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M. N. superior of St. .... having visited London on business, I believe in the year 1790, became acquainted with young T... This monk had that warmth of soul which easily makes proselytes of men possessing the vivid imagination by which T... was distinguished. It was determined that the latter should repair to Paris, send the resignation of his commission from that place to the Duke of Richmond, embrace the Catholic religion, and, after entering into holy orders, accompany M. N. to America. The project was put in execution, and T... in spite of his mother's letters, which he could not read without tears, embarked for the new world.
One of those chances, which decide our destiny, caused me to sail in the same vessel as this young man. It was not long before I discovered his good qualities, and I could not cease to be atonished at the singular circumstances, by which a wealthy Englishman of good birth should have thus been thrown among a troop of Catholic priests. T... perceived, on his part, that I understood him; but he was afraid of M. N. who seemed averse to too great an intimacy between his disciple and myself.
Meanwhile we proceeded on our voyage, and had not yet been able to open our hearts to each other. At length we were one night upon deck without any of the other priests. T... related to me his adventures, and we interchanged assurances of sincere friendship.
T... was, like myself, an admirer of nature. We used to pass whole nights in conversation upon deck, when all were asleep on board the vessel, except the sailors upon duty, when all the sails were furled, and the ship rolled dully through the calm, while an immense sea extended all around us into shade, and repeated the magnificent illumination of the star-sprinkled sky. Our conversations, at such times, were perhaps not quite unworthy of the grand spectacle which we had before our eyes; and ideas escaped us which we schould be asham
ed of expressing in society, but which I should be haped to recal and write down. It was in one of these charmiof nights when we were about fifty leagues from the coasi of Virginia, and scudding under a light breeze from the west, which bore to us the aromatic odour of the land, that T... composed for a French Romance, an air which exhaled the very spirit of the scene that inspired it. I have preserved this valuable composition, and when I happen to repeat it, emotions arise in my breast which few people can comprehend.
Before this period, the wind having driven us considerably to the north, we found ourselves under the necessity of then also taking in water, &c. which we did at Saint Peter's Island, on the coast of Newfoundland. During the fortnight we were on shore, T... and I used to ramble among the mountains of this frightful island, and lose ourselves amidst the fogs that perpetually prevail there. The sensitive imagination of my friend found pleasure in these sombre and romantic scenes. Sometimes, when we wandered in the midst of clouds and storms, listening to the roaring waves which we could not discern, and lost ourselves upon a bleak desolate heath, or gazed at the red torrent which rolled among the rocks, T.... would imagine himself to be the bard of Cona, and in his capacity of Demi-Scotchman, begin to declaim from Ossian, or sing to wild airs, composed upon the spot, passages from that work. His music often led me back to ancient times-"'Twas like the memory of joys that are past, pleasing and mournful to the soul.” I am extremely sorry that I did not write down the notes of some of these extraordinary songs, which would have astonished amateurs and artists. I remember that we passed a whole afternoon in raising four large stones, to the memory of an unfortunate man, in a little episode after the man. ner of Ossian, taken from my Pictures of Nature,--a pro. «ction, known to some men of letters, which has been bystroyed. We thought of Rousseau, who amused him self with overturning the rocks in his island, that he might see what was under them. If we had not the genius of the author of Emily, we liad at least his simplicity. At other times we botanized.
On our arrival at Baltimore, T.... without bidding me farewell, and without appearing to feel the intimacy which had subsisted between us, left me one morning, and I have never seen him since. When I retired to England, I endeavoured to discover his family, but in vain. I had no wish but to ascertain that he was happy, and take my leave; for when I knew him I was not what I now am. At that time I rendered him some service, and it is not congenial with my disposition to remind a person of the obligations conferred by me when rich, now that misfortunes have overtaken me. I waited upon the Bishop of London, but in the registers, which he permitted me to examine, I could find no clergymap of T.'s name. I must have mistaken the orthography. All I know is that he had a brother, and that two of his sisters had places at court. I have met with few men, whose hearts harmonized more with mine than that of T. He had, nevertheless an expression in his eye of some concealed thought, which I did not like.
On the 6th of May, about eight o'clock in the morning, we discovered the Peak of the island bearing the same: name, which is said to surpass in height that of Teneriffe. Soon afterwards we perceived lower land, and towards noon cast anchor in a bad road, upon a rocky bottom, and in forty-five fathoms water.
The island of Gracioza, before which we lay, is composed of small hills, that swell out towards their summits, so as to resemble the graceful curving form of Corinthian vases. They were, at the period of which I am speaking, covered with the fresh verdure of grain ; and it shed a pleasant odour peculiar to the Azores. In the midst of these undulating carpets, appeared symmetrical divisions of the fields, formed of volcanic stones, in colour black and white, heaped one upon another to the height of a man's breast. Wild fig-trees, with their violet leaves and little purple figs arranged upon the branches like knots of flowers upon a chaplet, were scattered here and there through the country. An abbey was visible at the top of a mountain, and at its base in a nook the red roofs of the little town Santa Cruz. The whole island, with all its bays, capes, creeks and promontories, was reflected from the
Great naked rocks constituted its exterior boundary, and formed a contrast, by their smoky colour, to the festoons of spray hanging to them, and appearing in the sun like silver lace. The peak of Peak Island, beyond Gracioza, majestically raised its head above a mass of clouds, and formed the background of the picture. A sea of emerald and a sky of the purest azure supplied the main tints of the scene, while the numerous sea-fowl and the grey crows of the Azores flew screaming and croaking round our vessel as she lay at anchor, or cut the surface of the billow with their wings expanded in the shape of a sickle, augmenting around us noise, motion and life.
It was decided that I should land as interpreter with T. another young man, and the second captain. The boat was hoisted out, and the sailors began to row us towards the shore, which was about two miles from the ship. It was not long before we observed a bustle on the coast, and a pinnace approaching us. The moment it came within hail, we distinguished in it a number of monks. They addressed us in Portugueze, Italian and English ; and we replied in these three languages, that we were Frenchmen. Great alarm prevailed in the island. Our vessel was the first of large bulk that had ever appeared there, and ventured to anchor in the dangerous road where she now was. The new tri-coloured flag had likewise never been seen in this part of the world before; and the inhabitants knew not but that we might be from Algiers or Tunis. When they saw that we wore the human form, and understood what was said to us, their joy was universal. The monks invited us into their pinnace, and we soon reached Santa Cruz, where we landed with difficulty on account of a violent surge which continually beats there.
All the inhabitants of the island ran to see us. Four or five unhappy men, who had been hastily armed with pikes, formed our guard. The uniform of his Majesty attracting particular notice, I passsed for the important man of the deputation. We were conducted to the Governor's miserable house, where his Excellency, who was attired in an old green dress which had formerly been or-': namented with gold lace, gave us an audience of reception, and graciously permitted us to purchase the articles we wanted.
After this ceremony we were dismissed, and the honest monks conducted us to a large hotel, which was neat, commodious and much more like the Governor's palace than the one he inhabited.
T.... had found a fellow countryman. The brother, who was most active for us, was a Jersey sailor, whose vessel had been wrecked at Gracioza several years before. He was the only one of the crew who escaped death, and being not deficient, as to intelligence, he perceived that there was only one trade in the island, that of the monks. He resolved, therefore, to become one, listened with great docility to the instructions of the holy fathers, learnt Portugueze as well as a few words of Latin, and being recommended by the circumstance of his belonging to England, this wandering sheep was admitted into the sacred fold.