Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
 Paul and Virginia
 Back Cover

Group Title: Paul et Virginie.
Title: Paul and Virginia
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081246/00001
 Material Information
Title: Paul and Virginia
Uniform Title: Paul et Virginie
Physical Description: 197, 1 p., 7 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Saint-Pierre, Bernardin de, 1737-1814
Leloir, Maurice, 1853-1940 ( Illustrator )
Thomas Y. Crowell & Co ( Publisher )
Publisher: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co.
Place of Publication: New York ;
Publication Date: c1892
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Nature (Aesthetics) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Love -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animal welfare -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Slavery -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Charity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Juvenile fiction -- Mauritius   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1892   ( local )
Bldn -- 1892
Genre: Family stories   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Statement of Responsibility: Bernardin de Saint-Pierre ; with illustrations by Maurice Leloir.
General Note: Text and front matter in green decorative borders.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081246
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002236968
notis - ALH7447
oclc - 191867848

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
        Page 1
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    Paul and Virginia
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

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LOVE of Nature, that strong feeling of enthusiasm
which leads to a profound admiration of the whole
works of creation, belongs, it may be presumed, to
a certain peculiarity of organization, and has, no
doubt, existed in different individuals from the be-
ginning of the world. The old poets and philoso-
phers, romance-writers and troubadours, had all
looked upon Nature with observing and admiring
eyes. They have most of them given incidentally
charming pictures of Spring, of the setting sun, of
particular spots, and of favorite flowers.
There are few writers of note, of any country or
of any age, from whom quotations might not be made


in proof of the love with which they regarded Nature.
And this remark applies as much to religious and
philosophic writers as to poets, equally to Plato,
St. Francois de Sales, Bacon, and F6nelon, as to
Shakespeare, Racine, Calderon, or Burns; for from
no really philosophic or religious doctrine can the
love of the works of Nature be excluded.
But before the days of Jean Jacques Rousseau,
Buffon, and Bernardin de St. Pierre, this love of
Nature had not been expressed in all its intensity.
Until their day, it had not been written on exclu-
sively. The lovers of Nature were not, till then, as
they may perhaps since be considered, a sect apart.
Though perfectly sincere in all the adorations they
offered, they were less entirely, and certainly less
diligently and constantly, her adorers.
It is the great praise of Bernardin de St. Pierre,
that coming immediately after Rousseau and Buffon,
and being one of the most proficient writers of the
same school, he was in no degree their imitator, but
perfectly original and new. He intuitively perceived
the immensity of the subject he intended to explore,
and has told us that no day of his life passed with-
out his collecting some valuable materials for his
writings. In the divine works of Nature he dili-
gently sought to discover her laws. It was his early
intention not to begin to write until he had ceased to
observe; but he found observation endless, and that
he was like a child, who with a shell digs a hole in
the sand to receive the waters of the ocean." He
elsewhere humbly says, that not only the general
history of Nature, but even that of the smallest


plant, was far beyond his ability. Before, however,
speaking further of him as an author, it will be
necessary to recapitulate the chief events of his
Henri-Jacques Bernardin de St. Pierre was born at
Havre in 1737. He always considered himself de-
scended from that Eustache de St. Pierre, who is
said by Froissart (and I believe by Froissart only)
to have so generously offered himself as a victim to
appease the wrath of Edward the Third against
Calais. He, with his companions in virtue, it is also
said, was saved by the intercession of Queen Phil-
ippa. In one of his smaller works, Bernardin asserts
this descent, and it was certainly one of which he
might be proud. Many anecdotes are related of his
childhood, indicative of the youthful author, of his
strong love of Nature, and his humanity to animals.
That the child is father of the man" has been
seldom more strongly illustrated. There is a story
of a cat, which, when related by him many years
afterwards to Rousseau, caused that philosopher to
shed tears. At eight years of age he took the
greatest pleasure in the regular culture of his garden,
and possibly then stored up some of the ideas which
afterwards appeared in the Fraisier." His sym-
pathy with all living things was extreme. In Paul
and Virginia he praises, with evident satisfaction,
their meal of milk and eggs, which had not cost any
animal its life. It has been remarked, and possibly
with truth, that every tenderly disposed heart,
deeply imbued with a love of Nature, is at times
somewhat Braminical. St. Pierre's certainly was.


When quite young, he advanced with a clinched
fist towards a carter who was ill-treating a horse.
And when taken for the first time, by his father, to
Rouen, having the towers of the cathedral pointed
out to him, he exclaimed, My God! how high they
fly!" Every one present naturally laughed. Ber-
nardin had only noticed the flight of some swallows
who had built their nests there. He thus early re-
vealed those instincts which afterwards became the
guidance of his life, the strength of which possibly
occasioned his too great indifference to all monu-
ments of art. The love of study and of solitude
were also characteristics of his childhood. His tem-
per is said to have been moody, impetuous, and in-
tractable. Whether this faulty temper may not have
been produced or rendered worse by mismanage-
ment, cannot now be ascertained. It undoubtedly
became, afterwards, to St. Pierre, a fruitful source of
misfortune and of woe.
The reading of voyages was with him, even in
childhood, almost a passion. At twelve years of age,
his whole soul was occupied by Robinson Crusoe and
his island. His romantic love of adventure seeming
to his parents to announce a predilection in favor of
the sea, he was sent by them with one of his uncles
to Martinique. But St. Pierre had not .sufficiently
practised the virtue of obedience to submit, as was
necessary, to the discipline of a ship. He was after-
wards placed with the Jesuits at Caen, with whom he
made immense progress in his studies. But, it is to
be feared, he did not conform too well to the regula-
tions of the college, for he conceived, from that time,


the greatest detestation for places of public educa-
tion. And this aversion he has frequently testified
in his writings. While devoted to his books of
travels, he in turn anticipated being a Jesuit, a mis-
sionary, or a martyr: but his family at length suc-
ceeded in establishing him at Rouen, where he
completed his studies with brilliant success in 1757.
He soon after obtained a commission as an engineer,
with a salary of a hundred louis. In this capacity he
was sent (1760) to Diisseldorf, under the command
of Count St. Germain. This was a career in which
he might have acquired both honor and fortune; but,
most unhappily for St. Pierre, he looked upon the
useful and necessary etiquettes of life as so many
unworthy prejudices. Instead of conforming to them,
he sought to trample on them. In addition, he
evinced some disposition to rebel against his com-
mander, and was unsocial with his equals. It is not
therefore, to be wondered at, that at this unfortunate
period of his existence he made himself enemies; or
that, notwithstanding his great talents, or the cool-
ness he had exhibited in moments of danger, he
should have been sent back to France. Unwelcome,
under these circumstances, to his family, he was ill
received by all.
It is a lesson yet to be learned, that genius gives no
charter for the indulgence of error, a truth yet to be
remembered, that only a small portion of the world
will look with leniency on the failings of the highly
gifted; and that, from themselves, the consequences
of their own actions can never be averted. It is yet,
alas to be added to the convictions of the ardent in


mind, that no degree of excellence in science or lit-
erature, not even the immortality of a name, can
exempt its possessor from obedience to moral disci-
pline, or give him happiness, unless temper's
image" be stamped on his daily words and actions.
St. Pierre's life was sadly embittered by his own con-
duct. The adventurous life he led after his return
from Disseldorf, some of the circumstances of which
exhibited him in an unfavorable light to others,
tended, perhaps, to tinge his imagination with that
wild and tender melancholy so prevalent in his writ-
ings. A prize in the lottery had just doubled his
very slender means of existence, when he obtained
the appointment of geographical engineer, and was
sent to Malta. The Knights of the Order were at
this time expecting to be attacked by the Turks.
Having already been in the service, it was singular
that St. Pierre should have had the imprudence to
sail without his commission. He thus subjected.
himself to a thousand disagreeables, for the officers
would not recognize him as one of themselves. The
effects of their neglect on his mind were tremendous:
his reason for a time seemed almost disturbed by the
mortifications he suffered. After receiving an insuffi-
cient indemnity for the expenses of his voyage,
St. Pierre returned to France, there to endure fresh
Not being able to obtain any assistance from the
ministry or his family, he resolved on giving lessons
in the mathematics. But St. Pierre was less adapted
than most others for succeeding in the apparently
easy, but really ingenious and difficult, art of teach-


ing. When education is better understood, it will
be more generally acknowledged, that, to impart
instruction with success, a teacher must possess
deeper intelligence than is implied by the profound-
est skill in any one branch of science or of art. All
minds, even to the youngest, require, while being
taught, the utmost compliance and consideration;
and these qualities can scarcely be properly exercised
without a true knowledge of the human heart, united
to much practical patience. St. Pierre, at this period
of his life, certainly did not possess them. It is
probable that Rousseau, when he attempted in his
youth to give lessons in music, not knowing any-
thing whatever of music, was scarcely less fitted for
the task of instruction than St. Pierre with all his
mathematical knowledge. The pressure of poverty
drove him to Holland. He was well received at
Amsterdam by a French refugee named Mustel, who
edited a popular journal there, and who procured him
employment, with handsome remuneration. St.
Pierre did not, however, remain long satisfied with
this quiet mode of existence. Allured by the en-
couraging reception given by Catherine II. to foreign-
ers, he set out for St. Petersburg. Here, until he
obtained the protection of the Marechal de Munich
and the friendship of Duval, he had again to contend
with poverty. The latter generously opened to him
his purse, and by the Marechal he was introduced to
Villebois, the Grand Master of Artillery, and by him
presented to the Empress. St. Pierre was so hand-
some, that by some of his friends it was supposed -
perhaps too, hoped, that he would supersede


Orloff in the favor of Catherine. But more honor-
able illusions, though they were but illusions, occu-
pied his own mind. He neither sought nor wished
to captivate the Empress. His ambition was to
establish a republic on the shores of the lake Aral,
of which, in imitation of Plato or Rousseau, he was
to be the legislator. Pre-occupied with the reforma-
tion of despotism, he did not sufficiently look into
his own heart, or seek to avoid a repetition of the
same errors that had already changed friends into
enemies, and been such a terrible barrier to his suc-
cess in life. His mind was already morbid, and in
fancying that others did not understand him, he for-
got that he did not understand others. The Em-
press, with the rank of captain, bestowed on him a
grant of 1,500 francs; but when General Dubosquet
proposed to take him with him to examine the mili-
tary position of Finland, his only anxiety seemed to
be to return to France: still he went to Finland;
and his own notes of his occupations and experi-
ments on that expedition prove that he gave himself
up in all diligence to considerations of attack and
defence. He, who loved Nature so intently, seems
only to have seen in the extensive and majestic
forests of the North a theatre of war. In this in-
stance, he appears to have stifled every emotion of
admiration, and to have beheld alike cities and coun-
tries in his character of military surveyor.
On his return to St. Petersburg, he found his pro-
tector, Villebois, disgraced. St. Pierre then resolved
on espousing the cause of the Poles. He went into
Poland with a high reputation, that of having


refused the favors of despotism, to aid the cause of
liberty. But it was his private life, rather than his
public career, that was affected by his residence in
Poland. The Princess Mary fell in love with him,
and, forgetful of all considerations, quitted her family
to reside with him. Yielding, however, at length,
to the entreaties of her mother, she returned to her
home. St. Pierre, filled with regret, resorted to
Vienna; but, unable to support the sadness which
oppressed him, and imagining that sadness to be
shared by the Princess, he soon went back to Poland.
His return was still more sad than his departure, for
he found himself regarded by her who had once loved
him as an intruder. It is to this attachment he
alludes so touchingly in one of his letters. Adieu!
friends dearer than the treasures of India! Adieu !
forests of the North, that I shall never see again! -
tender friendship, and the still dearer sentiment
which surpassed it! days of intoxication and of
happiness, adieu! adieu! We live but for a day, to
die during a whole life! "
This letter appears to one of St. Pierre's most par-
tial biographers as if steeped in tears ; and he speaks
of his romantic and unfortunate adventure in Poland
as the ideal of a poet's love.
"To be," says M. Sainte-Beuve, "a great poet,
and loved before he had thought of glory To ex-
hale the first perfume of a soul of genius, believing
himself only a lover! To reveal himself, for the first
time, entirely, but in mystery !"
In his enthusiasm, M. Sainte-Beuve loses sight of
the melancholy sequel, which must have left so sad a


remembrance in St. Pierre's own mind. His suffer-
ing from this circumstance may perhaps have con-
duced to his making Virginia so good and true, and
so incapable of giving pain.
In 1766 he returned to Havre; but his relations
were by this time dead or dispersed, and after six
years of exile, he found'himself once more in his own
country, without employment, and destitute of pecu-
niary resources.
The Baron de Breteuil at length obtained for him
a commission as engineer to the Isle of France,
whence he returned in 1771. In this interval his
heart and imagination doubtless received the germs
of his immortal works. Many of the events, indeed,
of the Voyage A 1'Ile de France," are to be found
modified by imagined circumstances in Paul and
Virginia." He returned to Paris poor in purse, but
rich in observations and mental resources, and
resolved to devote himself to literature. By the
Baron de Breteuil he was recommended to D'Alem-
bert, who procured a publisher for his "Voyage,"
and also introduced him to Mile. de 1'Espinasse.
But no one, in spite of his great beauty, was so ill
calculated to shine or please in society as St. Pierre.
His manners were timid and embarrassed, and, unless
to those with whom he was very intimate, he scarcely
appeared intelligent.
It is sad to think that misunderstanding should
prevail to such an extent, and heart so seldom really
speak to heart, in the intercourse of the world, that
the most humane may appear cruel, and the sympa-
thizing indifferent. Judging of Mile. de PEspinasse


from her letters, and the testimony of her contem-
poraries, it seems quite impossible that she could
have given pain to any one, more particularly to a
man possessing St. Pierre's extraordinary talent and
profound sensibility. Both she and D'Alembert
were capable of appreciating him; but the society in
which they moved laughed at his timidity, and the
tone of raillery in which they often indulged was not
understood by him. It is certain that he withdrew
from their circle with wounded and mortified feelings,
and, in spite of an explanatory letter from D'Alem-
bert, did not return to it. The inflicters of all
this pain, in the meantime, were possibly as un-
conscious of the meaning attached to their words
as were the birds of old of the augury drawn from
their flight.
St. Pierre, in his Pr6ambule de l'Arcadie," has
pathetically and eloquently described the deplorable
state of his health and feelings, after frequent hu-
miliating disputes and disappointments had driven
him from society; or rather, when, like Rousseau, he
was self-banished from it. "I was struck," he says,
"with an extraordinary malady. Streams of fire,
like lightning, flashed before my eyes: every object
appeared to me double or in motion: like CEdipus,
I saw two suns In the finest day of summer, I
could not cross the Seine in a boat without experi-
encing intolerable anxiety. If, in a public garden, I
merely passed by a piece of water, I suffered from
spasms and a feeling of horror. I could not cross a
garden in which many people were collected: if they
looked at me, I immediately imagined they were


speaking ill of me." It was during this state of suf-
fering that he devoted himself with ardor to collect-
ing and making use of materials for that work which
was to give glory to his name.
It was only by perseverance, and disregarding
many rough and discouraging receptions, that he
succeeded in making acquaintance with Rousseau,
whom he so much resembled. St. Pierre devoted
himself to his society with enthusiasm, visiting him
frequently and constantly, till Rousseau departed
for Ermenonville. It is not unworthy of remark that
both these men, such enthusiastic admirers of Nature
and the natural in all things, should have possessed
factitious rather than practical virtue, and a wisdom
wholly unfitted for the world. St. Pierre asked Rous-
seau, in one of their frequent rambles, if, in delineat-
ing St. Preux, he had not intended to represent him-
self. "No," replied Rousseau, "St. Preux is not
what I have been, but what I wished to be." St.
Pierre would most likely have given the same answer
had a similar question been put to him with regard
to the Colonel in Paul and Virginia." This, at least,
appears the sort of old age he loved to contemplate
and wished to realize.
For six years he worked at his Etudes," and
with some difficulty found a publisher for them. M.
Didot, a celebrated typographer, whose daughter St.
Pierre afterwards married, consented to print a man-
uscript which had been declined by many others.
He was well rewarded for the undertaking. The
success of the Etudes de la Nature surpassed the
most sanguine expectation, even of the author. Four


years after its publication, St. Pierre gave to the
world Paul and Virginia," which had for some time
been lying in his portfolio. He had tried its effect,
in manuscript, on persons of different characters and
pursuits. They had given it no applause, but all had
shed tears at its perusal; and perhaps few works of
a decidedly romantic character have ever been so gen-
erally read, or so much approved. Among the great
names whose admiration of it is on record, may be
mentioned Napoleon and Humboldt.
In 1789 he published Les Voeux d'un Solitaire"
and La Suite des Vmux." By the Moniteur of the
day these works were compared to the celebrated
pamphlet of Si6yes, Qu'est-ce que le tiers 6tat? "
which then absorbed all the public favor. In 1791
" La Chaumiere Indienne" was published; and in the
following year, about thirteen days before the cele-
brated Ioth of August, Louis XVI. appointed St.
Pierre Superintendent of the "Jardin des Plantes."
Soon afterwards the King, on seeing him, compli-
mented him on his writings, and told him he was
happy to have found a worthy successor to Buffon.
Although deficient in exact knowledge of the sci-
ences, and knowing little of the world, St. Pierre
was, by his simplicity and the retirement in which he
lived, well suited, at that epoch, to the situation.
About this time, and when in his fifty-seventh year,
he married Mlle. Didot.
In 1795 he became a member of the French
Academy, and, as was just, after his acceptance of
this honor, he wrote no more against literary socie-
ties. On the suppression of his place. he retired to


Essonne. It is delightful to follow him there, and
to contemplate his quiet existence. His days flowed
on peaceably, occupied in the publication of Les
Harmonies de la Nature," the republication of his
earlier works, and the composition of some lesser
pieces. He himself affectingly regrets an interrup-
tion to these occupations. On being appointed In-
structor to the Normal School, he says, "I am
obliged to hang my harp on the willows of my river,
and to accept an employment useful to my family and
my country. I am afflicted at having to suspend an
occupation which has given me so much happiness."
He enjoyed, in his old age, a degree of opulence,
which, as much as glory, had perhaps been the ob-
ject of his ambition. In any case, it is gratifying to
reflect, that after a life so full of chance and change,
he was, in his latter years, surrounded by much that
should accompany old age. His day of storms and
tempests was closed by an evening of repose and
Amid many other blessings, the elasticity of his
mind was preserved to the last, He died at Eragny
sur POise, on the 21st of January, 1814. The sth-
ring events which then occupied France, or rather
the whole world, caused his death to be little noticed
at the time. The Academy did not, however, neglect
to give him the honors due to its members. Mons.
Parseval Grand Maison pronounced a deserved
eulogium on his talents, and Mons. Aignan, also, the
customary tribute, taking his seat as his successor.
Having himself contracted the habit of confiding
his griefs and sorrows to the public, the sanctuary of


his private life was open alike to the discussion of
friends and enemies. The biographer who wishes to
be exact, and yet set down naught in malice, is forced
to the contemplation of his errors. The secret of
many of these, as well as of his miseries, seems
revealed by himself in this sentence:
I experience more pain from a single thorn than
pleasure from a thousand roses." And elsewhere,
" The best society seems to me bad, if I find in it
one troublesome, wicked, slanderous, envious, or per-
fidious person." Now, taking into consideration that
St. Pierre sometimes imagined persons who were
really good to be deserving of these strong and very
contumelious epithets, it would have been difficult
indeed to find a society in which he could have been
happy. He was, therefore, wise in seeking retire-
ment, and indulging in solitude. His mistakes, -
for they were mistakes, -arose from a too quick
perception of evil, united to an exquisite and diffuse
sensibility. When he felt wounded by a thorn, he
forgot the beauty and perfume of the rose to which
it belonged, and from which, perhaps, it could not be
separated. And he was exposed (as often happens)
to the very description of trials that were least in
harmony with his defects. Few dispositions could
have run a career like his, and have remained un-
scathed. But one less tender than his own would
have been less soured by it. For many years he
bore about with him the consciousness of unacknowl-
edged talent. The world cannot be blamed for not
appreciating that which had never been revealed.
But we know not what the jostling and elbowing of


that world, in the meantime, may have been to him
-how often he may have felt himself unworthily
treated, or how far that treatment may have preyed
upon and corroded his heart. Who shall say that
with this consciousness there did not mingle a quick
and instinctive perception of the hidden motives of
action- that he did not sometimes detect, where
others might have been blinded, the undershuffling
of the hands in the by-play of the world?
Through all his writings, and throughout his cor-
respondence, there are beautiful proofs of the tender-
ness of his feelings, the most essential quality,
perhaps, in any writer. It is at least one that, if not
possessed, can never be attained. The familiarity
of his imagination with natural objects, when he was
living far removed from them, is remarkable, and
often affecting.
He returned to this country, so fondly loved and
deeply cherished in absence, to experience only
trouble and difficulty. Away from it, he had yearned
to behold it, to fold it, as it were, once more to his
bosom. He returned to feel as if neglected by it,
and all his rapturous emotions were changed to bit-
terness and gall. His hopes had proved delusions
-his expectations, mockeries. Oh! who but must
look with charity and mercy on all discontent and
irritation consequent on such a depth of disappoint-
ment on what must have then appeared to him
such unmitigable woe Under the influence of these
saddened feelings, his thoughts flew back to the
island he had left, to place all beauty, as well as all
happiness, there!


One great proof that he did beautify the distant
may be found in the contrast of some of the descrip-
tions in the "Voyage P1'Ile de France," and those
in "Paul and Virginia." That spot which, when
peopled by the cherished creatures of his imagination,
he described as an enchanting and delightful Eden,
he had previously spoken of as a rugged country,
covered with rocks," a land of Cyclops blackened
by fire." Truth, probably, lies between the two
representations; the sadness of exile having dark-
ened the one, and the exuberance of his imagination
embellished the other.
St. Pierre's merit as an author has been too long
and too universally acknowledged to make it needful
that it should be dwelt on here. A careful review of
the circumstances of his life induces the belief that
his writings grew (if it may be permitted so to
speak) out of his life. In his most imaginative pas-
sages, to whatever height his fancy soared, the
starting-point seems ever from a fact. The past
appears to have been always spread out before him
when he wrote, like a beautiful landscape, on which
his eye rested with complacency, and from which his
mind transferred and idealized some objects without
a servile imitation of any. When at Berlin, he had
had it in his power to marry Virginia Tanbenheim;
and in Russia, Mlle. de la Tour, the niece of General
Dubosquet, would have accepted his hand. He was
too poor to marry either. A grateful recollection
caused him to bestow the names of the two on his
most beloved creation. Paul was the name of a friar
with whom he had associated in his childhood, and


whose life he wished to imitate. How little had the
owners of these names anticipated that they were to
become the baptismal appellations of half a genera-
tion in France, and to be re-echoed through the
world to the end of time !
In Paul and Virginia he was supremely fortu-
nate in his subject. It was an entirely new creation,
uninspired by any previous work, but which gave
birth to many others, having furnished the plot to
six theatrical pieces. It was a subject to which the
author could bring all his excellences as a writer and
a man; while his deficiencies and defects were neces-
sarily excluded. In no manner could he incorporate
politics, science, or misapprehension of persons,
while his sensibility, morals, and wonderful talent for
description, were in perfect accordance with, and
ornaments to it. Lemontey and Sainte-Beuve both
consider success to have been inseparable from the
happy selection of a story so entirely in harmony
with the character of the author; and that the most
successful writers might envy him so fortunate a
choice. Bonaparte was in the habit of saying, when-
ever he saw St. Pierre, "M. Bernardin, when do you
mean to give us more Pauls and Virginias, and Indian
Cottages? You ought to give us some every six
The Indian Cottage," if not quite equal in inter-
est to "Paul and Virginia," is still a charming pro-
duction, and does great honor to the genius of its
author. It abounds in antique and Eastern gems of
thought. Striking and excellent comparisons are
scattered through its pages; and it is delightful to


reflect that the following beautiful and solemn answer
of the Paria was, with St. Pierre, the result of his
own experience: "Misfortune resembles the Black
Mountain of Bember, situated at the extremity of the
burning kingdom of Lahore; while you are climbing
it, you only see before you barren rocks; but when
you have reached its summit, you see heaven above
your head, and at your feet the kingdom of Cache-
When this passage was written, the rugged and
sterile rock had been climbed by its gifted author.
He had reached the summit, his genius had been
rewarded, and he himself saw the heaven he wished
to point out to others.
For the facts contained in this brief Memoir the
writer is indebted to St. Pierre's own works, to the
" Biographies Universelle," to the Essai sur la Vie
et les Ouvrages de Bernardin de St. Pierre," by M.
Aim6 Martin, and to the very excellent and interest-
ing Notice Historique et Litt6raire of M. Sainte-


I PROJECTED a very grand design in this little book.
I undertook to describe in it a soil and a vegetation
different from those in Europe. Our poets have long
enough placed their lovers on the borders of streams,
in meadows, and beneath leafy beech-trees. I have
chosen to seat them by the margin of the sea, at the
foot of the rocks, beneath the shade of cocoanut-
trees, banana-trees, and flowering lemon-trees. A
Theocritus and a Virgil are only needed in the other
hemisphere to give us scenes at least as interesting
as those in our own land. I am aware that travellers
of fine taste have given us charming descriptions of
many islands of the southern seas; but the manners
of their inhabitants, and still more those of the
Europeans who land there, spoil the landscape. I
wished to unite with the beauties of Nature in the
tropics, the moral beauty of a little community. I
purposed also to bring out many grand truths, and
this amongst others : that our happiness consists in
living according to the dictates of Nature and Virtue.


Nevertheless there has been no need for me to go to
fiction for my description of such happy families. I
can assert that those of whom I write actually ex-
isted; and that their history is true in its principal
incidents. This has been certified by many residents
known to me in the Isle of France. I have only
filled in some unimportant details, but which being
personal to myself have still the stamp of reality.
When several years ago I drew out a very imperfect
sketch of this kind of pastoral, I requested a lady
well known in society, and several grave signiors who
lived far away from the great world, to come and hear
it read, so that I might estimate the effect the tale
would produce upon readers of such completely op-
posite characters. I had the satisfaction to see them
shed tears. This was the only criticism I could ob-
tain from them, and that was all I desired to know.
But as a great vice often follows a little talent, this
success inspired me with the conceit to call my work
the Picture of Nature." Fortunately I recollected
how great a stranger I was to Nature, even in my.
native land, and in countries wherein I had merely
seen her productions en voyageur, how rich, how
varied, beautiful, wonderful, and mysterious she is;
and how devoid I was of talent, taste, and mode of
expression to appreciate and to describe her! I
drew back into my shell again. Thus it happens that
I have included this feeble attempt under the name
and in the set of my Studies of Nature, which the
public have received so kindly; so that this title,
while recalling my incapacity, will always be a
memorial of their indulgence.


k '.


SITUATE on the eastern side 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. These ruins
are not far from 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, whence the eye marks the dis-
tant sail when it first touches the verge of the hori-
zon, 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 middle of a spacious plain; and the
prospect terminates in a forest extending to the far-
thest 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 surface of
which appear a few uninhabited islands; and, among
others, the Point of Endeavor, which resembles a
bastion built upon the flood.
At the entrance of the valley which presents these
various objects, the echoes of the mountain inces-
santly repeat the hollow murmurs of the winds that
shake the neighboring forests, and the tumultuous
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
colors 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 pro-
found silence. The waters, the air, all the elements
are at peace. Scarcely does the echo repeat the
whispers of the palm-trees, spreading their broad
leaves, the long points of which are gently agitated
by the winds. A soft light illumines the bottom of
this deep valley, on which the sun shines only at


noon. But, even at break of day, the rays of light
are thrown on the surrounding rocks; and their
sharp peaks, rising above the shadows of the moun-
tain, appear like tints of gold and purple gleaming
upon the azure sky.
To this scene I loved to resort, as I could here
enjoy at once the richness of an unbounded land-
scape, and the charm of uninterrupted solitude. One
day, when I was seated at the foot of the cottages,
and contemplating their ruins, a man, advanced in
years, passed near the spot. He 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 countenance 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 on which 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 families,
who then found happiness in this solitude. Their
history is affecting; but what European, pursuing his
way to the Indies, will pause one moment to interest
himself in the fate of a few obscure individuals?
What European can picture happiness to his imagina-
tion 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 man-


ner 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 pleas-
ure 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 recall the images of
the past, thus began his narration: -
Monsieur de la Tour, a young man, who was a na-
tive 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. He
brought hither a young woman whom he loved ten-
derly, and by whom he was no less tenderly
beloved. She belonged to a rich and ancient
family of the same province; but he had married her
secretly and without fortune, and in opposition to the
will of her relations, who refused their consent be-
cause 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 Madagascar, in order to purchase a few slaves, to
assist him in forming a plantation in this island. He
landed at Madagascar during that unhealthy season
which commences about the middle of October; and
soon after his arrival died of the pestilential fever
which prevails in that island 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, as commonly happens to per-
sons dying in foreign parts; and
1 ;- ;ri ..h.. i .,- it.-.gnant,
S" I !i -r' ., ;,I., in a
~ ,_..,u ,itL ,' '.. -.r i,. h a d
t' i a d no
S:-il t i,' i-:' .- ssion,
S., r.atlir sup-
i.rt. but one
.' "- n an.
-- "i:. d ,:l.l;cate
ff i pro-


tection or relief from any one else 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 subsistence. Desert as was
the island, and the ground left to the choice of
the settler, she avoided those spots which were
most fertile and most favorable to commerce:
seeking some nook of the mountain, some secret
asylum where she might live solitary and unknown,
she bent her way from the town towards these
rocks, where she might conceal herself from obser-
vation. All sensitive and suffering creatures, from
a sort of common instinct, fly for refuge amidst
their pains to haunts the most wild 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 ask 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 for a year by a young woman
of a lively, good-natured, and affectionate disposi-
tion. Margaret (for that was her name) was born in
Brittany of a family of peasants, by whom she was
cherished and beloved, and with whom she might
have passed through 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
neighborhood, who promised her marriage. He soon
abandoned her, and adding inhumanity to seduction,
refused to insure a provision for the child of which
she was pregnant. Margaret then determined to
leave forever her native village, and retire, 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 cultivated a little corner of this dis-
Madame de la Tour, followed by her negro woman,
came to this spot, where she found Margaret en-
gaged in suckling her child. Soothed and charmed
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. Margaret was deeply affected by the recital;
and, more anxious to merit confidence than to create
esteem, she confessed, without disguise, the errors
of which she had been guilty. As for me," 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 by this tender recep-
tion, pressed her in her arms, and exclaimed, "Ah!
surely Heaven has put an end to my misfortunes,
since it inspires you, to whom I am a stranger, with
more goodness towards me than I have ever experi-
enced from my own relations! "
I was acquainted with Margaret; and, although
my habitation is a league and a half from hence, in
the woods behind that sloping mountain, I consid-
ered myself as her neighbor. In the cities of
Europe, a street, even a simple wall, frequently pre-
vents members of the same family from meeting for
years; but in new colonies we consider those persons
as neighbors 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, vicinity alone gave a claim to friendship, and
hospitality toward strangers seemed less a duty than
a pleasure. No sooner was I informed that Margaret
had found a companion than I hastened to her, in
the hope of being useful to my neighbor and her
guest. I found Madame de la Tour possessed of all
those melancholy graces which, by blending sympa-


thy with admiration, give to beauty additional power.
Her countenance was interesting, expressive at once
of dignity and dejection. She appeared to be in the
last stage of her pregnancy. I told the two friends
that, for the future interests of their children, and to
prevent the intrusion of any other settler, they had
better 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 of land. One in-
cluded the higher part of this enclosure, from the
cloudy pinnacle of that rock, whence springs the
river of Fan-Palms, to that precipitous cleft which
you see on the summit of the mountain, and which,
from its resemblance in form to the battlement of a
fortress, is called the Embrasure. It is difficult to
find a path along this wild portion of the enclosure,
the soil of which is encumbered with fragments of
rock, or worn into channels formed by torrents; yet
it produces noble trees and innumerable springs and
rivulets. The other portion of land comprised the
plain extending along the banks of the river of Fan-
Palms, to the opening where we are now seated,
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 weather is so hard and unyielding
that it will almost resist the stroke of the pickaxe.
When I had thus divided the property, I persuaded
my neighbors to draw lots for their respective posses-


sions. The higher portion of land, containing the
source of the river of Fan-Palms, became the prop-
erty of Madame de la Tour; the lower, comprising
the plain on the banks of the river, was allotted to
Margaret; and each seemed satisfied with her share.
They entreated me to place their habitations to-
gether, that they might at all times enjoy the sooth-
ing 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 boun-
dary of her own plantation. Close to that spot I
built another cottage for the residence of Madame
de la Tour; and thus the two friends, while they
possessed all the advantages of neighborhood, lived
on their own property. I myself cut palisades from
the mountain, and brought leaves
-.' ~ nf fin-pmlmc from thp ceqhinre,
.Ih' ._ i',I I .r ,., .. ,. l >t tlit, e

*S. \ )

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 friend-
ship, as if to perpetuate my regrets to the last hour
of my existence.
As soon as the second cottage was finished,
Madame 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."
About the time Madame de la Tour recovered,
these two little estates had already begun to yield
some produce, perhaps in a small degree owing to
the care which I occasionally bestowed on their im-
provement, but far more to the indefatigable labors
of the two slaves. Margaret's slave, who was called
Domingo, was still healthy and robust, though
advanced in years: he possessed some knowledge,
and a good natural understanding. He cultivated
indiscriminately, on both plantations, the spots of
ground that seemed 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 cucumbers at the foot of the
rocks, which they loved to climb, 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. His plantain-
trees, which spread their grateful shade on the banks
of the river, and encircled the cottages, yielded fruit
throughout the year. And, lastly, Domingo, to
soothe his cares, cultivated a few plants of tobacco.
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. The zeal which inspired him enabled him to
perform all these labors with intelligence and activity.
He was much attached to Margaret, and not less to
Madame de la Tour, whose negro woman, Mary, he
had married on the birth of Virginia; and he was
passionately fond of his wife. Mary was born at
Madagascar, and had there acquired the knowledge
of some useful arts. 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,
to sell the superfluous produce of these little planta-
tions, which was not, however, very considerable. If
you add to the personages already mentioned two
goats, which were brought up with the children, and
a great dog, which kept watch at night, you will have
a complete idea of the household, as well as of the
productions, of these two little farms.
Madame de la Tour and her friend were constantly
employed in spinning cotton for the use of their
families. Destitute of everything which their own


industry could not supply, at home they went bare-
footed: shoes were a convenience reserved for Sun-
day, on which day, at an early hour, they attended
mass at the church of the Shaddock Grove, which
you see yonder. That church was more distant from

1: .

their homes than Port Louis; but they seldom vis-
ited the town, lest they should be treated with con-
tempt on account of their dress, which consisted
simply of the coarse blue linen of Bengal, usually
worn by slaves. But is there in that external defer-
ence which fortune commands, a compensation for
domestic happiness ? If these interesting women had
something to suffer from the world, their homes on
that very account became more dear to them. No
sooner did Mary and Domingo, from this elevated
spot, perceive their mistresses 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 the joy
which their return excited. They found in their re-
treat neatness, independence, all the blessings which
are the recompense of toil, and they received the
zealous services which spring from affection. United
by the tie of similar wants and the sympathy of sim-
ilar misfortunes, they gave each other the tender
names of companion, friend, sister. They had but
one will, one interest, one table. All their posses-
sions 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 another life: as the trembling flame rises
towards heaven, when it no longer finds any aliment
on earth.
The duties of maternity became a source of addi-
tional happiness to these affectionate mothers, whose
mutual friendship gained new strength at the sight of
their children, equally the offspring of an ill-fated
attachment. They delighted in washing their in-
infants together in the same bath, in putting them to
rest in the same cradle, and in changing the mater-
nal bosom at which they received nourishment.
"My friend," cried Madame de la Tour, we shall
each of us have two children, and each of our chil-
dren will have two mothers." As two buds which
remain on different 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 these

' .. .. THECHI-4 D _E '' B TH



two infants, deprived of all their other relations,
when thus exchanged for nourishment by those who
had given them birth, imbibed feelings of affection
still more tender than those of son and daughter,
brother and sister. While they were yet in their
cradles, their mothers talked of their marriage.
They soothed their own cares by looking forward to
the future happiness of their children; but this con-
templation often drew forth their tears. The mis-
fortunes of one mother had arisen from having
neglected marriage; those of the other from having
submitted to its laws: one had suffered by aiming to
rise above her condition, the other by descending
from her rank. But they found consolation in reflect-
ing that their more fortunate children, far from the
cruel prejudices of Europe, would enjoy at once the
pleasures of love and the blessings of equality.
Rarely, indeed, has such an attachment been seen
as that which the two children already testified for
each other. If Paul complained of anything, his
mother pointed to Virginia; at her sight he smiled,
and was appeased. If any accident befel Virginia,
the cries of Paul gave notice of the disaster; but
the dear little creature would suppress her complaints
if she found that he was unhappy, When I came
hither, I usually found them quite naked, as is the
custom of the country, tottering in their walk, and
holding each other by the hands, and under the arms,
as we see represented 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
learned to give each other were those of brother and
sister, and childhood knows no softer appellation.

. .- ..- .. ; i,,': .

_o I [a '
y-. _..

Their education, by directing them ever to consider
each other's wants, tended greatly to increase their
affection. In a short time, all the household econ-
omy, the care of preparing their rural repasts, be-
came the task of Virginia, whose labors were always
crowned with the praises and kisses of her brother.
As for Paul, always in motion, he dug the garden with
Domingo, or followed him with a little hatchet into
the woods; and if, in his rambles, he espied a beau-
tiful flower, any delicious fruit, or a nest of birds,
even at the top of a tree, he would climb up, and
bring the spoil to his sister. When you met one of
these children, you might be sure the other was not
far off.


One day, as I was coming down that mountain, I
saw Virginia at the end of the garden, running
towards the house with her petticoat thrown over
her head in order to screen herself from a shower of
At a distance, I thought she was alone; but as I
hastened towards her in order to help her on, I per-

i-' a .. .- .. -

ceived that she held Paul by the arm, almost entirely
enveloped in the same canopy, and both were laugh-
ing heartily at their being sheltered together under
an umbrella of their own invention. These two
charming faces, in the middle of the swelling petti-
coat, recalled to my mind the children of Leda, en-
closed in the same shell.


Their sole study was how they could please and
assist one another; for of all other things they were
ignorant, and indeed could neither read nor write.
They were never disturbed by inquiries about past
times, nor did their curiosity extend beyond the
bounds of their mountain. They believed the world
ended at the shores of their own island, and all their
ideas and all their affections were confined within its
limits. Their mutual tenderness, and that of their
mothers, employed all the energies of their minds.
Their tears had never been called forth by tedious
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 not to steal, because everything
with them was in common; or not to be intemperate,
because their simple food was left to their own dis-
cretion; or not to lie, because they had nothing 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 tenderness.
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 hearts purified by virtuous affec-
tions. All their early childhood passed thus, like a
beautiful dawn, the prelude of a bright day. Already
they assisted their mothers in the duties of the
household. As soon as the crowing 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 gilded
the points of the rocks which overhang the enclosure
in which they lived, Margaret and her child repaired
to the d ..i -n of Madame de la Tour, where they
offered up their morning prayer together. This
sacrifice of thanksgiving always preceded their first
repast, which they often took before the door of the
cottage, seated upon the grass, under a canopy of
plantain: and while the branches of that delicious
tree afforded a grateful shade, its fruit furnished a
substantial food ready prepared for them by nature;
and its long glossy leaves, spread upon the table,
supplied the place of linen. Plentiful and whole-
some nourishment gave early growth and vigor to
the persons of these children, and their countenances
expressed the purity and the 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 vivacity when she spoke; but when she was
silent they were habitually turned upwards, with an
expression of extreme sensibility, or rather of tender
melancholy. The figure of Paul began already to
display the graces of youthful 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 imparted to them an ex-
pression of softness. He was constantly in motion,


except when his sister appeared, and then, seated by
her side, he became still, Their meals often passed
without a word being spoken; and from their silence,
the simple elegance
of their attitudes,
and the beauty of

you might have
fancied you beheld
.. an antique group of
white marble,repre-
senting some of the
children of Niobe,
S but for the glances
S of their eyes, which
S were constantly
I seeking to meet,
S- and their mutual
Soft and tender
smiles, which sug-
gested rather the
idea of happy celes-
tial spirits, whose
nature is love, and
who are not obliged to have recourse to words for
the expression of their feelings.
In the mean time Madame de la Tour, perceiving
every day some -,. -.-i;, grace, some new beauty, in
her daughter, felt her maternal anxiety increase with
her tenderness. She often said to me, If I were
to die, what will become of Virginia without for-


Madame de la Tour had an aunt in France, who
was a woman of quality, rich, old, and a complete
devotee. She had behaved with so much cruelty
towards her niece upon her marriage, that Madame
de la Tour had determined no extremity of distress
should ever compel her to have recourse to her hard-
hearted relation. But when she became a mother,
the pride of resentment was overcome by the stronger
feelings of maternal tenderness. She wrote to her
aunt, informing her of the sudden death of her hus-
band, the birth of her daughter, and the difficulties
in which she was involved, burthened as she was with
an infant and without means of support. She
received no answer; but, notwithstanding the high
spirit natural to her character, she no longer feared
exposing herself to mortification; and although she
knew her aunt would never pardon her for having
married a man who was not of noble birth, however
estimable, she continued to write to her, with the
hope of awakening her compassion for Virginia.
Many years, however, passed without receiving any
token of her remembrance.
At length, in 1738, three years after the arrival of
Monsieur de la Bourdonnais in this island, Madame
de la Tour was informed that the Governor had a let-
ler to give her from her aunt. She flew to Port
Louis: maternal joy raised her mind above all trifling
considerations, and she was careless on this occasion
of appearing in her homely attire. Monsieur de la
Bourdonnais gave her a letter from her aunt, in
which she informed her that she deserved her fate
for marrying an adventurer and a libertine; that the


passions brought with them their own punishment;
that the premature death of her husband was a just
visitation from heaven; that she had done well in
going to a distant island, rather than dishonor her
family by remaining in France; and that, after all,
in the colony where she had taken refuge, none but
the idle failed to grow rich. Having thus censured
her niece, she concluded by eulogizing herself. To
avoid, she said, the almost inevitable evils of mar-
riage, she had determined to remain single. In fact,
as she was of a very ambitious disposition, she had
resolved to marry none but a man of high rank; but
although she was very rich, her fortune was not
found a sufficient bribe, even at court, to counterbal-
ance the malignant dispositions of her mind, and the
disagreeable qualities of her person.
After mature deliberation, she added, in a post-
script, that she had strongly recommended her niece
to Monsieur de la Bourdonnais. This she had indeed
done, but in a manner of late too common, which
renders a patron perhaps even more to be feared than
a declared enemy; for, in order to justify herself for
her harshness, she had cruelly slandered her niece,
while she affected to pity her misfortunes.
Madame de la Tour, whom no unprejudiced person
could have seen without feelings of sympathy and
respect, was received with the utmost coolness
by Monsieur de la Bourdonnais, biassed as he was
against her. When she painted to him her own sit-
uation, and that of her child, he replied in abrupt
sentences, We will see what can be done; there are
so many to relieve; all in good time. Why did you


displease your aunt? You have been much to
Madame de la Tour returned to her cottage, her
heart torn with grief, and filled with all the bitter-
ness of disappointment. When she arrived, she
threw her aunt's letter on the table, and exclaimed
to her friend, There is the fruit of eleven years of

patient expectation!" Madame de la Tour being
the only person in the little circle who could read, she
again took up the letter, and read it 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 hith-
erto been happy ? Why then this regret ? You have
no courage." Seeing Madame de la Tour in tears,


she threw herself upon her neck, and pressing her in
her arms, "My dear friend!" cried she, "my dear
friend !"- but her emotion choked her utterance.
At this sight Virginia burst into tears, and pressed
her mother's and Margaret's hands alternately to her
lips and heart; while Paul, his eyes inflamed with
anger, cried, clasped his hands together, and stamped
with his foot, not knowing whom to blame for this
scene of misery. The noise soon brought Domingo
and Mary to the spot, and the little habitation re-
sounded with cries of distress, "Ah, Madame My
good mistress My dear mother! Do not weep! "
These tender proofs of affection at length dispelled the
grief of Madame de la Tour. She took Paul and Vir-
ginia in her arms, and, embracing them, said, You
are the cause of my affliction, my children, but you
are also my only source of delight! Yes, my dear chil-
dren, misfortune has reached me, but only from a dis-
tance: here, I am surrounded with happiness." Paul
and Virginia did not understand this reflection; but,
when they saw that she was calm, they smiled, and
continued to caress her. Tranquillity was thus re-
stored in this happy family, and all that had passed
was but as a storm in the midst of fine weather, which
disturbs the serenity of the atmosphere but for a short
time, and then passes away.
The amiable disposition of these children unfolded
itself daily. One Sunday, at daybreak, their mothers
having gone to mass at the church of the Shaddock
Grove, the children perceived a negro woman be-
neath the plantains which surrounded their habita-
tion. She appeared almost wasted to a skeleton,


and had no other garment than a piece of coarse
cloth thrown around her. She threw herself at the
feet of Virginia, who was preparing the family break-
fast, and said, "My good young lady, have pity on
a poor runaway slave. For a whole month I have
wandered among 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 with 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 there are still some good white
people in this country, I need not die yet." Vir-
ginia answered with emotion, Take courage, unfor-
tunate creature here is something to eat; and she
gave her the breakfast she had been preparing, which
the slave in a few minutes devoured. When her
hunger was appeased, Virginia said to her, Poor
woman! I should like to 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-
woman, I will follow you where you please." Vir-
ginia 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, about the middle of the day, they reached
the foot of a steep descent upon the borders of the
Black River. There they perceived a well-built


house surrounded by extensive plantations, and a
number of slaves employed in their various labors.
Their master was walking among them with a pipe in
his mouth, and a switch in his hand. He was a tall,
thin man, of a brown complexion; his eyes were

sunk in his head, and his dark eyebrows were joined
in one. Virginia, 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 planter at first paid little
attention to the children, who, he saw, were meanly
dressed. But when he observed the elegance of



Virginia's form, and the profusion of her beautiful
light tresses, which had escaped from beneath her
blue cap; when he heard the soft tone of her voice,
which trembled, as well as her whole 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 love of
Heaven, but of her who asked his forgiveness. Vir-
ginia made a sign to the slave to approach her mas-
ter; and instantly sprang away, followed by Paul.
They climbed up the steep they had descended;
and having gained the summit, seated themselves at
the foot of a tree, overcome with fatigue, hunger, and
thirst. They had left their home fasting, and had
walked five leagues since sunrise. Paul said to Vir-
ginia, My dear sister, 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 wicked is like stones in the mouth.' -
" What shall we do then ?" said Paul; these trees
produce no fruit fit to eat; and I shall not be able to
find even a tamarind or a lemon to refresh you."-
" God will take care of us," replied Virginia; He
listens to the cry even of the little birds when they
ask Him for food." Scarcely had she pronounced
these words when they heard the noise of water fall-
ing from a neighboring rock. They ran thither, and
having quenched their thirst at this crystal spring,
they gathered and ate a few cresses which grew on


the border of the stream. Soon afterwards, while
they were wandering backwards and forwards in
search of more solid nourishment, Virginia per-
ceived in the thickest part of the forest, a young
palm-tree. The kind of cabbage which is found at
the top of the palm, infolded within its leaves, is
well adapted for food; but although the stalk of the
tree is not thicker than a man's leg, it grows to
above sixty feet in height. The wood of the tree,
indeed, is composed only of very fine filaments; but
the bark is so hard that it turns the edge of the
hatchet, and Paul was not furnished even 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 single flint. Necessity, how-
ever, is fertile in expedients, and the most useful in-
ventions 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, and which he held between his feet; he then,
with the edge of the same stone, brought to a point
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
point of contact. Paul then heaped together dried
grass and branches, and set fire to the foot of the


palm-tree, which soon fell to the ground with a
tremendous crash. The fire was further useful to
him in stripping off the long, thick, and pointed
leaves, within which the cabbage was enclosed.
Having thus succeeded in obtaining this fruit, they
ate part of it raw, and part dressed upon the ashes,
which they found equally palatable. They made this
frugal repast with delight, from the remembrance of
the benevolent action they had performed in the
morning: yet their joy was embittered by the
thoughts of the uneasiness which their long absence
from home would occasion their mothers.
Virginia often recurred to this subject: but Paul,
who felt his strength renewed by their meal, assured
her, that it would not be long before they reached
home, and, by the assurance of their safety, tranquil-
lized the minds of their parents.
After dinner they were much embarrassed by the
recollection that they had now 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 moun-
tain with its three points, which you see yonder.
Come, let us be moving." This mountain was that
of the Three Breasts, so called from the form of its
three peaks. They then descended the steep bank
of the Black River, on the northern side; and
arrived, after an hour's walk, on the banks of a large
river, which stopped their further progress. This
large portion of the island, covered as it is with for-
ests, is even now so little known, that many of its


rivers and mountains have not yet received a name.
The stream, on the banks of which Paul and Virginia
were now standing, rolls foaming over a bed of rocks.
The noise of the water frightened Virginia, and she
was afraid to wade through the current: Paul there-
fore 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 Virginia, I feel
very strong with you. If that planter at 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! Gracious heaven! How diffi-
cult it is to do good! and yet it is so easy to do
When Paul had crossed the river, he wished to
continue the journey carrying his sister; and he flat-
tered himself that he could ascend in that way the
mountain of the Three Breasts, which was still at
the distance of half a league; but his strength soon
failed, and he was obliged to set down his burthen,
and to rest himself by her side. Virginia then said
to him, My dear brother, the sun is going down;
you have still some strength left, but mine has quite
failed: do leave me here, and return home alone to
ease the fears of our mothers."-" Oh, no," said
Paul, I will not leave you. If night overtakes 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, she


gathered from the trunk of an old tree, which over-
hung the bank of the river, some long leaves of the
plant called hart's tongue, which grew near its root.
Of these leaves she made a
sort of buskin, with which
SI: .. .:d her feet, that were
,, ..l.!!. L from the sharpness
11- :i :ny paths; for, in her
-I .,: ire to do good, she
had forgotten to
put onhershoes.
Feeling her feet
cooled by the
T" ., freshness of the
leaves, she broke
off a branch of
WI bamboo, and
continued her
I. walk, leaning
with one hand
e w on the staff, and
with the other
on Paul.
in this manner
slowly through
the woods; but from the height of the trees, and the
thickness of their foliage, they soon lost sight of
the mountain of the Three Breasts, by which they
had hitherto directed their course, and also of the
sun, which was now setting. At length they wan-
dered, without perceiving it, from the beaten path in


which they had hitherto walked, and found them-
selves in a labyrinth of trees, underwood, and rocks,
whence there appeared to be no outlet. Paul made
Virginia sit down, while he ran backwards and for-
wards, half frantic, in search of a path which might lead
them out of this thick wood; but he fatigued himself
to no purpose. He then climbed to the top of a lofty
tree, whence he hoped at least to perceive the moun-
tain of the Three Breasts: but he could discern
nothing around him but the tops of trees, some of
which were gilded with the last beams of the setting
sun. Already the shadows of the mountains were
spreading over the forests in the valleys. The wind
lulled, as is usually the case at sunset.
The most profound silence reigned in those awful
solitudes, which was only interrupted by the cry of
the deer, who came to their lairs in that unfrequented
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 forest alone answered his call, and
repeated again and again Virginia Virginia!"
Paul at length descended from the tree, overcome
with fatigue and vexation. He looked around in
order to make some arrangement for passing the
night in that desert; but he could find neither foun-
tain nor palm-tree, nor even a branch of dry wood fit
for kindling a fire. He was then impressed, by expe-
rience, with the sense of his own weakness, and
began to weep. Virginia said to him, -" Do not
weep, my dear brother, or I shall be overwhelmed
with grief. I am the cause of all your sorrow, and


of all that our mothers are suffering at this moment.
I find we ought to do nothing, not even good, with-
out consulting our parents. Oh, I have been very
imprudent "- and she began to shed tears. Let
us pray to God, my dear brother," she again said,
" and He will hear us." They had scarcely finished
their prayer, when they heard the barking of a dog.
" It must be the dog of some hunter," said Paul,

"who comes here at night, to lie in wait for the
deer." Soon after, the dog began barking again
with increased violence. "Surely," said Virginia,
"it is Fiddle, our own dog: yes, -now I know his
bark. Are we then so near home?--at the foot of
our own mountain? A moment after, Fiddle was at
their feet, barking, howling, moaning, and devouring
them with his caresses. Before they could recover
from their surprise, they saw Domingo running
towards them. At the sight of the good old negro,


who wept for joy, they began to weep too, but had
not the power to utter a syllable. When Domingo
had recovered himself a little, Oh, my dear chil-
dren," said he, how miserable have you made your
mothers! How astonished they were, when they
returned with me from mass, on not finding you at
home. Mary, who was at work a little distance,
could not tell us where you were gone.
I ran backwards and forwards in the plantation,
not knowing where to look for you. At last I took
some of your old clothes, and showing them to
Fiddle, the poor animal, as if he understood me,
immediately began to scent your path; and conducted
me, wagging his tail all the while, to the Black River.
I there saw a planter, who told me you had brought
back a Maroon negro-woman, his slave, and that he
had pardoned her at your request. But what a par-
don! he showed her to me with her feet chained to a
block of wood, and an iron collar with three hooks
fastened round her neck After that, Fidele, still on
the scent, led me up the steep bank of the Black
River, where he again stopped, and barked with all
his might. This was on the brink of a spring, near
which was a fallen palm-tree, and a fire, still smok-
ing. At last he led me to this very spot. We are
now at the foot of the mountain of the Three
Breasts, and still four good leagues from home.
Come, eat, and recover your strength." Domingo
then presented them with a cake, some fruit, and a
large gourd, full of a beverage composed of wine,
water, lemon-juice, sugar, and nutmeg, which their
mothers had prepared to invigorate and refresh them.


Virginia sighed at the recollection of the poor slave,
and at the uneasiness they had given their mothers.
She repeated several times -
S0., 1,... t do

m .-I I, i, ,

found among the rocks a particular kind of twisted
wood, called bois de ronde, which burns when
quite green, and throws out a great blaze, he made
a torch of it, which he lighted. But when they
prepared to continue their journey, a new difficulty
occurred; Paul and Virginia could no longer walk,
occurred; P-aul and Virginia could no longer walk,


their feet being violently swollen and inflamed.
Domingo knew not what to do; whether to leave
them, and go in search of help, or remain and pass
the night with them on that spot. There was a
time," said he, "when I could carry you both
together 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 a
short distance from them. 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
wicked master: and we in return for this, will carry
you home upon our shoulders." He then made a
sign, and four of the strongest negroes immediately
formed a sort of litter with the branches of trees and
lianas, and having seated Paul and Virginia on it, car-
ried them upon their shoulders. Domingo marched
in front with his lighted torch, and they proceeded
amidst the rejoicings of the whole troop, who over-
whelmed them with their benedictions. Virginia,
affected by this scene, said to Paul, with emotion, -
" Oh, my dear brother! God never leaves a good
action unrewarded."
It was midnight when they arrived at the foot of
their mountain, on the ridges of which several fires
were lighted. As soon as they began to ascend, they
heard voices exclaiming, Is it you, my children ?"
They answered immediately, and the negroes also,
" Yes, yes, it is." A moment after they could dis-
tinguish their mothers and Mary coming towards


them with lighted sticks in their hands. Unhappy
children," cried Madame de la Tour, where have

you been? What agonies you have made us suffer!"
-"We have been," said Virginia, "to the Black
River, where we went to ask pardon for a poor
Maroon slave, to whom I gave our breakfast this

~~E : I
9; L~1T



morning, because she seemed dying of hunger; and
these Maroon 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, Now I
am repaid for all the hardships I have suffered."
Margaret, in a transport of delight, pressed Paul in
her arms, exclaiming,- And you also, my dear
child! you have done a good action." When they
reached the cottages with their children, they enter-
tained all the negroes with a plentiful repast, after
which the latter returned to their woods, praying
Heaven to shower down every description of blessing
on those good white people.
Every day was to these families a day of happi-
ness and of tranquillity. Neither ambition nor envy
disturbed their repose. They did not seek to obtain
a useless reputation out of doors, which may be pro-
cured by artifice, and lost by calumny; but were con-
tented to be the sole witnesses and judges of their
own actions. In this island, where, as is the case
in most colonies, scandal forms the principal topic of
conversation, their virtues, and even their names,
were unknown. The passer-by on the road to the
Shaddock Grove, indeed, would sometimes ask the
inhabitants of the plain, who lived in the cottages
up there ? and was always told, even by those who
did not know them, They are good people." The
modest violet thus, concealed in thorny places, sheds
all unseen its delightful fragrance around.
Slander, which, under an appearance of justice,
naturally inclines the heart to falsehood or to hatred,


was entirely banished from their conversation; for it
is impossible not to hate men if we believe them to
be wicked, or to live with the wicked without con-
cealing that hatred under a false pretence of good
feeling. Slander thus puts us ill at ease with others
and with ourselves. In this little circle, therefore,
the conduct of individuals was not discussed, but the
best manner of doing good to all; and although they
had but little in their power, their unceasing good-
will and kindness of heart made them constantly
ready to do what they could for others. Solitude, far
from having blunted these benevolent feelings, had
rendered their dispositions even more kindly. Al-
though the petty scandals of the day furnished no
subject of conversation to them, yet the contempla-
tion of nature filled their minds with enthusiastic
delight. They adored the bounty of that Providence,
which, by their instrumentality, had spread abun-
dance and beauty amid these barren rocks, and had
enabled them to enjoy those pure and simple pleas-
ures, which are ever grateful and ever new.
Paul, at twelve years of age, was stronger and
more intelligent than most European youths are at
fifteen; and the plantations, which Domingo merely
cultivated, were all embellished by him. He would
go with the old negro into the neighboring woods,
where he would root up the young plants of lemon,
orange, and tamarind trees, the round heads of
which are of so fresh a green, together with date-
palm trees, which produce fruit filled with a sweet
cream, possessing the fine perfume of the orange
flower. These trees, which had already attained to


a considerable size, he planted round their little en-
closure. He had also sown the seeds of many trees
which the second year bear flowers or fruit; such as
the agathis, encircled with long clusters of white
flowers, which hang from it like the crystal pendants
of a chandelier; the Persian lilac, which lifts high in
air its gray flax-colored branches; the papaw-tree,
the branchless trunk of which forms a column
studded with green melons, surmounted by a capital
of broad leaves similar to those of the fig-tree.
The seeds and kernels of the gum-tree, terminalia,
mango, alligator pear, the guava, the bread-fruit
tree, and the narrow-leaved rose-apple, were also
planted by him with profusion; and the greater num-
ber of these trees already afforded their young culti-
vator both shade and fruit. His industrious hands
diffused the riches of nature over even the most bar-
ren parts of the plantation. Several species of aloes,
the Indian fig, adorned with yellow flowers spotted
with red, and the thorny torch-thistle, grew upon the
dark summits of the rocks, and seemed to aim at
reaching the long lianas, which, laden with blue or
scarlet flowers, hung scattered over the steepest
parts of the mountain.
I loved to trace the ingenuity he had exercised in
the arrangement of these trees. He had so disposed
them that the whole could be seen at a single glance.
In the middle of the hollow he had planted shrubs
of the lowest growth; behind grew the more lofty
sorts ; then trees of the ordinary height; and beyond
and above all, the venerable and lofty groves which
border the circumference. Thus this extensive on


closure appeared, from its centre, like a verdant
amphitheatre decorated with fruits and flowers,
containing a variety of vegetables, some strips of
meadow-land, and fields of rice and corn. But, in
arranging these vegetable productions to his own
taste, he wandered not too far from the designs of
Nature. Guided by her suggestions, he had thrown
upon the elevated spots such seeds as the winds
would scatter about, and near the borders of the
springs those which float upon the water. Every
plant thus grew in its proper soil, and every spot
seemed decorated by Nature's own hand. The
streams which fell from the summits of the rocks
formed in some parts of the valley sparkling cas-
cades, and in others were spread into broad mirrors,
in which were reflected, set in verdure, the flower-
ing trees, the overhanging rocks, and the azure
Notwithstanding the great irregularity of the
ground, these plantations were, for the most part,
easy of access. We had, indeed, all given him our
advice and assistance, in order to accomplish this
He had conducted one path entirely round the
valley, and various branches from it led from the
circumference to the centre. He had drawn some
advantage from the most rugged spots, and had
blended, in harmonious union, level walks with the
inequalities of the soil, and trees which grow wild
with the cultivated varieties.
With that immense quantity of large pebbles which
now block up these paths, and which are scattered


over most of the ground of this island, he formed
pyramidal heaps here and there, at the base of which
he laid mould, and planted rose-bushes, the Barba-
does flower-fence, and other shrubs, which love to.
climb the rocks.
In a short time the dark and shapeless heaps of
stones he had constructed were covered with verdure,
or with the glowing tints of the most beautiful flow-
ers. Hollow recesses on the borders of the streams,
shaded by the overhanging boughs of aged trees,
formed rural grottos, impervious to the rays of the sun,
in which you might enjoy a refreshing coolness during
the mid-day heats. One path led to a clump of for-
est trees, in the centre of which, sheltered from the
wind, you found a fruit-tree, laden with produce.
Here was a corn-field; there, an orchard: from one
avenue you had a view of the cottages ; from another,
of the inaccessible summit of the mountain. Beneath
one tufted bower of gum-trees, interwoven with
lianas, no object whatever could be perceived: while
the point of the adjoining rock, jutting out from the
mountain, commanded a view of the whole enclo-
sure, and of the distant ocean, where, occasionally,
we could discern the distant sail, arriving from
Europe, or bound thither.
On this rock the two families frequently met in the
evening, and enjoyed in silence the freshness of the
flowers, the gentle murmurs of the fountains, and
the last blended harmonies of light and shade.
Nothing could be more charming than the names
which were bestowed upon some of the delightful
retreats of this labyrinth. The rock of which I have


been speaking, whence they could discern my ap-
proach at a considerable distance, was called the
Discovery of Friendship. Paul and Virginia had
amused them-
selves by plant-
S ing a bamboo on
Sr-^'. that spot; and
S whenever they
F saw me coming,
r, .' I,., _, I llrl.- .,lite handkerchief
I .;. -A'. ._ t' ),., approach, as they
:l i- 11.1-. i. .,: :,| on the neighbor-
,_ .' .,- -] -.,-i le : i ght of a vessel at
S f .. idea struck me of
I II.. i I r .i.. -i. n inscription on
j t- r ,-,!~ i .'t this reed; for I
S .'II-. ;. rile course of my
-': '*'" i. I. i : .I..rienced anything
cWI.-. tr~. : !.-asure in seeing a
r'i."iic .:-i .:-, her monument of
1.11,:,c1,r ir. as in reading a
..... :i!-1,rr, inscription. It
.1, -, .. imie as if a human
S.'.,:.... .-Il from the stone,
S ro,1 ,,ii.,'_- itself heard after
rl. l.,-- .-..t ages, addressed
man in the midst of a desert,
to tell him that he is not alone, and that other men,
on that very spot, had 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 strengthens the consciousness of
its immortality, by demonstrating that a thought has
survived the ruins of an empire.
I inscribed then, on the little staff of Paul and
Virginia's flag, the following lines of Horace: -
S. fratres Helene, lucida sidera,
Ventorumque regat pater,
Obstrictis aliis, prieter lapiga.
"May the brothers of Helen, bright stars like you, and
the Father of the winds, guide you; and may
you feel only the breath of the zephyr."

There was a gum-tree, under the shade of which
Paul was accustomed to sit to contemplate the sea
when agitated by storms.
On the bark of this tree I engraved the following
line from Virgil: -

Fortunatus et ille, Deos qui novit agrestes.
"Happy art thou, my son, in knowing only the
pastoral divinities."

And over the door of Madame de la Tour's cot-
tage, where the families so frequently met, I placed
this line: -
At secure quies, et nescia fallere vita.
Here dwell a calm conscience, and a life that knows
not deceit."

But Virginia did not approve of my Latin: she
said that what I had placed at the foot of her flag-
staff was too'long and learned.
I should have liked better," added she, to have
seen inscribed, EVER AGITATED, YET CONSTANT."-


" Such a motto," I answered, would have been still
more applicable to virtue." My reflection made her
The delicacy of sentiment of these happy families
was manifested in everything around them. They
gave the tenderest names to objects in appearance the
most indifferent.
A border of orange, plantain, and rose-apple trees,
planted round a green-sward where Paul and Vir-
ginia sometimes danced, received the name of Con-
cord. An old tree, beneath the shade of which
Madame de la Tour and Margaret used to recount
their misfortunes, was called The Burial-place of
Tears. They bestowed the names of Brittany and
Normandy on two little plots of ground, where they
had sown corn, strawberries, and pease.
Domingo and Mary, wishing, in imitation of their
mistresses, to recall to mind Angola and Foulle-
pointe, the places of their birth in Africa, gave those
names to the little fields where the grass was sown
with which they wove their baskets, and where they
had planted a calabash-tree.
Thus, by cultivating the productions of their re-
spective climates, these 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 these trees, these fountains, these heaps
of stones, which are now so completely overthrown
- which now, like the desolated plains of Greece,
present nothing but masses of ruin and affecting re-
membrances, all but called into life by the many
charming appellations thus bestowed upon them!


But perhaps the most delightful spot of this enclo-
sure was that called Virginia's Resting-place. At the
foot of the rock
which bore the
name of The Dis-
.,' ship is a small
crevice, whence
1, issues a foun-
tain, forming,
near its source,
a i Ilde spot of marshy
S:. t in the middle of a
Sfil:l of rich grass.
Sir t the time of Paul's
birtl I had made Mar-
i l.-.t a present of an
i,.Ilan cocoa which
SI.-,: been given me,
S!..l which she planted
ion he border of this
L, iy ground, in order
St o. the tree might one
S.:1.. serve to mark the
epoch of her son's
birth. Madame de la Tour planted another cocoa,
with the same view, at the birth of Virginia. These
nuts produced two cocoa-trees, which formed the
only records of the two families: one was called Paul's
tree, the other, Virginia's. Their growth was in the
same proportion as that of the two young persons,
not exactly equal; but they rose, at the end of twelve


years, above the roofs of the cottages. Already their
tender stalks were interwoven, and clusters of young
cocoas hung from them over the basin of the foun-
tain. With the exception of these two trees, this
nook of the rock was left as it had been decorated by
On its embrowned and moist sides broad plants of
maiden-hair glistened with their green and dark stars;
and tufts of wave-leaved hart's-tongue, suspended
like long ribands of purpled green, floated on the
wind. Near this grew a chain of the Madagascar
periwinkle, the flowers of which resembled the red
gillyflower; and the long-podded capsicum, the seed-
vessels of which are of the color of blood, and more
resplendent than coral. Near them, the herb balm,
with its heart-shaped leaves, and the sweet basil,
which has the odor of the clove, exhaled the most
delicious perfumes. From the precipitous side of
the mountain hung the graceful lianas, like floating
draperies, forming magnificent canopies of verdure on
the face of the rocks. The sea-birds, allured by the
stillness of these retreats, resorted here to pass the
At the hour of sunset we could perceive the cur-
lew and the stint skimming along the seashore; the
frigate-bird 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 took pleas-
ure in resting herself upon the border of this foun-
tain, decorated with wild and sublime magnificence.
She often went thither to wash the linen of the fam-
ily beneath the shade of the two cocoa-trees, and


thither too she sometimes led her goats to graze.
While she was making cheeses of their milk, she
loved to see them browse on the maiden-hair fern
which clothed the steep sides of the rock, and hung
suspended by 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, soon established themselves in this new
colony. Virginia, at stated times, distributed amongst
them grains of rice, millet, and maize. As soon as
she appeared, the whistling blackbird, the amadavid
bird, whose note is so soft, the cardinal, with its
flame-colored plumage, forsook their bushes; the par-
roquet, green as an emerald, descended from the
neighboring fan-palms; the partridge ran along the
grass: all advanced promiscuously towards her, like
a brood of chickens: and she and Paul found an
exhaustless source of amusement in observing their
sports, their repasts, and their loves.
Amiable children thus passed your earlier days in
innocence, and in obeying the impulses of kindness.
How many times, on this very spot, have your
mothers, pressing you in their arms, blessed Heaven
for the consolations your unfolding virtues prepared
for their declining years, while they at the same time
enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing you begin life
under the happiest auspices! How many times, be-
neath the shade of those rocks, have I partaken with
them of your rural repasts, which never cost any
animal its life! Gourds full of milk, fresh eggs,
cakes of rice served up on plantain leaves, with bas-


kets of mangoes, oranges, dates, pomegranates, pine-
apples, furnished a wholesome repast, the most
agreeable to the
eye, as well as
delicious to the 4 I
taste, that .can
possibly be im-
agined. ,
Like the re-
past, the con- -
versation was -
mild, and free '
from everything .' ..... .- .
having a tenden- .-- -
cy to do harm. '
Paul often talked
of the labors of-'
the day and of
the morrow. He
was continually --
planning some-
thing for the accommodation of their little society.
Here he discovered that the paths were rugged, there
that the seats were uncomfortable: sometimes the
young arbors did not afford sufficient shade, and
Virginia might be better pleased elsewhere.
During the rainy season the two families met
together in the cottage, 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 these in-
struments of agriculture were heaped its products -


bags of rice, sheaves of corn, and baskets of plan-
tains. Some degree of luxury usually accompanies
abundance; and Vir-

h ',,r h i i u ir i I -,[ t -I

When night came, they all supped together by the
light of a lamp; after which Madame de la Tour
or Margaret related some story of travellers be-
nighted in those woods of Europe that are still in-
fested by banditti; or told a dismal tale of some
shipwrecked vessel, thrown by the tempest upon the


rocks of a desert island. To these recitals the.chil-
dren listened with eager attention, and earnestly
hoped that Heaven would one day grant them the
joy of performing the rites of hospitality towards
such unfortunate persons.
When the time for repose arrived, the two families
separated and retired for the night, eager to meet
again the following morning. Sometimes they were
lulled to repose by the beating of the rains, which
fell in torrents upon the roofs of their cottages, and
sometimes by the hollow winds, which brought to
their ear the distant roar of the waves breaking upon
the shore. They blessed God for their own safety,
the feeling of which was brought home more forcibly
to their minds by the sound of remote danger.
Madame de la Tour occasionally read aloud some
affecting history of the Old or New Testament. Her
auditors reasoned but little upon these sacred volumes,
for their theology centred in a feeling of devotion
towards the Supreme Being, like that of nature; and
their morality was an active principal, like that of the
Gospel. These families had no particular days de-
voted to pleasure, and others to sadness.
Every day was to them a holiday, and all that sur-
rounded them one holy temple, in which they ever
adored the Infinite Intelligence, the Almighty God,
the friend of human kind. A feeling of confidence
in His supreme power filled their minds with con-
solation for the past, with fortitude under present
trials, and with hope in the future. Compelled by
misfortune to return almost to a state of nature, these
excellent women had thus developed in their own and


their children's bosoms the feelings most natural to
the human mind, and its best support under affliction.
But as clouds sometimes arise, and cast a gloom
over the best regulated tempers, so whenever any
member of this little society appeared to be laboring

under dejection, the rest assembled around, and en-
deavored to banish her painful thoughts by amusing
the mind rather than by grave arguments against
them. Each performed this kind office in their
own appropriate manner: Margaret, by her gayety;
Madame de la Tour, by the gentle consolations of
religion; Virginia, by her tender caresses; Paul, by
his frank and engaging cordiality. Even Mary and
Domingo hastened to offer their succor, and to weep
with those that wept. Thus do weak plants inter-



weave themselves with each other, in order to with-
stand the fury of the tempest.
During the fine season, they went every Sunday to
the church of the Shaddock Grove, the steeple of
which you see yonder upon the plain. Many wealthy
members of the congregation, who came to church
in palanquins, sought the acquaintance of these
united families, and invited them to parties of pleas-
ure. But they always repelled these overtures with
respectful politeness, as they were persuaded that the
rich and powerful seek the society of persons in an
inferior station only for the sake of surrounding
themselves with flatterers, and that every flatterer
must applaud alike all the actions of his patron,
whether good or bad. On the other hand, they
avoided, with equal care, too intimate an acquaint-
ance with the lower class, who are ordinarily jealous,
calumniating, and gross. They thus acquired, with
some, the character of being timid, and with others,
of pride; but their reserve was accompanied with so
much obliging politeness, above all towards the un-
fortunate and the unhappy, that they insensibly
acquired the respect of the rich and the confidence
of the poor.
After service, some kind office was often required
at their hands by their poor neighbors.
Sometimes a person troubled in mind sought their
advice; sometimes a child begged them to visit its
sick mother, in one of the adjoining hamlets. They
always took with them a few remedies for the ordi-
nary diseases of the country, which they administered
in that soothing manner which stamps a value upon


the smallest favors. Above all, they met with singu-
lar success in administering to the disorders of the
mind, so intolerable in solitude, and under the infirm-
ities of a weakened

It~ ll .L ith

.Iik. II,, ',: lt rr to
,h r. jllri. t -I, i ,. ed

,- -.

turned home with her eyes full of tears, and her heart
overflowing with delight, at having had an opportu-
nity of doing good; for to her generally was con-
fided the task of preparing and administering the
medicines, -a task which she fulfilled with angelic



After these visits of charity, they sometimes ex-
tended their walk by the Sloping Mountain, till they
reached my dwelling, where I used to prepare dinner
for them on the banks of the little rivulet which
glides near my cottage. I procured for these occa-
sions a few bottles of old wine, in order to heighten
the relish of our Oriental repast by the more genial
productions of Europe. At other times we met on
the seashore, at the mouth of some little river, or
rather mere brook. We brought from home the
provisions furnished us by our gardens, to which we
added those supplied us by the sea in abunda-
We caught on these shores the mullet, the roach,
and the sea-urchin, lobsters, shrimps, crabs, oysters,
and all other kinds of shell-fish. In this way we often
enjoyed the most tranquil pleasures in situations the
most terrific. Sometimes, seated upon a rock under
the shade of the velvet sun-flower tree, we saw the
enormous waves of the Indian Ocean break beneath
our feet with a tremendous noise. Paul, who could
swim like a fish, would advance on the reefs to meet
the coming billows; then, at their near approach,
would run back to the beach, closely pursued by the
foaming breakers, which threw themselves, with a
roaring noise, far on the sands. But Virginia, at
this sight, uttered piercing cries, and said that such
sports frightened her too much.
Other amusements were not wanting on these
festive occasions. Our repasts were generally fol-
lowed 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 raging ocean, rather than cultivate the
earth, and enjoy its bounties in peace. Sometimes

" .-- -


C '-^ --f'. '_ ~ _- -
c _~ 1 .- F- ,
'--a. ._- --..m

she performed a pantomime with Paul, after the man-
ner of the negroes.
The first language of man is pantomime: it is
known to all nations, and is so natural and expres-
sive, that the children of the European inhabitants
catch it with facility from the negroes. Virginia,
recalling, from among the histories which her mother
had read to her, those which had affected her most,


represented the principal events in them with beauti-
ful simplicity. Sometimes at the sound of Domingo's
tamtam she appeared upon the greensward, bearing
a pitcher upon her head, and advanced with a timid
step towards the source of a neighboring fountain, to
draw water. Domingo and Mary, personating the
shepherds of Midian, forbade her to approach, and
repulsed her sternly. Upon this Paul flew to her
succor, 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 complexion. Then,
joining in their sports, I took upon myself the part
of Raguel, and bestowed upon Paul my daughter
Zephora in marriage.
Another time Virginia would represent the unhappy
Ruth, returning poor and widowed with her mother-
in-law, who, after so prolonged an absence, found
herself as unknown as in a foreign land. Domingo
and Mary personated the reapers. The supposed
daughter of Naomi followed their steps, gleaning
here and there a few ears of corn.
When interrogated by Paul, -a part which he
performed with the gravity of a patriarch, she
answered his questions with a faltering voice. He
then, touched with compassion, granted an asylum
to innocence, and hospitality to misfortune. He
filled her lap with plenty; and, leading her towards
us as before the elders of the city, declared his pur-
pose to take her in marriage. At this scene, Madame
de la Tour, recalling the desolate situation in which


she had been left by her relations, her widowhood,
and the kind reception she had met with from
Margaret, succeeded now by the soothing hope of a
happy union between their children, could not for-
bear weeping; and these mixed recollections of good
and evil caused us all to unite with her in shedding
tears of sorrow and of joy.
These dramas were performed with such an air of
reality, that you might have fancied yourself trans-
ported to the plains of Syria or of Palestine. We
were not unfurnished with decorations, lights, or an
orchestra, suitable to the representation. The scene
was generally placed in an open space of the forest,
the diverging paths from which formed around us
numerous arcades of foliage, under which we were
sheltered from the heat all tle middle of the day;
but when the sun descended towards the horizon, its
rays, broken by the trunks of the trees, darted amongst
the shadows of the forest in long lines of light, pro-
ducing the most magnificent effect. Sometimes its
broad disk appeared at the end of an avenue, lighting
it up with insufferable brightness. The foliage of the
trees, illuminated from beneath by its saffron beams,
glowed with the lustre of the topaz and the emerald.
Their brown and mossy trunks appeared transformed
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 radiance of a second
morning, hailed the star of day all together with
innumerable carols.
Night often overtook us during these rural enter-
tainments; but the purity of the air, and the warmth


of the climate, admitted of our sleeping in the
woods, without incurring any danger by exposure to
the weather, and no less secure from the molestation
of robbers. On our return the :-.ii ;,,- day to our
respective habitations, we found them in exactly the
same state in which they had been left. In this
island, then unsophisticated by the pursuits of com-
merce, such were the honesty and primitive manners
of the population, that the doors of many houses
were without a key, and even a lock itself was an
object of curiosity to not a few of the native inhab-
There were, however, some days in the year cele-
brated by Paul and Virginia in a more peculiar man-
ner: these were the birthdays of their mothers.
Virginia never failed the day before to prepare some
wheaten cakes, which she distributed among a few
poor white families, born in the island, who had
never eaten European bread. These unfortunate
people, uncared for by the blacks, were reduced to
live on tapioca in the woods; and as they had neither
the insensibility which is the result of slavery, nor
the fortitude which springs from a liberal education,
to enable them to support their poverty, their situa-
tion was deplorable.
These cakes were all that Virginia had it in her
power to give away; but she conferred the gift in so
delicate a manner as to add tenfold to its value. In
the first place, Paul was commissioned to take the
cakes himself to these families, and get their promise
to come and spend the next day at Madame de la
Tour's. Accordingly, mothers of families, with two


or three thin, yellow, miserable-looking daughters,
so timid that they dared not look up, made their
appearance. Virginia soon put them at their ease:
she waited upon them with refreshments, the excel-
lence of which she endeavored to heighten by relat-
ing some particular circumstance which, in her own
estimation, vastly improved them. One beverage
had been prepared by Margaret; another, by her
mother: her brother himself had climbed some
lofty tree for the very fruit she was presenting. She
would then get Paul to dance with them, nor would
she leave them till she saw that they were happy.
She wished them to partake of the joy of her own
family. It is only," she said, by promoting the
happiness of others that we can secure our own."
When they left, she generally presented them with
some little article they seemed to fancy, enforcing
their acceptance of it by some delicate pretext, that
she might not appear to know they were in want. If
she remarked that their clothes were much tattered,
she obtained her mother's permission to give them
some of her own, and then sent Paul to leave them
secretly at their cottage doors. She thus followed
the divine precept, concealing the benefactor, and
revealing only the benefit.
You Europeans, whose minds are imbued from
infancy with prejudices at variance with happiness,
cannot imagine all the instruction and pleasure to be
derived from nature. Your souls, confined to a small
sphere of intelligence, soon reach the limit of its
artificial enjoyments; but nature and the heart are
inexhaustible. Paul and Virginia had neither clock,


nor almanac, nor books of chronology, history, or
,,].i.._... ,J. The periods of their lives were regu-
lated by those of the operations of nature, and their
familiar conversation had a constant reference to the
changes of the seasons. They knew the time of 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 Vir-
ginia, the shadows of the plantain-trees are at their
roots;" or, Night approaches; the tamarinds are
closing their leaves." -" When will you come and
see us? inquired some of her companions in the
neighborhood. "At the time of the sugar-canes,"
answered Virginia. "Your visit will be then still
more delightful," resumed her young acquaintances.
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 one: the mangoes have borne fruit twelve
times, and the orange-trees have flowered four and
twenty times, since I came into the world."
Their lives seemed linked to that of the trees, like
those of Fauns or Dryads. They knew no other
historical epochs than those of the lives of their
mothers, no other chronology than that of their
orchards, and no other philosophy than that of
doing good, and resigning themselves to the will
of Heaven.
What need, indeed, had these young people' of
riches or learning such as ours? Even their necessi-


ties and their ignorance increased their happiness.
No day passed in which they were not of some ser-
vice to one another, or in which they did not mutually
impart some instruction. Yes, instruction; for if
errors mingled with it, they were, at least, not of a
dangerous character. A pure-minded being has
none of that description to fear. Thus grew these
children of nature. No care had troubled their
peace, no intemperance had corrupted their blood,
no misplaced passion had depraved their hearts.
Love, innocence, and piety possessed their souls;
and those intellectual graces were unfolding daily in
their features, their attitudes, and their movements.
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 and approached each.
other, and conversed together, like brother and sis-
ter. Virginia was gentle, modest, and' confiding as
Eve; and Paul, like Adam, united the stature of man-
hood with the simplicity of a child.
Sometimes, if alone with Virginia, he has a thou-
sand times told me, he used to say to her, on his
return from labor, When I am wearied, the sight
of you refreshes 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
blooming rosebud. If you go towards our mother's
house, the partridge, when it runs to meet its young,
has a shape less beautiful, 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 through which you have passed, on the
grass whereon you have been seated.
When I come near you, you delight all my
senses. The azure of the sky 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 the tip of my finger, my whole
frame trembles with pleasure. Do you remember the
day when we crossed over the great stones of the
river of the Three Breasts? I was very 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 thus 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 runaway slave. Here, my be-
loved, take this :....: 11. branch of a lemon-tree,
which I have gathered in the forest: you will let it
remain at night near your bed. Eat this honeycomb
too which I have taken for you from the top of a
rock. But first lean on my bosom, and I shall be
Virginia would answer him,- "Oh, my dear
brother, the rays of the sun in the morning on the tops
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 what makes
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 each other
as we do; they are
always together like
us. Hark! howthey
call and answer from
one tree to another!
So when the
'echoes bring to my
Sears the air which
S ""- '. you play on your flute

more especially since
the day when you
wanted to fight the
master of the slave
f 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
for yours; for you, and for our poor servants: but
when I pronounce your name, my devotion seems to
increase; I ask so earnestly of God that no harm


may befall you! Why do you go so far, and climb
so high, to seek fruits and flowers for me? Have
we not enough in our garden already? How much
you are fatigued, you look so warm!"- and with
her little white handkerchief she would wipe the
damps from his face, and then imprint a tender
kiss on his forehead.
For some time past, however, Virginia had felt her
heart agitated by new sensations. Her beautiful
blue eyes lost their lustre, her cheek its freshness,
and her frame was overpowered with a universal
languor. Serenity no longer sat upon her brow, nor
smiles played upon her lips. She would become all
at once gay without cause for joy, and melancholy
without any subject for grief. She fled her innocent
amusements, her gentle toils, and even the society of
her beloved family; wandering about the most unfre-
quented parts of the plantations, and seeking every-
where the rest which she could nowhere find.
Sometimes, at the sight of Paul, she advanced sport-
ively to meet him; but, when about to accost him,
was overcome by a sudden confusion; her pale cheeks
were covered 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
birds begin to sing when you approach, everything
around you is gay, and you only are unhappy." He
then endeavored to soothe her by his embraces; but
she turned away her head, and fled, trembling,
towards her mother. The caresses of her brother
excited too much emotion in her agitated heart, and
she sought in the arms of her mother, refuge from


herself. Paul, unused to the secret .i;.._ of the
female heart, vexed himself in vain in endeavoring
to comprehend the meaning of these new and strange
caprices. Misfortunes seldom come alone, and a
serious calamity now impended over these families.
One of those summers which sometimes desolate
the countries situated between the tropics, now be-
gan to spread its ravages over this island. It was
near the end of December, when the sun, in Capri-
corn, darts over the Mauritius, during the space of
three weeks, its vertical fires.
The south-east wind, which prevails throughout
almost the whole year, no longer blew. Vast col-
umns of dust arose from the highways, and hung
suspended in the air; the ground was everywhere
broken into clefts; the grass was burnt up; hot ex-
halations issued from the sides of the mountains, and
their rivulets, for the most part, became dry. No
refreshing cloud ever arose from the sea: fiery vapors
only, during the day, ascended from the plains, and
appeared, at sunset, like the reflection of a vast con-
flagration. Night brought no coolness to the heated
atmosphere; and the red moon, rising in the misty
horizon, appeared of supernatural magnitude. The
drooping cattle, on the sides of the hills, stretching
out their necks towards heaven, and panting for
breath, made the valleys re-echo with their melan-
choly lowings: even the Caffre by whom they were
led threw himself upon the earth, in search of some
cooling moisture: but his hopes were vain; the
scorching sun had penetrated the whole soil, and the
;:t;F;,, atmosphere everywhere resounded with the

kIj j



buzzing noise of insects, seeking to allay their thirst
with the blood of men and of animals.
During this sultry season, Virginia's restlessness
and disquietude were much increased. One night
in particular, being unable to sleep, she arose from
her bed, sat down, and returned to rest again; 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 trickled in silver
threads down the brown sides of the rock. She flung
herself into the basin: its coolness reanimated her
spirits, and a thousand soothing remembrances came
to her mind. She recollected that in her infancy her
mother and Margaret had amused themselves by
bathing her with Paul in this very spot; that he
afterwards, reserving this bath for her sole use, had
hollowed out its bed, covered the bottom with
sand, and sown aromatic herbs around its borders.
She saw in the water, upon her naked arms and
bosom, the reflection of the two cocoa-trees which
were planted at her own and her brother's birth, and
which interwove above her head their green branches
and young fruit. She thought of Paul's friendship,
sweeter than the odor of the blossoms, purer than
the waters of the fountain, stronger than the inter-
twining palm-trees, and she sighed. Reflecting on
the hour of the night, and the profound solitude, her
imagination became disturbed. Suddenly she flew,
affrighted, from those dangerous shades, and those
waters which seemed to her hotter than the tropical
sunbeam, and ran to her mother for refuge. More


than once, wishing to reveal her sufferings, she
pressed her mother's hand within her own ; more than
once she was ready to pronounce the name of Paul:
but her oppressed heart left her lips no power of
utterance, and, leaning her head on her mother's
bosom, she bathed it with her tears.
Madame de la Tour, though she easily discerned
the source of her daughter's uneasiness, did not
think proper to speak to her on the subject. My
dear child," said she, offer up your supplications to
God, who disposes at His will of health and of life.
He subjects you to trial now, in order to recompense
you hereafter. Remember that we are only placed
upon earth for the exercise of virtue."
The excessive heat in the mean time raised vast
masses of vapor from the ocean, which hung over
the island like an immense parasol, and gathered
round the summits of the mountains. Long flakes
of fire issued from time to time from these mist-
embosomed peaks. The most awful thunder soon
after re-echoed through the woods, the plains, and
the valleys: the rains fell from the skies in cataracts;
foaming torrents rushed down the sides of this moun-
tain; the bottom of the valley became a sea, and the
elevated platform on which the cottages were built,
a little island. The accumulated waters, having no
other outlet, rushed with violence through the narrow
gorge which leads into the valley, tossing and roar-
ing, and bearing along with them a mingled wreck
of soil, trees, and rocks.
The trembling families meantime addressed their
prayers to God all together in the cottage of Madame

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