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Full text of "St. Leon : a tale of the sixteenth century"

HANDBOUND 
AT THE 



UNIVERSITY OF 
TORONTO PRESS 





pregenteo 
to 

Xibran? 

of 



College 

of {Toronto 



protestor HlfteD Bafeer 

15, 1941 




X, 






3L IS 



WS3L3LEAM 




LONDON. 
C <0> 1 IB TU It B" ARID) 



ST. LEON: 



TALE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. 

BY 

WILLIAM GODWIN. 



Ferdinand Mendez Piuto was but a type of thee, thou liar of 
the first magnitude. CONCRETE. 



LONDON: 

HENRY COLBURN AND RICHARD BENTLEY, 

NEW BURLINGTON STREET; 

BELL AND BRADFUTE, EDINBURGH 

AND CUMMING, DUBLIN. 

1831. 



PR 




. 

976659 



LONDON : 

Printed by A. & R. Spottiswoode, 
New-Street-Square. 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



THE Publishers of the Collection of " STANDARD 
NOVELS" are extremely desirous that I should furnish 
them with a few lines, by way of introduction to the 
appearance of ST. LEON in its present form. I am 
however at a loss how to oblige them. In the original 
Preface I frankly stated the sources upon which I had 
drawn for the idea and conduct of the work. I have 
therefore no remarks to offer, but these which follow: 

In 1794? I produced the novel of Caleb Williams. I 
believed myself fortunate in the selection I had made 
of the ground-plot of that work. An atrocious 
crime committed by a man previously of the most 
exemplary habits, the annoyance he suffers from the 
immeasurable and ever-wakeful curiosity of a raw youth 
who is placed about his person, the state of doubt in 
which the reader might for a time be as to the truth 
of the charges, and the consequences growing out of 
these causes, seemed to me to afford scope for a nar- 
rative of no common interest. I was not disappointed, 
Caleb Williams was honoured with the public favour. 

The consequence was that I was solicited to try my 
hand again in a work of fiction. I hesitated long. I 
despaired of finding again a topic so rich of interest 
and passion. In those days it was deemed a most 
daring thought to attempt to write a novel, with the 
hope that it might hereafter rank among the classics 
of a language. The most successful English writers 



VI ADVERTISEMENT. 

in that province of literature had scarcely gone 
beyond three. It had not then been conceived that the 
same author might produce twenty or thirty, at the 
rate of two or three per annum, and might still at least 
retain his hold upon the partiality of his contempora- 
ries. To Sir Walter Scott we are indebted for this 
discovery. 

At length, after having passed some years in a 
state of diffidence and irresolution, I ventured on the 
task. It struck me that if I could " mix human feel- 
ings and passions with incredible situations," I might 
thus attain a sort of novelty that would conciliate the 
patience, at least, even of some of the severest judges. 
To this way of thinking ST. LEON was indebted for a 
" local habitation, and a name." 

One of my most valued friends [Mr. Northcote] 
has often told me, that the public may sometimes be 
interested in the perusal of a book, but that they never 
give themselves any trouble about the author. He 
therefore kindly advised me on no occasion to say any 
thing in print about myself. The present race of 
readers seem scarcely disposed to verify this maxim. 
They are understood to be desirous to learn something 
of the peculiarities, the " life, character, and beha- 
viour," of an author, before they consign him to the 
gulph of oblivion, and are willing to learn from his own 
testimony what train of thoughts induced him to adopt 
the particular subject and plan of the work, upon the 
perusal of which they are engaged. 

June, 1831. 



PREFACE. 



THE following passage from a work, said to be written by 
the late Dr. John Campbel, and entitled Hermippus Re- 
divivuSj suggested the first hint of the present perform- 
ance : 

" There happened in the year 1687, an odd accident at 
Venice, that made a very great stir then, and which I 
think deserves to be rescued from oblivion. The great 
freedom and ease with which all persons, who make a good 
appearance, live in that city, is known sufficiently to all 
who are acquainted with it ; such will not therefore be sur- 
prised, that a stranger, who went by the name of ,signor 
Gualdi, and who made a considerable figure there, was 
admitted into the best company, though nobody knew who 
or what he was. He remained at Venice for some months; 
and three things were remarked in his conduct. The first 
was, that he had a small collection of fine pictures, which 
he readily showed to any body that desired it ; the next, 
that he was perfectly versed in all arts and sciences, and 
spoke on every subject with such readiness and sagacity, as 
astonished all who heard him ; and it was, in the third place, 
observed, that he never wrote or received any letter, never 
desired any credit, or made use of bills of exchange, but 
paid for every thing in ready money, and lived decently^ 
though not in splendour. 

Cf This gentleman met one day at the coffee-house with, 
a Venetian nobleman, who was an extraordinary good judge 
of pictures : he had heard of signor Gualdi's collection, and 
in a very polite manner desired to see them, to which the 
other very readily consented. After the Venetian had 



Vlll PREFACE. 

viewed signer Gualdi's collection, and expressed his satis- 
faction, by telling him that he had never seen a finer, con- 
sidering the number of pieces of which it consisted ; he cast 
his eye by chance over the chamber-door, where hung a 
picture of this stranger. The Venetian looked upon it, and 
then upon him. ' This picture was drawn for you, sir,' 
says he to signor Gualdi, to which the other made no an- 
swer, but by a low bow. ' You look,' continued the Vene- 
tian, ' like a man of fifty, and yet I know this picture to 
be of the hand of Titian, who has been dead one hundred 
and thirty years, how is this possible ? ' ' It is not easy,' 
said signor Gualdi, gravely, ' to know all things that are 
possible ; but there is certainly no crime in my being like 
a picture drawn by Titian/ The Venetian easily perceived, 
by his manner of speaking, that he had given the stranger 
offence, and therefore took his leave. 

<c He could not forbear speaking of this in the evening 
to some of his friends, who resolved to satisfy themselves 
by looking upon the picture the next day. In order to 
have an opportunity of doing so, they went to the coffee- 
house about the time that signor Gualdi was wont to come 
thither ; and not meeting with him, one of them, who had 
often conversed with him, went to his lodgings to enquire 
after him, where he heard, that he had set out an hour be- 
fore for Vienna. This affair made a great noise, and found 
a place in all the newspapers of that time." 4 

It is well known that the philosopher's stone, the art of 
transmuting metals into gold, and the elixir vitcs, which 
was to restore youth, and make him that possessed it im- 
mortal; formed a principal object of the studies of the 

* To this story, in the book from which I have quoted it, is subjoined the fol- 
lowing reference : " Memoires Historiques, 1687, torn. i. p. 365." Being de- 
sirous of giving ray extract from the oldest authority, I caused the British 
Museum, and the libraries of Oxford and Cambridge, to be searched for this 
publication, but in vain. The story and the reference are, not improbably, 
both of them the fictions of the English writer. 



PREFACE. IX 

curious for centuries. Many stories, beside this of signer 
Gualdi, have been told, of persons who were supposed to be 
in possession of those wonderful secrets, in search of which 
hundreds of unfortunate adventurers wasted their fortunes 
and their lives. 

It has been said of Shakespear, that he 

Exhausted worlds, and then imagined new * : 

but the burthen sustained by Shakespear was too heavy for 
the shoulders of any other individual. I leave the first part 
of the task above mentioned to be divided among those ce- 
lebrated novelists, living and dead, who have attempted to 
delineate the scenes of real life. In this little work I have 
endeavoured to gain footing in one neglected track of the 
latter province. The hearts and the curiosity of readers 
have been assailed in so many ways, that we, writers who 
bring up the rear of our illustrious predecessors, must be 
contented to arrive at novelty in whatever mode we are able. 
The foundation of the foUowing tale is such as, it is not to 
be supposed, ever existed. But, if I have mixed human 
feelings and passions with incredible situations, and thus 
rendered them impressive and interesting, I shall entertain 
some hope to be pardoned the boldness and irregularity of 
my design. 

Some readers of my graver productions will perhaps, in 
perusing these little volumes, accuse me of inconsistency ; 
the affections and charities of private life being every where 
in this publication a topic of the warmest eulogium, while 
in the Enquiry concerning Political Justice they seemed 
to be treated with no great degree of indulgence and favour. 
In answer to this objection, all I think it necessary to say 
on the present occasion is, that, for more than four years, 
I have been anxious for opportunity and leisure to modify 

* Johnson's Occasional Prologue on Garrick's assuming the management of 
Drury-lane Theatre. 

a 



X PREFACE. 

some of the earlier chapters of that work in conformity to 
the sentiments inculcated in this. Not that I see cause to 
make any change respecting the principle of justice, or any 
thing else fundamental to the system there delivered ; but 
that I apprehend domestic and private affections inseparable 
from the nature of man,, and from what may be styled the 
culture of the heart, and am fully persuaded that they are 
not incompatible with a profound and active sense of jus- 
tice in the mind of him that cherishes them. True wisdom 
will recommend to us individual attachments ; for with 
them our minds are more thoroughly maintained in activity 
and life than they can be under the privation of them ; and 
it is better that man should be a living being, than a stock 
or a stone. True virtue will sanction this recommendation; 
since it is the object of virtue to produce happiness, and 
since the man who lives in the midst of domestic relations 
will have many opportunities of conferring pleasure, minute 
in the detail, yet not trivial in the amount, without inter- 
fering with the purposes of general benevolence. Nay, by 
kindling his sensibility, and harmonising his soul, they may 
be expected, if he is endowed with a liberal and manly 
spirit, to render him more prompt in the service of strangers 
and the public. 

Nov. 26, 1799. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



CHAPTER I. 

THERE is nothing that human imagination can figure 
brilliant and enviable, that human genius and skill do not 
aspire to realize. In the early ages of antiquity, one of 
the favourite topics of speculation was a perfect system of 
civil policy ; and no sooner had Plato delineated his ima- 
ginary republic., than he sought for a spot of earth upon 
which to execute his plan. In my own times, and for 
upwards of a century before them, the subject which has 
chiefly occupied men of intrepid and persevering study, 
has been the great secret of nature, the opus magnum, in 
its two grand and inseparable branches, the art of multi- 
plying gold, and of defying the inroads of infirmity and 
death. 

It is notorious that uncommon talents and unparalleled 
industry have been engaged in this mighty task. It has, 
I know, been disputed by the audacious adversaries of 
all sober and reasonable evidence, whether these talents 
and industry have in any case attained the object they 
sought. It is not to my purpose to ascertain the number 
of those whose victory over the powers and inertness of 
matter has been complete. It is enough that I am a living 
instance of the existence of such men. To these two se- 
crets, if they are to be considered as two, I have been for 
years in the habit of resorting for my gratification. I have 
in my possession the choice of being as wealthy as I please, 
and the gift of immortal life. Every thing that I see 
almost, I can without difficulty make my own ; for what 
palaces, pictures, parks or gardens, rarities of art or nature, 
have not a price at which their owner will consent to yield 

B 



2 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

them? The luxuries of every quarter of the world are 
emptied at my feet. I can command, to an extent almost 
inconceivable, the passions of men. What heart can with- 
stand the assault of princely magnificence? What man is 
inaccessible to a bribe ? Add to these advantages, that I am 
invulnerable to disease. Every sun that rises, finds the 
circulations of my frame in the most perfect order. Decre- 
pitude can never approach me. A thousand winters want 
the power to furrow my countenance with wrinkles, or 
turn my hairs to silver. Exhaustless wealth and eternal 
youth are the attributes by which I am distinguished from 
the rest of mankind. 

I do not sit down now to write a treatise of natural phi- 
losophy. The condition by which I hold my privileges is, 
that they must never be imparted. I sit down purely to 
relate a few of those extraordinary events that have been 
produced, in the period of my life which is already elapsed, 
by the circumstances and the peculiarity to which I have 
just alluded. 

. It is so obvious, as to make it almost improper to specify 
it, that the pursuit in which so many of my contempora- 
ries are engaged, and the end of which I have so singularly 
achieved, is in its appearance infinitely more grand and 
interesting than that which occupied the thoughts of Plato 
and the most eminent writers of antiquity. What is poli- 
tical liberty compared with unbounded riches and immortal 
Vigour ? The immediate application of political liberty is, 
to render a man's patrimony or the fruits of his industry 
completely his own, and to preserve them from the invasion 
of others. But the petty detail of preservation or gradual 
acquisition can never enter into competition with the great 
secret, which endows a man in a moment with every 
thing that the human heart can wish. Considered in this 
light, how mean and contemptible does the ambition of the 
boasted ancients appear, compared with ours ? What adept 
or probationer of the present day would be content to 
resign the study of God and the profounder secrets of 
nature, and to bound his ardour to the investigation of his 
miserable existence ? 

It may seem perhaps to many, that the history of a per- 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 3 

son possessed of advantages so unparalleled as mine,, must 
be, like the history of paradise, or of the future happiness 
of the blessed, too calm and motionless, too much of one 
invariable texture and exempt from vicissitude, to excite 
the attention or interest the passions of the reader. If he 
will have patience, and apply to the perusal of my narra- 
tive, he will in no long time perceive how far his conjecture 
is founded in sagacity and reason. 

Some persons may be curious to know what motives can 
have induced a man of such enormous wealth, and so every 
way qualified to revel in delights, to take the trouble of 
penning his memoirs. The immortality with which I ani 
endowed seems to put out of the question the common mo- 
tives that relate to posthumous fame. 

The curiosity here mentioned, if it really exists, I can- 
not consent to gratify. I will anticipate nothing. In the 
progress of my story, my motive for recording it will pro- 
bably become evident. 

I am descended from one of the most ancient and honour- 
able families of the kingdom of France. I was the only 
child of my father, who died while I was an infant. My 
mother was a woman of rather a masculine understanding, 
and full of the prejudices of nobility and magnificence. 
Her whole soul was in a manner concentrated in the am- 
bition to render me the worthy successor of the counts de 
St. Leon, who had figured with distinguished reputation in 
the wars of the Holy Land. My father had died fighting 
gallantly in the plains of Italy under the standard of Louis 
the Twelfth ; a prince whose name was never repeated to 
me unaccompanied with the praises due to his military 
prowess, and to the singular humanity of disposition by 
which he acquired the title of The father of his people. My 
mother's mind was inflamed with the greatness of my an- 
cestors, and she indefatigably sought to kindle in my bosom 
a similar flame. It has been a long-established custom for 
the barons and feudal vassals of the kings of France to 
enter with great personal expense into the brilliant and 
dazzling expeditions of their sovereigns; and my father 
greatly impaired his fortune in preparations for that very* 
campaign in which he terminated his life. My mother 
B 2 



4 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

industriously applied herself to the restoration of my pa- 
trimony ; and the long period of my minority afforded her 
scope for that purpose. 

It was impossible for any boy to be treated with more 
kindness and considerate indulgence than I was during the 
period of my adolescence. My mother loved me to the 
very utmost limits perhaps of human affection. I was 
her darling and her pride, her waking study, and her nightly 
dream. Yet I was not pampered into corporeal imbecility, 
or suffered to rust in inactivity of mind. I was provided 
with the best masters. I was excited, and successfully ex- 
cited, zealously to apply myself to the lessons they taught. 
I became intimately acquainted with the Italian writers of 
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. I was initiated in the 
study of the classics, to the cultivation of which the revival 
of letters at this time gave particular ardour. I was in- 
structed in the principles of the fine arts. There was no 
species of accomplishment at that time in vogue, that my 
mother .was not anxious I should make my own. The only 
science I neglected was the very science which has since 
given rise to the most extraordinary events of my life. But 
the object to which my attention was principally called, 
was the pursuit of military exercises, and the cultivation of 
every thing that could add to the strength, agility, or grace 
of my body, and to the adventurousness and enterprise of 
my mind. My mother loved my honour and my fame 
more than she loved my person. 

A circumstance that tended perhaps more than any other 
to fix the yet fluctuating character of my youthful mind, 
was my being present as a spectator at the celebrated meet- 
ing between Francis the First and Henry the Eighth, king 
of England, in a field between Ardres and Guines. My 
mother refused to accompany me, being already arrived at 
an age in which curiosity and the love of festive scenes are 
usually diminished, and the expenses incurred by all the 
nobility who attended upon this scene being incompatible 
with the economy to which she rigidly adhered. I was 
therefore placed under the protection of the Marquis de 
Villeroy, her brother, and, with two servants who attended 
me, formed a part of his suite. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. O 

I was at this time fifteen years of age. My contempla- 
tions had heen familiar with ideas of magnificence and 
grandeur,, but my life had been spent in the most seques- 
tered retirement. This contrast had a particular effect 
upon my disposition ; it irritated to a very high degree my 
passion for splendour and distinction ; I lived in the fairy 
fields of visionary greatness, and was more than indifferent 
to the major part of the objects around me. I pined for 
every thing the reverse of my present condition ; I culti- 
vated the exercises in which I was engaged, only as they 
were calculated to prepare me for future achievements. 

By the incident I have mentioned, I was transported at 
once from a scene of modest obscurity, to a scene of the 
most lavish splendour that the world perhaps ever contem- 
plated. I never remembered to have seen even Paris itself. 
The prevailing taste of Europe has for some time led very 
much to costliness in dress. This taste, in its present pro- 
fusion, I believe took its rise in the field of the Vale of 
Ardres. The two kings were both in the vigour of their 
youth, and were said to be the handsomest men of the age 
in which they lived. The beauty of Henry was sturdy and 
muscular ; that of Francis more refined and elegant, with- 
out subtracting in any considerable degree from the firm- 
ness of his make. Henry was four years older than his 
brother monarch. The first of them might have been taken 
as a model to represent a youthful Hercules, and the last an 
Apollo. 

The splendour of dress that was worn upon this occasion 
exceeds almost all credibility. Every person of distinction 
might be said in a manner to carry an estate upon his 
shoulders ; nor was the variety of garments inferior to the 
richness. Wolsey, a man whose magnificence of disposition 
was only surpassed by the pride of his soul, was for the 
most part the director of the whole. He possessed the most 
absolute ascendancy over the mind of his master, at the 
same time that Francis artfully indulged his caprice, that 
he might claim from him in return a similar indulgence in 
weightier matters. 

The pomp of processions, and the ceremony of opening 
this memorable festival, went first ; a sort of solemn and 
B 3 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

half-moving pageant, which the eye took in at leisure, and 
took in till it was filled. This was succeeded by every 
thing that was rapid, animated, and interesting : masques 
and exhibitions of ah 1 kinds ; and, which was still more to 
me, and which my soul devoured with indescribable ardour, 
justings, tilts, and tournaments without end. The beauty 
of the armour, the caparisons of the steeds, the mettle of 
the animals themselves, and the ardour and grace of the 
combatants, surpassed every thing that my fancy had ever 
painted. These scenes were acted in the midst of a vast 
amphitheatre of spectators, where all that was noble and 
eminent of either country was assembled the manliness of 
aspiring youth, and the boundless varieties of female at- 
traction. All were in their gayest attire ; every eye was 
lighted up with complacency and joy. If Heraclitus, or 
any other morose philosopher who has expatiated on the 
universal misery of mankind, had entered the field of Ar- 
dres, he must have retracted his assertions, or fled from the 
scene with confusion. The kings were placed at either end 
of the lists, surrounded with their courtiers. Every eye 
through this vast assembly was fixed upon the combatants ; 
the body of every one present was inclined this way or that, 
in unconscious sympathy with the redoubted knights. From 
time to time, as the favourites of either party prevailed, the 
air was rent with shouts and acclamations. 

What added to the fascination of all that I have yet 
mentioned, was that now, for the first time in an equal 
degree perhaps for centuries, the stiffness of unwieldy form 
was laid aside, and the heart of man expanded itself with 
generosity and confidence. It burst the fetters of ages ; 
and, having burst them, it seemed to revel in its new-found 
liberty. It is well known that, after a few days of idle 
precaution and specious imprisonment on both sides, Fran- 
cis one morning mounted his horse, and appeared, without 
guards or any previous notice, before the tent of Henry. 
The example was contagious, and from this time all cere- 
mony was laid aside. The kings themselves entered per- 
sonally into the combats of their subjects. It was a 
delightful and a ravishing spectacle, to witness the freedom 
of the old Roman manners, almost of the old Roman Satur- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 7 

nalia, polished and refined with all that was graceful and 
humane in the age of chivalry. 

It may easily be imagined what an effect a scene like 
this was calculated to produce upon a youth of my age and 
my education. I recollected with anguish that the imma- 
turity of my years precluded me from taking any active 
part in the spectacle. My appearance however was suf- 
ficiently advantageous. I was presented to Francis the 
First. He did me the honour to question me respecting 
my studies ; and, finding in me some knowledge of those 
arts and that literature, of which he was himself so zealous 
a favourer, he expressed to my uncle a great satisfaction 
with my figure and acquisitions. I might from this time 
have been taken to court, and made one of the pages to 
this illustrious monarch. But the plan of my mother was 
different. She did not wish for the present that my eye 
should be satiated with public scenes, or that the public 
should grow too familiarly acquainted with my person. She 
rightly judged that my passion for the theatre of glory 
would grow more impetuous, by being withheld for some 
time from the gratifications for which it panted. She wished 
that I should present myself for the first time among 
the nobility of France an accomplished cavalier, and not 
suffer the disadvantage of having exposed in the eye of the 
world those false steps and frailties, from which the inex- 
perience of youth is never entirely free. These motives be- 
ing explained to the king, he was graciously pleased to 
sanction them with his approbation. I accordingly returned 
to finish the course of my education at my paternal chateau 
upon the banks of the Garonne. 

The state of my mind during the three succeeding years 
amply justified the sagacity of my mother. I was more 
eager for improvement than I had ever yet been. I 
had before formed some conceptions of the career of honour 
from the books I had read, and from the conversation of 
this excellent matron. But my reveries were impotent and 
little, compared with what I had now seen. Like the au- 
thor of our holy religion, I had spent my forty days with- 
out food in the wilderness, when suddenly my eyes were 
opened, and I was presented with all the kingdoms of the 
B 4 



8 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



world, and all the glory of them. The fairy scene con- 
tinued for a moment, and then vanished ; leaving nothing 
behind it on all sides, but the same barrenness and gloom 
by which it had been preceded. I never shut my eyes 
without viewing in imagination the combats of knights and 
the train of ladies. I had been regarded with distinction 
by my sovereign ; and Francis the First stood before my 
mind the abstract and model of perfection and greatness. 
I congratulated myself upon being born in an age and 
country so favourable to the acquisition of all that my soul 
desired. 

I was already eighteen years of age, when I experienced 
the first misfortune that ever befel me. It was the death 
of my mother. She felt the approach of her dissolution 
several weeks before it arrived, and held repeated convers- 
ations with me, respecting the feelings I ought to entertain, 
and the conduct it would become me to pursue, when she 
should be no more. 

" My son," said she, " your character, and the promise 
of your early years, have constituted my only consolation 
since the death of your excellent father. Our marriage 
was the result of a most sincere and exclusive attachment ; 
and never did man more deserve to be loved than Reginald 
de St. Leon. When he died, the whole world would have 
been nothing to me but one vast blank, if he had not left 
behind him the representative of his person, and the heir 
to his virtues. While I was busied in your education, I 
seemed to be discharging the last duty to the memory of 
my husband. The occupation was sacred to the honour of 
the dead, even before it became so peculiarly pleasing to 
me upon its own account, as I afterwards found it. I hope 
I have in some measure discharged the task, in the manner 
in which my lord your father would have wished it to have 
been discharged, if he had lived. I am thankful to Heaven, 
that I have been spared so long for so dear and honourable 
a purpose. 

" You must now, my son, stand by yourself, and be the 
arbitrator of your own actions. I could have wished that 
this necessity might have been a little further deferred ; 
but I trust your education has not been of that sort which 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 9 

is calculated to render a young man helpless and contempt- 
ible. You have been taught to know your rank in society, 
and to respect yourself. You have been instructed in every 
thing that might most effectually forward you in the career 
of glory. There is not a young cavalier among all the no- 
bility of France more accomplished, or that promises to do 
greater honour to his name and his country. I shall not 
live to witness the performance of this promise, but the 
anticipation even now, pours a long stream of sunshine on 
my departing hour. 

" Farewell, my son ! You no longer stand in need of 
my maternal care. When I am gone, you will be com- 
pelled more vividly to feel that singleness and self-depend- 
ence which are the source of all virtue. Be careful of your- 
self. Be careful that your career may be both spotless and 
illustrious. Hold your life as a thing of no account, when 
it enters into competition with your fame. A true knight 
thinks no sacrifice and suffering hard, that honour demands. 
Be humane, gentle, generous, and intrepid. Be prompt 
to follow wherever your duty calls you. Remember your 
ancestors, knights of the Holy Cross. Remember your 
father. Follow your king, who is the mirror of valour : 
and be ever ready for the service of the distressed. May 
Providence be your guardian. May Heaven shower down 
a thousand blessings, upon your innocence, and the gal- 
lantry of your soul ! " 

The death of my mother was a severe blow to my heart. 
For some time all the visions of greatness and renown which 
had hitherto been my chosen delight appeared distasteful 
to me. I hung over her insensible corpse. When it had 
been committed to the earth, I repaired every day to the 
spot where it was deposited, at the hour of dusk, when all 
visible objects faded from the eye, when nature assumed 
her saddest tints, and the whole world seemed about to be 
wrapped in the darkness of the tomb. The dew of night 
drizzled unheeded on my head ; and I did not turn again 
towards the turrets of the chateau, till the hour of midnight 
had already sounded through the stillness of the scene. 

Time is the healer of almost every grief, particularly in 
the sprightly season of early youth. In no long period 



10 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. '" 

I changed the oppression of inactive sorrow, for the affec- 
tionate and pious recollection of my mother's last instruc- 
tions. I had been too deeply imbued with sentiments of 
glory, for it to be possible, when the first excess of grief 
was over, that I should remain in indolence. The tender 
remembrance of my mother itself, in no long time, fur- 
nished a new stimulus to my ambition. I forgot the me- 
lancholy spectacle of the last struggles of her expiring life; 
I even became accustomed no longer to hear her voice, no 
longer to expect her presence, when I returned to the chateau 
from a short excursion. Her last advice was now all that 
survived of the author of my existence. 



CHAPTER II. 

I WAS in this state of mind, when early one morning in the 
beginning of summer, soon after I rose, I was startled by 
the sound of trumpets in the plain near the chateau. The 
bugle at the gate was presently sounded ; the drawbridge 
was let down ; and the Marquis de Villeroy entered the 
court-yard, accompanied by about thirty knights in com- 
plete armour. I saluted him with respect, and the ten- 
derness excited by recent grief. He took me by the hand, 
after a short repast in the hall, and led me to my closet. 

" My son," said he, " it is time to throw off the effe- 
minacy of sorrow, and to prove yourself a true soldier of 
the standard of France." 

" I trust, my lord," replied I, with modest earnestness, 
' { that you well know, there is nothing after which my heart 
so ardently aspires. There is nothing that I know worth 
living for but honour. Show me the path that leads to it, 
or rather show me the occasion that affords scope for the 
love of honour to display itself, and you shall then see 
whether I am backward to embrace it. I have a passion 
pent up within me, that feeds upon my vitals : it disdains 
speech ; it burns for something more unambiguous and sub- 
stantial." 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 11 

" It is well/' rejoined my uncle. " I expected to find 
you thus. Your reply to my admonition is worthy of the 
blood of your ancestors, and of the maternal instructions 
of my sister. And, were you as dull as the very stones 
you tread on, what I have to tell you might even then rouse 
you into animation and ardour." 

After this short preface my uncle proceeded to relate a 
tale, every word of which inflamed my spirits, and raised 
all my passions in arms. I had heard something imper- 
fectly of the state of my country ; but my mother carefully 
kept me in ignorance, that my ambition might not be ex- 
cited too soon, and that, when excited, it might be with the 
fullest effect. While I impatiently longed for an occasion 
of glory, I was far from apprehending, what I now found 
to be true, that the occasion which at this period presented 
itself, was such, that all the licence of fiction could scarcely 
have improved it. 

The Marquis de Villeroy described to me the league now 
subsisting against France. He revived in my memory, by 
terms of the most fervent loyalty, the accomplishments and 
talents of my royal master. He spoke with aversion of the 
phlegmatic and crafty disposition of his imperial rival * ; 
and, with the language of glowing indignation, inveighed 
against the fickleness of the capricious Henry, t He de- 
scribed the train of disasters, which had at length induced 
the king to take the field in person. He contrasted, with 
great effect, the story of the gallant Chevalier Bayard, the 
knight without fear and without reproach, whose blood was 
stiU fresh in the plains of the Milanese, with that of the 
Constable of Bourbon, the stain of chivalry, whom inglorious 
resentment and ungoverned ambition had urged to join the 
enemies of his country, in neglect of his loyalty and his 
oath. He stimulated me by the example of the one, and 
the infamy of the other ; and assured me that there never 
was an opportunity more favourable for acquiring immortal 
renown. 

I wanted no prompter in a passion of this sort ; and im- 
mediately set about collecting the whole force of my clients 
and retainers. I shook off the inglorious softness of my 

* Charles V. f Henry VIII. 



12 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

melancholy, and was all activity and animation. The les- 
sons of my youth were now called into play. I judged it 
necessary to invite the assistance of some person of expe- 
rience to assist me in marshalling my men ; but I did much 
of what was to be done myself, and I did it well. It was 
my first employment in the morning : and the last that was 
witnessed by the setting sun. My excellent mother had 
left my revenues in the best order, and I spared no expense 
in the gratification of my favourite passion. 

However eager I felt myself to take the field, the desire 
to appear in a manner worthy of a Count de St. Leon re- 
strained me ; and I did not join the royal army till the 
Imperialists, having broken up the siege of Marseilles, and 
retreated with precipitation into Italy, the king had already 
crossed the Alps, entered the Milanese, and gained un con- 
tested possession of the capital. 

From Milan Francis proceeded to Pavia. Glory was the 
idol of his heart ; and he was the more powerfully excited 
to the attack of that place, because it was the strongest and 
best fortified post in the whole duchy. The more he dis- 
played of military prowess, the more firmly he believed he 
should fix himself in his newly acquired dominions ; the 
inhabitants would submit to him the more willingly, and 
the enemy be less encouraged to enter into a fresh conten- 
tion for what he had acquired. Such at least were the 
motives that he assigned for his proceedings : in reality 
perhaps he was principally induced by the brilliancy which 
he conceived would attend on the undertaking. 

It was a few weeks after the opening of the siege, that 
I presented myself to my royal master. He received me 
with those winning and impressive manners by which he 
was so eminently distinguished. He recollected immedi- 
ately all that had passed at our interview in the Vale of 
Ardres, and warmly expressed the obligations which France 
had at various times owed to my ancestors. He spoke with 
earnest respect of the virtues and wisdom of my mother, 
and commended the resolution by which she had in former 
instances held me back from the public theatre. " Young 
gentleman," said the king, " I doubt not the gallantry of 
your spirit ; I see the impatience of a martial temper writ- ^ 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 13 

ten in your face : I expect you to act in a manner worthy 
of your illustrious race, and of the instructions of a woman 
who deserved to be herself a pattern to all the matrons of 
France. Fear not that I shall suffer your accomplishments 
to rust in obscurity. I shall employ you. I shall assign 
you the post of danger and of renown. Fill it nobly ; and 
from that hour I shall rank you in the catalogue of my 
chosen friends." 

The siege of Pavia proved indeed to be a transaction, in 
the course of which military honour might well be acquired. 
It was defended by a small, but veteran garrison, and by 
one of the ablest captains that Europe at that time pos- 
sessed.* He interrupted the approaches of the besiegers 
by frequent and furious sallies. In vain, by the aid of our 
excellent artillery, did we make wide and repeated breaches 
in the fortifications. No sooner did we attempt to enter by 
the passage we had opened, than we found ourselves en- 
countered by a body composed of the choicest and bravest 
soldiers of the garrison. The governor of the city, who, 
though grey-headed and advanced in years, was profuse of 
every youthful exertion, was ordinarily at the head of this 
body. If we deferred our attack, or, not having succeeded 
in it, proposed to commence it anew with the dawn- of the 
following day, we were sure to find a new wall sprung up 
in the room of the other, as if by enchantment. Fre- 
quently the governor anticipated the success of our batteries ; 
and the old fortification was no sooner demolished, than we 
beheld, to our astonishment and mortification, a new wall, 
which his prudence and skill had erected at a small interval 
within the line of the former. 

One of these attacks took place on the second day after 
my arrival at the camp of our sovereign. Every thing that 
I saw was new to me, and inflamed me with ardour. The 
noise of the cannon, which had preceded the attack, and 
which was now hushed ; the inspiring sounds of martial 
music which succeeded that noise ; the standards floating 
in the air ; the firm and equal tread of the battalion that 
advanced ; the armour of the knights ; the rugged, resolute, 
and intrepid countenances of the infantry ; all swelled my 

* Antonio de Leyva. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



soul with transport hitherto unexperienced. I had beheld 
the smoke of the artillery, in the midst of which every 
thing was lost and confounded; I had waited in awful 
suspense till the obscurity should be dissipated ; I saw with 
pleasure and surprise the ruin of the wall, and the wideness 
of the breach. All that had been recorded of the military 
feats of Christian valour seemed then to stand crowded in 
my busy brain ; the generosity, the condescension, the kind- 
ness, with which the king had addressed me the day before, 
urged me to treble exertion. I was in the foremost rank. 
We surmounted the ditch. We were resisted by a chosen 
body of Spaniards. The contention was obstinate ; brave 
men, generous and enterprising spirits, fell on the one side 
and the other. I seized the cloth of a standard, as, in the 
playing of the wind, it was brought near to my hand. Be- 
tween me and the Spaniard that held it there ensued an ob- 
stinate struggle. I watched my opportunity, and with my 
sword severed the flag from its staff. At this moment the 
trumpets of the king sounded a retreat. I had received 
two severe wounds, one in the shoulder and the other in 
the thigh, in the contest. I felt myself faint with the loss 
of blood. A French officer, of a rude appearance and gi- 
gantic stature, accosting me with the appellation of boy, 
commanded me to surrender the standard to him. I re- 
fused; and, to convince him I was in earnest, proceeded 
to wrap it round my body, and fastened it under my arm. 
Soon after I became insensible, and in this situation was 
accidentally found by my uncle and his companions^ who 
immediately took me and my prize under their care. As 
soon as I was a little recovered of my wounds, the king 
seized an opportunity, after having bestowed loud com- 
mendations upon my gallantry, of conferring the honours 
of knighthood upon me in the face of the whole army. 

While our tents were pitched under the walls of Pavia, 
I was continually extending the circle of my acquaintance 
among the young gentry of France, who, like myself, had 
attended their sovereign in this memorable expedition. I 
had some enemies, made such by the distinctions I ob- 
tained during the siege. But they were few ; the greater 
part courted me the more, the more I showed myself worthy 



a v, Q i^ 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



15 



of their attachment. Envy is not a passion that finds easy 
root in a Frenchman's bosom. I was one of the youngest 
of those who attended on the siege ; but my brothers in 
arms were generous rivals, who in the field obstinately 
strove with me for superior glory, but over the convivial 
board forgot their mutual competitions, and opened their 
hearts to benevolence and friendship. " Let us not/' was 
a sentiment I heard often repeated, " forget the object that 
led us from our pleasant homes to pour from the heights 
of the Alps upon the fields of Italy. It is to humble the 
imperious Spaniard to punish the disloyal Bourbon to 
vindicate the honour of our beloved and illustrious monarch. 
Those walls cover the enemy ; yonder mountains serve to 
hide them from our assault; let no Frenchman mistake 
him who marches under the same standard for an adver- 
sary." 

The trenches had not been opened before Pavia till about 
the beginning of November. The winter overtook us, and 
the siege was yet in progress ; with some apparent advan- 
tage indeed to our side of the question, but by no means 
promising an instant conclusion. The season set in with 
unusual severity ; and both officer and soldier were glad, 
as much as possible, to fence out its rigour by the indul- 
gences of the genial board. My finances, as I have said, 
were at the commencement of the expedition in excellent 
order : I had brought with me a considerable sum ; and it 
was not spared upon the present occasion. 

There were however other things to be attended to, be- 
side the demands of conviviality. The king became im- 
patient of the delays of the siege. The garrison and the 
inhabitants were reduced to great extremities ; but the go- 
vernor discovered no symptoms of a purpose to surrender. 
In the mean time intelligence was brought, that Bourbon 
was making the most extraordinary exertions in Germany, 
and promised to lead to the enemy a reinforcement of 
twelve thousand men from that country ; while the imperial 
generals, by mortgaging their revenues, and pawning their 
jewels, and still more by their eloquence and influence with 
those under their command, were able to keep together the 
remains of a disheartened and defeated army in expectation 




16 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

of his arrival. There was some danger therefore, i 
siege were not speedily terminated, that the king mi 
ultimately be obliged to raise it with ignominy, or to fight 
the enemy under every disadvantage. Francis however 
was not to be deterred from his undertaking. He swore a 
solemn oath, that Pavia should be his, or he would perish 
in the attempt. 

Thus circumstanced, he conceived a very extraordinary 
project. Pavia is defended on one side by the Tesino, the 
scene of the first of the four famous battles by which Han- 
nibal signalised his invasion of Italy. The king believed 
that if this river could by the labour of his army be diverted 
from its course, the town must instantly fall into his hands. 
He was encouraged to the undertaking, by recollecting a 
stratagem of a similar nature by which Cyrus formerly 
made himself master of the city of Babylon. It was a 
thought highly flattering to the grandeur of his soul, to 
imagine that posterity would in this instance institute a 
parallel between him and Cyrus the Great. 

The plan for diverting the course of the Tesino pro- 
duced a new and extraordinary scene. It was, as may well 
be believed, a work of uncommon labour. A new channel 
was to be scooped out and deepened ; and, while the stream 
was turned into this channel, piles were to be sunk, and an 
immense mound of earth created, as an effectual impedi- 
ment to the waters resuming their former course. This 
was a heavy burthen to the soldier, in addition to the dis- 
advantage of being encamped during the course of a winter 
remarkably severe for the climate in which we fought. By 
any other army the task would have been performed with 
cloudiness and discontent, if not complained of with re- 
pining and murmurs. But here the gaiety of the French 
character displayed itself. The nobility of France, who 
attended their sovereign in great numbers, accompanied the 
infantry in their labour. We laid aside the indulgence of 
the marquee, of tapestry and carpets ; we threw off our 
upper garments ; and each seized a spade, a barrow of earth, 
or a mattock. We put our hands to the engines, and re- 
fused no effort under pretence that it was sordid or severe. 
While the trees were leafless, and nature appeared bound 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 17 

up in frost, sweat ran down our faces and bedewed our 
limbs. The army were encouraged by our example. An 
employment which, under other circumstances, would have 
been regarded as rigid, was thus made a source of new 
hilarity and amusement. It was a memorable sight to be- 
hold the venerable and grey-headed leaders of the French 
army endeavouring to exert the strength and activity of 
their early years. To me, who had but lately arrived at 
the stature of manhood, and who was accustomed to all the 
exercises which give strength^ and vigour to the frame, this 
new employment was in no degree burdensome. I felt in 
it the satisfaction that a swift man experiences when he 
enters the lists of the race ; I congratulated myself upon 
the nature of my education ; if it be a sin to covet honour, 
that guilt was mine ; and, so great was my appetite for it, 
that I was inexpressibly rejoiced to observe the various 
ways in which it might be gratified. 

Strange as it may seem, this scene of a winter-camp, in the 
midst of blood and sweat, surrounded with dangers, and called 
on for unparalleled exertions, appears to me, through the vista 
of years that is now interposed between, to have been one of 
the happiest of my life. The gay labours and surprises of 
the day were succeeded by a convivial evening, in which 
we did not the less open our hearts, though frequently 
liable to be interrupted in our midnight revels by the in- 
exhaustible activity and stratagems of the enemy. In this 
various and ever-shifting scene, I forgot the disasters that 
occurred, and the blood that flowed around me. All sense 
of a large and impartial morality was, for the time at least, 
deadened in my breast. I was ever upon the alert. The 
diversity of events neither suffered my spirits to flag, nor 
reflection to awake. It is only upon such occasions, or 
occasions like these, that a man is able fully to feel what life 
is, and to revel in its exuberance. Above all, I was delighted 
with the society and friendship of my brother-officers. 
They honoured me ; they loved me. I seemed to feel what 
sympathy was ; and to have conscious pleasure in making 
one in a race of beings like myself. Such were my sens- 
ations. 



18 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

It must not, however, be imagined, that all about me 
felt in these respects as I did. I was deeply indebted in 
this particular to my youth and my fortune. The old en- 
deavoured to brace themselves in vain ; they sunk under 
the continual pressure. The poor soldier from the ranks 
laboured incessantly, and I laboured as much as he; but 
he had little opportunity to recruit his vigour and renovate 
his strength. There was yet another class of persons in the 
camp, whose gaiety was much less interrupted than mine. 
These were, the king, and the generals who commanded 
under him. They could not be entirely devoid of thought 
and consideration. They suffered much anxiety from the 
length of the siege ; and felt that every period of delay 
increased the doubtfulness of the event. 

Antonio de Leyva, governor of the city, necessarily felt 
himself alarmed at the extraordinary project in which we 
were engaged, and made every exertion to prevent it. One 
evening the king sent for me to his tent, and told me in 
confidence that the enemy intended that very night to make 
three several attacks upon our mound, one on each side of 
the stream, and one by means of boats in the centre. Two 
of these, he said, were merely intended as feints ; the west 
bank of the Tesino was the point against which their prin- 
cipal exertions would be directed. On that side he was 
resolved to command in person ; the boats with which he 
proposed to resist their flota he confided to one of the most 
famous and valuable officers of his army ; the detachment 
on the east bank he purposed to intrust to my uncle and 
myself. He observed, that the detachment he could spare 
for that purpose, after having formed the other two bodies, 
and reserved a sufficient number for the defence of the 
camp and the works, would be small ; and he warned me 
to the exertion of a particular vigilance. It would be 
doubly unfortunate, if a body, the attack upon which was 
to be merely a feigned one, should nevertheless be routed. 
f< Go," added he, " fulfil my expectations ; deport yourself 
answerably to the merit of your first achievement; and 
depend upon it that you will prove hereafter one of the 
aiost eminent supporters of the martial glory of France.'* 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

The Marquis de Villeroy divided our little force into 
two bodies : with the larger he lay in wait for the enemy 
near the scene of the expected attack : the smaller he con- 
fided to my direction, and placed so that we might be able 
to fall upon the rear of the garrison-troops as soon as they 
should be fully engaged with our comrades. In the situ- 
ation assigned me I took advantage of the skirts of a 
wood, which enabled me to approach very near to the ex- 
pected route of our assailants, without being perceived by 
them. The night was extremely dark, yet the vicinity of 
my position was such, that I could count the numbers of 
the adversary as they passed along before my hiding-place. 
I was alarmed to find that they amounted to at least the 
triple of what we had been taught to expect. They were 
no sooner past, than I despatched to the king a young 
knight, my particular friend, who happened to be with me, 
to urge the necessity of a reinforcement. At the same time 
I sent a messenger to my uncle, by a circuitous route, to 
inform him of what I had observed, and the step I had 
taken, and to entreat him to defer the attack as long as con- 
sistently with propriety it should be possible. The enemy, 
however, had no sooner arrived at the place of his destin- 
ation, than the troops of the marquis, no longer capable of 
restraint, rushed to engage. The Spaniards were at first sur- 
prised, but a short time led them to suspect the weakness 
of their assailants ; nor was the assistance I brought to my 
uncle sufficient to turn the fortune of the fight. We lost 
many of our men ; the rest apparently gave ground ; and 
it was a vain attempt, amidst the darkness of the night, to 
endeavour to restore order and rally them to the assault. 
We were already almost completely overpowered, when 
the succours we expected reached us. They were, however, 
unable to distinguish friend from enemy. A storm of 
mingled rain and snow had come on, which benumbed our 
limbs, drove fiercely in our faces, and rendered every object 
alike viewless. The carnage which in this situation took 
place was terrible. Our blows were struck at random. A 
Frenchman was not less dreadful than a Spaniard. When 
the battle ceased, scarcely one of the enemy was left alive ; 
but we observed- with astonishment and horror the number 
c 2 



20 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 






of the besiegers who had probably, in the midst of the con- 
fusion, been cut to pieces by their own countrymen. 
* I anl now arrived at the period which put an end to the 
festivity and jocundness of the campaign. All after this 
was one continued series of disaster. About the close of 
January, our work, though not wholly interrupted, was con- 
siderably retarded by a succession of heavy rains. This 
was injurious to us in many ways; our project, which was 
executed in the midst of waters, rendered additional damp 
a matter of serious consideration. We were also seized 
with an apprehension of still greater magnitude, which was 
speedily realised. The snows being at length completely 
dissolved, and the quantity of water continually increasing, 
we perceived one afternoon strong symptoms that our 
mound, the principal subject of our labour and source of 
our hope, was giving way in various places. The next 
morning at daybreak, it rushed down every where at once 
with wonderful violence and noise. It is difficult to de- 
scribe the sensation of anguish which was instantly and 
universally diffused. The labour of many weeks was over- 
thrown in a moment. As we had proceeded in our work, 
we every day saw ourselves nearer the object to which we 
aspired. At this time our project was almost completed, and 
Pavia was in imagination already in our hands, to gain 
possession of which had cost us such unremitted exertions, 
the display of so much gallantry, and the loss of so many 
soldiers. "We were confounded at the catastrophe we saw. 
We gazed at each other, each in want of encouragement, 
and every one unable to afford it. 

Still, however, we were not destitute of advantages. The 
garrison began to be in want both of ammunition and pro- 
visions. They were in a general state of discontent, almost 
of mutiny, which scarcely all the address and authority of 
the governor were able to suppress. If the town continued 
longer unrelieved, it was sure to fall into our hands. But 
even this our last hope was considerably diminished by the 
intelligence we received the very day after the destruction 
of our mound, that the imperial army, after having received 
large reinforcements, was approaching in considerable force. 
The king had some time before, in the height of his con- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 21 

fidence, and elation of his heart, sent off a detachment of 
six thousand men to invade the kingdom of Naples ; for 
upon that, as well as the Milanese, he had inherited pre- 
tensions from his immediate predecessors. 

But, though the enemy was superior in numbers, and a 
part perhaps of their forces better disciplined than ours, 
they laboured under several disadvantages to which we were 
not exposed. The Emperor, though his dominions were 
more extensive, did not derive from them a revenue equal 
to that of Francis. As he did not take the field in person, 
the war appeared to his subjects only a common war, pro- 
ceeding upon the ordinary motives of war. But my coun- 
trymen were led by their sovereign, were fresh from the 
recent insolence of an invasion of their own territory, and 
fought at once for personal glory and their country's honour. 
The king, who commanded them, seemed expressly formed 
to obtain their attachment and affection. His nobles became 
enthusiastic by the example of his enthusiasm, and willingly 
disbursed their revenues to give prosperity and eclat to the 
campaign. 

The first question that arose upon the approach of the 
enemy was, whether we should break up the siege, and 
attend in some strong post the slow, but sure, effect of their 
want of money, and the consequent dispersion of their 
troops, or wait their attack in our present posture. The 
former advice was safe; but to the gallant spirit of Francis 
it appeared ignominious. He was upon all occasions the 
partisan of rapid measures and decisive proceedings ; and 
his temper, with the exception of a few wary and deliberate 
counsellors, accorded with that of our whole army. For 
some days we congratulated ourselves upon the wisdom of 
our choice ; we presented to the enemy so formidable an 
appearance, that, notwithstanding the cogent motives he 
had to proceed, he hesitated long before he ventured to 
attack us. At length, however, the day came that was 
pregnant with so momentous expectation. 

If through the whole limits of our camp there was not 

a man that did not feel himself roused upon this glorious 

occasion, to me it was especially interesting. The scene 

accorded with the whole purpose of my education, and 

c 3 



22 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

novelty made it impressive. I lived only in the present 
moment. I had not a thought, a wish, a straggling ima- 
gination, that wandered beyond the circuit of the day. My 
soul was filled ; at one minute wild with expectation, and 
at another awed into solemnity. There is something in- 
describably delicious in this concentration of the mind. It 
raises a man above himself ; and makes him feel a certain 
nobleness and elevation of character, of the possession of 
which he was to that hour unconscious. Fear and pain 
Were ideas that could find no harbour in my bosom : I re- 
garded this as the most memorable of days, and myself as 
the most fortunate of mortals. Far indeed was I from an- 
ticipating the disgraceful event, in which this elation of 
heart speedily terminated. 

The sun rose bright in a cloudless sky. The cold of the 
season was such, as only to give new lightness and elas- 
ticity to the muscles and animal spirits. I saw few of those 
objects of nature, which in this delightful climate gave so 
sacred a pleasure to the human soul. But in my present 
temper there was no object of sight so ravishing, as the firm 
and equal steps of the martial bands, the impatience of the 
war-horse, and the display of military standards ; nor any 
music so enchanting, as the shrillness of the pipe, the 
clangor of the trumpet, the neighing of steeds, and the 
roaring of cannon. It is thus that man disguises to himself 
the real nature of his occupation ; and clothes that which 
is of all things the most nefarious or most to be lamented, 
with the semblance of jubilee and festival. 

The Imperialists were at first unable to withstand the 
efforts of French valour. They gave way on every side ; 
we pursued our advantage with impetuosity. To the 
slaughter of whole ranks mowed down with tremendous 
celerity, to the agonies of the dying, I was blind ; their 
groans had no effect on my organ, for my soul was occupied 
in another direction. My horse's heels spurned their 
mangled limbs, and were red with their blood. I fought 
not merely with valour, but with fury; I animated those 
around me by my example and my acclamations. It may 
seem contrary to delicacy to speak with this freedom of my 
own praises; but I am at my present writing totally changed 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 23 

and removed from what I was, and I write with the free- 
dom of a general historian. It is this simplicity and inge- 
nuousness that shall pervade the whole of my narrative. 

The fortune of the day speedily changed. The cow- 
ardice and desertion of our Swiss allies gave the first signal 
of adversity. The gallant commander of the garrison of 
Pavia sallied out in the midst of the fight, and suddenly 
attacked us in the rear. A stratagem of the Imperial gene- 
ral effected the rout of our cavalry. The whole face of the 
field was utterly reversed. 

It would be in vain for me to attempt to describe even 
the small part that I beheld of the calamity and slaughter 
of the French army. At this distance of time, the recol- 
lection of it opens afresh the almost obliterated wounds of 
my heart. I saw my friends cut down, and perish on 
every side. Those who, together with myself, had marched 
out in the morning, swelled with exultation and hope, now 
lay weltering in their blood. Their desires, their thoughts, 
their existence, were brought to a fatal termination. The 
common soldiers were hewed and cut to pieces by hundreds, 
without note and observation. Many of the first nobility 
of France, made desperate by the change of the battle, 
rushed into the thickest of the foe, and became so many 
voluntary sacrifices; choosing rather to perish, than to turn 
their backs with dishonour. 

In the battle I had two horses killed under me. The 
first of them suffered a sort of gradual destruction. He had 
already received one wound in the nostrils, and another in 
the neck, when a third shot carried away two of his feet, 
and laid him prostrate on the earth. Bernardin, my 
faithful attendant, observed what was passing, and imme- 
diately brought me a fresh charger ; but I had not long 
mounted him, when he received a wound which killed him 
on the spot. I was myself hurt in several places, and at 
length the stroke of a sabre brought me to the ground. 
Here I remained for a long time insensible. When I re- 
covered, and looked around me, I found myself in entire 
solitude, and could at present perceive no trace either of the 
enemy or of my own people. Soon, however, I recol- 
lected what had passed, and was but too well assured of the 
c 4 



24 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

defeat my countrymen had sustained. Weak and battered 
as I was, I attempted to retire to a place of greater secu- 
rity. I had scarcely changed my ground, before I saw a 
trooper of the enemy rushing towards me, with the inten- 
tion to take away my life. Fortunately I observed a tree 
at hand, to the shelter of which I hastened ; and, partly by 
moving the branches to and fro, and partly by shifting my 
position, I baffled my adversary, till he became weary of 
the attempt. A moment after, I saw one of my most inti- 
mate and familiar companions killed before my eyes. It 
was not long, however, before a party of fugitive French 
came up to the spot where I stood, and I, like the rest, was 
hurried from the field. My uncle perished in the battle. 

It is wonderful how men can harden their hearts against 
such scenes as I then witnessed. It is wonderful how 
they can be brought to co-operate in such demoniac fury, 
and more than demoniac mischief, barbarity, and murder. 
But they are brought to it ; and enter, not from a deplorable 
necessity, but as to a festival, in which each man is eager 
to occupy his place, and share the amusements. It seemed 
to me at that time, as it seems to me now, that it should 
be enough for a man to contemplate such a field as I saw 
at Pavia, to induce him to abjure the trade of violence for 
ever, and to commit his sword once more to the bowels 
of the earth, from which it was torn for so nefarious a 
purpose. 

These sensations, though now finally established in my 
mind, were, at the time of which I am writing, but of fleet- 
ing duration. The force of education, and the first bent 
of my mind, were too strong. The horror which over- 
whelmed me in the first moments of this great national 
defeat subsided ; and the military passion returned upon me 
in its original ardour. My convictions, and the moral in- 
tegrity of my soul, were temporary ; and I became myself 
a monument of that inconstancy and that wonder, to which 
I have just alluded. 

Various circumstances, however, prevented this passion 
from its direct operation. The character of France was 
altered by the battle of Pavia, though mine remained the 
same. It was in the fullest degree decisive of the fortune 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 25 

of the war. Milan, and every other place in the duchy, 
opened their gates to the conqueror j and, in a fortnight, 
not a Frenchman was left in the fields of Italy. Of the 
whole army only a small body effected an orderly retreat, 
under the command of the Duke of Alencon. Many per- 
sons of the highest distinction perished in the hattle : many 
were made prisoners hy the enemy. France by this event 
found the list of her noblesse considerably reduced in num- 
bers ; add to which, those whose loss she sustained, were 
almost all of them taken from among the most distinguished 
and meritorious in the catalogue. 

But what constituted the principal feature in this me- 
morable event was, that the king himself was found in the 
number of the prisoners ; nor was he released by his un- 
generous competitor till after more than a twelvemonth's 
confinement. During this period Francis tasted of the 
dregs of adversity. Inclined in the first instance to judge 
of his rival by himself, he expected a liberal treatment. In 
this he was deeply disappointed. After a detention of 
many months in the Milanese, the scene of his former suc- 
cesses, he was transferred to Madrid. He was personally 
neglected by the emperor, while his disloyal subject * was 
treated with singular distinction. The most rigorous terms 
were proposed to him. All this had the effect, in one in- 
stance, of sinking him into a disease of languor and dejec- 
tion which he was not expected to survive ; and, in another, 
of inducing him to execute an instrument by which he ab- 
dicated the crown, and declared his resolution of remaining 
a prisoner for life. His confinement was at length termin- 
ated by his solemnly engaging to compulsory articles, which 
he was determined to break as soon as he found himself at 
liberty ; an alternative peculiarly grating to the liberality 
of his spirit. This reverse of fortune materially changed his 
character. The fine spirit of his ambition was from this 
time evaporated ; and, while he still retained the indefeasi- 
ble qualities of his soul, and was gallant, kind-hearted, and 
generous, he bartered, as far as was compatible with his 
disposition, the enterprising and audacious temper he had 
previously manifested, for the wary and phlegmatic system 

* The constable of Bourbon. 



26 



TRAVELS OF ST. 



of his more fortunate competitor. His genius cowered be- 
fore that of Charles ; and the defeat of Pavia may, perhaps, 
be considered as having given a deadly wound to the reign 
of chivalry, and a secure foundation to that of craft, dissi- 
mulation, corruption, and commerce. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE lists of military ambition then being Closed, if not 
permanently, at least for a time, my mind took a new bias ; 
and, without dismissing its most cherished and darling pas- 
sion, pursued a path in the present emergency, to which 
the accidents of my youth had also guided me. If my 
mother had survived, she would probably either not have con- 
sented to my serving at the siege of Pavia, or at least would 
have recalled me to the obscurity of my paternal chateau 
as soon as the campaign was at an end. I had not fully 
completed the twentieth year of my age, at the period of the 
memorable battle in which my sovereign was made prisoner. 
I was left without adviser or guide ; even the Marquis de 
Villeroy, my mother's brother, of whatever consequence his 
admonitions to me might have proved, was taken from me 
in this fatal engagement. The king himself, perhaps, had 
it not been for the dreadful calamities in which he was now 
involved, might have condescended to interest himself in 
some degree in my welfare. By the course of events, I 
was left, yet a minor, and with an ample revenue at my 
disposition, to be wholly guided by the suggestions of my 
own mind. 

In the portion of his reign already elapsed, the splendid 
and interesting qualities of Francis had given a new spring 
to the sentiments of the nation. He was the most accom- 
plished and amiable prince of the time in which he lived. 
There was but one of all the sovereigns of Christendom that 
could cope with him in power, the Emperor Charles; and 
as Charles's peculiarities were of a sort that Frenchmen 
were accustomed to regard with aversion and contempt, so 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 27 

there had not been a douht among my compatriots., of the 
side upon which the superiority would ultimately rest. By 
the events of the day of Pavia they were confounded and 
overwhelmed. They did not despair of their country ; they 
soon felt, and felt to its utmost extent, the rank which 
France held among the European states. But the chain of 
their ideas was interrupted ; they could not but be conscious 
that the fortune of the kingdom had received a grievous 
check. The illustrious career which they had in fancy 
already traversed, was postponed to a distant period. 

The consequences which flow from a suppressed ambition 
may easily be imagined. The nobility of France exchanged 
the activity of the field for the indulgences of the table : 
that concentrated spirit which had sought to expand itself 
upon the widest stage., now found vent in the exhibition of 
individual expense : and, above all, the sordid and inglorious 
passion for gaming, a vice eminently characteristic of the 
age, now especially gained strength, and drew multitudes 
into its destructive vortex. It was, perhaps, impossible for 
a young man to have entered the theatre of the world under 
less favourable auspices. 

In what I have already written, I felt myself prompted 
to enlarge with complacency upon the sentiments and scenes 
of my youth ; and I have yielded to the suggestion. The 
same internal admonition makes me shrink from entering 
with minuteness into the detail of my ruin. I recollect my 
infatuation with abhorrence ; I fly from the memory with 
sensations inexpressibly painful ; I regard it as a cloud that 
overshadowed and blackened for ever the fair prospects of 
my earlier years. 

I shall not enumerate all my youthful companions, or all 
my youthful follies. I committed a mistake obvious enough, 
at this immature period of my existence, when I mistook 
profusion and extravagance for splendour and dignity; and 
the prudent economy which my mother had practised, served, 
in the present instance, as the pander to my vices. The 
whole tendency of my education had been to inspire me 
with a proud and restless desire of distinction ; and I was 
not content to play a second part in the career of my vices, 
as I should not have been content to play a second part in 



28 TRAVELS OF ST. LEOX. 

the genuine theatre of honour and fame. In all that was 
thoughtlessly spirited and gaily profligate., I led the way to 
my compeers, and was constantly held up by them as an 
example. By this conduct I incurred the censure of the 
rigorous and the old ; but the voice of censure reached me 
much seldomer than that of adulation. My person and 
demeanour were the topics of general applause. I was tall 
and well-proportioned; my frame was slender and agile, 
but with an appearance of the fullest health ; my counte- 
nance was open, commanding, and animated : my rank and 
situation in the world gave me confidence ; the fire and 
impetuosity of my temper rendered my gestures easy, rapid, 
expressive, and graceful. The consequence of all this was, 
to confirm me in a plan of life which I early laid down to 
myself, and from which I never in any instance deviated. 
I put aside those rules, as splenetic and hypercritical, which 
confessors preach, and with which the preceptors of young 
men are accustomed to weary and alienate the minds of 
their pupils. The charge of being disorderly and unthink- 
ing I despised ; that of imprudence, even when meant for 
blame, sounded in my ear like the voice of encomium. But, 
accustomed from education to sentiments of honour, and 
from habit to the language of eulogy, it is difficult for any 
man to be more firmly bent than I was to incur no breath 
of dishonour, or to draw the line more peremptorily be- 
tween the follies of youth and the aberrations of a gross 
and unprincipled spirit. 

It may be alleged, indeed, and with considerable justice, 
that the habit of gaming is an exception to this statement. 
It was with hesitation and reluctance that I entered into 
this habit. I saw it as it was, and as every ingenuous and 
undebauched mind must see it, base and sordid. The pos- 
session of some degree of wealth I regarded, indeed, as in- 
dispensable to a man who would fill a lofty and respectable 
character in the world ; a character that, by uniting the 
advantages of exterior appearance with the actions of a hero, 
should extort the homage of his species. But, in the pic- 
ture I drew of this man in my mind, I considered wealth 
as an accident, the attendant on his birth, to be dispensed 
with dignity, not to be adverted to with minuteness of at- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 29 

tention. Deep play is certainly sufficiently inconsistent with 
this character. The direct purpose of the gamester is to 
transfer money from the pocket of his neighbour into his 
own. He rouses his sleepy and wearied attention by the 
most sordid of all motives. The fear of losing pierces his 
heart with anguish ; and to gain to obtain an advantage 
for himself which can scarcely exceed, and which seldom 
equals, the injury his competitor suffers, is the circumstance 
which most transports his heart with delight. For this he 
watches ; for this he calculates. An honourable gamester 
does not seize with premeditation the moment when his 
adversary is deprived, by wine or any other cause, of his 
usual self-possession, He does not seek with sober malice 
to play upon his passions. He does not enter with avidity 
into the contest with an unpractised but presuming rival : 
but he cannot avoid rejoicing, when he finds that accident 
has given him an unusual advantage. I have often thought 
that I could better understand how a man of honour could 
reconcile himself to the accursed and murderous trade of 
war, than to the system of the gaming table. In war, he 
fights with a stranger, a man with whom he has no habits 
of kindness, and who is fairly apprised that he comes against 
him with ruinous intent. But in play, he robs, perhaps, 
his brother, his friend, the partner of his bosom j or, in 
every event, a man seduced into the snare with all the 
arts of courtesy, and whom he smiles upon, even while he 



I am talking here the mere reason and common sense of 
the question as it relates to mankind in general. But it is 
with other feelings that I reflect upon the concern I have 
myself individually in the subject. Years roll on in vain ; 
ages themselves are useless here ; looking forward, as I do, 
to an existence that shall endure till time shall be no more ; 
no time can wipe away the remembrance of the bitter 
anguish that I have endured, the consequence of gaming. 
It is torture ! It is madness ! Poverty, I have drained thy 
cup to the dregs ! I have seen my wife and my children 
looking to me in vain for bread ! Which is the most into- 
lerable distress ? that of the period, in which all the com- 
forts of life gradually left me ; in which I caught at every 



30 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

fragment of promise, and every fragment failed ; in which 
I rose every morning to pamper myself with empty delu- 
sions ; in which I ate the apples of purgatory, fair without, 
but within bitterness and ashes ; in which I tossed, through 
endless, sightless nights, upon the couch of disappointment 
and despair ? or the period, when at length all my hopes 
were at an end ; when I fled with horror to a foreign 
climate ; when my family, that should have been my com- 
fort, gave me my most poignant agony ; when I looked 
upon them, naked, destitute, and exiles, with the tremen- 
dous thought, what and who it was that had caused their 
ruin ? Adversity, without consolation, adversity, when its 
sting is remorse, self-abhorrence and self-contempt, hell 
has no misery by which it can be thrown into shade or 
exceeded ! 

Why do I dwell upon, or at least why do I anticipate, 
this detested circumstance of my story ? Let me add one 
remark in this place, and pass on to the other particulars 
of this epoch of my prodigality. It is true, I must take 
this shameful appellation to myself I was a gamester. 
But, in the beginning, I took no concern in that species of 
science which is often implied in the appellation. My 
games were games of hazard, not of skill. It appeared to 
my distempered apprehension to be only a mode in which 
for a man to display his fortitude and philosophy. I was 
flattered with the practice of gaming, because 1 saw in it, 
when gracefully pursued, the magnanimity of the stoic, 
combined with the manners of a man of the world ; a mag- 
nanimity that no success is able to intoxicate, and no vicis- 
situde to subvert. I committed my property to the hazard 
of the die ; and I placed my ambition in laughing alike at 
the favours of fortune and her frowns. In the sequel, 
however, I found myself deceived. The fickle goddess 
sufficiently proved that she had the power of making me 
serious. But in her most tremendous reverses, I was never 
influenced to do any thing that the most scrupulous game- 
ster regards as dishonourable. I say not this for the pur- 
pose of giving colour and speciousness to my tale. I say 
it, because I have laid it down to myself in this narrative 
as a sacred principle, to relate the simple, unaltered truth. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 31 

Another characteristic of the reign of Francis the First, 
is its gallantries. It is well known how much the king was 
himself occupied with attachments of this sort ; his govern- 
ment was rather the government of women than of politi- 
cians ; and the manners of the sovereign strongly tended to 
fix the habits of his subjects. A very young man rather 
takes the tone of his passions from those about him,, than 
forms one that is properly his own ; and this was my case 
in the present instance as well as in the preceding. Ori- 
ginally of an amorous constitution, I should perhaps have 
quieted the restlessness of my appetites without ostentation 
and eclat, had not the conduct of my youthful associates in 
general led me to regard gallantry as an accomplishment 
indispensably necessary in a young man of rank. It must 
be confessed, indeed, that this offence against the rigour of 
discipline has a thousand advantages over that of gaming. 
Few women of regular and reputable lives have that ease of 
manners, that flow of fancy, and that graceful intrepidity 
of thinking and expressing themselves, that is sometimes to 
be found among those who have discharged themselves from 
the tyranny of custom. There is something irresistibly 
captivating in that voluptuousness which, while it assumes 
a certain air of freedom, uniformly and with preference 
conforms itself to the dictates of unsophisticated delicacy. 
A judicious and limited voluptuousness is necessary to the 
cultivation of the mind, to the polishing of the manners, to 
the refining of sentiment and the developement of the un- 
derstanding ; and a woman deficient in this respect may be 
of use for the government of our families, but can neither 
add to the enjoyments, nor fix the partiality, of a man of 
animation and taste. 

But whatever there may be in these considerations,, cer- 
tain it is that the conduct I pursued in matters of gallantry 
led me into great and serious expenses. The mistresses 
with whom I chanced to associate had neither the inex- 
pressible captivation of madame de Chateaubriant *, nor the 
aspiring and impressive manners of the duchess d'Etampes*. 
They had, however, beauty and vivacity, frolic without 
rudeness, and softness without timidity. They had paid. 
* Mistresses of Francis L 



S2 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

some regard to points of knowledge and taste, considering 
these as additional means for fixing the partiality of their 
paramours, and knowing that they had no security for the 
permanence of their prosperity but in the variety of their 
attractions. In their society I was led into new trains 
of reflection, a nicer consideration of human passion and 
the varieties of human character, and, above all, into a 
greater quickness and delicacy in matters of intellectual taste. 
My hours, for the most part, rolled swiftly and easily away, 
sometimes in the society of the young, the gay and the am- 
bitious of my own sex, and sometimes in the softer and 
more delicious intercourse of the fair. I lived in the midst 
of all that Paris could at that time furnish of splendid and 
luxurious. This system of living was calculated to lull 
me in pleasing dreams, and to waste away existence in de- 
lirious softness. It sufficiently accorded with the sad 
period of our sovereign's captivity, when my young com- 
patriots sought to drown the sense of public and patriotic 
considerations in copious draughts of pleasure ; nor did the 
monarch's return immediately restore to France her former 
haughtiness and pride. 

The course of sensuality in which I was now engaged, 
though it did not absolutely sink into grossness, may 
well be supposed to have trodden upon the very edge of 
licence. I and my companions were young ; we were made 
fearless and presuming by fortune and by rank ; we had 
laid aside those more rigorous restraints which render the 
soberer part of mankind plausible and decent, by making 
them timid and trite. I will not contaminate the minds of 
my innocent and inexperienced readers by entering into the 
detail of the follies in which I engaged. 

One thing it is necessary to remark, as essential to the 
main thread of my story. My expenses of all kinds, during 
this period of self-desertion, drained my resources, but did 
not tarnish my good name. My excesses were regarded by 
some as ornamental and becoming, but by all were admitted 
as venial. The laurels I had won in the field of military 
honour were not obscured by my subsequent conduct. I 
was universally ranked among the most promising and 
honourable of the young noblemen of France. I had some 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



33 



rivals ; I did not pass through this turbulent and diversi- 
fied scene without disputes ; hut no one cast a reflection 
upon my name, no one ventured to speak of me with super- 
ciliousness and opprobrium. Nor was my temper more in- 
jured than my reputation. From every dispute I extricated 
myself with grace and propriety ; I studied the pleasure and 
ease of all with whom I associated; and no man enjoyed 
more extensively than I did the sweets of friendship, as far 
as the sweets of friendship can be extensively enjoyed. 



CHAPTER IV. 

I HAD been now two years in habits of life and a mode of 
expense extremely injurious to my patrimony., when a cir- 
cumstance occurred, which promised completely to deliver 
me from the ruinous consequences of my own folly. This 
was no other than my encounter with that incomparable 
woman, who afterwards became the partner of my life, and 
the mother of my children. I cannot even now recoUect 
her without tears : the sentiment which her very name ex- 
cites in my mind is a mingled feeling, on the one hand, of 
the most exquisite and unspeakable delight, a feeling that 
elevates and expands and electrifies my throbbing heart ; 
and, on the other, of the bitterest anguish and regret. I 
must develope the source of this feeling. 

Marguerite Louise Isabeau de Damville was, at the period 
of our first meeting, in the nineteenth year of her age. 
Her complexion was of the most perfect transparency, her 
eyes black and sparkling, and her eyebrows dark and long. 
Such were the perfect smoothness and clearness of her skin, 
that at nineteen she appeared five years younger than she was, 
and she long retained this extreme juvenility of form. Her step 
was airy and light as that of a young fawn, yet at the same 
time firm, and indicative of strength of body and vigour of 
mind. Her voice, like the whole of her external appear- 
ance, was expressive of undesigning, I had almost said 
childish, simplicity. Yet, with all this playfulness of ap- 



34> TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

pearance, her understanding was bold and correct. Her 
mind was well furnished with every thing that could add 
to her accomplishments as a wife or a mother. Her in- 
dulgent parents had procured her every advantage of edu- 
cation, and circumstances had been uncommonly favourable 
to her improvement. She was encouraged and assisted in 
the art of drawing, for which she discovered a very early 
talent, by Leonardo da Vinci j and she formed her poetical 
taste from the conversation and instructions of Clement 
Marot. But, amidst the singular assemblage of her intel- 
lectual accomplishments, there was nothing by which she 
was so much distinguished, as the uncommon prudence of 
her judgments, and the unalterable amiableness of her 
manners. This was the woman destined to crown my hap- 
piness, and consummate my misery. If I had never 
known her, I should never have tasted true pleasure ; if I 
had been guided by her counsels, I should not have drained 
to the very dregs the cup of anguish. 

The house of her father, the Marquis de Damville, was 
the resort of all the most eminent wits and scholars of that 
period, particularly of Marot, Rabelais, Erasmus and Sca- 
liger. This was my first inducement to frequent it. My 
education had inspired me with an inextinguishable love of 
literature ; and the dissipation in which I was at this time 
involved could not entirely interrupt the propensity. The 
most thoughtless and extravagant period of my life had oc- 
casional intervals of study and reflection ; and the gay, 
animated, and ingenious conversation of the men I have 
mentioned, had always peculiar charms for me. 

I had continued for some time to visit at the Marquis's 
hotel, before I encountered the beautiful Marguerite. The 
first time I saw her, she made a deep impression upon me. 
The Marquis, who was one of the most benevolent and 
enlightened of mankind, had been led by my character and 
manners to conceive a warm friendship for me. He saw 
the ruin in which I was heedlessly involving myself, and 
believed that it was not yet too late to save me. As he 
thought that there was no method so likely to effect my 
reformation as the interposition of domestic affections, he 
was not unwilling to encourage the attachment I began to 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 35 

feel for his daughter. On my part I wanted but little 
encouragement. I no sooner observed her manners, and 
became acquainted with her merits, than my heart was un- 
alterably fixed. I became as it were a new man. I was 
like one, who, after his eyes had grown imperceptibly dim 
till at length every object appeared indistinct and of a 
gloomy general hue, has his sight instantaneously restored, 
and beholds the fabric of the universe in its genuine clear- 
ness, brilliancy, and truth. I was astonished at my own 
folly, that I could so long have found gratification in plea- 
sures mean and sensual. I was ashamed of my own de- 
gradation. I could not endure the comparison between the 
showy, unsubstantial attractions of the women I had hitherto 
frequented, and the charms of the adorable Marguerite. The 
purity of her mind seemed to give a celestial brilliancy and 
softness to the beauties of her person. The gross and brutal 
pursuits of the debauchee are often indeed described by the 
same epithets as the virtuous and refined passion with which 
I was now for the first time inspired ; but experience con- 
vinced me that they differed in their most essential features. 
The Marquis saw the state of my mind, and addressed 
me thus. lc Count," said he, " I feel the most ardent 
friendship for you. I am inexpressibly concerned for your 
welfare. You will be convinced of this, when I have fur- 
nished you with a clue to my late conduct towards you. I 
regard you, if not as a ruined man, at least as a man in the 
high road to ruin. Your present habits are of the most 
dangerous sort ; they appear to you perfectly conformable 
to principles of the strictest honour ; nay, they come re- 
commended to you by a certain eclat and dignity with 
which they seem to be surrounded. I could say to you, 
Recollect yourself. Be not misled by delusive appearances. 
Consider the present state of your fortune, and the state in 
which your mother left it. You cannot be ignorant how 
greatly it is impaired. How has this circumstance arisen? 
Have your revenues been expended in the service of your 
country ? Have you purchased any thing by them that will 
confer on you lasting renown? Put together the sum of 
actions, which, piece by piece, you have been willing to 
regard as indifferent and innocent, if not as graceful and 
D 2 



36 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

becoming. You cannot but be struck with their monstrous 
deformity. Is it possible that you can be ignorant of the 
nature of poverty ? There is such a thing as honourable 
poverty. The poverty of Cincinnatus was honourable, who 
impoverished himself by paying the fine which was fac- 
tiously imposed on his son, and then was contented to pass 
his time alternately between the highest situations and the 
most rigid simplicity. The poverty of a man of genius, 
such as Rabelais, if not honourable, is interesting, when we 
compare his merits and worth with that of many of those 
persons upon whom fortune has blindly lavished her fa- 
vours. It is honourable, if he have declined the means of 
enriching himself by the sacrifice of his independence and 
his principles. But of all earthly things the most con- 
temptible is the man who, having wasted his goods in 
riotous living, yet hungers after the luxuries that have 
proved his bane, and feasts himself upon the steam of 
dainties of which he has lost the substance. Poverty, 
always sufficiently disadvantageous in a degenerate age, 
where attention and courtship are doled forth with scales 
of gold, is tremendous to him. He is the scorn of all man- 
kind. Wherever he is a guest, he is invited only to be 
trampled upon and insulted. He is capable of nothing, 
and is a burden to society and mankind. The helpless- 
ness of age advances upon him with stealing steps, and he 
is destined to gather all its miseries and none of its con- 
solations. 

" I might have talked to you thus, but I refused it. I 
apprehend something of the nature of advice. I know that 
it can seldom be attended with its genuine effect, and will 
never be received with deference and pleasure, where its 
motives are capable of misconstruction. If I had talked to 
you thus, I might have appeared to be indulging the ty- 
ranny of age ; I might have seemed to assume an unbe- 
coming air of superiority and command : it could not have 
been clear that I was honestly interested in that, about 
which I affected so much concern. I doubt not the in- 
genuousness of your nature. I doubt not that you would 
have been struck with the picture. But I must be per- 
mitted to doubt the adequate and lasting effect of my ex- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 3J 

postulation. I was not willing by my forwardness and 
loquacity to wear out one of the great springs of human 
improvement. 

" I have determined on your reform. For that purpose I 
think it necessary to combine my remonstrances and advice, 
with a change of your habits and situation. You have 
tasted largely of what are commonly called the pleasures of 
life, but there are pleasures that you have not tasted. At 
this moment you anticipate them; and anticipate them 
with the ardour of a lover. But you know not yet all the 
gratifications that attend upon domestic affections. 

" I am willing to bestow upon you my daughter. I con- 
sent to prove the purity of my advice, and the sincerity of 
my regard, by committing her happiness to the risk. She 
is a treasure, the equal of which perhaps the world does not 
hold. I speak not of her personal attractions. But in un- 
derstanding, accomplishments, and virtue, I firmly believe 
no woman living can compare with her. In possessing her, 
you will be blessed beyond the lot of princes. But, at the 
same time that I shah" thus put happiness within your grasp, 
remember that I commit to your disposal the happiness of 
Marguerite. You are a worthy and an honourable man ; 
your talents and your virtues will constitute her felicity. 
Her portion will redeem the injury which your patrimony 
has suffered from your excesses, and you will have enough 
for yourselves, and for your mutual offspring. I cannot 
believe that, with such a deposit intrusted to you, you will 
consent to bring her to misery and ruin. 

(C I have one condition, however, to stipulate with you. 
I require of you, as the pledge of her happiness, that you 
break off your present modes of life ; that you separate 
yourself from your connections, and retire into the country 
upon your paternal estate. You are yet too young to be in 
danger from that tyranny of custom, which often renders 
men more advanced in life incapable of relishing the simple 
and genuine pleasures. You will find contentment and 
joy in the society of my daughter, and in the bosom of 
your rising family. You will be happy in the circle of 
your own hearth, and have little to ask of the rest of man- 
kind. If, in any ill-omened and inauspicious moment, the 
D 3 



38 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

allurements of your present vices (forgive the plainness of 
my speech) should resume their power over you, I hope at 
least that I shall never live to see it ; that I shall not be 
taught by bitter experience, that I have sacrificed to the 
disinterestedness of my friendship the happiness of my 
daughter and of my posterity ! " 

My heart weeps blood, while I record the admonitions of 
this noble and generous man. A nobler France did not 
contain through all her boundaries. Refined by literature, 
polished by the best society his age could afford, grown 
grey in the field of honour, and particularly distinguished 
by the personal attachment and confidence of his sovereign. 
What was all this advice to me ? What return did I make 
to this unparalleled kindness and friendship ? I ruined this 
admirable woman ! I involved her in poverty and shame ! 
With the most savage barbarity I prepared for her an im- 
mature grave ! Can I forget this ? Of what avail to me are 
immortal life and immortal youth ? Oh, Marguerite, Mar- 
guerite ! For ever thy image haunts me ! For ever thy 
ghost upbraids me ! How little have I proved myself worthy 
of such a partner ! Rather what punishment, what plagues, 
what shame and detestation have I not deserved ! Praised 
be Heaven, the last prayer of the Marquis of Damville at 
least was granted ! He did not live to witness my relapse, 
my profligacy, and insanity. 

I resume the thread of my story. I listened to the ad- 
dress of the Marquis with reverence and admiration. I 
accepted his conditions with joy. I married his adorable 
daughter, and conducted her to my paternal estate in the 
Bourdelois. Now only it was that I tasted of perfect hap- 
piness. To judge from my own experience in this situa- 
tion, I should say, that nature has atoned for all the disasters 
and miseries she so copiously and incessantly pours upon 
her sons, by this one gift, the transcendent enjoyment and 
nameless delights which, wherever the heart is pure and 
the soul is refined, wait on the attachment of two persons 
of opposite sexes. My beloved Marguerite guided and 
directed me, at the same time that she was ever studying 
my gratification. I instructed her by my experience, while 
she enlightened me by the rectitude and decision of < her 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. S<) 

taste. Ours was a sober and dignified happiness, and its 
very sobriety served to give it additional voluptuousness. 
We had each our separate pursuits, whether for the culti- 
vation of our minds, or the promotion of our mutual in- 
terests. Separation gave us respectability in each other's 
eyes, while it prepared us to enter with fresh ardour into 
society and conversation. In company with each other, 
hours passed over us, and appeared but minutes. It has 
been said to be a peculiar felicity for any one to be praised 
by a man who is himself eminently a subject of praise : 
how much happier to be prized and loved by a person 
worthy of love ? A man may be prized and valued by his 
friend ; but in how different a style of sentiment from the 
regard and attachment that may reign in the bosom of his 
mistress or his wife ? Self-complacency and self-satisfaction 
may perhaps be numbered among the principal sources of 
contentment. It is necessary for him who would endure 
existence with patience, that he should conceive himself to 
be something, that he should be persuaded he is not a 
cipher in the muster-roll of man. How bitter is the an- 
guish we are sometimes doomed to sustain in this respect 
from the marks we receive of other men's indifference and 
contempt ? To feel that we are loved by one whose love we 
have deserved, to be employed in the mutual interchange of 
the marks of this love, habitually to study the happiness 
of one by whom our happiness is studied in return, this is 
the most desirable, as it is the genuine and unadulterated 
condition of human nature. I must have some one to 
sympathise with ; I cannot bear to be cut off from all re- 
lations : I desire to experience a confidence, a concord, an 
attachment, that cannot rise between common acquaintance. 
In every state we long for some fond bosom on which to 
rest our weary head ; some speaking eye with which to ex- 
change the glances of intelligence and affection. Then the 
soul warms and expands itself; then it shuns the observ- 
ation of every other beholder ; then it melts with feelings 
that are inexpressible, but that the heart understands with- 
out the aid of words ; then the eyes swim with rapture ; 
then the frame languishes with enjoyment ; then the soul 
burns with fire ; then the two persons thus blest are no 
i) 4 



40 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

longer two ; distance vanishes, one thought animates, one 
mind informs them. Thus love acts ; thus it is ripened 
to perfection ; never does man feel himself so much alive, 
so truly etherial, as when, bursting the bonds of diffidence, 
uncertainty and reserve, he pours himself entire into the 
bosom of the woman he adores. 

Marguerite de Damville was particularly distinguished 
from every other woman I ever knew by the justness of her 
taste and the vividness of her feelings. This circumstance 
was a fund of inexhaustible delight and improvement to 
me. We were both of us well acquainted with the most 
eminent poets and fine writers of modern times. But when 
we came to read them together, they presented themselves 
in a point of view in which they had never been seen by us 
before. It is, perhaps, more important that poetry, and 
every thing that excites the imagination or appeals to the 
heart, should be read in solitude, than in society. But the 
true way to understand our author in these cases, is to em- 
ploy each of these modes in succession. The terrible, the 
majestic, the voluptuous and the melting, are all of them, 
in a considerable degree, affairs of sympathy ; and we never 
judge of them so infallibly, or with so much satisfaction, 
as when, in the presence of each other, the emotion is 
kindled in either bosom at the same instant, the eye-beams, 
pregnant with sentiment and meaning, involuntarily meet 
and mingle ; the voice of the reader becomes modulated by 
the ideas of his author, and that of the hearer, by an acci- 
dental interjection of momentary comment or applause, 
confesses its accord. It was in this manner that we read 
together the admirable sonnets of Petrarch, and passed in 
review the sublime effusions of Dante. The letters of 
Eloisa to Abelard afforded us singular delight. We searched 
into the effusions of the Troubadours, and, among all their 
absurdities and inequality, we found a wildness, a daring 
pouring forth of the soul, an unpruned richness of imagin- 
ation, and, from time to time, a grandeur of conception and 
audacious eccentricity of thought, that filled us with un- 
locked for transport. At other times, when not regularly 
engaged in this species of reading, we would repeat passages 
to each other, communicate the discoveries of this sort that 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 41 

either had made in solitude,, and point out unobserved beau- 
ties, that perhaps neither of us would have remarked, hut 
for the suggestions of the other. It is impossible for two 
persons to be constituted so much alike, but that one of 
them should have a more genuine and instantaneous relish 
for one sort of excellence, and another for another. Thus 
we added to each other's stores, and acquired a largeness of 
conception and liberality of judgment that neither of us 
would have arrived at if separate. It is difficult to imagine 
how prolific this kind of amusement proved of true happi- 
ness. We were mutually delighted to remark the accord 
of our feelings, and still more so, as we perceived that 
accord to be hourly increasing, and what struck either as a 
blemish in the other, wearing out and disappearing. We 
were also led by the same means to advert to the powers of 
mind existing in each, the rectitude of judgment and deli- 
cacy of feeling. As our attachment hourly increased, we 
rejoiced in this reciprocation of benefits, while each gave or 
received something that added to value of mind and worth 
of character. Mutual esteem was incessantly kept alive, 
and mutual esteem is the only substantial basis of love. 
Each of us hourly blessed our common lot, while each be- 
lieved it impracticable elsewhere to have found so much 
worth blended with so much sweetness. 

But we did not confine ourselves to the library and fire- 
side. We walked, we rode, we travelled together ; we ob- 
served together the beauties of nature, and the system of 
the universe ; we traversed many provinces of France, and 
some parts of Italy and Spain ; we examined the characters 
of mankind, as they are modified by the varieties of natural 
descent, or the diversities of political government. In all 
this we found peculiar gratification. There is something 
in the scent and impression of a balmy atmosphere, in the 
lustre of sunshine, in the azure heaven and the purple 
clouds, in the opening of prospects on this side and on that^ 
in the contemplation of verdure and fertility, and industry 
and simplicity and cheerfulness, in all their variations, in 
the very act and exercise of travelling, peculiarly congenial 
to the human frame. It expands the heart, it makes the 
spirit dance, and exquisitely disposes us for social enjoy- 



42 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

ment. The mind becomes more elevated and refined, it 
assumes a microscopical and unwonted sensibility ; it feels 
things which, in ordinary moments, are unheeded and un- 
known ; it enjoys things too evanescent for a name, and too 
minute to be arrested ; it trembles with pleasure through 
every fibre and every articulation. 

One thing is necessary to be mentioned in this place, 
though, while it adds to the fidelity of delineation, I am 
aware it breaks the tone of feeling, and the harmony of 
the picture. But it is not my intention in this history to 
pass myself for better than I am. I have laid down to my- 
self the sacred maxim of absolute truth and impartiality. I 
must confess, therefore, with whatever anguish, my extreme 
inferiority to my incomparable partner. She had all the 
simplicity of genuine taste. The more she delivered her- 
self up to nature, the greater was her content. All super- 
fluous appendages and show appeared to her as so many 
obstacles to enjoyment. She derived her happiness from 
the tone of her own mind, and stood in no need of the gap- 
ing admiration and stupid wonder of others to make her 
feel herself happy. But I retained the original vice of my 
mind. The gestures of worship and the voice of applause 
were necessary to me. I did not suffice to myself. I was not 
satisfied with the tranquil and inglorious fruition of genuine 
pleasures, forgetting the vain and anxious tumult of the 
world, and forgotten by those who figured on its theatre. 
It may be, that Marguerite could, and ought, by insensible 
degrees, to have rooted out this disease of my mind. But 
I am concerned only with the statement of facts ; and I 
know that no such thing was the effect of our intercourse. 
This absurd passion did not, however, at this time, lead 
me to any fatal extremities. It contented itself with the 
frivolous gratification resulting from a certain portion of 
ostentation and expense. I maintained a considerable train 
of servants : my apartments were magnificent, and my fur- 
niture splendid. When we travelled, it was with an at- 
tendance little short of princely. Idiot that I was, to 
regard this as an addition to the genuine pleasures which I 
have above enumerated ! When we were at home, every 
accidental guest was received and entertained with extra- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



43 



ordinary pomp, a pomp not directed to add to his accom- 
modation, but that was designed to leave him impressed 
with astonishment and admiration at the spirit of his host. 
Often, indeed, did I feel this ostentation an encumbrance : 
often did I languish for the ease and freedom which result 
from a mediocrity of circumstances. But this I called, 
doing honour to my ancestors and my country, and vindi- 
cating the consideration due to the house of St. Leon. 

To quit this painful recollection. A circumstance which 
tended at this time to fill the measure of my happiness, 
consisted in the dear pledges which Marguerite bore me of 
our mutual affection. It is impossible for him who has not 
experienced it, to conceive the accumulation which a ge- 
nuine tenderness derives from this source. The difficulties 
are many that attend upon pregnancy ; trifles are at that 
period sources of fatigue and injury ; it is necessary that 
the person should be protected, and the mind tranquil. We 
love to watch over a delicate plant, that appears to call for 
all our anxiety and attention. There is in this case the 
sentiment, without the repulsive circumstances that attends 
upon our sympathy with a dangerous and alarming disease. 
Marguerite, by her sensibility and growing attachment, 
abundantly rewarded my cares. At length the critical pe- 
riod arrives, when an event so extraordinary occurs, as can- 
not fail to put the human frame in considerable jeopardy. 
Never shall I forget the interview between us immediately 
subsequent to her first parturition, the effusion of soul with 
which we met each other after all danger seemed to have 
subsided, the kindness which animated us, increased as it 
was by ideas of peril and suffering, the sacred sensation 
with which the mother presented her infant to her husband, 
or the complacency with which we read in each other's eyes 
a common sentiment of melting tenderness and inviolable 
attachment ! 

This, she seemed to say, is the joint result of our com- 
mon affection. It partakes equally of both, and is the 
shrine in which our sympathies and our life have been 
poured together, never to be separated. Let other lovers 
testify their engagements by presents and tokens ; we re- 
cord and stamp our attachment in this precious creature, a 



44 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

creature of that species which is more admirable than any 
thing else the world has to boast, a creature susceptible of 
pleasure and pain, of affection and love, of sentiment and 
fancy, of wisdom and virtue. This creature will daily 
stand in need of an aid we shall delight to afford ; will re- 
quire our meditations and exertions to forward its im- 
provement, and confirm its merits and its worth. We shall 
each blend our exertions, for that purpose, and our union, 
confirmed by this common object of our labour and affection, 
will every day become more sacred and indissoluble. All 
this the present weakness of my beloved Marguerite would 
not allow her to say. But all this occurred to my re- 
flections ; and, when we had time tranquilly to compare 
our recollection of the event, it plainly appeared that in all 
this our hearts and conceptions had most truly sympathised. 

The possessing a third object, a common centre of anxiety 
to both, is far from weakening the regard of such a couple 
for each other. It does not separate or divert them ; it is 
a new link of connection. Each is attached to it the more 
for the sake of either ; each regards it as a sort of branch 
or scion, representing the parent; each rejoices in its 
health, its good humour, its smiles, its increase in size, in 
strength, and in faculties, principally from the idea of the 
gratification they will communicate to the other. Were it 
not for this idea, were it possible the pleasure should not 
be mutual, the sentiment would be stripped of its principal 
elevation and refinement ; it would be comparatively cold, 
selfish, solitary, and inane. 

In the first ten years of our marriage my wife brought 
me five children, two sons and three daughters. The second 
son only died in his infancy. My predominant passion at 
this time was that of domestic pleasures and employments, 
and I devoted myself, jointly with the mother, to the cul- 
tivation of the minds of my children. They all in a con- 
siderable degree rewarded our care ; they were all amiable. 
Taught by the example of their parents, they lived in un- 
common harmony and affection. Charles, the eldest, was 
a lad of a bold and active disposition ; but the sentiments 
of virtue and honour that were infused into him, both by 
Marguerite and myself, found a favourable reception, and 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 45 

promised to render those qualities, which, if left to them- 
selves, might have heen turbulent and dangerous, productive 
of the happiest consequences. Julia, his eldest sister, was 
uncommonly mild and affectionate, alive to the slightest 
variations of treatment, profoundly depressed by every 
mark of unkindness, but exquisitely sensible to demon- 
strations of sympathy and attachment. She appeared little 
formed to struggle with the difficulties of life and the frowns 
of the world ; but, in periods of quietness and tranquillity 
nothing could exceed the sweetness of her character and 
the fascination of her manners. Her chief attachment was 
to her mother, though she was by no means capable of her 
mother's active beneficence and heroic fortitude. Louisa, 
the second daughter, resembled her mother in person, and 
promised to resemble her in character. Marguerite, the 
youngest, differed from the whole family, in the playfulness 
and frolic of her disposition. Her vivacity was inexhaust- 
ible, and was continually displaying itself in innocent 
tricks, and smart, unexpected sallies. Nothing could pos- 
sibly be more ingenuous than this admirable infant; no- 
thing more kind, considerate, and enthusiastic in her tender- 
ness and grief, when an occasion occurred to call forth 
these sentiments. But the moment the sorrowful occasion 
was over, she would resume all her vivacity ; and even 
sometimes, in the midst of her tears, some trait of her 
native humour would escape. I know not whether all the 
family were not more attached to the little Marguerite than 
to any other individual member, as she certainly oftenest 
contributed to their amusement and pleasure. Such was 
the amiable circle, one and all of whom have been involved 
by me in the most tremendous ruin and disgrace. 



CHAPTER V. 

CHARLES was now nine years of age. His mother and 
myself had delighted ourselves with observing and forward- 
ing the opening of his infant mind, and had hitherto been 



40 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

contented with the assistance of a neighbouring priest by 
way of preceptor. But, as he was our only son, we were 
desirous that he should obtain every advantage of educa- 
tion. We were neither of us illiterate ; but, in the course of 
twenty-three years, which had elapsed since I was myself of 
Charles's age, the progress of literature and the literary 
passion in Europe had been astonishingly great, and I was 
anxious that he should realise in his own person every 
benefit which the fortunate and illustrious period of human 
affairs in which he began to exist seemed to hold out to 
him. Beside, there was an impetuosity and forwardness in 
his character, that seemed ill to brook the profound soli- 
tude and retirement in which his mother and I were con- 
tented to live. His case demanded companions of his own 
age, a little world of fellow-beings, with whom he might 
engage in their petty business and cares, with whose pas- 
sions his own might jostle or might sympathise, who might 
kindle his emulation, and open to him the field of fraternal 
associations and amity. 

There was, however, a considerable difficulty attendant 
on this question. The schools of real literature in France, 
where languages were properly taught, and science might 
be acquired, were at this time exceedingly few. The 
nearest university was that of Toulouse, at the distance of 
twenty-six leagues. This was, practically speaking, as far 
from us as Paris itself. Was then our darling child to be 
torn from his parents, from all he was accustomed to see, 
and all by whom he was loved, to be planted in the midst 
of strangers, to have his mind excited to observation, and 
the spirit of generous contention roused, at the risk of 
suppressing the tender affections of his soul, and the senti- 
ments of duty, reliance, and love ? There seemed, however, 
to be no alternative. It was necessary that a temporary 
separation should take place. Intellectual improvement was 
a point by all means to be pursued ; and we must direct 
our efforts to keep alive along with it those winning qua- 
lities, and that softness of heart, which had hitherto ren- 
dered Charles so eminently our delight. Such were our 
fond speculations and projects for the future. 

It was at length determined that I should proceed along 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 47 

with him to Paris. I could there observe upon the spot 
the state of the university, and the means of learning that 
existed in the metropolis ; and could consult with some of 
those eminent luminaries with whom I had become ac- 
quainted at the house of the Marquis de Damville. Mar- 
guerite declined accompanying me upon this occasion. Her 
father was dead: she could not think of quitting her daugh- 
ters for any considerable time ; and our nuptial engagement 
of residing always in the country gave her a repugnance to 
the removing with her whole family to Paris. It was left 
probable that she might come to me when the business was 
settled,, if at that time it was determined to leave her son at 
the capital ; and that she might then reconduct me to the 
place, which had been the scene of all my happiness, but 
which I was destined never to revisit in peace. 

Preliminaries being at length fully adjusted in the man- 
ner that appeared suitable to the importance of the occasion, 
I set off for the metropolis of my country, which I had seen 
only once, and that for a very short period, in the course 
of ten years. That visit had been produced by a very me- 
lancholy circumstance, the death of the Marquis de Dam- 
ville. Marguerite and myself had then been summoned, 
and arrived at his hotel but a few days before he expired. 
Though extremely weakened by the mortal disease under 
which he laboured, he retained all the faculties of his mind, 
and conversed with us in the most affectionate and endear- 
ing terms. He congratulated us upon our mutual felicity; 
nor could the situation in which we found him, upon the 
brink of an everlasting oblivion of all earthly things, abate 
the sincerity and fervour of his delight. He thanked me 
for my carriage and conduct as a husband, which, he said, 
might with propriety be held up as a model to the human 
species. He applauded himself for that mingled discern- 
ment and determination, which, as he affirmed, had so 
opportunely secured my virtue and his daughter's happiness. 
He trusted that I was now sufficiently weaned from those 
habits which had formerly given him so much alarm. At 
the same time he conjured me, by every motive that an 
overflowing enthusiasm could suggest, to persist in my good 
resolutions, and never to change that residence, where I 



48 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



had found every degree of delight of which the human 
mind is in its present condition susceptible. "Do not/' said 
he, "be drawn aside by ambition; do not be dazzled by the 
gli tter of idle pomp and decoration ; do not enter the re- 
motest circle of the vortex of dissipation ! Live in the 
midst of your family; cultivate domestic affection; be the 
solace and joy of your wife; watch for the present and 
future welfare of your children; and be assured that you 
will then be found no contemptible or unbeneficial member 
of the community at large ! " 

Such were the last advices of the Marquis de Damville. 
Excellent man ! how ill were your lessons remembered ! 
how iU your kindness remunerated ! He died in the sixth 
year of our marriage. The serious impression which this 
event produced in my mind gave me small inclination to 
enter into any species of society, and disposed me to quit 
Paris as soon as every respect had been paid to the obse- 
quies of the deceased. 

Upon my arrival in the metropolis on the present occa- 
sion, I immediately sought to renew my acquaintance with 
those amiable and eminent persons, who had for the most 
part constituted the circle of the Marquis de Damville. 
They received me with that interest and attention that I 
have usually found attendant on a cultivated mind. The 
pleasure was considerable, that resulted from meeting them 
thus again, after ten years' cessation of intercourse. A few 
of them, indeed, were dead, and others dispersed by various 
accidents in different parts of France or of Europe. The 
greater part, however, I still found in that celebrated city, 
which might weU be considered as the metropolis of the 
civilised world. The king had early been distinguished by 
his love of letters and the arts ; and added years, while 
they abated in his mind the eagerness of ambition and glory, 
gave new strength to his more cultivated propensities. The 
liberality of his conduct, and the polished ease that cha- 
racterised his manners, produced a general predilection in 
favour of the capital in which he resided. 

I found all my former friends matured and improved by 
the silent influence of time. Their knowledge was in- 
creased; their views rendered wider; their conversation 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 49 

was more amusing and instructive, their manners more 
bland and unaffected. But, if their characters had experi- 
enced revolution, mine was more materially changed. I 
had before encountered them with all the heat and pre- 
sumption of youth, with no views so much present to my 
mind as those of chivalry and a factitious honour, with no 
experience but that of a camp. I was impetuous, volatile, 
and dissipated. I had not rested long enough upon any one 
of the flowers of intellect to extract its honey; and my 
mind was kept in a state of preternatural agitation by the 
passions of a gamester. It was now become cool, moderate, 
and tranquil. The society of Marguerite had contributed 
much to the improvement of my character ; I had li ved in 
no idle and brutish solitude, but in the midst of contem- 
plation and letters ; and I had the passions of a husband 
and a father, in the extremest degree attached to his family. 
These passions will be found, perhaps, to be the true school 
of humanity : the man, whose situation continually exercises 
in him the softest and most amiable charities of our nature, 
will almost infallibly surpass his brethren in kindness to 
sympathise with, and promptness to relieve, the distresses 
of others. 

Will it be accounted strange that, in Paris, surrounded 
by persons of various knowledge and liberal benevolence, I 
found myself under the influence of other feelings, than any 
I had lately experienced ? I was like a man who had suf- 
fered long calamity in a famished vessel or a town besieged, 
and is immediately after introduced into the midst of luxury, 
to a table loaded with the most costly dainties. Every viand 
has to his apprehension an exquisite relish, and every wine 
a delicious flavour, that he never perceived in them before. 
Let no one infer that my love for Marguerite was dimi- 
nished; it has already sufficiently appeared in the course of 
my narrative, that no happiness could be more consummate 
than mine was with this admirable woman. Had I been 
called upon to choose for the seat of my future life, between 
my paternal chateau in the Bordelois, with Marguerite to 
grace my abode, on the one hand; and all the gratifications 
that Paris could afford, on the other, I should not have 
hesitated even for an instant. But the mind of man is 



50 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

made capacious of various pleasures ; and a person of sound 
and uncorrupted judgment will perhaps always enjoy with 
emotion the delights which for a long time before he had 
not encountered, however enviable his content may have 
been under their absence. I delighted to converse with 
the men of genius and refinement with whom Paris at this 
time abounded. It was a feast of soul of which I had 
rarely partaken in my rural retreat. I delighted to combine 
excellence with number, and, to a considerable degree at 
least, variety of intercourse with sentiments of regard and 
friendship. In these select societies I found no cold sup- 
pressions and reserve. Their members were brethren in 
disposition, similar in their pursuits, and congenial in their 
sentiments. When any one spoke, it was that the person 
to whom he addressed himself might apprehend what was 
passing in his thoughts. They participated with sincerity 
and a liberal mind in each other's feelings, whether of gay 
delight or melancholy disappointment. 

Thus situated, I forgot for a time my engagements with 
Marguerite. The scenes of St. Leon, its fields, its walks, 
its woods and its streams, faded from my mind. I forgot 
the pleasure with which I had viewed my children sporting 
on the green, and the delicious, rural suppers which I had 
so often partaken with my wife beneath my vines and my 
fig-trees at the period of the setting sun. When I set out 
for Paris, these images had dwelt upon my mind, and sad- 
dened my fancy. At every stage I felt myself removed 
still further from the scene where my treasures and my 
affections were deposited. But, shortly after, new scenes 
and new employments engaged my thoughts. The plea- 
sures which I sought but weakly at first, every time they 
were tasted increased my partiality for them. I seemed for 
a time to be under the influence of an oblivion of my former 
life. Thus circumstanced, the folly which had so deep a 
root in my character, took hold of me. I hired a magni- 
ficent hotel, and entertained at my own expense those per- 
sons in whose society I principally delighted. My circles 
became more numerous than those of the Marquis de Dam- 
ville, and were conducted in a very different style of splen- 
dour and profusion. I corresponded with Marguerite ; but 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 51 

I continually found some new pretext for lengthening my 
stay ; and she on her part, though the kindest and most 
indulgent of women, became seriously alarmed and un- 
happy. 

As my parties were more numerous than those of the 
Marquis de Damville had been, they were more mixed. 
Among others, I occasionally associated with some of those 
nobleman who had been the companions of my former dis- 
sipation and gaming. An obvious consequence resulted 
from this. Parties of play were occasionally proposed to 
me. I resisted I yielded. My first compliances were 
timid, hesitating, and painful. I recollected the lessons 
and exhortations of my excellent father-in-law. At length, 
however, my alarms abated. I reproached myself with the 
want of an honourable confidence in my own firmness, and 
the cowardice of supposing that I was not to be trusted with 
the direction of my conduct. 

One evening I ventured beyond the cautious limits I had 
at first prescribed myself, and won a considerable sum. 
This incident produced a strong impression upon me, and 
filled my mind with tumult and agitation. There was a 
secret that I had concealed almost from myself, but which 
now recurred to me with tenfold violence. J was living 
beyond the means I had to discharge my expenses. My 
propensity of this sort seemed to be fatal and irresistible. 
My marriage with Marguerite had occurred opportunely, to 
heal the breaches I had at that time made in my fortune, 
and to take from me the consciousness of embarrassments 
which I should otherwise have deeply felt. The death of 
the Marquis, however deplorable in other respects, happened 
at a period when the spirit of profusion and magnificence 
which characterised me had again involved my affairs in 
considerable difficulty. It might be supposed that these two 
cases of experience would have sufficed to extirpate my 
folly ; but they had rather the contrary effect. In each of 
them the event was such as to prevent extravagance and 
thoughtlessness from producing their genuine results ; and, 
of consequence, they appeared less criminal and mischievous 
in my eyes than otherwise they probably would have ap- 
peared. I rather increased than diminished my establish- 
E 2 



52 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

ment upon the death of my father-in-law. I had no rea- 
sonable prospect of any property hereafter to descend to me, 
that should exonerate me from the consequences of further 
prodigality. But I did not advert to this. I saw myself 
surrounded by my children ; they were the delight and so- 
lace of my life ; and yet I was heedless of their interests. 
Sometimes I resolved upon a more rigid economy : but 
economy is a principle that does not easily lay hold of any 
but a heart framed to receive it. It is a business of atten- 
tive and vigilant detail. It easily escapes the mind, amidst 
the impetuosity of the passions, the obstinacy of rooted 
propensities, and the seduction of long established habits. 
Marguerite, indeed, did not share with me in these follies; 
the simplicity and ingenuousness of her mind were such, 
that she would have been as happy in a cottage as a palace; 
but, though she did not partake my vices, an ill-judged 
forbearance and tenderness for my feelings did not permit 
her effectually to counteract them. This is, perhaps, the 
only defect of character I am able to impute to her. 

After I had won the sum to which I have alluded, I 
retired to my hotel full of anxious thoughts. It produced 
upon me, in some degree, the same effect as ordinarily be- 
longs to a great calamity. I lay all night sleepless and 
disturbed. Ruin and despair presented themselves to my 
mind in a thousand forms. Heedless prodigality and di- 
lapidated revenues passed in review before me. I counted 
the years of my life. I had completed the thirty-second 
year of my age : this was scarcely half the probable duration 
of human existence. How was I to support the remaining 
period, a period little assorted to difficulties and expedients ; 
and which, in the close of it, seems imperiously to call for 
every indulgence ? Hitherto, an interval of four or five 
years had repeatedly sufficed to involve me in serious em- 
barrassment. My children were growing up around me ; 
my family was likely to become still larger ; as my offspring 
increased in years, their demands upon my revenues would 
be more considerable. Were these demands to be slighted ? 
Were my daughters, nay, was the heir of my rank and my 
name, to be committed to the compassion of the world, 
unprovided and forlorn? What a cheerless prospect ! What 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 53 

a gloomy and disconsolate hue did these ideas spread upon 
that future, which the health of the human mind requires 
to have gilded with the beams of hope and expectation ? I 
had already tried the expedient of economy; and I had 
uniformly found this inestimable and only sheet-anchor of 
prudence gliding from my deluded grasp. Could I promise 
myself better success in future ? There seemed to be some- 
thing in my habits, whether of inattention, ostentation, or 
inconsistency, that baffled the strongest motives by which 
parsimony and frugality can be enforced. 

Why did these thoughts importunately recur to me in 
the present moment ? They were the suggestions of a ma- 
lignant genius, thoughts, the destination of which was 
to lead me into a gulf of misery and guilt ! While I was 
going on in a regular train of expense, while I was scoop- 
ing the mine that was to swallow me and my hopes to- 
gether, I had the art to keep these reflections at bay. Now 
that I had met with an unexpected piece of good fortune, 
they rushed upon me with irresistible violence. Unfortunate 
coincidence ! Miserable, rather let me say, guilty, aban- 
doned miscreant ! 

As soon as I rose in the morning, I went to the closet 
where, the evening before, I had deposited my recent ac- 
quisitions. I spread out the gold before me. I gazed 
upon it with intentness. My eyes, a moment after, rolled 
in vacancy. I traversed the apartment with impatient steps. 
All the demon seemed to mak'e his descent upon my soul. 
This was the first time that I had ever felt the struggle of 
conscious guilt and dishonour. I was far indeed from an- 
ticipating that species of guilt, and that species of ruin, 
which soon after overwhelmed me. My mind did not once 
recur to the possibility of any serious mischief. I dwelt 
only, as gamesters perhaps usually do, upon the alternative 
between acquisition and no acquisition. I did not take into 
the account the ungovernableness of my own passions. I 
assumed it as unquestionable, that I could stop when I 
pleased. The thoughts that tortured me were, in the first 
place, those of a sanguine and unexperienced adventurer in 
a lottery, whose mind rests not for a moment upon the sum 
he has risked, but who, having in fancy the principal prize 
K 3 



54 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

already in his possession, and having distributed it to various 
objects and purposes, sometimes fearfully recurs to the pos- 
sibility of his disappointment, and anticipates with terror 
what will be his situation, if deprived of this imaginary 
wealth. I had now, for the first time, opened my eyes to 
the real state of my affairs, and I clung with proportionable 
vehemence to this plank which was to bear me from the 
storm. In the second place, I felt, though darkly and un- 
willingly, the immorality of my conception. To game may, 
in some instances, not be in diametrical opposition to liber- 
ality of mind ; but he who games for the express purpose 
of improving his circumstances must be an idiot, if he does 
not sometimes recollect that the money lost may be as se- 
rious a mischief to his neighbour, as the money gained can 
possibly be a benefit to himself. It is past a question, that 
he who thus turns his amusement into his business loses 
the dignity of a man of honour, and puts himself upon a 
level with the most avaricious and usurious merchant. 

Though I was far from having digested a specific plan 
of enriching myself by these discreditable means, yet the 
very tumult of my thoughts operated strongly to lead me 
once more to the gaming-table. I was in no humour to 
busy myself with my own thoughts ; the calmness of literary 
discussion, and the polished interchange of wit, which had 
lately so much delighted me, had now no attraction for my 
heart ; the turbulence of a scene of high play alone had 
power to distract my attention from the storm within. I 
won a second time. I felt the rapidity and intenseness of 
my contemplations still further accelerated. I will not over 
again detail what they were. Suffice it to say, that my 
hopes became more ardent, my conception of the necessity 
of this resource more impressive, and my alarm lest this 
last expedient should fail me more tormenting. 

The next time I lost half as much as the sum of my 
winnings. I then proceeded for several days in a nearly 
regular alternation of gain and loss. This, as soon as the 
fact unavoidably forced itself upon my mind, only served 
to render my thoughts more desperate. No, exclaimed I, 
it was not for this that I entered upon so tormenting a 
pursuit. It is not for this that I have deserted the learned 
societies which were lately my delight, and committed my- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 55 

self to a sea of disquiet and anxiety. I came not here, like 
a boy, for amusement ; or, like one who has heen bred in 
the lap of ignorance and wealth, to seek a relief from the 
burden of existence, and to find a stimulus to animate my 
torpid spirits. Am I then to be for ever baffled ? Am I to 
cultivate a tract of land, which is to present me nothing in 
return but unvaried barenness? Am I continually to wind up 
my passions, and new-string my attention in vain ? Am I 
a mere instrument to be played upon by endless hopes and 
fears and tormenting wishes ? Am I to be the sport of 
events, the fool of promise, always agitated with near ap- 
proaching good, yet always deluded ? 

This frame of mind led me on insensibly to the most 
extravagant adventures. It threw me in the first place into 
the hands of notorious gamblers. Men of real property 
shrunk from the stakes I proposed ; as, though they were 
in some degree infected with the venom of gaming, their 
infection was not so deep as mine, nor with my desperation 
of thought. The players with whom I engaged were for 
the most part well known to every one but myself, not to 
be able to pay the sums they played for, if they lost ; nay, 
this fact might be said in some sense to be known to me as 
well as the rest, though I obstinately steeled myself against 
the recollection of it. One evening I won of one of these 
persons a very large sum, for which I suffered him to play 
with me upon honour. The consequence was simple. The 
next morning he took his departure from Paris, and I heard 
of him no more. 

Before this, however, the tide of success had set strongly 
against me. I had sustained some serious vicissitudes ; 
and, while I was playing with the wretch I have just men- 
tioned, my eagerness increased as my good luck began, and 
I flattered myself that I should now avenge myself of for- 
tune for some of her late unkindnesses. My anguish 
why should I call the thing by a disproportionate and 
trivial appellation ? my agony was by so much the 
greater, when I found that this person, the very individual 
who had already stripped me of considerable sums, had 
disappeared, and left me without the smallest benefit from 
my imaginary winnings. 

E 4 



OU TRAVELS OF ST. LEON, 

No man who has not felt, can possibly image to himself 
the tortures of a gamester, of a gamester like me, who 
played for the improvement of his fortune, who played with 
the recollection of a wife and children dearer to him than 
the blood that bubbled through the arteries of his heart, 
who might be said, like the savages of ancient Germany, to 
make these relations the stake for which he threw, who 
saw all my own happiness and all theirs through the long 
vista of life, depending on the turn of a card ! Hell is but 
the chimera of priests, to bubble idiots and cowards. What 
have they invented, to come into competition with what 
I felt ! Their alternate interchange of flames and ice 
is but a feeble image of the eternal varieties of hope and 
fear. All bodily racks and torments are nothing compared 
with certain states of the human mind. The gamester 
would be the most pitiable, if he were not the most despi- 
cable creature that exists. Arrange ten bits of painted 
paper in a certain order, and he is ready to go wild with 
the extravagance of his joy. He is only restrained by 
some remains of shame, from dancing about the room, and 
displaying the vileness of his spirit by every sort of freak 
and absurdity. At another time, when his hopes have 
been gradually worked up into a paroxysm, an unexpected 
turn arrives, and he is made the most miserable of men. 
Never shall I cease to recollect the sensation I have repeat- 
edly felt, in the instantaneous sinking of the spirits, the 
conscious fire that spread over my visage, the anger in my 
eye, the burning dryness of my throat, the sentiment that 
in a moment was ready to overwhelm with curses the cards, 
the stake, my own existence, and all mankind. How every 
malignant and insufferable passion seemed to rush upon my 
soul ! What nights of dreadful solitude and despair did I 
j-epeatedly pass during the progress of my ruin ! It was the 
night of the soul ! My mind was wrapped in a gloom that 
could not be pierced ! My heart was oppressed with a 
weight that no power human or divine was equal to 
remove ! My eyelids seemed to press downward with an 
invincible burden ! My eyeballs were ready to start and 
crack their sockets ! I lay motionless, the victim of in- 
effable horror ! The whole endless night seemed to be 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 57 

filled with one vast, appalling, immovable idea ! It was a 
stupor, more insupportable and tremendous than the 
utmost whirl of pain, or the fiercest agony of exquisite per- 
ception ! 

One day that my mind was in a state of excessive an- 
guish and remorse (I had already contrived by this infernal 
means to dispossess myself of the half of my property), 
my son came unexpectedly into my chamber. For some 
time I had scarcely ever seen him : such is a gamester ! 
All the night, while he slept, I was engaged in these haunts 
of demons. All the day, while he was awake, and studying 
with his masters, or amusing himself, I was in my bed- 
chamber, endeavouring to court a few broken hours of sleep. 
When, notwithstanding the opposition of our habits, I had 
the opportunity of seeing him, I rather shunned to use, 
than sought to embrace it.- The sight of him had a savour 
of bitterness in it, that more than balanced all the solace of 
natural affection. It brought before me the image of his 
mother and his sisters ; it presented to my soul a frightful 
tale of deserted duties ; it was more galling and envenomed 
than the sting of scorpions. 

Starting at the sound of the opening door, I called out 
abruptly, and with some harshness, " Who is there? What 
do you want ?" 

" It is I, sir/' replied the boy ; " it is Charles, come to 
pay his duty to you ! " 

' f I do not want you now ; you should not come, but 
when you know I am at leisure," answered I somewhat 
disturbed. 

" Very well, sir ; very well : I am going." As he spoke 
his voice seemed suffocated with tears. He was on the 
point of shutting the door, and leaving me to myself. 

' ( Charles ! " said I, not well knowing what it was I in- 
tended to do. 

He returned. 

' c Come here, my dear boy ! " 

I took his hand, I drew him between my knees, I hid 
my face in his neck, I shook with the violence of my emo- 
tion. 

" Go, go, boy : you perceive I cannot talk to you." 



58 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

I pushed him gently from me. 

" Papa!" cried he, "I do not like to leave you. I 
know I am but a boy, and can be but of little use to you. 
If mamma were with you, I would not be troublesome. I 
should cry when I saw you were grieved, but I would ask 
no questions, and would leave you, because you desired it. 
I hope you have not had any bad news ?" 

" No, my boy, no. Come to me to-morrow, and I will 
be at leisure, and will talk a great deal to you." 

" Ah, papa, to-morrow ! Every day that I did not see 
you, I thought it would be to-morrow ! And there was one 
to-morrow, and another to-morrow, and so many, that it 
seemed as if you had forgotten to speak to me at all." 

<( Why, Charles, you do not doubt my word ? I tell 
you that to-morrow you shall see me as long as you please." 

" Well, well, I will wait ! But do then let it be all day! 
I will not go to college, and it shall be a holiday. Papa, I 
do not like my lessons half so well as I did, since I have 
neither you nor mamma that I can tell what they are 
about." 

" Good-bye, Charles ! Be a good boy ! remember to- 
morrow ! Good-bye ! " 

" Papa ! now I am sure you look a good deal better than 
you did at first. Let me tell you something about the 
lesson I read this morning. It was a story of Zaleucus 
the Locrian, who put out one of his own eyes, that he 
might preserve eye-sight to his son." 

This artless story, thus innocently introduced, cut me to 
the soul. I started in my chair, and hid my face upon the 
table. 

" Papa, what is the matter ? Indeed you frighten me !" 

1 ' Zaleucus was a father ! What then am I ? " 

(t Yes, Zaleucus was very good indeed ! But, do you 
know, his son was very naughty. It was his disobedience 
and wickednes that made him liable to such a punishment. 
I would not for the world be like Zaleucus's son. I hope, 
papa, you will never suffer from my wilfulness. You shall 
not, papa, indeed, indeed ! " 

I caught the boy in my arms. " No, you are very good ! 
you are too good ! I cannot bear it ! " 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 5<) 

" Well, papa,, I wish I were able to show you that I 
love you as well as ever Zaleucus loved his son I" 

I was melted with the ingenuousness of the boy's ex- 
pression. I quitted him. I paced up and down the 
room. Suddenly, as if by paroxysm of insanity, I seized 
my child by the arm, I seated myself, I drew him towards 
me, I put my eye upon him. 

" Boy, how dare you talk to me of Zaleucus ? Do you 
mean to insinuate a reproach ? Do I not discharge a fa- 
ther's duty ? If I do not, know, urchin, I will not be in- 
sulted by my child !" 

The boy was astonished. He burst into tears, and was 
silent. 

I was moved by his evident distress. " No, child, you 
have no father. I am afraid you have not. You do not 
know my baseness. You do not know that I am the dead- 
liest foe you have in the world." 

" Dear papa, do not talk thus ! Do not I know that you 
are the best of men ? Do not I love you and mamma 
better than every body else put together ? " 

te Well, Charles," cried I, endeavouring to compose my- 
self, " we will talk no more now. Did not I tell you, you 
should not come to me but when you knew it was a proper 
time ? I hope you will never have reason to hate me." 

" I never will hate you, papa, do to me what you will T r 

He saw I wished to be alone, and left me. 



CHAPTER VI. 

IN the evening of the same day, my beloved Marguerite 
arrived unexpectedly at Paris. In the beginning of our 
separation, I had been to the last degree punctual in my 
letters. I had no pleasure so great, as retiring to my 
closet, and pouring out my soul to the most adorable of 
women. By degrees I relaxed in punctuality. Ordinary 
occupations, however closely pursued, have a method in 
them, that easily combines with regularity in points of an 
incidental nature. But gaming, when pursued with avidity, 



60 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



subverts all order, and forces every avocation from the 
place assigned it. When my insane project of supplying 
the inadequateness of my fortune by this expedient began 
to produce an effect exactly opposite, I could not, but with 
the extremest difficulty, string my mind to write to the 
mistress of my soul. I endeavoured not to think, with 
distinctness and attention, of the persons whose happiness 
was most nearly involved with mine. I said to myself, 
Yet another venture must be tried ; fortune shall change 
the animosity with which she has lately pursued me ; I 
will repair the breaches that have been sustained ; and I 
shall then return with tenfold avidity to subjects that at 
present I dare not fix my mind upon. My letters were 
accordingly short, unfrequent, and unsatisfactory ; and 
those of Marguerite discovered increasing anguish, per- 
turbation, and anxiety. What a change in the minds of 
both had the lapse of a few months produced ! Not that 
my attachment had suffered the diminution of a single 
particle ; but that attachment, which had lately been the 
source of our mutual felicity, was now fraught only with 
distress. My mind was filled with horrors ; and Marguerite 
expected from me an encouragement and consolation in 
absence, which, alas, I had it not in my power to give ! 

I had now continued in Paris for a time vastly greater 
than I had originally proposed. After having remained 
more than ten days without receiving one word of intel- 
ligence, a letter of mine was delivered to Marguerite, more 
short, mysterious, and distressing to her feelings, than any 
that had preceded. The ten days' silence, from me who 
at first had never missed an opportunity of pouring out 
my soul to her, and contributing to her pleasure, was ex- 
quisitely painful. There is scarcely any thing that pro- 
duces such a sickness of the heart as the repeated proro- 
gation of hope. But, when the letter arrived that had 
been so anxiously looked for, when the hand-writing of 
the superscription was recognised, when the letter was 
treasured up for the impatiently desired moment of soli- 
tude, that the sacred emotions of the heart might suffer no 
interruption, and when it at last appeared so cold, so 
ominous, so withering to the buds of affection, the deter- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 6l 

mination of Marguerite was speedily formed. The rela- 
tions that bound us together were of too mighty a value 
to be dispensed or to be trifled with. She felt them as 
the very cords of existence. For ten years she had known 
no solace that was disconnected from my idea, no care but 
of our own happiness and that of our offspring. Bene- 
volent she was almost beyond human example, and inte- 
rested for the welfare of all she knew ; but these were 
brief and mutable concerns ; they were not incorporated 
with the stamina of her existence. I was the whole world 
to her ; she had no idea of satisfaction without me. Her 
firmness had been sufficiently tried by the interposal of 
separation and absence. How was she to interpret the 
obscurity that had now arisen ? Had I forgotten my 
family and my wife ? Had I been corrupted and de- 
bauched by that Paris, the effects of which upon my 
character her father had so deeply apprehended ? Had I, 
in contempt of every thing sacred, entered into some new 
attachment ? Had the attractions of some new beauty in 
the metropolis made me indifferent to the virtue of my 
children, and the life of their mother ? Perhaps the length 
of our attachment had infected me with satiety, and the 
inconstancy of my temper had been roused by the charms 
of novelty. Perhaps the certainty of her kindness and 
regard had no longer allurements for me ; and I might be 
excited to the pursuit of another by the pleasures of hope 
combined with uncertainty, and of a coyness, that seemed 
to promise compliance hereafter, even while it pronounced 
a present denial. These were the images that haunted her 
mind ; they engendered all the wildness, and all the tor- 
ments, of a delirious paroxysm ; she resolved that no time 
should be sacrificed to needless uncertainty, and that no 
effort of hers should be unexerted to prevent the mischief 
she feared. 

It was evening when she arrived. I was upon the 
point of repairing to that scene of nightly resort, the source 
of all my guilt and all my miseries. I enquired of my 
son's valet where he was, and how he had been in the 
course of the day. He was gone to bed : he had appeared 
unusually sad, sometimes in tears; and, while he was 



OxS TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

undressing, had sighed deeply two or three times. While 
I was collecting this account in my own apartment, the 
gates of the hotel opened, and a number of horsemen 
entered the court-yard. I was somewhat surprised ; be- 
cause, though I was accustomed to see much company, 
few of my acquaintance visited me at so late an hour, 
except on the evenings appropriated to receive them. I 
crossed the saloon to enquire. One of the servants ex- 
claimed, " It is Bernardin's voice : it must be my mistress 
that is come ! " 

Nothing could be further from my mind than the 
thought of her arrival. I flew through the passage ; I 
was on the spot the moment that the servant prepared to 
conduct his mistress from the litter ; I received Marguerite 
in my arms, and led her into the house. If I had ex- 
pected her arrival, I should infallibly have met her at this 
moment with anxiety and confusion ; I should have gone 
round the circle of my thoughts, and should not have had 
confidence to encounter the beam of her eye. But the 
event was so unexpected as to drive all other ideas from 
my mind ; and, in consequence, I enjoyed several minutes, 
ages, rather let me say, of the sincerest transport. 
I kissed the mistress of my soul with ecstasy ; I gazed 
upon her well known lineaments and features ; I listened 
to the pleasing melody of her voice; I w r as intoxicated 
with delight. Upon occasions like this, it seems as if 
every former joy that had marked the various periods of 
intercourse distilled its very spirit and essence, to com- 
pose a draught, ten times more delicious and refined than 
had ever before been tasted. Our meeting was like awaking 
from the . dead ; it was the emancipation of the weary 
captive, who exchanges the dungeon's gloom for the lustre 
of the morning, and who feels a celestial exhilaration of 
heart, the very memory of which had been insensibly wear- 
ing away from his treacherous brain. All my senses par- 
took of the rapture. Marguerite seemed to shed ambrosial 
odours round her ; her touch was thrilling ; her lips were 
nectar ; her figure was that of a descended deity ! 

Her pleasure was not less than mine. It is indeed ab- 
surd, it may be termed profanation, to talk of solitary 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 63 

pleasure. No sensation ordinarily distinguished by that 
epithet can endure the test of a moment's inspection, when 
compared with a social enjoyment. It is then only that a 
man is truly pleased, when pulse replies to pulse, when the 
eyes discourse eloquently to each other, when in responsive 
tones and words the soul is communicated. Altogether, we 
are conscious of a sober, a chaste, and dignified intoxication, 
an elevation of spirit, that does not bereave the mind of it- 
self, and that endures long enough for us to analyse and sa- 
vour the causes of our joy. 

For some time we rested on a sofa, each filled and 
occupied with the observation of the other. My eyes as- 
sured Marguerite of the constancy of my affection ; my 
kisses were those of chaste, undivided, entire attachment. 

Our words were insignificant and idle, the broken and 
incoherent phrases of a happiness that could not be silent. 
At length Marguerite exclaimed, " It is enough ; my fears 
are vanished ; I have no questions to ask, no doubts to re- 
move. Yet why, my Reginald, did you suffer those doubts 
to gather, those fears to accumulate ? Surely you knew 
the singleness of my affection ! How many painful days 
and hours might you have saved me, almost by a word I" 

" Forgive me, my love," replied I. " Waste not the golden 
hour of meeting in recrimination ! Feeling, as your ange- 
lic goodness now makes me feel, I wonder at myself, that I 
could for one moment have consented to separation ; that I 
could have thought any thing but this existence ; or that, 
having experienced the joys that you have bestowed, I 
could lose all image of the past, and, dwelling in a desert, 
imagine it paradise ! " 

" Recrimination !" rejoined Marguerite. " No, my love ; 
you make me too happy to leave room for any thing but 
gratitude and affection ! Forgive me, Reginald, if I pre- 
tend that, in meeting you thus, I find myself your superior 
in happiness and love. You only awake from lethargy, 
forgetfulness of yourself and of me ; but I awake from 
anguish, a separation, that I desired not at first, and of 
which I hourly wished to see an end, from doubts that 
would intrude, and refused to be expelled, from the inces- 
sant contemplation and regret of a felicity, once possessed, 



64 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



but possessed no longer ! Melancholy ideas, gloomy prog- 
nostics overspread my sleepless nights, and bedewed my 
pillow with tears ! This it is, that, at last, has driven me 
from my family and daughters, resolved to obtain the cer- 
tainty of despair, or the dispersion of my fears ! Have I 
known all this, and think you that I do not enjoy with rap- 
ture this blissful moment ?" 

While we were thus conversing, Charles entered the 
room. He was not yet asleep when his mother arrived : 
he heard her voice ; and hastened to put on his clothes, 
that he might rush into her arms. The pleasure Margue- 
rite had conceived from our meeting, and the affectionate 
serenity that had taken possession of her soul, infused 
double ardour into the embraces she bestowed on her son. 
He gazed earnestly in her face ; he kissed her with fer- 
vency ; but was silent. 

" Why, Charles !" said she, ' ' what is the matter with you ? 
Are not you glad to see me ?" 

" That I am, mamma ! So glad, that I do not know what 
to do with myself ! I was afraid I never should have been 
glad again !" 

' ' Pooh, boy ! what do you mean ? You were not mother- 
sick, were you ?" 

" Yes, indeed, I was sick, sick at heart ! Not that I am 
a coward ! I think that I could have been satisfied to have 
been without either my father or you for a little while. 
But papa is so altered, you cannot think ! He never smiles 
and looks happy ; and, when I see him, instead of making 
me joyful, as it used to do, it makes me sad I" 

" Dear Reginald !" replied the mother, looking at me, " is 
it possible that, while my heart was haunted with fear and 
suspicions, separation alone should have had such an effect 
on you ?" 

" I dare say it was that," interposed the boy. " I could 
not make papa smile, all I could do : but, now you are come, 
he will soon be well ! How much he must love you, 
mamma !" 

The artless prattle of my son struck anguish to my soul, 
and awakened a whole train of tormenting thoughts. Alas ! 
thought I, can it indeed be love, that thus contrives against 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 65 

the peace of its object ? Would to God, my child ! that 
my thoughts were as simple and pure as thy innocent 
bosom ! 

' ' And yet," added the boy, as if recollecting himself, " if 
he could.'not see you, sure that was no reason for him to avoid 
me? He seemed as much afraid of me, as I have seen 
some of my play-fellows of a snake ! Indeed, mamma, it 
was a sad thing that, when I wanted him to kiss me and 
press me to his bosom, he shrunk away from me ! There 
now ! it was just so, as he looks now, that papa used to 
frown upon me, I cannot tell how often ! Now is not that 
ugly, mamma ?" 

I could no longer govern the tumult of my thoughts. 
" Peace, urchin ! " cried I. " Why did you come to mar 
the transport of our meeting ? Just now, Marguerite, I 
forgot myself, and was happy ! Now all the villain rises 
in my soul ! " 

My wife was so astonished at the perturbation of my 
manner, and at the words I uttered, that she was scarcely 
able to articulate. " Reginald !" in broken accents she ex- 
claimed " my love ! my husband !" 

" No matter," said I. " It shaU yet be well ! My heart 
assures me it shall ! Be not disturbed, my love ! I will 
never cause you a moment's anguish ! I would sooner die a 
thousand deaths ! Forget the odious thoughts that poor 
Charles has excited in me so unseasonably ! They were 
mere idle words ! Depend upon it they were ! " 

While I was speaking, Marguerite hid her face upon the 
sofa. I took her hand, and by my caresses endeavoured to 
soothe and compose her. At length, turning to me, 
<e Reginald ! " said she, in a voice of anguish, ' ' do you then 
endeavour to hide from me the real state of your thoughts ? 
Was the joy that attended our meeting iperishable and de- 
ceitful ? After ten years of unbounded affection and con- 
fidence, am I denied to be the partner of your bosom ?" 

" No, Marguerite, no ! this was but the thought of a mo- 
ment ! By to-morrow's dawn it shall have no existence in 
my bosom. Why should I torment you with what so soon 
shall have no existence to myself ? Meanwhile, be assured, 
my love (instead of suffering diminution) is more full, more 
fervent and entire, than it ever was ! " 



6'6 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

At this instant my mind experienced an extraordinary im- 
pression. Instead of being weaned, by the presence of this 
admirable woman, from my passion for gaming, it became 
stronger than ever. If Charles had not entered at the cri- 
tical moment he did, I should have remained with Margue- 
rite, and, amidst the so long un tasted solace of love, have, 
at least for this night, forgotten my cares. But that occur- 
rence had overturned every thing, had uncovered the wounds 
of my bosom, and awakened conceptions that refused to be 
laid to sleep again. The arms of my wife, that were about 
to embrace me, suddenly became to me a nest of scorpions. 
I could as soon have rested and enjoyed myself upon the 
top of Vesuvius, when it flamed. New as I was to this 
species of anguish, tranquilly and full of virtuous content- 
ment as I had hitherto passed the years of my married state, 
the pangs of a guilty conscience I was wholly unable to bear. 
I rose from my seat, and was upon the point of quitting 
the room. 

Marguerite perceived by my manner that there was some- 
thing extraordinary passing in my mind. " Where are you 
going, Reginald ? " said she. 

I answered with a slight nod. " Not far," I replied, 
attempting an air of apathy and unconcern. 

She was not satisfied. " You are not going out ? " she 
enquired. 

I returned to where I had been sitting. " My love, I 
was going out at the moment of your arrival. It is neces- 
sary, I assure you. I hope 1 shall soon be back. I am 
sorry I am obliged to leave you. Compose yourself. You 
are in want of rest, and had better go to bed." 

" Stop, Reginald ! Afford me a minute's leisure before 
you depart ! Leave us, Charles ! Good night, my dear 
boy ! Kiss me ; remember that your mother is now in the 
same house with you ; and sleep in peace." 

The boy quitted the room. 

. " Reginald ! " said the mother, " I have no wish to con- 
trol your desires, or be a spy upon your actions ; but your 
conduct seems so extraordinary in this instahce, as to dis- 
pense me from the observation of common rules. I have 
always been a complying wife ; I have never set myself in 
contradiction to your will ; I appeal to yourself for the 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 67 

truth of this. I despise, however, those delicacies, an ad- 
herence to which would entail upon us the sacrifice of all 
that is most valuable in human life. Can I shut my ears 
upon the mysterious expressions which Charles's complaints 
have extorted from you ? Can I be insensible to the ex- 
traordinary purpose you declare of leaving me, when I have 
yet been scarcely half an hour under the roof with you ? 
Before Charles came in, you seem to have entertained no 
such design." 

" My love," replied I, "how seriously you comment upon 
the most insignificant incident ! Is it extraordinary that your 
unexpected arrival should at first have made me forget an 
engagement that I now recollect ? " 

<f St. Leon," answered my wife, " before you indulge in 
surprise at my earnestness, recollect the circumstances that 
immediately preceded it. Through successive weeks I have 
waited for some satisfactory and agreeable intelligence from 
you. I had a right before this to have expected your return. 
Uncertainty and a thousand fearful apprehensions have at 
length driven me from my home, and brought me to Paris. 
I am come here for satisfaction to my doubts, and peace to 
my anxious heart. Wonder not, therefore, if you find 
something more earnest and determined in my proceedings 
now, than upon ordinary occasions. Give me, I conjure 
you, give me ease and relief, if you are able ! If not, at least 
allow me this consolation, to know the worst ! " 

<f Be pacified, Marguerite ! " I rejoined. <( I am grieved, 
Heaven knows how deeply grieved, to have occasioned you 
a moment's pain. But, since you lay so much stress upon 
this circumstance, depend upon it, I will postpone the 
business I was going about, and stay with you." 

This concession, voluntary and sincere, produced an 
effect that I had not foreseen. Marguerite gazed for a 
moment in my face, and then threw herself upon my 
neck. 

({ Forgive me, my beloved husband ! " she cried. ff You 
indeed make me ashamed of myself. I feel myself inex- 
cusable. I feel that I have been brooding over imaginary 
evils, and creating the misery that corroded my heart, 
How inexpressibly you rise my superior ! But I will con- 
F 2 



08 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

quer my weakness. I insist upon your going to the en- 
gagement you have made,, and will henceforth place the 
most entire confidence in your prudence and honour." 

Every word of this speech was a dagger to my heart. 
What were my feelings, while this admirable woman was 
taking shame to herself for her suspicions,, and pouring out 
her soul in commendation of my integrity ! I looked in- 
ward, and found every thing there the reverse of her 
apprehension, a scene of desolation and remorse. I em- 
braced her in silence. My heart panted upon her bosom, 
and seemed bursting with a secret that it was death to re- 
veal. I ought, in return for her generosity, to have given 
up my feigned engagement, and devoted this night at least 
to console and pacify her. But I could not, and I dared 
not. The wound of my bosom was opened, and would 
not be closed. The more I loved her for her confidence, 
the less I could endure myself in her presence. To play 
the hypocrite for so many hours, to assume a face of tran- 
quillity and joy while all within was tumult and horror, 
was a task too mighty for human powers to execute. I 
accepted of Marguerite's permission, and left her. Even 
in the short interval before I quitted the house, my carriage 
was near to betraying me. I could perceive her watchful 
of my countenance, as if again suspicious that some fatal 
secret lurked in my mind. She said nothing further upon 
the subject however, and I presently escaped the inquisition 
of her eye. 

It is scarcely necessary to describe the state of my mind 
as I passed along the streets. It is sufficient to say that 
every thing I had felt before from the passion of gaming 
was trivial to the sensations that now occupied me. Now 
first it stood confessed before me, a demon that poisoned all 
my joys, that changed the transport of a meeting with the 
adored of my soul into anguish, that drove me forth from 
her yet untasted charms a solitary wanderer on the face of 
the earth. My busy soul drew forth at length the picture 
of what this encounter would have been, if it had been 
sanctified with the stamp of conscious innocence. At one 
moment I felt myself the most accursed of mankind ; I 
believed that he who could find, as I did, barrenness and 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 69 

blasting in the choicest of Heaven's blessings, must be 
miserable beyond precedent or hope. Shortly after, how- 
ever, I reviewed again the image of my poison, and found 
in it the promise of a cure. The more desperate my case 
appeared to me, with the greater insanity of expectation 
did I assure myself that this one night should retrieve all 
my misfortunes. In giving to it this destination indeed, I 
should afflict the gentle bosom of my wife but too pro- 
bably with some hours of uneasiness. But the event would 
richly repay her for so transitory a suffering ; I would 
then open my whole mind to her. I would practise no 
more reserves ; I should no longer be driven to the refuge 
of a vile hypocrisy. I would bid farewell to the frowns 
and the caresses of fortune. I would require of her no 
further kindnesses. If I were incapable myself of a rigid 
economy, I would commit implicitly to Marguerite the 
disposal of my income, whom I knew to be every way 
qualified for the office. With these reflections I nerved 
my mind to the most decisive adventures. 

Why should I enter into a long detail of the incidents 
of this crisis ? Soon, though not immediately, I began to 
lose considerable sums. I brought with me in the first in- 
stance a penetrating eye, a collected mind, an intellect 
prepared for unintermitted exertion. Misfortune sub- 
verted all this. My eye grew wild, my soul tempestuous, 
my thoughts incoherent and distracted. I was incapable of 
any thing judicious ; but I was determined to persevere. 
I played till morning, nor could the light of morning in- 
duce me to desist. The setting sun of that day beheld me 
a beggar ! 

There is a degree of misery, which, as it admits of no 
description, so does it leave no distinct traces in the me- 
mory. It seems as if the weakness of the human mind 
alike incapacitated it to support the delirium of joy, and 
the extremity of sorrow. Of what immediately succeeded 
the period to which I have conducted my narrative I have 
no recollection, but a horror beyond all names of horror, 
wild, inexplicable, unintelligible. Let no one, however, 
imagine, that the temporary desertion of the soul is any 
alleviation of its misery. The mind that sinks under its 
F 3 



70 TRAVELS OF ST. LEONT* 

suffering does not by that conduct shake off it's burden. 
Rather, ten thousand times rather, would I endure all the 
calamities that have ever yet received a name, the sensations 
and history of which are capable of being delineated, than 
sustain that which has no words by which to express itself, 
and the conception of which must be trusted solely to the 
faculties and sympathy of the reader. Where is the cold 
and inapprehensive spirit that talks of madness as a refuge 
from sorrow ? Oh, dull and unconceiving beyond all 
belief ! I cannot speak of every species of madness ; but 
I also have been mad ! This I know, that there is a 
vacancy of soul, where all appears buried in stupidity, and 
scarcely deserves the name of thought, that is more in- 
tolerable than the bitterest reflections. This I know, that, 
there is an incoherence, in which the mind seems to wander 
without rudder and pilot, that laughs to scorn the super- 
stitious fictions of designing priests. Oh, how many 
sleepless days and weeks did I endure ! the thoughts fran- 
tic, the tongue raving ! While we can still adhere, if I 
may so express myself, to the method of misery, there is a 
sort of nameless complacency that lurks under all that we 
can endure. We are still conscious that we are men ; we 
wonder at and admire our powers of being miserable ; but> 
when the masts and tackle of the intellectual vessel are all 
swept away, then is the true sadness. We have no con- 
sciousness to sustain us, no sentiment of dignity, no secret 
admiration of what we are, still clinging to our hearts. 

All this I venture to affirm, with the full recollection 
of what I suffered, when restored to my senses, present to 
my mind. 

When the account was closed, and the loss of my last 
stake had finished the scene, I rose, and, quitting the fatal 
spot where these transactions had passed, entered the street, 
with a heart oppressed, and a bursting head. My eyea 
glared, but I saw nothing, and could think of nothing. It 
was already nearly dark ; and the day which had been 
tempestuous, was succeeded by a heavy and settled rain. I 
wandered for some time, not knowing whither I went. My 
pace, which had at first been slow, gradually increased, and 
I traversed the whole city with a hurried and impatient 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 7t 

step. The streets which had contained few persons at 
first, gradually lost those few. I was almost alone. I saw 
occasionally ragged and houseless misery shrinking under 
the cover of a miserable shed ; I saw the midnight robber^ 
watching for his prey, and ready to start upon the unwary 
passenger. From me he fled ; there was something in my 
air that impelled even desperate violation to shrink from 
the encounter. 1 continued this incessant, unmeaning exer. 
tion for hours. At length, by an accidental glance of the 
eye, I found myself at the gate of my own hotel. Heedless 
of what I did, I entered ; and, as nature was now com- 
pletely exhausted within me, sunk down in a sort of insen, 
sibility at the foot of the grand staircase. 

This stupor, after a considerable interval, gradually sub- 
sided. I opened my eyes, and saw various figures flit- 
ting about me j but I seemed to myself equally incapable of 
collecting my thoughts, and of speech. My understanding 
indeed shortly became clearer, but an insuperable reluctance 
to voluntary exertion hung upon me. I explained myself 
only in monosyllables \ a sort of instinctive terror of dis~ 
closing what had passed to the admirable woman I had 
sacrificed maintained in me this perpetual reserve. For 
several days together I sat from morning till night in one 
immovable posture, nor was any thing of force enough to 
awaken me to exertion. 



CHAPTER VII. 

IT was not long before the unhappy partner of my fortunes 
was informed of what had passed. The wretches who had 
stripped me of my all soon made their appearance to claim 
what was no longer mine. What would have been their 
reception, if I had sufficiently possessed myself to parley 
with them on the subject, I am unable to determine. I 
could not have preserved the wreck of my property from 
their grasp, but at the expense of an indelible stain upon 
my honour ; yet my desperation would probably have led 



72 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

me to a conduct equally extravagant and useless. In the 
condition in which I was, the whole direction of the busi- 
ness devolved upon Marguerite; and never did human 
creature demean herself with greater magnanimity and pro- 
priety. She saw at once that she could not resist their 
claims but at the expense of my reputation j for herself 
she valued not riches, and had no dread of poverty ; and, 
thus circumstanced, she had the courage herself to bring to 
me the papers they offered, the object of which I scarcely 
understood, and to cause me to annex that signature which 
was to strip her and her children of all earthly fortune. 
Her purpose was, as soon as this business was over, to 
cause us to quit France, and retire into some scene of virtu- 
ous obscurity. But she would not leave behind her for the 
last descendants of the counts de St. Leon any avoidable 
disgrace. Her mode of reasoning upon the subject was ex- 
tremely simple. Obscurity she regarded as no misfortune ; 
and eminent situation, where it fairly presented itself, as a 
responsibility it would be base to shrink from : ignominy 
alone she considered as the proper theme of abhorrence. 
For the fickleness and inconstancy of fortune it is impossi- 
ble to answer ; by one of those reverses in which she 
appears to delight, she might yet restore us to the lustre of 
our former condition ; but, if the name of St. Leon was 
henceforth to disappear from the annals of France, she was 
desirous at least, as far as depended on her, that it should 
expire, like the far famed bird of Arabia, in the midst of 
perfumes. 

When the whole situation of Marguerite is taken into 
consideration, the reader, like myself, will stand astonished 
at the fortitude of her conduct. She had come to Paris, 
unable any longer to tranquillise the agitation of her mind, 
and exhausted with fears, suspicions, and alarms. When 
she arrived, she experienced indeed one delusive moment 
of transport and joy. But that was soon over. It was 
succeeded by reflections and conjectures respecting the 
mysteriousness of my behaviour ; it was succeeded by my 
unexpected departure, and the hourly expectation of my 
return. After the lapse of a night and a day, I returned 
indeed, but in what a condition ! Drenched with rain, 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 73 

trembling with inanition, speechless and alone. Scarcely 
had she received notice of my arrival, and come forward to 
meet me, than she saw me fall, motionless and insensible, 
at her feet. She watched my recovery, and hung with in- 
describable expectation over my couch. She was only 
called away by the wretches, who came to advance their 
accursed claims, and to visit her with the intelligence of 
our ruin, as with a thunderbolt. Already enfeebled and 
alarmed by all the preceding circumstances, they spoke 
with no consideration to her weakness, they stooped to no 
qualifications and palliatives, but disclosed the whole in the 
most abrupt and shocking manner. Any other woman 
would have sunk under this accumulation of ill. Marguerite 
only borrowed vigour from her situation, and rose in pro- 
portion to the pressure of the calamity. She took her re- 
solution at once, and answered them in the most firm and 
decisive language. 

The period of inactivity and stupor that at first seized 
me was succeeded by a period of frenzy. It was in this 
condition, that Marguerite conducted me and my children to 
an obscure retreat in the canton of Soleure, in the republic 
of Switzerland. Cheapness was the first object ; for the 
most miserable pittance was all she had saved from the 
wreck of our fortune. She had not chosen for beauty of 
situation, or magnificence of prospects. The shock her 
mind had sustained was not so great as to destroy her acti- 
vity and fortitude, but it left her little leisure for the wanton- 
ness of studied indulgence. The scene was remote and 
somewhat sterile. She conceived that, when I recovered 
my senses, an event which she did not cease to promise 
herself, solitude would be most grateful, at least to the first 
stage of my returning reason. 

Hither then it was that she led me, our son, and three 
daughters. Immediately upon our arrival she purchased 
a small and obscure, but neat, cottage, and attired her- 
self and her children in habits similar to those of the 
neighbouring peasants. My paternal estates, as well as 
those which had fallen to me by marriage, had all been 
swallowed up in the gulf, which my accursed conduct had 
prepared. Marguerite made a general sale of our moveables, 



74f TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

our ornaments, and even our clothes. A few books, guided 
by the attachment to literature which had always attended 
me, were all that she saved from the wreck. A consider- 
able part of the sum thus produced was appropriated by my 
creditors. Marguerite had the prudence and skill to satisfy 
them all, and was contented to retain that only which re- 
mained when their demands were discharged. This was 
the last dictate of her pride and the high-born integrity of 
her nature, at the time that she thus departed a voluntary 
exile from her native country. Two servants accompanied 
us in our flight, whose attachment was so great, that even 
if their attendance had not been necessary, it would have 
been found somewhat difficult to shake them off. Margue- 
rite, however, was governed by the strictest principles of 
economy ; and, whatever the struggle might have been with 
the importunity of humble affection in dismissing these last 
remains of our profuse and luxurious household, she would 
have thought herself obliged to proceed even to this extreme, 
if judicious parsimony had demanded it from her. But it 
did not. Our youngest daughter was at this time only 
twelve months old, and it would have been scarcely possible 
for the mother, however resolute in her exertions, to have 
discharged the cares due to such a family, at a time when 
the father of it was suffering under so heavy an affliction. 
One female servant she retained to assist her in these offices. 
She could not dispense herself from a very assiduous atten- 
tion to me. She could never otherwise have been satisfied, 
that every thing was done that ought to be done, that every 
tenderness was exercised that might be demanded by my 
humiliating situation, or that sufficient sagacity and skill were 
employed in watching and encouraging the gleams of re- 
turning reason. The violence of my paroxysms, however, 
was frequently such as to render a manual force greater than 
hers necessary to prevent me from' effecting some desperate 
mischief. Bernardin, a trusty servant, nearly of my own 
age, and" who had attended upon my person almost from 
infancy, was retained by Marguerite for this purpose. I 
was greatly indebted for the recovery which speedily fol- 
lowed to the affectionate anxiety and enlightened care of 
this incomparable woman. It is inconceivable to those 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON- 

who have never been led to a practical examination of the 
subject, how much may be effected in this respect by an 
attachment ever on the watch, and an understanding judi- 
cious to combine, where hired attendance would sleep, and 
the coarseness of a blunt insensibility would irritate, nay, 
perhaps, mortally injure. 

It is scarcely possible to imagine a wife more interesting 
and admirable than Marguerite appeared upon the present 
occasion. Fallen from the highest rank to the lowest 
poverty, she did not allow herself a mean and pitiful regret. 
No reverse could be more complete and abrupt, but she did 
not sink under it. She proved, in the most convincing 
manner, that her elevation was not the offspring of wealth 
or rank, but was properly her own. She gave a grace, even 
a lustre, to poverty, which it can only receive from the 
emanations of a cultivated mind. Her children were recon- 
ciled and encouraged by her example, and soon forgot those 
indulgences which had not yet had time to emasculate their 
spirits. The deplorable situation to which the father of 
the family was reduced was far from inducing her to cease 
from her efforts in the bitterness of despair. She determined 
for the present to be both a father and a mother to her 
children. She looked forward with confidence to my speedy 
recovery. Though I was the author of her calamities, she 
did not permit this consideration to subtract from the purity 
of her affection, or the tenderness of her anxiety. She re- 
solved that no word or look of hers should ever reproach 
me with my misconduct. She had been accustomed to de- 
sire rank, and affluence, and indulgence for her children ; 
that her son might run the career of glory which his fore- 
fathers ran, and that her daughters might unite their fates 
with what was most illustrious and honourable in their 
native country. But, if she were disappointed in this, she 
determined, as far as it should be in her power, to give 
them virtue and cheerfulness and content, a mind that should 
find resources within itself, and call forth regard and esteem 
from the rest of mankind. 

My recovery was fitful and precarious, sometimes appear- 
ing to be rapidly on the advance, and at others to threaten 
a total relapse. Among the expedients that Marguerite 



76 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



employed to re-excite the slumbering spark of reason was 
that of paternal affection. Ever on the watch for a favour- 
able opportunity, she sometimes brought to me her own 
little namesake, who, though only twelve months old, did 
not fail to discover unequivocal marks of that playfulness 
and gaiety which made so considerable a part of her con- 
stitutional character. Her innocent smiles, her frolic and 
careless laughter, produced a responsive vibration that 
reached to my inmost heart. They were, not unfrequently, 
powerful enough to check the career of my fury, or to raise 
me from the lowest pitch of despondence. Julia wept for 
me, and Louisa endeavoured to copy the offices of kindness 
she was accustomed to see her mother perform : Charles, 
who conceived more fully than the rest the nature of my 
indisposition, was upon all occasions solicitous to be admit- 
ted into my presence, and attended me for the most part 
with speechless anxiety, while his watchful, glistening eye 
uttered volumes, without the assistance of words. His 
mother at length yielded to his importunity, and he became 
established the regular assistant of Bernardin in the care of 
my person. The restlessness and impetuosity he had hitherto 
manifested seemed upon this occasion entirely to subside : 
hour after hour he willingly continued shut up in my cham- 
ber, eager for every opportunity of usefulness, and gratified 
with that complaisance with which the human mind never 
fails to be impressed, when it regards its actions as benefi- 
cent, or approves its temper as compassionate. 

The restoration of my health was greatly retarded by 
the melancholy impressions which necessarily offered them- 
selves to my mind when recollection resumed her seat. 
It was fortunate for me that this sort of retrospection ap- 
pears not to be the first thing that occurs after a paroxysm 
of insanity. When the tide of incoherent ideas subsides, 
the soul is left in a state of exhaustion ; and seems, by a 
sort of instinct, to shun the influx of tumultuous emotions, 
and to dwell upon such feelings as are mild, tranquil, and 
restorative. Once, however, when I was nearly recovered, 
the thought of what I had been, and the recollection of what 
I was, violently suggesting themselves to my mind, brought 
on a relapse, attended with more alarming and discour- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 77 

aging symptoms than my original alienation. At that mo- 
ment Marguerite was, for the first time, irresistibly struck 
with the conception ' that mine was an incurable lunacy ; 
and, as she afterwards assured me, at no period down to 
that instant had she felt herself so truly inconsolable. But 
even a sentiment of the last despair was incapable of su- 
perseding the active beneficence of Marguerite. Her as- 
siduities, so far as related to this fatal calamity, were at 
length crowned with success. Her gloomy prognostics 
were not realised, and the distemper of my understanding 
quitted me for ever. 

Wretched, however, as I have already remarked, beyond 
all common notions of wretchedness, were my thoughts, 
when my soul returned to its proper bias, and I fully sur- 
veyed the nature of my present situation. Marguerite, 
who, by her sagacity and patience, had recovered me from 
a state of the most dreadful disease, now exerted herself to 
effect the more arduous task of reconciling me to myself. 
She assured me that she forgave me from her inmost heart ; 
nay, that she was thankful to Providence, which, in the 
midst of what the world calls great calamities, had pre- 
served to her what she most valued, my affection, entire. 
She contrasted what had been the subject of her appre- 
hensions before she came to Paris, with what had proved 
to be the state of the case afterwards. She averred, that 
the worst that had happened was trivial and tolerable,, 
compared with the image that her fears had delineated. 
She had feared to find my heart alineated from her, and 
herself a widowed mother to orphan children. She dreaded 
lest I should have proved myself worthless in her eyes, lest 
I should have been found to have committed to oblivion 
the most sacred of all duties ; and, for the gratification of 
a low and contemptible caprice, to have sacrificed all pre- 
tensions to honour and character. For that, indeed, her 
heart would have bled ; against that, all the pride she de- 
rived from her ancestry and my own would have revolted; 
that would have produced a revulsion of her frame, snap- 
ping the chain of all her habits, and putting a violent close 
upon all the sentiments she had most fondly nourished* 
She dreaded, indeed, that she should not have survived it, 



78 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

But the mistake I had committed was of a very different 
nature. I had neither forgotten that I was a husband nor 
a father ; I had only made an injudicious and unfortunate 
choice of the way of discharging what was due to these 
characters. What had passed was incapable of impeaching 
either the constancy of my affections or the integrity of 
my principles. She forgave me, and it was incumbent 
upon me to forgive myself. 

She assured me that poverty, in her apprehension, was 
a very slight evil ; and she appealed to my own under- 
standing for the soundness of her judgment. She bid me 
look round upon the peasantry of the neighbourhood,, upon 
a footing with whom we were now placed, and ask my 
own heart whether they were not happy. One disadvan- 
tage, indeed, they were subjected to, the absence of culti- 
vation and learning. She could never bring herself to 
believe that ignorance was a benefit ; she saw the contrary 
of this practically illustrated in her own case, in mine, and 
in that of all the persons to whom, through life, she had 
been most ardently attached. She wished her children to 
attain intellectual refinement, possess fully the attributes of 
a rational nature, and to be as far removed as possible from 
the condition of stocks and stones, by accumulating a ma- 
gazine of thoughts, and by a rich and cultivated sensibility. 
But the want of fortune did not in our case, as in the case 
of so many others, shut them out from this advantage : it 
was in our own power to bestow it upon them. 

It was the part of a reasonable man, she told me, not to 
waste his strength in useless regrets for what was past, and 
had already eluded his grasp ; but to advert to the blessings 
he had still in possession. If we did this in our present 
situation, we should find every reason for contentment and 
joy. Our pleasure in each other, and the constancy of our 
attachment, was unassailed and unimpaired. Where were 
there two married persons, she would venture to ask, who 
had more reason to applaud their connection, or to whom 
their connection was pregnant with so various gratifications? 
From ourselves we had only to turn our thoughts to our 
children ; and we were surely as singularly fortunate in 
this respect as in each other. Charles, who had always 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 79 

been the subject of our pride, had lately exhibited such an 
example of patient sympathy and filial affection, as perhaps 
had never been equalled in a child so young. The sensi- 
bility of Julia,, the understanding of Louisa, and the vi- 
vacity of Marguerite, were all of them so many growing 
sources of inexhaustible delight. Our children were in- 
telligent, affectionate, and virtuous. Thus circumstanced, 
she entreated me not to indulge that jaundice of the im- 
agination, which should create to itself a sentiment of me- 
lancholy and discontent in the midst of this terrestrial 
paradise. 

Most virtuous of women, now perhaps the purest and 
the brightest among the saints in heaven ! why was I deaf 
to the soundness of your exhortations, and the generosity 
of your sentiments ? Deaf, indeed, I was ! A prey to the 
deepest dejection, they appeared to me the offspring of 
misapprehension and paradox ! Supposing, in the mean 
time, that they were reasonable and just in the mouth of 
her who uttered them, I felt them as totally foreign to my 
own situation. The language, as they were, of innocence^ 
it was not wonderful that to an innocent heart they spoke 
tranquillity and peace. Marguerite looked round upon the 
present rusticity and plainness of our condition, and every 
thing that she saw talked to her of her merit and her worth. 
If we w r ere reduced, she was in no way accountable for 
that reduction ; it had been the test of her magnanimity, 
her patience, and the immutableness of her virtue. She 
smiled at the assaults of adversity, and felt a merit in 
her smiles. How different was my situation ! Every 
thing that I saw reminded me of my guilt, and upbraided 
me with crimes that it was hell to recollect. My own 
garb, and that of my wife and children, the desertion in 
which we lived, the simple benches, the unhewn rafters, the 
naked walls, all told me what it was I had done, and weie 
BO many echoes to my conscience, repeating, without inter-* 
mission and without end, its heart-breaking reproaches. 
Sleep was almost a stranger to me ; these incessant monitors 
confounded my senses in a degree scarcely short of madness 
itself. It is the property of vice to convert every thing 
that should be consolation into an additional source of an- 



SO TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

guish. The beauty, the capacity, and the virtue of my 
children, the affection with which they regarded me, the 
patience and attentiveness and forbearance of their excellent 
mother, were all so many aggravations of the mischief I had 
perpetrated. I could almost have wished to have been the 
object of their taunts and execration. I could have wished 
to have been disengaged from the dearest charities of our 
nature, and to have borne the weight of my crimes alone. 
It would have been a relief to me if my children had been 
covered with the most loathsome diseases, deformed and 
monstrous. It would have been a relief to me, if they had 
been abortive in understanding, and odious in propensities, 
if their hearts had teemed with every vice, and every day 
had marked them the predestined victims of infamy. The 
guilt of having stripped them of every external advantage 
would then have sat light upon me. But thus to have 
ruined the most lovely family perhaps that existed on the 
face of the earth, the most exemplary of women, and 
children in whom I distinctly marked the bud of every ex- 
cellence and every virtue, was a conduct that I could never 
forgive even to myself. Oh, Damville, Damville ! best of 
men ! truest of friends ! why didst thou put thy trust in 
such a wretch as I am ! Hadst thou no presentiment of the 
fatal consequences ? Wert thou empowered to commit 
thy only child and all her possible offspring to so dreadful 
a risk ? Indeed, it was not well done ! It was meant in 
kindness ; but it was the cruellest mischief that could have 
been inflicted on me. I was not a creature qualified for 
such dear and tender connections. I was destined by 
nature to wander a solitary outcast on the face of the earth. 
For that only, that fearful misery, was I fitted. Why, 
misguided, misjudging man ! didst thou not leave me to 
my fate ? Even that would have been less dreadful than 
what I have experienced! Wretch that I am! Why 
do I reproach my best benefactor ? No, let me turn the 
whole current of my invective upon myself ! Damville was 
actuated by the noblest and most generous sentiment that 
ever entered the human mind. What a return then have 
I made, and to what a benefit ! 

All the previous habits of my mind had taught me to 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 81 

feel my present circumstances with the utmost acuteness. 
Marguerite, the generous Marguerite, stood, with a soul 
almost indifferent, between the opposite ideas of riches and 
poverty. Not so her husband. I had been formed, by 
every accident of my life, to the love of splendour. High 
heroic feats, and not the tranquillity of rural retirement, or 
the pursuits of a character professedly literary, had been the 
food of my imagination, ever since the faculty of imagina- 
tion was unfolded in my mind. The field of the cloth of 
gold, the siege and the battle of Pavia, were for ever present 
to my recollection. Francis the First, Bayard, and Bourbon, 
eternally formed the subject of my visions and reveries. 
These propensities had indeed degenerated into an infantine 
taste for magnificence and expense ; but the roots did not 
embrace their soil the less forcibly, because the branches 
were pressed down and diverted from their genuine per- 
pendicular. That from a lord, descended from some of the 
most illustrious houses in France, and myself amply im- 
bued with the high and disdainful spirit incident to my 
rank, I should become a peasant, was itself a sufficient de- 
gradation. But I call the heavens to witness that I could 
have endured this with patience, if I had endured it alone. 
I should have regarded it as the just retribution of my 
follies, and submitted with the most exemplary resignation. 
But I could not, with an equal mind, behold my wife and 
children involved in my punishment. I turned my eyes upon 
the partner of my life, and recalled with genuine anguish 
the magnificence to which she was accustomed, and the 
hopes to which she was born. I looked upon my children, 
the fruit of my loins, and once the pride of my heart, and 
recollected that they were paupers, rustics, exiles. I could 
foresee no return to rank, but for them and their posterity 
an interminable succession of obscurity and meanness. A 
real parent can support the calamity of personal degradation, 
but he cannot bear to witness and anticipate this corruption 
of his blood. At some times I honoured Marguerite for 
her equanimity. At others I almost despised her for this 
integrity of her virtues. I accused her in my heart of being 
destitute of the spark of true nobility. Her patience I con- 
sidered as little less than meanness and vulgarity of spirit- 



82 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

It would have become her better, I thought, like me, to 
have cursed her fate, and the author of that fate ; like me, 
to have spurned indignant at the slavery to which we were 
condemned ; to have refused to be pacified ; and to have 
wasted the last dregs of existence in impatience and regret. 
I could act that which had involved us in this.dire reverse; 
but I could not encounter the consequences of my act. 

The state of my mind was in the utmost degree dejected 
and forlorn. I carried an arrow in my heart, which the 
kindness of my wife and children proved inadequate to ex- 
tract, and the ranklings of which time itself had not the 
power to assuage. The wound was not mortal ; but, like the 
wound of Philoctetes, poisoned with the blood of the Lernean 
hydra, I dragged it about with me from year to year, and 
it rendered my existence a galling burden hardly to be 
supported. A great portion of my time was passed in a 
deep and mournful silence, which all the soothings that 
were addressed to me could not prevail on me to break. 
Not that in this silence there was the least particle of ill 
humour or sullenness. It was a mild and passive situation 
of the mind ; affectionate, as far as it was any thing, 
to the persons around me ; but it was a species of disabi- 
lity ; my soul had not force enough to give motion to the 
organs of speech, or scarcely to raise a finger. My eye 
only, and that only for a moment at a time, pleaded for for- 
bearance and pardon. I seemed like a man in that species 
of distemper, in which the patient suffers a wasting of the 
bones, and at length presents to us the shadow, without the 
powers, of a human body. 

This was at some times my condition. But my stupor 
would at others suddenly subside. Mechanically, and in a 
moment, as it were, I shook off my supineness, and sought 
die mountains. The wildness of an untamed and savage 
scene best accorded with the temper of my mind. I sprung 
from cliff to cliff among the points of the rock. I rushed 
down precipices that to my sobered sense appeared in a 
manner perpendicular, and only preserved my life, with a 
sort of inborn and unelective care, by catching at the roots 
and shrubs which occasionally broke the steepness of the 
descent. I hung over the tops of rocks still more fearful 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 83 

in their declivities,, and courted the giddiness and whirl of 
spirit which such spectacles are accustomed to produce. I 
could not resolve to die : death had too many charms to suit 
the self-condemnation that pursued me. I found a horri- 
ble satisfaction in determining to live, and to avenge upon 
myself the guilt I had incurred. I was far from imagining 
that the evils I had yet suffered were a mere sport and 
ostentation of misery, compared with those that were in re- 
serve for me. 

The state of mind I am here describing was not mad- 
ness, nor such as could be mistaken for madness. I never 
forgot myself, and what I was. I was never in that deli- 
rium of thought, in which the patient is restless and active 
without knowing what it is that he does, and from which, 
when roused, he suddenly starts, shakes off the dream that 
engaged him, and stands astonished at himself. Mine was 
a rage, guided and methodised by the discipline of despair. 
I burst into no fits of raving ; I attempted no injury to any 
one. Marguerite therefore could not reconcile herself to 
the placing me under any restraint. I frequently returned 
home, with my clothes smeared with the soil, and torn by 
the briars. But my family soon became accustomed to my 
returning in personal safety ; and therefore, whatever was 
the uneasiness my wife felt from my excursions, she pre- 
ferred the enduring it, to the idea of imposing on me any 
species of violence. 

The state of my family presented a singular contrast 
with that of its head. Marguerite was certainly not insen- 
sible to the opposition between her former and her present 
mode of life ; but she submitted to the change with such an 
unaffected cheerfulness and composure, as might have ex- 
torted admiration from malignity itself. She would perhaps 
have dismissed from her thoughts all retrospect to our for- 
mer grandeur, had not the dejection and despair that 
seemed to have taken possession of my mind forcibly and 
continually recalled it to her memory. For my sufferings 
I am well assured she felt the truest sympathy ; but there 
was one consideration attending them that imperiously com- 
pelled her to task her fortitude. They deprived me of the 
G 2 



84> TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

ability of in any degree providing for and superintending 
my family ; it became therefore incumbent upon her to 
exert herself for the welfare of all. Had we never fallen 
under this astonishing reverse, I might have spent my whole 
life in daily intercourse with this admirable woman, with- 
out becoming acquainted with half the treasures of her 
mind. She was my steward ; and from the result of her 
own reflections made the most judicious disposition of my 
property. She was my physician ; not by administering 
medicines to my body, but by carefully studying and exert- 
ing herself to remove the distemper of mind. Unfortu- 
nately no distempers are so obstinate as mental ones ; yet, 
had my distemper had any lighter source than an upbraid- 
ing conscience, I am persuaded the wisdom of Marguerite 
would have banished it. She was the instructor of my 
children ; her daughters felt no want of a governess j and 
I am even ready to doubt whether the lessons of his mother 
did not amply supply to Charles his loss of an education in 
the university of Paris. The love of order, the activity, 
the industry, the cheerfulness of, let me say, this illustrious 
matron, became contagious to all the inhabitants of my 
roof. Once and again have I stolen a glance at them, or 
viewed them from a distance busied, sometimes gravely, 
sometimes gaily, in the plain, and have whispered to my 
bursting heart, " How miserable am I ! how happy they ! 
So insurmountable is the barrier that divides innocence 
from guilt. They may breathe the same air ; they may 
dwell under the same roof j they may be of one family and 
one blood ; they may associate with each other every day 
and every hour j but they can never assimilate, never have 
any genuine contact. Is there a happier family than mine 
in all the valley of this far-famed republic ? Is there a 
family more virtuous, or more cultivated with all the re- 
finements that conduce to the true dignity of man ? I, I 
only am its burden and its stain ! The pleasure with 
which I am surrounded on every side finds a repellent 
quality in my heart that will not suffer its approach. To 
whatever is connected with me I communicate misfortune. 
Whenever I make my appearance, those countenances that 
at all other times spoke contentment and hilarity fall into 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 85 

sadness. Like a pestilential wind, I appear to breathe 
blast to the fruits of nature,, and sickliness to its aspect." 

Marguerite expostulated with me in the most soothing 
manner upon the obstinacy of my malady. " My Regi- 
nald ! my love ! " said she, " cease to be unhappy, or to 
reproach yourself ! You were rash in the experiment you 
made upon the resources of your family. But have you 
done us mischief, or have you conferred a benefit ? I more 
than half incline to the latter opinion. Let us at length 
dismiss artificial tastes, and idle and visionary pursuits, 
that do not flow in a direct line from any of the genuine 
principles of our nature ! Here we are surrounded with 
sources of happiness. Here we may live in true patriarchal 
simplicity. What is chivalry, what are military prowess and 
glory ? Believe me, they are the passions of a mind de- 
praved, that with ambitious refinement seeks to be wise be- 
yond the dictates of sentiment or reason ! There is no hap- 
piness so solid, or so perfect, as that which disdains these 
refinements. You, like me, are fond of the luxuriant and 
romantic scenes of nature. Here we are placed in the midst 
of them. How idle it would be, to wish to change our 
arbours, our verdant lanes and thickets, for vaulted roofs, 
and gloomy halls, and massy plate ! Alas, Reginald ! it is, 
I fear, too true, that the splendour in which we lately lived 
has its basis in oppression ; and that the superfluities of 
the rich are a boon extorted from the hunger and misery 
of the poor ! Here we see a peasantry more peaceful and 
less oppressed than perhaps any other tract of the earth 
can exhibit. They are erect and independent, at once 
friendly and fearless. Is not this a refreshing spectacle ? 
I now begin practically to perceive that the cultivators of 
the fields and the vineyards are my brethren and my 
sisters ; and my heart bounds with joy, as I feel my rela- 
tions to society multiply. How cumbrous is magnificence ! 
The moderate man is the only free. He who reduces all 
beneath him to a state of servitude becomes himself the 
slave of his establishment, and of all his domestics. To 
diminish the cases in which the assistance of others is felt 
absolutely necessary is the only genuine road to independ- 
ence. We can now move wherever we please without 
G 3 



86 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

waiting the leisure of others. Our simple repasts require 
no tedious preparation, and do not imprison us in saloons 
and eating rooms. Yet we partake of them with a more 
genuine appetite, and rise from them more truly refreshed, 
than from the most sumptuous feast. I prepare for my 
meal hy industry and exercise ; and when it is over, amuse 
myself with my children in the fields and the shade. 
Though I love the sight of the peasants, I would not be a 
peasant. I would have a larger stock of ideas, and a 
wider field of activity. I love the sight of peasants only 
for their accessories, or by comparison. They are com- 
paratively more secure than any other large masses of men, 
and the scenes in the midst of which they are placed are 
delightful to sense. But I would not sacrifice in prone 
oblivion the best characteristics of my nature. I put in my 
claim for refinements and luxuries ; but they are the re- 
finements and purifying of intellect, and the luxuries of 
uncostly, simple taste. I would incite the whole world, if 
I knew how to do it, to put in a similar claim. I would 
improve my mind ; I would enlarge my understanding ; I 
would contribute to the instruction of all connected with 
me, and to the mass of human knowledge. The pleasures 
I would pursue and disseminate, though not dependent on 
a large property, are such as could not be understood by 
the rustic and the savage. Our son, bred in these fields, 
indeed, will probably never become a preux chevalier, or 
figure in the roll of military heroes ; but he may become 
something happier and better. He may improve his mind, 
and cultivate his taste. He may be the counsellor and pro- 
tector of his sisters. He may be the ornament of the dis- 
trict in which he resides. He may institute in his adoptive 
country new defences for liberty, new systems of public 
benefit, and new improvements of life. There is no cha- 
racter more admirable than the patriot-yeoman, who unites 
with the utmost simplicity of garb and manners an under- 
standing fraught with information and sentiment and a 
heart burning with the love of mankind. Such were Fa- 
bricius and Regulus among the ancients, and such was 
Tell, the founder of the Helvetic liberty. For my part, 
I am inclined to be thankful, that this unexpected reverse 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 87 

in our circumstances has made me acquainted with new 
pleasures, and opened to my mind an invaluable lesson. 
If you could but be prevailed on to enter into our pleasures, 
to dismiss idle reproaches and pernicious propensities, our 
happiness would then be complete " 

The expostulations of Marguerite often excited my at- 
tention, often my respect, and sometimes produced a sort 
of imperfect conviction. But the conviction was transient, 
and the feelings I have already described as properly my 
own returned, when the fresh and vivid impression of what 
I had heard was gone. It was in vain that I heard the 
praises of simplicity and innocence. I was well pleased to 
see those who were nearest to me not affecting content- 
ment, but really contented with these things. But I could 
not be contented for them. The lessons of my education 
had left too deep an impression. I could myself have sur- 
rendered my claim to admiration and homage, as a penance 
for my misdeeds ; but I could not figure to myself a ge- 
nuine satisfaction unaccompanied by these accessories : 
and this satisfaction I obstinately and impatiently coveted 
for those I loved. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

WHILE I murmured in bitterness of soul at the lowness to 
which my family was reduced, a still heavier calamity im- 
pended, as if in vengeance against the fantastic refinements 
of distress over which I brooded. 

I was wandering, as I had often done, with a gloomy 
and rebellious spirit, among the rocks, a few miles distant 
from the place of our habitation. It was the middle of 
summer. The weather had been remarkably fine ; but I 
disdained to allow the gratifications which arise from a pure 
atmosphere and a serene sky to find entrance in my soul. 
My excursions had for some days been incessant ; and the 
sun, which matured the corn and blackened the grapes 
G 4 



88 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

around,, had imbrowned my visage, and boiled in my blood. 
I drank in fierceness and desperation from the fervour of 
his beams. One night, as in sullen mood I watched his 
Betting from a point of the rock, I perceived the clear- 
ness of the day subsiding in a threatening evening. The 
clouds gathered in the west ; and, as night approached, were 
overspread with a deep dye of the fiercest crimson. The 
wind rose ; and, during the hours of darkness, its roarings 
were hollow and tempestuous. 

In the morning the clouds were hurried rapidly along, 
and the air was changed from a long series of sultriness to 
a nipping cold. This change of the atmosphere I disre- 
garded, and pursued my rambles. A little before noon, 
however, the air suddenly grew so dark, as to produce a 
sensation perfectly tremendous. I felt as if the darkest 
night had never exceeded it. The impetuous motion to 
which I had been impelled, partly by the fever in my blood, 
and partly by the turbulence of the season, was suspended. 
Mechanically I looked round me for shelter. But I could 
ill distinguish the objects that were near me, when a flash 
of lightning, blue and sulphureous, came directly in my 
face, with a brightness that threatened to extinguish the 
organ of vision. The thunder that followed was of a 
length and loudness to admit of no comparison from any 
object with which I am acquainted. The bursts were so 
frequent as almost to confound themselves with each other. 
At present I thought only of myself; and the recent habits 
of my mind were not calculated to make me peculiarly acces- 
sible to fear. I stood awe-struck ; but rather with the awe 
that inheres to a cultivated imagination, than that which 
consists in apprehension. I seemed ready to mount amidst 
the clouds, and penetrate the veil with which nature con- 
ceals her operations. I would have plunged into the recesses 
in which the storm was engendered, and bared my bosom 
to the streaming fire. Meanwhile my thoughts were solemn- 
ised and fixed by observing the diversified dance of the 
lightnings upon the points of the rocks, contrasting as they 
did in the strongest manner with the darkness in which 
the rest of the scene was enveloped. This added conten- 
tion of the elements did not, however, suspend the raging 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 89 

of the wind. Presently a storm of mingled hail and rain 
poured from the clouds, and was driven with inconceivable 
impetuosity. The hailstones were of so astonishing a mag- 
nitude, that, before I was aware, I was beaten by them to 
the ground. Not daring to attempt to rise again, I simply 
endeavoured to place myself in such a manner as might best 
protect me from their violence. I therefore remained pros- 
trate, listening to the force with which they struck upon the 
earth, and feeling the rebound of their blows from different 
parts of my body. 

In about twenty minutes the shower abated, and in half 
an hour was entirely over. When I began to move, I was 
surprised at the sensation of soreness which I felt in every 
part of me. I raised myself upon my elbow, and saw the 
hailstones, in some places lying in heaps like hillocks of 
ice, while in others they had ploughed up the surface, and 
buried themselves in the earth. As I looked further, I per- 
ceived immense trees torn from their roots, and thrown to 
a great distance upon the declivity. To the noise that they 
made in their descent, which must have been astonishingly 
great, I had been at the time insensible. Such were the 
marks which the tempest had left upon the mountains. 
In the plain it was still worse. I could perceive the soil 
for long spaces together converted into a morass, the stand- 
ing corn beaten down and buried in the mud, the vines 
torn into a thousand pieces, the fruit trees demolished, and 
even in some places the animals themselves, lambs, sheep, and 
cows, strewing the fields with their mangled carcasses. The 
whole hopes of the year over which my eyes had glanced a 
few minutes before, for it was near the period of harvest, 
were converted into the most barren and dreary scene that 
any quarter of the globe ever witnessed. I was mounted 
upon a considerable eminence, and had an extensive pro- 
spect of this horrible devastation. 

As I stood gazing in mute astonishment, suddenly a fear 
came over me that struck dampness to my very heart. 
What was the situation of my own family and their little 
remaining property, amidst this dreadful ruin ? I was in 
a position where, though I nearly faced our habitation, a 
point of the rock intercepted it from my sight. The ob- 



90 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

stacle was but a small one, yet it would require a consider- 
able circuit to overcome. I flew along the path with a 
speed that scarcely permitted me to breathe. When I had 
passed the upper rock, the whole extensive scene opened 
upon me in an instant. What were my sensations, when 
I perceived that the devastation had been even more com- 
plete here than on the side where I first viewed it ! My 
own cottage in particular, which that very morning had 
contained, and I hoped continued to contain, all that was 
most dear to my heart, seemed to stand an entire solitude 
in the midst of an immense swamp. 

Marguerite, whose idea, upon our retreat into Switzerland, 
had been that of conforming without reserve to the new 
situation that was allotted us, had immediately expended 
the whole of what remained from the shipwreck of our for- 
tune, in the purchase of the cottage in which we dwelt, and 
a small portion of land around it, sufficient with economy 
for the support of our family. Under her direction the 
hills had been covered with vines, and the fields with corn. 
She had purchased cows to furnish us with milk, and sheep 
with their fleeces, and had formed her establishment upon 
the model of the Swiss peasantry in our neighbourhood. 
Reverting to the simplicity of nature, appeared to her like 
building upon an immovable basis, which the clash of na- 
tions could not destroy, and which was too humble to 
fear the treachery of courts, or the caprice of artificial re- 
finement. 

It was all swept away in a moment. Our little property 
looked as if it had been particularly a mark for the ven- 
geance of Heaven, and was more utterly destroyed than any 
of the surrounding scenes. There was not a tree left 
standing ; there was not a hedge or a limit that remained 
within or around it ; chaos had here resumed his empire, 
and avenged himself of the extraordinary order and beauty 
it had lately displayed. 

I was not overwhelmed with this astonishing spectacle. 
At that moment nature found her way to my heart, and 
made a man of me. I made light of these petty accessories 
of our existence; and the thought of my wife and my 
children, simply as they were in themselves, filled every 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 9 

avenue of my heart. For them, and them alone, I was 
interested: it was a question for their lives. To conceive 
what they might personally have sustained was a horror 
that seemed to freeze up all the arteries of my heart. I 
descended from the mountain. It was with the greatest 
difficulty, and not without many circuitous deviations, that 
I proceeded ; so much was the surface changed, and so 
deep arid miry the swamps. My terror increased, as I 
passed near to the carcasses of the animals who had fallen 
victims to this convulsion of the elements. I observed, 
with inconceivable alarm, that the dead or wounded bodies 
of some human beings were intermingled with the brute 
destruction. I stayed not to enquire whether they were yet 
in a state to require assistance ; the idea that had taken 
possession of me left no room for the sentiment of general 
humanity. 

A little further on I distinctly remarked the body of a 
woman at some distance from any habitation, who appeared 
to be dead, destroyed by the storm. Near her lay a female 
infant, apparently about six years of age. My attention 
was involuntarily arrested ; I thought of Louisa, that sweet 
and amiable child, so like her admirable mother. The 
figure was hers j the colour of the robe corresponded to 
that in which I last saw her. The child was lying on her 
face. With all the impatient emotions of a father, I stooped 
down. I turned over the body, that I might identify my 
child. It was still warm ; life had scarcely deserted it. I 
gazed upon the visage ; it was distorted with the agonies of 
death : but enough to convince me still remained discernible; 
it was not Louisa ! 

I can scarcely recollect a period through all the strange 
vicissitudes of my existence to be compared with this. If 
I had not felt what I then felt, I could never have con- 
ceived it. Human nature is so constituted, that the highest 
degree of anguish, an anguish in which the heart stretches 
itself to take in the mightiness of its woe, can be felt but 
for a few instants. When the calamity we feared is already 
arrived, or when the expectation of it is so certain as to 
shut out hope, there seems to be a principle within us by 
which we look with misanthropic composure on the state 



92 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

to which we are reduced, and the heart sullenly contracts 
and accommodates itself to what it most abhorred. Our 
hopes wither ; and our pride, our self-complacence, all that 
taught us to rejoice in existence, wither along with them. 
But, when hope yet struggles with despair, or when the cala- 
mity abruptly announces itself, then is the true contention, 
the tempest and uproar of the soul too vast to be endured. 

This sentiment of ineffable wretchedness I experienced, 
when I stooped down over the body of the imaginary 
Louisa, and when I hastened to obtain the certainty which 
was of all things most terrible to me. The termination of 
such a moment of horror is scarcely less memorable than its 
intrinsic greatness. In an instant the soul recovers its 
balance, and the thought is as if it has never been. I 
clapped my hands in an ecstasy at once of joy and astonish- 
ment, so sure did I seem to have made myself of my mis- 
fortune ; I quitted the body with an unburdened heart ; I 
flew towards my home, that I might ascertain whether I 
was prematurely speaking comfort to my spirit. 

At length I reached it. I saw the happy group as- 
sembled at the door. Marguerite had entertained the same 
terrors for me, with which I had myself so lately been im- 
pressed. We flew into each other's arms. She hid her 
face in my neck, and sobbed audibly. I embraced each of 
the children in turn, but Louisa with the most heartfelt de- 
light. " Are you safe, papa ? " " Are you safe, my child ? " 
were echoed on every side. A spectator, unacquainted with 
what was passing in our hearts, would certainly have stood 
astonished to see the transport with which we exulted, sur- 
rounded as we were with desolation and ruin. 

After an interval, however, we opened our eyes, and be- 
gan to ruminate upon the new condition in which we were 
placed. Marguerite and myself watched each other's coun- 
tenances with anxiety, to discover what were likely to be 
the feelings of either in this terrible crisis. " Be of good 
heart, my love," said Marguerite ; cf do not suffer the acci- 
dent which has happened entirely to overcome you." There 
was a mixed compassion, tenderness, and anxiety in the 
tone of voice with which she uttered these words, that was 
inexpressibly delightful. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 93 

f( No, Marguerite," replied I, with enthusiastic impe- 
tuosity, " I am not cast down ; I never shah 1 be cast down 
again. Ruin is nothing to me, so long as I am surrounded 
with you and our dear children. I have for some time 
been a fool. In the midst of every real blessing, I have 
fashioned for myself imaginary evils. But my eyes are 
now opened. How easily is the human mind Induced to 
forget those benefits with which we are constantly sur- 
rounded, and our possession of which we regard as secure ! 
The feelings of this morning have awakened me. I am 
now cured of my folly. I have learned to value my do- 
mestic blessings as I ought. Having preserved them, I 
esteem myself to have lost nothing. What are gold and 
jewels and precious utensils ? Mere dross and dirt. The 
human face and the human heart, reciprocations of kindness 
and love, and all the nameless sympathies of our nature, 
these are the only objects worth being attached to. What 
are rank and station ? the homage of the multitude and 
the applause of fools. Let me judge for myself ! The value 
of a man is in his intrinsic qualities ; in that of which 
power cannot strip him, and which adverse fortune cannot 
take away. That for which he is indebted to circumstances, 
is mere trapping and tinsel. I should love these precious 
and ingenuous creatures before me better, though in rags, 
than the children of kings in all the pomp of ornament. I 
am proud to be their father. Whatever may be my per- 
sonal faults, the world is my debtor for having been the 
occasion of their existence. But they are endeared to me 
by a better principle than pride. I love them for their qua- 
lities. He that loves, and is loved by, a race of pure and 
virtuous creatures, and that lives continually in the midst of 
them, is an idiot, if he does not think himself happy. Sur- 
rounded as I am now surrounded, I feel as irremovable as 
the pillars of creation. Nothing that does not strike at their 
existence can affect me with terror." 

Marguerite viewed me with surprise and joy. " Now in- 
deed," said she, "you are the man I took you for, and the 
man I shall henceforth be prouder than ever to call my 
husband. The sorrow in which you lately indulged was 
a luxury ; and we must have done with luxuries. You will 
be our protector and our support." 



9^ TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

Thus saying, she took me by the hand, and motioned 
me to view with her the devastation that had been com- 
mitted. There was one path I had discovered, in which 
we might proceed some way with tolerable ease. The 
scene was terrible. We were indeed beggars. A whole 
province had been destroyed : all the corn and the fruits 
of the earth; most of the trees; in many places cattle; 
in some places men. Persons who had been rich in the 
morning saw all the produce of their fields annihilated, 
and were unable even to guess by what process fertility 
was to be re-established. The comparatively wealthy 
scarcely knew how they were to obtain immediate subsist- 
ence ; the humbler class, who always live by the expedients 
of the day, saw nothing before them but the prospect of 
perishing with hunger. We witnessed, in one or two in- 
stances, the anguish of their despair. 

Our prospect was scarcely in any respect better than 
theirs ; yet we felt differently. We were more impressed 
with the joy of our personal escape. As my error respect- 
ing the value of externals had been uncommonly great, the 
sudden revolution of opinion I experienced was equally me- 
morable. The survey, indeed, that we took of the general 
distress somewhat saddened our hearts ; but the sadness it 
gave was that of sobriety, not of dejection. 

It was incumbent upon us to make a strict examination 
into the amount of our property, and our immediate re- 
sources ; and in this office I united myself with Marguerite, 
not only with a degree of cheerfulness and application, the 
perfect contrast of my whole conduct ever since our arrival 
in Switzerland, but which greatly exceeded any thing I had 
ever before exhibited in a business of this nature. We 
found that, though all our hopes of a harvest were annihi- 
lated,, yet we were not destitute of the instant means of 
subsistence. The resources we possessed, whether in money 
or provisions, that were our dependence till the period when 
the new produce should supply their place, were uninjured. 
Our implements of husbandry remained &s before. The 
land was not impoverished, but had rather derived ad- 
ditional fertility from the effects of the storm. What we 
had lost was chiefly the produce of our capital for one year, 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 95 

together with a part of that capital itself in the live stock 
that had been destroyed. This was a loss which a certain 
degree of care and scope in our external circumstances 
might easily have enabled us to supply. But the principle 
of supply was denied us. It was with considerable diffi- 
culty that all the economy of Marguerite had enabled her 
to support our family establishment, while every thing of 
this kind had gone on prosperously. Such a shock as the 
present we were totally disqualified to surmount. It com- 
pelled us to a complete revolution of our affairs. 

Many indeed of our neighbours had scarcely any greater 
advantage in their private affairs than ourselves. But they 
possessed one superiority that proved of the greatest im- 
portance in this conjuncture ; they were natives of the state 
in which they resided. In the cantons of Switzerland, the 
destruction of the fruits of the earth, occasioned by incle- 
ment seasons and tempests, is by no means unfrequent; and 
it is therefore customary, in plentiful years, to lay up corn 
in public magazines, that the people may not perish in pe- 
riods of scarcity. These magazines are placed under the 
inspection and disposal of the magistracy ; and the inhabit- 
ants looked to them with confidence for the supply of their 
need. No storm, however, had occurred in the memory of 
man so terrible and ruinous as the present ; and it became 
evident that the magazines would prove a resource too 
feeble for the extent of the emergency. 

The storm had spread itself over a space of many leagues 
in circumference, not only in the canton of Soleure, but in 
the neighbouring cantons, particularly that of Berne. The 
sufferers, in our own canton only, amounted to scarcely less 
than ten thousand. While the women and children, for 
the most part, remained at home, the houses having in 
general suffered little other damage than the destruction of 
their windows, the fathers of families repaired to the seat 
of government to put in their claims for national relief ; 
and these alone formed an immense troop, that threatened 
little less than to besiege the public magazines and the ma- 
gistrates. An accurate investigation was entered into of the 
losses of each, it being the purpose of government, as far as 
its power extended, not only to supply the people with the 



96 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

means of immediate subsistence, but also, by disbursements 
from the public treasury, to recruit the stock of cattle, and 
to assist every one to return, with revived hopes and expect- 
ation, to the sphere of his industry. The purpose was no 
doubt benevolent; but, in the mean time, the unhappy 
victims found in uncertainty and expectation a real and 
corroding anguish. 

I advanced my claim with the rest, but met with a 
peremptory refusal. The harsh and rigorous answer I 
received was, that they had not enough for their own 
people, and could spare nothing to strangers. Upon this 
occasion I was compelled to feel what it was to be an alien, 
and how different the condition in which I was now placed 
from that I had filled in my native country. There I had 
lived in the midst of a people, to whom the veneration of 
my ancestry and name seemed a part of their nature. They 
had witnessed for several years the respectable manner in 
which I lived ; the virtues of Marguerite were familiar to 
them ; and they took an interest in every thing that con- 
cerned us, a sentiment that confessed us at once for kindred 
and patrons. It was the turn of mind only which is 
generated by rank, that had compelled us to quit their 
vicinity ; we might have continued in it, if not in affluence, 
at least enjoying the gratifications that arise from general 
affection and respect. But here we were beheld with an 
eye of jealousy and distaste. We had no prejudice of birth, 
and habit in our favour ; indeed, in the reverse of fortune 
which had brought us hither, Marguerite had been less de- 
sirous of obtruding, than of withdrawing from the public 
eye, the circumstance of our rank. We were too recent 
inmates to have secured, by any thing of a personal nature, 
an advantageous opinion among our neighbours. They saw 
only a miserable and distracted father of a family, and a 
mother who, in spite of the simplicity she cultivated., suf- 
ficiently evinced that she had been accustomed to a more 
elevated situation. The prepossessions of mankind are 
clearly unfavourable to a new-comer, an emigrant who has 
quitted his former connections and the scenes of his youth. 
They are unavoidably impelled to believe, that his taking 
up his abode in another country must be owing to a weak 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 97 

and discreditable caprice, if it be not owing to something 
still more disadvantageous to his character. 

The calamity therefore which we had suffered in com- 
mon with most of the inhabitants of the province, finally 
reduced us to the necessity of a second emigration. The 
jealousy with which we were regarded, daily became more 
visible and threatening. Though, in consequence of the 
distribution made by order of the state, the price of com- 
modities was not so much increased as might have been ex- 
pected, we were considered as interlopers upon the portion 
of the natives ; the sellers could with difficulty be per- 
suaded to accommodate us, and the bystanders treated us 
with murmurs and reviling. While we were deliberating 
what course to pursue in this emergency, certain officers of 
government one morning entered our habitation, producing 
an order of the senate for our immediate removal out of the 
territory. It is of the essence of coercive regulations, to 
expel, to imprison, and turn out of prison, the individuals 
it is thought proper to control, without any care as to the 
mischiefs they may suffer, and whether they perish under 
or survive the evil inflicted on them. We were accordingly 
allowed only from six in the morning till noon, to prepare 
for our departure. Our guards indeed offered to permit 
me to remain three days to wind up my affairs, upon con- 
dition that my wife and children were instantly removed into 
another country, as a sort of hostages for my own departure. 
This indulgence however would have been useless. In the 
present state of the country no purchaser could be found 
for the little estate I possessed; and if there could, it must 
doubtless have been disposed of to great ^disadvantage at 
such an emergency. I know not how we should have ex- 
tricated ourselves out of these difficulties, if a member of 
the senate, who, being one of my nearest neighbours, had 
been struck with admiration of the virtues of Marguerite, 
and with compassion for my family, had not paid me a visit 
shortly after the arrival of the officers, and generously of- 
fered to take upon himself the care of my property, and to 
advance me what money might be necessary for my emi- 
gration. This offer, which at any other time might have 
been regarded as purely a matter of course, under the 



98 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

present circumstances, when capital was so necessary for 
the revival of agriculture in the desolated country, implied 
a liberal and disinterested spirit. I accepted the kindness 
of my neighbour in both its parts, but for the reimburse- 
ment of his loan referred him to the French minister to 
the United Cantons, who, under all the circumstances of 
the case, and taking my estate as security for the money 
advanced, I thought it reasonable to believe would attend 
to my application. 



CHAPTER IX. 

MY affairs being thus far adjusted, I took leave of my late 
habitation, and set off with my wife and children the same 
afternoon. In the evening we arrived at Basle, where we 
were permitted to remain that night; and the next morning 
were conducted in form out at the north gate of the city, 
where our attendants quitted us, with a fresh prohibition 
under the severest penalties, if we were found within the 
ensuing twelve months in any of the territories of the 
Helvetic republic. 

Marguerite and myself had already formed our plan. 
We began with dismissing both our servants. An attendant 
was no longer necessary to me, nor a nurse for the infant. 
The suggestion of this measure originated in myself. My 
temper at this time, as I have already said, underwent a 
.striking change. I was resolved to be happy; I was re- 
solved to be active. It was hard to part with persons so 
long familiar to us, and who appeared rather in the cha- 
racter of humble friends than domestics ; but an imperious 
necessity demanded it. " Let us," said I to Marguerite, 
" increase and secure our happiness by diminishing our 
wants. I will be your husbandman and your labourer; 
you may depend upon my perseverance. My education has 
fitted me to endure hardship and fatigue, though the hard- 
ships then thought of were of a different nature. You have 
ever delighted in active usefulness ; and will not, I know, 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 99 

repine at this accumulation of employment. Let us accom- 
modate ourselves to our circumstances. Our children, I 
perceive, are fated to be peasants, and will therefore be 
eminently benefited by the example of patience and inde- 
pendence we shall set before them." 

The next object of our plan related to the choice of our 
future place of residence. This originated with Marguerite. 
She had heard much of the beauty and richness of the 
country bordering on the lake of Constance, and she 
thought that, while we denied ourselves expensive plea- 
sures, or rather while they were placed out of our reach, 
there would be a propriety in our procuring for ourselves a 
stock of those pleasures which would cost us nothing. This 
was a refinement beyond me, and serves to evince the supe- 
riority which Marguerite's virtue and force of mind still 
retained over mine. The virtue I had so recently adopted 
was a strenuous effort. I rather resolved to be happy, than 
could strictly be said to be happy. I loved my children 
indeed with an unfeigned affection. It was with sincerity 
that I professed to prefer them to all earthly possessions. 
But vanity and ostentation were habits wrought into my 
soul, 'and might be said to form part of its essence. I could 
not, but by the force of constant recollection, keep them out 
of my wishes and hopes for the future. I could not, like 
Marguerite, suffer my thoughts, as it were, to riot and 
wanton in the pleasures of poverty. I could only reconcile 
myself to my fate by a sort of gloomy firmness. The tran- 
quillity I seemed to have attained, was an unnatural state 
of my soul, to which it was necessary that I should reso- 
lutely hold myself down, and from which my thoughts 
appeared ever upon the alert to escape. Bitter experience 
had at length taught me a hard lesson ; and that lesson I was 
determined to practise, whatever pangs my resignation 
might cost me. 

We proceeded without hesitation in the direction we had 
resolved to pursue. Our whole journey exceeded the space 
of forty leagues in extent, and the expense necessarily 
attendant upon it (our family, even after its reduction, 
consisting of no less than six persons), drained our puiee 
of a great part of the money which had been supplied to 
H 2 



100 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

us by the benevolent senator. But he had agreed to under- 
take the disposing of the property we were obliged to leave 
behind us, and in the mean time., if any considerable inter- 
val occurred before that was accomplished, to furnish us 
with the sums that should be necessary for our subsistence. 
We placed the utmost reliance upon his fidelity, and dis- 
missed from our minds all anxiety respecting the interval 
which our banishment had interposed between us and the 
resources necessary for our future settlement. 

Upon our arrival at Constance, we found a letter from 
our friend ; and though he transmitted to us no fresh sup- 
ply, the complexion of his communication was upon the 
whole so encouraging, as to determine us, with no other de- 
lay than that of four days' rest from our journey, to pass 
to the other side of the lake, and explore for ourselves a 
situation suitable to our design. The western bank of the 
lake, with the exception only of the city of Constance, was 
part of the pays conquis of the United Cantons ; the eastern 
bank was a territory dependent on the government of that 
city. It was in this territory that we purposed fixing our 
residence ; and we trusted that our affairs would shortly be 
put in a train to enable us to take possession of the spot we 
should select. 

Thus driven once more into flight by the pressure of 
misfortune, and compelled to exchange for a land unknown 
the scenes which familiarity might have endeared, or tender 
recollections have made interesting, we did not sink under 
the weight of our adversity. This removal was not like 
our last. Switzerland was to none of us endeared like the 
vales of St. Leon. I was not now goaded and tormented 
by conscious guilt in the degree I had then been ; Mar- 
guerite was not afflicted by the spectacle of my misery. 
Our present change, though it might be denominated a fall, 
was light in comparison with the former. The composure 
I had gained was new to me, and had to my own mind all the 
gloss of novelty. To my companions it proved contagious ; 
they were astonished at my serenity, and drew from it an 
unwonted lightness of heart. 

Thus circumstanced, our tour had its charms for us all ; 
and there are few passages of my life that I have felt more 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



101 



agreeably. The lake itself is uncommonly beautiful, and its 
environs are fertile and interesting. It is surrounded with 
an abundance of towns, villages, country seats, and monas- 
teries, sufficient to adorn and diversify the view, but not to 
exclude the sweetness of a rural scenery, or the grand fea- 
tures of nature. We coasted a considerable part of the lake, 
that we might judge in some degree, previously to our land- 
ing, which part of the shore promised best to yield us the 
object we sought. The autumn was now commencing ; the 
air was liquid and sweet ; the foliage was rich and varied ; 
and the vine-covered hills exhibited a warmth and luxu- 
riance of colouring, that no other object of nature or art is 
able to cope with. Surrounded with these objects, I sat in 
my boat in the midst of my children ; and, as I was but 
just awakened to an observation of their worth and my own 
happiness, I viewed them with a transport that would be ill 
illustrated by being compared with the transport of a miser 
over his new-recovered treasure from the bowels of the 
deep. 

O poverty ! exclaimed I, with elevated and unconquer- 
able emotion, if these are the delights that attend thee, will- 
ingly will I resign the pomp of palaces and the splendour 
of rank to whoever shall deem them worth his acceptance ! 
Henceforth I desire only to dedicate myself to the simpli- 
city of nature and the genuine sentiments of the heart. I 
will enjoy the beauty of scenes cultivated by other hands 
than mine, or that are spread out before me by the Author 
of the universe. I will sit in the midst of my children, and 
revel in the luxury of domestic affections ; pleasures these, 
that may be incumbered, but cannot be heightened, by all 
that wealth has in its power to bestow ! Wealth serves no 
other purpose than to deprave the soul, and adulterate the 
fountains of genuine delight. 

Such was the spirit of exultation with which my mind 
was at this time filled. I am sensible that it was only 
calculated to be transitory. I might learn to be contented; 
I was not formed to be satisfied in obscurity and a low 
estate. 

Thus happy, and thus amused, we spent two days in 
coasting the lake, landing frequently for the purposes either 
ii 3 



102 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

of variety or enquiry, and regularly passing the night on 
shore. On the evening of the second day we were struck 
with the neat appearance and pleasing situation of a cottage, 
which we discovered in our rambles, about a mile and a 
half from the lake. We found that it was to be sold, and 
it seemed precisely to correspond with the wishes we had 
formed. It was at a considerable distance from any popu- 
lous neighbourhood, the nearest town being that of Mers- 
purg, the usual residence of the bishops of Constance, 
which was distant from this spot not less than three leagues. 

The cottage was situated in .a valley; the hills being for 
the most part crowned with rich and verdant foliage, their 
sides covered with vineyards and corn, and a clear trans- 
parent rivulet murmuring along from east to west. In the 
distance a few similar cottages discovered themselves, and 
in front there was an opening between the hills, just wide 
enough to show us a few sails as they floated along the now 
even surface of the lake. We approached the cottage, and 
found in it only one person, an interesting girl of nineteen, 
who had resided there from her birth, and had been em- 
ployed for the last four years in attendance upon the closing 
scene of her mother. Her mother had been dead only 
a few weeks, and she was upon the point of removing, as 
she told us, to the house of a brother, the best creature in 
the world, who was already married, and had a family of 
children. While we were talking with her, we perceived a 
fine boy of about eleven years of age skipping along the 
meadow. He proved to be her nephew, and hastened to 
say that his father and Mr. Henry were just behind, and 
would be with her in a few minutes. We waited their 
arrival ; and it was easy to see that Mr. Henry was by no 
means an indifferent object in the eyes of the beautiful or- 
phan : she had probably conditioned that he should permit 
her to remain single as long as she could be of any use to 
her mother. The lovers were well satisfied that the girl's 
brother should be taken aside, that I might talk over with 
him the affair of the cottage. We made a tour of the fields 
that were part of the property of the deceased, and the 
terms of our intended purchase were easily adjusted. 

Though we had now accomplished the immediate pur- 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 103 

pose of our expedition, yet, as we had found unusual exhi- 
laration and sweetness in the objects it presented to us, we 
came to a resolution of continuing it still further, and com- 
pleting the circuit of the lake. We were aware that it 
would be vain as yet to expect to receive the money requi- 
site for completing our purchase; and as no pleasure, 
merely in the way of relaxation, could be more delightful 
than that we were now enjoying, so was it impossible 
that we could fill up our time in a more frugal manner than 
in this little voyage. Our gratification was not less, but 
more perfect, because it consisted of simple, inartificial, 
unbought amusements. The scenes around us were refresh- 
ing and invigorating ; they were calculated, temporarily at 
least, to inspire gaiety and youth into decrepitude itself. 
Amidst these scenes we forgot our sorrows ; they were a 
kind of stream, in which weariness and dejection plunged 
their limbs, and came forth untired and alert. They 
awakened in the mind all its most pleasing associations. 
Having already, as we believed, chosen the place of our 
future residence, we busied ourselves in imagining ah 1 the 
accompaniments that would grow out of it. We deter- 
mined that poverty with health would not fail to be attended 
with its portion of pleasures. The scenes of nature were 
all our own ; nor could wealth give them a more perfect, 
or a firmer, appropriation. The affections and charities of 
habitude and consanguinity we trusted we should feel unin- 
terrupted; unincumbered with the ceremonies and trap- 
pings of lifej and in that rural plainness which is their 
genial soil. 

After a leisurely and delightful voyage of six days, we 
returned to Constance. We expected to have found on our 
return some further intelligence from the beneficent senator, 
but in this we were disappointed. The imagination how- 
ever easily suggested to us a variety of circumstances that 
might have delayed the business he had undertaken ; and 
it was no forced inference to suppose that he deferred writ- 
ing, because he had nothing important to communicate. 
At first therefore we suffered little uneasiness from the 
delay ; but as time proceeded, and the silence of our pro- 
tector continued^ the affair began to assume a more serious 
H 4 



104 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

aspect. The little stock we had brought with us in our 
exile was in a rapid progress of decay. We had managed 
it with frugality ; though not at first with that anxious so- 
licitude, the necessity of which we now began to apprehend. 
We had procured for ourselves two small and inconvenient 
apartments in an obscure alley of the city of Constance. 
We were in the act of meditating what steps it would be 
necessary to take in this unfortunate emergency, when in- 
telligence was brought us of the sudden decease of the 
person upon whose kindness and exertions we depended. 

He was succeeded in his estate by his nephew, a man of 
whom we had heard something during our residence in the 
neighbourhood, and whose habits we understood to be dia- 
metrically the reverse of his predecessor's. In short, he 
had been represented to us as illiberal, morose, selfish, and 
litigious ; a man who, having suffered in one part of his 
life the hardships of poverty, scrupled no means, honour- 
able or otherwise, of removing it to the greatest practicable 
distance. He had already reaped the succession some weeks, 
when we heard of the event that put him in possession of 
it ; and the letters which I had more than once addressed 
to our protector had probably fallen into his hands. These 
circumstances afforded no favourable augury of the treat- 
ment we might expect from him. The first thing which 
seemed proper was to write to him, which I accordingly 
did. I acquainted him with the nature of the transaction 
between myself and his uncle, and signified how necessary 
it was that we should come to a conclusion as speedily as 
possible. I represented to him pathetically the condition 
to which I was born, and the opulence in which I had 
passed many years of my life, together with the contrast 
afforded by the present reduced and urgent circumstances 
of my family. I entreated him to exert his generosity and 
justice in behalf of an unfortunate exile, whom untoward 
events had deprived of the power of doing justice to him- 
self. 

To this letter I received no answer. Uncertain as to the 
cause of my correspondent's silence, or even whether my 
letter had been received, I wrote again. My heart was 
wrung with this new adversity. I was forbidden, under 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 105 

pain of perpetual imprisonment, to return to the territories 
of the republic, and I had no friend to solicit in my behalf. 
In Constance I was utterly a stranger. In Switzerland, my 
unfortunate habits of life, the depression and solitude in 
which I had been merged, deprived me of the opportunity 
of forming connections. The deceased was the only person 
who had been disposed to interfere for me. It was too 
probable that the silence of his successor was an indication 
of the hostility of his views. I saw nothing before me but 
the prospect of my family perishing with want, deprived 
of their last resource, exiles and pennyless. Thus destitute 
and forlorn, what could we do ? to what plan could we have 
recourse ? We had not so much as the means of providing 
ourselves with the implements of the humblest labour. If 
we had, could I, under my circumstances, resolve upon 
this ? Could I give up the last slender pittance of my 
children while there was a chance of recovering it ; and, by 
surrendering them to the slavery of perpetual labour, devote 
them to the lowest degree of ignorance and degradation ? 
No ; I still clung to this final hope, and was resolved to 
undertake any thing, however desperate, rather than part 
with it. Such were my feelings ; and, in the new letter 
which I now despatched, I poured out all the anguish of 
my soul. 

A reply to this letter was at length vouchsafed. The 
heir of my protector informed me, that he knew nothing of 
the business to which I alluded ; that he had come into 
possession of the lands I described, together with the other 
property of his late uncle, and regarded himself as holding 
them by the same tenure ; that he found in the accounts of 
the estate a sum of money advanced to me, which he might 
with the strictest justice regard as a debt, and pursue me 
for it accordingly. He should be liberal enough however 
so far to give credit to my story, and to consider the sum 
in question as advanced upon a pledge of land : in that case, 
I might regard myself as sufficiently fortunate in having 
obtained even that amount at a time when, but for the hu- 
manity or weakness of his uncle, my estate would not have 
sold for a farthing. Meanwhile, the forbearance which he 
proffered would, he observed, depend upon my conduct, and 



106 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

be retracted if I afforded him cause for resentment. He 
added, that he despised my menaces and commands, and 
that, if I took a single step against him, I should find it 
terminate in my utter ruin. 

Nothing could be more profligate than the style of his 
letter. But its impotence was equal to its wickedness. It 
was absurd to threaten to inflict ruin on a man whom ruin 
had already overtaken. Before the letter arrived, I had 
disbursed the whole sum I brought with me from Switzer- 
land. This entire annihilation of my resources seemed to 
steal on me unperceived. Finding that all reply to my 
importunity was either refused, or deferred to an uncertain 
period, I would willingly at all risks have sought the villain 
who thus obdurately devoted me and my family to destruc- 
tion, and have endeavoured to obtain justice in person. But 
it was now too late. Before I felt the case thus desperate, 
my finances were so far reduced as to make it impracticable 
for me to leave my wife and children enough to support 
them in my absence, even if I had determined myself to 
set out upon this perilous expedition penny less. I resolved 
that, if we did perish, we would perish together. 

Penury was now advancing upon us with such rapid 
strides, that the lowest and most scanty resources no longer 
admitted of neglect. Had a case thus desperate been en- 
countered with timely attention, it is not improbable that 
some of the various talents I had acquired in the course of 
my education would have furnished me with a means of 
subsistence not altogether plebeian or incompetent. But, 
with the uncertainty of my situation, and totally unaccus- 
tomed as I was to regard my person or mind as a machine 
fitted for productive labour, I had not looked to this ques- 
tion, till the urgency of the case deprived me of every ad- 
vantage I might otherwise have seized. I was glad there- 
fore to have recourse to menial occupation, and sought 
employment under the gardener of the episcopal palace, for 
whose service I was sufficiently qualified by my ten years' 
retreat in the Bordelois. That I might better adapt myself 
to the painful necessity of my situation, I previously ex- 
changed some of my own clothes for garments more suitable 
to the business I now solicited. It was not till I had ar- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 307 

rived within a very few days to the end of my resources, 
that even this expedient, hy a sort of accident, recurred to 
my mind. Marguerite, though fully aware of the urgency 
of the case, had, as she afterwards told me, imposed on 
herself a compulsory silence, fearing for the inflamed and 
irritated frame of my mind, and aware that the course of 
events would ultimately lead me to a point with which she 
dreaded to intermeddle. This was for her a trying mo- 
ment ; my lately recovered insanity obliging her to contem- 
plate in silence our growing distress, and to wait the attack 
of hunger and want that threatened to destroy us, with an 
apparent tranquillity and cheerfulness. 

For me, so entire a revolution had taken place in my 
sentiments, that I spurned with contempt, so far as related 
to myself, that pride of rank and romantic gallantry of 
honour, which had formerly been my idols. I submitted 
with a sort of gloomy contentment to the situation upon 
which my destiny drove me. I regarded it as the natural 
result of my former misconduct ; and derived a sentiment of 
ease and relief from thus expiating, as it were, with the 
sweat of my brow, the temptations to which I had yielded. 
Had I been myself only reduced thus low, or had the pro- 
duce of my labour been sufficient to purchase competence 
for my wife and the means of instruction for my family, I 
can safely affirm that I should have found no consequence 
so direct from my own degradation as the means of silencing 
the reproaches of conscience and reconciling me to myself. 
But when I returned in the evening with the earnings of 
my day's labour, and found it incompetent to the procuring 
for those who depended on me the simplest means of sub- 
sistence, then indeed my sensations were different. My 
heart died within me. I did not return after the fatigues 
of the day, which, to me who had not been accustomed to 
unremitted labour, and who now began to feel that I was 
not so young as I had been at the siege of Pavia, were ex- 
tremely trying, I did not return, I say, to a night of 
repose. I became a very woman when I looked forward, 
and endeavoured to picture to myself the future situation of 
my family. I watered my pillow with my tears. Often, 
.when I imagined that my whole family were asleep, I gave 



108 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

vent to my perturbated and distracted mind in groans : 
Marguerite would sometimes overhear me; and with the 
gentlest suggestions of her admirable mind would endea- 
vour to soothe my thoughts to peace. For the present, as 
I have said, my earnings were incompetent, and we found 
it necessary to supply the deficiency by the sale of the few 
garments, not in immediate use, that we still possessed. 
What then would be the case when these were gone, and 
when, in addition to this, it would be necessary to pur- 
chase not only food to eat, and a roof to shelter, but also 
clothes to cover us ? 



CHAPTER X. 

THESE deficiencies I anxiously anticipated ; but there was 
another evil, upon which I had not calculated, that was still 
Hearer and more overwhelming. The mode of life in which 
I was now engaged, so different from any thing to which I 
had been accustomed, excessive fatigue, together with the 
occasional heat of the weather, the uneasiness of my mind, 
and the sleeplessness of my nights, all combined to throw 
me into a fever, which, though it did not last long, had 
raged so furiously during the period of its continuance, as 
to leave me in a state of the most complete debility. While 
the disorder was upon me, I was sensible of my danger ; 
and, as the brilliant and consolatory prospects of life seemed 
for ever closed upon me, I at first regarded my approach- 
ing dissolution with complacency, and longed to be released 
from a series of woes, in which I had been originally in- 
volved by my own folly. This frame of mind however 
was of no great duration ; the more nearly I contemplated 
the idea of separation from those I loved, the smaller was 
my resignation. I was unwilling to quit those dear objects 
by which I still held to this mortal scene ; I shrunk with 
aversion from that barrier which separates us from all that 
is new, mysterious, and strange. Another train of ideas 
succeeded this, and I began to despise myself for my impa- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



109 



tience and cowardice. It was by my vices that my family 
was involved in a long train of misfortunes ; could I shrink 
from partaking what I had not feared to create? The 
greater were the adversities for which they were reserved, 
the more ought I to desire to suffer with them. I had 
already committed the evil ; in what remained, it was rea- 
sonable to suppose I should prove their benefactor and 
not their foe. It was incumbent on me to soothe and to 
animate them, to enrich their minds with cheerfulness and 
courage, and to set before them an example of philosophy 
and patience. By my faculties of industry I was their 
principal hope ; and, whatever we might suffer combined, 
it was probable their sufferings would be infinitely greater, 
if deprived of my assistance. These reflections gave me 
energy ; and it seemed as if the resolute predilection I had 
conceived for life contributed much to my recovery. 

One thing which strongly confirmed the change my 
mind underwent in this respect, was a conversation that 
I overheard at a time when I was supposed to be completely 
in a state of insensibility, but when, though I was too 
much reduced to give almost any tokens of life, my faculties 
of hearing and understanding what passed around me were 
entire. Charles came up to my bedside, laid his hand 
upon mine as if to feel the state of the skin, and, with a 
handkerchief that was near, wiped away the moisture that 
bedewed my face. He had been fitted for many nurse-like 
offices by the unwearied attention he had exerted towards 
me in the paroxysm of my insanity. Having finished his 
task, he withdrew from the bed, and burst into tears. His 
mother came up to him, drew him to the furthest part of 
the room, and in a low voice began the conversation. 

" Do, my dear boy, go down stairs, and get yourself 
something to eat. You see, your papa is quiet now." 

" I am afraid that will not last long; and then he will be 
so restless, and toss about so, it is dreadful to see him." 

" I will watch, Charles, and let you know." 

" Indeed, mamma, I cannot eat now. I will by and 
by." 

' You must try to eat, Charles, or else you will make 
yourself quite ill. If you were ill too, it would be more 
than I could support." 



110 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

" I will not be ill, mamma. I assure you I will not; 
But, besides that I have no stomach, I cannot bear to eat 
when there is hardly enough for my sisters." 

" Eat, boy. Do not trouble yourself about that. We 
shall get more when that is gone. God is good, and will 
take care of us." 

" I know that God is good; but for all that, one must 
not expect to have every thing one wishes. Though God 
is good, there are dreadful misfortunes in the world, and I 
suppose we shall have our share of them." 

" Come, Charles, though you are but a boy, you are the 
best boy in the world. You are now almost my only 
comfort ; but you will not be able to comfort me if you do 
not take care of yourself." 

" Dear mamma ! Do you know, mamma, I heard that 
naughty man below stairs count up last night how much 
rent you owed him for, and swear you should not stay any 
longer if you did not pay him. If I were a little bigger, I 
would talk to him so that he should not dare to insult us in 
our distress. But, not being big enough, I opened the 
door, and went into the room, and begged him for God's 
sake not to add to your distress. And, though he is so 
ugly, I took hold of his hand, and kissed it. But it felt 
like iron, which put me in mind of his iron heart, and 
I cried ready to burst with mortification. Ha did not say 
hardly a word." 

" He must be paid, Charles : he shall be paid." 

<( Do you know, mamma, as soon as I left him I went 
to the bishop's gardens, and spoke to the gardener ? I 
asked him, if he had heard that my papa was ill, and he 
said he had. He said, too, he was very sorry, and wanted 
to know what hand we made of it for want of the wages. I 
told him, we were sadly off, and the man of the house had 
just been affronting me about his rent. But, said I, can- 
not you give me something to do, to weed or to rake ? I 
can dig a little too, and scatter seed. He asked, if I knew 
weeds from flowers. Oh, that I do ! said I. Well then, 
said he, there is not much you can do ; but you are a good 
boy, and I will put you on the bishop's list. But now, 
mamma, I have not the heart to work, till I see whether 
papa will get well again." 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. Ill 

While poor Charles told his artless tale, Marguerite wept 
over him, and kissed him again and again. She called him 
the best child in the world, and said that, if I were hut so 
fortunate as to recover, with such a husband and such a son,, 
she should yet be the happiest of women. 

" Oh, my poor father ! " exclaimed Charles. " Ever 
since the great hail-storm, I have every hour loved him 
better than before. I thought that was impossible, but he is 
so gentle, so kind, so good-humoured, and so patient ! I 
loved him when he was harsh, and when he was out of his 
mind; but nothing so well then as I have done since. 
People that are kind and smile always do one good ; but 
nobody's smiles are like my father's. It makes me cry; 
with joy sometimes, when I do but think of them. Pray, 
papa," added he, coming up to the bedside, and whisper- 
ing, yet with a hurried and passionate accent, " get well ! 
Do but get well, and we will be so happy ! Never was 
there a family so happy or so loving as we will be I" 

While he spoke thus, I endeavoured to put out my hand, 
but I could not ; I endeavoured to smile, but I was unable : 
my heart was in a feeble, yet soothing, tranquillity. The 
accents of love I had* heard, dwelt upon my memory. They 
had talked of distress, but the sentiment of love was upper- 
most in my recollection. I was too weak of frame to suffer 
intellectual distress; no accents but those which carried 
balm to my spirit, seemed capable of resting upon my. ear. 
From this hour I regularly grew better, and, as I reco- 
vered, seemed to feel more and more vividly how envi- 
able it was to be the head of a loving and harmonious 
family. 

My recovery however was exceedingly slow, and it was 
several weeks before I had so far recruited my strength as 
to be capable of my ordinary occupations. In the mean 
time the pecuniary difficulties to which we were exposed 
hourly increased, and the cheerful but insignificant labours 
of Charles could contribute little to the support of a family. 
The melancholy nature of our situation might perhaps 
have been expected to prevent the restoration of my health. 
At first however it had not that effect. The debilitated 
state of my animal functions led me, by a sort of irresisU 



112 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

ible instinct, to reject ideas and reflections which I shou 
then have been unable to endure. I saw the anxiety and 
affection of my family, and I was comforted. I saw the 
smiles of Marguerite, and I seemed insensible to the lan- 
guor, the saddened cheerfulness, they expressed. I did not 
perceive that, while I was provided with every thing neces- 
sary in my condition, my family were in want of the very 
bread that should sustain existence. 

My health in the mean time improved, and my percep- 
tions became proportionably clearer. Symptoms of deso- 
lation and famine, though as much as possible covered from 
my sight, obtruded themselves, and were remarked. One 
day in particular I observed various tokens of this nature in 
silence, and with that sort of bewildered understanding 
which at once labours for comprehension and resists belief. 
The day closed ; and what I had perceived pressed upon my 
mind, and excluded sleep. Now for the first time I ex- 
erted myself to recollect in a methodical way the state of 
my affairs ; for the severity of my illness had at length 
succeeded to banish from me all ideas and feelings but what 
related to the sensations it produced, and to the objects 
around me ; and it was not without effort that I could once 
more fully call to mind the scenes in which I had been 
engaged. The truth then by regular degrees rose com- 
pletely to view ; and I began to be astonished, that my poor 
wife and children had been able in any manner to get 
through the horrible evils to which they must have been 
exposed. This thought I revolved in my mind for near 
two hours ; and the longer I dwelt upon it, the more per- 
turbed and restless I grew. At length it became impossible 
for me to hold my contemplations pent up in my own bo- 
som. I turned to Marguerite, and asked her, whether she 
were asleep. 

She answered in the negative: she had been remark- 
ing my restlessness, and tenderly enquired respecting its 
cause. 

" How long," said I, " is it since I was taken with the 
fever ? " 

" A month to-morrow," replied she. " It was of the 
most malignant and distressing kind while it lasted, and 




TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 113 

I did not expect you to live. But it -has left you a fort- 
night ; and I hope, Reginald,, you find yourself getting 
strong again." 

(< And so we are here in Constance, and we have left 
Switzerland ? " 

' ' Three months,, my love ! " 

" I remember very well the letter we received from mon- 
sieur Grimseld ; has any further intelligence reached us from 
that quarter ? " 

" None." 

" None ! No supply of any kind has reached you ? " 

" My dear Reginald, talk of something else ! You will 
soon, I hope, be well : our children are all alive ; and the 
calamity, that has not succeeded to separate us, or to dimi- 
nish our circle of love even by a single member, we will 
learn to bear. Let us fix our attention on the better pro- 
spects that open before us ! " 

" Stay, Marguerite ! I have other questions to ask. Be- 
fore you require me to bear the calamities that have over- 
taken us, let me understand what these calamities are. 
While we waited for intelligence from Switzerland, we ex- 
pended the whole sum that we brought with us, and I was 
obliged to hire myself to the episcopal gardener for bread ; 
was it not so ? " 

" Indeed, Reginald, you are to blame ! Pray question 
me no further ! " 

{f This was our condition some time ago ; and now, for 
a month past, I have been incapable of labour. Marguerite, 
what have you done ? " 

" Indeed, my love, I have been too anxious for you, to 
think much of any thing else. We had still some things, 
you know, that we could contrive to do without ; and those 
I have sold. Charles too, our excellent-hearted son, has 
lately hired himself to the gardener, and has every night 
brought us home a little, though it was but little." 

<( Dear boy ! What children, what a wife, have I brought 
to destruction ! Our rent too, surely you have not been able 
to pay that ? " 

" Not entirely. In part I have been obliged to pay it." 
i 



114) TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

" Ah ! I well remember how flinty-hearted a wretch has 
got the power over us in that respect ! " 

" He has not turned us out of doors. He threatened 
hard several times. At last I saw it was necessary to make 
an effort, and the day before yesterday I paid him half his 
demand. If I could have avoided that, we might have had 
a supply of food a little longer. I in treated earnestly for 
a little further indulgence, but it was in vain. It went 
against the pride and independence of my soul to sue to this 
man; but it was for you and for my children I" 

" Remorseless wretch ! Then every petty resource we 
had is gone ? " 

" Indeed I do not know that we have any thing more 
to sell. I searched narrowly yesterday ; but I will examine 
again to-day. The poor children must have something 
to support them, and their fare has of late been dreadfully 
scanty." 

" Their fare ! What have they eaten ? " 

" Bread ; nothing else for the last fortnight !" 

" And yourself?" 

" Oh, Reginald ! it was necessary, you know, that I 
should keep myself alive. But, I assure you, I have robbed 
them as little as I could." 

" Horror, horror! Marguerite, what is it you dream of? 
I see my wife and children dying of hunger, and you talk 
to me of hope and of prospects ! Why has this detail of 
miseries been concealed from me ? Why have I been suf- 
fered, with accursed and unnatural appetite, to feed on the 
vitals of all I love ? " 

" Reginald ! even selfishness itself would have taught us 
that ! It is to your recovery that we look for our future 
support ! " 

" Mock me not, I adjure you, with senseless words ! You 
talk idly of the future, while the tremendous present bars 
all prospect to that future. We are perishing by inches. 
We have no provision for the coming day! No, no; some- 
thing desperate, something yet unthought of, must be at- 
tempted ! I will not sit inactive, and see my offspring around 
me die in succession. No, by Heaven ! Though I am 
starving like Ugolino, I am not, like Ugolino, shut up in a 



TRAVELS C? ST. LEON. 115 

dungeon ! The world is open ; its scenes are wide; the re- 
sources it offers are, to the bold and despairing, innumerable ! 
I am a father, and will show myself worthy of the name !" 

' ( Reginald ! torture me not by language like this ! Think 
what it is to be indeed a father, and make yourself that ! 
Be careful of yourself; complete your recovery, and leave 
the rest to me ! I have conducted it thus far, nor am I yet 
without hope. Eight days ago I applied to the secretary of 
the palace, representing your case as a retainer of the bishop, 
disabled by sickness, and with a family unprovided for. Till 
yesterday I got no answer to my memorial ; and then he 
informed me, that you had been so short a time in employ, 
that nothing could be done for you. But to-day I will 
throw myself at the feet of the bishop himself, who arrived 
last night only from the other side of the lake." 

Every word that Marguerite uttered went to my heart. 
It was not long before the dawn of the day, and the truths 
I had heard were further confirmed to me by the organ of 
sight. The sentiments of this night produced a total revo- 
lution in me, and I was no longer the feeble convalescent 
that the setting sun of the preceding day had left me. The 
film was removed from my eyes, and I surveyed not the 
objects around me with a glassy eye and unapprehensive 
observation. All the powers I possessed were alert and in 
motion. To my suspicious and hurried gaze the apartment 
appeared stripped of its moveables, and left naked, a mansion 
in which for despair to take up his abode. My children 
approached me ; I seemed to read the wan and emaciated 
traces of death in their countenances. This perhaps was 
in some degree the painting of my too conscious thoughts. 
But there needed no exaggeration to awaken torture in my 
bosom, when, thus stimulated, I observed for the first time 
the dreadful change that had taken place in Marguerite. 
Her colour was gone ; her cheeks were sunk ; her eye had 
the quickness and discomposure expressive of debility. I 
took hold of her hand, and found it cold, emaciated, and 
white. I pressed it to my lips with agony; a tear unbidden 
fell from my eye, and rested upon it. Having finished my 
examination, I took my hat, and was hastening to escape 
into the street. Marguerite noted my motions, and anxi- 
i 2 



116' TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

ously interposed to prevent my design. She laid her hand 
on my arm gently, yet in a manner full of irresistible 
expostulation. 

" Where would you go ? What have you purposed ? 
Do not, Oh, do not, destroy a family, to whom your 
life, your sobriety, and prudence, are indispensable \" 

I took her hand within both mine. " Compose yourself, 
my love ! I have been your enemy too much already, to be 
capable now, so much as in thought, of adding to my guilt! 
I need an interval for musing and determination. I will 
return in a very short time, and you shall be the confidant 
of my thoughts ! " 

With wild and impatient spirit I repassed in idea the 
whole history of my life. But principally I dwelt in recol- 
lection upon the marquis de Damville, that generous friend, 
that munificent benefactor, whose confidence I had so ill 
repaid. " Damville ! " exclaimed I, " you trusted to me 
your daughter, the dearest thing you knew on earth ; you 
believed that the wretch did not live who could be unjust 
to so rich a pledge. Look down, look down, O best of 
men ! from the heaven to which your virtues have raised 
you, and see of how much baseness man yes, the man you 
disdained not to call your friend is capable ! But, no ! a 
sight like this might well convert the heaven you dwell in 
to hell ! You trusted her to me ; I have robbed her ! You 
enriched her mind with the noblest endowments ; I have 
buried them in the mire of the vilest condition ! All her 
generous, her unwearied exertions are fruitless ; by my evil 
genius they are blasted ! I have made her a mother, only 
that she might behold her children perishing with hunger ! 
They stretch out their hands to me for the smallest portion 
of that inheritance, which I have squandered in more than 
demoniac vice ! This, this is the fruit of my misdeeds ! I 
am now draining the last dregs of that mischief, of which I 
have so wickedly, so basely, been the author ! " 

As I returned I met Marguerite, who was come from her 
attempt upon the bishop. He had received her paper, and 
delivered it to his secretary, that very secretary who had 
already disappointed all her expectations from that quarter. 
She had attempted to speak, to adjure the bishop, whatever 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 117 

he did., not to deliver her over to a man hy whom her hopes 
had been so cruelly frustrated ; hut the tumult of the scene 
drowned her voice, and the hurry and confusion over- 
powered her efforts. They, however, drew such a degree 
of attention on her, that, in the dissentions which religtous 
broils at that time spread in Constance, she was suspected 
of pressing thus earnestly towards the person of the bishop 
with no good design, and in fine was rudely thrust out of 
the palace. She had not recovered from the agitation into 
which she had been thrown, when I met her. I eagerly 
enquired into the cause of her apparent distress ; but she 
shook her head mournfully, and was silent. I easily under- 
stood where she had been, and the failure of her experi- 
ment. 

"All then," said I, "is at an end. Now, Marguerite, you 
must give up your experiments, and leave to me the cure 
of evils of which I only am the author. I will return this 
instant to the garden of the palace, and resume the situation 
I formerly occupied." 

" For God's sake, Reginald, what is it you mean ? You 
have just acquired strength to seek the benefit of air. The 
least exertion fatigues you. At this moment, the little walk 
you have taken has covered you with perspiration. You 
could not dig or stoop for a quarter of an hour without 
being utterly exhausted." 

" Marguerite, I will not sit down tamely, and see my 
family expire. In many cases it is reasonable to bid a 
valetudinarian take care of himself. But our situation is 
beyond that. I must do something. Extraordinary cir- 
cumstances often bring along with them extraordinary 
strength. No man knows, till the experiment, what he is 
capable of effecting. I feel at this moment no debility ; 
and I doubt not that the despair of my mind will give re- 
doubled energy to my efforts." 

While I spoke thus, I was conscious that I had little 
more than the strength of a new-born child. But I could 
not endure at such a time to remain in inactivity. I felt 
as much ashamed of the debilitated state in which my fever 
had left me, as I could have done of the most inglorious 
effeminacy and cowardice of soul. I determined to relieve 
i 3 



118 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

my family, or perish in the attempt. If all my efforts were 
vain, I could not better finish my career, than exhausted, 
sinking, expiring under a last exertion, to discharge the 
duties of my station. 

We returned into the house. Marguerite took from a 
closet the last remnant of provisions we had, the purchase 
of poor Charles's labour of the preceding day. There was 
a general contest who should escape from receiving any 
part in the distribution. Charles had withdrawn him- 
self, and was not to be found. Julia endeavoured to ab- 
scond, but was stopped by Louisa and her mother. She 
had wept so much, that inanition seemed more dangerous 
for her, than perhaps for any other of the circle. No one 
can conceive, who has not felt it, how affecting a contest of 
this kind must appear to me, sensible as I was to the danger 
that their virtue and generous affection were the prelude 
only to their common destruction. I said, there was a 
general contest who should avoid all share in the distribu- 
tion ; but I recollect that the little Marguerite, two years 
and a half old, exclaimed at first, " I am so hungry, mam- 
ma ! " But watching, as she carefully did, every thing 
that passed, she presently laid down her bread upon the 
table in silence, and almost untouched ; and being asked, 
Why she did so ? she replied, in a tone of speaking sensi- 
bility, " Thank you, I am not hungry now ! " 

This scene made an impression on my mind never to be 
forgotten. It blasted and corrupted all the pulses of my 
soul. A little before, I had reconciled myself to poverty ; 
I had even brought myself to regard it with cheerfulness. 
But the sentiment was now reversed. I could endure it, I 
could steel myself against its attacks; but never from this 
hour, in the wildest paroxysms of enthusiasm, has it been 
the topic of my exultation or my panegyric. No change 
of circumstances, no inundation of wealth, has had the 
power to obliterate from my recollection what I then saw. 
A family perishing with hunger ; all that is dearest to you 
in the world sinking under the most dreadful of all the 
scourges with which this sublunary scene is ever afflicted ; 
no help near ; no prospect but of still accumulating distress; 
a death, the slowest, yet the most certain and the most 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

agonising, that can befall us : no, there is nothing that has 
power to rend all the strings of the heart like this ! From 
this moment, the whole set of my feelings was changed. 
Avarice descended, and took possession of my soul. Haunted, 
as I perpetually was, by images of the plague of famine, 
nothing appeared to me so valuable as wealth ; nothing so 
desirable as to be placed at the utmost possible distance 
from want. An appetite of this kind is insatiable ; no dis- 
tance seems sufficiently great ; no obstacles, mountains on 
mountains of gold, appear an inadequate security to bar 
from us the approach of the monster we dread. 

While I speak of the sentiments which in the sequel 
were generated in my mind by what I now saw, I am sus- 
pending my narrative in a crisis at which a family, inter- 
esting, amiable and virtuous, is reduced to the lowest state 
of humiliation and distress. 

They are moments like these, that harden the human 
heart, and fill us with inextinguishable hatred and contempt 
for our species. They tear off the trappings and decoration 
of polished society, and show it in all its hideousness. The 
wanton eye of pampered pride pleases itself with the spec- 
tacle of cities and palaces, the stately column and the swell- 
ing arch. It observes at hand the busy scene, where all are 
occupied in the various pursuits of pleasure or industry ; 
and admires the concert, the wide-spreading confederacy, 
by means of which each after his mode is unconsciously 
promoting the objects of others. Cheated by the outside of 
things, we denominate this a vast combination for general 
benefit. The poor and the famished man contemplates the 
scene with other thoughts. Unbribed to admire and ap- 
plaud, he sees in it a confederacy of hostility and general 
oppression. He sees every man pursuing his selfish ends, 
regardless of the wants of others. He sees himself con- 
temptuously driven from the circle where the rest of his 
fellow-citizens are busily and profitably engaged. He lives 
in the midst of a crowd, without one friend to feel an in- 
terest in his welfare. He lives in the midst of plenty, 
from the participation of which he is driven by brutal me- 
naces and violence. No man who has not been placed in 
his situation can imagine the sensations, with which, over- 
l 4 



120 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

whelmed as he is with domestic ruin and despair, he beholds 
the riot, the prodigality, the idiot ostentation, the senseless 
expense, with which he is surrounded on every side. What 
were we to do ? Were we to beg along the streets ? Were 
we to in treat for wretched offals at rich men's doors? Alas! 
this, it was to be feared, even if we stooped to the miserable 
attempt, instead of satisfying wants for ever new, would 
only prolong in the bitterness of anguish the fate for which 
we were reserved ! 

An unexpected relief at this time presented itself. While 
the scanty meal I have mentioned was yet unfinished, a let- 
ter was presented me inclosing under its cover a bill of one 
hundred crowns. The letter was from Bernardin, the faith- 
ful servant whom we found it necessary to dismiss three 
months before, when we quitted our residence in Switzer- 
land. It informed us that, as soon as he had parted from 
us, he had set out on his return to his native town, next 
adjacent to my paternal residence ; that he found his father 
had died a short time before, and that, from the sale of his 
effects, he had reaped an inheritance to triple the amount 
of the sum he had now forwarded to us. He had heard by 
accident of the death of our friend in Switzerland, and the 
character of his successor, and dreaded that the conse- 
quences might prove highly injurious to us. He had still 
some business to settle with the surviving branches of his 
family, but that would be over in a few weeks ; and then, 
if we would allow him, he would return to his dear master, 
and afford us every assistance in his power. The little 
property that had now fallen to him would prevent him 
from being a burthen ; and he would hire a spot of land, and 
remain near us, if we refused him the consolation of return- 
ing to his former employment. 

What a reproach was it to me, that, descended from one 
of the most illustrious families in Europe, the heir of an 
ample patrimony, and receiving a still larger fortune in 
marriage, I should, by the total neglect and profligate de- 
fiance of the duties incumbent on me, have reduced myself 
so low as to be indebted to a peasant and a menial for the 
means of saving my family from instant destruction ! This 
was a deep and fatal wound to the pride of my soul. There 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. ]21 

was however no alternative, no possibility of rejecting the 
supply afforded us at so eventful a moment. We deter- 
mined to use it for the present, and to repay it with the 
earliest opportunity ; and in the following week, in spite of 
the remonstrances of Marguerite, the yet feeble state of my 
health, and the penalties annexed to the proceeding, I set 
off for the canton of Soleure, determined, if possible, to 
wrest the little staff of my family from the hand that so 
basely detained it. 

I passed through Zurich and a part of the canton of 
Basle without obstacle ; these parts of Switzerland had not 
suffered from the calamity which had occasioned our exile. 
In proceeding further, I found it necessary to assume a 
disguise, and to avoid large towns and frequented roads. I 
reached at length the well known scene in which I had so 
so lately consumed twelve months of my life ; in which I 
first began to breathe (to breathe, not to be refreshed) from 
ruin, beggary, and exile. There was no pleasing recollec- 
lection annexed to this spot ; it was a remembrancer of 
shame, sorrow, and remorse. Yet, such is the power of 
objects once familiar, revisited after absence, that my eye 
ran over them with delight, I felt lightened from the weari- 
ness of the journey, and found that the recollection of pains 
past over and subdued was capable of being made a source 
of gratification. The mountains among which I had wan- 
dered, and consumed, as it were, the last dregs of my in- 
sanity, surrounded me ; the path in which I was travelling 
led along one of their ridges. I had performed this part of 
my journey by night ; and the first gleams of day now 
began to streak the horizon. I looked towards the cottage, 
the distant view of which had so often, in moments of the 
deepest despair, awakened in my heart the soothings of 
sympathy and affection. I saw that as yet it remained in 
its forlorn condition, and had undergone no repair ; while 
the lands around, which had lately experienced the super- 
intendence of Marguerite, had met with more attention, 
and began to resume the marks of culture. I sighed for 
the return of those days and that situation, which, while 
present to me, had passed unheeded and unenjoyed. 

I repaired to the house of my late protector, now the 



122 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

residence of monsieur Grimseld. He was a meagre shri- 
velled figure ; and,, though scarcely arrived at the middle of 
human life, exhibited all the marks of a premature old age. 
I disclosed myself to him, and began warmly to expostu- 
late with him upon the profligacy of his conduct. He 
changed colour, and betrayed symptoms of confusion, the 
moment I announced myself. While I pressed him with 
the barbarity of his conduct, the dreadful effects it had 
already produced, and the incontestible justice of my claim, 
he stammered, and began to propose terms of accommoda- 
tion. During this conversation we were alone. After some 
time, however, a servant entered the room, and the coun- 
tenance of the master assumed an expression of satisfaction 
and confidence. He eagerly seized on the occasion which 
presented itself, and, instantly changing his tone, called on 
his servant to assist him in securing a criminal against the 
state. I at first resisted, but Grimseld perceiving this, ap- 
plied to his bell with great vehemence, and three other 
servants made their appearance, whose employment was in 
the field, but who had now accidentally come into the house 
for refreshment. I had arms ; but I found it impracticable 
to effect my escape ; and I soon felt that, by yielding to 
the impulse of indignation, and punishing Grimseld on the 
spot for his perfidy, I might ruin but could not forward 
the affair in which I was engaged. 

I was conducted to prison ; and the thoughts produced 
in me by this sudden reverse were extremely melancholy 
and discouraging. Grimseld was a man of opulence and 
power ; I was without friends, or the means of procuring 
friends. The law expressly condemned my return; and 
what had I not to fear from law, when abetted and inforced 
by the hand of power ? I might be imprisoned for ten 
years ; I might be imprisoned for life. I began earnestly 
to wish that I had remained with my family, and given up 
at least all present hopes of redress. It would be a dread- 
ful accumulation of all my calamities, if now at last I and 
my children were destined to suffer, perhaps to perish, in a 
state of separation ; and the last consolations of the wretched, 
those of suffering, sympathising, and condoling with each 
other, were denied us. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 123 

Full of these tragical forebodings,, I threw myself at first 
on the floor of my cell in a state little short of the most 
absolute despair. I exclaimed upon my adverse fortune, 
which was never weary of persecuting me. I apostrophised, 
with tender and distracted accents, my wife and children, 
from whom I now seemed to be cut off by an everlasting 
divorce. I called upon death to put an end to these tumults 
and emotions of the soul, which were no longer to be borne. 

In a short time however I recovered myself, procured 
the implements of writing,, and drew up, in the strong and 
impressive language of truth, a memorial to the council of 
the state. I was next to consider how this was to reach 
its destination ; for there was some danger that it might be 
intercepted by the vigilance and malignity of my adversary. 
I desired to speak with the keeper of the prison. He had 
some recollection of me, and a still more distinct one of my 
family. He concurred with the general sentiment, in a 
strong aversion to the character of Grimseld. As I pressed 
upon him the hardship of my case, and the fatal conse- 
quences with which it might be attended, I could perceive 
that he fully entered into the feeling with which I wished 
him to be impressed. He blamed my rashness in returning 
to Switzerland in defiance of the positive prohibition that 
had been issued ; but promised at all events that my paper 
should be delivered to the president to-morrow morning. 

I remained three days without an answer, and these days 
were to me an eternity. I anticipated every kind of mis- 
fortune ; I believed that law and malice had succeeded to 
the subversion of equity. At length however I was deli- 
vered from my apprehensions and perplexity, and summoned 
to appear before the council. It was well for me perhaps 
that I had to do with a government so simple and moderate 
as that of Switzerland. I obtained redress. It was re- 
ferred to an arbitration of neighbours to set a fair price on 
my property, and then decreed, that if monsieur Grimseld 
refused the purchase, the sum should be paid me out of the 
coffers of the state. He was also condemned in a certain 
fine for the fraud he had attempted to commit. The affair, 
thus put in train, was soon completed ; and I returned with 
joy, having effected the object of my journey, to my anxious 



124 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

and expecting family. Soon after, we removed to the spot 
we had chosen on the eastern bank of the lake, where we 
remained for the six following years in a state of peace and 
tranquillity. 



CHAPTER XL 

IT was in the evening of a summer's day in the latter end 
of the year fifteen hundred and forty-four, that a stranger 
arrived at my habitation. He was feeble, emaciated, and 
pale, his forehead full of wrinkles, and his hair and beard 
as white as snow. Care was written in his face ; it was 
easy to perceive that he had suffered much from distress of 
mind; yet his eye was still quick and lively, with a 
strong expression of suspiciousness and anxiety. His garb, 
which externally consisted of nothing more than a robe of 
russet brown, with a girdle of the same, was coarse, thread- 
bare, and ragged. He supported his tottering steps with a 
staff; and, having lost his foreteeth, his speech was indistinct 
and difficult to be comprehended. His wretched appearance 
excited my compassion, at the same time that I could easily 
discern, beneath all its disadvantages, that he was no com- 
mon beggar or rustic. Ruined and squalid as he appeared, 
I thought I could perceive traces in his countenance of what 
had formerly been daring enterprise, profound meditation, 
and generous humanity. 

I saw that he was much fatigued, and I invited him to 
rest himself upon the bench before the door. I set before 
him bread and wine, and he partook of both. I asked him 
his name and his country. He told me that he was a 
Venetian, and that his name, as nearly as I could collect, 
was signor Francesco Zampieri. He seemed however 
averse to speaking, and he requested me to suffer him to 
pass the night in my habitation. There was nothing singular 
in the request, a hospitality of this sort being the practice 
of the neighbourhood ; and humanity would have prompted 
my compliance, if I had not been still more strongly urged 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 125 

by an undefinable curiosity that began to spring up in my 
bosom. I prepared for him a camp-bed in a summer- 
house at the end of my garden. As soon as it was ready, 
he desired to be left alone, that he might seek in rest some 
relief from the fatigue he had undergone. 

He retired earlyt; and therefore, soon after daybreak the 
next morning, I waited on him to enquire how he had 
rested. He led me out into the fields ; the morning was 
genial and exhilarating. We proceeded, till we came to a 
retired spot which had frequently been the scene of my 
solitary meditations, and there seated ourselves upon a bank. 
We had been mutually silent during the walk. As soon as 
we were seated, the stranger began : " You are, I under- 
stand, a Frenchman, and your name the count de St. Leon? " 
I bowed assent. 

" St. Leon," said he, " there is something in your coun- 
tenance and manner that prepossesses me in your favour. 
The only thing I have left to do in the world is to die ; 
and what I seek at present, is a friend who will take care 
that I shall be suffered to die in peace. Shall I trust you ? 
Will you be that friend to me ? " 

I was astonished at this way of commencing his con- 
fidence in me ; but I did not hesitate to promise that he 
should not find me deficient in any thing that became a man 
of humanity and honour. 

" You do not, I think, live alone ? You have a wife and 
children." 

" I have." 

" Yet none of them were at home when I arrived last 
night. You brought yourself to the summer-house every 
thing that was necessary for my accommodation." 

" I did so. But I have a wife to whom I have been 
married seventeen years, and with whom I have no reserves. 
I told her of your arrival ; I spoke of your appearance ; I 
mentioned your name." 

f( It is no matter. She has not seen me. My name is 
not Zampieri ; I am no Venetian." 

" Who are you then ? " 

" That you shall never know. It makes no part of the 
confidence I design to repose in you. My name shall be 



126 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

buried with me in the grave ; nor shall any one who has 
hitherto known me, know how, at what time, or on what 
spot of earth, I shall terminate my existence. The cloud of 
oblivion shall shelter me from all human curiosity. What 
I require of you is that you pledge your honour, and the faith 
of a man, that you will never reveal to your wife, your 
children, or any human being, what you may hereafter 
know of me, and that no particular that relates to my his- 
tory shall be disclosed, till at least one hundred years after 
my decease." 

t( Upon these conditions I arn sorry that I must decline 
your confidence. My wife is a part of myself ; for the last 
six years at least I have had no thought in which she has 
not participated ; and these have been the most tranquil 
and happy years of my life. My heart was formed by 
nature for social ties ; habit has confirmed their propensity ; 
and 1 will not now consent to any thing that shall infringe 
on the happiness of my soul." 

While I spoke, I could perceive that my companion 
grew disturbed and angry. At length, turning towards me 
a look of ineffable contempt, he replied 

" Feeble and effeminate mortal ! You are neither a 
knight nor a Frenchman ! Or rather, having been both, 
you have forgotten in inglorious obscurity every thing 
worthy of either ! Was ever gallant action achieved 
by him who was incapable of separating himself from a 
woman ? Was ever a great discovery prosecuted, or an 
important benefit conferred upon the human race, by him 
who was incapable of standing, and thinking, and feeling, 
alone ? Under the usurping and dishonoured name of 
virtue, you have sunk into a slavery baser than that of the 
enchantress Alcina. In vain might honour, worth, and 
immortal renown proffer their favours to him who has 
made himself the basest of all sublunary things the puppet 
of a woman, the plaything of her pleasure, wasting an 
inglorious life in the gratification of her wishes and the 
performance of her commands ! " 

I felt that I was not wholly unmoved at this expostula- 
tion. The stranger touched upon the first and foremost 
passions of my soul ; passions the operation of which had 




TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 127 

long been suspended, but which were by no means extin- 
guished in my bosom. He proceeded : 

" But it is well ! Years have passed over my head in 
vain, and I have not learnt to distinguish a man of honour 
from a slave. This is only one additional sorrow to those 
in which my life has been spent. I have wandered through 
every region of the earth, and have found only disappoint- 
ment. I have entered the courts of princes ; I have ac- 
companied the march of armies ; I have pined in the 
putridity of dungeons. I have tasted every vicissitude of 
splendour and meanness j five times have I been led to the 
scaffold, and with difficulty escaped a public execution. 
Hated by mankind, hunted from the face of the earth, 
pursued by every atrocious calumny, without a country, 
without a roof, without a friend ; the addition that can be 
made to such misfortunes scarcely deserves a thought." 

While he spoke, curiosity, resistless curiosity, presented 
itself as a new motive, in aid of the sense of shame which 
the stranger had just before kindled in my bosom. His 
manner was inconceivably impressive ; his voice, though 
inarticulate from age, had an irresistible melody and 
volume of sound, which awed, while it won, the heart. 
His front appeared open, large, and commanding ; and, 
though he complained, his complaints seemed to be those 
of conscious dignity and innocence. He went on : 

" Farewel, St. Leon ! I go, and you shall see me and 
hear of me no more. You will repent, when it is too late, 
the folly of this day's determination. I appear mean and 
insignificant in your eyes. You think my secrets beneath 
your curiosity, and my benefits not worth your acceptance. 
Know that my benefits are such as kings would barter 
their thrones to purchase, and that my wealth exceeds the 
wealth of empires. You are degraded from the rank you 
once held among mankind ; your children are destined to 
live in the inglorious condition of peasants. This day 
you might have redeemed all your misfortunes, and raised 
yourself to a station more illustrious than that to which 
you were born. Farewell ! Destiny has marked out you 
and yours for obscurity and oblivion, and you do well to 



128 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

reject magnificence and distinction when they proffer them- 
selves for your acceptance." 

ft Stop," cried I, " mysterious stranger ! Grant me a 
moment's leisure to reflect and determine." 

He had risen to depart, with a gesture of resolution and 
contempt. At my exclamation he paused, and again turned 
himself towards me. My soul was in tumults. 

" Answer me, most ambiguous and impenetrable of 
mortals ! What is thy story ? and what the secrets, the 
disclosure of which is pregnant with consequences so ex- 
traordinary ?" 

" Do you recollect the conditions upon which only the 
disclosure can be made ?" 

" What can I say ? Shall I determine to part with that 
which for years has constituted the only consolation of my 
life ? Shall I suppress the curiosity which now torments 
me, and reject the boon you pretend to have the power to 
confer ?" 

" I grant you the interval for reflection you demand.- I 
refuse to place further confidence in you, till you have ma- 
turely examined yourself, and roused all the energies of 
your spirit to encounter the task you undertake." 

" One word more. You know not, indeed you know 
not, what a woman you exclude from your confidence. She 
is more worthy of it than I am. Referring to my own ex- 
perience and knowledge of the world, 1 can safely pro- 
nounce her the first of her sex, perhaps the first of human 
beings. Indulge me in this ; include her in your confi- 
dence ; -and I am content." 

" Be silent ! I have made my determination ; do you 
make yours ! Know I would not if I could, and cannot 
if I would, repose the secrets that press upon me in more 
than a single bosom. It was upon this condition I received 
the communication ; upon this condition only can I impart 
it. I am resolved; to die is the election of my soul a 
consummation for which I impatiently wait. Having de- 
termined therefore to withdraw myself from the powers 
committed to me, I am at liberty to impart them ; upon 
the same condition, and no other, you may one day, if you 
desire it, seek the relief of confidence." 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 129 

Having thus spoken, the stranger rose from his seat. It 
was yet early morning, nor was it likely we should meet 
any one in our walk. He however employed the pre- 
caution of causing me to explore the path, and to see that 
we should return uninterrupted. We came back to the 
summer-house. The window-shutters were still closed ; 
the stranger determined they should remain so. When I 
had come to him as soon as I rose, I had found the door 
secured ; nor had he admitted me, till he recognised my 
voice, and had ascertained that I was alone. These pre- 
cautions scarcely excited my attention at the time; but, 
after the conversation that had just passed, they returned 
distinctly to my memory. 

The remainder of the day which had been opened by 
this extraordinary scene was passed by me in great anxiety. 
I ruminated with unceasing wonder and perturbation upon 
the words of the stranger. Shall I shut upon myself the 
gate of knowledge and information ? Is it not the part of 
a feeble and effeminate mind to refuse instruction, because 
he is not at liberty to communicate that instruction to an- 
other to a wife ? The stranger professes to be able to raise 
me to the utmost height of wealth and distinction. Shall 
I refuse the gift, which in a former instance I forfeited, 
but for which, though contemplated as at an impracticable 
distance, my whole soul longs ? If there is any thing dis- 
honourable connected with the participation of this wealth, 
I shall still be at liberty to refuse it. There can be no 
crime in hearing what this man has to communicate. I 
shall still, and always, be master of myself; nor can I have 
any thing personally to fear from a man so feeble, so de- 
crepit, so emaciated. Yet what can be the gifts worthy of 
acceptance of a man who, while he possesses them, is tired 
of life, and desires to die ? or what the wealth of him who 
bears about him every external symptom of poverty and 
desolation ? 

The conversation I had just held revived in my mind 
the true feeling of my present situation. The wounds of 
my soul had been lulled into temporary insensibility ; but 
they were in a state in which the slightest accident was 
capable of making them bleed afresh, and with all their 




130 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

former violence. I had rather steeled my mind to endure 
what seemed unavoidable, than reconciled myself to my 
fate. The youthful passions of my soul, which my early 
years had written there in characters so deep, were by no 
means effaced. I could not contemplate the splendour of 
rank with an impartial eye. I could not think of the 
alternative of distinction or obscurity for my children with 
indifference. But, most of all, the moment I had ex- 
perienced for them of hunger, and impending destruction 
by famine, had produced an indelible impression. It had 
destroyed all romance, I had almost said all dignity, in my 
mind for ever. It had snapped, as by the touch of a red- 
hot iron, all the finer and more etherialised sinews of my 
frame. It had planted the sordid love of gold in my heart, 
there, by its baneful vegetation, to poison every nobler and 
more salubrious feeling. 

When I returned to the house, Marguerite enquired of 
me respecting the stranger, but my answers were short and 
embarrassed. She seemed to wonder that he did not come 
into the house, and partake of some refreshment in the 
midst of my family. She asked, whether he were indis- 
posed ? and whether he did not stand in need of some assist- 
ance that she might afford him ? Perceiving however that 
I was desirous of saying as little as possible respecting him, 
she presently became silent. I could see that she was hurt 
at my incommunicativeness, yet I could not prevail upon 
myself to enter into an explanation of the causes of my ta- 
citurnity. Ours was a family of love ; and I could observe 
that the children sympathised with their mother, and 
secretly were surprised at and lamented my reserve. There 
would have been little in this, in perhaps any other family 
than ours. But the last six years had been spent by us in 
such primeval simplicity, that scarcely one of us had a 
thought but what was known to the rest. Marguerite che- 
rished my frankness and unreserve with peculiar zeal; she 
remembered with bitterness of soul the periods in which I 
fostered conceptions only proper to myself periods of 
dreadful calamity, or of rooted melancholy and sadness. 
She could not help regarding the silence into winch for the 
present occasion I relapsed, as a portent of evil augury. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 131 

Charles, who was now sixteen years of age, recollected the 
period of our ruined fortunes when he had been alone with 
me at Paris, and partook of his mother's feelings. 

A trifling circumstance, at this time occasioned by the 
little Marguerite, now eight years of age, rendered the 
restraint under which I laboured more memorable and 
striking. She had left a little book of fairy tales, in which 
she had been reading the day before, in the summer-house. 
At first she did not recollect what was become of it, and 
employed herself in searching for it with great assiduity. 
Of a sudden however she remembered where she had read 
in it last ; and, exclaiming with exultation, (C It is in the 
summer-house ! " sprang forward to fetch it. I detained 
her, and told her there was a sick gentleman there that she 
would disturb ! " Then, dear Julia !" rejoined she, " be so 
good as to get it for me ; you are so quiet and careful, you 
never disturb any body." 

" My love,'* answered I, " nobody must get it for you.. 
The gentleman chooses to be alone, and will not let any 
body come to him. You shall have it after dinner." 

" Ah, but, papa, I want it now. I put it away, just 
where the naughty giant had shut up the gentleman in the 
dungeon, who came to take away the lady. I was obliged 
to put it away then, because mamma called me to go to 
bed; but I want so to know what will become of them, 
you cannot think." 

" Well, dear Marguerite > I am sorry you, must wait ; but 
you must learn to have patience." 

" Do you know, papa, I walked in the garden before 
breakfast : and so, not thinking of any thing, I came to 
the summer-house ; and I tried to open the door, but I 
could not. J found it was locked* So I thought Julia 
was there; and I knocked, and called Julia, but nobody 
answered. So then I knew Julia was not there, for I was 
sure she would have opened the door. So I climbed upon 
the stump of the pear-tree, and tried to look in at the win- 
dow ; but the shutters were shut, and I could not get to see 
over the top of them. And I walked all round the sum- 
mer-house, and all the shutters were shut. Papa, I wish 
you would not let a man get into the summer-house, who 



132 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

shuts all the shutters, and locks the door. You always 
used to let me go into every room I liked ; and,, do you 
know, I think none but bad people lock and bolt themselves 
up so. It puts mind of the giants with their drawbridges 
and their pitfalls ; I shall be quite afraid of this frightful old 
man." 

This prattle of the child was nothing ; yet it increased 
the embarrassment of my situation, and made the peculi- 
arity of the case more conspicuous. Finding her perti- 
nacious in insisting upon a topic that was disagreeable to 
me, her mother called her from me, and put her upon some 
occupation that served to divert her attention. I felt like 
a person that was guilty of some crime ; and this consider- 
ation and kindness of my wife, when I seemed to myself to 
deserve her reproach, had not the power to calm my 
uneasiness. 

These little occurrences appeared like the beginning of 
a separation of interests, and estrangement of hearts. I 
tasked myself severely. I summoned the whole force of 
my mind, that I might strictly consider what it was in 
which I was about to engage. If this slight and casual 
hint of a secret is felt by both Marguerite and myself with 
so much uneasiness and embarrassment, what will be our 
situation, if I go on to accept the stranger's confidence, and 
become the depository of an arcanum so important as he 
represents his to be ? He declares himself able to bestow 
upon me the highest opulence ; what will be the feelings of 
my wife and children when they see my condition suddenly 
changed from its present humble appearance to splendour 
and wealth, without being able to assign the source of this 
extraordinary accession ? 

It is difficult to conceive a family picture more enviable 
that than to which I was now continually present, and of 
which I formed a part. We had been happy on the banks 
of the Garonne, and we had pictured to ourselves a plan of 
happiness immediately on our arrival in the city of Con- 
stance. But these were little and imperfect, compared with 
what I now enjoyed. In the first situation my children 
were infants, and in the second the eldest was but ten years 
of age. The mother was now thirty-five; and she had 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 133 

lost, in my eyes at least, none of her personal attractions. 
Her intellectual accomplishments were much greater than 
ever. Her understanding was matured, her judgment de- 
cided, her experience more comprehensive. As she had a 
greater compass of materials to work upon, her fancy was 
more playful, her conversation richer, and her reflections 
more amusing and profound. The matron character she 
had acquired, had had no other effect on her feelings, than 
to render them more deep, more true and magnetical. Her 
disposition was more entirely affectionate than it had been 
even in the first year of our cohabitation. Her attachment 
to her children was exemplary, and her vigilance uninter- 
rupted ; and, for myself, she was accustomed, in all that 
related to our mutual love, to enter into my sentiments and 
inclinations with so just a tone of equality and kindness, 
that we seemed to be two bodies animated by a single soul. 
If the mother were improved, the children were still more 
improved. In their early years we are attached to our off- 
spring, merely because they are ours, and in a way that has 
led superficial speculators to consider the attachment, less as 
the necessary operation of a sensible and conscious mind, 
than as a wise provision of nature for the perpetuation of 
the species. But as they grow up, the case is different. 
Our partiality is then confirmed or diminished by qualities 
visible to an impartial bystander as really as to ourselves. 
They then cease to be merely the objects of our solicitude, 
and become our companions, the partners of our sentiments, 
and the counsellors of our undertakings. Such at least was 
my case at the present period. Charles, who was now 
sixteen, was manly beyond his years; while the native fire 
of his disposition was tempered by adversity, by an humble 
situation, and by the ardour of filial and fraternal affection. 
Julia, who was two years younger, became daily more in- 
teresting by the mildnes of her disposition and the tender- 
ness of her sensibility. Louisa was only twelve; but, as 
she was extremely notable, and had an uncommonly quick 
and accurate spirit of imitation, she rendered herself ex- 
ceedingly useful to her mother. Marguerite, the plaything 
and amusement of the family, had, as I have said, just 
completed the eighth year of her age. 

K 3 



1 34 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

One exquisite source of gratification, when it is not a 
source of uneasiness, to speak from my own experience, 
which a parent finds in the society of his children, is their 
individuality. They are not puppets, moved with wires, 
and to be played on at will. Almost from the hour of their 
birth they have a will of their own, to be consulted and 
negotiated with. We may say to them, as Adam to the 
general mother of mankind, " But now, thou wert flesh of 
my flesh, and bone of my bone; and, even now, thou 
standest before me vested in the prerogatives of sentiment 
and reason ; a living being, to be regarded with attention 
and deference; to be courted, not compelled; susceptible of 
the various catalogue of human passions; capable of re- 
sentment and gratitude, of indignation and love, of per- 
verseness and submission. It is because thou art thus 
formed that I love thee. I cannot be interested about ob- 
jects inanimate or brute. I require a somewhat that shall 
exercise my judgment, and awaken my moral feelings. It 
is necessary to me to approve myself, and be approved by 
another. I rejoice to stand before you, at once the defend- 
ant and the judge. I rejoice in the restraint to which your 
independent character subjects me, and it will be my pride 
to cultivate that independence in your mind. I would ne- 
gotiate for your affections and confidence, and not be loved 
by you, but in proportion as I shall have done something 
to deserve it. I could not congratulate myself upon your 
correspondence to my wishes, if it had not been in your 
power to withhold it." 

While I indulge this vein of reflection, I seem again to 
see my family, as they surrounded me in the year fifteen 
hundred and forty-four; Marguerite the partner of my life, 
Charles the brother of my cares, the blooming Julia, the 
sage Louisa, and the playful cadette of the family. How 
richly furnished, how cheerful, how heart- reviving, appeared 
to me the apartment in which they were assembled! I 
dwell upon the image with fond affection and lingering de- 
light. Where are they now ? How has all this happiness 
been maliciously undermined, and irrevocably destroyed ! 
To look back on it, it seems like the idle fabric of a dream. 
I awake, and find myself alone ! Were there really such 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 135 

persons? Where are they dispersed? Whither are they 
gone ? Oh, miserable solitude and desertion, to which I 
have so long been condemned ! I see nothing around me 
but speechless walls, or human faces that say as little to my 
heart as the walls themselves ! How palsied is my soul ! 
How withered my affections ! But I will not anticipate. 



CHAPTER XII. 

I CARRIED food to the stranger as occasion required in the 
course of the day. He seemed indisposed to speak, and we 
exchanged scarcely more than two or three words. The 
next morning was the implied time to which the question 
of his confidence was deferred, and I went to him with the 
full resolution of refusing it. Whether it were that he 
discerned this resolution in my countenance, or that, in the 
interval that elapsed, he had formed a meaner opinion of 
my character, and' thought me unfit for the purposes he in- 
tended I should answer, certain it is that he anticipated me. 
At the same time he magnified the importance of the gifts 
he had to communicate. He expressed himself astonished 
at the precipitateness of his yesterday's conduct. It was 
not till after much trial and long probation that he could 
choose himself a confidant. I was not at present fit for the 
character, nor perhaps ever should be. The talent he pos- 
sessed was one upon which the fate of nations and of the 
human species might be made to depend. God had given 
it for the best and highest purposes ; and the vessel in 
which it was deposited must be purified from the alloy of 
human frailty. It might be abused and applied to the 
most atrocious designs. It might blind the understanding 
of the wisest, and corrupt the integrity of the noblest. It 
might overturn kingdoms, and change the whole order of 
human society into anarchy and barbarism. It might 
render its possessor the universal plague or the universal 
tyrant of mankind. 

"Go/ St. Leon!" added the stranger, " you are not qua- 
K 4 



136 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



lifted for so important a trust. You are not yet purged of 
imbecility and weakness. Though you have passed through 
much, and had considerable experience, you are yet a child. 
I had heard your history, and expected to find you a different 
man. Go; and learn to know yourself for what you are, 
frivolous and insignificant, worthy to have been born a 
peasant, and not fitted to adorn the rolls of chivalry, or the 
rank to which you were destined ! " 

There was something so impressive in the rebuke and 
contempt of this venerable sage, that made it impossible to 
contend with them. Never was there a man more singular, 
and in whom were united greater apparent contradictions. 
Observe him in a quiet and unanimated moment, you might 
almost take him for a common beggar ; a poor, miserable 
wretch, in whom life lingered, and insensate stupidity 
reigned. But when his soul was touched in) any of those 
points on which it was most alive, he rose at once, and ap- 
peared a giant. His voice was the voice of thunder ; and, 
rolling in a rich and sublime swell, it arrested and stilled, 
while it withered all the nerves of the soul. His eye-beam 
sat upon your countenance, and seemed to look through you. 
You wished to escape from its penetrating power, but you 
had not the strength to move. I began to feel as if it were 
some mysterious and superior being in human form, and 
not a mortal, with whom I was concerned. 

What a strange and contradictory being is man ! I had 
gone to the summer-house this morning, with a firm reso- 
lution to refuse the gifts and the communication of the 
stranger. I felt as if lightened from a burthen which the 
whole preceding day had oppressed me, while I formed this 
resolution : I was cheerful, and conscious of rectitude and 
strength of mind. How cheaply we prize a gift which we 
imagine to be already in our power ! With what philo- 
sophical indifference do we turn it on every side, depreciate 
its worth, magnify its disadvantages, and then pique our- 
selves upon the sobriety and justice of the estimate we have 
made ! Thus it was with me in the present transaction ; 
but when I had received the check of the stranger, and 
saw the proposed benefit removed to a vast and uncertain 
distance, then it resumed all its charms ; then the contrast 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 137 

of wealth and poverty flashed full upon my soul. Before, 
I had questioned the reality of the stranger's pretensions, 
and considered whether he might not be an artful impostor; 
but now all was clearness and certainty : the advantages of 
wealth passed in full review before my roused imagination. 
I saw horses, palaces, and their furniture ; I saw the splen- 
dour of exhibition and the trains of attendants, objects 
which had been for ever dear to my puerile imagination; I 
contemplated the honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, 
which are so apt to attend upon wealth, when disbursed 
with a moderate degree of dignity and munificence. When 
I compared this with my present poverty and desertion, the 
meanness of our appearance, our daily labours, the danger 
that an untoward accident might sink us in the deepest dis- 
tress, and the hopelessness that my son or his posterity 
should ever rise to that honour and distinction to which they 
had once been destined, the effect was too powerful. 

Another feeling came still further in aid of this : it was 
the humiliating impression which the stranger had left upon 
my mind : this seemed to be his great art, if in reality his 
conduct is to be imputed to art. There is no enemy to 
virtue so fatal as a sense of degradation. Self-applause is 
our principal support in every liberal and elevated act of 
virtue. If this ally can be turned against us ; if we can be 
made to ascribe baseness, effeminacy, want of spirit and 
adventure, to our virtuous resolutions ; we shall then indeed 
feel ourselves shaken. This was precisely my situation : 
the figure I made in my own eyes was mean ; I was im- 
patient of my degradation ; I believed that I had shown 
myself uxorious and effeminate, at a time that must have 
roused in me the spirit of a man, if there had been a spark 
of manly spirit latent in my breast. This impatience co- 
operated with the temptations of the stranger, and made me 
anxious to possess what he offered to my acceptance. 

I reasoned thus with myself: what excites my scruples is 
simply the idea of having one single secret from my wife 
and family. This scruple is created by the singular and 
unprecedented confidence in which we have been accus- 
tomed to live. Other men have their secrets : nor do they 
find their domestic tranquillity broken by that circumstance. 



138 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON 

The merchant does not call his wife into consultation upon 
his ventures ; the statesman does not unfold to her his policy 
and his projects ; the warrior does not take her advice upon 
the plan of his campaign ; the poet does not concert with 
her his flights and his episodes. To other men the domestic 
scene is the relaxation of their cares ; when they enter it, 
they dismiss the business of the day, and call another cause. 
I only have concentrated in it the whole of my existence. 
By this means I have extinguished in myself the true energy 
of the human character. A man can never be respectable 
in the eyes of the world or in his own, except so far as he 
stands by himself and is truly independent. He may have 
friends ; he may have domestic connections ; but he must 
not in these connections lose his individuality. Nothing 
truly great was ever achieved, that was not executed or 
planned in solitary seclusion. 

But if these reasons are sufficient to prove that the plan 
I have lately pursued is fundamentally wrong, how much 
more will the importance of what is proposed by the stranger 
plead my excuse for deviating from it ? How bitterly have 
I lamented the degradation of my family ! Shall I not 
seize this opportunity of re-installing them in their here- 
ditary honours ? I deemed the ruin I had brought upon 
them irreparable; shall I not embrace the occasion of 
atoning for my fault ? No man despises wealth, who fully 
understands the advantages it confers. Does it not confer the 
means of cultivating our powers ? Does it not open to us 
the career of honour, which is shut against the unknown 
and obscure ? Does it not conciliate the prepossessions of 
mankind, and gain for us an indulgent and liberal con- 
struction ? Does it not inspire us with graceful confidence, 
and animate us to generous adventure ? The poor man is 
denied every advantage of education, and wears out his life 
in labour and ignorance. From offices of trust, from op- 
portunities of distinction, he is ignominiously thrust aside ; 
and though he should sacrifice his life for the public cause, 
he dies unhonoured and unknown. If by any accident he 
comes into possession of those qualities which, when dis- 
cerned and acknowledged, command the applause of man- 
kind, who will listen to him ? His appearance is mean ; 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 139 

and the fastidious auditor turns from him ere half his words 
are uttered. He has no equipage and attendants, no one 
to blow the trumpet before him and proclaim his rank ; 
how can he propose any thing that shall be worthy of atten- 
tion ? Aware of the prepossession of mankind in this 
respect, he is alarmed and overwhelmed with confusion 
before he opens his lips. Filled with the conscience of his 
worth, he anticipates the unmerited contempt that is pre- 
pared to oppress him, and his very heart dies within him. 
Add to these circumstances, the constitution of our nature, 
the various pleasures of which it is adapted to partake, and 
how many of these pleasures it is in the power of wealth to 
procure. Yes; an object like this will sufficiently apologise for 
me to those for whose sake alone it was estimable in my sight. 
It is, indeed, nothing but our poverty and the lowness of 
our station that have thus produced in us an habitual and 
unreserved communication of sentiments. Wealth would, 
to a certain degree, destroy our contact, and take off the 
wonder that we had each our thoughts that were not put 
into the common stock. 

These considerations decided my choice. I was not in- 
deed without some variations of mind, and some compunc- 
tion of heart for the resolution I had espoused. The longer 
the stranger remained with me, the more evident it was 
that there was something mysterious between us ; and the 
unreserved affection and union that had lately reigned under 
my roof suffered materially the effects of it. The stranger 
had been led to my cottage, in the first instance, by the en- 
tire solitude in which it was placed. There was nothing 
about which he was so solicitous as concealment ; the most 
atrocious criminal could not be more alarmed at the idea of 
being discovered. I was unable to account for this; but I was 
now too anxious for his stay and the promised reward, not 
to be alert in gratifying all his wishes. The most inviolable 
secresy, therefore, was enjoined to the whole family ; and 
the younger branches of it, particularly the little Marguerite, 
it was necessary to keep almost immured, to prevent the 
danger of their reporting any thing out of the house, that 
might be displeasing to the stranger and fatal to my ex- 
pectations. Upon the whole my situation was eminently 



140 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

an uneasy one. No experiment can be more precarious than 
that of a half-confidence ; and nothing but the sincere af- 
fection that was entertained for me could have rendered it 
successful in this instance. My family felt that they were 
trusted by me only in points where it was impossible to 
avoid it, and that I was not therefore properly entitled to 
their co-operation ; I was conscious of ingratitude in 
making them no return for their fidelity. They kept my 
secret because they were solicitous to oblige me, not from 
any conviction that they were conferring on me a benefit ; 
but, on the contrary, suspecting that the object as to which 
they were blindly assisting me would prove injurious to 
me as well as to themselves. 

The health of the stranger visibly declined ; but this was 
a circumstance which he evidently regarded with compla- 
cency. It was the only source of consolation of which he 
appeared susceptible ; his mind was torn with painful re- 
membrances, and agitated with terrible forebodings. He 
abhorred solitude, and yet found no consolation in society. 
I could not be much with him ; my duty to my family, 
who were principally supported by my labour, was a call 
too imperious to be neglected. Even when I was with him, 
he commonly testified no desire for conversation. " Stay 
with me," he was accustomed to say ; " give me as much of 
your time as you can ; but do not talk." Upon these occa- 
sions he would sit sometimes with his arms folded, and 
with the most melancholy expression imaginable. He would 
then knit his brows, wring his hands with a sadness that 
might have excited pity in the hardest breast, or, with both 
hands closed, the one clasping the other, strike himself im- 
patiently on the forehead. At other times he would rise 
from his seat, pace the room with hurried and unquiet 
steps, and then again throw himself on his couch in the 
greatest agitation. His features were often convulsed with 
agony. Often have I wiped away the sweat, which would 
suddenly burst out in large drops on his forehead. At 
those seasons he would continually mutter words to himself, 
the sense of which it was impossible for me to collect. I 
could perceive however that he often repeated the names 
of Clara ! Henry ! a wife ! a friend ! a friend ! 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



141 



and then he would groan as if his heart were bursting. 

Sometimes,, in the midst of these recollections, he would 
pass the back of his hand over his eyes ; and then, looking 
at it, shaking his head, and biting his under lip, exclaim 
with a piteous accent, " Dry ! dry ! all the moisture of 
my frame is perished ! " Then, as if recovering himself, he 
would cry with a startled and terrified voice, "Who is there? 
St. Leon ? Come to me ! Let me feel that there is a 
human being near me ! I often call for you ; but I find 
myself alone, deserted, friendless ! friendless ! 

At times when his recollection was more complete, he 
would say, " I know I tire you ! Why should I tire you ? 
What gratification can it be to me to occasion emotions of 
disgust ? " Upon these occasions I endeavoured to soothe 
him, and assured him I found pleasure in administering to 
his relief. But he replied, " No, no : do not flatter me ! 
It is long since I have heard the voice of flattery ! I never 
loved it ! No; I know I am precluded from ever exciting 
friendship or sympathy ! Why am I Hot dead ? Why do I 
live, a burthen to myself, useful to none ? My secret I 
could almost resolve should die with me ; but you have 
earned, and you shall receive it." 

The stranger was not always in this state of extreme an- 
guish, nor always indisposed to converse. He had lucid 
intervals ; and could beguile the sorrow of his heart with 
social communication. We sometimes talked of various 
sciences and branches of learning ; he appeared to be well 
informed in them all. His observations were ingenious ; 
his language copious ; his illustrations fanciful and pic- 
turesque ; his manner bold and penetrating. It was easy 
to observe in him the marks of a vigorous and masculine 
genius. Sometimes we discussed the events at that time 
going on in the world. When we discoursed of events that 
had passed, and persons that had died, more than a century 
before, the stranger often spoke of them in a manner as if 
he had been an eye-witness, and directly acquainted with 
the objects of our discourse. This I ascribed to the vivid- 
ness of his conceptions, and the animation of his language. 
He however often checked himself in this peculiarity, and 
always carefully avoided what could lead to any thing per- 



142 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

sonal to himself. I described to him the scenes of my youth, 
and related my subsequent history ; he on his part was 
invincibly silent on every circumstance of his country, his 
family, and his adventures. 

The longer I was acquainted with him, the more my cu- 
riosity grew. I was restless and impatient to learn some- 
thing respecting a man who thus wrapped himself up in 
mystery and reserve. Often I threw out, as it were, a line 
by which to fathom his secret. I talked of various countries, 
I mentioned different kinds of calamities and even of crimes, 
that by some incidental allusion I might discover at una- 
wares his country, his connections, or the nature of his 
story. When any thing that offered seemed to lead to the 
desired point, I doubled my questions, and endeavoured to 
construct them with the skill of a crafty litigant in a court 
of justice. There were some subjects, the very mention of 
which gave him uneasiness, and upon which he immediately 
silenced me ; but these were not of themselves enough to 
afford me a clue, or to furnish materials out of which for 
me to construct the history of the stranger. He did not 
always perceive the drift of my questions and snares ; but, 
Avhen he did, he generally became loud, resentful, and 
furious. There was nothing else that so completely roused 
his indignation. 

" St. Leon ! " said he to me one day, " silence this in- 
quisitive temper of yours ; check your rash and rude cu- 
riosity. The only secret I have that can be of any importance 
to you, you shall one day know. But my country, my 
family, my adventures, I have once told you, and I tell 
you again, you shall never know. That knowledge can be 
of moment to no one, and it shall never be disclosed. When 
this heart ceases to beat, that tale shall cease to have a place 
on the face of the earth. Why should my distresses and 
disgraces be published to any one ? Is it not enough that 
they have lacerated my bosom, that they have deprived me 
of friends, that they have visited me with every adversity 
and every anguish, that they have bowed me down to the 
earth, that they have made thought, and remembrance, and 
life itself, a burthen too heavy to be borne ? Your present 
injudicious conduct, if persisted in, will have the effect of 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 143 

driving me from your roof, of turning me once more upon 
the world, upon that world that I hate, upon that world 
whose bruises and ill treatment I feel in every fibre of my 
frame j of exposing me again to fresh persecutions, and 
causing me to perish miserably in a dungeon, or die upon 
a scaffold. Spare me, my generous host ; I know you are 
capable of generosity. Indeed I have endured enough to 
satiate the rage of malice itself. You see what I suffer from 
the rage and tempest of my own thoughts, even without the 
assistance of any external foe. Let me die in that degree of 
tranquillity I am able to attain. I will not trouble you long." 

At another time he addressed me in a different style, 
*' You see, St. Leon, that the anguish of mind I endure is 
such as is ordinarily attributed to the recollection of great 
crimes ; and you have very probably conjectured that in my 
case it arises from the same source. If you have, I forgive 
you ; but I assure you that you are mistaken. Take from 
yourself that uneasiness, if it has ever visited you ; you 
are not giving sanctuary to a villain ! I am innocent. I 
can take no crime to my charge. I have suffered more 
almost than man ever suffered ; but I have sinned little. 
The cause of my uneasiness and prime source of all my 
misfortunes, I dare not disclose to you. Be contented with 
the plan of my conduct. I have digested my purpose : I 
have determined where to speak and where to be silent." 

The more I saw of this man, the more strange and un- 
accountable appeared to me every thing that related to him. 
Why was he so poor, possessing, as he pretended, inex- 
haustible wealth? Why was he unhappy, with so great 
talents and genius, and such various information ? Why 
was he friendless, being, as he solemnly assured me, so per- 
fectly innocent, and of consequence so respectable ? That 
he was an impostor, every thing that I saw of him forbade 
me to believe. His sorrows were too profound and excru- 
ciating, for it to be possible for me to rank them among 
the actions that a man may play. The greatness of his 
powers, the dignity of his carriage, the irresistible appear- 
ance of sincerity that sparkled in his eye and modulated 
his voice, fully convinced me that he really was what he 
pretended to be. I had heard of men who, under the pre-* 



14 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

tence of alchemy, fastened themselves upon persons pos- 
sessing sums of money ; and, beguiling them with a delusive 
expectation of wealth, reduced them to beggary and ruin. 
One such person I had had a brief connection with during 
my residence in the Bordelois, though, finding the incident 
by no means essential to the progress of my history, I have 
passed it over, together with many others, in silence. But 
nothing could be more unlike than that man and the person 
respecting whom I was now concerned. In reality I pos- 
sessed at that time, if I may be allowed to say so, a more 
than common insight into the characters of mankind, so as 
to be little likely, except under the tyranny of passion, as 
in the instance of gaming, to be made the prey of imposi- 
tion. I had studied my species as it exhibits itself in his- 
tory, and had mixed with it in various scenes and under 
dissimilar aspects. I had accordingly, in the transaction * I 
have just alluded to, soon detected the plans of the villain 
who expected to delude me. But what could be the pur- 
pose of the stranger in this respect ? The pretended alche- 
mist in France had obtained a certain sum of money of me, 
and demanded more. The stranger never made such a de- 
mand of me ; and perfectly knew that, even if I had been 
inclined, I was not able to supply him. The alchemist 
had amused me with descriptions of various processes for 
the transmutation of metals, had exhibited his crucibles and 
retorts, and employed a sort of dramatic coup d'aeil for the 
purpose of awakening my curiosity and stimulating my 
passions. The stranger had simply stated, in the plainest 
and most direct manner, that it was in his power to enrich 
me ; but had been silent as to the manner of producing the 
wealth he promised, and had abstained from every effort to 
intoxicate my mind. I felt therefore in this instance the 
effect, that, without being able to solve the difficulties and 
contrarieties that hung about him, I yet believed his asser- 
tions ; nor was the inscrutability of his history and his mo- 
tives capable of shaking my confidence. 

One day, during the period of his concealment, certain 
officers of the bishop of Constance, accompanied by a fo- 
reigner in a Neapolitan habit, came to my house, and, as 
it proved, with the express purpose of searching for the 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 145 

man who had put himself under my protection. Charles 
and myself were at work in the fields within sight of the 
lake. Their appearance first caught the attention of Charles 
as they approached the shore, and he enquired of me re- 
specting the habit of the foreigner, which was different from 
any he had been accustomed to see. While we were yet 
speaking, I observed in them an intention to land within 
sight of my cottage. This was an uncommon circumstance; 
our privacy was rarely invaded, and we lived almost as 
much out of the world as we should have done in the re- 
motest island of the Atlantic ocean. I reasoned in my own 
mind upon their appearance : they had little resemblance to 
a party of pleasure ; the habit of the officers of justice I 
was perfectly acquainted with ; and the suspicion of the real 
nature of their errand immediately darted on my thoughts. 
Without saying a word to Charles on the subject, I hast- 
ened with all the speed I could exert to the apartment of the 
stranger, and acquainted him with what I had seen. He 
concurred with me in the ideas I had formed, and appeared 
much shocked at the intelligence. There was however 
no time to be lost ; and, after having for a moment given 
vent to an anguish which was too powerful to be suppressed, 
he withdrew as hastily as he could from the summer-house, 
and betook himself to the woods. He recommended to me 
to leave him, telling me that he could conceal himself most 
effectually alone, and observing that it would be necessary 
for me to meet the officers, and endeavour as much as pos- 
sible to remove their suspicions. 

Accordingly, as soon as he was gone, I threw open the 
windows of the summer-house, removed the shutters, and 
took from it as effectually as I could all appearance of 
having served as a place of concealment. This was a pre- 
caution which the stranger had on a former occasion re- 
commended to me. It fortunately happened that Julia and 
the little Marguerite were gone out together in the fields on 
the eastern side of my cottage ; otherwise infallibly the child 
foy her innocent prattle, and perhaps Julia by the appre- 
hensive sensibility of her temper, would have betrayed our 
secret, or at least have suggested to the officers a feeling as 
if, by a longer stay and a more diligent search, they might 
L 



14?6 TRAVELS OF ST. LEOX. 

possibly succeed in the object of their expedition. As it 
was, I received them at the door, and learned from their 
own mouths the nature of their errand. Of Charles, whom 
they had crossed in the fields, they had simply asked whether 
they were right as to the name of the person who was pro- 
prietor of the cottage before them. They described to me 
with great accuracy the appearance of the stranger, and in- 
sisted that he had been an inhabitant of my cottage. They 
told me, they were well informed that the summer-house 
in my garden had carefully been shut up for more than a 
month past, and that some person had been concealed there. 
I was interested in the distress of the stranger ; I was im- 
pressed with the dignity of his character ; I implicitly con- 
fided in his assertions of innocence, and the unjust perse- 
cution that he suffered ; I was not insensible to the proposed 
reward, the realising of which probably depended on his 
safety. But, most of all, I considered my honour as pledged 
for the protection of the man who had thus cast himself 
upon my fidelity, and believed that I should be everlastingly 
disgraced if he suffered any evil through treachery or ne- 
glect on my part. I therefore answered confidently to 
the officers that they were misinformed, and offered to con- 
duct them over every part of my house and demesnes, that 
they might satisfy themselves by inspection that there was 
no person concealed any where within my possessions. I 
should have been better pleased, openly to have defied their 
interrogatories, and to have asked them whether, allowing 
their suspicions to be just, they were entitled to believe that 
I was such a villain as to betray a man who had thrown 
himself upon my generosity ? But though this conduct 
would have had a greater appearance of gallantry, I believed 
it would have less of the reality, as it would have strength- 
ened their idea of my participation, and increased the danger 
of the person I was bound to protect. 

They accepted my offer of submitting to their search, 
and made a strict examination of every place about my ha- 
bitation in which the stranger could be concealed. Disap- 
pointed here, they endeavoured by threats to discover 
whether I was able to give them any information. To these 
I calmly answered, that they had mistaken my character ; 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 147 

that, though I was a poor man,, I had not forgotten that I 
was noble; that they were already in possession of my spon- 
taneous answer to their enquiries; and that, in no case, and 
upon no supposition, should tyranny and ill treatment ex- 
tort from me what I was not in the first instance disposed 
to give. My wife was present during this conversation, and, 
I could perceive, felt an alarm for my danger that she would 
have been incapable of feeling for a danger to herself. 

Though I was extremely anxious that these men should 
be disappointed in the object of their expedition, yet I did 
not neglect this opportunity of endeavouring to obtain satis- 
faction for my own curiosity. I remarked at first that the 
Neapolitan was an inquisitor, and this circumstance had 
given additional poignancy to the uneasiness of Marguerite. 
But the accusations of which the inquisition at this time 
took cognisance were so numerous the ecclesiastical power 
continually usurping upon the civil that I was little assisted 
in the judgment I was desirous to frame by any inference to 
be deduced from this circumstance. I questioned directly, 
with an air as if it were merely in the way of conversation, 
what was the crime of the man of whom they were in pur- 
suit? and what was the cause forcible enough to induce a 
Neapolitan inquisitor to follow so decrepit and forlorn an 
individual as he described, beyond the Alps, and almost to 
the banks of the Danube ? To this he answered roughly, 
that though he was not able to discover the object of his 
search, he was by no means convinced that I was not his 
abettor and accomplice ; and that as to his crime, that was 
not to be named ; the welfare of Christendom demanding 
that the criminal, and the memory of his offences, should 
be buried together. At the same time he warned me to 
consider well what I did, before I exposed myself to fce 
overwhelmed by the vengeance of the court of which he 
was a member. To this I answered haughtily, that I had 
already condescended to repel his suspicion, and that no 
other man than an inquisitor would have had the stupidity 
or the audaciousness to question my veracity. I added, 
that I was perfectly acquainted with the nature of his court, 
which was an object of abhorrence to the whole Christian 
world ; but that he was mistaken if he supposed that the 
L 2 



148 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

detestable nature of its proceedings would enable him to 
practise every sort of outrage with impunity. The officers 
withdrew into the little inclosure in front of my cottage, 
and I overheard them consulting whether, having failed in 
their principal object, they should carry me a prisoner 
along with them. The firmness of my manner however 
had awed them, and the fearlessness I expressed seemed to 
them to arise from a consciousness of innocence. They at 
length departed as they came. 

I watched them from my cottage as they descended to 
the shore, and it was with no little pleasure that I perceived 
them re-embark, and stand off for the opposite side of the 
lake. This spectacle for a time entirely engaged me, and 
when I turned from the door I observed that my beloved 
Marguerite had been in tears. She endeavoured to hide 
this circumstance from my sight. I took her affectionately 
by the hand, and, pressing her to my bosom, entreated her 
not to make herself uneasy. 

" Ah, Reginald ! " said she, " how can I avoid being un- 
easy, when I see you exposed to this imminent danger ? I 
thought that, in forfeiting our fortune and our rank, and 
retiring to this obscure and sequestered situation, we might 
at least promise ourselves the blessing of the poor oblivion 
and security ; and that should have consoled me for all I 
have lost. Who is this man that is thus mysteriously hid- 
den among us ? "What is the guilt from the punishment of 
which he thus anxiously withdraws himself ? What can 
be the nature of your connection with such a man ? And 
what will be the issue of so perilous an adventure ? " 

I hesitated. I knew not what to answer to so earnest 
an anxiety. I was melted at the distress and the affection 
of Marguerite. She saw my embarrassment, and pro- 
ceeded : 

" Mistake me not, my beloved ! " said she. " I have no 
desire to pry into what you are willing to conceal. Forgive 
the perturbation which has poured itself out in these invo- 
luntary questions. I repose an entire confidence in you. 
I would sooner die than interfere with any object you have 
at heart. Go on according to the dictates of your own 
judgment, undisturbed by me. I will not doubt that you 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 149 

have sufficient reasons for what you communicate, and what 
you suppress. I am grieved indeed at the interruption of 
our obscure and unambitious tranquillity ; but I had resolved 
not to trouble you with my uneasiness and apprehensions. 
The incident of this morning has extorted them from me ; 
but I will behave better in future." 

This scene was extremely distressing to me. My wife 
was oppressed with fears, and I had nothing to answer her. 
The consolations that rose up in my own mind I was pre- 
vented from communicating. The more generously she 
confided in me, the more I felt the ungracious and disagree- 
able nature of the concealment I practised. I endeavoured 
however to encourage myself with the idea, that the labour 
would not be long, and the harvest would prove abundant. 
I said in my own mind, The worst is now over ; the busi- 
ness has been commenced ; the shock to my own family 
has actually occurred ; I must go on resolutely, and shut 
my eyes to the temporarily displeasing circumstances that 
may be connected with the completing my object. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

ANOTHER source of uneasiness was added to the distraction 
my mind already endured. The stranger did not appear. 
It was in the morning that the officers of justice arrived; 
they departed about noon ; and in two hours afterwards I 
entered the wood in search of my guest. The wood was 
of some leagues in extent ; it was intersected by paths in 
various directions ; it was interspersed with caverns j its 
growth was of all kinds, in some places lofty trees that 
seemed to form a support for the clouds, in others an un- 
derwood impenetrable alike to the feet and to the eye. As 
I entered the wood, I however conceived that the discovery 
of the stranger, to me who was acquainted with its lurking- 
places, would be an affair of little toil ; his feebleness and 
decrepitude would not suffer him to proceed to any great 
distance. In this I was mistaken. I looked carefully on 
i, 3 



150 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

all sides ; I examined every recess and corner with which 
I was acquainted : but I found no trace of the stranger. 
The scene was so complicated and involved, that even this 
was a labour of considerable duration. At length I became 
satisfied that he was not in the nearer division of the 
wood. 

I paused. I felt at once that it was little less than a 
Herculean task to hunt through the whole of its dimen- 
sions. It would probably be of little use to call, and en- 
deavour by that means to discover his retreat. I knew of 
no name by which he was to be recognised ; and, if my own 
voice was but a slight resource to penetrate this immense 
labyrinth of foliage, the voice of the stranger, weakened by 
age, and now probably still more enfeebled by hunger and 
fatigue, could not be expected to make itself heard. Beside 
which, as I knew not what the source of information had 
been to the officers who had just left me, I was unwilling 
to expose my guest to the danger that might arise from this 
mode of seeking him. I could not even be sure, though I 
had seen their boat stand off from the shore, that they might 
not afterwards land one or more of their party, and be at 
this very moment within ear-shot of me. I therefore pro- 
ceeded in anxiety and silence. 

My search was no more successful in the part of the 
wood with which I was little acquainted, than in the part 
with which I was most familiar. I had already been en- 
gaged four hours in the task, and night began to come on. 
It shut in with heavy clouds, that on all sides appeared 
deeply loaded with rain. I now began to consider my own 
situation ; and, by comparing circumstances, found that I 
was at a great distance from my own habitation. There 
was no direct path by which for me to return. I had pro- 
ceeded to the right and the left, backward and forward, 
sometimes by more open paths, and sometimes forcing my 
way through briars and brushwood, as caprice, or the hope 
of effecting the object of my search, happened to guide me. 
It was therefore no easy matter to guess how I was to 
return, or even, now that the lowering clouds had covered 
the horizon with one uniform tint, in which direction lay 
the cottage or the lake. While I stood contemplating what 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 151 

was to be done,, I heard the howling of the wolves at a dis- 
tance ; and their howl had that particular melancholy and 
discomfiting sound which is well known to precede a com- 
ing storm. There was no time to be lost, and accordingly 
I set out. I was less anxious to be at home on my own 
account, than for the sake of quieting the alarms of my 
family, to whom I had already occasioned too great a por- 
tion of uneasiness. 

I had not proceeded far before the rain descended in 
torrents, intermingled with peals of thunder and sheets of 
lightning. The thunder, interrupted, as it were, from time 
to time, with the noise of the wild beasts that inhabited the 
wood, deafened me, while the excessive and instantaneous 
brilliancy of the lightning occasioned me an intolerable 
aching in the organ of sight. It rained incessantly for two 
hours, and I found myself drenched and fatigued with the 
wet. During this time my progress was small ; and I was 
ever and anon intercepted by the underwood, and could not 
without repeated experiments discover the means of pro- 
ceeding. At length the rain subsided, and seemed to give 
place to a gloomy and motionless calm. Soon after, I dis- 
covered a light at a distance, and advanced towards it. As 
I approached, I perceived that it proceeded from a set of 
banditti, to the amount of fourteen or fifteen persons, sitting 
round a fire in the mouth of a cavern. I was glad to turn 
my steps another way, and was for some time afraid that 
the noise I made in occasionally forcing my way through 
the bushes would alarm them, and cost me my life. I 
however fortunately escaped their notice. This was in a 
part of the wood remote from the path I ought to have 
taken, and near the road to Lindau. 

The day began to dawn before I reached my own habi- 
tation. The conjecture I had made, when I was unawares 
upon the point of falling into the hands of the banditti, 
that the road of Lindau was on the other side of their re- 
treat, was of some service to me as an indication where to 
find the cottage and the lake. This road skirted the wood 
on the side nearly opposite to that by which I entered it. 
The difficulties however I had to encounter were inconceiv- 
ably great, in endeavouring to preserve my line of direction. 
L 4 



152 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

After having been compelled four or five times to deviate 
from the line, it is seldom that a traveller will find himself 
right in his conjecture as to the direction he is pursuing, 
unless he has some sensible object as a sort of pole-star by 
which to govern his route. It happened in this instance 
that I was more fortunate than I was entitled to expect. I 
laboured indeed till daybreak without getting out of the 
labyrinth that inclosed me. But the sun no sooner began 
to lend an imperfect light, than I recognised certain objects 
which upon some former occasions I had observed, and 
perceived that my journey was nearly at an end. I entered 
my cottage, and found Marguerite alone awake and expect- 
ing me. 

She had been somewhat uneasy on account of my ab- 
sence, both from the extreme tempestuousness of the night, 
and in consequence of the painful sensations the events of 
the preceding morning had introduced, -"events with which 
it was almost unavoidable for her to imagine that my ab- 
sence was in some way connected. The period of my in- 
sanity in Switzerland might indeed have accustomed her 
to the irregularity of my motions, but a term of more than 
six years which had intervened, had produced in her ex- 
pectations and habits of a different sort. I related to this 
admirable woman the adventures of the night and the fruit- 
lessness of the search in which I had been engaged ; and 
this openness of communication, unresembling the nature 
of the intercourse which had lately existed between us, re- 
lieved in some degree my burthened heart, and cheered the 
drooping spirits of Marguerite. She dropped some conso- 
latory and sadly pleasing tears ; and her manner seemed to 
say, though she would not suffer her tongue to give the idea 
words, How sweet are cordiality and confidence ! Oh ! do 
not let our situation, which has deprived us of many other 
comforts, ever again be robbed of this comfort, which is 
alone worth all the rest ! Though she necessarily felt the 
presence of the stranger as an evil, the bane of our domestic 
peace, yet it was impossible for her not to compassionate 
his fate, and suffer some distress from his strange and 
abrupt disappearance. 

After the conversation which had so eminently served as 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 153 

a relief to our minds, Marguerite left me to repose myself 
from the extraordinary fatigue I had undergone. But my 
ttind was too much disturbed to suffer me to sink into the 
arms of forgetfulness. I felt something tragical in the sad 
destiny of my unfortunate guest. It was but too probable 
that., in his peculiarly weak state of body, and with his de- 
clining health, the being thus exposed for a day and a night 
to the effects of hunger, of the inclemency of the air, and 
the tempestuousness of the elements, would put a close to 
his existence. I was determined soon to recommence my 
search. But how could I be sure that I should be more 
fortunate to-day, than the day before ? If I found him, it 
was most likely I should find him either dead or dying. 
The degree of intercourse that had taken place between us 
had made him occupy a considerable space in my thoughts. 
The prospects he had opened to me, the conduct he had 
induced me to adopt, the painful effects and dissatisfaction 
of mind which had been produced by that conduct as it 
respected my family, all combined to give me an interest 
in his fate. I had seen his talents ; I had felt his ascend- 
ancy ; 1 had experienced that sort of conflict, which ap- 
pearances of guilt on the one hand, and asseverations of 
innocence on the other, are calculated to produce in the 
thoughts and emotions of a bystander. He was no com- 
mon man ; the expectations and conjectures he excited were 
of no ordinary sort; and I felt that an army might be 
destroyed, and a spacious plain covered with the wounded 
and the dying, without producing greater commotion in my 
soul. 

In the anxious and disturbed state of mind in which I 
was, the thoughts flow with extraordinary rapidity. It will 
be found attended with a strange, and, previously to the 
experiment, incredible mixture of reasoning and passion, of 
philosophising and fury. I was accordingly conscious at 
this moment of the truth of the stranger's assertion, that in 
me he had a protector, not a friend. Friendship is an ob- 
ject of a peculiar sort ; the smallest reserve is deadly to it. 
I may indeed feel the emotions of a friend towards a man 
who in part conceals from me the thoughts of his heart ; 
but then I must be unconscious of this concealment. The 



154 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

instant I perceive this limitation of confidence, he drops 
into the class of ordinary men : a divorce is effected be- 
tween us : our hearts, which grew together, suffer ampu- 
tation ; the arteries are closed; the blood is no longer 
mutually transfused and confounded. I shall be conscious 
of all his qualities, for I stand in the place of an impartial 
umpire. I consider him as a machine capable of so much 
utility to myself, and so much utility to other men. But 
I do not regard him as the brother of my soul : I do not 
feel that my life is bound up in his : I do not feel as if, 
were he to die, the whole world would be at an end to me, 
and that my happiness would be buried with him for ever 
in the darkness of the grave. I am not conscious of those 
emotions which are the most exquisite and indescribable 
the human mind can experience; and which, being commu- 
nicated by a sort of electrical stroke to him who is their 
object, constitute the solace of all his cares, the alleviator 
of all his calamities, the only nectar and truest balm of 
human life. For me, he stands alone in the world, having 
companions and associates, the connections, as it were, of 
mercantile selfishness, or casual jollity and good humour, 
but no friend. It was thus that I thought of the stranger. 
He obtained from me the compassion due to a human being, 
and the respect extorted by his qualities, but nothing cal- 
culated radically to disturb the equilibrium of the mind. I 
looked forward to his death with unruffled thoughts and an 
unmoistened eye. There was one thing indeed that shook 
me more deeply ; the thought of losing the promised reward, 
and of having exposed myself to the evil of an unquiet and 
dissatisfied mind in vain. 

I rested but a few hours before I set out again upon the 
search, to which the interposition of the darkness of the 
preceding night had put an abrupt close. I had the pre- 
caution to take with me a slight provision of food and cor- 
dials, believing that, if I found the stranger, he would at 
least be in the greatest need of something reviving and re- 
storative. Charles earnestly intreated to assist me in the 
search, but upon this I put a peremptory prohibition. It 
would have been in direct contradiction to what the stranger 
had most solemnly required of me. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 155 

I had already spent several hours in anxiously tracing 
the wood in every direction; and the period of noon was 
past, when, approaching an ohscure and almost impenetrable 
thicket, my ear was caught by a low and melancholy sound, 
which at first I knew not to what I was to ascribe. It 
however arrested my attention, and caused me to assume 
an attitude of listening. After the lapse of little more than 
a minute, the same sound was repeated. I now distinctly 
perceived that it was the groan of some creature in a very 
feeble and exhausted state, and immediately suspected that 
it was the stranger. I went almost round the thicket before 
I could discern an entrance, and, though I looked with the 
utmost care, could perceive nothing that the thicket inclosed. 
The groan was repeated a third time. The long intervals 
between the groans gave a peculiar melancholy to the effect, 
and each seemed so much lower than the groan before, that 
nothing but the ear of anxious attention would have caught 
it ; at the same time that the tone conveyed an idea of stu- 
pified, yet vital, anguish. At length I perceived the legs 
and something of the garb of a man. It was the stranger ! 
He appeared to have crept into the thicket upon his hands 
and knees. When I forced my way to him, he seemed in 
the very act of expiring. He was lying on his face, and I 
raised him a little. His eyes were fixed ; his mouth was 
open ; his lips and tongue were parched and dry. I in- 
fused a few drops of a cordial into his mouth. For a mo- 
ment it appeared to produce no sensation, but presently my 
patient uttered a deep and long-drawn sigh. I repeated my 
application. As a principal cause of the condition in which 
I found him was inanition, the stimulant I administered 
produced a powerful effect. He moved his hands, shud- 
dered, turned his eyes languidly upon me, and, having ap- 
peared to recognise me, shut them hastily again. I moved 
him slowly and softly into a freer air, and bathed his temples 
with one of the liquids I had about me. By this time he 
looked up, and then suddenly round him with a wild and 
hurried air. He spoke not however ; he was speechless. 
In about a quarter of an hour he relapsed into convulsions, 
in which it seemed probable he would expire. They lasted 
a considerable time, and he then sunk into a state of insen- 



156 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

sibility. I thought he was dead. Thus circumstanced, it 
was some relief to my humanity to have found him yet 
alive, and to have received his parting breath. But in a 
moment his secret and his promises recurred to me with 
inexpressible anguish, and I inwardly reproached him for 
having deferred his communication so long, as now to pre- 
clude its ever being made. I cannot describe the keenness, 
the burning and intolerable bitterness, of my sensation. 
Keen it may well be supposed to have been, from its having 
so instantaneously and forcibly recurred at a time when 
other objects seemed to press upon my senses. No one 
who has not felt what it is to fall in a moment from hope, 
or, as I should rather say, from assured possession of what 
his soul most loved and desired, into black and interminable 
despair, can imagine what was then the state of my mind. 
The body of my patient slided from my nerveless arms ; I 
lifted up the eyes of rage and phrensy, as if to curse the Au- 
thor of my being ; and then fell helpless and immoveable 
by the side of the stranger. 

I felt him move; I heard him sigh. I lifted up my 
head, and perceived stronger marks of life and sense about 
him than had yet displayed themselves. I threw my arms 
about him ; I pressed him to my heart. The emphatical 
gesture I used seemed to have a sort of magnetical force to 
rouse his dying powers. With a little assistance from me 
he sat upright. My assiduity produced wonders : it for- 
tunately happened that this thicket was but a half a mile 
from my habitation, and indeed was one of the spots 
which I had searched without success the day before. 
About the hour of sunset, partly by leading, and partly 
by supporting him, I restored my guest to his former apart- 
ment. 

He remained speechless, or nearly so. He vented his 
sensations in sighs, in inward and inarticulate sounds ; and 
even when he arrived at the power of making himself un- 
derstood by words, it was only by monosyllables and half 
sentences that he conveyed to me his meaning. I now gave 
up my time almost entirely to an assiduous attendance on 
the stranger. Every day I expected to be his last ; every 
day was more or less interspersed with symptoms that 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 157 

seemed to menace his instant dissolution. During all this 
time I remained in the anxious suspense of contending hope 
and fear. Was it probable that he would ever recover 
strength enough to confer on me the legacy he had an- 
nounced ? The particulars of his secret I knew not ; but, 
judging from what I had heard of the pretences and pur- 
suits of alchemy,, it was natural to suppose that he had a 
process to communicate, which would require on his part 
considerable accuracy of recollection, as well as the power 
of delivering himself in a methodical and orderly discourse, 

I was fortunate enough however to perceive,, after a tor- 
menting and tedious crisis, that he appeared to be in a pro- 
gress of convalescence, and that his strength both of body 
and mind were recruited daily. After the lapse of a fort- 
night from the adventure of the wood, he one evening 
addressed me in the following manner : 

" St. Leon, I have been to blame. I have put you to a 
sufficient trial ; I have received from you every assistance 
and kindness that .my situation demanded; I have im- 
posed on you much trouble and anxiety ; I have excited your 
expectations by announcing to you in part what it was in 
my power to bestow ; and I have finally risked the defraud- 
ing your hopes and your humanity of their just reward. 
Do me the justice however to remember, that I had no 
presentiment of the event which has so inauspiciously come 
between you and your hopes. Fool that I was, I imagined 
I had suffered enough, and that, as I had obtained a longer 
respite from external persecution than I almost ever expe- 
rienced, I should be permitted to spend the short remainder 
of my days uninterrupted ! I now however look back upon 
this last assault with complacency. It has cut off some- 
thing from the last remnant of a life to the close of which 
I look forward with inexpressible longing; at the same 
time that I am still in prospect of obtaining the final wish 
of my heart the stealing out of the world unperceived, and 
thus in some measure eluding the last malice of my ene- 
mies. After my death I have but one injunction to leave 
with you the injunction of Hercules to Philoctetes that 
no inducement may move you to betray to mortal man the 
place in which you shall have deposited my ashes. Bury 



158 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

them in a spot which I will describe to you : it is not far,, 
and is only recommended to me by its almost inaccessible 
situation : and that once done, speak of me and, if possible, 
think of me no more. Never on any account mention me 
or allude to me ; never describe me, or relate the manner of 
our meeting, or the adventure which has at length brought 
on the desired close of my existence. 

" Believe me, in the feeble and helpless condition in which 
I have spent the last fortnight, your wishes and expect- 
ations have been uppermost in my mind, and there is 
nothing I have felt with so much compunction as the dan- 
ger of leaving them unsatisfied. To you perhaps I at pre- 
sent appear to be rapidly recovering, I feel the dart of 
death in my vitals ; I know I shall not live four days. It 
is necessary therefore that I should finish without delay all 
that remains for me to finish. I will devote this night to 
the arranging my thoughts and putting in order what I have 
to communicate, that no mistake or omission may have part 
in a transaction so important. Come to me to-morrow 
morning ; I will be prepared for you." 

As soon as I heard this discourse, and provided the stranger 
with every thing he could want during the night, I with- 
drew. My heart was big with expectation ; my thoughts 
all night were wild and tumultuous. When the hour of 
assignation arrived, I hastened along the garden to the 
summer-house, conscious that upon that hour depended all 
the colour of my future life. Since the stranger had been 
in his present dangerous condition, the door was not bolted; 
it was only locked : the key was in my possession, and 
remained night and day attached to my person. I opened 
the door; I panted and was breathless. 

I immediately saw that the stranger had undergone some 
great alteration for the worse. He had suffered a sort of 
paralytic affection. He lifted up his face as I entered ; it 
was paler than I had ever seen it. He shook his head 
mournfully, and intimated by signs the disappointment 
which this morning must witness. He was speechless. 
te Fate! fate!" exclaimed I in an agony of despair, "am I to 
be for ever baffled ? Is the prize so much longed for and so 
ardently expected at last to escape me ? " It is not to be 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 159 

imagined how much these successive, endless disappoint- 
ments increased my impatience,, and magnified in my eyes 
the donation I sought. 

The whole of this and the following day the stranger 
remained speechless. The third day, in the morning, he 
murmured many sounds, but in a manner so excessively 
inarticulate, that I was not able to understand one word in 
six that he said. I recollected his prediction that he should 
die on the fourth day. The fever of my soul was at its 
height. Mortal sinews and fibres could sustain no more. 
If the stranger had died thus, it is most probable that I 
should have thrown myself in anguish and rage upon his 
corpse, and have expired in the same hour. 

In the evening of the third day I visited him again. He 
had thrown his robe around him, and was sitting on the side 
of his couch. The evening sun shot his last beams over 
the window-shutters. There were about eight inches be- 
tween the shutter and the top of the window ; and some 
branches of vines, with their grapes already ripe, broke the 
uniformity of the light. The side of the couch faced the 
west, and the beams played upon the old man's countenance. 
I had never seen it so serene. The light, already softened 
by the decline of day, gave it a peculiar animation : and a 
smile that seemed to betoken renovation and the youth of 
angels sat upon it. He beckoned me to approach. I 
placed myself beside him on the couch ; he took my hand 
in his, and leaned his face towards me. 

" I shall never witness the light of the setting sun 
again!" were the first words he uttered. I immediately 
perceived that he spoke more collectedly, and with better 
articulation than at any time since the paralytic stroke. 
Still however it was no easy matter to develop his words. 
But I wound up every faculty of my frame to catch them ; 
and, assisted as I was by the habit of listening to his 
speech for many weeks, which during the whole of that 
time had never been distinct, I was successful enough to 
make out his entire discourse. 

It continued, though with various interruptions, for more 
than half an hour. He explained with wonderful accuracy 
the whole of his secrets, and the process with which they 



160 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

were connected. My soul was roused to the utmost stretch 
of attention and astonishment. His secrets, as I have 
already announced in the commencement of this history, 
consisted of two principal particulars ; the art of multiplying 
gold, and the power of living for ever. The detail of these 
secrets I omit; into that I am forhidden to enter. My 
design in writing this narrative, I have said, is not to teach 
the art of which I am in possession, but to describe the 
adventures it produced to me. 

The more I listened, the more my astonishment grew. 
I looked at the old man before me ; I observed the wretch- 
edness of his appearance, the meanness of his attire, his 
apparent old age, his extreme feebleness, the characters 
of approaching death that were written on his countenance. 
After what I had just heard, I surveyed these things with 
a sensation of novelty, as if I had never remarked them in 
him before. I said to myself, Is this the man that possesses 
mines of wealth inexhaustible, and the capacity of living for 
ever ? 

Observing that he had finished his discourse, I addressed 
to him these words, by a sort of uncontrollable impulse, 
and with all the vehemence of unsated and insuppressible 
curiosity. 

" Tell me, I adjure you by the living God, what use 
have you made of these extraordinary gifts ? and with what 
events has that use been attended ? " 

As I spoke thus, the countenance of the old man un- 
derwent a surprising change. Its serenity vanished; his 
eyes rolled with an expression of agony ; and he answered 
me thus : 

" Be silent, St. Leon ! How often must I tell you that 
no single incident of my story shall ever be repeated ! Have 
I no claim upon your forbearance ? Can you be barbarous 
and inhuman enough to disturb my last scene with these 
bitter recollections ? " I was silent. 

This is all that is material that passed at our interview. 

The stranger died the next day, and was buried accord- 
ing to his instructions. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. l6l 



CHAPTER XIV. 

FROM the moment of my last interview with the stranger 
I was another creature. My thoughts incessantly rolled upon 
his communications. They filled me with astonishment and 
joy, almost to bursting. I was unable to contain myself ; 
I was unable to remain in any posture or any place. I 
could scarcely command myself sufficiently to perform the 
last duties to his body in the manner he had directed. I 
paced with eager step the sands of the lake ; I climbed the 
neighbouring hills, and then descended with inconceivable 
rapidity to the vales below ; I traced with fierce impa- 
tience the endless mazes of the wood in which I so hardly 
recovered my bewildered guest. The uninterruptedness 
and celerity of bodily motion seemed to communicate some 
ease to my swelling heart. 

Yet there was one thing I wanted. I wanted some 
friendly bosom into which to pour out my feelings, and 
thus by participation to render my transports balsamic and 
tolerable. But this was for ever denied me. No human 
ear must ever be astonished with the story of my endow- 
ments and my privileges. I may whisper it to the woods 
and the waters, but not in the face of man. Not only am 
I bound to suppress the knowledge of the important secret 
I possess, but even the feelings, the ruminations, the visions, 
that are for ever floating in my soul. It is but a vain and 
frivolous distinction upon which I act, when I commit to 
this paper my history, and not the science which is its cor- 
ner-stone. The reason why the science may not be divulged 
is obvious. Exhaustless wealth, if communicated to all 
men, would be but an exhaustless heap of pebbles and dust; 
and nature will not admit her everlasting laws to be so 
abrogated, as they would be by rendering the whole race of 
sublunary man immortal. But I am bound, as far as pos- 
sible, not only to hide my secrets, but to conceal that I have 
any to hide. Senseless paper ! be thou at least my confi- 
dant ! To thee I may impart what my soul spurns the 
task to suppress. The human mind insatiably thirsts for a 




162 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

confidant and a friend. It is no matter that these p 
shall never be surveyed by other eyes than mine. They 
afford at least the semblance of communication and the un- 
burthening of the mind ; and I will press the illusion fondly 
and for ever to my heart. 

To return to the explanation of my feelings immediately 
after receiving possession of my grand acquisition ; for, with- 
out that explanation, the spirit and meaning of my subse- 
quent narrative will scarcely be sufficiently apprehended. 

" Happy, happy, happy man ! " exclaimed I, in the 
midst of my wanderings and reveries. " Wealth ! thy power 
is unbounded and inconceivable. All men bow down to 
thee ; the most stubborn will is by thee rendered pliant as 
wax ; all obstacles are melted down and dissolved by the 
ardour of thy beams ! The man that possesses thee, finds 
every path level before him, and every creature burning 
to anticipate his wishes : but if these are the advantages 
that wealth imparts to such as possess only those scanty 
portions which states and nations allow to the richest, how 
enviable must his condition be, whose wealth is literally 
exhaustless and infinite ! He possesses really the blessing, 
which priestcraft and superstition have lyingly pronounced 
upon the charitable : he may give away the revenues of 
princes, and not be the poorer. He possesses the attribute 
which we are accustomed to ascribe to the Creator of the 
universe : he may say to a man, ' Be rich,' and he is rich. 
He can bestow with equal facility the smallest gifts and the 
greatest. Palaces, as if they were the native exhalations of 
the soil, rise out of the earth at his bidding. He holds the 
fate of nations and of the world in his hand. He can re- 
move forests, and level mountains, drain marshes, extend 
canals, turn the course of rivers, and shut up the sea with 
doors. He can assign to every individual in a nation the 
task he pleases, can improve agriculture, and establish ma- 
nufactures, can found schools, and hospitals, and infirmaries, 
and universities. He can study the genius of every man, 
and enable every man to pursue the bent of his mind. 
Poets and philosophers will be fostered, the sublimest flights 
of genius be produced, and the most admirable discoveries 
effected, under his auspicious patronage. The whole world 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. l63 

are his servants, and he, if his temper be noble and upright, 
will be the servant of the whole world. Nay, it cannot 
happen otherwise. He has as few temptations to obliquity 
as omnipotence itself. Weakness and want are the parents 
of vice. But he possesses every thing ; he cannot better 
his situation ; no man can come into rivalship or competi- 
tion with him. I thank God, I have known the extremes 
of poverty, and therefore am properly qualified to enjoy my 
present happiness. I have felt a reverse of fortune, driving 
me in one instance to insanity, in another instance threat- 
ening to destroy me, my wife, and children together, with 
the plague of hunger. My heart has been racked with 
never-dying remorse; because, by my guilt and folly, my 
children have been deprived of the distinction and rank to 
which they were born, and plunged in remediless obscurity. 
Heaven has seen my sufferings, and at length has graciously 
said, ' It is enough/ Because I have endured more than 
man ever endured from the privation of fortune, God in his 
justice has reserved for me this secret of the transmutation 
of metals. I can never again fall into that wretchedness, 
by which my understanding was subverted, and my heart 
was broken." 

From this part of the legacy of the stranger, my mind 
reverted to the oth$|* I surveyed my limbs, all the joints 
and articulations of my frame, with curiosity and astonish- 
ment. " What !" exclaimed I, " these limbs, this com- 
plicated but brittle frame, shall last for ever ! No disease 
shall attack it ; no pain shall seize it ; death shall withhold 
from it for ever his abhorred grasp ! Perpetual vigour, 
perpetual activity, perpetual youth, shall take up their abode 
with me ! Time shall generate in me no decay, shall not 
add a wrinkle to my brow, or convert a hair of my head to 
grey ! This body was formed to die ; this edifice to crumble 
into dust ; the principles of corruption and mortality are 
mixed up in every atom of my frame. But for me the 
laws of nature are suspended ; the eternal wheels of the 
universe roll backward ; I am destined to be triumphant 
over fate and time ! 

" Months, years, cycles, centuries ! To me all these are 
but as indivisible moments. I shall never become old j I 
M 2 



164 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

shall always be, as it were, in the porch and infancy of 
existence ; no lapse of years shall subtract any thing from 
my future duration. I was born under Louis the Twelfth : 
the life of Francis the First now threatens a speedy termi- 
nation ; he will be gathered to his fathers, and Henry his 
son will succeed him. But what are princes and kings and 
generations of men to me ? I shall become familiar with 
the rise and fall of empires ; in a little while the very name 
of France, my country, will perish from the face of the 
earth, and men will dispute about the situation of Paris, as 
they dispute about the site of ancient Nineveh and Babylon 
and Troy. Yet I shall still be young. I shall take my most 
distant posterity by the hand ; I shall accompany them in 
their career ; and, when they are worn out and exhausted, 
shall shut up the tomb over them, and set forward. 

There was something however in this part of my spe- 
culation that did not entirely please me. Methought the 
race of mankind looked too insignificant in my eyes. I 
felt a degree of uneasiness at the immeasurable distance 
that was put between me and the rest of my species. I 
found myself alone in the world. Must I for ever live 
without a companion, a friend, any one with whom I can 
associate upon equal terms, with whom I can have a 
community of sensations, and feelings, and hopes, and 
desires, and fears ? I experienced something, less than a 
wish, yet a something very capable of damping my joy, 
that I also were subject to mortality. I could have been 
well content to be partaker with a race of immortals, but I 
was not satisfied to be single in this respect. I was not 
pleased to recollect how trivial would appear to me those 
concerns of a few years, about which the passions of men 
are so eagerly occupied. I did not like the deadness of 
heart that seemed to threaten me. I began to be afraid of 
vacancy and torpor, and that my life would become too uni- 
formly quiet. Nor did it sufficiently console me to recol- 
lect that, as one set of friends died off the stage, another 
race would arise to be substituted in their stead. I felt that 
human affections and passions are not made of this transfer- 
able stuff, and that we can love nothing truly, unless we 
devote ourselves to it heart and soul, and our life is, as it 
were, bound up in the object of our attachment. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 165 

It was worse when I recollected my wife and my children. 
When I considered for the first time that they were now in 
a manner nothing to me, I felt a sensation that might be 
said to mount to anguish. How can a man attach himself 
to any thing, when he comes to consider it as the mere 
plaything and amusement of the moment! In this statement 
however I am not accurate. Habit is more potent than any 
theoretical speculation. Past times had attached me deeply, 
irrevocably, to all the members of my family. But I felt 
that I should survive them all. They would die one by one, 
and leave me alone. I should drop into their graves the 
still renewing tear of anguish. In that tomb would my 
heart be buried. Never, never, through the countless ages 
of eternity, should I form another attachment. In the 
happy age of delusion, happy and auspicious at least to the 
cultivation of the passions, when I felt that I also was a 
mortal, I was capable of a community of sentiments and a 
going forth of the heart. But how could I, an immortal, 
hope ever hereafter to feel a serious, an elevating and expan- 
sive passion for the ephemeron of an hour ! 
As the first tumult of my thoughts subsided, I began, as 
is usual with persons whose minds are turned loose in the 
search of visionary happiness, to picture to myself, more 
steadily and with greater minuteness, the objects I would 
resolve early to accomplish. I would in the first place 
return to France, my adored country, the residence of my 
ancestors, whose annals they had adorned, whose plains had 
witnessed their heroic feats, and whose earth enclosed their 
ashes. To France I was endeared by every tie that binds 
the human heart ; her language had been the prattle of my 
infancy ; her national manners and temper were twined 
with the fibres of my constitution, and could not be rooted 
out ; I felt that every Frenchman that lived was my brother. 
Banishment had only caused these prejudices to strike their 
tendrils deeper in my heart. I knew not that I should 
finally limit my abode to France. A man who, like Mel- 
chisedec, is " without end of life," may well consider himself 
as being also, like him, " without father, without mother, 
and without descent." But at all events I would first fix 
my children, who did not participate in my privileges, in 
M 3 



166 TRAYELS OP ST. LEOIf. 

their native soil. I would reside there myself, at least till 
they were fully disposed of, and till the admirable partner of 
the last seventeen years of my life had resigned her breath. I 
Would immediately repurchase the property of my ancestors, 
which had been so distressfully resigned. The exile should 
return from his seven years' banishment in triumph and 
splendour. I would return to the court of my old patron 
and friend, the gallant Francis, and present to him my boy, 
the future representative of my family, now one year older 
than I had been at the tield of the Cloth of Gold. Though 
an exile from my country, I had not been an inattentive 
witness of her fortunes. The year fifteen hundred and 
forty-four was a remarkable and interesting year in the 
history of France. The endless animosities of Francis and 
the emperor had broken out with new fury about two years 
before. In the spring of the present year, the count d'An- 
guien had won a battle in Piedmont *, in which ten thou- 
sand imperialists were left dead upon the field, and which 
might be considered as having at length effaced the defeat 
of Pavia, in the same part of the world nineteen years before. 
The moment it had been announced that a battle was re- 
solved on, the young nobility of France, with their charac- 
teristic ardour, had hurried to the scene, and the court of 
Paris was, in an instant as it were, turned into a desert. 
On the other hand, the emperor and the king of England 
had concerted for the same season a formidable plan of 
attack against our northern frontier. With an army of 
twenty-five thousand men respectively, the one on the side 
of Champagne, and the other of Picardy, they agreed to 
advance directly into the heart of the kingdom, and to unite 
their forces in the neighbourhood of Paris. The last intel- 
ligence that I.ad leached me was, that Chateau Thierry, 
about twenty leagues from the metropolis, was in the hands 
of the emperor, and that the inhabitants of the capital, 
filled with consternation, were seeking their safety by flight 
in every direction. These circumstances had passed idly 
by me, and left little impression, so long as I considered 
myself as an obscure peasant cut off for ever from the bosom 
of my country. But, vested with the extraordinary powers 
* The battle of Cerisoltes. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. l67 

now intrusted to me, the case was altered. I felt even a 
greater interest in my sovereign, now pressed down with 
disease and calamity, yet retaining the original alacrity and 
confidence of his soul, than I had done, when I saw him in 
all the pride of youth, and all the splendour of prosperity. 
I was anxious that Charles should now enter into his ser- 
vice ; and I determined once again to assume the cuirass 
and the falchion, that I might he the instructor of his 
youth, and his pattern in feats of war. I resolved that my 
shepherd-boy, bred in obscurity among woods and moun- 
tains, should burst with sudden splendour upon his country- 
men, and prove in the field his noble blood and generous 
strain. I also proposed to myself, both out of sympathy 
for my king, and to give greater eclat to my son's entrance 
into life, to replenish with my treasures the empty coffers of 
France, and thus to furnish what at this period seemed to 
be the main spring upon which the fortune of war depended. 
With the advantages I could afford him, the career of 
Charles could not fail to be rapid and illustrious, and he 
would undoubtedly obtain the staff of constable of France, 
the possessor of which, Montmorency, was now in disgrace. 
I would marry my daughters to such of the young nobility 
as I should find most distinguished in talents and spotless 
in character. When, by the death of her I most loved, my 
affections should be weaned from my country, and the scenes 
to which I had been accustomed were rendered painful and 
distressing, I would then set out upon my travels. I would 
travel with such splendour and profusion of expense (for 
this, though mortified in me by a reverse of many years' 
duration, continued to be the foible of my heart) as should 
supersede the necessity of letters of recommendation, and 
secure me a favourable reception wherever I appeared. I 
might spend a life, in a manner, in every country that was 
fortunate enough to allure my stay, spreading improvements, 
dispensing blessings, and causing all distress and calamity 
to vanish from before me. 



16S TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



CHAPTER XV. 

MY mind was occupied in these and similar reveries for 
several weeks after the death of the stranger. My wife and 
children had hoped, after that event, that I should have 
returned to the habits which had pervaded the last six years 
of my existence, and which they had felt so eminently pro- 
ductive of gratification and delight. In this hope they 
found themselves deceived. My domestic character was, 
for the present at least, wholly destroyed. I had a subject 
of contemplation that did not admit of a partaker, and from 
this subject I could not withdraw my thoughts, so much as 
for an instant. I had no pleasure but in that retirement, 
where I could be unseen and unheard by any human eye or 
ear. If at any time I was compelled to join the domestic 
circle, I despatched the occasion that brought me there as 
speedily as possible ; and even while I remained in it, was 
silent and absent, engrossed with my own contemplations, 
and heedless and unobservant of every thing around me. 

My abstraction was not however so entire as to prevent 
me from sometimes stealing, in a sort of momentary inter- 
regnum of thought, in that pause where the mind rests 
upon the chain already passed over, and seems passively to 
wait for the sequel, a glance at my family. I looked at 
them without knowing what it was that I did, and without 
the intention to notice what I saw. Yet, even in this state 
of mental abstraction, visible objects will sometimes suc- 
ceed in making their impression. I perceived that my wife 
and children suffered from my behaviour. I remarked a 
general air of disconsolateness, and a mild unexpostulating 
submission, to what nevertheless the heart deeply deplored. 
They did not presume to interrupt me ; they did not by 
prying and inquisitive speeches attempt to extort from me 
the secret of the alteration they saw ; but it was manifest 
they conceived some great and radical calamity had poisoned 
the heart of our domestic joy. 

It was these symptoms thus remarked by me, that first 
roused me from the inebriation of my new condition. I 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 169 

was compelled to suspect that, while I revelled in visions of 
future enjoyment, I was inflicting severe and unmerited 
pains on those I loved. It was necessary, if I valued their 
happiness, that I should descend from the clouds of spe- 
culation and fancy, and enter upon the world of realities. 

But here I first found a difficulty to which, during the 
reign of my intoxication, I had been utterly insensible. I 
was rich ; I could raise my family, as far as the power of 
money extended, money, which may in some sense be sty led 
the empress of the world, to what heights I pleased. I 
had hitherto committed the fault, so common to projectors, 
of looking only to ultimate objects and great resting places, 
and neglecting to consider the steps between. This was an 
omission of high importance. Every thing in the world 
is conducted by gradual process. This seems to be the 
great principle of harmony in the universe. Nothing is 
abrupt ; one thing is so blended and softened into another, 
that it is impossible to say where the former ends and the 
latter begins. 

This remark is fully applicable to the situation which was 
now before me. Yesterday I was poor ; to-day I was pos- 
sessor of treasures inexhaustible. How was this alteration 
to be announced ? To dissipate the revenues of princes, 
to purchase immense estates, to launch into costly establish- 
ments, are tasks to which the most vulgar mind is equal. 
But no man stands alone in the world, without all trace of 
what he has been, and with no one near, that thinks him- 
self entitled to scrutinise his proceedings and his condition. 
Least of all was this my case. I was bound to certain 
other persons by the most sacred obligations ; I could not 
separate myself from them ; I could not render myself a 
mere enigma in their eyes ; though, in the language of the 
world, the head of my family, they were my natural censors 
and judges. I was accountable to them for my conduct ; it 
was my duty, paramount to all other duties, to stand as a 
fair, upright, and honourable character in their estimation. 

If these remarks be true taken in a general view, they 
are much more so when applied to my particular case. 
There are men who live in the midst of their families like 
an eastern despot surrounded with his subjects. They are 



170 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

something too sacred to be approached ; their conduct is not 
to be reasoned upon ; the amount of their receipts and dis- 
bursements is not to be inspected ; their resources are un- 
known ; no one must say to them, What dost thou ? or, 
why hast thou thus conducted thyself ? Even these persons 
will not escape the tax to which all men are liable. They 
cannot kill the .general spirit of enquiry ; the mystery in 
which they wrap themselves will often serve as an additional 
stimulus ; they will finally encounter the judgment and 
verdict of all. For myself, I had lived in the midst of my 
family upon a system of paternal and amicable commerce. 
I had suffered too deeply from a momentary season of 
separation and mystery, not to have been induced to re- 
nounce it decisively and for ever. 

Firm, however, as I had imagined my renunciation to 
have been, I was now thrown back upon what I had most 
avoided. I had a secret source of advantage, the effects of 
which were to be participated by those I loved, while the 
spring was to remain for ever unknown. What I most 
sought upon this occasion, was, that my family should 
share my good fortune, and at the same time be prevented 
from so much as suspecting that there was any thing mys- 
terious connected with it. To effect this, I presently con- 
ceived that it would be necessary to sacrifice the sudden 
and instantaneous prosperity I had proposed to myself, and 
introduce the reverse of our condition by slow, and, as far 
as possible, insensible degrees. 

One thing on which I determined, preparatory to the 
other measures I had in view, was to remove from my pre- 
sent habitation, and take up my residence for a time in the 
city of Constance. In the cottage of the mountains it was 
impossil : .o make any material alteration m my establish- 
ment. My property was of the narrowest extent ; nor 
would it be easily practicable in a country, the inhabitants 
of which were accustomed to a humble allotment, con- 
siderably to enlarge it. My house was frugal, if not mean ; 
and, unless it were first pulled down and built over again, 
the idea of introducing servants, equipage, or splendour into 
it, would be absurd. My design was not to make a long 
abode where I now was ; but, as soon as my family should 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 171 

be sufficiently prepared for the transition, to return to my 
native country. I believed in the mean time, that, in the 
capital of the bishopric, where my name was scarcely re- 
membered by a single individual, I should be more at 
liberty to proceed as circumstances suggested, than in my 
present rural situation, where every neighbour regarded 
himself as vested with a sort of inquisitorial power over all 
around him. 

To account for this measure to my family, I felt it in- 
cumbent on me to confess to them a certain pecuniary ac- 
quisition. The story that most readily suggested itself, was 
that of the stranger having left behind him a certain sum 
of which he made a donation to me. This, though in the 
plain and direct sense of the terms it were false, yet in its 
spirit bore a certain resemblance to the truth ; and, with 
that resemblance, in spite of the rigid adherence to veracity, 
that first ornament of a gentleman, that most essential pre- 
requisite to the regard arid affection of others, which I had 
hitherto maintained, I was induced to content myself. 
What could I do ? I was compelled to account for appear- 
ances ; I was forbidden by the most solemn injunctions to 
unfold the truth. I should indeed have felt little compla- 
cence in the disclosure; I should have been reluctant to 
announce a circumstance which, as I began to feel, intro- 
duced a permanent difference and separation between me 
and my family. 

The sum at which I fixed the legacy of the stranger was 
three thousand crowns. I was not inattentive to the future ; 
I should have been glad, by my present account, to have 
furnished a more ample solution for circumstances which 
might occur hereafter. But some regard was due to pro- 
Lability. An unknown, a solitary man, broken with age, 
who arrived on foot, and who declined all aid and attend- 
ance, must not be represented as possessing mines of trea- 
sure. 

It was some time before I could prevail on myself to 
break my story to the inhabitants of my cottage. As the 
time approached when I was to bid an everlasting farewell 
to rural obscurity and a humble station, they seemed to 
adorn themselves in new charms. I was like the son of a 




172 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

king, who had hitherto been told by his attendants that 
was a mere villager, and who, while his youthful imagin- 
ation is dazzled by the splendour that awaits him, yet looks 
back with a wistful eye upon his mirthful sports, his for- 
mer companions, and the simple charms of her who first 
obtained his guileless love. I announced my acquisition 
and my purpose with a faltering tongue and a beating 
heart. 

I could perceive that my tale produced few emotions of 
pleasure in those who heard it. Julia and her mother, 
especially, were warmly attached to their retirement ; and 
the scenes which had witnessed so many pleasurable inci- 
dents and emotions. Chagrin, in spite of themselves, made 
a transient abode upon their countenances ; but the unre- 
sisting mildness of the one, and the considerate attachment 
of the other, prevented, for the present, their sensations 
from breaking out into words. The feelings, however, 
that they consigned to silence, did not entirely escape the 
notice of the lively little Marguerite. She sympathised 
with them, probably without being aware that they were 
sad. She came towards me, and, with much anxiety in 
her enquiring face, asked why we must go away from the 
cottage ? If I had got some money I might go to the 
town, and buy sweetmeats, and ribands, and new clothes, 
and a hundred more pretty things, and bring them home. 
For her part, she should be better pleased to put on her 
finery, and make her feast in the pretty old summer-house, 
now she was again permitted to go and play in it, than in 
a palace all stuck over with emeralds and rubies. Her 
mother wiped away a tear at the innocent speech of her 
darling, kissed her, and bid her go and feed the hen and 
her chickens. Charles was the only one in whom I could 
observe any pleasure at my intelligence. He was not as 
yet skilful enough to calculate the advantages that three 
thousand crowns could purchase. But I could see joy 
sparkle in his eyes, as I announced my intention of bidding 
adieu to retirement, and taking up my rest in the capital of 
the district. His veins swelled with the blood of his an- 
cestors ; his mind was inured to the contemplation of their 
prowess. Already sixteen years of age, he hacUsecretly 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 173 

burned to go forth into the world, to hehold the manners 
of his species, and to establish for himself a claim to some 
rank in their estimation. He had pined in thought at the 
mediocrity of our circumstances, and the apparent impossi- 
bility of emerging ; for he regarded the duty of contributing 
his labour to the subsistence of the family, as the first of 
all obligations ; and the more the bent of his spirit struggled 
against it, the more resolutely he set himself to comply. 

The rest of the family were no sooner retired, than Mar- 
guerite, finding in what I had just announced to all, an 
occasion from the use of which she could not excuse her- 
self, took this opportunity of unburthening the grief which 
had long been accumulating in her mind. 

" St. Leon," said she, " listen kindly to what I am going 
to say to you, and assure yourself that I am actuated by 
no spleen, resentment, or ill-humour, but by the truest 
affection. I perceive I have lost, in your apprehension, 
the right of advising you. I am no longer the partner 
of your counsels; I am no longer the confident of your 
thoughts. You communicate nothing but what you can- 
not suppress ; and that you communicate to your whole 
family assembled. Heaven knows how dear to me is every 
individual of that family ! but my love for them does not 
hide from me what is due to myself. I know that a hus- 
band, who felt as a husband ought, and, give me leave to 
say, as I have deserved you should feel towards me, could 
not act as you have acted to-night. 

" You must excuse my reminding you of some things 
which you seem to have forgotten. I would not mention 
them, if they had not been forgotten when they ought to 
have been remembered. I have lived seventeen years with 
you ; my whole study had been your advantage and plea- 
sure. Have you any thing to reproach me with ? Point 
out to me, if in any thing I could have added to your 
pleasure, and have neglected it ! What I have done, has not 
been the ceremonious discharge of a duty ; it has been the 
pure emanation of an attachment that knew no bounds. I 
have passed with you through good fortune and ill fortune. 
When we were rich, I entered with my whole heart into your 
pleasures, because they were yours. When we were poor, I 



17* TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

endured every hardship without a murmur ; I watched hy 
you, I consoled you, I reconciled you to yourself. I do 
not mean to make a merit of all this : no ! Reginald ! I 
could not have acted otherwise if I would. 

(t Do me the justice to recollect, that I have not heen a 
complaining or irritable companion. In all our adversities, 
in the loss of fortune, and the bitter consequences of that 
loss, I never uttered a reproachful word. What poverty, 
sorrow, hunger and famine never extorted from me, you 
have at length wrung from my bleeding heart. St. Leon ! 
I have known your bosom-thoughts. In no former instance 
has your affection or your confidence been alienated from 
me ; and that consoled me for all the rest. But now, for 
three months, the case has been entirely altered. You have 
during all that time been busy, pensive, and agitated ; but 
I have been as much a stranger to your meditations as if 
I had never been accustomed to be their depository. You 
have not scrupled to inflict a wound upon me that no 
subsequent change will ever be able to cicatrise. Nor in- 
deed do I see any likelihood of a change. You announce 
our removal to Constance ; what we are to do next, with 
what views, or for what purpose, I am ignorant. 

" I have made my election. My heart is formed for 
affection, and must always feel an uneasy void and deso- 
lation without it. If you had thus robbed me of your 
attachment in an early period of our intercourse, I know 
not upon what extremity my disappointment and anguish 
might have driven me. They are harder to bear now; 
but I submit. It is too late either for relief or remedy. 
What remains of my powers and my strength I owe to my 
children. I will not seduce them from their father. They 
may be benefited by his purse or his understanding, though, 
like me, they should be deprived of his affection. You 
may be their friend when I am no more. I feel that this 
will not last long. I feel that the main link that bound 
me to existence cannot be snapped, and thus snapped by 
unkindness worse than death, without promising soon to 
put a period to my miseries. I shall be your victim in 
death, after having devoted my life to you, in a way in 
which few women were ever devoted to their husbands. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON". 1 7 5 

" But this is not what I purposed chiefly to say. This is 
what my situation and my feelings have unwillingly wrung 
from me. Though you have injured me in the tenderest 
point, I still recollect what you were to me. I still feel 
deeply interested in your welfare, and the fair fame you are 
to transmit to your children. I entreat you then to reflect 
deeply, before you proceed further. You seem to me to 
stand upon a precipice ; nor do the alteration that has taken 
place in your manners, and the revolution of your heart, 
lead me to augur favourably of the plans you have formed. 
What is this stranger ? Whence came he ? Why did he 
hide himself, and why was he pursued by the officers of 
justice ? Had he no relations ? Was his bequest of the 
sum he had about him his own act, and who is the witness 
to its deliberateness or its freedom ? You must not think 
that the world is inattentive to the actions of men or their 
circumstances ; if it were, the fame we prize would be an 
empty bauble. No, sir, a fair fame can only be secured by 
unequivocal proceedings. What will, what can, be thought 
of your giving shelter to an unknown, a man accused of 
crimes, a man never beheld even by an individual of your own 
family, and upon the strength of whose alleged bequest 
you are about to change the whole mode of your life ? 

" Nor, Reginald, must you think me credulous enough to 
imagine that you have now disclosed the whole or the pre- 
cise truth. Three thousand crowns is not a sum sufficient 
to account for what you propose, for the long agitation of 
your thoughts, or for the change of character you have sus- 
tained. You must either betotally deprived of rational 
judgment, or there must be something behind, that you 
have not communicated. What do you purpose in going 
to reside in the midst of a city foreign to ithe manners of 
a Frenchman, distracted with internal broils, and embit- 
tered to us by the recollection of the extremities we person- 
ally suffered in it ? Is your ambition sunk so low, that ifc 
can be gratified by such a transition ? No ; you mean more 
than you have announced ; you mean something you are 
unwilling to declare. Consider that meaning well ! Put 
me out of the question ! I am nothing, and no longer de- 
sire to be any thing. But do -not involve yourself in in* 



176 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 






delible disgrace, or entail upon your memory the curses of 
your children !" 

What a distress was mine, who, in return to so generous 
and noble an expostulation, could impart no confidence, and 
indulge no sincerity ! I felt a misery, of which, till this 
hour, I had been unable to form a conception. Fool that 
I was, I had imagined that, when endowed with the be- 
quests of the stranger, no further evil could approach me ! 
I had, in my visionary mood, created castles and palaces, 
and expatiated in the most distant futurity ! and here I 
was, stopped and disappointed at the threshold, in the very 
first step of my proceedings. What I could however I 
did ; I poured forth to Marguerite, not the secrets of my 
understanding, but the overpowering emotions of my soul. 

" Best, most adorable of women ! " cried I, ' ' how you 
rend my heart with the nobleness of your remonstrances I 
Never was man blessed with a partner so accomplished and 
exemplary as I have been ! Do you think your merits can 
ever be obliterated from my memory ? Do you think the 
feelings of gratitude and admiration can ever be weakened 
in my bosom, or that the strength and singleness of my at- 
tachment can suffer decay ? Bear me witness, Heaven ! I 
know no creature on the face of the earth that can enter 
into competition with you ; there is not the thing in nature 
that I prize in comparison. I love you a thousand times 
better than myself, and would die with joy to purchase 
your ease and satisfaction. I can never repay the benefits 
you have conferred on me ; I can never rise to an equality 
with you. 

" What anguish then do you inflict upon me, when you 
talk of becoming the victim of my unkindness ? Believe 
you I can endure, after having dissipated your patrimony 
and drawn you with me into exile, after having experienced 
from you a tenderness such as man never in any other in- 
stance obtained from woman, to entertain the idea of em- 
bittering the remainder of your life, and shortening your 
existence ? I should regard myself as the most execrable of 
monsters. I could not live under the recollection of so 
unheard-of a guilt. If you would not have me abhor my- 
self and curse existence, live, confide in me, and be happy ! 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 1?7 

" Oh, Marguerite ! how wretched and pitiable is my 
situation ! Make some allowance for me ! I have a secret 
that I would give worlds to utter, but dare not. Do not 
imagine that there is, or can be, any decay in my affection ! 
Confide in me ! Allow to necessity, what never, never 
could be the result of choice ! In all things else, you shall 
know my inmost heart, as you possess the boundless and 
unalterable affections of my soul." 

Marguerite was somewhat, but not wholly, soothed by 
the earnestness of my protestations. She saw, for the pre- 
science of the heart is never deceived, that a blow was 
given to the entireness of our affection, from which it would 
never recover. She felt, for in truth and delicacy of senti- 
ment she was much my superior, that the reserve, in which 
I persisted, and for which I deprecated excuse, might be 
sufficiently consistent with a vulgar attachment, but would 
totally change the nature of ours. She was aware that it 
related to no ordinary point, that it formed the pole-star of 
my conduct, that it must present itself afresh from day to 
day, and that in its operation it amounted to a divorce of 
the heart. She submitted however, and endeavoured to 
appear cheerful. Though she felt the worm of sorrow 
gnawing her vitals, she was unwilling to occasion me an 
uneasiness it was in her power to withhold. She was struck 
with the consistency and determination of my resistance, 
and expostulated no more. 

We went to Constance. We bade adieu to the scene of 
a six years' happiness, such as the earth has seldom wit- 
nessed. I alone had occasioned some imperfection in that 
happiness. There were times indeed when, sitting in 
affectionate communion with my wife, and surrounded by 
my children, my sensations had been as delicious as the 
state of human existence ever had to boast. I felt my 
heart expand ; I was conscious to the unreserved union 
that subsisted among us ; I felt myself identified with all 
that I loved, and all for whom my heart was anxious. But 
the curse entailed upon me from the earliest period to 
which my memory can reach, operated even in the cottage 
of the lake. I was not formed to enjoy a scene of pastoral 
simplicity. Ambition still haunted me ; an uneasiness, 

N 



178 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

scarcely defined in its object, from time to time recurred to 
my mind. If I thought I wanted nothing for myself, I 
deemed a career of honour due to my children. Again, 
when I regarded honour as an empty phantom, and per- 
suaded myself that all conditions of life were intrinsically 
equal, I recollected the fearful scene where hunger and de- 
struction had hung over us in Constance, and in imagina- 
tion often pictured to myself that scene as on the point of 
being renewed. The sword of the demon, famine, seemed 
to my disturbed apprehension to be suspended over us by a 
hair. Such had been the draught of bitterness that occa- 
sionally detracted from this most enviable, as in retrospect 
I am willing to denominate it, period of my existence. 

We quitted our rural retreat, and took up our abode in 
a prosperous mercantile city. I hired commodious apart- 
ments in one of the grand squares, not far from the spot 
where the fairs are usually held. Undoubtedly there was 
nothing in this residence very congenial to the bent of my 
disposition, or the projects that fermented in my mind. I 
had merely chosen it by way of interval, and to soften the 
transition from what I had been, to what I purposed to be. 
In the multitude of irresolute thoughts with which I la- 
boured, the small distance of Constance from the cottage of 
the lake, made me feel as if the removal thither was one of 
the gentlest and most moderate measures to which I could 
have recourse. 

I had never been less happy and at peace with myself than 
I was now. From general society and the ordinary inter- 
course of acquaintance I had long been estranged, and it 
was in vain that I endeavoured to return to habits of that 
sort. The society which the city of Constance afforded had 
few charms for me. It had no pretensions to the polite- 
ness, the elegance, the learning or the genius, an intercourse 
with which had once been familiar to me. It scarcely 
contained within its walls any but such as were occupied in 
merchandise or manufacture. The attention of its inhabit- 
ants were divided between these objects, and the encroach- 
ments which were making upon the ancient religion by the 
Confession of Augsburg and the dogmas of Calvin. The 
majority of the inhabitants were protestants ; and, a few 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 179 

years before, they had expelled their bishop and the canons 
of their cathedral. Having however miscarried in a reli- 
gious war into which they had entered, these dignitaries 
had been reinstalled in their functions and emoluments. 
The situation thus produced was an unnatural one ; and a 
storm was evidently brewing more violent than any which 
the city had yet sustained. The gloomy temper and melan- 
choly austerity of the reformers were as little congenial to 
my temper, as the sordid ignorance and selfishness of the 
trading spirit of the community. 

I therefore lived in a state of seclusion. I endeavoured 
to seek amusement in such novelties and occupations as 
might present themselves to a person disengaged from the 
general vortex. But, if the distinguished sphere in which 
I had once moved disqualified me for taking an interest in 
these puerilities, the anticipations in which I indulged of 
the future disqualified me still more. My domestic scene 
too no longer afforded me the consolation and relief I had 
been accustomed to derive from it. Marguerite exerted 
herself to appear cheerful and contented ; but it was an 
exertion. I began to fear that the arrow of disappointment 
had indeed struck her to the heart. I was anxiously occu- 
pied in considering what I was to do next. I hoped that 
our next step might operate to revive her gaiety, and by 
additional splendour amuse her solicitude. I began to fear 
that I had taken a wrong method, and entered the career of 
a better fortune with too much caution and timidity. At 
all events I felt that we no longer lived together as we had 
done. There was no more opening of the heart between us, 
no more infantine guilelessness and sincerity, no more of 
that unapprehensive exposure of every thought of the soul, 
that adds the purest zest to the pleasures of domestic life. 
We stood in awe of each other ; each was to the other in 
some degree an intrusive and unwelcome spy upon what 
was secretly passing in the mind. There may be persons 
who regard this as an evil very capable of being endured ; 
but they must be such as never knew the domestic joys I 
once experienced. The fall from one of these conditions of 
life to the other was too bitter. 
N 2 




1 80 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

ANXIOUS to divert my thoughts from what I hoped was only 
a temporary evil, I determined, accompanied by Charles, to 
make a tour of some of the cities of Germany. Dresden 
was the capital to which I was most desirous of conducting 
him. Maurice, duke of Saxony, who held his court there, 
and who was now only twenty-three years of age, was in- 
comparably the most accomplished prince of the empire. 
Desirous as I was that my only son should fill a distinguished 
career, I thought I could not better prepare him for the 
theatre of his native country, than by thus initiating him 
beforehand in scenes of distinction and greatness. 

He was delighted with his tour. We had not proceeded 
many leagues from Constance, before, indulging in the bent 
of my mind, I laid aside the humbleness of our appearance, 
and the obscure style in which we travelled ; and having 
procured a numerous cavalcade of horses and servants, I set 
forward with considerable magnificence. We passed through 
Munich, Ratisbon, and Prague. At Munich we found the 
court of the elector palatine ; the diet of the empire was 
sitting at Ratisbon, when we arrived at that city. Charles 
had been almost entirely a stranger to every thing princely 
and magnificent from the time he was nine years of age ; 
and he was now exactly at that period of human life when 
external appearances are apt to make the strongest impression. 
To him every thing that occurred seemed like transportation 
into a new world. The figure we made procured us, as 
strangers, unquestioned admission into every circle. We 
mixed with princes, ourselves in garb and figure con- 
founded with those we saw. I had lived too much and too 
long in the most splendid society, to find difficulty in re- 
suming the unembarrassed and courtly manners which I had 
for years laid aside ; and Charles might be said to see his 
father in a new character. Novelty prompted his admira- 
tion ; he was intoxicated with wonder. His disposition 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 181 

had always led him to bold and adventurous conceptions ; 
nothing less than an imperious sense of duty could have re- 
strained him from quitting our cottage, and casting himself 
upon the world in search of honour and distinction. His 
generous heart had beat to burst away from the obscurity 
of his station ; and it was with impatience and discontent 
that he looked forward to the life of a swain. Yet he knew 
not how to break through the obstacles that confined him. 
It was therefore with transports of pleasure that he saw 
them vanishing as of themselves, and the career of glory 
opening, as if by enchantment, to his eager steps. 

The court of Dresden was infinitely more delightful to 
him than the court of Munich, or the imperial display at 
Ratisbon. Here Charles saw a young prince in the flower 
of his age, whose talents and spirit rendered him the uni- 
versal object of attention and adoration. He remarked, in 
the fire of his eyes, the vivacity of his gestures, and the 
grandeur of his port, something inexpressibly different from 
those princes, of whom it is necessary that their rank should 
be announced to you by some extrinsic circumstance, that 
you may not mistake them for a merchant's clerk or a city 
magistrate. The sentiment that he breathed, as it were in- 
stinctively, as we returned from the first time of our seeing 
duke Maurice, was, ef At twenty-three years of age may I, 
in appearance, accomplishments, and spirit, resemble this 
man ! " 

Here I was desirous of making a longer stay than at the 
cities through which we had previously passed, and of pro- 
curing for my son some personal intercourse with this great 
ornament of the age. I judged this to be the more easy, 
as, in our first visit to the palace, I had perceived some 
French noblemen of the Protestant persuasion, who had re- 
sorted to the duke's court in search of employment. They 
appeared not to know me; but that was little to be wondered 
at, considering that I had been seven years absent from my 
country, and that the calamities by which I had been over- 
taken more than once during that period, might be sup- 
posed to have produced a greater effect upon me than the 
mere lapse of years would have done. Among the rest I 
remarked Gaspar de Coligny, who was only twenty-one 
N 3 



182 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

years of age at the time I quitted France, and had then 
been remarked as one of the most promising young men his 
country had to boast. His stay here was expected to be 
short ; his hopes in his own country, from the greatness of 
his connections, were of the highest class ; and he had only 
come to Dresden at the earnest invitation of duke Maurice, 
who entertained an ardent affection for him. My heart led 
me towards him ; policy concurred in dictating the appli- 
cation, as, if I were fortunate enough to gain his favour, my 
son could not have a friend better qualified either to form 
his character or forward his advancement. 

I wrote to Coligny to announce my request to him, and 
in a few hours after the delivery of my letter that young 
nobleman came in person to wait on me. He informed 
me that he had done so, because he had something of de- 
licacy to mention, which he did not choose to trust to the 
intermission of a third person, and upon which, as he 
hoped I could remove his scruple, he did not like even to 
bestow the formality of putting it on paper. 

" I am a gentleman of France/' said Coligny ; " you 
will excuse my frankness. I am a gentleman of France ; 
you will not wonder at the niceness of my honour. Mix- 
ing in society, I do not pretend minutely to investigate the 
character of every person with whom I converse ; but what 
you ask of me obliges me to consult my understanding, and 
enquire into facts. I cannot consent to vouch for any 
man's character to another, till I have paid some attention 
to the ground upon which that character rests. 

" I remember the count de St. Leon with pleasure and 
advantage at the court of my own sovereign. Every one 
admired his accomplishments, his gallantry, and his learn- 
ing; every one spoke of him with respect. Unfortunate 
circumstances, as we all understood, deprived you of your 
patrimony ; that is nothing to me ; I respect a nobleman in 
misfortune, as much as when he is surrounded with wealth 
and splendour. You retired into voluntary exile ; I heard, 
with great grief, of some subsequent calamities that have 
overtaken you. But, here in Saxony, I see you resuming 
all your former splendour, and coming forward with the 
magnificence of a prince. Other of your countrymen have 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 183 

remarked it, as well as myself, and feel themselves at a loss 
to account for what they see. 

(e Excuse me, count ! by your application to me, you 
oblige me to speak freely. I dare say you can clear up the 
difficulty, and account for this second revolution in your 
fortune, upon which I shall then be the first to congratu- 
late you. I cannot suspect a man, with your high descent 
and the illustrious character you formerly maintained, 
of any thing dishonourable. But you have not suffi- 
ciently considered the account we all owe to one another, 
and the clearness of proceeding we are obliged to maintain, 
not only to our own hearts, but in the face of the world. 
The present occasion is, I trust, fortunate for you; and, 
when you have assisted me in complying with the rules by 
which every honourable man governs himself, I shall be 
eager to publish your justification, and render you all the 
service in my power." 

I was ready to burst with astonishment and vexation 
during this representation of Coligny. I could feel my 
colour change from pale to red, and from red to pale. I 
could only answer with suffocation and inward rage, that I 
was much obliged to him ; I would consider what he said ; 
I would acquaint him with my justification ; and, when- 
ever it was made, he might be assured it should be an 
ample one. I was cautious as to what I uttered ; I could 
not immediately foresee what it was eligible, or what it was 
possible, to do ; and I was resolved that I would not, by 
an idle or hasty expression, preclude myself, in a matter of 
so much moment, from the benefits of future deliberation. 
If what I had just heard had come from any other person, 
I should probably have despised it ; but I felt at once that 
Gaspar de Coligny might be considered, in a case of this 
sort, as the representative of all that was most honourable 

and illustrious in my native country Finding that I was 

indisposed to any further communication on the subject, he 
took a polite leave, and departed. 

I was no sooner alone than I felt myself overwhelmed 
with mortification and shame. I had rejoiced in the be- 
quests of the stranger, because I regarded them as the 
means of restoring me to splendour, and replacing my chil- 
N 4 



184 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



dren in the situation to which they were entitled by their 
birth. Was that which I had regarded as the instrument 
of their glory, to become the medium of their ignominy 
and disgrace ? I had suffered all other misfortunes, but 
ftie whisper of dishonour had never been breathed against 
me. I was a son of honour, descended of a race of heroes, 
and cradled in the lap of glory and fame. When we 
quitted Paris in the year 1537, my incomparable wife had 
set to sale our entire property, resolved that, though driven 
into exile, we would not leave it in the power of the mean- 
est individual to controvert the sacred attention we yielded 
to every just obligation. Since that time 1 had declined 
from the splendour of rank to the humble situation of a 
rustic, cultivating my little property with my own hands ; 
nay, I had even, for a short time, hired myself as a labourer 
in the garden of the bishop of Constance. But the same 
disdain of every thing disgraceful had followed me to my 
cottage and my truckle bed, which I had originally learned 
in the halls of chivalry and the castle of my ancestors. 
Accordingly I had uniformly retained the same honourable 
character and spotless fame. St. Leon, the virtuous cot- 
tager, had in nothing blemished the name of St. Leon, sur- 
rounded with glory in the siege of Pavia. Often, and with 
pride, had I pointed out this circumstance to my son, add- 
ing, Wherever fortune calls you, for whatever scenes you 
may be reserved, remember that your father was unfortu- 
nate, but that through life he never acted a deed nor con- 
ceived a thought, that should stain your manly cheeks with 
the blush of shame ! I stand before you a culprit, as hav- 
ing robbed you of your patrimony, but I have preserved 
for you entire the inheritance of our honour ! 

This had been the first lesson imprinted upon my infant 
mind. All other possessions I had ever held cheap and 
worthless in comparison with that of an illustrious name. 
My indignation at the attack it now sustained was bound- 
less. The more I thought, the more intolerable it ap- 
peared. I was impatient and furious, like a lion struggling 
in the toils. I could with joy have trampled under my 
feet whoever aspersed me. I could have wantoned in blood, 
and defied my adversaries to mortal combat. Alas, all my 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



185 



fury was useless here ! It was no tale whispered in the 
dark that I had to contend with ; it was the commentary 
of the world upon incontestable facts. Though a hecatomb 
of souls should be sacrificed at the shrine of my blasted 
name, the facts would still remain, the mystery still require 
to be solved. Coligny, the virtuous Coligny, had made no 
observations on the circumstances he mentioned j he merely 
proposed a difficulty, and waited my answer. 

I was called upon to exercise the whole of my deliber- 
ative powers as to the reply which was to be returned, or 
the conduct to be held, upon the question of Coligny. 
Every thing I most valued was now at issue ; and a false 
step taken under the present circumstances could never be 
retrieved. I had another sort of party to deal with here, 
than when I had told Marguerite the tale of the stranger 
and his legacy. Nothing would pass now, but what bore 
an open, fair, and unequivocal appearance. I must vent 
no assertion that could not bear to be sifted to the bottom, 
and that did not fully accord with all the vouchers with 
which it could be collated. I had written to Marguerite, 
immediately after launching into the expense with which 
our tour had been attended, that I had received an un- 
expected acquisition from the death of a relation of my 
own family in France. I knew that the story of the three 
thousand crowns would no longer account for the style in 
which I was proceeding, and this fabrication suggested 
itself upon the spur of the moment. I hated to th'ink of 
the difficulties in the way of explanation in which I was 
involved ; I abhorred the system of falsehood I was driven 
to practise. It did not occur to me at the time, infatuated 
as I was ! that I should have occasion to account for this 
accession of wealth to any one out of my own family. 
Marguerite, I well knew, had no correspondence in France, 
nor therefore any obvious means ,of verifying or refuting 
this second deception. But such a story could not be told 
to noblemen of France, without being instantly liable to be 
compared with known facts, and eventually investigated 
upon the spot where the scene was laid. Marguerite her- 
self, I well knew, had listened with incredulity to the ex- 
planation I had made, and the alleged legacy of the stranger ; 



186 TRAVELS OP ST.. LEON. 

what could I expect from indifferent hearers ? They might 
not all possess her good sense and sagacity in judging ; but 
they were destitute of that personal kindness and partiality 
which were calculated to induce her to credit whatever I 
affirmed. Most men have a malignant pleasure in the de- 
tection of specious pretences,, in humbling the importunate 
superiority that obscures their claims, and removing the 
rival who might otherwise acquire the prize of which they 
are in pursuit. 

My mind was still torn and distracted with these con- 
templations, when in the afternoon of the same day on 
which I had received the visit of Coligny, my attention 
was suddenly roused by the abrupt entrance of my son into 
the chamber where I was sitting. He opened the door 
with a hurried action as he entered, and, having closed it 
impetuously after him, advanced directly towards me. He 
then stopped himself ; and, turning from me,, I could per- 
ceive a rush of crimson in his face like that of a man suf- 
focated. A passion of tears succeeded that shook his frame, 
and sufficiently proved that his feelings had sustained some 
extraordinary shock. My whole soul was alarmed at what 
I saw ; and, following him as he retired to the other side 
of the room, in the gentlest accents I endeavoured to soothe 
him, while I enquired with earnestness and trepidation into 
the cause of his grief. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

HE repelled me. " Sit down, sir, sit down ! Do not follow 
me, I beg of you ; but sit down ! " 

His manner was earnest and emphatical. Mechanically 
and without knowing what I did, I obeyed his direction. 
He came towards me. 

" I have no time," added he, " for qualifying and form. 
Tell me ! am I the son of a man of honour or a villain ? " 

He saw I was shocked at the unexpected rudeness of 
his question. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON". 187 

" Forgive me, my father ! I have always been affec- 
tionate and dutiful ; I have ever looked up to you as my 
model and my oracle. But I have been insulted ! It never 
was one of your lessons to teach me to bear an insult ! " 

" Is it," replied I, with the sternness that the character 
of a father will seldom fail to inspire under such circum- 
stances, " because you have been insulted, that you think 
yourself authorised to come home and insult him to whom 
you owe nothing but respect and reverence ? " 

" Stop, sir ! Before you claim my reverence, you must 
show your title to it, and wipe off the aspersions under 
which you at present labour." 

(f Insolent, presumptuous boy ! Know that I am not by 
you to be instructed in my duty, and will not answer so rude 
a questioner ! The down as yet scarcely shades your school- 
boy's cheek; and have you so forgotten the decencies of 
life as to scoff your father?" His eye brightened as I 
spoke. 

ei You are right, sir. It gives me -pleasure to see your 
blood rise in return to my passion. Your accent is the 
accent of innocence. But, indeed ! the more innocent and 
noble you shall prove yourself, the more readily will you 
forgive my indignation." 

" I cannot tell. My temper does not fit me to bear the 
rudeness of a son. Nor do I think that such behaviour as 
this can be any credit to you, whatever may have been the 
provocation. Tell me however what is the insult that has 
thus deeply shaken you ? " 

" I went this afternoon to the tennis-court near the river, 
and played several games with the young count Luitmann. 
While we were playing, came in the chevalier Dupont, my 
countryman. The insolence of his nature is a subject of 
general remark ; and he has, though I know not for what 
reason, conceived a particular animosity to me. A trifling 
dispute arose between us. We gradually warmed. He 
threatened to turn me out of the court; I resented the 
insult ; and he passionately answered, that the son of an 
adventurer and a sharper had no business there, and he 
would take care I should never be admitted again. I at- 
tempted to strike him, but was prevented ; and presently 



188 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

learned that the sudden and unexplained way in which we 
have emerged from poverty was the ground of his asper- 
sion. As I gained time, and reflected more distinctly upon 
what was alleged, I felt that personal violence could never 
remove an accusation of this sort. I saw too, though, in- 
toxicated as I had idly been with the unwonted splendour 
to which I was introduced, I had not adverted to it at the 
time, that the case was of a nature that required explanation. 
I had been accustomed to reverence and an implicit faith 
in the wisdom and rectitude of my parents, and therefore 
encountered in silent submission the revolution of our for* 
tune. But this neutrality will suffice no longer. 

" To you, sir, I resort for explanation. Send me back 
to the insolent youth and his companions, with a plain and 
unanswerable tale, that may put to silence for ever these 
brutal scoffs and reproaches. Let it be seen this night 
which of the two has most fully merited to be thrust out of 
honourable society. I trust I have not so demeaned my-, 
self but that our mutual companions will join to compel 
this unmannered boor to retract his aspersions." 

fc Charles, you are too warm and impetuous !" 

" Too warm, sir ! when I hear my father loaded with 
the foulest appellations ? " 

" You are young and ill qualified to terminate in the 
proper way a business of this serious aspect: leave it to me ! " 

<e Excuse me, my father ! Though the names I have 
repeated were bestowed upon you, it was against me that 
the insult was employed. I must return immediately, and 
obtain justice. This is a moment that must in some degree 
fix my character for fortitude and determination, and I 
cannot withdraw from the duty it imposes. Only tell me 
what I have to say. Furnish me with a direct and un- 
ambiguous explanation of what Dupont has objected to us, 
and I undertake for the rest." 

" I see, my son, that you are moved, and I will trust you ! " 

He seized my hand, he gazed earnestly in my face, he 
seemed prepared to devour every word I should utter. 

" Gaspar de Coligny, the flower of the French nobility, 
has been with me this morning. He has stated to me in 
an ingenuous and friendly way the same difficulty with 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 189 

which Dupont has so brutally taunted you. I was medi- 
tating and arranging my answer but now, when you entered 
the room." 

As I uttered these words, Charles let go my hand, and 
withdrew his eyes, with evident tokens of disappointment 
and chagrin. He paused for a few moments,, and then re- 
sumed : 

" Why do you tell me of meditation and arrangement ! 
Why did you send away Coligny unanswered, or why 
baffle and evade the earnestness of my enquiries ? I know 
not all the sources of wealth ; but I cannot doubt that the 
medium through which wealth has honourably flowed may, 
without effort and premeditation, easily be explained. A 
just and a brave man acts fearlessly and with explicitness ; 
he does not shun, but court, the scrutiny of mankind j he 
lives in the face of day, and the whole world confesses the 
clearness of his spirit and the rectitude of his conduct. 

" Sir, I have just set my foot on the threshold of life. 
There is one lesson you have taught me, which I swear 
never to forget, to hold life and all its pleasures cheap, in 
comparison with an honourable fame. My soul burns with 
the love of distinction. I am impatient to burst away from 
the goal, and commence the illustrious career. I feel that 
I have a hand and a heart capable of executing the pur- 
poses that my soul conceives. Uninured to dishonour, or 
to any thing that should control the passion of my bosom, 
think, sir, what are my emotions at what has just occurred ! 

" I was bred in obscurity and a humble station. I owed 
this disadvantage, you tell me, to your error. I forgave you ; 
I was content ; I felt that it was incumbent on me by my 
sword and my own exertions to hew my way to distinction. 
You have since exchanged the lowness of our situation for 
riches and splendour. At this revolution I felt no dis- 
pleasure; I was well satisfied to start upon more advan- 
tageous terms in the race I determined to run. But, sir, 
whence came these riches ? Riches and poverty are com- 
paratively indifferent to me ; but I was not born to be a 
mark for shame to point her finger at. A little while ago 
you were poor ; you were the author of your own poverty ; 
you dissipated your paternal estate. Did I reproach you ? 



190 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

No ; you were poor, but not dishonoured ! I attended your 
couch in sickness ; I exerted my manual labour to support 
you in affliction. I honoured you for your affection to my 
mother ; I listened with transport to the history of your 
youth ; I was convinced I should never blush to call Re- 
ginald de St. Leon my father. I believed that lessons of 
honour,, so impressive as those you instilled into my infant 
mind, could never flow but from an honourable spirit. Oh, 
if there is any thing equivocal or ignoble in the riches we 
have displayed, restore me, instantly restore me, to un- 
blemished and virtuous poverty ! " 

I was astonished at the firmness and manliness of spirit 
that Charles upon this occasion discovered. I could scarcely 
believe that these were the thoughts and words of a youth 
under seventeen years of age. I felt that every thing illus- 
trious and excellent might be augured of one who, at these 
immature years, manifested so lofty and generous a soul. 
I could have pressed him in my arms, have indulged my 
emotions in sobs and tears of transport, and congratulated 
myself that I was father to so worthy a son. But his 
temper and manners awed, and held me at a distance. 
This was one consequence of the legacies of the stranger ! 

" Charles ! " said I, " your virtues extort my confidence. 
For the world a tale must be prepared that shall serve to 
elude its curiosity and its malice. But to you I confess, 
there is a mystery annexed to the acquisition of this wealth 
that can never be explained." 

He stood aghast at my words. " Am I to believe my 
ears ? A tale prepared ? A mystery never to be explained ? 
I adjure you by all that you love, and all that you hold 
sacred ! " 

His voice was drowned in a sudden gush of tears. With 
an action of earnestness and deprecation, he took hold of 
my hand. 

" No, sir, no artful tale, no disguise, no hypocrisy! " 

As he spoke, his voice suddenly changed, his accent became 
clear and determined. " Will you consent this very hour 
to quit the court of Dresden, and to resign fully and without 
reserve this accursed wealth, for the acquisition of which you 
refuse to account ? " 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 191 

" Whence/' replied I, " have you the insolence to make 
such a proposal ? -No, I will not !" 

" Then I swear by the omnipresent and eternal God, you 
shall never see or hear of me more ! " 

I perceived that this was no time for the assertion of 
paternal authority. I saw that the poor boy was strangely 
and deeply moved, and I endeavoured to soothe him. I 
felt that the whole course of his education had inspired him 
with an uncontrollable and independent spirit, and that it 
was too late to endeavour to repress it. 

" My dear Charles," said I, " what is come to you ? 
When I listen to a language like this from your lips, I 
scarcely know you for my son. This impertinent Dupont 
has put you quite beside yourself. Another time we will 
talk over the matter calmly ; and depend upon it, every thing 
shall be made out to your satisfaction." 

" Do not imagine, sir, that my self-possession is not 
perfect and complete. I know what I do, and my reso- 
lution is unalterable. If you have any explanation to give, 
give it now. If you will yield to my proposal, declare your 
assent, and I am again your son. But to bear the insults 
of my fellows unanswered, or to live beneath the conscious- 
ness of an artful and fictitious tale, no consideration on earth 
shall induce me. I love you, sir ; I cannot forget your 
lessons or your virtues. I love my mother and my sisters ; 
no words can tell how dearly and how much. But my 
resolution is taken; I separate myself from you all and for 
ever. Nothing in my mind can come in competition with 
a life of unblemished honour." 

ff And are you such a novice, as to need the being told 
that honour is a prize altogether out of the reach of an un- 
known and desolate wanderer, such as you propose to become? 
My wealth, boy, is unlimited, and can buy silence from the 
malicious, and shouts and applause from all the world. A 
golden key unlocks the career of glory, which the mean and 
the pennyless are never allowed to enter." 

" 1 am not such a novice, as not to have heard the lan- 
guage of vice, though I never expected to hear it from a 
father. Poverty with integrity shall content me. The rest- 
less eagerness of my spirit is so great, that I will trust to its 



192 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

suggestions, and hope to surmount the obstacles of external 
appearance. If I am disappointed in this, and destined to 
perish unheard of and unremembered, at least I will escape 
reproach. I will neither be charged with the deeds, nor 
give utterance to the maxims, of dishonour." 

" Charles," replied I, " be not the calumniator of your 
father ! I swear to you by every thing that is sacred ; and 
you know my integrity ; never did the breath of falsehood 
pollute these lips ; " 

He passionately interrupted me. " Did the stranger 
bequeath you three thousand crowns ? Have you lately 
received an unexpected acquisition by the death of a near 
relation in France ? " 

I was silent. This was not a moment for trifling and 
equivocation. 

" Oh, my father, how is your character changed and 
subverted ? You say true. For sixteen years I never heard 
a breath of falsehood from your lips ; I trusted you as I 
would the oracles of eternal truth. But it is past ! A few 
short months have polluted and defaced a whole life of 
integrity ! In how many obscurities and fabulous incon- 
sistencies have you entangled yourself? Nor is it the least 
of the calamities under which my heart sickens at this mo- 
ment, that I am reduced to hold language like this to a 
father!" 

What misery was mine, to hear myself thus arraigned 
by my own son, and to be unable to utter one word in reply 
to his accusations ! To be thus triumphed over by a strip- 
ling ; and to feel the most cruel degradation, in the mani- 
festation of an excellence that ought to have swelled my 
heart with gratulation and transport ! I had recollected 
my habitual feelings for near forty years of existence ; I 
had dropped from my memory my recent disgrace, and 
dared to appeal to my acknowledged veracity ; when this 
retort from my son came to plunge me tenfold deeper in a 
sea of shame. He proceeded : 

" I am no longer your son ! I am compelled to dis- 
claim all affinity with you ! But this is not all. By your 
dishonour you have cut me off from the whole line of my 
ancestors. I cannot claim affinity with them, without 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 193 

acknowledging my relation to you. You have extinguished 
abruptly an illustrious house. The sun of St. Leon is set 
for ever ! Standing as I do a candidate for honourable fame, 
I must henceforth stand by myself, as if a man could 
be author of his own existence, and must expect no aid, no 
favour, no prepossession, from any earthly consideration, 
save what I am, and what I shall perform." 

f: My son," replied I, (( you cut me to the heart. Such 
is the virtue you display, that I must confess myself never 
to have been worthy of you, and I begin to fear I am now 
less worthy of you than ever. Yet you must suffer me to 
finish what I was about to say when you so passionately 
interrupted me. I sv/ear then, by every thing that is sacred, 
that I am innocent. Whatever interpretation the world 
may put upon my sudden wealth, there is no shadow of dis- 
honesty or guilt connected with its acquisition. The cir- 
cumstances of the story are such that they must never be 
disclosed ; I am bound to secrecy by the most inviolable 
obligations, and this has led me to utter a forged and incon- 
sistent tale. But my conscience has nothing with which to 
reproach me. If then, Charles, my son, once my friend, 
my best and dearest consolation!" I pressed his hand, 
and my voice faltered as I spoke, "if you are resolute to 
separate yourself from me, at least take this recollection 
with you wherever you go, Whatever may be my exter- 
nal estimation, I am not the slave of vice, your father is 
not a villain ! " 

" Alas, my father !" rejoined Charles, mournfully, 
"what am I to believe? What secret can be involved in so 
strange a reverse of fortune, that is not dishonourable? 
You have given utterance to different fictions on the sub- 
ject, fictions that you now confess to be such ; how am I 
to be convinced that what you say at this moment is not 
dictated more by a regard for my tranquillity, than by the 
simplicity of conscious truth ? If I believe you, I am afraid 
my credit will be the offspring rather of inclination, than of 
probability. And indeed, if I believe you, what avails it ? 
The world will not believe. Your character is blasted; 
your honour is destroyed ; and, unless I separate myself 
o 



'> TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

from you, and disown your name, I shall be involved in the 
same disgrace." 

Saying thus, he left me, and in ahout half an hour returned. 
His return I had not foreseen ; I had made no use of his 
absencer My mind was overcome, my understanding was 
stupified, by a situation and events I had so little expected. 
I had stood, unmoved, leaning against the wall, from the 
instant of his departure. I seemed rooted to the spot, in- 
capable of calling up my fortitude, or arranging my ideas. 
My eyes had rolled, my brow was knit, I had bit my lips 
and my tongue with agony. From time to time I had mut- 
tered a few words, "My son! my son! wealth! 
wealth ! my wife ! my son !" but they were incoherent 
and without meaning. 

Charles re-entered the apartment where the preceding 
conversation had passed, and the noise he made in entering 
roused me. He had his hat in his hand, which he threw 
from him, and exclaimed with an accent of dejection and 
anguish, " My father ! fareweU !" 

tf Cruel, cruel boy ! can you persist in your harsh and 
calamitous resolution ? If you have no affection for me, yet 
think of your mother and your sisters !" 

Seek not, sir, to turn me from my purpose ! The struggle 
against it in my own bosom has been sufficiently severe ; 
but it must be executed." His voice, as he spoke, was in- 
ward, stifled, and broken with the weight of his feelings. 

"Then farewell!" I replied. "Yet take with you 
some provision for your long and perilous adventure. Name 
the sum you will accept, and, whatever is its amount, it 
shall instantly be yours." 

" I will have nothing. It is this wealth, with whose 
splendour I was at first child enough to be dazzled, that has 
destroyed us. My fingers shall not be contaminated with 
an atom of it. What is to be my fate, as yet, I know not. 
But I am young, and strong, and enterprising, and cou- 
rageous. The lessons of honour and nobility live in my 
bosom. Though my instructor is lost, his instructions shall 
not be vain ! " 

" Once more farewell ! From my heart I thank you for 
your protestations of innocence. Never will I part with 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 195 

this last consolation, to believe them. I have recollected 
the manner in which they were uttered ; it was the man- 
ner of truth. If there be any evidence of a contrary tend- 
ency, that I will forget. Though to the world I shall be 
without father and without relatives, I will still retain this 
sacred consolation for my hours of retirement and solitude, 
that my ancestors were honourable, and my father, in spite 
of all presumptions to the contrary, was innocent, 

" How hard it is to quit for ever a family of love and 
affection, as ours has been ! Bear witness for me, how 
deeply I sympathised with you at Paris, in Switzerland, in 
Constance ! Though now you dissolve the tie between us, 
yet, till now, never had a son greater reason for gratitude 
to a father. You and my mother have made me what I 
am ; and that I may preserve what you have made me, I 
now cast myself upon an untried world. The recollection 
of what I found you in the past period of my life, shall be 
for ever cherished in my memory ! 

" I quit my mother and my sisters without leave-taking 
or adieu. It will be a fruitless and painful addition to 
what each party must learn to bear. Dear, excellent, peer- 
less protector and companions of my early years ! my 
wishes are yours, my prayers shall for ever be poured out 
for you ! You, sir, who rob them of a son and a brother, 
be careful to make up to them a loss, which I doubt not 
they will account grievous ! I can do nothing for them. I can 
throw myself into the arms of poverty ; it is my duty. 
But, in doing so, I must separate myself from them, as- 
suredly innocent, and worthy of more and greater benefits 
than I could ever confer on them ! Farewell !" 

Saying this, he threw himself into my arms, and I felt 
the agonies of a parting embrace. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

FOB some time I could not believe him departed. When I 
retired to rest, I felt the want of Charles to press my hand, 
and wish me refreshing slumbers ; and I passed on, sad 
and solitary, to my chamber. When I came next morn. 
o 2 



196 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

ing into the breakfasting room, Charles was not there, to 
greet me with looks of affection and duty ; and the gilding 
and ornaments of the apartment were to me no less discon- 
solate than the damps and sootiness of a dungeon. 

I hoped he would return. I knew how tenderly he was 
attached to his mother and his sisters ; I was fully con- 
vinced that the affection for me which had been the per- 
petual habit of his mind, could not be entirely eradicated 
from his heart. I mentioned him not in my letters to 
Constance ; the pen lingered, my hand trembled, when I 
thought of him ; I could neither pretend that he was with 
me, nor announce the catastrophe of his absence. But I 
opened the letters of Marguerite with still increasing im- 
patience. Finding that he did not return to me, I hoped 
that some alteration of the extraordinary resolution he had 
formed, would lead him to Constance. In vain I hoped ! 
There reached me, by no conveyance, from no quarter, 
tidings of my son ! 

How surprising an event ! A youth, not seventeen years 
of age, forming and executing in the same instant the pur- 
pose of flying from his parents and his family ! Deserting 
all his hopes, all his attachments, all his fortune ! Refusing 
the smallest particle of assistance or provision in his entrance 
upon the wide scene of the world ! Oh, Charles ! exclaimed 
I, you are indeed an extraordinary and admirable youth ! 
But are you fortified against all the temptations of the world 
and all its hardships ? Do your tender years qualify you to 
struggle with its unkindness, its indifference, and its insults? 
In how few quarters is merit ever treated with the attention 
and benevolence it deserves ! How often is it reduced to 
tremble with indignation, at the scoffs and brutality to which 
it is exposed, and at the sight of folly and vice exalted in 
its stead, and appointed its despot and its master ! My son, 
my son ! what will be your fate ? Is your unseasoned 
frame reserved to perish by hunger, in barren deserts and 
beneath inclement skies ? Will you not in some hour of 
bitter disappointment and unpitied loneliness, lay yourself 
down in despair and die ? Will you not be made the slave 
of some capricious tyrant for bread ? Generous as is your 
nature, will it be eternally proof against reiterated] tempt- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 1Q7 

ation ? Upon what a world are you turned adrift ! a world 
of which you know as little, as the poor affrighted soul of a 
dying man knows, when launching into the mysterious, 
impenetrable abyss of eternity ! Unnatural father, to have 
reduced my only son to this cruel alternative ! I should 
with a less aching and agonising heart have accompanied 
his senseless remains to the grave. Dreadful as that part- 
ing is, there at least the anxious mind of the survivor has 
rest. There are no thoughts and devices in the silence of 
the tomb. There all our prospects end, and we are no 
longer sensible to pain, to persecution, to insult, and to 
agony. But Charles, thus departed, wandering on the face 
of the globe, without protector, adviser or resource, no lapse 
of years can put a close upon my anxiety for him ! If I 
am in ease and prosperity, I cannot relish them, for my 
exposed and living son may be at that moment in the depth 
of misery ! If I am myself oppressed and suffering, the 
thought of what may be his fate will form a dreadful ad- 
dition to all my other calamities ! What am I to say of 
him upon my return to Constance ? If he had died, this 
was a natural casualty ; and, whatever grief it might occa- 
sion, time no doubt would mollify and abate it. But what 
account can now be rendered of him to his disconsolate 
mother and terrified sisters ? How can I lift up my head in 
their presence, or meet the glance of their reproachful eyes ! 
The idea had occurred to me, in the instant of Charles's 
departure, and immediately after his exit, of detaining or 
bringing him back by force. He was by his extreme youth, 
according to the maxims of the world, still in a state of 
guardianship, and unqualified to be the chooser of his own 
actions. But to this mode of proceeding, however deeply 
I felt the catastrophe which had taken place, I could never 
consent. It was in utter hostility to the lessons of chivalry 
and honour, with which I had been familiarised from my 
earliest infancy. There might be cases, in which this re- 
straint laid by a father upon his child would be salutary. 
But the idea which had occasioned the secession of Charles, 
was decisive in this instance. What right had I to chain 
him to dishonour ? The whole bent of his education had 
been, to impress him with the feelings by which he was 
o 3 



198 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

now actuated. If I detained him for a short time,, was 
there any vigilance on earth that could finally prevent him 
from executing a purpose upon which his whole soul was 
resolved ? Or, suppose there were, must not the consequence 
be to break his spirit, to deprive him of all manliness and 
energy, and to render him the mere drooping and soulless 
shadow of that conspicuous hero I had been anxious to 
make him ? It might be said indeed, that this was the de- 
termination of a boy, formed in an hour, and that, if I 
detained him only long enough for deliberation and revisal, 
he would of his own accord retract so desperate a project. 
But I felt that it was a resolution formed to endure, and 
was built upon principles that could not change so long as 
an atom of his mind remained. No ; I was rather disposed 
to say, however grievous was the wound he inflicted on me, 
Go, my son ! Act upon the dictates of your choice, as I 
have acted on mine ! I admire your resolution, though I 
cannot imitate it. Your purpose is lofty and godlike ; and 
he that harbours it, was not born to be a slave. Be free ; 
and may every power propitious to generosity and virtue 
smooth your path through life, and smile upon your desires 1 
The anguish I felt for having lost my son, and in this 
painful and reproachful manner, was not diminished to me 
either by society or amusement. I dared not go out of my 
house. I saw no one but my own attendants. I had not 
the courage to meet the aspect of a human creature. I 
knew not how far persons in Dresden might have heard the 
injurious reports which occasioned the flight of my son, or 
even' have been acquainted with the nature of that flight. 
I had promised to see Coligny again; but, alas ! the affair 
which had at first led me to wish to see him, was now at 
an end. I had no heart to seek him ; nor indeed did I 
know what story I was to tell him, or how I was to remove 
the suspicions he had urged against me. The machine of 
human life, though constituted of a thousand parts, is in 
all its parts regularly and systematically connected ; nor is 
it easy to insert an additional member, the spuriousness of 
which an accurate observation will not readily detect. How 
was I to assign a source of my wealth different from the 
true, which would not be liable to investigation, and, when 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 199 

investigated,, would not be seen to be counterfeit ? This 
indeed is the prime source of individual security in human 
affairs, that whatever any man does., may be subjected to 
examination, and whatever does not admit of being satis- 
factorily accounted for, exposes him whom it concerns to 
the most injurious suspicions. This law of our nature, so 
salutary in its general operation, was the first source of all 
my misfortunes. 

I began now seriously to consider what judgment I was 
to pass upon the bequests of the stranger. Were they to 
be regarded as a benefit or a misfortune ? Ought they to 
be classed with the poisoned robe of Nessus, which, being 
sent as a token of affection, was found, in the experiment, 
to eat into the flesh and burn up the vitals of him that 
wore it ? Should I from this instant reject their use, and, 
returning to the modes of life established among my fellow 
men, content myself with the affection of those with whom 
I had intercourse, though poverty and hardships mingled 
with the balm ? 

The experiment I had made of these extraordinary gifts 
was a short one ; but how contrary were ah 1 the results I had 
arrived at, from those I looked for ? When the stranger had 
appeared six months before at the cottage of the lake, he 
had found me a poor man indeed, but rich in the con- 
fidence, and happy in the security and content, of every 
member of my family. I lived in the bosom of nature, 
surrounded with the luxuriance of its gifts and the sub- 
limity of its features, which the romantic elevation of my 
soul particularly fitted me to relish. In my domestic scene 
I beheld the golden age renewed, the simplicity of pastoral 
life without its grossness, a situation remote from cities and 
courts, from traffic and hypocrisy, yet not unadorned with 
taste, imagination, and knowledge. Never was a family 
more united in sentiments and affection. Now all this 
beauteous scene was defaced ! All was silence, suspicion, 
and reserve. The one party dared not be ingenuous, and 
the other felt that ah 1 the paradise of attachment was dwin- 
dled to an empty name. No questions were asked; for no 
honest answer was given or expected. Though corporeally 
we might sit in the same apartment, in mind a gulf, wide, 
o 4 



200 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

impassable, and tremendous, gaped between us. My wife 
pined in speechless grief, and, it was to be feared, had sus- 
tained a mortal blow. My son, my only son, a youth of 
such promise that I would not have exchanged him for em- 
pires, had disappeared, and, as he had solemnly protested, 
for ever. My heart was childless : my bosom was bereaved 
of its dearest hope. It was for him principally that I had 
accepted, that I had rejoiced in the gifts of the stranger. 
My darling vision was to see him clothed in the harness, 
surrounded with the insignia, of a hero. There was nothing 
I so earnestly desired as that his merits, graced with the 
favours of fortune, might cause him to stand confessed the 
first subject of France ; a situation more enviable than that 
of its monarch, since he who holds it is raised by deeds, and 
the other only by birth ; and if less respected by interested 
courtiers, is certain to be more honoured by the impartial 
voice of history. But, if I felt thus desolate and heart- 
broken for the loss of my son, what would be the sentiments 
of his mother, more susceptible to feel, and, in her present 
weakness of spirits, less vigorous to bear, than myself, when 
the dreadful tidings should be communicated to her ? 

Yet I could not resolve to renounce donations which I 
had so dearly appropriated. I held it to be abase and cow- 
ardly to surrender gifts so invaluable, upon so insufficient 
an experiment. He, I thought, must be a man of ignoble 
and grovelling spirit, who could easily be prevailed on to part 
with unbounded wealth and immortal life. I had but just 
entered the vast field that was opened to me. It was of the 
nature of all great undertakings to be attended with diffi- 
culties and obstacles in the commencement, to present a 
face calculated to discourage the man that is infirm of pur- 
pose. But it became my descent, my character and pre- 
tensions, to show myself serene in the midst of storms. 
Perseverance and constancy are the virtues of a man. 
Affairs of this extensive compass often prove in the issue 
the reverse of what they seemed in the outset. The tem- 
pest might be expected to disperse, difficulties to unravel 
themselves, and unlooked-for concurrences to arise. All 
opposition and hostile appearance give way before him who 
goes calmly onward, and scorns to be dismayed. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 201 



CHAPTER XIX. 

IT was thus that I spurred myself to persist in the path 
upon which I had entered. Having remained some time 
at Dresden, flattering myself with the hope that Charles 
might yet join me before I quitted that city, I began to 
think of once more turning my steps towards the residence 
of my family. This was no cheerful thought ; but upon 
what was I to determine ? I had a wife whom I ardently 
loved, and three daughters the darlings of my heart. Be- 
cause I had lost a beloved son was I to estrange myself 
from these ? I already felt most painfully the detachment 
and widowhood to which I was reduced, and I clung with 
imperious affection to what remained of my race. The 
meeting I purposed must be a melancholy one ; but, in the 
sorrows of the heart there is a purer and nobler gratifica- 
tion than in the most tumultuous pleasures where affection 
is silent. I looked forward indeed to scenes of endless 
variety and attraction, but in the mean time what seemed 
first to demand my attention was the beloved circle I had 
left behind in the city of Constance. 

I retraced, upon the present occasion, the route I had 
lately pursued with my son. How different were now my 
sensations ! My heart was then indeed painfully impressed 
with the variance and dissolution of confidence that had 
arisen between me and his mother. It was perhaps prin- 
cipally for the sake of banishing this impression that I had 
had recourse to the splendour of equipage and attendance 
which was first assumed upon the journey from Constance 
to Dresden. Nor, frivolous as this expedient may appear 
in the unattractive dispassionateness of narrative, had it 
been by any means weak of effect at the time it was em- 
ployed. When Charles was once mounted on his proud 
and impatient steed, and decorated in rich and costly attire, 
I felt, as it were, the sluggishness of my imagination roused; 
I surveyed his shape and his countenance with inexpressible 
complacence ; and already anticipated the period when he 
was to become the favourite of his sovereign and his coun- 



202 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



try's pride. Now I returned with the same retinue ; but 
the place that had been occupied by my son was empty. I 
sought him with frantic and restless gaze ; I figured him 
to my disturbed and furious imagination, till the sensations 
and phantoms of my brain became intolerable; I raved 
and imprecated curses on myself. I endeavoured to divert 
my thoughts by observing the scenes that passed before me. 
They talked to me of Charles ; they had been pointed out 
by each to each, and had been the subject of our mutual 
comment. Though Charles was endowed with a high relish 
for the beauties of nature, and, in our little retreat on the 
borders of the lake> had lived in the midst of them, he had 
seen little of the variety of her features ; and the journey 
we made through the heart of Germany had furnished him 
with continual food for admiration and delight. Nor did 
the scenes I beheld merely remind me of the sensations 
they produced in Charles ; they led me through a wider 
field. I recollected long conversations and digressive ex- 
cursions which had been started by the impression they 
made. I recollected many passages and occurrences to 
which they had not the slightest reference, but which, 
having arisen while they constituted the visible scene, were 
forcibly revived by its re-appearance. Thus, from various 
causes, my lost and lamented son was not a moment out of 
my thoughts during the journey. While I continued at 
Dresden, I seemed daily to expect his return ; but no 
sooner did I quit that city than despair took possession of 
my heart. 

Thus, anxious and distressed, I arrived at Prague, and 
soon after at Ratisbon. I travelled slowly, because, though 
I was desirous of returning to Constance, I anticipated my 
arrival there with little complacence. As I drew nearer to 
my family, I felt more distinctly the impossibility of pre- 
senting myself before them, without first endeavouring to 
take off the shock they would sustain at seeing me return 
without my son. I therefore resolved to send forward a 
servant from Ratisbon, whom I directed to make all prac- 
ticable speed, as I designed to wait for an answer he should 
bring me at the city of Munich. To attempt to write to 
Marguerite on this subject was a severe trial to me. The 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEOiV. 203 

whole however that I proposed to myself was, to remove 
the surprise which would be occasioned hy seeing me alone, 
and to anticipate questions that it would be impossible for 
me to hear without anguish of mind and perturbation of 
countenance. I therefore took care to express myself in 
such terms as should lead Marguerite to believe that I had 
voluntarily left her son in Saxony, and that in no very long 
time he would rejoin his family. I trusted to subsequent 
events to unfold the painful catastrophe, and could not pre- 
vail on myself to shock her maternal feelings so much as I 
must necessarily do, if I informed her of the whole at once. 
Charles had not been mentioned but in ordinary terms and 
the accustomed language of affection, in the letters I had 
recently received from Constance; and I was therefore con- 
vinced that he had neither gone to that place, nor had 
conveyed thither any account of his proceedings. 

The answer I received from Marguerite by my messenger 
was as follows : 

<( Your absence has been long and critical, and the wel- 
fare of your daughters seems to require that we should re- 
join each other as speedily as may be. Whether we should 
meet here or at any other place you must determine. It 
is, however, right I should inform you that, during your 
absence, rumour has been busy with your reputation. What 
the extent or importance of the ill reports circulated of you 
may be, I am scarcely competent to judge. We have lived 
in uniform privacy, and it is natural to suppose that the 
portion of censure that has reached us is but a small part 
of what really exists. The mode in which you have pro- 
ceeded, and the extraordinary figure you have made in a 
progress through Germany, have given weight to these in- 
sinuations. But it is not my intention to comment on 
what you have done. 

" You appear to design that I should understand you 
have left my son behind you in Saxony. Poor Charles ! I 
had a letter from him three weeks ago, in which he informs 
me of what has happened, and apologises in the most pa- 
thetic terms for any seeming want of regard to me in his 
conduct, at the very moment that his heart bleeds for my 
fate. I did not think it necessary to communicate this cir- 



204 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

cumstance to you. I have done with complaining. Now 
that I have fallen into the worst and most unlooked-for 
misfortunes, I have a gratification that I do not choose to 
part with, in shutting up my sorrows in my own breast. 

" Oh, Charles ! my son, my idol ! What is become of 
you ? For what calamities are you reserved ? He tells me 
it is necessary that I should never see or hear of him again. 
Never I his mother ! Reginald, there are some wounds 
that we may endeavour to forgive ; but they leave a senti- 
ment in the heart, the demonstrations of which may per- 
haps be restrained, but which it is not in nature wholly to 
subdue. If I did but know where to find or to write to 
my poor boy, I would take my girls with me, and partake 
his honest and honourable poverty, and never again join 
the shadow of him who was my husband. Forgive me, 
Reginald ! I did not intend to say this. If I should prove 
unable to control the impatience of my grief, do not in- 
flict the punishment of my offence on your innocent daugh- 
ters ! 

" As to your fiction of voluntarily leaving him behind 
for further improvement, it corresponds with every thing 
you have lately attempted to make me believe. I no longer 
expect truth from you. For seventeen years I had a hus- 
band. Well, well ! I ought not perhaps to repine. I have 
had my share of the happiness which the present life is 
calculated to afford. 

" Reginald ! I have not long to live. When I tell you 
this, I am not giving way to melancholy presentiment. I 
will exert myself for the benefit of my girls. They will 
have a grievous loss in me ; and for their sake I will live 
as long as I can. But I feel that you have struck me to 
the heart. My nights are sleepless ; my flesh is wasted ; 
my appetite is entirely gone. You will presently be able 
to judge whether I am deceiving myself. The prospect 
for these poor creatures, who are at present all my care, is 
a dismal one. I know not for what they are reserved ; but 
I can hope for nothing good. When I am dead, remember, 
and be a father to them. I ask nothing for myself; I have 
no longer any concern with life ; but, if my dying request 
can have weight with you, make up to them the duty you 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 205 

have broken to me. By all our past loves, by the cordiality 
and confidence in which we have so long lived, by the 
singleness and sincerity of our affection, by the pure de- 
lights, so seldom experienced in married life, that have 
attended our union, I conjure you listen to me and obey 
me in this." 

If I were deeply distressed for the loss of my son, if I 
looked forward with a mingled sensation of eagerness and 
alarm to the approaching interview with my family, it may 
easily be imagined that this letter formed a heavy addition 
to my mental anguish. I confess I thought it a cruel one. 
Marguerite might well suppose, that the departure of Charles 
was a circumstance I must strongly feel ; and she should 
not have thus aggravated the recent wounds of paternal 
grief. Some allowance, however, was to be made for a 
mother. When we are ourselves racked with intolerable 
pain, that certainly is not the time at which we can ratio- 
nally be expected to exert the nicest and most vigilant con- 
sideration for another. Add to which, she was innocent 
of the calamities she suffered, and could not but know that 
I was their sole author. But, whatever may be decided as 
to the propriety of the letter, its effect upon my mind was- 
eminently salutary. I instantly determined on the conduct 
it became me to pursue. 

I lost not a moment. From Dresden to Munich I had 
advanced with slow and unwilling steps ; from Munich to 
Constance I proceeded as rapidly as the modes of travelling 
and the nature of the roads would permit. I left my re^- 
tinue at the gates of the town, and flew instantly to the 
apartments of my family. I hastened up stairs, and, as I 
entered the sitting-room, I saw the first and most exemplary 
of matrons surrounded by her blooming daughters. I in- 
stantly perceived a great alteration in her appearance. Her 
look was dejected j her form emaciated ; her countenance 
sickly and pale. She lifted up her eyes as I entered, but 
immediately dropped them again, without any discernible 
expression, either of congratulation or resentment. I em- 
braced my children with undescribable emotion; I said 
within myself, the love and affection I had reserved for 
Charles shall be divided among you, and added to the share 



206 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



you each possess of my heart ! Having saluted them in 
turn, I addressed myself to Marguerite, telling her that I 
must have some conversation with her instantly. My man- 
ner was earnest : she led the way into another apartment. 

I felt my heart overflowing at my tongue. 

tf I am come to you," cried I, " a repenting prodigal. 
Take me and mould me at your pleasure ! " 

She looked up. She was struck with the honest fervour 
of my expression. She answered in almost forgotten terms, 
and with a peculiar fulness of meaning, " My husband ! " 
It seemed as if the best years and the best emotions of 
our life were suddenly renewed. 

" Most adorable of women ! " I continued : (C do you 
think I can bear that you should die, and I your murderer? 
No man in any age or climate of the world ever owed so 
much to a human creature as I owe to you ; no woman was 
ever so ardently loved ! no woman ever so much deserved 
to be loved ! If you were to die, I should never know 
peace again. If you were to die the victim of any miscal- 
culation of mine, I should be the blackest of criminals ! " 

' ' Reginald ! " replied she, ' ' I am afraid I have been 
wrong. I am afraid I have written harshly to you. You 
have a feeling heart, and I have been too severe. Forgive 
me ! it was the effect of love. Affection cannot view with 
a tranquil eye the faults of the object beloved." 

" Let them be forgotten ! Let the last six months be 
blotted from our memory, be as though they had never 
existed ! " 

She looked at me. Her look seemed to say, though she 
would not give the sentiment words, that can never be ; the 
loss of Charles, and certain other calamities of that period, 
are irretrievable ! 

' ' I resign myself into your hands ! I have been guilty ; 
I have had secrets ; meditations engendered and shut up in 
my own bosom ; but it shall be so no more ! The tide of 
affection kept back from its natural channel, now flows with 
double impetuousness. Never did I love you, not when 
you first came a virgin to my arms, not on the banks of 
the Garonne, not in the cottage of the lake, so fervently, 
so entirely, as I love you now ! Be my director ; do with 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 207 

me as you please ! I have never been either wise or vir- 
tuous but when I have been implicitly guided by you ! 

' ( I have wealth ; I am forbidden by the most solemn ob- 
ligations to discover the source of that wealth. This only 
I may not communicate ; in all things else govern me des- 
potically ! Shall I resign it all ? Shall I return to the 
cottage of the lake ? Shall I go, a houseless and helpless 
wanderer, to the farthest quarter of the globe ? Speak the 
word only, and it shall be done ! I prefer your affection, 
your cordial regard, in the most obscure and meanest re- 
treat, to all that wealth can purchase or kings can give ! " 

cc Reginald, I thank you ! I acknowledge in your pre- 
sent language and earnestness the object of my first and 
only love. This return to your true character gives me all 
the pleasure I am now capable of receiving. But it is too 
late. My son is lost ; that cannot be retrieved. Your re- 
putation is blasted ; I am sorry you are returned hither ; 
Constance is in arms against you, and I will not answer for 
the consequence. For myself; I grieve to tell you so; I 
am ashamed of my weakness ; but my heart is broken ! 
I loved you so entirely, that I was not able to bear any 
suspension of our confidence. I had passed with you through 
all other misfortunes, and the firmness of my temper was 
not shaken. For this one misfortune, that seemed the en- 
tire dissolution of our attachment, I was not prepared. I 
feel, every morning as I rise, the warnings of my decease. 
My nights are sleepless ; my appetite is gone from me." 

" Oh, Marguerite, talk not thus ; distract me not with 
the most fatal of images ! Our confidence shall return ; 
all the causes of your malady shall be removed ! With the 
causes, the symptoms, depend on it, will disappear. Your 
youth", your tranquillity, your happiness, shall be renewed! 
Oh, no, you shall not die ! We will yet live to love and 
peace ! " 

" Flatter not yourself with vain hopes, my love ! I feel 
something wrong within me, which is rapidly wearing my 
body to decay. Reconcile your mind to what very soon 
must happen ! Prepare yourself for being the only parent 
to your remaining offspring ! I have composed my spirit, 
and calmly wait my fate. You have now administered to 



208 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

me the only consolation I aspired to, by this return to your 
true character, which affords me a sanguine hope that you 
will faithfully discharge the duty to your offspring, which, 
when I am gone, will be doubly urgent on you." 

I was grieved to see that the mind of Marguerite was so 
deeply impressed with the notion that she had but a short 
time to live. I could not bear to imagine for a moment 
that her prognostic was just. The thought seemed capable 
of driving me to distraction. I however conceived that 
the best thing that could be done for the present, was to 
turn the conversation to some other topic. 

" Well, well, my love ! " I answered. " There are some 
things that are immediately pressing. Direct me, direct a 
husband so amply convinced of your discretion, what I am 
to do at present ! Shall I instantly annihilate all that has 
made this unfortunate breach between us j shall I resign 
my wealth, from whatever source derived ? Whither shall 
we go ? Shall we return to the cottage of the lake ? Shall 
we retreat into some distant part of the world ? " 

" How can you expect me," said Marguerite, faintly 
smiling, " to advise you respecting the disposal of a wealth, 
of the amount of which I am uninformed, and the source 
of which is invisible? But I guess your secret. The 
stranger who died your guest was in possession of the phi- 
losopher's stone, and he has bequeathed to you his disco- 
very. I have heard of this art, though I confess I was not 
much inclined to credit it. I do not ask you to confirm my 
conjecture : I do not wish that you should violate my en- 
gagements into which you have entered. But, upon put- 
ting circumstances together, which I have been inevitably 
compelled to do, I apprehend it can be nothing else. I am 
astonished that a conjecture so obvious should have offered 
itself to my mind so late. 

"If your wealth is of any other nature, ample as it ap- 
parently is, it is a natural question to ask, to whom is it to 
be resigned ? The ordinary wealth of the world is some- 
thing real and substantial, and can neither be created nor 
dissipated with a breath. But if your wealth be of the 
kind I have named, let me ask, is it possible to resign it ? 
A secret is a thing with which WQ may choose whether we 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 209 

will become acquainted ; but, once known, we cannot be- 
come unacquainted with it at pleasure. Your wealth, upon 
my supposition, will always be at your beck ; and it is 
perhaps beyond the strength of human nature to refuse, 
under some circumstances, at least in some emergencies, to 
use the wealth which is within our reach. 

"It has been our mutual misfortune that such an engine 
has been put into your hands. It has been your fault to 
make an indiscreet use of it. Gladly would I return to the 
tranquil and unsuspected poverty of the cottage of the lake. 
But that is impossible. You have lost your son ; you have 
lost your honest fame ; the life of your Marguerite is un- 
dermined and perishing. If it were possible for us to 
return to our former situation and our former peace, still, 
my Reginald ! forgive me if I say, I doubt the inflexible- 
ness of your resolution. The gift of unbounded wealth, if 
you possess it, and, with wealth, apparently at least, dis- 
tinction and greatness, is too powerful a temptation. Nor, 
though I should trust your resistance, could I be pleased in 
a husband with the possession of these extraordinary powers. 
It sets too great a distance between the parties. It destroys 
that communion of spirit which is the soul of the marriage- 
tie. A consort should be a human being and an equal. But 
to this equality and simple humanity it is no longer in your 
power to return. 

" Circumstanced then as we now are, the marriage union, 
you must allow me to say, irreparably dissolved, your son 
lost, your fair fame destroyed, your orphan daughters to be 
provided for, I know not if I should advise you ta forget 
the prerogative that has been bought for you at so dreadful 
a price. Beside, if I am not mistaken, there are great trials 
in reserve for you. I am afraid your present situation is 
extremely critical. I am afraid the suspicions you have 
excited will cost you dear. At all events I believe it to 
be but a necessary precaution that we should fly from 
Constance. I have nothing therefore to recommend to 
you on the subject of wealth, but discretion. I shall not 
long live to be your adviser. I shall always regard the 
donation you have received, you cannot wonder that I 
should so regard it, as one of the most fearful calamities ta 



210 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

which a human being can be exposed. If you had used 
your prerogative with discretion, you might perhaps, 
though I confess I do not see how, have escaped the obloquy 
of the world. Into your domestic scene, where the interest 
is more lively, and the watch upon you more unremitted, it 
must have introduced alienation and distrust. As it is, 
I see you surrounded with dangers of a thousand denomi- 
nations. Police has its eyes upon you; superstition will 
regard you as the familiar of demons ; avarice will turn 
upon you a regard of jealousy and insatiable appetite. If I 
could recover from the weakness that at present besets me, 
and continue to live, I foresee more and severer trials, both 
at home and abroad, than any I have yet sustained ; and I 
am almost thankful to that Providence which has decreed 
to take me away from the evil to come. 

(t One thing further let me add. I will speak it, not in 
the character of a censor, but a friend. It must ever be 
right and useful, that a man should be undeceived in any 
erroneous estimate he may make of himself. I have loved 
you much ; I found in you many good qualities ; my ima- 
gination decorated you in the virtues that you had not ; but 
you have removed the veil. An adept and an alchemist is 
a low character. When I married you, I supposed myself 
united to a nobleman, a knight, and a soldier, a man who 
would have revolted with disdain from every thing that was 
poor-spirited and base. I lived with you long and happily. 
I saw faults ; I saw imbecilities. I did not see them with 
indifference ; but I endeavoured, and with a degree of suc- 
cess, to forget and to forgive them ; they did not contami- 
nate and corrupt the vitals of honour. At length you have 
completely reversed the scene. For a soldier you present 
me with a projector and a chemist, a cold-blooded mortal, 
raking in the ashes of a crucible for a selfish and solitary 
advantage. Here is an end of all genuine dignity, and the 
truest generosity of soul. You cannot be ingenuous ; for 
all your dealings are secrecy and darkness. You cannot 
have a friend ; for the mortal lives not that can sympathise 
with your thoughts and emotions. A generous spirit, 
Reginald, delights to live upon equal terms with his asso- 
ciates and fellows. He would disdain, when offered to him, 
excessive and clandestine advantages.. Equality is the souL 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 211 

of real and cordial society. A man of rank indeed does 
not live upon equal terms with the whole of his species ; 
but his heart also can exult, for he has his equals. How 
unhappy the wretch, the monster rather let me say, who 
is without an equal; who looks through the world, and 
in the world cannot find a brother; who is endowed 
with attributes which no living being participates with 
him ; and who is therefore cut off for ever from all cor- 
diality and confidence, can never unbend himself, but 
lives the solitary, joyless tenant of a prison, the materials of 
which are emeralds and rubies ! How unhappy this wretch ! 
How weak and ignoble the man that voluntarily accepts 
these laws of existence !" 

In the advice of Marguerite I saw that sound wisdom 
and discernment, by which in all the periods of our connec- 
tion she had been so eminently characterised. With her 
views of the future I was not disposed to accord. I regarded 
them as obscured and discoloured by the unfortunate state 
of her health. I could not indeed refuse to believe that 
the prerogative I had received had been the parent of much 
domestic unhappiness. Willingly would I have resigned 
all that I had derived from the stranger, to be replaced in 
the situation in which his pernicious legacies had found me. 
He had robbed me of my son ; he had destroyed my do- 
mestic peace; he had undermined the tranquillity and 
health of the partner of my life. These calamities pressed 
with a heavy and intolerable weight at my heart. But, if, 
as Marguerite affirmed, they were irretrievable, or if they 
could once be removed, and the domestic advantages I had 
heretofore enjoyed be restored, I was not disposed to fear 
those external mischiefs which Marguerite so feelingly pre- 
dicted. I could not believe that I should have such a 
league of foreign enemies to encounter, nor could I easily 
image to myself any external evils which it was not in the 
power of gold to remedy. These considerations I urged to 
my beloved partner, and by enforcing them endeavoured to 
remove those gloomy apprehensions, from the prevalence of 
which I feared much injury to her health. There was 
another circumstance I was led particularly to insist on ;j I 
mean the nature of the secret intrusted to me. 
P 2. 



212 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

tf I admire your discernment and ingenuity, Marguerite/' 
said I, ' ' in your conjecture respecting the source of my 
wealth. I admire your delicacy in not pressing me to de- 
cide upon the truth of your conjecture. This only I must 
be permitted to say on that subject. It is a secret ; and you 
will perceive that the same reasons, whatever they are, 
which make that secret obligatory on me, require that it 
should be respected by you. The same evils that my own 
indiscretion may draw on me, I shall be equally exposed to 
by any error or miscalculation of yours. I have therefore 
most earnestly and solemnly to conjure you, whatever mis- 
fortunes may hereafter befall me, in whatever perilous situ- 
ation I may be involved, that you will never utter a syllable 
on this subject ; and that, as I am the selected depository of 
this secret, and alone know with certainty what is its nature, 
you will trust our prosperity in this point to me." Mar- 
guerite engaged to conduct herself as I desired. 

The night which succeeded this explanation, was parti- 
cularly soothing and grateful to me. I was relieved from 
a great and oppressive burthen. I was conscious of that 
particular species of pleasure which arises from the resolute 
discharge of an heroic duty. The peace I felt within shed 
its gay and reviving beams upon all around me. Re- 
conciled to myself, I was filled with sanguine and agreeable 
visions of the future. My mind obstinately rejected all 
dark and hateful presages. I had intrusted myself and the 
direction of my conduct, as far as it was possible, to that 
better pilot, under whose guidance, if I had not avoided the 
rocks and quicksands of life, I had at least escaped with 
little comparative injury. I felt therefore as if my domestic 
enjoyments were restored, and the pleasures of my better 
years were about to run over again their auspicious career. 
Not so Marguerite. She was mild, gentle, and soothing. 
Displeasure and resentment towards me were banished from 
her mind. She endeavoured to conquer her melancholy, 
and to forget the wounds that had been so fatal to her 
hopes. But her endeavours were fruitless. A fixed dejec- 
tion clung to her heart : nor could the generous sweetness 
that pervaded her manners hide from me entirely what was 
passing in her bosom. 

During this interval we had talked over the plan of our 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



213 



future operations. Marguerite was exceedingly urgent with 
me to quit Constance ; nor did I, though not impressed 
with her presentiments, feel any reluctance to that change 
of scene, which, I believed, would materially contribute to 
the serenity of her mind and the restoration of her health. 
We determined on some of the cities of Italy as the next 
place of our residence, and, fixed, if possible, to set out 
some time in the next day or the day after. The plan of 
proceeding to France, which had lately been a favourite 
with me, was a favourite no longer. That had been the 
project of cheerful and wanton prosperity. It had had for its 
object the re-establishment of my family honours, and the 
elevation of my son. Now my son was lost, my wife was 
oppressed with languor and disease, my house was over- 
whelmed with sorrow. This was no time for wantonness 
and triumph. If I could ever hope to resume the plans 
my frolic fancy had sketched, an interval at least of soberer 
hue must first be suffered to elapse. 

My mind at this time sustained a revolution sufficiently 
remarkable, but of which the urgency of events that imme- 
diately succeeded prevented me from ever ascertaining 
whether it would have proved temporary or permanent. 
When I first received the donation of the stranger, my 
thoughts, as I have already said, were in a state of enthu- 
siastic transport ; and, amidst the golden visions in which 
my fancy revelled, I became in a considerable degree alien- 
ated from domestic sentiments and pleasures. If I still 
loved my wife and children, it was the love of habit rather 
than sympathy ; more an anxiety for their prosperous suc- 
cess in the world, than an earnest craving for their presence 
and intercourse. This state of intoxication and rapture had 
now subsided. The events of the few last weeks had so- 
bered my thoughts. Having lost my son, and being threat- 
ened with the loss of his mother, I was roused to a sense 
of their value. The influx of wealth and supernatural gifts 
had grown familiar to my mind, and now only occupied 
the back-ground of the picture. I was once more a man, 
and I hoped to partake of the privileges and advantages of 
a man. The fate reserved for these hopes will speedily be 
seen. 

p 3 



214 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

Some readers will perhaps ask me why, anxious as I was 
for the life of Marguerite, and visible as was the decline of 
her health, I did not administer to her of the elixir of im- 
mortality which was one of my peculiar endowments. Such 
readers I have only to remind, that the pivot upon which 
the history I am composing turns, is a mystery. If they 
will not accept of my communication upon my own terms, 
they must lay aside my book. I am engaged in relating 
the incidents of my life; I have no intention to furnish the 
remotest hint respecting the science of which I am the 
depository. That science affords abundant reasons why the 
elixir in question might not, or rather could not, be im- 
bibed by any other than an adept. 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE morning after my return to my family, as I sat sur- 
rounded with my girls, and endeavouring to make myself 
their playmate and companion, certain officers of justice 
belonging to the supreme tribunal of the city entered my 
apartment. They were sent, as they informed me, to con- 
duct me to prison. My blood at this intelligence mounted 
into my face. 

1 ' To prison ? " cried I " wherefore ? what have I 
done ? I am no citizen of your state. What is the charge 
against me ? Lead me not to prison : lead me to your 
chief magistrate ! " 

(f You will be called up for examination, when his ho- 
nour is at leisure to hear you : in the mean time you must 
go to prison." 

" Do those who sent you know 'that I am a native and 
a gentleman of France ? They will be made to repent this 
insolence. Upon what pretence do they dare to act thus ? " 

<f You will please not to talk of insolence to us. If you 
do not demean yourself quietly " 

" Silence, fellow ! " answered I fiercely. " Lead the 
way !" 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 215 

By this time the children, astonished at a scene so alarm- 
ing and unintelligible to them, began to express their terror 
in various ways. Julia, who was ready to faint, occupied 
the attention of her mother. The little Marguerite clung 
round my knees, and expressed her emotions by shrieks and 
cries. To see her father about to be torn from her by four 
strangers, the peculiarity of whose garb of office aggravated 
the rudeness of their countenances and the peremptoriness 
of their behaviour, was a spectacle which the affectionate- 
ness of her nature was unable to endure. 

ff I will go with you presently," said I to the officers. 
ff See, how you have terrified the children !" 

" Nay, sir, if you will behave civilly, and make it worth 
our while, we do not desire to hurry you." 

I was stung with the brutal assurance with which they 
thus set the liberty of a few moments at a price to me. But 
I checked my impatience. I felt that it would be both 
foolish and degrading to enter into contention with such 
wretches. I turned from them proudly, and took my child 
in my arms. 

" I will not be long gone, my love ! " said I. " These 
people have made a mistake, and I shall soon be able to 
rectify it." 

" I fancy not," muttered one of them surlily. 

" They shall not take you away, papa ; that they shall 
not ! I will hold you, and will not let you go ! " 

<e You are a good girl, Marguerite ! But I know best 
what is proper, and you must not think to control me. 
The men will not do me any harm, child ; they dare not. 
Perhaps I shall be back to dinner, and mamma will then 
tell me how good you have been." 

As I spoke, she looked steadfastly in my face; and then, 
flinging her arms round my neck, cried, " Good-by, papa ! " 
and burst into a flood of tears. 

I embraced the other children and their mother ; and, 
saying to the latter significantly, " Fear nothing ; you 
know I have nothing to fear ! " - departed with my con- 
ductors. 

The way to the citadel lay through the market-place. 
The scene was already crowded ; and I had the mortifica- 
p 4 



216 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



tipn to be led along as a criminal, in the midst of a thou- 
sand gazing eyes and enquiring tongues. New as every 
thing connected with my present situation was to me, I had 
not anticipated this vexation. I was stung with shame and 
impatience. " To my dungeon ! " said I to my conductors 
sternly. " If you had shown yourself better humoured/' 
cried the most brutal of them, " we would have led you 
round by the back way." 

The master of the prison was somewhat less a savage 
than his officers. He knew my person, and had heard of 
.my wealth. " Does monsieur choose the best apartment?" 
said he. ' ' Any where that I can be alone ! " answered 
I hastily. He hesitated a moment. I looked in his face : 
" Oh, yes, you will be paid!" He bowed, and showed 
me to a room. 

I shut the door as he retired. What had happened to 
me was of little importance in itself. The impertinence of 
bailiffs and thief-takers is of no more real moment than the 
stinging of a gnat. But I was so utterly unacquainted with 
scenes of this nature ! The pride of rank that swelled 
within me made every appearance of restraint galling to 
my sense. From the instant I was able to write, man, no 
one, except in the voluntary compact of military service, 
had ever said to me, Go there ! or, Do this ! And now, 
was I to be directed by the very refuse of the species ? Was 
I to learn the prudence of not replying to their insults ? 
Was I to purchase, at a stipulated price, their patience and 
forbearance ? I request the reader to pardon me for trou- 
bling him with my noviciate feelings : I soon learned to 
understand the world the world of a prison better ! 

But, what was of more importance, I was apprehended 
,as a criminal : I had been dragged a prisoner of justice 
through the streets of Constance ; I was, by and by, to be 
subjected to the interrogatories of the municipal tribunal. 
I could scarcely credit my senses, that such an indignity 
had happened to the blood of St. Leon. It is true, I was 
innocent. I was conscious, whatever might be my impru- 
dences and offences towards my own family, that I had 
done nothing to merit the animadversion of public justice. 
But this was of no consequence. Nothing, in my opinion, 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 217 

could wipe away the disgrace of being interrogated, exa- 
mined ! of having for an instant imputed to me the possi- 
bility of being a criminal ! I writhed under this dishonour, 
and felt it as a severer attack than the question,, which was 
comparatively of ceremony and etiquette, that had oppressed 
me in my residence at Dresden. 

The next day, when I was brought up for examination, 
I had expected to be the complainant, in demanding re- 
dress for the injury I had sustained. But I was mis- 
taken. 

I entered the room haughtily, and with the air of a man 
that felt himself aggrieved. Of this however the magistrate 
took no notice. " Do you know, sir," said I, " that I am 
a citizen and a gentleman of France ? Are you acquainted 
with the treatment I have experienced ? Have you lent 
your authority to that treatment ? " 

" Wait a few minutes," replied he with an imperious 
tone, " and I shall be at leisure to attend to you." 

I was silent. After the interval of nearly a quarter of 
an hour, he resumed 

" You call yourself the count de St. Leon ! " 

" I do." 

" Perhaps, sir, you are uninformed of the purity with 
which justice is administered in the city within whose juris- 
diction you now stand. Our state is a small one, and its 
magistrates are therefore enabled to discharge the office of 
a parent, not only to its proper citizens, but to all strangers 
that place themselves under its protection." 

" I remember, sir, that seven years ago, I and my wife 
and four children, sick and unfriended, were upon the 
point of perishing with hunger within the walls of this 
city !" The fact I mentioned was wholly foreign to the 
point with which I was at present concerned; but the 
parading arrogance of the man brought it forcibly to my 
memory, and wrung it from my lips. 

" Monsieur le comte," replied he, " you are petulant. 
It is not the office of a state to feed the souls it contains ; 
it could not do that without making them slaves. Its 
proper concern is to maintain them in that security and 
freedom of action, which may best enable them to support 
themselves." 



218 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

I suppressed the emotions which the tone of this speech 
excited. I was unwilling to enter into contention with a man 
whom I regarded as inexpressibly my inferior. 

" Is it," cried I sternly, " a part of the justice you boast 
of, to drag a man of rank and a stranger from his home, 
without any intimation of the cause of his being so treated, 
and then, instead of investigating immediately the charge 
against him, to send him to prison unheard ? I disdain to 
mention the behaviour of your officers : those things natu- 
rally grow out of the abuses practised by their superiors." 

" The mode of our proceeding," replied he, " depends 
upon the seriousness of the crime imputed. If a man of 
distinction labours under a slight accusation only, we then 
treat him with all proper forbearance and respect. But, 
when he is suspected of a crime of more than ordinary 
magnitude, that alters the case. The man who has ceased 
to respect himself, must look for no respect from others." 

I was for a moment thunderstruck and speechless. At 
length fiercely I cried, ' ' Produce my accusers ! " 

" That is not the mode of proceeding in Constance. I 
have certain questions to propound to you. When you have 
answered them, we shall see what is to be done next." 

" Carry me before the prince-bishop of your city ! If I 
am to be examined further, let it be by your sovereign \" 

" The prince-bishop, moved by the state of our affairs in 
matters of religion, has been prevailed on to delegate his 
juridical authority. I am the person to whom the cogni- 
sance of your business belongs ; and at certain times, aided 
by my assessors, have the power of life and death within 
this city. You have had every indulgence to which you 
are entitled, and it will be your wisdom to be no further 
refractory." 

" Propose your questions ! " 

<e A person, apparently greatly advanced in years, arrived 
in the autumn of last year at a miserable farm you at that 
time cultivated, called the Cottage of the Lake. It is to 
him that my questions will principally relate." 

I stood aghast. The words of the magistrate were most 
unwelcome sounds. I remembered that the stranger had 
said to me, " When I am once buried, speak of me, and, 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 219 

if possible, think of me no more." I replied with eager- 
ness and alarm 

" Of that person I have nothing to say. Spare your 
questions : I have no answer to return you ! " 

" What was his name ? " 

" I know not." 

"His country?" 

" I cannot inform you." 

" It is understood that he died, or in some manner dis- 
appeared, while under your protection. Yet in the regis- 
ters of the church there is no notice of that event. If he 
died, no application was made for the rites of religion to 
him dying, or to his body when his spirit had deserted it. 
You are required to answer, what became of him or his 
remains ? 

" I have already told you, that from me you will obtain 
no information." 

" One question more, sir. Seven years ago, you tell me, 
you and your family were perishing with hunger. Soon 
after, you removed from obscure lodgings in this city to 
the cottage of the lake, and seemed to be laudably employed 
in earning for yourself a scanty livelihood with the labour 
of your hands. But within the last six months the scene 
is wholly changed. You appear to have suddenly grown 
rich, and here, and in other parts of Germany, have ac- 
tually disbursed considerable sums. Whence comes this 
change?" 

The train of questions thus proposed to me, impelled me 
to a serious reply. 

' ' Monsieur le juge" said I, (c I am a stranger, a native 
of France, and a man of rank in my own country. I have 
paid your state the compliment of choosing it for my resi- 
dence. I have expended my industry, I expend my wealth 
among you. I have comported myself as a peaceable inha- 
bitant. No action of my life has brought scandal upon 
your state, or disturbed the peace and tranquillity of your 
affairs. I cannot collect from any thing you have said, 
that I have any accuser, or that any charge has been al- 
leged against me. Till that happens, I cannot fall under 
your animadversion. I am a man of generous birth and 



220 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



honourable sentiments. To myself and my own conscience 
only am I accountable for my expenditure and my income. 
I disdain to answer to any tribunal on earth an enquiry of 
this sort. And now, sir, in conclusion, what I demand of 
you is, first, my liberty ; and secondly, an ample reparation 
for the interruption I have sustained, and the insults to 
which I have causelessly been exposed." 

" You are mistaken, sir," said the magistrate. " What 
you mention may be the rule of administering justice in 
some states. They may decide, if they think proper, that 
some open act, apparently of a criminal description, must 
be alleged against a man, before he can become an object of 
animadversion to the state. But in Constance, as I have 
already told you, the government assumes to act the part of 
a parent to its subjects. I sit here, not merely to investi- 
gate and examine definite acts, but as a censor morum; and 
I should violate the oath of my office, if I did not lend a 
vigilant attention to the behaviour and conduct of every one 
within my jurisdiction. The city of Constance requires 
that nothing immoral, licentious, or of suspicious character, 
shall be transacted within its walls. Your proceedings 
have escaped notice too long ; much longer than they would 
have done but for your late absence. In cases where what 
is committed is merely immoral or licentious, we content 
ourselves with sending the offender out of our walls. But 
your case is of a complicated nature. It has scandalised 
all the inhabitants of our virtuous and religious city. Un- 
less you answer my enquiries, and give a clear and satisfac- 
tory account of your wealth, I am bound to believe that 
there is something in the business that will not bear the 
light. The coincidence of times obliges me to connect the 
disappearance of your guest, and the sudden growth of your 
fortune. This connection gives rise to the most alarming 
suspicions. I have therefore to inform you that, unless 
you honourably clear up these suspicions by the most ample 
communication, my duty directs me to remand you to 
prison, and to assure you that you will not be liberated 
thence till you have satisfied the whole of my interroga- 
tories." 

(c Think deliberately," answered I, " of your decision 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 221 

before you form it. Your prisons I despise; but I will 
not suffer my reputation and my honour to be trifled with, 
I came before you willingly, though I could easily have 
avoided doing so ; because I was eager to clear my fame. 
I expected accusers, and I knew I could confound accusa- 
tion. But what is this that you call justice? You put 
together circumstances- in your own mind : you form con- 
jectures ; and then, without information, accuser, or oath, 
without the semblance of guilt, you condemn me to prison, 
and expect to extort from me confession. In defect of 
articles of charge I disdain to answer : the only return a 
man of honour should make to loose conjectures and ran- 
dom calumnies is silence. I am descended from a race of 
heroes, knights of the cross, and champions of France ; and 
their blood has not degenerated in my veins. I feel myself 
animated by the soul of honour, and incapable of crime. 
I know my innocence, and I rest upon it with confidence. 
Your vulgar citizens, habituated to none but the groveling 
notions of traffic and barter, are not the peers of St. Leon, 
nor able to comprehend the views and sentiments by which 
he is guided." 

ee You are mighty well-spoken, monsieur St. Leon," re- 
plied the magistrate, "and your words are big and sounding; 
but we know that the devil can assume the form of an angel, 
and that the most infamous and profligate character can 
pronounce with emphasis sentiments of the purest virtue. 
You are pleased to decide that the presumptions against you 
are nothing but calumnies. Is it nothing that, having re- 
ceived a stranger and retained him with you for months, 
you endeavoured to conceal this fact, and never suffered 
him to be seen by a human creature ? Is his final disap- 
pearance nothing ? Is it nothing that, supposing him to be 
dead, as he probably is, you denied to his remains the rites 
of funeral, and refuse to tell what is become of the body ? 
Is it nothing that, upon the death of this stranger, you, 
who were before in a state almost of penury, suddenly ap- 
pear to be possessed of unbounded riches ? Where is the 
will of this stranger ? In what archives have you deposited 
the declaration of his wealth ? Let me tell you, sir, that 
these presumptions, which you call nothing, form a body of 



222 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

circumstantial evidence that, in many countries, would have 
led you to the scaffold as a murderer. But the laws of 
Constance, which you audaciously revile, are the mildest in 
the universe. Here we never put a man to death but on 
his own confession. We simply condemn him to perpetual 
imprisonment, or until he makes a declaration of his guilt. 
You refuse to declare the name or country of the man 
whom you are suspected of murdering, and then have the 
assurance to boast that no private accuser rises against you. 
No, sir, we know there can be no private accuser, where the 
connections of the party can be successfully concealed. But 
shall this concealment, which is an aggravation of the mur- 
der, prove its security ? In conclusion, you boast of your 
blood and heroic sentiments, and rail at our citizens as 
shopkeepers and merchants. Let me tell you, sir, shop- 
keepers and merchants though we are, we should scorn to 
conduct ourselves in the obscure and suspicious manner 
that you have done. And,, now I have taken the trouble 
to refute your flimsy pretences, which it was wholly unne- 
cessary for me to do, I have done with you. You know 
your destination, unless you are prepared immediately to give 
a satisfactory account of yourself and your proceedings." 

Finding it impossible to make on this man the impres- 
sion I desired, I declined entering into further parley ; and, 
telling him that I should convey a representation of my 
case to my native sovereign, and did not doubt soon to 
make him feel the rashness of his proceeding, I withdrew, 
in the custody of the officers who had conducted me to the 
scene of audience. I was, I confess, struck with the coin- 
cidence of circumstances, which the magistrate had placed 
in a light equally unexpected and forcible, and which I 
now saw calculated to subject me to the most injurious 
suspicions. I was not disposed in the smallest degree to 
yield to the attack, but I felt a desire to act deliberately 
and with caution. The whole of what I had heard was 
utterly unforeseen, and it was with peculiar anguish that I 
became aware of this new consequence of the stranger's per- 
nicious donation. This was a consequence that no resigna- 
tion, no abjuration of his bequests could cure; and that 
must be stood up to with manly courage, if any hope were 
entertained of averting it. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE appearance of wealth that accompanied me had by 
this time made its impression upon my keepers ; and one 
of them now informed me, that monsieur Monluc, an agent 
of the court of France, who was making a tour of several 
of the German states hy order of his sovereign, had arrived 
the night before at the city of Constance. There was no 
representative of my country regularly resident here, and 
I immediately felt the presence of Monluc to be the most 
fortunate event that could have occurred for effecting my 
honourable deliverance. Selfishness and avarice, it may be 
thought, would rather have impelled the persons who had 
me in custody to conceal from me a circumstance calcu- 
lated to deprive them of an advantageous prey. But in 
those groveling souls from whom riches never fail to extort 
homage, however strange it may seem, the homage often 
appears disinterested. They pay it by a sort of irresistible 
instinct ; and, admiring what they covet, at an awful dis- 
tance, with difficulty assume the courage to pollute their 
worship with ideas of calculation and gain. 

I immediately addressed a memorial to this gallant sol- 
dier, with whose person indeed I was unacquainted, but 
the fame of whose spirit and enterprise had not failed to 
have reached me. I represented to him that I was a 
Frenchman of family and distinction ; that I had been 
seized upon and was retained in prison by the magistrates 
here, without accuser or the hope of a trial ; that I had not 
been guilty of the shadow of a crime; and that I knew the 
benignity and courage of my sovereign would never permit 
a subject of France to languish under calumny and oppres- 
sion in a foreign country. I added, that he would do an 
acceptable service to king Francis, to whom I had the ho- 
nour to be known, by interfering in my favour; and there- 
fore entreated him to obtain for me immediate justice and 
deliverance. Monluc returned me an answer by the bearer 
of my memorial, assuring me that he would lose no time 
in enquiring into the merits of my case, and that I might 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

depend upon receiving every assistance from him that a 
man of honour could desire. 

The warmth and frankness of this answer filled me with 
hope, for there was no deliverance from my present situ- 
ation that I could contemplate with satisfaction, but such 
a one as should be accompanied with reparation and eclat. 
Three days however elapsed before I heard again from the 
French envoy. On the morning of the fourth he announced 
his intention of visiting me ; and, about an hour after, 
arrived at the prison. His appearance was striking. He 
was tall, slender, and well made, with a freedom of car- 
riage, not derived from the polish of courts, but which ap- 
peared to flow from the manliness and active energies of 
his mind. His hair and complexion were dark ; the former, 
though he was still young, rather scantily shaded a high 
and ample forehead. His features were expressive of the 
sanguine and kdust temper of his mind ; and, though his 
eye was animated, his countenance, as he entered, struck 
me as particularly solemn. 

' ' You are the count de St. Leon ? " said he. 

I am." 

" You sent me a memorial a few days ago complaining 
of the tribunal of this city : I am afraid, sir, I can do no- 
thing for you." 

My countenance fell as he spoke ; I gasped for breath. 
I had conceived a most favourable anticipation as he en- 
tered, and my disappointment was particularly cruel. I 
had said in my heart, This is the very man to rescue my 
injured fame. 

" I see, sir, you are disappointed," resumed he. 
have not given up the affair : if I had, this visit, which I 
design as a mark of attention, would be an insult. The 
moment I received your memorial, I paid the utmost re- 
gard to it. If the affair had been as you represented it, I 
know I could not do any thing more acceptable to my so- 
vereign than interfere in your behalf. I have spent the 
whole interval in investigating the case. I have seen the 
magistrate who committed you ; I have visited the spot 
where your crime is alleged to have been perpetrated ; I 
have had an interview with your wife." 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 225 

" Well, sir/' cried I, alarmed and impatient " well, 
sir, and the result ? " 

" Appearances are uncommonly strong against you: they 
can scarcely be stronger. But you have a right to be heard ; 
it is for the sake of discharging that last act of justice that 
you see me this morning." 

f ' Great God ! " exclaimed I, overwhelmed with chagrin, 
(f is if possible that my countryman, the man to whom I 
was proud and happy to appeal, the gallant Monluc, should 
believe me a murderer ? I swear by every thing that is 
sacred, by the blood of him that died for me on the cross, 
and by my eternal salvation, that I am as innocent as the 
child unborn ! " 

" I am glad to hear you express yourself with this em- 
phasis and fervour. I cannot but say that to my own 
feelings it has great weight. But I must not suffer myself 
as a man, and still less in the public capacity in which I 
stand, to he-overcome and confounded by your asseverations. 
There is a connected and most unfavourable story against 
you : this it is incumbent on you to clear up." 

" And you say, you have seen my wife ? " I was dis- 
tracted and overwhelmed by Monluc's way of putting the 
question. I was divided between my anxiety to be justified, 
and the solemn mystery of the affair to which his enquiries 
led ; and I probably spoke thus from an unconscious desire 
to gain time. 

' ( Yes,that is another presumption in your favour. Madame 
de St. Leon is perhaps the most striking and extraordinary 
woman I ever saw. Of the husband of such a woman, 
especially when he appears to be the object of her attach- 
ment, I should be always inclined to think well. Madame 
de St. Leon pleaded for you with earnestness and affection. 
But, amidst all her ardour, I could perceive that she felt 
there was something mysterious and unpleasant in the affair, 
that she was unable to develope." 

As Monluc spoke, I saw that I had failed in one of the 
main anchors of my hope. I thought that no one could 
have talked with my beloved Marguerite, and have left her 
with the opinion that I was a murderer. How did this hap- 
pen ? Was she lukewarm and unfaithful in my vindication ? 



226 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

" What she/' continued my countryman,, " I could see, 
was not only unable to explain, hut did not fully under- 
stand, it is you alone can clear ; the concealment of the 
stranger, his disappearance, what became of the body, and 
your own sudden transition from poverty to wealth." 

I was by this time fully sensible of the nature of my 
situation. I summoned my fortitude ; I felt that I had no 
longer any hope but in the dignity of innocence. 

" You call on me for explanation," replied I. " Can 
you not conceive, gallant Monluc, that I may be able to 
resolve your doubts, and yet that I will not ? Explanation 
is not the business of a man of honour. He cannot stoop 
to it. He will win the applause and approbation of man- 
kind, if won, in silence. He will hold on the even course 
of a generous spirit, and turn neither to the right nor to the 
left, to court the suffrage, or deprecate the condemnation of 
a giddy multitude. Such, my brave countryman, have been 
the maxims of my past life ; such will be the maxims of 
my future." 

" I admire," answered Monluc, " at least the gallantry 
of these sentiments, though I may be inclined to doubt their 
prudence. But, if such is your determination, permit me 
to say, you have no concern with me. He who resolutely 
withholds explanation, must arm himself with patience, and 
either wait the operation of time, or rest satisfied with the 
consciousness of his innocence." 

" And is that all ? Will there not be some noble spirits, 
who, separating themselves from the herd, will judge of 
him by what they feel in their own breasts, and be drawn 
to him with an irresistible impulse ? Was it not natural 
that I should expect Monluc to be one of these ? It would 
be hard indeed, if he who disdains to temporise with 
popularity, and to vindicate himself from the ungenerous 
constructions of sordid minds, should not by that very pro- 
ceeding secure the friendship and sympathy of those, whose 
friendship it will be most grateful to him to possess." 

" The friends of an innocent man, whom a combination 
of circumstances has exposed to the most painful suspicions, 
must always be few. He can scarcely expect the acquittal 
and sympathy of a stranger. I must know, I must have 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 227 

felt and observed in a man a thousand virtues,, before I can 
be entitled to treat accumulated presumptions against him 
as nothing." 

" And thus then are to end my hopes in Monluc ? He 
does not feel that I am innocent ? He does not recognise 
in me the countenance, the voice,, the turn of thought, of a 
brother, a man no less incapable than himself of every thing 
disgraceful and ignominious ? Be it so ! I will, as you ad- 
vise me, rest upon the consciousness of my innocence. A 
Frenchman, the descendant of illustrious ancestors, long an 
exile, long the victim of adversity, but at all times conscious 
of the purity of my sentiments and the integrity of my 
conduct, I will not suffer myself to be overwhelmed with 
this last desertion, this ultimate refusal of justice ! " 

" Count de St. Leon ! your appeal is full of energy. In 
whatever way I decide, it will leave an unpleasant sensa- 
tion in my breast. Let us suppose that, as a private man, 
I could take you to my arms, and dismiss every unfavour- 
able appearance from my mind. You must remember that 
I am here in a public character, and that only in a public 
character am I capable of affording you assistance. Thus 
situated, I am bound to resist the impulses of a romantic 
and irregular confidence, and to do nothing of which I shall 
not be able to render a clear and intelligible account. 

tf Let us not part thus ! It is not the vindication of 
your character to the world, with which we are at present 
concerned. It is only necessary that you should furnish a 
sufficient ground to justify me to myself for interfering in 
your behalf. Explain to me the particulars of your case, 
in confidence if you will, but fully and without reserve. I 
will not abuse your confidence. I will make no use of your 
communication, but such as you shall yourself approve. 
Only enable me to have a reason for acting, that is not 
merely capable of being felt, but that I may know is in its 
own nature capable of being stated to another. It is upon 
me that you call to take certain measures ; you must enable 
me to judge of their propriety. 

" You are mistaken when you suppose the appearances 
against you to be slight. It is not a slight circumstance, 
that you profess to be ignorant of, or have refused to dis- 
ci 2 



228 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

close, the country, the connections, and even the name of 
the stranger whom you so anxiously concealed. The dis- 
appearance of his body is still more extraordinary. What 
intelligible motive, except a guilty one, can I assign for 
that ? But your sudden wealth immediately after this dis- 
appearance, is especially material. It is a broad and glaring 
fact, that men cannot shut their eyes on, if they would. 
The chain and combination of events, that proceeds sys- 
tematically from link to link, is the criterion of guilt and 
the protector of reputation. Your case, as it now stands, 
is scarcely to be termed equivocal : upon the supposition of 
your criminality all is plain and easy to be accounted for ; 
upon any other supposition it appears an inscrutable mys- 
tery. Place but the balance even ; present to me an expo- 
sition of these facts, that shall make your innocence not less 
probable than your guilt ; and, as I feel myself interested 
for you and your family, and as the presumption, when 
matters are doubtful, ought always to be on the favourable 
side, I consent to be your friend ! " 

" How unfortunate," I exclaimed, " am I doomed to be ! 
Your proposal is liberal and generous ; but I must refuse 
it ! My story is an unhappy one : particulars have been 
reposed in my fidelity, which I am not at liberty to com- 
municate, but which, if communicated, you would not re- 
gard as dishonourable. I may be made the martyr of in- 
famy, and the abhorrence of my species ; I can endure 
adversity and anguish ; I can die ; but that which you 
demand from me never can be confided to any mortal ear !" 

"As you please," rejoined Monluc. " The secrets of a 
dead man, to be preserved after his death, and that to the 
ruin of him who is their depository, must, I believe, be 
villanous secrets ; and the secret of a villain no one is bound 
to observe. You must further give me leave to tell you, 
that, whatever a high- strained sense of honour might dic- 
tate in that point, the fortune you possess is your own affair, 
and to dissipate or not the mystery which hangs upon that 
is wholly at your discretion. But I have already advanced 
as far, perhaps further, than circumstances or propriety 
could justify, and there can now be no more parley between 
us/' 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 229 

" Monluc," cried I, " I submit ! However harsh your 
decision is as towards me, however painful and unfortunate 
its consequences, I will admit it to be that which duty pre- 
scribes to you. I struggle, I contend, no further. One 
thing only I would willingly obtain of you, that you would 
interpose your influence to obtain for me the society and 
intercourse of my family. The transaction of this day will 
then be remembered by me with respect towards you, and 
a melancholy regret that I could riot entitle myself to your 
esteem. I shall recollect with pleasure that I owe some- 
thing to the generosity of Monluc." 

" Incredible pertinacity ! " exclaimed my visitor, with a 
voice of perplexity and astonishment. " What am I to 
conceive of you ? Under what appearance shall I consider 
you in the records of my memory ? Your silence is the in- 
dication of guilt, and in that indication I ought to acqui- 
esce. Yet the fortitude of your manner, and something, I 
know not what, of emotion, that your manner produces in 
my own bosom, would fain persuade me you are innocent. 
Why will you leave me a prey to this contention of thought? 
If all men, constituted as I am, were to feel in you, as it 
were, the magnetism of innocence, shame, the simple infer- 
ence of understanding, and the general sense of mankind, 
would oblige them to treat you as guilty. What I can 
however, be assured I will cheerfully do for you. I cannot 
deliver you from prison, but I will not fail to obtain the 
mitigation you ask. Farewell ! " 

Such was the issue of my interview with Monluc. It 
was clear that my reputation was wounded beyond the power 
of remedy. While the question had only been of a magis- 
trate, haughty, supercilious, insolent and unfeeling, I flat- 
tered myself that the harshness of the conclusions that were 
drawn, might be ascribed to the depravity of his character. 
But Monluc was the reverse of this man. He was not less 
generous and heroic than the magistrate was gross and illi- 
beral. His desire to relieve me was not less apparent than 
the magistrate's eagerness to oppress. Yet his conclusion 
was the same, and was felt by me so much the more bit- 
terly, in proportion to the humanity, the kindness, the in- 
trepidity, and the virtue, of the man from whom it flowed. 
Q 3 



230 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



Virtue and vice, barbarism and refinement, were equally 
engaged in the concert against me, and there was no chance 
I should triumph in a contention with so many enemies. 

I might now be said to have reached the end of my ad- 
venture : I had closed one grand experiment upon the 
donation of the stranger. What had it produced to me ? 
Not one atom of the benefits I anticipated ; not a particle of 
those advantages which a little while ago had made the in- 
toxicationsof my waking dreams. Its fruits had been dis- 
tasteful and loathsome. Whether I looked to my person, 
my family, or my fame, I had felt in all the miserable 
effects of this treacherous and delusive gift. My person 
was shut up in prison ; and I was now to make an experi- 
ment whether, by clandestine and secret proceedings, wealth 
could restore to me the liberty of which wealth had deprived 
me. My family was blasted ; my wife was struck to the 
heart, and no mortal skill could restore the wound she had 
suffered; my son was gone unaided into voluntary exile, 
that he might shun the contagion of my follies ; what was 
I to do with the poor remains of my house, forlorn, de- 
jected, and wretched? The wound my good name had 
received, was of the most decisive species. When I first 
encountered contumely at Dresden, and was called on for 
explanation by Coligny, the difficulties of my condition 
struck anguish to my soul. But what were they, compared 
with what had now overtaken me ? I was charged with 
robbery and murder, with every thing that combines the 
whole species against the perpetrator, and determines them, 
without sense of compunction, to extirpate him from the 
face of the earth. Perhaps it was only by the courtesy of 
the laws of this state, that I was permitted my choice be- 
tween an ignominious death and perpetual imprisonment. 
I might possibly indeed escape from my confinement ; I 
might pass into a distant country ; I might be fortunate 
enough to cut off all connection between my past and my 
future life, and thus enter upon a new career. But this to 
a man of honourable mind is a miserable expedient. With 
what feelings does he recollect, that there is a spot where 
his name is abhorred, where a story is told against him to 
excite the wonder of the ignorant, and the torpid feelings of 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 231 

the sluggish soul, a story to darken with new infamy the 
records of guilt, and to infect the imagination of the solitary 
man with nameless horrors ? To be the theme of such a 
tale, is no common evil. No matter how far the man to 
whom it relates, shall remove from the detested spot ; the 
spot itself with all its chain of circumstances, will often 
recur ; the voices that repulsed and humbled him will ring 
in his ear ; the degraded figure he made will rise for ever 
fresh to his imagination. He cannot ascend to any free and 
lofty sentiment ; he cannot attain the healthful tone of un- 
blemished virtue j wherever he goes, he carries the arrow 
of disgrace in his bosom, and, when he would erect his head 
on high, it reminds him of the past, and stings him to the 
heart. 

If the consciousness of all this would have been painful 
to any other man, what was it to me, who had been 
brought up from my infancy in the opinion that fame was 
the first of all human possessions, and to whom honour 
and an unimpeached integrity had ever been more necessary 
than my daily food, or than the life which that food sup- 
ported ? What would I not have given could I have returned 
to the situation in which the inauspicious arrival of the 
stranger had found me ? But that was impossible. If all 
that I had recently passed through could but have proved a 
dream, if I could have awakened and freed myself from the 
phantoms of this horrible vision, how happy beyond all 
names of happiness should I by such an event have been 
made ! What a lesson would it have taught me of the 
emptiness and futility of human wishes ! What a sovereign 
contempt would it have impressed upon me for wealth and 
all its train of ostentation ! How profound a feeling of con- 
tentment with humble circumstances and a narrow station 
would it have produced in my mind ! Alas, the conception 
of those advantages and that peace was the illusion, and not 
the evils I had sustained, and from which I could not 
escape ! 



Q 4 



232 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

MEANWHILE it was necessary that I should make the best 
of the present circumstances. My heart was wounded ; my 
spirit was in a manner broken ; but not so utterly withered 
and destroyed as to make me rest supine in perpetual im- 
prisonment. I felt with equal conviction and pungency 
that my character and my happiness had sustained the 
deepest injuries ; but I felt it incumbent on me to collect 
and improve the fragments that remained. For some days 
indeed after the conference with Monluc, I was sunk in the 
deepest dejection. But, as that dejection subsided, I began 
to turn a steady attention upon the future. I recollected 
that an eternal and inexhaustible gift deserved to be made 
the subject of more than one experiment, before a decision 
was formed upon its merits. I shall become wiser, said I, 
as I go forward. Experience, however bitter, will teach 
me sagacity and discrimination. My next experiment shall 
be made with more prudence and a soberer gradation. I 
will remove to some distant country, where the disadvan- 
tages of my past adventures shall not follow me. I will 
take a new name. I shall then enjoy the benefit of a tyro 
just entering a scene, to all the personages of which he is 
wholly unknown. I shall be like a serpent that has stripped 
its tarnished and wrinkled skin, and comes forth in all the 
gloss and sleekness of youth. Surely, in an unknown land, 
with the prejudice of wealth in my favour, and no preju- 
dices against me, I shall know how to conduct myself so as 
to obtain honour and respect. It is impossible that inex- 
haustible wealth and immortal youth, gifts so earnestly 
coveted by every creature that lives, gifts which if I were 
known to possess, my whole species from the mere impulses 
of envy would probably combine to murder me, as not able 
to endure the sight of one so elevated above his brethren, 
it is impossible that such gifts should not be pregnant with 
variety of joy. 

Marguerite greatly contributed to raise me from the 
dejection, into which my imprisonment and the conference 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 233 

of Monluc had sunk me. She was my better genius. I 
had been so accustomed to receive consolation from her lips 
in the most trying circumstances, that now the very sound 
of her voice was able to smooth my wrinkled brow, and 
calm my agitated spirit. I listened as to the sound of an 
angelic lyre ; I was all ear ; I drank in the accents of her 
tongue ; and, in the dear delight, my cares were hushed, 
and my sorrows at an end. She talked to me of her daugh- 
ters, whom she represented as about to have no protector 
but their father ; she urged me to watch over them, and to 
take such steps as should most conduce to their future vir- 
tue and happiness ; she pointed out the practicability of 
escape, and recommended to me to fly to some distant 
country : the dreams of future prosperity from the gifts of 
the stranger were not hers ; they were all my own. It was 
inexpressibly affecting at this time to receive consolation 
from her, who had no consolation in her own breast, who 
had bid farewell to all the gay attractions of the world, and 
talked familiarly of her death as a thing certain to happen 
in no very long time. She had lost the purest gratifica- 
tions of the domestic scene ; she had lost her son ; her heart 
was broken ; yet with her dying accents she sought to dispel 
retrospect, and inspire cheerfulness, in the breast of her 
husband. 

The reader may perhaps imagine that I was something 
too sanguine, when, surrounded with jailors and all the 
precautions of a prison, I planned the nature and scene of 
my next residence exactly as if I had been a person at 
large. But I took it for granted that the power of money 
I possessed would easily unlock to me the gates of my cap- 
tivity. I believed that, upon the lowest calculation, per- 
sonal liberty was clearly included among the gifts of the 
stranger. Impressed with this opinion, T fixed upon a 
negro, a servant of the prison, and who had the keys of my 
apartment, as the subject of my pecuniary experiment. The 
idea of applying to him had perhaps first occurred to me, 
from the mere circumstance of my seeing him more fre- 
quently than any other attendant of the prison. When I 
thought further of the matter, I judged, from the meanness 
of his rank and his apparent poverty, that I could not have 



234 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

chosen better. So far as related to the sum to be paid as 
the price of my liberty,, it was indeed indifferent to me, 
whether it were large or small. I had however suffered so 
much from the inconsiderate lavishing of wealth, that I had 
no inclination on the present occasion to make ostentation 
of more than was necessary. But, what was of most im- 
portance to me, I was desirous that my first experiment 
should be a successful one. Though not unaware of the 
power of gold, I conceived that, among persons of mid- 
dling rank and easier circumstances, there might be varie- 
ties of disposition, and I might be mistaken in my choice. 
Some might have the whim of integrity, or might place a 
sturdy sort of pride in showing that they were content with 
what they had, and were too high for a bribe. There 
might be persons who, though of plebeian rank, might value 
reputation as much as ever I had done, and be of opinion 
that no advance of station could compensate for the name 
or the consciousness of dishonour. These distinctions may 
seem an idle and superfluous refinement, when it is consi- 
dered that I had the power of raising my bribe to the level 
of any man's honesty or pride, be it as great as it might ; 
and it may be thought that my offer might be so increased 
as to be too dazzling for mortal firmness to resist. Be that 
as it will, I am merely stating the reflections that passed 
through my mind, not entering into their vindication. 

Taking the first opportunity then of accosting this man 
when he was alone with me, I addressed him thus : 

" My good friend, are not you poor ? " , 

" Yes, sir." 

" Would not you readily do me a kindness ? " 

" If my master give me leave, I will." 

" You mistake me. Would you be my friend ? " 

<e I do not know what you mean, sir. I have been used 
to call the man I love my friend. If you mean that, you 
know I cannot choose whether I wih 1 be a man's friend ; it 
comes of itself." 

' ' Can I not make you my friend ? " 

" That is, make me love you ? " 

I was surprised at the propriety of his answers. I am 
unable at this distance of time to recall the defects of his 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 235 

language: and I disdain the mimic toil of inventing a 
jargon for him suitable to the lowness of his condition : the 
sense of what he said I faithfully report. I had before been 
struck with a certain correctness of thinking in him ; 
but I now examined his countenance more attentively than 
I had ever before done, and thought I could distinctly 
trace in it the indications of a sound understanding and an 
excellent heart. 

" I do not know,, sir/' continued he. " If I see that 
you are a good man, I believe I shall love you. But if it 
happened that you were good and generous to me, I am sure 
I should love you very much." 

' ( You are very poor ? " 

" So they tell me. I never had more than a shilling or 
two at a time in my life." 

" It is a very sad thing to be poor ? " 

fe Why, yes, so I have heard, sir. But, for my own 
part, I am always merry and gay." 

" My good fellow, I will make you rich." 

" Thank you, sir ! But what good will that do me ? " 

<f You are a servant : I will make you a master of 
servants." 

" Now, that I should not like at all. I am merry, be- 
cause I am light-hearted. If I had money, and property 
to take care of, and servants to direct, I am afraid they 
would make me grave and suspicious, and in every respect 
unlike what you see me." 

es Is it possible you should be pleased with your present 
situation, under the orders of one man in a house, and 
obliged to play the tyrant to the rest ? " 

" Why, as you say, sir, there may be more agreeable 
situations than the life of a jail. But, as to being under 
orders, I have no objection to that. I never knew any other 
condition, and therefore I am contented. It is not pleasant 
indeed to have a master who is always scolding and dis- 
satisfied ; but the gentleman I serve at present is reason- 
able ; I know how to content him, and, when I have done 
that, he leaves me to please myself. You offer me money : 
now, sir, that is not what I call being generous ; I count 
nothing for much, except when a man shows me has bowels, 



236 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

and convinces me that he thinks justice due even to a 
negro. I dare say however you designed it for generosity, 
and expected something from me in return. Tell me what 
it is you want, and whatever I can do with propriety, you 
may depend on it I will." 

" Do you approve of a man's being deprived of his 
liberty ? " 

'" Will you please to tell me what you mean by liberty ? 
You offered me just now what you called liberty and inde- 
pendence ; and I am content to be a servant." 

" Would you be pleased, instead of being a turnkey, to 
have the key turned on yourself?" 

" That I should not. I understand the disagreeableness 
of that well enough, for when I first entered this place, it 
was as a prisoner." 

" If then, my good fellow, you were convinced that I 
was a man disposed to be generous to you in your own 
way, and to deserve your attachment and love, surely you 
would not refuse to deliver me from a situation which you 
have yourself felt to be so disagreeable and calamitous." 

<c I understand you now, sir. I have already a master 
with whom I am satisfied, and I do not wish to change my 
service. When I was a prisoner, he found out that I was 
innocent ; he got me cleared, and gave me employment. I 
am put here for the express purpose of seeing the prisoners 
in safe custody. That is the contract between me and my 
master. When I took the keys, by that action I pledged 
myself to be faithful to my trust ; and the nobleness of my 
master's behaviour to me in removing me from being a pri- 
soner to be a free servant, is a double bond upon my fidelity. 
J would sooner consent to be torn limb from limb, than fail 
in what is expected from me. You may be generous to a 
harmless stranger ; you have most reason to be generous to 
a man you love ; but, if you would heap benefits upon me 
merely because I proved myself a villain, I can only say it 
would be disgraceful to be the object of your favour." 

Thus saying, he quitted me, and withdrew from further 
parley. The conversation in which we had engaged, though 
I had had considerable experience in the world, was alto- 
gether new to me, and overwhelmed me with astonishment. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 237 

I found in this trial, that the power of money was subject 
to limitations, of which previously I had not been in the 
slightest degree aware. I thought that nothing but the 
most extraordinary degree of resolution and self-denial could 
enable a man to resist its enticements ; and I had even been 
told, though I did not believe, that every man had his 
price, and a bribe capable of indefinite augmentation must 
be in all cases victorious. Yet here was a poor creature 
utterly exempt from its operation. He had no sense of 
those attractions, which so often degrade the best, and con- 
vert virtue into the most shameless profligacy. It cost him 
no effort to be honest, and he uttered sentiments that would 
have given lustre to the most heroic character, without any 
consciousness of their greatness. What I had seen, led 
me also to reflect on another singularity I discerned in him. 
In the midst of the admirable, I had almost said the sub- 
lime, integrity he discovered, (for is it not a criterion of 
the sublime to be great without an effort ?) he was destitute 
of knowledge, of intellectual cultivation, and all those ex- 
quisite sensations that most distinguish the man from the 
brute. He passed on quietly in the road of ordinary life, 
and thought not of the ambition to be wise or great, to be 
honoured by thousands, or a benefactor to ages yet unborn. 
Kings might have confessed their inferiority to this man. 
But is he to be regarded as the model of what a human 
creature should be wished to be ? Oh, no ! 

But the most memorable feeling impressed upon me by 
this conversation, was a conviction of what I had been 
backward to confess, that knaves were the persons to whose 
assistance and concert I must look, and that I must be upon 
my guard against an honest man. No one was qualified 
to be my coadjutor, till he had proved himself unworthy of 
aU just and honourable society. The friend I must seek, 
was a man whose very soul melted at a bribe, whom money 
would seduce to perpetrate whatever his judgment most 
abhorred. Honour and integrity in the most refined and 
the rudest state, Monluc and the negro, both refused. It 
is impossible to conceive a sensation more painful and hu- 
miliating, than was this conviction to my mind. 

I was not long at leisure for these reflections. In a few 



238 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

minutes the master of the prison entered my apartment, 
and with him the negro whom I had endeavoured to pre- 
vail on to assist in restoring me to liberty. The master 
began to reproach me in very harsh terms for attempting to 
seduce his servant from his duty, and asked me what sort 
of enjoyment or satisfaction a man could have in life, if he 
could not depend upon the people he put into his employ- 
ment ? To' this I answered with sternness, " that I should 
hold no debate about right and wrong with a jailor ; that 
he might depend upon it I would leave no stone unturned 
to set myself free, and, what was more, that I would be 
free ; and that, for his part, it was his business to keep me 
if he could, but not to insult me." I therefore insisted 
upon his quitting the room. 

" What use," replied the fellow, ' ' do you think now 
there is in putting yourself in a passion ? If I have not a 
right to speak to you, I know what I have a right to do, 
put you in the strong room, and load you with irons." 

I turned my back upon him. " And how came you," 
said I to the negro, "to go and betray me? I should have 
expected better things of you. If you refused to serve me, 
at least you needed not have endeavoured to hurt me." 

" I did nothing but my duty, sir. I have no wish to 
hurt you: but it is my business, not merely to take care of 
my master's interests myself, but to see that they are not 
injured by any body else. If he was not put on his guard, 
you might have been more successful with the next turnkey 
you endeavoured to bribe." 

" You will find it more to your interest, monsieur," in- 
terposed the jailor, " to talk to me than to my servant. 
You are determined to be free, you say. If that is the case, 
and it is to happen, who has so good a right to benefit by 
your resolution as I have ? " 

My eyes were opened in a moment. I saw that the 
knave whose rigour and sternness could not hold out against 
the warmth of a bribe, the friend of whose assistance I was 
in want, stood before me. 

" I do not wonder," proceeded he, " that you preferred 
applying to one of my servants. Their honesty must be 
expected to be had at a cheaper market. But, for my part, 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 239 

I am determined that no man shall ever pass these walls,, 
without my being the richer. If then your escape is a 
thing that must happen,, let us see what you can afford to 
give me for it." 

ff Dear master," interposed the negro, " you surely will 
not listen to the gentleman's offer. When I refused to 
betray my trust, it is impossible you should consent to be- 
tray yours!" 

" Hold your tongue, blockhead ! " said the other. " Do 
not you see that monsieur is determined to escape ? I know 
he is rich. Though you have refused a bribe, I am sure 
that all your fellows will not. The thing will happen sooner 
or later in spite of every thing I can do ; and there can 
be no harm in my helping to bring about, what it is im- 
possible I should prevent." 

A morality like this seems exactly in its place in the 
breast of a jailor. We had already made some progress in 
adjusting the terms of our contract, when the keeper of the 
prison interposed : 

fc But, monsieur, you will please to remark, that this is 
an affair which will be attended with difficulty. Whatever 
passes between you and me must be a secret. Your escape 
will be a thing open and notorious, and you must have a 
confederate, that I may not bear the blame of it. You 
must therefore take my black here along with you, that his 
flight may cause all the blame to fall upon him." 

" O, pray, master," said the negro, " do not part with 
me ! I love you, and will do any thing in the world, if you 
will let me stay. You saved my life for aught I know, 
and made a man of me again ; you cannot think what good 
it does me to serve a master that has been so kind to me ! " 

" Get you gone ! " replied his owner. ' ' You are of no 
use to me ; you are not fit for a jail ; you are so simple^ 
I cannot tell what to do with you ! " 

fe Indeed I do not like to go with this gentleman ; it will 
break my heart. He said he would be generous and kind to me, 
if I turned a villain ; I shall never be able, and shall never 
desire to earn his kindness : but you rewarded me because I 
was innocent. He said he would make a master of me ; and 
I am better as I am ; I had much rather be a servant." 



240 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

The difficulties of this poor fellow were soon silenced by 
the peremptoriness of his master. The jailor told him that 
he would do him a great service, by thus giving his master 
an opportunity of representing him as the traitor ; and, 
with this consideration, the negro dried his tears, and with 
a reluctant heart consented to accompany me. Thus were 
his exemplary fidelity and affection rewarded ! So little do 
some men seem capable of feeling the value of attachment ! 
The character of the master was a singular one. The 
meanness and mercenariness of his spirit were unredeemed 
by a single virtue. He was avarice personified. But he 
had found or imagined an interest in taking this negro, who 
had been want only thrown into prison by a former tyrant, 
for his servant ; and this the poor fellow, in the simplicity 
of his heart, had mistaken for an act of exalted generosity. 
His avarice had swallowed up all his other passions ; and 
his servants had neither impatience nor insolence to en- 
counter from him : weighed therefore in the balance of 
the negro's experience, he appeared a miracle of mildness 
and benevolence. 

Our bargain was at length concluded ; and, the next 
time Marguerite came to visit me, I announced to her the 
success of my negotiation. Before we parted, we sent for 
the jailor, and discussed with him the road I should take. 
My purpose was to pass into Italy ; and Marguerite under- 
took by midnight to have every thing prepared to convey 
us to the foot of the mountains. This point being adjusted, 
the keeper of the prison left us ; and, tenderly embracing 
Marguerite, I besought her to congratulate me upon the 
recovery of my liberty. She had heard however of the 
infamous nature of the charge against me, and, though she 
yielded it no credit, 1 could easily perceive that it ren- 
dered yet heavier the depression under which she la- 
boured. She returned my embrace ; the tears stole down 
her cheeks; but she was silent. I endeavoured to di- 
vert her thoughts and re-animate her spirits, by hinting 
at the new scenes before us, and the distant country to 
which we were about to remove ; but in vain. " I will 
not reproach you, Reginald ! " said she ; " I will not desert 
my duty while I have power to perform it ; you may de- 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 241 

pend upon my doing every thing I am able both for the 
children and yourself!" 

She left me in a very melancholy frame of mind. I had 
not expected to see her thus languid and disconsolate ; and 
upon the eve of my liberation, I felt it like caprice. In- 
comparable woman ! She was incapable of giving inten- 
tional pain : but, with her exquisitely susceptible mind, she 
was unable to support the dreadful reverse in which I had 
involved her, or even at times to assume the gestures of 
cheerfulness and tranquillity; gestures that, at the best, 
but ill disguised the grief within I 

I was busily reflecting on what had just occurred, when 
the keeper of the prison re-entered my apartment. " I am 
come, monsieur," said he, C( to take my leave of you. As 
I do not at all intend to lose my place, it is not proper that 
I should see you any more. You understand me ? " 

Two days had already elapsed since the conclusion of our 
contract, and I had provided myself for this and such other 
demands as seemed likely to be immediately impending. I 
should have preferred indeed to have delayed this payment 
till the moment of my departure : but what the jailor sug- 
gested appeared reasonable ; and I could not assign, even 
to my own mind, any cause why I should be reluctant to 
comply with it. I paid to this wretch the price of his vil- 
lany. 

I now began to count the hours, and eagerly to anti- 
cipate the arrival of midnight. Though the moment of my 
liberty was so near, I yet contemplated with unspeakable 
loathing the scene of my confinement, which was associated 
with the deepest disgrace and the blackest charges that are 
incident to a human creature. I felt as if, in proportion 
as I removed from the hated spot, I should at least shake 
off a part of the burthen that oppressed me, and grow com- 
paratively young again. 

Time was far from moving indeed with the rapidity my 
impatience required; but the hour of appointment at last 
was near, and I expected every moment the faithful negro 
to appear, and announce to me my freedom. The cathe- 
dral bell now sounded twelve ; I heard the noise of steps 
along the gallery ; and presently a key was applied to the 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

door of my apartment. It opened ; and three persons., 
whom I knew for servants of the prison, entered. 

" Come, sir/' said one of them ; " you must follow 
me." 

" Where is my friend the negro ? " said I. 

ce Ask no questions ; speak never a word ; but come." 

It was strange that the master of the prison, whose tem- 
per was so full of anxiety and caution, should unnecessarily 
trust three of his people, who might easily have been kept 
ignorant of this hazardous secret ! This circumstance how- 
ever did not strike me at first so strongly as it ought to 
have done. I had perfect confidence in his fidelity to his 
profligate bargain, and expected every moment to meet the 
negro who was to be my guide. My conductors led me by 
a way which I soon perceived did not lead to the ordinary 
entrance of the prison. 

' ' Where are we going ? " said I. 

ee Hold your tongue, or you will spoil all ; " replied one 
of them roughly. 

I bethought me that there might be an objection to the 
dismissing me by the public gate ; I recollected to have 
heard that there were several subterranean outlets to the 
citadel ; I judged from the words I had just heard that 
my conductors were acquainted with the plan that had 
been formed ; and for all these reasons I proceeded with 
tolerable ease and security. I was not much longer how- 
ever permitted to doubt. I was conducted to one of the 
dungeons of the prison, and told that there I was to remain. 
At first I remonstrated loudly, and told them " that I had 
been promised my liberty, and not a treatment like this." 

ff We know that, sir," replied they, ' ' and that is the 
reason you are brought here. It is our business to teach 
you that the greatest offence that can be committed by a 
man in prison is to attempt to escape." 

The shock and surprise that so unexpected an issue to 
my adventure produced, rendered me outrageous. I was 
no longer able to control my fury ; and, without knowing 
what I proposed, I knocked down two of my attendants 
before they had an opportunity to secure me, and rushed 
up the flight of steps by which we had descended. The 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 243 

third however contrived to intercept me; and, while we 
struggled, the other two came to his assistance. They 
loaded me with fetters and chained me to the wall. I was 
then left in utter darkness. 

I felt myself sore with the bruises I had received in the 
contest ; but what was infinitely worse, I found the ex- 
pectations of freedom I had so confidently entertained, 
baffled and disappointed. Marguerite and my children were 
at this moment waiting for me to join them. They would 
probably wait hour after hour in vain. To what cause 
would they attribute my failing of my appointment ? To 
what cause was I myself to attribute my miscarriage ? My 
hopes in this instance had been in the utmost degree san- 
guine ; what was I to count upon for the future ? Was 
money useless in every instance in which mankind agreed 
to think its power unquestionable ? What was the source 
of the present catastrophe and the harsh treatment I en- 
dured ? Was the keeper of the prison discovered, and dis- 
missed from his office ? Had the negro gone and given 
information against him ? I formed a thousand conjec- 
tures as to what might have happened ; but I was unable 
to rest in any. 

I had remained about twelve hours in this situation, full 
of angry and disconsolate thoughts, when the principal 
jailor entered my dungeon. I looked at him with astonish- 
ment ; the cloud vanished from my understanding, and I 
began to comprehend the solution of the enigma. 

<f Are you at large ? " cried I, with indignation : (f why 
then am I here ? " 

ff You are here by my orders." 

" Execrable villain ! " said I. ( ' Did you not promise 
me my freedom ? Have you not received the price of it ? 
How dare you show yourself in my presence ? " As I spoke, 
I shook my chains, I clenched my fists, I trembled with 
resentment and rage. 

" If you are not perfectly quiet and reasonable/' said he, 
" I shall leave you to your fate and return no more." 

Nothing is more singular in a state of great mental effer- 
vescence, than the rapidity with which our ideas succeed 
each other. At such times we seem to think more in 
B 2 



244 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

minutes than at other times in hours. I felt how miserable 
a slave a man is, the moment he falls completely into the 
power of another. The wretch who stood hefore me was 
more vacant of human affections than any one I ever saw. 
Yet I was his creature, to be moulded as he pleased. A 
thousand injuries he could inflict upon me, for which 
neither the institutions of society nor the extraordinary 
endowments I derived from the stranger could afford a 
remedy. He might so torture my mind and baffle my 
wishes, as to kill in me every spark of lofty adventure and 
generous pride. My liberty might, for aught I knew, be for 
years at his disposal. I felt however that my best course 
was to regard him with contempt, and use him as I would 
a spade or a file, to execute my purposes, without suffering 
him to awaken my passions. I immediately grew more calm, 
and he perceived the revolution of my sentiments. 

" You seem to wonder," continued he, " that I did not 
keep my engagement with you ? I pride myself upon being 
superior to the prejudices, by which other men are fright- 
ened, like children with a bugbear. I have therefore no 
rule but my interest : and I did not see how my interest 
bound me to keep my engagement with you." 

" And what became of the countess ? " 

" I neither know nor care. I suppose she stayed all night 
under the walls ; I knew she durst not disturb the prison/' 

I felt I had still emotions to suppress. I curbed my 
tongue, but they showed^themselves in my eyes. 

' ' How do you intend to dispose of me ? " 

" Keep you in close custody. I have got your thousand 
pounds ; the next thing for me to take care of is, that I do 
not lose my place." 

" And for what purpose do you come to me now ? " 

" Why to tell you a secret, I have not not quite deter- 
mined what conduct to pursue, and therefore I came here 
that I might have a better opportunity of judging." 

<e Are you not afraid that I should inform the govern- 
ment how you have cheated me ? " 

" You inform ! Have riot I got you under lock and key? 
I warrant you, I will take care what goes out of these walls 
to the government." 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 245 

fe The countess has a licence to visit me." 

" What care I for that ? I can keep her at bay as long as 
I will. She will not easily go to the government ; and she 
is not such a fool as not to know, that to lodge a complaint 
against me, is not the way to procure the liberty of a man 
condemned to perpetual imprisonment. I can at any time 
trump up a story of your attempting to corrupt the turnkeys, 
and be sure, when I do, I will not want for proofs. That 
will cover any thing I can do to annoy you, and answer any 
accusation you can make against me. Do you think that 
the word of a jailor will not be taken, before that of the 
murderer he has in custody ? 

ff I can bring your own servants as witnesses, three of 
whom assaulted me last night." 

" Dunce, do you think I trusted them with my secret ? 
They have nothing to tell, and apprehend nothing but a plot 
between you and my black, who has been put into the peni- 
tentiary for his offence. He is my only confident; and I 
trust him, because his stupidity answers to me for his faith." 

ff Suppose I were to double the bribe for which you sold 
me my liberty, what security should I have that you would 
abide by your bargain ? " 

(C Oh, if you were to do that, it would alter the case." 

" Might you not then detain the money, and defy me, as 
you have done now ? " 

" Suppose that a thing which might happen : can you 
help yourself ? can you do better ? " 

I saw there was no remedy, and I was constrained to 
allow the success of this twofold perfidy. It was with an 
ill grace, and an attempt at sullenness and indifference, that 
the jailor accepted my proposal. The second thousand 
however had irresistible charms ; and, in spite of himself, 
the sensation that made his heart dance, relaxed his muscles, 
and played about his mouth. He was puzzled what to 
think of me. The facility with which I produced the sums 
he demanded, with less apparent effort than they might have 
come from a duke or a sovereign prince, startled and stag- 
gered him. He had still his qualms, and evidently doubted 
whether he should not raise his price a third time. I saw 
no safety but in pertinacity and firmness, and had the 
B 3 



246 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

good fortune ultimately to check his doubtful,, half-formed 
experiments. 

I was led by the accidents which have just been related, 
into further and deeper reflections on the power of money, 
as well as on the nature of the situation in which I found 
myself placed by the legacy of the stranger. My present 
experiment had been made upon a subject apparently the 
most favourable that could have been devised, upon a man 
whose breast the love of gold occupied without a rival : yet 
with this man I very hardly succeeded. I was not indeed 
so blinded by the present dejection of my spirit and sickness 
of my heart, as to imagine that I had not a secure game 
with this base-minded wretch, if I consented to play it. I 
had only to enlarge my bribe, to change it from the limited 
sum of two thousand pounds to the more brilliant offer of 
two thousand per annum, and no doubt I might have led 
him with me to the extremity of the globe. However he 
might have demurred, however he might have doubted, 
however curiosity, whetted even to agony by the goadings 
of avarice, might have prompted him to an incessant enquiry 
within himself as to the solution of my character and my 
powers, his grasping spirit would infallibly have chained his 
tongue, and been surety for his fidelity. But I could not 
yet prevail upon my self to endow such groveling and noxious 
propensities with so rich a reward. I considered, in the 
language of the stranger, that the talent I possessed was of 
the most momentous nature, and bestowed by the governor 
of the universe for the highest purposes ; and I should have 
held myself unjustifiable in enriching by its means, however 
urgent the necessity might appear, the most worthless of 
mankind. 

The sentiments of my tyrant varied every hour ; he was 
fickle, anxious, and undetermined ; harassed with the double 
fear of losing the sum already obtained, and of not securing 
the whole of what was capable of being acquired. He parted 
with me at last with all the pangs of a lover, who witnesses 
the ceremony of his mistress's taking the monastic veil, and 
being sundered from him for ever. I was his Fortunatus's 
purse, and this was the last day he was to enjoy the use of it ; 
I was to him as the buried treasure of some long-forgotten 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 247 

hoarder, and he feared he should quit his digging before he 
had carried off every thing that the field concealed. At 
length however he began to apprehend that he had urged 
the refinement of an unprincipled avarice as far as it would 
go ; and therefore in a few days, the negro being already 
discharged fnvm his penance, he suffered us to escape together. 



CHAP. XXIII. 

HAVING rejoined the remainder of my family, we set out 
together for the plains of Italy. My first interview with 
Marguerite after my return from Dresden had been melan- 
choly. But our situation was now such as to give addi- 
tional anguish to her serious thoughts. She had then re- 
garded me as ambiguous, mysterious, and impenetrable, 
qualities from which the frankness of her nature spontane- 
ously revolted ; she saw in me the destroyer of her son, the 
idol of her heart ; she believed me an alchymist, a charac- 
ter which she viewed as base, degrading, and insensible ; 
she had heard that rumour had been busy with my fame. 
But now she saw in me a man of blasted reputation, ar- 
raigned and imprisoned for robbery and murder. She did 
not credit these imputations. But did the ingenuous and 
noble-minded Marguerite de Damville ever think to find 
herself allied to a being thus loaded with the world's ab- 
horrence ; that she should be compelled to honour with the 
sacred name of husband a fugitive, a prison-breaker, and 
an outlaw ? If I had suffered these things in the defence 
of my children, my religion, or my country, the case would 
have been widely different. If, while encountering the 
contempt of men, I had carried within me the glorious 
feeling, that what they regarded as my disgrace was indeed 
my immortal honour, Marguerite de Damville, beyond all 
women, was prepared to despise their senseless blame, and 
proudly to demand her share in such a dishonour. 

I know there are men who will listen with fretful impa- 
tience to a detail of such sorrows as hers, and who will cry 
B 4 



248 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



out, " If we must be distressed., give us more substantial 
and genuine sources of distress ! " They will regard the 
dejection of Marguerite as an idle wilfulness of grief, better 
entitled to aversion than to sympathy ; and will tell me 
that nothing but the most deplorable blindness could have 
prevented her from discerning the happiness of her condi- 
tion ; that she had the world before her, a rich, a brave, 
and an enterprising husband, with a lovely family of chil- 
dren ; that they could move from country to country, and 
from climate to climate, carrying with them the means of 
luxury, indulgence, homage, and usefulness. To such 
moralisers I write not. For those who are incapable of 
sympathising with the delicate sensations of Marguerite, I 
am as little qualified to enter into their feelings as they into 
mine. In the sequel of the story however it is not impos- 
sible they may meet with their gratification. I am hasten- 
ing to events corporeal and palpable. I and my family did 
wander from country to country, and from climate to cli- 
mate. With what resulting success will speedily be seen. 

Our destination at the present moment led us through 
the territory of the Orisons, and Qver a limb of the Rhetian 
Alps, to Como, Milan, Piacenza, Parma, and Pisa, in the 
neighbourhood of which latter city we resolved to take up 
our immediate residence. In this passage we met with few 
adventures that merit to be recorded in my history. One 
however seems entitled to a place, both as it tends to dis- 
play the singular worth of a dumb and unpretending brute, 
and as it is in some sort connected with the fortunes I en- 
countered in the Pisan territory. It occurred in our jour- 
ney over the Alps. 

One evening, in the wildest and most desolate part of 
the mountain, after having lodged my family in an inn, I 
wandered forth to take a survey of the neighbouring 
scenery. It was moonlight ; our travel of the day had 
been short, and had left on me no impression of fatigue ; 
while the romantic appearance of every thing around, 
tempted me to extend my excursion further than I had 
originally purposed. Stories of robberies and murders in 
the vicinity had been repeated to us, and Marguerite had 
employed the precaution of desiring Hector, such was the 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 249 

name which the caprice of his former masters had bestowed 
on my faithful negro, to follow my steps and hold me in 
sight. No anticipations of danger however disturbed my 
contemplations. I resigned myself, as all my life I had 
been accustomed to do, to the impressions of the moment, 
and sought to shut out memory and the world from all my 
thoughts. The scene was inexpressibly beautiful ; the si- 
lence was uninterrupted and awful. The splendour of the 
moon gave a sober and silvery tint to every thing by which 
its light was caught ; soft white clouds were scattered in 
the deep azure of the sky ; the shades were of a blackness 
and profundity that could not be surpassed. Every thing 
was calculated to soothe and subdue the mind, to inspire a 
grand and expansive tranquillity. The enthusiasm it spoke 
occupied every channel of my heart. I stood still. It seemed 
as if motion would have jarred and broken the spell that 
seized me; I yielded with eager transport to the sentiment 
that shrowded and enveloped me in its ample embrace. 

I had remained motionless for above half an hour, when 
a sudden and eager sound burst upon my ear. It seemed 
to be the shriek of some human creature in distress. It 
was repeated several times. My first impulse was to fly to 
the spot from which the sound appeared to proceed. Mean- 
while Hector came up to me, and endeavoured to detain me 
by violence. His first principle was obedience to every just 
and lawful command ; and the errand upon which he was 
commissioned, was to preserve me from the approach of 
danger. He represented to me the stories of banditti we 
had recently heard. He told me that we should too pro- 
bably fall in with a numerous party of these desperadoes, 
against whom all our efforts, either for ourselves or for 
those I was desirous to succour, would be nugatory. What 
would become of my children ? what would become of his 
mistress, if my rashness were succeeded by a fatal event ? 
While he was thus speaking, and exerting him self to detain 
me, the cries ceased. I believed they were those of a 
person assassinated. I conceived that I should be the vilest 
of poltroons if I suffered any consideration to prevent me 
from endeavouring to afford to this unfortunate the relief in 
my power. 



250 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

I had not advanced far, before I perceived coming to- 
wards us, in the same direction from which the sound had 
reached my ear, a dog, entirely black, and of uncommon 
stature and strength. He was alone. Having caught sight 
of us, he increased his pace, and had no sooner reached the 
spot on which we stood, than he seized the flap of my coat, 
and pulled it with considerable violence. I was somewhat 
alarmed at his size and action, the latter of which I appre- 
hended to have a hostile design ; and, having shaken him 
off, I put myself in a posture of defence with a cane that 
I carried in my hand. Undeterred however by my gesture, 
he returned to the attack, only pulling with something less 
exertion of strength than he had done before. More ac- 
curate attention convinced me that he had no intention to 
injure me, and I withheld the action of Hector, who had 
raised his hand to strike in defence of his master. I suf- 
fered him to guide me ; and, after a considerable circuit 
which the nature of the road obliged us to take, he led me 
to a spot where I found a man lying on the ground, and 
weltering in his blood, but with no person near, to whom to 
impute the violence he had sustained. 

His blood flowed copiously from two or three different 
wounds, one of them in particular near his left breast ; and 
my first care was to stop the effusion. For this purpose we 
stripped him of his clothes, and tore his linen into bandages. 
When we found him, he was insensible ; but the anguish 
of binding his wounds revived him a little, though only 
enough to extort from him sighs and groans. This accom- 
plished, I dismissed Hector to the inn to procure something 
in the nature of a litter, by which he might more easily be 
conveyed within reach of effectual assistance. 

I was now left for six hours with no other companions 
than the wounded gentleman and his dog, upon the very 
spot upon which he had just before sustained so ferocious a 
treatment, probably from the hands of banditti. They 
might every moment be expected to return. This was no 
agreeable notion to a person circumstanced as I was. I was 
compelled to feel that a man possessed of boundless and 
illimitable wealth, and of the power of repelling old age 
and disease, did not in these advantages possess every thing. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 251 

Notwithstanding the disappointments and mortifications I 
had sustained, I was yet attached to life : and though the 
bequests of the stranger had hitherto produced to me 
nothing but evil, I still looked, with almost puerile eager- 
ness and beating of heart, for the time when I might spread 
out the whole extent of my treasures without parsimony or 
the dread of reverse. During the interval which I em- 
ployed in these reflections, the wounded man was for the 
most part in a state of insensibility, and constantly speech- 
less. I expected his death every moment, and I perceived, 
as I thought with certainty, that there was no hope of his 
recovery. While we had dressed his wounds, the dog had 
watched our motions with the most restless attention, and, 
now that it was over, he came and licked my hands, and 
laid himself down at my feet. The least motion however, 
so much as a rustling among the leaves, startled him : he 
rose, looked round, and seemed to enquire into the cause of 
the disturbance ; but he abstained from barking and every 
kind of noise j whether it were that he was conscious of 
the advantage of quiet to a person in his master's condition, 
or that he had the sense to know, in the situation in which 
we were placed, that whatever produced alarm, might event- 
ually expose us to undiscovered danger. 

It was broad daylight before Hector re-appeared, and several 
other persons in his company. Hector was riot of a temper 
to have receded from any thing he undertook, and the au- 
thority of Marguerite had in this instance seconded his 
remonstrances with the surly and inactive peasants of the 
place. I had at this time only one other male servant ; 
but, when Hector returned, he brought with him a crazy 
kind of litter, and a recruit of four mountaineers. The 
wounded man still lived, and was conveyed alive to the 
place at which I had taken up my lodging. He survived 
three days ; and, during the whole of that period, the dog 
could neither be moved by force, nor prevailed on by en- 
treaties, to quit the apartment of his master. Before his 
death my unfortunate guest recovered the power of speech. 
He told me that his name was Andrea Filosanto, and, 
which struck me as somewhat extraordinary, that he was of 
Pisa, the very place at which I purposed to take up my 



252 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

abode. He had a brother resident in that city, and had 
himself been about to marry a very beautiful and accom 
plished young lady, an heiress, of the house of Carrac- 
ciuoli in Pisa. Previously to his marriage, he {resolved to 
make a visit to his mother, who had espoused to her second 
husband a French nobleman of Languedoc. He had tra- 
velled accompanied only by one servant, contrary to the 
persuasions both of his brother and the family of his in- 
tended bride ; but that servant, though he had been a very 
short time in his employment, was active, ingenious, and 
obliging., and had established himself strongly in the favour 
of his master. Signor Filosanto had taken with him a sum 
of money, the produce of one year's income of the dower 
of his mother ; and it was but too probable that the rich- 
ness of the charge he bore, had been fatal to the life of the 
bearer. His servant had disappeared from his side not a 
quarter of an hour before his being attacked by the ban- 
ditti ; and various concurring circumstances seemed to fix 
on this servant the accusation of being an accomplice with 
the murderers. Having heard from the unfortunate suf- 
ferer the tale of treachery of his human attendant, I related 
to him the extraordinary example of fidelity and attachment 
shown by his dog. The master was struck with the story 
I told, and called the dog to him upon his bed. The poor 
animal first leaped up upon the foot of the bed, and then 
warily and with great caution crawled to his master's face. 
Filosanto embraced the dog, 'who by his manner showed 
himself fully sensible of the purport of the action. That 
very evening, having requested me to convey his remains to 
the tomb of his ancestors at Pisa, the master expired. The 
dog in dumb and constant grief watched by the corpse, and 
followed the vehicle in which it was conveyed to Pisa. 
After the funeral, he made the choice, from which he could 
not be diverted, of living with me, and not with the brother 
and relations of his master, to whom he was almost wholly 
a stranger, but who would gladly have received him. One 
of the advantages I derived from this adventure, was the 
friendship and protection of the Filosanti and Carracciuoli, 
two of the most powerful families in Pisa. 

I have not yet finished the history of my dog. A few 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 253 

months after our establishment in the Pisan territory, the 
valet of the deceased had the audacity to appear in that city. 
He believed himself to be entirely unknown there, his 
master having taken him into his service during his resi- 
dence as a student in the university of Bologna ; and having 
ordered him, previously to his projected tour into France, 
to stay behind and settle his debts and other affairs at that 
place. He found however an adversary in Pisa that in all 
his anticipations had never occurred to his thoughts. The 
dog saw him at a distance in the street, ran towards him 
with incredible swiftness, and fell upon him with savage 
violence and ferocity. The man was not extricated from 
his gripe, till he had been severely and dangerously wounded. 
Thus assailed, all the terrors of superstition and an accusing 
conscience seized on this devoted villain ; he owned who he 
was, and confessed that he had made one among the assas- 
sins and plunderers of his master, visible probably to the 
dog, though unseen by the unfortunate Filosanto. He de- 
clared, that he knew not what motive had brought him to 
Pisa, that he seemed to himself under the guidance of an 
impulse which he had not power to resist, and that he re- 
joiced that Providence had thus conducted him to the expi- 
ation of his guilt. He was brought to his trial, and suffered 
death for his crime. 

Charon, such was the name by which my dog was 
distinguished, showed himself in all his actions worthy of 
the character for attachment and sagacity which he had in 
these instances acquired. He was therefore the favourite of 
my whole family, and particularly of Hector. But his own 
partiality was with the nicest discrimination reserved for 
me. The ruling passion of his preceding master had been 
the sports of the field, and his leading singularity an uncom- 
mon familiarity and friendship towards his brute attendants. 
By this conduct he had won the affections, and perhaps 
awakened the understanding and virtues, of the faithful 
Charon. I own my weakness. I could not resist the assi- 
duities and regard of this generous brute ; and, though I 
had never before conceived any extraordinary partiality for 
creatures of his species, his sagacity and nobleness of nature 
took a strong hold of my affection. I admired his form 



254 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

and agility as he bounded and gamboled before me upon 
the plain. In the midst of his gayest frolics he was all 
attention, and the least sign I made him would instantly 
divert his exertions to a different pursuit. He was accus- 
tomed to salute me with honest, undesigning homage every 
morning as I came from my chamber, and I should have 
missed his presence" with heaviness of heart upon this plain 
and homely occasion. He was the associate of my solitary 
walks, and my companion when pensive meditations in- 
duced me to withdraw from all human society. I became 
accustomed at such periods to observe him by my side, and 
should have felt that all was not right if he were not there. 
I was interested in his health, his well-being and his enjoy- 
ments ; and, if any calamity befell him, was prepared to 
feel it more severely than a wise man is sometimes willing 
to confess. It would scarcely be necessary to add to this 
simple history of my faithful Charon, the circumstance of 
his having saved the life of a beautiful little boy of ten 
years old, who had unluckly slipped into the Arno, and 
whom he seized by his garments and drew to the shore, had 
it not some connection with what I shall speedily have 
occasion to relate. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

To return to the thread of my narrative, which in stating 
these particulars I have in some points anticipated. I sat 
down, as I have already said, in the environs of the city of 
Pisa. Marguerite, as well as myself, had a powerful attach- 
ment to the retirement of rural life, and I judged it equally 
eligible for the health and intellectual improvement of my 
daughters. I accordingly purchased a small domain, de- 
lightfully situated, but of simple appearance, on the banks 
of the Arno. Here I proposed to remain during the indis- 
position of my wife, which I flattered myself retirement, 
tranquillity, attention and kindness, would in no long time 
be able to cure. To this object I resolved to devote my 
exertions. Well did she merit this return from me, who 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 255 

had restored me in the guilty ruin of my fortunes, and raised 
me from the abyss of insanity. Odious and detestable in 
the utmost degree should I have appeared in my own eyes, 
if I could have neglected any means I was able to devise, to 
heal a mischief of which my own precipitation, selfishness, 
and folly were the only causes. Every little, continual, 
nameless care I exerted, was as a drop of healing balm to 
the burning fever and remorse of my conscience. Nothing 
indeed could eradicate my distemper ; I felt the ever-living 
worm of perpetrated guilt gnawing at my heart. But my 
solicitudes for Marguerite, at least during the moments they 
were in action, mitigated my anguish ; and this transitory 
relief, however insignificant it may appear in the^eyes of 
others, I cherished beyond the wealth of kingdoms. 

Marguerite and myself appeared at this time to have 
changed characters. She was languid, indisposed in body 
and mind, her thoughts gloomy, her hopes blasted, her 
wishes bankrupt. Still however she maintained her supe- 
riority to what I had been in a similar condition. She en- 
deavoured to make the best of what yet remained to her, 
though she declined the vain attempt of forgetting what she 
had lost. She hung over her daughters with inexpressible 
endearment. She consoled them ; she reasoned with them ; 
she endeavoured to steel their minds for whatever ill might 
be yet in store. She cultivated their understandings ; she 
breathed into them mingled sentiments of resignation and 
energy. There was in her conversation with them a striking 
tone of celestial and divine. Her eloquence was copious ; 
her manner rich, unaffected, and flowing; her speech simple, 
free from exaggeration and turbulence, but mild, affectionate, 
and winning. It sank deep into the hearts of her hearers, 
and seemed to give a new turn to their tempers and dispo- 
sition. It rendered the character of Julia at once more 
distinctive, and yet more chastised; it inspired an unwonted 
mildness and sensibility to that of Louisa ; and rendered 
the cadette of the family unusually grave, thoughtful, and 
sedate. 

But upon me were devolved the more active occupations 
of our establishment. Marguerite had formerly been, I was 
now, the steward. Every kind of superintendence, from 



256 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

which the distinction of sex did not unavoidably exclude 
me, was resigned to me by the lovely victim of my indis- 
cretions. Marguerite had been my nurse, I was now am- 
bitious to be hers. I made myself the schoolmaster of my 
children; Marguerite confined her communications to ge- 
neral topics and the culture of the heart. I initiated them 
in music, drawing, geography, several different languages of 
Europe, and in every accomplishment that I believed would 
be really ornamental or improving to them. I might, it is 
true, have hired different masters to instruct them in each 
of these branches, and it is not impossible that they might 
then have been better taught, though I was myself no in- 
competent preceptor. But I had an honest artifice for my 
guide in the plan I adopted : I was desirous of removing 
out of the sight of my wife every thing that might remind 
her of the fatal legacy, the effects of which she was induced 
so bitterly to deplore. In some particulars I may affirm of 
myself that I was now a better and a kinder husband, than 
I had been in the days of our gayest prosperity, or the scene 
of our infant loves. I studied with assiduity the temper of 
Marguerite ; I watched her looks ; I endeavoured to anti- 
cipate her every wish. I meditated with care the plan of 
life, which her simple and feeling heart, if solely consulted, 
would have led her originally to have chosen ; and I copied 
out in the whole arrangement of our household the idea 
painted in my mind. Far from us were now the ostentation 
and pomp of the family-chateau on the banks of the Ga- 
ronne. We lived now, not to awaken admiration and envy 
in the bosom of guests and spectators : we lived for our- 
selves. Every thing was elegant; everything was tasteful; 
but not an article found its place in our residence, that did 
not rest its claim to be there upon a plea of usefulness. 
Though, by the nature of my situation, I was superior to 
all restraint from a consideration of expense, yet our com- 
petent board and orderly habitation approached nearer in 
their appearance to the honest plainness of a rustic, than to 
the sumptuousness of hereditary nobility. A table set out 
with striking propriety and neatness was preferred to the 
richness of plate and the splendour of porcelain and lustres. 
I was anxious that Marguerite should forget the change of 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 257 

our situation and the extent of my resources. The objects 
of my present pursuit were obscurity and content. That 
Marguerite might forget my acquisition, I was studious to 
appear to have forgotten it myself. If a stranger had en- 
tered our habitation, and surveyed our economy,, he would 
have judged that our revenues amounted to a decent com- 
petence, and that we disbursed them with a judicious 
discretion. Nothing was to be seen that would have be- 
trayed the possessor of the powder of projection. 

We had no guests. We cultivated no acquaintance. 
We were formed to suffice to each other within our little 
circle; and, but for the importunate recurrence of dis- 
quieting reflections, we should have done so. To look at 
the exterior of our household, it might have been thought 
that we had arrived at that sweet forgetfulness of anxious 
care, that delicious leisure and unbroken retreat, which 
have in all ages been the theme of panegyric to poets and 
philosophers. But it was not so. Our reciprocal relations 
were changed ; and the hope of the house of St. Leon was 
no longer in the midst of us, to cheer, to enlighten, and 
to warm our bosoms. 

A life of leisure is often an active and a busy life. The 
grand, I might almost say the single, object of present 
attention to me, was the restoration of the health and tran- 
quillity of Marguerite. For that I watched with unwearied 
assiduity. Subordinate to this occupation were the dif- 
ferent arts and accomplishments in which I instructed my 
daughters. Yet neither the former nor the latter of these 
engagements filled up all the time of a mind so restless 
and rapid as mine was. Intervals occurred, in which my 
attentions to Marguerite would have been, not soothing, 
but troublesome, and in which I could no longer impart a 
lesson to my daughters, without relaxing and weakening 
the spring of progression in their minds. These intervals 
I sometimes dedicated to chemistry and the operations of 
natural magic. The more effectually to hide these pursuits 
from the eye of Marguerite, I occupied, unknown to her, 
a sort of grotto, buried almost from human observation in 
a hollow on the banks of the river, and which was con- 
nected, by a winding path and a concealed subterranean 



258 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 






passage, with the garden of my own habitation. The secrets 
of the stranger had given me a particular relish for this 
kind of pursuit. There are habits of the mind and modes 
of occupying the attention, in which, when once we have 
engaged, there seems a sort of physical impossibility of 
ever withdrawing ourselves. This was my case in the 
present instance. My habit was of no long standing. But 
no reading of my story, no mere power of language and 
words, can enable a by-stander to imagine how deep it was 
sunk into my heart, how inextricably it was twisted with 
all the fibres of my bosom. That he may in some degree 
enter into my situation, I entreat the reader to consider 
what are the most imperious passions of the human mind. 
They have rudely been described to be wealth, power, and 
pleasurable sensation. How alluring to every one of us 
are the visionary conceptions of the mind respecting these 
most potent excitements ! But mine were no visions. 
I had grasped them in my hand, and known their reality. 
I had felt that the wealth of the whole world was at my 
disposal, and that I held my life by a tenure independent 
and imperial. These are not of the class of conceptions 
that fade and perish from the mind. We cannot wake 
from them as from a dream, and forget that ever such 
things were. They had changed the whole constitution of 
my nature. It would have required a miracle, greater 
than all the consecrated legends of our church record, to 
have restored me to what I formerly was. If then I could 
have resolved never henceforth to use the gifts I had 
received, I yet firmly believe that I never could have re- 
frained from the composition and decomposition of simples, 
and from experiments on the nature of substances, chemical 
and metallic. I was however far from having formed any 
such resolution as that I have named. My present for- 
bearance to bring forth the secret treasure of my powers 
was. purely an accommodation to the unhappy condition 
of my wife ; and I felt it as a meritorious exertion thus to 
postpone the use of the faculties I possessed. In the mean 
time the amusement I sought, that I regarded as properly 
and entirely my own, consisted in these experiments. 
While I was busied with my crucible, I was able more 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

vividly to present to myself my seeming superiority to the 
rest of my species. I used the employments of my grotto r 
as a sort of starting-post from which to set forth in a 
series of intoxicating reveries-; not to mention that to im- 
prove in the facility of my secret operations might become 
a valuable subsidiary to the pursuits of my future life. 

I took occasionally as my companion at these periods 
the negro of the prison of Constance. I found him suf- 
ficiently adapted for my purpose ; his innocence and im- 
plicit obedience to whomever he served > rendering me 
secure that he would anticipate nothing, that he would 
conjecture nothing, that he would, rest in what he saw, 
that I might almost exhibit my whole process under his 
eye, without once awakening the busy fiend of curiosity in 
a mind to which science had never unveiled her charms. 
He was formed to be a pure, passive machine in the hands 
of his employer, only with this singular difference from 
the lifeless machine of the engineer or mechanical inventor,, 
that he was susceptible of attachment and affection, as well! 
as of a certain species of contentment and a certain species 
of goodness and virtue. 

A feature of my individual character which has already 
frequently presented itself to the attention of the reader 
is the love of admiration and spontaneous deference. I am 
at this moment ashamed of my vices and my follies ; but 
it must be recollected, in the first place, that they are 
human, and in the second that I am writing, not their 
vindication,, but their history. In the midst of my ex- 
periments and chemical lucubrations, I could not help 
sometimes ostentatiously exhibiting to Hector the wonders 
of my art, and those extraordinary effects which have in 
all ages drawn upon the more eminent operators of natural 
magic the reproach of being necromancers and conjurers. 
This I did, partly perhaps that my attendant might learn 
to look up to me with a kind of nameless respect and awe, 
but partly also that I might divert myself with the sim- 
plicity of his nature, and the gaping and motionless 
astonishment with which he viewed my performances. 
If I had not done this, or digressed into idle and osten- 
tatious experiments,, he would otherwise have seen enough.,, 
s 2 



260 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

in the operations in which his assistance, if not absolutely 
necessary, was extremely convenient, to have induced a 
person, so void of the meanest European information, to 
regard me as assisted by and in league with invisible 
powers. 

The prejudice against me, with which this poor fellow 
had been impressed at the commencement of our inter- 
course did not long hold out, in his ingenuous mind, against 
the more favourable sentiments which my present situation 
and mode of living were calculated to inspire. The speci- 
mens he had hitherto seen of European society were of the 
most unfavourable kind. His first master was a wretch of 
brutal disposition, ferocious and insolent; disdaining to 
reason himself, and impatient of remonstrance in others. 
This man had exercised the temper of his humble and 
honest attendant with every variety of savage caprice ; and, 
having tired the restlessness of his own gloomy tyranny, 
without being able to exhaust the modest and unexampled 
patience of his servant, had finished by throwing him into 
gaol, upon a wanton and groundless charge of dishonesty. 
This, which was intended as a further exercise of tyranny, 
deserved to be hailed by the poor sufferer as a period of 
jubilee and deliverance. His innocence, as I have already 
related, was speedily recognised by his new task-master, 
who accordingly exerted himself to obtain justice for the 
friendless victim; and from a reputed thief proposed to 
elevate him to the rank of a turnkey. Hector had neither 
kindred nor patron to assist him ; the outcast of a gaol, he 
must again have entered the world with a blasted character. 
Thus circumstanced, and influenced beside by gratitude to 
the unlooked-for liberality of his deliverer, he willingly ac- 
cepted the situation proposed to him. With his new mas- 
ter, who, not less unprincipled, was less tyrannical than his 
predecessor, the humbleness of his hopes taught him to be 
contented. Yet in the bosom of the gaoler all his fidelity 
and regard could not enable him to detect one positive 
virtue ; and, within the walls of the prison, there had 
existed nothing that could by any possibility cherish and 
refresh the human heart. 

The scene presented to Hector's observation in our little 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 26 1 

retreat, on the banks of the Arno, was of a very different 
nature. To his frank and affectionate spirit, it appeared a 
perfect paradise. He had yet scarcely been acquainted with 
any but the refuse of mankind, from the infection of whose 
vices his unapprehensive and invincible simplicity had been 
his only safeguard j and he was now suddenly introduced 
to the presence and intercourse of the most perfect of her 
sex. He loved her as a benefactor, and he worshipped her 
as a god. There is no receipt for begetting affection in 
others, so infallible as a warm and susceptible heart. Hec- 
tor accordingly soon became in a remarkable degree the 
favourite of my daughters. His temper was naturally 
cheerful and gay ; and, warmed by their encouragement, it 
became a thousand times more so. When he had completed 
the occupations of the day, the lightness of his spirit would 
prompt him to sing and dance for ever. He exhibited the 
whole circle of his sportive games for their amusement. 
The infantine innocence of his understanding remarkably 
adapted him to be the butt of their little waggeries and 
mischiefs. Whatever tricks were played upon him, were 
however tempered by the forbearance and regard his worth 
demanded ; while the obstreperous cheerfulness with which 
he would second their mirth, when most ignorant of its 
occasion, gave uncommon zest to the amusement, and fur- 
nished eternal provocation to the prolonging and varying its 
features. 

Let not the fastidious reader complain of the inconsist- 
ency of this part of my picture, or censure the levity of my 
daughters. I am not writing a tragedy, but a history. 
Sad grief and melancholy cannot, and ought not, for ever 
to reign in the human face or the human heart. No daugh- 
ters ever loved a mother more entirely, more fervently, than 
Marguerite was loved by her children. They were unwea- 
ried in their attention to her : often was their pillow wa- 
tered with tears, occasioned by the sad presentiment of the 
loss they were destined to sustain. But the human mind, 
particularly in the season of youth, has an unconquerable 
principle of elasticity in its frame. The bow cannot be kept 
for ever on the stretch ; and, when the whole soul appears 
to be bent down by calamity to the grave, it will often sur- 
s 3 



TRAVEL* OF ST. LKON 

and renew its strength. The 

ingenuous natuie of (hi iris led them indeed occa- 

sionally to reproach themsehes with these moments of 
cheerfulness as with a crime. Hut it was no crime. None 
but the uncharitably rigorous and morose will charge It 
upon them MS a mine. It interfered with no dt; 
diminished no attention ; Jt had no tendency to haideti their 
hearts. It was a (a\ they paul to the impel fectness of our 
. ; it WW ft tribute of ^.itiuuK' ti> that (Jotl who. 
wliile he deals out to us the most ternhle ealamitu 
not to uii\ with the eopious diau^ht some solitary ilrops of 
beneflcenc*. Julia alone, whose temper was eoustitution- 

aml soft, entered little intv< 

whieh her youngest s. he eternal leader and untired 

jiarUker. Yet even upon the grave eountenanee of Julia 
theywouKl sometimes pro\oke an unwilling smile, \\hu~h 
upon her eouutenance sat with nneommon lu>: 

The hilarity and loveliness whieh lleetor fouiul in the 
midst of luy taiuily and inereaseil the attach- 

ment he be K-l for myself. Me could not behe\e 

that the father of sueh tlaughters. ami the ehosen lr. 
i>f sneh a consort, could be destitute of a title tv be loved. 
He reasoned in his own way upon the attempt 1 hail made 
to corrupt his fidelity, an attack whieh he never thoroughly 
dig*tted. 1 have reason to belie\e :!..;: his attendance upon 
my chemical processes, anil the wonders 1 occasionally 
allowed to excite his astonishment, did not tend to i 
me in his good opinion. Hut he could not a\oid wit- 
nessing in me many of the virtues of a gtxnl husknul ami 
d these, so new to his obsc 

impressvd him in my fa\our. The regularity of my habits 
anil the mildness of my carriage were also calculated 
his attention and esteem. Never had the poor fellow's af. 
fections been >o foicibly called out as they were in his new- 
situation ; and he would cheerftUly have stretched out his 
neck to the assassin's knife, to have warded otf impending 
CM! from the meanest of r.s. 

Prosperity and ease have oAen heen found the part- 
wishes and inclinations unfelt before. Adversity is the 
season of sober thought, calls home the erratic mmd. and 



TMAVIXH OK hT. MOON. 

teache:, us l.o he cheaply satisfied, lint the uiiiii who has 
many :-i all fi< alioir I', apt lo wander in iiii:i;-iii:ili>iii from 
daily an<l familiar joys, and confident ly l.o /< a< h ai I. i llnn-s 
yd nnliied. Six li was the ilualM/n ol' ll-'t,,, : \\-\<,t 
was in love. Our sweet ; ( |,,| unple mansion was distant 
scaici |y moie than I wo bundled yards fioin a characteristic 
Ilahan villave. Tin- maid of a )illl<- nlln-fifn in tin- place 
liad canvlil I ir-. UK : pi IK ii'i (| In ait. lie had hern invilrd 
by *om< peasants to a woonh;dil f<:livity on lli< lawn of 
tin ulln'iiji, ; and, (hough I should have !,<< n hi th ; j)lettWitl 
that my < vaults tshonld <lrchin- thr-, :-.oi I ol amn < on nl I 
coidd not, have lh h.atl to d. ny him. It was, w> far an i 
knew, lln- hi;-.l and tin- la:,t linn that llcd.or iiad ( , < i j< - 
\oili-d lo it. lint I wa . d'-Mvid. llcclot had piovid ihc 
gayeHt and moht amuvJn^ of llic whole <nde. Hi <hie/- 

luln.' wa jn- ..hail llhlc, ;UI<I h^ Illiltll ill (he Ul.lHOHt lle- 
|.'i((- liaii/ile-,-. and ;M,O<| homonied. lie had played a 
Ihon and anln ; , n i| d ;i ii<| wilh an ability that Knew no 
end. In a word, the a< roni|(li:-hinent;s of Hector, in hjtilc 
of the jelly hu<- lhal -.lanm! In. fan, had won the heart, 
01 ion ,<(! the (-(((jiieliy, of ihe pluiii|< and rosy hai maid. 
The oveilmc, ). made and ihe hires she threw out were 
tOO glaring to e cape (he notice even of (hr niode-l Hector. 
lie frit hinc.ell fhitli-ird, 'iMli [f human nalnn , at KU(1- 
tlenly hecomm;' an ohjrct of admiration and prdeienee to 
a woman, whom his imagination, :-;limula1.r<l hy her viKlble 
|)ailiality, atlind in a hundred charms. He owned himself 
her , in all fair and hone;,! (rally, lo tin; World's end. 

Love laiudil. Hector a lesson which he had never Jeamd 

hefo/i-. In natinc he was frank, and. || fai a. fidelity U> 

In. ma- i< i j.eimiit-d it, won- his In-art as naked as In fan. 

.Mifdit him dissimulation! A vulgar footman or 

clown is as forward as the moM empty bean, j n hoasling of 

the tnnmphs he ha:, :.'amd ovr the frmalr heart, and in 

sacnfi'inr' the lepntation of tho e V vho have loved him at 

the liiine of his vanity. Not such wan Hector, lie wbut 

op In. new sensations and MV< rit'H an a sacred deposit in his 

Natnrr worked within him, and he would have 

bflCn ahamed to HjM-ak, and <li stressed to hear, of emotions, 

now felt, till now n,-ver c >. j ni -need. His artless and in- 

K 4 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

genuous temper in this one particular assumed the guise of 
cunning. Never did he tell his love in the ear of any in- 
different auditor ; assiduously did he avoid pronouncing 
even the name of her to whom he was attached. In any 
other case he would have announced to me his inclinations, 
and previously demanded my leave of absence for his ex- 
cursions. But love seemed to him imperiously to command 
privacy, and he employed every imaginable precaution to 
prevent me and all human beings from knowing whither he 
went, or that he was absent at all. 

In one of his visits to his fair donzella, he happened in- 
cautiously to drop some very remote hint of the scenes hi 
which he had just been engaged with me in my secret 
grotto. The curiosity of the girl was strongly roused ; she 
questioned him further. He started, and was terrified to 
recollect what he had said. I had strictly enjoined him 
secrecy towards every member of my family : my pre- 
caution had extended no further ; for, as I have said, I 
scarcely knew that he had the most casual intercourse with 
any person beyond my own roof. But Hector naturally 
dreaded that what I was so earnest to conceal from every 
one in my house he would be highly to blame to com- 
municate to a stranger. He therefore peremptorily refused, 
and with many signs of distress, to say another word on the 
subject. 

The donzella, piqued at his resistance, had recourse to 
female arts. She was cruel ; she uttered words of sharp 
displeasure and disdain ; she knew that a person who re- 
fused her such a trifle could not have an atom of regard for 
her she commanded him never to see her more. Unsuc- 
cessful in these expedients, she had recourse to expedients 
of a different sort. She wept ; she called him base, false- 
hearted and unkind ; she saw he was determined to be the 
death of her ; she was seized with strong fits of sobbing 
and hysterical affection. In the midst of all this he was 
as unmoved as a rock of marble. He interpreted every 
thing that passed in its most literal form ; he felt more 
severely her unkindness, and sympathised more truly in her 
distress, than perhaps any human creature would have done. 
But no further could she gain upon him. The confidence 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 265 

of his master was in question, and he would sooner have 
died upon the rack, than run the slightest risk of betray- 
ing it. 

From these arts she descended to arts more congenial to 
the habits of her life. She summoned all her skill to per- 
plex him with cunning and insidious questions. From her 
questions he ought to have fled ; but of this Hector was in- 
capable. He was distressed by her severity,, he grieved for 
the unintentional pain he had caused her. All these cir- 
cumstances melted his heart ; and he could not resolve upon 
anything that was not considerate and respectful towards her. 
As the framing of artful questions was the strong-hold of 
the donzella, and she might have challenged in this article 
the most hoary practitioner of the quibbling bar, so it was 
exactly the weakest side upon which poor Hector could be 
attacked. His simplicity yielded him up a defenceless prey 
to the assailant ; least of all human undertakings was he ca- 
pable of detecting the various faces of a doubtful question, 
and of guarding himself against the traps of an insidious 
foe. It was not till the fourth interview from Hector's ori- 
ginal hint, that the donzella had recourse to this species of 
attack ; and she did not withdraw her forces, till she had 
extorted from him all he knew. 

When Hector found that all his guards were baffled and 
put to flight, he had then recourse to the only expedient 
that remained, conjuring her by every thing sacred and 
every thing tremendous, not to betray a trust she had so 
ungenerously obtained from him. She readily promised 
every thing he desired. Soothed by her compliance, he 
determined not to mention to me the lapse of which he had 
been guilty. It would in his opinion have been little less 
than treason, to suspect his Dulcinea of indiscretion or 
frailty. In the breast of this miracle of nature was not his 
loyalty as secure as it could be even in his own ? Why 
then should he betray the secret of his love, which had 
never yet been confided even to the senseless air ? Why 
should he subject himself to the inconceivable anguish and 
confusion, of owning, where my interests, or where my 
wishes were concerned, that he had been found tripping 
and imperfect? Why should he inflict a pain, or cause 



266 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



in me a fear, which he knew, and he only could know, 
was groundless ? Thus it happened that 1 had one more 
confident of what I purposed should be secret, than I was 
myself in the smallest degree advertised of. ' 

The consequences of this indiscretion of my servant were 
not slow in rendering themselves visible. The donzella 
was by no means so scrupulous or delicate in her senti- 
ments, as my humble, but faithful, attendant. As she had 
given her company to Hector, she had had an opportunity 
of observing in him such integrity and goodness of heart, 
as could not fail to extort the esteem of any human being. 
She really honoured him ; she was unwilling to give him 
any cause of uneasiness. But she had another lover ; per- 
haps she had more. The laws of chastity she regarded as 
prejudices, and believed they were never formed for persons 
in her situation in society. She was of opinion that the 
more lovers she had, provided she satisfied them all, the 
more completely did she improve the talents with which 
Heaven had endowed her. Few women have any secrets 
for the man they admit to their embraces. In an hour of 
amorous dalliance she communicated to Agostino, the ostler, 
all that she knew of the conjurations and spells of Monsieur 
Boismorand, such was the name I had assumed upon my 
entrance into Italy. Her communication was probably at- 
tended with cautions, imitated from those with which Hector 
had so industriously loaded the donzella in the preceding 
example. Perhaps the illustrissimo Agostino had another 
mistress, with whom he thought it would be unjust to 
practise greater reserves than the donzella had done with 
him. Be that as it will, the rumours which were whispered 
to my prejudice speedily got air; and, it may be, were re- 
peated with the greater avidity, on account of the mystery 
that attended them, and the injunctions of secrecy with 
which they were accompanied. 



TRAVELS OF ST LEON. '26? 



CHAPTER XXV. 

ITALY may be considered as the very focus and parent of 
superstitious credulity. The materials which Hector had 
furnished., after all the interrogations of the donzella, were 
slight compared with the superstructure which was pre- 
sently erected on them. My grotto was said to be the ap- 
propriated haunt where a thousand devils held their infernal 
sabbath. The terrified imagination of the rustics., listening 
with a temper horribly distracted between curiosity and 
alarm., created to itself fictitious bowlings arid shrieks, and 
saw pale and sulphureous flames dancing upon the surface 
of the stream. Poor Hector was early the victim of their 
cruel and untamed ignorance ; they believed that the pecu- 
liarity of his complexion rendered him a singularly agree- 
able intercessor between me and my infernal familiars. 
The colour of Charon was similar to that of my confiden- 
tial attendant ; and he., like Hector, fell under the calum- 
nious misconstructions of the affrighted villagers. Conspi- 
cuously noble, affectionate and useful as he was, the 
jaundiced eye of superstition metamorphosed him into a 
devil. The storms of thunder and lightning to which the 
climate in which I resided is particularly subject acquired 
new terror from the ill fame which now pursued the name 
of fMonsieur Boismorand. At those times the shapeless 
form of monsters vomiting smoke and flames were visible 
to the neighbourhood, sometimes scudding along the blue 
tops of the distant hills, and at others, with audaciousness 
incredible, brushing even at the elbow of the almost lifeless 
clowns and dairy-maids, and then suddenly dissolving into 
air, their place no longer marked but by the noisome and 
deadly stench they left behind. All the misfortunes of the 
district were imputed to me, the mortality of cattle, the 
convulsions and death of children, and the pale and linger- 
ing decay of persons recently advanced to an age of pu- 
berty. Innocent and blameless was my conduct to all 
around us ; often was I forward and eager for the relief of 



268 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

the poor and afflicted; never was I the author of the 
slightest inconvenience or prejudice to any. Yet nothing 
merely human could be hated in the degree in which I was 
hated ; few were daring and intrepid enough to repeat the 
very name I bore ; and, when it was inadvertently pro- 
nounced, it produced through the whole extent of the 
astonished circle an involuntary and supernatural shudder. 

Agostino, the first lover who had made an impression on 
the heart of Hector's donzella, was, as I afterwards found, 
a fellow of a gloomy and ferocious disposition, a true Italian 
spadaccino, determined that none should perpetrate an af- 
front against him with impunity, but should expiate, in 
some refined and cruel vengeance, the levity by which they 
had been so unfortunate as to give birth to his hatred. He 
by no means relished or approved the liberal and good-hu- 
moured sentiments of the donzella ; often had they inflicted 
on him the darkest torments of jealousy ; nor had he failed, 
at least in one preceding instance, to make his rival the 
victim of his resentment. The donzella however went on 
in her career ; she was light of heart, gay in temper, and 
careless of consequences. She had always hitherto suc- 
ceeded, by playful blandishments, or more serious demon- 
strations of contrition, in mollifying the temper of her 
brute ; and every pardon she received operated with her as 
a new permission to offend. She did not sufficiently con- 
sider that she was thus continually raising to a higher pitch 
the frenzy of his malice. Hector in the mean time was 
utterly unconscious and ignorant of the perilous situation 
in which he stood ; while, to the apprehension of Agostino, 
the giving him a negro for a rival, whom his pride regarded 
as belonging to an inferior species of beings, and his devout 
ignorance likened to the leader of the infernal squadrons, 
was the last and most intolerable insult. 

His malice was ingenious and subtle. He disdained the 
vulgar revenge of stabbing his antagonist in the dark, and 
supposing that his enmity could be gorged by a blow. 
When the venom of his nature was thoroughly put in motion, 
nothing could restore it to quietness and tranquillity but 
some mighty stroke, to excite the wonder of every by- 
stander, and that should leave behind it a track of deso- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

lation, never to be filled up again and erased. He heard 
therefore with unsated appetite and eager joy the tale of ne- 
cromancy and infernal machination repeated to him from 
Hector by the donzella. The impression which the nar- 
rative produced upon him was a mixed sentiment of 
transport at the apprehension of such an instrument of 
vengeance and of palpitating hatred ; superstition teaching 
him to believe and to view with abhorrence that which he 
desired to render tenfold more an object of faith and aversion 
to his neighbours. He struck an auspicious and august 
alliance between his revenge and his religion ; his religion 
exciting him to exterminate that, the destruction of which 
would produce inexpressible gratification to his revenge. 
The darkness of his spirit led him to proceed with double 
caution and vigilance in his correspondence with the don- 
zella. He discovered nothing to her of the dark project 
which was engendering in his mind ; and only betrayed so 
much of his superstitious feelings and fears as, by giving 
new emotion, might stimulate her to gratify his curiosity 
and her own by a detection of further particulars. He was 
assiduous in the underhand and sinister propagation of the 
tale, to which he did not fail to give his own colouring and 
affix his own feelings. He was desirous that the train 
should be laid in silence, and that the explosion he designed 
should be free from all pre-signification of the event. Thus 
an individual, of whose animosity I had no apprehension, 
and the meanness of whose appearance would probably have 
made me neglect all precaution against him, gave method 
and direction to an evil, of which however, upon a review, 
I am not inclined to doubt I should have been the victim, 
if the enmity and industry of this individual had been 
wholly withdrawn. 

The mischief was long in preparation, before I received 
in any way the slightest intimation of the predicament in 
which I stood. The first circumstance at all calculated to 
excite alarm in my mind, was the singular manner in which I 
found myself regarded, if I entered any of the neighbouring 
villages, or met the rustics and their dames, as I strayed 
along the roads or the fields. They fled my approach, de- 
serted the streets, and carefully shut themselves up in their 



270 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

houses, till I had passed. Where it was impossible to 
avoid me, they bowed themselves to the earth in the most 
submissive guise before me, while the most lively terror 
was painted in their countenances, dreading lest they should 
excite the resentment of a tremendous and inexorable foe. 
These tokens however were far from inspiring me with a 
conception of the truth. They perplexed, they astonished, 
they distressed me. Sore as I was with my recent afflictions, 
my mind was but too fully prepared for anticipations of 
evil. I had suffered from suspicions, I had suffered from 
calumnious imputations, I had suffered from the malignant 
effects of popular rumour. Had I yielded my confidence 
to any person but such a one as Hector, it is probable my 
suspicions would have turned on that side. But my reliance 
on him was not less than that which Alexander the Great 
yielded to Philip the physician : I knew his rectitude, his 
simplicity, his fidelity, and the singleness of his heart ; and 
I could not harbour the shadow of a doubt respecting him. 
My reliance was of that entire and perfect sort, which did 
not express itself by a recollection of the physical possibility 
and an acquittal founded in deliberation, but by a total 
vacancy of doubt, or of retrospect that way directed, just 
such as the state of my mind would have appeared, if the 
thing had been naturally impossible. 

I was not however ignorant and raw enough to be de- 
ceived by the exterior of homage I have described ; I suf- 
ficiently knew that what I beheld was the offspring of 
hatred. To feel one's self hated is in all instances a painful 
and humiliating state of the human mind. To me it was 
especially so. I was not formed to retaliate this species of 
injury ; I could not hate in my turn. I was formed to 
love. I could not look upon my species with dark and 
gloomy contemplations ; I was prompt to admire their 
virtues, and perhaps even too prompt to extenuate their 
errors. It may, I believe, be laid down as a rule, that 
they who cannot hate can least endure to be made objects 
of hatred. Fettered however as I now was, by the ten- 
derest consideration for the health and tranquillity of Mar- 
guerite, I thought it best to temporise and submit in silence. 
My principal anxiety was to hide these symptoms from the 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



271 



notice of my family. This I could not completely effect ; 
some of them were too glaring and obtrusive, entirely to 
escape the observation of my daughters in their walks. But 
the filial forbearance they felt towards their mother led them 
implicitly and without any concerted plan to concur with 
me in my exertions for her quiet. 

The animosity of Agostino was restless and inextin- 
guishable. His plans did not terminate in exciting against 
me a secret and covered abhorrence ; they aimed at nothing 
less than my utter destruction. The next exertion of the 
conspiracy which was engendering against me was of a tra- 
gical nature. 

It happened one night, after all my family was retired 
to rest, and I was myself sunk into a slumber, that I was 
suddenly alarmed at the report of a musket, which seemed 
to be fired almost under the window of my chamber. This 
was a very singular circumstance, and calculated to convey 
an impression of danger. I leaped from my bed, and ran 
to the window. The night was extremely dark, and every 
thing seemed perfectly quiet. Presently I discerned a 
glimmering light, like that of a lantern, which however^ ap- 
peared to be gradually retiring to a greater distance. I was 
not thus satisfied, but determined to hasten down stairs, and 
investigate the cause of the disturbance. Marguerite, who 
had heard the firing of the musket as well as myself, now 
called me to her, and entreated me not to expose myself to 
unnecessary danger. In compliance with her remonstrances 
I promised, though unwillingly, not to go out into the 
court or upon the lawn, but to content myself with exa- 
mining the state of every part of the house. When I came 
to the staircase and the hall, I found that the alarm had com- 
municated to almost every person in the family, who pre- 
sently assembled round me. We patroled the house, but 
found every thing in the situation in which it had been 
left, and nowhere any appearance of violence. I opened 
several of the windows, but all was darkness and silence. 
Having thus far satisfied myself, I listened with a degree 
of amusement to the conjectures and sage remarks of several 
of the servants, a rank of society who may usually be found 
to 'derive a degree of enjoyment from incidents of this sort, 



2?2 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

which, for the moment, strikingly tend to level all artificial 
distinctions, and confer on every one the liberty of uttering 
his reflections without apprehension or constraint. I did not 
however feel myself entirely easy ; the circumstance which 
had just occurred, combined with the forebodings which 
had lately impressed me, had filled me with undefinable 
terror and alarm. Hector would willingly have gone over 
the grounds contiguous to the house, to see if he could dis- 
cover any thing that related to or could explain the incident ; 
but I had promised Marguerite that I would search no 
further, and the temper of my mind would not suffer me 
to expose another to a danger, which I abstained from en- 
countering in my own person. It was more than an hour 
before the conclave in which we were assembled broke up, 
and every one retired, fatigued with attention, and prepared 
to fall into the soundest sleep. My dreams were uneasy 
and disturbed; my mind was in a tumult of imaginary 
calamities ; and I passed the greater part of the night in a 
state of singular anxiety. 

In the morning I was scarcely sunk into a refreshing 
slumber, before I was suddenly roused from sleep by a 
repetition of shrieks of astonishment and distress. I put 
on my clothes as quickly as I could, and hastened towards 
the spot from which the sounds appeared to proceed. The 
first object I beheld was the little boy of ten years' old, 
whom Charon had a short time before dragged out of the 
river, stretched along upon the lifeless body of this faithful 
and generous animal. The musket, the report of which 
had alarmed us the night before, had no doubt been aimed 
against Charon, and the greater part of its contents appeared 
to be lodged in his body. As no further sound had suc- 
ceeded the firing, he had probably been killed on the spot. 
He was at a small distance from the house, near a private 
footpath, where he had been [found in the morning- by the 
lad whose life he had recently preserved. The poor boy 
had not at first understood what had happened to his bene- 
factor, but only thought him asleep, and, prompted by 
affection for the generous creature, had quietly sat down by 
him till he should awake. He had not sat long however, 
before he discerned about him the marks of blood. He 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 273 

put his hand to the wound ; the animal stirred not. He 
passed to his head ; he saw his eyes fiery and starting, and 
his lips distorted. He endeavoured to awake him, as one 
would awake a human being to whom some mischief had 
happened of which he was not aware. All his efforts were 
fruitless. He found his body motionless, and his joints 
stiff in death. The apprehension of what had occurred 
then suddenly flashed on his mind. He burst out into 
shrieks of astonishment and anguish. Hector was the first 
person who caught the sound, and hastened to the spot ; I 
immediately followed. The poor negro, who, in the inno- 
cence of his heart was uninitiated in the proud distinctions 
by which civilised man is taught to place so vast a barrier 
between the human nature and the brute, was struck speech- 
less with sorrow and amazement. He recognised the dead 
being before him for his fellow -creature. He recollected 
in him his friend, his companion, his intimate acquaintance, 
between whom and himself there had for some time passed 
an uninterrupted reciprocation of acts of kindness and 
assistance. 

A morose and fastidious reader perhaps will ask me why 
I lay so great a stress upon so petty and insignificant an 
incident as the death of a dog. It might have been little 
to other persons ; it was not little to us. Let the reader 
recollect his ingenuity in procuring aid for his dying master, 
his gratitude to the person by whom that aid was afforded, 
and his unconquerable antipathy to his master's murderer. 
These are not common traits. There are many men whose 
premature fate has been the most unrelentingly avenged, 
that in moral and useful qualities could not have stood the 
comparison with my generous Charon. It surely was no 
common cause for regret, that a creature who had distin- 
guished himself by a conduct so peculiarly admirable, should 
have encountered so premature and unmerited a fate. His 
conduct the reader may in some degree comprehend and 
appreciate j but I should in vain attempt to delineate those 
admirable qualities in this faithful domestic, which do not 
fall within the province of narrative, and which to have 
justly appreciated you must have been personally and fa- 
miliarly acquainted with him. Beside, ours was a family 
T 



274? TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

of love. As we were affectionately attached to each other, 
so we never admitted a servant under our roof, who did not 
prove himself by his conduct utterly unworthy, to whom 
we did not extend a share of that friendship and affection, 
which seemed to be the right of every one that dwelt in our 
family. Feeling does not stay to calculate with weights 
and a balance the importance and magnitude of every 
object that excites it ; it flows impetuously from the heart, 
without consulting the cooler responses of the under- 
standing. 

There was another circumstance which rendered the 
catastrophe of this generous animal of great moment to us. 
It was a clear proof that there was somewhere a strong 
animosity at work against his master. It was impossible 
he could himself have provoked his fate. Never was a 
creature more gentle and inoffensive. Though his bulk 
was great, and his strength uncommon, the energies he 
possessed were always employed in acts of justice and bene- 
ficence, never in acts of aggression. But if a hatred were 
at work so busy and fierce as to prompt an action like this, 
how were we to estimate it ? What was its source, and 
whither did it tend ? These were very interesting and 
serious considerations. We however dwelt for some time 
longer in the centre of general antipathy and abhorrence, 
without being able in the smallest degree to explain to our- 
selves what we saw. As we knew not in what we had 
offended, we were unable to atone for our fault, or even to 
guard ourselves against the repetition of it ; nor were we 
by any means prepared to comprehend the extent of our 
danger. Happily Marguerite, whose health was now in a 
rapid decline, was least exposed to the observation of this 
new mischief ; though she felt enough of it to confirm her 
in the sentiment, that she had nothing fortunate and happy 
to look forward to in the small remainder of her existence. 
There was indeed one idea perpetually present to her, 
which rendered the impression of ordinary occurrences 
extremely feeble upon her mind : Charles, Charles, wan- 
dering alone in the world, unknowing and unknown, with- 
out a friend, a relative, a counsellor, or a protector, without 
money and without a name ! This melancholy image fol- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



lowed her wherever she went, haunted her nightly in her 
dreams,, attended her in all her occupations, filled all her 
intervals of leisure ; and, though she laid it down as a law 
to herself never to repeat his beloved name in my presence, 
she could think of nothing else. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

IT was no long time after the death of Charon, that Hector 
came home one evening in a state of the most violent 
anxiety and trepidation. He burst upon me in my study, 
where I was sitting alone, buried in one of those deep 
reveries which, especially since the legacy of the stranger, 
had been among the most frequent habits of my mind. 
His perturbation was such as to render it impossible for 
him to impose on himself the smallest degree of caution 
and restraint. The noise he made in entering the apart- 
ment startled me. I looked up, and perceived his features 
swelled, his face bruised, and his garments disfigured with 
blood. 

" For heaven's sake, Hector," exclaimed I, " what is 
the matter ? " 

He answered not. He advanced towards the upper end 
of the room, he took down a pistol, one of those which I 
always kept loaded in my apartment, he came towards me, 
he fell upon his knees, he tendered the pistol to my ac- 
ceptance. 

1 ' Hector ! " cried I, " what am I to understand ? what 
is the meaning of this ? " 

" Kill me, dear master ! For Christ's sake I entreat 
you to kill me !" 

" I took the pistol from his hand ; it pointed towards 
the floor." 

"And will you not kill me? "in a mournful accent 
exclaimed he. 

" What have you done, that deserves that I should kill 
you ? " 

T 2 



276 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

fc Kill me ! only kill me ! pray kill me ! " He spread 
out his hands towards me with a gesture of intreaty. 

(( Hector, what means this agitation ? what has hap- 
pened ?" You terrify me beyond expression. 

f e Must I speak ? " replied he. ' ( Must I be the accuser 
of my guilty self?" He burst into an agony of tears. 

(f Would 1 were dead ! Would I had been torn into a 
thousand pieces,, before this had happened ! Indeed, sir, 
I am innocent ! I thought no harm ! Indeed it is not 
my fault !" 

" What have you done ? Whence come these bruises 
and this wound ?" 

" It is all my fault! It is all my doing, nobody 
else ! Why will you not kill me ? " 

" Hector, I cannot bear this uncertainty. Recollect 
yourself ! Be pacified ! and tell your story ! " 

" Will you forgive me ? " 

" Forgive you what ? What have you done to deserve 
my anger ? " 

" No, no, I do not wish to be forgiven ! I only wish 
you to abhor, to detest, to curse and to kill me ! " 

(< This is beyond all patience." 

" I never loved any body but you, and my mistress, and 
my dear young ladies. I never did any body else the 
least atom of mischief ; and now my folly will be the ruin 
of you all ! 

" Pardon me, sir ! I will torment you no longer. I 
will get the better of myself, and tell you all that has hap- 
pened." 

He then informed me, though with many breaks and 
passionate interruptions, of what he had just discovered, 
my evil repute as a necromancer, the many strange and 
terrible stories that were circulated of me, the antipathy 
universally entertained against me, the active ferociousness 
with which this antipathy was accompanied, and the 
consequences that he feared would result. He ascribed 
the whole to his own imprudence, and to the particulars 
which the superior cunning of the donzella, in spite of his 
invincible refusal to acquaint her with a single circum- 
stance, had wrung from him. Hector had collected several 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 277 

of these particulars accidentally from a neighbouring rustic, 
and had been vehement in my defence. While they were 
eager in debate, others had joined them, but Hector had 
found them all opponents, not one a supporter. Irritated 
with the contest, and the opprobrious language heaped 
upon himself and his master, Hector had been provoked to 
srrike the most insolent of the disputants. Immediately 
several had fallen upon him at once, and it was owing to 
the uncommon strength and dexterity he possessed, that 
he had escaped alive out of their hands. Beside innu- 
merable blows with fist, foot, and stick, he had received 
two or three stabs in different parts of the body, from the 
knives with which the Italian is too much accustomed to 
assail his adversary. It was easy to see that the gallant 
and generous defence of Hector had considerably augmented 
the danger of my situation. They dismissed him with a 
thousand execrations against both him and myself, and 
vows that they would sign ah' se their vengeance by setting 
fire to my house. Having related his story, Hector con- 
cluded with again earnestly conjuring me to kill him, that 
so he might expiate the imprudence and folly by which he 
had made himself the author of my calamity. 

The excessiveness of the poor fellow's distress excited 
me to employ every effort to pacify his mind. " Hector," 
said I, " you have been very imprudent, but I foresee no 
such consequences as your terrified imagination has led 
you to forebode. The idle threats of clowns in the midst 
of their brawls are entitled to little regard. I am not so 
weak and infirm of soul as to be moved from my tran- 
quillity by their senseless prate. I entertain no doubt of 
your fidelity and affection. I am not angry with you. 
The fault you have been guilty of, arose from no defect of 
vigilance or attachment. You did what you could, and 
where you failed, it was only in that to which your powers 
were not commensurate. You have done well and wisely 
now, in acquainting me with particulars and the whole 
extent of the danger : doubt not but I will employ such 
precautions and be so awake to my situation, as to forestal 
the possibility of mischief." 

Thus I endeavoured to assuage honest Hector's per- 
T 3 



278 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

turbation, but with no adequate effect. He hung his head 
in sorrow, and refused to be comforted. Shame and terror 
assailed him together, and he knew not how to support 
their united pressure. He intreated me not to lull myself 
in fancied security, and fall blindfold on my ruin. He en- 
treated me not to forgive him. My clemency and for- 
bearance served only to make him regard with greater 
horror the crime of which he had been guilty. If however 
I refused to punish him, and by penance or death to lighten 
the remorse that hung upon his heart, he would at least 
devote himself in opposition to the evil he had created, 
and die rather than it should touch a hair of our heads. 
This idea he seemed to view with some complacency ; but 
the pleasure it gave was a glimmering and momentary 
light ; he could not remain in any place for an instant ; 
he wrung his hands with anguish, and exhibited every 
feature of the deepest despair. I examined his bruises and 
wounds, the latter of which, though attended with a copious 
effusion of blood, did not appear to be dangerous. I warned 
him to be guilty of no further indiscretion, to betray no- 
thing of what had happened to any one of my family, and 
to engage in no further controversies and broils in my 
vindication. 

Though I endeavoured to make light of what I heard 
in compassion to the distress of my servant, yet, when I 
came to reconsider the subject in solitude, it by no means 
appeared to me in a light and trivial point of view. One 
part of Hector's story had related to the death of Charon, 
who, I now found, had owed his fate to the superstition 
of my uncultivated neighbours. I had always entertained 
a formidable idea of the character of an Italian populace, 
whom I regarded as more suspicious, sanguinary, and 
violent than any other race of men in the world. I de- 
plored my fate that exposed me to their rage. I de- 
plored my folly that had admitted any confidant into my 
individual pursuits, though my confidence had been so 
limited, and its receiver so trustworthy, that I could not 
have imagined any evil would have resulted. I determined 
that I would not expose myself to the risk of such 
sinister consequences, as in my opinion might in my pre- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 279 

sent situation easily overtake me. I grieved for the tender 
health and the doubtful state of mind of my beloved 
Marguerite, which alone opposed themselves to the adoption 
of an immediate change of scene. In the state of her 
health I had been grievously disappointed. I had looked 
for amendment ; I found decay. The decay however was 
gradual, almost imperceptible ; from time to time I had 
even flattered myself that the progress was in an opposite 
direction ; but the delusion was soon banished. Another 
difficulty arose in addition to the rest ; Marguerite ap- 
peared pregnant ; a circumstance that now first presented 
itself after a cessation of ten years. 

The morning after the accident and disclosure of Hector 
I went to Pisa, determined to consult with the marchese 
Filosanto, elder brother of the unfortunate Andrea, who 
was probably more accurately acquainted with the Italian 
character than myself, and understood the shades of that 
character, as they were modified in the particular territory 
in which I resided. The marchese was a man universally 
admired for subtlety of reasoning, vigorousness of compre- 
hension, and refinement of taste. In the structure of his 
mind he was scarcely an Italian. He had resided several 
years in England, and was the intimate friend of Henry 
Howard earl of Surrey, who some time after fell a victim 
to the jealous tyranny of his native sovereign, king Henry 
the Eighth. The marchese was frank, generous and disinter- 
ested, and possessed more fully the affections of every one 
within the circle of his friendship than any other man I ever 
knew. He was of a sanguine temper, always contemplating 
the world on its brightest side; and, from the generosity 
of his own heart, incapable of crediting a distant danger, 
or of discerning the storm in the embryo cloud where it 
was silently engendering. 

In the conference we held, I was influenced too impli- 
citly by my consciousness of his integrity and the gigantic 
powers of his mind, and did not sufficiently advert to 
those peculiarities in his temper which I have now described. 
The external facts with which the narrative of Hector had 
furnished me I fully detailed to him ; as to my particular 
pursuits, I contented myself with stating that I indulged 
T 4 



280 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

freely in the study of chemistry, and was of those persons, 
ordinarily accounted visionaries, who amused themselves 
with the expectation of finding rhe philosopher's stone. 
Having heard my story to an end, the marchese ridiculed 
my apprehensions. He saw nothing in the facts that 
alarmed me, but a cowardly superstition whose utmost flight 
reached no higher than the shooting a dog, and a squabble 
between a boisterous rustic, and a servant too acutely sen- 
sitive for the reputation of his master. He assured me 
that the days of such superstition as I contemplated were 
long since past, and that his countrymen less deserved the 
imputation than any others, as, living at the very centre 
and source of catholic imposition, they saw deeper into the 
mystery, and were not exposed to the advantage which dis- 
tance possesses for augmenting our reverence. He expa- 
tiated with great eloquence on the vice of a suspicious 
temper. A spirit of alarm and continual apprehension, 
like the jealousy of lovers, he said, made the meat it fed 
on. It brooded over plots that had no existence but in the 
wanderings of a disturbed imagination. It was continually 
interrupting the quiet of its owner, and the tranquillity of 
society ; and, for the sake of avoiding imaginary evils, 
often plunged into such as were real. He advised me to 
go home and be contented. He recommended to me to 
clear up the clouds of my mind, and cultivate a light 
heart, a cheerful temper, and a generous confidence in the 
honest sympathies of mankind. In fine, he bade me con- 
tinue my pursuits, avoid eclat, and trust in his sagacity 
that no ill consequences would ensue. 

The remonstrances of the marchese Filosanto led me to 
suspect that I had been idly credulous. I had too easily 
participated the feelings and apprehensions of a poor unin- 
structed negro, and had suffered the secret griefs that 
brooded in my heart, to discolour my perceptions, and 
aggravate the features of circumstances in themselves tri- 
fling or indifferent. I began to be half ashamed of the 
gloominess of my conceptions. I could not, alas ! follow 
the advice of the marchese as to the cheerfulness of my 
heart ; but I could exert myself to prevent my present 
melancholy from disfiguring to me every thing I saw. The 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 281 

influence exercised over my conceptions by persons of emi- 
nent intellect has always been great. Not that the judg- 
ment I formed of the powers of my own mind was peculi- 
arly humble ; but I reasoned thus. Perhaps the person I 
consult is as well informed in the subject under consider- 
ation as I am, in that case his decision is as fully entitled 
to attention as my own ; and thus, without cowardly self- 
contempt on my part, the general balance of the argument 
was materially altered. Perhaps, without being on' the 
whole my superior, he may be more competent to this par- 
ticular question. In either case my idea of its merits be- 
came perceptibly modified. I never listened to the senti- 
ments of a man of talents when they differed from my own,, 
unless where he was evidently visionary and irrational, 
without being shaken as to the credit due to my own view 
of the subject. 

Such then was the effect produced on me by the mar- 
chese's expostulation. I shook off my apprehensions, and 
laughed at my fears. I was ashamed of the want of gal- 
lantry that had possessed me, when I meditated flight 
from so trivial a menace. I concluded that dangers, parti- 
cularly such as arise from the irrational passions of a capri- 
cious multitude, were increased when symptoms of appre- 
hension discovered themselves, and abated, when received 
with neglect or repelled with a magnanimous serenity. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

MEANWHILE the unrelenting Agostino was fixed in his 
purpose and incessant in his machinations. He believed 
that the destructive mine was now sufficiently prepared, 
and that he might proceed in all surety to the ultimate 
explosion. He apprehended that he had advanced too far 
to retract, that the death of Charon and the assault upon 
Hector were calculated sufficiently to announce what was 
to follow, and that it would be injudicious and idle to grant 
me much respite for reflection. The passions of his asso- 
ciates were wrought up to a frenzy of horror, and needed 



282 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



only a bold and artful director to urge them to any point of 
fury and destruction. 

Implicitly as I had confided in the decision of the 
marchese, I had speedily reason to know that it was the 
dictate of too sanguine and presumptuous a spirit. On 
my return from his palace, and, on several subsequent 
occasions, I found the manners of the populace altered 
respecting me. They no longer viewed me with a sort of 
reverential awe, or fled my approach. They insulted me 
with their eyes, they muttered curses upon me in a voice 
sufficiently audible to be understood, they broke forth in 
gestures of abhorrence and derision. They regarded me 
with looks of ferocious hatred ; and when I had passed them, 
their murmurs gradually swelled into shouts of triumphant 
contumely. These symptoms however were progressive j 
each day became more odious and intolerable than the last. 
They who have never been placed in a situation like mine, 
will never be able to do justice to my grievance. They 
will perhaps say, that the calamity I now endured was a 
trifling one, and that a weak mind only can be elevated by 
the acclamations and huzzas of the multitude, or depressed 
by their hisses and scorn. I did not, and I could not, feel 
it so. There is no pleasure more congenial to the human 
heart, than the approbation and affection of our fellows. I 
call heaven to witness that I could mount the scaffold, sur- 
rounded with an innumerable multitude to applaud my for- 
titude, and to feel as it were on their own neck the blow that 
ended me, and count it a festival. But I cannot bear to be 
surrounded with tokens of abhorrence and scorn. I cannot 
bear to look round me through an extended circle, and see the 
impatience of despite in every face. Man was not born to 
live alone. He is linked to his brethren by a thousand ties ; 
and, when those ties are broken, he ceases from all genuine 
existence. Their complacence is a food more invigorating 
than ambrosia ; their aversion is a torment worse than that 
of the damned. While I write, I seem again to hear re- 
sounding in my ears the hootings and clamours of these 
infatuated peasants. When heard indeed, they went to 
my heart, and sat there colder than the aspic's venom : they 
rose to my throat with a sensation bitterer than wormwood. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 283 

They unstrung all my muscles and nerves. I could not stay ; 
I could not fly. I wished myself buried deep in the centre 
of the earth. I felt something worse, more revolting, more 
opposite to all the prejudices and propensities of the soul, 
than annihilation. I have known in various situations and 
conditions of human life, what it was to be distressed, to be 
dejected, to be miserable ; but never in any other situation 
have I felt a misery so concentrated, so gnawing and insuf- 
ferable. 

I began however, like the critics I am figuring to myself, 
to despise the pusillanimity of my submission, and to be- 
lieve that, if I would only make a stand and turn round 
upon my enemy, I should subdue him. This resolution I 
could with difficulty have taken in the moment of attack ; 
it was formed in an interval of retrospect and reflection. 
Having formed it, the contempt I should have felt for my- 
self would have been too exquisite, if I had failed to put it 
in execution. I was not long at a loss for an opportunity. 
In one of my walks I found myself pursued by a numerous 
populace with a peculiar degree of inveteracy. I yielded 
for some time, till I came to a place that appeared conve- 
nient for the purpose of haranguing them. It was a 
bench, placed upon a rising ground and sheltered behind 
by a thicket, which had been erected for the purpose of 
commanding a neighbouring prospect. I stopped ; I 
stepped upon the bench ; I waved my hand towards the 
multitude. They perceived my purpose with some degree 
of confusion and surprise ; they drew nearer. " Do not 
listen to him ! Do not hear a word he has to say ! " cried 
some of them. " Oh, hear him! hear him!" exclaimed 
others. I obtained an audience. 

" What is the cause/' said I, " of all this hatred and 
persecution ? " 

" Because you are a wizard, a necromancer, a dealer in 
the black art ; because you are in league with hell, and 
have sold yourself to the devil I " answered twenty voices 
at once. 

ft Hear me," replied I, " and I will convince you of my 
innocence : but hear me in silence, and do not interrupt 
me." 



284 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



te For myself, I have no belief in the existence of such 
an art." 

This remark produced a general groan. 

" Why should I have sold myself to the foe of mankind? 
What could he give me, that should compensate me for 
consigning myself over to him for ever hereafter ? The 
power of exhibiting strange and extraordinary tricks; 
What a pitiful recompence ? But, if I had bought this 
power at so dear a price, should I hide it ? Should I not 
take every opportunity of exciting your reverence and as- 
tonishment? Who has seen me perform any wonderful 
feat ? I live quietly among you, and give no cause of of- 
fence to any. I live retired in the midst of my family. I 
foim no party or connections. I do not intrude into any 
of your affairs, political or private. I do not even enter 
into conferences with any of you, unless induced by the 
apparent occasion of doing some good and benevolent 
action. 

(f Quit then this ungenerous persecution ! Do not turn 
the fury of your resentment upon a harmless stranger ! 
You are Italians, the most polished and ingenious people 
on the face of the earth : the most glorious monuments of 
art, in building, in statuary, and in painting, are to be 
found in the midst of you : ancient Italy governed the 
world by her arms; modern Italy governs the world through 
the medium of that pure and sublime religion of which 
Providence has graciously made her the repository. Do 
not stain the glory of this character ! Show yourselves 
worthy of the honour with which your name is heard in 
every corner of the habitable world ! " 

While I was yet speaking, a large clot of mud reached 
me, and struck me on the face and the upper part of my 
breast. I calmly endeavoured to free myself from its ef- 
fects with my handkerchief; and, looking round me, de- 
manded, in the sacred spirit of conscious innocence, " How 
have I deserved this treatment ? " 

Thus far I had been heard with a doubtful sentiment 
of murmur and approbation, and I began to feel that I was 
rather gaining ground upon my audience. But this new 
insult seemed to turn the tide of popular impression in an 
instant. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 285 

" Villain, renegade, accursed of God ! " I heard from 
every side ; " did not you bewitch my cow ? did not you 
enchant my child ? have not you killed my daughter ? 
Down with him ! exterminate him ! do not suffer him to 
live!" 

I continued my efforts to be heard. It was a critical 
moment^ a last experiment upon the power of firmness and 
innocence to control the madness of infuriated superstition. 
It was in vain. I was deafened with the noise that assailed 
me. It was no longer shouts and clamours of disappro- 
bation. It was the roaring of tigers, and the shriek of 
cannibals. Sticks, stones, and every kind of missile weapon 
that offered itself, fell in showers around me. It seemed a 
sort of miracle that I escaped instant destruction. I eluded 
their pursuit : after some time time I ventured to return to 
my own house. I had in the interval terrified myself with 
the idea that, having missed my person, they might have 
hurried thither, and executed some terrible vengeance on 
my helpless family. I found them however in safety : the 
mob had for this time contented itself to disperse without 
further mischief. 

As soon as it was dark, I hastened to Pisa, and related 
what had just occurred to my friend the marchese. He 
was surprised ; but he still adhered to his opinion. He 
had never supposed, he told me, that a noisy and clamorous 
mob was a proper subject upon which to make experiment 
of the energy of truth ; and he laughed at my attempt to 
reason them out of their superstition. But they meant 
nothing by all that had passed. It was the mere foam and 
fury of a moment, poured out with vehemence, and then 
dissipated in air. A certain set of politicians had for their 
particular ends represented a mob as a terrific and formid- 
able engine : alas ! they were rather to be pitied than con- 
demned. There was no malice in their hearts. They 
were in reality a mere material machine, led on without 
reflection, and, when they had committed a momentary 
ravage, astonished themselves . the most at the injury they 
had perpetrated. They were as light and variable as a 
feather, driven with every breath; and nothing could argue 
greater obliquity of intellect than to suppose, because they 



286 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

were in a certain temper and sentiment to-day, that they 
would be found in a similar temper and sentiment to-morrow. 
The marchese however wished, he said, to relieve me from 
the apprehension of this imaginary danger, and therefore of- 
fered me the whole suite of his servants for the defence of my 
house. He added that, among his friends and retainers in 
the city of Pisa, he did not doubt in an hour's time to be able 
to raise a troop of four hundred men; and, whatever power 
of that sort he possessed, he assured me was wholly at my 
service. I was not convinced by the marchese's arguments, 
but I declined his offer. I could not bear to think that 
blood should be spilled, and the lives of these poor ignorant 
wretches sacrificed, for the preservation of a thing so worth- 
less in my eyes as the local property I possessed. I there- 
fore told the marchese, that I might perhaps wait yet a day 
or two longer before I formed my resolution; but that, the 
instant I saw one fresh symptom of the hostility of the vil- 
lagers, I was determined to take my family with me, and 
remove far beyond the reach both of their terrors and their 
hatred. 

I staid two hours with the marchese, and then set out to 
my own house. The way I took was by a private road, 
open only to the neighbouring gentry, but of which my 
servant carried the key. It led along the higher ground, 
and commanded a view of the common highway. Consi- 
derably before I reached my own habitation, I was struck 
with the appearance of persons passing, in considerable 
numbers, and in a tumultuous manner, along the public 
road. Some of them were armed with clubs, and others 
with torches. Their inarch however led, not towards my 
house, but in an opposite direction. I mended my pace, 
terrified with a sort of vague apprehension of what might 
have happened, though I did not disguise to myself that 
what I saw was not precisely that which I might have ex- 
pected to see, if they had been returned from demolishing 
my property, and burning my house. 

When I arrived, I found indeed that no mischief had 
been actually committed, but that I was indebted for the 
preservation of my house, and perhaps for the lives of my 
wife and children, to the sagacity and presence of mind of 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 287 

Bernardin, the servant of my early years. My residence 
had been the object against which the march of the popu- 
lace had been directed. Bernardin, perceiving their inten- 
tions, had with great difficulty prevailed upon Hector to 
keep out of sight. Nothing could be more adverse to the 
feelings and inclination of my faithful negro ; but,, Ber- 
nardin having convinced him that his appearance would 
only exasperate the rage of the assailants, and that perhaps 
every thing of importance to his master's service and happi- 
ness depended at present upon his concealment, Hector 
yielded to his representations. This accomplished, Bernar- 
din next assembled the gardener and one or two labourers 
in my employment, who happened to be at hand ; and, 
having furnished them with fire-arms, stationed them at 
different windows, in the front of the house. With these 
preparations, when the mob arrived he resolutely told them 
that he would fire on the first person that attempted to break 
in. They were staggered: furious as they appeared the 
moment before, this threat held them in awe. They pa- 
raded two or three times round the house, clattering their 
arms, and pouring out vehement execrations ; and then 
withdrew, solemnly promising that they would return the 
following night, and level the house with the ground. 

I no longer yielded the smallest degree of credit to the 
unsuspicious and confiding philosophy of the marchese 
Filosanto. I sent off my wife and children before day- 
break for Lucca, determined to take shipping at the first 
convenient port, and pass over into Spain. I was little 
solicitous, for reasons with which the reader is already ac- 
quainted, about my property and moveables : I had no mo- 
tive to induce me to fetter and clog my retreat, at this hour 
of peril and terror, with a single article of rarity and price. 
My furniture indeed was not splendid, but it was handsome 
and valuable ; and the indifference with which I resigned 
the whole to the mercy of chance, was a matter of some 
surprise to the persons around me. My servants offered 
to defend my possessions, at the peril of their lives ; but I 
peremptorily forbade it. I would not even consent to 
their taking away certain articles, by way of appropriating 
them to their personal use. I believed that if I admitted 



288 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



a single act of that sort, I should find it no easy matter to 
set limits to their avidity ; and, as I had determined to 
take none of my present servants with me, the negro and 
Bernardin excepted, I feared that the apparent possession of 
a single article that had been mine might hereafter mark 
its proprietor a victim to the senseless rage of blindfold 
superstition. I could easily make up to these honest and 
faithful dependants the injury they might sustain from the 
seeming severity of this order. I determined to shut up 
my house, with all its present contents, as Joshua, the 
captain of the Jews, drew a line of separation round the 
profane possessions of Achan ; and to leave the villagers, if 
so it seemed good to them, to make of the whole a burnt- 
offering, to propitiate the wrath of their avenging divinity. 

The directions I issued being unhesitating and peremp- 
tory, met with a ready submission from all my other domes- 
tics: Hector only, the mild and complying Hector, of 
whom obedience had hitherto appeared to constitute the 
very soul, met my commands with a resolute refusal. The 
present distressed appearance of my fortunes seemed to 
have worked the poor fellow's mind to a paroxysm of in- 
sanity. He considered himself as the sole author of my 
calamity. IJe reviled himself in the bitterest terms of 
compunction and abhorrence. The language which the 
agony of his soul forced from his lips, was such as could 
not fail to impress upon my other servants a conviction of 
the justice of the imputations that were now brought against 
us. This however was of little importance. I must at all 
events have been contented to leave behind me, in my pre- 
sent neighbourhood,- a name loaded with the execrations of 
religious fanaticism. Hector imprecated upon himself a 
thousand curses, if, so long as he continued to live, the po- 
pulace should lay hands upon a straw of my property. He 
would not move so much as an inch from the defence of my 
house. He would either, by preserving it, expiate in some 
degree the mischief in which he had involved me, or fall and 
be crushed to death in the midst of its ruins. Arguments 
and expostulations were useless here : his mind was worked 
up to too high a tone, to be susceptible of the patience ne- 
cessary for hearing or understanding any reasoning that was 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 289 

addressed to him. Authority itself was of no avail : for 
the first and the last time he threw off the character of a 
servant, and appeared obstinate,, self-willed, and ungovern- 
able. It was only by direct violence that he could be forced 
from the spot. I gave him in charge, with the most strict 
orders not to suffer him to escape from their custody, to two 
of his fellows. 

. This business being despatched, I went, at the invitation 
of the marchese, to a small cottage he possessed at no great 
distance from my own house. Its situation was so private 
and retired, that few persons knew or could perceive that 
there was any building on the spot. Here therefore I could 
remain in the most perfect safety. I felt myself unaccount- 
ably impelled to stay and witness the catastrophe of the 
tragedy. I should not have been satisfied to continue in 
uncertainty as to what it would prove. After all that had 
passed, like the marchese, I should have been apt to accuse 
myself of cowardice, and a mind soured and degenerate, if 
the mob had not put their threats in execution. The mar- 
chese himself was well pleased with my determination in 
this respect. He was not yet convinced that I had not 
painted to myself a danger, which had no adequate counter- 
part in the world of realities. 

I had not long to wait. The night had no sooner spread 
an even-coloured and almost impervious veil over the 
world, than the marchese, as if moved by a secret impulse 
to witness what he yet refused to believe, came to me at the 
cottage. He had scarcely arrived, when he heard the con- 
fused murmurs and turbulence of the populace; for we 
were near enough to distinguish almost every thing. As 
they did not meet with the defence of the preceding even- 
ing, the work they had undertaken was presently de- 
spatched. We saw the flames ascend. We recognised the 
shouts of infernal joy with which they witnessed the catas- 
trophe. When the marchese beheld what, till seen, he 
would never admit to be possible, he burst out into a sort of 
transport of misanthropy. He exclaimed that no innocence, 
and no merit, could defend a man from the unrelenting an- 
tipathy of his fellows. He saw that there was a principle 
in the human mind destined to be eternally at war with im- 
u 



290 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



provement and science. No sooner did a man devote him- 
self to the pursuit of discoveries which, if ascertained, 
would prove the highest benefit to his species, than his 
whole species became armed against him. The midnight 
oil was held to be the signal of infernal machinations. The 
paleness of study and the furrows of thought were adjudged 
to be the tokens of diabolical alliance. He saw, in the 
transactions of that night, a pledge of the eternal triumph 
of ignorance over wisdom. Above all, he regretted that 
his countrymen, his dear Italians, should for ever blot their 
honour and their character by such savage outrages. 
Though myself the principal sufferer, I was obliged to per- 
form the part of the comforter and consoler, and endeavour 
to calm the transport of agony that seized upon the sus- 
ceptible Filosanto. He was astonished, shocked, and beside 
himself : I viewed the whole with the gloomy firmness of 
a desperate resolution. 

The worst event of this destested evening remains yet 
unrecorded. Even now I tremble, while I attempt to 
commit the story to my harmless paper. So far as related 
to the mere destruction of my property, I looked on with a 
philosophical indifference. I had no reason, and I dis- 
dained to regret the loss of that which I had it in my 
power to repair in a moment. I thought I had taken care 
that no human life should be risqued upon this critical 
occasion. But I was mistaken. I learned the next morn- 
ing with anguish inexpressible that Hector, the negro of 
the prison of Constance, was no more. He had eluded 
the vigilance of his keepers. No sooner was he at liberty, 
then he hastened, unknown to every one, to die^ as he had 
declared he would, in the defence of my house. The mob 
had burst into the house ; they seized him alive. They 
dragged him out in the midst of them ; they insulted over 
him, as the special favourite of the infernal king. They 
inflicted on him every species of mockery and* of torture ; 

they killed him joint by joint, and limb by limb. The 

pen drops from my lifeless hand. 

What right had I to make this man the victim of my 
idle and unhallowed pursuits ? What has the art and 
multiplication of gold in it, that should compensate the 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 291 

destruction of so ingenuous,, so simple-hearted, so noble a 
creature? If I had myself fallen into the hands of the 
populace, it had been well : I was a criminal, worthy of 
every retribution they could inflict upon me ! Some men 
perhaps will ask, why I lamented so bitterly over so un- 
cultivated and uninformed an individual as this negro. 
There was however something so truly tragical in the fate 
to which this creature in his generosity and remorse de- 
voted himself, that I believe for the moment I felt a 
sharper pang in it, than in the strange and extraordinary 
loss of my only son, or perhaps in the premature death of 
my beloved Marguerite;. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

BEFORE the dawn of the succeeding morning I turned my 
face towards Lucca. I beheld the last cloud of mingling 
smoke and flame ascend from the ashes of my villa. The 
blaze sunk, its materials were nearly consumed, and it 
yielded an uncertain and fitful light only, when I withdrew 
from being any longer the melancholy and heart-wounded 
spectator of the ruin. I took an everlasting leave of the 
marchese. I had been introduced to him under a friendly 
aspect, as the man who had had courage to perform the 
last offices of humanity to his unfortunate brother ; and 
he had conceived a warm affection for me. The painful 
nature of the catastrophe he had witnessed melted his heart, 
and he earnestly pressed me to draw upon him for any 
supplies I wanted, or rather to receive from him a sum 
equivalent to the damage the superstition of his country- 
men had inflicted on me. This I positively refused ; but 
I found it impossible to silence his importunity, till I 
submitted to the duplicity of promising that, if I found 
myself reduced to any necessity, I would not fail to apply 
to him. It was in the very moment of our separation 
that intelligence was brought me of the fate of Hector. 
The reader may imagine with how heavy a heart I set out 
on my journey.. 

IT 2 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

Lucca Is about seventeen miles from the city of Pisa ; 
from the place where I had spent the greater part of this 
memorable night it was twenty. The marchese made me 
promise to take a serpentine and circuitous route, the more 
completely to elude the possibility of future danger. An 
adventure occurred to me in this passage, with the relation 
of which I will not interrupt my narrative, which pre- 
vented me from arriving at Lucca till the noon of the 
following day. Suffice it to say, that it was of such a 
nature, that, impatient as I was under my present extra- 
ordinary circumstances to rejoin my family, I should have 
held myself destitute of every atom of humanity, if I had 
not submitted to this short delay. 

Short as it was, I found, when I reached Lucca, that 
my evil genius had been busy to accumulate for me new 
misfortunes. Marguerite and her daughters were wholly 
unknown in this place ; and the intelligence of the Pisan 
riot having reached Lucca in the course of the day, it was 
related to my wife, as to a hearer unconcerned, with all its 
horrid circumstances and the calamitous fate of our generous 
Hector, by the hostess of the inn. The rapidity of events, 
during the last part of our residence in the Pisan territory, 
was such as to have obliged me to say little of the effect 
they produced upon Marguerite. But the reader can 
scarcely be so inadvertent and unreflecting, as not easily to 
imagine to himself that she felt them in the highest degree 
painful and overwhelming. This last blow was too much. 
Marguerite had been some months pregnant. She was 
immediately seized with the pains of labour, and delivered 
of a dead child. The first intelligence communicated to 
me upon my arrival was that my wife was dying. 

Lucca however did not witness the period of her exist- 
ence. After having continued for several days upon the 
very extremity, as it were, between life and death, she 
grew perceptibly better ; and in a week more, though in a 
very feeble state, it became apparent that her case was not 
a rapid one. We agreed to proceed upon our Spanish 
voyage. It appeared not improbable that the sea-air might 
be found beneficial, and the experiment was warmly re- 
commended by her physicians. They were not however 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 293 

aware of the whole extent of her disorder. During the 
voyage her crisis returned with such malignant symptoms, 
as scarcely to permit us the hope she would reach the land 
alive. We debarked at Barcelona on the 14th of April 1546. 

We had no sooner taken up our abode in^this city than, 
fully aware of the state of her disease, she assembled her 
daughters, and poured forth to them without restraint that 
flood of affection, that ardent spirit of love, by which she 
was distinguished and elevated above every creature that 
lived. Her mind was clear, her intellectual powers were 
complete and entire. The enthusiasm with which she 
now expressed herself was not of that inconsiderate nature 
which should tend to make them feel with greater acute- 
ness the loss they were about to sustain. It was bright, 
unclouded and serene. It was the eloquence as of a dis- 
embodied spirit, freed from the perturbation and alloy of 
human passions. She reminded them that they were sis- 
ters, and exhorted each to fulfil the duties of a sister and 
a mother to the other two. If wise and good, they would 
be happy in each other, and their little association would be 
a school, preparing them for the more genuine and vener- 
able duties for which nature had destined them. Her views 
of all human things were altered by her present situation on 
the brink of the grave. Our reserves and misunderstand- 
ings had wrung her heart ; but she forgave me. Things 
which had lately appeared of the highest magnitude and 
moment, faded in the distance, and mingled with the vul- 
gar crowd of human concerns which was now retiring from 
her view : she must again return, she said, to life, before she 
could again feel the passions and the interests of this petty 
scene. For the sake of her daughters she had lately de- 
sired to live. She was now reconciled and content to die. 
She had formed the chain and link of connection between 
me and my girls ; perhaps it was better that we should 
burst our fetters and be free. On the fourth day after 
our arrival at Barcelona Marguerite expired. 

There is nothing in the vast variety of objects which 

this wretched world presents to our view so dreadful and 

distressing as the sight of one we have loved, but who is- 

now no more. I saw, these eyes beheld, the lifeless corse 

u 3 



294 ., TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

of Marguerite. Great God of heaven ! what is man ? 
and of what are we made ? Within that petty frame re- 
sided for years all that we worship, for there resided all 
that we know and can conceive of excellence. That heart 
is now still. Within the whole extent of that frame there 
exists no thought, no feeling, no virtue. It remains no 
longer, but to mock my sense and scoff at my sorrow, to 
rend my bosom with a woe, complicated, matchless and 
inexpressible. The cheek is pale and livid ; the eyes are 
sunk and circled with blackness. Corruption and ruin 
have already seized their prey and turned it into horror. 
Draw, for heaven's sake, draw the pall over those lifeless 
features ! Bury, bury them deep in the bowels of the 
earth ! Let not my imagination follow them into the 
chambers of the grave, and dwell amidst pestilential damps 
and all the series of destruction ! Let me recollect all that 
Marguerite was as she lived, her numerous accomplish- 
ments, her unparalleled virtues, ay, in all the magni- 
tude and wealth of their detail, for that is a divine and 
celestial madness: but let me not recollect her as I saw her 
on the bier, lest I become raving and blaspheme I 

I have no power to talk of the situation in which I was 
now placed, and the reader must therefore explain it for 
himself, if he can. I never loved but once ; I never 
loved but Marguerite. All other affection is stillness and 
ice compared with this. This is the great crisis of my 
history, the gap between life and death, the gulf that cut 
me oft* for ever from every thing that deserves the name of 
human. Such was the legacy of the stranger ! my son an 
exile, myself publicly arraigned as a murderer, the un- 
merited and tragical death of Hector, the premature and 
self-deriving loss of the better half of my soul! Who 
would have believed that this envomed gift would, in less 
than two years, have thus dreadfully changed the face of 
my affairs, and destroyed every thing that composed the 
happiness of my life ? 

After some delay in this wretched and ill-omened town of 
Barcelona (such it has ever since appeared to my thoughts), 
we proceeded to Madrid. The reader will give me credit, 
when I tell him that, however eager I had lately felt to 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 295 

exhibit my magnificence and my wealth, I had no such 
eagerness now. I speak no more of the character of Mar- 
guerite j I attempt not to compose her panegyric. The 
story of her life is the best record of her virtues. Her de- 
fects, if defects she had, drew their pedigree from rectitude 
of sentiment and perception, from the most generous sen- 
sibility, from a heart pervaded and leavened with tender- 
ness. A simple stone in the western aisle of the great 
church at Barcelona records her personal and her family 
name, with this single addition, THE PRESERVER OF HER 

FAMILY IN POVERTY AND RUIN, THE VICTIM OF HER DIS- 
CONSOLATE AND REPENTANT HUSBAND'S UNHALLOWED 
WEALTH. 

But, dismissing for ever, and henceforth consigning to 
unviolated silence her excellencies, could I avoid feeling 
that I could never again form a similar, or indeed any 
real union, so long as I existed ? Being now indeed more 
than forty years of age, having spent near twenty of that 
forty in a most enviable wedlock, and being blessed with a 
sufficiently numerous offspring, it may be thought perhaps 
I might be contented. But, without discussing the pro- 
priety of such a maxim as it relates to the species in 
general, it must be recollected in my case that my youth 
was to be recommenced by a perpetual series of renewals. 
I never gave credit to that axiom of a sickly sensibility, 
that it is a sacrilege, in him who has been engaged in one 
cordial and happy union, ever to turn his thoughts to 
another. Much more reasonable than this is the Indian 
doctrine, that the survivor ought to leap into the flames, 
and perish upon the funeral pyre of the deceased. While 
we live, it is one of our most imperious duties to seek 
our happiness. He that dedicates his days to an endless 
sorrow is the worst and most degraded of suicides. It is 
an important question in the economy of human life, up to 
what age we should allow ourselves to contract engage- 
ments to a wife and a probable offspring : but, separately 
from this consideration, I should hold that in many cases 
he who entered into a second marriage, by that action 
yielded a pure and honourable homage to the manes of the 
first. But from genuine marriage I was henceforth for 
u 4 



TKAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

ever debarred. An immortal can form no true and real 
attachment to the insect of an hour. 

Mourning, a depressing and speechless regret, was yet 
the inmate of our house. Grief does not commonly lay a 
strong and invincible hold of us in the morning of our 
days ; and, though the temper of Julia was perhaps at her 
age the most tender and susceptible I ever knew, even she, 
who was now in her seventeenth year, reaped the benefit 
of that elasticity which in early life is the portion of 
humanity. Nothing material occurred to us in the first 
three months of our residence in Madrid. It was im- 
possible for any one to be surrounded with a more lovely 
and blooming family than I was. 

Yet from happiness I was immeasurably distant. Ex- 
clusively of my recent and in every sense irreparable loss, 
my mind was full of dark and gloomy forebodings. I 
feared not for myself, but I had an unconquerable alarm 
and apprehension for my children. My youngest was but 
ten years of age ; the eldest was not seventeen. Sweet, 
tender blossoms, that the cruelty and hardness of mankind 
might so easily blight, and that required a concurrence of 
favourable circumstances to ripen into all they were capable 
of becoming ! When I recollected what had happened in 
the course of the last two years, I could not flatter myself 
that our misfortunes were at an end, or that I had not, to 
speak moderately, many fierce trials yet to encounter. I 
seemed, like the far-famed tree of Java, to be destined to 
shelter only to destroy, and to prove a deadly poison to 
whatever sought its refuge under my protecting branches. 
In this melancholy frame of mind the last words of my 
adored Marguerite passed and repassed ten thousand times 
through my recollection. " She had formed the chain and 
link of connection between me and my girls ; perhaps it 
was better that we should burst our fetters and be free." 

Whatever she had said was sacred to the present temper 
of my imagination : her last behest I would have died to 
execute. The idea contained in the sentence I have just 
repeated was ambiguous and obscure, rather hinted, than 
expressed. But was it worthy of the less attention, be- 
cause its author, with her usual gentleness and sweetness, 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 297 

had modestly suggested an advice, instead, which she was 
well entitled to have done, of prescribing a will ? I deter- 
mined to part with my children, that I might no longer 
be to them a source of corroding misery and affliction. I 
believed that the cloud that now oppressed me was trans- 
itory. I seemed pursued for the present by a malignant 
genius ; but a man, endowed as I was with unbounded 
wealth and immortal vigour, cannot easily be reduced to 
despair. When the tide of my prosperity should unfold 
its rich and ample current, I might easily communicate of 
its bounty to my daughters. If I parted with them now, 
I did not lose them as I had perhaps lost their brother for 
ever. I could turn to a particular point, and say, " There 
lies my soul!" I could cast my eye upon a projection 
of the globe, and put my finger upon their residence. 
Wherever I wandered, whether I were plunged in a dun- 
geon or mounted a throne, my heart, like the mariner's 
needle, would tremble towards that point as its cynosure. 
I had still something to love, something to pant for, some- 
thing to dream about, and be happy. 

Having ruminated insatiably upon the last expressions 
of Marguerite, having formed my commentary, and fixed 
my predilection, I recollected a person, then a young 
woman upon my paternal estate, for whom my wife had 
conceived a remarkable friendship. She was the daughter 
of a peasant, her birth had been low, and her education 
confined. But she had taste, she had discretion, she had 
integrity, I think I may add, she had genius. As Mar- 
guerite had discovered her merits, and distinguished her 
from her equals, she had been of great use to this extra- 
ordinary rustic in unfolding her mind, and guiding her 
propensities. This was not so much a matter of deliberate 
and meditated purpose in la dame du seigneur ; it rose 
out of the circumstances of their situation. They were 
almost of an age ; and Marguerite frequently invited her 
to be the associate of her studies and amusements. Mariana, 
that was her name, did not perhaps resemble my wife 
considerably in her features, but her stature was the same, 
her complexion and the colour of her hair. The similarity 
in carriage and gesture, Mariana having never had an 



298 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

opportunity of contemplating the accomplishments she 
admired in any one but madame de St. Leon, was still 
more striking. There were points indeed in which no 
human creature could compare with Marguerite, the ex- 
pressive and flexible tone of her voice, and those cadences, 
which sprung from, and communicated to every susceptible 
hearer, the divinest sensibility. One of the unhappy con- 
sequences of our exile from the Bordelois was the mis- 
fortunes of Mariana. Her father had fallen to decay. To 
relieve his distress she had contracted a marriage, not of 
sentiment and predilection, but with a man who had pro- 
mised her that her father should never come to want. This 
marriage had been unhappy. The husband was a prodigal 
and a profligate. A period of seven years however de- 
livered her from her Egyptian bondage. She had but 
lately become a widow ; and the prudence and integrity of 
her conduct had rendered this alliance, which to many 
women would have proved a rock of destruction, an ad- 
ditional source of honour and respect. Mariana, at the 
death of her husband, had no children; she had buried her 
father ; she was consequently entirely alone. 

It was this woman I fixed upon as the protector of my 
daughters. I was better pleased with the meanness of her 
extraction, than I should have been with one of the high- 
born descendants of the houses of St. Leon or Damville, 
had it been my fortune to have had in the female line any 
near relations on either side. My daughters were no longer 
children ; they were singularly prudent, considerate, and 
unimpeachable in their conduct and propensities. They 
wanted a protector in the eye of the world ; it was desirable 
for them that they should have an adviser ; but I should 
have been grieved and mortified to give them a dictator. 

I wrote to Mariana Chabot, communicating my project, 
and requesting her to give us the meeting at St. Lizier on 
the frontiers of France. She was delighted with the office 
I tendered to her acceptance, and readily consented to every 
thing I required. I conducted my daughters to the place 
of rendezvous without imparting to them the design by 
which I was actuated ; I believed that they would of their 
own motion conceive a partiality for the friend of their 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 299 

mother. I was not deceived in my prognostic ; the meeting 
was an interesting one. The eyes of Mariana overflowed 
at meeting, after so long an interval, the hushand and pro- 
geny of the dearest and most revered friend she had ever 
known ; the mourning we wore reminded her how lately 
her incomparable patroness had been committed to the 
grave. My girls were struck with the resemblance of 
Mariana to their mother. Accident had prevented us from 
cultivating almost any intimate connections out of our own 
family from the period of our exile ; my girls had therefore 
never met with a person who approached in any degree so 
near their mother in accomplishments, in skill, in turn of 
thinking and opinion. Mariana came up to my warmest 
hopes as a protector and companion for my children ; her 
unhappy marriage, by concentrating her thoughts and ex- 
pectations in herself, had perhaps rendered her more exem- 
plary in carriage, and more elevated in sentiment, than she 
would ever have been without it. 

At St. Lizier I passed myself for monsieur Valmier, the 
guardian of the orphan heiresses of St. Leon. It for- 
tunately happened that my paternal estate was at this time 
upon sale. I determined to become the purchaser, and to 
settle my girls in the scene of their nativity. I procured 
an agent, and despatched him with an ample commission 
for that purpose. Having adjusted this point, I resolved to 
make a tour with my daughters, through Languedoc, Dau- 
phine, and the provinces usually known by the denomination 
of the south of France. I wished to familiarise them to 
the society of madame Chabot, and to assist them in dis- 
cerning her merits under a variety of points of view. I 
asked them whether they would not be delighted to obtain 
her as a companion, who might assist and conduct them in 
such points as only a woman of understanding and expe- 
rience is competent to. They, every one of them, listened 
to the idea with pleasure. 

At length I received the information that the purchase of 
St. Leon was completed, and I proceeded to the critical dis- 
closure that my daughters were on the point of being 
separated from their father. They listened to the com- 
munication with astonishment and terror. They had entered 



300 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

successively into the feelings of their deceased mother., and 
I am well persuaded felt a less ardent attachment to my 
person than they had done at the cottage of the lake of 
Constance. But, culpable and criminal as I had been, I 
was not destitute of every virtue, and they could not ex- 
tinguish in themselves the respect they had so long enter- 
tained for me. Habit has a resistless empire over the 
human mind ; and, when we reflect with how much re- 
luctance we consent to the removal of a tree or a hedge, to 
the sight of which we have been accustomed, it will not be 
wondered at that my daughters could not calmly think of so 
complete a separation from their father. The impression 
of their mother's death was yet green, and to lose me, was 
to become orphans a second time. But I had fully me- 
ditated my plan, and was peremptory. That I might 
withhold from them no advantage it was in my power to 
confer, I gave them Bernardin for their superintending 
bailiff and steward of their property. Our parting was not 
less painful and melancholy, than its occasion was extra- 
ordinary and its mode uncommon. It took place at the 
town of Montauban. 

I saw my dear children set forward on their journey, and 
I knew not that I should ever behold them more. I was 
determined never again to see them to their injury ; and I 
could not take to myself the consolation, on such a day, 
in such a month, or even after such a lapse of years, I will 
again have the joy to embrace them. In a little while 
they were out of sight, and I was alone. The reader will 
perhaps agree with me, that no man had more exquisitely 
enjoyed the dearest ties of society than I had, and that 
perhaps few men were ever better formed to enjoy them. 
This complete and dreadful separation, this stroke that 
seemed to cut me off abruptly from every thing most 
valuable that the earth contains, was not the result of any 
of the ordinary necessities of human life. Still less was it 
the dictate of alienation or indifference. No ; it was the 
pure effect of love, of a love so strong, complete, and un- 
controllable, as inflexibly to refuse every thing that could be 
injurious to its objects. I own I could not thus have 
parted with Marguerite. Her idea was mingled with the 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 301 

vital springs of my existence ; and scarcely any power less 
resistless than death could have made me consent to pass 
an entire day without her society. But then it is to be 
considered, that my daughters were in the morning of life ; 
their hopes were untarnished, their prospects not obscured 
by a single cloud ; and that the crime would probably have 
been greater, obstinately to have made them the partners of 
my misfortunes and disgrace. There are persons who will 
regard this passage in my history as culpable, and the tes- 
timony of a cold and unsusceptible heart. I contemplate 
it, even at this distance of time, as the noblest and most 
virtuous effort of my life ; and a thousand circumstances 
have occurred since, to induce me to congratulate myself 
that I had the courage to achieve my purpose. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

NINETEEN years had now elapsed from the day that had 
witnessed my union with Marguerite de Damville. In all 
that time 1 had never been alone. Alone in a certain sense 
indeed I had stood at Paris in the period that had led to 
my exile, and at Soleure in that which immediately suc- 
ceeded it. In each case I was solitary, and my solitude 
was unhappy. But my unhappiness was then in a certain 
sense spontaneous ; my solitude was a luxury in which I 
felt myself impelled to indulge. He that has experienced 
both, will readily acknowledge the extreme difference be- 
tween the misery we embrace and the misery from which 
we shrink with abhorrence and loathing. I relinquished 
in the former instances my dearest connections, my proper 
post and situation; but I felt that I could return to the 
one and resume the other at pleasure. I repeat it therefore, 
Then I had not been alone, and now I was alone. The 
same motive, which in this instance made me cut myself off' 
from my daughters that I might not be the cause of their 
misery, forbad me to be the parent of a future offspring 
upon whom I might entail similar misfortune. Tell me 



302 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

then, was I not alone ? I recollected the words of the 
stranger, wrung from him by the excess of his misery at the 
summer-house of the lake, " Alone alone! friendless 
friendless ! " I began to penetrate the enigma of his 
history. 

I fixed my daughters with an ample revenue in the 
chateau of St. Leon ; I re-purchased for them all my 
paternal property. I waited some time at Montauban to 
hear of the event of my project, and their final settlement. 
I learned with pleasure that they found their situation 
peaceful, easy, and reputable ; I enjoined them that they 
should speak and think of me as dead. I led them to sup- 
pose, when I left Montauban, that I should set out upon 
an extensive tour, that I should traverse the Indus and the 
Ganges, and penetrate into the furthest extremities of the 
East. How uncommon, how pitiable a fate ! I became 
prematurely dead to my country and my race, because I 
was destined never to die ! The first sensation I derived 
from their prosperity, as I have already said, was pleasure : 
my second was that which the devil might have felt, when 
he entered paradise for the seduction of our first parents. 
I contemplated with some degree of malignant envy a hap- 
piness of which it was little probable I should ever partake. 
Let me not be censured for this : let any man put himself 
in my situation, and say, whether the pleasure he feels at 
contemplating the separated happiness of those he loves be 
not a mingled sensation ? With heavy heart I sought again 
the road of Madrid. 

Though my spirits underwent an extreme depression, I 
determined not to desert myself or the advantages I had 
purchased at so inestimable a price. I exerted myself to 
shake off my lethargy, and rouse the faculties of my soul. 
I refused to give way to omens of evil portent, and resolved 
to see what might yet be made of my endowments. There 
is no misfortune that has not in it some slight mixture of 
good. My being now alone, and detached from every rela- 
tive tie, left me at liberty to pursue my projects with a 
bolder enterprise. The mistake of which I accused myself 
in the former instance, was the entering too precipitately 
into the exercise of the gifts of the stranger, before I had 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 303 

properly measured my strength, and investigated the use 
and application of my tools. I had suffered sufficiently 
from the past uncertainty and irresoluteness of my march. 
I determined, as far as human precaution could secure its 
ends, to encounter no more misfortunes, to subject myself to 
no further miscarriages, but to take care that henceforth the 
tide of my pursuits should move smoothly onward. I de- 
dicated the six months immediately succeeding my separation 
from my daughters, to the joint contemplation of morals 
and natural philosophy. I was resolve.d to ascertain the 
simplest mode of manufacturing wealth, the wisest methods 
for lulling the suspicions and controlling the passions of 
mankind, and the true science of the use of riches. Alas ! 
I had in the sequel frequent occasions to confess, that, 
though I had fortuitously entered into possession of the 
leading secrets of natural magic, I was a mere tyro in the 
science of man, at least in the degree in which the exercise 
of these secrets required the possession of it.. 

Nothing material occurred to interrupt the occupations of 
the winter. My apathy intellectual activity, palsy of 
the heart, went evenly forward. I made no acquaint- 
tance ; I was a mere spectator of the busy scenes that passed 
around me. I was resolved not to entangle myself with 
rashly formed connections ; and it will commonly be found, 
that he, whose contemplations are principally employed upon 
some secret and guarded hoard of reflection, has little pro- 
pensity to communicate upon idle and indifferent matters. 

A slight incident indeed disturbed me for a few days 
during this interval ; but it passed away, and for the pre- 
sent I thought of it no more. During the festival of Christ- 
mas it happened that I felt an inclination to be the spectator 
of a celebrated bull-fight, that was exhibited before the em- 
peror and his court. For the most part I was studious of 
privacy ; I therefore felt the less scruple in indulging this 
unusual caprice. At the commencement of the spectacle, 
I was attentive only to the exhibition. I was delighted 
with the form and beauty of the animals, with the freedom 
and grandeur of their motion, with the terrible energy of 
their assault and repulse. It was not long, however, before 
my eye was transiently caught by an individual, who sat in 



304 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

a gallery at no great distance, and who seemed to view me 
attentively. His figure bespoke some degree of refinement; 
but his eye was fiery, malicious, and savage. Presently 
however I turned again towards the area, and thought of 
him no more. Some time after by mere accident I looked 
towards the same gallery, and observed this man still in an 
attitude to examine me. It seemed as if he had not re- 
moved his eyes from me during the whole interval. This 
was repeated three or four times. Without knowing why, 
I became anxious and uneasy. I had a confused feeling 
that I had seen the man before, but whether in France, 
Switzerland, or Italy, I could not tell. I experienced that 
sort of disagreeable sensation from looking at his face, which 
arises in the mind from an association of the object present, 
with some mischief or suffering that was contemporary 
with its being perceived in a preceding instance. I am now 
persuaded that this man was one of the multitude to whom 
I had addressed myself from the bench on the hill a short 
time before my flight from Pisa, and that he was among 
the most eager to interrupt and molest me. But he was 
apparently a Spaniard by birth, and I could not at this 
time develope the mystery that hung about his features. 
Finding that I could neither rid myself of his curious and 
watchful observation, nor of the disturbance it gave me, I 
withdrew from the gallery where I had hitherto been sitting, 
and removed to another gallery on the opposite side of the 
area. About half an hour after, looking accidentally round, 
I saw this very man at my elbow. I then accosted him 
with the enquiry, " Do you know me, sir ? " to which he 
immediately returned, with a pure Castilian accent, " No, 
senor /" He then began to be more reserved in his attention 
to me, without however entirely withdrawing it. 

As soon as the entertainment was over, I went away, and 
saw no more of my Spaniard. I began to tax myself with 
pusillanimity in suffering so insignificant an incident to 
disturb me. A few days after however I suddenly lighted 
upon him in the street. He was talking to three or four 
of his countrymen, and in the progress of his discourse 
-frequently pointed to me. I could now perceive something 
particularly hostile and ferocious in his countenance. The 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 305 

first impulse I felt was, that I would no longer suffer the 
unquietness and anxiety the sight of him produced in me, 
but would go up to him, and force him to an explanation. 
I believed however that, in the temper he indicated, this 
could not be done without involving myself in a quarrel; 
and I thought it wiser to endeavour to conquer in silence 
an unreasonable sensation. I therefore passed on ; he im- 
mediately broke from his company, and attempted to follow 
me. This I determined not to endure. I laid my hand 
on my sword with a peremptory look, and waved to him to 
desist. His countenance then assumed an air of diabolical 
malignity, he shook his head furiously, and turned down 
another street. A strange sort of animosity this, between 
two persons utter strangers to each other, and which had 
as yet not deigned to express itself by a word ! But such 
is the world ! We hate we know not why. We are ready 
to cut each other's throats, because we do not like the turn 
of a feature, or the adjustment of a sword-knot. Prejudice, 
party, difference of countries, difference of religions, and a 
thousand wild chimeras of fanaticism or superstition, are 
continually arming us against a man, of whose virtues and 
qualities we are ignorant, and into whose benevolent or evil 
intentions we disdain to enquire. 

I saw this Spaniard but once more. It was as I was on 
the point of entering the house, a part of which I occupied. 
I was particularly mortified at this circumstance. It was 
plain the man entertained, for whatever reason, a deter- 
mined animosity against me ; and I was grieved to furnish 
him with that advantage for injuring me, which consisted 
in being acquainted with the place of my residence. I 
would have turned away and gone down the street ; but I 
had too fully marked my design of entering the house, 
before I reconnoitered my enemy. The displeasure I felt 
was so unaccountably great, that it was with difficulty my 
courage got the better of it ; and I determined not to change 
the place of my abode. In a short time however, as I have 
already said, I thought of this incident no more. That it 
should have disturbed and unhinged me, in the degree that' 
it had done, even for a moment, was a thing I could not 
account for. Had the calamities in which the legacy of 
x 



306 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

the stranger involved me, converted me in so short a time,, 
from a knight and a soldier, into a character of that morbid 
timidity, as to tremble at every shadow ? Or, is there in 
some human countenances a fascination, a sort of mysterious 
sympathy and presentiment, that makes us cower and quail 
whenever we meet their eyebeams ? 

Several weeks now passed away, and I had nearly for- 
gotten all the circumstances of this seemingly foolish story, 
when, in a little excursion I chanced to make from Madrid 
to a place about twelve miles distant, I was overtaken upon 
the road by a cavalier of respectable appearance, who pre- 
sently took occasion to enter into conversation with me. He 
explained to me several of the objects that presented them- 
selves on either side, told the names of the different nobility 
and grandees who occupied the villas we saw, and sometimes 
entered into the particulars of their history. I at first gave 
little encouragement to this communicative traveller; but 
there was something so polite in his manner, and intelligent 
in his discourse, that I could not prevail upon myself to 
treat him with rudeness or disrespect. After having talked 
for some time upon indifferent topics, he led to the general 
state of literature in Europe. Few subjects could appear 
less dangerous than this, as there were few upon which I 
felt myself better qualified to converse. By degrees I threw 
off some of my original reserve, and I found my companion 
well informed and ingenious, lively in his manner, and 
pertinent in his remarks. 

By this time the unknown, having discovered that I had 
only come from Madrid for a day's relaxation, invited him- 
self to dine with me at my inn. I departed from my 
established system of conduct on this occasion, and admitted 
his overture. After dinner he gave me some account of 
himself and his family, and seemed to expect from me a 
similar explicitness. I was less pleased with him in this 
particular, than I had been with his frank and undesigning 
conversation on the road. Strictly speaking however the 
expectation implied was only a breach of politeness ; I had 
no reason to suppose that he foresaw it to be particularly 
offensive to me. Observing my backwardness, he imme- 
diately changed the subject. Presently he remarked, that 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 307 

by my physiognomy and accent he perceived I was a 
Frenchman, and asked me if I had known Cornelius 
Agrippa, who died about twelve years before at Grenoble. I 
answered in the negative. The unknown then entered 
into a warm eulogium of the talents of Agrippa, inveighed 
against the illiberal treatment he had experienced in con- 
sequence of his supposed proficiency in magic, and spoke 
with great asperity of the priests and inquisitors who had 
been his persecutors. I became attentive, watchful, and 
suspicious. He went on to expatiate upon the praises of 
the art magic, which nothing, he said, but the jealousy of 
churchmen had brought into disrepute ; affirmed that it 
had been treated with respect, and counted illustrious, by 
the ancients, in the instance of Pythagoras, Apollonius 
Tyaneus, and others; and expressed a great desire to become 
a student of the art himself. This kind of discourse made 
me repent that I had been drawn in so far as to sit down 
with this unknown, and admit him as my companion of 
the day. During the whole time he was the principal 
speaker. Sometimes he paused, with a seeming desire to 
hear my sentiments. But I had now formed my resolution, 
and gave him no encouragement. Presently after I called 
for my horse. I should have observed, that his servant 
who followed him engaged in conversation with mine, at 
the same time that the dialogue began between their masters. 
Seeing me about to depart, the unknown motioned as if to 
accompany me. Upon this I became serious. 

cc Senor caballero" said I, " I have now had the plea- 
sure of your company to dinner : I am going home, and 
have the honour to bid you farewell. It is neither my dis- 
position, nor the habit of the grave and dignified nation 
among whom I at present reside, to form permanent ac- 
quaintances upon casual rencounters : you will not there- 
fore think I violate the hospitality for which I am indebted 
to them, if I intimate to you my desire to return alone." 

All this I said with the grave and formal tone becoming 
a Spaniard, and the unknown had nothing to reply. It was 
evident however that my dryness chagrined him ; and he 
even muttered words of resentment between his teeth. I 
could observe now a degree of hostility and fury in his 
x 2 



308 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

countenance, which remarkably contrasted with the pliancy 
and obligingness of his preceding demeanour. I took no 
notice however of these circumstances, and rode away. I 
have since had sufficient reasons to convince me that these 
two persons, whose story, but for that explanation, may ap- 
pear to the reader exceedingly frivolous, were the one an 
informer, and the other a spy of the holy inquisition. The 
man who had seen me at Pisa had his imagination terrified 
and his superstition set in arms by all that he had heard of 
me in that place ; and thought he could not perform a more 
meritorious work, than by giving intelligence to the fathers 
what sort of person had taken refuge in the metropolis 
of this most Catholic kingdom. It was with this view he 
had watched me, and at length, by an accident he deemed 
peculiarly fortunate, lodged me in my proper habitation. 
Having given in his denunciation, my travelling companion 
was next fastened on me by the contrivance and zeal of the 
fathers inquisitors. He was a familiar of the holy office; 
and it is well known that persons of the fairest prospects 
and most polite education in Spain are led by their religious 
impressions to place a pride in performing menial and even 
perfidious offices in the service of the inquisition. The 
kind of dishonour I put upon him in parting, though of a 
nature he could not openly resent, I fear conspired with his 
zeal for God's and the church's honour, to induce him to 
relate a story concerning me, more modelled by the bitter- 
ness of his personal feelings, than distinguished by a regard 
to truth. 

Such was the snare, woven and drawing close round me 
on all sides for my destruction. I was made uneasy by 
the rencounter of the traveller, but by no means aware of 
the whole extent of the mischief that impended over me. 
When I came to retrace, point by point, the discourse he 
had held, I could not conceive that the turn it had taken 
originated in accident. I perceived, with no little grief of 
heart and concern, that I was known. It was however 
necessary that I should reflect maturely upon the conduct 
to be pursued by me. I ought not gratuitously to expose 
myself to danger. But then, on the other hand, it is a 
point of general wisdom, and was particularly incumbent in 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 30Q 

my extraordinary circumstances, not to suffer vigilance to 
degenerate into restless anxiety. It would be easy for me, 
if I were not strictly on my guard, continually to find food 
for suspicion, and to surround myself with imaginary plots 
and dangers. This was a vice that I was willing enough 
to pity in others ; but there was no character that I more 
cordially disdained for myself. There was none more 
pointedly in opposition to that gallant, generous, confiding 
spirit, which had distinguished those military heroes of my 
native soil, who had been the exclusive object of my earliest 
admiration, and whom, in my present dejected and de- 
serted situation, I still desired to resemble. When I came 
to reflect, I easily perceived that this vice was particularly 
allied to a life of solitude ; and that he who is cut off from, 
the genuine and happy connections of husband, father, and 
friend, is of all men most liable, in their absence, to conjure 
up for himself the unnatural intercourses and reciprocations 
of hostility. It was thus that I artificially reconciled my- 
self to my situation, and obstinately closed my eyes upon 
those equivocal demonstrations of danger which from time 
to time were presented to my view. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

SUCH was the state of my mind, when it happened, one 
gloomy evening in the latter end of March, that my valet 
announced to me three gentlemen who were come to visit 
me. It was strange : I had no visitors ; I indulged no 
relaxation but that of the street, and of public places. Do 
you know who they are? said I. I accidentally looked 
up, and saw paleness and terror written in his countenance. 
He had not however time to reply, before they burst into 
the room. They were alguazils of the inquisition. They 
told me their errand was to conduct me to the holy office. 

I submitted, and accompanied them. It was already 
dark. They put me into a litter with the curtains drawn, 
and then arranged themselves in silence, one on each side, 
x 3 



310 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

while one brought up the rear. I was taken by surprise : 
nothing could be further from my expectation than such an 
event. As we passed along, I ruminated with myself on 
the line of conduct it was incumbent on me to pursue. To 
make an immediate experiment of the fidelity of my guides 
was a doubtful attempt. If, for want of time and the oppor- 
tunity of a tranquil hearing, I miscarried with them, the 
trial would be converted into evidence against me. If I 
succeeded, I had then to escape out of Spain, in the centre 
of which I now was, from the hostility of a tribunal, which 
was said to surpass all the tribunals on the face of the earth 
in activity and vigilance. I knew of nothing that the 
fathers of the inquisition could have against me. I had 
lived in the most entire seclusion ; and I could defy 
any one to report a single action of mine, since I had en- 
tered Spain, to my prejudice. I had been wholly occupied 
with melancholy reflections on the past, and solitary inven- 
tions and devices which I purposed to bring forward for the 
future. I determined not to live for ever the slave of fear. 
I believed that the best method for defeating a danger, in 
many cases, was undauntedly to encounter it; and I did 
not imagine that I could have a more favourable opportu- 
nity for that purpose than the present. I had heard much 
indeed of the terrors of the inquisition ; but a generous and 
liberal spirit lends no very attentive ear to horrors, the trite 
and vulgar rumour of which only has reached him. I dis- 
dained to be blown down with a breath. I believed that 
the inquisition itself would not venture to proceed crimi- 
nally against a man against whom nothing criminal had 
been alleged. In every event, I believed it would never be 
too late to have recourse to my peculiar prerogatives. 

Upon entering the prison of the inquisition I was first 
conducted to a solitary cell. It is not my intention to treat 
of those particulars of the holy office which are already 
to be found in innumerable publications. I have no plea- 
sure in reviving the images of this sojourn of horrors. I 
know it is unreasonable to despise a man for the miseries 
and wretchedness he has endured ; but I know that such is 
the human heart, and I will not expose myself to be scoffed 
at and trampled upon for my misfortunes. I found myself 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 311 

under the necessity, while in the inquisition, of submitting 
to that most profligate of all impositions, an oath of secrecy 
as to what 1 had seen, and what I had suffered ; and, what- 
ever may be the strict morality of such an obligation, I will 
not ambitiously thrust myself forward in violation of it. I 
will restrict the story I have to relate to the peculiari- 
ties that characterised my case, and enter as little as possi- 
ble into the general policy of this frontier intrenchment of 
the Christian faith. 

When I was brought up to be interrogated, I was as- 
sailed with innumerable questions, the obvious purport of 
which was, as much as possible, to extort from me evidence 
of every kind that might be injurious to my cause. The 
object of the inquisition is to defend our holy mother, the 
church, from whatever might defile her sanctity and white- 
ness. Every thing that calls into question the truth of her 
doctrines, that pollutes and turns from their original purpose 
any of her ordinances, or that implies commerce and league 
with the invisible enemy of saints, it is its peculiar province 
to investigate. The fathers are therefore particularly cau- 
tious that they may not, by confining their questions too 
much to a single object, preclude themselves from the chance 
of discovering danger under all the forms it may assume. 
It is presumed that he who is a corrupt member of the 
church of Christ in one point is unsound and unfaithful in 
others. 

The inquisitor who examined me, first demanded, 
whether I were informed for what cause I was brought 
before that tribunal ? Whether I did not find myself able 
to conjecture the nature of my offence ? Whether I did not 
know the sort of crimes for which men were detained in 
that prison ? He then desired me to recollect myself, and 
consider, whether I were not conscious of offence against 
the holy Catholic church ? Whether I had never asserted 
or maintained any doctrine?, contrary to what mother 
church asserts and maintains ? Whether I had never, to 
my knowledge, defiled any of the ordinances of God, or 
applied things sacred to unholy and profane purposes? 
Whether I had never invocatecl the devil ? Whether I 
had never held any commerce, or entered into any league, 
x 4 



312 TRAVELS OP ST. LEOX. 

with the enemy of saints ? Whether I had never performed, 
or sought to perform, preternatural and miraculous acts by 
unholy means ? Whether I had never vexed, or sought to 
vex, those against whom I had enmity, by secret and forbid- 
den arts ? Whether I had never resided in countries the 
inhabitants of which were heretics, and whether I had never 
listened to their discourses and arguments ? Whether, when 
I inhabited such countries, I had never assisted at the cele- 
bration of divine ordinances performed by heretics, or in a 
form which holy church disapproves or condemns ? 

Finding that he could gain nothing upon me by these 
general interrogatories, the inquisitor next descended to 
particulars. He enquired concerning the incidents of my 
Pisan story, which, having first assured myself from the 
train of his questions that some representation of that un- 
fortunate affair had reached his ear, I willingly related, to 
the same extent that I had previously done to the marchese 
Filosanto. 

He then proceeded to a great number of questions, the 
source of which is to be traced to the, commonly received 
notions respecting sorcerers and necromancers. They were 
so artfully contrived, and so large in their scope, that it was 
not easy to guess whether they related to any particular oc- 
cusation alleged against me, or were formed entirely on 
general principles. Yet some of them were so minute, so 
connected, and arranged so perfectly in series, that I could 
not but believe they were an echo of the calumnies invented 
against me at Pisa, of which, however, as I had never col- 
lected any regular and detailed account, I could not accu- 
rately trace the influence on the present occasion. 

The inquisitor demanded of me, Whether I had never 
seen or held conversation with any supernatural being, or 
the spirit of a man departed ? Whether I had never prac- 
tised diabolical arts to raise the dead ? Whether I had 
never had a familiar in the form of some insect, domestic 
animal, or reptile ? He was particularly subtle and copious 
in his questions respecting the history of my unfortunate 
dog, endeavouring to surprise me in some slip or contradic- 
tion in what I affirmed on the subject. He asked, Whether 
I had never assumed a form different from my real one, 
either a different age and appearance, or a different species 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

of animal ? Whether I had never, hy the agency of 
my demon, inflicted sickness, convulsion-fits, or death ? 
Whether I had never caused the mortality of cattle? 
Whether I had not the power of being in two places at 
once ? Whether I had never been seen riding through the 
air ? Whether I had never been wounded in my absence, 
by a blow aimed at my astral spirit or apparition ? Whether 
I had never possessed books of conjuration or the art magic ? 
Whether it had never happened to me that an indifferent 
person, indiscreetly perusing a spell or incantation in my 
possession, had been maimed or killed by the spirits he had 
undesignedly evoked ? 

A further object particularly pursued in my interrogatory, 
was the detection of my property ; and the questions con- 
structed for this purpose were uncommonly artful and 
multiplied. The inquisitor told me that the holy office 
was, by the nature of its institution, the guardian and ad- 
ministrator of every person that fell under its animadver- 
sion. Shut up, he said, as I must be, during the pendency 
of my cause, and separated from the rest of mankind, I 
was wholly incapable of superintending my worldly affairs, 
which, unless they were properly looked into, might in the 
interval be materially injured. I ought therefore implicitly 
and without reserve to refer myself in this point to the 
care of the fathers. If my innocence were established, as 
he hoped, and earnestly prayed to the mother of God, and 
the saints of Jesus, might ultimately happen, I should find 
the holy office a faithful and qualified steward. If, on the 
contrary, I should be proved a heretic and an alien to the 
Most High, I ought then to rejoice in the beneficent inter- 
ference of the fathers, who, by dedicating my wealth to 
consecrated purposes, would mitigate in the eye of the just 
Judge of heaven and earth the duration or fierceness of my 
punishments in a future world. The inquisitor had ap- 
parently heard various reports of my riches, and was in- 
expressibly chagrined that he should be found so unskilful 
a member of his profession, as not to be able to extort from 
me a full confession on that head. After having employed 
every artifice of menace and terror, after having endea- 
voured to soothe and cajole me by blandishments and per- 
suasion, and finding all his expedients fruitless, he poured 



314 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

upon me the full storm of his indignation. He said, it 
was apparent that I was dealing disingenuously and fraud- 
ulently with the delegated guardians of religion j it was 
impossible that the expenditure I was well known more or 
less to have incurred could be supported without consider- 
able funds ; and my evident duplicity and concealment in 
this point must be regarded as a full confirmation of every 
crime my accusers had alleged against me. 

In the course of my examinations, the inquisitor who 
questioned me gave himself the trouble of entering into a 
full vindication of the tribunal of which he was a member. 
He said, that every thing that was valuable to mankind, 
not only in a future state, but also in the present, depended 
upon preserving in full vigour and strength the sacred in- 
stitutions of the Christian faith ; and that those who were 
endowed with powers sufficient for that purpose would be 
in the highest degree inexcusable in the sight of God, if 
they did not vigilantly and inflexibly maintain the exertion 
of those powers. It was an egregious mistake of self-willed 
and opinionated men, to suppose that the maintenance of 
our holy religion was sufficiently provided for by the clear- 
ness of its evidence. It was no less dangerous, to pretend 
that the stability and duration of the church of Christ 
might be confided to the providence of God. Providence 
acts by human means ; and it was presumptuous for those 
who neglected the means to trust that they should never- 
theless see the end adequately secured. Why had Provi- 
dence thought proper to generate an alliance between church 
and state, and to place the powers and authority of human 
society in the hands of the adherents of the Christian faith ? 
Magistrates and governments were thus made the vicars of 
Heaven, and great would be their condemnation if they 
neglected the trust reposed in them. The great adversary 
of mankind was incessantly watchful for the destruction of 
souls ; and, while he spread abroad his delusions, it was 
folly to imagine that evidence alone was powerful enough 
to counteract them. What judges were the great mass of 
mankind of the integrity and validity of evidence ? The jest 
of the scorner was ever at hand to turn into ridicule the most 
sacred mysteries. The opposers of our holy faith were in- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 315 

defatigable in their industry, and as anxious in their exertions 
to deprive their fellow-men of every comfort and hope, 
as if infidelity, which was the curse of the human species, 
were the greatest blessing that could be conferred on 
them. The devil was a hard taskmaster, and granted no 
vacation, night or day, to those who enlisted themselves in 
the support of his cause. It might answer well enough 
the purpose of the vain-glorious theorist, to suppose that 
man was a rational animal ; but they who had regarded 
human society with an observing eye knew that it was 
otherwise. Delusion would ever be too hard for evidence, 
and the grossest falsehoods prove victorious over the most 
sacred truths, if what was illiberally and maliciously styled 
persecution were not brought in aid of the cause of religion. 
The passions of mankind were on the side of falsehood; 
man, unrestrained by law, was a wild, ferocious, and most 
pernicious beast, and, were it not for the wholesome curb 
of authority, would speedily throw off all ties and limit- 
ations, human and divine. Nothing could more clearly 
prove, that the heretical followers of Luther and Calvin, 
who had lately sprung up for the plague of mankind, 
whatever they might pretend, were in reality the deter- 
mined enemies of all revelation, than their continual de- 
mand, that the cause should be tried by discussion, and 
that every man should be defended in the exercise of his 
private judgment. They could not but know, every 
man not totally robbed of all power of discernment must 
know, that, if this demand were once granted, it would 
prove a blow at the root of every sentiment of religion. 
The inquisition therefore was the most salutary institution 
that had ever been devised; and the future welfare of 
mankind wholly depended upon the maintenance of its 
powers and its maxims. By a moderate and judicious 
exhibition of terror, it superseded the necessity of innu- 
merable punishments. The inquisition was not capricious 
and uncertain in its policy ; it acted under the direction of 
immutable laws ; it held a tender, but a firm rein upon the 
extravagances and madness of mankind. Nothing was 
more notorious, than that a regular and systematical pro- 
ceeding was both more effectual and more generous than 



316 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

one that was fickle. He defied the whole history of the 
world to produce an example of so merciful a tribunal. 
The great end of its policy was the reclaiming of sinners 
and the multiplication of penitents, who, after a gentle 
and salutary discipline, were again by holy church received 
into her bosom ; and even when they delivered the finally 
impenitent to the flames, it was to the flames of a purifying 
fire, which by destroying the flesh redeemed or diminished 
the punishments of a future world. He knew that an out- 
cry had been artfully raised against the proceedings of the 
holy office. But it was easy to see that its enemies, under 
the pretence of compassion for its victims, concealed an 
inveterate animosity against property, religion, and civil 
society. The anabaptists had thrown off the mask, and 
discovered their true designs ; and the rest were only more 
plausible and specious, in proportion as they were more 
timid. The present was the most important crisis that 
ever occurred in the history of the world. There was a 
spirit at work, that aimed at dissolving all the bonds of 
civil society, and converting mankind into beasts and 
savages. Who had not heard of the levellers, millenarians, 
and fifth-monarchy-men, who, under the specious guise of 
disinterestedness and an universal love of mankind, had 
nothing in view but the most sacrilegious and unprincipled 
depredations ? It was true that the preachers of these 
doctrines were utterly contemptible both for numbers and 
talent : but it would be found a short-sighted policy, to 
overlook these desperate assailants on account of the poor- 
ness and meanness of their qualifications. For his own 
part he did not hesitate to say, that human society would 
owe its preservation, if it were preserved, to the merciful 
yet vigorous proceedings of the court of inquisition. The 
misrepresentations that were invidiously made of the pre- 
sent firm and vigilant system of policy would be heard for 
a day, and then universally abandoned. Posterity, he was 
well assured, would do full justice to the sagacity and 
soundness of the conduct of this calumniated and much 
injured institution. 

The reader will forgive me if the panegyric thus elabo- 
rately pronounced by the inquisitor who examined me, 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 317 

upon the court of which he was a member, had not all the 
weight with my mind at the moment I heard it which he 
will probably ascribe to it in the calmness of the closet. 
It is so difficult to be impartial in our own cause ! The 
candid mind will no doubt make a large allowance for the 
unhappy situation in which I now stood, and the bitter and 
galling thoughts that preyed upon my memory. But, if I 
am chargeable with temporary injustice in the judgment I 
then passed on the arguments of the inquisitor, I flatter 
myself that I have been able, after the interval that has 
elapsed, to give a true and adequate statement of them. 

Beside these reasonings on the necessity of a wholesome 
restraint on the privileges of speaking and writing, the 
father in another of my examinations condescended to 
delineate to me the mysteries of the world of spirits. He 
reminded me that in the first grand rebellion upon record, 
that of the fallen angels, of which he considered the present 
defection under Luther and Calvin as in some measure a 
counterpart, a third of the host of heaven had been thrust 
out of the celestial mansions. These accursed spirits had 
since been permitted to pursue their machinations on 
the face of our earth. " The devil, like a roaring lion, 
goeth about, seeking whom he may devour." The oracles 
of the heathens, the temptations of Job and of our Saviour, 
and the demoniacs of sacred writ, were examples of the 
extensive power which Heaven had thought fit to allow 
him. Men of a sceptical and feeble understanding had 
been tempted to doubt whether this was consistent with 
the wisdom and goodness of God. But, though it was in 
vain for us to pretend to fathom the depth of the divine 
mysteries, there were certain reasons that were sufficiently 
obvious to every ingenuous mind. There were persons in 
all ages of the world, who, like the Sadducees in the time 
of our blessed Saviour, were inclined to affirm " that there 
was no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit ;" and God 
permitted the lying wonders of infernal agents the more 
completely to confound the unbelief of his enemies. He 
who witnessed the wonderful operations of witchcraft, or 
saw the ghost of a man departed, could not doubt of the 
interference of invisible agents in the concerns of our 



318 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

nether world ; and,, if there were devils and apparitions, it 
would be to the last degree unreasonable to deny the ex- 
istence of God, or the miracles of Christ. These were to 
be received as the grounds of the divine permission of 
sorcerers, necromancers, and witches. But the rules of 
the divine conduct were not to constitute the rules of ours. 
He might permit the agency of invisible malice, because 
he saw things upon an unlimited scale, his judgments were 
infallible, and he could say to Beelzebub himself, " Thus 
far shalt thou go, and no further." Those to whose care 
was intrusted the welfare of mankind here or hereafter 
were bound as far as possible to oppose themselves to the 
empire of Satan. His power was given him only for a 
time, and, if not strictly restrained of God and the powers 
ordained of God, it would over-run every thing, and replunge 
all this beautiful scene of creation in its original ^chaos. 
There was an endless and eternal war between God and 
the devil, and the governors of the church were Heaven's 
field-officers and pioneers for carrying it on. Of all the 
crimes, he added, to which the depravity of human nature 
had given birth, the most astonishing and the most hor- 
rible was that of diabolical commerce. That human 
creatures ^ should be so far infatuated, as to enter into 
league with the declared enemy of souls, and for the pos- 
session of a short-lived and precarious power to sign away 
their spirits to eternal damnation, was so extraordinary as 
to have been wholly unworthy of credit, were it not sup- 
ported by evidence as strong and irresistible as that of the 
miracles of Jesus Christ himself. The persons who thus 
voluntarily made themselves accursed before God deserved 
to be regarded with alienation and horror by the whole 
human race. Every man that saw them was bound by 
his baptismal engagements to destroy them ; and whoever 
administered to them the smallest portion of food, drink, 
or comfort, thereby rendered himself a party to their guilt. 
The inquisition especially had declared against this race of 
men eternal war, and considered their crime as more com- 
plicated, audacious, and pestilential, than any other branch 
of heresy. Having, for his own part, no doubt that I was 
one of these noxious and enormous reprobates, he exhorted 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 319 

me to make a voluntary confession of my evil deeds, and, 
by submitting readily to the tortures and punishments of 
this world, endeavour to free myself, if it were yet possible, 
from those of the world to come. 

These discourses of the inquisitor were variously inter- 
spersed through the three examinations to which I was 
subjected a short time after I became an inhabitant of the 
holy house. On my part I endeavoured to the best of my 
power to repel the imputations cast upon me, to establish 
my innocence, and to confound the severity of my oppres- 
sors. I told the inquisitor, whatever might be the force of 
his arguments respecting heresy and dealings with the devil, 
they were nothing to me. I was no Lutheran, no anabaptist, 
no necromancer, no underminer of the faith of others, or 
ally of the prince of the infernal regions. I proudly and 
earnestly demanded to be confronted with my accusers. I 
asked my examiner in his turn, What sort of justice that 
was, which pretended to proceed capitally against its pri- 
soners upon secret and unavowed accusations ? He endea- 
voured to stop me. He told me that I was not brought 
there to arraign the methods and practices of their court ; 
that it did not become a prisoner put upon his defence to 
insult his judges; that this contumacy could not be regarded 
but as an aggravation of my guilt; and that I was bound 
strictly and simply to answer the interrogatories that were 
proposed to me. The rebuke of the inquisitor was unavail- 
ing. My spirit was wrought to too high a pitch to be thus 
restrained ; I was too firmly resolved to give the utmost 
force of mind and truth to the topics of my just defence. 
It is the practice of the inquisition for the prisoner to sit 
during his examination. I started upon my feet. 

" The mode of your proceeding," cried I, " is the mockery 
of a trial. From your fatal bar no man can go forth ac- 
quitted. How is a story to be refuted, when hardly and 
with difficulty you suffer your prisoner to collect the slightest 
fragments of it ? If I would detect a calumny, is it not re- 
quisite that I should be acquainted with its history, and 
know its authors and propagators ? Then I may perhaps be 
able to confound their forgeries, to show the groundlessness 
of their allegations, to expose the baseness of their purposes 



320 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

and the profligacy of their characters. I am informed of 
nothing ; yet I am bid, first to be my own accuser, and then 
to answer the accusations of others. It is only by following 
a falsehood through all its doublings that it can be effec- 
tually destroyed. You bid me unravel a web, and will not 
suffer me to touch it with one of my fingers. The defence 
of the purest innocence is often difficult, sometimes impos- 
sible, against the artfulness of a malicious tale, or the 
fortuitous concurrence of unfavourable appearances. But 
you strip innocence of those consecrated weapons by which 
only it can be defended. Give to an accusation the parti- 
culars with which what really happens must always be 
attended, give to it the circumstances of place and of time, 
lay aside the ambiguity and generalities in which you shelter 
yourselves, and then, perhaps then only, it can be victori- 
ously repelled. You ask me a thousand various and artfully 
constructed questions. What sort of a man do you imagine 
me to be ? I am not a fool, that I should be inveigled ; I 
am not a boy, that I should be menaced into confessions. 
Cease your base and unprincipled arts ! I will furnish no 
materials against myself. If you know any thing against me, 
avow it! Propose it, and I will answer. Think not to patch 
up a miserable accusation out of the words which inad- 
vertence or weariness may cause me to utter. Shame on 
your institution ! May infamy overtake the system of your 
proceedings ! That religion which is supported by such 
means is viler than atheism. That civilisation which has 
its basis in despotism, is more worthless and hateful than 
the state of savages running wild in their woods. 

" Do you not perceive that the language I am now hold- 
ing to you is the exclusive privilege of conscious innocence? 
The indignation I express is no artificial rage, studiously 
contrived to overbear accusation. You have it, as it flows 
spontaneously to my tongue, warm from the promptings of 
an honest heart. If I could have consulted a friend, it is 
probable he would have dissuaded me from my present 
demeanour as impolitic. If I were governed by the dic- 
tates of an ordinary prudence, I should have displayed less 
ardour, less resentment. But I am willing to try whether 
shame cannot yet be lighted up even in the cheek of an 
inquisitor." 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



321 



The father who examined me, having in vain endeavoured 
to check the current of my invective, changed his manner, 
and assumed a tone diametrically the reverse of mine. He 
professed that he felt much compassion and interest for my 
misfortune, and should deem himself happy if he could be 
the instrument of my deliverance. The language I had 
uttered was highly indecorous, and such as seemed in itself 
to call for a rigorous penance. But he should not think 
himself worthy the name of a man, if he did not make suit- 
able allowance for the bitter and extravagant sentiments, 
that would occasionally find their way into the mind of one 
in my unfortunate situation. So circumstanced, men would 
often mistake their friends for their enemies. I regarded 
the inquisition as my enemy: it was in reality my firm and 
disinterested friend ; zealously watchful for my body, my 
my soul, and my estate. Other courts had other maxims 
of proceeding, because their motives of action were different; 
and it was but just that they should furnish their prisoners 
with a defence against their frailty. But the breast of an 
inquisitor was accessible to no sentiment but that of love; 
a burning love of God ; love of the church ; love of the 
prisoner, who might be wrongfully accused; love of the 
penitent, whom he reconciled to our common mother, the 
church ; love even of the incorrigible heretic whose body he 
burned for the good of his soul. The inquisitor did not 
discover to the prisoner the evidence adduced against him ; 
that was between God and the inquisitor's conscience. But 
the suppression which was thus practised rendered him 
doubly scrupulous and sceptical as to the evidence he re- 
ceived ; he sifted it with a severity that the prisoner would 
in vain endeavour to imitate ; and the rules of evidence in 
that court were so guarded, punctilious, and minute, as to 
render any mistake in its proceedings altogether impossible. 
For a man to be once a prisoner of the court of inquisition, 
by a salutary prejudice which prevailed through the catholic 
world, rendered him for ever infamous. This was another 
cause of the extreme wariness and caution, with which that 
court was accustomed to proceed. They first listened to 
the accuser, who was obliged to give in his information on 
oath. They then instituted a secret enquiry against the 

Y 



322 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

party accused; and, till they had collected abundant ground 
for their proceeding, they did not venture to touch a hair of 
his head. They elaborately classed all the different degrees 
of evidence into half proof, full proof, proof less than half, 
and proof less than full. When these things were duly con- 
sidered, it would appear certain that no court that had at any 
time existed on earth, had ever been so tender in its pro- 
ceedings, so pure in its incitements, and so every way supe- 
rior to the attacks of calumny and malice, as the court of 
inquisition. 

With respect to myself in particular, he said, they had 
not apprehended me and put me upon my defence, without 
previously assembling a large body of miscellaneous and 
circumstantial evidence. The evidence they had drawn 
from myself was negative only, but it was strong : the ob- 
scurity that hung about my person, who I was, and whence 
I came ; and the obscurity that hung about my fortune, a 
great visible expenditure in Spain or in Italy, and no visible 
means. These were not the signatures and tokens of inno- 
cence. They tended strongly to confirm the accusation 
under which I laboured. Yet so tender was the inquisition 
in its proceeding, and so chary of its reputation, that upon 
these accumulated proofs and presumptions, they were not 
prepared to pronounce against me. They would hear me 
again and again. They would give me time to recollect 
myself, and for this purpose they would order for me a 
coarse and scanty fare, and a solitary cell. I might depend 
upon it my contumacy should be overcome. The funda- 
mental principle of their proceedings was borrowed from 
that humane and compassionate maxim of the old Roman 
law, De vita hominis nulla cunctatio est longa; and I 
should accordingly find them free from all precipitation and 
impatience, and. ready to indulge me with a residence, how- 
ever long, in their prisons, till my case had been sifted to 
the bottom. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



323 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE indulgence thus ostentatiously proclaimed by the father- 
inquisitor was not exactly to my taste. Finding that all 
the energy of mind I could apply to my defence was vain, 
I determined to have recourse to a different mode of pro- 
ceeding. I received three admonitions, as they call them, 
the substance of which I have already recited, in the course 
of the first ten days of my confinement, and I then for 
some time heard of the inquisitor no more. I under- 
stood that it was frequently the practice, after three ad- 
monitions, not to bring up the prisoner for further hearing 
during a whole year; and it appeared sufficiently pro- 
bable from the last words addressed to me by my judge, 
that this policy was intended to be employed in my 
case. Without further delay therefore I resolved to recur 
to the expedient in the use of which my power was 
unbounded, and by a brilliant offer at once to subdue the 
scruples, and secure the fidelity, of the person or persons 
upon whom my safe custody might be found to depend. 
All that was necessary was to convince the party to whom 
I should propose the assisting me, of the reality of my 
powers ; and then to put carte blanche into his hands, or 
rather to ascertain at once the extent of his hopes and de- 
mands, and by a spirited and peremptory conduct to yield 
them alL In the period which, immediately previous to 
my present imprisonment, I had devoted to the meditation 
of my future plans and the review of my past, I had severely 
accused myself of half measures, and had determined to 
abjure all hesitation and irresoluteness: for the time to come. 
It is not indeed to be wondered at, that, possessing a power 
so utterly remote from common ideas and conceptions, and 
which, speaking from experience, I do not hesitate to affirm 
no mere effort of imagination is adequate to represent, I 
should have acted below the prerogatives and demands of 
my situation. This mistake^ I would make no more. I 
would overwhelm opposition by the splendour of my pro- 
ceedings, and confound scruples by the dignity and princely 
Y 2 



324 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

magnificence of my appearance. Unshackled as I was with 
connections, and risking no one's happiness but my own, I 
proposed to compel the human species to view me from an 
awful distance, and to oblige every one that approached me 
to feel his inferiority. It would be to the last degree dis- 
graceful and contemptible in me, being raised so far above 
my peers in my privileges, if I were to fall below the ordi- 
nary standard of a gallant man in the decision and firmness 
of my system of conduct. Decision and firmness were the 
principles to be exercised by me now ; dignity and magni- 
ficence must await their turn hereafter. 

It was not long before I embraced an opportunity of 
speaking to the man who waited on me with my daily 
allotment of provisions, and I designed as shortly as pos- 
sible to proceed to that species of argument, in which I 
principally confided to engage him in my cause. But he 
did not suffer me to utter a sentence before with a very 
expressive gesture he interrupted me. I had remarked 
already the silence which seemed for ever to pervade this 
dismal abode ; but I had not ascribed importance enough to 
this circumstance, to suppose that it could materially inter- 
fere with the project I had formed. I now perceived the 
countenance of my attendant to be overspread with terror 
and alarm. He put his hand upon my mouth, and by his 
attitude seemed earnestly to insist upon my conforming to 
the rules of the prison. I was not however to be thus 
diverted from my purpose. I seized his hands, and began 
again to pursue the discourse I had meditated. This pro- 
ceeding on my part induced him to break the silence he 
had hitherto preserved. He told me that if I did not in- 
stantly set him at liberty, he would alarm the prison. I 
loosed his hands. I then by every gesture I could devise 
endeavoured to prevail on him to approach me, to suffer me 
to confer with him in the lowest whisper, and assured 
him that he should have no reason to repent his compliance. 
I might as well have addressed myself to the walls that 
inclosed me. He would not stay an instant ; he would 
yield in nothing. He burst from me abruptly, and, closing 
the door of my cell, left me in solitude and darkness. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 325 

In the evening of the day of this attempt the keeper of 
the prison entered my apartment. When he appeared, I 
began to flatter myself that in this man I should find a 
better subject for my purpose than in the poor turnkey who 
had given me so unfavourable a prognostic of my success. 
I lost no time in saying to him that I had sometliing im- 
portant to communicate ; but he peremptorily commanded 
me to be silent, and listen to what he was about to say to 
me. He told me that I had already been complained 
against for speech, and I was now repeating my offence. 
He advised me to ponder well the consequences of what I 
was doing. The orders of the inquisition were rigorous 
and inflexible. The cells were not so substantially sepa- 
rated but that a voice might be heard from one to the other; 
yet it had happened more than once, that a husband and 
wife, a father and child, had for years been lodged next to 
each other, without the smallest suspicion on either part of 
the proximity of their situation. He was astonished at the 
pertinacity of my behaviour. There was no government on 
the face of the earth, he would venture to say, that had sub- 
jects more obedient, more dutiful and exemplary than the 
holy inquisition. Not a murmur was ever heard; not a 
discontent ever expressed. All was humbleness, thank- 
fulness, and gratitude. He recommended to me to conform 
myself to my situation, and let him hear no further com- 
plaints of me. He had no sooner finished his harangue, 
than he left me as abruptly as his servant had done. It is 
not possible to impart any adequate image of the inflexi- 
bility of his features, or the stern composure of his de- 
meanour. 

I now saw my situation in a different point of view. 
Bribery was of no use, where all intercourse was denied. 
Great God ! into what position was I got ? In the midst 
of a great and populous city, at this time perhaps the me- 
tropolis of the world, I heard occasionally from beyond the 
limits of my prison the hum of busy throngs, or the shouts 
of a tumultuous populace. Yet I was myself in the deepest 
solitude. Like the wretched mariners I have somewhere 
read of, shipwrecked upon a desert shore, I might remain 
encaged, till I lost all recollection of European language, 
Y 3 



326 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



and all acquaintance with the sound of my own voice. A 
jailor from time to time entered my apartment; but to me 
he was simply a moving and breathing statue, his features 
never moulded into the expression of a meaning, nor his 
mouth opened for the utterance of a sound. From the first 
I had been struck with the extreme and death-like silence 
that characterised the place of my confinement; but my 
mind was occupied with other thoughts, and I had not 
adverted to the cause of the phenomenon. I had then felt 
little inclination to the converse of a jailor ; my natural dis- 
position was somewhat singular for a Frenchman, and in- 
clined to taciturnity : I had resolved to make a fair ! and 
ample trial of the power of a just defence, where my in- 
nocence was so complete and I was entirely disengaged 
from those unfavourable appearances which had constituted 
my misfortune at Constance ; and I even rejoiced, that a 
silence, which I regarded as casual and individual, delivered 
me from all fear of impertinence in my attendant. With 
how different a temper do we contemplate an incident 
which, we persuade ourselves, continues to operate only 
because we want inclination to remove it ; and an incident 
which is violently imposed, and to which, with the utmost 
exertion of our strength, we cannot succeed to impart the 
slightest shock ! The external object is the same; its picture 
in the intellectual sensorium how unlike ! What a profound 
and inconceivable refinement in the art of tyranny is this 
silence ! The jailor might well tell me, that beneath his 
roofs there was neither compkint nor murmur, that the 
very soul of its inhabitants was subdued, and that they 
suffered the most unheard of oppressions without astonish- 
ment or indignation. This is the peculiar prerogative of 
despotism : it produces many symptoms of the same general, 
appearance as those which are derived from liberty and 
justice. There are no remonstrances ; there is no impa- 
tience or violence ; there is a calm, a fatal and accursed 
tranquillity that pervades the whole. The spectator enters, 
and for a time misinterprets every object he sees ; he per- 
ceives human bodies standing or moving around him ; and 
it is with the utmost surprise, if he has leisure and oppor- 
tunity to observe a little further, that he finds at last the 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 327 

things he sees to be the mere shades of men, cold, inert, 
glaring bodies, which the heaven-born soul has long since 
deserted. Wonderful, I hesitate not to affirm, is the ge- 
nuine and direct power of such a situation as that in which 
I was now placed, upon the human imagination. What 
was it then to me, to whom speech was not merely one of 
those things, misnamed indulgences, misnamed luxuries, 
upon which the desirableness and the health of human ex- 
istence depend ; but who had looked to it as the only and 
the assured means of my rescue from this scene of horrors ! 
I intreat the reader to pardon me, when I confess, that the 
operation of the discovery I made was so overwhelming 
and apparently desperate, that it was some weeks, I might 
say months, before my mind recovered its wonted bias and 
activity. 

It was towards the close of the period I have named, 
that a new incident, concurring with that familiarity which 
serves in some measure to disarm every mischief of its 
sting, restored and re-awakened my mind. I had vegetated 
now for some time, if the metaphor can with propriety be 
applied to existence in a noxious and empoisoned air, by 
which all vegetation would have been undermined, and 
which the vital principle in man is scarcely competent to 
surmount ; and in all this period had encountered nothing 
from without, nor received any intimation, that could in the 
slightest degree interrupt the progressive destruction and 
waste of the soul. One day, at the customary hour of my 
being attended by my warder, I was surprised to see him 
bring with him a visiter to my cell. The unknown was a 
man with grey hairs and a silver beard : though once tall, 
he now stooped considerably, and supported himself with a 
staff: his dress was simple and neat, and his whole appear- 
ance prepossessing. A sweet serenity was diffused over his 
countenance ; yet there were occasionally a fire, and a con- 
templative grasp of thought, expressed in his eyes, which 
sufficiently proved to me that his serenity was not the result 
of vacancy. All this I discerned by the faint and uncertain 
light of a small lamp which the warder had brought with 
him, and placed upon my table. The introduction was 
performed in silence, and the warder left us alone. The 
Y 4 



328 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

unknown beckoned me to be seated, for the first emotion 
of surprise at the entrance of a stranger had caused me to 
start on my feet ; and, opening a folding stool he had re- 
ceived from my attendant, he placed himself beside me. 

He then addressed me in a low voice, and told me, that 
the humanity of the fathers of the inquisition had given 
him permission to visit me, and that, if I" would be so 
obliging, in conformity to the regulations of the prison, as 
to lower my voice to the standard of his, we were at liberty 
to confer together. He hoped the conference would be some 
relief to my solitude, if not lead to my complete liberation. 
He then unfolded to me his story. He told me that he, 
like myself, had been committed to the prisons of the inqui- 
sition upon an accusation of sorcery. Having advanced 
thus far, he stopped. He talked miscellaneously and digres- 
sively of wizards and their familiars, of possessions and de- 
mons, of charms, spells, talismans and incantations, even of 
the elixir vita and the philosopher's stone. Sometimes in 
the progress of this discourse I could perceive him observ- 
ing me with the utmost narrowness, as if he would dive into 
my soul ; and again, particularly when he caught a glance 
of suspicion in my eye, with infinite address changing his 
attitude and tone, and assuming a surprising air of inge- 
nuousness and gaiety. In a word he was a consummate 
actor. It was evident, whether his designs were hostile or 
friendly, that his purpose was to make himself master of 
my secret. I asked him whether the accusation of sorcery 
which had been preferred against him, were well founded 
or a calumny. He evaded that question, and was only 
influenced by it to talk more copiously and fluently on other 
topics, with the apparent design of making me forget the 
enquiry I had made. He avoided anticipation, lest he should 
miscalculate and take wrong ground in my affair; and, 
though superficially he seemed communicative, I found that 
he scarcely told me respecting himself any one thing definite 
and clear. He celebrated the clemency of the fathers of the 
inquisition. He said, they seemed to regard themselves as 
the adoptive parents of those they held in their custody, 
and were anxious solely for the restoration of souls. In 
their exterior they were austere, and had unfortunately con- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 329 

tracted a forbidding manner ; but he had soon found, upon 
a closer inspection of their character,, that the only way to 
deal successfully with them was to repose in them a perfect 
confidence. This panegyric was not resorted to till he had 
exhausted the various topics by which he had hoped him- 
self to extort my secret from me. I asked him, whether 
the effect of his reposing confidence had been an abjuration 
of sorcery, and reconciliation to the church ? But this ques- 
tion experienced the fate of every other that I addressed to 
him. He only told me generally, that he had every reason 
to be satisfied with, and to speak well of, the treatment he 
had experienced in the house of the inquisition. He pos- 
sessed, or rather, as I beh'eved, affected, a character of 
thoughtless garrulity and loquacity, well adapted to cover 
the strange deviations and abrupt transitions that marked 
his discourse. It was certainly singularly contrasted with 
that close and penetrating air which from time to time I 
remarked in him. 

The reader may deem it surprising and unaccountable ; 
but certain it is I took uncommon delight in this man's 
company. I pressed him earnestly to repeat his visits, and 
would scarcely suffer him to depart, till he had promised 
to come to me again the next day or the day after. Yet I 
looked on him as my mortal enemy, and had no doubt that 
he was one of the infamous wretches, employed by the 
policy of the inquisition, and well known beneath those 
hated roofs by the appellation of moscas. Various reasons 
may be assigned for my conduct in this particular. Let it 
first be remembered that I was alone, and for months had 
not heard the sound of my own voice. No incident marked 
my days j no object arrested my attention. A dull, heavy, 
pestilential, soul-depressing monotony formed the history 
of my life. If in this situation I had been visited by a 
mouse or a rat, I should indefatigably have sought to get 
within reach of it, I should have put it to my bosom, and have 
felt with exultation the beat of an animal pulse, the warmth 
of animal life pressing responsively on my heart. With 
what eager appetite I should have mixed in scenes of cala- 
mity and cruelty, intolerable to any other eye, glad for 
myself that even upon such terms I could escape the frost- 



330 TRAVELS OP ST. LEOX. 

bound winter of the soul ! How I should have rejoiced, 
like king Richard of England, to see four grim and death- 
dealing assassins enter my cell, like him to struggle and 
wrestle and contend with my murderers, though, as in his 
case, wounds and a fatal end should be the result ! Thus 
feeling then, it is little wonderful that I should have hailed 
with pleasure the visit of the mosca. 

But this was not all. While I conferred with, or rather 
listened to my visiter, that pride and self complacency, 
which I suspect to be the main, or at least the indispensable, 
ingredient of all our pleasures, revived in my heart. I be- 
lieved that he was set upon me by these insatiable blood- 
suckers of the inquisition, that he might ensnare me with 
his questions, and treacherously inveigle me to the faggot 
and the stake. I felt a last, lambent intimation of pride 
within me, when my heart whispered me, " This man shall 
not attain his ends." I secretly defied his arts, and amused 
myself with baffling his most cunning devices. I had now 
some one with whom to measure myself. The comparison, 
I own, for a descendant of the counts of St. Leon, was a 
humble one ; but it is not permitted a prisoner in the jails 
of the inquisition to be fastidious in his pleasures. This 
man I played with at my ease, and laughed at his strata- 
gems. I therefore felt that I was his superior, and, which 
was a sensation I had not lately been accustomed to, that I 
was somebody. These feelings recommended to me his 
visits. 

. But what was much more material, I looked further, 
and proposed an ultimate end to this occurrence. Let it 
be recollected what was my unhappiness, when I found 
myself, if I may be allowed the expression, suddenly de- 
prived of speech, and then it will easily be understood how 
sincerely I rejoiced to have this faculty restored to me. 
Speech, as I have already said, I had regarded as the only 
and assured means of my deliverance from this scene of 
horrors. I therefore doubted not that from this miserable 
tool of my oppressors I would obtain my enlargement. I 
stood firmly on my guard. I permitted him to run out 
the whole length of his own project without interruption. 
By this delay I should better understand his character, and 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 331 

finally seize it with a more decisive grasp. Thus purposing, 
I allowed three or four visits to pass hefore I opened to the 
mosca my own proposal. I designed unexpectedly to turn 
the tables upon him, to surprise and finish with him at 
once. I knew not that all this precaution was necessary, 
but I played for too deep a stake,, not to be anxious to omit 
nothing, which hereafter in retrospect I might reproach 
myself that I had omitted. 

The time was at length come, at which I judged it con- 
venient to execute what I had planned in my mind. I 
began with an attempt to mortify and humble my guest in 
his own eyes, that he might lose the pride to make the 
smallest resistance to my proposal. 

' ' Do you think, my good sir," cried I, " that I have not 
perfectly understood your intentions all this while? You have 
pretended to be my friend, and to come to me for my good. 
I know that every secret I reposed in your fidelity, every 
word that I might unguardedly have dropped, every look 
and gesture that could have been interpreted to my disad- 
vantage, would have been instantly reported to the fathers 
of the inquisition. Why, what a poor and miserable fool 
must you have imagined me to be ! How came you into 
my cell ? Had you a secret key by which you found your 
way hither unknown ? Could you ever have come into my 
apartment, if you had not been employed? You fawn 
upon me, and are the tame and passive agent of my mer- 
ciless destroyers ! Shame on such base and perfidious pro- 
ceedings ! Is this religion, that you should flatter and 
cajole and lie to a man, purely that you may have the gra- 
tification at last of burning him alive ? If you or your 
masters can make out any thing to my disadvantage, let 
them make it out in the way of fair and open trial, by the 
production of direct evidence, and calling on me for my 
defence. They style themselves the champions of Christ- 
endom and ornaments of our holy faith ; they pretend to 
an extraordinary degree of sanctity, and would have all men 
bow down in mute reverence and astonishment at their 
godliness \ and yet they have recourse to means so base, 
that the most profligate and abandoned tyrant upon 
record would have disdained to employ them. But, base 



332 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



as are the judges and assessors of the court in whose prison 
I stand, even they scorn the meanness of the perfidious task 
in which you have engaged." 

The vehemence I put into the suppressed and under-tone 
with which I delivered these reproaches, seemed to produce 
no emotion in my guest. He dropped his staff upon his 
shoulder ; he meekly folded his arms upon his bosom, and 
answered, that he had long since learned to bear every 
contumely for the cause of God and the Redeemer : they 
were heaven-directed chastisements, which his manifold sins 
and iniquities had amply deserved. 

" Hypocrite ! " replied I, " would you make me believe 
that a conscientious motive can prompt such conduct as 
yours, can mould your features into a treacherous expres- 
sion of kindness, and fill your mouth with lies and decep- 
tions innumerable ? " 

" No proceedings," rejoined he, with an unaltered air, 
" are base, that God and his church prescribe. I take up 
the cross with cheerfulness, and glory in my shame. The 
more ignominious in the eyes of an unregenerate world is 
my conduct, the more entire and implicit does it prove my 
obedience to be." 

My heart swelled within me as he talked. I could lend 
no attention to such despicable cant, and was ashamed to 
see the most profligate conduct assuming to itself the pre- 
tensions to an extraordinary degree of sanctity and disin- 
terestedness. 

" Come, come," said I, " dissembler ; I know that no- 
thing could buy a man to so loathsome an office but money. 
You are some galley-slave, some wretch, who by your com- 
plicated crimes have forfeited your life to the community, 
and are now permitted to earn a miserable existence by 
lying in wait for the unfortunate, and engaging in arts at 
which humanity shudders. I take you upon your own 
terms ; you are the man I want. Assist me to escape ; go 
with me to some safer and less cruel country ; I will re- 
ward you to the extent of your wishes. Give me your 
hand ; an estate of six thousand pistoles per annum, with- 
out further condition, waits your acceptance. I invoke all 
the powers, sacred to truth and punishers of deceit, to 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 33S 

witness, that I have ability to make good the whole of what 
I promise." 

While I spoke, I could perceive an extraordinary revo- 
lution taking place in my guest. The meekness and tran- 
quillity of his countenance subsided; his eye became 
animated and alive. I hailed the auspicious omen ; I urged 
my proposal with all the impetuosity I could exert and all 
the arguments I could devise. At length I paused. I 
looked again at the countenance of the mosca; 1 was less 
pleased than before. The expression did not seem to be 
that of assent and congratulation ; it was rather of horror 
and alarm. 

" St. Jago, and all the saints and angels of heaven, pro- 
tect me ! " exclaimed he. " What do I hear ? A full 
confession of guilt ! And art<thou then the confederate of 
the prince of the powers of darkness ? If we were not here, 
in the holy house of inquisition, I should die at this moment 
with fear that the roof would fall and crush us together. 
I should expect hell to swallow me alive, for being found in 
thy unhallowed society." He trembled with every expression 
of the sincerest terror and aversion. 

" ' Thy money perish with thee/ thou second Elymas, 
like him ' full of all subtlety and mischief, child of the 
devil, enemy of all righteousness ! ' Blasted be thy offers ! 
Have I for this devoted myself to the service of God, as- 
siduously sought out the basest and vilest offices of that 
service, and loaded myself with ignominy here, that I might 
obtain a crown of glory hereafter ? and am I now to be as- 
saulted with the worst of Satan's temptations ? Even so, 
Lord, if such be thy will ! Oh, poor, miserable, deluded 
victim of the arch-deceiver of mankind, what has the devil 
done for thee ? He has persuaded thee that thou art rich ; 
and thou wan test every joy and every necessary of life. 
He has promised to be thy friend; and he brings thee to 
the faggot and flames in this world, as an earnest of thy 
eternal damnation hereafter." 

My visiter had no sooner thus poured out the tumult and 
agitation of his soul, than he left me abruptly, and I saw 
him no more. 

Such was the event of my attempt to bribe the officers of 



334 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



the inquisition. In my first experiment I could not even ob- 
tain a hearing ; in what followed, my proposals were rejected 
with all the transports of religious abhorrence. What I 
offered indeed, however dazzling in the statement, had not 
in fact the nature of a temptation. He to whom I addressed 
it gave no credit to my assertions ; he thought that I was 
the mere drivelling dupe of him he called the arch-deceiver 
of mankind, or that my money, when possessed, would soon 
change its figure, and from seeming pieces of solid coin be 
converted into pieces of horn or of shells. Even if he had 
not apprehended such a metamorphosis, he would yet have 
regarded every doubloon he received as the price of his 
continual adversity here, and damnation hereafter. I gained 
nothing favourable for my situation by the trial I had made, 
but I added a new chapter to my knowledge of human 
.nature. I found, that to be a knave, it was not necessary 
to be an infidel: I corrected the too hasty conclusion which 
I had adopted with the rest of my contemporaries, that he 
whose conduct was infamous, must inevitably be destitute 
of religious impressions and belief ; and I became satisfied 
that a man, while he practised every vice that can disgrace 
human nature, might imagine he was doing God service. 

Enough of the interior of the prison of the inquisition. 
I remained a tenant of this wretched mansion twelve years. 
Though the wretch who had been placed upon me as a spy, 
was, from my proposal to him, satisfied of my guilt, his 
superiors were not so. They found nothing in what he 
reported definitive as to the nature of my unlawful prac- 
tices, and they could extort from me no further confession. 
They therefore adhered to their favourite maxim, to avoid 
the precipitate mistakes of other tribunals, and to allow 
their prisoner fuU time to develop his guilt, or, as they pre- 
tended, to establish his innocence. Perhaps too the temper 
of the prince who now filled the Spanish throne, contri- 
buted to my safety. They could not content themselves 
with a less punishment for so obstinate and incorrigible a 
heretic, than that of the flames ; but, during the reign of 
the emperor Charles, this species of punishment for heresy 
was rarely inflicted, and only one or two contumacious, at 
intervals, were delivered over to the executioner at a time. 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 33 5 

The institution whose victim I had become, looked for a 
richer and more abundant harvest from the well-known 
piety and zeal of his successor. 

I pass over the rest of the years of my tedious impri- 
sonment They had in them a sad and death-like uni- 
formity. What surprising or agreeable adventures can be 
expected from a man closed up within the four walls of a 
dungeon ? Yet it is not altogether the uniformity of this 
period that determines me not to dwell upon and expand it. 
Twelve years cannot pass in the life of man without many 
memorable incidents and occurrences. He that should be 
buried alive in the deepest cavern of the earth, if he were 
not an idiot, or incapable of the task of narration, and could 
subsist twelve years in that situation, could tell of things 
that occurred to him, that might fill the busy man of the 
world with thoughts and speculation almost to bursting. I 
might unfold the secrets of my prison-house, but that I 
will not. I refuse the consequences of that story both to 
my readers and myself. I have no inclination to drive the 
most delicate or susceptible of my readers mad with horrors. 
I could convince such, if such there are, who suppose my 
faculties were altogether benumbed or dead, that it was not 
so. I did indeed pass days, perhaps weeks, in a condition 
of that sort. But at other times my mind was roused, and 
became busy, restless, impatient, and inventive. There was 
no mode of escape that I did not ruminate upon or attempt ; 
not to mention that, though my body was restrained, my 
mind occasionally soared to the furthest regions of the em- 
pyrean, or plunged into the deepest of the recesses in which 
nature conceals her operations. All systems of philoso- 
phising became familiar to me. I revolved every different 
fable that has been constructed respecting the invisible 
powers that superintend the events of the boundless universe; 
and I fearlessly traced out and developed the boldest con- 
jectures and assertions of demonism or atheism. As the 
humour of the moment led me, I derived misery or conso- 
lation from each of these systems in their turn. But me- 
mory, bitter memory, unperceived by its lord, is seizing my 
pen, and running away with my narrative. Enough, enough 
of the interior of the prison of the inquisition ! 



336 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

PHILIP the Second, king of Spain, succeeded to the throne 
of that monarchy about the close of the year 1555 ; but 
his affairs in England and the Netherlands long withheld 
him from visiting his beloved country, and he did not reach 
its shores, after a seven years' absence, till the twenty -ninth 
of August, 1559- It may be thought that a public event 
of this sort could be little interesting to me, a forgotten 
prisoner, immured in the dungeons of the inquisition. 
The fact was otherwise. The king was desirous of distin- 
guishing his arrival on his native soil by some splendid 
exhibition or memorable event, that should at once express 
his piety to God, and conduce to the felicity of his people : 
and he could think of nothing that so signally united 
these characters as an Auto de Fe. The Lutheran heresy, 
which in the course of forty years had spread its poison so 
widely in the different countries of Europe, had not failed 
to scatter a few of its noxious seeds even in this, the 
purest and most Catholic of all its divisions. But Philip 
had early proclaimed his hostility against this innovation ; 
and, prostrating himself before the image of his Saviour, 
had earnestly besought the divine majesty, " that he might 
never suffer himself to be, or to be called, the lord of those 
in any corner of the globe, who should deny Him the 
Lord." Previously to his arrival in Spain, directions had 
been given, and arrangements made, respecting the pious 
and solemn exhibition he demanded. Formerly those who 
by the fathers of the inquisition had been delivered over to 
the secular arm, had been executed in the different places 
where their crimes had been committed, or their trials been 
held : but now it was proposed that all those throughout 
the kingdom, who were found properly qualified to satisfy 
by their deaths the sublime taste of the royal saint, should 
be divided into two troops, and sent, the one to Seville, 
long the capital of an illustrious monarchy, and the other 
to Valladolid, which had the honour to be the birthplace 
of the present sovereign. The troop destined to feed the 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 337 

flames at Seville was composed of fifty persons, many of 
them distinguished for their rank, their talents, or their 
virtues. The troop to he escorted to Valladolid, of which 
I was a member, amounted only to thirty : but to compen- 
sate this deficiency, Philip himself had signified his gracious 
intention to be present, together with the heir apparent and 
his whole court, at that exhibition. The Spanish nation, 
rejoicing in the approach of a monarch who was born 
among them, whose manners and temper happily accorded 
with theirs, and whom they believed about to fix his per- 
petual residence in their land, expected him with all the 
longings of the most ardent attachment. We, the unhappy 
victims of pious and inquisitorial tyranny, also expected him. 
Our hearts did not pant with a less beating quickness ; 
though ourjanxiety arose from emotions of a different nature. 

Valladolid is distant from the metropolis eighty-four 
miles. We had already been some weeks prepared for this 
journey, and piously directed to hold ourselves in readiness 
to take our part in the solemn national sacrifice. We 
waited however to receive a previous notice of the day on 
which the monarch would enter the place of his birth, 
since so great was his royal zeal for the cause of religion 
and civil society, that he would not consent to be absent 
from any part of the spectacle ; and accordingly it was not 
allowed us to enter the scene of our final destination, till 
the king of Spain and the Indies should be already on the 
spot, and prepared to receive us. The auto da fe per- 
formed at Seville had the precedence of ours : it took place 
on the twenty-fourth of September ; and we were indulged 
with an accurate account of it, and were present at a public 
reading of the record of the act, in the chapel of our prison, 
previously to our removal from the metropolis. 

I will not enter into a minute detail of the scene of this 
reading, though the recollection will never be effaced from 
my memory. Of the persons present who were destined to 
suffer capital punishment, eight were women. Four of 
them were taken from a single family, being a grandmother, 
a mother, and two daughters of the noble house of Alcala. 
They had all been beautiful of person, and of a graceful 
figure ; the youngest of the daughters was in the nineteenth 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

year of her age. Their crime, together with that of the 
majority of their fellow-sufferers, was obstinate and impe- 
nitent Lutheranism. The seats of the women were separ- 
ated from the rest, and fronted with a close lattice. The 
men were twenty-two in number, and their appearance was 
truly impressive. Their persons were neglected, and their 
figures emaciated j their eyes were sunk and ghastly, and 
their complexions of a sallow and deathlike white. Most 
of them were crippled by their long confinement and the 
severities they had endured, and were supported to their 
seats, upon an elevated scaffolding with benches raised one 
above another, by two apparators, one on each side of the 
condemned heretic. God of mercy and benevolence ! is it 
possible that this scene should be regarded as thy triumph, 
and the execution destined to follow, as a sacrifice accept- 
able in thy sight ? If these papers of mine are ever pro- 
duced to light, may it not happen that they shall first be 
read by a distant posterity, who will refuse to believe that 
their fathers were ever mad enough to subject each other to 
so horrible a treatment, merely because they were unable 
to adopt each other's opinions ? Oh, no ! human affairs, 
like the waves of the ocean, are merely in a state of ebb 
and flow : " there is nothing new under the sun : " two 
centuries perhaps after Philip the Second shall be gathered 
to his ancestors [he died in 1598], men shall learn over 
again to persecute each other for conscience sake; other 
anabaptists or levellers shall furnish pretexts for new per- 
secutions ; other inquisitors shall arise in the most enlight- 
ened tracts of Europe ; and professors from their chair, 
sheltering their intolerance under the great names of Aris- 
totle and Cicero, shall instruct their scholars, that a hete- 
rodox doctrine is the worst of crimes, and that the philan- 
thropy and purity of heart in which it is maintained, only 
render its defenders the more worthy to be extirpated. 

What were the ideas and reflections of my fellows, seated 
on the benches above, below, and on either side of me, I 
am unable to affirm ; my own could not fail to be pungent 
and distressing. I understood continually more and more 
of the mysterious and unuttered history, of the stranger 
who died in the summer-house of the lake of Constance : 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 339 

I found that I was only acting over again what he had 
experienced hefore me. His legacies had served to involve 
me in the bitterest and most unheard of miseries, but were 
wholly destitute of ability to rescue from the evils them- 
selves created. Unbounded wealth I found to have no 
power to bribe the dastard slaves of religious bigotry ; and 
the elixir of immortality,, though it could cure disease,, and 
put to flight the approaches of age, was impotent to repel 
the fervour of devouring flames. I might have been happy 

I was happy when the stranger found me. I might 

have lived to a virtuous and venerable old age,, and have 
died in the arms of my posterity. The stranger had given 
me wealth, and I was now poorer than the peasant who 
wanders amidst polar snows. The stranger had given me 
immortality., and in a few days I was to expire in excru- 
ciating tortures, lie found me tranquil, contented, in the 
midst of simple, yet inestimable pleasures ; he breathed into 
me the restless sentiment of ambition; and it was that sen- 
timent which at length had placed me on high in the chapel 
of the prison of the Catholic Inquisition. 

Our progress to Valladolid was slow and solemn, and 
occupied a space of no less than four days. On the even- 
ing of the fourth day we approached that city. The king 
and his court came out to meet us. He saluted the in- 
quisitor general with all the demonstrations of the deepest 
submission and humility ; and then, having yielded him 
the place of honour, turned round his horse, and accom- 
panied us to Valladolid. The cavalcade that attended the 
king broke into two files, and received us in the midst of 
them. The whole city seemed to empty itself on this me- 
morable occasion ; and the multitudes that crowded along 
the road, and were scattered in the neighbouring fields, 
were innumerable. The day was now closed ; and the pro- 
cession went forward amidst the light of a thousand torches. 
We, the condemned of the inquisition, had been conducted 
from the metropolis upon tumbrils ; but, as we arrived at 
the gates of Valladolid, we were commanded, for the greater 
humiliation, to alight and proceed on foot to the place of 
our confinement, as many as could not walk without as- 
sistance being supported by the attendants. We were 
z 2 



340 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

neither chained nor bound ; the practice of the inquisition 
being to deliver the condemned upon such occasions into 
the hands of two sureties each,, who placed their charge in 
the middle between them ; and men of the most respectable 
characters were accustomed from religious motives to sue 
for this melancholy office. 

Dejected and despairing I entered the streets of the city, 
no object present to the eyes of my mind but that of my 
approaching execution. The crowd was vast ; the confu- 
sion inexpressible. As we passed by the end of a narrow 
lane, the horse of one of the guards who rode exactly in a 
line with me, plunged and reared in a violent manner, and 
at length threw his rider upon the pavement. Others of 
the horse-guards attempted to catch the bridle of the en- 
raged animal. They rushed against each other. Several 
of the crowd were thrown down, and trampled under the 
horses' feet. The shrieks of these, and the loud cries and 
exclamations of the bystanders, mingled in confused and 
discordant chorus. No sound, no object could be distin- 
guished. From the excess of the tumult a sudden thought 
darted into my mind, where all, an instant before, had been 
relaxation and despair. Two or three of the horses pushed 
f4|fward in a particular direction. A moment after they 
resiled with equal violence, and left a wide, but transitory 
gap. My project was no sooner conceived than executed. 
Weak as I had just now felt myself, a supernatural tide of 
strength seemed to come over me. I sprung away with all 
imaginable impetuosity, and rushed down the lane I have 
just mentioned. Every one amidst the confusion was at- 
tentive to his personal safety, and several minutes elapsed 
before I was missed. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

IN the lane every thing was silent, and the darkness was 
extreme. Man, woman, and child were gone out to view 
the procession. For some time I could scarcely distinguish 
a single object ; the doors and windows were all closed. I 
now chanced to come to an open door ; within I saw no 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 341 

one but an old man, who was busy over some metallic work 
at a chafing-dish of fire. I had no room for choice; I 
expected every moment to hear the myrmidons of the in- 
quisition at my heels. I rushed in ; I impetuously closed 
the door, and bolted it j I then seized the old man by the 
collar of his shirt with a determined grasp, and swore ve- 
hemently that I would annihilate him that instant, if he 
did not consent to afford me assistance. Though for some 
time I had perhaps been feebler than he, the terror that 
now drove me on, rendered me comparatively a giant. He 
intreated me to permit him to breathe, and promised to do 
whatever I should desire. I looked round the apartment, 
and saw a rapier hanging against the wall, of which I in- 
stantly proceeded to make myself master. While I was 
doing this, my involuntary host, who was extremely ter- 
rified at my procedure, nimbly attempted to slip by me and 
rush into the street. With difficulty I caught hold of his 
arm, and, pulling him back, put the point of my rapier to 
his breast, solemnly assuring him that no consideration on 
earth should save him from my fury, if he attempted to 
escape a second time. He immediately dropped on his 
knees, and with the most piteous accents intreated* me to 
spare his life. I told him that I was no robber, that I -<&d 
not intend him the slightest harm, and that, if he would 
implicitly yield to my direction, he might assure himself 
he never should have reason to repent his compliance. By 
this declaration the terrors of the old man were somewhat 
appeased. I took the opportunity of this calm to go to the 
street door, which I instantly locked, and put the key in 
my bosom. 

Nothing but the most fortunate concurrence of circum- 
stances could have thus forwarded my escape. The rearing 
of the horse of the life-guardsman was purely accidental. 
The concourse and press of the crowd from all sides could 
alone have rendered this circumstance of any magnitude. 
The gap which was made by the pushing forwards and re- 
siling of the horses continued barely long enough for me to 
spring through, and closed again in an instant. It is asto- 
nishing that the thought of escape should have thus sud- 
denly darted into my mind, which, but a moment before, 
z 3 



342 TRAVELS OF ST. LEOX. 

was in a state of dejection, equally incompatible with acti- 
vity and with hope. That in the lane down which I rushed 
I should have met no human creature, and that the first 
open door I saw should lead to the residence of a decrepid 
old man, who appeared to be its single inhabitant, were 
occurrences equally extraordinary, yet seem to have been 
both indispensable to my safety. One point more con- 
curred with this fortunate train, and assisted to still the 
palpitations of my beating heart : I perceived, by certain 
indications in the countenance of my host, that he was by 
parentage a Jew. I presently concluded, that he was what 
in Spain they denominate a new Christian ; for that other- 
wise he would not have been allowed to reside at large in a 
Spanish city. But, upon that supposition, I did not believe 
that Christianity was very deeply mingled up in him with 
the vital principle : the converts of the inquisition are not 
conspicuous for their sincerity. Now, then, for the first 
time I thought, in the course of twelve years, 1 had oppor- 
tunity to communicate with a man, whose soul was not 
enslaved to the blood-thirsty superstition of this devoted 
country. All I had seen during the period of my confine- 
ment were hyenas, tigers, and crocodiles they were not men. 
I had no sooner soothed my host into a temper to listen 
to my story, than I told him with all imaginable frankness 
whence I came, and to what I had been destined. The 
mention of sorcery however, and preternatural practices, I 
suppressed ; for I suspected that persons of all religions 
entertained an equal horror against these. I suffered him 
to imagine that the allegation against me had been the crime 
of heresy : all sects of. the Christian superstition might be sup- 
posed equally obnoxious or acceptable to a Jew. I empha- 
tically appealed to the persecutions which had been so long 
directed against the religion of his ancestors, and observed 
how disgraceful it would be in him to assist the operation 
of a principle, the effects of which his fathers had so deeply 
deplored, and so perfectly abhorred. I assured him that I 
would bring him into no danger, and that all I asked was 
the protection of a few hours : I would leave him in the 
course of the following day, and he should hear of me no 
more. I reminded him, that the danger he had to fear 
was in betraying, not in protecting me. The inquisition 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEOX. 343 

looked upon every new Christian with an eye of the severest 
jealousy ; and the mere fact, if known, that I had taken 
refuge in his house, would infallibly subject him to the 
purgation of a temporary imprisonment in their dungeons. 
It would be in vain for him to affirm that he had no choice 
in what had occurred ; he was without a witness to confirm 
his relation, and the assertions of a man born of Jewish 
parents never obtained credit in the court of the inquisition. 
I added, with solemn asseverations, that the moment I set 
foot beyond the territory of Spain, I would remit to him 
the sum of six hundred pistoles as an acknowledgment for 
his kindness. 

During the whole of my discourse, I watched his coun- 
tenance with the utmost minuteness. It gradually relaxed 
from the terror which had at first appeared in it, to ex- 
pressions of compassion and complacence. I saw nothing 
that ought to alarm me. When it was his turn to speak, 
he earnestly assured me that he took a warm interest in 
my story, and would cheerfully perform every thing I re- 
quired. He was happy that my favourable stars had led 
me to his habitation, and would rejoice, to the latest hour 
of his existence, if they rendered him instrumental in pre- 
serving the life of a human being from so deplorable* a 
catastrophe. While I talked to him, I easily perceived that 
the arguments I used, which produced the most sensible 
effect upon his features, were those of the dangers arising 
to him from betraying me, and the reward of six hundred 
pistoles which I promised him in the event of my success. 
His motives however were blended together in his mind; and 
he had no sooner formed a determination, grounded perhaps 
upon the meanest considerations, than he became eloquent 
in a panegyric of his own benevolence, by which he was 
not, I believe, more anxious to impose upon me, than to 
put the change upon himself. I considered all that he said, 
his gestures, and the very tones of his voice, with eager 
anxiety ; the terror of the inquisition penetrated to the 
marrow in my bones ; and the fate awarded against me by 
that court became inexpressibly more horrible to my thoughts, 
now that I saw the probability of escaping it. Every thing 
that I observed in the Jew was apparently fair, plausible, 
z 4 



HI TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

and encouraging ; but nothing had power to quell the agi- 
tations of my apprehensive soul. 

We were still engaged in discussing the topics 1 have 
mentioned, when I was suddenly alarmed by the noise of 
some one stirring in the inner apartment. I had looked 
into this room, and had perceived nothing but the bed upon 
which the old man nightly reposed himself. I sprung up 
however at the sound, and, perceiving that the door had a 
bolt on the outside, I eagerly fastened it. I then turned 
to Mordecai, such previously to his conversion had been 
the name of my host : " Wretch," said I, " did not you 
assure me that there was no one but yourself in the house? " 
tf Oh," cried Mordecai, " it is my child ! it is my child ! 
she went into the inner apartment, and has fallen asleep on 
the bed." " Beware !" I answered ; " die slightest false- 
hood more shall instantly be expiated in your blood." tf I 
call Abraham to witness," rejoined the once more terrified 
Jew, "it is my child! only my child!" "Tell me," 
cried I, with severity of accent, " how old is this child ? " 
" Only five years," said Mordecai : " my dear Leah died 
when her babe was no more than a year old ; and, though 
we had several children, this single one has survived her." 
" Speak to your child ; let me hear her voice !" He spoke 
to her, and she answered, " Father, 1 want to come out." 
I was satisfied it was the voice of a little girl. 1 turned to 
the Jew : " Take care," said I, " how you deceive me 
now ; is there no other person in that room ? " He im- 
precated a curse on himself if there were : I opened the 
door with caution, and the little girl came forward. As 
soon as I saw her, I seized her with a rapid motion, and 
retired hack to a chair. " Man," said I, "you have trifled 
with me too rashly ; you have not considered what 1 am 
escaped from, and what I have to fear; from this moment 
this child shall be the pledge of my safety; I will not part 
with her an instant as long as I remain in your house; and 
with this rapier in my hand I will pierce her to the heart, 
the moment I am led to imagine that I am no longer in 
safety. The Jew trembled at my resolution; the emotions 
of a father worked in his features, and glistened in his eye. 
"At least let me kiss her!'' said he. "Be it so!" re- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 345 

plied I : " one embrace, and then, till the dawn of the 
coming day, she remains with me. I released my hold ; 
the child rushed to her father, and he caught her in his 
arms. " My dear Leah," cried Mordecai, " now a sainted 
spirit in the bosom of our father Abraham ! I call God to 
witness between us, that, if all my caution and vigilance 
can prevent it, not a hair of this child shall be injured ! 
Stranger, you little know by how strong a motive you have 
now engaged me to your cause. We poor Jews, hunted 
on the face of the earth, the abhorrence and execration of 
mankind, have nothing but family affections to support us 
under our multiplied disgraces ; and family affections are 
entwined with our existence, the fondest and best-loved 
part of ourselves. The God of Abraham bless you, my 
child ! Now, sir, speak ! what is it you require of me ? " 

I told the Jew that I must have a suit of clothes con- 
formable to the appearance of a Spanish cavalier, and cer- 
tain medical ingredients that I named to him, together with 
his chafing-dish of coals to prepare them ; and, that done, 
I would then impose on him no further trouble. Having 
received his instructions, he immediately set out to procure 
what I demanded. He took with him the key of the 
house ; and, as soon as he was gone, I retired with the 
child into the inner apartment, and fastened the door. At 
first I applied myself to tranquillise the child, who had 
been somewhat alarmed at what she had heard and seen : 
this was no very difficult task. She presently left me, to 
amuse herself with some playthings that lay scattered in a 
corner of the apartment. My heart was now comparatively 
at ease ; I saw the powerful hold I had on the fidelity of 
the Jew, and firmly persuaded myself that I had no trea- 
chery to fear on his part. Thus circumstanced, the exer- 
tion and activity with which I had lately been imbued left 
me ; and I insensibly sunk into a sort of slumber. 

The night was now far advanced, and I was still reclined 
insensible upon Mordecai's bed, when suddenly a jargon of 
various sounds seemed from all sides to assail me. My 
mind was confused ; I heard something, but seemed wholly 
unconscious what I was, and where. I wanted to escape 
from the disturbance; but it continued, and even increased. 



346 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



At length I was forced to command my attention ; and the 
first thing I perceived was a beating at the door of the 
chamber. The little girl was come to the bedside, and en- 
deavouring to shake me. " Sir, sir," she cried in an eager 
accent, " my father wants to come in, and I cannot slip the 
bolt of the door. By slow degrees I began to comprehend 
my situation, and to recollect what had happened immedi- 
ately before. I felt greatly alarmed ; I feared by the dis- 
turbance that Mordecai had not returned alone. I essayed 
to speak ; my organs refused their office. I endeavoured 
to move ; my limbs felt palsied, and absolutely lifeless. I 
experienced a sinking and sickness of heart that seemed to 
be the immediate precursor of death. By listening occa- 
sionally to the discourse which the father and the daughter 
began to hold with each other, I became satisfied that Mor- 
decai was without a companion. I endeavoured to make 
the little girl understand that I was incapable of rising from 
the bed ; and, having at length succeeded, she communi- 
cated the information to her father. With considerable 
trouble he loosened the door at its hinges, and entered the 
room. I found myself in the extremest degree feeble and 
languid ; the Jew however assiduously administered to me 
of cordials he had in his possession, and by degrees I felt 
myself considerably restored. 

Now, for the first time, I was at leisure to attend to the 
state of my strength and my health. My confinement in the 
inquisition, and the treatment I had experienced, had 
before rendered me feeble, and almost helpless ; but these 
appeared to be circumstances scarcely worthy of attention, 
in the situation in which I was then placed. The impulse 
I felt, in the midst of the confusion in the grand street of 
Valladolid, produced in me an energy and power of exertion 
which nothing but the actual experience of the fact could 
have persuaded me was possible. This energy, once begun, 
appeared to have the faculty of prolonging itself; and I did 
not relapse into imbecility, till the occasion seemed to be 
exhausted which called for my exertion. I examined my- 
self by a mirror with which Mordecai furnished me : I 
found my hair as white as snow, and my face ploughed with 
a thousand furrows. 1 was now fifty-four, an age which, 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 34? 

with moderate exercise and a vigorous constitution,, often 
appears like the prime of human existence ; but whoever 
had looked upon me in my present condition, would not 
have hesitated to affirm that I had reached the eightieth 
year of my age. I examined with dispassionate remark the 
state of my intellect : I was persuaded that it had subsided 
into childishness. My mind had been as much cribbed and 
immured as my body. I was the mere shadow of a man, 
of no more power and worth than that which a magic lan- 
tern produces upon a wall. These are thy works,, Super- 
stition ! this the genuine and proper operation of what is 
called Christianity ! Let the reader judge of what I had 
passed through and known within those cursed walls by the 
effects ; I have already refused, I continue to refuse, to tell 
what I suffered, and how those effects were produced. 
Enough of compassion, enough of complaint : I will con- 
fine myself, as far as I am able, to simple history. 

Being recovered, as far as the cordials and attention of 
Mordecai were capable of recovering me, I desired for the 
remainder of the night to be alone, except that I was still 
resolved to retain the little Jewess as the pledge of my 
safety. I was greatly obliged to my host for the punctuality 
he had already displayed : he had found considerable diffi- 
culty in procuring the articles of which I stood in need> 
owing partly to the lateness of the hour, and partly to the 
presence of the king, and the general hurry and confusion 
which had been produced by the solemn entry of the inqui- 
sition. His efforts too to recover me from the languor and 
lethargy into which I had sunk, had a character of gene* 
rosity ; and perhaps I ought now to have trusted him with- 
out a hostage. But my heart was too earnestly bent upon 
accomplishing its present object, to afford harbour to the 
punctilios of delicacy. The same earnestness caused me to 
insist upon Mordecai's repairing the injury which the 
hinges of the door had sustained ; and I was careful to 
satisfy myself that every thing was restored to a state of 
perfect security. 

I was now once again alone. The little girl, who had 
been unusually disturbed, and roused at an unseasonable 
hour, sunk into a profound sleep. I heard the noise which 



348 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

Mordecai made in undressing himself, and composing his 
limbs upon a mattrass, which he had dragged for the pre- 
sent occasion into the front room, and spread before the 
hearth. I soon found by the hardness of his breathing that 
he also was asleep. I unfolded the papers he had brought 
me ; they consisted of various medical ingredients I had 
directed him to procure ; there were also two or three vials, 
containing syrups and essences. I had near me a pair of 
scales with which to weigh my ingredients; a vessel of 
water; the chafing-dish of my host, in which the fire was 
nearly extinguished ; and a small taper, with some charcoal 
to relight the fire, in case of necessity. While I was occu- 
pied in surveying these articles and arranging my materials, 
a sort of torpor came suddenly over me, so as to allow me 
no time for resistance. I sunk upon the bed. I remained 
thus for about half an hour, seemingly without the power of 
collecting my thoughts. At length I started, felt alarmed, 
and applied my utmost force of mind to rouse my exertions. 
While I drove, or attempted to drive, my animal spirits 
from limb to limb, and from part to part, as if to enquire 
into the general condition of my frame, I became convinced 
that I was dying. Let not the reader be surprised at this : 
twelve years' imprisonment, in a narrow and unwholesome 
cell, may well account for so sudden a catastrophe. Strange 
and paradoxical as it may seem, I believe it will be found in 
the experiment that the calm and security which succeed to 
great internal injuries are more dangerous than the pangs 
and hardships that went before. I was now thoroughly 
alarmed : I applied myself, with all vigilance and expedi- 
tion to the compounding my materials. The fire was gone 
out ; the taper was glimmering in the socket : to swallow 
the julep when I had prepared it, seemed to be the last 
effort of which my organs and muscles were capable. It 
was the elixir of immortality, exactly made up according to 
the prescription of the stranger. 

Whether from the potency of the medicine, or the 
effect of imagination, I felt revived the moment I had 
swallowed it. I placed myself deliberately in Morde- 
cai's bed, and drew over me the bed-clothes. I fell 
asleep almost instantly. I believe my first sleep was 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 349 

perfectly sound and insensible ; but in no long time I was 
visited with the pleasantest dreams imaginable. Nothing 
was distinct ; nothing was attended with the consciousness 
of my former identity ; but every thing was gay, cheerful, 
invigorating, and delicious. I wandered amidst verdant 
lawns, and flower-enamelled gardens. I was saluted with 
the singing of a thousand birds, and the murmuring of a 
thousand fountains. Kids, fawns, and lambs frisked and 
gamboled before me. At a distance, through an opening 
in the trees, I discerned nymphs and "their swains dancing 
a variety of antic measures. I advanced towards them ; 
they approached towards me. Fifes, oboes, recorders, and 
instruments of a hundred names, commenced a cheerful 
and melodious concert. Myself and the dancers now were 
met ; they placed me in the midst of them. They began a 
choral song ; the motion of their limbs conformed to their 
numbers. I was the theme of the general chaunt ; they 
ascribed to me the beauty of Apollo, the strength of 
Hercules, the invention of Mercury, and the youth of 
Bacchus. 

My sleep was not long; in a few hours I awakened. 
"With difficulty I recognised the objects about me, and 
recollected where I had been. It seemed to me that my 
heart had never beat so vigorously, nor my spirits flowed 
so gay. I was all elasticity and life ; I could scarcely hold 
myself quiet ; I felt impelled to bound and leap like a kid 
upon the mountains. I perceived that my little Jewess 
was still asleep ; she had been unusually fatigued the night 
before. I know not whether Mordecai's hour of rising 
were come ; if it were, he was careful not to disturb 
his guest. I put on the garments he had prepared ; 
I gazed upon the mirror he had left in my apartment. 
I can recollect no sensation in the course of my life, so 
unexpected and surprising as what I felt at that mo- 
ment. The evening before, I had seen my hair white, and 
my face ploughed with furrows ; I looked fourscore. What 
I beheld now was totally different, yet altogether familiar ; 
it was myself, myself as I had appeared on the day of my 
marriage with Marguerite de Damville ; the eyes, the 
mouth, the hair, the complexion, every circumstance, point 
by point, the same. I leaped a gulf of thirty-two years. I 



350 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

waked from a dream, troublesome and distressful beyond 
all description ; but it vanished, like the shades of night 
upon the burst of a glorious morning in July, and left not 
a trace behind. I knew not how to take away my eyes 
ffdm the mirror before me. 

I soon began to consider that, if it were astonishing to 
me that, through all the regions of my countenance, I 
could discover no trace of what I had been the night before, 
it would be still more astonishing to my host. This sort 
of sensation I had not the smallest ambition to produce : one 
of the advantages of the metamorphosis I had sustained, 
consisted in its tendency, in the eyes of alt that saw me, to 
cut off every species of connection between my present and 
my former self. It fortunately happened that the room in 
which I slept, being constructed upon the model of many 
others in Spain, had a stair at the further end, with a trap- 
door in the ceiling, for the purpose of enabling the inhabit- 
ant to ascend on the roof in the cool of the day. The 
roofs were flat, and so constructed, that there was little dif- 
ficulty in passing along them from house to house, from one 
end of the street to the other. I availed myself of the 
opportunity, and took leave of the residence of my kind 
host in a way perfectly unceremonious, determined however 
speedily to transmit to him the reward I had promised. It 
may easily be believed that Mordecai was not less rejoiced 
at the absence of a guest whom the vigilance of the inqui- 
sition rendered an uncommonly dangerous one, than I was 
to quit his habitation. I closed the trap after me, and 
clambered from roof to roof to a considerable distance. At 
length I encountered the occasion of an open window, and 
fortunately descended, unseen by any human being, into 
the street. Having with difficulty succeeded, on this occa- 
sion of public solemnity, in engaging an apartment in one 
of the hotels of Valladolid, I sent into it, as soon as I was 
able, a chest, containing every necessary of apparel, and 
particularly a suit of clothes. I then changed my dress, 
and threw the clothes which Mordecai had provided into 
the chest I had purchased. As long as they continued 
safely locked up, and the key in my possession, no faculty 
possessed by any human creature could detect my identity, 
and expose me afresh to my former jailors. The only 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 351 

peril under which I had before laboured, was from Mor- 
decai, who,, if he had seen me in the garments he had pro- 
cured, might have recognised them ; and, though a peril 
from this source came barely within the limits of possibility, 
it was easily avoided, and I therefore chose to avoid it. 

I passed the whole of this day in a species of enjoyment, 
which, as it has no parallel in the ordinary transactions of 
mankind, so are there no terms in the received languages of 
the world that are adequate to the description of it. It has 
often been a subject of melancholy and complaint among 
mortals, that, while the whole vegetable system contains in 
it a principle of perpetual renewal, man alone, the orna- 
ment and lord of the universe, man, knows no return to 
youth. When the sun declines in the west, the flowers 
droop, and fold up their frail and delicate leaves ; but soon 
the eyelids of the morn are again opened, and again they 
rejoice in his invigorating beams. Upon the approach of 
winter, the beech, the ash, and the monarch-oak, scatter 
their withered foliage over the plains; but spring reappears, 
and nakedness is no longer their reproach, and they clothe 
themselves anew in their leafy honours. With what a 
melancholy sensation does the old man survey his decaying 
limbs ! To me, he cries, there is no second morning, and 
no returning spring. My head, pressed down with years, 
shall never again erect itself in conscious manhood. These 
hoary locks shah 1 no more be adorned with the auburn of 
glossy youth. My weather-beaten trunk shall at no time 
clothe itself with a smoother rind. A recruited marrow 
shall never fill these bones, nor a more vigorous sap circu- 
late through my unstrung limbs. I recollect what I was 
in the prime of manhood, with vain regrets ; the memory 
answers no other end than to torment and upbraid me. 

The useless wish of the old man, the object of his hope- 
less sigh, was mine. Common and every-day blessings have 
little value in the eye of their possessor. The young man 
squanders the endowments of youth, and knows not to prize 
them. If the young man had once been old, if the old man 
could again be young, then, and then only, they would 
justly estimate their wealth. The springy limb, the bound- 
ing frame, the vigour that sets fatigue at defiance, and 



352 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

revels in pleasures unexhausted, would then by the near 
and conscious comparison, of feebleness and lassitude, the 
drooping limb, the aching head, and the frame decayed in 
all its senses, be well understood. Such was my situation. 
Yesterday I was fourscore ; to-day I was twenty. Yester- 
day I was a prisoner, crippled in every articulation ; to-day 
I was a citizen of the world, capable of all its delights. 
To-morrow I was destined to have been dragged to the 
stake with ignominy, and to suffer intolerable anguish amidst 
the shouts and huzzas of an unfeeling populace ; to-morrow 
I was at liberty to employ as I pleased, to choose the theatre 
upon which it should be spent, and the gratifications that 
should be crowded into it. What was most material, my 
mind was grown young with my body. Weary of eternal 
struggle, I had lately resigned the contest, and sunk under 
the ill-fortune that relentlessly pursued me. Now I felt 
within me a superfluity of vigour ; I panted for something 
to contend with, and something to conquer. My senses un- 
folded themselves to all the curiosity of remark ; my thoughts 
seemed capable of industry unwearied, and investigation the 
most constant and invincible. Ambition revived in my 
bosom j I longed for new engagements and new relations ; 
I desired to perform something, that I might myself regard 
with complacence, and that I might see the world start at 
and applaud. 

I determined, for reasons that I shall presently have oc- 
casion to unfold, that my first visit should be to my daugh- 
ters at my paternal estate of St. Leon. I proposed to spend 
two or three days in preparations for this journey. By 
mere accident, by a most censurable heedlessness, I became 
in some degree a spectator of the auto da fe in which I 
was destined to have been a victim. Unawares I had be- 
come entangled in the crowd, and could with difficulty, 
escape, or even prevent my being carried nearer the centre 
of the scene. I saw the galleries and accommodations that 
had been erected for the spectators : I saw the windows and 
roofs of the houses crowded with beholders. The shrieks 
of the sufferers I could not hear; they were drowned in the 
infernal exultations of the multitude. But what was worst 
of all, I discerned some of the condemned, fixed as they 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 353 

were upon small boards, near the top of stakes about four 
yards high, and therefore greatly above the heads of the 
assembly, while the flames, abundantly fed with faggots and 
dry fuel, climbed aloft, and seemed eager to embrace their 
victims. As I have already said, there were thirty of these 
death-devoted frames ; and, if my eye did not count them 
all, my fancy well supplied what sense was unable to dis- 
cover. The impression I felt at that moment was horrible 
beyond all conception. I exerted my new-found strength, 
and pushed out of the press with irresistible vigour. If at 
that instant I could have felt exultation, even in the con- 
sciousness of my own safety, I should regard myself as the 
most execrable of monsters. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

THE first employment in which I purposed to engage my 
new-found liberty and youth, was a visit to my daughters. 
I now carried a disguise perpetually about with me, that 
would render my journey incapable of proving injurious to 
them. My daughters were all that remained, if indeed they 
still remained, of my once idolised family. For twelve 
years I had continued totally ignorant of their fortune, and 
even of their existence. Part of the plan I had adopted 
for their advantage necessarily precluded me from all cor- 
respondence or communication with them or any one near 
them, that might satisfy and tranquillise the anxieties of a 
father. If it had been otherwise, deprived, as I had been, 
of the common benefits of light and air, and cast out from 
the society of mankind, I could have obtained no intelli- 
gence of their welfare. In visiting, I determined not to 
make myself known to them ; yet, notwithstanding the 
greatness of this disadvantage, I felt that one of the most 
exquisite gratifications the earth could afford me was to 
behold my children. What a multitude of adventures and 
incidents might they not have encountered in the space of 
twelve years ! Imagination and affection dwell impatiently 
on the interval ; nor can any thing quiet the conjectures of 
A A 



354} TRAVELS OF ST. LEON*. 

him that loves, short of the most complete information. 
What a difference must twelve years have produced in the 
very persons and figures of creatures so young ? With what 
mingled and exquisite emotions does the father contemplate 
his daughter, whom he left a child, grown up into a woman? 
He sees her with astonishment and rapture, displaying 
maturer beauties, discovering in her countenance new traces 
of knowledge and sentiment, and in her gesture and man- 
ners a character finished, matronly, and sedate. The very 
circumstance that I should visit them unknown, and con- 
verse intimately with them without being discovered, while 
it cut me off from many pure and ingenuous pleasures, 
added in some respects a new relish to the indulgence ; for 
it gave it a character, singular, and perhaps unprecedented, 
in the history of mankind. I anticipated with eager trans- 
port the hour at which I should revisit the place of my 
birth, wander amidst the shades where my careless infancy 
had strayed, recognise objects made sacred to my heart by 
associations with my venerable mother and my adorable 
wife, now illumined with the presence of my children, 
and steal a joy, unsuspected and unknown, to which the 
very secrecy with which it was ravished would give a 
tenfold gust. 

I embraced the nearest route, by Pampeluna and the 
Pyrenees, to the banks of the Garonne. One particular 
pleasure that I reaped during this tour, which the climate 
and scenery might alone have rendered delightful, consisted 
in the youthful sensation with which every thing I saw 
was enjoyed. Every one who can call to mind the amuse- 
ments of his childhood will be conscious that during that 
period all his senses were in a tone adapted to convey the 
most exquisite gratification. This is not merely, as is 
vulgarly supposed, the result of the novelty and freshness 
with which at that time every thing strikes us. The ex- 
tremities of the nerves are in a state of the most delicate 
susceptibility, upon which no touch, however slight and 
evanescent, is lost, and which makes us, upon every occa- 
sion favourable to enjoyment, gasp and tremble with the 
pleasure we imbibe. We feel it thrilling through every 
pulse, and communicating its tone to every part. Our at- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 355 

tention is engrossed by a single object ; or, if we are 
sensible to accompanying incidents, it spreads over them 
an animating sunshine, and totally varies their appearance 
and hue. Age, on the contrary, imperceptibly brings 
along with it callosity and sluggishness of sensation, out 
gratifications are coldly relished, and our desires feebly 
awakened. Such is the difference in our perception, of 
delicious fruits, of fragrant smells, of smooth and glossy 
surfaces, of the vividness of colour, and the heavenly 
sweetness of sound. If this be a just account, I leave the 
reader to imagine how I enjoyed my tour from Valladolid 
to the beautiful and romantic retirement of St. Leon. 

There was however one sentiment with which I was at 
this time impressed, that I shall find it difficult to make 
the reader understand in the extent in which I felt it, and 
that formed a powerful drawback upon the pleasures I have 
just described. A short time ago I had been old ; now I 
was young : I had quaffed of the elixir of immortality. 
The revolution this had produced in my sentiments was 
not less memorable than that which it had effected in my 
corporeal lineaments and my mental elasticity. It is so 
different a thing to conceive a proposition theoretically, 
and to experience it in practice ! The case is parallel to 
that of the expectation which an ordinary Christian enter- 
tains of eternal bliss. It is an article in his creed ; he 
repeats it every night when he lies down, and every morn- 
ing when he rises. He would be both offended and sur- 
prised if you told him he was riot persuaded of it ; and 
yet how faint and indistinct a picture it produces in his 
intellectual retina ! The affairs of the world strike him 
with all the force of vision ; to them he cannot make him- 
self a stranger and a pilgrim ; he cannot transfer all his 
affections to the mere creature of his imagination, en- 
gendered in solitude, and nurtured by enthusiasm, heaven. 
How different must have been the feelings of the celebrated 
apostle, who had been taken up into the third heaven, and. 
had beheld the new Jerusalem with all its jaspers, its chryso- 
lites, its emeralds, and its sapphires ! 

My situation was similar to this. I had long known, as 
far as reflection could assure me of it, that I possessed the 

A A 2 



356 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

elixir of immortality. But never till now had I felt the 
julep tingling in my veins, and known the effects of it in 
every joint and articulation of my frame. I before believed, 
I now felt, that I was immortal. The consequence of this 
intimate persuasion was not without its portion of melan- 
choly. I still bore the figure and lineaments of a human 
creature ; but I knew that I was not what I seemed. There 
was a greater distance between me and the best constructed 
and most consummate of the human species, than there is 
between him and an ant or a muskito, crushed by the first 
accidental tread, or consumed by the first spark wafted by 
the wind. I can no longer cheat my fancy ; I know that 
I am alone. The creature does not exist with whom I have 
any common language, or any genuine sympathies. Society 
is a bitter and galling mockery to my heart ; it only shows 
in more glaring colours my desolate condition. The nearer 
I attempt to draw any of the nominal ties of our nature, 
the more they start and shrink from my grasp. From this 
moment I could not shake off the terrible impression of my 
hmelines ; no, not for an hour. Often does this impression 
induce me to regard my immortality with loathing inde- 
scribable ; often do I wish to shelter myself from it in the 
sweet oblivion of the grave. From this hour I had no 
passions, no interests, no affections; my heart has never 
expanded with one natural emotion; I have never delivered 
myself up to the repose of one genuine amusement. If at 
any time I have had a glimpse of pleasure, it has irritated, 
only to deceive ; it has increased the appetite, while it dis- 
played in stronger colours my impotence to .gratify it. 
What is worse, every added year has still subtracted some- 
thing from the little poignancy and relish which the bowl 
of human life continued to retain. I have the power of 
assuming a youthful and glossy appearance whenever I think 
proper ; but this is only a bitter mockery of the furrows 
ploughed in my heart In so much of my adventures as 
remains for me to describe, I feel that I shall be obliged to 
employ the established terms of human description. I can- 
not interrupt the history of my sensations, by a recital of 
those pangs by which they have been every moment inter- 
rupted. The terms I must use may delude the reader into 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 357 

an imagination that I still participate of enjoyment and of 
hope. Be it so ; they may cheat the reader ; they cannot 
cheat myself ! 

Previously to my arrival in the vicinity of the Garonne, 
I equipped myself in the habit of an Armenian, and as- 
sumed the character of a merchant travelling from country 
to country for the sale of his commodities. 

It was in the close of a wintry day in the bleak and 
cheerless month of December, that I first viewed from a 
distance the turrets of St. Leon. I procured myself ac- 
commodations for the night in the adjoining village. Being 
now, after so long an absence, within reach of the residence 
of these lovely treasures, I sought, without any direct con- 
sciousness of the sentiment, to delay our interview. When 
I entered the little auberge, sheltered under a small plant- 
ation of olives, I dreaded to hear the repetition of my family 
name. I longed most fervently to be informed of the wel- 
fare of my daughters, yet I could have died sooner than 
utter a single question on the subject. I found that that 
ardent love which had urged me with rapid steps from Valla- 
dolid to St. Leon, gradually, as the distance grew little, 
changed from an impetuous vehemence to hear of, and to 
see them, to fearful, awe-struck, motionless anxiety. Their 
Jight and airy figures, as I last saw them at Montauban in 
1547, danced before the eyes of my imagination: what 
casualties, what calamities might not have overtaken them 
since ! I was afraid almost to breathe, lest I should dissolve 
the unreal scene that played around me. How did I know 
that I did not indulge this cheerful imagination for the last 
time ? Again and again in the course of the evening, I felt 
as if I could have wasted ages in this auberge and the 
neighbouring fields, still believing that my daughters in- 
habited yonder towers, still hovering round their fancied 
residence, but never daring to utter their name, lest it should 
be found the prelude to some fatal intelligence. How rich 
and refined a repast in some cases is uncertainty ! It had the 
power to impart to these precious pledges a share of that im- 
mortality of which I was the destined monopolist. 

Why had I not the courage never to overpass the limit 
at which I was now arrived, and, wherever I afterwards 
AA 3 



358 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

wandered on the various surface of the globe, still to be 
able to repeat to myself the complacent whisper, " I have 
visited my daughters in their separated abode, and my visit 
was productive of none but agreeable sensations ? " My 
passions were too much afloat to suffer me really to rest in 
this patient, contemplative gratification. Before the morn- 
ing's dawn, I walked forth, and turned my eyes towards 
the castle. I loitered from bank to bank, and from point 
to point. Daylight slowly broke in upon me, but all was 
silent and quiet in my paternal chateau. " The family is 
not yet stirring," said I to myself. I turned my steps to 
the spot where the ashes of my mother were mingled with 
their parent earth. The time that had intervened since 
her decease, the various fortunes and impressions I had 
experienced, had somewhat obliterated the vividness of her 
picture in my memory, and deadened the tremblingness of 
sensation with which I once thought of her. Yet enough 
was left, to make it an interesting moment to me, when I 
kneeled at her tomb. Why, oh why, as it had been with 
my great forefathers, was it not a moment of exultation to 
me, when I thus feelingly saluted the shade of a parent ! 
He that exults in such an hour, must feel that he has 
illustrated his birth, and honoured his progenitors. I had 
done nothing of this : I was an exile on the face of the 
earth, had acquired no trophies, and accumulated no fame. 
I had none to honour, none even to know me ; I had no 
family, I had no friend ! These bitter recollections started 
up in array before me, and cut me to the heart. The spirit 
of my mother frowned upon her son ; and I returned along 
the path by which I came, disgraced and disconsolate. 

" I am now," said I, " in a fit temper to learn intelli- 
gence of my daughters : if they have been unhappy, to 
hear it will not make me more forlorn ; if they have been 
fortunate, that knowledge, and that alone, may revive my 
courage." I hastened towards the avenue. I looked into 
the thickets and winding paths, as I passed. They com- 
municated to me mingled pictures of my own boyish days, 
and of the amusements of the present inhabitants. 

I told the nature of my pretended traffic to the servants 
of the house, and proposed an exhibition of my commodi- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 359 

ties ; I was admitted, as I desired, to the apartment of 
their mistresses. I saw two young ladies, who appeared 
to be respectively about twenty-eight and twenty-four years 
of age, and whom without much difficulty I recognised for 
my daughters Louisa and Marguerite. Their situation and 
their ages identified them ; and when afterwards I came to 
peruse their features attentively, I could easily discover 
traits of the amiable young woman and the playful child 
they had been when last we parted. I found them em- 
ployed upon a piece of embroidery ; a comely and respect- 
able looking young woman, a servant, was sewing in an- 
other part of the room. Every thing about the ladies 
bespoke the ease of their circumstances, and the propriety 
of their sentiments. Both had on an elegant morning- 
habit; both had an air of sedateness and sobriety, that to 
my apprehension told that they had not lived unchastened 
by misfortune. 

They each slightly looked up, as I was ushered into the 
apartment ; they saluted me with a graceful and conde- 
scending bend of the head, such as we are accustomed to 
use to an inferior whom we are willing to put at his ease. 
What were my sensations, a father, disguised and unknown 
in the presence of his children ! I attempted to stand, as 
is usual for a tradesman, when he waits on his customers 
at their own house. I attempted to speak. My tongue 
refused its office ; my legs tottered as if sustaining an un- 
usual weight. Louisa observed me, and desired me to be 
seated. I had no power of choice ; I accepted her civility. 
No sooner was I seated, than in spite of myself a flood of 
tears gushed from my eyes. She was astonished; she 
begged to know if I were indisposed ; she requested me to 
make use of every assistance the house could afford. 1 now 
found my speech. I apologised for my behaviour ; said I 
had felt suddenly ill, but that the tears I shed would prove 
the most effectual relief to me. My appearance, it may be 
proper to mention, was not that of a vulgar pedlar ; it was 
tall, graceful, and ingenuous, with a certain air of refine- 
ment and politeness ; my Armenian dress, though formed 
of uncostly materials, was such as to display my person to 
considerable advantage. Both the young ladies showed 
A A 4 



360 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

themselves interested in the symptoms of my distress. 
After a few minutes internal struggle, I rose,, made an ex- 
cuse for the abruptness of my departure, and requested 
permission to repeat my visit in the afternoon, when I 
should have something not unimportant to communicate to 
them. 

I had seen two of my daughters ; 1 had been satisfied 
that they still existed ; I had witnessed their exterior health 
and beauty. As I withdrew, I laid my hand upon my heart, 
and congratulated myself: " Thus far," said I, " it is well !" 
I felt relieved from part of the weight that lay there. With 
my right hand I struck upon my forehead: " but, oh, where," 
cried I, ff is my other daughter ? The thought came over 
me with the force of a demonstration : she is dead ! A 
servant was attending me to the door ; I requested to speak 
to the housekeeper ; I was introduced to Mariana Chabot. 
She was struck with my appearance, as I believe my daugh- 
ters had been, as if my features were those of some person 
with whom she was intimately acquainted. She would 
probably have mistaken me for my own son, but that I 
looked considerably too young. I intreated her to pardon 
my curiosity ; but, I assured her, I had a particular reason to 
interest myself in the family of Monsieur St. Leon, and I 
therefore requested that she would have the goodness to 
inform me of their affairs, as far as she could with pro- 
priety communicate them to a person who was not so 
happy as to be in the catalogue of their acquaintance. I 
told her that I had just seen two of her ladies, but that I 
had understood there had been three, and I particularly de- 
sired some information as to the young lady who had not 
made her appearance in the parlour. My presentiment was 
true ; the impression that smote me when I left the par- 
lour, was her funeral knell ; my beloved Julia was dead ; 
she had been dead four years ! If it had not been for the 
agitation of my mind when I visited the tomb of my 
venerable parent, I should have discovered her monument 
near that of her grandmother. That would have been too 
overwhelming a mode of learning the painful intelligence ; 
I was glad at least to have escaped that ! 

In this and some subsequent conversations I held with 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. S6l 

this respectable matron, I learned a variety of particulars 
respecting my daughters. Madame Chabot expressed her- 
self sorry that she had nothing pleasing to communicate. 
Her young ladies had been pursued by a train of misfor- 
tunes,, though, heaven knew, they had merited every hap- 
piness. A few years after they had been settled at St. Leon, 
Julia had been addressed by a lover in every sense worthy 
of her. He was rich, noble, of a gallant spirit, of a cul- 
tivated understanding, and a truly kind and affectionate 
heart. Their attachment had been long and tried ; habit 
and experience of each other's virtues had caused it to take 
a deep root. The father of the young man had destined 
him to marry the daughter of a duke and peer of |he 
kingdom ; but, finding his affections unalterably fixed/ he 
had at length yielded, and sanctioned their mutual passion 
with his consent. Every thing was now prepared for the 
nuptials ; a day was fixed, and the appointed time was fast 
approaching. Just at this juncture, the father changed his 
mind, and became more obstinate and inexorable than ever. 
A report had begun to be circulated that monsieur St. Leon, 
the father of the young ladies, was still alive. Madame 
Chabot expressed her fear that this report had originated in 
some indiscretion of Bernardin, who, however, had always 
proved himself a most zealous and faithful servant, and who 
had since paid the debt of nature. Be that as it might, 
the father of the lover of Julia was found no longer acces- 
sible to expostulation or entreaty. He was of an avaricious 
disposition, and he regarded the fortune of the young lady, 
which would otherwise have been considerable, as entirely 
alienated and annihilated by this flaw in the title. But 
what was more material, it by no means accorded with his 
ideas of nobility and honour, that the father-in-law of his 
only son should be a fugitive and a wanderer, with whose 
residence no one was acquainted, and of whom no one 
could tell whether he were living or dead. The manner 
in which the ladies had entered into the repossession of 
their paternal estate, when minutely investigated, was 
thought to have something in it of an ambiguous and un- 
pleasant nature. It was well known that monsieur St. Leon 
had left the country in consequence of his having ruined 



362 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



himself by the vice of gaming. " Surely/' said some,, " it is 
a little mysterious, how his children came, after an interval 
of nine years, to be able to repurchase all he ever possessed." 
In short, the more the old vicomte was reasoned with, the 
more furious he grew. At length he made use of the 
power which the government of France vests in the father 
of a family, and shut up his son in one of the royal pri- 
sons. This was a fatal blow both to the chevalier and his 
mistress. Disappointed in the object of his warmest affec- 
tions, maltreated and disgraced by the severity of a father, 
his health sensibly declined. Nothing however could shake 
the inflexibility of the vicomte ; he would release his son 
upon no other terms than a renunciation of his love, terms 
which the sense of dignity and honour in the young gentle- 
man, equally with his passion, forbade him to accept. To 
all representations of the necessity of granting liberty to 
his son, if he would not make himself answerable for his 
death, the vicomte sternly replied, " that he preferred his 
dying to the idea of his connecting himself with a family 
of dishonour." It was not till a few weeks before he ex- 
pired, that the father had consented to his release from 
prison, and had removed him to one of his castles in a 
remote province. But the malady of the chevalier was 
found incurable ; the vital principles of the system were 
fatally deranged. The lover died ; and the consequences 
of this unhappy affair had put a premature close to the 
existence of the unfortunate Julia. Madame Chabot added 
that, the circumstance of this story having become a subject 
of public animadversion, it had had a most unfavourable 
effect on the prospects of the surviving sisters. They bore 
their situation with dignity ; but they could not but feel 
the unhappy coincidence, which cut them off from the 
happiest condition of human life, an honourable and well 
assorted settlement in marriage. 

While madame Chabot related to me the tragical history 
of Julia, I felt convulsed with passion, and more than once 
burst into an agony of tears. Fatal legacy ! atrocious secrets 
of medicine and chemistry ! every day opened to my as- 
tonished and terrified sight a wider prospect of their wasteful 
effects ! A common degree of penetration might have 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. S63 

shown me, that secrets of this character cut off their pos- 
sessor from the dearest ties of human existence, and render 
him a solitary, cold, self-centered individual ; his heart no 
longer able to pour itself into the bosom of a mistress or a 
friend ; his bosom no longer qualified to receive upon equal 
terms the overflowing of a kindred heart. But no mere 
exercise of imagination, nothing short of the actual ex- 
perience through which I had passed, could have ade- 
quately represented the mischiefs of a thousand various 
names, that issued from this Pandora's box, this extract of 
a universal panacea. I regarded myself as the murderer of 
these two lovers, than whom I concluded, from my per- 
sonal observation of the one, and all that I heard of the 
other, two purer and more affectionate beings, more sin- 
gularly qualified to form each other's happiness, had never 
existed. I felt as truly haunted with the ghosts of those I 
had murdered, as Nero or Caligula might have been ; my 
wife, my son, my faithful negro ; and now, in addition to 
these, the tender Julia and her unalterable admirer. I pos- 
sessed the gift of immortal life ; but I looked on myself as 
a monster that did not deserve to exist. 

It is with difficulty that I shall be able to make the 
reader understand how much more severe the impression 
of this last catastrophe was made to me, by the place and 
time in which I received the intelligence. We are creatures 
of sensation : our worst calamities derive as much of their 
pungency from the accessories by which they are accom- 
panied, as they do from their intrinsic evil. If I had heard 
this story at any other period, I am persuaded its effects 
would not have been half so painful. The idea of my 
daughters was faded in my sensorium, and whatever re- 
lated to them, though really felt, and felt like a father, 
would have been felt with a less overpowering interest. 

But now I had journeyed from Valladolid to the Ga- 
ronne to behold them ; I had surveyed the castle they in- 
habited; I had viewed the garden which they arranged 
with their hands; I had entered the parlour which they 
adorned with their presence. All this controlled the oper- 
ation of absence and of distance; I felt at this moment 
as if I had been accustomed to see them every day, and to 



364 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

regard them as inseparable from my existence. I expe- 
rienced, as it were, the united effect of familiarity and 
novelty ; I felt the melancholy fate of Julia, with all the 
keenness of an inmate, and all the surprise of a long absent 
traveller. The very metamorphosis I had undergone gave 
new poignancy to my distress. Madame Chabot tortured 
me deliberately and at leisure, without the slightest con- 
sciousness of what she was doing; she believed she was 
pouring a tale of persons unknown into the ears of a native 
of the other hemisphere, at the moment that she was calling 
up in arms the strongest and most excruciating feelings of 
a father for his child. I on the other hand had the most 
violent struggle with myself, while I endeavoured to sup- 
press the appearances of an emotion, which to the person 
who witnessed them must have been for ever unaccountable. 
As it was, and in spite of all my efforts, madame Chabot 
betrayed no little amazement at the agitation with which I 
listened to a story, in which, as she apprehended, I could 
have no personal interest. 

What I heard from madame Chabot suggested to me a 
conduct, which I resolved to adopt under the present cir- 
cumstances. In my next interview I told Louisa that I 
would now account to her for emotions which, at the time 
they occurred, must have appeared somewhat extraordinary. 
I owned that I had been acquainted with her father ; I said 
that I had first met with him in a journey, in which I was 
then engaged through the province of Mesopotamia ; that 
I had received from him, though a stranger, a singular 
obligation ; that a sincere friendship between us had been 
the result of this event ; that he died about two years since; 
that I had attended him in his last moments ; that he had 
charged me with his dying recommendations and requests ; 
and that my present journey into France had principally 
been instigated by a desire to visit his children. I then 
delivered into her hands various letters and papers, which I 
had counterfeited chiefly with the intention of supplying my 
daughters with legal evidence of the decease of their father. 

Louisa listened to what I related with those marks of af- 
fection and sorrow, which are inseparable from the habits 
of a well constituted mind. The emotion she discovered 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 365 

led me farther than I first intended. I was urged by an 
irresistible impulse to practise, beyond what the occasion 
demanded, upon the feelings of her virtuous mind. I know 
not whether this is to be considered as a vain refinement 
and a criminal curiosity; but I think every generous 
spirit will excuse me, when it is recollected that this covert 
and imperfect proceeding was all that was left me to soothe 
the impatient cravings of a father's heart. From time to 
time I reminded her of particulars that it was scarcely pos- 
sible any one but her father should know; I conjured up 
past scenes ; I made all the revolutions of her youth pass 
successively in review before her ; I touched all the pulses 
of her soul. Sometimes she was fixed in mute astonish- 
ment at the exactness of my information, and was ready to 
do me homage as some aerial genius, who condescended to 
clothe himself in this earthly figure ; at other times astonish- 
ment was swallowed up in feeling, her soul dissolved in ten- 
derness, and she appeared ready fl to faint into my arms. It is 
scarcely possible to depict the pleasurable sensations I drew 
from these intercourses; I know not whether they were 
entirely innocent; but this I know, that in me they pro- 
duced a sentiment of innocence, and a sentiment of paradise. 
I felt sometimes as if I could have wasted ages in this sort 
of gratification. 

As the executor of their father, my daughters received 
me with every mark of respect ; but, after having already 
protracted my visit to them for the space of many days, I 
felt that I should be guilty of something alike hostile to 
their decorum and reputation, if I did not speedily bring it 
to a termination. I was a person unknown and almost 
without a name ; nor could it be proper for a young woman 
to continue to receive the visits of a person of her own age 
and a different sex, upon the intimate and confidential 
footing upon which my visits were paid, except in the case 
of him whom she intends to make her husband. To consi- 
derations of this sort I was obliged to sacrifice the gratifica- 
tions in which I had lately been indulging. My principal 
concern at St. Leon, from the time in which madame 
Chabot had communicated to me the real nature of my 
daughter's situation, was to r PT nnve those disadvantages in 



366 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

which my destiny and my errors had involved them : it 
would therefore have been the extreme of inconsistency in 
me,, while I was healing one mischief, to prepare for them 
another. It is not indeed probable that I should long have 
been contented for myself with this anomalous and neutral 
situation, in which I more resembled a piece of furniture 
endowed with the faculty of noting the sensations of those 
around me, than the member of any human society. It 
was high time, as I thought, even in this point of view, 
that I should put an end to the inglorious scene, should ap- 
pear in some real character, and engage in some real under- 
taking. 

Influenced by these considerations, I now quitted the resi- 
dence of my daughters. I had satisfied the longing curio- 
sity of a father, had seen their situation, had witnessed 
their beauty, their accomplishments, and their virtues. If 
I had been afflicted at hearing of the premature fate of my 
eldest daughter, if I had been agonised by the reflection 
that I might justly regard myself as her murderer, who was 
so fitted to suffer this anguish as myself? The outcast of my 
species, what right had I to expect to be happy in my own 
person, or prosperous in any of my relations ? The guilty 
cause of all this mischief, it was but suitable that it should 
be brought home to my own bosom, that it should tear and 
distract my own brain ! Add to this, I was not without a 
hope that my journey would not be found useless to the 
survivors. By furnishing to them the proper documents to 
certify the death of their father, I flattered myself that I 
had cut them off more effectually than before from all con- 
nection with my unpropitious destiny, and had placed them 
nearly upon a footing with the other noble and unmarried 
heiresses of their native country. I have nothing further 
to relate in regard to these two amiable and excellent sisters. 
From the time that I quitted St. Leon upon this occasion, 
to the time in which I am now writing, the opportunity of 
making further enquiries respecting them has not occurred 
to me. If ever it does occur, I have only this one wish to 
entertain, which, if granted, will, I am sure, satisfy my 
fondest hopes, May I find they have been as happy, as 
they so well deserve to be ! 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON 



36? 



The parting between me and my daughters was not an 
unaffecting one. On my part, whose bosom was fraught 
with a thousand tender feelings, to which I could give no 
language, and of which those whom they principally con- 
cerned had not the slighest suspicion, it could not be unaf- 
fecting. Nor did Louisa and her younger sister look with 
an indifferent eye upon the bearer of the last sentiments of 
their father, the witness of his death, the executor of his 
will. There was something in the features of my counte- 
nance, a peculiar sort of conformation, a family resemblance 
to themselves, which it is probable they did not advert to, 
but which I am persuaded wrought within them to the full 
extent of the mysterious sympathies of our nature. I pre- 
tended to have been the familiar confident of their father ; I 
told them of things at which they started and almost blushed 
to think that any one beyond the circuit of their dearest 
relations should have been privy. In the hour of our sepa- 
ration, they shed many tears, and embraced me with a 
warmth that might have well become sisters to a brother. 
Yet, shall I confess my weakness, a weakness in which I 
do not apprehend myself to be singular ? It happens to 
few men to witness the manner in which the story of their 
own deaths is received. If it did, I believe we all of us 
have enough of vanity and personal feeling, however sincere 
a grief might show itself in the demeanour of survivors, to 
find it falling short of our appetites and demand. This I 
know, I was myself a party to this unreasonableness. My 
daughters received the intelligence of my death with a de- 
corum and sensibility, which in the eyes of every impartial 
spectator would have reflected honour on their characters, 
a sensibility beyond what could have been imagined in 
daughters who now had not seen their father for twelve 
years. Yet it was an unpleasing reflection to me, thus to 
have occasion to gauge their love, and to say, This is the 
exact measure of their affection. I remained in this part of 
the world long enough to see my children consoled, and 
myself forgotten. Self-importance of man, upon how slight 
a basis do thy gigantic erections repose ! 



368 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

FROM St. Leon I proceeded to the kingdom of Hungary. 
To complete this journey I must pass through near twenty 
degrees of longitude. But that was a trivial consideration : 
what I most desired was to gain a new situation, and enter 
upon an untried scene. I had determined in my next expe- 
riment upon the endowments of the stranger, to make no 
half-formed efforts, and to suffer no mischiefs that drew 
their source from my own irresolution. I determined, as 
I have said, to forestall all opposition by my firmness, and 
to silence all objectors by the display of a more than princely 
magnificence. I thought it therefore eligible to remove to 
a scene, where no encounter with any one I had ever known 
might abash me, and no relation of any adventure I had ever 
met should follow me. The change of my figure, it is true, 
would render an encounter of this sort of little moment to 
my liberty or my reputation ; but I was a new man, and 
I was desirous to engross and to feel the benefits that attend 
upon novelty. 

There was another motive however secretly working at 
my heart, of a grander and more exalted cast, that made 
me prefer Hungary to all the countries of the earth. Hun- 
gary had been now, for upwards of a century, the great 
frontier of the Christian world, the theatre upon which 
the followers of Mahomet contended against the followers of 
Jesus for destruction and for empire. My mind had from 
time to time brooded over this picture in the solitude and 
forlornness of my dungeon. I ruminated on all the calami- 
ties of Hungary, from the battle of Warna in 1444, to the 
battle of Mohacz in 1526 ; in both of which this generous 
nation had unsuccessfully achieved prodigies of valour, and, 
even by their defeats, had protracted the date of their own 
independence, and co-operated for the defence of the popu- 
lation and arts of Europe against a barbarous and blood- 
delighting foe. My thoughts dwelt with rapturous admir- 
ation upon the exploits of the heroic Huniades and his 
greater son. In the course of my many-coloured experience 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 36<) 

I had seen something of war, and was not totally unac- 
quainted with its never-failing consequences. Meditating as 
I had done in the dungeons of the inquisition, if ever I re- 
covered my personal liberty and my freedom of action, a 
journey into Hungary, my imagination had grown familiar 
with captured towns and smoking villages ; with the gallant 
soldier stretched lifeless on the plain, and the defenceless 
mother and her offspring brutally insulted and massacred ; 
with fields laid waste, and a people lifting up their hands 
for bread. Determined as I was to open at once all the 
stores of my wealth, I thought I could not find a nobler 
scene for its display. I resolved to pour the entire stream 
of my riches, like a mighty river, to fertilise these wasted 
plains, and revive their fainting inhabitants. Thus proceed- 
ing, should I not have a right to expect to find myself 
guarded by the faithful love of a people who would be in- 
debted to my beneficence for every breath they drew? 
This was the proper scene in which for the possessor of the 
philosopher's stone to take up his abode. He who could 
feel his ambition satisfied in a more straitened field would, 
by so doing, prove himself unworthy of the mighty bless- 
ing. 

Nothing occurred to me in my journey of importance 
enough to obtain a place in this history. When I arrived, 
I found the condition of the inhabitants even more wretched 
than the lawlessness of my imagination had represented it. 
In the battle of Mohacz the last of the line of their native 
sovereigns, together with the flower of his nobility, had 
fallen a victim to the merciless plague of war. What sur- 
vived of eminent persons in the state assembled soon after in 
national diet, and elected, as they had been accustomed to 
do, one of the most illustrious among themselves to preside 
over the councils and to conduct the battles of their coun- 
try. But the princes of the house of Austria, ever on the 
watch for the aggrandisement of their family, seized the 
opportunity of their disastrous situation to enslave the 
Hungarians to their sceptre. Charles the Fifth caused his 
brother Ferdinand, whose consort was only sister to the 
deceased monarch, to advance his claim to the vacant throne, 
and to enter the country with an imperial army. The na- 



370 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

tive and elected sovereign found himself, in the weakened 
condition of his realm, unable to resist the Austrian arms, 
and was finally driven to the desperate expedient of calling 
in the Turk to his assistance. From this time, for now 
upwards of thirty years, the kingdom had been a prey to 
two foreign invaders, alternately taking and retaking her 
most considerable towns, and distributing with the strictest 
impartiality the miseries of war to her devoted inhabitants. 
Solyman the Magnificent, the present Ottoman emperor, in 
no long time threw off the mask ; and, like his rival Ferdi- 
nand, professed to fight only for the enlargement of his 
own dominions ; while the claims, the liberties, the consti- 
tution, and the prosperity of Hungary, were alike trodden 
under foot in the protracted and sanguinary struggle. 

At the period at which I entered this unfortunate realm, 
the Turk was in possession of Buda, Gran, Temeswar, and 
many of the most considerable cities ; and Ferdinand, who 
had now succeeded Charles in the imperial dignity, had 
been obliged to withdraw the seat of the national govern- 
ment from- the first of these towns, the ancient metropolis, 
to the comparatively insignificant city of Presburg. The 
war between the two parties had more than once been inter- 
rupted ; not indeed by the more stable accommodations of a 
treaty of peace, but by a truce variously concluded for the 
terms of six or of eight years. Short as was the period 
assigned to the suspension of arms, it was never suffered to 
reach its natural termination ; but, after the interval of one 
or two summers, hostilities did not fail to break out again, 
with aggravated symptoms of resentment and animosity. 
The warfare that was now carried on had more in it of pas- 
sion than vigour : it was of little moment to the interest of 
either of the princes under whose banners it was conducted ; 
but it was not on that account the less, but rather the more, 
vexatious and distressing to the Hungarian people. It 
obeyed no rule ; it operated in every direction ; no place, 
no province, no town, neither the church nor the palace, 
neither the cottage nor the castle, could assure safety to 
those who sought its protection. A flying party, which was 
to-day in the west, would almost the next day make its 
appearance in the eastern extremity, of the kingdom. Arts 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 371 

were neglected ; civilisation was destroyed ; the stern and 
haughty baron, free from restraint, would sally from his 
castle, sometimes in pursuit of plunder, sometimes of pri- 
vate resentment and revenge ; the starving peasantry gladly 
enlisted in the band of a ferocious partisan for bread ; the 
gangs of robbers, which the vigilant policy of better times 
had almost annihilated, rose again in importance, and 
swelled into regiments ; and, while they assumed at plea- 
sure the denomination of adherents to Ferdinand or to Soly- 
man, perpetrated every species of excess with impunity*. 
When a reflecting spectator surveys a country in a condition 
like this, he is tempted to wonder that the inhabitants still 
retain the courage to bestow on their fields any sort of culti- 
vation, and that the licensed or the unlicensed robber still 
finds something over which to extend the fangs of his 
rapacity. 

I had not long passed the gates of Vienna, before I be- 
gan to observe the symptoms of that, which I had come 
from the Pyrenees and the Garonne to visit. The farther 
1 advanced, the more melancholy was the scene I beheld, 
The country in some places entirely deserted ; villages laid 
in ashes ; cities reduced to the dimensions and insigni- 
ficance of villages ; fields fertilised or made rank with the 
manure of human blood ; the roads broken up ; the erec- 
tions of human ingenuity almost obliterated ; mills thrown 
down ; rivers choked up and rendered stagnant ; a few 
solitary plots of cultivation scattered amidst the mighty 
waste. The inhabitants I saw, appeared terrified, sickly, 
dejected, and despairing ; there was scarcely one who earlier 
or later had not lost a father or a brother, .whose wife had 
not been made the victim of brutal lust, or who had not 
seen his children butchered before his face. Persons of 
the more opulent classes could not travel the country in 
safety, without being armed and associated in companies 
and caravans. I was myself obliged to obtain the protec- 
tion of parties of soldiers, who from time to time happened 
to be marching in the route I pursued. The savage neg- 
lect into which every thing was declining, produced in 
repeated instances a contagious air and pestilential diseases ; 
while dearth and famine unrelentingly haunted the steps 
BB 2 



372 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

of those whom the sword and the pestilence had spared. 
Such is war : such are the evils nations willingly plunge 
into, or are compelled to endure, to pamper the senseless 
luxury or pride of a Ferdinand and a Solyman ! 

I proceeded, as I had originally determined to do, to 
Buda, the metropolis of the kingdom. It was in the hands 
of the Turk. It was of little importance , to me whether 
the monarch of the soil were a Mahometan or a Christian ; 
my mind was engrossed by considerations of a very differ- 
ent magnitude. I came to relieve and assist, to the utmost 
of my power, the inhabitants of the country in the extre- 
mity of their distress. 

I had not proceeded thus far, without bestowing a certain 
strictness of reflection on the subject. I easily saw that, 
if I would confer a substantial benefit on this unfortunate 
nation, I had scarcely any other means for the purpose, 
than that of reviving among them a spirit of industry. I 
was aware that, in the strictness of the term, money was 
not wealth ; that it could be neither eaten nor drunk ; that 
it would not of itself either clothe the naked or shelter the 
houseless ; and that it was unable, but by a circuitous 
operation, to increase the quantity of provisions or com- 
modities that the country afforded. It was my business 
therefore not to proceed idly in the distribution of gold, 
but to meditate seriously my plan of operations. 

I fixed myself in a spacious and beautiful mansion in 
the capital. This in the present distressed and depopulated 
condition of Hungary, it was not difficult to procure. 
The house I selected had for centuries been the principal 
residence of the illustrious family of Ragotski ; but the 
present representative of that family, after having seen his 
sons, one after another, killed in the battles of his country, 
and his estates ruined by military depredation, had found 
himself compelled to fly in his old age, and had taken re- 
fuge with a distant branch of the same house in the great 
duchy of Lithuania. It was not necessary for me to 
proceed to any great extent in the first instance in the ma- 
nufacture of my wealth ; I had every facility for adding 
to my store from time to time as circumstances should 
demand. 






TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 373 

I determined to open my operations with the article of 
building. There was sufficient need of it. One half of 
the houses, through most of the districts of Lower, or 
Western Hungary in particular, were ruined and untenant- 
able. I did not begin with erecting palaces ; I felt that 
the firstjfclaimants in the present emergency were the pea- 
sant and the cultivator. I was more desirous that the 
rustic than the prince should be well lodged and accom- 
modated, provided with the means of rest after fatigue, 
and secured against the invasion of ungenial seasons. 

My reasons for beginning with building were these : It 
was my purpose to stimulate and revive the industry of the 
nation : I was desirous of doing this with the least practi- 
cable violence upon the inclinations and freedom of the in- 
habitants. Had I required of those to whom I addressed 
myself, that they should fertilise the earth, the seeds with 
which it should be impregnated might be wanting : I should 
have a nice balance to adjust between what was necessary 
for immediate subsistence, and what might ( be applied as 
the basis of future ; a point better left to its spontaneous 
level : I might be impeded and controlled by a thousand 
circumstances and at every step. But the materials of 
building are to be found in every country ; no seasons can 
impair, no malignity of man can annihilate them. Where- 
ever there are quarries, there is stone; wherever there is 
clay, there are the means of manufacturing bricks. I was 
anxious to leave the rest of the great process of human 
accommodation to its course. While I employed labourers, 
and paid them their wages, there would be, in the mildest 
and most salutary mode, a continual influx of money into 
the market. The increase of the precious metals would 
give new alacrity to the operations of traffic ; the buyers 
would come forward with double confidence ; the venders 
would be eager to meet the activity and spirit of the de- 
mand. Ardour and hope would revisit the human mind ; 
and the industry I created, and the accommodations of one 
kind at least to which I gave birth, would inoculate the 
other departments of the community with a similar in- 
dustry. I came into Hungary in the spring of 156'0 ; the 

BB 3 



374 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

season was favourable to seeding and cultivation ; I seemed 
to enter on my undertaking with the happiest auspices. 

Some time however must necessarily elapse between the 
period of impregnating the soil, and that of the future har- 
vest. Though I laid it down therefore as a law to myself, 
to commit the least practicable violence upon the genuine 
action of human society in pursuit of the means of sub- 
sistence, I thought proper in a certain degree to engage in 
the importation of corn from Poland, Silesia, and other 
neighbouring countries. This seemed an eligible measure, 
if it were only that I might show others the way, and ex- 
cite them by my example. I procured agents ; I extended 
my concerns in various directions over the navigable rivers ; 
I formed magazines. It would have been contrary to the 
genius of my undertaking, either to make a gratuitous dis- 
tribution of what I purchased, or to sell it at such low 
prices as to drive other speculators, whose spirit of enter- 
prise might happily co-operate with mine, out of the mar- 
ket. However indifferent I might feel to the receipt of 
pecuniary compensation, it was necessary that, in the con- 
cerns of barter and trade, I should assume the exterior of 
a merchant. 

Nor did I wholly confine my exertions within the oc- 
cupations of an architect and a corn-dealer. These, or 
rather the former of the two, I regarded as my true and 
genuine province ; but I did not so far enslave myself to 
my own maxims, as to negative in all instances the direct 
demands of want. I was not anxious to convert a nation 
or an army of men into my personal adherents and re- 
tainers : I was rather desirous to avoid this as a dangerous 
source of obloquy. I did not therefore always decline, by 
pretended loans to assist other men to employ labourers as 
well as myself, to act upon their own designs, and prosecute 
their own fortune. The cries of the poor man, the widow, 
and the orphan, were sometimes too importunate, and too 
well justified by their unquestionable necessities, to allow 
me to withhold from them my alms. In a few instances 
I conveyed my supplies anonymously to persons, whose 
dignity of birth or whose proud independence would have 
been too grievously wounded if they had known their be- 






TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 375 

nefactor. I was cautious and apprehensive as to the direct 
dispensing of money,, but not entirely bent against it ; I 
regarded it as a precarious, but in some cases a necessary 
interference. 

The impulse which, by these various measures, I was 
fortunate enough to generate, seemed to have the effect, so 
far at least as the sphere of my activity extended, to revive 
the almost expiring life of the country. Dejection and 
hopeless indolence, when I commenced my operations, were 
written in every face ; the miserable inhabitants crawled 
along the roads or the street, their hands idly relaxed by 
their side, and their slow and painful steps scarcely sup- 
porting their lifeless trunk. When my plan became known, 
and I had already in a few instances reduced my maxims 
into practice, it was as if the mellow and spirit-stirring 
blast of a trumpet had wakened their sleeping souls. Their 
eyes lightened with intelligence ; the tear of anguish was 
wiped from their faded cheeks j the smile of hope slowly 
expelled, and faintly succeeded to, the bitter expression of 
despair. Busy and active thoughts gave new motion to 
their limbs and quickness to their steps j the labourer was 
seen hastening from place to place ; the sound of the ham- 
mer, the saw, and the various tools of the workman, was 
to be heard from every side. 

The conduct I pursued necessarily fixed upon me a con- 
siderable portion of public attention. I was a foreigner, 
destitute of connections, and having no previous acquaint- 
ance with any individual in the country. I was in ap- 
pearance a mere boy, a young man in all the flower and 
bloom of adolescence, and who must be supposed to have 
just entered into possession of his patrimony. These things 
tended to increase the public wonder, and to render the 
mystery of my proceedings more perplexing and obscure. 
In the age of genial warmth and melting softness, I did 
not appear accessible to those passions which haunt the 
days, and too often undermine the virtues, of youth. Youth 
is the season of benevolence j but benevolence is rarely, as 
seemed to be my case, the only fruit that youth is found 
to produce. There was a maturity and a justness of adapt- 
ation in my plans, not less foreign from what those who 
BB 4 



376 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



surrounded me would have expected me to display. The 
apparent disinterestedness and modesty of my proceedings 
were not lost upon the spectators. The consequence of all 
this was, that the sieur de Chatillon, such was the name I 
at this time assumed, was regarded as a phenomenon which 
could not be too much admired, or too loudly extolled. 
Wherever I appeared, the people followed me with their 
gratitude and blessings ; ballads were written in my praise ; 
the very children were taught with their infant tongues to 
lisp the virtues of the saviour of Hungary. My doors 
were besieged ; my steps were watched ; I could move no 
where without public observation. I was importuned with 
petitions without end ; yet, if any petitioner showed him- 
self presumptuous and intrusive, the whole multitude of 
bystanders was ready to repress his indiscretion, and teach 
him the respect that was due to their generous benefactor, 
who never refused any thing, but what it would be im- 
proper and injurious to grant. 

Such was the treatment I experienced in Buda and the 
neighbouring districts. Whether I looked within or with- 
out, I was equally presented with incitements to self-appro- 
bation. I sent forth labour, accompanied with her best 
and loveliest companions, plenty and health, congratulation 
and contentment, to scatter blessings through the land. I 
felt that I was prompted to this conduct by none of the 
motives of vulgar ambition. I desired neither lordships 
nor estates, neither elevation of rank, nor extension of pre- 
rogative. Sufficient to myself, if I effected the happiness 
of the people, and they confessed me their benefactor, my 
every passion would then be gratified. The utmost bound- 
ary of my personal wishes proceeded no farther than this, 
that I might be honoured and loved. What I desired, I 
obtained ; the youth I had procured to myself through the 
medium of the opus magnum, was like what we are told 
of the youth of Job : ' ' When I went out through the 
gate of the city, the young men saw me and hid themselves, 
and the aged arose and stood up ; the nobles refrained from 
talking, and the princes laid their hands upon their mouths. 
When the ear heard me, then it blessed me ; and when 
the eye saw me, it gave witness to my actions." 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 377 

Here it may be thought I had ascended to that sphere 
which it was fit the possessor of the philosopher's stone 
should fill, and reaped the rewards to which a man thus 
endowed ought to be forward to entitle himself. Nor will 
I affirm that I was insensible to the gratifications of my 
present situation. Though I sought to escape from the 
applause that pursued me, yet there is something in the 
nature of the human mind, that makes it impossible for us 
to hear it without complacence. It was not however a 
boisterous and obtrusive acclamation that satisfied me. A 
certain inwrought modesty of nature made me listen to 
noisy commendations with a sentiment of shame. They 
seemed to be more than any thing I had done could de- 
serve ; or they seemed to be in a tone from which the 
delicacy of a virtuous mind shrinks back displeased. They 
were so obstreperous, as to take from me the power of 
hearing the sweeter verdict of my own conscience. No; 
it was the unbidden tear that glistened in the eye of my 
beneficiaries ; the tongue that faltered beneath the essays 
of gratitude ; the overwhemed heart that had no power to 
express itself ; the hand of the parent that was stretched 
out to his children, and dumbly said, These, these shall 
thank you ! it was these things, that I felt within as the 
balsam of my life, and the ambrosia of heaven. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

YET, thus surrounded, and regaled with this animated 
praise, I was not content ; I wanted a friend. I was alone 
amidst the innumerable multitudes of those I had blessed. 
I knew no cordiality ; I could repose no confidence ; I 
could find no equal. I was like a God, who dispenses his 
bounties profusely through twenty climates, but who at the 
same time sits, separate, elevated, and alone, in the highest 
heaven. The reader may, if he pleases, despise me for the 
confession ; but I felt that I was not formed for the hap- 
piness of a God. 

I was not however long sufficiently at leisure, thus to 



378 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



refine upon the deficiencies of my situation. I had engaged 
in a task of extreme delicacy, in which the smallest failure 
would draw along with it the most serious consequences. 
Mine was not an undertaking that had for its object, to 
supply those around me with luxuries, or to augment the 
stock of their cheerful relaxations and amusements ; the 
very existence of my beneficiaries depended on its success. 
I had put myself in a considerable degree, with whatever 
diffidence and caution, in the room of the course of nature, 
and had taken the administration of the common benefits 
of human society into my hands. The populace are ever 
ready to construe this delegation in the strictest sense: 
unqualified to trace the wheels and combinations of the 
great machine, if prosperity is their lot, they willingly as- 
cribe it to their protectors and governors ; and if they 
are unfortunate, it is against them that the storm of their 
resentment is directed. The moment they are thus irri- 
tated, their impatience is too great to admit of correctives 
and remedies; in the fury of their disappointment, they 
disturb every thing, and render that irreparable and fatal, 
which was at first only doubtful and unpromising. 

My proceedings, as I have already said, bore in the com- 
mencement the most benignant face, and seemed a revival 
of this despairing and unfortunate nation little less than 
miraculous. The regular labours in which the inhabitants 
became engaged, restored a healthful tone to their minds ; 
the payments they duly received seemed to discharge them 
from all anxious solicitude ; and, as by my own efforts and 
the enterprises of others, the market was supplied with pro- 
visions, they had no difficulty in exchanging these payments 
for the necessaries of life. The supply of the market at 
first was easy; the universal dejection that preceded, though 
it had not prevented all exertions for that purpose, had 
rendered those exertions too feeble for extensive success. 
The strenuous efforts that were now made were productive 
of a copious supply ; but they rendered each importation 
more difficult than the importation before. The demand 
continued the same ; the relief was every day more dimi- 
nutive and precarious. The harvest was however advancing 
with the happiest auspices : and, though some time must 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 379 

yet be consumed in expectation, it was probable frugality 
and fortitude might enable the inhabitants to hold out till 
the season of plenty should arrive. 

But fortitude is not the virtue of a populace. The 
higher had been their hopes, and the more unexpected their 
deliverance, with so much the more blank and melancholy 
a countenance they beheld this unexpected delay and retro- 
gression. Not understanding the powers by which I acted, 
they blindly ascribed to me the faculty of doing whatever I 
pleased. As long as every thing went on prosperously, 
they were grateful ; the moment a reverse occurred, they 
were inclined to murmur. They made no allowance for the 
limited capacities of a human creature: they imputed 
whatever was unpleasing to indifference or ill will. The 
price of commodities, after having for a while become 
moderate, now rapidly rose again : this was partly the con- 
sequence of the increased quantity of the precious metals, 
by means of which any assignable sum bore a less pro- 
portion to the provisions of the market than it had done 
before. Bread was at a very high price ; and it occasion- 
ally happened to buyers who did not come early enough, 
that there was no bread to be purchased. The doors of the 
houses where it was sold, were besieged ; the industrious 
poor appeared before them with the first faint dawn of the 
morning's light. Here they consumed hours of painful 
expectation, in grievous addition to the hours of their cus- 
tomary fatigue. The whole was a scene of anguish and 
calamity ; the passions of those who composed it, mingled 
with the distress, and rendered it too heavy to be borne. 
Anticipating famine, they felt the mischiefs of it before 
it arrived. Never was the demand so urgent ; it seemed as 
if the capacity of men's appetites was enlarged, and the 
cravings of hunger became more insatiable, in proportion to 
the smallness of the supply. To people thus circumstanced, 
it would have been vain to recommend frugality and mo- 
deration. They devoured the food with their eyes, while 
it was yet beyond the reach of their hands ; and the lesson 
you read them, would have sounded in their ears as if you 
had bid them die to-day, to escape the danger of dying to- 
morrow. 



380 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



The crowds which the necessity of purchasing bread 
brought together at certain hours, when assembled, naturally 
entered into the discussion of their present discontents. 
They were not satisfied with the discourse and jostling of 
the morning ; the habits produced by these noisy assemblies 
had a secret charm with them, and drew them together at 
seasons of less urgent demand. They patroled the streets : 
they were loud in the expressions of their dissatisfaction. 
With the inconsequence incident to the lower orders of 
mankind, they threatened to destroy the mills, the markets, 
the places of sale, the means and materials by which their 
wants were to be supplied. 

In the midst of these scenes of tumult and confusion, it 
is not to be imagined that I escaped uncensured. Far 
otherwise: in proportion to the gratitude and adoration 
with which they had lately regarded me, were their detest- 
ation and abhorrence now. My interference was spoken 
of with contempt and execration. For what purpose had 
I, a foreigner, come into their country, and intruded myself 
into their affairs ? Why had I impiously taken them out 
of the hands of their heavenly Father, whose care was so 
constant, and whose relief so certain ? It was on my part a 
despicable vanity and presumption, which the justice of 
Providence could not fail to avenge ; and they must now 
suffer the punishment of my blasphemy. But they did not 
stop here. There was no horrible calumny which they did 
not invent, or give credit to, against me. They imputed to 
me the basest personal motives for what I had done. Under 
the hypocritical pretence, they cried, of being their benefac- 
tor and saviour, I was using them only for my private ends. 
I had become a purchaser and vender of corn, for the single 
purpose of increasing my fortune. The present scarcity, 
they were well assured, was artificial, and of my own con- 
triving. I had magazines in different stations on the borders, 
which, when the price was risen to the standard of my 
avarice, and when half the people had fallen victims to my 
inhumanity, I purposed to dispose of to an immense profit. 

Such were the aspersions to which my character became 
generally exposed. By the populace, who now experienced 
the unsatisfied cravings of hunger, and in whom my pro- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 381 

ceedings had excited hope, only to he followed hy a more 
cruel disappointment, they were greedily credited. Many 
who knew their falsehood, were yet zealous to propagate 
them. Short as had been my residence in Hungary, I had 
made many enemies. It is to he feared that no man can 
be assiduous and indefatigable in the service of others, 
without incurring that consequence. I employed a great 
number of workmen ; every one whom for whatever reason 
I refused to employ, every one who, being unqualified for 
the service I required, looked with an envious eye on the 
better fortune of his neighbour, was well disposed to be my 
enemy. Persons of no contemptible account in the com- 
munity had been excited by expectations of profit to 
engage in the importation of corn : these persons viewed 
my efforts in the same department with a suspicious eye, 
and regarded a man who, however cautious in his proceed- 
ings, was not regulated by the same motive, as a most per- 
nicious rival. My sudden elevation and importance in the 
country were viewed with not more astonishment than 
aversion by those whose importance I obscured. They could 
not hear with patience of an upstart, a boy, a stranger, 
one universally unknown, elbowing out the influence of 
all that was most illustrious and venerable in the com- 
munity, and robbing them daily of their adherents and 
retainers. All these persons left no effort untried to defame 
my character. 

The impulse once given, the turbulent disposition of the 
populace became every day more formidable. It is much 
easier to disseminate a temper of this sort than to quell it : 
my opulent foes might take alarm at its excesses, and desire 
to undo what they had done; but it was beyond their 
power. Every day I feared lest, from threats and invec- 
tives, the populace should proceed to violence : every night 
I thought I had reason to congratulate myself, that the day 
had passed without waste and spoil committed by them on 
the means of their subsistence, or was not marked with the 
destruction of their champion and benefactor. In some 
places a sort of petty sedition broke out among the labourers 
I employed: in the morning they refused to work: why 
should a man work, they muttered, when after all he may 



382 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON". 



starve with the wages of his labour in his possession ? at 
night they became impatient and furious, and demanded 
from my superintendents and storehouse-men the food, 
which in the morning they had refused to earn, and were 
therefore now unable to purchase. I had already had some 
experience in the nature of popular tumults ; 1 had now no 
marchese Filosanto at hand to persuade me of their inef- 
ficacy ; and, if I had, I should no longer have lent an ear 
to his serene and unsuspicious generosity. I felt the reality 
of the danger ; I saw the storm as it blackened in my ho- 
rizon, and was deeply convinced what it would be if it burst 
upon my head. 

It may be imagined with what feelings I viewed my 
whole design on the point to be subverted, by the unruliness 
of those for whose benefit it had been planned. It is true 
I had now no darling relations to be involved in my fate, 
no incomparable wife, no daughters illustrious in innocence 
and beauty; yet my feelings were scarcely less pungent 
than they had been at the period of my catastrophe at Pisa. 
I had blamed myself in review, that, in my experiments at 
Constance, at Dresden, at Pisa, and at Madrid, I had not 
commenced upon a sufficiently ample scale, but had suffered 
myself to be frustrated by the ingloriousness of my pre- 
cautions. That had not been my error in the present 
instance ; yet my success now promised to be scarcely more 
flattering than upon former occasions. I had looked for 
happiness as the result of the benevolence and philanthropy 
I was exerting ; I found only anxiety and a well grounded 
fear even for my personal safety. Let no man build on the 
expected gratitude of those he spends his strength to serve ! 
Let him be beneficent if he will ; but let him not depend 
for his happiness on the conviction of his rectitude and 
virtue that is to be impressed on the minds of others ! 
There is a principle in the human breast, that easily in- 
duces them to regard every thing that can be done for them, 
as no more than their due, and speedily discharges them 
from the oppressive consciousness of obligation. There is 
a levity in the generality of men, that entails on them a 
continual oblivion of past benefits, and makes one recent 
disappointment of more importance in their eyes than an 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON". 383 

I 

eternity 'of kindnesses and condescension. I shall have 
other instances of ingratitude to display in what yet remains 
to be related of my story. 

My nights were restless ; my thoughts were in arms. 
What was it that it became me to do in the present emer- 
gency ? Sometimes,, in the bitterness of my heart, hating 
myself, hating the endowments |of the stranger, hating a 
race of beings who denied all credit to the most unheard-of 
exertions for their advantage, I determined to withdraw 
unobserved from my attendants and clients, and bid adieu 
to Hungary for ever. But whither was I to fly ? What 
was I to do next ? What experiment could I make of the 
purposes to which to apply the philosopher's stone, that I 
had not already made ? These questions, to none of which 
I could give a satisfactory answer, checked the career of my 
passion, and gave pause to my thoughts. 

Whatever I did, I was determined to do nothing rashly, 
nor to quit a great experiment without its having been fully 
tried. It was no light concern, no trivial child's-play, in 
which I had embarked. I had taken the welfare, perhaps 
the existence, of a great and heroic nation under my pro- 
tection. In this glorious vocation it did not become me to 
be lightly discouraged. What if those I served and saved 
did not show themselves sufficiently sensible to the exertions 
I made for them ? I ought to purify my bosom, on an 
occasion like this, from base and ignoble motives, and to 
deem myself sufficiently recompensed by my conscious vir- 
tue. What if the service in which I had engaged now. 
appeared to be a service of hazard and peril ? Is there 
any great undertaking that can be separated from this con- 
dition ? If hastily, from cowardice, from pique, or from 
any other motive, I deserted the business on which I had 
entered, what was to become of my mistaken indeed, but 
in that case most unfortunate clients ? The greater was 
the crisis to which they were exposed, the more were un- 
remitted vigilance and uncommon powers necessary to guide 
them amidst its rocks and its quicksands. I saw thousands 
of men who for several weeks had fed, as it were, from the 
stores of my bounty. By a propensity inseparable from the 
human heart, I became attached to the work of my medi- 



384- TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

tations, and the labour of my thoughts. All their fickle- 
ness, their injustice, even the atrocious calumnies they ad- 
mitted and propagated against me, could not wean my 
attachment from beings, a great portion of whom, but for 
my interference, would, I believed, long ere this have ex- 
pired of hunger. 

In the peculiar and urgent circumstances in which I 
found myself, no expedient was so obvious as that of calling 
in the interference of the government under which I lived. 
Jt was necessary that the resources of national subsistence 
should be defended from the wanton spoil of those who, 
when they were annihilated, must inevitably perish. It 
was necessary that the benefactor of Hungary, who, I flat- 
tered myself, was still able to watch effectively for her 
advantage, should be protected from her misguided resent- 
ment. The alternative was singularly painful to my feelings. 
The pride with which my unparalleled endowments inspired 
me, was deeply wounded, when I was compelled to confess 
that I was not alone equal to the task I had undertaken, 
and that I must submit to call in a foreign auxiliary. I 
augured little favourable from the interference of govern- 
ment, which, if I implored, I could scarcely expect to 
guide, which was not likely to submit to my principle of 
rendering its interference the mildest and smallest that the 
nature of the case would admit; but, puffed up with pre- 
sumption, and intoxicated with authority, would probably 
leave no concern of the public welfare uninvaded. Least 
of all, could I anticipate much of good from a Turkish go- 
vernment. But what could I do ? I could discover no 
other expedient. Influenced by the views I have recited, 
I had hitherto kept myself as far from the observation of 
the political directors of the state as I could. But my 
cautiousness and reserve were now at an end. With my 
eyes open I exposed myself to all the evils that might attend 
on my proceeding. 

I determined to apply to the bashaw of the province. 
Previously to my taking this step, I had the precaution to 
enquire his character. He was the genuine offspring of the 
Turkish system of government. His name was Muzaffer 
Bey. He was originally a Circassian slave ; then a Janis- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 385 

sary ; and, rising by insensible gradation, had at length been 
appointed bashaw of Buda, which, as being the immediate 
frontier between Austria and the Porte, was at this time 
the most arduous situation in the gift of the sultan. He 
was esteemed a good soldier ; he had been early distin- 
guished by his dexterity in military exercises ; he had since 
seen much service j and, in every situation in which he was 
placed, had earned commendation and honour. He was 
abstemious and hardy; for himself, he neither pampered 
his appetites nor shrunk from severity ; and he had as little 
indulgence for those under his command as for his own per- 
son. Yet he was indebted for his present eminence more to 
the arts of the courtier, than to his merits in the field. His 
chief care had ever been to recommend himself to those 
above him, and to obtain the good will of his equals ; for 
the opinion of his inferiors he gave himself little concern, 
With considerable ability, he laboured under no check from 
either principle or ingenuous pride; and therefore was 
extremely successful in his attacks on the inclination of 
those he sought. The habits of his mind had modified the 
lines of his countenance and the tones of his voice. Except 
to his dependants and the poor he almost always spoke with 
a smile upon his face, and his enunciation was silver- 
tongued, oily, copious, and insinuating. If he ever adopted 
a different manner, the variation was only in the means 
not the end ; and, when he seemed to travel by an opposite 
road, the goal at which he aimed was the same* He never 
consulted any oracle but that of his apparent interest ; if he 
had any insolence in his nature, he regarded his slaves and 
those under his military command as affording a sufficient 
sphere for its exercise ; he had no affections to disturb him 
from his bent ; he had no passions but the self-complacency 
of superior cunning, and the sordid love of pelf. 

This account of the man Avith whom I had to deal was 
far from encouraging ; but I had no alternative* I sent to 
signify my desire to confer with him ; or, to speak more 
accurately, to ask, in the Eastern manner when it would be 
agreeable to him to receive a present of which I requested 
his acceptance. He appointed the morning of the following 
clay. I prepared a gift, such as might tend to conciliate his 
c c 



386 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

favour, without marking in the donor the possession of 
immoderate wealth. It consisted of silks and muslins, with 
a small piece of plate of exquisite workmanship. My 
present was borne by two of my servants. We were 
ushered to the bashaw in his private apartment ; there were 
two or three persons in attendance upon him. They ex- 
amined my present together ; and, without condescending 
to express much approbation, I could nevertheless discern 
that the bashaw was pleased with it. This ceremony con- 
cluded, Muzaffer ordered what I had brought to be taken 
into a different apartment ; and, every other person with- 
drawing, we were left alone. 

While the bashaw was examining my gift, I took the 
opportunity of considering his person. He appeared to be 
about sixty years of age ; his complexion dark and muddy; 
his features coarse and distorted ; his mustachoes remark- 
ably large ; his person, though bony and muscular, consi- 
derably below the middle size; and his figure ungainly and 
ungraceful. I felt surprised that such a man should ever 
have been an excellent soldier, or have risen from a low 
rank to one of the first situations of the empire. To look 
at him, he seemed better formed for the vice of a comedy, 
than the ruler of a nation. He raised his eyes towards me 
askance, as he sat leaning on his elbow, and said, 

" You caU yourself ?" 

" The sieur de Chatillon." 

' ( And your age ? " 

(( Is two and twenty." 

te I am glad you are come to me. I intended to have 
sent for you, and you have saved me the trouble." 

I made many apologies for my intrusion, but added 
that I had a petition to prefer, and 1 hoped he would favour 
me with a hearing. 

" Not at all, not at all ; do not call it an intrusion : it 
is necessary I should be acquainted with you." He pro- 
ceeded : 

" You have undertaken to confer great benefits on the 
subjects of the grand signior, my master ; to rescue them 
from famine. Young, rich, a stranger, unknown to my 
master, unknown to his subjects, I understand that you 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 38? 

have spared no labour or expense to bring about their wel- 
fare. This is really a very extraordinary case ; your merit 
is unprecedented; I do not feel myself competent to re- 
ward it." 

I answered that I laid no claim to uncommon merit ; 
that every temper had its particular gratifications ; and that 
I found as real a luxury in the proceedings he had re- 
marked, as other men did in the excesses of the table, or 
the promiscuous enjoyments of the harem. 

" It is out of my power," continued he, " to remunerate 
you as you deserve ; I must send you to Constantinople." 

I perceived that this was the first essay of his artifice. 
I informed him, which I have no doubt he knew well enough 
before, that I had no desire to go to Constantinople. I 
wished to remain where I was, and to finish what I had 
begun. 

" What, you have not done then ? " suddenly and with 
an abrupt voice exclaimed the bashaw. " By Mahomet, a 
man of a reasonable appetite in your place might be satis- 
fied. Have not you filled the streets with riots, and the 
country with rebellion ? Do not the populace assemble in 
crowds, insulting every one they meet, and talking of no- 
thing but fire and devastation, the bowstring and the 
cimeter ? Be so good, my dear sir, as to inform me what 
further you may have in view ? " 

" Reverend bashaw," cried I with submission, yet with 
firmness, " I have none of these things in view. But a 
moment ago you did justice to my intentions. They are 
those of beneficence, and beneficence only." 

" I know nothing about that. I have nothing to do 
with honest men's blunders ; I look to the effects they pro- 
duce." 

" These effects, most mighty sir, are temporary; they 
are the clouds that will often obscure for an instant the 
brightest sunshine. Condescend to lend me your generous 
assistance, and all will be well." 

" Do not tell me of clouds and sunshine. This is, to 

my thinking, not an April shower, but an earthquake and 

a hurricane. If we are all to be swallowed up or whirled 

into the air, it is no consolation to me, that the day after 

c c 2 



388 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

we are gone, every thing shall be as fair and serene as 
paradise itself." 

" Remember, sir, that when I came into Hungary, I 
found its inhabitants in the most desperate condition, mi- 
serable, wasted and starving. Have I not already suspended 
this evil for months ? " 

" Yes, I do remember. You are one of those busy- 
bodies, who never see an evil without imagining they are 
the persons to correct it, intruding into every thing, and 
subverting every thing. The superintendence of the public 
welfare is a mystery to which none are competent, but those 
whom Mahomet has raised to the situation of statesmen. 
Your interference is blasphemy against the spirit of our 
religion, and deserves to be encountered with the most 
exemplary punishment." 

' ' Good God ! then, is it in this country a crime to feed 
the hungry, to clothe the naked, and shelter the house- 
less?" 

" Sieur de Chatillon," retorted the bashaw, " you appear 
to be unacquainted with the maxims of Turkish policy, the 
wisest and most beneficent in the world. If none of the 
disturbances had happened at which I have so much reason 
to be alarmed, still, in relieving the people in the manner 
you have done, you have incurred the guilt of high treason 
against the sultan. Know, sir, that, through the whole 
extent of his dominions, there is but one proprietor, 
and that is our illustrious monarch. You say, that you 
wish to be the benefactor of his subjects, and the judge of 
your own proceedings : such sentiments are direct rebellion 
against the glorious constitution of Ottoman. The sove- 
reign of Constantinople will have no benefactor in the 
countries he presides over, but himself. Like the invisible 
ruler of the universe, he acts by second causes ; he allows 
his ministers to be the instruments of his beneficence ; but 
all must be ascribed to him, must flow from his will, and 
be placed under his control. You, who have formed a plan 
of public benefit without consulting him, and have pre- 
sumed, like a luminary of the world, to move in an orbit 
of your own, have in strictness of construction forfeited your 
life to his justice; and I consult rather the clemency of his 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 389 

nature than the maxims of his policy, if I suffer you to go 
from this palace with your head upon your shoulders." 

Without permitting myself to be too much moved by the 
imperious language addressed to me, I complained to the 
bashaw of the rigorous and arbitrary character of what he 
stated to be the maxims of the Turkish government. I 
solemnly protested that I had no private or personal object 
in view. The effect of my operations would be to give 
new strength and energy to his master's dominions. By 
diffusing happiness among his subjects, by reviving indus- 
try, and scattering plenty, prosperity, and ease, all disaf- 
fection would be rooted out ; and the people, who are never 
minute in scanning the cause of their enjoyments, would 
bless the sceptre under which they were made to participate 
such manifold benefits. If the policy of the divan led them 
in any degree to interfere, they ought rather to crown my 
measures with their applause, than wantonly to throw ob- 
stacles in the way of what I purposed. I asked however 
no reward, I demanded no favour for myself; all I desired 
was that the sultan would assist me in securing to his peo- 
ple those benefits, the dissemination of which I had so 
auspiciously begun. 

The bashaw, without taking any direct notice of this 
expostulation, answered, that I was not aware of the maxims 
of his government, to which, inconsideration of my seeming 
generosity and rectitude, he was willing to give the mild- 
est interpretation. " It is however," continued he, " to the 
last degree idle in you to imagine, that you can be permitted 
to go on unobserved, and that the sultan and his represent- 
atives are to take no account of your proceeding. The great 
instrument for ruling mankind is by their passions and 
their opinions. The man from whom they believe they 
have the most to fear and the most to hope, will always be 
their master. Whatever be your secret or your professed 
designs, you go on from day to day making yourself par- 
tisans, and enlisting the subjects of the sultan among your 
personal retainers. What security has he for your sub- 
mission and loyalty ? How shall he know that, when you 
h ave acquired the advantages of a powerful leader, you will 
n ot go over to the enemy, or, in the present distracted con- 
c c 3 



390 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



dition of the province, even have the audacity to set up for 
yourself? If therefore, by an unexampled clemency of 
construction, I decline to reduce you into the passive ma- 
chine of my master's will, it is at least incumbent on me, 
that I should take account of your powers, and possess my- 
self of the schedule of your property. By this means only 
can I watch your progress, and take care that you do not 
suddenly become too powerful for a subject. Are you pre- 
pared to satisfy me on this head ? " 

On this question I hesitated for a moment ; I had not 
exactly anticipated the enquiry ; at length I requested the 
delay of a few days, and then I promised that all his de- 
mands should be satisfied. The bashaw resumed : 

" Sieur de Chatillon, I remark your hesitation, and I 
draw from it no favourable augury. These indirect and 
involuntary indications are more worthy of my attention 
than all the studied and elaborate information you shall 
think proper to give me. Sir, you are a man of darkness, 
and every thing that relates to you is enveloped in mystery. 
You come hither with no apparent motive ; you have no 
connections of blood in Hungary ; you have no acquaint- 
ance with any eminent person of the Hungarian nation. I 
have had my spies on you, though I have not hitherto 
thought proper to summon you to my presence. You have 
purchased no property in the province ; I cannot learn that 
you have any correspondences or resources from abroad. I 
have been at the pains to procure an account of your ex- 
penditure during the three months you have resided among 
us ; much of that expenditure has been obscure, clandestine, 
and indirect ; but I believe you will find my estimate, 
which you are at liberty to jinspect and remark upon, to- 
lerably correct. Your disbursements for three months, 
exceed the amount of two years' income of the richest sub- 
ject that even the credulous monarchs of Christendom suffer 
within their dominions. What am I to think of this ? How 
can I be sufficiently vigilant respecting a man, whose ex- 
penditure is immense, and whose wealth can neither be 
traced to its source, nor ascertained in its amount ? " 

I was not slow in conjecturing the result which the 
bashaw proposed to himself from our present conference. I 



TRAVELS OF ST LEON. 30 

was confirmed in my conjecture by the circumstance of his 
choosing that the discussion between us should be apart 
from all witnesses. He regarded me as a boy, and had 
therefore practised upon me all those arts which might 
most effectually excite in me fear and alarm. He found 
however that, under the external indications of youth and 
inexperience, I possessed the wariness that added years most 
powerfully inculcate, and the self-possession of a mind tho- 
roughly awake to its situation and its resources. Thi 
must have been to the minister before whom I stood a 
memorable phenomenon. But curiosity is not a Turkish 
passion ; and the single object of the bashaw in the present 
instance, was to make the mysteriousness of my circum- 
stances a pretext for extorting money. I submitted with 
as little seeming reluctance as possible to the necessity of 
the case ; I requested the good offices of Muzaffer to pro- 
tect my benefactions ; and begged permission to make him 
the compliment of a handsome sum of money, by way of 
convincing him that I was worthy of his friendship. 

This business was easily adjusted between us. I found 
him perfectly skilled in the duties of a public office, and 
by no means under the dominion of visionary scruples. He 
told me he was now convinced that I was a well meaning 
man, and a good subject ; he said, that nothing could tend 
more effectually to demonstrate my innocence, than my 
showing that I understood the duties and concerns of a 
minister of state ; and that for his own part he was never 
so happy, as when he was thus able to reconcile his private 
interests with the good and faithful service of his master. 
There was nothing that demanded a more unremitted vigil- 
ance, or a more skilful management, than such a situation 
as his ; and it would be most unreasonable, either in the 
sovereign that appointed him, or the subjects over whom he 
was placed, to expect him to be indifferent to the emolu- 
ments and perquisites of his function. He complimented 
me warmly upon the disinterestedness and liberality of my 
exertions. He thought himself particularly fortunate in 
having so public-spirited an individual within the circuit 
of his jurisdiction. In fine, he hoped he should be ho- 
noured with my personal acquaintance, and assured me that 
c c 4 



392 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

nothing could make him more happy than the frequent re- 
petition of my visits. 

We now perfectly understood one another ; and it was 
apparent that I had to do with a man, who, for what he 
deemed an adequate consideration, would willingly lend me 
the authority and countenance of his office, and suffer me 
to guide him in any of the functions I might conceive ne- 
cessary for the execution of my projects. Guards were 
agreed to be placed upon the magazines where corn was 
still contained, and from place to place on the banks of 
the rivers, where the depredations of a misguided populace 
were most to be apprehended. Finding the bashaw so 
perfectly willing to comply with my requisitions, I further 
obtained from him the direction of several squadrons of 
cavalry for the protection of the crops, which from the con- 
sequences of my interference now began on all sides to 
variegate the scene. This was a most important service. 
When the corn was first committed to the earth, it was out 
of the reach of military devastation. But, as time glided 
silently on, the case became materially altered ; the enemy 
might from forecast desire to reap the harvest of what he 
had not sown, or from malice to destroy that without which 
the Turk would perhaps be unable to retain his newly ac- 
quired territory. This had in reality been the principal 
cause, before my arrival in Hungary, of the very general 
neglect into which agriculture had fallen. Muzaffer, than 
whom no person could now be more polite and condescend- 
ing, allowed me to determine the number and nature of the 
troops I required ; and added that, though he could not 
openly put them under my direction, the slightest intima- 
tion I might think proper to convey to him, should at any 
time decide their march, and regulate their quarters. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

IN my conference with the bashaw I may seem to have 
secured more than j one point of material importance ; 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 393 

yet it was difficult for any man to be in a state less conso- 
latory or more full of danger and menace, than I was at 
this moment. By my vigilance and the power which thus 
I had acquired, I prevented indeed the inhabitants from 
wantonly destroying the means of their own subsistence ; 
but, the more I was their benefactor, the more I appeared 
to become odious to their thoughts. My negotiation with 
the bashaw, whatever other benefit might accrue from it, 
did not tend to increase the resources of the country ; I was 
obliged to witness many scenes of wretchedness. He that 
would assist mankind in their adversity, must harden his 
heart to be the spectator of the distress that he can, and that 
he cannot, relieve. But whatever I beheld of this sort, the 
majority of the bystanders obstinately persisted to ascribe 
to my deliberate malignity. The military aid I found my- 
self necessitated to introduce by no means tended to disarm 
the prejudices of my clients. In one or two instances, but 
no more, slight tumults arose, and a few of the rioters fell 
a prey to their own wickedness and folly. These misfor- 
tunes were cast as reproach upon me ; arid I was pursued 
with clamours and curses. I found it requisite to obtain a 
guard for my person. I was abhorred by those for whom 
all my vigilance was exerted, and insulted by the mouths 
that I supplied with the necessaries of existence. 

Nor was this my only source of alarm and uneasiness in 
my present situation. I was by no means a dupe to the 
ostentatious civility of the bashaw. I perfectly understood 
his insinuation when he invited the frequent repetition of 
my visits. I knew that, however dearly I purchased his 
friendship and patronage, I should still have to purchase 
them again and again. His extortions upon me admitted 
of no limits, except from his own modesty, or the estimate 
he might form of my invisible resources. Bribery itself 
afforded me no complete security ; and, now that I had be- 
come an object of curiosity and remark, he had sufficiently 
shown me I was at the mercy of his caprice, or that of his 
master, for my liberty, and even for my life. 

Yet, could I have resolved to quit Hungary, and seek 
the protection of some more regular government, what bene- 
fit should I derive from a removal ? Mystery was the great 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

and unconquerable bane of my situation, and from the poi- 
sonous influence of mystery, the most regular system of 
government was not competent to protect me. It would be 
idle to imagine that, in any country on earth, a stranger 
would be permitted to launch into such expenses as those 
in which I was engaged, without becoming an object of 
suspicion, and being made liable to continual interruption 
in his measures. Yet, unless allowed to use the resources 
I possessed, of what advantage was it to be the depository 
of wealth without a bound ? Was it to be wished for a 
man under my circumstances, to have a family, or to be 
without a family ? When I had one, I found the legacy of 
the stranger robbing me of every comfort of that sort, with 
the most calamitous aggravations. When I was stripped 
of wife and children, though no man could prize those be- 
nefits more dearly than I prized them, I took to myself the 
consolation, that at least now I should risk no one's happi- 
ness but my own ; and that, for a person exercising my 
endowments, it was perhaps requisite to be free from every 
shackle and incumbrance. I found however the topic from 
which I had consoled myself, in reality the source of a new 
misfortune. I had the wealth of a nobleman ; but I was 
deprived of his adventitious attributes. I had no illustrious 
ancestry to boast ; I had neither lineage nor parent ; I had 
neither wife nor children, in whom mutually to reflect and 
see reflected the elevatedness and generosity of my station. 
I had not even the ordinary advantage, which is within the 
reach of almost every man, of connections and acquaint- 
ance, friends handed down to me as a branch of my patri- 
monial inheritance, friends whose value experience enabled 
me to ascertain, and friends with whom long habits of fa- 
miliarity had given birth to reciprocal endearment. The 
bashaw had imputed to me the design of forming a party. 
Alas ! these, which are the great materials for cementing 
party attachments, were totally denied me. I had no bonds 
of alliance but those which money afforded, the coarsest, the 
meanest, the least flattering, and the most brittle of those 
ligatures, that afford the semblance of uniting man with 
man. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. SQ5 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

AWARE of the difficulties which unavoidably sprung out of 
the nature of my situation, I resolved immediately to en- 
deavour to supply them to the best of my power. I con- 
ceived that there was no consideration so urgent upon me 
at the present moment, as that I should without loss of 
time create to myself connections that might balance and 
keep at bay the sallies of arbitrary rule, and that I should 
weave with my own hand the cords of friendship. 

I had no sooner formed this project, than an individual 
suggested himself to my reflections, whom I judged to be, 
by a singular concurrence of circumstances, happily fitted 
to be the subject of my experiment, and admirably quali- 
fied to afford me protection in the most unfavourable events. 
The name of this man was Bethlem Gabor. He had been 
some time before brought to me by one of his friends, and 
he was a man whom for a thousand reasons it was impos- 
sible to see and converse with, without receiving the most 
indelible impression. He was the lineal representative of 
one of the most illustrious houses in Hungary. His voca- 
tion, like that of the majority of the Hungarian nobility, 
had been arms ; but, in the midst of a fraternity all of 
whom were warlike, he stood conspicuous and alone. His 
courage, though cool and deliberate, almost mounted to a 
degree of desperate rashness ; and the fertility of his in- 
vention, and the variety of his stratagems did not fall short 
of his courage. The celerity of his measures was equally 
distinguished ; distance was no bar to him ; and he had 
no sooner conceived a project, however arduous, than it was 
executed. He had formed under his own eye a band of 
men like himself, impetuous yet deliberate, swift in exe- 
cution, silent in march, invincible to hardship, contemners 
of fatigue, of difficulties, of hunger, and of thirst. When 
introduced to me, he was upwards of fifty years of age. 
He was more than six feet in stature ; and yet he was built 
as if it had been a colossus, destined to sustain the weight 
of the starry heavens. His voice was like thunder ; and he 



396* TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

never uttered a word, but it seemed to shake his manly chest. 
His head and chin were clothed with a thick and shaggy hair, 
in colour a dead black. He had suffered considerable muti- 
lation in the services through which he had passed ; of 
one of his hands three fingers were gone ; the sight of his 
right eye was extinguished, and the cheek half shot away, 
while the same explosion had burned his complexion into a 
colour that was universally dun or black. His nose was 
scarred, and his lips were thick and large. Bethlem Gabor, 
though universally respected for the honour and magna- 
nimity of a soldier, was not less remarkable for habits of 
reserve and taciturnity. But these habits misfortune had 
caused to become more deeply ingrafted in his nature. 
During one of his military excursions, a party of marauders 
had in his absence surprised his castle, burned it to the 
ground, and savagely murdered his wife and children, 
and every living creature within the walls. The same 
stroke that rendered him childless made him also a beggar. 
He had been regarded for his proceedings as an adherent 
to the Turkish standard, but he had always tenaciously 
maintained the most complete independence. The adver- 
sity that had now fallen upon him was too great. He 
would not become a pensioner of the sultan ; despair had 
taken fast possession of his heart. He disbanded the body 
of men he had formed, and wandered a solitary outcast 
upon the face of his country. For some time he seemed to 
have a savage complacence in conceiving that the evil he 
had suffered was past all remedy, and in spurning at those 
palliations and disguises with which vulgar souls are 
accustomed to assuage their woe. Yet the energy of his 
nature would not suffer him to rest : he wandered an out- 
cast ; but every day engendered some new thought or pas- 
sion : and it appeared probable that he would not yet quit 
the stage of existence till he had left behind him the re- 
membrances of a terrible and desolating revenge. 

It may seem strange that such a man as I have de- 
scribed should be the indivi dual I selected out of the whole 
Hungarian nation to make my friend. It may seem that 
his qualities were better adapted to repel than attract. My 
choice would not appear strange, if the reader could have 






TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 397 

conversed with him,, as I did. He was hideous to the sight; 
and he never addressed himself to speak, that I did not 
feel my very heart shudder within me. Seldom did he 
allow himself to open his thoughts; but, when he did, 
great God ! what supernatural eloquence seemed to inspire 
and enshroud him ! Not that upon such occasions he was 
copious and Ciceronian, but that every muscle and every 
limb seemed to live, and to quiver with the thoughts he 
expressed. The hearer could not refuse to venerate, as 
well as fear him. I never pitied him; Bethlem Gabor's 
was a soul that soared to a sightless distance above the 
sphere of pity ; I can scarcely say I sympathised with him ; 
but, when I listened to his complaints, rather let me say 
his invectives, I was astonished, overwhelmed, and mo- 
tionless. The secret of the effects he thus produced, lay 
in his own way of feeling the incidents he described. Look 
at him, when he sat alone, wrapped in meditation, you 
would say, " That is a man of iron ; though adversity pour 
her fiercest darts upon him, he is invulnerable; he is of 
too colossal a structure to be accessible to human feelings 
and human affections." Listen to his narrative, or rather 
to the bursts of passion, which with him supplied the place 
and performed the functions of narrative, you would soon 
confess your mistake. While he spoke, he ceased to be a 
man, and became something more amazing. When he al- 
luded to what he had endured, you did not compassionate 
him, for you felt that he was a creature of another nature ; 
but you confessed, that never man seemed to have suffered 
so much, or to savour with such bitterness the cup of woe. 
He did not love his wife or his children as any other man 
would do ; he probably never dandled or fondled them ; his 
love was speechless ; and disdaining the common modes of 
exhibition, it might sometimes be mistaken for indifference. 
But it brooded over and clung round his heart ; and, when 
it was disturbed, when the strong ties of domestic charity 
were by the merciless hand of war snapped asunder, you 
then saw its voluminous folds spread and convulsed before 
you, gigantic and immeasurable. He cursed their mur- 
derers ; he cursed mankind ; he rose up in fierce defiance 
of eternal providence ; and your blood curdled within you 



3$S TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

as he spoke. Such was Bethlem Gabor : I could not help 
admiring him : his greatness excited my wonder and my 
reverence ; and, while his manners awed and overwhelmed 
me, I felt an inexplicable attachment to his person still in- 
creasing in my bosom. 

On his part, my kindness and partiality appeared scarcely 
less pleasing to Bethlem Gabor, than his character and 
discourse were fascinating to me. He had found himself 
without a confident or a friend. His wife and his children 
in a certain degree understood him ; and, though he had 
an atmosphere of repulsion beyond which no mortal ever 
penetrated, they came to the edge of that, and rested there ; 
they trembled involuntarily at his aspect, but at the same 
time they adored and they loved him. The rest of the 
world viewed him from a more fearful distance ; respected 
him, but dared not even in fancy be familiar with him. 
When therefore he lost his family, he lost his all. He 
roamed the earth in solitude, and all men made room for 
him as he passed. I was the first who, since the fatal 
event that had made him childless and a beggar, had 
courted his society, and invited his communications. I 
had dared to take the lion by the paw, and seat myself 
next him in his den. There was a similarity in our for- 
tunes that secretly endeared him to me. We had each by 
the malice of a hostile destiny, though in a very different 
manner, been deprived of our families ; we were each of 
us alone. Fated each to be hereafter for ever alone ; we 
blended ourselves the one with the other as perfectly as we 
-could. Often over our gloomy bowl we mingled groans, 
and sweetened our draught as we drank it with male- 
dictions. In the school of Bethlem Gabor I became ac- 
quainted with the delights of melancholy of a melancholy, 
not that contracted, but that swelled the soul of a melan- 
choly that looked down upon the world with indignation, 
and that relieved its secret load with curses and execrations. 
We frequently continued whole nights in the participation 
of these bitter joys ; and were surprised, still at our serious 
board, by the light of the morrow's sun. 

I have now, I believe, fully accounted for our intimacy, 
and displayed the ligatures that secretly bound us to each 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 399 

other. It is scarcely necessary to add, that ray under- 
standing confirmed what my heart impelled. Bethlem 
Gabor appeared to me the fittest man in the world upon 
whom to fix for my friend. We were qualified mutually 
to benefit each other. My kindness, my unremitted at- 
tentions, the earnestness with which I listened to and 
soothed his griefs, mitigated their agony. I proposed, 
when I could once more reconcile and incite him to ac- 
tivity, to repair his castle, and restore his fortune. On 
the other hand, he was, of all the persons I could have 
pitched upon, the ablest to protect me. By his birth he 
ranked among the first men of his country ; by his ability, 
at least as a partisan soldier, a character at that time highly 
esteemed, he rose above them all. 

For some time I regarded Bethlem Gabor as entirely 
my friend, and I consulted him in every thing, in which, 
compatibly with the legacy of the stranger of the summer- 
house, I could consult him. I told him of the suspicions of 
the bashaw, and the precariousness of my safety. I de- 
manded his advice as to the best method of securing it. 
Ought I to regard it as a more effectual or as a cheaper 
expedient, to attempt to purchase the countenance of the 
sultan, instead of condescending to bribe his minister ? 
Ought I to set up for myself, and by rendering myself the 
independent prince of one of the Hungarian provinces, 
defy the Turk, or at least endeavour to negotiate with him 
from a more respectable and commanding situation ? I 
said more than enough under these heads, as it afterwards 
appeared, to awaken strange imaginations in a mind of so 
much penetration as that of Bethlem Gabor. In fine, I 
demanded of him whether, in case of any great and formi- 
dable danger falling on me, he would to the utmost of his 
power afford me protection ? When the question was first 
started, he swore to me with his customary impressiveness 
and energy that he would. 

While I was thus employed in consulting him, and 
opening to him as far as was practicable my prospects and 
fears, 1 did not less succeed in dissipating or suspending 
tjie despair of his melancholy. It was of benefit to him 
in this respect, that, by opening to him my affairs, I from 



400 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

time to time called off his attention from his personal mis- 
fortunes. I proposed to him the rebuilding his castle, and 
I at length obtained his permission to send off a corps of 
workmen for that purpose. Beside the castle in which his 
wife and children had been murdered, and which the 
marauders had nearly destroyed, he had one considerably 
stronger, though void of all recommendation from cheer- 
fulness or beauty, in the more northerly part of the king- 
dom. This we visited together. I restored the condition 
of his fields; with considerable difficulty I replaced the 
cattle he had lost, by purchases in Poland ; and I revived 
his dilapidated revenues. At first he felt an invincible 
repugnance to the receiving any advantage from the bounty 
of another; but by continual remonstrances I was able to per- 
suade him, that he owed me nothing, and that what I did 
was no more than was required from me by a regard for 
my own safety. 

If ever on the face of the earth there lived a misanthrope, 
Bethlem Gabor was the man. Never for a moment did he 
forget or forgive the sanguinary catastrophe of his family ; 
and for his own misfortunes he seemed to have vowed ven- 
geance against the whole human race. He almost hated 
the very face of man ; and, when expressions of cheerful- 
ness, peace, and contentment discovered themselves in his 
presence, I could see, by the hideous working of his features, 
that his spirit experienced intolerable agonies. To him 
such expressions were tones horribly discordant; all was 
uproar and havoc within his own bosom, and the gaiety of 
other men inspired him with sentiments of invincible anti- 
pathy. He never saw a festive board without an inclination 
to overturn it ; or a father encircled with a smiling family, 
without feeling his soul thrill with suggestions of murder. 
Something, I know not what, withheld his hand : it might 
be some remaining atom of humanity: it might be for 
his whole character was contemplative and close it might 
be that he regarded that as a pitiful and impotent revenge, 
which should cause him the next hour to be locked up as a 
madman, or put to death as criminal. Horrible as was his 
personal aspect, and wild and savage as was his mind, yet, 
as I have already said, I felt myself attached to him. I 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 401 

knew that all the unsocial propensities that animated him, 
were the offspring of love, were the sentiments of a lioness 
bereaved of her young ; and I found an undescribable and 
exhaustless pleasure in examining the sublime desolation of 
a mighty soul. 

Bethlem Gabor had at first regarded me with some degree 
of partiality. Kindness in almost all cases begets kindness ; 
he could not see how much I interested myself about and 
how much I courted him, without feeling for me a senti- 
ment different from that he confessed for other men. I saw 
however after some time, with inexpressible grief, that his 
regard for me, instead of increasing, suffered perceptible 
diminution. Our propensities were opposed to each other. 
He rejoiced in disorder and desolation as in his congenial 
element ; my present pursuit was the restoration of public 
order and prosperity. He repeatedly expostulated with me 
on this. I had sometimes in our conversations, in the bit- 
terness of my recollections, exclaimed on myself as the 
most unfortunate and most persecuted of men, though 
without entering into an explanation of my sufferings. He 
reminded me of these exclamations. He reproached me as 
a contemptible and pusillanimous wretch, that I did not, 
like him, resolve amply and memorably to revenge my own 
sufferings upon my species at large. In his estimate, the 
poorest and most servile of all maxims was, that of the 
author of the Christian religion, to repay injury with favour, 
and curses with benediction. 

I perceived with grief that the kindness towards me that 
had been excited in Bethlem Gabor's mind, rather declined 
than augmented ; but I was very far from being aware of 
the degree in which, as I afterwards found, this sentiment 
had relapsed into its opposite. It seems, I inflicted on him 
a daily torture by my daily efforts for the dissemination of 
happiness. Of these he had not been at first completely 
aware. His mind had been too much absorbed in its own 
feelings to attend very distinctly to any thing I did, unless 
it were done in his presence. But, in proportion as I 
soothed his sorrows, and made him my confidant, the film 
was removed ; and all that he saw had the peculiar mis- 
fortune to excite at once his contempt and his rage. The 

D D 



402 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

finishing stroke that I gave to the animosity which, un- 
known to me, was now brooding and engendering in his 
breast, consisted in my bestowing an important benefit 
upon one, against whom he had entertained a long and 
eternal feud. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

WHILE Bethlem Gabor became every day more confirmed 
in his antipathy against me, I reposed in him an unsus- 
pecting confidence a confidence more extensive than 
I had, since the singular and fatal acquisition I had made, 
reposed in any other man. Frequently for a considerable 
time together he resided under my roof; frequently we 
went forth together in those excursions which either my 
projects or his views rendered it necessary for us to make. 
In his character of a nobleman of great consideration in 
his native country, he was now rising like a phoenix from 
its ashes. His castles were repairing; his property was 
restored ; the list of his retainers daily became more nu- 
merous ; he revived and carefully recruited the martial 
band, which, in the first exacerbations of his despair, he 
had dismissed from his service. My purse and all that I 
had were his ; he never made a demand upon me that I 
did not instantly supply ; I reaped a particular pleasure 
from the largeness and frequency of his requisitions ; there 
was nothing for which I was more anxious, than to bind 
him to me in indissoluble ties of gratitude and affection. 

Little, alas ! did I understand the compound of tender- 
ness and ferocity, of decisiveness and inscrutability, with 
which I was now concerned. My friend, such I esteemed 
him, had been absent some time ; I expected his return 
to my residence at Buda ; and anxious to pay him every 
mark of attention and respect, I set out to meet him. It 
was scarcely safe, during the existing hostilities between 
the Austrians and the Turks, to travel any where without 
a guard ; I had the precaution in the present instance to 
take with me an attendance of twenty men. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



403 



It was after having partaken of a slight and early dinner 
that I set out on my excursion. The season was remark- 
ably fine,, and the air genial and balsamic. I scarcely ever 
commenced any tour with more agreeable sensations. The 
harvest was already ripe; and, as I passed along, I saw 
reapers from time to time entering upon the first essay of 
their interesting occupation. I felt that I had at length 
surmounted one of those difficulties, with which I had been 
so strongly assailed, and to which I had refused to yield. 
If I were not free from apprehensions from the arbitrary 
nature of the government under which I lived, I believed 
however that I had nothing further to dread from the 
misconstruction and animosity of the nation I preserved. 
My anxiety as to whether I should be able to substantiate 
the benefit I had sought to confer, was at an end ; and I 
had little doubt that, with the plenteous crops which were 
on the point of being gathered, my popularity would re- 
turn, and the gratitude of my clients become more ardent 
than ever. It was a delicious enjoyment that I now expe- 
rienced ; the pleasures that the eye unavoidably takes in 
from the spectacle of a luxuriant autumn, became blended 
in my mind with the ideas of famine put to flight, my own 
rectitude vindicated, and the benevolent purposes realised, 
the prosecution of which had cost me so profound a heart- 
ache. 

We at length passed the lines of the soldiers planted for 
the defence of the soil against the depredations of the 
enemy. I had calculated that I should meet my guest a 
few leagues from Buda ; I was deceived in my estimate. 
The day however of his arrival was fixed ; I could not be 
mistaken in his route ; I resolved not to turn back without 
meeting him. The road I took led upon the borders of 
that part of Hungary which owned the Austrian yoke ; 
the shades of night were fast gathering round us, and we 
heard at a distance the alarm-guns and the drums of the 
enemy. I was not however a novice in the appearances of 
a country, the seat of military excursions and war ; and, if 
my mind were not wholly free from perturbation and 
uncertainty, I at least resolved not to be turned aside from 
my purpose. We travelled two hours longer; still no 
D D 2 



404 TRAVELS OF ST. LEOX. 

notice of the approach of Bethlem Gabor. At length a 
question was started whether we were still in the right 
road, and I thought it advisable to hold a sort of council 
of war to deliberate respecting our further proceedings. 
Having assembled my attendants for that purpose, I was 
now first struck with the apprehensions and timidity which 
they unanimously betrayed. They had been drawn out 
rather for show, and to keep accidental stragglers in awe, 
than with the expectation of actual service. I became sen- 
sible that nothing was to be hoped from their resistance in 
the event of an action ; and the utmost I could aim at was 
in the mean time to hold them together by the sentiment 
of a common danger. 

It was resolved to return ; I began to be apprehensive 
that Bethlem Gabor had been prevented by some unexpected 
occurrence from observing his appointment. Scarcely had 
we faced about, before we heard a body of cavalry ap- 
proaching us. I called to my party to halt. I soon dis- 
cerned, from symptoms not difficult to be remarked by a 
careful observer, that the party at hand was composed of 
Austro-Hungarians. We had every thing to fear from 
them. I held myself bound under these circumstances first 
to make experiment of the fleetness of our horses. I 
however charged my people to keep together, and not to 
suffer the enemy, by means of our inadvertence and folly, 
to make an easy prize of us one after another. In a short 
time I found that our pursuers sensibly gained ground upon 
us. I was mounted upon an excellent beast, and could 
easily have rode away from my troop, while they would 
have been placed as a sort of intercepting object between 
me and the enemy. But I had too much of a military 
spirit not instantly to reject so inglorious an expedient. I 
called a second time to my attendants to halt. I judged 
that the party of our antagonists was less numerous than 
ours. I was convinced that our common safety depended 
upon our concerted resistance. Filled with the gallantry 
that my situation inspired, I did not perceive, till it was too 
late, that my present call to halt was attended to by few ; 
even those few rather hung back, divided between appre- 
hension and shame. I was the foremost, and,,, before I was 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 405 

aware, I found myself, through the means of the darkness, 
enveloped by the enemy. From my appearance they 
judged that I was the master, and the rest my attendants ; 
they contented themselves therefore with the prize they had 
made, and did not give themselves the trouble to pursue 
the fugitives. They eagerly enquired of me who I was ; 
and, comparing my answers with various circumstances 
which rumour had brought to their ear, they easily con- 
cluded that I was the rich stranger of Buda. The character 
they had heard of me did not produce in these freebooters 
any sentiments of forbearance, or demonstrations of respect; 
the only point about which persons of their habits were 
concerned, was how they should make the greatest ad- 
vantage of what the fortune of war had thrown in their 
way. 

While they were consulting, and various expedients were 
started by one and another for this purpose, a second alarm 
was given, and one of the party being despatched to recon- 
noitre, presently returned with intelligence, that the persons 
approaching were horsemen of the enemy, and that they 
amounted, as he guessed, to forty in number. Upon this 
information the party whose prisoner I was, agreed to re- 
turn with all expedition by the way they had come, and 
commanded me upon pain of death to proceed in their 
company. This menace had not the effect to deprive me of 
courage or presence of mind ; and I easily conceived that 
the readiest way to deliver myself from my embarrassment 
would be to join at the first opportunity the band of Turco- 
Hungarians, whose approach had occasioned our sudden 
retreat. The darkness of the night was favourable to my 
purpose; and, taking advantage of a sudden winding in 
the road, I slackened all at once the pace of my horse with- 
out being observed by my companions, who, as the enemy 
approached, had now their thoughts almost wholly intent 
upon the safety of their retreat. They passed me ; and I 
no sooner perceived that to be the case, than, covered from 
their observation by the intervening inclosure, I turned my 
horse, and gradually, as my distance from my keepers in- 
creased, urged him to a fuller speed. It was not long 
before I came up with the band which had produced our 
D D 3 



406 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

alarm ; and hailing them with the acclamation, <( Long live 
the mighty sultan ! " was without difficulty admitted into 
their troop. I instantly understood to my great joy that 
this was the party of Bethlem Gabor that I had come out 
to meet. 

He received me with much cordiality, and seemed greatly 
rejoiced that fortune had made him the instrument of my 
rescue. He proposed however that, having met on the 
road, I should now, instead of proceeding to Buda, return 
with him to his northern castle, from which our distance 
was scarcely greater than from the metropolis. The pro- 
posal was such as I had not expected, nor could I well 
comprehend the purpose with which it was made. But the 
habitual demeanour of Bethlem Gabor neither accorded 
with his minutely assigning a reason for what he did, nor 
was calculated to encourage enquiry in another. I saw no 
material objection, and therefore felt little scruple in yield- 
ing to his desires. Our brief consultation on this point 
passed at some little distance from the rest of the troop. 

When the morning broke, the first thing that excited 
my attention was the appearance of his followers. They 
were full forty in number, well mounted, of a large and 
athletic figure, with sun-burnt faces, immense whiskers and 
a ferocious countenance. I thought I had never seen so 
tremendous a band. To me they were every one of them 
strangers ; of all the persons that surrounded me, the only 
one of whom I had the slightest knowledge was Bethlem 
Gabor himself. I know not why it was, but I no sooner 
beheld my situation than I was struck with alarm. I saw 
myself completely in the power of a man who three months 
before was ignorant even of my existence. I had not a 
single attendant of my own, not an individual with me over 
whom I had personal authority or command. I had no 
reason to distrust my host ; towards me his demeanour had 
ever been frank, confidential, and manly ; I had every 
imaginable claim upon his generosity and his gratitude. 
But our senses are often the masters of our mind, and rea- 
son vainly opposes itself to the liveliness of their impres- 
sions. Every time that I lifted my eyes, and saw myseif 
hemmed in by these barbarians, my heart seemed involun- 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



407 



tarily to fail me. Bethlem Gabor too appeared to neglect 
me ; he had never shown himself so little obliging and at- 
tentive as at this moment ; and, aided by the rest of the 
scene, I thought I had never beheld him so deformed or so 
tremendous. I was more than half inclined to wish myself 
again a prisoner with the Austrian s. 

When we arrived at the castle, we were all of us fatigued 
and hungry ; we had roamed during the whole night. A 
repast was prepared ; we sat down to partake of it. " Ex- 
cuse me," said Bethlem Gabor, in a low voice as he passed 
me, " that I this night offer you the fare of a soldier ; to 
morrow you shall be accommodated in a different manner. 
The words were innocent ; the proceeding natural ; but 
there was a mysterious gloom, at least as I thought, in the 
tone in which he spoke, that electrified me. The hall in 
which we supped was spacious and lofty ; the naked walls 
and rafters were imbrowned with age. Though it was 
daybreak as we entered, the windows were still darkened, 
and the apartment was illuminated only by the partial 
glare of lamps depending from the roof. As I sat at table 
with the troop of my host, I appeared to myself as if in- 
closed in a cavern of banditti. Though excellent partisans, 
skilful in execution, and perfect in their discipline, they were 
unpolished in their manners and brutal in their conversa- 
tion. I had been inured from infancy to all the refinement 
that the age in which I lived had any where to boast ; and, 
amidst the various evils I had suffered, that of being asso- 
ciated with the vulgar and the base had never presented 
itself. While they uttered, now a loathsome jest, and now 
a sanguinary ejaculation, I became ashamed of my species, 
and the pride of manhood perished within me. They how- 
ever paid little attention either to my feelings or my person; 
and, accustomed as I had been, whether with friends or 
enemies, to be regarded as of some importance, I found 
myself unaccountably and suddenly dwindled into a cipher. 
I felt it like a release from the state of a galley-slave, when 
Bethlem Gabor proposed that we should break up our meet- 
ing and retire to rest. 



D D 4 



408 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



CHAPTER XL. 

A SUCCESSION of gloomy thoughts revolved in my mind for 
some time after I was left to myself. I was however over- 
come with fatigue, and, after an interval of harassing 
meditations, insensibly fell asleep. I was awakened after 
some hours' repose, by the presence of Bethlem Gabor 
standing by the side of my couch. He invited me to rise, 
and, when I had attired myself, started the plan of our 
visiting together the various apartments of the castle, a 
small part of which only had been seen by me when I was 
last at this place. Among other things, he told me, there 
was a subterranean of most wonderful extent, interspersed 
with a variety of cells and lurking places, of which no man 
had to his knowledge ever ascertained the number. 

The same dreary complexion of thought followed me 
to-day, which had been first produced in me upon my re- 
ception into the troop of Bethlem Gabor the preceding 
night. My sensations were of the most depressing and 
discomfiting nature ; I felt as if I were the slave of some 
dark, mysterious tyrant, and dragged along supinely wherever 
he motioned me to go. I tasked myself seriously ; I rea- 
soned with myself. I felt that it was no idle and every- 
day part that I was called to sustain ; and I resolved that 
I would not be ruined by my own inactivity and cowardice. 
Yet, when I examined the question dispassionately, I could 
not find that I had any occasion for courage, and I con- 
fessed that it was not less censurable, to discover a useless 
spirit of mistrust and defiance, than to desert one's pre- 
servation where resistance was demanded. What reason 
had I to suspect a man between whom and myself there 
had prevailed so much mutual confidence ? None, none, 
I replied, but the causeless and superstitious misgivings of 
my own mind ! Even if 1 had ground to distrust him, 
what remedy had I against his ill faith, placed as I was in 
the midst of his own domains, and surrounded by men de- 
voted to his service ? To discover apprehension under such 
circumstances, was to excite animosity. These reasonings 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 409 

particularly occurred to my mind, as I stood waiting for 
the torch, which he had himself gone to procure that he 
might attend me to the subterranean caverns. I had as 
yet seen no one, since we broke up from our nightly repast, 
but my host. " We will breakfast," said he, " when we 
return from viewing these curiosities." 

We crept along a succession of dark and gloomy vaults, 
almost in silence. Bethlem Gabor, though he led me on, 
and discharged the office of a guide, seemed to have small 
inclination to assume that of an interpreter. This was 
sufficiently in unison with his ordinary character, to have 
little claim to excite surprise. Yet the reader will not on 
reflection greatly wonder that my present situation was far 
from agreeable. I was alone in passages which, to judge 
from any discoverable token, you would scarcely imagine 
had for ages been trod by a human creature. The voice 
was lost amidst the damps of these immense caverns ; nor 
was it possible by any exertion to call the hand of man to 
your aid. My guide was an individual whom calamity 
had prompted to quarrel with the world ; of strong feelings 
indeed, of capacious thought ; but rugged, ferocious, brutal, 
and inaccesible to prayer. I had chosen him for my pro- 
tector and ally ; I had never intended to put myself in his 
power. There was a mystery in his carriage, a something 
not to be explained, a shell that no human forces could 
penetrate, that was mortal to confidence, and might quail 
the stoutest. 

I thought there would be no end to our pilgrimage. At 
length we came to a strong door, cross-barred and secured 
with a frame of iron. Bethlem Gabor unlocked it. We 
had no sooner entered, that it impetuously closed behind 
us. " What is that ? " said I, startled at the loudness of 
the report. " Come on," cried my host ; " it is only the 
wind whistling through the caverns: the spring-bolt is 
shot, but I have the key in my hand ! " At the opposite 
end of the apartment was another door with an ascent of 
five steps leading to it. Bethlem Gabor unlocked that 
also, and then faced about with the torch in his hand : I 
was close behind him. " Stay where you are ! " said he 
with a furious accent,, and thrust me violently from him. 



410 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

The violence was unexpected : I staggered from the top of 
the steps to the bottom. This door closed with as loud a 
report as the other; Bethlem Gabor disappeared; I was 
left in darkness. 

For an instant I doubted whether the situation in which 
I thus found myself were the result of design or of accident. 
The shutting of the door might be ascribed to the latter : 
the action however, and the words of my host did not ad- 
mit of that interpretation. I stood motionless, astonished, 
and almost incapable of reflection. What an incredible 
reverse was thus the creature of a moment ! Yesterday I 
possessed unbounded treasures, and the hearts of the whole 
Turco- Hungarian nation. Yesterday, as I rode forth on 
this fatal excursion, I beheld the food of a mighty people, 
mature for consumption, the growth of my exertions ; and 
it will not be thought surprising that my heart leaped within 
me at the sight. Who would not have envied the un- 
paralleled eminence at which I had arrived ? My triumphs 
were attended with no melancholy exceptions to damp their 
joy. They were the children of no intrigue ; they were 
manly, frank, ingenuous, and honourable. My laurels were 
stained with no drop of blood, were tarnished with no tears 
of the widow and the orphan. How much more noble to 
rescue mankind from famine and death, than to violate the 
honest pride of their nature with the exhibition of victories 
and trophies ! 

Yet, truly considered, there was nothing abrupt in the 
reverse under which I was now suffering. The whole was 
a chain, every link of which was indissolubly connected from 
one end to the other. My attempt to rescue a people from 
the horrors of famine necessarily exposed me to unfavour- 
able accidents and misconstruction. It inevitably led to 
my application to the government for its aid. It could not 
fail to excite the alarms and jealousies of government as to 
the tendency of my proceedings. By exhibiting me as the 
possessor of immense wealth, with very limited means for 
the protection of that wealth, it marked me a prey to a rapa- 
cious viceroy or his more despotic master. When I became 
sensible of the precarious situation in which I stood towards 
the powers of the state, could I have fallen upon a more 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 411 

natural expedient, than the endeavour to cover myself with 
the shield of friendship and gratitude in the person of one 
of its nobles ? But this expedient would almost infallibly 
lead to the placing myself sooner or later in the power of 
the man whose friendship I sought. I had done so, and 
this was the termination of my views and my projects ! 

I now well understood the purpose of that inattention 
and neglect with which Bethlem Gabor had treated me the 
preceding evening, the uneasiness resulting from which I 
had blamed in myself at the time, as the dictate of weak- 
ness and unworthy suspicion. Yesterday I had been placed 
under the safeguard of a nation ; every man in Buda and 
its environs was familiar with my person ; every man would 
have been ready almost to sacrifice his life to procure my 
safety. Now I was far from the scene of my philanthropical 
exertions ; no one in the troop of Bethlem Gabor knew who 
I was ; he had appeared to treat me the preceding evening 
with indifference and contempt ; if they saw me no more, 
no curiosity would by that circumstance be excited in their 
minds. My clients on the other hand in the vicinity of the 
metropolis, however great an interest they might take in 
my fortune, had no clue that could lead them to the know- 
ledge of it. They must suppose me a prisoner with the 
Austrians, or that I had been killed, in resisting to become 
their prisoner. I was cut off from all assistance and dis- 
covery, and left as much in the power of my treacherous 
ally, as if I had been alone with him, oppressed with the 
utmost disparity of personal force, in the remotest island of 
the Pacific Ocean. 

Such were the reflections that early suggested themselves 
to my mind in the solitude and darkness in which I was thus 
unexpectedly involved. Meanwhile one tedious hour suc- 
ceeded to another, and I remained unintruded on and un- 
noticed. I could form no conjecture as to the object of 
Bethlem Gabor in the atrocious perfidy he had committed. 
Could he have any resentment against me, and did he 
meditate revenge ? He had received from me nothing but 
benefits. Did he employ restraint on my person as the 
means of extortion ? I could not conceive that he could 
have any clue leading him to the discovery of my grand 



412 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

secret ; and, short of this, my bounties had been so exuber- 
ant,, as, I imagined, left him nothing to wish. In this wil- 
derness of conjecture I however fixed upon extortion as a 
motive less incredible than revenge. I impatiently waited, 
till the appearance of my tyrant should free me from some 
part of my present uncertainty. 

He did not appear. In the mean time I was in a condi- 
tion feeble and exhausted. The exercise of yesterday, the 
hourly-baffled expectation of meeting him whom I had 
called my friend, the alternation of being first taken pri- 
soner and afterwards rescued, had extremely fatigued me. 
We had travelled during the whole night. Yet the unac- 
countable dejection of mind under which I laboured on our 
arrival at Bethlem Gabor's castle had prevented me from 
taking almost any share in the coarse repast that had then 
been set before us. The entrance of my host in the morning 
had rendered my slumbers short. As I followed him to my 
dungeon, unconscious whither I went, my limbs ached, and 
my heart ached still more. I was ill prepared for a fast 
of thirty-six hours which the brutality of my jailor inflicted 
upon me. After having long expected him in vain, I gave 
myself up to despair. What a termination of life for him 
who possessed the philosopher's stone ! 

I cannot do justice to the sensations that now took pos- 
session of my mind. It was not the deadly calm of despair, 
for I still expected every moment when Bethlem Gabor 
would appear. I believed than he would, and I believed 
that he would not, leave me to perish. I listened with eager 
attention to every sound, and my soul floated on the howl- 
ing winds. In vain ! nothing came of it ; there was no 
alteration in the sound, or only those vicissitudes to which 
the howling of the wind is unavoidably subject. I then 
turned away in anguish ; I cursed ; I stamped with my 
feet ; I smote my forehead with my closed hand ; I tore 
my hair. Anon another sound arrested my attention ; it 
was a different howling ; it seemed to be like a human 
voice ; my fancy created to me the tread of a human foot. 
I listened with more intentness of soul than ever. It was 
again in vain ! 

No, no ; he will not come ! he will never come. Why 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 413 

should I agitate myself to no purpose ? Let me lie down 
and die! I reasoned with myself. Why should I wish 
to live ? I am nothing to any human being : I am alone in 
the boundless universe ; I have no tie to existence. St. 
Leon has no wife ; St. Leon has no child ; he has neither 
connection nor friend in the world. Even in this wretched 
vision of the philosopher's stone, have I not tried it enough ? 
have I any hopes from it ? is it not time that I should 
throw away that and existence together? My meditations 
were ineffectual. I suppose it is the case with all men thus 
violently thrust out of life in the full possession of their 
faculties I know it was the case with me, the more 
peremptory was my summoner, the more obstinately I clung 
to the worthless toy. 

At length I laid myself down on the floor ; and, if I oc- 
casionally listened, I no longer ran to the walls and the 
doors to catch the uncertain sounds. The gnawings I now 
felt within were intolerable. They were at one period so 
severe, that 1 can compare them to nothing, but the sensa- 
tion of having swallowed a glowing ember. Afterwards, 
the weakness of nature would no longer feed this excru- 
ciating pain, and it subsided into a starting and convulsive 
throb ; the pain was diversified with intervals of a death- 
like and insupportable sickness But, no; I will not attempt 
to describe the horrors of hunger sublimed by despair, where 
the torture of the mind gives new pungency and uproar to 
the corporeal anguish. The image, as it now presents itself 
to my recollection, is too dreadful. 

At last I sunk into a state of insensibility ; and the agony 
I had suffered seemed drawn to its final close. The busy 
turmoil, the feverish dream of human existence was at an 
end. I shut my eyes, and I believed I should open them 
no more. 



CHAPTER XLI. 

How long I endured this suspension of the vital faculties I 
cannot tell. The next impression on my sensorium, subse- 
quent to those I have described, was a sort of external 



414 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

twitching and violence that seemed to persecute me. It was 
an importunity from which I felt desirous to escape ; I 
longed to be undisturbed and at rest. The intruder on my 
quiet would not leave me ; and I at length roused myself, 
as if to put away my cause of molestation. My thoughts 
were all confounded and obscure ; I knew not where, I 
could scarcely be said to know who, I was. A little more 
effort brought with it a further capacity of perception ; I 
saw before me, what was now the chief object of my mortal 
aversion, the figure of Bethlem Gabor. It was some time 
longer, before I became aware that he had been employed 
in taking up my apparently lifeless corpse, placing it on a 
stone-bench in the side of the cave, and chaining it to the 
wall. He observed the motions that indicated in me return- 
ing life : he remarked the stare of my glassy and rayless 
eyes ; he now spoke with a stern and unpitying voice 
" There is food; there is a light; eat! " Having thus said, he 
left me. 

What a cruel and remorseless treatment ! He cared not 
for my life ; he disdained to make the slightest exertion to 
restore me ; he left it to chance whether I should revive or 
perish. The figure of a dying man that I presented, did 
not make one fibre of his bosom bend or quiver. 

I revived ; I ate. By degrees I recovered from the 
deadly languor which had invaded my senses. In about twelve 
hours longer Bethlem Gabor returned with a new supply of 
sustenance. I was now strong enough to be able to converse 
with him. I heard the heavy sound of opening locks and 
removing bolts before he entered, and I summoned my 
faculties to expostulate with him. 

" Why am I here ? What is the meaning of the un- 
worthy way in which you treat me ? " 

" It is," he regarded me with a truculent aspect, as if 
he would pierce through my heart, " because I hate you ! " 

" You hate me ? Good God ! is it possible ? What evil 
have I done to you ? What good have I not done you ? 
What supplies have I refused you ? What occasions have 
I neglected of studying your advantage, your interest, and 
your honour ? If thus your hatred is purchased, how shall 
that man demean himself who is to purchase your love ? " 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



415 



" Oh, think not my hatred idle or capricious ! Heaven 
knows, I would have refrained from hating you if I had 
been able ; I struggled against it with all the energies of 
my soul. But you have committed towards me the most 
mortal offences that man ever endured. There is an an- 
tipathy between your nature and mine, that all the men- 
struums in the world could never bring to coalesce." 

" Eternal Providence ! and what is the source of this 
antipathy ? " 

" And do you profess ignorance ? Have you not gone 
on day after day with the full consciousness and will to 
torment me ? Have I not warned you, and expostulated 
with you times without number ? " 

" Of what have you warned me ? " 

" I hate mankind. I was not born to hate them. I have 
no native obliquity of character. I have no diabolical ma- 
liciousness of constitution. But they have forced me to 
hate them, and the debt of abhorrence shall be amply paid." 
" I loved as never mortal loved. No human heart was 
ever so devoted, and centred, and enveloped in the kindly 
affections of family and parentage as mine has been. Was 
not my wife, were not my children, murdered ? When I 
came home to feast my eyes and tranquillise my soul with 
the sight of them, did I not find all waste and desolation ? 
Did I not find their bodies naked, pale, disfigured with 
wounds, plunged in blood, and already putrid ? This was 
the welcome I looked for ! This was the object I so 
speeded to see ! No, never was a moment like that ! My 
whole nature was changed in an instant. My eyes were 
blasted and dried to horn. My blood froze in my well 
stored veins. I have no longer delight but in human 
misery. 

" My revenge is not causeless ; this was not the act of 
individuals. All men, in the place of these murderers, 
would have done as they did. They are in a league toge- 
ther. Human pity and forbearance never had a harbour 
but in my breast ; and I have now abjured them. With 
something more of inwrought vigour and energy, I will 
become like to my brethren. All men are excited by the 
same motives, urged by the same temptations, influenced 



41 G TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

by the same inducements. Why should I attempt a futile 
distinction, when nature had made none ? All men bear 
the same figure ; I cannot view the human figure without 
a torture the most dreadful." 

" I always knew," answered I, " your general hatred of 
mankind ; but your manners and your behaviour persuaded 
me that you exempted me from the general censure." 

f< I wished to do so ; you made the attempt impossible. 
You told me, that you had suffered the same misfortunes 
which I had; that you, by the injustice and persecutions 
of men, had also lost your wife and your children. I 
hailed you as a brother ; in my heart I swore to you 
eternal friendship ; I said, we will carry on this holy war- 
fare together. We communicated to each other our mu- 
tual sorrows ; with you, and you only, I found moments of 
consolation. 

" Soon I discovered my mistake. Instead of, like me, 
seeking occasions of glorious mischief and vengeance, you 
took upon yourself to be the benefactor and parent of man- 
kind. What vocation had you to the task ? With the 
spirit of a slave who, the more he is beaten, becomes the 
more servile and submissive, you remunerated injuries with 
benefits. I found that there was not within you one atom 
of generous sentiment, one honest glow of fervent indig- 
nation. Chicken-hearted wretch ! poor, soulless poltroon ! 
to say the best of you, to your insensate heart it was the 
same whether you were treated with reverence or scorn. I 
saw you hunted, hooted at, and pursued by the people you 
fed ; you held on your course, and fed them still. I was 
compelled to witness or to hear of your senseless liberali- 
ties every day I lived. Could I submit to this torment, 
and not endeavour to remove it? I hate the man in whom 
kindness produces no responsive affection, and injustice no 
swell, no glow of resentment. I hated you the more, be- 
cause, having suffered what I had suffered, your feelings 
and conduct on the occasion have been the reverse of 
mine. Your character, I thank God ! is of all beings the 
most opposite to that of Bethlem Gabor. 

" At length you filled up the measure of the various 
thwartings with which you daily insulted me. There was 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 417 

one native of Hungary between whom and me there sub- 
sisted an open and eternal war. I relate in no human ear 
the cause of my animosity to that man. Suffice it, that it 
was deep,, immeasurable., inexpiable. With a refinement of 
cruelty and insult difficult to conceive, you chose that man 
for one of the objects of your beneficence. Would I con- 
sent to see my name joined in pension list with my mortal 
enemy? The injury you inflicted on me would have been 
less if you had stabbed me to the heart. Less ? That 
would have been a blessing. I impose on myself the task 
of living for my revenge : but never shall I deem that man 
my foe, who should rid me of all this tumult of passions, 
and this insupportable load of existence together. 

" You have heard my motives. You may wonder at, you 
you may censure them: but they are human. I have 
nothing further to say to you now : you have no need to 
recur to expostulation; expostulation never moved the 
heart of Bethlem Gabor. Hereafter you shall hear more !" 

Thus speaking, he left me ; and I must confess, with 
whatever disgrace to my sagacity, he opened upon me a 
new world. I conceived not, till now, the faintest suspi- 
cion of what had been labouring in his bosom. Amidst 
ah 1 my experience of the varieties of human character, this 
was a species that had never fallen under my observation 
before. What a painful and mortifying occurrence is it 
in human life, when we have lived with a man from day to 
day, when we have conversed with him familiarly, and seen 
him in all the changes of circumstance, and when we 
flatter ourselves we have penetrated all the recesses of his 
heart, suddenly to start upon something portentous that 
brooded there, of which to that moment we had not the 
lightest suspicion ! I am not the only individual to whom 
this event has occurred. 

In a subsequent visit of Bethlem Gabor to my cell (for 
he only attended me with provisions, he would intrust the 
secret of my confinement to no other mortal), I intreated 
him to inform me with what intention he retained me a 
prisoner, and to fix a price on my ransom. To this over- 
ture he appeared to yield some degree of attention. He 
made no explicit answer, but asked with an inquisitive and 

JS B 



418 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

severe tone, in what manner I imagined I could procure 
money in my dungeon ? 

" Let us agree upon the terms, and set me at large. You 
have never found me deceitful, and you shall not find me 
deceitful now." 

<f Do not hope I will consent to that. I ask you again, 
in what manner do you imagine you can procure money in 
your dungeon ? " 

I reflected for a moment. Liberty is ineffably sweet ; 
and whatever followed, upon the present overture, I was 
determined not to neglect the faintest prospect that led to a 
termination of my confinement. 

" There is," answered I, " in my mansion at Buda, a 
chest which, if it can be brought to me hither, will enable 
me to supply your demands. I have the key in my cus- 
tody, and no key but my own will unlock the treasure." 

" Give me the key !" replied Bethlem Gabor. 

" No," rejoined I, " it is in my custody ; it is not upon 
my person : I have taken care of that. No human hand 
shall touch it but my own." 

" And how can I cause this chest to be brought to you 
without risking a discovery of your situation, or that I had 
a concern in your disappearance ? " 

" Of that," said I, (< judge for yourself. I have made 
a proposition to you, and I have done enough. I will have 
no share in the detail qf its execution." 

" Well," said Bethlem Gabor, after having ruminated 
a moment, " the chest you shall have ; I undertake that. 
Describe it." 

I described the chest, and its situation in my house, 
with a minuteness that made mistake impossible. 

After a considerable time it was brought to me. It was too 
bulky and ponderous to be introduced into my cell by a single 
arm. But Bethlem Gabor, having first caused me un- 
consciously to swallow a powerful opiate, found no difficulty, 
either to conceal my person in the dark shadowsof this ragged 
subterranean, or to cause some of his followers to place 
the chest within my reach, believing that they placed it in 
a vacant apartment. I awoke, and found it at hand. I was 
secure that the lock was such a one as could not be forced ; 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



419 



but I examined the different surfaces, to see whether violence 
of any other sort had heen exercised on it. There were 
marks of damage., but not sufficiently unequivocal to enable 
me to form a certain judgment on this point. The chest 
contained,, not gold,, but the implements for making and 
fashioning gold. Allowing for the distance from which it 
was brought, they appeared to be pretty exactly in the state 
in which I left them. I had never placed much confidence 
in this expedient for softening the heart of Bethlem Gabor ; 
but I perceived that it would serve at worst to divert my 
thoughts, and, by exciting in me some share of expectation, 
might call off my attention from the miseries of my present 
condition. Embracing the occasions when I was most 
secure against the intrusion of my jailor, I provided myself 
with the sum that had been previously agreed on between 
us. My task being finished, I carefully displayed the pro- 
duce of my labour, against the next time Bethlem Gabor 
should visit my cell. He viewed it with an air of sullen 
and gloomy triumph ; he removed it from the cave which 
was my habitation, to an apartment of this subterraneous 
abode, little distant from my own. When he had con- 
cluded this employment, it seemed to be a just inference, 
that he was to give me my liberty. He did no such thing. 
Without uttering a word, he closed the door of my cavern, 
locked it, and departed. 

When Bethlem Gabor next entered my cell, I reproached 
him with this, as with the breach of a solemn engagement. 
His first answer was an infernal laugh, expressive of 
derision, hard-heartedness, and contempt. By and by, 
however, he condescended to explain himself more fully. 

" I made no engagement," cried he. " You talked of a 
ransom, and I suffered you to talk. I made you no answer ; 
I gave you no encouragement. Boy, I deceived you not ! 
No ; though my heart pants for vengeance and for misery, 
I will never be guilty of treachery ; I will break no en- 
gagements ; I am a knight and a soldier. You have given 
me ten thousand ducats ; what are ten thousand ducats to 
me ? Do you think I am uninformed of your secret ? I 
opened your chest ; I found no gold ; its contents were 
crucibles, minerals, chemical preparations, and the tools of 
E E 2 



420 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

an artist. You are possessed of the grand arcanum, the 
philosopher's stone. If I had a doubt of it before, the 
transaction of yesterday converted conjecture into certainty. 
And did you suppose, idiot, driveller that you are, that I 
would take ten thousand ducats in commutation for wealth 
inexhaustible ? No ; you are my prisoner, and may choose, 
in this infallible dilemma, whether you will remain my 
slave, to supply me daily resources as I shall daily think 
proper to demand, or at once make over to me your whole 
mystery, and place me in this respect on a level with 
yourself." 

It was now my part to be peremptory and firm. 

(( I refuse," said I, (< every part of your dilemma, and 
all that you can propose to me. Do you talk of my re- 
maining your slave, to supply you with daily resources ? 
Do you imagine that, shut up in this dungeon, I will 
nevertheless labour for your gratification ? Do you believe 
that that gift, which I received as the instrument of my 
own happiness and the benefit of mankind, shall be made 
the pledge of my perpetual imprisonment ? 

f< With regard to imparting to you the secret you suppose 
me to possess, I answer without hesitation, that, dearly as 
I prize liberty, and numerous as are the motives you may 
think I have to prize it, I will not purchase my liberty at 
that rate. I would rather spend the days of eternity in 
this cavern, than comply with your proposal. The gift of 
the philosopher's stone, the moment a man possesses it^ 
purifies his mind from sordid and ignoble inducements. 
The endowment which raises him so much above his 
species, makes him glory in his superiority, and cherish his 
innocence. He cannot, if he would, mingle in the low 
passions and pursuits of the generality of mankind. For 
myself, I value too much the verdict of my own heart, ever 
to allow myself to be influenced in the main concerns of 
my existence by menaces and compulsion. Beside, this 
gift I received for holy and beneficent purposes ; to such 
it is consecrated ; and if I ever impart it, I must select its 
depository with all the assiduity and penetration it is prac- 
ticable for me to exert. You I will henceforth benefit no 
more. You hate me ; my disapprobation of you is fixed 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 421 

and irrevocable. I weep to think how much I have been 
deceived in you ; I weep to think how many high and 
heroic qualities in your Abreast are now converted into 
malignity and venom. You the possessor of the philoso- 
pher's stone ! You tell me, the sole pursuit of the rest of 
your life is revenge and human misery. What an image 
do you raise in my mind, if, with such dispositions, you 
possessed the means which the acquisition of riches in- 
exhaustible would confer on you ? And do you believe 
that any consideration on earth could induce me to realise 
such an image ?" 

" As you please," replied Bethlem Gabor indignantly. 
" I have nothing to propose to you. Think you that, 
either as my enemy or my slave, and I hold you for both, 
I would descend to negotiate with you ? I simply told 
you your situation. Yours be the consequences of your 
wilfulness and folly ! 

ff One mistake however that I see you make respecting 
my purposes, I will remove. You seem to suppose that, if 
you were to communicate to me your secret, I would then 
set you at liberty. No, by heavens ! This cavern is your 
abode for ever. You shall never go forth from it alive ; 
and, when you are dead, here your flesh shall moulder, and 
your skeleton shall rest, as long as the world remains. 
Look round your walls ! Enter fully into possession of 
your final home ! I know that to keep you here and alive 
my prisoner, I must in a certain sense imprison myself. 
But at that I do not murmur. I shall have the gratifica- 
tion of beholding my foe, and seeing him daily wither in 
disappointment. You wish to be a father to the human 
race ; and I shall deem the scope of my misanthropy almost 
satisfied, while, in your restraint, I image myself as making 
the human race an orphan. Never shall Bethlem Gabor 
set at large a man of your unnatural and gall-less disposition, 
and your powers for the indulgence of that disposition. 

" Sieur de Chatillon, I do not want your secret: it 
suffices that I know you possess it. Have I not yourself 
in my keeping ? It will be more joy to me rudely to issue 
my commands, and to see you complying with them in 
spite of the most heartfelt reluctance, than to possess the 
E E 3 



422 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 



richest gift on earth in the fullest independence. Think 
you Bethlem Gabor incompetent to tame the tenant of this 
wretched cavern ? Boy, you are. my prisoner; you shall be 
my creature. I will humble you at my feet, and teach you 
to implore my bounty for the most miserable pittance. 
Look to it ! You know your destiny ! Do not provoke my 
fury, without a foresight of the consequences ! " 

I will enter into little further detail of this my wretched 
imprisonment in the wilds of Hungary. It was not destitute 
of its varieties ; and I could, if I pleased, fill a volume 
with the artifices and the violence of my gloomy superin- 
tendent. I could fill volumes with the detail of the multi- 
plied expedients, the furious menaces, the gigantic starts 
and rhapsodies of passion, by which he alternately urged 
me to compliance and concession. But I will not. I will 
bring to an end the history of Bethlem Gabor ; and then, 
having detailed the surprising events that immediately fol- 
lowed it, will close the page of St. Leon's history for ever. 
I stood like a rock. Shut out from all other gratifications, I 
at least resolved to accumulate in my own person all the en- 
ergies of resistance. If I were to unfold the story, I could 
command the reader's astonishment, his admiration ; but the 
object of these papers is to record, not my merits, but my fate. 

How different was my imprisonment in the cavern of the 
man-abhorring palatine, from that which I had experienced 
in the dungeons of the inquisition ! There an inexorable 
apathy prevailed : my tyrants were indifferent whether I 
died or lived ; filled with the sense of their religious eleva- 
tion, they held on the even gravity of their course, and 
counted my groans and my tears neither for remorse nor 
pleasure. The variety I experienced in their dungeons was 
the growth of my own thoughts : from without I encoun- 
tered no interruption ; it was not to be ascribed to those 
who held me in durance, if my faculties were not lethargied 
into death. Bethlem Gabor possessed no share of their apa- 
thy ; his malice was ever alive, his hatred ever ingenious 
and new in its devices. He had a purpose to answer, to 
extort from me the supply of his necessities and projects. It 
was not so much perhaps that he stood in need of this, as 
that he placed a pride in it, and had fiercely resolved to show 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON". 423 

me that I was unreservedly his slave. His animosity against 
me was so fixed and insatiable, that nothing that was pain, 
to me was indifferent to him. If at any time he saw me 
subsiding into insensibility, he failed not to exert himself to 
sting me into life again. 

The consequence of this was somewhat different from 
what Bethlem Gabor expected. Desponding as I was, 
weary of life, and almost finally alienated from the all- 
coveted gift of the philosopher's stone, if he had left me to 
myself, I should very probably have sought in insensibility 
relief from the torment of my own thoughts. But he 
taught me a better lesson. Refusing me the indulgence of 
torpor, he obliged me to string myself to resistance. He 
gave me a passion ; he gave me an object ; he gave me com- 
parative happiness. I was roused to opposition ; I was 
resolved that, placed, as I seemed to be, at his mercy, I 
would yield him no atom of his desires. Thus employed., 
I found in my employment pride. Perpetual occasion pre- 
sented itself for fortitude ; and I gradually ascended to the 
sweets of consistency, perseverance, and self-gratulation. I 
had for years been inured to satisfy myself with a sparing 
stock of pleasures ; and I was less at a loss to expand and 
ramify those which I now possessed, than almost any other 
man would have been in my situation. If my attendant 
train of sensations was scanty, Bethlem Gabor took care to 
afford them a perpetual supply of food and employment, 
and I was comparatively little exposed to the pain of 
vacuity. When he saw that I was inflexible, and that he 
could no longer gain from me the smallest compliance with 
his will, he raged against me with terrifying fury. Was it 
a crime in me, that this fury in my tyrant produced the 
operation of a sedative and a cordial ? There was no ma- 
lignity in the joy it gave me. I had much aversion for 
Bethlem Gabor, but no hatred. I took no pleasure in his 
agonies, because they were agonies. My sympathies towards 
him now, I confess, were small; but the joy I felt was 
because, his fury told me, was the unwilling evidence of my 
own value. I left him to assail the mound I opposed to his 
desires as he pleased ; it remained strong and unaffected 
as the sea-beaten promontory. From the inefficacy of his 
E E 4 



424 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

efforts, I sometimes took occasion to remonstrate with my 
jailor, and demand the restoration of my liberty ; but 
Bethlem Gabor was not a man whom arguments and ex- 
postulations like these could move. In spite of himself 
however I commanded his wonder, if not his esteem. He 
Regarded the contrast as almost incredible, between the 
boy-aspect under which he saw me, and the inflexibility 
and resources of my time-instructed mind. 

The contentment that I have here described in myself, 
was however a creature of the imagination, the forced pro- 
geny of uncommon effort. It was no natural state of the 
soul. My mind would sometimes wander beyond the 
limits of my cavern, and remember that there were other 
persons beside Bethlem Gabor and myself in the world. 
I recollected the situation in which I had left my great 
project for the reviviscence of Hungary, and rejoiced to 
remember that it was already in such forwardness, as, I 
hoped, no longer to stand in absolute need of my assistance. 
Yet what I had done was but a small portion, a dismem- 
bered branch, of what I had meditated to do, and what 
every person of a generous and enterprising mind, who 
had been in possession of the philosopher's stone, would 
have designed. Why was I thus stopped in the com- 
mencement of a career so auspiciously begun, and to which 
an ardent fancy would prescribe no limits ? Why was 
^every power of the social constitution, every caprice of the 
multitude, every insidious project of the noble, thus in- 
stantly in arms against so liberal and grand an under- 
taking ? Nor could I help repining at the perverseness of 
iny fate, which had decreed that I should savour all the 
bitterness incidentally resulting from my plan, and not be 
permitted so much as to taste the applause and reward that 
ought to grow out of its completion. Thousands of men 
were at this instant indebted to my generosity and exer- 
tions for every blessing they enjoyed ; and I was cast forth 
as the refuse of the earth, pining under the alternate suc- 
cession of solitude, negligence, and malice, my very ex- 
istence and the manner of it unknown, except to one 
individual, who had, from the strangest and most unex- 
pected motives, sworn eternal hostility to me. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 425 

Bethlem Gabor had resolved that, so long as he lived, I 
should remain a prisoner : when he died, if he continued 
my only jailor, the single individual acquainted with the 
place of my confinement, the probable issue was that I 
should perish with hunger. Twelve years before, I should 
have contemplated this attitude and condition of existence 
with indescribable horror. But within that time I had 
been better taught. I had received an education, I thank 
them, in the dungeons of the Spanish inquisition ; and, if 
that be properly considered, it will not be wondered at that 
I was superior to ordinary terrors. Early in my present 
situation the presentiment had suggested itself to me that, 
by some striking event, I should be rescued from my 
present confinement ; and, improbable as the suggestion 
was, it made an indelible impression on my mind. I had ori- 
ginated in, or it had produced, a dream, the scenes of which 
had appeared particularly luminous and vivid. I imagined 
I saw a knight, cased complete in proof, enter my prison. 
A smile of angelic kindness beamed on his countenance. 
He embraced me with ardour ; he made a sign to me to 
follow him. I felt that I had seen him somewhere, that 
he had been my intimate friend. Yet all the efforts I made 
in sleep, or afterwards when I was awake, were unavailing 
to remove the mystery that hung upon his features. I 
rose to obey him ; the ground trembled under my feet like 
an earthquake. Presently, with the incoherency usually 
attendant on a dream, the figure changed to that of a female 
of unblemished grace and beauty; it unfolded a pair of 
radiant wings ; we ascended together in the air ; I looked 
down, and saw the castle of Bethlem Gabor a prey to de- 
vouring flames. Here ended my dream. I soon felt that 
I could reason myself out of all confidence in the presages 
of this wild and incongruous vision. But I refused to do 
it; my consolations were not so plenteous in this frightful 
solitude as that I should willingly part with one so de- 
licious. Reason, thus applied, I contemplated as an ab- 
horred intruder. It was, for a long time, part of my 
occupation in every day to ruminate on this vision, not 
with the sternness of a syllogist, bat with the colouring of 
a painter, and the rapture of a bard. From thus obsti- 



426 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

nalely dwelling on it in the day, it happened that it became 
again and again and again my vision of the night. Slumbers 
like these were truly refreshing, and armed and nerved me 
for the contentions of my tyrant. Sacred and adorable 
power of fancy, that can thus purify and irradiate the 
damps of a dungeon, and extract from midnight glooms 
and impervious darkness perceptions more lovely and in- 
spiriting than noontide splendour ! 



CHAPTER XLII. 

I HAD now continued here for several months, and in all 
that time had received no external impressions but such as 
related ,to the cell I inhabited, and the misanthropical savage 
by whom it was visited. One evening that Bethlem Gabor 
entered my dungeon, I observed in him an air of unusual 
disturbance. Where apathy reigns, the intercourse between 
those over whom it presides will be marked with a death- 
like uniformity ; but wherever the furious passions take 
their turn/ they will occasionally subside into a semblance 
of familiarity and benevolence. There was something in 
the countenance of my tyrant that made me for a moment 
forget the complicated injuries I had received from him. 
" What is it that has disturbed you?" cried I. There was 
no answer. There was a knitting in his brow, and a con- 
traction in his features, that showed me his silence was an 
effort. He departed however, and had already passed the 
threshold of my dungeon. The door was in his hand. He 
returned. " Chatillon, " said he, " perhaps you will never 
see me more ! " 

" My castle is besieged. I have passed through dangers 
of a thousand names, and I ought not to be made serious 
by that which now assails me. But a gloomy presentiment 
hangs upon my mind. The busy phantom of life has 
lasted too long, and I am sick at heart. In the worst event 
I will not be made a prisoner ; I will die fighting. 

<f I feel as if this were the last day of my existence; and, 
upon the brink of the grave, animosity and ferociousness 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 427 

die away in my soul. In this solemn moment, my original 
character returns here (striking his heart) to take possession 
of its native home ; a character, stern and serious, if you 
will ; hut not sanguinary, not cruel, not treacherous or un- 
just. Between you and me there is a deadly antipathy ; 
but you did not make yourself; you intended me friendship 
and advantage; the sufferings you have experienced from 
me in return have been sufficiently severe. If I die de- 
fending my walls, and you remain thus, you will perish 
with hunger. I had intended it should be so ; but I am 
now willing to remit this part of your fate. I will enter 
into a compromise with you ; I will trust to your fidelity, 
and your honour. I will take off your chains ; I will 
bring you a timepiece and torches ; I will leave with you 
the key of the spring lock of your cavern, provided you 
will engage your word to me that you will not attempt to 
make use of your advantages till the expiration of twenty- 
four hours." 

To these terms I assented without hesitation. The chains 
fell from my wrists and my ancles ; I stood up once more 
unshackled, and in respect of my limbs a free man. When 
Bethlem Gabor was on the point to depart, my soul melted 
within me. I took hold of his hand ; my fingers trembled; 
I grasped and pressed the fingers of my tyrant. I cannot 
describe what then passed in my bosom. No man can 
understand my sensations, who had not been in my situ- 
ation, who had not passed through a treatment, arbitrary, 
ferocious, and inhuman, and had not then seen the being 
who had wounded him so unpardonably, suddenly changing 
his character, commiserating his fate, and rescuing him 
from destruction. 

From this time I saw Bethlem Gabor no more ; he died, 
as he had sworn to do, in the last dike of his fortress. 
His self-balanced and mighty soul could not submit to the 
condition of a prisoner ; he was nothing, if he were not 
free as the air, and wild as the winds. I may be mis- 
taken ; but this appears "to me to have been a great and 
admirable man. He had within him all the ingredients of 
sublimity ; and surely the ingredients of sublimity are the 
materials of heroic virtue. I have much cause of com- 



428 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON 1 . 

plaint against him ; he conceived towards me an animosity 
the most barbarous and unprovoked ; but, in writing this 
narrative, I have placed my pride in controlling the sug- 
gestions of resentment, and I have endeavoured to do him 
justice. 

I had engaged to wait twenty-four hours ; I waited only 
six. I know not how the reader will decide upon the mo- 
rality of my conduct ; but I own I had not the force, I be- 
lieve I may call it the insensibility, to remain in my dungeon 
any longer. There was no doubt that, if Bethlem Gabor 
returned a conqueror, the term of my imprisonment would 
be renewed, and all his former menaces continued in force. 
What should I deserve to have thought of me, if I could 
sit down idly, and tamely wait the return of my jailor? 
No ! liberty is one of the rights that I put on when I put 
on the form of a man, and no event is of power to dissolve 
or abdicate that right. Of what validity was the promise 
that Bethlem Gabor extorted from me by compulsion, and 
as the condition of that which he had no title to withhold ? 
What gratitude did I owe to this man, who treated me with 
every contumely, and shrunk from nothing bul the thought 
of causing me to perish with hunger ? Whatever became 
of my attempt to escape, I could at least in this vast sub- 
terranean hide myself from the face of him who had in- 
jured me. I had a provision of phosphorus in my chest ; 
and could therefore extinguish my torch upon the slightest 
alarm, and relume it at pleasure. What was the value of 
life, situated as I was situated ? It was better to perish in 
the attempt to escape, than linger on for ever in perpetual 
imprisonment. As a further resource I left a billet in my 
dungeon (for for this also I had implements) intreating 
Bethlem Gabor by every motive of compassion and hu- 
manity to provide for me the means of sustenance as usual. 
Having taken these precautions, I lighted a fresh torch ; 
and, unlocking the door, and thrusting the key into my 
girdle, set out upon my expedition. Though Bethlem 
Gabor had stipulated for twenty-four hours, the siege might 
even now be over, and I trembled every instant lest my 
jailor should return. 

I wandered for a considerable time among the alleys and 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 429 

windings of this immeasurable cavern. I had the precau- 
tion to mark the sides of the vault with characters and 
tokens as I passed, that, if necessary, I might be able to 
find the way back to my dungeon : this might prove an 
indispensable resource, to prevent me from perishing with 
hunger. Once or twice I changed my route, inferring 
from a comparison of circumstances, the best I could make, 
that I was not in the direction of the castle from which 
Bethlem Gabor had led me to my imprisonment. In all 
this wandering I had seen nothing, I had heard nothing, 
which could demonstrate to me that I was approaching the 
habitation of man. I had groped my way for near two 
hours, when on a sudden I heard a loud and tremendous 
shout that almost stunned me, and that from its uncom- 
mon shock could be at no great distance from the place 
where I stood. This was succeeded by a terrifying glare 
of light. I extinguished my torch, both that I might be 
better qualified to observe, and that I might be less in 
danger of discovery by any one who should approach me 
unawares. The shouts were several times repeated. The 
light I found to proceed from that end of the vault towards 
which I had been advancing, and, by the best conjectures I 
could form, I concluded the outlet into the castle to be at 
no great distance. I heard the crackling of the flames, 
and the fall of rafters and beams. Presently I discerned a 
volume of smoke approaching me, and found that, if I re- 
mained long in my present station, I should incur the risk 
of being suffocated. I formed my resolution. I concluded 
that Bethlem Gabor's castle was taken, and set on fire by 
the Austrians. I believed that my persecutor was already 
no more : to this faith I was undoubtedly prompted by the 
presentiment which he had communicated to me. I saw 
that it would be impossible for me to emerge into light, till 
the flames should abate. I once more therefore lighted 
my torch, and returned by the straightest road I could find 
to my dungeon. Arrived there, I proposed to pass the 
interval quietly, in the cavern where I had so long felt the 
weight of the Hungarian's chains. Suddenly however the 
suggestion occurred to me, may not my conjectures be 
false ? may not Bethlem Gabor yet repel the enemy, and 



430 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

return to me from amidst the ruins of his falling castle ? 
The thought was sickness and extinction to my heart. 
Hope ! beautiful as are thy visions, in how much anguish 
and agony do they clothe the terrors of disappointment ! 
Never had Bethlem Gabor been half so dreadful to me as 
now. I shrunk away ; I took with me the fragments 
of provision that yet remained ; I hid myself ; I deemed 
no cell remote enough to conceal me from the inhuman 
persecution of my tyrant. 

I continued in the subterranean all that day and all the 
succeeding night. Once in this period I attempted to re- 
connoitre the avenue of my escape, but I found the situation 
still so heated and suffocating that I did not venture to 
proceed. At length I came forth from this den of horrors, 
and again beheld the light of the sun. The path had 
already been sufficiently explored by me, and I no longer 
found any material obstacles. I now saw that my conjec- 
tures were true : the castle of my ferocious adversary was 
a pile of ruins. The walls indeed for the most part re- 
mained, but choked with fragments of the falling edifice, 
blackened with the flames, and penetrated in every direc- 
tion by the light of day. With difficulty I climbed over 
the ruins, which opposed my egress from the subterranean, 
and rendered my passage to the outside of the castle an 
affair of peril and caution. Here the first object that 
struck me was some tents, probably of the soldiers who 
had been employed in this work of destruction. I was 
hailed by a sentinel, and I demanded that he would con- 
duct me to his commander. He led me to the centre of 
the little encampment, and I stood in the presence of his 
chief. I lifted my eye to behold him, and was petrified 
with such astonishment as till that hour I had never felt. 
It was Charles, my son, my only son, the darling of his 
mother, the idol of my soul ! 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

IT may seem extraordinary that I should instantly have 
known him. He was sitting at a table, covered with 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 431 

papers., and with one or "two aides-de-camp waiting to re- 
ceive his orders. He was clothed in complete armour, 
and his casque was resting on the ground by his side. 
When I entered,, his eye was fixed on a despatch that day 
received from the great palatine of Hungary; but, in little 
more than a minute, he raised his head, and his coun- 
tenance was completely presented to my view. It was 
fifteen years since I had beheld it ; he was then scarcely 
above half his present age, a mere stripling, in whom the 
first blush of manhood had awakened the sentiment of in- 
dependence and an honour impatient of a shade ; he was 
now a leader of warlike bands, his complexion olived over 
with service, and his eye rendered steady with observation 
and thought. But I knew him j I knew him in a moment. 
My soul, with the rapidity of lightning, told me who he 
was. Not all the arts in the world could have hid him 
from me ; not all the tales that delusion ever framed could 
have baffled me ; I could have challenged him against the 
earth ! 

I have already had occasion to explain the complexity of 
my feelings, when, after a long absence, I visited the 
heiresses of the house of St. Leon. The sweets of recog- 
nition, that transporting effervescence of the mind, where 
the heart bounds to meet a kindred heart, where emotions 
and tears mingle in speechless encounter, where all is 
gazing love and strict embrace, these pleasures were 
denied me. I stood stiff and motionless in the presence of 
my child. My heart might burst ; but it must not, and it 
could not communicate its feelings. 

After an instant's pause of overwhelming sensation, I 
sunk back on myself, and considered my own figure. It 
happened that, exactly opposite to me, in the tent of my son, 
hung his armour, and over the rest his polished shield, in 
which I saw my own person clearly reflected. The youth 
of my figure indeed was still visible ; but the hardships of 
my dungeon had imprinted themselves in glaring characters 
on my face. My beard was neglected, my hair was matted 
and shaggy, my complexion was of a strong and deadly 
yellow. My appearance to a considerable degree told my 
story without the need of words. Charles enquired of 



432 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

those who brought me, where they had found this wretched 
and unhappy figure ; and was told that I had been seen a 
few minutes before coming out from the ruins of Bethlem 
Gabor's castle. He humanely and naturally concluded, 
that I was a victim on whom the tyrant had exercised his 
ferocity, and that I had been shut up in some dungeon of 
the fortress: it was impossible that any person above ground 
in the castle should have come out alive from the operation 
of the flames. He commanded that I should be led to a 
neighbouring tent and taken care of. After having been 
refreshed with food and rest, and attired with other ap- 
parel, he directed that I should be brought to him again, 
that he might hear my story. 

Under these circumstances there was nothing for which 
I was more anxious, than that I might recruit myself, and 
shake off as quickly as possible the effects of my confine- 
ment. Cordials were brought me, and I tasted of them : 
I bathed in a neighbouring stream : one of my son's at- 
tendants removed my beard, and arranged my hair. I now 
desired to be left alone, that I might take some needful 
repose. I could not sleep ; but I reclined my lirnbs upon 
a couch, and began to collect my thoughts. 

I saw myself in one hour the sport of the most complete 
reverse of fortune that could happen to a mortal. I had 
been the prisoner of a cavern so wild and pathless, as al- 
most to defy the utmost extent of human sagacity to ex- 
plore its recesses. From this cavern, but for the sudden 
and extraordinary event which had just occurred, I could 
never have come forth alive. All sober calculation would 
have taught me to expect that I should have remained 
there, chained up like a savage tiger in his cage, as long as 
Bethlem Gabor existed ; and that, when he died, I should 
perish, unheard, unknown ; no creature that lived suspecting 
my situation, no lapse of ages ever bringing to light my 
dismal catastrophe. The remorse and relenting of Bethlem 
Gabor towards me seemed so little to accord with any thing 
that I had personally witnessed of his habits and his mind, 
that even now I feel myself totally unable to account for it. 
As it was however, I was once again free. From the state 
of an outlaw imprisoned for life, I suddenly saw myself at 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 433 

large, inspirited by the light of the sun, and refreshed by 
his genial rays, in the full possession of youth and all its 
faculties, enabled to return amidst my clients of Buda, or 
to seek some new adventure, in any corner of the earth to 
which my inclination led me. There is no man, however 
overwhelmed with calamities, however persecuted with end- 
less disappointment, however disgusted with life and all its 
specious allurements, to whom so sudden and admirable a 
change would not convey some portion of elasticity and 

joy. 

But there was one thought that entirely occupied me. I 
cannot describe how my soul yearned towards this my only 
son : the sentiment, even now as I write, is an oppression 
I am scarcely able to sustain. Willingly, most willingly, 
would I have traversed every region of the globe, if so I 
might have discovered his unknown retreat : and now sud- 
denly, without the smallest effort on my part, he was placed 
before me. His last solemn parting, his abjuration of my so- 
ciety and intercourse for ever, rose to my memory, and gave 
a zest inexpressible to our present encounter. At the thought 
that my son was in the neighbouring tent, all earthly ob- 
jects beside faded from my mind, and appeared uninterest- 
ing and contemptible. I instantly resolved to devote my- 
self to his service, and to place all my enjoyment in the 
contemplation of his happiness, and the secret consciousness 
of promoting it. He had, if I may so express myself, in 
my own person forbidden me his presence : in my now 
altered figure I might disobey his injunction without fear- 
ing his rebuke. Let not the reader condemn me, that, en- 
dowed as I was with unlimited powers of action, I pre- 
ferred a single individual, my own son, to all the world 
beside. Philanthropy is a godlike virtue, and can never be 
too loudly commended, or too ardently enjoined; but na- 
tural affection winds itself in so many folds about the 
heart, and is the parent of so complicated, so various and 
exquisite emotions, that he who should attempt to divest 
himself of it, will find that he is divesting himself of all 
that is most to be coveted in existence. It is not a selfish 
propensity ; en the contrary, I will venture to affirm that 
the generosity it breathes is its greatest charm. Beside, in? 



434 TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

my case I considered my own existence as blasted ; and I 
could therefore find nothing better than to forget myself in 
my son. I had made a sufficient experiment of the philo- 
sopher's stone, and all my experiments had miscarried. My 
latest trials in attempting to be the benefactor of nations 
and mankind, not only had been themselves abortive, but 
contained in them shrewd indications that no similar plan 
could ever succeed. I therefore discarded, for the present 
at least, all ambitious and comprehensive views, and be- 
lieved that I ought to be well content, if I could prove the 
unknown benefactor of the son of Marguerite de Damville. 
I entered into a solemn engagement with myself that I 
would forget and trample upon every personal concern, and 
be the victim and the sacrifice, if need were, of the happi- 
ness of my child. Dismissing my project of becoming a 
factor for the Hungarian people, I determined to lay aside 
the name of Chatillon, and cut off every indication that 
might connect my present existence with that of the rich 
stranger of Buda. One of the advantages I possessed for 
that purpose was, that no creature in Hungary had the 
slightest suspicion that the sieur de Chatillon had ever been 
the prisoner of Bethlem Gabor. 

Having thus arranged my thoughts, I now called for the 
garments that had been assigned me. They were supplied 
me from the stock of my son ; and, when I had put them 
on, I overheard the attendants whispering to each other their 
astonishment, at the striking resemblance between their 
master and myself. When I came once more into the 
tent of their captain, and stood as in the former in- 
stance before his shield, I did not wonder at their remark. 
The coincidence of our features was so great, that, had we 
passed through a strange place in each other's company, I 
should infallibly have been regarded as his younger brother. 
Yet there was something of Marguerite in the countenance 
of Charles that I wanted. When I recovered, as in a short 
time afterwards I did, my vigour and health, I was more 
blooming than he ; but there was something graceful, inge- 
nuous and prepossessing in his aspect, which I could by no 
means boast in an [equal degree, and which might have 
carried him unhurt and honoured through the world. We 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 435 

shall see some of the effects of this in what I shall presently 
have occasion to relate. 

When my son required of me to declare who I was, I 
told him, as I had already determined to do, that I was a 
cadet of the house of Aubigny in France ; that, after hav- 
ing passed through several other countries, I had come into 
Poland with*the floating and half formed purpose of enter- 
ing as a volunteer against the Turk ; but that, before my 
plan was completely arranged, having been led, by my 
juvenile ardour in a hunting party, far within the frontier 
of Hungary, I had been so unfortunate as to become a 
prisoner to the troopers of Bethlem Gabor. I added that, 
when introduced to their chief, I had given him so much 
offence, by the firmness of my manner, and my refusing to 
comply with certain propositions he made me, that he had 
thrust me into a dungeon, from which, but for the gallant 
exertions of the present detachment, I should never have 
come out alive. 

Charles heard my story with attention and interest. He 
called on me to resume my courage and my hopes, and to 
be confident that my sufferings were now at an end. He 
told me, that he was a Frenchman as well as myself, and 
like myself, had been a soldier of fortune. He felt, he 
said, a powerful sympathy in my tale j there was something 
in my countenance that irresistibly won his kindness ; and, 
if I would put myself under his protection, he did not 
doubt to be the means of my future success. He spoke 
with great asperity of Bethlem Gabor, who, as an 
intrepid, indefatigable and sanguinary partisan, had been 
the author of greater mischiefs to the Christian cause, than 
any of the immediate servants of the sultan of Constanti- 
nople. He congratulated himself that the same action that 
had delivered the world from so murderous a renegado, had 
rendered him the preserver of a youth of so much enter- 
prise and worth, as he doubted not I should prove. He 
said, there was but one other man in Hungary, who 
had been so effectual an enemy to the cause of truth 
and Christianity as Bethlem Gabor. The name of this 
man he understood was Chatillon, and he grieved to say 
F F 2 



436 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

that he bore the appellation of a Frenchman. To the 
eternal disgrace of the nation that gave him birth, he had 
joined the Turkish standard, and, by exertions difficult to 
be comprehended, had rescued the infidels from famine at 
a time when, but for his inauspicious interference, Buda, 
and perhaps every strong town in Hungary, were on the 
point of falling into the hands of the Christians. It was 
this same man who had revived the resources of Bethlem 
Gabor, after they had once before, by his own fortunate 
exertions, been routed out ; and whom I might therefore 
in some sense consider as the author of my calamities, as 
well as the inveterate foe of Christendom. Such a wretch 
as this was scarcely entitled to the common benefit of the 
laws of war : and he would not answer for himself if Cha- 
tillon had fallen into his power, to what extremity his holy 
resentment against this degenerate fellow-countryman might 
have hurried him. Providence however had overtaken him 
in his impious career; and he had fallen obscurely, as he 
had lived basely, in a night skirmish with a party of 
marauders from the Austrian camp. The reader may 
believe that I did not a little rejoice that, in announcing 
myself a few moments before, I had taken the name, not 
of Chatillon, but D'Aubigny. What I heard however 
occasioned in me a profound reflection on the capriciousness 
of honour and fame, and the strange contrarieties with 
which opposite prejudices cause the same action to be 
viewed. I could not repress the vehemence of my emotions, 
while I was thus calumniated and vilified for actions, 
which I had firmly believed no malice could misrepresent, 
and fondly supposed that all sects and ages, as far as their 
record extended, would agree to admire. 

In another point of view, the invective which my son 
thus unconsciously poured in my ears, had the effect of 
making me regard with a more complacent satisfaction the 
plan I had formed of devoting myself to his service. Here 
I pursued no delusive meteor of fame ; the very essence of 
my project lay in its obscurity. Kings and prelates, armies 
and churches, would no longer find an interest in disputing 
about my measures : I should indulge the secret prompt- 
ings of my soul, undisturbed alike by the censure of the 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 437 

world, and its applause. It was thus that,, under every 
change of fortune, I continued to soothe my soul with de- 
lusive dreams. 

Meanwhile my project went on with the happiest aus- 
pices. The friendship between me and Charles continued 
hourly to increase. As a Frenchman, whom chance had 
introduced to his acquaintance in a distant country, it was 
natural that he should feel a strong bias of affection towards 
me. But that sort of fraternal resemblance which the most 
inattentive spectator remarked in us, operated forcibly to the 
increase of Charles's attachment. He would often, in the 
ingenuous opening of his soul towards me, call me his 
brother, and swear that I should for ever experience from 
him a brother's love. Charles had by this time completed 
the thirty-second year of his age ; I was, in appearance, at 
least ten years younger than he. There is something in 
this degree of disparity, that greatly contributes to the cul- 
tivation of kindness, and is adapted to the engendering a 
thousand interesting sentiments. Frequently would he ex. 
claim, " Our fortunes, my dear Henry," that was the name I 
assumed, " have been in a considerable degree similar : we 
were both of us early cast on the world ; I indeed at the 
immature age of seventeen. I entered the world without 
an adviser or a friend ; but my destiny was favourable, and 
I escaped its quicksands and its rocks. I have now by a 
concurrence of happy circumstances obtained a place among 
honourable men and soldiers, and for what is to come may 
reasonably regard myself with some degree of confidence. 
You are yet in one of the most dangerous periods of human 
life ; your work is all to do ; your battles are yet to fight. 
Suffer me, my dear friend, to represent your better genius, 
and act an elder brother's part. You shall find me no 
ignorant Mentor, and no ungentle one. 

Nothing could be more gratifying to me than to see the 
shoots of affection thus springing up spontaneously in 
Charles's bosom. I willingly humoured the generous de- 
ception that he was putting on himself, and heard with 
transports inconceivable his assurances of kindness and pro- 
tection. We rode, and we walked together ; we were in a 
manner inseparable. When he went out to reconnoitre, I 
F F 3 



438 1RAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

was his chosen companion ; when he inspected the discipline 
and condition of his soldiers, he applied that opportunity 
to initiate me in the science of war ; when he expected to 
encounter the enemy, he placed me immediately by his side. 

Sometimes he would open his heart to me, and dwell 
with a melancholy delight upon his secret sorrows. fc It is 
no wonder, my Henry," he would say, " that I feel this un- 
common attachment to you. I am alone in the world. I 
have no father, no mother, and no brethren. I am an 
exile from my country, and cut off for ever from those of 
my own lineage and blood. It is with inexpressible delight 
that I thus cheat the malice of my fate, and hold you to 
my bosom as if you were indeed my brother. I would not 
part with the fiction for the mines of Peru ; and I know 
not whether I do not cultivate it more assiduously, and re- 
gard it with a sentiment of more anxiety and zeal, because 
it is a fiction, than I should do if it were a reality. I had 
indeed," added Charles, "a. mother !" And, when he had 
started this theme, he would dwell for ever on her praises. 
I easily saw that never son loved a mother more cordially, 
than Charles loved the all-accomplished Marguerite. With 
what sentiments did I hear hereulogium? I could not join 
in her praises ; I could not be supposed to know her. I 
stood there, as the statue of Prometheus might have done, 
if, after being informed with a living soul, the Gods had 
seen fit to chain its limbs in everlasting marble. The pas- 
sion within me panted and laboured for a vent ; but I was 
invincibly silent. With what sentiments did I hear her 
eulogium ? Every word of it was a dagger to my heart ; 
every word said, " And thou, villain, wert not thou her 
murderer ? " more painfully, than the fiercest reproaches 
could have done. 

When Charles had celebrated with an eloquence truly 
divine this incomparable mother, a sudden pang of memory 

would make him start into rage. " And this mother I 

left ! Of this mother I cannot tell whether she is alive or 
dead ! What shall I say ? the crime, or the not less fatal 
error of my father, separated me from this mother ! I 
loved my father : I loved him because he was my father ; 
I had great obligations to him ; he once had virtues. But 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

my mother, if I could have found her in the wildest 
desert of Africa, and have known her virtues, a stranger 
to my blood, descended from the remotest tribe of the hu- 
man race, I should have chosen her for my friend, my 
preceptress and my guide, beyond all that youth and beauty, 
with their most radiant charms, could tender to my ac- 
ceptance ! " 

Thus unconsciously, yet ingeniously, did my dear son 
from time to time torture his father's heart. I could not 
even deliver him from the gloomy and wretched uncer- 
tainty, whether this mother were alive or dead. With one 
word I could have composed his soul into a sober grief ; I 
could have said, Your adorable mother at length rests from 
her sorrows ; she is no longer the victim of a misguided 
and a cruel father ; you have no longer occasion to brood 
over that most disconsolate of reflections, " I know not what 
anguish may be at this moment suffered by her who is en- 
titled to all my duty and all my affection." With one 
word I might have told this ; and that word I dared not 
utter. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

MY son related to me his history, and made me the de- 
pository of his feelings and reflections. The name of St. 
Leon indeed never passed his lips ; I felt that he had con- 
signed that to inviolable oblivion. The appellation he bore 
in the army was the chevalier de Damville. Soon after he 
abandoned me at Dresden, he had entered as a volunteer 
in the imperial army. Charles the Fifth was at that time 
assembling forces to encounter the confederates of the 
league of Smalcalde. In this situation my son was emi- 
nently fortunate. He was distinguished for uncommon 
enterprise and courage in some of the first actions of the 
war, and early attracted the notice of Gian-Battista Cas- 
taldo, count of Piadena, who held an eminent command 
under the emperor. In this army my son was a party to 
F F 4 



44-0 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON". 

the decisive battle of Muhlberg, in April, 1 54-7. Four years 
afterwards, Castaldo was appointed commander in chief 
against the Turks in Hungary, and the French chevalier 
accompained his patron to this new scene of military enter- 
prise. Charles had felt dissatisfied with the grounds and 
motives of war between the Catholics and Protestants of 
Germany, men worshipping the same Saviour, and appeal- 
ing to the same authorities, but many of them at least, 
from the most upright and ingenuous scruples, differing in 
their interpretation of those authorities. But, in their con- 
tentions between the crescent and the cross, he entered 
with unbounded enthusiasm into all the feelings that con- 
stitute a champion or a martyr. He conceived that what- 
ever was dear to the human race in this world or the next 
hung on the issue ; he regarded the grandeur of the cause 
as purifying his efforts and consecrating his name; and, 
when he lifted his sword in vindication of an expiring 
God, he felt himself steeled with more than mortal energy. 
My son dwelt on the merits of his patron with a degree 
of veneration and love that knew no bounds. Castaldo 
was ranked by the consenting voice of mankind with the 
most accomplished generals of the age in which he lived. " I 
knew him," said Charles, " in his most private hours, and 
stood next to and observed him in the greatest and most 
critical occasions of his life. It was the least of his merits 
that he distinguished me, that he took me up friendless and 
an orphan, that under every circumstance he was more 
than a father to me ; that he corrected my faults, that he 
guided me with his advice, that he instructed me with his 
wisdom, and supported me by his countenance. Castaldo 
was the most persevering and indefatigable of mankind ; no 
difficulties could undermine his apparent serenity ; no ac- 
cumulation of dangers could appal or perplex him. Vic- 
tory never robbed him of his caution ; misfortune and 
defeat never destroyed th? grandeur and elasticity of his 
soul. I firmly believe that no general had ever a more dis- 
couraging variety of counteractions to struggle with. The 
enemy was barbarous and sanguinary, yet firm and undis- 
mayed, in the full vigour of their political health, under 
the rule of the ablest of their sovereigns. The nobles of 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 441 

the country Castaldo had to defend had almost all of them 
been alienated, one after another, by the tricking and ill- 
judged politics of the house of Austria. The nation was 
ruined, houseless and starving. Many of the officers who 
served under my general were the basest of poltroons ; but 
they were imposed upon him by his court ; he was com- 
pelled to place them in important trusts ; and, even when 
in the most dastardly way they betrayed those trusts, they 
were by some pitiful intrigue sheltered from his discipline 
and his justice. The forces of Castaldo were mutinous 
and ungovernable ; and he was almost constantly denied 
the funds requisite for their pay. 

<f For two years the count of Piadena struggled with these 
complicated difficulties. When he had obtained a hard- 
earned advantage at one extremity of the kingdom, he 
found it rendered useless by some treachery or incapacity 
in the other extremity, which it was instantly necessary he 
should hasten to repair. He quelled four alarming mutinies 
by his firmness, his resources, and the prudent combination 
of his calmness and seventy. In the midst of one of his 
most arduous situations he suddenly received intelligence 
that the states of Hungary, which were at that time assem- 
bled, were debating whether they should enter into a treaty 
with Solyman for the purpose of placing their country 
under the Turkish sceptre. He immediately flew to the 
place of council ; the decision in favour of Solyman was 
drawn up and ready to be adopted ; but Castaldo, by his 
presence, his authority, and his eloquence, recalled the 
states to their duty, and prevented them from eternally 
staining the Christian name. Surrounded with these diffi- 
culties, oppposed to an enemy many times more numerous 
than the forces he could bring against them, and whose 
wants were all plentifully supplied, Castaldo by his single 
abilities kept the balance even, or rather caused it to incline 
in favour of the Christian scale. But what," added Charles, 
" avails the most consummate merit ! How may the most 
incessant and undaunted exertions be shadowed by the veil 
of obscurity ! The world judges by events ; success is 
necessary to procure the palm of fame. After two years 
of such labours as I witnessed and glory to describe, a mu- 



442 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEOX. 



tiny broke out among the mercenary troops, more formi- 
dable than any that preceded ; it was no longer even in the 
abilities of Castaldo to quell. ' We honour and respect you/ 
said the mutineers, ' but we will no more serve without 
pay : we have been baffled two years; we will march to the 
gates of Vienna, and demand from Ferdinand, our sove- 
reign, why we are thus denied the arrears that are due to 
us.' They chose leaders for this expedition among them- 
selves. The great Castaldo, whose peculiar talent it is to 
accommodate himself to events, and never by any misfor- 
tune to be deprived of his invention arid resources, saw 
what it was that became him. Having in vain tried every 
method for retaining his troops in Hungary, he offered 
himself to lead them to Vienna. Then was seen the true 
ascendancy of a noble mind. Goaded with want and dis- 
tress, they had been deaf to the remonstrances of their 
general when he sought to direct them against the enemy. 
But, when they saw him submitting himself to their rage 
and impatience, and fearlessly intrusting his safety to 
those who had before refused even to listen to him, and 
who had reason to fear his retribution as their accuser and 
jndge, they were awed and speechless. They almost re- 
pented of their frenzy, and were half determined to return 
to their duty. Their remorse indeed was imperfect and 
ineffectual; but Castaldo led this band of mutineers 
through the heart of the kingdom, with as many symp- 
toms of regularity, modesty, and order, as if they had been 
the best paid, the promptest and most loyal army in the 
world." 

My son spoke in terms of the warmest enthusiasm of 
the defence of Erlau, in the period of Castaldo's last and 
most arduous campaign against the Turks. In respect of 
fortifications the town was scarcely competent to resist the 
feeblest enemy ; but its deficiency in this point was sup- 
plied by the constancy and valour of its garrison and in- 
habitants. The very women displayed an enterprise, that 
the more vigorous sex have seldom exhibited. Jn one in- 
stance, a heroine of this sort was seen fighting in the pre- 
sence of her mother and her husband. Her husband fell 
dead by her side. " Let us, my daughter," said the mo- 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 



448 



ther, " remove the body, and devote the rest of our care to 
its honourable funeral." " May God/' returned the im- 
passioned widow, <e never suffer the earth to cover my hus- 
band's corse, till his death has been amply revenged ; this 
is the hour of battle, not a time for funeral and for tears ! " 
So speaking, and seizing the sword and shield of the 
breathless champion, she rushed upon the enemy ; nor did 
she quit the breach till, by the slaughter of three Turks 
who were ascending the scaling ladders, she had appeased 
the fury in her breast, and the ghost of her departed hus- 
band. Then raising the corpse, and pressing it to her 
bosom, she drew it to the great church of the city, and 
paid to it the last honours with all possible magnificence.* 
Many other examples of a heroism not inferior to this 
were displayed on the same occasion. " And shall I," 
added Charles, in a sally of glorious enthusiasm, " ever 
desert a cause which has been thus honoured ? Shall I 
betray a soil which has been immortalised by such illus- 
trious actions ? Shall I join myself to the renegade Beth- 
lem Gabor, and the execrable Chatillon ? No : such vir- 
tue as I have described never could have been conceived, 
but in the bosom of truth ! Great as is the pious devotion 
I feel for that God who died on the cross for the salvation 
of mankind, I own my weakness, if it be a weakness, his 
cause is scarcely less endeared to me by the sublime exer- 
tions of his heroic followers, than by his own adorable 
condescension and mercy. 

" When the glorious Castaldo departed with his rebellious 
army for the metropolis of Germany, there was nothing I 
more earnestly desired than to accompany his march. For 
seven years he had conferred on me the benefits, and shown 
towards me the affection, of a father ; and I could not think 
of being separated from him without the extremest anguish. 
Beside, I regarded it as little less than sacrilege, to quit his 
side at a time that he was exposed to the furious suggestions 
of a host of robbers and banditti. But he would not allow 
me to abandon my post. ' Some time,' said he, ( we must 

* This incident is told, nearly in the words of St. Leon, by Thuanus, His- 
twice Sui Temporis , lib. 2. cap. 14. 



444- TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 

separate, and you must stand alone. I have been long 
enough your instructor; and, if my lessons or my example 
can produce improvement in you, they must have performed 
that office already/ He treated with disdain the thought 
of the danger to which he might be exposed, and his need 
of a faithful guard ; a thought which he had detected in the 
midst of my anxieties, but which I had not the courage to 
mention. ' This,' said he, ' is your genuine sphere. You 
are a young man, burning with the zeal of truth and reli- 
gion. You are inspired with the enthusiasm of a champion 
and a martyr. Heaven knows how willingly I would have 
spent my blood for the overthrow of Mahomet and his 
blasphemous impieties. To me this is not permitted ; to 
you it is. I shall be engaged in the painful scenes of civil 
contention between Christian and Christian, misguided and 
inflamed by the human inventions of Luther and of Calvin. 
You have before you a clearer and a brighter field ; and, I 
confidently persuade myself, you will be found worthy of 
your happier destiny.' The count of Piadena bestowed 
me, so he was pleased to express himself, upon Nadasti, 
the great palatine of the realm, as the most precious pledge 
of his friendship that it was in his power to confer. 

"Since the retreat of Castaldo, the Christian standard has 
obtained little more either of attention or aid from our 
lawful sovereign, now the possessor of the imperial throne. 
Ferdinand for a great part of this time has had his nego- 
tiators at Constantinople, whom the insulting Turk has 
condescended neither sincerely to treat with, nor to dismiss. 
The Christian army in Hungary has been left to its own 
resources ; but zeal has supplied the place of magazines, 
and religious ardour has taught us to omit no occasion of 
annoying and distressing the enemy. The most considerable 
occurrence of this period, has been the siege of Ziget about 
four years ago. Solyman, taking advantage of certain fac- 
tious broils among our hereditary nobility, appointed at that 
time one of his eunuchs bashaw of Buda ; and, having 
placed a numerous a numerous army under his command, 
dismissed him from the foot of his throne with this arrogant 
injunction, not to enter the capital of his province, till he 
had first sent the keys of Ziget as an offering to his royal 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 44-5 

master. Horvati, the Christian governor of this fortifi- 
cation, is one of the most accomplished and the bravest of 
our native commanders ; and, Nadasti having sent him a 
reinforcement the better to enable him to support the 
threatened siege, I was in the number of the soldiers ap- 
pointed on this service. The trenches were opened early 
in June, and the siege continued for the space of seven 
weeks. The bashaw, though an eunuch, in person stunted, 
and of monstrous deformity, was distinguished for an un- 
common degree of audacity and perseverance. Four times 
he filled the dikes of the fortification with wood and earth; 
and as often, by means of a furious sally of the besieged, 
the materials, which had thus with vast expence of industry 
and labour been accumulated, were set fire to and con- 
sumed. On the twelfth day of the siege he gained pos- 
session of the town, and drove us back into the citadel ; 
but on the day following we recovered the ground we had 
lost, and from that time the town was his no more. The 
actions of these days were the severest of the whole siege ; 
we fought the enemy street by street, and inch by inch ; 
the great fountain in the market-place ran with blood ; we 
ascended hills of the dead, which the infidels opposed as a 
barrier to our further progress ; I seized two Turkish 
standards ; and, though wounded, pursued the enemy 
through the eastern gate, and returned in triumph. Na- 
dasti in the sixth week of the siege marched to our relief ; 
but he was met and worsted by the bashaw, who returned 
victorious to the foot of the walls. During the whole of 
the siege mutual animosity was cherished by every species 
of contrivance, and the heads of the distinguished dead 
were exhibited on both sides as spectacles of abhorrence 
and terror. The inflamed passions of the combatants se- 
veral times found a vent in listed duels : Horvati, the 
governor, killed in one of these encounters a gigantic Turk, 
who had sent a proud defiance to our host. I procured 
myself honour upon a similar occasion ; and the scarf 
which I now wear, composed the turban of the infidel I 
slew. At length the disappointed bashaw was obliged to. 
raise the siege ; and he soon after died of grief and morti- 
fication in his palace at Buda. I confess I recollect the 



446 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

Christian exploits in the defence of Ziget, in which I also 
had a share, with rapture and delight ; they will serve to 
awaken in me new animation, when hereafter the coldness 
of ordinary life might strike palsy to my soul. I shall 
never think I have lived in vain, after having contributed, 
in however humble a place, to arrest the career of insolence 
and impiety which, under the standard of the crescent, 
threatened to overrun the whole Christian world." 

Such were the adventures and such the sentiments of the 
gallant chevalier de Damville. I had been a warrior in my 
youth, and the discourse he held was sufficiently congenial 
to my earliest propensities. I saw indeed that he had 
gained, in the zeal of a soldier of the cross, a source of mar- 
tial heroism, to which my military history had been a 
stranger. But, though I could not entirely enter into this 
sentiment of his, and indeed regarded it as an infatuation 
and delusion, I did not the less admire the grandeur of soul 
with which this heroic fable inspired him. There was no 
present propensity in my heart that led me to delight in 
deeds of blood and war ; I saw them in their genuine co- 
lours without varnish or disguise ; I hated and loathed 
them from my very inmost soul ; but, notwithstanding this, 
I was sensible to the lustre which military zeal cast round 
the character of my son. Nor is this incredible or absurd ; 
the qualities of a generous and enterprising champion are 
truly admirable, though the direction they have received 
should be worthy of eternal regret. 

Charles de Damville was my friend ; and, when I say 
this, I cannot help stopping a moment for the indulgence 
of reflecting on the contrast between my present intercourse 
with my son, and my late connection with Bethlem Gabor. 
I had sought the friendship of the Hungarian partisan, 
partly because I wanted a protector and an ally, but partly 
also because in my soul I looked up to and admired the 
man. I called Bethlem Gabor my friend ; I persuaded 
myself that I had cogent reasons for calling him so. But 
there was little sympathy between us ; he was wrapped up 
in his own contemplations ; he was withered by his own 
calamities ; our souls scarcely touched in a single point. 
No, no ; this is not friendship. 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 447 

Friendship is a necessity of our nature, the stimulating 
and restless want of every susceptible heart. How wretched 
an imposture in this point of view does human life for the 
most part appear ! With boyish eyes, full of sanguine 
spirits and hope, we look round us for a friend j we sink 
into the grave, broken down with years and infirmities, and 
still have not found the object of our search. We talk to 
one man, and he does not understand us ; we address our- 
selves to another, and we find him the unreal similitude 
only of what we believed him to be. We ally ourselves to 
a man of intellect and of worth ; upon further experience 
we cannot deny him either of these qualities ; but the more 
we know each other, the less we find of resemblance ; he 
is cold, where we are warm j he is harsh, where we are 
melted into the tenderest sympathy ; what fills us with rap- 
ture, is regarded by him with indifference ; we finish with 
a distant respect, where we looked for a commingling soul: 
this is not friendship. We know of other men, we have 
viewed their countenances, we have occasionally sat in their 
society : we believe it is impossible we should not find in 
them the object we sought. But disparity of situation and 
dissimilitude of connections prove as effectual a barrier to 
intimacy, as if we were inhabitants of different planets. 

It is one of the most striking characteristics of the nature 
of man, that we are eternally apt to grow dead and insens- 
ible to the thing we have not. Half our faculties become 
palsied, before we are in the slightest degree aware that we 
are not what we were, and what we might be. There are 
philosophers who regard this as the peculiar privilege of 
man, a wise provision of Providence to render us con- 
tented and easy with our lot in existence. For my part, 
I do not envy, and I have never aspired to, the happiness 
of ignorance and stupidity. But, be it a blessing or a 
curse, the phenomenon is undoubted. Present me with some 
inestimable benefit, that my nature fitted me to enjoy, but 
that my fortune has long denied me to partake, and I in- 
stantly rise as from an oppressive lethargy. Before, it may 
be, I felt myself uneasy ; but I knew of no remedy, I 
dreamed it was my nature, I did not put forth a finger for 
relief. But now, that I have drawn the unexpected prize, 



448 TRAVELS OF ST. LEOX. 

I grow astonished at my former blindness ; I become sud- 
denly sensible of my powers and my worth ; the blood that 
slept in my heart, circulates, and distends every vein ; I 
tread on air ; I feel a calm, yet ravishing delight ; I know 
what kind of an endowment life is, to a being in whom 
sentiment and affection are awakened to their genuine 
action. 

This was the effect of the mutual attachment produced 
between me and Charles. I looked into him, and saw a 
man ; I saw expansive powers of intellect and true sensibi- 
lity of heart. To be esteemed and loved and protected by 
such a man ; to have him to take one by the hand, to enquire 
into one's sorrows, to interest himself in one's anxieties, to 
exult in one's good fortune and one's joys ; this and this 
only deserves the name of existence. 

I had however a painful drawback upon my satisfaction. 
It was my fate since the visit of the stranger of the lake of 
Constance, to rejoice for moments and to lament for years. 
I could not at first ascend to that purity and eminence of 
friendship to forget myself; I could not but painfully feel 
the contrast between me and my son. How happy was 
Charles, how respectable, how self-approving, how cheerful 
of heart : I shall presently have occasion to speak of a still 
further addition to his happiness ! I looked indeed young, 
fair, blooming, a stranger to care : but I had a secret worm 
gnawing at my vitals. This very deceitfulness of my coun- 
tenance was a bitter aggravation to my remorse. I never 
saw my features reflected in the polished shield without 
feeling myself struck to the core. Charles had walked 
right onward in the paths of honour ; he feared no detection; 
he had no secret consciousness that gave the lie to the voice 
of applause, partiality, and friendship. But I was all a lie ; 
I was no youth ; I was no man ; I was no member of the 
great community of my species. The past and the future 
were equally a burthen to my thoughts. To the eye that 
saw me I was a youth flushed with hope, and panting for 
existence. In my soul I knew, and I only knew, that I was 
a worn out veteran, battered with the storms of life, having 
tried every thing and rejected every thing, and discarded 
for ever by hope and joy. When I walked forth leaning 



TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 449 

on the arm of him who delighted to call me his younger 
brother, this was the consciousness that hunted my steps 
and blasted me with its aspect whichever way we turned. 



CHAPTER XLV. 

AMONG the various confidences reposed in me by my son, 
one was his love. The object of his attachment was a 
young lady of quality,, named Pandora,, niece to Nadasti, 
great palatine of Hungary. In consequence of the earnest 
recommendation of Castaldoin 1553, Nadasti had taken my 
son under his particular protection, and Charles's principal 
home at the periods when the army was dispersed in winter- 
quarters was at the palatine's house in the city of Presburg. 
Here his manners had become more polished, and his taste 
more refined. Till then, bred in tents, and living amidst 
the clangour of arms, he had been a mere soldier, rough, 
generous, manly, and brave. But Nadasti was an elegant 
scholar, smitten with that ardent love of classical and 
ancient lore which has so eminently distinguished the six- 
teenth century. He assembled round him men of letters 
from various parts of Europe ; and, under his auspices, the 
days of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, seemed to be 
revived, whose love of literature was such, that he kept three 
hundred transcribers in his house, constantly employed in 
multiplying copies of the precious relics of Roman and 
Athenian learning. The consort of Nadasti was one of the 
most accomplished matrons of the age in which she lived, 
and her three daughters were patterns of every polite and 
amiable accomplishment. Such was the school into which 
the chevalier de Damville entered at the age of twenty-five, 
immediately after the retreat of Castaldo. This may seem 
an age somewhat late for new-modelling the character, but 
Charles had an enterprising and aspiring temper; and he 
soon became a distinguished ornament of courts and the 
society of ladies. Castaldo had taught him all he knew, 

G 6 



450 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

the temper, the manners, and the science of a military 
chieftain : the palace of Nadasti finished and completed the 
education of my son. 

Pandora was only fourteen years of age when Charles de 
Damville first became a sort of inmate of the house of her 
uncle. She at that time lived with her father; but he 
being afterwards killed in the battle which Nadasti fought 
for the relief of Ziget, Pandora occupied an apartment in 
the palatine palace. From the first hour he saw her, a 
mere child as it were, accompanied by her governess, Charles 
confessed to me that he had beheld her with eyes of dis- 
tinction. He had said to himself, This little girl will here- 
after be a jewel worthy of the crown of an emperor. He 
had found something inexpressibly attractive in the starry 
brightness of her complexion ; her air he regarded as both 
lighter and more graceful than any thing he had ever before 
seen ; and her speaking and humid eye seemed to him the 
very emblem of sensibility and sweetness. If, at the girlish 
and immature season of fourteen, he had ascribed to her all 
these perfections, it will easily be supposed that, as she in- 
creased in stature as the beauties of form unfolded them- 
selves in her, and she advanced in sentiment and a lovely 
consciousness of her worth, the partiality of Charles became 
more deep and unalterable. But the orphan niece of Na- 
dasti was altogether without a portion ; and the great 
palatine would have seen with more complacency the che- 
valier de Damville addressing his pretensions to one of his 
daughters. 

Charles confessed to me that the passion he nourished 
had been fruitful of pleasures and griefs, of hope and per- 
plexity. It was now almost a year since Pandora and 
himself had confessed a mutual affection. The confession 
had not been the result of design on either side : both had 
wished to suppress it ; Pandora from virgin dignity and 
reserve ; and Charles, because he saw not how their affection 
could be crowned with success, and he dreaded, more than 
any misery to himself, to be the author of degradation and 
misery to her he loved. But what is ever uppermost in 
the heart will at some time or other betray itself. Their 
sympathetic and accordant feelings upon a point so deeply 



TRAVELS OP ST. LEON. 451 

interesting to both, rendered them eagle-eyed to discern 
the smallest indications. They had had a thousand oppor- 
tunities, and a thousand opportunities had been resisted. 
They became more than usually silent and reserved towards 
each other ; they shunned to meet, and, when they met, 
avoided each other's eyes. One day a casual encounter in 
a solitary retreat, which each had sought principally with 
intention to escape the presence of the other, had taken 
them off their guard. They were mutually hesitating and 
perplexed ; each discerned more unequivocal indications 
than had ever occurred before of the state of the other's 
sentiments ; the entire accord snapped as it were at once 
the chains of reserve; and each, after a short interval of 
hesitation, spoke with an eloquence, hitherto untried, the 
language of love. The difference of years between them 
gave a zest to the communication. Pandora seemed to be 
throwing herself upon the protection of an elder brother, 
of a guardian, one in whose prudence she confided as the 
antidote of her inexperience; Charles felt his maturer years 
as imposing on him more severely that sacred integrity, the 
obligation of which, at least as society is at present consti- 
tuted, seems in the majority of cases to grow out of the 
relative situation of the sexes, of the protectorship of the 
one, and the dependence of the other. 

" And now," exclaimed Charles, " what am I to do ? 
what am I to desire ? It would be affectation in me to 
conceal from myself on an occasion like this, that the re- 
putation I have acquired both in the arts of peace and war 
is such, as to have caused Nadasti to set his heart upon 
my becoming his son-in-law. The great palatine, though 
in many respects generous and liberal, has that inflexible- 
ness of opinion, which is perhaps more apt to grow up in 
the hearts of scholars, than in other departments of society. 
He is grave and solemn ; all his habits are of a majestic 
and lordly nature ; and I have small reason to hope that I 
shall find him accessible to my representations. He is little 
subject to sallies of passion ; his own propensities are wholly 
under the control of his judgment ; and it is not likely 
that he will make allowance for the ardent affections of 
other minds. Pandora is entirely dependent on him ; in 
G o 2 



452 TRAVELS OF ST. LEON. 

any case the portion she would receive from him would he 
very inadequate to her worth ; but, discarded and discoun- 
tenanced by him who has the absolute rule of Christian 
Hungary, what can she expect ? I am myself destitute of 
fortune ; my provision as a soldier will be very inadequate 
to the wants of the first and softest of her sex. But even 
of that provision Nadasti will deprive me, if I marry in 
opposition to his pleasure. Shall I make Pandora the in- 
habitant of tents and