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upper chambers opened. This hall, which was composed of marble, was enriched with many statues, some in groups, some single, but all as large as life. On the left-hand of this hall was a library, which seemed to hang over the ravine above mentioned in a manner almost terrific, and at such a height, that the eagles of the mountain were not unfrequently seen winging their flight beneath it. Here the ear was continually soothed by the distant murmur of the mountain torrent; while a perpetual feast was prepared for the eye by the picturesque wildness of the scenery of the glen, forming a striking, contrast with the softer features of the landscape beyond. This apartment had been abundantly furnished with books by the elder brother of the major; but though among these books there was much which might amuse the curious reader, or feed the fancy of the poetical one, there was little to amend the heart or correct the judgment. The other apartments of this chateau are not worthy of particular description.
Young persons are in general fond of change; and Emily was not a little delighted at the first view of the beautiful spot which was to become the place of her abode. It is true, that she had little to regret in leaving Geneva ; but she had never yet tried what sort of a companion her father would prove in a situation where he was to be her only companion; neither had she considered, that a time might come when even the beauties of the Dole, and the ever-varying charms of alpine scenery, might cease to delight—when the heart might be sighing for a companion to whom it might impart its feelings, or for some occupation which might excite a real interest. During, however, the first day or two of her residence in her new abode, she experienced no lassitude; and in that period she examined every corner of the house and of the pleasure-grounds, and even of the pine forest and the sombre glen within a mile of the chateau. She made herself acquainted with every statue, every painting, and every remarkable prospect about the house, and formed to herself a thousand plans of improvement and occupation.
During this first fervour of spirits, she did not observe that her father was gloomy and inactive, that he seldom spoke, that he sat continually in one place, and that his countenance scarcely ever relaxed into a smile. When
in a short time this discovery was made,—when she found that he complained much of bodily infirmity, that he was fretful, disputatious, and incapable of being amused by any exertion which she could make for that purpose, -she began to feel the difficulties of her situation, to look forward with dread to long hours of solitude, and to gaze on the natural beauties which surrounded her with indifference. To add to her unpleasant feelings at this moment, Madame la Blonde (her chambermaid) being seized with the same apprehensions which had taken possession of her mistress, thought proper to take her departure; by which Emily was deprived of the only person with whom she could converse freely.
Religion, at this moment, would have offered itself as a resource, but Emily shrank from the idea of recurring to her Bible; but she had recourse to the library, and tried to pass away the long, weary day by reading romances; and thus she bewildered herself more deeply in the mazes of error, and more assiduously endeavoured to console herself, in the absence of real happiness, by the dreams of fancy.
The summer was now past, the autumn succeeded, and winter arrived. The major sank more deeply into dejection of spirits. He had proved the pleasures of the world, and found them fallacious; and the pleasures and hopes of religion he had deliberately cast away. His health was declining; and he was sensible, by many infirmities, that he was not immortal. If he loved any thing on earth, it was Emily; but he had lately indulged the thought that his affection was not returned, and he believed that he had forforfeited her regard by his conduct to her brother.
This idea once admitted, found much to support it in her uneasy and dissatisfied manner. Thus he became shy towards her, and she, in return, more distant to him; till
, at length, the uneasiness became reciprocal; and the unhappy daughter, shunning as much as possible her father's presence, spent her solitary hours in shedding tears, in thinking of past happy days, in calling upon the name of Christopher, and regretting the distance which separated her from Charles.
In this manner passed the winter, and spring again began to appear in all the glowing beauties with which she
advances in that charming region. At this period, Emily who was much withont, began almost to envy the little peasant boys and girls, who were pursuing their rustic labours in the valleys and on the sides of the mountain; and she was greatly attracted by a pastoral life; and she fancied, that, had she been born in a cottage, she should have been happy; not considering that every path of life has its advantages and disadvantages; and that, however agreeable it might be as a shepherdess in a morning of May, when bees are gathering honey on the fragrant down, and gentle breezes scarcely shake the dew from the opening flowers, yet that even shepherdesses are sometimes scorched with the burning rays of the midday sun, and sometimes pinched with the cold frost of the autumnal evening. But who can describe the variety of sickly fancies, which, by turns, take possession of the heart which is sighing for happiness, and yet perversely refuses to seek it where it may be found?
The spring passed away, and the summer came, but brought no alleviation to the sorrows of Emily. In the beginning of June her father had a severe fit of the gout; during which his daughter, driven from him partly by his waywardness, and partly because she no longer felt a wish to please him, left him almost wholly to the care of his servant, and to the influence of those infidel writers with which his brother's library abounded; and it was before he was recovered from his bodily complaint, which left him more infirm than it had found him, that certain events took place, which I now shall proceed to relate.
It was the middle of June; the morning was very fine ; and the ardent rays of the sun were tempered by clouds, which, passing over the mountains, sometimes threw parts of them into the shade, and again, by their removal, restored them to the full glory of the broad summer day ;-the gentle breezes, also, wafted the perfumes of this honeyed region, to regale the senses and moderate the heat; when Emily, stepping forth from her unsocial home, hoped to find some alleviation to that restless spirit, which continually disturbed her, by exploring the charming environs of the chateau. The conscience of this young female was not as yet so insensible as to allow her wholly to neglect her father, and yet feel comfortable. She indeed tried to plead his irritable temper as an excuse for her conduct,
but the plea was not sufficiently strong to give ease to her mind; and when she recollected his unkindness to her brother as another reason for neglecting him and pursuing her own fancies, she could not but feel that she was the last person who ought thus to avenge her brother’s injuries, inasmuch, as far as she was concerned, there appeared no similar ground of complaint. Her father had always loved her, always preferred her, always cherished her, and never denied her any indulgence which it was in his power to bestow.
Such being the state of the case, we cannot suppose that Emily was happy when she left her home in the instance we speak of; and it was in some degree to her honour that she was not so; and that she frequently wept as she proceeded, and often sighed, as she drew a comparison between the state of her mind when she lived in England with its present condition.
The first steps of Emily's walk were through a grove of dark pine, which formed, as it were, a wreath around one of the lower peaks of the mountain; and then, passing in a broad line behind the chateau, she descended into the glen, beneath the windows of the library. Emily, having passed this line of forests, came out into one of those verdant pastures, so frequently found in the higher regions of the mountains of Switzerland; from which they are emphatically called Alps. A range of bold rocks, in a semicircular form, composed the western boundary of this pasture ground. The lower part of these rocks was adorned with saxifrages, laburnums, brushwood, mountain-ash, and the crimson rose; while the upper regions were arranged by nature in the forms of towers and bastions, fortresses and bulwarks; tower being exalted above tower, bastion above bastion, and bulwark above bulwark, till the highest points were lost the region of the clouds. From these rocks, in different directions, poured two limpid streams, rushing through the stony chasms, and down the rugged precipices, with a never-ceasing noise, dashing and foaming through their shadowy beds, as if impatient of delay, till, having reached the pasture-ground below, their progress became more calm, and the thunders of their courses were converted into gentle murmurs--the only sounds that interrupted the silence of this sequestered spot,
which, during ten months of the year, is rarely visited by the foot of man.
In the centre of this alpine pasture was a lonely edifice of unhewn stone, built for the convenience of the shepherds, whose custom it was to resort thither, with their flocks, for six weeks in the year. This edifice was white, and built in the form of a shepherd's tent. Emily had often visited this place before, and had frequently gazed on the scene with delight; but now she turned from it with a sigh, and directing
her steps around the base of the rocks, she came to a narrow pass on the northern side of them.
Pursuing this path awhile, being enclosed on either side by rock, she presently arrived at an opening, from which she saw other parts of the mountain, and at her feet a narrow valley at the bottom of which ran a little stream. This valley was so entirely wooded that she could only distinguish the water in a few places between the openings of the trees. The descent into this valley was by certain rugged steps cut into the rock, which Emily resolved to try at all hazards, and accordingly lost no time in bounding from step to step, till she presently found herself near the bottom of the ravine, and saw before her a bridge of a single plank thrown over the water, and on the opposite side of the bridge, a little higher up the brook, a thatched cottage such as continually meet the eye in the canton of Berne, though not so commonly in that of the Vaud. The roof projected over the sides of the house to such an extreme as to allow a gallery of considerable width beneath it.This roof was made to slope so much that its sides were almost perpendicular, and little of the side walls of the house was visible; but the gable end which faced the bridge was high, and the gallery was adorned on this side with creepers, that wound around the rough timber pillars which supported it. The doors and windows of the cottage opened into the gallery above and the verandah below; and before the lower door sat a very old woman, having a table before her, on which lay a book, that she seemed to be studying with deep attention. The old woman was dressed as a peasant, in a coarse blue petticoat, a jacket of the same, and a black apron; but having a cap and kerchief of the whitest linen. Behind the house was a small garden, encompassed with some wooden frame-work, enclosing a