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line between me and the figure, and I lost sight of it; and as I passed along one walk, and the figure the other, the holly bush still continued to intercept the view, so as to give the appearance that the figure had vanished. When I came to the corner of the two walks, I caught sight of it again, and coming up with it, I reached out my hand to touch it; and in the act of doing this the idea struck me, Will my hand pass through the air, or shall I feel any thing ? Less than a moment would decide this, and my hand rested on the shoulder of a human figure. I spoke, but do not recollect what I said. It answered in a low voice, “ Pray let me alone.” I then knew who it was. It was a young lady
a visit to Mrs. E- and who, when we sat down to supper, said she found herself extremely ill, and would go to bed. I called to Mrs. E-, who came, and I said to her, “It is Miss N/" Mrs. E-said, “ My God! I hope you are not going to do yourself any hurt;" for Mrs, E-- suspected something. She replied with pathetic melancholy, “Life has not one pleasure for me.” We got her into the house, and Mrs. Etook her to sleep with her.
The case was, the man whom she expected to be married to, had forsaken her, and when she heard he was to be married to another, the shock appeared to her to be too great to be borne. She had retired, as I have said, to her room, and when she supposed all the family were gone to bed, (which would have been the case, if Mrs. E- and I had not walked into the garden) she undressed herself, and
tied her apron over her head; which descending below her waist gave her the shapeless figure I have spoken of.
Aided by the obscurity of almost midnight, and with this and a white under petticoat and slippers, for she had taken out her buckles, and put them at the servant maid's door, I suppose as a keepsake, she came down stairs, and was going to drown herself in a pond at the bottom of the garden, towards which she was going when Mrs. E screamed out. We found afterwards, that she had heard the scream, and that was the cause of her changing her walk.
By gentle usage, and leading her into subjects that might, without doing violence to her feelings, and without letting her see the direct intention of it, steal her as it were from the horror she was in, (and I felt a compassionate, earnest disposition to do it, for she was a good girl) she recovered her former cheerfulness, and was afterwards the happy wife, and the mother of a family.
The other case, and the conclusion in
In Paris, in 1793, I had lodgings in the Rue Fauxbourg, St. Denis, No. 63. They were the most agreeable for situation of any I ever had in Paris, except that they were too remote from the convention, of which I was then a member. But this was recompenced by their being also remote from the alarms and confusion into which the interior of Paris was then often thrown. The news of those things used to arrive to us, as if we were in a state of tranquillity in the country. The house, which was enclosed by a wall and gateway from the street, was a good deal like an old mansion farm-house, and the court-yard was like a farm-yard stocked with fowls, ducks, turkies, and geese; which for amusement we used to feed out of the parlour window on the ground floor. There were some hutches for rabbits and a sty with two pigs. Beyond, was a garden of more than an acre of ground, well laid out, and stocked with excellent fruit trees. The orange, apricot, and green-gage plumb, were the best I ever tasted ; and it is the only place where I saw the wild cucumber. The place had formerly been occupied by some curious person.
My apartments consisted of three rooms; the first, for wood, water, &c. with an old fashioned closet chest, high enough to hang up clothes in; the next was the bed room; and beyond it the sitting room, which looked into the garden thro a glass door; and on the outside there was a small landing place railed in, and a figlit of narrow stairs almost hidden by the vines that grew over it, by which I could descend into the garden, without going down stairs thro the house. I am trying by description to make you see the place in your mind, because it will assist the story I have to tell; and which I think you can do, because you once called upon me there on account of Sir who was then, as I was soon afterwards, in arrestation. But it was winter when you came, and it is a summer scene I am describing.
I went into my chamber to write and sign a certificate for them,* which I intended to take to the guard house to obtain their release. Just as I had finished it a man into
my room dressed in the Parisian uniform of a captain, and spoke to me in good English, and with a good address.
He told me that two young men, Englishmen, were arrested and detained in the guardhouse, and that the section, (meaning those who represented and acted for the section) had sent him to ask me if I knew them, in which case they would be liberated. This matter being soon settled between us, he talked to me about the revolution, and something about the * Rights of Man’ which he had read in English; and at parting offered me in a polite and civil manner his services. And who do you think the man was that offered me his services ? It was no other than the public executioner Samson, who guillotined the king and all who were guillotined in Paris; and who lived in the same section and in the same street with me.
As to myself, I used to find some relief by walking alone in the garden after dark, and cursing with hearty good-will the authors of that terrible system that had
Mr. Paine here alludes to two friends who were under arrest. Eo.
turned the character of the revolution I had been proud to defend.
I went but little to the convention, and then only to make my appearance ; because I found it impossible to join in their tremendous decrees, and useless and dangerous to oppose them. My having voted and spoken extensively, more so than any other member, against the execution of the king, had already fixed a mark upon me: neither dared any of my associates in the convention to translate and speak in French for me any thing I might have dared to have written.
Pen and ink were then of no use to me: no good could be done by writing, and no printer dared to print; and whatever I might have written for my private amusement, as anecdotes of the times, would have been continually exposed to be examined, and tortured into any meaning that the rage of party might fix upon it; and as to softer subjects, my heart was in distress at the fate of my friends, and my harp was hung upon the weeping willows.
As it was summer
we spent most of our time in the garden and passed it away in those childish amusements that serve to keep reflection from the mind, such as marbles, scotch-hops, battledores, &c. at which we were all pretty expert.