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ing 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 postillion 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 every thing which could make plenty in a French peasant's house;-and, on the other side, was a little wood, which furnished wherewithal to dress it. It was about eight in the evening when I got to the house,—so I left the postillion to manage his point as he could ; and, for mine, I walk'd directly into the house.
The family consisted of an old grey-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 lentilsoup; a large wheaten loaf was in the middle of the table; and a flagon of wine at each end of it promised joy through the stages of the repast :-'twas a feast of love.
The old man rose up to meet me, and, with respectful cordiality, would have me sit down at the table : my heart was set 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 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 that 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 fol. lowed it was much more so.
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 altogether 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 at 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 grand-children danced before them.
It was not till the middle of the second dance, when, for 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 as 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.
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 !-'tis 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 so shelter'd.
Let the way-worn traveller 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 up his road! 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;—'twas a wet and tempestuous night; so that, by the delay and that together, the voiturin found himself obliged to put up five miles short of his stage, at a little decent kind of an inn by the road-side.
I forth with took possession of my bedchamber, got a good fire, order'd supper, and was thanking Heaven it was no worse,—when a voiturin arrived with a lady in it, and her servant-maid.
As there was no other bed-chamber 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 any thing to accommodate matters. I left not the lady a moment to make a conjecture about it, so instantly made a declaration that I would do any thing in my power.
As this did not amount to an absolute surrender of my bed-chamber, I still felt myself so much the pro
prietor, as to have a right to do the honours of it;-so I desired the lady to sit down, pressed her into the warmest seat, call’d for more wood, desired the hostess to enlarge the plan of the supper, and to favour us with the very best wine.
The lady had scarce warmed herself five minutes at the fire, before she began to turn her head back, and to 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 lie 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 a space for a small wicker-chair betwixt them) rendered 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 favourable to the nicety of our sensations :- if anything could have added to it, it was that the two beds were both of them 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 beside them, though 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: 'twas a damp, cold closet, with a half-dismantled window-shutter, and with a window