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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 61 / 106





61 / 106


and recall the happy dreams of my childhood. I shall enter at the same gate through which I came with my mother, when, after my father’s death, she left that delightful retreat to im-

mure herself in your melancholy town. Adieu, my dear friend: you shall hear of my future career.


I HAVE PAID my visit to my native place with all the devotion of a pilgrim, and have experienced many unexpected emo- tions. Near the great elm tree, which is a quarter of a league from the village, I got out of the carriage, and sent it on be- fore, that alone, and on foot, I might enjoy vividly and heart- ily all the pleasure of my recollections. I stood there under that same elm which was formerly the term and object of my walks. How things have since changed! Then, in happy igno- rance, I sighed for a world I did not know, where I hoped to find every pleasure and enjoyment which my heart could de- sire; and now, on my return from that wide world, O my friend, how many disappointed hopes and unsuccessful plans have I brought back!

As I contemplated the mountains which lay stretched out before me, I thought how often they had been the object of my dearest desires. Here used I to sit for hours together with my eyes bent upon them, ardently longing to wander in the shade of those woods, to lose myself in those valleys, which form so delightful an object in the distance. With what reluc- tance did I leave this charming spot; when my hour of recre- ation was over, and my leave of absence expired! I drew near to the village: all the well-known old summerhouses and gar- dens were recognised again; I disliked the new ones, and all other alterations which had taken place. I entered the village, and all my former feelings returned. I cannot, my dear friend, enter into details, charming as were my sensations: they would be dull in the narration. I had intended to lodge in the mar- ket-place, near our old house. As soon as I entered, I per- ceived that the schoolroom, where our childhood had been taught by that good old woman, was converted into a shop. I called to mind the sorrow, the heaviness, the tears, and op- pression of heart, which I experienced in that confinement. Every step produced some particular impression. A pilgrim in the Holy Land does not meet so many spots pregnant with


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