Abbildungen der Seite



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

if you had had twenty girls. .

'Tis a score more, replied I, interrupting him, than I ever reckoned 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 necessary, resumed the master of the hotel, that a stranger at Paris should have opportunities presented to him of buying lace, and silk stockings, and ruffles, et tout cela; and 'tis nothing if a woman comes with a band box. ....

O' my conscience, said I, she had one; but I never looked into it.

Then, Monsieur, said he, has bought nothing? . Not one earthly thing, replied I. .. .. Because, said he, I could recommend you to one who would use you en conscience.

But I must see her this night, said I. He made ine a low bow, and walked down.

Now shall I triumph over this maître d'hôtel, cried 1; ---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 of principle in my project, and I was sick of it before the execution.

In a few minutes the grisette came in with her box of lace. — I will buy nothing, however, said I, within

. myself.

The grisette would shew me every thing. hard to please; she would not seem to see it. She opened her little magazine, and laid all her laces, one after another, before me; unfolded and folded them up

- I was

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


again, one by one, with the most patient sweetness. I might buy, or not; she would let me have every thing at my own price: the poor creature seemed anxious to get a penny; and laid herself out to win and not so much in a manner which seemed 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 a 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.

[ocr errors]



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 lie 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;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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 entered it.

C'est deroger 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 (par hazard) 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 any thing to have got to the bottom of it; and that not out of curiosity, -- 'tis so low a principle of enquiry, in general, I would not purchase the gratification of it with a two-sous piece; – but a secret, I thought, which so soon and so certainly softened 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 tossed and turned it almost all night long in my brains, to no manner of purpose; and when I awoke in the morning, I found my spirits 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 interpretation.



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 arrayed I scarcely knew

Ι him.

I had covenanted 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 it.

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 wished him hanged for telling me. - - They looked so fresh that though I knew 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 'twas clean scoured, the gold had been touched up, end, upon the whole, was rather showy than otherwise;

[ocr errors]

and as the blue was not violent, it suited with the coat and breeches very well: be had squeezed 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 sous.

He entered the room thus set off, with his hair drest in the first style, and with a handsome bouquet in his breast. In a word, there was that look of festivity in every thing about him, which at once put me in mind it was Sunday – and, by combining both together, it instantly struck me that the favour he wished to ask of me, the night before, was to spend the day as every body in Paris spent it besides. "I had scarce made the conjecture, when La Fleur, with infinite hu mility, but with a look of trust, as if I should not refuse him, begged I would grant him the day, pour faire le gallant 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 retained the remise on purpose for it, and it would not have mortified my vanity to have had servant su well dressed as La Fleur was, to have got up behind it: I never could have worse spared him.

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 task-masters; – no doubt, they have set their


« ZurückWeiter »