I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic.
My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics, and my father had filled
several public situations with honour and reputation. He was respected by all who knew
him for his integrity and indefatigable attention to public business. He passed his younger
days perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country; a variety of circumstances had
prevented his marrying early, nor was it until the decline of life that he became a husband
and the father of a family.
As the circumstances of his marriage illustrate his character, I cannot refrain from
relating them. One of his most intimate friends was a merchant who, from a flourishing
state, fell, through numerous mischances, into poverty. This man, whose name was
Beaufort, was of a proud and unbending disposition and could not bear to live in poverty
and oblivion in the same country where he had formerly been distinguished for his rank
and magnificence. Having paid his debts, therefore, in the most honourable manner, he
retreated with his daughter to the town of Lucerne, where he lived unknown and in
wretchedness. My father loved Beaufort with the truest friendship and was deeply
grieved by his retreat in these unfortunate circumstances. He bitterly deplored the false
pride which led his friend to a conduct so little worthy of the affection that united them.
He lost no time in endeavouring to seek him out, with the hope of persuading him to
begin the world again through his credit and assistance. Beaufort had taken effectual
measures to conceal himself, and it was ten months before my father discovered his
abode. Overjoyed at this discovery, he hastened to the house, which was situated in a
mean street near the Reuss. But when he entered, misery and despair alone welcomed
him. Beaufort had saved but a very small sum of money from the wreck of his fortunes,
but it was sufficient to provide him with sustenance for some months, and in the
meantime he hoped to procure some respectable employment in a merchant's house. The
interval was, consequently, spent in inaction; his grief only became more deep and
rankling when he had leisure for reflection, and at length it took so fast hold of his mind
that at the end of three months he lay on a bed of sickness, incapable of any exertion.
His daughter attended him with the greatest tenderness, but she saw with despair that
their little fund was rapidly decreasing and that there was no other prospect of support.
But Caroline Beaufort possessed a mind of an uncommon mould, and her courage rose to
support her in her adversity. She procured plain work; she plaited straw and by various
means contrived to earn a pittance scarcely sufficient to support life.
Several months passed in this manner. Her father grew worse; her time was more entirely
occupied in attending him; her means of subsistence decreased; and in the tenth month
her father died in her arms, leaving her an orphan and a beggar. This last blow overcame
her, and she knelt by Beaufort's coffin weeping bitterly, when my father entered the
chamber. He came like a protecting spirit to the poor girl, who committed herself to his