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abroad, and he was afterwards induced to remain there, from having found, in this retreat, where the connexions even of nation and language were avoided, a perfect seclusion and retirement highly favourable to the development of abstract subjects, in which he excelled all the writers of his time.
Perhaps in the structure of such a mind as Mr. 's, the finer and more delicate sensibilities are seldom known to have place; or, if originally implanted there, are in a great measure extinguished by the exertions of intense study and profound investigation. Hence the idea of philosophy and unfeelingness being united has become proverbial, and in common language the former word is often used to express the latter. Our philosopher has been censured by some as deficient in warmth and feeling; but the mildness of his manners has been allowed by all; and it is certain that, if he was not easily melted into compassion, it was at least not difficult to awaken his benevolence.
One morning, while he sat busied in those speculations which afterwards astonished the world, an old female domestic, who served him for a housekeeper, brought him word that an elderly gentleman and his daughter had arrived in the village the preceding evening on their way to some distant country, and that the father had been suddenly seized in the night with a dangerous disorder, which the people of the inn where they lodged feared would prove mortal; that she had been sent for as having some knowledge in medicine, the village surgeon being then absent; and that it was truly piteous to see the good old man, who seemed not so much afflicted by his own distress as by that which it caused to his daughter. Her
master laid aside the volume in his hand, and broke off the chain of ideas it had inspired. His night-gown was exchanged for a coat, and he followed his gouvernante to the sick man's apartment.
'T was the best in the little inn where they lay, but a paltry one notwithstanding. Mr. -- was obliged to stoop as he entered it. It was floored with earth, and above were the joists, not plastered, and hung with cobwebs. On a flock-bed, at one end, lay the old man he came to visit ; at the foot of it sat his daughter. She was dressed in a clean white bedgown; her dark locks hung loosely over it as she bent forward, watching the languid looks of her father. Mr. and his housekeeper had stood some moments in the room without the young lady's being sensible of their entering it. “ Mademoiselle!” said the old woman at last in a soft tone. She turned, and showed one of the finest faces in the world. It was touched, not spoiled with sorrow; and when she perceived a stranger, whom the old woman now introduced to her, a blush at first, and then the gentle ceremonial of native politeness which the affliction of the time tempered, but did not extinguish, crossed it for a moment, and changed its expression. 'Twas sweetness all, however, and our philosopher felt it strongly. It was not a time for words; he offered his services in a few sincere ones. “ Monsieur lies miserably ill here,” said the gouvernante; “if he could possibly be moved anywhere." "If he could be moved to our house,” said her master. He had a spare bed for a friend, and there was a garret room unoccupied, next to the gouvernante's. It was contrived accordingly. The scruples of the stranger, who could look scruples
though he could not speak them, were overcome, and the bashful relactance of his daughter gave way to her belief of its use to her father. The sick man was wrapped in blankets and carried across the street to the English gentleman's. The old woman helped his daughter to nurse him there. The surgeon, who arrived soon after, prescribed a little, and nature did much for him ; in a week he was able to thank his benefactor.
By this time his host had learned the name and character of his guest. He was a Protestant clergyman of Switzerland, called La Roche, a widower, who had lately buried his wife after a long and lingering illness, for which travelling had been prescribed, and was now returning home, after an ineffectual and melancholy journey, with his only child, the daughter we have mentioned.
He was a devout man, as became his profession. He possessed devotion in all its warmth, but with none of its asperity; I mean that asperity which men, called devout, sometimes indulge in. Mr. --, though he felt no devotion, never quarrelled with it in others. His gouvernante joined the old man and his daughter in the prayers and thanksgivings which they put up on his recovery; for she, too, was a heretic in the phrase of the village. The philosopher walked out, with his long staff and his dog, and left them to their prayers and thanksgivings. “My master," said the old woman, "alas! he is not a Christian, but he is the best of unbelievers." "Not a Christian !" exclaimed Mademoiselle La Roche; “yet he saved my father! Heaven bless him for 'l; I would he were a Christian!" “ There is a pride in human knowledge, my child,"
said her father, “ which often blinds men to the sublime truths of revelation; hence opposers of Christianity are found among men of virtuous lives, as well as among those of dissipated and licentious characters. Nay, sometimes I have known the latter more easily converted to the true faith than the former, because the fume of passion is more easily dissipated than the mist of false theory and delusive speculation." “ But Mr. ,” said his daughter; "alas ! my father, he shall be a Christian before he dies. She was interrupted by the arrival of their landlord. He took her hand with an air of kindness; she drew it away from him in silence, threw down her eyes to the ground, and left the room. “I have been thanking God," said the good La Roche, "for my recovery." “ That is right,” replied his landlord. “I would not wish," continued the old man hesitatingly, “ to think otherwise; did I not look up with gratitude to that Being, I should barely be satisfied with my recovery as a continuation of life, which, it may be, is not a real good. Alas! I may live to wish I had died, that you had left me to die, sir, instead of kindly relieving me (he clasped Mr. --'s hand); but when I look on this renovated being as the gift of the Almighty, I feel a far different sentiment; my heart dilates with gratitude and love to him ; it is prepared for doing his will, not as a duty, but as a pleasure; and regards every breach of it, not with disapprobation, but with horror.” “You say right, my dear sir," replied the philosopher; “but you are not yet re-established enough to talk much; you must take care of your health, and neither study nor preach for some time. I have been thinking over a scheme that struck me to-day when you mentioned your intended departure. I never was in Switzerland ; I have a great mind to accompany your daughter and you into that country. I will help to take care of you by the road; for, as I was your first physician, I hold myself responsible for your cure.” La Roche's eyes glistened at the proposal; his daughter was called in and told of it. She was equally pleased with her father; for they really loved their landlord - not perhaps the less for his infidelity; at least that circumstance mixed a sort of pity with their regard for him: their souls were not of a mould for harsher feelings; hatred never dwelt in them.
They travelled by short stages; for the philosopher was as good as his word, in taking care that the old man should not be fatigued. The party had time to be well acquainted with one another, and their friendship was increased by acquaintance. La Roche found a degree of simplicity and gentleness in his companion which is not always annexed to the character of a learned or a wise man. His daughter, who was prepared to be afraid of him, was equally undeceived. She found in him nothing of that self-importance which superior parts, or great cultivation of them, is apt to confer. He talked of everything but philosophy or religion ; he seemed to enjoy every pleasure and amusement of ordinary life, and to be interested in the most common topics of discourse : when his knowledge or learning at any time appeared, it was delivered with the utmost plainness, and without the least shadow of dogmatism. On his part he was charmed with the society of the good clergyman and his lovely daughter. He found in them the guileless manner of the earliest