The Mysteries of Udolpho
Ann Radcliffe

Part 1 out of 16

[Keyed and Proofed by Karalee Coleman

The Mysteries of Udolpho

by Ann Radcliffe

A Romance
Interspersed With Some Pieces of Poetry

Fate sits on these dark battlements, and frowns,
And, as the portals open to receive me,
Her voice, in sullen echoes through the courts,
Tells of a nameless deed.



home is the resort
Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where,
Supporting and supported, polish'd friends
And dear relations mingle into bliss.*

On the pleasant banks of the Garonne, in the province of Gascony,
stood, in the year 1584, the chateau of Monsieur St. Aubert. From
its windows were seen the pastoral landscapes of Guienne and Gascony
stretching along the river, gay with luxuriant woods and vine, and
plantations of olives. To the south, the view was bounded by the
majestic Pyrenees, whose summits, veiled in clouds, or exhibiting
awful forms, seen, and lost again, as the partial vapours rolled
along, were sometimes barren, and gleamed through the blue tinge of
air, and sometimes frowned with forests of gloomy pine, that swept
downward to their base. These tremendous precipices were contrasted
by the soft green of the pastures and woods that hung upon their
skirts; among whose flocks, and herds, and simple cottages, the eye,
after having scaled the cliffs above, delighted to repose. To the
north, and to the east, the plains of Guienne and Languedoc were lost
in the mist of distance; on the west, Gascony was bounded by the
waters of Biscay.

M. St. Aubert loved to wander, with his wife and daughter, on the
margin of the Garonne, and to listen to the music that floated on its
waves. He had known life in other forms than those of pastoral
simplicity, having mingled in the gay and in the busy scenes of the
world; but the flattering portrait of mankind, which his heart had
delineated in early youth, his experience had too sorrowfully
corrected. Yet, amidst the changing visions of life, his principles
remained unshaken, his benevolence unchilled; and he retired from the
multitude 'more in PITY than in anger,' to scenes of simple nature,
to the pure delights of literature, and to the exercise of domestic

He was a descendant from the younger branch of an illustrious family,
and it was designed, that the deficiency of his patrimonial wealth
should be supplied either by a splendid alliance in marriage, or by
success in the intrigues of public affairs. But St. Aubert had too
nice a sense of honour to fulfil the latter hope, and too small a
portion of ambition to sacrifice what he called happiness, to the
attainment of wealth. After the death of his father he married a
very amiable woman, his equal in birth, and not his superior in
fortune. The late Monsieur St. Aubert's liberality, or extravagance,
had so much involved his affairs, that his son found it necessary to
dispose of a part of the family domain, and, some years after his
marriage, he sold it to Monsieur Quesnel, the brother of his wife,
and retired to a small estate in Gascony, where conjugal felicity,
and parental duties, divided his attention with the treasures of
knowledge and the illuminations of genius.

To this spot he had been attached from his infancy. He had often
made excursions to it when a boy, and the impressions of delight
given to his mind by the homely kindness of the grey-headed peasant,
to whom it was intrusted, and whose fruit and cream never failed, had
not been obliterated by succeeding circumstances. The green pastures
along which he had so often bounded in the exultation of health, and
youthful freedom--the woods, under whose refreshing shade he had
first indulged that pensive melancholy, which afterwards made a
strong feature of his character--the wild walks of the mountains, the
river, on whose waves he had floated, and the distant plains, which
seemed boundless as his early hopes--were never after remembered by
St. Aubert but with enthusiasm and regret. At length he disengaged
himself from the world, and retired hither, to realize the wishes of
many years.

The building, as it then stood, was merely a summer cottage, rendered
interesting to a stranger by its neat simplicity, or the beauty of
the surrounding scene; and considerable additions were necessary to
make it a comfortable family residence. St. Aubert felt a kind of
affection for every part of the fabric, which he remembered in his
youth, and would not suffer a stone of it to be removed, so that the
new building, adapted to the style of the old one, formed with it
only a simple and elegant residence. The taste of Madame St. Aubert
was conspicuous in its internal finishing, where the same chaste
simplicity was observable in the furniture, and in the few ornaments
of the apartments, that characterized the manners of its inhabitants.

The library occupied the west side of the chateau, and was enriched
by a collection of the best books in the ancient and modern
languages. This room opened upon a grove, which stood on the brow of
a gentle declivity, that fell towards the river, and the tall trees
gave it a melancholy and pleasing shade; while from the windows the
eye caught, beneath the spreading branches, the gay and luxuriant
landscape stretching to the west, and overlooked on the left by the
bold precipices of the Pyrenees. Adjoining the library was a green-
house, stored with scarce and beautiful plants; for one of the
amusements of St. Aubert was the study of botany, and among the
neighbouring mountains, which afforded a luxurious feast to the mind
of the naturalist, he often passed the day in the pursuit of his
favourite science. He was sometimes accompanied in these little
excursions by Madame St. Aubert, and frequently by his daughter;
when, with a small osier basket to receive plants, and another filled
with cold refreshments, such as the cabin of the shepherd did not
afford, they wandered away among the most romantic and magnificent
scenes, nor suffered the charms of Nature's lowly children to
abstract them from the observance of her stupendous works. When
weary of sauntering among cliffs that seemed scarcely accessible but
to the steps of the enthusiast, and where no track appeared on the
vegetation, but what the foot of the izard had left; they would seek
one of those green recesses, which so beautifully adorn the bosom of
these mountains, where, under the shade of the lofty larch, or cedar,
they enjoyed their simple repast, made sweeter by the waters of the
cool stream, that crept along the turf, and by the breath of wild
flowers and aromatic plants, that fringed the rocks, and inlaid the

Adjoining the eastern side of the green-house, looking towards the
plains of Languedoc, was a room, which Emily called hers, and which
contained her books, her drawings, her musical instruments, with some
favourite birds and plants. Here she usually exercised herself in
elegant arts, cultivated only because they were congenial to her
taste, and in which native genius, assisted by the instructions of
Monsieur and Madame St. Aubert, made her an early proficient. The
windows of this room were particularly pleasant; they descended to
the floor, and, opening upon the little lawn that surrounded the
house, the eye was led between groves of almond, palm-trees,
flowering-ash, and myrtle, to the distant landscape, where the
Garonne wandered.

The peasants of this gay climate were often seen on an evening, when
the day's labour was done, dancing in groups on the margin of the
river. Their sprightly melodies, debonnaire steps, the fanciful
figure of their dances, with the tasteful and capricious manner in
which the girls adjusted their simple dress, gave a character to the
scene entirely French.

The front of the chateau, which, having a southern aspect, opened
upon the grandeur of the mountains, was occupied on the ground floor
by a rustic hall, and two excellent sitting rooms. The first floor,
for the cottage had no second story, was laid out in bed-chambers,
except one apartment that opened to a balcony, and which was
generally used for a breakfast-room.

In the surrounding ground, St. Aubert had made very tasteful
improvements; yet, such was his attachment to objects he had
remembered from his boyish days, that he had in some instances
sacrificed taste to sentiment. There were two old larches that
shaded the building, and interrupted the prospect; St. Aubert had
sometimes declared that he believed he should have been weak enough
to have wept at their fall. In addition to these larches he planted
a little grove of beech, pine, and mountain-ash. On a lofty terrace,
formed by the swelling bank of the river, rose a plantation of
orange, lemon, and palm-trees, whose fruit, in the coolness of
evening, breathed delicious fragrance. With these were mingled a few
trees of other species. Here, under the ample shade of a plane-tree,
that spread its majestic canopy towards the river, St. Aubert loved
to sit in the fine evenings of summer, with his wife and children,
watching, beneath its foliage, the setting sun, the mild splendour of
its light fading from the distant landscape, till the shadows of
twilight melted its various features into one tint of sober grey.
Here, too, he loved to read, and to converse with Madame St. Aubert;
or to play with his children, resigning himself to the influence of
those sweet affections, which are ever attendant on simplicity and
nature. He has often said, while tears of pleasure trembled in his
eyes, that these were moments infinitely more delightful than any
passed amid the brilliant and tumultuous scenes that are courted by
the world. His heart was occupied; it had, what can be so rarely
said, no wish for a happiness beyond what it experienced. The
consciousness of acting right diffused a serenity over his manners,
which nothing else could impart to a man of moral perceptions like
his, and which refined his sense of every surrounding blessing.

The deepest shade of twilight did not send him from his favourite
plane-tree. He loved the soothing hour, when the last tints of light
die away; when the stars, one by one, tremble through aether, and are
reflected on the dark mirror of the waters; that hour, which, of all
others, inspires the mind with pensive tenderness, and often elevates
it to sublime contemplation. When the moon shed her soft rays among
the foliage, he still lingered, and his pastoral supper of cream and
fruits was often spread beneath it. Then, on the stillness of night,
came the song of the nightingale, breathing sweetness, and awakening

The first interruptions to the happiness he had known since his
retirement, were occasioned by the death of his two sons. He lost
them at that age when infantine simplicity is so fascinating; and
though, in consideration of Madame St. Aubert's distress, he
restrained the expression of his own, and endeavoured to bear it, as
he meant, with philosophy, he had, in truth, no philosophy that could
render him calm to such losses. One daughter was now his only
surviving child; and, while he watched the unfolding of her infant
character, with anxious fondness, he endeavoured, with unremitting
effort, to counteract those traits in her disposition, which might
hereafter lead her from happiness. She had discovered in her early
years uncommon delicacy of mind, warm affections, and ready
benevolence; but with these was observable a degree of susceptibility
too exquisite to admit of lasting peace. As she advanced in youth,
this sensibility gave a pensive tone to her spirits, and a softness
to her manner, which added grace to beauty, and rendered her a very
interesting object to persons of a congenial disposition. But St.
Aubert had too much good sense to prefer a charm to a virtue; and had
penetration enough to see, that this charm was too dangerous to its
possessor to be allowed the character of a blessing. He endeavoured,
therefore, to strengthen her mind; to enure her to habits of self-
command; to teach her to reject the first impulse of her feelings,
and to look, with cool examination, upon the disappointments he
sometimes threw in her way. While he instructed her to resist first
impressions, and to acquire that steady dignity of mind, that can
alone counterbalance the passions, and bear us, as far as is
compatible with our nature, above the reach of circumstances, he
taught himself a lesson of fortitude; for he was often obliged to
witness, with seeming indifference, the tears and struggles which his
caution occasioned her.

In person, Emily resembled her mother; having the same elegant
symmetry of form, the same delicacy of features, and the same blue
eyes, full of tender sweetness. But, lovely as was her person, it
was the varied expression of her countenance, as conversation
awakened the nicer emotions of her mind, that threw such a
captivating grace around her:

Those tend'rer tints, that shun the careless eye,
And, in the world's contagious circle, die.

St. Aubert cultivated her understanding with the most scrupulous
care. He gave her a general view of the sciences, and an exact
acquaintance with every part of elegant literature. He taught her
Latin and English, chiefly that she might understand the sublimity of
their best poets. She discovered in her early years a taste for
works of genius; and it was St. Aubert's principle, as well as his
inclination, to promote every innocent means of happiness. 'A well-
informed mind,' he would say, 'is the best security against the
contagion of folly and of vice. The vacant mind is ever on the watch
for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the
languor of idleness. Store it with ideas, teach it the pleasure of
thinking; and the temptations of the world without, will be
counteracted by the gratifications derived from the world within.
Thought, and cultivation, are necessary equally to the happiness of a
country and a city life; in the first they prevent the uneasy
sensations of indolence, and afford a sublime pleasure in the taste
they create for the beautiful, and the grand; in the latter, they
make dissipation less an object of necessity, and consequently of

It was one of Emily's earliest pleasures to ramble among the scenes
of nature; nor was it in the soft and glowing landscape that she most
delighted; she loved more the wild wood-walks, that skirted the
mountain; and still more the mountain's stupendous recesses, where
the silence and grandeur of solitude impressed a sacred awe upon her
heart, and lifted her thoughts to the GOD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. In
scenes like these she would often linger along, wrapt in a melancholy
charm, till the last gleam of day faded from the west; till the
lonely sound of a sheep-bell, or the distant bark of a watch-dog,
were all that broke on the stillness of the evening. Then, the gloom
of the woods; the trembling of their leaves, at intervals, in the
breeze; the bat, flitting on the twilight; the cottage-lights, now
seen, and now lost--were circumstances that awakened her mind into
effort, and led to enthusiasm and poetry.

Her favourite walk was to a little fishing-house, belonging to St.
Aubert, in a woody glen, on the margin of a rivulet that descended
from the Pyrenees, and, after foaming among their rocks, wound its
silent way beneath the shades it reflected. Above the woods, that
screened this glen, rose the lofty summits of the Pyrenees, which
often burst boldly on the eye through the glades below. Sometimes
the shattered face of a rock only was seen, crowned with wild shrubs;
or a shepherd's cabin seated on a cliff, overshadowed by dark
cypress, or waving ash. Emerging from the deep recesses of the
woods, the glade opened to the distant landscape, where the rich
pastures and vine-covered slopes of Gascony gradually declined to the
plains; and there, on the winding shores of the Garonne, groves, and
hamlets, and villas--their outlines softened by distance, melted from
the eye into one rich harmonious tint.

This, too, was the favourite retreat of St. Aubert, to which he
frequently withdrew from the fervour of noon, with his wife, his
daughter, and his books; or came at the sweet evening hour to welcome
the silent dusk, or to listen for the music of the nightingale.
Sometimes, too, he brought music of his own, and awakened every fairy
echo with the tender accents of his oboe; and often have the tones of
Emily's voice drawn sweetness from the waves, over which they

It was in one of these excursions to this spot, that she observed the
following lines written with a pencil on a part of the wainscot:


Go, pencil! faithful to thy master's sighs!
Go--tell the Goddess of the fairy scene,
When next her light steps wind these wood-walks green,
Whence all his tears, his tender sorrows, rise;
Ah! paint her form, her soul-illumin'd eyes,
The sweet expression of her pensive face,
The light'ning smile, the animated grace--
The portrait well the lover's voice supplies;
Speaks all his heart must feel, his tongue would say:
Yet ah! not all his heart must sadly feel!
How oft the flow'ret's silken leaves conceal
The drug that steals the vital spark away!
And who that gazes on that angel-smile,
Would fear its charm, or think it could beguile!

These lines were not inscribed to any person; Emily therefore could
not apply them to herself, though she was undoubtedly the nymph of
these shades. Having glanced round the little circle of her
acquaintance without being detained by a suspicion as to whom they
could be addressed, she was compelled to rest in uncertainty; an
uncertainty which would have been more painful to an idle mind than
it was to hers. She had no leisure to suffer this circumstance,
trifling at first, to swell into importance by frequent remembrance.
The little vanity it had excited (for the incertitude which forbade
her to presume upon having inspired the sonnet, forbade her also to
disbelieve it) passed away, and the incident was dismissed from her
thoughts amid her books, her studies, and the exercise of social

Soon after this period, her anxiety was awakened by the indisposition
of her father, who was attacked with a fever; which, though not
thought to be of a dangerous kind, gave a severe shock to his
constitution. Madame St. Aubert and Emily attended him with
unremitting care; but his recovery was very slow, and, as he advanced
towards health, Madame seemed to decline.

The first scene he visited, after he was well enough to take the air,
was his favourite fishing-house. A basket of provisions was sent
thither, with books, and Emily's lute; for fishing-tackle he had no
use, for he never could find amusement in torturing or destroying.

After employing himself, for about an hour, in botanizing, dinner was
served. It was a repast, to which gratitude, for being again
permitted to visit this spot, gave sweetness; and family happiness
once more smiled beneath these shades. Monsieur St. Aubert conversed
with unusual cheerfulness; every object delighted his senses. The
refreshing pleasure from the first view of nature, after the pain of
illness, and the confinement of a sick-chamber, is above the
conceptions, as well as the descriptions, of those in health. The
green woods and pastures; the flowery turf; the blue concave of the
heavens; the balmy air; the murmur of the limpid stream; and even the
hum of every little insect of the shade, seem to revivify the soul,
and make mere existence bliss.

Madame St. Aubert, reanimated by the cheerfulness and recovery of her
husband, was no longer sensible of the indisposition which had lately
oppressed her; and, as she sauntered along the wood-walks of this
romantic glen, and conversed with him, and with her daughter, she
often looked at them alternately with a degree of tenderness, that
filled her eyes with tears. St. Aubert observed this more than once,
and gently reproved her for the emotion; but she could only smile,
clasp his hand, and that of Emily, and weep the more. He felt the
tender enthusiasm stealing upon himself in a degree that became
almost painful; his features assumed a serious air, and he could not
forbear secretly sighing--'Perhaps I shall some time look back to
these moments, as to the summit of my happiness, with hopeless
regret. But let me not misuse them by useless anticipation; let me
hope I shall not live to mourn the loss of those who are dearer to me
than life.'

To relieve, or perhaps to indulge, the pensive temper of his mind, he
bade Emily fetch the lute she knew how to touch with such sweet
pathos. As she drew near the fishing-house, she was surprised to
hear the tones of the instrument, which were awakened by the hand of
taste, and uttered a plaintive air, whose exquisite melody engaged
all her attention. She listened in profound silence, afraid to move
from the spot, lest the sound of her steps should occasion her to
lose a note of the music, or should disturb the musician. Every
thing without the building was still, and no person appeared. She
continued to listen, till timidity succeeded to surprise and delight;
a timidity, increased by a remembrance of the pencilled lines she had
formerly seen, and she hesitated whether to proceed, or to return.

While she paused, the music ceased; and, after a momentary
hesitation, she re-collected courage to advance to the fishing-house,
which she entered with faltering steps, and found unoccupied! Her
lute lay on the table; every thing seemed undisturbed, and she began
to believe it was another instrument she had heard, till she
remembered, that, when she followed M. and Madame St. Aubert from
this spot, her lute was left on a window seat. She felt alarmed, yet
knew not wherefore; the melancholy gloom of evening, and the profound
stillness of the place, interrupted only by the light trembling of
leaves, heightened her fanciful apprehensions, and she was desirous
of quitting the building, but perceived herself grow faint, and sat
down. As she tried to recover herself, the pencilled lines on the
wainscot met her eye; she started, as if she had seen a stranger;
but, endeavouring to conquer the tremor of her spirits, rose, and
went to the window. To the lines before noticed she now perceived
that others were added, in which her name appeared.

Though no longer suffered to doubt that they were addressed to
herself, she was as ignorant, as before, by whom they could be
written. While she mused, she thought she heard the sound of a step
without the building, and again alarmed, she caught up her lute, and
hurried away. Monsieur and Madame St. Aubert she found in a little
path that wound along the sides of the glen.

Having reached a green summit, shadowed by palm-trees, and
overlooking the vallies and plains of Gascony, they seated themselves
on the turf; and while their eyes wandered over the glorious scene,
and they inhaled the sweet breath of flowers and herbs that enriched
the grass, Emily played and sung several of their favourite airs,
with the delicacy of expression in which she so much excelled.

Music and conversation detained them in this enchanting spot, till
the sun's last light slept upon the plains; till the white sails that
glided beneath the mountains, where the Garonne wandered, became dim,
and the gloom of evening stole over the landscape. It was a
melancholy but not unpleasing gloom. St. Aubert and his family rose,
and left the place with regret; alas! Madame St. Aubert knew not that
she left it for ever.

When they reached the fishing-house she missed her bracelet, and
recollected that she had taken it from her arm after dinner, and had
left it on the table when she went to walk. After a long search, in
which Emily was very active, she was compelled to resign herself to
the loss of it. What made this bracelet valuable to her was a
miniature of her daughter to which it was attached, esteemed a
striking resemblance, and which had been painted only a few months
before. When Emily was convinced that the bracelet was really gone,
she blushed, and became thoughtful. That some stranger had been in
the fishing-house, during her absence, her lute, and the additional
lines of a pencil, had already informed her: from the purport of
these lines it was not unreasonable to believe, that the poet, the
musician, and the thief were the same person. But though the music
she had heard, the written lines she had seen, and the disappearance
of the picture, formed a combination of circumstances very
remarkable, she was irresistibly restrained from mentioning them;
secretly determining, however, never again to visit the fishing-house
without Monsieur or Madame St. Aubert.

They returned pensively to the chateau, Emily musing on the incident
which had just occurred; St. Aubert reflecting, with placid
gratitude, on the blessings he possessed; and Madame St. Aubert
somewhat disturbed, and perplexed, by the loss of her daughter's
picture. As they drew near the house, they observed an unusual
bustle about it; the sound of voices was distinctly heard, servants
and horses were seen passing between the trees, and, at length, the
wheels of a carriage rolled along. Having come within view of the
front of the chateau, a landau, with smoking horses, appeared on the
little lawn before it. St. Aubert perceived the liveries of his
brother-in-law, and in the parlour he found Monsieur and Madame
Quesnel already entered. They had left Paris some days before, and
were on the way to their estate, only ten leagues distant from La
Vallee, and which Monsieur Quesnel had purchased several years before
of St. Aubert. This gentleman was the only brother of Madame St.
Aubert; but the ties of relationship having never been strengthened
by congeniality of character, the intercourse between them had not
been frequent. M. Quesnel had lived altogether in the world; his aim
had been consequence; splendour was the object of his taste; and his
address and knowledge of character had carried him forward to the
attainment of almost all that he had courted. By a man of such a
disposition, it is not surprising that the virtues of St. Aubert
should be overlooked; or that his pure taste, simplicity, and
moderated wishes, were considered as marks of a weak intellect, and
of confined views. The marriage of his sister with St. Aubert had
been mortifying to his ambition, for he had designed that the
matrimonial connection she formed should assist him to attain the
consequence which he so much desired; and some offers were made her
by persons whose rank and fortune flattered his warmest hope. But
his sister, who was then addressed also by St. Aubert, perceived, or
thought she perceived, that happiness and splendour were not the
same, and she did not hesitate to forego the last for the attainment
of the former. Whether Monsieur Quesnel thought them the same, or
not, he would readily have sacrificed his sister's peace to the
gratification of his own ambition; and, on her marriage with St.
Aubert, expressed in private his contempt of her spiritless conduct,
and of the connection which it permitted. Madame St. Aubert, though
she concealed this insult from her husband, felt, perhaps, for the
first time, resentment lighted in her heart; and, though a regard for
her own dignity, united with considerations of prudence, restrained
her expression of this resentment, there was ever after a mild
reserve in her manner towards M. Quesnel, which he both understood
and felt.

In his own marriage he did not follow his sister's example. His lady
was an Italian, and an heiress by birth; and, by nature and
education, was a vain and frivolous woman.

They now determined to pass the night with St. Aubert; and as the
chateau was not large enough to accommodate their servants, the
latter were dismissed to the neighbouring village. When the first
compliments were over, and the arrangements for the night made M.
Quesnel began the display of his intelligence and his connections;
while St. Aubert, who had been long enough in retirement to find
these topics recommended by their novelty, listened, with a degree of
patience and attention, which his guest mistook for the humility of
wonder. The latter, indeed, described the few festivities which the
turbulence of that period permitted to the court of Henry the Third,
with a minuteness, that somewhat recompensed for his ostentation;
but, when he came to speak of the character of the Duke de Joyeuse,
of a secret treaty, which he knew to be negotiating with the Porte,
and of the light in which Henry of Navarre was received, M. St.
Aubert recollected enough of his former experience to be assured,
that his guest could be only of an inferior class of politicians; and
that, from the importance of the subjects upon which he committed
himself, he could not be of the rank to which he pretended to belong.
The opinions delivered by M. Quesnel, were such as St. Aubert
forebore to reply to, for he knew that his guest had neither humanity
to feel, nor discernment to perceive, what is just.

Madame Quesnel, meanwhile, was expressing to Madame St. Aubert her
astonishment, that she could bear to pass her life in this remote
corner of the world, as she called it, and describing, from a wish,
probably, of exciting envy, the splendour of the balls, banquets, and
processions which had just been given by the court, in honour of the
nuptials of the Duke de Joyeuse with Margaretta of Lorrain, the
sister of the Queen. She described with equal minuteness the
magnificence she had seen, and that from which she had been excluded;
while Emily's vivid fancy, as she listened with the ardent curiosity
of youth, heightened the scenes she heard of; and Madame St. Aubert,
looking on her family, felt, as a tear stole to her eye, that though
splendour may grace happiness, virtue only can bestow it.

'It is now twelve years, St. Aubert,' said M. Quesnel, 'since I
purchased your family estate.'--'Somewhere thereabout,' replied St.
Aubert, suppressing a sigh. 'It is near five years since I have been
there,' resumed Quesnel; 'for Paris and its neighbourhood is the only
place in the world to live in, and I am so immersed in politics, and
have so many affairs of moment on my hands, that I find it difficult
to steal away even for a month or two.' St. Aubert remaining silent,
M. Quesnel proceeded: 'I have sometimes wondered how you, who have
lived in the capital, and have been accustomed to company, can exist
elsewhere;--especially in so remote a country as this, where you can
neither hear nor see any thing, and can in short be scarcely
conscious of life.'

'I live for my family and myself,' said St. Aubert; 'I am now
contented to know only happiness;--formerly I knew life.'

'I mean to expend thirty or forty thousand livres on improvements,'
said M. Quesnel, without seeming to notice the words of St. Aubert;
'for I design, next summer, to bring here my friends, the Duke de
Durefort and the Marquis Ramont, to pass a month or two with me.' To
St. Aubert's enquiry, as to these intended improvements, he replied,
that he should take down the whole east wing of the chateau, and
raise upon the site a set of stables. 'Then I shall build,' said he,
'a SALLE A MANGER, a SALON, a SALLE AU COMMUNE, and a number of rooms
for servants; for at present there is not accommodation for a third
part of my own people.'

'It accommodated our father's household,' said St. Aubert, grieved
that the old mansion was to be thus improved, 'and that was not a
small one.'

'Our notions are somewhat enlarged since those days,' said M.
Quesnel;--'what was then thought a decent style of living would not
now be endured.' Even the calm St. Aubert blushed at these words,
but his anger soon yielded to contempt. 'The ground about the
chateau is encumbered with trees; I mean to cut some of them down.'

'Cut down the trees too!' said St. Aubert.

'Certainly. Why should I not? they interrupt my prospects. There is
a chesnut which spreads its branches before the whole south side of
the chateau, and which is so ancient that they tell me the hollow of
its trunk will hold a dozen men. Your enthusiasm will scarcely
contend that there can be either use, or beauty, in such a sapless
old tree as this.'

'Good God!' exclaimed St. Aubert, 'you surely will not destroy that
noble chesnut, which has flourished for centuries, the glory of the
estate! It was in its maturity when the present mansion was built.
How often, in my youth, have I climbed among its broad branches, and
sat embowered amidst a world of leaves, while the heavy shower has
pattered above, and not a rain drop reached me! How often I have sat
with a book in my hand, sometimes reading, and sometimes looking out
between the branches upon the wide landscape, and the setting sun,
till twilight came, and brought the birds home to their little nests
among the leaves! How often--but pardon me,' added St. Aubert,
recollecting that he was speaking to a man who could neither
comprehend, nor allow his feelings, 'I am talking of times and
feelings as old-fashioned as the taste that would spare that
venerable tree.'

'It will certainly come down,' said M. Quesnel; 'I believe I shall
plant some Lombardy poplars among the clumps of chesnut, that I shall
leave of the avenue; Madame Quesnel is partial to the poplar, and
tells me how much it adorns a villa of her uncle, not far from

'On the banks of the Brenta, indeed,' continued St. Aubert, 'where
its spiry form is intermingled with the pine, and the cypress, and
where it plays over light and elegant porticos and colonnades, it,
unquestionably, adorns the scene; but among the giants of the forest,
and near a heavy gothic mansion--'

'Well, my good sir,' said M. Quesnel, 'I will not dispute with you.
You must return to Paris before our ideas can at all agree. But A-
PROPOS of Venice, I have some thoughts of going thither, next summer;
events may call me to take possession of that same villa, too, which
they tell me is the most charming that can be imagined. In that case
I shall leave the improvements I mention to another year, and I may,
perhaps, be tempted to stay some time in Italy.'

Emily was somewhat surprised to hear him talk of being tempted to
remain abroad, after he had mentioned his presence to be so necessary
at Paris, that it was with difficulty he could steal away for a month
or two; but St. Aubert understood the self-importance of the man too
well to wonder at this trait; and the possibility, that these
projected improvements might be deferred, gave him a hope, that they
might never take place.

Before they separated for the night, M. Quesnel desired to speak with
St. Aubert alone, and they retired to another room, where they
remained a considerable time. The subject of this conversation was
not known; but, whatever it might be, St. Aubert, when he returned to
the supper-room, seemed much disturbed, and a shade of sorrow
sometimes fell upon his features that alarmed Madame St. Aubert.
When they were alone she was tempted to enquire the occasion of it,
but the delicacy of mind, which had ever appeared in his conduct,
restrained her: she considered that, if St. Aubert wished her to be
acquainted with the subject of his concern, he would not wait on her

On the following day, before M. Quesnel departed, he had a second
conference with St. Aubert.

The guests, after dining at the chateau, set out in the cool of the
day for Epourville, whither they gave him and Madame St. Aubert a
pressing invitation, prompted rather by the vanity of displaying
their splendour, than by a wish to make their friends happy.

Emily returned, with delight, to the liberty which their presence had
restrained, to her books, her walks, and the rational conversation of
M. and Madame St. Aubert, who seemed to rejoice, no less, that they
were delivered from the shackles, which arrogance and frivolity had

Madame St. Aubert excused herself from sharing their usual evening
walk, complaining that she was not quite well, and St. Aubert and
Emily went out together.

They chose a walk towards the mountains, intending to visit some old
pensioners of St. Aubert, which, from his very moderate income, he
contrived to support, though it is probable M. Quesnel, with his very
large one, could not have afforded this.

After distributing to his pensioners their weekly stipends, listening
patiently to the complaints of some, redressing the grievances of
others, and softening the discontents of all, by the look of
sympathy, and the smile of benevolence, St. Aubert returned home
through the woods,

At fall of eve the fairy-people throng,
In various games and revelry to pass
The summer night, as village stories tell.*

'The evening gloom of woods was always delightful to me,' said St.
Aubert, whose mind now experienced the sweet calm, which results from
the consciousness of having done a beneficent action, and which
disposes it to receive pleasure from every surrounding object. 'I
remember that in my youth this gloom used to call forth to my fancy a
thousand fairy visions, and romantic images; and, I own, I am not yet
wholly insensible of that high enthusiasm, which wakes the poet's
dream: I can linger, with solemn steps, under the deep shades, send
forward a transforming eye into the distant obscurity, and listen
with thrilling delight to the mystic murmuring of the woods.'

'O my dear father,' said Emily, while a sudden tear started to her
eye, 'how exactly you describe what I have felt so often, and which I
thought nobody had ever felt but myself! But hark! here comes the
sweeping sound over the wood-tops;--now it dies away;--how solemn the
stillness that succeeds! Now the breeze swells again. It is like
the voice of some supernatural being--the voice of the spirit of the
woods, that watches over them by night. Ah! what light is yonder?
But it is gone. And now it gleams again, near the root of that large
chestnut: look, sir!'

'Are you such an admirer of nature,' said St. Aubert, 'and so little
acquainted with her appearances as not to know that for the glow-
worm? But come,' added he gaily, 'step a little further, and we
shall see fairies, perhaps; they are often companions. The glow-worm
lends his light, and they in return charm him with music, and the
dance. Do you see nothing tripping yonder?'

Emily laughed. 'Well, my dear sir,' said she, 'since you allow of
this alliance, I may venture to own I have anticipated you; and
almost dare venture to repeat some verses I made one evening in these
very woods.'

'Nay,' replied St. Aubert, 'dismiss the ALMOST, and venture quite;
let us hear what vagaries fancy has been playing in your mind. If
she has given you one of her spells, you need not envy those of the

'If it is strong enough to enchant your judgment, sir,' said Emily,
'while I disclose her images, I need NOT envy them. The lines go in
a sort of tripping measure, which I thought might suit the subject
well enough, but I fear they are too irregular.'


How pleasant is the green-wood's deep-matted shade
On a mid-summer's eve, when the fresh rain is o'er;
When the yellow beams slope, and sparkle thro' the glade,
And swiftly in the thin air the light swallows soar!

But sweeter, sweeter still, when the sun sinks to rest,
And twilight comes on, with the fairies so gay
Tripping through the forest-walk, where flow'rs, unprest,
Bow not their tall heads beneath their frolic play.

To music's softest sounds they dance away the hour,
Till moon-light steals down among the trembling leaves,
And checquers all the ground, and guides them to the bow'r,
The long haunted bow'r, where the nightingale grieves.

Then no more they dance, till her sad song is done,
But, silent as the night, to her mourning attend;
And often as her dying notes their pity have won,
They vow all her sacred haunts from mortals to defend.

When, down among the mountains, sinks the ev'ning star,
And the changing moon forsakes this shadowy sphere,
How cheerless would they be, tho' they fairies are,
If I, with my pale light, came not near!

Yet cheerless tho' they'd be, they're ungrateful to my love!
For, often when the traveller's benighted on his way,
And I glimmer in his path, and would guide him thro' the grove,
They bind me in their magic spells to lead him far astray;

And in the mire to leave him, till the stars are all burnt out,
While, in strange-looking shapes, they frisk about the ground,
And, afar in the woods, they raise a dismal shout,
Till I shrink into my cell again for terror of the sound!

But, see where all the tiny elves come dancing in a ring,
With the merry, merry pipe, and the tabor, and the horn,
And the timbrel so clear, and the lute with dulcet string;
Then round about the oak they go till peeping of the morn.

Down yonder glade two lovers steal, to shun the fairy-queen,
Who frowns upon their plighted vows, and jealous is of me,
That yester-eve I lighted them, along the dewy green,
To seek the purple flow'r, whose juice from all her spells can

And now, to punish me, she keeps afar her jocund band,
With the merry, merry pipe, and the tabor, and the lute;
If I creep near yonder oak she will wave her fairy wand,
And to me the dance will cease, and the music all be mute.

O! had I but that purple flow'r whose leaves her charms can foil,
And knew like fays to draw the juice, and throw it on the wind,
I'd be her slave no longer, nor the traveller beguile,
And help all faithful lovers, nor fear the fairy kind!

But soon the VAPOUR OF THE WOODS will wander afar,
And the fickle moon will fade, and the stars disappear,
Then, cheerless will they be, tho' they fairies are,
If I, with my pale light, come not near!

Whatever St. Aubert might think of the stanzas, he would not deny his
daughter the pleasure of believing that he approved them; and, having
given his commendation, he sunk into a reverie, and they walked on in

A faint erroneous ray
Glanc'd from th' imperfect surfaces of things,
Flung half an image on the straining eye;
While waving woods, and villages, and streams,
And rocks, and mountain-tops, that long retain
The ascending gleam, are all one swimming scene,
Uncertain if beheld.*

St. Aubert continued silent till he reached the chateau, where his
wife had retired to her chamber. The languor and dejection, that had
lately oppressed her, and which the exertion called forth by the
arrival of her guests had suspended, now returned with increased
effect. On the following day, symptoms of fever appeared, and St.
Aubert, having sent for medical advice, learned, that her disorder
was a fever of the same nature as that, from which he had lately
recovered. She had, indeed, taken the infection, during her
attendance upon him, and, her constitution being too weak to throw
out the disease immediately, it had lurked in her veins, and
occasioned the heavy languor of which she had complained. St.
Aubert, whose anxiety for his wife overcame every other
consideration, detained the physician in his house. He remembered
the feelings and the reflections that had called a momentary gloom
upon his mind, on the day when he had last visited the fishing-house,
in company with Madame St. Aubert, and he now admitted a
presentiment, that this illness would be a fatal one. But he
effectually concealed this from her, and from his daughter, whom he
endeavoured to re-animate with hopes that her constant assiduities
would not be unavailing. The physician, when asked by St. Aubert for
his opinion of the disorder, replied, that the event of it depended
upon circumstances which he could not ascertain. Madame St. Aubert
seemed to have formed a more decided one; but her eyes only gave
hints of this. She frequently fixed them upon her anxious friends
with an expression of pity, and of tenderness, as if she anticipated
the sorrow that awaited them, and that seemed to say, it was for
their sakes only, for their sufferings, that she regretted life. On
the seventh day, the disorder was at its crisis. The physician
assumed a graver manner, which she observed, and took occasion, when
her family had once quitted the chamber, to tell him, that she
perceived her death was approaching. 'Do not attempt to deceive me,'
said she, 'I feel that I cannot long survive. I am prepared for the
event, I have long, I hope, been preparing for it. Since I have not
long to live, do not suffer a mistaken compassion to induce you to
flatter my family with false hopes. If you do, their affliction will
only be the heavier when it arrives: I will endeavour to teach them
resignation by my example.'

The physician was affected; he promised to obey her, and told St.
Aubert, somewhat abruptly, that there was nothing to expect. The
latter was not philosopher enough to restrain his feelings when he
received this information; but a consideration of the increased
affliction which the observance of his grief would occasion his wife,
enabled him, after some time, to command himself in her presence.
Emily was at first overwhelmed with the intelligence; then, deluded
by the strength of her wishes, a hope sprung up in her mind that her
mother would yet recover, and to this she pertinaciously adhered
almost to the last hour.

The progress of this disorder was marked, on the side of Madame St.
Aubert, by patient suffering, and subjected wishes. The composure,
with which she awaited her death, could be derived only from the
retrospect of a life governed, as far as human frailty permits, by a
consciousness of being always in the presence of the Deity, and by
the hope of a higher world. But her piety could not entirely subdue
the grief of parting from those whom she so dearly loved. During
these her last hours, she conversed much with St. Aubert and Emily,
on the prospect of futurity, and on other religious topics. The
resignation she expressed, with the firm hope of meeting in a future
world the friends she left in this, and the effort which sometimes
appeared to conceal her sorrow at this temporary separation,
frequently affected St. Aubert so much as to oblige him to leave the
room. Having indulged his tears awhile, he would dry them and return
to the chamber with a countenance composed by an endeavour which did
but increase his grief.

Never had Emily felt the importance of the lessons, which had taught
her to restrain her sensibility, so much as in these moments, and
never had she practised them with a triumph so complete. But when
the last was over, she sunk at once under the pressure of her sorrow,
and then perceived that it was hope, as well as fortitude, which had
hitherto supported her. St. Aubert was for a time too devoid of
comfort himself to bestow any on his daughter.


I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul.

Madame St. Aubert was interred in the neighbouring village church;
her husband and daughter attended her to the grave, followed by a
long train of the peasantry, who were sincere mourners of this
excellent woman.

On his return from the funeral, St. Aubert shut himself in his
chamber. When he came forth, it was with a serene countenance,
though pale in sorrow. He gave orders that his family should attend
him. Emily only was absent; who, overcome with the scene she had
just witnessed, had retired to her closet to weep alone. St. Aubert
followed her thither: he took her hand in silence, while she
continued to weep; and it was some moments before he could so far
command his voice as to speak. It trembled while he said, 'My Emily,
I am going to prayers with my family; you will join us. We must ask
support from above. Where else ought we to seek it--where else can
we find it?'

Emily checked her tears, and followed her father to the parlour,
where, the servants being assembled, St. Aubert read, in a low and
solemn voice, the evening service, and added a prayer for the soul of
the departed. During this, his voice often faltered, his tears fell
upon the book, and at length he paused. But the sublime emotions of
pure devotion gradually elevated his views above this world, and
finally brought comfort to his heart.

When the service was ended, and the servants were withdrawn, he
tenderly kissed Emily, and said, 'I have endeavoured to teach you,
from your earliest youth, the duty of self-command; I have pointed
out to you the great importance of it through life, not only as it
preserves us in the various and dangerous temptations that call us
from rectitude and virtue, but as it limits the indulgences which are
termed virtuous, yet which, extended beyond a certain boundary, are
vicious, for their consequence is evil. All excess is vicious; even
that sorrow, which is amiable in its origin, becomes a selfish and
unjust passion, if indulged at the expence of our duties--by our
duties I mean what we owe to ourselves, as well as to others. The
indulgence of excessive grief enervates the mind, and almost
incapacitates it for again partaking of those various innocent
enjoyments which a benevolent God designed to be the sun-shine of our
lives. My dear Emily, recollect and practise the precepts I have so
often given you, and which your own experience has so often shewn you
to be wise.

'Your sorrow is useless. Do not receive this as merely a commonplace
remark, but let reason THEREFORE restrain sorrow. I would not
annihilate your feelings, my child, I would only teach you to command
them; for whatever may be the evils resulting from a too susceptible
heart, nothing can be hoped from an insensible one; that, on the
other hand, is all vice--vice, of which the deformity is not
softened, or the effect consoled for, by any semblance or possibility
of good. You know my sufferings, and are, therefore, convinced that
mine are not the light words which, on these occasions, are so often
repeated to destroy even the sources of honest emotion, or which
merely display the selfish ostentation of a false philosophy. I will
shew my Emily, that I can practise what I advise. I have said thus
much, because I cannot bear to see you wasting in useless sorrow, for
want of that resistance which is due from mind; and I have not said
it till now, because there is a period when all reasoning must yield
to nature; that is past: and another, when excessive indulgence,
having sunk into habit, weighs down the elasticity of the spirits so
as to render conquest nearly impossible; this is to come. You, my
Emily, will shew that you are willing to avoid it.'

Emily smiled through her tears upon her father: 'Dear sir,' said
she, and her voice trembled; she would have added, 'I will shew
myself worthy of being your daughter;' but a mingled emotion of
gratitude, affection, and grief overcame her. St. Aubert suffered
her to weep without interruption, and then began to talk on common

The first person who came to condole with St. Aubert was a M.
Barreaux, an austere and seemingly unfeeling man. A taste for botany
had introduced them to each other, for they had frequently met in
their wanderings among the mountains. M. Barreaux had retired from
the world, and almost from society, to live in a pleasant chateau, on
the skirts of the woods, near La Vallee. He also had been
disappointed in his opinion of mankind; but he did not, like St.
Aubert, pity and mourn for them; he felt more indignation at their
vices, than compassion for their weaknesses.

St. Aubert was somewhat surprised to see him; for, though he had
often pressed him to come to the chateau, he had never till now
accepted the invitation; and now he came without ceremony or reserve,
entering the parlour as an old friend. The claims of misfortune
appeared to have softened down all the ruggedness and prejudices of
his heart. St. Aubert unhappy, seemed to be the sole idea that
occupied his mind. It was in manners, more than in words, that he
appeared to sympathize with his friends: he spoke little on the
subject of their grief; but the minute attention he gave them, and
the modulated voice, and softened look that accompanied it, came from
his heart, and spoke to theirs.

At this melancholy period St. Aubert was likewise visited by Madame
Cheron, his only surviving sister, who had been some years a widow,
and now resided on her own estate near Tholouse. The intercourse
between them had not been very frequent. In her condolements, words
were not wanting; she understood not the magic of the look that
speaks at once to the soul, or the voice that sinks like balm to the
heart: but she assured St. Aubert that she sincerely sympathized
with him, praised the virtues of his late wife, and then offered what
she considered to be consolation. Emily wept unceasingly while she
spoke; St. Aubert was tranquil, listened to what she said in silence,
and then turned the discourse upon another subject.

At parting she pressed him and her niece to make her an early visit.
'Change of place will amuse you,' said she, 'and it is wrong to give
way to grief.' St. Aubert acknowledged the truth of these words of
course; but, at the same time, felt more reluctant than ever to quit
the spot which his past happiness had consecrated. The presence of
his wife had sanctified every surrounding scene, and, each day, as it
gradually softened the acuteness of his suffering, assisted the
tender enchantment that bound him to home.

But there were calls which must be complied with, and of this kind
was the visit he paid to his brother-in-law M. Quesnel. An affair of
an interesting nature made it necessary that he should delay this
visit no longer, and, wishing to rouse Emily from her dejection, he
took her with him to Epourville.

As the carriage entered upon the forest that adjoined his paternal
domain, his eyes once more caught, between the chesnut avenue, the
turreted corners of the chateau. He sighed to think of what had
passed since he was last there, and that it was now the property of a
man who neither revered nor valued it. At length he entered the
avenue, whose lofty trees had so often delighted him when a boy, and
whose melancholy shade was now so congenial with the tone of his
spirits. Every feature of the edifice, distinguished by an air of
heavy grandeur, appeared successively between the branches of the
trees--the broad turret, the arched gate-way that led into the
courts, the drawbridge, and the dry fosse which surrounded the whole.

The sound of carriage wheels brought a troop of servants to the great
gate, where St. Aubert alighted, and from which he led Emily into the
gothic hall, now no longer hung with the arms and ancient banners of
the family. These were displaced, and the oak wainscotting, and
beams that crossed the roof, were painted white. The large table,
too, that used to stretch along the upper end of the hall, where the
master of the mansion loved to display his hospitality, and whence
the peal of laughter, and the song of conviviality, had so often
resounded, was now removed; even the benches that had surrounded the
hall were no longer there. The heavy walls were hung with frivolous
ornaments, and every thing that appeared denoted the false taste and
corrupted sentiments of the present owner.

St. Aubert followed a gay Parisian servant to a parlour, where sat
Mons. and Madame Quesnel, who received him with a stately politeness,
and, after a few formal words of condolement, seemed to have
forgotten that they ever had a sister.

Emily felt tears swell into her eyes, and then resentment checked
them. St. Aubert, calm and deliberate, preserved his dignity without
assuming importance, and Quesnel was depressed by his presence
without exactly knowing wherefore.

After some general conversation, St. Aubert requested to speak with
him alone; and Emily, being left with Madame Quesnel, soon learned
that a large party was invited to dine at the chateau, and was
compelled to hear that nothing which was past and irremediable ought
to prevent the festivity of the present hour.

St. Aubert, when he was told that company were expected, felt a mixed
emotion of disgust and indignation against the insensibility of
Quesnel, which prompted him to return home immediately. But he was
informed, that Madame Cheron had been asked to meet him; and, when he
looked at Emily, and considered that a time might come when the
enmity of her uncle would be prejudicial to her, he determined not to
incur it himself, by conduct which would be resented as indecorous,
by the very persons who now showed so little sense of decorum.

Among the visitors assembled at dinner were two Italian gentlemen, of
whom one was named Montoni, a distant relation of Madame Quesnel, a
man about forty, of an uncommonly handsome person, with features
manly and expressive, but whose countenance exhibited, upon the
whole, more of the haughtiness of command, and the quickness of
discernment, than of any other character.

Signor Cavigni, his friend, appeared to be about thirty--inferior in
dignity, but equal to him in penetration of countenance, and superior
in insinuation of manner.

Emily was shocked by the salutation with which Madame Cheron met her
father--'Dear brother,' said she, 'I am concerned to see you look so
very ill; do, pray, have advice!' St. Aubert answered, with a
melancholy smile, that he felt himself much as usual; but Emily's
fears made her now fancy that her father looked worse than he really

Emily would have been amused by the new characters she saw, and the
varied conversation that passed during dinner, which was served in a
style of splendour she had seldom seen before, had her spirits been
less oppressed. Of the guests, Signor Montoni was lately come from
Italy, and he spoke of the commotions which at that period agitated
the country; talked of party differences with warmth, and then
lamented the probable consequences of the tumults. His friend spoke
with equal ardour, of the politics of his country; praised the
government and prosperity of Venice, and boasted of its decided
superiority over all the other Italian states. He then turned to the
ladies, and talked with the same eloquence, of Parisian fashions, the
French opera, and French manners; and on the latter subject he did
not fail to mingle what is so particularly agreeable to French taste.
The flattery was not detected by those to whom it was addressed,
though its effect, in producing submissive attention, did not escape
his observation. When he could disengage himself from the
assiduities of the other ladies, he sometimes addressed Emily: but
she knew nothing of Parisian fashions, or Parisian operas; and her
modesty, simplicity, and correct manners formed a decided contrast to
those of her female companions.

After dinner, St. Aubert stole from the room to view once more the
old chesnut which Quesnel talked of cutting down. As he stood under
its shade, and looked up among its branches, still luxuriant, and saw
here and there the blue sky trembling between them; the pursuits and
events of his early days crowded fast to his mind, with the figures
and characters of friends--long since gone from the earth; and he now
felt himself to be almost an insulated being, with nobody but his
Emily for his heart to turn to.

He stood lost amid the scenes of years which fancy called up, till
the succession closed with the picture of his dying wife, and he
started away, to forget it, if possible, at the social board.

St. Aubert ordered his carriage at an early hour, and Emily observed,
that he was more than usually silent and dejected on the way home;
but she considered this to be the effect of his visit to a place
which spoke so eloquently of former times, nor suspected that he had
a cause of grief which he concealed from her.

On entering the chateau she felt more depressed than ever, for she
more than ever missed the presence of that dear parent, who, whenever
she had been from home, used to welcome her return with smiles and
fondness; now, all was silent and forsaken.

But what reason and effort may fail to do, time effects. Week after
week passed away, and each, as it passed, stole something from the
harshness of her affliction, till it was mellowed to that tenderness
which the feeling heart cherishes as sacred. St. Aubert, on the
contrary, visibly declined in health; though Emily, who had been so
constantly with him, was almost the last person who observed it. His
constitution had never recovered from the late attack of the fever,
and the succeeding shock it received from Madame St. Aubert's death
had produced its present infirmity. His physician now ordered him to
travel; for it was perceptible that sorrow had seized upon his
nerves, weakened as they had been by the preceding illness; and
variety of scene, it was probable, would, by amusing his mind,
restore them to their proper tone.

For some days Emily was occupied in preparations to attend him; and
he, by endeavours to diminish his expences at home during the
journey--a purpose which determined him at length to dismiss his
domestics. Emily seldom opposed her father's wishes by questions or
remonstrances, or she would now have asked why he did not take a
servant, and have represented that his infirm health made one almost
necessary. But when, on the eve of their departure, she found that
he had dismissed Jacques, Francis, and Mary, and detained only
Theresa the old housekeeper, she was extremely surprised, and
ventured to ask his reason for having done so. 'To save expences, my
dear,' he replied--'we are going on an expensive excursion.'

The physician had prescribed the air of Languedoc and Provence; and
St. Aubert determined, therefore, to travel leisurely along the
shores of the Mediterranean, towards Provence.

They retired early to their chamber on the night before their
departure; but Emily had a few books and other things to collect, and
the clock had struck twelve before she had finished, or had
remembered that some of her drawing instruments, which she meant to
take with her, were in the parlour below. As she went to fetch
these, she passed her father's room, and, perceiving the door half
open, concluded that he was in his study--for, since the death of
Madame St. Aubert, it had been frequently his custom to rise from his
restless bed, and go thither to compose his mind. When she was below
stairs she looked into this room, but without finding him; and as she
returned to her chamber, she tapped at his door, and receiving no
answer, stepped softly in, to be certain whether he was there.

The room was dark, but a light glimmered through some panes of glass
that were placed in the upper part of a closet-door. Emily believed
her father to be in the closet, and, surprised that he was up at so
late an hour, apprehended he was unwell, and was going to enquire;
but, considering that her sudden appearance at this hour might alarm
him, she removed her light to the stair-case, and then stepped softly
to the closet. On looking through the panes of glass, she saw him
seated at a small table, with papers before him, some of which he was
reading with deep attention and interest, during which he often wept
and sobbed aloud. Emily, who had come to the door to learn whether
her father was ill, was now detained there by a mixture of curiosity
and tenderness. She could not witness his sorrow, without being
anxious to know the subject of; and she therefore continued to
observe him in silence, concluding that those papers were letters of
her late mother. Presently he knelt down, and with a look so solemn
as she had seldom seen him assume, and which was mingled with a
certain wild expression, that partook more of horror than of any
other character, he prayed silently for a considerable time.

When he rose, a ghastly paleness was on his countenance. Emily was
hastily retiring; but she saw him turn again to the papers, and she
stopped. He took from among them a small case, and from thence a
miniature picture. The rays of light fell strongly upon it, and she
perceived it to be that of a lady, but not of her mother.

St. Aubert gazed earnestly and tenderly upon his portrait, put it to
his lips, and then to his heart, and sighed with a convulsive force.
Emily could scarcely believe what she saw to be real. She never knew
till now that he had a picture of any other lady than her mother,
much less that he had one which he evidently valued so highly; but
having looked repeatedly, to be certain that it was not the
resemblance of Madame St. Aubert, she became entirely convinced that
it was designed for that of some other person.

At length St. Aubert returned the picture to its case; and Emily,
recollecting that she was intruding upon his private sorrows, softly
withdrew from the chamber.


O how canst thou renounce the boundless store
Of charms which nature to her vot'ry yields!
The warbling woodland, the resounding shore,
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields;
All that the genial ray of morning gilds,
And all that echoes to the song of even;
All that the mountain's shelt'ring bosom shields,
And all the dread magnificence of heaven;
O how canst thou renounce, and hope to be forgiven!
. . . . .
These charms shall work thy soul's eternal health,
And love, and gentleness, and joy, impart.

St. Aubert, instead of taking the more direct road, that ran along
the feet of the Pyrenees to Languedoc, chose one that, winding over
the heights, afforded more extensive views and greater variety of
romantic scenery. He turned a little out of his way to take leave of
M. Barreaux, whom he found botanizing in the wood near his chateau,
and who, when he was told the purpose of St. Aubert's visit,
expressed a degree of concern, such as his friend had thought it was
scarcely possible for him to feel on any similar occasion. They
parted with mutual regret.

'If any thing could have tempted me from my retirement,' said M.
Barreaux, 'it would have been the pleasure of accompanying you on
this little tour. I do not often offer compliments; you may,
therefore, believe me, when I say, that I shall look for your return
with impatience.'

The travellers proceeded on their journey. As they ascended the
heights, St. Aubert often looked back upon the chateau, in the plain
below; tender images crowded to his mind; his melancholy imagination
suggested that he should return no more; and though he checked this
wandering thought, still he continued to look, till the haziness of
distance blended his home with the general landscape, and St. Aubert
seemed to

Drag at each remove a lengthening chain.

He and Emily continued sunk in musing silence for some leagues, from
which melancholy reverie Emily first awoke, and her young fancy,
struck with the grandeur of the objects around, gradually yielded to
delightful impressions. The road now descended into glens, confined
by stupendous walls of rock, grey and barren, except where shrubs
fringed their summits, or patches of meagre vegetation tinted their
recesses, in which the wild goat was frequently browsing. And now,
the way led to the lofty cliffs, from whence the landscape was seen
extending in all its magnificence.

Emily could not restrain her transport as she looked over the pine
forests of the mountains upon the vast plains, that, enriched with
woods, towns, blushing vines, and plantations of almonds, palms, and
olives, stretched along, till their various colours melted in
distance into one harmonious hue, that seemed to unite earth with
heaven. Through the whole of this glorious scene the majestic
Garonne wandered; descending from its source among the Pyrenees, and
winding its blue waves towards the Bay of Biscay.

The ruggedness of the unfrequented road often obliged the wanderers
to alight from their little carriage, but they thought themselves
amply repaid for this inconvenience by the grandeur of the scenes;
and, while the muleteer led his animals slowly over the broken
ground, the travellers had leisure to linger amid these solitudes,
and to indulge the sublime reflections, which soften, while they
elevate, the heart, and fill it with the certainty of a present God!
Still the enjoyment of St. Aubert was touched with that pensive
melancholy, which gives to every object a mellower tint, and breathes
a sacred charm over all around.

They had provided against part of the evil to be encountered from a
want of convenient inns, by carrying a stock of provisions in the
carriage, so that they might take refreshment on any pleasant spot,
in the open air, and pass the nights wherever they should happen to
meet with a comfortable cottage. For the mind, also, they had
provided, by a work on botany, written by M. Barreaux, and by several
of the Latin and Italian poets; while Emily's pencil enabled her to
preserve some of those combinations of forms, which charmed her at
every step.

The loneliness of the road, where, only now and then, a peasant was
seen driving his mule, or some mountaineer-children at play among the
rocks, heightened the effect of the scenery. St. Aubert was so much
struck with it, that he determined, if he could hear of a road, to
penetrate further among the mountains, and, bending his way rather
more to the south, to emerge into Rousillon, and coast the
Mediterranean along part of that country to Languedoc.

Soon after mid-day, they reached the summit of one of those cliffs,
which, bright with the verdure of palm-trees, adorn, like gems, the
tremendous walls of the rocks, and which overlooked the greater part
of Gascony, and part of Languedoc. Here was shade, and the fresh
water of a spring, that, gliding among the turf, under the trees,
thence precipitated itself from rock to rock, till its dashing
murmurs were lost in the abyss, though its white foam was long seen
amid the darkness of the pines below.

This was a spot well suited for rest, and the travellers alighted to
dine, while the mules were unharnessed to browse on the savoury herbs
that enriched this summit.

It was some time before St. Aubert or Emily could withdraw their
attention from the surrounding objects, so as to partake of their
little repast. Seated in the shade of the palms, St. Aubert pointed
out to her observation the course of the rivers, the situation of
great towns, and the boundaries of provinces, which science, rather
than the eye, enabled him to describe. Notwithstanding this
occupation, when he had talked awhile he suddenly became silent,
thoughtful, and tears often swelled to his eyes, which Emily
observed, and the sympathy of her own heart told her their cause.
The scene before them bore some resemblance, though it was on a much
grander scale, to a favourite one of the late Madame St. Aubert,
within view of the fishing-house. They both observed this, and
thought how delighted she would have been with the present landscape,
while they knew that her eyes must never, never more open upon this
world. St. Aubert remembered the last time of his visiting that spot
in company with her, and also the mournfully presaging thoughts which
had then arisen in his mind, and were now, even thus soon, realized!
The recollections subdued him, and he abruptly rose from his seat,
and walked away to where no eye could observe his grief.

When he returned, his countenance had recovered its usual serenity;
he took Emily's hand, pressed it affectionately, without speaking,
and soon after called to the muleteer, who sat at a little distance,
concerning a road among the mountains towards Rousillon. Michael
said, there were several that way, but he did not know how far they
extended, or even whether they were passable; and St. Aubert, who did
not intend to travel after sun-set, asked what village they could
reach about that time. The muleteer calculated that they could
easily reach Mateau, which was in their present road; but that, if
they took a road that sloped more to the south, towards Rousillon,
there was a hamlet, which he thought they could gain before the
evening shut in.

St. Aubert, after some hesitation, determined to take the latter
course, and Michael, having finished his meal, and harnessed his
mules, again set forward, but soon stopped; and St. Aubert saw him
doing homage to a cross, that stood on a rock impending over their
way. Having concluded his devotions, he smacked his whip in the air,
and, in spite of the rough road, and the pain of his poor mules,
which he had been lately lamenting, rattled, in a full gallop, along
the edge of a precipice, which it made the eye dizzy to look down.
Emily was terrified almost to fainting; and St. Aubert, apprehending
still greater danger from suddenly stopping the driver, was compelled
to sit quietly, and trust his fate to the strength and discretion of
the mules, who seemed to possess a greater portion of the latter
quality than their master; for they carried the travellers safely
into the valley, and there stopped upon the brink of the rivulet that
watered it.

Leaving the splendour of extensive prospects, they now entered this
narrow valley screened by

Rocks on rocks piled, as if by magic spell,
Here scorch'd by lightnings, there with ivy green.

The scene of barrenness was here and there interrupted by the
spreading branches of the larch and cedar, which threw their gloom
over the cliff, or athwart the torrent that rolled in the vale. No
living creature appeared, except the izard, scrambling among the
rocks, and often hanging upon points so dangerous, that fancy shrunk
from the view of them. This was such a scene as SALVATOR would have
chosen, had he then existed, for his canvas; St. Aubert, impressed by
the romantic character of the place, almost expected to see banditti
start from behind some projecting rock, and he kept his hand upon the
arms with which he always travelled.

As they advanced, the valley opened; its savage features gradually
softened, and, towards evening, they were among heathy mountains,
stretched in far perspective, along which the solitary sheep-bell was
heard, and the voice of the shepherd calling his wandering flocks to
the nightly fold. His cabin, partly shadowed by the cork-tree and
the ilex, which St. Aubert observed to flourish in higher regions of
the air than any other trees, except the fir, was all the human
habitation that yet appeared. Along the bottom of this valley the
most vivid verdure was spread; and, in the little hollow recesses of
the mountains, under the shade of the oak and chestnut, herds of
cattle were grazing. Groups of them, too, were often seen reposing
on the banks of the rivulet, or laving their sides in the cool
stream, and sipping its wave.

The sun was now setting upon the valley; its last light gleamed upon
the water, and heightened the rich yellow and purple tints of the
heath and broom, that overspread the mountains. St. Aubert enquired
of Michael the distance to the hamlet he had mentioned, but the man
could not with certainty tell; and Emily began to fear that he had
mistaken the road. Here was no human being to assist, or direct
them; they had left the shepherd and his cabin far behind, and the
scene became so obscured in twilight, that the eye could not follow
the distant perspective of the valley in search of a cottage, or a
hamlet. A glow of the horizon still marked the west, and this was of
some little use to the travellers. Michael seemed endeavouring to
keep up his courage by singing; his music, however, was not of a kind
to disperse melancholy; he sung, in a sort of chant, one of the most
dismal ditties his present auditors had ever heard, and St. Aubert at
length discovered it to be a vesper-hymn to his favourite saint.

They travelled on, sunk in that thoughtful melancholy, with which
twilight and solitude impress the mind. Michael had now ended his
ditty, and nothing was heard but the drowsy murmur of the breeze
among the woods, and its light flutter, as it blew freshly into the
carriage. They were at length roused by the sound of fire-arms. St.
Aubert called to the muleteer to stop, and they listened. The noise
was not repeated; but presently they heard a rustling among the
brakes. St. Aubert drew forth a pistol, and ordered Michael to
proceed as fast as possible; who had not long obeyed, before a horn
sounded, that made the mountains ring. He looked again from the
window, and then saw a young man spring from the bushes into the
road, followed by a couple of dogs. The stranger was in a hunter's
dress. His gun was slung across his shoulders, the hunter's horn
hung from his belt, and in his hand was a small pike, which, as he
held it, added to the manly grace of his figure, and assisted the
agility of his steps.

After a moment's hesitation, St. Aubert again stopped the carriage,
and waited till he came up, that they might enquire concerning the
hamlet they were in search of. The stranger informed him, that it
was only half a league distant, that he was going thither himself,
and would readily shew the way. St. Aubert thanked him for the
offer, and, pleased with his chevalier-like air and open countenance,
asked him to take a seat in the carriage; which the stranger, with an
acknowledgment, declined, adding that he would keep pace with the
mules. 'But I fear you will be wretchedly accommodated,' said he:
'the inhabitants of these mountains are a simple people, who are not
only without the luxuries of life, but almost destitute of what in
other places are held to be its necessaries.'

'I perceive you are not one of its inhabitants, sir,' said St.

'No, sir, I am only a wanderer here.'

The carriage drove on, and the increasing dusk made the travellers
very thankful that they had a guide; the frequent glens, too, that
now opened among the mountains, would likewise have added to their
perplexity. Emily, as she looked up one of these, saw something at a
great distance like a bright cloud in the air. 'What light is
yonder, sir?' said she.

St. Aubert looked, and perceived that it was the snowy summit of a
mountain, so much higher than any around it, that it still reflected
the sun's rays, while those below lay in deep shade.

At length, the village lights were seen to twinkle through the dusk,
and, soon after, some cottages were discovered in the valley, or
rather were seen by reflection in the stream, on whose margin they
stood, and which still gleamed with the evening light.

The stranger now came up, and St. Aubert, on further enquiry, found
not only that there was no inn in the place, but not any sort of
house of public reception. The stranger, however, offered to walk
on, and enquire for a cottage to accommodate them; for which further
civility St. Aubert returned his thanks, and said, that, as the
village was so near, he would alight, and walk with him. Emily
followed slowly in the carriage.

On the way, St. Aubert asked his companion what success he had had in
the chase. 'Not much, sir,' he replied, 'nor do I aim at it. I am
pleased with the country, and mean to saunter away a few weeks among
its scenes. My dogs I take with me more for companionship than for
game. This dress, too, gives me an ostensible business, and procures
me that respect from the people, which would, perhaps, be refused to
a lonely stranger, who had no visible motive for coming among them.'

'I admire your taste,' said St. Aubert, 'and, if I was a younger man,
should like to pass a few weeks in your way exceedingly. I, too, am
a wanderer, but neither my plan nor pursuits are exactly like yours--
I go in search of health, as much as of amusement.' St. Aubert
sighed, and paused; and then, seeming to recollect himself, he
resumed: 'If I can hear of a tolerable road, that shall afford
decent accommodation, it is my intention to pass into Rousillon, and
along the sea-shore to Languedoc. You, sir, seem to be acquainted
with the country, and can, perhaps, give me information on the

The stranger said, that what information he could give was entirely
at his service; and then mentioned a road rather more to the east,
which led to a town, whence it would be easy to proceed into

They now arrived at the village, and commenced their search for a
cottage, that would afford a night's lodging. In several, which they
entered, ignorance, poverty, and mirth seemed equally to prevail; and
the owners eyed St. Aubert with a mixture of curiosity and timidity.
Nothing like a bed could be found, and he had ceased to enquire for
one, when Emily joined him, who observed the languor of her father's
countenance, and lamented, that he had taken a road so ill provided
with the comforts necessary for an invalid. Other cottages, which
they examined, seemed somewhat less savage than the former,
consisting of two rooms, if such they could be called; the first of
these occupied by mules and pigs, the second by the family, which
generally consisted of six or eight children, with their parents, who
slept on beds of skins and dried beech leaves, spread upon a mud
floor. Here, light was admitted, and smoke discharged, through an
aperture in the roof; and here the scent of spirits (for the
travelling smugglers, who haunted the Pyrenees, had made this rude
people familiar with the use of liquors) was generally perceptible
enough. Emily turned from such scenes, and looked at her father with
anxious tenderness, which the young stranger seemed to observe; for,
drawing St. Aubert aside, he made him an offer of his own bed. 'It
is a decent one,' said he, 'when compared with what we have just
seen, yet such as in other circumstances I should be ashamed to offer
you.' St. Aubert acknowledged how much he felt himself obliged by
this kindness, but refused to accept it, till the young stranger
would take no denial. 'Do not give me the pain of knowing, sir,'
said he, 'that an invalid, like you, lies on hard skins, while I
sleep in a bed. Besides, sir, your refusal wounds my pride; I must
believe you think my offer unworthy your acceptance. Let me shew you
the way. I have no doubt my landlady can accommodate this young lady

St. Aubert at length consented, that, if this could be done, he would
accept his kindness, though he felt rather surprised, that the
stranger had proved himself so deficient in gallantry, as to
administer to the repose of an infirm man, rather than to that of a
very lovely young woman, for he had not once offered the room for
Emily. But she thought not of herself, and the animated smile she
gave him, told how much she felt herself obliged for the preference
of her father.

On their way, the stranger, whose name was Valancourt, stepped on
first to speak to his hostess, and she came out to welcome St. Aubert
into a cottage, much superior to any he had seen. This good woman
seemed very willing to accommodate the strangers, who were soon
compelled to accept the only two beds in the place. Eggs and milk
were the only food the cottage afforded; but against scarcity of
provisions St. Aubert had provided, and he requested Valancourt to
stay, and partake with him of less homely fare; an invitation, which
was readily accepted, and they passed an hour in intelligent
conversation. St. Aubert was much pleased with the manly frankness,
simplicity, and keen susceptibility to the grandeur of nature, which
his new acquaintance discovered; and, indeed, he had often been heard
to say, that, without a certain simplicity of heart, this taste could
not exist in any strong degree.

The conversation was interrupted by a violent uproar without, in
which the voice of the muleteer was heard above every other sound.
Valancourt started from his seat, and went to enquire the occasion;
but the dispute continued so long afterwards, that St. Aubert went
himself, and found Michael quarrelling with the hostess, because she
had refused to let his mules lie in a little room where he and three
of her sons were to pass the night. The place was wretched enough,
but there was no other for these people to sleep in; and, with
somewhat more of delicacy than was usual among the inhabitants of
this wild tract of country, she persisted in refusing to let the
animals have the same BED-CHAMBER with her children. This was a
tender point with the muleteer; his honour was wounded when his mules
were treated with disrespect, and he would have received a blow,
perhaps, with more meekness. He declared that his beasts were as
honest beasts, and as good beasts, as any in the whole province; and
that they had a right to be well treated wherever they went. 'They
are as harmless as lambs,' said he, 'if people don't affront them. I
never knew them behave themselves amiss above once or twice in my
life, and then they had good reason for doing so. Once, indeed, they
kicked at a boy's leg that lay asleep in the stable, and broke it;
but I told them they were out there, and by St. Anthony! I believe
they understood me, for they never did so again.'

He concluded this eloquent harangue with protesting, that they should
share with him, go where he would.

The dispute was at length settled by Valancourt, who drew the hostess
aside, and desired she would let the muleteer and his beasts have the
place in question to themselves, while her sons should have the bed
of skins designed for him, for that he would wrap himself in his
cloak, and sleep on the bench by the cottage door. But this she
thought it her duty to oppose, and she felt it to be her inclination
to disappoint the muleteer. Valancourt, however, was positive, and
the tedious affair was at length settled.

It was late when St. Aubert and Emily retired to their rooms, and
Valancourt to his station at the door, which, at this mild season, he
preferred to a close cabin and a bed of skins. St. Aubert was
somewhat surprised to find in his room volumes of Homer, Horace, and
Petrarch; but the name of Valancourt, written in them, told him to
whom they belonged.


In truth he was a strange and wayward wight,
Fond of each gentle, and each dreadful scene,
In darkness, and in storm he found delight;
Nor less than when on ocean-wave serene
The southern sun diffus'd his dazzling sheen.
Even sad vicissitude amus'd his soul;
And if a sigh would sometimes intervene,
And down his cheek a tear of pity roll,
A sigh, a tear, so sweet, he wish'd not to controul.

St. Aubert awoke at an early hour, refreshed by sleep, and desirous
to set forward. He invited the stranger to breakfast with him; and,
talking again of the road, Valancourt said, that, some months past,
he had travelled as far as Beaujeu, which was a town of some
consequence on the way to Rousillon. He recommended it to St. Aubert
to take that route, and the latter determined to do so.

'The road from this hamlet,' said Valancourt, 'and that to Beaujeu,
part at the distance of about a league and a half from hence; if you
will give me leave, I will direct your muleteer so far. I must
wander somewhere, and your company would make this a pleasanter
ramble than any other I could take.'

St. Aubert thankfully accepted his offer, and they set out together,
the young stranger on foot, for he refused the invitation of St.
Aubert to take a seat in his little carriage.

The road wound along the feet of the mountains through a pastoral
valley, bright with verdure, and varied with groves of dwarf oak,
beech and sycamore, under whose branches herds of cattle reposed.
The mountain-ash too, and the weeping birch, often threw their
pendant foliage over the steeps above, where the scanty soil scarcely
concealed their roots, and where their light branches waved to every
breeze that fluttered from the mountains.

The travellers were frequently met at this early hour, for the sun
had not yet risen upon the valley, by shepherds driving immense
flocks from their folds to feed upon the hills. St. Aubert had set
out thus early, not only that he might enjoy the first appearance of
sunrise, but that he might inhale the first pure breath of morning,
which above all things is refreshing to the spirits of the invalid.
In these regions it was particularly so, where an abundance of wild
flowers and aromatic herbs breathed forth their essence on the air.

The dawn, which softened the scenery with its peculiar grey tint, now
dispersed, and Emily watched the progress of the day, first trembling
on the tops of the highest cliffs, then touching them with splendid
light, while their sides and the vale below were still wrapt in dewy
mist. Meanwhile, the sullen grey of the eastern clouds began to
blush, then to redden, and then to glow with a thousand colours, till
the golden light darted over all the air, touched the lower points of
the mountain's brow, and glanced in long sloping beams upon the
valley and its stream. All nature seemed to have awakened from death
into life; the spirit of St. Aubert was renovated. His heart was
full; he wept, and his thoughts ascended to the Great Creator.

Emily wished to trip along the turf, so green and bright with dew,
and to taste the full delight of that liberty, which the izard seemed
to enjoy as he bounded along the brow of the cliffs; while Valancourt
often stopped to speak with the travellers, and with social feeling
to point out to them the peculiar objects of his admiration. St.
Aubert was pleased with him: 'Here is the real ingenuousness and
ardour of youth,' said he to himself; 'this young man has never been
at Paris.'

He was sorry when they came to the spot where the roads parted, and
his heart took a more affectionate leave of him than is usual after
so short an acquaintance. Valancourt talked long by the side of the
carriage; seemed more than once to be going, but still lingered, and
appeared to search anxiously for topics of conversation to account
for his delay. At length he took leave. As he went, St. Aubert
observed him look with an earnest and pensive eye at Emily, who bowed
to him with a countenance full of timid sweetness, while the carriage
drove on. St. Aubert, for whatever reason, soon after looked from
the window, and saw Valancourt standing upon the bank of the road,
resting on his pike with folded arms, and following the carriage with
his eyes. He waved his hand, and Valancourt, seeming to awake from
his reverie, returned the salute, and started away.

The aspect of the country now began to change, and the travellers
soon found themselves among mountains covered from their base nearly
to their summits with forests of gloomy pine, except where a rock of
granite shot up from the vale, and lost its snowy top in the clouds.
The rivulet, which had hitherto accompanied them, now expanded into a
river; and, flowing deeply and silently along, reflected, as in a
mirror, the blackness of the impending shades. Sometimes a cliff was
seen lifting its bold head above the woods and the vapours, that
floated mid-way down the mountains; and sometimes a face of
perpendicular marble rose from the water's edge, over which the larch
threw his gigantic arms, here scathed with lightning, and there
floating in luxuriant foliage.

They continued to travel over a rough and unfrequented road, seeing
now and then at a distance the solitary shepherd, with his dog,
stalking along the valley, and hearing only the dashing of torrents,
which the woods concealed from the eye, the long sullen murmur of the
breeze, as it swept over the pines, or the notes of the eagle and the
vulture, which were seen towering round the beetling cliff.

Often, as the carriage moved slowly over uneven ground, St. Aubert
alighted, and amused himself with examining the curious plants that
grew on the banks of the road, and with which these regions abound;
while Emily, wrapt in high enthusiasm, wandered away under the
shades, listening in deep silence to the lonely murmur of the woods.

Neither village nor hamlet was seen for many leagues; the goat-herd's
or the hunter's cabin, perched among the cliffs of the rocks, were
the only human habitations that appeared.

The travellers again took their dinner in the open air, on a pleasant
spot in the valley, under the spreading shade of cedars; and then set
forward towards Beaujeu.

The road now began to descend, and, leaving the pine forests behind,
wound among rocky precipices. The evening twilight again fell over
the scene, and the travellers were ignorant how far they might yet be
from Beaujeu. St. Aubert, however, conjectured that the distance
could not be very great, and comforted himself with the prospect of
travelling on a more frequented road after reaching that town, where
he designed to pass the night. Mingled woods, and rocks, and heathy
mountains were now seen obscurely through the dusk; but soon even
these imperfect images faded in darkness. Michael proceeded with
caution, for he could scarcely distinguish the road; his mules,
however, seemed to have more sagacity, and their steps were sure.

On turning the angle of a mountain, a light appeared at a distance,
that illumined the rocks, and the horizon to a great extent. It was
evidently a large fire, but whether accidental, or otherwise, there
were no means of knowing. St. Aubert thought it was probably kindled
by some of the numerous banditti, that infested the Pyrenees, and he
became watchful and anxious to know whether the road passed near this
fire. He had arms with him, which, on an emergency, might afford
some protection, though certainly a very unequal one, against a band
of robbers, so desperate too as those usually were who haunted these
wild regions. While many reflections rose upon his mind, he heard a
voice shouting from the road behind, and ordering the muleteer to
stop. St. Aubert bade him proceed as fast as possible; but either
Michael, or his mules were obstinate, for they did not quit the old
pace. Horses' feet were now heard; a man rode up to the carriage,
still ordering the driver to stop; and St. Aubert, who could no
longer doubt his purpose, was with difficulty able to prepare a
pistol for his defence, when his hand was upon the door of the
chaise. The man staggered on his horse, the report of the pistol was
followed by a groan, and St. Aubert's horror may be imagined, when in
the next instant he thought he heard the faint voice of Valancourt.
He now himself bade the muleteer stop; and, pronouncing the name of
Valancourt, was answered in a voice, that no longer suffered him to
doubt. St. Aubert, who instantly alighted and went to his
assistance, found him still sitting on his horse, but bleeding
profusely, and appearing to be in great pain, though he endeavoured
to soften the terror of St. Aubert by assurances that he was not
materially hurt, the wound being only in his arm. St. Aubert, with
the muleteer, assisted him to dismount, and he sat down on the bank
of the road, where St. Aubert tried to bind up his arm, but his hands
trembled so excessively that he could not accomplish it; and, Michael
being now gone in pursuit of the horse, which, on being disengaged
from his rider, had galloped off, he called Emily to his assistance.
Receiving no answer, he went to the carriage, and found her sunk on
the seat in a fainting fit. Between the distress of this
circumstance and that of leaving Valancourt bleeding, he scarcely
knew what he did; he endeavoured, however, to raise her, and called
to Michael to fetch water from the rivulet that flowed by the road,
but Michael was gone beyond the reach of his voice. Valancourt, who
heard these calls, and also the repeated name of Emily, instantly
understood the subject of his distress; and, almost forgetting his
own condition, he hastened to her relief. She was reviving when he
reached the carriage; and then, understanding that anxiety for him
had occasioned her indisposition, he assured her, in a voice that
trembled, but not from anguish, that his wound was of no consequence.
While he said this St. Aubert turned round, and perceiving that he
was still bleeding, the subject of his alarm changed again, and he
hastily formed some handkerchiefs into a bandage. This stopped the
effusion of the blood; but St. Aubert, dreading the consequence of
the wound, enquired repeatedly how far they were from Beaujeu; when,
learning that it was at two leagues' distance, his distress
increased, since he knew not how Valancourt, in his present state,
would bear the motion of the carriage, and perceived that he was
already faint from loss of blood. When he mentioned the subject of
his anxiety, Valancourt entreated that he would not suffer himself to
be thus alarmed on his account, for that he had no doubt he should be
able to support himself very well; and then he talked of the accident
as a slight one. The muleteer being now returned with Valancourt's
horse, assisted him into the chaise; and, as Emily was now revived,
they moved slowly on towards Beaujeu.

St. Aubert, when he had recovered from the terror occasioned him by
this accident, expressed surprise on seeing Valancourt, who explained
his unexpected appearance by saying, 'You, sir, renewed my taste for
society; when you had left the hamlet, it did indeed appear a
solitude. I determined, therefore, since my object was merely
amusement, to change the scene; and I took this road, because I knew
it led through a more romantic tract of mountains than the spot I
have left. Besides,' added he, hesitating for an instant, 'I will
own, and why should I not? that I had some hope of overtaking you.'

'And I have made you a very unexpected return for the compliment,'
said St. Aubert, who lamented again the rashness which had produced
the accident, and explained the cause of his late alarm. But
Valancourt seemed anxious only to remove from the minds of his
companions every unpleasant feeling relative to himself; and, for
that purpose, still struggled against a sense of pain, and tried to
converse with gaiety. Emily meanwhile was silent, except when
Valancourt particularly addressed her, and there was at those times a
tremulous tone in his voice that spoke much.

They were now so near the fire, which had long flamed at a distance
on the blackness of night, that it gleamed upon the road, and they
could distinguish figures moving about the blaze. The way winding
still nearer, they perceived in the valley one of those numerous
bands of gipsies, which at that period particularly haunted the wilds
of the Pyrenees, and lived partly by plundering the traveller. Emily
looked with some degree of terror on the savage countenances of these
people, shewn by the fire, which heightened the romantic effects of
the scenery, as it threw a red dusky gleam upon the rocks and on the
foliage of the trees, leaving heavy masses of shade and regions of
obscurity, which the eye feared to penetrate.

They were preparing their supper; a large pot stood by the fire, over
which several figures were busy. The blaze discovered a rude kind of
tent, round which many children and dogs were playing, and the whole
formed a picture highly grotesque. The travellers saw plainly their
danger. Valancourt was silent, but laid his hand on one of St.
Aubert's pistols; St. Aubert drew forth another, and Michael was
ordered to proceed as fast as possible. They passed the place,
however, without being attacked; the rovers being probably unprepared
for the opportunity, and too busy about their supper to feel much
interest, at the moment, in any thing besides.

After a league and a half more, passed in darkness, the travellers
arrived at Beaujeu, and drove up to the only inn the place afforded;
which, though superior to any they had seen since they entered the
mountains, was bad enough.

The surgeon of the town was immediately sent for, if a surgeon he
could be called, who prescribed for horses as well as for men, and
shaved faces at least as dexterously as he set bones. After
examining Valancourt's arm, and perceiving that the bullet had passed
through the flesh without touching the bone, he dressed it, and left
him with a solemn prescription of quiet, which his patient was not
inclined to obey. The delight of ease had now succeeded to pain; for
ease may be allowed to assume a positive quality when contrasted with
anguish; and, his spirits thus re-animated, he wished to partake of
the conversation of St. Aubert and Emily, who, released from so many
apprehensions, were uncommonly cheerful. Late as it was, however,
St. Aubert was obliged to go out with the landlord to buy meat for
supper; and Emily, who, during this interval, had been absent as long
as she could, upon excuses of looking to their accommodation, which
she found rather better than she expected, was compelled to return,
and converse with Valancourt alone. They talked of the character of
the scenes they had passed, of the natural history of the country, of
poetry, and of St. Aubert; a subject on which Emily always spoke and
listened to with peculiar pleasure.

The travellers passed an agreeable evening; but St. Aubert was
fatigued with his journey; and, as Valancourt seemed again sensible
of pain, they separated soon after supper.

In the morning St. Aubert found that Valancourt had passed a restless
night; that he was feverish, and his wound very painful. The
surgeon, when he dressed it, advised him to remain quietly at
Beaujeu; advice which was too reasonable to be rejected. St. Aubert,
however, had no favourable opinion of this practitioner, and was
anxious to commit Valancourt into more skilful hands; but learning,
upon enquiry, that there was no town within several leagues which
seemed more likely to afford better advice, he altered the plan of
his journey, and determined to await the recovery of Valancourt, who,
with somewhat more ceremony than sincerity, made many objections to
this delay.

By order of his surgeon, Valancourt did not go out of the house that
day; but St. Aubert and Emily surveyed with delight the environs of
the town, situated at the feet of the Pyrenean Alps, that rose, some
in abrupt precipices, and others swelling with woods of cedar, fir,
and cypress, which stretched nearly to their highest summits. The
cheerful green of the beech and mountain-ash was sometimes seen, like
a gleam of light, amidst the dark verdure of the forest; and
sometimes a torrent poured its sparkling flood, high among the woods.

Valancourt's indisposition detained the travellers at Beaujeu several
days, during which interval St. Aubert had observed his disposition
and his talents with the philosophic inquiry so natural to him. He
saw a frank and generous nature, full of ardour, highly susceptible
of whatever is grand and beautiful, but impetuous, wild, and somewhat
romantic. Valancourt had known little of the world. His perceptions
were clear, and his feelings just; his indignation of an unworthy, or
his admiration of a generous action, were expressed in terms of equal
vehemence. St. Aubert sometimes smiled at his warmth, but seldom
checked it, and often repeated to himself, 'This young man has never
been at Paris.' A sigh sometimes followed this silent ejaculation.
He determined not to leave Valancourt till he should be perfectly
recovered; and, as he was now well enough to travel, though not able
to manage his horse, St. Aubert invited him to accompany him for a
few days in the carriage. This he the more readily did, since he had
discovered that Valancourt was of a family of the same name in
Gascony, with whose respectability he was well acquainted. The
latter accepted the offer with great pleasure, and they again set
forward among these romantic wilds about Rousillon.

They travelled leisurely; stopping wherever a scene uncommonly grand
appeared; frequently alighting to walk to an eminence, whither the
mules could not go, from which the prospect opened in greater
magnificence; and often sauntering over hillocks covered with
lavender, wild thyme, juniper, and tamarisc; and under the shades of
woods, between those boles they caught the long mountain-vista,
sublime beyond any thing that Emily had ever imagined.

St. Aubert sometimes amused himself with botanizing, while Valancourt
and Emily strolled on; he pointing out to her notice the objects that
particularly charmed him, and reciting beautiful passages from such
of the Latin and Italian poets as he had heard her admire. In the
pauses of conversation, when he thought himself not observed, he
frequently fixed his eyes pensively on her countenance, which
expressed with so much animation the taste and energy of her mind;
and when he spoke again, there was a peculiar tenderness in the tone
of his voice, that defeated any attempt to conceal his sentiments.
By degrees these silent pauses became more frequent; till Emily,
only, betrayed an anxiety to interrupt them; and she; who had been
hitherto reserved, would now talk again, and again, of the woods and
the vallies and the mountains, to avoid the danger of sympathy and

From Beaujeu the road had constantly ascended, conducting the
travellers into the higher regions of the air, where immense glaciers
exhibited their frozen horrors, and eternal snow whitened the summits
of the mountains. They often paused to contemplate these stupendous
scenes, and, seated on some wild cliff, where only the ilex or the
larch could flourish, looked over dark forests of fir, and precipices
where human foot had never wandered, into the glen--so deep, that the
thunder of the torrent, which was seen to foam along the bottom, was
scarcely heard to murmur. Over these crags rose others of stupendous
height, and fantastic shape; some shooting into cones; others
impending far over their base, in huge masses of granite, along whose
broken ridges was often lodged a weight of snow, that, trembling even
to the vibration of a sound, threatened to bear destruction in its
course to the vale. Around, on every side, far as the eye could
penetrate, were seen only forms of grandeur--the long perspective of
mountain-tops, tinged with ethereal blue, or white with snow; vallies
of ice, and forests of gloomy fir. The serenity and clearness of the
air in these high regions were particularly delightful to the
travellers; it seemed to inspire them with a finer spirit, and
diffused an indescribable complacency over their minds. They had no
words to express the sublime emotions they felt. A solemn expression
characterized the feelings of St. Aubert; tears often came to his
eyes, and he frequently walked away from his companions. Valancourt
now and then spoke, to point to Emily's notice some feature of the
scene. The thinness of the atmosphere, through which every object
came so distinctly to the eye, surprised and deluded her; who could
scarcely believe that objects, which appeared so near, were, in
reality, so distant. The deep silence of these solitudes was broken
only at intervals by the scream of the vultures, seen cowering round
some cliff below, or by the cry of the eagle sailing high in the air;
except when the travellers listened to the hollow thunder that
sometimes muttered at their feet. While, above, the deep blue of the
heavens was unobscured by the lightest cloud, half way down the
mountains, long billows of vapour were frequently seen rolling, now
wholly excluding the country below, and now opening, and partially
revealing its features. Emily delighted to observe the grandeur of
these clouds as they changed in shape and tints, and to watch their
various effect on the lower world, whose features, partly veiled,
were continually assuming new forms of sublimity.

After traversing these regions for many leagues, they began to
descend towards Rousillon, and features of beauty then mingled with
the scene. Yet the travellers did not look back without some regret
to the sublime objects they had quitted; though the eye, fatigued
with the extension of its powers, was glad to repose on the verdure
of woods and pastures, that now hung on the margin of the river
below; to view again the humble cottage shaded by cedars, the playful
group of mountaineer-children, and the flowery nooks that appeared
among the hills.

As they descended, they saw at a distance, on the right, one of the
grand passes of the Pyrenees into Spain, gleaming with its
battlements and towers to the splendour of the setting rays, yellow
tops of woods colouring the steeps below, while far above aspired the
snowy points of the mountains, still reflecting a rosy hue.

St. Aubert began to look out for the little town he had been directed
to by the people of Beaujeu, and where he meant to pass the night;
but no habitation yet appeared. Of its distance Valancourt could not
assist him to judge, for he had never been so far along this chain of
Alps before. There was, however, a road to guide them; and there
could be little doubt that it was the right one; for, since they had
left Beaujeu, there had been no variety of tracks to perplex or

The sun now gave his last light, and St. Aubert bade the muleteer
proceed with all possible dispatch. He found, indeed, the lassitude
of illness return upon him, after a day of uncommon fatigue, both of
body and mind, and he longed for repose. His anxiety was not soothed
by observing a numerous train, consisting of men, horses, and loaded
mules, winding down the steeps of an opposite mountain, appearing and
disappearing at intervals among the woods, so that its numbers could
not be judged of. Something bright, like arms, glanced in the
setting ray, and the military dress was distinguishable upon the men
who were in the van, and on others scattered among the troop that
followed. As these wound into the vale, the rear of the party
emerged from the woods, and exhibited a band of soldiers. St.
Aubert's apprehensions now subsided; he had no doubt that the train
before him consisted of smugglers, who, in conveying prohibited goods
over the Pyrenees, had been encountered, and conquered by a party of

The travellers had lingered so long among the sublimer scenes of
these mountains, that they found themselves entirely mistaken in
their calculation that they could reach Montigny at sun-set; but, as
they wound along the valley, the saw, on a rude Alpine bridge, that
united two lofty crags of the glen, a group of mountaineer-children,
amusing themselves with dropping pebbles into a torrent below, and
watching the stones plunge into the water, that threw up its white
spray high in the air as it received them, and returned a sullen
sound, which the echoes of the mountains prolonged. Under the bridge
was seen a perspective of the valley, with its cataract descending
among the rocks, and a cottage on a cliff, overshadowed with pines.
It appeared, that they could not be far from some small town. St.
Aubert bade the muleteer stop, and then called to the children to
enquire if he was near Montigny; but the distance, and the roaring of


Back to Full Books