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Manon Lescaut by the Abbe Prevost

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any difficulty in escaping from me, he could find sure means for
facilitating her flight.

"G---- M---- the younger was more cunning than the old
gentleman. He wanted to secure his prey before he counted out
the cash. We considered what course Manon should adopt. I made
another effort to induce her to give up the scheme, and strongly
represented all its dangers; nothing, however, could shake her

"Her answer to G---- M---- was brief, merely assuring him that
she could be, without the least difficulty, in Paris on the
appointed day and that he might expect her with certainty.

"We then resolved, that I should instantly hire lodgings in some
village on the other side of Paris, and that I should take our
luggage with me; that in the afternoon of the following day,
which was the time appointed, she should go to Paris; that, after
receiving G---- M----'s presents, she should earnestly entreat
him to take her to the theatre; that she should carry with her as
large a portion of the money as she could, and charge my servant
with the remainder, for it was agreed that he was to accompany
her. He was the man who had rescued her from the Magdalen, and
he was devotedly attached to us. I was to be with a
hackney-coach at the end of the street of St. Andre-des-arcs, and
to leave it there about seven o'clock, while I stole, under cover
of the twilight, to the door of the theatre. Manon promised to
make some excuse for quitting her box for a moment, when she
would come down and join me. The rest could be easily done. We
were then to return to my hackney-coach, and quit Paris by the
Faubourg St. Antoine, which was the road to our new residence.

"This plan, extravagant as it was, appeared to us satisfactorily
arranged. But our greatest folly was in imagining that, succeed
as we might in its execution, it would be possible for us to
escape the consequences. Nevertheless, we exposed ourselves to
all risk with the blindest confidence. Manon took her departure
with Marcel--so was the servant called. I could not help feeling
a pang as she took leave of me. `Manon,' said I, `do not deceive
me; will you be faithful to me?' She complained, in the
tenderest tone, of my want of confidence, and renewed all her
protestations of eternal love.

"She was to be in Paris at three o'clock. I went some time
after. I spent the remainder of the afternoon moping in the Cafe
de Fere, near the Pont St. Michel. I remained there till
nightfall. I then hired a hackney-coach, which I placed,
according to our plan, at the end of the street of St.
Andre-des-arcs, and went on foot to the door of the theatre. I
was surprised at not seeing Marcel, who was to have been there
waiting for me. I waited patiently for a full hour, standing
among a crowd of lackeys, and gazing at every person that passed.
At length, seven o'clock having struck, without my being able to
discover anything or any person connected with our project, I
procured a pit ticket, in order to ascertain if Manon and G----
M---- were in the boxes. Neither one nor the other could I find.
I returned to the door, where I again stopped for a quarter of an
hour, in an agony of impatience and uneasiness. No person
appeared, and I went back to the coach, without knowing what to
conjecture. The coachman, seeing me, advanced a few paces
towards me, and said, with a mysterious air, that a very handsome
young person had been waiting more than an hour for me in the
coach; that she described me so exactly that he could not be
mistaken, and having learned that I intended to return, she said
she would enter the coach and wait with patience.

"`I felt confident that it was Manon. I approached. I beheld
a very pretty face, certainly, but alas, not hers. The lady
asked, in a voice that I had never before heard, whether she had
the honour of speaking to the Chevalier des Grieux? I answered,
`That is my name.' `I have a letter for you,' said she, `which
will tell you what has brought me here, and by what means I
learned your name.' I begged she would allow me a few moments to
read it in an adjoining cafe. She proposed to follow me, and
advised me to ask for a private room, to which I consented. `Who
is the writer of this letter?' I enquired. She referred me to
the letter itself.

"I recognised Manon's hand. This is nearly the substance of the
letter: G---- M---- had received her with a politeness and
magnificence beyond anything she had previously conceived. He
had loaded her with the most gorgeous presents. She had the
prospect of almost imperial splendour. She assured me, however,
that she could not forget me amidst all this magnificence; but
that, not being able to prevail on G---- M---- to take her that
evening to the play, she was obliged to defer the pleasure of
seeing me; and that, as a slight consolation for the
disappointment which she feared this might cause me, she had
found a messenger in one of the loveliest girls in all Paris.
She signed herself, `Your loving and constant, MANON LESCAUT.'

"There was something so cruel and so insulting in the letter,
that, what between indignation and grief, I resolutely determined
to forget eternally my ungrateful and perjured mistress. I
looked at the young woman who stood before me: she was
exceedingly pretty, and I could have wished that she had been
sufficiently so to render me inconstant in my turn. But there
were wanting those lovely and languishing eyes, that divine
gracefulness, that exquisite complexion, in fine, those
innumerable charms which nature had so profusely lavished upon
the perfidious Manon. `No, no,' said I, turning away from her;
`the ungrateful wretch who sent you knew in her heart that she
was sending you on a useless errand. Return to her; and tell her
from me, to triumph in her crime, and enjoy it, if she can,
without remorse. I abandon her in despair, and, at the same
time, renounce all women, who, without her fascination, are no
doubt her equals in baseness and infidelity.'

"I was then on the point of going away, determined never to
bestow another thought on Manon: the mortal jealousy that was
racking my heart lay concealed under a dark and sullen
melancholy, and I fancied, because I felt none of those violent
emotions which I had experienced upon former occasions, that I
had shaken off my thraldom. Alas! I was even at that moment
infinitely more the dupe of love, than of, G---- M---- and Manon.

"The girl who had brought the letter, seeing me about to depart,
asked me what I wished her to say to M. G---- M----, and to the
lady who was with him? At this question, I stepped back again
into the room, and by one of those unaccountable transitions that
are only known to the victims of violent passion, I passed in an
instant from the state of subdued tranquillity which I have just
described, into an ungovernable fury `Away!' said I to her, `tell
the traitor G---- M----and his abandoned mistress the state of
despair into which your accursed mission has cast me; but warn
them that it shall not be long a source of amusement to them, and
that my own hands shall be warmed with the heart's blood of
both!' I sank back upon a chair; my hat fell on one side, and my
cane upon the other: torrents of bitter tears rolled down my
cheeks. The paroxysm of rage changed into a profound and silent
grief: I did nothing but weep and sigh. `Approach, my child,
approach,' said I to the young girl; `approach, since it is you
they have sent to bring me comfort; tell me whether you have any
balm to administer for the pangs of despair and rage--any
argument to offer against the crime of self-destruction, which I
have resolved upon, after ridding the world of two perfidious
monsters. Yes, approach,' continued I, perceiving that she
advanced with timid and doubtful steps; `come and dry my sorrows;
come and restore peace to my mind; come and tell me that at least
you love me: you are handsome--I may perhaps love you in return.'
The poor child, who was only sixteen or seventeen years of age,
and who appeared more modest than girls of her class generally
are, was thunderstruck at this unusual scene. She however gently
approached to caress me, when with uplifted hands I rudely
repulsed her. `What do you wish with me?' exclaimed I to her.
`Ah! you are a woman, and of a sex I abhor, and can no longer
tolerate; the very gentleness of your look threatens me with some
new treason. Go, leave me here alone!' She made me a curtsy
without uttering a word, and turned to go out. I called to her
to stop: `Tell me at least,' said I, `wherefore-- how--with what
design they sent you here? how did you discover my name, or the
place where you could find me?'

"She told me that she had long known M. G---- M----; that he had
sent for her that evening about five o'clock; and that, having
followed the servant who had been dispatched to her, she was
shown into a large house, where she found him playing at picquet
with a beautiful young woman; and that they both charged her to
deliver the letter into my hands, after telling her that she
would find me in a hackney-coach at the bottom of the street of
St. Andre. I asked if they had said nothing more. She blushed
while she replied, that they had certainly made her believe that
I should be glad of her society. `They have deceived you too,'
said I, `my poor girl--they have deceived you; you are a woman,
and probably wish for a lover; but you must find one who is rich
and happy, and it is not here you will find him. Return, return
to M. G---- M----; he possesses everything requisite to make a
man beloved. He has furnished houses and equipages to bestow,
while I, who have nothing but constancy of love to offer, am
despised for my poverty, and laughed at for my simplicity.'

"I continued in a tone of sorrow or violence, as these feelings
alternately took possession of my mind. However, by the very
excess of my agitation, I became gradually so subdued as to be
able calmly to reflect upon the situation of affairs. I compared
this new misfortune with those which I had already experienced of
the same kind, and I could not perceive that there was any more
reason for despair now, than upon former occasions. I knew
Manon: why then distress myself on account of a calamity which I
could not but have plainly foreseen? Why not rather think of
seeking a remedy? there was yet time; I at least ought not to
spare my own exertions, if I wished to avoid the bitter reproach
of having contributed, by my own indolence, to my misery. I
thereupon set about considering every means of raising a gleam of

"To attempt to take her by main force from the hands of
G----M---- was too desperate a project, calculated only to ruin
me, and without the slightest probability of succeeding. But it
seemed to me that if I could ensure a moment's interview with
her, I could not fail to regain my influence over her affections.
I so well knew how to excite her sensibilities! I was so
confident of her love for me! The very whim even of sending me a
pretty woman by way of consoling me, I would stake my existence,
was her idea, and that it was the suggestion of her own sincere
sympathy for my sufferings.

"I resolved to exert every nerve to procure an interview. After
a multitude of plans which I canvassed one after another, I fixed
upon the following: M. de T---- had shown so much sincerity in
the services he had rendered me, that I could not entertain a
doubt of his zeal and good faith. I proposed to call upon him at
once, and make him send for G---- M----, under pretence of some
important business. Half an hour would suffice to enable me to
see Manon. I thought it would not be difficult to get introduced
into her apartment during G---- M----'s absence.

"This determination pacified me, and I gave a liberal present to
the girl, who was still with me; and in order to prevent her from
returning to those who had sent her, I took down her address, and
half promised to call upon her at a later hour. I then got into
the hackney-coach, and drove quickly to M. de T----'s. I was
fortunate enough to find him at home. I had been apprehensive
upon this point as I went along. A single sentence put him in
possession of the whole case, as well of my sufferings, as of the
friendly service I had come to supplicate at his hands.

"He was so astonished to learn that G---- M---- had been able to
seduce Manon from me, that, not being aware that I had myself
lent a hand to my own misfortune, he generously offered to
assemble his friends, and evoke their aid for the deliverance of
my mistress. I told him that such a proceeding might by its
publicity be attended with danger to Manon and to me. `Let us
risk our lives,' said I, `only as a last resource. My plan is of
a more peaceful nature, and promising at least equal success.'
He entered without a murmur into all that I proposed; so again
stating that all I required was, that he should send for G----
M----, and contrive to keep him an hour or two from home, we at
once set about our operations.

"We first of all considered what expedient we could make use of
for keeping him out so long a time. I proposed that he should
write a note dated from a cafe, begging of him to come there as
soon as possible upon an affair of too urgent importance to admit
of delay. `I will watch,' added I, `the moment he quits the
house, and introduce myself without any difficulty, being only
known to Manon, and my servant Marcel. You can at the same time
tell G---- M----, that the important affair upon which you
wished to see him was the immediate want of a sum of money; that
you had just emptied your purse at play, and that you had played
on, with continued bad luck, upon credit. He will require some
time to take you to his father's house, where he keeps his money,
and I shall have quite sufficient for the execution of my plan.'

"M. de T---- minutely adhered to these directions. I left him
in a cafe, where he at once wrote his letter. I took my station
close by Manon's house. I saw de T----'s messenger arrive, and
G---- M---- come out the next moment, followed by a servant.
Allowing him barely time to get out of the street, I advanced to
my deceiver's door, and notwithstanding the anger I felt, I
knocked with as much respect as at the portal of a church.
Fortunately it was Marcel who opened for me. Although I had
nothing to apprehend from the other servants, I asked him in a
low voice if he could conduct me unseen into the room in which
Manon was. He said that was easily done, by merely ascending the
great staircase. `Come then at once,' said I to him, `and
endeavour to prevent anyone from coming up while I am there.' I
reached the apartment without any difficulty.

"Manon was reading. I had there an opportunity of admiring the
singular character of this girl. Instead of being nervous or
alarmed at my appearance, she scarcely betrayed a symptom of
surprise, which few persons, however indifferent, could restrain,
on seeing one whom they imagined to be far distant. `Ah! it is
you, my dear love,' said she, approaching to embrace me with her
usual tenderness. `Good heavens, how venturesome and foolhardy
you are! Who could have expected to see you in this place!'
Instead of embracing her in return, I repulsed her with
indignation, and retreated two or three paces from her. This
evidently disconcerted her. She remained immovable, and fixed
her eyes on me, while she changed colour.

"I was in reality so delighted to behold her once more, that,
with so much real cause for anger, I could hardly bring my lips
to upbraid her. My heart, however, felt the cruel outrage she
had inflicted upon me. I endeavoured to revive the recollection
of it in my own mind, in order to excite my feelings, and put on
a look of stern indignation. I remained silent for a few
moments, when I remarked that she observed my agitation, and
trembled: apparently the effect of her fears.

"I could not longer endure this spectacle. `Ah! Manon,' said I
to her in the mildest tone, `faithless and perjured Manon! How
am I to complain of your conduct? I see you pale and trembling,
and I am still so much alive to your slightest sufferings, that I
am unwilling to add to them by my reproaches. But, Manon, I tell
you that my heart is pierced with sorrow at your treatment of
me--treatment that is seldom inflicted but with the purpose of
destroying one's life. This is the third time, Manon; I have
kept a correct account; it is impossible to forget that. It is
now for you to consider what course you will adopt; for my
afflicted heart is no longer capable of sustaining such shocks.
I know and feel that it must give way, and it is at this moment
ready to burst with grief. I can say no more,' added I, throwing
myself into a chair; `I have hardly strength to speak, or to
support myself.'

"She made me no reply; but when I was seated, she sank down upon
her knees, and rested her head upon my lap, covering her face
with her hands. I perceived in a moment that she was shedding
floods of tears. Heavens! with what conflicting sensations was I
at that instant agitated! `Ah! Manon, Manon,' said I, sighing,
`it is too late to give me tears after the death-blow you have
inflicted. You affect a sorrow which you cannot feel. The
greatest of your misfortunes is no doubt my presence, which has
been always an obstacle to your happiness. Open your eyes; look
up and see who it is that is here; you will not throw away tears
of tenderness upon an unhappy wretch whom you have betrayed and

"She kissed my hands without changing her position. `Inconstant
Manon,' said I again, `ungrateful and faithless girl, where now
are all your promises and your vows? Capricious and cruel that
you are! what has now become of the love that you protested for
me this very day? Just Heavens,' added I, `is it thus you permit
a traitor to mock you, after having called you so solemnly to
witness her vows! Recompense and reward then are for the
perjured! Despair and neglect are the lot of fidelity and

"These words conveyed even to my own mind a sentiment so
bitterly severe, that, in spite of myself, some tears escaped
from me. Manon perceived this by the change in my voice. She at
length spoke. `I must have indeed done something most culpable,'
said she, sobbing with grief, `to have excited and annoyed you to
this degree; but, I call Heaven to attest my utter
unconsciousness of crime, and my innocence of all criminal

"This speech struck me as so devoid of reason and of truth, that
I could not restrain a lively feeling of anger. `Horrible
hypocrisy!' cried I; `I see more plainly than ever that you are
dishonest and treacherous. Now at length I learn your wretched
disposition. Adieu, base creature,' said I, rising from my seat;
`I would prefer death a thousand times rather than continue to
hold the slightest communication with you. May Heaven punish me,
if I ever again waste upon you the smallest regard! Live on with
your new lover--renounce all feelings of honour--detest me--your
love is now a matter to me of utter insignificance!'

"Manon was so terrified by the violence of my anger, that,
remaining on her knees by the chair from which I had just before
risen, breathless and trembling, she fixed her eyes upon me. I
advanced a little farther towards the door, but, unless I had
lost the last spark of humanity, I could not continue longer
unmoved by such a spectacle.

"So far, indeed, was I from this kind of stoical indifference,
that, rushing at once into the very opposite extreme, I returned,
or rather flew back to her without an instant's reflection. I
lifted her in my arms; I gave her a thousand tender kisses; I
implored her to pardon my ungovernable temper; I confessed that I
was an absolute brute, and unworthy of being loved by such an

"I made her sit down, and throwing myself, in my turn, upon my
knees, I conjured her to listen to me in that attitude. Then I
briefly expressed all that a submissive and impassioned lover
could say most tender and respectful. I supplicated her pardon.
She let her arms fall over my neck, as she said that it was she
who stood in need of forgiveness, and begged of me in mercy to
forget all the annoyances she had caused me, and that she began,
with reason, to fear that I should not approve of what she had to
say in her justification. `Me!' said I interrupting her
impatiently; `I require no justification; I approve of all you
have done. It is not for me to demand excuses for anything you
do; I am but too happy, too contented, if my dear Manon will only
leave me master of her affections! But,' continued I,
remembering that it was the crisis of my fate, `may I not, Manon,
all-powerful Manon, you who wield at your pleasure my joys and
sorrows, may I not be permitted, after having conciliated you by
my submission and all the signs of repentance, to speak to you
now of my misery and distress? May I now learn from your own
lips what my destiny is to be, and whether you are resolved to
sign my death-warrant, by spending even a single night with my

"She considered a moment before she replied. `My good
chevalier,' said she, resuming the most tranquil tone, `if you
had only at first explained yourself thus distinctly, you would
have spared yourself a world of trouble, and prevented a scene
that has really annoyed me. Since your distress is the result of
jealousy, I could at first have cured that by offering to
accompany you where you pleased. But I imagined it was caused by
the letter which I was obliged to write in the presence of G----
M----, and of the girl whom we sent with it. I thought you might
have construed that letter into a mockery; and have fancied that,
by sending such a messenger, I meant to announce my abandonment
of you for the sake of G---- M----. It was this idea that at
once overwhelmed me with grief; for, innocent as I knew myself to
be, I could not but allow that appearances were against me.
However,' continued she, `I will leave you to judge of my
conduct, after I shall have explained the whole truth.'

"She then told me all that had occurred to her after joining
G---- M----, whom she found punctually awaiting her arrival. He
had in fact received her in the most princely style. He showed
her through all the apartments, which were fitted up in the
neatest and most correct taste. He had counted out to her in her
boudoir ten thousand francs, as well as a quantity of jewels,
amongst which were the identical pearl necklace and bracelets
which she had once before received as a present from his father.
He then led her into a splendid room, which she had not before
seen, and in which an exquisite collation was served; she was
waited upon by the new servants, whom he had hired purposely for
her, and whom he now desired to consider themselves as
exclusively her attendants; the carriage and the horses were
afterwards paraded, and he then proposed a game of cards, until
supper should be announced.

"`I acknowledge,' continued Manon, `that I was dazzled by all
this magnificence. It struck me that it would be madness to
sacrifice at once so many good things for the mere sake of
carrying off the money and the jewels already in my possession;
that it was a certain fortune made for both you and me, and that
we might pass the remainder of our lives most agreeably and
comfortably at the expense of G---- M----.

"`Instead of proposing the theatre, I thought it more prudent
to sound his feelings with regard to you, in order to ascertain
what facilities we should have for meeting in future, on the
supposition that I could carry my project into effect. I found
him of a most tractable disposition. He asked me how I felt
towards you, and if I had not experienced some compunction at
quitting you. I told him that you were so truly amiable, and had
ever treated me with such undeviating kindness, that it was
impossible I could hate you. He admitted that you were a man of
merit, and expressed an ardent desire to gain your friendship.

"`He was anxious to know how I thought you would take my
elopement, particularly when you should learn that I was in his
hands. I answered, that our love was of such long standing as to
have had time to moderate a little; that, besides, you were not
in very easy circumstances, and would probably not consider my
departure as any severe misfortune, inasmuch as it would relieve
you from a burden of no very insignificant nature. I added that,
being perfectly convinced you would take the whole matter
rationally, I had not hesitated to tell you that I had some
business in Paris; but you had at once consented, and that having
accompanied me yourself, you did not seem very uneasy when we

"`If I thought,' said he to me, 'that he could bring himself to
live on good terms with me, I should be too happy to make him a
tender of my services and attentions.' I assured him that, from
what I knew of your disposition, I had no doubt you would
acknowledge his kindness in a congenial spirit: especially, I
added, if he could assist you in your affairs, which had become
embarrassed since your disagreement with your family. He
interrupted me by declaring, that he would gladly render you any
service in his power, and that if you were disposed to form a new
attachment, he would introduce you to an extremely pretty woman,
whom he had just given up for me.

"`I approved of all he said,' she added, `for fear of exciting
any suspicions; and being more and more satisfied of the
feasibility of my scheme, I only longed for an opportunity of
letting you into it, lest you should be alarmed at my not keeping
my appointment. With this view I suggested the idea of sending
this young lady to you, in order to have an opportunity of
writing; I was obliged to have recourse to this plan, because I
could not see a chance of his leaving me to myself for a moment.'

"`He was greatly amused with my proposition; he called his
valet, and asking him whether he could immediately find his late
mistress, he dispatched him at once in search of her. He
imagined that she would have to go to Chaillot to meet you, but I
told him that, when we parted, I promised to meet you again at
the theatre, or that, if anything should prevent me from going
there, you were to wait for me in a coach at the, end of the
street of St. Andre; that consequently it would be best to send
your new love there, if it were only to save you from the misery
of suspense during the whole night. I said it would be also
necessary to write you a line of explanation, without which you
would probably be puzzled by the whole transaction. He
consented; but I was obliged to write in his presence; and I took
especial care not to explain matters too palpably in my letter.

"`This is the history,' said Manon, `of the entire affair. I
conceal nothing from you, of either my conduct or my intentions.
The girl arrived; I thought her handsome; and as I doubted not
that you would be mortified by my absence, I did most sincerely
hope that she would be able to dissipate something of your ennui:
for it is the fidelity of the heart alone that I value. I should
have been too delighted to have sent Marcel, but I could not for
a single instant find an opportunity of telling him what I wished
to communicate to you.' She finished her story by describing the
embarrassment into which M. de T----'s letter had thrown G----
M----; `he hesitated,' said she, `about leaving, and assured me
that he should not be long absent; and it is on this account that
I am uneasy at seeing you here, and that I betrayed, at your
appearance, some slight feeling of surprise.'

"I listened to her with great patience. There were certainly
parts of her recital sufficiently cruel and mortifying; for the
intention, at least, of the infidelity was so obvious, that she
had not even taken the trouble to disguise it. She could never
have imagined that G---- M---- meant to venerate her as a vestal.
She must therefore clearly have made up her mind to pass at least
one night with him. What an avowal for a lover's ears! However,
I considered myself as partly the cause of her guilt, by having
been the first to let her know G---- M----'s sentiments towards
her, and by the silly readiness with which I entered into this
rash project. Besides, by a natural bent of my mind, peculiar I
believe to myself, I was duped by the ingenuousness of her
story--by that open and winning manner with which she related
even the circumstances most calculated to annoy me. `There is
nothing of wanton vice,' said I to myself, `in her
transgressions; she is volatile and imprudent, but she is sincere
and affectionate.' My love alone rendered me blind to all her
faults. I was enchanted at the prospect of rescuing her that
very night from my rival. I said to her: `With whom do you mean
to pass the night?' She was evidently disconcerted by the
question, and answered me in an embarrassed manner with BUTS and

"I felt for her, and interrupted her by saying that I at once
expected her to accompany me.

"`Nothing can give me more pleasure,' said she; `but you don't
approve then of my project?'

"`Is it not enough,' replied I, `that I approve of all that you
have, up to this moment, done?'

"`What,' said she, `are we not even to take the ten thousand
francs with us? Why, he gave me the money; it is mine.'

"I advised her to leave everything, and let us think only of
escaping for although I had been hardly half an hour with her, I
began to dread the return of G---- M----. However, she so
earnestly urged me to consent to our going out with something in
our pockets, that I thought myself bound to make her, on my part,
some concession, in return for all she yielded to me.

"While we were getting ready for our departure, I heard someone
knock at the street door. I felt convinced that it must be G----
M----; and in the heat of the moment, I told Manon, that as sure
as he appeared I would take his life. In truth, I felt that I
was not sufficiently recovered from my late excitement to be able
to restrain my fury if I met him. Marcel put an end to my
uneasiness, by handing me a letter which he had received for me
at the door; it was from M. de T----.

"He told me that, as G---- M---- had gone to his father's house
for the money which he wanted, he had taken advantage of his
absence to communicate to me an amusing idea that had just come
into his head; that it appeared to him, I could not possibly take
a more agreeable revenge upon my rival, than by eating his
supper, and spending the night in the very bed which he had hoped
to share with my mistress; all this seemed to him easy enough, if
I could only find two or three men upon whom I could depend, of
courage sufficient to stop him in the street, and detain him in
custody until next morning; that he would undertake to keep him
occupied for another hour at least, under some pretext, which he
could devise before G---- M----'s return.

"I showed the note to Manon; I told her at the same time of the
manner in which I had procured the interview with her. My
scheme, as well as the new one of M. de T----'s, delighted her:
we laughed heartily at it for some minutes; but when I treated it
as a mere joke, I was surprised at her insisting seriously upon
it, as a thing perfectly practicable, and too delightful to be
neglected. In vain I enquired where she thought I could possibly
find, on a sudden, men fit for such an adventure? and on whom I
could rely for keeping G---- M---- in strict custody? She said
that I should at least try, as M. de T---- ensured us yet a full
hour; and as to my other objections, she said that I was playing
the tyrant, and did not show the slightest indulgence to her
fancies. She said that it was impossible there could be a more
enchanting project. `You will have his place at supper; you will
sleep in his bed; and tomorrow, as early as you like, you can
walk off with both his mistress and his money. You may thus, at
one blow, be amply revenged upon father and son.'

"I yielded to her entreaties, in spite of the secret misgivings
of my own mind, which seemed to forebode the unhappy catastrophe
that afterwards befell me. I went out with the intention of
asking two or three guardsmen, with whom Lescaut had made me
acquainted, to undertake the arrest of G---- M----. I found only
one of them at home, but he was a fellow ripe for any adventure;
and he no sooner heard our plan, than he assured me of certain
success: all he required were six pistoles, to reward the three
private soldiers whom he determined to employ in the business. I
begged of him to lose no time. He got them together in less than
a quarter of in hour. I waited at his lodgings till he returned
with them, and then conducted him to the corner of a street
through which I knew G---- M---- must pass an going back to
Manon's house. I requested him not to treat G---- M---- roughly,
but to keep him confined, and so strictly watched, until seven
o'clock next morning, that I might be free from all apprehension
of his escape. He told me his intention was to bring him a
prisoner to his own room, and make him undress and sleep in his
bed, while he and his gallant comrades should spend the night in
drinking and playing.

"I remained with them until we saw G---- M---- returning
homewards; and I then withdrew a few steps into a dark recess in
the street, to enjoy so entertaining and extraordinary a scene.
The officer challenged him with a pistol to his breast, and then
told him, in a civil tone, that he did not want either his money
or his life; but that if he hesitated to follow him, or if he
gave the slightest alarm, he would blow his brains out. G----
M----, seeing that his assailant was supported by three soldiers,
and perhaps not uninfluenced by a dread of the pistol, yielded
without further resistance. I saw him led away like a lamb.


What lost a world, and bade a hero fly?
The timid tear in Cleopatra's eye.
Yet be the soft triumvir's fault forgiven,
By this, how many lose--not earth--but heaven!
Consign their souls to man's eternal foe,
And seal their own, to spare some wanton's, woe!


I soon returned to Manon; and to prevent the servants from having
any suspicion, I told her in their hearing, that she need not
expect M. G---- M---- to supper; that he was most reluctantly
occupied with business which detained him, and that he had
commissioned me to come and make his excuses, and to fill his
place at the supper table; which, in the company of so beautiful
a lady, I could not but consider a very high honour. She
seconded me with her usual adroitness. We sat down to supper. I
put on the most serious air I could assume, while the servants
were in the room, and at length having got rid of them, we
passed, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable evening of my
life. I gave Marcel orders to find a hackney-coach, and engage
it to be at the gate on the following morning a little before six
o'clock. I pretended to take leave of Manon about midnight, but
easily gaining admission again, through Marcel, I proceeded to
occupy G---- M----'s bed, as I had filled his place at the supper

"In the meantime our evil genius was at work for our
destruction. We were like children enjoying the success of our
silly scheme, while the sword hung suspended over our heads. The
thread which upheld it was just about to break; but the better to
understand all the circumstances of our ruin, it is necessary to
know the immediate cause.

"G---- M---- was followed by a servant, when he was stopped by
my friend the guardsman. Alarmed by what he saw, this fellow
retraced his steps, and the first thing he did was to go and
inform old G---- M---- of what had just happened.

"Such a piece of news, of course, excited him greatly. This was
his only son; and considering the old gentleman's advanced age,
he was extremely active and ardent. He first enquired of the
servant what his son had been doing that afternoon; whether he
had had any quarrel on his own account, or interfered in any
other; whether he had been in any suspicious house. The lackey,
who fancied his master in imminent danger, and thought he ought
not to have any reserve in such an emergency, disclosed at once
all that he knew of his connection with Manon, and of the expense
he had gone to on her account; the manner in which he had passed
the afternoon with her until about nine o'clock, the circumstance
of his leaving her, and the outrage he encountered on his return.
This was enough to convince him that his son's affair was a love
quarrel. Although it was then at least half-past ten at night,
he determined at once to call on the lieutenant of police. He
begged of him to issue immediate orders to all the detachments
that were out on duty, and he himself, taking some men with him,
hastened to the street where his son had been stopped: he visited
every place where he thought he might have a chance of finding
him; and not being able to discover the slightest trace of him,
he went off to the house of his mistress, to which he thought he
probably might by this time have returned.

"I was stepping into bed when he arrived. The door of the
chamber being closed, I did not hear the knock at the gate, but
he rushed into the house, accompanied by two archers of the
guard, and after fruitless enquiries of the servants about his
son, he resolved to try whether he could get any information from
their mistress. He came up to the apartment, still accompanied
by the guard. We were just on the point of lying down when he
burst open the door, and electrified us by his appearance.
`Heavens!' said I to Manon, `it is old G---- M----.' I attempted
to get possession of my sword; but it was fortunately entangled
in my belt. The archers, who saw my object, advanced to lay hold
of me. Stript to my shirt, I could, of course, offer no
resistance, and they speedily deprived me of all means of

"G---- M----, although a good deal embarrassed by the whole
scene, soon recognised me; and Manon still more easily. `Is this
a dream?' said he, in the most serious tone--`do I not see before
me the Chevalier des Grieux and Manon Lescaut?' I was so
overcome with shame and disappointment, that I could make him no
reply. He appeared for some minutes revolving different thoughts
in his mind; and as if they had suddenly excited his anger, he
exclaimed, addressing himself to me: `Wretch! I am confident
that you have murdered my son!'

"I felt indignant at so insulting a charge. `You hoary and
lecherous villain!' I exclaimed, `if I had been inclined to kill
any of your worthless family, it is with you I should most
assuredly have commenced.'

"`Hold him fast,' cried he to the archers; `he must give me
some tidings of my son; I shall have him hanged tomorrow, if he
does not presently let me know how he has disposed of him.'

"`You will have me hanged,' said I, `will you? Infamous
scoundre! it is for such as you that the gibbet is erected. Know
that the blood which flows in my veins is noble, and purer in
every sense than yours. Yes,' I added, `I do know what has
happened to your son; and if you irritate me further, I will have
him strangled before morning; and I promise you the consolation
of meeting in your own person the same fate, after he is disposed

"I was imprudent in acknowledging that I knew where his son was,
but excess of anger made me commit this indiscretion. He
immediately called in five or six other archers, who were waiting
at the gate, and ordered them to take all the servants into
custody. `Ah! ah! Chevalier,' said he, in a tone of sardonic
raillery,--`so you do know where my son is, and you will have him
strangled, you say? We will try to set that matter to rights.'

"I now saw the folly I had committed.

"He approached Manon, who was sitting upon the bed, bathed in a
flood of tears. He said something, with the most cruel irony, of
the despotic power she wielded over old and young, father and
son-- her edifying dominion over her empire. This superannuated
monster of incontinence actually attempted to take liberties with

"`Take care,' exclaimed I, `how you lay a finger upon her!--
neither divine nor human law will be able, should your folly
arouse it, to shield you from my vengeance!'

"He quitted the room, desiring the archers to make us dress as
quickly as possible.

"I know not what were his intentions at that moment with regard
to us; we might perhaps have regained our liberty if we had told
him where his son was. As I dressed, I considered whether this
would not be the wisest course. But if, on quitting the room,
such had been the disposition of his mind, it was very different
when he returned. He had first gone to question Manon's
servants, who were in the custody of the guard. From those who
had been expressly hired for her service by his son, he could
learn nothing; but when he found that Marcel had been previously
our servant, he determined to extract some information from him,
by means of intimidation, threats, or bribes.

"This lad was faithful, but weak and unsophisticated. The
remembrance of what he had done at the penitentiary for Manon's
release, joined to the terror with which G---- M---- now inspired
him, so subdued his mind, that he thought they were about leading
him to the gallows, or the rack. He promised that, if they would
spare his life, he would disclose everything he knew. This
speech made G---- M---- imagine that there was something more
serious in the affair than he had before supposed; he not only
gave Marcel a promise of his life, but a handsome reward in hand
for his intended confession.

"The booby then told him the leading features of our plot, of
which we had made no secret before him, as he was himself to have
borne a part in it. True, he knew nothing of the alterations we
had made at Paris in our original design; but he had been
informed, before quitting Chaillot, of our projected adventure,
and of the part he was to perform. He therefore told him that
the object was to make a dupe of his son; and that Manon was to
receive, if she had not already received, ten thousand francs,
which, according to our project, would be effectually lost to
G---- M----, his heirs and assigns for ever.

"Having acquired this information, the old gentleman hastened
back in a rage to the apartment. Without uttering a word, he
passed into the boudoir, where he easily put his hand upon the
money and the jewels. He then accosted us, bursting with rage;
and holding up what he was pleased to call our plunder, he loaded
us with the most indignant reproaches. He placed close to
Manon's eye the pearl necklace and bracelets. `Do you recognise
them?' said he, in a tone of mockery; 'it is not, perhaps, the
first time you may have seen them. The identical pearls, by my
faith! They were selected by your own exquisite taste! The poor
innocents!' added he; `they really are most amiable creatures,
both one and the other; but they are perhaps a little too much
inclined to roguery.'

"I could hardly contain my indignation at this speech. I would
have given for one moment's liberty--Heavens! what would I not
have given? At length, I suppressed my feelings sufficiently to
say in a tone of moderation, which was but the refinement of
rage: `Put an end, sir, to this insolent mockery! What is your
object? What do you purpose doing with us?'

"`M. Chevalier,' he answered, `my object is to see you quietly
lodged in the prison of Le Chatelet. Tomorrow will bring
daylight with it, and we shall then be able to take a clearer
view of matters; and I hope you will at last do me the favour to
let me know where my son is.'

"It did not require much consideration to feel convinced that
our incarceration in Le Chatelet would be a serious calamity. I
foresaw all the dangers that would ensue. In spite of my pride,
I plainly saw the necessity of bending before my fate, and
conciliating my most implacable enemy by submission. I begged of
him, in the quietest manner, to listen to me. `I wish to do
myself but common justice, sir,' said I to him; `I admit that my
youth has led me into egregious follies; and that you have had
fair reason to complain: but if you have ever felt the resistless
power of love, if you can enter into the sufferings of an unhappy
young man, from whom all that he most loved was ravished, you may
think me perhaps not so culpable in seeking the gratification of
an innocent revenge; or at least, you may consider me
sufficiently punished, by the exposure and degradation I have
just now endured. Neither pains nor imprisonment will be
requisite to make me tell you where your son now is. He is in
perfect safety. It was never my intention to injure him, nor to
give you just cause for offence. I am ready to let you know the
place where he is safely passing the night, if, in return, you
will set us at liberty.'

"The old tiger, far from being softened by my prayer, turned his
back upon me and laughed. A few words, escaped him, which showed
that he perfectly well knew our whole plan from the commencement.
As for his son, the brute said that he would easily find him,
since I had not assassinated him. `Conduct them to the
Petit-Chatelet,' said he to the archers; `and take especial care
that the chevalier does not escape you: he is a scamp that once
before escaped from St. Lazare.'

"He went out, and left me in a condition that you may picture to
yourself. `O Heavens!' cried I to myself, `I receive with humble
submission all your visitations; but that a wretched scoundrel
should thus have the power to tyrannise over me! this it is that
plunges me into the depths of despair!' The archers begged that
we would not detain them any longer. They had a coach at the
door. `Come, my dear angel,' said I to Manon, as we went down,
`come, let us submit to our destiny in all its rigour: it may one
day please Heaven to render us more happy.'

"We went in the same coach. I supported her in my arms. I had
not heard her utter a single word since G---- M----'s first
appearance: but now, finding herself alone with me, she addressed
me in the tenderest manner, and accused herself of being the
cause of all my troubles. I assured her that I never could
complain, while she continued to love me. `It is not I that have
reason to complain,' I added; `imprisonment for a few months has
no terrors for me, and I would infinitely prefer Le Chatelet to
St. Lazare; but it is for you, my dearest soul, that my heart
bleeds. What a lot for such an angel! How can you, gracious
Heaven! subject to such rigour the most perfect work of your own
hands? Why are we not both of us born with qualities conformable
to our wretched condition? We are endowed with spirit, with
taste, with feeling; while the vilest of God's creatures--brutes,
alone worthy of our unhappy fate, are revelling in all the
favours of fortune.'

"These feelings filled me with grief; but it was bliss compared
with my prospects for the future. My fear, on account of Manon,
knew no bounds. She had already been an inmate of the Magdalen;
and even if she had left it by fair means, I knew that a relapse
of this nature would be attended with disastrous consequences. I
wished to let her know my fears: I was apprehensive of exciting
hers. I trembled for her, without daring to put her on her guard
against the danger; and I embraced her tenderly, to satisfy her,
at least, of my love, which was almost the only sentiment to
which I dared to give expression. `Manon,' said I, `tell me
sincerely, will you ever cease to love me?'

"She answered, that it made her unhappy to think that I could
doubt it.

"`Very well,' replied I, `I do so no longer; and with this
conviction, I may well defy all my enemies. Through the
influence of my family, I can ensure my own liberation from the
Chatelet; and my life will be of little use, and of short
duration, if I do not succeed in rescuing you.'

"We arrived at the prison, where they put us into separate
cells. This blow was the less severe, because I was prepared for
it. I recommended Manon to the attention of the porter, telling
him that I was a person of some distinction, and promising him a
considerable recompense. I embraced my dearest mistress before
we parted; I implored her not to distress herself too much, and
to fear nothing while I lived. I had money with me: I gave her
some; and I paid the porter, out of what remained, the amount of
a month's expenses for both of us in, advance. This had an
excellent effect, for I found myself placed in an apartment
comfortably furnished, and they assured me that Manon was in one
equally good.

"I immediately set about devising the means of procuring my
liberty. There certainly had been nothing actually criminal in
my conduct; and supposing even that our felonious intention was
established by the evidence of Marcel, I knew that criminal
intentions alone were not punishable. I resolved to write
immediately to my father, and beg of him to come himself to
Paris. I felt much less humiliation, as I have already said, in
being in Le Chatelet than in St. Lazare. Besides, although I
preserved, all proper respect for the paternal authority, age and
experience had considerably lessened my timidity. I wrote, and
they made no difficulty in the prison about forwarding my letter;
but it was a trouble I should have spared myself, had I known
that my father was about to arrive on the following day in Paris.
He had received the letter I had written to him a week before; it
gave him extreme delight; but, notwithstanding the flattering
hopes I had held out of my conversion, he could not implicitly
rely on my statements. He determined therefore to satisfy
himself of my reformation by the evidence of his own senses, and
to regulate his conduct towards me according to his conviction of
my sincerity. He arrived the day after my imprisonment.

"His first visit was to Tiberge, to whose care I begged that he
would address his answer. He could not learn from him either my
present abode or condition: Tiberge merely told him of my
principal adventures since I had escaped from St. Lazare.
Tiberge spoke warmly of the disposition to virtue which I had
evinced at our last interview. He added, that he considered me
as having quite got rid of Manon; but that he was nevertheless
surprised at my not having given him any intelligence about
myself for a week. My father was not to be duped. He fully
comprehended that there was something in the silence of which
Tiberge complained, which had escaped my poor friend's
penetration; and he took such pains to find me out, that in two
days after his arrival he learned that I was in Le Chatelet.

"Before I received this visit, which I little expected so soon,
I had the honour of one from the lieutenant-general of police,
or, to call things by their right names, I was subjected to an
official examination. He upbraided me certainly, but not in any
harsh or annoying manner. He told me, in the kindest tone, that
he bitterly lamented my bad conduct; that I had committed a gross
indiscretion in making an enemy of such a man as M. G---- M----;
that in truth it was easy to see that there was, in the affair,
more of imprudence and folly than of malice; but that still it
was the second time I had been brought as a culprit under his
cognisance; and that he had hoped I should have become more
sedate, after the experience of two or three months in St.

"Delighted at finding that I had a rational judge to deal with,
I explained the affair to him in a manner at once so respectful
and so moderate, that he seemed exceedingly satisfied with my
answers to all the queries he put. He desired me not to abandon
myself to grief, and assured me that he felt every disposition to
serve me, as well on account of my birth as my inexperience. I
ventured to bespeak his attentions in favour of Manon, and I
dwelt upon her gentle and excellent disposition. He replied,
with a smile, that he had not yet seen her, but that she had been
represented to him as a most dangerous person. This expression
so excited my sympathy, that I urged a thousand anxious arguments
in favour of my poor mistress, and I could not restrain even from
shedding tears.

He desired them to conduct me back to my chamber. `Love! love!'
cried this grave magistrate as I went out, `thou art never to be
reconciled with discretion!'

"I had been occupied with the most melancholy reflections, and
was thinking of the conversation I had had with the
lieutenant-general of police, when I heard my door open. It was
my father. Although I ought to have been half prepared for
seeing him, and had reasons to expect his arrival within a day or
two, yet I was so thunderstruck, that I could willingly have sunk
into the earth, if it had been open at my feet. I embraced him
in the greatest possible state of confusion. He took a seat,
without either one or other of us having uttered a word.

"As I remained standing, with my head uncovered, and my eyes
cast on the ground, `Be seated, sir,' said he in a solemn voice;
`be seated. I have to thank the notoriety of your debaucheries
for learning the place of your abode. It is the privilege of
such fame as yours, that it cannot lie concealed. You are
acquiring celebrity by an unerring path. Doubtless it will lead
you to the Greve,[1] and you will then have the unfading glory of
being held up to the admiration of the world.'

[1]Who has e'er been at Paris must needs know the Greve,
The fatal retreat of th' unfortunate brave,
Where honour and justice most oddly contribute,
To ease heroes' pains by the halter and gibbet.--PRIOR.

"I made no reply. He continued: `What an unhappy lot is that
of a father, who having tenderly loved a child, and strained
every nerve to bring him up a virtuous and respectable man, finds
him turn out in the end a worthless profligate, who dishonours
him. To an ordinary reverse of fortune one may be reconciled;
time softens the affliction, and even the indulgence of sorrow
itself is not unavailing; but what remedy is there for an evil
that is perpetually augmenting, such as the profligacy of a
vicious son, who has deserted every principle of honour, and is
ever plunging from deep into deeper vice? You are silent,' added
he: `look at this counterfeit modesty, this hypocritical air of
gentleness!-- might he not pass for the most respectable member
of his family?'

"Although I could not but feel that I deserved, in some degree,
these reproaches, yet he appeared to me to carry them beyond all
reason. I thought I might be permitted to explain my feelings.

"`I assure you, sir,' said I to him, `that the modesty which
you ridicule is by no means affected; it is the natural feeling
of a son who entertains sincere respect for his father, and above
all, a father irritated as you justly are by his faults. Neither
have I, sir, the slightest wish to pass for the most respectable
member of my family. I know that I have merited your reproaches,
but I conjure you to temper them with mercy, and not to look upon
me as the most infamous of mankind. I do not deserve such harsh
names. It is love, you know it, that has caused all my errors.
Fatal passion! Have you yourself never felt its force? Is it
possible that you, with the same blood in your veins that flows
in mine, should have passed through life unscathed by the same
excitements? Love has rendered me perhaps foolishly tender--too
easily excited-- too impassioned--too faithful, and probably too
indulgent to the desires and caprices, or, if you will, the
faults of an adored mistress. These are my crimes; are they such
as to reflect dishonour upon you? Come, my dear father,' said I
tenderly, `show some pity for a son, who has never ceased to feel
respect and affection for you--who has not renounced, as you say,
all feelings of honour and of duty, and who is himself a thousand
times more an object of pity than you imagine.' I could not help
shedding a tear as I concluded this appeal.

"A father's heart is a chef-d'oeuvre of creation. There nature
rules in undisturbed dominion, and regulates at will its most
secret springs. He was a man of high feeling and good taste, and
was so sensibly affected by the turn I had given to my defence,
that he could no longer hide from me the change I had wrought.

"`Come to me, my poor chevalier,' said he; `come and embrace
me. I do pity you!'

"I embraced him: he pressed me to him in such a manner, that I
guessed what was passing in his heart.

"`But how are we,' said he, `to extricate you from this place?
Explain to me the real situation of your affairs.'

"As there really was not anything in my conduct so grossly
improper as to reflect dishonour upon me; at least, in comparison
with the conduct of other young men of a certain station in the
world; and as a mistress is not considered a disgrace, any more
than a little dexterity in drawing some advantage from play, I
gave my father a candid detail of the life I had been leading.
As I recounted each transgression, I took care to cite some
illustrious example in my justification, in order to palliate my
own faults.

"`I lived,' said I, `with a mistress without the solemnity of
marriage. The Duke of ---- keeps two before the eyes of all
Paris. M---- D---- has had one now for ten years, and loves her
with a fidelity which he has never shown to his wife. Two-thirds
of the men of fashion in Paris keep mistresses.

"`I certainly have on one or two occasions cheated at play.
Well, the Marquis of ---- and the Count ---- have no other source
of revenue. The Prince of ---- and the Duke of ---- are at the
head of a gang of the same industrious order.' As for the
designs I had upon the pockets of the two G---- M----s, I might
just as easily have proved that I had abundant models for that
also; but I had too much pride to plead guilty to this charge,
and rest on the justification of example; so that I begged of my
father to ascribe my weakness on this occasion to the violence of
the two passions which agitated me--Revenge and Love.

"He asked me whether I could suggest any means of obtaining my
liberty, and in such a way as to avoid publicity as much as
possible. I told him of the kind feelings which the lieutenant-
general of police had expressed towards me. `If you encounter
any obstacles,' said I, `they will be offered only by the two
G---- M----s; so that I think it would be advisable to call upon them.'

He promised to do so.

"I did not dare ask him to solicit Manon's liberation; this was
not from want of courage, but from the apprehension of
exasperating him by such a proposition, and perhaps driving him
to form some design fatal to the future happiness of us both. It
remains to this hour a problem whether this fear on my part was
not the immediate cause of all my most terrible misfortunes, by
preventing me from ascertaining my father's disposition, and
endeavouring to inspire him with favourable feelings towards my
poor mistress: I might have perhaps once more succeeded in
exciting his commiseration; I might have put him on his guard
against the impression which he was sure of receiving from a
visit to old G---- M----. But how can I tell what the
consequences would have been! My unhappy fate would have most
probably counteracted all my efforts; but it would have been a
consolation to have had nothing else but that, and the cruelty of
my enemies, to blame for my afflictions.

"On quitting me, my father went to pay a visit to M. G----
M----. He found him with his son, whom the guardsman had safely
restored to liberty. I never learned the particulars of their
conversation; but I could easily infer them from the disastrous
results. They went together (the two old gentlemen) to the
lieutenant-general of police, from whom they requested one favour
each: the first was to have me at once liberated from Le
Chatelet; the second to condemn Manon to perpetual imprisonment,
or to transport her for life to America. They happened, at that
very period, to be sending out a number of convicts to the
Mississippi. The lieutenant-general promised to have her
embarked on board the first vessel that sailed.

"M. G---- M---- and my father came together to bring me the news
of my liberation. M. G---- M---- said something civil with
reference to what had passed; and having congratulated me upon my
happiness in having such a father, he exhorted me to profit
henceforward by his instruction and example. My father desired
me to express my sorrow for the injustice I had even contemplated
against his family, and my gratitude for his having assisted in
procuring my liberation.

"We all left the prison together, without the mention of Manon's
name. I dared not in their presence speak of her to the
turnkeys. Alas! all my entreaties in her favour would have been
useless. The cruel sentence upon Manon had arrived at the same
time as the warrant for my discharge. The unfortunate girl was
conducted in an hour after to the Hospital, to be there classed
with some other wretched women, who had been condemned to the
same punishment.

"My father having forced me to accompany him to the house where
he was residing, it was near six o'clock before I had an
opportunity of escaping his vigilance. In returning to Le
Chatelet, my only wish was to convey some refreshments to Manon,
and to recommend her to the attention of the porter; for I had no
hope of being permitted to see her; nor had I, as yet, had time
to reflect on the best means of rescuing her.

"I asked for the porter. I had won his heart, as much by my
liberality to him, as by the mildness of my manner; so that,
having a disposition to serve me, he spoke of Manon's sentence as
a calamity which he sincerely regretted, since it was calculated
to mortify me. I was at first unable to comprehend his meaning.
We conversed for some minutes without my understanding him. At
length perceiving that an explanation was necessary, he gave me
such a one, as on a former occasion I wanted courage to relate to
you, and which, even now, makes my blood curdle in my veins to


Alack! it is not when we sleep soft and wake merrily that we think
on other people's sufferings; but when the hour of trouble comes,
said Jeanie Deans.--WALTER SCOTT.

"Never did apoplexy produce on mortal a more sudden or terrific
effect than did the announcement of Manon's sentence upon me. I
fell prostrate, with so intense a palpitation of the heart, that
as I swooned I thought that death itself was come upon me. This
idea continued even after I had been restored to my senses. I
gazed around me upon every part of the room, then upon my own
paralysed limbs, doubting, in my delirium, whether I still bore
about me the attributes of a living man. It is quite certain
that, in obedience to the desire I felt of terminating my
sufferings, even by my own hand, nothing could have been to me
more welcome than death at that moment of anguish and despair.
Religion itself could depict nothing more insupportable after
death than the racking agony with which I was then convulsed.
Yet, by a miracle, only within the power of omnipotent love, I
soon regained strength enough to express my gratitude to Heaven
for restoring me to sense and reason. My death could have only
been a relief and blessing to myself; whereas Manon had occasion
for my prolonged existence, in order to deliver her--to succour
her--to avenge her wrongs: I swore to devote that existence
unremittingly to these objects.

"The porter gave me every assistance that I could have expected
at the hands of my oldest friend: I accepted his services with
the liveliest gratitude. `Alas!' said I to him, `you then are
affected by my sufferings! The whole world abandons me; my own
father proves one of the very cruellest of my persecutors; no
person feels pity for me! You alone, in this abode of suffering
and shame--you alone exhibit compassion for the most wretched of
mankind!' He advised me not to appear in the street until I had
recovered a little from my affliction. `Do not stop me,' said I,
as I went out; `we shall meet again sooner than you imagine: get
ready your darkest dungeon, for I shall shortly become its

"In fact, my first idea was nothing less than to make away with
the two G---- M----s, and the lieutenant-general of police; and
then to attack the Hospital, sword in hand, assisted by all whom
I could enlist in my cause. Even my father's life was hardly
respected, so just appeared my feelings of vengeance; for the
porter had informed me that he and G---- M---- were jointly the
authors of my ruin.

"But when I had advanced some paces into the street, and the
fresh air had cooled my excitement, I gradually viewed matters in
a more rational mood. The death of our enemies could be of
little use to Manon; and the obvious effect of such violence
would be to deprive me of all other chance of serving her.
Besides, could I ever bring myself to be a cowardly assassin? By
what other means could I accomplish my revenge? I set all my
ingenuity and all my efforts at work to procure the deliverance
of Manon, leaving everything else to be considered hereafter when
I had succeeded in this first and paramount object.

"I had very little money left; money, however, was an
indispensable basis for all my operations. I only knew three
persons from whom I had any right to ask pecuniary assistance--M.
de T----, Tiberge, and my father. There appeared little chance
of obtaining any from the two latter, and I was really ashamed
again to importune M. de T----. But it is not in desperate
emergencies that one stands upon points of ceremony. I went
first to the seminary of St. Sulpice, without considering whether
I should be recognised. I asked for Tiberge. His first words
showed me that he knew nothing of my latest adventure: this made
me change the design I had originally formed of appealing at once
to his compassion. I spoke generally of the pleasure it had
given me to see my father again; and I then begged of him to lend
me some money, under the pretext of being anxious before I left
Paris to pay a few little debts, which I wished to keep secret.
He handed me his purse, without a single remark. I took twenty
or twenty-five pounds, which it contained. I offered him my note
of hand, but he was too generous to accept it.

"I then went to M. de T----: I had no reserve with him. I
plainly told him my misfortunes and distress: he already knew
everything, and had informed himself even of the most trifling
circumstance, on account of the interest he naturally took in
young G---- M----'s adventure. He, however, listened to me, and
seemed sincerely to lament what had occurred. When I consulted
him as to the best means of rescuing Manon, he answered that he
saw such little ground for hope, that, without some extraordinary
interposition of Providence, it would be folly to expect relief;
that he had paid a visit expressly to the Hospital since Manon
had been transferred from the Chatelet, but that he could not
even obtain permission to see her, as the lieutenant-general of
police had given the strictest orders to the contrary; and that,
to complete the catastrophe, the unfortunate train of convicts,
in which she was to be included, was to take its departure from
Paris the day but one after.

"I was so confounded by what he said, that if he had gone on
speaking for another hour, I should not have interrupted him. He
continued to tell me, that the reason of his not calling to see
me at the Chatelet was, that he hoped to be of more use by
appearing to be unknown to me; that for the last few hours, since
I had been set at liberty, he had in vain looked for me, in order
to suggest the only plan through which he could see a hope of
averting Manon's fate. He told me it was dangerous counsel to
give, and implored me never to mention the part he took in it; it
was to find some enterprising fellows gallant enough to attack
Manon's guard on getting outside the barriere. Nor did he wait
for me to urge a plea of poverty. `Here is fifty pounds,' he
said, presenting me his purse; `it may be of use to you; you can
repay me when you are in better circumstances.' He added, that
if the fear of losing his character did not prevent him from
embarking in such an enterprise, he would have willingly put his
sword and his life at my service.

"This unlooked-for generosity affected me to tears. I expressed
my gratitude with as much warmth as my depressed spirits left at
my command. I asked him if there were nothing to be expected
from interceding with the lieutenant-general of police: he said
that he had considered that point; but that he looked upon it as
a hopeless attempt, because a favour of that nature was never
accorded without some strong motive, and he did not see what
inducement could be held out for engaging the intercession of any
person of power on her behalf; that if any hope could possibly be
entertained upon the point, it must be by working a change in the
feelings of old G---- M---- and my father, and by prevailing on
them to solicit from the lieutenant-general of police the
revocation of Manon's sentence. He offered to do everything in
his power to gain over the younger G---- M----, although he
fancied a coldness in that gentleman's manner towards him,
probably from some suspicions he might entertain of his being
concerned in the late affair; and he entreated me to lose no
opportunity of effecting the desired change in my father's mind.

"This was no easy undertaking for me; not only on account of the
difficulty I should naturally meet in overcoming his opinion, but
for another reason which made me fear even to approach him; I had
quitted his lodgings contrary to his express orders, and was
resolved, since I had learned the sad fate of my poor Manon,
never again to return thither. I was not without apprehensions
indeed of his now retaining me against my will, and perhaps
taking me at once back with him into the country. My elder
brother had formerly had recourse to this violent measure. True,
I was now somewhat older; but age is a feeble argument against
force. I hit upon a mode, however, of avoiding this danger,
which was to get him by contrivance to some public place, and
there announce myself to him under an assumed name: I immediately
resolved on this method. M. de T---- went to G---- M----'s, and
I to the Luxembourg, whence I sent my father word, that a
gentleman waited there to speak with him. I hardly thought he
would come, as the night was advancing. He, however, soon made
his appearance, followed by a servant: I begged of him to choose
a walk where we could be alone. We walked at least a hundred
paces without speaking. He doubtless imagined that so much
precaution could not be taken without some important object. He
waited for my opening speech, and I was meditating how to
commence it.

At length I began.

"`Sir,' said I, trembling, `you are a good and affectionate
parent; you have loaded me with favours, and have forgiven me an
infinite number of faults; I also, in my turn, call Heaven to
witness the sincere, and tender, and respectful sentiments I
entertain towards you. But it does seem to me, that your
inexorable severity----'

"`Well, sir, my severity!' interrupted my father, who no doubt
found my hesitation little suited to his impatience.

"`Ah, sir,' I replied, `it does seem to me that your severity
is excessive in the penalty you inflict upon the unfortunate
Manon. You have taken only M. G---- M----'s report of her. His
hatred has made him represent her to you in the most odious
colours: you have formed a frightful idea of her. She is, on the
contrary, the mildest and most amiable of living creatures; would
that Heaven had but inspired you at any one moment with the
desire of seeing her! I am convinced that you would be not less
sensible of her perfections than your unhappy son. You would
then have been her advocate; you would have abhorred the foul
artifices of G---- M----; you would have had pity on both her and
me. Alas! I am persuaded of it; your heart is not insensible; it
must ere now have melted with compassion.'

"He interrupted me again, perceiving that I spoke with a warmth
which would not allow me to finish very briefly. He begged to
know with what request I intended to wind up so fervent an

"`To ask my life at your hands,' said I, `which I never can
retain if Manon once embark for America.'

"`No! no!' replied he, in the severest tone; `I would rather
see you lifeless, than infamous and depraved.'

"`We have gone far enough, then,' said I, catching hold of his
arm; `take from me, in common mercy, my life! weary and odious
and insupportable as it henceforward must be; for in the state of
despair into which you now plunge me, death would be the greatest
favour you could bestow--a favour worthy of a father's hand.'

"`I should only give you what you deserve,' replied he; `I know
fathers who would not have shown as much patience as I have, but
would themselves have executed speedy justice; but it is my
foolish and excessive forbearance that has been your ruin.'

"I threw myself at his feet: `Ah!' exclaimed I, `if you have
still any remains of mercy, do not harden your heart against my
distress and sorrow. Remember that I am your child! Alas! think
of my poor mother! you loved her tenderly! would you have
suffered her to be torn from your arms? You would have defended
her to the death! May not the same feeling then be pardoned in
others? Can persons become barbarous and cruel, after having
themselves experienced the softening influence of tenderness and

"`Breathe not again the sacred name of your mother,' he
exclaimed, in a voice of thunder; `the very allusion to her
memory rouses my indignation. Had she lived to witness the
unredeemed profligacy of your life, it would have brought her in
pain and sorrow to her grave.--Let us put an end to this
discussion' he added; `it distresses me, and makes not the
slightest change in my determination: I am going back to my
lodgings, and I desire you to follow me.'

"The cool and resolute tone in which he uttered this command,
convinced me that he was inexorable. I stepped some paces aside,
for fear he should think fit to lay hands upon me.

"`Do not increase my misery and despair,' said I to him, `by
forcing me to disobey you. It is impossible for me to follow
you; and equally so that I should continue to live, after the
unkind treatment I have experienced from you. I, therefore, bid
you an eternal adieu. When you know that I am dead, as I shall
soon be, the paternal affection which you once entertained for me
may be perhaps revived.'

"As I was about to turn away from him: `You refuse then to
follow me,' cried he, in a tone of excessive anger. `Go! go on
to your ruin. Adieu! ungrateful and disobedient boy.'

"`Adieu!' exclaimed I to him, in a burst of grief, `adieu,
cruel and unnatural father!'

"I left the Luxembourg, and rushed like a madman through the
streets to M. de T----'s house. I raised my hands and eyes as I
went along, invoking the Almighty Powers: `O Heaven,' cried I,
`will you not prove more merciful than man! The only hope that
remains to me is from above!'

"M. de T---- had not yet returned home; but he arrived before
many minutes had elapsed. His negotiation had been as
unsuccessful as my own. He told me so with the most sorrowful
countenance. Young G---- M----, although less irritated than his
father against Manon and me, would not undertake to petition in
our favour. He was, in great measure, deterred by the fear which
he himself had of the vindictive old lecher, who had already
vented his anger against him for his design of forming a
connection with Manon.

"There only remained to me, therefore, the violent measures
which M. T---- had suggested. I now confined all my hopes to
them. They were questionless most uncertain; but they held out
to me, at least, a substantial consolation, in the certainty of
meeting death in the attempt, if unsuccessful. I left him,
begging that he would offer up his best wishes for my triumph;
and I thought only of finding some companions, to whom I might
communicate a portion of my own courage and determination.

"The first that occurred to me was the same guardsman whom I had
employed to arrest G---- M----. I had intended indeed to pass
the night at his rooms, not having had a moment of leisure during
the afternoon to procure myself a lodging. I found him alone.
He was glad to see me out of the Chatelet. He made me an offer
of his services. I explained to him in what way he might now do
me the greatest kindness. He had good sense enough to perceive
all the difficulties; but he was also generous enough to
undertake to surmount them.

"We spent part of the night in considering how the plot was to
be executed. He spoke of the three soldiers whom he had made use
of on the last occasion, as men whose courage had been proved.
M. de T---- had told me the exact number of archers that would
escort Manon; they were but six. Five strong and determined men
could not fail to strike terror into these fellows, who would
never think of defending themselves bravely, when they were to be
allowed the alternative of avoiding danger by surrendering; and
of that they would no doubt avail themselves. As I was not
without money, the guardsman advised me to spare no pains or
expense to ensure success. `We must be mounted,' he said, `and
each man must have his carbine and pistols; I will take care to
prepare everything requisite by tomorrow. We shall also want
three new suits of regimentals for the soldiers, who dare not
appear in an affray of this kind in the uniform of their
regiment. I handed him the hundred pistoles which I had got from
M. de T----; it was all expended the next morning, to the very
last sou. I inspected the three soldiers; I animated them with
the most liberal promises; and to confirm their confidence in me,
I began by making each man a present of ten pistoles.

"The momentous day having arrived, I sent one of them at an
early hour to the Hospital, to ascertain the exact time when the
police were to start with their prisoners. Although I merely
took this precaution from my excessive anxiety, it turned out to
have been a prudent step. I had formed my plans upon false
information, which I had received as to their destination; and
believing that it was at Rochelle this unhappy group was to
embark, all my trouble would have been thrown away in waiting for
them on the Orleans road. However, I learned, by the soldier's
report, that they would go out towards Rouen, and that it was
from Havre-de-Grace they were to sail for America.

"We at once went to the gate of St. Honore, taking care to go by
different streets. We assembled at the end of the faubourg. Our
horses were fresh. In a little time we observed before us the
six archers and the two wretched caravans, which you saw at Passy
two years ago. The sight alone almost deprived me of my strength
and senses. `Oh fate!' said I to myself, `cruel fate! grant me
now either death or victory.'

"We hastily consulted as to the mode of making the attack. The
cavalcade was only four hundred paces in advance, and we might
intercept them by cutting across a small field, round which the
high road led. The guardsman was for this course, in order to
fall suddenly upon them while unprepared. I approved of the
plan, and was the first to spur my horse forward--but fate once
again relentlessly blasted all my hopes.

"The escort, seeing five horsemen riding towards them, inferred
that it was for the purpose of attacking them. They put
themselves in a position of defence, preparing their bayonets and
guns with an air of resolution.

"This demonstration, which in the guardsman and myself only
inspired fresh courage, had a very different effect upon our
three cowardly companions. They stopped simultaneously, and
having muttered to each other some words which I could not hear,
they turned their horses' heads, threw the bridles on their
necks, and galloped back towards Paris.

"`Good heavens!' said the guardsman, who appeared as much
annoyed as I was by this infamous desertion, `what is to be done?
we are but two now.'

"From rage and consternation I had lost all power of speech. I
doubted whether my first revenge should not be in pursuing the
cowards who had abandoned me. I saw them flying, and looked in
the other direction at the escort: if it had been possible to
divide myself, I should at once have fallen upon both these
objects of my fury; I should have destroyed all at the same

"The guardsman, who saw my irresolution by my wandering gaze,
begged of me to hear his advice. `Being but two,' he said, `it
would be madness to attack six men as well armed as ourselves,
and who seem determined to receive us firmly. Let us return to
Paris, and endeavour to succeed better in the choice of our
comrades. The police cannot make very rapid progress with two
heavy vans; we may overtake them tomorrow without difficulty.'

"I reflected a moment on this suggestion; but seeing nothing
around me but despair, I took a final and indeed desperate
resolution: this was to thank my companion for his services, and,
far from attacking the police, to go up with submission and
implore them to receive me among them, that I might accompany
Manon to Havre-de-Grace, and afterwards, if possible, cross the
Atlantic with her. `The whole world is either persecuting or
betraying me,' said I to the guardsman; `I have no longer the
power of interesting anyone in my favour; I expect nothing more
either from fortune or the friendship of man; my misery is at its
height; it only remains for me to submit, so that I close my eyes
henceforward against every gleam of hope. May Heaven,' I
continued, `reward you for your generosity! Adieu! I shall go
and aid my wretched destiny in filling up the full measure of my
ruin!' He, in vain, endeavoured to persuade me to return with
him to Paris. I entreated him to leave me at once, lest the
police should still suspect us of an intention to attack them.


The pauses and intermissions of pain become positive pleasures;
and have thus a power of shedding a satisfaction over the
intervals of ease, which few enjoyments exceed.--PALEY.

"Riding towards the cortege at a slow pace, and with a sorrowful
countenance, the guards could hardly see anything very terrific
in my approach. They seemed, however, to expect an attack. `Be
persuaded, gentlemen,' said I to them, `that I come not to wage
war, but rather to ask favours.' I then begged of them to
continue their progress without any distrust, and as we went
along I made my solicitations. They consulted together to
ascertain in what way they should entertain my request. The
chief of them spoke for the rest. He said that the orders they
had received to watch the prisoners vigilantly were of the
strictest kind; that, however, I seemed so interesting a young
man, that they might be induced to relax a little in their duty;
but that I must know, of course, that this would cost me
something. I had about sixteen pistoles left, and candidly told
them what my purse contained. `Well,' said the gendarme, `we
will act generously. It shall only cost you a crown an hour for
conversing with any of our girls that you may prefer-- that is
the ordinary price in Paris.'

"I said not a word of Manon, because I did not wish to let them
know of my passion. They at first supposed it was merely a
boyish whim, that made me think of amusing myself with these
creatures but when they discovered that I was in love, they
increased their demands in such a way, that my purse was
completely empty on leaving Mantes, where we had slept the night
before our arrival at Passy.

"Shall I describe to you my heart-rending interviews with Manon
during this journey, and what my sensations were when I obtained
from the guards permission to approach her caravan? Oh! language
never can adequately express the sentiments of the heart; but
picture to yourself my poor mistress, with a chain round her
waist, seated upon a handful of straw, her head resting languidly
against the panel of the carriage, her face pale and bathed with
tears, which forced a passage between her eyelids, although she
kept them continually closed. She had not even the curiosity to
open her eyes on hearing the bustle of the guards when they
expected our attack. Her clothes were soiled, and in disorder;
her delicate hands exposed to the rough air; in fine, her whole
angelic form, that face, lovely enough to carry back the world to
idolatry, presented a spectacle of distress and anguish utterly

"I spent some moments gazing at her as I rode alongside the
carriage. I had so lost my self-possession, that I was several
times on the point of falling from my horse. My sighs and
frequent exclamations at length attracted her attention. She
looked at and recognised me, and I remarked that on the first
impulse, she unconsciously tried to leap from the carriage
towards me, but being checked by her chain, she fell into her
former attitude.

"I begged of the guards to stop one moment for the sake of
mercy; they consented for the sake of avarice. I dismounted to
go and sit near her. She was so languid and feeble, that she was
for some time without the power of speech, and could not raise
her hands: I bathed them with my tears; and being myself unable
to utter a word, we formed together as deplorable a picture of
distress as could well be seen. When at length we were able to
speak, our conversation was not less sorrowful. Manon said
little: shame and grief appeared to have altered the character of
her voice; its tone was feeble and tremulous.

"She thanked me for not having forgotten her, and for the
comfort I gave her in allowing her to see me once more, and she
then bade me a long and last farewell. But when I assured her
that no power on earth could ever separate me from her, and that
I was resolved to follow her to the extremity of the world--to
watch over her--to guard her--to love her--and inseparably to
unite my wretched destiny with hers, the poor girl gave way to
such feelings of tenderness and grief, that I almost dreaded
danger to her life from the violence of her emotion: the
agitation of her whole soul seemed intensely concentrated in her
eyes; she fixed them steadfastly upon me. She more than once
opened her lips without the power of giving utterance to her
thoughts. I could, however, catch some expressions that dropped
from her, of admiration and wonder at my excessive love--of doubt
that she could have been fortunate enough to inspire me with a
passion so perfect--of earnest entreaty that I would abandon my
intention of following her, and seek elsewhere a lot more worthy
of me, and which, she said, I could never hope to find with her.

"In spite of the cruellest inflictions of Fate, I derived
comfort from her looks, and from the conviction that I now
possessed her undivided affection. I had in truth lost all that
other men value; but I was the master of Manon's heart, the only
possession that I prized. Whether in Europe or in America, of
what moment to me was the place of my abode, provided I might
live happy in the society of my mistress? Is not the universe
the residence of two fond and faithful lovers? Does not each
find in the other, father, mother, friends, relations, riches,

"If anything caused me uneasiness, it was the fear of seeing
Manon exposed to want. I fancied myself already with her in a
barbarous country, inhabited by savages. `I am quite certain,'
said I, `there will be none there more cruel than G---- M---- and
my father. They will, at least, allow us to live in peace. If
the accounts we read of savages be true, they obey the laws of
nature: they neither know the mean rapacity of avarice, nor the
false and fantastic notions of dignity, which have raised me up
an enemy in my own father. They will not harass and persecute
two lovers, when they see us adopt their own simple habits.' I
was therefore at ease upon that point.

"But my romantic ideas were not formed with a proper view to the
ordinary wants of life. I had too often found that there were
necessaries which could not be dispensed with, particularly by a
young and delicate woman, accustomed to comfort and abundance. I
was in despair at having so fruitlessly emptied my purse, and the
little money that now remained was about being forced from me by
the rascally imposition of the gendarmes. I imagined that a very
trifling sum would suffice for our support for some time in
America, where money was scarce, and might also enable me to form
some undertaking there for our permanent establishment.

"This idea made me resolve on writing to Tiberge, whom I had
ever found ready to hold out the generous hand of friendship. I
wrote from the first town we passed through. I only alluded to
the destitute condition in which I foresaw that I should find
myself on arriving at Havre-de-Grace, to which place I
acknowledged that I was accompanying Manon. I asked him for only
fifty pistoles. `You can remit it to me,' said I to him,
`through the hands of the postmaster. You must perceive that it
is the last time I can by possibility trespass on your friendly
kindness; and my poor unhappy mistress being about to be exiled
from her country for ever, I cannot let her depart without
supplying her with some few comforts, to soften the sufferings of
her lot, as well as to assuage my own sorrows.'

"The gendarmes became so rapacious when they saw the violence of
my passion, continually increasing their demands for the
slightest favours, that they soon left me penniless. Love did
not permit me to put any bounds to my liberality. At Manon's
side I was not master of myself; and it was no longer by the hour
that time was measured; rather by the duration of whole days. At
length, my funds being completely exhausted, I found myself
exposed to the brutal caprice of these six wretches who treated
me with intolerable rudeness--you yourself witnessed it at Passy.
My meeting with you was a momentary relaxation accorded me by
fate. Your compassion at the sight of my sufferings was my only
recommendation to your generous nature. The assistance which you
so liberally extended, enabled me to reach Havre, and the guards
kept their promise more faithfully than I had ventured to hope.

"We arrived at Havre. I went to the post-office: Tiberge had
not yet had time to answer my letter. I ascertained the earliest
day I might reckon upon his answer: it could not possibly arrive
for two days longer; and by an extraordinary fatality, our vessel
was to sail on the very morning of the day when the letter might
be expected. I cannot give you an idea of my despair. `Alas!'
cried I, `even amongst the unfortunate, I am to be ever the most

"Manon replied: `Alas! does a life so thoroughly miserable
deserve the care we bestow on ours? Let us die at Havre, dearest
chevalier! Let death at once put an end to our afflictions!
Shall we persevere, and go to drag on this hopeless existence in
an unknown land, where we shall, no doubt, have to encounter the
most horrible pains, since it has been their object to punish me
by exile? Let us die,' she repeated, `or do at least in mercy
rid me of life, and then you can seek another lot in the arms of
some happier lover.'

"`No, no, Manon,' said I; `it is but too enviable a lot, in my
estimation, to be allowed to share your misfortunes.'

"Her observations made me tremble. I saw that she was
overpowered by her afflictions. I tried to assume a more
tranquil air, in order to dissipate such melancholy thoughts of
death and despair.

I resolved to adopt the same course in future; and I learned by
the results, that nothing is more calculated to inspire a woman
with courage than the demonstration of intrepidity in the man she

"When I lost all hope of receiving the expected assistance from
Tiberge, I sold my horse; the money it brought, joined to what
remained of your generous gift, amounted to the small sum of
forty pistoles; I expended eight in the purchase of some
necessary articles for Manon; and I put the remainder by, as the
capital upon which we were to rest our hopes and raise our
fortunes in America. I had no difficulty in getting admitted on
board the vessel. They were at the time looking for young men as
voluntary emigrants to the colony. The passage and provisions
were supplied gratis. I left a letter for Tiberge, which was to
go by the post next morning to Paris. It was no doubt written in
a tone calculated to affect him deeply, since it induced him to
form a resolution, which could only be carried into execution by
the tenderest and most generous sympathy for his unhappy friend.


Sunt hie etiam sua proemia laudi,
Sunt lachrymae rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt.


E'en the mute walls relate the victim's fame.
And sinner's tears the good man's pity claim.


"We set sail; the wind continued favourable during the entire
passage. I obtained from the captain's kindness a separate cabin
for the use of Manon and myself. He was so good as to
distinguish us from the herd of our miserable associates. I took
an opportunity, on the second day, of conciliating his
attentions, by telling him part of our unfortunate history. I
did not feel that I was guilty of any very culpable falsehood in
saying that I was the husband of Manon. He appeared to believe
it, and promised me his protection; and indeed we experienced,
during the whole passage, the most flattering evidences of his
sincerity. He took care that our table was comfortably provided;
and his attentions procured us the marked respect of our
companions in misery. The unwearied object of my solicitude was
to save Manon from every inconvenience. She felt this, and her
gratitude, together with a lively sense of the singular position
in which I had placed myself solely for her sake, rendered the
dear creature so tender and impassioned, so attentive also to my
most trifling wants, that it was between us a continual emulation
of attentions and of love. I felt no regret at quitting Europe;
on the contrary, the nearer we approached America, the more did I
feel my heart expand and become tranquil. If I had not felt a
dread of our perhaps wanting, by and by, the absolute necessaries
of life, I should have been grateful to fate for having at length
given so favourable a turn to our affairs.

"`After a passage of two months, we at length reached the banks
of the desired river. The country offered at first sight nothing
agreeable. We saw only sterile and uninhabited plains, covered
with rushes, and some trees rooted up by the wind. No trace
either of men or animals. However, the captain having discharged
some pieces of artillery, we presently observed a group of the
inhabitants of New Orleans, who approached us with evident signs
of joy. We had not perceived the town: it is concealed upon the
side on which we approached it by a hill. We were received as
persons dropped from the clouds.

"The poor inhabitants hastened to put a thousand questions to us
upon the state of France, and of the different provinces in which
they were born. They embraced us as brothers, and as beloved
companions, who had come to share their pains and their solitude.

We turned towards the town with them; but we were astonished to
perceive, as we advanced, that what we had hitherto heard spoken
of as a respectable town, was nothing more than a collection of
miserable huts. They were inhabited by five or six hundred
persons. The governor's house was a little distinguished from
the rest by its height and its position. It was surrounded by
some earthen ramparts, and a deep ditch.

"We were first presented to him. He continued for some time in
conversation with the captain; and then advancing towards us, he
looked attentively at the women one after another: there were
thirty of them, for another troop of convicts had joined us at
Havre. After having thus inspected them, he sent for several
young men of the colony who were desirous to marry. He assigned
the handsomest women to the principal of these, and the remainder
were disposed of by lot. He had not yet addressed Manon; but
having ordered the others to depart, he made us remain. `I learn
from the captain,' said he, `that you are married, and he is
convinced by your conduct on the passage that you are both
persons of merit and of education. I have nothing to do with the
cause of your misfortunes; but if it be true that you are as
conversant with the world and society as your appearance would
indicate, I shall spare no pains to soften the severity of your
lot, and you may on your part contribute towards rendering this
savage and desert abode less disagreeable to me.' I replied in
the manner which I thought best calculated to confirm the opinion
he had formed of us. He gave orders to have a habitation
prepared for us in the town, and detained us to supper. I was
really surprised to find so much politeness in a governor of
transported convicts. In the presence of others he abstained
from enquiring about our past adventures. The conversation was
general; and in spite of our degradation, Manon and I exerted
ourselves to make it lively and agreeable.

"At night we were conducted to the lodging prepared for us. We
found a wretched hovel composed of planks and mud, containing
three rooms on the ground, and a loft overhead. He had sent
there six chairs, and some few necessaries of life.

"Manon appeared frightened by the first view of this melancholy
dwelling. It was on my account much more than upon her own, that
she distressed herself. When we were left to ourselves, she sat
down and wept bitterly. I attempted at first to console her; but
when she enabled me to understand that it was for my sake she
deplored our privations, and that in our common afflictions she
only considered me as the sufferer, I put on an air of
resolution, and even of content, sufficient to encourage her.

"`What is there in my lot to lament?' said I; `I possess all
that I have ever desired. You love me, Manon, do you not? What
happiness beyond this have I ever longed for? Let us leave to
Providence the direction of our destiny; it by no means appears
to me so desperate. The governor is civil and obliging; he has
already given us marks of his consideration; he will not allow us
to want for necessaries. As to our rude hut and the squalidness
of our furniture, you might have noticed that there are few
persons in the colony better lodged or more comfortably furnished
than we are: and then you are an admirable chemist,' added I,
embracing her; `you transform everything into gold.'

"`In that case,' she answered, `you shall be the richest man in
the universe; for, as there never was love surpassing yours, so
it is impossible for man to be loved more tenderly than you are
by me. I well know,' she continued, `that I have never merited
the almost incredible fidelity and attachment which you have
shown for me. I have often caused you annoyances, which nothing
but excessive fondness could have induced you to pardon. I have
been thoughtless and volatile; and even while loving you as I
have always done to distraction, I was never free from a
consciousness of ingratitude. But you cannot believe how much my
nature is altered; those tears which you have so frequently seen
me shed since quitting the French shore, have not been caused by
my own misfortunes. Since you began to share them with me, I
have been a stranger to selfishness: I only wept from tenderness
and compassion for you. I am inconsolable at the thought of
having given you one instant's pain during my past life. I never
cease upbraiding myself with my former inconstancy, and wondering
at the sacrifices which love has induced you to make for a
miserable and unworthy wretch, who could not, with the last drop
of her blood, compensate for half the torments she has caused

"Her grief, the language, and the tone in which she expressed
herself, made such an impression, that I felt my heart ready to
break in me. `Take care,' said I to her, `take care, dear Manon;
I have not strength to endure such exciting marks of your
affection; I am little accustomed to the rapturous sensations
which you now kindle in my heart. Oh Heaven!' cried I, `I have
now nothing further to ask of you. I am sure of Manon's love.
That has been alone wanting to complete my happiness; I can now
never cease to be happy: my felicity is well secured.'

"`It is indeed,' she replied, `if it depends upon me, and I
well know where I can be ever certain of finding my own happiness

"With these ideas, capable of turning my hut into a palace
worthy of earth's proudest monarch, I lay down to rest. America
appeared to my view the true land of milk and honey, the abode of
contentment and delight. `People should come to New Orleans,' I
often said to Manon, `who wish to enjoy the real rapture of love!
It is here that love is divested of all selfishness, all
jealousy, all inconstancy. Our countrymen come here in search of
gold; they little think that we have discovered treasures of
inestimably greater value.'

"We carefully cultivated the governor's friendship. He bestowed
upon me, a few weeks after our arrival, a small appointment which
became vacant in the fort. Although not one of any distinction,
I gratefully accepted it as a gift of Providence, as it enabled
me to live independently of others' aid. I took a servant for
myself, and a woman for Manon. Our little establishment became
settled: nothing could surpass the regularity of my conduct, or
that of Manon; we lost no opportunity of serving or doing an act
of kindness to our neighbours. This friendly disposition, and
the mildness of our manners, secured us the confidence and
affection of the whole colony. We soon became so respected, that
we ranked as the principal persons in the town after the

"The simplicity of our habits and occupations, and the perfect
innocence in which we lived, revived insensibly our early
feelings of devotion. Manon had never been an irreligious girl,
and I was far from being one of those reckless libertines who
delight in adding impiety and sacrilege to moral depravity: all
the disorders of our lives might be fairly ascribed to the
natural influences of youth and love. Experience had now begun
with us to do the office of age; it produced the same effect upon
us as years must have done. Our conversation, which was
generally of a serious turn, by degrees engendered a longing for
virtuous love. I first proposed this change to Manon. I knew
the principles of her heart; she was frank and natural in all her
sentiments, qualities which invariably predispose to virtue. I
said to her that there was but one thing wanting to complete our
happiness: `it is,' said I, `to invoke upon our union the
benediction of Heaven. We have both of us hearts too sensitive
and minds too refined, to continue voluntarily in the wilful
violation of so sacred a duty. It signifies nothing our having
lived while in France in such a manner, because there it was as
impossible for us not to love, as to be united by a legitimate
tie: but in America, where we are under no restraint, where we
owe no allegiance to the arbitrary distinctions of birth and
aristocratic prejudice, where besides we are already supposed to
be married, why should we not actually become so--why should we
not sanctify our love by the holy ordinances of religion? As for
me,' I added, `I offer nothing new in offering you my hand and my
heart; but I am ready to ratify it at the foot of the altar.'

"This speech seemed to inspire her with joy. `Would you believe
it,' she replied, `I have thought of this a thousand times since
our arrival in America? The fear of annoying you has kept it
shut up in my breast. I felt that I had no pretensions to aspire
to the character of your wife.'

"`Ah! Manon,' said I, `you should very soon be a sovereign's
consort, if I had been born to the inheritance of a crown. Let
us not hesitate; we have no obstacle to impede us: I will this
day speak to the governor on the subject, and acknowledge that we
have in this particular hitherto deceived him. Let us leave,'
added I, `to vulgar lovers the dread of the indissoluble bonds of
marriage;[1] they would not fear them if they were assured, as we
are, of the continuance of those of love.' I left Manon
enchanted by this resolution.

[1]Some say that Love, at sight of human ties,
Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies.

"I am persuaded that no honest man could disapprove of this
intention in my present situation; that is to say, fatally
enslaved as I was by a passion which I could not subdue, and
visited by compunction and remorse which I ought not to stifle.
But will any man charge me with injustice or impiety if I
complain of the rigour of Heaven in defeating a design that I
could only have formed with the view of conciliating its favour
and complying with its decrees? Alas I do I say defeated? nay
punished as a new crime. I was patiently permitted to go blindly
along the high road of vice; and the cruellest chastisements were
reserved for the period when I was returning to the paths of
virtue. I now fear that I shall have hardly fortitude enough
left to recount the most disastrous circumstances that ever
occurred to any man.

"I waited upon the governor, as I had settled with Manon, to
procure his consent to the ceremony of our marriage. I should
have avoided speaking to him or to any other person upon the
subject, if I had imagined that his chaplain, who was the only
minister in the town, would have performed the office for me
without his knowledge; but not daring to hope that he would do so
privately, I determined to act ingenuously in the matter.

"The governor had a nephew named Synnelet, of whom he was
particularly fond. He was about thirty; brave, but of a
headstrong and violent disposition. He was not married. Manon's
beauty had struck him on the first day of our arrival; and the
numberless opportunities he had of seeing her during the last
nine or ten months, had so inflamed his passion, that he was
absolutely pining for her in secret. However, as he was
convinced in common with his uncle and the whole colony that I
was married, he put such a restraint upon his feelings, that they
remained generally unnoticed; and he lost no opportunity of
showing the most disinterested friendship for me.

"He happened to be with his uncle when I arrived at the
government house. I had no reason for keeping my intention a
secret from him, so that I explained myself without hesitation in
his presence. The governor heard me with his usual kindness. I
related to him a part of my history, to which he listened with
evident interest; and when I requested his presence at the
intended ceremony, he was so generous as to say, that he must be
permitted to defray the expenses of the succeeding entertainment.
I retired perfectly satisfied.

"In an hour after, the chaplain paid me a visit. I thought he

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