AN APPEAL TO IMPARTI …
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AN APPEAL TO IMPARTIAL POSTERITY BY MADAME ROLAND WIFE OF THE MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR: OR, A COLLECTION OF TRACTS WRITTEN BY HER DURING HER CONFINEMENT IN THE PRISONS OF THE ABBEY, AND ST. PELAGIE, IN PARIS.

IN FOUR PARTS.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH ORIGINAL, Published for the Benefit of her only Daughter, deprived of the Fortune of her Parents by Sequestration.

FIRST AMERICAN EDITION—CORRECTED.

VOL. I. Containing Part I. and II.

May my last letter to my daughter fix her attention to that object which appeare likely to become her essential duty; and may the remembrance of her mother at­tach her for ever to those virtues which afford us consolation in all circumstan­ces.—

Extracted from the piece entitled My Last Thoughts, P. ii. P. 120.

NEW-YORK: PRINTED BY ROBERT WILSON, For A. VAN HOOK, Proprietor of the Reading-Room.

1798.

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ADVERTISEMENT FROM THE EDITOR.

MADAM ROLAND, the wife of a man of science, was persuaded, that the celebrity of a woman ought to be confined to the esteem arising from the prac­tice of the domestic virtues. On this account she never would consent to publish writings, which might have procured her literary fame. It was even neces­sary to be intimately acquainted with her, to be able to form a just estimate of her native merit, her ac­quired talents, and her strength of mind.

MADAM ROLAND, when the wife of a minister, re­tained the same principles. She assisted her husband [...] his political labours, as she had assisted him before in his scientific pursuits, without permitting her name to ap­pear. But her situation was changed. Her society [Page iv] before was confined to a few intimates, but now when she was become the centre of a wider circle, the ad­miration of her friends, and the malevolence of her enemies, soon combined to give her a celebrity which she was still far from seeking.

IMPRISONED, calumninated on all sides, and having no­thing but a scaffold before her eyes, Madam Roland was naturally induced to seek the esteem of posterity as a consolation for the injustice of her contemporaries, and to aim at future glory, as a sort of compensation for an untimely death.

THEN, and not till then, she appeared to separate her reputation from that of her husband: then, and not till then, she took up her pen to make herself known individually, and to furnish materials for history in her own name. It will be seen, however, that she was not actuated solely by the desire of vindicating her reputation, and acquiring fame: every page will show, that she was particularly anxious to repel the calumnious charges heaped upon her husband, and to revenge the memory of Roland, in case he himself should not have it in his power to write or publish his last justification.

THE public, already prepossessed in her favour, will judge, from a perusal of her writings, whether she really merited the praise of her friends, and whether she did not deserve the hatred of the villains, who succeeded at last in bringing her to the block.

[Page v]MALEVOLENCE, assuming the mask of criticism, will endeavour, no doubt, to depreciate this monument erected by a woman to the glory of her sex; but the impartial reader will acknowledge her powers. I will only say, as an excuse for some superfluous relations, and some negligences of composition, that Madam Ro­land composed the part entitled Historical Memoirs (two thirds of which, and those the most interesting, are lost) in the space of one month, and all the rest in two and twenty days, in the midst of sorrows and alarms of every kind; and that scarcely a passage in the manuscript is erased.

MANY persons, whose characters Madam Roland has drawn, will have reason to complain; but it be­longs to posterity alone to decide, whether she has done them justice. It was my duty to confine my­self strictly to the office of an editor; and to make no alteration in the text, even when it was evident, that she had been mistaken. There is a passage, for in­stance, where she seems to throw reflections on citizen Dulaure, which I believe him far from deserving, and which every true republican will be eager to reject. It may not be amiss here to relate the cause of her error.

DULAURE, a patriotic journalist, and a bold assert [...] of truth, was a frequent visitor at Roland's, whose prin­ciples were analogous to his own, and whose conduct he deemed meritorious. But when Dulaure became a [Page vi] member of the convention, he thought it incumbent on him, as a matter of delicacy, to desist from going to the house of a minister of whose actions he was con­stituted a judge. Madam Roland attributed this reserve to a change of political opinions, and to the instigation of the Mountaineers: hence the ill-humour which seems to have predominated, when she wrote the article con­cerning him; but in which, notwithstanding, she does his character the justice it deserves. The courage with which citizen Dulaure printed all the complaints of Madam Roland after the 31st of May; the honour­able proscription he has undergone; and his last pub­lication entitled, A Supplement to the Crimes of the late Committees of Government, render all farther jus­tification unnecessary.

I COULD have wished to have given to the public the whole of the work at once; but the delays of the press at the present moment, and the observations of some good citizens, have made me resolve to pub­lish one part at a time. There will be four, which will follow each other, as speedily as circumstances will permit. The second will contain several detached pieces, respecting the events of the revolution, with the papers that relate to her death, or that immediately preceded it. The third and fourth will contain her private life, written precisely in the same manner, and with the same intention, as the Confessions of Rousseau: to which will be added some familiar letters, that I found among my papers. I much lament, that I have [Page vii] not a more complete series of her correspondence to publish*: it is in the effusions of friendship, that the mind displays itself fully, and that our opinions, incli­nations, and acquirements, exhibit themselves naked to the eye. On this account I consider her letters, though at first view they appear to concern only our friendship, turn of mind, and our pursuits as a neces­sary supplement to her private memoirs. Her repub­lican ardour will appear from the very first of them; and certainly, on the 28th of August, 1792, she could not foresee, that France would become a republic; still less that she was destined to be a principal actor in that eventful scene.

MADAM ROLAND was very fond of practising epistolary writing. She turned her pen to every subject with incredible facility, and with uncommon elegance of stile. As a letter-writer, she was superior, in my opi­nion, to a Sevigne or a Maintenon: because she was far better informed than those two celebrated women, and because her correspondence consisted of things, and not of words.

[Page viii]IT is my wish to collect such of her letters, as may have been preserved; and I here request those who have them in their possession to send me the origi­nals, as free from expence as may be; as I purpose publishing them at the end of several literary produc­tions of madam Roland, which are known to me, and which I think worthy of seeing the light.

ROLAND during his retreat had also composed some historical memoirs; but they were consigned to the flames the moment the intrepid woman, who con­cealed him, was taken into custody. At the conclu­sion of his first ministry, he published a collection of pieces, calculated to make his conduct in office known to posterity; it is my intention to continue it, by get­ting together such as relate to his second ministry.

BUT that I may be enabled to accomplish this ob­ject, as well as the preceding one, it is requisite, that the national convention, either by a general law, soli­cited by all the friends of justice, or by a particular decree, desired by every true friend of liberty, restore to Roland's daughter the property to which she has a just claim. I must have liberty to search among the papers still under seal at Villefranche, and among those taken from the house at Paris, after the sale of the furniture by the agents of the national domains. It is incumbent on all true republicans, victims of tyranny, and persecuted for their virtues or talents like Roland and his wife, to favour my wishes with their influence, [Page ix] and to promote my engaging ward's restoration to her rights.

LET me be permitted to conclude with an observa­tion, which perhaps is not unnecessary. This work is, at present at least, the sole fortune of Eudora, the beloved daughter, the only child of Roland. Woe to the villain who dares to pirate it! For certainly he would not be able to sell a single copy; and yet I should not fail to call down upon him all the ven­geance of the law.

BOSC.
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HISTORICAL MEMOIRS.

‘To day on a throne, to-morrow in a prison.’

SUCH is the fate of virtue in revolutionary times. After the first commotions of a nation, weary of the abuses by which it has been aggrieved, have subsided, enlightened men, who have pointed out its rights, and assisted in regaining them, are called into places of authority: but they cannot long maintain themselves there; for the ambitious, eager to take advantage of cir­cumstances, soon contrive to mislead the people by flat­tery, and set them against their real defenders, that they themselves may acquire consequence and power. Such has been the progress of things, particularly since the tenth of August. On some future day, perhaps, I shall recur to earlier times, to give an account of what my situation has enabled me to know: at present the sole object I have in view is to commit the circumstances of my arrest to paper: it is the kind of amusement most suitable to the solitary, to reflect on their personal con­cerns, and to express what they feel.

The resignation of Roland appeased not his [...]. He had quitted the ministry, in spite of his re [...] to await there the laying of the storm, and to brave [...] [Page 12] danger; because the state of the council, when he became fully acquainted with it, and his want of influence, which kept continually increasing, and was particularly evi­dent about the middle of January, no longer left him any thing to look forward to but faults and follies, of which he must participate the disgrace. He was not even al­lowed to enter his reasons or his opinions on the register of the proceedings, when they were contrary to the deter­mination of the majority.

THE consequence was, that from the day of that pitiful decree respecting the comedy intituled l' Ami des Loix, which he would not sign, because the second article was at best ridiculous, he no longer affixed his signature to any deliberation of the council. That was the fifteenth of January. The prospect held out to him by the con­vention was by no means encouraging. His very name was there become the signal of discord and disturbance; and could no longer be pronounced without producing an uproar. If a member ventured to answer the odious accusations gratuitously preferred against the minister, he was treated as an instrument of faction, and reduced to silence. In the mean time Pache was accumulating in the war department all the faults which his weakness and implicit submission to the jacobins enabled the perfidy, imbecility, and imprudence of his agents to commit; and yet the convention could not obtain the dismission of Pache; for the moment a single sentence was uttered against him, the bloodhounds of the mountain set up a howl against Roland. Thus the continuation of his cou­rageous struggle in the ministry could no longer prevent the faults of the council, while it became an additional motive of disorder in the convention. He deemed it [Page 13] therefore prudent to give in his resignation. To prove that it was necessary, it suffices to remark, that the sound part of the legislative body, convinced as it was of the virtues and talents of the calumniated minister, durst not make a single observation on the subject. This was unquestionably weakness; for it stood in need of a firm and honest man in the home department, who would have been its most powerful support; and losing this it could not do otherwise than submit to the yoke of the violent patriots, who were endeavouring to set up and maintain an authority capable of rivalling the na­tional representation.

ROLAND kept a usurping commune in awe. Roland gave to all the administrative bodies a regular, uniform, and harmonious motion: he watched over the supply of provisions of the great national family: he found means to re-establish peace in all the departments; he diffused throughout them that order which proceeds from justice, and that confidence which is kept alive by a vigilant ad­ministration; and he set on foot between them a friendly correspondence, and a ready communication of knowledge Roland ought therefore to have been supported: but si [...] weakness denied the means, he, to whom that weakness was well known, could not choose but retire.

THE timid Garat, an agreeable companion, a man of letters, of moderate merit, and a detestable minister; Garat, whose appointment to the judicial department proved the want of able men, a want which is incon­ceivable, and which none can tell but they who, occu­pying places of importance, have coadjutors to seek; Garat had not even sense enough to remain in that of­fice, where there is least to be done, and where his bad [Page 14] health, his natural indolence, and his incapacity for bu­siness, would have been least conspicuous; but removed to the home department, without possessing the smallest share of the requisite knowledge, not only where politics are the question, but in regard to commerce, the arts, and a multitude of administrative operations, that come within its cognizance. With all that ignorance, and with all his inactivity, he ventured to take the place of the most active man in the republic, and the best informed in all the above particulars. The relaxation of the machine soon occasioned the dislocation of its parts, and proved the weakness of the regulator: the departments were thrown into commotion, scarcity began to be felt, the flames of civil war were lighted up in la Vendée; the authorities of Paris exceeded their powers; the jacobins assumed the reins of government; and the puppet Pache, dismissed from the department, which he had thrown into confusion, was raised by a cabal to the mayoralty, where his suppleness was wanted, while his place at the council-board was filled by the idiot Bouchotte, as sup­ple as he, and even surpassing him in stupidity.

ROLAND gave a terrible blow to his adversaries, by publishing, on his retirement, such accounts, as no minister before him had furnished. To have them ex­amined and sanctioned by a report, was a piece of jus­tice, which he was doomed to solicit in vain; for that would have been acknowledging the falsehood of the ob­loquy thrown on him, the infamy of his detractors, and the weakness of the convention, which had not dared to undertake his defence.

IT was necessary to persevere in slandering him, without coming to the proof; in order to perplex [Page 15] and mislead the public opinion, so as to be able to ruin him with impunity; and thus to get rid of a troublesome witness of so many atrocities, which must either be concealed, or justified, to preserve to the perpetrators the wealth and authority they helped them to acquire. In vain did Roland entreat, publish, and write seven times in four months to the convention, to demand an examination and a report on his conduct in the ministry. The jacobins continued to employ their satellites, to proclaim him a traitor: Marat proved to his people that the ex-minister's head was necessary to the tranquillity of the republic: conspiracies frustrated, set on foot anew, baffled again, and yet constanly carried on, ended at length in the insurrection of the 31st of May, when the good people of Paris, with a fixed determination to massacre no one, did every thing besides that their audacious directors, their insolent commune, and the revolutionary committee of messieurs the Jacobins, grown mad or furious, or else become the hirelings of the enemy, were pleased to require. Roland had writ­ten the eighth time to the convention, which had not even deigned to read his letter; and I was preparing to get the municipality to sign passports, by means of which I might go with my daughter into the country, whither I was called by domestic business, by the state of my health, and by many good reasons beside. Among other things I considered, how much more easy it would be for Roland to escape alone from the pursuit of his enemies, should they proceed to the last extremities, than for the whole of his little family together: prudence pointed out the propriety of diminishing the number of [Page 16] points in which he was attackable*. My passports had been delayed at the section, through the chicanery of some zealous maratists, in whose eyes I was an object of suspicion; and they were but just delivered to me, when a fit of the nervous colic, attended with violent convulsions, the only indisposition to which I am subject, and to which the vehement affections of a strong mind ruling a robust body expose me, obliged me to keep my bed. I passed six days in this state, and purposed going out on Friday, to shew myself at the municipality; but the sound of the alarm-bell informed me, that it was not a proper time. Every thing had long foretold an approaching crisis. It is true that the ascendancy of the jacobins made it very unlikely that its issue should be favourable to the real friends of liberty: but energetic minds detest suspense; and the debasement of the con­vention, with its daily acts of weakness and slavery, appeared to me so distressing, that I hardly considered the worst excesses as more lamentable, because they would necessarily contribute to open the eyes, and de­termine the conduct of the departments. The alarm gun, and the commotions of the day, awakened in me that interest, which great events inspire, without pro­ducing any painful emotion. Two or three persons came to confer with us; and one, in particular, pressed Roland to make his appearance at his section, by which [Page 17] he was esteemed, and of which the good disposition was the best warrant of his safety. It was agreed, however, that he should not sleep at home the following night: though, by the way, nothing was talked of but the good intentions of the citizens, who drew up under arms, in order to oppose every act of violence. It was not added, that they would permit preparations for every act of violence to be made.

THE blood boils in my veins when I hear praises be­stowed on the good-nature of the Parisians, who are de­termined not to have another day like the 2d of Sep­tember. Why, good heavens! nobody wants you to exe­cute another; you need only suffer it as you did before: but you are necessary to collect the victims, and you kindly lend your aid to apprehend them; you are ne­cessary to give the appearance of a legitimate insurrection to the violence of the galleries* by whom you are governed, and you approve their undertakings: you obey their orders, you swear fealty to the monstrous authorities they create; you surround the legislative body with your b [...]yonets, and you permit rebels to dictate to the national represen­tation the decrees they wish to pass. Boast then no more of being its defenders; it is you who bind it in chains; you who deliver into the hands of oppression the members, the most distinguished for their virtues and their talents; you who with equal cowardice would see them brought to the block, by proceedings similar to those that destroyed Sidney; and you it is who will have to answer to indignant France for so many crimes; who [Page 18] serve the cause of her enemies, and who prepare the way for federalism. Think you, that the high-spirited Marseilles, and the enlightened department of la Gironde, will pass over the outrages committed on their representatives, or fraternise with a city polluted by such crimes? You are the destroyers of your country, and soon will you lament, in vain, your infamous pusillanimity in the midst of its ruins.

IT was half after five in the evening, when six armed men came to our house. One of them read to Roland an order of the revolutionary committee, by virtue of which they were come to apprehend him. 'I know no law,' said Roland, 'which constitutes the authority you men­tion; nor shall I obey the orders which it issues. If you employ violence, I can only oppose to you such resist­ance as a man of my years is capable of; but I shall pro­test against it to the last moment of my life.'—'I have no order to employ violence,' replied the spokesman, 'I shall therefore go and communicate your answer to the council-general of the commune: in the mean time I will leave my colleagues here.'

IT occurred to me immediately, that it would not be amiss to denounce these proceedings to the convention, in the most public manner, in order to prevent the arrest of Roland, or to obtain his prompt release, if it should have taken place. To communicate this idea to my husband, write a letter to the president, and set out, was the business of a few minutes. My servant being ab­sent, I left a friend, who was in the house, to keep Ro­land company; and stepped alone into a hackney coach, which I ordered to proceed as fast as possible to the Ca­rouzel. The court-yard of the Tuileries was filled [Page 19] with armed men. I crossed it, and flew through the midst of them like a bird. I was dressed in a morning gown, and had put on a black shaul, and a veil. On my arrival at the doors of the outer halls, which were all shut, I found sentinels, who allowed no one to enter, or sent me by turns from door to door. In vain did I insist on admission; till at length it came into my mind to employ such language as a bigotted Robesperian would have held. 'Why, citizens,' said I, 'in this day of salvation for our country, and in the midst of the traitors, from whom we have so much to fear, you do not know then of what importance some notes may be which I wish to transmit to the president. Send at least for an usher, that I may entrust them to his care.'

THE doors instantly flew open, and I walked into the petitioner's hall. I then enquired for one of the ushers, and was desired by a sentry, planted within the hall, to wait till one came out. A quarter of an hour had al­ready passed, when I perceived Rose*, the very man who had brought me the decree of the convention, re­questing me to repair to the bar, on account of the ri­diculous accusation of Viard, whom I overwhelmed with confusion: I now solicited permission to appear there, and represented Roland's danger, as connected with the pub­lic weal. But circumstances were no longer the same, though my rights were equally good: before, requested respectfully, now a suppliant, how was I to obtain the same success? Rose took charge of my letter; conceived at once the subject, and the greatness of my impatience; [Page 20] and left me, in order to lay it on the table, and to reques [...] that it might be read without delay. An hour elapsed I walked hastily backwards and forwards; and every tim [...] the door was opened, my eyes were cast towards the hall but it was immediately shut by the guard, and from time to time a dreadful noise assailed my ears. Rose made his appearance again.—'Well!'—'Nothing has yet been done. A tumult I cannot describe prevails in the assem­bly. Some petitioners, at this moment at the bar, de­mand the confinement of the twenty-two: I have just assisted Rabaud in getting out without being seen: they will not consent to his making the report of the com­mission of twelve: he has been threatened: several others are making off: nor can any one say what will be the event.'—'Who is president?'—'Héraut Séchelles.'— 'Ah! my letter will not be read. Send me some member or other with whom I may speak a few words.'—'Whom?' —'Indeed I am little acquainted, or have little esteem for any, but those that are proscribed. Tell Vargniaux I wish to see him.'

ROSE went in quest of him; at the end of a very con­siderable time he came; and we talked together for seven or eight minutes. He then returned to the hall, came back, and said: 'In the present state of the assembly, I dare not flatter you: you have no great room for hope. If you get admission to the bar, you may obtain a little more favour as a woman; but the convention is no longer able to do any good.'—'It is able to do any thing it pleases,' exclaimed I: 'for the majority of Paris only desire to know how they ought to act. If I be admitted, I will venture to say, what you could not utter without exposing yourself to an impeachment. As to me I fear [Page 21] nothing in the world; and if I cannot save Roland, I will speak some home truths, which will not be altogether useless to the republic. Inform your worthy colleagues: a courageous sally may have a great effect, or at least will serve to set a great example.'—I was indeed, in that temper of mind, which imparts eloquence: warm with indignation, and superior to all fear, my bosom glowing for my country, the ruin of which I foresaw, every thing dear to me in the world at stake, feeling strong­ly, expressing my sentiments with fluency, and too proud not to utter them with dignity, I had the most important interests to discuss, possessed some means of defending them, and was in a singular situation for doing it with advantage.—'But, at any rate,' said Verg­niaux, 'your letter cannot be read this hour or two; a motion of six articles is going to be discussed: and pe­titioners, deputed by the sections, are waiting at the bar; only think what a tedious time you will have to stay!'— 'I will go home, then, to know what has been passing there, and will immediately return; you may tell our friends so.' —'Most of them are absent: they behave courageously, when they are here; but they are deficient in affiduity.' —'That, alas! is but too true.'

I quitted Vergniaux, flew to Louvet's, wrote a note to inform him of what was going on, and what I foresaw would follow; threw myself into a hackney-coach, and ordered it to drive home. The wretched horses did not get on to my mind; and we were soon met by battalions of national guards, whose march stopped the way. I jumped out of the coach, paid the coachman, rushed through the ranks, and made off. This was near the Louvre, from whence I ran to our house, which was [Page 22] in the Rue de la Harpe, opposite the school of surgery. The porter whispered me, that Roland was gone to the landlord's at the bottom of the court; and thither I repaired, perspiring at every pore. A glass of wine was brought me, and I was told, that the bearer of the war­rant having returned, without being able to procure a hearing at the council, Roland had persisted in protest­ing against his orders; and that these good people, after demanding his protest in writing, had withdrawn; in con­sequence of which Roland had come to beg a passage through their apartments, and had got out of the house by the back door. I did the same in order to find him, to inform him of the attempt I had made, and of the steps I meant to pursue. At the first house to which I repaired, I found him not: in the second I did. From the solitude of the streets, which, by the way, were illu­minated, I presumed that it was late: I prepared never­theless to return to the convention, where I should have taken care to be ignorant of Roland's escape, and should have spoken as I had before intended. I was going to set out on foot, without recollecting, that it was past ten o'clock, and that I was out that day for the first time since my illness, which demanded rest and the bath. A hackney-coach was brought me. On ap­proaching the Carouzel, I saw nothing more of the armed force, except two pieces of cannon, and a few men, who were still at the gate of the national palace; I went up to it, and found that the sitting was at an end.

What! on the day of an insurrection, when the sound of the alarm-bell scarcely ceases to strike the ear, when only two hours before forty thousand men in arms sur­rounded the convention, and petitioners threatened its [Page 23] members from the bar, the assembly is not permanent!— Surely then it is completely subjugated! it has done every thing, that it was ordered! The revolutionary power is so predominant, that the convention dares not oppose it, and it stands itself in no need of the convention!

'CITIZENS,' said I to some fans-culottes collected round a cannon, 'has every thing gone well?'—'O wonderfully! they embraced each other, and sang the hymn of the Marseillois, there, under the tree of liberty.'— 'What, then, is the right side appeased?'—'Faith, it was obliged to listen to reason.'—'And what of the committee of twelve?'—'It is kicked into the ditch.'—'And the twenty-two?'—'The municipality will have them taken up.'—'Ay, but can the municipality?'—'Why, body o' me, is not the municipality the sovereign? It is high time it should, to set those b—of traitors to rights, and support the common-wealth.'—'But will the departments be well pleased to see their representatives * * * *'—'What are you talking about?—the Parisians do nothing but in concert with the departments: they said so to the conven­tion.—'That however is not quite so certain, for, to know their will, the primary assemblies were wanting.'— 'Was there any want of primary assemblies on the 10th of August? Did not the departments approve what Paris did then? They will do the same now: it is [...] that is saving them.'—'Or rather, it is Paris that is ruining itself.'

I had crossed the court, and was returning to my [...] ­ney-coach, while concluding this dialogue with an old fans-culotte, who was well paid no doubt for tutoring the dupes. A pretty dog followed close at my heels:—'Is the poor brute your's?' said the coachman with a [...]one of sensibility very uncommon amongst his fol­lows, [Page 24] which struck me exceedingly.—'No: I am not acquainted with him:' answered I gravely, as if speaking of a man, but in reality thinking of something very dif­ferent: 'you will set me down at the galleries of the Louvre.' There I meaned to call on a friend, with whom I intended to concert the means of conveying Ro­land out of Paris. We had not gone a dozen yards be­fore the coach stopped. 'What is the matter?' said I to the coachman.—'Ah, he has left me; like a fool; for I wanted to keep him for my little boy. They would have been rare company for one another. Here! Here! my little fellow.'—I recollected the dog, and was highly pleased at having for my coachman, at such an hour, a good-natured man, possessed of a feeling heart, and a father. 'Endeavour to catch him:' said I: 'you shall put him into the coach, and I will take care of him. —The honest fellow, quite delighted, caught the dog, opened the door, and gave him to me for a com­panion. The poor animal appeared sensible, that he had found protection and an asylum, and caressed me with great affection. I recollected the tale of Sandi, in which he describes an old man, who being weary of his fellow-creatures, and disgusted with their passions, retired to a wood; and there constructed himself a dwelling, of which he enlivened the solitude by the society of several animals, who repaid his cares with testimonies of affection, and w [...] a species of gratitude, with which he contented him­ [...], for want of meeting with its like among mankind.

[...]IER was just gone to bed. He rose; I submitted to him my plan; and we agreed, that he should call on me the next day a little after seven, when I would let him [...] where his friend was to be found. I stepped into [Page 25] my coach again, and was proceeding home, when I was stopped by the sentry, at the post of the Samaritaine *. 'Have a little patience:' said the honest coachman in a whisper, and turning round on his seat: 'it is the custom at this time of night.'—The serjeant came and opened the door. 'Who have we got here?'—'A woman.'— Whence do you come?'—'From the convention.'— It is very true:' said the coachman, putting in his word, as if he were afraid I should not be believed.—'Whither are you going?'—'Home.'—'Have you no bundles?'— 'Nothing at all, as you may see.'—'But the assembly is broke up.'—'Yes: to my sorrow, for I had a petition to present.'—'A woman! at this hour! it is extremely strange: it is very imprudent.'—'It certainly is not a very common occurrence, nor is it with me a matter of choice. I must have had strong reasons for it.'—'But, madam, alone?'—'How, sir, alone! Do you not see that I have innocence and truth for my companions? what would you have more?'—'Well! I must be contented with your reasons.'—You are quite in the right:' replied I, in a gentler tone: 'for they are good ones.'

THE horses were so tired, that the coachman was obliged to pull them by the bridle, to get them up the steep part of the Rue de la Harpe. At length, how­ever, I reached home, paid my coach, and had asce [...] eight or ten steps, when a man, who had flipped in a [...] the gate unperceived by the porter, and who was close [...] my heels, begged me to conduct him to citizen Roland▪ —'To his apartment I will conduct you with pleasure, [...] you have any thing advantageous to impart: but to him i [...] [Page 26] impossible.'—'Why, I came to let him know that they are absolutely determined to put him in confinement this very evening.'—'They must be cunning indeed if they accomplish their purpose.'—'I am very happy to hear it; for it is an honest citizen you are speaking to.'—'Well and good,' said I, and went up stairs, without well know­ing what to think of the matter.

I MAY be asked, why, under such circumstances, I re­turned to the house? nor is the question irrelevant; for slander had attacked me too, and malevolence might direct its shafts against my bosom; but to give a proper answer to it, the state of my mind ought to be com­pletely developed; and that would require details, which I reserve for a future period: their results will be all I shall notice at present. I have naturally an aversion to every thing inconsistent with the grand, bold, and ingenu­ous proceedings of innocence: an effort to escape from the hand of injustice would be to me more painful, than any thing it can inflict. In the last two months of Roland's administration, our friends often urged us to quit the hotel, and three several times they found means to make us sleep from home; but it was always contrary to my inclina­tion. It was an assassination that was then apprehended; but I was of opinion, that no one would readily under­take to violate the asylum of a man invested with a public office; and if there were villains bold enough to attempt such a crime, it appeared to me, that its perpetration would not be altogether useless. At all events, it was incumbent on the minister to be at his post, for there his death would cry aloud for vengeance, and be a lesson to the republic; while it was possible to reach his life when abroad, with equal advantage to the devisers of the deed, but with less benefit to the public weal, and less glory to [Page 27] the victim. Such reasoning, I am well aware, will be deemed absurd by those who prefer life to all things: but he, who sets any value on his existence in a period of revolution, will set none on virtue, on honour, or on his country. Accordingly I refused to leave the hotel in the month of January; Roland's bed was in my chamber, that we might both undergo the same fate: and under my pillow I kept a pistol, not to kill those who might come to murder us, but to secure myself from their out­rages, if they offered to lay hands upon my person.

WHEN out of office the obligation was no longer the same, and I thought it right in Roland to shun the fury of the populace, and the clutches of his enemies. As to me, they had not an equal interest in doing me a mischief: killing me would be incurring an odium they did not desire; and my commitment to prison would be of little service to them, and to me no great misfortune. If they should feel any sense of shame, wish to proceed accord­ing to form, and begin the business by making me un­dergo an examination, I should find no difficulty in con­founding them; and my answers might even serve to dispel more rapidly the delusion of those who were only misled in regard to Roland. If they should dare to go the length of another second of September, it could only be because all the honest members of the convention would be also in their power, and because all would be lost at Paris. In that case I should prefer death, to living a witness of my country's ruin; and glory in being comprehended among the glorious victims sacrificed to guilty fury. That fury, glutted by my destruction, would be less violent against, Roland, who, if once saved from this crisis, might still tender great services to the public in other parts of [Page 28] France. Thus, of two things one was sure to happen: either I might only risque imprisonment and a trial, which would redound to my husband's and my country's good; or else, if I were doomed to perish, it would be under cir­cumstances in which life itself would be a burthen.

I HAVE an amiable daughter. I [...] her myself*. I have brought her up with the enthusiastic anxiety of maternal love. I have set before her such ex­amples, as at her age will not be forgotten; and doubt not but she will make a good and accomplished woman. Her education may be completed without my assistance, and her father will derive consolation from her existence; but she will never feel my strong affections; she will never know my pains, nor my pleasures: and yet were I to be born again, and to have my choice of disposi­tions, I would not change my temper of mind, but would ask of the gods to make me such as I am. Since Roland's resignation, I had lived so secluded from the world, that I had scarcely the smallest in­tercourse with any human creature: the family at one house, in which I might have concealed myself, was gone into the country; in another there was a sick person, which rendered the admission of a new guest difficult; and that in which Roland lay hidden, could not accommo­date me without the greatest inconvenience; it would be­sides have been suspicious, if not impolitic, for me to have been in the same place with him; and, in the last place, I should even have been sorry to abandon my ser­vants. I therefore returned home, quieted their uneasiness, already excited to a considerable degree, kissed my [Page 29] child, and took my pen, to write a note, which I intend­ed to dispatch early in the morning to my husband.

SCARCELY had I sat down, when I heard a knock at the door. It was about midnight. A numerous deputation of the commune appeared, and inquired for Roland.— 'He is not at home.'—'But,' said the person who wore an officer's gorget, 'where can he be? when will he re­turn? You are acquainted with his habits, and can judge of the hour of his coming home.'—'I known not,' repli­ed I, 'whether your orders authorise you to ask such ques­tions; but this I know, that nothing can oblige me to answer them. As Roland left the house while I was at the convention, he had it not in his power to make me his confidante. This is all I have to say.'

The whole troop withdrew much dissatisfied; but I perceived that a sentry was left at my door, and a guard at that of the house. I therefore inferred, that I had nothing to do but to summon strength to support the worst that might happen. Being overcome with fa­tigue, I ordered supper, finished my letter, entrusted it to my faithful maid, and retired to bed. I slept soundly for about an hour, when a servant came into my chamber, to inform me, that some gentlemen of the section re­quested me to step into the adjoining apartment. 'I un­derstand what it means,' replied I: 'go, child; I will not make them wait.' I sprung out of bed, and was dressing myself when my maid came in, and expressed her surprise at my being at the pains to put on any thing more than my bed-gown,—'When people are going abroad,' said I, 'they should at least be decent.'—The poor woman looked in my face, and the tears gushed from her eyes. I went into the next room.

[Page 30]'WE come, Citoyenne, to take you into custody, and to put seals upon your property.'—'Where is your autho­rity?'—'Here,' said a man, taking out of his pocket a warrant from the revolutionary committee*, ordering me to be committed to the abbey, without specifying any mo­tive for my arrest. 'I have a right to tell you, like Roland, that I know nothing of your committee, that I will not obey its orders, and that you shall not take me hence, unless by violence.'—'Here is another order,' said a little hard-featured man, in great haste, and in a commanding tone of voice, reading to me one from the commune, which directed also, without alleging any charge, the commit­ment of both Roland and his wife. In the mean time I deliberated, whether I should carry my resistance to the utmost, or quietly resign myself into their hands. I had a right to avail myself of the law, which prohibits nocturnal arrests; and if the law, which authorises the municipality to seize suspected persons were urged, I might retort the illegality of the municipality itself, cashiered and created anew by an arbitrary power. But then this power is in a manner sanctioned by the citizens of Paris; the law is no more than an empty name, employed for the purpose of trampling more securely on the most ac­knowledged rights; and violence prevails, to which, if I had compelled these brutes to resort, they might have preserved no bounds in its application. Resistance there­fore was vain, and could serve only to expose me to in­dignities and insult.

'How do you mean to proceed, gentlemen?'—'We [Page 31] have sent for a justice of peace of the section, and you see here a detachment of his armed force.'—The justice of peace came, went into the parlour, and sealed up every thing, even to the windows and the drawers containing linen. One strange fellow would have had the forte piano sealed up too, but he was told it was a musical in­strument; he then drew out a foot rule, and took its dimensions, as if he intended it for some particular place. I asked leave to take out my daughter's clothes, and made up a small packet of night-clothes for myself. In the mean time fifty or a hundred persons were passing backwards and forwards continually, completely filled two rooms, crowded every place, and might easily have concealed malevolent persons disposed either to deposit or to carry any thing away. The atmosphere became in­fected with noisome exhalations, and I was obliged to retire to the window of the anti-chamber for a little fresh air. The officer not daring to lay his commands upon this crowd, requested them now and then in gentle terms to withdraw, which only served to produce the exchange of one set of persons for another. Sitting down at my bureau, I wrote to a friend concerning my situation, and to recommend my daughter to his care. I was folding up the letter, when Mr. Nicaud, the bearer of the order from the commune, told me it was necessary I should read what I had written to them, and let them know to whom it was ad­dressed.—'I have no objection to read it, if that will satisfy you.'—'No, it would be better to let us know to whom you are writing.—'I shall do no such thing: the title of my friend is not of a nature, at present, to induce me, to name the person on whom I bestow it:' and on my saying this I tore the letter to pieces. While I turned myself [Page 32] from them, they gathered up the fragments, in order to seal them up: a stupid precaution, which tempted me to laugh; for the letter was without an address.

AT length, at seven in the morning, I left my daughter and my servants, after having exhorted them to be pa­tient and calm, and feeling myself more honoured by their tears, than dejected by the oppression of which I was the victim.—'You have people there, who love you:' said one of the commissioners.—'I never had any about me who did not:' replied I, while walking down stairs. From the bottom of the stair-case to the coach, which was drawn up on the opposite side of the street, I found two ranks of armed citizens; and proceeded gravely with measured steps, and with my eyes fixed upon these pusillanimous or deluded men. The armed force fol­lowed the coach in two files; while the wretched po­pulace, deceived, and massacred in the persons of its true friends, stopped as I passed by, attracted by the sight, and several of the women exclaimed, 'Away with her to the guillotine.'—'Shall we draw up the blinds?' said one of the commissioners very civilly.—'No, gentlemen, innocence, however oppressed, never puts on the guise of criminality: I fear not the eye of any one, nor will I conceal myself from any person's view.'—'You have more strength of mind than many men: you wait pa­tiently for justice.'—'Justice! Were justice done, I should not be now in your hands: but should an ini­q [...]tous procedure send me to the scaffold, I shall walk to it with the same firmness and tranquillity with which I now go to prison. My heart bleeds for my country; and I regret my mistake in supposing it qualified for liberty and happiness: but life I appreciate at its due value; I never [Page 33] feared aught but guilt; and injustice and death I despise.'— The poor commissioners understood but little of this lan­guage, and probably thought it very aristocratic.

WE arrived at the Abbey, the theatre of those bloody scenes, the revival of which the jacobins have for some time preached up with so much fervour. Five or six field-beds, with as many men stretched on them, in a dark and dreary room, were the first objects that struck my sight. After passing the wicket, every thing seemed in motion; and my guides made me ascend a dirty and narrow stair-case. At length we came to the keeper's apartment, and found him in a kind of little parlour, kept tolerably clean, where he offered me a seat. 'Where is my room?' said I to his wife, a corpulent woman, of an agreeable countenance.—'Madam, I did not expect you; I have no room as yet: but in the mean time you will remain here.'—The commissioners went into the adjoining room, directed an entry of their warrant to be made, and gave their verbal orders. These, I after­wards learnt, were very severe, and often renewed after­wards, but they durst not give them in writing; and the keeper knew his trade too well literally to observe what he was under no obligation to perform. He is an active, obliging, and civil man: and in fulfilling his official duties does every thing that humanity or justice can demand.' —'What would you choose for breakfast?'—'A little capillaire and water.'

THE commissioners withdrew, observing to me, that if Roland were not guilty, there could have been no oc­casion for him to abscond.—'It is so strange to suspect a man, who has rendered such important services to the [Page 34] cause of liberty; there is something so abominable in ca­lumniating, and persecuting with such bitter rage, a mini­ster whose conduct is so open, and whose accounts are so clear, that he is fully justified in avoiding the last outrages of envy. Just as Aristides, and severe as Cato, it is to his virtues he is indebted for his enemies. Their fury knows no bounds: but let them satiate it on me: I defy its power, and devote myself to death. It is incumbent on him to save himself for the sake of his country, to which he may yet be capable of rendering important services.' An awkward bow, in which their confusion was evident, was the only answer the gentlemen thought fit to make me.

As soon as they were gone, I sat down to breakfast, and in the mean time a bed-chamber was hastily put in order, into which I was introduced.—'You may remain here, madam, the whole day; and if I cannot get an apartment ready for you this evening, as we are rather crowded, a bed shall be made up in the parlour.'—After saying this, the keeper's wife made some civil observations on the re­gret she felt whenever a person of her own sex arrived, 'for,' added she, 'they have not all your serene counte­nance, madam.'—I thanked her with a smile; and she locked me in.

WILL, then, I am in prison, said I to myself, sitting down and falling into the deepest reverie. The mo­ments that followed, I would not exchange for those which others may esteem the happiest of my life, nor will they ever be erased from my memory. In a critical situation, and with a stormy and precarious period in view, they made me sensible of the value of honesty and fortitude, in union with a good consci­ence, [Page 35] and firm temper of mind. Hitherto impelled by circumstances, my actions, in this crisis, had been the result of strong feelings, hurrying me away. How grate­ful to find their effects justified by the sober operation of reason! I recalled the past to my mind: I calculated future events: and if while listening to a tender heart, I sometimes felt too powerful an affection, I did not dis­cover one that could suffuse my cheek with a blush; not one, but what served to keep alive my courage, nor one that my reason was not able to subdue. I de­voted myself, if I may so say, voluntarily to my destiny, whatever it might be: I defied its rigour, and fixed my­self firmly in that state of mind, in which we only seek employment for the present, without giving ourselves any concern about the future. But this tranquillity with regard to what concerned me alone, I did not even en­deavour to extend to the fate of my country, and of my friends: I waited for the evening paper, and listened to the noise in the street with inexpressible a [...]xiety. I did not however neglect to make enquiry concerning my new situation, and what portion of liberty was left me.— 'May I write? May I see any body? What will be my ex­pences here? were my first questions. Lavacquerie, the keeper, acquainted me with the directions given him, and the liberty he could venture to take with orders of that kind. I wrote to my faithful maid, to come and see me; but it was agreed that she should keep this indulgence a secret.

THE first visit I received at the Abbey was from Grand­pré on the day of my arrival.—'You should write to the assembly,' said he; 'have you not yet been think­ing of it?'—'No: and now you put me in mind, [Page 36] I do not see how I shall be able to get my letter read?' —'I will do all I can to assist you.'—'Very well: then I will write.'—'Do so. I will return in two hours.'— He left me, and I wrote as follows:

'Madame ROLAND to the National Convention.

"LEGISLATORS! I have just been torn from my home, from the arms of my daughter, a girl of twelve years of age, and am detained in the Abbey, by virtue of orders which assign no cause for my con­finement. Those orders were issued by a revolutionary committee; and commissioners of the commune, who accompanied those of the committee, shewed me others from the council-general, which were equally defective.*" Thus am I placed in the light of a culprit before the eyes of the public. I was dragged to prison with great parade, in the midst of an ostentatious guard, and of a misled populace, some of whom were for sending me to the scaffold; without my conductors being able to as­sign to me or to any other person the reason why I was presumed a criminal, and treated accordingly. This is not all. The bearer of the orders of the commune made no use of them except in regard to myself, and to make me sign minutes of what passed: as soon as I quitted my apartment, I was delivered over to the commissioners of the revolutionary committee, who conducted me to the Abbey; and on their warrant alone I was constituted a prisoner. An attested copy of that warrant, signed by [Page 37] a single individual possessing no office, is here sub­joined. Every thing in my house has been sealed up▪ and while that was doing, which was from three o'clock in the morning till seven, a crowd of citizens filled my apartment. If, among the number, there were any ma­licious person, capable of privately slipping false evi­dence into a library open in every part, he could not want an opportunity.

'As early as yesterday, the same committee sought to put the late minister under arrest, though the laws ren­der him accountable to you alone for the acts of his administration, and though he has been incessantly so­liciting an enquiry.

'ROLAND had protested against the order, and the bearers of it had withdrawn. He had afterwards left his house, to spare Errour a crime, while I was on my way to the convention, to give it information of those at­tempts; but it was in vain that I procured the transmission of a letter to the president: it was not read. I went thither to demand justice and protection: I demand them again, and with stronger claims, for I too am oppressed. I demand of the convention, to order an account of the cause and the manner of my being apprehended, to be laid before it; and I demand its decision. If it confirm my arrest, I appeal to the law which ordain [...] the declaration of the crime, and the examination of the prisoner within twenty-four hours from the time of his caption. And in the last place, I demand a report on the accounts of that irreproachable man, who exhi­bits an instance of persecution unheard of before, and who seems destined to give to all Europe the terrible [Page 38] lesson of virtue proscribed by the blindness of infuriate prejudice.

'IF to have shared the strictness of his principles, the energy of his mind, and the ardour of his love of liberty, be a crime; I plead guilty, and await my pu­nishment. Pronounce sentence, legislators: France, freedom, the fate of the republic, and of yourselves, depend on this day's distribution of that justice, which it is yours to dispense.'

*
The words between double commas had been changed.

THE agitation, in which I had passed the preceding night, made me feel extreme fatigue. I desired to have a chamber that very evening; and obtained one, of which I took possession at ten o'clock. When I en­tered it, and found myself surrounded by four dirty walls, in the midst of which was a bed without curtains; when I perceived a double-grated window; and when I was as­sailed by that smell, which a person accustomed to an apartment extremely clean, always finds in those that are not so, I was sensible that I was indeed an inhabitant of a prison, and that I had no pleasure to expect from such a situation. My room, however, was sufficiently spacious; there was a fire-place; the bed cloths were tolerable; a pillow was given me; and estimating things, in themselves, without entering into comparisons, I deem­ed myself not altogether badly accommodated. I went to bed fully resolved to remain in it as long as I should find myself comfortable there; and was not up at ten in the morning, when Grandpré arrived. He did not appear less affected, but more uneasy, than the pre­ceding evening; and cast a mournful look around the [Page 39] wretched room, which already appeared tolerable to me, for I [...]d slept in it.

'How did you pass the night?' said he with tears standing in his eyes.—'I was repeatedly waked by the noise; but fell asleep again as soon as it was over, in spite even of the alarm-bell, which I thought I heard this morning.—Ha!—is it not sounding still?'—'Why I thought so:—but it is nothing.'—'Be it as it pleases heaven: if they kill me, it shall be in this bed; for I am so weary, that here I will expect my fate. Is any thing new brought forward against the members?'—'No. I have brought back your letter. It is my opinion, as well as Champagneux's, that the beginning should be softened. Here is what we propose to substitute; and then you should write a line or two to the minister of the home department, that he may transmit your letter officially, which would enable me the better to solicit its being read.'—I took the paper; looked at it; and said to him, 'if I thought my letter would be read as it now stands, so it should remain, even were I sure of its be­ing attended with no advantage to myself; for it is hardly possible to hope for justice from the convention. The truths addressed to it are not for an assembly which is at present incapable of putting them in practice; but they should be uttered, that they may be heard by the departments.'

I PERCEIVED, that my exordium might prevent the reading of the letter, and that consequently it would be a folly to let it stand: I therefore omitted the first three paragraphs, and substituted what was proposed to me in their stead. As to the minister's interference, I was sensible it would render the proceeding more re­gular: [Page 40] and though Garat scarcely deserved the honour of being written to, I knew how to do it without lessening myself, and addressed him in the following lines:

'To the MINISTER of the Interior Department.

'THE part of administration allotted to you, citi­zen, gives you a right to superintend the execution of the laws, and to denounce their violation by authorities that hold them in contempt. I am persuaded, a sense of justice will make you happy to transmit to the convention the complaints I have but too much occa­sion to make against the oppression, of which I am the victim.'

RISING about noon, I considered how I should ar­range my new apartment. With a clean napkin I covered a little paltry table, which I placed near my window, intending that it should serve me for a bureau, and resolved to eat my meals on a corner of the chim­ney-piece, that I might keep the table clean, and in order, for writing. Two large hat-pins, stuck into the boards, served me as a port manteau. In my pocket I had Thomson's Seasons, a work which I was fond of on more than one account; and I made a memo­randum of such other books as I should wish to pro­cure. First, Plutarch's Lives of Illustrious Persons▪ which at eight years of age I used to carry to church instead of the Exercises of the holy week, and which I had not read regularly since that early period [...] then Hume's History of England, and Sheridan's Di [...] tionary, [Page 41] in order to improve myself in the English lan­guage. I would rather have continued to read Mrs. Macaulay; but the person who had lent me some of the first volumes, was not at home; and I should not have known where to enquire for the work, as I had already tried in vain to get it from the book­sellers. I could not avoid smiling at my peaceful prepara­tions; for there was a great tumult in the town: the drums were continually beating to arms, and I knew not what might be the event. At any rate, said I to myself, they will not prevent my living to my last moment: more happy in my conscious innocence, than they can be with the rage that animates them. If they come, I will advance to meet them, and go to death as a man would go to repose.

THE keeper's wife came to invite me to her apart­ment, where she had directed my cloth to be laid, that I might dine in better air. On repairing thither, I found my faithful maid, who threw herself into my arms, bathed in tears, and half suffocated by her sobs. I could not avoid melting into tenderness and sorrow. I almost upbraided myself with my previous tranquillity, when I reflected on the anxiety of those who were at­tached to me; and when I described to myself the an­guish first of one friend, and then of another, my heart was rent by the keenest sensations of grief. Poor wo­man! how many tears have I caused her to shed! and for what does not an attachment like her's atone? In the common intercourse of life she sometimes treats me roughly, but it is when she thinks me too negligent of what may contribute to my health or happiness; and when I am in distress, the office of complaining is her's, [Page 42] and that of consoling mine. There was no getting rid of so inveterate a habit. I endeavoured to prove to her that, by giving way to her grief, she would be less ca­pable of rendering me service; that she was more use­ful to me without, than within the walls of the prison, where she begged me to permit her to remain; and that, upon the whole, I was far from being so unfortunate as she imagined, which indeed was true. Whenever I have been ill, I have experienced a particular kind of serenity, un­questionably proceeding from my mode of contemplat­ing things, and from the law I have laid down for my­self, of always submitting quietly to necessity, instead of revolting against it. The moment I take to my bed, every duty seems at an end, and no solicitude whatever has any hold upon me: I am only bound to be there, and to remain there with resignation, which I do with a very good grace. I give freedom to my imagination; I call up agreeable impressions, pleasing remembrances, and ideas of happiness; all exertions, all reasonings, and all calculations, I discard; giving myself up entirely to na­ture, and, peaceful like her, I suffer pain without impati­ence, and seek repose or cheerfulness. I find that imprison­ment produces on me nearly the same effect as disease; I am only bound to be in prison, and what great hardship is there in it? I am not such very bad company for myself.

I SOON learnt that I must change my habitation.— Victims were abundant, and the chamber into which I had been put would contain more than one bed.— That I might be alone, I was obliged in the evening to be shut up in a little closet; and consequently to remove the whole of my establishment. The [Page 43] window of my new apartment is, I believe, over th [...] sentry, who guards the prison-gate. All the night I heard, Who goes there?—kill him!—guard!—patrole!— called out in a thundering voice. The houses were illuminated; and from the number and frequency of the patroles it was easy to infer, there had been some commotions, and that more were to be feared. I rose early, and employed myself in my household affairs; that is to say, in making my bed, in cleaning my little place, and in rendering my person and every thing about me as neat as I could. Had I desired these things to be done for me, I knew that I should not have been re­fused; but I was aware, I must have paid for them dearly, waited a long time, and had them done in a very slovenly manner at last. By taking the office on myself I was sure to be a gainer: I was sure that I should be better and sooner served, and that the trifling presents I might make would be rated the higher, because they would be altogether gratuitous. I waited with impatience to hear the massy bolts of my door opened, that I might ask for a newspaper. I read it: the decree of impeach­ment against the twenty-two was passed: the paper fell from my hands, and in transport of grief I exclaimed, 'My country is undone!'

FIRM and tranquil, while I imagined myself alone, or nearly alone, beneath the yoke of oppression, I formed wishes for the future, and was not without hope that the defenders of liberty would triumph. But guilt and error have obtained the ascendancy; the national representation is violated; its integrity is destroyed; every one in it remarkable for probity, spirit, and talents, is proscribed; the commune of Paris overawes the legislative body; [Page 44] Paris is undone; the torch of civil war is lighted up; the enemy is about to avail himself of our divisions; free­dom is lost to the north of France; and the whole re­public is become a prey to the most dreadful dissensions. Farewell my country! sublime illusions, generous sacri­fices, hope, and happiness, farewell! At twelve years o [...] I lamented, in the first expansions of my youthful bosom, that I was not born a citizen of Sparta, or of Rome, and in the French revolution I thought I saw the unhoped for application of the principles impressed upon my mind. Liberty, said I, has two sources; good manners, which produce sage laws; and knowledge, which leads us to both, by making us acquainted with our rights: my soul will no longer be afflicted by the spectacle of mankind debased: the human race will improve; and the happiness of all will become the foun­dation and the security of that of each individual. Splen­did chimeras! dear delusions, from which I reaped so much delight, you are all dispelled by the horrible cor­ruption of this vast city. I despised life: the loss of you makes me detest it, and defy the utmost fury of the men of blood. Anarchists, savages, for what await you? You who have proscribed virtue, why do you not spill the blood of those who obey her laws? when shed upon the earth, it will make her open her devouring jaws, and swallow you up.

THE course of things ought to have made me foresee the event: but I could not easily bring myself to believe, that the bulk of the convention would not pause at the magnitude of the danger; nor could I help being astonished at the decisive act, which tolled its passing bell.

[Page 45]AT present a sullen sort of indgnation prevails over every other sentiment: as indifferent as ever to what concerns myself, my hopes for others are feeble; and I wait for events with more curiosity than desire: I no longer live to feel, but to know. It was not long ere I learnt that the revolutionary movement which was or [...]ed on purpose to extort the decree of impeachment, had excited some uneasiness about the prisons. That was the cause of the strict and noisy guard during the night: and that the reason why the citizens of the section of Unity would not obey the beat of drum, which called them to the convention; but remained at home, to watch over their property, and the prison within their precinct. I discovered the motive of Grandpré's alarm and dis­quietude, and the next day he confessed his apprehen­sions. He had repaired to the assembly, to obtain the reading of my letter; and, during eight successive hours, he, as well as several of the members, had repeatedly requested it of the president in vain: it was therefore evident, that I should not be able to get it read at all. Finding by the Monitor, that my section (that of Beaure­paire) had expressed its sentiments in my favour, even after my imprisonment, it occurred to me to write to it; and I did so in the following terms:

'Citizens,

'THE public papers inform me, that you have placed Roland and his wife under the safeguard of your section. This I knew not when I was dragged from my family: on the contrary, the bearer of the orders of the commune represented the armed force, by which he was [Page 46] accompanied, as that of the section, [...]ed him o [...] his requisition, and so it was stated in [...] minutes that were taken down. The moment that I w [...] [...]ut up in the Abbey, I wrote to the convention, and applied to the minister of the interior department, to forward my com­plaint. I understand he complied with my request, and that the letter was delivered; but not read. I have the honour to transmit you an attested copy. If the section think it not beneath its dignity to plead the cause of suffering innocence, it will be easy to send a de­putation to the bar of the convention, there to make known my just complaints, and to add weight to my re­clamations. This point I submit to its wisdom: I add no intreaty, for truth has but one language, and that is the exposition of facts. Citizens who love justice are not fond of having supplications addressed to them, and inno­cence is incapable of assuming the character of a suppliant.

'P. S. This is the fourth day of my detention, and I have not yet been examined. I must observe, that the order of arrest assigned no reason for my confinement; but imported, that I should be interrogated on the fol­lowing day.'

SEVERAL days elapsed without my hearing any thing and still I underwent no examination. I had however received a great many visits from administrators with foolish faces and dirty ribbands, some of whom said they belonged to the police, others to I know not what; violent sans-culottes, with filthy hair, and strict observers of the order of the day, who came to know whether the pri­soners were satisfied with their treatment. I had expressed [Page 47] myself to them all with the energy and dignity sui [...] ­ble to oppressed innocence; and had noticed among the [...] two or three men of good sense, who understood me, with­out daring to take my part. I was at dinner, when five or six were announced to me all at once. One came a little forward: he, who assumed the office of speaker, appeared to me, before he opened his lips, one of those empty-headed babblers, who judge of their merit by the volubility of their tongue.—'Good morrow, Citoyenne.'—'Good morrow, sir.'—Are you satisfied with this house? Have you any reason to complain of your treatment, or any particular demand to make?'— 'I complain of being here; and demand my enlarge­ment.'—'Is your health impaired? or does solitude af­fect your spirits?'—'I am in good health, and not at all out of spirits. Ennui is the disease of hearts, without feel­ing, and of minds that have no resources in themselves. But I have a strong feeling of injustice, and protest against the lawless oppression, which took me into custody with­out cause, and has since detained me without examina­tion.'—'Why, in a period of revolution, there is so much to be done, that there is not time to attend to every thing.'—'A woman, to whom king Philip made nearly the same reply, answered him: "if thou hast not time to do me justice, thou hast not time to be king." Take care you do not oblige oppressed citizens to say the same thing to the people, or rather to the arbitrary authorities, by which the people is misled.'—'Adieu, citoyenne!'—'Adieu!—And away went the flippant gen­tleman, not knowing what answer to make to my reasons. These people appeared to me to have entered purposely to see how I looked in my cage; but they [Page 48] might go a great way, before they would find dolts like themselves.

I HAVE already mentioned my having inquired into the way of living in these places. Not that I set any great value on what are called the comforts of life. I make no scruple of enjoying them when it can be done without inconvenience, but it is always in moderation; and when it is necessary, there is no one of them that I cannot forego. It is from a natural love of order that I desire to know the amount of my expences, and to regulate them according to the circumstances of my situation.

I WAS informed that Roland, when minister, thought that five livres [4s. 2d.] a head, the daily allowance of the prisoners, a great deal too much, and reduced it to two [1s. 8d.]: but the excessive rise in the price of provi­sions, which within these few months has been tripled, ren­ders this allowance scanty enough: for the nation allowing nothing but straw and the bare walls, twenty sous [10d.] are deducted in the first place, as an indemnification to the keeper for his expenses, that is to say, for the bed and trifling furniture of the room. Out of the twenty sous remaining, candles, fire, if necessary, and meat and drink, are to be provided. The sum is insufficient for the purpose; but every prisoner is free, of course, to make what addition he pleases to his expense. As I am not fond of spending much on myself; and take a pleasure in trying my strength at privation, I felt a desire of making an experiment how far the human will is ca­pable of diminishing our wants; but to go any great length, it is necessary to proceed by degrees. At the end of four days, I began by retrenching my breakfast, and [Page 49] substituting bread and water for coffee and chocolate: I desired to have for dinner one plain dish of meat, with a few greens; and vegetables for my supper without a desert. To break myself of drinking wine, I took first to beer, and then I left off that also. As this re­gimen, however, had a moral purpose, and as I have as much aversion as contempt for useless economy, I began by giving a certain sum for the use of the miserable wretch­es, who were lying upon straw; that, while eating my dry bread in a morning, I might have the satisfaction to reflect, that the poor devils would owe to me their being able to add something to their's at dinner. If I remain here six months, I will engage to leave the place with a healthy complexion, and a body by no means emaciated, having reduced my wants so far as to be satisfied with soup and bread, and deserved a few benedictions incognito. I made some presents also, but with quite a different view, to the servants belonging to the prison. When a person is, or appears to be, rigidly economical in point of expense, he ought to be generous to others, if he would wish to avoid blame, particularly when the people about him derive from that expense their only emolument. I require neither attentions to be paid me, nor purchases to be made on my account; I send out for nothing; I employ nobody: I should be consequently the worst of prisoners to the domestics, who make their little profits on what they are commissioned to provide or procure: it is fitting therefore, that I should pay for the state of independence in which I place myself: by so doing I render it more perfect, and am moreover a gainer in good will.

[Page 50]I HAVE received several visits from the excellent Cham­paneux and the worthy Bosc. The former, father of a numerous family, was attached to liberty from principle, and had professed its sound doctrines from the very commencement of the revolution, in a journal, intended for the information of his fellow citizens. A good judgment, gentleness of manners, and great industry, are the most prominent features of his character. Roland, when minister, placed him at the head of the first division of the home department; and it was one of the best appointments he made: though by the way he was not less happy in other principal clerks, such as the active and ingenuous Camus, the able Fépoul, and se­veral more. Never were offices better filled; nor could any thing but their excellent organization enable Garat to support a burden so far beyond his strength. It is to the honesty and capacity of such agents that he is indebted for the tranquillity he is allowed to enjoy. Of this he is sensible; and he said with good reason, that he would give up his situation, if he were obliged to make any change in his official establishment. Notwithstanding this, he will be forced to quit his post, for no talents in assistants can compensate a minister's want of firmness: irresolution is the worst of faults in those who govern, particularly in the midst of jarring factions. Garat and Barrère, a [...] private individuals, would not be deemed deficient in sen [...] or honesty: but the one charged with the executive power, and the other empowered to legislate, would r [...] all the states in the world by their half-measures: th [...] rage for what they term conciliatory plans propels th [...] in that oblique path, which leads directly to mi [...] [Page 51] and confusion. There would be nothing conciliatory about a statesman but his manner; I mean his mode of behaviour to those whom he employs; he ought to avail himself of the very passions and faults of those whose conduct he directs, or with whom he transacts business: but rigid in his principles, firm and rapid in action, no obstacle, no consideration, should make him waver in the former respect, or alter his course in the latter.

COULD Roland unite with his extensive views, his strength of mind, and his prodigious activity, a little more artfulness of manner, he would easily govern an empire: but his faults are prejudicial to himself alone, while his good qualities are infinitely valuable in the administration of public affairs.

BOSC, our old friend, a man of an ingenious disposi­tion, and enlightened mind, came to me the first day of my imprisonment, and lost no time in conducting my daughter to madame Creuzé-la-Touche, who gave her a kind welcome, and treated her like one of her own chil­dren, with whom it was settled that she should remain un­der her fostering care. To be fully sensible of the value of this step, it is necessary to be acquainted with the persons. It is necessary for a man to describe to himself the feeling and open-hearted Bosc, running to the house of his friends, taking possession of their child, and intrusting her of his own accord to the most respectable family, as a deposit which he felt himself honoured in confiding to their hands, and which he knew would be received with the pleasure experienced by delicate minds, when an opportunity is offered them of doing good. It is [Page 52] necessary to have been acquainted with the patriarchal man­ners, the domestic virtues of Creuzé and his wife, and with the gentleness and goodness of disposition for which they are remarkable, to judge of the welcome they gave my girl, and to be sensible of what it was worth.

WHO, then, is to be pitied in all this? Roland alone; Roland, persecuted and proscribed; Roland, to whom the examination of his accounts is denied; Roland, com­pelled to conceal himself like a criminal; to avoid the blind fury of men misled by his enemies; to tremble for the safety even of those who give him shelter; to drink in silence the bitter cup of his wife's imprisonment, and of the sequestration of all his property; and to await, in a state of incertitude, the reign of justice, which can ne­ver indemnify him for all that perversity will have made him suffer.

MY section, actuated by the best principles, had come on the third of the month to a resolution, which breathed the spirit of justice, and which established the right of citizens, to protest against arbitrary imprisonment, and even to resist it if attempted. My letter was read there, and listened to with concern. The debate, that took place in consequence, having been prolonged to the next day, the mountaineers laid their heads together: the alarm was given to their party; and a whole host of furious depu­ties arrived from the other sections, with a view to disturb the proceedings, and deliberations, and, if possible, to pervert the spirit of mine, or else in the hope of terrifying it by menaces, and of engaging a majority of the sections to deprive it of its arms.

IN the mean time, being urged by Grandpré to neglect [Page 53] no means of shortening the term of my captivity, I wrote again to Garat, and to Gohier also. The latter, whom I scarcely ever saw or knew, with at least as much weakness as Garat, appeared to me inferior to him in every other re­spect. I could not easily write to such men, without giving them lessons; and they were severe. Grandpré thinking them mortifying, though just, I softened some of the ex­pressions, and contented myself with the following words:

'Madame ROLAND to the MINISTER of Justice.

'I AM suffering oppression; I am therefore entitled to remind you of my rights, and of your duties.

'AN arbitrary order, without specifying any charge, has plunged me into this dungeon prepared for criminals. I have inhabited it a week, and as yet I have not been exa­mined.

'THE decrees of the convention are known to you. They direct you to visit the prisons, and to enlarge those who are detained without just cause. Another has also lately been passed, enjoining you to require the communi­nication of all the warrants that are issued, to see that they be grounded upon some specific charge, and take care that all persons in custody be examined.

I transmit to you an attested copy of that warrant by virtue of which I was taken from my home, and brought hither.

'I demand the execution of the law, on my own ac­count, and even on your's. Innocent and firm, injustice may reach, but cannot debase me, and I can submit [Page 54] to it with pride, at a time when virtue is proscribed.* As to you, placed as you are between the law and dis­honour, your inclination cannot be doubted; and you are to be pitied, if you have not courage to act according to its dictates.'

*
Here followed originally: 'But it was incumbent on you, pl [...] between the law and dishonour, either to fulfil the duties of your p [...] or resign it; you must otherwise incur that infamy, with which post [...] will brand weakness like yours.'

To the MINISTER of the Home Department.

'I KNOW that you have transmitted my complaints to the legislative body; but my letter has not been read. Have you fulfilled the whole of your duty by forwarding it at my request?—I have been apprehended, without the specification of any reason; and I have been detained a week, without examination. It behoves you, as a man in office, when you have not been able to save innocence from oppression, to endeavour at least to bring about its delivery.

'YOU are more interested, perhaps, than myself, in the task I request you to undertake. I am not the only victim of prejudice and envy; and their present attacks upon every one remarkable for the union of a firm mind with virtue and talents, renders the persecution honourable, of which I am the object, and for which I am indebted to my connexion with the venerable man, whose cause posterity will revenge. But you, who are now at the helm, if incapable of holding it with a firm hand, wi [...] [Page 55] not escape the reproach of abandoning the vessel to the waves, the disgrace of having occupied a post which you could not maintain.

'FACTIONS pass away, justice alone remains unalterable: and of all the faults of men in place weakness is the least pardonable, because it is the source of the greatest dis­orders, particularly in troublesome times.

'I NEED not add any thing to these reflections, if they reach you in time for you and for myself, or urge their application to my own concerns; since nothing can supply the want of courage and of good-will.'

MOST certainly the ministers, who neglected and de­spised the decrees, that enjoined them to prosecute the authors of the massacre of September, and the conspira­tors of the 10th of March; men, whose weak and un­worthy conduct on those occasions emboldened guilt, favoured its enterprises, and insured this new insur­rection, in which blindness and audacity, prescribing laws to the national convention, call forth all the evils of civil war; such men certainly will not be the impeachers of oppression. From them I expect nothing; and the truths I address to them are rather intended to show them what they ought, and what they have failed, to do, than to procure me that justice, which they are incapable of rendering, unless a little shame should chance to produce a miracle.

ESOP represents all the animals, who usually trembled at the aspect of the lion, coming, every one in his turn, to insult him when he fell sick: in like manner [...] [...]ob of little minds, actuated either by delusion or jealousy, fall with fury upon those, whom oppression holds captive [Page 56] or whose means of defence it diminishes, by lowering [...] them in the opinion of the world. Of this the Thermo­meter of the Day, for the 9th of June, No. 526, afford [...] an example. Therein appears, under the title of exami­nation of L. P. d'Orleans, a series of questions, amongst which the following charge is worthy of remark: 'Of having been present at secret cabals, held by night in the apartment of Buzot's wife, in the Fauxbourg St. Germain, whither Dumouriez, Roland and his wife, Vergniaux, Brissot, Gensonné, Gorsas, Louvet, Pétion, Guadet, and others used to repair.'

WHAT atrocious wickedness! and what excess of im­pudence! The deputies here named are precisely those, who voted for the banishment of the Bourbons. Those high-spirited defenders of freedom never considered d'Or­leans as a leader possessed of capacity; but he always appeared to them a dangerous tool. They were the first to dread his vices, his wealth, his connexions, his popu­larity, and his faction; to denounce the latter, and to hunt down those, who appeared to be its agents. Lou­vet marked them out in his Philippic against Robes­pierre; a valuable piece, as is every thing from his pen. In that composition, which history will carefully pre­serve, he follows them step by step to the electoral assembly, whence d'Orleans issued a deputy. Buzot, whose persevering energy has procured him the hatred of the factious, embraced the first favourable opportunity, to demand the banishment of the Bourbons; a mea­sure which he looked upon as indispensable, from the moment the convention resolved to pass judg­ment on Lewis. Neither Roland, nor I, ever saw d'Orleans. I even refused to receive Sillery, thoug [...] [Page 57] he was mentioned to me as a good and amiable man, because his connection with d'Orleans rendered him suspicious. I remember two curious letters on the subject; one of which was written by madame Sillery to Louvet, after he had supported Buzot's motion. 'Here,' said Louvet, communicating the letter to me, 'is a proof that we are not mistaken, and that the Orleans party is no chimera. Madame Sillery would not write in such terms, if it were not a thing agreed upon between her and the parties concerned. If they be so much afraid of banishment, it must be because exile will defeat some of their schemes.' In fact, the object of the studied letter of madame Sillery was to prevail upon Louvet to change his opinion; to persuade him, that the republican principles, in which the children of d'Orleans had been educated, rendered them the most zealous partizans of a commonwealth; and that it was both cruel and impolitic to sacrifice individuals, who might certainly be made useful, to prejudices alike unjust and absurd.

The other letter was Louvet's answer: replete with wit and dignity, it set forth the reasons on which he founded his opinion in terms equally forcible and polite. Among other things he said, that the monarchical principles, the aristo­cratical and other prejudices, which appeared in the works of madame Sillery herself, were far from satisfying him with respect to those of her pupils; and he persisted with all the spirit of a free man in an opinion which the love of his country inspired.

As to the pretended cabals at Buzot's wife's, nothing in the world can be so ridiculous. Buzot, whom I had frequent occasions of seeing at the time of the constituent assembly, [Page 58] and with whom I had remained in friendly intercourse; Buzot, whose spirit, sensibility, purity of principles, and gentleness of manners, inspired me with infinite esteem and attachment, came frequently to the Hotel de l'Interieur: his wife I have visited only once since they came to Paris on the meeting of the convention; nor had they ever the slightest connexion with Dumouriez.

Indignant at these absurdities, I took up my pen to write to Dulaure, the editor of the Thermometre du jour, a worthy man, with whom I lived on friendly terms until the moment he was seduced by the mountaineers*.

Madame ROLAND to the Deputy DULAURE, Author of the Thermometre du jour.

'IF any thing could add to the astonishment of inno­cence, when it finds itself under the yoke of oppression, I should tell you, citizen, that I have just read with the greatest surprise, the absurdities contained in your paper of this day, under the title of examination of Philip d'Orleans, which chance his thrown in my way. It would appear very strange, had not experience proved it to be only very impudent, that those persons who first feared, denounced, and watched the manoeuvres of the [...]ction of d'Orleans, should be represented as having formed it themselves.

[Page 59]'TIME will unquestionably clear up this mystery of iniquity: but while waiting for its justice, which may be t [...]rdy in the midst of such dreadful corruption, it appears to me incumbent on your's, when publishing the questions of an inter [...]gatory calculated to excite suspicions, to publish at the same time the answers, which must have been made, and which may serve to show the degree of credit they deserve.

'THIS act of justice is the more strictly requisite, as calumny and persecution closely pursue the persons named in those questions; and as most of them are fast held in the toils of a decree, extorted by audacity and prejudice from the hands of weakness and error. I myself have been confined a week, by virtue of a man­date which specifies no reason for my arrest. I have never been examined: I have not been able to obtain a hearing of my complaints from the convention; and when they were told, that those complaints had been suppressed, they passed to the order of the day, under the pre [...]ence of its not being their concern. What! then new authorities act in the most arbitrary manner, while the con­stituted powers bow before them, and the acts of injustice they commit are not to be represented to the convention▪ It is not then to the legislative body that complaints should be addressed, when there remains none other to hear them▪ It can interest itself in favour of persons confined by order of the tribunal of Marseilles; while I, who are confined [...] revolutionary committee, have no longer any right —and the commune makes the newspapers repe [...]t▪ [...] the prisons of Pari [...]tain nothing but assass [...] thi [...] and counter-revolutionists!—Citizen, I have [...] you [...] [...] [...]eve you honest: how will you grieve on some [Page 60] future day!—I transmit to you some notes, which I b [...] you to peruse: and I request you to insert in your pap [...] that letter, which I could not get read at the convention▪ You owe me this piece of justice, as circumstances suffi­ciently demonstrate; and if your own feelin [...] do not tell you so, I should urge the matter in vain.

'P. S. NEITHER Roland nor I ever saw Philip d'Or­leans: and I can moreover say, that I have always heard the deputies mentioned in the interrogatory, as quo ted by the Thermometer of this day, profess for him a contempt similar to that with which he inspired me. If, in short, we ever talked of him at all, it was to speak of the fears which the true friends of liberty might feel on his account, and of the consequent necessity of banishing him from the republic.'

As circumstances have led me to mention Dumouries, I will say what I know of him, and what I think: but this carries me back to Roland's first administration, and [...]eads me to relate here how a man so austere in his man­ners came to be nominated to a place, which kings seldom fill with similar characters. I shall take up the thread of my narrative at a period somewhat remote; and shall be indebted to my captivity for leisure to record facts, and re­collect circumstances, which otherwise, perhaps, would never have employed my pen.

ROLAND executed the office of inspector of commerc [...] and manufactures in the generality * of Lyons, with th [...] [Page 61] knowledge and those administrative views, that ought [...] have distinguished the body of inspectors, if government had known how to keep up the spirit of the institution, of which Roland was almost the only example. Superior to his place in every respect, fond of employment, and not insensible to the allurements of fame, he digested in [...]e silence of the closet the materials with which his ex­perience and activity had furnished him; and continued the Dictionary of Manufactures for the new Encyclo­pedia. Some of Brissot's works were sent to him from the author, as a testimony of the esteem with which he had been inspired by the principles of liberty and justice, that appeared in Roland's writings. That testi­mony was received with the usual sensibility of authors, and with the feelings natural to a man of worth, who finds himself praised by a person of congenial mind. It gave birth to a correspondence at first very unfrequent; but afterwards supported by that of one of our friends, who became acquainted with Brissot at Paris, and spoke of his habits of life in a very favourable manner; as pre­senting a practical proof of the philosophical and moral theory contained in his writings. This correspondence was still further encouraged by the revolution of 1789; for events, succeeding each other with rapidity, called forth the most vigorous exertions of the minds and souls of philosophers prepared for liberty; and produced in­teresting communications between those, whose bo [...] were enflamed with the love of their fellow-creatures, and the hope of seeing the universal reign of just [...] [...]d happiness arrive. Brissot having at this juncture begun a periodical paper, that will be often consulted on account of the [...]cellent reasoning it contains, we sent him every [Page 62] thing, of which circumstances seemed to make the pu [...] licity useful. Ere long our acquaintance received its last degree of improvement; and we became intimate and confidential friends, without ever having seen one another's faces.

AMID those struggles unavoidable in a period of re­volution, when principles, prejudices, and passions, rais [...] insurmountable obstacles between persons, who had be­fore appeared well disposed to agree, Roland was elected a member of the municipality of Lyons. His situation in life, his family, and his connexions, were such as might be supposed to attach him to the aristocracy: while his turn of mind and reputation rendered him interesting to the popular party, to which he was naturally led to devote himself by his philosophy, and the austerity of his manners. No sooner had he taken a decided part, than he made himself many enemies, so much the more violent, as his inflexible integrity laid open without reserve the numerous abuses that had crept into the administration of the finan­ [...] of the town. They exhibited an epitome of the d [...]pidations of those of the state, the debt of the city of Lyons amounting to no less than forty millions of livres [£1,666,667.] It was become indispensably necessary to solicit assistance, for the manufactures had suffered in the first year of the revolution, and twenty thousand workmen had been out of bread during th [...] whole of the winter. It was therefore resolved to send a d [...]ty extraordinary to the constituent assembly, to [...] known the circumstances, and Roland was the person chosen. We arrived at Paris the 20th of February, 1791. I had been five years absent fro [...] the place of my nativity; I had watched the progress [...] [Page 63] the revolution, and the labours of the assembly; and had studied the characters and talents of its leading mem­bers, with an interest not easily to be conceived, and scarcely to be appreciated, except by those who are ac­quainted with my ardent and active turn of mind. I hastened to attend their sittings; and there I saw the powerful Mirabeau*, the astonishing Cazalés, the dar­ing Maury, the artful Lameths, and the frigid Barnave: I remarked with vexation that kind of superiority on the side of the blacks , that dignified habits, purity of language, and polished manners, give in large assemblies; but the strength of reason, the courage of intregity, the lights of philosophy, the fruits of study, and the fluency of the bar, could not fail to secure the triumph of the patriots of the left, if they were all honest, and could but remain united.

BRISSOT came to visit us. I know nothing so plea­sant as a first interview between persons, who have grown intimate by means of an epistolary correspondence, without being personally acquainted. They gaze upon each other, curious to observe whether the features of the face accord with the physiognomy of the mind, and whe­ther [Page 64] the person's outside confirm the opinion of him th [...] had been previously entertained. The simple manners, natural negligence, and frankness of Brissot, appeared to me in perfect harmony with the austerity of his prin­ciples; but I found in him a sort of levity of mind and disposition, which was not equally suitable to the gravity of a philosopher. This always gave me pain, and of this his enemies never failed to take advantage. In proportion as I became more acquainted with him, I esteemed him the more. It is not in human nature to combine more complete disinterestedness with greater zeal for the public welfare, or to pursue the general good with more entire forgetfulness of private interest: but his writings are better fitted to effectuate it than his person; for they carry with them all the authority, which reason, justice, and intelligence can give; while in person he can assume none, for want of dignity. He is the best of men. A good husband, an affectionate father, a faithful friend, and a virtuous citizen; his company is as agreeable, as his temper is easy: con­fiding even to imprudence, and as gay, as simple, and as ingenious, as a boy of fifteen, he was formed to live with the wise, and to be the dupe of the wicked. Learned in the science of law, and devoted from his youth to the study of social duties, and the great means of human happiness, he judges well of man, but of men he has no sort of knowledge. He knows, that vice exists; but he cannot believe any one vicious, who speaks to him with an open countenance: and when he has discovere [...] a [...]an to be so, he treats him as an idiot, who is to be [...]ied, without harbouring the least mistrust. Of hatr [...] he is incapable: one would suppose that his mind, with a [...] its sensibility, possesses not sufficient strength for a [...] timent [Page 65] of such energy. Extensive in his knowledge, he writes with extreme facility, and composes a treatise, as another would copy a song: hence the discriminating eye discerns in his works the hasty touch of a quick, and often light mind, though the ground-work itself is ex­cellent. His activity and good-nature, which make him ready to do any thing, which he conceives may be of use, have given him an appearance of interferring in every thing; and have drawn upon him the charge of in­triguing, from those who are in want of a subject of ac­cusation. What a curious intriguer is a man, who never attends to himself, or those belonging to him; who is alike incapable of, and averse to, consulting his own in­terest; and who is no more ashamed of poverty, than afraid of death, looking upon both of them as the usual rewards of public virtue. I have seen him dedicating his whole time to the revolution, for no other end than to forward the triumph of truth, and to promote the welfare of the public; and assiduously employed in the com­position of his journal, which he might easily have made a matter of speculation, if he had not chosen to be content with the moderate recompence made him by his partner. His wife, as humble as himself, with a great deal of good sense, and some strength of mind, judged more properly of things. Ever since their marriage, her views had been turned towards the United States of America, as the abode most suita­ble to their taste and manners, and a place wh [...] it was easy to settle with very slender means. Brissot had made a voyage thither in consequence; and they were on the point of embarking for that distant shore, when the revolution came and chained him to his native land. [Page 66] Born at Chartres, and a school-fellow of Pétion, who is a native of the same town, Brissot became still more inti­mate with him in the constituent assembly, where his labours and information were often of use to his friend. He made us acquainted with him, as well as with several other members, whom old habits of friendship, or the mere similitude of principles, and zeal for the public good, brought often together to compare their views. It was even agreed upon, that they should meet at my apartment four evenings in the week, because I was a very domestic, and could afford them good ac­commodations, and because my lodgings were so situ­ated, as to be at no great distance from any of the per­sons who composed the little club.

THIS arrangement suited me perfectly: it made me acquainted with the progress of public affairs, in which I felt myself deeply interested; and favoured my taste for pursuing political speculations, and studying mankind. I knew what part became one of my sex, and never stepped out of it. The political debates passed in my presence, without my taking any part. Sitting at a table without the circle, I employed myself in working at my needle, or writing letters, while they were deliberating; and yet if I dispatched ten epistles, which was sometimes the case, I did not lose a single syllable of what was saying, and more than once bit my lips, to restrain my impatience to speak.

WHAT struck me most, and distressed me exceedingly, was that sort of light and frivolous chit-chat, in which men of sense pass three or four hours, without coming [...] any conclusion. Taking things in detail, you wou [...] have heard excellent principles maintained, good [...] [Page 67] started, and some good plans proposed; but upon bring­ing the whole together, there appeared to be no path marked out, no fixed result, nor any determinate point, towards which it was agreed upon that each person should direct his views.

SOMETIMES for very vexation I could have boxed the ears of these philosophers, whom I daily learnt to esteem more and more for the honesty of their hearts, and the purity of their intentions: excellent reasoners all, and all philosophers, and learned politicians in theory; but being totally ignorant of the art of managing mankind, and con­sequently of swaying an assembly, their wit and learning were generally lavished to no end.

AND yet I have known some good decrees thus plan­ned, which have afterwards passed. But soon the coa­lition of the minority of the nobility compleatly weaken­ed the left side, and produced the evils attendant on a re­visal of the constitution. There remained but a small number of inflexible men, who durst contend for prin­ciples; and towards the conclusion, these were reduced to little more than Buzot, Pétion, and Robespierre.

AT that time Robespierre had to me the semblance of an honest man; and for the sake of his principles I for­gave the defects of his language, and his tiresome way of speaking. I had, however, remarked, that he was always reserved in these committees, hearing the opinions of all, and seldom giving his own, or when he did, not being at the pains to set forth the reasons on which it was grounded. I have been told, that the next day he was the first to mount the tribune, and to avail himself of the argu­ments which the evening before he had heard delivered [Page 68] by his friends. When he was sometimes gently reproved for this conduct, he would get off by a joke; and his artifice was forgotten, as the effect of that devouring self-love, by which he was so cruelly tormented. This how­ever was in some degree destructive of confidence; for if any expedient were to be devised, any mode of proceed­ing to be determined upon, and any cast of parts to be adopted in consequence, there could never be any cer­tainty that Robespierre would not come, as it were in a freak, and thwart the business; or else with a view of ascribing the honour to himself, bring forward the affair inconsiderately, and by so doing ruin all. Persuaded at that time that Robespierre was passionately fond of liberty, I was inclined to atribute his faults to an excess of fiery zeal. That kind of reserve, which seems to in­dicate either the fear of being seen through, because we can get nothing by being known, or the distrust of a man who can find no reason in his own bosom, for giving others credit for virtue; that kind of reserve, for which Robespierre is remarkable, gave me pain; but I mistook it for modesty. Thus it is that, with a fa­vourable prepossession, we transform the most untoward indications into symptoms of the most amiable qualities. Never did the smile of confidence rest on the lips of Robespierre, while they were almost always contracted by the malignant grin of envy, striving to assume the fea­tures of disdain. His talents, as an orator, were below mediocrity; his vulgar voice, ill chosen expressions, and faulty pronunciation, rendering his discourse extremely tiresome, but he maintained principles with warmth and perseverence; and there was some courage in con­tinuing to do so, at a time when the defenders of the [Page 69] cause of the people were greatly diminished in number. The court detested and calumniated them: to support and encourage them, was therefore the duty of a patriot. I esteemed Robespierre on this account; I told him as much; and even when he was not very assiduous at the little club, he occasionally came to take his dinner at our house. I had been much struck with the terror that seemed to have taken possession of his mind on the day of the king's flight to Varennes. That afternoon I found him at Péti­on's, where he said with great alarm, that the royal family would never have taken such a step, without having a coalition in Paris, to direct a massacre of the patriots; and that he did not expect to live four and twenty hours. Pétion and Brissot on the contrary said, that the flight would be the king's ruin, and that it ought be turned to good account: they observed that the people were per­fectly well disposed, and would be more clearly convinced of the treachery of the court by this step, than they would have been by the ablest publications: that this single fact rendered it evident to all, that the king was adverse to the constitution, which he had sworn to maintain; that this was the moment to secure a more homogenous form of govern­ment; and that it would be proper to prepare men's minds for a republic. Robespierre, with his usual sneer, and biting his nails, asked what was a republic? The plan of a paper entitled the Republican, of which two numbers only were published, was then devised. Du­mont of Geneva, a man of considerable abilities, was the editor; du Chátelet, an officer in the army, lent his name; and Condorcet, Brissot, and others, were pre­paring to give their assistance. The seizure of the king's [Page 70] person gave Robespierre great pleasure; he saw in it the prevention of much mischief, and laid aside the fears he entertained on his own account; but the rest of the party were sorry for the event: they were of opinion that it was bringing back a pest into the government; that in­triguing would revive; and that the effervescence of the public mind, allayed by the pleasure of seeing the culprit detained, would no longer serve to second the efforts of the friends of freedom. They judged aright; and with the less risk of being mistaken, as the reconciliation of Lafayette with the Lameths proved the existence of a new coalition, which could not have the public good for its foundation. It was impossible to counterbalance it, unless by the force of opinion displayed in a powerful manner; for which the patriots never had more than their pens, and their voices; but when any popular commotion came to their aid, they welcomed it with pleasure, without inquiring how it was produced, or giving themselves much trouble about it. There was behind the curtain a party, whom the aristocrats accused with so much vehemence, that it was impossible for the patriots not to be tempted to forgive him, so long as they perceived nothing, but what might be made to contribute to the public advantage: besides, they could not persuade themselves that the person in question was any way formi­dable.

IT is not easy to command our passions in the time of a revolution: there is indeed no instance, of one accom­plished without their assistance. Great obstacles are to be overcome; and this cannot be effected without as ardour, and a devotion to the cause, bordering upon e [...] thusiasm, or tending to produce it. Hence it is that [...] [Page 71] grasp with avidity at every thing that seems to serve our purpose, and lose the faculty of perceiving what may prove injurious. Hence that confidence, that eagerness to avail ourselves of a sudden movement, without tracing it to it's origin, in order to know how to direct it aright: and hence the indelicacy, if I may use the expression, of suffering the co-operation of agents whom we do not esteem, but whose proceedings we tolerate, because they appear to tend the same way as our own. D'Orleans standing singly was surely not to be feared; but his name, his connexions, his wealth, and his advisers, gave him great influence; and he unquestionably acted a secret part in all popular commotions. Men of pure intentions suspected him: but all this they considered as a fermen­tation necessary to set the inert mass a working: they contented themselves with taking no share in them, and flattered themselves, that they should make every thing turn to the advantage of the public: they were, besides, more inclined to ascribe to d'Orleans the desire of reveng­ing himself on a court, by which he had been despised, and which he was inclined to humble, than any design of his own elevation.

THE jacobins proposed a petition to the assembly, re­questing it to pass judgment on the traitor who had fled, or to take the sense of the nation concerning the treat­ment he might deserve; and in the mean time to declare, that he had lost the confidence of the people of Paris. Laclos, that Laclos so remarkable for the powers of his mind, whom nature formed for the management of great affairs, but whose vices had made him dedicate all his faculties to intrigue; Laclos, devoted to d'Orleans, and of great weight in his council, made this proposal to the [Page 72] jacobins, who entertained it favourably, and among whom it was abetted by some hundreds of motion-ma­kers* and strollers, who came thronging from the Palais-Royal into the place of their meeting at ten o'clock at night. I saw them arrive. The society de­liberated in the presence of that mob, who were also al­lowed to give their votes; settled the fundamentnl points of the petition; and appointed a committee to draw it up, of which Laclos and Brissot were members. They were busied about it till a late hour of the night: for it had been resolved, that a deputation of the society should on the following day carry it to the Champ-de-Mars, there to be shown to all, who might wish to examine or to sign it. Laclos pretended that he had a head-ach pro­ceeding from want of sleep, which would not suffer him to hold the pen: he therefore requested Brissot to take it; and, while conversing with him about the composition, proposed, for the last article, some clause, I know not what, which called for the restoration of royalty, and opened a road for d'Orleans to the throne. Brissot re­jected it with warmth and astonishment; and the other, like an able politician, gave it up, under the pretence of his not having sufficiently considered its consequences: well aware, that he should still find means to get it foist­ed in; which in fact he did, since it made part of a printed paper that was dispersed as the plan agreed upon by the jacobins. But when the society which assembled the next morning to examine the draught of [Page 73] the petition, and send it away, was informed, that the national assembly had decided on the fate of the king, it dispatched its commissioners to the Champ-de-Mars, to inform the people, that the decree respecting the king having passed, there was no longer any occasion for the intended petition. My curiosity had carried me to the Champ-de-la-federation *, where there were not more than two or three hundred persons scattered about the environs of the national altar, upon which deputies of the cordeliers, and of the fraternal societies, bearing pikes with pompous inscriptions, stood haranguing small groups, and exciting their indignation against Lewis XVI. It was said, that as the jacobins had suppressed their petition, it was proper that such citizens as were zealous in the people's cause should draw up another, and assemble for that purpose on the en­suing day. Then it was that the partisans of the court, feel­ing the necessity of employing terror, concerted the means of striking a decisive blow. They prepared their mea­sures accordingly; and the unexpected proclamation of martial law, and its prompt execution, produced what has been justly called the massacre of the Champ-de-Mars. The terrified people durst not stir, while part of the national guard, seduced or deceived, seconded Lafayette, either out of obsequiousness to the court, or blind confidence in his pretended patriotism, and served as a rampart against their fellow-citizens; the standard of death was displayed from the town-hall; and the revision of the constitution was effected under its influence. The formation of the club of Feuillans had been planned much about the same [Page 74] time, to weaken the jacobins; and most assuredly the whole proceedings of the coalition at that period, proved how much the court and its partisans were superior to their adversaries in weaving a tissue of intrigues.

I NEVER knew affright comparable to that of Robes­pierre under these circumstances. There was indeed a ru­mour of putting him on his trial, which was probably meant only to intimidate him; and it was said, that there was a plot at the Feuillans both against him, and the committee, who drew up the petition at the jacobins. Ro­land and I were really uneasy on his account, and drove to his house, at the farther end of the Marais, at eleven at night to offer him an asylum: but he had already quitted his habitation. Thence we proceeded to Buzot's to tell him, that perhaps it would not be amiss, if without leaving the society of the jacobins, he were to enter into that of the Feuillans, in order to see what was going forward, and to be ready to defend those whom they might wish to persecute. 'There is nothing I wou [...] not do, said Buzot, after some hesitation, and speaking of Robespierre, to save that unhappy young man; though I am far from entertaining the same opinion of him that many others do: he thinks too much of himself, to be greatly in love with liberty; but he serves its cause, and that is enough for me. The public must never­theless take place of him; and I should be inconsistent in my principles, and exhibit them in a false po [...] of view, if I went to the Feuillans. I have too mu [...] repugnance to act a part that would oblige me to put [...] two different faces. Grégoire is gone thither: he will us know what is going on; but after all, nothing ca [...] done to affect Robespierre, without the interventio [...] [Page 75] the assembly, and there I shall at all times be ready to undertake his defence. As to the Jacobins, where I have been little of late, because my regard for our species makes me grieve to see it more than usually hideous in that noisy assembly, I shall be constant in my attendance, as long as the persecution is kept up against a society, which I believe to be useful to the cause of freedom.' These words of Buzot were exactly descriptive of the man: he acts, as he speaks, with truth and rectitude, the strictest probity, adorned with the pleasing forms of sensibility, being the leading feature of his character. He had distinguished himself in our little committee, by the soundness of his understanding, and by that decided man­ner which bespeaks a man of integrity. As he lived at no great distance from our house; and his wife, though she did not appear to possess a mind congenial to his, was an affable woman; we visited each other frequently. When the success of Roland's mission with respect to the debt of the commune of Lyons allowed us to return to Beaujolois, we kept up a correspondence with Buzot and Robespierre. That with the former was the more re­gular: there was a greater familiarity between us, a wider foundation for friendship, and a rich stock of materials to keep it from flagging. Our friendship became inti­mate and unalterable. Elsewhere I shall say how this connection grew closer still.

ROLAND's mission having detained him seven months at Paris, we quitted that city in the middle of Sept. after his obtaining every thing for Lyons that it could desire; and spent the autumn in the country, employed in the vintage.

ONE of the last acts of the constituent assembly was the suppression of inspectors. We considered, whether we [Page 76] should determine to remain in the country, o [...] whether [...] would be better to go and pass the winter in Paris, where Roland might prefer his claim to a pension, as a reward for forty years service; and at the same time continue his labours for the Encyclopedia, which he would be sure to find more easy in the focus of science, amidst arti [...] and men of letters, than in the depth of a desert.

WE came back to Paris in the month of December. A [...] the members of the constituent assembly had returned to their several homes; and Pétion, who had been chosen mayor, was wholly occupied with the cares of that office, we no longer had any rallying point, and saw Brissot himself much less frequently than before. The whole of our attention was concentrated at home. Roland's active mind inspired him with the idea of establishing a journal of useful arts; and by the charms of study we en­deavoured to divert our attention from public affairs, which seemed to be in a lamentable state. Several de­puties of the legislative assembly used however to me [...] sometimes at the apartments which one of them oc­cupied in the Place Vendome; and Roland, whose patriot­ism and knowledge were held in high esteem, was in­vited to make one of the party: but he disliked the distance, and seldom went. One of our friends, who was frequently there, informed us, about the middle of March, that the court, full of alarm and perplexity, was desirous of doing something to regain its popularity; that it would have no great objection to appoint jacobin ministers; and that the patriots were busied in endea­vouring to make the choice fall upon men of steadiness and ability; which was of the more importance, as [...] might only be a snare on the part of the court, whi [...] [Page 77] would not be sorry to have wrong-headed persons forced upon it, who might become just objects of complaint or derision. He added, that several persons had turned their thoughts towards Roland, whose rank in the republic of letters, administrative knowledge, and reputation for jus­tice and vigour of mind, afforded a prospect of stability. Roland at that time went frequently to the jacobin society, and was one of the persons employed in its committee of correspondence. The idea however seemed to me to be visionary, and made but little impression on my mind.

THE 21st of the same month, Brissot called upon me in the evening, and repeated the same thing in a more positive manner; asking at the same time whether Roland would consent to take such a burden on him. I said in answer, that, having mentioned the matter to him in the course of conversation, when the idea was first started, it had ap­peared to me that after taking all the difficulties and danger into the account, his zeal and activity would not object to such a field for exertion; but that it was a business which required further consideration. Roland did not shrink from the task: the idea he entertained of his own abilities inspired him with a hope of being serviceable to the cause of freedom and to his country: and such was the answer that was given to Brissot on the following day.

ON Friday, the 23d, at eleven in the evening, I saw him walk into our department with Dumouriez; who came on the breaking up of the council, to inform Roland of his being appointed minister for the home-department, and to salute him as his colleague. They stayed a few minutes; and an hour of the following [Page 78] day was fixed for Roland to take the oaths. 'The [...] goes a man,' said I when they went away, speaking of Dumouriez, whom I had never seen before; 'there go [...] a man of a subtle mind, and a deceitful look; against whom perhaps it will behove you to be more upon your guard than against any man whatever: he expressed great pleasure at the patriotic choice he was employed to announce, and yet I shall not be surprised if on some future day he bring about your dismission.'—Dumouriez, indeed, at the first glance, appeared to me so widely different from Roland, that I could not suppose it possi­ble for them to act long in concert. On one side I beheld integrity and frankness personified, with rigid justice devoid of all courtly arts, and of all the dexterous manoeuvres of a man of the world: on the other I fan­cied I could recognize a libertine of great parts, a deter­mined adventurer, inclined to make a jest of every thing, except his own interest and fame. It was not difficult to infer, that such elements would act repulsively upon each other.

ROLAND's incredible industry, his readiness in business, and his methodical turn, soon enabled him, when mi­nister, to make an arrangement in his head of all the various branches of his department. But the principles and habits of the chief clerks rendered his employment extremely laborious. He was obliged to be on his guard, and to contend most strenuously to prevent any thing con­tradictory from taking place in his official proceedings; he was engaged in short in one continued struggle with his agents. He strongly felt the necessity of changing them; but he was too prudent to do so, before he had become [...] ­miliar with affairs, and secured proper persons to supply th [...] [Page 79] places. As to the council, its sittings rather resembled the chit-chat of a private party, than the deliberations of statesmen. Each minister brought with him ordinances and proclamations to be signed; and the minister of justice presented decrees to be sanctioned. The king read the gazette: questioned each of them about his private affairs, thus testifying with no small share of address that sort of kind concern, of which the great knew how to make a merit; talked like a plain man about affairs in general; and at every turn professed, with an air of frankness, his desire to put the constitu­tion in force. For the first three weeks, Roland and Claviere appeared almost enchanted with the king's ex­cellent disposition of mind, giving him credit on his bare word, and rejoicing, like honest men, at the turn that things were about to take. 'Good God!' said I, 'when I see you set out for the council with all that delightful confidence, it always seems to me that you are on the point of committing some egregious act of folly.'—I never could bring myself to believe in the constitutional vocation of a king born and brought up in despotism, and accustomed to exercise arbitrary sway. Lewis XVI must have been a man above the common race of mortals, had he been sincerely the friend of a constitution that restrained his power; and if such a man, he would never have suffered those events to occur which brought about the revolution.

THE first time Roland appeared at court, the plainness of his apparel, his round hat, and his shoes tied with ribbands, were matters of astonishment and offence to all the court valets; to those beings, who, deriving their sole consequence from etiquette, believed that the safety [Page 80] of the state depended on its preservation. The mas [...] of the ceremonies, stepping up to Dumouriez with alarm in his countenance, and a contracted brow, pointed [...] Roland by a glance of the eye: Oh dear! Sir, said he in a whisper, he has no buckles in his shoes!—O [...] Lord! Sir, answered Dumouriez, with gravity truly laughable, we are all ruined and undone.

A COUNCIL being held four times a week, the ministe [...] agreed to dine on those days at one another's houses by turns; and every Friday I received them as my guests. Degrave was then minister of war. He was a little man, in every sense of the word: nature had made him gentle and timid; his prejudices prompted him to be haughty, while his heart inspired him with the desire of being ami [...] ­ble; and in his perplexity to reconcile these jarring affections, he became nothing at all. I think I see him now, walking on his heels like a courtier, with his head erect on his slender body; turning up his blue eyes, which he could not keep open after dinner without the help of two or three cups of coffee: speaking little, as if out of reserve, but in reality for want of ideas; and at length so bewildered in the labyrinth of his official business, as to ask leave to retire. Lacoste, a true jack in office of the old order of things, of which he had the insignificant and awkward look, cold manner, and dog­matic tone, wanted none of those advantages which a man hackneyed in the routine of public business seldom fa [...] to acquire; but his apparent reserve and discretion concealed a violence of temper, which he carried wh [...] contradicted to the most ridiculous excess. He was [...] deficient both in the extensive views, and activi [...] necessary for a minister. Duranthon, who had been [...] [Page 81] for from Bourdeaux to be made minister of justice, was an honest man, according to common report; but he was very indolent; his manner indicated vanity; and his timid disposition, and pompous prattle, made him always appear to me no better than an old woman. Claviére, whose coming into office was preceded by a reputation of great skill in finance, was, I make no doubt, well in­formed upon that subject, of which I am no judge. Ac­tive, industrious, of an irritable disposition, obstinate, as most men are who live much in the retirement of the closet, and cavilling and uncomplying in debate, he could not do otherwise than clash with Roland, who was dry and peremptory in dispute, and not less stiff in opinion than himself. These two men were made to esteem, without loving each other; and they have not belied their destiny. Dumouriez had more of what is called parts than all of them put together, and less morality than any one of the number. Diligent, brave, an able general, an artful courtier, writing well, speaking fluent­ly, and capable of great undertakings, he wanted nothing but strength of mind proportioned to his genius, and a cooler head to execute the plans he had conceived. Agreeable in his commerce with his friends, and ready to deceive them all; attentive to women, but by no means calculated to succeed with those, whom a tender passion might seduce; he was made for the ministerial intrigues of a corrupt and faithless court. His brilliant qualities, and love of fame, gave room to hope, that he might be employed with advantage in the army of the republic; and perhaps he would have proceeded in the right path, if the convention had been prudent; for he is too wise [Page 82] not to act like an honest man, when his doing so is con­ducive to his interest and reputation.

DEGRAVE was succeeded by Servan, an honest man, in the fullest signification of the term, of an ardent tem­per and excellent moral character, with all the austerity of a philosopher, and all the benevolence of a feeling heart; an enlightened patriot, a brave soldier, an an active minister, he stood in need of nothing, but a more sober imagination, and a more flexible mind.

THE troubles on the score of religion, and the prepara­tions of the enemy, calling for decisive decrees, the refusal of sanctioning them completely tore away the veil from Louis XVI, whose sincerity was already strongly suspected by such of his ministers as had before been inclined to be­lieve it real. At first the refusal was not positive: the king being desirous of considering the subject, put off the sanc­tion till the following council, when he always found rea­sons for deferring it still longer. This procrastination gave his ministers an opportunity of speaking out. Roland and Servan, in particular, remonstrated incessantly, and spoke the most striking truths with becoming spirit.

THEIR situation became critical: the public weal was in danger: and it was incumbent on ministers truly patriotic, either to provide the means of its salvation, or to retire, that they might not be assisting in its ruin. Roland proposed to his colleagues a letter to the king purporting as much; but Claviere cavilled at the ex­pressions, and Duranthon, who was fond of his place, was unwilling to risk the loss of it, if he could possibly keep it, without being a confest traitor. Lacoste did no [...] [Page 83] approve of strong measures, and the will of the king appeared to him, upon the whole, the best of all possible rules; while Dumouriez left them to settle the matter among themselves, that he might be more at leisure to play his own cards, and to revenge what he considered as a vexatious affront. The fact was as follows.

THAT kind of rumour, which does not as yet amount to the opinion of the public, but which foreruns and an­nounces it, was afloat against Bonnecarrere, whom Du­mouriez had made director-general of the department of foreign affairs. He had the reputation, the talents, the disposition and the manners of an intriguer: so at least I have been told by men of probity, who related various circumstances of his life, and lamented the choice that Dumouriez had made.

A REPORT was spread of some place being bestowed or affair settled, by Bonnecarrere, on his receiving a consider­ation of a hundred thousand livres [£4167] part of which was to be given to madame de Beauvert. That lady was Dumouriez's mistress, and lived in his house, where she did the honours of the table, to the great displeasure of men of sense, the friends of morality and freedom; for such licentiousness in a servant of the public, charged with the conduct of affairs of state, too plainly indicated a contempt of decorum; especially as madame Beauvert, the sister of Riverol, a man unfortunately but too well known, lived in the midst of the sworn friends of aristocracy, people little entitled to commendation in any point of view. Dumou­riez's conduct, even if it had not been fundamentally wrong, was impolitic, and calculated to excite suspicion.

I WAS frequently visited by Brissot, and several other [Page 84] members of the legislative assembly. They sometimes m [...] the ministers at my house; and kept up that kind of inti­macy with them, which is requisite among men who, being devoted alike to the cause of the public, stand in need of an intercommunity of views and information, in order to serve it the more effectually. The story of Bonnecarrere was related to one of them; and the parties were mentioned by name, as well as the notary in whose hands the money was deposited, or who was at least appointed to receive it; but these particulars have escaped my memory. I only recol­lect, that two men of character came to my house and affirm­ed them in the presence of three or four members of the legislative body, one of whom, a friend of Dumouriez, was desirous of hearing the whole story from their mouths. It was resolved to repeat to Dumouriez, with a degree of so­lemnity, the arguments that had already been urged to him in private, concerning the necessity both on the public ac­count and his own, of making his conduct, and the choice of his agents, more conformable to the political principles which he pretended to entertain. The conversation consequently took place in the presence of his colleagues and of three or four members of the assembly. Roland, availing himself of the authority given him by his years and character, pointed out to Dumouriez the necessity of his con­ducting himself with more propriety and prudence, and every one agreed, that this last trait of Bonnecarrere ought to open his eyes, and induce him to put some other person in his place. Dumouriez, who turned Bonnecarrere's talents to good account, and gave himself little concern on the score of morality, treated the observations of his friends with great levity, and at length rejected them with [Page 85] anger. From that moment he discontinued all inter­course with the members, behaved with greater coolness to his colleagues, and, without doubt, no longer thought of any thing, but overturning those by whose gravity he was the most displeased. I foresaw the effect of this conference, and said to Roland: 'if you were an in­triguer, and capable of conducting yourself according to the policy of the old court and government, I should tell you, that the moment to ruin Dumouriez is at hand, if you wish to prevent his playing you a trick.' But honest men understand not this petty warfare; and Roland was as incapable of having recourse to it, as he would have been ill-fitted to carry it on.

THE postponement of the sanction was nearly become a refusal; the utmost limit of delay was at hand*. We were sensible, as the council was neither sufficiently unani­mous nor energetic to speak out in a collective shape, that it became the integrity and courage of Roland to step for­ward alone; and between us two we determined on his famous letter to the king. He carried it with him to the council, with the intention of reading it aloud, the very day when Louis XVI, on being pressed anew for his sanc­tion, required each of his ministers to give him his opinion written and signed, and proceeded rapidly to discuss other affairs. Roland returned home, added a few introductory lines to his letter, and delivered the whole into the king's hands, on the morning of the 11th of June.

THE next day, the 12th, at eight in the evening, Servan walked into my room with a smiling countenance, 'give [Page 86] me joy', said he, 'I have just had the honour of being turned away.'—'That is an honour,' answered I, 'that my husband will soon share; and I am not a little mortifi­ed that you should get the start of us.' He then related to me, that, having been with the king in the morning on particular business, he had strenuously insisted on the ne­cessity of the camp of twenty thousand men, if it were sin­cerely his attention to oppose the designs of the enemy; that the king had turned his back upon him in very ill-humour; and that Dumouriez, at the very same instant, was com­ing out of the war office, whither he had been to take his portfolio from him, by virtue of an order, of which he was the bearer.—'Who? Dumouriez? He is acting a vile part; but I am not at all surprised at it.'—The three preceding days Dumouriez had been frequently at the Tuileries, and had held long conferrences with the queen; with whom, it may not be impertinent to remark, that Bonnecarrere had some interest, by means of her women. Roland, be­ing informed that Servan was in my apartment, quitted the persons to whom he was giving audience, and on hear­ing the news, requested his colleagues, Dumouriez excep­ted, to repair to the hotel.

IT was his opinion, that they ought not to wait for their dismission: but that in consequence of Servan's being de­clared, it became all those who professed the same prin­ciples to give in their resignations; unless the king should recall Servan, and dismiss Dumouriez, with whom they could no longer sit at the council-table. Had the four ministers acted thus, the court, I have no doubt, would have been not a little embarrassed to replace them; [...] would have done honour to Lacoste and Duranthon, and the affair would have had a more striking effect upon [...] [Page 87] public mind: but it was destined to have that effect after­wards in a different way.

THE ministers came and debated for a long-while, without coming to any resolution, except that they would meet again the next morning at eight, and that Roland should prepare a letter in the mean time. I could never have believed, had not circumstances put me in the way of knowing it, that soundness of judgment, and a firm temper of mind, are things so uncommon, and consequently that so few men are fit for the trans­action of business, particularly that of the state. Would you wish to meet with the above qualities in con­junction with perfect disinterestedness?—"That were in­deed the Arabian bird," scarcely seen once in a long suc­cession of ages. I no longer wonder, that men superior to the herd, and placed at the head of empires, com­monly entertain a sovereign contempt for their species: it is the almost inevitable consequence of an extensive knowledge of the world; and to avoid the errors, into which such a sentiment may lead those to whom the welfare of a nation is entrusted, requires a fund of philo­sophy and magnanimity very extraordinary indeed.

THE ministers came at the appointed hour; expressed their doubts about the letter; and at length concluded; that it would be better to go to the king, and declare their sentiments in person. This expedient appeared to me no better than an evasion; for certain it is, that a man never speaks so boldly as he may venture to write, to a person, who, by virtue of his rank, and the force of custom, lays claim to particular respect. It was agreed upon that they should take Lacoste, who had not yet made his appearance, along with the [...], or at least that they [Page 88] should invite him to be one of the party. But scarcely had these gentlemen assembled at the admiralty-office, when a messenger from the king brought Duranthon an order to repair to the palace immediately and alone. Clavière and Roland told him, that they would go and wait for his re­turn at the chancery. They had not been there long before Duranthon made his appearance in solemn silence, with a long face, and a hypocritical appearance of sorrow, taking slowly out of his pocket an order from the king for each of the other two.—'Give it me,' said Roland, with a smile: 'I perceive already that our delays have made us lose the start.'—In fact he brought their dismissions.

'WELL! I am turned out too,' said my husband on his return.—'I hope,' answered I, 'that it is better deserving on your part, than on that of any one else; but you should not by any means allow the king to announce it to the as­sembly; since he has not profited by the lesson given him in your letter, you ought to render that lesson useful to the public, by making it known. Nothing appears to me more consistent with the courage evinced by writing it, than the hardihood of sending a copy to the assembly: on hearing of your dismission, it will also be acquainted with the cause.'

THIS idea could not fail to be agreeable to my hus­band. It was adopted; and every body knows the ap­probation which the assembly gave to the letter, by or­dering it to be printed and sent to the departments, as well as the honour they did to the three ministers, by declaring that the regret of the nation attended them in their re­treat. In my own mind I am convinced, and I think the event has proved it, that Roland's letter contributed greatly to enlighten the French nation; it exhibited to the king, with so much force and wisdom, what his o [...] [Page 89] interest required of him, that it was easy to perceive he refused his compliance, out of a determined opposition to the maintenance of the constitution.

WHEN I recollect, that Pache was in Roland's closet while we were reading the rough draught of that letter, and that he deemed it an adventurous step; when I re­flect how often that man has witnessed our enthusiasm in the cause of liberty, and our zeal to serve it; and see him now at the head of that arbitrary authority, which oppresses and persecutes us as enemies of the republic: I ask myself, whether I be awake, and whether the dream must not ter­minate in the punishment of that infamous hypocrite.

THUS did we return to private life. Perhaps I may be asked, whether I never knew any further particulars con­cerning the manner, in which Roland was called into ad­ministration. I can safely say, I never did; and that I never even thought of enquiring about it: for it appeared to me to be brought about like many other things in this world; the idea occurs to some one person, many ap­prove it, and with this support it attracts the notice of people capable of carrying it into effect. I perceived, that the business in question had struck some of the members; but I know not who it was that first proposed it; nor by whom it was transmitted to the court. Roland knew no more of it, and gave himself no more concern about it, than I. When a successor to Degrave was thought of for the war department, the ministers and patriotic mem­bers did not know whither to direct their views, almost all the officers of the army of any repute, being looked upon as enemies to the co [...]stitution. Roland at last thought of Servan, a military man, who had earned the cross of St. [Page 90] Lewis by his services; and whose principles were not doubt­ful, since he had displayed them before the revolution, i [...] a publication called the Citizen-Soldier, which had been well received. We were personally acquainted with him, in consequence of seeing him at Lyons, where he enjoyed the well-earnt reputation of an active and sagacious man: he had besides, in the year 1790, lost a place at court, where his civism was not agreeable to Monsieur Guynard-St.-Priest. These considerations induced the members of the council to join in proposing him to the king, by whom he was accepted.

As soon as my husband was in the ministry, I came to a fixed determination, neither to pay nor receive visits, nor invite any female to my table. I had no great sacri­fices to make on that head: for, not residing constantly at Paris, my acquaintance was not extensive; besides, I had no where kept a great deal of company, because my love of study is as great as my detestation of cards, and because the society of silly people affords me no diver­sion. Accustomed to spend my days in domestic retire­ment, I shared the labours of Roland, and pursued the studies most suited to my own particular taste. The establishment of so severe a rule served then at once to keep up my accustomed style of life, and to prevent the inconveniences which an interested crowd throws in the way of people occupying important posts. Properly speaking, I never received company in my hotel: twice a week, indeed, I gave a dinner to some of the ministers, a few members of the assembly, and the persons with whom my husband had any thing to talk over, or which acquaintance he wished to preserve. Business was [...] [Page 91] of in my presence; because I had not the rage of inter­ferring, and was not surrounded with such company as could excite distrust. Out of all the rooms of a spacious apartment, I had chosen, for my daily habitation, the smallest parlour, which I had converted into a study, by removing into it my books and a bureau. It often hap­pened, that Roland's friends or colleagues, when they wanted to speak to him confidentially, instead of going to his apartment, where he was surrounded by his clerks or by the public, would come to mine, and request me to send for him. By these means I found myself drawn into the vortex of public affairs, without intrigue or idle cu­riosity. Roland had a pleasure in afterwards convers­ing with me about them in private, with that confidence which we ever placed in each other, and which established between us an intercommunity of knowledge and opinions; and it sometimes happened also, that friends, who had only some information to give, or a few words to say, being always sure of finding me, came and requested I would make the necessary communication to Roland as soon as an opportunity might occur.

IT had been found necessary to counterbalance the influence of the court, the aristocracy, the civil list, and the ministerial papers, by information given to the people in the most public way. A daily paper, posted up in the streets, seemed well calculated for that purpose; but it was necessary to find a judicious and enlightened man, capable of following up events, and exhibiting them in their proper colours, to be the conducter. Louv [...], [...] ready known as an author, a man of letters, and a po­litician, was pointed out, approved of, and undertook the task. Money was also wanting for its support; but that [Page 92] was a thing not quite so easily to be obtained. Petion him­self was allowed none for the police; and yet in a town like Paris, and in such a state of things, when it was of importance to have people in pay, in order to gain timely information of every thing that happened, or that might be in agitation, it was indispensably necessary. To ob­tain any thing from the assembly, would have been difficult; for the demand would infallibly have given the alarm to the partisans of the court, and would have met with many obstacles. At last it occurred, that Dumou­riez, who had secret service-money for the department of foreign affairs, might allow a certain sum monthly to the mayor of Paris for the police; and that out of that sum might be taken the expences of the daily paper which was to be posted up, and which the minister of the home-de­partment was to superintend. The expedient was simple, and was adopted. Such was the origin of the Sentinel.

IT was in the course of the month of July, that per­ceiving affairs daily growing worse through the perfidy of the court, the march of the foreign troops, and the weakness of the assembly, we looked out for a place where liberty, threatened from so many quarters, might find an asylum. We frequently conversed with Barba­roux and Servan concerning the excellent spirit that pre­vailed in the South, the energy of the departments in that quarter of France, and the advantages its situation afforded for founding a republic, if the triumphant court should [...] means to subjugate Paris and the North. We took a map, and traced the line of demarkation; Servan studied the military positions it offered; we calculated its strength; we examined the nature of its produ [...] [Page 93] and the means of circulating that produce; every [...] called to mind the places, or the persons, from whom we might expect to receive support; and every one re­peated, after a revolution that had afforded such great hopes, we ought not to relapse tamely into slavery, but should strain every nerve to establish a free government in some part of France. 'That shall be our resource,' said Barbaroux, 'if the Marseillois, whom I accompanied hi­ther, be not sufficiently seconded by the Parisians to sub­due the court. I hope, however, they will succeed, and that we shall have a convention, which will give a republi­can form of government to all France.'

WE understood very well, without his explaining him­self farther, that an insurrection was projected. It appear­ed indeed inevitable, since the court was making prepara­tions, that indicated a design of enforcing submission. It may be said, they were made in its own defence; but the idea of attack either would have occurred to no body, or if it had, it would not have been embraced by the people at large, if the court had really and truly enforced the constitution: for, though aware of all its defects, the most strenuous republicans desired nothing more for the present, and would have quietly awaited its improvement from the hands of time and of experience.

IT is true, at the period of a revolution, there will always be found, particularly among a corrupt peo­ple, and in large cities, a class of men destitute of the advantages of fortune, covetous of her favours, and in­clined to make any sacrifice to obtain them, or else ac­customed to supply the want of them by illicit means. If a daring mind, a courageous disposition, and some portion [Page 94] of natural abilities, distinguish a man of that description, he becomes the chief, or the director, of a turbulent band; whose ranks are soon filled up by all those who, having nothing to lose, are ready to attempt any thing by all the dupes, they have art enough to make; and lastly, by the individuals dispersed among them by domestic politicians or foreign powers, interested in fomenting divisions, in order to weaken them by civil discord, that they may after­wards take advantage of their distracted state.

THE patriotic societies, those collections of men assembled to deliberate on their rights and interests, have exhibited to us a picture in miniature of what passes in the great soci­ety of the state.

FIRST we find a few men of ardent dispositions, deeply impressed with a sense of the public danger, and seeking sincerely to prevent it. These men the philosophers join because they conceive such a junction necessary to overturn tyranny, and propagate principles beneficial to mankind. Accordingly, great principles are developed, and disseminated; generous sentiments are called forth and diffused; and a vigorous impulsion is given both to the hearts and minds of men. Then come forward indivi­duals, who, by assuming principles that do not belong to them, which they decorate with the most captivating language, endeavour to gain the favour of the public, in order to acquire consequence or power. They pass the bounds of truth, to render themselves more remark­able; heat the imagination by false and exaggerated representations; flatter the passions of the populace, ever disposed to admire the gigantic; urge it on to measu [...] in which they have the means of making themsel [...] useful, in order to be thought necessary upon all oc [...] sions; [Page 95] and employ themselves in the foul work of throw­ing suspicion upon those prudent or enlightened men, of whose merit they are afraid, and with whom they are not able to stand in competition. Calumny, at first employed without art, learns, from the humiliation it receives, to shape itself into a system; and at length becomes a pro­found science, in which they and their fellows alone can succeed.

UNQUESTIONABLY many people of this character joined the popular party against the court; ready to serve the latter for money, and as ready to betray it, in case it should become the weaker party. The court affected to believe that all those who opposed its designs were of the above description, and was fond of confounding them under the appellation of the factious. The real patriots suffered this noisy pack to go their own way, like so many hounds; and perhaps were not sorry to make them serve as a for­lorn hope, to receive the first fire of the enemy. In their hatred of despotism they did not recollect, that, if it be allowable in politics, to suffer good things to be effected by bad men, or to profit by their excesses for some useful purpose, it is infinitely dangerous to ascribe to them the honour of the one, or not to punish them for the other.

EVERY body is acquainted with the revolution of the 10th of August, of which I know no more than is known to the public; for, though well informed of the great outline of affairs while Roland was a servant of the pub­lic, and attending to it with interest when he was no lon­ger in place, I never was a confident of what may be called the manoeuvring of parties; nor was he himself ever concerned in that sort of business.

RECALLED to the ministry at that period, he re-entered it [Page 96] with renovated hopes. It is a great pity, we us [...] to [...] that the council should be contaminated by th [...]t Dan [...] who has so bad a reputation.—'What can we do?' said some friends to whom I whispered the same re­mark; 'he has been useful in the revolution, and the people love him: there is no prudence in making mal­contents: it will certainly be better to make the most of him as he is.'—There was some reason in this; but still it is much easier to deny a man the means of influence, than to prevent his putting it to a bad use. There be­gan the faults of the patriots: the instant the court was subdued, an excellent council should have been formed, all the members of which being irreproachable in their conduct, and distinguished for their knowledge, would have conducted the government with dignity, and have impressed foreign powers with respect. To take Danton into the administration, was to deluge the government with such men as I have described; who harass it, when not in employ, and corrupt and debase it, when they par­ticipate in its operations. But who was to make these re­flections? who could have dared to announce and openly maintain them? The choice was made by the assembly, or its committee of twenty-one; among whom there were many men of merit, but not one leader; not one of those beings cast in the mould of Mirabeau, and made to com­mand the vulgar, to condense into one focus the opinions of the wise, and to present them with that force of genius, which compels obedience the moment it appears.

As they were at a loss for a minister of the mari [...] Co [...]dorcet mentioned Monge, because he had seen hi [...] solve geometrical problems at the academy of sciences; [Page 97] and Monge was chosen. Monge is a kind of original, ad­mirably calculated to play tricks in the manner of the bears that I have seen dancing in the ditches of the town of Berne. There cannot be a more awkward buffoon, or one who has less pretensions to wit and pleasantry. Formerly a stone-cutter at Mézières, where the abbe Bossut encoura­ged him, and set him to study mathematics; he got on by dint of industry, and ceased to visit his benefactor, as soon as he began to entertain hopes of becoming his equal. A good kind of man in other respects, or at least contriving to be so esteemed, in a small circle, of which the most satirical members had not wit enough to divert themselves by shewing that he was no better than a narrow-minded blockhead. But in short he passed for an honest man, and a friend of the revolution; and people were so tired of traitors, and so puzzled to find men of ability, that they began to put up with any body of whose good faith they were convinced. I need not speak of his ministry: the deplorable state of our navy too plainly evinces his imbeci­lity and insignificance.

ROLAND's first care was to make that reform in his office, of which he had felt the necessity. He collected about him a set of men attached to the principles of liberty, of active dispositions, and of enlightened minds; and, had he accomplished nothing more, he would have done great service to that branch of administration. He hastened to write to all the departments, with that force which reason gives, that authority which belongs to truth, and that ex­pression of sentiment that flows from the heart; shewing them the new order of things that must necessarily result [Page 98] from the revolution of the 10th of August; and the ne­cessity for all parties to rally around justice, which prevents excesses; around liberty, which produces the happiness of all; around good order, which alone can insure it; and around the legislative body, which stands charged with the expression of the public will. Those administrative bodies which appeared to hesitate, were suspended, or cashiered. Great dispatch in business, and the most active and extensive correspondence, diffused a similar spirit through every part, restored confidence, and gave fresh life to the interior of the kingdom.

DANTON scarcely suffered a day to pass without coming to our house. Sometimes it was in his way to the council; he would arrive a little before the hour, and step into my apartment; or else he would call in his return, most commonly accompanied by Fabre-d'Englantine: at other times, he would invite himself to dine with me, on days when I was not accustomed to see company, in order that he might converse with Roland about some business.

NO man could make a show of greater zeal, of a greater love of liberty, or of a greater desire to concur with his colleagues in serving it effectually. I contemplated his forbidding and atrocious features, and, though I used to say to myself, that no one should be condemned upon hearsay evidence, that I had no certain knowledge of any thing to his prejudice, that the honestest man in the world must needs have two different characters when party-spirit ran high, and that appearances were not to be trusted, I could not bring myself to associate the idea of a good man with such a countenance. I never saw a [...] thing that so strongly expressed the violence of [...] [Page 99] passions, and the most astonishing audacity, half disguised by a jovial air, an affectation of frankness, and a sort of simplicity. My lively imagination represents every per­son, with whom I am struck, in the action that I conceive suitable to his character. I cannot see for half an hour a face not from the common mould, without arraying it in the garb of some profession, or giving it some part to play, the idea of which it revives or impresses on my mind. In this manner my imagination has often figured Danton, with a dagger in his hand, encouraging by his voice and his example a band of assassins, more timid or less ferocious than himself: or else, when satiated with his crimes, in­dicating his habits and propensities by the gestures of a Sardanapalus. I certainly would defy an experienced painter, not to find in the person of Danton all the re­quisites for such a composition.

COULD I have confined myself to a regular path, in­stead of abandoning my pen to the wandering course of a mind, that ranges at large over the wide field of events, I would have taken up Danton at the beginning of 1789, a miserable counsellor, more burdened with debts than causes; and whose wife was known to say, that she could not have kept house, without the assistance of a louis-d'or a week, which she received from her father. I would have exhibited him making his first appearance at the section, which was then called a district, and attracting notice by the strength of his lungs: a great sectary of the Orleans faction; acquiring a kind of competency in the course of that year, without any visible means of making money; and obtaining a little celebrity by excesses, which Lafayette was inclined to punish, but which he artfully found means to turn to his own advantage, by procuring himself the protection of the district, which he had rendered [Page 100] turbulent. I should describe him declaiming with suc­cess in the popular societies, setting himself up for the defender of the rights of all, declaring, that he would accept no place of profit, till the revolution should be at an end; and succeeding nevertheless to that of substitute to the solicitor of the commune; preparing his influence at the Jacobins upon the ruins of that of the Lameths; making his appearance on the tenth of August among those who were returning from the palace*; and entering into the administration, as a tribune in high favour with the people, whom it was necessary to satisfy by giving him a share in the government. From that period his progress was equally bold and rapid. He attached to himself by largesses, or protected by his influence, those greedy and mi [...]erable men, who are goaded on by vice and want; he marked out the formidable persons whose ruin it was necessary to effect; he paid the hireling scribes, and in­flamed the minds of the enthusiasts, whom he intended to set upon them; he refined on the revolutionary inven­tions of headlong patriots, or artful knaves; he devised, promoted, and executed plans capable of striking terror, of removing numerous obstacles, of collecting great sums of money, and of misleading the public opinions concerning all these matters. He formed the electoral body by its intrigues, influenced it openly by means of his agents, and nominated the deputation from Paris to the convention, of which he became a member. He went to Belgium to augment his treasures; and had the hardihood to avow a fortune of 1400000 livres [£. 58333.] to wallow in luxury, whilst preaching up sans-culolitisme, and to sleep on heaps of slaughtered men.

[Page 101]As to Fabre d'Eglantine, muffled in a cowl, armed with a poniard, and employed in forging pl [...]ts to defame the innocent, or to ruin the rich, whose wealth he covets, he is so perfectly in character, that whoever would paint the most abandoned hypocrite, need only draw his por­trait in that dress.

THESE two men were very desirous of making me speak out, by vaunting their own patriotism. It was a subject on which I had nothing to conceal, or dissem­ble: I avow my principles equally to those, whom I suppose to participate in them, and to those, whom I suspect of not entertaining sentiments so pure: in regard to the former it is confidence—to the latter pride. I dis­dain to disguise myself, even under the pretence, or with the hope of being better able to fathom other people's mind. I form a first opinion of men intuitively, and judge them afterwards by their conduct compared at different times with the language they hold; but as to me, I lay open my whole soul, and never suffer a doubt to exist of what I really am.

As soon as the assembly had of its own accord passed a decree, allowing the minister of the home department 100,000 livres [£.4,167,] to defray the expences of useful publications, Danton, and Fabre more particularly, asked me by way of conversation, whether Roland were pre­pared on that point, and if he had writers in readiness to employ. I answered, that he was no stranger to those who had already attained any celebrity; that the periodi­cal works, composed according to right principles, would point out in the first place those whom it was proper to encourage; that it would be adviseable to see their au­thors; and sometimes to bring them together, that they [Page 102] might be informed of facts, the knowledge of which it would be useful to diffuse, and that they might agree on the most essicacious method of leading men's minds to the same point. That if either of them, Fabre or Danton, knew any in particular, they should mention and bring them to the minister; where they might converse, once a week for instance, on what in existing circumstances ought more especially to occupy their pens.

'WE have the idea,' answered Fabre, 'of a paper to be posted up, entitled Compte rendu au Peuple souverain *, which shall exhibit a sketch of the late revolution, and for what Camille-Desmoulins, Robert, and some others, will write.'—'Very well! introduce them to Roland.'— This he took care not to do, and said no more about the paper; which was however set on foot, as soon as the assembly had given the council two millions [£.83,333] for secret expences. Danton told his colleagues, that it was proper for each minister to make use of it in his own department; but that as those of the war depart­ment and foreign affairs had already similar funds, the above sum ought to be at the disposal of the other four, who would consequently have so many hundred thousands of livres each. Roland objected strongly to this proposal. He showed, that the intention of the assembly had been, to give the executive power, at this critical period, all the necessary means of acting with promptitude; that it was the council collectively that had a right to decide on the employment of the monies, on the demand being made, and the purposes specified, by the head of each department; and he declared, moreover, that, for his own part, I [Page 103] would never make any use of it, without producing vouchers to the councils, to whose care the money wa [...] committed, and who had a right to watch over its expenditure*. D [...]n­ton in reply, swore according to custom, and talked of the revolution, of decisive measures, of secrecy, and of freedom; while the others, seduced perhaps by the plea­sure of dabbling each in his own way came over to his opi­nion, contrary to all justice, delicacy, and sound policy; and in spite of Roland's protest, and of his determined op­position, the harshness of which procured him ill-will. Danton quickly drew a hundred thousand crowns, [£. 20,833] out of the public treasury, and disposed of them as he thought proper: which did not prevent his getting 60,000l. [£. 2,500] from Servan, and a still lar­ger sum from Lebrun, out of the secret service money of their several departments, under various pretences. To the assembly he never gave any account; contenting him­self with affirming that he had accounted to the council: though he only told the council, at a meeting at which Roland was not present on account of indisposition, that he had given twenty thousand livres to one person, ten to ano­ther, and so of the rest, on account of the revolution, for their patriotism, or for reasons of a similar kind.

THIS is the way in which Servan related the story to me. The council, on being desired by the assembly to say, whether Danton had given them any account, an­swered simply yes. But Danton had acquired so much [Page] power, that these timid [...] were afraid of giving him offence.

IMMEDIATELY after t [...] brave S [...]rvan went out of office, Danton, no longer [...] opposition from the war-office, polluted the army with cordeliers*, as cowardly as they were avaricious, who promoted. plunder and de­vastation; rendered the soldiers as ferocious to their coun­trymen as to their enemies; made the revolution odious to the neighbouring nations, by excesses of all kinds, which they practised in the name of the republic; and by preaching insubordination in every quarter, laid the foundation of the misfortunes that have since attended our arms.

AFTER this no one will be astonished to hear that Dan­ton, wanting to send one of his creatures into Britanny, under pretence of visiting the sea-ports and examining the inspectors, prevailed on the minister of the marine to give him a commission. But commissions of this kind required the signature of all the members of the council, and Roland refused his. 'Either,' said he to Monge, 'your agents do their duty, or they do not; and of this you are competent to judge. If they do not, dismiss them without mercy; if they do, why damp their zeal and insult them, by sending a stranger among them, who has no connexion with your department, and would only prove your distrust. Such a proceeding by no means becomes the character of a minister: nor will I sign the commission.' The sitting of the council was unusually protracted, and towards the end of it the pa­pers to be signed presented themselves in rapid succession. [Page 105] Roland perceiving, that he had just put his name, after those of all his colleagues, to the rejected commission, which had been slipt into his hand, cancelled it, and upbraided Monge. 'It is Danton who will have it so,' answered Monge in a whisper, and with fear pictured in his countenance: if I refuse, he will denounce me to the commune, and to the cordeliers, and get me hanged.'— 'Well! in my mind, a minister ought to die, rather than give way to such considerations.'

THE bearer of this commission was arrested in Brit­tany, by order of an administration which took offence at his conduct, and to which the cancelled signature of Roland appeared a sufficient reason to enter into a close examination of his conduct. Heavy charges were pre­ferred against him; but it was at the end of the year, when the cause of all anarchists was espoused by the mountain, which obtained a decree, directing that Guermeur should be set at large.

I HAVE suffered myself to be hurried away by circum­stances; let me now resume the chain of facts.

DANTON and Fabre ceased to visit me towards the latter end of August. No doubt they were cautious of exposing themselves to attentive eyes, while chanting the matins of September; and were well aware of the na­ture of Roland and the people he had about him. His firm temper of mind, his upright and ingenuous disposi­tion, the strictness of his principles, displayed without ostentation, and yet without constraint, and the uniform tenor of his conduct, are sure to strike every eye at the first glance. They concluded, that Roland was an ho­nest man, who was not to be tampered with in under­takings like their's: that his wife had no weak side, [Page 106] through which he might be assailed; and that, [...]ith an equal share of principle, she possessed perhap [...] [...] that penetration peculiar to her sex, against which d [...]itful people have the most reason to be upon their g [...]a [...] Per­haps too they judged, that she could sometimes wield a pen; and that such a couple, en [...]owed as they were with the faculty of reasoning, a firm temper of mind, and some portion of talents, might stand in the way of their designs, and were sit only to be ruined. The events that ensued, illustrated by a number of circumstances, which it would be difficult for me to detail at present, but of which a lively impression remains upon my mind, give to these conjectures all the evidence of demonstration.

IT had been deemed expedient, as one of the first mea­sures to be taken by the council, to dispatch commissioners to the departments, for the express purpose of explaining the events of the 10th of August, and still more for that of inducing the people to prepare for defence, and to be expe­ditious in raising the necessary recruits for the armies oppo­sed to the enemy upon the frontier of France. As soon as the selection of proper persons, and the sending them upon their mission began to be agitated, Roland desired a day's delay to consider whom he should propose.—I will take it all upon myself,' exclaimed Danton: 'the commune of Paris will furnish us with excellent patriots.'—The indolen [...] majority of the council accordingly intrusted him with the care of pointing them out: and the next day he came to the council with commissions ready made out, so that no­thing more was necessary than to fill them up with the names he recommended, and to affix the necessary signa­tures. The council made little inquiry about them, and [Page 107] signed the commissions without going into any debate. Thus did a swarm of men scarcely known; intriguers of sections, or bawlers at clubs; patriots from fanaticism, and still more from views of interest; people destitute [...]or the most part of all kind of consequence, except what they had assumed, or hoped to acquire, in public commotions; but entirely devoted to Danton their protector, and ena­moured of his manners and licentious doctrines; thus did these men, I say, become the representatives of the exe­cutive council in every department of France.

THIS business always appeared to me a great stroke of policy on the part of Danton, and a most egregious blun­der on that of the council.

A MAN must figure to himself the perplexity of each minister in the midst of affairs of his own department, in those turbulent times, to be able to conceive that upright and able men could act with so much inconsideration. The fact is, that the ministers of the home department, of war, and even of the marine, were overwhelmed with an excess of business, and that official details so com­pletely engrossed their thoughts as to allow them no time to reflect on the general system of politics. The coun­cil ought to be composed of men employed solely in de­liberating, and freed from all the cares of administration. Danton was in the department that gives the least trouble; and cared little about fulfilling the duties of his place: he gave his griffe * to his clerks, who turned the wheel, and the machine went on its own way with­out his taking any concern in the matter. All his [Page 108] time and attention were dedicated to intrigues, and schemes, tending to promote his views of aggrandizement, fortune, and power. Continually haunting the offices of the war department, he procured appointments in the army for people of his own description; and found means to give them an interest in the contracts and purchases made on the public account. In short, he neglected no line in which it was possible to promote these men, the dregs of a corrupted nation, of which they become the scum in political fermentations, and over which they domineer for a short space of time: with these he augmented his credit, and composed a faction, that soon became powerful, and are now lords paramount of all.

THE enemy advanced, and made an alarming progress on our territory. Men, who desire to govern the multitude, and who have studied the various means of working upon their minds, know terror to be one of the most powerful. This affection absolutely subjects those who experience it, to the men who allow it to hold no dominion over their minds; how much greater still are the advantages of those, who purposely inspire it by false rumours or pretences! That calculation had certainly been made by the instigators of the massacres of September; they must have had the two-fold object of producing a tumult, under cover of which, the violation of the prisons and the murder of the prisoners, would afford them an opportunity of gratifying their private animosities, of executing schemes of plunder, the produce of which held out a pleasing prospect to their avarice: and at the same time of diffusing that kind of stupor, during which a small number of bold and ambitious men might lay the foun­dations [Page 109] of their power. Inferior agents were easily brought over by the lure of profit: the pretence of immolating supposed traitors, from whom conspiracies were to be feared, could not fail to delude men of weak understand­ings, deceive the people, and serve to justify an action from which its directors would derive the blind obedience of their well paid satellites, the attachment of all who shared the profits with the leaders, and the submission of an intimidated people, surprised at the energy, or persua­ded of the justice of an operation, which the perpetrators would find means to make it abet, by representing it as its own work. Accordingly whoever afterwards dared to re­probate those crimes was proclaimed a calumniator of the city of Paris, pointed out as such to the fury of a certain class of its inhabitants, and stiled a federalist, and a con­spirator. Such was the crime of the twenty-two, joined to the unpardonable guilt of superiority.

A LOUD and alarming report of the taking of Verdun got ab [...]oad on the first of September. The orators ac­customed to harangue the groups collected in the streets, said that the enemy was in full march to Châlons: ac­cording to them, three days more were sufficient to bring them to Paris; and the people, who calculated nothing but the distance, without taking into the account the various things necessary to the march of an army, for its sustenance, and the conveyance of its baggage and ar­tillery; every thing, in short, that renders its progress so very different from that of an individual, already beheld the foreign troops triumphant amid the smoaking ruins of the capital.

NOTHING was neglected, that could inflame the imagi­nation, amplify objects, or augment the apprehension of [Page 110] danger; nor was it difficult to get the assembly to adopt measures calculated to promote such designs. Domicili­ary visits, under the pretence of searching for concealed arms, or discover [...]ng suspected persons, so frequent since the tenth of August, were resolved upon as a general regu­lation, and made in the dead of night. They gave occa­sion to fresh and numerous captions, and to vexations un­heard of before. The commune of the tenth, composed in great part of men, who, having nothing to lose, have every thing to gain by a revolution: the commune already guilty of a thousand enormities, stood in need of more: for it is by the accumulation of crimes, that impunity is secured. The misfortunes of the country were solemnly announced. The signal of distress, the black flag, was hoisted on the towers of the metropolitan church. The alarm-gun was fired. The commune proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, a general assembly of the citizens, on Sun­day the second, in the Champ-de-Mars, in order to rally round the altar of the nation, those zealous patriots who would immediately set off for its defence. At the same time it directed the barriers to be shut, and yet no one was struck with these contradictory proceedings. There was a rumour of a plot hatching in the prisons by the aristocrats, (or the rich), of whom great numbers were confined; and of the uneasy and repugnant feelings of the people at quitting their homes, and leaving behind them those rave [...] ­ous wolves, who were about to break their chains, and would fall with fury upon their dear and defenceless relatives.

ON the first symptoms of commotion, the minister of the interior, whose business it is to watch over the general tranquillity, but who has neither the im­mediate exercise of power, nor a right to employ the [Page 111] public force, wrote in an urgent manner to the commune, through the medium of the mayor, pointing out the vigi­lance that it became them to display. Nor did he content himself with this step; but applied also to the com­mandant-general, exhorting him to strengthen the posts, and keep an eye on the prisons. He did still more; for hearing they were threatened, he called upon him in the most formal manner, to keep a strict guard over them, making his head responsible for events: and to give more efficacy to a requisition, to which his authority was confined, he had it printed and posted up at the corner of every street. That was hinting to the citizens at large, to be watchful themselves, in case the commandant should neglect his duty.

AT five in the evening of Sunday, nearly at the very moment when the prisons were invested, as I have since been informed, about two hundred men repaired to the hotel of the home department, calling loudly for the mini­ster, and for arms.

I WAS sitting in my own apartment, and as I thought I heard a noise, I rose, and perceiving the mob from the rooms that overlook the court, stepped into the anti-chamber, and enquired what was the matter. Roland was gone out; but the persons who asked for him not being satisfied with that information, insisted upon speaking with him at any rate. The servants refused to let them come up, and told them over and over again the real state of the case. Perceiving those assurances ineffectual, I sent out a domestic, to invite ten of them in my name to walk up stairs; they came in, and I asked them calmly what they wanted. They told me, they were honest citizens, ready to set off for Verdun, but being in great want of [Page 112] arms, they were come to ask the minister for a supply, and were resolved to see him. I observed to them, that the minister of the interior never had arms at his disposal; and that it was at the war-office, to the minister of that depart­ment, they should address their request. They said in reply, that they had been there, and had been told there was no such thing; that all the ministers were ras­cally traitors, and that they wanted Roland.—'I am sorry he is gone out, for his solid arguments would have some weight with you: come along with me and search the hotel, and you will soon be satisfied that Roland is not at home, and that there are no arms here; nor indeed ought there to be any, as upon reflection you must needs suppose. Return to the war-office, or make your complaint to the commune: and if you wish Roland to speak to you, re­pair to the hotel of the marine, where all the council is as­sembled.'—On their withdrawing, I went into the balcony over the court, and thence beheld a furious fellow in his shirt, with his sleeves tucked up to his shoulders, and a broad-sword in his hand, declaiming against the treachery of the ministers. The ten deputies dispersed themselves among the crowd, and at length prevailed on it to retreat by beat of drum; but they caraied the valet-de-cham­bre away with them as an hostage, made him follow them through the streets for an hour, and then let him return.

IMMEDIATELY after I got into a coach, and hastened to the admiralty, to inform my husband of what had just passed. The council was not yet sitting; but I found a numerous circle, in which were several members of the assembly. The ministers at war and of justice not being [Page 113] arrived, the others were conversing in the council cham­ber like a private party. I related my story, on which each made his remark, most of them supposing it the fortuitous result of circumstances, and the effervescence of the public mind.

WHAT was Danton doing all that time?—I knew not till several days after; but it is worth while to mention it here, in order that facts may be compared. He was at the mairie *, in the committee of vigilance, as it was styled, whence issued the orders of arrest that were be­come so numerous within the last few days. There a reconciliation had just taken place between him and Marat, after they had made a parade of a feigned quarrel for four-and-twenty hours. He went up to Pétion's apartment, took him aside, and said to him, in his cus­tomary language, interlarded with energetic expressions: 'Can you guess what they have taken into their heads? Why, may I die, if they have not issued a warrant against Roland?'—'Who do you mean?'—'Why, that mad-headed committee, to be sure. I have the warrant in my possession: look, here it is. We can never suffer them to go on at this rate. What, the devil! against a member of the council!'—Pétion took the warrant, read it, and returned it to him with a smile: 'Let them pro­ceed,' said he: 'it will have a good effect.'—'A good effect!' replied Danton, examining the mayor's counte­nance with an earnest eye. 'Oh! no, I can never suffer it: I'll find means to make them listen to reason.'—And so he did; for the warrant was never carried into execu­tion. But who so blind, as not to see, that the two [Page 114] hundred men were sent to the minister of the home depart­ment by the devi [...]r [...] of the warrant? Who so dull, as not to suspect, that the failure of their attempt, by delay­ing the execution of the project, might give time to pause to those by whom it was conceived? And who so wanting in penetration as not to perceive, in Danton's conduct with the mayor, that of a conspirator endeavouring to discover what effect such a blow would produce, or to ascribe the honour of having parried it to himself when once it has failed, or been rendered dubious, by involuntary delay.

IT was past eleven, when the ministers left the coun­cil; nor was it till the next morning that we learnt the horrors, of which the night had been witness, and which still contiued to prevail in the prisons. Distressed beyond measure at these abominable crimes, the inability of preventing them, and the evident participation of the commune and the commandant general*, we agreed that [Page 115] there remained nothing for an honest minister to do, but to denounce them in the most public manner, to engage the assembly to put a stop to them, to rouse the indigna­tion of all honest men, to do away in this manner the dishonour of consenting to them by silence, and to ex­pose himself, if need be, to the daggers of the assassins, in order to avoid the guilt and shame of being in any way their accomplice.—'It is equally true,' said I to my husband, 'that a courageous determination is not more consonant to justice, than conducive to safety. Firmness alone can repress audacity. If the denunciation of these enor­mities were not a duty, it would be an act of prudence. The people who perpetrate them must necessarily hate you, for you have endeavoured to obstruct their pro­ceedings: nothing remains for you now, but to inspire them with fear.' Roland wrote to the assembly his let­ter of the third of September, which became equally ce­lebrated with that he had addressed to the king. The [Page 116] assembly were delighted, and ordered it to be printed, post­ed up, and sent to the departments: it applauded, as weak men applaud acts of courage they cannot imitate, but which affect their feelings, and inspire them with hope.

I remember to have read a little work strongly ari­stocratic, published since that aera at London, I believe by Pelltier: the author is greatly astonished, that the same person, who had been so audaciously wanting in re­spect to his king, should afterwards display so much justice and humanity. Either the spirit of party must render a man extremely inconsistent, or virtue is so scarce, that its very existence is become questionable. The friend of freedom and his fellow-creatures holds in the same thorough detestation, and denounces with equal energy, the tyranny of a mob, and the tyranny of a king, the despotism of a throne, and the disorders of anarchy, the wiles of a court, and the ferocity of a lawless ban­ditti.

THAT same day, the 3d of September, a man, formerly a colleague of Roland, and to whom I had imagined I owed the civility of inviting him to dinner, took it into his head to bring with him the orator of the human race, without giving me any notice, or enquiring whether it would be agreeable. I considered his behaviour as attribu­table to the want of breeding of an honest man, imposed upon by the noisy fame of the orator. I gave a polite re­ception to Clootz, of whom I knew nothing but his bom­bast orations, and of whom I had heard nothing else un­favourable; but one of my friends on seeing him, whis­pered in my ear, 'Your guest has introduced to you an insufferable parasite, whom I am sorry to see here.'

[Page 117]THE conversation turned on the events of the day. Clootz attempted to prove, that they were indispensable and salutary measures; made many common-place ob­servations on the rights of the people, the justice of their vengeance, and its subserviency to the happiness of man­kind; spoke loud, and long; ate still more than he spoke; and tired more than one of his auditors. Being soon after chosen a member of the convention, he return­ed occasionally of his own accord; seating himself in the first place, and helping himself to the nicest dishes, without ceremony. My extreme and cold politeness, accompanied with the care of always helping several persons before him, was calculated to make him speedily perceive, that he had been "weighed in the scale, and found wanting." He felt it, came no more, and revenged himself by calumnies. I should not have mentioned this contemptible fellow, but for the distinguished part he acted amongst the slanderers of better men, and the art which he contrived to make federalism a scarecrow for fools, and to set up as a title of proscription against men of understanding, who refused to adopt his chimera of an universal commonwealth.

THE last time he came to visit me he mounted his hob­by-horse, and rehearsed all his extravagancies concern­ing the possibility of a convention formed of deputies from every corner of the world. Some of the company answered him with a jest, while Roland, tired of the noise and pedantry, with which Clootz maintained his opinion, and attempted to make converts to it, had the goodness to assail him with a syllogism or two, and then turned away to another part of the room. The conversa­tion cooled, and branched out into a variety of subjects. [Page 118] Buzot, whose solid understanding never amuses itself long with attacking castles in the air, was astonished, that feder­alism should be treated as a hearsay in politics. He observed, that Greece, so celebrated and so prolisic of great men and heroic actions, was composed of small confederate repub­lics: that the United States, whch in our days exhibit the most interesting picture of a good social organization, are a composition of the same nature: and that Switzerland afforded a similar example. That at the present moment indeed, and in the actual situation of France, it was im­portant for it to preserve its unity; because in this way it presented a more formidable mass to foreign powers, and a singleness of action which it was highly expedient to keep up for the completion of those laws on which it d [...]pended for a constitution: that it could not however be denied; there would ever be a laxity in political bands, uniting a Fleming and a native of Provence; that it was difficult to diffuse that attachment, in which the strength of a repub­lic consists, over a surface so extensive; because the love of our country is not strictly that of the land we inhabit, but of the citizens with whom we live, and the laws by which they are governed, without which the Athenians would never have transferred their existence from their city to their ships; that we can never thoroughly love any but those whom we know; and that the enthusiasm of men separated by a distance of six hundred miles can never be general, uniform, and lively, like that of the inhabi­tants of a little state.

THESE sage reflections, esteemed as such by most of those who heard them, were reported and denounced by Clootz as a conspiracy to federalize France, and to [Page 119] detach the departments from Paris. He represented Buzot as the most dangerous of the conspirators, Roland as their chief, and the members who visited me most frequently as abettors of this liberticide project. I know not whether a madman like Clootz may have been sincere in his appre­hensions. I cannot persuade myself of it; but rather, that he saw, in the fabrication of his lie, an opportunity of revenging his vanity, offended at not being admired; a subject for declaiming in his own way, extremely suitable to the turgidity of his style, and the disorder of his imagi­nation; the occasion of injuring men, whose reason must necessarily displease him, and of making a common cause with those in whose vices he delights: even supposing him to have no secret mission to embroil France, by the help of extravagant patriots, in order to clear the way for his countrymen, the Prussians.

IN the mean time the massacres continued; at the Abbey, from Sunday evening till Tuesday morning; at the Force, still longer, and four days at Bicètre. To my present abode, in the first of those prisons, I am indebted for a knowledge of particulars, at which humanity shud­ders, and which I have not the heart to relate. One circumstance, however, I will not pass over in silence, because it helps to demonstrate, that it was a deep-laid scheme. It is this: the police having a receiving-house in the Fauxbourgh St. Germain, where it deposits the prisoners which the Abbey cannot admit, when too much crowded, chose Sunday evening for their removal, the very instant before the general massacre. The assassins were prepared, fell upon the carriages, which were five or six hackney coaches, and with their swords and pikes [Page 120] stabbed, and murdered, all that they contained, in the middle of the street, and unrestrained by their sad and heart-rending cries. All Paris witnessed these horrible scenes, perpetrated by a small number of cut-throats: so small indeed, that they scarcely exceeded a dozen at the Abbey, the gate of which was guarded by two national guards only, notwithstanding the requisitions made to the commune and the commandant. All Paris looked on— all Paris was accursed in my eyes; and I could no longer entertain hopes of the establishment of liberty among cow­ards, insensible to the last outrages that can be committed on nature and humanity, and coolly contemplating enor­mities, which the courage of fifty armed men could have prevented with ease.

THE public force was badly organized, as it is still; for a lawless banditti, when determined to domineer, take care to oppose all kind of order, that may obstruct their proceedings. But is it necessary for men to know their captain, and march in battalion, when called upon to fly to the assistance of victims who have the knife of the assassin at their breast? The fact is, that the rumour of a pretended conspiracy in the prisons, improbable as it was, and the affected annunciation of the uneasiness and rage of the people, kept every one in a state of stupefac­tion; and made him believe, while trembling within doors, that it was the people who were the actors: whereas, it appears from the best accounts, that there were not two hundred villains concerned in the whole of those infamo [...] proceedings. It is not the first night, therefore, th [...] astonishes me: but four whole days!—and curious peop [...] went to the spectacle!—No! I know of nothing in [...] [Page 121] annals of the most barbarous nations, comparable to those atrocious acts.

ROLAND's health was impaired by it. The disturbance of the nervous system was so great, that his stomach re­jected every thing, and the bile, obstructed in its course, diffused itself over the surface of the skin. He grew yel­low and weak, but retained his usual activity; and while unable to eat, or sleep, continued his labours without in­termission. He was still ignorant of a warrant having been issued against him; for though it had come to my knowledge, I took great care to keep the secret, as it could only have tended to feed an affection that had al­ready gained too much ground: somebody, however, I know not who, took it in his head to mention it the following week. It must be confessed, that it some­times happened to him to state the particular fact in such a way, that his enemies affected to believe, his in­veighing against those massacres arose only from the fears he had entertained of being comprehended in the number of the victims; while, in reality, to the just horror, with which they had inspired him, he only join­ed his indignation, at having been included in the number of the proscribed.

DANTON was the man, who took the most pains to re­present Roland's opposition to these events as the fruit of an ardent imagination, and of the causeless terror with which he was struck. I always thought much might be inferred from that circumstance.

HISTORY will no doubt preserve the infamous circular letter of the committee of vigilance of the commune, containing an apology for the September massacres, and an invitation to perpetrate the like throughout [Page 122] France; a letter of which great numbers were dispatched from the office of the minister of justice, and counter­signed by his own hand.

VARIOUS circumstances concurring to shew that the prisoners from Orleans, whose removal had been order­ed, and who were already on the road, could not be brought to Paris without danger, the minister of the interior gave orders, in conformity with the opinion of the council, to conduct them to Versailles; and a numerous escort was sent off for that purpose. Men who affected horror at the assas­sinations of Paris, contrived by means of that disguise, to make part of it, and were the directors of the slaughter that took place on the arrival of the prisoners at Versailles.

THE gold, silver, jewels, and other valuables, which abounded at that time in the prisons, in consequence of the wealth and condition of their inhabitants, were pillaged, as may be supposed.

AND much more considerable still was the plunder col­lected by the members of the commune after the 10th of August, from the palace of the Tuileries, from the royal houses in the environs of Paris, to which it sent commis­sioners, and from the houses of private persons who were termed suspected, on whose property it had affixed its seal▪

THE commune had received considerable deposits, and had ordered the removal of considerable treasures, and yet no account appeared; nor could the minister of the interior obtain the information he had a right to demand concern­ing these matters. He complained to the assembly; as he did of the negligence of the commandant-general, from whom he requested in vain a more numerous guard for [...] post of the Garde-meuble. In the mean time the brig [...] [Page 123] went every length, making a forcible seizure of watches, shoe-buckles, and ear-rings, upon the boulevards, and in the market-places, in open day. The assembly, as usual, commended the minister's zeal: directed him to make a report of the state of Paris; and took no measures what­ever.

THE robbery of the Garde-meuble was effected, and millions fell into the hands of persons, who would natu­rally employ them to perpetuate that anarchy from which they derived their power.

ON the day that succeeded this important theft, d'Eg­lantine called at our house at eleven in the morning; d'Eglantine, who had never made his appearance there since the matins of September; and who the last time he came, told me, as if from a deep conviction of the critical situation of France, that 'things would never go well without a concentration of powers: the executive council, said he, must have the dictatorship; and the president must be the man to exercise it▪ —D'Eglantine did not find me at home; for I had just gone out with madam Petion. He waited two hours; and at my re­turn, I found him in the court-yard. He walked up stairs with me, uninvited; and stayed an hour and half, without being asked to sit down. He lamented in a hy­pocritical tone the robbery of that night, which deprived the nation of so much real wealth; inquired, whether any information concerning the parties had been obtained; and wondered much at its not having been foreseen. He talked afterwards of Robespierre and of Marat, who had begun their attacks upon Roland and myself, as [Page 124] of hot-headed men, who must be permitted to go on i [...] their own way, who meant well, were extremely zealou [...] and took umbrage at every thing, but whose conduct ought to excite no alarm. I let him talk on, said very little and took care not to speak out. At length he withdrew and I have never seen him from that day to this; nor could I ever clearly comprehend the purpose of this singular visit. It is a mystery that time must unfold.

I HAVE just said, that Marat was beginning to slander us; and it should be said also, that, the moment the as­sembly had ordered a sum to be left at the disposal of the minister of the home department for printing useful works, Marat, who, the day after the 10th of August, had got his people to carry away four presses from the royal printing house, by way of indemnifying him for those which had been seized by the hand of justice, wrote to Roland for fifteen thousand livres [£. 625], to enable him to publish some very excellent things. Roland made answer, that the sum was too great to be delivered, without knowing the purpose for which it was to be employed; but that if Marat would send him his manuscripts, he would lay them before the council, who would determine whether it were proper to publish them at the expence of the nation. Marat replied in a bad style, a thing he is very capable of, and sent a heap of manuscripts, the very sight of which was enough to frighten one. There was an essay on the chains of slavery, and I know not what besides, bearing evident marks of the author's pen, which is characterising them sufficiently.

I HAD sometimes doubted; whether Marat were not [Page 125] a fictitious entity: but I was then convinced, that such a being really existed. I spoke of him to Danton, ex­pressed a desire to see him, and begged he would bring him to our house; for monsters are deserving of attention, and I was desirous of knowing whether he were out of his wits, or a well-prompted actor. Danton declined it, as a thing perfectly useless, and even disagreeable, since it would be only making me acquainted with an original like nothing else in the world. Judging from the manner in which he excused himself, that he would not gratify my longing, even if I insisted on it, I pretended not to have been serious in my request.

THE council decided, that Marat's manuscripts should be put into the hands of Danton, who would find means to settle the matter in some way or other. This was cutting the gordian knot, instead of untying it. It did not become the minister of the home department to ex­pend the public money in feeing a madman, nor was it prudent to make him an enemy: but a plain and direct refusal from the council would have set the question at rest. Entrusting this office to Danton was affording him fresh means of ingratiating himself with the mad dog in question, and of turning him loose upon every body he might wish him to worry.

THREE weeks more had passed away, and the business of Septembrizing was at an end. Marat had the im­pudence to post up a demand of fifteen thousand livres from d'Orleans, complaining bitterly of the want of civism which Roland showed by refusing him that sum, and this when he had just stuck up a bill, in which I was attached by name. I was not to be so deceived.— [Page 126] 'This,' said I to my husband, 'is Danton all over: in­tending to attack you, he begins by prowling round your house. With all his sense he has the folly to imagine that I shall be hurt by his abuse; that I shall take up my pen to answer it; that he shall have the pleasure of bringing a woman forward upon the stage; and thus ex­pose the man to whom she is allied to the shafts of ridi­cule. These people may form a tolerable opinion of my abilities, but are utterly incapable of judging of the temper of my soul. Let them continue their calumnies as long as they please—they will never make me stir a step, nor call forth my complaints, nor excite my uneasiness.

ROLAND made his report concerning the state of Paris on the 22d of September. It was exact and spirited: that is to say, it depicted the disorders that had been committed, and the impropriety of suffering any longer the want of subordination that prevailed among the con­stituted authorities, and their dangerous exercise of ar­bitrary power. He did justice to the zeal of the com­mune of the 10th, and acknowledged the great services it rendered to the revolution on that important day: but he shewed, that the prolongation of revolutionary measures produced precisely the reverse of what was hoped for; since tyranny was only destroyed with a view of introducing the reign of justice and order, not less averse from anarchy than from despotism itself; he con­cluded by pointing out the propriety and difficulty of ob­taining accounts from the commune, from which he had repeatedly demanded them in vain.

THE assembly, sound in its intellect, but of a weak temper of mind, applauded the report, ordered it to be [Page 127] printed, passed a few insignificant decrees, and rectified nothing. It is scarcely possible to conceive a situation more painful, than that of a firm and upright man, who, while at the head of an important department, appearing to pos­sess considerable power, and lying under a heavy respon­sibility, is obliged to be the daily witness of shocking abu­ses, of which the denunciation alone belongs to him, and which the legislative authority either wants means or cou­rage to repress. To cashier the commune, to order a new municipality to be elected according to the forms pre­scribed by law, to organize the public force, and to have a commander appointed by the sections; these were the only measures capable of restoring order, without which the laws would be appealed to in vain, and the convention would necessarily become subject to the municipal autho­rity, which defied all restraint. In this state of things, I would rather have wished Roland to dedicate his talents to his country as a representative of the people, than as mem­ber of a council without energy, and minister of a govern­ment without power. I did not conceal this way of thinking from a few persons capable of estimating it properly; for as to the vulgar, they would never have been able to un­derstand how any one could prefer a modest situation to the "pride, pomp, and circumstance," of a place in the mi­nistry; and for want of seeing the matter in a proper light, would have been apt to form very silly conjectures.

THE department of the Somme, in which Roland had long resided, elected him a member of the conven­tion. This choice excited almost universal regret. It appeared inconsiderate and absurd to take from the helm a man of integrity, courage and understanding, whom it [Page 128] would be difficult to replace; in order to put him into an assembly, where so many others might serve the state by their votes as well as he, without possessing equal abilities. Roland saw no room for hesitation. He wrote to the as­sembly in consequence, requesting that his place might be filled up, and pointing out the person whom he thought best qualified to succeed him. This news occasioned extra­ordinary agitation: great was the outcry on all sides; and a motion was made, that he should be invited to remain in the ministry. The convention had already formed itself into a body, composed of the great number of members of the legislative assembly who were re-elected, and of the new members who arrived first from the country; or else the latter took their seats in the legislative assembly. Which of the two was the case I do not perfectly recollect at this moment, when I have no documents by me: but Danton was present*, and rose to oppose this invitation with great warmth. His impetuosity betrayed his rancour, and led him to say many ridiculous things: among others that they ought to adddess the invitation to me also, as a person by no means useless to Roland's administration. Murmurs of disapprobation repelled the invidious in­sinuation; but the decree did not pass, though the ge­neral wish was strongly expressed. Neither was the offer of resignation accepted, and Roland remained still [Page 129] free to make his option. A crowd of members repaired to his house, to entreat him not to quit the ministry. They pressed the matter home to him, as a sacrifice he owed to his country, and assured him that the convention, when once complete, would bring the public affairs to a grand and decisive issue, which his spirit and activity would help to advance, and by which he would be supported. Two days had passed in these solicitations, when news was brought, that his election was void, because made in lieu of another erroneously supposed to be null; and that conse­quently he had no reason to quit the ministry.

ACCORDINGLY he resolved to keep his place; and wrote to the assembly in a courageous and dignified style, which was crowned with the plaudits of the majority, and made his enemies tremble. His election proved void in rea­lity, but this was a circumstance; that Danton's party en­deavoured to conceal till he should have quitted the mi­nistry, in order that he might be thrown out of every situation. That party no longer gave him any quarter; every day produced some fresh attack: Marat's journal, pamphlets composed for the purpose, and denunciations at the Jacobins, kept repeating incessant calumnies and accu­sations, each more stupid or more atrocious than its pre­decessor. But effrontery and perseverance in things of this kind are sure to succeed with a people naturally fickle and suspicious. They even went so far as to im­pute to him as a crime, what ought to have procured him praise; and had the art of inspiring honest men of weak nerves with alarm at that very solicitude, which tended most to the safety of the republic; I mean his care to inform the public mind. It requires no profound [Page 130] skill in politics to know, that the strength of a government depends upon opinion; and accordingly all the difference that exists in this respect between a tyrannical administra­tion, and one which takes justice for its guide, is, that the former is employed wholly in contracting the sphere of knowledge, and suppressing truth, while the latter makes it a rule to diffuse them as widely as possible.

THE assembly rightly judged that the events of the 10th of August would produce different impressions, according to the prejudices or interests of individuals, and the man­ner, in which they should be represented, directed a nar­rative of the facts to be drawn up, decreed that it should be printed, supported it by the publication of all the do­cuments that tended to prove its accuracy, ordered the mi­nister of the home department to dispatch them to every part of France, and enjoined him to promote the writing of pamphlets conducive to the same end.

ROLAND felt that, in the circumstances of the times, the art of diffusing information needed improvement, and that it was requisite to produce a stream of light, that might in some measure supply the want of public in­struction, ever too much neglected. By means of the inquiries he set on foot in the departments, he found out and retained a small number of zealous and enlightened men, on whose fidelity, in distributing such writing as might be sent to them, he thought he could rely. He made it a rule to answer every body, and to keep up a correspondence with all the popular societies, country clergymen, and private persons, who might apply to him. He sent to the societies a circular letter, remind­ing [Page 131] them of the spirit of their institution, and calling them back to the fraternal care of instructing and enlightening each other, from which they had but too great a tendency to depart, in order to debate on public measures, and in­terfere with the government. He selected from among his clerks three or four intelligent men to carry on this pa­triotic correspondence, and dispatch the printed tracts, in­trusting the principal management to him among them who had most sensibility of heart, strictness of principle, and amenity of style; and this correspondence he frequent­ly animated by his own circular letters, dictated by cir­cumstances, and always breathing that morality, and couched in those terms of affection, which engage men's hearts. It is impossible to conceive the excellent effect that these things produced: troubles of every kind subsided; the administrative bodies executed their functions with re­gularity; and five or six hundred societies, and a consider­able number of country clergymen, employed themselves with laudable zeal in diffusing instruction, and in attaching to the public weal men hitherto occupied in their manual labours, but at the same time lost in ignorance, and more disposed to hug their chains, than to maintain that free­dom, of which they neither knew the extent, nor the limits, nor the duties, nor the rights.

THIS patriotic correspondence is a valuable monument, equally attesting the pure principles and enlightened vigi­lance of the minister, the good will of a great number of intelligent citizens, and the admirable fruits of wisdom, patriotism, and reason.

IN the thing itself, and in its effects, suspicious and jealous men saw less the triumph of freedom the main­tenance [Page 132] of tranquillity, and the consolidation of the re­public, than the fame and reputation that might accrue to the first mover. From that moment Roland was repre­sented as a dangerous man, who had offices of public spirit; soon after as a corruptor of the people's opinions, and a man ambitious of the supreme power; and last of all, as a conspirator.

ALL that was wanting was to read his writings, and examine his correspondence. The departments, that re­ceived his letters, answered him with their warmest thanks; but the banditti of Paris, always calumniating, and never proving any thing, excited by means of a thousand strata­gems, a sort of distrust in the public mind, which the ja­cobins seconded with all their power, for they were no longer swayed by any body but the Dantons, the Robes­pierres, and the Marats.

NOTE.

MORE than two months have I been imprisoned, be­cause I am allied to a worthy man, who thought proper to retain his virtue in a revolution, and to give in exact accounts though a minister. For five months he solicited in vain the passing of those accounts, and the pronouncing of judgment on his administration. They have been examined; but, as they have afforded no room for blame, it has been deemed expedient to make no report on the subject, but to substitute calumny in its place. Roland's activity, his multifarious labours, and his in­structive writings, had procured him a degree of con­sideration which appeared formidable; or so at least en­vious [Page 133] men would have it, in order to effect the downfal of a man whose integrity they detested. His ruin was resolved upon, and an attempt was made to take him into custody at the time of the insurrection of the 31st of May; the epoch of the complete debasement of the national re­presentation, of its violation, and of the success of the decemvirate. He made his escape, and in their fury fasten­ed upon me; but I should have been arrested at any rate; for though our persecutors know that my name has not the same influence as his, they are persuaded that my temper is not less firm, and are almost equally desirous of my ruin.

THE first part of my captivity I employed in writing. My pen proceeded with so much rapidity, and I was in so happy a disposition of mind, that in less than a month I had manuscripts sufficient to form a duodecimo volume. They were intitled Historical Notices, and contained a variety of particulars relative to all the facts, and all the persons, connected with public affairs, that my situation had given me an opportunity of knowing. I related them with all the freedom and energy of my nature, with all the openness and unconstraint of an ingenuous mind, setting itself above selfish considera­tions, with all the pleasure which results from describing what we have experienced, or what we feel, and lastly with the confidence, that, happen what would, the collec­tion would serve as my moral and political testament.

I HAD completed the whole, bringing things down to the present moment, and had entrusted it to a friend, who rated it at a high price. On a sudden the storm burst over his head. The instant he found himself put under arrest, he thought of nothing but the danger, he [Page 134] felt nothing but the necessity of averting it, and without casting about for expedients, threw my manuscript into the fire. This loss distressed me more than the severest trials have ever done. This will easily be conceived, when it is remembered that the crisis approaches, that I may be murdered to-morrow, or dragged, I know not how, before the tribunal which our rulers employ to rid them of the persons they find troublesome; and that these writings were the anchor to which I had com­mitted my hopes of saving my own memory from re­proach, as well as that of many deserving characters.

AS we ought not, however, to sink under any event, I shall employ my leisure hours in setting down, without form or order, whatever may occur to my mind. These fragments will not make amends for what I have lost, but they will serve to recall it to my memory, and assist me in filling up the void on some future day, provided the means of doing so remain in my power.

[Page 135]

PORTRAITS AND ANECDOTES.

BUZOT.

A MAN of an exalted mind, high spirit, and impetuous courage, endowed with great sensibility, ardent, melan­choly, and indolent, cannot but sometimes run into ex­tremes. A great admirer of nature, feeding his imagi­nation with all the charms she has to offer, and his mind with the principles of the most amiable philosophy, he seems formed to taste and to confer domestic happiness: he would forget the whole world in the placid enjoy­ment of private virtues with a heart worthy of his own. But, thrown into public life, he attends to nothing but the laws of rigid equity, and defends them at all ha­zards. Easily roused to indignation against injustice, he assails it with ardour, and is incapable of entering into a composition with guilt. The friend of human nature, susceptible of the tenderest seelings, and capable of the sublimest flights and most generous resolutions, he loves his fellow-creatures, and, like a true republican, is ever ready to sacrifice himself for their good: but a severe judge of individuals, and cautious in selecting the objects of his esteem, he bestows his friendship upon few. This reserve, added to the energetic freedom with which he [Page 136] expresses himself, has drawn upon him a charge of haughtiness, and made him many enemies. Mediocrity scarcely ever forgives merit; but vice detests and per­secutes that courageous virtue, which sets it at defiance. Buzot is the gentlest man on earth with his friends, but the roughest adversary a knave can have to do with. While yet a young man, the ripeness of his judgment, and purity of his morals, obtained him the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens. Their confidence and esteem were justified by his devotion to truth, and by his firmness and perseverance in speaking it. Men of vulgar minds, who depreciate what they cannot attain, call his penetration a revery, his warmth passion, his strong re­marks satire, and his opposition to all violent measures a revolt against the majority. He was accused of royalism, because he asserted, that morals were necessary in a re­public, and that nothing should be omitted that may tend to maintain or correct them; of calumniating Paris, be­cause he abhorred the massacres of September, and ascrib­ed them to a handful of cut-throats hired by robbers; of a aristocracy, because he wished to call upon the people to exercise its sovereignty by passing judgment on Lewis XVI; of federalism, because he insisted upon the maintenance of equality among all the departments, and opposed the municipal tyranny of an overweening com­mune. Such were his crimes. He had his errors also. Possessing a nobleness of countenance, and elegance of shape, he dressed himself with that care, neatness, and decorum, which bespeak a love of order, a sense of pro­priety, and that respect which a well-bred man owes to the public and to himself.

THUS, when the scum of the nation put the helm in [Page 137] hands of men, who made patriotism consist in flattering the people, in order to mislead them; in overturning and invading every thing, by way of procuring consequence and wealth; in libelling the laws; that they might govern ac­cording to their own discretion; in protecting licentious­ness, as a mean of procuring impunity for their crimes; in cutting throats, on purpose to perpetuate their power; and in swearing, drinking, and dressing like porters, in order to fraternise with wretches like themselves; Buzot still pro­fessied the morality of a Socrates, and retained the polite­ness of a Scipio.—What a villain!—Accordingly the up­right Lacroix, the judicious Chabot, the gentle Lindet, the modest Thuriot, the learned Duroi, the humane Danton, and their faithful imitators, have declared him a traitor to his country: they have had his house razed, and his property confiscated, as in former days Aristides was banished, and Phocion condemned to die. I am astonished at their not passing a decree, making it felony to remember his name. It would have been more consistent with their views, than their attempts to preserve it coupled with epithets, that are disproved by the evidence of facts.

THEY cannot expunge from the page of history Buzot's conduct in the constituent assembly; nor suppress his judi­cious motions, and vigorous sallies in the convention. How­ever his opinions may be falsified by faithless journals, the principles by which they are supported are still to be per­ceived through the disguise. Buzot frequently spoke off­hand; was indolent in other respects; but never failed to stand up against all perverse systems of politics, and every plan that appeared prejudicial to liberty. His report on the departmental guard, a project so much decried, con­tains [Page 138] arguments that have never been answered. That con­cerning the law proposed against instigators to murder dis­plays the soundest policy, and a spirit of philosophy, as true as it is natural, and as strong as the reason by which it is upheld. His proposal for the banishment of the Bourbons is developed with precision, supported by the most ac­curate reasoning, and written with equal elegance and feeling. His opinion on the judgment of the king, while it abounds with facts and arguments, is free from that declamation and irrelevance of matter in which so many others indulged in their harangues upon that im­portant subject. And lastly, his letters to his constituents, of the 6th and 22d of January, depict his mind with such truth as will make them long an object of attention. A few combatants of his strength might have given the con­vention the impulsion which is wanted: but the rest of the men of talents, keeping themselves back as orators for great occasions, were too neglectful of the petty warfare which was carried on every day; nor were they sufficient­ly aware of the tactics to which their adversaries were for­ced by their mediocrity to resort.

PETION,

A TRULY honest and good-natured man, is equally incapable of doing the least thing repugnant to justice, of inflicting the slighest injury, or of giving the smallest uneasiness to any one. In regard to himself, he can ne­glect many things, but knows not how to refuse a favour [Page 139] to any person in the world. The serenity of a good conscience, the mildness of an easy temper, with frank­ness and cheerfulness, are depicted in his countenance. He was a prudent mayor, and faithful representative: but he is too sanguine, and too peaceable, to foresee or to lay a storm. Sound judgment, good intentions, and what is termed justness of thought, are the charac­teristics of his opinions and writings, which bear stronger marks of good sense than of talents. As an orator he is cold; as a writer his stile is loose. An equitable mini­ster, and a good citizen, he was formed for the practice of the social virtues in a republic, and not to found a republican government among a corrupt people, who for some time idolized him, and then rejoiced at his proscrip­tion, as at that of an enemy.

AT the time of the constituent assembly, during the revision of the laws, I was one day with Buzot's wife, when her husband returned at a late hour from the assembly, and brought Pétion with him to dinner. It was at that period when the court affected to consider them as factious men, and described them as intriguers entirely occupied in exciting disturbances. After din­ner, Petion, who was sitting on a large sofa, began to play with a young pointer, with all the earnestness of a child, till at length they both grew tired, and fell asleep in one another's arms. The conversation of four persons did not prevent Pétion from snoring. 'Do but look at that sower of sedition.' said Buzot, with a smile: 'we were eyed askance as we were quiting the hall; and our accusers, very busy about party intrigues themselves, imagine that we are engaged in similar manoeuvres.'

[Page 140]THE circumstance, and the remark, have often recor­red to my mind, since these unfortunate latter times when Pétion and Buzot are accused and proscribed as royalists, with as much reason as the court then had to charge them with intrigue. Always alone with their principles, or associating with none but men who professed the same, in order to discuss their opinions; they thought it would suffice to contend obstinately for justice, to speak the truth constantly, and to sacrifice themselves, or at least to run every hazard, rather than betray so good a cause.—And yet these are the men that are declared traitors to their country.

I WILL here record a fact of some consequence. It has been seen elsewhere, that during the first patriotic administration, it had been agreed upon, that the mi­nister for foreign affairs should take from the fund al­lotted to his department for secret service money cer­tain sums, which were to be put into the hands of the mayor of Paris, as well for the police, which was re­duced to nothing for want of means, as for publica­tions to counteract the influence of those of the court. Dumouriez having quitted that department, the matter was mentioned to d'Abancourt, that is to say, as far as regarded the money wanting for the police alone. D'Abancourt would do nothing in it himself; but pre­tended, that it was a business, which the king should be brought to approve, and of which his majesty would not fail to see the justice. The proposal was not at all to the taste of the king, who answered in direct terms, that he would not buy rods to whip himself. In this he spoke sensibly enough, as he was not a sin­cere [Page 141] friend to the constitution; and such an answer might have been expected. But a few days after, La­croix, the present colleague of Danton, in concert with whom he is plundering Belgium; Lacroix, the perse­cutor of honest men, and the sovereign of the day, who then had a seat in the legislative assembly, and who was know to frequent the palace, called upon Pétion to promise him the free disposal of three millions of livres [£125,000] if he would employ them in such a way as to support his majesty; a proposition which must needs have been more offensive to Pétion, in his character of mayor, than the other could have been to Louis XVI. It was accordingly rejected, notwithstanding the peculiarly kind reception he met with at that very time from the king; for being sent for to the palace, instead of find­ing the monarch, whom he had never before seen alone, surrounded as usual, he was introduced into his closet, where there appeared to be no one else, and where Louis XVI. lavished upon him many marks of affabi­lity and regard, and even those little captivating cajo­leries, which he had the art of distributing at will. A slight rustling of silk behind the hangings made Pétion imagine that the queen was present without being visible, and the caresses of Louis convinced him of his hypo­crisy; he remained firm and honest, without yielding to the king, who was trying to corrupt him, in like manner as, without flattering the people, he wished to appeal to them on the trial of that very king; while Lacroix, who had served him, and had probably been well paid for his services, thought that he could not be too speedily condemned to die.

[Page 142]

PACHE.

IT has been said with reason, that the talent of know­ing mankind is of the first importance to those who go­vern, their errors in that particular being always the most fatal. But the exercise of this talent, at all times so dif­ficult, becomes infinitely more so in the time of a revolu­tion; there is besides a degree of hypocrisy, by which it is no disgrace to be duped, since a man must be wicked himself to suspect its existence.

IN my youthful days, I had met, at the house of one of my relations, a clerk in the post office, of the name of Gibert, who possessed that mildness of manners which generally accompanies a taste for the fine arts. Gibert, a man of cultivated mind, and an affectionate father, amused himself with painting, made a study of music, and by his strict probity obtained the esteem of all his acquaintance. He was extremely attached to a man, his most particular friend, whose extraordinary merit he extolled with all the enthusiasm of an affectionate heart, and with all the modesty of a person who thought himself far his inferior. I was sometimes in company with this friend; in whom there was nothing remarkable at first sight, but his extreme simplicity. I had, however, no opportunity of forming a judgment of him, for I met with him but seldom, and did not often see Gibert himself; I only learnt that his friend, who was Pache, being enamoured of a country life, the only one suited to his patriarchal manners, and in love with liberty, of which his well-informed mind enabled him to estimate all the [Page 143] advantages, was about to resign a genteel place under the French government, to settle with his family in Switzerland. I afterwards learnt, that having lost his wife, and perceiving that his children regretted Paris, and that the revolution was paving the way for our national eman­cipation, he had taken the resolution of returning; and that being satisfied with the independence he had derived from the sale of his former property, and the fortunate purchase of a national estate, he had sent back the grant of a pension to a quondam minister by whose interest it had been obtained.

IT was not necessary to be often in Gibert's company, and to know his intimacy with Pache, to be informed of every thing that could be said to the latter's advantage. In the month of January, 1792, he brought him to our house, and I saw him from time to time. Pache, as I have already observed, wears an appearance of the utmost modesty. It is so great indeed, that you would be tempted to adopt the opinion he seems to entertain of himself, and take him for a thing of no great value. But credit is given him for that modesty, when it is discovered that he reasons well, and is by no means wanting in information. As he is extremely reserved, and never unbosoms himself freely, people soon suspect him to know more than he says, and end with ascribing to him more merit than he posses­ses, because they were very near committing the injustice of allowing him none. A person who talks little, listens with an air of intelligence to every subject of discussion, and ventures a few well-timed observations, easily passes for a man of sense. Pache had made an acquaintance with Meunieurs and Monge, both members of the academy of [Page 144] sciences; and had helped them to form a popular society in the section of the Luxembourg, the object of which, they said, was the diffusion of information, and the en­couragement of patriotic sentiments. Pache was very assiduous in this society; and appeared to dedicate to his country, as a citizen, all the time which he did not devote to his children, and which intervened between the public lectures, whither he attended them.

I HAVE related elsewhere how Roland was called to the ministry at the end of March of the same year. The of­fices were filled with agents of the old government, little disposed to favour the new; but they were ac­customed to the routine of business; and it would have been wrong to hazard unhinging the whole of a great ma­chine, in those troublesome times, for the sake of changing a few clerks. Nothing more then was to be done but to keep a strict eye over them, and to make preparations for their removal in due time. But in the multiplicity of business, the daily current of which hurries a man in office along with inconceivable rapidity, it cannot be denied, that he may easily commit himself, if he do not pay the most scrupulous attention to every thing, an attention which becomes infinitely irksome, when the consequence of dis­trust. In this situation, Roland was desirous of finding a trusty man, whom he might have always with him in his closet, and whom he might get to read over a letter, or a report, on any urgent business, when other business still more urgent, would not permit him to revise it himself: not to make any alteration in the composition, but merely to see that the adverse principles of the clerks had not influenced the manner of stating facts, or drawing conclusions; a man, in short, who might [Page 145] be trusted to seek for a particular paper, in a particular office, or to deliver a verbal message on any matter of im­portance. The idea of Pache occurred. Pache had been a clerk in the admiralty; was well acquainted with the routine of office; possessed abilities, patriotism, morals, which would procure a man in office credit for his appoint­ment, and that simplicity which never excites ill-will. The idea appeared excellent. It was mentioned to Pache, who immediately expressed the utmost eagerness to serve Roland, by making himself useful to the public weal; but on con­dition of preserving his independence, by taking neither title nor salary. This was beginning well. It was supposed that, when a new arrangement should take place in the office, it would be easy to see for what he was particularly fit; and Pache came to Roland's closet every morning at seven, with his morsel of bread in his pocket, and staid till three, without its being possible to prevail on him to take any thing: attentive, prudent, zealous, doing his duty diligently, making an observation, putting in a word, to bring the argument back to the point in question, and soothing Roland, who was sometimes vexed at the aristocratical contradiction of his clerks.

ROLAND, whose disposition was ardent, and his feelings strong, rated the mildness and complaisance of Pache very highly, and treated him as a valuable friend: while I, grateful for the service I supposed him to render my hus­band, lavished on him marks of esteem, and proofs of attachment. The style of Pache was a bad one: it did not do to set him about composing a letter: it was sure to be dry and flat; but he was not wanted for that purpose, and was useful on those occasions which had been supposed to [Page 146] require the superintendance of a trusty person. Our friend Servan, lately appointed minister at war, was alarmed at the complication and derangement of certain branches of his department, and envied us Pache. 'Let me have that honest man,' said he to Roland: 'you have no further oc­casion for him, you are above your business a hundred times over; and now that the chaos of the first outset has assumed shape and order, you no longer need the superin­tendance of another; but as to me, I am overwhelmed with business, and in the utmost want of persons in whom I can confide.'—These ministers were also of opinion, that some share of capacity was wanting to fill a place, and that a man ought not to be employed without reasonable grounds to suppose him possessed of the necessary qualifica­tions. Roland consented, and Pache, upon being consult­ed, yielded with as good a grace, on the same conditions that he had made with Roland. After his being thrown into this situation, we scarcely ever saw him; but Servan spoke highly in his praise.

A CHANGE in the ministry took place. Roland kept himself secluded from the world; and Pache returned to his section. The tenth of August followed soon af­ter; and the legislative assembly recalled the patriotic ministers. Roland arranged his offices; and as Pache persisted in his resolution to retain his independence, Ro­land appointed Fépoul, whom Pache had introduced; an intelligent, industrious, and careful man, very well calculated for the accomptant department, dexterous in his conduct, never setting himself up in oppo­sition to any one, and ever adhering to the strongest party.

[Page 147]ROLAND, elected a member of the convention, and disgusted at the horrors of September, was desirous of re­tiring from the ministry; and, knowing the extreme em­barrassment the wisest heads would have been in to find him a successor, thought he should render an essential service to the public by mentioning Pache. This he did with all the frankness that belonged to his character, and all the warmth of a feeling heart, proud of acknowledging merit, wherever it seems to reside.

PACHE, to whom he had not hinted his intention, and who had a little before refused the superintendance of the jewel office, a place for which he proposed Restout, whom Roland appointed upon his recommendation, appeared well satisfied to remain his own master. He accepted, how­ever, a mission from Monge for Toulon, repaired thither, and committed several acts of folly, as I was afterwards in­formed.

SERVAN's health obliging him to quit the war-office, the man whom Roland had recommended was appointed to fill that department, as the person on whom in point of principle the strongest dependance might be placed, and who, as to talents, could not but be sufficiently qualified for such a place. We wrote to Pache, to inform him of his appointment, and pressed him to accept it. But this was in all likelihood unnecessary; for, jealous as he was of his independence, he appeared not to have the least un­easiness concerning the burden about to be laid on his shoul­ders, and took it up without hesitation. On his return to Paris he came to see us, and we talked with him freely on the disposition of men's minds; of the party which the Parisian deputies were forming; of the enormities of the [Page 148] commune; of the dangers that appeared to threaten the liberty of the convention, and particularly of those, which might arise from the predominance of immoral and guilty men, who only sought to acquire power in order to escape punishment or to gratify their passions; of the order to be established in his department, and of our joy at seeing him in the council, where his presence would preserve a union of will and singleness of action. Pache listened to the effusi­ons of confidence with the silence of a man who conceals his own sentiments; opposed every opinion of Roland at the council-table; and came to see him no more.

AT first we imagined, that this conduct arose from a movement of self-love, a sort of sear of appearing the creature of Roland. But I learnt, that this man, who never accepted the invitations of his colleague, u [...]r pretence of the retirement in which the multi­plicity of his business obliged him to live, received Fabre, Chabot, and other mountaineers at his table; that he paid his court to their friends; that he took their creatures into office, all of them, either as great knaves as the valet in a comedy*, or ignorant fellows, or in­triguers like themselves; and that honest men began to murmur and despair. I thought it right to try the only means that remained of opening his eyes, if he were merely misled, or of pulling away the mask if he were really acting with ill faith. I wrote to him then on the 11th of November, in a friendly style, to commu­nicate to him the murmurs that began to prevail, the causes to which they were owing, and what his own in­terest [Page 149] seemed to require. I reminded him of what had been said in confidence on his entrance into the ministry; and I added a word or two concerning the unequivocal sen­timents we had expressed, the unanimity they promised, and the present state of things, so opposite to what they would have led one to expect.

PACHE made me not the smallest answer; and we soon after heard that his first clerks Hassenfratz, Vincent, and the rest (miserable beings, whom I would not mention, had not their enormities already insured their names a place in the history of the popular commotions of these latter times) were declaiming at the jacobins, and elsewhere against Roland, and holding him up as the enemy of the people. There could no longer then be any doubt but that Pache was seeking his downfall. The atrocity and baseness of this conduct filled me with indignation and contempt: sentiments, in which I was beforehand with se­veral who had become acquainted with Pache by means of us, and who were then inclined to charge me with le­vity, though their aversion to the man has since exceeded mine. The peculation, or the profuse expenditure at least, that took place in the war department during his administration, was horrible; every thing was disorgan­ised, owing to the bad choice of the persons employed; it was proved, that regiments reduced to a small num­ber of men were paid as if complete; it was not only impossible to furnish an account, but even to imagine the means of doing so, for more than 130 millions of livres [near five millions and a half sterling]. In the twenty-four hours that followed his dismission, rendered indispensable by so much mischief, he filled up sixty dif­ferent places, with all the persons he knew of who were [Page 150] base enough to pay their court to him, from his son-in-law, who from a curate became commissary-general with a salary of 19,000 livres [£. 792], to his hair-dresser, a black­guard boy of nineteen, whom he made a muster-master. These are the exploits which the people of Paris rewarded by calling him to the mayoralty, where, supported by the Chaumets, Heberts, and other tatterdemalions, he favour­ed the oppression of the legislative body, the violation of the national representation, and the proscription of all virtuous men, and thus helped to seal the ruin of his country.

AND this was the man who was in search of a free country, who gave up pensions, and refused a place! But Pache went into Switzerland, where his family originally resided—(a circumstance that enabled his father to keep a great man's door at Paris*,) hoping there to lead a more agreeable life, than in a place which reminded him of the obscurity of his birth; and Pache received from Castries a pension, which bore witness to the state of dependence that he had lived in at his house, and might have excited suspicion, when the nobles and ministers of the old government were objects of persecution. This was a part of his history, which I was unacquainted with, and which is no way in­consistent with Pache returning to France after the tak­ing of the Bastile, currying favour in a little popular society well contrived for the acquisition of influence, obstinately refusing second-rate places, but not hesitating a moment to become a member of the council, and [Page 151] take upon himself that department in the administration, which circumstances rendered most important. He is in politics the Tartuffe* of Moliere.

WHILST I am writing this, Biron is confined in the prison that I inhabit. Towards the end of Pache's mi­nistry, Biron came to denounce him to the assembly, and was consequently provided with documents capable of proving his misdemeanours. Biron met with him; was seduced by his air of simplicity; persuaded himself that he had erred rather from unskilfulness than dishonesty; thought it cruel to bring a man to the block who might have been deceived; relinquished his design; and then mentioned it to Pache himself. Pache came to an explanation; contriv­ed to wheedle Biron out of all the information and docu­ments that related to the complaint of which he was the object; and then had him sent to the army of Italy, where he was left destitute of every thing. Biron obtained some advantages; they were never mentioned; he made com­plaints; no attention was paid to them: time ran on; the evils increased: he grew urgent: an order was sent him to repair to Paris: as soon as he arrived he was taken into custody, and confined at St. Pélagie. In this stroke he re­cognizes the hand of Pache, and has no doubt as to the the tyrant by whom he is oppressed.

[Page 152]

GIRONDE.

 

GUADET and GENSONNE

LOVE each other, probably because there is no resem­semblance between them. Guadet is as impetuous as Gen­sonné is cool: but the violent sallies of his fiery temper are never succeeded by malice; nor is his soul susceptible of an intention to offend. Nature has made Guadet an orator; Gensonné has made himself a logician. The one frequently loses, in deliberating, the time which should be employed in action: the other dissipates, in bold, but short and transient, flights, that warmth, which ought sometimes to be concentrated, and always to be longer sup­ported, in order to produce a durable effect.

GUADET had brilliant moments in each of the two assemblies, the legislative and conventional: they were owing to the ascendancy of honesty, seconded by ta­lents: but possessed of feelings too strong to keep up a long struggle without tiring, he has drawn upon him­self the hatred of the wicked, without exciting much of their fear; nor did he ever attain the degree of influ­ence which his enemies were fond of ascribing to him, in order to render him an object of distrust. Gensonné, useful in debate, which, however, he has the fault of drawing out to too great a length, took an active part in the committees, and drew up part of the plan of the intended constitution. His speech on the business of the king is enlivened by sarcastic strokes, to which [Page 153] an apparent coolness gave an edge, and which the sons of the mountain will never forgive.

BOTH of them tender husbands, good fathers, excellent citizens, virtuous men, and sincere republicans, they only sunk under the accusation of the conspirators, because they did not even know how to coalesce in favour of the good cause, the only one for which they contended, and for which they deserved to live.

VERGNIAUX

WAS perhaps, the most eloquent man in the assembly. He did not speak without preparation, like Guadet: but his made speeches, of great argumentative strength, full of fire, abounding in matter, resplendent with the most beauti­ful forms of oratory, and supported by a dignified delivery, may still be read with the greatest pleasure.

AND yet I love not Vergniaux: he appears to me a phi­losopher totally absorbed in self. Disdaining mankind, no doubt, because he knows them well, he gives himself no concern on their account: but with this way of thinking, a man should keep out of all public employs; if he do not, his idleness becomes a crime; and in this respect Vergniaux is highly culpable. What a pity, that talents like his should not have been employed with the ardour of a man devoted to the public weal, and with the perseverance of an active mind!

[Page 154]

GRANGENEUVE

IS the best of men, with a countenance of the least promise. His understanding is of the common level; but his soul is truly great: and he performs noble actions with simplicity, and without suspecting how much they would cost any other but himself.

IN the course of July, 1792, the conduct and disposi­tion of the court indicating hostile designs, every one talked of the means of preventing or frustrating their execution. On this subject Chabot said, with that ardour which proceeds from a heated imagination, and not from strength of mind, that it was to be wished that the court might attempt the lives of some of the patriotic members, as it would infallibly cause an insurrection of the people, the only mean of setting the multitude in motion, and producing a salutary crisis. He grew warm on this head, on which he made a copious comment. Gran­geneuve, who had listened to him without saying a word in the little society where the discourse took place, embraced the first opportunity of speaking with Chabot in private. 'I have been struck with your reasons,' said he: 'they are excellent: but the court is too cunning ever to afford us such an expedient. We must make it for ourselves. Find you but men to strike the blow; and I will devote myself as the victim.'—'What! you will * * * *?'—'Certainly. What is there so wonderful in that? My life is of no great utility: my person of little account: I shall feel the greatest pleasure in offering myself up as a sacrifice for my country's good.'—'Ah, my friend, you shall [Page 155] not fall alone:' exclaimed Chabot, with a look of enthusi­asm: 'I am determined to share the glory with you.'— 'As you please: one is enough: two may be better. But there will be no glory in the business; for it is necessary that it remain a secret to all the world. Let us then devise the means of execution.'

CHABOT undertook to provide them; and a few days after informed Grangeneuve, that he had found fit instru­ments for the purpose, and that every thing was prepared. —'Very well: let us appoint the time. We will repair to the committee to-morrow evening; I will leave it at half after ten: we must go through some unfrequented street, in which you will take care to have your people posted. But let them mind what they are about. It is their business to shoot us properly, and not to make us cripples for life.' —The hour was fixed, and every thing was agreed upon. Grangeneuve went to make his will, and arrange some domestic concerns, without any bustle; and was punc­tual to the appointment. Chabot did not make his appear­ance. The hour elapsed, and no Chabot came; whence Grangeneuve concluded he had given up his design of par­ticipation; but supposing that the project held good as to himself, he set off, took the road agreed on, walked with measured steps, met nobody on his way, walked back again, for fear of any mistake, and was obliged to return home safe and sound, much displeased at having made all his preparations in vain. Chabot saved himself from re­proach by some paltry excuse, taking good care not to de­part from the usual poltroonery of a priest, or the hypocri­sy of a capuchin friar.

[Page 156]

BARBAROUX,

WHOSE features no painter would disdain to copy for the head of an Antinous, active, laborious, ingenu­ous, and brave, with the fiery spirit of a youthful Mar­seillois, was destined to become a man of merit, and a citizen, equally useful and enlightened. Enamoured of independence, proud of the revolution, rich in acquired talents, capable of assiduous attention, habituated to ap­plication, and thirsting after fame; he is one of those men, whom a great politician would seek to attach to himself, and who was made to flourish and distinguish himself in a happy republic. But who can venture to say, to what a degree injustice, proscription, and misfor­tune, may repress the generous efforts of such a mind, and how far it may tarnish its good qualities? Moderate success would have encouraged Barbaroux in his career, because he is fond of fame, and possesses every qualification ne­cessary to procure him reputation: but the love of pleasure is at hand▪ and if once it take the place of glory, in con­sequence of disappointment or disgust, it will debase an excellent temper, and turn him aside from his noblest destination.

DURING Roland's first administration, I had an oppor­tunity of seeing several letters from Barbaroux, addressed rather to the man than to the minister, and intended to enable him to judge of the means it would be proper to employ, in order to keep ardent and irritable minds, like those of the department of the mouths of the Rhone, in the paths of duty. Roland, a strict observer of the law, and like the law severe and inflexible, was incapable of [Page 157] speaking more than one language, when charged with its execution. The administrators had gone a little astray: the minister had chidden them with severity; and their minds were irritated. It was then that Barbaroux wrote to Roland, to vindicate the purity of his countrymen's in­tentions, excuse their errors, and to make Roland under­stand, that gentler methods would bring them back to subordination with greater speed and effect. These letters were dictated by the best intentions, and by such con­summate prudence, that when I saw their author, I was astonished at his youth. They had the effect they could not fail to have upon an equitable man, who sought only to do good: Roland laid aside a little of his austerity, assum­ed a tone rather brotherly than ministerial, brought the Mar­seillois back to their duty, and gave Barbaroux his esteem.

AFTER Roland quitted the ministry, we saw him more frequently. His open disposition and ardent patriotism inspired us with confidence. It was then, that, reasoning on the bad state of affairs, and on the danger of seeing despotism revive in the north, we formed the conditional project of a republic in the south.—'That will be our last stake,' said Barbaroux with a smile: 'but the Marseil­lois who are here will prevent our recurring to such an ex­pedient.—From that speech, and some others of a like tendency, we conjectured, an insurrection was in agitation; but as his confidence did not lead him to be more com­municative, we asked him no questions about the matter. Towards the latter end of July, he almost entirely discon­tinued his visits; telling us, the last time he called, it would be wrong to judge of his sentiments in regard to us from any presumption furnished by his absence, as it was merely [Page 158] meant to keep us out of harm's way. After the tent [...] [...] August he returned to Marseilles, and came back a men [...] of the national convention, where he did his duty li [...] man of courage. Many of his printed speeches display excellent argumentation, and considerable knowledge of the administrative department of commerce: that on the sup­ply of provisions, excepting the work of Creuze-la-Touche, is the best thing of the kind. But it would be necessary for him to labour if he would become an orator.

THE lively and affectionate Barbaroux is attached to the delicate and susceptible Buzot: I used to call them Nysus and Euryalus. May they meet with a better fate than those two friends! Louvet, more acute than Barba­roux, more gay than Buzot, and in goodness of heart equal to either, is intimate with both; but more particularly with the latter, who serves as a link to connect him with Barbaroux, of whom Buzot's natural gravity makes him in some sort the Mentor.

LOUVET,

WITH whom I became acquainted during Roland's first administration, and whose agreeable society I shall ever covet, may sometimes chance, like Philopoemen, to pay forfeit for his mean appearance. Little, slender, short-sighted, and negligent in dress, he seems of no consequence to the vulgar, who remark not the noble­ness of his forehead, nor the fire which animates his eyes [Page 159] and features upon the utterance of an important truth, a generous sentiment, a witty saying, or a refined piece of raillery. His pleasing novels, where the graces of imagination are combined with fluency of style, philoso­phical remarks, and attic salt, are known to all men of letters, and to all persons of taste. Politics are indebted to him for more serious works, the matter and manner of which bear witness alike to the goodness of his head and of his heart. He has shewn, that his able hand can alternately jingle the bells of folly, hold the burin of his­tory, and launch the thunders of eloquence. It is im­possible to unite more wit with less pretension and greater good-nature. Bold as a lion, simple as a child, a man of feeling, a good citizen, and a vigorous writer; he can make Cataline tremble in the senate, dine with the graces, and sup with Bachaumont*.

HIS Philippic, or Robespierride, deserved to be pro­nounced in a senate possessed of energy to do jus­tice. His Conspiracy of the 10th of March, is another piece of value to the history of the times. His Sentinel is a pattern of that kind of bills, and daily instructions intended for a populace, whom it is meant to inform as to facts, without ever influencing them unless by the force of reason, moving them unless for the good of all, or inspiring them with any affections but such as do ho­nour to human nature. It is an excellent contrast to those atrocious and disgusting papers, whose coarse style and filthy expressions are well suited to the sanguinary [Page 160] doctrine and impure falsehood for which they serve as common sewer; the impudent works of calumny, [...] which intrigue pays the hire to imposture, in order [...] complete the ruin of public morals, and by means of which the gentlest people in Europe has had its disposition per­verted to such a degree, that the peaceable Parisians, whose kindness of heart was proverbial, are become the rivals of those ferocious pretorian guards, who sold their votes, their lives, and the empire to the best bidder. Let us dismiss these sad images, and turn our attention to the Observations on St. Just's Report against the confined Deputies, by a Society of Girondines, printed at Caen the 13th of July. In it I re­cognized the style, the acumen, and the gaiety of Louvet: it is Reason in dishabille, sporting with Ridicule, without laying aside her strength or dignity.

LAZOWSKI,

A POLANDER by birth, came to France no one knows how, destitute of all fortune; but being rich in the in­terest of the duke of Liancourt, either because related to some person in his service, or because connected with him in some other way, Lazowski obtained the appointment of inspector of manufactures.

IT was one of those very inferior offices of administra­tion which conferred no authority; of which the salary was moderate, and the duties such as to require nothing [Page 161] but honesty, and a certain share of merit; which conse­quently seemed to suit every body, or for which every one at least thought himself fit. Those places were in the gift of the king's council, on the presentation of the minister of the finances, and were subordinate to the superintendants of trade, petty magistrates of mighty pretensions, who give themselves great airs of impor­tance; who like many others obtained credit from the public on their own report; and who in reality, from multitude of affairs that came before them, had exten­sive connections, and gave audiences, at which, some­times, men of the first rank did not disdain to attend.

LIVELY, enterprising, and passing himself off for a man of understanding, Lazowski had persuaded his pa­tron, that it was not fitting for such a man to remain a simple inspector of manufactures. It is true, that, in order to find him employment, an inspectorship had been created at Soissons, where there was scarcely any manu­facture but of priests, and scarcely any objects of inspec­tion except nuns; for it was a town as full of convents as deficient in industry, and destitute of all commerce but that of the absolute necessaries of life. Mr. de Liancourt, who was led to desire the promotion of his dependant by the vanity common among courtiers, was further impelled by the native excellence of his heart. He was pressing with the minister, and still more so with the su­perintendants of commerce; for the secondary agents are always the really effective men. Calonne was compt­roller-general: he had an inventive mind, and was ready at taking up ingenious ideas. The creation of a travel­ling inspectorship was devised. That was no effort of [Page 162] genius, since such a place had already existed, and its in­utility had been acknowledged: but it will readily be admitted, that the second creation was not without a mo­tive, since it afforded the means of obliging a man of consequence, while the number of places, which amount­ed to four, gave the operation something of the appear­ance of an affair of state, to say nothing of the advantage of three places remaining for favour and intrigue. They were soon filled. Salaries of 8000 livres [333l. 6s. 8d.] a year were given them; a residence in Paris four months out of twelve; excursions through the provinces during the remaining eight; the right of succeeding the inspectors-general on their decease, and permission to solicit gratifications in proportion to the length of their journies and the importance of their services. It is true, that this sapped the foundation of an institution, the spirit of which was excellent. It deprived the inspectors of the generalities of the hope of arriving at the inspector-generalship by merit or seniority: it discouraged them, by sending into their respective departments men for the most part strangers to the business: and it deprived the minister of the possibility of being well-informed of the state of arts, manufactures, and commerce; and in short of all the objects of industry; of which it was natural to expect a much better account from men settled in the several generalities for that purpose, than from these birds of passage, employed in running over them all. But the views of the old government did not extend so far: and who knows whether the individuals who com­pose the new, are of a more capacious mind, or more disinterested spirit.

[Page 163]THIS happened in the spring of 1784, when I was brought to Paris by family affairs. I heard mention made of a change in the inspections; and I learnt, that the inspec­torship of Lyons, given up by the ambitious Brisson for a travelling one, was conferred upon a very young man. I reflected, that Roland was always looking forward to his retirement, and intended to ask for it, as soon as he should finish his labours in the Encyclopedia, that he might go into his own country, forget Paris, and the meannesses to which a man must stoop for the preferment that was refused to merit. I thought it would be better for him to go home with a place, than without one; and it occured to me, to solicit the exchange of that of Amiens, where we then were, for that of Lyons, which would fix him in his own country. This trifling favour I sup­posed would be readily granted to an old servant, whose knowledge, and whose disposition especially, the super­intendants of commerce dreaded enough to be pleased with his removal. The commissions were already made out. I stated my reasons with all the advantage a woman had in those days in dealing with people who piqued themselves on their politeness: on the other hand were stated the objections, which I frankly rated at their due value; and I obtained the place, almost as soon as my husband was informed of the request I had thought fit to make.

In the public offices who should I meet with but La­zowski, then a fine gentleman, his hair well powdered, his clothes well put on, affecting a little stoop in his shoul­ders, walking upon his heels, sporting deep ruffles, giving himself in short, those little airs of consequence, which were then taken for claims to consideration by fools, and laughed at by men of sense.

[Page 164]THE constituent assembly, by overthrowing the no­bility and suppressing the inspectorships, deprived La­zowski at once of his place and of his patron. Not dar­ing to hope for a pension, which must have been reduced to nothing*, considering the short time he had been em­ployed, and finding himself without a shilling, he became a patriot, combed the powder out of his greasy locks, made speeches at one of the sections, and turned sans­culotte in good time, since he was really in danger of wanting breeches.

POSSESSED of vigour, considerable remains of youth, a thundering voice, and an excellent turn for intrigue, he soon distinguished himself, and was appointed a capitaine de quartier in the national guard. In that quality he served on the 10th of August, and boasted much of the dangers of the day, like many others who mixed in the tumult to reap some profit, and afterward stood boldly forward as the saviours of their country. But his ex­ploits date from the 2d of September, and from the ac­tivity he contrived to keep up in the section of Finistere, to which he belonged at the massacre of the priests at St. Firmin. He was of equal utility in dispatching the prisoners from Orleans.

HE had occasion to come, as deputy of his section, to the hotel of the minister of the home department, where I saw him, and had an opportunity to observe his aston­ishing metamorphosis The pretty gentleman, with his [Page 165] affected smiles, had assumed th [...] [...]age aspec [...] [...]f a furi­ous patriot; the purple face of [...] drunkard [...]nd the haggard eye of an assassin.

DEAR to the Jacobins, who we [...] knew his w [...]th, and meant to make him a great man, he was fixed upon to direct the conspiracy of the 10th of March; but he died suddenly, at Vaugirard, of an inflammatory fever, the fruit of debauchery, brandy, and bad hours.

WHO has not heard of the grief of the whole [...]orde at this unexpected loss; of the funeral oration delivered by the high-priest Robespierre, his affecting lamentations, and his pompous eulogium of the great man unknown; of the splendid funeral celebrated by the venerable com­mune, and the holy societies; of the adoption of his child, whom papa Pache kissed in the town-hall; and lastly, of Lazowski's interment near the tree of liberty, in the square of the Carrouzel, where his humble grave, covered with turf, is still to be seen?

LET those who are astonished at his posthumous im­portance, recollect, that it emanated from the focus of the jacobins, when they were become as formidable to the timid Parisians, as they were atrocious; at the time that Marat was in all his glory, and Danton in the ple­nitude of his power.

ASSUREDLY the people who took the former for their prophet, and the latter for their lord, might well honour Lazowski as a saint or a hero, which in the religion of the Septembrizers are the same thing.

[Page 166]

R [...]ERT.

'WHAT have you done to Robert?' said a person to me lately: 'his wife and he revile you more virulently than any of your enemies.'—'I have seen but little of them; I have done them some service; but I have not concurred in flattering their ambition, as you are about to hear.'

WHEN I was setting off from Lyons for Paris, in 1791, Champagneux asked me, if I was acquainted with madam Robert, a woman of wit, an author, and a patriot.— Not at all. I have heard indeed that mademoiselle Ke­ralio, whose father is a literary man, was lately married to M. Robert, and that between them they compose the Mercure national, of which I have seen a few numbers. This is all I know about her.'—'Do you wish to see her? If you do, I will give you a letter to her; for as fellow journalists we correspond.'—'A woman of wit, an author, and a republican, must be well worth seeing. Give me a letter.'

I ARRIVED at Paris, and had been there six weeks, when one of our friends, happening to mention ma­dam Robert, whom he had occasion to visit, I recollected that I had a letter for her. I told him so: he offered to accompany me to the house: and thither we went.

I FOUND a lively little woman of genteel address, and high spirit, who gave me a very pleasing reception; and there I found also her clumsy husband with a face as broad as a well-stalled priest's beaming health and self-complacency, and with cheeks whose ruddy tinge [Page 167] no profound cogitation had ever impaired. They re­turned my visit; and there I suffered our acquaintance to rest. The 17th of July, on my return from the Jaco­bins, where I had been witness to the agitation produced by the mournful events of the Champ-de-Mars, whom should I find at home, at eleven at night, but M. and madam Robert.—'We are come,' said the wife to me, with all the confidence of an old friend, 'to ask you for an asylum. It is not necessary to be often in your company, to form a favourable opinion of your patriotism, and of the goodness of your heart: my husband was drawing up the petition on the national altar, and I was by his side: we have escaped the slaughter, and dare not take refuge in our own house, nor in that of any known friend, where search may be made for us'—'I am much obliged to you,' replied I, 'for having thought of me on so lamentable an occasion, and am proud of affording a shelter to the persecuted: but you will be badly conceal­ed here:' I was then at the Hotel Brittannique, Rue Guenegaud) 'this house is much frequented, and the land­lord is a great partisan of Lafayette.'—'It is only for to-night: to-morrow we will think of a retreat.'

I SENT to inform the mistress of the hotel, that a kins­woman of mine having arrived at Paris at the very mo­ment of tumult, had left her baggage at the coach-office, and would pass the night with me; and that I therefore requested her to make up a couple of field-beds in my apartment. They were accordingly spread in a parlour, and there our husbands lay, while madame Robert slept in my husbands bed, by the side of mine, in my own room. The next morning, I rose early, and hastened to [Page 168] write letters, to my distant friends, to inform them of the events of the preceding evening. M. and madame Robert, whom I supposed to be very active, and as jour­nalists, to have a much more extensive correspondence than myself, dressed themselves very cooly, sat chatting, after the breakfast I had ordered for them, and placed themselves in the balcony facing the street. They even went so far as to call up a person of their acquaintance who was passing.

THIS conduct appeared to me very inconsistent in peo­ple who were hiding themselves. The person, whom they had called up, entered into earnest conversation with them concerning the events of the day before; boasted that he had run his sword through the body of a national guard; and talked very loudly, though in a room adjoining to a large anti-chamber common to my apartment and to another.

I CALLED madam Robert.—'I received you, madam, with that interest, which justice and compassion for wor­thy people in danger naturally inspire; but I cannot give an asylum to all your acquaintance. You expose your­self by conversing as you do, in a house like this with a person of so little discretion. I am in the habit of receiving members of the assembly, who might stand a chance of being brought into trouble, if seen to en­ter this hotel while it contains a person who boasts of having yesterday committed acts of violence. I beg you will desire him to withdraw.'—Madam Robert called her husband; I repeated my observations, in rather a higher tone, because it seemed to me that the duller personage stood in need of a stronger im­pression; and the man was dismissed. I learnt that his [Page 169] name was Va [...]hard; that he was president of a society, called the indigent club; and [...]uch praise was bestowed upon his excellent qualities, a [...] ardent patriotism. I could not help lamenting inwa [...]ly its being necessary to set a value upon the patriotism of a person who had every appearance of what is termed a wrong-headed man, and whose heart I should not have imagined to be in the right place. I have since been imformed that he was one of the hawkers of Marat's paper, that he had never learnt to read, and that he is now an administrator of the department of Paris, where he makes a very good figure among his fellows.

IT was noon; and M. and madam Robert talked of going home, where every thing must needs be in confu­sion. I told them, that such being the case, if they would take a dinner with me before they went, I would order it at an early hour. They replied, they would rather return, and engaged themselves accordingly as they were going out of the room. Before three o'clock they made their appearance again in full dress: the wife had long plumes upon her head and plenty of rouge upon her cheeks; the husband had put on a suit of sky-blue silk, with which his black hair, hanging down his shoulders in large curls, formed a singular contrast: a long toledo by his side, added every thing to his dress, that could serve to make him remarkable.—'Why, my god!' said said I to myself: 'are these people mad?' and I listened to their discourse, to satisfy myself, that their brains were not really turned. The fat and portly Robert ate wonderfully well; and his wife prattled to her heart's [Page 170] content. At length they took leave, nor did I ever see them, or speak of them afterwards to any body.

ON our return to Paris the following winter, Robert, meeting Roland at the Jacobins, made him some civil reproaches, or polite complaints, on account of our hav­ing broken off all intercourse with them; and his wife came several times to call upon me, inviting me in the most pressing manner to go to her house, where she re­ceived company twice a week, and where I should be sure to meet with meritorious members of the legislature. I went once, and there I found Antoine, with whose me­diocrity I was well acquainted, a little man, well enough to put upon a toilette, and a pretty poetaster writing agreeably upon trifling subjects, but destitute of every thing like spirit or consistency. There I found also sev­eral other members, sworn patriots, and several women of ardent civism, who with some honourable members of the fraternal society, completed a circle which suited me little, and to which I never returned.

A FEW months afterwards Roland was called to the administration of public affairs. Four-and-twenty hours had scarcely passed, when I saw madam Robert walk into my apartment.—So, your husband is in place: well, as patriots ought to serve one another, I hope you will not forget mine.'—'I should be very happy, madam, to render you any service; but I do not know how far it may be in my power: M. Roland, however, will no doubt attend to the interest of the public by employing persons of capacity. In four days time, madam Robert returned to pay me a morning visit; and in a few days after, another, always insisting upon the necessity of giv­ing [Page 171] her husband an appointment, and upon his being entitled to one by virtue of his patriotism. I informed ma­dam Robert, that the minister of the home-department had no kind of places in his gift, except those in his own of­fice, which were all filled: that notwithstanding the advantages which might accrue from changing some of his agents, it behoved a prudent man to study things and persons, previous to alterations, lest the progress of the public business should be impeded; and that, from what she had said herself, it did not seem likely her husband would accept a clerk's place.—'Certainly Robert is qualified for some­thing better.'—'In that case, the minister of the home-department can do nothing to serve you.'—'But he can speak to the minister of foreign affairs, and get some mission for Robert.'—'I believe that it is contrary to the strictness of M. Roland's principles to solicit any thing, or to interfere in the departments of his colleagues: but as you probably mean nothing more than the bear­ing witness to your husband's civism, I will mention it to mine.'

MADAME Robert laid close siege to Dumouriez and Brissot: and three weeks after, returned to tell me, that the former had given her a promise, which she begged me to remind him of, whenever he might chance to come in my way.

IN the course of that week he came to dine with me, Brissot and several other persons being present.—'Have you not promised a certain very pressing lady,' said I to Dumouriez, 'to give her husband a place? She has requested me to remind you of it; and [Page 172] so great is her solicitude, that I shall not be sorry to be able to quiet her with respect to myself, by telling her, that I have done what she desired.'—'Is it not Robert you mean?' asked Brissot immediately. —'It is.'—'Aye!' resumed he, addressing himself to Dumouriez, with his usual simplicity: 'you ought to give that man an appointment. He is a sincere friend of the revolution, a strenuous patriot, and not very easy in his circumstances: the reign of liberty ought to be beneficial to its friends.'—'What?' said Dumouriez, in­terrupting him, with great good-humour and vivacity, 'are you speaking of that little black-headed man, as broad as he is long? I have no inclination, faith, to disgrace myself; and should be sorry to send such a blockhead any where.'—'But,' replied Brissot, 'in the number of agents you have occasion to employ, all do not require equal capacity.'—'Pray, are you well ac­quainted with this Robert?' said Dumouriez.—'I am very well acquainted with Keralio, his wife's father, a man of infinite respectability, and at his house I have seen Robert. I know he is accused of a few follies; but I believe him to be an honest man, possessed of an excel­lent heart, actuated by the true spirit of patriotism, and standing in need of employment.'—'I employ no such madmen.'—'But you promised his wife?'—'Certainly: an inferior place, with a salary of a thousand crowns; which he refused. Do you know what she asks? the embassy to Constantinople.'—'The embassy to Con­stantinople!' exclaimed Brissot, with a laugh: 'impos­sible!'—'It is fact, however.'—'I have nothing more to say.'—'Nor I,' added Dumouriez: 'except, that I [Page 173] will order that hogshead to be rolled into the street, the next time he comes, and shut my door in his wife's face.'

MADAME Robert returned once more to the charge. I wished much to get rid of her without coming to a quarrel, and could find but one way that was consistent with my natural frankness. As she complained bitterly of Dumouriez, on account of his tardiness, I told her I had spoken to him; and that I thought it incumbent on me to let her know she had enemies, who propagated ill reports concerning her; that I would advise her to trace them to their source, and destroy them, in order that a man in a public capacity might not expose himself to the detraction of the malevolent, by employing a per­son who was the object of unfavourable prejudices; and that for the above purpose nothing was wanting but an explanation, which I exhorted her to give. Madame Robert repaired to Brissot, who ingeniously told her, that she had been guilty of great folly in asking for an embas­sy, and that people with such ill-founded pretensions might expect, in the end, to get nothing at all.

WE saw her no more: but her husband wrote a pam­phlet against Brissot, to denounce him as a distributor of places, and a deceiver, who had promised him the em­bassy to Constantinople, and then forfeited his word. He entered into the club of Cordeliers, courted an ac­quaintance with Danton, submitted to be his clerk when the latter became minister on the 10th of August, was pushed by him into the eloctoral body, and into the de­putation from Paris to the convention, paid his debts, lived expensively, gave entertainments to d'Orleans, and a thousand others, is now rich, culumniates Roland, [Page 174] and slanders his wife. All this is easily conceivable: he follows his trade, and earns his salary.

CHAMPFORT AND CARRA.

CHAMPFORT, a man of letters, living in the fashona­able world, familiar with the great people of the old government, and connected with men of talents who have made a figure in the revolution, is acquainted with the court and the city, with characters and intrigues, with politics and mankind, still better than the age in which he lives.

CHAMPFORT partook of that extreme confidence, with which I have always reproached the philosophers who have acted a part in the new order of things. He could not believe in the ascendancy of a few wrong-headed fellows, nor in the confusion they would find means to create.—'You carry things to an extreme,' he would say to me sometimes: 'because, placed in the centre of movement, you suppose its sphere of action extensive. It appears to you to be violent; and you therefore consider it as formidable. These fellows will ruin themselves by their own intemperance: they will never be able to extinguish the light of eighteen centu­ries.'—These fellows rule however; and Champfort is now a prisoner, with all those who will not idolize their power.

A GREAT stock of wit, a tolerable portion of morality, the graces of good breeding, the acquirements of litera­ture, and the philosophy of a sound and cultivated un­derstanding, rendered Champfort's conversation equally solid and entertaining. At first I thought he talked too [Page 175] much; and I accused him of that exuberance of speech, and that sort of preponderance, which our men of letters very commonly assume. I liked him better in a select society of five or six persons, than in a mixed company of fifteen or twenty, of which I had to do the honours. But after all, I could not help forgiving him for speaking more than any body else, because he afforded me more amusement: he abounds in those happy sallies, which produce the rare effect of making you laugh and think at the same time.—'Do you believe Champfort to be a thoroughly sincere patriot?' said, one day, a man of more than Spartan austerity.—'Let us not misunderstand one another,' replied I. 'Champfort's views are good, and his judgment excellent: he has a sound understand­ing, and is never wrong as to principles: he acknow­ledges and reveres those of public freedom, and human happiness, nor will he betray them. But would he sa­crifice to them his peace, his enjoyments, and his life? That, indeed, is quite a different question; on which, I believe, he would take time to deliberate.'—'It is plain then that he is not a virtuous man.'—'Why he is vir­tuous, as Ninna was chaste: and amidst the corruption which preys on our vitals, it would be lucky for us if we had many such virtuous men.'—Our hypocrites and enthusiasts could never be brought to understand that men should be employed according to the compound ratio of their talents and civism, so that they should be interested in employing the former to the advantage of the latter. I have seen Servan in a rage for finding ex­cellent engineers, whom he had employed in the camp near Paris, dismissed, unde [...] [...] of their not being [Page 176] ardent republicans, while sturdy patriots, so completely ignorant as not to know how to draw a line, were put in their place.—'I would not send for them,' said he very justly, 'to give their opinions on a form of go­vernment: but I am convinced they will serve him well who knows how to employ them. We are in want of redoubts, and not of motions.'—That was being too ra­tional: it was talking like the faction of statesmen; and thus it was, men of intellect acquired the title of con­spirators.

WHEN Roland was recalled to the ministry on the 10th of August, it was necessary to change the director of the national library. That place was held by one d'Ormesson, whose name gave umbrage to the new government, and whose mediocrity left no room for regret. The minister of the home department thought of dividing the duties of librarian between two persons; of reducing the salary from twelve thousand livres [£.500] a year to eight [333l. 6s. 8d.]; and of making it a rule to have the library open every day; so that the public would be a gainer, on the score of instruction; the nation, on that of oeconomy; and the government, by the employ­ment of two useful men. In the choice of persons, he fixed on Champfort, who, as man of letters and a phi­losopher, had openly declared for the revolution; and on Carra, already employed in the library, whose extreme zeal, if not his talents, seemed to entitle him to that re­ward. He had never seen either of them, and was determined solely by those considerations, to which was superadded, the necessity of making a choice agreeable to the public. I recei [...] [...]e visits of both of them, in [Page 176] consequence of their appointment, and their necessary intercourse with the minister of the home department; and I should have continued to see Champfort with plea­sure, if circumstances had not kept us at a distance from each other.

CARRA, when he became a deputy, appeared to me a very good kind of man, with a very indifferent head. It is impossible to be more enthusiastic in favour of the rev­olution, liberty, and a commonwealth; or a worse judge of men and things. Giving way entirely to his imagi­nation; making his calculations accordingly, instead of grounding them upon facts; arranging in his mind the interests of foreign powers in the way that best suited our success; and seeing every thing in the most flattering point of view, he talked of his country's happiness, and the emancipation of all Europe, with inexpressible com­placency. It cannot be denied, that he contributed greatly to our political commotions, and to the insur­rections of which the object was the overthrow of tyran­ny. His Annals succeeded wonderfully with the popu­lace, by means of a certain prophetic style, which always has weight with the vulgar. When we behold such a man brought to trial, as a traitor to the republic, we are tempted to ask whether Robespierre be not doing the work of Austria. But it is evident that he is labouring for himself; and that, in his insatiate ambition to pass for the sole deliverer of France, he would wish to annihi­late all those who have gained any thing like fame or reputation in the service of their country.

[Page 178]

DORAT-CUBIERES

Is a name I had so often seen in the Almanac of the Muses, and other compilations of equal importance, that I could not help laughing, when I found it connected with the title of secretary-register of the municipality. It seemed an absurdity; and so indeed it was. Cubières, faithful to that double character of insolence and baseness, which his forbidding countenance wears in a supreme degree, preaches sans-culotism as he hailed the graces, writes verses upon Marat as he did upon Iris, and san­guinary, as he was before apparenly amorous, without feeling any impulse of the passions, he prostrates himself humbly before the idol of the day, be it Venus or be it Tantalus. Provided he creep through life, and get bread what can it signify how; yesterday it was by writing "a sonnet to his mistress's eye-brow," to-day it is by copying a report, or signing an order of police.

GETTING, somehow or other, admission into my house, when my husband was minister, I knew him only as a wit, and had an opportunity of shewing him some little civility. He dined with me twice: the first time I thought him odd; the second, insupportable: an insipid sycophant, a fulsome flatterer, stupidly conceited, and meanly polite; he is more at variance with good sense and reason than any other being I ever saw. I soon felt the necessity of giving to my open manner that air of solemnity which lets a person, of whom we wish to get rid, know what he has to do. Cubières took the hint; but some time after he wrote to me notwithstanding, to beg permission to introduce a prince, who was desirous [Page 179] of being admitted to my acquaintance. He dwelt on the title of prince in a manner truly laughable; and added the most disgusting praises of my person. I an­swered as I usually do when I wish to call people to order without putting them in a passion, and to make a jest of them without giving them a right to complain. As to the prince, and his introduction, I contented my­self with observing, that, in the retired life I led, a stran­ger to every thing that might be termed a circle, and avoiding company as much as possible, I made it a rule to receive only such persons as business, or long habits of friendship, made my husband wish to see now and then at his table. Cubières sent me in return excuses as tedious as his eulogium, and requested a single moment to explain himself at my feet. I made him no answer, nor did I ever throw away a thought upon him, till the day I was apprehended, when I perceived his signature to the order of the commune; for there were two: one from the committee of insurrection of the 31st of May, the other from the commune. Both were shewn to me, lest I should object to that of the committee: and yet the latter was the only one exhibited by my guards to the keeper of the Abbey, whither I was conveyed.

THE request of Cubières had led me to suspect some hidden views of interest, and I diverted my husband at the time by a recital of what had passed. I learned after­wards, that the prince of Salm-Kirbourg, the person in question, was then importuning the ministers, in order to obtain from the council an indemnification of some sort or other for his possessions in Alsace. Hence I con­cluded that I had guessed aright, and that the desire of [Page 180] seeing me had arisen solely from an idea that the new system might resemble the old, when women were pre­vailed upon to ask favours of their husbands. I gave myself credit for my conduct, and found in this anecdote a fresh trait of the character of Cubières. It would be serving him properly to publish his servile letters, as contrasts to his affectation of frankness and a love of li­berty. I should have possessed curious pieces of that sort, if I had preserved all the trash I have received. How many relations and admirers, of whom I had never heard before, sprang up all at once, when I became the wife of a minister!—As I admitted no company, they wrote to me; and I had quite enough to do to read their letters; which I answered briefly and politely, but with great frankness, in order to leave them no room to sup­pose that I either could or would interfere in any thing, and to convince them of the perfect inutility of paying me compliments, or calling themselves my relations.

THE most curious circumstance is, that some of these people were angry, and made me very ungracious re­plies. I remember one M. David, who had planned some establishment, in favour of which he solicited my in­terest. It availed me nothing to answer, that he would accomplish his purpose by applying directly to the mi­nister; that my interference could be of no use; and that I never employed it, as it would be setting myself up for a judge of matters quite out of my way: he con­sidered my principles as abominable, and wrote to me in a very angry stile.

THUS in private was I persecuted for my perseverance in confining myself to my own sphere; and in public I was [Page 181] assailed by envy, as if I had been governing the state. And yet people think it very pleasing and desirable to fill places of eminence! No doubt the wife of a good man devoted to the service of the public, who is proud of his virtues, and feels herself capable of supporting his courage, has her gratifications, and derives enjoyment from his glory; but these pleasures are not obtained gratuitously, and few are the people who could pay the price they cost, without regretting the purchase.

ANECDOTES.

WHEN I was brought to the Abbey, the family of Desilles was still there; but was soon after removed to the Conciergerie, whence several of the persons concerned in the conspiracy in Brittany were conducted to the scaf­fold. Angelica Desilles, the wife of Roland de la Fouchais, the similarity of whose name to mine led one of my friends into some curious blunders in an attempt to carry me off, was one of the victims. Her sisters were acquitted, and ought consequently to have enjoy­ed their liberty; but, as a measure of general safety, they were again taken into custody, and conveyed to St. Pélagié. I found them there, and conversed with them several times. They were young, amiable, and polite women, the elder of whom, a widow of twenty-seven, was neither destitute of personal charms nor energy of mind; the younger was in a very precarious state of health. At first, overwhelmed with grief, they appeared likely to sink under it: but being both mothers [Page 182] of helpless children, to whom their existence was neces­sary, they called up all their courage.

THEY mentioned to me repeatedly the base treachery of Cheftel, a man of wit, well know at Paris, where he practises physic, a Breton by birth, who had insinuated himself into the most intimate confidence of their father, was acquainted with his wishes, and appeared to favour his schemes; but, connected at the same time with Danton, he received through his means a commission from the executive power, repaired to Brittany, to pay court to his friend, took up his abode at his country house, received entertainments from his relations, encou­raged his designs, and gave them fresh activity by his assistance. At the moment that appeared most conve­nient, he secretly informed against him, and sent for persons who were in waiting to take him into custody.

DESILLES escaped. But all his family were apprehend­ed; his effects were sealed up, and a strict search was made in all the places which might serve to conceal his correspondence, and which Cheftel had pointed out. The young women, who still thought him a friend to the family, begged his advice, and implicitly followed his directions. Not knowing what to do with a purse of two hundred louis intended for their father, they put it into his hands, ordered the best horse in the stable to be saddled, and pressed Cheftel to make his escape. He made a shew of being determined to share their fate; accompanied them accordingly, but not as a prisoner; and endeavoured to persuade the commander of the armed force, that had charge of the prisoners, to bring [Page 183] them by day into the great towns. 'Surely you are not in earnest,' said the officer; 'it would endanger their lives'.

THEY arrived at Paris. The trial commenced. The name of Cheftel was erased from the correspondence, because he had disclosed the plot; and the poor victims then discovered the serpent they had fostered in their bosom. Tried, acquitted, detained notwithstanding, and destitute of money, the two young women recollected the purse of gold. They confided the circumstance to a man of courage and probity, who went to Cheftel, and demanded the two hundred louis. Cheftel, taken by surprise, at first denied the fact: but, terrified at the firmness of the demander, who threatened to expose him to the eyes of all the world, he stammered out a confes­sion of the receipt of half that sum, and repaid it in as­signats, but not till after repeated interviews.

CHEFTEL, formerly physician to madam Elizabeth*, affiduous in pursuit of fortune, had in like manner gained the confidence of a wealthy individual, whose name I believe to be Paganel, or something like it, and who, among other possessions, has immense estates in Limousin. Paganel, desirous of emigrating, to shelter himself from the storms of the revolution, made a fictitious sale of his property to Cheftel. He set off, and depended upon the income, which was to be remitted to him by his faithful friend; but Cheftel kept it for himself, and enjoys with Danton the pleasures of an opulence, which both have acquired by similar means.

AT length repeated solicitations, assisted, perhaps, by more prevailing arguments, procured the two sisters their [Page 184] liberty. I saw them depart: but I did not know their secret on that head. I have just seen Castellane, how­ever, purchase his enlargement, at the price of thirty thousand livers [£.1250], paid to Chabot. Dillon got out of the Magdelonettes in the same manner. Both were involved in the charge of a counter-revolutionary plot. This very moment, August 22, I have before my eyes a certain Mademoiselle Briant, a kept girl, who lives at No. 207, Cloitre Saint-Benoit, and whose keeper is a forger of assignats. Having been informed against, apparent endeavours were made to apprehend him; but a shower of gold poured into the hands of the admini­strators. The man who sends out the armed force em­ployed to seek and take him into custody, knows where he is concealed; his mistress is apprehend for form's sake; the administrators, who appear to come in order to examine her, bring her accounts of her keeper; and very soon they will both enjoy their liberty, since they have wherewithal to pay for it.

FOUQIER-TAINVILLE, public accuser to the revolutionary tribunal, notorious for his dissolute life and impudence in drawing up articles of impeachment without cause, is in the habit of receiving money from the persons accused. Madam Rochechouart paid him eighty thousand livres [£.3333] for Mony the emigrant. Fouqier-Tainville pocketed the sum; Mony was executed; and madam Rochechouart was given to understand that, if she said a word about the matter, she would be instantly immured never more to behold the face of day. Is it possible? the reader will exclaim.—Well! hear more. In the hands of a late president of the department of the Eure [Page 185] two letters exist, from Lacroix the deputy, formerly judge-fiscal of Anet. One contains an engagement for five hundred thousand livers [£.20833], to be applied to the purchase of national domains: the other is to with­draw the engagement, and stop the purchase, in conse­quence of the decree which obliges members of the con­vention to account for any increase of their fortune since the revolution. But this decree has been laid asleep since the troublesome twenty-two were expelled; and Lacroix possesses estates as well as Danton, after having pillaged in the same manner.

A DUTCHMAN went lately to the commune of Paris, for a passport to enable him to return to his own coun­try. It was refused. The Dutchman made no com­plaint; but, seeing which way the wind blew, took out his pocket-book, and laid an assignat of a hundred crowns upon the desk. The language was well understood, and he received his passport.

HERE Marat will be quoted to me, in whose house, at his decease, according to the public papers, no more than a single assignat of twenty-five sols [1s. 0d. ½] was found. What edifying poverty! Let us, however, cast an eye on his lodgings: it is a lady who is going to describe them. Her husband, a member of the revolutionary tribunal, is confined in the prison of La Force, for differ­ing in opinion from the ruling powers; and she has been sent to St. Pélagie, as a measure of safety, it is said; but probably because the active solicitations of this active lit­tle woman from the south were dreaded. She is a native of Toulouse, and possesses all the vivacity of the ardent cli­mate under which she first drew breath. Being strongly [Page 186] attached to a handsome cousin, she was rendered quite disconsolate by his apprehension, which took place a few months ago. She had given herself much pains to no purpose, and knew not to whom to apply, when she thought of trying the effect of a visit to Marat. She asked to speak to him, and was told he was not at home: but he heard a female voice, and came out of his own accord. He had boots on, without stockings, an old pair of leather breeches, and a white silk waistcoat. His dirty shirt, open at the bosom, exhibited his skin of yellow hue; while his long and dirty nails displayed themselves at his fingers end, and his horrid face accord perfectly with his sordid dress. He took the lady by the hand; led her into a parlour newly sitted up, furnished with blue and white damask, and decorated with silk curtains elegantly drawn up in festcons, with a splendid chande­lier, and with handsome porcelain jars filled with natural flowers, then scarce, and of high price; sat down by her side on a voluptuous sopha; listened to her tale; ex­pressed his concern; kissed her hand; squeezed her knees a little; and promised her, that her cousin should be enlarged.—'I would have let him go any length he liked,' said the little woman, gaily, in her southern ac­cent, 'upon condition of his restoring me my cousin—I should only have been obliged to bathe myself afterwards.' That very evening Marat went to the committee, and her cousin left the Abbey on the following day. But ere four and twenty hours had passed, the friend of the people wrote to the husband, sending him a person who stood in need of a certain favour, which it would not have been safe to refuse.

[Page 187]M. DUMAS, a natural philosopher by profession, or rather a pedant by trade, waited upon the famous committee of public safety, some time in the month of June, in order to make some very important proposals. He offered to reconnoitre the army of the rebels in la Vendée, and to give an exact account of its situation and numbers; circumstances concerning which we have re­mained in the utmost ignorance, even since the com­mencement of the war. M. Dumas undertook to inspect the whole most accurately, by taking a bird's eye view of it from a balloon.—'Why, indeed, it is an ingenious thought,' said some of the profound politicians of the committee.—'Yes,' replied citizen Dumas: 'and it may be put into immediate execution. I know of a bal­loon, which is lying, with all its appendages, in the hotel of an emigrant; so that the nation need not be at the expence of the purchase.'—Bravo! He then pro­ceeded to give the necessary information, which was re­ceived with transport, and officially forwarded to the minister of the home department, that he might send for the balloon without delay. The minister's people took the field, and made a forced march to the emigrant's ho­tel. It was an inn, and the apartment he had occupied one little room, where not a rag remained. A report was made in consequence; the committee was distressed be­yond measure; Dumas was clamorous; and a fresh injunction was laid upon the minister, requiring him to make stricter search after the balloon. On this the mi­nister held a consultation with his principal clerk, and decisive measures were resolved upon. A letter was writ­ten to the department; the department turned the busi­ness [Page 188] over to the municipality; and the municipality refer­red it to the administrators of police. Here the matter ended with the public functionaries; and I laughed hear­tily at the Abbey with Champagneux, who wrote the ministerial letter, at the charlatanry of the brazen-faced Dumas, the stupidity of the committee, the complaisance of the minister, and the whole of this long litany of follies; but I met with the sequel of the story at St. Pélagie.

CITIZEN Jubert, one of the administrators of the police, and one also of those who signed the contradictory or­ders for apprehending and setting me at liberty, a true section orator, of great corpulence, thundering voice, awkward gait, and forbidding countenance, found out a certain mademoiselle Lallement, a fine tall girl of fifteen, kept by St. Croix, an emigrant officer, who was a depen­dent if I recollect aright, of Philip d'Orleans. She was taken up, and sent to St. Pélagie, and in her apartment were found the cover of a balloon, the net, and every thing else belonging to it. This was the very prize de­scribed by Dumas; but the committee had forgotten the expedient; the philosopher had lost all hopes of mak­ing himself of consequence: the minister cared little about the result of the orders he had given; and the ad­ministrators had no objection to take possession of a thing that was now become valuable.

THE youthful Lallement's charms made an impression on the heart of Jubert, who had laid his hands upon several of her effects, seized Sainte-Croix's portrait, and thought her a fool for pretending to be faithful to her keeper. At length imagining, that kindness would ren­der her more tractable, he procured an order for her [Page 189] enlargement, came to fetch her in a carriage, conducted her to her lodgings, ordered a dinner, restored, with great reluctance, the portrait of Sainte-Croix, of which he had put out the eyes, and then laid claim to his re­ward. The young girl laughed at his pretensions, as well as at his way of making love, shewed him the door, and repaired to the police office, to upbraid him publicly with his attempts, and claim the other effects that had been taken away. The adventure made some noise; but Jubert's colleagues are not likely to condemn it; and it passed along with a multitude of others, still more dis­gusting or atrocious, of which the legislators of the 2d of June daily set the example to all the constituted au­thorities.

TO-D [...] a misunderstanding has broken out between the tyra [...] Hebert, dissatisfied at not being appointed minister, [...] [...]ather Duchesne* upon the ringleaders of the faction, falls upon the fortune-making patriots, names Lacroix, and is paving the way for an attack upon Danton. Danton, more villainous than any of them, but more circumspect, endeavouring to keep some measure in the conduct of public affairs, is already styled a moderé: the committee of public safety abhors his society; the jealous Robespierre holds forth against him; and the cordeliers and jacobins are on the point of coming to a rupture. What a noble spectacle is prepar­ing for us miserable victims: the tygers are about to worry one another; and perhaps will forget us, unless agonizing rage impel them to exterminate us all before their own defeat.

[Page 190]CHABOT is desirous of transporting all suspected per­sons: of course the wives of Pétion and Roland, confin­ed under that appellation, are threatened with a voyage to Cayenne. What a charming destination!

DO not my ears deceive me?—What! that wretched woman who lived unknown in the very heart of the country, and who came to Paris for the sole purpose of soliciting her daughter's enlargement, is condemned to die?—How villainous is such a condemnation!

PETION's proscription as a royalist, was one of the won­ders of the last revolution. His wife, whom the shafts of calumny had never reached, had retired to Fécamp, among her own relations, there to wait in silence and re­tirement for happier days; she was going to set off for the sea-side, that her son, a fine boy of ten years of age, and the sole fruit of her marriage, might have the benefit of a salt-water bath. She was taken up and imprisoned with her child; and both have since been brought to Paris, and confined at St. Pélagie. Daily examples teach the wives of the proscribed to expect persecution; and Pétion's has sufficient strength of mind to support her own misfortunes without murmuring; but the situa­tion of her son afflicts her, as equally detrimental to his health and education. She was desirous of trying the effect of solicitations; but how could she render them interesting? How was audience to be obtained?—She wrote to her mother, who lived at Chartres, requesting her to urge her prayer in such a way as became the feel­ings of the maternal mind. Her mother came; repaired [Page 191] to the bar of the convention; presented her petition with a flood of tears; was referred to the committee; and waited upon all the members who composed it. Some of them seemed to give her hope, but from the greater number she experienced a very unfavourable reception. The inutility of her solicitations becoming evident, she resolved to depart, and repaired to her section, to get her passport signed. There she was denounced and taken into custody. She was then carried before the mayor: a man who resided in the hotel where she had taken up her abode, swore to her having said that the French stood in need of a king: two hired witnesses, natives of Liege, and deserters, gave the like testimony; she was con­demned to lose her head, and is now on her way to the scaffold.

I SAW the unfortunate woman several times, when she came to keep her daughter company. Madam Le­fevre was in her fifty-seventh year: she had been hand­some, and her features still retained some traces of their former regularity: she had also preserved an easy shape, and a beautiful head of hair. As the desire of pleasing had occupied the greater part of her life, but had not led her to acquire any accomplishment, there was nothing about her, but the remains of her former pretensions, and no small share of self-love, which was perceptible on every occasion. She had no political opinion: indeed she was incapable of forming one, for she could not reason two minutes together on any sub­ject whatever. It is possible, that, in a conversation excited by ill-designing people, she may have said, that she did not care whether there was a king or not, provided there were but peace; or words of a like [Page 192] kind may have been laid hold of, in order to bring her to trial. But who does not perceive in this false and atro­cious application of the law, an intention to mislead the people, by making them suppose the family of Pétion royalists, and the persecution it suffers consequently just?

DREADFUL days of the reign of Tiberius, we not only see your horrors revived, but multiplied in proportion to the number of our tyrants and their favourites! This wretched people, whose morals are destroyed and whose instinct is perverted, thirsts after blood; and every thing except justice, is employed to satisfy its demand. I have seen in the prisons, during the four months that I have been their inhabitant, malefactors purposely for­gotten; and yet what haste is made to inflict the penalty of death on madam Lefevre, not because she has com­mitted any crime, but because she is guilty of having for her son-in-law, the worthy Pétion, whom the tyrants detest!

I CAN conceive nothing more ridiculous than the kna­vish impudence with which the advantages of a con­stitution decreed with equal zeal and rapidity are ex­tolled. But did not the very people who produced it, decree immediately after, that France was, and remained in a state of revolution? and may not the constitution be considered as abortive, since no part of it is put in force? What benefit then do we derive from it? It is a dead letter, which serves only to attest the impudence of those, who wish to make a merit of it, without car­ing whether we taste the sweets of it or no.

THE multitude who accepted it without examina­tion, merely through weakness and indolence, from the [Page 193] hope of seeing peace, which they would not take the pains to deserve, are well rewarded for their apathy. Unfortunately it is with nations and their affairs, as with individuals and their undertakings: the folly and fears of the many lead to the triumph of villainy, and to the ruin of good men. Posterity will put every one in his place; but it is in the temple of memory. Themis­tocles died nevertheless in exile, Socrates in prison, and Sylla in his bed.

THE decree, that orders the act of impeachment against Brissot to be presented to-morrow, was passed in the same sitting, in which it was proposed to shorten the forms of trial before the revolutionary court, and in which the four sections of that tribunal were organised: so that the means of proceeding to judgment are multipli­ed, sentence is enjoined to be passed more speedily, and the defence of the accused is circumscribed, at the very moment, when it is resolved to destroy Brissot, and the rest of the imprisoned deputies, that is to say, those men of talents, who might otherwise have confounded their accusers.

FOUR months have passed, without its having been possible to fabricate that act of accusation, the drawing up of which has been decreed several times over in vain. An increase of power, and the universal sway of terror, were necessary, to enable our tyrants to sacrifice the founders of liberty. But after the arbitrary impri­sonment of a fourth part of France, under the appel­lation of suspected persons, has been resolved upon; af­ter a silly people has been inspired with such a furious [Page 194] fanaticism that it demolishes Lyons, as if the second city in the republic belonged to the emperor, and as if those whom it thinks proper to call muscadines were wild beasts; after an iron sceptre, held over all France has established the reign of guilt and fear; after a law has been enacted, by virtue of which those who are accused, are bound to answer simply yes, or no, without making any speech in their defence; then indeed they may venture to send to execution those guiltless victims, whose eloquence was still dreaded, so formidable does the voice of Truth appear even to those, who are power­ful enough, to refuse it a hearing.

WHAT care is taken to stifle it! But history stands there, and holds a graver in her hand, preparing in silence to take a tardy vengeance for the fate of the imita­tors of Barnevelt and Sidney.

I AM reading a daily paper, and there I see that Robespierre accuses Roland and Brissot of having spoken ill of d'Aubigny, who stole 100,000 livres [£4167] at the Tuileries on the tenth of August, against whom a prosecution was meant to be set on foot, and whose wife in his absence brought the 100,000l. to the commune. I see that Robespierre asserts that Roland appointed Rest­out to the superintendance of the jewel-office, in order to pave the way for its being robbed; while in fact it was Pache, who upon refusing the place when offered to him by Roland, recommended Restout as a proper person to fill it. It is fact also, that the hall of the convention resounded with Roland's complaints against the commander of the national guard, for neglecting to [Page 195] post sentries at the jewel-office, notwithstanding the re­peated injunctions of the minister of the home depart­ment.

THAT Robespierre, whom once I thought an honest man, is a very atrocious being. How he lies to his own conscience! How he delights in blood!

WITHIN these solitary walls, where oppressed inno­cence has now dwelt near five months with silent re­signation, a stranger appears.—It is a physician, brought by my keepers for their own tranquillity; for to the ills of nature, as to the injustice of man, I neither can nor will oppose aught but calmness and fortitude. When he heard my name, he said he was the friend of a man, whom perhaps I did not like.—'How can you know that, and who is the person you mean?'—'Robe­spierre.'—'Robespierre! I once knew him well, and esteemed him much: I thought him a sincere and zea­lous friend of freedom.'—'Why, is he not so?'—'I am afraid that he loves power: perhaps from an idea, that he knows how to do good as well as any man, and desires it no less. I am afraid that he is very fond of revenge, and inclined to exercise it particularly upon those whom he considers as blind to his merit. I be­lieve that he is very susceptible of prejudices; that his resentment is easily excited; and that he is too ready to think every one guilty, who does not subscribe to all his opinions.—You never saw him above once or twice in your life!—I have seen him much oftener!— [Page 196] Ask him: let him lay his hand upon his heart; and you will see whether he have it in his power to say any thing to my disadvantage.'

ROBESPIERRE, if I deceive myself, I put it in your power to convince me of my error. It is to yourself that I repeat what I have said of you, and it is to your friend that I mean to deliver this letter, which my keepers will perhaps suffer to pass, for the sake of the person to whom it is addressed.

I WRITE not to intreat you, as you may well suppose. I never yet intreated any one: and most assuredly I shall not begin to do so from a prison, while writing to a man who has me in his power. Prayers become the guilty, or the slave: innocence vindicates herself, which is quite sufficient; or complains, as she has a right to do, when the object of persecution. But even complaints accord not with my disposition; I can suf­fer, and dare look any shape of misfortune in the face. Besides I know that, at the birth of republics, revolutions, which are almost inevitable, and which give too great scope to the passions of mankind, frequently expose those who serve their country best to become the victims of their own zeal, and of the delusion of their country­men. They will have a good conscience for their conso­lation, and history for their avenger.

BUT by what strange chance is a woman like me, inca­pable of any thing but wishes, exposed to those storms, which generally burst upon the heads of none but effici­ent individuals? And what is the fate that I have to expect? These are two questions, which I beg you to resolve.

[Page 197]I DEEM them of small importance either in themselves, or as far as my individual person is concerned; for what is a single emmet more or less, crushed by the foot of the elephant, in the general system of the world? But they are of infinite interest in regard to the pre­sent liberty and future happiness of my country. For if its declared enemies, and its acknowledged friends and defenders be indiscriminately confounded; if the faithful citizen and generous patriot be treated in the same man­ner as the man of a corrupt and selfish soul, or the per­fidious aristocrate; if the woman of virtue and sensibi­lity, who is proud of the freedom of her country, and, who in her humble retirement, or in any other situation, makes every possible sacrifice to its welfare, find herself associated in punishment with the vain or haughty fe­male, who curses equality; surely justice and freedom do not yet reign, and future happiness is doubtful.

I SPEAK not here of my venerable husband. A re­port ought to have been made of his accounts, when he first gave them in: instead of refusing him justice at first, in order to retain the power of accusing him, when ca­lumny should have deprived him of the public esteem. Robespierre, I defy you not to believe, that Roland is an honest man. You may be of opinion, that he does not think justly, with respect to this or that measure: but your conscience must secretly do justice to his integrity and civism: he needs to be seen little, to be thoroughly known; his book is always open, and is intelligible to every one. He has the ruggedness of virtue, as Cato had its asperity; and has made by the harshness of his man­ner as many enemies as by his inflexible equity: but [Page 198] these inequalities of surface disappear at a distance, and the great qualities of the public man will remain for ever. It has been reported, that he fanned the flames of civil war at Lyons: and this pretext has been brought forward as a reason for my apprehension! The supposi­tion was not more just than the consequence. Disgusted with public affairs, irritated by persecution, tired of the world, fatigued by his toils, and bending beneath the weight of years, what could he do but conceal his sor­rows in an obscure retirement, and save the unworthy age in which he lives from the commission of a crime?

HE has corrupted the public mind, and I am his accomplice!—This is the most curious of all reproaches, of all imputations the most absurd. You cannot wish me, Robespierre, to take the trouble of refuting them here: the task would be too easy, especially as you can­not be one of the well meaning people, who believe a story because it is in print, or because they have heard it related. My pretended implication in the guilt would be truly laughable, were not the whole rendered atrocious by the misty medium through which it is presented to the people, who, being able to perceive nothing distinctly, figure to their imagination a thousand monstrous forms. Great must be the inclination to injure me of those, who include me in this malicious and premeditated manner, in an accusation strongly resembling the charge of high treason, so often brought forward under the reign of Tiberius, against every one who was destined to destruc­tion, though guilty of no crime. Whence, then, does this animosity arise? It is what I cannot conceive: I, who [Page 199] never injured any one, and who am even incapable of wishing evil in return for the injuries I receive.

BROUGHT up in retirement; devoted from my youth to those serious studies, which have given some degree of energy to my mind; blest with a taste for simple plea­sures which no change of circumstances has been able to pervert; an enthusiastic admirer of the revolution, and giving way to the energy of the generous sentiments it inspires; kept a stranger to public affairs by prin­ciple as well as by my sex, but conversing about them with warmth, because the public weal takes the lead of all other concerns as soon as it exists; I regarded the first calumnies invented against me as contemptible follies; I deemed them the necessary tribute levied by envy upon a situation, which the vulgar had still the imbecility to consider as exalted, and to which I would have preferred the peaceful state, in which I had spent so many happy days.

THESE calumnies, however, have increased with effron­tery proportionate to my calmness and security: I have been dragged to prison, and have remained there near five months; torn from the embraces of my helpless daughter, who can no longer recline her head on that bosom whence she drew her first nourishment; far re­moved from every thing dear to me; cut off from all communication with the world; the butt of all the ran­corous abuse of a deluded populace, who believe that my death would be conducive to their happiness; hear­ing the guards, who watch under my grated window, diverting themselves with the idea of my punishment; and reading the offensive reproaches cast upon me by [Page 200] writers, who never saw my face, any more than the other persons of whose hatred I am the object.

I HAVE wearied no one with my remonstrances; I have hoped for justice, and an end to prejudice, from the hand of time; wanting many things, I have asked for nothing: I have made up my mind to misfortune, proud of trying my strength with her, and with tramp­ling her under my feet. My necessities becoming ur­gent, and afraid of bringing trouble upon those to whom I might have addressed myself, I wished to sell the empty bottles in my cellar, which had not been sealed [...]p, be­cause it contained nothing of greater value. Immediately the whole town was in an uproar! The house was sur­rounded; the proprietor was taken into custody; the guards were doubled; and perhaps I have reason to fear for the liberty of a poor servant, who is guilty of no crime but that of having served me for the last thirteen years with affection, because I took care to render her life comfortable. So much does the people, misled with regard to me, and deluded by harangues against conspi­rators, think me deserving of that name.

IT is not, Robespierre, to excite your compassion, which I am above asking, and which I should perhaps deem an insult, that I present you with a picture far less melancholly than the truth; it is for your instruction.

FORTUNE is fickle; and popular favour is not less liable to change. Contemplate the fate of those, who have agitated, pleased, or governed the people, from Viscellinus to Caesar, and from Hippo, the harangue-maker of Syracuse, to our Parisian orators. Justice and truth alone remain, and are a consolation in every [Page 201] misfortune, even in the hour of death itself; while no­thing can afford a shelter from strokes of conscience and remorse. Marius and Sylla proscribed thousands of knights, a great number of senators, and a multitude of wretched men. But could they stifle the voice of history, which has devoted their memories to execra­tion? or was content an inmate of their minds?

WHATEVER be the fate reserved for me, I will find courage to undergo it in a manner worthy of myself; or to anticipate the stroke, as may suit me best. After the honours of persecution, do those of martyrdom await me? am I destined to languish in protracted cap­tivity, exposed to the first catastrophe, that it may be judged requisite to bring about? or am I to be senten­ced to transportation as it is called, in order to experi­ence, when a few leagues out at sea, that trifling negli­gence on the part of the captain, which rids him of the trouble of his living cargo, and enriches the waves? Speak! it is something to know our fate, and a soul like mine is capable of looking it in the face.

IF you wish to be just, and attend to what I write, my letter will not be useless to you, and in that case it may possibly be of service to my country. But be it as it may, Robespierre, I know, and you cannot help feeling, that a person, who has known me, cannot persecute me without remorse.

ROLAND, formerly Phlipon.
[Page 202]

NOTE. The idea of this letter, the care of compos­ing, and the intention of sending it, held their place in my mind for four-and-twenty hours: but what effect can my reflections have on a man, who sacrifices col­leagues, of whose integrity he is well assured?

IF my letter were to do no service, it would be ill-timed. It would only embroil me to no purpose with a tyrant, who may sacrifice, but cannot debase me It shall not go.

END OF THE FIRST PART.
[Page]

ROLAND's FIRST ADMINISTRATION.

HOW came Louis XVI. to select for the adminis­tration of public affairs a man like Roland, to whom, as an austere philosopher, and a laborious student, re­tirement was doubly dear? This will be a question with many people, and it would be one with me, were I any other than what I am. I am going to answer it by facts.

RESIDENT at Lyons, during the winter, and belong­ing to the scientific and literary academies of that city, Roland was employed by the agricultural society to draw up its memoirs for the information of the States Ge­neral. His principles, and his turn of mind, made him naturally look forward with pleasure to a revolution which promised the reform of so many abuses. The publicity of these sentiments and his well known talents procured him his admission into the electoral body upon the first formation of the commune, and his subsequent investment with the administration of the finances of the city, which was deeply involved in debt. Being sent as a deputy extraordinary to the constituent assembly, he connected himself at Paris with several of its members, and with some of the persons who devoted themselves to the study of public affairs. He returned home, how­ever, when the suppression of his place of inspector, by [Page 2] changing his destiny, obliged him to reflect on the course it would become him in future to pursue. The question was, whether he should retire altogether to his estate in the country, and employ himself in its cultiva­tion; or whether, continuing his literary labours, he should make a journey to Paris, with the double view of collecting materials for that purpose, and of enforcing his claims to a pension, as a reward for thirty years ser­vice in his administrative employ. The latter measure was adopted, because it would not prevent his recurring to the other, whenever he should deem it advisable so to do. We returned, then, to Paris on the 15th of De­cember, 1791; but the affairs of the nation at large did not permit us to hope, that the legislative assembly, which had just met, would be soon at leisure to attend to the concerns of a private individual. Roland, inti­mate with Brissot, became acquainted with several of his colleagues in the legislative body; and not unfrequently went to the society of Jacobins, with old friends settled at Paris, who like him were delighted with a revolution which they esteemed friendly to liberty, who thought that the society had already been useful, and might still help to support a good cause.

ROLAND, content with being a peaceful auditor, never ascended the tribune to speak. He was known however, not indeed to the illiterate, who had as yet gained no ascendance, but to many others; and was appointed one of the committee of correspondence. This committee, of which the functions are indicated by the name, was composed of a considerable number of members, but [Page 3] only a few were actively employed. Roland often came home with a considerable packet of letters to answer: for though the business was divided into departments, and particular ones assigned to particular members, it became nevertheless a matter of necessity for the more diligent to take upon themselves the duty of the rest, that no part of the correspondence might remain in ar­rears.—I read those letters, and often undertook to an­swer them, epistolary writing having ever appeared to me singularly easy and agreeable, because it adapts itself to every subject, and to every style alike, giving to dis­cussion the most pleasing form, and to reason all the scope it can desire.—I remarked in most of the letters from the departments, a style exalted and emphatical, sentiments tinctured with bombast, and consequently with affecta­tion, and in general a desire of the public good, or the ambition of appearing an ardent patriot. I considered that the parent society might exert its influence in dis­seminating good principles, taking care always to confine itself to the instruction of the people, and to the commu­nication of sentiments calculated to strengthen the social tye, and consequently to inspire the true love of our country, which ought to be only that of human kind, carried to the highest pitch in regard to those who live under the same laws with ourselves, and exalted by a dis­regard of self-interest in the unfrequent, but sometimes urgent, cases, which require the greatest sacrifices. Per­suaded that a revolution is no better than a terrible, and destructive storm, if the improvement of the public mind do not keep pace with the progression of events; and [Page 4] sensible of the good that might be done by taking hold of men's imaginations, and giving them an impulsion towards virtue, I employed myself with pleasure in the correspondence. The committee gave Roland credit for his industry; nor indeed was he idle; but the work of two expeditious persons must necessarily have been great in the eyes of those, to whom the labours of either would have appeared considerable.

A FEW members of the assembly used to meet fre­quently in private, at a house in the Place Vendôme, where one of them lodged, and where a worthy and opulent woman had it in her power, without putting her­self to inconvenience, to lend them an apartment, of which they were to make use, even in her absence. Roland, who was esteemed for his good sense and in­tegrity, was invited to join them; but he seldom went, on account of the distance. As to me, I lived at home according to custom; I was not in health, and kept little company.

THE situation of affairs, and the discontent of the public mind, alarmed the court. The ministers soon became the objects of public animadversion, and indeed their whole proceeding only tended to undermine a con­stitution which the king had sworn to contrary to his inclination, and which he did not mean to maintain. The court, uneasy and perplexed, in the midst of the frequent changes and agitation of the ministry, knew not on whom to fix its choice. But there were people who declared openly, that if Louis XVI. were sincere, he would take men of undoubted patriotism for his [Page 5] agents. At length, impelled by weakness or by fear, the court came to a decision, but it was with the hope of corrupting, or if that hope failed, with the inten­tion of dismissing, the ministers it should appoint. The court then shewed itself inclined to make choice among those called patriots; and at that time the term had not been abused. How was this brought about? I never knew, nor did I ever enquire, because it appeared to me, that in that, as in all other cases, the idea was first started by some few individuals, propagated by others, and at last taken up and acted upon by people in power. By reflecting minds it was considered as im­portant, to direct the attention of the court towards men of abilities, and of respectable character; for it was pos­sible that it might take a malicious pleasure in selecting hot-headed Jacobins, whose extravagance might justify complaint, and serve to bring patriotism into contempt. I know not who first mentioned Roland, in the com­mittee at the Place Vendôme, as one of those who ought not to be overlooked. The name of Roland was necessarily associated with the idea of a well informed man, who had written upon the subject of administration, who was not destitute of experience in that line, who was besides in possession of a fair reputation, and whose age, manners, and decided character, joined to the prin­ciples he had openly professed, even before the revolu­tion, bespoke him a worthy partizan of liberty, in every point of view.—The king himself was no stranger to the above considerations, or at least to the facts upon which they were founded, as I shall hereafter have occasion to [Page 6] shew. Those ideas arose so naturally out of the circum­stances of the moment, that they were communicated to us only three days before the formation of the new ministry.—Brissot called upon me one evening when I was alone, and informed me of the probability of Ro­land's elevation. I smiled, and asked him the meaning of his pleasantry. But he assured me it was no joke, related to me the particulars I have just mentioned, and added, that he was come to know whether Roland would take upon him such a task. I promised to consult him, and make known his resolution on the following day. Roland was as much astonished at the event as myself; but his natural activity rendered him by no means averse to a multiplicity of business, and be said to me with a smile, he had always seen people in power so miserably deficient, that he had never ceased to wonder how the public concerns could go forward at all; and that consequently the thing in itself gave him no alarm. The circumstances of the times were indeed critical, on account of the interests of the court, and the uncertainty of the king's intentions; but to a man attached to his duty, and caring little for the loss of his place while fulfilling its duties, the risk of acceptance was not great. Besides, a zealous man who had a right to some confi­dence in his talents, could not be insensible to the hope of serving his country. Roland then decided in the affirma­tive, and made known his intentions to Brissot. The fol­lowing day, the latter accompanied Dumouriez, who came to Roland's house at eleven o'clock at night, after the breaking up of the council, to inform him, in conse­quence [Page 7] of orders, of which he was the bearer, that the king had just chosen him minister for the home depart­ment. Dumouriez, a minister of recent date, spoke of the king's sincere determination to support the constitu­tion, and of his hope of seeing the machine set to work as soon as the same spirit should pervade the whole coun­cil, testifying at the same time to Roland his particular satisfaction at seeing a virtuous and enlightened patriot like him, called upon to take a share in the government.

BRISSOT observed, that in the present situation of af­fairs, the business of the home department was the most delicate, and the most laborious; and that the minds of the friends of liberty would be at ease on seeing it en­trusted to hands so steady and so pure. The conversation passed lightly over these matters, and an hour of the next day was appointed for Roland to be presented to the king, and to take his oath and his seat in the council. I found in Dumouriez the deliberate air of a soldier, the address of a skilful courtier, and the conversation of a man of wit, but not the smallest trace of sincerity or truth.—On comparing this man with his new colleague, whose frankness and austerity sometimes bordered upon rudeness, I asked myself if it were possible for beings so dissimilar to act long in concert?—'There goes a man,' said Roland, on their taking leave, 'who discovers a great deal of patriotism, and appears to possess abilities.' —'Yes,' said I, 'and against whom you will do well to be on your guard; for I believe him capable of worming you out of place as soon as any man, if you do not steer a course to please him.'—'We shall see,' said Roland.

[Page 8]THE first time that Roland appeared at court with his usual philosophic dress, adopted long since for the sake of convenience, a few scattered hairs combed over his venerable forehead, a round hat, and strings in his shoes, all the court lackeys, who attached the utmost importance to that etiquette on which their existence de­pended, were scandalized, and in a manner terrified at the sight.—One of them stepping up to Dumouriez with horror pictured in his countenance, whispered with a look that indicated consternation, Monsieur *, point de boucles a ses souliers. Dumouriez, ready at repartee, and assuming a tragi-comic tone, cried out, Monsieur! tout est perdu! The saying was soon put in circulation, and provoked a laugh from those who were least inclined to be merry.

LOUIS XVI. behaved to his new ministers with the greatest appearance of simplicity and good nature. This man was not precisely what he was represented to be by those who took a pleasure in vilifying him: he was neither the brutish blockhead, who was held up to the contempt of the people: nor was he the worthy and kind creature, whom his friends extolled to the skies. —Nature had endowed him with ordinary faculties, which would have served him well in an obscure station, but he was depraved by his princely education, and ruined by his mediocrity in difficult times, when his sal­vation could only be effected by the union of genius and virtue. A common understanding, educated for [Page 9] the throne, and taught dissimulation from the earliest in­fancy, has a great advantage in its commerce with man­kind. The art of shewing to each person only what it is proper for him to see, is in him no more than a ha­bit, the practice of which gives him the appearance of ability; but a man must be born an idiot indeed to appear a fool in such a situation. Louis XVI. pos­sessed besides an excellent memory, and an active turn of mind; was never idle, and read a great deal. He had also a ready recollection of the various treaties ex­isting between France and the neighbouring nations, was well read in history, and was the best geographer in the kingdom. His knowledge of the names, and his application of them to the faces, of all the persons about the court to whom they belonged, as well as his ac­quaintance with the anecdotes peculiar to each, had been extended to all the individuals who had distinguished themselves in any manner during the revolution; so that it was impossible to present to him a candidate for any place, concerning whom he had not formed an opi­nion, founded on particular facts. But Louis XVI. without elevation of soul, energy of mind, or firmness of temper, had suffered his views to be still further contracted, and his sentiments to be twisted, if I may use the expression, by religious prejudices, and jesuiti­cal principles. Elevated ideas of religion, a belief in God, and the hope of immortality, accord well with philosophy, and fix it upon a broader basis, at the same time that they compose the best ornaments of the superstructure. Woe to the legislators who despise [Page 10] these powerful means of inspiring political virtue, and of preserving the morals of the people! Even if they were illusions yet unborn, it would be necessary to create and foster them for the consolation of mankind. But the religion of our priests presents nothing but ob­jects of puerile fear, and miserable mummeries, to sup­ply the place of good actions; and sanctifies be­sides all the maxims of despotism which the autho­rity of the church call in to its aid. Louis XVI. was afraid of hell, and excommunication: with such weakness as this it was impossible not to make a miser­able king. Had he been born two centuries before, and had his wife been a rational woman, he would have made no more noise in the world, than many other princes of the Capetian line, who have "fretted their hour upon the stage," without doing much good or much harm.—But raised to the throne when the profligacy of Louis XV's court was at the highest, and the disorder of the finances extreme, he was led away by a giddy woman, who joined to Austrian insolence the persumption of youth and high birth, an inordi­nate love of pleasure, and all the thoughtlessness of a light mind; and who was herself seduced by the vices of an Asiatic court, for which she had been but too well pre­pared by the example of her mother.—Louis XVI, too weak to hold the reins of a government that was running to destruction, hastened their common ruin by innumerable faults. Necker, who always mixed up pa­thos in his politics as he did in his style, was a man of moderate abilities, of whom the public entertained a [Page 11] good opinion, because he had a very high opinion of himself, and proclaimed it without reserve; but void of all political foresight, a kind of outrageous finan­cier, who could calculate nothing but the contents of a purse, and who spoke forever of his character with­out rhime or reason, as women of gallantry do of their virtue; Necker was a bad pilot for France, when such a storm was gathering round the horrizon. France was in a manner destitute of men; their scarcity has been tru­ly surprising in this revolution, in which hardly any thing but pigmies have appeared. I do not mean that there was any want of wit, of knowledge, of learn­ing, of accomplishments, or of philosophy. These in­gredients, on the contrary, were never so common: it was like the last glimmering of an expiring taper; but as to that energy of soul which J. J. Rousseau has so well defined by calling it the first attribute of a hero, supported by that solidity of judgment which knows how to set a true value upon every thing, and by those extensive views which look into futurity, constituting together the character of a great man, they were sought for every where, and were scarcely any where to be found.

LOUIS XVI. constantly fluctuating between the fear of irritating his subjects, and the inclination of keeping them in awe, while incapable of governing them, con­vened the states general instead of retrenching his ex­pences, and introducing order into his court. After having himself sowed the seeds, and provided the means of innovation, he attempted to prevent it by the affec­tation [Page 12] of a power, against which he had established a principle of counteraction, and by so doing only taught his people to resist. Nothing remained for him but to sacrifice one portion of his authority with a good grace, in order to preserve in the other the means of re­covering the whole; but for want of knowing how to go about it, he turned his attention to petty intrigues, the only kind familiar to the persons chosen by himself, or favoured by the queen. He had however reserved in the constitution sufficient means of power and of hap­piness, had he known how to be content; so that, wanting as he was in abilities to prevent its establishment, he might still have been saved by the rectitude of his conduct, if after having accepted it, he had sincerely en­deavoured to promote its execution. But always protest­ing, on one hand, his intention to support what he was undermining on the other, the obliquity of his pro­ceedings, and the fallacy of his conduct, began by awakening distrust, and ended by exciting indignation.

As soon as he had appointed patriotic ministers, he made it his sole study to inspire them with confidence; and so well did he succeed, that during the first three weeks, Roland and Claviere were enchanted with the good intentions of the king. They dreamt of nothing but a better order of things, and flattered themselves that the revolution was at an end. 'Good heaven!' I used to say, 'I never see you set off for the council with that wonderful confidence, but it seems to me that you are about to commit some egregious act of folly.' 'I assure you,' would Claviere answer, 'the king is per­fectly [Page 13] sensible, that his interest is connected with the observance of the new laws: he reasons too pertinently on the subject not to be convinced of it.' 'Ma f [...]i,' added Roland, 'if he be not an honest man, he is the most arrant knave in the kingdom: it is impossible for dissimulation to be carried to so great a length.' As to me, I always replied, I had no faith in that love for the constitution professed by a man who had been brought up in the prejudices of despo­tism, and in the habits of enjoying it, and whose re­cent conduct proved him wanting both in genius and virtue.—My great argument was the flight to Varennes.

THE sittings of the council were held in a manner that might pass for descent, in comparison of what they afterwards became; but with puerility, if regard be had to the important matters which called for discussion. Each of the ministers who had bons * to be signed, or business of a similar nature, regulated by the law, pecu­liar to his department, and concerning which there was no occasion to deliberate, waited upon the king, on the day appointed, previously to the meeting of the coun­cil, to transact those particular and subordinate affairs. They all repaired afterwards to the council chamber; and there the proclamations that related to the subjects of discussion were taken out of the port-folio. The minister of justice next presented the decrees for the royal assent; and then the council proceeded, or ought to have proceeded, to deliberate upon the operations of government, the state of affairs at home and abroad, [Page 14] the question of peace and war, &c. As to proclama­tions adapted to existing circumstances, it was only ne­cessary to examine the decree, and the propriety of its application, which was readily done. All this time the king suffered his ministers to confer, while he read the ga­zette, or the English newspapers in the original language, or else wrote a few letters. The sanctioning of decrees obtained more of his attention: he seldom gave his con­sent easily; and never without refusal, always declining to accede to the first request, and postponing the matter to the next meeting, when he came with his opinion ready form­ed, though appearing to ground it upon the arguments brought forward in the debate. As to great political affairs he often eluded their investigation, by shifting the conver­sation to general topics, or to subjects suited to each par­ticular person. If war were the question, he would talk of travelling; if diplomatic concerns were upon the carpet, he would advert to the manners, or inquire into the local peculiarities of the country; or if the state of af­fairs at home were in discussion, he would dwell upon some trifling detail of economy or agriculture. Roland he would question about his works, Dumouriez con­cerning anecdotes, and so on: the council-chamber was converted into a coffee-room, where the governors of the empire amused themselves with idle chat: no mi­nutes were taken of the proceedings; there was no se­cretary to keep them; nor was any thing done in a sitting of three hours except signing a few papers. Such was the farce that was acted three times a week. —'Why it is pitiable!' cried I out of all patience, [Page 15] when on Roland's return, I inquired what had passed— 'You are all in good humour, because you experience no contradiction, and are treated with civility. You seem indeed to do whatever you please in your several departments; but I am sadly afraid that you are duped —'the public business however is not at a stand'— 'no, but much time is lost; for in the torrent of affairs that overwhelms you, I would rather see you employ three hours in solitary meditation on the great interests of the state, than spend them in idle conversation.' In the mean time the enemy were making preparations, and it had become absolutely necessary to declare war; a measure which was the subject of an animated discus­sion, and which the king did not seem to take with­out extreme repugnance. He had long delayed the decision; and appeared only to yield to the well-known opinion of the majority of the assembly, and to the unanimous voice of the council. Soon after, the con­tinuation or the multiplicity of religious troubles ren­dered those coercive measures indispensable, which the minister of the interior had long solicited in vain, while the threatening, and formidable attitude of the foreign armies inspired the minister of war with the idea of a regulation, which the convention adopted with enthusi­asm, and deecreed without delay.

IT is true that these two decrees, one for the formation of a camp of twenty thousand men near Paris, the other concerning the priests, were altogether decisive. The court perceived that they would overturn its secret treachery, the partial revolts fomented by fanaticism, [Page 16] and the progress of the enemy, which it savoured. The king was too firmly resolved to refuse his assent, to be in any haste to confess his determination, and devised various pretences by means of which he eluded the question for more than a fortnight. The discussion of this matter was several times renewed. Roland and Servan were urgent in their representations, because each of them felt the importance and necessity of the law that regarded his par­ticular department; the general advantage was evident to all, and the six ministers in this respect were all of the same opinion. In the mean time Dumouriez, whose loose conversation the king encouraged, and whose manners did not render him unfit for the meridian of a court, was sent for several times to the queen. He had a little affront to revenge, and wished to get rid of colleagues, whose austerity accorded ill with his gay turn of mind: hence he was induced to enter into agreements of which the effect was soon perceived.

As to me, I felt a kind of agitation difficult to de­scribe: delighted with the revolution; persuaded that, with all its faults, it was necessary to enforce the constitu­tion; and ardently desiring to see my country prosper, the lowering aspect of public affairs gave me a moral fever, which raged without intermission. The king's de­lays demonstrated his duplicity; and Roland had no lon­ger any doubt upon the subject: there remained then but one resolution for an honest minister to take, and that was to go out of office, in case Louis XVI. should obstinately refuse to take the measures necessary for the salvation of the state.

[Page 17]THAT step, unattended by any other, might perhaps have satisfied the conscience of a timid man; but for a zealous citizen, it is not enough to renounce a post in which good is no longer to be done; it behoves him to say so with energy, that he may throw light upon the public calamities, and render his resignation bene­ficial to his country.—Roland and I had long lamented the weakness of his colleagues. The tardiness of the king had suggested the idea, that it might be of great use to address a letter to him from the ministers collectively, setting forth the reasons which had already been given in the council, but which, when expressed upon paper, and signed by them all, with the offer of their resignation in case his majesty should not think proper to listen to their representations, might either force him to compliance, or expose him to the eyes of all France. I drew up the letter, after having agreed upon the fundamental points with Roland, and Roland made the proposal to his colleagues.—All ap­proved of the idea, but most of them differed as to the execution. Claviere objected to some phrase or other; Duranthon was inclined to temporize; and Lacoste was in no haste to subscribe his name. As such a measure should be the effect of a first glance and of a lively sense of its propriety, the failure of our attempt was a hint not to repeat it. It became then necessary to act in an insualted character, and since the council had not spirit enough to stand forth together. it behoved the man who set events at a defiance to take upon himself a task which the whole body should have fulfilled: the question was no longer to resign, but to deserve to be [Page 18] dismissed—to say, do thus or we will retire; but to assert that all was lost unless a proper line of conduct were pursued.

I COMPOSED the famous letter. Here I must digress for a moment to clear up the doubts, and to fix the opinion of a number of persons, of whom the greater part only allow me a little merit, that they may deny it to my husband, while many others suppose me to have had a kind of influence in public affairs entirely discor­dant with my turn of mind. Studious habits and a taste for literature made me participate in his labours, as long as he remained a private individual—I wrote with him as I ate with him, because one was almost as natural to me as the other, and because my existence being de­voted to his happiness, I applied myself to those things which gave him the greatest pleasure. Roland wrote treatises on the arts; I did the same, although the sub­ject was tedious to me. He was fond of erudition; I helped him to pursue his critical researches. Did he wish by way of recreation, to compose an essay for some academy? we sat down to write in concert, or else separately, that we might afterwards compare our pro­ductions, choose the best, or compress them into one. If he had written homilies, I should have written homi­lies also. When he became minister I did not interfere with his administration; but if a circular letter, a set of instructions, or an important state paper, were wanting, we talked the matter over with our usual freedom, and impressed with his ideas, and pregnant with my own▪ I took up the pen, which I had more leisure to conduct than he had.

[Page 19]OUR principles and our turn of mind being the same, we came to a final agreement as to the form, and my husband ran no risk in passing through my hands. I could advance nothing warranted by justice or reason, which he was not capable of realizing, or supporting by his energy and conduct; but my language expressed more strongly than his words, what he had done or what he promised to do. Roland without me would not have been a worse minister; his activity, and his knowledge, as well as his probity, were all his own; but with me he attracted more attention, because I in­fused into his writings that mixture of spirit and of soft­ness, of authoritative reason, and of seducing sentiment, which are perhaps only to be found in a woman en­dowed with a clear head and a feeling heart. I com­posed with delight such pieces as I deemed likely to be of use, and felt greater pleasure in so doing than if I had been known as the author. I am avaricious of happiness: with me it consists in the good I do: I do not even stand in need of glory; nor can I find any part in this world that suits me, but that of Providence. I al­low the malicious to look upon this confession as a piece of impertinence which it must somewhat resemble; those who know me however will see nothing in it but what is sincere, like myself.

I RETURN to the letter, which was sketched with a stroke of the pen, as was nearly the case with every thing I did of the kind; for to feel the necessity and propriety of a thing, to conceive its good effect, to desire to produce it, and to cast into the mould the [Page 20] object from which that effect was to result, were to me but one and the same operation. While we were reading over this letter together, who should be pre­sent in my husband's closet, but that very Pache, who, before the expiration of the year, calumniated Roland, and now persecutes us, as the enemies of li­berty.—''Tis a very bold step,' said the hypocrite, whom I took for a sage.—'Very bold! without doubt, but just and necessary; what signifies any thing else?'— Roland repaired to the council, on the 10th of June, with the letter in his pocket, and with the design of first reading it aloud to his colleagues, and then putting it into the king's hands. The debate concerning the sanc­tioning of the two decrees began; but was suspended by the king, who told his ministers to have each his writ­ten opinion ready to deliver to him at the next meeting of the council. Roland could have delivered his with­out delay: he thought however, after what had just been said, that it was incumbent on him to wait out of a sort of regard to his colleagues; but on his return home we were of opinion, that he could not do better than dispatch his letter, to which he added three or four missive lines.

THE next day, at eight o'clock in the evening, I saw Servan walk into my apartment with a joyful counte­nance. 'Congratulate me,' said he, 'I am turned out.' 'I am much mortified,' answered I, 'at your being the first to have that honour; but I hope that, ere long, it will be awarded to my husband.'—Servan related to me that having been on business with the king in the morn­ing, [Page 21] he had endeavoured to speak to him about the camp; that the king, with evident marks of ill hu­mour, had by turning his back upon him, put an end to the conversation; and that at the very instant Du­mouriez came up, in his majesty's name, to demand his port folio, of which he was going to take charge himself.—'Dumouriez? His conduct surprises me little, but it is infamous, and the other ministers in that case ought not to wait for their dismission. It would be­come them better to write to the king, that they can no longer sit at the council board with Dumouriez: we must send for them to consult about it.' Nobody but Claviere and Duranthon came, and they were peo­ple who never knew how to take a decisive measure. It was agreed upon that they should return the next morning, after due deliberation, and that Roland should have a letter prepared for them all to sign. At the same time he communicated to them the one which he had sent in the morning, and from which he expected the same treatment as Servan had met with before.—I do not know whether, for that very reason, these gentle­men, who were fond of their places, might not ima­gine, that the two ministers the most urgent for the decrees, would be the only ones sacrificed, and that they ought not to expose themselves rashly to the same fate. The next morning they did not think proper to write, but deemed it most adviseable to go and speak to the king in person; a measure contrary to common sense; for when it is necessary to speak plain truths to a person entitled by his situation to a great deal of respect, [Page 22] it is much more advantageous to do it by letter. Roland, who had fulfilled his task, could do no more than join them upon this occasion; and they all repaired to La­coste's, with the intention of asking him to be of the party. Lacoste was doubtful, and appeared to hesitate, when a messenger from the king brought Duranthon an order to go immediately, and alone, to the palace.— 'We will go and wait for you at your own house,' said Claviere and Roland.—Scarcely had they reached the palace of justice, when Duranthon returned with a long face, and a hypocritical look; and drew slowly out of his pocket what was called a lettre de cachet, containing the discharge of his two colleagues. 'You make us wait a long while for our liberty,' said Roland, taking the paper with a smile. 'Ay, our liberty is here in­deed.'—He returned home, and brought me the intelli­gence, for which I was well prepared. 'One thing re­mains to be done,' said I, with animation; 'and that is, to be the first to acquaint the assembly with your dis­mission, sending them at the same time a copy of your letter to the king, by which it has certainly been occa­sioned.' This idea pleased him much, and we put it immediately into execution.—I foresaw that it would have a great effect; nor was I deceived: it answered a double purpose; utility and glory were the consequences of my husband's retreat. I had not been proud of his elevation to the ministry, but I was proud of his disgrace.

I HAVE said that Dumouriez had a little affront to revenge by entering into a league with the court against his colleagues. The circumstance that gave rise to it was as follows.

[Page 23]BONNE-CARRERE, a handsome man, who had the reputation and manners of an intriguer, and who owed the cross of St. Lewis which decorated his person to the interest of Dumouriez, was chosen by the latter for his principal agent, and appointed director general of the department of foreign affairs.

I SAW him once only, when Dumouriez brought him to dine with me; and was as little imposed upon by his agreeable outside as by that of Herault de Sechelles. 'All these handsome fellows,' said I to a friend, 'seem to me to be but poor patriots; they appear too fond of themselves not to prefer their own pretty persons to the public good; nor can I ever help being tempted to lower their conceit, by affecting to be blind to the ad­vantage on which they pride themselves the most.'

I MORE than once heard grave men, members of the legislature, some of those noble originals who kept ho­nour and probity alive, and who are now declared in­famous on that account; I heard them lament the choice that Dumouriez had made, and contend that patriotic ministers, to give strength to the cause of liberty, should be particularly careful to commit every part of the ad­ministration to the purest hands. I know that Dumou­riez was mildly remonstrated with, and that he urged in excuse the understanding and talents of Bonne-Carrere, to whom wit, versatility, and a mind fertile in resources, could not be denied; but a rumour got abroad of an affair managed by Bonne-Carrere, on account of which a hundred thousand livres had been deposited in a no­tary's hands. A part of it was intended for madam de [Page 24] Beauvart. This lady was Dumouriez's mistress, a wo­man of easy virtue, and sister to Rivarol, living in the midst of people of dissolute manners, and disgusting ari­stocracy. I have forgot the nature of the affair, and the parties; but the names, the dates, and the particulars, were known, and the fact was undoubted. It was agreed that Dumouriez should be seriously requested to dismiss Bonne-Carrere, and to preserve, or to put on a decency of demeanor, without which it was impossible for him to remain in the ministry, and to avoid injury to the good cause. Gensonné, who was intimately acquainted with Dumouriez; and Brissot, to whom all Bonne-Car­rere's tricks had been denounced, determined to speak to him at Roland's, in his presence, and in that of three or four other persons, either his colleagues, or members of the legislative body. Accordingly, after dining at my table, and returning into the room which I generally in­habited, the grievance was set forth, and the observa­tions it warranted, were made to Dumouriez. Roland, with all the gravity of his age and character, took the liberty of insisting upon the matter, as interesting to the whole ministry. Nothing being less agreeable to Du­mouriez than this precision, and the tone of remon­strance, he endeavoured at first to give the subject a light turn; but finding himself hard pressed by sober ar­gument, he grew angry, and took leave with an air of discontent. From that day he ceased to visit the mem­bers of the assembly, and did not seem satisfied when he met them at my house, whither he came much less fre­quently than before. Reflecting upon this conduct, I [Page 25] told Roland, 'that, without pretending to be versed in intrigue, I believed, according to the practice of the world, the hour of ruining Dumouriez was at hand, if he did not wish to be overturned himself. 'I know very well,' added I, 'that you will not descend to such manoeuvres; but it is not the less true, that Dumouriez will certainly endeavour to get rid of those by whose censure he has been offended. When a man once be­gins to read lectures, and does it to no purpose, he must punish, or expect to be molested.' Dumouriez, who was partial to Bonne-Carrere, made him his confident as far as he was personally concerned; and Bonne-Carrere, who had excess to the queen by means of several women with whom he was connected, found means to hush up the disgraceful story. Intrigues were set on foot; the famous decrees followed; and although Dumou­riez was for giving them the royal assent; he contrived to keep in favour at court, and was of use, after the departure of his colleagues, either by proposing succes­sors, or by accepting the war department; though, by the way, he did not keep it long; for the court, which at first had been glad to retain him, that they might not appear to dismiss all the ministers denominated patriots at once, got rid of him soon after. But he was too dex­terous not to avoid a total disgrace, and obtained em­ployment in the army conformable to his rank.

EVEN the patriots imagined it was advisable to turn his talents to account, and were in hopes that he would make a good use of them in his military career. —One of the principal difficulties that embarrassed go­vernment, after the 10th of August, was to find persons [Page 26] fit to fill public employs, particularly in that line. The old government had conferred the rank of officer upon none but nobles; and knowledge and experience were concentrated in their order; but the people were uneasy at seeing them intrusted with the conduct of the forces intended to support a constitution adverse to their in­terest. Struck with this contrast, they could not, like the enlightened part of mankind, judge of the reasons of confidence, founded on one man's disposition, on the passions of another, and on the principles of a third. Their flatterers, on the contrary, aggravated their fears, and excited their distrust: everlasting denunciators, they set themselves up as enemies to every man in place, that they might establish themselves in those places which best suited their ambition: such is the system of all agitators, from Hippo, the orator of Syracuse, to Robespierre, the speechifier of Paris.

ROLAND, recalled to the ministry, thought that the public good, and the circumstances of the times, made it hi [...] duty to do away all idea of opposition between Du­mouriez and himself, since each was serving the repub­lic in his way. "The chances in politics," said he in his letter, ‘are as uncertain as in war; I am again in the executive council; you are at the head of an army: you have the errors of your administration to efface from the public mind, and laurels to gather in the field of Mars! You were led into an intrigue which made you do an ill office to your colleagues, and were duped, in your turn, by the very co [...] whose favour you were striving to preserve. But [Page 27] you are not unlike those valorous knights, who were every now and then guilty of little roguish tricks, at which they were the first to laugh themselves; but who fought nevertheless like furies, when their ho­nour was at stake. It must be confessed that this character does not very well accord with republican austerity: it is the consequence of those manners, which we have not yet been able to throw off, and for which you will be sure of a pardon, if you beat the enemy. You will find me in the council ever ready to second your enterprises as long as they have the public welfare in view. Where that is concerned I am a stranger to all favour and affection; and shall look up to you as to one of the saviours of my coun­try, provided you devote yourself sincerely to its de­fence.’ —Dumouriez's answer was spirited, and his conduct no less so—he repulsed the Prussians.

I REMEMBER at this period, some hopes were en­tertained of detaching them from the league, and some overtures made in consequence; but they led to nothing. He came to Paris after the enemy had evacuated our territory, to concert the plan of his Belgic campaign. Roland saw him at the council chamber, and once he came to dine at our house, with several other guests. When he entered the room, he appeared a little embarrassed, and offered me a beautiful bouquet which he had in his hand, with somewhat of an awk­ward air for a man of so much assurance. I smiled, and told him, that the tricks of fortune were whimsical enough; and that doubtless he never expected she [Page 28] would enable me to receive him again in that hotel; but flowers did not the less become the conqueror of the Prussians, and that I received them with pleasure from his hand. After dinner he proposed going to the opera. That, again, was a remnant of the old folly of our generals, whose custom it was to shew them­selves at the playhouse, and seek theatrical crowns whenever they had obtained an advantage over the enemy. Somebody asked me if I did not intend to be there; but I declined giving an answer, because it was neither consistent with my character nor my manners to appear in public with Dumouriez. When the company was gone, however, I proposed to Vergniaux to take a seat in my box, in company with my daughter and myself. We went thither, and were told by the asto­nished box-keeper that the minister's box was full. 'That is impossible', said I; for nobody could go into it without a ticket signed by him, and I had not given a single one away.—'But it is the minister himself, and he insisted upon admission.'—'No, that cannot be: open the door, and I shall soon see who it is.' two or three sans-culottes, in the shape of bullies, were standing in the lobby. 'Don't open the door,' cried they, 'the mi­nister is there.'—'I cannot help it,' answered the wo­man, who instantly obeyed me; and there I discovered Danton's broad face, that of Fabre, and two or three women of suspicious appearance. The opera was be­gun; their eyes were turned upon the stage; and D [...] ­ton was leaning over towards the next box to speak [...] Dumouriez, whom I recognized immediately. All th [...] [Page 29] I saw at a single glance, without being perceived by any body in the box, and pushing the door to, made a hasty retreat. 'Why, indeed,' said I to the box-keeper, 'a certain ci-devant minister of justice is there, whom I would rather leave to enjoy the fruits of his imperti­nence, than enter into any altercation with him: I have nothing to do here.' On saying this, I retired, well pleased upon the whole that Danton's folly had saved me from the incongruity I wished to avoid of appearing in public with Dumouriez, whose seat would have been so very near to mine. I afterwards heard that Danton and Fabre constantly attended him to all the other theatres, where he was weak enough to shew himself. As to me, I have never seen him since. This, then, is the whole of our connection with a man whose accomplices people were pleased to suppose us at the time of his treachery. Dumouriez is active, vigilant, witty, and brave; calcu­lated alike for war and for intrigue. Possessed of great military talents, he was the only man in France, in the opinion even of his jealous competitors, able to com­mand a large army properly; but he was better fitted by his versatile disposition, and by his dissolute morals, to serve under the old court, than under the new go­vernment. His extensive views, and the spirit with which he pursues them, render him capable of forming vast projects; nor does he want abilities to carry them into execution; but his temper is not equal to his un­derstanding, and his impatience and impetuosity hurry him into measures precipitate or indiscreet. He is excellent at devising a stratagem; but incapable of [Page 30] concealing his purpose for any length of time. Du­mouriez, in short, to become the leader of a party wanted a cooler head.

I AM persuaded he did not go to the Belgic pro­vinces with treacherous intentions; he would have served the republic as he had served the king, provided it had tended to his glory and advantage; but the injudicious decrees passed by the convention, the infamous conduct of its commissaries, and the blunders of the executive power, ruining our cause in that country, and the aspect of affairs threatening a general convulsion, he conceived the idea of giving them a turn, and for want of temper and prudence bewildered himself in his combinations. Dumouriez must be very amiable in orgies of his own sex, and agreeable to women of dissolute manners: he appears to have still all the sprightliness of youth, and all the gaity of a lively and free imagination; but with women of a reserved disposition there is something formal in his politeness. He used to divert the king in council by the most extravagant stories, at which his grave colleagues could not help laughing; and not un­frequently he seasoned them with truths equally bold and well applied. What a difference between this man, vicious as he is, and Lukner, who at one time was the only hope of France! Never did I meet with any thing so contemptible. He was an old soldier, half brutified, wanting in common sense, and destitute of all energy of mind; a mere phantom of a man, who, by means of his broken French, his fondness for wine, a few oaths, and a kind of intrepidity, had acquired great popularity [Page 31] in the army, among mercenary machines, ever the dupes of any one who taps them on the shoulder, speaks to them with familiarity, and punishes them from time to time. 'O my poor country!' said I next day to Gaudet, who asked me what I thought of Lukner, 'you are un­done, indeed, if you are obliged to send abroad for such a being, and to confide your destiny to such hands!'

I AM perfectly ignorant of tactics, and Lukner, for aught I know, might understand the routine of his pro­fession; but I am well assured that no man can be a great general without good sense and rationality.

THE thing which surprised me the most, after my husband's elevation had given me an opportunity of being acquainted with a great number of persons, par­ticularly of those employed in important affairs, was the universal meanness of their minds: it surpasses every thing that can be imagined, and extends to every rank, from the clerk, who stands in need of nothing but sense to comprehend a plain question, method to treat it, and a decent style to draw up a letter to the minister charged with the government, the general at the head of armies, and the ambassador employed to protect the interests of the state. But for that experience, never should I have thought so poorly of my species; nor was it till that period that I assumed any confidence in my­self: till then I was as bashful as a boarder in a con­vent, and thought people who had more assurance than myself, had more abilities also.—I no longer won­der, indeed that I was a favourite: my friends per­ceived I was not without my share of merit, and [Page 32] yet I sincerely did homage to other people's vanity.— In this scarcity of men of abilities, the revolution having successively driven away those whose birth, fortune, edu­cation, and circumstances, had rendered them superior to the mass of the people by a somewhat higher degree of cultivation, it is no wonder if we fell gradually into the hands of the grossest ignorance, and most shameful incapacity. There are a great many degrees between de Grave and Bouchotte. The former was a little man, whom nature had made gentle, whose prejudices inspired him with pride, and whose heart persuaded him to be amiable; but who, for want of knowing how to reconcile those various affections; at last became nothing at all. I think I see him now, walking upon his heels, with his elbows turned out, and his head erect, very often shewing nothing but the whites of his great blue eyes, which he could not keep open after dinner without the assistance of two or three cups of coffee; speaking little, as if out of discretion, but in reality for fear of exposing himself; and truly anxious about his official concerns, but distracted by their multiplicity. The consequence was, that at last he abandoned a place for which he felt himself unfit. I will say nothing of Bou­chotte; an idiot is described in three syllables; but his faults were innumerable. Of Servan I have spoken elsewhere; a brave soldier, an excellent citizen, and a man of information, he possessed a degree of merit seldom to be met with: the world would be too happy if there were many men of that character. Claviere, a man of understanding, but of that disagreeable disposition so [Page 33] common among people, who passing much of their time in their closets, form opinions there, which they after­wards maintain with obstinacy, was neither deficient in knowledge nor philosophy; but financial habits had in some measure narrowed his mind. Pecuniary calcula­tions indeed always spoil the happiest dispositions; for it is impossible for a man not to set a high value upon that which constitutes his daily occupation. A banker may be an able and well-informed man; but he will never number the disinterestedness of Aristides among his vir­tues. Claviere is very laborious, easy to be led by those who know his weak side, but insupportable in his commerce with any body who partakes of his own ob­stinacy in dispute; a bad judge of mankind, of whom he never studied but one part, their understandings, without attending to their dispositions, their interests, and their passions; timid in council, although sometimes carried away by the warmth of his temper; in a word, he is rather a good administrator than an able minister.

I NEVER yet could understand what it was that pro­moted Duranthon to a place in the administration, un­less indeed it were the idea of the little ability necessary to fill that of minister of justice. Heavy, slothful, vain, and talkative, timid and confined in his notions, he was in truth no better than an old woman. His reputation for integrity, the sober manners of a decent advocate, a few testimonies of attachment to the revolution, and the age of experience, probably served him as a recom­mendation; but he had not even sense enough to make a seasonable retreat, the only measure by which he could [Page 34] have acquired a portion of glory. When I recollect what kind of men he has had for his successors, I am less angry with those who thought him worthy of his place; but I cannot help asking myself where we are to seek for men qualified to hold the reins of government.

LACOSTE had the official knowledge, the laborious habits, and the insignificance of a clerk. Having been long employed in the admiralty-office (Bureaux de la marine), he was thought fit to be put at the head of that department, in which he committed no blunders. But he was destitute of the capacity and activity which ought to characterize the administrator of so considerable a branch of the public business, and his want of them was exposed by the exigencies of the times. Nothing short of the inability of Monge, could have afforded an advan­tageous object of comparison for Lacoste.—Beneath the mask of a countenance almost indicating timidity, the lat­ter concealed an irritable disposition, which, in case of con­tradiction, degenerated into the most ridiculous violence.

SUCH was the composition of the ministry the first time that Roland belonged to it. There prevailed, in the beginning, a great union between the members of the council; and I verily believe they were all sincerely attached to the constitution, with more or less of regard to their own interest on the part of several. As they assembled at each other's houses on the days the council met, I had them to dine with me once a week. Some of the members of the legislative body were also invited; and the conversation used to turn on the affairs of the nation, with a common desire of promoting the public good. This was a happy time in comparison of that which followed!

[Page 35]

ROLAND's SECOND ADMINISTRATION.

AT the time of the recal of Roland, Claviere, and Servan, the composition of the ministry was completed by the appointment of Danton, whom I have sufficiently depicted elsewhere, and by that of Monge and le Brun; the former to the marine department, the latter to that of foreign affairs. Nothing is so distressing as the diffi­culty of making a choice in circumstances like those of the times in question. Every man who had belonged to the court, directly or indirectly, was proscribed by pub­lic opinion; nor could any thing short of the brilliant proofs of patriotism given by Servan, efface that original sin, even small as it was in regard to him. The persons employed to make a choice were ill calculated to do so. New themselves to public affairs, our legislators could not boast of those extensive connections which lead to an acquaintance with a great number of individuals, and enable a man to select from them the persons best fitted for important employments. The committee was puzzled to make a choice, when the idea of Monge, who was known to Condorcet as a fellow academician, and of whose patriotism several others had heard favour­able mention, presented itself. Monge, a mathemati­cian, sometimes sent to examine officers at the out-ports, an honest citizen, the father of a respectable family, and a zealous member of the club of the Luxemburg, was for a moment weighed in the scale against Meunier, his colleague at the academy, and an officer of engineers; [Page 36] but as the latter was known to have paid his court to the great, Monge was preferred.

GOOD-HUMOURED, thick-witted, and inclined to buf­foonery, Monge was a stone-cutter at Mezieres, where the Abbe Bossut, perceiving him to have a turn for the mathematics, initiated him in that science, and encou­raged him by a donation of six livres a week: but when by application he had got forward in the world, he ceased to visit his benefactor, considering himself as his equal. Accustomed to calculate immutable elements, Monge was destitute of all knowledge of the world, or of public affairs: heavy and awkward in his pleasantry, he recalled to my recollection, in his clumsy attempts at wit, the bears kept in the ditches of the city of Berne, whose playful tricks, corresponding with their uncouth forms, amuse the passengers.

THE new minister filled his office with men as little capable of acting as he was of judging: he took great pains without doing any good, and suffered the ma­rine to be disorganized at a time when it was most important to keep up, and even to increase the establish­ment. Praise, however, is due to the goodness of his intentions: he was frightened at the burthen, and wished to lay it down; but the difficulty of finding a better man, procured him an invitation to remain at his post. By degrees his duty came to sit easy on him, and he fancied that he did it as well as it could have been done by any body else. But though a bad administrator, he was still worse as a counsellor, and served only to fill a chair during the debates of the executive power, con­curring [Page 37] constantly in sentiment with the most timid, because having none of his own, he naturally followed that which was most conformable to the views of a narrow mind.

WHEN Pache was promoted to the ministry, he be­came the oracle of his friend and admirer Monge, who was no longer of any opinion but his, and received it as if it had been the inspiration of the divinity. Thus was he Maratized; and thus did this man, who was des­tined by nature to play a better part, become the abet­tor of the most atrocious and sanguinary doctrines.

LE BRUN, employed in the office of foreign affairs, passed for a man of sound understanding, because he never had any flights of fancy, and for a man of abili­ties, because he had been a tolerable clerk. He was tolerably acquainted with the diplomatic chart, and could draw up a sensible letter or report. In ordinary times, he would have done very well for the depart­ment which is the least laborious, and where the busi­ness is of the most agreeable kind. But he had none of that activity of mind and disposition, which it was ne­cessary to display at the moment he was called to the ministry. Ill-informed of what was going on among our neighbours, and sending ministers to foreign courts, who although not destitute of merit, had none of those qualities which serve to recommend a man, and who could hardly penetrate farther than the anti-chambers of the great; he neither made use of that kind of intrigue, by which employment might have been found at home for those who wished to attack us, nor of that kind of [Page 38] dignity with which a powerful state ought to invest its acknowledged agents in order to procure itself respect— 'What are you about?' Roland sometimes used to say. 'In your place, I would have put all Europe in motion, and have insured peace to France, without the aid of arms; I would take care to know what is going on in every cabinet, and exert my influence there.' Le Brun was never in a hurry; and now, in August 1793, Semonville, who ought to have been at Constantinople eight months ago, has just been intercepted in his way through Switzerland. The last choice of Le Brun will serve to characterize him completely, without my add­ing another trait. He has appointed Grouvelle, the se­cretary to the council, of whom in that quality I ought already to have spoken, minister plenipotentiary at the court of Denmark.

GROUVELLE, a pupil of Cerutti, of whom he learned nothing but to construct affected phrases, which contain the whole of his philosophy; narrow-minded, frigid, and vain, the last editor of the Feuille Villageoise, be­come as flat as himself; Grouvelle had been candidate for some place or other in the ministry, and was ap­pointed secretary to the council on the tenth of August, according to a constitutional law, against the disre­gard of which Roland had remonstrated with so much warmth, that the king had at last determined to attend to it. Roland was in hopes that the keeping of a re­gular register, in which an entry might be made of the debates, would give to the proceedings of the council a more serious, as well as a more useful turn: [Page 39] he perceived besides, that it would afford to men pos­sessed of a firm temper of mind an opportunity of au­thenticating their opinions, and of securing a testimony sometimes useful to history, and always necessary to their own justification. But the best institutions are only ad­vantageous when in the hands of people incapable of perverting them. Grouvelle did not know how to take minutes of the proceedings, and the ministers, for the most part, cared little whether any traces of their opinion remained. The secretary was never able to do more than draw up a summary of the resolu­tions taken, without the assignment of any reasons, or the mention of any opposition; nor could Roland ever find means to get his objections inserted, even when he formally resisted the resolution of the council. Grouvelle constantly interfered in the discussion, and by his captious manner contributed not a little to ren­der it perplexing, till Roland, out of all patience, ob­served to him one day that he did not recollect his bu­siness there.—'What, am I nothing but an ink-horn!' exclaimed the important secretary in an angry tone.— 'You ought to be nothing else here,' replied the se­vere Roland; 'every time you interfere in the debate you forget your duty, which is to take it down; and this is the reason why you have only time to make a little insignificant statement upon a loose sheet of paper, which, when entered in the register, gives not the smallest idea of the operations of government; whereas the re­gister of the council ought to serve as archives to the executive power.'—Grouvelle was much incensed, [Page 40] but he neither improved nor altered his method, which, as my reader will easily perceive, was quite good enough for such men as I have described above. The salary of his place was twenty thousand livres (£833), to which he thought it would be convenient to add an apartment in the Louvre, spacious enough to lodge himself and his clerks, and made his representation to the mini­ster of the home department accordingly. It requires but little knowledge of Roland's character to conceive the indignation with which he received this proposal, and the vigour with which he repelled it. 'Clerks! said he, for business that I could transact myself in a few hours, and better than you if I were in your place.—I de­sire that you will take a copyist to save you the trouble of delivering such copies or extracts of the proceedings as you may be called upon to furnish; but twenty thou­sand livres are quite sufficient to pay his salary, and to find a lodging for him as well as for yourself: the sum is even extravagant, in a free government, for the place you occupy.'

GROUVELLE certainly has a right not to be fond of Ro­land, and I believe that he exercises it to its full extent.

As to me, I felt in the most lively manner, that his ridiculous pretensions were intolerable.—These men, made up of vanity, whose wit is a mere jargon, whose philosophy is pitiable ostentation, and whose sentiments are recollections, appear to me a kind of eunuchs, in a moral sense, whom I despise and detest more cordially than some women hate and disdain those creatures. Such, however, is the minister of a great nation at a foreign [Page 41] court, of which it is important to preserve the estee [...] and secure the neutrality. I am unacquainted with [...] secret of his appointment; but I would wager t [...] Grouvelle, half-dead with fear, on seeing the disastrous position of public affairs, requested le Brun to get him sent out of France in any way whatever; and that le Brun, in quality of minister, made him ambassador, as he would have made him a travelling-clerk, if he himself had been a merchant. It is an arrangement be­tween individual and individual, in which the republic is no otherwise concerned than in conferring the title, and advantages attached to it, and in receiving the injury that may arise from being so badly repre­sented.

THE choice of an envoy to the United States was con­ducted with more wisdom; and affords a new argu­ment in favour of Brissot, against whom the share he had in it is brought forward as a crime. Bonne-Car­rere having been fixed upon, I know not at what pe­riod, Brissot observed to several members of the coun­cil, that it was of consequence to the maintenance of our good understanding with the United States, as well as to the glory of our infant republic, to send to America a man, whose disposition and manners might be agreeable to the Americans. In that respect Bonne-Carrere was not a suitable person: an amiable libertine of the fashionable world, and a gamester, whatever might be his talents and abilities, was very unfit to play the grave and decent part becoming a minister resident with that transatlantic nation.

[Page 42]BRISSOT was actuated by no personal interest; he was the last man in the world to be so influenced: he men­tioned Genet, who was just returned from a residence of five years in Russia, and who, besides his being al­ready conversant with diplomatic affairs, possessed all the moral virtues, and all the information, that could render him agreeable to a serious people.

THAT proposal was wise; it was supported by every possible consideration; and Genet was preferred. If this be an intrigue, let us pray that all intriguers may resemble Brissot. I saw Genet, I desired to see him again, and should always be delighted with his company. His judgment is solid, and his mind en­lightened: he has as much amenity as decency of man­ners; his conversation is instructive and agreeable, and equally free from pedantry and from affectation: gentle­ness, propriety, grace, and reason, are his characteristics; and with all this merit he unites the advantage of speak­ing English with fluency. Let the ignorant Robespierre, and the extravagant Chabot, declaim against such a man, by calling him the friend of Brissot; let them procure by their clamours, the recall of the one, and the trial of the other: they will only add to the proofs of their own villainy and stupidity, without hurting the fame of those whom they may find means to deprive of existence.

DURING Roland's second administration, as well as the first, I determined to receive no female, and that was a rule to which I scrupulously adhered. My circle was never very extensive, and never did the greater part of it consist of my own sex. Besides my nearest rela­tions, [Page 43] I saw nobody but the persons whose congenial taste and studies gave them claims to my husband's at­tention. I was sensible that while he was in the minis­try, I should expose myself to very troublesome com­pany;—to company that might even be attended with danger. It appeared to me that madame Pétion's con­duct at the Mairie * was highly prudent; and I deemed it as laudable to follow, as to set, a good example. Ac­cordingly I had neither circle nor visits: that, in the first place, was a great economy of time, an inestimable ad­vantage to those who have the means of turning it to any account. Twice a week only I gave a dinner: once to my husband's colleagues, with a few members of the Assembly; and once to a mixed company, composed either of national representatives, of first clerks in the public offices, or of such other persons as took a part in politics, or were concerned in the business of the state. Taste and neatness presided at my table, but pro­fusion and the luxury of ornaments were equally un­known: every one was there at his ease, without devot­ing much time to conviviality, because I gave only a single course, and relinquished to nobody the care of doing the honours of the table. The usual number of guests was fifteen; it seldom exceeded eighteen; and once only amounted to twenty. Such were the repasts which popular orators in the rostrum of the Jacobins, converted into sumptuous entertainments, where, like another Circe, I corrupted all those who had the mis­fortune [Page 44] to partake of the banquet. After dinner, we conversed for some time in the drawing-room, and then every one took leave. We sat down to table about five; at nine not a creature remained; and yet that was the court, of which they made me the queen, and there, with the doors wide open, did we carry on our dark and dangerous conspiracies.

THE other days, confined to our family, my husband and myself generally sat down to the table alone; for the transaction of the public business delaying our dinner to a very late hour, my daughter dined with her governess in her own room. Those who saw me at that time, will bear witness in my favour, whenever the voice of truth can make itself heard: I shall then perhaps be no more: but I shall go out of this world with the persua­sion, that the memory of my persecutors will be lost in maledictions, while my name will sometimes be recollected with a sigh.

AMONG the persons whom I was in the habit of re­ceiving, and of whom I have already described the most remarkable, Paine deserves to be mentioned. Declared a French citizen, as one of those celebrated foreigners, whom the nation was naturally desirous of adopting, he was known by writings which had been useful in the American revolution, and which might have contri­buted to produce one in England. I shall not, however, take upon me to pronounce an absolute judgment upon his character, because he understood French without speaking it, and because that being nearly my case in re­gard to the English language, I was less able to converse [Page 45] with him than to listen to his conversation with those whose political skill was greater than my own.

THE boldness of his conceptions, the originality of his style, and the striking truths which he throws with defiance into the midst of those whom they offend, have necessarily attracted great attention; but I think him better fitted to sow the seeds of popular commotion, than to lay the foundation or prepare the form of a govern­ment. Paine throws light upon a revolution better than he concurs in the making of a constitution. He takes up, and establishes those great principles, of which the exposition strikes every eye, gains the applause of a club, or excites the enthusiasm of a tavern; but for cool discussion in a committee, or the regular labours of a legislator, I conceive David Williams infinitely more pro­per than Paine. Williams, made a French citizen also, was not chosen a member of the convention, in which he would have been of more use; but was invited by the government to repair to Paris, where he passed se­veral months, and frequently conferred with the most active representatives of the nation. A profound thinker, and a real friend to mankind, he appeared to me to combine their means of happiness, as well as Paine feels and describes the abuses which constitute their misery. I saw him, from the very first time he was present at the sittings of the assembly, uneasy at the disorder of the de­bates, afflicted at the influence exercised by the galleries, and in doubt whether it were possible for such men, in such circumstances, ever to decree a rational constitu­tion. I cannot help thinking that the knowledge which [Page 46] he then acquired of what we were, attached him more strongly to his country, to which he was impatient to return. How is it possible, said he to me, for men to debate a question, who are incapable of listening to each other? Your nation does not even take pains to pre­serve that external decency, which is of so much conse­quence in public assemblies: a giddy manner, careless­ness, and a slovenly person, are no recommendations of a legislator; nor is any thing indifferent which passes in public, and of which the effect is repeated every day.— Good heaven! what would he say at this time, if he were to see our senators drest, since the 31st of May, like wa­termen, in long trowsers, a jacket and a cap, with the bosom of their shirts open, and swearing and gesticu­lating like drunken sans-culottes? He would think it perfectly natural for the people to treat them like their lackeys, and for the whole nation, debased by its excesses, to couch beneath the rod of the first despot who shall find means to reduce it to subjection.—Williams is equally competent to fill a place in the parliament, or the senate, and will carry with him true dignity wherever he goes.

BY what sally of imagination is Vandermonde pre­sent to mine? Never did [...] see eyes so false, more truly express the turn of mind of the person to whom they be­long. One would suppose the man to have had his un­derstanding cut into two equal parts: with one he is capable of beginning any kind of reasoning; but it is impossible for him with the other, to carry on an argu­ment, or to draw from the whole a reasonable conclu­sion. What a poor figure does science make in a he [...] [Page 47] so badly organized! Accordingly Vandermonde, an aca­demician by the way, and the friend of Pache and of Monge, boasted of serving the latter as a counsellor, and of being called his wife. Speaking to me one day of the cordeliers (to which sect he confessed himself to belong), in opposition to the persons who considered them as madmen, 'We,' said he, 'desire order by reason, and you are of the party that desires it by force.' After such a definition I have nothing farther to say of this man's crazy brain. But since I have been speaking of an academician, I must say a word or two of Condorcet, whose mind is capable of soaring to the sublimest truths, but whose spirit will ever be on a level with the base sentiment of fear. It may be said of his understanding, in relation to his person, that it is an exquisite liquor imbibed by cotton. Never will the saying of a stout heart in a feeble body, be applied to him: he is as de­fective in fortitude as in constitution. The timidity which caracterizes him, and which he carries into com­pany in his face and attitude, is not only a defect in his temperament, but seems to be a vice inherent in his soul, which all his philosophy cannot overcome.—Hence it was, that after having ably established a principle, or demonstrated a truth, he voted in the Assembly con­trary to his own opinion, when obliged to stand up before the thundering galleries, armed with injurious words, and prodigal of menaces. He was very well in his place of Secretary to the academy: men like him [...]y write, but ought never to be actively employed. It is [...] a fortunate circumstance when they can be made of [Page 48] any use of at all, for most timid men are absolutely good for nothing. Look at those poltroons of the Assembly, pouring forth their lamentations: if they had possessed fortitude enough to procure their own arrestation, by protesting against that of the twenty-two, nobody would have dared to hurt a hair of the heads of two or three hundred representatives of the people, the republic would have been saved, and the departments would not have relapsed into submission. The people acquiesced in the loss of twenty men, but an assembly, of which one half should have retired, would never have been considered as the national convention.

PUBLIC SPIRIT.

WHAT was the Office for Public Spirit, which has been objected to Roland as so great a crime?—I am tempted to repeat this question to the very persons who ask it; for I can conceive nothing so chimerical as that phrase.

ROLAND, restored to the ministry after the 10th of Au­gust, thought that nothing was more urgent than to diffuse the same spirit through all the departments of the state, so that every thing proceeding in an uniform course, the success of the revolution might be insured: he there­fore addressed a circular letter of that tendency to all the administrative bodies, nor did it fail to produce a favour­able effect. The Legislative Assembly felt the necessity [Page 49] of supporting it; and for want of a body of Public In­struction, which was not yet drawn up, determined that an hundred thousand livres (£.4167) should be left at the disposal of the minister of the interior, for the purpose of dispersing such useful writings as he might think fit.

ROLAND, rigid in his economy, made it his business to lay out this money to the best advantage: availing him­self of the public papers, then in the highest estimation, he ordered them to be forwarded gratis to the popular societies, to the parish priests, and to such zealous indi­viduals as appeared desirous of contributing to the wel­fare of the state. Some of those societies, and several of those individuals, seeing that the government inter­ested itself in their instruction, took courage, and now and then wrote to the minister, to request works which the Convention had ordered to be printed, and which they had not received. The minister, desirous of satis­fying them, assigned to one of his offices the care of answering those letters, and of forwarding the publicati­ons desired. In these things alone consist all the mighty machinations which have made so much noise, and which were nothing more than the mere execution of duties imposed by a decree. Roland was so careful of expence, that at the end of six months he had only dis­bursed thirty-four thousand livres, out of the hundred thousand of which he was at liberty to dispose; and of those he delivered an exact account, together with a list of the works purchased and given away. But as in con­sequence of the nature of his place, and of the cir­cumstances in which he found himself, he sometimes [Page 50] drew up instructions, which he dispersed in the same manner; and his writings in general breathed nothing but philosophy and a love of his fellow-creatures, fears were entertained lest the personal consideration that might thence result should render him too powerful.

IT could only be inferred that he inspired great confi­dence, which, by facilitating administrative operations, was productive of considerable advantage; but suppos­ing it necessary to prevent his acquiring too much es­teem, and too great an ascendancy, nothing was neces­sary but to repeal the decree, and to forbid his forward­ing any thing which did not necessarily belong to his cor­respondence with the administrative bodies. It was not however any regard to the public weal, but jealousy of the individual, which raised such a fermentation in men's minds; and accordingly they occasioned a clamour, and accused and denounced him in a vague manner, without pointing out the object of their complaint; for if he could have imagined its nature, he would have been the first to apply a remedy to the evil apprehended. Instead of employing himself in that manner, he thought only of defending himself, at first by continuing to do his duty, and afterwards by explaining his conduct, and refuting his calumniators. His triumphant answers exas­perated envy; he was no longer mentioned but as a public enemy; and a real struggle took place between the courageous functionary, who remained at the helm in spite of the tempest, and the jealous deceivers or de­ceived, who endeavoured to bury him beneath the waves. He stood firm, as long as he hoped it could answer any [Page 51] purpose; but the weakness and insufficiency of the sober party having been demonstrated on an important occa­sion, he retired.

HIS enemies dreaded his accounts; and prevented not only their examination, but the report of them from be­ing made to the Assembly. The calumniators, when once embarked, thought only of justifying their false aspersions by the ruin of the man who had been the object of them; hence their redoubled efforts, their open persecution directed even against me; and for want of well-founded reasons, the accusation so often repeated of corrupting the public spirit, and of an office established for that purpose, with my pretended share in the delin­quency; and all without citing a fact, a writing, or even a reprehensible phrase.—And yet Roland's glory, in future times, will be in part attached to the able and in­structive productions of his pen!

MY SECOND ARRESTATION.

THE twenty-fourth day of my confinement in the Ab­bey was beginning to pass away: the period of that con­finement had been employed in study and literary labours, principally in writing memoirs, of which the composition must have borne marks of the excellent disposition of of mind I was in. The insurrection of the 31st of May, and the outrages of the second of June, had filled me [Page 52] with indignation; but I was persuaded that t [...] [...]part­ments would not look on them with an eye of s [...]s [...]tion, and that their reclamations, supported by the r [...]uisite measures, would make the good cause t [...]u [...]hant. Little did I care, while indulging this hope, whether in some critical moment, or in the struggle of expiring tyranny, I fell a victim to private hatred, or to the rage of some furious madman. The success of my friends, and the triumph of true republicans, consoled me for every thing beforehand: I could have undergone the execution of an unjust sentence, or have sunk under the stroke of some unforeseen atrocity, with calmness, the pride, and even the joy of innocence, which despises death, and knows that its wrongs will be avenged.— Here I cannot help once more expressing my regret for the l [...]ss of those Memoirs, which described so well the facts that had come to my knowledge, the persons by whom I had been surrounded, and the sentiments I had experienced in the varying succession of events. I am informed that some of them have escaped destruction; but they only contain the particulars of my first arresta­tion. The day will come perhaps when the union of those fragments will afford to some friendly hand the means of exhibiting the truth in more glowing colours.

THE publication of a gross falsehood, and the loud bawling of the hawkers under my window, while an­nouncing one of the numbers of the Pere Duchesne, a fil­thy print with which Hebert, substitute of the commons of Paris, every morning poisons the ignorant populace, who swallow calumny like water, persuaded me that some [Page 53] new atrocit [...] was in agitation. That paper pretended that its author had paid me a visit in the Abbey, and that having [...]btained my confidence by assuming the ap­pearance of one of the Vendean banditti, he had brought me to confess the connexions of Roland and the Bris­sotines with the rebels of that department and with the English government. In this ridiculous story, inter­luded with the usual ornaments of style of Pere Du­chesne, physical and moral probabilities were disregarded alike. I was not only transformed into the abettor of a counter-revolution, but into an old toothless hag, and was exhorted to weep for my sins till the time should come for expiating them on the scaffold. The hawkers, in pursuance no doubt of their instructions, did not leave the vicinity of my residence for a moment, but accom­panied their proclamation of Pere Duchesne's Great Visit with the most sanguinary advice to the people of the market. I took up my pen, and wrote a few lines to that cowardly Garat, who thinks himself a sage, because he is actuated by no passion but fear, which makes him pay his court to whatever party chances to be upper­most, without the least regard to justice. I pointed out to him the infamy of an administration which ex­poses innocence, already oppressed, to the last outrages of a blind and furious populace. I certainly had no hope of converting him; but I sent him my farewell to prey like a vulture upon his heart. About the same time a young woman, who has no great talents to boast of, but who combines the graces of her sex with that sen­ [...]ility which is its principal merit, and its greatest charm, [Page 54] found means to make her way into my prison. How was I astonished to see her sweet countenance, an [...] to feel myself pressed to her bosom, and bathed in her tears! I took her for an angel; and an angel she was, for she is good and handsome, and had done all she could to bring me news of my friends: she furnished me also with the means of informing them of my situation. This alleviation of my captivity had contributed to make me forget it, when at noon on the 24th of June, the gaoler's wife came and begged me to step into her apartment, where an administrator was waiting to see me.—I was in pain, and in bed—I rose and followed her into her room, where a man was walking up and down, and another writing, without either of them appearing to perceive my arrival.—'Am I the person, gentlemen, whom you asked for?'—'You are the wife of citizen Ro­land?'—'Yes, Roland is my name.'—'Be so good as to sit down.'—The one continued to write, and the other to walk about.—I was endeavouring in vain to divine what this comedy might mean, when the writer deigned to address me—'I am come,' said he, 'to set you at liberty.'—I know not how it was, but I felt myself very little affected by the information.—'Why, indeed', answered I, 'it is very right to remove me from this place; but that is not all; I wish to return home, and the door of my apartment is sealed up.'—'The admini­stration will have it opened in the course of the day; I am writing for an order, because I am the only administra­tor here, and two signatures are necessary for the gaoler's discharge.'—He rose, delivered his message, and returned [Page 55] to speak to me, with the air of a man desirous of in­spiring confidence.—'Do you know,' said he all on a sudden, and as if without design, 'where M. Roland is at present?'—I smiled at the question, observed that it was not candid enough to deserve an answer; and as the conversation grew tiresome, retired to my own room to prepare for my departure. My first idea was to dine quietly, and not to remove till towards the evening; but upon further reflection, I thought it a folly to remain in a prison when I was free to go away. Besides the gaoler came to know if I was getting ready, and I plainly saw that he was impatient to turn me out of my lodgings. It was a little closet, rendered very uncom­fortable by the dirtiness of the walls, the closeness of the grates, and the neighbourhood of a pile of wood, where all the animals belonging to the house deposited their ordure; but as it could contain only one bed, and as the prisoner consequently had the advantage of being alone, the honour of inhibiting it was generally con­ferred upon a new comer, or upon an individual desir­ous of solitude. Lavacquerie (the gaoler,) who had never seen it occupied by any body so contented as I was, and who used to admire the pleasure I took an arrang­ing my books and my flowers, told me, that in future he should call it the pavilion of Flora. I was ignorant that the very moment he was speaking he intended it for Brissot, whom I did not even suppose to be my neighbour; and that soon after, it would be inhabited by a heroine, worthy of a better age, the celebrated Char­lotte Corday. My poor maid, who was just come to [Page 56] see me, wept for joy while packing up my things; the order for setting me at liberty, founded upon the want of evidence, was shewn to me; I settled my accounts, and distributed my little favours to the poor, and to the servants belonging to the prison; and in my way out met the prince of Linanges, one of the hostages, who congratulated me in obliging terms upon my en­largement. I answered, that 'I should be happy to pay him the same compliment, as it would be a pledge of the release of our commissioners, and of the return of peace:'—then sending for a hackney-coach, I walked down stairs, much surprised at finding that the admini­strator had not yet left the prison, and at his coming to the door to see me into the carriage.

DRIVING home with the intention of leaving a few things there, and of proceeding immediately after to the house of the worthy people, who have adopted my daugh­ter, I quitted the hackney-coach with that activity which never allowed me to get out of a carriage without jump­ing, passed under the gate-way as if upon wings, and said cheerfully to the porter as I went by, 'Good-mor­row, Lamarre.' Scarcely, however, had I got up four or five stairs, when two men, who some how or other had kept close at my heels, called out 'C [...]toyenne Ro­land!'—'What do you want?' said I, turning about. —'In the name of the law, we arrest you.' Those who know what it is to feel, will easily conceive all that I experienced at that moment. I desired the order to be read to me; and coming to a resolution immediately, stepped down stairs, and walked hastily across the yard. [Page 57] —'Whither are you going?'—'To my landlord's, where I have business; follow me thither.'—The mis­tress of the house opened the door with a smile.—'Let me sit down and breathe,' said I, 'but do not rejoice at my being set at liberty: it is nothing but a cruel arti­fice: I am no sooner released from the Abbey, than I am ordered to be confined at Sainte-Pelagie. As I am not ignorant of the resolutions lately entered into by my section, I am determined to put myself under its protection, and will beg you to send thither according­ly.'—Her son immediately offered to go with all the warmth and indignation of a kind-hearted young man*. Two commissioners from the section came; desired to see the order; and made a formal opposition; but they afterwards begged me to accompany them to the resi­dence of the mayor, where they were going to give notice of it, and to assign their reasons. With this re­quest I could not refuse to comply. After employing the intermediate time in writing notes to my friends to inform them of my new destination, I took leave of a family which this scene had affected with terror and sur­prise, and was conducted to the mayor's. There I was put into a little anti-chamber with the inspectors charg­ed to take care of my person, while the commissioners proceeded to the office of the administrators of the po­lice. The debate began, continued for some time, and grew warm. Ill at my ease, and dissatisfied with the [Page 58] place I was in, I asked myself by what fatality innocence was obliged to play the part of a criminal, expecting judgment, and to remain in the mean time exposed to the inquisitive eyes of every body who came into the anti-chamber. At length, out of all patience, I rose, and opened the door of the office.—'There can cer­tainly, gentlemen, be no harm in my being present [...] a discussion of which I am the subject.'—'Get you gone,' cried a little man, whom I recognized for the very Louvet that had examined me so awkwardly at the Abbey.—'But, gentlemen, I have no intention to commit any act of violence, I am not prepared for it; I do not even ask to be heard: I only desire to be present.'— 'Get you gone; get you gone.—Gendarmes, come hi­ther!'—Any [...]e would have supppsed that the office was besieged, because a woman of common sense wished to hear what they were saying of her. It was however necessary to withdraw, that I might not be carried away by force. Soon after I perceived them making signs, running backwards and forwards, and sending for a coach; and at last an inspector of the police came and begged me to follow him. I turned round to the door of the office, and set it wide open.—'Commissioners of the section of Beaurepaire, I give you notice that they are taking me away.—'We cannot help it; but the section will not forget you; it will take care that you be examined.'—'After having been set at liberty at one o'clock, because there was no evidence against me, I should be glad to know how I could become a suspected per­son, in my way home from the Abbey, and thus give cause [Page 59] for a new detention.'—Joubert, another administrator, as violent as Louvet, and still more awkward and stupid than he, addressing me in a magisterial tone, confessed that my first arrest was illegal, and that it had been ne­cessary to enlarge me, that I might afterwards be taken into custody according to the terms of the law. This opened to me a fine field; and I was going to avail my­self of it; but tyrants, even when they suffer the truth to escape them, cannot bear to hear it from the lips of others; noise and anger left the room for reason; I quit­ted the company, and was conveyed to Sainte-Pelagie.

THE name of this house, which under the old go­vernment, was inhabited by nuns, keepers of those fe­male victims of letters-de-cachet, whose conduct was sup­posed to be immoral, added to its lonely situation in a remote quarter of the town, inhabited by what may truly be called populace, and but too well known on account of the ferocious spirit which it manifested in the month of September, by the massacre of so many priests: all this did not present my new asylum to my eyes in a consolatory point of view.

WHILE a note was taking of my entry, a man of a sinister countenance opened my bundle, and began to examine it with particular curiosity. I perceived it at the moment when he laid upon the gaoler's desk some newspapers which it contained. Surprised and offended at a behaviour only authorized in cases of secret confine­ment, I observed that it by no means became a man to examine a woman's nightclothes in so indecent a manner. He was accordingly ordered to let them alone; but he [Page 60] was the turnkey of the [...]rri [...]o [...] in which I [...] twice a day I was doomed to see his horr [...] [...] [...] nance. I was a [...]ked if I ch [...] a room with [...] beds—'I am alone, and want no company.'—'But the room will be too small.'—'It is all the same to me.'— Upon inquiry, it was found that they were all full, and I was conducted to a double-bedded room, six feet wide by twelve feet long, so that with the two little tables, and the two chairs, there was hardly any space to spare. I was then informed that I must pay the first month's lodging in advance; fifteen livres for one bed; twice as much for the two. As I wanted only one, and should have taken it in a room which contained no more, I paid only fifteen livres. 'But there is no water-bottle, nor other vessel?'—'You must buy them,' said the same officious personage, very ready to make a tender of ser­vices, of which it was easy to perceive the interested motive. To these acquisitions I added an ink-stand, pa­per and pens, and established myself in my new apart­ment.

THE mistress of the house coming to visit me, I made inquiry concerning my rights and the customs of the place, and was told that the state allowed nothing to the prisoners.—'How then do they live?'—'They receive a plate of kidney-beans only, and a pound and a half of bread per day; but you would not be able to eat either of them.'—'I can easily believe that they are not like what I have been accustomed to; but I wish to know what belongs to every situation, and will make a trial.'— I made a trial accordingly; but, either the state of my [Page 61] stomach, or want of exercise, made me reject the pri­son diet; and I was obliged to have recourse to Madame Bouchaud's kitchen. She had made an offer of board­ing me, which I accepted; and found her fare both good and economical, in comparison of what I might have sent for from the cook's shop, at a great dis­tance, and in a desolate quarter of the town. A mut­ [...] chop, and a few spoonfuls of vegetables, for dinner, a sallad for supper, never any desert, and nothing but bread and water for breakfast; such were the dishes I or­dered, and such was the fare I had been accustomed to at the Abbey. I mention it here, by way of opposing this manner of living, to the complaints soon after made by the section of the observatory, of my expences at Sainte-Pelagie, where it was said that I was endeavour­ing to corrupt the gaoler by giving treats to his family: hence great indignation among the Sans-culottes, and a proposal from some of them to dispatch me to the other world. This accords well with the clamorous nonsense of those women, who pretend that by dressing themselves up in fine clothes, they got admission into the circle of old countesses, at which I presided, in the Hotel of the Interior, and with the articles of the journal of the Mountain, which inserts letters written to me by refrac­tory priests.

O DANTON! thus it is you that direct the knife of the assassin against your victims. Strike! one more will add little to the catalogue of your crimes; but the multi­plicity of them cannot cover your wickedness, nor save you from infamy. As cruel as Marius, and more [Page 62] terrible than Catiline, you surpass their misdeeds, with­out possessing their great qualities; and history will vo­mit forth your name with horror, when relating the car­nage of the first days of September, and the dissolution of the social body in consequence of the events, that took place on the second of June.

MY courage did not sink under the new misfortunes I experienced; but the refinement of cruelty with which they have given me a foretaste of liberty, only to load me with fresh chains, and the barbarous care with which they took advantage of a decree, by applying to me a false designation, as the mode of legalizing an arbitrary arrest, fired me with indignation. Feeling myself in that disposition of mind when every impression becomes stronger, and its effect more prejudicial to health, I went to bed; but as I could not sleep, it was impossible to avoid thinking. This violent state, however, never lasts long with me. Being accustomed to govern my mind, I felt the want of self-possession, and thought myself a fool for affording a triumph to my persecu­tors, by suffering their injustice to break my spirit. They were only bringing fresh odium on themselves, without making much alteration in the situation I had already found means so well to support: had I not books and leisure here as well as at the Abbey? I began indeed to be quite angry with myself for having allowed my peace of mind to be disturbed, and no longer thought of any thing, but of enjoying existence, and of employing my faculties with that independence of spirit which a strong mind preserves in the midst of fetters, and which thus [Page 63] disappoints its most determined enemies. As I felt that it was necessary to vary my occupations, I bought cray­ [...]s, and had recourse to drawing, which I had laid aside some time. Fortitude does not consist solely in rising superior to circumstances by an effort of the mind, but in maintaining that elevation by suitable con­duct and care. Whenever unfortunate or irritating events take me by surprise, I am not content with calling up the maxims of philosophy to support my courage; but I provide agreeable amusements for my mind, and do not neglect the art of preserving health to keep myself in a just equilibrium. I laid out my days then with a certain sort of regularity. In the morning I studied the English [...]anguage in Shaftsbury's Essay on Virtue, and in the poetry of Thomson. The sound metaphysics of the one, and the enchanting de­scriptions of the other, transported me by turns to the intellectual regions, and to the most touching scenes of nature. Shaftsbury [...]s reason gave new strength to mine, and his thoughts invited meditation; while Thomson's sensibility, and his delightful and sublime pictures, went to my heart, and charmed my imagi­nation. I afterwards sat down to my drawing till din­ner time. Having been so long without handling the pencil, I could not expect to acquit myself with much skill; but we always preserve the power of repeating with pleasure, and of attempting with facility, whatever in our youth we have practised with success. Accord­ingly, the study of the fine arts, considered as a part of the education of young women, ought, in my opi­nion, [Page 64] to be less directed towards the acquisition of dis­tinguished talents than to inspiring them with the love of employment, making them contract a habit of appli­cation, and multiplying their means of amusement; for it is thus we escape from that ennui which is the most cruel disease of man in society; and thus we avoid the quicksands of vice, and seductions still more to be feared than vice itself.

I WILL not then make my daughter a professor (une virtuose): I shall ever remember that my mother was afraid of my becoming too great a musician, or of my devoting myself entirely to painting, because she desired, above all things, that I should be fond of the duties of my sex, and learn to be a good housewife, in case of my becoming the mother of a family. My Eudora then shall learn to accompany herself in a pleasing manner on the harp, or to play with ease on the forte piano; and shall know enough of drawing, to enable her to contemplate the masterpieces of art with pleasure, to trace or imitate a flower which delights her, and to shew taste and elegant simplicity in the choice of her ornaments. It is my wish that the mediocrity of her ta­lents may excite neither admiration in others, nor vanity in herself. It is my wish that she may please rather by her collective merit, than astonish at the first glance, and that she may rather gain affection by her good qualities, than applause by her brilliant accomplishments. But, good heavens! I am a prisoner and a great distance di­vides us! I dare not even send for her to receive my embraces; for hatred pursues the very children of those [Page 65] whom tyranny persecutes; and no sooner does my girl in her eleventh year appear in the streets with her virgin [...]ashfulness, and her beautiful fair hair, than wretches, hired or seduced by falsehood, point her out as the off­spring of a conspirator. Cruel wretches! they well know how to break a mother's heart.

COULD not I have brought her with me? —I have not yet said what is the situation of a prisoner at Sainte Pelagie.

THE wing appropriated to females, is divided into long and very narrow corridors, on one side of which are little cells like that which I have described as my lodg­ing. There, under the same roof, upon the same line, and only separated by a thin plastered partition, I dwell in the midst of murderers and women of the town. By the side of me is one of those creatures who make a trade of seduction, and set up innocence to sale; and above me is a woman who forged assignats, and with a band of mon­sters to which she belongs, tore an individual of her own sex to pieces upon the highway. The door of each cell is secured by an enormous bolt, and opened every morn­ing by a man who stares in impudently to see whether you be up or in bed: their inhabitants then assemble in the corridors, upon the staircases, or in a damp or noi­some room, a worthy receptacle for this scum of the earth.

IT will be readily believed that I confine myself con­stantly to my cell; but the distance is not great enough to save the ear from the expressions which such women [Page 66] may be supposed to utter, but which without hearing them it is impossible for any one to conceive.

THIS is not all: the wing where the men are confined, having windows in front of, and very near the building inhabited by the women, the individuals of the two sexes of analagous character, enter into conversation, which is the more dissolute, as those who hold it are unsus­ceptible of fear: gestures supply the place of actions, and the windows serve as the occasions of the most shameful scenes of infamous debauchery.

SUCH is the dwelling reserved for the worthy wife of an honest man!—If this be the reward of virtue on earth, who will be astonished at my contempt of life, and at the resolution with which I shall be able to look death in the face? It never appeared to me in a formidable shape; but at present is not without its charms; and I could embrace it with pleasure, if my daughter did not invite me to stay a little longer with her, and if my vo­luntary exit would not furnish calumny with weapons against my husband, whose glory I should support, if they should dare to carry me before a tribunal.

IN the latter part of Roland's administration, conspi­racies and threats succeeded each other so fast, that our friends often pressed us to leave the hotel during the night. Two or three times we yielded to their entrea­ties; but soon growing tired of this daily removal, I observed that malevolence would hardly go so far as to violate the abode of a man in office, while it might way­lay and immolate him out of doors; and that, after all, if such a misfortune were to happen, it would be more [Page 67] conducive to public utility, and to his personal glory, for the minister to perish at his post.

ACCORDINGLY we no longer slept out; but I had my husband's bed brought into my own room, that we might run the same hazard, and under my pillow or upon my night-table I kept a pistol, which I meaned to use, not for a vain defence, but to save myself from the outrages of assassins, in case I should see them approach. In that situation I passed three weeks; and certain it is that the hotel was twice beset, and that another time the Mar­seillois, hearing that some villanous project of other was on foot, sent eighty of their people to guard us. It is certain also that the Jacobins and Cordeliers were for ever repeating in their tribune, that a 10th of August was as necessary against Roland as it had been against Louis XVI; but as they said so, it might be presumed that they were not ready to realize their threat. Death, which I cheerfully braved at that time, cannot but ap­pear desirable to me at Sainte-Pelagie, did not power­ful considerations chain me to the earth.

MY keepers soon began to suffer more than myself from my situation, and were at great pains to render it less disagreeable. The excessive heat of the month of July rendered my prison uninhabitable. The paper with which I covered the grates, did not prevent the sun from striking upon the white walls of my nar­row cell, and though my windows remained open all night, the burning and concentrated air of the day did not get cool.

THE gaoler's wife invited me to pass my days in her [Page 68] apartment; but I limited my acceptance of this offer to the afternoon. It was then I thought of sending for a forte-piano, which I put into her room, and with which I sometimes charmed away the heavy hours. But what a modification did my moral situation suffer dur­ing that period! The rising of some of the depart­ments seemed to announce the indignation they had con­ceived at the violence offered to their representatives, and their resolution of avenging it, by restoring the conven­tion to its former integrity.

I KNEW that Roland was in a safe and peaceful retreat, receiving the consolation, and the attentions of friend­ship; my daughter, taken into the house of venerable patriarchs, continued her exercises, and her education, under their immediate inspection, and with their own children; and my friends, the fugitives, welcomed at Caen, were there surrounded by a respectable force. I thought I saw the salvation of the republic growing out of events; and resigned to my own fate, I was happy still; for our happiness depends less on external ob­jects, than on the dispositions and affections of the mind. I employed my time in an useful and agreeable manner; I sometimes saw the four persons who used to visit me at the Abbey; the worthy Grandpré, whose place authorised him to come, and who came accom­panied by a charming woman; the faithful Bosc, who brought me flowers from the Jardin des Plantes, of which the beautiful forms, the brilliant colours, and the sweet fragrance, diminished the horrors of my melancholly abode —and the kind Champagneux, who persuaded me so ear­nestly [Page 69] to continue the historical memoirs I had begun, that at his desire I resumed my pen, and for a while laid by my Tacitus and my Plutarch, to whom I was accustomed to devote my afternoons.

MADAME Bouchaud did not think it enough to have offered me the use of her apartment. Perceiving that I availed myself of it with great reserve, she determined to remove me altogether from my gloomy cell, and to lodge me in a comfortable room with a fire place, situat­ed on the ground floor, and underneath her own cham­ber. Thus am I delivered from the shocking company which for three weeks has been my greatest torment. It will no longer be necessary for me to pass twice a day through a throng of the women of my neighbourhood, for the purpose of getting out of their way f [...]r a little time at least. I shall no longer [...]ee the [...]y of sini­ster countenance open my door every m [...]ing and shut me in every night with a monstrous b [...] like a crimi­nal whom it is necessary to keep i [...] close confine­ment. It is the good-natured face of Ma [...]e [...]ouchaud which offers itself to my eyes; whose [...] [...]ttentions I perceive every moment. The [...]e is [...] even to the very jessamine carried up before [...] wi [...]ow and winding its flexible branches round the [...], [...]at does not testify her desire to oblige. I look upon myself as her boarder, and forget my captivity. All my articles of study and amusement are united around me; my forte-piano is by my bedside, and recesses in the walls afford me the means of arranging my little effects in such a way as to preserve in my asylum that neatness in [Page 70] which I delight. . . . . . . But gold, and falsehood, and intrigue, and arms, are employed against the departments which the truth was beginning to enlighten; soldiers deluded, or bought over, betray the brave Normans; Evreux is evacuated; Caen abandons the members to which it had afforded a refuge; domineering banditti, in what is still called a convention, declare them traitors to their country; their persons are outlawed; their pro­perty is confiscated; their wives and children are taken into custody; their houses are demolished; the members who chose to remain in confinement are impeached, without any reason being assigned; and every thing an­nounces the triumph of audacious guilt over unfortu­nate virtue. That cowardice which marks the selfish­ness and corruption of a degenerate people, whom we thought it possible to reclaim by the light of reason, but who were too far debased; that cowardice delivers over to terror the perfidious administrators, and the ig­norant multitude. Every where the idea of peace and the desire of repose, always illusory when it is not deserved, council the acceptance of a monstrous constitution, which had it even been better, ought not to have been re­ceived from the unworthy hands that held it out. There, where any resistance might have arisen, it is stifled by corruption; and the money of the nation is lavished to insure the success of its oppressors. In their silly stupor, a majority, incapable of reasoning, consider the sacrifice of a few individuals as a trifling misfortune; they think to establish justice, peace, and security, for themselves, by suffering them to be violated in the persons of their re­presentatives; [Page 71] and receive the pledge of their servitude as the sign of salvation. In the mean time a rod of iron is held over the weak Parisians, the pusillanimous wit­nesses of horrors, which they lament, but dare not make known: famine threatens them; poverty preys upon their vitals; oppression overwhelms them; the reign of pro­scriptions begins; denuciations come showering down on every side; and the prisons overflow. Every where an infamous recompense awaits him who has a victim to offer; the porters of private houses, kept secretly in pay, become the chief informers, and servants are no longer any thing but spies.

AN astonishing woman taking counsel, from her cou­rage alone, came to inflict death upon the apostle of mur­der and pillage. She deserves the admiration of the universe. But not being well acquainted with the state of things, her time and her victim were ill chosen. There was a greater criminal, to whom her immolating hand should have given the preference. The death of Marat only served the purposes of his abominable sec­taries: they transformed into a martyr the man whom they had taken for a prophet; and fanaticism and knavery, always in a league, derived from this event an advan­tage similar to that which the murder of le Pelletier had procured them. Certainly that murder had been too fatal in its consequences to permit us to think that the fugitive members, entire strangers to the action of Pa­ris*, were not equally so to that of Charlotte Corday; [Page 72] but their adversaries laid hold of it as a new mean of ruining them in the minds of the people. The most determined republicans, the only men of the assembly who joined to the courage of strict probity the autho­rity of talents and knowledge, were represented as the favourers of despotism, and vile conspirators. At one time they are supposed to be in a league with the rebels of La Vendèe, and on the sabres of the warriors de­sirous of defending them, the words Vive Louis XVII. are said to be inscribed: at another time they are accused of endeavouring to divide France into little republics, and are reprobated as federalists. It is with equal con­sistency that Brissot is taken into English pay, and that his wife, in a report sent to all the departments, is gravely represented as having retired to the queen's apartments at Versailles, and as holding secret councils there.

NOTHING can be more ridiculous than this story to those who are acquainted with Brssot's wife, devoted to the domestic virtues, wholly taken up with the cares of her houshold, ironing her husband's shirts herself, looking through the key-hole to see if she may safely open the door to those who knock, and hiring a little miserable room in the village of St. Cloud, in order to have it in her power to carry the child that she has just weaned into the open air. But she is taken into custody; is conducted to Paris; and a guard is placed over her Petion's wife, who was going to retire among her friends till the storm should blow over, is arrested with her son. Miranda, whom the revolutionary tribunal had acquitted, [Page 73] is remanded to prison as a suspected person, on the in­formation of his valet, a spy of Pache; all the generals are put under arrest; and Custine, whom, as I have been told by the prince de Linanges, the Austrians dreaded more than any of the rest, is threatened with the loss of his head. Disorganization spreads itself over the whole face of France, and a civil war breaks out in a variety of places. The acceptance of the constitution cannot procure for Lyons an act of oblivion for the jus­tice it dared to execute on two or three of Marat's ban­ditti; it is called upon to deliver up the heads of its richest inhabitants, and to pay a considerable sum of mo­ney; the high spirited Marseilles sends succour to the Ly­onese; and troops are recalled from the frontiers, which are left exposed to the ravages of the enemy, in order to set brother against brother, and to spill the blood of Frenchmen by the hands of the French themselves. In the mean time the enemy advances in the north; Valen­ciennes no longer exists; Cambray is blocked up; and the Austrian light troops appear in the environs of Pe­ronne. Paris, like another Babylon, sees its brutish po­pulace run in crowds to ridiculous festivals, or feast their eyes upon the blood of a multitude of wretches sacri­ficed to their ferocious distrust; while the selfish and un­feeling fill the theatres, and the timid citizen stays trembling at home, where he is not sure of sleeping, if it please his neighbour to say that he has made use of uncivic expressions, blamed the carnage of the 2d of September, or lamented the fate of the victims of Or­leans, put to death without proof of their being privy [Page 74] to an assassination which was not committed on the per­son of the infamous Bourdon. O my country! into what hands art thou fallen. Chabot and his fellows an­nounce that Roland is at Lyons, affirm that he is exciting an insurrection in that city, and call for his impeachment and for mine: and at the same time they search the cellars of the observatory, and invest the house of one of his friends, where they suppose him to lie concealed.

ALL my friends are proscribed, fugitives, or in confine­ment; my husband only escapes from the fury of his adversaries by keeping close in a retreat which may be compared to the severest imprisonment; and it is even decreed that the few persons who come to console me shall undergo persecution.—Grandpré, dining in com­pany with a man whom he did not know to be a justice of peace, and a member of the tribunal of the district, lamented the negligence of the magistrates, who suffered so many persons to languish in the prisons. On this the unknown personage discovered himself; affected a great desire to be made acquainted with abuses, to the reform of which he might have it in his power to contribute; and begged Grandpré to let him have his name and ad­dress, that he might call, and take him with him in his next visit to the prisons. That was only a pretext,—the justice of peace hastened to the committee of general safety, and fabricated an atrocious denunciation against Grandpré, whom he accused of being an accomplice in the death of Marat.—It seems as if we were living in the time of Tiberius; for, like his, this is the reign of informers.—Grandpré was taken up by an officer and [Page 75] four musketeers, who repaired to his apartment at five o'clock in the morning; ransacked his papers, and sealed up his effects. He had then about him a letter addressed by me to the unfortunate Brissot. What a crime might be made of this, to me for having written it, and to him for being the bearer! Luckily he found means to con­ceal it from their search; but it was not till after a te­dious debate that he could obtain permission to remain under a guard at his office, instead of going to sleep at the Abbey; nor was it till after the expiration of several days, that means were found to demonstrate the falsity of the charge.

CHAMPAGNEUX was less fortunate: to the crime of owing his appointment to Roland, he joined that of oc­cupying a desirable place.—Collot d'Herbois went drunk to the office of the home department, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, at the moment that the clerks had just left their desks to go to dinner: his busi­ness was to demand carriages, of which the minister had not the disposal. In a rage at not finding Garat, he swore, stormed, broke the legs of the chairs and table*, went to the apartment of Champagneux, the first clerk, abused him, ordered the packets that were made up for the post-office to be opened, and quarrelled about the inclosure they contained. It was a kind of circular letter, con­sisting of questions, and intended to procure information concerning the state of the country. In his heated brain [Page 76] he arranged a denunciation, which he brought forward the next day, at the Convention, and on the strength of which a decree of arrest was passed both against Garat and Champagneux.

GARAT came to the bar, made no complaint of Collot, explained his conduct in the gentlest terms, pronounced a fulsome panegyric on the august assembly, and was sent back to his duty. Champagneux at first hid himself in a fright, but afterwards appeared. He was referred by the Convention to the Committee, and by the Committee was sent a prisoner to the Force. Garat solicited by others, and having an interest himself in the enlargement of Champagneux, whose services he could not dispense with, repaired to the Committee to obtain it. There he made it appear, that, without the assistance of a man so conversant in business, it would be impossible for him to remain in office, and by his friends, such as Barrere, if men like Barrere can be called friends, was encouraged to hope, that by offering his conditional resignation, Champagneux would be restored to him, as an induce­ment to continue in administration; but the rest of the Committee spoke out in plainer terms. He was re­quired to fill up the place of Champagneux; his liber­ty and his life depended on his compliance. He was re­quired to fill it up by the appointment of a young man, twenty-six years of age, destitute of experience in busi­ness, of all kinds of knowledge, and of every recom­mendation but the favour of the Committee, of which he was a tool. Garat, who never refused his masters any thing, submitted and then retired from his office, aban­doning a post it was impossible for him to main­tain*. [Page 77] But Champagneux was not set at liberty, and the fourth week of his detention has already passed. At the moment he was threatened with an arrest (for Col­lot had announced it as an act that would necessary follow his volition), Champagneux was in possession of almost the whole of my Historical Memoirs, the existence of which he wished to insure by taking a copy. Un­easy, agitated, and not doubting but the principles by which they were dictated, and the freedom with which they were written, were a direct passport to the scaffold, he committed them to the flames.—Yet these are the governors of the empire!—Collot, a strolling player by profession, by whose side sits a judge of the southern departments, who not long since condemned him to a year's imprisonment for an offence which he committed while a vagrant from barn to barn, and for which several of the judges wished to send him to the galleys!—Great strength of lungs, the jestures of a jack-pudding, the manoeuvres of a knave, the extravagance of a madman, and the effrontery of ignorance; such were his means of success at the clubs, particularly at the club of the Jacobins, who were not ashamed to men­tion him at the time of the formation of the patriotic ministry under Louis XVI.

[Page 78]COLLOT thinking himself ill used by the appointment of Roland to the home department, to which he had di­rected his views, deemed him the more worthy of his ha­tred, as being an enemy by whom he was overlooked. From that moment his Jacobinical influence was directed against him, and that conduct, added to his other relative qualities, procured him a seat in the Convention, as one of the Parisian deputation.

CHAMPAGNEUX, in his confinement, regrets his liber­ty less than the pleasure of sometimes alleviating my captivity, while I am afflicted at his, which he owes to his connexion with Roland and myself. As to Bosc, who has already given up his place of administrator at the post-office, and whom I endeavour to persuade not to run the risk of a prison by visiting me in mine, I see him once a week, as it were by stealth. In the midst of all these sorrows, I can however offer my friends a seat in the pleasant room, where the kind-hearted Madame Bouchaud has sequestered me from all the appearances of a prison. I am there exposed, it is true, to the in­convenience of having a sentry planted directly opposite my window, on whose account I am always obliged to keep my curtains drawn, and who comes to listen to every thing that is said when I am not alone; and I am disturbed by the horrible barking of three great dogs, whose kennel is at less than ten paces distance. I am also close to a large room, pompously styled the council-chamber, where the administrators of the police do their business when they come to examine a prisoner. It is to this neighbourhood that I am indebted for the [Page 79] knowledge of some curious scenes, of which I am go­ing to say a few words.

TWO men, whose names I once knew, and have ei­ther forgotten, or do not choose to repeat, because the names of such wretches are not deserving of mention, had been sent to prison for their malversations in the clothing of the troops, in which department of the public ser­vice they were employed. They had for friends, or for accomplices, some people of their own description, and those people were actually administrators of the police. Charged in that quality with the maintenance of order in the prisons, and the superintendance of the gaolers, they came to Sainte Pelagie once or twice a week, with other friends like themselves, ten or twelve in number, and sometimes more, sent for the two darling prisoners to the council-chamber, and there making the gaoler give them capons, chickens, eggs, wine, cordials, coffee, &c. consumed them at his expence, and kept up their orgies three or four hours together. No one would ever imagine, and most assuredly I shall not undertake to relate the brutal joy, the fulsome conversa­tion, and the infamy of these entertainments. The word patriotism, stupidly applied, and repeated emphatically on every mention of the scaffold, to which it was pro­per to send all suspected persons; that denomination be­stowed upon every one who had received a good educa­tion, or was possessed of a fortune not recently stolen; the disgusting kisses from those mouths, reeking with wine, smacking upon the cheeks of the new comers, and repeated in concert at the moment of breaking up; the [Page 80] obscene jests of men destitute of all morality, and stran­gers to all shame; and the silly pride of atrocious block­heads, who dreamed of nothing but denunciations, and whose sole science consisted in imprisoning their bet­ters.—

PLATO might well compare democracy to an auction of government, a kind of fair, where all possible modes of administration are intermixed. But how would he cha­racterize that state of society where men like these are arbiters of the liberty of their fellow-citizens? When­ever this agreeable company came, Bouchaud or his wife never failed to withdraw my key from the door, and to give me notice of their arrival. At last I took my re­solution, and shut my ears against their noise; I even found an entertainment in continuing my Historical Me­moirs, and in writing vigorous passages, before the eyes, as it were, of wretches who would have torn me to pieces if they had heard only a single phrase.

AS the 10th of August was at hand, and fears were entertained of a rehearsal of the 2d of September, in the prisons, the administrators found means to get out the rogues of their acquaintance; and by so doing put an end to the civic feasts at Sainte-Pelagie. If I could per­suade myself to meddle with such disgusting matters, I could give very astonishing, and very shocking ac­counts, of the abuses that prevail in the prisons—the criminals would there be seen converting into accom­plices almost all the servants, and other persons con­cerned in the business of the place; women of the town guilty of serious offences, obtaining their enlargement [Page 81] without a trial, by means of the administrator, who sleeps with them the night after; assassins, rich enough to pay an advocate (defenseur officieux) with the produce of their robberies, bribing him to destroy the vouchers, and procure the impunity, of their crimes; and professed thieves keeping up their intrigues with one another, and with their accomplices without; thieving still, though immured in a prison; and dividing the spoils with the turnkey, or with the gendarme, who appears to guard them. Every thing gets tainted or completely spoiled in these infectious places under a vicious administra­tion, desiring only to destroy, careless of correcting, and actuated by passion alone.—'Compassionate and ge­nerous Howard, who wanderedst over all Europe to vi­sit those gloomy dungeons, in which the wisdom of an equitable government ought never to let innocence lan­guish, and where it should also take care to distinguish weakness from criminality, how would your feeling heart have been hurt if you had been perfectly acquainted with the management of the prisons belonging to the nation then esteemed the gentlest upon earth!' There no dis­tinction is made between giddy youth and hardened guilt. I have seen a botanical student, who had spoken ill of Marat, confined in the same room with highway robbers. There no respect is shewn to morals. I have seen a girl of fourteen, who was claimed by her parents, de­tained in the same cell with the infamous woman who had just seduced her, and who had been taken up for that offence. There no regard is had to decency, or attention to salubrity, in the construction of the edifice, [Page 82] or in the laying out of the internal space. A building is now erecting at Sainte-Pelagie, on an immense piece of ground, by an architect of confined ideas, a man of no mind, who is taking measures contrary to every prin­ciple of rationality, and yet no person in the superior branches of administration is either able or willing to correct his plan.

HERE I must do justice to the present keeper. He does what he can in m [...]tters of detail, but nothing can prevent the bad consequences resulting from an organ­ization essentially vicious. There ought to be either distinct houses, some appropriated to criminals, and others to suspicious or suspected persons, or else wings entirely detached; nor should there be any communication be­tween the two sexes. But as this is not the place for a treatise upon the subject, I can only lament the destiny of a people, in the establishment of whose liberty it is im­possible for those to believe who have once been witnesses to its extreme corruption.

ON my first coming to Sainte-Pelagie, I was waited upon by a woman, confined for some trifling offence. Her services were an assistance to my weakness, while I had the means of making them an alleviation of her dis­tress. Not but that I was very well able to be my own ser­vant: 'Tout sien bien au généreux courage *,' was said of Favonius performing for Pompey in his misfortunes the offices which valets are accustomed to perform for their masters. This may be applied with equal truth to the unfortunate man, stripped of his fortune, and providing [Page 83] for all his wants, and to the austere philosopher, disdain­ing every superfluity. Quintius* was roasting his tur­nips when he received the ambassadors of the Samnites; and I could have made my bed at Sainte-Pelagie; but, as in fetching water, and things of the like kind, it was necessary to go through long passages, and to mix with their various inhabitants, I was not sorry to have a person whom I could oblige by sending her on such er­rands. She continued to assist me in the room I had been indulged with, and was coming in one morning at the very moment that an administrator was at the door of the council-chamber. He asked who lodged there; desired to inspect the room; came in; cast an angry eye around him; and then went out, and complained to the keeper's wife of the degree of comfort she allowed me to enjoy.—'Madame Roland was indisposed (that was true); and I put her more in the way of receiving such assistance as she might stand in need of; besides she sometimes amuses herself with a forte piano, for which there is not room in a cell.'—She must do with­out it; send her this very day into a corridor: it is your business to maintain equality.'

UNFEELING wretch! is it to maintain equality that you wish to confound me with the most abandoned of wo­men? Madame Bouchaud, more distressed than can well be imagined, soon came to communicate to me the order she had received. I consoled her by conforming to it [Page 84] with much calmness and resignation; and it was agreed that I should come down in the course of the day to change the air, and to return to my studies, the materials for which I left where they were. Thus am I once more destined to see the turnkeys, to hear the creaking of the bolts, to breathe the fetid air of a corridor, sadly illumin­ed in the evening by a lamp, of which the thick smoke blackens all the walls, and suffocates the neighbourhood. These are the humane actions, the signs of liberty given by those men, who upon the ruins of the Bastile recall to our recollection the cruelty of the governor kil­ling Lauzun's spider, and who, in the Champ de Mars, send up birds carrying streamers, to announce to the in­habitants of the upper regions the felicity of the earth. Insolent comedians! you are playing your last parts: the enemy is at hand.—By the enemy I mean the de­partments endeavouring to insure the triumph of reason and of true liberty, and preparing your ruin.

MINE is inevitable, no doubt; I have deserved the ha­tred of all tyrants; but I only regret that of my country, which your chastisement will console, but cannot save.

AS to the rest, the consequences of oppression have filled the corridor I inhabit with women in whose com­pany I can remain without shame, and even with plea­sure. I have found there the wife of a justice of peace, whose neighbour ascribes to her expressions styled unci­vic; I have found there the wife also of the president of the revolutionary tribunal; and there I have found Ma­dame Petion.—'I little thought,' said I on accosting her, 'when I was sharing your uneasiness at the Mairie *, [Page 85] on the 10th of August, 1792, that we should keep our sad anniversary at Sainte-Pelagie, and that the fall of the throne would lead to our disgrace.'

RAPID OBSERVATIONS On the Indictment drawn up by AMAR against the Mem­bers of the Convention.

IF there have existed a conspiracy against the unity and indivisibility of the republic, against the liberty and the safety of the French people, it is evident that it can only have been formed by the abettors of despotism, by am­bitious men, wishing to monopolize power and riches, or by the enemies of mankind.

Brissot, Gensonné, Vergniaux, Gaudet, Gorsas, Petion, Buzot, &c. are accounted such. These men must then have shewn, on more occasions than one, their hatred of liberty, their thirst of gain, their eagerness to obtain pla­ces, all the vices and corruption, in short, that are na­tural to such characters. Supposing even that they had assumed the mask of hypocrisy, it was impossible for the end they had in view to remain concealed: their con­duct must have betrayed it, and their interested motives must have evidently appeared. Let us enquire into what they were; let us see how they have acted; and we shall be able to judge of what is laid to their charge. After that it will be time to go in search of the conspiracy it­self, which very possibly may resemble the story of the [Page 86] golden tooth *; or may amount to nothing more than the well-known efforts of aristocrates and royalists, manifest­ed as early as the infancy of the revolution, and con­nected with the enterprizes of foreign powers.—Let us look at a few of these men in private life before the year 1789, the aera when the busy scene of politics, then opening, first brought them forward to public view; and let us observe the course they afterwards pursued. Advocates for the most part, some had distin­guished themselves at the bar, others had made them­selves known in the republic of letters; several remark­able only for the integrity they had displayed in their professions, were seated in the States General, by the esteem that integrity had procured them, while several others devoted themselves to the laborious, but honour­able functions of journalists, and struggled courageous­ly with despotism driven to dispair.

Pétion, simple in his manners, moderate in his desires, and married to a woman of exellent sense, resided at Chartres. Esteemed by his fellow-citizens, who had witnessed his birth, and already noted for that philosophy which marks a good understanding, at an early period in life he was deemed worthy of a seat in the assembly of the states.

Buzot, distinguished at Evreux by his strict probity and premature prudence, inspired confidence, and de­served consideration at an age when so many others think [Page 87] of nothing but pleasure. A taste for study, and the soli­tary habits of a meditative mind, filled up all those mo­ments which he did not devote to the bar; while man­ners equally pure and gentle, rendered him dear to his friends. The warmth of his sentiments, the ease of his elocution, and the austerity of his principles, procured him the honourable office of carrying his country's com­plaints and demands to the States General.

Gorsas, the father of a numerous family, undertook, from the very beginning of the revolution, to conduct a periodical paper, in which he combated the still power­ful court, and devoted himself to the defence of the people, always endeavouring to establish, and never neg­lecting to reclaim, their rights.

Brissot, a writer from his early youth, had preached liberty in the time of despotism, and humanity during the reign of tyranny: he had long prayed for the revolution, had helped to bring it forward by exposing the abuses of the times, and had undergone imprisonment as a punish­ment for the freedom of his writings. More taken up with moral truths in politics than with the care of his fortune, he had engaged in several speculations, the fai­lure of which had increased his poverty without in­jury to his honour. The revolution was the signal of his political life: he began his career in the midst of storms, discussing principles, sparing no one who appear­ed to violate them, and labouring without intermission for the public weal.

I STOP for a moment at these four personages: the two first made a figure in the constituent assembly; Brissot [Page 88] obtained a seat in the succeeding legislature; and all four became members of the Convention. Was there a single circumstance in which they acted unlike them­selves? Did they assume any authority? Did they ac­quire any wealth? Or did they aim at the supreme power for themselves and their friends?

PETION and Buzot served the cause of liberty in the constituent assembly, with a zeal and constancy which procured them the hatred of aristocracy, and the favour of the people: but popular favour is inconstant, while persevering hatred gains fresh strength by the acces­sion of all the jealous, whose attacks never fail to follow any brilliant success. Buzot, belonging to the criminal tribunal of Evreux, preferred doing his duty in his na­tive country to the exercise of the same functions at Pa­ris, which would have better suited an ambitious man; he supported his reputation in the presence of his fellow-citizens, and of the enemies he had made himself by his civism; and obtained by his merit a seat in the Conven­tion, after having established a popular society in the town, as an indispensable barrier against the struggles of despotism in chains, but not subdued. It cannot be said that he had either his re-election, or any kind of em­ploy in view on leaving the constituent assembly, any more than Petion; for they were the very men who procured the passing of the decree forbidding the mem­bers of that assembly to hold any place or to be re-elect­ed for four years to come. They had even demanded an interval of six; but at the time of the revision that decree was repealed, in spite of their endeavours to [Page 89] maintain it. Buzot then entered the Convention as pure as he had left the costituent assembly; and there for a while we will leave him. We shall see hereafter how he conducted himself, and shall be able to judge whe­ther a man who braved clamour and outrages in sup­port of his opinions, even admitting some of them to be erroneous, could be an ambitious hypocrite, or a conspirator.

PETION was elevated to the mayoralty by popular fa­vour, and preserved it till after the 10th of August, as well as the hatred of the court, which manifested itself on every occasion, even to the very last. It is only of late that any one has ventured to accuse him of going to the palace for the purpose of defending it, while it is well known that he was exposed to its sire. The calumniating assertion of his having given Mandat orders to fire upon the people, is also of recent date. I ask what could tempt Petion, detested by the court, and beloved by the people, to betray the latter, and serve the former, when it stood on the very brink of ruin? Could he who had ac­quired popularity by combating regal power, have any reason to forfeit it, when the people were beginning to ob­tain power? Let us put the philosopher and the zealous citizen out of the question! let us look only to the man; and we shall see that even in the estimation of ambition and self-interest, the conduct attributed to Petion would have been absurd; and that if he had not too much principle, he had at least too much good sense, to fall into such an error. He was prevented by his office from putting himself at the head of the insurrection; and to prevent his oppo­sing [Page 90] it, he should have been rendered incapable of acting, or confined. This the heedless commune forgot to do, and I remember, that Lanthenas went twice from the Mairie to the town-house, to advise their putting a strong guard on his hotel. The reporter (Amar) did not say a syl­lable of the massacres of the second of September: he wisely avoided the danger of touching on a question, both sides of which had been supported by the Mountaineers. When Roland denounced those massacres, the Jacobins said they were the work of the people and of its ven­geance: they even made it a crime not to applaud them; and when Petion, with the rest of the right side, obtain­ed a decree to prosecute the murderers, Petion and the right side were called the enemies of liberty and of the people. But when the decree had fallen into desuetude, when the Jacobins triumphed, and the twenty-two were proscribed, the Jacobins themselves, and Hebert among the first of them, impudently asserted that the massacres were Petion's work.

Guadet, Vergniaux, and Gensonné, distinguished by their talents, and well known at Bourdeaux as friends to the revolution, were elected members of the legislative assem­bly. They were the first men for talents in that body, a kind of aristocracy which procured them more numerous and more dangerous enemies than any want of civism could have done. They alternately filled the president's chair on the tenth of August at that critical moment when the weak would have trembled at such a painful pre-eminence; nor can any but knaves reproach them with the moderation and the temper they displayed in [Page 91] their conduct at that interesting period. Brissot natu­rally became intimate with them, because he approached nearer to the level than any other person, in like manner as a similarity of sentiments had made him connect him­self with the defenders of principles in the constituent assembly, to which he did not belong: the countryman and friend of Petion, he became acquainted with such of his colleagues as supported that cause in favour of which his journal was composed.

HE had laboured under the same mistake as many other persons, in regard to la Fayette; or rather it may be said, that la Fayette, swayed at first by the principles he had adopted, had no longer the strength of mind ne­cessary to support them when the struggle became diffi­cult; or that, fearing the consequences of too great a power in the hands of the people, he deemed it prudent to establish some kind of counterpoise. The fact is, that as he professed republicanism in private, Brissot was a long while before he could believe him guilty, when he was become so in the eyes of more violent men. But he had blamed him without reserve, and publicly de­clared his rupture with him, before the affair of the Champ-de-Mars. Here the reporter piques himself so little upon accuracy, that he confounds dates: he makes Brissot come to the Jacobins in March 1791, to prepare the business of the Champ-de-Mars, which did not take place till July, and which was solely occasioned by the flight and return of the king in the month of June. It is well known besides, that Brissot did not go to the Ja­cobins to excite them to sign the petition, but merely be­cause [Page 92] he was appointed one of the committee to draw it up. I remember to have heard him relate on the fol­lowing day, that Laclos, who was also of the committee, complained of such a violent head-ach that he could not hold the pen, and that he begged of Brissot to take it; that the same Laclos proposed the insertion of an article which he mentioned with an air of indifference, but which would have been favourable to d'Orleans; and that he (Brissot) rejected it with indignation, and substituted the passage recommending a republic, for which that mo­ment was peculiarly proper, and might have been turned to great account. It is also well known that the assembly having decided in favour of the king, the Jacobins, in­stead of sending their petition to the Champ-de-Mars, sent deputies there to say, that it was not a proper place for their purpose, after the decree. This took place on the Saturday. I saw the deputies come to the Champ-de-Mars at noon, with not more than two or three hundred persons, and where Verrieres, the little hump-backed cordelier, and some others, were declaim­ing upon the national altar. It was on the Sunday morning, that two men were hanged, when there were not thirty persons assembled, a fact which I have heard attributed with some probability to the contriv­ance of the Lameths and others, who wanted an op­portunity of employing force, and inspiring terror. Certain it is, that Sunday having brought together a great number of people, who had been attracted by the vague report of a petition, while that of the hanging bu­siness had not as yet got abroad, Robert set about drawing [Page 93] one up, completed it, and was getting it signed, when the military were called out, in consequence of a denunciation made to the assembly, and of the violent letter written by Charles Lameth, the president, to the commune of Paris, setting forth the necessity of repressing the horrid disor­ders of which two men had been the victims. Thus did the morning murder, committed, as it were, by stealth, serve as a pretext for shooting the people assembled in the afternoon. The red flag was hoisted at the town-hall, terror and imprisonment were the order of the day, and prepared the triumph of the revisors, who wished to give strength to the party of the court. Surely it will be quite enough to read the Patriot * of that time, to judge whether it be possible that Brissot, who denounced the affair of the Champ-de-Mars, supported the people, and attacked the revisors, could at the same time have been their accomplice. This accusation is absurd in the ex­treme! But every thing is so from one end to the other of this work of iniquity. I will not enter here into the question of the war, which was the signal of the great di­vision that took place among the patriots. Robespierre, fiery, jealous, greedy of popularity, and inclined to do­mineer, both by his nature and the high opinion he en­tertained of his own merit, put himself at the head of the party that opposed the declaration of hostilities. It would be worth the trouble to examine the speeches on the sub­ject: to me it appeared that the mass of enlightened persons were in general for the affirmative, and consequently of Brissot's opinion. Certain it is that the court was very re­pugnant [Page 94] to the measure, and that the king was in a man­ner overruled by his council. He had every thing to gain by delay: the enemy were making their preparations at their ease, and our inaction would have delivered us into their hands, a defenceless prey. Robespierre could not forgive Brissot this triumph. The ice was broken, and from that moment it became his sole object to bring for­ward all the misfortunes that befel us, whether inevitable or not, as crimes against the partisans of the war. The exaggeration of passion became by degrees a system of refined calumny, artfully contrived, and obstinately per­severed in. Brissot could no longer make the eulogium of any man, without its being construed into perfidy, if that man afterwards departed from the line of duty. Brissot was acquainted with several persons in the ministry by whom he was esteemed—here was another reason of jealousy and distrust. Those ministers, honourably dis­graced by the court, were recalled after the fall of the throne; and Brissot at that time was one of the few men in the assembly possessed of any talents, or exercising any influence: Brissot consequently appeared an im­portant personage to Robespierre, who determined to ruin him, and had full leisure to effect his purpose; for Brissot, constantly confiding in the goodness of his inten­tions, could not prevail upon himself to go and enter the lists at the Jacobins with an everlasting harranguer, who tired him to death. He despised the adversary by whom he was overcome. But who could have believed the convention so weak, or the people so stupid? Those only, who not suffering themselves to be hurried along by [Page 95] the current of daily events, recur frequently to the page of history, meditate upon its contents, and compare the present with times past. I never saw any man in place do so since the revolution; indeed they have hardly time to breathe, and to answer to the calls of each return­ing day, without an extreme and uncommon economy in the distribution of their hours.

THE letter of Gensonné and his associates to Louis XVI. cannot be construed into treason, unless by the most de­termined malevolence. It is true, nobody could at that time be sure of a successful revolution: the wisest men were therefore desirous that the king should feel the ne­cessity of enforcing the constitution, and resolve upon re­calling, and retaining those ministers who were sincerely inclined to execute the laws. They had given proofs of their patriotism, and the application for their recal was not a step directed by private interest, but the expression of the general will. Roland, for his part, knew nothing of the letter until a late period, and probably would never have heard of it if it had not become public. But let us attend to the charges brought against him in these articles of impeachment, which will reflect everlasting disgrace on the age and nation, that could either applaud them, or even suffer them to pass, without the strongest marks of reprobation.

"THE very day after the 10th of August," say these articles, ‘Gensonné and his faction posted up libels re­flecting upon those who had contributed to the fall of the throne, upon the Jacobins, upon the council-ge­neral of the commune, and upon the people of Paris. [Page 96] The pens of Louvet, Brissot, and Champagneux, were set to work; enormous packets of those libels were seen at Roland's house, and all his servants were em­ployed in dispersing them.’

I HAVE read this passage twice, without being able to conceive how any one could dare to write it. Gen­sonné never to my knowledge posted up any thing: Louvet was editor of the Sentinel, of which complete collections exist: it was of great service to the revolu­tion, and is an everlasting refutation of these assertions; for it breaths nothing but liberty, great and wise prin­ciples, the hatred of tyranny, and the love of equality. Roland has perhaps contributed as much as any body to reconcile men's minds to the revolution; his circular letters exist; let them be read; and let any one be pointed out, that is not even excellent. Champagneux never dispatched any papers but those printed by order of the assembly; no [...] was any alteration ever made in them; the contrary supposition is as absurd as it is abo­minable. In the first place, it was impossible, for it was not Roland who had them printed, but the authors at Baudoins, from whom the minister used to demand a certain number of copies: secondly, it was useless; for supposing that he made a selection, he was free to send off a smaller number of those which he deemed the least deserving of attention: and, lastly, if there had been the smallest breach of faith, the persons interested would not have waited a year to make their complaints, and demonstrate the deceit. What then can be intended [Page 97] by this ridiculous passage?—I have divined it; and it is a matter which demands some explanation.

IN revolutionary movements, the most active people are not always the most blameless: how many beings come forward only that they may appear of some con­sequence in the world! Their services, however, are not to be despised; but when once the point in view is gained, it becomes necessary to loose no time in re-esta­blishing order to avoid the dissolution of the social body. The commune formed on the 10th of August had con­tributed to the fall of the tyrant: they did well; but se­veral of its members had been guilty of various ex­cesses; a great deal of pillage and robbery had taken place at the Tuileries and elsewhere; considerable sums had been given to the commune for the purchase of corn; and it was the duty of the minister of the home department to demand their accounts, and to transmit them to the legislative body. Roland then pressed the commune to give in their accounts; but the commune being little disposed, and still less able, to comply, the minister, with a view to justice, and to avoid sharing in the blame, made his report to the assembly accordingly. If the assembly had possessed sufficient energy, it would not have waited for such an opportunity, or at least would have laid hold of it, to constitute a new commune, a political operation equally just and necessary. But Danton, who made use of the commune, was minister: he had partisans in the assembly; and contrived to keep his tool. Roland remained then in a difficult situation; liable to accusation if he did not demand these accounts, [Page 98] and sure to be hated if he did. His upright character did not permit him to hesitate; his austerity perhaps gave still greater solemnity to the demand; and when he was required to represent the state of Paris to the assembly, he gave no quarter to the errors, the follies, and the faults of the commune. They were in great number; and the commune consequently became his enemy. Thus did he acquire the hatred of that active body, who among the populace had the reputation of being the patriots of the 10th of August, and the exterminators of tyranny. Add to the commune all those excited by the plunderer, Danton, against a colleague whose aus­terity was a constraint upon him, and who had besides denounced the September massacres, another exploit of a part of the commune, Santerre, &c. Add also those whom the jealous Robespierre set against Brissot's con­nexions, and you will have altogether a very considerable number, either of guilty men who felt the necessity of getting rid of their watchful denunciator, or of extravagant patriots prepossessed in favour of the heroes of the 10th of August, without seeing to the bottom of the business, or of people interested in supporting them, or of the ignorant whom they imposed upon, with a few envious popular leaders, well skilled in contriving the overthrow of a man in possession of the public esteem. Such was the origin of a party, which was increased by all the new comers to the convention, too little acquainted with Paris, and public affairs, to form a right judgment of things, and by all those whose vanity was hurt by the superiority of the distinguished members, with whom Ro­land [Page 99] naturally became itimate, because men of equal ca­pacity are ever fond of one another's company. Had I more time, I could follow this party through all its ra­mifications, and indicate all its enterprises; but this is enough to put others in the way of coming at the truth.

IT now appears clearly, that the party at present pre­dominant, of which Amar is the organ, bestows the ap­pellation of libel upon those writings in which Roland exhibited the state of Paris, called for the accounts of the commune, held up the massacres of September to public indignation, and recommended the establishment of order by way of reconciling all hearts to the revo­lution; which is somewhat more difficult than killing people, according to the practice of these gentlemen. They do not point out these pretended libels, for that would be burning their fingers; but they speak of libels in general, and the public believing there must needs be some foundation for a charge so boldly brought for­ward, applaud the declamation, and think themselves avenged when their own champions are put to death.

THE understanding kept up with the Prussians is a piece of extravagance which one knows not how to cha­racterize, and Brunswick must surely laugh at seeing people accused of being his friends who attacked him with so much vigour. It will suffice to read the letter in which it is pretended that Roland confesses the existence of a plan for quitting Paris, to form a judgment of the matter, especially as to the intention of opening a passage for Brunswick. I know, that on the suppo­sition of the Prussians approaching very near Paris, [Page 100] the question, what would be proper to do, or whe­ther it would be expedient to send away from that town the national representation, in which the whole empire was interested, was once debated; but the dis­cussion was slight, and hypothetical, more so indeed than it ought to have been; nor did any one of the ministers threaten his colleagues. It was Danton, who, after the event, thought of bringing forward the denunciation, by way of making a merit of it to himself, and of injuring Roland. I recollect those matters perfectly, having heard my husband mention them on the breaking up of the council, which was then held at his hotel. As to the great movement of the people of Paris, it is well known that it served as a veil for the massacres of the month of September, and that it was Kellerman's action on the 20th of that month that saved the republic.

IT is not less ridiculous to hear the government of that time accused of starving the people. Never during Ro­land's administration were provisions so scarce, and diffi­cult to procure, as they are become since: his anxiety on that head was extreme, and any one may recur to what he says of the bad administration peculiar in that respect to the commune of Paris.

IT is an infamous and absurd calumny to assert that Roland employed the sums given him to purchase pro­visions, in the pay of hireling writers. In the first place, those sums never passed through his hands, nor could he dispose of them otherwise than by orders upon the trea­sury indicating the purposes for which they were wanted. Secondly, he gave an account of those monies; he did [Page 101] so every month, and repeated it on his going out of office, the whole accompanied by sufficient vouchers. Of these accounts he never ceased to call for a report; and they were accordingly examined; but as no fault could be found with them, the Mountain would never suffer a report to be made. Those who doubt it need only ask Dupin, a deputy and one of the commissioners charged with their examination; they need only ask Saint-Aubin, a commissioner of accounts, by whom the commissioners of the Convention were assisted in their labours, which lasted two months, and in which they proceeded with great rigour and a desire of finding fault, but without success. In the third place, no more than one hundred thousand livres (£4167) were given to Ro­land to pay for compositions and printing, out of which in six months he only spent thirty-four thousand (£1417), of which he likewise gave an account; the rest remained in the public treasury, as appears by the statement of what had been disbursed.

IT requires a degree of malignity scarcely credible to advance such scandalous falsehood! Roland never establish­ed any new offices in his department; he only assigned to particular clerks the care of forwarding the papers he was charged to send off; nor did he ever give to any thing the name of formation of public spirit: his enemies began by inventing the chimera, and afterwards bap­tized it as they thought proper. As to me, I never in­terfered, much less did I direct any thing: I defy the proof of it. Roland had nothing to do with his colleagues in the department of finances; nor did his colleagues [Page 102] ever interfere in forwarding papers. It is impossible to mention a single paper dispatched by Roland himself, which did not tend to attach the people to the 10th of August, instead of inducing them to cast an odium on the events of that day. Roland had no command over the administration of the post-office to get any thing in­tercepted; nor, if he had, would the administrators ever have been able, without courting their own ruin, to engage in so odious a manoeuvre. If they had only at­tempted it, how severely would they have been punish­ed; they, who have been so much persecuted, and whose places have been taken from them, though their persons have not been touched?

IT is false that Roland ever suppressed any thing which he was directed to forward: I have seen him send off the speeches of Marat. It is equally false that any thing was or could be mutilated, as I have said before: I have shewn that it was no less impos [...]ible than impro­bable, that the denunciation would not have been delayed till this time, if only a single instance of the kind had oc­curred; and that even now, when they have the impu­dence to advance it, they neither can nor dare cite a fact. But what an excellent precaution was that of ac­cusing Roland and the Monituer of making the moun­taineers appear like madmen in the eyes of the whole re­public, [...] the misplacing of a word! Not being able to annihilate history, they wish to bring its materials into discredit! O my God! if nothing were to remain but their calumnies and their conduct, the atrocity of their falsehoods would nevertheless appear. For a few years [Page 103] truth may be reduced to silence; but it cannot be ex­tinguished: the very efforts made to annihilate it ope­rate a contrary way, and serve to give evidence of its existence.

THE discovery of the iron door is also brought for­ward against Roland as a crime; and nothing is more easy by way of accounting for the want of proof against the pretended Brissotine faction, than to suppose that he suppressed a part of its contents. But Roland had wit­nesses, and Roland did not contradict himself. A lock­smith of the name of Gamin, living at Versailles, gave in­formation of his having been employed by Louis XVI. to make a little hiding-place in his apartment at the Tui­leries; but did not know what it might contain. Ro­land was charged with the inspection of the Tuileries: the palace and every thing belonging to it were intrusted to his care. Taking with him Gamin, and Heurtier a respectable architect, he repaired to the kings apart­ment, where, in a passage between two doors, Gamin lifted up a pannel of wainscot, and discovered a little iron door, which Roland ordered him to open. It served to close a hole in the wall in which several packets of papers were found. Roland called a servant, ordered a napkin to be brought, took out the packets, without untying them, cast his eyes upon the indorsements, which announced a correspondence with the gen [...]als and several other persons, put them in the napkin in the pr [...] sence of Heurtier and Gamin, gave the parcel to his servant, and repaired to the convention, wher [...] de­posited them in a formal manner. As he [...] passing [Page 104] through the apartments he met a member, who asked him what he had there.—'Things of consequence,' an­swered he, 'which I am going to carry to the conven­tion.'—It remains to be said, that when the minister of the interior was made responsible for the palace, and every thing it contained, the convention appointed a committee of some of its members to examine all the papers printed or in manuscript, which were there at the time of the assault, and which had been collected to­gether. The members of the committee were angry that the minister had not sent for them to be present at the discovery. But Roland thought nothing could be more natural, upon Gamins information, than to repair to the place; and, upon finding the papers, to sub­mit them to the inspection of the convention. He con­ducted himself like a man whose conscious rectitude renders him incapable of distrust; though certainly very unlike an artful man of the world, who foresees all pos­sible events, and takes care not to hurt the vanity of others. Roland was guilty of no real fault on this occa­sion; but he discovered great want of prudence and cau­tion. 'Add to this, that among the members of the com­mission at the palace was one Calon, a person whom Roland despised, and with whom he sometimes had disputes, because the commissioners wished to exceed their [...]ers, and to turn every thing topzy-turvy at the [...]lace wh [...]n they pleased, while Roland, naturally rigid, an [...] [...] a right to resist from his responsibility, fre­quen [...] [...]posed their proceedings. To give a good idea of [...]s Calon, it will suffice to say, it was a mat­ter [Page 105] of public notoriety, that he had set up a coffee-house and tavern close to the assembly, in partnership with a woman whom he kept.

IT is now easy to see the origin of all the outcry about the iron cabinet, and to conceive how eagerly Roland's different enemies availed themselves of appearances to throw suspicion on his conduct, and how many little passions concurred in raising doubts concerning that cir­cumstance. Of what value is it since become to those, who wishing to accuse Roland's friends in the convention of a conspiracy, find it so convenient to make the world believe that the cabinet contained papers which the mi­nister concealed! But recollect dates, calculate facts, and by attending particularly to the one in question, you will see, if Roland had meant to convey any thing away, he would first have repaired in secret to the place, after which he would have called witnesses, and observed every necessary form in the discovery. His rapid and incautious way of proceeding, by exposing him to blame, must prove his innocence to every reflecting mind. Heurtier exists; he is a man advanced in years, and generally esteemed; and Gamin exists also; they took minutes of all that passed, which will not be lost to history any more than these details. I shall make no remark on the charge in which Roland is accused of favouring the partisans of aristocracy, and o [...]ceiving the emigrants with open arms. Roland in his admi­nistration was just, impartial, and severe: he received nothing but the law with open arms: it was the ob­ject of all his attention, and the guide of all his deci­sions. [Page 106] It must no doubt appear as strange to aristo­cracy to be put under the protection of such a patron, as it must to Brunswick to hear himself styled Roland's friend: but these are follies which will not long prevail. True it is that the Republic once established, Roland wished to attach its very enemies to it by an equitable form of government: he wished for good laws instead of blood. Those principles inspired with a kind of confidence the persons who, without being fanatics in the cause of royalty, were however far from being republicans. They felt their prejudices give way, and acknowledged that the minister of the Interior, although a patriot, appeared to be an honest man. The jealous noted down these confessions, that they might represent Roland as a partisan of aristocracy; a title by which they have since distinguished every friend of reason and hu­manity.

I SHOULD be glad to know how Roland, who, under the old government, had stood in the way of his own promotion by supporting the liberty of commerce, on which subject his opinions were considered as crimes; who had professed his principles in works published from fifteen to twenty years before; who, faithful to those principles at the time of the revolution, had taken such a decided part in its favour as to attract the enmity of all t [...] aristocracy of Lyons; who, elevated to the ministry, had there conducted himself with the greatest firmness and energy; who had dared to write a letter to the king, which the partisans of the throne have not yet forgiven him; who, recalled to the administration [Page 107] of public affairs by the insurrection of the 10th of August, was interested in defending it both by his interest and his glory; how, I say, could Roland seek to decry it; to favour the royalists who hated him, or would have looked upon him with eyes of distrust; and to restore aristocracy, of which he had drawn upon himself the hatred, and which at this very moment is rejoicing at the persecution he undergoes? What could he have in view? He had reached the highest elevation then at­tainable, and enjoyed great consideration: both ambition and self-interest could seek for nothing more than to re­main in place; and if he had listened to them he would have soothed men's passions, flattered the different par­ties, and have been upon his guard against giving of­fence. The care of not making enemies is the strongest characteristic of the ambitious man, already arrived at eminence in a republic; while Roland, on the contrary, rigorously denounced the abuses he could not repress, never flattered any man, nor ever gave way to the vio­lence or to the prejudices of the times. This is the conduct of a sincere and courageous man, and not that of a hypocrite.—Let us now return to the members of the Convention, to whom the same reasoning will apply.

THE electoral body of Paris was evidently at the com­mand of Robespierre and Danton: its nominations were entirely their work. It is notorious that Robespierre made an harangue against Priestley, and in favour of Marat: it is notorious that he brought forward his bro­ther: it is equally known that Danton, laying aside [Page 108] his ministerial functions, repaired to the hustings to ex­ercise his sway; nor is it forgotten, that these leaders of the electors were the means of getting d'Orleans re­turned. (Here I ask, by the way, Why he was not waited for at the trial of the deputies with whom he was confounded in the articles of impeachment, and to whom he was assigned as an accomplice?) Among the Pa­risian delegates to the Convention were seen the mem­bers of the famous Committee of Vigilance (surveillance), that directed the massacres of September, and advised the departments to imitate so good an example, in a cir­cular letter, which is well known, and which Danton forwarded under his own cover. There were also seen men accused of robberies, whom the council-general, composed in part of new members, has since thought it indispensable to denounce, although sitting in the Con­vention, where they still remain on the summit of the Mountain (Sergent and Panis). The constituents, re­pairing to the Convention, and acquainted with Paris, the revolution, and all the men of any note, were un­easy at this Parisian deputation, indignant at the events of the 2d of September, disposed to distrust the for­mer, and to punish the authors of the latter. That dis­position would not have escaped the persons interested, even if the constituents had endeavoured to conceal it, which they did not. But the Convention opened be­fore it was complete, and the Parisian members formed a party, which was reinforced by all the ignorant and weak, as fast as they arrived: it had collected a consider­able number by the time the whole Convention had [Page 109] assembled, and all the constituents were arrived. I need not say, that I give this appellation to the members who had belonged to the assembly of 1789, and who, for the most part, seated themselves on what was called the right side of the Convention.

THE agitation of Paris, the conduct of the commune, the weakness of the department*, the high tone of its deputies, and the tyranny of the galleries, suggested the idea of a departmental guard, as the first step to insure the liberty of the national representation, to remind the Pa­risians that they were not its masters, and to prevent the departments from forgetting the necessity of maintaining an equilibrium for the common advantage. In Buzot's report on the subject may be seen the principal reasons in favour of the proposition. It was a gauntlet thrown down as the signal for combat. The Parisian members felt they were in danger of losing their ascendance, and as some of the number were criminals, who could only be saved by maintaining it, every effort was made to party so fatal a blow. From that moment it became a war of extermination, and as such they carried it on; but their adversaries were not sufficiently aware of the danger; they were not ready to coalesce, because they did not imagine that truth stood in need of a party; they neglected the Jacobin club, because the Jacobins gave them a bad reception; and they did not intrigue, because they had neither money nor cun­ning [Page 110] for the purpose. About forty of them used in­deed to meet and converse at Valazé's, whence there proceeded much courage to support principles and brave clamour, and much devotion to the public good; but never any measures, unless in the shape of motions, which were imputed to them as crimes. They wished to work on the constitution in the best way they might be able, since it was in vain to hope by further skirmishing to get possession of higher ground. The leaders of the Parisian deputation were desirous, on the contrary, to entangle the Convention in a trial, that they might keep up the heat of the public mind; make a merit of the death of man already tumbled from the throne, and incapable of doing mischief; and retard a constitution, of which the completion would have restored order, and set bounds to their power. But, it may be said, these are the men who have made one since the 2d of June—Yes, and these are the men who prevented it before, as the journals of the time will shew; and the proof that they care no more about it at present is, that after having got it accepted, they have suspended its exe­cution, by declaring that France remains in a state of revolution; so that the departments, which were only induced to accept it by lassitude, enjoy no greater repose than before. Never, indeed, did they suffer so much agitation and misery of every kind. It is easy for any man who has attended the sittings of the Convention, to say whence all the scandalous scenes proceeded. When the members of the right side reasoned, they were accused: if they attempted to defend themselves [Page 111] they were called to order, loaded with abuse by the galleries, and even spit upon: if, indignant at this treat­ment, they appealed to their constituents, they were called conspirators, and clubs and pistols were held up in their faces; and yet, now they are on their trial, it is said they governed. What have they done at their own pleasure?—Nothing whatever: they could not then be either in possession of power, or leading men in the Convention. Their speeches in the king's affair suffi­ciently prove their good sense, and their desire of estab­lishing a republic by wisdom rather than blood. I shall not enter into an examination of those speeches: it is necessary to read them to form a judgment of their merit. All these things will no doubt be appreciated by posterity without partiality: it will see, that forgetting themselves, they calculated for its advantage; it will ho­nour their memory, and strew flowers upon their graves; a vain and tardy homage, which cannot restore life to those who have lost it; but of which the hope affords consolation to those who devote themselves to destruc­tion for the good of their country.

THE murder of le Pelletier is still a kind of mystery: but I shall never forget two facts, which I will men­tion here: the first is, that all the members, at present proscribed, were afflicted beyond measure at that event. I saw Buzot and Louvet shed tears of rage, persuaded that some bold mountaineer had done the deed with a view of ascribing it to the members of the right side, and of exciting against them the revolutionary fanaticism of the people. The second is, that Gorsas, expressing [Page 112] this opinion in tolerably clear terms, added, that either the assassin would never be discovered at all, or that he would be found dead. It is certain that a Parisian Moun­taineer, dispatched with another person in pursuit of Paris, did not overtake him till he came to an inn in Nor­mandy, where they said that he had blown out his brains. It is certain also, that the Mountain made a kind of saint of le Pelletier, who certainly little expected such an honour. A man of a weak mind, and great opulence, he had gone over to them through fear, like Heraut­de-Sechelles, and other ci-dovant nobles of the same cha­racter; and was only of use to them by the manner of his death. Its effect was such as the right side had fore­seen; and this is an additional reason for being satisfied that the fugitives are not the authors of that of Marat, even if it were not absurd to suppose, that courage like Charlotte Corday's could be assumed at any man's bid­ding. Besides, considering the circumstances of the times, and their intention of coming to Paris, their hav­ing any share in the immolation of Marat would have been a most dangerous act of folly. To this we may add, that men, abhorrent of blood, endeavouring to re­press murder, pillage, and all other excesses, and bold enough to defy their adversaries to their faces, are not likely to have recourse to such means; while they are natural enough to Danton, who drew up the lists of the massacres of September at his own house, and dispersed the eulogium of them under his own covers, as well as to his coadjutors, the members of the Committee of Vi­gilance, who were the directors of that bloody business.

[Page 113]IT is necessary to study the sittings of the Jacobins in all these conjunctures, to see how the 10th of March was prepared, and to be acquainted with that day's con­spiracy, which first miscarried, and was afterwards re­sumed, to be able to set a just value on the audacious charges which attribute our misfortunes to the wise statesmen about to be sacrificed.

IT is truly curious to see how Amar, the reporter, confounds dates, facts, and personages. He makes the war of la Vendee the work of the right side, of the pre­tended faction in which he includes Roland.—Now the troubles in la Vendée did not begin till two months af­ter he had gone out of office; and certainly at that period the Brissotines were not the leaders of the Con­vention: it cannot then be their fault if efficacious measures were not taken to appease those disturbances. I will go further: I will venture to affirm, that with Roland's activity, and his vigilant correspondence, the troubles in la Vendée would never have had time to get to any head: it was Garrat's want of energy that en­couraged their growth. I know from his first clerk, that in the beginning of the civil war, that weak mi­nister was strangely tardy in his proceedings. Cham­pagneux pointed out to him the rapid means proper to be employed; but Garat, always uncertain how to act, adopted no plan, and suffered a spark to kindle a conflagration.

AMAR pretends that the fugitives, after their proscrip­tion, attempted to assemble in la Vendée. What was there then to prevent them, if so inclined? They would [Page 114] now be in safety, instead of wandering as forlorn adven­turers. They are every moment in danger of losing their lives, which they might insure by going over to the English, whose agents they are said to have been.— What is it then that hinders them?

ABOMINABLE calumniators, to be compared with the madmen who condemned Socrates, with the jea­lous wretches who ruined Phocion, with the intriguers who banished Aristides, and with the villians who mur­dered Dion, you say to the people: Here is liberty, and you violate it in the persons of their representatives; you pretend to give them a constitution, and you will not permit them to enjoy it; you proscribe, imprison, or bring to trial, two hundred members of the conven­tion; and you say that they over-awed you, that they were a faction: what then are you? You who despise all rights, who set yourselves above all authority, who abuse every species of power, who govern by the sword, who preach up nothing but terror, and who have im­posed upon groaning France the most execrable tyran­ny!—What did these men, whom you accuse of so many crimes, without proving any, get in the ho­nourable struggle they sustained with intrepidity against villany and blind delusion, in the midst of mortifications without number, and of dangers which they were aware of, which they predicted, which you collected over their heads, and with which you have overwhelmed them?— They made a trade of their opinions concerning the colonies.— The rich planters hated them: they did not pay them then; or, if they did, where are their bills? Were not [Page 115] they the persons who obtained a decree to oblige every member to furnish an account of his fortune, and to assign the reasons of its increase since the revolution? You did not enforce its execution, and you have since pretended not to remember it, by lately passing another of the same purport, and of which the effect will be the same. You bring Perrin to trial: why then do you keep Sergent among you, and why do you not make Danton regorge his ill-gotten wealth? The day perhaps will come; for it is natural that you should destroy one another at last, and for that purpose make use of your own hands. But how happens it that the wives of the rich members you have proscribed are so pinched by poverty?

GUADET's wife suckling a child born in these disastrous times, guarded since her husband's departure by a gen­darme, who makes a mockery of her tears, and watched by a barbarous porter, the president of the section, who will not suffer a parcel to be carried out, only subsists upon the produce of a few effects; watches, silver spoons, and linen, which she disposes of by stealth. The wife of Gensonné, dying of grief and of disease, depends upon the secret assistance of a few friends to provide for the support of two charming children. Brissot's wife, con­fined at first in ready furnished lodgings, because her door was sealed up, was afterwards dragged to the Force: where she would be still, as she has been for five days, upon bread and water, and be lying upon straw, if a friendly hand had not afforded her some relief. The wives of Petion and Roland, fellow prisoners at Sainte Pelagie, are obliged to borrow, to pay the trifling sums [Page 116] to which they limit their expences. And you, Chabot, where did you get the money, that you call the for­tune of your bride? And you — but recrimina­tion, however just, is unworthy of the cause of those ce­lebrated men, who are now kept standing, by tyranny, at the bar of a sanguinary tribunal, the composition of which would make us laugh, if it did not transport us with horror. And these men, not yet under sentence, are crowded into a single room of the prison, to the num­ber of twenty-nine, with one bed for every five! O France! you suffer this treatment to be inflicted on, I will not say your children, but your fathers in liberty, and your champions, and yet you talk of a republic!

I HAVE not courage to dwell on the particulars of these abominable charges, after the public reading of which an advocate for the prisoners was heard to observe, that not one of the written documents on which they were founded had been communicated to him, as the law directs. On his request that the tribunal would take the matter into consideration, the president whispered for a moment to somebody on his right, and then answered in a faltering voice, that the immense number of these papers rendered their communication difficult; that besides a great many of them were sealed up at the houses of the accused; that they should be sent for, but that the trial in the mean time must go on. —Thus did they draw up the charges upon the strength of papers that had never been seen, and which are sup­posed to be at the houses of the accused; and thus do they proceed to judgment without communicating those [Page 117] they pretend to have in their possession, under the pre­tence of their being too numerous—and this is not an im­posture!—Good heavens!—Never could I have believed these things if I had not been present. Called upon to attend at the trial as a witness, I was one of the audi­tory at the opening of the business: I imagined it was their intention to take advantage of the truth I might have the courage to tell, to effect my ruin.—After the reading of the charges I withdrew, and waited for my turn to be called: it did not come; and I was carried back to my prison: this is the third day, and no body has been sent for me. I passed the hours of expectation on the first in the office of the clerk of the court, where I spoke with energy and freedom to all who hap­pened to be there. Have they considered this ener­gy and freedom might have an effect upon the audience; that it is better to avoid it; to dispatch the deputies first; and then to send for me on my own account, without making me an interesting accessary at the trial of others?—I am afraid so.—I am desirous of deserving death, by bearing witness in their favour while they are alive, and I dread losing the opportunity. I am upon thorns; I wait for the messenger as a soul in pain waits for its deliverer; and have only written the above observations to beguile my impatience.

[Page 118]

MY LAST THOUGHTS.

To be, or not to be, that is the question.
It will soon be resolved in regard to me.

IS life a property which belongs to us? I think it is; but that property is given us upon conditions in regard to which alone we are liable to error.

WE are born to seek happiness for ourselves and to contribute to that of others: the social state extends this destination, as well as all our other faculties, without creating any thing new.

AS long as we have a field before us in which we can practise virtue, and give a great example, it becomes us not to quit it; for courage consists in continuing our career in spite of misfortune. But if malevolence mark out the limits of that career, we are free to stop short of them, especially when the fortitude with which we might undergo the last efforts of its rage can be conducive to no advantage. When I was put in confinement, I flatter­ed myself that I should contribute to my husband's glory, and help to enlighten the public, if brought to trial. But it was then I should have been tried, and our persecutors were too dexterous to take so bad a time. They were circumspect as long as they had any thing to fear from those, who, having fled from their violence, inspired the departments with zeal in their defence. But now that terror holds its iron sceptre over a subjugated world, in­solent guilt no longer delays its triumph; it deludes, it oppresses, and the gaping multitude wonders at its power. [Page 119] An immense city, fed upon blood and falsehood, furiously applauds abominable proscriptions, on which it stupidly imagines its salvation to depend.

TWO months ago, I aspired to the honour of ascending the scaffold; the victim was then allowed to speak, and the energy of a courageous mind might have been ser­viceable to the cause of truth. Now all is lost!—This generation, rendered ferocious by infamous preachers of carnage, looks upon the friends of mankind as conspi­rators, and considers as its champions those abject wretch­es, who cover their vile passions and their cowardice with the mask of frantic enthusiasm. To live in the midst of it, is basely to submit to its horrible government, and to give room for the commission of new atrocities.

I KNOW that the reign of the wicked cannot be of long duration: they generally survive their power, and almost always undergo the punishment they deserve.

UNKNOWN and overlooked, I might in solitude and silence have withdrawn myself from the horrors which rend the bosom of my country, and have waited in the practice of domestic virtues, for the period of its misfor­tunes. But a prisoner, and marked out as a victim, I shall only, by prolonging my existence, afford a new gratification to tyranny.

LET us deceive it then, since it is not to be over­thrown.

FORGIVE me, respectable man, for disposing of a life which I had devoted to you: your misfortunes would have attached me to it, if I had been permitted to alle­viate them. But I am robbed for ever of the power [Page 120] of doing so, and you lose nothing but a shadow, an useless object of affliction and inquietude.

FORGIVE me, my dear child, young and tender girl, whose sweet image is impressed on my maternal heart, and staggers my resolution. Oh! certainly, I would not have deprived you of your guide, if it had been possible that they would have let her remain with you: the cruel wretches! have they any pity upon innocence!—But do what they will, they cannot rob you of my example; and I feel, and I will venture to say, upon the very brink of the grave, that it is a rich inheritance.

ALL you, whom heaven in its bounty gave me for friends, direct your attentions towards my orphan. A young plant violently torn from her native soil, she would have withered perhaps, or have been bruised by the hand of the spoiler; but you placed her in a kindly shelter, and beneath a reviving shade: there may she flourish, and may her beauty and her virtues repay your care! —Do not grieve at a resolution which puts an end to my sufferings: I can bear adversity: you know me, and you will not believe that weakness or fear have promted my decision. If any one could assure me that before the tribunal at which so many just men are arraigned, I should be allowed to point out our oppressors, I would appear there with pleasure; but experience has too well shewn that the vain formality of judgment is only an in­sulting parade in which they take care to refuse the vic­tim the privilege of speech*. Shall I then wait till it [Page 121] please my executioners to indicate the hour of my death, and to enhance their triumph by the insolent clamours to which I shall be exposed. Most certainly I should be able to brave them, if my fortitude could instruct the stupid populace; but they are no longer capable of feeling any thing, except the savage delight of seeing the blood of others spilt, while they run no risk of shedding their own.

THE time foretold is come, when their cries for bread are appeased with dead bodies: their degraded nature is regaled by the spectacle, and the gratification of this brutal appetite will render the scarcity of bread support­able, until it shall exceed the sufferance of nature.

PERHAPS, some one may say, these dominators of the present day, who sacrifice every thing to their fears, may not extend their fury so far as you.—Why, do you not see that they have purposely provided the means of do­ing so by comprising me in the absurd indictment against the republicans whom they detest?

SHALL I then hold my existence subject to their pleasure until the fancy shall take them, of first bringing me for­ward in my turn upon the stage, and then commanding the exit of so formidable a witness of their villainy?— Yes, formidable, for long ago my eyes read the secret of their hearts; my soul abhorred them; and my courage set them at defiance: they know it: they must then be determined on my ruin.

BUT the chances of a new revolution; the approach of the foreign armies!—What signifies it to my safety?— I should like as little to owe it to the Austrians, as to [Page 122] receive death from the French at present in power. They are alike the enemies of my country, and I desire nothing from any of them but their honourable hatred.

OH! if those pusillanimous beings, those men un­worthy of the name, whose weakness assumed the dis­guise of prudence, and ruined the estimable twenty-two, if they had possessed my courage, they would have re­deemed the first faults of their conduct; they would have provoked on the second of June, by a formal op­position, the imprisonment to which they have just been consigned. Their resistance would then have enlight­ened the uncertain and timid departments; it would have saved the republic; and if they had been doomed to pe­rish, it would have been with as much glory to them­selves, as utility to their country.

THE cowards, they entered into a compromise with guilt!—It was decreed that they should fall in their turn; but they fall ingloriously, unpitied by any, and with nothing to hope for from posterity, but its perfect con­tempt. Why, in this last conjuncture, rather than obey their tyrants, descend to their bar, walk out of the assem­bly like a timid flock marked for slaughter by the butcher, and submit to be taken into custody—why did they not do themselves justice by falling upon the monsters, and expunging them from the face of the earth?

DIVINITY, supreme being, soul of the universe, prin­ciple of every thing great, good, and happy, thou in whose existence I believe, because I must needs emanate from something better than what I see around me, I am about to be reunited to thine essence!—I invoke the [Page 123] kindness of all those to whom I was dear in favour of that good servant, whose uncommon fidelity made her a pat­tern in her way. The excellent woman! How many tears has her attachment for me made her shed during the last thirteen years. How many secret sorrows has she shared in silence, which but for her affectionate at­tentions I should not have known that she perceived! What activity in my afflictions! What devotion in my misfortunes!—If the chimaeras of the metempsychosis had any reality, and if our wishes could have any influence upon the changes we should then undergo, I should be glad to return to the world in another shape, that I might take care of her in my turn, and administer com­fort to the old age of so kind and worthy a creature! O my friends! discharge the debt I owe her; it is the most grateful tribute you can pay to my memory.

AS to my property, I find in the resolution I have taken, the advantage of securing it to whom it belongs: it will descend to my daughter, who even if they should seize upon her father's fortune, would have a right to claim every thing of mine on which the State has put its seals: she can claim besides twelve thousand livres (500l.) which were my portion, as will appear by the marriage contract, executed in February 1780, at Durand's, a no­tary, resident at Paris, in the Place Dauphine. Moreover an estate, a little wood and a meadow, bought by me, in pursuance of the power given me by the written law * [Page 124] according to which I was married, from monies arising from sundry sums that came to me in my own right, by inheritance or reimbursement, as will appear by the con­tract executed at Dufresne's, notary, Rue Vivienne, in 1791, and by a deed, of which duplicates exist in my apartment at Thésée, and at Villefranche; the whole amounting to thirteen or fourteen thousand livres. [From £540 to £580.]

I HAVE besides a thousand crowns in paper, which shall be pointed out. I desire that enough may be taken out of that sum to buy my daughter the harp on which she plays, and which I hired from Koliker, a musical instrument-maker, rue des Fosses-Saint-Germain-des Pres: he is an honest and fair dealing man, and will perhaps abate something of the hundred crowns (£12. 10s.) he asked for it. At any rate I should rather choose it to be laid out in that way than kept in paper. Virtues are the first of treasures: but they are employed to better advantage by the help of talents. No body can tell the relief that music affords in solitude and misfortune, nor from how many seductions it may be a preservative in prosperity. Let the teacher of the harp be kept a few months longer: by that time, if circumstances will not admit of further expence, the dear little girl, by making good use of her time, will know enough for her own amusement. Among the things sealed up is an excellent forte-piano, bought out of my savings, and for which the receipt was consequently made out in my own name, as will appear by examining the papers: let it by all means be claimed. As to drawing, that is the essential [Page 125] article to which her application, care, and attention ought to be directed.

I HAVE found means to get a letter written to her uncle and godfather, and I hope if he be at liberty, that he will take the necessary steps to secure for my child all that belongs to her. In that case, not being left destitute herself, she ought to provide for our maid Fleury; and this is what I beg those who may watch over her conduct to prevail upon her to do.

MY venerable relations, the Besnards, rue et île St. Louis, lodged some money in my husband's hands, of which we used to pay them the interest. As they may be ignorant of the forms to be observed in establishing their claim, the necessary information should be given to those respectable old people. They should now and then also see their great-great niece, who stands them in the stead of a child, and who will soon be their only hope.

I NEVER had any jewels; but I possess two rings of very moderate value, which were left me by my father; I intend them, as memorials, the emerald for my daugh­ter's adoptive father, the other for my friend Bosc.

I HAVE nothing to add to what I lately expressed to the generous woman who has the goodness to be a mother to my child: the services which she and her husband render me, inspire a sentiment which I shall carry with me to the grave, and which words cannot express.

MAY my last letter to my daughter fix her attention upon that object which appears likely to become her par­ticular pursuit; and may the remembrance of her mother [Page 126] attach her for ever to those virtues which afford us con­solation in every circumstance of distress.

FAREWELL, my dear child, my worthy husband, my faithful servant, and my good friends; farewell, thou sun, whose resplendent beams used to shed serenity over my soul while they recalled it to the skies: farewell, ye solitary fields which I have so often contemplated with emotion; and you, ye rustic inhabitants of Thezée, who were wont to bless my presence, whom I attended in sickness, whose labours I alleviated, and whose indi­gence I relieved, farewell; farewell peaceful retirements, where I enriched my mind with moral truths, and learned in the silence of meditation to govern my passions, and to despise the vanity of the world.

TO MY DAUGHTER.

I DO not know, my dear girl, whether I shall be al­lowed to see, or to write to you again. REMEMBER YOUR MOTHER. In these few words is contained the best advice I can give you. You have seen me happy in fulfilling my duties, and in giving assistance to those who were in distress.—It is the only way of being happy.

YOU have seen me tranquil in misfortune and in con­finement, because I was free from remorse, and be­cause I enjoyed the pleasing recollections that good ac­tions leave behind them. These are the only means that [Page 127] can enable [...]s to support the evils of life, and the vicissi­tudes of fortune.

P [...]RHA [...] you are no [...]ted, and I hope you are not, to undergo trials so severe as mine; but there are others against which you ought to be equally on your guard. Serious and industrious habits are the best preservative against every danger; and necessity as well as prudence command you to persevere diligently in your studies.

BE worthy of your parents: they leave you great examples to follow; and if you are careful to avail your­self of them, your existence will not be useless to man­kind.

FAREWELL, my beloved child, you who drew life from my bosom, and whom I wish to impress with all my sentiments. The time will come when you will be bet­ter able to judge of the efforts I make at this moment to repress the tender emotions excited by your dear image. I press you to my heart.

Farewell, my Eudora.

TO MY FAITHFUL SERVANT FLEURY.

MY dear Fleury, you whose fidelity, services, and at­tachment, have been so grateful to me for thirteen years, receive my embraces, and my farewell.

PRESERVE the remembrance of what I was. It will console you for what I suffer: the good pass on to [Page 128] glory when they descend to the grave. My sorrows are about to terminate; lay aside yours, and think of the peace which I am about to enjoy, and which nobody will in future be able to disturb. Tell my Agatha that I carry with me to the grave the satisfaction of being be­loved by her from my infancy, and the regret of not be­ing able to give her proofs of my attachment. I could have wished to be of service to you—at least let me not afflict you.

Farewell, my poor Fleury, farewell!

YOU cannot imagine, dear Jany, all the vexation I have suffered at not being able to write to you at my ease, nor even to read your letter at leisure: I perceived that I had an officer close at my heels, and was afraid on your account. I am like a person infected with the plague. I have no longer any thing to lose, but I am frightened out of my wits for those who accost me; in­somuch that yesterday at the court of justice, I was in doubt whether I should return the salute of a man whom I recollected, and whom I thought highly imprudent for shewing me politeness in public.—I was present at the reading of those articles of impeachment, a prodigy of delusion, or rather a masterpiece of perfidy. As soon as they had been read, the advocate, Chauveau, observed in terms of great moderation, that, contrary to all form of law, the documents on which they were founded had [Page 129] not been communicated to the prisoners' counsel. He therefore begged the tribunal to take the matter into consideration, and give orders for their delivery. After a moment's whispering, the president made answer, in a faltering voice, that the papers in question were for the most part sealed up at the houses of the accused; that orders would be given to proceed to the removal of the seals, and that in the mean time the trial would be­gin. Yes, Jany, I heard this very distinctly with my own ears! I looked about to see if it were not a dream, and I asked of myself whether posterity would believe these things if they should come to its knowledge?— Well, the people felt nothing of all this; they did not perceive the atrocity of such conduct; the absurdity of bringing forward a charge and of withholding the vouch­ers of its truth; the stupidity of pretending that those vouchers are at the houses of the accused, of whose papers as yet no inventory has been taken; and the folly and impudence of confessing it. The president mut­tered a few words besides concerning the immense num­ber of the other papers, and the difficulty of commu­nicating them; but that was neither more just, nor less absurd. The witnesses were then sent out of court, that they might be called in their turns to make the deposi­tion: my time is not yet come, but probably may to-mor­row. I can perceive nothing, in these proceedings, but the intention of taking advantage of the truths I may have the courage to tell, to effect my ruin, which, con­sidering the villains I have to deal with, and my con­tempt of death, is by no means difficult. Perhaps then [Page 130] we are doomed to meet no more. My friendship be­queaths to you the care of my memory. If I could think of any thing more conformable to the generosity of your sentiments, which I have known too late, I would charge you with it: but why, my dear Jany, known too late? It was Providence that conducted every thing: had I earlier known your worth, my affection for you would have involved you in my misfortunes. You will dispose of every thing for the best. A fall out of the window may be supposed, and those who will not believe it may be sent to see. As there are many workmen, masons and others, nothing is more easy than to ima­gine, that one of them, or somebody disguised like one of them, stole, at a certain hour under my window, and received the parcel.—This idea is indeed a very good one, and carries with it an air of probability. The por­traits, anecdotes, and other detached pieces, should be presented to the public as materials to be worked up in better times. The little depot ought not to be neg­lected: it should be added to the mass.—

THE being summoned as a witness previously to the being judicially accused, forces me to adopt a different mode of proceeding from that on which I had de­termined when I gave you my will, and for which I had already made my preparations: I will then drain the bitter cup to the last drop. Farewell, Jany, fare­well!

YOUR letter, my dear Bosc, was highly welcome: it discovers to me your whole heart, and the full extent [Page 131] of your attachment: they are both as uncommon, in my estimation, as they are dear to me. We do not however differ so much as you imagine; we did not understand each other perfectly. It was not my inten­tion to depart at that moment, but to procure the means of doing so when I should deem it fitting. I was de­sirous of rendering homage to the truth, as I have it in my power to do, and then to make my exit just before the last ceremony. I thought it noble to deceive the tyrants. I had long ruminated on the project; and I swear to you, that it was not inspired by weakness. I am perfectly well; my head is as cool, and my spirit as unbroken, as ever. True it is, however, that the pre­sent trial embitters my sorrows, and inflames my indig­nation. I thought that the fugitives also had been taken up. It is possible that deep grief, and the exalta­tion of sentiments already terrible, might have matured in the secret recesses of my heart a resolution, to which my mind did not fail to ascribe the most excellent mo­tives.

CALLED upon to give evidence in this affair, I thought it necessarily called for a different mode of proceed­ing. I was determined to avail myself of the opportu­nity to reach the gaol with greater celerity: I intended to thunder, and then to withdraw from their power. I thought the very circumstance would authorize me to speak without reserve, and that I ought to have it in my pocket when going into court. I did not however wait for it to support my character. During the hours of ex­pectation I passed in the clerk's office, in the midst of ten [Page 132] persons, officers, judges of the other sections, &c. and in the hearing of Hebert and Chabot, who came into the next room, I spoke with equal energy and freedom. My turn to be heard did not come; they were to fetch me the second day; the third however is almost over, and nobody has yet appeared. I fear these knaves perceive that I may possibly furnish an interesting episode, and think that, after having summoned me, it is better to reject my evidence.

I WAIT with impatience, and am now afraid I shall not have an opportunity of acknowledging my friends in their presence. You are of opinion, my dear Bosc, that in either case I ought to wait for, and not accelerate the catastrophe: it is on this alone we are not perfectly agreed. It seems to me, there would be weakness in receiving the coup-de-grace from the hands of others, instead of taking it from my own; and in exposing my­self to the insolent clamours of a brutal populace, as un­worthy of such an example as it is incapable of turning it to account. No doubt it would have been right to do so three months ago; but now it will be lost on the present generation; and as to posterity, the other reso­lution, well managed, will have quite as good an effect.

YOU see that you did not understand me. Examine then the matter in the same point of view in which it strikes me: it is not all the same as that in which you see it. When you shall thus have maturely considered it, I will abide by your determination.

I HASTEN to conclude, that you may have my answer by the same conveyance; it is enough for me to have [Page 133] indicated what you will be able to investigate in the lei­sure of meditation.—My poor little girl! Where then is she? Let me know, I beg of you: send me a few par­ticulars, that my mind's eye at least may see her in her new situation. Affected by your cares, you think that I feel likewise the cruelty of all these circumstances. I understand that my brother-in-law is in confinement: no doubt the sequestration of his property is still in force, and perhaps he is in danger of banishment.

CONSIDER that your friendship, which finds the task I impose upon it a painful one, may easily deceive you, as to what you can or ought to do in that respect. Try to think of the matter, as if it were neither you nor I, but two indifferent persons, in our relative situations, sub­mitted to your impartial judgment. Attend to my for­titude; weigh my reasons; calculate coolly; and recollect how little a mob is worth that is capable of feasting upon such a sight.

I EMBRACE you tenderly. Jany will tell you what it is possible to attempt some morning, but take care not to run any hazard.

NOTES On my Trial, and the Examination by which it began.

AT the first moment of my confinement, I thought of writing to Duperret, to beg him to get some attention paid to my complaints. Without being intimate, I had observed [Page] in a revolution from a conformity of principles. I was not deceived: Duperret answered me with kindness and warmth; and added, to the expressions of his own sentiments, some intelligence concerning the state of pub­lic affairs, and the fugitive deputies. I thanked him; and, in replying to the passage that related to our friends, expressed my wishes for their safety, and for that of my country. A few days after, having printed the exami­nation which I had undergone before an administrator of the police at the Abbey, I sent a copy to Duperret; and took that opportunity of testifying my contempt for the silly lies which Hebert had just told in speaking of me in his Pere Duchesne. The whole of our correspondence might amount to three or four short letters including a note, in which I acquainted Duperret, as I acquainted at the time several other persons, whom I supposed to take an interest in my welfare, with the sudden transfor­mation of my enlargement from the Abbey, into a new confinement at Sainte-Pelagie. It is on this correspond­ence they mean to found an accusation against me, as having been connected, indirectly at least, with the rebels of Calvados. The very day of Brissot's execution I was removed to the Conciergerie, put into a noisome room, and forced to sleep in a bed without sheets, which a fellow prisoner was good enough to lend me. The day after I was examined in the office of the tri­bunal, [Page 135] by judge David, accompanied by the public ac­cuser, and in the presence of a man whom I suspect to be a juror. At first they asked me many tedious questions concerning Roland before the 14th of July, 1789; who was mayor of Lyons when he was mu­nicipal officer, &c.—I answered those questions by an exact relation of facts; but from that very moment I could perceive, while asking many particulars, they did not wish me to be circumstantial in my an­swers. Without any transition, I was asked, if dur­ing the Convention I had not been in the habit of seeing such and such members (and the proscribed and condemned were named); and if in their conferences I had not heard them mention a departmental force, and the means of obtaining it. I had to remark that I had seen some of those members as friends, with whom Roland had been intimate from the time of the consti­tuent assembly; others by accident, either as acquaint­ance, or because brought to our house by their col­leagues; and that several of them I had never seen at all: that besides there had never been any secret coun­cils or conferences at Roland's; but the conversa­tion was public, and turned on matters which en­gaged the attention of the Assembly, and interested every body. The debate was long and violent be­fore I could get my answers taken down. They desired me to confine myself to yes and no; accused me of being talkative; and told me I was not shewing my wit at the hotel of the Interior. The public ac­cuser and the judge, especially the first, behaved with [Page 136] the positiveness and acrimony of persons persuaded that they had a great criminal before them, and impa­tient for her conviction. When the judge had asked a question, and the public accuser did not find it to his liking, he couched it in other terms, extended and ren­dered it complex and captious, interrupted my answers, and required them to be more concise: it was down­right persecution. I was kept about three hours, or rather more, after which the examination was suspended, to be resumed, as I was told, in the evening. I am waiting for it. A determination to destroy me seems evident.—I will not prolong my life by any base sub­terfuge; neither will I lay bare my bosom to malevo­lence; nor facilitate, by a silly complaisance, the labours of the public accuser, who seems desirous of my fur­nishing him by my answers with matter for the indict­ment which his zeal meditates against me.

TWO days after, I was sent for to be re-examined. The first question turned upon the pretended contra­diction that existed between my letters to Duperret, and my having said I was not particularly intimate with him; whence it resulted, that I disguised the truth in regard to my political connexions with the rebels. I answered that I had never seen Duperret ten times in my life, and not even once in private, as it was easy to per­ceive by the first letter I addressed to him, when send­ing him a copy o [...] that I had written to the Conven­tion: that the subsequent letters were the consequence of the kind and explicit answer I had then received, &c. That at the period our little correspondence began [Page 137] there was no question of revolt and rebellion; and at that time I had no room for a choice in the assembly, where there was scarcely any person to whom I was known, or who would have undertaken the care of my interests.

Question. Who were the common friends of your­self and Duperret?

Answer. Barbaroux in particular.

Question. Was it known to you that Roland, before he entered into the administration, belonged to the Com­mittee of Correspondence of the Jacobins?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Was it not you who took upon you to compose the letters it was his duty to draw up for the Committee?

Answer. My husband never borrowed my thoughts, although he may sometimes have employed my pen.

Question. Were you not acquainted with the office for the formation of public spirit, established by Roland to corrupt the departments; to bring to Paris a de­partmental force; to tear the republic to pieces, accord­ing to the plans of a liberticide faction, &c.; and was it not you who conducted the business of that office?

Answer. Roland established no office under that de­nomination; and I conducted the business of none. Af­ter the decree, passed at the latter end of August, or­dering him to disperse useful writings, he assigned to some of his clerks the care of forwarding them, exert­ing himself to the utmost in the execution of a law which tended to diffuse the knowledge and the love of the revolution. This he called the patriotic correspon­dence; [Page 138] and as to his own writings, instead of promoting discord, they all breathed a desire to concur in the main­tenance of order, and of peace.

HERE it was observed, it was in vain for me to at­tempt to disguise the truth, as it evidently appeared, by all my answers, I was desirous of doing; that upon the door of the very office was a ridiculous inscription, and that I was not so great a stranger to my husband's transactions as not to know it; that my endeavours to justify Roland would be equally ineffectual; and fa­tal experience had but too well shown the mischief that perfidious minister had done, by aspersing the most faith­ful representatives of the people, and by exciting the departments to take up arms against Paris.

TO this I answered, that far from desiring to disguise the truth, I was proud of doing homage to it, even at the risk of my life; that I had never read the inscrip­tion in question; on the contrary, I had remarked at the time the report of it was in circulation, that it was not to be found in the printed lists of offices belonging to the interior department; and that, in answer to the injurious imputations upon Roland, I had only two facts to oppose; the first his writings, which all con­tained the best principles of morality and politics; the second, his forwarding all those printed by order of the National Convention, even the speeches of the mem­bers of that assembly, who passed for the most violent in opposition.

Question. Do you know at what time Roland left Pa­ris, and where he may be?

[Page 139] Answer. Whether I do or not, is what I neither ought or choose to tell.

IT was observed, this obstinacy in constantly dis­guising the truth, proved I thought Roland guilty; that I set myself in open rebellion against the law; that I forgot the duty of a person accused, whom it behoves above all to reveal the truth to justice, &c. The pub­lic accuser, who put the question, took care to accom­pany it, as he did every other he thought proper to ask, with insulting epithets, and expressions indicating anger. I attempted to answer; but he forbade details; and both he and the judge, endeavouring to avail themselves of the kind of authority given by their office, employed all means to reduce me to silence, or to make me say what they thought fit. Indignant at the treatment, I told them I would complain in open court of their unheard of and captious mode of examination; that I would not suffer myself to be brow-beaten; and that I considered the laws of reason and nature as superior to all human in­stitutions: then turning round to the clerk, 'Take up your pen,' said I, 'and write.'

Answer. 'A person accused is answerable for his own actions, but not for those of others. If, during more than four months, Roland had not solicited in vain the passing of his accounts, he would not now be ob­liged to absent himself, nor should I, supposing me to be acquainted with it, be obliged to make a secret of his place of residence.—I know of no law which requires me to betray the dearest sentiments of nature.'

HERE the public accuser exclaimed in a rage, that [Page 140] there was no end to my loquacity; and here closed the examination.

'HOW I pity you,' said I calmly. 'I forgive you even the disagreeable things you say: you think you have a great criminal before you, and are impatient to convict her. How unfortunate is the man who en­tertains such prejudices! You may send me to the scaf­fold; but you cannot deprive me of the satisfaction I de­rive from a good conscience, nor of the persuasion that posterity will revenge Roland and me, by devoting his persecutors to infamy.' Being desired to choose my advocate, I named Chauveau, and retired, saying to them with a smile, 'I wish you, in return for all the ill you mean to do to me, the same peace of mind I enjoy, whatever may be the reward attached to it.'

THE examination took place in a room called the council-chamber, at a table with several persons sitting round it, who appeared to be there for the purpose of writing, and who did nothing but listen to what I said. There were many goers and comers; nor could any thing be less secret than the transaction.

DRAUGHT OF A DEFENCE INTENDED TO BE READ TO THE TRIBUNAL*.

THE charge brought against me rests entirely upon the pretended fact of my being the accomplice of men called conspirators. My intimacy with a few of them is of [Page 141] much older date than the political circumstances, in con­sequence of which they are now considered as rebels; and the correspondence we kept up through the medium of our common friends, at the time of their departure from Paris, was entirely foreign to public affairs. Pro­perly speaking, I have been engaged in no political cor­respondence whatever, and in that respect I might con­fine myself to a simple denial; for I certainly cannot be called upon to give an account of my particular affections. But I have a right to be proud of them, as well as of my conduct, nor do I wish to conceal any thing from the public eye. I shall therefore acknowledge, that, with expressions of regret at my confinement, I received an intimation that Duperret had two letters for me, whe­ther written by one or by two of my friends, before or after their leaving Paris, I cannot say. Duperret had de­livered them into other hands, and they never came to mine. Another time I received a pressing invitation to break my chains, and an offer of services, to assist me in effecting my escape in any way I might think proper, and to convey me whithersoever I might afterwards wish to go. I was dissuaded from listening to such proposals by duty and by honour; by duty, that I might not en­danger the safety of those to whose care I was confided; and by honour because at all events I preferred running the risk of an unjust trial, to exposing myself to the suspicion of guilt by a slight, unworthy of me. When I consented to be taken up on the 31st of May, it was not with the intention of afterwards making my escape. In that alone consists all my correspondence with my [Page 142] fugitive friends. No doubt, if all means of communi­cation had not been cut off, or if I had not been pre­vented by confinement, I should have endeavoured to learn what was become of them; for I know of no law by which my doing so is forbidden. In what age, or in what nation, was it ever considered a crime to be faithful to those sentiments of esteem and brotherly af­fection which bind man to man? I do not pretend to judge of the measures of those who have been proscribed, they are unknown to me; but I will never believe in the evil intentions of men, of whose probity, civism, and devotion to their country, I am thoroughly convinced. If they erred it was unwittingly; they fall without being abased; and I regard them as unfortunate without being liable to blame. I am perfectly easy as to their glory, and willingly consent to participate in the honour of be­ing oppressed by their enemies. I know those men, ac­cused of conspiring against their country, to have been determined republicans, but humane, and persuaded that good laws were necessary to procure the republic the good-will of persons who doubted whether it could be maintained; which it must be confessed is more difficult than to kill them. The history of every age proves, that it requires great talents to lead men to virtue by wise institutions, while force suffices to oppress them by terror or to annihilate them by death. I have heard them assert, that abundance, as well as happiness, can only proceed from an equitable, protecting, and beneficent govern­ment; and that the omnipotence of the bayonet may produce fear, but not bread. I have seen them ani­mated [Page 143] by the most lively enthusiasm for the good of the people, disdaining to flatter them, and resolved rather to fall victims to their delusion than be the means of keep­ing it up. I confess these principles, and this con­duct appeared to me totally different from the senti­ments and proceedings of tyrants or ambitious men, who seek to please the people to effect their subjugation. It inspired me with the highest esteem for those generous men: this error, if an error it be, will accompany me to the grave, whither I shall be proud of following those whom I was not permitted to accompany.

MY defence, I will venture to say, is more necessary to those, who really wish to come at the truth, than it is to myself. Calm and contented in the consciousness of having done my duty, I look forward to futurity with perfect peace of mind. My serious turn, and studious habits, have preserved me alike from the follies of dissi­pation, and from the bustle of intrigue. A friend to liberty, on which reflection had taught me to set a just value, I beheld the revolution with delight, persuaded it was destined to put an end to the arbitrary power I detested, and to the abuses I had so often lament­ed, when reflecting with pity upon the fate of the indigent classes of society. I took an interest in the pro­gress of the revolution, and spoke with warmth of pub­lic affairs; but I did not pass the bounds prescribed by my sex. Some small talents perhaps, a considerable share of philosophy, a degree of courage more uncom­mon, and which did not permit me to weaken my hus­band's energy in dangerous times: such perhaps are the [Page 144] qualities which those who know me may have indis­creetly extolled, and which may have made me enemies among those to whom I am unknown. Roland some­times employed me as a secretary; and the famous let­ter to the king, for instance, is copied entirely in my hand-writing: this would be an excellent count to add to my indictment, if the Austrians were trying me, and if they should have thought fit to extend a minister's re­sponsibility to his wife. But Roland long ago manifested his knowledge, and his attachment to the great principles of politics: the proofs of them exist in his numerous works, published during the last fifteen years.—His learn­ing and his probity are all his own, nor did he stand in need of a wife to make him an able minister. Never were conferences or secret councils held at his house; his colleagues, whoever they might be, and a few friends and acquaintance, met once a week at his table, and there conversed in a public manner on matters in which every body was concerned. As to the rest, the writings of that minister, which breathe throughout a love of order and of peace, and which lay down in the most forcible manner the best principles of morality and po­litics, will forever attest his wisdom, as his accounts will prove his integrity.

TO return to the offence imputed to me, I have to observe that I never was intimate with Duperret. I saw him now and then at the time of Roland's admini­stration; but he never came to our house during the six months that my husband was no longer in office. The same remark will apply to the other members, our [Page 145] friends, which surely does not accord with the plots and conspiracies laid to our charge. It is evident by my first letter to Duperret, I only wrote to him because I knew not to whom else to address myself, and be­cause I imagined he would readily consent to oblige me. My correspondence with him could not then be concerted; it could not be the consequence of any previous intimacy, and could have only one ob­ject in view. It gave me afterwards an opportunity of receiving accounts from those who had just absented themselves, and with whom I was connected by the ties of friendship, independently of all political consider­ations. The latter were totally out of the question in the kind of correspondence I kept up with them during the early part of their absence. No written memorial bears witness against me in that respect, those ad­duced only leading to a belief that I partook of the opinions and sentiments of the persons called conspira­tors. This deduction is well founded: I confess it with­out reserve, and am proud of the conformity. But I never manifested my opinions in a way which can be construed into a crime, or which tended to occasion any disturbance. Now, to become an accomplice in any plan whatever, it is necessary to give advice, or to fur­nish means of execution. I have done neither; I am not then reprehensible in the eye of the law—there is no law to condemn me, nor any fact which admits of the application of a law.

I KNOW that in revolutions, law, as well as justice, is often forgotten; and the proof of it is, that I am here. [Page 146] I owe my trial to nothing but the prejudices, and vio­lent animosities which arise in times of great agitation, and which are generally directed against those who have been placed in conspicuous situations, or are known to possess any energy or spirit. It would have been easy for my courage to put me out of the reach of the sentence I foresaw; but I thought it rather became me to undergo it: I thought that I owed the example to my country; I thought that if I were to be condemned, it must be right to leave tyranny all the odium of sacrificing a woman whose crime is that of possessing some small talents which she never misapplied, a zealous desire of the welfare of mankind, and courage enough to ac­knowledge her unfortunate friends, and to do homage to virtue at the risk of her life. Minds which have any claim to greatness are capable of divesting them­selves of selfish considerations; they feel they be­long to the whole human race; and their views are di­rected to posterity alone. I am the wise of a virtuous man exposed to persecution: and I was the friend of men who have been proscribed and immolated by delu­sion, and the hatred of jealous mediocrity. It is neces­sary that I should perish in my turn, because it is a rule with tyranny to sacrifice those whom it has grievously oppressed, and to annihilate the very witnesses of its misdeeds. I have this double claim to death from your hands, and I expect it. When innocence walks to the scaffold, at the command of error and perversity, every step she [...]akes is an advance towards glory. May I be the last victim sacrificed to the furious spirit of party! [Page 147] I shall quit with joy this unfortunate earth, which swal­lows up the friends of virtue, and drinks the blood of the just.

TRUTH! friendship! my country! sacred objects, sentiments dear to my heart, accept my last sacrifice. My life was devoted to you, and you will render my death easy and glorious.

JUST heaven! enlighten this unfortunate people for whom I desired liberty. . . . . Liberty!—It is for noble minds, who despise death, and who know how upon occasion to give it to themselves. It is not for weak beings who enter into a composition with guilt, and cover selfishness and cowardice with the name of prudence. It is not for corrupt wretches who rise from the bed of debauchery, or from the mire of indigence, to feast their eyes on the blood that streams from the scaffold. It is the portion of a people who delight in humanity, practise justice, despise their flatterers, and respect the truth. While you are not such a people, O my fellow-citizens! you will talk in vain of liberty: in­stead of liberty you will have licentiousness, of which you will all fall victims in your turns; you will ask for bread; dead bodies will be given you; and you will at last bow down your necks to the yoke.

I HAVE neither concealed my sentiments nor my opi­nions. I know that a Roman lady was sent to the scaf­fold for lamenting the death of her son. I know that in times of delusion and party rage, he who dares avow himself the friend of the condemned or of the proscribed exposes himself to their fate. But I despise death; [Page 148] I never feared any thing but guilt, and I will not pur­chase life at the expence of a base subterfuge. Woe to the times! woe to the people among whom doing homage to disregarded truth can be attended with dan­ger, and happy he who in such circumstances is bold enough to brave it!

IT is now your part to see whether it answer your pur­pose to condemn me without proof, upon mere matter of opinion, and without the support or justification of any law.

BY authority of the criminal revolutionary tribunal established by the law of the 10th of March 1793, with­out appeal to the tribunal of annulment, and also in vir­tue of the power delegated by the law of 25 April of the same year, to the said tribunal sitting in the hall of justice at Paris:

THE indictment drawn up by the public accuser against Mary-Jane Phlipon, wife of John-Mary Roland, aged thirty-nine years, born at Paris, and dwelling there, in the rue de la harpe, of which the tenor is as hereafter followeth:

Antony-Quintin Fouquier-Tinville, public accuser of the extraordinary criminal and revolutionary tribunal, (esta­blished at Paris, by a decree of the national convention, of the 10th of March, the second year of the republic, without appeal to the tribunal of annulment) by virtue of the power to him given by the second article of ano­ther [Page 149] decree of the convention of the 5th of April fol­lowing, importing that the public accuser of the said tri­bunal is authorised to arrest, prosecute, and bring to judgment, on the denunciation of the constituted autho­rities and of citizens.

SHEWETH that the sword of the law has recently struck several principal chiefs of the conspiracy which existed against the liberty and safety of the French peo­ple; but a great number of authors and accomplices of that conspiracy still exist, and hitherto have found means, by a cowardly flight, to avoid the just punishment of their crimes: of the number is Roland, ex-minister of the home department, the principal agent of the con­spirators. The flight of some of them did not put a stop to the correspondence between those who re­mained at Paris, as well at liberty as in a state of ar­rest: they corresponded also with those who had taken refuge at Caen, and other cities of the republic. Ro­land on leaving Paris left behind him his wife, who, al­though put in confinement in a house of arrest, continued to correspond with the conspirators who had retired to Caen, through the medium of another who remained at Paris. That intriguing woman, who is well known to have received, and assembled at her house the princi­pal chiefs of the conspirators in secret councils, of which she was the soul, received, although in prison, letters from Barbaroux and others of the refugees at Caen; and always answered them in terms favourable to the con­spiracy. Of this correspondence the proof exists, First, in a letter dated from Evreux, the 13th of June last, [Page 150] written by Barbaroux to Lauze Duperret, in which he says: ‘Do not forget the estimable wife of Roland, and try to give her some consolation in her prison, by con­veying to her the good news, &c.’ 2dly, in a letter, dated the 15th of the said month of June, from the said Barbaroux to the said Lauze Duperret, in which are the following passages. ‘You have no doubt executed my commission in regard to Madame Roland, by trying to convey to her some little consolation.—Make an ef­fort to see her, and tell her, that the twenty-two proscrib­ed, and all honest men, share her afflictions, &c. Here­with you will receive a letter which we have written to that estimable woman. I need not say that you alone can execute this important commission; she must at all events try to get out of her prison, and into some place of safety, &c.’ 3dly, In a letter written by Lauze Duperret to the said wife of Roland, in which he says: ‘I have kept for several days three letters which Barbaroux and Buzot inclosed to me, without having it in my power to convey them to you; and what is still more unfortunate, is, that at the moment I might avail myself of the means you afford me, the thing is become impossible, as they are in the hands of Petion, to whom I thought it advise­able to deliver them, supposing he had it more in his power to forward them than any body else, and who set off without being able so to do. I shall this very day give notice of it to those citizens to whom I am going to write by a safe conveyance, and shall in­form them I have it now in my power to execute [Page 151] their commands with more punctuality, &c.’ 4thly, In a note dated the 24th of June, written by the above wife of Roland to Duperret, in which she acquaints him she has been released from the abbey; that she thought she was going to return home; but that before she reached it she was taken up and conducted to Sainte-Pelagie. 5thly, and lastly, in three other letters written by her in like manner to Lauze Duperret; the first dated June 6, the second without date, and the third June 24. In the second she says: ‘The accounts I receive from my friends are the only pleasure I am sensible of: you have assisted in procuring me that pleasure: tell them my confidence in their courage and knowledge of what they are capable of doing for liberty, stands me instead of every thing, and consoles me in all my misfortunes; tell them my esteem, my attachment, and my good wishes, will follow them wherever they go. Barba­roux's hand-bill gave me great pleasure,’ &c.

AFTER the contents of the said letters there can be no doubt that the said wife of Roland was one of the principal agents and abettors of the conspiracy.

THESE things considered, the public accuser has drawn up the present indictment against Mary-Jane Phlipon, the wife of Roland, heretofore minister of the Interior, for having wickedly, and designedly, aided and assisted in the conspiracy which existed against the unity and indivisibility of the republic, against the liberty and safety of the French people, by assembling at her house, in secret council, the principal chiefs of that con­spiracy, [Page 152] and by keeping up a correspondence tending to facilitate their liberticide designs.

WHEREFORE the public accuser demands, that a re­cord be made, by the tribunal assembled, of the accusation brought by him against Mary-Jane Phlipon, the wife of Roland; and that in consequence he be ordered with his best speed, and by a serjeant (huisser) of the tribunal, bearer of the warrant, to take the said Mary-Jane Phli­pon, wife of Roland, into custody, and to lodge her in the house of arrest of the Conciergerie at Paris, there to remain in close imprisonment; as also that the said war­rant be notified to the accused, and to the tribunal of Paris.

DONE, in the cabinet of the public accuser, this se­venteenth of Brumaire, in the second year of the French republic, one and indivisible.

(Signed) A. Q. FOUQUIER.

THE warrant issued against her by the tribunal, and the minutes of the delivery of her person in the house of justice of the Conciergerie, as also the declaration of the jury of judgment, importing:

THAT there has existed a horrible conspiracy against the unity and indivisibility of the republic, the liberty and safety of the French people:

THAT Mary-Jane Phlipon, wife of John-Mary Ro­land, is convicted of being one of the abettors or ac­complices of that conspiracy.

THE tribunal, after having heard the public accuser deliver his reasons concerning the application of the law [Page 153] condemns Mary-Jane Phlipon, wife of John-Mary Ro­land, ex-minister, to the punishment of death, in con­formity with the law of the sixteenth of December, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, which has been read, and which is conceived in these terms:

"THE National Convention decrees, that whoever shall propose or attempt to destroy the unity of the French republic, or to detach its integral parts to unite them to a foreign territory, shall be punished with death."

DECLARES the property of the said wife of Roland confiscated to the use of the nation, in conformity with the law of the 10th of March last, which has been read, and which is conceived in these terms: "The property of those who shall be condemned to the punishment of death, shall be confiscated to the use of the republic: a provision shall be made for such widows and children as have no property of their own."

ORDERS the public accuser to see that the present sen­tence be put in execution, within twenty-four hours, on the Place de la Revolution in this city, and to be printed and posted up throughout the whole extent of the re­public, wherever need may be.

DONE, and pronounced in open court, the eighteenth of the month Brumaire, the second year of the French republic; present, citizens René-Francis Dumas, vice-president, performing the functions of president; Ga­briel Deliegé, Francis-Joseph Denisot, and Peter-Noel [Page 154] Subleyras, judges; who have signed t [...] Wolff, clerk of the court.

Collated.

A true copy, delivered by the undersigned. PARIS, secretary (Greffier.)

SUCH was the sentence that sent to the scaffold, at the age of thirty-nine, a woman, whose energetic dispo­sition, feeling heart, and cultivated mind, rendered her the delight and admiration of all who knew her. Her death reflects equal glory on her sex, and disgrace on her executioners.

IT is not my province to draw her character: her writings express it; her conduct is her testimony; and history will revenge the injustice of her contempora­ries.

THE sentence was preceded for form's sake, and ac­cording to the custom of that horrible tribunal, by a mock trial (debats), in which madam Roland was not allowed to speak, and in which hired ruffians vo­mited forth the most atrocious calumnies before other ruffians, the execrable tools of Robespierre, so unwor­thily honoured with the title of judges and jurors. I have not been able to procure a detail of the proceed­ings, which, as is well known, must not be taken in writing: but I know that only one person paid a tri­bute to truth, and that he was some time after sent on that account to the scaffold. I mean the worthy Le­cocq, who for eight months only had lived with Roland as a servant, and whose excellent qualities deserved a better fate.

[Page 155]MADAM Roland did not deceive the expectations of her friends. She was conducted to the scaffold with all the calmness of a great mind, superior to the idea of death and possessing sufficient power to overcome the natural horror of immediate dissolution. To exhibit a picture of her last moments, I cannot do better than borrow the ele­gant and impressive pen of Roiuffe. The following is the account he gives of them in his work intituled Memoires d'un dêtenu, pour servir á l' histoire de la tyrannie de Robe­spierre; a work which will furnish history with more than one important delineation, and which will never be read without emotion.

"THE blood of the twenty-two was still warm when madam Roland was brought to the Conciergerie. Well aware of the fate that awaited her peace of mind continued undisturbed. Though past the prime of life, she was still a charming woman: she was tall and of elegant make; and her countenance was expressive; but her misfortunes and long confinement had left traces of melancholy on her face, which tempered its natu­ral vivacity. She had the soul of a republican in a body made up of graces, and fashioned by a certain courtly style of politeness. Something more than is ge­nerally found in the eyes of women beamed from hers, which were large, dark, and full of softness and expres­sion. She often spoke to me at the grate with the freedom and energy of a great man. This republican language, from the mouth of a pretty French woman, for whom the scaffold was preparing, was one of the miracles of the revolution to which we were not then [Page 156] accustomed. We all stood list [...] [...] admiration and astonishment. I [...] [...] serious without being cold; and [...] with a choice of words, a harmony and cadence, that made her language a kind of music with which the ear was never satisfied. She always spoke of the mem­bers, who had just been put to death, with respect; but she spoke of them at the same time without feminine pity, and even reproached them with not having adopted measures sufficiently energetic. She generally styled them our friends, and often sent for Claviere to con­verse with him. Sometimes her sex would recover the ascendance; and it was easy to see, that the recollection of her daughter and her husband had drawn tears from her eyes. This mixture of natural softness, and of for­titude, rendered her the more interesting. The wo­man who waited on her, said to me one day, 'Before YOU she calls up all her courage; but in her own room she sometimes stands for hours together, leaning against her window and weeping.' The day she was sent for to be examined, we saw her pass with her usual firmness; but when she returned the tears were glistening in her eyes: she had been treated with so much harshness, and questions so injurious to her honour had been asked her, that her tears and her indignation had burst forth together. A mercenary pedant coldly insulted this woman, celebrated for the excellence of her understanding, and who, at the bar of the National Convention, had reduced her ene­mies to silence, and forced them to admire the easy graces of her eloqence. She remained eight days at [Page 157] the Conciergerie; and in that short time rendered herself dear to all the prisoners, who sincerely deplored her fate.

THE day she was condemned, she was neatly dress­ed in white; and her long black hair flowed loosely to her waist. She would have moved the most savage heart, but those monsters had no heart at all. Her dress, however, was not meant to excite pity; but was chosen as a symbol of the purity of her mind. After her con­demnation, she passed through the wicket with a quick step, bespeaking something like joy; and indicated by an expressive gesture, that she was condemned to die. She had, for the companion of her misfortune, a man whose fortitude was not equal to her own, but whom she found means to inspire with gaiety, so cheering and so real, that it several times brought a smile upon his face.

AT the place of execution, she bowed down before the statue of Liberty, and pronounced these memorable words: O Liberty, how many crimes are committed in thy name!

SHE often said, that her husband would not survive her; and soon after we learned in our dungeons, that the virtuous Roland had killed himself on the public road, thereby indicating his wish to die irreproachable in re­gard to courageous hospitality.

MY heart, though suffering many cruel torments in that horrible abode, felt nothing more severely than the pang occasioned by the death of that celebrated wo­man.—The remembrance of her murder, added to that of my unfortunate friends, will make my mind a prey to inconsolable sorrow to the last period of my existence.

END OF THE SECOND PART.
[Page 159]

SUPPLEMENT*.

‘The Examination of Citizenness Roland at the Abbey, taken from Dulaure's paper called the Thermometre du Jour, of the 21st and 22d June, 1793.

I CONSIDER it as an indispensable duty, whatever may be the prejudices of the public, to afford to persons ac­cused the means of making known their justification. This induces me to publish the examination of ma­dam Roland. None but cowards, and men strangers to equity, can blame this conduct. DULAURE.

THE 12th of June, Louvet, an administrator of the police, repaired to the Abbey to examine madam Roland.

Question. Are you not acquainted with the troubles which agitated the republic during and after the admi­nistration of citizen Roland, your husband?

Answer. Those things were known to me, as to every one else, by conversations and the public papers.

Observed. This negative manner of answering a question is not satisfactory, newspapers not giving that intimate knowledge which I must certainly have had of public affairs.

[Page 160] Answer. I was not bound to acquire any such know­ledge, since as a woman I had no business to interfere in them.

Question. Had you no knowledge of a plan for a fe­derative republic, and for detaching the departments from Paris?

Answer. I never heard of such a thing: I can say, on the contrary, that Roland, and all the persons I was in the habit of seeing, constantly spoke in my presence of the expediency of maintaining the unity of the republic, as tending to give it greater force; of the consequent necessity of preserving an equilibrium between all the departments; of their wish that Pa­ris might do nothing to excite the jealousy of the rest; of their desire to see justice and liberty prevail throughout France, and to concur in the maintenance of them.

Observed. That if those persons spoke of justice and liberty without equality, their principles were repre­hensible.

Answer. In my opinion, as well as in that of the per­sons in question, equality is the necessary consequence of justice and liberty.

Question. Who were the persons that composed Ro­land's society and yours?

Answer. His old friends, and those with whom he had business to transact.

Observed. That it would be desirable to know the names of the citizens and persons of my own sex with whom I was in the greatest habits of intimacy.

[Page 161] Answer. Those with whom I was most intimate are generally known, and most assuredly nobody came to my house in secret.

Observed. That I could certainly name those who the most frequently visited the minister, and formed his private parties.

Answer. As a man in office, Roland sometimes re­ceived a hundred persons in a day, not one of whom I saw. As to myself, I never had any extensive circle of visitors; but sometimes gave a dinner to my husband's colleagues, and to the persons with whom they were in any way connected.

Question. Had you no knowledge of writings sent to the departments to provoke them to rise against Paris?

Answer. I never heard of such a thing.

Observed. That Roland while minister had however formed offices of public opinion in the departments and it appeared that sums of money were set apart for the purpose.

Answer. The first part of the observation appears to me absolutely destitute of foundation. As to the second, every body knows the minister of the Interior was allowed a sum of money in order to disperse useful writings; and as Roland has given in his accounts, it is easy to see what writings were sent to the depart­ments.

Question. Can you not name those writings? You must certainly know what they were.

Answer. The accounts being public, and having been posted up, any one may recur to them for a more ex­act [Page 162] list of those writings than I am able to give. As to their contents, it belongs to the public, and not to me, to decide upon their merit.

Observed. That Roland could not have given in his accounts, since he so earnestly solicited permission to do so, when desirous of leaving Paris.

Answer. Not wishing to suppose the person who examines me has any bad intention, I can only attri­bute the present observation to an extreme ignorance of facts. Roland not only delivered a monthly account to the convention, but on going out of office, gave in a general account, in which every thing was de­tailed in the most particular manner. What he so­licited was the passing of those accounts, that is to say, their investigation by the commissioners of the con­vention, and such a report of them to that assembly as they might appear to deserve. The committee of public accounts in consequence imposed this task on se­veral of its members.

I ADDED, I knew that they had come repeatedly to the hotel of the Interior; that they had examined the minutes and vouchers; had been edified, as they needs must, by the administration of a man whose in­tegrity and courage would long be the theme of praise; that it was Roland's most earnest desire, as well as mine, that the commissioners should make their report, and that I begged all good citizens to join me in my en­deavours to obtain it.

[I WAS interrupted in this answer: it was thought too long; and I was accused of being ac [...]imonious. I ob­served, [Page 163] that I availed myself of my rights, and that there was no acrimony in informing those who were igno­rant of Roland's having given in his accounts, that he had done so long ago.]

Question. Among your acquaintance was there no friend of Dumouriez?

Answer. There was nobody intimate with him, to the best of my knowledge, among those I was in the habit of seeing.

Question. Have you had no connexion with traitors?

Answer. All the persons I was acquainted with, were so noted for their patriotism, that it was impossible even to suspect them of any intercourse with traitors.

Question. Do you know where your husband is?

Answer. I do not.

Question. Where you not privy to a plan for dissolving the popular societies?

Answer. Nobody in my presence ever disclosed such a plan, or opinions tending that way.

HERE after a confinement of twelve days, for which no motive had been assigned, ended my examination, without my being told of what I was accused or suspect­ed, and consequently without my knowing on what facts I was to be questioned.

CONFIDENT that I had nothing to lose by telling the truth concerning my sentiments, and all the persons with whom I had been acquainted, I neglected to avail myself of my rights, and gave a plain and direct answer to every thing that was asked.

THE examination was upon two sheets of paper: my [Page 164] signature was required at the end only. I demanded a copy, and was promised it the next day: nine are however passed, and I have not yet received it, al­though I have sent to ask for it four times. But on leaving the administrator, I committed to paper all that had passed. I am sure I have exactly related every thing that was said; and I sign Roland, formerly Phlipon.

End of the Supplement to the Second Part.
AN APPEAL TO IMPARTI …
[Page]

AN APPEAL TO IMPARTIAL POSTERITY: BY MADAME ROLAND, WIFE OF THE MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR: OR, A COLLECTION OF TRACTS, WRITTEN BY HER DURING HER CONFINEMENT IN THE PRISONS OF THE ABBEY, AND ST. PELAGIE, IN PARIS.

IN FOUR PARTS.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH ORIGINAL, Published for the Benefit of her only Daughter, deprived of the Fortune of her Parents by Sequestration.

FIRST AMERICAN EDITION—CORRECTED.

VOL. II. Containing Part III. and IV.

May my last letter to my daughter fix her attention to that object which appears likely to become her essential duty—and may the remembrance of her mother at­tach her for ever to those virtues which afford consolation in all circumstances.— Extracted from the Piece entitled, My Last Thoughts, Part ii. P. 120.

NEW-YORK: PRINTED BY ROBERT WILSON, For A. VAN HOOK, Proprietor of the Reading-Room.

1798.

[Page]

PART THE THIRD. PRIVATE MEMOIRS.

SECTION I.

THE daughter of an artist, the wife of a man of letters (who afterwards became a minister, and remained an honest man), now a prisoner, destined perhaps to a violent and unexpected death, I have been acquainted with happiness and with adversity, I have seen glory at hand, and I have experienced in­justice.

BORN in an obscure station, but of honest pa­rents, I spent my youth in the bosom of the fine arts, nourished by the charms of study, and igno­rant of all superiority but that of merit, of all great­ness but that of virtue.

ARRIVED at years of maturity, I lost all hopes of that fortune, which might have placed me in a con­dition suitable to the education I had received. A [Page 4] marriage with a respectable man appeared to compen­sate this loss; it served to lay the foundation of new misfortunes.

A GENTLE disposition, a strong mind, a solid un­derstanding, an extremely affe [...]ionate heart, and an exterior which announced there qualities, rendered me dear to all those with whom I was acquainted. The situation into which I have been thrown has created me enemies; personally I have none: to those who have spoken the worst of me I am utterly un­known.

IT is so true that things are seldom what they ap­pear to be, that the periods of my life in which I have felt the most pleasure, or experienced the greatest vexation, were often the very contrary of those that others might have supposed: the solution is, that happiness depends on the affections more than on events.

IT is my purpose to employ the leisure of my cap­tivity in retracing what has happened to me from my tenderest infancy to the present moment. Thus to tread over again all the steps of our career, is to live a second time; and what, in the gloom of a prison, can we do better than to transport our existence else­where by pleasing fictions, or by the recollection of in­teresting occurrences?

IF we gain less experience by acting, than by reflect­ing on what we see and do, mine will be greatly aug­mented by my present undertaking.

[Page 5]PUBLIC affairs, and my own private sentiments, afforded me ample matter for thinking, and sub­jects enough for my pen during two months im­prisonment, without obliging me to have recourse to distant times. Accordingly, the first five weeks were devoted to my Historic Notices, which formed perhaps no uninteresting collection. They have just been destroyed; and I have felt all the bitterness of a loss, which I shall never repair. But I should despise myself, could I suffer my mind to sink in any circum­stances whatever. In all the troubles I have experi­enced, the most lively impression of sorrow has been almost immediately accompanied by the ambition of opposing my strength to the evil, and of surmount­ing it, either by doing good to others, or by exerting my own fortitude to the utmost. Thus misfortune may pursue, but cannot overwhelm me; tyrants may persecute, but never, no never shall they debase me. My Historic Notices are gone: I mean to write my Memoirs; and, prudently accommodating myself to my weakness, at a moment when my feelings are acute, I shall talk of my own person, that my thoughts may be the less at home. I shall exhibit my fair and my unfavourable side with equal freedom. He who dares not speak well of himself is almost always a coward, who knows and dreads the ill that may be said of him; and he who hesitates to confess his faults, has neither spirit to vindicate, nor virtue to repair them. Thus frank with respect to myself, I shall [Page 6] not be scrupulous in regard to others: father, mother, friends, husband, I shall paint them all in their proper colours, or in the colours, at least in which they appear­ed to me.

WHILE I remained in a quiet and retired station, my natural sensibility so absorbed my other qualities, that it displayed itself alone, or governed all the rest. My first objects were to please and to do good. I was a little like that good man, Mr. de Gourville, of whom Madame de Sévigné said, that the love of his neigh­bour cut off half his words; nor was I undeserving of the character given me by Sainte-Lette, who said, that though possessed of wit to point an epigram, I never suffered one to escape my lips.

SINCE the energy of my character has been un­folded by circumstances, by political and other storms, my frankness takes place of every thing, without consi­dering too nicely the little scratches it may give in its way. Still, however, I deal not in epigrams; they in­dicate a mind pleased at irritating others by satirical ob­servations; and, as to me, I never yet could find a­musement in killing flies. But I love to do justice by the utterance of truths, and refrain not from the most severe, in presence of the parties concerned, with­out suffering myself to be alarmed, or moved, or angry, whatever may be the effects they pro­duce.

GATIEN PHLIPON, my father, was by profession an engraver; he also professed painting, and applied [Page 7] himself to that in enamel, less from taste than ex­pectation of profit: but the fire which enamelling requires, agreeing neither with his sight nor his constitu­tion, he was obliged to relinquish that branch of the art. He confined himself therefore to the first, the profits of which were moderate. But, though he was industrious, though the times were favourable to the exercise of his art, though he had much business, and though he em­ployed a considerable number of workmen, the desire of making a fortune induced him to enter into trade. He purchased diamonds, and other jewels, or took them in payment from the tradesmen who employed him, to sell them again when opportunities might occur. I mention this circumstance, because I have observed, that ambition is generally fatal to all classes of men; for the few, whose wishes it crowns with success, multitudes become its vic­tims. The example of my father will afford me more than one application of this maxim. His art was suffici­ent to procure him a comfortable subsistence; he went in pursuit of riches, and met with ruin on his way.

STRONG and healthy, active and vain, he loved his wife, and was fond of dress. Without learning, he had that superficial degree of taste, and knowledge which the fine arts never fail to give, however inferior the line in which they are pursued. Accordingly, in spite of his regard for wealth, and whatever could procure it, though he trafficked with tradesmen, he formed con­nexions with artists, painters, and sculptors alone. He led a very regular life while his ambition was kept within [Page 8] bounds, and had suffered no reverse of fortune. He could not be said to be a virtuous man, but he had a great deal of what is called honour. He would have had no objection to selling a thing for more than it was worth, but he would have killed himself rather than not pay the stipulated price of what he had agreed to purchase.

MARGARET Bimont, his wife, brought him, as a dower, very little money, but a heavenly mind, and a charming figure. The eldest of six children, to whom she had been a second mother, she married at six-and-twenty, only to resign her place to her sisters. Her af­fectionate heart and captivating mind ought to have pro­cured her an union with a man of delicate feelings and an enlightened understanding; but her parents proposed to her an honest man, whose talents insured her a sub­sistence, and her reason accepted him. Instead of that happiness, which she could not expect, she was sensible that she should be able to attain domestic quiet, its most desirable substitute. It is a proof of wisdom to be able to contract our desires: enjoyments are always more rare than is imagined; but virtue is never without its consolation.

I was their second child. My father and mother had seven? but all the rest died at nurse, or from accidents in coming into the world; and my mother sometimes took a pleasure in remarking, that I was the only one from whom she had experienced no disaster; for her delivery had been as happy as her pregnancy: it seemed as if I had contributed to establish her health.

[Page 9]AN aunt of my father selected for me, in the neighbourhood of Arpajon, whither she made fre­quent excursions in the summer, a healthy and well­disposed nurse, who was much esteemed in the place, and the more so, bacause her husband's bru­tality rendered her unhappy, without making her alter her disposition or her conduct. Madame Bes­nard (for that was the name of my great aunt) had no children; her husband was my godfather; and they both looked upon me as their own daughter. Their kindness to me has been constant and invariable; they are still alive, and in the decline of life are overwhelmed with sorrow, lamenting the fate of their darling neice, in whom they had placed their hopes and their glory. Aged and respect­able friends, be comforted: it is given to few to complete their career in that silence and tranquillity which attend you. I am not unequal to the misfor­tunes that assail me, nor shall I ever cease to honour your virtues.

THE vigilance of my nurse was encouraged or re­compensed by the kindness of my good relations; her zeal and success procured her the friendship of my whole family; nor did she, as long as she lived, ever suffer two years to elapse, without taking a journey to Paris, on purpose to see me. She hastened to me when she heard that a cruel death had deprived me of my mother. I still recollect her sudden appearance: I was confined [Page 10] to my bed with affliction; and as her presence re­called a recent calamity, the first misfortune of my life, very forcibly to my mind, I fell into convulsions, which terrified her to such a degree, that she withdrew, and I saw her no more: soon after she died. I had been to visit her at the cottage in which she suckled me, and listened with emotion to the tales which her good-natured sim­plicity took a pleasure in telling, while pointing out the places I had preferred, and relating the tricks I had played her, with the frolicsome gaiety of which she was still entertained.—At two years of age I was brought home to my father's. I have fre­quently been told of the surprise I testified at the lighting of the lamps, which I called "Pretty bottles!" of my repugnance to make use of what is called a pot-de-chambre, for a purpose for which the corner of the garden had always served me; and of the air of ridicule with which I pointed to the salad-dishes and terrennes, asking if they two were made for the same use. These little anecdotes, and others of equal importance, interesting to nurses, and fit only to be related to uncles and aunts, shall be passed over in silence; nor will it be expected that I should here depict a little brunette, of two years of age, whose dark hair fell in graceful ring­lets over a face animated with a glowing complexion, and breathing the happiness of that age of which it wore the ruddy livery. I know a better moment for [Page 11] drawing my portrait, and I am not so injudicious as to anticipate it here.

THE discretion, and other excellent qualities, of my mother, soon gave her an ascendancy over my mild and affectionate disposition, which she never employed but for my good. So great was this ascendancy, that, in those little disputes, unavoid­able between authoritative reason and resisting in­fancy, she never found it necessary to inflict any other punishment than that of gravely calling me Mademoiselle, and fixing on me an eye of reproof. I still feel the impression made upon me by her look, at other times so affectionate; I still hear, with a palpitating heart, the word Mademoiselle substituted, with heart-rending dignity, for the kind name of daughter, or the elegant appellation of Manon. Yes, Manon; for so I was called. I am sorry for the lovers of romance: there is certainly nothing noble in the name, nor is it at all suitable to a heroine of the lofty kind; but it was mine; and, as an historian, I cannot disguise the truth;—be­sides the ears of the most delicate would have been reconciled to this name, had they heard it pronounc­ed by my mother, and seen the object to which it was addressed. What expression could want elegance, when conveyed in her affectionate tones? And when her touching voice made its way to my heart, did it not teach me to resemble so amiable a parent?

LIVELY, without being turbulent or troublesome, [Page 12] and naturally of a reflective turn of mind, I desired nothing more than to be employed, and readily laid hold of every idea that was held out to me. This disposition was turned to so good account, that I never remember having been taught to read. I have been told, that at four years old the business was in a manner completed, and that the trouble of teaching me was over at that epoch, since all that was in future necessary, was not to let me want a supply of books. Whatever they were that were put into my hands, or that I could any where meet with, they were sure to engross all my atten­tion, which could no longer be called away by any thing but a nosegay. The sight of a flower delights my imagination, and flatters my senses to an inex­pressible degree; it awakens me to a luxu­rious conciousness of my existence. Under the tranquil shelter of my paternal roof, I was happy from my infancy with flowers and books: in the narrow confines of a prison, amidst the chains impos­ed by the most shocking tyranny, I forget the injustice of men, their follies, and my misfortunes, with books and flowers.

IT was too good an opportunity of making me acquainted with the Old and New Testaments, and with the Catechism, both great and small, to be neglected. I learned every thing it was thought proper to give me, and should have repeated the Koran had I been taught to read it. I remember [Page 13] a painter of the name of Guibol, who afterwards settled at Studgard, and whose panegyric on Poussin, which obtained the prize from the aca­demy of Rouen, fell into my hands a few years ago. He used to come frequently to my father's, and was a merry fellow, who told me many ex­travagant tales, which I have not forgotten, and by which I was exceedingly amused; nor was he less diverted with making me display my slender stock of knowledge in my turn. I think I see him now, with a figure bordering on the grotesque, sitting in an armed chair, taking me between his knees, on which I rested my elbows, and making me repeat St. Athanasius's creed; then rewarding my compliance with the story of Tanger, whose nose was so long, that he was obliged when he walked to twist it round his arm: this is not the most absurd contrast that might be exhibited.

WHEN seven years old, I was sent every Sunday to the parish-church, to attend catechism, as it is called, in order to prepare me for confirmation. From the present course of things, it is possible that they who read this passage may ask what I mean. I will inform them. In the corner of a church, chapel, or charnel-house, a few rows of chairs, or benches, extending to a certain length, were placed opposite to each other. A sufficient opening was reserved in the middle, in which was placed a seat somewhat higher than the rest. This [Page 14] was the curule chair of the young priest, whose office it was to instruct the children that attended. They were made to repeat by heart the epistle and gospel for the day, the collect, and such a portion of the catechism as was appointed for their weekly task. When the children were numerous, the catechising priest had a little clerk, who heard them repeat their lessons, while the master took upon himself to explain the questions essential to the subject. In some parishes the children of both sexes attended together, and were only placed on separate forms; but in general their hours of in­struction were entirely distinct. The pious ma­trons to whom the children belonged, always greedy of the bread of the word, however coarsely prepared, were present at these lectures, seated according to their ages, as well as at the preparation for being confirmed, and receiving the first commu­nion. The zealous pastors also occasionally made their appearance amidst their young flock, who were taught to rise respectfully at their approach. They put a few questions to the best dressed, in order to ascertain the progress they had made. The mothers of those who were interrogated, were puffed up with pride at the distinction, and the reverend pastor withdrew in the midst of their obeisances. Mr. Garat, the rector of my parish, which was St. Bartholomew's, within the pricinct of what was then called the City—a good sort of man, [Page 15] said to be very learned, though he could not deliver two words of common sense from the pulpit, in which he had the rage of exhibiting himself, much in the same manner as Mr. Garat, minister of state, is reputed a man of ability, though totally ignorant of his trade—Mr. Garat, my rector, came one day to the catechism; and, in order to sound the depth of my theological erudition, and display his own sagacity, asked me how many orders of spirits there were in the celestial hierar­chy. From the ironical tone and air of triumph with which he put the question, I was persuaded that he expected to puzzle me. I answered, with a smile, that, though many were enumerated in the preface to the Missal, I had found from other books that there were nine; and so I marshalled before him in their proper order, the whole host of angels, arch­angels, thrones, dominions, &c. Never was priest so satisfied with the knowledge of his neophyte: it was quite enough to establish my reputation among all the devout matrons; and, accordingly, I be­came a chosen vessel, as hereafter will appear. Some persons perhaps will say, that, with my mother's caution and good sense, it is astonishing that she should have sent me to these catechisms: but there is a reason for every thing. My mother had a younger brother, an ecclesiastic belonging to her parish, to whose care was committed the catechism of confirmation, to use the technical term. [Page 16] The presence of his niece was an admirable ex­ample, calculated to induce those who were not of what is called the lower order of the people, to send their children also: a circumstance that could not fail to be pleasing to the rector.—Besides, I had a memory which was sure to secure me the first rank; and every thing else about me support­ing this kind of superiority, my parents gratified their vanity, while appearing only to pursue the path of humility. It happened, that, in the distribution of prizes, which took place, with no small parade, at the end of the year, I obtained the first, without the least partiality being shown me: on this, all the grave churchwardens, and all the reverend clergy of the parish, congratulated my uncle; who, in consequence of my success, began to be more noticed, which was all that was necessary to prepossess every one in his favour. A handsome person, the greatest good-nature, an easy temper, the most gentle manners, and the utmost gaiety, attended him to these latter times, when he died a canon of Vincennes, just as the revolution was about to abolish all ecclesiastical dignities. It seemed to me, as if I had lost the last of my relations on the maternal side, nor can I recollect a single circumstance respecting him without emotion. My eagerness to learn, and quickness of apprehension, suggested to him the idea of teaching me Latin. I was delighted with [Page 17] it; for it was a feast to me to find a new subject of study. I had at home masters for writing, geo­graphy, dancing, and music; and my father had made me begin drawing; but in all this I was far from finding an excess of occupation. Rising at five in the morning, when every body in the house was asleep, I stole softly, in my bed-gown, regardless of shoes or stockings, to a corner of my mother's chamber, where was the table on which my books were laid; and there I copied or re­peated my lessons with such assiduity, that my progress was astonishing. My masters became in consequence more affectionate; gave me long les­sons; and took such an interest in my instruction, as called forth on my part additional attention. I had not a single master who did not appear as much flattered by teaching me, as I was grateful for being taught; nor one who, after attending me for a year or two, was not the first to say, that his instructions were no longer necessary, and that he ought no longer to be paid; but that he should be glad of permission to visit my parents in order to converse with me now and then. I shall ever honour the memory of the good Mr. Marchand, who, when I was five years old, taught me to write, and afterwards instructed me in geography and history. He was a discreet, patient, clear­headed, and methodical personage, to whom I gave the nickname of Mr. Demure. I saw him married [Page 18] to a worthy woman, a dependant of the family of Nesle; and went to visit him in his last sickness, when a fit of the gout, translated to his chest by an injudicious bleeding, occasioned his death at the age of fifty.—I was then eighteen.

I HAVE not forgotten my music-master, Cajon, a little, lively, talkative being, born at Macon, where he had been a singing-boy. He was afterwards by turns a soldier, a deserter, a capuchin friar, a clerk in a counting-house, and lastly a vagrant, arriving at Paris with his wife and children without a penny in his pocket; but he had a very pleasing counter voice, rarely to be met with in men who have not un­dergone a certain operation, and admirably adapted to the teaching of young persons to sing. Introduced to my father, I know not by whom, he had me for his first scholar. He bestowed on me considerable pains: frequently borrowed money of my parents, which was soon spent; never returned me a collection of lessons by Bordier, which he plundered with so art, as to compile from it the Elements of Music, that he published in his own name; lived in great style without being rich, and at the end of fifteen years, terminated his career by quitting Paris, where he had contracted heavy debts, and by repairing to Rus­sia, where I know not what became of him.

OF Mozon, the dancing-master, an honest Savoy­ard, frightfully ugly, whose wen I think I still see embellishing his right cheek while he inclined his [Page 19] pock-fretted and flat-nosed visage to the left on his instrument, I might relate some humorous anec­dotes; as well as of poor Mignard, my master for the guitar, a sort of Spanish Colossus, whose hands resembled those of Esau, and who, in gravity, over-strained politeness, and rodomontade, was in­ferior to none of his countrymen.

THE timid Wattin, of fifty years of age, whose periwig, spectacles, and carbuncled face, seemed all in commotion while he was placing the fingers of his little scholar on the violoncello, and teaching her to hold her bow, did not continue long with me: but, on the other hand, the reverend father Colomb, a Barnabite, formerly a missionary, superior of his convent at the age of seventy-five, and my mother's confessor, sent his bass-viol to her house to console me for the desertion of my master of the violoncello, and, when he came to see us, accom­panied me himself while I played on my guitar. He was not a little astonished, when one day, taking up his bass, I played a few airs that I had studied in pri­vate with tolerable execution. Had there been a double-bass in the house, I should have got up in a chair to try and make something of it. To avoid anachronism, however, it must be observed, that I am here anticipating things, and that I am arrived in my narrative at the period only of seven years, to which I return.

I HAVE advanced thus far without noticing my [Page 20] father's influence over my education. [...] trifling, for he interfered in it but litt [...] [...] not be amiss to relate an occurrence that induced him to interfere still less.

I WAS extremely obstinate; that is to say, I did not readily consent to any thing of which I saw not the reason; and when the exercise of authority alone ap­peared, or I fancied that I perceived the dictates of caprice, I could not submit. My mother sagacious and discreet, rightly judged that I must be governed by reason, or drawn by the cords of affection; and, treating me accordingly, experienced no opposition to her will. My father, hasty in his manner, issued his orders imperiously, and my compliance was either re­luctant, or wholly withheld. If, despot-like he at­tempted to punish me, his gentle little daughter was converted into a lion. On two or three occasions while he was whipping me, I bit the thigh across which I was laid, and protested against his injunctions. One day, when I was a little indisposed, it was thought proper that I should take physic. The nauseous draught was brought me; and I put it to my lips; but the smell alone made me reject it with abhorrence. My mother made use of all her influence to over­come my repugnance; she inspired me with the desire of obeying her; and I sincerely did my best; but every time the horrid potion approached my nose, my senses revolted, and made me turn aside my head. My mother fatigued herself to no purpose; [Page 21] I wept both for her sufferings and my own, and be­came still less capable of complying with her will. My father came, put himself into a passion, and, ascribing my resistance to stubbornness, recurred to the remedy of the rod. From that instant all desire of obedience vanished, and I declared that I would not take the medicine at all. A violent uproar, re­peated threats, and a second whipping, followed. I was only the more indignant, uttering terrible cries, lifting up my eyes to heaven, and preparing to throw away the draught which they were about to present to me again. My gestures betrayed me; and my father, in a rage, threatened to whip me a third time. I feel, while I write this, the revolution, and developement of fortitude, which took place in my mind. My tears ceased at once to flow, my sobbings were at an end, and a sudden calm concentrated my faculties into a single resolution. I raised myself, turned to the bed-side, leaned my head against the wall, lifted up my chemise, and exposed myself to the rod in silence. My father might have killed me on the spot, without drawing from me a single sigh.

MY mother, who was dreadfully agitated by the scene, and who stood in need of all her prudence not to increase my father's rage, at last got him out of the room: she then put me to bed without saying a word; and, when I had rested two hours, returned, and conjured me, with tears in her eyes, to give her no farther vexation, but to take the medicine. [Page 22] I looked stedfastly in her face, took the glass, and swallowed it at a draught. In a quarter of an hour, it was thrown up again; and I was seized with a vio­lent paroxysm of fever, which it was found necessary to cure by other means than by nauseous drugs or by the rod. I was at that time little more than six years old.

ALL the circumstances of this scene are as present to my mind, all the sensations I experienced as distinct to my imagination, as if they had recently occurred. It was the same inflexible firmness that I have since felt on great and trying occasions; nor would it at this moment cost me more to ascend undauntedly the scaffold, than it did then to resign myself to brutal treatment, which might have killed, but could not conquer me.

FROM that instant my father never laid his hand upon me, nor did he even undertake to reprimand me; but on the contrary, caressed me frequently, taught me to draw, took me out to walk, and treated me with a kindness that rendered him more respectable in my eyes, and insured him my entire submission. The seventh anniversary of my birth was celebrated as the attainment of the age of reason, when it might be expected of me to follow its dictates. This was a politic sort of plea for observing towards me a more respectful treatment, that should give me confidence in myself, without ex­citing my vanity. My days flowed gently on in do­mestic [Page 23] quiet and in great activity of mind. My mother was almost always at home, and received little company. Two days in the week however we went abroad; once to visit my father's relations, and once, which was on Sunday, to see my grandmother Bimont, to go to church, and to take a walk. The visit to my grandmother always took place as soon as vespers were over. She was a corpulent but hand­some woman, who at an early age had suffered an attack of the palsy, from which her understanding had sustained a permanent injury. From that time she had gradually declined into a state of dotage, spending her days in her easy chair, either at the win­dow or the fireside, according to the season. An old servant, who had been forty years in the family, had the care of her. The servant, whose name was Mary, regularly upon my entrance, gave me my af­ternoon's repast. So far all went well; but when that was over, I grew dreadfully tired of the visit. I fought for books; could find none but the Psal­ter; and, for want of better, have twenty times read over the French, and chanted the Latin. When I was gay, my grandmother would weep; if I fell down, or got a blow, she would burst into a sit of laughter. That did not please me. It was in vain to tell me it was the effect of her disease; I did not find it on that account the less disagreeable. I could have borne with her laughing at me, but she never shed tears without their being accompanied by cries [Page 24] at once grievous and imbecile, which rent my heart, and inspired me with terror. In the mean time old Mary indulged herself to her heart's content in the garrulity of age, with my mother, who considered it as a sacred duty to pass two hours with hers, while complaisantly listening to the servant's tales. This was no doubt a painful exercise of my patience; but I was forced to submit; for one day, when I cried for vexation, and begged to go away, my mother as a punishment, staid the whole evening. Nor did she fail, at proper times, to represent her assiduity as a strict and becoming duty, in which it was honoura­ble for me to participate. I know not how she mana­ged it, but my heart received the lesson with emotion. When the Abbé Bimont could meet us at his mo­ther's, my joy was inexpressible. That dear little uncle made me dance, and sing, and play; but un­fortunately it was seldom in his power, as he was mas­ter of the choristers, and much confined to the house. This brings to my mind one of his pupils, a lad of a prepossessing countenance, whom he was fond of praising, because he was the scholar that gave him the least trouble. His promising disposition ob­tained him, a few years after, an exhibition at some college, and he is now no other than the Abbé Noel, known at first by some little productions, employed afterwards by the minister Le Brun in the diplomatic line, envoy last year at London, and now in Italy.

MY studies completely occupied my days, which [Page 25] seemed very short; for I had never time to get through all that I was inclined to undertake. Together with the elementary books, with which care had been taken to supply me, I soon exhausted all those that the little family library contained. I devoured every volume, and began the same over again, when no new ones were to be got. I remember two folio lives of the saints, a bible of the same size in an old version, a translation of Appian's civil wars, and a description of Turkey written in a wretched style, all of which I read over and over again. I also found the Comical Romance of Scar­ron, some collections of pretended bon mots, on which I did not bestow a second perusal; the memoirs of the brave De Pontis, which diverted me much; those of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, whose pride did not displease me; and several other antiquated works; the contents, binding, and spots of which I have still before my eyes. The passion for learning possessed me indeed to such a degree, that, having picked up a treatise on the art of heraldry, I set my­self instantly to study it. It had coloured plates, with which I was diverted, and I was glad to know the names of all the little figures they contained. My father was astonished when, soon after, I gave him a specimen of my science, by making some remarks on a seal that was not engraved agreeably to the rules of art. On this subject I became his oracle, nor did I ever mislead him. A short treatise on contracts fell [Page 26] into my hands; and this also I endeavoured to learn; for I read nothing which I was not desirous of retain­ing: but it tired me so soon, that I did not get to the fourth chapter.

THE Bible had peculiar attraction for me; and I returned frequently to its perusal. In the old transla­tions it speaks as plain a language as that of the sons of Esculapius; and certain crude and simple expres­sions struck me so forcibly, that they have never since escaped my memory. Hence I derived information not usually given to girls of my age; but I saw it in a light that was far from seducing. I had too much employment for my thoughts to dwell upon things of a mere material nature, that seemed to me to have nothing attractive about them. I could not however help laughing, when my grandmama talked to me of little children dug out of the parsley-bed; and I used to say, that my Ave-Maria informed me they came from another place, without troubling my head how they got there.

IN rummaging the house I found a source of read­ing which I husbanded for a considerable time. What my father called his work-shop was adjoining to the apartment where I usually sat, which was a handsome room, that might not improperly have been styled a drawing-room, but which my mother modestly called a parlour, neatly furnished, and or­namented with looking-glasses and a few pictures. It was here I received my lessons. The recess on one [Page 27] side of the fire-place was converted into a light closet, in which was placed a bed, so confined for want of room that I was obliged to get into it at the foot; a chair, a small table, and a few shelves. That was my sanctuary. On the opposite side was a large room, serving as a work-shop, my father having placed in it his bench, various pieces of sculpture, and the differ­ent instruments of his art. Thither I used to steal in an evening, or at hours of the day when all were ab­sent. I had there remarked a recess where one of the young men kept his books; a volume of which I carried off at a time, and hastened to my little closet to devour it, taking great care to put it in its place again, without saying a word of the matter to any one. They were in general very good books. One day I perceived that my mother had made the same disco­very as myself. Recognising a volume in her hands which had previously passed through mine, I no longer felt myself under any restraint; and without telling a falsehood, but at the same time without saying a word concerning what had passed, I seemed to be only following her example. The young man, whose name was Courson, to which he afterwards prefixed the de *, when he contrived to get into place at Ver­sailles as teacher to the pages, did not at all resemble his comrades: he was not destitute of politeness, was decent in his demeanour, and fond of study. He [Page 28] said nothing of the occasional disappearance of his books; so that it seemed as if there were a tacit agree­ment between all the parties. In this way I read a great many volumes of travels, of which I was pas­sionately fond; among others, those of Renard, which were the first; some plays of second-rate au­thors, and Dacier's Plutarch. This last work was mo [...]e to my taste than any thing I had yet seen, not excepting even pathetic stories, which however af­fected me much; as for instance, that of the unfor­tunate couple, by Labedoyère, which is still present to my mind, although I have never read it since that early period. But Plutarch seemed to be exactly the intellectual food that suited me. I shall never forget the Lent of 1763, at which time I was nine years of age, when I carried it to church instead of the Exer­cises of the Holy Week. It is from that period that I may date the impressions and ideas which render­ed me a republican, without my dreaming of ever be­coming one.

TELEMACHUS, and Jerusalem Delivered, interfered a little with the current of these majestic thoughts. The tender Fenelon moved my heart, and Tasso fired my imagination. Sometimes I read aloud at my mother's request, of which I was by no means fond, as it diverted me from that close attention which constituted my delight, and obliged me to proceed with less rapidity. But I would have plucked out my tongue rather than have read in that manner [Page 29] the episodes of the island of Calypso, and a number of passages in Tasso. My respiration quickened, a sudden glow overspread my countenance, and an agitation followed, which my faultering voice would have betrayed. With Telemachus I was Eucharis, and Herminia with Tancred. Completely transfor­med into these heroines, I thought not as yet of being something myself with some other personage. None of my reflections came home to me. I look around me for nothing. I was the very characters them­selves, and saw only the objects which existed on their account. It was a kind of waking dream, that led to nothing more substantial. I recollect however having seen with considerable emotion a young painter of the name of Taboral, who came occasionally to my father's house. He was about twenty, his voice was soft, his features languishing, and he blushed like a girl. When I heard him in the work-shop, I had always a crayon or something else to seek; but as the sight of him embarrassed no less than it pleased me, I ran out again more speedily than I entered, with a palpitation of my heart and a trembling of my limbs, that I hastened to conceal in my little closet. I can readily believe, that, with such a dis­position, assisted by leisure and a certain kind of company, both my imagination and my person might have been greatly affected.

THE works of which I have been speaking gave place to others, which softened the powerful im­pressions [Page 30] they had produced. Some of the writings of Voltaire served to operate this diversion. One day, when I was reading Candide, my mother having deserted her party of piquet, the lady with whom she was playing calling me from the corner in which I was sitting, desired to see the book I had in my hand; and on my mother's return expressed her astonishment at the nature of my studies.— My mother, without making any answer, contented herself with merely ordering me to carry it back to the place whence it came. I cast an evil eye upon this woman, of forbidding countenance, monstrous rotundity of waist, and affected importance; nor from that day forward did I ever bestow a smile upon Madame Charbonné. My good mother, how­ever, made no alteration in her truly unaccountable conduct, but permitted me to read all the books I could lay my hands on, without seeming to attend to them, though she knew very well what they were. I must observe at the same time, that no immoral publication ever came in my way; and even now I am only acquainted with the titles of two or three; the taste I have acquired having ever prevented my feeling the smallest temptation to procure them. As I preferred books to every thing else, my father sometimes made me presents of that kind; but, piquing himself, as he did, on seconding my propen­sity to serious studies, his choice was whimsical: he gave me, for instance, Fenelon on female [Page 31] education, and Locke on that of children in general; thus putting into the hands of the pupil what were designed for the tutor. I am persuaded, however, that the incongruity was not unproductive of benefit, and that chance perhaps served me better than the usual considerations of propriety would have done. I was very forward for my age; I loved to reflect; I thought seriously of improving myself; that is to say, I studied the movements of my mind; I sought to know myself; and I felt that I had a destination which it was requisite I should enable myself to fill. Religious notions began to ferment in my brain, and soon produced a violent explosion. But before I describe them, it may be proper for my reader to know what became of my Latin.

THE first rudiments of grammar were well arranged in my head. I declined nouns and conjugated verbs, though it appeared to me tiresome enough; but the hope of being able on some future day to read in that language the admirable productions of which I heard so much, and of which my books afforded me some idea, gave me resolution to get through the dry and difficult task. It was not thus with my little uncle, for so I called the Abbé Bimont. Young, good-humour­ed, indolent, and gay, giving not the smallest trouble to anybody, caring little to give himself any for others, and heartily tired of his trade of pedagogue with the choristers; he liked better to take a walk with me than to give me a lesson, and to make me laugh and [Page 32] play, than to hear me repeat my rudiments. He was far from being punctual either as to the hour or the day of coming to our house, and a thousand circum­stances combined to procrastinate his lessons. I was desirous however of learning, and loath to relin­quish what I had once begun. It was therefore re­solved upon, that I should go to him three morn­ings a week; but he was too giddy to keep him­self at liberty to devote a few moments to my instruction. I was sure to find him either busied in parish affairs, diverting himself with his boys, or breakfasting with a friend. I lost my time, the winter season came on, and my Latin was aban­doned. From that attempt I have preserved only a sort of glimmering or instinct of knowledge, which, during the days of devotion, enabled me to repeat or chant the Psalms without being absolutely ignorant of what I was saying, and a considerable facility for the study of languages in general, particularly the Italian, which I learnt a few years after, without a master, and without difficulty.

MY father took but little pains to forward me in drawing: he rather amused himself with my apti­tude, than endeavoured to give me extraordinary talents. A few words that dropped in a conversa­tion with my mother, gave me to understand that, from prudential motives, she was not desirous of my making any great proficiency in the art. "I would not have her become a painter,' said she; 'it [Page 33] would require an intercommunity of studies, and connections that we can very well dispense with.' I was also set to engrave; learnt to hold the graver, and got over the first difficulties in a short time; for nothing came amiss to me. On the birth-days of my good old relations, which were always religiously ce­lebrated, I carried for my present, either a pretty head, which I had been at great pains to draw for the occasion, or a neat little copper-plate, on which I had engraved a flower, with a compliment beneath, written with great care, and in verses hammered out by Mr. De­mure. In return I received almanacs*, which greatly amused me, and presents of such little articles as were adapted to my use, in general ornaments of dress, of which I was very fond. My mother took a pleasure in seeing me fine. In her own dress she was plain, and frequently even negligent; but her daughter was her doll, and from my early infancy I was dressed with a degree of elegance, and even richness, that seemed unsuitable to my condition. Young ladies at that time wore what was called a corps-de-robe, a dress resembling court robes, and fit­ting very closely at the waist, of which it displayed the form to advantage, but full below, with a long train that swept the ground, adorned with different trim­mings, [Page 34] according to the taste of the wearer. Mine were of fine silk, of somé simple pattern and modest colour, but in price and quality equal to my mother's best gala suits. My toilet was a grievous business to me, for my hair was frequently frizzed, papered, and tortured with hot irons, and all the other ridiculous and barbarous implements at that time in use. My head was so extremely tender, and the pulling I was obliged to undergo so painful, that, upon occasions of full dress, my sufferings always forced tears from my eyes, although I uttered no complaint.

METHINKS I hear it asked, For whose eyes, in the retired life I led, was all this finery intended? They who ask the question ought to recollect, that I went out two days in the week; and if they were acquaint­ed with the manners of what was at that time called the bourgeoisie of Paris, they must know there were thousands of them whose expence in dress, by no means small, had no other object, than an exhibition of a few hours on Sunday in the Tuileries; to which their wives joined the display of their finery at church, and the pleasure of parading their own quarter of the town, before their admiring neighbours. Add to this, family visits on great festivals, new year's day, weddings and christenings, and there will be found sufficient opportunities for the gratification of vanity. By the way, more than one contrast may be observed in my education. The young lady, exhibited on Sun­days at church, and the public walks, in an elegant [Page 35] dress, who you would have supposed to be just alight­ed from a carriage, and whose demeanour and lan­guage were perfectly consonant to her appearance, would go nevertheless to market in the week with her mother, in a linen frock, or would step into the street alone, to buy a little parsley or salad, which the ser­vant had forgotten. It must be confessed, I was not much pleased with it; but I showed no signs of dislike, and acquitted myself of my commission in such a way as to render it agreeable. I behaved with so much civility, and at the same time with so much dignity, that the fruiterer, or other shopkeeper, took a plea­sure in serving me first; and yet those who came be­fore me were never offended: I was sure to pick up some compliment or other in the way, which only served to make me more polite. The same child, who read systematic works, who could explain the circles of the celestial sphere, handle the crayon and the graver, and who, at eight years of age, was the best dancer in the youthful parties that met occasion­ally to assist at some little family festival, was fre­quently called into the kitchen to make an omelet, pick herbs, or skim the pot. That mixture of serious studies, agreeable relaxations, and domestic cares, properly ordered, and rendered agreeable by my mo­ther's good management, made me fit for every thing, seemed to forebode the vicissitudes of my fortune, and enabled me to support them. In every place I am at home: I can prepare my own dinner with as much ad­dress [Page 36] as Philopoemen cut wood; but no one seeing me so engaged, would think it an office in which I ought to be employed.

IT may be supposed, from what I have already re­lated, that my mother did not neglect what is called religion. She was pious without being a bigot; she had faith, or endeavoured to have faith; and con­formed her conduct to the rules of the church with the humility and regularity of a person who, finding it necessary for her peace of mind to adopt great prin­ciples, does not hesitate at trifling details. The res­pectful air with which the first notions of religion had been presented to me, had disposed me to re­ceive them with attention. They were of a nature calculated to make considerable impression on a live­ly imagination; and notwithstanding the trouble­some doubts frequently excited by my infant reason, which regarded with surprise the transformation of the devil into a serpent, and thought it cruel in God to have permitted it, I at last believed and adored.

I HAD received confirmation with the deep atten­tion of a mind that calculates the importance of its actions, and meditates on its duties. The pre­paring me for my first communion was talked of, and I felt a sacred terror take possession of my soul.

I READ books of devotion; I was seized with an irresistible desire to employ my mind about the great objects of eternal misery and happiness; and, by insensible degrees, all my thoughts centered [Page 37] in those points. Religious ideas gained a com [...] [...] cendance over my heart, and concurred with [...] [...] ral forwardness in bringing on the reign of senti­ment before its time. It began with the love of God, the sublime raptures of which rendered the first years of my adolescence safe and happy, resigned the rest to the care of philosophy, and seemed likely to protect me for ever from the storm of those passions, from which, with a constitution as vigorous as that of a prize-fighter, it is with difficulty that I preserve my riper age.

THE fit of devotion which agitated me, pro­duced an astonishing alteration in my mind. I be­came profoundly humble and inexpressibly timid. I looked upon men with a sort of terror, which in­creased when any of them struck me as amiable. I watched over my thoughts with extreme scrupulosity; the least profane image that offered itself to my mind, however confusedly, seemed a crime. I contracted such a habit of reserve, that, perusing Buffon's Natural History at the age of sixteen, when no longer a devotee, I skipped the article Man, and turned over the plates relating to it, with the speed and terror of a person who sees a precipice beneath his feet. In short, I did not marry till I was twenty-five; and with a heart such as may be imagined, senses highly inflammable, and considerable infor­mation as to several points, I had so well avoided all knowledge concerning one circumstance, that the [Page 38] consequences of marriage were as surprising to me as they were unpleasant.

MY life, which every day grew more and more retired, appeared still too worldly to admit of my preparing for my first communion. That import­ant transaction, which was to have such influence on my eternal salvation, occupied all my thoughts. I acquired a taste for divine service; I was struck with its solemnity; I read with avidity the explana­tion of the church ceremonies, and treasured up their mystic signification in my mind. Every day I turned over my folio Lives of the Saints, and re­gretted those happy days when the persecuting fury of paganism conferred the crown of martyrdom upon courageous christians. I began to think seriously of embracing a new kind of life, and, after pro­found meditations, fixed upon my plan. Until then, the idea of parting from my mother, used to draw a flood of tears from my eyes; and whenever any of my friends wished to divert themselves with the sudden clouds that sensibility spread over my ex­pressive brow, they never failed to talk of convents, and of the propriety of sending young women to in­habit them for a short space of time. But what ought we not to sacrifice to the Lord? I had formed of the solitude and silence of a cloister, those grand or romantic ideas which an active imagination would naturally engender. The more solemn its abode, the better it suited the enthusiastic disposition of my [Page 39] mind. One evening, after supper, being alone with my parents, I fell at their feet, shedding at the same time a torrent of tears, which deprived me of utterance. Astonished and uneasy, they asked the meaning of this strange emotion. 'I beg of you,' said I, sobbing, 'to do a thing which is most pain­ful to my heart, but which is called for by my con­science. Send me to a convent.' They raised me from the ground. My excellent mother was affected, and no doubt would have been alarmed, if my hav­ing been constantly in her presence for some time before, had not removed all grounds of fear: she asked me what it was that made me desirous of leav­ing them, observing at the same time, I had never been refused any reasonable request. I answered, it was my wish to receive the communion for the first time in a disposition of mind suitable to the solemnity of the occasion. My father commended my zeal, and expressed his readiness to comply with my desire. The next difficulty was, the making a choice among the different religious houses, in none of which my parents had any connexions; but they recollected that my music-master had spoken of a con­vent in which he gave lessons to several young ladies and resolved to make inquiry concerning it. They found it to be a respectable house, and of an order not very strict. The nuns had consequently the repu­tation of not practising those extravagancies and mummeries for which nuns are generally remarka­ble; [Page 40] the education of youth was also their profession. They kept a day-school for children of the lower class, whom they taught gratis, in conformity with their vows, and who came from their own homes to a room set apart for them; the boarding-school for such young women as were confided to their care, being entirely detached.

MY mother took the necessary steps; and after car­rying me to visit all my relations of the superior de­gree, and informing them of my resolution, which was highly commended, conducted me to the sister­hood of the Congregation, in the Rue Neuve St. Etienne, Fauxbourg St. Marceau, very near the pri­son in which I am now confined. While pressing my dear mother in my arms at the moment of parting with her for the first time in my life, I thought my heart would have burst; but I was acting in obedi­ence to the voice of God, and passed the threshold of the cloister, offering up to him with tears, the great­est sacrifice I was capable of making. That was the seventh of May, 1765, when I was eleven years and two months old.

IN the gloom of a prison, in the midst of those po­litical commotions which ravage my country, and sweep away all that is dear to me, how shall I re­call to my mind, and how describe, that period of rapture and tranquility? What lively colours can ex­press the soft emotions of a young heart endued with tenderness and sensibility, greedy of happiness, be­ginning [Page 41] to be alive to the feelings of nature, and per­ceiving the Deity alone? The first night that I spent at the convent was a night of agitation. I was no longer under the paternal roof. I was at a distance from that kind mother, who was doubtless thinking of me with affectionate emotion. A dim light diffused itself through the room in which I had been put to bed, with four children of my own age. I stole softly from my couch, and drew near the window, the light of the moon enabling me to distinguish the garden, which it overlooked. The deepest silence prevailed around, and I listened to it, if I may use the expres­sion, with a sort of respect. Lofty trees cast their gigantic shadows along the ground, and promised a secure asylum to peaceful meditation. I lifted up my eyes to the heavens; they were unclouded and serene. I imagined that I felt the presence of the Deity smil­ing on my sacrifice, and already offering me a reward in the consolatory peace of a celestial abode. Tears of delight flowed gently down my cheeks. I repeated my vows with holy ecstacy, and went to bed again to taste the slumber of the elect.

AS it was evening when I came to the convent, I had not yet seen all my fellow-boarders. They were thirty-four in number, and were assembled in one school-room, from the age of six to that of seventeen or eighteen, but were divided into two tables at meals, and as it were into two sections in the course of the day, to perform their exercises. There was so much [Page 42] of the little woman about me, that it was immediately judged proper to include me in the elder set. I ac­cordingly became the twelfth at their table, and found myself the youngest of them all. The tone of politeness which my mother had rendered familiar, the sedate air which was become habitual to me, and my courteous and correct mode of speaking, in no way resembled the noisy and thoughtless mirth of my volatile companions. The children addressed them­selves to me with a sort of confidence, because I never gave them a rough answer; and the elder girls treated me with a kind of respect, because my reserve did not render me the less obliging to them, while it pro­cured particular attention from the nuns. Brought up as I had hitherto been, it was not surprising I should be found better informed than most of my class, even than those whose age the most exceeded mine. The nuns perceived they might derive honour from my education, merely from my being under their care, without being obliged to take any pains to continue it. I know already, or very easily learnt every thing they gave me to study; and became the favourite of the whole sisterhood: it was quite matter of contention who should caress and compliment me. She, whose business it was to teach the boarders to write, was seventy years of age, and had taken the veil at fifty, either out of chagrin at some disappointment, or in consequence of some misfortune. She had [Page 43] been well educated, and joined to that advantage all that could be derived from good breeding and a know­ledge of the world. She valued herself on her skill in teaching, still wrote a very fine hand, embroider­ed with elegance, gave excellent lessons of orthogra­phy, and was by no means unacquainted with history. Her diminutive figure, her age itself, and some small tincture of pedantry, occasioned old sister St. Sophia to be treated, by her giddy little pupils, with less re­spect than she deserved; and if I recollect aright, the jealousy of the good nuns, who were fond of expo­sing her defects because they did not possess her talents, tended not a little to encourage their impertinence. This excellent woman soon became much attached to me on account of my studious turn. After having given a lesson to the whole class, she would take me aside, make me repeat my grammar, go over my maps, and extract passages from history. She even obtained permission to take me to her cell, where I used to read to her.

OF my former tutors I had retained only one, and that was my music-master, of whom I received lessons in the parlour, with two of my fellow-boarders, under the inspection of a nun: and in order to keep up my drawing, I was intended by a female artist, who was admitted into the interior of the convent.

THE regularity of a life filled up with such a variety of studies, was perfectly suitable to the activity of my mind, as well as to my natural taste [Page 44] for method and application. I was one of the first at every thing; and still I had leisure, because I was diligent, and did not lose a moment of my time. In the hours set apart for walking and recreation, I felt no desire to run and play with the crowd, but retired to some solitary spot to read and meditate. How delighted was I with the beauty of the foliage, the breath of the zephyrs, and the fragrance of the surrounding flowers! Everywhere I perceived the hand of the Deity; I was sensible of his beneficent care of his creatures; and I admired his wonderful works. Full of gratitude, I went to adore him in the church, where the majestic sounds of the organ, ac­companied by the captivating voices of the young nuns chanting their anthems, completed my ecstacy. Inde­pendently of mass, to which all the boarders were regularly conducted in the morning, half an hour in the afternoon of every working day was conse­crated to meditation, to which those only were admitted who appeared capable of it, or at least of filling up that interval of time by the attentive read­ing of religious works. It was not even necessary for me to solicit this favour, which they were eager to confer upon me as a recompence for my zeal: but I earnestly requested to be allowed to receive my first communion at the next great festival, which happen­ed to be the Assumption. Though it followed soon after my entrance into the convent, my request was granted with the unanimous consent of the superiors, [Page 45] and of the director. The latter was a man of good sense, and a monk of the monastery of St. Victor, where he officiated as rector. He had undertaken the task of confessing the boarders of the Congregation, and was well fitted for it by his age, which was up­wards of fifty, by the mildness of his temper, and by his great good sense, which tempered the austerity of his morals and demeanour. At the time I was con­fided to his care, Mr. Garat, the priest of my parish, had the condescension to come himself to the convent to deposit his tender lamb in the hands of his spiritual brother. They had an interview in the parlour in my presence, and conversed in Latin, which I did not per­fectly understand, but of which I comprehended a few words very much to my advantage. These never escape the penetration of a female, whatever may be her age, or the language in which they are uttered. I gained considerably by the change. Garat was a mere pedant, in whom I should have found all the sternness of a spiritual judge: the monk of St. Victor was an upright and enlightened man, who directed my pious affections to all that is great and sublime in morality; and who took a pleasure in developing the germs of virtue, by the instrumen­tality of religion, without any absurd mixture of its mysticism. I loved him as much as if he had been my father; and during the three years that he surviv­ed, after my quitting the convent, went regularly [Page 46] from a considerable distance to St. Victor's on the eve of great festivals, to confess myself to him.

IT cannot be denied, that the catholic religion, though little suited to a sound judgment and an en­lightened mind, that subjects its faith to the rules of reason, is well calculated to captivate the imagination, which it lays hold of by means of the grand and the terrific, while at the same time it occupies the senses by mysterious ceremonies, alternately soothing and melancholy. Eternity, always present to the mind of its sectaries, calls them to contemplation. It ren­ders them scrupulous appreciators of good and evil, while its daily practises and awful rites serve both to keep up the attention, and offer the easy means of advancing towards the end proposed. Women are wonderful adepts in giving a grace to those prac­tices, and in accompanying rites with whatever can add to their charms and splendour—an art in which nuns particularly excel. A novice took the veil soon after my arrival at the convent. The church and the altar were decorated with flowers, brilliant lustres, silk curtains, and other rich ornaments. The assembly was numerous, and came crowding into the outer part of the church, with that festive air, which a family usually affects on such an occasion, as if it were the wedding of one of the children. The young victim appeared at the grate in the most splendid dress, which however she soon pulled off, to appear again covered with a white [Page 47] veil, and crowned with roses. I still feel the agitation which her slightly tremulous voice excited in my bo­som, when she melodiously chanted the customary verse, Elegit, &c. Here have I chosen my abode, and will establish it for ever. I have not forgotten the notes of this little passage; but can repeat them as accurately as if I had heard them only yesterday; and happy should I be if I could chant them in Ame­rica! Great God! with what emphasis should I utter them now!—But when the novice, after pronouncing her vows, was covered, as she lay prostrate on the ground, with a pall, under which one might have supposed her to be buried, I trembled with horror. To me it represented the image of an absolute disso­lution of every earthly tie, and the renunciation of all that was dear to her. I was no longer myself: I was the very victim of the sacrifice. I thought they were tearing me from my mother, and shed a torrent of tears. With sensibility like this, which renders impressions so profound, and occasions so many things to strike us, that pass away like shadows before the eyes of the vulgar, our existence never grows languid. Accordingly, I have reflected on mine from an early period, without having ever found it a burden, even in the midst of the severest trials; and though not yet forty, I have lived to a prodigious age, if life be measured by the sentiment which has marked every moment of its duration.

I SHOULD have too many scenes of a similar na­ture [Page 48] to recount, were I to go over all which the emotions of a tender piety have engraven on my heart. The charm and habit of these sensations made an impression upon me which nothing can efface. Philosophy has dispelled the illusions of an empty faith, but it has not annihilated the effect of certain objects on my senses, or their association with the ideas and disposition of mind which they were accustomed to excite. I can still attend divine service with pleasure, if performed with solemnity. I forget the quackery of priests, their ridiculous fables and absurd mysteries, and see nothing but weak mor­tals assembled together to implore the succour of the Supreme Being. The miseries of mankind, and the consolatory hope of an omnipotent remune­rator, occupy my thoughts. Every extraneous idea is excluded; the passions subside into tranquility, and the sense of my duties is quickened. If music form a part of the ceremony, I find myself transported to another world; and I come out with an amended heart from a place, to which the imbecil and ignorant crowd resort, without reflection, to adore a morsel of bread. It is with religion as with many other human institutions: it does not change the dis­position of an individual, but assimilates itself to his nature, and they are together exalted or enfeebled. The herd of mankind think but little, take every thing on hearsay, and act from instinct; so that there prevails a perpetual contradiction between the prin­ciples [Page 49] they admit, and the conduct they pursue. Strong minds proceed upon a different plan; they re­quire consistency, and their actions are a faithful transcript of their faith. In my infancy, I necessarily embraced the creed that was offered me: it was mine; until my mind was sufficiently enlightened to examine it; but even then all my actions were in strict confor­mity with it's precepts. I was astonished at the levity of those, who, professing a similar faith, acted in a contrary way; in like manner as I am now indig­nant at the cowardice of men, who would wish to see their country free, and yet set a value upon life when an opportunity offers of risking it for the public weal.

THOUGH wishing to avoid repetitions upon the same subject, I will nevertheless relate an incident that marks the situation of my mind at the moment of my first communion. Prepared by all the means customary in convents, by retirement, long prayers, silence, and meditation, I considered it as a solemn engagement, and the pledge of eternal felicity. This idea engrossed the whole of my attention. It so in­flamed my imagination, and softened my heart to such a degree, that, bathed in tears, and enraptured with divine love, I was incapable of walking to the altar without the assistance of a nun, who came and took me under both arms, and helped me to advance to the sacred table. These demonstrations, which were by no means affected, but the natural consequence of [Page 50] a sentiment I could not repress, obtained me great consideration, and all the good old women I met upon my way were sure to recommend themselves to my prayers.

METHINKS I hear my reader ask, if this heart so tender, this extreme sensibility, were not at length exercised on more substantial objects; and whether these early dreams of bliss were not afterwards realised by a passion, of which some happy individual shared the fruits?

TO all this my answer is, let us not anticipate. Dwell with me a while upon those peaceful days of holy delusion. Think you that, in an age so corrupt, and in a social order so perverse, it is possible to taste the delights of nature and innocence? Vulgar souls indeed may find pleasure in such an age; but as to those for whom pleasure alone would be too little, impelled on the one hand by passions that promise them more, and restrained on the other by duties which they are bound to respect, however absurd and severe, their enjoyments consist of little else but the dear-bought glory of sacrificing the feel­ings of nature to the tyrannical institutions of man­kind. Let us then, for the present, seek repose of spirit in the pure joys of friendship, which came to offer me its comforts, and to which I have been in­debted for so many happy days.

SOME months had elapsed since my arrival at the convent, where I spent my time in the way described [Page 51] above. Once a week I was visited by my parents, who took me out on Sundays, after divine service, to walk in the Jardin du Roi, now called le Jar [...] des Plantes. I never quitted them without sheddin [...] [...]ears, which proceeded from affection to their persons, and not from dislike to my situation; for I returned with pleasure to the silent cloisters, and walked through them with measured steps, the better to enjoy their solitude. Sometimes I would stop at a tomb, on which the eulogy of a pious maiden was engraved. 'She is happy!' said I to myself, with a sigh; and then a melancholy, which was not without its charms, would take possession of my soul, and make me long to be received into the bosom of the Deity, where I hoped to find that perfect felicity of which I felt the want.

THE arrival of new boarders was an event which put all our youthful spirits on the wing, the curiosity of girls in a convent being stronger upon such occa­sions than can well be imagined. Young ladies from Amiens had been announced. It was on a summer's evening, and we were walking down an avenue of trees, when the exclamation, 'There they are! there they are!' passed suddenly from mouth to mouth. The prin­cipal mistress committed the strangers to the care of the nun whose business at that time it happened to be to superintend the boarders. The crowd gathered round them, walked away, returned again, fell at length into regular order, and paraded up and down the [Page 52] same walk in parties to examine the Miss Cannets. They were two sisters. The eldest was about eighteen, of [...] shape, a forward air, and easy carriage, and was [...]dered remarkable by something about her which indicated at the same time sensibility, pride, and discontent. The youngest was not more than four­teen: a veil of white gauze covered her charming countenance, and ill concealed the tears in which it was bathed. I felt a liking for her at first sight, stop­ped to get a better view of her person, and then mixed with the talkers to enquire what they knew of her.

SHE was the favourite, they said, of her mother, whom she tenderly loved, and with whom she was so loth to part, that her sister had been sent with her in order to enable her the better to bear the separation. Both were seated at supper at the same table with me. Sophia ate but little. Her mute grief was no way repulsive, and could not fail to inspire every body with concern. Her sister appeared less occupi­ed in consoling her, than dissatisfied with sharing her lot. Nor was she altogether in the wrong. A girl of eighteen, torn from the world, to which she had been restored, in order to return to a convent as her sister's companion, might naturally enough con­sider herself as sacrificed by her mother, who in fact had nothing in view but to curb an impetuous temper, which she found herself unable to govern. It was not necessary to be long in the company of the lively [Page 53] Henrietta to discover these things. Frank even to rudeness, impatient even to irrascability, and gay even to folly, she had all the spirit of her age without having any of its reason. Capricious, flightly, some­times charming, and often insupportable, he [...] [...]ursts of passion were succeeded by the most affectionate atonements. She joined to extreme sensibility the utmost extravagance of imagination. You could not avoid loving, even while you scolded her; and yet it was difficult to live with her upon terms of endear­ment. Poor Sophia had much to suffer from the dis­position of her sister, irritated against her from feel­ings of jealousy, too just at the same time not to esteem her as she deserved, and consequently finding in their intercourse every thing that could tend to provoke that unevenness of temper, which she her­self was the first to lament. The sedateness of pre­mature reason was Sophia's principal characteristic. Her feelings were not very acute, because her head was cool and composed: but she loved to reason and re­flect. Gentle, without being forward in her demon­strations of kindness, she courted nobody's good-will, but obliged every body when an opportunity occurred, never anticipating nor ever opposing the wish of other people. She was fond both of working and reading. Her sorrows had affected me; I was pleased with her demeanour; I felt that I had met with a companion; and we became inseparable. I attached myself to her with that unreserve which is so natural when we are [Page 54] in want of an object on which to place our affections, and meet with a person who seems fit to fill up the va­cancy in our heart. Working, reading, walking, all my occupations and amusements were shared with Sophia▪ She was of a religious turn, somewhat less tender than I, but equally sincere; and that resem­blance between us contributed not a little to our inti­macy. It was, if I may so express myself, under the wing of Providence, and in the transports of a common zeal, that our friendship was cultivated. we wished reciprocally to support and forward each other in the road to perfection. Sophia was an unmerciful reasoner: she wanted to analyse, to discuss, to know every thing. I talked much less, and laid little stress upon any thing but results. She took a pleasure in conversing with me, for I was an adept at listening: and when I differed from her in opinion, my opposi­tion was so gentle, for fear of offending her, that not one of all our arguments ever produced the smallest dissension between us. Her society was extremely dear to me, for I wished to confide to a person who could understand me, the sentiments which I felt, and which seemed to be heightened by participation. About three years older than myself, and a little less bashful, she had a sort of external advantage which I did not envy her. She prattled prettily and fluently, while I knew only how to answer. True it is, that people took a particular pleasure in questioning me; but that was a task every one was not equal to. To [Page 55] my dear friend alone was I truly communicative; others had only, as it were, a glimpse of me, unless, indeed, it were a person sufficiently skilful to lift up the veil, which, without intending to hide, I naturally threw over myself.

HENRIETTA was sometimes, but not often, of our party. She had formed a more congenial connection with a Mademoiselle de Cornillon, a girl of eighteen years of age, who was as ugly as sin, and as full of wit and mischief as the devil; a proper hobgoblin, in short, to frighten children, but who would not have chosen to enter the lists either against Sophia's sober reason or mine.

I CANNOT pass over in silence the tender marks of affection that were shewn me from my first arrival by an excellent girl, whose unalterable attachment has afford­ed me consolation on more occasions than one. An­gelica Boufflers, born to no inheritance, had taken the veil at the age of seventeen. She was still ignorant of her own disposition. Nature had formed her of the most combustible materials; and the compression suffered by her energies had exalted the sensibility of her heart, and the vivacity of her mind, to the highest possible degree. The want of fortune had assigned her a place among the lay sisters, with whom she had nothing in common but the servility of their functions. There are minds which stand in no need of cultiva­tion. St. Agatha (for that was the name she had assum­ed upon taking the veil), without having much educa­tion [Page 56] to boast of, was superior not only to her compan­ions in servitude, but to most of the ladies* of the choir. Her worth was known; and though, accord­ing to the usage of those societies, where the majo­rity are always ungrateful, excessive labour was im­posed upon her active disposition, she enjoyed, ne­vertheless, the respect that was her due. She was appointed, at that time, to wait upon the boarders; and though she had nobody to assist her, and was entrusted with the care of many things beside, she found means to get through her business with equal cheerfulness and dispatch. She had scarcely at­tracted my notice, when I had already obtained a distinguished share of hers: her kindness prevented my wishes, and made me remark her. At table she studied my taste unknown to me, and endeavoured to gratify it; in my chamber, she seemed to take a pleasure in making my bed, and never let an oppor­tunity escape of saying a civil thing. If I met her, she embraced me with tenderness; and sometimes would take me to her cell, where she had a beautiful canary-bird, which she had tamed, and taught to speak. She even gave me secretly a key to her apartment, that I might have access to it in her absence; and there I read the books that composed her little library—the poems of Father du Cerceau, and mystical works in abundance. When her avocations prevented her [Page 57] from spending a few minutes with me, or were likely to prevent her, I was sure to find a tender billet, which I never failed to answer; and these answers she treasur­ed up like so many jewels, and shewed me them after­wards carefully locked up in her desk. The attach­ment of sister Agatha to little Mademoiselle Phlipon soon became the talk of the whole convent; but any one would have supposed that it was natural it should be so; for my fellow-boarders never appeared hurt at the preference. When any of the nuns spoke of her partiality, she would ask, with her natural frankness, whether, in her place, they would not do the same? and when some peevish sister of fourscore, mother Gertrude for instance, told her, that she loved me too well, she replied, that she only thought so because incapable of feeling the like affec­tion; 'and you yourself,' added she, 'do you not stop her whenever she comes in your way?' Mother Gertrude used to turn away, muttering something between her teeth; but if she met me only half an hour afterwards, she was sure to put some sweetmeats in my hand. When the Miss Cannets arrived, and I attached myself to Sophia, Agatha appeared a little jealous, and the nuns took a pleasure in tormenting her; but her generous affection did not diminish. It seemed as if she was satisfied with my suffering myself to be loved, and that she enjoyed the pleasure I derived from an intimacy with a person whose age was nearer to my own, and whose society I could command every [Page 58] hour of the day. Agatha was at that time four-and twenty. Her sweet disposition and her affection have inspired me with the sincerest regard for her, which I have ever taken a pride in testifying. Dur­ing the last years that convents existed, she was the only one that I visited in hers. Now turned out of it, when her age and infirmities rendered such an asylum necessary, and forced to live upon the scanty pension allotted he [...] she vegetates at no great dis­tance from the place of our ancient abode, or from that in which I am confined; and in the midst of the evils attendant on penury, only laments the captivity of her daughter; for thus has she always called me. O my kind friends, you will sometimes cease to pity me, when you consider the blessings which heaven has left me still. In the midst of their power, my persecutors have not the advantage of being beloved by an Agatha, to whom misfortune only renders the objects of her attachment more dear.

THE winter had passed away. During that season, I had seen my mother less frequently; but my father would never let a Sunday pass without visiting me, and taking me to walk in the Jardin du Roi, if the weather were any way tolerable; and there we used to brave the severity of the cold, and trip it gaily over the snow. Delightful walks! the remembrance of which was revived, twenty years after, upon read­ing [Page 59] those lines of Thompson, which I never repeat without emotion:

Pleas'd was I, in my cheerful morn of life,
When nurs'd by careless solitude I liv'd,
And sung of nature with unceasing joy;
Pleas'd was I, wand'ring through your rough dom [...]in,
Through the pure virgin snows, myself a [...] pure.

IT had been resolved upon at my entrance into the convent, that I should remain there only a year. This I had desired myself, as I wished to see bounds set to the sacrifice I was about to make by separating myself from my mother. The nuns, on their part, when they consented to my receiving my first com­munion in the fourth month of my residence among them, had taken great care to stipulate that I should not leave them the sooner on that account, and that I should complete the period agreed upon. The year having revolved, I had left the convent. My mother informed me that my grandmother Phlipon, who was extremely fond of me, wished me much to remain with her some time, and that my mother had consented to my going, conceiving it could not be disagreeable to me, as she should be able to see me there more frequently than at the convent: that ar­rangement, beside, was perfectly suitable to circum­stances. My father had been chosen into some office of his parish, and on that account was forced to be frequently from home. I readily understood that my [Page 60] mother, being obliged at present to direct her atten­tion to the work entrusted to the young men, about whom she had hitherto given herself no concern, had lost a portion of her liberty, which she would have wished to preserve entire, in order to bestow her whole time upon me.

THE situation she proposed to me was indeed a gentle transition from the absence I had lately experienced to a complete return to her, and I ac­cepted it the more readily, as I had a great liking for my grandmother. She was a graceful, good-humoured little woman, whose agreeable manners, polished language, gracious smile, and significant looks, still announced some pretensions to please, or at least to remind us that she had once been a pleasing object. She was sixty-five or sixty-six years of age, and still paid attention to her dress, taking care, however, to suit it to her years; for she prided herself above all things on the study and observ­ance of decorum. Considerable corpulence, a light step, an upright carriage, handsome little hands, of which the fingers were gracefully displayed, and a sentimental style of conversation, intermingled with sallies of dignified mirth, took away from her every appearance of age. She was a delightful companion for young women, whose society pleased her, and of whose attentions she was proud. Becoming a widow immediately upon the termination of the first year of her marriage, my father, born after the death of her [Page 61] husband, was her only child. Misfortunes in trade having reduced her to distress, she had been obliged to have recourse to some distant relations, who were living in opulence, and who employed her, in prefer­ence to any body else, in the education of their chil­dren. Thus, for instance, at Madam Boismorel's she brought up both her son Roberge, of whom I shall speak in the sequel, and her daughter, afterwards Madame de Favieres. A little estate which devolved to her by inheritance, having rendered her indepen­dent, she retired to the Island of St. Louis, where she occupied a decent apartment with her sister, Made­moiselle Rotisset, whom she called Angelica. This worthy maiden, asthmatic and devout, as virtuous as an angel, and as simple as a child, was entirely devoted to her elder sister. The affairs of the little household devolved entirely on her. A char-woman, who attended twice a day, performed the more menial offices; but every thing else was done by Angelica, who dressed her sister with the most reverend care. She naturally became my governante, at the same time that Madame Phlipon undertook to be my teacher. Behold me, then, in their hands, after having quit­ted the house of God, regretted, beloved, and embra­ced by the whole sisterhood of nuns, wept over by my Agatha and my Sophia, lamenting my separation from them, and promising to mitigate its pains by the frequency of my visits.

THIS engagement was too dear to my heart not to [Page 62] be scrupulously fulfilled. My walks were frequently directed towards the Congregation, my aunt Angeli­ca and my father taking a pleasure in accompanying me thither. The news of my arrival in the parlour used to run like lightning through the convent; and in the course of an hour I had interviews with twenty different persons. But those visits, after all, were poor substitutes for the daily and confidential inter­course of friendship. They became less frequent, and I filled up the intervals with an epistolary corres­pondence, in which my Sophia bore the greatest part. That was the origin of my fondness for composition, and one of the causes that, by giving me a greater ha­bit of writing, gave me also a greater facility.

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SECTION II.

I FEEL the resolution of continuing my under­taking grow weaker. The miseries of my country torment me; the loss of my friends affects my spirits: an involuntary sadness benumbs my senses, over­clouds my imagination, and weighs heavy on my heart. France is become a vast amphitheatre of car­nage, a bloody arena, on which her own children are tearing one another to pieces.

THE enemy, favoured by her intestine dissentions, advances in every quarter; the cities of the North fall into their hands; Flanders and Alsace are about to become their prey; the Spaniard is ravaging Rousillon; the Savoyards reject an alliance, which anarchy renders hateful; they return to their old master, whose troops invade our frontiers; the re­bels of la Vendée continue to lay waste a large ex­tent of territory; the Lyonnese, indiscreetly pro­voked, burst into open resistance; Marseilles pre­pares [Page 64] for their succour; the neighbouring depart­men [...] take arms: and in this universal agitation, and in the midst of these multiplied disorders, there is nothing uniform but the measures of the foreign powers, whose conspiracy against freedom and mankind our excesses have sanctified. Our go­vernment is a species of monster, of which the form and the actions are equally odious; it destroys whatever it touches, and devours its very self: this last effort of its rage is the only consolation of its numerous victims.

THE armies, ill conducted, and worse provided, fight and fly alternately with desperate energy.— The most able commanders are accused of treason, because certain representatives, utterly ignorant of war, blame what they do not comprehend, and stigmatize as aristocrats all those who are more enlightened than themselves. A legislative body, cha­racterized by debility from the moment of its exist­ence, presented us at first with animated debates, which lasted as long as there existed among the members sufficient wisdom to foresee dangers, and courage enough to announce them. The just and generous spi­rits, who had nothing in view but the welfare of their country, and dared attempt to establish it, after being impudently represented under the most odious colours, and in forms the most contradictory, were at last sacri­ficed by ignorance and fear to intrigue and peculation; chased from that body of which they were the soul, [Page 65] they left behind them an extravagant and corrupt mi­nority, who exercise despotic sway, and who, by their follies and their crimes, are digging their own graves: but it is, alas! in consummating the ruin of the republic! The nation, spiritless and illinformed— because the love of selfish enjoyments makes men in­dolent, and indolence makes them blind—has accept­ed a constitution essentially vicious, which, even if un­exceptionable, should have been rejected with indig­nation, because nothing can be accepted from the hands of villainy without degradation to the receiver. They still talk of security and freedom, though they see them both violated with impunity in the persons of their representatives! They can only change their tyrants; they are already under a rod of iron, and every change appears to them a blessing; but inca­pable of effecting it themselves, they expect it from the first master who shall chuse to assume the sove­reign command. O Brutus! thou, whose daring hand emancipated the depraved Romans, we have er­red in vain, like thee! Those just and enlightened men, whose ardent spirits longed for liberty, and who had prepared themselves for it by the tranquil studies, and in the silent retreats of philosophy, flat­tered themselves, like thee, that the subversion of despotism would establish the throne of justice and peace. Alas! it has only served as the signal for the most hateful passions, and the most execrable vice! After the proscriptions of the triumvirs, thou saidst, [Page 66] thou wert more ashamed of that which had caused Cicero's death, than sorry for the melancholy event; thou blamedst thy friends at Rome for having become slaves rather by their own fault than that of their ty­rants and for being dastards enough to see and suffer things, the bare recital of which was insupport­able, and ought to have filled them with horror. In like manner, do I feel indignant in the depth of my dungeon. But the hour of indignation is past; it is too evident that we have no longer a right to hope for any thing good, or to be astonished at any species of evil. Will history ever paint these dreadful times, or the abominable monsters who fill them with their barbarities? They surpass the cruelties of Marius, and the sanguinary achieve­ments of Sylla. The latter, when he shut up and slaughtered six thousand men, who had surrendered to him, in the neighbourhood of the Senate, which he encouraged to proceed in the debate amid their dreadful cries, acted like a tyrant, abusing the power he had usurped: but to what can we com­pare the domination of those hypocrites, who, always wearing the mask of justice, and speaking the language of the law, have created a tribunal to serve as the engine of their personal vengeance, and send to the scaffold, with formalities insultingly judicial, every individual, whose virtues offend them, whose talents excite their jealousy, or whose opu­lence calls forth their lust of wealth? What Babylon [Page 67] ever presented a prototype of Paris, polluted with debauchery and blood, and governed by magistrates whose profession it is to circulate falsehoods, to sell calumny, and to panegyrize assassination? What people ever depraved their morals and their nature to such a degree, as to contract an appetite for blood, to foam with fury when an execution is delayed, and to be ever ready to exercise their ferocity on all who attempt to calm or mitigate their rage? The days of September were the sole work of a small number of inebriated tygers; on the 31st of May and the 2d of June the triumph of guilt was confirmed by the apathy of the Parisians, and their tame acquiescence in slavery. Since that epoch the progression has been sudden and dreadful; the faction of the Convention called the Mountain, offers nothing to the eye but a band of robbers, cloth­ed and swearing like watermen, preaching massacre, and setting the example of rapine. Crowds of peo­ple surround the courts of justice, and vociferate their threats against the judges, who are thought too tardy in the condemnation of innocence. The prisons are gorged with public functionaries, with generals, and private individuals, of characters that graced and ennobled humanity: a zeal to accuse is received as a proof of civism, and the search and detension of persons of merit and property comprehend all the duties of an ignorant and unprincipled magistracy.

THE victims of Orleans are fallen. Charlotte [Page 68] Corday has not produced the smallest movement in a city which did not deserve to be delivered from a monster. Brissot *, Gensonné, and a multitude of other membérs, still remain under impeachment; proofs are wanting, but the fury of their enemies knows no bounds: and for want of reasons to con­demn them, an appeal is made to the perverted will of the sovereign people, who impatiently expect their heads as a wild beast awaits his prey. Custine is no more; Robespierre triumphs; Hebert marks the vic­tims; Chabot counts them; the tribunal is in haste to condemn, while the populace is preparing to accele­rate and generalize the work of death. In the mean [Page 69] time famine invades the land; pernicious laws put an end to all industry, stop the circulation of commo­dities, and annihilate commerce; the public money is squandered; disorganization becomes general; and in this total overthrow of the public fortune, men, devoid of shame, wallow in ill-acquired wealth, set a price upon all their actions, and draw up a bill of rates for the life and death of their fellow-citizens.

Dillon and Castellane obtain their release; the one from the Magdellonettes, the other from St. Pélagie, by the payment of thirty thousand livres to Chabot. Sillery gets his friends to cheapen his liberty, which he is rich enough to purchase, and two hundred bottles of his excellent champaign are the overplus of the bar­gain, driven with the strumpets of the committee*. Roland's wife, recalled from time to time by the kind care of the Père du Chêne to the recollection of the populace, awaits the last effort of their rage in the same prison, from which a kept girl departs in peace, after paying for her deliverance, and for the impunity of her accomplice, a fabricator of forged assignats. Henriot, the commandant of the national guards, [Page 70] first a lackey, then a custom-house officer, and afterwards a ringleader at the massacre at St. Firmin, breaks seals, empties cellars, and removes furniture, without feeling the smallest compunction: charged with the care of the deputies confined in the Luxem­bourg, he presumes to intrude into their presence purposely to insult them, deprives them by open force of pens, books, and papers, and adds menaces to outrage. The subordination of authorities is a chi­mera, to which no one is permitted to appeal without incurring the accusation of incivism, and being sup­posed to entertain counter-revolutionary designs.— Have the fugitive members at length escaped from this inhospitable land, which devours the virtuous, and drenches itself with their blood? O my friends! may propitious fate debark you safe in the United States, the only asylum of liberty! My best wishes attend you! nor am I without hopes that the winds are now wasting you to that happy land. But my doom, alas! is irrevocable! I shall never behold you more; and in your departure, so much desired for your own sakes, I see with sorrow our eternal separation. And you, my much revered husband, grown weak and weary of the world, and sunk into a premature old age, which you pre­serve by painful efforts from the pursuit of the assassin—shall I ever be permitted to see you again, and to pour the balm of consolation into your heart, sorely bruised by the hard hand of misfortune?— [Page 71] How many days longer am I destined to remain a witness of the desolation of my native land, and of the degradation of my countrymen? Assailed by these afflicting images, I find it impracticable to steel my heart against affliction; a few scalding tears start from my heavy eyes; and I suffer the rapid pen to lie idle, that passed so lightly over my youthful days.

I WILL again attempt to recal them to my mind, and to pursue their course. In future times per­haps my ingenuous recitals will cheer the gloomy moments of some unfortunate captive, and make him forget his own calamities while pitying mine: or perhaps some poet or philosopher, desirous of weaving the passions of the human heart into the progress of a romance, or the action of a drama, will find in my story the materials of his work.

PROBABLY no [...] many days will elapse before the want of provisions, exasperating the impatient po­pulace, will urge them to tumults, which their ring-leaders will take care to render destructive. The 10th of August was intended to be a commemora­tion of the ideas of September. The day before yesterday their renewal was threatened without re­serve in case Custine should be acquitted. The Cor­deliers already proclaim the necessity of getting rid of all suspected persons, and punishments are ordained for such as have spoken ill of those glorious days. Is not this providing beforehand the justification of [Page 72] their return? The person [...] consigned to the revolu­tionary tribunal are not criminals sent thither to be judged, but victims which it is ordered to immolate. Those who are imprisoned for any thing else than crimes, are not under the protection of the law; but, left at the mercy of suspicion and calumny, it is im­possible for them to conceive themselves safe from the fury of a deluded populace. Let us turn from this lamentable era, to which the reign of Tiberius can alone be compared, and call back again the peaceful and delightful days of youth.

I HAD completed my twelfth year, and the thir­teenth was passing away under the care of my grand­mother. The quiet of her house, and the piety of my aunt Angelica, accorded admirably with the ten­der and contemplative disposition I had brought with me from the convent. Every morning Angelica ac­companied me to church to hear mass, where I was soon remarked by those monopolizers of con­sciences, who make a merit with God of peopling the cloisters. The reverend Abbé Géry, with his wry neck and downcast eye, accosted the person whom he took for my governante, to congratulate her on the edification produced by the example of her pupil, and to testify the strong desire he felt to be her guide in the ways of the Lord. He learned with regret, that the grand ceremonies were already over, and that I had put my conscience into other hands. He then desired to know from my own mouth, [Page 73] whether I had not begun to think of my future desti­nation, and of bidding farewell to the vanities of the world. I answered, that I was too young yet to know my vocation. Monsieur Géry sighed, said several fine things to me, and did not fail to place him­self in my way out, in order to bow to me devoutly. The piety of my young heart did not go so far as to be gratified with jesuitical affectations: it was too sin­cere to join hands with the absurdities of bigotry, and the wry neck of Monsieur Géry was not at all to my taste. I had nevertheless a secret design of devoting myself to the monastic life. St. Francis de Sales, one of the most amiable saints in Paradise, had made a conquest of my heart, and the ladies of the Visitation of which he was the founder, were already my adop­tive sisters. But I was well satisfied, that, being an only child, I should not obtain my parents' consent to take the veil during my minority, and was unwilling to give them unnecessary concern by any premature disclosure of my sentiments. Besides should my reso­lution fail during the days of probation, it would only be furnishing the ungodly with arms. I resolved, there­fore, to conceal the intention, and to pursue my plan in silence. I laid my grandmother's little library under contribution; and the Philottée of St. Francis de Sales, and the Manual of St. Augustin, became my favou­rite sources of meditation. What doctrines of spiritual love! what delicious aliment for the innocence of a fervent soul, abandoned to celestial illusions! Some [Page 74] controversial writings of Bossuet furnished me with fresh food for my mind: favourable as they were to the cause which they defended, they sometimes let me into the secret of objections that might be made to it, and set me on scrutinizing my articles of faith. That was my first step; but it was infinitely remote from the scepticism, at which in a course of years I was destined to arrive, after having been successively Jan­senist, Cartesian, Stoic, and Deist. What a route, to terminate at last in patriotism, which has conduct­ed me to a dungeon! In the midst of all this, some old books of travels, and mythology in abundance, amused my imagination, while the letters of Madam de Sevigné fixed my taste. Her delightful ease, her elegance, her vivacity, her tenderness, made me en­ter into her intimacy. I became acquainted with her society; I was as much familiarized with her manners and the circumstances of her situation, as if I had passed my life with her. My grandmother saw little company, and seldom went out; but her agreeable pleasantry animated the conversation, while I was sit­ting by her side, busied about the different kinds of needle-work which she took a pleasure in teaching me. Madam Besnard, the same great aunt who had paid so much attention to me while I was at nurse, came every afternoon to pass an hour or two with her sister. Her austere disposition was always accompanied by a solemn sort of formality, and an air of ceremony, upon which Madam Phlipon would sometimes rally [Page 75] her, but so tenderly as not to give offence to her sister, who, after all, generally contributed her share to the conversation, by producing some whole­some truth, delivered in a manner somewhat harsh and abrupt, but which was readily forgiven, on ac­count of the well-known goodness of her heart. My grandmother, who set the highest value on the graces, and every thing else that embellishes social life, was extremely sensible of the complaisance which my gentle temper, the desire of pleasing every body about me, and her own amiable manners inspired me with towards her. She would sometimes pay me a compliment; and when, as was generally the cas [...] I replied with readiness and propriety, she could not conceal her exultation, but would cast a triumphant look upon Madam Besnard, who, elevating her shoul­ders, seized the first moment of my removal to ano­ther part of the room, to say, in a low voice, which I heard very distinctly, 'You are really insupport­able: she will be spoiled; what a pity!' My grand­mother on this assumed a more stately posture than before, assuring her sister, with an air of superiority, that she knew very well what she was about; while the worthy Angelica, with her pale face, her promi­nent chin, her spectacles on her nose, and her knit­ting-needle in her hand, would tell them both, there was no danger to be apprehended, nothing that would be said could do me any harm, and that I had quite sense enough to be left to my own guidance. This [Page 76] aunt Besnard, so rigid in her manners, and so fear­ful of the bad effects of flattery, was very uneasy at my lying on a hard bed; and if my finger chanced to ache, never failed to call twice a day to inquire con­cerning it. What sincere inquietude, what anxious cares did she not display on these occasions? And how delightful was the contrast with her usual severity and reserve! I verily believe that heaven placed me in the midst of people of kind hearts, on purpose to make mine the most affectionate possible.

MY grandmother one day took it into her head to pay a visit to Madam de Boismorel, either for the pleasure of seeing her, or for that of exhibiting her grand-daughter. Great were the preparations in consequence, and tedious my dressing, which began at break of day; at length off we set with my aunt Angelica, for the Rue St. Louis au Marais, and reached it about noon. On entering the hotel, all the servants, beginning with the porter, saluted Madam Phlipon with an air of respect and affection, emulous who should treat her with the greatest civility. She answered every body in the kindest but at the same time in the most dignified manner; and so far all went well. But her grand­daughter was perceived; for she could not deny her­self the pleasure of pointing her out to observation, and the servants must needs pay fine compliments to the young lady. I had a sort of uncomfortable feeling, for which I could not account, but which I perceived [Page 77] nevertheless to proceed in part from the idea that ser­vants might look at and admire me, but that it was not their business to pay me compliments. We passed on: were announced by a tall footman, and walked into the parlour, where we sound Madam de Boismorel seated upon what was then called not an ottomane, but a canapé, and embroidering with great gravity. Madam de Boismorel was of the same age, stature, and cor­pulence as my grandmother; but her dress bespoke less taste than desire to display her opulence and indi­cate her rank; while her countenance, far from ex­pressing a wish to please, announced her claims to re­spect, and the consciousness of her merit. A rich lace, puckered into the shape of a cap, with wings pointed at the ends, like the ears of a hare, was placed upon the top of her head, and allowed her hair to be seen, which was probably not of her own growth, and was dressed with that affected discretion which it is very necessary to assume at sixty years of age; while rouge, an inch thick, gave her unmeaning eyes a much more unfeeling look than was necessary, to make me fix mine upon the ground.—'Ah! Mademoiselle Rotisset, good morning to you!' cried Madam Boismorel in a loud and frigid tone, while rising to receive us. (Made­moiselle?—So my grandmother is Mademoiselle in this house.) 'I am very glad to see you indeed. And who is this fine girl?—Your grand-daughter I sup­pose?—She promises to make a pretty woman?— Come here, my dear, and sit down by my side. She [Page 78] is a little bashful. How old is your grand-daughter, Mademoiselle Rotisset? She is a little brown to be sure, but her skin is clear, and will grow fairer a year or two hence—she is quite the woman already? I will lay my life that hand must be a lucky one. 'Did you never venture in the lottery?'—'Never, Madam; I am not fond of gaming.'—I dare say not: at your age children are apt to think their game a sure one. What an admirable voice!—so sweet, and yet so full­toned.—But how grave she is! Pray, my dear, are you not a little of the devotee?—'I know my duty to God, and I endeavour to fulfil it.'—'That is a good girl! You wish to take the veil, don't you?'—'I know not what may be my destination, nor do I seek as yet to divine it.'—'Very sententious, indeed! Your grand-daughter reads a great deal, does not she, Mademoiselle Rotisset?'—'Reading, Madam, is her greatest delight; she always devotes to it some part of the day.'—'Ay, ay, I see how it is; but have a care she do not turn author; that would be a pity indeed.' The conversation between the two ladies next turned upon the family and friends of the mistress of the house, my grandmother inquiring very respectfully after the uncle, and the cousin, and the daughter-in-law, and the son-in-law, and the Abbé Langlois, and the Marchioness of Levi, and the Coun­sellor Brion, and Mr. Parent, the rector: they talked of their health, of their family connexions, and of their follies; as for instance of those of Ma­dam [Page 79] Rondé, who, notwithstanding her great age, still pretended to have a fine bosom, and made a great display of it, except when getting in or out of a car­riage, for then she hid it with an ample handkerchief which she always carried in her pocket for that pur­pose, because, as she said, such a sight ought not to be thrown away upon footmen. During this dialogue, Madam de Boismorel made a few stitches in her work, or else patted her little dog, keeping her eyes almost constantly fixed upon me. I was careful not to en­counter looks I did not like; but took a survey of the apartment, the decorations of which appeared far more agreeable to me than the lady to whom they belonged. In the mean time my blood circulated with more than usual rapidity, my cheeks glowed, and my little heart was all in a flutter. I did not as yet ask my­self, why my grandmother was not sitting upon the canapé, and why Madam de Boismorel was not playing the humble part of Mademoiselle Rotisset; but I had the feeling which naturally leads to that reflection, and saw an end put to the visit with as much joy as if relieved from some grievous suffering. 'Mind, now, don't you forget to buy me a ticket in the lotte­ry, and let your grand-daughter chuse the number, do you hear, Mademoiselle Rotisset? I am determin­ed to try her hand. Come, give me a kiss: and you, my little dear, don't look so much upon the ground. You have very good eyes; and even your confessor will not blame you for opening them.—Yes, yes, [Page 80] Mademoiselle Rotisset, many a fine bow will come to your share, take my word for it; and that before you are much older. Good morning to you, ladies.' Thereupon Madam de Boismorel rang her bell, or­dered Lafleur to call in a day or two at Mademoiselle Rotisset's for a lottery ticket, chid her dog for bark­ing, and had already resumed her seat upon the canapé before we were well out of the room.

OUR walk home was a silent one, and I hastened to return [...]o books that might make me forget Madam de Boismorel, whose compliments were no more to my taste than those of her servants. My grandmother, not very well satisfied herself, mention­ed her sometimes, and talked of her peculiarities; of her consummate selfishness, which made her say that children were but secondary considerations, when Madam Phlipon took the liberty of reminding her of the interest of her family, in order to check her pro­digal expence: she spoke also of that freedom of man­ners, so common among women of fashion, in conse­quence of which she received her confessor, and other persons, at her toilet, and changed her linen in their presence. This sort of behaviour struck me as very strange: and my curiosity induced me to set my grand­mother talking about all these matters; but I kept the impressions they made on my mind to myself; not thinking them exactly such as I could make known to her with propriety.

A FORTNIGHT after our visit, we received one from [Page 81] Madam de Boismorel's son, who was not at home when we called upon his mother. He was a man verging upon forty; his aspect was grave but gentle; and his behaviour equally decent and dig­nified. His eyes, which were large, and even a little to full, sent forth frequent flashes of lightning; and his bold and manly voice, softened by respect, spoke the language of the soul in tones expressive of a gracious kind of politeness that seemed to flow direct­ly from the heart. He addressed himself respectfully to my grandmother, calling her his good old friend, and bowed to me with that sort of reverence which men of susceptible minds take a pride in shewing to young women. Our conversation was at once guard­ed and familiar: M. de Boismorel took care not to let slip the opportunity of making handsome mention of the obligations he owed to my grandmother's care; and I easily understood that he was hinting to her in an obscure but delicate manner, that providence had rewarded her generous attention to other people's children, by giving her so promising a grand-child of her own.

I THOUGHT M. de Boismorel infinitely more amiable than his mother, and was delighted when­ever he called upon us, which was generally once in two or three months. He had married at an early age, a very charming woman, and had a son by her, whose education occupied a considerable portion of his thoughts. He had undertaken it himself, and was [Page 82] desirous of directing it by philosophical views, in which he was not a little thwarted by the prejudices of his mother, and the enthusiastic devotion of his wife. He was accused of singularity; and as his nerves had been affected in consequence of a dreadful inflamma­tory disorder, the old countesses, the solemn lawyers, and the spruce abbés of his family, or of his mother's acquaintance, ascribed to a derangement of the brain, resulting from disease, the conduct he pursued in bringing up his boy. These circumstances, when they came to my knowledge, excited much of my attention: it appeared to me that every thing which this singular man said was very much to the purpose, and I began to suspect there were two sorts of reason, if I may say so, one for the closet and another for the world; a morality of principle, and a morality of practice, from the contradiction of which resulted so many absurdities, some of which did not altogether escape my observation; in short, that persons of the gay world called every body insane, who was not affected with the common infanity: and thus did materials for reflection insensibly accumulate in my active brain.

MY grandmother sometimes compared the sen­timents and behaviour of Mr. de Boismorel with those of his sister, Madam de Favières, of whom she had some reason to complain; whose brother had found it necessary to remind her that Mademoiselle Rotisset was their own relation (a circumstance, said I [Page 83] to myself, that their mother appears either not to know, or not inclined to acknowledge), and to whom she had no desire to introduce me, any more than I to be introduced—which indeed she was so well aware of, that she never even proposed a second visit to Madam de Boismorel.

MY father had vacated his office; the year to be spent with my grandmother had elapsed; and I re­turned to the arms of my indulgent mother. But it was not without regret that I left the handsome streets of the Isle St. Louis, the pleasant quays, and the tranquil banks of the Seine, where I was ac­customed to take the air with my aunt Angelica, in the serene summer evenings, contemplating the wind­ing course of the river, and the extensive landscape beyond it—quays, along which I used to pass, with­out meeting in my solitary way with any object to interrupt my meditations, when in the fervency of my zeal I was repairing to the temple in order to pour out my whole soul at the foot of the altar. My grand­mother's gaiety gave charms to her habitation, in which I had spent many pleasant and peaceful days. I took leave of her with a flood of tears; notwith­standing my attachment to my mother, whose merit, of a more solid kind, was accompanied by a reserve, with which I had not till then made any comparison that could make it appear less attractive, as at that moment it struck me in a confused manner. Child [Page 84] of the Seine, it was still upon its banks that I was going to reside; but the situation of my father's house was not quiet and solitary like that of my grandmother. The moving picture of the Pont-Neuf varied the scene every moment, and I entered li­terally as well as figuratively into the world, when I returned under my paternal roof. A free air, how­ever, and an unconfined space, still gave scope to my romantic and wandering imagination. How many times from my window, which fronted the north, have I contemplated, with emotion, the vast expanse of heaven, and its azure dome designed with so much grandeur, and stretching from the grey east beyond the Pont au Change to the trees of the mall, and the houses of Chaillot, resplendent with the ruddy beams of the setting sun! Never did I fail to employ a few moments in this way at the close of every fine day, and often have tears of de­light stolen down my cheeks in silence, while my heart, dilated by a sentiment not to be described, and happy in the idea and consciousness of existence, was offering to the Supreme Being a pure homage of gratitude worthy of his acceptance. I know not if sensibility give a more vivid hue to every ob­ject, or if certain situations, which do not appear very remarkable, contribute powerfully to develope it, or if both be not reciprocally cause and effect: but when I review the events of my life, I find it dif­ficult to assign to circumstances, or to my disposition, [Page 85] that variety and that plenitude of affection, which have marked so strongly every point of its duration, and left me so clear a remembrance of every place at which I have been.

CAJOU had still continued to teach me music. He was fond of making me talk over the theory, or rather the mechanism of his art; for though some­thing of a composer, he understood little of mathe­matics, and of metaphysics less: but he was ambitious of communicating to me all he knew. He was almost as much afflicted at my want of ex­pression in singing, as astonished at the ease with which I pursued a chain of reasoning. 'Put soul into it!' he would continually exclaim: You sing an air as nuns chant an anthem.' The poor man did not perceive that I had too much soul to be able to put it in a song: and indeed I was as much embarrassed to give the proper expression to a tender passage of music, as I should formerly have been in reading aloud the episode of Eucharis or Erminia. Being suddenly transformed into the personage suppos­ed to be speaking, I was no longer capable of imita­tion; I experienced the sentiment to be described; my breathing grew short; my voice faltered; and difficulties resulted thence, which I could not over­come in a flat and serious style of singing; for I could not prevail upon myself to act the impassioned lover.

Mignard, whose Spanish politeness gained him [Page 86] the esteem of my grandmother, had begun, while I was with her, to teach me the guitar, and continued to give me lessons when I returned to my father's. The common accompaniments did not cost me many months to execute; and Mignard afterwards took a pleasure in forwarding my improvement, till in the end I surpassed my master. Mozon was recalled to perfect my dancing, as was Mr. Demure, to keep up my arithmetic, geography, writing, and history. My father made me resume the graver, confining me to the most trifling branch of the art, to which he thought to attach me by the tie of interest; for having taught me enough to make me of some use, he gave me little jobs to do, of which he shared the profit with me at the end of the week, according to a book which he desired me to keep. But I soon became weary of this; nothing was so insipid to me, as to engrave the edge of a watch-case, or to ornament a bauble; I liked much better to read a good author, than to buy a riband. I did not conceal my disgust; and as no con­straint was laid upon me, I threw aside the graver, and have never touched it since. I went out every morning with my mother to hear mass: after which we sometimes made our little purchases. When the time required for these purposes, and the hours de­voted to the lessons of my different masters, were over, I retired to my closet to read, to write, and to meditate. The long evenings made me return to my needle-works, during which my mother had [Page 87] the complaisance to read to me for hours together. These readings gave me great pleasure; but as they did not permit me to digest things to my entire satis­faction, I conceived the idea of making extracts. Ac­cordingly, my first employment in the morning was to consign to paper what had struck me most forcibly the preceding evening; and this done, I returned to the book to recover the connexion, or to copy a passage, that I was desirous of having entire. This grew into a habit, a passion, a perfect rage. My fa­ther having only the little library, which I had for­merly exhausted, I borrowed and hired books, and could not bear the idea of returning them till I had made what I conceived the best part of their contents my own. In this manner I demolished Pluche, Rollin, Crevier, the Père d'Orleans, St. Real, the Abbé de Vertot, and Mezeray, who so little resembles the lat­ter; Mezeray, the driest of all possible writers, but the historian of my country, with the annals of which I wished to be acquainted.

MY grandmother Bimont was dead. My little uncle settled at St. Bartholomew's, in a better place than that of master of the choir, boarded with the first [...]ear, the Abbé le Jay, who kept a very tolerable house, where we used to go and pass the evening on Sundays and holidays, after divine service.

THE Abbé le Jay was a good old man, clumsy both in body and mind, a wretched preacher, an [Page 88] unmerciful confessor, a casuist, and the Lord knows what beside. But he was by no means blind to his own interest: he had found means to help on his two brothers, and to get them established as nota­ries at Paris, where they made a figure in their profession, at that time both reputable and lucra­tive. His own house was kept by one of his rela­tions, a Mademoiselle d'Hannaches, tall, dry, and fallow, with a shrill voice, proud of her descent, and tiring every body with her economical arrange­ments, and her pedigree. She was a woman how­ever, and that always enlivens the house of a priest: besides, she contrived to keep a neat and plentiful table for her cousin, who was a great amateur of good eating. The Abbé found it extremely agreeable to have a boarder in his house of the amiable disposi­tion of my uncle Bimont: his table was more cheer­ful, Mademoiselle d'Hannaches better tempered, and his party of tric-trac* never failed: my mother and the cousin were partners; and as to me, who seemed thus to be deserted, I was not at all displeas­ed at my four friends amusing themselves in that way; for the Abbé le Jay received company in a large library, which I laid under contribution without mercy. This was a source which I re­curred to as long as he lived; something less than [Page 89] three years. One of his brothers having ruined himself, the Abbé lost his senses, languished for six weeks, threw himself out of a window, and died of his fall. Mademoiselle d'Hannaches, then at l [...]w for the inheritance of her uncle, the captain, was accommodated in my mother's house, and resided with us a year and a half. During that period I was her secretary: I wrote her letters, copied her dear genealogy, drew up petitions which she pre­sented to the president and attorney-general of the parliament of Paris, who were left trustees of the annuities bequeathed by a Mr. de St. Vallier to poor gentlewomen; and sometimes accompanied her when she went to make interest with various per­sons of consequence. I easily perceived that, not­withstanding her ignorance, her stiff demeanour, her bad way of expressing herself, her old-fashioned dress, and her other absurdities, respect was paid to her origin. The names of her ancestors, which she never failed to repeat, were attended to, and great pains were taken to obtain for her what she desired. I compared the honourable reception she met with, with that given me by Madam de Boismorel, which had left a deep impression on my mind; I could not help feeling my superiority over Mademoiselle d'Han­naches, who with her genealogy, and at the age of forty, was unable to write a line of common sense, or a legible hand; and it appeared to me that the [Page 90] world was extremely unjust, and the institutions of society highly absurd.

BUT let us see for a moment what was become of my friends at the convent. My Agatha now and then wrote me letters in the style of tenderness pe­culiar to those plaintive doves, who dared not indulge in any thing farther than friendship; a style rendered still more affectionate by her ardent soul. Little boxes, pincushions, and sweetmeats, accompanied them, whenever such presents were within her reach. I went occasionally to see her; and was even admitted into the interior of the convent at a festival given in honour of the superior; a privilege they had taken care to insure me, by obtaining unknown to me a li­cence from the archbishop, which was afterwards pre­sented me as a special favour, and received by me as such. Every thing was in motion, the young ladies were well dressed, the hall was adorned with flowers, and the refectory stuffed full of dainty ca [...]es. It must be confessed, that in these entertainments of poor secluded virgins, in which no doubt something childish may be found, there is also something amia­ble, ingenuous, and graceful, which belongs only to the gentleness of women, to their lively imagination, and innocent playfulness, when they make merry among themselves at a distance from a sex, that al­ways renders them more serious, when it does not completely turn their brain. A short drama, rather dull, but enlivened by the voices of little girls [Page 91] singing a few stanzas in chorus, was the first rally­ing point: sportive dances succeeded; at one time some excellent joke, and at another an arch laugh, the more humorous, because making a greater contrast with their habitual gravity, gave a true Saturnalian character to the sports of the good sisters and their pupils.

THE physician coming by chance to the infirmary to visit his patients, it was impossible to do other­wise than invite him to a sight of the entertainment. He was accordingly conducted under a cloister hung with festoons of flowers, where a sort of fair was established. There young novices were selling bal­lads, others were distributing cakes, one was drawing a lottery, and another telling fortunes, while the lit­tle girls were loaded with baskets of fruit and, a con­cert was performing on the opposite side. At the sight of the doctor's wig, the novices pulled their veils over their faces; the elder boarders looked at their dress, to see whether it was in disorder; the younger girls assumed a graver air; and I held my guitar in a less negligent manner. It was suspended before me by a riband passed over my shoulder. The nuns had insisted upon hearing me sing, and the occasion had inspired me with two stanzas indifferent in themselves, but so well timed as to be received with unbounded applause. Even Cajou would have been satisfied with the manner in which I sung them; for having no sentiments to express but such as I could indulge, [Page 92] my accents were perfectly unrestrained. I was desired to repeat them before the physician: but that was a very different affair; my voice faltered, and my ex­pression became obscure. An old nun remarked it, and said with an arch look, that it only made my counte­nance so much the more interesting. At length the doctor withdrew, every body being glad he was gone, though nobody would have wished him not to have been there.

Sophia had returned to her family at Amiens; but previously to her departure we had prevailed upon our mothers to see one another. They had in a manner consecrated our connexion, had reciprocal­ly applauded their daughters' choice, and smiled at our promises, of never forgetting each other, which we called upon them to witness. Those promises, however, were better kept than they imagined, notwithstanding certain modifications of which my readers hereafter will be able to judge. My corres­pondence with my friend was regularly carried on. I wrote to her always once a week, and generally twice.—'And what,' methinks I hear it asked, 'could you have to relate?'—Every thing I saw, thought, felt, or perceived: surely then I could not be in want of something to say! Our corres­pondence gave facility to itself, and furnished its own materials, by communicating my reflections, I learned the better to reflect; I studied with more ardour, because I took a pleasure in sharing what I [Page 93] acquired; and I made my observations with the greater care, because I found entertainment in com­mitting them to paper. Sophia's letters were less frequent: a numerous family, a crowded house, the forms of society, and the very nature of a provin­cial life, occupied by trifles, by unmeaning visits, and of which a part is necessarily devoted to cards, left her neither the leisure to write, nor the means of collecting such abundant materials. For that reason perhaps she set the greater value on the letters she received from me, and pressed me more earnestly to write.

THE death of the Abbé le Jay having deprived me of the use of his library, in which I had found historians, mythologists, fathers of the church, and literati:—Cotrou and Rouillé, for instance, who call Horatius Cocles a one-eyed worthy; Maimbourg, of a taste equally elevated; Berruyere, who wrote the history of the people of God in the style wherein Bitaubé has composed his poem called Joseph; the chevalier de Folard, of a very different cast, whose military details appeared to me much more rational than the reflections of the Jesuits; the Abbé Banier, who amused me a great deal more than the Abbé Fleury; Condillac, and father André, whose metaphy­sics, applied to eloquence, and to the beautiful of every kind, gave me singular delight; some poems by Voltaire; the moral essays of Nicole; the Lives of the Fathers in the Wilderness, and that of Descartes [Page 94] by André Baillet; Bossuet's Universal History; the letters of St. Jerôme, and the romance of Don Quixote, with a thousand others equally congruous:— this library failing me, I was forced to have recourse to the booksellers. My father being ill qualified to select, asked for whatever I pointed out, my choice generally falling on the works of which I had been enabled to form some idea by the quotations and ex­tracts I had found in those I had already read. In that way translations of Diodorus Siculus, and other ancient historians, attracted my notice. I was also desirous of reading the history of my own country in some other writer besides Mezeray, and accordingly pitched upon the Abbé Velly, and his continuators far less interesting than himself, in pe­riods, where, with his talents, they might have been more so. Pascal, Montesquieu, Locke, Burlamaqui, and the principal Frénch dramatists, next engaged my attention. I had no plan, nor any end in view, but to improve myself and acquire knowledge. I felt a fort of necessity of exercising the activity of my mind, and of gratifying my serious propensities. I panted after happiness, and could find it only in a powerful exertion of my faculties. I know not what I might have become, if placed in the hands of a skilful preceptor: it is probable that by apply­ing solely or principally to a particular study, I might have extended some branch of science, or have acquired talents of a superior kind. But should I have [Page 95] been better or more useful? That is a question which I leave others to resolve: certain it is, that I could not have been more happy. I know of nothing comparable to that plenitude of life, of peace, of satisfaction, to those days of innocence and study. They were not, however, unmixed with trouble, from which the life of man upon earth is never exempt.

I HAD generally several books on hand at a time, some serving for study, others standing me in the stead of recreation. Historical works of length, as I have already observed, were read aloud in the evening, which was almost the only time I spent with my mo­ther. The whole of the day I passed in the solitude of the closet, in making extracts, or in meditation. As long as the fine weather lasted, we went on holidays to the public walks; and my father carried me be­sides to all the exhibitions either of pictures or other works of art, so frequent at Paris in those days of luxury, and of prosperity, as it was then called. He enjoyed himself much on these occasions, when he had it in his power to make an agreeable display of his superiority by pointing out to my observation what he understood better than I; and was proud of the taste I discovered as of his own work. That was our point of contract: in those cases we were truly in unison. My father never lost an opportunity of shew­ing himself to advantage; and it was evident that he was fond of being seen in public, giving his arm to a well-dressed young woman, whose blooming appear­ance [Page 96] frequently produced a murmur of admiration grateful to his ears. If any one accosted him, doubtful of the relation in which we stood to each other, he would say, 'My daughter,' with an air of modest triumph, which I was not the last to perceive, and which affected me without making me vain, for I ascribed it entirely to parental affec­tion. If I chanced to speak, he might be seen examining, in those around, the effect of my voice, or of the good sense I might have uttered, and ask­ing them by his looks, if he had not reason to be proud. I was sensible of these things; and they some­times made me more timid, without producing any awkward feeling: it seemed incumbent upon me to make amends by my modesty for my father's pride. In the mean time, how did these worldly amuse­ments, these arts, the images they call up, and the desire to please, so natural and so strong in woman­kind, agree with my devotion, my studies, my so­ber reason, and my faith? That was precisely the origin of the trouble of which I have been speaking, and of which the progress and effects are well worthy of an explanation rather difficult to give.

WITH the bulk of mankind, formed rather to feel than to think, the passions give the first shock to their creed, when that creed has been imbibed from education. What but passion produces such con­tradictions between the principles that have been adop­ted, [Page 97] the desires that those principles cannot extinguish, and the institutions of a government ill calculated to reconcile them? But in a young mind accustomed to reflect, and placed out of the reach of the seduc­tions of the world, it is reason which first gives the alarm, and urges us to examine, before we have any interest to doubt. If my inquietude, however, had no selfish considerations in view, it was not, on that account, independent of my sensibility: I thought through the medium of my heart; while my reason, though observing a strict impartiality, was by no means unconcerned in the operations of the mind.

THE first thing that shocked me in that religion, which I professed with the seriousness of a solid and consistent mind, was the universal damnation of all those by whom it is denied, or to whom it has re­mained unknown. When, instructed by history, I had well considered the extent of the earth, the succession of ages, the progress of empires, the vir­tues and the errors of so many nations, I perceived weakness, absurdity, and impiety, in the idea of a creator, who devotes to eternal torments those innumerable beings, the frail works of his hands, cast on the earth in the midst of so many perils, and lost in a night of ignorance, from which they have already had so much to suffer. 'I am deceived in this article of my creed, it is evident: am I not equally wrong in some other? Let me examine.'— [Page 98] From the moment a catholic has arrived at this stage of reasoning, he is lost for ever to the church. I easily conceive why priests require a blind submission, and preach up so strenuously that religious faith, which adopts without examination, and adores without murmuring; this is the basis of their em­pire, which is destroyed as soon as we begin to in­vestigate. Next to the cruelty of damnation, the ab­surdity of infallibility struck me the most; and very soon it was rejected likewise. 'What truth is there then remaining?'—That became the object of a re­search continued, during a number of years, with an activity, and sometimes with an anxiety, of mind, difficult to describe. Critical, moral, philosophical, and metaphysical writers became my favourite study. I was on the hunt after whatever could point them out to me; and their analysis and comparison became my principal employ. I had lost my confessor, the monk of St. Victor's: the good M. Lallement was dead, to whose worth and discretion I am happy to have an opportunity of bearing witness. Being un­der the necessity of making choice of some person to succeed him, I cast my eyes upon the Abbé Morel, who belonged to our parish, and whom I had seen at my uncle's: he was a little man, by no means wanting in understanding, and professing the great­est austerity of principles, which was the motive that determined me in my choice. When my faith wavered, he was sure to be the first informed of it; [Page 99] for I never could tell any thing but the truth. He was eager to put into my hands the apologists and champions of Christianity. Behold me then clo­seted with the Abbé Gauchat, the Abbé Bergier, Ab­badie, Holland, Clarke, and the rest of the reverend phalanx.—I perused them with critical severity, and sometimes made notes, which I left in the book when I returned it to the Abbé Morel, who asked with astonishment if I had written and conceived them. The most whimsical part of the story is, that it was from these works that I first got an idea of those which they pretended to refute, and noted down their titles in order to procure them. In this way did the trea­tise on Toleration, the Dictionnaire Philosophique, Questions concerning the Encyclopedie, the Bon Sens of the Marquis d'Argens, the Jewish Letters, the Tur­kish Spy, les Moeurs, l'Esprit, Diderot, d'Alembert, Raynal, and the Systeme de la Nature, pass successive­ly through my hands.

THE progress of my mind was not going on alone. Nature was making hers in every way. Although my mother had never precisely told me what I had to expect, she had occasionally said enough on the subject in my presence, and my grandmother in par­ticular had amused herself too much by certain pre­dictions, to leave any room for astonishment at the event.

I REMARKED it with a sort of joy, as an initiation [Page 100] into the class of grown persons, and I announced it to my mother, who embraced me tenderly, de­lighted at the idea of my having passed so happily through a period, during which she had been alarmed for my health. Previously to this occurrence I had been sometimes roused in a surprising manner from the most profound sleep. My imagination had no concern in the business: it was too much occupied with serious subjects, and my timorous conscience guarded it too scrupulously against amusing itself with others, for it to be possible that it should present to me what I had never allowed myself to try to compre­hend. But an extraordinary ebullition irritated my senses during the hours of repose, and operated of it­self, by the mere force of an excellent constitution, an effect which was as perfectly unknown to me as the cause. The first sentiment that resulted from it was an unaccountable sort of terror. I had read in my Philotée, that we are not permitted to derive any pleasure from our bodies unless in lawful marriage. This precept recurred to my mind. What I had ex­perienced might be called a pleasure: I was there­fore culpable, and in a way too that might occasion me the greatest shame and sorrow, since it was pre­cisely the offence most displeasing to the Lamb without spot. Great was the agitation in my poor heart, fervent were my prayers, and my mortifica­tions severe! How was a similar event to be avoided in future? for after all I had not foreseen it. True; [Page 101] but I had not taken pains to prevent it, at the instant it was coming on. My vigilance accordingly became extreme. I perceived that one position exposed me more to it than another; and carefully avoided it. My uneasiness was so great, that it used afterwards to wake me before the catastrophe. When I had been unable to prevent it, I leaped out of bed, and stand­ing in the midst of winter, with my naked feet on the bare pavement*, I supplicated the Lord, with folded arms, to preserve me from the temptations of the de­vil. I lost no time in putting myself upon low diet; and it has happened to me to practise literally what the royal prophet has perhaps only given us, as an orien­tal figure of speech; I mixed ashes with my bread, and moistened it with my tears. I have made more than one breakfast on toast sprinkled with ashes instead of salt, by way of penance. These repasts did me no more harm than the nocturnal accidents, for the re­paration of which, I put myself upon so strange a regimen. At last I conceived that they might be trials which heaven permitted in order to keep us in humble distrust of ourselves; and I called to mind the complaints of St. Paul, and his prayers to be delivered from 'the thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan that was given to buffet him.' I fancied that it was on this account, that St. Bernard used to throw [Page 102] himself in the snow; that St. Jerome covered his body with sackcloth; and that abstinence was so strenuously recommended to those who aspire to perfection. How humble and fervent was my devo­tion whenever such an accident had happened to me! How much must my earnest voice, my humble attitude, the extraordinary glow of my complexion, and my bright and humid eyes, have added to the expression of a countenance full of candour and sensibility! What a mixture of innocence, of pre­mature sentiment, of good sense, and of simpli­city! In truth, I almost consider myself as fortu­nate in being sent to prison, in order to call to mind these interesting peculiarities, which never before came into my head, and by which I am highly affected.

I ALREADY see the curious at a loss to know what I could say on this subject to my confessor: but most assuredly the difficulty they may find in conceiving it, is not greater than the embarrassment I under­went. It was in vain that the most scrupulous examination quieted my conscience as to my will: I always returned to the principle of the Philotée, and the argument thence to be inferred; and, in short, if it were only a trial, it ought still to be laid before my confessor. How shall I attempt it? What name shall I give it? What shall I de­scribe? or how express myself?—'Father, I accuse myself.'—'Well, child!' What could I say next? [Page 103] My heart began to beat, the blood rushed into my face, and a dewy moisture diffused itself over my whole frame. 'I accuse myself—of having had emo­tions contrary to the chastity of a christian.' Oh! what an excellent phrase! Santeuil was not more delighted at finding his rhime, nor Archimedes with the solution of his problem, than I was pleased with the expression. But if he should question me fur­ther? Nay, but I have told all I can; it is his business to know the rest. I trembled that day much more than usual in kneeling before the holy tribunal; and my veil was pulled down to my chin. I was anxious, however, to ease my heart of the heaviest of my accusations. 'Have you at all contributed thereto?'— 'I do not know, but my will was not concerned.' —'Have you read no bad books?'—'Never.'— 'Entertained no improper thoughts?'—'Oh no! I abhor them.'—'Hem! go on.' I know not whether the Abbé Morel had any bad thoughts to combat at that moment, but his prudent reserve not suffering him to add any thing more, I looked upon his Hem! Go on, as tantamount to the order of the day, and concluded, that I was not so criminal as I had supposed. He took care, however, in his final exhortation, to recommend to me to be watch­ful, and to remind me, that angelic purity was the virtue most agreeable in the eyes of the Lord, with other common-place maxims which I read every day. I was confirmed in my idea that it was a trial, and [Page 104] that I was right in my applications of St. Paul and other holy writers. My conscience w [...] delivered from a very painful scruple, and I became in future free from agitation. It is inconceivable what good effects this habit of restraint has produced on the whole course of my life, notwithstanding the way in which it was contracted. It has gained such an ascendance over me, that I have maintained, from delicacy and a sense of rectitude, the severity that first sprung from devotion. I became mistress of my imagina­tion by dint of curbing it; I took a sort of dislike to every brutal and solitary gratification; and in dan­gerous situations have found a pleasure in remain­ing prudent, when seduction would have led me to forget my reason and my principles. Pleasure, like happiness, I can see only in the union of what charms the heart as well as the senses, and leaves behind it no regret. With such sentiments, it is difficult to forget, and impossible to degrade, one's self, at the same time that they do not exempt us from what is properly called a tender passion; on the contrary, they perhaps increase the quantity of fuel by which it is fed. I might add here, as in geometry, Q. E. D. But have a little patience! we have plenty of time to come at the proof.

TO the newly acquired sensations of a well orga­nized frame, were insensibly joined all the modifi­cations of the desire to please. I was fond of look­ing well, I was pleased at hearing it said, and wil­lingly [Page 105] employed myself in whatever seemed likely to procure me that satisfaction. This, perhaps, is the place to draw my portrait, and it will be quite as well to insert it here as elsewhere. At fourteen years old, having already attained my full height, my stature was, as now, about five feet*; my leg was well made; my foot well set on; my hips high and prominent; my chest broad, and nobly decorated; my shoulders flat; my carriage firm and graceful; and my walk light and quick:—such was the first coup d'oeil. My face had nothing striking in it, except a great deal of colour, and much softness and expression. On examining each feature, 'Where,' it might be said, 'is the beauty?' Not a single one is regular, and yet all please. My mouth is a little wide; you may see prettier every day; but you will see none with a smile more ten­der or engaging. My eyes, on the contrary, are not very large, and the colour of the iris is hazel; but they are sufficiently prominent, and are crown­ed with well-arched eye brows, which, like my hair, are of a dark brown. My look is open, frank, lively, and tender, varying in its expression like the affectionate heart of which it indicates the movements; serious and lofty, it sometimes asto­nishes; but it charms much more, and never fails to keep attention awake. My nose gave me some un­easiness; [Page 106] I thought it a little too full at the end: but taken with the rest, especially in profile, its effect is not amiss. My forehead, broad, high, with the hair retiring, at that early age, supported by a very elevated orbit of the eye, and marked by veins in the form of a Y, that dilated on the slightest emo­tion, was far from making such an insignificant figure as it does in many faces. As to my chin, which turns up a little at the end, it has precisely the marks at­tributed by physiognomists to the voluptuary. Indeed, when I combine all the peculiarities of my character, I doubt if ever an individual so well formed for plea­sure, tasted it so little. A complexion clear rather than fair, a fresh colour, frequently heightened by the sudden flush of a rapid circulation excited by the most irritable nerves; a smooth skin, a well-turned arm, a hand, which, without being small, is elegant, because its long and taper fingers give it grace, and indicate address; teeth white and regular; and the plumpness of perfect health:—such are the gifts with which nature had endowed me. I have lost many of them, particularly the fulness of my form, and the bloom and ruddiness of my com­plexion; but those which remain still hide five or six years of my age, without any assistance of art, so that the persons who are in the daily habit of seeing me, will hardly believe me to be more than two or three and thirty. It is only since my beauty has begun to fade, that I know what was its extent; [Page 107] while in its bloom I was unconscious of its value, which was probably augmented by my ignorance. I do not regret its loss, because I have never abused it; but I certainly should not be sorry, provided my duty could be reconciled with my inclination, to turn the portion that remains to better account. My portrait has frequently been drawn, painted, and engraved, but none of these imitations gives an idea of my person*: my likeness is very hard to hit, because the expression of my soul is more strongly marked than the lines of my countenance. This an artist of common abilities cannot represent; possibly he does not even see it. My face takes animation in proportion to the interest with which I am inspired, in the same manner as my mind is developed in propor­tion to the mind with which I communicate. I feel myself so stupid with many people, that upon perceiving my readiness with persons of wit, I have thought in the simplicity of my heart that I was indebted for it to their cleverness. I generally please, because I am fearful of offending: but it is not given to all to find me handsome, or to disco­ver what I am worth. I can suppose that an old cox­comb, enamoured of himself, and vain of dis­playing the slender stock of science he has been so long in acquiring, might be in the habit of seeing me for ten years together without suspecting I could do [Page 108] more than cast up a bill, or cut out a shirt. It was not without reason that Camille Desmoulins was astonished that 'at my age, and with so little beauty,' I had still what he calls adorers. I never spoke to him in my life, but it is probable that with a personage of his stamp I should be cold and silent, if not abso­lutely repulsive. He was not right in supposing me to hold a court. I hate gallants as much as I despise slaves, and know perfectly well how to get rid of a flatterer. What I want is esteem and good-will; admire me afterwards if you please; but esteem and affection I must have at any rate: this seldom fails with those who see me often, and who possess, at the same time, a sound understanding and a heart.

THAT desire to please, which animates a youthful breast, and excites so delicious an emotion when we perceive the flattering looks of which we are the object, was curiously combined with my virgin bash­fulness, and the austerity of my principles, and dif­fused a peculiar charm over my person and my dress. Nothing could be more decent than my garb, nor any thing more modest than my deportment: though wishing them to bespeak reserve, and as­piring only to neatness, the greatest commenda­tions were bestowed upon my taste. Meanwhile, that renunciation of the world, that contempt of its pomps and vanities, so strongly recommended by christian morality, accorded ill with the suggestions [Page 109] of nature. Their contradictions at first tormented me, but my reasoning necessarily extended to rules of conduct, as well as to articles of faith. I ap­plied myself with equal attention to the investiga­tion of what I ought to do, and the examination of what it was possible for me to believe: the study of philosophy, considered as the moral science, and the basis of happiness, became my only one, and I referred to it all my reading and observation.

THE same thing happened to me in metaphysics and morality, that I had experienced in reading poetry: I fancied myself transformed into the per­sonage of the drama that had most analogy with my­self, or that I most esteemed; and adopted the pro­positions, with the novelty or brilliancy of which I had been struck: they remained my own, till some newer or more profound discussion came in my way. Thus, in the controversial class, I sided with the au­thors of Port Royal; their logic and their austerity agreed with my temper of mind, while I felt an in­stinctive aversion to the sophistical, evasive, and flex­ible faith of the Jesuits. When I became acquainted with the ancient sects of philosophers, I gave the palm to the stoics; and endeavoured like them, to maintain that pain was no evil. That folly could not last, but I persisted in determining at least not to be overcome by it; and my little experiments convinced me that I could endure the greatest torments without uttering a cry. The night of my marriage destroyed [Page 110] the confidence I had till then preserved: it is true, surprise had some share in the business, and a novice of that rigid order may be expected to bear an evil foreseen, better than one that came unawares, when the very contrary was looked for.

DURING two months that I studied Descartes and Malebranche, I considered my kitten, when she mewed, merely as a piece of mechanism perform­ing its movements; but in thus separating senti­ment from its signs, it seemed to me that I was dissecting nature, and robbing it of all its charms. I thought it infinitely more agreeable to give every thing a soul; and should have adopted that of Spinosa, rather than go without one. Helvetius hurt me; he annihilated the most ravishing illu­sions; and shewed me every where a mean and re­volting self-interest: yet what sagacity! what happy ideas! I persuaded myself that Helvetius delineated mankind in the state to which they had been reduced by the corruption of society: I thought it right to stu­dy him, in order to frequent what is called the world, without being its dupe; but I took good care not to adopt his principles for the purpose of estimating man in his unadulterated state, or appreciating my own ac­tions. I felt myself possessed of a generosity of soul, of which he denied the existence. With what de­light did I oppose to his system the sublime traits of history, and the virtue of the heroes it has celebra­ted! I never read the recital of a glorious deed with­out [Page 111] saying to myself, 'It is thus that I should have acted.' I became a passionate admirer of repub­lics, because it was there that I found the most vir­tues to awaken my admiration, and the men best de­serving of my esteem. I was persuaded, that their form of polity was the only one calculated to pro­duce both: I felt myself not unequal to the former; I rejected with disdain the idea of uniting myself with a man inferior to the latter; and I asked, with a sigh, why I was not born a republican.

MY mother, my amiable little uncle, Mademoiselle d'Hannaches, and myself, made a journey to Ver­sailles, which was solely intended to shew me the court, and the place it inhabited, and to amuse me with its pageantry. We lodged in the palace. Madam le Grand, the Dauphiness's woman, well known to the Abbé Bimont, by means of her son, who was his school-fellow, and of whom I shall have occasion to speak hereafter, not being in waiting, lent us her apartment. It was a garret, in the same cor­ridor with that of the Archbishop of Paris, and so closely adjoining, that it was necessary for the pre­late to speak in a low tone of voice, to avoid being overheard: the same precaution was necessary on our part. Two rooms indifferently furnished, over one of which it was contrived to lodge a valet, and to which the avenue was dark, and rendered insupportable by the stench of the privies—such was the habitation which a duke and peer of France [Page 112] did not disdain to occupy, that he [...] at hand to go creeping every morning to their majesties levee: this prelate, however, was no other than the rigid Beaumont. For one entire week we were constant spectators of the public and private dinners (les petits et grand converts) of all the royal family, whether assembled in one party, or divided into several, and attended them at mass, in their walks, at their card parties, and in the drawing­room.

THE different acquaintances of Madam le Grand facilitated our admission; while Mademoiselle d'Han­naches thrust herself forward with the greatest assurance upon every occasion, ready to throw her name in any one's face who should dare to oppose her passage, and taking it for granted, that they must needs read in her grotesque countenance six hundred years of well-ascertained nobility. She recollected two or three of the king's guards, whose pedigrees she recited with the greatest accuracy, taking care to prove herself precisely the relation of him whose name was the most ancient, and who appeared to me nevertheless to be a very insigni­ficant personage at court. The handsome face of a spruce young clergyman, like my uncle Bimont, and the imbecil hauteur of the ugly d'Hannaches, were not wholly out of place at Versailles; but the cheeks of my respectable mother, unplastered with rouge, and the plainness of my apparel, bespoke us [Page 113] citizens; and if my youth or my eyes drew forth a word or two, they were modulated with a tone of condescension that gave me little less offence than the compliments of Madam Boismorel. Philoso­phy, imagination, sentiment, and calculation, were all busy upon this occasion. I was not insensible to the effect of a great display of magnificence, but I felt indignant at its being intended to set off a few certain individuals, already too powerful, though in themselves deserving but little regard. I liked bet­ter to look at the statues in the gardens, than at the great personages in the palace; and when my mo­ther asked me if I were pleased with my excursion, 'Yes,' said I, 'if it terminate speedily: if we stay but a few days longer, I shall so perfectly detest the people I see, that I shall not know what to do with my hatred.'—'Why, what harm do they do you?— "They give me the feeling of injustice, and oblige me every moment to contemplate absurdity.' I sighed at the recollection of Athens, where I could have equal­ly admired the fine arts, without being annoyed with the spectacle of despotism. Fancy transported me all over Greece; I assisted at the Olympic games, and was out of all patience at being a Frenchwoman. En­chanted with what I had seen in the golden period of the republic, I passed over the storms by which it had been agitated: I forgot the exile of Aristides, the death of Socrates, and the condemnation of Phocion. I little thought that heaven reserved me [Page 114] to be witness of errors, similar to those of they were the victims, and to participate in the glory of the same persecution, after having professed the same principles. Heaven knows that the misfortunes which affect only myself have extorted from me neither sighs nor complaints: I only feel those which afflict my country. At the time of the dissension between the court and the parliament in 1771, my disposition and opinions attached me to the party of the latter; I procured all their remonstrances, and was most pleased with those which contained the strongest things expressed in the boldest style. The sphere of my ideas continually enlarged. My own happiness, and the duties to the performance of which it might be attached, occupied my mind at a very early period; the love of knowledge made me afterwards study history, and turn my thoughts to every thing about me; the relation of our species to the divinity so vari­ously represented, caricatured, and disfigured, attracted my attention, and at length the welfare of man in so­ciety fixed it to a determinate point.

IN the midst of doubts, uncertainty, and investi­gation, relative to these important matters, I rea­dily concluded, that the unity of the individual, if I may so express myself, that is to say, the most entire harmony between his opinions and actions, was necessary to his personal happiness. Accord­ingly, we ought to examine well what is right, and when we have found it, we should practise it ri­gorously. [Page 115] There is a kind of justice due to a man's self, even were he living in the world alone: it is incumbent on him so to regulate all his affections and habits, that he may be the slave of none. A being is good in itself, when all its parts concur to its preservation, its maintenance, or its perfection: this is not less true in the moral, than in the physical world. Justness of organization, and an equipoise of humours, constitute health: wholesome aliments, and mo­derate exercise preserve it. The due proportion of our desires, and the harmony of the passions, form the moral constitution, of which wisdom alone can secure the excellence and duration. Its first princi­ples originate in the interest of the individual; and in this respect it may be truly said, that virtue is noth­ing more than good sense applied to moral purposes. But virtue, properly so called, can only spring from the relations of a being with his fellow-creatures: a man is prudent as far as self is concerned, virtuous in regard to other people. In society every thing is rela­tive: there is no independent happiness: we are obli­ged to sacrifice a part of what we might enjoy, in or­der to run no risk of losing the whole, and to keep a portion out of the reach of accident. Even here the balance is in favour of reason. However laborious may be the life of the honest, that of the vicious must be still more so. That man can seldom be tranquil, who stands in opposition to the interest of the majori­ty; it is impossible for him not to feel that he is sur­rounded [Page 116] by enemies, or by individuals about [...] come so; and this situation is always painful, howe­ver flattering may be its appearances. Let us add to these considerations, the sublime instinct, which cor­ruption may mislead, but which no false philosophy can ever annihilate; which impels us to admire and love wisdom and generosity of conduct, as we do grandeur and symmetry in nature and the arts—and we shall have the source of human virtue independent of every religious system, of the idle fancies of meta­physics, and of the imposture of priests. As soon as I had combined and demonstrated these truths, my heart expanded with joy; they offered me a port in the storm, and I could now examine with less anxi­ety the errors of national creeds and social institu­tions. Can the sublime idea of a divine Creator, whose providence watches over the world, the immateriality of the soul, and its immortality, that consolatory hope of persecuted virtue, be nothing more than amiable and splendid chimeras? But in how much obscurity are these difficult problems involved? What accumu­lated objections arise when we wish to examine them with mathematical rigour! No; it is not given to the human mind to behold these truths in the full day of perfect evidence: but why should the man of sensibili­ty repine at not being able to demonstrate what he feels to be true?

IN the silence of the closet, and the dryness of dis­cussion, I can agree with the atheist or the materialist, [Page 117] as to the insolubility of certain questions; but when in the country, and contemplating nature, my soul, full of emotion, soars aloft to the vivifying principle that animates them, to the almighty intellect that per­vades them, and to the goodness that makes the scene so delightful to my senses. Now, when immense walls separate me from all I love, and when all the evils of society fall upon us together, as if to punish us for having desired its greatest blessings, I see beyond the limits of life the reward of our sacrifices.

HOW? In what manner?—I cannot say; I only feel that so it ought to be*.

THE atheist is not, in my eyes, an evil-minded man: I can live with him as well, nay better than with the devotee; for he reasons more; but he wants a certain sense that I possess, and my mind does not perfectly harmonize with his: he is unmoved at the most enchanting spectacle, and is seeking for a syllo­gism, while I am offering up my thanksgivings.

[Page 118]IT was not all at once th [...] fixed myself i [...] firm and peaceful seat, in which, enjoying the truths that are demonstrated to me, and giving way without scruple to feelings so full of delight, I am content to remain ignorant of what cannot be known, and give myself no disturbance about the opinions of others. I have here set down in a few words the result of seve­ral years of meditation and study, in the course of which I have sometimes shared in the sentiments of the deist, in the atheist's incredulity, and in the scep­tic's indifference. But always sincere, because I had no inducement to change my faith in order to relax my morals, which were fixed upon principles that no prejudices could affect, I sometimes felt the agitation of doubt, but never the torment of fear. I conform­ed to the established worship, because my age, my sex and my situation, made it my duty so to do; but, in­capable of deceiving any one, I used to say to the Abbé Morel, 'I come to confession for the edification of my neighbour, and to preserve my mother's peace of mind; but I scarcely know of what to accuse myself: I lead so quiet a life, and my desires are so moderate, that my conscience has nothing to reproach me with, at the same time that I have no great merit in behaving with propriety. I am sometimes, however, too much taken up with the desire of pleasing, and give way to too great violence of temper, when any thing goes wrong. I am also too severe perhaps in my judgment of others; and, without suffering it to manifest itself, [Page 119] I conceive too hasty an aversion to those who appear to be stupid or dull; but in this I will be careful to correct myself. In the last place, I am too absent and too careless while attending divine service; for I ac­knowledge that we ought to be attentive to whatever we think it requisite to perform, be the motive what it may.' The worthy priest, who had exhausted his library and his rhetoric to keep me in the path of belief, had the good sense to be pleased at finding me so reasonable: he exhorted me, however, to distrust the spirit of pride; represented to me the advantages of religion in the best way he was able; thought proper to give me absolution; and was tolerably well satisfied with my attending at the holy table three or four times a year, out of philosophical toleration, since it was no longer the work of faith. When I went to receive the divine aliment, I could not help thinking on the words of Cicero, who said, that, to complete the follies of men with respect to the Deity, it only remained for them to transform him into food, and then to eat him. My mother's devotion growing greater every day, I became less able to deviate from the ordinary practices of religion; for there was nothing that I dreaded so much as to afflict her.

THE Abbé le Grand, my uncle Bimont's friend, sometimes visited us. He was a man of great good sense, who had nothing of his profession about him but his gown, in which he felt himself not a little awkward. His family had made him a priest, because [Page 120] one out of three sons must necessarily enter into holy orders. Appointed chaplain to the prince of Lamballe, and pensioned after the death of his patron by Pen­thièvre, he had settled himself in a parish merely that he might have a fixed residence, and had chosen it near his friend, in order to enjoy his society. Af­fected with great weakness of sight, he became blind at a very early age; and this accident, by fostering his taste for reflection, had given him a very medita­tive turn. He was fond of chatting with me, and often brought me books, generally works of philoso­phy, on the principles of which he spoke with great freedom. My mother hardly ever bearing a part in the discussion, I was afraid of carrying things to any great length: she did not, however, hinder me from reading, nor did she blame the choice of my subjects. A Genevese watchmaker, connected in business with my father, a worthy man, who always kept a book among his tools, and had a tolerable library, with which he was better acquainted than many great lords are with theirs; offered me the use of a treasure so suited to my taste, and I availed myself of his kind­ness. That kind M. Moré was a man of good sense, and could reason, not only concerning his art, but concerning morals and politics also; and though he expressed himself with a difficulty and tardiness, that my patience found it hard to support, he shared with most of his countrymen that solidity of intel­lect which makes amends for a want of the graces. [Page 121] —From him I procured Buffon, and many other works. I mention this author by way of referring to what I have said, in a former part of my me­moirs, of the discretion with which I read him. Philosophy, in calling forth the energies of my soul, and giving firmness to my mind, did not diminish the scruples of sentiment, or the susceptibility of my imagination, against which I had reason to be so much upon my guard. Natural philosophy first, and then mathematics, exercised my activity for a time. Nol­let, Réaumur, and Bonnet, who indulges his fancy upon what others describe, amused me in their turns; as did Maupertuis, who enters into woful lamenta­tions while particularizing the pleasures of snails. At length Rivard inspired me with the desire of be­coming a geometrician. Guéring, a stone-mason and surveyor, who with all his simplicity was a man of great good sense and good nature, coming one day to talk with my father, found me so closely rivetted to Rivard's quarto, that I did not perceive his arri­val. He entered into conversation with me, observed that Clairaut's Elements would much better answer the purpose I had in view; and the next day brought me the copy he had in his possession. I found it to contain a simple reduction of the first principles of the science, and recollecting at once that the work might be useful to me, and that I could not with de­cency detain it from the proprietor so long as I should like to keep it, I came to a resolution to copy it from [Page 122] the beginning to the end, including six plates of dia­grams. I cannot help laughing at this operation whenever it recurs to my mind; any body but my­self would have determined to buy the book, but the thought never came into my head, while the idea of copying it occurred as naturally as that of prick­ing a pattern for a ruffle, and was almost as soon ef­fected; for the work was but a small octavo. This curious manuscript is still, I believe, among my pa­pers. I was amused with geometry as long as there was no need of algebra, with the dryness of which I was disgusted as soon as I had got through simple equations. I accordingly gave to the winds the mul­tiplicity of fractions, and thought it better to feast upon a good poem than to starve myself with roots. In vain, some years after, did M. Roland, while paying his addresses, endeavour to recal my former taste; we made, indeed, a great many figures; but the science of reasoning by X and Y was never suffi­ciently attractive to obtain much of my attention.

September 5. I cut the sheet to inclose what I have written in the little box; for when I see a revolutionary army decreed, new tribunals formed for shedding innocent blood, famine impending, and the tyrants at bay, I augur that they must have new victims, and conclude that no one is sure of living another day.

[Page 123]MY correspondence with Sophia was still one of my greatest pleasures, the bonds of our friendship having been drawn closer by several journies which she had made to Paris. My susceptible heart stood in need, I will not say of a chimera, but of a principal object for its affections, especially for considence and communi­cation. Friendship offered them, and I cultivated it with delight. The footing I lived upon with my mo­ther, agreeable as it was, would not have supplied the place of this affection; it had too much of the gravity resulting from respect on the one part, and of authority on the other. My mother might know every thing; I had nothing to conceal from her; but I could not tell her every thing: to a parent we may address confessions; but it is to an equal alone, that we entrust the secrets of the heart.

ACCORDINGLY, without asking to read the letters I wrote to Sophia, my mother was desirous that I should let her see them, and our arrangement in this respect had something whimsical in it. We had under­stood one another without a word on the subject. When I heard from my friend, which I did regularly every week, I read to her a few sentences of the let­ter, but did not communicate the whole. When I had written an answer, I left it for a day, made up and directed, upon my table, but unsealed; my mother scarcely ever failed to run it over, though seldom in my presence, or if it so happened, I always found some pretence for retiring. Whether she saw it or not, [Page 124] the period supposed necessary for her doing so being elapsed, I sealed my letter, but not always with­out adding a postscript. It never happened to her to make any mention of what she had read; but I did not fail to inform her by this means of all that I wish­ed her to know of my disposition, my taste, and my opinions; and I set them forth with a freedom which I should not have dared to take with her in person. My frankness had its full scope, for I felt that I had a right to exercise it without any one's having a right to take it amiss. I have often thought since, that, had I been in my mother's place, I should have wished to become my daughter's friend in the fullest sense of the word; and if I have any regret at present, it is that mine is not what I was at that time: we should then be companions, and I should be happy. But my mother, though her heart was excellent, had some­thing cold in her manner: she had more prudence than sensibility, and was rather reserved than affec­tionate. Perhaps too, perceiving an ardour in me that would have hurried me to greater lengths than herself, she so conducted herself, as to let me go on without restraint, but without familiarity. She was sparing of caresses, although her eyes beamed with tenderness and love, and were generally fixed upon me. I was sensible of the kindness of her heart, and my own returned the vibrations of affection; but the reserve that hung about her, called forth a cir­cumspection on my part, from which I should other­wise [Page 125] have been free. Any one would have supposed that the distance between us had increased when I was no longer a child. There was a dignity about my mother, of a gentle kind it is true, but it was dig­nity still. The transports of my ardent soul were repressed by it, and I only knew the full extent of my attachment to her, by the despair and delirium that I fell into at her death. My days passed away in de­lightful tranquillity. I spent the greater part in soli­tary studies, transported by my imagination to the remote ages of antiquity, of which I reviewed the history and the arts, and examined the precepts and opinions. Mass in the morning, a few hours that we spent in reading together, our repasts and our visits made up the only portion of time that I passed in my mother's company. We went abroad but seldom, and when visitors came who were not to my liking, I contrived to remain in my closet, which my mother was too kind to oblige me to quit. Sundays and holidays were devoted to our walks: sometimes we extended them to a consider­able distance, and at last got into the habit of doing so, in consequence of the preference I gave to the country over the formal gardens of the metro­polis. I was, however, by no means insensible to the pleasure of appearing occasionally in the public walks. They afforded at that period, a very bril­liant spectacle, in which the youth of both sexes always had an agreeable part to play. Personal [Page 126] graces constantly obtained there the homage of ad­miration, which modesty cannot but perceive, and of which the heart of a young girl is always co­vetous. But it did not satisfy mine: I experienced after these walks, during which my vanity, power­fully. excited, was upon the watch for whatever could shew me off to advantage, and prove to me that I had not lost my time, an insupportable vacuity, an uneasiness and disgust, which made the pleasures of vanity too dear a purchase. Accustom­ed to reflect, and to render an account of my sensa­tions to myself, I made a strict inquiry into the cause of this inquietude, and found sufficient room to exercise my philosophy.

'Is it then,' said I to myself, 'to please the eye, like the flowers of a parterre, and to receive a few evanescent praises, that persons of my sex are brought up in the practice of virtue, and enriched with talents? What means this intense desire of pleasure which preys upon me, and which does not make me happy, even when it should seem that it ought to be most gratified? What are to me the ad­miring eyes, and softly murmured compliments, of a crowd, of which I have no knowledge, and which is composed of persons, whom, did I know them, I should probably despise? Did I come into the world to waste my existence in frivolous cares and tumultuous sensations?—No: I have doubtless a nobler destination! The admiration which I [Page 127] so ardently feel for whatever is virtuous, wise, exalted, and generous, tells me that I am called to practise these things. The sublime and rapturous duties of a wife and a mother will on some future day be mine; it is in rendering myself capable of fulfilling them, that my early years ought to be employed; I ought to study their importance, and to learn, by keeping my own inclinations within bounds, how to direct here­after those of my children; by the habit of governing my passions, and by the care of cultivating my mind, I ought to secure to myself the means of giving happi­ness to the most delightful of societies, of providing a never-failing source of felicity for the man who shall deserve my heart, and of communicating to all about us, a portion of the bliss with which I shall crown his wishes, and which ought to be the entire work of my own hands.'

SUCH were the thoughts that agitated my bosom. Overcome with emotion, I shed a flood of tears, while my heart exalted itself to that supreme intelligence, that first cause, that gracious providence, that prin­ciple of thought and of sentiment, which it felt the necessity of believing and acknowledging. 'O thou who hast placed me on the earth, enable me to fulfil my destination in the manner most comformable to thy divine will, and most beneficial to the welfare of my fellow-creatures.'

THIS unaffected prayer, as simple as the heart that dictated it, is become my only one; never have [Page 128] the doubts of philosophy, nor any species of dissipa­tion, been able to dry up its source. In the midst of the tumult of the world, and in the depth of a dun­geon, I have pronounced it with equal fervour. I pronounced it with transport in the most brilliant cir­cumstances of my life; I repeat it in fetters with re­signation; anxious in the former to guard against every affection unworthy of my situation; careful in the latter to preserve the necessary fortitude for sup­porting me in the trials to which I am exposed; per­suaded that, in the course of things, there are events which human wisdom cannot prevent; and convinced that the most calamitous ones cannot overpower a firm mind; and that peace at home, and submission to necessity, are the elements of happiness, and con­stitute the true independence of the sage and of the hero.

THE country presented objects more analogous to my habits of meditation, to my serious, tender and pensive disposition, fortified by reflection and the developement of a feeling heart. We often went to Meudon: it was my favourite walk. I preferred its wild woods, its solitary ponds, its avenues of pines, and its towering trees, to the frequented paths and uni­form coppices of the Bois de Boulogne, to the orna­mented gardens of Belle-vue, or the clipt and right­lined vistas of St. Cloud.—'Where shall we go to­morrow, if the weather be fine? said my father on the Saturday evenings during summer—He then look­ed [Page 129] at me with a smile—'shall we go to St. Cloud? the water-works are to play: there will be a world of company.'—'Ah, papa! if you would go to Meu­don I should be much better pleased.' By five o'clock on Sunday morning every body was stirring; a light, neat, and simple dress, a few flowers, and a gauze veil, announced the project of the day. The odes of Rousseau, a volume of Corneille, or of some other author, were the only baggage I took with me. We set off all three, and embarked at the Pont-Royal, which I could see from my window, on board of a little boat, that, in the silence of a smooth and rapid navigation, conducted us to the shores of Belle-vue, not far from the glass-house, of which the black co­lumn of smoke is visible at a considerable distance. Thence by a steep ascent we proceeded to the avenue of Meudon, about the middle of which stood a little cottage on the right, that became one of our resting places. It was the abode of a milk-woman, a widow, who lived there, having two cows and some poultry. As it was adviseable to make the most of day-light for our excursion, it was agreed it should serve us as a halting-place on our return, and that the good woman should furnish us with a bowl of milk from the cow. That was so regular a thing, that in walking up the avenue we never failed to call at the milk-woman's to tell her we should be with her in the evening or the next morning, and, not to for­get the bowl of milk. The good woman received [Page 130] us with much kindness; and our repast, seasoned with a little brown bread and a great deal of good humour, had the appearance of a little feast, of which some memorial was sure to remain in the milk-woman's pocket. We took our dinner at the lodge of one of the porters belonging to the park: but the desire I had of striking into a solitary path led us to the discovery of a retreat very much to my taste. One day, after having wandered a long time in an unfrequented part of the wood, we came to an open and solitary spot, at the end of an avenue of lofty trees, under which a passenger was seldom seen. A few other trees scattered over a charming lawn served to mask a neat little cottage two stories high. 'Ah! what have we here?'—Two fine children were play­ing before the door, which was standing wide open. They had neither the appearance of children of the town, nor those ensigns of wretchedness so com­mon in the country. We drew near; and perceived upon the left a kitchen garden, where an old man was at work. To walk in, and enter into conversation with him, was the business of a moment. We learned that the name of the place was Ville-bonne; that its inhabitant was the water-baliff of the Mou­lin Rouge, whose office it was to see that the ca­nals conveying water to different parts of the park were kept in repair; that the slender salary of that place helped to support a young couple, the parents of the children whom he had seen, and of [Page 131] whom the old man was the grandfather; and that the wife employed herself in the cares of the household, while he cultivated the garden, the produce of which, the son carried to town to sell at his leisure. The gar­den was a long square, divided into four parts, round each of which was a walk of sufficient width; in the centre a bason of water, which facilitated the business of watering; and at the farther end an arbour of yews inclosing a stone bench, affording at once both shelter and repose. Flowers interspersed among the culinary herbs gave the garden a gay and agreeable appearance; while the robust and contented gardener, who conversed with equal good humour and good sense, reminded me of the old man of the banks of the Galesus, whom Virgil has sung. A taste for simplicity would alone have made such an encoun­ter ageeable; but my fancy did not fail to invest it with a thousand imaginary charms. We asked whether they were in the habit of affording entertainment to strangers?—'Very few come here,' said the old man; 'the place is little known; but when they do, we wil­lingly serve up to them the produce of our farm-yard and our garden. We begged to have something for dinner, and were furnished with new-laid eggs, vege­tables, and a salad, in a delightful arbour of honey­suckle behind the house. I never made so agreeable a repast: my heart dilated in contemplating the tranquillity and innocence of so charming a situa­tion. I fondled the little children, and expressed [Page 132] great veneration for the old man. The young woman seemed delighted at having us in the house. We were told that they had two rooms which they should have no objection to let to any body that would take them for three months, and we had some idea of taking them. But that agreeable project was never realized; nor have I ever been at Ville-bonne since; for Meudon had been our place of resort long before we made that discovery, and we had fixed upon a little inn in the village for our lodging whenever two holydays coming together permitted us to pro­long our absence. It was at that inn, the sign of which I think was the Queen of France, we met with a laughable adventure. We were put into a room with two beds, in the largest of which I slept with my mother; the other in a corner served for my father alone. One night, just after he had got into bed, the fancy took him of drawing his cur­tains perfectly close, and he pulled them so strongly that the tester fell upon him and covered him up completely. After a moment of alarm, we all began to laugh very heartily at the accident; the tester having fallen exactly in such a way as to inclose my father without hurting him. We call­ed for assistance to set him at liberty; the good woman of the house came; was astonished to see her bed decapitated; and exclaimed, with the ut­most simplicity, 'My God! how could this happen? it is seventeen years since the bed was put up; and [Page 133] in all that time it has never budged an inch.' The logic of the hostess made me laugh more than the fall of the tester. I often found an occasion to ap­ply it, or rather to compare it with the arguments I heard in company; and used to say to my mother in a whisper, This is quite as good as the seventeen years to prove that the bed ought not to have given way.

DELIGHTFUL Meudon! how often beneath thy re­freshing shade have I blessed the great Author of my existence, desiring what might at some future time render it complete: but it was that charming senti­ment of desire without impatience, which only serves to gild the clouds of futurity with the rays of hope. How often in thy cool retreats have I gathered the variegated fern, and the brilliant flowers of the orchis! How did I love to rest myself under the lofty trees bordering the glades, through which I used to see the swift and timorous doe go bounding along! I recollect the more sombre spots, whither we retired during the heat of the day. There, while my father, stretched upon the greensward, and my mother, softly reclined on a heap of leaves which I had collected for the purpose, enjoyed their afternoon's nap, did I contemplate the majesty of thy silent groves, admire the beauty of nature, and adore the Providence whose benefits I felt! The glow of sentiment heightened the colour of my humid cheeks, and my heart enjoyed all the delight of the [Page 134] terrestrial paradise. An account of my excursions, and of the pleasure they afforded me, found its way into my correspondence with Sophia: sometimes my prose was intermingled with verse, the irregular, but easy, and sometimes happy effusions of a mind to which all was picture, life, and felicity.

SOPHIA, as I have already observed, found her­self thrown into a society, where she had none of the comforts which she knew me to enjoy in my soli­tude. I was acquainted with several of her family, and learned from their company to rate my retirement at a higher price.

IN her journies to Paris with her mother she used to alight at the house of two cousins, whose names were De Lamotte. They were old maidens, one of whom, a sour devotee, never stirred from her cham­ber, where she said her prayers, scolded the servants, knitted stockings, and reasoned with tolerable acute­ness about her personal interests: the other, a good sort of woman, sat in the parlour, did the honours of the house, read the psalms, and took a hand of cards. Both of them were very proud of their noble birth, and could scarcely conceive it possible to keep compa­ny with persons whose father at least had not been ennobled; and, without daring to wear it, carefully preserved the sack of which their mother had had the train borne after her to church, as a mark of family consequence. They had taken under their care a young woman, their relation, whose slender fortune [Page 135] they purposed augmenting, provided she could find a gentleman to marry her. The young woman, Mademoiselle d'Hangard, was a tall, lusty brunette, of a ruddy complexion, and enjoying a state of health so vigorous as almost to alarm, whose rusticity of ap­pearance ill concealed a petulant temper and a narrow mind. But the most curious piece of household goods was counsellor Perdu, a widower, who had consumed his estate in doing nothing, and who had been put to board with his cousins by his sister (my Sophia's mo­ther,) that he might pass the last years of his worth­less existence in a decent way. Mr. Perdu, who was wonderfully plump and sleek, devoted the greater part of the morning to the care of his person, dined with an excellent appetite while cursing the dishes, and passed in dissertations at the Luxembourg*, several hours of every day, which was sure to close with a game of piquet. He was still prouder of his gentility than his old cousins, and piqued himself upon having all the airs and principles of a man of noble birth. When speaking to Sophia of her uncle, I always called him the commandant, so strongly did he resemble the commandant in Cre­billion's Père de Famille. The commandant then al­ways assumed a great air of superiority with his nieces, affecting to temper it with the condescen­sions of politeness; but there was something whimsical [Page 136] in his behaviour to Mademoiselle d'Hangard, whose fresh complexion and continual presence, inflaming his imagination, inspired him with sensations which he dared not betray, and which sometimes put him out of humour with his nephew.

THE nephew, who took the name of Selincour *, was a tall young man, with a gentle look and a soft voice, not unlike his sister Sophia, sensible in his conversation, and agreeable in his manners, to which a sort of bash­fulness was no disadvantage; such at least was my opinion, even when it became more than usually per­ceptible in his intercourse with me. Probabilities, and the wishes of the family, appeared to point him out as a proper suitor for Mademoiselle d'Han­gard.

As to Mesdemoiselles Lamotte's society, it was composed of a Count d'Essales, created a Chevalier of St. Louis in Canada, where he had married the governor's daughter; taking care to keep at a respectful distance from great guns, ignorant, overbearing, and garrulous, he came to play a party of piquet with the Marchioness de Cailiaville, an antiquated dowager, with whom he had more than one game going on, which the good old dam­sels did not perceive. Madam Bernier, a rigid Jan­senist, but otherwise a sensible woman, whose hus­band [Page 137] had quitted the parliament of Brittany after the affair of la Chalotais, used to come also, but less fre­quently, with her two daughters, the one a scholar, the other a devotee. The tender heart of the latter would have gained my affection; but her wry neck supported with difficulty a head so crammed with reli­gion, that there was no room for any thing like rea­son. The scholar, with rather too much loquacity, was possessed of judgment and taste enough just to render a repulsive figure supportable. But M. de Vouglans soared above them all. A delineation of his character would be superfluous to those who have read the book entitled Reasons for my Faith in Jesus Christ, by a Magistrate, and his Collection of Penal Laws, an elaborate compilation, in which equal industry, fana­ticism, and atrocity were displayed. I never met with a man by whose sanguinary intolerance I was so much shocked. He took particular pleasure in con­versing with father Romain Joly, a little old monk, Mesdemoiselles Lamotte's confessor, who made verses against Voltaire, in which he compared him to the devil, and who was for ever quoting in the pulpit the Capitularies of Charlemagne, and the edicts of our monarchs. I have had the good fortune to dine with him at the table of the Lamottes, to hear him preach at my own parish church, and to read his Phaeton; and he would afford me an excellent caricature, if I had courage enough to shake folly, hypocrisy, and the most puerile learning, out of his gown. So­phia's [Page 138] friend made a curious figure in this society, of which the members lamented when her back was turn­ed, that so well disposed a young woman was not of noble birth. I do not even doubt but that the com­mandant had, in his great wisdom, deliberated whe­ther such a connexion were proper for his niece. But the young woman was well bred, and behaved with a decorum which the old maids highly approved; and unless when expressions escaped her, which savoured of wit, and which he was sure to animadvert upon to his nieces, the commandant himself could not altoge­ther withhold his praise. He would even take charge of Sophia's letters, and bring them to my mother's; a thing that Selincour would have done more readily, if his sister had consented to entrust them to his care.

THE insignificance and oddities of these person­ages, to whom, no doubt, many people of the great world bore a resemblance, made me reflect on the inanity of fashionable circles, and the advantage of not being obliged to frequent them. Sophia enume­rated all the persons with whom she associated at Amiens, and gave me a sketch of their characters, which enabled me to judge of the insignificance of most of them; so that when the balance was struck, it appeared that, at the end of the year, I had seen in my solitude more people of merit, than she had per­ceived in her round of routs and assemblies. This may easily be conceived, when it is remembered that my [Page 139] father's business connected him with none but artists, many of whom came occasionally to the house, though none were regular visitors. Those who inhabit the capital, even, if not of the first rank, acquire a fund of information, and a kind of urbanity, which most assuredly is neither to be found among the little provincial gentry, nor among mercantile people in haste to make a fortune that may serve as the means of ennobling their family. The conver­sation of the worthy Jollain, a painter of the acade­my, of the honest l'Epine, a pupil of Pigal, of Des­marteau, who professed the same art as my father, of Falconet's son, of d'Hauterne, whom his talents would have borne on rapid wings to the academy, if his quality of Protestant had not been an exclusion, and of the Genevese watch-makers Balla [...]serd and Moré, the former of whom has written upon Physical Education, was certainly far preferable to that of the opulent Cannet, who upon seeing the success of a tragedy written by his kinsman Belloy, and calculating the profits, exclaimed in sober sadness, 'Why did not my father teach me to compose tragedies? I could have worked upon them on Sundays and holydays.'— And yet these wealthy blockheads these pitiful pos­sessors of purchased nobility, these impertinent sol­diers like d'Essales, and these wretched magistrates like Vouglans, considered themselves as the props of civil society, and actually enjoyed privileges which merit could not obtain. I compared these absurdities [Page 140] of human arragance with the pictures of Pope, tra­cing its effects in the satisfaction of the artisan, who is as proud of hit leather apron as the king of his crown. I endeavoured to think with him, that every thing was right; but my pride told me that things were ordered better in a republic.

THERE is no doubt that our situation in life has a considerable influence on our characters and opi­nions: but, in the education I received, in the ideas I acquired, whether by study or by observation of the world, every thing may be said to have concurred in inspiring me with republican enthusiasm, by making me perceive the folly, or feel the injustice, of a mul­titude of privileges and distinctions. Accordingly, in all my readings, I took the side of the champions of equality; I was Agis and Cleomenes at Sparta; the Gracchi at Rome; and, like Cornelia, I should have reproached my sons with being called nothing but the mother-in-law of Scipio. I retired with the plebeians to the Aventine hill; and gave my vote to the tribunes. Now that experience has taught me to appreciate every thing with impartiality, I see in the enterprise of the Gracchi, and in the conduct of the tribunes, crimes and mischiefs, of which I was not at that time sufficiently aware.

WHEN I happened to be present at any of that sort of sights which the capital so frequently afford­ed, such as the entry of the queen or princesses, thanksgiving after a lying-in, &c. I compared [Page 141] with grief, this Asratic luxury and insolent pomp, with the abject misery of the brutified populace, who prostrated themselves before idols of their own making, and foolishly applauded the ostentatious magnificence which they paid for by depriving themselves of the necessaries of life. The dissolute conduct of the court during the last years of Lewis XV. that contempt of morality, which pervaded all ranks of the nation, and those excesses, which were the subject of all private conversation, filled me with astonishment and indignation. Not per­ceiving as yet the germs of a revolution, I inquired with surprise, how things could subsist in such a state? Observing in history, the invariable decline and subversion of empires when arrived at this pitch of corruption, and hearing the French nation singing and laughing at its own misfortunes, I felt that our neighbours, the English, were right in re­garding us as children. I attached myself to those neighbours; the work of De Lolme had familiar­ised me with their constitution; I sought an ac­quaintance with their writers, and studied their li­terature, but as yet only through the medium of translations.

THE arguments of Ballexserd not having been able to overcome my parents' repugnance to having me inoculated, I caught the small-pox when eighteen years of age. The era has left deep impressions on my mind; not from any apprehensions on account of [Page 142] the disorder, for I had already too much philosophy not to support such a trial with fortitude; but from my mother's incredible and affecting solicitude. What sorrow, and yet what activity! In what agitation was she kept by her uneasiness! and what tenderness was displayed in all her attentions! Even during the night, when I thought I was taking something from the nurse, I felt my mother's hand, and heard her voice while getting out of her bed every moment to come to the side of mine; her anxious eyes devoured the looks, and, if I may so express myself, the words of my physician; and in spite of her resolution to suppress them, the tears stole from her eyes, when looking at me, while I endeavoured, in vain, by a cheerful aspect, to pacify her feelings. Neither she nor my father had ever had the small-pox, and yet neither of them would suffer a day to pass without kissing the dis­figured cheek, which I strove in vain to keep out of their way, for fear the contact should be followed by fatal effects. My Agatha, grieved at being con­fined to her cloister, sent me one of her relations, the amiable mother of four children, whom she had inspired with a portion of her attachment to me, and who obstinately persisted in seeing and em­bracing me without consideration for herself. It was thought proper to conceal from Sophia, who was then at Paris, the condition of her friend. I was supposed to have set off suddenly for the coun­try, that the period of contagion might elapse [Page 143] without our meeting; but Selincour called every day on the part of his mother to inquire after my health; and I heard from my chamber his mourn­ful exclamation when he was told, that a complica­tion of the putrid fever and small-pox was feared. I had the miliary fever; the eruption peculiar to which, checking the other, the pustules of small-pox were few, and though large, subsided without sup­puration, and left only a dry skin, that fell off of it­self. It is the kind of small-pox, said Dr. Missa, that the Italians call ravaglaoni, pustules of false suppuration, which leave no vestiges behind; and in reality not even the polish of the skin was im­paired: but the ravages made by the variolous hu­mour threw me into a state of languor and debility, from which it was four or five months before I was completely recovered. Sedate in health, too ten­der to be gay, but patient under affliction, my sole object in sickness is to divert my attention from my sufferings, and to render agreeable the troublesome attentions I require from those about me. Indulging my imagination in the most fanciful flights, I say ex­travagant things: it is the sick person that furnishes those in health with amusement.

Doctor Missa was a sensible man, whom I was very much pleased with. As he was sufficiently advanced in years to relieve me from the constraint that I was kept in by younger men, we conversed freely in his visits, which we willingly prolonged; [Page 144] and conceived a friendship for each other. One or other of us, said he, one day, has been much in the wrong. Either I am come too soon, or you too late. Though Missa's good sense had disposed me favourably towards him, his age had prevented me from perceiving that I had been in the wrong to come later than he: I made him no other answer than a smile. He was bringing up nieces, with whom he wished me to be acquainted, and we sometimes visit­ed; but as the never went out without their gover­ness, any more than I without my mother, and as the uncle's profession did not leave him leisure to keep up the connexion between us, it came to nothing in consequence of our distant abodes and sedentary ha­bits. Missa scolded me very much one day upon find­ing Malebranche's Recherche de la Veritê lying on my bed. 'Why, my God!' said I, 'if all your patients were to amuse themselves in the same way, instead of getting angry with their diseases and their doc­tor, you would have a great deal less to do.'— 'The persons who chanced to be then in my room, were talking of some loan or other, of which the edict of creation had just made its appearance, and to which all Paris was running in crowds. 'The French,' said Missa, 'take all upon trust.'—Say ra­ther,' answered I, 'upon appearances.'—'True,' re­plied he; 'the expression is just and profound.'— 'Don't scold me then for reading Malebranche,' said I eagerly; 'you see that my time is not thrown away.'

[Page 145]MISSA was at that time accompanied in his visits by a young physician, who had recently taken his degree, and whom he sometimes dispatched before him to wait his arrival. This youthful graduate, to borrow Missa's expression, could not be reproached with coming too soon into the world; but though he had a tolerably handsome face, there was a self-sufficiency about him that I did not like. I have naturally so decided an aversion to affectation and airs of consequence, that I always consider them as a sign of an indifferent understanding, if not of ab­solute imbecility; though it is certain that, under the old government, they were sometimes no more than the follies of youth. In short, so far from pleas­ing me, they put me out of humour, and always make me conceive an ill opinion of the person by whom they are displayed. These are the only traces left in my memory by the young doctor, whom I have never seen since, and whom I shall probably never see again.

AN excursion to the country being necessary for the perfect re-establishment of my health, we went to breathe its salutary air at the house of M. and Madam Besnard, with whom two years before my mother and I had spent almost the whole month of September. Their situation was admirably calculated to feed my philosophy, and to fix my meditations up­on the vices of social life.

MADAM Besnard, upon the reverse of fortune which [Page 146] she had experienced in common with her sisters, had entered into the family of a fermier-general, whose house she superintended: it was that of old Haudry. There she had married the steward, M. Besnard, with whom she had long since retired from the world, and was living in peace and happiness, though in an hum­ble way.

THE ill-placed pride of Madam Phlipon had led her sometimes to express, in my presence, and in the privacy of the family, how much this marriage had displeased her; but, as far as I can judge, she was certainly offended without cause. M. Besnard was a man of integrity and good moral character, each of which was the more praise-worthy in pro­portion as it was difficult to meet with among men in the same line of life. The whole of his conduct to his wife exhibited the greatest delicacy of sen­timent. It is impossible to carry veneration, ten­derness, and attachment, to a greater length. En­joying the sweets of a perfect union, they still pro­long a career, in which, like Baucis and Philemon, they attract the respect of all who witness their sim­plicity of life, and their virtues. I esteem it an hon­our to be related to them; and should do so still, if with the same character and conduct, M. Besnard had been a footman.

OLD Haudry, who owed his fortune to his own exertions, was dead; and had left a large fortune to a son, who, being born in opulence, was likely to [Page 147] squander it away. That son, who had already lost a charming wife, lived at a great expence; and, according to the custom of the rich, spent a small part of the year at the chateau of Soucy, whither he was much more apt to carry the manners of the town, than to adopt those that were suitable to the country. He had several contiguous estates, of which that nearest to Soucy (Fontenay) had an old mansion belonging to it that he was fond of filling with inha­bitants. He had given a lodging there to a notary and an overseer, and requested M. Besnard to take an apartment, which might serve him as a residence during part of the summer. This was no bad way of keeping his estate in good order, at the same time that it gave him an air of magnificence. M. and Ma­dam Besnard were well accommodated, and enjoyed the pleasure of walking in a park, the wildness of which made an agreeable contrast with the gardens of Soucy, and pleased me more than the luxury that distinguished the farmer-general's abode. As soon as we arrived at Madam Besnards, she requested us to go and pay a visit to Soucy, where Haudry's sister-in-law and step-mother resided with him, and did the honours of his house. The visit was modestly paid before din­ner. I walked without the smallest pleasurable sensa­tion into the drawing-room, where Madam Penault and her daughter received us with great politeness, it is true, but it was a politeness that favoured a little of superiority. My mother's manner however, and [Page 148] something which appeared in me also in spite of that timidity which proceeds from a consciousness of our worth, and a doubt of its being perceived by others, scarcely allowed them to assume any consequence. I received compliments which gave me little pleasure, and which I was answering with some degree of inge­nuity, when certain parasites, of the order of St. Lewis, who always haunt the mansions of opu­lence, as ghosts resort to the banks of the Ache­ron, thought proper to interrupt me with exaggerat­ed praise.

THE ladies did not fail, a few days after, to re­turn our visit. They were attended by the company that happened to be at the chateau, the visit to Fon­tenay serving them for a walk. Upon that occasion, I was more engaging than before, and contrived to put into my share of the reception, such a portion of mo­dest and dignified politeness, as re-established the equi­librium between us. It once happened to us to be in­vited to dinner by Madam Penault; but never was astonishment equal to mine, when I learned that we were not to dine at her table, but with the upper ser­vants in the hall. I was sensible however, that, as M. Besnard had formerly played a part there, I ought not, out of respect to him, to appear dissatis­fied at appearing in such a character; but I was of opinion that Madam Penault might have ordered things otherwise, and have spared us the contemptu­ous civility. My great aunt saw it in the same light; [Page 149] but, to avoid giving offence, we accepted the invita­tion. It was something new to me to mix with those deities of the second order; nor had I the least idea of what chambermaids were when giving themselves airs of consequence. They were pre­pared to receive us; and, indeed, played the doubles of their superiors admirably well. Dress, gesture, affectation, graces, nothing was forgotten. Their mistresses cast-off cloths, which were hardly soiled, gave a richness to their appearance, that decent persons in trade would have thought out of character. The caricature of fashionable manners superadded a sort of elegance, not less foreign to mercantile simplicity than to the taste of an artist, though there is no doubt but their flippancy of speech, and finery, might have imposed on country ladies. It was still worse with the men. The sword of Mr. steward, the attentions of Mr. cook, and the politeness and gaudy clothes of the valet-de-chambre, could not atone for the awkwardness of their manners and the blunders in their language, when they wished it to be elegant, nor the vulgarity of their expressions when they forgot their parts. The conversation was full of marquises, counts, and financiers, whose ti­tles, fortunes, and alliances, seemed to confer gran­deur, riches, and importance upon those who were talking of them. The superfluities of the first table were spread upon the second with a neatness and order which gave them the air of a first appear­ance, [Page 150] and in such abundance as afterwards to suffice for the third table, that of the domestics, properly so called for the persons who sat at the second were called officers. Play followed the repast: the stake was high; it was what the ladies were ac­customed to play for, and they played every day. —I was introduced to a new world, in which were exhibited the prejudices, the vices, and the follies of a world, very little better, in spite of its greater show. I had heard a thousand times of the origin of old Haudry, who came to Paris from his village; found means to rake thousands together at the expence of the public; married his daughter to Montulé, and his grand-daughters to the Marquis Duchillau and Count Turpin, and left his son heir to an immense estate. I recollected Montesquieu's expres­sion, who says, financiers support the state as the cord supports the criminal; nor could I help thinking that tax-gatherers who contrive to amass such enormous sums, and then to make their opulence serve as the means of an alliance with families, which the policy of courts affects to consider as necessary to a king­dom's splendour and defence, must needs belong to a detestable government, and to a nation highly corrupt.—I little thought there was a govern­ment, still more horrible, and a degree of corruption still more to be deplored. Who, indeed, could have imagined it? All the philosophers of the age have [Page 151] been deceived as well as I.—I allude to the govern­ment and corruption of the present time.

EVERY Sunday there was a dance at Soucy in the open air, under no other shelter than the trees. Gaiety, on these occasions, obliterated dis­tinctions in a great degree; and as soon as personal merit was attended to, I had little fear of missing the place that might chance to suit me best. The new comers used to ask, in a whisper, who I was, but I took care to give nobody a surfeit of my company; and, after an hour's recreation, withdrew with my relations for a walk, of which I would not have exchanged the tranquil enjoyments for all the empty and noisy pleasures that attend any kind of parade.

I sometimes saw Haudry, who was then young, acting the great man, gratifying all his fancies and wishing to appear generous and noble. His family began to be uneasy at his extravagance with the courtezan La Guerre, by which he was already lay­ing the foundation of his future ruin. He was pitied as imprudent, rather than blamed as vicious; he was a spoiled child of fortune, who, had he been born in moderate circumstances. would certainly have turn­ed out a better man. With a dark complexion, an erect carriage, the airs of a great man, and courteous manners, he was perhaps amiable among those whom he esteemed his equals; but I hated to come in his [Page 152] way, and never failed, when in his presence to assume an air of dignified reserve.

LAST year, coming out of that magnificent dining-room which the elegant Calonne had fitted up in the controller-general's hotel, since occupied by the mi­nister of the interior, I found in my way through the second antichamber, a tall grey-headed old man, of decent appearance, who accosted me respectfully: 'I should be very glad, Madam, to speak with the mi­nister, when his dinner is over; I have something to communicate to him.'—'Sir, you will see him in an instant: he has been detained in the next room: but will be here immediately.' I made my curtesy, and proceeded to my own apartment, where Roland soon after joined me. I inquired if he had seen a person, whom I described, and who appear­ed apprehensive of not meeting him?—'Yes, it was M. Haudry.'—'What, the quondam farmer-gene­ral, who squandered an immense fortune!'—'The same.'—'And what has he to do with the minister of the interior?'—'Our business relates to the ma­nufactory at Sévres, at the head of which he has been placed.' What a theme for meditation do these sports of fortune furnish! I had already found one when I entered for the first time into the apartments occupied by Madam Necker in the days of her glory. I occupy them a second time, and they do but the more strongly attest the instability of the things of this world; but I will at least take care, that no reverse [Page 153] of fortune shall find me unprepared. Such were my reflections in October 1792, when Danton was confer­ring some celebrity upon me, by detracting from my husband's merit, and was silently preparing the calum­nies, by which he meant to assail both. I was ignorant of his proceedings, but I had observed the course of things in revolutions. I was only ambitious of pre­serving my mind uncontaminated, and of seeing my husband's reputation free from stain. I well knew this kind of ambition seldom leads to any other spe­cies of success. My wish is accomplished: Roland, persecuted and proscribed, will not be forgotten by posterity. I am a captive, and shall probably be sacri­ficed; but my conscience stands in the stead of every thing. It will happen to me as it did to Solo­mon, who asked only for wisom, and obtained other advantages: I wished only for the peace of the right­eous, and I also shall have some existence in future times.—But in the mean while let us return to Fon­tenay.

THE little library of my relations afforded some employment to my mind. I found there the whole of Puffendorf, tedious perhaps in his universal history, and more interesting to me in his Duties of the Man and the Citizen; the Maison Rustique, and a variety of works on agriculture and economy, which I studied for want of others, because it was necessary that I should always be learning something; the agreeable trifles which Bernis wrote in verse, when he was un­fettered [Page 154] by the Roman purple; a life of Cromwell; and a curious medley of other productions.

HERE I cannot help remarking, that, in the multi­tude of books which chance or other circumstances had thrown in my way, and of which I mention loosely such as places and persons recal to my memo­ry, nothing by Rousseau has yet been noticed: the truth is, I read him very late; and it was well for me I did: he would have turned my brain, and I should have read nothing else. Perhaps as it is, he has but too much strengthened my weak side, if I may be allowed to make use of such an expression.

I HAVE reason to believe that my mother had taken some care to keep him out of my way; but his name not being unknown to me, I had sought af­ter his works, and was already acquainted with his Letters from the Mountain, and his Letter to Christo­pher de Beaumont, when I lost her, having then read the whole of Voltaire and Boulanger, the Mar­quis d'Argens and Helvetius, and many other philoso­phers and critics. Probably my mother, who saw plainly that my mind must needs be employed, was not much averse to my making a serious study of phi­losophy at the risk even of a little incredulity; but she was of opinion, no doubt, that no stimulants were wanting for my susceptible heart, already too obedient to the impulse of the passions.—Good heavens! how vain are all our endeavours to escape from our destiny! The same idea influenced her, when she prevented me [Page 155] from studying painting, and made her also oppose my learning to play upon the harpsichord, though I had a most excellent opportunity. Our living in the same neighbourhood had made us acquainted with an Abbé Jeauket, a great musician, and a good-natured [...]n, but as ugly as sin, and addicted to the pleasures of the table. He was born in the environs of Prague, had passed many years at Vienna, attached to the nobles of the court, and had given lessons to Marie Antoinette. After having been induced to visit Lisbon by particular circumstances, he had at last chosen Paris, in order to spend in a state of indepen­dence, the pensions of which his little fortune was composed. He wished exceedingly that my mother would permit him to teach me the harpsichord. He insisted upon it that my fingers and my head would soon go a great length, and that I could not fail to become a composer. ‘What a shame! he would cry, to be humming over a guitar, when possessed of powers to invent and execute the finest pieces upon the first of instruments!’ This enthusiasm, and his reite­rated entreaties, carried even to supplication, could not overcome my mother's reluctance: as to me, though always ready to avail myself of any instruction that came in my way, I was so much accustomed to respect her decisions, as well as to love her person, that I never importuned her for any thing. Besides, study in general afforded me so vast a field of occupa­tion, that I never felt the pains of idleness. I often [Page 156] said to myself, When I become a mother in my turn, it will be my business to make use of what I shall have acquired: I shall then have no leisure for further stu­dies; and I was the more earnest to turn my time to acc [...]unt, and afraid of losing a single moment. The Abbé Jeauket was now and then visited by persons of merit, and whenever he invited them to his house, was anxious to include us in his party. Thus, among other individuals not worth remembering, I became acquainted with the learned Roussier, and the wor­thy d'Odiment; but I have not forgotten the imper­tinent Paradelle and Madam de Puisieux. Paradelle was a huge monster, in the garb of an abbé, the greatest coxcomb and romancer of all the fools I ever met with, who pretended to have kept a carriage at Lyons for twenty years, and who, to keep himself from starving at Paris, was obliged to give lectures on the Italian language, in which he was very little ver­sed. Madam Puisieux, who passed for author of the Characters, to which her name is prefixed, re­tained at the age of sixty, with a hump back and toothless gums, the little airs and pretensions, of which the affectation is scarcely pardonable even in youth. I had fancied that a female author must needs be a very respectable personage, especially one who had written upon morals. But Madam de Puisieux's absurdities made me change my mind. Her conver­sation bespoke very little wit, and her whims indicated very little judgment. I began to perceive it was pos­sible [Page 157] to collect a great deal of reason, in order to make a display of it, without consuming much for our own purposes, and that the men who made a jest of female authors, were perhaps no otherwise to blame than in applying to them exclusively, what is equally appli­cable to themselves. Thus it was, that in a sphere of life exceedingly confined, I found means to add to my stock of observations. I was in a solitary spot; but it was on the confines of the world, and so situated as to allow me to distinguish a great variety of objects without any of them standing in my way. The con­certs of Madam l'Epine enlarged my prospect. I have already said that l'Epine was a pupil of Pigal: he was, indeed, his right hand. At Rome he had married a woman, who, I presume, had been an opera singer, and whom his family had at first looked upon with an evil eye, but who proved, by the propriety of her conduct, that she did not deserve their disdain.

SHE had a concert of amateurs; composed of excel­lent musicians, to which nobody was admitted but what she called good company. They met every Thursday at her house, whither I was often taken by my mother; and there I heard Jarnewick, St. George, Duport, Guerin, and many others. There too I met wits of both sexes: Mademoiselle de Morville, Ma­dam Benoit, Silvain-Marechal, &c. with haughty ba­ronesses, handsome abbés, old chevaliers, and young fops. What a curious magic lantern! The apart­ments [Page 158] of Madam l'Epine, in the Rue Neuve St. Eustache, were not remarkably superb, nor was the concert-room spacious, but adjoining to another, of which the folding doors were set open: there, ranged in a circle, the company had the several advantages of hearing the music, seeing the actors, and being able to converse between the acts. Seated by my mother, and keeping the silence that custom prescribes to young women, I was all eyes and ears; but when we chanced to be for a moment in private with Madam l'Epine, I asked her a few questions, the answers to which elucidated my observations.

ONE day that lady proposed to my mother to ac­company her to a charming assembly, held at the house of a man of wit, whom we had sometimes seen at her concerts: the company consisted of en­lightned men, and women of taste; very agree­able productions were recited: it was indeed delight­ful! The proposal was made several times before it was accepted: 'Let us go,' said I to my mother; 'I begin to know enough of the world to presume that it must either be very agreeable or very absurd; and even in the latter case, it will serve to amuse us once. The party was agreed upon; and on the Wednesday, the day on which M. Vâse's literary assembly was re­gularly held, we repaired with Madam l'Epine to his residence at the Barrier du Temple. After toiling up three pair of stairs, we came to a moderately spacious apartment, furnished like a barrack: rush-bottomed [Page 159] chairs, marshalled in close order, and in several ranks, were ready to receive the spectators, and began to be filled: while tallow candles in dirty brass candle­sticks illumined this retreat of the muses, the gro­tesque simplicity of which accorded well with philo­sophical rigour and the poverty of an author. Well-dressed women, young girls, antiquated dowagers, poetasters in abundance, loungers, and adventurers, composed the society.

THE master of the house, seated at a table, which served as a desk, opened the sitting by reading a piece of poetry of his own composition: the subject was a little marmoset which the old marchioness de Préville always carried in her muff, and which she exhibited to the company; for she was there, and thought she could do no less than gratify the eager eyes of the persons present with a sight of the hero of the piece. Loud bravos and applauses did justice to M. Vâse's poetic flights. M. Vâse, highly satisfied with himself, wished to give up his seat to M. Delpêches, a poet who wrote little comic dramas for the theatre of Audinot, concerning which he was accustomed to take the opinion of the society, or, in other words, the encouragement of its applause; but that day he was prevented either by a sore throat, or the want of a few verses in some of his scenes. Imbert, the author of the Judgment of Paris, was therefore obliged to take the chair, and read an agreeable trifle, which was extolled to the skies. His reward awaited him. [Page 160] Mademoiselle de la Cossonnière came next with a Farewell to Colin, which if not very ingenious, was at least very tender. It was known directly that it was addressed to Imbert, about to undertake a journey, and a shower of compliments was poured upon him. Imbert discharged his own debt, and that of his muse, by saluting all the females in the assembly. The free and gay ceremony, though conducted with decency, was not at all pleasing to my mother, and appeared in so strange a light to me as to give me an air of embarrassment. After some epigram or distich by no means remarkable, a man of pompous declama­tion recited a poem in praise of Madam Benoit. She was sitting by, and must be briefly mentioned, for the sake of those who have not read her romances, which were dead long before the revolution, and will be buried beneath heaps of dust before my memoirs see the light.

ALBINE was born at Lyons, as I have read in the History of the illustrious Women of France, by a Society of Men of Letters; a history, in which I was quite astonished to find women whom I met with every where, as the lady in question, Madam de Puisieux, Madam Champion, and many more, some of whom perhaps are still alive at the moment I am writing, or have only quitted this terrestrial abode within a few years.

[Page 161]HAVING united herself in the holy bands of wed­lock with Benoit, a draughtsman, she had accom­panied him to Rome, and had there been admitted a member of the academy of the Arcades. Lately become a widow, and still in mourning for her husband, she had settled at Paris, where she made verses and novels, sometimes without writing them, kept a gaming-house, and visited women of quality, who paid in presents of money or clothes for the plea­sure of having a female wit at their tables.

MADAM Benoit had been handsome: the cares of the toilet, and the desire of pleasing, prolonged beyond the age which insures their success, still pro­cured her a few conquests. Her eyes canvassed for them with such ardour; her bosom, always bare, palpitated so anxiously to obtain them; that it was impossible not to grant to the frankness of desire, and the facility of satisfying it, what men bestow at all times so readily, when constancy is not required. Madam Benoit's air of undisguised voluptuousness, was something new to me. I had seen in the public walks those priestesses of pleasure, whose indecency announced their profession in the most disgusting man­ner; but her's was quite a different style. I was no less struck by the poetical incense lavished on her, and by the epithets of the chaste and virtuous Benoit, which occurred repeatedly in the poem, and obliged her now and then to cover her eyes modestly with her fan, while some of the men rapturously applauded [Page 162] those encomiums, which they doubtless conceived to be admirably applied. I recollected all that my read­ing had enabled me to conceive on the subject of gallantry, and calculated what corruption of heart and perversion of mind must be superadded by the manners of the age, and the disorders of the court. I saw ef­feminate men giving all their admiration to flimsy ver­ses, to frivolous talents, and to the desire of sedu­cing every woman that came in their way, and cer­tainly without loving them; for he who devotes him­self to the happiness of a beloved object, does not court the looks of the crowd. I experienced a sensa­tion of disgust and misanthropy in the midst of ob­jects that spoke to my imagination, and returned to my solitude in a melancholy mood. We never repeat­ed our visit to M. Vâse: I had had quite enough of it; and Imbert's kiss, and the penegyric of Madam Benoit, would at any rate have cured my mother of all desire to take me there again. Neither did the concert of the Baron de Back, very curious, but frequently ren­dered very tedious also by the pretensions of that musi­cal maniac, see much of us, notwithstanding the cards of invitation which Madam l'Epine's politeness often procured us. The same reserve was extended to that known as the concert of amateurs, which was nume­rously attended. We went there but once, attended by a M. Boyard de Creusy, who had amused himself in composing new instructions for the guitar, of which he begged my mother's permission [Page 163] to offer me a copy. He was a man of polite manners, and I mention him here because he had the good sense to believe, that, in a situation still regarded by the vulgar as elevated, I should be pleased to see the persons with whom I had been acquainted in my youth. He called on me in the hôtel de l'interieur, while Roland was in the ministry; and the reception he met with was such as must have convinced him, that I derived satisfaction from the remembrance of a time, on which I have reason to value myself, and indeed on every other period of my life.

AS to public places, it was still worse; my mother never went there; and I was taken but once during her life to the Opera, and once to the Theatre Fran­çais. I was then about sixteen or seventeen. The Union of Love and the Arts, by Floquet, contained nothing either in the music, or the drama, capable of creating illusion, or of supporting the idea I had formed of theatrical enchantment. The coldness of the subject, the incoherence of the scenes, and awkward intrusions of the ballets, displeased me. I was still more disgusted with the dress of the dancers, who had not then laid aside their hoops: I had never seen any thing so absurd. Accordingly I thought the critique of Piron on the wonders of the Opera much superior to the Opera itself. At the Theatre Français the play was the Ecossoise, which was not very well calculated to inspire me with enthusiasm for the [Page 164] drama; the performance of Mademoiselle Dumesnil alone delighted me. My father sometimes carried me to the theatres of the Foire St. Germain*. Their mediocrity inspired me with disgust. Thus was I armed against every temptation to play the bel esprit, precisely as the Spartan children were against drink­ing, by seeing the consequences of excess. My ima­gination received none of the great shocks which the fascination of the theatre might have produced, had I been present at the representation of the finest pieces. What I had seen made me content with reading in my closet the works of the great masters of the drama, and with enjoying their beauties at my leisure.

A YOUNG man, a constant attendant at Madam l'Epine's concerts, had thought proper to call in her name at my mother's, to inquire for us, when an absence unusually prolonged could justify the suppo­sition of our being indisposed. A genteel deport­ment, an agreeable vivacity, a great deal of good sense, and above all, the unfrequency of his visits, procured him his pardon for the little contrivance to get admission into the house. At last La Blancherie hazarded his declaration.—But since I am come to [Page 165] the history of my suitors, I must march them off en masse; a delicate expression, that may serve as a date to my writings, and recal to mind these glorious days, when every thing is ordered en masse, in spite of the greatest possible subdivision of will and inclination.

THE reader cannot have forgotten the Spanish co­lossus, with hands like Esau's, the polite M. Mignard, whose name made such a curious contrast with his face.* After confessing, of his own accord, that he was capable of teaching me nothing further on the guitar, he had begged permission to call now and then to hear me, and came at distant periods, with­out being always sure of finding us at home. Flat­tered with the skill of his young scholar, looking upon it as his own work, imagining that he thence derived some sort of right, or of excuse, and giving himself out for a nobleman of Malaga, whom misfortunes had obliged to recur to his musical knowledge for subsistence, he began by losing his senses, and ended by talking nonsense in order to justify his pretensions. When that was done, he came to the resolution of de­manding me in marriage, but had not courage enough to make his declaration in person. The friend whom he empowered to do so, not being able by his remonstrances to divert him from his intention, exe­cuted his commission. The consequence was, a re­quest [Page 166] not to set his foot within the house again, accom­panied with those civilities which are due to the un­fortunate. My father's jokes made me acquainted with what had passed: he was fond of entertaining me with a relation of the applications made to him on my account; and as he was a little proud of his advantages, he did not spare the persons who laid themselves open to ridicule.

POOR MOZON was become a widower; he had the wen that embellished his left cheek extirpated; and had some thoughts of setting up a one-horse chaise: I was then fifteen, and he had been sent for to per­fect me in my dancing. His imagination took fire; he entertained a high opinion of his art; he should have thought it no presumption in Marcel*; one dan­cing-master was as good as another, why then should he not enter the lists? He made known his wishes, and was dismissed like Mignard.

FROM the moment a young female attains the age that announces maturity, swarms of suitors come humming round her, like bees about the newly-ex­panded flower.

BROUGHT up in the strictest manner, and leading so retired a life, I could inspire but one project; but the respectable character of my mother, the appear­ance of some fortune, and my being an only child, might make that project a tempting one to a great number of persons.

[Page 167]ACCORDINGLY they came in crowds; and finding it difficult to obtain a personal introduction, the greater part adopted the expedient of writing to my parents. All letters of this kind were brought to me by my father; and my first opinion was always grounded upon the terms in which they were con­ceived, without the least regard to the statement they contained of the writer's rank and fortune. I under­took to make a rough draught of the answers, which my father faithfully transcribed. I made him dismiss my suitors with dignity, without giving room for re­resentment or for hope. The youth of our quarter passed thus in review; and in the greater number of instances I met with no difficulty in getting my refusal approved. My father looked to little else than riches; and, as he thought himself authorized to expect great things, whoever was too recently established, or whose actual possessions or speedy hopes of property did not insure considerable ease of circumstances, was sure not to obtain his vote; but when once those requi­sites were found, he was concerned at seeing me re­fuse to close with the proposal. Here began to break out those dissensions between my father and me, which continued ever after. He loved and esteemed com­merce, because he regarded it as the source of riches; I detested and despised it, because I considered it as the foundation for avarice and fraud.

My father was sensible that I could not accept of an a [...]tisan, properly so called; his vanity would not [Page 168] have suffered him to entertain such an idea; but he could not conceive that the elegant jeweller, who touches nothing but fine things, from which he derives a great profit, was not a suitable match, especially when already in good business, and in a fair way to make a fortune. But the spirit of the jeweller, as well as of the little mercer, whom he looks upon as beneath him, and of the rich woollen-draper, who holds himself superior to both, ap­peared to me entirely engrossed by the lust of gold, and by mercenary calculations and contrivances: the mind of such a man must needs be a stranger to the elevated ideas and refined sentiments by which I appreciated existence.

OCCUPIED from my infancy in considering the relations of man in society, brought up in the strict­est morality, and familiarized with the noblest exam­ples, had I then lived with Plutarch, and all the other philosophers, to no better purpose than to connect my­self for life with a shop-keeper incapable of seeing any thing in the same light as myself?

I HAVE already said that my provident mother wished me to be as much at home in the kitchen as in the drawing-room, and at market as in a public walk: after my return from the convent, I used still to ac­company her, when she went to purchase articles of household consumption, as was often the case; and at last she would sometimes send me on such er­rands with a maid. The butcher with whom she [Page 169] dealt lost a second wife, and found himself, while still in the prime of life, possessed of a fortune of fifty thousand crowns, which he proposed to aug­ment. I was perfectly ignorant of these particulars: I only perceived that I was well served, and with abundant civility; and was much surprised at seeing this personage frequently appear on a Sunday in a handsome suit of black and lace ruffles in the same walk as ourselves, and put himself in my mother's way, to whom he made a low bow, without accosting her. This practice continued a whole summer. I fell sick; and every morning the butcher sent to in­quire what we wanted, and to offer any accommo­dation in his power. This very pointed attention be­gan to provoke my father's smiles, who, wishing to divert himself, introduced to me a certain Made­moiselle Michon, a grave church-going woman, one day when she came very ceremoniously to demand my hand in the butcher's name. 'You know, daughter,' said he, with great gravity, that it is a rule with me to lay no constraint upon your inclinations.—I shall therefore only state to you a proposal in which you are principally concerned. He then repeated what Mademoiselle Michon had intimated. I screwed up my mouth, a little vexed that my father's good-hu­mour should turn over to me the task of giving an answer, which he ought to have taken upon himself. 'You know, papa,' said I, parodying his mode of expression, 'that I consider myself as very happy in [Page 170] my present situation; and that I am firmly resolved not to quit it for some years to come. You may take any steps in conformity with this resolution that you think proper:' and on saying this I withdrew.— 'Why truly,' said my father, when we were after­wards alone, 'this reason you have invented is a very fine one for keeping every body away.'—'I revenged myself, papa, for the little trick you played me, by a general answer very becoming a girl; and I left it to you to give a formal refusal: a task which I ought not to take upon myself.'—'It's an excellent evasion; but tell me then who it is that will suit you?'—'Tell me, papa, why, in bringing me up, you taught me to think, and suffered me to contract habits of study: I know not what kind of man I shall marry; but it must be one who can share my sentiments, and to whom I can communicate my thoughts.'—'There are men in business possessed both of politeness and information.'—'Yes, but not of the kind I want: their politeness consists in a few phrases and bows, and their knowledge always relates to the strong box, and would assist me but little in the edu­cation of my children.'—'But you might educate them yourself.'—'The task would appear laborious, if not shared by the man to whom they would owe their existence.'—'Do you suppose that l'Empereu's wife is not happy? They have just retired from busi­ness, are buying capital places, keep an excellent house, and receive the best company.'—'I am no judge of [Page 171] other people's happiness; but my own affections are not fixed upon riches: I conceive that the strictest union of hearts is requisite to conjugal felicity; nor can I connect myself with a man who does not resem­ble me: my husband must even be my superior, for since both nature and the laws give him pre-eminence, I should be ashamed of him, if he did not really de­serve it.'—'You want a counsellor, I suppose? But women are not very happy with those learned gentle­men: they have a great deal of pride, and very little money.'—'My God! papa, I do not judge of a man's merit by his cloth; nor have I ever told you that I affect such or such a profession: I want a man I can love.'—'But according to you, such a man is not to be found in trade?'—'I confess that I do not think it likely. I have never seen a tradesman to my liking; and the profession itself is my aversion.'—'It is, however, a very pleasant thing for a woman to sit at her ease in her own apartment, while her husband is carrying on a lucrative trade. Now, there's Madam d'Argens: she understands diamonds as well as her husband: she deals with the brokers in his absence; concludes bargains with private persons, and would be able to carry on the business, even if left a widow: their fortune is already considerable, and they belong to the company which has just bought Bagnolet. You are intelligent; and, indeed, understand that branch of business since you perused the treatise on precious stones. You would inspire people with confidence; [Page 172] you might do whatever you please; and a happy life would you have had if you could but have fancied Delorme, Dabreuil, or l'Obligeois.'—'Hark ye, papa; I have too well perceived that the only way to make a fortune in trade, is by selling dear what has been bought cheap, by overcharging the customer, and beating down the poor workman. I should never be able to descend to such practices, nor to respect a man who makes them his occupation from morn­ing to night. It is my wish to be a virtuous wife; but how should I be faithful to a man who would hold no place in my esteem, even admitting the possibility of my marrying such a man? Selling dia­monds and selling pastry seem nearly the same thing to me; except that the latter has a fixed price, re­quires less deceit perhaps, but soils the fingers more. I like the one not in any degree better than the other.' —'Do you suppose then there are no honest trades­men?'—'I will not absolutely affirm it; but I am per­suaded the number is small; and the few honest folks have not all that I require in a husband.'—'You are extremely fastidious, methinks; but if you do not find the idol of your imagination?'—'I will die a maid.'—'That would be a harder task perhaps, than you imagine. You have time enough, to be sure, to think of it: but ennui will come at last; the crowd will be gone by; and you know the fable!'— 'Oh! I would take my revenge by deserving happi­ness from the very injustice that would deprive [Page 173] me of it.'—'Now you are in the clouds again! It is very pleasant to soar to such a height; but it is not easy to keep the elevation: do not forget, however, that I should like to have grand-children before I am too far advanced in years.'

I SHOULD like to present you with some, said I to myself, when my father put an end to the dialogue, by withdrawing; but most certainly I never shall have any, unless by a husband to my mind. I experienced a slight sensation of melancholy, when on casting my eyes about me, I could perceive nothing that was suit­able to my taste; but the sensation soon subsided. I was sensible of my present comforts, and hope threw its enlivening beams on the time to come. It was the plenitude of happiness overflowing its banks, and clearing away every thing unpleasant from my future prospect.

'SHALL I suit you this time, Mademoiselle?' said my father one day, with affected gravity, and the look of satisfaction which was visible upon every new demand. 'Read that letter.' It was very well written as to imagery and style, and brought the blood into my cheeks. Mr. Morizot de Rozain expressed himself handsomely enough, but did not forget to remark that his name was to be found among the nobles of his province. It appeared to me coxcomical and injudicious, to make a parade of an advantage which he knew me not to possess, and of which he had no right to suppose me ambitious. 'We have [Page 174] here,' said I, shaking my head, 'no great cause for consideration: it may be worth while, however, to hear what the gentleman has to say for himself: a letter or two more, and I shall be able to found the depth of his pretensions. I will go and draw up an answer.' When writing was the question, my father was as tractable as a child, and sat down to copy with­out reluctance. I was much diverted at the idea of acting the papa; and discussed my own interests with all the gravity suitable to the occasion, and in a style of prudence truly parental. No less than three explana­tory letters came from Mr. de Rozain, which I pre­served for a long time, because they were extremely well written. They proved to me that powers of mind did not suffice, unless accompanied by superior judg­ment, and a soul, which nothing can supply the want of, or describe, but which is recognized at the first glance. Besides, Rozain had nothing but the title of advocate; my present fortune was not enough for two; nor were his qualities such as to create a desire of surmounting that obstacle.

IN announcing the rising en masse of my suitors, I did not promise to name them all, and I shall be readily excused. I only wish to show the singularity of a situation, which procured me offers from a great many persons, whose very faces I was not always ac­quainted with, and in which the examination of rea­sons and appearances was left to myself. I often, in­deed, perceived new faces observing or following me [Page 175] at church, or in the public walks, and used to say to myself, 'I shall soon have an answer to write for my father.' But I never saw a figure that surprised or fa­cinated me.

I HAVE already said that La Blancherie had wit enough to make his way into our house, and to un­derstand, that, before he declared himself, it was necessary to gain my good opinion. Though still very young, he had already travelled, had read a great deal, and had even tried his fortune as an author. His work was not good for much; but it contained morality in abundance, and some ideas that were not amiss. He had intitled it, Abstract of my Travels, intended to serve as a School for Fathers and Mothers: this, as my readers will perceive, was not very modest; but one could hardly help for­giving him; for he supported himself by very respect­able philosophical authorities, quoted them happily, and inveighed with all the indignation of an honest heart, against the coldness and negligence of parents, too frequently the cause of the destructive irregularitie of youth. La Blancherie, diminutive, brown, and ordinary, had no hold on my imagination; but I did not dislike his mind, and thought I could perceive that he had a great liking for my person. One evening, returning with my mother from a visit to our old rela­tions, we found my father in a thoughtful mood. 'I have news for you,' said he, smiling. 'La Blan­cherie is just gone away, after passing more than two [Page 176] hours with me; he has told me a secret; and as it concerns you, Mademoiselle, you must be let into it.' (The consequence was not strictly necessary, but it was customary with my father to infer it.) 'He is in love with her, and has proposed himself for my son-in-law; but he has no fortune, and it would be a folly, as I have given him to understand. He is prepar­ing for the bar, and means to purchase a place in the magistracy; but what he has to expect from his family, being too little for the purpose, he has been thinking, that if we like the match, his wife's fortune would supply the deficiency, and that as our girl is an only child, they might live with us for the first two or three years. He has been say­ing a great number of fine things upon the subject, which may be very satisfactory to youthful fancy, but prudent parents require something more solid. Let him set up an office, or buy a place; let him, in short, follow his profession: it will be time enough to talk of marriage afterwards; but to begin by mar­rying, would be absurd in the extreme. Besides, it would be necessary to inquire into his character; though that indeed might be easily done. I had rather he were not noble, and that he had forty thousand good crowns in his purse. He is a good young man: we had a great deal of talk together; and though he was a little hurt by my arguments, he listened to me with patience. At last he requested me not to shut my door against him, and urged his prayer with so good [Page 177] a grace, that I consented, upon condition of his not coming more frequently than before. I told him that I would not say a word to you; but as I know your discretion, I never like to keep you in the dark.' A few questions from my mother, and some prudent reflections concerning the many things to be consi­dered before we form an affection, saved me the trouble of answering; but my thoughts were busily employed.

THOUGH my father's calculations were well found­ed, there was nothing unreasonable in the young man's proposal; and I felt disposed to see him, and to study his disposition with additional interest and curiosity. My opportunities were few: at the end of some months La Blancherie set off for Orleans, and I saw no more of him till two years after. In the mean time I was very near marrying Gardanne, the physi­cian; a match recommended by one of our relations. Madam Desportes, a native of Provence, had marri­ed a tradesman at Paris; and having been left a widow with an only daughter, at a very early age, had con­tinued to deal in jewels, the business which my father thought so very agreeable. Sound sense, civility, good breeding, and a great deal of address, procured her general esteem: any one, indeed would have sup­posed that she carried on her trade merely to oblige her customers. Without going out of her apartment, which was neatly furnished, and in which she received a very respectable society, composed in part of the [Page 178] very persons who satisfied their wants or their luxury by purchasing her goods, she maintained herself in easy circumstances, without increasing or diminishing the little fortune she possessed. Being far advanced in years, she needed the assistance of her daughter, who, out of filial affection, rejected all offers of mar­riage, that her intimate union with her mother might not be disturbed.

GARDANNE was a countryman of Madam Des­portes. Natural good sense, that lively disposition so common among the natives of the south, an excel­lent education, and an extreme desire to get on, pro­mised the young doctor success in a career, already auspiciously begun. Madam Desportes, who receiv­ed him with that patronizing kindness which became her age and character, and which she had the art of rendering agreeable, conceived the idea of giving him her young cousin for a wife; but death overtook her while intent upon this project, which her daughter re­solved to execute.

GARDANNE both desired and feared the connec­tion. In considering the advantages and incon­veniences of becoming a Benedict, he did not, like my romantic brain, attend to personal qualities alone: he calculated every thing. My fortune was only twenty thousand liv [...]es17; but the smallness of [Page 179] this sum was compensated by considerable expecta­tions. The pecuniary arrangements were made before I knew any thing of the matter, and the bargain absolutely concluded, when I first heard that a physician had entered the lists. The profession did not displease me; it promised an enlightened mind: but it was necessary to become acquainted with his person. A walk in the Luxemburg gardens was proposed; we were to be overtaken by the rain; and the rain came, or at least was apprehended. We ran for shelter to the house of a Mademoiselle de la Barre, a rigid Jansenist, and a friend of Madam Desportes, who was overjoyed at the cir­cumstance, and offered us refreshments, which we were taking, when her physician came with his countrywoman in the very moment to pay her a visit.

A MINUTE survey took place on both sides, with­out any appearance, on my part, of being so em­ployed, but at the same time without my suffering any thing to escape me. My cousin assumed an air of triumph, as if she would have said, 'I did not tell you she was handsome: but what do you think of her?' My good mother looked kind and pensive; Mademoiselle de la Barre was equally profuse of her wit and her confectionary; the physician chattered away, and made great havoc among the sugar-plums, saying, with a sort of gallantry, that favoured a lit­tle of the school-boy, that he was very fond of every [Page 180] thing sweet; upon which the young lady observed with a soft voice, a blush, and a half smile, that the men were accused of loving sweet things, because it was necessary to make use of great sweetness in deal­ing with them. The cunning doctor was quite tickled with the epigram. My father would willingly have given us his benediction, and was so polite, that I was out of all patience with him. The doctor retired first to pay his evening visits; we returned as we came; and this was called an interview. Mademoiselle Des­portes, a strict observer of punctilios, had so ordered it, because forsooth a man who has views of mar­riage ought never to set his foot in a private house, where there is a daughter, until his proposals are accepted; but when once that is done, the mar­riage articles are directly to be drawn up, and the consummation is to follow immediately. This is the law and the prophets. A physician in the ha­biliments of his profession, is never a pleasing object to a young woman; nor could I indeed, at any pe­riod of life, figure to myself such a thing as love in a periwig. Gardanne with his three tails, his physical look, his southern accent, and his black eye-brows, seemed much more likely to allay than to excite a fe­ver. But this I felt without making the reflection: my ideas of marriage were so serious, that I could not perceive any thing laughable in his proposals.— 'Well,' said my good mother to me, in a tone of ten­der inquiry, 'what think you of this man? Will he [Page 181] suit you?'—'My dear mamma, it is impossible yet for me to tell.'—'But you can certainly tell whether he has inspired you with dislike.'—'Neither dislike nor inclination: which of the two may come hereafter, I cannot say.'—'We ought to know however what an­swer to give in case a proposal should be made in form.'—'Is the answer to be binding?'—Assuredly, if we pass our word to a decent man, we must adhere to it.'—'And if I should not like him?'—'A reason­able young woman, not actuated by caprice, after hav­ing once maturely weighed the motives that deter­mine her in so important a resolution, will never change her mind.'—'I am to decide then upon the strength of a single interview.'—'Not exactly that: the intimacy of M. de Gardanne with our family ena­bles us to judge of his conduct and way of life, and by means of a little inquiry we shall easily come at a knowledge of his disposition. These are the prin­cipal points to found a determination upon: the sight of the person is a matter of much less moment.'—'Ah mamma! I am in no haste to be married.'—'I believe it, daughter; but you must settle yourself in the world some time or other; and you have now attained the proper age. You have refused many offers from tradesmen; and they are the people from whom your situation makes offers the most likely to come: you seem determined never to marry a man in business; the match at pre­sent in question is suitable in every external point of [Page 182] view.—Take care then not to reject it too lightly.'— 'It appears to me there is time enough to think about it; M. Gardanne has, perhaps, made no decision himself; for it is certain that he never saw me before.' —'True; but if that be your only excuse, it is pos­sible it may not be of long duration: I do not, how­ever, require an immediate answer. Revolve the matter in your mind, and two days hence let me know what you think about it.' On saying this, my mother kissed my forehead, and withdrew.

REASON and nature concur so well in persuading a prudent and modest young woman that she ought to marry, that all deliberation upon the subject is necessarily confined to the choice of a mate. Now, as to this choice the arguments of my mother were by no means destitute of force. I considered, besides, that my provisional acceptance, however it might be construed, could never amount to a positive engagement; and that it would be ab­surd to suppose me under contract, because I might consent to see the person proposed at my father's house. I was sensible too, if I should dislike him, no consideration upon earth could induce me to ac­cept his hand. I determined then, within myself, not to say no, but to wait till we should become bet­ter acquainted.

WE were just on the point of setting off for the country, where we were to pass a fortnight. I thought it would be improper to delay our jour­ney [Page 183] in expectation of a suitor, and my mother was of the same opinion; but when we were on the eve of our departure, Mademoiselle de la Barre came in great form to demand my hand in the doctor's name. My parents answered in the general terms that people employ when they wish it to be understood that their consent will depend upon further consideration. Per­mission, however, was asked, and granted, for the lover to pay his respects in person. Mademoiselle Desportes, with her usual formality, concluded it was her business to be his conductor; and a family col­lation, at which Mademoiselle de la Barre and one of my female relations were present, served to celebrate the gentleman's ceremonious entry into my father's house. The next day we set off for the country, on purpose to pass there the precise time necessary for in­quiries. The second interview made no greater impres­sion upon me than the first; but I thought I could perceive that Gardanne was a sensible man, with whom a rational woman might live upon good terms; and, like an unexperienced girl, I concluded that when once it was possible to reason and understand one another, a sufficient provision was made for ma­trimonial bliss.

MY mother was afraid that he showed signs of an imperious disposition; an idea that never came into my mind: accustomed to watch over myself, to regulate my affections, and to keep my imagination within bounds, and impressed with a strong sense of the [Page 184] rigour and sublimity of the duties of a wife, I could not understand what difference a disposition, a little more or a little less indulgent, could make to me, nor what more could be required of me than I required of myself. I reasoned like a philosopher who calculates, or like a recluse equally a stranger to the passions, and to mankind. I took my tranquil, affectionate, gene­rous, and candid heart, as a common measure of the moral qualities of my species. I continued a long while to be guilty of that fault. It was the only source of my errors. I hasten to point it out: it is giving beforehand the key of my scrutoire. I carried with me into the country a sort of inquietude: it was not that gentle agitation with which the beauties of nature usually inspired me, and which rendered its charms still more grateful to my feelings. I found myself upon the eve of a new existence: I was going perhaps, to quit my excellent mother, my darling studies, my beloved retirement, and a sort of inde­pendence, for a state which I could not well define, and which would impose on me the most import­ant obligations. I thought it an honour to have them to discharge, and was proud of being able to undertake them; but the prospect was clouded, and I experienced all the hopes and fears of incertitude. Mademoiselle Desportes had made me promise to write to her; and I kept my word: but at the end of a fortnight, I heard she was very much afflicted. My father, who did every thing by rule, would [Page 185] never have believed that he had married his daughter properly, and fulfilled the duty of a parent, if he had not made his customary inquiries in due form. Gardanne had been introduced by one of our rela­tions, who knew his family, and was intimate with him­self. All possible information had been afforded, but it did not signify; my father had written to three or four persons in Provence, at the very beginning of the business, to inquire into the most minute particulars of the doctor's family and habits. During our absence, his vigilance did not even stop there: he employed a variety of little manoeuvres, in order to learn from ser­vants and tradesmen, the temper and way of life of his future son-in-law. Nor was that all; he went to pay him a visit; and, with an address equal to that which he had made use of in his inquiries, when he let every body see why he was making them, he affect­ed to be very well informed. He mentioned to Gar­danne in an awkward way, and as a man whom he ought to respect, one of his countrymen with whom he was at variance, and added premature advice to his remarks in the authoritative tone of a father. Gardan­ne received at one and the same time, letters from the country, rallying him upon the inquiries to which he gave occasion, intelligence of the inquisition carrying on concerning his private affairs, and the pedagogical exhortation of his intended father-in-law. Distressed, vexed, and irritated, he went to Mademoiselle Despor­tes and complained with all the warmth of a native of [Page 186] the south, of the strange conduct of a man, whose amiable daughter had no other fault than that of having so singular a father. Mademoiselle Desportes, fiery, as well as himself, and full of pride, was much dis­pleased at his being so little in love with her cousin as to complain of trifles like these, and gave him a very in­different reception. The very moment these circum­stances came to my knowledge, I eagerly embraced the opportunity of putting an end to my incer­titude; and wrote to say, that, on my return, I hoped to see no more of my physical suitor. Such was the denouement of a marriage which it was intended to hurry on with so much speed, that Gardanne ex­pected to conclude the business in a week after my re­turn. I congratulated myself on escaping ties, that my friends would fain have drawn closely in so sudden a manner; my mother, alarmed at the doctor's warmth of temper, felt as if delivered from some dreadful danger, though grieving a little on other ac­counts; my father endeavoured to conceal his shame and disappointment under the veil of lordly dignity; and my cousin preserved hers by forbidding the doc­tor to set his foot in her house. Five years after, Ma­demoiselle de la Barre told her, that this marriage was written in heaven; that her friend kept himself free from all other engagements; and that the hand of Providence was preparing to bring us together, by means inscrutable to human eyes.

[Page 187]WHAT an excellent prophecy! It was as good as Ninon's billet to the Marquis de la Châstre.

MY mother's health began insensibly to decline. She had had a stroke of the palsy, which was represented to me as the rheumatism, a pious fraud, in which, without flattering herself, she willingly joined, in or­der to prevent my taking any alarm. Serious and ta­citurn, she every day lost a portion of her vivacity; was fond of secluding herself from the world; and obliged me, sometimes, to go out with the maid, refu­sing to quit her apartment. She often talked of my changing my condition, and lamented I could not prevail on myself to close with any of the offers that were made me. One day in particular, she urged me, with melancholy earnestness, to accept an honest jew­eller who had demanded my hand: 'He has in favour, said she, 'great reputation for integrity, habits of so­briety, and mildness of disposition, with an easy for­tune, which may become brilliant; and that circum­stance makes part of the merit of a man, who is not remarkable for his personal advantages. He knows that yours is not a common mind, professes great esteem for you, will be proud of following your ad­vice, and says already that he would not object to his wife's suckling her children. You might lead him any way you like.'—'Why, mamma, I do not want a husband who is to be led; he would be too cumbersome a child for me.'—'Do you know that you are a very whimsical girl? for after all you would not [Page 188] like a master.'—'My dear mother, let us understand one another: I should not like a man to give himself airs of authority: he would only teach me to resist; but at the same time, I should not like a husband whom it would be necessary to govern. Either I am much mistaken, or those beings five foot and a half high, with beards upon their chins, seldom fail to make us perceive that they are the stronger. Now if the good man should think proper to remind me of that superiority, he would provoke me; and if he should submit to be governed, I should be ashamed of my own power.'—'I understand you; you would like a man to think himself the master, while obey­ing you in every thing.'—'No, it is not that either: I hate servitude, but I do not think myself made for empire; it would only embarrass me; my reason finds it quite enough to take care of myself. I should wish to gain the affections of a man so completely worthy of my esteem, that I might be proud of my complai­sance; of a man who would make his happiness con­sist in contributing to mine, in the way that his good sense and affection might think meet.'—'Happiness, daughter, does not always consist in that perfect con­formity of ideas and affections which you imagine; if without that it could not exist, there would be hardly any such thing as a happy couple.'—'Neither do I know any whose happiness I envy.'—'Perhaps so; but still among those matches you do not envy, there may be many preferable to always living single. I may [Page 189] be called out of the world sooner than you imagine; you would remain with your father; he is still young, and you cannot imagine all the disagreeable things that my fondness for you makes me fear. How hap­py should I be, if I could but leave you united to an honest man, when I depart from this world.' These last ideas afflicted me beyond measure: my mother seemed to lift up the veil that concealed a sad and dreadful futurity, which I did not even apprehend. I had never thought of losing her; and the mere idea of such an event, which she spoke of as approaching, struck me with terror; a cold shivering seized my whole frame; I gazed upon her with wild and eager eyes, from which her smiles drew forth a flood of tears. 'What! you are alarmed? as if, in taking our resolutions, we ought not to calculate all possi­ble chances. I am not ill, though at a critical time of life, of which the revolutions frequently prove fa­tal; but it is in health that we ought to provide against sickness, and the present occasion makes it peculiarly necessary. An honest and worthy man offers you his hand; you are turned of twenty, and will no longer see so many suitors as have tendered you their homage during the last five years. I may be snatched away—do not then reject a husband, who has not, it is true, the delicacy on which you set so great a value (a quality very rare, even where we look for it the most); but he is a man who will love you, and with whom you may be happy.'—'Yes, [Page 190] mamma,' cried I with a deep sigh, 'happy as you have been!' My mother was disconcerted, and made me no reply, nor from that moment did she ever open her lips to me about that or any other match, at least in a pressing manner. The remark had escaped me, as the expression of an acute feeling escapes us when we have not taken time to reflect: the effect it pro­duced convinced me that it was too true.

A STRANGER might have perceived at the first glance the great difference between my father and mother: but who could feel like me all the excel­lence of the latter? I had not, however, fully calcu­lated all she must have had to suffer. Accustomed from my infancy to see the most profound peace prevail in the house, I could not judge of the painful efforts it might cost to maintain it. My fa­ther loved his wife, and was tenderly fond of me. Never—I will not say a reproach—but never did even a look of discontent break in upon the good hu­mour of my mother. When she was not of her hus­band's opinion, and could not prevail upon him to modify it, she appeared to pass sentence upon her own without the smallest reluctance. It was on­ly during the latter years of her life, that, feel­ing myself hurt by my father's mode of reason­ing, I sometimes took the liberty to intersere in the discussion: by degrees I gained a certain sort of ascendance, and availed myself of it with considerable freedom. Whether it was the novelty of my enter­prise [Page 191] that confounded him, or whether it was weakness, I know not, but my father yielded to me more readily than to his wife; I always exerted my influence in her defence; and might not unaptly have been termed my mother's watch-dog. It was no longer safe to molest her in my presence—either by barking, or by pulling the skirt of the coat, or by shewing my teeth in good earnest, I was sure to make the assailant let go his hold. It is worthy of remark, that, being no less reserved than my mother in regard to her husband, I never said a word to her in private, and out of his hearing, that was not consistent with filial respect. I employed in her defence the force, I will say even the authority of reason, when address did not suffice; but when we were alone I should not have dared to utter a word relative to what had passed. For her sake I could en­ter the lists even against her husband; but that hus­band, when absent, was no longer any thing but my father, about whom we were both silent, unless when any thing could be said in his praise. I could perceive however, that he had lost by degrees his habits of in­dustry. Parish business having first called him from home; sauntering abroad afterwards became a passion. All public spectacles, and every thing that was passing out of doors, attracted his attention; a passion for gaming next laid hold of him; connexions made at the coffee-house led him elsewhere: and the lottery held out temptations which he could not resist. The desire of making a fortune having engaged him in [Page 192] speculations, quite foreign to his profession, and not always successful, that desire, when once he had lost his affiduity, made him set every thing at hazard. In proportion as his art was less exercised, his talents diminished; and by leading a less regular life, he impaired his faculties: his sight grew weak, and his hand lost its steadiness. His pupils being less superin­tended by their master, became less able to supply his place; and it was soon found necessary to diminish their number, because the tide of business necessarily flowed elsewhere. Those changes took place by in­sensible degrees, and their effect became very per­ceptible, before any one had calculated all its conse­quences. My mother grew pensive, and began now and then to give me imperfect intimations of her uneasiness, which I was fearful of increasing by speaking of what neither she nor I could prevent. I was careful to procure her every satisfaction that depended upon me; and as she was grown averse to walking, I sometimes consented to leave her, in order to go abroad with my father, whom I request­ed to take me out for a walk. He no longer sought to have me with him as formerly; but he still took a pleasure in attending me, and I used to bring him back in a sort of triumph to that excellent mother whose tender emotions I could easily perceive when­ever she saw us together. We were not always gainers by it; for my father, that he might neither refuse his daughter, nor be disappointed of his plea­sures, [Page 193] would first see me safe home, and then go out again, for an instant, as he said; but instead of re­turning to supper, he would forget the hour, and not come home till midnight. In the mean time we had been weeping in silence; and if it happened to me, on his return, to represent to him our chagrin, he treated the matter lightly, parrying my gentle re­proaches by raillery, or else retired in the silence of discontent. Our domestic happiness was buried be­neath these clouds; but the peace of the family re­mained unaltered, so that an indifferent spectator would not have perceived the changes that were daily taking place.

MY mother had suffered considerably, for more than a year, from a kind of obstruction in the respi­ratory passages, which resembled a cold in the head, but of which her physicians were totally unable to im­agine the cause. After various remedies, they re­commended exercise, which she was no longer fond of, and country air. That was just before Whitsun­tide of the year 1775, and it was agreed that we should pass the holydays at Meudon. On the Sunday morning I did not wake, as I was accustomed to do when any of those rural excursions were in agitation: I was overcome by broken and uneasy sleep, and tor­mented by ill-omened dreams. I thought we were re­turning to Paris by water, in the midst of a storm; and upon getting out of the boat, a corpse that was dragging ashore impeded my way. I was terrified [Page 194] at the sight, and was endeavouring to find out whose body it could be.—At that very instant, my mother, laying her hand lightly upon my legs, and calling me with her soft voice, put an end to my dream. I was as much rejoiced at seeing her, as if she had saved me from the most imminent danger; I stretched out my arms, and embraced her with emotion, telling her she had done me great kindness by waking me. I got up; we made our arrangments, and set off. The weather was fine, the air calm, a little boat conveyed us speedily to the place of our destination, and the charms of the country restored my serenity. My mother was the better for the journey; and resumed a portion of her activity. It was on the second day we discovered Ville-bonne, and the water-bailiff of the Moulin Rouge. I had promised my Agatha to call upon her the day after the holydays; we returned on Tuesday evening; and my mother purposed ac­companying me to the convent; but being a little fa­tigued with the exercise of the preceding days, she changed her mind at the moment I was setting off, and desired the maid to accompany me. I then wished to stay at home; b [...]t she insisted on my keeping my word; adding, that I well knew she had no ob­jection to being alone, and that if desirous of taking a turn in the Jardin du Roi, I was free so to do.

MY visit to Agatha was a short one: 'Why are you in such haste?' said she; 'does any one expect [Page 195] you?'—'No; but I am anxious to return to my mother.'—'Why, you told me she was well.'—'I did so; nor does she expect me so soon; but I know not what it is that torments me: I shall not be easy till I see her again.' On saying this, I felt my heart swell, as it were, in spite of me.

IT may, perhaps, be supposed these circumstances are added by the reflection of a sentiment, which lends its colour to preceding incidents.—I am no more than a faithful historian, and relate facts, which the event alone afterwards recalled to my mind.

IT must certainly have appeared from the exposition of my opinions, and still more from the successive developement of the ideas I had acquired, that I was at that time no more infected with certain prejudices, than I am now with superstition. Accordingly, in re­flecting upon what are called presentiments, I have often thought they are nothing more than rapid glan­ces caught by persons of quick perception and ex­quisite feelings, of a multitude of things which are scarcely perceptible, which cannot even be described, which are rather felt than understood, and from which an affection results that is not to be accounted for, although it is afterwards justified by the event.

THE more lively the interest any object inspires, the stronger is our perception or sensibility in regard to that object, and the more we have of those physical notices, if I may be allowed the expression, which are afterwards called presentiments, and which [Page 196] the ancients considered as auguries, or intimations given by the gods.

MY mother was to me the dearest object upon earth: she was drawing near her end, without any external sign that might serve to announce it to common observers: nor had my attention yet distin­guished any thing that clearly indicated so dread­ful a blow; but doubtless some slight alterations must have taken place in her, by which I was agi­tated without knowing why: I could not say that I was uneasy, because I should not have known why; but my mind was not at peace; my heart frequently sunk within me while looking at her; and when­ever I left her, I experienced a disagreeable feeling that made me impatient to return. When I was taking leave of Agatha, there was something so sin­gular in my manner, that she begged me to let her hear from me immediately. I hurried home not­withstanding the observations of the maid, who was of opinion that a walk in the Jardin du Roi would be very pleasant at that time of day. I came to the house, and found a little girl of the neigh­bourhood standing at the door:—'Ah! Made­moiselle,' exclaimed she, on seeing me, 'your mam­ma is taken very ill; she has been for my mother, who is gone up stairs with her to her apartment.' Struck with affright, I uttered a few inarticulate sounds: I ran, I flew into the room; and there I found my mother in an armed-chair, with her head [Page 197] fallen on her shoulder, her eyes wild, her mouth open, and her arms hanging down. On seeing me, her countenance brightened; she endeavoured to speak, but her tongue could with difficulty utter a few half-formed words: she wished to say, that she was wait­ing for me with impatience; she made an effort to raise her arms; one only obeyed the impulse of her will; she laid her hand on my face, wiped away the tears that bedewed it with her fingers; tapped me gently on the cheek, as if to comfort me; an effort to smile appeared in her countenance; she tried to speak:—vain efforts! the palsy tied her tongue, sunk her head, and annihilated half her body. Nei­ther Hungary water, nor salt put into her mouth, nor friction, produced any effect. In an instant I had dispatched messengers for my father, and the phy­sician; I had darted like lightning myself to fetch two grains of tartar emetic from the next apotheca­ry's. The physician came; my mother was put into bed; and medicines were administered: the disorder notwithstanding made a dreadful progress. Her eyes were closed; her head, sunk upon her chest, could no longer support itself; and her short and convul­sive breathing indicated a general oppression of the whole body. She heard however what was said, and when asked if she felt much pain, pointed out the seat of her sufferings by putting her left hand to her fore­head. I was inexpressibly active; I ordered every thing, and had always done it myself before it [Page 198] could be done by any other person: I appeared not to quit her bed side, and yet I prepared for her every thing she wanted. About ten o'clock in the evening I saw the physician take my father and two or three women aside; I begged to know what he had pro­posed; and was told that they had sent for the ex­treme unction:—I thought it was all a dream. The priest came, began to pray, and performed a ceremo­ny I did not understand, while I held a light to him, in obedience to a mere mechanical impulse. Stand­ing at the foot of the bed without answering, or giving way to those who wished to take my place, with my eyes fixed on my adored and dying mother, and en­tirely occupied by a single sentiment, which at length suspended all my faculties, I let the candle drop out of my hand, and fell senseless on the floor. I was carried off, and found myself, some time after­wards, in the parlour adjoining to my bed-chamber, surrounded by the family. I turned my eyes to­wards the door; I rose from my seat; and finding myself held back, made suppliant gestures to ob­tain permission to return. A solemn silence, and a mournful but constant opposition, counteracted my desire. I regained my strength; I begged; I in­sisted; but they were inexorable; and I broke out into a sort of rage. At that instant my father walked into the room, pale and speechless with grief; and answered to the silent inquiry that every one seemed to make, by a look which drew forth a general excla­mation [Page 199] of sorrow. The consternation of those around me gave me an opportunity of getting away; I rushed forth impetuously; my mother—she was no more! I lifted up her arms; I could not believe it: I opened and closed alternately those eyes that were never to see me again, and that were wont to rivet themselves upon me with such endearing tenderness: I called her; I threw myself upon her bed in a transport of grief: I pressed my lips to her's; I separated them; I endea­voured to inhale death: I hoped to draw it in with my breath, and instantly to expire. I know not well what followed; I only remember, that towards the morning I found myself at a neighbours, whither M. Besnard came, who had me put into a carriage, and conveyed me to his house. We alighted; my great aunt embraced me in silence; set me down at a little table; offered me something to drink, and entreated me to take it. I tried to gratify her, and fainted away. They put me to bed, and there I passed a fortnight, between life and death, in the most dreadful convulsions. The physical sensation, which I remember, was that of a continual suffocation; and my respiration, as I was afterwards told, was a kind of howling, that was heard in the street: I had suffered a revolution, which my situation rendered still more critical, and from which I was only saved by a strong constitution, and by the boundless attentions that were lavished on me. My respectable relations removed their beds into little closets, to afford me a more comfortable [Page 200] lodging; they seemed to have assumed new vigour, in order to redeem me from the grave; and would not permit any thing to be offered me by a mercenary hand. They insisted upon waiting on me themselves, and would only consent to be assisted by my cousin, a young woman of the name of Trude, who came every evening to pass the night with me, lying in the same bed, and careful to anticipate and relieve the fits of convulsion with which I was frequently seized.

EIGHT days had elapsed, and I had not shed a tear: great sorrows, alas! are not relieved so easily.— (The scalding drops, at this moment, are streaming down my cheeks; for I dread an evil still greater than what I suffer. All my hopes and wishes were centred in the safety of what I love; and its fate is become more uncertain than ever! Calamities spreading like a dark and dreadful cloud, are ready to envelope all that was dear to me; and I labour, with difficulty and pain, to divert my attention from the present, by obliging my­self to retrace the past.)—

AN epistle from Sophy came to open the source of my tears; the soothing voice and tender expres­sions of friendship recalled my faculties, and spoke consolation to my heart. They produced an effect, which the warm bath, and the medical art, had courted in vain: a new revolution took place; I wept, and was saved. The suffocation diminished; all the dangerous symptoms abated, and the convulsions be­came [Page 201] less frequent; but every painful impression was sure to bring on a fit.

MY father presented himself to me in the sad ap­parel, that testified a loss, common to us both, but unequally felt: he undertook to console me, by re­presenting, that Providence disposed every thing for the best, even in our calamities; that my mother had fulfilled the task assigned her in this world, the educa­tion of her child; and that, since heaven had decreed I should lose one of my parents, it was better the one should remain who could be most useful to my fortune. My loss was certainly irreparable, even in that respect, as the event fully proved; but I did not then make the reflection: I only felt the inefficien­cy of this pretended consolation, so little adapted to my way of thinking; and measured, perhaps, for the first time, the distance that separated my father from myself. It seemed as if he was tearing away the reverential veil, under which I had hitherto con­sidered him: I found myself completely an orphan, since my mother was gone, and my father could ne­ver understand me: a new kind of grief oppressed my afflicted heart: and I fell again into the deepest despair. The tears, however, of my consin, and the sorrow of my worthy relations, still offered me occasions of tender emotion; they had their effect, and I was snatched from the dangers that threatened my existence. Why, alas! at that period did it not [Page 202] terminate? It was my first affliction; by how many others has it been followed?

HERE concludes the serene and splendid era of that tranquil life, passed in peace and in the enjoy­ment of blissful affections and beloved occupations, and resembling the beautiful mornings of spring, when the serenity of the sky, the purity of the air, the verdure of the foliage, and the fragrance of plants and flowers, enchant all animated nature, develope existence, and confer happiness by promising it.

END OF THE THIRD PART.
[Page]

PART THE FOURTH. PRIVATE MEMOIRS.

SECTION III.

MY mother was not more than fifty years of age when I was deprived of her in so cruel a manner. An abscess in her head, which proceeded from an unknown cause, and which was only discovered by a discharge from her nose and ears that took place at her death, accounted for the strange obstruction of the respiratory passages, with which she had been so long afflicted: but for this incidental disease, it is pro­bable that the second stroke of the palsy would not have been attended with fatal consequences. Her cheer­ful countenance and fresh complexion did not an­nounce so untimely a death; her ailments appeared to be those of a time of life which women seldom attain without suffering a considerable change of constitution; [Page 2] and the melancholy, and even the despondency that I had remarked for some time before, were sufficiently accounted for by moral causes, of which I was but too well aware.

OUR last excursions into the country seemed to have given her new life: the very day she was torn from me I had left her in good health at three in the afternoon: I returned at half past five—the hand of death was already upon her, and at midnight she was no more. Poor playthings of unpitying fate! why are senti­ments so lively, and such momentous projects, at­tached to an existence so frail?

THUS was snatched from the world one of the best and most amiable women that ever inhabited it. No­thing brilliant rendered her remarkable, but every thing tended to endear her the moment she was known. Naturally wise and good, virtue did not seem to cost her any effort; she found means to ren­der it amiable and gentle, like herself. Prudent, calm, and tender-hearted, without being subject to any excess of sensibility, her pure and tranquil spirit pursued its even course like the docile stream that bathes with equal gentleness the foot of the rock which holds it captive, and the valley which at once it enriches and adorns. Her sudden death made me experience the most heart-rending pangs, and most violent transports of grief.

'IT is a good thing to possess sensibility; it is un­fortunate to have so much of it,' said, mournfully at [Page 3] my side, the Abbé Legrand, who came to see me at the house of my aged relations. When I began to recover, they hastened to invite, and to receive in succession, the different persons with whom I was ac­quainted, on purpose to familiarize me with exter­nal objects. I seemed not to exist in that world where I was placed: absorbed by my sorrow, I scarcely perceived what was passing around me. I did not speak, or, if I did, my replying to my own thoughts, instead of attending to those of others, made me ap­pear like a distracted creature. Then again the be­loved image which was always present to my mind, recalling by starts the dreadful idea of my loss, sudden shrieks escaped me, my out-stretched arms stiffened, and I fainted away.

ALTHOUGH incapable of any application, I had lu­cid intervals, in which I perceived the sorrow of my relations, their affection, and the kind attentions of my cousin; and in which I tried all I could to diminish their anxiety. The Abbé Legrand, possessed saga­city enough to judge that it was necessary to talk to me a great deal concerning my mother, in order to ren­der me capable of thinking of any thing else. Ac­cordingly he conversed with me about her, and led me insensibly to reflections and ideas, which, with­out being foreign to the subject, banished the habit­ual recollection of my loss. As soon as he believed me sufficiently recovered to look at a book, he con­ceived the idea of bringing me the Héloise of Jean [Page 4] Jaques Rousseau; and the perusal of it was in truth the first alleviation of my sorrow. I was then twenty-one years of age: I had read a great deal; I was ac­quainted with a considerable number of writers, his­torians, learned men, and philosophers: but Rous­seau made an impression on my mind similar to that which Plutarch had done when I was eight years old. It appeared that this was the intellectual food that suited me, and the interpreter of ideas which I entertained before; but which he alone had the art of explaining to my satisfaction.

PLUTARCH had prepared me to become a republi­can; he had called forth that vigour and elevation of mind which constitute the character; and had inspired me with a real enthusiasm in favour of freedom and of public virtue. Rousseau pointed out the domestic happiness to which I had a right to aspire, and the in­effable enjoyments which I was capable of tasting. Ah! while able to put me more effectually upon my guard against what is called an indiscretion, why was it not also in his power to protect me against a serious attachment? I brought into that corrupt world in which I was doomed to live, and into the revolution which I was then far from foreseeing, a mind stored long beforehand with all that could render me capa­ble of great sacrifices, and expose me to great mis­fortunes. Death will only be the period of both. I expect it, and I should not have thought of filling [Page 5] up the short interval which separates us, with the re­cital of my own story; if calumny had not dragged me forward on the stage, on purpose to make a more cruel attack upon those whom she seeks to ruin. I take a pleasure in publishing truths that interest not myself alone; and am determined not to conceal a single fact, that their connection may serve to give them demonstration.

I DID not return to my father's without experien­cing the sensations always inspired by the sight of those places which we have been accustomed to inhabit in company with friends who are no more. The ill­judged precaution of removing my mother's portrait had been taken, as if the vacancy were not more calculated than the picture itself to awaken a pain­ful recollection of my loss. I instantly demanded it, and it was restored.

DOMESTIC cares devolving entirely on me, I made them my occupation; but they were not very nu­merous in a family consisting of only three persons. I never could comprehend how the attention of a woman who possesses method and activity, can be engrossed by them, let her household be as consider­able as it may: for supposing it great, there is a great number of persons to take part of them off her hands; and nothing is wanting but a proper distri­bution of employments, and a small share of vigi­lance. In the different situations of the kind, in which I have found myself, nothing has ever been [Page 6] done but by my orders; and yet when those cares gave me the most occupation, they scarcely ever con­sumed more than two hours a day. People who know how to employ themselves, always find leisure moments, while those who do nothing are in want of time for every thing. Besides, it is not surprising that the women who pay or receive useless visits, or who think themselves badly dressed, if they have not devoted a great deal of time to their toilet, should find the days long and tiresome, and at the same time too short for the performance of their duties; but I have seen what are termed notable women, ren­dered insupportable to the world, and even to their husbands, by a fatiguing pre-occupation about their trifling concerns. I know nothing so disgusting as this ridiculous conduct, nor so well calculated to render a man attached to any other woman rather than to his wife. She must, no doubt, appear to him a fit person for his housekeeper: but is not likely to cure him of the desire of seeking more ami­able accomplishments elsewhere.

I THIN [...] that a wife should keep the linen and clothes in order, or cause them so to be kept, suckle her children, give directions concerning the cookery, or superintend it herself, but without saying a word about it, and with such a command of temper and such a management of her time, as may leave her the means of talking of other matters, and of pleasing no less by her good humour, than by the graces natural [Page 7] to her sex. I have already had occasion to remark, that it is nearly the same in the government of states as of families. Those famous housewives who are al­ways expatiating on their labours, are sure either to leave much in arrears, or to render themselves tire­some to every one around them; and in like manner those men in power, so talkative and so full of business, only make a mighty bustle about the dif­ficulties they are in, because too awkward and too ig­norant to remove them.

MY studies became dearer to me than ever, and constituted my consolation. Left alone still more than ever, and often in a melancholy humour, I found my­self under the necessity of writing. I was fond of rendering an account of my own ideas to myself, and the intervention of my pen assisted me in putting them in order. When I did not employ it, I was rather lost in reveries than engaged in meditation; but with my pen I kept my imagination within bounds, and pur­sued a regular chain of reasoning. I had already be­gun to make some collections, which I have since aug­mented, and entitled, 'The Works of Leisure Hours, and various Reflections.' I had nothing further in view than to fix my opinions, and to have witnesses of my sentiments, when on some future day I might con­front them with one another, so that their gradations or their changes might serve me at once as a lesson and a record. I have a pretty large packet of these juvenile works piled up in the dusty corner of my [Page 8] library, or perhaps in a garret. Never, however, did I feel the smallest temptation to become an author: I perceived at a very early period, that a woman who acquires the title loses far more than she gains. She forfeits the affection of the male sex, and provokes the criticism of her own. If her works be bad, she is ridiculed, and not without reason; if good, her right to them is disputed; or if envy be forced to acknowledge the best part to be her own, her charac­ter, her morals, her conduct, and her talents, are scrutinized in such a manner that the reputation of her genius is fully counterbalanced by the publicity given to her defects.

BESIDES, my happiness was my chief concern; and I never saw the public intermeddle with that of any one without marring it. I know nothing so agreeable as to be rated at our full worth by the people with whom we live; nor any thing so empty as the admi­ration of a few persons whom we are never likely to meet again.

AH, my God! what an injury was done me by those who took upon them to withdraw the veil under which I wished to lie concealed! During twelve years of my life I shared in my husband's labours as I participated in his repasts, because one was as natural to me as the other. If any part of his works happened to be quoted, in which parti­cular graces of style were discovered; or if a flat­tering reception was given to any of the academic [Page 9] trifles, that he took a pleasure in transmitting to the learned societies, of which he was a member; I par­took of his satisfaction, without remarking that it was my own composition; and not unfrequently he brought himself to believe that he had been in a happier disposition that usual when he had written a passage, which in reality proceeded from my pen. If, during his administration, an occasion occurred for the expression of great and striking truths, I poured forth my whole soul upon the paper; and it was but natural that its effusions should be preferable to the laborious teemings of a secretary's brain. I loved my country; I was an enthusiast in the cause of liberty; I was unacquainted with any interest or any passions that could enter into competition with that enthusiasm; my language consequently could not but be pure and pathetic, as it was that of the heart and of truth.

I WAS so taken up with the importance of my sub­ject, that I had not a thought to throw away upon myself. Once only I was diverted by a curious co­incidence of circumstances: That was while writing to the pope, to claim the French artists imprisoned at Rome. A letter to the pope, in the name of the Executive Council of France, sketched secretly by the hand of a woman, in the humble closet, which Marat was pleased to term a boudoir *, appeared to me [Page 10] so strange a thing, that I laughed heartily after I had finished it. The pleasure of those contrasts consisted in their secrecy; but that was necessarily less attainable in a situation which was no longer that of a private in­dividual, and where the eye of a clerk surveys the hand­writing he is copying. There is nothing singular how­ever in all this, unless it be its novelty. Why should not a woman act as secretary to her husband without depriving him of any portion of his merit? It is well known that ministers cannot do everything themselves; and surely, if the wives of those of the old government, or even of the new, had been capable of making draughts of letters, of official dispatches, or of pro­clamations, their time would have been better employ­ed in so doing, than in soliciting and intriguing first for one friend, and then for another: the one excludes the other by the very nature of things. If those who found me out had formed a right judgment of things, they would have saved me from a sort of celebrity, to which I never aspired: instead of now spending my time in refuting falsehood, I should be reading a chap­ter of Montaigne, painting a flower, or playing an ariette; and should thus beguile the solitude of my pri­son, without sitting down to write my confession. But I am anticipating a period which I had not as yet attained; I remark it without constraint, as I have done it without scruple: since I am the person to be described, it is necessary that I should be exhi­bited with all my irregularities. I do not conduct [Page 11] my pen, it carries me along with it wherever it pleases, and I let it have its own way.

MY father seriously endeavoured, in the early part of his widowhood, to remain more at home than hitherto; but he was attacked by ennui: and when once the love of his profession proved insufficient to prevent that distemper of the mind, it was not at all surprising that my efforts to cure it should be of no avail. I wished to converse with him, but we had few ideas in common, and it is probable that he al­ready inclined to a species of discourse in which he would not have wished to see me an adept. I often engaged him in a game of piquet, but a game of pi­quet with his daughter was hardly interesting enough to keep him awake; besides, he well knew that cards were my aversion, and in spite of my desire to per­suade him that they afforded me entertainment, and in spite of my endeavours really to relish the pleasure of amusing him, he persisted in considering my play­ing as the mere effect of complaisance.

I COULD have wished to render his home agreeable to him; but the means were not in my power. My only acquaintances were my aged relations, whom we sometimes went to see, but who never stirred out of doors. It would have been well if he had form­ed a little society at home; but unfortunately, he had found one elsewhere, and was well aware of the im­propriety of introducing such company to his daugh­ter.—Was my mother really in the wrong in seclu­ding [Page 12] herself from the world, and in not making her house gay enough to captivate her husband? This would be blaming her on too slight grounds, and it would also be unjust to consider my father as very re­prehensible on account of a few errors of which he himself became the victim.

THERE is such a connexion between the evils which necessarily result from a first cause, that it al­ways behoves us to revert to that original mischief to account for all the rest.

THE legislators of the present day endeavour to form a general good, whence the happiness of each individual is to spring; but I am greatly afraid that this is putting the cart before the horse. It would be more conformable to nature, and perhaps to reason, to study well what constitutes domestic happi­ness, and to ensure it to individuals in such a way that the common felicity should be composed of that of each citizen, and that all should be interested in preserving an order of things, to which such blessings would be due. However specious the written principles of a constitution may be, if I be­hold a portion of those who have adopted it im­mersed in grief and tears, I shall consider it as no bet­ter than a political monster; and if those who do not weep, rejoice in the sufferings of the rest, I shall say that it is atrocious, and that its authors are either weak or wicked men.

IN a marriage where the parties are ill-matched, [Page 13] the virtue of one of them may maintain order and peace; but the want of happiness will be experienced sooner or later, and produce inconveniences more or less to be deplored. The fabric of such unions re­sembles the system of our modern politicians—it is de­fective at the base, and some day or other must needs tumble to the ground, in spite of the art employed in its construction.

THE persons whom my mother would have natural­ly collected around her, would have been such as re­sembled herself; and these would not have tallied with the temper of my father; while, on the other hand, those whom he would have wished to receive as daily visitors, would not only have been disagreeable to my mother, but incompatible with the manner in which she wished to bring me up. It therefore behoved her to confine herself to her own family, and to cultivate only those slight connexions which produce an acquaintance without creating an intimacy.

EVERY thing went on well, while my father, with an agreeable profession and a young wife, found all the employment and all the pleasure that were ne­cessary to his happiness within his own walls. But he was a year younger than my mother; she began early in life to experience infirmities; various cir­cumstances combined to damp his ardour for la­bour; and the desire of getting rich made him em­bark in several hazardous enterprises:—from that moment all was lost. The love of labour is the [Page 14] principal virtue of social man; it is more particu­larly that of an individual who does not possess a cul­tivated mind; the moment that his industry slackens, danger is at hand; if it totally subside, he must become the prey of unruly passions, which are always the more fatal in proportion as he is less informed, because he is consequently less able to keep them within bounds.

BECOME a widower at the very period when he stood in need of new chains to attach him to his home, my poor father kept a mistress, that he might not present his daughter with a mother-in-law; he gamed, to in­demnify himself for his loss of business, and for his expences; and though still an honest man, and still fearful of wronging any one, he contrived to ruin him­self by insensible degrees.

MY relations, who were plain honest people, little versed in pecuniary matters, and who confided in my father's fondness for his daughter, had neglected to demand an inventory* at the death of his wife; my interest appeared to be perfectly safe in his hands: and they would have thought such a request an injury to his honour. I had reason to think otherwise; but as I should have deemed it indecent to reveal my suspi­cions, I looked forward to the event in silent resigna­tion.

[Page 15]I WAS now become sole mistress of the house, and divided my time between my domestic occupations and my studies, which I sometimes quitted to give answers to those who were vexed at finding my father so fre­quently from home. The number of his apprentices was reduced to two, who were nevertheless able to do all his business: one of them only boarded in the house.

OUR servant, a little woman, fifty-five years of age, thin, alert, lively and gay, was extremely at­tached to me, because I rendered her life comforta­ble. When I was unaccompanied by my father, she always attended me in my walks, which did not extend beyond the residence of my aged relations, or the church. I had not been seized with a new fit of devotion; but what was no longer due to my mo­ther's peace of mind, was still due to the good order of society, and to the edification of my fellow-crea­tures. Actuated by this principle, I carried with me to church, if not the tender piety of former days, at least as much decency, and the same air of atten­tion. I did not indeed follow the priest in his recital of the service; but read some christian work. I still retained a great liking for St. Augustine; and assur­edly there are fathers of the church, as well as others, whom a person may peruse without being a bigotted christian; there is food in them both for the heart and for the mind.

[Page]I WISHED to go through a course of preachers, living and dead, the eloquence of the pulpit being of such a nature, as to enable great talents to display them­selves in all their splendour. I had already read Bos­suet and Flechier; I took a pleasure in reading them again with a more experienced eye, and made an ac­quaintance with Bourdaloue and Massillon. It was highly whimsical to see those pious personages mar­shalled on my little shelves in the same line with The System of Nature, Raynal and De Pauw; but a thing still more so was, that by dint of reading sermons, the whim took me of writing one myself. I was vexed at our preachers always recurring to mysteries; it seemed to me that they ought to have composed mo­ral discourses, in which the devil and the incarnation should have been left totally out of the question: I therefore took up my pen to try what work I could make of it, and wrote a sermon on brotherly love. It served to amuse my little uncle, who was become a canon of Vincennes, and who said it was a pity that I had not thought of that species of composition at the time he was obliged to deliver discourses from the pul­pit, as in that case he would certainly have made use of mine.

I HAD often heard the logic of Bourdaloue highly extolled: I ventured however in some measure to differ from his admirers, and actually wrote a cri­ticism on one of his most esteemed discourses; but I shewed it to no one. I was fond of rendering an [Page 17] account of my opinions to myself, without feeling the smallest wish to make a display of my learning before any person whatever. Massillon, less lofty than Bourdaloue, and far more affecting, obtained the tri­bute of my praise. I was not then acquainted with the Protestant preachers, among whom Blair in par­ticular has cultivated with equal simplicity and ele­gance that kind of pulpit oratory, of which I con­ceived the existence, and which I could have wished to see in vogue.

AS to the preachers of my own time, I heard the Abbé l'Enfant, towards the end of his best days; po­liteness and reason appeared to me his leading charac­teristics. Father Elizée was already out of fashion, notwithstanding his excellent logic and the purity of his diction: his mind was too metaphysical, and his delivery too simple, to captivate the vulgar for any length of time.

PARIS in those days was a singular place: that common sewer of all the impurities of the kingdom, was also the focus of taste and knowledge: preacher or comedian, professor or mountebank, whoever in short possessed abilities, was sure to find followers in his turn; but the first abilities in the universe could not long fix the public attention, for which novelty was always necessary, and which was attracted by noise no less than by merit. A certain Ex-Jesuit, who was become a missionary, and made a parade of his going to court, succeeded by those means in obtain­ing [Page 18] great popular applause. I went also to hear the Abbé de Beauregard: he was a little man, with a powerful voice, who declaimed with uncommon impu­dence, and with a vehemence equally extraordinary, retailing common-place observations in a tone of in­spiration, and supporting them by gestures so terrible, that he persuaded a great number of people they were the finest things in the world. I did not then perceive, as experience has taught me since, that men, assem­bled in great numbers, rather possess long ears than great judgment; that to astonish is to seduce them; and that whoever assumes the authority of command­ing, disposes them to obey; nor could I find utter­ance for my astonishment at the success of this perso­nage, who was either a great fanatic, or a great rogue, or perhaps both. I had not sufficiently analy­sed the circumstances accompanying the harangues de­livered from the tribunes of the ancient republics; if I had, I should have formed a better judgment con­cerning the means of working upon the passions of the people. But I shall never forget a low fellow who stood directly opposite the pulpit in which Beauregard was acting the posture-master, with his eyes fixed on the orator, his mouth open, and involuntarily ex­pressing his stupid admiration in the three following words, which I perfectly recollect: 'How he sweats!' Such then are the means of imposing upon the igno­rant! and how much was Pochion in the right, when, surprised at finding himself applauded in an assembly [Page 19] of the people, he asked his friends, if he had not said some very foolish thing?

WHAT an admirable clubbist would this M. de Beau­regard have made; and how many members of the popular societies, in their enthusiasm for brazen-faced babblers, have recalled to my mind the expres­sion of the man above-mentioned: 'How he sweats!'

THE danger I had been in had made some noise; it should seem that it was considered either as very un­common, or very meritorious, in a young woman to endanger her own life by her excessive sorrow at her mother's death. I received many marks of regard on this occasion, which were extremely grateful to me. One of the first who bestowed them, was M. de Boismorel, whom I had not seen since his visits to my grandmother. I perceived the impression made upon him by the change that had taken place in my person since that period. He returned at a time when I was absent, and held a long conference with my father, who no doubt mentioned my studies, and shewed him the little apartment in which I passed my time: he looked at my books; my works were upon the table; they excited his curiosity: and my father en­abled him to gratify it, by putting them into his hands.

GREAT was my displeasure, and heavy were my complaints, when I found, on my return, that my asylum had been violated. My father indeed assured me that he should never have done such a thing for a [Page 20] person of less gravity, or less worthy of considera­tion, than M. de Boismorel: but all his reasoning could not reconcile me to a proceeding which was an attack at once upon liberty and property; it was dis­posing, without my consent, of that to which con­fidence alone could lay claim. But the mischief was already done, and the next day I received a very handsome letter from M. de Boismorel, couched in terms too flattering not to procure his pardon for having availed himself of my father's indiscretion, and making me an offer of every thing his library contained. I did not receive it with indifference; from that moment we commenced a correspondence, and for the first time in my life I enjoyed upon re­flection, all the pleasure which sensibility and self love make us feel when we find ourselves prized by those on whose judgment we set a value.

M. DE BOISMOREL no longer resided within the walls of Paris; his partiality for the country, and his wish not to remove his mother to too great a distance from the capital, had made him purchase Le Petit Bercy, a charming house, situated a little below Charenton, and of which the garden extend­ed to the banks of the Seine. He pressed us much to take it in our walks, and testified the strongest desire to receive us there. Recollecting the recep­tion formerly given me by his mother, I did not feel inclined to encounter it again, and long resisted my father's entreaties. He insisted however; and as I [Page 21] did not wish to object to the little parties he some­times took it in his head to propose to me, we set off one day for Bercy, and found the ladies of the Boismorel family sitting together in the summer par­lour. The presence of the daughter-in-law, whose ami­able disposition I had heard highly extolled, inspired me all at once with that modest assurance, which was ne­cessary to prevent any alteration from taking place in mine. The mother, whose haughty tone my reader will remember, and to whom increasing years had brought no increase of humility, behaved notwith­standing, with much greater politeness to a young woman who seemed sensible of her own importance, than she had done to the child whom she considered as utterly insignificant. What a fine girl your daugh­ter is, M. Phlipon! Why, do you know that my son is quite enchanted with her? Pray tell me, Mademoiselle, don't you think of getting a husband?—There are people, Madam, who have already thought for me upon the subject; but as to myself, I have not yet met with sufficient reasons to induce me to change my situation. You are very difficult, I fancy! Pray, should you have any objection to a middle-aged man? An acquaintance with the person could alone deter­mine my consent, my repugnance, or my dislike. Matches of that sort are generally productive of the most lasting happiness; a young man often goes astray, even when we think him the most attached to us.— And why, mother, said M. de Boismorel, who was just come into the room, would not you wish the young [Page 22] lady to believe herself capable of captivating him en­tirely?—She is dressed with a great deal of taste, said Madame de Boismorel to her daughter-in-law.—Ah! very well indeed, and with so much decency! replied the young woman, with that gentle tone of voice peculiar to devotees; for she was of that description, and the little wings of her cap brought forward over an agree­able face, that had seen thirty-four summers, were in the style of that religious character. How different, continued she, from the paltry feathers of giddy-headed girls! You don't love feathers, do you, Ma­demoiselle?—I never wear any, Madam, because it seems to me that they would announce a condition in life, and a fortune, that do not belong to an artist's daughter going about on foot.—But would you wear them if you were in a different situation?—I do not know; I attach little importance to such trifles. I only consider what is suitable to myself, and should be very sorry to judge of others from the superficial information afforded by their dress.

THE answer was severe, but its point was blunted by the soft tone of voice in which it was pronounced. A philosopher! said the young lady, with a sigh, as if she had discovered that I was not one of her way of thinking.

AFTER a scrupulous examination of my person, mingled with a great number of fine things like those I have just related, M. de Boismorel put an end to the inventory of my charms, by proposing a visit to [Page 23] the garden and the library. I admired the situation of the former, where he made me remark a fine cedar of Lebanon; I viewed the library with an eye of inter­est, and pointed out the books, and even the collections that I wished him to lend me; such, for instance, as Bayle, and the transactions of the different academies of sciences. From the ladies we received an invitation to dinner on an appointed day, of which we availed ourselves; and I soon perceived, by two or three men of business, who, with ourselves, made up the whole of the guests, that care had been taken to provide fit company for my father, without attending to me. But M. de Boismorel had recourse, as before, to the li­brary and the garden, where the conversation took an agreeable turn. A part was borne in it by his son, a young man of seventeen, sufficiently ugly, and of manners rather singular than agreeable. Nor did the fine company which came in the evening, and on which I cast an eye of observation, appear to me very engaging, in spite of their titles: the daughters of a marquis, learned counsellors, a prior, and several an­tiquated dowagers, talked with more importance, but quite as insipidly as grey sisters, church-wardens, and sober cits. These glimpses which I stole of the great world, disgusted me with it, and attached me more than ever to my own way of life. M. de Boismorel did not lose the opportunity, of keeping up a connex­ion, on which, perhaps, he grounded some project for the future: he so managed matters, that the two fa­thers [Page 14] and the two children formed a distinct party. It was in this manner also that he carried me to the public assembly of the French academy, on the next anniversary of St. Louis. These assemblies were, at that time, the resort of the best company, and ex­hibited all those ridiculous contrasts, which our man­ners and our follies could not fail to produce. On the morning of St. Louis's day, high mass was chaunted in the chapel of the academy by the singers of the Opera, after which a fashionable preacher pronounced a pane­gyric on the fainted king. The Abbé de Besplas per­formed the office; and I listened to him with great pleasure, notwithstanding the subject was trite; for his discourse was interspersed with bold traits of phi­losophy, and indirect satire on the court, which he was obliged to cancel before he sent his sermon to the press.

M. DE BOISMOREL, who was acquainted with him, was in hopes of obtaining a faithful copy, which he might communicate to me; but the Abbé de Bes­plas, who was attached to the court, in quality of chaplain to Monsieur, thought himself very fortunate in purchasing a pardon for his audacity by the en­tire sacrifice of the passages it had inspired. In the evening, the sitting of the academy opened a fine field for the first wits in the kingdom, by virtue of the seats they occupied; for the noblemen, who were proud of seeing their names inscribed on the list of members, and of exhibiting themselves in [Page 25] their arm-chairs; for the amateurs, who came to listen to the former, to gaze upon the latter, and to shew themselves to the whole assembly; and for the pretty women, who were sure of attracting their atten­tion.

I TOOK particular notice of D'Alembert, whose name, Miscellanies, and writings on the Encyclopedia, excited my curiosity; his little face, and squeaking voice, made me think a philosopher's works better worth contemplation than his person. The Abbé de Lille confirmed my remark as to men of letters, by reci­ting the most charming verses in the most disagreeable tone. The panegyric of Catinat, by Laharpe, bore away the prize, and was highly deserving of its suc­cess.

AS free from affectation at the academy as at church, and as I have ever remained at the theatre, I bore no part in the noisy applause bestowed, with rapture, upon the most striking passages, and not unfrequently with ostentation on those which every one wished to have the credit of remarking. I was exceedingly attentive, listening without paying any regard to the observers; and when I was moved, I wept without even suspecting that my doing so would appear singular to any one. I had reason howev­er to perceive that it was a novelty; for, on the breaking up of the assembly, while M. de Boismorel was conducting me to the door, I saw several persons pointing me out to one another with a smile, which I [Page 26] was not vain enough to take for admiration, but in which there was nothing that indicated contempt; and I heard them saying something about my sensibility. I experienced a mixed sentiment of surprise and a­greeable confusion, which I cannot describe; and was very happy when I was at last able to escape from their sight, and from the crowd.

THE panegyric of Catinat suggested to M. de Boismorel the idea of an interesting pilgrimage. He proposed to me to pay a visit to St. Gratien, where that great man ended his days in retirement, far from honours and the court. It was an excursion perfectly suited to my taste. M. de Boismorel came one Michaelmas day, with his son, to call on my father and myself; and we all repaired together to the banks of the lake which embellishes the valley of Montmo­rency. From the lake we proceeded to St. Gratien, and rested ourselves in the shade of the trees which Catinat planted with his own hands; and then, after a frugal dinner, returned to pass the rest of the day in the delightful park of Montmorency, where we saw the little house that Jean Jaques * had inhabited, and enjoyed all the pleasure afforded by a beautiful country to several persons who contemplate it with the same eye. After one of those moments of repose, in which we consider the majesty of nature in silence, M. de Boismorel took a paper, in his own hand-wri­ting, [Page 27] out of his pocket, and read to us an anecdote which he had copied, and which was then but little known. It was the trait of Montesquieu, when dis­covered at Marseilles by a young man whose father he had redeemed from flavery, endeavouring to escape from the thanks of those whom he had obliged.

DEEPLY impressed with a sense of Montesquieu's generosity, I did not exclusively admire his obstinacy in denying that he was the adored deliverer of a fa­mily transported with joy: the generous man does not look for acknowledgments; but however noble it may be to decline the testimonies of gratitude, it is not less the part of a great mind to receive its effusions. I even think it is a new obligation con­ferred on people of sensibility, to whom we have been of service; for it is to them a way of discharg­ing their debt.

IT must not, however, be supposed, that I was perfectly at my ease in regard to these frequent meet­ings of my father and M. de Boismorel: I saw with sorrow that there were no points of resemblance be­tween them. His son looked at me a great deal; and did not please me at all. I thought that his man­ner rather indicated curiosity than affection; besides, the three or four years between his age and mine, placed us at a considerable distance from each other. All this his father perceived, and I was afterwards told that he had one day said to mine, with an affec­tionate squeeze of the hand: Ah! if my child were [Page 28] but worthy of yours: I might appear singular, but I should esteem myself one of the happiest of man­kind!—I had no suspicion of any thing of the sort: I did not even calculate the distance between us; but I felt it, and it prevented any such idea from rising in my mind. I looked upon M. de Boismorel's conduct as that of a prudent and benevolent man, who hon­oured my sex, felt particular esteem for me, and, if I may use the expression, protected my inclinations. His correspondence resembled him; its leading feature was a gentle gravity, and it bore the stamp of res­pectful friendship, and of a mind exalted above pre­judices. By his means I became acquainted with what were called the novelties (les nouveautés) of the learned and literary world. I seldom saw him, but I heard from him every week. To prevent the fre­quency of messages by his servants to me, as well as to save me the expence of carriage from Bercy, he ordered the books intended for my perusal to be left with the porter of his sister, Madame de Fa­vieres, whither I used to send and fetch them. M. de Boismorel, who had a great respect for the re­public of letters, and who fancied, in consequence of his prepossession in my favour, that I might be usefully employed in its service, or else was de­sirous of putting me to a trial, advised me to choose the line of literature that suited me, and to sit down seriously to write. At first I took it for a compliment; but by returning to the advice, he gave me an oppor­tunity [Page 29] of setting forth my principles on that subject, my well-founded aversion to coming forward in any manner on the theatre of the world, and my disinterest­ed love of study, which I wished to make instrumental to my happiness, without aiming at any kind of fame that might tend to disturb it. After having seriously ex­hibited my doctrine, I changed the reasoning into ver­ses, which flowed spontaneously from my pen, and of which the ideas were superior to the poetry. I recollect, that when speaking of the gods, and the way in which they have distributed our duties and rewards, I expressed myself thus:

To man's aspiring sex 'tis given
To climb the highest hill of fame,
To tread the shortest road to heaven,
To gain, by death, a deathless name.
Of well-fought fields, and trophies won,
The mem'ry lives while ages pass,
Extant in everlasting stone,
Or written on retentive brass.
But to poor feeble woman-kind
The meed of glory is denied:
Within a narrow sphere confin'd,
The lowly virtues are their pride:
Yet not deciduous is their fame,
Ending where frail existence ends:
A sacred temple holds their name—
The bosom of surviving friends *.

[Page 30]M. DE BOISMOREL answered me sometimes in similar language, and in verses scarcely better than my own; but neither he nor I attached the smallest impor­tance to our poetical effusions. One day he came to consult me concerning the means of reviving his son's application to his studies, which of late had suffered considerable diminution.

THAT young man was naturally intimate with his contemporary, and first cousin, M. de Favieres, a counsellor in parliament at the age of twenty-one, who joined to the usual giddiness of youth, all the confidence of a magistrate, proud of his gown, with­out attending to his duties; and all the freedom of manners, perhaps even the licentiousness, of an only son born to a considerable estate.

THE Italian theatre and the Opera employed the two cousins much more than Cujas and Bartole did the one, or the mathematics the other. I must re­quest you said, M. de Boismorel, to write a severe letter to my son, in terms sensible and impressive, such as [Page 31] your mind cannot fail to suggest, and such as may serve to awaken his self-love, and inspire him with generous resolutions.—Who, I, Sir! Do you mean me? (I could scarcely believe my ears.) With what face, pray, can I preach to your son?—You may adopt any mode you please, with the certainty that your name shall remain concealed. We will have the letter conveyed as if it came from a person who is in the habit of seeing him, who is acquainted with his proceedings, and who warns him of the danger that awaits his steps. I will take care to have it de­livered at a moment when it is likely to have its full effect: I only wish him not to suspect me of any hand in the business; and in due time will let him know to what physician he is indebted for his cure.—Oh! be sure you never mention my name!—but you certainly have friends who could do this better than I.—I think otherwise, and request it of you as a favour.—Well, then, I will lay aside my scruples, to prove to you my desire to oblige; and will make a rough draught, of which you shall give me your opinion, and which I will beg you to correct.

THAT very evening I wrote a very pointed, and somewhat ironical letter; such as I conceived calcu­lated to flatter the vanity, and to excite the thinking faculty of a youth, to whom it is necessary to talk of his advantages when you wish to recall him to se­rious occupations. M. de Boismorel was delighted, and begged me to forward it without altering a word. [Page 32] I sent it to Sophia, requesting her to put it into the post-office at Amiens, and waited with no small de­gree of impatience to know what effect my sermon would produce.

M. DE BOISMOREL soon wrote me an epistle con­taining particulars which interested me exceedingly: he had brought together a number of circumstances which rendered the thing infinitely striking: the young man was affected; and fancying that the cele­brated Duclos was the author of the remonstrance, went to return him thanks: deceived in this conjec­ture, he next addressed himself to another of his fa­ther's friends, and found that he was not at all nearer the mark. Study, however, in some degree resumed her reign.

IT was not long after this transaction that M. de Boismorel, going with his son from Bercy to Vin­cennes, where he knew I was on a visit to my uncle, and whither he was bringing me the Georgics, trans­lated by the Abbé Delille, was struck by a coup-de-soleil. He made very light of it; but was soon after taken ill with a headach, first followed by a fever, and then by a lethargy; and died in the meridian of life, af­ter an illness of a few days. Scarcely eighteen months had elapsed since we commenced our correspondence: I grieved for his death, I believe, more sincerely than his own son; nor does his image ever revert to my mind without my feeling that painful regret, and that sentiment of veneration and concern, which accom­pany the remembrance of a virtuous man.

[Page 33]WHEN my sorrow was a little allayed, I celebrated his memory in a monody, which no one ever saw, which I sung to my guitar, and which I have since forgotten, and lost. I never heard any thing far­ther of his family, unless that one day, when my fa­ther went to pay an occasional visit, the young de Boismorel, who then bore the name of Roberge, told him in a very cavalier manner, that he had found my letters to his father, and thrown them by in a corner, in order to return them if required; and that among them he had discovered the original of a certain epistle which he himself had formerly re­ceived. My father, who was well acquainted with all that had passed, and who made him little or no answer, perceived the young man was piqued; whence I concluded that he was a blockhead, and gave my­self no further concern about him: I do not know whether I guessed aright.

SOME time after, Madam de Favieres came to my father to employ him in the purchase of some jewels, or in the execution of some work. I happened to be in my little cell, and could overhear all that was pas­sing in the next room. 'Your daughter is a charming girl, Monsieur Phlipon: my brother used to say that she was one of the most sensible women he ever met with in his life; take care, however, that she does not set up for a wit: that would be very shocking in­deed. Does she not, do you think, seem a little of the pedant? 'Tis to be apprehended; and, if I mis­take [Page 34] not, I have heard something of the kind. She is a pretty-faced girl: a very good-looking girl indeed.' Upon my word, said I to myself, this is a very im­pertinent fine lady, and very like her mother: hea­ven defend me from ever seeing her face, or shewing her mine!

MY father, who knew very well I was within hearing, did not think proper to call me, since I did not choose to shew myself; nor from that day to the present have I ever heard the voice of Madam de Fa­vieres.

HITHERTO I have scarcely mentioned my excellent cousin Trude. She was one of those kind souls, which heaven in its goodness formed for the honour of the human race, and the consolation of the un­fortunate. Generous by nature, and amiable with­out art, I could never perceive any objection to her, but an excess of delicacy and virtuous pride. She would have thought herself defective in her duties, if she had left room to doubt her having fulfilled them. That was precisely the way to become completely the victim of a whimsical husband. Trude was a rustic, his ideas as extravagant as his temper was impetuous, and his behaviour brutal. He was engaged in the looking-glass trade, as all the Trudes have been, in regular succession, for several generations. Of an active disposition, labori­ous by fits, and assisted by the care and intelligence of an agreeable and prudent woman, he succeeded [Page 35] tolerably in business, and was indebted to his wife's merit for the kind countenance shewn him by his own family, who would have slighted him had he remained a single man.

MY mother was very fond of her little cousin, who held her in singular veneration, and was strongly attached to me.

SHE proved it, as my reader has already seen, on the death of my mother: taken up in the day with her household affairs, and her husband, she insisted upon being my nurse during the night. She came from a considerable distance to perform the duties of a nurse; nor had I any other as long as I continued in danger. That circumstance naturally increased our intimacy, and we saw each other frequently. Her husband took it in his head to come still more frequent­ly, unaccompanied by his wife. At first I bore with him on her account, in spite of his tiresome conver­sation; but at length he became insupportable, and I made use of all the management necessary with a wrong-headed man, to make him perceive that neither his quality of kinsman, nor that of husband to my much-beloved friend, could authorize such frequent visits which would at any rate have been improper in the sickly and suffering state, to which my sorrow had reduced me.

MY dear cousin came less frequently, but he made tedious visits of three or four hours, notwithstanding my employing myself constantly, and even writing, to [Page 36] make him understand that I was in haste; and when I begged him in plain terms to retire, as I was at last forced to do, he went home in such a humour, and be­haved so ill to his wife, she entreated me to exert my pa­tience for the sake of her domestic peace. On Sundays and holydays particularly, I was doomed to do penance: when the weather was fine I escaped, and appointed a meeting with his wife at the house of my aged relations; since the receiving her at home for a short time in his company, was not seeing her, but being a witness to the brutal behaviour of her surly husband. In the winter I managed another way: I gave a holyday to the maid, who locked, barred, and bolted every door; and I remained alone and quiet till eight o'clock at night. Trude came; could make nobody hear, came again, and sometimes walked for two or three hours round the house in the snow or rain, waiting for the moment of admission. To conceal myself when I was really there in company with any one, was almost im­possible; and positively to forbid him the house by pre­vailing on my father to break off all connexion with this curious personage (which would have been diffi­cult, because he had no children, and my father thought it prudent to preserve his good opinion), would have been coming to that extremity which his wife dreaded, would have put an end to our intimacy, and would have exposed her to further afflictions.

I KNOW nothing worse than to have connexions with a madman: there is no way of dealing with him but [Page 37] by means of a strait waistcoat; every thing else is of no avail. This brutal cousin was a plague to me, and I know nothing that can better prove the merit of his wife, than my refraining from having him thrown out of the window; but he would have re­turned by the chimney. To do him justice, however, Trude was not without a certain sort of politeness— rather a madman than a fool, he gave reason to sup­pose he knew how far he could carry his extravagance with impunity; for his coarse conversation was never indecent, and though for ever at variance with good breeding and rationality, he never offended against modesty, or wounded the most delicate ear. When his wife was walking with he watched us, and if we were accosted or saluted by any man, he became uneasy and furious till he found who it was. It will be imagined, perhaps, he was jealous of his wife, and that was in some degree true; but he was ten times more so on my account. In spite of so tormenting a life, Madam Trude's gentleness was not unaccom­panied by gaiety; and she would pass one day in weep­ing, and the next in making merry with her friends.

IT was her custom to give family entertainments, which were followed by a dance, once or twice during the winter season. Her cousin was always the hero­ine of the festival, and her husband was more amiable than usual for several days afterwards. At her house I became acquainted with two persons whom I will mention here: one was the Abbé Bexon, a little witty [Page 38] hump-backed man, the great friend of François de Neufchàteau, and of Masson de Marvilliers, and au­thor of a history of Loraine, that had but indifferent success. The celebrated Buffon sometimes employed his pen, as well as that of several others, to prepare materials and sketches, which he afterwards beautified by the vivid tints supplied by his brilliant imagination. Bexon, assisted by the interest of his protector Buffon, and by that of several women of quality, whose relations he had known at Remiremont, his native place, where there was a chapter of noble canonesses, became pre­centor of the holy chapel at Paris. He brought thi­ther his mother and sister, who would furnish matter for an episode, if I were inclined to introduce any not necessarily connected with my subject.

THE poor creature died too soon for the happiness of his tall sister, with black eyes begging for adorers, and with beautiful shoulders, of which she was fond of making a display. He came twice to see me at my father's, and was so transported at finding Xenophon in folio on my table, that in the height of his ecstacy he would have kissed me. But as in my opinion there was no good reason for it, I calmed him so effectually by my reserve, that his wit ever after was unattended by raptures, nor did I see him more, unless at my cousin's house.

THE other person was the worthy Gibert; rigid in his morality, and infinitely gentle in his manners, he married at a very early age, a woman whose beauty [Page 39] was greater than her good temper, and had a son by her whose education was his chief delight. He had an employ in the administration of the post-office, and devoted his leisure moments to painting and music.

GIBERT had about him all the marks of a just and sincere man: nor was his conduct ever at variance with them. His faults were those of his judgment; his friendship was a sort of fanaticism; and we were tempted, while we lamented, to respect his errors. Gibert had been connected from his infancy with a man for whom he professed equal veneration and at­tachment, in whose praise he was loud upon every oc­casion, and of whose friendship he was proud. Gi­bert was desirous of being acquainted with me; his wife and he came to my father's; I returned their visit, and as they did not go out much together, he came alone from time to time to repeat his visit. I always received him with particular pleasure, and in time we formed a connexion of a truly friendly na­ture. Gibert soon began to speak to me of his phoenix: it seemed as if he could not be happy till his friend and I had an opportunity of admiring each other; and at last he invited him to meet me at dinner at his house. I met a man whose extreme simplicity bordered upon negligence. Speaking little, and never looking another in the face, it would have been diffi­cult for one, who had never heard him mentioned, to form an opinion of him from a single interview; and I confess, notwithstanding my particular taste for modest [Page 40] demeanour, I should willingly have taken him at his word in regard to his own importance. However, as he neither wanted sense nor information, people gave him the greater credit, whenever he happened to bring them to view; and, like Gibert, supposed him to have more than he actually possessed. His wife, who was rather insignificant, but by no means destitute of sensibility, brought to mind the intentique ora tenebant of Virgil, whenever her husband opened his mouth to speak. He cannot, however, be a man altogether of a vulgar mind, who thus finds means to impose, even upon those who see him daily, in regard to his real merit: he must be great in something; at least in dissimulation; and if circumstances induce him to carry it as far as possible in important affairs, instead of the false philosopher obtaining undeserved esteem, he may become a villain at the expence of his fellow-crea­tures. History will enable us to judge of him by the sequel. I seldom saw this friend of Gibert. He aban­doned a lucrative place, and France itself, in order to settle in Switzerland, whither liberty called him, and whither he was led by his taste for a country life. Let him depart in peace: he will return too soon.— That was the manner in which I became acquainted with PACHE; for Pache was the man. My readers will see how Gibert brought him to our house, ten years after, and introduced him to my husband, who thought him probity itself; mentioned him at a mo­ment when his suffrage was sufficient to establish a [Page 41] man's reputation; and was the cause of his coming into administration, where he distinguished himself by nothing but follies, which procured him his remo­val to the mayoralty, where he authorized nothing but atrocities.

MADAM Trude was extremely desirous of taking a journey, in order to visit a relation to whom she was much attached, and proposed being absent a fortnight or three weeks. Her husband objected to his counter's remaining so long without its feminine ornament; but thought the thing feasible, provided I would consent to come now and then in the middle of the day to take her place. My cousin wished I would have the kind­ness to do so; her intimating so much, was quite enough to induce me not to refuse her; and my friend­ship made me willingly undertake the task. I went seven or eight times to take Madam Trude's place behind the counter. Her husband, highly delighted, and not a little proud, conducted himself with great propriety, attended to the external business, and seemed sensible of the kindness of my behaviour. It was decreed, that at one time in my life, and in spite of my aversion to trade, I should sell watch-glasses and spectacles. The situation was not agreeable. Trude lived in the Rue Montmartre, near the Rue Ticquetonne, where his successor must now reside: I can conceive nothing so dreadful as the noise of the carriages eter­nally rolling along, to a person standing in an open shop. I should soon have grown deaf, as my poor [Page 42] cousin now is.—Let us quit this unfortunate couple, whose fate we shall see hereafter, and return to my other relation.

I WENT to Mademoiselle Desportes' once or twice a week, on the days she was in the habit of receiving company; and fine portraits I should have to paint if the originals were worth the pains; but were I to pour­tray counsellors of the Châtelet, like little Mopinot, whose pretensions to wit were grounded on epigrams; the bigotted de la Presle, who had no other fault than that of being choleric, and a Jansenist; a widow who hid a love of pleasure under the mask of commodious devotion, like Madam de Blancfuné; and old an rich bachelor, too disgusting to be named; a worthy man in­cessantly reasoning, and as regular as clock-work, like Baudin, the custom-house officer; and a multitude of other individuals of different complexions, but of no greater value; it would only be throwing away my co­lours, and my time. I should like, however, to meet Fa­ther Rabbe, a very shrewd Oratorion*, rendered respecta­ble by his age, and agreeable by his highly cultivated mind; and with Doctor Coste, who amused himself by imitating Perrault, without erecting a Louvre, and who spoke ill of matrimony, as the Devil makes grimaces at holy water.

MADEMOISELLE Desportes had inherited from her mother much delicacy and pride, joined to the art [Page 43] of employing her little fortune in commerce, without appearing to have any concern in it, and of dealing on a footing of confidence and equality with the rich and titled individuals who bought her goods. But as such a mode of transacting business is quite foreign to the spirit of trade, which supports itself by active spe­culations, she found her little inheritance growing smaller every day, and at last bade adieu to commerce, reducing her expences at the same time on a more mo­derate scale.

HER disposition, her manners, the sober way in which she lived, and the fondness she testified for me, had made my mother wish to see me cultivate her ac­quaintance. Accordingly she often sent me to her house. A party of piquet was the rallying-point of the society, the other members of which either chat­ted or worked. Mademoiselle Desportes, probably with a view of exercising my complaisance, often set me down to play, which was my aversion; but the assistance of a partner*, and permission to laugh at my own absence of mind, rendered the trial of my pa­tience less severe.

HERE, in his turn, I cannot help bringing forward on the stage an old man lately arrived from Pondi­cherry, and with whom I kept up a frequent and agree­able intercourse for little less than a year. My father, some how or other (in the way of business I believe) [Page 44] had become acquainted with a reduced officer, meta­morphosed into a clerk without a place, and had af­terwards received him on the footing of a friend. His name was Demontchery. He was about six and thirty, of polished manners, and insinuating conversation, and was possessed of those graces which are de­rived from a knowledge of the world, and per­haps from tender connexions with the fair.— Demontchery was attentive to my father; but sel­dom came to my mother's apartment, who would not have suffered any man to pay his court to her. As to me, he frankly professed respect, esteem, and so forth, as well as an inclination to offer me his heart if fortune should prove more kind—She sent him on a voyage to the East-Indies. He wrote to us, and did not conceal his wishes for such success as might enable him to return with well-founded pretensions; but being no more than a captain of sepoys, and too honourable a man to understand any thing about ma­king money, he had not, I believe, got very forward in the world, when he returned after seven years ab­sence, and learned that my hand had been disposed of a fortnight before. I know not what is become of him, nor the sentiments he might have inspired me with, if my inclinations had been free. During his stay at Pondicherry, he made acquaintance with M. de Sainte-Lette, one of the members of the council, and intrusted him with letters for my father, when [Page 45] the council dispatched Sainte-Lette to Paris, in 1776, to conduct some important affair.

SAINTE-LETTE was more than sixty years of age. He was a man whom a gay turn of mind, and strong passions, had led astray in his youth, when he squandered his fortune at Paris. He had gone over to America, and had remained thirteen years at Louisiana, as director of the Indian trade. Hav­ing afterwards removed to Asia, he was employed in the administration of public affairs at Pondicherry, and was endeavouring to amass the means of living or of dying in France, on some future day, with M. de Sevelinge, the friend of his youth, of whom I shall hereafter make some mention. A grave and so­lemn voice, distinguished by that accent which is de­rived from experience and adversity, and supported by the ready expression of a cultivated mind, struck me in Sainte-Lette, the first moment I heard him speak. Demontchery had spoken to him of me; and probably made him desire our acquaintance. My fa­ther was civil and I paid him much attention, be­cause he soon prepossessed me in his favour. I found his company very agreeable; he was fond of mine, and during his stay never suffered a week to pass without paying me a visit.

PERSONS who have seen a great deal, are always worth hearing, and those who have felt a great deal, have always seen more than any other persons, even when they have travelled less than Sainte-Lette. He [Page 46] had more of that kind of information which is derived from experience, than of that which is collected from books: with less pretensions to the title of a learned man, than to that of a philosopher, he reasoned from his knowledge of the human heart; and still retained a taste for the lighter kinds of poetry, in which he was no mean proficient. He gave me some of his productions; and I communicated to him in return some of my reveries.—'Mademoiselle,' said he repeat­edly, in the tone of phophecy, or in that of convic­tion, 'you may do what you will to avoid it; but you will certainly write a book.'—'It shall be under another name then,' answered I, 'for I would sooner cut off my fingers than turn author.'

AT my father's Sainte-Lette met a person with whom I was become acquainted a few months before, and who was fated to have a powerful influence over my future fortune, though I little thought so at the time: I have already said that Sophy, more taken up than I with paying and receiving visits, was far from finding it conducive to her advantage. She had spoken to me several times of a man of great merit, who had a place at Amiens, and was frequently at her mother's, while resident there; which, however, was not gene­rally the case, because he visited Paris every winter, and in the summer often made long journies. She had only mentioned him, because in the insignificant crowd with which she was surrounded, she was pleased to meet with an individual whose instructive conversa­tion [Page 47] always seemed to contain something new, whose austere, but simple manners, inspired confidence, and who was universally esteemed, though not universally beloved, because his severity, which bordered on the sarcastic, gave many people offence. Sophy had spoken to him also of her beloved friend. Nothing indeed was talked of in her family but the intimacy and constancy of a convent connexion, which ac­quired a certain degree of respectability from time. He had also seen my portrait, which Madam Can­net had hung up in a conspicuous situation. 'Why then,' he used to say, 'do you not make me acquaint­ed with this amiable friend?' I go every year to Paris —Shall I never have a letter to deliver to her?' He obtained the commission he desired in the month of December 1775: I was then in mourning for my mother, and in that state of tender melancholy, which follows violent grief. Whoever came on the part of Sophy, was sure of a good reception. 'You will receive this,' said my beloved friend in her letter, 'from the hands of M. Roland de la Platiere, the philosopher you have sometimes heard me mention— an enlightened man, of spotless reputation, who can be reproached with nothing but his too great admira­tion for the ancients, at the expence of the moderns, whom he undervalues, and with being too fond of speaking of himself.' This portrait can hardly be called a sketch; but the outline is well drawn. I found him a man considerably turned of forty, tall, [Page 48] and negligent in his carriage, with that stiffness which is often contracted by study; but his manners were easy and simple, and without possessing the fash­ionable graces, he combined the politeness of a well-bred man, with the gravity of a philosopher. Want of flesh, a complexion accidentally yellow, and a fore­head very high, and very thinly covered with hair, did not destroy the effect of a regular set of features, though it rendered them rather respectable than engaging. There was besides great meaning in his smile; and a most lively expression used to light up his countenance, and give him, as it were, a new face, whenever he grew animated in narration, or when any agreeable idea came across his mind. His voice was masculine, and his sentences were short (like those of a man afflicted with a difficulty of breathing): his conversation, which was full of inter­esting matter, because his head was full of ideas, occupi­ed the mind more than it pleased the ear; his language, though sometimes impressive, being always monoto­nous and harsh. An agreeable voice is, in my opin­ion, a very uncommon and very powerful accom­plishment: it does not depend upon the quality of the sound alone; but results also from that delicacy of sentiment which furnishes a variety of expression, and of tone.

(I am interrupted, in order to be told that I am included in the indictment of Brissot, with other members [Page 49] recently apprehended. The tyrants are at bay: they think they shall be able to fill up the abyss beneath their feet with the bodies of their virtuous adversaries; but they will fall in afterwards themselves. I am not dis­mayed at being sent to the scaffold in such company; it is indeed disgraceful to live among villains.

I am going to dispatch this sheet as it is. It will be only beginning a new one, in case I should have it in my power.

Friday, October 4, the birth-day of my daughter, who is entering her thirteenth year.)

THIS effect of the organ of speech, a thing very different from a strong voice, is not more common among professional orators, than among the multi­tudes that compose our social circles. I looked for it in the three national assemblies, and could meet with no­body possessed of it in perfection. Mirabeau him­self, with the commanding magic of a noble delivery, neither spoke in a pleasing key, nor pronounced in the most agreeable manner. The Clermonts came nearer to the mark. Where, then, I may be asked, is your model? I might answer like the painter, when asked whence he took the charming air, that he gave to the heads created by his pencil? Hence, said he, putting his finger to his forehead, I should put mine to my ears. I was never a great frequenter of the theatre; but I thought I could perceive that the kind of merit in question was equally uncommon there. Larive, [Page 50] the only one perhaps who deserves to mentioned, did not come entirely up to my idea.

WHEN upon entering the period of adolescence, I experienced that agitation which the desire of pleasing produces in the bosom of young women, I was moved at the sound of my own voice, and was obliged to modulate it in order to please my­self. I can easily conceive that the exquisite sensi­bility of the Greeks made them set a high value upon every part of the art of speech; and I can also conceive it natural for sansculotisme to make us disdain those graces, and to lead us to a barbarous rudeness, equally distant from the precision of the Spartans in their energetic language, and from the eloquence of the amiable Athenians.

BUT it is long since we parted with La Blancherie, either at Orleans, or elsewhere, and high time to give him his dismissal.

RETURNING shortly after my mother's death, he knew nothing of that event till he came to see us and discovered a degree of surprise, and sorrow, that pleased and affected me; nor did I look upon him, in the repeated visits he afterwards paid me, with an eye of indifference. My father, who at first made it a rule to stay with me, when any one came, began to think the business of duenna was by no means amus­ing, and that it would be more convenient to leave me to myself, and the maid, and to shut his door against every body, whose age and gravity should not be such [Page 51] as to render his attendance unnecessary. He told me accordingly, that he intended to beg La Blancherie to discontinue his visits. I did not say a word in answer, although I felt some degree of pain. I re­flected on that which I supposed my suitor would suf­fer from the prohibition, and determined to convey the intimation to him myself; for my father's manner made me fear he would give it in an unhandsome way. To tell the truth, La Blancherie had prepossessed me in his favour; and I thought it not impossible that I might love him: my head alone was working, I be­lieve; but I was not in a fair way to get on. I wrote then a handsome letter, which gave La Blancherie his discharge, and which deprived him of all hope of my receiving his answer, but which was not calculated to destroy any other he might entertain.

THE ice thus broken gave a free course to tender and melancholy ideas, by which my happiness was not materially disturbed. Sophy came to Paris, and made some stay there with her mother and her sister Henrietta, who finding herself on a level with us, by the addition to our age, and the sedate­ness she had acquired, became also my friend. Her lively imagination struck fire out of every thing, and animated every connexion in which she had a share.

I WENT often to the garden of the Luxemburg with my two friends and Mademoiselle d'Hangard, and there I sometimes met La Blancherie. He used to [Page 52] bow to me respectfully; and I returned his salute not without emotion.—'You are acquainted then with that gentleman?' said Mademoiselle d'Hangard one day, having at first supposed his bow was meant for her.—'Yes.'—'Do you chance to know him too?'—'Certainly I do, though I never spoke to him in my life; but I am in the habit of visiting the Miss Bordenaves, to the youngest of whom he paid his addresses.'—'Is it long since?'—'A year, or perhaps eighteen months. He found means to introduce himself: called there from time to time, and at last made a declaration in form: the young ladies are rich, and the youngest a pretty girl. He has not a shilling himself, and is a candidate for an heiress; for he made the same proposal to one of their acquaintance, as they afterwards heard; he was dismissed, and we have ever since been accustom­ed to call him the lover of the eleven thousand vir­gins*.'—'But, pray, how came you acquainted with him?'—'By seeing him frequently at Madame l'Epine's concert,' said I, biting my lips, and keeping the rest to myself, not a little vexed at having thought my­self possessed of the heart of a man, who, without doubt, had solicited my hand merely because I was an only daughter; and still more so at having written him a letter, which he did not deserve—Matter for [Page 53] meditation as to the exercise of my prudence on fu­ture occasions!

A FEW months had elapsed, when a little Sa­voyard came and told the maid somebody wished to speak with her, I forget where: she went out, re­turned, and informed me that M. La Blancherie had desired her to beg me to receive his visit. It was Sunday, and I was waiting for some of my relations. 'Yes,' answered I, 'he may come, but let it be in­stantly; and since he is waiting for you at a little distance from the door, go and bring him in.' La Blancherie came, and found me sitting by my fire­side.—'I have not dared, Mademoiselle, to wait up­on you, since the prohibition you sent me, though exceedingly desirous of seeing you; nor can I express all I suffered from the dear and cruel letter I then re­ceived. My situation has undergone a considerable change since that time; and I have now some pro­jects, to which you are probably not altogether a stranger.' He immediately laid before me the plan of a work of morality and criticism, in the form of letters, and in the manner of the Spectator, and pro­posed to me to hear some of them. I let him go on without interrupting him, and even waited, after he had made a short pause, in order that he might get to the end of his rosary. When he had said all he had to say, I took my turn to speak, and observed to him politely, that I had taken upon myself the care of requesting him to discontinue his visits, be­cause [Page 54] the sentiments which he had declared to my fa­ther, made me suppose he attached some importance to their continuance, and I had wished to show him my gratitude by that mark of attention; that at my age, the imagination was busy on all occasions, and sometimes dressed up objects in very false colours; but that error was not a crime, and that I was suffi­ciently recovered from mine to render all concern on his part needless; that I admired his literary projects, without wishing to bear a part in them, any more than in those of others; that I confined myself to good wishes for the success of all the au­thors in the world; as well as for his, in all possi­ble ways; and that it was to tell him so I had consented to receive him, in order that he might save himself in future all trouble of the kind; in consequence of which I begged him to put an end to his visit. Surprise, grief, agitation, every thing, in short, that is becoming in like cases, was about to be displayed. I stopped him by saying, I did not know whether the Miss Bordenaves, and the other ladies to whom he had paid his addresses, about the same time, had expressed themselves with equal frankness; but that mine was without bounds; and that the resolution it indicated did not admit of explanation. I rose at the same instant, making a curtesy, and that mo­tion of the hand which points out the door to trou­blesome visitors. My cousin Trude came in; nor [Page 55] did I ever see his rugged face with greater pleasure. La Blancherie in the mean time effected his retreat in silence, and I never saw him after; but who has not since heard of the Agent General of the correspon­dence for forwarding the arts and sciences?

THIS hero having made his exit, let us return to Sainte-Lette and Roland.

WE had reached the end of the summer 1776; and during the eight or nine preceding months I had seen M. Roland several times. His visits were not frequent; but he made long ones, like a person, who, not going to a particular place in order to shew himself, but because he has a satisfaction in being there, stays as long as he decently can. His frank and instruc­tive conversation never tired me, and he was fond of seeing me listen to him with attention; a thing which I am very capable of, even with those who are not so well informed as Roland, and which has perhaps pro­cured me still more friends than the talent of speaking with some facility. I had become acquainted with him on his return from Germany; he was then prepar­ing to make the tour of Italy, and settling his affairs, a thing to which prudent people seldom fail to at­tend, when on the eve of a long absence; he had chosen me for the depositary of his manuscripts, which were to remain in my possession in case he should meet with any mischance. I was much affected by this particular mark of esteem, and received it with many thanks. The day of his departure he [Page 56] dined at my father's with Sainte-Lette; and on tak­ing leave, begged permission to salute me. I know not how it is, but that favour is never granted by a young woman without a blush, let her imagination be ever so tranquil.—'You are fortunate to be setting off,' said Sainte-Lette, in his grave and solemn voice; but make haste to return, and ask for as much more!'

DURING Sainte-Lette's stay in France, his friend de Sevelinge becoming a widower, he repaired to his residence at Soissons, to share his grief, and brought him to Paris, in order to divert his attention from his loss. They came to see me together. Seve­linge, whose age was about fifty-two, was a gen­tleman of small fortune: he held a financial situ­ation in the country, and devoted part of his time to study, like a philosopher who is sensible of its charms. Having thus become acquainted, we kept up our in­tercourse after Sainte-Lette's departure, who used to say, that, on leaving France, he should feel a degree of pleasure at the thought of his friend's not losing the advantage of my acquaintance.—He even begged permission to put into his hands for a short time some manuscripts, which, as I have al­ready said, I had submitted to his inspection. This interesting old man embarked for the fifth or sixth time in his life. An ulcer in his head, of which some symptoms had already appeared, broke while he was at sea; he arrived sick at Pondicherry; and died there six weeks after he disembarked. We heard of his death by means of Demontchery. He [Page 57] was greatly regretted by Sevelinge, who continued now and then to write to me; and his letters, of which the style and the matter were equally agreeable, gave me great pleasure. They bore the impression of that mild philosophy, and melancholy sensibility, to which I have always felt myself so much inclined. I have remarked what Diderot says on this subject, with so much truth; 'that good taste implies good sense, de­licate organs, and some