« ZurückWeiter »
the sentry's match to light it; it gave a moment's time for the Gascon's blood to run cool, and turn the accident better to his advantage. - 'Tis an ill wind, said he, catching off the Notary's castor, and legitimating the capture with the boatman's adage.
The poor Notary crossed the bridge, and, passing along the Rue de Dauphine into the Fauxbourg of St. Germain, lamented himself as he walked along in this
Luckless man that I am! said the Notary, to be the sport of hurricanes all my days! to be born to have the storm of ill language levelled against me and my profession wherever I go! to be forced into marriage by the thunder of the church to a tempest of a woman! to be driven forth out of my house by domestic winds, and despoiled of my castor by pontific ones! to be here, bare-headed, in a windy night, at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of accidents! Where am I to lay my head? Miserable man! what wind in the two-and thirty points in the whole compass can blow unto thee, as it does to the rest of thy fellowcreatures, good!
As the Notary was passing on by a dark passage, complaining in this sort, a voice called out to a girl, to bid her run for the next Notary. Now the Notary being the next, availing himself of his situation, walked up the passage to the door, and, passing through an old sort of saloon, was ushered into a large chamber, dismantled of every thing but a long military pike, a breast-plate, a rusty old sword, and bandoleer, hung up equi-distant in four different places against the wall.
An old personage, who had heretofore been a gentle
Sentimental Journey, etc.
man, and unless decay of fortune taints the blood along with it, was a gentleman at that time, lay supporting his head upon his hand, in his bed; a little table with a taper burning was set close beside it, and close by the table was placed a chair: the Notary sat him down in it; and, pulling out his ink-horn and a sheet or two of paper which he had in his pocket, he placed them before him, and, dipping his pen in his ink, and leaning his breast over the table, he disposed every thing to make the gentleman's last will and
... Alas! Monsieur le Notaire, said the gentleman, raising himself up a little, I have nothing to bequeath, which will pay the expense of bequeathing except the history of myself, and I could not die in peace unless I left it as a legacy to the world; the profits arising out of it I bequeath to you for the pains of taking it from me. It is a story so uncommon, it must be read by all mankind; make the fortunes of your house. dipped his pen into his ink-horn Director of every event in my life! said the old gentleman, looking up earnestly, and raising his hands towards Heaven, Thou, whose hand has led me on through such a labyrinth of strange passages down into this scene of desolation, assist the decaying memory of an old, infirm, and broken-hearted man! Direct my tongue by the spirit of thy eternal truth, that this stranger may set down nought but what is written in that Book from whose records, said he, clasping his hands together, I am to be condemned or acquitted! -the Notary held up the point of his pen betwixt the taper and his eye.
It is a story, Monsieur le Notaire, said the gentleman, which will rouse up every affection in nature; it will kill the humane, and touch the heart of Cruelty herself with pity.
The Notary was inflamed with a desire to begin, and put his pen a third time into his ink-horn! and the old gentleman, turning a little more towards the Notary, began to dictate his story in these words: And where is the rest of it, La Fleur? said as he just then entered the room.
THE FRAGMENT, AND THE BOUQUET.*
WHEN La Fleur came close up to the table, and was made to comprehend what I wanted, he told me there were only two er sheets of it, which he had wrapped round the stalks of a bouquet to keep it together, which he had presented to the demoiselle upon the boulevards. ... Then prithee, La Fleur, said I, step back to her, to the Count de B****'s hotel, and see if thou canst get it. . . . . There is no doubt of it, said La Fleur; and away he flew.
In a very little time the poor fellow came back, quite out of breath, with deeper marks of disappointment in his looks than could arise from the simple irreparability of the fragment. Juste Ciel! in less than two minutes that the poor fellow had taken his last tender farewell of her - his faithless mistress had given his d'amour to one of the Count's footmen gage footman to a young sempstress, and the sempstress to a fiddler, with my fragment at the end of it.
misfortunes were involved together, I gave a sigh, and La Fleur echoed it back again to my ear. How perfidious! cried La Fleur.... How unlucky! said I.
I should not have been mortified, Monsieur, quoth La Fleur, if she had lost it. Nor I, La Fleur, said I, had I found it.
Whether I did or no, will be seen hereafter.
THE ACT OF CHARITY.
THE man who either disdains or fears to walk up a dark entry may be an excellent good man, and fit for a hundred things; but he will not do to make a good Sentimental Traveller. I count little of the many things I see pass at broad noon-day, in large and open streets. Nature is shy, and hates to act before spectators; but in such an unobserved corner you sometimes see a single short scene of hers worth all the sentiments of a dozen French plays compounded together; and yet they are absolutely fine; and whenever I have a more brilliant affair upon my hands than common, they suit a preacher quite as well as a hero, I generally make my sermon out of 'em; and for the text,
"Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia," is as good as any one in the Bible.
There is a long dark passage issuing out from the Opera Comique into a narrow street; 'tis trod by a few who humbly wait for a fiacre,* or wish to get off quietly o'foot when the Opera is done. At the end of it, towards the theatre, 'tis lighted by a small candle, the
light of which is almost lost before you get half way down; but near the door, 'tis more for ornament than use, you see it as a fix'd star of the least magnitude; it burns, but does little good to the world, that we know of.
In returning along this passage, I discerned, as I approached within five or six paces of the door, two ladies standing, arm in arm, with their backs against the wall, waiting, as I imagined, for a fiacre: they were next the door, I thought they had a prior right; so edged myself up within a yard or little more of them, and quietly took my stand.—I was in black, and scarce seen.
The lady next me was a tall lean figure of a woman, of about thirty-six; the other, of the same size and make, of about forty: there was no mark of wife or widow in any one part of either of them; they seemed to be two upright vestal sisters, unsapped by caresses, unbroke in upon by tender salutations. I could have wished to have made them happy; their happiness was destined, that night, to come from another quarter.
A low voice, with a good turn of expression, and sweet cadence at the end of it, begged for a twelvesous piece betwixt them, for the love of heaven. I thought it singular that a beggar should fix the quota of an alms, and that the sum should be twelve times as much as what is usually given in the dark. They both seemed astonished at it as much as myself. Twelve sous! said one . . . . A twelve-sous piece! said the other, and made no reply.
The poor man said he knew not how to ask less