My room is situated in latitude 48° east, according to the measurement of Father Beccaria. It lies east and west, and, if you
keep very close to the wall, forms a parallelogram of 36 steps round. My journey will, however, be longer than this; for I shall
traverse my room up and down and across, without rule or plan. I shall even zig-zag about, following, if needs be, every
possible geometrical line. I am no admirer of people who are such masters of their every step and every idea that they can
say: “To-morrow I shall make three calls, write four letters, and finish this or that work.” So open is my soul to all sorts of
ideas, tastes, and feelings; so greedily does it absorb whatever comes first, that . . . . but why should it deny itself the delights
that are scattered along life’s hard path? So few and far between are they, that it would indeed be
senseless not to stop, and even turn aside, to gather such as are placed within our reach. Of these joys, none, to my
thinking, is more attractive than following the course of one’s fancies as a hunter follows his game, without pretending to
keep to any set route. Hence, when I travel in my room, I seldom keep to a straight line.
From my table I go towards a picture which is placed in the corner; thence I set out in an oblique direction for the door;
and then, although on starting I had intended to return to my table, yet, if I chance to fall in with my armchair on the way,
I at once, and most unceremoniously, take up my quarters therein. By the by, what a capital article of furniture an armchair
is, and, above all, how convenient to a thoughtful man. Along winter evenings it is ofttimes sweet, and always prudent, to
stretch yourself therein, far from the bustle of crowded assemblies. A good fire, some books and pens; what safeguards
these are against ennui! And have pleasant, again, to forget books and pens in order to stir the fire, while giving oneself up
to some agreeable meditation, or stringing together a few rhymes for the amusement of friends, as the hours glide by and
fall into eternity, without making their sad passage felt.
Next to my arm-chair, as we go northward, my bed comes into sight. It is placed at the end of my room, and forms the most
agreeable perspective. It is very pleasantly situated, and the earliest rays of the sun play upon my curtains. One fine summer
days I see them come creeping, as the sun rises, all along the whitened wall. The elm-trees opposite my
windows divide them into a thousand patterns as they dance upon my bed, and, reflecting its rose-and-white colour,
shed a charming tint around. I hear the confused twitter of the swallows that have taken possession of my roof, and the
warbling of the birds that people the elms. Then do a thousand smiling fancies fill my soul; and the whole universe no being
enjoys an awakening so delightful, so peaceful, as mine.
I confess that I do indeed revel in these sweet moments, and prolong as far as I can the pleasure it gives me to meditate in
the comfortable warmth of my bed. What scene can adapt itself so well to the imagination, and awaken such delicious ideas,
the couch on which my fancy floats me into the forgetfulness of self! Here it is that the mother, intoxicated with joy at the
birth of a son, forgets her pangs. Hither it is that fantastic pleasures, the fruit of fancy or of hope, come to agitate us. In a
word, it is here that during one half of a life-time we forget the annoyances of the other half.
But what a host of thoughts, some agreeable, some sad, throng my brain at once, – strange minglings of terrible and
A bed sees us born, and sees us die. It is the ever changing scene upon which the human race play by turns interesting
dramas, laughable farces, and fearful tragedies. It is a cradle decked with flowers. A throne of love. A sepulchre.