Bernardin and the Revolution
The year 1788 had been an excellent one for Bernardin: his literary reputation was well established, and the immediate and outstanding success of Paul et Virginie, which was soon to appear as a separate edition, had brought him confidence and not a little work. He had been treated moderately well by the monarchy, its servants, and its administrators, and had been particularly well supported by Hennin and by Mesnard. The Revolution would oblige Bernardin, and indeed many others, to make choices that they might have preferred to avoid: choices about allegiance, about active participation, about whether they should stay to live through the crisis, or whether they should emigrate and observe France from a distance. While Bernardin was engaged in polite epistolary exchange, however, and enjoying living with the benefit of income and pension and taking part in debates about his own theories with those who contradicted him, events in the world outside were moving rapidly.