Imatges de pàgina




In the spring of 1791 I made a voyage to America. Before the vessel, which conveyed me, reached her destination, we were in want of water, as well as provisions; and finding ourselves near the Azores, resolved to touch there. Several priests were passengers in the same ship; they were emigrating to Baltimore, under the guidance of the superior St... M. N. Among these priests were some foreigners, particularly Mr. T... a young Englishman of an excellent family, who had lately become a convert to the Roman faith.

The history of this youth is too singular not to be recorded, and will perhaps be more particularly interesting to the English reader.

Mr. T... was the son of a Scotch woman and an English clergyman, who was, I believe, the rector of W. though I have in vain tried to find him, and may possibly have forgotten the right names. The son served in the artillery, and would no doubt have soon been distinguished by his merit. He was a painter, a musician, a mathematician, and master of several languages. He united with the advantages of a tall and elegant person the talents which are useful, and those which make us court the society of their possessor.

M. N. superior of St..... having visited London on business, I believe in the year 1790, became acquainted with young T... This monk had that warmth of soul which easily makes proselytes of men possessing the vivid imagi. nation by which T... was distinguished. It was determined that the latter should repair to Paris, send the resignation of his commission from that place to the Duke of Richmond, embrace the Catholic religion, and, after entering into holy orders, accompany M. N. to America. The project was put in execution, and T... in spite of his mother's letters, which he could not read without tears, embarked for the new world. One of those chances, which decide our destiny, caused me to sail in the same vessel as this

young man. It was not long before I discovered his good qualities, and I could not cease to be astonished at the singular circumstances, by which a wealthy Englishman of good birth should have thus been thrown among a troop of Catholic priests. T... perceived, on his part, I understood him ; but he was afraid of M. N. that who seemed averse to too great an intimacy between his disciple and myself.

Meanwhile we proceeded on our voyage, and had not yet been able to open our hearts to each other. At length we were one night upon deck without any of the other priests. T... related to me his adventures, and we interchanged assurances of sincere friendship.

T... was, like myself, an admirer of nature. We used to pass whole nights in conversation upon deck, when all were asleep on board the vessel, except the sailors upon duty, when all the sails were furled, and the ship rolled dully through the calm, while an immense sea extended all around us into shade, and repeated the

magnificient illumination of the star-sprinkled sky. Our conversations, at such times, were perhaps not quite unworthy of the grand spectacle which we had before our eyes; and ideas escaped us which we should be ashamed of expressing in society, but which I should be happy to recal and write down. It was in one of these charming nights when we were about fifty leagues from the coast of Virginia, and scudding under a light breeze from the west, which bore to us the aromatic odour of the land, that T... composed for a French Romance, an air which exhaled the very spirit of the scene that inspired it. I have preserved this valuable composition, and when I happen to repeat it, emotions arise in


breast which few people can comprehend.

Before this period, the wind having driven us considerably to the north, we found ourselves under the necessity of then also taking in water, &c. which we did at Saint Peter's Island, on the coast of Newfoundland. During the fortnight we were on shore, T... and I used to ramble among the mountains of this frightful island, and lose ourselves amidst the fogs that perpetually prevail

« AnteriorContinua »