbe appointment of a certain number of ladies to 
tbe cbapter of Salles, wbicb was a dependency of bis ducby. 
It was tbus and it was tbrougb bim tbat my motber receiyed 
ber appointment at tbe âge of fifteen or sixteen. I baye a por- 
trait of her, taken at tbat period, besides tbe portraits wbicb 
h^ sisters and our fatber bimself bave so often drawn for us 
frcHn memory. Sbe îs represented in ber canoness's dress. In 
tbe picture, you see a tall young woman, slender and graceful, 
witb bandsome wbite arms protruding at tbe bei^ht of tbe el- 
bow from tbe narrow sleeves of a black dress. On b^ bosom 
bangs tbe Uttle golden cross of tbe cbapter. Her raven locks 
are coF^ed witb a lace veil, wbicb is not as black as tbe bair 
beneatb« and wbicb falls and floats <m eitber side of ber face. 
Tbat youtbful and ingenuous countenanee is ail tbat sparkles 
in tbe midst of tbose sombre bues. 

Time bas somewbat dimmed tbe fresbness of tbe odoring. 
But tbe features are as pure as if tbe brusb were not yet diy 
on tbe Iknner's pallet. In tbem you clearly perceive tbat 
sweet smile of life, tbat inezbaustible tendemess of tbe soûl, 
tbe glance and tbe lips, and, above ail, tbat ray of inwurd 
ligbt— «Iways so full of tbe serenity of mind, always so full of 
feeling — ^wlûcbgusbed Hke an etemal caress from ber eye, wbicb 
was somewbat deep and sligbtly yèiled by tbe IkL, as if, tbrougb 
fear of dazzliog bebolders, sbe did not wisb ail ihe ligbt and 
ail tbe love tbat lay witbin to shoot fortb. By merely glancing 
at tbis portpait, you conceive bow deep must bave been tbe 

gassion wbicb sucb a woman awakened in my fatber's bosom, 
ow intense tbe piety wbicb sbe was to awaken afterwards in 
tbe bosom of ber cbildren. 

My fatber bimself at tbat period, was wortby botb by bis 
outward appearance and bis character, to captivate tbe heart 
of a woman of sensibility and courage. He was no longer very 
young : be was in bis tbirty-eigbtb year. But for a man bom 
of a sturdy race, wbo was to die — still younç in mind and body 
— -at tbe âge of ninety, witb ail bis teeth, s&^m\^,«sA^^i^>i^ 



^*y LAMARTINE. 

that seyere and imposing beauty which comports with old a^o^ 
thirty-eight was the prime of Ufc. His stature was high, nia 
attitude martial, his features manly, and stamped with ail the 
characteristics of command. Gentle pride and frankness were 
traits revealed by his glance. He affected neither levity nor 
élégance, although he was gifted with much of both. With a 
pr^igious fermentation of the bloôd at the bottom of his heart, 
ne outwardly appeared to be cold and indiffèrent, because he 
feared himself, and was ashamed, as it were, of his own sen- 
sibiUty. 

There neyer was a man in the world who was less conscious 
of his own virtue, and who enveloped more closely the aus- 
tère perfections of a heroical nature in the modesty of a wo- 
man. I was deceîved in him myself for many years. I thought 
him harsh and severe ; he was only just and strict. As to his 
tastes, they were as primitive as his soûl. Patriarch and sol- 
dier — that was ail the man. The chase and the woods, when 
he was on furlough in the country ; during the remainder of 
the year, his régiment, lus horse, his arms, the régulations scfu- 
pulously foUowed and ennobled hy the enthusiasm of a milita- 
ry life ; thèse were his only occupations. In his eyes there 
was nothing more important than his rank as a captain of cav- 
alry, than the esteem of his companions. His régiment was 
more to him than his family. He was as jealous of its honor 
as he was of his own. He knew the name of every offîcer and 
man by heart. He was adored by them. His profession was 
his life. He had no sort of ambition for a greater fortune or a 
higher rank. The utmost eztent of his desires was to be what 
he was, a good offîcer ; to hâve honor for his soûl, the king's 
service for his religion ; to spend six months of the year in a 
garrisoned town, and the other six months in a small country 
house of his own, with a wife and children. In a word, the 
primitive man, somewhat modified by the soldier — such was 
my father. 

The Révolution, misfortune, âge, and thought, changed and 
completed him in his latter days. I mav say that I myself 
saw his vast and pliant nature develop itself after se venty years 
of life. He was of the race of those oaks which grow and re- 
new themselves imtil the day when the axe is applicd to the 
roots of the tree. At eighty years of âge he was still advan 
cing towards perfection. 



LES CONFIDENCES. fèB 



NOTE IX. 

I have already sdd what obstacles of fortune ànd what 
family préjudices were in opposition to his marriage. His 
oonstancy and my mother's surmounted them. They were 
united at the very moment when the Révolution was about to 
sbake ail buman institutions, and even tbe ground on wbicb 
tbose institutions were reared. 

Tbe Constituent Assembly was already at work. Witb tbe 
power of a reason tbat, so to speak, was divine, it was \mder- 
mining tbe privilèges and préjudices on wbicb rested tbe ancient 
order of society in France. Already wére tbose great émotions 
of tbe people, like waves wbicb tbe wind is beginnîng to toss, 
carrying away, at one time Versailles, at anotber tbe Bastile, 
and again tbe Hotel-de-Yille of Paris. But tbe entbusiasm 
even of tbe nobility for tbe great political and religions ré- 
génération existed still. Notwitbstanding tbose fii*st beavings of 
tbe eartb, tbey fancied tbat it would only be transient. Tbere 
was no scale in tbe past wbereby tbey could measure in ad- 
vance tbe beigbt wbicb tbat dverflow of novel ideas would 
attûn. My fatber did not leave tbe service wben be married ; 
in ail tbis be only saw tbat be would bave to follow bis flag, 
défend bis king, contend a few montbs against disorder, sbed 
a few drops of bis blood in tbe performance of bis duty. 
Tbese precursory Hgbtnings of a tempest tbat was to sbatter 
a tbrone and make Europe tremble for balf a century at least, 
were lost for my motber and bim in tbe first deligbts of tbeir 
love, in tbe first foretastes of tbeir future febcity. I remem- 
ber once to bave seen tbe brancb of a willow wbicb bad been 
tom by tbe tempest's band from tbe parent trunk, floating in 
tbe moming ligbt upon tbe angry surges of tbe overflowing 
Saône. On it a female nigbtingale stiU covered ber nest as it 
drifted down tbe foaming stream, and tbe maie on tbe wing 
followed tbe wreck wbicb was bearing away tbe objecta of bis 
fcve! 

8* 



SO LAMARTINS. 



BOOS IL 

NOTE I. 

Harolt had thej tasted the happiness for which thej had 
waited so long, when they were foreed to interrupt it and 
BeparatOy perhaps, alasl never to meet agaio. It was the 
time of emigratioa. At tkat period» émigration was not, 
what it afterwards became, a refuge from persécution and 
death. It was a unirersal yogue of expatriation which had 
fastened itself upon the French nobility. The example set by 
the princes became contagions. In a single night régiments lost 
their officers. During a certain time it was considered a dis- 
grâce to remain where the king and France were. It reqid- 
red grreat moral courage and great firmness of character to 
resist that epidemical madness which assumed the name oî 
honor. My father eyinced that courage ; he refused to cmi- 
grate. But, when the offîcers of the army were asked to take 
an oath which was répugnant to his conscience as a faithful 
senrant of the king, he sent in his résignation. The lOth of 
August was drawmg near, however, and îts approach was 
feit. It was known in advance that the Tuileries would be 
attacked, that the king's life would be in danger, that the 
Constitution of '91, that momentary pact of conciliation be* 
tween représentative royalty and the sovereign people, would 
be overtlû'own or triumphantly maintained in streams of blood. 
The devoted frîends <h what was left of monarchy, and the 
men who were personally and religiously attached to the 
Idng, counted their numbers and united to go and strengthen 
the Constitutional Guard of Louis XVI., and to take their pla- 
ces, at the hour of péril, around the king. My father was 
one of those men of heart and courage. 

My mother did not attempt to detain him. Even in the 
midst of her tears, she never thought of life without honor, 
nor hesitated an instant between an affliction and a duty. 
She bore me at that time in her womb. 

My father set out without hope, but also without hésitation. 
He fought along with the Constitutional Guard and the Swiss 
soldiers to défend the castle. When Louis XVI. forsook his 
dwelling, the combat became a massacre. In the garden of 



LES CONFIDENCES. 11 

the Tuileries mj fàther iras woonded by a bullet. He «t- 
tempted to escape ; was caught while croesing the river oppo- 
site the Invalides, takea to Yaugirard, and oonfined for a few 
hours in a cellar. Hère he was claimed and saved by the gar- 
dener of one of his relations» who was one of the municipal 
officers of the place, and who recognised him by a miraculous 
chance. Eescued thus from death, he retumed to his home 
and my mother, and hved in the most prc^ound obscurity, and in 
the retirement of the country, imtil the day came when the 
prison, or the scaffold, was the only asylum left by revolu- 
tionary persécution for those who were attached or related to 
the ancient orders. 



NOTE II. 

My grandfather's family offered but few pretexts for per- 
sécution. None of its members had emigrated. My grand- 
father himself was an old man of more than ei^hty years of 
âge. His eldest and his second son, the Abbé de Lamartine, 
had both been reared in the doctrines of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and had sueked, from their infancy, the milk of that 
philosophy which promised to give the world a new order of 
thinga» They both belonged to that party of the young no- 
bility that received from those who were above them and 
propaçated with the atmost ardor the ideas of political trans- 
fonnatioa. Those who imagine that the French Reyolution 
originated amonspl tibe lower orders grossly deceive them- 
selves. Ideas ilways corne from above. It was not the 
peopla who made the Révolution» it was the nobility, the 
clergy, and the thinking portion of the nation. Superstitions 
sometimes hâve their birth amongst the people, — pMLosophiea 
ate bom only amongst the heads of soctety. 

In other words, the French Révolution is a philosophy. Be 
that as it may, my grandfather, and especially my uncles, had 
the revolutionary sap in their minds. They were passionate 
partisans of a constitutional govemment, of a national repré- 
sentation, and of the fusion oi ail the orders of the state mto 
one single nation, subject to the same laws and the same taxes. 
Mirabeau, the Lameths, Lafayette, Monnicr, Virieu, Larochefou- 
eauld, were the principal aposUes of their political fcûth. 
Madam de Monnier (Mirabeau's Sophia) had lived a short 



SO LAMARTINI. 



BOOS IL 

NOTE I. 

Hardlt had thej tasted the happiness for which thej had 
waited so long, when they were forced to interrupt it and 
BeparatOy perhaps, alasl never to meet agcûo. It was the 
time of émigration. At that period» émigration was not, 
what it afterwards became, a refuge from persécution and 
death. It was a unirersal yogue of expatriation which had 
fastened itself upon the French nobility. The example set by 
the princes became contagbns. In a single night régiments lost 
their officers. Doring a certain time it was considered a dis- 
grâce to remmn where the king and France were. It reqid- 
red great moral courage and great firmness of character to 
resist that epidemical madness which assumed the name oî 
honor. My father eyinced that courage ; he refused to cmi- 
grate. But, when the offîcers of the army were asked to take 
an oath which was répugnant to his conscience as a faithful 
servant oi the king, he sent in his résignation. The lOth of 
August was drawmg near, however, and its approach waa 
feit. It was known m advance that the Tuileries would be 
attacked» that the king's life would be in danger, that the 
Constitution of '91, that momentary pact of conciliation be* 
tween représentative royalty and the sovereign people, would 
be overtlû'own or triumphantly maintained in streams of blood. 
The devoted friends oi what was left of mooarchy, and the 
men who were personally and religiously attached to the 
Idng, counted their numbers and united to go and strengthen 
the Constitutional Guard of Louis XVI., and to take their pla* 
ces, at the hour of péril, around the kiog. My father waa 
one of those men of heart and courage. 

My mother did not attempt to detain him. Even in the 
midst of her tears, she never thought of life without honor, 
nor hesitated an instant between an affliction and a duty. 
She bore me at that time in her womb. 

My father set out without hope, but also without hésitation. 
He fought along with the Constitutional Guard and the Swiss 
soldiers to défend the castle. When Louis XVI. forsook his 
dwelling, the combat became a massacre. In the garden of 



LES CONFIDENCES. SI 

the Tuileries my fàther iras woonded by a bullet. He «t- 
tempted to escape ; was causht while croesing the lirer oppo- 
site the Invalides, takea to Y augirard, and confined for a few 
hours in a cellar. Hère he was claimed and saved by the ^- 
dener of one of his relations» who was one of the municipal 
officers of the place, and who recognised him by a miraculous 
chance. Eescued thus from death, he retumed to his home 
and my mother, and lived in the most profound obscurity, and in 
the retirement of the country, imtil the day came when the 
prison, or the scaffold, was the only asylum left by rerolu- 
tionary persécution for those who were attached or related to 
the ancien! orders. 



NOTE II. 

My grandfather's family offered but few prétests for per- 
sécution. None of its members had emi^ated. My grand- 
father himself was an old man of more than eighty years of 
âge. His eldest and his second son, the Abbé de Lamartine, 
had both been reared in the doctrines of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and had sueked, from their infancy, the milk of that 
phâosophy which promised to give the world a new order of 
tfainga. They both belonged to that party of the young no- 
bility that received from those who were above them and 
propagated with the atmost ardor the ideas of political trans- 
formatioa. Those who imagine that the French Révolution 
originated amonffst tibe lower orders grossly deceive them- 
selves. Ideas ilways corne from above. It was not the 
people who made the Revolutioa; it was the nobility, the 
clergy, and the thinking portion of the nation. Superstiticms 
somettmes hâve their birth amongst the people> — ^pMLosophiea 
aee bom only amongst the heads of soctety. 

In other words, the French Rerolution is a philosophy. Be 
that as it mmy, my grandfather, and especially my uncles, had 
the revolutionary sap in their minds. They were passionate 
partisans of a constitutional govemment, of a national repré- 
sentation, and oi the fusion â ail the orders ci the state into 
one single nation, subject to the same laws and the same taxes. 
Mirabeau, the Lameths, Lafayette, Monnicr, Virieu, Larochefou- 
eauld, were the principal aposUes of their political faith. 
Madam de Monnier (Mirabeau's Sophia) had lived a short 



SO LAMARTINI, 



BOOK IL 

NOTE I. 

Hardlt had thej tasted the happiness for which thej had 
waited so long, when they were forced to interrupt it and 
Beparate, perhaps, alasl never to meet again. It was the 
time of émigration. At that period» émigration was not, 
what it afterwards became, a refuge from persécution and 
death. It was a unirersal yogue of expatriation which had 
fastened itself upon the French nolnlity. The example set by 
the princes became contagions. In a single night régiments lost 
their officers. During a certain time it was considered a dis- 
grâce to remain where the king and France were. It reqid- 
red grreat moral courage and great firmness of character to 
resist that epidemical madness which assumed the name oî 
honor. My father eyinced that courage ; he refused to cmi- 
grate. But, when the offîcers of the army were asked to take 
an oath which was répugnant to his conscience as a faithful 
servant of the king, he sent in his résignation. The lOth of 
August was drawmg near, however, and îts approach was 
felt. It was known in advance that the Tuileries would be 
attacked» that the king's life would be in danger, that the 
Constitution of '91, that momentary pact of conciliation be* 
tween représentative royalty and the sovereign people, would 
be overtlû'own or triumphantly maintained in streams of blood. 
The devoted friends ot what was left of monarchy, and the 
men who were personally and religiously attached to the 
Idng, counted their numbers and united to go and strengthen 
the Constitutional Guard of Louis XVI., and to take their pla- 
ces, at the hour of péril, around the king. My father was 
one of those men of heart and courage. 

My mother did not attempt to detain him. Even in the 
midst of her tears, she never thought of life without honor» 
nor hesitated an instant between an affliction and a duty. 
She bore me at that time in her womb. 

My father set out without hope, but also ^nthout hésitation. 
He fought along with the Constitutional Guard and the Swiss 
soldiers to défend the castle. When Louis XVI. forsook his 
dwelling, the combat became a massacre. In the garden of 



LES CONFIDENCES. SI 

the Tuileries my father iras woonded bj a bullet. He «t- 
tempted to escape ; was causht while crossing the river oppo- 
site the Invalides, taken to v augirard, and oonfined for a rew 
hours in a cellar. Hère he was claimed and saved by the m- 
dener of one of his relations» who was one of the municipal 
officers of the place, and who recognised him bj a miraculous 
chance. Rescued thus from death, he retumed to his home 
and my mother, and lived in the most profoond obscurity, and in 
the retirement of the country, imtil the day came when the 
prison, or the scaffold, was the only asylum left by révolu- 
tionary persécution for those who were attached or related to 
the ancien! orders. 



NOTE II. 

My grandfather's family oflfered but few prétests for per- 
sécution. None of its members had emigrated. My grand- 
father himself was an old man of more than ei^hty years of 
âge. His eldest and his second son, the Abbé de Lamartine, 
had both been reared in the doctrines of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and had sueked, from their infancy, the milk of that 
phâosophy which promised to give the world a new order of 
thinga. They both belonged to that party of the young no- 
bîlity that received from those who were above them and 
propagated with the utmost ardor the ideas of political trans- 
formatioa. Those who imagine that the French Reyolution 
ori^nated amonspl tibe lower orders grossly deceive them- 
selves. Ideas ilways corne from above. It was not the 
people who made the Revolutioa; it was the nobility, the 
clergy, and the thinking portion of the nation. Superstitions 
sometimes hâve their birth amongst the people, — pMLosophiea 
axe bom only amongst the heads of soctety. 

In other words, the French Révolution is a philosophy. Bé 
that as it mfty, my grandfather, and especially my uncles, had 
the revolutionary sap in their minds. They were passionate 
partisans of a constitutional goverament, of a national repré- 
sentation, and oi the fusion â ail the orders of the state mto 
one single nation, subject to the same laws and the same taxes. 
Mirabeau, the Lameths, Lafayette, Monni(»', Virieu, Larochefou- 
eauld, were the principal aposUes of their political faith. 
Madam de Monnier (Mirabeau's Sophia) had lived a short 



SO LAMARTINS. 



BOOS IL 

NOTE I. 

Hardlt had thej tasted the happiness for which thej had 
waited so long, when they were foreed to interrupi it and 
BeparatOy perhaps, alasl never to meet agam. It was the 
time of emigratioa. At tkat period» émigration was not, 
what it afterwards became, a refuge from persécution and 
death. It was a unirersal yogue of expatriation which had 
fastened itself upon the French nobility. The example set by 
the princes became contagions. In a single night régiments lost 
their officers. During a certain time it was considered a dis- 
grâce to remain where the king and France were. It requi- 
red grreat moral courage and great firmness of character to 
resist that epidemical madness which assumed the name of 
honor. My father eyinced that courage ; he refused to emi- 
grate. But, when the offîcers of the army were asked to take 
an oath which was répugnant to his conscience as a faithful 
servant (^ the king, he sent in his résignation. The lOth of 
August was drawing near, however, and îts approach waa 
felt. It was known in advance that the Tuileries would be 
attacked» that the king's life would be in danger, that the 
Constitution of '91, that momentary pact of conciliation be* 
tween représentative royalty and the sovereign people, would 
be oyertlm>wn or triumphantly maintained in streams of blood. 
The devoted fnends (» what was left of monarchy, and the 
men who were perscmally and religiously attached to the 
Idng, counted their numbers and united to so and strengthen 
the Constitutional Guard of Louis XVI., and to take their pla- 
ces, at the hour of péril, around the kiog. My father was 
one of those men of heart and courage. 

My mother did not attempt to detain him. Even in the 
midst of her tears, she never thought of life without honor, 
nor hesitated an instant between an affliction and a duty. 
She bore me at that time in her womb. 

My father set out without hope, but also Tnthout hésitation. 
He fought along with the Constitutional Guard and the Swiss 
soldiers to défend the castle. When Louis XVI. forsook his 
dwelling, the combat became a massacre. In the garden of 



LES CONFIDENCES. Wï 

the Tuileries my fàther iras woonded by a bullet. He «t- 
tempted to escape ; was caught while crossing the river oppo- 
ûte the Invalides, takea to Yaugirard, and oonfined for a few 
hours in a cellar. Hère he was claimed and saved by the gar- 
dener of one of his relations» who was one of the municipal 
officers of the place, and who recognised him by a miraculous 
chance. Eescued thus from death, he retumed to his home 
and my mother, and lived tn the most profound obscurity, and in 
the retirement of the country, imtil the day came when the 
prison, or the scaffold, was the only asylum left by rerolu- 
tionary persécution for those who were attached or related to 
the ancîent orders. 



NOTE II. 

My grandfather's family offered but few prétests for per- 
sécution. None of its members had emigrated. My grand- 
father himself was an old man of more than ei^hty years of 
âge. His eldest and his second son, the Abbé de Lamartine, 
had both been reared in the doctrines of the eighteenth cen- 
tnry, and had sueked, from thér infancy, the milk of that 
phâosophy which promised to give the world a new order of 
^linga. They both belonged to that party of the young no- 
l»fity that received from those who were above them and 
propagated with the ntmost ardor the ideas of poHtical trans- 
fomiatîoa. Those who imagine that the French Reyolution 
ori^bated amonffst the lower orders grossly deceive them- 
selves. Ideas uways corne from above. It was not the 
people who made the Revolutioa; it was the nobility, the 
clergy, and the thinkisg portion of the nation. Superstiti(»is 
somettmes hâve their birth amongst the people> — ^pMLosophiea 
B!te bom only amongst the heads of soctety. 

In other words, the French Rerolution is a philosophy. Be 
that as it may, my grandfather, and especially my uncles, had 
the revolutionary sap in their minds. They were passionate 
partisans of a constitutional goveram^nt, of a national repré- 
sentation, and of the fusion â ail the orders ci the state into 
one single nation, subject to the same laws and the same taxes. 
Mirabeau, the Lameths, Lafayette, Monnic»*, Virieu, Larochefou- 
eauld, were the principal aposUes of their poMcal faith. 
Madam de Monnier (Mirs^eau's Sophia) had lived a short 



S8 LAMARTINE. 

time in my grandfather's house. Lafajette and the Abbé de 
Lamartine had been educated together. Thej had again met 
in Paris ; they kept up a regular correspondence. They were 
united by the ties of real friendship, — ^a friendship that out- 
liyed forty years' absence, and about which the illustrions 
gênerai still conversed with me the year before the last of his 
Efe. 

Such was the shade of the opinions of the family. There 
was*nothing in it répugnant to the Révolution of '89; my 
father and my uncles only sepamted from the renovating move- 
ment at the moment when the lievolution, escaping from those 
démocratie hands, became a dcmagogy, turned against those 
very ones who had warmed it into life, and changed to vio- 
lence, spoliation, and exécutions. It was at that moment also 
that persécution entered their dwelling, not to leave them imtil 
the death of Robespierre. 



NOTE III. 

One night the populace entered my grandfather's house and 
tore him from it, notwithstanding his eighty-four years, along 
with my grandmother, who was almost as old and infirm, my 
two uncles, and my three aunts, the nuns, who had already 
been driven from their coq vents. They threw ail this family 
helter-skelter into a cart that was escorted by gendarmes, and 
conveyed it, through the hooting, the shouts, and the cries of 
death of the mob, as far as Autun. Hère an immense prison 
had been prepared for the réception of ail the suspected 
persons of the province. My father, by an exception whose 
cause was unknown to him, was separated from the remainder 
of the family, and confined in the prison at Maçon. My mo- 
ther, who was then nursing me, was left ail alone in my grand- 
father's immense mansion, under the supervision of a few 
soldiers of the revolutionary army. And does it excite sur- 
prise that those men who date their lives from such dark days 
bave infused a gloomy taste and a shade of melancholy into 
the genius of the French people ? Virgil, Cicero, Tibullus, 
Horace himself, who gave that character to the genius of the 
Romans, were they not also bom during the great civil wars of 
Bome, and greeted at theh: entrance into the world by the ncHse 
oC the proscriptions of Marius, Sylla, and Cœsar? Think of 



LES CONVIDENCES. 

the feelings of pity or terror wbich agîtated tbe bosoms of the 
Koman motbers wbile they bore tbose men in tbeb: wombs ! 
Think of tbe milk sonred by tears wbicb I myself drew from 
tbe breast of my motber wbile tbe wbole family was suffer- 
ing a captlvity wbicb generally terminated in deatb ! — ^wbile 
tbe busband sbe adored was on tbe steps of tbe scaffold, 
and wbie sbe lierself was a captive in ber own deserted 
dwelling, guarded by ferocious soldiers wbo watcbed ber tears 
to make ber tendemess a crime and to instdt ber sorrow ! 



NOTE IV. 

Bebind my grandfatber's mansion, wbicb extended from 
one Street to anotber, tbere stood a smal], low, dark bouse 
wbicb communicated witb tbe large building tbrougb an ob- 
scure passage, and tbrougb small narrow yards tbat were as 
damp as wells. Tbis bouse served to lodge some old dômes- 
tics wbo bad left tbe service of my grandfatber, but wbo 
were still attacbed to tbe family by tbe small pensions wbicb 
tbey continued to receive, and by tbe few voluntary services 
wbicb tbey from time to time rendered tbeir former masters. 
Wben tbe large botel was placed in séquestration, my motber, 
witb one or two female attendants, retired to tbis small bouse. 
Tbere was anotber attraction wbicb drew ber to it. 

Directly in front of ber Windows, on tbe opposite side of 
tbat lanc wbicb was as dark, as still, as narrow as any street 
in Genoa, stood, and still stand at the présent day, tbe bigb 
walls witb but few Windows, of a building wbicb bad formerly 
been an Ursuline couvent, — an édifice of an austère aspect, 
as silent and méditative as tbe purpose for wbicb it was in- 
tended, witb quite a bandsome cburcb-portal on one of ils 
sides, and, bebind it, deep court-yards and a garden surrounded 
by black walls wbose beigbt destroyed ail bope of overlcap- 
ing tbem. As tbe ordinary prisons of tbe town were crowded 
to overflowing, tbe Eevolutionary Tribunal of Maçon bad bad 
tbis couvent prepared as a supplementary prison, to cast into 
it tbe surplus of prisoners. Cbance or Providence decreed 
tbat my fatber sbould be confined witbin its walls. Tbus, 
ail tbat separated bim from bappiness was a wall and tbe 
widtb of a street. It also bappened tbat tbe interior of tbe 
Ursulme couvent was as familiar to bim in ail its détails as bir 



tt hAWAWVlHE, 

own dwelUlig. One of my grandfatbcr'a sisters, whosc name 
was Madam de Lusy, was Abbcss of the Ursuline coBTeafc at 
Maçon. Her broUicr'9 ckildrcn, in tbcir younger days, coq-* 
stantly came to play in tlx) convcut. Tbey were tbe amuse- 
ment of tbe poor nuns, Tbero was no walk in tbe garden, no 
cell, no secret sUûrvray, no part of Ibe garret, no nook or 
dust-bole in tbe cellar, tbat was not known to tbem, and of 
wbich tbeir ebildisb mcmories bad not retained a vivid recol- 
lection in every insignificant particiilar. 

Hence, my fatber, wben lie was suddenly tbrown into tbis 
prison, found bimself in well-known quarters. To crown tbis 
pièce of good fortune, tbe jailcr, wbo was a republican open 
to bribery, bad been, fifteen years before, a cuirassier in tbe 
Company under my fatber's command. His new rank bad 
not cbanged bis beart Accustomed as be bad been to respect 
and love bis captain, bis beart melted at tbe sigbt of bim, and 
wben tbe doors of tbe Ursuline convent closed upon tbe cap- 
tive» tbe republican was tbe one wbo wept. 

My fatber tbere found bimself in goodly and numeroua 
Company. Tbe prison contiiined about two bundred crimeless 
prisoners, tbe suspected persons of tbe department. Tbe only 
favor tbat my fatber asked of tbe jailer was to be lodged alone 
in one corner of tbe gaiTct. A bigb dormer-window, wbicb 
opened on tbe street, would at least afifbrd him tbe consola- 
tion of gazing sometiraes tbrougb tbe iron bars at tbe roof of 
bis own dweuing. Tbis favor was granted. He settlcd bim- 
self beneatb tbe tiles, witb tbe assistance of a few boards and 
a wretcbed pallet. During tbe day, bo descendcd amongst 
bis companions in captivity to take bis meals, play, and con- 
verse about tbe affairs of tbe times, on wbicb bead tbe prison- 
ers were forced to bave recourse to conjecture alone, as tbey 
were not permitted to receive any written communications from 
witbout. But tbis seclusion was not of long duration for my 
fatber. 

Tbe same sentiment wbicb bad prompted bim to ask tbe 

i 'aller for a cell wbicb looked out on tbe street, and wbicb 
Lept bûn gaâng for wbole bours at tbe roof of bis little bouse 
opposite, bad also bispired my motber witb tbe tbougbt of 
ascending often to tbe garret of ber dwelling, and seating ber- 
self near tbe skyligbt in sucb a manner as to see witbout 
being seen. From tbis place sbe could eontemplate, tbrougb 
ber tears, tbe roof of tlie prison wbere tbe one sbe loved was 
cnatébed from ber tendemess and bid from ber eyes. As two 



LES confidences; 35 

glftnces, two minds which seek one anotoer througb tho ani- 
Yorse aiways meet at last, thej must meet with ail the more 
certaiûty when 011I7 separated hy two walls and a narrovr 
Street. Their cyes dîd meet, their soûls thrilled, tbey under- 
stood each otber's thoughts, and their signs took the place of 
words, through fear Uiat the somid of theû* voices should re- 
veat the secret of their intercourse to the sentries in the street 
Tkej thus regularly spent several hours of the day, seated op- 
posite to one another. Their whole soûls had centered m 
thek eyes. My mother, who had kept pens and paper, thought 
of writing in large characters a few short lines containin^ in 
brief what she wished to communicate to the prisoner. The 
latter answered by signs. From that moment a correspond- 
ence was established. It was soon completed. My father,^ 
being a knight of the Arquebuse, always had in bis bouse a 
bow and arrows, with whicn I bave often played in my child- 
hood. My mother thought <^ using them to enable her to 
communicate more thoroughly with the captive. She practised 
sliooting with the bow for several days in her apartment, and 
when she had acquîred sufficient slull to be certain of not 
BiissiDg her mark at the distance of a few feet, she fastened a 
stiîng to the arrow, and sent the arrow and string through the 
wiadow of the prison. My father hid the arrow, and drawing 
the string towards him drew a letter along with it. By this 
means, and under the favor of night, paper, pens, and ink were 
sent to him. He would answer at bis leisure. Before the break 
of day, my mother would draw in the long letters in which the 
prisoner poured out bis affection and bis afflictions — ^in which 
he interrogated, counselled, consoled bis wife, and spoke of bis 
child. My poor mother would carry me up into the garret in 
her arms every day, show me to my father, suckle me before 
him, make me extend my littie bands towards the bars of th€f 
prison, press my head against her breast, devour me with 
kissos before the prisoner, and thus seem to send to him from 
the depths of her 'iovl ail the caresses with which she cQvere ' 
me for bis sake. 



NOTE V. 

Months flew by in this manner, months that were troubled 
by fear, agitated by hope, illummed and sometimes consoled 



d6 LAMARTINE. 

by tbose cifliminers of lîgbt whicb were coDstiuitly sent back- 
wards anà forwards b^ loving eyes even in the darkness of 
sorrow and adversity. Love inspired my fatber witb a bold- 
ness that was still mbrc fortunate, and whose success made 
imprisonment itself deligbtful, and drove from bis mind ail fear 
of tbe scaffold. 

I bave already said tbat tbe street wbicb scpamted tbe Ur« 
stdine convent from tbe paternal bouse was yery narrow. Not 
satisfied witb seeing my motber, writing to ber, and conversing 
witb ber, my fatber conceived tbe idea of annibilating the dis- 
tance wbicb separated tbem. Sbe sbuddered ; be insiited. 
A few bours of bappincss snatcbed from persécution, and from 
deatb perbaps, were well wortb a minute's danger. Wbo 
could say wbetber sucb an opportunity would ever oflfer itself 
again ? Wbetber, on tbe morrow, oniers would not be given 
to transfer the captive to Lyons, Paris, or tbe scaffold ? My 
motber yielded. Witb tbe assistance of the arrow and string 
sbe sent bim a file. One of tbe iron bars of tbe sraall prison 
window was filed away in silence and put back in its place. 
Tben, one night wben tbere was no moon, a thick rope, fast- 
ened to tbe string, glided from the roof of my motber's dwelling 
into tbe bands of tbe prisoner. One end was firmly tied to a 
post in tbe garret of our bouse, the other was fastened by my 
fatber to one of tbe iron bars of bis grated window. Hanging 
to it witb botb bands and feet, and slipping from knot to knot 
above tbe heads of tbe sentinels, be crossed tbe street, and 
found bimself in tbe arms of bis wife and besido tbe cradle of 
bis cbild. 

Having tbus escaped from prison, be was at libcrty not to 
retum to it ; but condcraned tben, as be would bave been, by 
contumacy or as an absentée, be would bave ruined bis wife 
and dc8troyed bis family : be did not even conceive sucb a 
tbouffbt. Ab a last means of safety, be rcserved the possibil- 
ity 0? sucb an cecape for tbe eve of tbe day wben be would be 
Bummoned to appear before tbe revolutionary tribunal, or to 
marcb to tbe scaffold. He bad tbe certainty of being advised 
of it by tbe jailer. Tbat was tbe only service tbat be bad asked 
>f bim. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 87 



NOTE VI. 

What niglits were those spent in staying the boui's on 
the bosom of ail that one loves ! Withîn a few paces of the 
sentries, of the iron bars, of the prison cell, and of death I 
lliey did not compute the strides of the stars through the night 
by the song of the nightmgale or lark, like Romeo and Juliette, 
but by the footsteps of the night- watch which were heard be- 
neath the window, and by the number of sentinels relieved. 
Ere the heavens grcw pale, it was necessary to cross the street 
again, and re-enter in silence and stillness the grated window 
of the cell. Then the rope wonld be untîed, slowly drawn in 
by my mother, and hid beneath a pile of maîtresses in a cor- 
ner of the garret, to be used again on other similar nights. 
The two lovers from time to time had interviews such as thèse, 
but they were obliged to manage them with prudence and pré- 
pare them with care ; for, independent of the danger of falling 
into the street, or of being discovered by the supcrinteudents, 
my mother was not certain of the fidélity of one of the women 
who waited on her, and one word from whom would hâve led 
my father to death. 

That was the time when the proconsuls of the Convention 
divided the provinces amongst themselves, and in them exer- 
cised, in the name of public safety, a power that was absolute 
and often sanguinary. The fortunes, the life or death of fami- 
lies were dépendent on a word from the lips of those représen- 
tatives, on a compassionate movement of their soûls, on a sig- 
nature of their hands. My mother, who felt that the axe was 
suspended above the head of the husband she adored, had oft- 
en been inspired with the thought of casting herself at the feet 
of those agents of the Convention, and asking them'to liberate 
my father. Her youth, her beauty, her loneliness, even the 
counsels of my father, had hitherto withheld her. But the in- 
stances of the other members of the family who were confined 
in the dungeons of Autun, imperiously called upon her to take 
steps as a petitioner — steps which were not less tryinff to her 
pride than to her opinions. From the revolutionary autnorities 
of Maçon she obtained a passport for Lyons and Dijon. How 
often kas she not described to me her répugnance, her faint- 
heartttdness, her tfcrror, when, after the harsh rejection of nun- 
berkfls ftdvances and solicî lotions, she had at last to appear 

4 



. i 



88 LAMARTINE. 

trembling and abashed in the présence of a représentative of 
the people on a mission ! At one time it was a churlish and 
brutal man who even refused to listen to tbat weeping woman, 
and who dismissed her with threats as a person guUty of an 
attempt to influence the justice of the nation. At another, it 
was a tender-hearted being who was moved to pity in spite of 
himself by the sight of such deep afifection, of such touching 
despair; but who, hardened in appearance at least, by the 
présence of his coUeagues, refused with his lips what he grant< 
ed with his heart. Of ail of them, the représentative Javogues 
was the one whose character left the most favorable impression 
on my mother. At Dijon, when she was introduced to him 
and granted a hearing, he spoke to her kindly and with respect. 
She had carried me with her in her arms to the representa- 
tive's apartment, in order that pity might hâve two faces to 
move him — that of a young mother and that of an innocent 
child. Javogues made her sit, complained of his mission oi 
severity, which was imposed upon him by his office and the 
safety of the Republic. He took me upon his knees, and as my 
mother made a movement which betrayed her fear that he 
would let me fall, 

" Fear nothing, citizen," said he to her, " republicans also 
hâve sons." And as I was smiling and playing with the ends 
of his tri-colored scarf, he added, " Thy child is very handsome 
for the son of an aristocrat. Rear him for his country's good, 
and make a citizen of him." 

He expressed a few words of interest for my father and some 
hope of his early libération. It was to him, perhaps, that he 
was indebted for being forgotten in prison, for an order for 
trial at that period was a death- warrant. 

After retuming to Maçon and re-entering her house, my 
mother herself lived in confinement in her narrow dwelling op- 
posite the Ursuline couvent. Now and then, when the night 
waë very dark, the moon absent, and the lamps in the streets 
extinguished by winter*s blasts, the knotted rope would fly 
from one window to the other, and my father would come and 
spend hours of anxiety and delight by the side of ail that he 
loved. 

Eighteen long months passed in this manner. The 9th of 
Thermidor opened the doors of the prisons ; my father wag 
free. My mother went to Antun in search of her infirm pa- 
«ents, and brought them back to their house, which had been 
(dmed for such a length of time, A short time after this 



LES CONFIDENCES. 89 

return, my grandfatlier and grandmotlier died m peace and 
rîpeness of âge in their beds. They had passed through the 
great tempest^ and had been shaken by it, but not prostrated. 
They had lost nono of their children in it, and they could hope» 
when they closed their eyes, that the storm-cloud was exhaust- 
ed for a long time to corne, and that life would be more serene 
for those to whom they Icft it, whon they departed from thia 
earth. 



BOOK IIL 

NOTE I. 

Thb whole of my granilfather's fortune, according to the 
intentions as well as the customs of the times, was to hâve 
gone to the eldest son. But as the new laws had annulled the 
right of entail, and suppressed that of primogeniture, and as 
the Yows of poyerty niailo by my aunts, my father's sisters, 
were null in the eyes (^ the law, the family had to proceed to 
a division of the property. Tliis property was considérable, 
in Franche Comté as well as in Burgundy. My father, by 
ezacting his share like the rest of his brothers and sisters, 
might, by a single word, havo changed kis lot, and obtained 
one of the finest landed estâtes that the family had to divide^ 
Ilis scrupulous respect for his father's intentions kept him 
from even thinking of violating thosë intentions after his death. 
The revolutionary enactments suppressiug the laws of primo- 
geniture were quite récent ; in his eyes, although he thought 
them very just, they yet had the appearance of compression, 
and of violence done to patemal authority. Asking their ap- 
plication in his favor against his elder brotlier seemed to him 
an abuse of his situation. He rosolved, without claiming any 
merit for so dolDg, to give up ail pretensions to the estâtes 
of lus father and mother, and to content hims^lf with the very 
small portion which had been secured to him by his marria^e 
contract. He made himself poor, when by uttering a single 
Word he might hâve made himself ricli. The property of the 
fÎBjnily was divided. £ach one of his brothers and sisters had 



40 LAMARTINE. 

a large share. He wanted no part of ît ; he remained witb 
nought for his fortune but the Utile estate of MiUy, which had 
been assigned to him at the time of his marriage, and \irhich| 
at that period, only produced an income of two or three tbou- 
sand livres. My motber's dower was very small. The émol- 
uments of the offices which her father and brothers held iv 
the household of Orléans, had disappeared with the Kevolu' 
tion. The princesses of that family were in exile. Thej 
sometimes wrote to my mother. They remembered theh 
early friendship for the daughters of their under-govemess 
They never faÛed to surround them with their remembrance 
in exile, and their favors in prosperity. 



NOTE II. 

My father did not deem himself released by the Révolution 
from his honorable fidelity to his âag. This sentiment closed 
ail the avenues to fortune for h ira. An income of three thou- 
sand livres and a small house, out of repair and naked, in the 
country, for himself, his wife, and the numerous children who 
were beginning to takc their pl;iccs around the family board, 
were a something very uncortain between frugal ease and 
straitened indigence. But he had contentment of mind, his 
love for his wife, tlie rustic simplicity of his tastes, his strict 
but gênerons economy, the perfect conformity of his desires 
with his situation, — in a word, his religious dependence in God. 
With thèse he courageously attacked the narrow difficulties 
of his existence. My mother, young, beauliful, reared in the 
nidst of ail the élégance of a brilliant court, stepped, with the 
same smiling résignation and the same inward happiness, from 
the apartments and gardens of a princely mansion into the 
small unfumished chambcr of a house which had been empty 
nearly a century, and into the contracted garden covering a 
quarter of an acre of ground, and surrounded by dry stones, 
in which ail the splendid dreams of her girlhood were to be 
conjQned. Since then, I bave often heard both of them say 
that, notwithstanding the severity of their fate, those first 
years of calm and quiet after the agitation of révolutions, of 
retirement in their love, and of mutual enjoyment in that se- 
questered spot, were, to take them ail in ail, the sweetest 



LES CONFIDENCES. 41 

years of their lires. My mother, even whfle sbe suffered 
greatly from poverty» always despised riches. How often bas 
sbe not pointed out to me the narrow limits of tbe garden and 
fields )f Milly, saying, " Tbey are rery small, but tbey are 
large enougb, if we kaow bow to make our wisbes and our 
habits proportionate to them. Happiness is in our own breasts ; 
we would not bave a ^ater share of it, if we were to extend 
tbe limits of our meadows and our vineyards. Happiness is 
not measured like land, by tbe acre ; it is measured by the 
contentment of the heart, for it is God's will that the poor 
sbould bave as much as the rich, in order that neither the 
rich nor tbe poor sbould think of imploring it from any one 
but Him !" 



NOTE III. 

I will not imitate J. J. Rousseau in bis Confessiùns, I will 
not tire you with the relation of the puerilities of my early in- 
fancy. The life of man only begins with feeling and thought. 
UntU then, man is a being, he is not even a child. The tree 
no doubt begins at its roots, but those roots, like our instincts, 
are never destined to be revealed to light. Nature intention- 
ally bides them, for therein lies her secret. To our eyes the 
tree begins only at tbe moment wben it shoots from the earth 
and shows itself with its trunk, its bark, its limbs, its leaves, 
for the wood, the shade, or tbe fruit that it bas one day to 
bear. Thus is it with man. Let us therefore leave the cradle 
to the nurse ; and our first smiles, and our first tears, and our 
first lispings, to the rapturous joy of our mothers. I will only 
begin for you with those of my first recollections whicb were 
already rational. 

Hère are the two earliest scènes of life whicb often retum 
to my memory, during those joumeys whicb man makes to- 
wards tbe most distant part of the past in order to find bis 
former self again. 



NOTE IV. 

It is nigbt. Tbe doors of tbe little bouse of Milly are 
dosed. A friendly dog barks now and tben in tke ^Qs.d« 

.4* 



42 LAMARTINE. 

Drops of autumnal rain beat against the glass of the two low 
Windows, and the wind, as it blows in sudden gusts and breaks 
against Ûie branches of two or three plane-trees and entera 
the interstices between the shutters, produces those fitful and 
melancholj wails which are only to be heard on the bordera 
of large pine forests when you seat yourself at the foot of a 
tree to listen to them. The room in which I thus see myself 
again is large, but almost naked. At the further end is a 
deep alcôve with a bed in it. The bed-curtains are of white 
serge, checkered with blue. That is my mother's bed : at its 
foot there are two cradles resting on wooden chairs ; one of 
thèse cradles is large, the other small. They are the cradles 
of my two younger sisters who hâve already been asleep a 
long time. A large fire of vine-twigs burns at the back of a 
chimney of white stones, whose mantelpiece has been bat- 
tered in several places by the hammer of the Révolution, which 
has broken the coat of arms, or the lilies which formed a part 
of Us omaments. The iron plate at the back of the fireplace 
has been tumed around, because, no doubt, it bears on the 
other side the arms of the king ; thick beams, which, like the 
boards they support, are blackened by the smoke, form the 
ceiling. Beneath the feet there is neither inlaid floor, nor car- 
pet ; simple squares of unvamished brick, but of the color of 
earth, and broken into a thousand pièces by the iron-shod 
heels and wooden shoes of the peasants, who had made this 
their dancing-hall during my father's captivity. There are no 
hangings, of cloth or paper, on the walls of the chamber; 
nothing but the plast^, broken in several places, and showin^ 
the naked stonework, as a tom garment shows the limbs and 
bones beneath. In one corner, a litUe harpsichord stands open» 
with books of music of the Deuin de Village, by J. J. Bous* 
seau, scattered about on it ; nearer the fireplace, in the middle 
of the room, stands a little card-table, with a green cloth ail 
covered with spots of ink and full of holes ; on the table are 
two tallow candies, which are buming in two candlesticks of 
plated brass, and which cast upon the whitewashed walls of 
the apartment a faint light and large shadows, which dance 
as the flame is moved by the wind. 

Opposite the fireplace, with elbow leaning on the table, 
sits a man with a book in bis hand. He is tall, and bis limbs 
are strong. He yet has ail the vigor of youth. His brow is 
open, his eye blue ; his firm and gracions smile discloses to 
View teeth of dazsding whiteness. A few remains of his oob« 



LES CONFIOBNCES. 48 

tome, and pariiculariy his hair, and a certam military sû&em 
of position, reveal the retired officer. If any one were 
înclmed to doubt it» he would only hâve to Iode at hia sword, 
hi3 régulation pistols, bis belmei, and the gilt buckles ef bis 
borse's bhdle, wbicb. sbine suspended from a nail in tbe wall, 
at tbe back of a little doset wbicb is open in tbe room. Tbat 
man is our fatber. 

On a settee of twisted straw, in tbe corner formed hj tbe 
cbimney-piece and tbe wall of tbe alcôve, sits a woman wbo 
yet appears very yontbful, altbougb sbe is verging on ber 
thirty-âfib year. Her form, wbicb is also tall, bas ail tbe 
elasticity and ail tbe élégance wbicb belong to young girls. 
Her features are so délicate, ber black eyes bave sucb a îraak 
and penetrating glance ; ber transparent sldn so clearly reveals 
beneatb its somewbat pale surface tbe blue of ber veins and 
tbe quick-coursing red of ber sligbtest émotions ; ber very 
black and yery fine tresses fall witb se many waves and such 
silken curves along ber cbeeks, down to ber very sboulders, tbat 
it is impossible to say wbetber sbe is eigbteen or tbirty-eigbt 
years old. No one could wisb to efiace from ber âge one of 
tbose years wbicb only serve to ripen ber pbysiognomy and 
complète ber beauty. 

Tbis beauty, altbougb it is pure in eacb feature, if tbey are 
examined in détail, is especially visible m tbe barmony of the 
wbole — ^in its grâce, and above ail in tbat radiation of inward 
tendemess, whicb is tbe true Ugbt of tbe soûl illuminating tbe 
body from within^ and of wbicb tbe most beautiful countenance 
is only the outward transparency. Tbis young woman, balf 
reclining on cushions, holds in ber arms a little girl wbo is 
slumbering, and wbose bead resta on one of ber shouMers. Tbe 
child's fingers are still cksped around one of ber motber's long 
ringlets» witb wbicb sbe was pl&jwa a £ew moments slqo before 
sbe fell asleep* Anotber little girl, somewbat older, » seated 
on a stool at tbe f oot of the teitee ; sbe rsots ber fair bead on 
ber mother^s knees. Tbis young woman is my mother ; thèse 
two cbildren are my two largest sisters. Two others lie in the 
two cradles. 

My fatber, I bave said, holds a book in his bands. He is 
reading aloud. I still bear the sound of tbat manly, full, strong, 
and yet flexible voice rolling in broad and sonorous periods, 
wbicb are sometimes interrupted by the rattling of the wind 
against tbe shutters. My mother, witb ber bead slightly in- 
cSned, bstens dreamily. I, witb my face tumed towards my 



i4 LAMABTINE. 

faûier, and mj arm resting on one of his knees, drink in eaek 
Word, anticipate each event, and deyour the book whose pages 
unroÙ thernselves too slowly to suit my impatient imagination. 
Now, what is this book ? this first volume whose perusal, thus 
heard at the entrance into life, teaches me really what a book 
is, and opens for me, so to speak, the world of émotion, love, 
and revery ? 

This book was Jérusalem JDelivered ; Jérusalem Delivered, 
translated by Lebrun, with ail the harmonious majesty of the 
Italian 8tan;sas, but refined by the ezquisite taste of the trans- 
later, and purified of ail those glaring stains of affectation and 
false glitter which sometimes blemish the manly simplicity of 
Tasso s narrative, like a golden powder that might dun a dia- 
mond, but on which the Frenchman has breathed. Hence, 
Tasso, read by my father, and listened to with moistened eye 
jy my mother, was the first poet who touched the fibres of 
my imagination and my heart ; and therefore for me he is a 
member of that universal and immortal family which every one 
of us sélects, in ail countries and in ail âges, to be the kinsfolk 
of his soûl and the companions of his thoughts. 

I hâve kept the two volumes with re%ious care ; I hâve 
preserved them amid ail the vicissitudes to which family libra- 
ries are subjected by changes of résidence, death, inheritance, 
and division. From time to time, at Milly, in the same room, 
when I revisit it alone, I reopen them with pious respect ; I re- 
peruse a few of those same stanzas, and strive to counterfeit 
my father's voice, and imagine that my mother is still there, 
with my sisters around her, hstening with half-closed eyes. I 
again find the same emotbn in Tasso's verse, hear the same 
noise of the wind in the branches of the trees, the same crack- 
iing of the vine-twigs on the hearth ; but my father's voice is 
not there — ^my mother's place on the settee is empty — ^the two 
cradles hâve changed into two graves which are growing green 
on foreign hills ! And ail this for me always ends with a few 
tears whjbh fall from my eyes, and wet the book aa I close it 



1 



LES CONFIDENCES. 4S 



\ 



BOOK IV. 

NOTE I. 

I HAVE spoken to you of another scène of cbildhood irbich 
remained deeply imprinted on my memory wlien my feelings 
first began to shoot. As it will at the same time depict to you 
the nature of the early éducation I received from my mother, 
I "will aiso describe it for you. 

It is a fine autumnal day towards the end of September, or 
in the beginning <^ October. The mists float on the brows of 
the mountains. Now they enter in indolent wayes and choke 
up the hollows of the valleys, which they fill like a stream that 
bas started from the earth in the night ; «non they float over 
the meadows at a short distance from the earth, as white and 
motionless as those sheets of linen which the women of the 
village spread upon the grass to be bleached by the dew ; again 
gentie -pnSs of wind tear them, roU them, bend them along the 
sides of a row of hills, and allow you to catch glimpses between 
them of large fantastic perspectives, lighted up by the hori- 
zontal streaks of fire which shoot from the orb of the rising 
sun. It is not quite àaylight yet in the village. I leave my 
bed. My garments are as coarse as those of the little peas- 
ants in the neighborhood ; neither stockings, nor shoes, nor 
bat ; pantaloons of coarse unbleached linen ; a waistcoat of 
long-napped blue cloth ; a brown woollen cap, like those which 
are wom at the présent day by children in the mountains of 
Auvergne ; this is my costume. I throw over ail this, a can- 
vas sack which opens on the breast like a wallet, with a large 
pocket. This pocket, like those of my companions, contains a 
pièce of brown bread, a goat's-milk cheese as large and as hard 
as a pebble, and a small penny knife, the handle of which is 
rudely shaped, and also contains an iron fork with two long 
prongs. This fork is used by the peasants, in my country, to 
draw the bread, bacon, and cabt)age, from the porringer in 
which they eat their soup. Thus equipped, I leave the house 
and hie to the village square, near the portai of the church, 
beneath two large walnut-trees. This is the place where 
the eight or ten little shepherds of the village, of about my own 
âge, assemble every moming aroimd their sheep, theh: geate, 
aad a few lean cows, before they start for the mountains. 



46 LAMABTlirB 



NOTE II. 



We set oui, and we drive before us the common âock, wLich 
foUows in a long file and at an unequal pace the winding and 
arid paths of the first hills. When tbe goats go astray and 
leap the hedges, each of us, in tum, brings them back by cast- 
me stones at them with a sling. After having climbed the first 
ni^ed heights which overlook the village, and which, at the 
rate that ^e flocks advance, cannot be reached in less than an 
hour, we enter a vast and high gorge where neither bouses, 
nor smoke, nor cultivation is to be seeiv 

Both sides of this solitary glen are eovered ail over with 
heath, bearing violet flowers, and long yellow broom ; hère 
and there a few gigantic chestnut-trees stretch out their long . 
branches half cbvered with foliage. The leaves, seared by the A^»^ 
first frosts, fall in showers around the trees at the slightest 
gust of wind. A few black rooks are perched on the driest 
and most withered branches of those old trees. They fly 
away, croaking, when we approach ; large eagles, or sparrow- 
hawks, high up in the firmament, ctrcle for hours above our 
heads, watching the larks in the brush or the kids that draw 
nearer to their dams. Large masses of ^ray stone, dotted and 
yellowed by the moss, shoot out in groups up both the steep 
sides of the gorge. 

Our flocks, freed from restraint, scatter themselves as they 
list in the broom. As to ourselves, we sélect one of those 
large rocks whose slightly-curbed brow forms a sort of half- 
arch and shelters a few feet of fine sand at its base from the 
rain. We there setfcle ourselves. We gather a few armsful 
of dry brush and dead branches fallen from the chestnut-trees 
during the summer. We strike a light, and kindle one of 
those shepherd's fires which are so picturesque to look upon 
when seen from the foot of a distant hill, or from the deck 
of a vessel sailintif within ?\icr^i (.f land. 

A little clear and undulatlng flame shtots through the black» 
gray, and blue waves of smoko T^Iiich rise from the greeu 
wood, and which are tossed bv the wind like the mane cf a 
runavray horsc. We open our scrips, and we draw forth 
bread, chee^e, sometimes bard eggs, seasoned with large grains 
of gray sait. Weeat slowly as the flocks chew the cud. 
3ofDetimes one of us dlscovers at the end of the branches of a 
ehestnm-iree a cluster of nuts forgotten on the limb ^ter t^ie 



LES CONFIDENCES. 47 

^Athormg. We ail arm ourselves with our slings, and skilfulhr 
ciwt sliOwerB of stones which knock the fruit ont of the half- 
open pod and make it fall at our feet. We cook it in the asbea 
of our fire, and if, besides, one of us finds any potatoes forgot- 
tlDL in the earth of a tumed-up field, he brings them to us* 
y^ Gover them over with ashes and oo£^, and we devour them 
smoking hot, seasoned with the pride of discovery and the pleas- 
ure of pilfering. /^t ? t, , ... '^ 

At mid-day, the goats and fôW^'that bave already been ly- 
ing for a long time in the sun on their thick beds oi dead 
kaves and broom, are again called toçether. While the sun 
rising in the heavens bas wholly dispeUed the mists from the 
wann and brilliant heights» they bave gathered in the valley 
and on the plams. We only see, loommg above the bill-tops, 
the steeples of some high villages, and on the edge of the 
horizon the golden and shaded snows of Mount Blanc, whose 
gigantic skekton and sharp ridges and projections are as dis- 
tinctly visible as if they were quite near. 

When the flocks are collected together, we direct our course 
toward^s the real mountain. The first Aip-like glen in which 
we haVë spent the moming we now leave far behind us. The 
chestnut-trees disappear; patches of short furze take their 
plAce,; the acclivities become steeper ; they are strewed with 
eluraps of high fem ; and hère and there the bluebell and 
foxglove yarie^te them with their azuré and purple flowers. 
Soon ail this disappears likewîse ; nothing is to be seen but 
moes and rollmg stones on the sides oi the mountains. 

The flocks stop hère with one or two shepherds. The 
others, and I am one of that number, bave noticed for several 
days past, on the furthermost top of the highest peak, — alon<- 
side of a coat of snow which forms a white spot to the nortn 
ward, and which only melts at a late day when the summers 
are cold,— an opening in the rocks, which must be the entrance 
to some cavem. We bave often seen eagles take their flighl 
towards that rock. The boldest among us bave determined to 
go and drive the eaglets from their nests. Armed with our 
sticks and our slings we ascend to it to-day. We bave fore- 
seen every thing, even the darkness of the cavem. Each one 
of us, for several days past, bas had a torch prepared to light 
himself through it. In the neighboring wood we bave selected 
trunks of pine-trees eight or ten years old. Thèse we bave 
split lengthwise in twenty or thirty laths one or two llnes thick. 
'Btd lower end of the tree thus split is the only part of it tbjB.t 



48 LAMARTINE* 

we hh^e Xt ^hole> in^rder that the laths sball not fall 
apari and that yfe may bave a strong handle in our hands 
wher«with to carry it. Y^e hâve bound them, moreoyer, at 
equal distfinces witb bits of wire whicb keep tbe fasces to- 
getber. Wo bave dried tbem for several weeks in tbe publio 
oren of tbe village after tbe bread bas been witbdrawn from it 
Thèse small trees thus prepared, cbarred bj tbe oven and 
soaked in tbe natural rosin of tbe pine, form torches whicb 
bum slowly, whicb nothing can extinguish, and whicb throw 
forth brilliant red âames wben fanned by tbe ligbtest breeze. 
£acb one of us painfully bears one of thèse pine-trees on bis 
sboulder. Wben we reach tbe foot of tbe rock, we make a 
circuit around its base to find tbe tortuous mouth of tbe cav- 
em whicb yawns above our beads. We attain it by climbing 
from rock to rock, and lacerating our hands and knees. The 
opening, covered over by a natural arch formed by immense 
blocks serving as props to one anotber, is large enougb to 
sbelter us ail. It soon grows narrower, obstructed by banks 
of stone whicb must be overleaped ; then, tuming suddenly 
and descending witb tbe rapid slope of a stepless staircase, it 
fdnks in tbe mountain and disappears in total darkness.. 

Hère, our bearts fail us a little. We throw stones, tbe 
round of whicb, as tbey slowly roU down, ascends to our ears 
witb subterranean echoes. Tbis noise startles tbe frightened 
bats from their cave, and tbey âap their clammy wings in our 
faces. We ligbt two or three of our torches. The boldest 
and la^est amongst us risks bimself first. We ail follow 
bim. We crawl for a moment like tbe fox in bis den. The 
smoke of tbe torches chokes us, but nothing disbeartens us ; 
and* tbe cave abruptly growing wider and bigher, we find our- 
selves in one of tbose spacious subterranean halls of whicb 
cavems in mountains are almost always sure signs, while tbey 
enable tbem, so to speak, to breathe tbe outer air. A small 
basin of limpid water reflects in its depths tlie ligbt of our* 
torches. Drops, brilhant as diamonds, ooze from tbe walls of 
tbe vault, and, falling at regular intervals into tbe little pool, 
make that sonorous, barmonious, and plaintive sound, wfaich, 
wbetber in small springs or great seas, is alwayst tbe voice of 
tbe waters. Water is tbe melancboly élément. Super fin- 
mina Babylonis sedimtis et fievimus, Wherefore ? Because 
water weeps witb every one. Young as we are, we cannot 
help beÎQg moved by it. 

Seated on tbe edge of tbe murmuring basin, we onjoy tli« 



LES CONFIDENCES. 49 

triumph of our discovery for a long time, altliough we bave 
found neitber lions nor eagles hère, and altliough the sooty 
traces on the rçcks of many a fire must satîsfy us that we are 
not the first td be initiated into this mystery of the mountain. 
We bathe our limbs in this icy basin ; we soak our bread in its 
waters ; we forgét ourselves for a long time in making searches 
for other branches of the cavem, so that when we leave it, 
day is declining rapidly and night is begmning to show lier 
first stars in the firmament. 

We wait until the darkness gathers around us a little doser. 
Then we ail light the ends of our pine-trees. We carry thera 
with the flame upwards. We thus rapidly descend from peak 
to peak, like shooting stars. We make fiery évolutions on the 
advanced hillocks so as to be seen in the distant villages of 
the plain. We roU down to our flocks like a torrent of fire. 
We drive them before us with cries and songs. When we at 
length reach the last hill which overlooks the hamlet of Milly, 
we hait on a sloping lawn with the certainty that we are seen ;, 
we form rings, we dance round about, we mingle our stept* 
as we ndse our lighted brands above our heads ; then we cast 
them upon the grass, half consumed. We gather them to- 
gether and make one single bonfire, whose slowly dying light 
we watch as we descend towards the dwellings of our mothers. 

This is the manner, with a few variations depending on the 
seasons, in which my shepherd's days were spent. At one 
time it was the mountain with its cavems ; at another the 
fields with their streams beneath the wiUows ; the mill-dams 
in which we practised swimming ; the young coïts straddied 
bareback and broken by races; now the vintage with its 
grape-laden wagons whose oxen I drdve with the cowherd's 
thong, and its foaming tubs in which I and my comrades used 
to press the juice ; anon the harvest, and the earthen floor on 
which, with a flail proportionate to my childish arm, I used 
to thrash in cadence with the others. No man ever lived in 
doser contact with nature, or imbibed at an earlier âge a love 
for rural life, the habits of the happy people who lead it, and 
a taste for those trades which are simple and yet as varions as 
the cultivations, the sites, the seasons, — ^which do not make man 
a soulless machine with ten fingers, like the monotonous labors 
of other occupations, but which make him a thinking, feeling, 
loving being, in constant communication with the nature which 
he inhales through ail his pores, and with the God whose 
présence His every blessing reveals. 

Ô 



50 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE III. 

The first impressions of my life wefe humùle, aostere, and 
ai the same time sweet. The first landscapes which my eyes 
contemplated were not of a nature to give mueh breauth or 
color to the wings of my imagination. It was at a later day 
and little by little that the magnificent scènes of création, the 
sea, the sublime mountains, the resplendent lakes of tne Alps, 
and the monuments reared by man in great cities, struck my 
eyes. In the beginning I only saw what is seen by the chil- 
dren of the humblest hamlet in a country devoid of ail gran- 
deur of physiognomy. Perhaps the best condition fully to 
enjoy nature and the works of man is to begin by ail that is 
most modest and most common, and initiate one s self, so to 
speak, to the wonders of the world by degrees, and only as 
fast as the soûl develops itself. The very eagle, destined to 
soar so high and to see so far, begins his life in the fissures of 
the rocks, and in his early day s only sees the arid and some- 
times fetid borders of his eyry. 

The obscure village in which it was Heaven's will that I 
should first see the hght and in which the Révolution and 
poverty confined my f&ther and my mother, had nothing 
about it to mark or adom the place of the humble cradle of a 
painter or of a contemplator of the works of God. 



NOTE IV. 

After leaving the channel of the Saône, which courses 
through the green fields and under the fertile hills of Maçon, 
and advancing towards the little town and towards the ruins 
of the old abbey of Cluny, where Abailard died, the traveller 
foUows a hilly road through the undulations of a country 
which begins to swell visibiy like the first waves of a rising 
sea. Bight and left are to be seen the white walls of hamlets 
'xmid the vines. Above thèse hamlets, barren and uncultiva- 
Ved mountains stretch ont in steep and stony slopes, formmg 
grayish-looking lawns, where the eye rests on a few flocks 
resembling small white dots. Ail thèse mountains are crowned 
by masses of rocks which !}hoot up from the earth and 



LES C0NFIDENCB8. 51 

whose peoks, wom bj tîme and the winds, présent io iLe eya 
tlie forms and rents of dismantled old castles. FoUowing 
the road "which runs around the base of thèse acclivities, the 
traveller finds, within about two hours' march from the town, 
a narrow path, overshadowed by willows, which descends 
through the fields towards a small stream where the sound of 
a mill-wheel is constantly heard. 

Thîs path winds for a short distance beneath the trees which 
hide it, alongside of the rivulet, whose running waters» whei 
they are swelled by the springs, haye no other channel ; then 
you cross the water by a little bridge, and walk up a winding 
but steep slope towards groups of buildings covered with red 
tiles which you see above you on a small plateau. This is our 
village ; a pyramidal steeple of gray stone there rises above the 
roofs of seven or eight cottages. The stony path ghdes froîn 
door to door between thèse dwellings. After you hâve trod 
the whole length of the road, you reach a gâte which is some- 
what higher and somewhat wider than the others. That is the 
gâte of the yard at the baek of which my father's house is hid. 

The house is really hid there, for it is not to be seen on any 
side, either from the village or from the high-road. Built in 
the hollow of a large bend of valley ; low and overtopped in 
every direction by the steeple, the out-houses, or the trees ; 
reared against a mountain of considérable height, it is only af- 
ter you hâve ascended that mountain that yeu can see beneath 
you that low but massive house which, like a large pile of 
blackish stone, rises at the extremity of a narrow garden. The 
building is square, only one* story high, and bas three large 
Windows on each side. Its walls are not plastered ; rain and moss 
bave given the stones the dark and ancient hue and appearance 
of old monastery walls. From the court-yard you enter the 
house through a high door of carved wpod. This door opens 
above a flight of five wide free-stone steps. But the stones, 
although of colossal dimensions, hâve been so severely chipped 
and wom away by time and the burdens which are deposited 
on them, that they are completely separated, and shake be- 
neath the tread, making a low murmuring sound ; nettles and 
aamp pellitories grow hère and^ there in their interstices, and 
in the evening little summec^frogs, with sweet and moumful 
voices, sing there as if they were in a marsh. 
■ " " ■ 

* The French do not call the grouud-floor a story. In Euglish, w« 
ihoiild therefore say that M. de Lamartino's homestead waa two cKatv«a\vv^ 



52 LABIART1NH 

You first enter a wide and welMighted passage, wliose 
width, however, is lessened by large presses of carved oak, in 
which the peasants put away the household linen; and by sacks 
of grain or flour placed there for the daily wants of the family. 
On the left is the kitchen, whose ever-open door permits you 
to perceive a long oaken table surrounded by benches. It 
rarely happens that peasants are not to be seen, at ail hours 
of the day, around that table, for on it the cloth is always 
spread, either for the workmen, or for those innumerable chance 
guests to whom it is customary, in country places at a distance 
from towns which hâve neither hostelries nor tavems, to oflfer 
bread, wine, and cheese. Further on, you enter the dining- 
room. Its only articles of fumiture are a pine table, a few 
chairs, and one of those old sideboards tirith compartments, 
drawers, and numerous shelves, which are heir-looms in ail an- 
eient dwellings, and which the taste of the présent day has re- 
juvenated by seeking for them. From the dining-room you en- 
ter a withdrawing-room with two Windows, one opening on the 
court-yard, the other on the gardèn. A stairway, which at 
that time was of wood, but which my father afterwards rebuilt 
in roughly-hewn stone, leads to the low and sole floor above, 
where a aozen rooms, almost devoid of fumiture, open on ob- 
scure passages. Thèse rooms were, at that time, for the use 
of the family, its guests, and the servants. This is the whole 
interior of the house which held us for so long a time within 
its dark and warm walls ; this is the roof which my mothcr so 
lovingly used to call her Jérusalem, her House of Peace ! This 
b the nest which sheltered us for so many years from the rain, 
the cold, from hunger, from the breath of the world ; the nest 
where death came and seized upon father and mother in suc- 
cession, and whose nestlings took to flight one after another, 
some for one place, soœe for another, some for etemity ! . . . 
I carefully préserve its remains — ^the straw, the moss, the down 
— ^and although it is at présent empty, cold, and deserted by 
ail those delicious affections which once animated it, I like to 
look at it, I like again to sleep in it sometimes, as if places re- 
tained ever-presçnt impressions of the past, and as if I expect- 
ed again to hear on awaking ffom slumber the voice of my 
mother, the footsteps of my fatHer, the joyous cries of my sis- 
ters, and ail that noise of youth, life and love, which rings for 
me alone beneath the old rafters, and which only has me i\ow 
to hear it and to perpetuate it a little while 1 



«' 



LES CONPIDENOES. 53 



NOTE V. 

Tlie exterior of this dwelling is in keeping with the intcrior. 
On the side of the court-yard, the eye rests only on the wine- 
presses, the wood-houses, $ind the stables which surround it. 
The door of that court-yard opens on the village street, and 
b never closed. Through it are seen the peasants, passing 
to and fro on their way to and from the fields. They carry 
their implements on one shoulder, and on the other a large 
cradie in which slumbers a child. Their wives accompany 
them to the vineyards, often carryin^ another child at the 
breast. A goat and lis kid follow behind, stop a moment to 
play with the dogs nëar the gâte, then bound after their 
mas ter. 

On the opposite side of the street stands the ever-smoking 
village oyen. It is the customary meeting-place of the gray- 
bearàs, the poor women who spin, and the children who 
come to warm themselves at its etemal fireside. This is ail 
that is to be seen from one of the parlor Windows. 

The other window, which opens towards the north, permits 
the eye to shoot above the walls of the garden and the tiles 
of a few low houses, and to reach as far as a horizon of dark 
and almost always nebulous mountains, whence looms out— 
now lighted up by a yellow sunbeam, anon in the midst of 
mists — ^the rmn of an old castle encompassed by turret and 
tower. This is the characteristic feature of this landscape. 
If this ruin were removed, the brilliant reflex of evening on 
its walls, the f antastical wreathing of the f oggy vapors arOund 
its battements, would forever disappear along with it. A 
black mountain and a yellowish ravine are ail that would re- 
main. A sail on the sea, or a ruin on an acclivity, makes a 
whole picture. Earth is the scène ; for the eye, thought, 
action, life, lie in the traces of man. Wherever there is life, 
there lies the interest. 

The back part of the house rests upon the garden, a small 
enclosm-e of blaçk stones of about a quarter of an acre. At 
the furthermost extremity of the garden the mountain begins 
to rise imperceptibly, cultivated and ^reen with vines near the 
bottom^ and further up bald and naked and as gray as^those 
patches which grow on stones without the aid of vegetable 

6* 



\- 



54 LAMARTINE. 

earth and which are hardly distinguishable. Two or three 
rocks of a similar dark hue give it a slightly jagged appear- 
ance at the top. Not a sinsle tree, not even a bush rises 
above the heath with which it is carpeted. Ko solitary but, 
no wreatb of smoke animâtes it. It is this, perhaps, which 
constitutes the secret cbarm of tbat garden. It is like a child's 
cradle which the laborer's wife bas hid in a furrow while she 
Works in the field. The sides of the furrow bide the edges 
of the cradle, and when the curtain is raised, the child can 
only see a bit of sky between two undulations of earth. 

As to the garden itself, it can boast of but httle more than 
the name of garden. It could only hâve been called a gar- 
den in those primitive days when Homer described the hum- 
ble enclosure and the seven meadows of old Laertes. Eight 
beds of vegetables laid out at right angles, bordered with 
fruit-trees, and separated by walks grass-grown and covered 
with yellow gravel ; at the extrenûty of thèse walks, towards 
the north, eight crooked trunks of old trees which form a dark 
arbor above a wooden bench ; another and a smaller arbor 
beneath' the cherry-trees at the bottom of the garden; 
that is ail. I hâve neither forgotten the murmuring spring, 
nor the well with its damp and greemsh stones ; there is not 
a drop of water on ail that extent of ground ; but I was 
about to forget a little réservoir dug by my father in a rock 
to catch the showers of rain; and around that green and 
stagnant water, twelve sycamores and a few plane-trees which 
cast a little shade over one corner of the garden from behind 
the wall, and which strew the oily surface of the basin with 
their large leaves seared by the summer sunT) 

Yes, this is really ail. And yet this is what was, for so 
many years, sufficient for the enjoyment, the delight, the méd- 
itation, the sweet moments of leisure and of toil of a father, 
a mother, and eight children ! This is what suffîces, even at 
the présent day, to nourish their memories. This is the Eden 
of their childhood, where their most placid thoughts take re- 
fuge when they wish to recover a little of that dew of life's 
morn, and a Uttle of that variegated light of the first hour 
which only shines clear and bright for man on the spot where 
his cradle first was rocked. There is not a single tree nor a 
carnation, not a patch of moss in that garden which is not 
as deeply rooted in our soûls as if it made part of them. 
That bit of land contains within such ^arrow hmits so many 
things and so many remembrances for us, that to us it sœma 



LES CONFIDENCES. 55 

ûninense. The mean, crazy wooden gâte which leads to it 
and through which we used to rush with screams of joy ; the 
beds of lettuce which had been divided into as inany separate 
gardens for us, and which we used to cullivate with our own 
hands ; the plateau at the foot of which our father used to 
sit with his dogs around him, when retuming from the chase ; 
the path where our mother used to walk at sunset, telling 
over the monotonous beads which fixed her thoughts on God, 
while her heart and her eyes were fixed on us ; the bit of 
greensward in the shade and with a northerly exposure for 
warm days ; the little warm wall to the southward against 
which, with book in hand, we used to lean like living props, 
ail of a row, in autumn ; the three lilac-trees, the two hazel- 
trees, the strawberries discovered beneath the leaves ; the 
plums, the pears, the peaches found under the trees in the 
moming covered with their golden gum and bespangled with 
dew ; and at a later day the arbor to which each one of us — I 
especially — used to hîe at mid-day to peruse in quiet his favorite 
books ; and the remembrance of the confused feelings awakened 
in us by those pages ; and, at a still later day, the recollection 
of the familiar conversations held hère or there, in this or that 
garden-path ; and the spot where farewell was said before set- 
ting out for a long absence ; that where the meetihg took place 
upon retuming ; those on which occurred some of those fami- 
liar and pathetic scènes of the hidden drama of private life — 
where our father 's countenance was seen to darken, where our 
mother wept as she forgave us, where we knelt at her feet 
and hid our faces in the folds of her dress ; the spot where 
the death of a loved daughter was communicated to her ; that 
where she raised her eyes and hands resignedly towards 
heaven ! Ail those images, ail those impressions, ail those 
groups, ail those faces, ail those blisses, ail those affections, 
still people that little enclosure for us as they peopled it and 
filled itwith life and enchantment for so many of the sweetest 
days of our lives, and enable us, by re-collecting in thought 
the waters of existence that hâve since flowed away, to en- 
velop ourselves, so to speak, in that earth, those trees, those 
plants that were bom with us ; and make us wish that the 
universe had commenced and would end for us within the 
walls of that humble enclosure ! 

This patemal garden still retains the same appearancé. The 
trees, however, which bave grown somewhat older, are begin- 
ning to cover tiieir trunks with spots of moss ; the bordera of 



56 LAMARTINE. 

roses and carnations hâve encroached on the sand and narrowed 
the paths. Thèse borders drag their filaments where the feet 
become entangled. Two nightingales yet sing during the snm- 
aier nights in the two deserted bowers. The same melodious 
breezes still sigh through the branches of the three pine-trees 
planted by my mother. The sun still leaves the same splen- 
dor in the heavens when it sets. There you can yet enjoy the 
same silence, which is only intermpted from time to time by the 
toUing of the bell in the steeple, or by the monotonous and 
sleep-provoking cadence of the peasants' fiails on the thrashing- 
floors of the barns. But weeds, brambles, and tall blue mal- 
lows, grow in tufts between the rose-bushes. The ivy thickens 
its ragged draperies against the walls. Each year increases 
its encroachments on the ever-closed Windows of our mother*s 
chamber ; and when by chance I stroU and forget myself for 
a moment in that garden, I am only tom from my solitude by 
the tread of the old vine-dresser who served us in those days 
as a gardener, and who retums now and then to revisit his plants 
as I retum to revisit my remembrances, my apparitions, and 
my regrets. 



NOTE VI. 

You are now as well acquainted with that résidence as I 
am. But why cannot I animate it for you for a single instant 
with the life, the bustle, the animation, the noise, and the affec- 
tions which once filled it for us ? I had already reached my 
tenth year ère I had yet experienced a bittemess of heart, a con- 
straint of mind, a look of severity. Within me every thing 
was free ; around me every thing was smiling. And yet I 
was neither enervated by the kindnesses of those whom it was 
my duty to obey, nor abandoned without restraint to the 
capricious exactions of my fancy, or of my childish desires. I 
merely dwelt in the sound and .wholesome midst of the pléni- 
tude of life, between my father and my mother, and inhaled 
by their side nothing but love, piety, and contentment. To 
love and be loved had until then been the whole of my physi- 
cal éducation ; and it was self-formed in the open air and in 
the almost barbarous exercises which I hâve described. A 
idant pf native and mountain growth, good care was takea 



LE» CONFIDENCES. 57 

Bot to houae me. I was left to grow up and become stronff 
and comely by wrestling with the éléments both winter and 
Biunmer. That course of treatment was marvellously success- 
ful with me, and I was one of the finest-looking children that 
had ever pressed their naked feet on our mountains, whose 
race of men, however, is so hearty and so handsome. £yes 
blue-black, Uke my mother's ; features pure and ahnost Ro- 
man, softened by a somewhat pensive expression, as hers 
were ; a dazzling ray of internai joy lighting up ail that coun- 
tenance ; hair very soft and fine, of a golden brown, like the , 
rind of the ripe chestnut, falling in waves instead of ringlets /: 
down my sunbumt neck; stature rather tall for my âge; 
movements light, free, and gracef ul ; an extrême delicacy of ' 
skin, however, which was also bequeathed to me by my mother, 
and a faoility to change color, to blush, and tum pale, which 
betrayed the fineness of the cuticle, and the rapidity and power ^ 
of the émotions of the heart over the features; altogether, .^ 
the very counterpart of my mother, with a manly tone in the ^ » 
expression ; this is the picture of the child that I then was. " 
Happy in shape, happy in heart, happy in mind, life had '^ 
written happiness, strength, and health on my whole being. 
Time, éducation, errors, mankind, sorrows, hâve eflfaced ail 
this ; but they and especially my self are the only ones I ac- 
cuse. I then had no reproaches to make to nature. 



^; 



NOTE VII. 

My éducation was whoUy formed in my mother's more oi 
less unclouded glance, in her more or less open smile. The 
reins of my heart were in her heart. She only asked me to 
be true and good. It cost me no trouble to obey her. My 
father gave me the example of scrupulous sincerity; my 
Aiother, of a goodness that was carried to heroical devoted- 
ness. As my soûl inhalcd nought but goodness, it could pro* 
duce nought else. I uever had to contend with self, or with 
another. Every thing attracted, nothing constrained me. The 
little that was taught me was offered to me as a reward. My 
only teachers were my father and mother. I saw them read 
and I wished to read ; I saw them write, and I asked them to 
belp me to form letters. AU this was done playfully. d iring 



58 LAMARTINE. 

leîsure moments, on their knees, in the garden, by the fircside in 
the parlor,with smîles, jokes, caresses. I took a liking to it ; I 
provoked the short and amusing lessons of my own accord. I 
îeamed every thing in this way, somewhat tardily, it is true, but 
without ever knowing how I attained knowledge, and without 
ever seeing a frown put on to compel me to study. I was 
advancing without being conscious of my own progress. My 
mind, always in communication with my mother*s, was devel- 
oping itself, so to speak, in hers. Other mothers bear their 
children only nine months in their wombs ; I can say that mine 
bore me twelve years, and that I was nourished by her moral 
life, as I had been by her physical life in her womb, until the 
moment when I was compulsorily and unfortunately tom from 
her to go and lead the corrupt, or at the very least, glacial life 
of a coUegian. 

Consequently, I neither had a writing-master, nor a reading- 
master, nor a teacher of languages. One of my father*s neigh- 
bors, M. Bruys de Vandran — a man of talent who had retired 
from the world in which he had seen a great deal of life — used 
to visit us once a-week. He would give me writing-copies in 
a very beautiful hand, which I would imitate by myself and 
lay before him for correction at his next visit. The taste for 
reading had seized upon me at a very early âge. It was with 
some trouble that a suflScient number of books, suited to my 
years, were found to feed my curiosity. Thèse children's books 
soon failed to satisfy me. I cast longing glances at the volumes 
standing in rows on some shelves in a little closet in the 
parlor. But my mother restrained this impatience to know. 
She would only surrender to me a few of the books at a 
time, and with judgment. The Bible, abridged and puri- 
fied ; Lafontaine's fables, which struck me as puérile, false, 
and cruel at the same time, and which I was never able to 
commit to memory ; the works of Madam de Genlis and of 
Berquin ; extracts from Fenelon and Bernandin de Saint- 
Pierre, which delighted me even then ; Jérusalem Delivered, 
Mobinson Crusoe, some of Voltaire*s tragédies, especially Mé- 
rope, read at eve by my father ; it was from thèse that I drew, 
as the plant does from the earth, the first nourishing sap of 
my youthful mind. But it was in my mother*s soûl especially 
that I sought for nurture; I read through her eyes, I felt 
through her feelings, I loved through her -love. She trans- 
lated every thing for me, — ^nature, sentiment, sensations, 
thoughts Without her aid I would not hâve known how to 



LES CONFIDENCES. 59 

spell in the book of création which was open before my eyes ; 
but she directed my finger and placed it on every tliing. Her 
soûl was so rich in brilliancy, color, and warmth, that it illumi- 
nated and beated every tbing it approacbed. In a word, tbe 
imperceptible instruction wbicb I was receiving was not a 
lesson ; it was tbe very action of life, tbougbt, and feeling 
performed under ber eyes, witb ber, tbrougb ber, and as sbe 
berself performed it. We were living a double life. It was 
tbus tbat my beart formed itself witbin me on a mode], at 
wbicb it was not even necessary tbat I sbould look, so com- 
pletely was it commingled witb my beart. 



NOTE VIII. 

My motber troubled berself but little about wbat is called 
instruction ; sbe did not aspire to make me a '' forward cbild for 
bis âge." Sbe did not provoke me to tbat émulation wbicb is 
but tbe jealousy of cbildisb pride. Sbe never bad me com- 
pared to any one ; sbe never exalted or bumiliated me by sucb 
dangerous comparisons. Sbe rigbtly tbougbt tbat after my 
intellectual strengtb bad been developed by time and bealth 
of body and mina, I would leam as easily as any otber, tbat 
modicum of Greek, Latin, and figures, wbicb consti tûtes tbat 
learned common-place wbicb is called an éducation. Her 
wisb was to make me a bappy cbild, a sound mind, a loving 
soûl ; a créature of God and not one of man's dolls. Sbe bad 
drawn ber ideas about éducation in tbe first place from ber 
own soûl, and tben from J. J. Rousseau and Bernardin de 
Saint-Pierre, tbose two pbilosophers wbo are tbe pbilosopbers 
of women because tbey are tbe pbilosopbers of feeling. Sbe 
bad known and bad met tbem botb m ber cbildbood at ber 
motber*s bouse ; sbe bad read and greatly enjoyed tbeir works 
smce ; in ber younger days sbe bad beard tbeir Systems dis- 
cussed a tbousand times by Madam de Genlis and by tbe 
able persons intrusted witb the éducation of tbe cbildren of tbe 
Duke of Orléans. It is known tbat tbat prince was tbe first 
one wbo dared to apply tbe tbeory of tbat natural pbilosopby 
to tbe éducation of bis sons. My motber, reared witb tbem 
and almost in tbe same manner, was to band down to ber own 
cbildren tbose traditions of ber own cbildbood. Sbe did so 



60 LAMARTINE. 

with care and discernment. She did not mistake that which 
was fit to be taugtit to princes, stationed by birth and fortune 
at the summit of a social order, for that wbich it is propcr to 
teacb the children of poor and obscure families. But her 
thought was that in every station of life the first care should 
be to make a man, and that when the man is made — ^that is 
to say the intelligent, sentient being who is on ^ood terms 
with hîmself, with his fellows, and with bis God — ^be he prince 
or peasant, it matters not which, he is what he should be ; 
what he is, is good, and his mother's task is fulfilled. 

It was in accordance with this System that she reared me. 
My éducation was a second-hand philosophical éducation, a 
philosophical éducation corrected and softened down by moth- 
erly feelings. 

Physically, this éducation flowed in a great measure from 
Pythagoras and EmUius, Consequently, the greatest sim- 
plicity in dress and the most rigorous frugality in food formed 
its basis, My mother was convinced, and on this head I hâve 
retained her firm belief, that to kill animais for the purpose of 
feeding on their flesh is one of the most déplorable and shame- 
fui infirmities of the human state ; that it is one of those curses 
cast upon man either by his fall, or by the obduracy of his 
own perversity. She believed, and I am of the same belief, 
that thèse habits of h£urd-heartedness towards the gentlest ani- 
mais, our companions, our auxiliaries, our brethren in toil and 
even in afifection hère below ; that thèse immolations, thèse 
sanguinary appetites, this sight of palpitating flesh, are calcu- 
lated to brutalize the instincts of the heart and make them fe- 
rocious. She believed, and I am of the same belief, that this 
nurture, which is seemingly much more succulent and much 
more energetic, contains in itself active causes of irritation and 
putridity, which sour the blood and shorten the days of man- 
kind. In support of thèse ideas of abstinence, she quoted the 
innumerable gentle and pious tribes of India who deny them- 
selves al] that bas had life ; and the strong and healthy races 
of the shepberds and even of the laboring classes of our fields, 
who work barder than any, who live more innocently than 
any, and who do not eat méat ten times in the course of their 
lives. She never allowed me to eat any until I attained the 
âge at which I was thrown into the helter-skelter life of col- 
lèges. To kill the désire for it, even if it had existed within 
me, she used no arguments, but appealed to instinct, which 
loasons much more powerfuUy in our breasts than logic. 



LKS CONFIDENCES. 61 

I had a lamb wliich had becn given to me by a peasant of 
Milly, and which I had taught to folJow me ail over like the 
most affectionate and faithful of doc^. We loved one another 
with that first fondness which little children and young ani- 
mais naturally hâve for one another. One day the cook said 
to my mother before me : — 

" Madam, the lamb is fat, and the butcher bas come for it; 
must I give it to him ?" 

I cried out upon it, threw myself before the lamb, and asked 
what the butcher wanted to do with it and what a butcher was. 
The cook answered that he was a man who killed lambs, sheep, 
little calves, and beautiful cows for money. I could hardly 
believe her. I prayed to my mother. I easily obtained that 
my little friend should be spared. A few days afterwards, my 
mother took me to town with her, and made me pass, as if by 
accident, through the yard of a slaughter-house. I saw some 
men, their arms naked and besmeared with blood, knocking a 
bull in the head ; others cutting the throats of calves and 
sheep, and separating their still heaving limbs. Streams of 
smoking gore ran along the pavement. An intense feeling of 
pity, mingled with horror, seized upon me. I asked to be led 
away quickly. The thought of thèse scènes, the necessary 
preliminaries of one of those dishes of méat which I had so 
often seen on the table, made me take a disgust to animal food 
and inspired me with a horror for butchers. Although the 
necessity of complying with the rules of the society in which 
we live h^s made me eat, since then, ail that other people eat, 
I hâve retained a répugnance, based on reason, to cooked 
flesh, and it bas always been difficult for me not to see in the 
butcher's trade something of the executioner's occupation. 

Until the âge of twelve, then, I only lived on bread, milk- 
food, yegetables, and fruit. My health was not less robust on 
this account» nor my growth less rapid, and it was to this diet, 
perhaps, that I was indebted for that purity of feature, that 
exquisitc sensibility of feeling, and that serene gentleness of 
humor and character which I had preserved up to that period. 



NOTE IX. 

As to my feelings and thoughts, my mother followed their 
natural development in me, and directed it with out my per 

G 



62 LAMARTINE. 

ceiving ît, and perhaps "without perceiving it herself. Her 
System was not art, it was love. That is the reason why it 
was infallible. She especially took the greatest care to turn 
my thoughts incessantly towards God, and to make those 
thoughts so vivid by the constant présence and feeling of God 
in my soûl, that my religion became a pleasure, and my faith 
a communion with the Invisible. It was impossible for her 
to fail, for her piety, like ail her other virtues, had the nature 
of tendemess. 

My mother was not exactly what is meant by a woman of 
genius in this âge, in which women hâve raised themselves to 
such a great eminence of thought, style, and talent of every 
description. She never even laid claim to that title. She did 
not exercise her mind on those vast subjects. She never 
strained the easy and elastic springs of her active imagination 
by reflection ; in her there was neither the vocation nor the 
Jt of the superior woman of the présent day. 

She never wrote for the sake of writing, still less for the 
sake of admiration, although she wrote a great deal for her 
own sake, and in order to find, at a future hour, in a register 
of her conscience and of the events of her domestic life, a 
moral mirror of herself, in which she often looked to compare 
herself with herself, and to make herself better. This habit 
of registering her hfe, which she indulged until the last mo- 
ment, produced fifteen or twenty volumes of confidential dis- 
closures made by her to God, which I hâve had the good for- 
tune to préserve, and in which I find her, living and breathing, 
whenever I hâve need to take refuge again in her bosom. 

She had read but little, through fear of corrupting the film 
and obedient faith that she had in what she believed to be the 
voice of God. She did not write with that force of concep- 
tion, and that brilliancy of imagery, which characterize the 
gift of expression. She spoke and wrote with the clear and 
smooth simplicity of a woman who never flatters herself, and 
who only asks words to express her thoughts with précision, 
as she only asked her garments to clothe her person, not 
adorn it. Her superiority was not in her head, but in her 
soûl. It is in the hearts of women that God has placed their 
genius, because ail the works of that genius are works of love. 
Tendemess, piety, coiu*age, heroism, constancy, devotedness, 
forgetfulness of self, sensitive serenity, but overpowering by 
faith and force of will ail that suflfered within her : such were 
the features of that elevated genius which ail those who ap- 



LES CONFIDENCES. 68 

proached her felt was in her life, and not in her written works. 
It vas only in attraction that her superiority was felt. It was 
a «uperiority that was onlj acknowledged with adoration. 



NOTE X. 

The whole of her soûl was an immense, tender, and conso- 
ling sensé of the Infinité. It was too sensible, and too vast 
for the wretched and petty ambitions of this world. She was 
passing through it, not inhabiting it. That sensé of the Infi- 
nité in ail, and particularly in love, had converted itself for her 
into a perpétuai invocation and aspiration to the One who was 
its source, that is to say, to God. It may be said that she 
lived in God as much as it is given to any human being to 
live in Him. There was not a single side of her soûl that was 
not constantly tumed towards Him, that was not made trans- 
parent, bright and warm by that radiant beam from above 
which flpws directly from God upon our thoughts, and which 
pénétrâtes into us through the darkness of our soûls, as the 
Hght of heaven shines through the crystal of our closed ^well- 
ings. The resuit of this for her was a piety which was never 
overcast. She was not a devotee ; she had none of that stu- 
pid dread of God, none of that puerility, of that subjection of 
the soûl, none of that brutalization of the mind, which make 
up the sum of dévotion with a great many women, and are in 
them only an infancy prolonged through life, or a morose, 
peevish, and jealous old âge, which revenges itself on a sacred 
passion for the profane passions which they can no longer 
enjoy. 

Her religion, like her genius, was entirely in her soûl. She 
believed with humility, loved with ardor, hoped with con- 
stancy. Her faith was an act of virtue, not an act of reason- 
ing. She considered it as a gift from God, received through 
the hands of her mother, which it would hâve been wrong to 
hâve scrutinized, and exposed to be wafted away by the wmds 
of the high-road. At a later day, ail the pleasures of prayer, 
ail the tears of admiration, ail the outpourings of her heart, 
ail the solicitudes of her life, and ail the hopes of her im- 
mortality, had so completely identified themselves with her 
faith, that, so to speak, they made part of it in her mind, and 



64 LAMARTINE. 

that by losing or changing her belief she would hâve thought 
that she had lost at the same time her innocence, her virtue, 
her love, and her happiness hère below, and her pledges of 
felicity above, — ^in a word, her earth and her heaven ! Con- 
sequently, it was as dear to her as her heaven and her earth. 
Moreover, as some people are bom poets, she was bom pious ; 
piety was her nature ; love of God, her passion ! But that 
passion, from the immensity of ils Object, and from the very 
security of its enjoyment, was serene, happy, and tender, like 
ail her other passions. 

This piety was the part of herself which she most ai*dently 
wished to communicate to us. To make us créatures of God 
in spirit and in re^Hty, was her most maternai thought. Even 
in this she succeeded without any System, and without any 
eflfort, and with that marvellous skill which nature imparts, 
and which no artifice can . equal. Her piety, which âowed 
from every breath she drew, from every one of her actions, 
from every one of her gestures, enveloped us hère below, so 
to speak, in a heavenly atmosphère. We thought that God 
was behind her, and that we would hear and see Him, as she 
herself seemed to hear and see and converse with Him at each 
hour of the day. God for us was as one of us. He was born 
in us, with our earliest and our most undefinable feelings. We 
remembered no time when we knew Him not ; there was no 
first day on which His name had been mentioned to us. We 
had always seen Him between our mother and ourselves. His 
name had reached our lips with her milk, we had leamed to 
talk by lisping it. As we grew up, those acts which make 
Him présent and even perceptible to the soûl, were performed 
twenty times a day before our eyes. At morn, at eve, before 
and after our meals, we were taught to make short prayers. 
Our mother's knees were for a long time our domestic altar. 
On those occasions her beaming countenance was always veil- 
ed with a respectful and somewhat solemn thoughtfulness, 
which impressed on our minds the solemnity of the act which 
we were performing. When she had prayed with us and over 
us, her beautiful face became more gentle and more tender 
than ever. We felt that she had communed with her strength 
and her ioy, that she might hâve more of both to pour upon 
our heads. 



LS8 CONFIDENCE» 05 



BOOK V. 

NOTE I. 

All her lessons in religion were confined to beiiig religious 
àerself before us and vith us. The perpétuai efifusion of love, 
adoration gratitude, and prayer which escaped from her soûl 
was her only and natural preaching. Prayer, but rapid, lyrical, 
winged prayer, was mingled with the slightest acts of our days. 
That invocation was so appropriately associated with them that 
it was always a pleasure and refreshment, instead of being a 
duty and a fatigue. In the hands of that woman our life was 
a perpétuai sursum corda, That life grew up as naturally in 
the thought of God as the plant grows up in the air and light. 
To that end, our mother did the contrary of what is ordinarily 
done. Instead of imposing on us a vexatious dévotion which 
drags^hildren from their pastimes or their slumber to force them 
to pray to God, and often through their répugnance and tears, 
she made those short invocations to which she smilingly invited 
us, feasts of the soûl for us. She never mingled prayers with 
our tears, but with all the happy little events that occurred to 
us during the day. Thus, when we were awakened in our 
little beds, when the moming sun sparkled cheerfully on our 
Windows, when the birds sang on our rose-bushes or in their 
cages, when the footsteps of the servants had been heard for 
a long time through the house, and when we were impatiently 
waitinfi^ for her, in order that we might rise, she would corne 
up and enter with a face always beaming with goodness, affec- 
tion, and gentle joy ; she would help us to dress ; she would 
listen to that delightful little prattle of children whose refresh- 
ed imagination warbles in the morning, as the young swallows 
in the nest on the house-top twitter joyously when the parent- 
bird approaches ; then she would say to us : 

" To whom do we owe the happiness we are about to enjoy 
togcther ? To God, to our Heavenly Father. Without Hia 
wUl, this beautiful sun would not hâve arisen perhaps ; thèse 
trees would hâve lost their leaves ; the gay birds would hâve 
died of hunger and cold on the bare earth ; and you, my poor 
children, would neither hâve had a bed, nor a house, nor a 
garden, nor a mother to shelter and feed you, and to gladdea 

6* 



C6 LAMARTINE. 

ail your season of life ! It is very just to thank Him for ail 
that He gives us with this day, and to entreat Him to grant 
us a great many more days like the présent." 

Then she would kneel in front of our bed, join our little 
hands, and, often kissing them as she held them within her 
own, slowly breathe in a low tone the morning prayer, which 
we would repeat with her inflections of voice and her words. 

In the evening she would not wait imtil our slumber-burden- 
ed eyelids were half closed, to make us mutter as in a dream 
the words that painfully delayed the hour of rest for us ; di- 
rectly after supper she would call together in the parlor, the 
domestics, and even the peasants who inhabited the nearest 
cottages and who were on the most friendly terms at the house. 
She would open a book of pious Christian instruction for the 
people, and read a few short passages to her rustic auditory. 
This reading was followed by the prayer spoken by her in a 
loud tone of voice, or which my young sisters, when they were 
more advanced in years, said in her stead. Even now I can 
hear the burden of those monotonous Utanies which rolled with 
a hoUow noise beneath the beams, and which were like the 
regular ebb and flood of the heart's waves beating against the 
shores of life and the ears of God. 

One of us was always deputed in tumto say a short prayer 
for travellers, for the poor, for the sick, and for some particu- 
lar want of the village or the mansion. By thus giving us a 
little part to perform in the serions act of prayer, she interest- 
ed us in it by associating us with it, and kept us from looking 
upon it as a cold habit, a vain ceremony, or even with distaste. 
Besides thèse two prayers, which were almost public, the re-i 
mainder of our day often had fréquent and irregular élévations 
of our young soûls to God. But those prayers, bom of chance 
in the heart or on the lips of our mother, were only the inspi- 
rations of the moment ; there was nothing about them that 
was regular or tiresome for us. On the contrary, they coin- 
pleted, so to speak, and consecrated our impressions and our 
enjoyments. 

Thus, when a frugal, but for us, delicious repast was laid 
upon the table, our mother, ère she seated herself and broke 
bread, made a h'ttle sign to us, which we understood. We 
would curb the impatience of our appetite for half a minute, 
to entreat God to bless the food which He gave us. After the 
meal, and before we went to play, we would return thanks in 
a few words. If we started for a long and eamestly-desired 



LES CONFIDENCES. 67 

walk on a fair summer's morn, our mother, ère we left her, 
ifould make us make, in a low tone, a short invocation to Ood, 
prajing Him to bless that great delight and préserve us from 
ail harai. If our stcps led us before some sublime or graceful 
spectacle of nature that was new to us, in semé dcep and dark 
forest of pines, where the solemnity of the shade, the spatter- 
ings of light through the branches, startled our youthful imag- 
inations ; in front of some beautiful sheet of -water rolling m 
cascades and dazzling us with its foam, its movement, and its 
noise ; if a magnificent sunset covered the mountains with groups 
of clouds of unusual shapes and hues, and as it retumed into 
space, took resplendent leave of the little corner of the globe 
which it had illumined for a moment ; she rarely failed to take 
advantage of the depth or the novelty of our fcelings to make 
us elevate our soûls to the Author of ail those marvels, and to 
put us in communion with Him by some of the lyrical sighs of 
her perpétuai adoration. 

When walking with us on a smnmer evening through the 
fields in which we used to gather flowers, insects, and spark- 
ling pebbles in the bed of the rivulet of Milly, how often has 
she not made us seat ourselves beside her, at the foot of a 
weeping-willow, and, with heart overflowing with pious enthu- 
siasm, discoursed to us a moment upon the religions and hidden 
meaning of that beautiful création which delighted our eyes 
and our hearts ! I know not whether her explanations of na- 
ture, of the éléments, of the power of the planets, of the use 
of insects, were whoUy according to science. She used to take 
them from Pluche, £uffon, and Bernardin de St. Pierre ; but 
if no irreproachable Systems of nature came from them, they 
used to produce an immense sentiment of Providence, and draw 
from our minds a religious bénédiction on that infinité océan of 
the wisdom and mercy of God. 

When our feelings were well aroused by her sublime com- 
mentaries, when tears of admiration began to dim our eyes, she 
would not allow those grateful drops to be dried by the wind 
of trivial amusements and fiighty thoughts ; she would hasten 
to tum ail that enthusiasm of contemplation into love. A 
few verses of the Psalms (of David) which she knew by heart, 
and which were suited to the impressions of the scène, would 
fall compunctiously from her lips. They gave a pious mean- 
ing to aU the earth, and a divine expression to ail our fcelings. 



68 LAMARIINE. 



NOTE II. 

On our retum, she would almost always make us pass in 
front of the humble dwelliags of the sick or the poor of the 
village. She would approach their beds, and give thcm ad- 
Tice and medicine. She culled her prescriptions from Tissot 
or from Buchan, those two popular physicians. She studied 
medicine with assiduity in order to minister to the indigent. 
She had the instinctive genius of ail real physicians, a sharp 
and quick eye, and a successful hand. We used to help her 
when she made her daily visits. One of us would carry the 
lint and aromatic oils for the wounded; the other, ban- 
dages for compresses. We thus leamed to overcome those ré- 
pugnances which, at a later day, make man weak beside the 
couch of sickness, useless to those who suffer, timid before 
the dying. She never removed us from the most hideous 
spectacles of poverty, suflfering, and even death. I hâve often 
seen her standing, sitting, or kneeling beside the cottage pal- 
lets, or in the stables where peasants lie when they are old 
and feeble, and with her own hands wipe away the cold sweat 
from the brows of the dying poor, tum them beneath their 
covering, recite the prayers of the last moments to them, and 
patiently wait hours together until their soûls had sped to God 
on the wings of her sweet voice. 

She also used to make us the ministers of her charity. We 
were incessantly occupied — ^I especially, being the largest — ^in 
carrying to the distant and isolated houses in the moimtains, 
at one time a httle white bread for the women who were 
lying-in, at another a hotile of old wine and pièces of sugar, 
or some strengthening broth for old men exhausted from want 
of food. Thèse trifling errands were even pleasures and re- 
wards for us. AU the peasants within two or three leagues 
knew us. They never saw us pass without calhng us by our 
Christian names which were familiar to them, without asking 
us to enter their dwellings, and accept a pièce of bread, bacon, 
or cheese. The whole canton knew us as. the sons of the Lady, 
the messengers of good tidings, the ministering angels to ail the 
forsaken sufiferings of the country folk. Wherever we entered, 
a Providence, a hope, a consolation, a gleam of joy and chari- 
ty entered with us. Thèse sweet habits of intimacy with ail 
the unfortunate, and of familiar entrance into ail the dwellings 
of the inhabitants of the country, made a real family for us of 



LES CONFIDENCES. 69 

ail those children of the fields. We knew every one bj 
name, in that little world, frum the oldest to tbe youngeai. 
in the moming, the stone steps in front of the principal en- 
trance to Milly and the corridor were always besieged by the 
sick, or their relatives, who came to get recipes from our 
mother. After us, it was to this that her momings were de- 
voted. She was always busy compounding sôme médicinal 
préparations for the poor, grinding herbs, making ptisans, 
weighing drugs in small scales, and often even dressing the 
most disgusting wounds and sores. In ail this she employed 
us, and we helped according to our strength. Others search 
alembics for gold ; our mother only searched them to find 
wherewith to relieve the infirmities of the wretched, and by 
80 doing moré surely amassed in heaven the only treasure she 
ever coveted hère below — ^the blessings of the poor and the 
will of God. 



NOTE III. 

When ail thèse traces of the day were at length hushed, 
when we had dined, when the neighbors who sometimes came 
to yisit us had withdrawn, and when the shadow of the moun- 
tain, stretching over the little garden, covered it with the twi- 
light of the day that was about to end, my mother would 
leave us for a moment. She would leave us either in the 
little parlor, or in a corner of the garden at a distance from 
her. She would then take her hour of solitary repose and 
méditation. Young as we were, we knew the hour which of 
ail hours was reserved for her. We quite naturally kept 
aloof from the path in the garden through which she used to 
walk, as if we feared to interrupt or overhear the mysterious 
communions between her and God, and God and her ! It 
was a little walk strewed with sand of a reddish yellow, bor- 
dered with strawberry-plants which grew between fruit-trees 
that were hardly higher than her head. A large clump of 
hazel-trees stood at one end of the path, a wall at the other. 
It was the least frequented and most sheltered part of the 
garden. This is the reason why she preferred it ; for what 
she saw in that walk was in her own bosom and not in the 
horizon of the earth. She used to tread it at a rapid, but 



70 LAMARTINE. 

very regular pace, like a person who thinks vigorously, irho 
is adyancing towards a certain end, and whose step is bucyed 
up by enthusiasm. Her head was generally bare ; her beau- 
tiful black tresses half abandoned to the winds ; her counte- 
nance somewhat more solemn than during the rest of the day, 
now slightly bent towards the earth, anon raised towards 
heaven, where her eyes seemed to seek for the first stars that 
were beginning to stand out from the blue of night in the fir- 
mament. Her arms were naked from the elbow : her hands 
were at one time clasped as if in prayer ; at another, free, and 
heedlessly plucking a rose or a violet mallow-flower from the 
high bushes which grew on either edge of the walk. Some- 
times her lips were apart and motionless, sometimes they 
were closed and moved almost imperceptibly, hke those of a 
person speaking in a dream. 

She would stroll in this manner for half an hour, more or 
less, according to the beauty of the evening, her leisure, or 
the abundance of her internai inspiration; and, during that 
time, walk to and fro two or three hundred times. What was 
she doing ? You hâve guessed it. She was living for a mo- 
ment in God alone. She voluntarily separated herself from 
ail that was dear to her hère below, to seek, in an anticipated 
commmiion with the Creator, and in the very bosom of His 
Works, that celestial refreshment which the soûl that suffers 
and loves needs, to give it strength to suffer and love still 
more. 

What God said to her, is known to God alone ; what she 
said to God we know almost as well as herself. Acknow- 
ledgments, teeming with sincerity and compunction, of the 
slight faults which she had possibly committed in the dis- 
charge of her duties during the day ; tender reproaches, self- 
administered, to encourage herself to act more in accordance 
with the divine grâces of her situation ; passionate thanks to 
Providence for some of those sraall joys which had reached 
her through us : her son who had shown indications of happy 
inclinations ; her daughters who were growing beautiful under 
her eyes ; her husband who, by his admirable intelligence and 
orderly conduct, had slightly increased our small fortune and 
the future welfare of the family ; then the grain, which gave 
promise of a fair crop ; the vines, our principal riches, whose 
sweet-scented buds perfumed the air and also promised an 
abundant vintage; some sudden, ravishing contemplation of 
the grandeur of the firmament, of the hosts of stars, of the 



LES CONFIDENCES. 71 

faimess of the weather, of the organîzation of flowers and in- 
fiects, of the maternai instincts of the birds, many of whose 
nests (respected by us) were to be seen between the branches 
of our trees and rose-bushes. AU thèse things, heaped up 
in her heart like the first-fruits on the altar, and lighted by the 
fire of her juvénile enthusiasm, escaped in glances, in sighs, 
in a few unnoticed gestures, and in verses of the Psalms mur- 
mured m a low tone ! This is what was heard only by the 
grass, the trees, the leaves, and the flowers, in that walk of 
méditation. 



NOTE IV. 

This walk was looked upon by us as a sanctuary in a holy 
spot, as a chapel in the garden where God hîmself visited her. 
We never dared to play in it ; although it had never been for- 
bidden to us, we left it wholLy to its mysterious use. Even at 
the présent day, — after the lapse of so many years, during which 
shade only has visited it, — whenever I go into that garden, 1 
respect my mother's walk. I bow my head when I cross it ; 
but through fear of obliterating the traces left by her, I never 
walk in it. 

When she left that sanctuary of her soûl and retumed 
towardsms, her eyes would be wet, her face more serene and 
more tranquil than usual. The smile which was ever on her 
charming lips would seem more gracions and loving. It might 
bave been said that she had cast ofif a load of gloom or of 
adoration, and that she walked with a lighter step to the du- 
ties of the remainder of the day. 



NOTE V. 

Meanwhile I was advancmg in years ; I was ten. It was 
high time to begin to teach me some of the things which are 
known by mankind. My mother only instructed my heart and 
framed my mind. It was necessary to leam Latin. The old 
pastor of a neighboring village (for the living at Milly had been 
sold, and the church was closed) had a small school for the in- 
struction of the children of a few peasants who were in easy cir- 



72 LAMARTINE. 

cumstances. They used to send me thither in the momîng. 
In a satchel thrown across my shoulder, I carried a pièce of 
bread and a few fruits, to breakfast with my little companions. 
Like tbe otbers, I also carried under my arm a small fagot of 
sticks or of vine-twigs to feed the fire of the poor rector. The 
Tillage of Bussières, where he officiated in a small churcb, 
lies at a quarter of a league from the hamlet of Milly, at the 
bottom of a charming yalley which is overlooked on one side 
by vineyards and walnut-trees, and extends on the other 
towards lovely meadows which are watered by a small stream 
and intersected by small clumps of oaks and groups of old 
chestnut-trees. The manse, with its garden, yard, and well, 
was hid behind the walls of the church, and completely 
shrouded in the shadow of the large steeple. 

Towards the south,. however, an outside gallery a few 
paces long, the roof of which was supported by pillars made 
of small tree-trunks with their bark on, led to the kitchen 
and to a parlor, which the old man had tumed into a school- 
room for us. I can yet hear the noise of our little wooden 
shoes clattering on the stone steps which led to the gallery. 
There were six or seven children of us who used to come from 
Milly every day, in ail sorts of weather. The more rainy or 
the colder the weather, the more amusmg was the walk for 
us, and the more we used to prolong it. Between Bussières 
and Milly, there is a steep hill whose slope, through a path 
of loose stones, descends into the yalley of the parsonage. In 
the winter time, this path was a deep bed of snow or a 
glacis of ice down which we used to roll or slide in imita- 
tion of the Alpine shepherds. Below, the meadows overrun 
by the stream, were often lakes of ice, interrupted only by the 
black trunk of a willow. We had found the means to obtain 
skates, and by much practice, and after many falls, we had 
leamed how to make use of them. It was there that I was 
seized with a downright passion for that exercise of the 
North, in which I aftcrwards became very skilful. To feel 
one's self carried off with the swiftness of the arrow and the 
graceful undulations of the bird in mid-air, on a smooth, 
resplendent, sonorous, and perfidious surface ; to give one's 
self, by a simple movement of the body, and, so to speak, 
with nought but one's will for a rudder, ail the motions of a 
bark on tne deep or of an eagle soaring in the blue heavens, 
was for me and would yet be, if I did not respect my own 
âge, such an intoxication of the sensés, and produced such a 



LES CONFIDENCES. 73 

voluptuous dizziness in the braio, that I cannot iLiuk of it 
without émotion. Even horses, for which I hâve had such a 
strong liking, do not give their riders that melancholy delirium 
which.skaters find on the frozen bosom of a large lake. How 
often Cave I not sent up prayers that winter, with its resplen- 
dent but cold sun sparkling on the blue ice of the boundless 
meadows of the Saône, might be etemal, like our pleasures ! 

It will readily be believed that with such companions and 
such a road to travel, we would often arrive somewhat late. 
The aged pastor never treated us any the worse on that ac- 
count. Bowed down by âge and infirmities, the old man — 
who had been a man of the world, rich and stylish, before the 
Révolution, and who, since, had sufifered the pangs of depriva- 
tion and want — had little taste for the society of the giddy, 
noisy children he had undertaken to instruct. AU that the 
good man required from us, was the small recompense which 
thé generosity of our parents added, no doubt, to the triâing 
perquisites of his church. On the other hand, he relieved 
himself of the burden of our éducation by transferring it to a 
young and sprightly curate who lived with him in the manse, 
and whom he treated more like a son than an inferior. This 
curate's name was the Abbé Dumont. The remainder of the 
family consisted of a woman already advanced in years, but 
still handsome and pleasing. This woman was the young 
Abbé's mother. She govemed the household of the two 
ministers with gentle and soverei^ sway, and with the assist- 
ance of a pretty nièce and an old churchwarden, who used to 
split the wood, delve in the garden, and toU the bell. 

The Abbé Dumont, — about whom I shall hâve a great deal 
to say hereafter, because we were warmly attached to one 
another, and because one of the adventures of his youth in- 
spired me with the thought of Jocelyn,—haLà nothing of the 

Eriest about him save an utter dislike for an office into which 
e had been thrust in spite of himself, on the very eve of the 
day when the priesthood was about to be ruined in France. 
He did not even wear the priest's garb. His tastes were those 
of a gentleman ; his habits, those of a soldier ; his manners, 
those of a man accustomed to the highçst society. Hand- 
some in feature, tall in stature, noble in mjen, grave and 
melancholy in the expression of his physiognomy, he always 
spoke to his mother affectiopately, to the pastpr respectfuUy, 
and to us disdainfully and authoritatively. ne was always sur- 
rounded by three pr foipr beautiful hunt^ng-dogs, his constant 

1 



74 LAMARTINE. 

companions in the house as well as in the woods, of wliich he 
took more notice than he did of his ticholars. Two or three 
guQs, sparkling with. cleanliness, and omamented with plates 
of silver, shone in the corner near the chimney ; flasks and 
pouches filled with powder, balls, and shot^ lay in confusion on 
ail the tables. In his hand he generally carried a long leather 
whip, with an ivory handle terminating in a whistle or dog- 
call, to be used in the mountains. Sevcral swords and hunt- 
ing-knives were to be seen hanging around the walls, — ^and 
large riding-boots, armed with long silver spurs, and carefully 
blacked and polished, stood in the corners of the room. His 
air, the manly and firm tone of his voice, and thèse accoutre- 
ments, made you feel that his natural character was revenging 
itself by outward show on the contradiction between his nature 
and his office. 

He was leamed, and numerous books scattered about on the 
chairs gave évidence of his literary tastes. But thèse books, 
as well as the fumiture of the room, were not very canonical. 
There were volumes of Kaynal, J. J. Rousseau, and Voltaire ; 
some of the novels of the day, and anti-revolutionary pamphlets 
and newspapers. For, though he was not much of an eccle- 
siastic, the Abbé Dumont was a stanch royalist. His chimney- 
piece was strewed with busts and engravings of the unfortunate 
Louis XVI., the Queen, the Dauphin, the illustrions victims of 
the Révolution. With the greater part of the men of that pe- 
riod, ail that hatred of the Révolution and ail that philosophy 
which had produced the Révolution, were easily reconciled then. 
The Révolution had satisfied their doctrines and driven them 
from their positions. Like the new order of things, their 
soûls were in a state of chaos, through which they could not 
find their way. 

It is easy to crédit, with such a picture to gaze at, that our 
instruction could not progress rapidly between an infirm gray- 
beard who spent his days warming himself by the kitchen 
fire, and a young man who was eager for action and enjoy- 
ment, and who considered the hours curtailed from hunting- 
time, for our sake, hours of torment. It was confined, during 
the whole year, to teaching us two or three declensions of 
Latin words, whose terminations, in fact, were ail that we 
could understand. The remainder of the time was taken up 
by skating in winter, swimming in the mill-dams in summer, 
and frequenting ail the weddings and festivals in the neighbor- 
ing villages, where we always received the cakes which are 






■/ 



i^ 



LfeS CONFIDENCES. 75 

costomarily given on sucli occasions, and where we fired off 
the numberless pistol-shots whîch are the signs of rejoicing in 
ail the countries in the world. 

I spoke the dialect of the conntry as âuently as my mother- 
tongue, and none better than I knew by heart the tfaditional 
songs which are so simple, and which, in our rura| districts» - 
are sung at night beneath the window of the roop9 or at the 
door of the stable in which sleeps the bride. 



^ N0TE VI. 

.*'•/■•.••■••''• :w r.tV '.<''.,;. :' .' , /■ . *■ .','« ' ,w ' '^ . . -- .. 

Notwithstanding that eompletely peasant-lîke life, and ihat 
absolute ignorance of ail that other children know at that âge» 
my domestic éducation, under the supervision of my mother» 
made me one of the most upright minas, one of the most loy- 
ing hearts, one of the most docile children imaginable. My 
life was composed of UbeHy, invigorating exercises, and simple 
pleasures ; but not of dangerous improprieties. Without my 
knowledge, my companlons and friends were chosen for me 
from amongst the children of the most honest and irreproach- 
able familles in the village. Some of the oldest of them were» 
to a certain estent, responsible for me. I received neither bad 
counsels nor bad examples amongst them. The respect and 
love whfch ail those people felt for my father and my mother 
was reflected on me — the whole country was so much like 
one family, so to speak, whose favorite child I was. 

I would never hâve thought of wishing for any other sort 
of life. My mother, who dreaded the danger of a public éd- 
ucation for me, ajso desired etemally to prolong that happy 
childhood. But my father and his brothers, of whom I vnll 
soon hâve to speak, saw with anxiety that I was about to reach 
my twelfth year and the âge of adolescence, and that man- 
hood would surprise me with too great an inferiority of in- 
struction and discipline to men of my years and station. They 
expressed their fears aloud. I heard the eamest représenta- 
tions made on that subject to my poor mother. She wept 
oft€n. The tempest would pass and exhaust itself .against the 
firmness of her love and the energy of her wiU, which was so 
pliant, and yet so constant. But the storm retumed every 
day. 



76 LAMARTINE. 

The elder of my uncles was a man of the old school ; he 
was good, but not in the slightest de&^ree tender-hearted. 
Reared in the stem, strict school of military life, the only 
kind of éducation he imderstood was éducation in common. 
He wished men to be formed by contact with their fellow- 
men; he feared that this motherly love, always interposed 
between the child and the realities of life, would ener- 
vate manliness of character too much. Moreover, he was 
well-informed — I may eyen say leamed, — and an author. He 
saw very clearly that in my f ather's house I would never learn 
ought else than how to hve well and happily. He was dési- 
rons of more. 

My father, who was of a more indulgent nature, and more 
imder the influence of mateiîal ideas, would never hâve made 
up lus mind by himself to exile me from Milly ; but the per- 
sistency of my imcles gained the day. They were the kings 
of the family, and his oracles : somethinglike the baillie of Mi- 
rabeau, ini that great man's family. The welfare of the family 
was in that uncle's hands, for he govemed his brothers and 
sisters. He was not married ; it was necessary to treat him 
with déférence and care. His sway, which, like the authority 
of the master of a house at that period, was somewhat des- 
potic, was exercised with a supremacy which was strengthen- 
ed by his distinguished ment, and by the importance with 
which he was invested. Out of prudence, and love for her 
children, my mother yielded. My doom was sealed, but not 
without much procrastination, and many tears. 

For a long time search was made for a collège where reli- 
gions principles, which my mother so dearly prized, were uni- 
ted with Sound instruction and patemal treatment. They 
thought that they had foimd ail this in an educational estab- 
lishment which was then celebrated at Lyons. My mother 
conducted me thither herself. I entered it as the criminal 
condemned to death enters his last cell. The false smiles, 
the hypocritical caresses of the masters of that boarding- 
school, who wished to imitate a father's heart for money, did 
not deceive me. I saw how much venality there was in j;hat 
assumed affection. For the first time in my life, my heart felt 
as if it would break, and when the iron gâte was closed be- 
tween my mother and I, I knew that I was entering another 
world, and that the koneymoon of my first years had flown 
away, never to retum. 



LES CONFIDBNIJRS. 77 



BOOK VI. 

NOTE I. 

PiCTims to yourself a gentle bîrd, free and wild, in posses* 
8Îon of ils nesty the woods, the skj, in communion with ail 
the pleasures of nature, space, and freedom, suddenly caught 
in the fowler's snare, and compelled to fold its wings and wound 
its feet between the bars of the narrow cage into which it has 
just been thrust, along with other birds of différent species, 
whose plumage and discordant cries it sees and hears for the 
first time, and you will hâve an idea, but still an imperfect 
one, of what my feelings were during the first months of my 
captivity. 

Maternai éducation had given me an expansive, sincère, and 
loving soûl. I did not know what it was to fear — ^I only knew 
how to love. Her authority had never clashed with any one 
of my wishes, which were always in conformity with her own. 
I only knew the gentle and natural persuasion which flowed 
for me from her lips, her eyes, her slightest gesture. She 
was not my master — she was more : my very will. This 
healthy regimen of the patemal roof, — ^where the sole law was 
to love one another, where the sole fear was the fear to dis- 
please, where the sole punishment was a saddened brow, — 
had made me a very sensitive child, very easily affected by 
the least harshness, keenly alive to any thing that could woimd 
the heart. From this nest, which was so softly feathered, 
and so warmly lined vnth the love of an incomparable family, 
I fell upon the cold, hard earth of a tumultuous school, peo- 
pied by two himdred jeering, mischievous, vicions children, 
who were imknown to me, and who were govemed by rough, 
violent, and selfish masters, whose honeyed but nauseous words 
did not deceive me with regard to their indifférence, even for 
a single day. 

I took a dislike, a disgust to them. I looked upon them as 
jaîlers. I spent the hours of récréation in looking, alone and 
moumfully, between the bars of a long grating which enclosed 
the yard» at the sky and the wooded brows of the mountains 
of th^ Beaujolais, and in sighing for the happiness and liberty 



78 LAMARTINU. 

which I had lost. The sports of my schoolfellows made me 
sad ; their veiy faces were répulsive to me. Every thing 
around me breathed an air of malice, trickery, and corruption, 
that made me feel sick at heart. The moroseness into which 
I was thrown by my sudden immersion in the depths of this 
sink of children, was such, that thoughts of suicide, — al- 
though I had ne ver heard that subject even mentioned, — 
assailed me with great violence. I recollect to hâve spent 
days and ni^hts in searching for the means to deprive myself 
of a life which I could no longer bear. This state of mind did 
not cease one instant during uie whole time that I remained 
in that establishment. 



NOTE II. 

After a few months of this sort of torture, I determined 
to effect my escape. I calculated my means of flight for a 
long time, and with considérable skill. At length, at the hour 
when the parlor door was opened to admit the parents who 
came to visit their children, I took care to be in the apartment. 
I pretended to hâve thrown the bail with which I had been 
playing, into the street. I rushed out as if to get it. I closed 
the door violently, and sped with ail the fleetness of my legs 
through the narrow lanes, lined with walls and gardens, which 
run through the faubourg of Croix-Rousse, at Lyons. I soon 
distanced the watchman who was in pursuit of me, and when 
I reached the woods which cover the banks of the Saône, be- 
tween Neuville and Lyons, I slackened my pace, and seated 
myself at the foot of a tree to take breath and reflect. 

AU the money that I had in my pocket was three francs in 
small coin. I knew full well that I would be badly received 
by my father ; but I said to myself : 

" My flight will hâve this good eflfect at any rate — ^they will 
not be able to send me back to the same school.'' 

Besides, I did not intend to présent myself to my father. 
My plan was to go to Milly, and seek an asylum in the house 
of one of those honest peasants, by whom I was so well known 
and loved ; or even in the kennel of the large watch-dog in 
the court-yard of the house, where I had so of ten spent whole 
hours with him, Btretched upon the straw; while there, 1 



LES CONFIDENCES. 79 

would have had mymother informed of my return ; she would 
hâve mollified my father ; they would have received and par- 
doned me, and I would have resumed my delightful life by 
their side. 

It was doomed to be otherwise. I set out again, and reach- 
ed a little town distant about six leagues from Lyons, where I 
entered a tavem and ordered dinner. But hardly had I seat- 
,ed myself in front of the omelet and cheese which a good wo- 
man had prepared for me, when the door was pushed open by 
the principal of the boarding-school, who entered with a gen- 
darme at his heels. They aiTested me, pinioned my hands, and 
brought me back to the school through the shame which was 
awakened in me by the curiosity of the villagers. They con- 
fined me ail alone in a sort of dungeon. Hère I spent two 
months without communicating with a Uving being, except the 
Director, however, who strove in vain to make me sign an act 
of repentance. My firmness at length tired them out, and they 
sent me back to my parents. I was badly received by the 
whole family, with the exception of my poor mother. She 
obtained a promise that I should not be again sent to Lyons. 
A collège, under the direction of Jesuits, (at Belley, on the fron- 
tier of Savoy,) was in great repute at that time, not only in 
France, but even in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. My 
mother conveyed me to it. 



NOTE III. 

When I entered it, I felt in a few days the prodigious diflfer- 
ence that there is between a vénal éducation bestowed upon 
unfortunate children, for the love of gold, by teaching specu- 
lators, and an éducation given in the name of God and inspired 
by a religions devotedness whose sole reward is heaven. I 
did not find a mother there ; but I found God, purity, prayer, 
charity, gentle and paternal superintendence, the benevolent 
tone of the domestic hearth, lovm^ and beloved children with 
happy countenances. I had been mibittered and hardened ; I 
allowed myself to be soothed and captivated. I bent of my 
own will to a yoke which excellent masters knew how to make 
easy and light. Their only art consisted in making us take an 
iaterest in the success of the establishment, and in leading u 



80 LAMARTINE. 

by our own will and our own enthusiasm. A Divine spirît 
seemed to animale both teachers and disciples with the same 
breath. . AU our soûls had recovered their wings, and flew nat* 
urally towards tbe Good and tbe Beautiful. The most refrac- 
tory tbemselves were raised up and carried away in tlie gên- 
erai movement. It was there tbat I discovered what can be 
donc with men, not by constraining them, but by inspiring 
them. The religious feeling which animated our teachers ani- 
mated us ail. They had the art to make that feeling apparent 
and worthy of love, and* to create in us a passionate love of 
God. With such a lever placed in our own hearts, they could 
raise every thing. As to tbemselves, their love for us was not 
pretended ; they loved us really, truly, as saints love their duty, 
as workmen love their labor, as the haughty love their pride. 
They began by making me happy ; they were not long in 
making me good. Piety was rekindled in my soûl. It became 
the main-spring of my application to study. I formed intimate 
friendships with children of my own âge, who were as pure 
and as happy as I. Thèse friendships, so to speak, reconstruct 
ed a family for us. As I had entered the lower classes some- 
what late, since I had already seen my twelfth birthday, I 
advanced rapidly towards the higher ones. In three years, I 
had completed my studies. Each year I retumed home loaded 
with ail the first prizes of my class. Thèse made me happy 
for my mother's sake, but did not make me proud for my 
own. My companions and rivais forgave ail my triumphs, 
because they seemed natural, and because I did not feel them 
myself. My mother and liberty were ail that I required to be 
completely happy. 



NOTE IV. 

And yet I was never able to school my soûl to servitude, no 
matter how much it was softened by friendship and the favor 
of my teachers, and by the benevolent popularity with which I 
was surrounded by my fellow-students at collège. That freçdom 
of the eye, of the limbs, of movement, which I had so long en- 
joyed in the country, made the walls of the collège seem dark- 
er and narrower to me. I was a somewhat happier captive 
than others, but I was still a captive. During the hours of free 
Qonyer&e, the only subject which I discussed with my frienda 



LES CONFIDENCES. 81 

was the happiness of soon leaving that place of confinement, 
and of again possessing the heavens, nature, the fields, the 
woods, the streams, the mountaîns of our patemal dwellings. 
I had the perpétuai feyer of freedom, the delîrium of nature. 

The high window of the dormitory nearest my bed opened 
on a green valley of the Bugey, carpeted with meadows, bor- 
dered by beech-tree woods, and terminated by bluish moun- 
tains, up the sides of which you could see the damp, white vapor 
of distant cascades rising. Often, when my companions slumber- 
ed, when the night was clear, and when the moon shone in the 
sky, often woula I get up without noise, climb the bars in the 
back of a chair, which would serve me as a ladder, and lean 
my elbows for hours on the sill of that window, to gaze lovingly 
at that horizon of silence, solitude, and méditation. My soûl 
would spring with indescribable bounds towards those meads, 
those woods, those streams ; it seemed to me that it would 
hâve been suprême felicity if my feet could hâve wandered 
through them, at will, as my eyes and thoughts did ; and if, in 
the sighing of the wind, in the song of the nightingale, in the 
rustling of the leaves, in the distant and oft-repeated murmurs of 
the waterfalls, in the tinkle of the cow-bells on the mountains, 
I could catch some of the wild notes, some of the recollections 
of the ear of my childhood's days at Milly, tears of remem- 
brance, of ecstasy, would trickle down my cheeks, and fall 
upon the window-stone ; and I would retum to my couch to 
contemplate in silence, in my waking dreams, the dazzling im- 
ages of those visions. 

They mingled themselves more and more each day in my 
soûl with thoughts and visions of heaven. Ever since adoles- 
cence had disturbed, softened, and saddened my imagination, 
by agitating my sensés, a sort of wild melancholy had cast some- 
thing like a veil over my natural cheerfulness, and given a solemn 
tone to my thoughts as well as my voice. My impressions 
had becorae so vivid that they were painful. This vague gloom 
which every thing earthly made me feel had tumed my thoughts 
towards the infinité. The highly religions éducation which we 
received amongst the Jesuits, the fréquent prayers, the médi- 
tations, the sacraments, the oft-repeated and prolonged pious 
cérémonies, rendered more attractive by the décorations of the 
altar ; the splendor of the dresses, the chanting, the incense, 
the flowers, the music, operated on our childish and youthful 
imaginations as sensual séductions which may be compared to 
the religions infatuations of the East. The ecclesiastics who 



82 , LAMARTINE. 

laYÎshed them upon us were the first to give themselves up to 
them with the sincerity and fervor c£ their faith. Under the 
influence of the préjudices and the antipathy which had been 
awakened against my first teachers by my sojoum at the semi- 
nary in Lyons, I resisted them in the beginning for some time. 
But gentleness, tendemess of soûl, and the insinuating persua- 
sion of a better course of treatment, under new masters, were 
not long in acting with the omnipotence of their teachings on 
the imagination of a lad fifteen years old. Near them I un- 
consciously recovered the natural piety which my mother had 
made me imbibe with her milk. By recovering piety, I recov- 
ered quiétude of mind, order and résignation of soûl, regularity 
of life, the taste for study, the knowledge of my duties, the 
sensé of communication with God, the pleasures of méditation 
and prayer, the love of communion with self, and those ecsta- 
sies of adoration in the présence of God to which nothing on 
earth can be compared, save the ecstaâies of a first pure love. 
But divine love, if it has less of intoxication and voluptuous- 
ness, has more of the mfinitude and etemity of the Being that 
is adored ! It has, besides, His perpétuai présence before the 
eyes and in the soûl of the worshipper. I enjoyed it in ail its 
ardor and in ail its immensity. 

The traces it afterwards left in me were like those which are 
left by a conflagration on one who has passed through it : a 
dimness of sight and the scar of a bum on the heart. It chang- 
ed the character of my countenance : the somewhat giddy lev- 
ity of childhood was succeeded by a tender and gentle gravity, 
by that thoughtful concentration of the gaze and the features 
which gives a unity and a moral meaning to the face. I look- 
ed like a statue of Adolescence, tom for a moment from the 
shelter of the altar to be ofiered as a model to young men. 
The thoughtfulness of the sanctuary surrounded me even in 
my sports and in my friendly intercourse with my companions. 
They approached me with a certain déférence, they loved me 
with reserve. 

In Jocelyn, under the name of an imaginary character, I 
hâve depicted ail that I myself felt of restrained warmth of 
Boul, of pious enthusiasm spent in flights of thought, in efi'u- 
sions, and in tears of adoration before God, during those fiery 
years of youth spent in a monastic establishment. AU my 
future passions which were yet but presentiments ; ail my 
powers to feel, understand, and love, which were yet in their 
germ ; ail the delights and ail the sufferings of my life, which 



LBS CONFIDENCES. 83 

was jet but a dream, had concentrated, pollected, and con- 
densed themselves, as I may say, in that love for God, as if 
to ofFer to the Creator, in the springtime of my life, the first- 
fmits, the fires, and the perfumes of an existence which had 
not yet been profaned. 

Were I to live a thousand years I would never forget cer- 
tain hours of the evening when, escaping during the récréa- 
tion of the students in the court-yard, I used to enter, through 
a small private door, the church ah*eady fiUed with night's 
shadows, and hardly lighted at the back of the choir by the 
lamp which hung in the sanctuary ; I would hide myself in 
the still thicker gloom cast upon the pavement by one of the 
pillars ; wrap myself as closely in my cloak as if it were a 
Tinding-sheet ; lean my forehead against the cold marble of a 
^alustrade, and, for a number of minutes, whose flight I no 
onger heeded, remain buried in a trance of mute but inex- 
haustible adoration, during which I no longer felt the earth 
'beneath my knees or under my feet, but lost myself in God, 
like the mote which, attracted by the beat of a summer day^ 
rises, swims, loses itself in the âoating atmosphère, and, be- 
coming as transparent as ether, seems as aërial as the air itself, 
and as brilliant as light ! 

That warm serenity of soûl âowing from piety did not expire 
within me during the four years which I yet devoted to the 
completion of my studies. And still I ardently wished for 
their expiration, in order to retum to my home and recover the ' 
freedom of country life. That constant aspiration for home 
and my native iields was, in fact, a more powerful stimulus 
than émulation. At the expiration of each completed course 
of study I fancied I saw the doors of my prison open. It was 
that which made me advance with rapid strides and outstrip 
my competitors. For the crowns with which I was rewarded 
and literally overloaded at the end of the year, I was solely 
indebted to my passionate impatience to put an end to that 
exile to which childhood is condemned. When there would 
be nothing more for me to leam at collège, they. would hâve 
to bring me back home, of course. 

That wished-for day at length came round. It was one of 
the happiest of my life. I bade farewell with gratitude to the 
excellent teachers who had known how to vivify my soûl and 
at the samc time form my mind, and who, so to speak, had 
made their love for God vent itself in love and in zeal for the 
■ouïs of His chiMren, Fathers Desbrosses, Varlet, Bequet» 



84 LAMARTINE. 

and Wrîntz, in particular, more my friends than my preceptors, 
alvirays remained in my memory as models of sanctity, vigilance, 
pateiTiity, tenderness, and grâce for their pupils. With me 
theû* names shall always form a part of that family of the soûl 
to which we are not indebted for blood and âesh, but for mind« 
taste, manners, and feeling. 

I do not like the institution of the Jesuits. Reared in their 
midst, I could discem, even at that period, the spirit of séduc- 
tion, pride, and tyranny which opportunely hides or reveals 
itself in their policy ; and which, by immolating each member 
for the good of the body, and by confounding that body with 
religion, skilfully substitutes itself for God and aspires to give a 
superannuated sect the control of consciences and the univer- 
sal government of the human mind. But those abstract vices 
of the institution do not authorize me to cflFace from my heart 
truth, justice, and gratitude for the merit and the virtue which 
I hâve seen breathe and bloom in their teachings and in the 
instructors inti*usted by them with the care of our childhood. 
The human influence was felt in ail their relations with the 
world ; the divine influence was felt in ail their relations with us. 

Their zeal was so ardent that it could only be ignited by a 
supematural'and divine principle. Their belief was sincère; 
their life pure, austère, and oflered as a sacrifice at cach mo- 
ment, and until the last, to their duty and their God. If their 
faith had been less superstitions and less puérile, if their 
doctrines had been less impervious to that eternal Catholicism 
— Reason, I would look upon the men I hâve just mentioned 
as the most worthy masters to touch with pious hands the déli- 
cate soûls of childhood ; I would look upon their institute as a 
model and example for ail teaching bodies. Voltaire, who was 
also one of their pupils, did them the same justice. He honored 
the instructors of his youth in the enemies of human philosophy. 
Like him, I honor and venerate them in their virtues. Truth 
has no need to calumniate the smallest virtue in order to tri- 
umph through falsehood. That would be the jesuitism of phi- 
losophy. It is by truth that reason must triumph. 

At last, after the year called the philosophy-year — a year 
during which they torture with stupid and barbarous sophisms 
the natural good sensé of youth, to make it bend to the reign- 
ing dogmas and institutions — I left collège never to enter it 
again. I did not quit it without gratitude for my excellent 
masters ; but I left it with the intoxication of a captive who 
loves his jailers without regretting the walls of hi& prison. I 



LES CONFIDENCES. 85 

was about to plunge into the océan of liberty for which I had 
incessantly aspired ! Oh ! how atteptively were counted the 
hours of the last days of that last week at the end of which 
our libération was to take place ! I did not wait to be sent 
for from home ; I set out in company with three boys of my 
own âge who were retuming to their firesides like myself, and 
whose parents lived in the vicinage of Maçon. We carried 
our small luggage on our shoulders, and we halted in each 
village and stoppcd at each farm in the wild gorges of Ihe 
Bugey. The mountains, the torrents, the cascades, the ruins 
on the rocks, the cottages beneath the pine and beech trees 
in that really Alpine country, drew from us our fii-st cries of 
admiration for nature. They were our Greek and Latin verses 
translated by Qod himself in imagery full of life and grandeur 
— a ramble through the poetry of création. The whole of that 
joumey homewards was an intoxication. 



NOTE V. 

Retuming to Milly a few days before the fall of the 
leaves, I thought that I would never be able to exhaust the 
torrents of inward felicity with which my breast was filled by 
the feeling of liberty in the home of my childhood, in the bo- 
som of my family. It was the winning of my manhood. My 
mother had had a small chamber prepared for me alone, in a 
corner 5f the house, whose window looked out upon the soli- 
tary hazel-tree walk. In it there was a bed, a table, a row of 
shelves against the wall for my books. My father had bought 
me the three things which complète^ the manly outfit of a 
youth — a watch, a gun, and a horse, — as if to tell me that 
thenceforward, the hours, the fields, and space were mine. I 
took possession of my independence with a delirium which 
lasted several months. The days were spent in hunting in 
Company with my father, tending my horse in the stable, or 
galloping, with my hand in his mane, through the neighboring 
meadows and vales ; the evenings were devoted to sweet do- 
mestic intercourse, in the parlor, with my mother, my father, 
some friends of the family ; or to reading aloud the works of 
historians and poets. 

Besides those instructive books to whose perusal my father 

8 



S6 LAMARTINS. 

unaffectedly dîrected my curîosity, I had others which I used 
to read by myself. I had not been tardy ia discovering the 
existence, in the town, of cîrculating libraries where books were 
hired by the inhabitants of neighboring farms. Thèse books, 
procured on Sundays» became for me the inexhaustible source 
of solitary délectations. I had heard their titles mentioned at 
collège in the conversations of the young men who were more 
advanced in âge and instruction than myself. I formed a 
complète imaginary Eden of that world of thought, of those 
poems and romances, the perusal of which had been interdicted 
to us by the just severity of our studies. 

The moment when that Eden was thrown open to me, when 
I entered a circulating hbrary for the first time, when I was 
f ree to lay my hand as I pleased on those ripe, green, or rotten 
fruits of the tree of knowledge, made me dizzy. I thought that 
I had entered the storehouse of the human mind. Alas! 
alas ! how soon are the real treasures of that storehouse ex- 
hausted ! and how many false stones fell one by one beneath 
my hands amid disenchantment and disgust, instead of the 
marvellous gems I there had hoped to find !. 

The feelings of piety which my éducation had given me, 
and the fear of oflfending the chaste and religions scruples of 
my mother, prevented me, nevertheless, from allowing my 
hands and my eyes to wander over that poison of the soûl, 
the depraved, or suspicions books with which the end of the 
last century and the ribald matcrialism of the Empire had 
overflowcd the libraries of that period. I opened them with 
buming cheeks, with timid curiosity, and closed them again 
with horror. The doctrine of the cynics is the Idéal r^ersed, 
the parody of physical and moral beauty, the crime of mind, 
the dégradation of imagination. I could not take pleasure in 
it. There was too much enthusiasm within me to permit me 
to crawl through those sinks of the brain. My nature had 
wings. The dangers to which I was exposed were above, not 
below. 

But I devoured ail the poetry and ail the novels in which 
love raised itself to the height of a sentiment, to the pathos of 
passion, to the idéal of an ethereal worship. For whole 
months, Madam de Staël, Madam Cottin, Madam de Flahaut, 
Richardson, the Abbé Prévost, the German romances of Au- 
gustus Lafontaine, that prosaic Gessner of the middling classes, 
fumished delightful ready-made scènes for the internai drama 
of my youthful imagination. I inebriated myself with that 



LES CONFIDENCES. 87 

Opium of the soûl which peoples with fabulous phantoms the 
yet empty spaces of the imagination of the idle, of women and 
children. My existence was in those thousands of lives which 
passed, sparkled, and disappeared in succession before me as 1 
tumed the innumerable pages of those volumes which are 
more intoxicating than the leaves of the poppy. 

My life was in my dreams. My loves personified them- 
selves in those idéal Seings which arose by tums in obédience 
to the magical évocations of the writer, and which flew through 
the air, leaving behind them the image of a woman, a smiling 
or moumful face, tresses of a raven or golden hue, glances cî 
azuré or ebony, and especially a melodious name. What a 
stupendous power is that création by words which has doubled 
the wond of beings, and which has given life to ail the dreams 
of man ! What a power it is especially when life itself is but 
a dream, and when man is nought yet but imagination ! 

But it was to the poets, above ail others, that I was most 
passionately attached ; those poets that we had very justly 
been forbidden to read during our manly studies, as danger- 
ous enchanters, who awaken a dislike to reality by filling to the 
brim the cup of illusion which they raise to the lips of children, 

The ones amongst those poets that I pored over in prefer* 
ence were not the Ancients, whose classic pages we had be- 
dewed at too early an âge with the sweat of our brows and 
our student's tears. Whenever I opened thèse, there arose 
from them an inexplicable odor of captivity, weariness, and 
constraint, which made me close them with the feelings of a 
liberated prisoner avoiding the sight of his chains : but it was 
those whose names are not inscribed in the catalogue of class- 
books that I preferred — the modem poets, Itahan, English, 
German, French, whose flesh and blood are our own flesh 
and blood ; who feel, think, love, and sing as we, the men of 
newer days, think, sing, and love : — Tasso, Dante, Petrarch, 
Shakspeare, Milton, Chateaubriand, who then sang like the 
rest ; and especially Ossian, that poet of the waves, that mist 
of the imagination, that inarticidate moan of the northem 
océans, that foam of the seashore, that lamentation of the 
shades, that seel of the clouds around the tempestuous peaks 
pf Scotland, that northem Dante, who is as great, as miajestic, 
as supematural as the Dante of Florence, while he is more 
feeling, and who often draws from his phantoms cries that are 
more human and more heart-rending than those of lïomer'a 
heroes» 



68 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE VI. 

That was the time when Ossian, tbe poet of the genius oi 
min and strife, swayed the imagination of France. Baour- 
Lonnain translated him in sonorous verse for the camps of the 
Emperor. The women sang him in plaintive ballads, or in 
triumphal flourishes, at the departure, on the graves, or at the 
retum of their lovers. Small éditions of him in portable 
volumes found their way into every library. One of thèse fell 
into my hands. I buried myself in that océan of shadows, 
blood, tears, spectres, foam, snow, mist, frost, and imagery, the 
immensity, gloom, and moumfulness of which harmonized so 
well with the melancholy grandeur of a soûl of sixteen casting 
its first rays on the infinité. Ossian's sites and pictures also 
corresponded marvellously well with the nature of the country 
of almost ScQttish mountains, with the season of the year and 
the gloom of the sites in which I read him. It was during 
the biting chills of November and December. The earth was 
covered with a sheet of snow, out of which shot at unequal 
distances the black trunks of ptnes, or abôve which extended 
the naked branches of oaks whereon assembled and croaked 
whole âocks of crows. The icy fogs hung the bushes with 
glistening rime. The clouds undulated on the snow-crowned 
brows of the mountains. Rare glimpses of simshine pierced 
them from time to time, and gave to view deep perspectives 
of endless valleys, where the eye might fancy it saw the gulfs 
of the sea. This was the natural and sublime scenery of the 
poems of Ossian which I held in my hand. I woidd carry 
them with me in my game-bag to the mountains, and, while 
the dogs made the défiles ring with their voices, I would 
read them, seated beneath some concave rock; and only 
rsdse my eyes from the page to find, in the horizon and at my 
feet, the same nûsts, the same dense clouds, the same plains of 
ice and snow that the eyes of my imagination had just seen in 
my book. How often hâve I felt my tears freeze and hang 
like icicles from my eyelashes. I had become one of the 
bard's sons ; one of the heroical, enamored, plaintive shadows, 
which fight, love, weep, or sing to the sound of the harp in, 
the dark domains of Fingal. Ossian is certainly one of the 
pallets on which my imagination has blended the most colors, 
and which hos left the most of its tints on the feeble sketches 
which I hâve since traced. Many leamed antiquaries hav« 



LES CONFIDENCES. 8d 

eretended and still prétend that he never exLsted or wrote^ tbat 
is poems are a fraud of Macpherson's. I would as soon say 
that Salyator Rosa had invented nature. 



NOTE VII. 

But there was something lacking to make my comprehen» 
sion of Ossian complète, — the shadow of a love. How could 
I adore without an object ? complain without suflFering ? weep 
without tears ? My imagination — the imagination of a childish 
dreamer — ^needed a pretext. Chance and the neighborhood 
were not tardy in fumishing me with that necessary type of 
my adorations and my songs. I would bave made one for 
myself out of my dreams, my clouds and my snows, if the 
other had not been near at hand. But the other was near at 
hand, and was worthy of a worship less imaginary and less 
puérile than mine. 

My father, at this period, spent the whole of bis winters in 
the country. In the neighborhood there were several noble 
famDies, and familles of respectable and refined people who 
did not belong to the nobÛity, that also remained in their 
castles, or on their small estâtes, ail the year round. They 
used to assemble at country repasts, or at evening parties 
which were free from ostentations display. The utmost staid 
simplicity and the most cordial equality reigned at thèse 
meetings of neighbors and friends. Old lords who had been 
ruined by the ReYolution, absentées who had retumed from 
exile, still young and given to story-telling ; curâtes, notariés, 
village doctors, families living in the retirement of their rustic 
dwellings, rich husbandmen whom habit and neighborhood 
had mingled with the landholders and nobility ; — such were 
the ingrédients that composed those meetings, whose frequency 
had been increased by the approach of winter. 

While the parents held long conversations around the table, 
or played chess, backgammon, or cards in the parlor, the 
young people amused themselves with less serions games in a 
corner of the room, or scattered themselves through the gar- 
dons, to pack the snow and drive the robin-redbreasts or. 
tomtits from their nests amid the rose-bushes ; or rehearsed 
the parts of little plays, and acted proverbs, which they came 

8* 



90 LAMARTINE. 

and pcrformed before theîr parents and friends after suppcr, 
and after chess and the other games had been finished. 

A young girl of my own âge, sixteen, the only daughter of 
a landholder in our mountaîns who was in easy circumstances, 
distinguished herself amongst ail those children by her wit, 
her leaming, and her precocious talents. Her beauty, which 
was more mature, and which was beginning to make her more 
pensive and more reserved than her companions, also distin- 
guished her from them. Her features, although they were not 
perfectly regular, had that contagions languishing expression 
which makes the eyes and thoughts of those who contemplate 
it also languid and pensive. Blue eyes, black and luxuriaint 
hair, a mouth which seldom laughed and which only opened 
to give vent to words that were brief, serions, and full of a 
sensé that was superior to her years ; a fonu in which ail the 
graceful inflections of youth already revealed themselves ; an 
indolent gait, a glance which was often fixed in contemplation, 
and which, when surprised, was always averted, as if to hide 
the rêveries with which it was fiUed ; — such was the young 
girl. She seemed to hâve a foreboding that her life was to 
be as short and as nebulous as the fine winter days in which 
I knew her. Shehas been slumbenng for a long timebeneath 
that snow which bore the prints of our first footsteps. Her 
name was Lucy. 



NOTE VIII. 

She had retumed, a few months before, from a couvent in 
Paris, where her parents had given her an éducation every 
way superior to her destiny and her situation in hfe. She was 
a musician. She had a voice which made every hstener weep. 
She danced with a perfection of attitude and motion which 
was somewhat supine, but which gave art the freedom, ease, 
and grâce of a child's movements. She spoke two foreign 
languages. She had brought back with her from Paris nu- 
mérous books with which she continued to feed her mind in 
the solitude of her father's hamlet. She knew the poets by 
heart ; like myself, she adored Ossian, whose pictures'reminded 
her of our own hills in those of Morven. This common love 
for the same poet, this knowlcdge possessed by both of a 
language unknown to others, alone formed a sort of involun- 



LES CONFIDENCES. iiL 

«ary întîmacy and secret communion between us. We oon« 
stantly sought one another out, we drew nearer to one another 
everywhere, to converse about him. Long before we knew 
that we had an inclination for one another, we had already met 
in our clouds, we had loved each other in our favorite poet. 
Often separated from the rest of the company, in our sports, in , 
our rambles, we would almost always walk a long way in ad- 
vance of her mother and my sisters, uttering but few words, 
hardly daring to look at one another, but from time to time di- 
recting each other's attention to some beautiful rainbow in the 
mists, some dark glen deluged with a sheet of haze out of which 
arose the spire of some church, or the cluster of cnunbling 
towers of some old castle, looking like the peak of a rock 
rising out of the sea, or the masts of a submerged vessel ; or, 
again, pointing out to one another some frozen cascade in the 
depths of a ravine, over which the chestnut-trees and oaks 
hung their arms laden with snow, like the old men of Lochlin 
over the harp of the waters. 

We would answer one another with a glance of speechless 
admiration and inward concord. When I escorted her to the 
house at the other end of the valley where lived her father, 
we would often walk thus, side by side, for half an hour, with- 
out making any noise other than the slight crackling Sound 
produced by our footfalls along the snow-covered path. And 
yet we never parted without a sigh in our hearts and a blush 
upon our brows. 

Our families and the neighbors smiled at this childish par- 
tiality, which they had discovered long before those who were 
most interested in it. They considered it natural and free from 
danger for two children of our âge, who did not even know 
the name of the feeling that thus drew them together, and 
who, far from confessing that prédilection to each other, did 
not even attempt to explain it to themselves. 



NOTE IX. 



Meanwhile, this feeling from day to day bccanie more 
intense in both our bosoms. When I had spent the even« 
ing by her side, and had escorted her family as far as the tor- 
rent above which stood her father's house on a rocky prom- 
ontory, I felt as if my heart had been tom from my bosom 



02 LAMARTINE. 

and confined along witli her within tliose thick walls and be- 
hind that resounding door. I would return at a slow pace, 
witbout foUowing any beaten track, tlirough the copses and 
the meadows, tuming mj head at eacb moment to gaze at tbe 
black sbadow cast upon tbe firmament by tbe dark walls ; 
bappy wben I cau^bt a glimpse of a small lîgbt tbrougb tbe 
window of tbe bigb tower wbicb overlooked tbe torrent, and 
in wbicb I knew sbe went to read before rething to rest. 

Every day, under some pretext or otber, I would stroU in tbe 
direction of tbe valley, witb my gun on my arm and my dog 
at my beels. I would spend wbole bours in prowling witbin 
sigbt of tbe old mansion-bouse, witbout bearing any thing but 
tbe voices of tbe '^tcb-dogs, tbat were bowling witb deligbt 
as tbey played witb tbeir young mistress ; witbout seeing any 
tbing but tbe smoke tbat lazily rose from tbe cbimneys and 
curled up towards tbe gray sky. Sometimes, bowever, I 
would catcb a glimpse of tbe maiden berself, robed in a white 
dress loosely tied around ber neck; sbe would open ber 
window to admit tbe moming sunbeam, or tbe mid-day 
breeze ; sbe would place a flower-pot on tbe ledge, to allow 
tbe boused plant to breatbe tbe air of beaven; or else sbe 
would bang upon tbe nail outside, tbe cage of ber goldfincb 
tbat kissed ber lips between tbe wires. 

Sometimes sbe would also lean out for a long wbile to 
watcb tbe foaming torrent and tbe fleeting clouds, and allow 
ber beautiful black ringlets to be dasbed against tbe wall by 
tbe winter blast. Sbe little suspected tbat from tbe opposite 
side of tbe ravine a friendly glance followed ail ber move- 
ments ; tbat balf-open lips sougbt to discover in tbe fdr tbe 
waves of wind wbicb bad kissed ber tresses, to bear tbeir per- 
fume to tbe meadows. In tbe evening, I would timidly tell 
ber, tbat during tbe day I bad' passed in sigbt of ber bouse ; 
tbat sbe bad watered ber plants at sucb an bour ; tbat sbe 
bad exposed ber bird to tbe sun at sucb anotber bour; 
tbat sbe bad af terwards leaned pensively out of tbe window a 
moment ; tbat sbe bad subsequently sung or played on tbe 
piano ; and tbat, after ail tbat, sbe bad closed tbe sasb, and 
seated berself, and remained a long time motionless, like a 
percion rc-ading. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 93 



NOTE X. 

She blushed when sbe saw that I Vas such an attentive ob- 
server of ber actions, and wben sbe reâected tbat an invisible 
gaze noted ber glanées, ber steps, and ber gestures, even in 
ber tower, wbere sbe tbougbt sbe was only seen by G od ; but 
sbe did not seem to attacb any signification of particular at- 
tacbment to tbat watcbfulness of my mind over ber. 

" And you," wonld sbe say to me, witb an interest tbat was 
perceptible in ber voice, altbougb bid under assumed indiffér- 
ence, " wbat bave you done to-day ?** 

I never dared to reply to ber : " I bave tbougbt of you !" 

And we continued to remain in tbat deligbtful indécision df 
two beings wbo feel in tbeir bearts tbat tbey adore one ^otber, 
but wbo would never dare to say so witb tbeir lips, even if tbeir 
very silence and tremor did not spare tbeir lips tbat trouble. 

Ossian was our mute confidant and interpréter. Sbe bad 
lent me a volume of bis works. I was to retum it to ber. 
Afterbaving placed between its leaves tbe bits of moss, tbe 
bénies of tbe ivy, tbè blue flowers wbicb sbe loved to gatber 
In tbe bedges or cull from tbe pots of cbeirantbus in tbe cot- 
tages, wben we rambled togetber in tbe fall of tbe year ; af- 
ter baving tbus sougbt to make ber tbink of me, and sbown 
tbat I tbougbt of ber tastes myself, I conceived tbe idea of 
adding one or two pages to Ossian, and of intrusting tbe 
sbades of tbe Scottisb bards witb tbe secret of my bopeless 
love. I allowed myself to be asked repeatedly for tbe book, 
ère I returned it, and twenty times mentioned tbe number of 
a page, ** wbicb I reperused constantly," said I to ber, " wbicb 
expressed my wbole soûl, wbicb was saturated witb ail my 
tears of admiration, and wbicb I entreated ber also to read, 
but to read alone, in ber cbamber, witb ail ber tbougbts col- 
lected, luUed by tbe sound of tbe wind in tbe pines, and tbe 
torrent in its bed, as Ossian no doubt bad written,it." In 
tbis mannèr I stimulated ber curiosity, and boped tbat sbe 
would open tbe volume at tbe page wbicb contained tbe poem 
»f ber own sigbs. 



04 LAMARTIlfS. 



NOTE XL 

Three years ago, I again found thèse first verses amongst 
the papers of the poor curate of B***, who at that period 
mîngled in the company of our childhood, and for whom I 
had copied them. For what love is there that has no need of 
a confidant ? Hère they are, in ail their inexpérience, in ail 
their weakness. I entreat M. de Lormain, — who, like Ossian, 
is a poet, and blind now, — ^to pardon thera. They were the 
distant écho of Scotia repeated by the voice of a child in the 
mountains of his native land — a pallet, but no outlines; 
clouds, but no colors. At a later day, a ray of the poetry of 
the South soon dispelled for me ail that fantastic haze of the 
North. 

TO LUCY L • 

RECITATIVO. 

The harp of Morven of my soûl is the emblem; from 
Cromla it hears the approach of the footsteps of the dead ; 
beside my pillow its string sounds of its own accord when the 
shadowof the future sweeps over its fibres. Shadows of the 
future, arise for my soûl ! Dispel the vapor which hides you 
from my eyes .... What star descends? .... What 
phantom of a woman rests its noiseless feet on the crystal of 
the skies? ****** 

******** 

Is it a dying dream ? ... A soûl coming înto life ? Min- 
gled with the golden mists in the impalpable ether, it resem- 
blés the threads of the white tissue of rime which is made to 
float on winter's panes by dreams. Blow not on it, warm 
breath of the waves ! Melt not that shadow, fires of the fir- 
mament! Birds, efface not beneath your feet those vague 
features in which the maiden appears to her loveras dreams. 

The lamp of the fisherman floating through the fog has 
t ■ I ■ 

/ * This Poem is so completely Ossianic in its style that I hâve followed 
the example of the talented translator of Scotland's gifted bard, and ren- 
dered it, almost literally, in prose. As some of its readers, however, with 
more capacity for the task thau myself, may wish to versify it, they wilj 
£nd the original at the eud of the work. — ^Tr. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 95 

rays less soft tlian her distant gaze. The fire that the shep* 
herd lights amid the furze melts less imperceptible in the fire» 
of mom. ****** 

******** 

Beneath her childlike robe, which from her shoulder slips^ 
are hardly to be seen two throbbing globes, like the knots 
formed beneath the willow's coat, which wilh spring's juices 
make the tnink to swell. 



SONO. 

It is night upon fhe hills. The shaken avalanche slides at 
intervals down the valley's sîdes. Its dust scatters over the 
hidden path ; the noise it makes arrests in mid-air the iron 
hoof of the deer. Listening with attentive ear for the dog 
that pursues him in dreams, he awaits the rising of the cres- 
cent to flee away. The black and uprootéd tree on the edge 
of the ravine leans like a mast bowed by the waves. The 
crow that slum'bers on a leafiess branch, awakes, and sends 
forth a cry which is lost in the clouds ; in her âight she show- 
ers in white flakes the snow which loaded her wings upon her 
sides. The clouds, driven by the damp breezes, pile them- 
selves in dark pyramids upon the mountain-tops ; or, like ves- 
sels on the foaming gulf, make furrows in the blue of heaven. 
The shivering wind of Erin, which sweeps the plain, arrests 
the breath upon the lip, and stiffens it in icicles ; and the lako 
on which languishes the o*erturned boat, is nought but a field 

of rime harrowed by the tempest. * * * 

******** 

******** 

******** 

A roof, by the thatch whitened, where the lighted turf 

makes a pale smoke crawl upon the sky; the voice of the 

howling dog, in moumful barking rises, the only vestige of 

life in the bosom of ail that death | * * * 

******** 

* * * * * * * * 

In the midst of ail this night, who is that yoimg man, or 
that dream, that follows with rapid stride the shore of the 
frozcn pool, climbs the sharp hill, with a weapon in his hand, 
meeta the roebuck without tuming from his course, dfii&<^<^^dsk 



96 LAMARTINE. 

again from the heîghts into the deep défile, wherc tlie tower 
01 the old cbiefs totters on the torrent's brînk ? His black 
hound searches through the woods and howls, and the frozcn 
blast ÎH laden with one voice. 



SONO OF THE HUNTER. 

Arise! arîse! o'er the dark hills, hind "with the silver 
horns, who art hunted by the shades ! moon ! on thèse 
walls shed thy white beams ! Thèse walls arc the palace of 
my brain's dreams ! With the vaporish rays of thy chaste 
light make each stone sparkle in my fascinated eyes ; pour 
npon the slate, and reverberate in torrents of languor, my 
moon, even in my heart ! In the crevices of the battlements 
the cheiranthus is dead. On the door, the ivy shivers in the 
northem blast, like the snow-covered cloak from which the 
shepherd, on his retum, shakes the âakes in the court-yard 
ère he enters. The massive waU yawns at the thick casement. 

Moon ! with thy ray, my glance enters ! There 

I see, by the light of the hearth so wide and high, an ash-tree 
blazing with red glaxe in the fireplace. 

THE HUNTER. 

Peering queen of night, what seest thou in the hall ? 

THE MOON. 

The dogs of the bold huntsman sleeping on the flag. 

THE HUNTER. 

What care I for the dogs, the roebuck, and the hom? 
Peering queen of night, look, and speak again. 

THE MOON. 

In the shade of a pillar, the nurse spinning the fleece of 
sheep on the rapid-moving wh^el. Her eyelids by slumber 
are half closed. At length upon her shoulder leans her head 
in sleep ; forgetful of the down with which the distaff is full, 
in the ashes at her feet slips and roUs the wool. 

THE HUNTER. 

What care I for the nurse with time-burdened Sngers? 
Brilliant queen of night, continue to look and speak ! 

THE MOON. 

Between the hearth and the wall, the maiden fair, iu her 



LES CONFIDENCES. 97 

lap leaving hei linen and her needle, with ber elbow on the 
table 

THE HUNTER. 

Peeling queen of nigbt, fix thy gaze on ber ! and look and 
continue ! 

THE MO ON. 

Pensîvely leaning on tbe oaken table, sbe watcbes tbe fleet- 
ing forma of tbe sbade and glimmer, wbicb âoat upon tbe wall, 
like gnats upon an azuré brook. Her eyes look as tbougb tbey 
were fixed on mysteries, seekîng a bidden sensé in tbose mean- 
ingless cbaracters; and sbe, as tbougb sbe saw in advance 
tbe vague features of ber future love's sbadow entering tbat 
tower. No, never bas lover by me from bis coucb tom, in bis 
sleep-laden arms folded a more beautiful dream ! Dost tbou 
see ber ebon tresses, jealous of ber cbarmSy rolling bke nigbt 
down to ber very knees ? 

THE HUNTER. 

" Blow, breezes of beaven ! open tbat dark veil ! — Clouds of 
ber brow, give me back my star ! — ^let me but catcb a glimpse 
beneatb tbat jet, of tbe wbite of ber arm protruding from tbe 
raven net ! Or oT tbe imdulation of ber slender lorm, or of 
tbat rounded elbow on wbicb ber tbougbts now rest, or of tbe 
lily of ber cbeek, or of tbe azuré of ber glance, wbose sole re- 
membrance transfixes like a lance. daugbter of tbe rock ! 
tbou knowest not wbat dreams tbou evokest witb tbe dark globe 
of tbine eyes ! . . . From eacb of tbe long lasbes wbicb 
Tcil tbeir languor my beart is suspended, like tbe bee from tbe 
trefoil. Remain, ob ! remain long on tby slumber-burdened 
arm to gratify tbe love of tbe buntsman wbo now watcbes 
tbee! I neitber feel tbe nigbt nor tbe biting frost. Tby 
breatb is my beartb, tbine eyes my climate are. Of tbe sba- 
dows of my bosom, tbe tbougbt of tbee is tbe flame ! Ail 
snows are spring in tbe sunbeams of tby soûl ! Ob sleep ! 
Ob ! dream tbus, witb tby bead upon tbine arm l And wben 
at dawn, to-morrow, tbou awakest, may my long glances, in- 
crusted in tbe stone, adbere to tbe wall and tell tbine eyelid 
tbat a pbantom bas watcbed o'er tbee in tby slumber ! And 
mayst tbou tben seek bis name !" ^ * * 



9 



08 LAMARTINE. 

REOrrATIYO. 

At the foot of the lonely tower, tliiis sang the bard wîth tho 
brown locks, in tbe starli^ht night. And bis dogs, benumbed 
by tbe cold, left him ail alone, and the falling rime covered bim 
witb a winding-sbeet, and tbe wind whicb froze the blood ia 
bis veins*was wrapping him by degrees in the slumber of bis 
forefatbers, and the wolves prowling on the patbless winter, 
bowled with joy to the dead, as tbey scented their morrow's 
prey. And whUe he was dying on the brink of tbe précipice, 
tbe maiden, awake, listened to tbe nurse relating in smothered 
tones matters of bygone days; or drew an accord from tbe 
barp beneath her fingers ; or, beating tbe brand witb fiery eyes, 
read her fate in the flight of the sparks ; or, by tbe ligbt of 
the flaming walnut-limb, gazed witb absent eye at the cbim- 
ney's glare reflected on tbe wall. 

MiLLT, 16th Sept., 1805. 



NOTE XII. 

One evening, as we were about to separate, I retumed ber 
tbe volume swelled by thèse Unes. Sbe read them without 
anger, and to ail appearance without surprise. Sbe answered 
them in a little poem also written in tbe Ossianic style, like 
my own, whicb was inserted between tbe pages of another 
volume. Her verses only expressed tbe melancholy lament 
of a young maiden of Morven, who sees ber brotber's vessel 
set sail for a distant land, and who moums tbe lost compan- 
ion of ber cbildhood, on the brink of the native torrent. I 
thought tbis pièce of poetry admirable, an^ far superior to 
mine. It was in fact more correct and more graceful. In it 
there were some of those notes whicb are unknown to rheto- 
ric and whicb are only to be found in woman*s beart. Our 
poetical correspondence continued in tbis manner several days, 
and increased, by tbis confidential interchange of our thoughts, 
tbe intimacy whicb already existed between our eyes. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 99 



NOTE XIII. 

We always found the hours too short tbat we spent to- 
gether, during the walks or during the family meetings in tbe 
evening, in contemplating the wild features of our mountains, 
the pine-trees loaded^with snow — ^imitating spectres that trail 
tbeir winding-sheets, — the moon in the clouds, the foam of 
the waterfall whence arose the heaven^s how in shxywers spo- 
ken of by Ossian. We aspired to the enjoyment of those 
nocturnal spectacles during nights that would more completely 
be our own, and in interchanging more freely than we dared 
to do before indiffèrent listeners, the young, fresh, and inex- 
haustible émanations of our soûls before the manrels of that 
nature which harmonized with the marvels of our first ecsta- 
sies and our first wonderments. 

"How delicious/V would we often say to one another, 
" would be the hours passed together amid the silence and 
solitude of the night, in etemally revealing to one another 
without witnesses the most secret émotions of our soûls, Uke 
Fingal, Jfomi, *and Malvina on the hills of their forefathers V 

Tears of longing and enthusiasm would dim our eyes at 
thèse anticipated pictures of the poetical happiness which we 
dared to hope for in those interviews hidden from the light of 
day and the eyes of our parents. By dint of speaking of this 
childish dream, we created an equal désiré in each other's bo- 
som to realize it ; then we secretly, but innocently» discussed 
the means of procuring this imaginary felicity. Nothing was 
easier from the moment that we understood one another — I 
solicited with passionate eamestness ; she acquiesced without 
suspicion, without résistance. 



NOTE XIV. 

The tower which Lucy inhabited, at the extremity of her 
father's small manor rested on a terrace whose wall, built in 
the shape of a rampart, had its foundation in the bottom of 
the vale near the torrent. The wall shot up with a slope that 
was quite gentle. Clumps of box, brambles, and moss, which 
had grown in the crevices of the old time-wom stones, per- - 
mitted a bold and agile man to climb to the toç oi tk^ ^^^x^^^V, 



1(K) LAMAKTINS. 

and jump thence into the lîttle garden wliich occupicd the 
narrow space of tbe terrace at the foot of the tower. A low 
door at the bottom of a circular flight of steps within the 
tower, opened npon the garden. This door, which was se- 
cured inside by a single boit, could be opened by Lucy's hand 
and give her freedom to walk in the garden whîle her nnrse 
slept. I was familiar with the wall, the terrace, the garden, 
the tower, the stairs. It was only necessary for her to hâve 
enough résolution to corne down, for me to hâve suffîcient au- 
dacity to ascend. We agreed upon the nig;ht, the hour, the 
signal which I was to make from the opposite hill, by flashing 
the priming of my gun. 

That which was most embarrassing for me, was to leave my 
father's house unperceived at night. The massive front door 
could only be opened with a loua clatter — made by enormous 
rusty locks, bolts, and bars — which could not fail to awaken 
my father. I slept in one of the upper chambers. I could 
descend into the garden by swinging myself from the end of 
one of the bed-sheets ; but I could not get up again. A lad- 
der which had fqrtunately been forgotten by the masons who 
had been workîng for several days in the vine-presses, helped 
me out of my difficulty. I reared it in the evening, against 
the wall of my chamber. I impatiently waited until the clock 
had tolled the eleventh hour, and until every sound was hushed 
in the house. I noiselessly opened the casement, and, with 
my gun in my hand, descended into the hazel-tree walk. But 
I had taken but a few soundless steps along the snow-covered 
path, when the ladder, slipping down the wall with a crash, fell 
upon the ground. A large hunting-dog that slept at the foot 
of my bed, seeing me go out of the window, had attemptcd 
to follow me. His paws had got entangled in the upper 
rundles of the ladder, and the weight of his body had dragged 
it to the ground. The moment he freed himself he sprang 
towards me and covered me with caresses. I rebufifed him 
harshly, for the first time in my life. I made a feint to beat 
him in order to deter him from following me further. He 
crouched submissively, and, without budging, saw me leap over 
the wall which separated the garden from the vineyard. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 101 



NOTE XV. 

I glided across the fields, the woods, and the meadows, and 
reached the ravine opposite Lucy's house, without encounter- 
ing any one. I flashed the priming. A small light, ignited 
for a moment at the high window of the tower and immedi- 
ately afterwards extinguished, answered my signal. I rested 
my gun against the sloping wall. I climbed the rampart. I 
jumped upon the terrace. At the same moment the door of 
the tower tumed npon its hinges. Lucy, descending the last 
step, and walkmg as if she wished to deaden the sound of 
her footfalls, advanced towards the walk in which I was wait- 
ing for her, somewhat hid in the shade. A brilliant moon illu- 
minated with its cold, but dazzling rays, the rest of the 
terrace, the walls and Windows of the tower, and the sides of 
the glen. 

Our dreams were at length realized. Our hearts throbbed. 
We neither dàred to look at one another, nor speak. Mean- 
while, however, I bnished away with my hand the icy snow 
which covered a stone bench. I spread my cloak over it, and 
we both seated ourselves at some distance apart. Neither of 
lis dared break the silence which reigned around us. We 
tumed our gaze towards our feet, then towards the tower, and 
next up to heayen. At last I summoned courage : 

** O, Lucy,** said I to her, " how picturesquely the moon*s 
light is reflected by ail the icicles of the torrent, by ail the snows 
in the valley ! What happiness it is to gaze upon it with you !" 

" Yes," retumed she, " every thing seems more beautiful by 
the side of a'friend who shares your admiration for thèse land- 
scapes." 

She was about to pursue, when a large black mass, shoot- 
ing like a cannon-ball over the parapet wall, roUed into the 
walk, and in two or three leaps, bounded upon us, barking 
with joy. 

It was my dog, who had followed me at a distance, and 
who, upon finding that I did not retum as soon as he expected, 
had tracked my footsteps, and climbed the wall of the terrace 
as I had done. The sound of his voice, and the noise which 
he made in leaping through the garden, were answered by the 
prolonged barlung of the dogs in the court-yard ; and we per- 
ceived in the interior of the house the gUmmer of a lamp which 
passed from window to window, approachmg the tower. We 

• 9* 



102 LAMARTINE. 

sprang from our seats. Lucy rushed towards tbe door of her 
tower, the boit of which I heard her push precipitately. I let 
myself slide down to the foot of the wall. My dog followed 
me. I advanced witb rapid strides along the défiles of the 
mountains, cursing the hnportunate fidelity of the poor ani- 
mal. I arrived beneath the window of my bed-chamber, 
shivering with cold. 

I replaced the ladder. I got mto bed at the break of day, 
with no other mementoes of that first night of Ossianic poetry 
except wet feet, benumbed limbs, a conscience somewhat hu- 
miliated» because of my timidity in the présence of charming 
Lucy, and a very slight feeling of anger towards my dog, who 
had opportunelv interrupted an interview which was already 
beginning to add much more to our embarrassment than to 
our happiness. 



NOTE XVI. 

Thus terminated thèse imaginary loves, which were begin- 
ning to make our parents somewhat anxious. My noctumal 
sally from the house had been discovered. Haste was made 
to send me from home before this childishness became more 
serions. We swore to love one another by ail the stars of the 
night, by ail the waves of the torrent, by ail the trees of the 
Valley. Thèse vows melted with the snows of winter. I set 
out to complète my éducation at Paris, and in other great 
cities. During my absence, Lucy was married ; became an 
exemplary wife, made the happiness of a husband she loved, 
and died at an early âge, in a situation which was as prosaic 
as her first dreams had been poetical. At times I again see 
her melancholy and diaphanous shade on the little terrace of 
the tower of * * * * * when I pass through the glen in 
winter- time, whe'i the wind whips my horse's mane, or when 
the dogs bark ic the yard of the deserted manor-house. 



NOTE XVIL 

I hâve written nothing about the three years of my life 
1 peut away from the patemal roof, in the midst of ail the im* 



LE3 CONFIDENCES. 103 

prudences, ail thc dissipation, ail the irregularities of a youth 
of inactivity — ^years which only leave behind tbem hnmiUation 
and regret for maturer âge ; and the remembrance of which 
we would like to tum away as a cup of bittemess from OMr 
lips — ^years which we would like to forget. 

Perhaps will I note them down some day or other, as pcople 
erect a cross on the spot where a trai^eller has fallen, to wam 
those who may pass that way after him. 



BOOK VIL 

NOTE I. 

GRAZIELLA. 

At eighteen years of âge, my family intrusted me to the 
care of one of my relatives, who was summoned to Tuscany 
on matters of business, whither she Was going in company 
with her husband. This was an opportunity to make me 
travel, and tear me from that dangerous idieness of the pa- 
temal roof and of country towns, where the first passions of 
the soûl become corrupt through want of activity. I started 
with the enthusiasm of a child who is about to see the curtain 
lise on the most splendid scènes of nature and life. 

The Alps, the brilliancy of whose etemal snows on the ho- 
rizon's edge, I had gazed at since my childhood from the 
summit of the hill of Milly ; the sea, so many glowing pictures 
of which travellers and poets had thrown upon my mind ; 
Italia's sky, whose warmth and serenity, so to speak, I had 
already breathed in G^Dethe's verses, in Corinna's Unes : 

" Knowest thoo the land where the myrtles bloom !'' 

The monuments, yet standing, of that Roman antiquity with 
which my yet récent studies had fîlled my brain ; in a word, 
liberty ; distance, which lends a charm to every thing that is 
far away ; adventures, those certain accidents of long voyages, 
which youthful imaginations foresee, arrange, and enjoy in ad- 



104 LAMARTINE. 

Tance : the change of language, faces, manners, whicl seema 
to initiate the mind into a new world ; ail this fascinated my 
fancy. I lived in a state of constant mtoxication during the 
long days of expectation which preceded our departure. Thk 
delirium, renewed each day by the beauties of nature in Savoy, 
in Switzerland, on the lake of Geneva, on the ^aciers of the 
Simplon, near Como's lake, at Milan, and in Florence, only 
abated at my retum, two years afterwards. 

As the affairs which took my travelling companion to Leg- 
horn were prolonged indefinitely, a proposition was made to 
take me back to France, ère I had seen Rome and Naples. 
This was snatching my dream from me at the moment that I 
was about to grasp it. I inwardly rebelled against such an 
idea. I wrote to my father to ask his permission to continue 
my travels in Italy alone ; and, without awaiting his answer, 
which I hardly hoped would be favorable, I resolved to fore- 
stall disobedience by action. 

" If the prohibition arrives," said I to myself, " it will arrive 
too late. I will be reprimanded, but I will be forgiven. I will 
return, but I will hâve seen.** 

I reviewed the state of my slender purse ; but I calculated 
that there was one of my mother's relatives settled at Naples, 
and that he would not refuse me some money to take me back 
home. I started, one fine night, from Leghom in the post- 
coach for Rome. 

I spent the winter alone in a small room, in a dark streét 
which terminâtes at^ the Piaaza di Spagna, with a Roman 
painter who received me as a boarder in his family. My face, 
my youth, my enthusiasm, my loneliness in the midst of an 
unknown country, had interested one of my travelling corn- 
panions on the road from Florence to Rome. He formed a 
sudden friendship with me. He was a handsome young man 
about my own âge. It appeared that he was either the son or 
the nephew of the famous singer David, who was then the 
first-tenor of the Italian théâtres. David was also travelling 
with us. He was a man already advanced in years. He was 
going to sing for the last time at the théâtre of San Carlo in 
Naples. 

David's treatment towards me was that of a father, and his 
young companion overloaded me with attentions and kind- 
nesses. I responded to their advances with the freedom and 
ômpUcity of my âge. We had not yet reached Rome when 
the handsome traveUer and I were already inséparable. In those 



LES CONFIDENCES. 105 

days ît took ibe post-coach not less tban three days to go from 
Florence to Rome. In the hostelries, my new friend was my 
interpréter ; at table, be served me tbe first ; in tbe coacb, he 
reserved tbe best seat next to bimself for me, and, if I fell 
asleep, I was sure tbat my bead would find bis sboulder for a 
pillow. 

Wben I left tbe coacb dming tbe long ascents of tbe bills 
of Tuscany or tbe Sabine, be would also leave it and dcscribe 
tbe country to me, name tbe towns, point out tbe monuments ; 
be would even cull beautiful flowers, and purcbase fine figs and 
grapes on tbe roadside, and witb tbem fill my bahds and my 
bat. David seemed to look witb pleasure on tbe affection of 
bis travelling companion for tbe young stranger. Some- 
times, wbile gazing at me, tbey would smile witb an expres- 
sion of mutual understanding and mabce, mingled witb be- 
nignity. 

As we entered Rome at nigbt, I quite naturally stopped at 
tbe same inn as tbey. I was conducted to my bed-cbamber ; 
I did not awake until aroused by tbe voice of my young friend, 
wbo was knocking at my door and inviting me down to break- 
fast. I dressed myself witb ail speed and bastened to tbe apart- 
ment wbere ail tbe travellers were assembled. I wisbed to 
press tbe band of my travelling companion ; and witb my eyes 
I was making a vain searcb for bim amongst tbe guests, wben 
a gênerai burst of laugbter rang tbrougb tbe bail. Instead 
of tbe soir or nepbew of David, I perceived alongside of bim 
tbe cbarming features of a young Roman girl, wbo was elegantly 
dressed and wbose raven bair, twisted in bands around ber 
brow, was fastened bebind by two long golden pins witb beads 
of pearl, like tbose wbicb are yet wom by tbe pensants of Tiv- 
ob. Tbis was my friend wbo, on arriving in Rome, bad re- 
sumed ber own garments and ber sex. 

I sbould bave suspected tbis from tbe tendemess of ber 
glance and tbe grâce of ber smile. But no sucb doubt bad 
entered my mind. 

"Tbe dress cbanges not tbe beart," sgdd tbe beautiful 
Roman to me, blushing tbe wbile. "You sball not sleep 
on my sboulder again, bowever, and instead of receiving 
flowers from me, it is you wbo sball give tbem to me, 
Tbis adventure will teacb you not to rely on tbe appearances 
of friendsbip tbat may bereafter be sbown to you ; tbey may 
probably be feelings of a différent nature." 

Tbe young girl was a singer, and David's favorite pupiL 



106 LAMARTINE. 

The old man took her wîth bim wherever Le went, and always 
clothed in the garb of a man to avoid remarks on the road. 
He treated her more like a father than a protector, and was 
no way jealous of the gentle and innocent familiarity which he 
hirnself had aUowed to spring up between us. 



NOTE II. 

David and bis pupil spent scveral weeks in Rome. The day 
following out arrivai, she again donned her maie attire and 
conducted me first to Saint-Peter's, then to the Coliseum, to 
Frascati» Tivoli, ■ Albano ; I tbus escaped the fatiguing répéti- 
tions of tbose salaried demonstrators who dissect the corpse of 
Rome for travellers, and who, by casting their monotonous 
litany of proper names and dates over the impressions of your 
mind, invade the brain and rout the appréciation of ail that is 
admirable. The Camilla was not leamed ; but she was 
bom in Rome, and instinctively knew the beauteous sites and 
grand views which had made impressions on her in her child- 
hood. 

She led me without any forethought to the best places and 
at the best hours, to contem plate the remains of the ancient city. 
In the moming, beneath the firs with wide-spreading dômes, 
on Monte- Pincio ; in the evening, under the far-reaching 
shades of the colonnade of Saint-Peter's ; by moonlight, within 
the silent walls of the Coliseum ; during bright autumn days, 
to Albano, Frascati, to the temple of the Sibyl, reeking with 
the mists of the cascades of Tivoli. She was as gay and as 
frolicsome as a statue of eternal Youth in the midst of those 
vestiges of Time and Death. She danced o*er the grave of 
Cecilia Metella; and while I sat upon a stone, buried in thought, 
she made the sinister arches of Diocletian's palace ring with 
the peals of her thcatrical voice. 

In the evening, we would return to town, with our carriage 
fiUed with âowers and the remains of statues, and meet old 
David whose business detained him in Rome, and who would' 
take us to end the day in bis box at the théâtre. The canta- 
trice, who was a few ye^^rs my elder, evinced no feelings to- 
wards me other than those of a slightly tender friendship. I 
was too timid to show any others myself ; I did not even ex- 
périence any, notw'thstanding my youth and her beauty. Her 
maie attire, her wholly masculine familiarity, the manly tone 



LES CONFIDENCES. 107 

of her ténor voicc, and tbe freedom of her manners, made such 
an impression on me that I only looked upon her as a hand- 
some young man, a companion and a friend. 



NOTE III. 

m 

When Camilla had taken her departure, I remained corn* 
pletely alone in Rome, without any letters of recommendation, 
without any other acquaintances than the sites, the monu- 
ments, and the streets to which Camilla had» introduced me. 
The aged painter in whose house I lodged, only left his studio 
on Sundays to go to mass with his wife and daughter, a 
young girl of sixteen, who was as laborious as her father. 
Their dwelling was a sort of monastery, where the artist's 
labors were only interrupted by a frugal repast and by prayer. 

At eve, when the sun*s last beams faded on the window- 
panes of the poor painter*s elevated room, and when the bells 
of the monasteries tolled the Ave Maria, that harmonious fare- 
well to day in Italy, the sole relaxation of the family was to 
tell their beads together and to chant the litanies imtil their 
voices, overpowered by sleep, sunk into a vague and monot- 
onous murmur, like that of the waves on a shore whei'e the 
wind dies away with approaching night. 

I loved that calm and pious evening scène, which ended a 
day of labor with the hancjs by that hymn of three soulsy 
elevating themselves to heaven to repose after their toil. It 
brought back to me the remembrance of the home where my 
' mother also used to assembla us, at eve, for prayer, now in 
her o~wn room, anon in the gravel walk of the httle garden of 
Milly, lighted by the last gleams of declining day. In again 
finding the same customs, the same acts, the same reUgion, I 
almost felt at home in that unknown family. I hâve never 
seen a more retired, solitary, laborious, and sanctified life than 
that which was led in the dwelling of the Roman painter. 

The painter had a brother. This brother did not live with 
him. He taught the Italian language to those strangers of 
distinction who spent the winters in Rome. He was moi^ 
than a mère professer of languages ; he was a Roman scholar 
of the highest merit. Still young, with a beautiful face, of 
an antique character, he had figured with brilliancy in the 



108 LAMARTINE. 

reyolutionaiy attempts wbicb the Roman republicans had made 
to resuscitate liberty in their country. He was one of the 
tribunes of the people, one of tbe Miemis of tbat period. In 
tbat short résurrection of ancicnt Rome, brought about by 
the French and smothered by Mack and the Neapolitans, he 
had played a principal part ; he had harangued the people 
at the Capitol, raised the âag of independence, and held one 
of the fîrst offices of the Republic. Hunted, persecuted, im- 
prisoned at the moment of the -reaction, he had owed bis 
safety to the arrivai of the French, who had saved the republi- 
cans, but ruined the Republic. 

This Roman adored revolutionary and philosophical France ; 
he abhorred the Ëmperor and the Empire. Like ail Italiaa 
libérais, he looked upon Bonaparte as the Caesar of freedom. 
Young as I was, I shared the same sentiments. This con- 
formity of hatred and of mute conspiracy against Bonaparte 
soon revealed itself. When he saw with what juvénile, and, at 
the same time, antique enthusiasm I vibrated to the accents of 
liberty when we read together the incendiary Unes of the poet 
Monti, or the republican scènes of Alfîeri, he saw that he coidd 
trust me with his confidence, and I became less bis pupil than 
his friend. 



NOTE IV. 

The proof that liberty is the divine idéal of man, is that she 
is the first dream of youth, and that she does not fade from 
our soûl until our heart is withered and our mind either de- 
based or discouraged. There is not a soûl twenty years old 
that is not repubhcan. There is not a decayed heart thatis 
not servile, 

How often bave my teacher and I gone and seated our- 
selves on the hill of the villa Pamphili, whence you can see 
Rome, its dômes, its ruins, its Tiber, which crawls in foulness, 
silence, and shame, beneath the arches of the Ponte Rotto ; 
whence you can hear the plaintive murmur of its fountaîns 
and the almost noiseless footsteps of its populace walking in 
silence through its deserted streets ! How often bave we shed 
bitter tears over the fate of this world, abandoned to tyranny 
of every kind ; where philosophy and liberty had for a mome&t 
seemed to revive in France and Italy only to be defiled^ be* 



LES CONFIDENCES. 109 

trayed, and oppressed every where ! How many niurmured im- 
précations hâve arisen from our breasts against that tyrant of 
the buman mind ; against that crowned soldier who had only 
dabbled in tbe Révolution to draw from it the strength to 
destroy it and subject nations anew to eveiy préjudice and 
every servitude! From this period dated my love for the 
émancipation of the human mind and that intellectual hatred 
of the hero of the âge ; a hatred which was based on reason, 
and felt at the same time ; a hatred which rcflection and time 
hâve only justifîed, despite the vile flatterers of bis memory ; 
a hatred with which I am proud to bave lived, and with which 
I hope to die I 



NOTE V. 

It was under the influence of thèse feelings that I studied 
Rome, her history, and her monuments. I sallied forth in the 
morning alone, before the bustle of the town could divert the 
thoughts of the contemplator. I carried under my arm the 
historians, the poets, the describers of Rome. I went to sit 
or wander amid the deserted ruins of the Forum, the Coliseum, 
of the Roman Campagrui, I gazed, I read, I meditated, by 
tums. I made Rome a serions study. It was my best course» 
of history. Antiquity, instead of being an ennui, became an 
affection for me. In this study I followed no plan other 
than my inclination. I went from ancient Rome to modem 
Rome, from the Panthéon to the Palace of Léo X., from the 
house of Horace, at Tibur, to the dwelling of Rafaël. Poets, 
painters, historians, great men, ail passed confusedly before 
me ; I would only stop those who interested me most at the 
time. 

Towards eleven o'clock, I re-entered my little cell in the 
painter's house, to breakfast. I ate a slice of bread and a 
pièce of cheese on my work-table, reading the while. I drank 
a cup of milk. Then I worked, made notes, and wrote until 
dinner-time. The wife and daughter of my host always pre- 
pared that meal for us with their own hands. After dinner, I 
wandered forth again, and only retumed at nightfall. A few 
hours' conversation with the artistes family, and readings, pro- 
longed far intothe night, completed those peaceful days. I 
fdt no need of society. I even enjoyed my loneliness. Rome 

10 



110 LAMARTINE. 

and my soûl, satisfied me. I thus spent one whole long win. 
ter, from the month of October until the montb of April fol- 
lowing, without knowing one day of lassitude or weariness. It 
was tne remembrance of tbese impressions wbich made me 
Write tbose Unes on Tibur, ten years afterwards.* 



NOTE VL 

Now, wben I make a close searcb in my mind for ail my 
impressions of Rome, I only find two, wbicb efface, or, at least, 
predominate over ail otbers : tbe Coliseum, tbat work of tbe 
Roman people; Saint-Peter*s, tbat master-piece of Catboli- 
cism. Tbe Coliseum is tbe gigantic trace left by a superhuman 
people, wbo, for tbeir pride and tbeir ferocious pleasures, 
reared monuments large enoughio contain a whole nation. A 
monument, wbose size and duration make it tbe rival even of 
tbe Works of nature. Tbe Tiber will bave dried up between 
its banks of mud wben tbe Coliseum will still overlook its bed. 

Saint-Peter*s is tbe work of a great tbougbt, of a religion, 
of tbe wbole of bumanity at one period of tbe world ! It is 
no édifice destined to contain a base nation. It is a temple 
destined to contain ail tbe pbilosopby, ail tbe prayers, ail tbe 
greatness, ail tbe tbougbts of man. Tbe walls seem to rise 
and extend, not in proportion to a people, but in proportion to 
God. Micbael Angelo alone uhderstood Catbolicism, and in 
Saint-Peter's be bas given it its most sublime and most com« 
plete expression. Saint-Peter's is really tbe marble apotbeo- 
sis, tbe monumental transfiguration of tbe religion of Cbrist. 

'Tbe arcbitects of tbe Gotbic catbedrals were^ sublime bar- 
barians. Micbael Angelo alone was a pbilosopber in bis con- 
ceptions. Saint-Peter's is pbilosopbîcal Cbristianity, from 
wbicb tbe divine arcbitect drives superstition and darkness, 
and into wbicb be brings space, beauty, symmetry, inexbausti- 
ble streams of ligbt. Tbe incomparable beauty of St. Peter's, 
at Rome, consists in its being a temple wbicb migbt serve for 
ail forms of worsbip — a deistical temple, if I may use tbat 
Word and apply it to a mass of stones. It seems designed 
solely for tbe purpose of clotbing tbe tbougbt of God, in ail 
its splendor. 

* Vide the Méditations, 



LES CONFIDENCES. 111 

Were Christianity to perish, Saint-Peter's would still remaîn 
the uni versai, etemal, national temple, of whatsoever religion 
miglit succeed the worship of Christ, provided that that reli- 
gion were worthy of humanity and of God ! It is the mosi 
abstract temple that human genius, inspired bj a divino 
thought, has ever constructed hère below. When you enter 
it, you know not whether you are entering an ancient or a 
modem temple ; no détail offends the eye, no symbol divertik 
the mind ; men of aU religions enter there with the same respect. 
You feel that it is a temple in which the thought of God 
alone can dwell, and which no other thought coula fill. 

Change the priest, take away the altar, remove the paint- 
ings, pull down the statues, and nothing is changed ; it is 
always the house of God ! or, rather, Saint-Peter's in itself 
alone, is an immense symbol of that etemal Christianity which» 
possessing in its morality and in its holiness the germs of ail 
the successive developments of religions thought of ail âges 
and ail men, opens itself to reason in proportion as God makes 
reason shine, communicates with God in the light, grows and 
rises with the constantly increasing proportions of the human 
mind; and, assembling ail nations in the unity of a worship 
becoming more and more rational, makes one single God of 
ail divine forms ; one single worship of ail faiths ; one single 
humanity of ail nations. 

Michael Angelo is the Moses of monumental Catholicism, 
such as it wiU one day be understood. He has raised the 
imperishable arch of future times, the Panthéon of deified 
reason. 



NOTE VII. 

At length, after having enjoyed Rome to satiety, I wished 
to see Naples. It was, above ail, the tomb of Virgil, tho 
cradle of Tasso, which attracted me tWther. Countries for 
me hâve always been men. Naples is Virgil and Tasso. It 
seemed to me that they had lived yesterday, and that their 
ashes were yet warm. I saw in a4vance Posilipo and Sor- 
rento, Vesuvius and the sea, through the atmosphère of their 
great and tender genius. 

I started for Naples towards the end of the month of March. 
I travelled in a post-chaise with a French merchant who had 

4* 



118 LAMARTI>E. 

been seeking a travelling companion to diminish tbe ezpense of 
the journey. At a short distance from Yelitrœ, we found the 
post-coach which ran between Rome and Naples, oYertarned 
on the roadside and riddled with buUets. The postboy, one 
postiilion, and two horses had been killed. The men had just 
been borne into a nei^hboring but. Tom despatches and 
pièces of letters floated upon the breeze. The brigands had 
retumed in the direction of the AbmzzL Detachments of 
French cavalry and infantry, from corps that were encamped at 
Terracina, were pursuing them amongst the rocks. We heard 
the fire of the sharpshooters, and saw along the whole side of 
the mountain small clouds of smoke which were foUowed by 
the reports of gims. From time to time we met bodies of 
French and NeapoUtan troops, posted along the road. It was 
thus that travellers entered Naples in those days. 

This highway-robbery had a political character. Mnrat 
reigned. The Calabrias still resisted ; King Ferdinand, who 
had withdrawn into Sicily, supported the guérilla chiefs in the 
mountains with his subsidies. The famons Fra-Diavolo fought 
at the head of thèse bauds. Their exploits were assassina- 
tions. We only found good ordcr and security in the immé- 
diate vicinage of Naples. I arrived there on the first of 
April. A few days afterwards, I was joined by a young 
man of my âge, with whom I had been united at collège in the 
bonds of a friendship that was truly fratemal. His name was 
Aymon de Virieu. His life and my own were so completely 
commingled, from his childhood until his death, that our two 
existences were as parts of one another, and I hâve spoken 
of him in almost every instance where I bave had to speak of 
myself. ******* 
******** 



NOTE VIII. 

After the first description of my impressions at Naples, I 
find in my recollections the following fragment. It is in itsclf 
the most faithful and the most simple commentary on that 
union. 



LES CONFIDENCES 113 



EPISODE. 

NOTE I. 

At Naples, I led nearly the same life of contemplation as at 
Rome in the old painter's faouse in the Piazza di Spagna ; in- 
stead of spending my days in roaming amongst the remains of 
antiquity, however, I spent them wandering along the beach 
or gliding over the waves of the bay of Naples. I retumed at 
night to the old monastery, where, thanks to the hospitality 
of one of my mother's relatives, I occupied a small cell which 
touched the leads, and whose balcony, festooned with pots of 
flowers and creeping plants, opened on the sea, Yesuvius, Cas- 
telamare, and Sorrento. 

When the moming horizon was clear I could see the white 
house of Tasso, suspended over the sea like a swan's nest, 
sparkle in the sunbeams on the summit of a cliff of perpen- 
dicular yellow rocks which were washed by the waves. This 
' sight ravished me. The gleam of the poet's house was reflect- 
ed in the depths of my soûl. It was like a ray of glory, which 
sparkled from afar on my youth and on my obscurity. I re- 
called to mind that Homeric scène in the great man's life, 
when, released from prison, pursued by the envy of the small 
and the calumny of the great, flouted even in his genius — his 
only treasure— he retumed to Sorrento to seek a fittle rest, a 
little afifection, or a little commisération ; and when, disgmsed 
as a mendicant, he presented himself to his sister to try her 
heart, and see whether she, at least, would recognise the one 
she had so dearly loved. 

'*She recognise'd him on the instant," says the ingenuous 
biographer, " notwithstanding his sickly pallor, his blanching 
beard, and his ragged cloak. She casts hersclf into his arms 
with more tenderness and mercy than if she had discovered 
her brother beneath the glittering garments of the courtiers of 
Ferrara. Her voice for a long time is smothered by sobs ; 
she presses her brother to her heart. She washes his feet, 
brings him his father's mantle, has a festive repast prepared 
for him. But neither the one nor the other was able to touch 
the viands which had been set out for them, so full of tears 
were iheir hearts ; and they spent the day in weepmg, withoui 

10* 



m LAMARTINE. 

saying any thing to each other, gazing at the sea and thinking 
of their childhood." 



NOTE II. 

One day ; it was in the beginnîng of summer, at the mo- 
ment when the bay of Naples, with its hills, its white houses, 
its rocks carpeted with creeping plants, looks like a vase of 
verd-antique whitened by foam, and whose borders and han- 
dles are festooned with ivy and leafy yines ; it was the season 
when the fishermen of Posilipo, who build their huts on its 
rocks and spread their nets on the fine sand of its little coves, 
cruise with security at a distance from land and go and fish at 
night two or three leagues at sea, — as far away as the chffs of 
Capri, Procida, Ischia, and the middle of the gulf of Gaeta. 

Some take torches with them, which they light to deceive 
the fish. The fish, mistaking the torchlight for the breaking 
of dawn, ascend towards the surface. A child, leaning over 
the prow of the boat, silently bends the link towards the wave, 
whUe the fisherman, burying his glance in the deep water, 
strives to discover his prey and to fold it in his net. Thèse 
lights, red as the glare of the fumace, are refiected in long un- 
dulating furrows along the surface of the sea, like the length- 
ened trails of light which foUow the queen of night over the 
waters. The heaving of the waves makes them oscillate, and 
prolongs their dazzling glimmer from billow to billow, as far as 
the first wave reflects it upon the waves that follow it. Light 
follows the laws of undidation, and only dies with the move- 
meut caused by the wake of the bark upon the waters. 



NOTE III. 

We often used to spend — ^my friend and I — ^whole hours 
seated on a shoal or on the humid ruins of the palace of Queen 
Jane, looking at thèse fantastic lights, and envying the errant 
and careless hfe of thèse poor fishermen. 

A few months' sojoum in Naples, and habituai commingling 
with the men of the lower orders^ during our jaunts into the 



LES CONFIDENCES. 115 

country and on thc sea, had familîarized us with theîr strongly 
accentuated and sonorons language, in which the movements 
of the body and the eyes play a more conspicuous part than 
words. PhUosophers by pres.Qntiment, and tîred of the vain 
agitations of life ère we had known them, we often envied those 
happy lazzaroni who then thronged the strand and the quays 
of Naples, who spent their days sleepîng on the sand in the 
shade of their little boats, or listening to the extemporized 
verses of their itinérant poets ; and their evenings, dancing the 
Tarentela with young girls of their o wn caste, beneath some vine- 
clad arbor on the border of their sea. We were better ac- 
quainted with their habits, character, and manners than with 
those of the fashionable world, with which we never mingled. 
This life pleased us, and lulled to sleep in our bosoms those 
fébrile movements of the soûl which uselessly waste the imagi- 
nation of yoimg men before the hour when their destiny calls 
upon them to act or think. 

My friend was twenty years of âge ; I, eighteen ; hence we 
were both at that period of life when youth is permitted to 
confound its dreams with its realities. We resolved to form 
an acquaintance with thèse fishermen, and embark with them 
to lead the same life for a few days. Those warm and brilliant 
nights spent beneath the sail, in that cradle rocked by the 
waves, and under the deep and star-spangled sky, seemed to 
us one of the most mysterious pleasures of nature, to be seized 
upon and tasted, were it only for the purpose of describing it. 

Free, and with no one to call us to account for our actions 
or our absence, on the morrow we put into exécution what we 
had dreamed. As we rambled along the strand of la MargeU 
lina, which extends below the tomb of Virgil at the foot of 
Mount Posilipo, and where the fishermen of Naples nm their 
boats on the sand and mend theîr nets, we saw an old man who 
was yet stout and hearty. He was shipping his fishing impie- 
ments on board his gaudily-painted galley, whose stem was 
surmounted by a small carved image of Saint Francis. At that 
very moment, a child of twelve, his only rower, was carrying 
to the boat two loaves of bread, a cheese of buffalo's milk, as 
hard, shiny, and yellow as the pebbles of the shore, a few figs« 
and a stone jug containing water. 

The old man's face, as well as the boy's, attracted us. We 
opened a conversation with him. The fisherman began to smile 
when we proposed that he should receive us as rowers, and take 
08 with him to sea. 



116 LAMARTINE. 

'* You hare not the hard hands which are needed to touch 
the handle of an oar/' said he to us. " Your white fingers were 
made to hold pens, not wood : it would be a pity to harden 
them at sea." 

*' We are young," retumed my friend, " and we wîah to tiy 
ail trades before we make choice of one. Yours pleasea us bê^ 
cause it is carried on under the sky and on the sea." 

" You are right/' replied the old fisherman. <' It is a irade 
that contents the heart, and makes the mind place dependence 
in the protection of the saints. The fisherman is under the 
immédiate care of heaven. Man knows not whence corne the 
wind and the waves. The plane and the file are in the work- 
man's hands, riches and favors are in the hands of the king ; but 
the bark is in the hands of God." 

This pious philosophy of the boatman attached us still more 
strongly to the idea of shipping with him. After résisting a 
long time, he at length consented. We agreed that each should 
give him two carlini* a day to pay him for our apprenticeship 
and our nurture. 

After this agreement was made, he sent the boy to la Mar* 
gellina for an additional supply of bread, wine, dried cheese, 
and fruits. At the décline of day, we helped 1dm to float his 
bark, and put out to sea. 



NOTE IV. 

The first night was delightful. The sea was as calm as a lake 
encircled by the mountains of Switzerland. As we increased 
the distance between our boat and the shore, we saw the glim* 
mering lights in the Windows of the palaces and on the quaya 
of ifaples sink and disappear beneath the dark line of the hori- 
zon. The lighthouses alon^ showed the line of the coast. Even 
iheir lamps were made to seem pale by the slender column of 
fire which shot up from the crater of Vesuvius. While the fish- 
erman cast and drew in his net, and the torch vacillated in the 
hand of the drowsy boy, we now and then gave a slight im- 
pulsion to the bark, and hearkened with ravishment to the 
sonorous drops of water which trickled from our oars, and fell 



* The earlina is worth about eight centi^— Ta» 



LES CONFIDENCES. 117 

harmoniously înto the water, like pearls poured into a silyer 
basin. We had long since doubled the headland of Posiiipo, 
crossed the gulf of Pozzuoli, the bay of Baïa, and passed through 
the channel of the gulf of Gaeta, between Cape Miseno and the 
isle of Procida. We were on the open sea ; sleep was begin- 
ning to overpower us. We stretched ourselves on our seats 
beside the boy. 

The fisherman <;oYered us over wiih the heavy sail which 
lay7olded at the bottom of the boat. We slept thus between 
two waves, rocked by the gentle swell of a sea which hardly 
inclmed the mast. When we again opened our eyes, it was 
broad day. 

A brilliant sun decked the sea with ribands of fire, and 
showered its beams on the white houses of an unknown shore« 
A slight breeze, coming from that land, made the sail tremble 
above our heads, and drove us from cove to cov^ and from 
rock to rock. It was the jagged and perpendicular coast of 
the charming isle of Ischia, which I was afterwards to inhabit 
80 long and love so deeply. It appeared to me, for the first 
time, bathed in light, rising from the sea, lo^g itself in the 
blue of heaven, and blown Hke a poet's dream during the light 
slumbers of a summer's night 



NOTE V. 

The island of Ischia, which séparâtes the gulf of Gaeta.from 
the bay of Naples, and which is itself only separated from the 
isle of Procida by a narrow channel, is merely one single per- 
pendicular mountain whose white brow plunges its jagged 
teeth into the sky. Its steep sides, furrowed by glens, ravines, 
and beds of torrents, are covered from top to bottom with the 
dark green foliage of chestnut-trees. Those of its plateaux 
which are nearest the sea and inclined towards the waves, are 
crowned with thatched cottages, rustic villas, and villages half 
hid beneath luxuriant vines. Each of thèse villages has iis 
marine, This is the name given to the little harbor in which 
float the beats of the fishermen of the isle, and where the 
billows rock the masts of a few vessels with lateen sails. The 
yards touch the trees and the vine*arbors on the coast. 

There is not one of those houses suspended to the aloçea c\l 



118 LAMARTINE. 

4 

the mountaîn, hîd at tbe bottom of îts ravines, shootin^ up like 
pyramids on the top of its plateaux, leaning against its wood 
of chestnut-treeSy shadowed by its cluster of pines, surrounded 
by its wbite arcades, and festooned with its banging vines, 
which bas not been tbe idéal dwelling, in dreams, of a poet or 
a lover. 

Our eyes never grew tired of tbis spectacle. Tbere wàs an 
abundance of fisb on tbe coast. Tbe fisberman bad been suc- 
cessful tbrougb tbe nigbt. We ran into one of tbe little coves 
of tbe island, to draw water from a spring bard by, and to 
rest ourselves upon tbe rocks. As tbe sun was sinking in tbe 
west, we retumed to Naples, extended upon our bencbes. A 
square sail, stretcbed across a little mast in tbe bow of tbe 
boat, tbe sheeta of wbicb were beld by tbe boy, suffîced to 
make us skim past tbe cliffs of Procida and of Cape Miseno, 
and to make tbe surface of tbe sea foam beneatb us. 

Tbe aged fisberman and tbe boy, witb our assistance, dragged 
tbe boat upon tbe sand, and carried tbeir baskets of fisb and 
sbells into tbe sort of cellar in wbicb tbey dwelt beneatb tbe 
rocks of la Margeîlina, 



NOTE VI. 

On tbe day foUowing, we gayly resumed our new trade. 
We successively skimmed over ail tbe waves in tbe sea of 
Naples. We beedlessly followed tbe wind, wberesoever it 
blew us. In tbis manner we visited tbe island of Capri, from 
wbicb tbe sinister sbade of Tiberîus still repuises tbe imagina- 
tion ; Cumse and ber temples, buried beneatb tbe tufted laurel 
and wild fig-trees ; Baïa and ber sad sbores, wbicb seem to 
bave grown old and gray like tbose Romans wbose youtb and 
pleasures tbey once sbeltered ; Portici and Pompéii, smiling 
beneatb tbe lava and asbes of Vesuvius ; Castelamare, wLose 
tall and dense forests of laurel and wild cbestnut-trees, re- 
flected in tbe sea, cast a dark green sbade over tbe ever-mur- 
muring waves of ber roadstead. In every place tbe old 
fisberman knew some family of fisbermen like bimself, from 
wbom we received bospitality, wben tbe sea was heavy and 
prevented our retum to Naples. 

For tbe space of two montbs we did not enter an inn. We 



I.ES CONFIDENCES. 119 

«ved in the open air wîth tn^eople, and led the frugal life 
ehat tbey led. We had made*«urselve8 part of the people 
in order to be nearer nature. "We almost wore thèir costume. 
We spoke their language, and the simplicîty of their habits 
communicated to us, so to speak, the ingenuousness of their 
feelings. 

On the other hand, this transformation cost my friend and 
me but little. Both reared in the country during the storms 
of the Révolution, which had destroyed or dispei*sed our fam- 
ilies, in our childhood we had seen much of the life of the 
peasant ; he, in the mountains of the Gresivaudan, mth a nurse 
who had taken care of him during bis mother's imprisonment ; 
I, on the hills of the Maconese, in the small rustic dwelling in 
which my father and mother had sheltered their threatened 
nest. The only difiference existing between the shepherd, or 
the husbandman of our mountains, and the fisherman of the 
bay of Naples, is in the site, the language, and the trade. 
The furrow, or the wave, inspires the same thoughts to the 
men who plough the earth or the sea. Nature speaks the 
same language to those who dwell with her on the mountain 
or on the billow. 

We experienced this. In the midst of those simple-hearted 
men, we did not feel as if we were amon^st strangers. The 
same instincts are a sort of relationship between men. The 
Tery monotony of that life pleased us while it rocked us to 
sleep. We marked with grief the rapid flight of summer 
and the approach of those autumn and winter days, after 
which we would bave to retum to our homes. Our anxious 
families were beginning to recall us. We banished this 
thought of departure as far as we could, and loved to fancy 
that the life we were then leading would never bave an end. 



NOTE VII. 

Meanwhile, September was beginning to pour its showers 
and roll its thimders. The sea was less smooth. Our trade 
was more painful and sometimes became dangerous. The 
wind freshened, the waves foamed, and often rollcd upon us 
and soaked us. We had purchased, on the mole, two of those 
thick brown woollen wrappers which the fiailoT^ «sxii lo&tA.Tt^iWi 



120 LAMARTINE. 

of Naples throw over thei];â|foulders in wmter-time. The 
wide sleeves of those wrappjpT hang alongside of naked arms. 
The hood floats behind, or covers tbe brow, according to 
the weather, — sheltering the seaman's head from cold and 
rain, or allowing the breeze and the sunbeams to play with 
bis wet locks. 

One day, we started from la Margellina, on a sea as smooth 
as oil which was not rippled by the slightest breath, to go 
fish for red muUets and the fîrst tunny along the coast of 
Cumse, whither they are driven by the current at this season 
of the year. The red mists of mom fioated halfway up the 
coast, and threatened a gale for evening. We hoped to be 
beforehand with it, and to hâve time to double Cape Miseno 
ère the heavy, slumbering sea wonld shake ofif its lethargy. 

The fish weré abundant. We wished to cast a few more 
nets. The wind took us by surprise ; it fell from the smnmit 
of Epomeo, an immense mountain which o'ertops Ischia, with 
as much noise and weight as if the mountain itself were 
tumbling into the sea. It first levelled the Uquid space 
around us, as the iron harrow smooths the earth and levels 
the furrows. Then the billows, recovering from their sur- 
prise, swelled with loud murmurs, and, in a few minutes, rose 
to such a height that they hid from our eyes the coast and 
the isles. 

We were at an equal distance from the maîn-land and 
Ischia, and had already neared the channel which séparâtes 
Cape Miseno from the Grecian isle ^f Procida. There was 
only one course for us to follow, and that was to enter the 
channel resolutely, and, if we succeeded in running through 
it, to throw ourselves to the left in the gulf oî Baïa, and seek 
shelter in its tranquil waters. 

The old fisherman did not hesitate. From the top of a 
wave, on which the equipoise of the boat suspended us a 
moment in a cloud of spray, he cast a rapid glance around 
him, like a man who ascends a tree to discover the path 
which he bas lost, then throwing himself upon the tiller : 

" To your oars, children !" cried he ; ** we must fly to the 
cape swLfter than the wind ; if it gets there before us, we are 
lost !" 

We obeyed as the body obeys the instinct. 

With eyes fixed on bis eyes, to read in them the rapid indi- 
cation of his direction, we bent to om* oars, and now laboriously 
climbing the sides of the rising waves, anon plunging with 



LES CONFIDENCES. 121 

tbeir foam into their depths, we strove to slacken our descent 
hy the résistance of our oars in the water. £ight or ten bil- 
lows of increasing size threw us into the narrowest part of 
the channel. But, as our pilot had said, the wind had got 
there before us, and in ingulfing itself between the cape and 
the point of the island, had acquired such force and weîght 
that it tossed the sea and made it bubble up like furious lava ; 
and the waves, not finding room to fly with suffîcient speed 
from the hurricane which drove them, piled themselves up, 
8unk again, gushed forth, scattered themselves in every direc- 
tion like crazy billows, and, making vain efiforts to escape 
through the channel, dashed themselves with terrible force 
against the perpendicular rocks of Cape Miseno, around which 
they raised a pillar of foam whose spray was scattered as far 
as our boat. 



NOTE VIII. 

It was madness to attempt to pass through that strait witb 
a bark which had neither deck, nor mast, nor sail, and which 
one single spout of foam could fiU and sink. The fisherman 
cast a glance on the cape lighted up by its column of sea- 
spray, — a glance which I shall never forget, — ^then, making 
the sign of the cross, exclaimed : 

^'To pass is impossible ; to tum back into the open sea is 
still more impossible. We bave only one chance left : we 
must reach Procida, or perish." 

Inexperienced as we were in the -practices of the sea, we 
felt ail the diffîculty of such a manœuvre in a gale of wind. 
In sailing towards the cape, we had the wind astem, driving 
us before it ; we followed the sea which was driven in the 
same direction as ourselves, and the waves, as they rose, car- 
ried us up with them. Hence the chance of being buried in 
their hollows was not so great. But to reach Procida, the 
twinkle of whose evening lights we could perceive on our 
right, we had to take the waves oblîquely, and, so to «peak, 
glide in their troughs towards the coast, exposing our side to 
the billows and our slender bulwarks to the wind. Necessity, 
however, forbade ail hésitation. The fisherman, motioning us 
to raise our oars, took advantage of the interval between one 
wave and another, to put about. "We steered for Piadd&« 

11 



122 LAMARTINE. 

and floated like a bit of sea-weed which is tossed from wair« 
to wave, and which one billow snatches from another. 



NOTE IX. . 

We made but little headway ; night was coming on. The 
scum, the spray, the clouds, which the gale roUed in tattered 
shreds over the channel, increased the gloom. The old man 
had ordered the boy to light one of his torches, either to shed 
a little light on his path o'er the deep, or to make known to 
the sailors of Procida that a boat was going to destruction in 
the channel, and to ask, not their assistance, but their prayers. 

A sublime and awful spectacle was the sight of that poor 
child, grasping with one hand the little mast which arose out 
of the bow of the boat, and with the other holding aloft that 
torch with the red glare, whose flame and smoke, writhing in 
the wind, scorched both his fingers and his flowing hair. That 
âoating spark appearing on the summit of the waves, and dis- 
appearing in their depths, seemingly on the point of dying, 
and yet constantly buming, was as the symbol of those four 
human existences which were struggling between life and 
death in the darkness and agony of the night. 



ITOTE X. 

Three hours, whose minutes had the duration of the thoughts 
that counted them, lagged by in this manner. The moon 
arose, and, as is usual, the wind rose with it, more furious 
than ever. Had we carried the least bit of canvas, it would 
hâve capsized us twenty times. Although the sides of our 
boat, which were very low, offerpd but little résistance to the 
hurricane, there were moments, nevertheless, when it seemed 
as if it would tear our very keel out of the waters, and at 
times it made us spin round like a withered leaf blown from 
the tree. 

We shipped a great deal of water ; we were hardly able to 
bail it out as fast as it enlered. At times we felt the planka 



LES CONFIDENCES. 123 

sink under us like a coffin wliîch is lowered into a grave. The 
weight of the water made the boat less obedient, and m^ht 
make her too slow to rise from between the waves. One 
single secondes delay, and ail was over. 

The old man, who was utterly unable to speak, made sîgns 
to us, with tears in his eyes, to throw overboard ail that cum- 
bered the bottom of the boat. Jugs of water, baskets of fish, 
the two large sails, the iron anchor, coils of rope, his bundles 
of heavy clothes and our own, even our thick wooUen wrappers 
soaked with water, ail passed over the side. The poor boat- 
man cast a sorrowful glance at ail his wealth floatmg on the 
waves. The boat rose and skimmed lightly o'er the brows of 
the billows, like a courser freed from lus burden. 

We entered almost imperceptibly into smoother waters, 
somewhat sheltered by the westerly point of Procida. Tho 
wind lulled, the fiame of the torch straightened itself, the 
moon made a large blue opening in the clouds, the waves, as 
they retreated, smoothed their angry crests and ceased to foam 
above our heads. Little by little the sea became short, and 
subsided into ripples almost as gentle as those in a sheltered 
cove ; and the dark shadow of the cliff of Procida intercepted 
the line of the horizon. We were in the waters of the middle 
of the isle. 



NOTE XL 

The sea was too rough at the point to permit us to seek 
the harbor. We had to make up our minds to approach the 
isle on its side, and in the midst of its shoals. 

'' Let us banish ail fears, children," said the fisherman to us, 
surveying the shore by the light of the torch ; " the Madonna 
has saved us. We hâve reached land, and we will sleep in 
my house to-night." 

We thought that he had lost his sensés, for the only dwell- 
ing that we knew him to possess was the dismal cellar at la 
Margelltna, and to retum to it before the dead of night, we 
would hâve to re-enter the channel, double the cape, and 
again afîront the dangers of the roaring sea, from which we 
Lad so recently escaped. 

But, reading our thoughts in our eyes, and smilin^ at thm 
expresffloi of astonishment on our faces, he continuedi 



^24 LAMABTIKB» 

** Rest easy, yoirng men, we will get there, and jet not a 
single wave shall wet us." 

Then he explained to us that he was hom in Procida ; that 
he jet owned, on this side of the îsle, the cabin and the garden 
whicb faad belonged to his father ; and that» at that verj mo- 
ment, his aged wife with her grand-daughter, the sister of 
Beppino, our young reefer, and two other grandchUdren, 
were at his house, drying figs and gathering the grapes which 
they sold in Naples. 

" A few more strokes of the oar," added he, " and we will 
drink water from the spring which runs clearer than the wine 
of Ischia." 

Thèse words reanimated our courage; we rowed something 
luce the distance of a league along the straight and foam- 
covered shore of Procida. From time to time the boy raised 
his torch, and shook it above his head. Its sinister glare shone 
on the rocks, and showed us one continuons and unapproach- 
able wall of stone. At last, after rowing round a spur of rock 
which projected into the sea in the form of a bastion, we saw 
the cliff sink and form a hoUow, something like a Inreach in 
the wall of an enclosure ; one movement of the tiller made us 
tum straight towards the shore, — and three last wa^es threw 
our worried bark between two shoals, around which the water 
bubbled and foamed. 



NOTE XII. 

The prow, when it touched the rock, sent forth a sharp 
and loud noise like the cracking of a board which falls and 
breaks. We jumped into the sea, secured the boat as best we 
could with the remains of the rigging, and followed the old 
man and the child who walked before us. 

We climbed a sort of narrow fiight of staîrs against the side 
of the cliff, where the chisel in the rock and the tread of man 
in the earth had formed uneven steps, which were made sHp- 
pery by the spray. Thèse stairs in the solid rock were com- 
pleted by a few artificial steps which had been formed by 
Durying long pôles in the crevices of the natural wall, and 
casting over those trembling supports the tarred planks gath* 
ered from wrecks, or fagots of the branches of chestnut*trees 
covered with th^ dry feaves. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 125 

After havîng thus slowly climbed about four or five hun- 
dicd steps, we found ourselves in a little yard, suspended on 
high, and surrounded by a parapet of gray stone. At the 
extremity of the yard yawned two dark arches, which looked 
as though they might lead to a storeroom for wine. Above 
thèse massive arches, two rounded arcades supported a âat 
roof, whose borders were gamished with pots of rosemary and 
sweet basil. Beneath the arcades, you saw a mstic gallery, 
where ears of corn, hanging from the roof, shone in the moon* 
light like golden lustres. 

A door of boards, badly put together, opened on this gal- 
lery. Towards the right, the ground on which the little house 
rested unevenly rose to a level with the floor of the gallery. 
On this side, a large fig-tree and a few tortuous branches of 
a grape-vine crowned one of the corners of the house, min- 
gling theîr leaves and their fruit beneath the openîngs of the 
gallery, and casting two or three serpentine festoons over the 
walls of the arcades. Thèse branches almost hid two low 
Windows, which opened on this side of the garden ; and had 
it not been for those Windows, the massive, square, low house 
might hâve been taken for one of the gray rocks of that coast, 
or for one of those blocks of hardencd lava, round which the 
chestnut-tree, the ivy, and the grape-vine, wrap and «itwine 
their branches, and in which the vine-dresser of Castelamare 
or Sorrento digs a grotto closed with a door to store his wine 
beside the vine that bore it. 

The old man, my friend, and I, fatigued by the long and 
steep ascent which we had just climbed, and by the weight 
of our oars, which we bore upon our shoulders, paused a mo- 
ment to take breath in this yard. But the child, throwing his 
oar on a heap of weeds, and lightly sprin^ng up the stairs, 
began to knock at one of the wmdows with the handle of hss 
torch, which was still buming, crying the while in joyous tones 
to his gra&dmother and his sister: 

"Mother! sister! Madré! Sorellinat Owtana! Grazt" 
élla! awake! open the door: it's father, it's me, and two 
étrangers that we bave brought with us." 

We heard a voice, half awakened, but still clear and sweet^ 
vent a few exclamations of surprise at the back of the house. 
Then the shutters of one of the Windows were pushed half 
open by a naked white arm protruding from a loose sleeve, 
and we saw, by the light of the torch which the boy on tip- 

11* 



126 LAMARTINE. 

toe raîsed (owards the wîndow, the ravishing face of a yoiing 
girl appear at the opening. 

Startled oui of ner slumbers by her brother's voice, Gra- 
ziella had neither had the thou^ht nor the time to arrange a 
niffht-dress for herself. She nad rushed bârefooted to the 
window m ail the disorder m which she slumbered on her bed. 
One half of her long black tresses hung upon one of her cheeks ; 
the other half wound around her neck, then, borne to the other 
side of her shonlder by the wmd, which blew with violence, 
beat the half^pen shutter, and tossed against her face Uke 
the raven's wing shaken by the blasU 

With both her hands the young girl rubbed her eyes, as 
she raised her elbows, and dilated her shoulders with that fîrst 
natural movement of a child who is suddenly awakened, and 
wishes to banish sleep. Her nnder-garment, fastened around' 
her neck, only revealed a tall and slender form, on which the 
first undulations of youth were hardly perceptible beneath the 
linen. Her large oval eyes were of that nncertain color, be- 
tween deep black and dark sea-blue, which softens the beam 
by the liquidness of the glance, and unités in equal propor- 
tions, in the eyes of woman, tendemess of soûl and energy of 
feeling — a heavenly hue which the eyes of the women of Asia 
and Italy borrow from the scorching beat of their days of fire 
and the serene azuré of their skies, their seas, and their nights. 
Her cheeks were full, round, firm in their contour, but of a 
somewhat pale complexîon, and slîghtly browned by the cli- 
mate — not the sickly pallor of the North, but that healthy 
whiteness of the South, which looks like the color which mar- 
ble wears after it has been bufifeted for âges by the winds and 
waves. Her mouth, whose lips were wider apart and thicker 
than those of the women in our latitude, was encircled by 
the lines of candor and goodness. Her small, but dazzling 
teeth shone in the unsteady glare of the torch like those pearly 
shells which yawn on the seashore, beneath the rip|ile of the 
sun-heated waters. 

While she was speaking to her little brother, her vivacious, 
somewhat sharp, and strongly accentuated words, half carried 
away by the wind, sounded like music in our ears. The ex- 
pression of her face, which was as rapid in its movements as 
the gleam of the torch which illuminated her features, changed 
in an instant from surprise to dismay, from affright to joy, 
from tendemess to gayety ; then, when she perceived us be- 
hind the thick trunk of the fig-tree, she withdrew in confusion 



LES CONFIDl^NCES. 127 

from the window, allowed tfae released shutter to beat at raii« 
dom against tbe wall, took just time enough to awaken hex 
grandmother, and half clothe herself, came and opened the 
door beneath the arcades for us, and kissed her grandfather 
and her brother with warmtb and émotion. 



NOTE XIII. 

The old grandmother soon after made her appearance, 
bearing in her hand a red earthen lamp which hghted up her 
thin, pale features, and her hair, which was as white as the 
skeins of yam which lay in tufts on the table around her dis- 
taff. She kissed her husband's hand and the boy's forehead. 
AU the narrative which is contained in thèse Unes was ex- 
changed in a few words and a few gestures between the 
members of that poor family. We did not hear ail. We 
stood somewhat aloof in order not to constrain onr hosts in 
their outpourings of heart. They were poor; we were 
Etrangers ; we owed them respect. Our attitude of reserve 
in the background and near the door silently testiâed that re- 
spect. 

Graziella from time to time cast at us a glance which be- 
trayed surprise, and which almost seemed as if it came from 
the depths of a dream. So soon as the father had finished bis 
récital, the aged'mother fell upon her knees near the hearth ; 
Graziella ascended to the terrace, and retumed with a sprig of 
rosemary and a few orange-flowers which looked like large 
white stars; she took a chair, and with long golden pins 
drawn from her own haïr fastened the nosegay in front of a 
small besmoked statue of the Virgin which stood above the 
door, and in front of which bumed a lamp^ We understood 
that this was a retum of thanks to her divine protectress, for 
baving saved her grandfather and her brother, and we parti- 
cipated in her gratitude. 



NOTE XIV. 

The interîor of the house was as naked and looked as much 
like a rock as the exterior. Nothing but the unplastered 



128 LAMARTINE. 

walls, merely whitened wîth a little lime. Lizards, roused out 
of their slumbers by the light, crawled and made a confased 
noise in the crevices between the stones and beneath the fera* 
leaves which served as a bed for the children. Swallows' 
nests, from which protruded little black heads in which spar- 
kled brilliant and uneasy eyes, hnng from the bark-covered 
rafters which supported the roof. Graziella and her grand- 
mother slept together on the same bed, covered with pièces of 
sails, in the back chambcr. Baskets of fruit and a mule's 
pack-saddle lay upon the floor. 

The fisherman tumed towards us with a sort of shamefaced- 
ness, as he showed us with his hand the meanness of bis 
dweiling ; then he conducted us to the terrace, the place of 
honor in the East and in the south of Italy. With the assist- 
ance of the boy and Graziella, he made a sort of shed by 
leaning one end of our oars on the parapet- wall of the terrace, 
the other on the floor. He covered this shelter over with 
twenty or more fagots of chestnut-twigs freshly eut on the 
mountain ; beneath it he spread a few bundles of fem ; he 
brought us two pièces of bread, some fresh water and figs, 
and invited us to repose ourselves. 

The fatigues and émotions of the day made our slumbers 
sudden and deep. When we awoke, the swallows were al- 
ready screeching around our bed, as they skimmed over the 
terrace to carry off the crumbs of our supper ; and the sun, 
already high ia the hcavens, heated the fagots which serred 
us as a roof, and made our shed as warm as an oven. 

We remained some time stretched upon our bed of fem in 
that State of semi-sleep which allows the mental man to feel 
and think before the material man bas the courage to arise 
and act. We interchanged a few inarticulate words, which 
were intemipted by long pauses and which fell back again in- 
to our dreams. The fishing of the preceding day, the boat 
rockin^ beneath our feet, the furious sea, the inaccessible rocks, 
Graziella's face between the window-shutters, seen by the 
dancing light of the torch ; ail ''thèse things flitted through 
our brains, crossing one another and mingling in confusion. 

We were aroused out of that somnolency by the sobs and 
reproaches of the grand mother, who was speaking to her hus- 
band in the house. The sound of her voice and a few words 
reached our ears through the chimney, the top of which arose 
through the terrace. The poor woman was lamenting the 
lo6s of her beautiful jars, of the anchor, of the coils of fdmost 



LES CONFIDENCES. 120 

new rope, and especially of the two beautiful sails spun by 
lier, woY«n ont of her o¥m hemp, and which we had had the 
cruelty to throw into the sea to save our Uves. 

" What business hadst thon/' said she to the downcast and 
silent old man, '' to take thèse two strangers, thèse two French- 
men wîth thee ? Dost thou not know that they are pagans, 
(paffani,) and that they carry misfortune and impiety witfa 
them ? The saints hâve punished thee. They hâve strîpped 
us of our riches — but, tfaank the Almightyl they hâve not 
y et robbed us of our soûls.** 

The poor man knew not what to answer. But Graziella, 
with the authority and the fretfulness of a child whose grand- 
mother permits her to say whatever she pleases, rebelled 
against the injustice of thèse reproaches, and, taking the part 
of the old man, replied to her grandmother : 

*' Who told you that thèse strangers were pagans f Hâve 
p<igans such merciful looks for poor people ? do pagans make 
the sign of the cross before the images of saints ? Well, now, 
I tell you that yesterday when you fell upon your knees to 
thank God, and when I fastened the nosegay in front of the 
statue of the Madonna, I saw them bow their heads as if they 
were praying, and make the sign of the cross on their breasts ; 
and I even saw a tear sparkle m the eyes of the youngest and ' 
fall upon his hand." 

" It was a drop of sea»water which dripped from his hair," 
acrimoniously resumed the old woman. 

" And I tell you that it was a tear," angrily retorted Gra- 
ziella. " The wind which was blowing, had had full time to 
dry their hair, from the seashore up to the top of the cliff. 
But the wind does not dry the heart. Hence, I say it again, 
they had water in their eyes." 

We felt that we had an all-powerful protectress in the 
family, for the grandmother made no reply, and ceased to 
grumble. 



NOTE XV. 

We hastened to descend and offer our thanks to the poor 
family, for the hospitality which we had received. We found the 
dsherman, the old mother, Beppo, Graziella, and even the little 
ehildren, ail making ready to descend towaixls the seashore» 



130 LAMARTINE. 

to yisit the bark which had been forsaken since the prcceding 
night, and to see whether it was suffîciently secured from the 
gale, which still contmued. We followed them with lowered 
brows, as thnid as guests who hâve been the cause of a mis- 
fortune in a family, and who are not certain of the feelings 
entertained towards them by its members. 

The fisherman and his wife led the way ; Graziella, holding 
one of her little brothers by the hand, and carrying the other 
on her arm, followed them. We brought up the rear, in 
silence. At the last tum of one of the fiiights of steps, whence 
you can see the shoals which hâve hitherto been hid from 
sight by a ridge of rock, we heard a wail of grief which simul- 
taneously arose from the lips of the fisherman and his aged 
partner. We saw them raise their arms to heaven, wring their 
hands as if in the phrensy of despair, beat their foreheads and 
eyes with their clinched fists, and tear out tufts of their white 
hair, which were borne away by the wind and whirled against 
the rocks. 

Graziella and the children soon raised their voices, and min- 
gled their cries with those of their grandparents. They ail 
sprang down the remaining steps like créatures deprived of 
reason, rushed towards the shoals, advanced into the very 
fringe of foam driven to the shore by the immense waves ; and 
prostrated themselves, some on their knees, others on their 
backs, the old woman with her face between her hands, and 
her head buried in the humid sand. 

We were contemplating this scène of despair from the top 
of the last Httle promontory, without sufficient strength either 
to advance or to retreat. The boat fastened to the rock, but 
without any anchor at the stem to steady it, had been raised 
by the waves during the night, and dashed to pièces against 
the points of the very ridges which should hâve protected it. 
One half of the poor skifif still swimg from the end of the rope 
which we had tied to the rock the night before. It was yet 
struggling with a sinister noise, like that of the voices of 
drowning men, dying away in a hoarse and heart-rending wmI. 

The other parts of the hull, the poop, the mast, the timbers, 
the painted planks, were scattered in wild confusion along the 
strand, like the bones of dead bodies tom from one another 
by wolves, after a battle. When we at last reached the sands, 
the old fisherman was running from one of thèse pièces of 
the wreck to the other. He would pick them up, gaze at them 
with tearless eyes, then let them fall at his feet, to go further 



LES CONFIDENCES. 131 

on. Graziella was sitting on the ground weeping, with her 
face hid in her apron. The children, with their naked feet in 
the sea, were scrambling and crying after the floating frag- 
ments of the wreck, doing their best to bring them to the shore. 

As to the old womaâ, she continued to moan and to speak 
at the same time. We could only catch confused accents and 
shreds of lamentations, which rent the air and made the heart 
bleed. 

** 0, ferocions sea ! deaf sea ! sea worse than the démons of 
hell ! sea without any heart and without any honor," cried she, 
with whole yocabtdaries of abuse, shaking her clinched hand 
at the waves, " why didst thou not swallow us ? ail of us ? 
since thou hast swallowed that which gave us bread ? There ! 
there ! there ! gulp me, piecemeal, since thou hast not swal- 
lowed me whole !" 

Saying this, she sat up on her haunches, and cast shreds of 
her dress, along with handfuls of her hair, into the waters. 
She moved her arms as if she were beating the biUows, and 
spurned their foam with her feet ; then alternating from anger 
to lamentation, from passion to tendemess, she resumed her 
seat in the sand, leaned her brow on her hands, and gazed 
with streaming eyes on the sundered planks, as they beat upon 
the rocks. 

" Poor boat !** whined she, as if those fragments had been 
the remains of a loved being, but lately deprived of feeling, 
" is this the destiny we owed thee ? Should we not hâve per- 
ished with thee ? should we . not hâve perished together, 
as we had lived? On that spot! falling to pièces, crum- 
bling away, grinding into dust ; crying, even after death, 
on the rock to which thou hast called us ail the night, 
and where we should hâve come to thy relief ! What dost 
thou think of us ? Thou hast served us faithfully, and we 
hâve betrayed, forsaken, lost thee ! Lost thee, there ! so near 
our own door, within the reach of thy master's voice ! dashed 
upon the shore like the carcass of the faithful dog, that the 
waves cast at the feet of the master who had drowned him !" 

Then her tears choked her utterance ; soon after she began 
ag£Ûn, and enumerated ail the virtues of her bark, ail the mo- 
ney that it had cost, and ail the memories which were entwined 
for her aiound that poor floating wreck. 

** Was it for this," said she, " that we had had it so well 
repau-ed and so nicely painted at the end of the last tunnj 
season? Was it for this that my poor son» ère he died and 



132 LAMARTINE. 

left bis three fatherless, motherless children, had built it with 
so much care and love, almost entirely with his own hands ? 
Whenever I went to get the baskets on board, I knew the 
marks that his axe had left in the timbers, and I kissed them 
in memory of the one who is gone ! The sharks and fishes 
of the sea will kiss them now ! During the long winter even- 
ings, he had carved with his own hand the image of Saint 
Francis, on a board, and had fastened it above the stem, to 
protect it from the storm. 0, bad saint ! How bas he shown 
his gratitude ? What bas he done with my son, his wife, and 
the boat which that son left us, to enable us to eam food for 
his poor children ? How bas he protected himself ; and where 
is his own image, the sport of the waves ?" 

** Mother ! mother!" cried one of the children, raising from 
between two rocks a splinter of the wreck which had been cast 
high and dry by the billows; "here's the saint!** 

The grandam forgot ail her anger and ail her blasphemîes ; 
rushed towards the child, heedless of the surge through which 
she had to paddle ; seîzed the pièce of board which had been 
carved by her son, and pressed it to her lips, and washed it 
with tears. Then she returned to her former place, seated 
berself again, and said nothing more. 



NOTE XVI. 

We helped Beppo and the old man to pick up, one by one, 
ail the fragments of the boat. We dragged the mutilated keel 
further on the strand. We made a heap of thèse bits of 
wreck, some portions of which might yet be useful to thèse 
poor people ; we piled large stones above them, in order that 
the waves, if they rose, should not scatter thèse precious 
remains of the boat, and then retiimed moumfuUy, and at a 

freat distance in the rear of our hosts, to the bouse. The 
estruction of the bark and the state of the sea, precluded our 
departure. 

After having taken, with downcast eyes and silent lips, s 
pièce of bread and some goat's milk, which were brought to u» 
by Graziella beneath the fig-tree near the fountain, we left 
the bouse of mouming, -and went wandering through the' high 
arbor of grape-vines, and beneath the olive-trees, on the 
elevated plateau of the island. 



LES CONFIDENCES. . Il 



NOTE XVII. 



My friend and I bardly spoke to one another ; but the same 
thought animated us both, and we instinctively threaded ail 
tbe patbs wbich ran towards tbe eastem point of the island, 
and wbicb would certaînly lead us to tbe not far distant town 
of Procida. A few goatherds and several young girls clotbed 
in Grecian costume, and carrying jars of oil on their heads, set 
us on the right road two or tbree times. After an hour's 
marcb we at lengtb reached tbe town. 

" This îs a sad adventure," at last said my friend to me. 

" We must transform it into joy for thèse poor people," an- 
swered I. 

"I was tbinking of that/' resumed be, jingling a purse, 
well fiUed witb golden sequins^ in bis leatbem belt. 

" So was I ; but I only bave five or six sequins witb me. 
Nevertbeless, as I bave sbared in the misfortune, I must also 
share in the réparation." 

" I am tbe ricbest of tbe two," retumed my friend '; " I bave 
an open crédit at a banker's in Naples. I will advance ail. 
We will settle our accounts in France." 



NOTE XVIII. 

Conversing tbus, we nimbly descended tbe sloping streets 
of Procida. We soon reached tbe marine, This is tbe name 
given to tbe strand near a roadstead, or barbor, in tbe 
A^cbipelago and on tbe shores of Italy. The strand was 
covered witb boats belonging to Iscbia, Procida, and Naples, 
wbicb bad been forced to seek sbelter in those waters by tbe 
preceding day's storm. Tbe seamen and sailors either slum- 
bered in tbe sun, luUed by the decreasing murmur of tbe 
waves, or sat in groups conversing upon the mole. From our 
dress, and the wooUen caps wbicb covered our beads, tbey 
took us for young sailors from Tuscany or Genoa, wbo bad 
been landed by one of tbe brigs wbicb bring oil and wine to 
Iscbia and Procida. 

We strolled along tbe marine, searcbing witb our eyes for 
a Btancb and well-rigged vessel, wliicb migbt be easily worked 



34 LAMARTINE. 

by two men, and which in shape and proportions would bear 
tne strongest possible resemblance to tbe boat that we had 
lost. We had but little trouble to find wbat we wished. It 
belonged to a wealthy fisherman of the îsland, who owned 
several otbers. This one had been in use but a few months. 
We went straight to the owner, whose house was pointed out 
to us by the children on the beach. 

This man was blithe, tender-hearted, and good. He was 
moved by the récital which we made to him of the dis'isters 
of the night and of the ajQUction of his fellow-countryman. It 
did not make him lose a piastre on the cost of his yf ssel, — 
neither did it make him exaggerate its priée ; and the bargain 
was made at thirty-two golden sequins, which were paia to 
him out of hand by my friend. In considération of this sum, 
the boat, with entirely new rigging, sails, jars, ropes, iron an- 
chor, — ail was om-s. 

We even completed the outfit by purchasing in one of the 
stores on the wharf two woollen wrappers of a brownish hue 
— one for the old man, the other for the boy ; to thèse we 
added yarious kinds of nets, fish-baskets, and a few coarse 
domestic utensils for women's use. We agreed with the 
dealer in boats that we would pay him on the morrow three 
sequins more if the yessel were brought, on that very day, to 
a part of the coast which we designated to him. As the storm 
was lulling, and as the highlands of the isle protected the sea 
somewhat from the wind, on this side, he promised to fulfil 
our wishes, and we started to return oyerland to the house 
of Andréa. 



NOTE XIX. 

We trod the road back leisurely, seating ourselyes beneath 
cyery tree and in the shade of eyery yine-arbor, chatting, 
dreaming, stopping every young Frocidana to price the basket 
of figs, medlars, or grapes which she carried on her head or 
âhoidders, and giving the hours time to slip by. When, from 
the brow of a headland, we perceived our boat stealthily gliding 
in the shade of the coast, we increased our pace in order to 
reach the appointed spot as soon as the rowers. 

No Sound of footstep or voice was to be heard in the little 
house or in the yineyard which surrounded it. Two beautiful 



LES CONFIDENCES. 135 

pigeons with wide feet thickly tufted witb feathers and white 
wings spotted with black, pecking grains of corn on the para- 
pet- wall of the terrace, were the only signs of life which ani- 
mated the house. We noiselessly ascended to the roof ; hère 
we found the whole family wrapt in slumber. With the ex- 
ception of the children, whose pretty heads rested cheek-by- 
jole on the arm of Graziella, ail lay in the attitude of exhaus- 
tion caused by grief. 

The old mother had her head upon her knees, and her 
drowsy breath yet seemed loaded with sobs. The father was 
stretched ont upon bis back, with arms folded, in the broad 
sim. The swallows, as they skimmed past, almost touched 
hîa gray locks. Fhes swarmed on bis brow ocvered with per- 
spiration. Two deep furrows which wound dcwn to bis lips 
attested that man's stem strengtk had yielded in bis bosom, 
and that be had fallen asleep with tears in bis eyes. 

Tbis sad spectacle lacerated our very hearts. The thought 
of the happiness which we were about to restore to thèse poor 
people consoled us again. We awakened them. At the feet 
of Graâella and her young brothers, on the naked floor of the 
terrace, we cast the loaves of fresh bread, the salted provis- 
ions, the grapes, the oranges, the figs with which we had 
loaded ourselves on the road. The young girl and the chil- 
dren did not dare to rise in the midst of that shower of plenty 
which fell around them as if from beaven. The father thankea 
us in the namc of bis family. The grandam looked on with 
glassy eyes. The expression of her features was more like 
anger than indifférence. 

" Corne, Andréa," said my friend to the old man, " man 
should not weep twice for the loss of that which he can regain 
by toil and courage. There are planks in the forest and sails 
in the hemp which grows. The life of man is the only thing 
that does not grow again when grief wears it out. A day's 
tears exhaust more strength than a year's toil. Come down 
witb us, you and your wife and your children. We are y our 
sailors. Tbis evening we will help you to bring up into the 
ynrd the remains of our wreck. You can make enclosures, 
beds, tables, and other articles of fumiture for your family out 
of them. It will be grateful to you one of thèse days to 
slumber peacefully amid the planks that bave rocked you so 
long on the waves." 

" May there be enough of them to make us coffins at least P 
muttered the grandam. 



186 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE XX. 



They ail got up, however, and followed us slowly do¥m the 
steps leading to the beach ; but it was easy to perceive that 
the sight of the sea and the murmur of the waves were psdn- 
ful to them. I will not attempt to describe the surprise and 
loy of thèse poor people, when, from the top.of the first land- 
iDg above the sands, their eyes fell upon the new boat, glit- 
tering in the sun and drawn up high and dry alongside of the 
fragments of the old one, and when my friend told them : 

"She is yours!" 

They ail fell upon their knees, as if overpowered by the 
same delight, each one on the nearest step, to thank the Al- 
mighty, ère they could find words to express their gratitude 
to us. But their happy looks were ail the thanks we needed. 
They started up in obédience to the summons of my ftiend. 
They leaped after him towards the boat. They first walkei 
around it at a respectful distance, and as if they feared that it 
had something imearthly about it and would vanish like a vision. 
Then they approached a little nearer ; then they touched it, 
and, after they had done so, raised the hand they had laid 
upon the boat to their forehead and their lips and kissed it. 
Finally, they sent forth screams of admiration and joy, and, 
joining hands, from the old woman down to the smallest child, 
danced around the hull. 



NOTE XXI. 

Beppo was the first to climb the side of the boat. Stand- 
ing on the little orlop-deck at the prow, he drew from the hold, 
pièce by pièce, ail the rigging with which we had stowed it,— 
the anchor, the ropes, the jars with four handles, the beautiful 
new sails, the baskets, the wrappers with wide sleeves ; he 
made the anchor ring, he stacked the oars in his hands and 
raised them above his head; he unfurled the canvas, he 
passed his fingers over the rough nap of the cloaks ; he showed 
ail thèse treasures to his grandfather, to his grandmother, to 
his sister, venting exclamations of delight and stamping with 
happiness the while. The father, the mother, and Graziella» 
with tears in their eyes, glanced altemately at the boat and at 
their guests. 



LES confii»:nces. 137 

The sailors who had brought the vessel from the town of 
Procida wept also, in their hiding-place behind the rocks. 
Everybody blessed us. Graziella, whose gratitude was more 
serious in its expression, approached her grandmother, and I 
heard her murmur as she pointed her finger at us : 

" You said that they were pagans ; but I said that they 
were more likely to be angels perhaps ; who was right ?" 

The old woman threw herself at our feet and begged us to 
forgive her for her suspicions. From that time forward she 
loved us ahnost as much as she loved her grand-daughter and 
Beppo. 



NOTE XXII. 

T^l^ dismissed the sailors, first paying them the three sequins 
according to agreement. We each loaded ourself with some 
portion of the rigging which cumbered the hold, and, instead 
of the remains of that happy family's fortune, we brought back 
to their house ail thèse riches. In the evening, after supper, 
by the light of the lamp, Beppo removed from tho head of 
his grandmother*s bed the pièce of splintered board on which 
the image of Saint Francis had been carved by his father ; 
he squared it with a saw, cleaned it with a knife, smoothed it 
and painted it anew. It was his intention to fasten it in the 
inside of the prow on the morrow, in order that the new ves- 
sel should coQtain something of the old. 

It was thus that the nations of antiquîty, whenever they 
reared a new temple on the site of another temple, took care 
to use in the building of the new some of the materials, or, at 
least, a column belonging to the old, in order that there should 
be something ancient and sacred in the modem structure, and 
that the useless and rude mémorial itself should hâve its wor- 
ship and its prestige in the heart, amid the marrels with which 
they adomed the house of the gods. Man is man ever and 
everywhere. His sentient nature always bas the same in- 
stincts, whether the object which excites them be the Parthe- 
non, or Saint Peter's at Rome, or the poor fisherman's boat on 
the strand of Procida. 

12* 



138 ' LAMARTINE. 



NOTE XXIII. 

That night was probably the happiest of ail the nîghts that 
Providence had destined that house to enjoy from the moment 
that it Bhot out of the rock, until the period when it was to 
crumble mto dust agaîn. We slept, luUed by the gusts of wmd 
in the olive-trees and the roar of the billows on the strand, and 
guarded by the slanting rays of the moon which shOne upon our 
terrace. When we awoke, the sky was as clear as polished 
crystal, the sea as dark and as streaked with foam as if the 
waters had perspired from swiftness and lassitude. But the 
wind continued to howl with increased fury. The white spray 
which the waves accumulated on the point of Cape Miseno, 
rose to a still greater height than on the precedin^ day. It 
bathed the coast of Cumse in a flux and reflux of brilliantiiaze, 
which rose and fell incessantly. Not a sail was to be seen on 
either the gulf of Gaeta or on that of Baîa. The scray whipped 
the foam with its white wings — ^the only bird whose élément is 
the tempest, in which it screeches with joy as it whirls aronnd 
the wreck, like those accursed inhabitants of the Bay of the 
Departedy awaiting their prey from vessels going to destruction. 

Without confiding it to one another, we experienced a secret 
delight at thus being imprisoned by the gale in the house and 
yineyard of the fisherman. It gave us time to savor the pleas- 
ure of our situation and enjoy the happiness of that poor family» 
to which we were becoming attached, like two children. 

The wiûds and waves held us captives hère aine days. We 
almost wished, I in particular, that the tempest would never 
hâve an end, and that some fatal and involuntary necesâty 
would keep us prisoners for years on the spot where we were 
so happy. And yet our days flew by without émotion and 
without change. Nothing proves more conclusively how little 
is required to make up the sum of happmess, when the heart 
is young and finds pleasure in every thmg. Thus is it that the 
ûmplest food sustains and renews the life of the body, when 
seasoned by appetite, and when the organs are new and 
heilthy. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 139 



NOTE XXIV. 

To awake to the twittering of the swallows tliat grazed our 
roof of leayes as they skimmed o'er the terrace on which we had 
slept ; to listen to the childlike ypice of Graziella, who, through 
fear of disturbing the slumbers of the two strangers, warbled 
in an nnder-tone beneath the grape-vine ; to descend with rapid 
strides to the beach and plunge mto the waves and swim a few 
minutes aroirnd a small basin, whose fine sand sparkled beneath 
the peUucid and deep waters, and where the swell and foam of 
the open sea never entered ; to slowly reascend to the house, 
drying and warming our hair and shoulders the while in the 
sun ; to breakfast under the yine, on a pièce of bread and some 
buffalo's-milk cheese, which the young girl brought to us and 
broke with us ; to drink some of the clear, cool spring-water 
drawn by her in a small earthen jar of an oblong shape, which 
she blushingly held in her arms while we pressed our lips to 
the orifice ; then to help the family in the numberless little 
rustic labors of the ho'use and garden — ^propping up the fences 
which surrounded the vineyard and the parts of walls which 
supported the terraces— r-removing the large stones which had 
faUen during the winter from the top of those walls upon the 
slips of vine, and which encroached on the little cultivation 
which could be practised between the twigs — carrying to the 
storehouse the enormous yellow gourds, each one of which was 
a load for a man, then cutting off their ^aments, which covered 
the ground with their large leaves and entangled themselves 
around our feet — digging between each row of twigs, under the 
high trellis, a little trench in the dry earth, to catch the ndn- 
watcr which irrigated their roots for a long time — digging, for 
the same purpose, sorts of funnel-shaped wells at the foot of 
the fig and lemon trees ; — such were our malin occupations» 
imtil the hour when the sim's rays fell perpendicularly on tho 
roof, the garden, and the yard, and forced us to seek shelter 
beneath the vine-clad arbors. Hère the transparency and ré- 
verbération of the grape-vine leaves lent the uoating shadows 
a glowing and somewhat golden hue. 



140 LAMARTINE. 



BOOK VIII. 

NOTE I. 

Graziella would then retum to the house eîtber to spîn hj 
the side of her grandmother, or prépare the mid-day repast. 
As to the old fishermaa and Beppo, they spent ail their tîme 
on the seashore, trimming theîr new ressel, making snch îm- 
provements in it as were prompted by their love for their bark, 
and trying nets in places sheltered by submarine ridges of rocks. 
At noon, they always brought us a few crabs or some sea-eels 
with skins brighter than newiy-melted lead. Thèse the gran- 
dam would fry in olive-oil. According to the custom of the 
country, they kept this oil at the bottom of a little well, dug 
in the rock close by the house, and closed by a large stone in 
which an iron ring had been cramped. Seyeral cucumbers 
fried in the same manner, and eut in thin slices, and a few 
fresh shellfish, similar to our muscles, which they call JrutH 
di nmref sea-fruit, composed our frugal dinner — ^the principal 
and most succulent repast of the day. Our dessert consisted 
of Muscadine grapes in long yellow clusters, gathered in the 
moming by Graziella, preserved on their stems and imder their 
leaves, and placed before us in âat fruit-basket« of twisted wil- 
low. A sprig or two of fennel, green and raw, dipped in pepper, 
the odor of which, resembling that of aniseed, perfumes the 
lips and stimulâtes the heart, served us in lieu of liquors and 
coflfee, according to the custom of the sailors and peasants of 
Naples. After dinner, my friend and I would go in search of 
some shady, cool spot on the brow of the cliff, m sight of the 
sea and the coast of Baïa, and there spend the buming hours 
of the day, gazing, dreaming, and reading uniil four or five 
o'clock in the aftemoon. 



NOTE IL 

We had only saved from the waves three odd volumes, 
and even thèse were only spared to us. because we had noi 



LES CONFIDENCES. 141 

placed them in the bags contaîning our clothes, which we had 
tbrown into the sea : one of them was an Italian volume by 
Ugo Foscolo, entitled, Zetters pf Jacopo Ortis, a sort of half- 
political, half-romantic Werther, in which the love for hia 
country's liberties is mingled in the bosom of a young Italian 
with his passion for a fair Yenetian. The double enthusiasm 
nourished by that twofold flame of the lover and the patriot, 
kindles a fever in the soûl of Ortis which is too intense for the 
sensitive and sickly man, and which at length ends in self- 
destruction. This book, which is a literal but brilliant and 
highly-colored copy of Goethe*s Werther, was then in the 
hands of ail the ^oung men who, like ourselves, cherished 
in their soûls that double dream of ail those who are 
worthy to dream of any thing greater than nature — ^love and 
liberty. 



NOTE III. 

In vain did the police régulations of Bonaparte and Murai 
proscribe both the author and his work. The author's asylum 
was in the hearts of ail the Italian patriots and the libérais of 
Europe. The book's sanctuary was in the bosoms of young 
men like ourselves ; we hid it there to inhale its maxims. Of 
the otber two volumes that we had saved, one was Paul and 
Virginia, by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, that hand-book of 
ingenuous love ; a book which seems like a page of the 
world's childhood tom from the history of the buman heart 
and preserved with ail its purity and ail the tears with which 
it is saturated — ^tears of contagion for ail eyes of sixteen. 

The other was a volume of Tacitus — ^pages poUuted by de- 
bauchery, shaine, and blood, but in which stoical virtue wields 
the pen and assumes the apparent impassibiMty of History, to 
inspire those who understand her teachings, with hatred of 
tyranny, strength for great sacrifices, and tmrst for a générons 
death. 

Thèse three books happened to be in harmony with the 
three feelings which niade our young soûls vibrato even then, 
as if by presentiment : love, enthusiasm for the enfranchise- 
ment of Ilaly and France, and a passion for that political 
action and the movement of great things which Tacitus depict- 
ed to us, and for which he tempered our soûls at an early âge 



142 • LAMARTINE. 

In the blood of his pencil and tbe fire of antique virtue. We 
used to read aloud, by tums, sometimes admiring, sometimes 
weeping, sometimes dreaming^ Thèse readings would be 
interrupted by long pauses and ihe interchange of a few ex* 
clamations, whicb for us formed the random commentary of 
our feelings, and which the winds bore away along with our 
dreams. 



NOTE IV. 

We would place ourselves, by the power of imagination, in 
some of those romantic or historical situations which the poet 
or the historian had just related to us. We would form for 
ourselves an idéal notion of a lover or a citizen, of private or 
public life, of happiness or virtue. We would take pleasure 
m combining those great events, those marvellous accidents of 
revolutionary times, in which the most obscure men are made 
known to the multitude by their genius, and summoned, as if by 
their names, to oppose tyranny and save whole nations ; then 
— ^the victims of the inconstancy and ingratitude of nations — 
condemned to die on the scaffold, in the eyes of the âges 
that misjudge them and of posterity which vindicates them. 

There was no part, no matter how heroic in its nature, which 
would not hâve found our soûls equal to the emergency. We 
prepared ourselves for every thing, and if fortune, some day, 
should not realize thèse great trials in which we mentally cast 
ourselves, we took our revenge in advance by scoming fortune. 
Within ourselves we had this, the consolation of ail energetic 
soûls : if our lives remained useless, ordinary, and obscure, it 
would be because fortune had not favored us, not because we 
had not seconded fortune. 



NOTE V 

When the sun declined in the west, we took long strolls 
through the island. We rambled over it in every direction. 
We would go to the town to purchase bread and such vege- 
tables as did not grow in Andrea's garden. Bometimes we 



LES CONFIDENCES. 143 

wovld bring back witb us a little tobacco, tbat opium of s^lors, 
which anîiiiates them at sea and consoles tbem on land. We 
would retum at nightfall witb our pockets and our bands 
overflowing witb our bumble bounties. In tbe evening, tbe 
familj would assemble on tbe roof, wbicb is called tbe astrico 
in Naples, to await tbe bours of slumber. Notbing can be 
more picturesque, during tbe beautiful nigbts of tbat climate, 
tban tbe scène on tbe astrico, in tbe soft, clear ligbt of tbe 
moon. 

In tbe country, tbe low, square bouse looks like an antique 
pedestal, supporting liying groups and animated statues. AU 
tbe inbabitants of tbe bouse ascend to it, move about it, or 
seat tbemselves on it in various attitudes; tbe ligbt of tbe 
moon or tbe glare of a lamp projects and marks out ail tbese 
profiles on tbe blue ground of tbe firmament. You tbere see 
tbe old motber spinning, tbe fatber smoking bis pipe of baked 
clay witb a reed tube, tbe yoimg boys, witb tbeir elbows on 
tbe ledge, singing in long drawling notes tbose seamen's or 
peasants' songs wbose prolonged or vibrating accents some- 
wbat resemble tbe groans of wood tortured by tbe waves, or 
tbe strident tones of tbe grassbopper in tbe sun ; finally, tbe 
young girb, witb tbeir sbort dresses, tbeir naked feet, tbeir 
green jackets laced witb gold or silk, and tbeir long black 
tresses floating on tbeir sboulders, and covered witb a band- 
kercbief tied in large knots at tbe nape of tbe neck, to protect 
tbeir bair from tbe dust. 

Tbe maidens dance bere eitber alone or witb tbeir sisters ; 
one bolds a guitar, tbe otber tosses above ber bead a tabor 
bung round witb little brass bells. Tbese two instruments, 
tbe one plaintive and ligbt, tbe otber monotonous and dull, 
agrée marvellously well to express, almost witbout tbe aid of 
art, tbe two altemate notes of man's beart — sorrow and joy. 
You can bear tbem of a summer's nigbt on almost ail tbe roofs 
in tbe isles and in tbe coimtry of Naples, and even on tbe 
boats. Tbis aërial concert wbicb pursues tbe ear from place 
to place, from tbe sea even into tbe moimtains, resembles tbe 
bum of an additional insect — warmed into life beneatb tbat 
lovely sky. Tbis poor insect is man ! wbo sings bis youtb and 
bis loves before God for a few days, and tben is silent for ail 
etemity. I bave never beard tbese notes, cast upon tbe air 
from tbe isummit of tbe astrici, witbout stopping, and witbout 
feeling my k'^.art swell, as if it would burst witb internai joy or 
witb melancboly utterly beyond my controL 



144 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE VI. 



Sucb were also the attitudes, the harmonies, and tbe voicea 
on the terrace of Andrea's house. Gmziella played the guitar, 
and Beppino, making his childish fingers rebound on the littlc 
tabor which had served to lull him to sleep in his cradlé, ac- 
companied his sister. Although the instruments were gay, 
and although the attitudes were those of joy, the tunes were 
moumful, and the slow notes entered deep into the heart and 
touched its slumbering fibres. It is always thus with music» 
whenever it is not an empty sport of the sensés, but a harmo- 
nious wail of the passions which passes from the soûl through 
the voice. AU its accents are sighs, ail its tones roU brine with 
their sound. You can never knock at man's heart somewbat 
rudely without causing tears to gush from it ; so full is nature, 
in its depths, of melancholy ! and so easily does ail that moves 
it make its dregs fly to our lips, and its clouds to oufeyes ! . . . 



NOTE VII. 

Even when the young gîrl, in obédience to our request» 
modestly arose to dance the tarentela to the sound of the 
tamborine beaten by her brother, and when, carried away by 
the whirling movement of that national dance, she tumed in 
rapid gyrations, her arms gracefully elevated, imitating the 
rattle of the castanets with her fingers, and increasing the 
steps of her naked feet, like drops oi water, on the terrace ! 
yes, even then, there was in the lûr, in the postures, in the 
yery phrensy of that delirium in motion, something serions and 
moumful, as if ail that light-heartedness were only a fleeting 
madness, and as if, to secure a ray of happiness, even youth 
and beauty were constrained to drown themselves in giddiness, 
and to intoxicate themselves with movement, even imto de- 
mentation ! 



NOTE VIII. 

We would much oftener converse seriously with our hosts, 
sud make them relate to us their lives, their traditions, or their 



LES 00NFIDENCE8, 145 

domestic réminiscences. Every family is a stoiy, or even a 
poem to the one who knows how to tum its leaves. Thîs one 
also had its nobility, its riches, its prestige in the far-distant 
past. 

Andrea's grandfather was a Greek merchant on the îsland 
of Ëgina. Persecuted on account of his religion by the Pacha 
of Athens, one night he had embarked his wife, his daughters, 
his sons, and his fortune, on board one of the vessels which he 
owned for commercial purposes. He had taken refuge in 
Procida, where he had correspondents, and where the popu- 
lation was Greek, like himself. He had purchased a great 
deal of property, of which the only remaining vestiges were 
the small farm-house in which we were staying, and the 
family name graven on a few tombstones in the burial-place 
of the town. The daughters had died nuns in the couvent of 
the isle. The sons had lost ail their fortune in the tempests 
which had swallowed up their vessels. The family had fallen 
into decay. They had even changed their handsome Grecian 
appellation, and assumed the obscure name of some fisherman 
of Procida. 

** When a house falls to rmn," said Andréa to us, ''its very 
last stone is swept away in the course of time. Ail that re- 
mains of the entire possessions of my grandfather under the 
canopy of heaven, are my two oars, the bark which you hâve 
restored to me, this cabin, which cannot support its ownérs, 
and the grâce of God.'^ 



NOTE IX. 

The mother and daughter asked us to tell them, in tum, 
who we were, whence we caine, and what were the occupa- 
tions of our families ? If we had our father, onr mother, our 
brothers, our sisters, a house, lig-trees, and grape-vines ? Why 
we had deserted them ail at so early an âge, to come and row, 
read, write, dream in the sunshine, and sieep upon the earth 
in the bay of Naples ? Ail that we could say, we could not 
make them understand that we had done so merely to gaze at 
the clouds and the waters, to exhale our soûls in the sunlight ; 
to feel our youth ferment within us, and to gather impressions, 
feelipgs, thoiights, which we would probably w4te aft(erwards 

13 



146 LAMABTINR. 

in verses, like those wbicli they saw written in our books, or 
like those which the impravisatori of Naples recited, on Sun- 
day evenings, to the seamen on the mole, or at la Margellina. 

" Y'ou are making sport of me/* said Graziella to us, burst- 
inff înto laughter. " You poets 1 Why, you neither bave the 
bnstling hair nor the wild eyes of those to whom that name is 
given on the quays of la marine, You poets ! and not even 
know bow to draw a single note from the guitar ! What ac- 
companiment, then, bave you for the songs that you make V* 

Then she would shake her bead and pout ber lips, and fret 
because we would not tell her the trutb. 



NOTE X. 

Sometimes an ugly suspicion would flash across ber brain, 
and cast doubt and a shadow of fear over ber glance. But 
this never lasted long. We would hear ber say in a low tone 
to her grandmother : 

'' No ! it's impossible ; tbey are not refugees, driven from 
their native land for some bad action. Tbey are too young» 
too good, too bandsome to be familiar with evil.'' 

We would then amuse ourselves by relating to ber somo 
terrible deed of villany, of which we would proclaim ourselves 
the authors. The contrast between our white and unruffled 
brows, our serene eyes, our smiling lips, our open hearts, and 
the fantastic crimes which we supposed ourselves to bave 
committed, would make her and her brother likewise laugb 
boisterously, and soon put to flight every cloud and possibiUty 
of suspicion. 



NOTE XI. 

Graziella often asked us what we could possibly find in our 
books to read ail day long. She thought that tbey were 
prayer-books ; for she bad never seen books elsewbere tban 
at church, in the bands of those of the faitbful who knew bow 
to read, and who foUowed the sacred words of the priest in 
tbeir missals. She tbougbt we were very pious» since we speat 



LES CONFIDENCES. I4T 

wbole days muttering mysterious words : it surprîsed her» 
howeyer, that we did not make ourselves priests, or hermits, 
in one of the seminarîes at Naples, or in some monastery on 
the island. To nndeceive her, we attempted two or tiiree 
limes to read, by translating them into the common dialect of 
the country, fragments of Foscolo, and a few beautiful pas- 
sages from our Tacitus. 

We fancîed that thèse patrîotic sighs of the Italian exile, 
and thèse deep tragédies of impérial Rome, would make a 
yivid impression on our simple-hearted auditory» For the 
populace bave something of love of coimtry in their instincts» 
something of heroism in their feelings, something of the drama 
in their giance. The things which they particularly remem* 
ber, are grcat downfalls and noble deaths. But we soon dis- 
covered that those speeches and those scènes which exerted 
such a powerful influence over us, had no effect upon those 
ingcnuous soûls. The sentiment of political liberty, that men- 
tal luxury of men of leisure, does not descend so low amongst 
the people. 

Thèse poor créatures could not imagine why Ortis gave 
himself up to despair, and killed himself, when he could havo 
enjoyed ail the real pleasures of life, walk about in idleness, 
gaze at the sun, love bis sweetheart, and pray to God on the 
green and fertile banks of the Brenta. 

" Why torment one's self thus about notions which do not 
descend into the heart ?" said they. " What matters it to 
him whether the Austrians or the French rule in Milan ? He 
is a madman to allow such things to grieve him so sorely." 

And they ceased to listen. 



NOTE XII. 

As to Tacitus, he was still less compréhensible to them. 
The Emph*e or the Republic, those men who killed one an- 
other, this one because he wished to reign, the other, because 
he would not be a slave ; those crimes committed for the sake 
of the throne, virtues practised for the sake of glory, deaths 
endured for the sake of posterity, moved them not. Those 
tempests of history burst too high abote their heads to affect 
them. To them they were like claps of thunder pealmg from 



148 LAMABTINB. 

ihe far-distant mountain, of whieh no heed is taken, t>eeau6» 
they only fall on the peaks, and neither shake the fisherman'a 
mast nor the farmer's roof. 

Tacitus is only popular with politicians and philosophers ; 
he is the Plato of history. His sensibility is too refined for 
the masses. To appreciate him, one must hâve lived a^lid the 
storms in the public square, or the mysterious intiigues of the 
palace. Strip his scènes of liberty, ambition, and glory, 
what hâve they left ? They are the three principal actors m 
bis dramas. Now, thèse three passions are unknown to the 
people, because they are passions of the brain, and because 
the people are only familiar with the passions of the heart. 
We were made aware of this by the coldness and astonish- 
ment whieh thèse fragments threw around us. 

We then tried, one evening, to read Paul and Virginia to 
them. I was the one who translated it as I read, because I 
had been so much in the habit of perusing it that I may say 
I almost knew it by heart. Familiarized with the language 
by a longer sojoum in Italy, it cost me no trouble to ûnà ex- 
pressions, and they flowed from my lips like a mother tongue. 
This reading had hardly commenced, when the countenances 
<^ our little auditory underwent a change, and assumed au 
expression of attention and thoughtfulness — ^the certain indi- 
cation of émotion of the heart. We had found the note whieh 
vibrâtes harmoniously in the soûls of ail men, of every âge, 
and in every station, — ^the feelin^ note, the universal note, the 
note whieh contains in one single sound the eternal truth of 
real art — Nature, Love, and God. 



NOTE XIII. 

I had read but a very few pages, ère the old people, the 
maiden, and even the children, had already changed their at- 
titudes. The fisherman, with his elbow on his knee, and his 
ear bent in my direction, forgot to inhale the smoke of his 
pipe. The grandam, seated opposite to me, held her clasped 
hands beneath her chin, in the posture of those poor women 
who listen to the word of God, crouching close to the pave- 
ment of the temple. Beppo had come down from the seat 
he occupied a few minutes before on the wall of the tex^Bce^ 



LES. CONFIDENCES. 14^ 

He liad noiselessij laid his guitar on the roof. He now press- 
ed his open hand on the neck of the instrument, through fear 
that the wind might stir the strings. Graziella, who usually' 
r^mained at a short distance, approached me imperceptibly» 
as if fascinated by some power of attraction ccmcealed withm 
the book. 

With her back against the wall, at the foot of which I my- 
self was extended, she drew towards me little by little, leaning 
on her left hand, which rested on the floor, in the attitude of 
the wounded gladiator. She gazed, with her large eyes wîde 
open, now at the book, anon at my lips, whence flowed the 
récital, and again at the empty space between my Hps and the 
volume, as if striving to catch a glimpse of the invisible spirit 
which interpreted it to me. I heard her uneven breath stop 
short, or «orne and go with great rapidity, accordmg to tlM 
palpitations of the drama, like the quick heavings of a person 
who ascends an acclivity, and stops now and then to respire. 
Sre I had got halfway in the story, the poor child had for^ 
gotten the somewhat wild reserve with which she had hitherto 
treated me. I felt the warmth of her breath on my hand. 
Her tresses trembled on my brow. Two or three scalding 
tears which had trickled down her cheeks, blotted the page 
close by my fingers. 



NOTE XIV. 

Excepting the slow and monotonous tones of my voîce, 
whkh translated Uterally that poem of the heart to fishermen 
of the sea, no sound was to be heard, save the dull and dis- 
tant throbs of the sea, which beat against the shore awaj 
down yonder beneath our feet. That veir noise was iù bar- 
mony with the reading. It was like the foreseen catastrophe 
of the stoiy, roUing in advance through the sir at the corn* 
mencement and during the continuation of the narralive. The 
more this narrative unfblded itself, the more it seemed to en- 
chain our simple listeners. When I hesitated, by chuice, in 
the choice of a word, with which to express the exact meaning 
of the original, Graziella, who, for some lime past, had beeii 
holding t& lamp and sheltering it from the wind with k^ 
apron, would approach it close to the page and almost ham- 
toe4)ook ia ^ep-kapatieiioe ; aa if she supposed that the hnk^ 

13* 



150 LAMARTINE. 

Haiicy of the flaine would make the inteUectual sensé gosh 
forth to my eyes and give speedier life to the words on my 
lips. Without removing my gaze from the page, I would 
smilîngly push away the lamp with my hand, and find my 
fingers warm with her tears. 



NOTE XV. 

When I came to the moment at which Yir^nia, who is 
fiummoned back to France by her aunt, feels, so to speak, the 
rending of her being in two, but still makes an effort to con- 
sole Paul beneath the banana-trees, by speaking to him of a 
retum, and showing him the sea which is about to bear her 
away, I closcd the volume and put off the reading until the 
morrow. 

This was a terrible Blow for those poor people. Graziella 
threw herself upon her knees before me, and then before my 
friend, to implore us to finish the story. But ail in vain. We 
wished to prolong the interest for her, and the charm of the 
test for ourselves. Then she snatched the book from my 
hands. She opened it, as if, by the mère power of her will, 
she ezpected to be able to imderstand its characters. She 
spoke to it, she kissed it. She afterwards replaced it respect- 
fully upon my knees, and, clasping her hands, gazed at me like 
a supplicant. 

. Her countenance, usually so serene and so cheerful when at 
rest, although somewhat austère, had suddenly found in the 
passion and sympathetic influence of the narrative, something 
of the animation and pathetic agitation of the story. You 
would hâve said that a sudden révolution had changed that 
beautiful pièce of marble into flesh and tears. The young girl 
felt her hitherto dormant soûl reveal itself to her in the soûl 
of Virginia. She seemed to hâve attained the maturity of six 
additional years in that short half-hour. The stormy hues of 
passion tinged her brow, her cheeks, and the bluish white 
of her eyes. It was like a tranquil and sheltered sheet of 
water on which sunbeams, winds, and shadows had suddenly 
come to struggle for the first time. We could not tire of 
looking at her in that attitude. She, who until then had onl/ 
iospired.ufi with mirth, almost inspired us with rei^pect. But 



LES CONFIDENCES. IM 

ail her prayers to us to contiaue were useless; we did not 
wish to exhaust our power at one single time, and it gave us 
too much pleasure to make her beauteous tears flow, to drain 
their source in one single daj. She went away pouting, and 
extinguished the lamp with a movement of anger. 



NOTE xvr. 

The day foUowing, when I met her beneath the vine-arbor, 
and attempted to speak to her, she tumed away as if she 
wished to hide her tears, and refused to answer me. It was 
évident, from the small dark circle around her eyes, from the 
increasing wanness of her cheek and the slight and gracefol 
dépression of the corners of her mouth, that she had not slept, 
and that her heart was y et big with the imaginary sorrows of 
the past evening. Marvellous power of a book, which acts on 
the hearts of an illiterate child and an ignorant family with ail 
the force of reality, and the perusal of which is an event in the 
life of those hearts î 

It was because the poem had translated nature as I had 
translated the poem, and because those events which are so 
simple — ^the cradle of those two children at the feet of two 
poor mothers, their innocent love, their cruel séparation, that 
return thwarted by death, that shipwreck and those two 
graves enclosing one single heart beneath the banana-trees — 
are things which are felt and understood by every one, from 
the king s palace down to the cabin of the fisherman. Poets 
travel great distances in search of genius, whilst it is in the 
heart, and whilst a few very simple notes piously and adven- 
titiously drawn from that instrument which is attuned by God 
himself, suffîce to make a whole âge weep, and become as 
popular as love, and as sympathetic as feeling. The sublime 
wearies, the beautiful deceives, the pathetic is alone infallible 
in art. He who knows how to move the heart, knows every 
thing. There is more genius in one tear than in ail the mu- 
séums and ail the libraries in the universe. Man is hke the 
tree which is shaken to make it shed its fruit: he never can be 
moved, but tears must falL 



153 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE XVII. 



. During the day the house was as gloomy as if some sad 
event had happened in the humble family. The meals were 
eaten almost without the interchange of a single word. It was 
easy to see that Graziella took no pleasure or interest in her 
occupations, either in the gafden or on the roof. She often 
turned. her head to see whether the sun was declining, and it 
was évident that she was impatient for the approach of evening. 
When evening at length came round, after we had taken our 
usual places on the (utrico, I reopened the volume and ended 
the story amid the sobs of my listeners. Father, mother, 
children, my friend and I, ail participated in the gênerai émo- 
tion. The sad and solemn soimd of my voice lent itself, with- 
out my knowledge, to the sadness of the adventures and the 
solemnity of the words. Towards the termination of the nar- 
rative, this seemed to come from a distance, and to fall from 
a great height upon the soûl with the hollow accent of an 
cmpty bosom in which the heart no longer beats, and which 
no longer participâtes in the affairs of this earth except through 
grief, religion, and remembrance. 



NOTE XVIII. 

It was impossible for us to utter vain words after this ré- 
cital. Graâella remained motionless, in the attitude in which 
she had been listening, and as if she were still listening. Si- 
lence, that applause of ail lasting and deep impressions, reigned 
suprême, and was broken by no one. Everybody respected 
the thought in others which he felt within himself. The flame 
of the exhausted lamp flickered and faded away imperceptibly 
without ever a hand being raised to give it new life. The 
family arose and stealthily retired. We remained alone, my 
friend and I, confounded by the omnipotence of truth, simpli- 
city, and feeling over ail men, ail âges, and ail countries. 

Perhaps another émotion was already beginning to stir the 
bottom of our hearts also. The ravishing image of Graâellay 
transformed by her tears and initiated in love by sorrow, 
floated through our dreams along with the heavenly création 



LES CONFIDENCES. 15S 

<^ Virgmia. Thèse two names and thèse two chîldrën, com*- 
mingled in fleeting visions, delighted or saddened onr imeasy 
slumbers untii morn. During the evening of that day and of 
the two days foHowing, we had to read the same story over 
again to the young girl. Had we read it a hundred times in 
succession she would hâve asked for it again. It is the na- 
ture of those dreamy and "vivid imaginations of the South, never 
to seek for truth in poetry or music ; *it may be said that mu* 
sic and poetry are merely thèmes on which everyone broîders 
his own feelings ; one can feed, like the people, without sa- 
tiety, on the same story and the same tune for âges. Has 
nature itself (that highest of ail music and poesy) more than 
two or three words and two or three tunes, which are always 
the same, and with which she saddens or gladdens man from 
his dawning breath to his latest gasp ? 



NOTE XIX. 

At sunrise, on the ninth day, the equînoctial wind at length 
fell, and in a few hours after the sea again became a summer's 
sea. The very mountains on the coast of Naples, as well as the 
waves and the clouds, seemed to swim in a clearer, bluer fluid 
than during the months of excessive beat, as if the sea, the 
firmament and the mountains had already felt that first shiver 
of winter, which crystallizes the air and makes it sparkle like 
the congealed waters of glaciers. The yellow leaves of the 
grape-vine and the brown leaves of the fig-trees were begin- 
ning to fall in the yard and strew the earth. The grapes 
were gathered. The figs, dried in the sun on the cutrico, were 
packed in coarse baskets made of sea-grass platted by the 
women. The boat was impatient to try the sea, and the old 
fisherman anxious to take his family back to la Margellinai 
The house and the astrico were cleaned. The spring was cov- 
ered over with a large stone m order that its basin should not 
be tainted by the dead leaves and the streams of winter. Ail 
the oil was drawn out of the little well in the rock and poured 
înto jars, which the children carried down to the seashore by 
runmng short sticks through their handles. The mattress and 
covers were rolled up and bound round with ropes. The 
lamp was.lighted for the last time beneath the deserted imag9 



164 LAMARTINE. 

on the hearth. A last prayer was said before tbe Madonnay 
to commend to her care the house, the fig-tree, the vîneyardt 
Tfhich they were thus about to leave for several months, Then 
the door was locked. The key was hid at the bottom of an 
ivy-covered cleft in the rocks, in order that the fisherman» in 
case he should retum during the winter, might find it and pay 
a visit to bis deserted dwelling. Then we descended to the 
beach, helping the poor fkmUy to carry and stow away in the 
boat theh: oil, bread, and fruits. 



BOOK IL 

NOTE I. 

OuR retum to Naples, running alon^ the coast in the ffuif 
of Baïa and the tortuous slopes of Posilipo, was a downnght 
holiday for the young girl, for the children, and for us, and 
a real triumph for ^drea. We entered la Marpellina at 
nîghtfall, singing joyously. The old friends and neighbors of 
the fisherman could not tire in their admiration of bis new 
boat. They helped him to unload it and drag it on shore. 
As we had forbidden him to tell how he came by it, little at- 
tention was paid to us. After having drawn the bark upon 
the strand, and carried the baskets of figs and grapes to a 
place above Andrea's cellar, near the threshold of three low 
ohambers occupied by the grandam, the little children» and 
Qraziella, we sHpped away imnoticed. We moved, not with- 
out certain twinges of the heart, through the tumultuous noise 
of the populous streets of Naples, and re-entered our owa 
lodgmgs. 



NOTE II. 



It was our intention, after a few days' repose in Naples» to 
résume the same life with the fisherman, as often as the sea 
would permit. We had accustomed ourselves so well to the 



LES CONFIDENCES. 155 

BÎmplîcîty of our garments, and the nakedness of tlie boat, 
within the last three months, that the beds and furniture of 
our rooms and our ordinary clothes seemed irksome and fa- 
tiguing superfluities to us. We hoped not to hâve to endure 
such annoyances long. But, on the morrow, when we went 
to the post-office for our belated letters, my friend found one 
from hîs mother. In it she called her son immediately back^ 
to France, to be présent at the nuptials of his sister. Hîs' 
brother-in-law was to corne as far as Rome to meet hhn. 
From the date of the letter he must hâve arrîved there al- 
ready. There was no time to be lost. He had to set out. 

I should hâve left Naples with him. I hardly know what 
charm of loneliness and adventure held me back. The Hfe 
of a sailor, the fisherman's cabin, Gnudella's image probably» 
were in some way concemed, but very remotely. The de- 
lirium of freedom, the pride to show that I was able to take 
care of myself at a d^tance of three himdred leagues from 
my own country, the love of the vague and miknown, — ^that 
aërial perspective of ail young imaginations, — ^were more 
closely concemed. 

We parted with manly feeling and regret. He promîsed 
to return to me as soon as he had discharged his dutifes as a 
son and brother. He lent me fif ty louis to fiU the hole which, 
the last six months had made in my piu*se, and started oa 
his joumey homeward. 



NOTE III. 

This departure, the absence of the friend who was to mi> 
what an elder brother is to a brother who is scarcely more 
than a child, left me in a loneliness which each hour made 
deeper, and in which I felt myself sinking as in an abyss. AU 
my thoughts, ail my feelings, ail my words, which formerly 
evaporated in my interchange of words, feelings, and thoughts 
with him, now remained, and rotted and became gloomyin my 
souly and fell back upon my heart like a weight which I could 
not shake ofif. That noise in which nothing replied to me— 
that throng, in which no one knew my name — ^that chamber in 
which no glance shone upon me — ^that life in a public house in 
which one is constantly rubbing against strangers, in which 
<me sits at the silent board alongside of faces that are ever 



156 LAMARTINE. 

changing and ever indiffèrent — those books which you liare 
read a hundred limes, and whose motionless characters al- 
ways repeat to you tbe same words in the same phrases, and 
at the same place ; ail this, which had seemed so delightfol to 
me at Rome and in Naples, previous to our excursions and 
our loose and errant life during the summer, now appeared 
like a slow death to me. My heart was drowning itself in 
melancholy. 

For a few days, I dragged this melancholy from street to 
Street, from théâtre to théâtre, from book to book, wholly 
unable to shake it off ; then at last it vanquished me. I fell 
ill, of that malady called home-sickness. My head was heavy, 
my limbs could not support me. I was pale and haggard. I 
no longer ate any thing. Silence made me moumful, ncnse 
was painful to me ; I spent the nights in sleeplessness, and 
the days upon my bed, without the désire, or even the strength 
to rise. The aged relative of my mother, the only one who 
could bave taken an interest in my situation, had gone to 
spend several months at thirty leagues distance from Naples, 
in the Abruzzi, where he wished to establish certain manufac- 
tories. I sent for a doctor ; he came, looked at me, felt my 
puise, ând told me that I had no malady. The truth is that 
X had a malady for which bis science had no remedy, a 
malady of the soûl and the imagination. He took bis leave. 
I saw him no more. 



NOTE IV. 

I felt so ill the next day, however, that I searcbed my 
memory to find if there was any one from whom I migbt 
expect some assistance and a little pity in case I should not 
be able to rise again. The picture of the humble family of 
tbe fisherman at la Margellina, in whose midst I yet lived in 
imagination, naturally presented itself to my mind. I sent 
tbe child who waited on me in quest of Andréa, with instruc* 
tîons to tell tbe old man that the yoimger of the two stran* 
gers was il] and wished to see him. 

When the chUd reached la ifargellina, Andréa was at sea 
with Beppino; the graiidam was tusy selling fish on tbe 
quays of Chiaja, Graziella alone was at home with ber little 
vroibors. Sbe bardly took time to intrust tbem to a neigh* 



LES CONFIDENCES. 157 

bor, and clothe herself in her newest ProcîJan garments ; she 
foUowed the child, who showed her the street, the old con- 
vent, and preceded her up the stairs. 

I heard a gentle tap at the door of my room. It tumed 
upon its hinges as if moved by an invisible hand. I per- 
ceived Graziella. She sent forth a cry of commisération 
lyhen her eyes fell npon me. She advanced a few stops, or 
rather sprang towards my couch ; then, checking herself and 
halting, with her folded hands hangin^ on her apron, and her 
head bowed towards her left shoulder, in the attitude of 
Pity, she saîd in an under-tone, as if talking to herself : 

" How pale he is, and how can a few days hâve worked 
such a change in his face ! — But where is the other one ?" 
added she, tuming and looking aromid the apartment for the 
one who had been my room-mate. 

" He is gone/' said I, *' and I am aU alone, and iwknown 
in Naples.' 

" Gone !" cried she, ** leaving you thus alone, and ill ! Why, 
then, he did not love you ! — Ah ! had I been in his place, I 
would not hâve gone away, not 'I ! and yet I am not your bro- 
ther, and bave only known you since the day o{ the storm." 



NOTE V. 

I explained to her that at the time my friend left me I was 
not sick. 

" But how happens it," vivaciously resumed she, with a 
tone of mingled reproach and tendemess, " that you bave not 
remembered that you had other friends at la Margtllina î Ah I 
I see the reason," moumfuUy pursued she, casting a glance at 
her sleeves and the skirts of her dress, " it is because we are 
poor people, and would hâve made you blush with shame had 
we entered this beautiful bouse. No matter," continued she, 
wiping her eyes, which she had not once removed from my 
brow and my white arms lying listlessly on the bed, ** evcn if 
we had beèn despised, we would bave come, nevertheless." 

" Poor Graziella !" replied I, with a smile. " God keep me 
from the day when I shall be ashamed of those who love 
mer 

14 



158 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE VI. 



She seated herself on a chair at the foot of my bed, and wû 
conversed awhile. 

The Sound of her voice, the serenity of her glance, the trust- 
ing ease and placidity of her attitude, the ingenuousness of her 
countenance, the abrupt, and at the same time plaintive accent 
of those women of the isles, which reminds one hère, as well 
as in the East, of the submissive tones of the slave in the very 
palpitations of love, the remembrance of the glorious days 
spent in the cabin and in the sunshine with her — ^that sunshine 
of Procida which seemed to me even then to stream from her 
brow, her body, and her feet, and light up my gloomy cham- 
ber ; ail this, while I was looking at her and speaking to her, 
made me so forgetful of my languor and my p£Ûn, that I fan- 
cied myself suddenly cured. It seemed to me, that after her 
departure I should be able to get up and w£dk. Neverthe- 
less, I felt such satisfaction in her présence, that I prolonged 
the conversation as much as possible, and detained her imder 
a thousand pretexts, through fear that she would leave me too 
soon, and taJce ^th her the happiness I enjoyed. 

She tended me during a portion of the day without fear, 
without affected reserve, without any false modesty, as a sis- 
ter tends a brother, forgetting that he is a man. She went 
and bought some oranges for me. She used her beautiful 
teeth to tear off their rind, in order that their juice might fiow 
into my glass when she pressed them between her fingers. 
She removed from her neck a small silver medal which de- 
pended from a black strin^, and which had slumbered in her 
bosom. She fastened it with a pin to the white curtain of my 
bed. She assured me that I would soon be cured by the vir- 
tue of the hxAy image. Then, as day was beginning to dé- 
cline, she left me, not without retuming twenty times from the 
door to my bedside, to ask me if I wanted any thing else, and 
to counsel me very earaestly to pray with great dévotion to 
the image ère I closed my eyes in sleep. 



NOTE VIL 

She had haroly gone out of the room, when, either from the 
virtue of the image, and the prayers which she undoubtedly 



LES CONFIDENCES. 159 

mode to it herself, or tbe soothing influence of that vision of 
tendemess and interest which had visited me in the form of 
Graziella, or because the delightful diversion which I had en- 
joyed in her présence and conversation had charmed and ap* 
peased the morbid irritation of my whole being, I closed mj 
eyes and slept soundly and peacefullj. 

When I awoke the next day, and perceived the orange-peel 
lying on the floor of my chamber, Graziella's chair still tumed 
towards my bed, as she had left it, and as if she were about 
to retum to her seat, the little medal suspended to my bed- 
curtains by the black silken necklace, and ail the traces of 
that présence and those cares of a woman which I had lacked 
for so long a time, it seemed to me at first, ère I was yet'well 
aroused, that during the night my mother or one of my sisters 
had entered my room. It was only when I opened my eyea 
to their full extent, and collected my scattered thoughts one 
by one, that the face of Graziella appeared to me as I had 
seen it the day before. 

The sun was so bright, rest had restored such strength to 
my limbSy the solitude of my chamber weighed so heavily on 
my heart, the wish to hear once agahi the sound of a well- 
known voice was so strong within me, that I instantly arose 
from my bed, feeble and unsteady as I was. I ate the re- 
malnder of the oranges, got into a hackney carricolo, and in 
stinctively ordered the driver to take me in the direction of la 
Margéllina. 



NOTE VIII. 

So soon as I reached Andrea's low dwelling, I ascended the 
stairs which led to the platform above the cellar, and on which 
opened the rooms occupied by the family. On the. o^^nco I 
found Graziella, her grandmother, the old fisherman, Bepplno» 
and the urchins. They were about to sally forth at that very 
moment, in their best clothes, foi* the purpose of paying me a 
visit. They each bore in a basket, or in a handkerchief, some 
présent or other, such as those poor people had imagincd 
would be most agreeable or most bénéficiai to an invalid. 
This one had a fictsco of the golden white wine of Ischia, 
which, mstead of a cork, had a stopper made of rosemary and 



160 LAMARTINE. 

aromatic herbs, which perfumed the vase ; another, dried ûgs ; 
a third, some medlars ; the little children, oranges. Grazielm's 
heart had entered the bosoms of ail the members of the 
familj. 



NOTE IX. 

They ail vented a cry of surprise whon they saw me ap- 
pear, still pale and feeble, but erect and smilîng before them. 
Grazîella allowed the fruit which she held in her apron to fall 
upon the floor, and joyously clapping her hands, ran towards 
me— 

" I told you," cried she, " that the image would cure you, 
if it only rested on your bed one single nîght ! Did I de* 
ceive you ?" 

I wished to retum the medal to her, and I drew it from my 
bosom, where I had placed It before leaving my apartment. 

'* Kiss it first/' said she to me. 

I did as she commanded, and at the same lime left a little 
of the kiss on the fingers which had been extended to recdye 
back the image. 

'' I will restore it to you if you fall sick again/* added she, 
throwing the necklace over her head, and hiding the medal in 
her bosom ; " it will serve for two." 

We then seated ourselves on the terrace, in the moming 
sun; AU the members of that poor family looked as happy 
as if they had found a brother, or a child, after a long ab- 
sence from home. Time, which is absolutely necessary for 
the formation of intimate friendships in the higher classes, is 
not requîsite amongst the lower orders. Hearts open them- 
selves without any mistrust, and are fathomed instantaneously» 
because there is no suspicion of interested motives beneath an 
outward show of feeling. The soûl forms more ties and re* 
lationships in one week amongst the men of nature, than in ten 
years amongst the men of society. This family xad I were 
already kinsfolk. 

We reciprocally asked one another what good or evil had 
befallen us since we last had parted. The poor family was in 
a vein of good fortune. The boat had been blessed. The 
■ets were lucky. Their trade had never been so productive. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 161 

The grandam was unable to supply the wants of the people 
before her own door ; Bçppino, proud and strong, was worth 
a sailor twenty years old, altbough be was only twelve. Fi- 
nally, Graziella was learning a trade wbicb was far above tbe 
humble profession of her family. Her wages, already large 
for the se|;Yices of a young gîrl, and which would still increase 
wi^h the increase of her capacity, would be sufficient for the 
clothing and maintenance of her Httle brothers, and enable her 
even to put aside a little dowry for herself, against the time 
she should be old enough and bave an inclination to make 
love. 

Thèse were the expressions of her relatives. She was a 
coraller, that is to say, she was learning to carve coral. The 
trade and manufacture of coral then formed the principal 
wealth of the working classes in the towns on the coast of 
Italy. One of Graziella's uncles, the brother of her departed 
mother, was a foreman in the largest coral-manufactory in 
Naples. Rich, for one in bis station, and directing the numer- 
ous workmen and women who could not supply the demands 
for that article, which at that period was in use as a luxury ail 
over Europe, be had thought of bis nièce, and corne to the 
bouse, a few days before, to enroll her amongst bis assistants. 
He had brought her coral and tools, and haid given her the 
first lessons in bis very simple art. The other workwomen 
were required to work at the manufactory. 

Graziella, being the sole guardian of the children, during 
the constant and necessary absences of her grandmother and 
the fisherman, plied her trade at home. Her imclc, who could 
not leave bis work, had lately sent bis nephew, Graziella's 
cousin, in bis stead — a youtb of about twenty, sedate, modest, 
steady, and a superior workman ; but simple in mind, rickety» 
and somewhat deformed in body. He came in the evenin^, 
after the closing of tbe manufactory, to examine bis cousin s 
work, instruct her in the use of her tools, and also to sdve her 
lessons m reading, writing, and arithmetic. ^ 

" Let us hope/' said the grandmother to me wbile Graziella 
tumed away her eyes, " that this will tùm to the profit of 
both, and that the master will become the servant of bis 
bride." 

I saw that in the old woman's mind there were views of 
pride and ambition for her grand-daughter. But Graziella 
had no suspicioQ of this. 

14* 



162 LâMARTlNE. 



NOTE X. 

TLe young giri took me by the hand and led me inio her room 
to make me admire the little articles of coral which she had 
already carved and polished. They were nicely arranged in 
little pasteboard boxes, lined with cotton, on the foot of her 
bed. She tried to shape a pièce in my présence. I droye 
the wheel of the tuming-lathe with the extremity of my foot, 
opposite her, while she presented the red branch of coral to 
the circular saw, which eut it with a grating noise. She then 
rounded thèse pièces, by holding them between the ends of 
her fingers and rubbing them on a ^rindstone. 

The rosy dust covered her hands, and, even flying up to 
her face, powdered her lips and her cheeks with a slight coat 
of red which lent additional brilliancy to her eyes, and made 
them seem bluer. Then she wiped her features, laughing the 
while, and shook her long black tresses, scattering the dust 
ail over me in tum. 

** Is not this a beautiful trade for a daughter of the sea like 
me?" asked she. "We are indebted to the sea for every 
thing: from my grandfather's boat and the bread we eat, 
down to thèse necklaces and ear-rings with which I will deck 
my own person, perhaps, one of thèse days, after I hâve pol- 
bfaed and fashioned a great many for those who are richer and 
handsomer than I." 

The moming slipped by thus in conversation, playfulnèss, 
and toil, without my once thinking of taking my leave. Ai 
mid-day, I shared the family's repast. The sunshine, the 
open air, contentment of mind, and the frugality of the bo^,— 
on which there were only a few fried fishes, some preserved 
fruit brought up from the cellar, and bread, — ^had restored my 
appetite and strength. In the afternoon, I helped the old 
fisherman to mend the meshes of an old net, which lay on the 
astrico, 

Graziella, whose foot we could hear tuming the grindstone 
in measured time, the noise of the grandam's spinning-wheel, 
and the voices of the children, who were playing with oranges 
on the front step of the house, melodiously accompanied our 
work. Gra'della ever and anon came out upon the balcony to 
shake her ringlets ; we would then interchange a glance, a 
friendly word, a smile. I felt happy, even to the very depiha 
of my soûl, without knowing the cause of my f elicity. I wished 



LES CONFIDENCES. 163 

ihat I had been one of the aloe-plants rooted in the enclosure 
of the garden, or one of the lizards that basked in the simshine 
at our feet, and lived in the crevices in the walls of the house 
inhabited bj that poor family. 



NOTE XI. 

But a shadow came oyer my soûl and my features with the 
approach of the shades of evening. The thought that I had 
to retum to my traveller's quarters, made me mournful. Gra- 
ziella was the first to notice thîs. She went and whispered a 
few words in her grandmother's ear. 

" Why leave us thus ?" asked the old woman, as if she weré 
speaking to one of her own children. " Were we not good 
friends at Procida ? Are we not the same at Naples ? You 
look like a bird that has lost its mother, and whirls, crying, 
aroimd every strange nest. Corne and live in ours, if you 
think it good enough for such a gentleman as you are. There 
are only three rooms in the house, but Beppino sleeps in the 
boat. The children's chamber will do for Graziella, provided 
she is allowed to work during the day in the one in which you 
will sleep. Take her room, and remain with us to await your 
friend's retum. For it grieyes one to think that such a good 
and serions young man as you are, should be ail alone in 
Kaples." 

The fisherman, Beppino, and even the little children, who 
already loved the stranger, rejoiced at the good woman's idea. 
They pressed me eamestly, and ail at the same time, to accept 
her offer. Graziella said nothing, but the anziety with which 
she awaited my answer to the entreaties of her relatiyes, was 
perceptible, although she stroye to yeil it under an assumed 
appearance of abstraction. At each of the arguments of 
deUcacy which I adyanced, not to accept their proffer, she 
patted her foot on the floor with a conyulsiye and inyoluiitary 
moyement. 

At length I tumed my eyes towards her. I saw that the 
white of her beautiful orbs was whiter and more brilliant than 
usual, and that she was crushing between her fîngers and 
brealdng off, one by one, the branches of a plant of sweet basii, 
which grew in an earthen pot on the balcony. This gesture 



164 LAMARTINE. 

vas more expressive and comprehennble to me, than number- 
less long speeches would bave beei\. I accepted tbe commu* 
nity of life whicb was ofifered to me. Graziella clapped ber 
bands and leaped witb joy ; and nished into ber room, witbout 
once tuming ber bead, as if witb tbe détermination to take me 
at my word, and not give me time to retract. 



NOTE XII. 

Graziella called Beppîno. In an instant sbe and ber broiber 
carned into tbe cbildren's room ber bed, ber plain fumiture, 
b^r little mirror witb its frame of painted wood, tbe brass 
lamp, tbe two or tbree images of tbe Yirgm wbicb bad been 
fastened against tbe walls witb pins, tbe table, and tbe little 
tnming-laUie on wbicb sbe carved tbe coral. Tbey drew 
water from tbe well, sprinkled some of it over tbe floor witb 
tbeir bands, and càrefully swept tbe coral-<iust off tbe walls 
and from tbe floor ; tbey placed on tbe window*ledge two pots 
of tbe greenest and most odoriferons balsam and mignonette 
tbey could find on tbe astrico, Tbey coold not bave evinced 
more care in tbe préparation and polisbing of tbe nuptial cbam- 
ber, if tbey bad expected Beppo to enter bis fatber's bouse 
witb bis bride tbat nigbt. I sportively and laugbingly aided 
tbem in tbis pastime. 

Wben every tbing was ready, I took Beppino andtbe fi8he]> 
man witb me to pnrcbase and bring back tbe few articles of 
fumiture I needed. I bougbt a small iron bed complète, a 
pine-wood table, two nisb-bottomed cbairs, a little brass bra- 
sier, in wbicb, to warm tbe apartment dmîng tbe winter even- 
ins, olive stones are bumt ; my trunk, for wbicb I sent, con- 
tamed ail tbe rest. I wisbed not to lose a single bour of tbat 
bappy life wbicb restored to me sometbing like a family. Tbat 
very nigbt I slept in my new lodgings. I did not awake untîl 
I beard tbe joyous twittering of tbe swallows, wbicb entered 
my cbamber tbrougb a broken pane in tbe window, and tbe 
musical voice of Graziella, wbo was singing in tbe adjoining 
room in (ime witb tbe cadenced movemeiut of ber tumingf 
latbe. 



Ll^l COlfFIDENCES. JL9S 



NOTE XIII. 

I opened the window whîch looked out on tho small gfjrdens 
of fishermen and washwomen, bounded by the rocks of Mount 
Posilipo and by the strand of la Margellina, 

A few blocks of red sandstone had roUed into those gardens, 
and settled themselves close by the house. Several large fîg- 
trees, growîng from beneath and almost crushed by those 
rocks, folded them in their crooked white arms, and covered 
them with their large motionless leaves. You could only see, 
on this side of the honse, in those gardens belonging to poor 
people, a few wells, above each of which swnng a large wheel 
wbich was tumed by an ass, to raise the water which passed 
through trenches and irrigated the fennel, the tumips, and the 
puny cabbag^s ; women drying clothes on lines stretched from 
one lemon-tree to another ; little children in their under-gar- 
ments, playing or crying on the terraces of the two or three 
little white houses scattered about the gardens. Confined, low, 
and livid as was this view of the purlieus of a great city, it 
seemed delightful to me in comparison with the high house- 
fronts of the deeply sunken streets, and the noisy throngs in 
the quarter of the town which I had just left. I inhaled 
vegetable air, instead of the dust, fire, and smoke of that human 
atmosphère which I had lately breathed. I heard the bray- 
ing of asses, the crow of the cock, the rustling of leaves, 
the altemate wail of the sea; instead of those rumblings of 
carnages, those piercmg screains of the populace, and that 
incessant thunder of ail the strident noises which give the ear 
no rest, and rob the mind of ail quiétude in the streets of large 
ciliés. 

I could not tear myself from my couch, on which I voluptu- 
ously enjoyed that sunshine, those rural sounds, those flights 
of birds, that scarcely Vuffled repose of the mind ; and then, 
while I gazed upon the nakedness of the walls and the empti- 
ness of the chamber, I inwardly rejoiced as I reflected that that 
poor house at least loved me, and that there are no carpets, no 
hangings, no silken curtains that are worth as much as a little 
affection. AU the gold in the world cannot purchase one single 
pulsation of the heart, or one single beam of tenderness from 
the eyes of those who are indiffèrent to you. 

Thèse thoughts gently rocked aiid soothed me as I lay haU' 



66 LAMARTINE. 

asleep ; I felt myself revivîng to health and peace. Beppîno en* 
tered my chamber several times to see whether I was in want of 
any thing. He brought and placed on my bed some bread and 
grapes which I ate, throwing some of tlie grapes and crumbs 
of tne bread to the swallows. It was near mid-day. When I 
arose, the sun's rays streamed full into my room with theîr 
gentle warmth of autumn. I agreed with the fisherman and his 
wife about the small sum which I should pay them each month, 
for the rent* of my ceM, and to enable them to make a slight 
încrease in their domestic expenses. The amomit was very 
trifling — thèse poor people thought it too great. It was easy 
to perceive that, far from seeking to profit by me, they were 
înwardly grieved that their poverty and the restricted frugality 
of their hfe would not permit them to offer me a hospitality of 
which they would hâve been much more proud had it cost me 
nothing. Two loaves of bread were bought, in addition to those 
which were purchased each moming for the family; a little boiled 
or fried fîsh was added to the dinner ; a little milk food and some 
dried fruit for the evening meal ; oil for my lamp ; fuel for cold 
weather ; that was ail. A few copper grani, small coin in use 
amongst the populace of Naples, were sufficient for my expen- 
ses of each day. I hâve never better understood how indepen- 
dent happiness is of luxury, and how much more of it can be 
bought with the smallest pièce of copper than with a purse of 
gold, when one knows how to find it where God has hid it. 



NOTE XIV. 

I lived in this manner during the last months of autumn and 
the first of winter. The brilhancy and serenity of those months 
in Naples make you confound them with their forerunners. 
Kothmg interrupted the monotonous tranquillity of our exist- 
ence. The old man and his grandson no longer yentured into 
the open sea, in conséquence of the gales of wind so fréquent 
at that season of the year. They continued to fish along the 
coast, and their fish, sold on la marine by the grandam, fur- 
nished ample means for their life without wants. 

Meanwhile Graziella was perfecting herself in her art ; she 
was also growing taller and handsomer in the easier and mord 
«edentary life which her new occupation forced her to lead. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 167 

Her salaiy, which was brought to her every Sunday by her 
uncle, not only permitted her to keep her little brothers neater 
and better clothed, and to send them to school, but also to give 
her grandmother, and to purchase for herself, a few of the richer 
and more ele^nt articles peculiar to the women of their island : 
— handkerchiefs of red silk to hang from behînd the head in 
long triangles down the back ; shoes without heels, embroid- 
ered with silver spangles, which only cover the toes ; jackets 
of silk, striped with black and green ; — thèse jackets, laced on 
ail the seams, hang open on the bips ; they permit you to see 
the delicacy of the shape and the contour of the throat adomed 
with necklaces ; — and finally large chased ear-rîngs made of gold, 
whose threads are interwoven with small pearls. The poorest 
women of the Grecian isles wear thèse articles of dress and 
omament. No distress could make them part with thenâ. In 
those climates where the appréciation of beauty is more vivid 
than beneath our skies, and where life is nought but love, 
adomment is not a luzury in the eyes of womankind. It is her 
principal and ahnost h^ouly wanl 



SrOTE XV. 

When Graziella sallied forth from her chamber, on the Sab- 
bath or on festival days, and came upon the terrace thus decked 
eut, with a few red pomegranate flowers or some of the rosy 
buds of the laurel fastened in her black hair on the side of her 
head ; when, hearkening to the sound of the bells in the neigh- 
boring chapel, she walked to and fro in front of my window» 
like a peacock basking in the sun on the roof ; when she lan- 
guishingly trailed her feet imprisoned in their bespangled slip- 
pers, gazing atthem the while, and then raising her head with an 
undulation of the neck which was habituai to her, in order to 
make the ends of her silken handkerchief and her tresses âoat 
on her shoulder ; when she perceived that I was gazing at her, 
and bludhed as iî she were ashamed of being so lovely, the new 
lustre of her beauty impresse d me so deeply that I fancied I 
then saw her for the first time, and that my ordinary familiarity 
'vrith her was transforming itself^into a sort of timidity and be« 
dazzlement. 



168 LAMARTINE. 

But sbe sougbt so little to dazzle, and her natural instinet 
of Personal adomment was so free from ail pride and coquet^ 
ry, tliat she hastened, so soon as the holy cérémonies were 
ai an end, to strip off her rich ornaments, and résume her 
simple jacket of coarse green cloth, her dress of striped red 
and black calico, and her slippers with the white wooden heels, 
which sounded on the terrace, for the remainder of the dajg 
like the noisy slippers of the female slaves in the Ëast. 

Whenever her young friends, of her own sex, failed to corne 
for her, or her cousin did not accompany her to church, it was. 
often I who escorted her thither, and waited for her, seated 
on the front steps. As the people issued from church at the 
end of the service, I listened with a sort of personal pride, — 
as if she had been my sister or my intended, — ^to the mur- 
murs *of admiration which her graceful features drew from her 
companions, and from the young mariners of the quays of la 
Margellina» But she heard nothing, and, seeing no one but 
me in the crowd, smiled to me from the topmost step, made 
her last sign of the cross with fingers wet with holy watei nnd 
with eyes modestly downcast, descended the flight, at the loot 
of which I awaited her. 

It was thus, on festival days, that I escorted her, moming 
and evening, to the churches, the sole and pious relaxation she 
had, or loved. On those days I took especial care to assimi- 
late my dress to the costume of the young mariners of the 
island, in order that my présence should astonish no one, and 
that I might be taken for the brother or some relative of the 
young girl, whose attendant I was. 

On other days she nevër went out. As to myself, I had 
gradually resumed my life of study and my solitary habits, 
which had only been interrupted by the grateful friendship <rf 
Graziella, and by my adoption into her fiamily. I read the 
historians and poets of ail countries. I sometimes wrote ; I 
attempted to pour out, either in prose or in verse, at one time 
in Itahan, at another in French, those first ebullitions of the 
soûl which seem to weigh upon the heart until words hâve 
given them relief by expressing them. 

It seems that speech is the only prédestination of man, and 
that he was created to ^ve birth to thoughts, as the tree waai 
created to give birth to fruit. Man frets until he bas brought 
forth that which works within him. His written word is as i| 
mirror, of which he bas need to know himself, and convince 
himself that he exists. Until lie bas seen himself iu hk worki 



LES CONFIDENCES. 109 

he does not feel completely alive. The mind has its puberty 
as well as the body. 

I was at that âge which requires to increase and multiply 
itself by words. But, as is always the case, the instinct was 
greater in me than the strength. So soon as I had written, I 
was dissatisfied with my work, and cast it from me with dis- 
gust. How many shreds of my feelings and thoughts of the 
night, torn and scattered without regret, in tne light of day, 
hâve not the winds and waves of the sea of Naples borne 
away and swallowed up in the moming ! 



NOTE XVI. 

Sometimes Graziella, when she saw me closeted for a longer 
time and more silent than usual, would fm'tively enter my 
room to téar me from my obstinate readings, or from my occu' 
pations. She would noiselessly approach the back of my 
chair, raise herself on tiptoe to look over my shoulder, and 
gUze at what I was reading or writing, without understanding 
either ; then, with a sudden movement, she would grasp my 
book, or snatch my pen from between my fingers, and take to 
her heels. I would pursue her to the terrace, and show a Ut- 
ile anger ; she would laugh. I would forgive her ; but she 
would scold me seriously, as a mother might hâve done. 

" What does this book say to your eyes for so long a time 
to-day ?" would she n;iurmur with hàlf serions, half playful 
displeasure. '' Will thèse black Unes on this ugly bld paper 
never hâve done speaking to you ? Do you not know enough 
stories, like the one which made me weep so much at Procida, 
to tell us every Sunday and every evening in the year ? And 
to whom do you write thèse long letters at night, which you 
scatter on the sea-breeze in the moming ? Do you not know 
that you are injuring.yourself, and that you are quite pale, 
and seem to be absent-mindéd, after you bave written so long 
a time ? Is it not much pleasanter to speak with the person 
who is now looking at you, than to converse for whole days 
with thèse words, or with thèse shadows which do not hear 
us ? God ! why hâve I not as much sensé as thesé sheets of 
paper ? I would speak to you ail day, I would tell you ail 
you wanted to know, I would ; and you would havé no need 

15 



170 UIMAETINE 

thns to wear out jour ejes, and bam away ail the oil in jour 
lamp." 

Then she would hide my books and my pens. She would 
bring me my sailor's jacket and cap. She would force me to 
go out and divert myself. 

I would obey, not without munnuriog» but also not with- 
out loving her. 



BOOK X. 

NOTE I. 

I WOTJLD take long walks tbrough tbe city, on tbe quays, in 
the country ; but thèse solitary walks were not mournf ul, as 
during the first days of my retum to Naples. I enjoyed alone 
the sights of the town, the coast, the heavens, and the waters; 
but I enjoyed them with delight. The momentary feeling of 
my loneliness no longer overwhelmed me ; it wrapt me withm 
myself and concentrated ail my powers of heart and mind. I 
knew that friendly eyes and thoughts followed me tbrough 
those crowds or across those wastes, and that at my retum I 
was waited for by hearts filled with my own image. 

I was no longer like the bird whirling and crying around 
every strange nest, as the old woman had expressed it ; I was 
like the bird which tries to take long flights from the branch 
which supports its own nest, but winch, knows the way back 
to it again. AU my affection for my absent friend had 
âowed back upon Graziella. In that feeling there was some- 
thing more hvely, something sharper, something more tender 
-than in the one which bound me to him. It seemed to me 
that the one was the conséquence of habit and circumstance, but 
that the other had had its birth in my own heart, and that I 
had acquired it by my own choice. 

It was not love— I neither felt its agitation, its jealousy, nor 
its impassioned prepossessions ; it was a delightful repose of 
the heart, instead of being a sweet fever of the soûl and sensés. 
I had no thought of loving differently or of being loved more. 
I knew not whether she was a companion, a friend» a ma^. 



LES ^NFiDÉNCES. ÎYÎ 

ùt sometlimg else to me ; I metely knew that I was hà^pf 
-^hh her, and that she was happy with me. 

I desired nothîng morc-^— I wished for no change. I had 
not attained that âge when we mwattlly analyze out feeling!( 
to give ourselves a vain définition of our happiness. I Vràà 
eontent to be calm, attached, and happy, wimout knowing 
why or wherefore. LÎTing in common, and interchanging oui* 
thonghts daily, increased our innocent and gentle familiarity, 
while she remained as pure in her freedom as I was cahn xA 
my indifférence. 



NOTE ÎI. 

During the 6re months that I had been one o^ the fsnaty, 
dwelling imder the same roof, and» so to speak, constituting a part 
of her very thoughts, she had so completely aceustomed her- 
self to consider me as an inséparable portion of her heart, that 
she did not perceive, perhaps, how large a place I occupied 
in that heart. With me she had none of those fears, none at 
those reserves, none of those restraints which so often inter» 
pose themselves between a young giri and a young màn, and 
which, as often, cause love to spring out of the very precau« 
tions which are taken to guard«a^ainst it. She little suspected, 
and I myself hardly doubted, that her pure childish charma, 
which a few more days would cause to bloom in ail the bril» 
liancy of a precocious maturity, made her simple beauty a 
source of power for herself, of admiration for ail, and of dan- 
ger for me. She took no care either to hide or adom that 
beauty in my présence. She thought no more of it than a 
sister tliinks whether she is handsome or ugly in the présence 
of a brother. She never placed one flower more, or less, in 
her hair for my sake. She did not clothe her feet oftener on 
my account, when she dressed her little brothers at mom in 
the sunshine on the terrace, or helped her grandmother to 
sweep away the dead leaves which had fallen on the roof 
during the night. She entered my ever-open chamber at ail 
hours, and seated herself as innocently as Beppino on the 
chair at the foot of my bed. 

On rainy days I used to spend whole hoifirs with her alone 
in the adjoining chamber, in which she slept with the ILt^tJL^ 



172 LAMA&TINB. 

ebildren, and worked at ber coral. I helped her at Ler trade, 
in wbich she gave me instructions, talking and joking the 
wliile. Less skilful, but stronger than she» I was more suc- 
cessful in thinning the pièces. . We thus did double work, and 
in one day she eamed the wages of two. 

In the evening, on the contrary, when the children and the 
family were in bed, she became the pupil and I the preceptor. 
I taught her to read and write by malang her spell the words 
in my books, and by holding her hand to make her form the 
letters. Her cousin could not come every day, and I took his 
place. Whether it was that the deformed and crippled youth 
did not inspire bis cousin with sufficient regard and respect, 
notwithstanding his gentleness, his patience, and the gravity of 
his manners ; or whether she herself had too many things to 
divert her attention during her lessons, she made much less 
progress with him than with me. One half of the evening of 
study would be spent in joking, laughing, and imita ting the 
pédagogue. The poor young man was too deeply smitten 
with his pupil, and too timid in her présence to reprimand her. 
He complied with ail her fancies in order that the beautiful 
eyebrows of the maiden should not wear a frown, and that her 
lips should not be pouted at him. It often happened that the 
hour appointed for reading was spent by him in peeling grains 
of coral, winding skeins of silk on the wood of the grandam's 
distaff, or mendSng the meshes of Beppo's net. Every thing 
suited him, provided that at parting Graziella gave him a 
complacent smile, and said adaio in a tone of voice which 
meant a revoir/* 



NOTE III. 

When the lesson was taken with me, on the contrary, it was 
serions. It would often be prolonged until sleep overpowered 
our eyes. It was easy to see, from her bowed head, ner out- 
stretched neck, and the attentive immobility of her attitude 
and countenance, that the poor child did her best to succeed. 

* This locution bas no concise équivalent in English. The Hteral 
meaning of au revoir is « till I see you again ;'* as used above, however, it 
may be Anglicised by the common phrase ** let us see you soon again.^ — Tk 



% LES CONFIDENCES. 173 

j. She would lean lier elbow on my shoulder to read in tbe book 
'" along wbose page my finger foUowed tbe Une and pointed out 
tbe Word to be pronounced. Wben sbe wrote I beld ber 
fingers in my band to give tbe proper db-ection to tbe pen. 

If sbe made a mistake, I would scold ber witb an air of se- 
verity and displeasure; sbe would never answer, and only 
grow impatient witb berself. Sometimes I saw ber almost 
ready to weep ; tben I would speak in gentler tones, and en- 
courage ber to commence anew. If, on tbe contrary, sbe bad 
read correctly and written well, it was easy to perceive tbat 
sbe berself sougbt ber reward in my applause. Sbe would 
tum towards me witb blusbing cbeeks, and beams of joy on ber 
brow and in ber eyes, prouder of tbe pleasure wbicb sbe gave 
me tban of tbe little triumpb of ber success. 

I would reward ber by reading to ber a few pages of Paul 
and Virginia, wbicb sbe preferred to ail otber books ; or some 
of tbe beautiful stanzas of Tasso, wben be describes tbe rural 
life of tbe sbepberds witb wbom Herminia dwelt, or wben be 
sings tbe lamentations or tbe despair of tbe two loyers. Tbe 
barmony of tbose verses made ber weep and reflect a long 
time, even after I bad ceased to read. Poetry bas no ecbo 
more sonorous and long-sounding tban tbe young beart in 
wbicb love is about to bloom. It is like tbe foresbadowing of 
ail tbe passions. At a later day, it is like tbeir memory and 
tbeir dirge. Tbus it makes us weep at tbe two extrême periods 
of life— wben young, tears of bope ; wben old, tears of regret. 



NOTE IV. 

Tbe cbarming familiarities of tbese long and agreeable even- 
ings, by tbe ligbt of tbe lamp and in tbe pleasing warmtb of 
tbe brasier filled witb olive-stones, never awakened between 
us any otber tbougbts or any otber intimacies tban tbose of 
cbildbood. We were protected, I by my almost cold indiffér- 
ence ; sbe, by ber frankness and purity. We always parted as 
placidly as we bad met, and a moment after tbose lon^ inter- 
views botb slumbered under tbe same roof, at a sbort distance 
from one anotber, like two cbildren wbo bave played togetber 
during tbe evening, and wbo dream of notbin^ above tbeir 
simple amusements. Tbat tranquillity of tbose feelings wbicb 

16* 



174 LAMARTINE. 

are ignorant of their own existence, and wbioh nourisli them« 
selves, would haye lasted for years, had it not been for a cir- 
cumstance wbicb suddenly changed çvery thing, and revealed 
to us the nature of a friendsbip which, until Uien» ]iad beea 
^ufficient to make us so happy. 



NOTE V. 

Ceclio — that was the name of Graziella's cousin — came with 
increasing assiduity to spend the winter evenings with the family 
of the marinaro. Although the young girl gave him no signa 
of préférence, and although he usually was the object of ber 
jokes, and, to a certain extent, the butt of bis cousin, he was 
80 gentle, so patient, and so humble before her, that she could 
not help being affected by bis complacency, and smiling upoa 
bim sometimes with kindness. That was enough for him. He 
was of the nature of those feeble but loving bearts who, feeling 
that they are deprived by nature of those qualities which excite 
love, are content to love without any retum, and dévote them- 
selves like voluntary slaves to the service if not to the bappi- 
ness of the woman to wbom they give their bearts, Theirs are 
not the most noble, but they certainly are the most toucbing 
attachments. They are pitied, but they are admired. Loving 
to be loved, is the nature of man ; but loving merely to love, 
is almost the nature of angels. 



NOTE VI. 

Under the most disagreeable features, tbere was something 
angelic in the love of poor Cecho. Hence, instead of harboring 
feeiings of humiliation or jealousy, in conséquence of the famil- 
iarity and préférence with which I was treated by Graziella, 
before bis very eyes, be loved me because she loved me. He 
did not exact the first or the only place in bis cousin's affec- 
tions, but the second or the last : any tbing suited bim. To 
gratiify her for a moment, to obtain from her a complaoenl 
glance, a gracious sign or word» he would bave aearcbed ail 



LES CONFIDBNCVS. 175:: 

over France for me, and hâve brought me back to tbe one "who 
preferred me to him. I even believe that be would bave batcd 
me, bad I grieved bis cousin. 

Hls pride, as well as bis love, was bound up in ber. It 
is possible tbat — inwardly cold, self-posaessed, prudent, and 
metbodical, sucb as God and bis infirmitj bad made bim — be 
instinctively calculated tbat my influence over tbe inclinations 
of bis cousin would not be etemal ; tbat some unforeseen but 
inévitable event would part lis ; tbat I was a stranger from a 
distant aountry, wbose station in life and fortune were evidently 
incompatible witb tbose of tbe daugbter of a boatman of Pro- 
cida ; tbat some day or otber tbe intimacy between bis cousin 
and myself would be broken off as it bad been formed ; tbat 
sbe would tben be left to bhn alone, forsaken, desolate; tbat 
ber very despair would soften ber beart, and give it to bim 
crusbed, but not severed. Tbis cbaracter of comforter and 
friend was tbe only one to wbich be could lay tbe least claim. 
But bis fatber bad otber views for bim« 



NOTE VII. 

Tbe fatber, knowing Cbeco's love for bis nièce, came to see 
ber from time to time. Moved by ber beauty and ber modest 
and correct deportment, astonisbed by tbe rapid progress sbe 
made in tbe practice of ber art, as well as in reading and writing ; 
tbinking, on tbe otber band, tbat nature's ill-treatment would not 
permit Cecbo to aspire to any affections otber tban tbose of pro- 
priety and domestic life, be bad resolved upon tbe union of bis son 
and bis nièce. His fortime, wbich was already made, and quite 
respectable for a workman, penuitted bim to look upon bis offér 
as a favor, to wbich Andréa, bis wife, and tbe young girl ber- 
self would not even tbink of making tbe sligbtest opposition. 
Wbether it was tbat be bad mentioned bis project to Cecbo, or 
had hid bis intentions from bim in order to surprise bim with 
bis bappiness, be determined to e^lain bimself. 



176 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE VIII. 



On Christmas ère I returaed somewhat later than usual, te 
take my place at tbe family supper-table. I perceived that 
there was some coldaess and agitation in thc evidently con- 
Btrained features of Andréa and his wife. Fixing my eyes oq 
Graziella, I saw that she had been weeping. Serenity and 
gayety were so habituai to ber countenance that tbis unaccus- 
tomed expression of sorrow covered it as witb a visible veil. 
It seemed as if the shadows of ber tbougbts and ber beart 
bad spread tbemselves over ber face. * I remained motionless 
and mute, neither daring to question those poor people, nor 
speak to Graziella, througb fear that tbe mère sound of my 
Toice would make tbe tears, wbicb she appeared bardly able 
to restrain, gush forth anevr. 

Contrary to ber habit, she did not look at me. She auto- 
matically raîsed ber band to ber mouth and pretended to eat, 
to keep berself in countenance ; but she could not. ' She threw 
tbe pièces of bread beneath tbe table. Before tbe silent re- 
past was over she left tbe table, under tbe pretext of taking 
tbe cbildren to bed ; she dragged them to their chamber, shut 
berself in, without taking leave of any of us, and left me alone 
with ber grandparents. 

As soon as she went ont, I asked tbe fatber and motber 
wbat was tbe cause of tbe seriousness of tbeir tbougbts, and 
tbe moumfulness of their cbild. Then they informed me that 
Cecbo's fatber bad paid them a visit in tbe course of the day ; 
that be bad asked for tbeir grand-daugbter's band in marriage 
for bis son ; that it was a very great bappiness and a bigb for- 
tune for the family ; that Cecho would bave property ; that 
Graziella, wbo was so good, would take ber two little brothers 
with ber, and rear them as ber own cbildren ; that their own 
old âge would be insured against want ; that they bad grate- 
fully consented to that marriage ; that they had spoken about 
it to Graziella; that ber young girl's modesty and timidity 
would not permit ber to make any reply ; that ber silence ând 
tears were the natural cffect of ber surprise and émotion, but 
that ail that would pass like a bee over a flower ; iinally, that 
it bad been settled, between Cecbo's fatber and tbey^ that the 
betrothing sbould be celebrated after tbe Christmas bolidays. n 



LES CONFIDENCES. 177 



NOTE IX. 

They continued to speak a long time after I had ceased to 
hear. I had never accounted to myself for my attacbment to 
Graziella. I did not know how I loved her : whether my re- 
gard for her was the effect of pure intimacy or habit ; whether 
it was friendship or love ; or whether it consisted of ail those 
sentiments imited. But the idea of this sudden change of ail 
those delightful habits of life and heart, which had established 
and, as it were, cemented themselves without our knowledge, 
between her and I; the thought.that thèy were about to take her 
from me, and abruptly give her to another ; that from my com- 
panion'and my sister as she then was, she was about to become 
an indiffèrent stranger to me ; that she would no longer be by 
my side ; that I would no longer see her at àll hours of the 
day, and hear her voice call my name ; that I would no longer 
be able to gaze at that ray of caressîng light and tendemess 
which shone in her eyes and always beamed on me, which cast 
a soothing brilliancy on my heart and reminded me of my mo- 
tler and sisters ; the void and the deep darkness which I fan- 
cîed would suddenly encompass me there, on that spot, the 
day after her husband had bo^e her to another house ; that 
chamber in which she would no longer sleep ; my own, into 
which she would never again enter ; that table at which I 
would no longer see her seated; that terrace on which I 
would no longer hear the sound of her naked feet, or the tones 
of her voice when I awoke in the morning ; those churches to 
which I would never again escort her on the Sabbath ; that 
boat in which her seat would be empty, and in which I would 
only hâve the winds and the waves to converse with ; the 
thronging recollections of ail those sweet habits of our past 
life, which crowded themselves upon my mind ail at once, and 
which suddenly vanished, leaving me in an abyss of solitude 
and nothingness; ail this made me feelfor the first time what 
the Society of that young girl was to me, and àhowed me too 
clearly that the feeling which bound me to her, whether 
friendship or love, was stronger than I deemed it ; and that 
the charm of my wild life in Naples, hitherto unknown to my- 
self, was neither the sea, nor the boat, nor my humble cham- 
ber in that house, nor the fisherman, nor his wife, nor Beppo, 
nor the children ; but that it was one single being, and that 
with the departure of tîiat being from the house, every thing 



17ft LAMARTtNK. 

else vould disappear at the same lime. Deprîved of her, 
there would be nothin^ left for me in the life I then led. I 
felt it : this feeling, which had hîtberto been so confused, and 
which I bad never confessed to myself, now struck me sueb a 
violent blow tbat my heart sbuddered, and I experienced 
sometbing of tbe infinitude of love tbrougb tbe infinitade o# 
Borrow in wbicb my beart.suddenly felt itself ii^ulfed. 



NOTE X. 

I retumed in silence to my cbamber. I threw myself upoa 
my bed witbout undressing. I tried to read, to write, to thmk» 
to divert myself by some arduous mental task wbicb would 
overmaster my agitation. But ail to no purpose. Tbe inward 
commotion was so great tbat I could not coÛect two tbougbts, 
and tbat even tbe prostration of my énergies could not bring 
sleep to my relief. Never until tben bad tbe image of Qraâ- 
eUa fixed itself so obstinately before my eyes and appeared to 
tbem so ravisbing, I bad enjoyed it as we enjoy tbose tbings 
wbicb we see before us every day, but wbose sweetness is not 
fully felt until we lose tbem. Her beauty itself bad never 
been any tbing to me imtil tbat day ; I confounded tbe im- 
pression wbicb it made on me witb tbe effect of tbe friendsbip 
wbicb I nourisbed towards ber, and of tbat wbicb ber counte- 
nanQe expressed for me. I did not know tbat tbere was so 
mucb admiration in my attacbment ; I bad nev^ suspected 
tbe least passion in ber afifection. 

I did not clearly account to myself for ail tbis, even in tbe 
long circumvolutions of my beart during tbe sleeplessness of 
tbat nigbt. Every tbing was confused in my grief as well as 
in my feelings. I was like a man stunned by a sudden blow, 
wbo does not clearly know yet wbere ha suffers, but wbo 
suffers ail over. 

I left my bed before any noise was to be beard in tbe bouse. 
I know not wbat instinct prompted me to absent myself for 
some time, as if my présence at sucb a moment woula disturb 
tbe sanctuary of tbat family wbose fate was tbus struggling 
before tbe eyes of a stranger. 

I sallied fortb, informing Beppo, as I went, tbat I would not 
Eetum for several days. I walked at random in tbe direction 



LES CONFIDENCES. 179 

fîrst chosen by my footsteps. I followed the long quays of 
Naples, the coast of Résina, of Portici, the base of Vesuvius. 
I took guides at the Torrt dél Greco ; I slept on a stone at 
the door of the hermitage of San JSalvatore, on the confines 
where inhabited nature ends and the région of fire commences. 
As the Yolcano had been for some time in ebullition, and at 
each shock Tomited forth clouds of ashes and stones which 
we could hear, during the night, roU ail the way down to the 
ravine of lava which runs below the hermitage, my guides re- 
fused to go any further with me. I ascended alone ; with 
great diffioulty I climbed the last cône, burying my hands and 
fcet in a thick layer of buming ashes which crumbled away 
beneath my weight. The Tolcano rumbled and thundered at 
intervals. Calcined stones, still glowing, came down in show- 
ers around me and extinguishâ thernselves in the ashes. 
Nothing checked me. I succeeded in reaching the outer 
edge of the crater. I seated myself. I saw the sun rise on 
the bay, the open country, and the dazzling town of Naples. 
I was cold and insensible to this spectacle, which so many 
travellers come thousands of leagues to admire. In this im- 
mense océan of light, of seas, of coasts, and buildings gilded 
by the sun's beams, I only sought for one little white speck in 
the midst of the deep green of the trees, at the extremity of 
the hill of Posilipo, where I fancied I could see old Andrea's 
humble cot. In yain does man look and strive to take in ail 
space at a glance ; for him ail nature is comprised in two or 
three perceptible points which form the terminus of his whole 
soûl. Take from life the heart that loves you, what remains ? 
It is the same with nature. Efface from it the site and the 
dwelling which your thoughts seek or your memory populates, 
it is nought but a brilliant void into which yoiur glance buries 
itself without finding bottom, side, or resting-place. Is it sur- 
prising, then, that the sublime scènes of création are contem- 
plated by travellers with such a diversity <rf eyesight ? The 
reason of this is, that every one brings with him the Ught 
through which he gazes. A cloud on the soûl overshadows 
and darkens the earth more than a cloud on the horizon. The 
spectacle is in the spectator. I experienced this. 



180 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE XI. 



I lookod at evcry thing, saw nothing. In vain did I descend 
like a madman to the very bottom of the crater, holding on to 
the spurs formed by the cold lava. In vain did I overleap the 
deep crevices whence arose the smoke and crawling flames 
which stifled and bumed me. In vain did I contemplate the 
vast fields of sulphùr and crystallized sait which looked like 
glaciers colored by those fiery breaths. I was as free from 
admiration as from fear. My soûl was elsewhere ; I strove in 
vain to recall it. 

I retumed in the evening to the hermitage. I discharged 
my guides, and picked my way back througn the vineyards of 
Pompeii. I spent a whole day roaming through the désert 
streets of the in^lfed city. That tomb, opened after a lapse 
of two thousand years and again givîng up to the sun its 
streets, its monuments, and its arts, made as little impression 
on me as Vesuvius. ; So many centuries had passed since God 
had swept âway the soûl of that sea of ashes, that that soûl no 
longer spoke to my heart. I trod on that dust of human be- 
ings in the streets of what had once been theircity, with as 
much indifférence as on the heaps of empty shells cast by the 
sea upon its borders. Time is a great sea which is made to 
ôverflow, like the other sea, by our remains. We cannot 
weep over ail. Let each man hâve his sorrow, each âge its 
pity ; that is quite enough. 

After leaving Pompeii, I bilried myself in the wooded gorges 
of the mountains of Castelamare and Sorrento. Hère I lived 
several days, rambling from one village to another, and em- 
' ploying the goatherds to guide me to the most renowned spots 
in their mountains. They took me for a painter in search of 
prospects and views, becausel made a few notes now and then 
m a little drawing-bopk which my friend had left with me. I 
was only an errant soûl wandering hère and there in the coun- 
try to wear the days away. I lacked every thing. I was 
even missing to myself. 

I was unable to continue any longer. After the Chris tmas 
holidays had passed, and with thera that first day of the year, 
of which men hâve made an acknowledged festival, to seduce 
and mollify Time with joys and garhinds, like the austère 
guest that the host wishes to conciliate ; I made ail liaste to 
retum to J^aples. I re-entered the city at night, in doubt and 



LES CONKIDKNGES. 181 

hésitation, wavering between my impatience to see Gi*aziella 
again, and the dread of leaming that I should never see her 
more. I stopped twenty times ; I seated myself on the side 
of the boats as I approached la Margellina, 

I met Beppo at a short distance from the 1 ouse. When be 
saw me, an exclamation of joy escaped from his lips, and he 
threw his arms aromid my neck like a younger brother. He 
dragged me towards his boat, and told me what had taken' 
place during my absence. 

A great change had come over every thing in the house. 
Graziella had done nothing but weep since my departure. 
She no longer took her seat at table for the daily meals. She 
had ceased to work at her trade. She spent her days shut 
up in her chamber, refusing to answer when called ; and her 
nights she passed in walking on the terrace. In the neigh- 
borhood it was said that she was crazy, or that she had be- 
come tnnamorato. But he knew that that was not true. 

AU the harm arose out of their désire to affîance her to Ce- 
cho contrary to her own wishes, said the boy. Beppino had 
seen and heard every thing. Every day Cecho's father came 
to the house to ask his grandfather and grandmother for an 
answer. The old péople incessantly tormented Graziella to 
make her at last give her consent. She would not hearken to 
a Word on the subject ; she said she would sooner run away 
to Geneva. . This expression, for the Catholics of Naples, is 
analôgous to, " I would rather become a renegade." It is a 
threat worse than that of self- destruction — ^it is the eternal 
suicide of the soûl. 

Andréa and his wife, who adored Graziella, were almost 
driven to despair both by her résistance and the loss of their 
hopes of an establishment for her. They conjured her by 
their snowy locks. They spoke to her of their old âge, their 
poverty, and the prospects of the two children. Then Gra- 
ziella would soften. She would receive somewhat more fa- 
vorably pobr Cecho, who from time to time came and played 
with the children before his cousin's door. He always said, 
** How d'ye do ?" and " Good-by !" to her through the door ; 
but she very seldom gave him a single word in reply. He 
would go away dissatisfied, but resigned ; and return on the 
following day just the same as before. 

" My sister is very wrong," said Beppo. " Cecho loves her 
so much ! and he is so good ! She would be so very happy i 
Finally," added he, " this evening she allowed herseK to ne 

16 



182 I^MAUTJNE. 

prevailed upon by the prayers of grandfather and grandmo-' 
ther, and by Cecho's tears. She opened her door a Utile, and 
gave him her hand ; he slipped a ring on her finger, and she 
promised that she would aÛow herself to be betrothed to- 
morrow. But who knows what new whim she may hâve in 
her liead to-morrow ? She, who was once so gentle and so 
light-hearted ! My God ! how she bas changed I You would 
not know her ! " 



NOTE XII. 

Bcppino retired to rest in his boat Informed by him of ail 
that had taken place, I entered the house. 

Andréa and his wife were alone on the astrico. They wel- 
comed me with friendly warmth, and overwhelmed me with 
friendly reproaches for my prolonged absence. They related 
tp me aU their troubles and aU their hopes with regard to Gra- 
ziella. 

" If you had been hère," said Andréa to me, " you, whom 
she loves so dearly, and to whom she could never say no, you 
would bave helped us greatly. How glad we are to see you 
again ! To-morraw the betrothing takes place ; you must be 
présent ; your présence bas always brought us good fortune." 

When I heard thèse words I felt a shudder crawl over every 
part of my body. Something told me that I would h^ the 
cause of their misfortune. I bumed and I trembled to see 
Graziella again. I afifected to speak in a loud tone to her 
grandparents, and to pass backwards and forwards m front of 
her door, like some one who does not wish to call, but who is 
anxious to be heard. She remained both deaf and dumb, and 
did not appear. I entered my chamber and went to bed. A 
certain tranquiUity — such as is always produced by the ces- 
sation of doubt in the soûl that was agitated, and the cer- 
tainty of any thing, even of misery — at length came over my 
mind. I fell upon my couch Uke an inanimate and motionless 
mass. Lassitude of mind and body soon threw me into the 
midst of confused dreams, then into the total forgetfulness of 
sleep. 



LES CONFIDENCES. \$i 



NOTE XIII. 

I almost awoke two or three times during the nigLt. It 
was one of those winter nights which are more rare and more 
dreadful in warm climates and on the borders of the sea, than 
elsewhere. The lightning Ëashed unintemiptedly tlirough the 
cracks in my window-shutters, and played like the blinkings 
of an eye of fire on the walls of my room. The winds howled 
like packs of famished dogs. The dull blows of a heavy sea 
on the beach of la Margellina made the whole coast ring, a» 
if it were being pelted with enormous rocks. 

The breath of the wind made my door tremble and rattle. 
Two or three times I fancied that it opened and shut of its 
own accord, and that I heard smothered cries and human 
sobs mingled with the whistling and moaning of the tempest. 
I even thought, at one*time, that I heard words and my name, 
pronoimced by a voice which sounded like that of a person in 
distresSy calling for help ! I started up in my bed ; I heard 
nothing more ; I supposed that the tempest, the fever, and my 
dreams still haimted me with' their illusions ; I fell back and 
slwnbered again. 

The moming's cloudless sim had put the tempest to flight. 
I was awakened by real sobs, and by the screams of despair 
of the aged fisherman and his wife, who were venting their 
lamentations on the threshold of Graziella's chamber. The 
poor little thing had stolen away during the night. She had 
got up and kissed the children, motioning them to be silent. 
On her bed she had left her finest clothes, her ear-rings, her 
necklaces, and the small sum of money she possessed. 

The father held in his hand a pièce of paper, blotted with 
drops of water, which they had found fastened to the bedclothes 
with a pin. On this paper there were five or six lines of writing 
which he wildly implored me to read. I took it from his hand. 
It only contained thèse words, tremdously penned in the height 
of fever, and which I foimd some diffîculty in reading : 

" I haye promisedtoomuch .... a voice tells me thatit is 
more than I can perform .... I kiss your feet. Forgive me. 
I prefer to make myself a nun. Console Ceclio and the gentle- 
man .... I will pray to God for him and the little ones, 
Give them ail that I hâve. Restore the ring to Cecho ..." 

When thèse lines were read the whole femily again burst 
into tears. The little children, still in their night-clothes, hear- 



184 LAMARTINE. 

ing tliat their sister had gone away forever, mîngled tlieir cries 
with tlie moans of the old people, and ran ail over the houso 
calling Graziella / 



NOTE XIV. 

TliC uote fcU from my hands. Stooping to pick it up, I saw 
on the floor, beneath the door of my own room, a full-blown 
pomegranate flower which I had admired in the young girl's 
haïr on the precedmg Sunday, and the little devotional medal 
which she always wore in her bosom, and which, dnring my 
illness, four months before, she had fastened to my bed-cur- 
tains. I no longer doubted that my door had really been 
opened and closea during the night; that the words and sobs, 
wliich I had fancied I had heard and had taken for the wailing 
of the winds, were the farewell words and sobs of the poor 
child. A dry place on the outer part of the threshold of my 
room, in the midst of the traces ôf the storm which were visi- 
ble on ail the other parts of the terrace, attested that the 
young girl had rested there during the tempcst — ^that she had 
spent her last hour in tears and lamentations either lyiog or 
knee]ing on that stone. I snatched up the pomegranate ûower 
and the medal, and hid them in my breast. 

ïhe poor people, even in the midst of their own distress, 
were affected by the sight of my tears flowing with theirs. I 
did ail I could to console them. It was agreed that if they 
found their daughter again they would never speak to her 
again about Cecho. Poor Cecho himself, in quest of whom 
Beppo had gone, was the first to offer himself up as a sacri- 
fice to the peace of the family, and for the retum of his cousin. 
Wretched as he was, it was easy to perceive that he " was 
happy that his name had been mentioned with kindness in the 
note, and that he found a sort of consolation in the words ot 
farewell which were the cause of his despair. 

" She thought of me, at any rate," said he, wiping away 
his tears. 

It was instantly covenanted between us that none of us would 
taste a moment's repose until after wc had discovered the tra- 
ces of the fugitive. 

Andréa and Cecho set out in haste to make inquiries at the 



LEa CONFIDSNCES. 185 

innumerable conrents in the city. Beppo and the grandam ran 
to the bouses of ail of those of Graziella's young female compan- 
ions to whom they suspected she had confîded ner thoughts and 
the plan of her âîght. I, being a stranger, took upon my self 
to scour the quays, the wharves o( Naples, and the gâtes of 
the city, to question the guards, the captains of vessels, the 
boatmen, and ascertain whether any of them had seen the 
young Proddana leave the town that morning. 

The morning was spent in bootless scarches. We returned 
to the house silently and mournfully, to relate to one another 
the steps we had taken, and to consult anew. No one, except 
the children, had the courage to taste even a bit of bread. 
Andréa and his wife seated themselves dejectedly on the 
thrcshold of Graziella's room. Beppino and Cecho hopclessly 
resumed their wanderings through the streets and in the 
churches, which are opened at eve in Naples for the litanies 
and bénédictions. 



NOTE XV. 

After they had gone, I sallied forth alone, and moumfully 
and unthinkingly took the road which leads to the grotto of 
Posilipo. I passed through the grotto ; I went as far as the 
border of the sea which bathes the little isle of Nisida. 

From the shore, my eyes tumed towards Procida, which 
you can see from that spot rising Uke a tortoise-shell above 
the blue waves. My thoughts naturally foUowed the direc- 
tion of my eyes^ and fixed themselves on that isle, and tumed 
to those pleasant days which I had there spent with Graziella. 
It was inspiration which guided me towards it. I remembered 
that, on the island, Graziella had a friend of aoout her own 
âge, the daughter of a poor dweller in one of the neighboring 
cottages ; that this young girl wore a peculiar dress unlike the 
costume wom by her companions. One day, when I was 
questioning her about the reason of this différence in her gar- 
ments, she told me that she was a nun, although she lived in 
freedom with her parents, in a sort of intermediary state bc- 
tw«en cloisteral and secular life. She also showed me the 
chapel of her couvent. There were several establishments of 
this kind on the island, as well as in Ischia and in the villages 
around Naples. 

16* 



18(t I.ÀMÀRTINE. 

The thought struck me that Graziella's wish to dévote her- 
self to God had probably iaduced her to apply to this frîend 
and ask her to iatroduce her into her convent Ere I had 
taken time to reflect, I was already walkinç rapidly along ihe 
road to Pozzuoli, the to¥m nearest Procida at which beats 
are to be found. 

I reached Pozzuoli in less than an hour, I rushed to the 
port, to induce two boatmen to row me to Procida, despite 
the heavy sea and approachinç darkness. I paid them double. 
They launched their bark. I eeized a pair of oars to aid them. 
We doubled Cape Miseno with diffîculty. Two hours after- 
, wardsy I landed on the island, and, trembling and panting for 
breath, I ascended alone, amid the darkness and the blasts ci 
winter, the steps of the long fiight which led to Andrea's 
cabin. 



NOTE XVI. 

** If Graziella is on the island," said I to myself, " that is 
the first place she has visited, moved by that natund instinct 
which leads the bird towards îts nest, and the child towards 
its father's dwelling. ' Even if she is no longer there, she will 
hâve left some trace of her passage through the place. Thèse 
tracks will perhaps lead me to her. If I neither find her nor 
any trace of her there, ail hope is lost : the doors of some 
living sepulchre hâve forever closed upon her youth." 

Agitated by this terrible doubt, I scaled the last flight of 
the stairs. I knew the situation of the cleft in the rock in 
which the old mother had hid the key of the house, at the 
time of our departure from the island. I pushed aside the 
ivy and buried my hand in the fissure. My fingers sought for 
the key, trembling lest they should feel the bit of cold iron 
which would hâve robbed me of ail hope 

The key was not there. I smothered an exclamation of joy 
which arose to my Ups, and entered the yard with noiseless 
steps. The door and the window-shutters were closed; a 
smaU ray of light which leaked through the crack beneath the 
door, and danced on the leaves of the fig-tree, however, indi- 
cated that there was a light buming within. Who but ths 
fiaherman's grand-daughter could hâve found the key» entered 



LES CONf IhENCES. IH? 

the house, and lighted the lamp ? Ail my doubls yanisLed : I 
felt certain that GrazielJa was at two paces' distance from me, 
and I fell upon my knees on the steps in front of the house, 
to thank the angel that had conducted me to her. 



NOTE XVII. 

No Sound proceeded from the house. I pressed my ear 
against the door near the sill ; I thought I heard the fecble 
Sound of breathing and of sobs, coming from the back of the 
second room. I rattled the door gently, as if it had merely 
been shaken on its hinges by the -wind, in ordeF to attract 
Graziella's attention by de^ees, and not to startle her by the 
sudden and unexpected noise of a human voiee, and perhaps 
IdU her by calling her. The breathing ceased. I then called 
Graziella in a low tone, and with the most tranquil and tender 
accent I could find in my heart, A fecble cry responded frox^ 
the back part of the house, 

I again called, conjuring her to open the door to her fi-iend, 
her brother, who had corne alone, m the gloom of night, 
through the tempest, guided by hiç good genius, to seek for 
her, &id her, and tear her from her despair — ^to bring her the 
forgiveness of her family and bis own pardon, and 1^ her 
back to duty, to happiness, to her poor old grandmother and 
her dear litàe brothers ! 

"Godl itishe! I hear my name ! it is his Yoice T cried sh€» 
in hollow tcHies. 

I called her more tenderly, CkazieiKnn^ by that name o( 
endearment which I sometimes gave her when we toyed to- 
gether. 

*' Oh ! yes, it is indeed he," said she. '< I am not deceived ; 
my God 1 it is he I" 

I heard her rise from the dry leaves, which rustled beneath 
her at every movement she made, and advance a few steps to 
come and admit me^ then fall back again, unable to move, 
either from weakness oç émotion. 



188 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE XVIII. 



1 no longer liesitated; I dashed my shoulder agiûnst the 
old door with ail the forcç of my impatience and anziety ; the 
lo'ck yielded to the pressure, and I rushed into the house. 

The little lamp in front of the Madonna, which had been 
lighted by Grazîella, shed its feeble rays aromid. I darted 
into the second room, where I had heard her speak and fall, 
and where I thought she had swooned. I was mistaken; 
she had not fainted. Her weakness alone had betrayed her 
efforts; she had fallen back upon the heap of dry furze 
which served her as a bed, where she now lay with her hands 
tightly clasped and her eyes fized on me. Thèse, animated 
by fever, di^tended by astonishment, made languid by love, 
sparkled like two fixed stars darting their beams from heaven 
and yet seeming to shine from the depths of waters. 

Her head, which she sought to raise, fell back from weak- 
ness upon the leaves, and remained in a prostrate position as 
if severed from the trunk by the axe. With the exception 
of two bright roseate spots on her cheek-bones, her features 
were as pale as if their owner were at the point of death. 
Her beautiful skin was stained with the traces of tears on 
which the dust had settled. Her black garments were hardly 
distinguishable from the brown hue of the leaves on which 
she lay. Her naked feet, white as snow, overshot the heap 
of furze beneath her, and rested on the cold stone. Chills 
ran through ail her limbs, and made her teeth chatter hke 
castanets in the hands of a chUd. The red handkerchief 
which usually confined the long black tresses of her beautiful 
hair was loose, and hung like a veil over her brow down to 
her very eyelids. It was easy to see that she had used it to 
hide her face and her tears in darkness, as in the anticipated 
immobility of a shroud, and that she had only raised it when 
she heara the sound of my yoice, and attempted to get up 
and come to admit me. 



NOTE XIX. 

I threw myself upon my knees beside the bed of furze ; I 
took both her icy hands within my own ; I raised them to my 
lips to warm them with my breath ; a few tears trickled down 



LES CONFIDENCES. 169 

my cheeks and fell upon them. I knew, by the convulsive 
pressure of her fingers, that she felt this shower of the heart» 
and that she thanked me for it. I stripped btf my sailor's 
wrapper. I threw it over her feet. I folded them in the 
woollen garment. 

She submitted to ail this, merely watching my movements 
the while with an expression of ecstatic deUrium, but wholly 
unable to help herself by the least movement, like a child 
permittmg itself to be swathed and tumed in its cradle. I 
then cast two or three dry fagots on the hearth in the front 
room, to disseminate a Uttle warmth in the air, I ignited 
them with the flame of the lamp, and retumed to my post on 
the floor beside the couch of leaves. 

** I feel well," said she to me, speaking in a tone of voice 
that was low, soft, even, and monotonous, as if her breast had 
completely lost its vibration and its accent at the same time, 
and as if her voice had only retained one single note. ** I hâve 
in vain sou^ht to hide it from myself— I hâve in vam sought 
to hide it lorever from thee. I may die, but thou art the 
oiJy one that I can ever love. They wished to betroth me 
to another ; thou art the one to whom my soûl is betrothed ! 
I will never give myself to another on earth, for I hâve al- 
ready secretly given myself to thee ! — To thee on earth, or to 
God in heaven ! that is the vow I made the first day I dis- 
covered that my heart was sick for thee ! — I well know that 
I am only a poor girl, unworthy to touch thy feet even in 
thought ; therefore hâve I never asked thee to love me. I 
never will ask thee if thou dost love me. But I — I love thee, 
I love thee, I love thee !" And she seemed to concentrate 
her whole soûl in those three words. " Now, despise me, mock 
me, spum me with thy feet ! Laugh at me, if thou wilt, as a 
mad thing who fancies she is à queen in the midst of her 
tatters. Hold me up to the scom of the whole world ! — ^Yes, 
I will tell them with my own lips — * Yes, I love him ! And 
had you been in my place, you would hâve done as I hâve, — 
you would hâve loved him or hâve died !' " 



NOTE XX. 



I had kept my eyes averted, not daring to Ex. them on her, 
lest my glance should «ay too much, or too little, in reply to 



190 LAHARTIirB. 

sucli w9£ delirium. At thèse words, hoiweTer, I nûsed mj 
head which had been resting on her hands, and tried to 
stammer an answer. 

She placed one of her fingers on my lips. 

'* Let me tell thee ail : now I am contented ; my doubts are 
gone ; Qod has disclosed hhnsclf. Listen : Yesterday, when 
I fled from the honse after having spent the mght in strnggles 
and tears at thy door ; when I arrived hère in the midst of 
the tempest, I came with the belief that I should never more 
see thee — ^I came like a dead woman waUdng of her own 
accord to her graye. I was to bave made myself a nun td^ 
morrowy at the break of day. When I landed at nisht on the 
island, and knocked at the door of the conrent, it was too 
late ; the door was closed. They refused to open it for me. 
I came hither to spend the night, and kiss the walls of my 
father's honse before I entered the walls of the house of God 
and the tomb of my heart. I had written to a friend to corne 
for me to-morrow, and sent the note to her by a little boy.— 
I took the key. I lighted the lamp in front ôf the Madonna. 
I threw myself npon my knees, and made a wish — a last 
wish — a wish of hope even in the depths of despair. — ^For, if 
ever thou lovest, tnou'lt know that there always is a last 
glimmering of %ht at the bottom of the sonl, even when ît 
is thought that tul light had fled.— 'Holy protcctress/ said I, 
' send me a sign of my vocation, to convince me that love does 
not deceive me, and that I really dévote to Qod a life which 
should belong to Him alone ! My last night amongst the 
living has already commenccd. No one knows where it is 
spent. To-morrow, perhaps, search will be made for me, 
hère, after I am gone. If the friend to whom I bave sent 
Word comes the first, that will be a sign that I mnst accom- 
plish my design, and I will foUow her to the conrent forever. 
— But if he should appear before her ! .... if Ae should 
corne, guided by my protecting angel, to seek me, and arrest 

my steps on the very bxink of my other life ! Oh ! 

then, that would be a sign that you do not want me, and that 
I must retum with him to love him ail the rest of my days ! 
Let him be the first to corne !' added I. * Perform this sin- 
gle miracle, if such is your will and God*s decree. To obtain 
it, I will make you a gift — the only one that I, who hâve 
nothing, can make. Hère are my tresses, my poor long 
tresses, which are loved by him, and which he has often 
plajrfully cast loose, to see them float in the wbd on my 



LE0 CONFIDBNOES. 191 

Blioulders. Take them — I gWe them to you ; I will eut tbem 
off with my own hands, to prove to you that I do not spare my- 
self, and in order that my head may undergo, in advance, the 
opération that would deprive me of them lo-morrow, and at 
the same time separate me from the world.' " 

Saying this, she raised her left hand and remoYcd the silken 
kerchief which covered her head, while with the other, she 
grasped the mass of her dissevered hair, which lay beside her 
on the leafy couch, and nnrolled it before my eyes. 

« The Madonna has performed the miracle," resumed she, 
in a louder tone of voiee, and with an accent of extrême joy. 
•' She has sent thee ! I will foUow thee whereyer thou wilt. 
My tresses belong to her. My life is thine." 

I threw myself upon the mutilated looks of her beauteons 
black hair, and they remained in my hands like a dead branch 
tom from the tree. I covered them with mute kisses, I pressed 
them against my heart, I deluged them with tears, as if they 
had been a portion of herself deprived of life, that I was bury- 
ing in the earth. Then, tuming towards her again, I saw her 
eharming despoiled head, as if adomed and beautified by her 
very sacrffîce, beam with joy and lore in the midst of the 
black and uneven remains df her hair. It appeared to me like 
the mutilated statue of Youth, whose grâce and beauty the 
very ravages of time heighten, by adding sorrow to admiration. 
This profanation of herself, this suicide of her beauty for the 
love of me, struck a blow at my heart which shook my whole 
being and made me prostrate myself at her feet. I then had 
a foreboding of what love is, and I mistook that foreboding for 
love itself ! 



NOTE XXI. 

Alas ! it was not real love, it was but its shadow in my lieart. 
But I was too young and too ingenuous not to be deceived by 
it Dftyself. I thought that I adored her as so much innocence, 
beauty, and love deserved to be adored by a lover. I told 
her so, with that accent of sincerity which émotion im parts ; 
with that impassioned restraint which is imparted by solitude, 
darkness, despair, and tears. She believed it because she re« 
quired that belief to live, and because she had enough passion 
in her own heart, to make up for its insufficiency in a thousand 
«ther hearts. 



192 LAMARTINE. 

The whole night was thus spent in tbe confiding, but ingen- 
uous and pure intercourse of two beings who innocently dis- 
close their affection to one another, and who wish that night 
and silence may be etemal, in order that nothing indiffèrent to 
them may interpose itself between their lips and their hearts. 
Her piety and my timid reserve, the very tendemess of our 
80uls, guarded us from ail other dangers. The veil of our 
tears hung over us. There is nothing so far removed from 
sensuality as tender émotion. The abuse of such an intercourse 
would hâve been a profanation of two soûls. 

I held both her hands clasped within my own. I felt the 
glow of life retum to them. I went and brought her some 
fresh water in the hoUow of my hand to quench Ler thirst, or 
to wash her brow and cheeks. I fed the fire with a few dry 
branches ; then I returned, and reseated myself on the stone 
beside the fagot of myrtle on which her head reposed, to hear 
and hear again, the delightful disclosures of her love ; how it 
had grown in her breast without her knowledge, under the 
semblance of a sister's pure and sweet friendship ; how she 
had at first felt fear, then taken heart ; by what signs she had 
at length discovered that she loved me ; how many marks of 
préférence she had secretly given me without my knowledge ; 
the day on which she thought she had betrayed herself ; the 
day on which she fancied I retumed her love ; the hours, the 
gesture, the smiles, the words heedlessly uttered and eagerly 
remembered ; the involuntary révélations or clouds of both our 
countenances, during those six months. Her memory reminded 
her of every thing ; it had retained the imprint of every thing, 
as the dry grass on the mountains of the South, when ignited 
by the wind during the summer, retains the imprint of the 
fire's ravages on ail the spots over which the flames hâve swept. 



NOTE XXII. 

To thèse confessions, she added those mysterious supei*sti« 
tiens which give a meaning and a value to the most insignifi- 
cant circums tance. The veils which covered her soûl, so to 
speak, were thus raised by her, one by one, before my eyes. 
8he showed me that soûl, as she would hâve shown it to God» 
in ail the nakedness of its candor, innocence, and boundless 



LES CONFIDENCES. 103 

trust. Once in a lîfetîme, only, does thé soiil knov tliose mo- 
TTients in which it casts its whole self into another soûl with 
tbat inexbaustible murmur from lîps which are inadéquate to 
iio outpourings of love, and which at l^gth stammer sounds 
that are inarticulate and confused, like the kisses oi infants 
fallin^ asleep. 

I hstened, sighed, and shuddered by tums with untîring 
delight. AUbough my too frivolous and youthful heart was 
neither su£lciently ripe nor suffîciently fmitful to produce, of 
kself, such buming and divine émotions ; those emotions> 
showered upon it by another heart, produced such a novel 
and delightful sensation, that I fancied, as I felt them, they 
were my own. But no ! I was ice, she was fîre. I thought 
that I produced what I merely reflected. It mattered 
not ; that réverbération from one to another seemed to belong 
to us both and to wrap us in the atmosphère of the samé 
feeling. 



NOTE XXIII. 

Thus flew by this Ions winter night. And yet to her and 
to me it seemed not as long as the first sigh which reveals a 
lover's passion. When dawn appeared, it seemed to us that 
it came to interrupt the worà that our lips had hardly com- 
menced to utter. 

And yet the sun had risen high above the horizon ère its 
rays stole between the closed shutters and made the light of 
the lamp grow pale. Just as I opened the door, I saw ail the 
fisherman's family climbing the steps in hot haste. 

The youns: nun of Procida, to whom Graziella had written 
and conjfesseBi her intention to enter the couvent that moming, 
suspecting the cause of her despair, had sent her brother 
during the night to Naples, to wam Graziella's relatives of her 
détermination. Informed in this manner of their child's hiding- 
place, they had set out, with joy and repentance in their hearts, 
to arrest her on the brink of a living tomb, and bring her back, 
fr ^ and forgiven, to her home. 

The grdudam fell upon her knees beside the couch of leaves, 
pushmg forward with both her arms the two children, that 
she had brought with her to soften her ^rand-daughter's 
heart, and shieldini^^ herself from her reproa<^es behind their 



194 LAMARTINE. 

bodies. The Utile ones, with scrcams and tears» thrcw tl.om- 
selves upon their sister's bosom. As Graziclla raised luM'scif 
to fondie her brothers and kiss her grandmothcr, the silken 
kc! chief fell back and disclosed to view her head shom of ils 
covering. At the sight of this outrage on her bcîiiity, whose 
moaning to them was but too plain, they shuddered. Tùeir 
moans again rang through the house. The nun, who entored 
at that moment, quieted and consoled everybody ; she picked 
up the locks wbich had been severed from Grazielk's brow ; 
she touched the image of the Virgm with them, as she wrapped 
them in a white silken handkercmef ; then placed them in the 
extcnded apron of the fisherman's old wife. 

''Keep them/' said she, ''to show them to her, now and 
then, in her joy and in her sorrow, and to remind her, when 
she gives herself to the one she loves, that the first-fruits of her 
heai*t should alwayB belong to God, as the first-fruits of her 
beauty belong to Him in ^ese tresses.'* 



NOTE XXIV. 

In the evening we ail retumed together to Naples. The 
zeal which I had shown in my searches for Grasdella, and in 
my efforts to save her, greatly încreased the affection of the 
old woman and the fisherman for me. No one suspected the 
nature of the interest I bore her, or of her attachment to me. 
Her répugnance to the proposed marriage was attributed 
whoUy to the deformity of Cecho. They hoped that reflection 
and time would overcome that répugnance. They promised 
Graziella never again to press her to marry. Cecho, himself, 
entreated his father not to mention the subject again ; his hu- 
mility, his manner towards her, and his glances, seemed to 
implore his cousin's forgiveness for having been the cause of 
her grief. Tranquillity again entered the house. 



NOTE XXV. 

There was nothing now to cast a shade over the features 
of Graziella, or over her happiness, unless it was the thought 



LES CONFIDENCBS. 195 

Aat that happîness would sooner or later be îritennipted by 
my retiim to my ^native land. Whenever the name of France 
happened to be mentioned, the poor girl became pale, as if 
horrified by the sight of the phantom of death. One day, on 
entering my chamber, I found ail my citizen's clothes tom to 
pièces and scattered about the floor. 

'< Forgive me !" said Graziella, falling upon her knees at my 
feet and tuming her distorted features towards ine. ** I am 
the author of this misfortwne. Oh ! do not reprove me ! Ail 
that reminds me that thou must one of thèse days throw off 
thèse sailor's garments pains me too much ! It seems to me 
that thou'lt cast away thy présent heart with thèse humble 
clothes, and assume a différent one with thy fine attiré of for- 
mer times." 

With the exception of thèse little storms, whîch ônly burst 
from the fiery clouds of her affection, and which were washed 
away by a few tears from our eyes, thrée months slipped away in 
an imaginary felicity which the first touch of reaility was to 
destroy. Our Eden rested on a cloud. 

Ana thus was it that I was first made acquainted with 
love : — ^by a tear in the eyes of a child. 



NOTE XXVI. 

One night, towards the end of May, I heard a violent knock- 
ing at the door. Every one was asleep. I went and opened. 
It was my friend V * * * *. 

*' I corne for thee," said he to me. " Hère is a letter from 
thy mother. Thou'lt not resist it. Horses are ordered for 
midnight. It is just eleven. Let us set out, or thou'lt 
never leave this place. It will kill thy mother. Thou know- 
est how thy family casts the responsibility of ail thy faults on 
her. She has made so many sacrifices for thy sake, sacrifice 
thyself a moment for hers. I swear to thee that I will retum 
and spend the winter and another long year with thee hère. 
But thoû must show thyself at home and perform this act of 
obédience to thy mother's commands." 

I felt that I was lost. 

"Wait for me hère," said I. 

I retumed to my chamber, I hurriedly threw my clotki» kito 



lUd UUiAETIlIK. 

a portmanteaiL I wrote to Ghraaella ; I told her «H ikat lofft 
could wiing from a heart of twenty, ail that reason coold die* 
tate to a son devoted to bis mother. I swore to her» as sincerelj 
as I swore to myself, that ère the fourth œonth had passed 
away, I would be by her side, and that I would hardly ever 
leave her again. I intrusted the uncertainty of our &te to 
Providence and Love. I left her my purse to relieve the wants 
of her aged grandparents during my absence. After closîng 
the letter, I left my chamber on tiptoe. I cast myself upon 
my knees before her door. I kissed the stone, the wood ; I 
slipped the note into her room beneath the door. I smothered 
the inward sob which almost smothered me. 

My friend placed bis hand under my arm» raised me froia 
the noor, and tried to drag me away. At that very m<»aent^ 
Orazîella, startled and alarmed» no doubt, by the nnnsual n(»se, 
opened her chamber-door. The moon shone Inillîantly on the 
terrace. The poor child recognised my friend uid saw my 
portmanteau» which a servant was carrying away on bis shoiu- 
der. She stretched ont her arma, sent forth a cry of tecrcnv 
and fell senseless upon the terrace. 

We sprang towards her. We bore her lifeless form back to 
her bed. Ail the family rushed to the spot. They threw 
water in her face. They called her in ail the tones that were 
dearest to her. She retumed to consciousness only at the 
Sound of my voice. 

" Thou seest she lives," whîspered my friend in my ear ; " the 
blow bas fallen. A longer farewell would only be adding to 
its torture." 

He tore the yoimg girl's icy arms from about my neck» and 
dragged me out of the house. An hour afterwards, we were 
rolling in the silence and gloom of night along the road to 
Rome. 



NOTE XXVII. 

In the letter which I had written to Graziella, I had ^ven 
her several directions. At Milan I found a fîrst letter from her. 
She told me that she was well in body, but that her heart was 
sick ; that she nevertheless placed her trust in my word» and 
would confidently expect me towards the month of November. 

Whea I reached Lyons, I found another, which spoke with 



LES CONFIDENCES. 197 

stiïï more serenity and securîtj. It contained a few leaves o( 
vhe carnation wfaush gre w in an* eartben vase on the little breast- 
wall of the terraee, close by mj chamber, and one of whose 
flowers she used to stick in her hair every Sunday. Was this 
to send me something that she had touched ? Was it a tender 
reproach disguised beneath a symbol, and designed to tell me 
that she had sacrificed her tresses for my sake ? 

She said to me that she ''had had the fever ; that her hearl 
was sore ; but that she was getting better every day ; that they 
had sent her, for a change of air, and for her entîre recovery, to 
the house of one of her cousins, Cecho's sister — situated on the 
Vomero, a high and salubrious hill which overlooks Naples." 

After this, I remsûned about five months without recelving 
anylettecs^ My thoughts daUy dwelt on Graziella. Iwastoset 
out again for Italy in the beginning of the foUowing winter. Her 
sorrowful and charming image appeared to me there like a 
regret, and sometimes even iDce a gentle reproach. I was at 
that ungrateful period of Hfe when frivolity and imitation make 
a young man feel a false shame in the best feelings of his na- 
ture ; a cruel âge, at which the most beauteous oi God's gifts 
— ^pure love, ingenuous afifection — faH into the dust, and are 
swept away in their bloom by the wind of the world. The 
false and ironical pride of my friends oftea stniggled in my 
breast with the affection which lay hid at the bottom of my 
heart. I would not hâve dared to confes» — without blushing 
and exposing myself to raiUery — ^the name and station of the ob- 
ject of my re^et and sadness. Graziella was not forgotten, but 
she was veileâ in my Mfe. That love which entranced my heart, 
humiliated my vanity. Her memory, which I only nourished 
in my heart when alone, pursued me almost Hke a remorse 
when I mingled with the world. How I blush now for having 
blushed then ! and how much more precious was one of the 
joy-beams or one of the tear-drops of her chaste eyes, than ail 
the glances, ail the allurements, ail the smiles for which I was 
about to sacrifice her image ! Ah ! man, when he is too youn^, 
cannot love ! He knows not the value of any thing ! He only 
knows what real happiness is after he has lost it ! — ^There is 
more wild sap, more floating shade in the young trees of the 
forest ; there is more fire in the old heart c^ the oak.' 

True love is the ripe fruit of life. At twenty, it is not known, 
it is imagined. In vegetable nature, when the fruit comes, the 
leaves (Si ; perhaps is this also the case in human nature. I 
bave often tnought so since I hâve found white hairs in my 

17* 



108 LAMARTINE. 

Lcad. 1 hâve reproached mjrself for not havîng then known 
the value of tbat flower of love. I was nought but vanitj ; 
and yiimty is the most silly and most cruel vice of ail, fcn* it 
makes happiness blush ! . . . • 



NOTE XXVIII. 

One niffht in the early part of November, on my retum 
from a bail, some one handed me a note and a packet, which 
a traveller» comîng from Naples, had brought to me from the 
post-house at Maçon, where he had stopped to change horses. 
The stranger's note said, that, being intrusted by one of his 
friends — the superintendent of a coral manufactory at Naples 
— with an important message for me, he had acquitted hîmself 
of his charge as he passed through Maçon ; but that as the 
intelligence of which ne was the bearer was sad and funereal, 
he would not ask to see me; he merely requestéd me to ac- 
knowledge the réception of the packet at Paris. 

I opened the bundle with trembling hands. Beneath the 
fii-st wrapper I found a last letter from Graziella, which onlj 
çontained thèse words : 

" The doctor says that I shall die in less than three days. 
I wish to say farewell to thee ère I lose ail my strength. Oh ! 
if I had thee near me, I would live ! But it is God's will. I 
will soon speak to thee, and forever, from on high. Love my 
soûl ! It shall be with thee as long as thou livest. I leave 
thee my tresses, which were eut off for thy sake one nîght. 
Consecrate them to God in some chapel in Ùiy own land, that 
something belonging to me may be near thee r 



NOTE XXIX. 

I was overwhelmed, annihilated ! I remained so, with her 
letter clasped in my hand, until daybreak. Then, and then 
only did I find courage to open the other envelope. It çon- 
tained ail her beautiful hair, just as it was on the night when 
8he showed it to me in the cabin. To it were still attached 



LES CONFIDENCES. 199 

8ome of the leares of the furze wliich bad got entangied in it 
on that night. I complied witb the order contained in her 
dying behest. From tbat day forward, a sbadow of her death 
spread itself over my features and over my youtb. 

Twelve years afterwards I returaed to Naples. I searcbed 
for traces. Tbere was not one to be found, neitber at la Mar- 
çellina nor on^tbe isle of Procida. Tbe Utile bouse above the 
cliff bad fallen to ruins/ AU that was left of it was a beap of 
gray stones above a storeroom, in wbicb the goatberds shel- 
'^ered their flocks when it rained. Time effaces quickly from 
ihe eartb ; but it never oblitérâtes tbe traces of a first love 
from tbe beart tbat bas passed over tbat eartb. 

Poor Graziella ! Many days bave flown by since tbose days. 
I bave loved, I bave been loved. Other rays of beauty and 
affection bave illumined my gloomy path. Other soûls bave 
opened tbemselves for me, to reveal to me in the bearts of 
women tbe most mysterious treasures of beauty, sanctity, and 
purity tbat God ever animated on eartb, to make us imder- 
stand, foretaste, and désire heaven ; but nothing bas dimmed 
thy first apparition in my beart. Vhe longer I bave lived, tbe 
doser bave I approacbed to thee in tbought. Thy memory 
is like tbose ligbts of thy fatber's boat, wbicb distance frees 
from ail smoke, and wbicb sparkle the brighter tbe farther 
tbey recède from us. I know not wbere slumber thy mortal 
remahis,' nor wbether any one now moums for thee in thy na- 
tive land ; but thy real sepulchre is in my soûl. Tbere every 
part of thee is gâthered and entombed. Thy name never 
strikes my ear in vain. I love tbe language in wbicb it is ut- 
tered. At tbe bottom of my beart tbere is always a warm 
tear wbicb filters, drop by drop, and secretly falls upon thy 
memory, to refresb it and embalm it within me. 

. (1829.) 



NOTE XXX. 

One day, in tbe year 1830, baving entered one of tbe 
cburches of Paris in the evening, I saw them bring in tbe 
coffîn of a young girl, covered witb a wbite pall. This coffin 
remindcd me of Graziella. I bid myself in tbe sbadow of a 
pillar. I tbought of Procida, and I wept for a long time. 

My tears ceased to flow ; but tbe clouds wbicb had floated 



200 LAMAETINS. 

through my bcaîn during this mournfulness of a buxial, did not 
disappear. I retumed in silence to my apartment. I unfolded 
the remembrances which are retiraced in this long Note» and at 
one single sittîng, and with streaming eyes, I wrote the verses 
entitled ** The First Regret." It is the note, weakened by 
twenty years* distance, of a feeling which caused the first 
spring to gush from my heart. But in it you can yet discover 
the émotion of a deep-set fibre which bas been wounded, and 
which will ne ver completely heal. 

Hère are those stanzas, the balm of a wound, the dew of 
a heart, the perfume of a sepulchral flower. They only lacked 
the name of Graziella. I would frame it in them in a verse, 
if a crystal could be found in this nether world sufficiently 
pure to contain that tear, that memory, that name. 

THE FIRST REGRET. 

Beside Sorrento's sounding beach, on which her munn'ring seas 
Their blae waves roU 'mid foam and spray beneath the orange-tiees, 
There stands above the lonely path, the perfumed hedge ckîae by» 
A narrow, unobtrusive stone, on which tne stranger's eye 

But seldom rests. 

There the ^Uyflower hides, beneath its tender spray, 
A name which ecbo's babblÎDg voice was never Jaiown to say ! 
And yet, at times, the trav'ler stops beside that stone, and reada 
The âge and date upon its face, balf hid by clust'riiig weeda ; 
And says, while pity's mists arise to dim his searching eye — 
'' Sixteen ! only dxteen was she ! that's very young to me V 

But, oh ! my thoughts, why drag me back to scènes of bygone days l 
Let wînds their dismal wail ring out — let waves their murmurs raise ! 
Corne back, my thoughts, coma back to me — O moumful thoughts, 

retum ! 
Come back, and let me dream again — not shed the drops that bum ! 

And says, " Only sixteen was she !" — ^Yes, siarteen years she'd known ! 
And that sweet âge on lovelier brow than hers had never shone ! 
And never had the brilliant glow of that shore's buming raya 
Reflected been in eyes more bri^ht, in more love-speakins gaze ! 
I, alone, can see her now, — as she by thouffht was shrined 
Within the soûl where nothing dies,— existing in my mind : 
Livinff ! yes, as full of life as when with eyes on mine — 
(While we prolong'd our ear^ talk on God s own boundlesa urine -• 
Her tresses loose upon the wind, retuming its embrace,—- 
The sluggish sail o ershadowing her young and beaming ftce)*- 



LEd CONFIIIfiNCfiS. 201 

She iiearkenM to the burden of the ffsherman's sweot song, 
Inlialed the frcshiicss of the breeze which skimm'd the wave along, 
And show'd me with her graceful hand, the lustrons orb, fuU-blow«| 
Which like a fiower of night delights young Mornin? on hls throne ; 
And pointed at the silvery foam, and said to me, ^ On ! why 
Does cvery thing in me now shine as shine the sea and sky 7 
Never had thèse fields of blue so thickly strewn with fires, 
Nevcr had thèse gdden sands on which the wave expires, 
Thcse mountains with their trembling peaks that shoot up in the sky, 
Thcse gulfs o'ertopp'd by deep, dark woods, through which tho 

breezes sigh, 
Thèse lights that dance alonff the coast, thèse songs upon the seas, 
Never had they fill'd my souT with such vague ecstasies ! 
Whv is it I hâve never dream'd as I now dream to-ni^ht 7 
Within my heart bas some new star just risea into li^t ? 
— And tell me, son of moming, sav, hast ever seen a night, 
Without me, in thy native laïkl, which seem'd so dazzUng bri^t?'*^ 
— Then, turning to her mother old, who rode with us the deep, 
She laid her head upon her li^, and calmly courtCMl sleep. 

But, oh ! my thoughts, why drag me back to scènes of bygone 

days 1 
Let winds their dismal wail ring out — ^let waves their murmurs raise ï 
Corne back, my thoughts, come back to me ! — O moumful thoughts, 

retum! 
Come back, and let me dream again — not shed the drops that bum I 

What candor nestled on her lip ! how pure her eye and brîght ! 
And how that eye beam'd on mine own with streams of radiant liglit f 
Not more transparent, limpid, smooth, in its deep, death-like sleep, 
Lies Numico, tne beauteous lake o^er which the winds ne'er sweep I 
The thoughts which in her soûl had birth, by others' eyes were seen 
Ere they to her own self were known ; and innocence's sheen, — 
Which glisten'd in her downcast orbs, — their lids could never hide ; 
Her brow had never felt the mark of care's corroding tide ; 
Within her, ali was playfulness ; that youthful, joyous smile-^ 
Which after-years make sad and drear, e'en when it beams awhil^-* 
Aye bent her full, half-parted lips, like heaven's own bri^t bow ! 
No cloud o'er her entrancing face its dismal shade could throw ; 
Her careless step, free, unrestrain'd, aye rock'd, or rather swayM 
Her body, like the heaving waves on which the day-beams playM, 
Or bore it fleetly when ^e ran. Her voice's silverv tone— 
The edio of a ehildish soûl, which guile had never known, 
The music of that spotless soûl, wluch knew but how to sing— 
Rejoiced the very sprites of air that raised it on their wing I 

But, oh! my thoughts, why drag me back to scènes of bygone 

days? 
Lot winds their dismal wail ring out — ^let waves their murmurs raise I 



202 LAMARTINE. 

Corne Uick, my thoughts, corne Imck to me ! — O moiimral thoughts, 

return ! 
C(i«nc bock, and let me dream again — not shed the drops that bum ! 

And like the ray which entera first, at morn, when eyellds part, 
My image was the fîrst that CTaved itself upon her heart ; 
No other sight thenceforward would her melting eye approve ; 
The moment that her heart was given, the iiniverse was love ! 
With her own life she mingled mine, and in my single sonl 
Saw ail she wished to see ; I was a part, perhaps the whole, 
For her, of that enchanting world which shone before her eyea — 
Her sum of earthly happiness — ^her hopes beyond the skies ! 
She heeded not Time's rapid fliffht, no note of distance took, 
The passing hour alone absorb'd life's every thought and look ; 
Ere I had come, that Ufe had been from ail remembrance free ; 
But when I came, one hour with me was ail futurity !— 
She gave herself completely up to Naturels smiles, so fair ! 
Which beam'd sorenely on us Doth, — ^to pure and eamest prayer, 
Which at her fav'rite altar's foot, with heart by joy subdued, 
She breathed amid the flowers sweet her own fair hand had strew'd : 
And that soft hand would ofl lead me unto her temple's door, 
Where I, like any ductile child, would bow me and implore, 
While she in whisper'd tones would say — ^^ Pray thou to God with 

me! 
For heaven itself seems to my heart a myst'iy witbout thee !" 

But, oh ! my thoughts, why drag me back to scènes of bygone days ? 
Let winds tneir dismal wail ring out — ^let waves their murmurs mise ! 
Come back, my tl;ought9, come back to me ! — O moumful thoughts, 

return ! 
Come back, and let me dream again — ^not shed the drops that bum! 

Behold the basin clear and smooth made by a living spring ! 
How like a lake its waters lave their borders' narrow ring ! 
lis surface blue protection finds from every lising breeze. 
And from the ray that in it would a bumin? thirst appease ! 
The swan that swims so gracefully upon the limpid sheet. 
And buries 'neath its surface clear a neck that ripples greet, 
Adums the liquid mirror bright, mars not its spotless sheen, 
While sailing 'midst the smmgles strewn by twinkling stars at e*en 
But if he takes a sudden night in quest of other springs. 
And beats tlie trembling, startled pool with both his humid wingis, 
The heavens' bright renection fades beneath the dark'ning wave, 
And feathers fall m flakes tf dim the lustre they ne'er gave- 
As if some sanguinary bird, the foe of ail his race, 
Had struck him dead while in the air, and cast on eartli the trace 3 
And now the surface of that lake, ère while so clear and blue, 
b nought but one deep, thick'ning surge of dark and muddy hue l 



LES CONFIDENCES. , 203 

E'en thus, when I departed, ail within that soûl was stirr'd ; 
Its trembling, dying light went out, and, like the spoken word, 
Sped back to heaven, on seraph's wings, but never to retum. 
She waited not till other fiâmes shoumkindle there and burn ; 
She linger'd not 'twixt doubt and hope ; no struggle did she make 
To snatch from sorrow's greedy msp the life it came to take ; 
One draught was aU she took to drain griefs bitter, fatal cup ; — 
In lier first tear her gentle heart was drown'd and swallow'd up 
And, like the bird — ^less pure than she, less beautiful, less bright, — 
Which folds its head beneath its wing to slumber through the night, 
She wrapp'd herself in those drear folds despair is wont to weave, 
And fell asleep-— but long, too long before life's final eve S 

But, oh ! my thoughts, why drag me back to scènes of bygone days ? 
Let winds their dismal wail ring out — let waves their murmurs raise 
Corne back, my thoughts, corne back to me ! — O mournful thoughts, 

retum! 
Corne back, and let me dream again — ^not shed the drops that burn l 

Full fifteen years has she thus slept upon her bed of clay, 
And nothing noW weeps o'er the spot where she was hid away ; 
Forgetfulness, that second shroud in which we wrap the dead, 
Has thrown its mantle o'er the path which to her grave once led ; 
No living thing e'er visits now that poor neglected stone, 

None tlunk of it, none pray o'er it ! except my thoughts 

alone, 
When, striving hard to stem the tide of life's swifl-coursing stream, 
I ask my heart to show me those whose orbs no longer beun ; 
And when, with eyes reviewing loved memorials of me dead, 
I moum the loss of ail those stars which from my sky hâve fied ! 
She was the first, but her soft light yet shines for me above, 
And on my heart still casts a ray of piety and love ! 

But, oh ! my thoughts, why drag me back to scènes of bygone days ? 
Let winds their d&mal wall ring out — ^let waves their murmurs raise ! 
Corne back, my Uioughts, corne back to me !— O mournful thoughts» 

retum ! 
Come back, and let me dream again— not shed the drops that bum ! 

A bush by thoms defended, and in pallîd verdure dress'd, 

Is ail that Nature's hana has nused.to mark her place of rest ; 

Batter'd by the winds from sea, by sunbeams bumt and dried, 

like sad regrets deep-rooted in a heart by sorrow tried, 

It lives, but casts no nateful shade upon the fost'ring stones 

Its leaves are whiten'd by the dust which from the path is blown; 

Its branches crawl along the earth, untrammell'd and unpropp'd, 

Where they by goats are sdon espied, and pounced upon and^cropp'd ; 

When spring-time comes, one single flower, like flake of spoUess 

snow, 
odomB it for a day or two ; but soon the breezes blow, 



204 LAMARTINE. 

To tear it piecemeal from its stalk, ère fragrance it bas shed^ — 
Like life, ère it has o'er the heart its charma and pleasures s|N:ead ! 
A bird of love and moumfuhiess sits on the bendiag stem, 
And in its sweetest, parest tones, sings her sad requiem ! 
Oh ! say, Mt flow'r, that thus in life hast found thy early doom, 
Say, is there not another land where ail again must bloom ? 

Tum back, my thoughts, tom back, I say ! to scènes of bygone dayi 
Your sad memorials of the past aid me my sighs to raise ! 
Go whither goes my soûl, O thoughts ! with rapid wing, pray, go ! 
My heart is full, ay, very full — ^my tears bave need to now ! 

Thus did I expiate by thèse written tears tbe cruelty and 
ingratitude of my heart of nineteen. I bave never been able 
to reperuse thèse verses without adoring that youthful image 
'which the transparent and plaintive waves of the gulf of 
Naples will roll etemally before my eyes .... and viritbout 
detesting myself ! But soûls forgive on high. Hers has for- 
given me. Forgive me also, you ! — I bave wept. 



BOOK XL 

NOTE I. 

In 1814, I entered the military bousehold of King Louis 
XVIII., like ail the young men of my âge whose families were 
attached by remembrance to the old monarchy. I was a 
member of the corps of that guard which was to marcb 
against Bonaparte at Nevers, then at Fontainebleau, and 
finally défend Paris with the National Guard, and the young 
men of the schools, who had enrolled themselves spontané- 
ously, and out of mère enthusiasm for liberty, against the in- 
vasion o( the soldiers of the isle of £lba. For the last fifteen 
years History has been compelled into most shameful contor- 
tions on the subject of the so-called triumphal retum of Bona- 
parte, amid the applause of France. It is a conventional false- 
bood, which, for that reason, is none the less gross. 

The truth is, that France, astonished and in consternation» 
was conquered by one of the réminiscences of glory which in- 
timidated the nation ; and there is notbing less true than thaï 



LES COVFIBENCES. 20Al 

she was influenced to rise by her love and fanaticism for tlie 
Empire. That fanaticism, at that period, onlj existed among 
the troops ; and what is more, ohly in the subaltem ranks of 
the army. France was tired of those wars for a single man ; 
in Louis XVIII. she had hailed, not the king of the counter- 
révolution, but the king of a libéral constitution. AU the 
interrupted movement of the Révolution of 1789 recommenced 
for us after the downfall of the Empire. 

Ail France — thinking France, not bawling France — was 
fully convinced that Bonaparte's retum brought back with it 
tyranny and military sway. Thèse it dreaded. The 20th of 
March was an armed conspiracy, not a national movement. 
The first feeling of the people was to rebel against the auda- 
city of that man who oppressed them with the weight of a 
hero. Had there not been an organized army in France to 
rally beneath its Emperor's eagles, the Emperor would nevei' 
bave reached Paris. The nation was carried away by the 
army ; it forgot Liberty for the sake of one man ; this is the 
truth. That man was a great gênerai ; that man had been its 
chief fifteen years : in its eyes that man was Glory and the 
Empire ; this is its exténuation, if any thing like exténuation 
can be offered for défection to Liberty. This was the first time 
in my Hfe that I felt in my soûl a complète mistrust in man. 
In the space of eight days I saw one France that was ready to 
rise Uke a single man against Bonaparte, and another France 
that was prostrate at the feet of Bonaparte. I knew full well 
that the submission was not voluntary and the genuflection 
not sincère ; I saw that the greatest people are not always ' 
heroical, and that nations sometimes pass under the yoke. 
From that d:iy forward I despaired of the omnipotence of 
opinion, and believed plus qiuxl decet in the power of bayonets. 
That was my first political disenchantment. The 20th of 
March and the pliancy of a nation bending before a few régi- 
ments, remained like a crushing weight on my heart. History 
has disguised that subj action under a feigned enthusiasih. 
But there is a History which is truer than that which is writ- 
ten to flatter the ajje in which the historian lives — and it will 
speak a langùage aifterent from that of the incense-bearers of 
the Great Nation and the Great Soldier. The Empire awaits 
its Tacitus, and Liberty will be avenged. Meanwhile, we must 
take no heed of the falsehôods of that unscrupulous History, 
of those Taciti of the camp and barn-cks, who follow the army 
as sycophants in former times folle wed the court; who depra>« 

18 



206 LAMARTINE. 

the judgment of the people by always îustifying succeE», by 
always worshipping the sword, and who nave sucn a tbirst for 
servility in their soûls, that, as they can no longer adore the 
tyrant, they at least adore the memory of tyranny ! 



NOTE II. 

We quitted Paris on the day preceding the entrance of 
Bonaparte into that city. We left the capital in great com- 
motion. In ail the streets, on ail the boulevards, in ail the 
faubourgs, in ail the villages throi^h which we passed, the 
people crowded around us to overwhelm us with their bless- 
ings and their prayers. Citizens came from their houses, and, 
with tears in their eyes, offered us bread and wine. They 
pressed our hands within their own; they showered malédic- 
tions upon the heads of the pretorians who came to overthrow 
the institutions and destroy the peace which had ha^ly been 
re-established. This is what I heard and saw from me Place 
Louis XV., whence we took our departure, to the Belgian 
frontier. 

And they who spake and acted thus were not m^rely the roy- 
a^stSy the partisans of the house of Bourbon, but especially the 
libérais, the friends of the Révolution and of Liberty. 

We marched thus, in the midst of this concert of impréca- 
tions and tears, as far as Bethune, a small fortified town on 
our northem frontiers, two leagues distant from Bekîum. We 
were under the command of Marshal Marmont. ïhe Coimt 
d'Artois and the Duke de Berry, his son, marched with us. 
The king had separated from us at Arras, and had taken the 
route to Lisle. He tarricd but a few hours at Lisle, where 
the disposition of the garrison threatened his safety. He took 
refuge in Belgium. 

At this intelligence, the Count d'Artois, Marshal Mannont» 
and the mounted grenadiers of the Royal Guard left Bethune 
to folio w th*» king out of France. A few companies of body- 
guards, light-horsemen and musketeers remained in the town 
to défend it. In the evening we were assembled on the place 
i'ar'nea (parade ground) ; a proclamation was read to us, in 
which the princes tbanked us for our fidehty ; they bade us 
fiarewelly and told us that, liberated thenceforward from our 



LES CONFIDENCES. 207 

oatli to them, we were f ree to retum to our homes or to follow 
ihe king into a strange land. 

Duriiig the perusal of this proclamation, groups were formed 
on ail sides. We deliberated on the moist honorable and most 
patrioUc course to follow, forsaken as we were. Some thought 
it best to foUow the king, others were in favor of retuming to 
the ranks of the people, and there awaiting an opportunity to 
do fruitful service to our cause, which was betrayed by for- 
tune, but not by right. The most impassioned and niost 
numerous voices were for carrying our standard bito }*elgium, 
and attaching our fortune to the steps of the king we had 
swom to défend. Speeches were made with that animation 
and with that martial éloquence which unfurls banners, and in 
the outbursts of which, words are accompanied by gestures 
and the clangor of swords. That was the first time that I ad- 
dressed the multitude. Loved by many of my comrades, and 
honored, notwithstanding my extrême youth, with a certain 
degree of authority amongst them, I yielded to the sohcitations 
of some of my friends ; I moimted the wheel-nave of one of 
2he wagons in which our arms were stowed, and made a reply 
10 the musketeer, who had deeply and brilliantly moved the 
mmds of his hearers, by speaking in favor of émigration. 

I was as hostile to Bonaparte and as devoted to a libéral 
restoration as any one in the army ; but I came from a race of 
men who had never deserted their country, and who believed 
as firmly in the rights of our native land, as our ancestors be- 
lieved in the rights of the throne. My father and his brothers 
belonged to that génération of French nobles who Uved in the 
provinces and in the camps, away from the courts, hating 
abuses of power, despising corruption, — ^the friends of Mira- 
beau and the first constitutionahsts, the enemies of the crimes 
of the Révolution, the constant and moderate partisans of its 
real principles. None of them had emigrated. Cohlentz was 
répugnant to them as a folly and a fault. They had accepted 
the part of victims to the Kevolution in préférence to the part 
of auxiliaries to the enemies of their country. I had been 
nourished with thèse ideas ; they had infused thcmselves into 
my veins ; polilics arc in the blood. 

I expresscd thèse thoughts with frankness and energy. In 
support of them I made a few bold refiections of a nature to 
make a deep impression on wavering minds. 

I said that the cause of liberty and the cause of the Bour- 
bons had been happily united in France, since Louis XYIII. had 



208 LAMARTINE. 

given our country a représentative govémment; tbat eux 
strength depended on our being closely associated with tba 
libérais and tbe republicans ; tbat tbe same batred of Bona- 
parte animated us ail ; tbat be bimself, tbe usurper of ail tbe 
rigbts of tbe people» could not rule tbcnceforward wîtbout 
gtving tbe nation tbe sbadow of a bberal constitution ; tbat 
tbat constitution would necessarily include freedom of speecb 
and tbe freedom of tbe press ; tbat if tbe united republicans 
and royalLsts were to employ tbe weapons of public opinion 
agaitist Bonaparte, bis reign would be sbort and bis downfall 
final ; but tbat if tbe royalists emigrated and surrendered tbe 
repubticans to tbe army, ail résistance to tyranny would soou 
be drowned in tbe blood of tbe libérais, or smotbered in tbe 
dungeons of tbe state prisons ; tbat tbe friends of liberty were 
tbe enemies of émigration ; tbat, inclined to-day to form an 
alliance witb us on tbe ground of constitutional freedom and 
of a restoration of '89, tbey would separate from us tbe mo- 
ment tbey saw us on a foreign land, and under any otber flag 
tban tbat of tbe independence of our country ; tbat, bence, our 
duty to our country and ounifMmilies, as well as sound policy 
and useful fidelity, conmiandé^ous not to foUow tb^e king out of 
tbe land ; tbat tbe steps tbat we bad tbus far taken, to follow 
bim, were tbe steps of discipline and loyalty wbicb would 
leave nougbt but traces of bonor in oiïr Uves, but tbat one 
step more would denationalize us and leave us nougbt but re- 
gret, and at some future day, perbaps, remorse ; tbat, conse- 
quently, I would not cross tbe frontier, and tbat, witbout any 
wisb to blâme tbe contrary opinion of some of my companions,. 
I counselled tbose wbo tbougbt as I did to range tbemselvea 
on my side. 

Tbese words made a deep impression, and tbe majority de- 
clared against émigration. Tbose wbo persisted.in following 
tbe princes, mounted tbeir borses and left tbe town. We sbut 
oui*selves up in Betbune, wbicb was already surrounded by 
tbe troops wbicb tbe Ëmperor bad sent from Paris to observe 
tbe king's retreat. Keduced — ^by tbe absence of officers and 
tbe lack of command — to self-organization, we posted small 
detacbments near tbe principal gâtes, and bad sentries patrol- 
ling tbe ramparts day and nigbt. I slept tbree days and 
tbree nigbts in tbe guard-bouse at tbe gâte of Lisle, witb an 
excellent friend named Vaugelas, wbo bas since distiuguisbed 
bimself in tbe magistracy and in politics. On tbe fourtb day 
we capitulated. After baving been first discbarged by tbe 



LES CONFIDEKCES. ItM 

kmg, we were again dismissed by the Bcnapartist gênerai -who 
entered Bethune. We were left free to retum individually to 
our families. Paris was the only place we were forbidden to 
coter. 

I entered it nevertheless, under fayor of a citizen's coat and 
a cabriolet which were sent to me' at Saint Denis. I spent a 
few days in the capital, to study the state of the public mind, 
and to judge with my own eyes of the feelings of the young 
men and the people. I saw the Ëmperor pass one review on 
the Carrousel. It needed the prîsm of glory and the illusion 
of fanaticism to see in his person, at that period, the idéal of 
intellectual beauty and innate royalty with which marble and 
bronze hâve since flattered his image in order to make us 
adore it. His head was buried between his shoulders. His 
large and Uvid cheeks overhung the tight collar of his uni- 
form. His complexion, yellow as the orange, seemed to exude 
the sweat of care. His forehead was wrinkled by the anxie- 
ties of the moment. His deep and restless eye wandered over 
the assembled troops and people. His handsome, well-shaped 
mouth, smiled automatically on the crowd, while bis thoughts 
were evidently elsewhere. A certain air of doubt and hésita- 
tion was perceptible in ail his movements. It was easy to see 
that the ground was not firm beneath his feet, and that he 
was groping about on the throne with his fortune. He was 
not certain whether his entry into Paris was a triumph or a 
snare prepared by his guiding-star. The troops, as they filed 
off in front of him, cried Vive V Empereur ! with the smothered 
accent of despair. The people of the faubourgs sent forth 
the same clamors with a tone that was. more menacing than 
eothusiastic. Lookers-on either held their tongues, or inter- 
changed a few words in whispers, and significant glances. It 
was évident that hatred wished and watched for his downfall 
în the midst of the display of his strength and his triumph. 
The police interrogated the countenances of ail. Crtiss of lib- 
erty arose with enes of adidation and servility. Every thing 
in the scène renmided you more of one of the Emperors and 
a scène of the Grecian Empire than the hero of £g)7>t and the 
Consulate. It was the 18th of Brumaire taking its rev^nge. 

I left Paris, that great and heroical corrupter of the Révo- 
lution, with ail my energy and with the presentim<.'Ut of future 
freedom. 

18* 



SIO LAMAKTINR. 



NOTE III. 

Afier my retum home, the Impérial dccrees for new levies 
of troops succeeded one another, and came to disturb my fa- 
ther's tranquillity. It was hecessaiy either to enter the ranks 
of the young soldiers who were transférable to the army, or 
buy a man to act as a substitute in the service of the Empire. 
I would neither do one thing nor the other. I declared to my 
father that I would rather be shot by Bonaparte's orders than 
shed a drop of my blood or of another person's blood, for the 
service and support of what I called tyranny. I felt that this 
détermination, which was loudly and resolutely proclaimed by 
the son, might jeopard the safety of the parent, were he to be 
held responsible for it, and I resolved to leave the country. 

Switzerland was neutral. I took a few louis from my mo- 
ther's purse, and, without any passport, tumed my steps one 
night towards the Alps. 



NOTE IV. 

My grandfather had formerly owned large possessions in 
Franche Comté, between St. Claude and the confines of the 
canton of Yaud. Thèse estâtes no longer belonged to us, but 
they had been bought by old agents of the family to whom 
my name would not be unknown. I joumeyed without hin- 
derance, as far as their dwelling, at the foot of the forests of 
pines which grow on the edge of both the territories of Swit- 
zerland and France. They wclcomod me as the grandson of 
the former owner of those forests. Tliey secreted me a few 
days in their house. I threw aside my ordinary dress. From 
one of the young men of the house, I borrowed a hnen jacket 
similar to those wom by the peasants of the country ; and, 
with a gun on my shoulder, I passed into Switzerland, throu^h 
the thickest of the sentries and custom-house officers, who 
took me for some hunter living in the neighborhood. When 
I reached the summit of Saint Cergue, whence the eye takes 
in at a glance Lake Geneva and the belt of gigantic moun- 
tains which surrounds it, I enthusiastically kissed that land oi 
freedom. I remembered that, four years before, when retum* 



LES CONFIDENCES. 211 

ing from Milan to Lausanne, the same feeling of enthusiasm 
had been awakened m my bosom by the sight of a stone es- 
cutcheon, standing in the road between Villeneuve and Vevay, 
on wliich werc graven thèse magical words — Liberty, Equality l 

Au old man of Lausanne, who was riding in aie same ve- 
hicle, obsorvLng the émotion awakened in my soûl by thîs sym- 
bol of republican institutions in the midst of the subjection of 
the Empire, would hâve me to stop at his house, and, although 
I was an utter stranger, kept mei in his family several days. 

Men know one another by their feelings as well as by 
their names. Gênerons ideas are ties of relationship between 
Etrangers. Liberty has its brotherhood as well as consan- 
guinity. 



NOTE V. 

I neither had letters of crédit, introduction, or recommenda- 
tîon, nor any other papers that could procure me access into 
one single family in Switzerland. The fédéral police might 
take me for one of the numerous spies that the Emperor sent 
into the cantons to tum public opinion in his favor and revo- 
Iiitionize the country agaînst the feeble remaîns of the aristoc- 
racy of Berne. It was requisite to grope about for a family 
that would 1)0 answerable for me. At Saint Cergue, I entered 
the house of one of the guides who led strangers from France 
into Switzerland through the mountain-paths. In the course 
of the conversation, after supper, I inquired of this man the 
names of the principal persons with whose familles he was ac- 
quainted in the pays de Yaud, and to whom he most frequently 
conducted strangers. Hementioned Madam de Staël, whose 
numerous and illustrions friends often took shelter beneath her 
roof during their joumeys backwards and forwards across the 
frontier. It is known that Coppet was the asylum of ail the 
friends of Liberty whose only protection for ten years had been 
the genius of a woman. He also mentioned the name of 
the Baron de Vincy, a Swiss officer wfio had formerly been 
in the French service. He showed me his Château, which 
was within a few leagues of the guide' s dwelHng, at the foot of 
the mountains. He pointed out the road which led to it, and 
I determined to introduce myself to its owner. 



112 LAMÂETINB. 



NOTE VI. 

At break of day, on the following nuM-nutç, l de&eeoded 
iowards the lake in the direction of Nyous» or Neus. It was 
in the month of May ; the heavens were cloudless, and the 
respleudent waters of the lake were dotted hère and ihere 
with white sails. On their surface, towards Meiller^, lay the 
shadows of the mountains, with their crags, their forests, and 
their snows. Thèse Alpine sights, on which my eyes had only 
cursorily glanced four years beforc, now intoxicated me. I 
paused at every tum in the descent ; I seated myself alongside 
of every spring, and in the shade of the most beautiful chest- 
nut-trees, to imbody» so to speak, that splendid nature through 
my eyes. On the other hand, I involuntarily hesitated to pré- 
sent myself at the Château de Vincy. I was not displeased 
to delay the exécution of an act that was embarrassing to me. 



NOTE VII. 

I at length arrived at the gâte of the Château ; it was past 
mid-day. I asked, with a timidity that was poorly disgmsed 
under feigned assurance, whether the Baron de Vincy was at 
home. I received an affirmative answer, and was ushered in. 
Notwithstanding my peasant's jacket, my face cont^rasted so 
strongly with my costume, that M. de Vincy requested me to 
be seated, and politely inquired the object of my visit. I told 
it to him : he lilstened with obliging attention, made a few in- 
quiries to satîsfy himself that I was not an adventur^, seemed 
contented with their resuit, wrote a letter to a magistrate m 
Berne, and handed it to me. I thanked him with wann ex- 
pressions of gratitude and walked away. 

Just as I was about to take leave of him on the landing of 
the court-yard steps, two ladies, who were descending the 
stairs, appeared in the vestibule. 

One of thèse ladies was the Baroness de Vincy. She was 
a woman about forty years of a^e, tall in stature, majesUc ia 
her port, with a genâe and placid countenance, o'erclbuded bj 
a melancholy expression, like that which darkens the featuree 
oî antique Niobes. The other was a youog girl of fifteea ov 



LES CONFIDENCES. S*9 

ûxteen, much smaller than ber mother, and whoâe thottglitfiii 
linéaments bespoke a northern plant growing in the shade of 
a cold climate, and o'ershadowed perhaps by some domeslie 
sorrow. The two ladies paused to listen to tbe bst words of 
my conversation witb M. de Yincy. They gazed at me with 
mingled eamestness and benignity, and remained some time 
on the landin^, watching me as I walked away. There was 
gomething of mdecision and regret in their attitude. 

Ihad already gone some distance, and had reached the streets 
oi the village, when a servant came runmng after me, and re- 
quested me, in the name of Madam de Yincy, to tvam back. 
I followed him. I found the family, consisting of M. de Yincy, 
bis wtfe, and a son ten or twelve years of âge, waiting for me 
on the landing. 

'' We feel a sincère regret," sakd Madam de Yincy to me, 
in a touching and altogether maternai tone of voice; ''we 
fear that, being a stranger in our mountaîns, and fstigued by 
a long joumey on fooC you will iH>t find in the village any 
inn where you will be abie to refresh and rest yourself. We 
pray you to make our bouse your halting-plaoe, and to be so 
good as to dine with us. We are on our way to table. You 
will bave ail the time requisite to reach Boll during the after- 
noon." 

I r^used for some time, and tried to excuse myself because 
of my attire, which made me unfit to i^t at ihér board. They 
insisted, and I at length yielded. 

During the plain and frugal repast, which took place in a 
bail where every thing attested the departed splendor of a 
bouse fallen from its fortunes, M. and Madam de Yincy dis- 
coursed with me in a manner which indicated that they wished 
to satisfy themselves fully that I really was what I claimed to 
be. The name of my family was unknown to them ; but I 
bad frequented in Paris several persons of their acquaintance. 
The détails which I gave Uiem conceming thèse people, in 
the course of our conversation, were of a nature to convince 
them that I moved in good company. My instinctive hatred 
towards Bonaparte was also a recommendation in my favor. 
Before the meal was over, I saw that every suspicion witb re- 
gard to me had left their minds. The honesty of my glance, 
the candor of my brow, the simplicity of my replies, were no 
doubt conducive to this. After dinner, I thanked Madam de 
Yincy, took my stick, and arose to départ. The ladies said 
they would escort me some distance for the sake of the walk. 



214 LAMARTINE. 

«nd niso for the parposo of sbowing me the way to Roll. We 
Btrolled togothcr throwh the vines and woods to the distance 
of about half a lîaguo from the Château. The son was sink- 
ing in the west ; we separated. 

But ère I had advanced many paces alone, I was agam 
called back by some one. I retumed. 

" Corne, sir," said Madam de Yincy to me, ** it is useless to 
put you to any further test, and also to pain ourselves by ex- 
posing you thus to the chances of adventure, alone and in a 
strange country. We feel an interest in you ; you seem ta be 
pleased with us ; let us not part. I can imagme myself in 
your mother's place. I myself bave a son of your açe, wbo, 
at this moment, is fighting in the ranks of the Dutcn army, 
and wbo may be wounded, in prison, or wandering about like 
yom^elf ; it seems to me that by sbeltering you I am prepar- 
mg a similar shelter for bim in the bouse of some other mo- 
ther. Corne back with us. We bave lost our fortune, and 
our fare is frugal ; but our poverty does not make us blush. 
One guest more cannot bring misfortune to a poor family. 
You will content yourself with what we bave, and remain with 
us until the affairs of Europe disentangle tbemselTes, and untQ 
we can see clearly beyond our mountains." 

I was deeply moved by so much goodness. I re-entered 
the Château as if I had been one of the family. They gave 
me a room whence my eye could plunge into the lake ; they 
gave me books to occupy my mind. But very few days haa 
passed ère Mesdames de Yincy had ceased to beed my 
présence. To the elder, I was as a son ; to the younger, as a 
brother. I accompanied them every evening m thw ram- 
blés on foot through the mountains, or when they sailed upon 
the lake. I had sent to Geheva for a coat and some linen.* 
I was introduced to some of the friends of the family in the 
vicinage of the Château. As the wife and daughter of my 
host often saw me scribble with pen or pencil, they asked me 
to make them the confidantes of some of my rêveries. I read 
them an Ode to the libération of Europe, and a few stanzas 
on the Alps, which.seemed to them superior to the notion 
which they had formed, no doubt, of the talents of one so 
young. Thej entreated me to read them over again to M. de 
Yincy, wbo embraced me with great émotion when be beard 
the prayers for the independence of bis country, and the im- 
précations upon the tyranny of the Empire. He would not 
believe that those verses were my own. To remove bis doubts» 



LES CONFIDENCES. 215 

I hod to Write several additional strophes before his eyes, and 
on subjects suggested by him. 

Thenceforward, the indulgence of that noble family greatly 
încreased ; their kindnesses were beyond increase. They bad 
welcomed me for myself, not for my feeble talents. I lived 
amid love and bappiness in that patriarchal dwelling, in whicb 
the piety, secluded life, and charity of my hosts reminded me 
of the roof whicb sbeltered my mother. We spent our 
evenings on a long and wide terrace, — ^which lies at the foot of 
the Château, and overlooks the basin of the lake, — conversing 
on the occurrences of the times, and contemplating the tran- 
quil and splendid scènes on whicb the moon casts its re- 
splendent beams above the waters and the snows. 



NOTE VIII. 

From that spot you could see the crowns of the trees in the 
park and the tops of the pavilions of the Château of Coppet 
in which then dwelt, imder the form and linéaments of a 
woman, the genius that most dazzled my youth. 

" Since you cultivate your mind with so much care," said 
Madam de Vincy to me, one evening, ** you must be one of 
the admirers of our neighbor, Madam de Staël/' 

I confessed with warmth my passion for the author of 
Corinna. I saw that the émotion of my soûl and the enthu- 
siasm of my admiration caused a fold of disdain to curl 
the lip of M. de Vincy, and somewhat pained his wife. 

" I wîsh that I bad it in my power to introduce you to your 
heroine," said she to me ; " I am well acquaînted with Madam 
de Staël. I like her character. I do full justice to her 
goodness and beneficence. But we do not visit one another 
any more. Her opinions and ours separate us. She is the 
daughter of the Révolution, through M. Necker. We belong 
to thé reli^on of the past. Our communion is as incompati- 
ble as that of democracy and aristocracy. Although at this 
moment we are united by our common hatred towards Bona- 
parte, we may not visit one another, for that hatred does not 
proceed from the same principle. In him, tœ detest the 
xtevolution which bas deprived us of our rank and our 
■overeignty at Berne. She abhors in him the coimter-Eevolu- 



S16 LÂHAATINC. 

tion. We could not agrée. As to jou, it is quîte differmi» 
Madam de Staël îs a neutral glory that sbînes on ail parties, 
and must fascinate a heart of twenty. You must wish to see 
her. And yet you would somewhat gneve «s if you were to 
TÎsit lier while staying with us. Our fiiends would not und^- 
stand this indirect intercourse between two Châteaux înhabited 
by différent spirits." 



NOTE IX. 

I understood tbese motives, and did not att^npt to réfute 
tbem ; and, moreover, my extrême timidity in the présence 
of women and in the présence of eenius would not permit me 
to think of an introduction to Madam de Staël without 
trembling. To perceive a ray of glory beneath her features, 
and adore it at a distance — ^that was enough for me. Such 
happiness was to be mine. 

I ascertained, a few days after this conversation, that 
Madam de Staël, accompanied by Madam Recamier, who then 
resided at Coppet, often rode at evening, in a calash^ along the 
road leading to Lausanne. I made inquiry about the usual 
hour of thèse rides. They varied according to cûxsumstances. 
I therefore resolved to spend a whole day on the road, througk 
fear of missing the desired opportunity. I had recourse to 
the pretext of a ramble on the Jura. I set out m the mom- 
ing, taking with me a pièce of bread and a volume of Ooriwnaf 
and I placed myself m ambuscade beneath a bush, seated on 
the plank, with my feet hanging in the ditch on the ôde <^ 
the highway. 

The hours flew by. Hundreds of vehicles passed along the 
road, but none of them contained the women on whose fea- 
tures I could place the names of Madam de Staël and Madam 
Recamier. I was about to retum, sad and dissatisfied, when 
a cloud of dust arose at my riffht, on the road in the direc- 
tion of Coppet. It was raised by two open calashes, drawn 
by magnificent horses, rolling towards Lausanne. Madam de 
Staël and Madam Recamier passed in front of me with the 
rapidity of lightning. I hardly had time to catch a glimpse, 
— through the dense cloud sent up by the wheels,— of a 
woman with black eyes who was speaking with animated ges- 
iures to another whose face might hâve served as the type 



LES CONFIDENCES. 21? 

of the only real beauty — ^the beauty that charms tbe eye and 
seduces the heart. Four other women, young and likewise 
beautiful, foUowed in the second carriage. None of them 
paid any attention to me. I watched for a long time the 
retreating trace of the vehicles. I would hâve been pleased 
could I haye arrested the flight of the horses ; but Madam de 
Staël was far from suspecting that the most passîonate admi- 
ration arose towards her from the dusty edge of the roadside 
ditch. Ail that was left to me of her person was a vague and 
confused image, which settled nothing in my imagmation. 

The ravishing face of Madam Recamier engraved itself there 
more deeply. The impression made by ^enius is evanesccnt ; 
the impression made by charms is impenshable. Beauty has 
a ray which acts Mke the thunderbolt. It is the daguerréotype 
of thé heart. The beauty of Madam Recamier was thus pow- 
erful and thus . complète, merely because it was the envelop 
mottlded on her mind and her soûl. It was not her face that 
alone was beautiful, it was herself that was lovely. That beauty 
which then was romance, will one day be history. As bright 
as Aspasia — but a pure and Christian Aspasia — she was the 
object of the worship of a greater genius than Pericles. I, 
consequently, never knew Madam de Staël, but I recognised 
her at a later day in her daughter, the Duchess de Broglie. It 
was thus, perhaps, that she should hâve beèn known, to be 
contemplated under her most sublime incarnation. 

In Madam de Broglie ail that passion had become beauty, 
ail that ûre had become warmth, ail that gemus had become 
virtue. To die and leave such a trace of self in the world, was, 
for Madam de Staël, a living apotheosis that was due to her 
glory by heaven. It was in 1819 that I saw Madam de Brog- 
lie for the first time. She honored me until the day of her 
death with kindnesses, the remembrance of which shall always 
be saered to me. I hâve devoted to her memory some of the 
last verses that I hâve written. Poetry, at a certain period 
of life, is nothing more than a funeral um, in which we may 
bum'a few perfumes to embalm memories that are saered. The 
memory of Madam de Broglie needs no such mcense. It îs its 
own perfume. It embalms itself in its own virtue. 

19 



216 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE X. 

Meanwhile I was beginning to feel a certmn dclicacy about 
burdeiiing for such a length of time a family to wbich I was a 
stranger. I feared that my prolonged présence in tbe house 
might be indiscreet, and might even impose some constraint on 
M. and Madam de Vincy. The apparent means of that respect- 
able family seemed to me not to be adéquate at that time to 
the generosity of their heart. I perceived this, notwithstand- 
ing the noble liberality of their treatment. I did not wish to 
add, by the additional expense to which I necessarily subjected 
them, to that embarrassment of fortmie and to those vexations 
of life, with whose symptoms I had been made too familîar at 
home not to discover them in another's family. I saw that 
they sufferedy and I suffered for them. Theirs were Idngly 
hearts strugglmg with the necessities of poverty. Heaven 
should bave granted them a fortune proporlionate to their 
generosity. 



NOTE XI. 

I pretended a joumey into the méridional mountains of 
Switzerland. I left the Château, not without sorrow in the 
eyes of my hosts and in my own. I often tumed my head to 
regret that hospitable dwelling and to bless it with my eyes. 
In the garb of a travelling workman I rambled alone ana on 
foot, over the most beautiful and the wildest portions of Hel- 
vetia. After three weeks of this errant life, I returned to the 
shores of the lake of Geneva, and tarried on that part of the 
coast which is opposite the canton of Vaud, and to whicb Jean 
Jacques Rousseau so justly gave the préférence. I quartered 
myself for a few days in the house of a boatman of the Chab- 
lais, whose somewhat isolated dwelling stood at the extremity 
of a small ^dllage. This man's occupations were to convey the 
peasants once or twice a week from one side of the lake to the 
other, flsh in the lake, and cultivate a little ground. Ail the 
family he had was a daughter of twenty-five, who superintend- 
ed bis household afifairs and prepared food for the fishermen 
and travellers. At the distance of about three hundred paces 



LES CONFIOBNCES. 219 

from this worthy man's dwelling, stood another Louse wbich 
also belonged to him, and whîch was only used from time to 
time to lodge a few travellers, or custom-house officers on a 
tour of observation. 

This honse only contained one room abovo a cellar. I hired 
it. It was built on a pièce of level ground, near the edge of a 
deep forest of chestnut-trees, and on the very shore of the lake^ 
whose waves rolled against the wall. The only articles of fur- 
niture in my room were a bedstead without any mattress, on 
which were spread either straw or hay, sheets, and a blanket ; 
a chair and a settle. The ledge of the window served me as 
a writing-table. Hère I instaUed myself. 

I went twice a day, moming and evening, to take my meals 
with the boatman at his house. Brown bread, eggs, frîed fish, 
some of the sour sharp wine of the country, composed those 
repasts. The boatman was honest ; his daughter obliging and 
attentive. After a few days of this life in common, we became 
friends. I sent the boatman once a week to procure books and 
news for me at the circulating libraries of Lausanne or Nyons. 
I had ink, pencils, paper. I spent the rainy dayç reading 
and writing in my room ; the days of sunshine I spent in fol- 
lowing the long windings of the borders of the lake, or the lost 
paths in the forest of chestnut-trees. In the evening, I remain- 
ed long after supper, killing the hours of darkness in the boat- 
man*8 house, conversing with him, with his daughter, sometimes 
with the schoolmaster and the pastor of the village, who re- 
mained until a late hour with us. After retuming to my room, 
I there found, before the hour of slumber, the soothing mur- 
mur of the lake, whose every billow rolled the pebbles upon 
the shore, and carried them away again. 

My room was so close to the water, that in tempestuous 
weather, the waves of the lake, as they broke upon the beach, 
dashed their foam against my window. I hâve never so closely 
studied the murmurs, the moans, the rage, the wails, the sobs, 
and the imdulations of the waters, as during those nights and 
days thus spent ail alone in the monotonous company of a 
lake. I could hâve written the poem of the waters without 
omitting the smallest note. Nor never hâve I ever so thor- 
oughly enjoyed solitude, that voluntary winding-sheet of man, 
in which he wraps himself to taste the voluptuousness of being 
dead to earth. In the moming, I could see the large white 
Château of Vincy sparkle in the sun, on the opposite shore, at 
seven leagues' distance ; — ^I might hâve gone back there, had 



tSO LAMARTINS. 



1 choBen again lo abuse the touchiiig liospitality of its ownera. 
I merely wrote a letter of thanks to mj hosts» informing them 
of mj new résidence. 



NOTE XII, 

AU communication with France had been eut off in consé- 
quence of the war. I knew not whether I should ever retum 
to my native land. I was firmly resolved never to re-enter it 
to endure the oppression of thousht and the poliUcal asphyxia, 
in which I felt myself smothered by the brutality of the Em- 
pire. I lived on nothing. Nevertheless, my Joumey into 
owitzerland had somewhat lessened the weight of my leathem 
belt, which only contained twenty-five louis at the period of 
my departure from France. I began to think seriously of the 
advantage I might draw from my youth and my studies, should 
I give up my country. I settled on the idea of entenng some 
Bussian fanuly for a short time, as a teacher of languages or 
private tutor ; of afterwards travelling into Crimea and Cir- 
cassia, and thence into Persia, in search of the climate of the 
East ; in search of its pœtry, its combats, its marveUous adven- 
tures and fortunes, which the imagination of twenty always 
indistinctly sees in ail that is mysterious and distant. It was 
under the influence of thèse feelings that I wrote this ballad,. 
which has never been inserted in my works : 

THE SWALLOW.» 

TO MADEMOISELLE DE YINCY. 

Why wilt thou fly me, wand'ring bird 7 
Corne rest thy weary wing near me. 

A heart now calls thee — ^hear its word ; 
I am a wanderer like thee. 

Tis destiny unîtes us hère, 

Come then and nestle close to me ; 
We'U moam together, do not fear ! 

For am I not alone like thee 7 

* For this very beautiful version of one of M. de Lamartine*8 eariiest 
efiuMons, I am indebted to the gifted peu of my esteemed friand» J EL 
FhUUi». " "■ 



LES CONFIDENCES. 291 

Perliaps Fate droye thee from the nest 
Where thou wast bom, — 'tis so with me. 

Corne, then, and on my window rest ;— 
Am I npt exiled too, like thee 7 

Hast need of shelter for thy brood 

Of little tremblers now near me ? 
ru warm their down and gîve them food,— 

Fve seen my mother li]^ to thee l 

Seest thon the shore of France so fair, 
That Home which oped its door to me ? 

The branch of Hope, ff) ! thither bear — 
For am I not its bira like thee ? 

Thongh in my native land may reign 

A power to close that door on me ; 
Her banish'd Freedom to regain, 

Ah l hâve we not oor sky like thee ? 

I sent this sonnet by tbe boatman to Mademoiselle de Vîncy» 
It was my farewell to my hosts. 

Noble and bospitable familyl The remembrance of its 
kindnesses bas never forsaken me. I bave always regretted 
never to bave bad it in my power to make some retmn to any of 
'its members, for tbeir good services, tbeir generosity of beart» 
and tbeir brotberly treatment towards me ! The fatber and 
motber died ère the fortmies of tbeir bouse were restored to 
consoie tbem. That bouse, as I am now told, bas again be- 
come ricb and prosperous. May God's blessings fall upon the 
cbildren in memory of tbeir fatber and motber ! Sinco tben, 
I bave never joumeyed on the road from Geneva to Lausanne, 
witbout raising my eyes towards tbe Cbateau de Vincy and 
collecting my tbougbts, to feel tbe influence of remembrance 
and regret. For several weeks, tbat dwelling was as tbe 
paterne roof to me. My beart is attacbed to it witb some- 
tbing of tbe feeling wbicb m&a. entertains for bis borne. Of ail 
tbe plants tbat may benceforward be reared to adom tbe gar- 
dens and tbe tbresbold of tbat Cbateau, tbe most perennial and 
tbe most lastmg îs tbe gratitude of tbe poet for tbe roof of 
bospitality. 

10* 



iZt LAMARTINR. 



NOTE XIII. 



* * * * I returaed at that perîod to Paris to ré- 
sume my military service in the king s ^uard. It was then 
that I again found znyself in company witn one of the friends 
of my childhood, who had also entered the gardes-du-oorps, 
(the body-guard.) His name was Comit Aymon de Yirieu. 
He has already been partially seen in Italy with me. He was 
the first and best of my friends ; or rather, that common-place 
name expresses but imperfectly the nature of the feeling that 
had united us from earliest boyhood. It was something like 
the ties of consanguinity, or IDce the reiationship of the soûl. 
I was his brother, and he was mine. When I lost him, I lost 
one-half of my own life. My mind was ahnost as active in 
him as in myself. On the day of his death, an immense and 
deep silence surrounded me. It seemed to me that the living 
écho of my heart had departed from this world with him. I 
feel myself yet, but I no longer hear myself. 



NOTE XIV. 

Aymon de Virieu was the son of the Count de Virîeu, one 
of the most eminent members of the Constitutional party in 
the Constituent Assembly, the friend of Mourder, Tollendal, 
Clermont' Tonnerre, and aÙ those worthy but visionary men, 
who wished to reform the monarchy without shakmg its 
foundation. We can only reform that over which we hâve 
dominion. After they had placed the throne in the hands of 
an assembly, they found that they could only release it pièce- 
meal. Hence, repentance speedily seized upon them, and they 
tumed against the Révolution which they had made, ero that 
Révolution was completed. Some emigrated, others called 
themselves Mpnarchists, and tried to form those interraediary 
parties which are always crushed between two contending; 
camps. The boldest among them understood and took advan- 
tage of the opportunity offered by anarchy to slir up the 
provinces agamst the Convention. 



LES CONFIDENCES. 228 

Amongst the latter was thè Count de "Vlrieu. When he 
descended from the tribune, he took up arms. Lyons was 
rebelling against tjrranny. In that whoUy municipal insurrec- 
tion he saw some chance of bringing that city and the South 
into an involuntary movement in favor of royalism and niDU- 
archical restoration. He hastened thither. During the siège 
of that city by the Republican army, he was intrusted with the 
command of the cavahy of Lyons. In the course of the night 
which preceded the surrender of the stronghold, he placed 
himself at the head of his men and attempted to eut his way 
throuffh the troops of the Convention. He succeeded ; but, 
in saving some of the companions of his flight, he was killed at 
a few leagues' distance from Lyons. His body was never 
found. AU that remained of hun was his name, which was 
graven in our annals amongst the names of the founders of our 
Révolution. 



NOTE XV. 

After his death, his widow, who had remained within the 
walls of the city with her only son, only escaped the scaffold 
by flight. Clothed as a mendicant, she wandered amongst 
the mountains of Dauphiny. Hère, she intrusted her son to a 
devoted and faithful peasant woman who reared the child of 
the outlaw amongst her own. Madam de Yirieu crosscd the 
frontier and lived in Germany by the labor of her own hands, 
with the constant hope of the retum of her husband, whose 
death was not known to her. She was a woman of an heroical 
nature, and one whose piety tumed to the most tender and 
exalted mysticism. Her love for the memory of her husband 
bordered on ecstatic vision. Her long life» from the day on 
which she lost him imtil the moment of her own death, was 
nought but a tear, a hope, and an invocation. After her re- 
tum to France, having recovered her son and her daughtcrs, 
and collected the scattered fragments of the wreck of her large 
fortune, she secluded herself on an estate in Dauphiny, where 
she led a whoUy conventual life, which was only vivified by 
her good works and her affection for her children. The Jesuits, 
imder the name of "Fathers of the Faith," had recently 
established a collège at Belley, on the frontiers of France and 
Savoy. The réputation of this collège increased daily, amidrt 



95S4 LAMARTINE. 

ail the remaîns of the educational institutions which had been 
scattered by tbe Révolution. It formed a liappy contrast, 
also, witb that System of éducation at tbe tap of tbe drum 
practised in tbe Impérial Lyceums, in wbicb Bonaparte, tbe 
Èmperor, wisbed to clotbe tbe mind of ail France in a uniform 
and make a nation of soldiers instead of a nation of citizens. 
Noble families, tbe enemies of tbe Empire, and religions 
families belonging to tbe middling classes, sent tbeir sons 
from France, Savoy, Germany, and Italy to tbis budding 
institution. Witbin its walls tbree bundred young men, from 
ail countries, received an éducation wbicb was botb pious and 
libéral. I am not a partisan of tbe éducation of the âge by 
tbe cler^y ; I detest Theocracy, — tbat most odious of au tbe 
forms of tyranny, — ^because it claims its form in tbe name of 
tlie God pf Liberty, and perpétuâtes it by consecrating it. I 
dreâd tbe influence of tbe priestbood in govemments ; but 
none of tbese copsiderations sball dater me from acknowledg- 
ing and proclaiming tbe trutb ; or make me deny tbe existence 
of worth wberesover it is to be found. 

So long as the spint of tbe âge sball not become a re- 
ligions faith wbicb, in its tum, consumes tbe soûl, laical insti- 
tutions will contend unequally witb ecclesiastical establishments. 
The State must also become a religion. If it is nought but a 
lifeless administration, it is vanquisbed. There is no budget 
equal to a grain of Faith for tbe purchase of soûls. 

Madam de Virieu instantly placed ber son in tbis establish- 
ment, to which I was also brought by my mother. Hère he 
and I met. To ail appearances, but little aaalogy existed be- 
tween our characters. He was gay, I serions ; he was turbu- 
lent, I calm ; he was fond of raillery, I of méditation ; he was 
skeptical, I pious. But be had a very tender beart, and a su- 
perior mind, under an apparently harsh exterior. I did not 
court bis company ; it was he who courted mine for a long 
time, without being disheartened by my lack of taste for bis 
witty giddiness, and my supineness in responding to bis 
friendly advances. 

As we grew up, however, and as our minds arose above tbe 
capacities of the majority of our companions, our intimacy in- 
creased. Between he and I there grew up a sort of mental 
confidence, above the beads of our fellow-disciples, and even 
of our teachers. I was the only one who understood bim. 
Tbis séparation from tbe herd threw us ail the more into tbe 
Society of one anotber. Hence our somewbat cool friendship 



LES CONFIDENCES. 325 

was a friendship of the mind, long before it becatne a friend- 
ship of the heart. It was only after leaving collège, and when 
we again met at the âge of passion and tenderness, that we 
loved one another with a complète and feeling affection. 

Virieu, who was a few years my elder, was approaching the 
âge of adolescence at that period. His was one of those light 
and curly heads of the North, with prominent foreheads and 
large organs, which look as though they had been moulded by 
Hie thnmb of Michael Angelo. There was more of varied 
power discemible in his brow than of harmony and regularity 
m those mimerons facidlâes. His eyes were blue, but as 
sparkling as black eyes. In them were reflected ail the grâce 
and ail the brilliancy of his sonl. The rest of his face revealed 
strength mingled with a sli^ht degree of severity. His glance 
twinMed like light upon the waters. His nose, like that of 
Socrates, was tumed up, and its nostrîls were dilated by the 
fine muscles of irony. His mouth, the lips of which were too 
far apart, was more the mouth of the orator who pours forth 
his words, than of the philosopher who ponders them. 

In his attitude, in his gestures» and in his speech, there was 
a certain disdain of the crowd ; there was an inward feeling of 
superiority of race and pride of birth, which recalled to mind 
those habits of the nobility who are accustomed to gaze down 
upon the majority of manJdnd as if from a great height. His 
mind was so vast, so full, so active, that it overflowed, as one 
may say, and was embarrassed by its very aptness— made 
stérile by the very excess of its fruitfulness ; like those men 
whose too active imaginations send too many words at once to 
their lips, and who from the very superabundance of their ex- 
pressions, stammer them forth confusedly. 

In fact, he did stammer and stutter in his childhood. His 
speech only became calm and distinct after the fermentation 
of youth had subsided. Although he was almost always the 
lowest in ail his classes, his companions and his masters looked 
upon him, with gênerai consent, as the higbest. It was well 
known that he would bave been the higbest had he chosen ; 
but his mind seldom took the direction which they wished to 
give it ; he was at mathematics when we were at Latin, at 
history when we were expounding the poets, amongst the 
poets when we were reviewing the philosophers. AU tbis 
was overlooked. He travelled a différent road, but lie always 
reached the goal ; he never reached it at the appointed hour, 
kowever. Hbs mind had a free gait of its own ; it could not 



226 LAMARTINE. 

follow the beaten track ; it made a path for itself according to 
its own faacies ; it was born for the solitudes of the mind. 



NOTE XVI. 

If he studied less than we, he thought a great deal more. 
His guide was Montaigne, of whom his mother was a descend- 
ant. That dallying, doubting genius had partly entered the 
yoiing man's blood. Montaigne's book was his catechism. 
At the âge of twelve, he knew by heart almost ail the chap- 
ters of that encyclopœdia of skepticism. He used to repeat 
them to me constantly. I stru^gled with ail mj might against 
that exclusive taste for Montaigne. That doùbt which takes 
pleasure in doubtin^, to me seemed infernal. Man was born 
to believe, or die. Montaigne can only produce sterility in the 
mind that enjoys him. Beheving nothing, is doing noûiing. 

The cynical character oi Montaigne's expressions also 
shocked and wounded the delicacy of my sensibility. Foui 
words leave stains upon the soûl. An obscène expression of- 
fended my mind as much as a tainted odor offends the sensé 
of smell. Ail that I liked in Montaigne was that charming 
nudity of style wmch unyeils the graceful forms of the mind» 
and discloses to yiew the very palpitations of man*s heart be- 
neath the epidermis. But his philosophy awakened ail my 
pity. It is not the philosophy of swine, for he thinks. Nor 
is it the philosophy of man, for he cornes to no conclusion. 
But it is the philosophy of the child, that trifles with every 
thing. 

Now, this world is not a puerility. God's work certaînly 
deserves to be taken seriously, and human nature is sufficiently 
noble and sufficiently unfortunate to be looked upon with pity 
at leasty if not with respect. Jesting on such subjects is not 
merely cruel, it is impious. 



NOTE XVII. 

'Hiis was what I then said to Virîeu, and what he after- 
wards said to himself, when ik 3 solemn tones of pasûoa and 



LES CONFIDENCES. 227 

grief at length rang in his sonl. He was too assiduoos a 
delver in tbe mine of thought not to reach its foundation-— 
that is to say, God. 

A few years after the termînation of our étudies, we met at 
Cliambery; I tarried there a day or two to see him as I 
joumeyed for the first time into Italy. Our friendship was 
renewed with a better knowledge of ourselves, and with a mu- 
tual inclination of mind wbich was more marked tban ever. 
Tbree years* séparation bad taugbt us bow to regret cach 
otber. We swore serions and uncbangeable fratemity to one 
anotber. We kept our oath religiously. From that day for- 
ward we were firmly united in heart and mind. 



NOTE XVIII. 

We bave liyed a double life. Six months afterwards he 
came and joined me at Rome. We travelled a long time 
together ; we each completed tbe otber's éducation ; what one 
lacked, tbe otber gave bim. In that daily interchange of our 
faculties, he brougbt thought, I feelinff ; he brought criticism» 
I inspiration; he brougbt science, 1 unagination. He never 
wrote ; he was like those délicate minds that are never satis- 
fied with their own work, and prefer to keep it etemally in a 
State of conception within their own breasts, rather tban pro- 
duce it imperfectly, and profane their Idéal by revealing it. 
Thèse minds are tbe greatest. They despair of ever reacblng 
the height of their own thoughts, either by words, art, or 
action. They live a fruitless life ; but not from impotency, — 
from superabundance of strength and from a morbid passion 
for perfection. Thèse men are tbe virgins of mind. They 
only marry with their Idéal, and die without leaving any of 
their ofi&pring upon earth. It was tbus that Yirieu cQed, 
taking with hmi a genius that was unknown. 



NOTE XIX. 

After our retum to France, we were almost inséparable. 
At Paris we hved together. In the summer-time I would go 
and spend whole months in the bosom of his faznily» in Ûie 



228 LAMARTINE. 

Bolitade of hb dwelling in Daupbiny, between his mother, wlio 
was whoUy devoted to God, and his youngesl sister» who waa 
wholly devoted to her mother and her brother. This sister. 
Mademoiselle Stéphanie de V^^^, although young, rich, and 
charming, had renounced the world and marriage, to dévote 
herself entirely to her family and to painting, the genîus of 
which she possessed. She is a female Greuze. 

We used to spend the long autumn days reading to her, 
while she painted; or conceiving subjects for pictures, to 
which the rapid improvisation of her pencil instantly gave 
form and life. She adored her brother, and took an interest 
in me on his account. Madam de Yirîeu, seated in a large 
armchair near the chimney-corner, rapt in sorrowful silence 
and religions contemplation and prayer, presided over thèse 
family evenings ; from time to time she would cast a tender 
glance and an absent smile upon us, as if to say : 

" My only participation in any one of the joys of this earth 
is through y ou/* 

The tranquil and innocent mode of life of that holy family 
refreshed and quieted my he&rt^ which was almost always 
agitated or fatigued by passions. It was the resting-place of 
my early days. 

At the period of the downfall of the Empire, — which Virieu 
and ail the young men of the day detested as much as I, — w^ 
together entered the military household of the king. We left 
it together, when that guard was disbanded. We commenced 
our diplomatie career at the same time. He followed the 
Duke de Richelieu into Germany. He was attached to the 
embassy of the Duke de Luxembourg to Brazil. He accom- 
panied M. de Laferronaye to the Congress of Verona. He was 
Secretary of Légation at Turin and Mimich. Secret sorrows 
impaired his health. He forsook diplomacy, and retumed to 
his family. Thèse séparations, which had been filled up by a 
daily correspondence, had not loosened in the slightest degree 
the ties of our friendship. We heard each other's voice from 
a greater distance, that was ail. Our purse was as free to 
either as our thoughts. How often bas not his fortune made 
up for the insufficiency or the disasters of my own! He 
neither knew nor cared whether I would ever be able to repay 
him. He would bave spent his soûl for me and hâve kept no 
account of his life. . How could he bave kept any account of 
bis money ? 

I never (^ered him the afi&ont of being grateful. My grati- 



LES CONFIDENCES. U3^ 

tude consisted in keeping no accotmts, in sepnmiing nothicj?; 
between us. How much is there which does not bclon^ç lo 
Mm in wbat is mine at the présent day ? Mind, soûl, heart, 
fortime ;— Ood alone could say — " This belongs to the one, Ihis 
to the other." Men who are thus united should also be able 
to commingle their memories as they hâve commingled their 
lives, and be known by the same name to posterity as one 
single being. This would be truer and at the same time 
sweeter. Why should there be two names where, in reahty, 
there was only one man ? 



NOTE XX. 

A few years afterwards he married a yoimg maiden, whosc 
modest blandishments, virtue, and passionate attachment,.for- 
ever wrapped his life in the obscurity of domestic fehcity. His 
superior mind was not enfeebled ; but it descended from the 
clouds upon earth. His soûl, which had formerly been search- 
ing and skeptical, thou^ht that it had found the truth in hap- 
piness, and repose in his mother's faith. He shut himself up 
in the love of his wife and children. He set bounds to his 
life, and never overleaped them afterwards. His heart never 
left that family enclosure, except through the friendship for 
me which had remained in his bosom in ail its entireness. 
From the bank on which he had settled himself, he watched 
me as I advanced, rose, or fell. His belief was more in the 
past than in the future, Uke ail those men who are dissatisfîed 
with the times. He took but httle interest in the présent agi- 
tations of the political world. He always loved liberty, but he 
only expected it from God, as he saw stability in nothing but 
faith. His molher*s mysticism threw its consoling illusions 
over his piety. 

He often wrote to me about the affairs of the times. His 
letters were sad and solemn, like the voice of a man speaking 
from the depths of the sanctuary to those assembled in the 
public square. Once, I remained fifteen day s without receiv- 
ing a line from him. I then received one from his sister inform- 
ing me of his démise. He had died in the arms of his wife» 
blessing his son, and naming me amongst those he regreltcd 
to leave on earth and hoped to meet elsewhere. Religion had 

20 



230 LAMARTINB. 

immortalized his last breath ia advance. Commencing the 
journcy of life a skeptic, his eyes had been unsealed as he ad- 
vanced alotig the road to the other world. At tlie extremity 
of the pth he no longer doubted. He was approaching God ! 
In him I lost the living witness of ail the firat half of my 
life. I felt that Death had torn out the dearest page of my 
history ; ît is buried with my friend. 



NOTE XXI. 

It was in Dauphiny, in the ruins of the old castle of his 
family, called Fupetières, that I wrote for him the poetical 
méditation entitled le Vallon, (the Dale.) The verses recall 
the site, and the feelings which were made to murmur in our 
bosoms by that solitude, those woods and those waters. If 
the murmm^ of the woods and the waters were written, they 
would be far superior to those feeble strophes. The poet's 
soûl is a running water which writes its murmurs and sings 
them ; but we write them with the notes of man, and nature 
writes them with the notes of God. 

After definitively leaving the service, I retumed to the pater- 
nal roof, and afterwards resumed my travels. They often took 
me towards the Alps. This is the proper place to make men- 
tion of a man who was one of my principal attractions in those 
mountains. That maa.was the Baron Louis de VigneU He 
died, a few years ago, the Ambassador of Sardinia at Naples. 
His grave contains one of the dearest relies of the life of my 
heart. What eau man do for the man who is no more ? 
Nothing, but write a cold epitaph. Marble keeps the memory 
longer than the heart ; that is the reason why a name and a 
word afe graven on a sepulchre. But after the génération 
has been swept away, the men who pass it by, neither under- 
stand the word nor the name. Hence, they must bo ex- 
pounded. 

Louis de Yignet, whom I knew at collège, was the son of a 
senator of Chambery, and the nephew, on his mother's side, 
of Count Joseph de Maistre, the philosopher, and Count 
Xavier de Maistre, the Sterne of the âge, but a more sensible 
and more natural Sterne than the Engtish writer. 

At the Jesuit collège, Louis de Yignet and I were the two 



LES CONFIDENCES. 231 

rÎTvil cilikiren wlio contended for ail the prizes which the iinpru 
dent pri4e of the teachers presented to the emulî|tion of thoir 
disciples. As he was my senior by a few years, riper in 
mind and possessed of more power of will in his work than I, 
he often lost his temper. I was not jealous ; nature had not 
given me an envions disposition. He, on the contrary, always 
seemed dissatisfîed, or but little pleased with victory, and hu- 
miliated by defeat. We were the Italian and the French an- 
tagonists. Our two natures offered the contrast of thèse two 
national types in our features, as well as in our characters. 
Vignet was a tall young man, somewhat round-shouldered» 
whose head, covered with black hair, bent towards his breast. 
His complexion was pale and somewhat sallow ; his deep-set 
eye was hid beneath long lashes ; his sharp aquiline nose was 
moulded with admirable delicacy. His thin lips but seldom 
sepai'ated. An habituai expression of bitterness and scom 
slightly depressed the corners of his mouth. His chin was 
long and canred at right angles, like the head of the Arabian 
horse. The oval of his face was elongated, flexible, and grâce- 
fui. He spoke but little. He always walked alone. His âge 
and the energy of his character made him feel himself above 
us. His companions did not like him. His instructors feared 
him. There was something of the malecontent in his silence 
and of the conspirator in his solitary habits. 

He did not dissimulate his contempt for the religions exer- 
cises to which we were subjected. He boasted of his incre- 
dulity, and almost of his atheism. I felt admiration for his 
talent and compassion for his loneliness, but very little incli- 
nation towards his person. In his glance there was something 
of the German Faust which fascinated the mind like an etiig- 
ma, — ^which commanded admiration, but forbade intimacy. 

None of the men whom I hâve known had been endowed 
by nature with such powerful faculties. His mind was a 
sharp and strong instrument which his will used as it listed, 
and which nothmg could resist. He had the natural gift of 
style, as if his pen had followed the outlines of the greatest 
writers. He was naturally classical in his discourse ; a har- 
monious and sensible poet in his verses ; a bold and domineer- 
ing philosopher before the âge of thought. We ail grew pale 
before him in our compositions. He sinned, however, through 
excess of research and a slight degree of stiflfness. Ease and 
improvisation sometimes gave me the advantage. I surpassed 
him only by the absence of a few defects ; but I was far from 



233 LAMARTINff. 

piiding mysolf m thèse victories^ and I, more than anj one, 
acknowlodged his superiority of âge, labor, and talent. 



NOTE XXII. 

He terminated his studies three years before I had comple- 
ted mine. He lef t a name amongst us like that trace which a 
superior man leaves behind him when he passes through a 
crowd. We always spoke of him with admiration mingled 
with a slight degree of terror. We thought that he was des- 
tined for some high but sinister vocation. We ezpected some- 
thing great from him, without knowing exactly what. That 
expectation was a sort of presentiment of fate. We afterwards 
learned that he was studying law in the school at Grenoble ; 
that there, as every where else, he was admired, but not lîked ; 
that he lived in proud disdain of the crowd ; that he indulged 
in none of the silly vanities of the youth of those schools ; that 
he even felt a stoical pride in his poverty, like Machiavelli 
when young, and that he was often met in broad daylight 
carrying his shoes through the streets, to hâve them mended 
at the neighboring cobbler's ; or eating a pièce of bread, with 
a book vjider his arm. This pride of sobriety and manly in- 
dependenco heeded not the scom of his companions, and 
evinced a soûl that was more powerful than their sarcasm. 
But he v/as not jeered at ; he was respected, and the proofs 
which he opportunely gave of his talents as a civilian and 
orator alrcady placed him high in the estimation of the town. 

Six yoars had elapsed since our séparation, when chance 
brou^ht us together again at Chambery, in which place I was 
spending a few days on my way back from a jaimt in the Alps. 
At that period I was in ail the ebullition of my most hair- 
brained and violent years. There was neither enough air in 
the sky, nor enough fîre in the sun, nor enough spacc upon 
the earth for the want of agitation and combustion which con* 
sumed me. I was a living fever; I had its delirium and 
agitation in ail my limbs. The regular habits of my years of 
study and the gentle piety of our raothers and our masters 
were far from me. My friendships, hke my feelings, ran riot, 
and profaned themselves at random. I was intimate with ail 
those of tho youth of my country and my time who^ under 



LES CONFIDENCES. 933 

bappy forms, were the most giddy, the most turbulent» and 
tlie most vicious. I rushed headlong into ail sorts of excesses ; 
and yet dissipation was répugnant to me. My wildness was 
merely the conséquence of imitation, not the effect of natural 
propensities. When I was alone, solitude purified me. 

I was in this state of mind and body when I met Vignet. 
I was hardly able to recognise him. Never had so few years 
operated such a complète change in a physiognomy. I saw a 
young man with a modest demeanor, a slow and measured 
gait, a tone of voice both clear and insinuating, features that 
were placid, harmonious, and overclouded by a shade of 
melancholy. He approached me rather as a father would ap- 
proach a son, than as a young man greeting a companion. 
He embraccd me with tender feeling. He accused himself of 
the wicked jealousies which our rivalries in the arena of let- 
ters had awakened in bis bosom ; he told me that the traces 
that they had left in bis soûl were shame, repentance, and a 
passionate désire to link himself to me for life in the bonds of 
an indissoluble friendship. His features» bis gestures, and the 
limpidness of bis blue eyes, were in barmony with his words. 
My beart expanded to welcoroe the outpourings of his own. 
I felt that that grave, austère, and tender-hearted man, who 
bad been tempered by seclusion in the depths of the moun- 
tains ; wbo bad had the strength to keep himself aloof from 
the current of foUy and thoughtlessness which was sweeping 
us away ; who was original in ail that was good, while we were 
striving to be wretcbed imitators in ail that was bad, was 
better than the friends of my pleasures. 



NOTE XXIII. 

A fascînating grâce of expression flowed from bis lips. As 
we ascendod in the morning, at sunrise, the little dale of chest- 
nut-trees which leads to the OharmeUes — ^tbat flower-clad cra- 
dle of the fii*st love and early genius of Jean Jacques Rousseau 
— ^he rclated to me the change which had taken place in his 
xnind. At that moment, Vignet's slender and stooping form-^ 
bis bowed head — ^the ringlets of his raven hair, which pro- 
truded from his bat bebind, and contrasted with the pallor of 
Ym b^ow cbeeksr— 'bis slow and pensive step— even bis black 

20* 



234 LAMAllTINE. 

coat, tigbt and threadbare, closely buttoned across hîs cliest— * 
and finally» tbe tender but somewhat dejected tone of bis 
voice, made him bear a striking resemblance to tbe pictui^ 
whicb my fancy bad drawn of Rousseau's picturesque création, 
tbe Vicaire Savoyard, tbat Plato of tbe mountains» wbose 
Cape Sunium was an bumble village in tbe Cbablais. 



NOTE XXIV. 

His fatber was poor ; tbe Révolution bad deprived bim of 
tbe dignity and émoluments of a senator. He bad retired to 
tbe only small estate wbicb be owned at a league's distance 
from Cbambery, near a pretty little village called Servolex. 
He bad died bere, a few years afterwards, wbile bis son was 
at collège. 

My friend's motber, — an adorable woman, wbo was wor- 
sbipped by ber cbildren,— bad sold a few fields oi tbeir in- 
beritance, year by year, to complète tbe éducation of ber two 
sons and only dau^bter. Tbe elder of ber sons, wbo was not 
known to me, livea at Geneva, wbere be was completing bis 
studies. Tbe poor motber dwelt alone witb ber daugbter at 
Servolex, on tbe remains of tbe family property. Sbe bad 
fallen into a décline, in conséquence of tbe destruction of ber 
bopes, tbe decay of ber bouse, and tbe deatb of ber busband. 
Feeling tbat sbe was rapidly descending to tbe grave, sbe bad 
recalled ber son Louis from Grenoble, to take ber place in tbe 
administration of tbe small estate, and to be bis sister's pro- 
tector. 



NOTE XXV. 



Vignet bad burried bome. Tbe sigbt of bis dying motber 
bad overwbelmed bim. One single passion-^bis filial tender- 
ness for tbat good woman — ^bad extinguisbed ail otbers in bis 
bosom. His pride bad been drowned in bis tcars. Tbe ex- 
ample of tbat calm and serene submission to tbe pangs of 
deatb wbicb was daily given to bim by bis motber, bad made 
him submit to tbe pangs of life. Piety bad not persuaded 



LES CONFIDENCES. 835 

him, but it had softened his soûl. That God that he wus un- 
able to see, he could feel and hear within himself. For the 
first time, he had prayed thousands of limes at the foot of that 
bed of suffering and peace. He had embraced his mother's 
religion to be able to pray in the same language in which she 
prayed. She had languished two long years, then died, leav- 
ing him her religion as a sole inheritance. He had swom to 
her, at that hour yrhen every word is sacred» to accept the 
legacy of her soûl. He kept his oath. His mother was his 
religion ; his promise was his persuasion ; his remembrance 
was his faith. 



NOTE XXVI. 

This interruption of two years in his pursuits, however, thèse 
two years curtailed from his studies, had destroyed ail his plans 
and expectations for the future. His ambition was buried be- 
neath the stone which covered his mother's grave, in the cem- 
etery of Servolex. His health had been affected by solitude» 
confinement, and griei. The tension of his nerves at too early 
an âge, by intense thought and excessive sorrow, had shattered 
them. A serene but deep and incurable melancholy veiled and 
aarkened his every horizon. He despised men and their 
thoughts, which are as petty as themselves. 

He had resohitely renounced every career. He had made 
up his mind to live alone with his sister, a young person who 
was every way worthy of him, on their little estate near Ser- 
volex. He owned about thirty thousand francs worth of vine- 
yards, woods, and land around his house, the revenue of which 
was sufficient for the restricted wants of his frugal life. Books, 
prayer, and a few literary labors occupied his dàys. Perhaps 
there was at the bottom of his soûl a feeling of love for a young 
orphan girl who was as poor as himself, and who often was his 
sister's companion ? But that love, if itexisted, was never be- 
trayed save by the constancy of a silent worship. He had too 
little faith in his fortune ever to make a young girl share it. 
AU that his heart wanted was a friend. He oSered to be 
minel 

He had often thought of me during the six years that had 
passedy as the only one to whom his heart could become at- 
tached^ He had not dared to write to me. He knew that bis 



836 LAMARTINE. 

once sour and unsociablo disposition had left amongst his coin« 
panions a feelin^ of aversion towards him. He also knew that 
1 was deep in aU the frivolities of a worldlj life along with 
friends of the moment. He deplored this/or mjsake. I was 
not of that flesh of which the world makes its playtbings and 
its idc^s. I had a soûl that would rise aboyé that sink c^ 
vanities and vices. That soûl must aspire to rise, not fall. Mj 
motlier» like his own, was pious. The vitiated atmosphère in 
which I moved certainly grieved her. As he was my senior 
in years, and especially in sorrow, which counts days as years, 
he offered me an affection that was more holy and more nn« 
cere than that of my young associâtes in dissipation. He would 
dévote himself to me as a brother. 



NOTE XXVII. 

I felt the sincerity and especially the truthful accent of hk 
words, and they moved me. Conversing thus, we entered the 
deserted house of the Charmettes ; whose door was opened to 
admit us by a poor woman, as if its owners had only left it the 
day before, and were expected to retum that evening. For 
us, the charming image of Madam de Warens, and of Jean 
Jacques Rousseau in his boyhood, fiUed the three small rooms 
on the ground-fioor. We sought for the place where they nsed 
to seat themselves. We rambled through the small gardeo, 
and we rested ourselves on the seat at the end of the walk, be- 
neath the woodbine bower in which the first ccmfession of a 
pure love was made — a love that afterwards suffered such 
profanation. Vignet, although he was a yoluntary Christian, 
had in his heart as much enthusiasm as myself for Jean Jacques 
llousseau — ^that sole writer of the eighteenth century whose 
genius was a soûl. We spent a portion of the day in tiiat gar* 
den, which overran with redolence and sun^ine, as if the very 
plants and trees were rcjoiced to receive guests who were wcmt- 
thy to love thehr former masters. We Only left it at sundown, 
and we left it thus. 

1 felt how far above those whom I called my friends was th» 
young man, who was bom near the cradle of Rousseau ; who 
was inspired like Rousseau ; who was poor and unfortunate Mk» 
Bousseau ; b«t who was much purar and m<nr» relions tbaa 



LES C0NF1DBNCB8. 237 

Rousseau ; and I also felt that I was indebted to tbe Chaimeties 
for more than a vain réminiscence of a great man — ^for the 
friendship of a good man. The onlj wish of my heart was to 
admire. 



NOTE XXVIII. 

Vignet took me to bis bouse near Servolex^ and introduccd 
me to bis family. Two of bis motber's uncles lived at Cbam- 
bery, or in tbe environs of Servolex. Tbey were tbe brotberr. 
of Count Josepb and Count Xavier de Maistre, wbo resided in 
Russia. One was a Colonel, wbo bad left tbe service ; tbe other 
tbe Canon and presently tbe Bisbop of Aoste, in Savoy. Tbese 
two men were wortby of tbe glorious name wbicb tbe versatile 
genius of tbeir brotbers bas since made for tbcir bouse. Tbey 
moreover possessed tbe genius of goodness. Tbeir conversa- 
tion sparkled witb tbat glow of gentle mirtb, wbose lau^b costs 
benevolence no effort. Nature bad endowed tbat family witb 
kbe gift of grâce. In tbem tbe subtlety of tbe Italian was bid 
beneatb tbe ingenuousness of tbe mountaineer of Savoy. Tosscd 
for a long time by tbe events of tbe Révolution, driven from 
one sbore to anotber, tbey were like tbose rougb stones oi tbeir 
own mountains, wbicb bave been rolled by the avalancbe into 
tbe stream, wbicb tbe torrent bas worn and rubbed and polisb^ 
ed for centuries, wbicb bave become brigbt to tbe eye and 
smootb to tbe toucb, but wbicb always remain stones, nevei- 
tbeless, beneatb tbe surface tbat bas polisbed ihem. 



NOTE XXIX. 

Mixed up» as tbey bad been, witb différent events and dif- 
férent men, tbey knew tbe wbole century by beart. Every 
tbing appeared to tbem at first in its ludicrous and ironical 
ligbt. Tbe only tbing tbat tbey viewed seriously was tbe 
bonor of God. AU else witb tbem belonged to tbe comedy 
oi buman life. Tbey laugbed at tbe play, but tbey piUed tbe 
actors. 

The Canon, especially, was tbe most eecentric and original 



iZS LAMARTINE. 

créature I hâve ever known. In tlie moming he vrote ser- 
mons, fragments of which he read to us in the eyening ; and 
he made a repertory of ail the ridiculous, but harmless, anec- 
dotes he could coUect during the day ; a sort of Dictionarv of 
Mirth, or Encyclopedia of Laughter, for the use of the femily 
and the neighbors. But that laughter was the laughter of an 
angel and a saint. It never brought a blush to the cheek of 
the Ustener, nor a tear to the eye of the victim. It was the 
ludicrous side of nature, but never its bad side. He was very 
intimate with Madame de Staël, whose principles he did noc 
like, whose enthusiasm he made sport of, but whose goodness 
he adored. Their correspondence was fréquent and strange. 
It was benign and tolérant Religion casting a little dust on the 
wings of Philosophy, but without any intention to blemish 
them. It was the courteous and playful contention of Poesy 
and Prose. They made one another shine by struggling wiu 
one another. I used to spend delightful days in the midst of 
that domestic intimacy. 

It was at another period that I became acquainted with the 
Count Joseph de Maistre, the senior of ail the brothers, the 
Zevi of that tribe. From his own lips I heard the perusal of 
the Soirées de SainUPetershourg, (Evenings in Saint Peters- 
burg,) before their publication. Neither the friends nor the 
enemies of his philosophy know the man in his writings. 

The Count de Maistre was a tall man, with a handsome and 
virile face of a martial character, and a high and open brow 
on which a few beautiful locks of silvery haïr floated like the 
remains of a crown. His eye was sharp, lively, clear, and 
frank. His mouth wore the habituai expression of archness 
which belongcd to ail the family. In his bearing, he had the 
dignity of his rank, niind, and âge. It would hâve been im- 
possible to havc met him without stopping and marking him, 
with the suspicion that you were gazing at something great. 

Lenving his mountains at an carly âge, he had first uved in 
Turin ; then been driven by events to Sardinia, and afterwards 
to Kussia ; whither he had travelled without passing either 
through France, England, or Germany. He had been morally 
expatriated at a very tender âge. AU that he knew was 
through books, and he had read but very few. Hence lus 
marvcllous eccentricity of thought and style. His was a soûl 
in the rough, but a great soûl ; a mind that was but slightly 
poUshed, but vast ; a style that was uncultivated, but powerful. 
Abandoned thus to himself, ail his philosophy was nothing 



LBS CONFIDENCES. .239 

more than tlie theory of his religions instincts. Ail the holy 
passions of his mind had imbodied themselves in faith. He 
bad formed for himself the dogmas of his préjudices. That 
was ail the philosopher. In him the writer was far superior 
to the thinker, but the man was greatly superior even to the 
writer and thinker. His faith, to which he too often gave the 
garb of sophistry, and the attitude of the paradox which baf- 
fles reason» was sincère, sublime, and fruitful in his life. It 
was a classical virtue, or rather a rough virtue with the broad 
features of the Old Testament, like the Moses of Michael An- 
gelo, whose forms yet bear the imprint of the chisel that 
rough-hewed them. Beneath the man you yet feel the prés- 
ence of the rock. Hence, this genius was only roush-hewn; 
but its proportions were great. This is the reason why M. de 
Maistre is popular. Were he more harmonious and more per- 
fect, he would be less pleasing to the crowd, which never ex- 
amines any thing closely. He is an uncultivated Bossuet, an 
illiterate Tertullian. 



BOOK XII. 

NOTE I. 

The Society of thèse people was very useful to me. It freed 
my mind from that philosophy of the guard-house, and from 
that effeminate Uterature which was then in vogue in France. 
It showed me the men of nature, in the place of the worn-out 
and impressionless copies which then formed the thinking 
world at Paris. It transplanted me into a new, original, and 
eccentric world, whose type had hitherto been unknown to 
me. It was not only the society of Alpine genius in a valley 
of Savoy ; it was also the society of youth, grâce, and beauty. 
For around those centennial trunks of the family of De Maistre 
and Vignet, there were young shoots overflowing with sap ; 
geniuses full of promise; and soûls about to blossom. I was 
welcomed as the son or brother of ail the members of that sur- 
prising and charming family. 

Time, death, différent countries, opposite opuiious and phi- 



240 LAMARTINE. 

losophies, hâve separated us since then. But were I to Hve a 
ccntury, I would never forget those days spent during a whole 
siunmer, in the dwelling of Colonel de Maistre, at Biasy, and 
it the résidence of my friend, Louis de Yignet, near Servolex. 
The drawing-room was in the open air. At^ one time a 
wood of young pines on the top of the lowest green hills of the 
Mont du Chat, whence you overlook the truly Arcadian valley 
of Chambery and its lake on the left, At another» a walk of 
high hedges at the extremity of the garden at Servolex — a 
walk raised in the form of a terrace, on a dale covered with 
leaves and high vines intertwined with walnut-trees. The sun 
silcntly travelied across the bit of azuré sky between the Mont 
du Chat and the first peaks of the Alps of Nivoley, The 
shadow at the foot of the trees dther shrunk away or stretched 
itself along the ground. The Count de Maistre dreamiJy 
sketched figures in the sand, with the end of the stick which 
he had cuUed on the Caucasus. He related his long exiles 
and varions adventures to his brothei*s, who listened with at- 
tention and respect. His eldest daughter, pensive, silent, and 
collected, played some of the melancholy airs of Scythia on 
the piano, not far from us. The Windows of the parlor, which 
were open, permitted the notes to reach our ears. The Canon 
de Maistre read his breviary in a distant walk of the garden. 
From time to time he involuntarily cast a glance of abstrac- 
tion and regret in our direction. It was évident that he was 
impatient to finish the psalm, in order to corne and join in the 
conversation which was going on without him. 



NOTE II. 

The youngest of the Count de Maistre's daughters, who at 
that time was not more than seventeen or eighteen years of 
âge, bore on her brow, in her eyes, and on her lips, the rays 
of her father's genius. She was a daughter of Mount Sinaî, 
glowing with the beams of the sacred bush, inspired with the 
theocratical doctrines of the family. She copied her father's 
writings ; and it was said that she herself wrote many a page 
which her modesty alone would not permit to bloom with âl 
the lustre of a talent that was natural to her house. She was 
a Christian Corinna., on the border of another lake, at a few 
kagues' distance from the philosophical and revolutîonary 



LES CONFZPfilCCES. Si. 

CMnaa of Coppet, (Madam de Sta^«) I hhve never read 
takj of the productions of this jounç gîrl ; but her^ éloquence 
was maolj, neirous, and accentuated, Hke her voice. At tunes 
the religious or political inspiration which involuntarilj seized 
upon her would raise her from the erass-grown bank on which 
she sat next to us. She woold walk, and talk the whUe, with- 
out perceiving that she was moving. Her feet seemed not to 
touch ihe earih, like the feet of pl^toms or sibyls that oome 
from a land of enchantment. At thoae moments she would 
utter pages of words which were carried away by tne wind, 
and which would hâve been worthy of the first thinkers, of 
the first writers of the âge. Our cheeks would blanch as we 
hearkened to her. Sinee then» her father's name has shone 
upon her. Unexpected fortune has soi^ht her out in her 
modest obscurity. I do not know what she can haye doue 
with her genius— -a weapon for a man, a burden for a woman. 
I présume that she has changed it into wtues^ as she has 
changed her riches into blessingi^ 



NOTE III. 

Loms de Yignet, hîs sister — ^who was as intelligent as 
her brother^ — ^and I, silently admired thèse éruptions of grâce, 
fire, and faith. Theocracy, preached beneath such a beau- 
tiful sky, by such beautiful lips, in such a beautiful language, 
by a young girl who looked like a prophet's daughter, had 
a great charm for my imagination at that time. How beautiful 
it would be îi God's kmgdom had not men for its mini«ters ! 
At a later day, I had to acknowledge that the kingdom <tf God 
could oïdy be that ^;eraal revelatioii whose code îs the Vord, 
jmd whose ministers are pasông figes. I soob retumed to 
that liberty which permits aU Wcm-^i to tlûnk and speak in i^i 
mankÎDdL 



NOTE IV, 

Louis de Yignet recited to us sweet and melancholy verses 
which he gathered, one by oue, amid the heath that carpeted 
* ' mountains, and wluch he would never publish through fear 

21 



342 LAMARTINE. 

of robbing tbem of tbat bloom wbicb tbe open au: strîps from 
tbe soûl, as it does from tbe peacbes and tbe grapes tbat deck 
bis garden wall. I was also beginning at tbat period to lisp 
a few rbymes. I read tbem, blushing tbe wbile, in tbe prés- 
ence of tbe Count de Mûstre and bis daugbter. 

" Tbis joung Frencbman," would M. de Maistre say to bis 
nepbevr, "bas a beautiful language to be tbe instrument of 
bis tbougbts. We will see wbat use be will make of it wben 
be attains tbe âge of tbougbt. How fortimate tbese Frencb- 
men are !" would be add fretfuUy. " Ab ! bad I been bom at 
Paris ! — But I bave never seen Paris. Tbe only language I 
possess is tbe jargon of our Savoy !" 

He did not know tben tbat it is tbe man tbat makes tbe 
language, and tbat tbat jargon was to become great éloquence ; 
tbat tbe more lan^uages are bandled, tbe more tbey fade; 
and tbat tbe Frencb language would be renovated at Servolez 
in bis genius, as it bad been renovated at tbe Oharmettes in tbe 
ignorance of Jean Jacques Bousseau. 

Tbe nepbew of tbe Count de Maistre subsequently married 
one of tbe most cbarming of my sisters. She enjoyed ber 
sbort days of matemity in tbat very Servolex wbere we tben 
pondered togetber; and, soon after, sbe found ber grave 
tbere. 



NOTE V. 

Hère are lacking tbe notes of about two years, during wbicb 
I did not write, because I would only bav0 bad to write ex- 
cesses, faults, and misfortimes. Gamipg bad been my princi- 
pal occupation. I bad, by tums, lost and won considérable 
sums, at Milan, Paris, and Naples. In obédience to tbe voice 
of my motber, wbo bad come in quest of me, I bad retumed 
to tbe patemal roof, wbicb bad been almost ruined, also» by 
unexpected reverses. 



LES COU FIDENOES. 348 



NOTE VI. 



* * * 1 then lived (if living it can be called) ia 
a sort of Idmbo, which was hali darkness, half light; and 
which only cast on my son], my feelmgs, and my thoughts, a 
oold and gloomy twilight like that of winter evenings. Ere I 
had lived, I was tired of life. I retired from life, so to speak, 
and shut myself up in that disenchanted seclusion, in that soli- 
tude of the heart which man sometimes makes for himself by 
severing ail intercourse with the world, and by refraining from 
ail participation in the movement which agitâtes it. A sort of 
«Diticipated and voluntary old a^e, in which we take refuge be- 
fore our time ; but a false and feigned old âge, which hides 
beneath its apparent coldness days of youth that are more 
fiery and more tempestuous than those through which we hâve 
already passed. 

The whole family was absent. The father was at the rési- 
dence of one of my uncles, himting in the forests of Burgundy. 
The mother was travelling. The sisters were scattered about, 
or at the couvent. I spent the whole of one long summer 
completely alone, shut up along with an aged female servant, 
my horse, and my dog, in my f ather's house at Milly. That 
hamlet, built of gray stone, at the foot of a mountain carpeted 
with brush ; with its pyramidal steeple, whose layers of ma- 
Bonry look as though they were calcined by the sun ; with its 
steep, stony, tortuous paths, bordered by sheds and dunghills, 
and its houses covered with tiles blacked by the rain, bears a 
striking resemblance to a village of Calabria or Spain. 

This barrenness, this poomess, this calcination, this lack of 
water, shade, and vegetable life, pleased me. It seemed that 
thus nature was more in harmony with my soid. I, myself, 
was a twig of that hill, a roebuck of that rock, a flowerless 
branch of those bushes. This unusual silence of the patemal 
house, this solitude of the garden, thèse empty apartments re- 
minded me of a tomb. This idea of a sepulchre suited roy 
imagination. I felt, or I wished to feel myself dead. I loved 
that winding-sheet of stone in which I was voluntarily wrapped, 
The only sounds of life which penetrated into the house were 
as far distant and as monotonous as the hum of the ficlds. 
They hâve remained in my ear ever since. 

I fancy that I can yet hear the cadenced fall of the flails 
thrashmg the grain, in the sunshine, on the hardened d&^ vok 



9M uauJcmŒ. 

the yard ; the bleating of tbe goats on the mountains ; tli« 
voices of the cbildren playing in tfae road at mid-day ; the 
vooden shoes of the vine-dressers retuming at eve from theîr 
labor ; the wheel of the poor spîoner, seated in front of her 
door ; or the sharp and strident twitter of the grasahoppei; 
whiek eounded lîke a cry of pain, produœd by the boni of the 
Bcorching raya of the South in the fiery yapor whidi was ex- 
haled by the plats in the gaiden. 

I iq>ent my tîme rea<mg, ponderhig, wandensg listlesaly 
from my high ohamber to the untenanted paiior; from thîe 
paiior to the stable, where I would stretch myaelf alongside 
of my dog, on Hie Jîtter of fresh straw which I wonld spread 
with my ewa hands for my idle horse; from the stable to tha 
garden, where I would wvter a fewbedsoflettoce or peas; from 
the ffarden to the bald mountain which ovierlooks it, where I 
woold hide myself amongst the dumps of box, Ûie gdHj piaot 
whose bittemess protects it from the ravages of the goste. 
FrcHn hère, I wooîd gaze at the jagged snow-orowned brows 
of the Alps in the distance* which seemed to me then, aad 
which stm seem to me to be the curtûn of a land that is too 
splendid for man to dwell in. I woukL listen wkh eestasies 
of self-concentration and moumfuhiess tothe mehmcboly^îidE- 
ling of the little belk of tfaose âocks, whose som oi hap^nem 
and only want on «arth is a littde grass to crop, and a little 
sunshiiie to ba^ in. 

• I would bave written volumes had I noted the inexhaustildi 
impressions, the shudders of heart, the thoughts, tfae iatemal 
joys, or melancholy feelmgs which coursed through my mind 
and my soûl durin^ that long summer în the desèrt I wrote 
nothiag ; I allowedall those s^isations, idl those modulations, 
to pass in my bosom, like the breezes which sweep over the 
plants of the mountain, lieedless of the vague sighs which they 
make them utter, regardless of the peifume which they bear 
away from them as uiey pass. 

The sighs and perfumes of my yonthful heart did not seem 
to me to be worth gathering. I nad even reached sudi a pitch 
of déjection and burenness, that I felt a sortof bîtter joy in the 
consciousness of living, thinldng, and feeling in vain, Ûke those 
flowers which grow amid the inaccessible crags of the Alps, 
vegctate and bloçm unseen by any eye, and which «eem to ao- 
euse nature of having ndth^ ord^ nor pity in her works. 



LES COIfFIDBNOES. 24B 



NOTE VII. 

Another cnrctunstance belped to conSna me in tbis dejec* 
tion of heart — ^In this contempt for the workL It was the 
Bce'ety and conrersation of another recluse who was as sensi- 
tive as I, irbile he was older aîid more unfortunate. Thk 
societj- was the onlj diy^^on I sonaetimes had in my loneli- 
ness. Casual meetings at first, then habit, gradually made 
this întimacj graw into friendsbip. Chanee seemed to bave 
brongbt togetber two men who were ci différent âges and 
différent stations in Hfe, but who resembled one another hj 
their sensibility and cbaracter, and by tbeir conformity of 
sadness and solitnde of sonl and theur mistrust in earthly 
bappîness. One of thèse men was the writer of thèse lines, 
The other was the poor curate of Bussièr^, a parish of which 
Mîlly was a dependancy and only a hamlet. 

I hâve spoken, in the narrative of the first impressions of 
my chiMhood, of a young vicar who taught the children of 
the Triage their catechism and Latin» in the bouse of the 
aged eurate of Bussières, and who, hatiing that puérile peda- 
gogy to which he was eondemned, threw aside with disgust 
the primer and férule, and, with his d<^ in leash and bis gun 
upon his sboulder, escaped from the manse before the neâle 
had marked the hour of the terminatîon of the lesson, and 
went and finished the day in the fields, and in the woods of 
(mr mountains. I bave said that bis name was the Abbé 
Dumont ; that the manse seemed to be more like a patemal 
roof than a vicarage to him; that his mother, who was 
adranced in years, but stiH handsome and pleasing, had kepi 
bouse for the curate from time immémorial ; that, between 
the superannuated curate and the young yicar, there existed 
some relalionship which was noi elearly defined ; that this 
rdatîonship gave the latter the position ci a son rather than 
that of a skainsmate in the bouse. 

Finally, I bave related bow the Bisbc^ of Macon—a man 
of easy and refined manners, as well as a man of letters and 
study — had taken the adolescent youth to bis palace, and 
had had him reared in ail the habits, in ail the freedom and 
ail the élégance of the very worldly society of which the 

Slscopal palace was the centre previous to the Révolution. 
6 Révolution had dispersed this society, confiscated the 
pahce, imprisoned the Inshop, and baxûsbed the youi^ secre» 

21* 



246 LAMARTINE. 

tary from the bosom of thîs luxury and tbese deligbts, and 
sent him back to the bumble manse of Bussières. The old 
curate had died. The young man bad entered the priest- 
bood ; the living had p^ssed as an mheritance into the hands 
of the youthful ecclesiastic. 

The Abbé Dumont was then tbirtj-eight yeais of âge. 
He was tall ; bis limbs were supple ; bis b^ring martial ; bis 
garb was secular, spruce, and neat, and, without ezactlj 
offendmg propriety, seemed to indicate a désire on bis part to 
approach as near as possible to the costume of the man of 
the world, and a wish to make others forget, as well as bim- 
self, a profession wbich had been imposed upon him at a very 
late day. 

His face bore an expression of energy, prîde, and Tirîlity, 
wbich was only softened by the shade of gentle melancholy 
wbich babitually overclouded it. It revealed a vigorous 
nature, shackled by some secret ties wbich kept it from 
moying and blazing out. The contour of the cbeeks was as 
pale as a smothered passion ; the mouth pure and delicato ; 
the nose straight, moulded with an extrême correctness of 
outline, rounded and elastic at the nostril, narrow and muscu- 
lar at the top where it met the forehead and separated the 
eyes. The eyes were of a plimket color tinged with gray, 
like a billow in the shade; the glance was deep and some- 
what enigmatical, like an interrupted disclosure; the orbs 
were buried beneath the beetling arcb of a brow that was 
straight, bigh, broad, and smoothed by thought. His black 
bair, already somewhat thinned by the waning of bis youth, was 
brushed forward upon bis temples in sleek and sbining locks, 
wbich stuck to the skin and beightened its whiteness. No 
trace of a tonsure was to be seen on his bead. The moîst-. 
ness of the skin and tbe fineness of the bair gave it a few 
curves, on the summit of the brow and at tbe temples, wbich 
were hardly perceptible, like those of tbe acantbus around 
the marble capital of a column. 

Such was the outward appearance of the man with whom 
— despite the disparity of years — solitude, proximity, simi- 
larity of character, mutual attraction, and, finally, tiie very 
sadness of oùr two lives, were about to make me gradually 
contract a real and lasting friendsbip. 

Tbis friendsbip was afterwards cemented by time ; it lasted 
until his dcath, and now, when I occasionalhr pass througb 
tbe village of Bussiàres^ my borse — accustomed to that cbaiig« 



LES CONFIDENCES. 247 

of route — ^tums from the higliway in the direction of a small 
cross, climbs a ston^ path which winds behind the church 
and beneath the Windows of the old manse, and stops a 
moment of bis own accord beside the low wall of the burîal- 
ground. On the other side of the wall is to be seen the 
funeral stone placed by me above the body oîmy friend. 
The only epitaph it bears, in letters deeply graVen in the 
stone» is his name alongside of my own. Hère, during a 
moment's silence, I giye ail that the living can give the 
dead :— a thought — a prayer — a hope of again meetmg else- 
where! 



NOTE VIIL 

Our intimacy formed itself natnrally and without any pré- 
méditation. I was the only one in that inhabited désert wîth 
whom he could converse about the thoughts, the works, the 
feelings of the soûl that he had cultivated with ardent love in 
his younger days, and in the palace of the bishop of Maçon. 
He still cultivated them in the solitude in which he was con- 
fined. He was the only one into whose bosom I, myself, 
could pour the streams of feeling and melancholy which over- 
ran my soûl. 

Our meetings were fréquent : Sunday, at church ; other 
days, in the paths of the village, amid the brush or the broom 
upon the mountain-side. From my Windows I could hear the 
call (^ his hounds. 

By dint of meeting one another thus at ail hours, we at 
length felt the want of one another's society. He saw that 
in that young man's soid there were germs whose blooming 
and development it would be interesting to watch. I felt that 
within that mature man who was tired of life there was a des- 
tiny which, like my own at that moment, was soured and de- 
ceived, and a morbid but strong soûl near which my soûl 
could avenge its own wretchedness by attaching itself at least 
•to another that was quite as wretched. 

I lent him books. I went and hired them, every week, at 
a Ubrary in Maçon, and brought them back to Milly in my 
saddlebags. He lent me the worm-eaten volumes of ecclesi- 
astical history and sacred literature, which he had found in 
the library of the bishop of Maçon. Thèse had been bequeathed 



248 LAMARTINS. 

to hi Q by tbe prelate. We conyersed upon the snbjects of ouf 
readÎQgs. By tbe coDformity of our opinions on the same 
Works, we were thus made aware of tbe consonance of our 
minds and bearts. We become attacbed by wbat we discoyer 
similar to ourselves in tbose whom we stitdy. After aH, lovo 
and friendsbip are notbing more tban tbe image of a being re> 
ciprocally seen and reâected in tbe beart of anotber being. 
Wlien botb tbese images are so completely commmgled tbat 
tbe two only make one, tben tbe friendsbip or love is perfeci. 
Our friendsbip was perfecting itself tbns eveiy day. 



NOTE IX. 

Ere long we were not satisfied witb tbese fortnitons meet* 
ings in tbe patbs of tbe two villages. He came to see me ; I 
retumed bis visits. Between bis bonse and my fatber's dweH- 
in^ tbere was only a sligbt bill to cross. At tbe foot of tbi» 
biil, wbicb was covered witb creepin^ vines, you foimd a fbtm- 
tain beneatb seyeral willows, and a nollow patb, b(Mrdered by 
bedges, wbicb ran across meadows. 

At tbe extremity of thèse meadows, a lîttle gâte, elosed by 
a single boit, gave ingress into a small kitchen-garden sur- 
rounded by walls lined witb espaliers. At tbe back of tbis 
garden, a long, low bonse witb an outer gallery, wbose roof 
rested on wooden pillars. A little court-yard, elosed in by fi 
shed, an oven, and a woodhouse. On tbe breast-walk ci tbe 
gallery, two bandsome dogs lay, and bôwled wben tbe gâte 
was opened. A few pots ci m^nionette and cboiee flowers on 
tbe landmg. A few cbickens in tbe yard ; a few p%e<Mis on 
tbe roof. Tbis was the manse. 

On tbe opposite side of tbe garden, tbe bouse rested on tbe 
graveyard, wbicb surrounded tbe churcb like a badly-lerelled 
meadow. Above tbe cemetery, the eye extended throuffb a 
vista to tbe sides of uncidtivated mountains interseeted by hîgb 
chestnut-trees. Thence, it wandered obliquely over a sombre 
and black valley, wbicb was lost in tbe warm vapor of tbe 
Sun in summer, — ^in the smoke of the mist and the waters 
in winter. The sound of the bell, wbicb tolled at the tbree 
periods of tbe day, and for baptisms and burials ; tbe foot- 
Bteps of tbe peasants retuming from tbeir work ; tbe Yooiferw 



LES CONFIDENCES. 249 

aMons oi tbe chfldren, crymç for their belated mothers, at 
noon and in the evenii^, on tne threshold oi their cottages ; 
were the only noises whicb penetrated into tbat honse from 
without. Within, ail that was to be beard was tbe litUe bus- 
tle made by tbe curate's motber and bis meee, as tbey pealed 
tbe yegetables for tbe sonp, or spread tbe Mnen npon tbe gai* 
lery. 



NOTE X, 

Before long I became an additional guest in tbat lowly 
dwelling, an additional partaker of the frugal fare of that 
humble board. I would enter the manse almost every even- 
ing at sunset. When I bad left the sbade of two or three 
bombeam-trees in tbe garden of Milly, beneath whicb I bad 
sought sbelter from the buming rays of an August sun ; when 
I bad closed my books ; when I bad caressed and tended my 
borse with care, and spread beneath bis shining boofs the lit- 
ter of fresh straw for the night, I would slowly ascend the 
bill, and gUde like an additional shade of evening amongst the 
last shadows projected by the willows over the meadows. I 
would open the little ^arden-gate of the yicarage of Bussières. 
The dogs knew me, and never barked at me now. They seemed 
to be waiting for me at the customary hour on the tjîreshold. 
They would spnng forward to greet me, and as if to wam the 
bousehold of the arrivai of the young friend. The beni^ smile 
of tbe curate's aged motber, the courteous blush of bis nièce, 
showed me those pleasing faces of hosts whicb are the most 
grateful salutations and compliments of bospitality. 



NOTE XI. 

I generally found tbe Abbé Dumont bnsy praning bis vines, 
or weeding bis lettuce beds, or clearing bis trees of worms and 
caterpillars. I would take tbe watenng-pot from the hands 
of the motber, and help tbe nièce to draw up the long rope of 
tbe well. We would ail work in the garden as long as a ray of 
light illumined tbe beavens. We would then enter the curate's 
apartment. The walls were naked, and merely pargeted witb 



250 LAMARTINE. 

white lime, which was cracked by the nails which he had stuok 
into it to hangup his guns, hunting-knives, jackets, and equip- 
ments, and a few engravings, framed in pine wood, represent- 
ing the captivity of Louis XYI. and his fiamily in Ihe Temple. 
For, as I hâve already said, the Abbé Dumçnt, — ^by an incon- 
sistency which was very common amongst the men of those 
days, — ^was a royalist, although he was a democrat, and a 
counter-revolulionist in feeling, although he detested the old 
dynasty, and although he sharèd ail the doctrines and ail the 
aspirations of the Révolution. 

On the other hand, none of the attributes of his office was 
to be seen either on those walls or on the mantelpiece. 
Neither a breviary, nor a crucifix, nor an image of a maie or 
female saint, nor a sacred yestment. Ail thèse things were 
relegated to the vestry-room, where they were left to the care 
of the bell-ringer. He did not wish that any thing belonging 
to his church shoidd follow him into his house and remind 
him of his servitude and his chains. Nothing indicated that 
he was the curate of the village, imless it was a little crazy 
table which was banished to one of the corners of the room, 
and on which were to be seen a register of the births and 
deaths, and the boxes of .sugar-plums, boxmd round vnth blue 
or pink ribands, which are given to the minister who performs 
the holy cérémonies at weddings and christenings. 

At nightfall, he would light a tallow candie, ^or a remuant 
of a yellow wax taper removed from one of the branched can- 
dlesticks on the altar. After a few moments spent in reading 
or conversation, the nièce would spread the cloth on the table, 
from which she had previously removed the ink, books, and 
papers. Supper would then be served. 

It usually consisted of brown bread, made of rye and bran, 
mixed ; a few eggs, fried in the pan and seasoned with a dash 
of vinegar ; salad, or asparagus, culled in the garden ; snails, 
gathered in the dew on the grape-vine leaves, and slowly cooked 
in a stewpan beneath the ashes ; scraped gourd, baked in an 
earthen dish on days when bread was cooked ; from time to 
time, one of those old, skinny, yellow chickeiis, which the poor 
young women of the mountains, when they are churched, 
bring as a présent to the curate, in memory of the tender 
doves which the women of Judea brought to the Temple when 
tliey arose from childbed ; and finally, a few hares or a few 
partridges, the produce of the moming's chase. Other dishes 
were seldom seen on the table. The penury of the house 



LES CONFIDENCES. 251 

would not permît the mother to go to market. This frugal 
meal was washed down by some of the white or red wine of 
tbe country ; the vine-dressers give it to the sexton, who, in 
yintage time, goes from winepress to winepress, in quest of 
ît. The repast terminated with a few fruits plucked from the 
espaliers, and small goat's-milk cheeses, fresh and white, 
sprinkled with gray sait, which excite thirst, and give a zest to 
the wine which is drunk by the peasants of our valleys. 

. The Abbé Dumont, although he had not the slightest de- 
nrée of the sensuahty of the table, sometimes condescended — 
m order to relieve hisaged mother and instruct hb nièce — ^to 
supenntend the bread in the oven, the roast on the spit, the 
eggs or the yegetables on the fire, and to sea on the simple 
or strange dishes which we ate together, and over which we 
discoursed cheerfully on the culinary art. It was thus that I 
myself leamed how to prépare and cook, with my own hands, 
the daily food of the poor inhabitants of the coimtry, and to 
find pleasure and a certain degree of peasant-like dignity in 
those domestic labors which hberate man from the servitude 
of his wants, and accustom him to hâve less dread of indigence 
or mediocrity. 



NOTE XII. 

After supper, we would discuss — ^at one time with elbows 
leaning on the table ; at another, walking in the moonlight on 
the gallery — those subjects which, like unavoidable accidents, 
eternally revisit the conversation of two solitary beings whose 
only occupation is their thoughts : the destiny of man upon 
earth, — ^the vanity of his ambition, — the injustice of fate to- 
wards talent and virtue, — ^the mutability and uncertainty of 
the opinions of man ; the religions, philosophies, and literature 
of différent âges and différent people ; the préférence due to 
this great man above another; the supenority of such an 
orator, or such a writer, over the writers and orators, his com- 
petitors ; the grandeur of the human mind in some men, îts 
pettiness in others ; — ^then the perusal of passages from such 
or such an author, to justify our judgments or support our 
préférences, — ^fragments from Plato, Cicero, Seneca, Fenelon, 
Bossuet» Voltaire, Rousseau» books which were successively 



252 LAMARTINS. 

Slaced upon the table, opened, closed, re-opened, compared, 
iscussedy admired, or put aside, like the cards of that great 
game of the soûl which the genius of man etemally plays with 
the enigma of nature. 



NOTE XIII. 

Sometîmesy but very seldom, a few of the beautiful lines of 
the ancient poets were recited by me in their original language, 
beneath the very roof which had heard me spell the first 
words of Greek and Latin. But verses occupied but a nar- 
row space in those quotations and conversations. The Abbé 
Dumont, — like several of the superior inen that I bave been 
most intimate with and hâve loved the most in my lifetime,-^ 
had no taste for them. He only prized the sensé, and cared 
veiy little for the music of written words. He was not endued 
with that sort of intellectual materiality which, in the poet, 
associâtes an harmonious sensation with an idea or a feeling, 
and which thus gives a double hold on the man — ^through the 
ear and through the mind. 

It seemed to him — and since then it bas often seemed to me 
— that there was in reality a sort of humiliating puerility for 
reason, in that studied cadence of rhythm and mechanical con- 
sonance of rhyme, which only address themselves to man's ear, 
and which unité a voluptuousness that is purely sensual with 
the moral grandeur of a thought, or with the manly enftrgy of 
a feeling. He thought that verse was the language of the child- 
hood of nations — prose, the language of their maturity. I now 
think that he was right. Poetry lies not in this empty jingle of 
rhymes ; it is in the idea, in the sentiment, and in the figure — 
that Trinity of speech which changes it into the human Word. 
Rhymsters will say that I blasphème ; real poets will feel that 
I am right. Changing speech into music is not perfecting it ; 
it is materializing it. The simple, exact, and forcible word to 
express pure thought or naked sentiment, without paying any 
more attention to the sound than to the material form of the 
Word : that is style, that is expression, that is the Word. Ail 
the rest is voluptuousness, but childishness — Nugœ cancres. If 
you doubt it, unité in imagination Plato and Rossini in the same 
man. What will you bave done ? You will undoubtedly havi 



LES CONFIDENCES. 35S 

addedt to tîie greatness of Rossini, but you will hare diminisli- 
ed the greatness of Plato. 



NOTE XIV. 

At that time, I neither contested nor approved that instinct- 
îve répugnance felt by certain men with vigorous minds, to the 
jingling blandishments of yersified tfaought. I loved verse as 
we love a color, a sound, or a perfume in nature. I read a 
great many — ^I wrote none. 

From thèse literary subjects we always came, by a natural 
déviation, to the most important questions of politics, philoso- 
phy, and religion. As we had both drawn our nurture from 
the marrow of Grecian and Roman antiqaity, we had both 
adored liberty as a high-sounding word ère we had adored it 
as a sacred thing, and as the exclusive moral right of freemen. 

We abomînated the Empire and that govemment which was 
but a plagiarLsm of monarchy ; we lamented that such a hero as 
Bonaparte had not been at the same time a complète great man, 
and had only used the material forces of the Révolution — which 
had fallen into his hands from lassitude — to forge anew the 
old chains of despotism, false aristocracy, and préjudice, which 
the Révolution had shivered to pièces. The Abbé Dumont, 
although he abhorred jacobinism, had on his lips and in his 
heart a certain republican tartness, which was sharp yet pleas- 
ing. This he unconsciously communicated to me. My young 
soûl — free from ail base ambitions — as independent as solitude 
— ^îmbittered by the tyranny of fate, which seemed obstinately 
determined to shut me out of the world — was predisposed to 
adopt that austerity of opinion which consoles us for the slights 
of fortune, by making us despise the favors which it showers 
on others. The Restoration, which had intoxicated us both 
with hopes, was beginningr to cheat those hopes. It at least 
granted freedom to think, read, wrîte, and discuss. It had 
much of the internai commotion of free govemments, and many 
of their storms of opinion. But the pretensions of the nobles 
who retumed from foreign lands ; the restless domination of 
the clergy ; the barefaced incapacity of the court ; the super- 
stitious adoration of the past, which incredulous courtiers strove 
to reanimate in the hearts of a people who had grown two 

22 



254 L.\MARIINE. 

centuries older in the space of twenty-five years, destrojed ail 
our illusions. We did not complain aloud, through fear of beîng 
mistaken for partisans of the Empire ; but we moumed in si- 
lence, and we ascended or descended the stream of time in search 
of govemments worthy of humanity. Alas ! where are they ? 
As to religion, the fanaticism which they were then striving 
to revive under that name, by pious cérémonies, processions, 
and preachings, seemed to us to be the wretched masquerade 
of a political party that wished to make itself sacred in the eyes 
of the people by the affectation of a faith of which it only as- 
sumed the outward show. It was easy to see that the Abbé 
Dumont was as philosophical as the âge in which he had been 
bom, His real gospel was the creed of the Vïcar of Savoy. 
The mysteries of religion, which honor and the necessity of 
acting in conformity with his profession made him perform, 
seemed to him hardly more than a îitual without any impor- 
tance, a code of morals illustrated by symbolical dogmas and 
traditional practices which did not encroach in the slight- 
est degree upon his independence of mind and his reason. He 
said it was the language of the sanctuary in which he spoke of 
God to a childish people. But within his own walls, he spoke 
of the Almighty in the language of Plato, Cicero^ and Bous- 
seau. 



NOTE XV. 

And yet, although his mind was skeptical, his soûl, which 
had been humbled and softened by misfortune, was pious. His 
greatest happiness would hâve been the power to give that 
vague piety the form and reality of a settled faith. He exert- 
ed ail his strength to curb his mind and make it bend to the 
yoke of Cathohcism and the dogmas of his profession. He 
perused with obstinate persévérance the Genius of Christian' 
ism, by M. de Chateaubriand, the writings of M. de Bonald, 
those of M. de Lamennais, M. Frayssinous, the Cardinal de 
Beausset — ^all those more or less éloquent oracles that suddenly 
arose out of the ruins of the Christian religion at that period 
as if to protest against its death from the depths of the grave. 
But his mind, wmch rebelled against the logic of those writers, 
admired their genius more than it adopted their dogmas, He 
prayed with their style, which excited and moved his feelings, 



LES CONFII ENÇES. 2^0 

but he could not believe with their belief. In hîs eyes, tbose 
aposUes were pious undertakers who adom the dead body, but 
do not reanimate it. 

As to myself, t was younger and more sensitîve than he, 
and yielded more readîly to the blandishments of the religion 
of my childhood and my mother. In solitude, piety always 
retumed to me : it bas always made be better. I did not be- 
lieve with my mmd, but I believed with my heart. The void 
which had been made in my soid by the evaporation of the 
faith of my childhood in the dissipations of those years of 
shame and sorrow, seemed to me to be delightfully filled up 
by that feehng of divine love which again became warm be- 
neath the ashes of my first excesses, and which purified while 
it consoled me. For me, poetry and the tendemess of religion 
were like those two saintly women who sat upon the sepul- 
chre of the Saviour of mankind, and to whom the angels said 
in vain — 

'* He 18 not hère." 



NOTE XVI. 

I was obstinate in my désire to recover the belief of my 
youth on the spot where I had acquired the belief of my child- 
hood. I loved the retirement and the shade of those little 
village churches in which men assemble and kneel, to find con- 
solation, at the feet of a God of flesh and blood like them- 
selves. It seemed to me that the incommensurable space 
between man and the God that has no shape, no name, and 
no shadow, was filled up by that mystery of incarnation. If 
I did not acknowledge the whole of it as a truth, I adored it 
as a marvellous poem of the soûl. I embellished it with ali 
the prestiges of my imagination. I embalmed it with ail my 
desires. I colored it with ail the hues of my mind, with aU 
the tints of my enthusiasm. I subjected my rebellions reason 
to that ardent wish to believej that I might be able to love 
and pray. I strenuously drove from my mind every shadow, 
every doubt, every répugnance. I succeeded in partly form- 
ing the illusions for which I thirsted ; and, to give you an 
exact notion of the state of my soûl at that period, if I did 
not then adore the God of my mother as my God, I at ^east 
bore Him on my heart as my idol. 



956 LAMAllTIirB. 



NOTE XVII. 

When sleep wonld czert its influence orer us and begin to 
clog tbe words upon our lips, I would take np mj gon, call 
my dog, and the Abbé Dumont would walk with me as far as 
the exU'emity of the meadow which terminated tbe valley of 
Bussières; bere we would sbake bands. I would silently 
olimb tbe stony bill, at one time in tbe ligbt of soft summer 
nigbts ; at anotber, tbrougb tbe bumid sbadows wbicb were 
made still beavier by tbe tbick mists of Uie beginning ci 
autumn. 

I would find tbe aged servant waiting for me, and twûrling 
ber distaff tbe wbile by the ligbt of the brazen lamp wbicb 
bung in tbe kitchen. I would relire to rest and awake on tbe 
morrow, to begin another day similar to tbe one tbat bad 
passed. 

Tbat wbicb increased my attachaient to the poor curate of 
Bussières, was tbe cloud of melancholy which saddened bis 
countenance. Tbat shadow extinguished the last fires of 
youth in bis glance, and lent a certain faint-hearted languor to 
bis words and bis voice, which was in harmony with my own 
languidness of mind. You could feel tbat there was a painful 
and smothered mystery hid beneath bis disclosures. You 
could see that he never told you ail tbat he bad to say, and 
that a last secret always hovered round bis lips, but never 
escaped from them. 

I never attempted to wrest that mystery from him; be 
would not bave intrusted it to me. Between a confession o£ 
tbat nature and the most friendly intimacy with a young maa 
of my âge, arose the barrier of tbe sacred proprieties of bis 
boly office. But the whisperings of the gossips of the village 
began to reveal to me some cocfused rumors ; and, at a later 
day, I was made acquainted with that sorrowful mystery 'm 
ail its détails. Hère it is : — 

At tbe time when persécution drove tbe bishop of Maçon 
from bis palace and confined him in a dungeon, tbe Abbé 
Dumont was notbing more than a young and handsome secre- 
tary ; he retumed to the dwelling of the aged curate of Bus- 
aères, who bad taken bis oath of adhérence to tbe constitu- 
tion. He mingled with the world, and, with the ascendency 
wbicb bis face, bis courage, and bis mind gave him, partid* 
pated in the varions movements of opinion which agitated tht 



LES CONFXBBNCES. S5> 

j&aih ci Ifacon and Lyons at tbe éownfaU of monarcliy. In 
%he beginning of the Republic *he made bimself particularly 
Botorious by bis antipathy to the Jaeobins and bia boldness in 
opposing tbem. During tbe Reign of Terror be was tracked as 
a royalist, and be finally enrolled bimself in tbose secfet bands 
of young royalists which were spreading in every direction, 
and wbîcb formed a cbain fnnn tbe Sevennes mountains to tbe 
environs of Lyons. 

He was daring and venturesome ; and conf(Hinity of opinion, 
as well as tbe chances of association and tbe dangers of civil 
war, made bim fonn an intimaey witb tbe son of an aged noble 
of tbe Forez. Tbe cbateau oi tbat family was situated in a 
wild Valley, on a steep billock. It was a botbed of conspîracy, 
and tbe beadquarters of tbe royalist youtb of tbe neigbbor- 
bood. Tbe old lord bad lost bis wife at tbe commencement 
of tbe Révolution. At ber deatb, sbe bad left bim four daugb- 
ters, wbo bad bardly passed tbrougb tbe âge of adolescence. 
Tbese young girls — ^reared without a motber, witbout a gov- 
erness, in tbe cbateau of an old man, wbo was a bunter and 
a soldier, and wbose cbaracter was singular and eccentric, 
wbile bis mind was illiterate and uncidtivated — ^bad none pf 
tbe attributes of tbeir sex but extrême beauty, simpUcity, and 
grâce, united to ail tbe vividness of feelii^ and ail tbe impru- 
dence of tbeir âge. 

Tbeir fatber bad accustomed tbem, from tbeir earliest cbild- 
liood, to be bis compànions at table, in tbe midst of bis guests 
of every description, and to ride borses, bandle guns, ami fol- 
low bim to tbe ebase, wbicb was tbe principal occupation of 
bis life. It is easy to crédit tbat sucb a cbarming court always 
assembled around suob an old man, in peace or war, at the 
feast or in tbe cbase, naturally attracted youtb, courage, and 
love to tbe cbateau of ***. 

Tbe Abbé Dumcmt, in tbe garb of a warrior and bunter, 
young, bandsome, arile, dexterous, éloquent, bailed by tbe 
fatber, welcomed by bis friend tbe son, agreeable to tbe young 
girk by tbe élégance of bis manners and tbe superiority of Ym 
mind, became the most assiduous skainsmate at tbe cbateau. 
It may be said tbat be was a member of tbe family and an 
additional brotber to tbe young girls. In one of tbe bigb tur- 
rets of the donjon, be occupied a cbamber wbicb overlooked 
tbe wbole country, and from wbicb could be seen a great ex- 
tent of tbe only road wbicb led to tbe eastle. As be was ap- 
pokited to give notiee of tbe approaob o£ the goidarmes or 

22* 



258 LAMARTINE. 

patrols of ihe National Guard, he watched rver tne security 
of the doors and kept in order tfae arsenal, which was always 
well stocked with loaded gnns and pistols, and whicb even 
contained two moiinted culverins, with which the Count de *** 
was determined to do exécution upon the republicans, should 
they risk themselves in those gorges. 

At the château, their time was occupied in receiving and 
despatching disguised messengers who hnked the superstitions 
and counter-revolutionary spirit of those mountains with the 
emigrants in Savoy and the conspirators in Lyons; in scouring 
the woods on foot and on horseback for game ; in practising 
the use of arms ; in defying the Jacobins of the neighboring 
towns, who were constantly denouncing that den of aristo- 
crats, but who did not dare to dispersé it; in playing and 
dancing with the youth of the châteaux in the neighborhood, 
who were attracted thither by the united charms of opinion, 
adventure, and pleasure. 

Although the young ladies mingled in ail this commotion, 
and although they were left entirely to the exercise of their 
own prudence, there was nothing like impropriety or licen- 
tiousness in their intercourse with their guests, between whom 
and themselves, however, there existed mutual préférences, 
tastes, and attractions. The memory of their mother and the 
knowledge of their own péril, seemed to protect them better 
than the most rigid vigilance could hâve done. They were 
simple, but innocent ; l£e the daughters of the peasants who 
were their vassals, they were free from suspicion and prudery, 
but not devoid of watchfulness over themselves and of the 
dignity of their sex and their instincts. 

The two oldest had become attached, and were betrothed 
to two young noblemen of the South; the third was impa- 
tiently awaiting the time when the convents should be re- 
opened in order to dévote herself to God,. her only thouffht 
Tranquil in the midst of ail that agitation, cold in that hotbed 
of love and enthusiasm, she managed her father's household 
affairs hke a matron of twenty. The fourth had hardly reached 
her sixteenth year. She was the favorite of her father and 
sisters. 

The admiration which was felt for her as a young girl was 
mingled with that cheerful eomplacency with which children 
are always treated. Her beauty, which was more attractive 
than dazzling, was the blooming of a loving soûl which allows 
itself to be gassed upon and inhahKl through the feature^ the 



LES CONFIDENCES. 259 

eyeSy and the smile. The f urther jou plunged into it, the more 
m tendernessy innocence, and goodness you discovered in it. 
From the impression which she made on me, — as I saw her a 
great many years afterwards, when the dust of life and her 
tears had doubtless robbed that face of the freshness and the 
down of adolescence, — it was easy to recall that ravishing 
réminiscence c^ sixteen. 

She neither had the languidness of the pale daughters of 
the Korth, nor the buming glow of a child of the South, nor 
tiie melancholy of an English woman, nor the majesty of an 
Italian woman ; her features, in which grâce of expression pre- 
dominated over purity of form, — her pleasing mouth, her small 
nose, her chestnut hair and eyes, — ^rather reminded you of a 
village bride — somewhat scorched by the rays of the sun and 
the glances of the young men — ^when she has clothed herself 
in her wedding garments and sheds around her, as she enters 
church, a shudder which delights but which does not in- 
timidate. 

She unconsciously became attached to that young adven- 
turer, her brother's friend, who was nearer her own âge than 
any of the other strangers who f requented the château. In those 
days, the mère quaUty of royalist gave those who fought and 
sunered for the same opinions a certain familiarity in the 
houses of the nobility where they were received as companions 
in arms. 

The young man was well read. In conséquence of this he 
was chosen by the father to give lessons in reading, writing, 
and religion, to the young giri. She looked upon him as a 
brother who was somewhat more advanced in life than herself. 
He was answerable for her during the perilous excursions 
which she made with her father and sisters to hunt the wild 
boar in the mountains ; he was the one who adjusted the bridle 
and fastened the girth of her horse, who loaded her gun, who 
oarried that gun slung across his shoulders, who aided her to 
overleap the ravines and torrents, who plunged into the thickets 
and brought her the game which she nad shot, who wrapped 
her in his cloak to protect her from the rain or snow. Such 
fréquent and complète intimacy between a sensitive and ardent 
young man, and a young girl whose childhood each day was 
miperceplibly changing into adolescence and charms, could 
hwily fail of awakening in their bosoms, almost without their 
knowledge, a first and involuntary attachment. There is no 
mare more dangerous for two pure hearts, than that which is 



SM tAMABTINE. 

prepared by habit and veîled hj mnoeence. Thej bad botb 
fallen into it ère either of them bad suspected it. Time and 
eircumstanees were soon to make them aware of tbis. 

The Revolutionary Committee of the town of *** was aware 
of the plots which were brewing with irapunîtj at the ebateau 
of ***. The indignation of the Committee was aronsed against 
the Deighboring municipalities, which were âtber lœable or 
afraid to disperse that nest of eonspirators. It resolved to 
extinguish that counter-revolutionary brand, which threatened 
to inlame tbe wbole country. It secretlj formed a colmnn oi 
gendarmes, liçht artîllery, and national guards. Thèse troops 
marched ail mght, in order to arrive beneath the walls c^ the 
eastle before daybreak, and take the inhabitants by âurprise. 

There was no means of eseape from the château, which had 
been completely snrrounded doring the slnmbers oi its inmates. 
The commander of the republican forces summoned the Coont 
de *** to open the gâtes. He was constrained to obey. Or- 
ders of arrest had been drawn up in advance against tbe Cowit 
and ail the principal members of the fanûly,^-eyen tltô women. 
They had to surrender thernselves as prisoners. The 6id 
lord, his brother, son, guests, domesdes, and three eldest 
daughters, were thrown into carts to be taken to the prboi» ol 
Lyons. The escvtcheons and arms of the eastle, inclucBi^ ih» 
two culyerins, bonnd round with branches o( oak, were dra^fged 
as trophies behind the carts into which the prisoners had oéesi 
thmst. Of ail this household, free and peaceful on the eve, 
the only ones who were not led into captivity, were their 
constant guest and the Connt's youngest danghter. 

The young man, who had been awakenâ in his tnrret- 
ehamber by the clash of arms and the tramp ol borses m tbe 
outer court, had hastily dressed and armed himself, and de* 
scended to the armory to sell his Mfe as dearly as possible, in 
the defence of his bosts and friends. It was too late. AU 
the doors oi the eastle were m the bands of the Naticmal 
Ouards. The commander ot the column had already e»tered 
ihe Count's room with the gendarmes, where he was busîly 
engaged placing the public seal on the aged nobleman's papara. 
On the stairs, uke young man met tbe Count's daugl^ra, who 
were descending to their father's ehamber to be by his side 
and share his fate. 

" Saye our sister," hurriedly said the three eldesi to bîm; 
" we are resolved to follow our father everywhere — to tbe dia^ 
geoDy or even ta the seaffold ; but she, Ait m a aei^^cbiU^ 



LBB €OKFIDJBNCES. Ml 

Abe im not ihe xigbt to dispose of her life ; faide her frqin tLe 
wretclies who guard thé doors. — ^Here is gold !— You will &ad 
ber in our room, where we bave dressed her in maJe attire. 
Yoa knoMT tbe secret passages. God will iratch over yoH. 
Take her into the Sevennes» to the bouse of our aged aont, wbo 
is the onlj relative we bave in the wide world ; sbe will re- 
ceive ber, and be a second motber to ber. Farewell !" 

The «traiter followed thèse instructions to the letter, bapp j 
to be the guardian of such a trust and to foUow comouuids 
which were in such stdot confonnity with bis own inclinations. 



NOTE XVIII. 

In ihe cêsûe of * * * tbere was a subt^ranean passage»-— 
sîmilar to those which were to be found in ail the fcMrtîfied 
dwellings of the middle âges» — ^wbich began in the vaults be- 
neath the princi^ tower, passed under Ihe terraoe, and, ter^ 
minatiitt^ at a postem, desoended by a flight of three cr four 
hnndred steps to the foot of tbe steep nillock on which the 
ebateau was biûlt. Tbere, an iron gâte, similar to the wicket 
oi a duBgeon» praotised in a fissure in the rock, opened upon 
tbie vast flieadows surrounded by woods which fonued the 
bed of the m&c and the valley. 

The existence of this gâte, which was never used, was not 
known to the republicans. The inhabitants of the castle were 
tbe only ones who knew where its key was kept, to be used 
only in extrême emergencies. The young man possessed him- 
self of the key, retumed to the chamber of the weeping 
maiden, conducted her through the gloomy passage, opened 
tbe wicket, and, gliding from willow to willow along the bed 
of the torrent, succeâed in reaching the woods with liis 
aacred charge. 

The moment that be found himself in the well-known p«^ 
of thèse foresta, armed with two guns, bis own and that of his 
companion, and fumished with gold and ammunition, he bade 
défiance to ail mankind. With the devotedness of a slave and 
ihe tender care of a father, he led the maiden, — who looked 
like bis younger brother, — across fields, from ihicket to tbicket, 
«ad from road to road, to tbe outskirts of the littk town in 
urbich lived the aunt of Madenuûselle de * * *• 



€d2 LAMARTIHB. 

Th^ hnnter's attire precluded the neccsâty of asaoCTing 
any reason for the care with which they ayoided the hîgh- 
roads and the villages on their route. On the other hand, the 
connivance of the royalist and religions peasants of tiiose 
xnountains had accustomed them to respect the secret of those 
flights and disgoises which were so fréquent in that section of 
the country. 

Nevertheless, before entering the little town of * * *, where 
greater vigilance was doubtless exercised, the young man 
thought it best to wam the aunt of Mademoiselle de * * * of 
the approach of her young nièce, and to ask her under what 
name and dis^se and at what hour he should conduct the 
maiden to her nouse. 

He despatched a lad to the town with a note for that lady. 
After the lapse of a few hours, durinff which the thought of 
their approaching séparation had caused the tears of his corn- 
panion to flow incessantly, he saw the boy retum with the 
very note which he had written. The aunt herself had been 
arrested and conveyed by gendarmes to Nismes. The house 
was closed : the poor chila was thus shut ont of the only 
asylùm which could hâve sheltered her at her joumey's end. 
At the bottom of their soûls, the two fugitives were more 
astonished than afflicted by this unexpected blow. The 
thought of an early and etemal séparation appalled them more 
than they dared to acknowledge even to their own hearts. 
Fate imited them. Even whue they reproached it, they 
adored it. 



NOTE XIX. 

They dehberated a moment on the course that they should 
adopt. They naturally, and without any previous under- 
standing, settled upon the course that should separate them 
at the latest day possible. The young outlaw could not 
retum to the house of the curate of Bussières, without 
exposing himself to instant arrest and his benefactor to cer- 
tain ruin ; there was not a single house in the Forez in which 
the young girl might hâve found an asylum, which had not 
been closed by the Reign of Terror, and whose owners them- 
selves had not been proscribed. They resolved to tom baok 



LES CONFIDENCES. 5^8 

kl the direction of the castle of ***, and ask for sbelter in 
tbe cottages of some of tbe hospitable peasants wbo wcre yet 
attacbed to tbeir old lord, and wbo inbabited tbe neic^bboring 
mountains. 

Tbey retumed by sbort marcbes. Tbey knocked one nigbt 
at tbe door of a poor woman, — tbe widow of a ms^er of wooden 
sboes,— wbo bad been tbe young guVs nurse, and wbose ten- 
demess, gratitude, and devotedness were surety for her fideUty. 
Tbe lonely but, situated on tbe plateau of one of tbe bigbest 
mountains, in a gloomy glade surrounded by beecb woodd, 
was inaccessible to any one save tbe wood-cutters and bunts- 
men of tbe neigbborlng bamlets. Small, low, sunk in tbe 
boUow of a ravine ; covered witb moss-grown tbatcb, wbich 
almost toucbed tbe eartb and wbose color was bardly distin- 
guisbable from tbat of tbe steppes tbemselves, ît looked from 
below like a part of tbe gray rocks against wbicb tbe poor 
sboemaker bad built it. A little column of bluisb smoke 
wbicb sbot up, eacb moming and evening, in tbe midst of tbe 
wbite trunks of tbe beecb-trees, was tbe only sign tbat indi- 
cated tbat tbere was a buman babitation tbere, or tbat some 
cbarcoal-bumer bad ligbted bis fire of green wood beneatb bis 
nomade but. 



NOTE XX. 

Witbin tbese walls, built of angular blocks of dark granité 
and black slate, and spotted by tbe rain, tbere was only one 
small room, in wbicb tbe poor woman and ber cbildren slept. 
Tbe beartb was formed by a large unbewn stone on wbicb 
smoked a fire of broom. Alongside of the but, stood a stable 
wbicb was somewbat larger tban tbe room, and beneatb wbose 
roof was a sort of loft, made of interwo ven brancbes, in wbicb bay 
and straw were stowed for winter use. A sbe-ass, two goats, 
and a few sbeep entered bere in tbe evening, driven by little 
cbildren, under wbose care tbey were sent to pasture. 

Tbe nurse, wbo bad long since been informed of tbe catas- 
tropbe at tbe castle, — tbe imprisonment of tbe Count, and tbe 
disappearance of tbe young girl tbat sbe bad so dearly loved, 
•— burst into tears wben ^e recognised ber foster-cbild be- 
neatb ber maie attire. Sbe gave ber mistress ber own bed, at 



S84 I.AMA&TINS. 

ihe fcot of wfaich she spread a cooch of broom ùx herself ; she 
caniei the beds of the liUle childrea kito the staUe wlûch 
wag warmed by the breath of the flock, a&d gave tibe ^sai^er 
a few thick fleeces with which to protect himself fromtiie cM 
m the haylof t. 

After settling matten in this way, sbe set oui Uelore -the 
break of day and trudged to the most distant bcHougb in the 
mountains, to purchase some white bread« winei, cheese* and a 
iew chickens for the nurture of her guests. She took the pré- 
caution to buy thèse things in diff&rent Villages, through fear 
of arousing suspicion by an outlay which was disproportionate 
to her means and her habits. B^ore mid-day« soe had again 
climbed the mounUûn, emptied her wallets up<m the floor, and 
spread the cloth for the repaat of the stcangers. 



NOTE XXI. 

The nurse had given orders to h^ ehfldren aot to go f«rw 
ther than a certain distance from the but, and not to ta& wttà 
the mountain shepherds about the two hunters who had 
brought plenty, îoy, and the blessing of God into their dweli- 
ing. The children, proud to be the repositories and the 
guardians of a mystery, obeyed their mother faithfully. No 
one in the whole country suspected that the shœmaker's 
humble but, — ^which was buried in leaves in summer, and in 
fog and snow in winter,— contained within its wails a whole 
world of happiness, love, and faithfulness. If I thus describe 
this but, it is because I visited it, at another period of may li£e^ 
during a joumey which I took to the South. 

No one can either know, invent, or describe ail tbe feelingB 
ihat agitated the hearts of that youthful coi]^de,^-^who were 
thus j^ught together by solitude, oecessity, and mutnal lOr 
traction,— <luring the year which was made too long by the 
terror which reigned without, but whidi was too shorts per- 
haps, for the words of love and trust which were uttesed 
within. Not a syllable of thèse conversations and confessions 
^ver went further than the walls of the but, the lilacs in the 
garden, the bed of the torrent, or the beech-trees in the foresi. 
The life of those two young hermits never escaped beyond 
those jNrecincts. They omy salHed forth at night^ with th«r 



LXS CONFIDENCES. fiÔS 

kaded guns on tbeîr arms, to stretch their limbs which wtté 
£atigued by repose ; to take long noctumal rambles thl^ilig^h 
iinfrequented paths ; to breathe tbe perfume of tbe sweet- 
scented broom ; to cuU tbe Alpine floWers by tbe ligbt of tbe 
summer moon; or to seat tbetnselves side by side on tbe 
moBs-grown slope of a coneave rock, wbence tbeir eyes pluiiged 
into tbe ralley of * ^ *, and rested upon tbe desérted castle, 
or wandered as far as tbe vast bori^on of blue wbiob^ like 
a deep sea, stretcbed above tbe Rbine and éitended as fut aci 
tbe snows of tbe Italian Alps. 



NOTE XXII. 

Wbo can accuse tbem witbout first accusing tbeir destiny ? 
In tbat forced association, wbo can say wbat tindefined liinit 
between respect and adoration, or between Tirtue and lote, 
bounded tbe feeling wbicb tbose two cbildren nourisbed to^ 
wards one anotber? God's eye alobe could bavé Iseen ité. 
Tbe eye of man is dinimed and dazzled atid moistened wben 
it rests on tbe mystery of sucb a situation ! If fatilt tbéire 
was, man can only see it througb tbe tearis, wbicb, as be coh- 
demns, wasb ont tbe fault and absolve tbé faulty.-^Tbe doolti 
of tbe world closed upoù tbem, tbose of beaven opened tO 
tbem ; tbe presswe of proscription weigbilig ttpon tbeit' bearts 
and driving tbem, despite themselves, into eacn otber's àrtns ; 
tbe similarity of âge, costume, and feeling ; tbe equal inno^ 
cence or ignorance of danger; tbe différence df station for- 
gottcn or obliterated in tbat complète estrangétiaént froni tbé 
irorld ; tbe uncertsdnty wbether society, witb îts préjudices 
and distinctions, would éver be open to tbem again ; tbe baste 
to take advantage of tbe freedom wbicb tbey were in moment^' 
ary danger of losing, and wbicb tbey enjoyed as & stolen 
pleasure ; tbe sbortness of life at a time wben no one knew 
wbetber a mon;ow would ever dawn ; tbat darkness of tbe nigbt 
wbicb breeds iiitimacy ; tbat ligbt of tbe moon wbicb inebri- 
ates tbe eye and bewilders tbe beart ; tbeir double captivity 
in tbe nurse's dwelling — a captivity wbicb left tbeir tbougbts 
no possible diversion, wbicb offered no interruption to tbeir 
intercourse ; finally, tbat elevated, narrow^ anâ lilliiost inac- 
èettibk part ol space wbicb appeared tô tbèni as as ifiiiàl 

23 



266 LAMARTINE. 

iele sQspended between the earih, which thev could see at a 
distance beneath their feet, and the sky, which they beheld so 
near above their heads, — every thing concurred to drive them 
into each other's anns, and bind them by ail the ties of their 
soûls in a moral union ; to force them to search each other's 
heart for that life which had shrunk from around them, and, 
as it were, faded from their sight : — a life that thus became 
double at the very moment when they were threatened with 
its loss, and which only had solitude for its scène of action and 
contemplation for its food. 



NOTE XXIII. 

Were they sufficiently prudent, young as they were, to fore- 
see the etemal temptations of their solitude? Were they 
sufficiently strong to resist them when they experienced them ? 
Did they love one another as brother and sister ? Did they 

Promise one another more tender names ? — ^Who can answer ? 
hâve been intimately acquainted with both of them. Neither 
the one nor the other ever confessed any thing with regard to 
that year of adventm'e. Whenever they met, however, many 
years afterwards, they never looked at one another in the prés- 
ence of strangers. A sudden cloud of mingled red and white 
would spread itself over their countenances, as if some phan- 
tom of past days, which we could not see, had passed before 
their eyes and cast its magical reâection upon their features. 
Was it affection badly smothered ? — passion kindled again be- 
neath the ashes by a breath? — ^indifférence agitated by re- 
membrance ? — ^regret ?— or remorse ? — ^Who can peer into 
two sealed hearts and read characters which hâve been 
obliterated by torrents of tears, and which are only visible to 
the eye of God ? 



NOTE XXIV. 

jaf ore than one year passed thus. Then the Beign of Terror 
beeame less severe in tbat section of the country. The pxisoni 



LES CONFIDENOEB. 267 

^n. The old Count and his three daughters 
ir«c;-€AA.«AO « iûtoii* ruiaed castle. The nurse led the youngest 
daughter back «to her father's arms. The stranger was the 
last to leave tlèse moimtains. 

He retumed to the vicarage of Bussières, sad, and appa. 
rently twenty years older. His character had attained the 
maturity of ten additional years in a few short months. He 
followed the chase with greater assiduity than before, in the 
Company of my father and tue noblemen of the country. He 
would sometimes absent himself, however, for several days, 
and go on distant joumeys whose object was unknown to every 
one. On his retom, he wonld say that his dogs had put him 
upon the track of some roebucks, and that in order not to 
lose them he had been obliged to follow. And rumor said 
that no change had taken place at the château of * *^ *, in 
the other county, unless it was that the gueât who had dis- 
appeared no lon£;er visited its owners as of yore. The latter 
continued to lead the life of hunting, feasting, and seigneurial 
hospitality, which they had led during the Révolution. 



NOTE XXV. 

As to the poor nurse, she still dwelt in the lonely hut upon 
Jthe mountain. She had an orphan to rear along with her own 
children. This child wore linen that was finer than that which 
was made in the mountains. In his hands he often had toys 
which looked as though they had been purchased in the 
town. Whenever the poor woman was asked why this dis- 
tinction was made, and who was the owner of that orphan, 
she always answered that she had found him beneath a beech- 
tree, near the spring, as she was going to fetch water one 
moming, and that a pedler who traffîcked on those mountains 
sometimes brought him white linen and toys of ivory and 
coral. That charity had made her rich. I hâve known this 
orphan. He was the child of proscription, and he had its sad- 
ness in his soûl and upon his features. 

Five or six years afterwards, the Count's youngest daughter 
was married to an old man, who was the most gentle and the 
most indulgent of fathers to her. She devoted herself to the 
eare of his declining years. He took her with him to a little 



2ê8 hAUAMTmm. 

iawv in the South, in wldch he lîved. The yonng compsid^n 
of her exile, who, until then, had been wavering oetween the 
world and the church, suddmily put an end to his irresdntion 
when he heard of the young girrs narriage. He saw nothing 
more in life that was worthy of a regret. He gava it up 
without any eâbrt He enteied a seminary without casting a 
look behind him. Then he went and shut himself np for a 
few weeka with his former patron, the bishop of Maçon, who 
had at last been liberated and who waa ending his days, in 
the midst of poverty and infirmities, in the house of one of his 
faithful servants, within a few feet of what had formerly been 
his episcopal palace. The bishop invested him with holy 
orders. - He retomed to diseharge the humble duties of the 
yicaraffe of Bussières. He continued them, as I hâve said, 
until the death of the old curate, to whom he suoceeded. 



NOTE XXVI. 

Such was the hidden part of that man's life, a life which 
chance seemed to hâve placed alon^ide of my own life as a 
moumful and tender consonance with the precocious disen- 
cnantment of my youth, — a bitter smile of résignation above 
an abyss of painful sensibility, buming recoUections, smoulder- 
ing love, and restrained tears. It was the transparency of ail 
thèse things in Ms demeanor, in his physiognomy, in his- 
silence, and in his accent, no doubt, whicn attached me to 
him. Had he been happy and faultless, I would not bave 
loved him as I did. There îs a degree of pxty in ail our 
friendshîps. Misfortune bas an attraction for certain seuls. 
The cément of our heart is mixed with tears, and nearly ail 
our deep affections bave their beginning in some sorrowfui 
émotion! 



NOTE XXVII. 

This is the manner in which I spent that summer of solitude 
and dr3mess of soûl. The compression of my moral life in 
that aridity and loneliness; the intensity of thought with 
which I was incessantly searching ihe void of siy A^Hmc^ ; 



LES CONFIDENCES. 2G9 

the palpitations of mj beart, wbich was burnin^ witbout any 
tbinff real on whicb its âames could feed, and revolting agaînst 
tbe bard privations of air, ligbt, and loye for wbicb f was 
tbirsting, at lengtb mutilated me and consumed me even in my 
body, and gave me fits of languor, spasms, déjection of mind, 
a distaste for life, and a désire to die, wbieb I mistook îor 
maladies of the body and wbicb were notbing but tbe sickness 
of my soûl. 

Tbis alarmed tbe £Eimily pbysician, wbo sometimes ebecked 
bis borse in {r<mt of our door, on bis way from one village to 
anotber. He was a good, feeling, intelHgent person; bis 
name was Pascal. He loved me as a plant wbicb be bad 
tended in its graceful infancy. He ordered me to go to tbe 
waters of Aix, in Savoy, altbougb tbe season for batbing was 
over, and altbougb October bad already lent tbe valleys tbeir 
first mists and tbe air its first cbills. But in making tibis pre- 
scription, be tbougbt less of tbe effect of tbe waters tban of 
tbe benefit wbicb be expected me to dérive from diversion, 
moral agitation, and cbange of scène. Alas ! be was but too 
well inspired and too faitbfully obeyed ! 

I borrowed twenty-five louis of one of my fatber's old 
friends, a poor and amiable graybeard, named M. Blondel, 
wbo loved youtb because be bimself was possessed of good- 
ness, tbat etemal sap, tbat inexbaustible youtb of tbe som. I 
cast my borse loose to roam at will along witb tbe oxen wbicb 
are fattened in tbe meadows of Saint Point, and I set out. I 
took my departure witbout any of tbat vague eagemess, witb- 
out any of tbose keen desires, witbout any of tbat joy wbicb I 
bad felt wben starting upon less rioomy, lésa silent excursions ; 
bearing witb me my voluntary sdiitude, and ako feeling some- 
tbing like a forebodîng tbat I was to lose some part of self 
during tbat joumey, and tbat on my retiurn I wouM not bring 
back my beart. 

Hère are some Unes wbicb I wrole at tbat period, and 
wbicb I afterwards found on tbe margin of a copy fii Teu»* 
tus:— 



NOTE XXVIII. 

(Written on the road beneatii a tree^ in the ralley of the EchdUt, at Chambery.) 

To-day I enter my twenty-eîgbtb year, tnnà I am as jaded 
M if I bad Uved a bundred; I did not tbink tbat it was sucb 

23* 



270 LAMARTINE. 

a diffieult thing to live. Corne, let us see ; wby is it so diffi- 
cuit ? A pièce of bread, and a drop of water from this spiing, 
are ail tbat life requires. My organs are bealtby. My limbs 
are agile. I freely inbale an air embabned witb vegetable life. 
I bave a dazzling sky above my bead, natural and sublime 
scenery before my eyes. Tbis torrent on my left, foaming witb 
tbe joy wbicb it feels in tbe rapidity of its course ; tbis cascade, 
proud to drag its own rainbows witb it in its fall; tbese 
rocks, wbicb batbe their moss and flowers in tbe salutary 
damps of tbe waters; up yonder, tbose cbalets suspended 
from tbe comices of tbe mountain like swallows* nests from 
tbe edge of tbe beavenly roof; tbese flocks grazing in tbe 
sea of ricb grass in wbicb tbeir very bams are drowned; 
tbese sbepberds seated on tbe projecting points of tbe valley, 
watcbing tbe fligbt of tbe torrent and of day ; tbese peasants 
and tbese young girls wbo pass along tbe road in tbeir boliday 
clotbes, and wbo, stimulated by tbe sound of tbe distant bell, 
quicken tbeir pace to reacb tbe door of tbe bouse of prayer in 
time : — ^is not ail tbis tbe picture of contentment and life ? Do 
tbese countenances wear tbe furrow of tbougbt and care 
wbicb darkens mine ? — ^No. Tbeir features sbed a ligbt wbicb 
bas no sbade. You can look into tbeir very deptbs, and you 
can only see limpid soûls. If I were to bury my eyes in tbe 
deptbs of my own bosom, it would take me wbole bours to 
disentangle ail tbat is stirring witbin me 

And yet I no longer bave a single passion in tbis netber 
world ; but tbe beart is never so beavy as wben it is empty. 
Wbercfore ? — ^Because it fills itself witb wearmess. — Ob ! yes, 
I bave a passion, tbe direst, tbe most crusbing, tbe most gnaw- 
ing of ail — ^weariness I 

I bave been a madman. I bave met bappîness and not 
known it I— or ratber, I bave known it only after it bas been 
beyond my reacb ! I would not accept it. I bave despised 
it Deatb bas made it its own. O Graziella! Graziella! — 

wby did I forsake tbee ! Tbe only deligbtful days 

of my life were tbose spent near to tbee in tby fatber's bumble 
dwelllng, witb tby younç brotber and tby aged grandmotber, 
like a cbild of tbe family ! Wby did I not jemain tbere ? 
And wben I at lengtb understood my love, wby did I not love 
tbee sufficiently to prefer tbee to every tbii^, to never be 
asbamed of tbee, to make myself a fisberman lUce tby fatber, 
and to forget, in tbat simple life and in tby arms, my name, 
my countay, my éducation, and ail tbe garb of cbains in 



LES CQNFIDENCES. 271 

which mj souI bas been clotbed, and wbicb sbackles tbat 
BOul at eacb step wbicb it attempts to make to enter thj 

nature? 

Now/it is too late! . . . Tbou bast notbing to ^ve me 
but an etemal remorse for.bayîng left tbee ! . . . . and I bave 
notbing to give tbee but tbese tears wbicb ascend to my eyes 
wbenever I tbink of tbee — ^tears wbose cause and object I 
bide, tbrougb fear tbat tbey may say: — He weeps for the 
daùgbter of a poor seller of fisb, for a girl wbo did not even 
wear sboes every day, wbo«dried tbe figs of ber native isle on 
willow burdles m tbe sua, witb nougbt but ber tresses for a 
bead-dress, and wbo eamed ber living by rubbing coral against 
a grindstone, at two p-ani a day ! . . . . Wbat a sweetbeart ! 
for a young man wbo bas translated Tibullus and read Dorât 

and Pamy ! J^*',*^ ù:^^ 

Vanity ! vraïïy! fnou corrupter of bearts ! tbou subverter 
of nature ! Tbere art not enougb blaspbemies on my bps to 
burl against tbee ! 

And yet, my bappiness was tbere, my love was tbere. Ob ! 
if a sigb more sad than tbe moan of tbe waters of tbis abyss, 
more ardent tban tbe ray wbicb is reverberated by yon rock 

flowing witb tbe fire of beaven could reanimate tbee ! . . . . 
wouM go and batbe tby beauteous naked feet witb my 

tears Tbou wouldst forgive me For tbe sake 

of tbee, I would be proud of my debasement in tbe eyes of tbe 
world! .... 

I see tbee again, as if four years of forgetfulness and tbe 
tbickness of tbe coffin and tbe sod of tbe grave were not be- 
tween us ! ... . Tbou art tbere ! a garment of gray wool 
mixed witb tbe rougb bair of tbe goat imprisons tby cbildlike 
waist and falls in neavy folds down to tby round and naked 
ankles. It is tied across tby bosom by a simple string of 
black tbread. Tby tresses, fastened bebind tby bead, are in- 
tertwined witb two or tbree carnations, tbe red but faded 
flowers of yesterday. Tbou art seated on tbe tcrrace near 
tbe seasbore — wbere tbe clotbes are drying, tbe cbickens 
hatcbing, and tbe lizards crawling — ^between two or tbree pots 
of mignionette and rosemary. Tbe red dust of tbe coral, 
polisbed by tbee yesterday, strews tbe tbresbold of tby room 
next to mine. A little crazy table stands in front of tbee. I 
am bebind. I bold tby band in mine to guide tby fixera 
over tbe paper and to teacb tbee to form tbe letters. Aou 
«ppliest ibyself witb an attention and a cbarming awkwardness 



872 LAMARTINE. 

of attitude wldch almost lay thy cbeek uponthe table. Thea 

ÛkovL suddenly breakest into tears of fretfolness and pbame, 

wben thou seest that tbe letter wbich tbou bast copied is ao 

far from tbe model ! I cbtde tbee, I encourage tbee ; tbou 

takest up tbe pen again. Tbis time tbou dost better. Tbou 

turaest tby face glowmg red witb joy towards me, as if to 

seek tby reward in a glance of satisfactioa from tby teacher. 

I negli^ently twine a ringlet of tby raven bair around my fin- 

ger, like *a living ring ! a twig of ivy still clinging to tbe 

vine ! . . . . Tbou sayest to me : ** Art tbou pleased ? wiU 

I soon be able to write tby name ?" And wben tbe lesson is 

ended, tbo^u retumest to thy work, on tbe bencb, in tbe sbade. 

1 résume my reading at tby feet. And tbe winter evenings» 

wben tbe brigbt and rosy ligbt of tbe olive^stones ignited by 

thy breath in tbe brazîer was reflected on tby neck and fsLce, 

and made tbee look like tbe Forwanna! And during tbe 

beautifùl days at Procida, wben thou wouldst bury tby aaked 

feet in tbe foam on tbe strand to gather tbe sea-fruit ! And 

wben thou wouldst ponder, witb tby cbeek resting on tby 

band and thine eyes fixed on me, and wben tbe growing sad- 

ness of tby features would make me fancy tbat tbou wast 

thinking of tby mother's death ! And tbe nigbt, wbçn I 

left tbee lifeless and white, like a marble statue, on tby bed,i 

and wben I at length felt tbat a thought bad killed tb ee 

and tbat that tboi^bt was me! ^Ab! let me bave no 

other image before my eyes until tbe bour of my deatb !— 

tbere is a tomb in my past life — there is a Uttle cross in my 

heart. I will never permit it to be tom out, but around it will 

entwine tbe purest nowers of remembrance ! * ^ 

%%%%%%% «• 

* « % % « « «'« 

Hère ends tbe note. Hie rest of tbe book contains roi]^b 
draughts of verses, and tavem accounts on tbe road to Cbam- 
bery. 



NOTE XXIX. 

Just as I was writîng thèse sad linea, witb my book upoa 
my knees, on tbe edge of tbe road, a post-chaise comiag ffos^ 
France galloped past. In tbe vehicle tbere were tbree yanB^ 



LES C0NF10ENi.J!.S. 373 

m^ and a joang woman. They gazed ai me with a look of 
surprise and irony : 

<< Oh l do look r cried the young woman» smiling tbe while, 
^ thia ia doubUess the poet of this part of the nniverse 1 Oh t 
what ahandsome poet ! — ^if he was not so dusty !" 

Hatefid worlà ! wilt thou always dog my steps with thy 
frivolous yisions ? I mored from the spot to avoid being seen. 
I went and seated myself at a greater distance from the brink 
of the road, beneath a tult of box-*-whence I could no longer 
see the watei£all, although I conld hear it^— 4md I continued 
to Write» 

I only feel a little dew upon my heart when I am compli^ly 
akme with natnre. AH that merely passes through that soli- 
tude distorbs and intemipts that mute communion between 
ihe genins of solitude, which is God, and I. The language 
which nature speaks to my soûl is a language of whispers. 
The slightest noise drowns its tones and prevents my hearing 
them. In that sanctuary in which we collect our thoughts to' 
dream, meditate, and pray, we do not like to hear the tread 
of a stranger behind us. I was in one of those hours of 
melancholy — ^which were fréquent then, which are rare now^— 
during which I either hearkened to the throbbings of my own 
heart» or pressed my ear against the ground to hear — ^beneath 
the sod, in the woods, in the waters, in the leaves, in the flight 
of the clouds, in the distant rotations of the stars-— the mur- 
murs of création, the wheel-work of the Infinité, and, so ta 
speak, God*8 own noises^ 



NOTE XXX. 

I therefore sought another place of refuge, with a certain 
degree of inward anger towards those unfbrtunate bursts ùÊ 
laughter which had grated on my ear and disturbed my 
thoughts. I hid myself behind a large rock, detached from 
the mountain, and near the immense and streaming gutter 
through which the torrent fell perpendicularly into the valley. 
Its monotonous noise deafened me,; its spray, as it fell around 
my grass-grown couch, formed a mist through which the sun 
shone, and which floated in the air like the folds of a gauze 
cnrtain which the breezes capriciously rolled and unroUed. I 



274 LAMARTINE. 

resumed my mward conyersatioii. I bnrîed myself in iny s^d- 
ness. I retraced ail the steps that I had taken during mj 
short existence. I asked myself wbether life was worth the 
trouble it had cost me to live, and wbether it were not better 
to be one of the glittering drops of that humid dust which was 
eyaporated in a second by the sun's rays, and which lost itself 
without feeling in the diaphanous ether, instead of a human 
80ul, which lives, languishes, sufiers, and dies for years and 
years, and in the end also évaporâtes into I know not what 
océan of being, which must be full of moans and sobs if it re- 
ceives ail the sufférings of the earth and ail the agonies of 
sentîent beings. 

" I bave walked but a very short way," sidd I to myself, 
'* and I bave already had enough ! My activity of mind devours 
itself from lack of other food. I feel within myself sufficient 
strength to raise thèse mountains, and my destiny does not 
give me even a straw to raise ! Work would occupy my mind, 
and I bave nothing to do ! AU the doors of life are closed 
upon me. It seems that it is my fate to be an exile from 
active life, to live upon the land of others, and to be at home 
nowhere, save in the désert and in contemplation ! Since I 
cannot employ my intellectual powers in some useful and glo- 
rious pursuit, I would at least wish to employ the power of 
attachment and love which presses upon my heart and almost 
crushes it because there is not another being that I can press 
against that heart. Even this is denied me. I am alone in 
the world of feeling as well as in the world of intelligence and 
action. When I met Graâella, it was too soon ; my heart 
was too green to love. Afterwards, the hearts of women of 
which I caught glimpses were vases whose natural perfume 
had evaporated, and which no longer contained aught but 
vanity, frivolity, voluptuousness, and the falsehood of worldly 
love — ^those dregs of the soûl which soon disgusted me. Now, 
no one loves me, and I love no one ; I am upon the earth as 
if I did not belong to the earth ; if this stone were to crush 
me, if this thundeiing tongue of water were to catch me in its 
embrace and dash me to atoms at the bottom of yon abyss, 
no one, but my mother, would miss me. What!" continued 
I, in my own bosom, <'can it be that there is not a second 
Graziella upon this earth, whatsoever her station may be ? Is 
there not a young, pure, and loving soûl in which mine would 
melt, which would lose itself in my soûl, and which would 
complète in me, while I would complète in her, this imperftct 



LES CONFIDENCES. 27.5 

wandering, mourmng being as long as be is alone ; wbo would 
td settled, consoled, and bappy tbe moment be bad excbanged 
bis empty beart for anotber beart ?" 

And so painfully did I feel tbe weariness of tbis solitude of 
soûl, tbis désert of indifférence, tbis arîdity of life, tbat I 
wished to die instantly, to go and find tbe sbade of Graziella, 
since I bad not found ber counterpart in any of tbe giddy, 
frivolous, tbougbtless women tbat I bad met. 



NOTE XXXI. 

Wbile I was tbus drowning myself in tbat gloom of my 
own sensibility witbout an object, I was awakened out of my 
reyery by tbe barmonious scraping of tbe strings of one of 
tbose rural instruments whicb tbe young Savoyards construct 
during tbe long winter nigbts in tbeir mountains, and wbicb 
tbey carry witb tbem into France and Piedmont to recall to 
tbeir minds — ^by some rustic tunes, some ranz des vache» — 
images of tbeir poor country. Tbese instruments are called 
vielles,* because tbey cbatter more tban tbey sing, and be- 
cause tbe burden of tbeir tunes are prolonged and die away, 
discordantly and tremulously, like tbe voices of old women 
by tbe village fireside in tbe evening. 

I tumed my bead in tbe direction wbence came tbese 
sounds. At a few feet from me, I saw, witbout being seen 
myself, a group wbicb bas never faded from my memory 
since, wbicb I bave partly depicted in tbe poem of Jocelyn, 
and wbicb tbe pencil of Ghrevtze would bave cbosen for one 
of its simplest and most toucbing pictures. 



NOTE XXXII. 

On a strîp of greensward wbicb was sbeltered from tbe 
road and tbe waterfall, between two rocks oversbadowed by 
two or tbree alder-trees, a cbild twelve or tbirteen years old, 

* In English, hurdy-gurdy, I pioBerve the original French ward 
•bove» howeveiy on account of the «mile which foUows it— Ti. 



LAMARTINE. . 

a joung man of twenty, and a young girl of about eiçhte»?» 
sat in we sun. The child was playing with a little white dog 
of the mountains, with long hair, and ears erect and triangu- 
lar ; one ol those dogs that hunt the marmotio beneath the 
snowB of the Alpa. He amused himself by first slîpping over 
the dog's head, and then saatching away, the anunal s leather 
collar, hung around with amall beUs which jingled as the child 
raised the collar above hîs head, while the dog stood upon his 
hind paws to recover his noisy ornament. 

The young man was clothed in a long waistcoat of shaggy 
white cloth which was quite new. He had on high gaiters 
made of the same stuff, which reached above the knee and 
displayed the 'muscles of the leg. His shoes were likewise 
new and their thick soles shone with large nails, the cône of 
whose diamond-shaped heads had not yet been wom down by 
use. A long staff shod with iron rested between his legs ; 
his hands were clasped around it, and its head, which looked 
hke ivory or hom, touched his chin. A sort of knapsack, 
with two straps of white leather to pass over the shoulder 
and be fastened under the arm-pits, lay upon the ground at 
a short distance from him. His face was handsome, thought- 
fui, calm, and somewhat sad, like the beautiful physiognomies 
of those ruminating oxen which are seen reclining in the rich 
grass of the Jura, around the chalets. Two long locks of 
yellowish hair, eut square at the ends, hung down either 
cheek. His eyes were fixed upon the iron férule of his staff, 
and he seemed to be absorbed in mute thought. 



NOTE XXXIII. 

The young girl was tall, délicate, and slender, and her per- 
son was somewhat less vigorous tj^an the forms of the women 
of the same âge amongst the peasantry that dwell on the 
plains. In the shape of the neck, in the position of the head, 
in the manner in which the arms were hung to the shoulders, 
in the gentle swelling of the chest oix which the breasts were 
very low and hardly perceptible, as on the Grecian iSgures of 
the women of Sparta, there was something active, proud, and 
wild, whioh reminded you of the elasticity and pliancy of 
neck and head of the chamois. Her dress of coarse green 



LEa CONFIDENCES. 27T 

worsted stuff, omamented with a lace of black thread, onlj 
descended a little below the knees. Her stockings were blue. 
Her shoes hardly covered the extremity of her toes. They 
were fastened over the instep by large steel buckles. She 
YTore a red neckerchief which fell triangularly between her 
ahciilders, and was folded across her bosom. A golden chain 
around her neck. A black head-dress edged with wide flat 
laœ» which hung like faded leaves upon her forehead and 
encirded her face. Her eyes were bluer than the bluest blue 
of the water of cascades. Her features were not strongly 
marked, but gentle, proud, and faacinating ; her complexion 
was as white and as roseate as that of the women who are 
reared in the shade of the parlors of oùr cities, or in the 
harems of Asia. The etemal coolness of thèse mountains, 
the yicinage of the snows, the humidity of the waters, and 
the réverbération of the meadows protect the daughters of 
the Alps from the influences which bronze the skin of the 
daughters of the South. 

This young girl was sitting, leaning on her left arm, between 
the boy — who, from the resemblance between them, seemed 
to be hjer brother — and the young man, who might hâve been 
takeu either for her betrothed or her lover. Her right hand 
had drawQ towards her the musical instrument which was yet 
half hid beneath its leathem cover. She was listlessly tura- 
ing its handle with the tips of her fingers as if to distract, 
her thoughts, and producing a few sounds which she seemed 
not to hear. Her physiognomy was a mixture of careless 
resolution and d^ep revery, which asccnded in a cloud from' 
her heart to her face, and in moisture to her eyes. You could 
see that a silent drama was passing between those two faces 
that did not dare to look at one another through fear of 
weeping, but which saw and heard one another even while 
they appeared to be listening to other sounds and looking at 
other sights. 

Alas ! it was the etemal drama of life : the hand that at- 

tracts and the hand that repels ! love and its obstacles — 

happiness aiid séparation! .... I saw at a single glance 

that that was the hait which the young girls of thèse moun- 

tains make with their lovers when the latter are starting upon 

their long joumeys, after they hâve escorted them alone to 

the distance of half a day's march from their village. 
4| « « « « « « 

%%***** 

24 



878 LAMARTINE. 



NOTE XXXIV. 
• *««««• 

« * 4t « * * « 

It was the scraping of the rustic instrument which. bad 
attracted my eyes and my attention. 

Hid as I was by a clump of box and the point of the rock 
against which I had leaned my shoulders, I could see this 
group without being seen by those who composed it. By 
ndsing my eyes a Uttle higher, I perceired an old woman 
bent aknost double by âge, and whose white locks were tossed 
about her neck by the breath of the waterfall. She was 
doubtless the mother of one of the young trarellers, and she 
unafifectedly stood at a distance from them, as if to leave them 
at liberty to enjoy a last interview. She appeared to be seek- 
ing, with an abstracted air, from bush to bush, for the red 
fruit of the barberry, which she raised to her mouth and 
gathered in her apron. 

Ere long the young girl pushed away the instrument with 
her foot, and leaning both her hands upon the sod, with her 
face towards the youth, they conyersed in low tones, and 
looked moumfully at one another for a quarter of an howr. I 
could not hear their words ; but from the expression of their 
lips and eyes I saw that their hearts were melting, and that 
tears were on the brink of their thoughts. They seemed to 
be bidding one another farewell, and interchanrâg advice and 
vows; they did not perceive that day was decHning. 

Suddenly, the boy, who had been dancing with the dog on 
a green knoU at a short distance from their resting-place, 
bounded down the acchvity and interrupted their talk : 

" Brother/' said he, " thou badest me wam thee when the 
sun would be upon the mountain ; there it is, roimd and red, 
between the tops of the pine-trees." 

At thèse words the youth and the young girl arose without 
making any reply; they called to the old woman; she ap- 
proached them ; the boy replaced the collar on the dog's 
neck, and the animal took its station at its master's heels. 
The group drew doser together ; the youth first kissed the 
mother, then the lad ; finally, he and the young girl held one 
another a long time in a close embrace; they parted, tien 
approached one another again, and exchanged one moro -dss, 
then at last moved away in opposite directions without look- 



LES CONFIDENCES. 279 

ing bebind them, as if tbey feared tbey would not be able to 
resist tbe temptation to rush into one anotber's arms agaîn 
and again. Tbe boy alone remained wîtb tbe young trayeUer, 
and cscorted bim a sbort distance along tbe road to France. 

Tbis silent scène bad made me forget ail my gloomy 
tbougbts. Tbis departure was sorrowful, but it left tbe sup- 

Eosition of a retum, and love was at tbe bottom of tbat grief, 
ove suffices to console every tbing ; tbere was notbing at tbe 
bottom of my beart but tbe weariness wbicb is felt, — ^tbat 
notbingness wbicb suffers, tbat abyss wbicb is made deeper 
by ail tbe feelings wbicb do not ûll it. 



NOTE XXXV. 

I rose from tbe ground witb a start. I seized my book, my 
wallet, and my stick, wbicb lay upon tbe grass. A mecbanical 
feeling of curiosity made me retum to tbe road at tbe very 
moment wben tbe boy, retracing bis steps, was about to join 
tbe two women again. Tbey were silently advancing in front 
of us. I opened a conversation witb tbe lad, walking by bis 
side and suiting my pace to bis. After a sbort dialogue, I 
ascertained tbat tbe traveller was tbe boy's elder brotber; 
tbat be was tbe betrotbed of tbe beautiful girl, wbose name 
was Margaret ; tbat tbe aged woman was Margaret's motber ; 
tbat tbese two women dwelt in tbe ûrst village of La Mauri" 
enne as well as bis brotber and bimself ; tbat tbey bad wisbed 
to escort tbe one wbo was going away as far as tbe balf of 
bis first day's jnarcb towards France ; tbat tbe name of tbat 
brotber was José ; tbat, one year before tbe âge of conscrip^ 
tian, be bad maimed bimself by falling from tbe top of a wal- 
nut-tree wbicb be bad climbed to gatber nuts for Margaret ; 
tbat tbat misbap bad been fortunate for bim, because it bad 
kept bim from serving as a soldier, and because tbe motber 
of tbe beautiful Margaret — ^wbo was courted by tbe ricbest 
inbabitants of tbe neigbboring bamlets — ^bad promised bim 
ber daugbter as a recompense for tbe accident suffered in ber 
service ; tbat Margaret and José loved one anotber as brotber 
and sister; tbat tbey were to be married wben José bad 
eamed enougb to purcbase tbe little orcbard wbicb was be- 
bind bis fatber's bouse ; tbat, to tbis end, be bad leamed two 



20Q LAMARTINE. 

tndes suitable to his infiimity, which would not permit him to 
perform severe bodily labor, — the trade of a village schr ol- 
laaster, and that of a musician for festivals and weddings; 
finallj, that erery autumn he thus set out to go and ply thèse 
two trades in the moiintains, behind Lyons; but that they 
thought that thia woidd be his last journey, as he had already 
retumed three times with a well-fiUed leathem purse ; and his 
departnre made Mafgaret weep so bitterly, and she was so 
sad dtiring his absence, that her mother would haye to consent 
to take José into her house and keep him there forever, at the 
retum of spring. 



NOTE XXXVI. 

While conversing thus, we were gaining upon the two wo- 
meik Already was I almost walking on the shadow of beaati- 
fui Margaret, which the setting sun lengthened upon the road, 
even to the edge of my feet. I admired in silence the délicate 
form and cadenced carnage of ^that ravishing daughter of the 
mountains, on whom nature had bestowed more majesty and 
grâce than art can affect in the studied attitude of the women 
of our théâtres and our parlors. 

Meanwhile, she had taken oS her stoekings, and was walk- 
ing barefoot, with one of her handsome shoes, with buckles, in 
^ther hand. She heard me talking with the child, and she 
tumed her head £rom time to time to call hhn to her. Her 
face was serions, but serene and tearless. You could catch a. 
gUmpse of hope beneath her grief. She quickened her step, 
doubtless to reach her village befcre nightfall. 

Suddenly, from the summit of a Uttle accliviiy over which 
the road passes, at a quarter of an hour's walk from the water* 
fall, a low and distant scraping of the vielle sounded, and waa 
prolonged in a melancholy tune, which swept through the 
leaves of the aspen and ash-trees which grow on the left bank 
oi the torrent of Coux. 

We ail four tumed our heads at the same moment in the 
direction whenco came the sounds ; we saw in the distance, at 
the top of one of the flights of steps which run up the^ides 
of the acclivity of the Echelles, poor José standing, with his 
baek against one of the rocks on the roadside. His dog, be-^ 



LE^ CONFIDENCES^ 281 

ude bim, looked like a speck of wbite. His face was turned 
in the direction of Savoy ; and, having loosened his vielle, he 
waa playing a last fareweU to the rocks of his native land and 
the heart of his dear Margaret. The poor girl dropped her 
shoes from her hands, hid her face in her apron, and sobbed 
bitterly on the brink of the rpad, as she hearkened to the âeet-» 
ing notes which each puflf of wind brought to her along with 
the remembrance of the evenings in the stable, and the far-dis- 
tant hopes of the future spring. 

None of us interrupted, by a vain word of consolation, that 
aërial conversation between two soûls whose interpréter were a 
pièce of wood and a bit of brass wire, which enabled them to 
commune, for the last time, through the space and time which 
already separated them. 

When the tune was at an end, and had plunged its dying 
burden in the last vibrations of the clear atmosphère of even- 
ing, Margaret listened yet a moment, looked towards José, saw 
him gradually disappear in the hoUow of the declivity, and 
continued her walk, with her clasped hands hanging upon her 
apron. In her abstraction, she had forgotten her shoes in the 
road. I picked them up, hurried towards her, and presented 
them to her without uttering a word. She thanked me with 
a feeble smile, and a moment afterwards I heard her say to 
her mother : 

** This young man is humane ; see, he seems to be as sad as 
we are." 

We ail four trudged on in silence. When we reached a 
point in the" road where it branches off, one part of it running 
in the direction of Chambery, the other tuming beneath the 
mountains towards the dark valley of Maurienne, I said fare- 
well to the little boy, the women gave me a nod of the head, 
and we each went our way, they talking together, I dreamin^. 

That scène had struck me as a vision of felicity and love, m 
the midst of the aridity and loneliness of my heart. Margaret 
had reminded me of Graziella. Graziella was nothing more 
than a dream that had passed away, but that very dream 
made the reality of my solitude of heart ail the more intoléra- 
ble. I would hâve given my name and my éducation a thou- 
sand times over to hâve been in José's place. I felt that I 
was approaching the period of a great crisis in my life ; that 
that hfe could not continue as it then was, and that I must 
either love or die. Buried in thèse thoughts and fancies, I 

24* 



282 LAMARTINE. 

strolled, at nightfal], tlirough the long and gloomy faubourg 
of Chambery. 

At some future day I will note down how chance made me 
meet Margaret again a short time afterwards, how she in tum 
was of service to me, and how she fortuitously became mingled 
with one of the most painful rendings of the life of my heart 



APPENDIX. 



translatob's note. 



In compliaoce with the promise made in the note at the 
foot of p. 94, we give, below, the original of M. de Lamar- 
tîne's imitation of M. de Lormain's rersified translation of 
Ossian's Poems ; and as, amongst the readers of this work, 
there will doubtless be many possessed of greater capacity, 
and haying more leisure than we were allowed by the hur- 
ried publication of this translation, to do justice to the 
pièce which we hâve attempted to render in rhyme, we also 
publish in this Appendix " The First Regret," in French, as 
well as '' The Swallow," which an abler and more experienced 
pen than our own has rendered with a grâce of expression 
which fully interprets, if it does not enhance the beauties of the 
original lines. 



A LUCY L . . . 

rAoitatif. 

La harpe de Morven de mon ame est l'emblème ; 
Elle entend de Cromla les pas des morts venir ; 
Sa corde à mon chevet résonne d'elle-même 
Quand passe sur ses nerfs l'ombre de l'avenir. 
Ombres de l'avenir, levez-voos pour mon ame ! 
Ecartez la vapeur qui vous voile à mes yeux • . • 
Quelle étoile descend? . . . Quel fantôme de femme 

l^Dse ses pieds muets sur le cristal des cieux 7 . . . 

«■« « « « « « « « 

Est-ce un songe qui meurt? une ame qui vient vivre? 
Mêlée aux brumes d'or dans l'impalpable éther 
Elle ressemble aux fils du blanc tissu du givra 



284 APPENDIX. 

Qu'aux vitres de l'hiver les songes font flotter. 
Ne soufflez pas sur elle, à vents tiédes des vagues ! 
Ne fondez pas cette ombre, éclairs du firmament ! 
Oiseaux, n'efiacez pas sous vos pieds ces traits vaguM 
Où la vierge apparait aux rôves de l'amant ! 

La lampe du pécheur qui vogue dans la brume 
A des rayons moins doux que son regard lointain. 
Le feu que le berger dans la bruyère allume 
Se fond moins vaguement dans les feux du matin. 

«»»«««««« 

««««««««« 

• « « « «« « « « 

Sons sa robe d'enfant, qui glisse des épaules 
A peine aperçoit-on deux globes palpitans. 
Comme les nœuds formés sous l*écorce des saules. 
Qui font renfler ht tige aux sèves du j^intemps. 

CHANT. 

'< II est nuits sur les monts. L'avalanche ébranlée 

** Glisse par intervalle aux flancs de la vallée. 

'* Sur les sentiers perdus sa poudre se répand ; 

" Le pied d'acier du cerf à ce bruit se suspend. 

** Prêtant l'oreille au chien qui le poursuit en rôve» 

^ Il attend pour s'enfuir que le croissant se lève. 

** L'arbre au bord du ravin, noir et déraciné, 

** Se penche comme un mai sous la vague incliné. 

** La corneille qui dort sur une branche nue, 

*' S'éveille et pousse un cri qui se perd dans la nue ; 

** EUe fait dans son vol pleuveir k'Ûocooa blancs 

** La neige qui chargeait ses ailes sur ses flancs. 

<' Les nuages chassés par les brises humides 

*< S'empilent sur les monts ea sombres pyramides, 

« Ou comme des vaisseaux sur le golfe écumant 

<< Labourent de sillons le bleu du &mament. 

** Le vent transi d'Erin qui nivelle la plaine 

" Sur la lèvre en glaçons coupe et raidit l'halaine ; 

** Et le lac où languit de balea« renversé 

<' N'est qu'un champ de frimas par l'ouragan heni. 

«•«•«••«4 

** Un toit blanchi de chaume où la toarbe aUmié» 
« Fait ramper sur le ciel une pâle finmée ; 
** La voix du chien hurlant, en triste aboiement ser*. 
« Seul vestige de vie au sein de cette mort ! 

" Quel est an sein des nuits ce jeune homme, eu e lév^ 
« Qui de PétaBg i^kcé» flwt à grandi pas I» giève» 



APPENDIX. S85 

*' Gravit l'âpre colline, une arme dans la main, 

'< Rencontre le chevreuil sans changer son chemin, 

*' Redescend des hauteurs dans la gorge profonde 

'* Où la tour des vieux chefs chancelle au hord de l'cmie; 

*' Son noir lévrier quête et hurle dans les bois, 

** Et la brise glacée est pleine d*une voix. 

CHANT DU OHASBBUR. 

<< Lève-toi ! lève-toi î sur las coDines sombres, 

'* Biche aux cornes d'argent que poursuivent les ombres ! 

" O lune ! sur ces murs épands tes blancs reflets ! 

" Des songes de mon front ces murs sont le palais ! 

" Des rayons vaporeax de ta chaste lumière 

« A mes yeux fîisemés fnk briller chaque pierre ; 

« Ruisselle sur l'ardoise, et jusque dans mon cœur 

« Rejaillis, 6 mon astre, en torrens de langueur ! 

** Aux fentes des créneaux la giroflée est morte. 

** Le lierre an coups du Nord frisonne sur la porte 

** Comme un manteau neigeux dont le pâtre, au retour, 

" Secoue avant d'entrer les frimas dans la cour. 

'* Le mur épais s'entr'ouvre à l'épaisse fenêtre .... 

" Lune ! avec ton rayon mon regard y pénètre ! 

" J'y vois, à la lueor du large et haut foyer, 

*< Dans l'&tre au reflet ronge un irène flamboyer. 

Ll OHASSBUB. 

" Astre indiscret des nuits, que vois-^u dans la salle t 

LA uanm. 
<< Les chiens du fier chasseur qoi dorment sur la dafle. 

Ll OHASSCVft. 

** Que m'importent les chiens, le chevreuil et le cor? 
** Astre indiscret des nuits, regarde et dis êncof. 

LA LUNE. 

** Sons l'ombre d'un pilier la nourrice dévide 
" La toison des agneaux sur le rouet rapide. 
" Ses yeux sous le sommeil se ferment à demi ; 
" Sur son épaule enfin son front penche endormi ; 
" Oubliant le duvet dont la quenouille est pleine, 
" Dans la cendre à ses pieds glisse et roule la laine. 

ut OHASSKUK. 

" Que me fait la nourrioe aux doigts chargés de jours f 
*' Astre éclatant des nuits, regarde et dis toujours ! 

LA LUNE. 

*' Entre l'àtre et le mur, la blanche jeune fiUe, 
" Laissant sur ses genoux sa toile et son aiguiUei 
" Sur la taUe aoc^déa . . . • 



•86 APPEVDIX. 

Ut CHAMEUK. 

" Astre indiscret des nuits ! 
** Arrête toi sur elle ! et regarde et poiusub ! 

LA LUNE. 

" Sur la table de chêne, accoudée et pensive, 
** Elle suit du regard la forme fugitive 
*' De l'ombre et des lueun qui flottent sur le mur, 
** Comme des moucherons sur un ruisseau d'azur. 
** On dirait que ses yeux fixés sur des mystères 
'< Cherchent un sens caché dans ces vains charactÀi«% 
'* Et qu'elle voit d'avance entrer dans cette tour 
" L'ombre aux traits indécis de son futur amour. 
" Non, jamais un amant qu'à sa couche j'enlève, 
" Dans ses bras assoupis n'enlaça plus beau rêve ! 
«< Vois-tu ses noirs cheveux, de ses charmes jaloux, 
" Rouler comme une nuit jusque sur ses genoux ? 

LE CHASSEUR. ^ 

" Soufflez, brises du ciel ! ouvrez ce sombre voile ! 

" Nuages de son front, rendez-moi mon étoile l 

'< Laissez-moi seulement sous ce jais entrevoir 

" La blancheur de son bras sortant du réseau noir ! 

" Ou l'ondulation de sa taille élancée, 

«< Ou ce coude arrondi qui porte sa pensée, 

'* On le lys de sa joue, ou le bleu du regard 

** Dont le seul souvenir me perce comme un dard. 

" O fille du rocher ! tu ne sais pas de quels rêves 

<' Avec ce globe obscur de tes yeux tu soulèves ! . 

" A chacun des long cils qui voilent leur langueur, 

« Comme l'abeille au trèfle, est suspendu mon cœur. 

« Reste, oh ! reste longtemps sur ton bras assoupie 

" Pour assouvir l'amour du chasseur qui t'épie ! 

" Je ne sens ni la nuit ni les mordans frimas. 

'* Ton souffle est mon foyer, tes yeux sont mes dimatib 

« Des ombres, de mon sein, ta pensée est la flammé. 

" Toute neige est printemps aux rayons de ton ame ! 

<' Oh dors ! oh ! rêve ainsi, la tète sûr ton bras ! 

« Et quand au jour, demain, tu te réveilleras, 

*' Puissent mes longs regards, incrustés sur la pierTOf 

** Rester collés au mur et dire ê, ta paupière 

'< Qu'un fantôme a veillé sur toi dans ton sommeil ! 

** Et puisses-tu chercher son nom a ton réveil !" 



EÉCrrATIF. 

Ainsi chantait, au pied de la tour isolée, 
Le barde aux brun cheveux, sous la nuit étoilèe 
Et transis par le froid, ses chiens le laissaient seu?^ 
Et le givre en tombant le couvrait d'un linceuit 



APPENDIX. 287 

Et le vent qaî glaçait Je saiig dans ses artèree 
L'endonnait par degrés du sommeil de ses pères, 
Et les loups qui rô<&ient sar Thiver sans chemin, 
tlorlant de joie aux morts, le flairaient pour demain. 
Et pendant qu'il mourait au bord du précipice, 
La vierge reveillée écoutait la nourrice 
A voix tMisse contant les choses d'autrefois, 
Ou tirait un accord de harpe sous ses doigts, 
Ou, frappant Je tison aux brûlantes prunelles, 
Lisait sa destinée au vol des étincelles. 
Ou regardait, distraite, aux flammes du noyer 
Les murs réverbérer les lueurs du foyer. 

(MiLLT, 1805, 16 deoembie.) 



LE PREMIER REGRET. 

Sur la plage sonore où la mer de Sorrente 
Déroule ses flots bleus au pied de l'oranger. 
Il est, près du sentier, sous la haie odorante. 
Une pierre petite, étroite, indiâ^rente 
Aux pas distraits de l'étranger. 

La giroflée y cache un seul nom sous ses gerbes, 

Un nom que nul écho n'a jamais répété ! 

Quelquefois cependant le passant anété. 

Lisant l'âge et la date en écartant les herbes. 

Et sentant dans ses yeux quelques larmes courir. 

Dit : '* Elle avait seize ans ! c'est bien tôt pour mourir !" 

Mais pourquoi m'entralner vers ces scènes passées? 
Laissons le vent gémir et le flot murmurer ; 
Revenez, revenez, 6 mes tristes pensées ! 
Je veux rôver et non pleurer ! 

Dit : " Elle avait seize ans !" — Oui, seize ans ! et cet âge 

N'avait jamais brillé sur un front plus charmant ! 

Et jamais tout l'éclat de ce brûlant rivage 

Ne s'était réfléchi dans un œil plus aimant ! 

Moi seul je la revois, telle que la pensée 

Dans l'àme où rien ne meurt, vivante l'a laissée. 

Vivante ! comme à l'heure où ses yeux sur les miens. 

Prolongeant sur la mer nos premiers entretiens. 

Ses cheveux noirs livrés au vent qui les dénoue. 

Et l'ombre de la voile errante sur sa joue. 

Elle écoutait le chant du nocturne pécheur. 

De la brise embaumée aspirait la fraîcheur. 

Me montrait dans le ciel la lune épanouie. 

Comme une fleur des nuits dont l'aube est réjouie, 

Et l'écume argentée, et me disait : ** Pourquoi 



888 APPENDIX. 

Tout brille-t-i] aioai dans les airs et dans moi ? 

Jamais ces champs d'azur semés de tant de flammes, 

Jamais ces sables d'or où vont mourir les lames^ 

Ces monts dont les sommets tremblent au fimd des cieuzi 

Ces golfes couronnés de bois silencieux, 

Ces lueurs sur la côte, et ces chants sur les yagoeii, 

N'araient ému mes sens de voluptés si vagues ! 

Pourquoi, comme ce soir, n'ai-je jamais rôvé? 

Un astre dans mon cœur s'est-il aussi levé ! 

Et toi, fils du matin, dis, à ces nuits si belles 

Les nuits de ton pays sans moi resemblaidnt««llesr' 

Puis, regardant sa mère, assise auprès de nous. 

Posait pour s'endormir son front sur ses genoux. 

Mais pourquoi m'entralner vers ces scènes passées ? 
Laissons le veut gémir et le flot murmurer ; 
Revenez, revenez, 6 mes tristes pensées ! 
Je veux rêver et non pleurer ! 

Quo son œil était pur et sa lèvre candide ! 
Que son œil inondait mon regard de clarté ! 
Le beau lac de Némi, qu'aucim souffle ne ride, 
A mohis de transparence et de limpidité ! 
Dans cette &me, avant elle, on voyait ses penséeiBl, 
Ses paupières jamais, sur ces beaux yeux iMÛsséesy 
Ne voilaient son regard d'mnoq^nce rempli ; 
Nul souci sur son liront n'avait laissé son pli ; 
Tout fol&trait en elle : et ce jeune sourirei 
Qui plus tard sur la bouche avec tristesse expire, 
Sur sa lèvre entr'ouverte était toujouis flottant. 
Comme un pur aro-en-ciel sur un jour éclatant S 
Nulle ombre ne voilait ce ravissant visage, 
Ce rayon n'avait pas traversé de nuage l 
Son pas insouciant, indécis, balancé, 
Flottait comme un flot libre où le jour est bercé, 
Ou courait pour courir ; et sa voix argentine, 
Echo limpide et pur de son àme enfantine. 
Musique de cette ftme où tout semblait, chanter. 
Egayait jusqu'à l'air qui l'entendait monter ! 

Mais pourquoi m'entralner vers ces scènes paaséeiiT 
Laissons le vent gémir et le flot murmurer ; 
Revenez, revenez, 6 mes tristes pensées S 
Je veux rêver et non pleurer 2 

Mon imago en son eœiff se grava la promièrs, 
Comme dans l'œil qui s'ouvre, au matin, la lumière ^ 
Elle ne regarda plus rien après ce jour ; ^ 
De l'heure qu'elle aima, l'univers fut amottr 1 
Elle me confondait avec sa propre vie. 
Voyait tout dans mon à me, et je faisais partie 
De oa monde enchanté qui flottait sons ses yeuxi 



APPnffDDc 288 

Bn boidi«« de la tom et de Vmpcit dee eienx 
Elle ne pensait ph» an tempe» à la distance ; 
L'heuse seule absoiiiaift tonte sen enrtenise ; 
Avant moi cette vie était sans sonrenir, 
Un soir de ces beanz joms était tout l'aveniri 
£Ub se confiait à la douce natme 
Qui sonnait sur noos, à la priàre pure 
Qu'elle allait, le canr plein de joie et non de plevs, 
A Pantol ^'elle aimait i^nndm aTec ses fleins: 
Et sa main m'eniialnait aux marebes de son temple, 
Et, comme un humUe enfant, je suivais son ezempley 
Et sa voix me disait tout lias: " Fzie avec moi ! 
Car je ne comprends pas le ciel même sans toi !" 

Mais pourquoi m'entralner vers ces scènes passées? 
Laissons le vent gémir et ie flot murmurer ; 
Revenez, revenez, 6 mes tristes pensées ! 
Je veux rêver et non pleurer ! 

Voyez dans son banin l'eau d'une source vive 
S'arrondir comme un lac sous son étroite rive, 
Bleue et claire, à l'abri du vent qui va courir^ 
Et du rayon brûlant qui pourrait la tarir ! 
Un cygne blanc nageant sur la nappe liu^ide, 
En y plongeant son cou qu'enveloppe la ride, 
Orne sans le ternir le liquide miroir, 
Et s'y berce an milieu des étoiles du soir; 
Mais si, prenant son vol vers des sources nonvdles, 
n bat le dot tromblant de ses humides ailes, 
Le ciel s'efiace au sein de l'onde qui brunit, 
La plume à grands flocons y tombe et la tenût. 
Comme si le vautour, ennemi de sa racoj 
De*sa mort sur les flots avait semé la trace | 
Et l'azur éclatant de ce lac enchanté 
N'est plus qu'une onde obscuro oti le sable a monté. 

Ainsi, quand je partis, tout trembla dms cette àme ; 

Le rayon s'éteignit, et sa mourante flamme 

Remonta dans & ciel pour n'en pins revenir. 

Elle n'attendit pas un second aveak; 

Elle ne languit pas de doute en espérance. 

Et ne disputa pas sa vie à la souffiance ; 

Elle but d'un seul trait le Tase de douleur ; 

Dans sa première larme elle noya son cœur ! 

Et semblable. à l'oiseau^ moins pur et moins beau qu'elle, 

Qui le soir, pevir donnir, met son cou sous son aile. 

Elle s'enveloppa d'un muet désespoir. 

Et s'endormit ausri, mais bien avant le soir ! 

Mais pourquoi m'entralner ven ces scènes passées 7 
Laissons le vent gémn* et le flot murmurer ; 
Revenes, revenez, à mes tristes penséest 
Je veux rêver et non pleurer! 
25 



S90 APPBNDIX« 

Ella a dcmni qninie ans dans sa eonche d'aiple. 

Et rien ne pleure plue sur son dernier asUe» 

Et le rapide onbli^ second linceul des morts, 

A couvert le sentier qui menait vers ces budi ; 

Nul ne visite ph» cette pierre efiacée. 

Nul n'y song;e et n'y prie ! . • . excepté ma pensée. 

Quand, remontant le flot de mes jours révoloi. 

Je demande à mon cœur tous ceux qui n'y sont plus. 

Et que, les yeux flottans sur ces chères empreintes, 

Je pienre dans mon ciel tant d'étoiles éteintes! 

Elle fut la première, et sa douce lueur 

D'un jour pieux et tendre éclaire encor mon coBur I 

Mais pourquoi m'entralner vers ces scènes passées? 
LaisM>ns le vent gémir et le flot murmurer ; 
Revenez, revenez, 6 mes tristes pensées ! 
Je veux rêver et non pleurer ! 

Un arbuste épineux, à la p&le verdure, 
Est le seul monument que lui fit la nature ; 
Battu des vents de mer, du soleil calciné, 
Comme un regret funèbre au cœur enraciné, 
Il vit dans le rocher sans lui donner d'ombrage ; 
La poudre du chemin y blanchit son feuillage ; 
II rampe près de terre, ott ses rameaux penchéi 
Par la dent des chevreaux sont toujours retranchai ; 
Une fleur, au printemps, comme un flocon de neige, 
Y flotte un jour on deux ; mais le vent qui l'assiège 
L'eflbuille avant qu'elle ait répandu son odeur, 
Comme la vie, avant qu'elle ait charmé le cœur ! 
Un oiseau de tendresse et de mélancolie 
S'y pose pour chanter sur le rameau qui plie ! 
Oh ! dis, fleur que la vie a fait sitôt flétrir, 
N'est-il pas une terre ott tout doit refleurir? 

Remontez, remontez à ces heures passées i 
Vos tristes souvenirs m'aident à soupirer ! 
Allez où va mon âme l allez, 6 mes pensées ! 
Mon cœur est plein, je veux pleurer. 



L'HIRONDELLE. 

A XLLB. DB VINGT. 

Pourquoi me fmr passagère hirondelle ? 
Vi#ns reposer ton aile auprès de moi. 
P#urquoi me fuir ? c'est un cœur qui t'appelle» 
Ne suis-je pas voyageur comme toi ? 



APPBNDIX. 291 



Dans ce désert le destin nous rassemble. 
Va, no crains pas d'y nicher près de moi. 
Si tn gémis, nous gémirons ensemble. • 
Ne sois-je pas isole comme toi? 

Pent-étre, hélas ! du toit qui t'a vu naltre« 
Un sort cruel te chasse ainsi que moi ; 
Viens t'abriter au mur de ma fenêtre. 
Ne suis-je pas exilé conmie toi? 

As-tu besoin de laine pour la couche 
De tes petits frissonnant près de moi? 
J'échaiterai leur duvet sous ma bouche. 
N'ai-je pas vu ma mère comme toi ? 

Vois-tu là bas, sur la rive de France, 
Ce seuil aimé, qui s'est ouvert pour moi T 
Va ! portes-y le rameau d'espérance. 
Ne suis-je pas son oiseau comme toi? 

Ne me plains pas ! Ah ! si la tyrannie 
De mon pay» ferme le seuil pour moi» 
Pour retrouver la liberté bannie. 
N'avons nous pas notre ciel conmie tait 



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