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in your favour."
-“ Alas! Sir, did you know my situation, you would not blame me.”—“ Well-perh:1ps I am mistaken-let us take our little cruise of pleasure, and acquaint me with your history."
The stranger having resumed his seat, the dialogue, after a short pause, proceeded thus :-“ I perceive, young man, you are sad--what grieves you thus ?”.
My father, Sir, groans in fetters, and I cannot ransom him. He earned a livelihood by petty brokerage, but, in an evil hour, embarked for Smyrna, to superintend, in person, the delivery of a cargo, in which he had a concern. The vessel was captured by a Barbary corsair, and my father was conducted to Tetuan, where he is now a slave. They refuse to let him go for less than 2000 crowns, a sum which far exceeds our scanty means. However, we do our best-my mother and sister work day and night- I ply hard at my stated occupation of a journeyman jeweller, and, as you perceive, make the most I can on Sundays and holidays. I had resolved to put myself in my father's stead; but my mother, apprized of my design, and dreading the double privation of a husband and only son, requested the Levant captains to refuse me a passage. —“ Pray, do you ever hear from your father ? -Under what name does he pass ?-or what is his master's address?"_" His master is overseer of the royal garden at Fez--and my father's name is Robert at Tetuan, as at Marseilles."-" Robert-overseer of the royal gardens ?"_" Yes, Sir.”—“Į am touched with your misfortunes—but venture to predict their termination,”
Night drew on apace. The unknown, upon landing, thrust into young Robert's hand a purse, containing eight double louis d'or, with ten crowns in silver, and instantly disappeared.
Six weeks had passed since this adventure, and each returning sun bore witness to the unremitting exertions of the good family. As they sat one day at their unsavoury meal of bread and dried almonds, old Robert entered the apartment, in a garb little suited to a fugitive prisoner, tenderly embraced his wife and children, and thanked them, with tears of gratitude, for the fifty louis they had caused to be remitted to him, on his sailing from Tetuan, his free passage, and a comfortable supply of wearing apparel. His astonished relatives eyed one another in silence. At length, Madame Robert, suspecting her son had secretly concerted the whole plan, recounted the various instances of his zeal. “ Six thousand livres" continued she, is the sum we wanted—and we had already procured somewhat more than the half, owing chiefly to his industry. Some friends, no doubt, have assisted him upon an emergency like the present." A gloomy suggestion crossed the father's mind. Turning suddenly to his son, and eyeing him with the sternness of distraction, “Unfortunate boy !” exclaimed he, « what have you
done? How can I be indebted to you for my freedom, and not regret it? How could you effect my ransom,
mother's knowledge, unless at the expence of virtue? I tremble at the thought of filial affection having betrayed you into guilt. Tell the truth at once—and let us all die if you have forfeited your integrity.”—“Calm your apprehensions, my dearest father," cried the son, embracing him—" No, I am not unworthy of such parent, though fortune has denied me the satisfaction of proving the full strength of my attachment-I am not your deliverer--but I know who he is.-Recollect, mother, the unknown gentleman, who gave me the purse. He was particular in his enquiries. Should I pass my life in the pursuit, I must endeavour to meet with him, and invite him to conteinplate the fruits of his beneficence.” He then related to his father all that passed in the pleasure-boat, and removed every distressing suspicion.
Restored to the bosom of his family, Robert again partook of their joys, prospered in his dealings, and saw his children comfortably established; at last, on a Sunday morning, as his son sáuntered on the quay, he recognized his benefactor, clasped his knees, and entreated him, as his guardian angel, as the saviour of a father and a family, to share the happiness of his own creation. The stranger again disappeared in the crowd but, reader, this stranger was Montesquieu.
The SHEPHERDS of the PYRENEES.
Madame de Genlis,
TRAVELLED about twelve years ago.
After having traversed
of our Southern Provinces, I arrived at that great chain of mountains which separates us from Spain. I stopped there in a delightful solitude, and hired a pretty little house, determined on passing the summer.
In my peaceful cot I heard only the majestic voice of nature; the striking and rapid fall of the cascades and torrents; the lowings of the flocks dispersed in the meadows, the rustic sound of the flageolet, the pipe, and the rural airs the young shepherd repeats sitting on the edge of the rock, in these places where the country is so charming. I devoted the greatest part of the day to walking—I explored first all the mountains that environed me. I often met the flocks; the shepherds that guarded them were all children, or young persons, the oldest of whom was not above fifteen. I remarked that these occupied the highest mountains, whilst the children, not yet venturing to climb the steep and slippery rocks, remained in the pastures of easier access. So that in descending the
imountains you see the shepherds diminished in size and age, and you
find on the little hills that border the plains, young shepherds of only eight or nine years old. This observation made me imagine, that the flocks of the vallies had still younger guardians, or at least of the same age as those of the little hills: I questioned one of the children: “Do you ever conduct your goats down there?” I asked him. “ I shall go there some day,” said he, smiling, “ but before that a considerable time will pass, and I must make many a long journey.”— “How then?"-" Why I must go first quite to the top, and after that I shall work with my father, and when I am sixty I shall go down into the valley." " What, the shepherds of the valley are old men then?”-“ Yes, our eldest brothers are on the mountains, and our grandfathers in the plains.” As he finished these words I left him, and descended into the delicious and fertile valley of Campan.
At first I perceived only numerous herds of oxen and flocks of sheep, which occupied almost all the space; but soon after I distinguished the venerable shepherds sitting or lying on little banks of the meadows; I experienced a painful sensation on seeing these old men insulated, left to themselves in solitude: I was going to contemplate the more charming picture, these mountains peopled with inhabitants so young, so active, and busy, this happy residence of innocence and gaiety, where the echoes repeat nothing but songs of joy, of innocent smiles, and the sweet notes of the pipe. quitted all that is most amiable upon earth, infancy and earliest youth, and it was with a kind of melancholy that I found myself with this multitude of old men; this meeting of the two extremes of life, offered me a contrast so much the more striking, as these good sires, carelessly stretched upon the grass, seemed plunged in a profound and melancholy reverie; their pensive tranquillity seemed dejecs tion of spirits, and their meditations, sadness, caused by a cruel desertion. I saw them alone, far from their children; I pitied them, and advanced slowly towards them, with a mingled sentiment of compassion and respect. Walking thus, I found myself opposite to one of the old men who engaged all my attention : he had the most noble and most engaging figure, his hair, of a most dazzling whiteness, fell in silver ringlets on his venerable shoulders ; candour and goodness were painted on his features, and the serenity of his brow and of his locks showed the unalterable tranquillity of his mind; he was seated at the foot of a mountain, cut to a point in this place, and covered with moss and herbage; an enormous mass of rocks placed perpendicularly over him, projected from the top of the mountain, and formed, at an elevation of more than two hundred feet, a sort of rustic canopy which covered his venerable head from the heat of the sun.
After having obtained permission of the old man to seat myself by his side, I repeated to him what the little shepherd of the mountain had just told me, and I asked him for the explanation of it.
« Time out of mind (replied the old man), the men of this country have devoted to the pastoral life the two ages that seem best fitted for it; these two extremes of life, infancy, which is just come from the hands of nature, and old age, just ready to re-enter her bosom. Children, as you have seen, conduct the flocks on the mountains; it is there they acquire that vigour, that agility, that hardiness, which particularly distinguish the inhabitants of the mountains; they are trained to climb the rocks, to cross torrents; they are accustomed to contemplate, without fear, the depth of the precipices, and often run on the edge of the abyss to recover a fugitive goat; but at fifteen they quit the shepherd's life to become cultivators; at this epoch, the young man, proud of being associated to the