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hall of armour, of birds, or of chevaliers, from the ceiling being decorated with coloured shields and painted birds. The embrasures of the narrow trefoil windows were so deep, that they formed little chambers, around which ran a granite seat. Added to this, there were, in different parts of the building, passages, secret stairs, dark cells, dungeons, a labyrinth of open and covered galleries, and secret vaults, the ramificátions of which were unknown; silence, darkness, and a stony front, everywhere appeared. Such was the Castle of Combourg Supper was served in the “Salle des Gardes."
I partook of it without constraint, and thus terminated the first happy
my life. True happiness costs but little ; that which is dearly bought is not genuine.
I was scarcely awake the next morning, when I arose to explore the precincts of the castle, and to celebrate my arrival at this solitude. The flight of steps faced the north-west, and, when seated on its diazome, I had before me the “ verte," and beyond it a kitchen-garden lying between two woods ; the one to the right, the quincunx by which we had entered, which was called “Le petit Mail ;” the other to the left “ Le grand Mail." This was a forest of oaks, beeches, sycamores, elm, and chestnut trees.
Madame de Sevigny boasted, in her day, of the splendid foliage of these ancient trees; since that time, one hundred and forty years have added to thoir beauty.
On the opposite side, to the south and east, the landscape was quite different ; the windows of the great hall looked out upon the houses of Combourg, on a pond, the causeway, over which the main road of Rennes passed, a water-mill, a meadow, covered with flocks and herds, and separated from the pond by the main road. On the border of this meadow lay a scattered hamlet, which was dependant upon a Priory founded in 1149, by Rivallon, Lord of Combourg, and where his statue, in a recumbent posture, and clad in his knight's armour, was still to be seen. Beyond this pond, the ground gradually rose, and formed an amphitheatre of trees, studded with the cottages of the villagers and castles of the nobility. At the extremity of the horizon, to the west and south, the heights of Bécherel might be discerned. A terrace bordered with large, closely-clipped box trees, surrounded the foot of the château on this side, passed behind the stables, and continued, with an opening here and there, as far as the “ Jardin des Bains," which communicated with the “
grand Mail.” But, after all this long description, if an artist were to take out his pencil, could he produce a sketch at all resembling this château ? I believe not, and yet my memory presents every object as vividly as though I still beheld it. Such, in all natural things, is the impotency of language and the power of recollection! In beginning to speak of Combourg, I sing the first couplets of a plaint which has charms for none but myself. Ask the shepherd of the Tyrol why he delights in those three or four notes which he repeats over and over again to his flocks--those mountain-notes wafted from echo to echo till they resound from the banks of a torrent to the opposite shore?
My first stay at Combourg was of short duration, Afortnight had scarcely elapsed when I beheld the arrival of the Abbé Porcher, Principal of the College of Dol; I was committed to his care, and followed him in spite of my tears.
Revised in June, 1846.
Dieppe, September, 1812.
COLLEGE OF DOL-MATHEMATICS AND LANGUAGE-TRAITS OF
I was not altogether a stranger to Dol; my father was Prebend, as descendant and representative of the house of William de Chateaubriand, Lord de Beaufort who, in 1529, founded one of the first stalls in the choir of the cathedral. The Bishop of Dol, M. de Hercé, was a friend of my family, a prelate of great moderation in politics, and who, together with his brother, the Abbé d'Hercé, was shot while on his knees, with the crucifix in his hand, at Quiberon, the field of the martyrs.
On my arrival at college, I was committed to the special care of the Abbé Leprince, Professor of Rhetoric, and a profound geometrician; he was a man of much genius, a great admirer of the arts, and a tolerable proficient in portraitpainting ; his countenance was fine and expressive. He undertook to make me learn my “Bezout," and the Abbé Egault, third Professor, became my Latin master. I studied mathematics in my chamber, and Latin in the common hall.
It required some time for a bird of my species to become accustomed to the cage of a college, and to regulate my flight by the sound of a bell. I could not have those ready friends which fortune gains, for nothing could be got by associating with a polisson like me, who had not even a weekly allowance, and I certainly could not enrol myself among a clientèle, for I always hated patrons. In play, I did not pretend to lead any one, but I never suffered myself to be led by others. I was fit neither for a tyrant nor a slave, and I remain so to this very day.
However, it was not long before I became the centre of a party, and, in after life, I exercised the same influence in my regiment; simple sub-lieutenant as I was, the veteran officers passed their evenings with me, and preferred my apartment to the café. I know not whence this arose ; it might probably be owing to the ease with which I entered into the minds and feelings of others, and understood their manners. I loved shooting and hunting, as much as reading and writing; it is indifferent to me even now, whether I speak of the most common things, or discuss the most elevated subjects. Almost insensible to genius, nay feeling almost an antipathy towards it; it is well for me that I have not actually become a brute. No fault was offensive in my sight save mockery and conceit, and I could scarcely refrain from punishing the offender; I found that others always had some superiority over me, and if, by accident, I felt that I was their superior, I was quite embarrassed.
Those talents which had lain dormant during my early education were awakened at college ; I had a remarkable aptitude for study, and was gifted with an extraordinary memory. I made rapid progress in mathematics, in which I manifested
a clearness of perception that astonished the Abbé Leprince. At the same time, I evinced a decided taste for languages. The rudiments, those torments of the school-boy, were learned by me without difficulty ; I awaited the hour for my Latin lesson with a kind of impatience, as a recreation from cyphering and geometrical figures. In less than a twelvemonth, I was high in the fifth form, and singularly enough, my Latin phraseology so naturally resolved itself in pentametre, that the Abbé Egault called me Elegiac,” a name which I. believe I always retained among my companions.
With respect to my memory, I will mention two traits. I learned by heart my tables of logarithms, that is to say, a number being given in geometrical proportion, I had to find its solution by memory in arithmetical proportion, and vice versá.
After evening prayer, the principal generally delivered a lecture at the College Chapel, of which one of the boys, selected at random, was obliged to give an account. We often came back tired from play, and during prayers were half dead with sleep; we threw ourselves upon the forms, each seeking to hide himself in some dark place, in order to escape notice, and consequently interrogation. There was a particular confessional which was a constant bone of contention, as being a sure retreat. One evening I was so fortunate as to gain this desired haven, and thought myself quite secure from the observation of the principal. Unhappily, he perceived my manouvre, and determined to make an example of me.
He read prosily and deliberately the second part of a sermon ; every one fell asleep; I know not how it was, but I happened to remain awake in my snug confessional. The Principal, who could see only the tips of my toes, thought that I was nodding like the rest, and all on a sudden apostrophized me, and demanded what he had been reading ?
This second part of this sermon contained an enumeration of the different ways of sinning against God. I was not only able to repeat the subject matter, but I took up the divisions in their order, and repeated almost word for word, several pages of mystic prose, utterly beyond the comprehension of a schoolboy. A murmur of applause ran through the chapel ; the principal called me up, and giving me a gentle tap upon the cheek, permitted me, by way of reward, to lie in bed next morning till breakfast time! I modestly shunned the admiration of my companions, but did not fail to take advantage of the grace awarded to me.
This verbal memory, which I have not altogether retained, called forth in me another kind of memory, more remarkable, and which I may hereafter have occasion to mention.
One thing humbles me: memory is often the quality of folly : it is generally possessed by sluggish minds, which it renders yet more dull by the lumber with which it incumbers them. Yet, nevertheless, what should we be without memory? We should forget our friendships, our loves, our pleasures, our business ; genius could not store up its ideas; the most affectionate heart would lose its tenderness, if memory were gone ; our existence would be reduced to the successive moments of a present which would roll heedlessly away; there would no longer be a past. Miserable that we are! So vain is life, it is naught but the reflex of our memory.
Dieppe, October, 1812.
VACATIONS AT COMBOURG-LIFE AT A CHATEAU IN A PROVINCE
FEUDAL MANNERS - INHABITANTS OP COMBOURG.
I used to pass my vacations at Combourg. Life in a château in the environs of Paris, can afford no idea of that in a château in a distant province. The domains of Combourg were nothing more than some open heaths, a few mills, and a couple of forests, Bourgouët and Tanoërn, in a country where wood was almost valueless. Combourg, however, was rich in feudal privileges : these were of divers sorts : some determined certain ground rents for certain concessions, or decreed the usages which originated under the ancient political state of