« AnteriorContinuar »
struggle to do so, he knew that he was doing right, and he took full advantage of this reflection, to reason himself into as comfortable a state of mind as he could. He had great buoyancy of spirits, which soon rose over any common depression; and after sleeping undisturbedly the whole night, he rose early, to prepare for his journey, thinking that perhaps his heart might not be so deeply entangled as he had imagined. Adelaide, he could not deny, was beautiful, accomplished, and charming; but he began to fancy that he had been more fascinated than in love. At first he accused himself of inconstancy for these very thoughts; but remembering, that in the course he was pursuing, it was better to think so, he soon reasoned himself into fully believing them. However, as the carriage rolled slowly through the streets in a dull February morning, chilled with the sunless aspect of the sky, suffocated with the smell of roasting coffee, and annoyed with all those early
noises, noises, which in other days so disturbed the elegant Boileau, but more especially as they passed through the barrier, and Paris was too certainly left behind him, a great many bitter feelings pressed upon Charles's mind, and the prospect before him looked dark and cheerless, though fortune, youth and health, seemed to promise him every thing in the beautiful countries he was going to visit: but as the mists and shadows of the unconfirmed day gradually fled before the beams of the sun, in pursuing their journey, his sorrows also seemed to dissipate.
Mr. Wilmot too appeared to have shaken off, in a great degree, that sort of gloom which in general hung upon him. He was cheerful, if he was not gay, and elegantly touching upon a thousand topics of interest, he exhausted none; but deviating from one to another by easy gradations, like a sunbeam flying over a landscape in an autumn day, he threw a momentary light upon each, and then left it imper
ceptibly, as we can scarcely tell where the ray ends, and where begins the shadow of the cloud.
Charles saw his motive was to lead his thoughts from himself; but with a common perverseness of melancholy, his mind at first revolted at the idea of being cheated, as it were, of its grief. But gradually the varying wit of his companion carried him insensibly along with it, and, both pleased and interested, he quite forgot the motive, to listen to the conversation, and admire the man; and by the time that evening had arrived, though still somewhat brought down from his usual elevation of disposition, he was easy and contented.
Thus passed the first day; the next Mr. Wilmot had in some degree relapsed into gravity, and Charles had regained more cheerfulness ; so that by the time they had arrived at Geneva, both had returned pretty nearly to their original character. The weather was not the most favourB 3
able for a view of the scenery in the neighbourhood, for during two or three days after their arrival, it continued to rain with little intermission. Every one, of course, judges of a place from the circumstances under which they see it; it rained, and Charles thought Geneva very dull. Even after that was over, and the blue sky shone out clear, .either the first impression remained in some degree, or he was fastidious, for though (as he told Mr. Wilmot) he tried very hard to admire it, he could not do so as much as people in general do. The country round he owned was certainly very pretty; and in addition to picturesque beauty, the long winding shores of the lake offered to his eyes the charm of novelty; but the town, he contended, was detestable in every respect. He was destined to see the elegant vineyards of Italy before he beheld the more productive ones of France, for at the time of his journey they were out of leaf. At best, a French vineyard does but
look like a congregation of large currant bushes ; and in the state he saw them, they resembled nothing so much as gardens full of skeletons. .
“ Geneva is very interesting, in a historical point of view, at least,” said Mr. Wilmot, in answer to Charles's abuse of that city, which he had not spared; "not from its having furnished the actors or the scene of any great political event, but its name is connected with so many, and it so long maintained its independence, in the midst of powerful and ambitious neighbours, that we feel a kind of respect for it on that account.”
“ That is true, certainly,” answered Charles; “ but one thing I have never been able to account for, and that is, how, for so many ages, Geneva has been the resort, or, if I may so call it, the vortex of learned men, where many of them have sought a kind of voluntary exile.”
Mr. Wilmot was about to answer, when a servant brought him a sealed packet.