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The Gift.

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 Mons. 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.



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 stop'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 into his hand-Tis most excellent, said the monk; then do me the favour, 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.

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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 analyse-Excuse me, Madame, replied I---I treated him most unkindly; and from no provocations---'Tis 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 offence 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, 'twas too late to say whether it was the weakness or goodness of our tempers which had involved us in this contest ---but be it as it would---he begged we might exchange boxes---In saying this, he presented his

Death of Father Lorenzo.

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 leave.

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 called 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 abandoned the sword and the sex together, and took sanctuary, not so much in his convent as in himself.

I feel a damp upon my spirits, as I am going to add, that in my last return through Calais, upon enquiring after Father Lorenzo, I heard he had been dead near three months, and was buried, not in his convent, but, according to his desire,

*The author of the Tales of the Genii relates that the sultan had a ring which pressed his finger, upon a sudden gust of passion, or on any inclination to quit the path of rectitude. This kind of talisman conscience would certainly be of the most important use, and in this instance our author has made use of it, without calling in supernatural agency.

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