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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 from the combat; 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
pen I cast down, then offered to hold the ink; she offer'd it so sweetly I was going to accept it, but I
I have nothing, my dear, said I, to write upon. .... Write it, said she, simply, upon any thing.
I was just going to cry out, then I will write it, fair girl, upon thy lips !
If I do, said I, I shall perish; so I took her by the hand, and led her to the door, and begged she would not forget the lesson I had given her..... She said, indeed she would not, and, as she uttered it with some earnestness, she turned about, and gave me both her hands, closed together, into mine; - it was impossible not to compress them in that situation; - I wished 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 asked 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 pulled 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 bad broke out in the gathers of my stock; the fair fille de chambre, without saying a word, took out her little housewife, threaded a small needle, and sewed it up. I foresaw it would hazard the glory of the day, and, as she passed her hand in silence across and across my neck in the maneuvre, I felt the laurels shake which fancy had wreathed 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, from my soul, but fasten the buckle in return; and, putting
and, lifting up the other foot with it, when I had done, to see both were right, in doing it 80 suddenly, it unavoidably threw the fair fille de chambre off her centre,
in the strap,
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 finished my address, I raised the fair fille de chambre up by the hand, and led her out of the
she stood by me till I locked the door and put the key in my pocket, – and then, — the victory being quite decisive, — and not till then, I pressed my lips to her cheek, and, taking her by the hand again, led her safe to the gate of the hotel.
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 called forth my affections; therefore, when I let go the hand of the fille de chambre, I remained at the gate of the hotel for some time, looking at every one who passed by, and forming conjectures upon them, till my attention got fixed upon a single object which confounded all kind of reasoning upon him.
It was a tall figure, of a philosophic, serious adust look, which passed and repassed sedately along the street, making a turn of about sixty paces on each side of the gate of the hotel. The man was about fiftytwo, had a small cane under his arm, was dressed in a dark drab-coloured coat, waistcoat, and breeches, which seemed 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 sous or two out of my pocket ready to give him, as he took me in his turn. He passed by me without asking any thing, -and yet did not go five steps farther before he asked 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 pulled his hat off to another who was coming the same way.
An ancient gentleman came slowly, and, after him, a young smart one. Не let them both pass, and asked 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 plan,
There were two things very singular in this, which set my brain to work, and to no purpose; 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 softened the hearts of the women,
which he knew 'twas to no purpose to practise upon the men.
There were two other circumstances, which en
the first was, he told every
tangled this mystery:
the one was, 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 stopped a woman but she pulled out her purse, and immediately gave him something.
I could form no system to explain the pheno
I had got a riddle to amuse me for the rest of the evening; so I walked up stairs to my chamber.
THE CASE OF CONSCIENCE.
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 answered, I had a young woman locked up with me two hours that evening in my bedchamber, and 'twas against the rules of his house. . . Very well, said I, we'll all part friends, then, - for the girl
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 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 at breakfast.
.... I should not have minded, Monsieur, said he,