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with some kind grisette of a barber's wife, and get into such coteries!
May I perish! if I do, said I, pulling out a letter which I had to present to Madame de R-, I'll wait upon this lady the very first thing I do. So I called La Fleur to go seek me a barber directly, and come back and brush my coat.
When the barber came, he absolutely refused to have any thing to do with my wig: 'twas either above or below his art: I had nothing to do but to take one ready made of his own recommendation.
But I fear, friend, said I, this buckle won't stand.... You may immerse it, replied he, into the ocean,
and it will stand. What a great scale is everything upon in this city! thought I. — The utmost stretch of an English periwig-maker's ideas could have gone no further than to have “dipped it into a pail of water." What difference! 'tis like time to eternity!
I confess I do hate all conceptions as I do the puny ideas which engender them; and am generally so struck with the great works of Nature that, for
my own part, if I could help it, I never would make a comparison less than a mountain at least. All that can be said against the French sublime, in this instance of it, is this: That the grandeur is more in the word, and, less, in the thing. No doubt the ocean fills the inind with vast ideas; but Paris being so far inland, it Sentimental Journey, etc.
was not likely I should run post a hundred miles out of it to try the experiment:
the Parisian barber meant nothing
The pail of water standing beside the great deep makes certainly but a sorry figure in speech; but 'twill be said, it has one advantage — 'tis in the next room, and the truth of the buckle may be tried in it, without more ado, in a single moment.
In honest truth, and upon a more candid revision of the matter, the French expression professes more than it performs.
I think I can see the precise and distinguishing marks of national character more in these nonsensical minutic than in the most important matters of state; where great men of all nations talk, and talk so much alike, that I would not give nine-pence to choose
I was so long in getting from under my barber's hands that was too late to think of going with my letter to Madame R- that night: but when a man is once dressed at all points for going out, his reflections turn to little account; so, taking down the name of the Hotel de Modene, where I lodged, I walked forth, without the determination where to go; I shall consider of that, said I, as I walk along.
HAIL, ye small sweet courtesies of life, for smooth do ye make the road of it; like grace and beauty, which beget inclinations to love at first sight: 'tis ye who open this door, and let the stranger in
Pray, Madame, said I, have the goodness to tell me which way I must turn to go to the Opera Co. mique .... Most willingly, Monsieur, said she, laying aside her work.
I had given a cast with my eye into half a dozen shops as I came along, in search of a face not likely to be disordered by such an interruption; till, at last, this hitting my fancy, I had walked in.
She was working a pair of ruffles as she sat in a low chair on the far side of the shop facing the door.
Tres volontiers; most willingly, said she, laying her work down upon a chair next her, and rising up from the low chair she was sitting in, with so cheerful a movement and so cheerful a look, that had I been laying out fifty Louis d'ors with her, I should have said
“This woman is grateful.”
You must turn, Monsieur, said she, going with me to the door of the shop, and pointing the way down the street I was to take, - you must turn first to your left hand, mais prenez garde, there are two turns; and be so good as to take the second, - then go down a little way, and you'll see a church, and when you are past it, give yourself the trouble to turn directly to the right, and that will lead you to the foot of the Pont Neuf, which you must cross, and there any one will do himself the pleasure to shew you.
She repeated her instructions three times over to me, with the same good-natured patience the third time as the first; and if tones and manners have a meaning, which certainly they have, unless to hearts which shut them out, – she seemed really interested that I should not lose myself.
I will not suppose it was the woman's beauty, notwithstanding she was the handsomest grisette, I think, I ever saw, which had much to do with the sense I had of her courtesy; only I remember, when I told her how much I was obliged to her, that I looked very full in her eyes, – and that I repeated my thanks as often as she had done her instructions.
I had not got ten paces from the door, before I found I had forgot every tittle of what she had said: – so looking back, and seeing her still standing in the door of the shop, as if to look whether I went right or not, I returned back, to ask her whether the first turn was to my right or left, for that I had absolutely forgot. — Is it possible? said she half laughing:
. 'Tis very possible, replied I, when a man is thinking more of a woman than of her good advice.
As this was the real truth, she took it, as every woman takes a matter of right, with a slight curtsey.
Attendez, said she, laying her hand upon my arm to detain me, whilst she called a lad out of the back shop to get ready a parcel of gloves. I am just going to send him, said she, with a packet into that quarter; and if you will have the complaisance to step in, it will be ready in a moment, and he shall attend you to the place. So I walked in with her to the far side of the shop; and taking up the ruffle in my hands which she laid upon the chair, as if I had a mind to sit, she sat down herself in her low chair, and I instantly sat myself down beside her.
He will be ready, Monsieur, said she, in a moment.... And in that moment, replied I, most willingly would I say something very civil to you for all these courtesies. Any one may do a casual act of good-nature, but a continuation of them shews it is a part of the temperature; and certainly, added I, if it is the same blood which comes from the heart, which descends to the extremes (touching her wrist) I am sure you must have one of the best pulses of any woman in the world .... Feel it, said she, holding out her arm. So laying down my hat, I took hold of her fingers in one hand, and applied the two fore-fingers of my other to the artery
Would to Heaven! my dear Eugenius, thou hadst passed by, and beheld me sitting in my black coat, and in my lack-a-day-sical manner, counting the throbs of it, one by one, with as much true devotion as if I had been watching the critical ebb or flow of her fever! How wouldst thou have laughed and moralized upon my new profession! and thou shouldst have laughed and moralized on - Trust me, my dear Eugenius, I
, should have said “there are worse occupations in this world than feeling a woman's pulse."
a woman's pulse." — But a grisette's, thou wouldst have said, and in a open shop, Yorick!
So much the better: for when my views are direct, Eugenius, I care not if all the world saw me fcel it.
I had counted twenty pulsations, and was going on fast towards the fortieth, when her husband, coming unexpectedly from a backparlour into the shop, put me a little out in my reckoning. 'Twas nobody but