SCOTS
CMSW

Julia de Roubigné, Vol. 1

Author(s): Mackenzie, Henry

Text

JULIA DE ROUBIGNÉ
A TALE.
IN A SERIES OF LETTERS.
PUBLISHED BY
The AUTHOR of THE MAN OF FEELING,
and THE MAN OF THE WORLD.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOL. I.
LONDON:
PRINTED FOR W. STRAHAN; AND
T. CADELL, IN THE STRAND.
M DCC LXXVII.
The Reader is deſired to make the following
Corrections.
Page 22. line 3. for colldy, read coldly.
15. for know, read knew
— 35. —15. for aſſeſſor, read aggreſſor.
— 57. — 6. dele enough.
— 70. — 11. for panted, read poured.
— 73. — 12. and 13. for tears, read fears.
— 114. — 11. for doctor's confirm them, read,
doctor's LOOKS confirm them.
— 126. — 12. for flow, read flows.
— 160. — 18. for diſſuaſive, read diſſuaſives.
— 167. — 7. for laylo, read laylock.
INTRODUCTION.
I Have formerly taken the liberty of
holding ſſome prefatory diſcourſe with
my readers, on the ſubject of thoſe little
hiſtories, which accident had enabled me
to lay before them. This is probably the
laſt time I ſhall make uſe of their indulgence;
and even, if this Introduction
ſhould be found ſuperfluous, it may claim
their pardon, as the parting addreſs of
one, who has endeavoured to contribute
to their entertainment.
I was favoured laſt ſummer with a viſit
from a gentleman, a native of France,
with whoſe father I had been intimately
acquainted when I was laſt in that country.
I confeſs myſelf particularly delighted
with an intercourſe, which removes
the barrier of national diſtinction,
and gives to the inhabitants of the world
the appearance of one common family.
I received, therefore, this young Frenchman
into that humble ſhed, which Providence
has allowed my age to reſt in, with
peculiar ſatisfaction, and was rewarded,
for any little attention I had in my power
to ſhew him, by acquiring the friendſhip
of one, whom I found to inherit all that
paternal worth, which had fixed my eſteem,
about a dozen years ago, in Paris.
In truth, ſuch attention always rewards
itſelf; and, I believe, my own feelings,
which I expreſſed to this amiable and accompliſhed
Frenchman on his leaving
England, are ſuch as every one will own,
whoſe mind is ſuſceptible of feeling at all.
He was profuſe of thanks, to which my
good offices had no title, but from the inclination
that accompanied them. — Ici,
Monſieur, (ſaid I, for he had uſed a language
more accommodated than ours to
the leſſer order of ſentiments, and I anſwered
him, as well as long want of practice
would allow me, in the ſame tongue)
— lci, Monſieur, obſcur & inconnu, avec
beaucoup de bienveillance,mais peu de pouvoir,
je ne goûte point d'un plaiſir plus ſincere,
que de penſer, qu'il y a, dans aucun quartier
du monde, une ame honnête, qui ſe ſouvient
de moi avec reconnoiſſance.
But I am talking of myſelf, when I
ſhould be giving an account of the following
papers. This gentleman, diſcourſing
with me on the ſubject of thoſe
letters, the ſubſtance of which I formerly
publiſhed under the title of The Man of
the World, obſerved, that if the deſire of
ſearching into the records of private life
were common, the diſcovery of ſuch colletions
would ceaſe to be wondered at.
"We look (ſaid he), for the Hiſtories
of Men, among thoſe of high rank; but
memoirs of ſentiment, and ſuffering, may
be found in every condition.
"My father, continued my young
friend, made, ſince you ſaw him, an acquiſition
of that nature, by a whimſical
accident. Standing one day at the door
of a grocery ſhop, making enquiry as to
the lodgings of ſome perſon of his acquaintance,
a little boy paſſed him, with
a bundle of papers in his hands which he
offered for ſale to the maſter of the ſhop
for the ordinary uſes of his trade; but
they differed about the price, and the boy
was ready to depart, when my father deſired
a ſight of the papers, ſaying to
the lad, with a ſmile, that, perhaps, he
might deal with him for his book; upon
reading a ſentence or two, he found a ſtyle
much above that of the ordinary manuſcripts
of a grocery-ſhop, and gave the
boy his price, at a venture, for the whole.
When he had got home, and examined
the parcel, he diſcovered it to conſiſt of
letters put up, for the moſt part, according
to their dates, which he committed
to me, as having, he ſaid, better eyes,
and a keener curioſity, than his. I found
them to contain a ſtory in detail, which,
I believe, would intereſt one of your turn
of thinking a good deal. If you chooſe
to undergo the trouble of the peruſal, I
ſhall take care to have them ſent over to
you by the firſt opportunity I can find,
and if you will do the Public the favour
to digeſt them, as you did thoſe of Anneſly
and his children" — My young Frenchman
ſpeaks the language of compliment;
but I do not chooſe to tranſlate any further.
It is enough to ſay, that I received
his papers ſome time ago, and that they
are thoſe which I have tranſlated, and
now give to the world. I had perhaps
treated them as I did the letters he mentioned;
but I found it a difficult taſk to
reduce them into narrative, becauſe they
are made up of ſentiment, which narrative
would deſtroy. The only power I
have exerciſed over them, is that of omitting
letters, and paſſages of letters, which
ſeem to bear no relation to the ſtory I
mean to communicate. In doing this,
however, I confeſs I have been cautious:
I love myſelf (and am apt therefore,
from a common ſort of weakneſs, to ima-gine
that other people love) to read nature
in her ſmalleſt character, and am often
more appriſed of the ſtate of the mind,
from very trifling, than from very important
circumſtances.
As, from age and ſituation, it is likely I
ſhall addreſs the Public no more, I cannot
avoid taking this opportunity, of
thanking it for the reception it has given,
to thoſe humble pages which I formerly
introduced to its notice. Unknown, and
unpatronized, I had little pretenſion to
its favour, and little expectation of it;
writing, or arranging the writings of
others, was, to me, only a favourite
amuſement, for which a man eaſily finds
both time and apology. One advantage
I drew from it, which the humane may
hear with ſatisfaction; I often wandered
from my own woe, in tracing the tale of
another's affliction, and, at this moment,
every ſentence I write, I am but eſcaping
a little farther from the preſſure of ſorrow.
Of the merit or faults of the compoſition,
in the volumes of which I have directed
the publication, a ſmall ſhare only
was mine; for their tendency I hold myſelf
entirely accountable, becauſe, had it
been a bad one, I had the power of ſuppreſſing
them; and from their tendency,
I believe, more than any other quality
belonging to them, has the indulgence of
their readers ariſen. For that indulgence
I deſire to return them my grateful acknowledgments
as an editor; I ſhall
be proud with better reaſon, if there is
nothing to be found, in my publications,
that may forfeit their eſteem as a man.
JULIA DE ROUBIGNÉ,
A TALE.
IN A SERIES OF LETTERS.
LETTER I.
Julia de Roubigné to Maria de Roncilles.
"THE friendſhip of your Maria,
misfortune can never deprive you
of." — Theſe were the words with which
you ſealed that attachment we had formed
in the bliſsful period of infancy. The
remembrance of thoſe peaceful days we
paſſed together in the convent, is often
recalled to my mind, amidſt the cares of
the preſent. Yet do not think me fooliſh
enough to complain of the want of thoſe
pleaſures which affluence gave us; the
ſituation of my father's affairs is ſuch as
to exclude luxury, but it allows happineſs;
and, were it not for the recollection
of what he once poſſeſſed, which now
and then intrudes itſelf upon him, he
could ſcarce form a wiſh that were not
gratified in the retreat he has found.
You were wont to call me the little philoſopher;
if it be philoſophy to feel no
violent diſtreſs from that change which
the ill-fortune of our family has made in
its circumſtances, I do not claim much
merit from being that way a philoſopher.
From my earlieſt days I found myſelf
unambitious of wealth or grandeur, contented
with the enjoyment of ſequeſtered
life, and fearful of the dangers which attend
an exalted ſtation. It is therefore
more properly a weakneſs, than a virtue,
in me, to be ſatisfied with my preſent
ſituation.
But, after all, my friend, what is it
we have loft? We have exchanged the
life of gaiety, of tumults, of pleaſure
they call it, which we led in Paris, when
my father was a rich man; for the pure,
the peaceful, the truly happy ſcenes,
which this place affords us, now he is a
poor one. Dependence and poverty alone
are ſuffered to complain; but they know
not how often greatneſs is dependent, and
wealth is poor. Formerly, even during
the very ſhort ſpace of the year we were
at Belville, it was vain to think of that
domeſtic enjoyment I uſed to hope for in
the country; we were people of too much
conſequence to be allowed the privilege
of retirement, and except thoſe luxurious
walks I ſometimes found means to take —
with you, my dear, I mean — the day
was as little my own, as in the midſt of
our winter-hurry in town.
The loſs of this momentous law ſuit
has brought us down to the level of tranquillity.
Our days are not now pre-occupied
by numberleſs engagements, nor
our time anxiouſly divided for a rotation
of amuſements; I can walk, read, or
think, without the officious interruption
of polite viſitors; and, inſtead of talking
eternally of others, I find time to ſettle
accounts with myſelf.
Could we but prevail on my father to
think thus! — Alas! his mind is not
formed for contracting into that narrow
ſphere, which his fortune has now marked
out for him. He feels adverſity a defeat,
to which the vanquiſhed ſubmit,
with pride in their looks, but anguiſh in
their hearts. He is cut off from the enjoyment
of his preſent ſtate, while he
puts himſelf under the cruel neceſſity of
diſſembling his regret for the loſs of the
former.
I can eaſily perceive how much my
deareſt mother is affected by this. I ſee
her conſtantly on the watch for every
word and look that may diſcover his
feelings; and ſhe has, too often, occaſion
to obſerve them unfavourable. She endeavours,
and commonly ſucceeds in her
endeavour, to put on the appearance of
cheerfulneſs; ſhe even tries to perſuade
herſelf that ſhe has reaſon to be contented;
but, alas! an effort to be happy,
always but an increase of our uneaſineſs.
And what is left for your Julia to do?
In truth, I fear, I am of little ſervice.
My heart is too much intereſted in the
ſcene, to allow me that command over
myſelf, which would make me uſeful.
My father often remarks, that I look
grave; I ſmile (fooliſhly I fear), and deny
it; it is, I believe, no more than I uſed
to do formerly; but we were then in a
ſituation that did not lead him to obſerve
it. He had no conſciouſneſs in himſelf, to
prompt the obſervation.
How often do I wiſh for you, Maria,
to aſſiſt me! There is ſomething in that
ſmile of yours (I paint it to myſelf at this
inſtant) which care and ſorrow are unable
to withſtand; beſides the general
effect produced by the intervention of a
third perſon, in a ſociety, the members
of which are afraid to think of one anther's
thoughts. — Yet you need not anſwer
this wiſh of mine; I know how impoſſible
it is for you to come hither at
preſent. Write to me as often as you can;
you will not expect order in my letters,
nor obſerve it in your anſwers; I will
ſpeak to you on paper when my heart is
full, and you will anſwer me from the
ſympathy of yours.
LETTER II.
Julia to Maria.
I AM to vex my Maria with an account
of trifles, and thoſe too unpleaſant
ones; but he has taught me to think,
that nothing is inſignificant to her, in
which I am concerned, and inſiſts on participating,
at leaſt, if ſhe cannot alleviate,
my diſtreſſes.
I am every day more and more uneaſy
about the chagrin which our ſituation
ſeems to give my father, A little
incident has juſt now plunged him into a
fit of melancholy, which all the attention
of my mother, all the attempts at gaiety
which your poor Julia is conſtrained to
make, cannot diſſipate or overcome.
Our old ſervant Le Blanc is your acquaintance;
indeed he very ſoon becomes
acquainted with every friend and viſitor
of the family, his age prompting him
to talk, and giving him the privilege of
talking.
Le Blanc had obtained permiſſion, a
few days ſince, to go on a viſit to his
daughter, who is married to a young fellow,
ſerving in the capacity of coachman
at a gentleman's in the neighbourhood
of Belville. He returned laſt night, and,
in his uſual familiar manner, gave us
an account of his expedition this morning.

My father enquired after his daughter
he gave ſome ſhort anſwér as to her; but
I ſaw by his face that he was full of ſome
other intelligence. He was ſtanding behind
my father, reſting one hand on the
back of his chair; he began to rub it violently,
as if he would have given the wood
a poliſh by the friction. "I was at Belville,
Sir," ſaid he. My father made no
reply; but Le Blanc had got over the
difficulty of beginning, and was too much
occupied by the idea of the ſcene, to forbear
attempting the picture.
"When I ſtruck of the high road,
ſaid he, to go down by the Old Avenue,
I thought I had loſt my way; there was
not a tree to be ſeen. You may believe
me as you pleaſe, Sir; but, I declare, I
ſaw the rooks, that uſed to build there,
in a great flock over my head, croaking
for all the world as if they had been looking
for the Avenue too. Old Laſune's houſe,
where you, Miſs, (turning to me) would
frequently ſtop in your walks, was pulled
down, except a ſingle beam at one
end, which now ſerves for a rubbing-poſt
to ſome cattle that graze there; and your
roan horſe, Sir, which the marquis had
of you in a preſent, when he purchaſed
Belville, has been turned out to graſs
among the reſt, it ſeems; for there he
was, ſtanding under the ſhade of the
wall; and when I came up, the poor beaſt
knew me, as any chriſtian would, and
came neighing up to my ſide as he was
wont to do. I gave him a piece of bread
I had put in my pocket in the morning,
and he followed me for more, till I reached
the very gate of the houſe; I mean
what was the gate, when I knew it;
for there is now a rail run acroſs, with a
ſmall door, which Le Sauvre told me they
call Chineſe. But, after all, the marquis
is ſeldom there to enjoy thoſe fine things;
he lives in town, Le Sauvre ſays, eleven
months in the year, and only comes down
to Belville, for a few weeks, to get money
to ſpend in Paris."
Here Le Blanc pauſed in his narration.
I was afraid to look up to ſee its effect
on my father; indeed the picture which
the poor fellow had, innocently, drawn,
had too much affefted myſelf. — Laſune's
houſe! — My Maria remembers it; but
ſhe knows not all the ties which its recollection
has upon me.
I ſtole however a ſide-long glance at
my father. He ſeemed affected, but diſdain
was mixed with his tenderneſs;
he gathered up his features, as it were,
to hide the effect of the recital. "You
ſaw Le Sauvre then?" ſaid he coolly. —
"Yes," anſwered Le Blanc; "but he is
wonderfully altered ſince he was in your
ſervice, Sir; when I firſt diſcovered him,
he was in the garden, picking ſome greens
for his dinner; he looked ſo rueful when
he lifted up his head and ſaw me! indeed
I was little better myſelf, when I caſt my
eyes around. It was a ſad ſight to ſee!
for the marquis keeps no gardener, except
Le Sauvre himſelf, who has fifty
things to do beſides, and only hires another
hand or two, for the time he reſides
at Belville in the ſummer. The walks
that uſed to be trimmed ſo nicely, are
covered with mole-hills; the hedges are
full of great holes, and Le Sauvre's
chickens were baſking in the flower-beds.
He took me into the houſe, and his wife
ſeemed glad to ſee her old acquaintance,
and the children clambered up to kiſs
me, and Jeanot aſked me about his godmother,
meaning you, Madam, and his
little ſiſter enquired after her handſome
miſtreſs, as ſhe uſed to call you, Miſs.
"I have got, ſaid Nanette, two new
miſtreſſes, that are finer dreſſed than ſhe,
but they are much prouder, and not half
ſo pretty;" meaning two of the marquis's
daughters, who were at Belville for a few
days, when their father was laſt there. I
ſmiled to hear the girl talk ſo, though
heaven knows, my heart was ſad. Only
three of the rooms are furniſhed, in one
of which Le Sauvre and his family were
ſitting; the reſt had their windows darkened
with cobwebs, and they echoed ſo
when Le Sauvre and I walked through
them, that I ſhuddered, as if I had been
in a monument."
"It is enough, Le Blanc," ſaid my
mother, in a ſort of whiſper. My father
aſked ſome indifferent queſtion about the
weather. I ſat, I know not how, looking
piteouſly, I ſuppoſe; for my mother
tapped my cheek with the word Child!
emphatically pronounced. I ſtarted out
of my reverie, and finding myſelf unable
to feign a compoſure which I did not
feel, walked out of the room to hide my
emotion. When I got to my own chamber,
I felt the full force of Le Blanc's
deſcription, but to me it was not painful;
it is not on hearts that yield the
ſooneſt that ſorrow has the moſt powerful
effects; it was but giving way to a ſhower
of tears, and I could think of Belville
with pleaſure, even in the poſſeſſion of
another. — They may cut its trees, Maria,
and alter its walks, but cannot ſo deface
it as to leave no traces for the memory
of your Julia! — Methinks I
ſhould hate to have been born in a town;
when I ſay my native brook, or my native
hill, I talk of friends of whom the
remembrance warms my heart. To me,
even to me, who have loſt their acquaintance,
there is ſomething delightful in the
melancholy recollection of their beauties
and, here, I often wander out to the top
of a little broom-covered knoll, merely
to look towards the quarter where Belville
is ſituated.
It is otherwiſe with my father. On Le
Blanc's recital he has brooded theſe three
days. The effect it had on him is ſtill
viſible in his countenance, and but an
hour ago, while my mother and I were
talking of ſome other ſubject, in which
he was joining by monoſyllables, he ſaid,
all at once, that he had ſome thoughts of
ſending to the marquis for his roan horſe
again, ſince he did not chuſe to keep
him properly.
They who have never known proſperity,
can hardly be ſaid to be unhappy;
it is from the remembrance of joys we
have loſt, that the arrows of affliction are
pointed. Muſt we then tremble, my
friend, in the poſſeſſion of preſent pleaſures,
from the fear of their embittering
futurity? or does Heaven thus teach us
that ſort of enjoyment, of which the remembrance
is immortal? Does it point
out thoſe as the happy, who can look back
on their paſt life, not as the chronicle
of pleaſure, but as the record of virtue?
Forgive my preaching; I have leiſure,
and cauſe to preach. You know how
faithfully, in every ſituation,
I am yours.
LETTER III.
Julia to Maria.
"I Will ſpeak to you on paper when my
heart is full." — Misfortune thinks
itſelf entitled to ſpeak, and feels ſome
conſolation in the privilege of complaining,
even where it has nothing to hope
from the utterance of complaint,
Is it a want of duty in me to mention
the weaknefs of a parent? Heaven knows
the ſincerity of the love I bear him!
Were I indifferent about my father, the
ſtate of his mind would not much diſquiet
me; but my anxiety for his happineſs
carries me perhaps a blameable
length, in that cenſure, which I cannot
help feeling, of his incapacity to enjoy it.
My mother too! if he knew how much
it preys upon her gentle ſoul, to ſee the
impatience with which he ſuffers adverſity!
— Yet, alas! unthinking creature that
I am, I judge of his mind by my own,
and while I venture to blame his diſtreſs,
I forget that it is entitled to my pity.
This morning he was obliged to go to
the neighbouring village, to meet a procureur
from Paris on ſome buſineſs, which
he told us would detain him all day.
The night was cold and ſtormy, and my
mother and I looked often earneſtly out,
thinking on the diſagreeable ride he
would have on his return. "My poor
huſband!" ſaid my mother, as the wind
howled in the lobby beneath. "But I
have heard him ſay, Mamma, that, in
theſe little hardſhips, a man thinks himſelf
unfortunate, but is never unhappy;
and you may remember he would always
prefer riding, to being drove in a carriage,
becauſe of the enjoyment which he told
us he ſhould feel from a clean room and
a cheering fire when he got home." At
the word Carriage, I could obſerve my
mother ſigh; I was ſorry it had eſcaped
me; but, at the end of my ſpeech, we
looked both of us at the hearth, which I
had ſwept but the moment before; the
faggots were crackling in the fire, and
my little Fidele lay aſleep before it. —
He pricked up his ears and barked, and
we heard the trampling of horſes in the
court. Your father is returned, cried my
mother; and I ran to the door to receive
him. "Julia, is it not?" ſaid he (for
the ſervant had not time to fetch us
light); but he ſaid it colldy. I offered to
help him off with his ſurtout. "Softly,
child, ſaid he, you pull my arm awry."
It was a trifle, but I felt my heart ſwell
when he ſaid this.
He entered the room; my mother took
his hand in hers. "You are terribly
cold, my love," ſaid ſhe, and ſhe drew
his chair nearer to the fire; he threw aſide
his hat and whip, without ſpeaking a
word. In the centre of the table, which
was covered for ſupper, I had placed a
bowl of milk, dreſſed in a way I know
he liked, and had garniſhed it with ſome
artificial flowers, in the manner we uſed
to have our deſerts done at Belville. He
fixed his eyes on it, and I began to make
ready my anſwer to a queſtion I ſuppoſed
he would aſk, who had trimmed it ſo nicely?
but he ſtarted haſtily from his chair,
and ſnatching up this little piece of ornament,
threw it into the fire, ſaying, "we
had now no title to finery." This was too
much for me; it was fooliſh, very foolish,
but I could not help letting fall ſome
tears. He looked ſternly at me, and,
muttering ſome words which I could not
hear, walked out of the room, and ſlapped
the door roughly behind him. I
threw myſelf on my mother's neck, and
wept outright.
Our ſupper was ſilent and ſullen; to me
the more painful, from the mortifying
reverſe which I felt from what I had expected.
My father did not taſte the
milk; my mother aſked him to eat of it
with an affected eaſe in her manner; but
I obſerved her voice falter as the aſked
him: As for me, I durſt not look him in
the face; I trembled every time the ſervant
left the room; there was a protection,
even in his preſence, which I could not
bear to loſe. The table was ſcarcely uncovered,
when my father ſaid he was tired
and fleepy; my mother laid hold of the
opportunity, and offered to accompany
him to their chamber: She bid me good
night; my father was ſilent; but I anſwered
as if addreſſing myſelf to both.
Maria! in my hours of viſionary indulgence,
I have ſometimes painted to
myſelf a huſband — no matter whom —
comforting me amidſt the diſtreſſes which
fortune had laid upon us. I have ſmiled
upon him through my tears; tears, not
of anguiſh, but of tenderneſs; — our
children were playing around us, unconſcious
of misfortune; we had taught them
to be humble and to be happy; — our
little ſhed was reſerved to us, and their
ſmiles to cheer it. — I have imagined the
luxury of ſuch a ſcene, and affliction became
a part of my dream of happineſs!
Thus far I had written laſt night; I
found at laſt my body tired and drowzy,
though my mind was ill diſpoſed to obey
it: I laid aſide my pen, and thought of
going to bed; but I continued ſitting in
my chair, for an hour after, in that ſtate
of languid thinking, which, though it has
not ſtrength enough to faſten on any
ſingle object, can wander without wearineſs
over a thouſand. The clock ſtriking
one, diſſolved the enchantment; I was
then with my Maria, and I went to bed
but to continue my dream of her.
Why did I wake to anxiety and diſquiet?
— Selfiſh! that I ſhould not bear
without murmuring, my proportion of
both! — I met my mother in the parlour,
with a fmile of meekneſs and ſerenity
her countenance; ſhe did not ſay a ſingle
word of laſt night's incident; and I ſaw
ſhe purpoſely avoided giving me any opportunity
of mentioning it; ſuch is the
delicacy of her conduct with regard to
my father. What an angel this woman
is! Yet I fear, my friend, ſhe is a very
woman in her ſufferings.
She was the only ſpeaker of our company,
while my father ſat with us. He
rode out ſoon after breakfaſt, and did
not return till dinner-time. I was almoſt
afraid of his return, and was happy to ſee,
from my window, ſomebody riding down
the lane along with him. This was a
gentleman of conſiderable rank and fortune
in our neighbourhood, the count
Louis de Montauban. I do not know how
it has happened, but I cannot recollect
having ever mentioned him to you before.
He is not one of thoſe very intereſting
characters, which are long preſent with the
mind; yet his worth is univerſally acknowledged,
and his friendſhip to my father,
though of late acquiſition, deſerves
more than ordinary acknowledgment
from us. His hiſtory we heard from
others, ſoon after our arrival here; ſince
our acquaintance began, we have had it
at different times, from himſelf; for
though he has not much frankneſs about
him to diſcover his ſecrets, he poſſeſſes a
manly firmneſs, which does not ſhrink
from the diſcovery.
His father was only brother to the late
Francis count de Montauban; his mother,
the daughter of a noble family in
Spain, died in childbed of him, and he
was ſoon after deprived of his remaining
parent, who was killed at a ſiege in Flanders.
His uncle took, for ſome time, the
charge of his education; but, before he
attained the age of manhood, he diſcovered,
in the count's behaviour, a want of
that reſpect which ſhould have diſtinguiſhed
the relation from the dependent; and
after having, in vain, endeavoured to
aſſert it, he took the reſolution of leaving
France, and travelled a-foot into
Spain, where he met with a very kind
reception from the relations of his mother.
By their aſſiſtance, he was afterwards
enabled to acquire a reſpectable
rank in the Spaniſh army, and ſerved, in
a ſeries of campaigns, with diſtinguiſhed
reputation. About a year ago, his uncle
died unmarried; by this event he ſucceeded
to the family eſtate, part of which is
ſituated in this neighbourhood; and ſince
that time, he has been generally here, employed
in ſuperintending it; for which,
it ſeems, there was the greater neceſſity,
as the late count, who commonly lived
at the old hereditary ſeat of his anceſtors,
had, for ſome of the laſt years of his
life, been entirely under the dominion of
rapacious domeſtics, and ſuffered his affairs
in this quarter, to run, under their
guidance, into the greateſt confuſion.
Though, in France, a man of fortune's
reſidence at his country-ſeat is ſo unuſual,
that it might be ſuppoſed to enhance the
value of ſuch a neighbour, yet the circumſtance
of Montauban's great fortune
was a reaſon, I believe, for my father
ſhunning any advances towards his acquaintance.
The count at laſt contrived
to introduce himſelf to us (which, for
what reaſon I know not, he ſeemed extremely
anxious to do), in a manner that
flattered my father; not by offering favours,
but by aſking one. He had led a
walk through a particular part of his
ground, along the courſe of a brook, which
runs alſo through a narrow neck of my father's
property, by the intervention of
which, the count's territory was divided.
This ſtripe of my father's ground would
have been a purchaſe very convenient
for Montauban; but, with that peculiar
delicacy which our ſituation required, he
never made the propoſition of a purchaſe,
but only requeſted that he might have
leave to open a paſſage through an old
wall, by which it was incloſed, that he
might enjoy a continuation of that romantic
path, which the banks of the rivulet
afforded. His deſire was expreſſed
ſo politely, that it could not be refuſed.
Montauban ſoon after paid a viſit of
thanks to my father, on the occaſion;
this laſt was pleaſed with an incident,
which gave him back the power of conferring
an obligation, and therefore, I
preſume, looked on his new acquaintance
with a favourable eye; he praiſed his appearance,
to my mother and me; and ſince
that day, they have improved their acquaintance
into a very cordial intimacy.
In many reſpects, indeed, their ſentiments
are congenial. A high ſenſe of
honour is equally the portion of both.
Montauban, from his long ſervice in the
army, and his long reſidence in Spain
carries it to a very romantic height. My
father, from a ſenſe of his ſituation, is
now more jealous than ever of his. Montauban
ſeems of a melancholy diſpoſition.
My father was far from being ſo once;
but misfortune has now given his mind
a tincture of ſadneſs. Montauban thinks
lightly of the world, from principle. My
father, from ill-uſage, holds it in diſguſt.
This laſt ſimilarity of ſentiment is a favourite
topic of their diſcourſe, and their
ſhip ſeems to increaſe, from every mutual
obſervation which they make. Perhaps
it is from ſomething amiſs in our nature,
but I have often obſerved the moſt ſtrict
of our attachments to proceed from an
alliance of diſlike.
There is ſomething hard and unbending
in the character of the count, which,
though my father applauds it under the
title of magnanimity, I own myſelf womaniſh
enough not to like. There is an
yielding weakneſs, which to me is more
amiable than the inflexible right; it is
an act of my reaſon to approve of the
laſt; but my heart gives its ſuffrage to
the firſt, without pauſing to inquire for
a cauſe. — I am awkward at defining;
you know what I mean; the laſt is ſterm
in Montauban, the firſt is ſmiling in
Maria.
Mean time, I wiſh to feel the moſt perfect
gratitude for his unwearied aſſiduities
to oblige my father and his family
When I think on his uncommon friendſhip,
I try to forget that ſeverity, which holds
me ſomehow at a diſtance from him.
Though I meant a deſcription, I have
ſcrawled through moſt of my paper without
beginning one. I have made but
ſome ſlight ſketches of his mind; of his
perſon I have ſaid nothing, which, from
a woman to a woman, ſhould have been
mentioned the ſooneſt. It is ſuch as becomes
a ſoldier, rather manly than handſome,
with an air of dignity in his mien
that borders on haughtineſs. In ſhort,
were I to ſtudy for a ſentence, I ſhould
ſay, that Montauban was made to command
reſpect from all, to obtain praise
from moſt, but to engage the affections
of few.
His company to-day was of importance
to us. By ourſelves, every one's look.
ſeemed the ſpy on another's. We were
conſcious of remembering what all affected
to forget. Montauban's converſation
reconciled us, without our being ſenſible
of it.
My father, who (as it commonly happens
to the aſſeſſor in thoſe caſes) had
perhaps felt more from his own harſhneſs,
than either my mother or I, ſeemed happy
to find an opportunity of being reſtored
to his former familiarity. He was
gayer, and more in ſpirits, than I have
ſeen him for a long time paſt. He in
ſiſted on the count's ſpending the evening
with us. Montauban at firſt excuſed himſelf.
He had told us, in the courſe of
converſation, of his having appropriated
the evening to buſineſs at home; but my
father would liſten to no apology, and
the other was at laſt overcome. He ſeems,
indeed, to feel an uncommon attachment
to my father, and to enjoy more pleaſure
in his company, than I ſhould have expected
him to find in the ſociety of any
one.
You are now, in the account of correſpondence,
I do not know how deep,
in my debt. I mean not to aſk regular
returns; but write to me, I intreat you,
when you can; and write larger letters than
your laſt. Put down every thing, ſo it be
what you feel at the time; and tell every
incident that can make me preſent with
you, were it but the making up of a cap
that pleaſes you. You ſee how much
paper I contrive to blot with trifles.
LETTER IV.
Montauban to Segarva.
YOU ſaw, my friend, with what reluctance
I left Spain, though it was
to return to the country of my birth, to
the inheritance of my fathers. I trembled
when I thought what a ſcene of confuſion
the ſtrange miſmanagement of my uncle
had left me to diſentangle; but it required
only a certain degree of fortitude to
begin that buſineſs, and it was much
ſooner concluded than I looked for. I
have now almoſt wrought myſelf out of
work, and yet the ſituation is not ſo diſguſting
as I imagined. I have long learned
to deſpiſe that flippancy, which characteriſes
my countrymen; yet, I know not
how it is, they gain upon me in ſpite of
myſelf; and while I reſolve to cenſure, I
am forced to ſmile.
From Paris, however, I fled, as if it
had been infeſted with a peſtilence. Great
towns certainly contain many excellent
perſons; but vice and folly predominate
ſo much, that a ſearch after their oppoſites
is beyond the limits of ordinary endurance;
and, beſides the ſuperiority of
numbers, the firſt are ever perked up to
view, while the latter are ſolicitous to
avoid obſervation.
In the country I found a different ſtyle
of character. Here are impertinents who
talk nonſenſe, and rogues who cheat
where they can but they are ſomewhat
nearer nature in both. I met with ſome
female relations, who ſtunned me with
receipts in cookery, and preſcriptions in
phyſic; but they did not dictate to my
taſte in letters, or my judgment in philoſophy.
Ignorance I can bear without
emotion; but the affectation of learning
gives me a fit of the ſpleen.
I make indeed but an awkward figure
among them; for I am forced, by repreſenting
my uncle, to ſee a number of our
family friends, whom I never heard of.
Theſe good people, however, bear with
me wonderfully, and I am not laughed at,
as you predicted.
But they ſometimes peſter me with
their civilities. It is their principle, that
a man cannot be happy alone; and they
tire me with their company, out of pure
good-nature. I have endeavoured to undeceive
them: the greater part do not
underſtand my hints; thoſe who do, repreſent
me a ſour ungracious being,
whom Spain has taught pride and ſullenneſs.
This is well, and I hope the opinion
will propagate itſelf apace. One
muſt be ſomewhat hated, to be independent
of folly.
There is but one of my neighbours,
whoſe temper I find at all congenial to
my own. He has been taught by Miſfortune
to be ſerious: for that I love
him; but Misfortune has not taught
him to be humble: for this I love him
the more. There is a pride which becomes
every man; a poor man, of all
others, ſhould poſſeſs it.
His name is Pierre de Roubigné. His
family of that rank, which is perhaps
always neceſſary to give a fixed liberality
of ſentiment. From the conſequences
an unfortunate law-ſuit, his circumſtances
became ſo involved, that he was obliged
to fell his paternal eſtate, and retire to
ſmall purchaſe he had made in this pro
vince, which is ſituated in the midſt of
my territories here. My ſteward pointed
it out to me, as a thing it was proper for
me to be maſter of, and hinted, that its
owner's circumſtances were ſuch as might
induce him to part with it. Such is the
language of thoſe devourers of land, who
wiſh to make a wilderneſs around them,
provided they are lords of it. For my
part, I find much leſs pleaſure in being
the maſter of acres, than the friend of
men.
From the particulars of Monſ. de Roubigné's
ſtory, which I learned ſoon after
I came hither, I was extremely ſolicitous
of his acquaintance; but I found it not
eaſy to accompliſh my deſire, the diſtance
which great minds preſerve in adverſity,
keeping him ſecluded from the world.
By humouring that delicacy, which ruled
him in his acceptance of a new acquaintance,
I have at laſt ſucceeded. He admits
me as his gueſt, without the ceremony
which the little folks around us
oblige me to endure from them. He
does not think himſelf under the neceſſity
of eternally talking to entertain me;
and we ſometimes ſpend a morning together,
pleaſed with each other's ſociety,
though we do not utter a dozen ſentences.

His youth has been enlightened by letters,
and informed by travel; but what
is ſtill more valuable, his mind has been
early impreſſed with the principles of
manly virtue: he is liberal in ſentiment,
but rigid in the feelings of honour.
Were I to mark his failings, I might
obſerve a degree of peeviſhneſs at mankind,
which, though mankind may deſerve,
it is the trued independence not
to allow them. He feels that chagrin at
his ſituation, which conſtitutes the victory
of Misfortune over us — but I have
not known Misfortune, and am therefore
not entitled to obſerve it.
His family conſiſts of a wife and daughter,
his only ſurviving child, who are
equally eſtimable with himſelf. I have
not, at preſent, time to deſcribe them. I
have given you this ſketch of him, becauſe
I think he is ſuch a man as might
be the friend of my Segarva. There are
ſo few in this trifling world, whoſe mutual
excellence deſerves mutual eſteem,
that the intervention of an hundred leagues
ſhould not bar their acquaintance; and
we increaſe the ſenſe of virtue in ourſelves,
by the conſciouſneſs of virtue in
others.
LETTER V.
Montauban to Segarva.
I Deſcribed to you, in my laſt, the father
of that family, whoſe acquaintance
I have chiefly cultivated ſince I came
hither. His wife and daughter I pro
miſed to deſcribe — at leaſt ſuch a pro
miſe was implied — perhaps I find plea
ſure in deſcribing them — I have time
enough at leaſt for the deſcription — but
no matter for the cauſe.
Madame de Roubigné has ſtill the remains
of a fine woman; and, if I may
credit a picture in her huſband's poſſeſſion,
was in her youth remarkably hand
ſome. She has now a ſort of ſtillneſs in
her look, which ſeems the effect of reſignation
in adverſity. Her countenance
bears the marks of a ſorrow, which we do
not ſo much pity as revere; ſhe has
yielded to calamity, while her huſband
has ſtruggled under its preſſure, and hence
has acquired a compoſure, which renders
that uneaſineſs I remarked in him more
obſervable by the contraſt. I have been
informed of one particular, which, beſides
the difference of ſex, may, in a great
meaſure, account for this. She brought
Roubigné a very conſiderable fortune,
the greateſt part of which was ſpent in
that unfortunate law-ſuit I mentioned.
A conſciouſneſs of this makes the huſband
impatient under their preſent circumſtances,
from the very principle of
generoſity, which leads the wife to appear
contented.
In her converſation ſhe is guided by
the ſame evenneſs of temper. She talks
of the world as of a ſcene where ſhe is a
ſpectator merely, in which there is ſome
thing for virtue to praiſe, for charity to
pardon; and ſmooths the ſpleen of her
huſband's obſervations by ſome palliative
remark which experience has taught her.
One conſolation ſhe has ever at hand:
Religion, the friend of Calamity, ſhe had
cultivated in her moſt proſperous days.
Affliction, however, has not driven her
to enthuſiaſm; her feelings of devotion
are mild and ſecret, her expreſſion gentle
and charitable. I have always obſerved
your outrageouſly-religious, amidſt their
ſeverity to their neighbours, manifeſt a
diſcontent with themſelves; ſpirits like
Madame de Roubigné's have that inward
peace which is eaſily ſatisfied with others.
The rapturous blaze of devotion is more
allied to vanity than to happineſs; like
the torches of the great, it diſtreſſes its
owner, while it flames in the eye of the
public; the other, like the ruſh-light of
the cottager, cheers the little family within,
while it ſeeks not to be ſeen of the
world.
But her daughter, her lovely daughter!
— with all the gentleneſs of her mother's
diſpoſition, ſhe unites the warmth
of her father's heart, and the ſtrength of
her father's underſtanding. Her eyes,
in their ſilent ſtate, (if I may uſe the
term) give the beholder every idea of
feminine ſoftneſs; when ſentiment or feeling
animates them, how eloquent they
are! When Roubigné talks, I hate vice,
and deſpiſe folly; when his wife ſpeaks,
I pity both; but the muſic of Julia's
tongue gives the throb of virtue to my
heart, and lifts my ſoul to ſomewhat ſuperhuman.

I mention not the graces of her form;
yet they are ſuch as would attract the admiration
of thoſe, by whom the beauties
of her mind might not be underſtood. In
one as well as the other, there is a remarkable
conjunction of tenderneſs with
dignity; but her beauty is of that ſort, on
which we cannot properly decide independent
of the ſoul, becauſe the firſt is
never uninformed by the latter.
To the flippancy, which we are apt to
aſcribe to females of her age, ſhe ſeems
utterly a ſtranger. Her diſpoſition indeed
appears to lean, in an uncommon
degree, towards the ſerious. Yet ſhe
breaks forth at times into filial attempts
at gaiety, to amuſe that diſquiet which
ſhe obſerves in her father; but even then
it looks like a conqueſt over the natural
penſiveneſs of her mind. This melancholy
might be held a fault in Julia;
but the fortune of her family has been
ſuch, that none but thoſe, who are totally
exempted from thinking, could,
have looked on it with indifference.
It is only indeed, when ſhe would confer
happineſs on others, that ſhe ſeems
perfectly to enjoy it. The ruſtics around
us talk of her affability and good-humour
with the livelieſt gratitude; and I
have been witneſs to ſeveral ſcenes, where
the diſpenſed mirth and gaiety to ſome
poor families in our neighbourhood, with
a countenance as cheerful as the most
unthinking of them all. At thoſe ſeaſons
I have been tempted from the gravity
natural to me, and borrowed from
trifles a temporary happineſs. Had you
ſeen me yeſterday dancing in the midſt
of a band of grape-gatherers, you would
have bluſhed for your friend; but
danced with Julia.
I am called from my deſcription by the
approach of her whom I would deſcribe.
Her father has ſent his ſervant to inform
me, that his wife and daughter have
agreed to accompany him in a walk, as
far as to a farm of mine, where I have
ſet about trying ſome experiments in
agriculture. Roubigné is ſkilful in thoſe
things: as for me, I know I ſhall loſe
money by them; but it will not be loſt to
the public: and if I can even ſhew what
will not ſucceed, I ſhall do ſomething
for the good of my neighbours. Methinks
too, if Julia de Roubigné would pro
miſe to come and look at them — But I
ſee their family from my window. Farewel.

LETTER VI.
Julia to Maria.
YOU rally me on the ſubject of the
count de Montauban, with that vivacity
which I have ſo often envyed you
the poſſeſſion of. You ſay, you are ſure,
you ſhould like him vaſtly. "What a
bleſſing, in a remote province, where
one is in danger of dying of ennui, to
have this ſtiff, cruſty, honourable Spaniard,
to teaſe and make a fool of!" I have no
thoughts of ſuch amuſement, and therefore
I do not like him vaſtly; but, I confeſs,
I begin to like him better than I
did. He has loſt much of that ſternneſs,
(dignity, my father calls it) which
uſed to chill me when I approached him.
He can talk of common things in a com
mon way; and but yeſterday he danced
with me on the green, amidſt a troop of
honeſt ruſtics, whom I wiſhed to make
happy at the ſmall expence of ſharing
their happineſs. All this, I allow, at
firſt, ſeemed foreign to the man; but he
did not, as I have ſeen ſome of your wiſe
people do, take great credit for letting
himſelf down ſo low. He did it with a
deſign of frankneſs, though ſome of his
native loftineſs remained in the exe-.
cution.
We are much in his debt on the ſcore
of domeſtic happineſs. He has become
ſo far one of the family as to be welcome
at all times, a privilege he makes very
frequent uſe of; and we find ourſelves
ſo much at eaſe with him, that we never
think even of talking more than we
chuſe, to entertain him. He will ſit for
an hour at the table where I am working,
with no other amuſement than that of
twiſting ſhreds of my catgut into whimſical
figures.
I think that he alfo is not the worse
for our ſociety: I ſuppoſe him the happier
for it, from the change in his ſentiments
of others. He often diſputes
with my father, and will not allow the
world to be altogether ſo bad as he uſed
to do. My father, who can now be
merry at times, jokes him on his apoſtacy.
He appealed to me this morning
for the truth of his argument. I
told him, I was unable to judge, becauſe
I knew nothing of the world. "And
yet, (replied he gallantly) it is from you
one ſhould learn to think better of it:
I never knew, till I came hither, that it
contained any thing ſo valuable as Ma
damoiſelle de Roubigné." I think, he
looked fooliſh enough when he paid me
this compliment. I curtſied, with compoſure
enough. It is not from men like
Montauban that one bluſhes at a compliment.

Beſides the general addition to our
good-humour, his ſociety is particularly
uſeful to me. His diſcourſe frequently
turns on ſubjects, from the diſcuſſion of
which, though I am ſomewhat afraid to
engage in it, I always find myſelf the
wiſer. Amidſt the toils of his military
life, Montauban has contrived to find
leiſure for the purſuit of very extenſive
and uſeful knowledge. This, though
little ſolicitous to diſplay, he is always
ready to communicate; and, as he finds
me willing to be inſtructed, he ſeems to
find a pleaſure in inſtructing me.
My mother takes every opportunity of
encouraging this ſort of converſation. You
have often heard her ſentiments on the
mutual advantage of ſuch intercourſe between
the ſexes. You well remember her
frequent mention of a male friend, who
died ſoon after her marriage, from whom,
ſhe has told us, ſhe derived moſt of the
little accompliſhment her mind can boaſt
of. "Men (ſhe uſed to ſay) though
they talk much of their friends, are ſeldom
bleſt with a friend. The nature of
that companionſhip, which they miſtake
for friendſhip, is really deſtructive of its
exiſtence; becauſſe the delicacy of the
laſt ſhrinks from the rude touch of the
former; and that, however pure in their
own ſentiments, the ſociety which they
ſee each other hold with third perſons, is
too groſs, not to break thoſe tender links,
which are abſolutely eſſential to friendſhip.
Girls (ſhe ſaid) eaſily form a connexion
of a more refined ſort; but as it
commonly begins with romance, it ſeldom
outlaſts the years of childhood, except
when it degenerates into cabal and
intrigue; but that the friendſhip of one
of each ſex, when ſo circumſtanced as to
be diſtant from love, (which ſhe affirmed
might be the caſe) has that combination
of ſtrength and delicacy which is equally
formed to improve and delight."
There may be much reaſon in her arguments;
but I cannot, notwithſtanding
my eſteem for him, eaſily think of Montauban
as my friend. He has not yet
quite obliterated the fears I felt on our
firſt acquaintance. He has, however, done
much to conquer them; and, if he goes
on as he has begun, I know not what in
time he may arrive at. Mean time I am
contented with Maria: our friendſhip has
at leaſt endured beyond the period aſſigned
by my mother. Shall it not always
endure? I know the anſwer which
your heart will make — mine throbs while
I think of it.
LETTER VII.
Montauban to Segarva.
YOU complain of my ſilence. In
truth I have nothing to ſay but to
repeat, what is very unneceſſary, my aſſurances
of friendſhip to Segarva. My
life is of a ſort that produces nothing; I
mean in recital. To myſelf it is not vacant:
I can be employed in marking the
growth of a ſhrub; but I cannot deſcribe
its progreſs, nor even tell why its progreſs
pleaſes me.
If the word ſociety is confined to our
own ſpecies, I enjoy very little of it. I
ſhould except that of the family I gave
you an account of ſome time ago. I fear I
am too often with them; I frequently
reſolve to be buſy at home; but I have
ſcarce ſat down to my table, when the
picture of Roubigné's parlour preſents
itſelf, and I think that my buſineſs may
wait till to-morrow.
I bluſh to tell you what a fool I am
grown; or is it that I am nearer the truth
than formerly? I begin to entertain doubt
of my own dignity, and to think that
man is not altogether formed for the ſublime
place I uſed to allot him. One can
be very happy with much leſs trouble,
than very wife: I have diſcovered this at
Roubigne's. It is but conquering the
name of trifles, which our pride would
give things, and my hours at Roubigne's
are as importantly filled up as any employment
could make them.
After all, what is our boaſted philoſophy
to ourſelves or others? Its conſequence
is often borrowed, more from the
language it ſpeaks, than the object it purſues,
and its attainments valued, more
from their difficulty, than their uſefulneſs.
But life takes its complexion from
inferior things; and providence has wiſely
placed its real bleſſings within the reach
of moderate abilities. We look for a
ſtation beyond them; it is fit that we too
ſhould have our reward; and it is found
in our vanity. It is only from this cauſe,
that I ſometimes bluſh, as if I were unworthily
employed, when I feel myſelf happy
in doing nothing at Monſ. de Roubigne's
fire-ſide.
Yet do not ſuppoſe that we are always
employed in talking of trifles: She has a
mind no leſs capable of important reſearch,
of exalted ſentiment. —
I am haſtily called away; — it ſaves
you the continuation of a very dull
letter. I ſend this, ſuch as it is, more as
a title to receive one from you, than that
it ſhould ſtand for any thing of itſelf.
LETTER VIII.
Julia to Maria.
PITY me, Maria, pity me! even that
quiet which my letters of late deſcribed,
which I was contented to call happineſs,
is denied me. There is a fatality
which every-where attends the family of
the unfortunate Roubigné; here, to the
abodes of peace, perplexity purſues it;
and it is deſtined to find new diſtreſs, from
thoſe ſcanty ſources to which it looked
for comfort.
The count de Montauban — why did
he ſee me? why did he viſit here? why
did I liſten to his diſcourſe? though, Heaven
knows, I meant not to deceive him!
— He has declared himſelf the lover of
your Julia! — I own his virtues, I eſteem
his character, I know the gratitude too we
owe him; from all thoſe circumſtances
I am doubly diſtreſſed at my ſituation;
but it is impoſſible, it is impoſſible that I
ſhould love him. How could he imagin
that I ſhould? or how does he ſtill continue
to imagine that I may be won to love him?
I ſoftened my refuſal, becauſe I would
diſtreſs no man; Montauban of all men
the leaſt; but ſurely it was determined
enough, to cut off all hopes of my ever
altering my reſolution.
Should not his pride teach him to ceaſe
ſuch mortifying ſolicitations? How has
it, in this inſtance alone, forſaken him?
Methinks too he has acted ungenerouſly, in
letting my mother know of his addreſſes.
When I hinted this, he fell at my feet,
and intreated me to forgive a paſſion ſo
earneſt as his, for calling in every poſſible
aſſiſtance. Cruel! that in this tendereſt
concern, that ſex which is naturally feeble,
ſhould have other weakneſſes to
combat beſides its own.
I know my mother's gentleneſs too well
to have much to fear from her; but the
idea of my father's diſpleaſure is terrible.
This morning, when I intreated my
mother not to mention this matter to
him, ſhe informed me of her having already
told him. It was an affair, ſhe
ſaid, of ſo much importance to his family,
that ſhe durſt not venture to conceal
it. There was ſomething in the coolneſs
of her words that hurt; but I
ſtifled the anſwer which I was about to
make, and only obſerved, that of that
family I was the neareſt concerned. "You
ſhall judge for yourſelf, my dear girl,
(ſaid ſhe, reſuming the natural gentleneſs
of her manner) I will never pretend to
controul your affections. Your opinions
I always hold it my duty to guide; experience,
dearly bought perhaps, has
given me ſome title to guide them. Believe
me, there are dreams of romantic
affection, which are apt to poſſeſs young
minds, the reality of which is not to be
found in nature. I do not blame you
for doubting this at preſent; but the time
will come when you ſhall be convinced of
its truth."
Is it ſo, Maria? Shall that period ever
arrive, when my preſent feelings ſhall
be forgotten? But, if it ſhould, are they
not now my conſcience, and ſhould I not
be unjuſt to Montauban and myſelf,
were I now to act againſt them?
I have ſeen my father. He came into
my room in his uſual way, and aſked me,
if I choſe to walk with him, His words
were the ſame they were wont to be; but
I could diſcover that his thoughts were
different. He looked on me with a determined
countenance, as if he prepared
himſelf for contradiction. I concealed
my uneaſineſs, however, and attended
him with that appearance of cheerfulneſs,
which I make it a point of duty to
wear in his preſence. He ſeemed to have
expected ſomething different; for I ſaw
he was ſoftened from that hoſtility, may
I call it, of aſpect, which he had aſſumed
at firſt, and, during our walk, he ex
preſſed himſelf to me with unuſual ten
derneſs. Alas! too much ſo, Maria!
Why am I obliged to offend him? When
he called me the ſupport and ſolace of
his age; when he bleſſed Heaven for leave
ing him, in the worſt of his misfortunes,
his Julia to comfort him — why could I
not then, amidſt my filial tears, when
my heart ſhould have panted itſelf out in
duty and gratitude, why could I not then
aſſure him of its obedience?
Write to me, for pity's ſake, write to
me ſpeedily — — Aſſiſt me, counſel me,
guide me — but ſay not that I ſhould liſten
to Montauban.
LETTER IX.
Montauban to Segarva.
I Sit down to write to Segarva, with
the idea of his preſence at the time,
and the idea was wont to be a pleaſant
one; it is now mixed with a ſort of uneaſineſs,
like that which a man feels,
who has offended, and would aſk to be
forgiven. The conſciouſneſs of what I
mean by this letter to reveal, hangs like
guilt upon my mind; therefore it is that
I have ſo long delayed writing. If you
ſhall think it weakneſs. — Yet I know not
how I can bear chiding on this point.
But why ſhould I doubt of your approving
it. Our converſations on the
ſex might be juſt, but they touch not
Julia de Roubigne. Could my friend
but ſee, but know her, I ſhould need
no other advocate to excuſe the change of
my ſentiments.
Let me tell him then of my paſſion for
that lovelieſt of women; that it has
prompted me to offer her a hand, which
he has ſometimes heard me declare, ſhould
never give away my freedom. This
ſounded like ſomething manly, but it
was, in truth, a littleneſs of ſoul. He
who pauſes in the exerciſe of every
better affection of the heart, till he calculates
the chances of danger or of ridicule,
is the verieſt of cowards; but the
reſolution, though frequently made, is
ſeldom or never adhered to; the voice
of nature, of wiſdom, and of virtue is
againſt it.
To acquire ſuch a friend as Julia de
Roubigné — but friend is a word inſignificant
of the connexion — to have one
ſoul, one fate with her! to participate
her happineſs, to ſhare her griefs! to be
that ſingle Being to whom, the next to
Divinity, ſhe pours out the feelings of her
heart, to whom ſhe ſpeaks the gentleſt of
her wiſhes, to whom ſhe ſighs the moſt delicate
of her tears! to grant thoſe wiſhes,
to ſooth thoſe tears! to have ſuch a woman
(like our guardian-angel without
his ſuperiority) to whom we may unboſom
our own! — the creation of pleaſures
is little; this is a creation of ſoul
to enjoy them!
Call not mine the language of doating
love; I am confident how much reaſon is
on my ſide, and will now hear Segarva
with patience.
He will tell me of that faſcinating
power which women poſſeſs, when they
would win us, which fades at once from
the character of wife. — — But I know
Julia de Roubigné well; ſhe has grown
up under the eye of the beſt of parents,
unſchooled in the practices of her ſex;
ſhe is ignorant of thoſe arts of deluſion
which are taught by the ſociety of women
of the world. I have had oppertunities
of ſeeing her at all ſeaſons, and
in every attitude of mind. — Her ſoul is
too gentle for the touch of art; an effort
at deceit would bring it even to torture.
He will remind me of the diſparity of
age, and tell me of the danger of her affections
wandering from one, whom, on
compariſon with herſelf, ſhe will learn to
think an old man. — But Julia is of an
order of beings ſuperior to thoſe whom
external form, and the trifling language
of gallantry, can attract. Had ſhe the
flippancy of mind which thoſe ſhallow
qualities are able to allure, I think, Segarva,
ſhe were beneath the election of
Montauban.
I remember our former converſations on
the ſubject of marriage, when we were both
of one ſide; and that, then, you obſerved
in me a certain wakeful jealouſy of honour,
which, you ſaid, the ſmile of a
wife on another man would rouſe into
diſquiet. — Perhaps I have been ſometimes
too haſty that way, in the ſenſe of
affronts from men; but the nicety of a
ſoldier's character, which muſt ever be
out of the reach of queſtion, may excuſe
it. I think I never ſhewed ſuſpicion of
my friends; and why to this lovely one,
the delicacy of whoſe virtue I would
vouch againſt the world, ſhould I be
more unjuſt than to others? — There is
no fiend ſo malicious, as to breathe detraction
againſt my Julia.
In ſhort, I have canvaſſed all your objections,
and, I think, I have anſwered
them all. Forgive me for ſuppoſing you
to make them; and forgive me, when I
tell you, that, while I did ſo, methought
I loved you leſs than I was wont to do.
But I am anticipating bleſſings, which
may never arrive; for the gentleſt of her
ſex is yet cruel to Montauban. But, I
truſt, it is only the maiden coyneſs of a
mind, naturally fearful. She owned her
eſteem, her friendſhip; theſe are poor to
the returns I aſk: but they muſt be exchanged
for ſentiments more tender, they
muſt yield to the ardour of mine. They
muſt, they ſhall: I feel my heart expand
with a glad foreboding, that tells it of
happineſs to come. While I enjoy it, I
wiſh for ſomething more: let me hear
then that my Savedra enjoys it too.
LETTER X.
Julia to Maria.
YOU know not the heart of your Julia;
yet impute it not to a want of
confidence in your friendſhip. Its perplexity
is of a nature ſo delicate, that
am ſometimes afraid even to think on it
myſelf; and often, when I meant to reveal
it to you, my utterance failed in the
attempt.
The character you have heard of the
count de Montauban is juſt; it is perhaps
even leſs than he merits; for his
virtues are of that unbending kind, that
does not eaſily ſtoop to the opinion of the
world; to which the world therefore is
not profuſe of its eulogium. I revere his
virtues, I eſteem his good qualities; but
I cannot love him. — This muſt be my
anſwer to others: but Maria has a right
to ſomething more; ſhe may be told my
weakneſs, for her friendſhip can pity and
ſupport it.
Learn then that I have not a heart to
beſtow. — I bluſh even while I write this
confeſſion — Yet to love merit like Savillon's,
cannot be criminal. — Why then
do I bluſh again, when I think of revealing
it?
You have ſeen him at Belville; Alas! you
know not his worth; it is not eaſy to know
it. Gentle, modeſt, retired from notice,
was the lot of your Julia to diſcover
it. She prized it the more, that it was
not common to all; and while ſhe looked
on it as the child of her own obſervation,
it was vanity to know, it was virtue to
cheriſh. — Alas! ſhe was inconſcious
of that period, when it ceaſed to be virtue,
and grew into paſſion!
But whither am I wandering? I meant
only to relate; but our feelings ſpeak
for themſelves, before we can tell why we
feel.
Savillon's father and mine were friends
his father was unfortunate, and mine
was the friend of his misfortunes; hence
aroſe a ſort of dependence on the one
ſide, which, on the other, I fear, was
never entirely forgotten. I have ſometimes
obſerved this weakneſs in my father;
but the pride that leads to virtue
may be pardoned. He thinks of a man
as his inferior, only that he may do him
a kindneſs more freely. Savillon's family,
indeed, was not ſo noble as his mind;
my father warmly acknowledged the excellence
of the laſt; but he had been
taught, from earlieſt infancy, to conſider
a misfortune the want of the former.
After the death of old Savillon, my
father's friendſhip and protection were
transferred to his ſon; the time he could
ſpare from ſtudy, was commonly ſpent at
Belville. He appeared to feel in his ſituation
that dependence I mentioned; in
mean ſouls, this produces ſervility; in liberal
minds, it is the nurſe of honourable
pride. There was a ſilent melancholy
about Savillon, which diſdained the notice
of ſuperficial obſervers, and was never
ſatisfied with ſuperficial acquirement
His endowments did not attract the eye
of the world; but they fixed the eſteem
and admiration of his friends. His friends
indeed were few; and he ſeemed not to
wiſh them many.
To know ſuch a man; to ſee his merits;
to regret that yoke which Fortune had
laid upon him — I am bewildered in ſentiment
again. — In truth, my ſtory is the
ſtory of ſentiment. I would tell you
how I began to love Savillon; but the
trifles, by which I now mark the progreſs
of this attachment, are too little for deſcription.

We were frequently together, at that
time of life when a boy and girl are not
alarmed at being together. Savillon's ſuperior
attainments made him a ſort of
matter for your Julia. He uſed to teach
me ideas; ſometimes he flattered me, by
ſaying that, in his turn, he learned from
me. Our feelings were often equally diſguſted
with many of the common notions
of mankind, and we early began to
form a league againſt them. We began
with an alliance of argument; but the
heart was always appealed to in the laſt
reſort.
The time at laſt came, when I began
to fear ſomething improper in our friendſhip;
but the fears that ſhould guard,
betray us. They make pictures to our
fancy, which the reaſon they call to their
aſſiſtance cannot overcome. In my rambles
through the woods at Belville, I
have often turned into a different walk
from that I firſt deſigned to take, becauſe
I ſuſpected Savillon was there! —
Alas! Maria, an ideal Savillon attended
me, more dangerous than the real.
But it was only from his abſence I acquired
a certain knowledge of myſelf.
remember, on the eve of his departure,
we were walking in the garden; my father
was with us. He had been commending
ſome carnation ſeeds, which he
had juſt received from an eminent floriſt
at Verſailles. Savillon was examining
ſome of them, which my father had put
into his hand; and ſoon after, when we
came to a ſmall plot, which I uſed to
call my garden, he ſowed a few of them in
a particular corner of it. I took little
notice at the time; but not long after he
was gone, the flowers began to appear.
You cannot eaſily imagine the effect this
trifling circumſtance had upon me. I
uſed to viſit the ſpot by ſtealth, for a certain
conſcious feeling prevented my going
openly thither, and watched the growth
of thoſe carnations with the care of a parent
for a darling child; and when they
began to droop (I bluſh, Maria, to tell
it) I have often watered them with my
tears.
Such is the account of my own feelings;
but who ſhall tell me thoſe of Savillon?
I have ſeen him look ſuch
things! — but, alas! Maria, our wiſhes
are traitors, and give us falſe intelligence.
His ſoul is too noble to pour itſelf out in
thoſe trivial ſpeeches which the other ſex
often addreſſes to ours. Savillon knows
not the language of compliment; yet
methinks from Savillon it would pleaſe.
May not a ſenſe of his humble fortune
prevent him from ſpeaking what he feels?
When we were firſt acquainted, Julia de
Roubigné was a name of ſome conſequence;
fallen as ſhe now is, it is now
her time to be haughty, and Savillon is
too generous to think otherwiſe. In our
moſt exalted eſtate, my friend, we are
not ſo difficult to win, as we are ſometimes
imagined to be: it unfortunately happens,
that the beſt men think us the moſt ſo.
I know I am partial to my own cauſe;
yet I am ſenſible of all the impropriety
with which my conduct is attended. My
conduct, did I call it? It is not my conduct;
I err but in thought. Yet, I fear,
I ſuffered theſe thoughts at firſt without
alarm. They have grown up, unchecked,
in my boſom, and now I would controul
them in vain. Should I know myſelf
indifferent to Savillon, would not
my pride ſet me free? I ſigh, and dare
not ſay that it would.
But there is ſomething tenderer and
leſs tumultuous in that feeling with which
I now remember him, than when his preſence
uſed to alarm me. Obliged to
leave France, where Fortune had denied
him an inheritance, he is gone to Martinique,
on the invitation of an uncle,
who has been ſeveral years ſettled in that
iſland. When I think of the track of
ocean which ſeparates us, my head grows
dizzy as I think! — that this little heart
ſhould have its intereſts extended ſo far!
that, on the other ſide of the Atlantic,
there ſhould exiſt a being, for whom it
ſwells with imaginary hope, and trem
bles, alas I much oftener trembles, with
imaginary fear!
In ſuch a ſituation, wonder not at my
coldneſs to Montauban. I know not how
it is; but, methinks, I eſteem him leſs
than I did, from the prepoſterous reaſon,
that he loves me when I would not have
him. I owe him gratitude in return,
though I cannot give him love; but I involuntarily
refuſe him the firſt, becauſe he
aſks the latter, which I have not to beſtow!
Would that he had never ſeen your
Julia! I expect not a life of happineſs,
but had looked for one of quiet. There
is ſomething in the idea even of peaceful
ſadneſs, which I could bear without repining;
but I am not made for ſtruggling
with perplexity.
LETTER XI
Julia to Maria.
FROM your letters, Maria, I always
find comfort and ſatisfaction: and
never did one arrive more ſeaſonably than
the laſt. When the ſoul is torn by con
trary emotions, it is then we wiſh for a
friend to reconcile us to ourſelves: ſuch
a friend am I bleſſed with in you. Advice
from my Maria, is the language of
wiſdom without its ſeverity; ſhe can feel
what is due to nature, while ſhe ſpeaks
what is required of prudence.
I have ever thought as you do, "that
it is not enough for a woman not to ſwerve
from the duty of a wife; that to love another
more than a huſband, is an adultery
of the heart; and not to love a huſband
with undivided affection, Is a virtual
breach of the vow that unites us."
But I dare not own to my father the
attachment from which theſe arguments
are drawn. There is a ſternneſs in his
idea of honour, from which I ſhrink with
affright. Images of vengeance and deſtruction
paint themſelves to thy mind,
when I think of his diſcovering that
weakneſs which I cannot hide from myſelf.
Even before my mother, as his
wife, I tremble, and dare not diſcloſe it.
How hard is the fate of your Julia!
Unhappy from feelings which ſhe cheriſhed
as harmleſs, which ſtill ſhe cannot
think criminal, yet denied even the com
fort of revealing, except to her Maria,
the cauſe of her diſtreſs! Amidſt the
wreck of our family's fortunes, I ſhared
the common calamity; muſt I now be
robbed of the little treaſure I had ſaved,
ſpoiled of my peace of mind, and forbid
the native freedom of my affections?
I am called to dinner. One of our
neighbours is below, a diſtant relation
Montauban, with his wife and daughter.
Another ſtranger, Liſette ſays, is alſo
there, a captain of a ſhip, ſhe thinks,
whom ſhe remembers having ſeen formerly
at Belville. Muſt I go then,
look unmeaning cheerfulneſs, and talk
indifferent things, while my heart is tornwith
ſecret agitation? To feel diſtreſs,
is painful; but to diſſemble it, is torture.

I have now time to think, and power
to expreſs my thoughts — It is midnight,
and the world is huſhed around me!
After the agitation of this day, I feel
ſomething ſilently ſad at my heart, that
can pour itſelf out to my friend!
Savillon! cruel Savillon! — but I complain,
as if it were falſehood to have forgotten
her whom perhaps he never loved.
She too muſt forget him — Maria! he
is the huſband of another! That ſea--
captain, who dined with my father today,
is juſt returned from Martinique.
With a beating heart, I heard him queſtioned
of Savillon. With a beating
heart I heard him tell of the riches he is
ſaid to have acquired by the death of
that relation with whom he lived; but
judge of its ſenſations, when he added,
that Savillon was only prevented by that
event, from marrying the daughter of a
rich planter, who had been deſtined for
his wife on the very day his uncle died,
and whom he was ſtill to marry as ſoon as
decency would permit. "And before
this time, (ſaid the ſtranger) he muſt beher
huſband."
Before this time! — While I was cheriſhing
romantic hopes! or, at leaſt,
while, amidſt my diſtreſs, I had preſerved
inviolate the idea of his faith and my
own. — But whither does this deluſion
carry me? Savillon has broken no faith;
to me he never pledged it. Hide me,
my friend, from the conſciouſneſs of my
folly, or let it ſpeak till its, expiation be
made, till I have baniſhed Savillon from
my mind.
Muſt I then baniſh him from my mind?
Muſt I forget the ſcenes of our early
days, the opinions we formed, the authors
we read, the muſic we played together?
There was a time when I was
wont to retire from the profanity of vulgar
ſouls, to indulge the remembrance!
I heard ſomebody tap at my door. I
was in that ſtate of mind which every
thing terrifies; I fancy I looked terrified,
for my mother, when ſhe entered, begged
me, in a low voice, not to be alarmed.
"I come to ſee you, Julia, (ſaid ſhe)
before I go to bed; methought you
looked ill at ſupper." — "Did I, mamma?
(ſaid I) I am well enough; indeed
I am." She preſſed my hand gently; I
tried to ſmile; it was with difficulty I
forbore weeping.
"Your mind, child, (continued my
mother) is too tender; I fear it is, for
this bad world. You muſt learn to conquer
ſome of its feelings, if you would
bejuſt to yourſelf; but I can pardon
you, for I know how bewitching they
are; but truſt me, my love, they muſt
not be indulged too far; they poiſon the
quiet of our lives. Alas! we have too
little at beſt! I am aware how ungracious
the doctrine is; but it is not the
leſs true. If you ever have a child like
yourſelf, you will tell her this, in your
turn, and the will not believe you."
I'm now weeping outright: it was
the only anſwer I could make. My mother
embraced me tenderly, and begged
me to be calm, and endeavour to reſt. I
gave her my promiſe to go ſoon to bed:
I am about to perform it; but to reſt,
Maria! — farewell!
LETTER XII.
Julia to Maria.
WHILE I write, my paper is blotted
by my tears. They fall not now
for myſelf, but for my father; you know
not how he has wrung my heart.
He had another appointment this day
with that procureur, who once viſited our
village before. Sure there is ſomething
terrible in that man's buſineſs. Alas! I
formerly complained of my father's ill
humour, when he returned to us from a
meeting with him; I knew not, unjuſt,
that I was, what reaſon he then might
have for his chagrin; I am ſtill ignorant
of their tranſactions, but have too good
ground for making frightful conjectures.
On his return in the evening, he found
my mother and me in ſeparate apartments,
She has complained of a ſlight diſorder,
from cold I believe, theſe two or three
days paſt, and had lain down on a couch
in her own room, till my father ſhould
return. I was left alone, and ſat down
to read my favourite Racine.
"Iphigenia! (ſaid my father, taking
up the book) Iphigenia!" He looked
on me piteouſly as he repeated the word.
I cannot make you underſtand how much
that ſingle name expreſſed, nor how much
that look. He preſſed me to his boſom,
and as he kiſſed me, I felt a tear on his
cheek.
"Your mother is in her own chamber,
my love." I offered to go and
fetch her: he held my hand faſt, as if
he would not have me leave him. We
ſtood for ſome moments thus, till my
mother, who had heard his voice, entered
the room.
We ſat down by the fire, with my father
between us, He looked on us alternately,
with an affected cheerfulneſs,
and ſpoke of indifferent things in a tone
of gaiety rather unuſual to him; but it
was eaſy to ſee how foreign thoſe appearances
were to the real movements
of his ſoul.
There was, at laſt, a pauſe of ſilence,
which gave them time to overcome him.
We ſaw a tear, which he was unable to
repreſs, begin to ſteal from his eye. "My
deareſt life!" ſaid my mother, laying
hold of his hand and kiſſing it: I preſſed
the other in mine. "Yes, (ſaid he) I
am ſtill rich in bleſſings, while theſe are
left me. You, my love, have ever ſhared
my fortune unrepining: I look up to
you, as to a ſuperior Being, who for all
his benefits accepts of our gratitude as
the only recompence we have to make.
This — this laſt retreat, where I looked
for peace at leaſt, though it was joined
to poverty, we may ſoon be forced to
leave! — Wilt thou ſtill pardon, ſtill comfort
the man, whoſe evil deſtiny has
drawn thee along with it to ruin? — And
thou too, my child, my Julia! thou wilt
not forſake thy father's grey hairs! Miſfortune
purſues him to the laſt: do thou
but ſmile, my cherub, and he can bear
it ſtill." I threw my head on his knees,
and bathed them with my tears. "Do
not unman me (he cried). I would ſupport
my ſituation as becomes a man.
Methinks, for my own part, I could en
dure any thing — but my wife! my child!
can they bear want and wretchedneſs!"
"They can bear any thing with you,"
ſaid my mother. — I ſtarted up, I know
not how; I ſaid ſomething, I know not
what; but, at that moment, I felt my
heart rouſed as with the ſound of a trumpet.
My mother ſtood on one ſide,
looking gently upwards, her hands, which
were claſped together, leaning on my father's
ſhoulder. He had one hand in his
ſide, the other preſſed on his boſom, his
figure ſeeming to riſe above itſelf, and his
eye bent ſteadily forward. — Methought,
as I looked on them, I was above the
fears of humanity!
Le Blanc entered. "'Tis enough,"
ſaid my father, taking one or two ſtrides
through the room, his countenance ſtill
preſerving an air of haughtineſs. "Go
to my chamber, (ſaid he to Le Blanc) I
have ſome buſineſs for you." When they
left the room, I felt the weakneſs of my
ſoul return. I looked on my mother:
ſhe turned from me to hide her tears. I
fell on her neck, and gave a looſe to
mine: "Do not weep, Julia!" was all
ſhe could utter, and ſhe wept while ſhe
uttered it.
When Le Blanc returned, he was pale
as aſhes, and his hands ſhook ſo, that he
could hardly carry in ſupper. My father
came in a few minutes after him:
he took his place at table in his uſual
way, and ſtrove to look as he was wont
to do. During the time of ſupper, I
obſerved Le Blanc fix his eye upon him;
and, when he anſwered ſome little queſ
tions put to him by my father, his voice
trembled in his throat.
After being left by ourſelves, we were
for ſome time ſilent. My mother at laſt
ſpoke through her tears: "Do not, my
deareſt Roubigné, (ſaid ſhe) add to our
misfortunes by an unkind concealment
of them. — Has any new calamity befallen
us? — When we retired hither, did we
not know the worſt?" — "I am afraid
not, (anſwered he calmly) but my fears
may not be altogether juſt. Do not be
alarmed, my love, things may turn out
better than they appear. I was affected
too much before ſupper, and could not
conceal it. There are weak moments,
when we are not maſters of ourſelves.
When I looked on my Julia and you,
when I thought on thoſe treaſures, I was
a very coward; but I have reſumed my
fortitude, and, I think, I can await the
deciſion calmly. You ſhall know the
whole, my love; but let me prevail on
you to be comforted in the mean time:
let not our diſtreſſes reach us before their
time." He rung for Le Blanc, and gave
him directions about ſome ordinary matters
for next day.
As I went up ſtairs to my room; I
ſaw that poor fellow ſtanding at the window
in the ſtair-caſe. "What do you
here, (ſaid I) Le Blanc?" — "Ah! Miſs
Julia, (ſaid he) I know not well what
I do." He followed me into my room,
without my bidding him. "My maſter
has ſpoken ſo to me. — When he called
me out before ſupper, as you ſaw,
went with him into his cloſet: he wrote
ſomething down, as if he were ſumming
up money. — 'Here are ſo much wages
due to you, Le Blanc (ſaid he, putting
the paper into my hand). You ſhall receive
the money now; for I know not
how long theſe louis may be mine to give
you.' — I could not read the figures, I am
ſure I could not: I was ſtruck blind, as
it were, while he ſpoke ſo. He held out
the gold to me: I drew back; for I
would not have touched it for the world;
but he inſiſted on my taking it, till I fell
on my knees, and intreated him not to
kill me by offering ſuch a thing. At
length he threw it down on his table,
and I ſaw him wipe his eyes with his
handkerchief. — 'My dear maſter!' ſaid
I and I believe I took hold of his hand,
for ſeeing him ſo, made me forget myſelf.
— He waved his hand for me to leave
the room; and, as I went down into the
kitchen, if I had not burſted into tears,
I think I ſhould have fainted away."
What will our deſtiny do with us
But I have learned, of late, to look on
miſery with leſs emotion. My ſoul has
ſunk into a ſtupid indifference, and ſometimes,
when ſhe is rouſed at all, I conceive
a ſort of pride in meeting diſtreſs
with fortitude, ſince I cannot hope for
the attainment of happineſs. But my
father, Maria! — thus to bear at once the
weakneſs of age, the gripe of poverty,
the buffets of a world with which his ſpirit
is already at war! — there my heart
bleeds again! The complaints I have
made of thoſe little harſhneſſes I have
ſometimes felt from him, riſe up to my
memory in the form of remorſe. Had
he been more perfectly indulgent, methinks
I ſhould have pitied him leſs.
I was alarmed, by hearing my mother's
bell. She had been ſeized with a ſudden
fit of ſickneſs, and had almoſt fainted.
She is now a good deal better, and endeavours
to make light of it; but, at
this time, I am weaker than uſual, and
every appearance of danger frightens me.
She chid me for not having been a-bed.
I leave this open till the morning, when
I can inform you how ſhe does.
My mother has got up, though againſt
the advice of my father and me. It may
be fancy, but I think I ſee her eye languid
and weighed down. I would ſtifle
even the thoughts of danger, but cannot.
Farewell.
LETTER XIII.
Liſette to Maria.
MADAM,
I AM commanded by my dear young
lady to write to you, becauſe ſhe is
not in a condition to write herſelf. I am
Pure, I am little able either. I have a
poor head for inditing at any time
and, at preſent, it is ſo full of the melancholy
ſcenes I have ſeen, that it goes
round, as it were, at the thoughts of telling
them. When I think what a lady I
have loſt! — To be ſure, if ever there was
a ſaint on earth, Madame de Roubigné
was ſhe — but Heaven's will be done!
I believe Miſs Julia wrote you a letter
the day ſhe was taken ill. She did not
ſay much, for it is not her way to be
troubleſome with her complaints; but
we all ſaw by her looks how diſtreſſed
ſhe was. That night my maſter lay in a
ſeparate apartment, and I ſat up by her
bed-ſide; I heard her toſſing and reſtleſs
all night long, and now and then, when
the got a few moments ſleep, ſhe would
moan through it ſadly, and preſently
wake again with a ſtart, as if ſomething
had frightened her. In the morning a
phyſician was ſent for, who cauſed her
to be blooded, and we thought her the
better for it; but that was only for a
ſhort time, and next night ſhe was worſe
than before, and complained of violent
pains all over her body, and particularly
her breaſt, and did not once ſhut her
eyes to ſleep. They took a greater quantity
of blood from her now than at firſt,
and in the evening ſhe had a bliſter put
on, and the doctor ſat by her, part of the
night. All this time Miſs Julia was
ſcarce ever out of her mother's chamber,
except ſometimes for a quarter of an hour,
when the doctor begged of her to go, and
he and I were both attending my lady.
My maſter indeed, that laſt night took
her away, and prevailed on her to put
off her clothes, and go to bed, and I
heard him ſay to her in a whiſper, when
they had got upon the ſtairs, "My Julia,
have pity on yourſelf for my ſake;
let me not loſe both:" — And he wept, I
ſaw, as he ſpoke; and ſhe burſt into
tears.
The fourth day my lady continued
much in the ſame way, but during the
night ſhe wandered a good deal, and
ſpoke much of her huſband and daughter,
and frequently mentioned the Count de
Montauban. The doctor ordered ſome
things, I forget their proper name, to be
laid to the ſoles of her feet, which ſeemed
to relieve her head much; for ſhe was
more diſtinct towards morning, and knew
me when I gave her drink, and called
me by my name, which ſhe had not
done before, but had taken me for my
young lady; but her voice was fainter
than ever, and her phyſician looked more
alarmed, when he viſited her, than I
had ſeen him do all the reſt of her illneſs.
My maſter was then in the room,
and preſently they went out together;
my lady called me to her, and aſked who
had gone out; when I told her, ſhe ſaid,
"I gueſs the reaſon; but heaven be praiſed
I can think of it without terror."
Her daughter entered the room juſt
then; ſhe went up to her mother, and
aſked how ſhe found herſelf. "More
at eaſe, my child (ſaid ſhe), but I will
not deceive you into hope; I believe
this momentary relief is a fatal ſymptom;
my own feelings tell me ſo, and the
doctor's confirm them." — "Do not ſpeak
ſo, my deareſt mother! for Heaven's ſake,
do not!" — was all ſhe could anſwer.
The doctor returned along with my
maſter. He felt my lady's pulſe; Miſs
Julia looked up wildly in his face: my
maſter turned aſide his head; but my
lady, ſweet angel, was calm and gentle
as a lamb. "Do not flatter me, (ſaid
ſhe, when the doctor let go her arm;) I
know you think I cannot recover." —
"I am not without hopes, madam, (he
replied) though, I confeſs, my fears are
ſtronger than my hopes." — My lady
looked upwards for a moment, as I have
often ſeen her do in health. Her daughter
flung herſelf on the bed; I thought
ſhe had fallen into a ſwoon, and wanted
to lift her up in my arms, though I was
all of a tremble, and could hardly ſupport
myſelf. She ſtarted up, and would
have ſpoken to her mother; but ſhe
wept, and ſobbed, and could not. My
lady begged her to be compoſed; my
maſter could not ſpeak, but he laid hold
of her hand, and with a ſort of gentle
force, led her out of the room.
My lady complained of a drineſs on
her mouth and lips: the doctor gave her
a glaſs of water, into which he poured a
little ſomewhat out of a phial; ſhe thanked
him when ſhe had drunk it, and
ſeemed to ſpeak eaſier: he ſaid, he ſhould
leave her for a little: Monſ. de Roubigné
came in. "Attend my daughter," ſaid
to me; and I thought ſhe wanted to be
alone with my maſter.
I found Miſs Julia in the parlour,
leaning on the table, her cheek reſting
on her hand; when I ſpoke, ſhe fell
a crying again. Soon after her father
came in, and told her that her mother
wiſhed to ſee her: ſhe returned along
with my maſter, and they were ſome time
together.
When I was called, I found my lady
very low, by reaſon, as I ſuppoſe, ſhe
had worn herſelf out in ſpeaking to them.
The doctor ſaid ſo too, when he returned;
and in the afternoon, when I attended him
down ſtairs, he ſaid to me, "That excellent
lady is going faſt." He promiſed to ſee
her again in two hours; but, before that
time, we found ſhe had grown much
worſe, and had loſt her ſpeech altogether:
ſo he was fetched immediately; and when
he came, he ſaid nothing was to be done,
but to make her as eaſy as poſſible, and
offered to ſtay with her himſelf, which
he did till about three next morning,
when the dear good lady expired.
Her daughter fainted away, and it was
a long time before the phyſician could
recover her. It is wonderful how my
maſter bears up, in order to comfort her;
but one may ſee how heavy his grief is
on him for all that. This morning Miſs
Julia deſired me to attend her to the
chamber, where her mother's corpſe is
laid. I was ſurpriſed to hear her ſpeak ſo
calmly as ſhe did; and, though I made
ſo free as to diſſuade her much at firſt,
yet ſhe perſuaded me ſhe could bear it
well enough, and I went with her accordingly.
But when we came near the
door, ſhe ſtopped, and pulled me back
into her room, and leaned on my arm,
and fell into a violent fit of weeping;
yet, when I begged her to give over
thoughts of going, ſhe ſaid ſhe was eaſy
again, and would go. And thus two or
three times ſhe went and returned, till,
at laſt, ſhe opened the door, in deſperation
as one may ſay, and I went in
cloſe behind her. The firſt ſight we ſaw
was Monſ. de Roubigné at the bed-ſide,
bending over the corpſe, and holding
one of its hands in his. "Support me,
Liſette," cried ſhe; and leaned back on
me again. My maſter turned about as
ſhe ſpoke; his daughter took courage,
as it were, then, and walked up to the
body, and took the hand that her father
had juſt let drop, and kiſſed it. "My
child!" ſaid he. "My father!" anſwered
my dear young lady, and they
claſped one another in their arms. I
could not help burſting into tears when
I ſaw them; yet it was not altogether
for grief neither: I know not how it was,
but I weep when I think of it yet. May
Heaven bleſs them both, and preſerve
them to ſupport one another!
My lady's bell rung, and ſhe aſked
me if I had written to you. When I
told her I had, ſhe enquired if I had
ſent off the letter, and I was fain to ſay
yes, leſt ſhe ſhould aſk me to read it,
and I knew how bad it muſt be for her,
to hear all I have told your ladyſhip repeated.
I am ſure it is a ſad ſcrawl, and
little worth your reading, were it not
that it concerns ſo dear a friend of yours
as my lady is; and I have told things
juſt as they happened, and as they came
up to my mind, which is indeed but in
a confuſed way ſtill. But I ever am,
madam, with reſpect,
Your faithful and obedient ſervant,
LISETTE.
LETTER XIV.
Julia to Maria.
AT laſt, my Maria, I am able to
write. In the ſad ſociety of my
afflicted father, I have found no reſtraint
on my ſorrows. We have indulged them
to the full: their firſt turbulence is ſubſided,
and the ſtill quiet grief that now
preſſes on my boſom, is ſuch as my friend
may participate.
Your loſs is common to thouſands.
Such is the hackneyed conſolation of ordinary
minds, unavailing even when it is
true. But mine is not common: it is
not merely to loſe a mother, the beſt,
the moſt indulgent of mothers! — Think,
Maria, think of your Julia's ſituation;
how helpleſs, how forlorn ſhe is! — A
father purſued by misſortune to the
wane of life; — but, alas! he looks to her
for ſupport! He has outlived the laſt
of his friends, and thoſe who ſhould
have been linked to him by the ties of
blood, the ſame fatal diſputes, which
ruined his fortune, have ſhaken from his
ſide. Beyond him, — and he is old, and
affliction blaſts his age! — beyond him,
Maria, and but for thee, — the world were
deſolate around me.
My mother! — you have ſeen, you have
known her. Her gentle, but aſſured
ſpirit, was the tutelary power to which
we ever looked up for comfort and protection:
to the laſt moment it enlightened
herſelf, and guided us. The night
before ſhe died, ſhe called me to her
bed-ſide: — "I feel, my child, (ſaid ſhe)
as the greateſt bitterneſs of parting, the
thought of leaving you to affliction and
diſtreſs. I have but one conſolation to
receive or to beſtow: a reliance on that
merciful Being, who, in this hour, as in
all the paſt, has not forſaken me! Next
to that Being, you will ſhortly be the
only remaining ſupport of the unfortunate
Roubigné. — I had, of late, looked on
one meaſure as the means of procuring
his age an additional ſtay; but I will
not preſcribe your conduct, or warp
your heart. I know the purity of your
ſentiments, the warmth of your filial affection:
to thoſe and the guidance of
Heaven — "She had ſpoken thus far
with difficulty: her voice now failed in.
the attempt. My father came into the
room: he ſat down by me: ſhe ſtretched
out her hand, and joining ours, which
were both laid on the bed, together, ſhe
claſped them with a feeble preſſure, leaned
backward, ſeemingly worn out with the
exertion, and looked up to Heaven, as
if directing us thither for that aſſiſtance
which her words had bequeathed us; her
laſt words! for after that ſhe could ſcarcely
ſpeak to be heard, and only uttered
ſome broken ſyllables, till ſhe loſt the
power of utterance altogether.
Theſe words cannot be forgotten! they
preſs upon my mind with the ſacredneſs
of a parent's dying inſtructions! But
that meaſure they ſuggeſted — is it not
againſt the dictates of a ſtill ſuperior
power? I feel the thoughts of it as of
a crime. Should it be ſo, Maria; or do
I miſtake the whiſpers of inclination for
the ſuggeſtions of conſcience? Yet I
think I have ſearched my boſom impartially,
and its anſwer is uniform. Were
it otherwiſe, ſhould it ever be otherwiſe,
what would not your Julia do, to ſmooth
the latter days of a father, on whoſe grey
hairs diſtreſſes are multiplied!
Methinks, ſince this laſt blow, he is
greatly changed. That haughtineſs of
ſpirit, which ſeemed to brave, but, in
reality, was irritated by misfortune, has
left him. He looks calmly upon things;
they affect him more, but hurt him leſs;
his tears fall oftener, but they are leſs terrible
than the ſullen gloom which uſed
to darken his aſpect. I can now mingle
mine with his, free to affliction, without
uneaſineſs or fear; and thoſe offices of
kindneſs, which once my piety exacted,
are now the offering of my heart.
Montauban has behaved, on this occaſion,
as became his character. How
perfect were it, but for that weakneſs
which regards your Julia! He came to
ſee my father the day after that on which
my mother died. "I will not endeavour
(ſaid he) to ſtop the current of
your grief: that comfort, which the
world offers at times like theſe, flow not
from feeling, and cannot be addreſſed to
it. Your ſorrow is juſt: I come to give
you leiſure to indulge it: employ me
thoſe irkſome offices, which diſtreſs us
more than the tears they oblige us to dry:
think nothing too mean to impoſe on me,
that can any how relieve my friend."
And this friend his daughter is forced
to deprive him of. Such at leaſt is the
common pride of the ſex, that will not
brook any other connection where one is
rejected. I am aſſailed by motives on
every hand; but my own feelings are ſtill
unconquered. Support them, my ever--
faithful Maria, if they are juſt; if not —
but they cannot be unjuſt.
The only friend, of my own ſex, whom
I poſſeſſed beſides thee, is now no more!
We needed no additional tie; yet, methinks,
in the grief of my heart, I lean
upon yours with increaſing affection.
Thou too — I will not ſay pity — thou ſhalt
love me more.
LETTER XV.
Julia to Maria.
I Have, this moment, received your anſwer
to my laſt. Ah! my friend, it
anſwers not as I wiſhed. Is this frowardneſs
in me, to hear, with pleaſure, only
the arguments on one ſide, when my
conduct ſhould be guided by thoſe on
both?
You ſay, "it is from the abſence of
Savillon, that the impreſſion he had made
on my heart has gained its preſent
ſtrength; that the contemplation of diſtant
objects is always ſtronger than the
ſenſe of preſent ones; and that, were I
to ſee him now, were I daily to behold
him the huſband of another, I ſhould
ſoon grow tranquil at the ſight. That
it is injuſtice to myſelf, and a want of
that proper pride, which ſhould be the
conſtant attendant of our ſex, to ſuffer
this unhappy attachment to overcome
my mind; and that, after looking calmly
on the world, you cannot allow ſo much
force to thoſe impreſſions, as our youth
was apt to ſuppoſe in them. That they
are commonly vanquiſhed by an effort to
vanquiſh them; and that the ſinking
under their preſſure, is one of thoſe diſeaſes
of the mind, which, like certain
diſeaſes of the body, the exerciſe of its
better faculties will very ſoon remove."
There is reaſon in all this; but while
you argue from reaſon, I muſt decide from
my feelings. In every one's own caſe,
there is a rule of judging, which is not
the leſs powerful that one cannot expreſs
it. — I inſiſt not on the memory of Sa
villon; I can forget him, I think I can —
time will be kind that way — it is fit I
ſhould forget him — he is happy, as the
huſband of another. — But ſhould I wed
any man, be his worth what it may,
I feel not that lively preference for him,
which waits not for reaſoning to perſuade
its conſent? The ſuggeſtions I have heard
of Montauban's unwearied love, his uncommon
virtues, winning my affections
in a ſtate of wedlock, I have always held
a very dangerous experiment; there is
equivocation in thoſe vows, which unite
us to a huſband, our affection for whom
we leave to contingency. — "But I already
eſteem and admire him." — It is
moſt true; — why is he not contented with
my eſteem and admiration? If thoſe feelings
are to be ripened into love, let him
wait that period when my hand may be
his without a bluſh. This I have already
told him; he almoſt owned the injuſtice
of his requeſt, but pleaded the ardor of
paſſion in excuſe. Is this fair dealing,
Maria? that his feelings are to be an
apology for his ſuit, while mine are not
allowed to be a reaſon for refuſal?
I am called away by my father; I
heard the count's voice below ſome time
before. There was a ſolemnity in my
father's manner of aſking me down;
which indicates ſomething important in
this viſit. You ſhall hear what that is,
before this letter is cloſed. — Again! he
is come to fetch me.
Maria! let me recover my ſurpriſe!
Yet why ſhould I be ſurpriſed at the generoſity
of Montauban? I know the native
nobleneſs of his ſoul — Was it in ſuch
a girl as me to enfeeble it ſo long?
My father led me into the parlour.
Montauban was ſtanding in a penſive
poſture; he made me a ſilent bow. I
was placed in a chair, ſtanding near another,
which the count had occupied
before: he ſat down. My father walked
to the window; his back was to us.
Montauban put himſelf once or twice
into the attitude of ſpeaking; but we
were ſtill ſilent.
My father turned and approached us.
"The count has ſomething to communicate,
Julia. Would you chooſe, ſir,
that it ſhould be addreſſed to her alone?"
"No, (anſwered he) it is an expiation
to both, and both ſhould hear it made.
I fear, I have, unwillingly, been the cauſe
of diſquiet to a family, whoſe ſociety,
for ſome time paſt, has been one of the
chief ſweeteners of my life. They know
my gratitude, for the bleſſing of that intimacy
they were kind enough to allow
me. When I wiſhed for a tenderer connexion,
they could not blame my wiſh;
but, when I preſſed it ſo far as to wound
their peace, I was unworthy of the eſteem
they had formerly given, an eſteem I
cannot now bear to loſe. When I ceaſe
my ſuit, Miſs Julia, let it ſpeak, not a
diminution, but an increaſe of my affection.
If that regard, which you often
had the generoſity to confeſs for me, was
impaired by my addreſſes, let me recover
it by this ſacrifice of my hopes; and,
while I devote to your quiet the ſolicitations
of my love, let it confirm to me
every privilege of the moſt ſacred friendſhip."

Such were the words of Montauban.
I know not what anſwer I made: I remember
a movement of admiration, and
no more. At that inſtant, he ſeemed
nobler than ever; and when, in ſpite of
his firmneſs, a tear broke forth, my pity
almoſt carried me beyond eſteem. How
happy might this man make another!
Julia de Roubigné is fated to be miſerable!

* * * * * * *
LETTER XVI.
The Count de Montauban to Monſ. Duvergne
at Paris.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I HAVE ſent only three of the bills I
propoſed, in my laſt, to remit; that
for five thouſand, and the other for twelve
thouſand livres, at ſhort dates, I have
retained, as, I believe, I ſhall have uſe
for them here. You may diſcount ſome
of the others, if you want money for immediate
uſe, which however, I imagine,
will not be the caſe.
I beg you may, immediately on receipt
of this, ſend the incloſed letter as
directed. The name in the ſuperſcription
I have made Vervette, though my
ſteward, from whom I take it, is not
ſure if it be exactly that; but, as he tells
me the man is a procureur of ſome practice,
and is certain as to the place of his
reſidence, I imagine, you will have no
difficulty in finding him. I wiſh my letter
to reach him in Paris; but if you hear
that he has gone into the country, ſend
me notice by the meſſenger, who is to
fetch down my uncle's papers, by whom
I ſhall receive your anſwer ſooner than by
poſt.
* * * * * * * * *
LETTER XVII.
Liſette to Maria.
MADAM,
I MAKE bold to write this, in great
haſte, becauſe I am ſenſible of your
friendſhip for my lady, and that you
will thank me for giving you an opportunity
of trying to ſerve her father and
her in their preſent diſtreſs. She, poor
lady, is in ſuch a ſituation as not to be
able to write; and beſides, ſhe is ſo
noble-minded, that I dare be ſworn ſhe
would not tell you the worſt, leſt it ſhould
look like aſking your aſſiſtance.
How ſhall I tell you, Madam? My
poor maſter is in danger of being forced
away from us, and thrown into priſon.
A debt, it ſeems, owing to ſome people
in Paris, on account of expences about
that unfortunate law-ſuit, has been put
into the hands of a procureur, who will
not hear of any delay in the payment of
it; and he was here this morning, and
told my maſter, as Le Blanc overheard,
that, if he could not procure the money
in three hours time, he muſt attend him.
to a jail. My maſter wiſhed to conceal
this from his daughter, and deſired, the
procureur to do his duty, without any
noiſe or diſturbance; but Le Blanc had
ſcarcely gone up ſtairs, when ſhe called
him, and enquired about that man's buſineſs,
and he could not hide it, his heart
was ſo full, and ſo he told her all that
had paſſed below. Then ſhe flew down
to her father's room, and hung about
him in ſuch a manner, weeping and ſobbing,
that it would have melted the
heart of a ſavage, and ſo, to be ſure, I ſaid
to the procureur; but he did not mind
me a bit, nor my lady neither, though
ſhe looked ſo as I never beheld in all
my life, and I was terrified to ſee her ſo,
and ſaid all I could to comfort her, but
to no purpoſe. At laſt, a ſervant of the
procureur brought him a letter, and preſently
he went out of the houſe, but left
two of his attendants to watch that my
maſter ſhould not eſcape; and they are
now here, and they ſay that he cannot
grant any reſpite; but that, as ſure as
can be, when he returns, he will take
away Monſ. de Roubigné to priſon. I
ſend this by a boy, a nephew of Le
Blanc's, who ſerves a gentleman in this
province, who is juſt now going poſt to
Paris, and the boy called on his way, by
good fortune, to ſee his uncle. I am,
in haſte, your very faithful and obedient
ſervant,
LISETTE.
My lady is much more compoſed now,
and ſo is my maſter. The procureur
has not returned yet, and I have a
ſort of hope; yet God knows whence
it ſhould be, except from your ladyſhip.

LETTER XVIII.
Liſette to Maria.
TO be ſure, Madam, you muſt have
been much affected with the diſtreſs in
our family, of which I informed you in
my laſt, conſidering what a friendſhip
there is between my dear lady and you.
And now I am much vexed, that I ſhould
have given you ſo much uneaſineſs in
vain, and ſend this to let you know of the
happy deliverance my maſter has met
with, from that moſt generous of men the
count de Montauban; I ſay, the moſt
generous of men, as to be ſure he is, to
advance ſo large a ſum without any near
Proſpect of being repaid, and without
ever being aſked to do ſuch a favour;
for I verily believe my maſter would die
before he would aſk ſuch a favour of any
one, ſo high-minded he is, notwithſtanding
all his misfortunes. He is juſt now
gone to ſee the count, for that noble--
hearted gentleman would not come to
our houſe, leſt, as Monſ. de Roubigné
ſaid, he ſhould ſeem to triumph in the
effects of his own generoſity. Indeed, the
thing was done as if it had been by
witchcraft, without one of this family
ſuſpecting ſuch a matter; and the procureur
never came back at all, only ſent a
paper, diſcharging the debt, to one of
the men he had left behind, who, upon
that, behaved very civilly, and went
away with much better manners, forſooth,
than they came; but Le Blanc followed
them to the village, where they met the
procureur, and thus it was that we diſcovered
the debt to have been paid by
the count, who, it ſeems, had ſent that
letter, but without a name, which the
procureur received, when he left us at
the time I wrote your ladyſhip laſt.
Monſ. de Roubigné is returned from
his viſit to the count de Montauban, and
has been a long time cloſeted with my
lady, and, to be ſure, ſomething particular
muſt have paſſed, but what it is I cannot
gueſs; only I am certain it is ſomething
more than common, becauſe I was
in the way when they parted, and my
lady paſſed me, and I ſaw by her looks
that there had been ſomething. When
ſhe went into her own chamber I followed
her, and there ſhe ſat down, leaning
her arm on her dreſſing-table, and gave
ſuch a ſigh, as I thought her heart would
have burſt with it. Then I thought I
might ſpeak, and afked if ſhe was not
well; Very well, Liſette, ſaid ſhe; but
ſhe ſaid it as if ſhe was not well for all
that, breathing ſtrongly, as ſhe ſpoke
the words, as one does when one has
run one's ſelf out of breath. "Leave
me, child (ſaid ſhe) I will call you again
by and by." And ſo I left her as ſhe
bid me, and as I went out of the room,
ſhutting the door ſoftly behind me,
heard her ſtart up from her chair, and
ſay to herſelf "The lot is caſt!" I think
that was it.
My maſter has been all this while in
his ſtudy, writing, and juſt now he called
Le Blanc, and gave him a letter for the
count de Montauban, and Le Blanc told
me, as he paſſed, that Monſ. de Roubigné
looked gayer, and more in ſpirits
than uſual, when he gave it him. My
lady is ſtill in her chamber alone, and has
never called me, as ſhe promiſed. Poor
dear ſoul! I am ſure I would do any
thing to ſerve her, that I would, and well
I may, for ſhe is the kindeſt, ſweeteſt
lady to me, and ſo indeed ſhe is to every
body.
And now, Madam, I am ſure I ſhould
aſk a thouſand pardons for uſing the
freedom to write to you in ſuch a manner,
juſt by ſtarts, as things happen. But I
am ſenſible your ladyſhip will not impute
my doing ſo to any want of reſpect, but
only to my deſiring to give your ladyſhip
an account of the ſituation of my lady,
and of this family, which you were ſo
condeſcending as to ſay, after my firſt
letter, you were much obliged to me for
giving you, and begged that it might be
in my own ſtyle, which, to be ſure, is
none of the beſt; but which your lady.
ſhip will be ſo good as pardon, eſpecially
as I am, when I write to you about theſe
matters, in a flutter, as one may ſay, as
well as having little time to order my expreſſions
for the beſt. I am, honoured
Madam,
With due reſpect,
Your faithful
And obedient ſervant,
LISETTE.
LETTER XIX.
Julia to Maria.
IN the intricacies of my fate or of my
conduct, I have long been accuſtomed
to conſider you my ſupport and
my judge. For ſome days paſt theſe have
come thick upon me; but I could not
find compoſure enough to ſtate them
coolly even to myſelf. At this hour of
midnight, I have ſummoned up a ſtill recollection
of the paſt; and with you, as
my other conſcience, I will unfold and
examine it.
The ready zeal of my faithful Liſette
has, I underſtand, ſaved me a recital of
the diſtreſs, in which my father found
himſelf involved, from the conſequences of
that law ſuit we have ſo often lamented.
I could only ſhare it with him; but a
more effectual friend ſtepped forth in
the count de Montauban. His generoſity
relieved my father, and gave him
back to freedom and your Julia.
The manner of his doing this, was ſuch
as the delicacy of a mind, jealous of its
own honour, would prompt in the cauſe
of another's. I thought I ſaw a circumſtance,
previous to the count's performing
it, which added to that delicacy.
My father did not then perceive this; it
was not till he waited on Montauban,
that the force of it ſtruck his mind.
When he returned home, I ſaw ſome
remains of that pride, which formerly
rankled under the receipt of favours it
was unable to return. "My Julia, (ſaid
he) your father is unhappy, every way
unhappy; but it is fit I ſhould be humble
— Pierre de Roubigné muſt learn humility!"
He uttered theſe words in a
tone that frightened me; I could not
ſpeak. He ſaw me confuſed, I believe,
and, putting on a milder aſpect, took my
hand and kiſſed it. — "Heaven knows,
that, for myſelf, I rate not life or liberty
at much; — but, when I thought what
my child muſt ſuffer — I alone am left to
protect her — and I am old and weak, and
muſt aſk for that aſſiſtance which I am
unable to repay" "The generous, ſir,
(ſaid I) know from their own hearts
what yours can feel: all beyond is
accident alone." "The generous, indeed,
my child but you know not all
the generoſity of Montauban. When he
tore himſelf from thoſe hopes which his
love had taught him; when he renounced
his pretenſions to that hand, which I
know can alone confer happineſs on his
life; it was but for a more delicate opportunity
of relieving thy father. — I could
not (ſaid he), while I ſought your daughter's
love, bear the appearance of purchaſing
it by a favour; now, when I have
renounced it for ever, I am free to the
offices of friendſhip. — Had you ſeen him,
Julia, when he pronounced this for ever!
great as his ſoul is, he wept! by Heaven
he wept, at pronouncing it! — Theſe tears,
Julia, theſe tears of my friend! — Would
I had met my dungeon in ſilence! — they
had not torn my heart thus!"
Maria, mine was ſwelled to a ſort of
enthuſiaſtic madneſs —
I fell at his feet. —
"No, my father, they ſhall not. —
Amidſt the fall of her family, your
daughter ſhall not ſtand aloof in ſafety.
She would have ſhared the priſon of her
father in the pride of adverſity; behold
her now the partner of his humiliation!
Tell the count de Montauban, that Julia
de Roubigné offers that hand to his generoſity,
which ſhe refuſed to his ſolicitation;
— tell him alſo, ſhe is above
deceit: ſhe will not conceal the ſmall
value of the gift. 'Tis but the offering
of a wretch, who would ſomehow requite
the ſufferings of her father, and the
ſervices of his friend. If he ſhall now
reject it, that ugly debt, which his unhappineſs
lays us under, will be repaid
in the debaſement ſhe endures; if he accepts
of it as it is, tell him its miſtreſs
is not ignorant of the duty that ſhould
attend it."
My father ſeemed to recover at my
words; yet ſurpriſe was mixed with the
ſatisfaction his countenance expreſſed.
"Are theſe your ſentiments, my love?"
preſſing my hand cloſer in his — The heroiſm
of duty was waſted — I anſwered
him with my tears. "Speak, (ſaid he)
my Julia, coolly; and let not the diſtreſſes
of your father warp your reſolution.
He can endure any thing, even
his gratitude ſhall be ſilenced." — My
fortitude revived again. — "There is
ſome weakneſs, ſir, attends even our beſt
reſolves: mine are not without it; but
they are fixed, and I have ſpoken them."
He aſked, if he might acquaint Monſ.
de Montauban. "Immediately, ſir, (I
anſwered) if you pleaſe; the ſooner he
knows my reſolution, the more will he
ſee it flowing from my heart." My father
went into his ſtudy, and wrote a letter,
which he read to me. It was not all
I could have wiſhed, yet I could not
mend it by correction. Who ſhall give
words to the ſoul at ſuch a time? My
very thoughts are not accurate expreſſions
of what I feel: there is ſomething
buſy about my heart, which I cannot reduce
into thinking. — Oh! Maria!
Montauban came immediately on receipt
of this letter; we did not expect him
that night; we were at ſupper. In what
a ſituation was your Julia while it laſted?
In this terrible interval, I was obliged
to meet his eye ſometimes, in addreſſing
ordinary civilities to him. To ſee him,
to ſpeak to him thus, while the fate of
my life was within the power of a few
little words, was ſuch torture, as it required
the utmoſt of my reſolution to
bear. My father ſaw it, and put as
ſpeedy an end to our meal as poſſible. —
We were left alone.
My father ſpoke firſt, not without heſitation.
Montauban was ſtill more confuſed;
but it was the confuſion of a happy
man. He ſpoke ſome half ſentences
about the delicacy of my ſentiments and
his own, but was entangled there, and,
I think, not able to extricate himſelf.
At laſt, turning fuller towards me, who
ſat the ſilent victim of the ſcene, (why
ſhould I ſcore through that word when
writing to you? yet it is a bad one,
and I pray you to forgive it) he
ſaid, he knew his own unworthineſs of
that hand, which my generoſity had now
allowed him to hope for; but that every
endeavour of his future life — the reſt was
common-place; for his ſex have but one
ſort of expreſſion for the exulting modeſty
of ſucceſs. — My father put my hand
in his — I was obliged to raiſe my eyes
from the ground and look on him; his
were bent earneſtly on me: there was
too, too much joy in them, Maria;
mine could not bear them long. "That
hand (ſaid my father) is the laſt treaſure
of Roubigné. Fallen as his fortunes are,
not the wealth of worlds had purchaſed it:
to your friendſhip, to your virtue, he
is bleſſed in bequeathing it." — "I know.
its value, ſaid the count, and receive it as
the deareſt gift of Heaven and you." He
kiſſed my hand with rapture. —
It is done, and I am Montauban's for
ever! —
LETTER XX.
Montauban to Segarva.
GIVE me joy, Segarva, give me joy —
the lovely Julia is mine. Let not
the torpid conſiderations of prudence,
which your laſt letter contained, riſe up
to check the happineſs of your friend,
or that which his good fortune will beſtow
on you. Truſt me, thy fears are
groundleſs — didſt thou but know her
as I do! — Perhaps, I am tenderer that
way than uſual; but there were ſome of
your fears I felt a bluſh in reading. Talk
not of the looſeneſs of marriage-vows
in France, nor compare her with thoſe
women of it, whoſe heads are giddy with
the follies of faſhion, and whoſe hearts
are debauched by the manners of its votaries.
Her virtue was ever above the
breath of ſuſpicion, and I dare pledge
my life, it will ever continue ſo. But
that is not enough; I can feel, as you
do, that it is not enough. I know the
nobleneſs of her ſoul, the delicacy of her
ſentiments, She would not give me her
hand except from motives of regard and
affection, were I maſter of millions. I
rejoice that her own ſituation is ſuch, as
infers no ſuſpicion of intereſtedneſs in
me; were ſhe not Julia de Roubigné, I
would not have wedded her with the
world for her dower.
You talk of her former reluctance;
but I am not young enough to imagine
that it is impoſſible for a marriage to be
happy without that glow of rapture,
which lovers have felt, and poets deſcribed.
Thoſe ſtarts of paſſion are not the
baſis for wedded felicity, which wiſdom
would chaſe, becauſe they are only the
delirium of a month, which poſſeſſion
deſtroys, and diſappointment follows. I
have perfect confidence in the affection
of Julia, though it is not of that intemperate
kind, which ſome brides have
ſhewn. Had you ſeen her eyes, how
they ſpoke, when her father gave me
her hand! there was ſtill a reluctance in
them, a reluctance more winning than
all the fluſh of conſent could have made
her. Modeſty and fear, eſteem and gratitude,
darkened and enlightened them
by turns; and thoſe tears, thoſe ſilent
tears, which they ſhed, gave me a more
ſacred bond of her attachment, than it
was in the power of words to have
formed.
I have ſometimes allowed myſelf to
think, or rather I have ſuppoſed you
thinking, it might be held an imputation
on the purity of her affection, that from
an act of generoſity towards her father,
(with the circumſtances of which I was
under the neceſſity of acquainting you in
my laſt) her hand became rather a debt
of gratitude than a gift of love. But
there is a deception in thoſe romantic
ſounds, which tell us, that pure affection
ſhould be unbiaſſed in its diſpoſal of a
lover or a miſtreſs. If they ſay, that affection
is a mere involuntary impulſe,
neither waiting the deciſions of reaſon, or
the diſſuaſive of prudence, do they not
in reality degrade us to machines, which
are blindly actuated by ſome uncontrollable
power? If they allow a woman reaſonable
motives for her attachment, what
can be ſtronger than thoſe ſentiments
which excite her eſteem, and thoſe proofs
of them which produce her gratitude?
But why do I thus reaſon on my happineſs?
I feel no fears, no ſuſpicion of
alloy to it; and I will not ſearch for them
in abſtract opinion, or in diſtant conjecture.

Tueſday next is fixed for the day that
is to unite us; the ſhew and ceremony
that mingle ſo ill with the feelings of a
time like this, our ſituation here renders
unneceſſary. A few of thoſe ſimple ornaments,
in which my Julia meets the gaze
of the admiring ruſtics around us, are
more congenial to her beauty than all
the trappings of vanity or magnificence.
We propoſe paſſing a week or two here,
before removing to Montauban, where I
muſt then carry my wife, to ſhew my
people their miſtreſs, and receive that
ſort of homage, which I hope I have
taught them to pay from the heart. Thoſe
relations of my family, who live in that
neighbourhood, muſt come and learn to
love me better than they did. Methinks
I ſhall now be more eaſily pleaſed with
them than I formerly was. I know not
if it is nobler to deſpiſe inſignificant people,
than to bear with them coolly; but
I believe it is much leſs agreeable. The
aſperities of our own mind recoil on itſelf.
Julia has ſhewn me the bliſs of
loſing them.
Could I hope for my Segarva at Montauban?
— Much as I doat on my lovely
bride, there wants the laſt approval of
my ſoul, till he ſmiles on this marriage
and bleſſes it. I know, there needs only
his coming thither to grant this. — I anticipate
your anſwer, that now it is impoſſible;
but let it be a debt on the future,
which the firſt of your leiſure is to
pay. Meantime believe me happy, and
add to my happineſs by telling me of
your own.
LETTER XXI.
Julia to Maria.
WHY ſhould I teaze you by writing
of thoſe little things which teaze
me in the doing? They teaze, yet perhaps
they are uſeful. At this time, I am
afraid of a moment's leiſure to be idle,
and am even pleaſed with the happy impertinence
of Liſette, whoſe joy, on my
account, gives her tongue much freedom.
I call her often, when I have little occaſion
for her ſervice, merely that I may
have her protection from ſolitude.
For the ſame reaſon, I am ſomehow
afraid of writing to you, which is only
another ſort of thinking. Do not therefore
expect to hear from me again till
after Tueſday at ſooneſt. — Maria! you
remember our fancy at ſchool of ſhewing
our friendſhip, by ſetting down remarkable
days of one another's little joys and
diſappointments. — Set down Tueſday next
for your Julia — but leave its property
blank. — Fate will fill it up one day!
LETTER XXII.
Liſette to Maria.
MADAM,
I Hope my lady and you will both excuſe
my writing this, to give you notice
of the happy event, which has happened
in our family. I made ſo bold as
to aſk her if ſhe intended writing to you.
"Liſette, (ſaid ſhe) I cannot write, I
cannot indeed." So I have taken up the
pen, who am a poor unworthy correſpondent;
but your ladyſhip's goodneſs has
made allowances for me in that way before,
and, I hope, will do ſo ſtill.
The ceremony was performed yeſterday.
I think I never ſaw a more lovely
figure than my lady's; ſhe is a ſweet
angel at all times, but I with your ladyſhip
had ſeen how ſhe looked then, She
was dreſſed in a white muſlin nightgown,
with ſtriped laylo and white ribbands:
her hair was kept in the looſe way you
uſed to make me dreſs it for her at Belville,
with two waving curls down one
ſide of her neck, and a braid of little
pearls, you made her a preſent of then.
And to be ſure, with her dark-brown
locks reſting upon it, her boſom looked
as pure white as the driven ſnow. — And
then her eyes, when ſhe gave her hand
to the count! they were caſt half down,
and you might ſee her eye-laſhes, like
ſtrokes of a pencil, over the white of her
ſkin — the modeſt gentleneſs, with a ſort
of a ſadneſs too, as it were, and a gentle
heave of her boſom at the ſame time. —
O! Madam, you know I have not language,
as my lady and you have, to deſcribe
ſuch things; but it made me cry,
in truth it did, for very joy and admiration.
There was a tear in my maſter's
eye too, though I believe two happier
hearts were not in France, than his and
the count de Montauban's. I am ſure,
I pray for bleſſings on all three, with
more earneſtneſs, that I do, than for myſelf.

It ſeems, it is ſettled that the new--
married couple ſhall not remain long here,
but ſet out, in a week or two hence, for
the count's principal ſeat, about ſix leagues
diſtant from his houſe in our neighbourhood,
which is not large enough for entertaining
the friends, whoſe viſits they
muſt receive on this joyful occaſion. I
fancy Monſ. de Roubigné will be much
with them, though, I underſtand, he
did not chooſe to accept of the count's
preſſing invitation to live with his daughter
and him; but an elderly lady, a relation
of my dear miſtreſs that is gone,
is to keep houſe for him.
I muſt break off now, for I hear my
lady's bell ring, and your ladyſhip may
believe we are all in a ſort of buz here.
I dare to ſay ſhe will not fail to write to
you ſoon; but mean time, hoping you
will accept of this poor ſcrawling letter of
mine, I remain, with due reſpect,
Your moſt faithful and obedient ſervant,
LISETTE.
P. S. My lady is to have me with her
at the Chateau de Montauban; and,
to be ſure, i am happy to attend her,
as I could willingly ſpend all the days
of my life with ſo kind a lady, and
ſo good-conditioned. The count likewiſe
has been ſo good to me, as I
can't tell how, and ſaid, that he
hoped my miſtreſs and I would never
part, "if ſhe does not grow jealous,
(ſaid he merrily) of ſo handſome a
maid." And at that we all laughed,
as to be ſure we might. My lady
will be a happy lady, I am ſure.
LETTER XXIII.
Julia to Maria.
MY friend will, by this time, be chiding
me for want of attention to
her; yet, in truth, ſhe has ſeldom been
abſent from my thoughts. Were we together
but for a ſingle hour, I ſhould
have much to tell you; but there is an
intricacy in my feelings on this change of
ſituation, which, freely as I write to you,
I cannot manage on paper. I can eaſily
imagine what you would firſt deſire to
know, though perhaps it is the laſt queſtion
you would put. The happineſs of
your Julia, I know, is ever the warmeſt
object of your wiſhes, — Aſk me not, why
I cannot anſwer even this directly — Be
ſatisfied when I tell you, that I ought to
be happy. — Montauban has every deſire
to make me ſo. —
One thing I wiſh to accompliſh towards
his peace and mine. The hiſtory
of this poor heart I have entruſted only
to your memory and my own: I will
endeavour, though I know with how
much difficulty, henceforth to forget it
for ever You muſt aſſiſt me, by holding
it a blank, which recollection is no
more to fill up. I know the weakneſs
of my ſex; myſelf of that ſex the weakeſt:
I will not run the riſk of calling up
ideas, which were once familiar, and may
not now be the leſs dangerous, nor the
leſs readily liſtened to, for the pain they
have cauſed. My huſband has now a
right to every better thought; it were
unjuſt to embitter thoſe hours, which
are but half the property of Julia de
Montauban, with the remembrance of
former ones, which belonged to ſadneſs
and Julia de Roubigné.
We are on the eve of our departure
for the family caſtle of Monſ. de Montauban.
My father, whoſe happineſs, at
preſent, is a flattering teſtimony, as well
as a ſupport to my piety, accompanies us
thither, but is ſoon to return home, where
our couſin, La Pelliere, whom you may
remember having ſeen with my mother
in Paris, is to keep houſe for him. This
ſeparation I cannot help looking to as a
calamity; yet, I believe, his reaſons for
it are juſt. What a change in a woman's
ſituation does this momentous connexion
make? — I will think no more of it. —
Farewell.
Yet a few words, to own my folly at
leaſt, if I cannot amend it. I went to
aſſort ſome little articles of dreſs for carrying
home with me; while I was rummaging
out a drawer to find one of them,
a little picture of Savillon, drawn for
him when a boy, by a painter who was
accidentally in our neighbourhood, croſſed
me in the way. You cannot eaſily imagine
how this circumaſtance diſconcerted
me. I ſhut the drawer as if it had contained
a viper; then opened it again;
and again the countenance of Savillon,
mild and thoughtful, (for even then it was
thoughtful) met my view! — Was it a
conſciouſneſs of guilt that turned my eye
involuntarily to the door of the apartment?
— Can there be any in accidentally
thinking of Savillon? — Yet I fear I looked
too long, and too impaſſionedly on
this miniature. It was drawn with ſomething
ſorrowful in the countenance, and
methought it looked then more ſorrowful
than ever.
The queſtion comes ſtrong upon me,
how I ſhould like that my huſband had
ſeen this. — In truth, Maria, I fear my
keeping this picture is improper; yet at
the time it was painted, there was one
drawn for me by the ſame hand, and we
exchanged reſemblances without any
idea of impropriety. Ye unfeeling decorums
of the world! — Yet it is dangerous,
is it not, my beſt monitor, to think
thus? — Yet, were I to return the picture,
would it not look like a ſuſpicion of myfelf?
— I will keep it, till you convince
me I ſhould not.
Montauban and virtue! I am your's.
Suffer but one ſigh to that weakneſs,
which I have not yet been able to overcome.
My heart, I truſt, is innocent —
blame it not for being unhappy.
LETTER XXIV.
Julia to Maria.
MY father was with me this morning,
in my chamber, for more than an
hour. We ſat, ſometimes ſilent, ſometimes
ſpeaking interrupted ſentences, and
tears were frequently all the intercourſe
we held. Liſette coming in, to acquaint
us that Montauban was in the parlour,
waiting us, at length put an end to our
interview. "Julia, (ſaid my father) I
imagined I had much to ſay to you; but
the importance of my thoughts, on your
behalf, ſtifles my expreſſion of them.
There are moments when I cannot help
looking to that ſeparation, which your
marriage will make between us, as if it
were the loſs of my child; yet I have
fortitude enough to reſiſt the impreſſion,
and to reflect that ſhe is going to be
happy with the worthieſt of men. My
inſtruction for your conduct in that ſtate
you have juſt entered into, your own ſentiments,
I truſt, would render unneceſſary,
were they in no other way ſupplied;
but I diſcovered lately, in your mother's
bureau, a paper which ſtill farther ſuper
ſedes their neceſſity. It contains ſome
advices, which experience and obſervation
had enabled her to give, and her
regard for you had prompted her to write
down. 'Tis, however, only a fragment,
which accident or diffidence of herſelf
has prevented her completing; but it
is worthy of your ſerious peruſal, and
you will read it with more warmth than
if it came from a general inſtructor." He
left the paper with me; I have read it
with the care, with the affection it deſerves;
I ſend a copy of it now, as I
would every good thing, for the participation
of my friend. She cannot read
it with the intereſt of a daughter; but
ſhe will find it no cold, nor common lecture.
It ſpeaks, if I am not too partial
to the beſt of mothers, the language of
prudence, but not of artifice; it would
mend the heart by ſentiment, not cover
it with diſſimulation. She, for whoſe
uſe it was written, has need of ſuch a
monitor, and would liſten to no other;
if ſhe has paid any debt to prudence, it
was not from the obligation of wiſdom,
but the impulſe of feeling.
"For my Daughter Julia.
"Before this can reach you, the hand
that writes it, and the heart that dictates,
ſhall be mouldering in the grave. I mean
it to ſupply the place of ſome cautions,
which I ſhould think it my duty to deliver
to you, ſhould I live to ſee you
a wife. The precepts it contains, you
have often heard me inculcate; but I
know that general obſervations on a poſſible
event, have much leſs force than
thoſe which apply to our immediate condition.
In the fate of a woman, marriage
is the moſt important criſis: it fixes her
in a ſtate, of all others the moſt happy,
or the moſt wretched; and though mere
precept can perhaps do little in any caſe,
yet there is a natural propenſity to try
its efficacy in all. She who writes this
paper, has been long a wife, and a mother;
the experience of one, and the
anxiety of the other, prompt her inſtructions;
and ſhe has been too happy
in both characters to have much doubt of
their truth, or fear of their reception.
"Sweetneſs of temper, affection to a
huſband, and attention to his intereſts,
conſtitute the duties of a wife, and form
the baſis of matrimonial felicity. Theſe
are indeed the texts, from which every
rule for attaining this felicity is drawn.
The charms of beauty, and the brilliancy
of wit, though they may captivate in the
miſtreſs, will not long delight in the
wife: they will ſhorten even their own
tranſitory reign, if, as I have ſeen in
many wives, they ſhine more for the attraction
of every body elſe than of their
huſbands. Let the pleaſing of that one
perſon be a thought never abſent from
your conduct. If he loves you as you
would wiſh he ſhould, he will bleed at
heart ſhould he ſuppoſe it for a moment
withdrawn: if he does not, his pride will
ſupply the place of love, and his reſentment
that of ſuffering.
"Never conſider a trifle what may tend
to pleaſe him. The great articles of duty
he will ſet down as his own; but the leſſer
attentions he will mark as favours; and
truſt me, for I have experienced it,.
there is no feeling more delightful to
one's-ſelf, than that of turning thoſe little
things to ſo precious a uſe.
"If you marry a man of a certain ſort,
ſuch as the romance of young minds generally
paints for a huſband, you will
deride the ſuppoſition of any poſſible decreaſe
in the ardour of your affections.
But wedlock, even in its happieſt lot, is
not exempted from the common fate of
all ſublunary bleſſings; there is ever a
deluſion in hope, which cannot abide
with poſſeſſion. The rapture of extravagant
love will evaporate and waſte;
the conduct of the wife muſt ſubſtitute
in its room other regards, as delicate,
and more laſting. I ſay, the conduct of
the wife; for marriage, be a huſband
what he may, reverſes the prerogative of
ſex; his will expect to be pleaſed, and
ours muſt be ſedulous to pleaſe.
"This privilege a good-natured man
may wave: he will feel it, however, due;
and third perſons will have penetration
enough to ſee, and may have malice
enough to remark, the want of it in his
wife. He muſt be a huſband unworthy
of you, who could bear the degradation
of ſuffering this in ſilence. The idea of
power on either ſide, ſhould be totally
baniſhed from the ſyſtem: it is not ſufficient,
that the huſband ſhould never
have occaſion to regret the want of it;
the wife muſt ſo behave, that he may never
be conſcious of poſſeſſing it.
"But my Julia, if a mother's fondneſs
deceives me not, ſtands nor much in need
of cautions like theſe. I cannot allow
myſelf the idea of her wedding a man, on
whom ſhe would not wiſh to be dependent,
or whoſe inclinations a temper like
hers would deſire to controul. She will
be more in danger from that ſoftneſs,
that ſenſibility of ſoul, which will yield
perhaps too much for the happineſs of
both. The office of a wife includes the
exertion of a friend: a good one muſt
frequently ſtrengthen and ſupport that
weakneſs, which a bad one would endeavour
to overcome. There are ſituations,
where it will not be enough to
love, to cheriſh, to obey: ſhe muſt teach
her huſband to be at peace with himſelf,
to be reconciled to the world, to reſiſt
misfortune, to conquer adverſity.
"Alas! my child, I am here an inſtructreſs
but too well ſkilled! Theſe tears,
with which this paper is ſoiled, fell not
in the preſence of your father, though,
now, they but trace the remembrance of
what, then, it was my lot to feel. Think
it not impoſſible to reſtrain your feelings,
becauſe they are ſtrong. The enthuſiaſm
of feeling will ſometimes overcome diſtreſſes,
which the cold heart of prudence
had been unable to endure.
"But misfortune is not always miſery. I
have known this truth; I am proud to
believe, that I have ſometimes taught it
to Roubigne. Thanks be to that power,
whoſe decrees I reverence! He often
tempered the anguiſh of our ſufferings,
till there was a fort of luxury in feeling
them. Then is the triumph of wedded
love! — the tie that binds the happy may
be dear; but that which links the unfortunate
is tenderneſs unutterable.
"There are afflictions leſs eaſy to be endured,
which your mother has not experienced:
thoſe which a huſband inflicts,
and the beſt wives feel the moſt
ſeverely. Theſe, like all our ſharpeſt
calamities, the fortitude that can reſiſt,
can only cure. Complainings debaſe her
who ſuffers, and harden him who aggrieves.
Let not a woman always look
for their cauſe in the injuſtice of her lord
they may proceed from many trifling errors
in her own conduct, which virtue
cannot blame, though wiſdom muſt regret.
If ſhe makes this diſcovery, let
them be amended without a thought if
poſſible, at any rate without an expreſſion,
of merit in amending them. In
this, and in every other inſtance, it muſt
never be forgotten, that the only government
allowed on our ſide, is that of
gentleneſs and attraction and that its
power, like the fabled influence of imaginary
beings, muſt be inviſible to be
complete.
"Above all, let a wife beware of communicating
to others any want of duty or
tenderneſs, ſhe may think the has perceived
in her huſband. This untwiſts,
at once, thoſe delicate cords, which preſerve
the unity of the marriage engagement.
Its ſacredneſs is broken for ever,
if third parties are made witneſſes of its
failings, or umpires of its diſputes. It
may ſeem almoſt profane in me to confeſs,
that once, when, through the malice
of an enemy, I was made, for a ſhort
time, to believe, that my Roubigné had
wronged me, I durſt not, even in my
prayers to Heaven, petition for a reſtoration
of his love; I prayed to be made a
better wife: when I would have ſaid, a
more beloved one, my utterance failed
me for the word."
* * * * * * * * *
LETTER XXV.
Julia to Maria.
WE have got to the end of our journey;
and I am now the miſtreſs of
this manſion. Our journey was too ſhort,
and too ſlow; I wiſhed for ſome mechanical
relief from my feelings in the
rapidity of a poſt-chaiſe; our progreſs
was too ſtately to be expeditious, and
we reached not this place, though but
ſix leagues diſtant, till the evening.
Methinks I have ſuffered a good deal;
but my heart is not callous yet; elſe
wherefore was it wrung ſo, at leaving
my father's peaceful retreat? I did not
truſt myſelf with looking back; but I was
too well acquainted with the objects, not
to recollect every tree from the ſide--
window as we paſſed. A little ragged
boy, who keeps ſome ſheep of my father's,
opened the gate for us at the end
of the furthermoſt incloſure; he pulled off
his hat, which he had adorned with ſome
gay-coloured ribands in honour of the
occaſion; Montauban threw money into
it, and the boy followed us, for ſome
time, with a number of bleſſings. When
he turned back, methought I envied
him his return. The full picture of the
place we had left, roſe before me; it needed
all my reſolution, and all my fears of
offending, to prevent my weeping outright.
At our dinner on the road, I was
very buſy, and affected to be very much
pleaſed; La Pelliere was a lucky companion
for me; you know how full ſhe
is of obſervation on trifles. When we
approached the houſe, ſhe ſpoke of every
thing, and praiſed every thing; I had
nothing to do but to aſſent.
We entered between two rows of lime--
trees, at the end of which is the gate
of the houſe, wide and rudely magnificent;
its large leaves were opened to receive
us by an old but freſh-looking ſervant,
who ſeemed too honeſt to be polite,
and did not ſhew me quite ſo much curteſy
as ſome miſtreſſes would have expected.
All theſe circumſtances however were in a
ſtile, which my friend has heard me commend;
yet was I weak enough, not perfectly
to reliſh them when they happened
to myſelf. There was a preſaging gloom
about this manſion which filled my approach
with terror; and when Montauban's
old domeſtic opened the coach door,
I looked upon him as a criminal might
do on the meſſenger of death. My
dreams ever ſince have been full of horror;
and while I write theſe lines, the
creaking of the pendulum of the great
clock in the hall, ſounds like the knell of
your devoted Julia.
I expect you to rally me on my ideal
terrors. You may remember, when we
uſed to ſteal a midnight hour's converſation
together, you would laugh at my
foreboding of a ſhort period to my life,
and often jeeringly tell me, I was born
to be a great-grandmother in my time.
I know the fooliſhnefs of this impreſſion,
though I have not yet been able to
conquer it. But to me it is not the
fource of diſquiet; I never feel more
poſſeſſed of myſelf than at thoſe moments
when I indulge it the moſt. Why ſhould
I wiſh for long life? why ſhould ſo many
wiſh for it? Did we ſit down to number
the calamities of this world; did we
think how many wretches there are of
diſeaſe, of poverty, of oppreſſion, of
vice, (alas! I fear there are ſome even
of virtue) we ſhould change one idea
of evil, and learn to look on death as a
friend.
This might a philoſopher accompliſh;
but a Chriſtian, Maria, can do more.
Religion has taught me to look beyond
diſſolution. Religion has removed the
darkneſs that covered the ſepulchres of
our fathers, and filled that gloomy void
which was only the retreat of hopeleſs affliction,
with proſpects, in contemplation
of which, even the felicity of the world
dwindles into nothing!
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.

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APA Style:

Julia de Roubigné, Vol. 1. 2021. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved November 2021, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=121.

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Julia de Roubigné, Vol. 1

Document Information

Document ID 121
Title Julia de Roubigné, Vol. 1
Year group 1750-1800
Genre Imaginative prose
Year of publication 1777
Wordcount 25036

Author information: Mackenzie, Henry

Author ID 239
Forenames Henry
Surname Mackenzie
Gender Male
Year of birth 1745
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Occupation Author
Father's occupation Physician
Locations where resident Edinburgh