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And the master of my hotel, said I, as I concluded it, will needs have it, Monsieur le Comte, that I should be sent to the Bastile; but I have no apprehensions, continued I, for, in falling into the hands of the most polished people in the world, and being conscious I was a true man, and not come to spy the nakedness of the land, I scarce thought I lay at their mercy. It does not suit the gallantry of the French, Monsieur le Comte, said I, to shew it against invalids.
An animated blush came into the Count de B -'s cheeks as I spoke this Ne craignez rien Don't fear, said he. . . . Indeed I don't, replied I again. Besides, continued I, a little sportingly, I have come laughing all the way from London to Paris; and I do not think Monsieur le Duc de Choiseul is such an enemy to mirth as to send me back crying for my pains. My application to you, Monsieur le Comte de B — (making him a low bow) is to desire he will not. The Count heard me with great good-nature, or I had not said half as much, and once or twice said, C'est bien dit. So I rested my cause there, determined to say no more about it.
The Count led the discourse: we talked of indifferent things, of books, and politics, and men; and then of women. God bless them all! said I, after much discourse about them, there is not a man upon earth who loves them so much as I do. After all the foibles I have seen, and all the satires I have read against them, still I love them; being firmly persuaded that a man who has not a sort of an affection for the whole sex is incapable of ever loving a single one as he ought.
Eh bien; Monsieur l'Anglois, said the Count, gaily; you are not come to spy the nakedness of the land; I believe you; ni encore, I dare say, that of our women: but permit me to conjecture, if par hazard, they fell into your way, that the prospect would not affect you.
have something within me wh ch cannot bear the shock of the least indecent insinuation: in the sportability of chit-chat I have often endeavoured to conquer it, and with infinite pain have hazarded a thousand things to a dozen of the sex together, the least of which I could not venture to a single one to gain Heaven.
Excuse me, Monsieur le Comte, said I: as for the nakedness of your land, if I saw it, I should cast my eyes over it with tears in them; and for that of your women (blushing at the idea he had excited in me) I am so evangelical in this, and have such a fellowfeeling for whatever is weak about them, that I would cover it with a garment, if I knew how to throw it on; but I could wish, continued I, to spy the nakedness of their hearts, and, through the different disguises of customs, climates, and religion, find out what is good in them to fashion my own by; and, therefore, am I
It is for this reason, Monsieur le Comte, continued I, that I have not seen the Palais Royal nor the Luxembourg, nor the Façade of the Louvre, nor have attempted to swell the catalogues we have of pictures, statues, and churches. I conceive every fair being as a temple, and would rather enter in, and see the original drawings, and loose sketches, hung up in it, than the Transfiguration of Raphael itself.
The thirst of this, continued I, as impatient as that which inflames the breast of the connoisseur, has led me from my own home into France, and from France will lead me through Italy; -'tis a quiet journey of the heart in pursuit of Nature, and those affections which arise out of her, which make us love each other, and the world, better than we do.
The Count said a great many civil things to me upon the occasion; and added, very politely, how much he stood obliged to Shakspeare for making me known to him. But, à-propos, said he; Shakspeare is full of great things; he forgot the small punctilio of announcing your name: it puts you under the necessity of doing it yourself.
THERE is not a more perplexing affair in life to me than to set about telling any one who I am, for there is scarce any body I cannot give a better account of than myself; and I have often wished I could do it in a single word, and have an end of it. It was the only time and occasion in my life I could accomplish this to any purpose; - for Shakspeare lying upon the table, and recollecting I was in his books, I took up Hamlet, and turning immediately to the gravedigger's scene in the fifth act, I laid my finger upon YORICK; and, advancing the book to the Count, with my finger all the way over the name, Me voici! said I.
Now, whether the idea of poor Yorick's skull was
put out of the Count's mind by the reality of my own, or by what magic he could drop a period of seven or eight hundred years, makes nothing in this account; 'tis certain, the French conceive better than they combine; I wonder at nothing in this world, and the less at this; inasmuch as one of the first of our own church, for whose candour and paternal sentiments I have the highest veneration, fell into the same mistake in the very same case: "He could not bear," he said, "to look into the sermons wrote by the King of Denmark's jester.".... Good, my Lord! said I; but there are two Yoricks. The Yorick your Lordship thinks of has been dead and buried eight hundred years ago; he flourished in Horwendillus's Court; the other Yorick is myself, who have flourish'd, my Lord, in no Court. He shook his head. .... Good God! said I, you might as well confound Alexander the Great with Alexander the Coppersmith, my Lord! .... 'Twas all one, he replied.
If Alexander, King of Macedon, could have translated your Lordship, said I, I'm sure your Lordship would not have said so.
The poor Count de B**** fell but into the same
Et, Monsieur, est il Yorick? cried the Count. Je le suis, said I. Vous? Moi moi qui ai l'honneur de vous parler, Monsieur le Comte. Mon Dieu! said he, embracing me, Vous êtes Yorick?
The Count instantly put the Shakspeare into his pocket, and left me alone in his room.
I COULD not conceive why the Count de B**** had gone so abruptly out of the room, any more than I could conceive why he had put the Shakspeare into his pocket. - Mysteries, which must explain themselves, are not worth the loss of time which a conjecture about them takes up; 'twas better to read Shakspeare; so, taking up "Much Ado about Nothing," I transported myself instantly from the chair I sat in to Messina in Sicily, and got so busy with Don Pedro, and Benedict, and Beatrice, that I thought not of Versailles, the Count, or the passport.
Sweet pliability of man's spirit, that can at once surrender itself to illusions which cheat expectation and sorrow of their weary moments! Long, long since had ye number'd out my days, had I not trod so great a part of them upon this enchanted ground. When my way is too rough for my feet, or too steep for my strength, I get off it, to some smooth velvet path which fancy has scatter'd over with rose-buds of delights; and, having taken a few turns in it, come back strengthen'd and refresh'd. When evils press sore upon me, and there is no retreat from them in this world, then I take a new course; - I leave it, and, as I have a clearer idea of the Elysian Fields than I have of Heaven, I force myself, like Æneas, into them: I see him meet the pensive shade of his forsaken Dido, and wish to recognise it; I see the injured spirit wave her head, and turn off silent from the author of her miseries and dishonours; I lose the