Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

mind rendered seclusion from the world indispensably necessary. The manner in which the Count spent the greater part of his time may be gathered from a touching letter which he wrote to the Duchess of Ragusa, the wife of General Marmont.

“You ask me where I live, and how. I dwell on the bank's of a lake not unworthy of Switzerland, for it is five leagues long by one broad. I have a room and a closet at the lodge of the keeper of a forsaken chateau. My view consists of a fine sheet of water, pretty low hills, and high mountains beyond, covered with snow. For walks, I have wild woodlands, abounding with game, which remain unmolested for me. My hosts are honest peasants, whose Spartan broth and black bread I partake of with tolerable relish. I dare not have in a servant a possible spy, so my sole companion is a poor artist unknown to fame, who smokes all day long, and does not know one word of my language; but I am learning his, and we get on very well. He wakes me every morning at six, and we labor together till nine. After the most frugal of breakfasts, we set to work again till noon, and after dinner from two till five. I then read a couple of hours; and at seven we go to walk till supper. I have taught him chess, and we play till ten, when I go to my room, but seldom to bed till one o'clock. These hours of night are for the heart's anguish, and a host of bitter reminiscences. I pray and weep over all those I love, and in thinking of my poor humbled, subjugated country.

“But I do not at all times give way to such sad thoughts. I should be unworthy of my glorious misfortune did I not draw from it the sweetest consolations. I often feel less thankful at having escaped the scaffold, than for being saved from it by such generous hearts. Wife, child, friends, domestics, nay, those noble strangers, all combined to suffer, to sacrifice themselves; but, thank Heaven, ultimately to triumph in my cause. I of all mankind have no right to complain of my fellows. Never was unfortunate being honored by so much devotedness and courage!

“I am so happy that you are within reach of my poor wife. You love and appreciate her. She is not understood in a world of base wretches, who little thought that that weak, dejected, unhappy woman would prove too strong and bold for them all! O, take care of her, I beseech you; watch over her, and shield her from every sorrow! And my poor little Josephine; good God! what will become of her ? How fondly had I looked forward to perfecting her education! When I think of all this, I could beat my head against the very walls, and dread what I may be tempted to do! Above all, my wife!-see her often, console, and protect her, if necessary.

It is consolatory to know that Lavalette outlived the vengeance of his enemies. After an exile of six years, the crime of which he stood guilty was remitted, and he was allowed to return to France a free man. He now had the additional happiness of being permitted to see his wife, and to repay, by the most devoted attentions, her exertions in his behalf. The acute mental malady brought on by anxiety and terror, under which she had for some years labored, seems to have gradually yielded to a deep melancholy and frequent abstraction ; “but she remained,” says Lavalette, “as she had ever been, good, gentle, and amiable, and able to find enjoyment in the country;" where, for her sake, he chiefly resided, pretty much forgotten by the world, till his death, in 1830. Whether Madame Lavalette ultimately recovered from her alienated mental condition, we have not heard: it is, however, gratifying to learn that her daughter Josephine, who was married to a man of worth and talent, lived to contribute to her comfort and happiness, in that scene of rural quiet to which she had been removed by an affectionate and grateful husband.

« ForrigeFortsæt »