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St. Aubert's liberality, or extravagance, had fo much involved his affairs, that his fon found it neceffary to difpofe of a part of the family domain, and, fome years after his marriage, he fold it to Monfieur Quefnel, the brother of his wife, and retired to a small eftate in, Gafcony, where conjugal felicity, and parental duties, divided his attention with the treasures of knowledge and the illuminations of genius.
To this spot he had been attached from his infancy. He had often made excurfions to it when a boy, and the impreffions of delight given to his mind by the homely kindness of the grey-headed peafant, to whom it was intrufted, and whose fruit and cream never failed, had not been obliterated by fucceeding circumftances. The green paftures along which he had fo often bounded in the exultation of health, and youthful freedom-the woods, under whofe refreshing fhade he had firft indulged that penfive
melancholy, which afterwards, made a ftrong feature of his character-the wild walks of the mountains, the river, on whose waves he had floated, and the diftant plains, which feemed boundless as his early hopes-were never after remembered by St. Aubert but with enthufiafin and regret. At length he difengaged himself from the world, and retired hither, to realize the wishes of many years.
The building, as it then ftood, was merely a fummer cottage, rendered interefting to a stranger by its neat fimplicity, or the beauty of the furrounding fcene; and confiderable additions were neceffary to make it a comfortable family refidence. St. Aubert felt a kind of affection for every part of the fabric, which he remembered in his youth, and would not fuffer a ftone of it to be removed; fo that the new building, adapted to the style of the old one, formed with it only a fimple and elegant refi
dence. The tafte of Madame St. Aubert was confpicuous in its internal finishing, where the fame chafte fimplicity was obfervable in the furniture, and in the few ornaments of the apartments, that characterised the manners of its inhabitants.
The library occupied the weft fide of the chateau, and was enriched by a collection of the best books in the ancient and modern languages. This room opened upon a grove, which ftood on the brow of a gentle declivity, that fell towards the river, and the tall trees gave it a melancholy and pleafing fhade; while from
the windows the eye caught, veneath the fpreading branches, the gay and luxuriant landscape ftretching to the weft, and overlooked on the left by the bold precipices of the Pyrenées. the library was a green-house, stored with fcarce and beautiful plants; for one of the amufements of St. Aubert was the study of botany; and among the neigh
bouring mountains, which afforded a luxurious feast to the mind of the naturalift, he often paffed the day in the purfuits of his favourite fcience. He was fometimes accompanied in thefe little excur fions by Madame St. Aubert, and frequently by his daughter; when, with a fmall ofier basket to receive plants, and another filled with cold refreshments, fuch as the cabin of the fhepherd did not afford, they wandered away among the most romantic and magnificent fcenes, nor fuffered the charms of Nature's lowly children to abftract them from the obfervance of her stupendous works. When weary of fauntering among cliffs that feemed scarcely acceffible but to the steps of the enthufiaft, and where no track appeared on the vegetation, but what the foot of the izard had left; they would feek one of those green receffes, which fo beautifully adorn the bofom of these mountains, where, under the shade of the lofty larch, or cedar, they enjoyed
their fimple repaft, made fweeter by the waters of the cool ftream, that crept along the turf, and by the breath of wild flowers and aromatic plants, that fringed the rocks, and inlaid the grafs.
Adjoining the eastern fide of the greenhoufe, looking towards the plains of Languedoc, was a room, which Emily called hers, and which contained her books, her drawings, her mufical inftruments, with fome favourite birds and plants. Here the ufually exercifed herself in elegant arts, cultivated only because they were congenial to her tafte, and in which native genius, affifted by the inftructions of Monfieur and Madame St. Aubert, made her an early proficient. The windows of this room were particularly pleasant; they descended to the floor, and, opening upon the little lawn that furrounded the houfe, the eye was led between groves of almond, palm-trees, flowering afh, and myrtle, to the diftant landscape, where
the Garonne wandered.