Abbildungen der Seite

design, for 'twas neither elegant nor otherwise but as character and expression made it so: it was a thin spare form, something above the common size, if it lost not the distinction by a bend forward in the figure but it was the attitude of Intreaty; and, as it now stands presented to my imagination, it gained more than it lost by it. When he had entered the room three


he stood still; and laying his left hand upon his breast (a slender white staff with which he journeyed being in his right) - when I had got close up to him, he introduced himself with the little story of the wants of his convent, and the poverty of his order; - and did it with so simple a grace,

and such an air of deprecation was there in the whole cast of his look and figure I was bewitch'd not to have been struck with it.

A better reason was, I had predetermined not to give him a single sous.

[ocr errors]



'Tis very true, said I, replying to a cast upwards with his eyes, with which he had concluded his address: 'tis very true, and Heaven be their resource who have no other but the charity of the world! the stock of which, I fear, is no way sufficient for the many great claims which are hourly made

upon it.

As I pronounced the words great claims, he gave a slight glance with his eye downwards upon the sleeve of his tunic. I felt the full force of the appeal.

are no

I acknowledge it, said I: a coarse habit, and that but once in three years, with meagre diet, great matters; and the true point of pity is, as they can be earn’d in the world with so little industry, that your order should wish to procure them by pressing upon a fund which is the property of the lame, the blind, the aged, and the infirm! - the captive, who lies down counting over and over again the days of his afflictions, languishes also for his share of it; and had you been of the Order of Mercy, instead of the order of St. Francis, poor as I am, continued I, pointing to my portmanteau, full cherfully should it have been opened to you, for the ransom of the unfortunate.

The monk made me a bow. But of all others, resum'd I, the unfortunate of our own country, surely, have the first rights: and I have left thousands in distress upon our own shore. The monk gave a cordial wave with his head as much as to say, No doubt, there is misery enough in every corner of the world, as well as within our convent.

But we distinguish, said I, laying my hand upon the sleeve of his tunic in return for his appeal, we distinguish, my good father, betwixt those who wish only to eat the bread of their own labour and those who eat the bread of other people's, and have no other plan in life but to get through it in sloth and ignorance for the love of God.

The poor Franciscan made no reply: a hectic of a moment pass'd across his cheek, but could not tarry:

Nature seemed to have had done with her resentments in him; he showed none: but letting his staff fall within his arm, he press'd both his hands with resignation upon his breast, and retired.

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



My heart smote me the moment he shut the door.
Psha! said I, with an air of carelessness,

three se veral times, – but it would not do; every ungracious syllable I had uttered crowded back into my imagination: I reflected I had no right over the poor Franciscan but to deny him; and that the punishment of that was enough to the disappointed, without the addition of unkind language. — I considered his gray hairs: his courteous figure seem'd to re-enter, and gently ask me what injury he had done me? and why I could use him thus? I would have given twenty livres for an advocate.

I have behaved very ill, said I, within myself; but I have only just set out upon my travels, and shall learn better manners as I get along

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



WHEN a man is discontented with himself, it has one advantage, however, that it puts him into an ex: cellent frame of mind for making a bargain. Now, there being no travelling through France and Italy without a chaise, – and Nature generally prompting us to the thing we are fittest for, I walked out into the coach-yard to buy or hire something of that kind to my purpose: an old desobligeant,* in the furthest corner of the court, hit my fancy at first sight; so I instantly got into it, and finding it in tolerable har

* A chaise so called in France, from its holding but one person Sentimental Journey, elc.


mony with my feelings, I ordered the waiter to call Monsieur Dessein, the master of the hotel; - but Monsieur Dessein being gone to vespers, and not caring to face the Franciscan, whom I saw on the opposite side of the court, in conference with a lady just arrived at the inn,

I drew the taffeta-curtain betwixt us, and, being determined to write my journey I took out my pen and ink, and wrote the preface to it in the desobligeant.



It must have been observed, by many a peripatecic philosopher, that Nature has set up, by her own unquestionable authority, certain boundaries and fences to circumscribe the discontent of man; she has effected her purpose in the quietest and easiest manner by laying him under almost insuperable obligations to work out his ease, and to sustain his sufferings at home. It is there only that she has provided him with the most suitable objects to partake of his happiness, and bear a part of that burden which, in all countries and ages, has ever been too heavy for one pair of shoulders. "Tis true, we are endued with an imperfect power of spreading our happiness sometimes beyond her limits; but 'tis so ordered that, from the want of languages, connexions, dependencies, and, from the difference in educations, customs, and habits, we lie under so many impediments in communicating our sensations out of our own sphere, as often amount to a total impossibility.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

It will always follow hence that the balance of sentimental commerce is always against the expatriated adventurer: he must buy what he has little occasion for, at their own price; his conversation will seldom be taken in exchange for theirs without a large discount, — and this, by the bye, eternally driving him into the hands of more equitable brokers, for such conversation as he can find it requires no great spirit of divination to guess at his party.

This brings me to my point, and naturally leads me (if the see-saw of this desobligeant will but let me get on) into the efficient as well as final causes of travelling.

Your idle people, that leave their native country, and go abroad for some reason or reasons which may be derived from one of these general causés:

Infirmity of body,
Imbecility of mind, or

Inevitable necessity. The two first include all those who travel by land or by water, labouring with pride, curiosity, vanity, or spleen, subdivided and combined ad infinitum.

The third class includes the whole army of peregrine martyrs; more especially those travellers who set out upon their travels with the benefit of the clergy, either as delinquents, travelling under the direction of governors recommended by the magistrate; young gentlemen, transported by the cruelty of parents and guardians, and travelling under the direction of governors recommended by Oxford, Aberdeen, and Glasgow

There is a fourth class, but their number is so small that they would not deserve a distinction, were


« ZurückWeiter »