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NETLEY ABBEY. 5
that the site of this romantic abode was granted by Henry VIII, Chap. in Wfrg, to a sir William Paulet, and that after having had J many merry monks for its masters, who, no doubt, performed their matu'tinie laudes and nocturna? vigiliaswith devout exactness; that it is at length in the possession of Mr. Dance, who has a very fine and picturesque estate on that side of the river, of which these elegant ruins constitute the chief ornament. The church stiL' exhibits a beautiful specimen of gothic architecture, but it? tottering remains will rapidly share the fate of the neighbouring pile, which time has prostrated on the earth, and covered mth his thickest shade of ivy..
Our watermen gave us a curious description of this place, .and amused us not a little with their ridiculous anacronisms.
"I tell you; what," said one of them, contradicting the other, "you are in the wrong, Bob, indeed you are wrong, don't "mislead them gentlemen, that there Abbey is in the true
"roman style, and was built by a man they call , but
"that's neither here nor there, I forget the name, however, its
a fine place, and universally allowed to be very old. I fre"quertly rows gentlefolks there, and picks up a great deal "about it.'*
On our return the tide was at its height, the sun was setting in great glory, the sky and water seemed blended in each other, the same red rich tint reigned throughout, the vessels at anchor appeared suspended in the air, the spires of the churches were tipped with the golden ray; a scene of more beauty, richness, and tranquillity I never beheld. t . .. '.
• * .
I j CHAP.
French Emigrants. — Scene on the Quay of Southampton. — Sail for Havre. — Aged French Priest. •— Their respectable Conduct in England. —, Their Gratitude. — Make the Port of Havre. — Panic of the Emigra?its. — Landing described. — Hotel de la Paix. — Breakfast Knife. — Municipality.
Chap. During the whole of the second day after our arrival, the town - of Southampton was in a bustle, occasioned by the flocking in
of a great number of french emigrants, who weie returning to their own country, in consequence of a mild decree, which had been passed in their favour. The scene was truly interesting, and the sentiment which it excited, delightful to the heart.
A respectable cure, who dined in the same room with us at our inn, was observed to eat very little; upon being pressed to enlarge his meal, this amiable man said, with tears starting in his eyes, "Alas! I have no appetite; a very short time will bring ** me amongst the scenes of my nativity, my youth, and my "happiness, from which a remorseless revolution has parted me "for these ten long years; I shall ask for those who are dear to "me, and find them for ever gone. Those who are left will "fill my mind with the most afflicting descriptions; no, no, I *' cannot cat, my good sir."
About noon, they had deposited their baggage upon the quay, which formed a pile of aged portmanteaus, and battered trunks. Parties remained to protect them, previous to their embarkation.* The sun was intensely hot, they were seated under the shade of
old FRENCH EMIGRANTS.
old umbrellas, which looked as if they had been the companions of their banishment.
Their countenances appeared strongly marked with the pious character of resignation, over which were to be seen a sweetness, and corrected animation, which seemed to depict at once the soul's delight, of returning to its native home, planted wherever it may be, and the regret of leaving a nation, which, in the hour of flight and misery, had nobly enrolled them in the list of her own children, and had covered them with protection.
To the eternal honour of these unhappy, but excellent people, be it said, that they have proved themselves worthy of being received in such a sanctuary. Our country has enjoyed the benefit of their unblemished morals, and their mild, polite, and unassuming manners, and wherever destiny has placed them, they have industriously relieved the national burden of their support by diffusing the knowledge of a language, which good sense, and common interest, should long since have considered as a valuable branch of education.
To those of my friends, who exercise the sacred functions of religion, as established in this country, I need not offer an apology, for paying an humble tribute of common justice to these good, and persecuted men; who, from habit, pursue a mode of worship, a little differing in form, but terminating in the same great and glorious centre. The enlightened liberality of the british clergy will unite, in paying that homage to them, which they, in my presence, have often with enthusiasm, and rapture, offered up to the purity, and sanctity of their characters. Many of them informed me, that they had received
Chap. the most serviceable favours from our clergy, administered with n" equal delicacy, and munificence.
Amongst these groups were some females, the wives and daughters of toulonese merchants, who left their city when lord Hood abandoned that port. The politeness and attention, which were paid to them by the men, were truly pleasing. It was the good breeding of elegant habits, retaining all their softness in the midst of adversity, sweetened with the sympathy of mutual and similar sufferings.
They had finished their dinner, and were drinking their favourite beverage of coffee. Poor wanderers! the water was scarcely turned brown with the few grains which remained of what they had purchased for their journey.
I addressed them, by telling them, that I had the happiness of being a passenger with them, in the same vessel; they said they were fortunate to have in their company one of that nation, which would be dear to them as long as they lived. A genteel middle aged woman offered to open a little parcel of fresh coffee, which they had purchased in the town for the voyage, and begged to make some for me. By her manner, she seemed to wish me to consider it, more as the humble offering of gratitude, than of politeness, or perhaps both were blended in the offer. In the afternoon, their baggage was searched by the revenue officers, who, on this occasion, exercised a liberal gentleness, which gave but little trouble, and no pain. They who brought nothing into a country but .the recollection of their miseries, were not very likely to carry much out of it, but the remembrance of its generosity.
At SAIL FOR HAVRE. — AGED FRENCH PRIEST. 9
At seven o'clock in the evening we were all on board, and Chap. sailed with a gentle breeze down the river: we carried with u" us a good stock of vegetables, which we procured fresh, from the admirable market of Southampton. Upon going down into the cabin, I was struck, and at first shocked, with seeing a very aged man, stretched dt his length upon pillows and clothes, placed on the floor, attended by two clergymen, and some women, who, in their attentions to this apparently dying old gentleman, seemed to have forgotten their own comfortless situation* arising from so many persons being crowded in so small a space, for our numbers above and below amounted to sixty. Upon inquiry, they informed me, that the person whose appearance had so affected me, had been a clergyman of great repute and esteem at Havre, that he was then past the age of ninety five years, scarcely expected to survive our short voyage, but was anxious to breathe his last in his own country. They spoke of him, as a man who in other times, and in the fulness of his faculties, had often from his pulpit, struck with terror and contrition, the trembling souls of his auditors, by the force of his exalted eloquence; who had embellished the society in which he moved, with his- elegant attainments; and who had relieved, the unhappy, with an enlarged heart and munificent hand—A mere mass of misery, and helpless Infirmities, remained of all these noble qualities!
. During the early part of the night, we made but little way— behind, the dark shadowy line of land faded in mist; before us, the moon spread a stream of silver light upon the sea. The soft stillness of this repose of nature was broken •only by the