« ZurückWeiter »
over it as she bent forward, watching the languid looks of her father. Mr. — and his housekeeper had stood some moments in the room without the young lady's being sensible of their entering it.
Mademoiselle !' said the old woman at last, in a soft tone.She turned and shewed one of the finest faces in the world. It was touched, not spoiled, with sorrow; and when she perceived a stranger, whom the old woman now introduced to her, a blush at first, and then the gentle ceremonial of native politeness, which the affliction of the time tempered but did not extinguish, crossed it for a moment, and changed its expression. 'Twas sweetness all, however, and our philosopher felt it strongly. It was not a time for words; he offered his services in a few sincere ones. •Monsieur lies miser• ably ill here,' said the gouvernante ; . if he could • possibly be moved any where'- If he could • be moved to our house,' said her master.—He had a spare bed for a friend, and there was a garret room unoccupied, next to the gouvernante's. It was contrived accordingly. The scruples of the stranger, who could look scruples, though he could not speak them, were overcome, and the bashful reluctance of his daughter gave way to her belief of its use to her father. The sick man was wrapt in blankets, and carried across the street to the English gentleman's. The old woman helped his daughter to nurse him there. The surgeon, who arrived soon after, prescribed a little, and nature did much for him ; in a week he was able to thank his benefactor.
By that time his host had learned the name and character of his guest. He was a Protestant clergyman of Switzeriand, called La Roche, a widower, who had lately buried his wife, after a long and lingering illness, for which travelling had been prescribed, and was now returning home, after an ineffectual and melancholy journey, with his only child, the daughter we have mentioned.
He was a devout man, as became his profession. He possessed devotion in all its warmth, but with none of its asperity ; I mean that asperity which men, called devout, sometimes indulge in. Mr. — though he felt no devotion, never quarrelied with it in others.--His gouvernante joined the old man and his daughter in the prayers and thanksgivings which they put up on his recovery; for she too, was a heretic, in the phrase of the village.—The philosopher walked out, with his long staff and his dog, and left them to their prayers and thanksgivings.- My master,'—said the old woman,
alas! he is not a Christian ; but he is the best of 6 unbelievers.' - Not a Christian !'-exclaimed Mademoiselle La Roche, yet he saved my
father ! • Heaven bless him for’t ; I would he were a Chris« tian !! • There is a pride in human knowledge, • my child,' said her father, which often blii.ds
men to the sublime truths of revelation ; hence opposere of Christianity are found among men of • virtuous lives, as well as among those of dissipated 6 and licentious characters. Nay, sometimes, I have • known the latter more easily converted to the true
faith than the former, because the fume of passion is more easily dissipated than the mist of false theory and delusive speculation.'- But Mr.
said his daughter, alas ! my father, he • shall be a Christian before he dies.'
She was interrupted by the arrival of their landlord. He took her hand with an air of kindness :- -she drew it away from him in silence ; threw down her eyes to the ground, and left the room. I have been
thanking God,' said the good La Roche, for my recovery. That is right,' replied his landlord.
— I would not wish, continued the old man, he. sitatingly, 'to think otherwise ; did I not look up • with gratitude to that Being, I should barely be • satisfied with my recovery, as a continuation of • life, which, it may be, is not a real good :- :-Alas! • I may live to wish I had died, that you had left
me to die, Sir, instead of kindly relieving me (he
clasped Mr. --'s hand); but, when I look on e this renovated being as the gift of the Almighty, • I feel a far different sentiment-my heart dilates
with gratitude and love to him : it is prepared for duing his will, not as a duty but as a pleasure, and
regards every breach of it, not with disapproba« tion, but with horror.'-—- You say right, my dear
Sir,' replied the philosopher ; ' but you are not * yet re-established enough to talk much-you must • take care of your health, and neither study nor
preach for some time. I have been thinking over
å scheme that struck me to-day, when you men• tioned your intended departure. I never was in • Switzerland: I have a great mind to accompany
your daughter and you into that country.— I will • help to take care of you by the road ; for, as I
was your first physician, I hold myself responsible • for your cure.' La Roche's eyes glistened at the proposal ; his daughter was called in and told of it. She was equally pleased with her father; for they really loved their landlord—not perhaps the less for his infidelity ; at least that circumstance mixed a sort of pity with their regard for him—their souls were not of a mould for harsher feelings; hatred never dwelt in them.
N° 43. TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1779
Continuation of the Story of LA ROCHE. They travelled by short stages ; for the philosopher was as good as his word, in taking
care that the old man should not be fatigued. "The party had time to be well acquainted with one another, and their friendship was increased by acquaintance. La Roche found a degree of simplicity and gentleness in his companion, which is not always annexed to the character of a learned or a wise man. His daughter, who was prepared to be afraid of him, was equally undeceived. She found in him nothing of that selfimportance which superior parts, or great cultivation of them, is apt to confer. He talked of every thing but philosophy or religion ; he seemed to enjoy every pleasure and amusement of ordinary life, and to be interested in the most common topics of discourse; when his knowledge or learning at any time appeared, it was delivered with the utmost plainness, and without the least shadow of dogmatism.
On his part, he was charmed with the society of the good clergyman and his lovely daughter. He found in them the guileless manner of the earliest times, with the culture and accomplishment of the most refined ones. Every better feeling, warm and vivid ; every ungentle one, repressed or overcome. He was not addicted to love ; but he felt himself happy in being the friend of Mademoiselle La Roche, and sometimes envied her father the possession of such a child:
After a journey of eleven days, they arrived at the dwelling of La Roche. It was situated in one of those valleys of the canton of Berne, where nature seems to repose, as it were, in quiet, and has inclosed her retreat with mountains inaccessible.A stream, that spent its fury in the hills above, ran in front of the house, and a broken water-fall was seen throw the wood that covered its sides ; below it circled round a tufted plain, and formed a little lake in front of a village, at the end of which appeared the spire of La Roche's church, rising above a clump of beeches.
Mr. — enjoyed the beauty of the scene ; but to his companions, it recalled the memory of a wife and parent they had lost.— The old man's sorrow was silent ; his daughter sobb’d and wept. Her father took her hand, kiss'd it twice, pressed it to his bosom, threw up his eyes to heaven; and having wiped off a tear that was just about to drop from each, began to point out to his guest some of the most striking objects which the prospect afforded. The philosopher interpreted all this; and he could but slightly censure the creed from which it arose.
They had not been long arrived, when a number of La Roche's parishioners, who had heard of his return, came to the house to see and welcome him. The honest folks were awkward, but sincere, in their professions of regard. They made some at. tempts at condolence; it was too delicate for their handling ; but La Roche took it in good part. • It • has pleased God,'--said he ; and they saw he had setiled the matter with himself.--Philosophy could not have done so much with a thousand words.