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between the grey pilasters, or looked down from the elevated gallery over the noble ruins, it seemed as if the majestic spirit of former ages accompanied me, and uttered its complaints in the breeze which moaned through the fragments of decaying greatness. I felt a delight not unmixed with sadness at beholding these relics of ages now crumbling into dust. They told me a volume of history, for on Roman magnificence the hands of nations had laboured. The two half-dilapidated turrets upon the gallery had been rough, massive piles of stones, erected without taste or art, by the Goths, on the conquest of Rome. In the extensive arena beneath were to be seen the cottages of the day-labourer and mechanic of the present time. What a change !-what a lesson to human greatness !
“The cry of help from a female voice, which arose from beneath the arches, roused me one evening from my reverie. I hurried down the steps from the second story, and saw in the twilight a well-dressed female in the power of a vulgar-looking man. The sound of my footsteps intimidated him, and he quickly disappeared between the columns. A young girl, pale, trembling, and with dishevelled hair, sat upon a block of marble.
“« Are you hurt ?' asked I.
66. It was a robber, sir,' answered she, putting her hand to her head. He had torn from my hair some pins of valuable jewelsnothing more; but I entreat your protection, as I am quite strange here. Curiosity separated me from my mother and sister, who wait my return. The man was to conduct me out of this labyrinth, and led me to this solitary spot.”
“I offered her my arm, and we approached the light. Oh, Clementina! She was in the bloom of sixteen ; a delicate, tall, yet symmetrical figure. She glided so lightly by my side, that I was scarcely conscious of her movements. The amiable intelligence of her countenance was angelic, and her glance beamed with love and innocence. My mind was occupied in a most undefinable yet agreeable perplexity. I had never experienced such a sensation of admiration and confidence, affection and respect, as now bewildered my imagination.
“I was now one-and-twenty, and knew nothing of love, except from the description of the ancient poets. I called it a passionate friendship, and considered the indulgence of it as degrading to the mind of man. Ah! how false was my opinion! We continued to proceed till we had reached the Carmelite Gate ; then, only, my faculties were restored to me.
“ Are you quite strange here?' stammered I.
“ Entirely so,' she replied; but it is useless looking for my mother and sister. Do you know the house of M. Albertas ? We live there.
“« I know it, and will conduct you there.?
“We retraced our steps; but what a metamorphosis! The dark, narrow streets no longer reminded me of the walls of a dungeon, as we silently pursued our way, till we arrived at the house of Mr. Albertas. The door was hastily opened, and the whole family pressed forward to welcome the beloved wanderer, in pursuit of whom servants had been despatched different ways; but in vain. Amidst innumerable caresses, my ears caught the name of Clementine.
“She thanked me in a few words, but with a suffused countenance. The whole family were lavish in their acknowledgments, inquired my name and place of abode, which after informing them, I bowed, and left the company.
“ I often frequented the amphitheatre, and passed the house of Mr. Albertas; but in vain. I did not see her again whose image was indelibly imprinted upon my heart and hovered before me in my nightly visions. And though the expectation of again beholding this lovely being was almost extinct, the desire became still more ardent. I now for the first time began to feel that I stood alone in the world, destitute of the tender claims of father, mother, brother, or sister ; and though tenderly beloved by the whole family of my excellent uncle, still I could only consider myself in the light of a favoured orphan.
“ The time now arrived for my going to the college at Montpellier. My uncle repeated his wishes, and charged me not to deceive his expectations. In almost boundless confidence in my youthful abilities, he already looked upon me as the future protector of the Protestant Church in France. He blessed me at my departure, while the whole family stood weeping around me. After promising to avail myself of every vacation to return to Nismes, I left, overpowered by my own painful feelings.
“ I expected to accomplish the distance from Nismes to Montpellier in nine or ten hours, and commenced my journey on foot, under the shade of mulberry-trees, between ripening corn and luxuriant vineyards; but the sultry air and burning soil so fatigued me, that after walking three hours I sank exhausted on the bank of the Vidonole, near a neat-looking house shaded by lofty spreading chesnut-trees. Absorbed in reflections on my past life and future prospects, I sunk into a slumber, and awoke on hearing a slight rustling near me, Clementine stood before me! Believing myself still under the influence of a dream, I exclaimed, gazing on the beautiful form, 'Oh! delightful vision, do not leave me!? Clementine smiled, and taking a wreath from her hair, it fell upon my breast. Rousing myself from the spell which enchained my faculties, I became sensible of the sound of an approaching vehicle, and a voice calling Clementine. A sadness was diffused over my countenance as she hastily said, “Farewell, Alamontade !' and disappeared among the waving foliage. I would at that moment have thrown myself at her feet, but she had fled, and I lay prostrate on the ground. On hearing a carriage rolling over the bridge, I rose, and hastening to overtake it, met an old domestic, who inquired if I would not rest and take some refreshment. I could not avoid expressing my astonishment. Upon which he asked if my name were not Alamontade. On replying in the affirmative, "Well then,' said he, “Mademoiselle de Sonnes and her mother have left their requests with me.' I returned, took Clementine's wreath from the ground, and followed the servant. The events of this day are engraven upon my memory.
“My dwelling consisted of a back attic in the house of M. Bertollon, one of the richest and most fortunate men in Montpellier. The roofs of a few houses, discoloured walls, and from the opposite street, two windows and garret of a palace, comprised my prospect. Still 1 was contented. Surrounded with my books, I devoted myself entirely to study. Clementine's wreath hung over my writing-desk. The blossoms of spring lost their power to charm compared to the magic influence of these withered flowers; and I would not have bartered their faded beauties for the jewels of princes.
"I awaited in anxious expectation the college vacation, to see my uncle Etienne at Nismes, and perhaps, by some fortunate chance, Clementine.
“One day the door of my solitary room was opened, and a young and handsome man entered, announcing himself as M. Bertollon.
"“You have a melancholy prospect,' said he, stepping to the window, and yet,” he added, with a smile, there is a partial view of the house of De Sonnes on the other side, one of the most elegant in the town.'
* The name of De Sonnes thrilled through every nerve. M. Bertollon remained at the window, apparently absorbed in thought. On my commencing a conversation, he made inquiries respecting my birth and acquirements.
"What,' said he, 'you play the harp, and passionately admire that instrument, without possessing it?'
“I replied, “My circumstances would not allow me to purchase one, as my allowance was scarcely sufficient to obtain those books which were necessary for my studies.'
“My wife has two, and can immediately spare one.'
“Saying this he abruptly left me. In the course of an hour I received the harp. With feelings of inexpressible happiness, and thoughts fixed upon Clementine, I struck the chords. Words are invented as interpreters of our thoughts, but what can express the feelings and sensibilities of the heart compared to the melodious tones of music?
“The following morning the amiable Bertollon repeated his
visit. I returned him my thanks for the harp; and upon his requesting to hear me play I immediately complied. He leaned his head against the window, and gazed vacantly over the roofs of the houses. I had been so lost in my employment as not to perceive Bertollon had left his situation, and now stood before me, his eyes filled with tears.
«•You are an amiable enchanter,' said he, taking my hand, and we must be better known to each other.'
“A few weeks elapsed and we were attached friends. I accompanied him on all his parties of pleasure; he introduced me to his innumerable acquaintance-every one treated me with kindness, and Bertollon never seemed so happy as in my society. He possessed an extensive library, as well as a collection of natural curiosities. He offered me the superintendence of these, and, to avoid hurting my feelings, adopted this delicate plan as the means of placing me above want, and remunerating my triAing services with a considerable sum yearly.
“Bertollon was in many respects a superior man. He possessed learning, wit, and persuasive powers; he fascinated by his grace and dignity, while his good humour caused him to be hailed as the genius of mirth and pleasure in every company. He had already refused several public situations with a modesty which increased the general confidence and raised him in the estimation of his fellow-citizens. Fortune had richly bestowed her favours upon him; he was partner in one of the first mercantile houses; he possessed one of the most beautiful country seats in the adjacent village of K-M; and was the husband of the handsomest woman in Montpellier. His wife, excepting in winter, resided in the country. Bertollon seldom visited her; interest and convenience, not love seemed to have united them.
“What tended to raise this man still higher in my estimation, was his total freedom from all prejudice. Bigotry and fanaticism reigned throughout the town, but he alone made an uncommon exception. Notwithstanding which, he attended mass, and was a member of the grey-penitent fraternity.
“ It is but a trifling sacrifice,' said he one day to me; if by so doing one can obtain the esteem of all parties; for prejudice is only to be tolerated when we can neither oppose nor conquer it. Those who declare open war against prejudice are as great fanatics as those who actually take up arms against it.
“We often differed in opinion, although always in the most friendly manner. He argued, the destination of man was to be happy, and acknowledged no bounds to the means of obtaining it. He derided my lively defence of virtue, calling it an act of social order, and endeavoured to demonstrate to me that, among different nations, it assumed different forms. His wit sometimes had the power of making me appear ridiculous to myself. Notwithstanding the avowal of these dangerous principles, I could not but feel attached to him, for he was continually performing some kind action.
“During the hours I devoted to friendship and the muses, the windows and attic of the Palace de Sonnes were not forgotten. M. Bertollon had frequently offered me another room, with better furniture and a more cheerful and extensive prospect; but I would not have exchanged my little garret with its confined prospect, for one of his most elegant rooms or the finest view in Languedoc Chance informed me of what my unconquerable timidity would never permit me to inquire, that the family De Sonnes were expected to return to Nismes in a few weeks—that they were in deep mourning on account of Clementine's sister, who had lately died.
“ Weeks and months elapsed without the arrival of the family, or my obtaining any further intelligence; and although my impatience and anxiety were extreme, I carefully guarded my secret from the world.
“ The college vacation arrived, and I hastened to Nismes with the beguiling hope of being happier there. I passed the countryhouse on the banks of the Vidonole, but all was silent and deserted; nevertheless, the hill was lively with the reaper and vintager. I flew to the memorable spot under the chesnut trees, which Clementine's presence had rendered sacred to me, and, reclining under their spreading branches, became so lost in sad reflections that I did not leave till the approach of evening. My uncle Etienne, his excellent wife, Antonie, Marie, and Susanne, received me with touching emotion. Speechless, I rose from the affectionate embrace of one to be clasped in the arms of another. I felt again returned to a beloved home; again I was the son and brother of this dear family; so great was their affection for me that I knew not by which I was most tenderly beloved.
"" You are the joy of us all, and the hope of our Church,' said my uncle, deeply affected; all the letters we have received from Montpellier not only praised your diligence, but mentioned the high esteem in which you were held by your tutors. Continue, oh, Colas, continue to strengthen your energies ; for our sufferings are great, and the tribulation of the believers has no cessation. May the Amighty appoint you as his chosen vessel, to destroy the power of antichrist, and triumphantly restore that religion which has been trampled in the dust.'
“My uncle's anxiety had been for some time much increased, owing to the harsh declarations of the chief magistrate of the province against the Protestants. The Marshal von Montreval resided in Nismes, and the influence of this man was still more to be dreaded, as he possessed the unlimited confidence of the king. His threatenings against the Calvinists were repeated July, 1845.-VOL. XLIII. NO. CLXXI.