The Elysian Fields (1780)

Saddened by your barbarous resolution, stated so positively last night, to remain single the rest of your life, in honor of your dear husband, I went home, fell on my bed, believing myself dead, and found myself in the Elysian Fields.

I was asked if I had a wish to see some Important Persons—Take me to the Philosophers.—There are two who reside quite near here, in this Garden: they are very good neighbors and very good friends of each other.—Who are they?—Socrates and H.—I have prodigious esteem for both of them; but let me see H. first, for I understand some French and not a word of Greek.

He received me with great courtesy, having known me by reputation, he said, for some time. He asked me a thousand questions on war, and on the present state of religion, of liberty, and of the government in France.—But you are not enquiring at all about your dear friend Madame H.; yet, she is excessively in love with you, and I was with her but an hour ago.

—Ah! said he, you are bringing back to my mind my former felicity. But one must forget, in order to be happy in this place. For several of the first years, I thought of nobody

but her. Well, now I am consoled. I have taken another wife. One as similar to her as I could find. She is not, to be sure, quite as beautiful, but she has just as much common sense, a little more wisdom, and she loves me infinitely. Her continuous endeavor is to please me; and she has gone out right now to search for the best nectar and ambrosia to regale me with tonight; stay with me and you shall see her.

—I notice, said I, that your former friend is more faithful than you: for several matches have been offered her, and she has turned them all down. I confess that I, for one, loved her madly; but she was harsh towards me and rejected me absolutely for the love of you.

—I pity you, said he, for your misfortune; for she is truly a good and lovely woman, and most amiable. But Abbé de la R. and Abbé M., aren’t they anymore in her home, every now and then?

—Yes, of course; for she has not lost a single one of your friends.

—Now, if you had won over Abbé M. (with coffee and cream) and got him to plead your cause, you might have met with success; for he is as subtle a debater as Duns Scotus or St. Thomas; he puts his arguments in such good order that they become almost irresistible. Or, better still, if you had convinced Abbé de la R. (by the gift of some fine edition of an old classic) to argue against you: for I have always observed that when he advises something she has a strong tendency to do the exact opposite.

As he was saying this, the new Madame H. came in with the nectar. I recognized her instantly as Madame F., my former American friend. I claimed her. But she said coldly, I have been a good wife to you for forty-nine years and four months, almost half a century; be content with that. I have formed a new connection here, that will last for eternity.

Grieved by this rebuke from my Euridyce, I resolved there and then to abandon those ungrateful shadows, and to come back to this good world, to see the sun again, and you. Here I am! Revenge!

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.