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begged the bird of me; in a week Lord A. gave him to Lord B —; Lord B. made a present of him to Lord C-; and Lord C.'s gentleman sold him to Lord D.'s for a shilling: Lord D. gave him to Lord E., and so on, half round the alphabet. From that rank he passed into the lower house, and passed the hands of as many commoners. But as all these wanted to get in, and my bird wanted to get out, he had almost as little store set by him in London as in Paris.
It is impossible but many of my readers must have heard of him and if any by mere chance have over seen him, I beg leave to inform them that that bird was my bird, or some vile copy set up to represent him.
I have nothing farther to add upon him but that, from that time to this, I have borne this poor starling as the crest to my arms.
And let the herald's officers twist his neck about if they dare.
I SHOULD not like to have my enemy take a view of my mind when I am going to ask protection of any man: for which reason I generally endeavour to protect myself: but this going to Monsieur le Duc de Cwas an act of compulsion; had it been an act of choice, I should have done it, I suppose, like other people.
How many mean plans of dirty address, as I went along, did my servile heart form! I deserved the Bastile for every one of them.
Then nothing would serve me, when I got withiu sight of Versailles, but putting words and sentences together, and conceiving attitudes and tones to wreath myself into Monsieur le Duc de C's good graces. This will do, said I. – Just as well, retorted I again, as a coat carried up to him by an adventurous tailor, without taking his measure. Fool! continued I, see Monsieur le Duc's face first; observe what character is written in it; — take notice in what posture he stands to hear you;
mark the turns and expressions of his body and limbs; and for the tone – the first sound which comes from his lips will give it you; and, from all these together, you'll compound an address at once upon the spot, which cannot disgust the Duke;the ingredients are his own, and most likely to go down.
Well! said I, I wish it well over. — Coward again! as if man to man was not equal, throughout the whole surface of the globe; and if in the field, why not face to face in the cabinet too? and trust me, Yorick, whenever it is not so, man is false to himself, and betrays his own succours ten times, where nature does it once. Go to the Duc de C with the Bastile in thy looks;
my life for it, thou wilt be sent back to Paris in half-an-hour with an escort.
I believe so, said I. Then I'll go to the Duke, by Heaven! with all the gaiety and debonairness in the world.
- And there you are wrong again, replied I; a heart at ease, Yorick, flies into no extremes,
'tis ever on its centre. Well! well! cried I, as the coachman turned in at the gates, I find I shall do
well: and by the time he had wheeled round the court, and
brought me up to the door, I found myself so much the better for my own lecture that I neither ascended the steps like a victim to justice, who was to part with upon the topmast,
nor did I mount them with a skip and a couple of strides, as I do when I fly up, Eliza! to thee, to meet it.
As I entered the door of the saloon, I was met by a person who possibly might be the maître d'hotel, but had more the air of one of the under-secretaries, who told me the Duc de C was busy. I am utterly ignorant, said I, of the forms of obtaining an audience, being an absolute stranger, and, what is worse in the present conjuncture of affairs, being an Englishman, too. . . . . He replied that did not increase the difficulty.
I made him a slight bow, and told him I had something of importance to say to Monsieur le Duc. The secretary looked towards the stairs, as if he was about to leave me to carry up this account to some one. But I must not mislead you, said I, — for what I have to say is of no manner of importance to Monsieur le Duc de C—, but of great importance to myself. .... C'est une autre affaire, replied he. .... Not at all, said I, to a man of gallantry. But pray, good Sir, continued I, when can a stranger hope to have accesse? .... In not less than two hours, said he, looking at his watch. - The number of equipages in the court-yard seemed to justify the calculation that I could have no nearer a prospect; and as walking backwards and forwards in the saloon, without a soul to commune with, was fur the time as bad as being in the Bastile itself, I in. stantly went back to my remise, and bid the coachman drive me to the Cordon Bleu, which was the nearest hotel. Sentimental Journey, etc.
I think there is a fatality in it; - I seldom go to
the place I set out for.
BEFORE I had got half way down the street, I changed my mind; as I am at Versailles, thought I, I might as well take a view of the town; so I pulled the cord, and ordered the coachman to drive round some of the principal streets. – I suppose the town is not very large, said I. - The coachman begged pardon for setting me right, and told me it was very superb; and that numbers of the first dukes and marquisses and counts had botels. The Count de B—, of whom the bookseller at the Quai de Conti had spoken so handsomely the night before, came instantly into my mind — And why should I not go, thought I, to the Count de B~, who has so high an idea of English books and Englishmen, and tell him my story? So I changed my mind a second time. In truth, it was the third; for I had intended that day for Madame de R-, in the Rue St. Pierre, and had devoutly sent her word by her fille de chambre that I would assuredly wait upon her; — but I am governed by circumstances;
them: so seeing a man standing with a basket on the other side of the street as if he had something to sell, I bid La Fleur go up to him, and inquire for the Count's hotel.
La Fleur returned, a little pale; and told me it was a Chevalier de St. Louis selling patés. - It is impossible, La Fleur, said I. La Fleur could no more
account for the phoenomenon than myself; but per sisted in his story: he had seen the croix set in gold, with its red ribband, he said, tied to his button hole; and had looked into the basket, and seen the patés which the Chevalier was selling; so could not be mistaken in that.
Such a reverse in a man's life awakens a better principle than curiosity: I could not help looking for some time at him, as I sat in the remise. The more I looked at him, his croix, and his basket, the stronger they wove themselves into my brain. I got out of the remise, and went towards him.
He was begirt with a clean linen apron, which fell below his knees, and with a sort of a bib that went half way up his breast. Upon the top of this, but a little below the hem, hung his croix. His basket of little patés was covered over with a white damask napkin: another of the same kind was spread at the bottom; and there was such a look of propreté and neatness throughout that one might have bought his patés of him as much from appetite as sentiment.
He made an offer of them to neither; but stood still with them at the corner of a hotel, for those to buy who chose it, without solicitation.
He was about forty-eight; of a sedate look, something approaching to gravity. I did not wonder.
I went up rather to the basket than him, and, having lifted up the napkin, and taken one of his patés into my hand, - I begged he would explain the appearance which affected me.
He told me, in a few words, that the best part of his life had passed in the service; in which, after spending a small patrimony, he had obtained a company and