Thomson 3 On
the pleasant banks of
the Garonne 5 4
the province of Gascony 6 , stood , in the year 1584 ,
the chateau of
Monsieur St. Aubert 8 7
its 7 windows were seen
stretching along the
the pastoral landscapes of
Gascony 6 9
river 5 , gay with
luxuriant woods and vine 11 , and
plantations of olives 12 .
To the south , the view was bounded by
the majestic Pyrenees 13 , whose summits , veiled in clouds , or exhibiting awful forms , seen , and lost again , as the partial vapours rolled along , were sometimes barren , and gleamed through the blue tinge of air , and sometimes frowned with forests of gloomy pine , that swept downward to
their 13 base .
These tremendous precipices 13 were contrasted by the soft green of
; among whose flocks , and herds , and
the pastures and woods that hung upon
simple cottages 15 , the eye , after having scaled
the cliffs 16 above , delighted to repose .
To the north , and to the east ,
were lost in the mist of distance ; on the west ,
the plains of
Languedoc 18 17
Gascony 6 was bounded by
the waters of
Biscay 20 19
M. St. Aubert 8 loved to wander , with and
daughter 22 , on
, and to listen to the music that floated on
the margin of
the Garonne 5 23
its 5 waves .
He 8 had known life in other forms than those of pastoral simplicity , having mingled in the gay and in the busy scenes of
the world 24 ; but the flattering portrait of
mankind 25 , which had delineated in early youth ,
his 8 experience had too sorrowfully corrected .
Yet , amidst the changing visions of life ,
his 8 principles remained unshaken ,
his 8 benevolence unchilled ; and
he 8 retired from the multitude ' more in PITY than in anger , ' to scenes of simple nature , to the pure delights of literature , and to the exercise of domestic virtues .
He 8 was
, and it was designed , that the deficiency of
a descendant from
the younger branch of
an illustrious family 27 26
his 8 patrimonial wealth should be supplied either by a splendid alliance in marriage , or by success in the intrigues of public affairs .
St. Aubert 8 had too nice a sense of honour to fulfil the latter hope , and too small a portion of ambition to sacrifice what
he 8 called happiness , to the attainment of wealth .
After the death of
he 8 married
a very amiable woman 21 ,
his 8 equal in birth , and not
his 8 superior in fortune .
The late Monsieur St. Aubert 28 's liberality , or extravagance , had so much involved
his 28 affairs , that found it necessary to dispose of a part of the family domain , and , some years after
his 8 marriage ,
he 8 sold it to
Monsieur Quesnel 29 , , and retired to
, where conjugal felicity , and parental duties , divided
a small estate in
Gascony 6 7
his 8 attention with the treasures of knowledge and the illuminations of genius .
this spot 7
he 8 had been attached from
his 8 infancy .
He 8 had often made excursions to
it 7 when a boy , and the impressions of delight given to
his 8 mind by the homely kindness of
the grey-headed peasant 30 , to whom it was intrusted , and whose fruit and cream never failed , had not been obliterated by succeeding circumstances .
The green pastures 14 along which
he 8 had so often bounded in the exultation of health , and youthful freedom --
the woods 11 , under whose refreshing shade
he 8 had first indulged that pensive melancholy , which afterwards made a strong feature of
his 8 character -- the wild walks of
the mountains 13 ,
the river 5 , on whose waves
he 8 had floated , and
the distant plains 17 , which seemed boundless as
his 8 early hopes -- were never after remembered by
St. Aubert 8 but with enthusiasm and regret .
he 8 disengaged
himself 8 from
the world 24 , and retired hither , to realize the wishes of many years .
The building 32 , as
it 32 then stood , was merely
a summer cottage 72 , rendered interesting to
a stranger 31 by
its 32 neat simplicity , or the beauty of the surrounding scene ; and considerable additions were necessary to make
a comfortable family residence 76 .
St. Aubert 8 felt a kind of affection for every part of the fabric , which
he 8 remembered in
his 8 youth , and would not suffer a stone of
it 32 to be removed , so that
the new building 33 , adapted to the style of
the old one 32 , formed with
it 32 only
a simple and elegant residence 73 .
The taste of
Madame St. Aubert 21 was conspicuous in its internal finishing , where the same chaste simplicity was observable in the furniture , and in the few ornaments of the
apartments 34 , that characterized the manners of .
The library 36 occupied
, and was enriched by a collection of the best books in the ancient and modern languages .
the west side of
the chateau 7 37
This room 36 opened upon
a grove 38 , which stood on
the brow of a gentle declivity 39 , that fell towards
the river 5 , and the tall trees gave
it 38 a melancholy and pleasing shade ; while from the windows the eye caught , beneath the spreading branches ,
the gay and luxuriant landscape stretching to the west 40 , and overlooked on the left by
the bold precipices of the Pyrenees 13 .
the library 36 was
a green-house 41 , stored with scarce and beautiful plants ; for one of the amusements of
St. Aubert 8 was the study of botany , and among
the neighbouring mountains 13 , which afforded a luxurious feast to the mind of
the naturalist 42 ,
he 8 often passed the day in the pursuit of
his 8 favourite science .
He 8 was sometimes accompanied in these little excursions by
Madame St. Aubert 21 , and frequently by ; when , with a small osier basket to receive plants , and another filled with cold refreshments , such as the cabin of
the shepherd 30 did not afford ,
they 43 wandered away among the most romantic and magnificent scenes , nor suffered the charms of Nature 's lowly children to abstract
them 43 from the observance of her stupendous works .
When weary of sauntering among
, and where no track appeared on the vegetation , but what the foot of the izard had left ;
cliffs that seemed scarcely accessible but to the steps of
the enthusiast 45 44
they 43 would seek
one of those green recesses 46 , which so beautifully adorn
, where , under the shade of the lofty larch , or cedar ,
the bosom of
these mountains 13 47
they 43 enjoyed
their 43 simple repast , made sweeter by the waters of
the cool stream , that crept along the turf 48 , and by the breath of wild flowers and aromatic plants , that fringed the rocks , and inlaid the grass .
, looking towards
the eastern side of
the green-house 41 49
the plains of
Languedoc 18 50
a room 51 , which
Emily 22 called
hers 51 , and which contained
her 22 books ,
her 22 drawings ,
her 22 musical instruments , with some favourite birds and plants .
she 22 usually exercised
herself 22 in elegant arts , cultivated only because they were congenial to
her 22 taste , and in which native genius , assisted by the instructions of
Monsieur 8 and
Madame St. Aubert 21 , made
her 22 an early proficient .
The windows of
this room 51 were particularly pleasant ; they descended to the floor , and , opening upon
the little lawn that surrounded the house 52 , the eye was led between groves of almond , palm-trees , flowering-ash , and myrtle , to
the distant landscape , where
the Garonne 5
The peasants of this gay climate 54 were often seen on an evening , when the day 's labour was done , dancing in groups on
the margin of the river 23 .
Their 54 sprightly melodies , debonnaire steps , the fanciful figure of
their 54 dances , with the tasteful and capricious manner in which
the girls 55 adjusted
their 55 simple dress , gave a character to the scene entirely French .
The front of the chateau 56 , which , having a southern aspect , opened upon the grandeur of
the mountains 13 , was occupied on the ground floor by
a rustic hall 57 , and
two excellent sitting rooms 58 .
The first floor 59 , for
the cottage 7 had
no second story 70 , was laid out in
bed-chambers 60 , except
one apartment that opened to a balcony 61 , and which was generally used for
a breakfast-room 62 .
the surrounding ground 63 ,
St. Aubert 8 had made very tasteful improvements ; yet , such was
his 8 attachment to objects
he 8 had remembered from
his 8 boyish days , that
he 8 had in some instances sacrificed taste to sentiment .
There were two old larches that shaded
the building 7 , and interrupted the prospect ;
St. Aubert 8 had sometimes declared that
he 8 believed
he 8 should have been weak enough to have wept at their fall .
In addition to these larches
he 8 planted a little grove of beech , pine , and mountain-ash .
a lofty terrace 64 , formed by
the swelling bank of
the river 5 65
a plantation of orange , lemon , and palm-trees , whose fruit , in the coolness of evening , breathed delicious fragrance 66 .
With these were mingled a few trees of other species .
Here 66 , under the ample shade of a plane-tree , that spread its majestic canopy towards
the river 5 ,
St. Aubert 8 loved to sit in the fine evenings of summer , with and
children 67 , watching , beneath its foliage , the setting sun , the mild splendour of its light fading from the distant landscape , till the shadows of twilight melted its various features into one tint of sober grey .
Here 66 , too ,
he 8 loved to read , and to converse with
Madame St. Aubert 21 ; or to play with , resigning
himself 8 to the influence of those sweet affections , which are ever attendant on simplicity and nature .
He 8 has often said , while tears of pleasure trembled in
his 8 eyes , that these were moments infinitely more delightful than any passed amid the brilliant and tumultuous scenes that are courted by
the world 68 .
was occupied ; it had , what can be so rarely said , no wish for a happiness beyond what it experienced .
The consciousness of acting right diffused a serenity over
his 8 manners , which nothing else could impart to
, and which refined
a man of moral perceptions like
his 8 69
his 8 sense of every surrounding blessing .
The deepest shade of twilight did not send
him 8 from
his 8 favourite plane-tree .
He 8 loved the soothing hour , when the last tints of light die away ; when the stars , one by one , tremble through aether , and are reflected on the dark mirror of the waters ; that hour , which , of all others , inspires the mind with pensive tenderness , and often elevates it to sublime contemplation .
When the moon shed her soft rays among the foliage ,
he 8 still lingered , and
his 8 pastoral supper of cream and fruits was often spread beneath it .
Then , on the stillness of night , came the song of the nightingale , breathing sweetness , and awakening melancholy .