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her husband, she said so I began a fresh score Monsieur is so good, quoth she, as he passed by us, as to give himself the trouble of feeling my pulse. The husband took off his hat, and making me a bow, said, I did him too much honour; and having said that, he put on his hat and walked out.
Good God! said I to myself, as he went out, and can this man be the husband of this woman!
Let it not torment the few who know what must have been the grounds of this exclamation, if I explain it to those who do not.
In London, a shopkeeper and a shopkeeper's wife seem to be one bone and one flesh. In the several endowments of mind and body, sometimes the one, and sometimes the other has it, so as in general to be upon a par, and to tally with each other as nearly as a man and wife need to do.
In Paris, there are scarce two orders of beings more different, for the legislative and executive powers of the shop not resting in the husband, he seldoms comes there: in some dark and dismal room behind, he sits commerceless in his thrum night-cap, the same rough son of Nature that Nature left him.
The genius of a people where nothing but the monarchy is Salique having ceded this department, with sundry others, totally to the women by a continual higgling with customers of all ranks and sizes from morning to night, like so many rough pebbles shook long together in a bag, by amicable collisions, they have worn down their asperities and sharp angles, and not only become round and smooth, but will receive, some of them, a polish like a brilliant Monsieur le Mari is little better than the stone under
- Surely, surely, man! it is not good for thee to sit alone; thou wast made for social intercourse and gentle greetings; and this improvement of our natures from it, I appeal to, as my evidence.
And how does it beat, Monsieur? said she.... With all the benignity, said I, looking quietly in her eyes, that I expected. She was going to say something civil in return, but the lad came into the shop with the gloves. - Apropos, said I, I want a couple of pair myself.
The beautiful grisette rose up when I said this, and, going behind the counter, reached down a parcel, and untied it: I advanced to the side over-against her: they were all too large. The beautiful grisette measured them one by one across my hand, it would not alter the dimensions. She begged I would try a single pair, which seemed to be the least. She held
my hand slipped into it at once. It will not do, said I, shaking my head a little.
No, said she, doing the same thing.
There are certain combined looks of simple subtlety - where whim, and sense, and seriousness, and nonsense, are so blended that all the languages of Babel let loose together, could not express them they are communicated and caught so instantaneously that you can scarce say which party is the infector. I leave it to your men of words to swell pages about it, it is enough in the present to say, again, the gloves would not do; so, folding our hands within our arms, we both
lollid upon the counter; it was narrow, and there was just room for the parcel to lay between us.
The beautiful grisette looked sometimes at the gloves, then sideways to the window, then at the gloves
and then at me. I was not disposed to break silence; — I followed her example: so I looked at the gloves, then to the window, then at the gloves, and then at her and so on alternately.
I found I lost considerably in every attack: she had a quick black eye, and shot through two such long and silken eye-lashes with such penetration that she looked into my very heart and reins. seem strange; but I could actually feel she did.
It is no matter, said I, taking up a couple of the pairs next me, and putting them into my pocket.
I was sensible the beautiful grisette had not asked a single livre above the price. I wished she had asked a livre more; and was puzzling my brains how to bring the matter about, — Do you think, my dear Sir, said she, mistaking my embarrassment, that I could ask a sous too much of a stranger and of a stranger whose politeness, more than his want of gloves, has done me the honour to lay himself at my mercy? Men croyez capable? Faith! not I, said I; and if you were, you are welcome. So, counting the money into her hand, and with a lower bow than one generally makes to a shopkeeper's wife I went out; and her lad with his parcel followed me.
THERE was nobody in the box I was let into, but a kindly old French officer. I love the character, not only because I honour the man whose manners are softened by a profession which makes bad men worse, but that I once knew one for he is no more, and why should I not rescue one page from violation by writing his name in it, and telling the world it was Captain Tobias Shandy, the dearest of my flock and friends, whose pbilanthropy I never think of at this long distance from his death, but my eyes gush out with tears. For his sake, I have a predilection for the whole corps of veterans; and so I strode over the two back rows of benches, and placed myself beside him.
The old officer was reading attentively a small pamphlet (it might be the book of the opera) with a large pair of spectacles. As soon as I sat down, he took his spectacles off, and, putting them into a shagreen case, returned them and the book into his pocket together. I half rose up, and made him a bow.
Translate this into any civilized language in the world, the sense is this:
"Here's a poor stranger come into the box; he seems as if he knew nobody: and is never likely, was he to be seven years in Paris, if every man he comes near keeps his spectacles upon his nose: – 'tis shutting the door of conversation absolutely in his face, and using him worse than a German.”
The French officer might as well have said it all aloud: and if he had, I should in course have put the
how I made him into French too, and told him, "I was sensible of his attention, and returned him a thousand thanks for it." There is not a secret so aiding to the progress
of sociality as to get master of this short hand, and to be quick in rendering the several turns of looks and limbs, with all their inflections and delineations, into plain words. For my own part, by long habitude, I do it 60 mechanically that, when I walk the streets of London, I go translating all the way; and have more than once stood behind the circle, where not three words have been said, and have brought off twenty different dialogues with me, which I could have fairly wrote down and sworn to.
I was going one evening to Martini's concert at Milan, and was just entering the door of the hall, when the Marquisina de F*** was coming out, in a sort of a hurry: she was almost upon me before I saw her: so I gave a spring to one side, to let her pass. She had done the same, and on the same side too: so we ran our heads together: she instantly got to the other side to get out: I was just as unfortunate as she had been; for I had sprung to that side, and opposed her passage again. We both flew together to the other side and then back, - and so on: it was ridiculous: we both blushed intolerably; so I did at last the thing I should have done at first; I stood stock still, and the Marquisina had no more difficulty. power to go into the room till I had made her so much reparation as to wait and follow her with my eye to the end of the passage. She looked back twice, and walked along it rather sideways, as if she would make room for any one coming up stairs to pass
her. - No,
I had no