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I AM apt to be taken with all kinds of people at first sight, but never more so than when a poor Devil comes to offer his service to so poor a Devil as myself; and, as I know this weakness, I always suffer my judgment to draw back something on that very account and this, more or less, according to the mood I am in, and the case; and, I may add, the gender, too, of the person I am to govern.
When La Fleur entered the room, after every discount I could make, for my soul, the genuine look and air of the fellow determined the matter at once in his favour; so I hired him first, and then began to enquire what he could do. But I shall find out his talents, quoth I, as I want them; - besides, besides, a Frenchman can do every thing.
Now poor La Fleur could do nothing but beat a drum, and play a march or two upon the fife. I was determined to make his talents do: and can't say my weakness was ever so insulted by my wisdom as in the attempt.
La Fleur had set out early in life, as gallantly as most Frenchmen do, with serving for a few years: at the end of which, having satisfied the sentiment, and found, moreover, that the honour of beating a drum was likely to be its own reward, as it opened no further track of glory to him, - he retired à ses terres, and lived comme il plaisoit à Dieu; upon nothing.
that is to say,
.. And so, quoth Wisdom, you have hired a drummer to attend you, in this tour of yours through France and Italy!.... Pshaw! said I, and do not one
half of our gentry go with a humdrum compagnon du voyage the same round, and have the piper and the Devil and all to pay besides? When a man can extricate himself with a equivoque in such an unequal match, he is not ill off. . . . But you can do something else, La Fleur? said L... O qu'oui! he could make spatterdashes, and could play a little upon the fiddle. Bravo! said Wisdom Why I play a bass myself, said I; we shall do very well. You can shave, and dress a wig a little, La Fleur? He had all the dispositions in the world. . . . Heaven, said I, interrupting him, enough for me. So supper coming in, and having a frisky English spaniel on one side of my chair, and a French valet, with as much hilarity in his oɔuntenance as ever Nature painted in one, on the other I was satisfied to my heart's content with my empire; and if monarchs knew what they would be at, they might be as satisfied as I was.
It is enough for and ought to be
As La Fleur went the whole tour of France and Italy with me, and will be often upon the stage, I must interest the reader a little further in his behalf, by saying that I had never less reason to repent of the impulses which generally do determine me than in regard to this fellow; he was a faithful, affectionate, simple soul as ever trudged after the heels of a philosopher; and notwithstanding his talents of drum-beating and spatterdash-making, which, though very good in themselves, happened to be of no great service to me, yet was I hourly recompensed by the festivity of
it supplied all defects:
I had a con
THE next morning, La Fleur entering upon his employment, I delivered to him the key of my portmanteau, with an inventory of my half-a-dozen shirts, and a silk pair of breeches: and bid him fasten all upon the chaise, get the horses put to, and desire the landlord to come in with his bill.
C'est un garçon de bonne fortune, said the landlord, pointing through the window, to half-a-dozen wenches who had got round about La Fleur, and were most kindly taking their leave of him as the postillion was leading out the horses. La Fleur kissed all their hands round and round again, and thrice he wiped his
eyes, and thrice he promised he would bring them all pardons from Rome.
The young fellow, said the landlord, is beloved by all the town; and there is scarce a corner in Montriul where the want of him will not be felt. He has but one misfortune in the world, continued he, “He is always in love." I am heartily glad of it, said I; 'twill save me the trouble every night of putting my breeches under my head. In saying this, I was making not so much La Fleur's éloge as my own, having been in love with one princess or other almost all my life, and I hope I shall go on so till I die, being firmly persuaded that, if ever I do a mean action, it must be in some interval betwixt one passion and another: whilst this interregnum lasts, I always perceive my heart locked up, I can scarce find in it to give misery a sixpence: and therefore I always get out of it as fast as I can; and the moment I am rekindled, I am all generosity and goodwill again; and would do any thing in the world, either for or with any one, if they will but satisfy me there is no sin in it. -But in saying this, the passion, - not myself.
sure I am commending
-THE town of Abdera, notwithstanding Democritus lived there, trying all the powers of irony and laughter to reclaim it, was the vilest and most profligate town in all Thrace. What for poisons, conspiracies, and assassinations, libels, pasquinades, and tumults, there was no going there by day; - 'twas worse by night.
Now, when things were at the worst, it came to pass that the Andromeda of Euripides being represented at Abdera, the whole orchestra was delighted with it; but, of all the passages which delighted them nothing operated more upon their imaginations than the tender strokes of nature which the poet had wrought up in that pathetic speech of Perseus, O Cupid, prince of Gods and men, &c. Every man almost spoke pure iambics the next day, and talked of nothing but Perseus's pathetic address, "O Cupid, prince of Gods and men!" in every street of Abdera, in every house, - "O Cupid! Cupid:" in every mouth, like the natural notes of some sweet melody which drop from it, whether it will or no, nothing but "Cupid! Cupid! prince of Gods and men!" The fire caught, and the whole city, like the heart of one man, opened itself to Love.
No pharmacopolist could sell one grain of helebore, not a single armourer had a heart to forge one instrument of death; - Friendship and Virtue met together, and kissed each other in the street; the golden age returned, and hung over the town of Abdera; every Abderite took his oaten pipe; and every Abderitish woman left her purple web, and chastely sat her down, and listened to the song.
'Twas only in the power, says the Fragment, of the God whose empire extendeth from heaven to earth, and even to the depths of the sea, to have done this.