THE time at length came, when we were obliged to leave
At that time
I am now entering into the particulars of those events, which I shall always regard as the most interesting epoch of my life. Those moments, which became fraught with new ideas, new desires, and pleasures far different from those I had hitherto known, brought likewise new troubles and new difficulties, to which I had never thought I should be exposed. The Countess Humiecka's bounty seemed likely for ever to secure me from want, as her Ladyship's favour had drawn on me the consideration and regard, not only of every person in her house, but even of all the people of quality that composed her society. I did not foresee the probability of ever being deprived of her friendship, nor did I feel in my heart the fear of ever becoming unworthy of it. I was caressed, fondled, and cherished. Nothing was wanting to my happiness; and I enjoyed it with so much the more security, as I had experienced no reverses, and foolishly thought I should never have any to endure; as reason and good advice had brought me back to steady conduct and more quiet sentiments. But I knew not my own heart, and all those fine expectations vanished, from the moment I beheld a young female whom my benefactress had taken into her house.
The Countess Humiecka had consulted only her own gratification when she took Isalina, for that was her name; and this young lady possessed all the requisites to interest and please. Let me be excused from describing what she appeared in my eyes. Such as regard only personal appearance in the choice of their wedded partners, know very little of the human heart. To enable them to live happily together, and to have for each other that mutual esteem which alone can confer such happiness, more lasting qualities are requisite. I still know how to set a proper value on those advantages so much sought after, though they are only gifts which Nature blindly distributes; and I must own, there is a personal beauty, which discloses that of the soul; and when we meet with those tender, sweet, and lively countenances, which, being strangers to dissimulation and deceit, exhibit in their features the emotions they feel, and the impressions they receive, we must acknowledge, at the very first moment, that persons so happily endowed are worthy of all our attachment. It is among women especially, that this inestimable quality is to be found, which so advantageously sets off their charms. They possess it, notwithstanding all the obstacles that are opposed to it, though the aim of their education incessantly be to instruct them how to dissemble their sentiments, and conceal their natural affections. Perhaps at some future time, parents may have resolution and wisdom enough to overcome this prejudice in training up their children. I see the evil; but I know not the remedy, or rather, have not the courage to suggest it.
Such as I have described, was the young Isalina's beauty; which struck me at first sight, and subdued my heart. But if the impression of the moment was deep and indelible, conceive what new force must have been given to my feelings, when, by living in the same house, I had daily opportunities of seeing her, and of enjoying the pleasure of her lively conversation! I discovered in her a never-failing vivacity, and those amiable dispositions which plainly bespoke a feeling heart.
From this time my happiness was inseparably united with that of Isalina. I perceived in her all the symptoms of a mutual affection; and, proud of the love with which I was conscious she regarded me, (though numberless obstacles to my happiness presented themselves to my view,) I determined not to give up my enterprise. The ardour of my affection was, however, tempered with the respect and diffidence which are inseparable from a sincere attachment. I had made an impression on the tender heart of Isalina: and indeed, how could I fail, my love being guided by sincerity, and want of fortune in the lady proving my disinterestedness? But these raptures were soon interrupted by the Countess. She was fully informed of, and saw with concern, my affection for Isalina, and was determined to use her utmost endeavours to frustrate our intentions. She sent Isalina immediately to her parents, and at the same time kept me in my room for a whole fortnight. Having thus confined me, she discharged my footman, and put another in his place, on whom she thought she could rely: but, contrary to her expectation, he was entirely at my disposal; for by his means I established a correspondence with my Isalina.
Cagliostro, at the instigation of the Countess, came to me a few days after, and earnestly solicited me to appease my benefactress, by renouncing Isalina. Without the least hesitation I boldly protested, I would sooner part with my life. The Countess Humiecka, perceiving me determined, became furious; and, setting me at liberty, declared I had only to choose either to renounce my love for Isalina, or to quit her house immediately. I preferred the latter alternative, as will be seen in the two following letters to Isalina; and these are the only ones of our whole correspondence, with which I shall trouble my readers.
"JOUJOU TO ISALINA.
"My captivity, my charming friend, is now at an end. I have sacrificed all for your sake; and if I lose you, I will renounce, yes, I will renounce life itself. This morning one of the principal officers of the house came with a message from the Countess, to inform me, that if I had not changed my resolution, I must leave the house for ever. That is not possible, I answered; but, reflecting on what conditions alone I could remain, I calmly added, I was ready to depart; but I entreated he would tell my benefactress, how sincerely I was affected at incurring her resentment; and I besought her to pardon my opposition to her will, to which nothing could have urged me, but the dread of forfeiting all my happiness; and that the kindness, with which she had formerly treated me, should never be erased from may memory. I was now at large; but, on beholding the house where I had so long been the darling, I burst into tears. How painful a situation to a heart like mine, which, while plunged in affliction, bore the reproach of ingratitude for only obeying the impulse of true love! I knew not whither to direct my course, penniless, a forlorn wanderer: my situation was dreadful. Love alone could support me under it. Yes, love inspired me to address myself to Prince Casimir, the King's brother, whose affability and gentle manners you are well acquainted with. You are not ignorant, how much he interested himself in all that concerned me. I was not deceived in my expectation; he knew every thing except my departure, at which be was much surprised. Make yourself easy, 'Joujou,' said he, 'you shall not want, I will never forsake you: come and see me soon: I will importune the King in your behalf; you know he, loves you, and I am sure he will protect you.' These kind expressions have animated my drooping spirits. Dear Isalina, be kind, and we shall yet be happy, but permit me to see you -- to speak to you -- and to repeat to you, a thousand rind a thousand times, with my last breath, that you are all my happiness, the delight of the faithful and tender
Soon after I had thus addressed my dear Isalina, the Prince sent for me, and in the most condescending manner gave me his advice. I wrote as follows:--
JOUJOU TO ISALINA.
"The Prince sent for me this morning, my charming friend. How can I express to you my grateful sentiments for his numerous favours! He asked me if I would return to the Countess Humiecka, and he would use all his influence to soften her; or, if I were resolved to marry my dear Isalina: so he expressed himself. I answered him, that I was exceedingly sorry to have forfeited the protection of the Countess, but that my heart could never subscribe to her hard conditions. 'Obtain, then, the mother's consent,' replied this amiable Prince, 'and all will yet be well.' You see, my lovely friend, they think your sentiments sympathize with mine. I durst not acknowledge I had not your consent: that would have spoiled all. Can you refuse it rue, my kind Isalina? Can you harbour a thought that would destroy the man who adores you? I am to be presented to his Majesty; he has promised his illustrious brother to provide for me. Thus all our anxieties for subsistence cease. I expect a pension. Now my charmer, Isalina, I go to kneel at your mother's feet: she will yield to my supplication, seeing me so well protected. All my happiness is concentrated in my Isalina's tenderness: but consider, that the least indifference, the least delay, may destroy for ever the happiness of your tender and affectionate
I waited upon Isalina's mother, whose consent I obtained. I saw my fair friend again; a friend whose inexhaustible fund of gaiety formed so happy a contrast to my present temper, that I soon buried in oblivion all the vexations I had endured. The amiable Prince Casimir kept his word: he was so kind as to present me to his brother the King, who approved of my marriage, and granted me a pension of a hundred ducats. The Nuncio, who had been misinformed, wanted to prevent it by a ridiculous pretext of the Countess Humiecka. But the King prevailed over this obstacle; and some time after, the performance of the ceremony broke all the barriers that had been opposed to my felicity. It is true, that I have sacrificed to this happiness, ease and tranquillity; it has been to me the source of a thousand inquietudes, respecting the subsistence of Isalina and myself for the future. Yet the enjoyment that I have derived from it, has taught me that nothing in this world is preferable to the satisfaction of pouring our inquietudes, our distresses, and our fears, into the bosom of a friend so true, so dear, and so closely united; whose tender and feeling soul relieves our pains by sharing them, and enlivens our pleasures with a far greater delight.
I should have been too happy in my new state, if it had been possible that, minding only the present, I could have abstained from casting an eye on the future. But man is not formed for a pure and perfect felicity: disquietudes poison his enjoyments, and it but too often happens, that from these very enjoyments arise his disquietudes.
Notwithstanding my inexperience, I soon perceived that the King's favours would hardly be sufficient for our maintenance; and my susceptible mind, severely anticipating the necessities to which my Isalina must submit, the liveliness of my feeling towards her still increased the bitterness and horror of my reflections. Although accustomed to the luxury and magnificence, which had surrounded us in the house of my benefactress, yet without grief, and even with a degree of pleasure, we should have embraced a middle station of life; the only one, perhaps, which gives to the tender and delicate sentiments their full scope and energy. But the question was not respecting a mode of living more or less expensive, as we were likely to want even necessaries; and I confess, that the idea of seeing my beloved Isalina involved in misery, did not permit me long to enjoy the happiness of possessing her. It was necessary to take some step; but my choice was so much the more difficult, in my having received no other education than that which the Countess Humiecka had bestowed on me. I possessed, at most, a few agreeable talents, which could not now afford me any sufficient resource.
In this perplexity my protectors were the first who suggested to me the idea of a second journey. Prince Casimir, especially, recommended this project. He intimated to me, that, having been kindly received in the principal Courts of Europe, when I accompanied the Countess Humiecka, I should be again received with the same pleasure; and when it should be known that I was without fortune, my situation would increase the interest I had inspired, and in a creditable manner procure me the means of leading, at my return, a peaceful and tranquil life. I consented to this scheme; I spoke of it to the King, who not only approved of my plan, but, wishing to grant me a particular testimony of his bounty, ordered the Master of the Horse to supply me with a convenient coach. Having, therefore, taken all necessary measures, and being provided with letters of recommendation, I left
Unluckily for me, death had, just before, deprived the world of the illustrious Maria Theresa. Mourning and sorrow, in consequence, pervaded this capital: the deepest grief was impressed upon all hearts. Public entertainments, and even concerts, were suspended. They talked of nothing, but of the loss that had befallen them: they spoke of the magnanimity with which this heroine had supported adversity. They recollected those disastrous times, when, forced to leave her residence, and, holding her son in her arms, she had excited amongst the Hungarians that patriotic ferment, which had impelled them to do so much for her sake. Whilst they expatiated, with complacency, upon the means she employed to re-establish her affairs, and upon the glorious treaty which had put an end to a war, threatening her, in its origin, with total destruction. On the other hand, with new regret they enumerated the pains she had since taken, and the care she had bestowed, to restore such of her provinces as had been desolated by war, and to render most advantageous to her subjects, the peace she had procured for them.
In the midst of this general mourning, I renewed my acquaintance with most of the noblemen I had had the honour to see in my former travels. I may even venture to say, that his Excellency the Prince de Kaunitz received my visit with every mark of pleasure. As at that time his Imperial Majesty, Joseph the Second, held no Court, all the nobility assembled every evening in the Prince's hotel, where his relation, the Countess Clarissa, received his guests. He did me so much honour, as to present me to this assembly, and engage me to come often and spend the evening. There I had the honour to become acquainted with his Excellency Sir Robert Murray Keith, the British Ambassador, who was afterwards the principal cause of my coming to
Notwithstanding these flattering appearances, and the professions of friendship I received, my journey did not answer my intended purpose. My chances of success were grounded upon a concert; and though I was obliged to wait till the mourning was over, I had, in addition to this, other difficulties to overcome. A number of performers were inscribed on the catalogue at the Royal theatre; and if I had been obliged to wait for my turn, I must have been kept a great while back. Happily for me, my friend, Mr. Gunter, Secretary to his Imperial Majesty, so earnestly pressed Mr. Dorval, the manager of the house, that I was preferred before the others; and they were even so kind, as to take the management for me, and to conduct the concert and the expenses. I was so fortunate as to be honoured with a numerous assembly, almost all the nobility being present. I attempted, in a short speech, to express to them my gratitude: I wished likewise to make an apology before those noblemen who, twenty years ago, having seen me surrounded with the ecl?t of greatness, now beheld me reduced to the sad necessity of appearing in public, and exhibiting a reverse of fortune, in some degree resembling that of Belisarius. I was at that time very far from thinking, that, through a necessity of providing for the most essential wants of life, I should ever be obliged to expose myself to public view for money.
Next day the Prince de Kaunitz spoke to me, in a most polite manner, amidst a crowded levee. His Excellency, Sir Robert Murray Keith, was present: he prevailed upon me to go over to
If all those reasons did not entirely prevail, they had at least some influence upon me; and I resolved to leave
I must not forget to mention the kind welcome I met with in Turkish countries; and from all the observations I could possibly make upon the people, I remarked that they are not so bad in the principles of their minds as has often been reported of them. In this respect indeed, they seemed to me far superior to the Arabians, whose country I also visited. These I found to be susceptible of passions no otherwise than as brute animals. A traveller's life is in danger, in passing through those countries, where the government is unsettled, and the inhabitants are continually at war among themselves.
When I had nearly reached the