Front Cover
 Title Page
 Back Cover

Group Title: Paul et Virginie
Title: Paul and Virginia
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00001770/00001
 Material Information
Title: Paul and Virginia
Uniform Title: Paul et Virginie
Physical Description: 128 p. : ill. ; 11 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Saint-Pierre, Bernardin de, 1737-1814
Phillibrown, Thomas ( Engraver )
D. Appleton and Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: D. Appleton and Company
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1851
Subject: French literature -- Translations into English -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Mauritius   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1851   ( rbgenr )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1851   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1851
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: from the French of J.B.H. de Saint Pierre.
General Note: Text pagination ends with 122; four page publisher's advertisement continues pagination with p. 125.
General Note: Frontis. engraved by T. Phillibrown.
General Note: Part of Appleton's miniature classic library.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00001770
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002447207
oclc - 45568681
notis - AMF2461
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Title Page
        Page iv
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text


This unique Library will comprise the best works of ourven-
erated authors; published in an elegant form, with a beau-
tiful frontispiece, tastefully ornamented.
The following are now ready :
Place the Seasons' in any light and the poem appears
faultless--and above all, the sentiments are so pure, the les-
sons in virtue so attractive, the religion so natural, graceful,
and winning, that the reader cannot fail to become better and
wiser by the perusal of that which produces sensations of the
most supreme pleasure."--S. C. Hall.
of selections from the most esteemed authors.
Above a hundred and twenty specimens of popular Amer-
ican poets adorn the pages, most of them worthy of being so
chosen, and some of them eminently sweet and beautiful."--
London Lit. Gaz.
TIONS; With selections from various authors.
In this edition every passage of Scripture has
been compared and verified.
Goldsmith, both in verse and prose, was one of the most
delightful writers in the language. His verse flows like a lim-
pid stream. His ease is quite unconscious. Everything in
him is spontaneous, unstudied, unaffected, yet elegant, harmo-
nious, graceful, and nearly faultless."--Hazlitt.

----- -------
Thefuidof thinking which this work contains is such that
almost every sentence of it may furnish a subject of long me-
tensive popularity of this little tale is well known.
Each volume consists of appropriate poetical extracts from
the best writers of the day.
WISDOM. A collection of short extracts on re-
ligious subjects, by Bishop Hall, Sherlock, &c.
meditations and prayers of the Right Rev. THo-
MAS WILSON, D. D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and
Man; accommodated to general use.
ence of the Religion of the Heart on the Conduct
of the Life. BY HANNAH MOBa.
fi----------- ----------







THE following translation of "Paul and Virginia,"
was written at Paris, amidst the horrors of Robes-
pierre's tyranny. During that gloomy epocha it
was difficult to find occupations which might cheat
the days of calamity of their weary length. Society
had vanished; and amidst the minute vexations of
jacobinical despotism, which, while it murdered in
mass, persecuted in detail, the resources of writing,
and even reading, were encompassed with danger.
The researches of domiciliary visits had already
compelled me to commit to the flames a manuscript
volume, where I had traced the political scenes of
which I had been a witness, with the colouring of
their first impressions on my mind, with those fresh
tints that fade from recollection; and since my pen,
accustomed to follow the impulse of my feeEngs,

__ ___


could only have drawn, at that fatal period, those
images of desolation and despair which haunted my
imagination, and dwelt upon my heart, writing was
forbidden employment. Even reading had its
perils ; for books had sometimes aristocratical insig-
'nia, and sometimes counter revolutionary allusions;
and when the administrators of police happened to
think the writer a conspirator, they punished the
reader as his accomplice.
In this situation I gave myself the task of em-
ploying a few hours every day in translating the
charming little novel of Bernardin St. Pierre, enti-
tled "Paul and Virginia;" and I found the most
soothing relief in wandering from my own gloomy
reflections to those enchanting scenes of the Mauri-
tius, which he has so admirably described. I also
composed a few Sonnets adapted to the peculiar
productions of that part of the globe, which are
interspersed in the work. Some, indeed, are lost,
as well as a part of the translation, which I have
since supplied, having been sent to the Municipa-
lity of Paris, in order to be examined as English
papers; where they still remain, mingled with
revolutionary placards, motions, and harangues;


and are not likely to be restored to my posses-
With respect to the translation, I can only hope
to deserve the humble merit of not having deformed
the beauty of the original. I have, indeed, taken
Sone liberty with my author, which it is fit I should
acknowledge, that of omitting several pages of gen-
Sral observations, which, however excellent in them-
selves, would be passed over with impatience by
the English reader, when they interrupt the pathe-
tic narrative. In this respect, the two nations
seem to change characters; and while the serious
and reflecting Englishman requires, in noved writ-
ing, as well as on the theatre, a rapid succession of
incidents, much bustle and stage effect, without
suffering the author to appear himself, and stop the
progress of the story; the gay and restless French-
man listens attentively to long philosophical reflec-
tions, while the catastrophe of the drama hangs in
My last poetical productions (the Sonnets which
are interspersed in this work) may perhaps be found
even more imperfect than my earlier compositions;
since, after a long exile from England, I can scarcely


flattel myself that my ear is become more attuned
to the harmony of a language, with the sounds of
which it is seldom gladdened; or that my poetical
taste is improved by living in a country where arts
have given place to arms. But the public will, per-
haps, receive with indulgence a work written under
such peculiar circumstances; not composed in the
calm of literary leisure, or in pursuit of literary fame,
but amidst the turbulence of the most cruel sensa-
tions, and in order to escape awhile from over-
whelming misery.
H. M. W.


ON the eastern coast of the mountain which rises
above Port Louis in the Mauritius, upon a piece of
land bearing the marks of former cultivation, are
seen the ruins of two small cottages. Those ruins
are situated near the centre of a valley, formed by
immense rocks, and which opens only towards the
north. On the left rises the mountain, called the
Height of Discovery, from whence the eye marks
the distant sail when it first touches the verge of
the horizon, and whence the signal is given when a
vessel approaches the island. At the foot of this
mountain stands the town of Port Louis. On the
right is formed the road, which stretches from Port
Louis to the Shaddock Grove, where the church,
bearing that name, lifts its head, surrounded by its
avenues of bamboo, in the midst of a spacious plain;
and the prospect terminates in a forest extending to
the furthest bounds of the island. The front view
presents the bay, denominated the Bay of the Tomb:
a little on the right is seen the Cape of Misfortune;
and beyond rolls the expanded ocean, on the sur-
face of which appear a few uninhabited islands,
and, among others, the Point of Endeavour, which
resembles a bastion built upon the flood.
At the entrance of the valley which presents those
various objects, the echoes of the mountain inces-


santly repeat the hollow murmurs of the winds that
shake the neighboring forests, and the tumultu-
ous dashing of the waves which break at a distance
upon the cliffs. But near the ruined cottages all is
calm and still, and the only objects which there
meet the eye are rude steep rocks, that rise like a
surrounding rampart. Large clumps of trees grow
at their base, on their rifted sides, and even on their
majestic tops, where the clouds seem to repose.
The showers, which their bold points attract, often
paint the vivid colours of the rainbow on their green
and brown declivities, and swell the sources of the
little river which flows at their feet, called the
river of Fan-Palms.
Within this enclosure reigns the most profound
silence. The waters, the air, all the elements are
at peace. Scarcely does the echo repeat the whis-
pers of the palm-trees spreading their broad leaves,
the long points of which are gently balanced by the
winds. A soft light illuminates the bottom of this
deep valley, on which the sun only shines at noon.
But even at break of day the rays of light are thrown
on the surrounding rocks; and the sharp peaks,
rising above the shadows of the mountain, appear
like tints of gold and purple gleaming upon the
azure sky.
STo this scene Iloved to resort, where I might
enjoy at once the richness of the extensive land-
scape, and the charm of uninterrupted solitude.
One day, when I was seated at the foot of the cot-
tages, and contemplating their ruins, a man, ad-
vanced in years, passed near the spot. Hie was
dressed in the ancient garb of the island, his feet
were bare, and he leaned upon a staff of ebony : his
hair was white, and the expression of his counte-
nance was dignified and interesting. I bowed to


him with respect; he returned the salutation: and,
after looking at me with some earnestness, came
and placed himself upon the hillock where I was
seated. Encouraged by this mark of confidence, I
thus addressed him :-
Father, can you tell me to whom those cottages
once belonged ?" My son," replied the old man,
"those heaps of rubbish, and that untilled land,
were, twenty years ago, the property of two fami-
lies, who then found happiness in this solitude.
Their history is affecting; but what European, pur-
suing his way to the Indies, will pause one moment
to interest himself in the fate of a few obscure indi-
viduals ? What European can picture happiness to
his imagination amidst poverty and neglect? The
curiosity of mankind is only attracted by the history
of the great, and yet from that knowledge little use
can be derived." Father," I rejoined, "from your
manners and your observations, I perceive that you
have acquired much experience of human life. If
you have leisure, relate to me, I beseech you, the
history of the ancient inhabitants of this desert;
and be assured, that even the men who are most
perverted by the prejudices of the world, find a
soothing pleasure in contemplating that happiness
which belongs to simplicity and virtue." The old
man, after a short silence, during which he leaned
his face upon his hands, as if he were trying to
recal the images of the pas;, thus began his narra-
tion :-
Monsieur de la Tour, a young man who was a
native of Normandy, after having in vain solicited a
commission in the French Army, or some support
from his own family, at length determined to seek
his fortune in this island, where he arrived in 1726.
lie brought hither a young woman whom he loved


tenderly, and by whom he was no less teindrlyj be-
loved. She belonged to a rich and ancient fr.n&y of
the same province ; but he had married her without
fortune, and in opposition to the will of her rela-
tions, who refused their consent, because he was
found guilty of being descended from parents who
had no claims to nobility. Monsieur de la Tour,
leaving his wife at Port Louis, embarked for Mada-
gascar, in order to purchase a few slaves to assist
him in forming a plantation in this island. lie
landed at that unhealthy season which commences
about the middle of October; and soon after his
arrival died of the pestilential fever, which prevails
in that country six months of the year, and which
will forever baffle the attempts of the European
nations to form establishments on that fatal soil.
His effects were seized upon by the rapacity of
strangers; and his wife, who was pregnant, found
herself a widow in a country where she had neither
credit nor recommendation, and no earthly posses-
sion, or rather support, save one negro woman. Too
delicate to solicit protection or relief from any other
man after the death of him whom alone she loved,
misfortune armed her with courage, and she
resolved to cultivate with her slave a little spot of
ground, and procure for herself the means of subsist-
ence. In an island almost a desert, and where the
ground was left to the choice of the settler, she
avoided those spots which were most fertile and
most favourable to commerce; and seeking some
nook of the mountain, some secret asylum, where
she might live solitary and unknown, she bent her
way from the town towards those rocks, where she
wished to shelter herself as in a nest. All suffering
creatures, from a sort of common instinct, fly for
refuge amidst their pains to haunts the most wild

r ------ 0-L

and desolate; as if rocks could form a rampart
against misfortune ; as if the calm of nature could
hush the tumults of the soul. That Providence,
which lends its support when we adt but the supply
of our necessary wants, had a blessing in reserve
for Madame de la Tour, which neither riches nor
greatness can purchase; this blessing was a friend.
The spot to which Madame de la Tour fled had
already been inhabited a year by a young woman
of a lively, good natured, and affectionate disposi-
tion. Margaret (for that was her name) was born
in Britany, of a family of peasants, by whom she
was cherished and beloved, and with whom she
might have passed life in simple rustic happiness, if,
misled by the weakness of a tender heart, she had
not listened to the passion of a gentleman in the
neighbourhood, who promised her marriage. He
soon abandoned her, and adding inhumanity to
seduction, refused to ensure a provision for the
child of which she was pregnant. Margaret then
determined to leave for ever her native village,
and go, where her fault might be concealed, to
some colony distant from that country where she
had lost the only portion of a poor peasant girl-
her reputation. With some borrowed money she
purchased an old negro slave, with whom she culti-
vated a little spot of this canton. Here Madame de
la Tour, followed by her negro woman, found
Margaret suckling her child. Soothed by the sight
of a person in a situation somewhat similar to her
own, Madame de la Tour related, in a few words,
her past condition and her present wants. Marga-
ret was deeply affected by the recital; and, more
anxious to excite confidence than esteem, she con-
fessed, without disguise, the errors of which she
had been guilty. As for re,' said she, 'I deserve


my fate: but you, madam-you at once virtuous
and unhappy--' And, sobbing, she offered Madame
de la Tour both her hut and her friendship. That
lady, affected %y this tender reception, pressed her
in her arms, and exclaimed, 'Ah, surely Heaven
will put an end to my misfortunes, since it inspires
you, to whom I am a stranger, with more goodness
towards me than 1 have ever experienced from my
own relations '
"I knew Margaret; and, although my habitation
is a league and a half from hence, in the woods
behind that sloping mountain, I considered myself as
her neighbour. In the cities of Europe a street,
sometimes even a less distance, separates families
whom nature had united; but in new colonies we
consider those persons as neighbours from whom
we are divided only by woods and mountains;
and above all, at that period when this island had
little intercourse with the Indies, neighbourhood
alone gave a claim to friendship, and hospitality
toward strangers seemed less a duty than a plea-
sure. No sooner was I informed that Margaret had
found a companion, than I hastened thither, in hope
of being useful to my neighbour and her guest.
"Madame de la Tour possessed all those melan-
choly graces which give beauty additional power,
by blending sympathy with admiration. Her figure
was interesting, and her countenance expressed at
once dignity and dejection. She appeared to be in
the last stage of her pregnancy. I told them
that, for the future interests of their children,
and to prevent the intrusion of any other settler,
it was necessary they should divide between them
the property of this wild sequestered valley,
which is nearly twenty acres in extent. They
confided that task to me, and I marked out two


equal portions Af land. One includes the higher
part of this enclosure, from the peak of that rock
,buried in clouds, whence springs the rapid river
of Fan-Palms, to that wide cleft which you see
on the summit of the mountain, and which is called
the Cannon's Mouth, from the resemblance in its
form. It is difficult to find a path along this wild
portion of enclosure, the soil of which is encum-
bered with fragments of rock, or worn into chan-
nels formed by torrents; yet it produces noble
trees, and innumerable fountains and rivulets. The
other portion of land is comprised in the plain
extending along the banks of the river of Fan-
Palms, to the opening where we are now seated,
from whence the river takes its course between
those two hills, until it falls into the sea. You
may still trace the vestiges of some meadow-land;
and this part of the common is less rugged, but
not more valuable than the other; since in the
rainy season it becomes marshy, and in dry wea-
ther is so hard and unbending, that it will yield
only to the stroke of the hatchet. When I had
thus divided the property, I persuaded my neigh-
bours to draw lots for their separate possessions.
The higher portion of land became the property
of Madame de la Tour; the lower, of Margaret;
and each seemed satisfied with her respective
share. They entreated me to place their habita-
tions together, that they might at all times enjoy
the soothing intercourse of friendship, and the
consolation of mutual kind offices. Margaret's
cottage was situated near the centre of the valley,
and just on the boundary of her own plantation.
Close to that spot I built another cottage for the
dwelling of Madame de la Tour: and thus the
two friends, while they possessed all the advan-
L __


tages of neighbourhood, lived on their own pro-
perty. I myself cut palisades from the mountain,
and brought leaves of Fan-Palms from the sea-
shore, in order to construct those two cottages, of
which you can now discern neither the entrance
nor the roof. Yet, alas there still remain but too
many traces for my remembrance! Time, which
so rapidly destroys the proud monuments of empires,
seems in this desert to spare those of friendship, as
if to perpetuate my regrets to the last hour of my
"Scarcely was her cottage finished, when Ma-
dame de la Tour was delivered of a girl. I had
been the godfather of Margaret's child, who was
christened by the name of Paul. Madame de la
Tour desired me to perform the same office for her
child also, together with her friend, who gave her
the name of Virginia. 'She will be virtuous,'
cried Margaret, 'and she will be happy. I have
only known misfortune by wandering from virtue.'
"At the time Madame de la Tour recovered,
those two little territories had already begun to
yield some produce, perhaps in a small degree
owing to the care which I occasionally bestowed
on their improvement, but far more to the indefati-
gable labours of the two slaves. Margaret's slave,
who was called Domingo, was still healthy and
robust, although advanced in years: he possessed
some knowledge, and a good natural understanding.
He cultivated indiscriminately, on both settlements,
such spots of ground as were most fertile, and
sowed whatever grain he thought most congenial to
each particular soil. Where the ground was poor,
he strewed maize; where it was most fruitful, he
planted wheat; and rice in such spots as were
marshy. He threw the seeds of gourds and cucum-


bers at the foot of the rocks, which they loved to
chmb, and decorate with their luxuriant foliage
In dry spots he cultivated the sweet potato; the
cotton-tree flourished upon the heights, and the
sugar-cane grew in the clayey soil He reared
some plants of coffee on the hills, where the grain,
although small, is excellent The plantain-trees,
which spread their grateful shade on the banks of
the river, and encircled the cottage, yielded fruit
throughout the year. And, lastly, Domingo culti-
vated a few plants of tobacco, to charm away his
own cares. Sometimes he was employed in cutting
wood for firing from the mountain, sometimes in
hewing pieces of rock within the enclosure, in order
to level the paths. He was much attached to Mar-
garet, and not less to Madame de la Tour, whose
negro-woman, Mary, he had married at the time of
Virginia's birth; and le war passionately fond of
his wife. Mary was born at Madagascar, from
whence she had brought a few arts of industry.
She could weave baskets, and a sort of stuff, with
long grass that grows in the woods. She was
active, cleanly, and, above all, faithful. It was
her care to prepare their meals, to rear the poultry,
and go sometimes to Port Louis, and sell the super-
fluities of these little plantations, which were not
very considerable. If you add to the personages
I have already mentioned two goats, who were
brought up with the children, and a great dog, who
kept watch at night, you will have a complete idea
of the household, as well as of the revenue of those
two farms.
Madame de la Tour and her friend were em-
ployed from the morning till the evening in spinning
cotton for the use of their families. Destitute of all
those things which their own industry could not


supply, they walked about their habitations with
their feet bare, and shoes were a convenience re-
served for Sunday, when, at an early hour, they
attended mass at the church of the Shaddock Grove,
which you see yonder. That church is far more
distant than Port Louis; yet they seldom visited the
town, lest they should he treated with contempt,
because they were dressed in the coarse blue linen
of Bengal, which is usually worn by slaves. But
is there in that external deference which fortune
commands a compensation for domestic happiness ?
If they had something to suffer from the world, this
served but to endear their humble home. No sooner
did Mary and Domingo perceive them from this ele-
vated spot, on the road of the Shaddock Grove, than
they flew to the foot of the mountain, in order to
help them to ascend. They discerned in the looks
of their domestics that joy which their return
inspired. They found in their retreat neatness,
independence, all those blessings which are the re-
compense of toil, and received those services which
have their source in affection.-United by the tie
of similar wants, and the sympathy of similar mis- i
fortunes, they gave each other the tender names of
companion, friend, sister.-They had but one will,
one interest, one table. All their possessions were
in common. And if sometimes a passion more ardent
than friendship awakened in their hearts the pang
of unavailing anguish, a pure religion, united with
chaste manners, drew their affections towards an-
other life; as the trembling flame rises towards
heaven, when it no longer finds any aliment on
"Madame de la Tour sometimes, leaving the
household cares to Margaret, wandered out alhne ;
and, amidst the sublime scenery, indulge that


luxury of pensive sadness, which is so soothing to
the mind after the first emotions of turbulent bor-
row have subsided. Sometimes she poured forth
the effusions of melancholy in the language of
verse; and, although her compositions have little
poetical merit, they appear to me to bear the marks
of genuine sensibility. Many of her poems are
lost; but some still remain in my possession, and a
few still hang on my memory. I will repeat to
you a sonnet addressed to Love.


Ah, Love ere yet I knew thy fatal power,
Bright glow'd the colour of my youthful days,
As, on the sultry zone, the torrid rays,
That paint the broad-leaved plantain's glossy bowers
Calm was my bosom as this silent hour,
When o'er the deep, scarce heard, the zephyr strays,
'Midst the cool ttm'rinds indolently plays,
Nor from the orange shakes its od'rous flower:
But, ah I since Love has all my heart possessed,
That desolated heart what sorrows tear
Disturb'd and wild as ocean's troubled breast,
When the hoarse tempest of the night is there
Yet my complaining spirit asks no rest;
This bleeding bosom cherishes despair.

"The tender and sacred duties which nature
imposed, became a source of additional happiness
to those affectionate mothers, whose mutual friend-
hip acquired new strength at the sight of their
children, alike the offspring of unhappy love. They


delighted to place their infants together in the
same bath, to nurse them in the same cradle, and
sometimes changed the maternal bosom at which
they received nourishment, as if to blend with the
ties of friendship that instinctive affection which
this act produces.
'My friend,' cried Madame de la Tour, 'we
shall each of us have two children, and each of our
children will have two mothers.' As two buds
which remain on two trees of the same kind, after
the tempest has broken all their branches, produce
more delicious fruit, if each, separated from the
maternal stem, be grafted on the neighboring
tree; so those two children, deprived of all other
support, imbibed sentiments more tender than those
of son and daughter, brother and sister, when ex-
changed at the breast of those who had given them
birth. While they were yet in their cradle, their
mothers talked of their marriage ; and this prospect
of conjugal felicity, with which they soothed their
own cares, often called forth the tears of bitter re-
gret. The misfortunes of one mother had arisen
from having neglected marriage, those of the other
from having submitted to its laws: one had been
made unhappy by attempting to raise herself above
her humble condition of life, the other by descend-
ing from her rank. But they found consolation in
reflecting that their more fortunate children, far
from the cruel prejudices of Europe, those preju-
dices which poison the most precious sources of our
happiness, would enjoy at once the pleasures of love
and the blessings of equality.
"Nothing could exceed that attachment which
those infants already displayed for each other.
If Paul complained, his mother pointed to Virginia;
and at that sight he smiled, and was appeased. If


any accident befel Virginia, the cries of Paul gave
notice of the disaster; and then Virginia would
suppress her complaints when she found that Paul
was unhappy. When I came hither, I usually
found them quite naked, which is the custom of
this country, tottering in their walk, and holding
each other by the hands and under the arms, as we
represent the constellation of the Twins. At night
these infants often refused to be separated, and
were found lying in the same cradle, their cheeks,
their bosoms pressed close together, their hands
thrown round each other's neck, and sleeping,
locked in one another's arms.
"When they began to speak, the first names
they learnt to give each other were those of brother
and sister, and childhood knows no softer appellation.
Their education served to augment their early
friendship, by directing it to the supply of their re-
ciprocal wants. In a short time, all that regarded
the household economy, the care of preparing the
rural repasts, became the task of Virginia, whose
labours were always crowned with the praises and
kisses of her brother. As for Paul, always in mo-
tion, he dug the garden with Domingo, or followed
him with a little hatchet into the woods, where, if
in his rambles he espied a beautiful flower, fine
fruit, or a nest of birds, even at the top of a tree, he
climbed up, and brought it home to his sister.
When you met with one of these children, you
might be sure the other was not distant. One day,
coming down that mountain, I saw Virginia at the
end of the garden, running toward the house, with
her petticoat thrown over her head, in order to
screen herself from a shower of rain. At a dis-
tance, I thought she was alone; but as I hastened
towards her, in order to help her on, I perceived


that she held Paul by the arm, who was almost
entirely enveloped in the same cavity, and both
were laughing heartily at being sheltered together
under an umbrella of their own invention. Those
two charming faces, placed within the petticoat,
swelled by the wind, recalled to my mind the chil-
dren of Leda, enclosed within the same shell.
Their sole study was how to please and assist
each other; for of all other things they were igno-
rant, and knew neither how to read nor write.
They were never disturbed by researches into past
times, nor did their curiosity extend beyond the
bounds of that mountain. They believed the world
ended at the shores of their own island, and all
their ideas and affections were confined within its
limits. Their mutual tenderness, and that of their
mothers, employed all the activity of their souls.
Their tears had never been called forth by long
application to useless sciences. Their minds had
never been wearied by lessons of morality, super-
fluous to bosoms unconscious of ill. They had never
been taught that they must not steal, because every
thing with them was in common; or be intemperate,
because their simple food was left to their own
discretion; or false, because they had no truth to
conceal. Their young imaginations had never
been terrified by the idea that God has punishments
in store for ungrateful children, since with them filial
affection arose naturally from maternal fondness.
All they had been taught of religion was to love it;
and if they did not offer up long prayers in the
church, wherever they were, in the house, in the
fields, in the woods, they raised towards heaven
their innocent hands, and their hearts purified by
virtuous affections.
"Thus passed their early childhood, like a beau-


tiful dawn, the prelude of a bright day. Already
they partook with their mothers the cares of the
household. As soon as the cry of the wakeful
cock announced the first beam of the morning,
Virginia arose, and hastened to draw water from a
neighboring spring; then returning to the house,
she prepared the breakfast. When the rising sun
lighted up the points of those rocks which overhang
this enclosure, Margaret and her child went to the
dwelling of Madame de la Tour, and they offered
up together their morning prayer. This sacrifice
of thanksgiving always preceded their first repast,
which they often partook before the door of the
cottage, seated upon the grass, under a canopy of
plantain; and while the branches of that delight-
ful tree afforded a grateful shade, its solid fruit fur-
nished food ready prepared by nature ; and its long
glossy leaves, spread upon the table, supplied the
want of linen.
"Plentiful and wholesome nourishment gave
early growth and vigour to the persons of those
children, and their countenances expressed the
purity and peace of their souls. At twelve years
of age the figure of Virginia was in some degree
formed: a profusion of light hair shaded her face,
to which her blue eyes and coral lips gave the most
charming brilliancy. Her eyes sparkled with viva-
city when she spoke; but when she was silent,
her look had a cast upwards, which gave it an ex-
pression of extreme sensibility, or rather of tender
melancholy. Already the figure of Paul displayed
the graces of manly beauty. He was taller than
Virginia; his skin was of a darker tint; his nose
more aquiline; and his black eyes would have
been too piercing, if the long eyelashes, by which
they were shaded, had not given them a look


of softness. He was constantly in motion, except
when his sister appeared; and then, placed at her
side, he became quiet. Their meals often passed
in silence, and, from the grace of their attitudes,
the beautiful proportions of their figures, and their
naked feet, you might have fancied you beheld
an antique group of white marble, representing
some of the children of Niobe; if those eyes which
sought to meet those smiles which were answered
by smiles of the most tender softness, had not rather
given you the idea of those happy celestial spirits,
whose nature is love, and who are not obliged to
have recourse to words for the expression of that
intuitive sentiment. In the mean time, Madame
de la Tour, perceiving every day some unfolding
grace, some new beauty, in her daughter, felt her
maternal anxiety increase with her tenderness. She
often said to me, 'If I should die, what will become
of Virginia without fortune ?'
Madame de la Tour had an aunt in France, who
was a woman of quality, rich, old and a great bigot.
She had behaved towards her niece with so much
cruelty upon her marriage that Madame de la Tour
had determined that no distress or misfortune should
ever compel her to have recourse to her hard-heart-
ed relation. But when she became a mother, the
pride of resentment was stifled in the stronger feel-
ings of maternal tenderness. She wrote to her aunt,
informing her of the sudden death of her husband,
the birth of her daughter, and the difficulties in
which she was involved at a distance from her own
country, without support, and burthened with a
child. She received no answer; but, notwithstand-
ing that high spirit which was natural to her cha-
racter, she no longer feared exposing herself to
mortification and reproach ; and, although she knew


her relation would never pardon her for having mai-
ried a man of merit, but not of noble birth, she con-
tinued to write to her by every opportunity, in the
hope of awakening her compassion for Virginia.
Many years, however, passed, during which she re-
ceived not the smallest testimony of her remem-
"At length, in 1738, three years after the arrival
of Monsieur de la Bourdonnais in this island, Ma-
dame de la Tour was informed that the governor
had a letter to give her from her aunt. She flew
to Port Louis, careless on this occasion of appear-
ing in her homely garment. Maternal hope and
joy subdued all those little considerations, which
are lost when the mind is absorbed by any powerful
sentiment. Monsieur de la Bourdonnais delivered
to her a letter from her aunt, who informed her,
that she deserved her fate for having married an
adventurer and a libertine; that misplaced passions
brought along with them their own punishment,
and that the sudden death of her husband must be
considered as a visitation from heaven; that she
had done well in going to a distant island, rather
than dishonour her family by remaining in France:
and that, after all, in the colony where she had
taken refuge, every person grew rich except the
idle. Having thus lavished sufficient censure upon
the conduct of her niece, she finished by a eulogium
on herself. To avoid, she said, the almost inevita-
ble evils of marriage, she had determined to re-
main in a single state. In truth, being of a very
ambitious temper, she had resolved only to unite
herself to a man of high rank; and although she
was very rich, her fortune was not found a suffi-
cient bribe, even at court, to counterbalance the
L i


malignant dispositions of her mind, and the disagree-
able qualities of her person.
She added, in a postscript, that, after mature
deliberation, she had strongly recommended her
niece to Monsieur de la Bourdonnais. This she
had indeed done, but in a manner of late too com-
mon, and which renders a patron perhaps even
more formidable than a declared enemy: for, in
order to justify herself, she had cruelly slandered
her niece, while she affected to pity her misfor-
"Madame de la Tour, whom no unprejudiced
person could have seen without feeling sympathy
and respect, was received with the utmost coolness
by Monsieur de la Bourdonnais; and when she
painted to him her own situation, and that of her
child, he replied, We will see what can be done-
there are so many to relieve-why did you affront
so respectable a relation?-You have been much
to blame.'
"Madame de la Tour returned to her cottage,
her bosom throbbing with all the bitterness of dis-
appointment. When she arrived, she threw her-
self on a chair, and then flinging her aunt's letter
on the table, exclaimed to her friend, This is the
recompense of eleven years of patient expectation!'
As Madame de la Tour was the only person in the
little circle who could read, she again took up the
letter, which she read aloud. Scarcely had she
finished, when Margaret exclaimed, 'What have
we to do with your relations? Has God then for-
saken us? He only is our father! Have we not
hitherto been happy ? Why then this regret? You
have no courage.' Secing Madame de la Tour in
tears, she threw herself upon her neck, and press
ing her in her arms, My dear friend !' cried she,


'my deal friend!' But her emotion choked I er
"At this sight Virginia burst into tears, and
pressed her mother's hand and Margaret's alter-
nately to her lips and to her heart: while Paul,
with his eyes inflamed with anger, cried, clasped
his hands togetr, apd stamped with his feet, not
knowing whom to blame for this scene of misery.
The noise soon led Domingo and Mary to the spot,
and the little habitation resounded with the cries
of distress. Ah, Madame!-My good mistress!-
My dear mother !-Do not weep !'
"Those tender proofs of affection at length dis-
pelled Madame de la Tour's borrow. She took Paul
and Virginia in her arms, and, embracing them,
cried, You are the cause of my affliction, and yet
my only source of delight! Yes, my dear children,
misfortune has reached me from a distance, but
surely I am surrounded by happiness.' Paul and
Virginia did not understand this reflection; but,
when they saw that she was calm, they smiled, and
continued to caress her. Thus tranquillity was
restored, and what had passed proved but a tran-
sient storm, which serves to give fresh verdure to
a beautiful spring.
"Although Madame de la Tour appeared calm
in the presence of her family, she sometimes com-
municated to me the feelings that preyed upon her
mind, and soon after this period gave me the follow-
ing sonnet:-
Pale Disarpointment I at thy freezing name
Chill fears iu every shivering vein I pro'e;


My sinking pulse almost forgets to move,
And life almost forsakes my languid frame:
Yet thee, relentless nymph I no more Iblame:
Why do my thoughts 'midst vain illusions rove?
Why gild the charms of friendship and of love
With the warm glow of fancy's purple flame?
When ruffling winds have some bright fane o'erthrown,
Which shone on painted clouds, orseem'd to shine,
Shall the fond gazer dream for him alone
Those clouds were stable, and at fate repine?
I feel alas I the fault is all my own,
And, ah I the cruel punishment is mine I

"The amiable disposition of those children un-
folded itself daily. On a Sunday, their mothers
having gone at break of day to mass, at the church
of the Shaddock Grove, the children perceived a
negro woman beneath the plantains which shaded
their habitation. She appeared almost wasted to
a skeleton, and had no other garment than a shred
of coarse cloth thrown across her loins. She flung
herself at Virginia's feet, who was preparing the
family breakfast, and cried, My good young lady,
have pity on a poor slave. For a whole month I
have wandered amongst these mountains, half dead
with hunger, and often pursued by the hunters and
their dogs. I fled from my master, a rich planter
of the Black River, who has used me as you see;'
and she showed her body marked by deep scars
from the lashes she had received. She added, 'I
was going to drown myself; but hearing you lived
here, I said to myself, since tt ere are still some good
white people in this country, I need not die yet'
Virginia answered with emotion, Take courage,
unfortunate creature! here is food,' and she gave

her the breakfast she had prepared, which the poor
slave in a few minutes devoured. When her hun-
ger was appeased, Virginia said to her, 'Unhappy
woman will you let me go and ask forgiveness for
you of your master ? Surely the sight of you will
touch him with pity.-Will you show me the way ?'
-' Angel of heaven!' answered the poor negro wo-
man, 'I will follow you where you please.' Vii-
gi'ia called her brother, and begged him to accom-
pany her. The slave led the way, by winding and
difficult paths, through the woods, over mountains
which they climbed with difficulty, and across
rivers, through which they were obliged to wade.
At length they reached the foot of a precipice upon
the borders of the Black River. There they per-
ceived a well-built house, surrounded by extensive
plantations, and a great number of slaves employed
at their various labours. Their master was walk-
ing amongst them with a pipe in his mouth, and a
switch in his hand. He was a tall thin figure, of a
brown complexion; his eyes were sunk in his head,
and his dark eyebrows were joined together. Vir-
ginia, holding Paul by the hand, drew near, and
with much emotion begged him, for the love of
God, to pardon his poor slave, who stood trembling
a few paces behind. The man at first paid little
attention to the children, who, he saw, were mean-
ly dressed. But when he observed the elegance of
Virginia's form, and the profusion of her beautiful
light tresses, which had escaped from benerth her
blue cap; when he heard the soft tone of her voice,
which trembled, as well as her own frame, while
she implored his compassion; he took the pipe from
his mouth, and lifting up his stick, swore, with a
terrible oath, that he pardoned his slave, not for the
lkve of Heaven, but of her who asked his forgive.


ness. Virginia made a sign to the slave to approach
her master, and instantly sprung away, followed by
They climbed up the precipice they had de-
scended; and, having gained the summit, seated
themselves at the foot of a tree, overcome with
fatigue, hunger, and thirst. They had'left their
cottage fasting, and had walked five leagues since
break of day. Paul said to Virginia, My dear sis-
ter, it is past noon, and I am sure you are thirsty
and hungry ; we shall find no dinner here; let us
go down the mountain again, and ask the master of
the poor slave for some food.'-' Oh no,' answered
Virginia; 'he frightens me too much. Remember
what mamma sometimes says, the bread of the wick-
ed is like stones in the mouth.'-' What shall we do
then ?' said Paul: 'these trees produce no fruit;
and I shall not be able to find even a tamarind or a
lemon to refresh you.' Scargely had he pronounced
these words, when they heard the dashing of waters
which fell from a neighboring rock. They ran
thither, and having quenched their thirst at this
crystal spring, they gathered a few cresses which
grew on the border of the stream. While theywere
wandering in the woods in search of more solid
nourishment, Virginia spied a young palm tree.
The kind of cabbage which is found at the top of
this tree, enfolded within its leaves, forms an excel-
lent sustenance ; but, although the stalk of the tree
was not thicker than a man's leg, it was above sixty
feet in height. The wood of this tree is composed
of fine filaments; but the bark is so hard that it
turns the edge of the hatchet, and Paul was not even
furnished with a knife. At length he thought of
setting fire to the palm tree, but a new difficulty
occurred, he had no steel with which to strike fire;


and, although the whole island is covered with rocks,
I do not believe it is possible to find a flint. Necessity,
however, is fertile in expedients, and the most useful
inventions have arisen from men placed in the most
destitute situations. Paul determined to kindle a fire
in the manner of the negroes. With the sharp end of
a stone he made a small hole in the branch of a tree
that was quite dry, which he held between his
feet; he then sharpened another dry branch of a
different sort of wood, and afterwards placing the
piece of pointed wood in the small hole of the branch
which he held with his feet, and turning it rapidly
between his hands, in a few minutes smoke and
sparks of fire issued from the points of contact.
Paul then heaped together dried grass and branches,
and set fire to the palm tree, which soon fell to the
ground. The fire was useful to him in stripping off
the long, thick and pointed leaves, within which the
cabbage was enclosed.
Paul and Virginia ate part of the cabbage raw,
and part dressed upon the ashes, which they found
equally palatable. They made this frugal repast
with delight, from the remembrance of the bene-
volent action they had performed in the morning:
yet their joy was embittered by the thoughts of
that uneasiness which their long absence would give
their mothers. Virginia often recurred to this sub-
ject: but Paul, who felt his strength renewed by
their meal, assured her that it would not be long
before they reached home.
After dinner they recollected that they had no
guide, and that they were ignorant of the way.
Paul, whose spirit was not subdued by difficulties,
said to Virginia, The sun shines full upon our huts
at noon: we must pass as we did this morning,
over that mountain with its three points, which you


see yonder. Come, let us go.' This mountain is
called the Three Peaks. Paul and Virginia descend-
ed the precipice of the Black River, on the northern
side; and arrived, after an hour's walk, on the
banks of a large stream.
Great part of this island is so little known, even
now, that many of its rivers and mountains have
not yet received a name. The river, on the banks
of which our travellers stood, rolls foaming over a
bed of rocks. The noise-of the water frightened
Virginia, and she durst not wade through the stream:
Paul therefore took her up in his arms, and went
thus loaded over the slippery rocks, which formed
the bed of the river, careless of the tumultuous noise
of its waters. Do not be afraid,' cried he to Vir-
ginia; I feel very strong with you. If the inhabi-
tant of the Black River had refused you the pardon
of his slave, I would have fought with him.'-
'What!' answered Virginia, 'with that great
wicked man? To what have I exposed you! Gra-
cious heaven! How difficult it is to do good and it
is so easy to do wrong.'
"When Paul had crossed the river, he wished
to continue his journey, carrying his sister, and be-
lieved he was able to climb in that way the moun-
tpn of the Three Peaks, which was still at the dis-
tance of half a league ; but his strength soon failed,
and he was obliged to set down his burden, and to
Srest himself by her side. Virginia then said to him,
4I dear brother the sun is going down: you have
"tillome strength left, but mine has quite failed :
do leave me here, and return home alone to ease
the fears of our ziers.'-' Oh, no,' said Paul, I
will not leave yoi?* If night surprises us in this
wood, I will light a fire, and bring down another
palm-tree: you shall eat the cabbage; and I will

form a covering of the leaves to shelter you.' In
the mean time, Virginia being a little rested, pulled
from the trunk of an old tree, which hung over the
bank of the river, some long leaves of hart's tongue,
which grew near its root. With those leaves sly
made a sort of buskin, with which she covered her
feet, that were bleeding from the sharpness of the
stony paths; for, in her eager desire to do good,
she had forgot to put on her shoes. Feeling her
feet cooled by the freshness of the leaves, she broke
off branch of bamboo, and continued her walk lean-
ing with one hand on the staff, and with the other
on Paul.
They walked on slowly through the woods, but
from the height of the trees, and the thickness of
;heir foliage, they soon lost sight of the mountain
3fthe Tree Peaks, by which they had directed their
course, and even of the sun, which was now setting.
At length they wandered without perceiving it, from
the beaten path in which they had hitherto walked,
and found themselves in a labyrinth of trees and
rocks, which appeared to have no opening. Paul
made Virginia sit down, while he ran backwards
and forwards, half frantic, in search of a path which
might lead them out of this thick wood; but all his
researches were in vain. He climbed to the top of
a tree, from whence he hoped at least to discern the
mountain of the Three Peaks ; but all he could per-
ceive around him were the tops of trees, so
which were gilded by the last beams of the
sun. Already the shadows of t untai
spread over the forests in the The wind
ceased, as it usually does, e ing hour.
The profound 4 e ig.i in'those awful
soli which was on y in pted by the-cry
of th!kags, m came to repose in that unfrequent-


ed spot. Paul, in the hope that some hunter would
hear his voice, called out as loud as he was able,
'Come, come to the help of Virginia.' But the echoes
of the forests alone answered his call, and re-
peated again and again, Virginia-Virginia.' Paul
at length descended from the tree, overcome with
fatigue and vexation, and reflected how thy might
best contrive to pass the night in that desert. But
he could find neither a fountain, a palm-tree, nor
even a branch of dry wood to kindle a fire. He
then felt, by experience, the sense of his own weak-
ness, and began to weep. Virginia said to him,
' Do not weep, my dear brother, or I shall die with
grief. I am the cause of all your sorrow, and of
all that our mothers suffer at this moment. I find
we ought to do nothing, not even good, without
consulting our parents. Oh, I have been very
imprudent!' and she began to shed tears. She then
said to Paul, 'Let us pray to God, my dear brother,
and he will hear us.'
Scarcely had they finished their prayer, when
they heard the barking of a dog. It is the dog of
some hunter,' said Paul, who comes here at night
to lay in wait for the stags.'
Soon after the dog barked again with more vio-
lence. 'Surely,' said Virginia, 'it is Fidele, our
own dog; yes, I know his voice. Are we then so
near home ? at the foot of our own mountain ? a
ent after Fidele was at their feet, baking,
g, crying, and devouring them with his ca-
efore they had recovered their surprise,
S running towards them. At the
sight oft tnegro, who wept with joy,
they began t being abl utter
one word rovere f
a little, Oh, my dear drdren, ied


miserable have you made your mothers! How
much were they astonished when they returned
from mass, where I went with them. and not find-
ing you! Mary, who was at work at a little dis-
tance, could not tell us where you were gone. I
ran backwards and forwards abou' the plantation,
not knowing where to look for you. At last I took
some of your old clothes, and showing them to
Fidele, the poor animal, as if he understood me,
immediately began to scent your path; and con-
ducted me, continually wagging his tail, to the
Black River. It was there a planter told me that
you had brought back a negro woman, his slave,
and that he had granted you her pardon. But what
pardon he showed her to me with her feet chain-
ed to a block of wood, and an iron collar with three
hooks fastened round her neck.
"' From thence Fidele, still on the scent, led me
up the precipice of the Black Rjyer, where he again
stopped and barked w b hij eight. This was on
the brink of a spring \r fallen palm tree, and
close to a fire which 11 smoking. At last he
led me to this very sp I We are at the foot of
the mountains of the Three Peaks, and still four
leagues from home. Come, eat, and gathegstrength.'
He then presented them with cakes, fr and a
very large gourd filled with a liquor o of
wine, water, lemon juice sugar, and nutme
their mothers had prepared. Virginia sig
the recollection of the poor slave, and at
easiness which they had given i mot
repeated several times, i ~ to
do good.'
"While she and Paul e efreshment,
Doxiingo kindled a fire, and 1 g sought among
the rocks for a particular kind of crooked wood,


which burns when quite green, throwing out a
great blaze, he made a torch, which he lighted, it
being already night. But when they prepared to
continue their journey, a new difficulty occurred;
Paul and Virginia could no longer walk, their feet
being violently swelled and inflamed. Domingo
knew not whether it were best to leave them, and
go in search of help, or remain and pass the night
with them on that spot. What is become of the
time,' said he, when I used to carry you both to-
gether in my arms ? But now you are grown big,
and I am grown old.' While he was in this per-
plexity, a troop of Maroon negroes appeared at the
distance of twenty paces. The chief of the band,
approaching Paul and Virginia, said to them,' Good
little white people, do not be afraid. We saw you
pass this morning, with a negro woman of the Black
River. You went to ask pardon for her of her wick-
ed master, and we, in return for tis, will carry you
home upon our shoulders.' JIe then made a sign,
and four of the strongest negroes immediately form-
ed a sort of litter with th6 branches of trees and
lianas, in which, having seated Paul and Virginia,
they placed it upon their shoulders. Domingo
marched in front, carrying his lighted torch, and
they roceeded amidst the rejoicings of the whole
S d overwhelmed with their benedictions.
affected by this scene, said to Paul, with
m O, my dear brother God never leaves a
on wi reward.'
n they arrived at the foot
of the mou eint s of which several fires
were light< they begun to ascend,
when they h trying out, 'Is it you, my
children?' Th swered together with the
negroes, 'Yes, it is s;' and soon after perceived


their mothers and Mary coming towards them with
lighted sticks in their hands. Unhappy children !'
cried Madame de la Tour, 'from whence do you
come ? What agonies you have male us suffer!'
' We come,' said Virginia,' from the Black River,
where we went to ask pardon for a poor Maroon
slave, to whom I gave our breakfast this morning,
because she was dying of hunger; and these Ma-
roon negroes have brought us home.'-Madame de
la Tour embraced her daughter without being able
to speak; and Virginia, who felt her face wet with
her mother's tears, exclaimed, 'You repay me for
all the hardships I have suffered.' Margaret, in a
transport of delight, pressed Paul in her arms, cry-
ing, 'And you also, my dear child! you have done
a good action.' When they reached the hut with
their children, they gave plenty of food to the
negroes, who returned to their woods, after pray-
ing the blessing of heaven might descend on those
good white people.
Every day was to those families a day of tran-
quillity and of happiness. Neither ambition nor
envy disturbed their repose. In this island, where,
as in all the European colonies, every malignant
anecdote is circulated with avidity, their virtues,
and even their names, were unknown. Only when
a traveller on the road of the Shaddock Grove in-
quired of any of the inhabitants of the plain, Who
lives in those two cottages above ?' he was always
answered, even by those who did not know the,
'They are good people.' Thus the modest violt'
concealed beneath the thorny bushes, sheds its
fragrance, while itself remains unseen.
Doing good appeared to those amiable families
to be the chief purpose of life. Solitude, far from
having blunted their benevolent feelings, or render-


ed their dispositions morose, had left their hearts
open to every tender affection. The contemplation
of nature filled their minds with enthusiastic de-
light. They adored the bounty of that Providence
which had enabled them to spread abundance and
beauty amidst those barren rocks, and to enjoy those
pure and simple pleasures which are ever grateful
and ever new. It was, probably, in those disposi-
tions of mind that Madame de la Tour composed
the following sonnet.


Nymph of the desert I on this lonely shore,
Simplicity, thy blessings still are mine,
And all thou canst not give I pleased resign,
For all beside can soothe my soul no more.
I ask no lavish heaps to swell my store,
And purchase pleasures far remote from thine.
Ye joys, for which the race of Europe pine,
S Ah I not for me your studied grandeur pour,
Let me where yon tall cliffs are rudely piled,
Where towers the palm amidst the mountain trees,
Where pendant from the steep, with graces wild,
The blue hana floats upon the breeze,
Still haunt those bold recesses, Nature's child,
Where thy majestic charms my spirit seize!

"Paul, at twelve years of age, was stronger and
more intelligent than Europeans are at fifteen, and
had embellished the plantations which Domingo
had only cultivated. He had gone with him to the
neighboring woods, and rooted up young plants of


lemon trees, oranges, and tamarinds, the round
heads of which are of so fresh a green, together
with date palm trees, producing fruit filled with a
sweet cream, which has the fine perfume of the
orange flower. Those trees, which were already
of a considerable size, he planted round this little
enclosure. He had also sown the seeds of many
trees which the second year bear flowers or fruits.
The agathis, encircled with long clusters of white
flowers, which hang upon it like the crystal pen-
dants of a lustre. The Persian lilac, which lifts
high in air its gay flax-coloured branches. The
pappaw tree, the trunk of which, without branches,
forms a column set round with green melons, bear-
ing on their heads large leaves like those of the fig
The seeds and kernels of the gum tree, ter-
minalia, mangoes, alligator pears, the guava, the
bread tree, and the narrow-leaved eugenia, were
planted with profusion; and the greater number of
those trees already afforded to their young cultiva-
tor both shade and fruit. His industrious hands
had diffused the riches of nature even on the most
barren parts of the plantation. Several kinds of
aloes, the common Indian fig, adorned with yellow
flowers, spotted with red, and the thorny five-angled
touch thistle, grew upon the dark summits of the
:rocks, and seemed to aim at reaching the long lia-
nas, which, loaded with blue or crimson flowers,
hung scattered over the steepest part of the moun-
tain. Those trees were disposed in such a manner
That you could command the whole at one view.
He had placed in the middle of this hollow the
plants of the lowest growth: behind grew the
shrubs; then trees of an ordinary height: above
which rose majestically the venerable lofty groves


which border the circumference. Thus from its
centre this extensive enclosure appeared like a ver-
dant amphitheatre spread with fruits and flowers,
containing a variety of vegetables, a chain of mea-
dow land, and fields of rice and corn. In blending
those vegetable productions to his own taste, he
followed the designs of Nature. Guided by her
suggestions, he had thrown upon the rising grounds
such seeds as the winds might scatter over the
heights, and near the borders of the springs such
grains as float upon the waters. Every plant grew
in its proper soil, and every spot seemed decorated
by her hands. The waters, which rushed from the
summits of the rocks, formed in some parts of the
valley limpid fountains, and in other parts were
spread into large clear mirrors, which reflected the
bright verdure, the trees in blossom, the bending
rocks, and the azure heavens.
Notwithstanding the great irregularity of the
ground, most of these plantations were easy of ac-
cess. We had, indeed, all given him our advice
and assistance, in order to accomplish this end. He
had formed a path which wound round the valley,
and of which various ramifications led from the
circumference to the centre. He had drawn some
advantage from the most rugged spots; and had
blended, in harmonious variety, smooth walks with
the asperities of the soil, and wild with domestic
productions. With that immense quantity of rolling
stones which now block up those paths, and which
are scattered over most of the ground of this island,
he formed here and there pyramids; and at their
base he laid earth, and planted the roots of rose
bushes, the Barbadoes flower fence, and other shrubs
which love to climb the rocks. In a short time
those gloomy shapeless pyramids were covered


with verdure, or with the glowing tii4s of the most
beautiful flowers. The hollow recesses of aged
trees, which bent over the borders of the stream,
formed vaulted caves impenetrable to the sun, and
where you might enjoy coolness during the heats
of the day. That path led to a clump of forest
trees, in the centre of which grew a cultivated tree,
loaded with fruit. Here was a field ripe with corn,
there an orchard. From that avenue you hLad a
view of the cottages ; from this, of the inaccessible
summit of the mountain. Beneath that tufted bower
of gum trees, interwoven with lianas, no object
could be discerned even at noon, while the point
of the neighboring rock, which projects from the
mountain commanded a few of the whole enclosure,
and of the distant ocean, where sometimes we spied
a vessel coming from'Europe, or returning thither.
On this rock the two families assembled in the
evening, and enjoyed, in silence, the freshness of
the air, the fragrance of the flowers, the murmurs
of the fountains, and the last blended harmonies of
light and shade.
"Nothing could be more agreeable than the names
which were bestowed upon some of the charming
retreats of this labyrinth. That rock, of which I
was speaking, and from which my approach was
discerned at a considerable distance, was called the
Discovery of Friendship. Paul and Virginia, amidst
their sports, had planted a bamboo on that spot; and
whenever they saw me coming, they hoisted a
little white handkerchief, by way of signal of my
approach, as they had seen a flag hoisted on the
neighboring mountain at the sight of a vessel at
sea. The idea struck me of engraving an inscrip-
tibn upon the stalk af this reed. Whatever pleasure
I have felt, during my travels, at the sight of a


statue or monument of antiquity, I have felt still
more in reading of well written inscription. It
seems to me as if a human voice issued from the
stone and making itself heard through the lapse of
ages, addressed man in the midst of a desert, and
told him that I was not alone; that other men, on
that very spot, have felt, and thought, and suffered
like himself. If the inscription belongs to an ancient
nation which no longer exists, it leads the soul
through infinite space,and inspires the feeling of
its immortality, by showing that a thought has
survived the ruins of an impire.
I inscribed then, on the little mast of Paul and
Virginia's flag, those lines of Horace:
---- Fratres Helenae, lucida sidera,
Ventorumque regat pater,
Obstrictis aliis, praeter lapyga.
'May the brothers of Helen, lucid stars like you,
and the Father of the winds, guide you ; and may
you only feel the breath of the zephyr.'
I engraved this line of Virgil upon the bark of
a gum tree, under the shade of which Paul some-
times seated himself, in order to contemplate the
agitated sea:-
Fortunatus et ille deos qui novit agrestest
Happy art thou, my son, to know only the pas-
toral divinities.'
"And above the door of Madame de la Tour's
cottage, where the families used to assemble, I
placed this line !
At secure quies, et nescia fallere vita.
'Here is a calm conscience, and a life ignorant
of deceit.'


"But Virgima did not approve of my Latin; she
said, that what I had placed at the foot of her
weather flag was too long and too learned. I should
have liked better,' added she, 'to have seen inscribed,
Always agitated, yet ever constant.'
The sensibility of those happy families extended
itself to every thing around them. They had
given names the most tender to objects in appear-
ance the most indifferent. A border of orange,
plantain, and bread trees, planted round a green-
sward where Virginia and Paul sometimes danced,
was called Concord. An old tree, beneath the shade
of which Madame de la Tour and Margaret used
to relate their misfortunes, was called, The Tears
wiped away. They gave the names of Britany and
Normandy to little portions of ground where they
had sown corn, strawberries, and peas. Domingo
and Mary, wishing, in imitation of their mistress-
es, to recall the places of their birth in Africa, gave
the names of Angola and Foullepointe to the spots
where grew the herb with which they wove baskets,
and where they had planted a calbassia tree. Thus,
with the productions of their respective climates,
those exiled families cherished the dear illusions
which bind us to our native country, and softened
their regrets in a foreign land. Alas! I have seen
animated by a thousand soothing appellations, those
trees, those fountains, those stones which are now
overthrown, which now, like the plains of Greece,
present nothing but ruins and affecting remem-
S"Neither the neglect of her European friends,
nor the delightful romantic spot which she in-
habited, could banish from the mind of Madame de
la Tour this tender attachment to her native coun-
try. While the luxurious fruits of this climate


gratified the taste of her family, she delighted to
rear those which were more graceful, only because
they were the productions of her early home. Among
other little pieces addressed to flowers and fruits
of northern climes, I found the following sonnet to
the Strawberry.


The strawberry blooms upon its lowly bed:
Plant of my native soil I The lime may fling
More potent fragrance on the zephyr's wing,
The milky cocoa richer juices shed,
The white guava lovelier blossoms spread:
But not, like thee, to fond remembrance bring
The vanished hours of life's enchanting spring;
Short calendar ofjoys for ever fledl
Thou bidst the scenes of childhood rise to view,
The wild wood path which fancy loves to trace,
Where, veil'd in leaves, thy fruit of rosy hue,
Lurk'd on its pliant stem with modest grace.
But, ah! when thought would later years renew,
Alas I successive sorrows crowd the space.

But perhaps the most charming spot of this en-
closure was that which was called the Repose of
Virginia. At the foot of the rock which bore the
name of the Discovery of Friendship, is a nook,
from whence issues a fountain, forming, near its
source, a little spot of marshy soil in the midst of a
field of rich grass. At the time Margaret was de-
livered of Paul, I made her a present of an Indian
cocoa which had been given me, and which she


planted on the border of this fenny ground, in order
that the tree might one day serve to mark the
epocha of her son's birth. Madame de la Tour
planted another cocoa, with the same view, at the
birth of Virginia. Those fruits produced two cocoa
trees, which formed all the records of the two fami-
lies : one was called the tree of Paul, the other the
tree of Virginia. They grew in the same propor-
tion as the two young persons, of an unequal height;
but they rose, at the end of twelve years, above the
cottages. Already their tender stalks were inter-
woven, and their young branches of cocoas hung
over the basin of the fountain. Except this little
plantation, the nook of the rock had been left as it
was decorated by nature. On its brown and humid
sides large plants of maidenhair glistened with their
green and dark stars; and tufts of wave-leaved
hartstongue, suspended like long ribands of purpled
green, floated on the winds. Near this grew a
chain of the Madagascar periwinkle, the flowers
of which resemble the red gilliflower; and the long-
podded capsicum, the cloves of which are of the
colour of blood, and more glowing than coral. The
herb of balm, with its leaves within the heart, and
the sweet basil, which has the odour of the gilli-
flower, exhaled the most delicious perfumes. From
the steep summit of the mountain hung the grace-
ful lianas, like a floating drapery, forming magnifi-
cent canopies of verdure upon the sides of the
rocks. The sea birds, allured by the stillness of
those retreats, resorted thither to pass the night.
At the hour of sunset we perceived the curlew and
the stint skimming along the sea shore; the car-
dinal poised high in air; and the white bird of
the tropic, which abandons, with the star of day,
the solitudes of the Indian ocean. Virginia loved


to repose upon the border of this fountain, deco-
rated with wild and sublime magnificence. She
often seated herself beneath the shade of the two
cocoa trees, and there she sometimes led her goats
to graze. While she prepared cheeses of their milk,
she loved to see them browse on the maidenhair
which grew upon the steep sides of the rock, and
hung suspended upon one of its cornices, as on a
pedestal. Paul, observing that Virginia was fond
of this spot, brought thither, from the neighboring
forest, a great variety of birds' nests. The old birds,
following their young, established themselves in
this new colony. Virginia, at stated times, distri-
buted amongst them grains of rice, millet, and
maize. As soon as she appeared, the whistling
blackbird, the amadavid bird, the note of which is
so soft: the cardinal, the black frigate bird, with
its plumage the colour of flame, forsook their
bushes; the paroquet, green as an emerald, de-
scended from the neighbouring fan palms; the par-
tridge ran along the grass: all advanced promis-
cuously towards her, like a brood of chickens: and
she and Paul delighted to observe their sports,
their repasts, and their loves.
Amiable children thus passed your early days
in innocence, and in the exercise of benevolence.
How many times, on this very spot, have your mo-
thers, pressing you in their arms, blessed Heaven
for the consolations your unfolding virtues pre-
pared for their declining years, while already they
enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing you begin life un-
der the most happy auspices! How many times,
beneath the shade of those rocks, have I partaken
with them of your rural repasts, which cost no
animal its life. Gourds filled with milk, fresh eggs.
cakes of rice placed upon plantain leaves, baskets


loaded with mangoes, oranges, date, pomegranates,
pine-apples, furnished at the same time the most
wholesome food, the most beautiful colours, and
the most delicious juices.
The conversation was gentle and innocent as the
repasts. Paul often talked of the labours of the
day, and those of the morrow. He was continually
forming some plan of accommodation for their little
society. Here he discovered that the paths were
rough; there that the family circle was ill seated:
sometimes the young arbours did not afford suffi-
cient shade, and Virginia might be better pleased
In the rainy seasons the two families assem-
bled together in the hut, and employed themselves
in weaving mats of grass, and baskets of bamboo.
Rakes, spades, and hatchets were ranged along the
walls in the most perfect order; and near those in-
struments of agriculture were placed the produc-
tions which were the fruits of labour: sacks of
rice, sheaves of corn, and baskets of the plantain
fruit. Some degree of luxury is usually united
with plenty; and Virginia was taught by her mo-
ther and Margaret to prepare sherbet and cordials
from the juice of the sugar-cane, the orange, and
the citron.
'* When night came, those families supped to-
gether by the light of a lamp; after which, Madame
de la Tour or Margaret related histories of travellers
lost during the night in such of the forests of Eu-
rope as are infested by banditti; or told a dismal
tale of some shipwrecked vessel, thrown by the
tempest upon the rocks of af desert island. To
these recitals their children listened with eager
sensibility, and earnestly begged that Heaven would
grant they might one day have the joy of showing


their hospitality towards such unfortunate persons.
At length the two families separated and retired to
rest, impatient to meet again the next morning.
Sometimes they were lulled to repose by the beat-
ing rains, which fell in torrents upon the roof of
their cottages ; and sometimes by the hollow winds,
which brought to their ear the distant murmur of
the waves breaking upon the shore. They blessed
God for their personal safety, of which their feel
ing became stronger from the idea of remote
"Madame de la Tour occasionally read aloud
some affecting history of the Old or New Testa-
ment. Her auditors reasoned but little upon those
sacred books, for their theology consisted in senti-
ment, like that of nature: and their morality in
action, like that of the gospel. Those families had
no particular days devoted to pleasure, and others
to sadness. Every day was to them a holiday, and
all which surrounded them one holy temple, where
they for ever adored an Infinite Intelligence, the
friend of human kind. A sentiment of confidence in
his supreme power filled their minds with consolation
under the past, with fortitude for the present, and
with hope for the future. Thus, compelled be mis-
fortune to return to a state of nature, those women
had unfolded in their own bosoms, and in those of
their children, the feelings which are most natural
to the human mind, and which are our best support
under evil.
"But as clouds sometimes arise which cast a
gloom over the best regulated tempers, whenever
melancholy took possession of any member of this
little society, the rest endeavoured to banish pain-
ful thoughts rather by sentiment than by arguments.
Margaret exerted her gaiety; Madame de la Tour


employed her mild theology; Virginia, her tender
caresses ; Paul, his cordial and engaging frankness.
Even Mary and Domingo hastened to offer their
succour, and to weep with those that wept. Thus
weak plants are interwoven, in order to resist the
During the fine season they went every Sun-
day to the church of the Shaddock Grove, the
steeple of which you see yonder upon the plain.
After service, the poor often came to require some
kind office at their hands. Sometimes an unhappy
creature sought their advice, sometimes a child led
them to its sick mother in the neighbourhood.
They always took with them remedies for the ordi-
nary diseases of the country, which they adminis-
tered in that soothing manner which stamps so
much value upon the smallest favours. Above all,
they succeeded in banishing the disorders of the
mind, which are so intolerable in solitude, and un-
der the infirmities of a weakened frame. Madame
de la Tour spoke with such sublime confidence of
the Divinity, that the sick, while listening to her,
believed that he was present. Virginia often re-
turned home with her eyes wet with tears and her
heart overflowing with delight, having had an
opportunity of doing good. After those visits of
charity, they sometimes prolonged their way by
the Sloping Mountain, till they reached my dwell-
ing, where I had prepared dinner for them upon
the banks of the little river which glides near my
cottage. I produced on those occasions some bot-
tles of old wine, in order to heighten the gaiety of
our Indian repast by the cordial productions of Eu-
rone. Sometimes we met upon the seashore, at
the mouth of little rivers, which are here scarcely
larger than brooks. We brought from the plant.


tion oar vegetable provisions, to which we added
such as the sea furnished in great variety. Seated
upon a rock, beneath the shade of the velvet sun-
flower, we heard the mountain billows break at our
feet with a dashing noise; and sometimes on that
spot we listened to the plaintive strains of the water
curlew Madame de la Tour answered his sorrow-
ful notes in the following sonnet:-



Sooth'd by the murmurs on the sea-beat shore
His dun grey plumage floating to the gale,
The curlew blends his melancholy wail
With those hoarse sounds the rushing waters pour.
Like thee, congenial bird: my steps explore
The bleak lone seabeach, or the rocky dale,
And shun the orange bower, the myrtle vale,
Whose gay luxuriance suits my soul no more.
I love the ocean's broad expanse, when dress 'd
In limpid clearness, or when tempests blow.
When the smooth currents on its placid breast
Flow calm, as my past moments us'd to flow;
Or when its troubled waves refuse to rest,
And seem the symbol of my present wo.

'" Our nepasts were succeeded by the songs and
dances of the two young people. Virginia sang the
happiness of pastoral life, and the misery of those
who were impelled, by avarice, to cross the furious
ocean, rather than cultivate the earth, and enjoy its


peaceful bounties. Sometimes she performed a
pantomime with Paul, in the manner of the negroes.
The first language of man is pantomime; it is
known to all nations, and s so natural and so
expressive, that the children of the European in-
habitants catch it with facility from the negroes.
Virginia recalling, amongst the histories which her
mother had read to her, those which had affected
her most, represented the principal events with
beautiful simplicity. Sometimes at the sound of
Domingo's tantam she appeared upon the green-
sward, bearing a pitcher upon her head, and ad-
vanced with a timid step towards the source of a
neighboring fountain, to draw water. Domingo
and Mary, who personated the shepherds of Midian,
forbade her to approach, and repulsed her sternly.
Upon which Paul flew to her succour, beat away
the shepherds, filled Virginia's pitcher, and placing
it upon her head, bound her brows at the same time
with a wreath of the red flowers of the Madagascar
periwinkle, which served to heighten the delicacy
of her skin. Then, joining their sports, I took upon
me the part of Raguel, and bestowed upon Paul my
daughter Zephora in marriage.
Sometimes Virginia represented the unfortu-
nate Ruth, returning poor and widowed to her own
country, where after so long an absence, she found
herself as in a foreign land. Domingo and Mary
personated the reapers. Virginia followed their
steps, gleaning here and there a few ears of corn.
She was interrogated by Paul with the gravity of
a patriarch, and answered, with a faltering voice,
his questions. Soon touched with compassion, he
granted an asylum to innocence, and hospitality to
misfortune. He filled Virginia's lap with plenty;
and, leading her towards us, as before the old men


of the city, declared his purpose to take her in mar-
riage. At this scene, Madame de la Tour, recalling
the desolate situation in which she had been left
by her relations, her widowhood, the kind recep-
tion she had met with from Margaret, succeeded
by the soothing hope of a happy union between
their children, could not forbear weeping; and the
sensations which such recollections excited led the
whole audience to pour forth those luxurious tears
which have their mingled source in sorrow and
in joy.
"These dramas were performed with such an
air of reality, that you might have fancied your-
self transported to the plains of Syria or of Pales-
tine. We were not unfurnished, with either de-
corations, lights, or an orchestra, suitable to the
representation. The scene was generally placed
in an opening of the fi rest, where such parts of the
wood as were penetrable formed around us nu-
merous arcades of foliage, beneath which we were
sheltered from the heat during the whole day; but
when the sun descended towards the horizon, its
rays, broken upon the trunks of the trees, diverged
amongst the shadows of the forest in strong lines
of light, which produced the most sublime effect
Sometimes the whole of its broad disk appeared at
the end of an avenue, spreading one dazzling mass
of brightness. The foliage of the trees, illumi-
nated from beneath by its saffron beams, glowed
with the lustre of the topaz and the emerald.
Their brown and mossy trunks appeared trans-
formed into columns of antique bronze; and the
birds, which had retired in silence to their leafy
shades to pass the night, surprised to see the radi-
ance of a second morning, hailed the star of day
with innumerable carols.


Night soon overtook us during those rural en-
tertainments ; but the purity of the air, and the
mildness of the climate, admitted of our sleeping
in the woods secure from the injuries of the wea-
ther, and no less secure from the molestation of
robbers. At our return the following day to our
Respective habitations, we found them exactly in
the same state in which they had been left. In
this island, which then had no commerce, there
was so much simplicity and good faith, that the
doors of several houses were without a key, and
I a lock was an object of curiosity to many of the
SAmidst the luxuriant beauty of this favoured
climate, Madame de la Tour often regretted the
quick succession from day to night which takes
place between the tropics, and which deprived her
pensive mind of that hour of twilight, the softened
gloom of which is so soothing and sacred to the
feelings of tender melancholy. This regret is ex-
pressed in the following sonnet:-



Pathway of light o'er thy empurpled zone
With lavish charms perennial summer strays;
Soft 'midst thy spicy groves the zephyr plays,
While far around the rich perfumes are thrown:
The amadavid bird for thee alone
Spreads his gay plumes, that catch thy vivid rays,
For thee the gems with liquid lustre blaze,
And Nature's various wealth is all thy own.


But, ah! not thine is twilight's doubtful gloom,
Those mild gradations, mingling day with night;
Here instant darkness shrouds thy genial bloom,
Nor leaves my pensive soul that lingering light,
When musing memory would each trace resume
Of fading pleasures in successive flight

Paul and Virginia had neither clock nor alma-
nac, nor books of chronology, history, or philo-
sophy. The periods of their lives were regulated
by those of nature. They knew the hours of the
day by the shadows of the trees, the seasons by
the times when those trees bore flowers or fruit,
and the years by the number of their harvests.
These soothing images diffused an inexpressible
charm over their conversation. 'It is time to dine,'
said Virginia, 'the shadows of the plantain trees
are at their roots; or, 'night approaches; the
tamarinds close their leaves.' 'When will you
come to see us ?' inquired some of her companions
in the neighbourhood. 'At the time of the sugar
canes,' answered Virginia. 'Your visit will be
then still more delightful,' resumed her young ac-
quaintances. When she was asked what was her
own age, and that of Paul, 'My brother,' said she,
'is as old as the great cocoa tree of the fountain;
and I am as old as the little cocoa tree. The man-
goes have borne fruit twelve times, and the orange
trees have borne flowers four-and-twenty times,
since 1 came into the world.' Their lives seemed
linked to the trees like those of fauns or dryads.
They knew no other historical epochas than that of
the lives of their mothers, no other chronology than
that of their orchards, and no other philosophy than
that of doing gcod, and resigning themselves to the
will of Heaven.


Thus grew those children of nature. No care
had troubled their peace, no intemperance had cor-,
rupted their blood, no misplaced passion had deprav-
ed their hearts. Love, innocence, and piety, pos-
sessed their souls; and those intellectual graces
unfolded themselves in their features, their attitudes,
and their motions. Still in the morning of life, they
had all its blooming freshness ; and surely such in
the garden of Eden appeared our first parents, when,
coming from the hands of God, they first saw, ap-
proached, and conversed together, like brother and
sister. Virginia was gentle, modest, and confiding
as Eve; and Paul, like Adam, united the figure of
manhood with the simplicity of a child.
When alone with Virginia, he has a thousand
times told me, ie used to say to her, at his return from
labour, When I am wearied, the sight of you re-
freshes me. If from the summit of the mountain I
perceive you below in the valley, you appear to me
in the midst of our orchard like a blushing rosebud.
If you go towards our mother's house, the partridge,
when it runs to meet its young has a shape less beau-
tiful, and a step less light. When I lose sight of you
through the trees, I have no need to see you in
order to find you again. Something of you, I know
not how, remains for me in the air where you have
passed, in the grass where you have been seated.
When I come near you, you delight all my
senses. The azure of heaven is less charming
than the blue of your eyes, and the song of the
amadavid bird less soft than the sound of your
voice. If I only touch you with my finger, my
whole frame trembles with pleasure. Do you re-
member the day when we crossed over the great
stones of the river of the Three Peaks; I was very
much tired before we. reached the bank; but as


soon as I had taken you in my arms, I seemed to
have wings like a bird. Tell me by what charm
you have so enchanted me ? Is it by your wisdom ?
Our mothers have more than either of us. Is it by
your caresses? They embrace me much oftener
than you. I think it must be by your goodness. I
shall never forget how you walked barefooted to the
Black River, to ask pardon for the poor wandering
slave. Here, my beloved, take this flowering orange
branch, which I have culled in the forest; you will
place it at night near your bed. Eat this honey-
comb, which I have taken for you from the top of
a rock. But first lean upon my bosom, and I shall
be refreshed.'
Virginia then answered, Oh my dear brother,
the rays of the sun in the morning at the top of the
rocks give me less joy than the sight of you. I love
my mother, I love yours; but when they call you
their son, I love them a thousand times more.
When they caress you, I feel it more sensibly than
when I am caressed myself. You ask me why you
love me. Why, all creatures that are brought up
together love one another. Look at our birds reared
up in the same nests; they love like us; they are
always together like us. Hark ? how they call and
answer from one tree to another. So when the
echoes bring to my ears the air which you play upon
your flute at the top of the mountain, I repeat the
words at the bottom of the valley. Above all, you
are dear to me since the day when you wanted to
fight the master of the slave for me. Since that
time how often have I said to myself, 'Ah, my
brother has a good heart; but for him I should have
died of terror.' I pray to God every day for my
mother and yours; for you, and for our poor ser-
vants; but when I pronounce your name, my


devotion seems to increase, I ask so earnestly of
God that no harm may befal you Why do you go
so far, and climb so high, to seek fruits and flowers
for me ? How much you are fatigued !' and with
her little white handkerchief she wiped the damps
from his brow.
SFor some time past, however, Virginia had felt
her heart agitated by new sensations. Her fine blue
1 eyes lost their lustre, her cheek its freshness, and
Sher frame was seized with universal languor.
Serenity no longer sat upon her brow, nor smiles
played upon her lips. She became suddenly gay
without joy, and melancholy without vexation.
She fled her innocent sports, her gentle labours,
and the society of her beloved family ; wandering
along the most unfrequented parts of the plantation,
and seeking every where that rest which she could
no where find. Sometimes, at the sight of Paul,
she advanced sportively towards him, and, when
going to accost him, was seized with sudden con-
fusion: her pale cheeks were overspread with
blushes, and her eyes no longer dared to meet those
of her brother. Paul said to her, The rocks are
covered with verdure, our birjs begin to sing when
you approach, every thing around you is gay, and
you only are unhappy.' He endeavoured to soothe
her by his embraces ; but she turned away her head,
and fled trembling towards her mother. The ca-
resses of her brother excited too much emotion in
her agitated heart. Paul could not comprehend the
meaning of those new and strange caprices.
One of those summers, which sometimes deso-
late the countries situated between the tropics,
now spread its ravages over this island. It was near
the end of December, when the sun in Capiicorn
darts over Mauritits, during the space of three


weeks, its vertical fires. The south wind, which
prevails almost throughout the whole year, no lon-
ger blew. Vast columns of dust arose from the
highways, and hung suspended in the air: the
ground was every where broken into clefts; the
grass was burnt; hot exhalations issued from the
sides of the mountains, and their rivulets, for the
most part became dry: fiery vapours, during tlie
day, ascended from the plains, and appeared, at the
setting of the sun, like a conflagration. Night brought
no coolness to the heated atmosphere: the orb of
the moon seemed of blood, and, rising in a misty
horizon, appeared of supernatural magnitude. The
drooping cattle, on the sides of the hills, stretching
out their necks towards heaven, and panting for air,
made the valleys reecho with their melancholy
lowings ; even the Caffree, by whom they were led,
threw himself upon the earth, in search of coolness
but the scorching sun had every where penetrated,
and the stifling atmosphere resounded with the
buzzing noise of insects, who sought to allay their
thirst in the blood of man and of animals.
On one of those sultry nights Virginia, restless
and unhappy, arose, then went again to rest, but
could find in no attitude either slumber or repose.
At length she bent her way, by the light of the
moon, towards her fountain, and gazed at its spring,
which, notwithstanding the drought, still flowed
like silver threads down the brown sides of the
rock. She flung herself into the basin; its cool-
ness reanimated her spirits, and a thousand soothing
remembrances presented themselves to her mind.
She recollected that in her infancy her mother
ani Margaret amused themselves by bathing her
with Paul i:a this very spot; that Paul afterwards,
reserving this bath for her use only, bad dug its bed,


covered the bottom with sand, and sown aromatic
herbs around the borders. She saw, reflected through
the water upon her naked arms and bosom, the two
cocoa trees which were planted at her birth and
that of her brother, and which interwove about her
head their green branches and young fruit. She
thought of Paul's friendship, sweeter than the
odours, purer than the waters of the fountains,
stronger than the intertwining palm trees, and she
sighed. Reflecting upon the hour of the night, and
the profound solitude, her imagination again grew
disordered. Suddenly she flew affrighted from
those dangerous shades, and those waters which
she fancied hotter than the torrid sunbeam, and
ran to her mother, in order to find a refuge from
herself. Often, wishing to unfold her sufferings,
she pressed her mother's hand within her own;
often she was ready to pronounce the name of Paul;
but her oppressed heart left not her lips the power
of utterance; and, leaning her head on her mo-
ther's bosom, she could only bathe it with her
Madame de la Tour, though she easily discerned
the source of her daughter's uneasiness, did not
think proper to speak to her on that subject. My
dear child,' said she, address yourself to God, who
disposes, at his will. of health and of life. He tries
you now, in order to recompense you hereafter.
Remember that we are only placed upon earth for
the exercise of virtue.'
"The excessive heat drew vapours from the
ocean, which hung over the island like a vast awn-
ing, and gathered round the summits of the moun-
tains, while long flakes of fire occasionally issued
from their misty peaks. Soor. after the most ter-
rible thunder reechoed through the woods, the


plains and the valleys; the rains fell from the skies
like cataracts; foaming torrents rolled down the
sides of the mountain; the bottom of the valley
became a sea; the plat of ground on which the
cottages were built, a little island: and the en-
trance of this valley a sluice, along which rushed
precipitately the moaning waters, earth, trees, and
Meantime the trembling" family addressed their
prayers to God in the cottage of Madame de la
Tour, the roof of which cracked horribly from the
struggling winds. So vivid and frequent were the
lightning, that, although the doors and window-
shutters were well fastened, every object without
was distinctly seen through the jointed beams.
Paul, followed by Domingo, went with intrepidity
from one cottage to another, notwithstanding the
fury of the tempest; here supporting a partition
with a buttress, there driving in a stake, and only
returning to the family to calm their fears, by the
hope that the storm was passing away. Accord-
ingly, in the evening the rains ceased, the trade-
winds of the south pursued their ordinary course,
the tempestuous clouds were thrown towards the
north-east, and the setting sun appeared in the
Virginia's first wish was to visit the spot called
her Repose. Paul approached her with a timid air,
and offered her the assistance of his arm, which
she accepted, smiling, and they left the cottage
together. The air was fresh and clear; white
vapours arose from the ridges of the mountains,
furrowed here and there by the foam of the tor-
rents, which were now becoming dry. The garden
was altogether destroyed by the hollows which the
foods had worn. the roots of the fruit trees were


for the most part laid bare, and vast heaps of sand
covered the chain of meadows, and choked up
Virginia's bath. The two cocoa trees, however,
were still erect, and still retained their freshness:
but they were no longer surrounded by turf, or
arbours, or birds, except a few amadavid birds,
who, upon the points of the neighboring rocks,
lamented, in plaintive notes, the loss of their
At the sight of this general desolation, Virginia
exclaimed to Paul, You brought birds hither, and
the hurricane has killed them. You planted this
garden, and it is now destroyed. Every thing then
upon earth perishes, and it is only heaven that is
not subject to change.' Why,' answered Paul,
'why cannot I give you something which belongs
to heaven? but I am possessed of nothing even
upon earth.' Virginia, blushing, resumed, 'You
have the picture of Saint Paul.' Scarcely had she
pronounced the words, when he flew in search of
it to his mother's cottage. This picture was a
small miniature, representing Paul the Hermit,
and which Margaret, who was very pious, had
long worn hung at her neck when she was a girl,
and which, since she became a mother, she had
placed round the neck of her child. It had even
happened, that being while pregnant, abandoned
by the whole world, and continually employed in
contemplating the image of this benevolent recluse,
her offspring had contracted, at least so she fancied,
some resemblance to this revered object. She
therefore bestowed upon him the name of Paul,
giving him for his patron a saint, who had passed
his life far from mankind, by whom he had been
first deceived, and then forsaken. Virginia, upon
receiving this littlee picture from the hands of Paul


said to him, with emotion, My dear brother. 1 will
never part with this while I live; nor will Iever
forget that you have given me the only thing which
you possess in the world.' At this tone of friendship
this unhoped-for return of familiarity and tender-
ness, Paul attempted to embrace her; but, light as
a bird, she fled, and left him astonished, and unable
to account for a conduct so extraordinary.
"Meanwhile Margaret said to Madame de la
Tour, 'Why do we not unite our children by mar-
riage ? They have a tender attachment to each
other.' Madame de la Tour replied, They are too
young, and too poor. What grief would it occasion
us to see Virginia bring into the world unfortunate
children, whom she would not perhaps have suffi-
cient strength to rear! Your negro, Domingo, is
almost too old to labour; Mary is infirm. As for
myself, my dear friend, in the space of fifteen years
I find my strength much failed ; age advances rapid-
ly in hot climates, and, above all, under the pressure
of misfortune. Paul is our only hope : let us wait
till his constitution is strengthened, and till he can
support us by his labour: at present you well know
that we have only sufficient to supply the wants of
the day: but were we to send Paul for a short time
to the Indies, commerce would furnish him with
the means of purchasing a slave ; and at his return
we will unite him to Virginia: for I am persuad-
ed no one on earth can render her so happy as
your son. We will consult our neighbour on this
They accordingly asked my advice, and I was
of their opinion. The Indian seas,' I observed to
them, are calm, and, in choosing a favourable sea-
son, the voyage is seldom longer than six weeks.
We will furnish Paul with a little venture in my


neighbourhood, where he is much beloved. If we
were only to supply him with some raw cotton, of
which we make no use, for want of mills to work
it, some ebony, which is here so common, that it
serves us for firing, and some resin, which is found
in our woods: all those articles will sell advan-
tageously in the Indies, though to us they are use-
I engaged to obtain permission from Monsieur
de la Bourdonnais to undertake this voyage : but I
determined previously to mention the affair to
Paul; and my surprise was great, when this young
man said to me, with a degree of good sense above
his age, 'And why do you wish me to leave my
family for this precarious pursuit of fortune ? Is
there any commerce more advantageous than the
culture of the ground, which yields sometimes fifty
or a hundred fold ? If we wish to engage in com-
merce, we can do so by carrying our superfluities
to the town, without my wandering to the Indies.
Our mothers tell me, that Domingo is old and
feeble ; but I am young, aud gather strength every
ilay. If any accident should happen during my
absence, above all, to Virginia, who already suf-
fers-Oh, no, no!-I cannot resolve to learn them.'
"This answer threw me into great perplexity,
for Madame de la Tour had not concealed from
me the situation of Virginia, and her desire of sepa-
rating those young people for a few years. These
ideas I did not dare to suggest to Paul.
"At this period, a ship, which arrived from
France, brought Madame de la Tour a letter from
her aunt. Alarmed by the terrors of approaching
death, which could alone penetrate a heart so in-
sensible, recovering from a dangerous disorder,
which had left her in a state of weakness, rendered


incurable by age, she desired that her niece wcuad
return to France ; or, if her health forbade her to
undertake so long a voyage, she conjured her to
send Virginia, on whom she would bestow a good
education, procure for her a splendid marriage, and
leave her the inheritance of her whole fortune.
The perusal of this letter spread general conster-
nation through the family. Domingo and Mary
began to weep. Paul, motionless with surprise,
appeared as if his heart was ready to burst with
indignation; while Virginia, fixing her eyes upon
her mother, had not power to utter a word.
"' And can you now leave us ?' cried Margaret
to Madame de la Tour. No, my dear friend, no,
my beloved children,' replied Madmne de la Tour ;
'I will not leave you. I'have lived with you, and
with you I will die. I have known no happiness
but in your affection. If my health be deranged,
my past misfortunes are the cause. My heart,
deeply wounded by the cruelty of a relation, and
the loss of my husband, has found more consolation
and felicity with you beneath these humble huts,
than all the wealth of my family could now give
me in my own country.'
"At this soothing language every eye overflowed
with tears of delight. Paul pressed Madame de la
Tour in his arms, exclaiming, 'Neither will I
leave you! I will not go to the Indies. We will
all labour for you, my dear mother; and you shall
never feel any wants with us.' But of the whole
society, the person who displayed the least trans-
port, and who probably felt the most, was Virgina ;
and, during the remainder of the day, that gentle
gaiety which flowed from her heart, and proved
that her peace was restored, completed the general


"The next day, at sunrise, while they were
offering up, as usual, their morning sacrifice of
praise, which preceded their breakfast, Domingo
informed them that a gentleman on horseback,
followed by two slaves, was coming towards the
plantation. This person was Monsieur de la Bour-
donnais. IIe entered the cottage where he found
the family at breakfast. Virginia had prepared,
according to the custom of the country, coffee and
rice boiled in water: to which she added hot yams
and fresh cocoas. The leaves of the plantain tree
supplied the want of table-linen; and calbassia shells,
split in two, served for utensils. The governor ex-
pressed some surprise at the homeliness of the
dwelling: then, addressing himself to Madame de
la Tour, he observed, that although public affairs
drew his attention too much from the concerns of
individuals, she had many claims to his good offices.
'You have an aunt at Paris, Madam,' he added, a
woman of quality, and immensely rich, who ex-
pects that you will hasten to see her, and who means
to bestow upon you her whole fortune.' Madame
de la Tour replied, that the state of her health
would not permit her to undertake so long a voyage.
SAt least,' resumed Monsieur de laBourdonnais,
' you cannot, without injustice, deprive this amiable
young lady, your daughter, of so noble an inheri-
tance. I will not conceal from you that your aunt
has made use of her influence to oblige you to re-
turn ; and that I have received official letters, in
which I am ordered to exert my authority, if neces-
sary, to that effect. But, as I only wish to employ
my power for the purpose of rendering the inhabi-
tants of this colony happy, 1 expect from your good
sense the voluntary sacrifice of a few years, upon
which depend your daughter's establishment in the


world, and the welfare of your whole life. Where-
fore do we come to these islands ? Is it not to acquire
a fortune ? And will it not be more agreeable to re-
turn and find it in your own country ? '
He then placed a great bag of piastres, -hich
had been brought hither by one of his slaves, upon
the table. This,' added he, is allotted by your
aunt for the preparations necessary for the young
lady's voyage.' Gently reproaching Madame de la
Tour for not having had recourse to him in her
difficulties, he extolled at the same time her noble
fortitude. Upon this, Paul said to the governor,
'My mother did, address herself to you, Sir, and
you received her ill.'-' Have you another child,
Madam? said Monsieur de la Bourdonnais to Ma-
dame de la Tour.-' No, Sir,' she replied : this is
the child of my friend ; but he and Virginia are
equally dear to us.' Young man,' said the gover-
nor to Paul, 'when you have acquired a little more
experience of the world, you will know that it is
the misfortune of people in place to be deceived and
thence to bestow upon intriguing vice that which
belongs to modest merit.'
Monsieur de la Bourdonnais, at the request of
Madame de la Tour, placed himself next her at
the table, and breakfasted in the manner of the
Creoles, upon coffee mixed with rice boiled in water.
He was delighted with the order and neatness
which prevailed in the little cottage, the harmony
of the two interesting families, and the zeal of their
old servants. 'Here,' exclaimed he, 'I discern
only wooden furniture but I find serene contenan-
ces, and hearts of gold.' Paul, enchanted with the
affability of the governor, said to him, I wish
to be your friend; you are a good man.' Monsieur
de la Bourdonnais received with pleasure this in-


sular compliment, and, taking Paul by the hand, as.
sured him that he might rely upon his friendship.
After breakfast, he took Madame de la Tour
aside, and informed her that an opportunity pre-
sented itself of sending her daughter to France in
a ship which was going to sail in a short time;
that he would recommend her to a lady a relation
of his own, who would be a passenger; and that
she must not think of renouncing an immense for-
tune on account of beirg separated from her daugh-
ter a few years. 'Your aunt,' he added, 'cannot
live more than two years of this I am assured by
her friends. Think of it seriously. Fortune does
not visit us every day. Consult your friends. Every
person of good sense will be of my opinion.' She
answered, 'that, desiring no other happiness hence-
forth in the world than that of her daughter, she
would leave her departure for France entirely to
her own inclination.
Madame de la Tour was not sorry to find an op-
portunity of separating Paul and Virginia for a
short time, and provide, by this means, for their
mutual felicity at a future period. She took her
daughter aside, and said to her, 'My dear child,
our servants are now old. Paul is still very young;
Margaret is advanced in years, and I am already
infirm. If I should die, what will become of you,
without fortune, in the midst of these deserts ?
You will then be left alone without any person who
can afford you much succour, and forced to labour
without ceasing, in order to support your wretched
existence. This idea fills my soul with sorrow.'
Virginia answered, 'God has appointed us to
labour. You have taught me to labour, ar- to
bless him every day. He never has forsaken us,
he never will forsake us. His providence pecu-


liarly watches the unfortunate. You have told me
this often my dear mother I cannot resolve to leave
you.' Madame de la Tour replied, with much
emotion, 'I have no other aim than to render you
happy, and to marry you one day to Paul, who is
not your brother. Reflect at present that his fortune
depends upon you.'
"A young girl who loves believes that all the
world is ignorant of her passion; she throws over
her eyes the veil which she has thrown over her
heart; but when it is lifted up by some cherishing
hand, the secret inquietudes of passion suddenly
burst their bounds, and the soothing overflowing
of confidence succeed that reserve and mystery
with which the oppressed heart had enveloped its
feelings. Virginia, deeply affected by this new
proof of her mother's tenderness, related to her
how cruel had been those struggles which Heaven
alone had witnessed; declared that she saw the
succour of Providence in that of an affectionate
mother, who approved of her attachment, and
would guide her by her counsels ; that being now
strengthened by such support, every consideration
led her to remain with her mother, without anxiety
for the present, and without apprehensions for the
Madame de la Tour, perceiving that this con-
fidential conversation had produced an effect alto-
gether different from that which she expected,
said, 'My dear child, I will not any more con-
strain your inclination: deliberate at leisure, but
conceal your feelings from Paul.'
"Towards evening, when Madame de la Tour
and Virginia were again together, their confessor,
who was a missionary in the island, entered the
room, having been sent by the governor. 'My


children,' he exclaimed, as he entered, 'God be
praised you are now rich. You can now listen
to the kind suggestion of your excellent hearts,
and do good to the poor. I know what Monsieur
'de la Bourdonnais has said to you, and what you
have answered. Your health, dear Madam, obliges
you to remain here : but you, young lady, are with-
out excuse. We must obey the will of Providence;
and we must also obey our aged relations, even
when they are unjust. A sacrifice is required of
you ; but it is the order of God. He devoted him-
self for you: and you, in imitation of his example,
must devote yourself for the welfare of your family.
Your voyage to France will have a happy termi-
nation. You will surely consent to go, my dear
young lady.'
Virginia, with downcast eyes, answered, trem-
bling, If it be the command of God, I will not pre-
sume to oppose it. Let the will of God be done !'
said she, weeping.
The priest went away, and informed the gover-
nor of the success of his mission. In the meantime
Madame de la Tour sent Domingo to desire I would
come hither, that she might consult me upon Vir-
ginia's departure. I was of opinion that she ought
not to go. I consider it as a fixed principle of hap-
piness, that we ought to prefer the advantages of
nature to those of fortune ; and never go in search
of that at a distance, which we may find in our own
bosoms. But what could be expected from my
moderate counsels, opposed to the illusions of a
splendid fortune ; and my simple reasoning, contra-
dicted by the prejudices of the world, and an au-
thority which Madame de la Tour held sacred ?
This lady had only consulted me from a sentiment
of respect, and had, in reality, ceased to deliberate


since she had heard the decision of her confessor.
Margaret herself, who, notwithstanding the advan-
tages she hoped for her son, from the possession of
Virginia's fortune, had hitherto opposed her depar-.
ture, made no further objections. As for Paul, ig-
norant of what was decided, and alarmed at the
secret conversation which Madame de la Tour held
with her daughter, he abandoned himself to deep
melancholy. 'They are plotting something against
my peace,' cried he, since they are so careful of
A report having in the meantime been spread
over the island, that fortune had visited those rocks,
we beheld merchants of all kinds climbing their
steep ascent, and displaying in those humble huts
the richest stuffs of India. The fine dimity of Gon-
delore; the handkerchiefs of Pellicate and Mus-
sulapatan; the plain, striped, and embroidered
muslins of Decca, clear as the day. Those mer-
chants unrolled the gorgeous silks of China, white
satin damasks, others of grass-green, and bright
red; rose-coloured taffetas, a profusion of satins,
pelongs, and gauze of Tonquin, some plain, and
some beautifully decorated with flowers; the soft
pekins, downy like cloth; white and yellow nan-
keens, and the calicoes of Madagascar.
Madame de la Tour wished her daughter to
purchase every thing she liked; and Virginia made
choice of whatever she believed would be agreeable
to her mother, Margaret, and her son. This,' said
she, will serve for furniture, and that will be use-
ful to Mary and Domingo.' In short, the bag of
piastres was emptied before she had considered her
own wants; and she was obliged to receive a share
of the presents which she had distributed to the
family circle.


"Paul, penetrated with sorrow at the sight of
those gifts of fortune, which he felt were the pre-
sage of Virginia's departure, came a few days after
to my dwelling. With an air of despondency he
said to me, 'My sister is going; they are already
making preparations for her voyage. I conjure you
to come and exert your influence over her mother
and mine, in order to detain her here.' I could
not refuse the young man's solicitations, although
well convinced that my representations would be
If Virginia had appeared to me charming when
clad in the blue cloth of Bengal, with a red hand-
kerchief tied round her head, how much was her
beauty improved, when decorated with the graceful
ornaments worn by the ladies of this country She
was dressed in white muslin, lined with rose-co-
loured taffeta. Her small and elegant shape was
displayed to advantage by her corset, and the lavish
profusion of her light tresses were carelessly blend-
ed with her simple head-dress. Her fine blue eyes
were filled with an expression of melancholy : and
the struggles of passion, with which her heart was
agitated, flushed her cheek, and gave her voice a
tone of emotion. The contrast between her pensive
look and her gay habiliments rendered her more
interesting than ever, nor was it possible to see or
hear her unmoved. Paul became more and more
melancholy; at length Margaret, distressed by the
situation of her son, took him aside, and said to
him, Why, my dear son, will you cherish vain
hopes, which will only render your disappointment
more bitter! It is time that I should make known
to you the secret of your life and of mine. Made-
moiselle de la Tour belongs, by her mother, to a
rich and noble family, while you are but the son


of a poor peasant girl; and, what is worse, you are
a natural child.'
"Paul, who had never before heard this last
expression, inquired with eagerness its meaning.
His mother replied, You had no legitimate father.
When I was a girl, seduced by love, I was guilty
of a weakness of which you are the offspring. My
fault deprived you of the protection of a father's
family, and my flight from home, of that of a mo-
ther's family. Unfortunate child you have no re-
lation in the world but me !' And she shed a flood
of tears. Paul, pressing her in his arms, exclaim-
ed, Oh, my dear mother since I have no relation
in the world but you, I will love you still more!
But what a secret have you disclosed to me I now
see the reason why Mademoiselle de la Tour has
estranged herself from me for two months past,
and why she has determined to go. Ah I perceive
too well that she despises me !'
'The hour of supper being arrived, we placed
ourselves at table; but the different sensations
with which we were all agitated left us little in-
clination to eat, and the meal passed in silence.
Virginia first went out, and seated herself on the
very spot where we now are placed. Paul hasten-
ed after her, and seated himself by her side. It
was one of those delicious nights which are so
common between the tropics, and the beauty of
which no pencil can trace. The moon appeared in
the midst of the firmament, curtained in clouds
which her beams gradually dispelled. Her light
insensibly spread itself over the mountains of the
island, and their peaks glistened with a silvered
green. The winds were perfectly still. We heard
along the woods, at the bottom of the valleys, and on
the summits of the rocks, the weak cry and the soft


murmurs of the birds, exulting in the brightness of
the night, and the serenity of the atmosphere. The
hum of insects was heard in the grass. The stars
sparkled in the heavens, and their trembling and
lucid orbs were reflected upon the bosom of the
ocean. Virginia's eyes wandered over its vast and
gloomy horizon, distinguishable from the bay of the
island by the red fires in the fishing boat. She
perceived at the entrance of the harbour a light
and a shadow : these were the watch-light and the
b1)dy of the vessel in which she was to embark for
Europe, and which, ready to set sail, lay at anchor,
waiting for the wind. Affected at this sight, she
turned away her head, in order to hide her tears
from Paul.
Madame de la Tour, Margaret, and myself were
seated at a little distance beneath the plantain trees ;
and amidst the stillness of the night we distinctly
heard their conversation, which I have not for-
"' Paul said to her, You are going, they tell me,
in three days. You do not fear, then, to encounter
the danger of the sea, at which you are so much
terrified !' I must fulfil my duty,' answered Vir-
ginia, 'by obeying my parent.' You leave us,' re-
sumed Paul, for a distant relation, whom you have
never seen.' Alas!' cried Virginia, I would
have remained my whole life here, but my mother
would not have it so. My confessor told me that it
was the will of God I should go, and that life was
a trial!'
"'What,' exclaimed Paul, 'you have found so
many reasons then for going, and not one for remain-
ing here Ah there is one reason for your departure,
which ya: lave not mentioned. Riches have great
attractions. You will soon find in the new world,


to which you are going, another to whom you will
give the name of brother, which you will bestow on
me no more. You will choose that brother from
amongst persons who are worthy of you by their
birth, and by a fortune which I have not to offer.
But where will you go in order to be happier?
On what shore will you land which will be dearer
to you than the spot which gave you birth? Where
will you find a society more interesting to you than
this by which you are so beloved ? How will you
bear to live without your brother's caresses, to
which you are so accustomed? What will become
of her, already advanced in years, when she will
no longer see you at her side at table, in the house,
in the walks where she used to lean upon you ?
What will become of my mother who loves you
with the same affection? What shall I say to
comfort them when I see them weeping for your
absence! Cruel! I speak not to you of myself;
but what will become of me, when in the morning
I shall no more see you: when the evening will
come and will not reunite us? When I shall
gaze on the two palm trees, planted at our birth,
and so long the witnesses of our mutual friendship?
Ah; since a new destiny attracts you, since you
seek in a country, distant from your own, other
possessions than those which were the fruits of my
labour, let me accompany you in the vessel in
which you are going to embark. I will animate
your courage in the midst of those tempests at
which you are so terrified even on shore. I will
lay your head on my bosom. I will warm your
heart upon my own; and in France, where you go
in search of fortune and of grandeur, I will attend
you as your slave. Happy only in your happiness,
you will find me in those palaces where I shall see


you cherished and adored, at least sufficiently noble
to make for you the greatest of all sacrifices, by
dying at your feet.'
"The violence of his emotion stifled his voice,
and we then heard that of Virginia, which, broken
by sobs, uttered these words: It is for you I go:
for you, whom I see every day bent beneath the la-
bour of sustaining two infirm families. If I have
accepted this opportunity of becoming rich, it is
only to return you a thousandfold the good which
you have done us. Is there any fortune worthy of
our friendship? Why do you talk to me of your
irth? Ah! if it were again possible to give me a
brother, should I make choice of any other than
you? Oh, Paul! Paul! you are far dearerto me
than a brother! How much has it cost me to avoid
you! Help me to tear myself from what I value
more than existence, till Heaven can bless our union.
But I will stay or go : I will live or die; dispose
of me as you will. Unhappy, that I am! 1 could
resist your caresses, but I am unable to support your
At these words Paul seized her in his arms,
and, holding her pressed fast to his bosom, cried, in
a piercing tone, 'I will go with her; nothing shall
divide us.' We ran towards him, and Madame de
la Tour said to him, 'My son, if you go, what will
become of us ? '
"He, trembling, repeated the words, 'My son!-
My son '-You my mother,' cried he; you, who
Should separate the brother from the sister! We
have both been nourished at your bosom; we have
both been reared upon your knees ; we have learnt
of you to love each other; we have said so a thou-
sand times; and now you would separate her from
me You send her to Europe, that barbarous conn-


try which refused you an asylum, and to relations
by whom you were abandoned. You will tell me
that I have no right over her, and that she is not my
sister. She is everything to me, riches, birth,
family, my sole good; I know no other. We have
had but one roof, one cradle, and we will have but
one grave. If she goes, I will follow her. The
governor will prevent me! Will he prevent me
from flinging myself into the sea? Will he prevent
me from following herby swimming? The sea can-
not be more fatal to me than the land. Since I
cannot live with her, at least I will die before her
eyes; far from you, inhuman mother! woman
without compassion May the ocean, to which you
trust her, restore her to you no more May the
waves, rolling back our corpses amidst the stones of
the beach, give you, in the loss of your two children,
an eternal subject of remorse !'
At these words I seized him in my arms, for
despair had deprived him of reason. His eyes flash-
ed fire, big drops ofsweat hung upon his face, his
knees trembled, and I felt his heart beat violently
against his burning bosom.
"Virginia, affrighted, said to him, Oh, my friend,
I call to witness the pleasures of our early age,
your sorrow and my own, and every thing that can
for ever bind two unfortunate beings to each other,
that if I remain, I will live but for you; that if I
go, I will one day return to be yours. I call you
all to witness, you who have reared my infancy,
who dispose of my life, who see .-y tears. I
swear by that Heaven which hears me, by the sea
which I am going to pass, by the air I breathe, and
which I never sullied by a falsehood.'
"As the sun softens and dissolves an icy rock up-
on the summit of the Apennines, so the impetuous


passions of the young man were subdued by the voice
of her he loved. Ile bent his head, and a flood of
tears fell from his eyes. His mother, mingling her
tears with his, held him in her arms, but was un-
able to speak. Madame de la Tour, half distracted,
said to me, I can bear this no longer. My heart
is broken. This unfortunate voyage shall not take
place. Do take my son home with you. It is eight
days since any one here has slept.'
"I said to Paul, My dear friend, your sister will
remain. To-morrow we will speak to the gover-
nor; leave your family, to take some rest, and come
and pass the night with me.'
"He suffered himself to be led away in silence;
and, after a night of great agitation, he arose at
break of day, and returned home.
"But why should I continue any longer the reci-
tal of this history? There is never but one aspect
of human life which we can contemplate with plea-
sure. Like the globe upon which we revolve, our
fleeting course is but a day: and if one part of that
day be visited by light, the other is thrown into
Father," I answered, finish, I conjure you,
the history which you have begun in a manner so
interesting. If the images of happiness are most
pleasing, those of misfortune are more instructive.
Tell me what became of the unhappy young man."
The first object which Paul beheld in his way
home was Mary, who, mounted upon a rock, was
earnestly looking towards the sea. As soon as he
perceived her, he called to her from a distance,
'Where is Virginia !' Mary turned her head to-
wards her young master, and began to weep. Paul,
distracted, and treading back his steps, ran to the
harbour. He was there informed, that Virginia

had embarked at break of day, that the vessel
had immediately after set sail, and could no longer
be discerned. He instantly returned to the plan-
tation, which he crossed without uttering a wcrd.
Although the pile of rocks behind us appears
almost perpendicular, those green platforms which
separate their summits are so many stages by means
of which you may reach, through some difficult
paths, that cone of hanging and inaccessible rocks,
called the Thumb. At the foot of that cone is
a stretching slope of ground, covered with lofty
trees, and which is so high and steep that it ap-
pears like a forest in air, surrounded by tremendous
precipices. The clouds, which are attracted round
the summit of those rocks, supply innumerable rivu-
lets, which rush from so immense a height into that
deep valley situated behind the mountain, that from
this elevated point we do not hear the sound of
their fall. On that spot you can discern a con-
siderable part of the island with its precipices
crowned with their majestic peaks; and, amongst
others, Peterba.a, and the three Peaks, with their
valley filled with woods. You also command an
extensive view of the ocean, and even perceive the
Isle of Bourbon forty leagues towards the west.
From the summit of that stupendous pile of rocks
Paul gazed upon the vessel which had borne away
Virginia, and which, now ten leagues out at sea,
appeared like a black spot in the midst of the ocean.
He remained a great part of the day with his eyes
fixed upon this object: when it had disappeared,
he still fancied he beheld it: and when, at length,
the traces which clung to his imagination were lost
amidst the gathering mists of the horizon, he seat-
ed himself on that wild point, for ever beaten by
the winds, which never cease to agitate the tops



of the cabbage and gum trees, and the hoarse and
moaning murmurs of which, similar to the distant
sound of organs, inspire a deep melancholy. On
that spot I found Paul, with his head reclined on
the rock, and his eyes fixed upon the ground. I had
followed him since break of day, and after much
importunity, I prevailed with him to descend from
the heights, and return to his family. I conducted
him to the plantation, where the first impulse of
his mind, upon seeing Madame de la Tour, was to
reproach her bitterly for having deceived him.
Madame de la Tour told us, that a favourable wind
having arose at three o'clock in the morning, and
the vessel being ready to set sail, the governor, at-
tended by his general officers, and the missionary,
had come with a palanquin in search of Virginia,
and that, notwithstanding her own objections, her
tears, and those of Margaret, all the while exclaim-
ing that it was for the general welfare they had
carried away Virginia almost dying. At least,'
cried Paul, 'if I had bid her farewell, I should now
be more calm. I would have said to her, Virginia,
if, during the time we have lived together, one
word may have escaped me which has offended you,
before you leave nm for ever, tell me that you for-
give me. I would have said to her, since I am
destined to see you no more, farewell, my dear Vir-
ginia, farewell! Live far from me, contented and
happy !'
When he saw that his mother and Madame de
la Tour were weeping, 'You must now,' said he,
seek some other than me to wipe away your tears ;'
and then, rushing out of the house, he wandered
up and down the plantation. He flew eagerly to
those spots which had been most dear to Virginia.
He said to the goats aad their kids which followed


him, bleating,' What do you ask of me ? You will
see her no more who used to feed you with her own
hand.' He went to the bower called the Repose of
Virginia; and, as the birds flew around him, ex-
claimed, Poor little birds you will fly no more to
meet her who cherished you !' and observing Fi-
dele running backwards and forwards in search
of her, he heaved a deep sigh, and cried, 'Ah!
you will never find her again.' At length he went
and seated himself upon the rock where he had
conversed with her the preceding evening; and
at the view of the ocean, upon which he had seen
the vessel disappear, which bore her away, he wept
"We continually watched his steps, apprehend-
ing some fatal consequence from the violent agita-
tion of his mind. His mother and Madame de la
Tour conjured him, in the most tender manner, not
to increase their affliction by his despair. At length
Madame de la Tour soothed his mind by lavishing
upon him such epithets as were best calculated to
revive his hopes. She called him her son, her dear
son, whom she destined for her daughter. She
prevailed with him to return to the house, and re-
ceive a little nourishment. IHe seated himself with
us at table, next to the place which used to be oc-
cupied by the companion of his childhood and, as
if she had still been present, he spoke to her, and
offered whatever he knew was most agreeable to
her taste; and then, starting from this dream of
fancy, he began to weep. For some days he em-
ployed himself in gathering together every thing
which had belonged to Virginia; the last nosegays
she had worn, the cocoa shell in which she used to
drink; and after kissing a thousand times those
relics of his friend, to him the most precious trea.


sures which the world contained, he hid them in
his bosom. The spreading perfumes of the amber
are not so sweet as the objects which have belong-
ed to those we love. At length, perceiving that his
anguish increased that of his mother and Madame
de la Tour, and that the wants of the family re
quired continual labour, he began, with the assist-
ance of Domingo, to repair the garden.
Soon after, this young man, till now indifferent
as a Creole with respect to what was passing in
the world, desired I would teach him to read and
write, that he might carry on a correspondence
with Virginia. He then wished to be instructed in
geography, in order that he might form a just idea
of the country where she had disembarked; and in
history, that he might know the manners of the
society in which she was placed. The powerful
sentiment of love, which directed his present stu-
dies, had already taught him the arts of agricul-
ture, and the manner of laying out the most irre-
gular grounds with advantage and beauty. It'must
be admitted, that to the fond dreams of this restless
and ardent passion, mankind are indebted for a
great number of arts and sciences, while its disap-
pointments have given birth to philosophy, which
teaches us to bear the evils of life with resignation.
Thus, nature having made love the general link
which binds all beings, has rendered it the first
spring of society, the first incitement of knowledge
as well as pleasure.
Paul found little satisfaction in the study of
geography, which, instead of describing th'e natural
history of each country, only gave a view of its
political boundaries. History, and especially mo-
dern history, interested him little more. ie there
saw only general and periodical evils otl which he



did not discern the cause; wars for which there
was no reason and no object; nations without prin-
ciple, and princes without humanity He preferred
the reading of romances, which being filled with
the particular feelings and interests of men, repre-
sented situations s milar to his own. No book
gave him so much pleasure as Telemachus, from
the pictures which it draws of pastoral life, and of
those passions wbhch are natural to the haman
heart. He read aloud to his mother and Madame
de la Tour those parts which affected him most
sensibly, when, sometimes, touched by the most
tender remembrances, his emotion choked his ut-
terance, and his eyes were bathed in tears. He
fancied he had found in Virginia the wisdom of
Antiope, with the misfortunes and the tenderness
of Eucharis. With very different sensations he
perused our fashionable novels, filled with licen-
tious maxims and manners. And when he was in-
formed that those romances drew a just picture of
European society, he trembled, not without reason,
lest Virginia should become corrupted, and should
forget him.
"More than a year and a half had indeed passed
away before Madame de la Tour received any tidings
of her daughter. During that period she had only
accidentally heard that Virginia had arrived safely
in France. At length a vessel, which stopped in
its way to the Indies, conveyed to Madame de la
Tour a packet, and a letter written with her own
hand. Although this amiable young woman had
written in a guarded manner, in order to avoid
wounding the feelings ofa mother, it was easy to dis-
cern that she was unhappy. Her letter paints so
naturally her situation and her character, that 1
have retained it almost word for word.


My dear and beloved mother, I have already
sent you several letters, written with my own har-.
but having received no answer, 1 fear they have
not reached you. I have better hoies forthis. from
the means I have now taken of sending you tidings
of myself, and of hearing from you. 1 have shed
many tears since our separation ; I, who never used
to weep, but for the misfortunes of others! My
aunt was much astonished, when, having, upon
my arrival, inquired what accomplishments I pos-
sessed, I told her that I could neither read nor write.
She asked me what then I had learnt since I came
into the world; and, when I answered that I had
been taught to take care of the household affairs,
and obey your will, she told me that I had received
the education of a servant. The next day she pla-
cedi me as a boarder in a great abbey near Paris,
where I have masters of all kinds, who teach me,
among other things, history, geography, grammar,
mathematics and riding. But I have so little capacity
for all those sciences, that I make but small pro-
gress with my masters.
My aunt's kindness, however, does not abate
towards me. She gives me new dresses for each
season; and she has placed two waiting women
with me, who are both dressed like fine ladies. She
has made me take the title of countess, but has
obliged me to renounce the name of La Tour,
which is as dear to me as it is to you, from all you
have told me of the sufferings my father endured in
order to marry you. She has replaced your name
by that of your family, which is also dear to me,
because it was your name when a girl. Seeing my-
self in so splendid a situation, I implored her to
let me send you some assistance. But how shall
I repeat her answer? Yet you have desired me


always to tell you the truth. She t Id me then,
that a little would be of no use to you, and that a
great deal would only encumber you in the simple
life you led.
"' I endeavoured, upon my arrival, to send you
tidings of myself by another hand. but finding no
person here in whom I could place confidence, I
applied night and day to reading and writing; and
Heaven, who saw my motive for learning, no doubt
assisted my endeavours, for I acquired both in a
short time. I entrusted my first letters to some of
the ladies here, who, I have reason to think, car-
ried them to my aunt. This time I have had re-
course to a boarder, who is my friend. I send you
her direction, by means of which I shall receive
your answer. My aunt has forbid my holding any
correspondence whatever, which might, she says, be
come an obstacle to the great views she has for my
advantage. No person is allowed to see me at the
grate but herself, and an old nobleman, one of her
ends, who, she says, is much pleased with me.
I am sure I am not at all so with him ; nor should
I, even if it were possible for me to be pleased with
any one at present.
I live in the midst of affluence, and have not a
livre at my disposal. They say I might make an
improper use of money. Even my clothes belong
to my waiting women who quarrel about them before
I have left them off. In the bosom of riches, I am
poorer than when I lived with you; for I have no-
thing to give. When I found that the great accom-
plishments they taught me would not procure me
the power of doing the smallest good, I had recourse
to my needle, of which happily you had learnt me
the use. I send several pair of stockings of my own
making for you and my mamma Margaret, a cap for


Domingo, and one of my red handkerchiefs for Mary.
I also send with this packet some kernels and seels
of various kinds of fruits, which I gathered in the
fields. There are much more beautiful flowers in
the meadows of this country than in ours, but no-
body cares for them. 1 am sure that you and my
mamma Margaret will be better pleased with this bag
of seeds, than you were with the bag of piastres,
which was the cause of our separation and of my
tears. It will give me great delight if you should
one day see apple-trees growing at the side of the
plantain, and elms blending their foliage with our
cocoa-trees. You will fancy yourself in Normandy,
which you love so much.
"' You desired me to relate to you my joys and
my griefs. I have no joys far fom you. As for
my griefs, I endeavour to soothe them by reflect-
ing that I am in the situation in which you placed
me by the will of God. But my greatest affliction
is, that no one here speaks to me of you, and that
I must speak of you to no one. My waiting women, or
rather those of my aunt, for they belong more to
her than to me, told me the other day, when I wished
to turn the conversation upon the objects most dear
to me, Remember, madam, that you are a French-
woman, and must forget that country of savages.'
Ah sooner will I forget myself than forget the spot
on which I was born, and which you inhabit! It is
this country which is to me a land of savages ; for
I live alone, having no one to whor- I can impart
those feelings of tenderness for you which I shall
bear with me to the grave.
'I am,
'My dearest and beloved mother,
'Your affectionate and dutiful daughter,

'I recommend to your goodness Mary and Do-
mingo, who took so much care of my infancy.
Caress Fidele for me, who found me in the wood.'

"Paul was astonished that Virginia had not said
one word of him, she who had not forgotten even
the house dog. But Paul was not aware that,
however long may be a woman's letter, she always
puts the sentiments most dear to her at the end.
In a postscript, Virginia recommended particu-
larly to Paul's care two kinds of seed, those of the
violet and scabious.' She gave him some instruc-
tions upon the nature of those plants, and the spots
most proper for their cultivation. The first,' said
she, 'produces a little flower of a deep violet,
which loves to hide itself beneath the bushes, but
is soon discovered by its delightful odours.' She
desired those seeds might be sown along the bor-
ders of the fountain, at the foot of her cocoa tree.
' The scabious,' she added, 'produces a beautiful
flower of a pale blue, and a black ground, spotted
with white. You might fancy it was in mourning ;
and for this reason, it is called the widow's flower.
It delights in bleak spots beaten by the winds.' She
begged this might be sown upon the rock where she
had spoken to him for the last time, and that, for
her sake, he would henceforth give it the name of
the Farewell Rock.
She had put those seeds into a little purse, the
tissue of which was extremely simple; but which
appeared above all price to Paul, when he per-
ceived a P and a V intwined together, and knew
that the beautiful hair which formed the cipher
was the hair of Virginia.
"The whole family listened with tears to the
letter of that amiable and virtuous young woman.


Her mother answered it in the name of the little
society, and desired her to remain or return as Ihe
thought proper; assuring her, that happiness had
fled from their dwelling since her departure, and
that, as for herself, she was inconsolable.
Paul also sent her a long letter, in which he
assured her that he would arrange the garden in
a manner agreeable to her taste, and blend the
plants of Europe with those of Africa. lie sent
her some fruit culled from the cocoa trees of the
mountain, which were now arrived at maturity:
telling her that he would not add any more of the
other seeds of the island, that the desire of seeing
those productions again might hasten her return.
lie conjured her to comply without delay with the
ardent wishes of her family, and, above all, with
his own, since he was unable to endure the pain of
their separation.
With a careful hand Paul sowed the European
seeds, particularly the violet and the scabious, the
flowers of which seem to bear some analogy to the
character and situation of Virginia, by whom they
had been recommended: but whether they were
injured by the voyage, or whether the soil of this
part of Africa is unfavourable to their growth, a
very small number of them blew, and none came to
Meanwhile that envy, which pursues human
happiness, spread reports over the island which
gave great uneasiness to Paul. The persons whc
had brought Virginia's letter asserted that she was
upon the point of being married, and named the.
nobleman of the court with whom she was going
to be united. Some even declared that she was
already married, of which they were witnesses.
Paul at first despised this report, brought by one


of those trading ships, which often spread erro-
neous intelligence in their passage; but some ill-
natured persons, by their insulting pity, led him to
give some degree of credit to this cruel intelligence.
Besides, he had seen in the novels which he had
lately read that perfidy was treated as a subject of
pleasantry; and knowing that those books were
faithful representations of European manners, lie
feared that the heart of Virginia was corrupted,
and had forgotten its former engagements. Thus
his acquirements only served to render him miser-
able, and what increased his apprehension was,
that several ships arrived from Europe, during the
space of six months, and not one brought any tid-
ings of Virginia.
This unfortunate young man, with a heart torn
by the most cruel agitation, came often to visit me,
that I might confirm or banish his inquietude, by
my experience of the world.
I live, as I have already told you, a league and
a half from hence, upon the banks of a little river
which glides along the Sloping Mountain: there
I lead a solitary life, without wife, children, or
"After having enjoyed, and lost, the rare felicity
of living with a congenial mind, the state of life
which appears the least wretched is that of soli-
tude. It is remarkable that all those nations which
have been rendered unhappy by their political opi-
nions, their manners, or their forms of government,
have produced numerous classes of citizens alto-
gether devoted to solitude and celibacy. Such
were the Egyptians in their decline, the Greeks of
the lower empire; and such in our days are the
Indians, the Chinese, the modern Greeks, the Ita-


lians, and most part of the eastern and southern
nations of Europe.
Thus 1 pass my days far from mankind whom
I wished to serve, and by whom I have been perse-
cuted. After having travelled over many countries
of Europe, and some parts of America and Africa,
I at length pitched my tent in this thinly-peopled
island, allured by its mild temperature and its soli-
tude. A cottage which I built in the woods, at
the foot of a tree, a little field which I cultivated
with my own hands, a river which glides before
my door, suffice for my wants and for my pleasures.
I blend with those enjoyments that of some chosen
books, which teach me to become better. They
make that world, which I have abandoned, still
contribute to my satisfaction. They place before
me pictures of those passions which render its in-
habitants so miserable ; and the comparison which
I make between their destiny and my own, leads
me to feel a sort of negative happiness. Like a
man whom shipwreck has thrown upon a rock, I
contemplate, from my solitude, the storms which
roll over the rest of the world; and my repose
seems more profound from the distant sounds of
the tempest.
I suffer myself to be led calmly down the steam
of time to the ocean of futurity, which has no boun-
daries ; while, in the contemplation of the present
harmony of nature, I raise my soul towards its su-
preme Author, and hope for a more happy destiny
in another state of existence.
"Although you do not descry my hermitage,
which is situated in the midst of a forest, among
that immense variety of objects which this elevated
spot presents, the grounds are disposed with parti-
cular beauty, at least to one who, like me, loves


rather the seclusion of a home scene, than great
and extensive prospects. The river which glides
before my door passes in a straight line across the
woods, and appears like a long canal shaded by
trees of all kinds. There are black date plum
trees, what we here call the narrowaleaved dodonea,
olive wood, gum trees, and the cinnamon tree;
while in some parts the cabbage trees raise their
naked columns more than a hundred feet high,
crowned at their summits with clustering leaves,
and towering above the wood like one forest piled
upon another. Lianas, of various foliage, inter-
twining among the woods, form arcades of flowers,
and verdant canopies; those trees, for the most
part, shed aromatic odours of a nature so powerful,
that the garments of a traveller, who has passed
through the forest, retain for several hours the
delicious fragrance. In the season when those
trees produce their lavish blossoms, they appear
as if covered with snow. One of the principal
ornaments of our woods is the calbassia, a tree
not only distinguished for its beautiful tint of
verdure; but for other properties, which Madame
de la Tour has described in the following son-
net, written at one of her first visits to my hermit


Sublime Calbassia, luxuriant tree
How soft the gloom thy bright-hued Ibliage throws,
While from thy pulp a healing balsam flows,
Whose power the suffering wretch from pain can free I
My pensive footsteps ever turn to thee


Since oft, while mnsing on my lasting woes,
Beneath thy flowery white bells I repose,
Symbol of friendship dost thou seem to me;
For thus has friendship cast her soothing shade
O'er my unsheltered bosom's keen distress:
Thus sought to heal the wounds which love has made,
And temper bleeding sorrow's sharp excess I
Ah! not in vain she lends her balmy aid:
The agonies she cannot cure, are less I

Towards the end of summer various kinds of
foreign birds hasten, impelled by an inexplicable
instinct, from unknown regions, and across immense
oceans, to gather the profuse grains of this island ;
and the brilliancy of their expanded plumage rorms
a contrast to the trees embrowned by the sun.
Such, among others, are vario is kinds of paroquets,
the blue pigeon, called her, the pigeon of 11ol-
land, and the wandering an. majestic white bird
of the Tropic, which Madame de la Tour thus
aposi roihiise :--



Bird of the Tropic thou, who lov'st to stray
Where thy long pinions sweep the sultry line,
Or mark'st the bounds which torrid beams coufine
By thy averted course, that shuns the ray
Oblique, enamour'd of sublimer day:
Oft on yon cliff thy folded plumes recline,
And drop those snowy feathers Indians twine
To crown the warrior's brow with honours gay.



O'er trackless oceans what impels thy wing ?
Does no soft instinct in thy soul prevail?
No sweet affection to thy bosom cling,
And bid thee oft thy absent nest bewail?
Yet thou again to that dear spot canst spring
But I my long lost home no more shall hail I

The domestic inhabitants of our forests, molL-
keys, sport upon the dark branches of the trees,
from which they are distinguished by their gray
and greenish skin, and their black visages. Some
hang suspended by the tail, and balance themselves
in air; others leap from branch to branch, bearing
their young in their arms. The murderous gun
has never affrighted those peaceful children of na-
ture. You sometimes hear the warblings of un-
known birds from the southern countries, repeated
at a distance by the echoes of the forest. The
river, which runs in foaming cataracts over a bed
of rocks, reflects here and there, upon its limpid
waters, venerable masses of woody shade, together
with the sport of its happy inhabitants. About a
Thousand paces from thence the river precipitates
itself over several piles of rocks, and forms, in its
fall, a sheet of water smooth as crystal, but which
Streaks at the bottom into frothy surges. Innumer-
able confused sounds issue from those tumultuous
waters, which, scattered by the winds of the
forest, sometimes sink, sometimes swell, and send
forth a hollow tone like the deep bells of a cathe-
dral. The air, for ever renewed by the circulation
of the waters, fans the banks of that river with
freshness, and leaves a degree of verdure, not-
withstanding the summer heats, rarely found in
this island, even upon the summits of the moun-


"At some distance is a rock, placed far enough
from the cascade to prevent the ear from being deaf-
ened by the noise of its waters, and sufficiently
near for the enjoyment of their view, their cool-
ness, and their murmurs. Thither, amidst the
heats of summer, Madame de la Tour, Margaret,
Virginia, Paul, and myself sometimes repaired, and
dined beneath the shadow of the rock. Virginia,
who always directed her most ordinary actions to
the good of others, never ate of any fruit without
planting the seed or kernel in the ground. From
this,' said she, 'trees will come, which will give
their fruit to some traveller, or at least to some
bird.' One day having eaten of the papaw fruit, at
the foot of that rock she planted the seeds. Soon
after several papaws sprung up, amongst which was
one that yielded fruit. This tree had risen but a
little from the ground at the time of Virginia's de-
parture ; but its growth being rapid, in the space
of two years it had gained twenty feet of height,
and the upper part of its stem was encircled with
several layers of ripe fruit. Paul having wandered
to that spot, was delighted to see that this lofty
tree had arisen from the small seed planted by his
beloved friend; but that emotion instantly gave
place to a deep melancholy, at this evidence of her
long absence. The objects which we see habitually
do not remind us of the rapidity of life; they de-
cline insensibly with ourselves; but those which
we behold again, after having for some years lost
sight of them, impress us powerfully with the ideaof
that swiftness with which the tide of our days
flows on. Paul was no less overwhelmed and
affected at the sight of this great papaw tree,
loaded with fruit, than is the traveller, when, after
a long aosence from his own country, he finds not


his contemporaries, but their children, whom he
left at the breast, and whom he sees are become
fathers of families. Paul sometimes thought of
hewing down the tree, which recalled too sensibly
the distracted image of that length of time which
had elasped since the departure of Virginia. Some-
times, contemplating it as a monument of her bene-
volence, he kiesed its trunk, and apostrophised it
in terms of the most passionate regret; and, indeed
I have myself gazed upon it with more emotion and
more veneration than upon the triumphal arches
of Rome.
At the foot of this papaw I was always sure to
meet with Paul when he came into our neighbo-r-
hood. One day, when I found him absorbed in
melancholy, we had a conversation, which I will
relate to you, if I do not weary you by my long di-
gressions ; perhaps pardonable to my age and my
last friendships.
Paul said to me, I am very unhappy. Made-
moiselle de la Tour has now been gone two years
and two months ; and we have heard no tidings of
her for eight months and two weeks. She is rich,
and I am poor. She has forgotten me. I have
a great mind to follow her. I will go to Fiance;
I will serve the king; make a fortune; and then
Mademoiselle de la Tour's aunt will bestow her
niece upon me when I shall have become a great lord.
But, my dear friend,' I answered, have you
not told me that you are not of noble birth ?'
"' My mother has told me so,' said Paul. 'As
for myself I know not what noble birth means.'
"' Obscure birth,' I replied, 'in France shuts cut
all access to great employment; nor can you
even be received among any distinguished body
of men.'
______________________ __ i


"' How unfortunate I am!' resumed Paul; 'every
thing repulses me. I am condemned to waste my
wretched life in labour, far from Virginia.' And
he heaved a deep sigh.
Since her relation,' he added, will only give
her in marriage to some one with a great name, by
the aid of study we become wise and celebrated.
I will fly then to study; I will acquire sciences;
I will serve my country usefully by my attainments ;
I shall be independent; I shall become renowned;
and my glory will belong only to myself.'
My son talents are still more rare than birth
or riches, and are undoubtedly an inestimable good,
of which nothing can deprive us, and which every
where conciliate public esteem. But they cost dear:
they are generally allied to exquisite sensibility,
which renders their possessor miserable. But you
tell me that you would serve mankind. He who,
Irom the soil which he cultivates, draws forth one
additionall sheaf of corn, serves mankind more than
lie who presents them with a book.'
'" Oh she then,' exclaimed Paul, 'who planted
Ihis papaw tree, made a present to the inhabitants
of the forest more dear and more useful than if she
had given them a library.' And seizing the tree in
his arms, he kissed it with transport.
'' Ah! I desire glory only,' he resumed, 'to
confer it upon Virginia, and render her dear to the
whole universe. But you, who know so much, tell
me if we shall ever be married. I wish I was at
least learned enough to look into futurity. Vir-
ginia must come back. What need has she of a
rich relation? she was so happy in those huts, so
lbemutiful, and so well dresnod, with a red handker-
chef or flowers round her head! Return, Vir-
ginia Leave y ur palaces, your splendour! Re-


turn to these rocks, to the shade of our woods and
our cocoa trees Alas! you are, perhaps, unhappy '
And he began to weep. My father! conceal
nothing from me. If you cannot tell me whether I
shall marry Virginia or no, tell me, at least, if she
still loves me amidst those great lords who speak to
the king, and go to see her.'
"' Oh my dear friend,' I answered, 'I am sure
that she loves you, for several reasons ; but, above
all, because she is virtuous.' At those words he
threw himself upon my neck in a transport of joy
"'But what,' said he, do you understand by
virtue ?'
"'My son! to you, who support your family
by your labour, it need not be defined. Virtue is
an effort which we make for the good of others, and
with the intention of pleasing God.'
"' Oh! how virtuous then,' cried he, is Virginia !
Virtue made her seek for riches, that she might
practise benevolence. Virtue led her to forsake
this island, and virtue will bring her back.' The
idea of her near return fired his imagination, and
his inquietudes suddenly vanished. Virginia, he
was persuaded, had not written, because she would
soon arrive. It took so little time to come from
Europe with a fair wind! Then he enumerated
the vessels which had made a passage of four thou-
sand five hundred leagues in less than three months ;
and perhaps the vessel in which Virginia had em-
barked might not be longer than two. Ship build-
ers were now so ingenious, and sailors so expert!
He then told me of the arrangements he would
make for her reception, of the new habitation he
would build for her, of the pleasures and surprises
which each day should bring along with it when
she was his wife? Ils wife! That hope wa4


ecstasy. At least, my dear father,' said he, you
shall then do nothing more than you please.
Virginia being rich, we shall have a number of
negroes, who will labour for you. You shall always
live with us, and have no other care than to amuse
and rejoice yourself:' and, his heart throbbing with
delight, he flew to communicate those exquisite
sensations to his family.
In a short time, however, the most cruel appre"
tensions succeeded those enchanting hopes. Vio-
lent passions ever throw the soul into opposite ex-
tremes. Paul returned to my dwelling absorbed in
melancholy, and said to me, I hear nothing from
Virginia. Had she left Europe she would have in-
formed me of her departure. Ah! the reports
which I have heard concerning her are but too well
founded. Her aunt has married her to some great
lord. She, like others, has been undone by the love
of riches. In those books'which paint women so
well, virtue is but a subject of romance. Had Vir-
ginia been virtuous, she would not have forsaken
her mother and me, and, while I pass life in think-
ing of her, forgotten me. While I am wretched,
she is happy. Ah! that thought distracts me: la-
bour becomes painful, and society irksome. Would
to heaven that war were declared in India! I would
go there and die.'
"' My son,' I answered, 'that courage which
prompts us to court death is but the courage of a
moment, and is often excited by the vain hopes of
posthumous fame. There is a species of courage
more necessary, and more rare, which makes us
support, without witness, ind without applause,
the various vexations of life ; and that is, patience.
Leaning not upon the opinions of others, but upon
the will of God, patience is the courage of virtue.'



"'Ah !' cried he, 'I am then without virtue !
Every thing overwhelms and distracts me.'
"'Equal, constant, and invariable virtue,' I re-
plied, 'belongs not to man.' In the midst of so
many passions, by which we are agitated, our rea-
son is disordered and obscured: but there is an
ever-burning lamp, at which we can rekindle its
flame; and that is, literature.
"' Literature, my dear son, is the gift of Hea-
ven; a ray of that wisdom which governs the uni-
verse ; and which man, inspired by celestial intel-
ligence, has drawn down to earth. Like the sun,
it enlightens, it rejoices, it warms with a divine
flame, and seems, in some sort, like the element of
fire, to bend all nature to our use. By the aid
of literature, we bring around us all things, all
places, men, and times. By its aid we calm the
passions, suppress vice, and excite virtue. Lite-
rature is the daughter of heaven, who has de-
scended upon earth to soften and to charm all human
,'' Have recourse to your books, then, my son.
The sages who have written before our days, are
travellers who have preceded us in the paths of
misfortune; who stretch out a friendly hand to-
wards us, and invite us to join their society, when
every thing else abandons us. A good book is a
good friend.'
"' Ah!' cried Paul, I stood in no need of books
when Virginia was here, and she had studied as
little as me: but when she looked at me, and call-
ed me her friend, it was impossible for me to be
"'Undoubtedly,' said I, 'there is no friend so
agreeable as a mistress by whom we are beloved.
There is in the gay graces of a woman a charm that

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