Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

speare was laid upon the table, and he was gaily ;-you are not come to spy the nakedness tumbling them over. I walked up close to the of the land ;-I believe you; ni encore, I dare table, and giving first such a look at the books say, that of our women: but permit me to conas to make him conceive I knew what they jecture, if, par hazard, they fell into your way, were, I told him I had come without any one that the prospect would not affect you. to present me, knowing I should meet with a I have something within me which cannot friend in his apartment, who, I trusted, would bear the shock of the least indecent insinuation: do it for me. It is my countryman the great in the sportability of chit-chat I have often Shakespeare, said I, pointing to his works, et endeavoured to conquer it, and with infinite ayez la bonté, mon cher ami, apostrophizing his pain have hazarded a thousand things to a spirit, added I, de me faire cet honneur-la.— dozen of the sex together,—the least of which I

The Count smiled at the singularity of the could not venture to a single one to gain introduction; and, seeing I looked a little pale heaven. and sickly, insisted upon my taking an arm- Excuse me, Monsieur le Count, said I: as for chair. So I sat down ; and, to save him conjec. | the nakedness of your land, if I saw it, I should tures upon a visit so out of all rule, I told him cast my eyes over it with tears in them ;-and simply of the incident in the bookseller's shop, for that of your women (blushing at the idea he and how that had impelled me rather to go to had excited in me), I am so evangelical in this, him with the story of a little embarrassment I and have such a fellow-feeling for whatever is was under, than to any other man in France. ucak about them, that I would cover it with a

And what is your embarrassment ? let me garment, if I knew how to throw it on; but I hear it, said the Count. . . . So I told him the could wish, continued I, to spy the nakedness of story just as I have told it the reader.

their hearts, and, through the different disguises And the master of my hotel, said I, as I of customs, climates, and religion, find out .concluded it, will needs have it, Monsieur le what is good in them to fashion my own by ;Count, that I should be sent to the Bastile ; and therefore am I come. but I have no apprehensions, continued I,-for, It is for this reason, Monsieur le Count, in falling into the hands of the most polished continued I, that I have not seen the Palais people in the world, and being conscious I was Royal, nor the Luxembourg, nor the Façade oi a true man, and not come to spy the nakedness the Louvre, nor have attempted to swell the of the land, I scarce thought I lay at their catalogues we have of pictures, statues, and mercy.-It does not suit the gallantry of the churches.-I conceive every fair being as a French, Monsieur le Count, said I, to show it temple, and would rather enter in, and see the against invalids.

original drawings and loose sketches hung up An animated blush came into the Count de in it, than the Transfiguration of Raphael itself. B-'s cheeks as I spoke this–Ne craignez rien The thirst of this, continued I, as impatient -Don't fear, said he. Indeed I don't, as that which inflames the breast of the conreplied I again.-Besides, continued I, a little noisseur, has led me from my own home into sportingly, I have come laughing all the way France, and from France will lead me through from London to Paris; and I do not think Italy ;-'tis a quiet journey of the heart in Monsieur le Duc de Choiseul is such an enemy pursuit of Nature, and those affections which to mirth as to send me back crying for my arise out of her, which make us love each other pains.

--and the world, better than we do. - My application to you, Monsieur le Count The Count said a great many civil things to de B- (making him a low bow), is to desire me upon the occasion; and added, very politely, he will not.

how much he stood obliged to Shakespeare for The Count heard me with great good-nature, making me known to him.- -But, apropos, or I had not said half as much,-and once or said he, --Shakespeare is full of great things, – twice said, C'est bien dit. So I rested my he forgot the small punctilio of announcing cause there, and determined to say no more your name ;-it puts you under a necessity of about it.

doing it yourself. The Count led the discourse : we talked of indifferent things,-of books, and politics, and men; and then of women.- -God bless them

THE PASSPORT. 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 THERE is not a more perplexing affair in life to seen, and all the satires I have read against me than to set about telling any one who I am, them, still I love them; being firmly persuaded-for there is scarce anybody I cannot give a that a man who has not a sort of an affection better account of than niyself; and I have for the whole sex is incapable of ever loving a often wished I could do it in a single word, -single one as he ought.

and have an end of it. It was the only time Heh bien! Monsieur l'Anglois, said the Count and occasion in my life I could accomplish this

VERSAILLES.

to any purpose ; for Shakespeare lying upon the days, had I not trod so great a part of them table, and recollecting I was in his books, I upon this enchanted ground. When my way took up Hamlet, and turning immediately to is too rough for my feet, or too steep for my the grave-digger's scene in the fifth act, I laid strength, I get off it, to some smooth velvet my finger upon Yorick; and, advancing the path which fancy has scatter'd over with rosebook to the Count, with my finger all the way buds of delights; and, having taken a few turns. over the name,-Me voici/ said I.

in it, come back strengthen’d and refresh'd. Now, whether the idea of poor Yorick's skull When evils press sore upon me, and there is no was put out of the Count's mind by the reality retreat from them in this world, then I take a of my own, or by what magic he could drop a new course;- I leave it, -and as I have a clearer period of seven or eight hundred years, makes idea of the Elysian Fields than I have of heaven, nothing in this account; 'tis certain, the French | I force myself, like Æneas, into them :- I see conceive better than they combine. I wonder him meet the pensive shade of his forsaken at nothing in this world, and the less at this; Dido, and wish to recognise it :- I see the ininasmuch as one of the first of our own church, jured spirit wave her head, and turn off silent for whose candour and paternal sentiments I from the author of her miseries and dishonours; have the highest veneration, fell into the same - I loose the feelings for myself in hers, and in mistake in the very same case :- -He could not those affections which were wont to make me bear,' he said, 'to look into sermons wrote by mourn for her when I was at school. the King of Denmark's jester.'. .. Good, my Surely, this is not walking in a vain shadow, Lord! said I; but there are two Yoricks. The nor does man disquiet himself in vain by it :-he Yorick your Lordship thinks of has been dead oftener does so in trusting the issue of his comand buried eight hundred years ago : he motions to reason only.-I can safely say, for flourished in Horwendillus' Court ;--the other myself, I was never able to conquer any one Yorick is myself, who have flourish'd, my Lord, single bad sensation in my heart so decisively in no Court. —He shook his head. . . . Good as by beating up as fast as I could for some God! said I, you might as well confound Alex- kindly and gentle sensation to fight it upon its ander the Great with Alexander the copper- own ground. smith, my Lord!... 'Twas all one, he replied. When I had got to the end of the third act,

... If Alexander, King of Macedon, could the Count de B**** entered with my passport have translated your Lordship, said I, I'm sure in his hand. Mons. le Duc de C-, said the your Lordship would not have said so.

Count, is as good a prophet, I daresay, as he is The poor Count de B**** fell but into the a statesman. -Un homme qui rit, said the same crror.

Duke, ne sera jamais dangereux. Had it Et, monsieur, est il Yorick ? cried the been for any one but the King's jester, added Count. . . . Je le suis, said I. ... Vous?...the Count, I could not have got it these two Moi-moi qui ai l'honneur de rous parler, hours. . . . Pardonnez moi, Mons. le Count, Monsieur le Comte. ... Mon Dieu ! said he, said I, I am not the King's jester. . . . But embracing me,-Vous êtes Yorick ?

you are Yorick?... Yes. . . . Et vous plaisThe Count instantly put the Shakespeare into antez?... I answered, Indeed I did jest, but his pocket, and left me alone in his room. was not paid for it ;-'twas entirely at my own

expense.

We have no jester at Court, Mons. le Count, THE PASSPORT.

said I; the last we had was in the licentious

reign of Charles II. ; since which time our VERSAILLES.

manners have been so gradully refining that I COULD not conceive why the Count de B**** our Court at present is so full of patriots, who had gone so abruptly out of the room, any wish for nothing but the honours and wealth of more than I could conceive why he had put our country;--and our ladies are all so chaste, the Shakespeare into his pocket. - Mysteries, so spotless, so good, so devout-there is nothing which must explain themselres, are not worth for a jester to make a jest of. the loss of time which a conjecture about them Voila un pcrsiflage ! cried the Count. takes up ; 'twas better to read Shakspeare; so, taking up “Much ado about nothing,' I transported myself instantly from the chair I sat

THE PASSPORT. in to Messina in Sicily, and got so busy with

VERSAILLES. Don Pedro, and Benedict, and Beatrice, that I thought not of Versailles, the Count, or the As the passport was directed to all lieutenantpassport.

governors, governors, and commandants of cities, Sweet pliability of man's spirit, that can at generals of armies, justiciaries, and all officers once surrender itself to illusions which cheat of justices, to let Mr. Yorick, the King's jester, expectation and sorrow of their weary moments! and his baggage, travel quietly along-I own -Long, -long since had ye number'd out my the triumph of obtaining the passport was not a little tarnish'd by the figure I cut in it. But its debtor; and besides, Urbanity itself, like there is nothing unmix'd in this world ; and the fair sex, has so many charms, it goes against some of the gravest of our divines have carried the heart to say it can do ill; and yet I believe it so far as to affirm that enjoyment itself was there is but a certain line of perfection that attended even with a sigh, and that the greatest man, take him altogether, is empower'd to chey knew of terminated, in a general way, in arrive at;-if he gets beyond, he rather exlittle better than a convulsion.

changes qualities than gets them. I must not I remember the grave and learned Bevoris-presume to say how far this has affected the kius, in his Commentary upon the Generations French in the subject we are speaking of ;--but from Adam, very naturally breaks off in the should it ever be the case of the English, in the middle of a note, to give an account to the progress of their refinements, to arrive at the world of a couple of sparrows upon the out- same polish which distinguishes the French, if edge of his window, which had incommoded we did not lose the politesse du cour, which him all the time he wrote, and at last had inclines men more to humane actions than entirely taken him off from his genealogy. courteous ones—we should at least lose that

.. 'Tis strange ! writes Bevoriskius, but the distinct variety and originality of character facts are certain : for I have had the curiosity which distinguishes them not only from each to mark them down, one by one, with my pen; other, but from all the world besides. --but the cock-sparrow, during the little time I had a few of King William's shillings, as that I could have finished the other half of this smooth as glass, in my pocket, and, foreseeing note, has actually interrupted me with the re- they would be of use in the illustration of my iteration of his carosses three-and-twenty times hypothesis, I had got them into my hand, when and a half.

I had proceeded so far: How merciful, adds Bevoriskius, is Heaven to See, Mons. le Count, said I, rising up, and his creatures !

laying them before him upon the table,-by Ill-fated Yorick! that the gravest of thy jingling and rubbing one against another for brethren should be able to write that to the seventy years together, in one body's pocket world which stains thy face with crimson to or another's, they are become so much alike .copy, even in thy study.

you can scarce distinguish one shilling from But this is nothing to my travels ;-50 I twice another. --twice beg pardon for it.

The English, like ancient medals, kept more apart, and passing but few people's hands, pre

serve the first sharpness which the fine hand CHARACTER,

of Nature has given them ;-they are not so

pleasant to feel-but, in return, the legend is VERSAILLES.

so visible, that at the first look you see whose AND how do you find the French? said the image and superscription they bear. But the Count de B- after he had given me the French, Mons. le Count, added I (wishing to passport.

soften what I had said), have so many excelThe reader may suppose that, after so obliging lences, they can the better spare this ;—they a proof of courtesy, I could not be at a loss to are a loyal, a gallant, a generous, an ingenious, say something handsome to the inquiry.

and a good-temper'd people as is under heaven; ... Mais passe, pour cela.- Speak frankly, -if they have a fault, they are too serious. said he: do you find all the urbanity in the Mon Dieu ! cried the Count, rising out of his French which the world give us the honour of? chair. ... I had found everything, I said, which con- Mais vous plaisantez, said he, correcting his firmed it. ... Vraiment, said the Count, les exclamation. ... I laid my hand upon my François sont polis. ... To an excess, replied I. breast, and with carnest gravity assured him

The Count took notice of the word excesse, it was my most settled opinion. and would have it, I meant more than I said.

The Count said he was mortified,-he I defended myself a long time, as well as I could not stay to hear my reasons, being encould, against it;-he insisted I had a reserve, gaged to go that moment to dine with the Duo and that I would speak my opinion frankly. de C

I believe, Mons. le Count, said I, that man But, if it is not too far to come to Versailles, has a certain compass, as well as an instrument; to eat your soup with me, I beg, before you leave and that the social and other calls have occasion, France, I may have the pleasure of knowing you by turns, for every key in him ; so that, if you retiact your opinion-or in what manner you begin a note too high or too low, there must be support it.—But if you do support it, Mons. want either in the upper or under part, to fill Anglois, said he, you must do it with all your up the system of harmony. ... The Count de powers, because you have the whole world B— did not understand music; so desired me against you.— I promised the Count I would to explain it some other way. ... A polish'd do myself the honour of dining with him before nation, my dear Count, said I, makes every one I set out for Italy :-so took my leave.

begged she would not forget the lesson I had THE TEMPTATION.

given her. . . . She said, indeed she would not,

and, as she uttered it with some earnestness, PARIS.

she turned about, and gave me both her hands WHEN I alighted at the hotel, the porter told closed together into mine. It was impossible me a young woman with a band-box had been not to compress them in that situation ;-1 that moment inquiring for me. ... I do not wished to let them go; and, all the time I held know, said the porter, whether she is gone them, I kept arguing within myself against it, away or not.

-- I took the key of my chamber / -and still I held them on.-In two minutes I of him, and went up-stairs; and when I had found I had all the battle to fight over again ;got within ten steps of the top of the landing and I felt my legs and every limb about me before my door, I met her coming easily down. tremble at the idea.

It was the fair fille de chambre I had walked The foot of the bed was within a yard and a along the Quai de Conti with : Madame de half of the place where we were standing. I R**** had sent her upon some commission to a had still hold of her hands (and how it hapmarchante des modes within a step or two of the pened, I can give no account); but I neither Hotel de Modene; and, as I had fail'd in wait- asked her, nor did I think of the bed ;-but so ing upon her, had bid her inquire if I had left it did happen, we both sat down. Paris, and if so, whether I had not left a letter I'll just show you, said the fair fille de chambre, addressed to her.

the little purse I have been making to-day to As the fair fille de chambre was so near my hold your crown. So she put her hand into her door, she returned back, and went into the room right pocket, which was next me, and felt for it with me for a moment or two, whilst I wrote a some time; then into the left.- - She had lost card.

it.'-I never bore expectation more quietly. It was a fine still evening in the latter end of -It was in her right pocket at last. She pulled the month of May,—the crimson window-cur- | it out;—it was of a green taffeta, lined with a tains (which were of the same colour as those of little bit of white quilted satin, and just big the bed) were drawn close,-the sun was setting, enough to hold the crown. She put it into my and reflected through them so warm a tint into hand; it was pretty; and I held it ten minutes, the fair fil de chambre's face,-I thought she with the back of my hand resting upon her lap, blush'd ;-the idea of it made me blush myself ; | looking sometimes at the purse, sometimes on -we were quite alone, and that superinduced a one side of it. second blush before the first could get off.

A stitch or two had broke out in the gathers There is a sort of a pleasing half-guilty blush, of my stock; the fair fille de chambre, without where the blood is more in fault than the man; saying a word, took out her little house-wife, —'tis sent impetuous from the heart, and virtue threaded a small needle, and scwed it up. I flies after it,--not to call it back, but to make foresaw it would 'hazard the glory of the day, the sensation of it more delicious to the nerves; and, as she passed her hand in silence across --'tis associated—But I'll not describe it ;-1 and across my neck in the manoeuvre, I felt the felt something at first within me which was laurels shake which fancy had wreathed about not in strict unison with the lesson of virtue I my head. had given her the night before ;-I sought five A strap had given way in her walk, and the minutes for a card; I knew I had not one. I buckle of her shoe was just falling off. took up a pen, --I laid it down again,--my hand See, said the fille de chambre, holding up her trembled :-the Devil was in me.

foot. I could not, from my soul, but fasten I know as well as any one he is an adversary the buckle in return; and, putting in the strap, whom if we resist he will fly from us; but I and lifting up the other foot with it, when I seldom resist him at all, from a terror that, had done, to see both were right, in doing it so though I may conquer, I may still get a hurt in suddenly, it unavoidably threw the fair fille de the combat ;--so I give up the triumph for chambre off her centre, -and thensecurity; and, instead of thinking to make him fly, I generally fly myself.

THE CONQUEST. The fair fille de chambre came close up to the bureau, where I was looking for a card, -took Yes,--and then-Ye, whose clay-cold heads up first the pen I cast down, then offered to hold and lukewarm hearts can argue down or mask the ink; she offer'd it so sweetly I was going to your passions, tell me, what trespass is it that accept it, but I durst not;-I have nothing, man should have them ? or how his spirit stands my dear, said I, to write upon. ... Write it, answerable to the Father of spirits but for his said she simply, upon anything.

conduct under them? -I was just going to cry out, Then I will If Nature has so wove her web of kindness write it, fair girl, upon thy lips !

that some threads of love and desire are en-If I do, said I,-I shall perish ; so I took tangled with the piece, must the whole web her by the hand, and led her to the door, and be rent in drawing them out?-Whip me such stoics, great Governor of Nature! said I to of story it was, and what species of eloquence myself :-wherever thy providence shall place it could be, which softened the hearts of the me for the trials of my virtue,-whatever is my women, which he knew 'twas to no purpose to danger,-whatever is my situation, - let me feel practise upon the men. the movements which rise out of it, and which There were two other circumstances which belong to me as a man,-and, if I govern them entangled this mystery :--the one was, he told as a good one, I will trust the issues to thy every woman what he had to say in her ear, justice; for thou hast made us, and not we and in a way which had much more the air of a ourselves.

sccret than a petition :-the other was, it was As I finished my address, I raised the fair fille always successful;—he never stopped a woman de chambre up by the hand, and led her out of but she puiled out her purse, and immediately the room. She stood by me till I locked the gave him something. door and put the key in my pocket;-and then, I could form no system to explain the pheno-the victory being quite decisive,-and not till then, I pressed my lips to her cheek, and, taking I had got a riddle to amuse me for the rest her by the hand again, led her safe to the gate of the evening; so I walked up-stairs to my of the hotel.

chamber.

menon.

THE CASE OF COXSCIENCE.

THE MYSTERY.

PARIS.

PARIS.

I was immediately followed up by the master Ir a man knows the heart, he will know it was of the hotel, who came into my room to tell me impossible to go back instantly to my chamber; | I must provide lodgings elsewhere. ... How -it was touching a cold key with a flat third to so, friend? said I. . . . He answered, I had a it, upon the close of a piece of music, which had

young woman locked up with me two hours that called forth my affections; therefore, when I let evening in my bedchamber, and 'twas against go the hand of the fille de chambre, I remained the rules of his house. . . . Very well, said I, at the gate of the hotel for some time, looking we'll all part friends then; for the girl is no at every one who passed by, and forming con- worse,--and I am no worse,--and you will be jectures upon them, till my attention got fixed just as I found you.--It was enough, he said, to upon a single object which confounded all kind overthrow the credit of his hotel. ---Voyez vous, of reasoning upon him.

monsicur, said he, pointing to the foot of the It was a tall figure, of a philosophic, serious, bed we had been sitting upon. - I own it had adust look, which passed and repassed sedately something of the appearance of an evidence ; along the street, making a turn of about sixty but my pride not suffering me to enter into paces on each side of the gate of the hotel.—The detail of the case, I exhorted him to let his soul man was about fifty-two, had a small cane under sleep in peace, as I resolved to let mine do that his arm, was dressed in a dark drab-coloured night, and that I would discharge what I owed coat, waiscoat, and breeches, which seemed to him at breakfast. . . have seen some years' service ;---they were still I should not have minded, monsieur, said he, clean, and there was a little air of frugal pro- if you had had twenty girls. . . . 'Tis a score preté throughout him. By his pulling off his more, replied I, interrupting him, than I ever hat, and his attitude of accosting a good many reckoned upon. . . Provided, added he, it in his way, I saw he was asking charity; so I had been but in a morning. . . And does the got a sous or two out of my pocket ready to give difference of the time of the day at Paris make him, as he took me in his turn. He passed by a difference in the sin?... It made a differ. me without asking anything, -and yet did not ence, he said, in the scandal. ---I like a good go five steps farther before he asked charity of a distinction in my heart; and cannot say I was little woman.-I was much more likely to have intolerably out of temper with the man. given of the two. He had scarce done with the I own it necessary, resumed the master of the woman, when he pulled his hat off to another hotel, that a stranger at Paris should have the who was coming the same way. An ancient opportunities presented to him of buying lace gentleman came slowly, and after him, a young and silk stockings, and rutlles, et tout cela ;smart one. He let them both pass, and asked and 'tis nothing if a woman comes with a bandnothing. I stood observing him half an hour, box. . . . Omy conscience, said I, she had one; in which time he had made a dozen turns back but I never looked into it. ... Then monwards and forwards, and found that he invari-sieur, said he, has bought nothing?... Not one ably pursued the same plan.

earthly thing, replied I. . . . Because, said he, There were two things very singular in this, I could recommend you to one who would use which set my brain to work, and to no purpose; you en conscience. ... But I must see her this -the first was, why the man should only tell night, said I.—He made me a low bow, and his story to the sex ;-and secondly, what kind walked down.

« ПредишнаНапред »