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    Book II

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    Chapter 3
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    The moment in which fear had instigated my flight, did not seem more
    terrible than that wherein I put my design in execution appeared
    delightful. To leave my relations, my resources, while yet a child,
    in the midst of my apprenticeship, before I had learned enough of my
    business to obtain a subsistence; to run on inevitable misery and danger:
    to expose myself in that age of weakness and innocence to all the
    temptations of vice and despair; to set out in search of errors,
    misfortunes, snares, slavery, and death; to endure more intolerable evils
    than those I meant to shun, was the picture I should have drawn, the
    natural consequence of my hazardous enterprise. How different was the
    idea I entertained of it!--The independence I seemed to possess was the
    sole object of my contemplation; having obtained my liberty, I thought
    everything attainable: I entered with confidence on the vast theatre of
    the world, which my merit was to captivate: at every step I expected to
    find amusements, treasures, and adventures; friends ready to serve, and
    mistresses eager to please me; I had but to show myself, and the whole
    universe would be interested in my concerns; not but I could have been
    content with something less; a charming society, with sufficient means,

    might have satisfied me. My moderation was such, that the sphere in
    which I proposed to shine was rather circumscribed, but then it was to
    possess the very quintessence of enjoyment, and myself the principal
    object. A single castle, for instance, might have bounded my ambition;
    could I have been the favorite of the lord and lady, the daughter's
    lover, the son's friend, and protector of the neighbors, I might have
    been tolerably content, and sought no further.

    In expectation of this modest fortune, I passed a few days in the
    environs of the city, with some country people of my acquaintance, who
    received me with more kindness than I should have met with in town; they
    welcomed, lodged, and fed me cheerfully; I could be said to live on
    charity, these favors were not conferred with a sufficient appearance of
    superiority to furnish out the idea.

    I rambled about in this manner till I got to Confignon, in Savoy, at
    about two leagues distance from Geneva. The vicar was called M. de
    Pontverre; this name, so famous in the history of the Republic, caught my
    attention; I was curious to see what appearance the descendants of the
    gentlemen of the spoon exhibited; I went, therefore, to visit this M. de
    Pontverre, and was received with great civility.

    He spoke of the heresy of Geneva, declaimed on the authority of holy
    mother church, and then invited me to dinner. I had little to object to
    arguments which had so desirable a conclusion, and was inclined to
    believe that priests, who gave such excellent dinners, might be as good
    as our ministers. Notwithstanding M. de Pontverre's pedigree, I
    certainly possessed most learning; but I rather sought to be a good
    companion than an expert theologian; and his Frangi wine, which I thought
    delicious, argued so powerfully on his side, that I should have blushed
    at silencing so kind a host; I, therefore, yielded him the victory, or
    rather declined the contest. Any one who had observed my precaution,
    would certainly have pronounced me a dissembler, though, in fact, I was
    only courteous.

    Flattery, or rather condescension, is not always a vice in young people;
    'tis oftener a virtue. When treated with kindness, it is natural to feel
    an attachment for the person who confers the obligation; we do not
    acquiesce because we wish to deceive, but from dread of giving
    uneasiness, or because we wish to avoid the ingratitude of rendering evil
    for good. What interest had M. de Pontverre in entertaining, treating
    with respect, and endeavoring to convince me? None but mine; my young
    heart told me this, and I was penetrated with gratitude and respect for
    the generous priest; I was sensible of my superiority, but scorned to
    repay his hospitality by taking advantage of it. I had no conception of
    hypocrisy in this forbearance, or thought of changing my religion, nay,
    so far was the idea from being familiar to me, that I looked on it with a
    degree of horror which seemed to exclude the possibility of such an
    event; I only wished to avoid giving offence to those I was sensible
    caressed me from that motive; I wished to cultivate their good opinion,
    and meantime leave them the hope of success by seeming less on my guard
    than I really was. My conduct in this particular resembled the coquetry
    of some very honest women, who, to obtain their wishes, without
    permitting or promising anything, sometimes encourage hopes they never
    mean to realize.

    Reason, piety, and love of order, certainly demanded that instead of
    being encouraged in my folly, I should have been dissuaded from the ruin
    I was courting, and sent back to my family; and this conduct any one that
    was actuated by genuine virtue would have pursued; but it should be
    observed that though M. de Pontverre was a religious man, he was not a
    virtuous one, but a bigot, who knew no virtue except worshipping images
    and telling his beads, in a word, a kind of missionary, who thought the
    height of merit consisted in writing libels against the ministers of
    Geneva. Far from wishing to send me back, he endeavored to favor my
    escape, and put it out of my power to return even had I been so disposed.
    It was a thousand to one but he was sending me to perish with hunger, or
    become a villain; but all this was foreign to his purpose; he saw a soul
    snatched from heresy, and restored to the bosom of the church: whether I
    was an honest man or a knave was very immaterial, provided I went to
    mass.

    This ridiculous mode of thinking is not peculiar to Catholics; it is the
    voice of every dogmatical persuasion where merit consists in belief, and
    not in virtue.

    "You are called by the Almighty," said M. de Pontverre; "go to Annecy,
    where you will find a good and charitable lady, whom the bounty of the
    king enables to turn souls from those errors she has happily renounced."
    He spoke of a Madam de Warrens, a new convert, to whom the priests
    contrived to send those wretches who were disposed to sell their faith,
    and with these she was in a manner constrained to share a pension of two
    thousand francs bestowed on her by the King of Sardinia. I felt myself
    extremely humiliated at being supposed to want the assistance of a good
    and charitable lady. I had no objection to be accommodated with
    everything I stood in need of, but did not wish to receive it on the
    footing of charity and to owe this obligation to a devotee was still
    worse; notwithstanding my scruples the persuasions of M. de Pontverre,
    the dread of perishing with hunger, the pleasures I promised myself from
    the journey, and hope of obtaining some desirable situation, determined
    me; and I set out though reluctantly, for Annecy. I could easily have
    reached it in a day, but being in no great haste to arrive there, it took
    me three. My head was filled with the ideas of adventures, and I
    approached every country-seat I saw in my way, in expectation of having
    them realized. I had too much timidity to knock at the doors, or even
    enter if I saw them open, but I did what I dared--which was to sing under
    those windows that I thought had the most favorable appearance; and was
    very much disconcerted to find I wasted my breath to no purpose, and that
    neither old nor young ladies were attracted by the melody of my voice, or
    the wit of my poetry, though some songs my companions had taught me I
    thought excellent and that I sung them incomparably. At length I arrived
    at Annecy, and saw Madam de Warrens.

    As this period of my life, in a great measure, determined my character,
    I could not resolve to pass it lightly over. I was in the middle of my
    sixteenth year, and though I could not be called handsome, was well made
    for my height; I had a good foot, a well turned leg, and animated
    countenance; a well proportioned mouth, black hair and eyebrows, and my
    eyes, though small and rather too far in my head, sparkling with
    vivacity, darted that innate fire which inflamed my blood; unfortunately
    for me, I knew nothing of all this, never having bestowed a single
    thought on my person till it was too late to be of any service to me.
    The timidity common to my age was heightened by a natural benevolence,
    which made me dread the idea of giving pain. Though my mind had received
    some cultivation, having seen nothing of the world, I was an absolute
    stranger to polite address, and my mental acquisitions, so far from
    supplying this defect, only served to increase my embarrassment, by
    making me sensible of every deficiency.

    Depending little, therefore, on external appearances, I had recourse to
    other expedients: I wrote a most elaborate letter, where, mingling all
    the flowers of rhetoric which I had borrowed from books with the phrases
    of an apprentice, I endeavored to strike the attention, and insure the
    good will of Madam de Warrens. I enclosed M. de Pontverre's letter in my
    own and waited on the lady with a heart palpitating with fear and
    expectation. It was Palm Sunday, of the year 1728; I was informed she
    was that moment gone to church; I hasten after her, overtake, and speak
    to her.--The place is yet fresh in my memory--how can it be otherwise?
    often have I moistened it with my tears and covered it with kisses.--Why
    cannot I enclose with gold the happy spot, and render it the object of
    universal veneration? Whoever wishes to honor monuments of human
    salvation would only approach it on their knees.

    It was a passage at the back of the house, bordered on the left hand by a
    little rivulet, which separated it from the garden, and, on the right, by
    the court yard wall; at the end was a private door which opened into the
    church of the Cordeliers. Madam de Warrens was just passing this door;
    but on hearing my voice, instantly turned about. What an effect did the
    sight of her produce! I expected to see a devout, forbidding old woman;
    M. de Pontverre's pious and worthy lady could be no other in my
    conception; instead of which, I see a face beaming with charms, fine blue
    eyes full of sweetness, a complexion whose whiteness dazzled the sight,
    the form of an enchanting neck, nothing escaped the eager eye of the
    young proselyte; for that instant I was hers!--a religion preached by
    such missionaries must lead to paradise!

    My letter was presented with a trembling hand; she took it with a smile
    --opened it, glanced an eye over M. de Pontverre's and again returned to
    mine, which she read through and would have read again, had not the
    footman that instant informed her that service was beginning--"Child,"
    said she, in a tone of voice which made every nerve vibrate, "you are
    wandering about at an early age--it is really a pity!"--and without
    waiting for an answer, added--"Go to my house, bid them give you
    something for breakfast, after mass, I will speak to you."

    Louisa--Eleanora de Warrens was of the noble and ancient family of La
    Tour de Pit, of Vevay, a city in the country of the Vaudois. She was
    married very young to a M. de Warrens, of the house of Loys, eldest son
    of M. de Villardin, of Lausanne; there were no children by this marriage,
    which was far from being a happy one. Some domestic uneasiness made
    Madam de Warrens take the resolution of crossing the Lake, and throwing
    herself at the feet of Victor Amadeus, who was then at Evian; thus
    abandoning her husband, family, and country by a giddiness similar to
    mine, which precipitation she, too, has found sufficient time and reason
    to lament.

    The king, who was fond of appearing a zealous promoter of the Catholic
    faith, took her under his protection, and complimented her with a pension
    of fifteen hundred livres of Piedmont, which was a considerable
    appointment for a prince who never had the character of being generous;
    but finding his liberality made some conjecture he had an affection for
    the lady, he sent her to Annecy escorted by a detachment of his guards,
    where, under the direction of Michael Gabriel de Bernex, titular bishop
    of Geneva, she abjured her former religion at the Convent of the
    Visitation.

    I came to Annecy just six years after this event; Madam de Warrens was
    then eight--and--twenty, being born with the century. Her beauty,
    consisting more in the expressive animation of the countenance, than a
    set of features, was in its meridian; her manner soothing and tender; an
    angelic smile played about her mouth, which was small and delicate; she
    wore her hair (which was of an ash color, and uncommonly beautiful) with
    an air of negligence that made her appear still more interesting; she was
    short, and rather thick for her height, though by no means disagreeably
    so; but there could not be a more lovely face, a finer neck, or hands and
    arms more exquisitely formed.

    Her education had been derived from such a variety of sources, that it
    formed an extraordinary assemblage. Like me, she had lost her mother at
    her birth, and had received instruction as it chanced to present itself;
    she had learned something of her governess, something of her father, a
    little of her masters, but copiously from her lovers; particularly a M.
    de Tavel, who, possessing both taste and information, endeavored to adorn
    with them the mind of her he loved. These various instructions, not
    being properly arranged, tended to impede each other, and she did not
    acquire that degree of improvement her natural good sense was capable of
    receiving; she knew something of philosophy and physic, but not enough to
    eradicate the fondness she had imbibed from her father for empiricism and
    alchemy; she made elixirs, tinctures, balsams, pretended to secrets, and
    prepared magestry; while quacks and pretenders, profiting by her
    weakness, destroyed her property among furnaces, drugs and minerals,
    diminishing those charms and accomplishments which might have been the
    delight of the most elegant circles. But though these interested
    wretches took advantage of her ill-applied education to obscure her
    natural good sense, her excellent heart retained its purity; her amiable
    mildness, sensibility for the unfortunate, inexhaustible bounty, and
    open, cheerful frankness, knew no variation; even at the approach of old
    age, when attacked by various calamities, rendered more cutting by
    indigence, the serenity of her disposition preserved to the end of her
    life the pleasing gayety of her happiest days.

    Her errors proceeded from an inexhaustible fund of activity, which
    demanded perpetual employment. She found no satisfaction in the
    customary intrigues of her sex, but, being formed for vast designs,
    sought the direction of important enterprises and discoveries. In her
    place Madam de Longueville would have been a mere trifler, in Madam de
    Longueville's situation she would have governed the state. Her talents
    did not accord with her fortune; what would have gained her distinction
    in a more elevated sphere, became her ruin. In enterprises which suited
    her disposition, she arranged the plan in her imagination, which was ever
    carried of its utmost extent, and the means she employed being
    proportioned rather to her ideas than abilities, she failed by the
    mismanagement of those upon whom she depended, and was ruined where
    another would scarce have been a loser. This active disposition, which
    involved her in so many difficulties, was at least productive of one
    benefit as it prevented her from passing the remainder of her life in the
    monastic asylum she had chosen, which she had some thought of. The
    simple and uniform life of a nun, and the little cabals and gossipings of
    their parlor, were not adapted to a mind vigorous and active, which,
    every day forming new systems, had occasions for liberty to attempt their
    completion.

    The good bishop of Bernex, with less wit than Francis of Sales, resembled
    him in many particulars, and Madam de Warrens, whom he loved to call his
    daughter, and who was like Madam de Chantel in several respects, might
    have increased the resemblance by retiring like her from the world, had
    she not been disgusted with the idle trifling of a convent. It was not
    want of zeal prevented this amiable woman from giving those proofs of
    devotion which might have been expected from a new convert, under the
    immediate direction of a prelate. Whatever might have influenced her to
    change her religion, she was certainly sincere in that she had embraced;
    she might find sufficient occasion to repent having abjured her former
    faith, but no inclination to return to it. She not only died a good
    Catholic, but truly lived one; nay, I dare affirm (and I think I have had
    the opportunity to read the secrets of her heart) that it was only her
    aversion to singularity that prevented her acting the devotee in public;
    in a word, her piety was too sincere to give way to any affectation of
    it. But this is not the place to enlarge on her principles: I shall find
    other occasions to speak of them.

    Let those who deny the existence of a sympathy of souls, explain, if they
    know how, why the first glance, the first word of Madam de Warrens
    inspired me, not only with a lively attachment, but with the most
    unbounded confidence, which has since known no abatement. Say this was
    love (which will at least appear doubtful to those who read the sequel of
    our attachment) how could this passion be attended with sentiments which
    scarce ever accompany its commencement, such as peace, serenity,
    security, and confidence. How, when making application to an amiable and
    polished woman, whose situation in life was so superior to mine, so far
    above any I had yet approached, on whom, in a great measure, depended my
    future fortune by the degree of interest she might take in it; how, I say
    with so many reasons to depress me, did I feel myself as free, as much at
    my ease, as if I had been perfectly secure of pleasing her! Why did I
    not experience a moment of embarrassment, timidity or restraint?
    Naturally bashful, easily confused, having seen nothing of the world,
    could I, the first time, the first moment I beheld her, adopt caressing
    language, and a familiar tone, as readily as after ten years' intimacy
    had rendered these freedoms natural? Is it possible to possess love, I
    will not say without desires, for I certainly had them, but without
    inquietude, without jealousy? Can we avoid feeling an anxious wish at
    least to know whether our affection is returned? Yet such a question
    never entered my imagination; I should as soon have inquired, do I love
    myself; nor did she ever express a greater degree of curiosity; there
    was, certainly, something extraordinary in my attachment to this charming
    woman and it will be found in the sequel, that some extravagances, which
    cannot be foreseen, attended it.

    What could be done for me, was the present question, and in order to
    discuss the point with greater freedom, she made me dine with her. This
    was the first meal in my life where I had experienced a want of appetite,
    and her woman, who waited, observed it was the first time she had seen a
    traveller of my age and appearance deficient in that particular: this
    remark, which did me no injury in the opinion of her mistress, fell hard
    on an overgrown clown, who was my fellow guest, and devoured sufficient
    to have served at least six moderate feeders. For me, I was too much
    charmed to think of eating; my heart began to imbibe a delicious
    sensation, which engrossed my whole being, and left no room for other
    objects.

    Madam de Warrens wished to hear the particulars of my little history--all
    the vivacity I had lost during my servitude returned and assisted the
    recital. In proportion to the interest this excellent woman took in my
    story, did she lament the fate to which I had exposed myself; compassion
    was painted on her features, and expressed by every action. She could
    not exhort me to return to Geneva, being too well aware that her words
    and actions were strictly scrutinized, and that such advice would be
    thought high treason against Catholicism, but she spoke so feelingly of
    the affliction I must give her(my) father, that it was easy to perceive
    she would have approved my returning to console him. Alas! she little
    thought how powerfully this pleaded against herself; the more eloquently
    persuasive she appeared, the less could I resolve to tear myself from
    her. I knew that returning to Geneva would be putting an insuperable
    barrier between us, unless I repeated the expedient which had brought me
    here, and it was certainly better to preserve than expose myself to the
    danger of a relapse; besides all this, my conduct was predetermined, I
    was resolved not to return. Madam de Warrens, seeing her endeavors would
    be fruitless, became less explicit, and only added, with an air of
    commiseration, "Poor child! thou must go where Providence directs thee,
    but one day thou wilt think of me."--I believe she had no conception at
    that time how fatally her prediction would be verified.

    The difficulty still remained how I was to gain a subsistence? I have
    already observed that I knew too little of engraving for that to furnish
    my resource, and had I been more expert, Savoy was too poor a country to
    give much encouragement to the arts. The above-mentioned glutton, who
    eat for us as well as himself, being obliged to pause in order to gain
    some relaxation from the fatigue of it, imparted a piece of advice,
    which, according to him, came express from Heaven; though to judge by its
    effects it appeared to have been dictated from a direct contrary quarter:
    this was that I should go to Turin, where, in a hospital instituted for
    the instruction of catechumens, I should find food, both spiritual and
    temporal, be reconciled to the bosom of the church, and meet with some
    charitable Christians, who would make it a point to procure me a
    situation that would turn to my advantage. "In regard to the expenses of
    the journey," continued our advisor, "his grace, my lord bishop, will not
    be backward, when once madam has proposed this holy work, to offer his
    charitable donation, and madam, the baroness, whose charity is so well
    known," once more addressing himself to the continuation of his meal,
    "will certainly contribute."

    I was by no means pleased with all these charities; I said nothing, but
    my heart was ready to burst with vexation. Madam de Warrens, who did not
    seem to think so highly of this expedient as the projector pretended to
    do, contented herself by saying, everyone should endeavor to promote good
    actions, and that she would mention it to his lordship; but the meddling
    devil, who had some private interest in this affair, and questioned
    whether she would urge it to his satisfaction, took care to acquaint the
    almoners with my story, and so far influenced those good priests, that
    when Madam de Warrens, who disliked the journey on my account, mentioned
    it to the bishop, she found it so far concluded on, that he immediately
    put into her hands the money designed for my little viaticum. She dared
    not advance anything against it; I was approaching an age when a woman
    like her could not, with any propriety, appear anxious to retain me.

    My departure being thus determined by those who undertook the management
    of my concerns, I had only to submit; and I did it without much
    repugnance. Though Turin was at a greater distance from Madam de Warrens
    than Geneva, yet being the capital of the country I was now in, it seemed
    to have more connection with Annecy than a city under a different
    government and of a contrary religion; besides, as I undertook this
    journey in obedience to her, I considered myself as living under her
    direction, which was more flattering than barely to continue in the
    neighborhood; to sum up all, the idea of a long journey coincided with my
    insurmountable passion for rambling, which already began to demonstrate
    itself. To pass the mountains, to my eye appeared delightful; how
    charming the reflection of elevating myself above my companions by the
    whole height of the Alps! To see the world is an almost irresistible
    temptation to a Genevan, accordingly I gave my consent.

    He who suggested the journey was to set off in two days with his wife.
    I was recommended to their care; they were likewise made my purse
    --bearers, which had been augmented by Madam de Warrens, who, not contented
    with these kindnesses, added secretly a pecuniary reinforcement, attended
    with the most ample instructions, and we departed on the Wednesday before
    Easter.

    The day following, my father arrived at Annecy, accompanied by his
    friend, a Mr. Rival, who was likewise a watchmaker; he was a man of sense
    and letters, who wrote better verses than La Motte, and spoke almost as
    well; what is still more to his praise, he was a man of the strictest
    integrity, but whose taste for literature only served to make one of his
    sons a comedian. Having traced me to the house of Madam de Warrens, they
    contented themselves with lamenting, like her, my fate, instead of
    overtaking me, which, (as they were on horseback and I on foot) they
    might have accomplished with the greatest ease.

    My uncle Bernard did the same thing, he arrived at Consignon, received
    information that I was gone to Annecy, and immediately returned back to
    Geneva; thus my nearest relations seemed to have conspired with my
    adverse stars to consign me to misery and ruin. By a similar negligence,
    my brother was so entirely lost, that it was never known what was become
    of him.

    My father was not only a man of honor but of the strictest probity, and
    endured with that magnanimity which frequently produces the most shining
    virtues: I may add, he was a good father, particularly to me whom he
    tenderly loved; but he likewise loved his pleasures, and since we had
    been separated other connections had weakened his paternal affections.
    He had married again at Nion, and though his second wife was too old to
    expect children, she had relations; my father was united to another
    family, surrounded by other objects, and a variety of cares prevented my
    returning to his remembrance. He was in the decline of life and had
    nothing to support the inconveniences of old age; my mother's property
    devolved to me and my brother, but, during our absence, the interest of
    it was enjoyed by my father: I do not mean to infer that this
    consideration had an immediate effect on his conduct, but it had an
    imperceptible one, and prevented him making use of that exertion to
    regain me which he would otherwise have employed; and this, I think, was
    the reason that having traced me as far as Annecy, he stopped short,
    without proceeding to Chambery, where he was almost certain I should be
    found; and likewise accounts why, on visiting him several times since my
    flight, he always received me with great kindness, but never made any
    efforts to retain me.

    This conduct in a father, whose affection and virtue I was so well
    convinced of, has given birth to reflections on the regulation of my own
    conduct which have greatly contributed to preserve the integrity of my
    heart. It has taught me this great lesson of morality, perhaps the only
    one that can have any conspicuous influence on our actions, that we
    should ever carefully avoid putting our interests in competition with our
    duty, or promise ourselves felicity from the misfortunes of others;
    certain that in such circumstances, however sincere our love of virtue
    may be, sooner or later it will give way and we shall imperceptibly
    become unjust and wicked, in fact, however upright in our intentions.

    This maxim, strongly imprinted on my mind, and reduced, though rather too
    late, to practice, has given my conduct an appearance of folly and
    whimsicality, not only in public, but still more among my acquaintances:
    it has been said, I affected originality, and sought to act different
    from other people; the truth is, I neither endeavor to conform or be
    singular, I desire only to act virtuously and avoid situations, which,
    by setting my interest in opposition to that of another person's, might
    inspire me with a secret, though involuntary wish to his disadvantage.

    Two years ago, My Lord Marshal would have put my name in his will, which
    I took every method to prevent, assuring him I would not for the world
    know myself in the will of any one, much less in his; he gave up the
    idea; but insisted in return, that I should accept an annuity on his
    life; this I consented to. It will be said, I find my account in the
    alteration; perhaps I may; but oh, my benefactor! my father, I am now
    sensible that, should I have the misfortune to survive thee, I should
    have everything to lose, nothing to gain.

    This, in my idea, in true philosophy, the surest bulwark of human
    rectitude; every day do I receive fresh conviction of its profound
    solidity. I have endeavored to recommend it in all my latter writings,
    but the multitude read too superficially to have made the remark. If I
    survive my present undertaking, and am able to begin another, I mean, in
    a continuation of Emilius, to give such a lively and marking example of
    this maxim as cannot fail to strike attention. But I have made
    reflections enough for a traveller, it is time to continue my journey.

    It turned out more agreeable than I expected: my clownish conductor was
    not so morose as he appeared to be. He was a middle-aged man, wore his
    black, grizzly hair, in a queue, had a martial air, a strong voice, was
    tolerably cheerful, and to make up for not having been taught any trade,
    could turn his hand to every one. Having proposed to establish some kind
    of manufactory at Annecy, he had consulted Madam de Warrens, who
    immediately gave into the project, and he was now going to Turin to lay
    the plan before the minister and get his approbation, for which journey
    he took care to be well rewarded.

    This drole had the art of ingratiating himself with the priests, whom he
    ever appeared eager to serve; he adopted a certain jargon which he had
    learned by frequenting their company, and thought himself a notable
    preacher; he could even repeat one passage from the Bible in Latin, and
    it answered his purpose as well as if he had known a thousand, for he
    repeated it a thousand times a day. He was seldom at a loss for money
    when he knew what purse contained it; yet, was rather artful than
    knavish, and when dealing out in an affected tone his unmeaning
    discourses, resembled Peter the Hermit, preaching up the crusade with a
    sabre at his side.

    Madam Sabran, his wife, was a tolerable, good sort of woman; more
    peaceable by day than by night; as I slept in the same chamber I was
    frequently disturbed by her wakefulness, and should have been more so had
    I comprehended the cause of it; but I was in the chapter of dullness,
    which left to nature the whole care of my own instruction.

    I went on gayly with my pious guide and his hopeful companion, no
    sinister accident impeding our journey. I was in the happiest
    circumstances both of mind and body that I ever recollect having
    experienced; young, full of health and security, placing unbounded
    confidence in myself and others; in that short but charming moment of
    human life, whose expansive energy carries, if I may so express myself,
    our being to the utmost extent of our sensations, embellishing all nature
    with an inexpressible charm, flowing from the conscious and rising
    enjoyment of our existence.

    My pleasing inquietudes became less wandering: I had now an object on
    which imagination could fix. I looked on myself as the work, the pupil,
    the friend, almost the lover of Madam de Warrens; the obliging things she
    had said, the caresses she had bestowed on me; the tender interest she
    seemed to take in everything that concerned me; those charming looks,
    which seemed replete with love, because they so powerfully inspired it,
    every consideration flattered my ideas during this journey, and furnished
    the most delicious reveries, which, no doubt, no fear of my future
    condition arose to embitter. In sending me to Turin, I thought they
    engaged to find me an agreeable subsistence there; thus eased of every
    care I passed lightly on, while young desires, enchanting hopes, and
    brilliant prospects employed my mind; each object that presented itself
    seemed to insure my approaching felicity. I imagined that every house
    was filled with joyous festivity, the meadows resounded with sports and
    revelry, the rivers offered refreshing baths, delicious fish wantoned in
    these streams, and how delightful was it to ramble along the flowery
    banks! The trees were loaded with the choicest fruits, while their shade
    afforded the most charming and voluptuous retreats to happy lovers; the
    mountains abounded with milk and cream; peace and leisure, simplicity and
    joy, mingled with the charm of going I knew not whither, and everything I
    saw carried to my heart some new cause for rapture. The grandeur,
    variety, and real beauty of the scene, in some measure rendered the charm
    reasonable, in which vanity came in for its share; to go so young to
    Italy, view such an extent of country, and pursue the route of Hannibal
    over the Alps, appeared a glory beyond my age; add to all this our
    frequent and agreeable halts, with a good appetite and plenty to satisfy
    it; for in truth it was not worth while to be sparing; at Mr. Sabran's
    table what I eat could scarce be missed. In the whole course of my life
    I cannot recollect an interval more perfectly exempt from care, than the
    seven or eight days I was passing from Annecy to Turin. As we were
    obliged to walk Madam Sabran's pace, it rather appeared an agreeable
    jaunt than a fatiguing journey; there still remains the most pleasing
    impressions of it on my mind, and the idea of a pedestrian excursion,
    particularly among the mountains, has from this time seemed delightful.

    It was only in my happiest days that I travelled on foot, and ever with
    the most unbounded satisfaction; afterwards, occupied with business and
    encumbered with baggage, I was forced to act the gentleman and employ a
    carriage, where care, embarrassment, and restraint, were sure to be my
    companions, and instead of being delighted with the journey, I only
    wished to arrive at the place of destination.

    I was a long time at Paris, wishing to meet with two companions of
    similar dispositions, who would each agree to appropriate fifty guineas
    of his property and a year of his time to making the tour of Italy on
    foot, with no other attendance than a young fellow to carry our
    necessaries; I have met with many who seemed enchanted with the project,
    but considered it only as a visionary scheme, which served well enough to
    talk of, without any design of putting it in execution. One day,
    speaking with enthusiasm of this project to Diderot and Grimm, they gave
    into the proposal with such warmth that I thought the matter concluded
    on; but it only turned out a journey on paper, in which Grimm thought
    nothing so pleasing as making Diderot commit a number of impieties, and
    shutting me up in the Inquisition for them, instead of him.

    My regret at arriving so soon at Turin was compensated by the pleasure of
    viewing a large city, and the hope of figuring there in a conspicuous
    character, for my brain already began to be intoxicated with the fumes of
    ambition; my present situation appeared infinitely above that of an
    apprentice, and I was far from foreseeing how soon I should be much below
    it.

    Before I proceed, I ought to offer an excuse, or justification to the
    reader for the great number of unentertaining particulars I am
    necessitated to repeat. In pursuance of the resolution I have formed to
    enter on this public exhibition of myself, it is necessary that nothing
    should bear the appearance of obscurity or concealment. I should be
    continually under the eye of the reader, he should be enabled to follow
    me In all the wanderings of my heart, through every intricacy of my
    adventures; he must find no void or chasm in my relation, nor lose sight
    of me an instant, lest he should find occasion to say, what was he doing
    at this time; and suspect me of not having dared to reveal the whole. I
    give sufficient scope to malignity in what I say; it is unnecessary I
    should furnish still more by my science.

    My money was all gone, even that I had secretly received from Madam de
    Warrens: I had been so indiscreet as to divulge this secret, and my
    conductors had taken care to profit by it. Madam Sabran found means to
    deprive me of everything I had, even to a ribbon embroidered with silver,
    with which Madam de Warrens had adorned the hilt of my sword; this I
    regretted more than all the rest; indeed the sword itself would have gone
    the same way, had I been less obstinately bent on retaining it. They
    had, it is true, supported me during the journey, but left me nothing at
    the end of it, and I arrived at Turin, without money, clothes, or linen,
    being precisely in the situation to owe to my merit alone the whole honor
    of that fortune I was about to acquire.

    I took care in the first place to deliver the letters I was charged with,
    and was presently conducted to the hospital of the catechumens, to be
    instructed in that religion, for which, in return, I was to receive
    subsistence. On entering, I passed an iron-barred gate, which was
    immediately double-locked on me; this beginning was by no means
    calculated to give me a favorable opinion of my situation. I was then
    conducted to a large apartment, whose furniture consisted of a wooden
    altar at the farther end, on which was a large crucifix, and round it
    several indifferent chairs, of the same materials. In this hall of
    audience were assembled four or five ill-looking banditti, my comrades in
    instruction, who would rather have been taken for trusty servants of the
    devil than candidates for the kingdom of heaven. Two of these fellows
    were Sclavonians, but gave out they were African Jews, and (as they
    assured me) had run through Spain and Italy, embracing the Christian
    faith, and being baptised wherever they thought it worth their labor.

    Soon after they opened another iron gate, which divided a large balcony
    that overlooked a court yard, and by this avenue entered our sister
    catechumens, who, like me, were going to be regenerated, not by baptism
    but a solemn abjuration. A viler set of idle, dirty, abandoned harlots,
    never disgraced any persuasion; one among them, however, appeared pretty
    and interesting; she might be about my own age, perhaps a year or two
    older, and had a pair of roguish eyes, which frequently encountered mine;
    this was enough to inspire me with the desire of becoming acquainted with
    her, but she had been so strongly recommended to the care of the old
    governess of this respectable sisterhood, and was so narrowly watched by
    the pious missionary, who labored for her conversion with more zeal than
    diligence, that during the two months we remained together in this house
    (where she had already been three) I found it absolutely impossible to
    exchange a word with her. She must have been extremely stupid, though
    she had not the appearance of it, for never was a longer course of
    instruction; the holy man could never bring her to a state of mind fit
    for abjuration; meantime she became weary of her cloister, declaring
    that, Christian or not, she would stay there no longer; and they were
    obliged to take her at her word, lest she should grow refractory, and
    insist on departing as great a sinner as she came.

    This hopeful community were assembled in honor of the new-comer; when our
    guides made us a short exhortation: I was conjured to be obedient to the
    grace that Heaven had bestowed on me; the rest were admonished to assist
    me with their prayers, and give me edification by their good example.
    Our virgins then retired to another apartment, and I was left to
    contemplate, at leisure, that wherein I found myself.

    The next morning we were again assembled for instruction: I now began to
    reflect, for the first time, on the step I was about to take, and the
    circumstances which had led me to it.

    I repeat, and shall perhaps repeat again, an assertion I have already
    advanced, and of whose truth I every day receive fresh conviction, which
    is, that if ever child received a reasonable and virtuous education, it
    was myself. Born in a family of unexceptionable morals, every lesson I
    received was replete with maxims of prudence and virtue. My father
    (though fond of gallantry) not only possessed distinguished probity, but
    much religion; in the world he appeared a man of pleasure, in his family
    he was a Christian, and implanted early in my mind those sentiments he
    felt the force of. My three aunts were women of virtue and piety; the
    two eldest were professed devotees, and the third, who united all the
    graces of wit and good sense, was, perhaps, more truly religious than
    either, though with less ostentation. From the bosom of this amiable
    family I was transplanted to M. Lambercier's, a man dedicated to the
    ministry, who believed the doctrine he taught, and acted up to its
    precepts. He and his sister matured by their instructions those
    principles of judicious piety I had already imbibed, and the means
    employed by these worthy people were so well adapted to the effect they
    meant to produce, that so far from being fatigued, I scarce ever listened
    to their admonitions without finding myself sensibly affected, and
    forming resolutions to live virtuously, from which, except in moments of
    forgetfulness, I seldom swerved. At my uncle's, religion was far more
    tiresome, because they made it an employment; with my master I thought no
    more of it, though my sentiments continued the same: I had no companions
    to vitiate my morals: I became idle, careless, and obstinate, but my
    principles were not impaired.

    I possessed as much religion, therefore, as a child could be supposed
    capable of acquiring. Why should I now disguise my thoughts? I am
    persuaded I had more. In my childhood, I was not a child; I felt, I
    thought as a man: as I advanced in years, I mingled with the ordinary
    class; in my infancy I was distinguished from it. I shall doubtless
    incur ridicule by thus modestly holding myself up for a prodigy--I am
    content. Let those who find themselves disposed to it, laugh their fill;
    afterward, let them find a child that at six years old is delighted,
    interested, affected with romances, even to the shedding floods of tears;
    I shall then feel my ridiculous vanity, and acknowledge myself in an
    error.

    Thus when I said we should not converse with children on religion, if we
    wished them ever to possess any; when I asserted they were incapable of
    communion with the Supreme Being, even in our confined degree, I drew my
    conclusions from general observation; I knew they were not applicable to
    particular instances: find J. J. Rousseau of six years old, converse with
    them on religious subjects at seven, and I will be answerable that the
    experiment will be attended with no danger.

    It is understood, I believe, that a child, or even a man, is likely to be
    most sincere while persevering in that religion in whose belief he was
    born and educated; we frequently detract from, seldom make any additions
    to it: dogmatical faith is the effect of education. In addition to this
    general principle which attached me to the religion of my forefathers, I
    had that particular aversion our city entertains for Catholicism, which
    is represented there as the most monstrous idolatry, and whose clergy are
    painted in the blackest colors. This sentiment was so firmly imprinted
    on my mind, that I never dared to look into their churches--I could not
    bear to meet a priest in his surplice, and never did I hear the bells of
    a procession sound without shuddering with horror; these sensations soon
    wore off in great cities, but frequently returned in country parishes,
    which bore more similarity to the spot where I first experienced them;
    meantime this dislike was singularly contrasted by the remembrance of
    those caresses which priests in the neighborhood of Geneva are fond of
    bestowing on the children of that city. If the bells of the viaticum
    alarmed me, the chiming for mass or vespers called me to a breakfast, a
    collation, to the pleasure of regaling on fresh butter, fruits, or milk;
    the good cheer of M. de Pontverre had produced a considerable effect on
    me; my former abhorrence began to diminish, and looking on popery through
    the medium of amusement and good living, I easily reconciled myself to
    the idea of enduring, though I never entertained but a very transient and
    distant idea of making a solemn profession of it.

    At this moment such a transaction appeared in all its horrors; I
    shuddered at the engagement I had entered into, and its inevitable
    consequences. The future neophytes with which I was surrounded were not
    calculated to sustain my courage by their example, and I could not help
    considering the holy work I was about to perform as the action of a
    villain. Though young, I was sufficiently convinced, that whatever
    religion might be the true one, I was about to sell mine; and even should
    I chance to chose the best, I lied to the Holy Ghost, and merited the
    disdain of every good man. The more I considered, the more I despised
    myself, and trembled at the fate which had led me into such a
    predicament, as if my present situation had not been of my own seeking.
    There were moments when these compunctions were so strong that had I
    found the door open but for an instant, I should certainly have made my
    escape; but this was impossible, nor was the resolution of any long
    duration, being combated by too many secret motives to stand any chance
    of gaining the victory.

    My fixed determination not to return to Geneva, the shame that would
    attend it, the difficulty of repassing the mountains, at a distance from
    my country, without friends, and without resources, everything concurred
    to make me consider my remorse of conscience, as a too late repentance.
    I affected to reproach myself for what I had done, to seek excuses for
    that I intended to do, and by aggravating the errors of the past, looked
    on the future as an inevitable consequence. I did not say, nothing is
    yet done, and you may be innocent if you please; but I said, tremble at
    the crime thou hast committed, which hath reduced thee to the necessity
    of filling up the measure of thine iniquities.

    It required more resolution than was natural to my age to revoke those
    expectations which I had given them reason to entertain, break those
    chains with which I was enthralled, and resolutely declare I would
    continue in the religion of my forefathers, whatever might be the
    consequence. The affair was already too far advanced, and spite of all
    my efforts they would have made a point of bringing it to a conclusion.

    The sophism which ruined me has had a similar affect on the greater part
    of mankind, who lament the want of resolution when the opportunity for
    exercising it is over. The practice of virtue is only difficult from our
    own negligence; were, we always discreet, we should seldom have occasion
    for any painful exertion of it; we are captivated by desires we might
    readily surmount, give into temptations that might easily be resisted,
    and insensibly get into embarrassing, perilous situations, from which we
    cannot extricate ourselves but with the utmost difficulty; intimidated by
    the effort, we fall into the abyss, saying to the Almighty, why hast thou
    made us such weak creatures? But, notwithstanding our vain pretexts, He
    replies, by our consciences, I formed ye too weak to get out of the gulf,
    because I gave ye sufficient strength not to have fallen into it.

    I was not absolutely resolved to become a Catholic, but, as it was not
    necessary to declare my intentions immediately, I gradually accustomed
    myself to the idea; hoping, meantime, that some unforeseen event would
    extricate me from my embarrassment. In order to gain time, I resolved to
    make the best defence I possibly could in favor of my own opinion; but my
    vanity soon rendered this resolution unnecessary, for on finding I
    frequently embarrassed those who had the care of my instruction, I wished
    to heighten my triumph by giving them a complete overthrow. I zealously
    pursued my plan, not without the ridiculous hope of being able to convert
    my convertors; for I was simple enough to believe, that could I convince
    them of their errors, they would become Protestants; they did not find,
    therefore, that facility in the work which they had expected, as I
    differed both in regard to will and knowledge from the opinion they had
    entertained of me.

    Protestants, in general, are better instructed in the principles of their
    religion than Catholics; the reason is obvious; the doctrine of the
    former requires discussion, of the latter a blind submission; the
    Catholic must content himself with the decisions of others, the
    Protestant must learn to decide for himself; they were not ignorant of
    this, but neither my age nor appearance promised much difficulty to men
    so accustomed to disputation. They knew, likewise, that I had not
    received my first communion, nor the instructions which accompany it;
    but, on the other hand, they had no idea of the information I received at
    M. Lambercier's, or that I had learned the history of the church and
    empire almost by heart at my father's; and though (since that time,
    nearly forgot, when warmed by the dispute, very unfortunately for these
    gentlemen), it again returned to my memory.

    A little old priest, but tolerably venerable, held the first conference;
    at which we were all convened. On the part of my comrades, it was rather
    a catechism than a controversy, and he found more pains in giving them
    instruction than answering their objections; but when it came to my turn,
    it was a different matter; I stopped him at every article, and did not
    spare a single remark that I thought would create a difficulty: this
    rendered the conference long and extremely tiresome to the assistants.
    My old priest talked a great deal, was very warm, frequently rambled from
    the subject, and extricated himself from difficulties by saying he was
    not sufficiently versed in the French language.

    The next day, lest my indiscreet objections should injure the minds of
    those who were better disposed, I was led into a separate chamber and put
    under the care of a younger priest, a fine speaker; that is, one who was
    fond of long perplexed sentences, and proud of his own abilities, if ever
    doctor was. I did not, however, suffer myself to be intimidated by his
    overbearing looks: and being sensible that I could maintain my ground, I
    combated his assertions, exposed his mistakes, and laid about me in the
    best manner I was able. He thought to silence me at once with St.
    Augustine, St. Gregory, and the rest of the fathers, but found, to his
    ineffable surprise, that I could handle these almost as dexterously as
    himself; not that I had ever read them, or he either, perhaps, but I
    retained a number of passages taken from my Le Sueur, and when he bore
    hard on me with one citation, without standing to dispute, I parried it
    with another, which method embarrassed him extremely. At length,
    however, he got the better of me for two very potent reasons; in the
    first place, he was of the strongest side; young as I was, I thought it
    might be dangerous to drive him to extremities, for I plainly saw the old
    priest was neither satisfied with me nor my erudition. In the next
    place, he had studied, I had not; this gave a degree of method to his
    arguments which I could not follow; and whenever he found himself pressed
    by an unforeseen objection he put it off to the next conference,
    pretending I rambled from the question in dispute. Sometimes he even
    rejected all my quotations, maintaining they were false, and, offering to
    fetch the book, defied me to find them. He knew he ran very little risk,
    and that, with all my borrowed learning, I was not sufficiently
    accustomed to books, and too poor a Latinist to find a passage in a large
    volume, had I been ever so well assured it was there. I even suspected
    him of having been guilty of a perfidy with which he accused our
    ministers, and that he fabricated passages sometimes in order to evade an
    objection that incommoded him.

    Meanwhile the hospital became every day more disagreeable to me, and
    seeing but one way to get out of it, I endeavored to hasten my abjuration
    with as much eagerness as I had hitherto sought to retard it.

    The two Africans had been baptised with great ceremony, they were habited
    in white from head to foot to signify the purity of their regenerated
    souls. My turn came a month after; for all this time was thought
    necessary by my directors, that they might have the honor of a difficult
    conversion, and every dogma of their faith was recapitulated, in order to
    triumph the more completely over my new docility.

    At length, sufficiently instructed and disposed to the will of my
    masters, I was led in procession to the metropolitan church of St. John,
    to make a solemn abjuration, and undergo a ceremony made use of on these
    occasions, which, though not baptism, is very similar, and serves to
    persuade the people that Protestants are not Christians. I was clothed
    in a kind of gray robe, decorated with white Brandenburgs. Two men, one
    behind, the other before me, carried copper basins which they kept
    striking with a key, and in which those who were charitably disposed put
    their alms, according as they found themselves influenced by religion or
    good will for the new convert; in a word, nothing of Catholic pageantry
    was omitted that could render the solemnity edifying to the populace, or
    humiliating to me. The white dress might have been serviceable, but as I
    had not the honor to be either Moor or Jew, they did not think fit to
    compliment me with it.

    The affair did not end here, I must now go to the Inquisition to be
    absolved from the dreadful sin of heresy, and return to the bosom of the
    church with the same ceremony to which Henry the Fourth was subjected by
    his ambassador. The air and manner of the right reverend Father
    Inquisitor was by no means calculated to dissipate the secret horror that
    seized my spirits on entering this holy mansion. After several questions
    relative to my faith, situation, and family, he asked me bluntly if my
    mother was damned? Terror repressed the first gust of indignation; this
    gave me time to recollect myself, and I answered, I hope not, for God
    might have enlightened her last moments. The monk made no reply, but his
    silence was attended with a look by no means expressive of approbation.

    All these ceremonies ended, the very moment I flattered myself I should
    be plentifully provided for, they exhorted me to continue a good
    Christian, and live in obedience to the grace I had received; then
    wishing me good fortune, with rather more than twenty francs of small
    money in my pocket, the produce of the above--mentioned collection,
    turned me out, shut the door on me, and I saw no more of them!

    Thus, in a moment, all my flattering expectations were at an end; and
    nothing remained from my interested conversion but the remembrance of
    having been made both a dupe and an apostate. It is easy to imagine what
    a sudden revolution was produced in my ideas, when every brilliant
    expectation of making a fortune terminated by seeing myself plunged
    in the completest misery. In the morning I was deliberating what palace
    I should inhabit, before night I was reduced to seek my lodging in the
    street. It may be supposed that I gave myself up to the most violent
    transports of despair, rendered more bitter by a consciousness that my
    own folly had reduced me to these extremities; but the truth is, I
    experienced none of these disagreeable sensations. I had passed two
    months in absolute confinement; this was new to me; I was now
    emancipated, and the sentiment I felt most forcibly, was joy at my
    recovered liberty. After a slavery which had appeared tedious, I was
    again master of my time and actions, in a great city, abundant in
    resources, crowded with people of fortune, to whom my merit and talents
    could not fail to recommend me. I had sufficient time before me to
    expect this good fortune, for my twenty livres seemed an inexhaustible
    treasure, which I might dispose of without rendering an account of to
    anyone. It was the first time I had found myself so rich, and far from
    giving way to melancholy reflections, I only adopted other hopes, in
    which self-love was by no means a loser. Never did I feel so great a
    degree of confidence and security; I looked on my fortune as already made
    and was pleased to think I should have no one but myself to thank for the
    acquisition of it.

    The first thing I did was to satisfy my curiosity by rambling all over
    the city, and I seemed to consider it as a confirmation of my liberty; I
    went to see the soldiers mount guard, and was delighted with their
    military accouterment; I followed processions, and was pleased with the
    solemn music of the priests; I next went to see the king's palace, which
    I approached with awe, but seeing others enter, I followed their example,
    and no one prevented me; perhaps I owed this favor to the small parcel I
    carried under my arm; be that as it may, I conceived a high opinion of my
    consequence from this circumstance, and already thought myself an
    inhabitant there. The weather was hot; I had walked about till I was
    both fatigued and hungry; wishing for some refreshment, I went into a
    milk-house; they brought me some cream-cheese curds and whey, and two
    slices of that excellent Piedmont bread, which I prefer to any other; and
    for five or six sous I had one of the most delicious meals I ever
    recollect to have made.

    It was time to seek a lodging: as I already knew enough of the
    Piedmontese language to make myself understood, this was a work of no
    great difficulty; and I had so much prudence, that I wished to adapt it
    rather to the state of my purse than the bent of my inclinations. In the
    course of my inquiries, I was informed that a soldier's wife, in
    Po-street, furnished lodgings to servants out of place at only one sou a
    night, and finding one of her poor beds disengaged, I took possession of
    it. She was young and newly married, though she already had five or six
    children. Mother, children and lodgers, all slept in the same chamber,
    and it continued thus while I remained there. She was good-natured,
    swore like a carman, and wore neither cap nor handkerchief; but she had a
    gentle heart, was officious; and to me both kind and serviceable.

    For several days I gave myself up to the pleasures of independence and
    curiosity; I continued wandering about the city and its environs,
    examining every object that seemed curious or new; and, indeed, most
    things had that appearance to a young novice. I never omitted visiting
    the court, and assisted regularly every morning at the king's mass.
    I thought it a great honor to be in the same chapel with this prince
    and his retinue; but my passion for music, which now began to make its
    appearance, was a greater incentive than the splendor of the court,
    which, soon seen and always the same, presently lost its attraction.
    The King of Sardinia had at that time the best music in Europe; Somis,
    Desjardins, and the Bezuzzi shone there alternately; all these were not
    necessary to fascinate a youth whom the sound of the most simple
    instrument, provided it was just, transported with joy. Magnificence
    only produced a stupid admiration, without any violent desire to partake
    of it, my thoughts were principally employed in observing whether any
    young princess was present that merited my homage, and whom I could make
    the heroine of a romance.

    Meantime, I was on the point of beginning one; in a less elevated sphere,
    it is true, but where could I have brought it to a conclusion, I should
    have found pleasures a thousand times more delicious.

    Though I lived with the strictest economy, my purse insensibly grew
    lighter. This economy was, however, less the effect of prudence than
    that love of simplicity, which, even to this day, the use of the most
    expensive tables has not been able to vitiate. Nothing in my idea,
    either at that time or since, could exceed a rustic repast; give me milk,
    vegetables, eggs, and brown bread, with tolerable wine and I shall always
    think myself sumptuously regaled; a good appetite will furnish out the
    rest, if the maitre d' hotel, with a number of unnecessary footmen, do
    not satiate me with their important attentions. Five or six sous would
    then procure me a more agreeable meal than as many livres would have done
    since; I was abstemious, therefore, for want of a temptation to be
    otherwise: though I do not know but I am wrong to call this abstinence,
    for with my pears, new cheese, bread and some glasses of Montferrat wine,
    which you might have cut with a knife, I was the greatest of epicures.
    Notwithstanding my expenses were very moderate, it was possible to see
    the end of twenty livres; I was every day more convinced of this, and,
    spite of the giddiness of youth, my apprehensions for the future amounted
    almost to terror. All my castles in the air were vanished, and I became
    sensible of the necessity of seeking some occupation that would procure
    me a subsistence.

    Even this was a work of difficulty; I thought of my engraving, but knew
    too little of it to be employed as a journeyman, nor do masters abound in
    Turin; I resolved, therefore, till something better presented itself, to
    go from shop to shop, offering to engrave ciphers, or coats of arms, on
    pieces of plate, etc., and hoped to get employment by working at a low
    price; or taking what they chose to give me. Even this expedient did not
    answer my expectations; almost all my applications were ineffectual, the
    little I procured being hardly sufficient to produce a few scanty meals.

    Walking one morning pretty early in the 'Contra nova', I saw a young
    tradeswoman behind a counter, whose looks were so charmingly attractive,
    that, notwithstanding my timidity with the ladies, I entered the shop
    without hesitation, offered my services as usual: and had the happiness
    to have it accepted. She made me sit down and recite my little history,
    pitied my forlorn situation; bade me be cheerful, and endeavored to make
    me so by an assurance that every good Christian would give me assistance;
    then (while she had occasion for) she went up stairs and fetched me
    something for breakfast. This seemed a promising beginning, nor was what
    followed less flattering: she was satisfied with my work, and, when I had
    a little recovered myself, still more with my discourse. She was rather
    elegantly dressed and notwithstanding her gentle looks this appearance of
    gayety had disconcerted me; but her good-nature, the compassionate tone
    of her voice, with her gentle and caressing manner, soon set me at ease
    with myself; I saw my endeavors to please were crowned with success, and
    this assurance made me succeed the more. Though an Italian, and too
    pretty to be entirely devoid of coquetry, she had so much modesty, and I
    so great a share of timidity, that our adventure was not likely to be
    brought to a very speedy conclusion, nor did they give us time to make
    any good of it. I cannot recall the few short moments I passed with this
    lovely woman without being sensible of an inexpressible charm, and can
    yet say, it was there I tasted in their utmost perfection the most
    delightful, as well as the purest pleasures of love.

    She was a lively pleasing brunette, and the good nature that was painted
    on her lovely face rendered her vivacity more interesting. She was
    called Madam Basile: her husband, who was considerably older than
    herself, consigned her, during his absence, to the care of a clerk, too
    disagreeable to be thought dangerous; but who, notwithstanding, had
    pretensions that he seldom showed any signs of, except of ill--humors, a
    good share of which he bestowed on me; though I was pleased to hear him
    play the flute, on which he was a tolerable musician. This second
    Egistus was sure to grumble whenever he saw me go into his mistress'
    apartment, treating me with a degree of disdain which she took care to
    repay him with interest; seeming pleased to caress me in his presence,
    on purpose to torment him. This kind of revenge, though perfectly to my
    taste, would have been still more charming in a 'tete a tete', but she
    did not proceed so far; at least, there was a difference in the
    expression of her kindness. Whether she thought me too young, that it
    was my place to make advances, or that she was seriously resolved to be
    virtuous, she had at such times a kind of reserve, which, though not
    absolutely discouraging, kept my passion within bounds.

    I did not feel the same real and tender respect for her as I did for
    Madam de Warrens: I was embarrassed, agitated, feared to look, and hardly
    dared to breathe in her presence, yet to have left her would have been
    worse than death: How fondly did my eyes devour whatever they could gaze
    on without being perceived! the flowers on her gown, the point of her
    pretty foot, the interval of a round white arm that appeared between her
    glove and ruffle, the least part of her neck, each object increased the
    force of all the rest, and added to the infatuation. Gazing thus on what
    was to be seen, and even more than was to be seen, my sight became
    confused, my chest seemed contracted, respiration was every moment more
    painful. I had the utmost difficulty to hide my agitation, to prevent my
    sighs from being heard, and this difficulty was increased by the silence
    in which we were frequently plunged. Happily, Madam Basile, busy at her
    work, saw nothing of all this, or seemed not to see it: yet I sometimes
    observed a kind of sympathy, especially at the frequent rising of her
    handkerchief, and this dangerous sight almost mastered every effort, but
    when on the point of giving way to my transports, she spoke a few words
    to me with an air of tranquility, and in an instant the agitation
    subsided.

    I saw her several times in this manner without a word, a gesture, or even
    a look, too expressive, making the least intelligence between us. The
    situation was both my torment and delight, for hardly in the simplicity
    of my heart, could I imagine the cause of my uneasiness. I should
    suppose these 'tete a tete' could not be displeasing to her, at least,
    she sought frequent occasions to renew them; this was a very
    disinterested labor, certainly, as appeared by the use she made, or ever
    suffered me to make of them.

    Being, one day, wearied with the clerk's discourse, she had retired to
    her chamber; I made haste to finish what I had to do in the back shop,
    and followed her; the door was half open, and I entered without being
    perceived. She was embroidering near a window on the opposite side of
    the room; she could not see me; and the carts in the streets made too
    much noise for me to be heard. She was always well dressed, but this day
    her attire bordered on coquetry. Her attitude was graceful, her head
    leaning gently forward, discovered a small circle of her neck; her hair,
    elegantly dressed was ornamented with flowers; her figure was universally
    charming, and I had an uninterrupted opportunity to admire it. I was
    absolutely in a state of ecstasy, and, involuntary, sinking on my knees,
    I passionately extended my arms towards her, certain she could not hear,
    and having no conception that she could see me; but there was a chimney
    glass at the end of the room that betrayed all my proceedings. I am
    ignorant what effect this transport produced on her; she did not speak;
    she did not look on me; but, partly turning her head, with the movement
    of her finger only, she pointed to the mat that was at her feet--To start
    up, with an articulate cry of joy, and occupy the place she had
    indicated, was the work of a moment; but it will hardly be believed I
    dared attempt no more, not even to speak, raise my eyes to hers, or rest
    an instant on her knees, though in an attitude which seemed to render
    such a support necessary. I was dumb, immovable, but far enough from a
    state of tranquility; agitation, joy, gratitude, ardent indefinite
    wishes, restrained by the fear of giving displeasure, which my
    unpractised heart too much dreaded, were sufficiently discernible. She
    neither appeared more tranquil, nor less intimidated than myself--uneasy
    at my present situation; confounded at having brought me there, beginning
    to tremble for the effects of a sign which she had made without
    reflecting on the consequences, neither giving encouragement, nor
    expressing disapprobation, with her eyes fixed on her work, she
    endeavored to appear unconscious of everything that passed; but all my
    stupidity could not hinder me from concluding that she partook of my
    embarrassment, perhaps, my transports, and was only hindered by a
    bashfulness like mine, without even that supposition giving me power to
    surmount it. Five or six years older than myself, every advance,
    according to my idea, should have been made by her, and, since she did
    nothing to encourage mine, I concluded they would offend her. Even at
    this time, I am inclined to believe I thought right; she certainly had
    wit enough to perceive that a novice like me had occasion, not only for
    encouragement but instruction.

    I am ignorant how this animated, though dumb scene would have ended, or
    how long I should have continued immovable in this ridiculous, though
    delicious, situation, had we not been interrupted--in the height of my
    agitation, I heard the kitchen door open, which joined Madam Basile's
    chamber; who, being alarmed, said, with a quick voice and action, "Get
    up! Here's Rosina!" Rising hastily I seized one of her hands, which she
    held out to me, and gave it two eager kisses; at the second I felt this
    charming hand press gently on my lips. Never in my life did I enjoy so
    sweet a moment; but the occasion I had lost returned no more, this being
    the conclusion of our amours.

    This may be the reason why her image yet remains imprinted on my heart
    in such charming colors, which have even acquired fresh lustre since I
    became acquainted with the world and women. Had she been mistress of the
    least degree of experience, she would have taken other measures to
    animate so youthful a lover; but if her heart was weak, it was virtuous;
    and only suffered itself to be borne away by a powerful though
    involuntary inclination. This was, apparently, her first infidelity, and
    I should, perhaps, have found more difficulty in vanquishing her scruples
    than my own; but, without proceeding so far, I experienced in her company
    the most inexpressible delights. Never did I taste with any other woman
    pleasures equal to those two minutes which I passed at the feet of Madam
    Basile without even daring to touch her gown. I am convinced no
    satisfaction can be compared to that we feel with a virtuous woman we
    esteem; all is transport!--A sign with the finger, a hand lightly pressed
    against my lips, were the only favors I ever received from Madam Basile,
    yet the bare remembrance of these trifling condescensions continues to
    transport me.

    It was in vain I watched the two following days for another tete a tete;
    it was impossible to find an opportunity; nor could I perceive on her
    part any desire to forward it; her behavior was not colder, but more
    distant than usual, and I believe she avoided my looks for fear of not
    being able sufficiently to govern her own. The cursed clerk was more
    vexatious than ever; he even became a wit, telling me, with a satirical
    sneer, that I should unquestionably make my way among the ladies. I
    trembled lest I should have been guilty of some indiscretion, and looking
    at myself as already engaged in an intrigue, endeavored to cover with an
    air of mystery an inclination which hitherto certainly had no great need
    of it; this made me more circumspect in my choice of opportunities, and
    by resolving only to seize such as should be absolutely free from the
    danger of a surprise, I met none.

    Another romantic folly, which I could never overcome, and which, joined
    to my natural timidity, tended directly to contradict the clerk's
    predictions, is, I always loved too sincerely, too perfectly, I may say,
    to find happiness easily attainable. Never were passions at the same
    time more lively and pure than mine; never was love more tender, more
    true, or more disinterested; freely would I have sacrificed my own
    happiness to that of the object of my affection; her reputation was
    dearer than my life, and I could promise myself no happiness for which I
    would have exposed her peace of mind for a moment. This disposition has
    ever made me employ so much care, use so many precautions, such secrecy
    in my adventures, that all of them have failed; in a word, my want of
    success with the women has ever proceeded from having loved them too
    well.

    To return to our Egistus, the fluter; it was remarkable that in becoming
    more insupportable, the traitor put on the appearance of complaisance.
    From the first day Madam Basile had taken me under her protection, she
    had endeavored to make me serviceable in the warehouse; and finding I
    understood arithmetic tolerably well, she proposed his teaching me to
    keep the books; a proposition that was but indifferently received by this
    humorist, who might, perhaps, be fearful of being supplanted. As this
    failed, my whole employ, besides what engraving I had to do, was to
    transcribe some bills and accounts, to write several books over fair,
    and translate commercial letters from Italian into French. All at once
    he thought fit to accept the before rejected proposal, saying, he would
    teach me bookkeeping, by double--entry, and put me in a situation to
    offer my services to M. Basile on his return; but there was something so
    false, malicious, and ironical, in his air and manner, that it was by no
    means calculated to inspire me with confidence. Madam Basile, replied
    archly, that I was much obliged to him for his kind offer, but she hoped
    fortune would be more favorable to my merits, for it would be a great
    misfortune, with so much sense, that I should only be a pitiful clerk.

    She often said, she would procure me some acquaintance that might be
    useful; she doubtless felt the necessity of parting with me, and had
    prudently resolved on it. Our mute declaration had been made on
    Thursday, the Sunday following she gave a dinner. A Jacobin of good
    appearance was among the guests, to whom she did me the honor to present
    me. The monk treated me very affectionately, congratulated me on my late
    conversion, mentioned several particulars of my story, which plainly
    showed he had been made acquainted with it, then, tapping me familiarly
    on the cheek, bade me be good, to keep up my spirits, and come to see him
    at his convent, where he should have more opportunity to talk with me.
    I judged him to be a person of some consequence by the deference that was
    paid him; and by the paternal tone he assumed with Madam Basile, to be
    her confessor. I likewise remember that his decent familiarity was
    attended with an appearance of esteem, and even respect for his fair
    penitent, which then made less impression on me than at present. Had I
    possessed more experience how should I have congratulated myself on
    having touched the heart of a young woman respected by her confessor!

    The table not being large enough to accommodate all the company, a small
    one was prepared, where I had the satisfaction of dining with our
    agreeable clerk; but I lost nothing with regard to attention and good
    cheer, for several plates were sent to the side-table which were
    certainly not intended for him.

    Thus far all went well; the ladies were in good spirits, and the
    gentlemen very gallant, while Madam Basile did the honors of the table
    with peculiar grace. In the midst of the dinner we heard a chaise stop
    at the door, and presently some one coming up stairs--it was M. Basile.
    Methinks I now see him entering, in his scarlet coat with gold buttons
    --from that day I have held the color in abhorrence. M. Basile was a tall
    handsome man, of good address: he entered with a consequential look and
    an air of taking his family unawares, though none but friends were
    present. His wife ran to meet him, threw her arms about his neck, and
    gave him a thousand caresses, which he received with the utmost
    indifference; and without making any return saluted the company and took
    his place at table. They were just beginning to speak of his journey,
    when casting his eye on the small table he asked in a sharp tone, what
    lad that was? Madam Basile answered ingenuously. He then inquired
    whether I lodged in the house; and was answered in the negative. "Why
    not?" replied he, rudely, "since he stays here all day, he might as well
    remain all night too." The monk now interfered, with a serious and true
    eulogium on Madam Basile: in a few words he made mine also, adding, that
    so far from blaming, he ought to further the pious charity of his wife,
    since it was evident she had not passed the bounds of discretion. The
    husband answered with an air of petulance, which (restrained by the
    presence of the monk) he endeavored to stifle; it was, however,
    sufficient to let me understand he had already received information of
    me, and that our worthy clerk had rendered me an ill office.

    We had hardly risen from table, when the latter came in triumph from his
    employer, to inform me, I must leave the house that instant, and never
    more during my life dare to set foot there. He took care to aggravate
    this commission by everything that could render it cruel and insulting.
    I departed without a word, my heart overwhelmed with sorrow, less for
    being obliged to quit this amiable woman, than at the thought of leaving
    her to the brutality of such a husband. He was certainly right to wish
    her faithful; but though prudent and wellborn, she was an Italian, that
    is to say, tender and vindictive; which made me think, he was extremely
    imprudent in using means the most likely in the world to draw on himself
    the very evil he so much dreaded.

    Such was the success of my first adventure. I walked several times up
    and down the street, wishing to get a sight of what my heart incessantly
    regretted; but I could only discover her husband, or the vigilant clerk,
    who, perceiving me, made a sign with the ell they used in the shop, which
    was more expressive than alluring: finding, therefore, that I was so
    completely watched, my courage failed, and I went no more. I wished,
    at least, to find out the patron she had provided me, but, unfortunately,
    I did not know his name. I ranged several times round the convent,
    endeavoring in vain to meet with him. At length, other events banished
    the delightful remembrance of Madam Basile; and in a short time I so far
    forgot her, that I remained as simple, as much a novice as ever, nor did
    my penchant for pretty women even receive any sensible augmentation.

    Her liberality had, however, increased my little wardrobe, though she had
    done this with precaution and prudence, regarding neatness more than
    decoration, and to make me comfortable rather than brilliant. The coat I
    had brought from Geneva was yet wearable, she only added a hat and some
    linen. I had no ruffles, nor would she give me any, not but I felt a
    great inclination for them. She was satisfied with having put it in my
    power to keep myself clean, though a charge to do this was unnecessary
    while I was to appear before her.

    A few days after this catastrophe; my hostess, who, as I have already
    observed, was very friendly, with great satisfaction informed me she had
    heard of a situation, and that a lady of rank desired to see me. I
    immediately thought myself in the road to great adventures; that being
    the point to which all my ideas tended: this, however, did not prove so
    brilliant as I had conceived it. I waited on the lady with the servant;
    who had mentioned me: she asked a number of questions, and my answers not
    displeasing her, I immediately entered into her service not, indeed, in
    the quality of favorite, but as a footman. I was clothed like the rest
    of her people, the only difference being, they wore a shoulder--knot,
    which I had not, and, as there was no lace on her livery, it appeared
    merely a tradesman's suit. This was the unforeseen conclusion of all my
    great expectancies!

    The Countess of Vercellis, with whom I now lived, was a widow without
    children; her husband was a Piedmontese, but I always believed her to be
    a Savoyard, as I could have no conception that a native of Piedmont could
    speak such good French, and with so pure an accent. She was a
    middle-aged woman, of a noble appearance and cultivated understanding,
    being fond of French literature, in which she was well versed. Her
    letters had the expression, and almost the elegance of Madam de
    Savigne's; some of them might have been taken for hers. My principal
    employ, which was by no means displeasing to me, was to write from her
    dictating; a cancer in the breast, from which she suffered extremely,
    not permitting her to write herself.

    Madam de Vercellis not only possessed a good understanding, but a strong
    and elevated soul. I was with her during her last illness, and saw her
    suffer and die, without showing an instant of weakness, or the least
    effort of constraint; still retaining her feminine manners, without
    entertaining an idea that such fortitude gave her any claim to
    philosophy; a word which was not yet in fashion, nor comprehended by her
    in the sense it is held at present. This strength of disposition
    sometimes extended almost to apathy, ever appearing to feel as little for
    others as herself; and when she relieved the unfortunate, it was rather
    for the sake of acting right, than from a principle of real
    commiseration. I have frequently experienced this insensibility, in some
    measure, during the three months I remained with her. It would have been
    natural to have had an esteem for a young man of some abilities, who was
    incessantly under her observation, and that she should think, as she felt
    her dissolution approaching, that after her death he would have occasion
    for assistance and support: but whether she judged me unworthy of
    particular attention, or that those who narrowly watched all her motions,
    gave her no opportunity to think of any but themselves, she did nothing
    for me.

    I very well recollect that she showed some curiosity to know my story,
    frequently questioning me, and appearing pleased when I showed her the
    letters I wrote to Madam de Warrens, or explained my sentiments; but as
    she never discovered her own, she certainly did not take the right means
    to come at them. My heart, naturally communicative, loved to display its
    feelings, whenever I encountered a similar disposition; but dry, cold
    interrogatories, without any sign of blame or approbation on my answers,
    gave me no confidence. Not being able to determine whether my discourse
    was agreeable or displeasing, I was ever in fear, and thought less of
    expressing my ideas, than of being careful not to say anything that might
    seem to my disadvantage. I have since remarked that this dry method of
    questioning themselves into people's characters is a common trick among
    women who pride themselves on superior understanding. These imagine,
    that by concealing their own sentiments, they shall the more easily
    penetrate into those of others; being ignorant that this method destroys
    the confidence so necessary to make us reveal them. A man, on being
    questioned, is immediately on his guard: and if once he supposes that,
    without any interest in his concerns, you only wish to set him a-talking,
    either he entertains you with lies, is silent, or, examining every word
    before he utters it, rather chooses to pass for a fool, than to be the
    dupe of your curiosity. In short, it is ever a bad method to attempt to
    read the hearts of others by endeavoring to conceal our own.

    Madam de Vercellis never addressed a word to me which seemed to express
    affection, pity, or benevolence. She interrogated me coldly, and my
    answers were uttered with so much timidity, that she doubtless
    entertained but a mean opinion of my intellects, for latterly she never
    asked me any questions, nor said anything but what was absolutely
    necessary for her service. She drew her judgment less from what I really
    was, than from what she had made me, and by considering me as a footman
    prevented my appearing otherwise.

    I am inclined to think I suffered at that time by the same interested
    game of concealed manoeuvre, which has counteracted me throughout my
    life, and given me a very natural aversion for everything that has the
    least appearance of it. Madam de Vercellis having no children, her
    nephew, the Count de la Roque, was her heir, and paid his court
    assiduously, as did her principal domestics, who, seeing her end
    approaching, endeavored to take care of themselves; in short, so many
    were busy about her, that she could hardly have found time to think of
    me. At the head of her household was a M. Lorenzy, an artful genius,
    with a still more artful wife; who had so far insinuated herself into the
    good graces of her mistress, that she was rather on the footing of a
    friend than a servant. She had introduced a niece of hers as lady's
    maid: her name was Mademoiselle Pontal; a cunning gypsy, that gave
    herself all the airs of a waiting-woman, and assisted her aunt so well in
    besetting the countess, that she only saw with their eyes, and acted
    through their hands. I had not the happiness to please this worthy
    triumvirate; I obeyed, but did not wait on them, not conceiving that my
    duty to our general mistress required me to be a servant to her servants.
    Besides this, I was a person that gave them some inquietude; they saw I
    was not in my proper situation, and feared the countess would discover it
    likewise, and by placing me in it, decrease their portions; for such sort
    of people, too greedy to be just, look on every legacy given to others as
    a diminution of their own wealth; they endeavored, therefore, to keep me
    as much out of her sight as possible. She loved to write letters, in her
    situation, but they contrived to give her a distaste to it; persuading
    her, by the aid of the doctor, that it was too fatiguing; and, under
    pretence that I did not understand how to wait on her, they employed two
    great lubberly chairmen for that purpose; in a word, they managed the
    affair so well, that for eight days before she made her will, I had not
    been permitted to enter the chamber. Afterwards I went in as usual, and
    was even more assiduous than any one, being afflicted at the sufferings
    of the unhappy lady, whom I truly respected and beloved for the calmness
    and fortitude with which she bore her illness, and often did I shed tears
    of real sorrow without being perceived by any one.

    At length we lost her--I saw her expire. She had lived like a woman of
    sense and virtue, her death was that of a philosopher. I can truly say,
    she rendered the Catholic religion amiable to me by the serenity with
    which she fulfilled its dictates, without any mixture of negligence or
    affectation. She was naturally serious, but towards the end of her
    illness she possessed a kind of gayety, too regular to be assumed, which
    served as a counterpoise to the melancholy of her situation. She only
    kept her bed two days, continuing to discourse cheerfully with those
    about her to the very last.

    She had bequeathed a year's wages to all the under servants, but, not
    being on the household list, I had nothing: the Count de la Roque,
    however, ordered me thirty livres, and the new coat I had on, which M.
    Lorenzy would certainly have taken from me. He even promised to procure
    me a place; giving me permission to wait on him as often as I pleased.
    Accordingly, I went two or three times, without being able to speak to
    him, and as I was easily repulsed, returned no more; whether I did wrong
    will be seen hereafter.

    Would I had finished what I have to say of my living at Madam de
    Vercellis's. Though my situation apparently remained the same, I did not
    leave her house as I had entered it: I carried with me the long and
    painful remembrance of a crime; an insupportable weight of remorse which
    yet hangs on my conscience, and whose bitter recollection, far from
    weakening, during a period of forty years, seems to gather strength as I
    grow old. Who would believe, that a childish fault should be productive
    of such melancholy consequences? But it is for the more than probable
    effects that my heart cannot be consoled. I have, perhaps, caused an
    amiable, honest, estimable girl, who surely merited a better fate than
    myself, to perish with shame and misery.

    Though it is very difficult to break up housekeeping without confusion,
    and the loss of some property; yet such was the fidelity of the
    domestics, and the vigilance of M. and Madam Lorenzy, that no article of
    the inventory was found wanting; in short, nothing was missing but a pink
    and silver ribbon, which had been worn, and belonged to Mademoiselle
    Pontal. Though several things of more value were in my reach, this
    ribbon alone tempted me, and accordingly I stole it. As I took no great
    pains to conceal the bauble, it was soon discovered; they immediately
    insisted on knowing from whence I had taken it; this perplexed me--I
    hesitated, and at length said, with confusion, that Marion gave it me.

    Marion was a young Mauriennese, and had been cook to Madam de Vercellis
    ever since she left off giving entertainments, for being sensible she had
    more need of good broths than fine ragouts, she had discharged her former
    one. Marion was not only pretty, but had that freshness of color only to
    be found among the mountains, and, above all, an air of modesty and
    sweetness, which made it impossible to see her without affection; she was
    besides a good girl, virtuous, and of such strict fidelity, that everyone
    was surprised at hearing her named. They had not less confidence in me,
    and judged it necessary to certify which of us was the thief. Marion was
    sent for; a great number of people were present, among whom was the Count
    de la Roque: she arrives; they show her the ribbon; I accuse her boldly:
    she remains confused and speechless, casting a look on me that would have
    disarmed a demon, but which my barbarous heart resisted. At length, she
    denied it with firmness, but without anger, exhorting me to return to
    myself, and not injure an innocent girl who had never wronged me. With
    infernal impudence, I confirmed my accusation, and to her face maintained
    she had given me the ribbon: on which, the poor girl, bursting into
    tears, said these words--"Ah, Rousseau! I thought you a good
    disposition--you render me very unhappy, but I would not be in your
    situation." She continued to defend herself with as much innocence as
    firmness, but without uttering the least invective against me. Her
    moderation, compared to my positive tone, did her an injury; as it did
    not appear natural to suppose, on one side such diabolical assurance; on
    the other, such angelic mildness. The affair could not be absolutely
    decided, but the presumption was in my favor; and the Count de la Roque,
    in sending us both away, contented himself with saying, "The conscience
    of the guilty would revenge the innocent." His prediction was true, and
    is being daily verified.

    I am ignorant what became of the victim of my calumny, but there is
    little probability of her having been able to place herself agreeably
    after this, as she labored under an imputation cruel to her character in
    every respect. The theft was a trifle, yet it was a theft, and, what was
    worse, employed to seduce a boy; while the lie and obstinacy left nothing
    to hope from a person in whom so many vices were united. I do not even
    look on the misery and disgrace in which I plunged her as the greatest
    evil: who knows, at her age, whither contempt and disregarded innocence
    might have led her?--Alas! if remorse for having made her unhappy is
    insupportable, what must I have suffered at the thought of rendering her
    even worse than myself. The cruel remembrance of this transaction,
    sometimes so troubles and disorders me, that, in my disturbed slumbers,
    I imagine I see this poor girl enter and reproach me with my crime,
    as though I had committed it but yesterday. While in easy tranquil
    circumstances, I was less miserable on this account, but, during a
    troubled agitated life, it has robbed me of the sweet consolation of
    persecuted innocence, and made me wofully experience, what, I think, I
    have remarked in some of my works, that remorse sleeps in the calm
    sunshine of prosperity, but wakes amid the storms of adversity. I could
    never take on me to discharge my heart of this weight in the bosom of a
    friend; nor could the closest intimacy ever encourage me to it, even with
    Madam de Warrens: all I could do, was to own I had to accuse myself of an
    atrocious crime, but never said in what it consisted. The weight,
    therefore, has remained heavy on my conscience to this day; and I can
    truly own the desire of relieving myself, in some measure, from it,
    contributed greatly to the resolution of writing my Confessions.

    I have proceeded truly in that I have just made, and it will certainly be
    thought I have not sought to palliate the turpitude of my offence; but I
    should not fulfill the purpose of this undertaking, did I not, at the
    same time, divulge my interior disposition, and excuse myself as far as
    is conformable with truth.

    Never was wickedness further from my thoughts, than in that cruel moment;
    and when I accused the unhappy girl, it is strange, but strictly true,
    that my friendship for her was the immediate cause of it. She was
    present to my thoughts; I formed my excuse from the first object that
    presented itself: I accused her with doing what I meant to have done,
    and as I designed to have given her the ribbon, asserted she had given
    it to me. When she appeared, my heart was agonized, but the presence
    of so many people was more powerful than my compunction. I did not fear
    punishment, but I dreaded shame: I dreaded it more than death, more than
    the crime, more than all the world. I would have buried, hid myself in
    the centre of the earth: invincible shame bore down every other
    sentiment; shame alone caused all my impudence, and in proportion as I
    became criminal, the fear of discovery rendered me intrepid. I felt no
    dread but that of being detected, of being publicly, and to my face,
    declared a thief, liar, and calumniator; an unconquerable fear of this
    overcame every other sensation. Had I been left to myself, I should
    infallibly have declared the truth. Or if M. de la Rogue had taken me
    aside, and said--"Do not injure this poor girl; if you are guilty own
    it,"--I am convinced I should instantly have thrown myself at his feet;
    but they intimidated, instead of encouraging me. I was hardly out of my
    childhood, or rather, was yet in it. It is also just to make some
    allowance for my age. In youth, dark, premeditated villainy is more
    criminal than in a riper age, but weaknesses are much less so; my fault
    was truly nothing more; and I am less afflicted at the deed itself than
    for its consequences. It had one good effect, however, in preserving me
    through the rest of my life from any criminal action, from the terrible
    impression that has remained from the only one I ever committed; and I
    think my aversion for lying proceeds in a great measure from regret at
    having been guilty of so black a one. If it is a crime that can be
    expiated, as I dare believe, forty years of uprightness and honor on
    various difficult occasions, with the many misfortunes that have
    overwhelmed my latter years, may have completed it. Poor Marion has
    found so many avengers in this world, that however great my offence
    towards her, I do not fear to bear the guilt with me. Thus have I
    disclosed what I had to say on this painful subject; may I be permitted
    never to mention it again.
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