A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy
by Laurence Sterne
List of Characters
YORICK, the sentimental traveler.
FATHER LORENZO, a Franciscan monk.
MONSIEUR DESSEIN, master of the hotel at Calais.
MADAME DE L--
LA FLEUR, servant to Yorick.
The owner of a dead ass.
The wife of a glove merchant.
An old French officer.
A tall German.
MARQUISINA DI F--
MADAME DE RAMBOULIET.
Fille de chambre to Madame R--
A chevalier of St. Louis.
COUNT DE B--
A Parisian landlord.
A girl selling laces.
A flattering beggar.
MARIA, a mad girl.
A French farmer and his family.
A Piedmontese lady.
Her fille de chambre.
-THEY order, said I, this matter better in France.-
-You have been in France? said my gentleman, turning quick upon me
with the most civil triumph in the world.-Strange! quoth I, debating
the matter with myself, that one and twenty miles' sailing, for 't is
absolutely no further from Dover to Calais, should give a man these
rights.-I'll look into them: so giving up the argument-I went straight
to my lodgings, put up half a dozen shirts and a black pair of silk
breeches-"the coat I have on," said I, looking at the sleeve, "will
do"-took a place in the Dover stage; and the packet sailing at nine the
next morning-by three I had got sat down to my dinner upon a fricasseed
chicken, so incontestably in France, that had I died that night of an
indigestion, the whole world could not have suspended the effects of
the droits d'aubaine 1-my shirts, and black pair of silk
breeches-portmanteau and all must have gone to the King of France-even
the little picture which I have so long worn, and so often have told
thee, Eliza, I would carry with me into my grave, would have been torn
from my neck.-Ungenerous!-to seize upon the wreck of an unwary
passenger, whom your subjects had beckon'd to their coast.-By heaven!
SIRE, it is not well done; and much does it grieve me, 't is the
monarch of a people so civilized and courteous, and so renowned for
sentiment and fine feelings, that I have to reason with-
But I have scarce set foot in your dominions.-
WHEN I had finish'd my dinner, and drank the King of France's
health, to satisfy my mind that I bore him no spleen, but, on the
contrary, high honor for the humanity of his temper-I rose up an inch
taller for the accommodation.
-No-said I-the Bourbon is by no means a cruel race: they may be
misled like other people; but there is a mildness in their blood. As I
acknowledged this, I felt a suffusion of a finer kind upon my
cheek-more warm and friendly to man, than what Burgundy (at least of
two livres a bottle, which was such as I had been drinking) could have
-Just God! said I, kicking my portmanteau aside, what is there in
this world's goods which should sharpen our spirits, and make so many
kind-hearted brethren of us fall out so cruelly as we do by the way?
When man is at peace with man, how much lighter than a feather is
the heaviest of metals in his hands! he pulls out his purse, and
holding it airily and uncompress'd, looks round him, as if he sought
for an object to share it with.-In doing this, I felt every vessel in
my frame dilate-the arteries beat all cheerily together, and every
power which sustained life, performed it with so little friction, that
't would have confounded the most physical précieuse in France: with
all her materialism, she could scarce have called me a machine.-
I'm confident, said I to myself, I should have overset her creed.
The accession of that idea carried nature, at that time, as high as
she could go-I was at peace with the world before, and this finish'd
the treaty with myself.-
Now, was I a King of France, cried I-what a moment for an orphan to
have begg'd father's portmanteau of me!
3. The Monk. Calais
I HAD scarce utter'd the words, when a poor monk of the order of
St. Francis came into the room to beg something for his convent. No man
cares to have his virtues the sport of contingencies-or one man may be
generous, as another man is puissant-sed non quo ad hanc-or be it as it
may-for there is no regular reasoning upon the ebbs and flows of our
humors; they may depend upon the same causes, for aught I know, which
influence the tides themselves-'t would oft be no discredit to us, to
suppose it was so; I'm sure at least for myself, that in many a case I
should be more highly satisfied to have it said by the world, "I had
had an affair with the moon, in which there was neither sin nor shame,"
than have it pass altogether as my own act and deed, wherein there was
so much of both.
-But be this as it may. The moment I cast my eyes upon him, I was
predetermined not to give him a single sou; and accordingly I put my
purse into my pocket-button'd it up-set myself a little more upon my
center, and advanced up gravely to him: there was something, I fear,
forbidding in my look: I have his figure this moment before my eyes,
and think there was that in it which deserved better.
The monk, as I judg'd from the break in his tonsure, a few
scatter'd white hairs upon his temples being all that remained of it,
might be about seventy-but from his eyes, and that sort of fire which
was in them, which seem'd more temper'd by courtesy than years, could
be no more than sixty-truth might lie between-he was certainly
sixty-five; and the general air of his countenance, notwithstanding
something seem'd to have been planting wrinkles in it before their
time, agreed to the account.
It was one of those heads which Guido has often painted-mild,
pale-penetrating, free from all commonplace ideas of fat contented
ignorance looking downwards upon the earth-it look'd forwards; but
look'd, as if it look'd at something beyond this world. How one of his
order came by it, heaven above, who let it fall upon a monk's
shoulders, best knows; but it would have suited a Brahmin, and had I
met it upon the plains of Indostan, I had reverenced it.
The rest of his outline may be given in a few strokes; one might
put it into the hands of any one to design, for 't was neither elegant
or otherwise, but as character and expression made it so: it was a
thin, spare form, something above the common size, if it lost not the
distinction by a bend forwards in the figure-but it was the attitude of
entreaty; and as it now stands presented to my imagination, it gain'd
more than it lost by it.
When he had enter'd the room three paces, he stood still; and
laying his left hand upon his breast (a slender white staff with which
he journey'd being in his right)-when I had got close up to him, he
introduced himself with the little story of the wants of his convent,
and the poverty of his order-and did it with so simple a grace-and such
an air of deprecation was there in the whole cast of his look and
figure-I was bewitch'd not to have been struck with it.-
-A better reason was, I had predetermined not to give him a single
4. The Monk. Calais
-'T IS very true, said I, replying to a cast upwards with his eyes,
with which he had concluded his address-'t is very true-and heaven be
their resource who have no other but the charity of the world, the
stock of which, I fear, is no way sufficient for the many great claims
which are hourly made upon it.
As I pronounced the words great claims, he gave a slight glance
with his eye downwards upon the sleeve of his tunic.-I felt the full
force of the appeal.-I acknowledge it, said I-a coarse habit, and that
but once in three years, with meager diet-are no great matters; and the
true point of pity is, as they can be earn'd in the world with so
little industry, that your order should wish to procure them by
pressing upon a fund which is the property of the lame, the blind, the
aged, and the infirm-the captive who lies down counting over and over
again the days of his afflictions, languishes also for his share of it;
and had you been of the order of mercy, instead of the order of St.
Francis, poor as I am, continued I, pointing at my portmanteau, full
cheerfully should it have been open'd to you, for the ransom of the
unfortunate-The monk made me a bow.-But of all others, resum'd I, the
unfortunate of our own country, surely, have the first rights; and I
have left thousands in distress upon our own shore.-The monk gave a
cordial wave with his head-as much as to say, No doubt, there is misery
enough in every corner of the world, as well as within our convent.-But
we distinguish, said I, laying my hand upon the sleeve of his tunic, in
return for his appeal-we distinguish, my good father! betwixt those who
wish only to eat the bread of their own labor-and those who eat the
bread of other people's, and have no other plan in life but to get
through it in sloth and ignorance, for the love of God.
The poor Franciscan made no reply: a hectic of a moment pass'd
across his cheek, but could not tarry-Nature seemed to have done with
her resentments in him; he showed none-but letting his staff fall
within his arm, he press'd both his hands with resignation upon his
breast, and retired.
5. The Monk. Calais
MY heart smote me the moment he shut the door-Psha! said I, with an
air of carelessness, three several times-but it would not do: every
ungracious syllable I had utter'd, crowded back into my imagination: I
reflected, I had no right over the poor Franciscan, but to deny him;
and that the punishment of that was enough to the disappointed, without
the addition of unkind language: I consider'd his gray hairs-his
courteous figure seem'd to reënter and gently ask me what injury he had
done me?-and why I could use him thus?-I would have given twenty livres
for an advocate.-I have behaved very ill, said I within myself; but I
have only just set out upon my travels; and shall learn better manners
as I get along.
6. The Desobligeant. Calais
WHEN a man is discontented with himself, it has one advantage
however, that it puts him into an excellent frame of mind for making a
bargain. Now there being no traveling through France and Italy without
a chaise-and nature generally prompting us to the thing we are fittest
for, I walk'd out into the coachyard to buy or hire something of that
kind to my purpose: an old Desobligeant 2 in the furthest corner of the
court hit my fancy at first sight, so I instantly got into it, and,
finding it in tolerable harmony with my feelings, I ordered the waiter
to call Monsieur Dessein, the master of the hotel.-But Monsieur Dessein
being gone to vespers, and not caring to face the Franciscan, whom I
saw on the opposite side of the court, in conference with a lady just
arrived at the inn-I drew the taffeta curtain betwixt us, and being
determined to write my journey, I took out my pen and ink, and wrote
the preface to it in the Desobligeant.
7. Preface. In the Desobligeant
IT must have been observed by many a peripatetic philosopher, that
nature has set up by her own unquestionable authority certain
boundaries and fences to circumscribe the discontent of man: she has
effected her purpose in the quietest and easiest manner, by laying him
under almost insuperable obligations to work out his ease, and to
sustain his sufferings at home. It is there only that she has provided
him with the most suitable objects to partake of his happiness, and
bear a part of that burden, which, in all countries and ages, has ever
been too heavy for one pair of shoulders. 'T is true, we are endued
with an imperfect power of spreading our happiness sometimes beyond her
limits, but 't is so order'd, that, from the want of languages,
connections, and dependencies, and from the difference in education,
customs, and habits, we lie under so many impediments in communicating
our sensations out of our own sphere, as often amount to a total
It will always follow from hence, that the balance of sentimental
commerce is always against the expatriated adventurer: he must buy what
he has little occasion for, at their own price-his conversation will
seldom be taken in exchange for theirs without a large discount-and
this by the by, eternally driving him into the hands of more equitable
brokers, for such conversation as he can find it requires no great
spirit of divination to guess at his party-
This brings me to my point; and naturally leads me (if the see-saw
of this Desobligeant will but let me get on) into the efficient as well
as the final causes of traveling.-
Your idle people that leave their native country, and go abroad for
some reason or reasons which may be derived from one of these general
causes-Infirmity of body,Imbecility of mind, orInevitable necessity.
The first two include all those who travel by land or by water,
laboring with pride, curiosity, vanity, or spleen, subdivided and
combined in infinitum.
The third class includes the whole army of peregrine martyrs; more
especially those travelers who set out upon their travels with the
benefit of the clergy, either as delinquents traveling under the
direction of governors recommended by the magistrate-or young gentlemen
transported by the cruelty of parents and guardians, and traveling
under the direction of governors recommended by Oxford, Aberdeen, and
There is a fourth class, but their number is so small, that they
would not deserve a distinction, was it not necessary in a work of this
nature to observe the greatest precision and nicety, to avoid a
confusion of character. And these men I speak of, are such as cross the
seas and sojourn in a land of strangers, with a view of saving money
for various reasons and upon various pretenses: but as they might also
save themselves and others a great deal of unnecessary trouble by
saving their money at home-and as their reasons for traveling are the
least complex of any other species of emigrants, I shall distinguish
these gentlemen by the name of Simple Travelers.Thus the whole circle
of travelers may be reduced to the following heads: Idle Travelers,
Inquisitive Travelers, Lying Travelers, Proud Travelers, Vain
Travelers, Splenetic Travelers.Then follow The Travelers of
Necessity, The Delinquent and Felonious Traveler, The Unfortunate and
Innocent Traveler, The Simple Traveler,
And last of all (if you please) The Sentimental Traveler (meaning
thereby myself), who have travel'd, and of which I am now sitting down
to give an account-as much out of necessity, and the besoin de voyager,
as any one in the class.
I am well aware, at the same time, as both my travels and
observations will be altogether of a different cast from any of my
forerunners, that I might have insisted upon a whole nitch entirely to
myself-but I should break in upon the confines of the Vain Traveler, in
wishing to draw attention towards me, till I have some better grounds
for it, than the mere novelty of my vehicle.
It is sufficient for my reader, if he has been a Traveler himself,
that with study and reflection hereupon he may be able to determine his
own place and rank in the catalogue-it will be one step towards knowing
himself, as it is great odds but he retains some tincture and
resemblance of what he imbibed or carried out, to the present hour.
The man who first transplanted the grape of Burgundy to the Cape of
Good Hope (observe he was a Dutchman) never dreamt of drinking the same
wine at the Cape, that the same grape produced upon the French
mountains-he was too phlegmatic for that-but undoubtedly he expected to
drink some sort of vinous liquor; but whether good, bad, or
indifferent-he knew enough of this world to know, that it did not
depend upon his choice, but that what is generally called chance was to
decide his success: however, he hoped for the best: and in these hopes,
by an intemperate confidence in the fortitude of his head, and the
depth of his discretion, mynheer might possible overset both in his new
vineyard, and by discovering his nakedness, become a laughing-stock to
Even so it fares with the poor Traveler, sailing and posting
through the politer kingdoms of the globe, in pursuit of knowledge and
Knowledge and improvements are to be got by sailing and posting for
that purpose; but whether useful knowledge and real improvements is all
a lottery-and even where the adventurer is successful, the acquired
stock must be used with caution and sobriety, to turn to any profit-but
as the chances run prodigiously the other way, both as to the
acquisition and application, I am of opinion, that a man would act
wisely, if he could prevail upon himself to live contented without
foreign knowledge or foreign improvements especially if he lives in a
country that has no absolute want of either-and indeed, much grief of
heart has it oft and many a time cost me, when I have observed how many
a foul step the Inquisitive Traveler has measured to see sights and
look into discoveries, all which, as Sancho Panza said to Don Quixote,
they might have seen dry-shod at home. It is an age so full of light,
that there is scarce a country or corner of Europe, whose beams are not
crossed and interchanged with others.-Knowledge in most of its
branches, and in most affairs, is like music in an Italian street,
whereof those may partake who pay nothing.-But there is no nation under
heaven-and God is my record (before whose tribunal I must one day come
and give an account of this work)-that I do not speak it vauntingly-but
there is no nation under heaven abounding with more variety of
learning-where the sciences may be more fitly woo'd, or more surely
won, than here-where art is encouraged, and will so soon rise
high-where Nature (take her altogether) has so little to answer
for-and, to close all, where there is more wit and variety of character
to feed the mind with.-Where then, my dear countrymen, are you going-
-We are only looking at this chaise, said they.-Your most obedient
servant, said I, skipping out of it, and pulling off my hat.-We were
wondering, said one of them, who, I found, was an Inquisitive
Traveler,-what could occasion its motion.-'T was the agitation, said I
coolly, of writing a preface.-I never heard, said the other, who was a
Simple Traveler, of a preface wrote in a Desobligeant.-It would have
been better, said I, in a Vis-à-Vis.
As an Englishman does not travel to see Englishmen, I retired to my
I PERCEIVED that something darken'd the passage more than myself,
as I stepp'd along it to my room; it was effectually Monsieur Dessein,
the master of the hotel, who had just return'd from vespers, and, with
his hat under his arm, was most complaisantly following me, to put me
in mind of my wants. I had wrote myself pretty well out of conceit with
the Desobligeant; and Monsieur Dessein speaking of it with a shrug, as
if it would no way suit me, it immediately struck my fancy that it
belong'd to some Innocent Traveler, who, on his return home, had left
it to Monsieur Dessein's honor to make the most of. Four months had
elapsed since it had finish'd its career of Europe in the corner of
Monsieur Dessein's coach-yard; and having sallied out from thence but a
vampt-up business at the first, though it had been twice taken to
pieces on Mount Sennis, it had not profited much by its adventures-but
by none so little as the standing so many months unpitied in the corner
of Monsieur Dessein's coachyard. Much indeed was not to be said for
it-but something might-and when a few words will rescue misery out of
her distress, I hate the man who can be a churl of them.
-Now was I the master of this hotel, said I, laying the point of my
forefinger on Monsieur Dessein's breast, I would inevitably make a
point of getting rid of this unfortunate Desobligeant-it stands
swinging reproaches at you every time you pass by it.-
Mon Dieu! said Monsieur Dessein-I have no interest-Except the
interest, said I, which men of a certain turn of mind take, Monsieur
Dessein, in their own sensations.-I'm persuaded, to a man who feels for
others as well as for himself, every rainy night, disguise it as you
will, must cast a damp upon your spirits.-You suffer, Monsieur Dessein,
as much as the machine-
I have always observed, when there is as much sour as sweet in a
compliment, that an Englishman is eternally at a loss within himself,
whether to take it or let it alone: a Frenchman never is: Monsieur
Dessein made me a bow.
C'est bien vrai, said he-But in this case I should only exchange
one disquietude for another, and with loss; figure to yourself, my dear
sir, that in giving you a chaise which would fall to pieces before you
had got half-way to Paris-figure to yourself how much I should suffer,
in giving an ill impression of myself to a man of honor, and lying at
the mercy, as I must do, d'un homme d'esprit.
The dose was made up exactly after my own prescription; so I could
not help taking it-and returning Monsieur Dessein his bow, without more
casuistry we walk'd together towards his Remise, to take a view of his
magazine of chaises.
9. In the Street. Calais
IT must needs to be a hostile kind of a world, when the buyer (if
it be but of a sorry post-chaise) cannot go forth with the seller
thereof into the street, to terminate the difference betwixt them, but
he instantly falls into the same frame of mind, and views his
conventionist with the same sort of eye, as if he was going along with
him to Hyde Park Corner to fight a duel. For my own part, being but a
poor swordsman, and no way a match for Monsieur Dessein, I felt the
rotation of all the movements within me to which the situation is
incident.-I looked at Monsieur Dessein through and through-ey'd him as
he walked along in profile-then, en face-thought he look'd like a
Jew-then a Turk-disliked his wig-curs'd him by my gods-wish'd him at
-And is all this to be lighted up in the heart for a beggarly
account of three or four louis d'ors, which is the most I can be
overreach'd in?-Base passion! said I, turning myself about, as a man
naturally does upon a sudden reverse of sentiment-base ungentle
passion! thy hand is against every man, and every man's hand against
thee-Heaven forbid! said she, raising her hand up to her forehead, for
I had turned full in front upon the lady whom I had seen in conference
with the monk-she had followed us unperceived.-Heaven forbid, indeed!
said I, offering her my own-she had a black pair of silk gloves, open
only at the thumb and two forefingers, so accepted it without
reserve-and I led her up to the door of the Remise.
Monsieur Dessein had diabled the key above fifty times, before he
found out he had come with a wrong one in his hand: we were as
impatient as himself to have it open'd; and so attentive to the
obstacle, that I continued holding her hand almost without knowing it:
so that Monsieur Dessein left us together, with her hand in mine, and
with our faces turned towards the door of the Remise, and said he would
be back in five minutes.
Now a colloquy of five minutes, in such a situation, is worth one
of as many ages, with your faces turned towards the street. In the
latter case, 't is drawn from the objects and occurrences without-when
your eyes are fixed upon a dead blank-you draw purely from yourselves.
A silence of a single moment upon Monsieur Dessein's leaving us, had
been fatal to the situation-she had infallibly turned about-so I begun
the conversation instantly.
But what were the temptations (as I write not to apologize for the
weaknesses of my heart in this tour,-but to give an account of them)
shall be described with the same simplicity with which I felt them.
10. The Remise Door. Calais
WHEN I told the reader that I did not care to get out of the
Desobligeant, because I saw the monk in close conference with a lady
just arrived at the inn-I told him the truth; but I did not tell him
the whole truth; for I was full as much restrained by the appearance
and figure of the lady he was talking to. Suspicion crossed my brain,
and said, he was telling her what had passed; something jarred upon it
within me.-I wished him at his convent.
When the heart flies out before the understanding, it saves the
judgment a world of pains.-I was certain she was of a better order of
beings-however, I thought no more of her, but went on and wrote my
The impression returned upon my encounter with her in the street; a
guarded frankness with which she gave me her hand, showed, I thought,
her good education and her good sense; and as I led her on, I felt a
pleasurable ductility about her, which spread a calmness over all my
-Good God! how a man might lead such a creature as this round the
world with him!-
I had not yet seen her face-'t was not material; for the drawing
was instantly set about, and long before we had got to the door of the
Remise, Fancy had finish'd the whole head, and pleased herself as much
with its fitting her goddess, as if she had dived into the TIBER for
it.-But thou art a seduced, and a seducing slut; and albeit thou
cheatest us seven times a day with thy pictures and images, yet with so
many charms dost thou do it, and thou deckest out thy pictures in the
shapes of so many angels of light, 't is a shame to break with thee.
When we had got to the door of the Remise, she withdrew her hand
from across her forehead, and let me see the original-it was a face of
about six and twenty-of a clear transparent brown, simply set off
without rouge or powder-it was not critically handsome, but there was
that in it, which, in the frame of mind I was in, attached me much more
to it-it was interesting; I fancied it wore the characters of a widow'd
look, and in that state of its declension, which had passed the two
first paroxysms of sorrow, and was quietly beginning to reconcile
itself to its loss-but a thousand other distresses might have traced
the same lines; I wish'd to know what they had been-and was ready to
inquire (had the same bon ton of conversation permitted, as in the days
of Esdras)-"What aileth thee? and why art thou disquieted? and why is
thy understanding troubled?"-In a word, I felt benevolence for her; and
resolv'd some way or other to throw in my mite of courtesy-if not of
Such were my temptations-and in this disposition to give way to
them, was I left alone with the lady with her hand in mine, and with
our faces both turned closer to the door of the Remise than what was
11. The Remise Door. Calais
THIS certainly, fair lady! said I, raising her hand up a little
lightly as I began, must be one of Fortune's whimsical doings: to take
two utter strangers by their hands-of different sexes, and perhaps from
different corners of the globe, and in one moment place them together
in such a cordial situation as Friendship herself could scarce have
achieved for them, had she projected it for a month.-
-And your reflection upon it, shows how much, Monsieur, she has
embarrassed you by the adventure.-
When the situation is what we would wish, nothing is so ill-timed
as to hint at the circumstances which make it so. You thank Fortune,
continued she-you had reason-the heart knew it, and was satisfied; and
who but an English philosopher would have sent notices of it to the
brain to reverse the judgment?
In saying this she disengaged her hand with a look which I thought
a sufficient commentary upon the text.
It is a miserable picture which I am going to give of the weakness
of my heart, by owning that it suffered a pain, which worthier
occasions could not have inflicted.-I was mortified with the loss of
her hand, and the manner in which I had lost it carried neither oil nor
wine to the wound: I never felt the pain of a sheepish inferiority so
miserably in my life.
The triumphs of a true feminine heart are short upon these
discomfitures. In a very few seconds she laid her hand upon the cuff of
my coat, in order to finish her reply; so some way or other, God knows
how, I regained my situation.
-She had nothing to add.
I forthwith began to model a different conversation for the lady,
thinking from the spirit as well as moral of this, that I had been
mistaken in her character; but upon turning her face towards me, the
spirit which had animated the reply was fled-the muscles relaxed, and I
beheld the same unprotected look of distress which first won me to her
interest.-Melancholy! to see such sprightliness the prey of sorrow.-I
pitied her from my soul; and though it may seem ridiculous enough to a
torpid heart,-I could have taken her into my arms, and cherished her,
though it was in the open street, without blushing.
The pulsations of the arteries along my fingers pressing across
hers, told her what was passing within me: she look'd down-a silence of
some moments followed.
I fear, in this interval, I must have made some slight efforts
towards a closer compression of her hand, from a subtle sensation I
felt in the palm of my own-not as if she was going to withdraw hers-but
as if she thought about it-and I had infallibly lost it a second time,
had not instinct more than reason directed me to the last resource in
these dangers-to hold it loosely and in a manner as if I was every
moment going to release it of myself; so she let it continue till
Monsieur Dessein returned with the key; and in the mean time I set
myself to consider how I should undo the ill impressions which the poor
monk's story, in case he had told it her, must have planted in her
breast against me.
12. The Snuff-Box. Calais
THE GOOD old monk was within six paces of us, as the idea of him
cross'd my mind; and was advancing towards us a little out of the line,
as if uncertain whether he should break in upon us or no.-He stopp'd,
however, as soon as he came up to us, with a world of frankness. and
having a horn snuff-box in his hand, he presented it open to me.-You
shall taste mine-said I, pulling out my box (which was a small tortoise
one) and putting it unto his hand.-'T is most excellent, said the monk.
Then do me the favor, I replied, to accept of the box and all, and when
you take a pinch out of it, sometimes recollect it was the peace
offering of a man who once used you unkindly, but not from his heart.
The poor monk blush'd as red as scarlet. Mon Dieu! said he,
pressing his hands together-you never used me unkindly.-I should think,
said the lady, he is not likely. I blush'd in my turn, but from what
movements I leave to the few who feel to analyze.-Excuse me, Madame,
replied I-I treated him most unkindly and from no provocations.-'T is
impossible, said the lady.-My God! cried the monk, with a warmth of
asseveration which seem'd not to belong to him-the fault was in me, and
in the indiscretion of my zeal.-The lady opposed it, and I joined with
her in maintaining it was impossible, that a spirit so regulated as
his, could give offense to any.
I knew not that contention could be rendered so sweet and
pleasurable a thing to the nerves as I then felt it.-We remained silent
without any sensation of that foolish pain which takes place, when in
such a circle you look for ten minutes in one another's faces without
saying a word. Whilst this lasted, the monk rubb'd his horn box upon
the sleeve of his tunic; and as soon as it had acquired a little air of
brightness by the friction-he made a low bow, and said, 't was too late
to say whether it was the weakness or goodness of our tempers which had
involv'd us in this contest.-But be it as it would-he begg'd we might
exchange boxes.-In saying this, he presented his to me with one hand,
as he took mine from me in the other; and having kiss'd it-with a
stream of good nature in his eyes he put it into his bosom-and took his
I guard this box, as I would the instrumental parts of my religion,
to help my mind on to something better: in truth, I seldom go abroad
without it: and oft and many a time have I call'd up by it the
courteous spirit of its owner to regulate my own, in the justlings of
the world; they had found full employment for his, as I learnt from his
story, till about the forty-fifth year of his age, when upon some
military services ill requited, and meeting at the same time with a
disappointment in the tenderest of passions, he abandon'd the sword and
the sex together, and took sanctuary, not so much in his convent as in
I feel a damp upon my spirits, as I am going to add, that in my
last return through Calais, upon inquiring after Father Lorenzo, I
heard he had been dead near three months, and was buried, not in his
convent, but, according to his desire, in a little cemetery belonging
to it, about two leagues off: I had a strong desire to see where they
had laid him-when upon pulling out his little horn box, as I sat by his
grave, and plucking up a nettle or two at the head of it, which had no
business to grow there, they all struck together so forcibly upon my
affections, that I burst into a flood of tears-but I am as weak as a
woman; and I beg the world not to smile, but pity me.
13. The Remise Door. Calais
I HAD never quitted the lady's hand all this time; and had held it
so long, that it would have been indecent to have let it go, without
first pressing it to my lips: the blood and spirits, which had suffer'd
a revulsion from her, crowded back to her, as I did it.
Now the two travelers, who had spoke to me in the coachyard,
happening at that crisis to be passing by, and observing our
communications, naturally took it into their heads that we must be man
and wife, at least; so stopping as soon as they came up to the door of
the Remise, the one of them, who was the Inquisitive Traveler, ask'd
us, if we set out for Paris the next morning?-I could only answer for
myself, I said, and the lady added, she was for Amiens.-We dined there
yesterday, said the Simple Traveler.-You go directly through the town,
added the other, in your road to Paris. I was going to return a
thousand thanks for the intelligence, that Amiens was in the road to
Paris; but upon pulling out my poor monk's little horn box to take a
pinch of snuff-I made them a quiet bow, and wishing them a good passage
to Dover-they left us alone.-
-Now where would be the harm, said I to myself, if I was to beg of
this distressed lady to accept of half of my chaise?-and what mighty
mischief could ensue?
Every dirty passion, and bad propensity in my nature, took the
alarm, as I stated the proposition.-It will oblige you to have a third
horse, said AVARICE, which will put twenty livres out of your
pocket.-You know not who she is, said CAUTION-or what scrapes the
affair may draw you into, whisper'd COWARDICE.-
Depend upon it, Yorick! said DISCRETION, 't will be said you went
off with a mistress, and came by assignation to Calais for that
-You can never after, cried HYPOCRISY aloud, show your face in the
world-or rise, quoth MEANNESS, in the church-or be anything in it, said
PRIDE, but a lousy prebendary.
-But 't is a civil thing, said I-and as I generally act from the
first impulse, and therefore seldom listen to these cabals, which serve
no purpose that I know of, but to encompass the heart with adamant-I
turn'd instantly about to the lady.
-But she had glided off unperceived, as the cause was pleading, and
had made ten or a dozen paces down the street, by the time I had made
the determination; so I set off after her with a long stride, to make
her the proposal with the best address I was master of: but observing
she walk'd with her cheek half resting upon the palm of her hand-with
the slow, short, measur'd step of thoughtfulness, and with her eyes, as
she went step by step, fix'd upon the ground, it struck me, she was
trying the same cause herself.-God help her! said I, she has some
mother-in-law, or tartufish aunt, or nonsensical old woman, to consult
upon the occasion, as well as myself: so not caring to interrupt the
process, and deeming it more gallant to take her at discretion than by
surprise, I faced about, and took a short turn or two before the door
of the Remise, whilst she walk'd musing on one side.
14. In the Street. Calais
HAVING, on first sight of the lady, settled the affair in my fancy,
"that she was of the better order of beings"-and then laid it down as a
second axiom, as indisputable as the first, that she was a widow, and
wore a character of distress-I went no further; I got ground enough for
the situation which pleased me-and had she remained. close beside my
elbow till midnight, I should have held true to my system, and
considered her only under that general idea.
She had scarce got twenty paces distant from me, ere something
within me called out for a more particular inquiry-it brought on the
idea of a further separation-I might possibly never see her more-the
heart is for saving what it can; and I wanted the traces thro' which my
wishes might find their way to her, in case I should never rejoin her
myself: in a word, I wish'd to know her name-her family's-her
condition; and as I knew the place to which she was going, I wanted to
know from whence she came: but there was no coming at all this
intelligence: a hundred little delicacies stood in the way. I form'd a
score different plans-There was no such thing as a man's asking her
directly-the thing was impossible.
A little French débonnaire captain, who came dancing down the
street, showed me, it was the easiest thing in the world; for popping
in betwixt us, just as the lady was returning back to the door of the
Remise, he introduced himself to my acquaintance, and before he had
well got announced, begg'd I would do him the honor to present him to
the lady-I had not been presented myself-so turning about to her, he
did it just as well by asking her, if she had come from Paris?-No, she
was going that route, she said.-Vous n'êtes pas de Londres?-She was
not, she replied.-Then Madame must have come thro'
Flanders.-Apparemment vous êtes Flamande? said the French captain.-The
lady answered, she was.-Peut-être de Lisle? added he.-She said she was
not of Lisle.-Nor Arras?-nor Cambray?-nor Ghent?-nor Brussels? She
answered, she was of Brussels.
He had had the honor, he said, to be at the bombardment of it last
war-that it was finely situated, pour cela-and full of noblesse when
the Imperialists were driven out by the French (the lady made a slight
curtsy)-so giving her an account of the affair, and of the share he had
had in it-he begg'd the honor to know her name-so made his bow.
-Et Madame a son Mari?-said he, looking back when he had made two
steps-and without staying for an answer-danced down the street.
Had I served seven years' apprenticeship to good breeding, I could
not have done as much.
15. The Remise. Calais
AS the little French captain left us, Monsieur Dessein came up with
the key of the Remise in his hand, and forthwith let us into his
magazine of chaises.
The first object which caught my eye, as Monsieur Dessein open'd
the door of the Remise, was another old tatter'd Desobligeant, and
notwithstanding it was the exact picture of that which had hit my fancy
so much in the coach-yard but an hour before-the very sight of it
stirr'd up a disagreeable sensation within me now; and I thought 't was
a churlish beast into whose heart the idea could first enter, to
construct such a machine; nor had I much more charity for the man who
could think of using it.
I observed the lady was as little taken with it as myself: so
Monsieur Dessein led us on to a couple of chaises which stood abreast,
telling us, as he recommended them, that they had been purchased by my
Lord A. and B. to go the grand tour, but had gone no further than
Paris, so were in all respects as good as new.-They were too good-so I
pass'd on to a third, which stood behind, and forthwith began to
chaffer for the price.-But 't will scarce hold two, said I, opening the
door and getting in.-Have the goodness, Madam, said Monsieur Dessein,
offering his arm, to step in.-The lady hesitated half a second, and
stepp'd in; and the waiter that moment beckoning to speak to Monsieur
Dessein, he shut the door of the chaise upon us, and left us.
16. The Remise. Door. Calais
C'EST bien comique, 't is very droll, said the lady smiling, from
the reflection that this was the second time we had been left together
by a parcel of nonsensical contingencies-c' est bien comique, said
-There wants nothing, said I, to make it so, but the comic use
which the gallantry of a Frenchman would put it to-to make love the
first moment, and an offer of his person the second.
'T is their fort, replied the lady.
It is supposed so at least-and how it has come to pass, continued
I, I know not: but they have certainly got the credit of understanding
more of love, and making it better than any other nation upon earth;
but for my own part, I think them errant bunglers, and in truth the
worst set of marksmen that ever tried Cupid's patience.
-To think of making love by sentiments!
I should as soon think of making a genteel suit of clothes out of
remnants:-and to do it-pop-at first sight by declaration-is submitting
the offer and themselves with it, to be sifted with all their pours and
contres, by an unheated mind.
The lady attended as if she expected I should go on.
Consider then, Madam, continued I, laying my hand upon hers-
That grave people hate Love for the name's sake-
That selfish people hate it for their own-
Hypocrites for heaven's-
And that all of us, both old and young, being ten times worse
frighten'd than hurt by the very report-What a want of knowledge in
this branch of commerce a man betrays, who ever lets the word come out
of his lips, till an hour or two at least after the time that his
silence upon it becomes tormenting. A course of small, quiet
attentions, not so pointed as to alarm-nor so vague as to be
misunderstood-with now and then a look of kindness, and little or
nothing said upon it-leaves Nature for your mistress, and she fashions
it to her mind-
Then I solemnly declare, said the lady, blushing-you have been
making love to me all this while.
17. The Remise. Calais
MONSIEUR Dessein came back to let us out of the chaise, and
acquaint the lady, the Count de L--, her brother, was just arrived at
the hotel. Though I had infinite good will for the lady, I cannot say,
that I rejoiced in my heart at the event-and could not help telling her
so-for it is fatal to a proposal, Madam, said I, that I was going to
You need not tell me what the proposal was, said she, laying her
hand upon both mine, as she interrupted me.-A man, my good Sir, has
seldom an offer of kindness to make to a woman, but she has a
presentiment of it some moments before.-
Nature arms her with it, said I, for immediate preservation.-But I
think, said she, looking in my face, I had no evil to apprehend-and to
deal frankly with you, had determined to accept it.-If I had-(she
stopped a moment)-I believe your good will would have drawn a story
from me, which would have made pity the only dangerous thing in the
In saying this, she suffered me to kiss her hand twice, and with a
look of sensibility mixed with a concern, she got out of the chaise-and
18. In the Street. Calais
I NEVER finished a twelve-guinea bargain so expeditiously in my
life: my time seemed heavy upon the loss of the lady, and knowing every
moment of it would be as two, till I put myself into motion-I ordered
post-horses directly, and walked towards the hotel.
Lord! said I, hearing the town clock strike four, and recollecting
that I had been little more than a single hour in Calais-
-What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this
little span of life, by him who interests his heart in everything, and
who, having eyes to see what time and chance are perpetually holding
out to him as he journeyeth on his way, misses nothing he can fairly
lay his hands on.-
-If this won't turn out something-another will-no matter-'t is an
assay upon human nature-I get my labor for my pains-'t is enough-the
pleasure of the experiment has kept my senses and the best part of my
blood awake, and laid the gross to sleep.
I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba, and cry, 'T is
all barren-and so it is; and so is all the world to him, who will not
cultivate the fruits it offers. I declare, said I, clapping my hands
cheerily together, that was I in a desert, I would find out wherewith
in it to call forth my affections.-If I could not do better, I would
fasten them upon some sweet myrtle, or seek some melancholy cypress to
connect myself to-I would court their shade, and greet them kindly for
their protection-I would cut my name upon them, and swear they were the
loveliest trees throughout the desert: if their leaves wither'd, I
would teach myself to mourn, and when they rejoiced, I would rejoice
along with them.
The learned SMELFUNGUS traveled from Boulogne to Paris-from Paris
to Rome-and so on-but he set out with the spleen and jaundice, and
every object he pass'd by was discolored or distorted.-He wrote an
account of them, but 't was nothing but the account of his miserable
I met Smelfungus in the grand portico of the Pantheon-he was just
coming out of it.-'T is nothing but a huge cock-pit, 3 said he.-I wish
you had said nothing worse of the Venus of Medicis, replied I-for in
passing through Florence, I had heard he had fallen foul upon the
goddess, and used her worse than a common strumpet, without the least
provocation in nature.
I popp'd upon Smelfungus again at Turin, in his return home; and a
sad tale of sorrowful adventures had he to tell, "wherein he spoke of
moving accidents by flood and field, and of the cannibals which each
other eat: the Anthropophagi"-he had been flay'd alive, and bedevil'd,
and used worse than St. Bartholomew, at every stage he had come at.-
-I'll tell it, cried Smelfungus, to the world. You had better tell
it, said I, to your physician.
Mundungus, with an immense fortune, made the whole tour; going on
from Rome to Naples-from Naples to Venice-from Venice to Vienna-to
Dresden, to Berlin, without one generous connection or pleasurable
anecdote to tell of; but he had travel'd straight on, looking neither
to his right hand or his left, lest Love or Pity should seduce him out
of his road.
Peace be to them! if it is to be found; but heaven itself, was it
possible to get there with such tempers, would want objects to give
it.-Every gentle spirit would come flying upon the wings of Love to
hail their arrival.-Nothing would the souls of Smelfungus and Mundungus
hear of, but fresh anthems of joy, fresh raptures of love, and fresh
congratulations of their common felicity.-I heartily pity them: they
have brought up no faculties for this work; and was the happiest
mansion in heaven to be allotted to Smelfungus and Mundungus, they
would be so far from being happy, that the souls of Smelfungus and
Mundungus would do penance there to all eternity.
I HAD once lost my portmanteau from behind my chaise, and twice got
out in the rain, and one of the times up to the knees in dirt, to help
the postilion to tie it on, without being able to find out what was
wanting.-Nor was it till I got to Montriul, upon the landlord's asking
me if I wanted not a servant, that it occurred to me, that that was the
A servant! That I do most sadly, quoth I.-Because, Monsieur, said
the landlord, there is a clever young fellow, who would be very proud
of the honor to serve an Englishman.-But why an English one, more than
any other?-They are so generous, said the landlord.-I'll be shot if
this is not a livre out of my pocket, quoth I to myself, this very
night.-But they have wherewithal to be so, Monsieur, added he.-Set down
one livre more for that, quoth I.-It was but last night, said the
landlord, qu'un my Lord Anglois presentoit un écu à la fille de
chambre.-Tant pis, pour Mademoiselle Janatone, said I.
Now Janatone being the landlord's daughter, and the landlord
supposing I was young in French, took the liberty to inform me, I
should not have said tant pis- but, tant mieux. Tant mieux, toujours,
Monsieur, said he, when there is anything to be got-tant pis, when
there is nothing. It comes to the same thing, said I. Pardonnez moi,
said the landlord.
I cannot take a fitter opportunity to observe, once for all, that
tant pis and tant mieux being two of the great hinges in French
conversation, a stranger would do well to set himself right in the use
of them, before he gets to Paris.
A prompt French Marquis at our ambassador's table demanded of Mr.
H--, if he was H-- the poet? No, said H-- mildly.-Tant pis, replied the
It is H-- the historian, said another.-Tant mieux, said the
Marquis. And Mr. H--, who is a man of an excellent heart, return'd
thanks for both.
When the landlord had set me right in this matter, he called in La
Fleur, which was the name of the young man he had spoke of-saying only
first, That as for his talents, he would presume to say
nothing-Monsieur was the best judge what would suit him; but for the
fidelity of La Fleur, he would stand responsible in all he was worth.
The landlord deliver'd this in a manner which instantly set my mind
to the business I was upon-and La Fleur, who stood waiting without, in
that breathless expectation which every son of nature of us have felt
in our turns, came in.
I AM apt to be taken with all kinds of people at first sight; but
never more so, than when a poor devil comes to offer his service to so
poor a devil as myself; and as I know this weakness, I always suffer my
judgment to draw back something on that very account-and this more or
less, according to the mood I am in, and the case-and I may add the
gender too of the person I am to govern.
When La Fleur enter'd the room, after every discount I could make
for my soul, the genuine look and air of the fellow determined the
matter at once in his favor; so I hired him first-and then began to
inquire what he could do: but I shall find out his talents, quoth I, as
I want them-besides, a Frenchman can do everything.
Now poor La Fleur could do nothing in the world but beat a drum,
and play a march or two upon the fife. I was determined to make his
talents do: and can't say my weakness was ever so insulted by my
wisdom, as in the attempt.
La Fleur had set out early in life, as gallantly as most Frenchmen
do, with serving for a few years: at the end of which, having satisfied
the sentiment, and found moreover, that the honor of beating a drum was
likely to be its own reward, as it open'd no further track of glory to
him-he retir'd à ses terres, and lived comme il plaisoit à Dieu-that is
to say, upon nothing.
-And so, quoth Wisdom, you have hired a drummer to attend you in
this tour of yours thro' France and Italy! Psha! said I, and do not one
half of our gentry go with a humdrum compagnon du voyage the same
round, and have the piper and the devil and all to pay besides? When
man can extricate himself with an équivoque in such an unequal match-he
is not ill off.-But you can do something else, La Fleur? said I.-O
qu'oui!-he could make spatterdashes, and play a little upon the
fiddle.-Bravo! said Wisdom.-Why I play a bass myself, said I-we shall
do very well.-You can shave, and dress a wig a little, La Fleur?-He had
all the dispositions in the world.-It is enough for heaven! said I,
interrupting him-and ought to be enough for me.-So supper coming in,
and having a frisky English spaniel on one side of my chair, and a
French valet, with as much hilarity in his countenance as ever nature
painted in one, on the other-I was satisfied to my heart's content with
my empire; and if monarchs knew what they would be at, they might be as
satisfied as I was.
AS La Fleur went the whole tour of France and Italy with me, and
will be often upon the stage, I must interest the reader a little
further in his behalf, by saying, that I had never less reason to
repent of the impulses which generally do determine me, than in regard
to this fellow-he was a faithful, affectionate, simple soul as ever
trudged after the heels of a philosopher; and notwithstanding his
talents of drum-beating and spatterdash-making, which, tho' very good
in themselves, happen'd to be of no great service to me, yet was I
hourly recompensed by the festivity of his temper-it supplied all
defects-I had a constant resource in his looks, in all difficulties and
distresses of my own-I was going to have added, of his too; but La
Fleur was out of the reach of everything; for whether it was hunger or
thirst, or cold or nakedness, or watchings, or whatever stripes of ill
luck La Fleur met with in our journeyings, there was no index in his
physiognomy to point them out by-he was eternally the same; so that if
I am a piece of a philosopher, which Satan now and then puts into my
head I am-it always mortifies the pride of the conceit, by reflecting
how much I owe to the complexional philosophy of this poor fellow, for
shaming me into one of a better kind. With all this, La Fleur had a
small cast of the coxcomb-but he seemed at first sight to be more a
coxcomb of nature than of art; and before I had been three days in
Paris with him-he seemed to be no coxcomb at all.
THE NEXT morning, La Fleur entering upon his employment, I
delivered to him the key of my portmanteau, with an inventory of my
half a dozen shirts and silk pair of breeches; and bid him fasten all
upon the chaise-get the horses put to-and desire the landlord to come
in with his bill.
C'est un garçon de bonne fortune, said the landlord, pointing
through the window to half a dozen wenches who had got round about La
Fleur, and were most kindly taking their leave of him, as the postilion
was leading out the horses. La Fleur kissed all their hands round and
round again, and thrice he wiped his eyes, and thrice he promised he
would bring them all pardons from Rome.
The young fellow, said the landlord, is beloved by all the town,
and there is scarce a corner in Montriul, where the want of him will
not be felt: he has but one misfortune in the world, continued he, "He
is always in love."-I am heartily glad of it, said I-'t will save me
the trouble every night of putting my breeches under my head. In saying
this, I was making not so much La Fleur's eloge, as my own, having been
in love, with one princess or other, almost all my life, and I hope I
shall go on so till I die, being firmly persuaded, that if ever I do a
mean action, it must be in some interval betwixt one passion and
another: whilst this interregnum lasts, I always perceive my heart
locked up-I can scarce find in it to give Misery a sixpence; and
therefore I always get out of it as fast as I can, and the moment I am
rekindled, I am all generosity and good will again; and would do
anything in the world, either for or with any one, if they will but
satisfy me there is no sin in it.
-But in saying this-surely I am commending the passion-not myself.
23. A Fragment
-THE TOWN of Abdera, notwithstanding Democritus lived there, trying
all the powers of irony and laughter to reclaim it, was the vilest and
most profligate town in all Thrace. What for poisons, conspiracies, and
assassinations-libels, pasquinades, and tumults, there was no going
there by day-'t was worse by night.
Now, when things were at the worst, it came to pass, that the
Andromeda of Euripides being represented at Abdera, the whole orchestra
was delighted with it: but of all the passages which delighted them,
nothing operated more upon their imaginations, than the tender strokes
of nature, which the poet had wrought up in that pathetic speech of
Perseus, O Cupid, prince of Gods and men, Every man almost spoke pure
iambics the next day, and talk'd of nothing but Perseus his pathetic
address-"O Cupid, prince of Gods and men"-in every street of Abdera, in
every house-"O Cupid! Cupid!"-in every mouth, like the natural notes of
some sweet melody which drops from it whether it will or no-nothing but
"Cupid! Cupid! prince of Gods and men."-The fire caught-and the whole
city, like the heart of one man, open'd itself to Love.
No pharmacopolist could sell one grain of hellebore-not a single
armorer had a heart to forge one instrument of death.-Friendship and
Virtue met together, and kiss'd each other in the street-the golden age
return'd, and hung over the town of Abdera-every Abderite took his
oaten pipe, and every Abderitish woman left her purple web, and
chastely sat her down and listen'd to the song-
'T was only in the power, says the Fragment, of the God whose
empire extendeth from heaven to earth, and even to the depths of the
sea, to have done this.
WHEN all is ready, and every article is disputed and paid for in
the inn, unless you are a little sour'd by the adventure, there is
always a matter to the compound at the door, before you can get into
your chaise, and that is with the sons and daughters of poverty, who
surround you. Let no man say, "let them go to the devil"-'t is a cruel
journey to send a few miserables, and they have had sufferings enow
without it: I always think it better to take a few sous out in my hand;
and I would counsel every gentle traveler to do so likewise; he need
not be so exact in setting down his motives for giving them.-They will
be register'd elsewhere.
For my own part, there is no man gives so little as I do; for few,
that I know, have so little to give: but as this was the first public
act of my charity in France, I took the more notice of it.
A well-a-way! said I, I have but eight sous in the world showing
them in my hand, and there are eight poor men and eight poor women for
A poor tatter'd soul, without a shirt on, instantly withdrew his
claim, by retiring two steps out of the circle, and making a
disqualifying bow on his part. Had the whole parterre cried out, Place
aux dames, with one voice, it would not have conveyed the sentiment of
a deference for the sex with half the effect.
Just Heaven! for what wise reasons hast thou order'd it, that
beggary and urbanity, which are at such variance in other countries,
should find a way to be at unity in this?
-I insisted upon presenting him with a single sou, merely for his
A poor little dwarfish, brisk fellow, who stood over against me in
the circle, putting something first under his arm, which had once been
a hat, took his snuff-box out of his pocket, and generously offer'd a
pinch on both sides of him: it was a gift of consequence, and modestly
declined.-The poor little fellow press'd it upon them with a nod of
welcomeness.-Prenez en-prenez, said he, looking another way; so they
each took a pinch.-Pity thy box should ever want one, said I to myself;
so I put a couple of sous into it-taking a small pinch out of his box
to enhance their value, as I did it.-He felt the weight of the second
obligation more than that of the first-'t was doing him an honor-the
other was only doing him a charity-and he made me a bow down to the
ground for it.
-Here! said I to an old soldier with one hand, who had been
campaign'd and worn out to death in the service-here's a couple of sous
for thee. Vive le Roi! said the old soldier.
I had then but three sous left: so I gave one, simply pour l'amour
de Dieu, which was the footing on which it was begg'd.-The poor woman
had a dislocated hip; so it could not be well upon any other motive.
Mon cher et très charitable Monsieur-There's no opposing this, said
My Lord Anglois-the very sound was worth the money-so I gave my
last sous for it. But in the eagerness of giving, I had overlooked a
pauvre honteux, who had no one to ask a sou for him, and who, I
believed, would have perish'd ere he could have ask'd one for himself;
he stood by the chaise, a little without the circle, and wiped a tear
from a face which I thought had seen better days-Good God! said I-and I
have not one single sou left to give him.-But you have a thousand!
cried all the powers of nature, stirring within me-so I gave him-no
matter what-I am ashamed to say how much, now-and was ashamed to think
how little, then: so if the reader can form any conjecture of my
disposition, as these two fixed points are given him, he may judge
within a livre or two what was the precise sum.
I could afford nothing for the rest, but Dieu vous bénisse-Et le
bon Dieu vous bénisse encore-said the old soldier, the dwarf, The
pauvre honteux could say nothing-he pull'd out a little handkerchief,
and wiped his face as he turned away-and I thought he thank'd me more
than them all.
25. The Bidet
HAVING settled all these little matters, I got into my post-chaise
with more ease than ever I got into a post-chaise in my life; and La
Fleur having got one large jack-boot on the far side of a little bidet,
4 and another on this (for I count nothing of his legs)-he canter'd
away before me as happy and as perpendicular as a prince.-
-But what is happiness! what is grandeur in this painted scene of
life! A dead ass, before we had got a league, put a sudden stop to La
Fleur's career-his bidet would not pass by it-a contention arose
betwixt them, and the poor fellow was kick'd out of his jack-boots the
very first kick.
La Fleur bore his fall like a French Christian, saying neither more
or less upon it, than, Diable! so presently got up and came to the
charge again astride his bidet, beating him up to it as he would have
beat his drum.
The bidet flew from one side of the road to the other, then back
again-then this way-then that way, and in short every way but by the
dead ass.-La Fleur insisted upon the thing-and the bidet threw him.
What's the matter, La Fleur, said I, with this bidet of
thine?-Monsieur, said he, c'est un cheval le plus opiniâtre du
monde.-Nay, if he is a conceited beast, he must go his own way, replied
I-so La Fleur got off him, and giving him a good sound lash, the bidet
took me at my word, and away he scamper'd back to Montriul.-Peste! said
It is not mal-à-propos to take notice here, that tho' La Fleur
availed himself but of two different terms of exclamation in this
encounter-namely, Diable! and Peste! that there are nevertheless three
in the French language, like the positive, comparative, and
superlative, one or the other of which serve for every unexpected throw
of the dice in life.
Le Diable! which is the first, and positive degree, is generally
used upon ordinary emotions of the mind, where small things only fall
out contrary to your expectations-such as-the throwing once doublets-La
Fleur's being kick'd off his horse, and so forth-cuckoldom, for the
same reason, is always-Le Diable!
But in cases where the cast has something provoking in it, as in
that of the bidet's running away after, and leaving La Fleur aground in
jack-boots-'t is the second degree.
'T is then Peste!
And for the third-
-But here my heart is wrung with pity and fellow-feeling, when I
reflect what miseries must have been their lot, and how bitterly so
refined a people must have smarted, to have forced them upon the use of
Grant me, O ye powers which touch the tongue with eloquence in
distress!-whatever is my cast, grant me but decent words to exclaim in,
and I will give my nature way.
-But as these were not to be had in France, I resolved to take
every evil just as it befell me, without any exclamation at all.
La Fleur, who had made no such covenant with himself, followed the
bidet with his eyes till it was got out of sight-and then, you may
imagine, if you please, with what word he closed the whole affair.
As there was no hunting down a frighten'd horse in jackboots, there
remained no alternative but taking La Fleur either behind the chaise,
or into it.-
I preferred the latter, and in half an hour we got to the
post-house at Nampont.
26. Nampont. The Dead Ass
AND THIS, said he, putting the remains of a crust into his
wallet-and this should have been thy portion, said he, hadst thou been
alive to have shared it with me. I thought by the accent, it had been
an apostrophe to his child; but 't was to his ass, and to the very ass
we had seen dead in the road, which had occasioned La Fleur's
misadventure. The man seemed to lament it much; and it instantly
brought into my mind Sancho's lamentation for his; but he did it with
more true touches of nature.
The mourner was sitting upon a stone bench at the door, with the
ass's pannel and its bridle on one side, which he took up from time to
time-then laid them down-look'd at them and shook his head. He then
took his crust of bread out of his wallet again, as if to eat it; held
it some time in his hand-then laid it upon the bit of his ass's
bridle-looked wistfully at the little arrangement he had made-and then
gave a sigh.
The simplicity of his grief drew numbers about him, and La Fleur
amongst the rest, whilst the horses were getting ready; as I continued
sitting in the post-chaise, I could see and hear over their heads.
-He said he had come last from Spain, where he had been from the
furthest borders of Franconia; and had got so far on his return home,
when his ass died. Every one seem'd desirous to know what business
could have taken so old and poor a man so far a journey from his own
It had pleased Heaven, he said, to bless him with three sons, the
finest lads in all Germany; but having in one week lost two of the
eldest of them by the smallpox, and the youngest falling ill of the
same distemper, he was afraid of being bereft of them all; and made a
vow, if Heaven would not take him from him also, he would go in
gratitude to St. Iago in Spain.
When the mourner got thus far on his story, he stopp'd to pay
nature his tribute-and wept bitterly.
He said, Heaven had accepted the conditions, and that he had set
out from his cottage with this poor creature, who had been a patient
partner of his journey-that it had eat the same bread with him all the
way, and was unto him as a friend.
Everybody who stood about, heard the poor fellow with concern.-La
Fleur offered him money.-The mourner said, he did not want it-it was
not the value of the ass-but the loss of him.-The ass, he said, he was
assured loved him-and upon this told them a long story of a mischance
upon their passage over the Pyrenean mountains, which had separated
them from each other three days; during which time the ass had sought
him as much as he had sought the ass, and that they had neither scarce
eat or drank till they met.
Thou has one comfort, friend, said I, at least, in the loss of thy
poor beast; I'm sure thou hast been a merciful master to him.-Alas!
said the mourner, I thought so, when he was alive-but now that he is
dead I think otherwise.-I fear the weight of myself and my afflictions
together have been too much for him-they have shortened the poor
creature's days, and I fear I have them to answer for.-Shame on the
world! said I to myself-Did we love each other, as this poor soul but
loved his ass-'t would be something.-
27. Nampont. The Postilion
THE CONCERN which the poor fellow's story threw me into required
some attention: the postilion paid not the least to it, but set off
upon the pavé in a full gallop. The thirstiest soul in the most sandy
desert of Arabia could not have wished more for a cup of cold water,
than mine did for grave and quiet movements; and I should have had an
high opinion of the postilion, had he but stolen off with me in
something like a pensive pace.-On the contrary, as the mourner finished
his lamentation, the fellow gave an unfeeling lash to each of his
beasts, and set off clattering like a thousand devils.
I called to him as loud as I could, for heaven's sake to go
slower-and the louder I called, the more unmercifully he galloped.-The
deuce take him and his galloping too-said I-he'll go on tearing my
nerves to pieces till he has worked me into a foolish passion, and then
he'll go slow, that I may enjoy the sweets of it.
The postilion managed the point to a miracle: by the time he had
got to the foot of a steep hill about half a league from Nampont, he
had put me out of temper with him-and then with myself, for being so.
My case then required a different treatment; and a good rattling
gallop would have been of real service to me.-
-Then, prithee, get on-get on, my good lad, said I.
The postilion pointed to the hill-I then tried to return back to
the story of the poor German and his ass-but I had broke the clue-and
could no more get into it again, than the postilion could into a trot.-
-The deuce go, said I, with it all! Here am I sitting as candidly
disposed to make the best of the worst, as ever wight was, and all runs
There is one sweet lenitive at least for evils, which Nature holds
out to us: so I took it kindly at her hands, and fell asleep; and the
first word which roused me was Amiens.
-Bless me! said I, rubbing my eyes-this is the very town where my
poor lady is to come.
THE WORDS were scarce out of my mouth, when the Count de L--'s
post-chaise, with his sister in it, drove hastily by: she had just time
to make me a bow of recognition-and of that particular kind of it which
told me she had not yet done with me. She was as good as her look; for,
before I had quite finished my supper, her brother's servant came into
the room with a billet, in which she said she had taken the liberty to
charge me with a letter, which I was to present myself to Madame R--
the first morning I had nothing to do at Paris. There was only added,
she was sorry, but from what penchant she had not considered, that she
had been prevented telling me her story-that she still owed it me; and
if my route should ever lay through Brussels, and I had not by then
forgot the name of Madame de L-- -that Madame de L-- would be glad to
discharge her obligation.
Then I will meet thee, said I, fair spirit! at Brussels-'t is only
returning from Italy through Germany to Holland, by the route of
Flanders, home-'t will scarce be ten posts out of my way; but were it
ten thousand! with what a moral delight will it crown my journey, in
sharing in the sickening incidents of a tale of misery told to me by
such a sufferer! to see her weep! and though I cannot dry up the
fountain of her tears, what an exquisite sensation is there still left,
in wiping them away from off the cheeks of the first and fairest of
women, as I'm sitting with my handkerchief in my hand in silence the
whole night besides her?
There was nothing wrong in the sentiment; and yet I instantly
reproached my heart with it in the bitterest and most reprobate of
It had ever, as I told the reader, been one of the singular
blessings of my life, to be almost every hour of it miserably in love
with some one; and my last flame happening to be blown out by a whiff
of jealousy on the sudden turn of a corner, I had lighted it up afresh
at the pure taper of Eliza but about three months before-swearing as I
did it, that it should last me through the whole journey.-Why should I
dissemble the matter? I had sworn to her eternal fidelity-she had a
right to my whole heart-to divide my affections was to lessen them-to
expose them, was to risk them: where there is risk, there may be
loss-and what wilt thou have, Yorick! to answer to a heart so full of
trust and confidence-so good, so gentle, and unreproaching!
-I will not go to Brussels, replied I, interrupting myself-but my
imagination went on-I recall'd her looks at that crisis of our
separation, when neither of us had power to say Adieu! I look'd at the
picture she had tied in a black ribband about my neck-and blush'd as I
look'd at it.-I would have given the world to have kiss'd it-but was
ashamed-and shall this tender flower, said, I pressing it between my
hands-shall it be smitten to its very root-and smitten, Yorick! by
thee, who hast promised to shelter it in thy breast?
Eternal fountain of happiness! said I, kneeling down upon the
ground-be thou my witness-and every pure spirit which tastes it, be my
witness also, That I would not travel to Brussels, unless Eliza went
along with me, did the road lead me towards heaven.
In transports of this kind, the heart, in spite of the
understanding, will always say too much.
29. The Letter. Amiens
FORTUNE had not smiled upon La Fleur; for he had been unsuccessful
in his feats of chivalry-and not one thing had offer'd to signalize his
zeal for my service from the time he had enter'd into it, which was
almost four and twenty hours. The poor soul burn'd with impatience; and
the Count de L--'s servant coming with the letter, being the first
practicable occasion which offered, La Fleur had laid hold of it; and
in order to do honor to his master, had taken him into a back parlor in
the Auberge, and treated him with a cup or two of the best wine in
Picardy; and the Count de L--'s servant, in return, and not to be
behindhand in politeness with La Fleur, had taken him back with him to
the Count's hotel. La Fleur's prevanancy (for there was a passport in
his very looks) soon set every servant in the kitchen at ease with him;
and as a Frenchman, whatever be his talents, has no sort of prudery in
showing them, La Fleur, in less than five minutes, had pulled out his
fife, and leading off the dance himself with the first note, set the
fille de chambre, the maître d'hôtel, the cook, the scullion, and all
the household, dogs and cats, besides an old monkey, a-dancing. I
suppose there never was a merrier kitchen since the flood.
Madame de L--, in passing from her brother's apartments to her own,
hearing so much jollity below stairs, rung up her fille de chambre to
ask about it; and hearing it was the English gentleman's servant who
had set the whole house merry with his pipe, she order'd him up.
As the poor fellow could not present himself empty, he had loaden'd
himself in going up-stairs with a thousand compliments to Madame de
L--, on the part of his master-added a long apocrypha of inquiries
after Madame de L--'s health-told her, that Monsieur his master was
audésespoir for her reëstablishment from the fatigues of her
journey-and, to close all, that Monsieur had received the letter which
Madame had done him the honor-And he has done me the honor, said Madame
de L--, interrupting La Fleur, to send a billet in return.
Madame de L-- had said this with such a tone of reliance upon the
fact, that La Fleur had not power to disappoint her expectations-he
trembled for my honor-and possibly might not altogether be unconcerned
for his own, as a man capable of being attach'd to a master who could
be a-wanting en égards vis-à-vis d'une femme! so that when Madame de
L-- asked La Fleur if he had brought a letter-O qu'oui, said La Fleur;
so laying down his hat upon the ground, and taking hold of the flap of
his right side pocket with his left hand, he began to search for the
letter with his right-then contrariwise.-Diable!-then sought every
pocket-pocket by pocket, round, not forgetting his fob-Peste!-then La
Fleur emptied them upon the floor-pulled out a dirty cravat-a
handkerchief-a comb-a whip lash-a night-cap-then gave a peep into his
hat-Quelle étourderie! He had left the letter upon the table in the
Auberge-he would run for it, and be back with it in three minutes.
I had just finished my supper when La Fleur came in to give me an
account of his adventure: he told the whole story simply as it was; and
only added, that if Monsieur had forgot (par hazard) to answer Madame's
letter, the arrangement gave him an opportunity to recover the faux
pas-and if not, that things were only as they were.
Now I was not altogether, sure of my etiquette whether I ought to
have wrote or no; but if I had-a devil himself could not have been
angry: 't was but the officious seal of a well-meaning creature for my
honor; and however he might have mistook the road-or embarrassed me in
so doing-his heart was in no fault-I was under no necessity to
write-and what weighed more than all-he did not look as if he had done
-'T is all very well, La Fleur, said I.-'T was sufficient. La Fleur
flew out of the room like lightning, and return'd with pen, ink, and
paper, in his hand; and coming up to the table, laid them close before
me, with such a delight in his countenance, that I could not help
taking up the pen.
I begun and begun again; and though I had nothing to say, and that
nothing might have been expressed in half a dozen lines, I made half a
dozen different beginnings, and could no way please myself.
In short, I was in no mood to write.
La Fleur stepp'd out and brought a little water in a glass to
dilute my ink-then fetch'd sand and seal-wax.-It was all one; I wrote,
and blotted, and tore off, and burnt, and wrote again.-Le diable
l'emporte, said I half to myself-I cannot write this selfsame letter,
throwing the pen down despairingly as I said it.
As soon as I had cast down the pen, La Fleur advanced with the most
respectful carriage up to the table, and making a thousand apologies
for the liberty he was going to take, told me he had a letter in his
pocket wrote by a drummer in his regiment to a corporal's wife, which,
he durst say, would suit the occasion.
I had a mind to let the poor fellow have his humor.-Then prithee,
said I, let me see it.
La Fleur instantly pulled out a little dirty pocket-book cramm'd
full of small letters and billet-doux in a sad condition, and laying it
upon the table, and then untying the string which held them all
together, run them over one by one, till he came to the letter in
question.-La voilà, said he, clapping his hands: so unfolding it first,
he laid it before me, and retired three steps from the table whilst I
30. The Letter
MADAME, JE suis pénétré de la douleur la plus vive, et réduit en
même temps au désespoir par ce retour imprévu du Corporal qui rend
notre entrevue de ce soir la chose du monde la plus impossible.Mais
vive la joie! et toute la mienne sera de penser à vous.L'amour n'est
rien sans sentiment.Et le sentiment est encore moins sans amour.On dit
qu'on ne doit jamais se désespérer.On dit aussi que Monsieur le
Corporal monte la garde Mercredi; alors ce sera mon tour.Chacun à son
tour.En attendant-Vive l'amlour! et vive la bagatelle!Je suis,
MADAME,Avec toutes les sentiments lesplus respectueux et les
plustendres, tout à vous,JAQUES ROQUE.
It was but changing the Corporal into the Count-and saying nothing
about mounting guard on Wednesday-and the letter was neither right or
wrong-so to gratify the poor fellow, who stood trembling, for my honor,
his own, and the honor of his letter-I took the cream gently off it,
and whipping it up in my own way-I seal'd it up and sent him with it to
Madame de L-- and the next morning we pursued our journey to Paris.
WHEN a man can contest the point by dint of equipage, and carry all
on floundering before him with half a dozen lackeys and a couple of
cooks-'t is very well in such a place as Paris-he may drive in at which
end of a street he will.
A poor prince who is weak in cavalry, and whose whole infantry does
not exceed a single man, had best quit the field; and signalize himself
in the cabinet, if he can get up into it-I say up into it-for there is
no descending perpendicular amongst 'em with a "Me voici, mes
enfans"-here I am-whatever many may think.
I own my first sensations, as soon as I was left solitary and alone
in my own chamber in the hotel, were far from being so flattering as I
had prefigured them. I walked up gravely to the window in my dusty
black coat, and looking through the glass saw all the world in yellow,
blue, and green, running at the ring of pleasure.-The old with broken
lances, and in helmets which had lost their vizards-the young in armor
bright which shone like gold, beplumed with each gay feather of the
east-all-all tilting at it like fascinated knights in tournaments of
yore for fame and love.-
Alas, poor Yorick! cried I, what art thou doing here? On the very
first onset of all this glittering clatter thou art reduced to an
atom.-Seek-seek some winding alley, with a tourniquet at the end of it,
where chariot never rolled or flambeau shot its rays-there thou mayest
solace thy soul in converse sweet with some kind grisset of a barber's
wife, and get into such coteries!-
-May I perish! if I do, said I, pulling out the letter which I had
to present to Madame de R--.-I'll wait upon this lady, the very first
thing I do. So I call'd La Fleur to go seek me a barber directly-and
come back and brush my coat.
32. The Wig. Paris
WHEN the barber came, he absolutely refus'd to have anything to do
with my wig: 't was either above or below his art: I had nothing to do,
but to take one ready made of his own recommendation.
-But I fear, friend! said I, this buckle won't stand.-You may
immerge it, replied he, into the ocean, and it will stand.-
What a great scale is everything upon in this city! thought I.-The
utmost stretch of an English periwig-maker's ideas could have gone no
further than to have "dipp'd it into a pail of water."-What difference!
't is like time to eternity.
I confess I do hate all cold conceptions, as I do the puny ideas
which engender them; and am generally so struck with the great works of
nature, that for my own part, if I could help it, I never would make a
comparison less than a mountain at least. All that can be said against
the French sublime in this instance of it, is this-that the grandeur is
more in the word, and less in the thing. No doubt the ocean fills the
mind with vast ideas; but Paris being so far inland, it was not likely
I should run post a hundred miles out of it, to try the experiment.-The
Parisian barber meant nothing.-
The pail of water standing besides the great deep, makes certainly
but a sorry figure in speech-but 't will be said-it has one
advantage-'t is in the next room, and the truth of the buckle may be
tried in it, without more ado, in a single moment.
In honest truth, and upon a more candid revision of the matter, the
French expression professes more than it performs.
I think I can see the precise and distinguishing marks of national
characters more in these nonsensical minutia, than in the most
important matters of state; where great men of all nations talk and
stalk so much alike, that I would not give ninepence to choose amongst
I was so long in getting from under my barber's hands, that it was
too late of thinking of going with my letter to Madame R-- that night:
but when a man is once dressed at all points for going out, his
reflections turn to little account; so taking down the name of the
Hotel de Modene, where I lodged, I walked forth without any
determination where to go-I shall consider of that, said I, as I walk
33. The Pulse. Paris
HAIL ye small sweet courtesies of life, for smooth do ye make the
road of it! like grace and beauty which beget inclinations to love at
first sight: 't is ye who open this door and let the stranger in.
-Pray, Madame, said I, have the goodness to tell me which way I
must turn to go to the Opera Comique:-Most willingly, Monsieur, said
she, laying aside her work.-
I had given a cast with my eye into half a dozen shops as I came
along in search of a face not likely to be disordered by such an
interruption; till at last, this hitting my fancy, I had walked in.
She was working a pair of ruffles as she sat in a low chair on the
far side of the shop facing the door.
-Très volontiers; most willingly, said she, laying her work down
upon a chair next her, and rising up from the low chair she was sitting
in, with so cheerful a movement and so cheerful a look, that had I been
a lying out fifty louis d'ors with her, I should have said-"This woman
You must turn, Monsieur, said she, going with me to the door of the
shop, and pointing the way down the street I was to take-you must turn
first to your left hand-mais prenez garde-there are two turns; and be
so good as to take the second-then go down a little way and you'll see
a church, and when you are past it, give yourself the trouble to turn
directly to the right, and that will lead you to the foot of the Pont
Neuf, which you must cross-and there any one will do himself the
pleasure to show you-
She repeated her instructions three times over to me, with the same
good-natur'd patience the third time as the first-and if tones and
manners have a meaning, which certainly they have, unless to hearts
which shut them out-she seem'd really interested, that I should not
I will not suppose it was the woman's beauty, notwithstanding she
was the handsomest grisset, I think, I ever saw, which had much to do
with the sense I had of her courtesy; only I remember, when I told her
how much I was obliged to her, that I looked very full in her eyes-and
that I repeated my thanks as often as she had done her instructions.
I had not got ten paces from the door, before I found I had forgot
every tittle of what she had said-so looking back, and seeing her still
standing in the door of the shop as if to look whether I went right or
not.-I returned back, to ask her whether the first turn was to my right
or left-for that I had absolutely forgot.-Is it possible? said she,
half laughing.-'T is very possible, replied I, when a man is thinking
more of a woman, than of her good advice.
As this was the real truth-she took it, as every woman takes a
matter of right, with a slight courtesy.
-Attendez, said she, laying her hand upon my arm to detain me,
whilst she called a lad out of the back shop to get ready a parcel of
gloves. I am just going to send him, said she, with a packet into that
quarter, and if you will have the complaisance to step in, it will be
ready in a moment, and he shall attend you to the place.-So I walk'd in
with her to the far side of the shop, and taking up the ruffle in my
hand which she laid upon the chair, as if I had a mind to sit, she sat
down herself in her low chair, and I instantly sat myself down besides
-He will be ready, Monsieur, said she, in a moment.-And in that
moment, replied I, most willingly would I say something very civil to
you for all these courtesies. Any one may do a casual act of good
nature, but a continuation of them shows it is a part of the
temperature; and certainly, added I, if it is the same blood which
comes from the heart, which descends to the extremes (touching her
wrist), I am sure you must have one of the best pulses of any woman in
the world.-Feel it, said she, holding out her arm. So laying down my
hat, I took hold of her fingers in one hand, and applied the two
forefingers of my other to the artery.-
-Would to heaven! my dear Eugenius, thou hadst passed by, and
beheld me sitting in my black coat, and in my lack-a-day-sical manner,
counting the throbs of it, one by one, with as much true devotion as if
I had been watching the critical ebb or flow of her fever.-How wouldst
thou have laugh'd and moralized upon my new profession-and thou
shouldst have laugh'd and moralized on-Trust me, my dear Eugenius, I
should have said, "there are worse occupations in this world than
feeling a woman's pulse"-But a Grisset's! thou wouldst have said-and in
an open shop! Yorick-
-So much the better: for when my views are direct, Eugenius, I care
not if all the world saw me feel it.
34. The Husband. Paris
I HAD counted twenty pulsations, and was going on fast towards the
fortieth, when her husband coming unexpected from a back parlor into
the shop, put me a little out of my reckoning.-'T was nobody but her
husband, she said-so I began a fresh score.-Monsieur is so good, quoth
she, as he pass'd by us, as to give himself the trouble of feeling my
pulse.-The husband took off his hat, and making me a bow, said, I did
him too much honor-and having said that, he put on his hat and walk'd
Good God! said I to myself, as he went out-and can this man be the
husband of this woman!
Let it not torment the few who know what must have been the grounds
of this exclamation, if I explain it to those who do not.
In London a shopkeeper and a shopkeeper's wife seem to be one bone
and one flesh: in the several endowments of mind and body, sometimes
the one, sometimes the other has it, so as in general to be upon a par,
and to tally with each other as nearly as man and wife need to do.
In Paris, there are scarce two orders of beings more different: for
the legislative and executive powers of the shop not resting in the
husband, he seldom comes there-in some dark and dismal room behind, he
sits commerceless in his thrum nightcap, the same rough son of Nature
that Nature left him.
The genius of a people where nothing but the monarchy is salique,
having ceded this department, with sundry others, totally to the
women-by a continual higgling with customers of all ranks and sizes
from morning to night, like so many rough pebbles shook long together
in a bag, by amicable collisions, they have worn down their asperities
and sharp angles, and not only become round and smooth, but will
receive, some of them, a polish like a brilliant.-Monsieur le Mari is
little better than the stone under your foot.-
-Surely-surely, man! it is not good for thee to sit alone-thou wast
made for social intercourse and gentle greetings, and this improvement
of our natures from it, I appeal to, as my evidence.
-And how does it beat, Monsieur? said she.-With all the benignity,
said I, looking quietly in her eyes, that I expected.-She was going to
say something civil in return-but the lad came into the shop with the
gloves.-A propos, said I, I want a couple of pair myself.
35. The Gloves. Paris
THE BEAUTIFUL Grisset rose up when I said this, and going behind
the counter, reach'd down a parcel and untied it: I advanc'd to the
side over against her: they were all too large. The beautiful Grisset
measured them one by one across my hand.-It would not alter the
dimensions.-She begg'd I would try a single pair, which seemed to be
the least.-She held it open-my hand slipp'd into it at once.-It will
not do, said I, shaking my head a little.-No, said she, doing the same
There are certain combined looks of simple subtlety-where whim, and
sense, and seriousness, and nonsense, are so blended, that all the
languages of Babel set loose together could not express them-they are
communicated and caught so instantaneously, that you can scarce say
which party is the infecter. I leave it to your men of words to swell
pages about it-it is enough in the present to say again, the gloves
would not do; so folding our hands within our arms, we both loll'd upon
the counter-it was narrow, and there was just room for the parcel to
lay between us.
The beautiful Grisset look'd sometimes at the gloves, then sideways
to the window, then at the gloves-and then at me. I was not disposed to
break silence.-I follow'd her example: so I look'd at the gloves, then
to the window, then at the gloves, and then at her-and so on
I found I lost considerably in every attack-she had a quick black
eye, and shot through two such long and silken eyelashes with such
penetration, that she look'd into my very heart and reins.-It may seem
strange, but I could actually feel she did.-
-It is no matter, said I, taking up a couple of the pairs next me,
and putting them into my pocket.
I was sensible the beautiful Grisset had not ask'd above a single
livre above the price.-I wish'd she had asked a livre more, and was
puzzling my brains how to bring the matter about.-Do you think, my dear
Sir, said she, mistaking my embarrassment, that I could ask a sou too
much of a stranger-and of a stranger whose politeness, more than his
want of gloves, has done me the honor to lay himself at my mercy?-M'en
croyez capable?-Faith! not I, said I; and if you were, you are
welcome.-So counting the money into her hand, and with a lower bow than
one generally makes to a shopkeeper's wife, I went out, and her lad
with his parcel followed me.
36. The Translation. Paris
THERE was nobody in the box I was let into but a kindly old French
officer. I love the character, not only because I honor the man whose
manners are softened by a profession which makes bad men worse; but
that I once knew one-for he is no more-and why should I not rescue one
page from violation by writing his name in it, and telling the world it
was Captain Tobias Shandy, the dearest of my flock and friends, whose
philanthropy I never think of at this long distance from his death-but
my eyes gush out with tears. For his sake, I have a predilection for
the whole corps of veterans; and so I strode over the two back rows of
benches, and placed myself beside him.
The old officer was reading attentively a small pamphlet, it might
be the book of the opera, with a large pair of spectacles. As soon as I
sat down, he took his spectacles off, and putting them into a shagreen
case, return'd them and the book into his pocket together. I half rose
up, and made him a bow.
Translate this into any civilized language in the world-the sense
is this: "Here 's a poor stranger come into the box-he seems as if he
knew nobody; and is never likely, was he to be seven years in Paris, if
every man he comes near keeps his spectacles upon his nose-'t is
shutting the door of conversation absolutely in his face-and using him
worse than a German."
The French officer might as well have said it all aloud: and if he
had, I should in course have put the bow I made him into French too,
and told him, "I was sensible of his attention, and return'd him a
thousand thanks for it."
There is not a secret so aiding to the progress of sociality, as to
get master of this shorthand, and be quick in rendering the several
turns of looks and limbs, with all their inflections and delineations,
into plain words. For my own part, by long habitude, I do it so
mechanically, that when I walk the streets of London, I go translating
all the way; and have more than once stood behind in the circle, where
not three words have been said, and have brought off twenty different
dialogues with me, which I could have fairly wrote down and sworn to.
I was going one evening to Martini's concert at Milan, and was just
entering the door of the hall, when the Marquisina di F-- was coming
out in a sort of a hurry-she was almost upon me before I saw her; so I
gave a spring to one side to let her pass.-She had done the same, and
on the same side too: so we ran our heads together: she instantly got
to the other side to get out: I was just as unfortunate as she had
been; for I had sprung to that side, and opposed her passage again.-We
both flew together to the other side, and then back-and so on-it was
ridiculous; we both blush'd intolerably; so I did at last the thing I
should have done at first-I stood stock-still, and the Marquisina had
no more difficulty. I had no power to go into the room, till I had made
her so much reparation as to wait and follow her with my eye to the end
of the passage.-She look'd back twice, and, walk'd along it rather
sideways, as if she would make room for any one coming up-stairs to
pass her.-No, said I-that 's a vile translation: the Marquisina has a
right to the best apology I can make her; and that opening is left for
me to do it in-so I ran and begg'd pardon for the embarrassment I had
given her, saying it was my intention to have made her way. She
answer'd, she was guided by the same intention towards me-so we
reciprocally thank'd each other. She was at the top of the stairs; and
seeing no chichesbee near her, I begg'd to hand her to her coach-so we
went down the stairs, stopping at every third step to talk of the
concert and the adventure.-Upon my word, Madame, said I, when I had
handed her in, I made six different efforts to let you go out.-And I
made six efforts, replied she, to let you enter.-I wish to heaven you
would make a seventh, said I.-With all my heart, said she, making
room.-Life is too short to be long about the forms of it-so I instantly
stepp'd in, and she carried me home with her.-And what became of the
concert, St. Cecilia, who, I suppose, was at it, knows more than I.
I will only add, that the connection which arose out of that
translation, gave me more pleasure than any one I had the honor to make
37. The Dwarf. Paris
I HAD never heard the remark made by any one in my life, except by
one; and who that was will probably come out in this chapter; so that
being pretty much unprepossessed, there must have been grounds for what
struck me the moment I cast my eyes over the parterre-and that was the
unaccountable sport of nature in forming such numbers of dwarfs.-No
doubt she sports at certain times in almost every corner of the world;
but in Paris there is no end to her amusements.-The goddess seems
almost as merry as she is wise.
As I carried my idea out of the opera comique with me, I measured
everybody I saw walking in the streets by it.-Melancholy application!
especially where the size was extremely little-the face extremely
dark-the eyes quick-the nose long-the teeth white-the jaw prominent-to
see so many miserables, by force of accidents driven out of their own
proper class into the very verge of another, which it gives me pain to
write down-every third man a pygmy!-some by rickety heads and hump
backs-others by bandy legs-a third set arrested by the hand of Nature
in the sixth and seventh years of their growth-a fourth, in their
perfect and natural state like dwarf apple-trees; from the first
rudiments and stamina of their existence, never meant to grow higher.
A medical traveler might say, 't is owing to undue bandages-a
splenetic one, to want of air-and an inquisitive traveler, to fortify
the system, may measure the height of their houses-the narrowness of
their streets, and in how few feet square in the sixth and seventh
stories such numbers of the Bourgeoisie eat and sleep together; but I
remember, Mr. Shandy the elder, who accounted for nothing like anybody
else, in speaking one evening of these matters, averred, that children,
like other animals, might be increased almost to any size, provided
they came right into the world; but the misery was, the citizens of
Paris were so coop'd up, that they had not actually room enough to get
them.-I do not call it getting anything, said he-'t is getting
nothing-Nay, continued he, rising in his argument, 't is getting worse
than nothing, when all you have got, after twenty or five and twenty
years of the tenderest care and most nutritious aliment bestowed upon
it, shall not at last be as high as my leg. Now, Mr. Shandy being very
short, there could be nothing more said of it.
As this is not a work of reasoning, I leave the solution as I found
it, and content myself with the truth only of the remark which is
verified in every lane and by-lane of Paris. I was walking down that
which leads from the Carousal to the Palais Royal, and observing a
little boy in some distress at the side of the gutter, which ran down
the middle of it, I took hold of his hand, and help'd him over. Upon
turning up his face to look at him after, I perceived he was about
forty.-Never mind, said I; some good body will do as much for me, when
I am ninety.
I feel some little principles within me, which incline me to be
merciful towards this poor blighted part of my species, who have
neither size or strength to get on in the world-I cannot bear to see
one of them trod upon; and had scarce got seated beside my old French
officer, ere the disgust was exercised, by seeing the very thing happen
under the box we sat in.
At the end of the orchestra and betwixt that and the first side-box
there is a small esplanade left, where, when the house is full, numbers
of all ranks take sanctuary. Though you stand, as in the parterre, you
pay the same price as in the orchestra. A poor defenseless being of
this order had got thrust, somehow or other, into this luckless
place-the night was hot, and he was surrounded by beings two feet and a
half higher than himself. The dwarf suffered inexpressibly on all
sides; but the thing which incommoded him most, was a tall corpulent
German, near seven feet high, who stood directly betwixt him and all
possibility of his seeing either the stage or the actors. The poor
dwarf did all he could to get a peep at what was going forwards by
seeking for some little opening betwixt the German's arm and his body,
trying first one side, then the other; but the German stood square in
the most unaccommodating posture that can be imagined-the dwarf might
as well have been placed at the bottom of the deepest draw-well in
Paris; so he civilly reach'd up his hand to the German's sleeve, and
told him his distress.-The German turn'd his head back, look'd down
upon him as Goliath did upon David-and unfeelingly resumed his posture.
I was just then taking a pinch of snuff out of my monk's little
horn box.-And how would thy meek and courteous spirit, my dear monk! so
temper'd to bear and forbear!-how sweetly would it have lent an ear to
this poor soul's complaint!
The old French officer, seeing me lift up my eyes with an emotion,
as I made the apostrophe, took the liberty to ask me what was the
matter.-I told him the story in three words, and added, how inhuman it
By this time the dwarf was driven to extremes, and in his first
transports, which are generally unreasonable, had told the German he
would cut off his long queue with his knife.-The German look'd back
coolly, and told him he was welcome, if he could reach it.
An injury sharpen'd by an insult, be it to whom it will, makes
every man of sentiment a party: I could have leap'd out of the box to
have redressed it.-The old French officer did it with much less
confusion; for leaning a little over, and nodding to a sentinel, and
pointing at the same time with his finger to the distress-the sentinel
made his way up to it.-There was no occasion to tell the grievance-the
thing told itself; so thrusting back the German instantly with his
musket-he took the poor dwarf by the hand, and placed him before
him.-This is noble! said I, clapping my hands together.-And yet you
would not permit this, said the old officer, in England.
-In England, dear Sir, said I, we sit all at our ease.
The old French officer would have set me at unity with myself, in
case I had been at variance,-by saying it was a bon mot-and as a bon
mot is always worth something at Paris, he offered me a pinch of snuff.
38. The Rose. Paris
IT was now my turn to ask the old French officer, "what was the
matter?" for a cry of "Haussez les mains, Monsieur l'Abbé," reëchoed
from a dozen different parts of the parterre, was as unintelligible to
me, as my apostrophe to the monk had been to him.
He told me, it was some poor Abbé in one of the upper loges, who he
supposed had got planted perdu behind a couple of grissets, in order to
see the opera, and that the parterre espying him were insisting upon
his holding up both his hands during the representation.-And can it be
supposed, said I, that an ecclesiastic would pick the grisset's
pockets? The old French officer smiled, and whispering in my ear,
open'd a door of knowledge which I had no idea of.-
Good God! said I, turning pale with astonishment-is it possible,
that a people so smit with sentiment should at the same time be so
unclean, and so unlike themselves.-Quelle grossierté! added I.
The French officer told me it was an illiberal sarcasm at the
church, which had begun in the theater about the time the Tartuffe was
given in it, by Molière-but, like other remains of Gothic manners, was
declining.-Every nation, continued he, have their refinements and
grossiertés, in which they take the lead, and lose it of one another by
turns-that he had been in most countries, but never in one where he
found not some delicacies, which others seemed to want. Le POUR et le
CONTRE se trovent en chaque nation; there is a balance, said he, of
good and bad everywhere; and nothing but the knowing it is so, can
emancipate one half of the world from the prepossessions which it holds
against the other-that the advantage of travel, as it regarded the
sçavoir vivre, was by seeing a great deal both of men and manners; it
taught us mutual toleration; and mutual toleration, concluded he,
making me a bow, taught us mutual love.
The old French officer delivered this with an air of such candor
and good sense, as coincided with my first favorable impressions of his
character.-I thought I loved the man; but I fear I mistook the
object-'t was my own way of thinking-the difference was, I could not
have expressed it half so well.
It is alike troublesome to both the rider and his beast-if the
latter goes pricking up his ears, and starting all the way at every
object which he never saw before.-I have as little torment of this kind
as any creature alive; and yet I honestly confess, that many a thing
gave me pain, and that I blush'd at many a word the first month-which I
found inconsequent and perfectly innocent the second.
Madame de Rambouliet, after an acquaintance of about six weeks with
her, had done me the honor to take me in her coach about two leagues
out of town.-Of all women, Madame de Rambouliet is the most correct;
and I never wish to see one of more virtues and purity of heart.-In our
return back, Madame de Rambouliet desired me to pull the cord.-I ask'd
her if she wanted anything.-Rien que pisser, said Madame de Rambouliet.
Grieve not, gentle traveler, to let Madame de Rambouliet p-ss
on.-And, ye fair mystic nymphs! go each one pluck your rose, and
scatter them in your path-for Madame de Rambouliet did no more.-I
handed Madame de Rambouliet out of the coach; and had I been the priest
of the chaste CASTALIA, I could not have served at her fountain with a
more respectful decorum.
39. The Fille De Chambre. Paris
WHAT the old French officer had deliver'd upon traveling, bringing
Polonius's advice to his son upon the same subject into my head-and
that bringing in Hamlet; and Hamlet the rest of Shakspere's works, I
stopp'd at the Quai de Conti in my return home, to purchase the whole
The bookseller said he had not a set in the world.-Comment! said I;
taking one up out of a set which lay upon the counter betwixt us.-He
said, they were sent him only to be got bound, and were to be sent back
to Versailles in the morning to the Count de B--.
-And does the Count de B--, said I, read Shakspere? C'est un Esprit
fort, replied the bookseller.-He loves English books; and what is more
to his honor, Monsieur, he loves the English too. You speak this so
civilly, said I, that it is enough to oblige an Englishman to lay out a
Louis d'or or two at your shop.-The bookseller made a bow, and was
going to say something, when a young decent girl of about twenty, who
by her air and dress seemed to be fille de chambre to some devout woman
of fashion, came into the shop and asked for Les Egarements du Caur de
l'Esprit: the bookseller gave her the book directly; she pulled out a
little green satin purse, run round with a ribband of the same color
and putting her finger and thumb into it, she took out the money and
paid for it. As I had nothing more to stay me in the shop, we both
walk'd out of the door together.
-And what have you to do, my dear, said I, with The Wanderings of
the Heart, who scarce know yet you have one; nor, till love has first
told you it, or some faithless shepherd has made it ache, canst thou
ever be sure it is so?-Le Dieu m'en garde! said the girl.-With reason,
said I-for if it is a good one, 't is pity it should be stolen; 't is a
little treasure to thee, and gives a better air to your face, than if
it was dress'd out with pearls.
The young girl listened with a submissive attention, holding her
satin purse by its ribband in her hand all the time.-'T is a very small
one, said I, taking hold of the bottom of it-she held it towards me-and
there is very little in it, my dear, said I; but be but as good as thou
art handsome, and heaven will fill it: I had a parcel of crowns in my
hand to pay for Shakspere; and as she had let go the purse entirely, I
put a single one in; and tying up the ribband in a bow-knot, returned
it to her.
The young girl made me more a humble courtesy than a low one-'t was
one of those quiet, thankful sinkings, where the spirit bows itself
down-the body does no more than tell it. I never gave a girl a crown in
my life which gave me half the pleasure.
My advice, my dear, would not have been worth a pin to you, said I,
if I had not given this along with it: but now, when you see the crown,
you 'll remember it-so don't, my dear, lay it out in ribbands.
Upon my word, Sir, said the girl, earnestly, I am incapable-in
saying which, as is usual in little bargains of honor, she gave me her
hand.-En vérité, Monsieur, je mettrai cet argent apart, said she.
When a virtuous convention is made betwixt man and woman, it
sanctifies their most private walks; so notwithstanding it was dusky,
yet as both our roads lay the same way, we made no scruple of walking
along the Quai de Conti together.
She made me a second courtesy in setting off, and before we got
twenty yards from the door, as if she had not done enough before, she
made a sort of a little stop to tell me again-she thank'd me.
It was a small tribute, I told her, which I could not avoid paying
to virtue, and would not be mistaken in the person I had been rendering
it to for the world-but I see innocence, my dear, in your face-and foul
befall the man who ever lays a snare in its way!
The girl seem'd affected some way or other with what I said-she
gave a low sigh-I found I was not impowered to inquire at all after
it-so said nothing more till I got to the corner of the Rue de Nevers,
where we were to part.
-But is this the way, my dear, said I, to the Hotel de Modene? she
told me it was-or, that I might go by the Rue de Guineygaude, which was
the next turn.-Then I'll go, my dear, bý the Rue de Guineygaude, said
I, for two reasons; first I shall please myself, and next I shall give
you the protection of my company as far on your way as I can. The girl
was sensible I was civil-and said, she wish'd the Hotel de Modene was
in the Rue de St. Pierre-You live there? said I.-She told me she was
fille de chambre to Madame R-- -Good God! said I, 't is the very lady
for whom I have brought a letter from Amiens.-The girl told me that
Madame R--, she believed, expected a stranger with a letter, and was
impatient to see him-so I desired the girl to present my compliments to
Madame R--, and say I would certainly wait upon her in the morning.
We stood still at the corner of the Rue de Nevers whilst this
pass'd.-We then stopp'd a moment whilst she disposed of her Egarements
du Coeur, more commodiously than carrying them in her hand-they were
two volumes; so I held the second for her whilst she put the first into
her pocket; and then she held her pocket, and I put in the other after
'T is sweet to feel by what fine-spun threads our affections are
We set off afresh, and as she took her third step, the girl put her
hand within my arm-I was just bidding her-but she did it of herself
with that undeliberating simplicity, which show'd it was out of her
head that she had never seen me before. For my own part, I felt the
conviction of consanguinity so strongly, that I could not help turning
half round to look in her face, and see if I could trace out anything
in it of a family likeness.-Tut! said I, are we not all relations?
When we arrived at the turning up of the Rue de Guiney-gaude, I
stopp'd to bid her adieu for good and all: the girl would thank me
again for my company and kindness.-She bid me adieu twice-I repeated it
as often; and so cordial was the parting between us, that had it
happen'd anywhere else, I'm not sure but I should have signed it with a
kiss of charity, as warm and holy as an apostle.
But in Paris, as none kiss each other but the men-I did, what
amounted to the same thing-
-I bid God bless her.
40. The Passport. Paris
WHEN I got home to my hotel, La Fleur told me I had been inquired
after by the Lieutenant de Police.-The deuce take it! said I-I know the
reason. It is time the reader should know it, for in the order of
things in which it happened, it was omitted; not that it was out of my
head; but that, had I told it then, it might have been forgot now-and
now is the time I want it.
I had left London with so much precipitation, that it never enter'd
my mind that we were at war with France; and had reach'd Dover, and
look'd through my glass at the hills beyond Boulogne, before the idea
presented itself; and with this in its train, that there was no getting
there without a passport.
Go but to the end of a street, I have a mortal aversion for
returning back no wiser than I set out; and as this was one of the
greatest efforts I had ever made for knowledge, I could less bear the
thoughts of it; so hearing the Count de-had hired the packet, I begg'd
he would take me in his suite. The Count had some little knowledge of
me, so made little or no difficulty-only said, his inclination to serve
me could reach no further than Calais, as he was to return by way of
Brussels to Paris; however, when I had once pass'd there, I might get
to Paris without interruption; but that in Paris I must make friends
and shift for myself.-Let me get to Paris, Monsieur le Count, said
I-and I shall do very well. So I embark'd, and never thought more of
When La Fleur told me the Lieutenant de Police had been inquiring
after me-the thing instantly recurred-and by the time La Fleur had well
told me, the master of the hotel came into my room to tell me the same
thing, with this addition to it, that my passport had been particularly
ask'd after: the master of the hotel concluded with saying, He hoped I
had one.-Not I, faith! said I.
The master of the hotel retired three steps from me, as from an
infected person, as I declared this-and poor La Fleur advanced three
steps towards me, and with that sort of movement which a good soul
makes to succor a distress'd one-the fellow won my heart by it; and
from that single trait, I knew his character as perfectly, and could
rely upon it as firmly, as if he had served me with fidelity for seven
Mon seigneur! cried the master of the hotel-but recollecting
himself as he made the exclamation, he instantly changed the tone of
it.-If Monsieur, said he, has not a passport, (apparemment) in all
likelihood he has friends in Paris who can procure him one.-Not that I
know of, quoth I, with an air of indifference.-Then, certes, replied
he, you'll be sent to the Bastille or the Châtelet, au moins. Poo! said
I, the king of France is a good-natur'd soul-he'll hurt nobody.-Cela
n'empêche pas, said he-you will certainly be sent to the Bastille
to-morrow morning.-But I've taken your lodgings for a month, answer'd
I, and I'll not quit them a day before the time for all the kings of
France in the world. La Fleur whisper'd in my ear, that nobody could
oppose the king of France.
Pardi! said my host, ces Messieurs Anglois sont des gens très
extraordinaires-and having both said and sworn it-he went out.
41. The Passport. The Hotel at Paris
I COULD not find in my heart to torture La Fleur's with a serious
look upon the subject of my embarrassment, which was the reason I had
treated it so cavalierly; and to show him how light it lay upon my
mind, I dropt the subject entirely; and whilst he waited upon me at
supper, talk'd to him with more than usual gaiety about Paris, and of
the opera comique.-La Fleur had been there himself, and had followed me
through the streets as far as the bookseller's shop; but seeing me come
out with the young fille de chambre, and that we walk'd down the Quai
de Conti together, La Fleur deem'd it unnecessary to follow me a step
further-so making his own reflections upon it, he took a shorter
cut-and got to the hotel in time to be inform'd of the affair of the
police against my arrival.
As soon as the honest creature had taken away, and gone down to sup
himself, I then began to think a little seriously about my situation.-
-And here, I know, Eugenius, thou wilt smile at the remembrance of
a short dialogue which pass'd betwixt us the moment I was going to set
out-I must tell it here.
Eugenius, knowing that I was as little subject to be overburden'd
with money as thought, had drawn me aside to interrogate me how much I
had taken care for; upon telling him the exact sum, Eugenius shook his
head, and said it would not do; so pull'd out his purse in order to
empty it into mine.-I've enough in conscience, Eugenius, said
I.-Indeed, Yorick, you have not, replied Eugenius.-I know France and
Italy better than you.-But you don't consider, Eugenius, said I,
refusing his offer, that before I have been three days in Paris, I
shall take care to say or do something or other for which I shall get
clapp'd up into the Bastille, and that I shall live there a couple of
months entirely at the king of France's expense.-I beg pardon, said
Eugenius, dryly: really I had forgot that resource.
Now the event I treated gaily came seriously to my door.
Is it folly, or nonchalance, or philosophy, or pertinacity-or what
is it in me, that, after all, when La Fleur had gone down-stairs, and I
was quite alone, I could not bring down my mind to think of it
otherwise than I had then spoken of it to Eugenius?
-And as for the Bastille; the terror is in the word.-Make the most
of it you can, said I to myself, the Bastille is but another word for a
tower-and a tower is but another word for a house you can't get out
of.-Mercy on the gouty! for they are in it twice a year-but with nine
livres a day, and pen and ink and paper and patience, albeit a man
can't get out, he may do very well within-at least for a month or six
weeks; at the end of which, if he is a harmless fellow, his innocence
appears, and he comes out a better and wiser man than he went in.
I had some occasion (I forget what) to step into the courtyard, as
I settled this account; and remember I walk'd downstairs in no small
triumph with the conceit of my reasoning.-Beshrew the somber pencil!
said I vauntingly-for I envy not its powers, which paints the evils of
life with so hard and deadly a coloring. The mind sits terrified at the
objects she has magnified herself, and blackened: reduce them to their
proper size and hue, she overlooks them-'T is true said I, correcting
the proposition-the Bastille is not an evil to be despised-but strip it
of its towers-fill up the fossé-unbarricade the doors-call it simply a
confinement, and suppose 't is some tyrant of a distemper-and not of a
man, which holds you in it-the evil vanishes, and you bear the other
half without complaint.
I was interrupted in the heyday of this soliloquy, with a voice
which I took to be of a child, which complained "it could not get
out."-I look'd up and down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman,
or child, I went out without further attention.
In my return back through the passage, I heard the same words
repeated twice over; and looking up, I saw it was a starling hung in a
little cage.-"I can't get out-I can't get out," said the starling.
I stood looking at the bird: and to every person who came through
the passage it ran fluttering to the side towards which they approach'd
it, with the same lamentation of its captivity.-"I can't get out," said
the starling.-God help thee! said I, but I'll let thee out, cost what
it will; so I turn'd about the cage to get to the door; it was twisted
and double twisted so fast with wire, there was no getting it open
without pulling the cage to pieces.-I took both hands to it.
The bird flew to the place where I was attempting his deliverance,
and thrusting his head through the trellis, press'd his breast against
it, as if impatient.-I fear, poor creature! said I, I cannot set thee
at liberty.-"No," said the starling-"I can't get out-I can't get out,"
said the starling.
I vow I never had my affections more tenderly awakened; or do I
remember an incident in my life, where the dissipated spirits, to which
my reason had been a bubble, were so suddenly call'd home. Mechanical
as the notes were, yet so true in tune to nature were they chanted,
that in one moment they overthrew all my systematic reasonings upon the
Bastille; and I heavily walk'd up-stairs, unsaying every word I had
said in going down them.
Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery! said I-still thou
art a bitter draught! and though thousands in all ages have been made
to drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account.-'T is thou,
thrice sweet and gracious goddess, addressing myself to LIBERTY, whom
all in public or in private worship, whose taste is grateful, and ever
wilt be so, till NATURE herself shall change-no tint of words can spot
thy snowy mantle, or chymic power turn thy scepter into iron-with thee
to smile upon him as he eats his crust, the swain is happier than his
monarch, from whose court thou art exiled-Gracious heaven! cried I,
kneeling down upon the last step but one in my ascent, grant me but
health, thou great Bestower of it, and give me but this fair goddess as
my companion-and shower down thy miters, if it seems good unto thy
divine providence, upon those heads which are aching for them.
42. The Captive. Paris
THE BIRD in his cage pursued me into my room; I sat down close to
my table, and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself
the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I
gave full scope to my imagination.
I was going to begin with the millions of my fellow-creatures, born
to no inheritance but slavery: but finding, however affecting the
picture was, that I could not bring it near me, and that the multitude
of sad groups in it did but distract me-
-I took a single captive, and having first shut him up in his
dungeon, I then look'd through the twilight of his grated door to take
I beheld his body half wasted away with long expectation and
confinement, and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it was which
arises from hope deferr'd. Upon looking nearer I saw him pale and
feverish: in thirty years the western breeze had not once fann'd his
blood-he had seen no sun, no moon, in all that time-nor had the voice
of friend or kinsman breathed through his lattice-his children-
-But here my heart began to bleed-and I was forced to go on with
another part of the portrait.
He was sitting upon the ground upon a little straw, in the furthest
corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed: a
little calendar of small sticks were laid at the head, notch'd all over
with the dismal days and nights he had pass'd there-he had one of these
little sticks in his hand, and with a rusty nail he was etching another
day of misery to add to the heap. As I darkened the little light he
had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the door, then cast it
down-shook his head, and went on with his work of affliction. I heard
his chains upon his legs, as he turned his body to lay his little stick
upon the bundle.-He gave a deep sigh-I saw the iron enter into his
soul-I burst into tears-I could not sustain the picture of confinement
which my fancy had drawn-I started up from my chair, and calling La
Fleur-I bid him bespeak me a remise, and have it ready at the door of
the hotel by nine in the morning.
-I'll go directly, said I, myself to Monsieur le Duc de Choiseul.
La Fleur would have put me to bed; but not willing he should see
anything upon my cheek which would cost the honest fellow a heartache-I
told him I would go to bed by myself-and bid him go do the same.
43. The Starling. Road to Versailles
I GOT into my remise the hour I proposed: La Fleur got up behind,
and I bid the coachman make the best of his way to Versailles.
As there was nothing in this road, or rather nothing which I look
for in traveling, I cannot fill up the blank better than with a short
history of this selfsame bird, which became the subject of the last
Whilst the Honorable Mr.-was waiting for a wind at Dover, it had
been caught upon the cliffs before it could well fly, by an English lad
who was his groom; who not caring to destroy it, had taken it in his
breast into the packet-and by course of feeding it, and taking it once
under his protection, in a day or two grew fond of it, and got it safe
along with him to Paris.
At Paris the lad had laid out a livre in a little cage for the
starling, and as he had little to do better the five months his master
stay'd there, he taught it in his mother's tongue the four simple
words-(and no more)-to which I own'd myself so much its debtor.
Upon his master's going on for Italy-the lad had given it to the
master of the hotel.-But his little song for liberty being in an
unknown language at Paris-the bird had little or no store set by him-so
La Fleur bought both him and his cage for me for a bottle of Burgundy.
In my return from Italy I brought him with me to the country in
whose language he had learn'd his notes-and telling the story of him to
Lord A--, Lord A begg'd the bird of me-in a week Lord A gave him to
Lord B-- -; Lord B made a present of him to Lord C--; and Lord C--'s
gentleman sold him to Lord D--'s for a shilling-Lord D gave him to Lord
E--, and so on-half round the alphabet.-From that rank he pass'd into
the lower house, and pass'd the hands of as many commoners.-But as all
these wanted to get in-and my bird wanted to get out-he had almost as
little store set by him in London as in Paris.
It is impossible but many of my readers must have heard of him; and
if any by mere chance have ever seen him,-I beg leave to inform them,
that that bird was my bird-or some vile copy set up to represent him.
I have nothing further to add upon him, but that from that time to
this, I have borne this poor starling as the crest to my
arms.-Thus:[figure]-And let the heralds' officers twist his neck about
if they dare.
44. The Address. Versailles
I SHOULD not like to have my enemy take a view of my mind when I am
going to ask protection of any man: for which reason I generally
endeavor to protect myself; but this going to Monsieur le Duc de C--
was an act of compulsion-had it been an act of choice, I should have
done it, I suppose, like other people.
How many mean plans of dirty address, as I went along, did my
servile heart form! I deserved the Bastille for every one of them.
Then nothing would serve me, when I got within sight of Versailles,
but putting words and sentences together, and conceiving attitudes and
tones to wreathe myself into Monsieur le Duc de C-- -'s good
graces.-This will do-said I-Just as well, retorted I again, as a coat
carried up to him by an adventurous tailor, without taking his
measure.-Fool! continued I-see Monsieur le Duc's face first-observe
what character is written in it-take notice in what posture he stands
to hear you-mark the turns and expressions of his body and limbs-and
for the tone-the first sound which comes from his lips will give it
you; and from all these together you'll compound an address at once
upon the spot, which cannot disgust the Duke-the ingredients are his
own, and most likely to go down.
Well! said I, I wish it well over.-Coward again! as if man to man
was not equal throughout the whole surface of the globe; and if in the
field-why not face to face in the cabinet too? And trust me, Yorick,
whenever it is not so, man is false to himself, and betrays his own
succors ten times where nature does it once. Go to the Duc de C-- with
the Bastille in thy looks-my life for it, thou wilt be sent back to
Paris in half an hour with an escort.
I believe so, said I.-Then I'll go to the Duke, by Heaven! with all
the gaiety and debonairness in the world.-
-And there you are wrong again, replied I.-A heart at ease, Yorick,
flies into no extremes-'t is ever on its center.-Well! well! cried I,
as the coachman turn'd in at the gates-I find I shall do very well: and
by the time he had wheel'd round the court, and brought me up to the
door, I found myself so much the better for my own lecture, that I
neither ascended the steps like a victim to justice, who was to part
with life upon the topmost,-nor did I mount them with a skip and a
couple of strides, as I do when I fly up, Eliza! to thee, to meet it.
As I enter'd the door of the saloon, I was met by a person who
possibly might be the maître d'hôtel, but had more the air of one of
the under-secretaries, who told me the Duc de C-- was busy.-I am
utterly ignorant, said I, of the forms of obtaining an audience, being
an absolute stranger, and what is worse in the present conjuncture of
affairs, being an Englishman too.-He replied, that did not increase the
difficulty.-I made him a slight bow, and told him, I had something of
importance to say to Monsieur le Duc. The secretary look'd towards the
stairs, as if he was about to leave me to carry up this account to some
one.-But I must not mislead you, said I-for what I have to say is of no
manner of importance to Monsieur le Duc de C-- -but of great importance
to myself.-C'est une autre affaire, replied he.-Not at all, said I, to
a man of gallantry. But pray, good Sir, continued I, when can a
stranger hope to have accesse?-In not less than two hours, said he,
looking at his watch. The number of equipages in the courtyard seem'd
to justify the calculation, that I could have no nearer a prospect-and
as walking backwards and forwards in the saloon, without a soul to
commune with, was for the time as bad as being in the Bastille itself,
I instantly went back to my remise, and bid the coachman to drive me to
the Cordon Bleu, which was the nearest hotel.
I think there is a fatality in it-I seldom go to the place I set
45. Le Patisser. Versailles
BEFORE I had got half-way down the street I changed my mind: as I
am at Versailles, thought I, I might as well take a view of the town;
so I pull'd the cord, and ordered the coachman to drive round some of
the principal streets.-I suppose the town is not very large, said
I.-The coachman begg'd pardon for setting me right, and told me it was
very superb, and that numbers of the first dukes and marquises and
counts had hotels.-The Count de B--, of whom the bookseller at the Quai
de Conti had spoke so handsomely the night before, came instantly into
my mind.-And why should I not go, thought I, to the Count de B--, who
has so high an idea of English books and Englishmen-and tell him my
story? So I changed my mind a second time-in truth it was the third;
for I had intended that day for Madame de R-- in the Rue St. Pierre,
and had devoutly sent her word by her fille de chambre that I would
assuredly wait upon her-but I am govern'd by circumstances-I cannot
govern them: so seeing a man standing with a basket on the other side
of the street, as if he had something to sell, I bid La Fleur go up to
him and inquire for the Count's hotel.
La Fleur return'd a little pale: and told me it was a Chevalier de
St. Louis selling pâtés.-It is impossible, La Fleur, said I.-La Fleur
could no more account for the phenomenon than myself; but persisted in
his story: he had seen the croix set in gold, with its red ribband, he
said, tied to his buttonhole-and had looked into the basket and seen
the pâtés which the Chevalier was selling; so could not be mistaken in
Such a reverse in man's life awakens a better principle than
curiosity: I could not help looking for some time at him as I sat in
the remise-the more I look'd at him, his croix, and his basket, the
stronger they wove themselves into my brain-I got out of the remise,
and went towards him.
He was begirt with a clean linen apron, which fell below his knees,
and with a sort of a bib that went half-way up his breast; upon the top
of this, but a little below the hem, hung his croix. His basket of
little pâtés was cover'd over with a white damask napkin: another of
the same kind was spread at the bottom; and there was a look of
propreté and neatness throughout, that one might have bought his pâtés
of him, as much from appetite as sentiment.
He made an offer of them to neither; but stood still with them at
the corner of a hotel, for those to buy who chose it, without
He was about forty-eight-of a sedate look, something approaching to
gravity. I did not wonder.-I went up rather to the basket than him, and
having lifted up the napkin, and taken one of his pâtés into my hand-I
begg'd he would explain the appearance which affected me.
He told me in a few words, that the best part of his life had
pass'd in the service, in which, after spending a small patrimony, he
had obtain'd a company and the croix with it; but that, at the
conclusion of the last peace, his regiment being reformed, and the
whole corps, with those of some other regiments, left without any
provision-he found himself in a wide world without friends, without a
livre-and indeed, said he, without anything but this-(pointing, as he
said it, to his croix).-The poor chevalier won my pity, and he finished
the scene with winning my esteem too.
The king, he said, was the most generous of princes, but his
generosity could neither relieve or reward every one, and it was only
his misfortune to be amongst the number. He had a little wife, he said,
whom he loved, who did the pâtisserie; and added, he felt no dishonor
in defending her and himself from want in this way-unless Providence
had offer'd him a better.
It would be wicked to withhold a pleasure from the good, in passing
over what happen'd to this poor Chevalier of St. Louis about nine
It seems he usually took his stand near the iron gates which lead
up to the palace, and as his croix had caught the eye of numbers,
numbers had made the same inquiry which I had done.-He had told the
same story, and always with so much modesty and good sense, that it had
reach'd at last the king's ears-who hearing the chevalier had been a
gallant officer, and respected by the whole regiment as a man of honor
and integrity-he broke up his little trade by a pension of fifteen
hundred livres a year.
As I have told this to please the reader, I beg he will allow me to
relate another, out of its order, to please myself-the two stories
reflect light upon each other-and 't is a pity they should be parted.
46. The Sword. Rennes
WHEN states and empires have their periods of declension, and feel
in their turns what distress and poverty is-I stop not to tell the
causes which gradually brought the house d'E-- in Brittany into decay.
The Marquis d'E-- had fought up against his condition with great
firmness; wishing to preserve, and still show to the world some little
fragments of what his ancestors had been-their indiscretions had put it
out of his power. There was enough left for the little exigencies of
obscurity-but he had two boys who look'd up to him for light-he thought
they deserved it. He had tried his sword-it could not open the way-the
mounting was too expensive-and simple economy was not a match for
it-there was no resource but commerce.
In any other province in France, save Brittany, this was smiting
the root forever of the little tree his pride and affection wish'd to
see reblossom-But in Brittany, there being a provision for this, he
avail'd himself of it; and taking an occasion when the states were
assembled at Rennes, the Marquis, attended with his two boys, enter'd
the court; and having pleaded the right of an ancient law of the duchy,
which, though seldom claim'd, he said, was no less in force, he took
his sword from his side-Here-said he-take it; and be trusty guardians
of it, till better times put me in condition to reclaim it.
The president accepted the Marquis's sword-he stay'd a few minutes
to see it deposited in the archives of his house-and departed.
The Marquis and his whole family embarked the next day for
Martinico, and in about nineteen or twenty years of successful
application to business, with some unlook'd-for bequests from distant
branches of his house-return'd home to reclaim his nobility and to
It was an incident of good fortune which will never happen to any
traveler, but a sentimental one, that I should be at Rennes at the very
time of this solemn requisition: I call it solemn-it was so to me.
The Marquis enter'd the court with his whole family: he supported
his lady-his eldest son supported his sister, and his youngest was at
the other extreme of the line next his mother-he put his handkerchief
to his face twice-
-There was a dead silence. When the Marquis had approach'd within
six paces of the tribunal, he gave the Marchioness to his youngest son,
and advancing three steps before his family-he reclaim'd his sword. His
sword was given him, and the moment he got it into his hand, he drew it
almost out of the scabbard-'t was the shining face of a friend he had
once given up-he look'd attentively along it, beginning at the hilt, as
if to see whether it was the same-when observing a little rust which it
had contracted near the point, he brought it near his eye, and bending
his head down over it-I think I saw a tear fall upon the place: I could
not be deceived by what followed.
"I shall find," said he, "some other way to get it off."
When the Marquis had said this, he return'd his sword into its
scabbard, made a bow to the guardians of it-and with his wife and
daughter, and his two sons following him, walk'd out.
O how I envied him his feelings!
47. The Passport. Versailles
I FOUND no difficulty in getting admittance to Monsieur le Count de
B--. The set of Shaksperes was laid upon the table, and he was tumbling
them over. I walk'd up close to the table, and giving first such a look
at the books as to make him conceive I knew what they were-I told him I
had come without any one to present me, knowing I should meet with a
friend in his apartment, who, I trusted, would do it for me-it is my
countryman the great Shakspere, said I, pointing to his works-et ayez
la bonté, mon cher ami, apostrophizing his spirit, added I, de me faire
The Count smil'd at the singularity of the introduction; and seeing
I look'd a little pale and sickly, insisted upon my taking an
arm-chair; so I sat down; and to him conjectures upon a visit so out of
all rule, I told him simply of the incident in the bookseller's shop,
and how that had impell'd me rather to go to him with the story of a
little embarrassment I was under, than to any other man in France.-And
what is your embarrassment? let me hear it, said the Count. So I told
him the story just as I have told it the reader.-
-And the master of my hotel, said I, as I concluded it, will needs
have it, Monsieur le Count, that I should be sent to the Bastille-but I
have no apprehensions, continued I-for in falling into the hands of the
most polish'd people in the world, and being conscious I was a true
man, and not come to spy the nakedness of the land, I scarce thought I
laid at their mercy.-It does not suit the gallantry of the French,
Monsieur le Count, said I, to show it against invalids.
An animated blush came into the Count de B--'s cheeks as I spoke
this.-Ne craignez rien-don't fear, said he.-Indeed I don't, replied I
again.-Besides, continued I a little sportingly-I have come laughing
all the way from London to Paris, and I do not think Monsieur le Duc de
Choiseul is such an enemy to mirth, as to send me back crying for my
-My application to you, Monsieur le Comte de B-- (making him a low
bow), is to desire he will not.
The Count heard me with great good nature, or I had not said half
as much-and once or twice said-C'est bien dit. So I rested my cause
there-and determined to say no more about it.
The Count led the discourse: we talk'd of indifferent things-of
books, and politics, and men-and then of women.-God Bless them all!
said I, after much discourse about them-there is not a man upon earth
who loves them so much as I do: after all the foibles I have seen, and
all the satires I have read against them, still I love them; being
firmly persuaded that a man, who has not a sort of an affection for the
whole sex, is incapable of ever loving a single one as he ought.
Hèh bien! Monsieur l' Anglois, said the Count, gaily-you are not
come to spy the nakedness of the land-I believe you-ni encore, I dare
say that of our women.-But permit me to conjecture-if, par hazard, they
fell in your way-that the prospect would not affect you.
I have something within me which cannot bear the shock of the least
indecent insinuation: in the sportability of chitchat I have often
endeavored to conquer it, and with infinite pain have hazarded a
thousand things to a dozen of the sex together-the least of which I
could not venture to a single one to gain heaven.
Excuse me, Monsieur le Count, said I-as for the nakedness of your
land, if I saw it, I should cast my eyes over it with tears in them-and
for that of your women (blushing at the idea he had excited in me), I
am so evangelical in this, and have such a fellow-feeling for whatever
is weak about them, that I would cover it with a garment, if I knew how
to throw it on.-But I could wish, continued I, to spy the nakedness of
their hearts, and through the different disguises of customs, climates,
and religion, find out what is good in them to fashion my own by-and
therefore am I come.
It is for this reason, Monsieur le Comte, continued I, that I have
not seen the Palais Royal-nor the Luxembourg-nor the Façade of the
Louvre-nor have attempted to swell the catalogues we have of pictures,
statues, and churches-I conceive every fair being as a temple, and
would rather enter in, and see the original drawings, and loose
sketches hung up in it, than the transfiguration of Raphael itself.
The thirst of this, continued I, as impatient as that which
inflames the breast of the connoisseur, has led me from my own home
into France-and from France will lead me through Italy-'t is a quiet
journey of the heart in pursuit of NATURE, and those affections which
rise out of her, which make us love each other-and the world, better
than we do.
The Count said a great many civil things to me upon the occasion;
and added, very politely, how much he stood obliged to Shakspere for
making me known to him.-But, à propos, said he,-Shakspere is full of
great things-he forgot a small punctilio of announcing your name-it
puts you under a necessity of doing it yourself.
48. The Passport. Versailles
THERE is not a more perplexing affair in life to me, than to set
about telling any one who I am-for there is scarce anybody I cannot
give a better account of than of myself; and I have often wish'd I
could do it in a single word-and have an end of it. It was the only
time and occasion in my life I could accomplish this to any purpose-for
Shakspere lying upon the table, and recollecting I was in his books, I
took up Hamlet, and turning immediately to the grave-diggers scene in
the fifth act, I laid my finger upon YORICK, and advancing the book to
the Count, with my finger all the way over the name-Me voici! said I.
Now whether the idea of poor Yorick's skull was put out of the
Count's mind by the reality of my own, or by what magic he could drop a
period of seven or eight hundred years, makes nothing in this
account-'t is certain the French conceive better than they combine-I
wonder at nothing in this world, and the less at this; inasmuch as one
of the first of our own church, for whose candor and paternal
sentiments I have the highest veneration, fell into the same mistake in
the very same case.-"He could not bear," he said, "to look into sermons
wrote by the king of Denmark's jester."-Good my lord! said I-but there
are two Yoricks. The Yorick your lordship thinks of has been dead and
buried eight hundred years ago; he flourish'd in Horwendillus's
court-the other Yorick is myself, who have flourish'd, my lord, in no
court.-He shook his head.-Good God! said I, you might as well confound
Alexander the Great with Alexander the Coppersmith, my lord-'T was all
one, he replied.-
-If Alexander king of Macedon could have translated your lordship,
said I-I'm sure your lordship would not have said so.
The poor Count de B-- fell but into the same error-Et, Monsieur,
est il Yorick? cried the Count.-Je le suis, said I.-Vous?-Moi-moi qui
ai l'honneur de vous parler, Monsieur le Comte.-Mon Dieu! said he,
embracing me-Vous êtes Yorick!
The Count instantly put the Shakspere into his pocket-and left me
alone in his room.
49. The Passport. Versailles
I COULD not conceive why the Count de B-- had gone so abruptly out
of the room, any more than I could conceive why he had put the
Shakspere into his pocket.-Mysteries which must explain themselves are
not worth the loss of time which a conjecture about them takes up: 't
was better to read Shakspere; so taking up "Much Ado about Nothing," I
transported myself instantly from the chair I sat in to Messina in
Sicily, and got so busy with Don Pedro and Benedick and Beatrice, that
I thought not of Versailles, the Count, or the Passport.
Sweet pliability of man's spirit, that can at once surrender itself
to illusions, which cheat expectation and sorrow of their weary
moments!-long-long since had ye number'd out my days, had I not trod so
great a part of them upon this enchanted ground; when my way is too
rough for my feet, or too steep for my strength, I get off it, to some
smooth velvet path which fancy has scattered over with rosebuds of
delights; and having taken a few turns in it, come back strengthen'd
and refresh'd.-When evils press sore upon me, and there is no retreat
from them in this world, then I take a new course-I leave it-and as I
have a clearer idea of the elysian fields than I have of heaven, I
force myself, like AEneas, into them-I see him meet the pensive shade
of his forsaken Dido-and wish to recognize it-I see the injured spirit
wave her head, and turn off silent from the author of her miseries and
dishonors-I lose the feelings for myself in hers-and in those
affections which were wont to make me mourn for her when I was at
Surely this is not walking in a vain shadow-nor does man disquiet
himself in vain by it-he oftener does so in trusting the issue of his
commotions to reason only.-I can safely say for myself, I was never
able to conquer any one single bad sensation in my heart so decisively,
as by beating up as fast as I could for some kindly and gentle
sensation to fight it upon its own ground.
When I had got to the end of the third act, the Count de B--
entered with my Passport in his hand. Monsieur le Duc de C--, said the
Count, is as good a prophet, I dare say, as he is a statesman-Un homme
quirit, said the duke, ne sera jamais dangereux.-Had it been for any
one but the king's jester, added the Count, I could not have got it
these two hours.-Pardonnez moi, Monsieur le Comte, said I-I am not the
king's jester.-But you are Yorick?-Yes.-Et vous plaisantez?-I answered,
Indeed I did jest-but was not paid for it-'t was entirely at my own
We had no jester at court, Monsieur le Comte, said I; the last we
had was in the licentious reign of Charles the IId-since which time our
manners have been so gradually refining, that our court at present is
so full of patriots, who wish for nothing but the honors and wealth of
their country-and our ladies are all so chaste, so spotless, so good,
so devout-there is nothing for a jester to make a jest of-Voilà un
persiflage! cried the Count.
50. The Passport. Versailles
AS the Passport was directed to all lieutenant-governors,
governors, and commandants of cities, generals of armies, justiciaries,
and all officers of justice, to let Mr. Yorick the king's jester, and
his baggage, travel quietly along-I own the triumph of obtaining the
Passport was not a little tarnish'd by the figure I cut in it.-But
there is nothing unmixt in this world, and some of the gravest of our
divines have carried it so far as to affirm, that enjoyment itself was
attended even with a sigh-and that the greatest they knew of terminated
in a general way, in little better than a convulsion.
I remembered the grave and learned Bevoriskius, in his commentary
upon the generations from Adam, very naturally breaks off in the middle
of a note to give an account to the world of a couple of sparrows upon
the out-edge of his window, which had incommoded him all the time he
wrote, and at last had entirely taken him off from his genealogy.
-'T is strange! writes Bevoriskius, but the facts are certain, for
I have had the curiosity to mark them down one by one with my pen-but
the cock-sparrow, during the little time that I could have finished the
other half this note, has actually interrupted me with the reiteration
of his caresses three and twenty times and a half.
How merciful, adds Bevoriskius, is heaven to his creatures!
Ill-fated Yorick! that the gravest of thy brethren should be able
to write that to the world, which stains thy face with crimson, to copy
in even thy study.
But this is nothing to my travels.-So I twice-twice beg pardon for
51. Character. Versailles
AND how do you find the French? said the Count de B--, after he had
given me the Passport.
The reader may suppose, that after so obliging a proof of courtesy,
I could not be at a loss to say something handsome to the inquiry.
-Mais passé, pour cela-Speak frankly, said he: do you find all the
urbanity in the French which the world give us the honor of?-I had
found everything, I said, which confirmed it.-Vraiment, said the
Count.-Les Franois sont polis.-To an excess, replied I.
The Count took notice of the word excesse; and would have it I
meant more than I said. I defended myself a long time as well as I
could against it-he insisted I had a reserve, and that I would speak my
I believe, Monsieur le Comte, said I, that man has a certain
compass, as well as an instrument; and that the social and other calls
have occasion by turns for every key in him; so that if you begin a
note too high or too low, there must be a want either in the upper or
under part, to fill up the system of harmony.-The Count de B-- did not
understand music, so desired me to explain it some other way. A
polish'd nation, my dear Count, said I, makes every one its debtor; and
besides, urbanity itself, like the fair sex, has so many charms, it
goes against the heart to say it can do ill: and yet, I believe, there
is but a certain line of perfection, that man, take him altogether, is
empower'd to arrive at-if he gets beyond, he rather exchanges qualities
than gets them. I must not presume to say, how far this has affected
the French in the subject we are speaking of-but should it ever be the
case of the English, in the progress of their refinements, to arrive at
the same polish which distinguishes the French, if we did not lose the
politesse du coeur, which inclines men more to human actions, than
courteous ones-we should at least lose that distinct variety and
originality of character, which distinguishes them, not only from each
other, but from all the world besides.
I had a few of King William's shillings as smooth as glass in my
pocket; and foreseeing they would be of use in the illustration of my
hypothesis, I had got them into my hand, when I had proceeded so far.-
See, Monsieur le Comte, said I, rising up, and laying them before
him upon the table-by jingling and rubbing one against another for
seventy years together in one body's pocket or another's, they are
become so much alike, you can scarce distinguish one shilling from
The English, like ancient medals, kept more apart, and passing but
few people's hands, preserve the first sharpnesses which the fine hand
of nature has given them-they are not so pleasant to feel-but, in
return, the legend is so visible, that at the first look you see whose
image and superscription they bear.-But the French, Monsieur le Comte,
added I, wishing to soften what I had said, have so many excellences,
they can the better spare this-they are a loyal, a gallant, a generous,
an ingenious, and good-temper'd people as is under heaven-if they have
a fault-they are too serious.
Mon Dieu! cried the Count, rising out of his chair.
Mais vous plaisantez, said he, correcting his exclamation.-I laid
my hand upon my breast, and with earnest gravity assured him it was my
most settled opinion.
The Count said he was mortified he could not stay to hear my
reasons, being engaged to go that moment to dine with the Duc de C--.
But if it is not too far to come to Versailles to eat your soup
with me, I beg, before you leave France, I may have the pleasure of
knowing you retract your opinion-or, in what manner you support it.-But
if you do support it, Monsieur Anglois, said he, you must do it with
all your powers, because you have the whole world against you.-I
promised the Count I would do myself the honor of dining with him
before I set out for Italy-so took my leave.
52. The Temptation. Paris
WHEN I alighted at the hotel, the ported told me a young woman with
a band-box had been that moment inquiring for me.-I do not know, said
the porter, whether she is gone away or no. I took the key of my
chamber of him, and went up-stairs; and when I had got within ten steps
of the top of the landing before my door, I met her coming easily down.
It was the fair fille de chambre I had walked along the Quai de
Conti with: Madame de R-- had sent her upon some commissions to a
merchante des modes within a step or two of the Hotel de Modene, and as
I had fail'd in waiting upon her, had bid her inquire if I had left
Paris, and if so, whether I had not left a letter addressed to her.
As the fair fille de chambre was so near my door, she turned back,
and went into the room with me for a moment or two whilst I wrote a
It was a fine still evening in the latter end of the month of
May-the crimson window-curtains (which were of the same color of those
of the bed) were drawn close-the sun was setting, and reflected through
them so warm a tint into the fair fille de chambre's face-I thought she
blush'd-the idea of it made me blush myself-we were quite alone; and
that superinduced a second blush before the first could get off.
There is a sort of a pleasing half guilty blush, where the blood is
more in fault than the man-'t is sent impetuous from the heart, and
virtue flies after it-not to call it back, but to make the sensation of
it more delicious to the nerves-'t is associated.-
But I'll not describe it.-I felt something at first within me which
was not in strict unison with the lesson of virtue I had given her the
night before.-I sought five minutes for a card-I knew I had not one.-I
took up a pen-I laid it down again-my hand trembled-the devil was in
I know as well as any one he is an adversary, whom if we resist he
will fly from us-but I seldom resist him at all; from a terror that
though I may conquer, I may still get a hurt in the combat-so I give up
the triumph for security; and instead of thinking to make him fly, I
generally fly myself.
The fair fille de chambre came close up to the bureau where I was
looking for a card-took up first the pen I cast down, then offer'd to
hold me the ink; she offer'd it so sweetly, I was going to accept
it-but I durst not.-I have nothing, my dear, said I, to write
upon.-Write it, said she, simply, upon anything.-
I was just going to cry out, Then I will write it, fair girl, upon
If I do, said I, I shall perish-so I took her by the hand, and led
her to the door, and begg'd she would not forget the lesson I had given
her.-She said, indeed she would not-and as she utter'd it with some
earnestness, she turn'd about, and gave me both her hands, closed
together, into mine-it was impossible not to compress them in that
situation-I wish'd to let them go; and all the time I held them, I kept
arguing within myself against it-and still I held them on.-In two
minutes I found I had all the battle to fight over again-and I felt my
legs and every limb about me tremble at the idea.
The foot of the bed was within a yard and a half of the place where
we were standing-I had still hold of her hands-and how it happened I
can give no account, but I neither ask'd her-nor drew her-nor did I
think of the bed-but so it did happen, we both sat down.
I'll just show you, said the fair fille de chambre, the little
purse I have been making to-day to hold your crown. So she put her hand
into her right pocket, which was next me, and felt for it some
time-then into the left-"She had lost it."-I never bore expectation
more quietly-it was in her right pocket at last-she pull'd it out; it
was of green taffeta, lined with a little bit of white quilted satin,
and just big enough to hold the crown-she put it into my hand;-it was
pretty; and I held it ten minutes with the back of my hand resting upon
her lap-looking sometimes at the purse, sometimes on one side of it.
A stitch or two had broke out in the gathers of my stock-the fair
fille de chambre, without saying a word, took out her little hussive,
threaded a small needle, and sew'd it up.-I foresaw it would hazard the
glory of the day; and as she pass'd her hand in silence across and
across my neck in the manoeuver, I felt the laurels shake which fancy
had wreath'd about my head.
A strap had given way in her walk, and the buckle of her shoe was
just falling off.-See, said the fille de chambre, holding up her
foot.-I could not for my soul but fasten the buckle in return, and
putting in the strap-and lifting up the other foot with it, when I had
done, to see both were right-in doing it too suddenly-it unavoidably
threw the fair fille de chambre off her center-and then-
53. The Conquest
YES-and then-Ye whose clay-cold heads and lukewarm hearts can argue
down or mask your passions-tell me, what trespass is it that man should
have them? or how his spirit stands answerable to the Father of spirits
but for his conduct under them.
If Nature has so wove her web of kindness that some threads of love
and desire are entangled with the piece-must the whole web be rent in
drawing them out?-Whip me such stoics, great Governor of nature! said I
to myself.-Wherever thy providence shall place me for the trials of my
virtue-whatever is my danger-whatever is my situation-let me feel the
movements which rise out of it, and which belong to me as a man-and if
I govern them as a good one-I will trust the issues to thy justice: for
thou hast made us-and not we ourselves.
As I finish'd my address, I raised the fair fille de chambre up by
the hand, and led her out of the room-she stood by me till I lock'd the
door and put the key in my pocket-and then-the victory being quite
decisive-and not till then, I press'd my lips to her cheek, and taking
her by the hand again, led her safe to the gate of the hotel.
54. The Mystery. Paris
IF a man knows the heart, he will know it was impossible to go back
instantly to my chamber-it was touching a cold key with a flat third to
it, upon the close of a piece of music, which had call'd forth my
affections-therefore when I let go the hand of the fille de chambre, I
remain'd at the gate of the hotel for some time, looking at every one
who pass'd by, and forming conjectures upon them, till my attention got
fix'd upon a single object which confounded all kind of reasoning upon
It was a tall figure of a philosophic, serious, adust look, which
pass'd and repass'd sedately along the street, making a turn of about
sixty paces on each side of the gate of the hotel-the man was about
fifty-two-had a small cane under his arm-was dress'd in a dark
drab-color'd coat, waistcoat, and breeches, which seem'd to have seen
some years' service-they were still clean, and there was a little air
of frugal propreté throughout him. By his pulling off his hat, and his
attitude of accosting a good many in his way, I saw he was asking
charity; so I got a sou or two out of my pocket ready to give him, as
he took me in his turn-he pass'd by me without asking anything-and yet
did not go five steps further before he ask'd charity of a little
woman-I was much more likely to have given of the two.-He had scarce
done with the woman, when he pull'd off his hat to another who was
coming the same way.-An ancient gentleman came slowly-and, after him, a
young smart one.-He let them both pass, and ask'd nothing: I stood
observing him half an hour, in which time he had made a dozen turns
backwards and forwards, and found that he invariably pursued the same
There were two things very singular in this, which set my brain to
work, and to no purpose-the first was, why the man should only tell his
story to the sex-and secondly-what kind of story it was, and what
species of eloquence it could be, which soften'd the hearts of the
women, which he knew 't was to no purpose to practise upon the men.
There were two other circumstances which entangled this mystery-the
one was, he told every woman what he had to say in her ear, and in a
way which had much more the air of a secret than a petition-the other
was, it was always successful-he never stopp'd a woman, but she pull'd
out her purse, and immediately gave him something.
I could form no system to explain the phenomenon.
I had got a riddle to amuse me for the rest of the evening, so I
walk'd up-stairs to my chamber.
55. The Case of Conscience. Paris
I WAS immediately followed up by the master of the hotel, who came
into my room to tell me I must provide lodgings elsewhere.-How so,
friend? said I.-He answer'd, I had had a young woman lock'd up with me
two hours that evening in my bedchamber, and 't was against the rules
of his house.-Very well, said I, we'll all part friends then-for the
girl is no worse-and I am no worse-and you will be just as I found
you.-It was enough, he said, to overthrow the credit of his
hotel.-Voyez vous, Monsieur, said he, pointing to the foot of the bed
we had been sitting upon.-I own it had something of the appearance of
an evidence; but my pride not suffering me to enter into any detail of
the case, I exhorted him to let his soul sleep in peace, as I resolved
to let mine do that night, and that I would discharge what I owed him
I should not have minded, Monsieur, said he, if you had had twenty
girls-'T is a score more, replied I, interrupting him, than I ever
reckon'd upon-Provided, added he, it had been but in a morning.-And
does the difference of the time of the day at Paris make a difference
in the sin?-It made a difference, he said, in the scandal.-I like a
good distinction in my heart; and cannot say I was intolerably out of
temper with the man. I own it is necessary, reassumed the master of the
hotel, that a stranger at Paris should have the opportunities presented
to him of buying lace and silk stockings, and ruffles, et tout cela-and
't is nothing if a woman comes with a band-box.-O, my conscience, said
I, she had one; but I never look'd into it.-Then Monsieur, said he, has
bought nothing.-Not one earthly thing, replied I.-Because, said he, I
could recommend one to you who would use you en conscience.-But I must
see her this night, said I.-He made me a low bow, and walk'd down.
Now shall I triumph over this maître d' hôtel, cried I-and what
then?-Then I shall let him see I know he is a dirty fellow.-And what
then?-What then!-I was too near myself to say it was for the sake of
others.-I had no good answer left-there was more of spleen than
principle in my project, and I was sick of it before the execution.
In a few minutes the Grisset came in with her box of lace-I'll buy
nothing, however, said I, within myself.
The Grisset would show me everything.-I was hard to please: she
would not seem to see it; she open'd her little magazine, and laid all
her laces one after another before me-unfolded and folded them up again
one by one with the most patient sweetness-I might buy-or not-she would
let me have everything at my own price-the poor creature seem'd anxious
to get a penny; and laid herself out to win me, and not so much in a
manner which seem'd artful, as in one I felt simple and caressing.
If there is not a fund of honest cullibility in man, so much the
worse-my heart relented, and I gave up my second resolution as quietly
as the first.-Why should I chastise one for the trespass of another? If
thou art tributary to this tyrant of an host, thought I, looking up in
her face, so much harder is thy bread.
If I had not had more than four Louis d'ors in my purse, there was
no such thing as rising up and showing her the door, till I had first
laid three of them out in a pair of ruffles.
-The master of the hotel will share the profit with her-no
matter-then I have only paid as many a poor soul has paid before me,
for an act he could not do, or think of.
56. The Riddle. Paris
WHEN La Fleur came up to wait upon me at supper, he told me how
sorry the master of the hotel was for his affront to me in bidding me
change my lodgings.
A man who values a good night's rest will not lay down with enmity
in his heart, if he can help it-so I bid La Fleur tell the master of
the hotel, that I was sorry on my side for the occasion I had given
him-and you may tell him, if you will, La Fleur, added I, that if the
young woman should call again, I shall not see her.
This was a sacrifice not to him, but myself, having resolved, after
so narrow an escape, to run no more risks, but to leave Paris, if it
was possible, with all the virtue I enter'd in.
C'est déroger à noblesse, Monsieur, said La Fleur, making me a bow
down to the ground as he said it.-Et encore, Monsieur, said he, may
change his sentiments-and if (parhazard) he should like to amuse
himself-I find no amusement in it, said I, interrupting him-
Mon Dieu! said La Fleur-and took away.
In an hour's time he came to put me to bed, and was more than
commonly officious-something hung upon his lips to say to me, or ask
me, which he could not get off: I could not conceive what it was, and
indeed gave myself little trouble to find it out, as I had another
riddle so much more interesting upon my mind, which was that of the
man's asking charity before the door of the hotel-I would have given
anything to have got to the bottom of it; and that, not out of
curiosity-'t is so low a principle of inquiry, in general, I would not
purchase the gratification of it with a twosou piece-but a secret, I
thought, which so soon and so certainly soften'd the heart of every
woman you came near, was a secret at least equal to the philosopher's
stone: had I had both the Indies, I would have given up one to have
been master of it.
I toss'd and turn'd it almost all night long in my brains to no
manner of purpose; and when I awoke in the morning, I found my spirit
as much troubled with my dreams, as ever the king of Babylon had been
with his; and I will not hesitate to affirm, it would have puzzled all
the wise men of Paris as much as those of Chaldea, to have given its
57. Le Dimanche. Paris
IT was Sunday; and when La Fleur came in, in the morning, with my
coffee and roll and butter, he had got himself so gallantly array'd, I
scarce knew him.
I had convenanted at Montriul to give him a new hat with a silver
button and loop, and four Louis d'ors pour s' adoniser, when we got to
Paris; and the poor fellow, to do him justice, had done wonders with
He had bought a bright, clean, good scarlet coat, and a pair of
breeches of the same.-They were not a crown worse, he said, for the
wearing-I wish'd him hang'd for telling me-they look'd so fresh, that
tho' I know the thing could not be done, yet I would rather have
imposed upon my fancy with thinking I had bought them new for the
fellow, than that they had come out of the Rue de Friperie.
This is a nicety which makes not the heart sore at Paris.
He had purchased moreover a handsome blue satin waistcoat,
fancifully enough embroidered-this was indeed something the worse for
the service it had done, but 't was clean scour'd-the gold had been
touch'd up, and upon the whole was rather showy than otherwise-and as
the blue was not violent, it suited with the coat and breeches very
well: he had squeez'd out of the money, moreover, a new bag and a
solitaire; and had insisted with the fripier upon a gold pair of
garters to his breeches knees.-He had purchased muslin ruffles bien
brodées, with four livres of his own money-and a pair of white silk
stockings for five more-and, to top all, nature had given him a
handsome figure, without costing him a sou.
He entered the room thus set off, with his hair dress'd in the
first style, and with a handsome bouquet in his breast-in a word, there
was that look of festivity in everything about him, which at once put
me in mind it was Sunday-and by combining both together, it instantly
struck me, that the favor he wish'd to ask of me the night before, was
to spend the day as everybody in Pairs spent it besides. I had scarce
made the conjecture, when La Fleur, with infinite humility, but with a
look of trust, as if I should not refuse him, begg'd I would grant him
the day, pour faire le galant vis-à-vis de sa maîtresse.
Now it was the very thing I intended to do myself vis-à-vis Madame
de R--.-I had retain'd the remise on purpose for it, and it would not
have mortified my vanity to have had a servant so well dress'd as La
Fleur was, to have got up behind it: I never could have worse spared
But we must feel, not argue, in these embarrassments-the sons and
daughters of service part with liberty, but not with Nature, in their
contracts; they are flesh and blood, and have their little vanities and
wishes in the midst of the house of bondage, as well as their
taskmasters-no doubt they have set their self-denials at a price-and
their expectations are so unreasonable, that I would often disappoint
them, but that their condition puts it so much in my power to do it.
Behold!-Behold, I am thy servant-disarms me at once of the powers
of a master.-
-Thou shalt go, La Fleur! said I.
-And what mistress, La Fleur, said I, canst thou have pick'd up in
so little a time at Paris? La Fleur laid his hand upon his breast, and
said 't was a petite demoiselle, at Monsieur le Comte de B--'s.-La
Fleur had a heart made for society; and, to speak the truth of him, let
as few occasions slip him as his master-so that somehow or other-but
how-Heaven knows-he had connected himself with the demoiselle upon the
landing of the staircase, during the time I was taken up with my
Passport; and as there was time enough for me to win the Count to my
interest, La Fleur had contrived to make it do to win the maid to
his.-The family, it seems, was to be at Paris that day, and he had made
a party with her, and two or three more of the Count's household, upon
Happy people! that once a week at least are sure to lay down all
your cares together, and dance and sing, and sport away the weights of
grievance, which bow down the spirit of other nations to the earth.
58. The Fragment. Paris
LA FLEUR had left me something to amuse myself with for the day
more than I had bargain'd for, or could have enter'd either into his
head or mine.
He had brought the little print of butter upon a currantleaf; and
as the morning was warm, he had begg'd a sheet of waste paper to put
betwixt the currant-leaf and his hand.-As that was plate sufficient, I
bad him lay it upon the table as it was; and as I resolved to stay
within all day, I ordered him to call upon the traiteur, to bespeak my
dinner, and leave me to breakfast by myself.
When I had finish'd the butter, I threw the currant-leaf out of the
window, and was going to do the same by the waste paper-but stopping to
read a line first, and that drawing me on to a second and third-I
thought it better worth; so I shut the window, and drawing a chair up
to it, I sat down to read it.
It was in the old French of Rabelais's time, and for aught I know
might have been wrote by him-it was moreover in a Gothic letter, and
that so faded and gone off by damps and length of time, it cost me
infinite trouble to make anything of it.-I threw it down; and then
wrote a letter to Eugenius-then I took it up again and embroiled my
patience with it afresh-and then to cure that, I wrote a letter to
Eliza.-Still it kept hold of me; and the difficulty of understanding it
increased but the desire.
I got my dinner; and after I had enlightened my mind with a bottle
of Burgundy, I at it again-and after two or three hours' poring upon
it, with almost as deep attention as ever Gruter or Jacob Spon did upon
a nonsensical inscription, I thought I made sense of it; but to make
sure of it, the best way, I imagined, was to turn it into English, and
see how it would look then-so I went on leisurely as a trifling man
does, sometimes writing a sentence-then taking a turn or two-and then
looking how the world went out of the window; so that it was nine
o'clock at night before I had done it.-I then begun to read it as
59. The Fragment. Paris
NOW as the notary's wife disputed the point with the notary with
too much heat-I wish, said the notary, throwing down the parchment,
that there was another notary here only to set down and attest all
-And what would you do then, Monsieur? said she, rising hastily
up-the notary's wife was a little fume of a woman, and the notary
thought it well to avoid a hurricane by a mild reply-I would go,
answer'd he, to bed.-You may go to the devil, answer'd the notary's
Now there happening to be but one bed in the house, the other two
rooms being unfurnish'd, as is the custom at Paris, and the notary not
caring to lie in the same bed with a woman who had but that moment sent
him pell-mell to the devil, went forth with his hat and cane and short
cloak, the night being very windy, and walk'd out ill at ease towards
the Pont Neuf.
Of all the bridges which ever were built, the whole world who have
pass'd over the Pont Neuf must own, that it is the noblest-the
finest-the grandest-the lightest-the longest-the broadest that ever
conjoin'd land and land together upon the face of the terraqueous
By this it seems as if the author of the fragment had not been a
The worst fault which divines and the doctors of the Sorbonne can
allege against it, is, that if there is but a capful of wind in or
about Paris, 't is more blasphemously sacre Dieu'd there than in any
other aperture of the whole city-and with reason, good and cogent,
Messieurs; for it comes against you without crying garde d'eau, and
with such unpremeditable puffs, that of the few who cross it with their
hats on, not one in fifty but hazards two livres and a half which is
its full worth.
The poor notary, just as he was passing by the sentry,
instinctively clapp'd his cane to the side of it, but in raising it up,
the point of his cane catching hold of the loop of the sentinel's hat,
hoisted it over the spikes of the balustrade clear into the Seine.-
-'T is an ill wind, said a boatsman, who catch'd it, which blows
nobody any good.
The sentry, being a Gascon, incontinently twirl'd up his whiskers,
and level'd his harquebus.
Harquebuses in those days went off with matches; and an old woman's
paper lanthorn at the end of the bridge happening to be blown out, she
had borrow'd the sentry's match to light it-it gave a moment's time for
the Gascon's blood to run cool, and turn the accident better to his
advantage.-'T is an ill wind, said he, catching off the notary's
castor, and legitimating the capture with the boatman's adage.
The poor notary cross'd the bridge, and passing along the Rue de
Dauphine into the fauxbourg of St. Germain, lamented himself as he
walk'd along in this manner: Luckless man that I am! said the notary,
to be the sport of hurricanes all my days-to be born to have the storm
of ill language level'd against me and my profession wherever I go-to
be forced into marriage by the thunder of the church to a tempest of a
woman-to be driven forth out of my house by domestic winds, and
despoil'd of my castor by pontific ones-to be here, bareheaded, in a
windy night at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of accidents-where am I
to lay my head?-miserable man! what wind in the two and thirty points
of the whole compass can blow unto thee, as it does to the rest of thy
As the notary was passing on by a dark passage, complaining in this
sort, a voice call'd out to a girl, to bid her run for the next
notary-now the notary being the next, and availing himself of his
situation, walk'd up the passage to the door, and passing through an
old sort of a saloon, was usher'd into a large chamber, dismantled of
everything but a long military pike-a breastplate-a rusty old sword,
and bandoleer, hung up equidistant in four different places against the
An old personage, who had heretofore been a gentleman, and unless
decay of fortune taints the blood along with it, was a gentleman at
that time, lay supporting his head upon his hand, in his bed; a little
table with a taper burning was set close beside it, and close by the
table was placed a chair-the notary sat him down in it; and pulling out
his inkhorn and a sheet or two of paper which he had in his pocket, he
placed them before him, and dipping his pen in his ink, and leaning his
breast over the table, he disposed everything to make the gentleman's
last will and testament.
Alas! Monsieur le Notaire, said the gentleman, raising himself up a
little, I have nothing to bequeath, which will pay the expense of
bequeathing, except the history of myself, which I could not die in
peace unless I left it as a legacy to the world; the profits arising
out of it I bequeath to you for the pains of taking it from me-it is a
story so uncommon, it must be read by all mankind-it will make the
fortunes of your house-the notary dipp'd his pen into his
inkhorn.-Almighty Director of every event in my life! said the old
gentleman, looking up earnestly, and raising his hands towards
heaven-thou, whose hand hast led me on through such a labyrinth of
strange passages down into this scene of desolation, assist the
decaying memory of an old, infirm, and broken-hearted man-direct my
tongue by the spirit of thy eternal truth, that this stranger may set
down naught but what is written in that Book, from whose records, said
he, clasping his hands together, I am to be condemn'd or acquitted!-The
notary held up the point of his pen betwixt the taper and his eye.-
-It is a story, Monsieur le Notaire, said the gentleman, which will
rouse up every affection in nature-it will kill the humane, and touch
the heart of cruelty herself with pity.-
-The notary was inflamed with a desire to begin, and put his pen a
third time into his inkhorn-and the old gentleman turning a little more
towards the notary, began to dictate his story in these words-
-And where is the rest of it, La Fleur? said I, as he just then
enter'd the room.
60. The Fragment and the Bouquet.
WHEN La Fleur came up close to the table, and was made to
comprehend what I wanted, he told me there were only two other sheets
of it, which he had wrapt round the stalks of a bouquet 5 to keep it
together, which he had presented to the demoiselle upon the
boulevards.-Then prithee, La Fleur, said I, step back to her to the
Count de B--'s hotel, and see if you can get it-There is no doubt of
it, said La Fleur-and away he flew.
In a very little time the poor fellow came back quite out of
breath, with deeper marks of disappointment in his looks than could
arise from the simple irreparability of the fragment.-Juste ciel! in
less than two minutes that the poor fellow had taken his last tender
farewell of her-his faithless mistress had given his gage d'amour to
one of the Count's footmen-the footman to a young sempstress-and the
sempstress to a fiddler, with my fragment at the end of it.-Our
misfortunes were involved together-I gave a sigh-and La Fleur echo'd it
back again to my ear.
-How perfidious! cried La Fleur.-How unlucky! said I.-
-I should not have been mortified, Monsieur, quoth La Fleur, if she
had lost it.-Nor I, La Fleur, said I, had I found it.
Whether I did or no will be seen hereafter.
61. The Act of Charity. Paris
THE MAN who either disdains or fears to walk up a dark entry, may
be an excellent good man, and fit for a hundred things; but he will not
do to make a good sentimental traveler.
I count little of the many things I see pass at broad noonday, in
large and open streets.-Nature is shy, and hates to act before
spectators; but in such an unobserved corner you sometimes see a single
short scene of hers, worth all the sentiments of a dozen French plays
compounded together-and yet they are absolutely fine;-and whenever I
have a more brilliant affair upon my hands than common, as they suit a
preacher just as well as a hero, I generally make my sermon out of
'em-and for the text-"Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and
Pamphylia"-is as good as any one in the Bible.
There is a long dark passage issuing out from the Opera Comique
into a narrow street; 't is trod by a few who humbly wait for a fiacre
6 or wish to get off quietly o' foot when the opera is done. At the end
of it, towards the theater, 't is lighted by a small candle, the light
of which is almost lost before you get half-way down, but near the
door-'t is more for ornament than use: you see it as a fix'd star of
the least magnitude; it burns-but does little good to the world, that
we know of.
In returning along this passage, I discern'd, as I approach'd
within five or six paces of the door, two ladies standing arm in arm
with their backs against the wall, waiting, as I imagined, for a
fiacre-as they were next the door, I thought they had a prior right; so
edged myself up within a yard or little more of them, and quietly took
my stand-I was in black, and scarce seen.
The lady next me was a tall lean figure of a woman, of about
thirty-six; the other of the same size and make, of about forty; there
was no mark of wife or widow in any one part of either of them-they
seem'd to be two upright vestal sisters, unsapp'd by caresses, unbroke
in upon by tender salutations: I could have wish'd to have made them
happy-their happiness was destin'd, that night, to come from another
A low voice, with a good turn of expression, and sweet cadence at
the end of it, begg'd for a twelve-sou piece betwixt them, for the love
of Heaven. I thought it singular that a beggar should fix the quota of
an alms-and that the sum should be twelve times as much as what is
usually given in the dark. They both seem'd astonish'd at it as much as
myself.-Twelve sous! said one.-A twelve-sou piece! said the other-and
made no reply.
The poor man said, he knew not how to ask less of ladies of their
rank; and bow'd down his head to the ground.
Poo! said they-we have no money.
The beggar remained silent for a moment or two, and renew'd his
Do not, my fair young ladies, said he, stop your good ears against
me.-Upon my word, honest man! said the younger, we have no change.-Then
God bless you, said the poor man, and multiply those joys which you can
give to others without change!-I observed the elder sister put her hand
into her pocket.-I'll see, said she, if I have a sou.-A sou! give
twelve, said the supplicant; Nature has been bountiful to you, be
bountiful to a poor man.
I would, friend, with all my heart, said the younger, if I had it.
My fair charitable! said he, addressing himself to the elder-what
is it but your goodness and humanity which makes your bright eyes so
sweet, that they outshine the morning even in this dark passage? and
what was it which made the Marquis de Santerre and his brother say so
much of you both as they just pass'd by?
The two ladies seemed much affected; and impulsively at the same
time they both put their hands into their pocket, and each took out a
The contest betwixt them and the poor supplicant was no more-it was
continued betwixt themselves, which of the two should give the
twelve-sou piece in charity-and to end the dispute, they both gave it
together, and the man went away.
62. The Riddle Explained. Paris
I STEPP'D hastily after him: it was the very man whose success in
asking charity of the women before the door of the hotel had so puzzled
me-and I found at once his secret, or at least the basis of it-'t was
Delicious essence! how refreshing art thou to nature! how strongly
are all its powers and all its weaknesses on thy side! how sweetly dost
thou mix with the blood, and help it through the most difficult and
tortuous passages to the heart!
The poor man, as he was not straiten'd for time, had given it here
in a larger dose: 't is certain he had a way of bringing it into less
form, for the many sudden cases he had to do with in the streets; but
how he contrived to correct, sweeten, concenter, and qualify it-I vex
not my spirit with the inquiry-it is enough, the beggar gain'd two
twelve-sou pieces-and they can best tell the rest, who have gain'd much
greater matters by it.
WE get forwards in the world, not so much by doing services, as
receiving them; you take a withering twig, and put it in the ground;
and then you water it because you have planted it.
Monsieur le Comte de B--, merely because he had done me one
kindness in the affair of my passport, would go on and do me another,
the few days he was at Paris, in making me known to a few people of
rank; and they were to present me to others, and so on.
I had got master of my secret just in time to turn these honors to
some little account; otherwise, as is commonly the case, I should have
din'd or supp'd a single time or two round, and then by translating
French looks and attitudes into plain English, I should presently have
seen, that I had got hold of the couvert 7 of some more entertaining
guest; and in course should have resigned all my places one after
another, merely upon the principle that I could not keep them.-As it
was, things did not go much amiss.
I had the honor of being introduced to the old Marquis de B--: in
days of yore he had signaliz'd himself by some small feats of chivalry
in the Cour d'amour, and had dress'd himself out to the idea of tilts
and tournaments ever since-the Marquis de B-- wish'd to have it thought
the affair was somewhere else than in his brain. "He could like to take
a trip to England," and ask'd much of the English ladies. Stay where
you are, I beseech you Monsieur le Marquis, said I.-Les Messieurs
Anglois can scarce get a kind look from them as it is.-The Marquis
invited me to supper.
Monsieur P-- the farmer-general was just as inquisitive about our
taxes.-They were very considerable, he heard-If we knew but how to
collect them, said I, making him a low bow.
I could never have been invited to Monsieur P--'s concerts upon any
I had been misrepresented to Madame de Q-- as an esprit.-Madame de
Q-- was an esprit herself: she burnt with impatience to see me, and
hear me talk. I had not taken my seat, before I saw she did not care a
sou whether I had any wit or no-I was let in, to be convinced she
had.-I call Heaven to witness I never once open'd the door of my lips.
Madame de Q-- vow'd to every creature she met, "she had never had a
more improving conversation with a man in her life."
There are three epochas in the empire of a Frenchwoman-She is
coquette-then deist-then dévote: the empire during these is never
lost-she only changes her subjects: when thirty-five years and more
have unpeopled her dominions of the slaves of love, she repeoples it
with slaves of infidelity-and then with the slaves of the Church.
Madame de V-- was vibrating betwixt the first of these epochas: the
color of the rose was shading fast away-she ought to have been a deist
five years before the time I had the honor to pay my first visit.
She placed me upon the same sofa with her, for the sake of
disputing the point of religion more closely-In short Madame de V--
told me she believed nothing.
I told Madame de V-- it might be her principle; but I was sure it
could not be her interest to level the outworks, without which I could
not conceive how such a citadel as hers could be defended-that there
was not a more dangerous thing in the world than for a beauty to be a
deist-that it was a debt I owed my creed, not to conceal it from
her-that I had not been five minutes sat upon the sofa besides her, but
I had begun to form designs-and what is it but the sentiments of
religion, and the persuasion they had existed in her breast, which
could have check'd them as they rose up?
We are not adamant, said I, taking hold of her hand-and there is
need of all restraints, till age in her own time steals in and lays
them on us-but, my dear lady, said I, kissing her hand-'t is too-too
I declare I had the credit all over Paris of unperverting Madame de
V--.-She affirmed to Monsieur D--and the Abbé M--, that in one
half-hour I had said more for revealed religion than all their
Encyclopedia had said against it.-I was lifted directly into Madame de
V--'s Coterie-and she put off the epocha of deism for two years.
I remember it was in this Coterie, in the middle of a discourse, in
which I was showing the necessity of a first cause, that the young
Count de Faineant took me by the hand to the furthest corner of the
room to tell me my solitaire was pinn'd too strait about my neck.-It
should be plus badinant, said the Count, looking down upon his own-but
a word, Monsieur Yorick, to the wise-
-And from the wise, Monsieur le Comte, replied I, making him a
The Count de Faineant embraced me with more ardor than ever I was
embraced by mortal man.
For three weeks together, I was of every man's opinion I
met.-Pardi! ce Monsieur Yorick a autant d'esprit que nous autres.-Il
raisonne bien, said another.-C'est un bon enfant, said a third.-And at
this price I could have eaten and drank and been merry all the days of
my life at Paris; but 't was a dishonest reckoning-I grew ashamed of
it.-It was the gain of a slave-every sentiment of honor revolted
against it-the higher I got, the more was I forced upon my beggarly
system-the better the Coterie-the more children of Art-I languish'd for
those of Nature: and one night, after a most vile prostitution of
myself to half a dozen different people, I grew sick-went to
bed-order'd La Fleur to get me horses in the morning to set out for
64. Maria. Moulines
I NEVER felt what the distress of plenty was in any one shape till
now-to travel it through the Bourbonnois, the sweetest part of
France-in the heyday of the vintage, when Nature is pouring her
abundance into every one's lap, and every eye is lifted up-a journey
through each step of which Music beats time to Labor, and all her
children are rejoicing as they carry in their clusters-to pass through
this with my affections flying out, and kindling at every group before
me-and every one of 'em was pregnant with adventures.
Just heaven!-it would fill up twenty volumes-and alas! I have but a
few small pages left of this to crowd it into-and half of these must be
taken up with the poor Maria my friend Mr. Shandy met with near
The story he had told of that disorder'd maid affected me not a
little in the reading; but when I got within the neighborhood where she
liv'd, it returned so strong into my mind, that I could not resist an
impulse which prompted me to go half a league out of the road, to the
village where her parents dwelt, to inquire after her.
'T is going, I own, like the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, in
quest of melancholy adventures-but I know not how it is, but I am never
so perfectly conscious of the existence of a soul within me, as when I
am entangled in them.
The old mother came to the door, her looks told me the story before
she open'd her mouth.-She had lost her husband; he had died, she said,
of anguish, for the loss of Maria's senses, about a month before.-She
had feared at first, she added, that it would have plunder'd her poor
girl of what little understanding was left-but, on the contrary, it had
brought her more to herself-still she could not rest-her poor daughter,
she said, crying, was wandering somewhere about the road-
-Why does my pulse beat languid as I write this? and what made La
Fleur, whose heart seem'd only to be tun'd to joy, to pass the back of
his hand twice across his eyes, as the woman stood and told it? I
beckon'd to the postilion to turn back into the road.
When we had got within half a league of Moulines, at a little
opening in the road leading to a thicket, I discovered poor Maria
sitting under a poplar-she was sitting with her elbow in her lap, and
her head leaning on one side within her hand-a small brook ran at the
foot of the tree.
I bid the postilion go on with the chaise to Moulines-and La Fleur
to bespeak my supper-and that I would walk after him.
She was dress'd in white, and much as my friend described her,
except that her hair hung loose, which before was twisted within a silk
net.-She had, superadded likewise to her jacket, a pale-green ribband,
which fell across her shoulder to the waist; at the end of which hung
her pipe.-Her goat had been as faithless as her lover: and she had got
a little dog in lieu of him, which she had kept tied by a string to her
girdle: as I look'd at her dog, she drew him towards her with the
string.-"Thou shalt not leave me, Sylvio," said she. I look'd in
Maria's eyes, and saw she was thinking more of her father than of her
lover or her little goat, for as she utter'd them, the tears trickled
down her cheeks.
I sat down close by her; and Maria let me wipe them away as they
fell, with my handkerchief.-I then steep'd it in my own-and then in
hers-and then in mine-and then I wip'd hers again-and as I did it, I
felt such undescribable emotions within me, as I am sure could not be
accounted for from any combinations of matter and motion.
I am positive I have a soul; nor can all the books with which
materialists have pester'd the world ever convince me of the contrary.
WHEN Maria had come a little to herself, I ask'd her if she
remembered a pale thin person of a man, who had sat down betwixt her
and her goat about two years before? She said, she was unsettled much
at that time, but remember'd it upon two accounts-that ill as she was,
she saw the person pitied her; and next, that her goat had stolen his
handkerchief, and she had beat him for the theft-she had wash'd it, she
said, in the brook, and kept it ever since in her pocket to restore it
to him in case she should ever see him again, which, she added, he had
half promised her. As she told me this, she took the handkerchief out
of her pocket to let me see it; she had folded it up neatly in a couple
of vine-leaves, tied round with a tendril-on opening it, I saw an S
mark'd in one of the corners.
She had since that, she told me, stray'd as far as Rome, and walk'd
round St. Peter's once-and return'd back-that she found her way alone
across the Apennines-had travel'd over all Lombardy without money-and
through the flinty roads of Savoy without shoes-how she had borne it,
and how she had got supported, she could not tell-but God tempers the
wind, said Maria, to the shorn lamb.
Shorn indeed! and to the quick, said I; and wast thou in my own
land, where I have a cottage, I would take thee to it and shelter thee:
thou shouldst eat of my own bread and drink of my own cup-I would be
kind to thy Sylvio-in all thy weaknesses and wanderings I would seek
after thee and bring thee back-when the sun went down I would say my
prayers; and when I had done thou shouldst play thy evening song upon
thy pipe, nor would the incense of my sacrifice be worse accepted for
entering heaven along with that of a broken heart.
Nature melted within me, as I utter'd this; and Maria observing, as
I took out my handkerchief, that it was steep'd too much already to be
of use, would needs go wash it in the stream.-And where will you dry
it, Maria? said I.-I'll dry it in my bosom, said she-'t will do me
And is your heart still so warm, Maria? said I.
I touch'd upon the string on which hung all her sorrows-she look'd
with wistful disorder for some time in my face; and then, without
saying anything, took her pipe, and play'd her service to the
Virgin.-The string I had touch'd ceased to vibrate-in a moment or two
Maria returned to herself - let her pipe fall-and rose up.
And where are you going, Maria? said I.-She said, to Moulines.-Let
us go, said I, together.-Maria put her arm within mine, and lengthening
the string, to let the dog follow-in that order we enter'd Moulines.
66. Maria. Moulines
THO' I hate salutations and greetings in the marketplace, yet when
we got into the middle of this, I stopp'd to take my last look and last
farewell of Maria. Maria, tho' not tall, was nevertheless of the first
order of fine forms-affliction had touch'd her looks with something
that was scarce earthly-still she was feminine-and so much was there
about her of all that the heart wishes, or the eye looks for in woman,
that could the traces be ever worn out of her brain, and those of
Eliza's out of mine, she should not only eat of my bread and drink of
my own cup, but Maria should lay in my bosom, and be unto me as a
Adieu, poor luckless maiden!-Imbibe the oil and wine which the
compassion of a stranger, as he journeyeth on his way, now pours into
thy wounds-the being who has twice bruised thee can only bind them up
67. The Bourbonnois
THERE was nothing from which I had painted out for myself so joyous
a riot of the affections, as in this journey in the vintage, through
this part of France; but pressing through this gate of sorrow to it, my
sufferings have totally unfitted me: in every scene of festivity I saw
Maria in the background of the piece, sitting pensive under her poplar;
and I had got almost to Lyons before I was able to cast a shade across
-Dear sensibility! source inexhausted of all that's precious in our
joys, or costly in our sorrows! thou chainest thy martyr down upon his
bed of straw-and 't is thou who lift'st him up to HEAVEN-eternal
fountain of our feelings!-'t is here I trace thee-and this is thy
divinity which stirs within me-not that in some sad and sickening
moments, "my soul shrinks back upon herself, and startles at
destruction"-mere pomp of words!-but that I feel some generous joys and
generous cares beyond myself-all comes from thee, great-great SENSORIUM
of the world! which vibrates, if a hair of our heads but falls upon the
ground, in the remotest desert of thy creation.-Touch'd with thee,
Eugenius draws my curtain when I languish-hears my tale of symptoms,.
and blames the weather for the disorder of his nerves. Thou giv'st a
portion of it sometimes to the roughest peasant who traverses the
bleakest mountains-he finds the lacerated lamb of another's flock.-This
moment I beheld him leaning with his head against his crook, with
piteous inclination looking down upon it.-Oh! had I come one moment
sooner!-it bleeds to death-his gentle heart bleeds with it-
Peace to thee, generous swain!-I see thou walkest off with
anguish-but thy joys shall balance it-for happy is thy cottage-and
happy is the sharer of it-and happy are the lambs which sport about
68. The Supper
A SHOE coming loose from the fore foot of the thillhorse, at the
beginning of the ascent of mount Taurira, the postilion dismounted,
twisted the shoe off, and put it in his pocket; as the ascent was of
five or six miles, and that horse our main dependence, I made a point
of having the shoe fasten'd on again, as well as we could; but the
postilion had thrown away the nails, and the hammer in the chaise-box
being of no great use without them, I submitted to go on.
He had not mounted half a mile higher, when coming to a flinty
piece of road, the poor devil lost a second shoe, and from off his
other fore foot. I then got out of the chaise in good earnest; and
seeing a house about a quarter of a mile to the left hand, with a great
deal to do I prevailed upon the postilion to turn up to it. The look of
the house, and of everything about it, as we drew nearer, soon
reconciled me to the disaster.-It was a little farm-house, surrounded
with about twenty acres of vineyard, about as much corn-and close to
the house, on one side, was a potagerie of an acre and a half, full of
everything which could make plenty in a French peasant's house-and on
the other side was a little wood, which furnish'd wherewithal to dress
it. It was about eight in the evening when I got to the house-so I left
the postilion to manage his point as he could-and for mine, I walk'd
directly into the house.
The family consisted of an old gray-headed man and his wife, with
five or six sons and sons-in-law, and their several wives, and a joyous
genealogy out of them.
They were all sitting down together to their lentil soup; a large
wheaten loaf was in the middle of the table; and a flagon of wine at
each end of it, promised joy thro' the stages of the repast-'t was a
feast of love.
The old man rose up to meet me, and with a respectful cordiality
would have me sit down at the table; my heart was sat down the moment I
enter'd the room; so I sat down at once like a son of the family; and
to invest myself in the character as speedily as I could, I instantly
borrowed the old man's knife, and taking up the loaf, cut myself a
hearty luncheon; and as I did it, I saw a testimony in every eye, not
only of an honest welcome, but of a welcome mix'd with thanks that I
had not seem'd to doubt it.
Was it this; or tell me, Nature, what else it was which made this
morsel so sweet-and to what magic I owe it, that the draught I took of
their flagon was so delicious with it, that they remain upon my palate
to this hour?
If the supper was to my taste-the grace which follow'd it was much
69. The Grace
WHEN supper was over, the old man gave a knock upon the table with
the haft of his knife-to bid them prepare for the dance: the moment the
signal was given, the women and girls ran all together into a back
apartment to tie up their hair-and the young men to the door to wash
their faces, and change their sabots; and in three minutes every soul
was ready upon a little esplanade before the house to begin.-The old
man and his wife came out last, and placing me betwixt them, sat down
upon a sofa of turf by the door.
The old man had some fifty years ago been no mean performer upon
the vielle-and, at the age he was then of, touch'd it well enough for
the purpose. His wife sung now and then a little to the tune-then
intermitted-and join'd her old man again as their children and
grandchildren danced before them.
It was not till the middle of the second dance, when from some
pauses in the movement wherein they all seem'd to look up, I fancied I
could distinguish an elevation of spirit different from that which is
the cause or the effect of simple jollity.-In a word, I thought I
beheld Religion mixing in the dance-but as I had never seen her so
engaged, I should have look'd upon it now as one of the illusions of an
imagination which is eternally misleading me, had not the old man, as
soon the dance ended, said that this was their constant way; and that
all his life long he had made it a rule, after supper was over, to call
out his family to dance and rejoice; believing, he said, that a
cheerful and contented mind was the best sort of thanks to heaven that
an illiterate peasant could pay-
-Or a learned prelate either, said I.
70. The Case of Delicacy
WHEN you have gain'd the top of mount Taurira, you run presently
down to Lyons-adieu then to all rapid movements! 'T is a journey of
caution; and it fares better with sentiments, not to be in a hurry with
them; so I contracted with a voiturin to take his time with a couple of
mules, and convey me in my own chaise safe to Turin through Savoy.
Poor, patient, quiet, honest people! fear not: your poverty, the
treasury of your simple virtues, will not be envied you by the world,
nor will your valleys be invaded by it.-Nature! in the midst of thy
disorders, thou art still friendly to the scantiness thou hast
created-with all thy great works about thee, little hast thou left to
give, either to the scythe or to the sickle-but to that little thou
grantest safety and protection; and sweet are the dwellings which stand
Let the wayworn traveler vent his complaints upon the sudden turns
and dangers of your roads-your rocks-your precipices-the difficulties
of getting up-the horrors of getting down-mountains impracticable-and
cataracts, which roll down great stones from their summits, and block
his road up.-The peasants had been all day at work in removing a
fragment of this kind between St. Michael and Madane; and by the time
my voiturin got to the place, it wanted full two hours of completing
before a passage could any how be gain'd: there was nothing but to wait
with patience-'t was a wet and tempestuous night: so that by the delay,
and that together, the voiturin found himself obliged to take up five
miles short of his stage at a little decent kind of an inn by the
I forthwith took possession of my bedchamber-got a good
fire-order'd supper; and was thanking heaven it was no worse-when a
voiture arrived with a lady in it and her servant-maid.
As there was no other bedchamber in the house, the hostess, without
much nicety, led them into mine, telling them, as she usher'd them in,
that there was nobody in it but an English gentleman-that there were
two good beds in it, and a closet within the room which held
another.-The accent in which she spoke of this third bed did not say
much for it-however, she said there were three beds, and but three
people-and she durst say, the gentleman would do anything to
accommodate matters.-I left not the lady a moment to make a conjecture
about it-so instantly made a declaration I would do anything in my
As this did not amount to an absolute surrender of my bedchamber, I
still felt myself so much the proprietor, as to have a right to do the
honors of it-so I desired the lady to sit down-pressed her into the
warmest seat-call'd for more wood-desir'd the hostess to enlarge the
plan of the supper, and to favor us with the very best wine.
The lady had scarce warm'd herself five minutes at the fire before
she began to turn her head back, and give a look at the beds; and the
oftener she cast her eyes that way, the more they return'd perplex'd.-I
felt for her-and for myself; for in a few minutes, what by her looks,
and the case itself, I found myself as much embarrassed as it was
possible the lady could be herself.
That the beds we were to lay in were in one and the same room, was
enough simply by itself to have excited all this-but the position of
them, for they stood parallel, and so very close to each other, as only
to allow space for a small wicker chair betwixt them, render'd the
affair still more oppressive to us-they were fixed up moreover near the
fire, and the projection of the chimney on one side, and a large beam
which cross'd the room on the other, form'd a kind of recess for them
that was no way favorable to the nicety of our sensations-if anything
could have added to it, it was that the two beds were both of 'em so
very small as to cut us off from every idea of the lady and the maid
lying together; which in either of them, could it have been feasible,
my lying besides them, tho' a thing not to be wish'd, yet there was
nothing in it so terrible which the imagination might not have pass'd
over without torment.
As for the little room within, it offer'd little or no consolation
to us; 't was a damp cold closet, with a half-dismantled
window-shutter, and with a window which had neither glass or oil paper
in it to keep out the tempest of the night. I did not endeavor to
stifle my cough when the lady gave a peep into it; so it reduced the
case in course to this alternative-that the lady should sacrifice her
health to her feelings, and take up with the closet herself, and
abandon the bed next mine to her maid-or that the girl should take the
The lady was a Piedmontese of about thirty, with a glow of health
in her cheeks.-The maid was a Lyonnoise of twenty, and as brisk and
lively a French girl as ever moved.-There were difficulties every
way-and the obstacle of the stone in the road, which brought us into
the distress, great as it appeared whilst the peasants were removing
it, was but a pebble to what lay in our ways now.-I have only to add,
that it did not lessen the weight which hung upon our spirits, that we
were both too delicate to communicate what we felt to each other upon
We sat down to supper; and had we not had more generous wine to it
than a little inn in Savoy could have furnish'd, our tongues had been
tied up, till necessity herself had set them at liberty-but the lady
having a few bottles of Burgundy in her voiture, sent down her Fille de
Chambre for a couple of them; so that by the time supper was over. and
we were left alone, we felt ourselves inspired with a strength of mind
sufficient to talk, at least, without reserve upon our situation. We
turn'd it every way, and debated and considered it in all kind of
lights in the course of a two hours' negotiation; at the end of which
the articles were settled finally betwixt us, and stipulated for in
form and manner of a treaty of peace-and I believe with as much
religion and good faith on both sides, as in any treaty which has yet
had the honor of being handed down to posterity.
They were as follows: First. As the right of the bedchamber is in
Monsieur-and he thinking the bed next to the fire to be the warmest, he
insists upon the concession on the lady's side of taking up with it.
Granted, on the part of Madame; with a proviso, that as the
curtains of that bed are of a flimsy transparent cotton. and appear
likewise too scanty to draw close, that the Fille de Chambre shall
fasten up the opening, either by corkingpins, or needle and thread, in
such manner as shall be deem'd a sufficient barrier on the side of
2dly. It is required on the part of Madame, that Monsieur shall lay
the whole night through in his robe de chambre.
Rejected: inasmuch as Monsieur is not worth a robe de chambre; he
having nothing in his portmanteau but six shirts and a black silk pair
The mentioning the silk pair of breeches made an entire change of
the article-for the breeches were accepted as an equivalent for the
robe de chambre; and so it was stipulated and agreed upon, that I
should lay in my black silk breeches all night.
3dly. It was insisted upon, and stipulated for by the lady, that
after Monsieur was got to bed, and the candle and fire extinguished,
that Monsieur should not speak one single word the whole night.
Granted; provided Monsieur's saying his prayers might not be deem'd
an infraction of the treaty.
There was but one point forgot in this treaty, and that was the
manner in which the lady and myself should be obliged to undress and
get to bed-there was but one way of doing it, and that I leave to the
reader to devise; protesting as I do, that if it is not the most
delicate in nature, 't is the fault of his own imagination-against
which this is not my first complaint.
Now when we were got to bed, whether it was the novelty of the
situation, or what it was, I know not; but so it was, I could not shut
my eyes; I tired this side and that, and turn'd and turn'd again, till
a full hour after midnight; when Nature and patience both wearing out-O
my God! said I-You have broke the treaty, Monsieur, said the lady, who
had no more slept than myself.-I begg'd a thousand pardons-but insisted
it was no more than an ejaculation-she maintain'd 't was an entire
infraction of the treaty-I maintain'd it was provided for in the clause
of the third article.
The lady would by no means give up her point, tho' she weaken'd her
barrier by it; for in the warmth of the dispute, I could hear two or
three corking-pins fall out of the curtain to the ground.
Upon my word and honor, Madame, said I-stretching my arm out of bed
by way of asseveration-
-(I was going to have added, that I would not have trespass'd
against the remotest idea of decorum for the world)-
-But the Fille de Chambre hearing there were words between us, and
fearing that hostilities would ensue in course, had crept silently out
of her closet, and it being totally dark, had stolen so close to our
beds, that she had got herself into. the narrow passage which separated
them, and had advanc'd so far up as to be in a line betwixt her
mistress and me-
So that when I stretch'd out my hand, I caught hold of the Fille de