Page images

unhappy 2 My dear friend, what has happened?” I motioned to him to take up the letter, while I walked up and down the room in the extremest agitation. Tears also gushed from the eyes of Clerval, as he read the account of my misfortune. “I can offer you no consolation, my friend,” said he ; “ your disaster is ir

reparable. What do you intend to

do P” “ To go instantly to Geneva: come with me, Henry, to order the horses.” During our walk, Clerval endeavoured to raise my spirits. He did not do this by common topics of consolation, but by exhibiting the truest sympathy. “Poor Williams’” said he, “that dear child; he now sleeps with his angel mother. His friends mourn, and weep, but he is at rest: he does not

now feel the murderer's grasp ; a sod
covers his gentle form, and he knows
no pain. He can no longer be a fit
subject for pity; the survivors are the
greatest sufferers, and for them time is
the only consolation. Those maxims
of the Stoics, that death was no evil,
and that the mind of man ought to be
superior to despair on the eternal ab-
sence of a beloved object, ought not to
be urged. Even Cato wept over the
dead body of his brother.”
Clerval spoke thus as we hurried
through the streets; the words im-
pressed themselves on my mind, and I
remembered them afterwards in soli-
tude. But now, as soon as the horses
arrived, I hurried into a cabriole, and
bade farewell to my friend.
My journey was very melancholy.
At first I wished to hurry on, for I
longed to console and sympathize with

[ocr errors]

my loved and sorrowing friends; but when I drew near my native town, I slackened my progress. I could hardly sustain the multitude of feelings that crowded into my mind. I passed through scenes familiar to my youth,

but which I had not seen for nearly six

years. How altered everything might be during that time? One sudden and desolating change had taken place; but a thousand little circumstances might have by degrees worked other alterations, which, although they were done more “nouilly, might not be the less decis. . ear overcame me; I dared not advance, dreading a thousand nameless evils that made me tremble, although I was unable to define them. I remained two days at Lausanne, in this painful state of mind. I contemplated the lake: the waters were placid; all around was calm, and the snowy mountains, “ the palaces of nature,” were not changed. By degrees the calm and heavenly scene restored me, and I continued my journey towards Geneva. . . . . . . . . . The road ran by the side of the lake, which became narrower as I approached my native town. I discovered more distinctly the black sides of Jura, and the bright summit of Mont, Blanc ; I wept like a child: “Dear mountains ! my own beautiful lake! how do you welcome your wanderer? Your summits are clear; the sky and lake are blue and placid. Is this to prognosticate peace, or to mock at my unhap country, my beloved country who but a native can tell the delight I took in again beholding thy streams, thy mountains, and, more than all, thy lovely lake. Yet, as I drew nearer home, grief and fear again overcame me. Night also closed around ; and when I could hardly see the dark mountains, I felt still more gloomily. The picture appeared a vast and dim scene of evil, and I foresaw obscurely that I was destimed to become the most wretched of human beings. Alas! I prophesied truly, and failed only in one single circumstance, that in all the misery I imagined and dreaded, I did not conceive the hundredth part of the anguish I was destined to endure. It was completely dark when I arrived in the environs of Geneva; the gates of the town were already shut; and I was obliged to pass the night at

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

were days of comparative happiness, and I think of them with pleasure. My

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »