> Can Music's voice, can Beauty's eye, Can Painting's glowing hand supply _harm so suited to my mind, As blows this hollow gust of wind? As drops thi_ittle weeping rill, Soft tinkling down the moss-grown hill; While, throug_he west, where sinks the crimson day, Meek Twilight slowly sails, and wave_er banners gray?
Emily, some time after her return to La Vallee, received letters from he_unt, Madame Cheron, in which, after some common-place condolement and advice,
she invited her to Tholouse, and added, that, as her late brother ha_ntrusted Emily's EDUCATION to her, she should consider herself bound t_verlook her conduct. Emily, at this time, wished only to remain at La Vallee,
in the scenes of her early happiness, now rendered infinitely dear to her, a_he late residence of those, whom she had lost for ever, where she could wee_nobserved, retrace their steps, and remember each minute particular of thei_anners. But she was equally anxious to avoid the displeasure of Madam_heron.
Though her affection would not suffer her to question, even a moment, th_ropriety of St. Aubert's conduct in appointing Madame Cheron for he_uardian, she was sensible, that this step had made her happiness depend, in _reat degree, on the humour of her aunt. In her reply, she begged permissio_o remain, at present, at La Vallee, mentioning the extreme dejection of he_pirits, and the necessity she felt for quiet and retirement to restore them.
These she knew were not to be found at Madame Cheron's, whose inclinations le_er into a life of dissipation, which her ample fortune encouraged; and,
having given her answer, she felt somewhat more at ease.
In the first days of her affliction, she was visited by Monsieur Barreaux, _incere mourner for St. Aubert. 'I may well lament my friend,' said he, 'for _hall never meet with his resemblance. If I could have found such a man i_hat is called society, I should not have left it.'
M. Barreaux's admiration of her father endeared him extremely to Emily, whos_eart found almost its first relief in conversing of her parents, with a man,
whom she so much revered, and who, though with such an ungracious appearance,
possessed to much goodness of heart and delicacy of mind.
Several weeks passed away in quiet retirement, and Emily's affliction began t_often into melancholy. She could bear to read the books she had before rea_ith her father; to sit in his chair in the library—to watch the flowers hi_and had planted—to awaken the tones of that instrument his fingers ha_ressed, and sometimes even to play his favourite air.
When her mind had recovered from the first shock of affliction, perceiving th_anger of yielding to indolence, and that activity alone could restore it_one, she scrupulously endeavoured to pass all her hours in employment. And i_as now that she understood the full value of the education she had receive_rom St. Aubert, for in cultivating her understanding he had secured her a_sylum from indolence, without recourse to dissipation, and rich and varie_musement and information, independent of the society, from which he_ituation secluded her. Nor were the good effects of this education confine_o selfish advantages, since, St. Aubert having nourished every amiabl_ualify of her heart, it now expanded in benevolence to all around her, an_aught her, when she could not remove the misfortunes of others, at least t_often them by sympathy and tenderness;—a benevolence that taught her to fee_or all, that could suffer.
Madame Cheron returned no answer to Emily's letter, who began to hope, tha_he should be permitted to remain some time longer in her retirement, and he_ind had now so far recovered its strength, that she ventured to view th_cenes, which most powerfully recalled the images of past times. Among thes_as the fishing-house; and, to indulge still more the affectionate melanchol_f the visit, she took thither her lute, that she might again hear there th_ones, to which St. Aubert and her mother had so often delighted to listen.
She went alone, and at that still hour of the evening which is so soothing t_ancy and to grief. The last time she had been here she was in company wit_onsieur and Madame St. Aubert, a few days preceding that, on which the latte_as seized with a fatal illness. Now, when Emily again entered the woods, tha_urrounded the building, they awakened so forcibly the memory of former times,
that her resolution yielded for a moment to excess of grief. She stopped,
leaned for support against a tree, and wept for some minutes, before she ha_ecovered herself sufficiently to proceed. The little path, that led to th_uilding, was overgrown with grass and the flowers which St. Aubert ha_cattered carelessly along the border were almost choked with weeds—the tal_histle—the fox-glove, and the nettle. She often paused to look on th_esolate spot, now so silent and forsaken, and when, with a trembling hand,
she opened the door of the fishing-house, 'Ah!' said she, 'every thing—ever_hing remains as when I left it last—left it with those who never mus_eturn!' She went to a window, that overhung the rivulet, and, leaning ove_t, with her eyes fixed on the current, was soon lost in melancholy reverie.
The lute she had brought lay forgotten beside her; the mournful sighing of th_reeze, as it waved the high pines above, and its softer whispers among th_siers, that bowed upon the banks below, was a kind of music more in uniso_ith her feelings. It did not vibrate on the chords of unhappy memory, but wa_oothing to the heart as the voice of Pity. She continued to muse, unconsciou_f the gloom of evening, and that the sun's last light trembled on the height_bove, and would probably have remained so much longer, if a sudden footstep,
without the building, had not alarmed her attention, and first made he_ecollect that she was unprotected. In the next moment, a door opened, and _tranger appeared, who stopped on perceiving Emily, and then began t_pologize for his intrusion. But Emily, at the sound of his voice, lost he_ear in a stronger emotion: its tones were familiar to her ear, and, thoug_he could not readily distinguish through the dusk the features of the perso_ho spoke, she felt a remembrance too strong to be distrusted.
He repeated his apology, and Emily then said something in reply, when th_tranger eagerly advancing, exclaimed, 'Good God! can it be— surely I am no_istaken—ma'amselle St. Aubert?—is it not?'
'It is indeed,' said Emily, who was confirmed in her first conjecture, for sh_ow distinguished the countenance of Valancourt, lighted up with still mor_han its usual animation. A thousand painful recollections crowded to he_ind, and the effort, which she made to support herself, only served t_ncrease her agitation. Valancourt, meanwhile, having enquired anxiously afte_er health, and expressed his hopes, that M. St. Aubert had found benefit fro_ravelling, learned from the flood of tears, which she could no longe_epress, the fatal truth. He led her to a seat, and sat down by her, whil_mily continued to weep, and Valancourt to hold the hand, which she wa_nconscious he had taken, till it was wet with the tears, which grief for St.
Aubert and sympathy for herself had called forth.
'I feel,' said he at length, 'I feel how insufficient all attempt a_onsolation must be on this subject. I can only mourn with you, for I canno_oubt the source of your tears. Would to God I were mistaken!'
Emily could still answer only by tears, till she rose, and begged they migh_eave the melancholy spot, when Valancourt, though he saw her feebleness,
could not offer to detain her, but took her arm within his, and led her fro_he fishing-house. They walked silently through the woods, Valancourt anxiou_o know, yet fearing to ask any particulars concerning St. Aubert; and Emil_oo much distressed to converse. After some time, however, she acquire_ortitude enough to speak of her father, and to give a brief account of th_anner of his death; during which recital Valancourt's countenance betraye_trong emotion, and, when he heard that St. Aubert had died on the road, an_hat Emily had been left among strangers, he pressed her hand between his, an_nvoluntarily exclaimed, 'Why was I not there!' but in the next momen_ecollected himself, for he immediately returned to the mention of her father;
till, perceiving that her spirits were exhausted, he gradually changed th_ubject, and spoke of himself. Emily thus learned that, after they had parted,
he had wandered, for some time, along the shores of the Mediterranean, and ha_hen returned through Languedoc into Gascony, which was his native province,
and where he usually resided.
When he had concluded his little narrative, he sunk into a silence, whic_mily was not disposed to interrupt, and it continued, till they reached th_ate of the chateau, when he stopped, as if he had known this to be the limi_f his walk. Here, saying, that it was his intention to return to Estuviere o_he following day, he asked her if she would permit him to take leave of he_n the morning; and Emily, perceiving that she could not reject an ordinar_ivility, without expressing by her refusal an expectation of something more,
was compelled to answer, that she should be at home.
She passed a melancholy evening, during which the retrospect of all that ha_appened, since she had seen Valancourt, would rise to her imagination; an_he scene of her father's death appeared in tints as fresh, as if it ha_assed on the preceding day. She remembered particularly the earnest an_olemn manner, in which he had required her to destroy the manuscript papers,
and, awakening from the lethargy, in which sorrow had held her, she wa_hocked to think she had not yet obeyed him, and determined, that another da_hould not reproach her with the neglect.