« PoprzedniaDalej »
she should pass the snows of the midland cliffs, or seek shelter in the caves of the eastern cannibals ; that he would tear her from the embraces of the genius of the rocks, snatch her from the paws of Amaroc, and rescue her from the ravine of Hafgufa.” He concluded with a wish, that, “whoever shall attempt to hinder his union with Ajut, might be buried without his bow, and that in the land of souls his skull might serve for no other use than to catch the droppings of the starry lamps.' This ode being universally applauded, it was expected that Ajut would soon yield to such fervour and accomplishments; but Ajut, with the natural haughtiness of beauty, expected all the forms of courtship ; and before she would confess herself conquered, the sun returned, the ice broke, and the season of labour called all to their employments. Anningait and Ajut for a time always went out in the same boat, and divided whatever was caught. Anningait, in the sight of his mistress, lost no opportunity of signalising his courage; he attacked the sea-horses on the ice; pursued the seals into the water; and leaped upon the back of the whale while he was yet struggling with the remains of life. , Nor was his diligence less to accumulate all that could be necessary to make winter comfortable ; he dried the roe of fishes, and the flesh of seals; he entrapped deer and foxes, and dressed their skins to adorn his bride ; he feasted her with eggs from the rocks, and strewed her tent with flowers. It happened that a tempest drove the fish to a distant part of the coast before Anningait had completed his store ; he therefore intreated Ajut that she would at last grant him her hand, and accompany him to that part of the country whither he was now sum| moned by necessity. Ajut thought him not yet en| titled to such condescension, but proposed, as a trial of his constancy, that he should return at the end of summer to the cavern where their acquaintance commenced, and there expect the reward of his assiduities. “O virgin, beautiful as the sun shining on the water, consider,’ said Anningait, “what thou hast required. How easily may my return be precluded by a sudden frost or unexpected fogs ;... then must the night be passed without my Ajut. We live not, my fair, in those fabled countries which lying strangers so wantonly | describe; where the whole year is divided into short days and nights; where the same habitation serves for summer and winter; where they raise houses in rows above the ground, dwell together from year to year, with flocks of tame animals grazing in the fields about them; can travel at any time from one place to another, through ways inclosed with trees, or over walls raised upon the inland waters; and direct their course through wide countries, by the sight of green hills or scattered buildings. Even in summer we have no means of crossing the mountains, whose snows are never dissolved ; nor can remove to any distant residence, but in our boats coasting the bays. Consider, Ajut; a few summer days and a few winter-nights and the life of man is at an end. Night is the time of ease and festivity, of revels and gaiety; but what will be the flaming lamp, the delicious seal, or the soft oil, without the smile of Ajut!’ The eloquence of Anningait was vain ; the maid continued inexorable, and they parted with ardent promises to meet again before the night of winter. Anningait, however discomposed by the dilatory coyness of Ajut, was yet resolved to omit no tokens of amorous respect; and therefore presented her at his departure with the skins of seven white fawns, of five swans, and eleven seals, with three marble lamps, ten vessels of seal oil, and a large kettle of brass, which he had purchased from a ship at the price of half a whale and two horns of sea-unicorns. Ajut was so much affected by the fondness of her
lover, or so much overpowered by his magnificence, that she followed him to the sea-side; and when she saw him enter the boat, wished aloud that he might return with plenty of skins and oil ; that neither the mermaids might snatch him into the deeps, nor the spirits of the rocks confine him in their caverns. She stood a while to gaze upon the departing vessel, and then returning to her hut, silent and dejected, laid aside from that hour her white deer skin, suffered her hair to spread unbraided on her shoulders, and forbore to mix in the dances of the maidens. She endeavoured to divert her thought by continual application to feminine employments, gathered moss for the winter lamps, and dried to line the boots of Anningait. Of the skins which he had bestowed upon her, she made a fishing-coat, a small boat, and tent, all of exquisite manufacture ; and while she was thus busied, solaced her labours with a song, in which she prayed ‘that her lover might have hands stronger than the paws of the bear, and feet swifter than the feet of the rein-deer; that his dart might never err, and that his boat might never leak; that he might never stumble on the ice, nor faint in the water; that the seal might rush on his harpoon, and the wounded whale might dash the waves, in vain.” The large boats in which the Greenlanders transport their families are always rowed by women; for a man will not debase .#by work which requires neither skill nor courage. Anningait was therefore exposed by idleness to the ravages of passion. to the stern of the boat with an intent to leap into the water and swim back to his mistress: but recollecting the misery which they must endure in the winter, without oil for the lamp, or skins for the bed, he resolved to employ the weeks of absence in provision for a night of plenty and felicity. He then composed his emotions as he could, and expressed in wild numbers and uncouth images his .. his sorrows, and his fears. “O life,’ says he, “frail and uncertain! where shall wretched man find thy resemblance but in ice floating on the ocean It towers on high, it sparkles from afar, while the storms drive and the waters beat it, the sun melts it above and the rocks shatter it below. What art thou, deceitful pleasure but a sudden blaze streaming from the north, which plays a moment on the eye, mocks the traveller with the hopes of light, and then vanishes for ever? What, love, art thou but a whirlpool, which we approach without knowledge of our danger, drawn on by imper
He went thrice
ceptible degrees till we have lost all power of resistance and escape : of Ajut, while I had yet not called her to the banquet, I was careless as the sleeping morse, I was merry as the singers in the stars. Why, Ajut, did I gaze
upon thy graces? Why, my fair, did I call thee to
the banquet? Yet, be faithful, my love, remember Anningait, and meet my return with the smile of virginity. I will chase the deer, I will subdue the whale, resistless as the frost of darkness, and unwearied as the summer sun. In a few weeks I shall return prosperous and wealthy; then shall the roe-fish and the porpoise feast thy kindred; the fox and hare shall cover thy couch; the tough hide of the seal shall shelter thee from cold and the fat of the whale illuminate thy dwelling.’ Anningait having with these sentiments consoled his grief and animated his industry, found that they had now coasted the headland, and saw the whales spouting at a distance. He therefore placed himself in his fishing-boat, called his associates to their several employments, plied his oar and harpoon with incredible courage and dexterity; and, by dividing his time between the chase and fishery, suspended the miseries of absence and suspicion. Ajut, in the meantime, notwithstanding her neglected dress, happened, as she was drying some skins
Till I fixed o eyes on the graces e
in the sun, to catch the eye of Norngsuk, on his return from hunting. Norngsuk was of birth truly illustrious. His mother had died in childbirth, and his father, the most expert fisher of Greenland, had perished by too close pursuit of the whale. His dignity was equalled by his riches; he was master of four men's
and two women's boats, had ninety tubs of oil in his
winter habitation, and five-and-twenty seals buried in the snow against the season of darkness. When he saw the beauty of Ajut, he immediately threw over her the skin of a deer that he had taken, and soon after presented her with a branch of coral. Ajut refused his gifts, and determined to admit no lover in the place of Anningait. Norngsuk, thus rejected, had recourse to stratagem. He knew that Ajut would consult an Angekkok, or diviner, concerning the fate of her lover, and the felicity of her future life. He therefore applied himself to the most celebrated Angekkok of that part of the country, and by a present of two seals and a marble kettle, obtained a promise that when Ajut should consult him, he would declare that her lover was in
| entreated; she remonstrated; she wept and raved;
but finding riches irresistible, fled away into the uplands, and lived in a cave upon such berries as she could gather, and the birds or hares which she had the fortune to insnare, taking care, at an hour when she was not likely to be found, to view the sea every day, that her lover might not miss her at his return. At last she saw the great boat in which Anningait had departed, stealing slow and heavy laden along the coast. She ran with all the impatience of affection to catch her lover in her arms, and relate her constancy and sufferings. When the company reached the land, they informed her that Anningait, after the fishery was ended, being unable to support the slow passage of the vessel of carriage, had set out before them in his fishing-boat, and they expected at their arrival to have found him on shore. Ajut, distracted at this intelligence, was about to fly into the hills, without knowing why, though she was now in the hands of her parents, who forced her back to their own hut, and endeavoured to comfort her; but when at last they retired to rest, Ajut went down to the beach, where, finding a fishing-boat, she entered
it without hesitation, and telling those who wondered
at her rashness that she was going in search of Anningait, rowed away with great swiftness, and was seen no more. The fate of these lovers gave occasion to various fictions and conjectures. Some are of opinion that they were changed into stars; others imagine that Anningait was seized in his passage by the genius of the rocks, and that Ajut was transformed into a mermaid, and still continues to seek her lover in the deserts of the sea. But the general persuasion is, that
they are both in that part of the land of souls where the sun never sets, where oil is always fresh, and pro
visions always warm. The virgins sometimes throw a
venturer' has the Johnsonian swell and cast of ima
gination:— “The hour is hastening in which whatever praise or censure I have acquired by these compositions, if they are remembered at all, will be remembered with equal indifference, and the tenor of them only will afford me comfort. Time, who is impatient to date my last paper, will shortly moulder the hand that is now writing it in the dust, and still this breast that now throbs at the reflection: but let not this be read as something that relates only to another; for a few years only can divide the eye that is now reading from the hand that has written. This awful truth, however obvious, and however reiterated, is yet frequently forgotten; for surely, if we did not lose our remembrance, or at least our sensibility, that view would always predominate in our lives which alone can afford us comfort when we die.
Hawkesworth's Monument, Bromley.
The World was the next periodical of this class.
It was edited by Dr Moore, author of the tragedy
of “The Gamester,’ and other works, and was dis
tinguished by contributions from Horace Walpole,
Lord Lyttelton, Soame Jenyns, and the Earl of
Chesterfield. “The World' has the merit of being very
readable: its contents are more lively than any of
| its predecessors, and it is a better picture of the | times. It was published weekly, from January 1753 to December 1756, and reached a sale of 2500 a-week. Another weekly miscellany of the same kind, | The Connoisseur, was commenced by George Colman and Bonnel Thornton—two professed wits, who | wrote in unison, so that, as they state, “almost every single paper is the joint product of both.’ Cowper the poet contributed a few essays to ‘The Connoisseur, short but lively, and in that easy style which marks his correspondence. One of them is on the subject of “Conversation,’ and he afterwards extended it into an admirable poem. From another, on country churches, we give an extract which seems like a leaf from the note-book of Washington Irving — | “It is a difficult matter to decide which is looked upon as the greatest man in a country church—the parson or his clerk. The latter is most certainly held in higher veneration, when the former happens to be only a poor curate, who rides post every Sabbath from village to village, and mounts and dismounts at the church door. The clerk's office is not only to tag the prayers with an amen, or usher in the sermon with a stave; but he is also the universal father to give away the brides, and the standing godfather to all the new-born bantlings. But in many places there is a still greater man belonging to the church than either the parson or the clerk himself. The person I mean is the squire; who, | like the king, may be styled head of the church in his own parish. If the benefice be in his own gift, the vicar is his creature, and of consequence entirely at his devotion; or if the care of the church be left to a curate, the Sunday fees of roast-beef and plum| pudding, and a liberty to shoot in the manor, will bring him as much under the squire's command as his dogs and horses. For this reason the bell is often kept tolling and the people waiting in the churchyard an hour longer than the usual time; nor must the service begin till the squire has strutted up the aisle and seated himself in the great pew in the chancel. The length of the sermon is also measured by the will of the squire, as formerly by the hour-glass; and I know one parish where the preacher has always the complaisance to conclude his discourse, however abruptly, the minute that the squire gives the signal by rising up after his nap.” “The Connoisseur’ was in existence from January 1754 to September 1756. In April 1758, Johnson (who thought there was | “no matter’ in ‘The Connoisseur,” and who had a very poor opinion of “The World') entered again | into this arena of light literature, and commenced his Idler. The example of his more mercurial predecessors had some effect on the moralist, for “The | Idler' is more gay and spirited than ‘The Rambler.’ It lived through 103 numbers, twelve of which were contributed by his friends Thomas Warton, Langton, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. “The Idler' was the last experiment on the public taste in England of periodical essays published separately. In the ‘Town and Country Magazine,' and other monthly miscellanies, essays were given along with other contributions, and it was thus that Goldsmith published his compositions of this sort, as well as his Chinese Letters. Henceforward, politics engaged the public attention in a strong degree, and monopolised the weekly press of London. In Scotland, after an interval of twenty years, The Mirror, a series of periodical essays, made its appearance, and was continued weekly from January 1779 to the end of May 1780. Five years afterwards The Lounger was commenced and continued
about two years, the number of essays being 101. Both of these publications were supported by the same authors, namely, Mr Henry Mackenzie (the Man of Feeling), Mr (afterwards Lord) Craig, Mr (afterwards Lord) Cullen, Mr (afterwards Lord) Bannatyne, Lord Hailes, Professor Richardson of Glasgow, Lord Wedderburn, Mr (afterwards Lord) Abercromby, Mr Fraser Tytler, Baron Hume, &c. A few papers were supplied by volunteers, but the regular contributors were this band of friendly lawyers, whose literary talents were of no common order. Mr Mackenzie acted as editor of the miscellanies, and published in them some of his most admired minor productions, containing pathos, sentiment, and a vein of delicate irony and humour.
More than forty years ago, an English philosopher, whose works have since been read and admired by all Europe, resided at a little town in France. Some disappointments in his native country had first driven him abroad, and he was afterwards induced to remain there, from having found, in this retreat, where the connexions even of nation and language were avoided, a perfect seclusion and retirement highly favourable to the development of abstract subjects, in which he excelled all the writers of his time.
Perhaps in the structure of such a mind as Mr —'s, the finer and more delicate sensibilities are seldom known to have place; or, if originally implanted there, are in a great measure extinguished by the exertions of intense study and profound investigation. Hence the idea of philosophy and unfeelingness being united has become proverbial, and in common language the former word is often used to express the latter. Our philosopher has been censured by some as deficient in warmth and feeling; but the mildness of his manners
was not easily melted into compassion, it was at least not difficult to awaken his benevolence. One morning, while he sat busied in those specula
female domestic, who served him for a housekeeper, brought him word that an elderly gentleman and his daughter had arrived in the village the precedin evening on their way to some distant country, an that the father had been suddenly seized in the night with a dangerous disorder, which the people of the inn where they lodged feared would prove mortal;
as by that which it caused to his daughter. Her master laid aside the volume in his hand, and broke off the chain of ideas it had inspired. His night-gown was exchanged for a coat, and he followed his gouvermante to the sick man's apartment. ‘Twas the best in the little inn where they lay, but a paltry one notwithstanding. Mr — was obliged to stoop as he entered it. It was floored with earth, and above were the joists, not plastered, and hung with cobwebs. On a flock-bed, at one end, lay the old man he came to visit; at the foot of it sat his daughter. She was dressed in a clean white bedgown; her dark locks hung loosely over it as she bent
Mr and his housekeeper had stood some moInents in the room without the young lady's being sensible of their entering it. “Mademoiselle !” said the old woman at last in a soft tone. She turned, and
* This fine tale is by Henry Mackenzie. The character of the philosopher was intended for Hume.
has been allowed by all; and it is certain that, if he
tions which afterwards astonished the world, an old
that she had been sent for as having some knowledge in medicine, the village surgeon being then absent; and that it was truly piteous to see the good old man, who seemed not so much afflicted by his own distress
forward, watching the languid looks of her father.
best of unbelievers.” Mademoiselle La Roche; “yet he saved my father!
showed one of the finest faces in the world. It was touched, not spoiled with sorrow; and when she perceived a stranger, whom the old woman now introduced to her, a blush at first, and then the gentle ceremonial of native politeness which the affliction of the time tempered, but did not extinguish, crossed it for a moment, and changed its expression. "Twas sweetness all, however, and our philosopher felt it strongly. It was not a time for words; he offered his services in a few sincere ones. “Monsieur lies miserably ill here,” said the gouvernante; ‘if he could possibly be moved anywhere.” “If he could be moved to our house,” said her master. He had a spare bed for a friend, and there was a garret room unoccupied, next to the gouvernante's. It was contrived accordingly. The scruples of the stranger, who could look scruples though he could not speak them, were overcome, and the bashful reluctance of his daughter gave way to her belief of its use to her father. The sick
man was wrapt in blankets and carried across the
street to the English gentleman's. The old woman helped his daughter to nurse him there. The surgeon, who arrived soon after, prescribed a little, and nature did much for him ; in a week he was able to thank his benefactor. By this time his host had learned the name and character of his guest. He was a Protestant clergyman of Switzerland, called La Roche, a widower, who
had lately buried his wife after a long and lingering
illness, for which travelling had been prescribed, and was now returning home, after an ineffectual and melancholy journey, with his only child, the daughter we have mentioned. He was a devout man, as became his profession. He possessed devotion in all its warmth, but with none of its asperity ; I mean that asperity which men, called devout, sometimes indulge in. Mr —, though he felt no devotion, never quarrelled with it in others. His gouvernante joined the old man and his daughter in the prayers and thanksgivings which they put up on his recovery ; for she, too, was a heretic in the phrase of the village. The philosopher walked out, with his long staff and his dog, and left them to their prayers and thanksgivings. “My master,’ said the old woman, “alas! he is not a Christian, but he is the * Not a Christian l’ exclaimed
Heaven bless him for't; I would he were a Christian!' “There is a pride in human knowledge, my child,’ said her father, “which often blinds men to the sublime truths of revelation; hence opposers of Christianity are found among men of virtuous lives, as well as among those of dissipated and licentious characters. Nay, sometimes I have known the latter more easily converted to the true faith than the former, because the fume of passion is more easily dissipated
than the mist of false theory and delusive specula| tion.” “But Mr —,” said his daughter; ‘alas! my
father, he shall be a Christian before he dies.” She was interrupted by the arrival of their landlord. He took her hand with an air of kindness; she drew it away from him in silence, threw down her eyes to the ground, and left the room. “I have been thanking
God,” said the good La Roche, “for my recovery.'
“That is right,’ replied his landlord. ‘I would not wish,' continued the old man hesitatingly, “to think otherwise; did I not look up with gratitude to that Being, I should barely be satisfied with my recovery as a continuation of life, which, it may be, is not a real
. Alas! I may live to wish I had died, that you had left me to die, sir, instead of kindly relieving me
(he clasped Mr —'s hand); but when I look on this
renovated being as the gift of the Almighty, I feel a far different sentiment; my heart dilates with gratitude and love to him; it is prepared for doing his will, not as a duty, but as a pleasure; and regards
every breach of it, not with disapprobation, but with horror.’ ‘You say right, my dear sir,’ replied the philosopher; “but you are not yet re-established enough to talk much ; you must take care of your health, and neither study nor preach for some time. I have been thinking over a scheme that struck me to-day when you mentioned your intended departure. I never was in Switzerland; I have a great mind to accompany your daughter and you into that country. I will help to take care of you by the road; for, as I was your first physician, I hold myself responsible for your cure.” La Roche's eyes glistened at the proposal; his daughter was called in and told of it. She was equally pleased with her father; for they really loved their landlord—not perhaps the less for his infidelity; at least that circumstance mixed a sort of pity with their regard for him : their souls were not of a mould for harsher feelings; hatred never dwelt in them. They travelled by short stages; for the philosopher was as good as his word, in taking care that the old man should not be fatigued. The party had time to be well acquainted with one another, and their friendship was increased by acquaintance. La Roche found a degree of simplicity and gentleness in his companion which is not always annexed to the character of a learned or a wise man. His daughter, who was prepared to be afraid of him, was equally undeceived. She found in him nothing of that self-importance which superior parts, or great cultivation of them, is apt to confer. He talked of everything but philosophy or religion; he seemed to enjoy every pleasure and amusement of ordinary life, and to be interested in the most common topics of discourse: when his knowledge or learning at any time appeared, it was delivered with the utmost plainness, and without the least shadow of dogmatism. On his part he was charmed with the society of the good clergyman and his lovely daughter He found in them the guileless manner of the earliest times, with the culture and accomplishment of the most refined ones. Every better feeling warm and vivid; every ungentle one repressed or overcome. He was not addicted to love; but he felt himself happy in being the friend of Mademoiselle La Roche, and sometimes envied her father the possession of such a child. After a journey of eleven days, they arrived at the dwelling of La Roche. It was situated in one of those valleys of the canton of Berne, where nature seems to repose, as it were, in quiet, and has enclosed her retreat with mountains inaccessible. A stream, that spent its fury in the hills above, ran in front of the house, and a broken waterfall was seen through the wood that covered its sides; below, it circled round a tufted plain, and formed a little lake in front of a village, at the end of which appeared the spire of La Roche's church, rising above a clump of beeches. Mr enjoyed the beauty of the scene; but to his companions it recalled the memory of a wife and parent they had lost. The old man's sorrow was silent—his daughter sobbed and wept. Her father took her hand, kissed it twice, pressed it to his bosom, threw up his eyes to heaven, and having wiped off a tear that was just about to drop from each, began to point out to his guest some of the most striking objects which the prospect afforded. The philosopher interpreted all this; and he could but slightly censure the creed from which it arose. They had not been long arrived, when a number of La Roche's parishioners, who had heard of his return, came to the house to see and welcome him. The honest folks were awkward but sincere in their professions of regard. They made some attempts at condolence; it was too delicate for their handling, but La Roche took it in good part. ‘It has pleased God,” said he ; and they saw he had settled the matteo
with himself. Philosophy could not have done so much with a thousand words. It was now evening, and the good peasants were about to depart, when a clock was heard to strike seven, and the hour was followed by a particular chime. The country folks who had come to welcome their pastor, turned their looks towards him at the sound; he explained their meaning to his guest. “That is the signal,” said he, “for our evening exercise; this is one of the nights of the week in which some of my parishioners are wont to join in it; a little rustic saloon serves for the chapel of our family, and such of the good people as are with us. If you choose rather to walk out, I will furnish you with an attendant; or here are a few old books that may afford you some entertainment within.” “By no means,’ answered the philosopher, “I will attend Mademoiselle at her devotions.’ “She is our organist,' said La Roche; “our neighbourhood is the country of musical mechanism, and I have a small organ fitted up for the purpose of assisting our singing.” ‘’Tis an additional inducement, replied the other, and they walked into the room together. At the end stood the organ
mentioned by La Roche; before it was a curtain,
which his daughter drew aside, and placing herself on a seat within, and drawing the curtain close, so as to save her the awkwardness of an exhibition, began a
voluntary, solemn and beautiful in the highest degree.
Mr — was no musician, but he was not altogether insensible to music; this fastened on his mind more strongly, from its beauty being unexpected. The solemn prelude introduced a hymn, in which such of the audience as could sing immediately joined; the words were mostly taken from holy writ; it spoke the praises of God, and his care of good men. Something was said of the death of the just, of such as die in the Lord. The organ was touched with a hand less firm; it paused, it ceased, and the sobbing of Mademoiselle La Roche was heard in its stead. Her father gave a sign for stopping the psalmody, and rose to pray. He was discomposed at first, and his voice faltered as he spoke; but his heart was in his words, and his warmth overcame his embarrassment. He addressed a Being whom he loved, and he spoke for those he loved. His parishioners catched the ardour of the good old man; even the philosopher felt himself moved, and forgot for a moment to think why he should not. La Roche’s religion was that of sentiment, not theory, and his guest was averse from disputation; their discourse, therefore, did not lead to questions concerning the belief of either; yet would the old man sometimes speak of his, from the fulness of a heart impressed with its force, and wishing to spread the pleasure he enjoyed in it. The ideas of his God and his Saviour were so congenial to his mind that every emotion of it naturally awaked them. A philosopher might have called him an enthusiast; but if he possessed the fervour of enthusiasts, he was guiltless of their bigotry. “Our father which art in heaven l’ might the good man say, for he felt it, and all mankind were his brethren. ‘You regret, my friend,” said he to Mr —, “when my daughter and I talk of the exquisite pleasure derived from music, you regret your want of musical powers and musical feelings; it is a department of soul, you say, which nature has almost denied you, which from the effects you see it have on others you are sure must be highly delightful. Why should not the same thing be said of religion? Trust me, I feel it in the same way—an energy, an inspiration, which I would not lose for all the blessings of sense, or enjoyments of the world; yet, so far from lessening my relish of the pleasures of life, methinks I feel it heighten them all. The thought of receiving it from God adds the blessing of sentiment to that of sensation in every good thing I possess; and when calami
hours too of riding and walking were many, in which Mr —, as a stranger, was shown the remarkable
scenes and curiosities of the country. They would sometimes make little expeditions to contemplate, in different attitudes, those astonishing mountains, the cliffs of which, covered with eternal snows, and sometimes shooting into fantastic shapes, form the termination of most of the Swiss prospects. Our philosopher asked many questions as to their natural history and productions. ideas which the view of their stupendous summits, inaccessible to mortal foot, was calculated to inspire, which naturally, said he, leads the mind to that Being by whom their foundations were laid. “They are not seen in Flanders,” said Mademoiselle with a sigh. “That's an odd remark,' said Mr , smiling. She blushed, and he inquired no farther. 'Twas with regret he left a society in which he found himself so happy; but he settled with La Roche and his daughter a plan of correspondence; and they took his promise, that if ever he came within fifty
La Roche observed the sublimity of the
leagues of their dwelling, he should travel those fifty
leagues to visit them.
About three years after, our philosopher was on a visit at Geneva; the promise he made to La Roche
and his daughter on his former visit was recalled to his mind by a view of that range of mountains, on a part of which they had often looked together. There
was a reproach, too, conveyed along with the recollec
tion, for his having failed to write to either for several months past. The truth was, that indolence was the
habit most natural to him, from which he was not
easily roused by the claims of correspondence either of his friends or of his enemies; when the latter drew their pens in controversy, they were often unanswered as well as the former. While he was hesitating about a visit to La Roche, which he wished to make, but found the effort rather too much for him, he received a letter from the old man, which had been forwarded to him from Paris, where he had then his fixed residence. It contained a gentle complaint of Mr
want of punctuality, but an assurance of continued gratitude for his former good offices; and as a friend
whom the writer considered interested in his family, it informed him of the approaching nuptials of Mademoiselle La Roche with a young man, a relation of her own, and formerly a pupil of her father's, of the most amiable dispositions, and respectable character. Attached from their earliest years, they had been separated by his joining one of the subsidiary regiments of the canton, then in the service of a foreign power. In this situation he had distinguished himself as much for courage and military skill as for the other endowments which he had cultivated at home. The term of his service was now expired, and they expected him to return in a few weeks, when the old man hoped, as he expressed it in his letter, to join their hands, and see them happy before he died.