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neither of us had power to say adieu! I looked at the picture she had tied in a black ribband about my neck, and blushed as I looked at it. I would but was
have given the world to have kissed it, ashamed; and shall this tender flower, said I, pressing it between my hands, shall it be smitten to its very root, and smitten, Yorick! by thee, who hast promised to shelter it in thy breast?
Eternal Fountain of Happiness! said I, kneeling down upon the ground be thou my witness, and every pure spirit which tastes it, be my witness also, that I would not travel to Brussels, unless Eliza went along with me, did the road lead me towards Heaven!
In transports of this kind, the heart, in spite of the understanding will always say too much.
FORTUNE had not smiled upon La Fleur; for he and had been unsuccessful in his feats of chivalry, not one thing had offered to signalize his zeal for my service from the time he had entered into it, which was almost four-and-twenty hours. The poor soul burned with impatience; and the Count de L's servant coming with the letter, being the first practicable occasion which offered, La Fleur had laid hold of it, and, in order to do honour to his master, had taken him into a back-parlour in the auberge, and treated him with a cup or two of the best wine in Picardy; and the Count de L's servant, in return,
not to be behind-hand in politeness with La Fleur, had taken him back with him to the Count's hotel. La Fleur's prevenancy (for there was a passport in his very looks) soon set every servant in the kitchen at ease with him; and, as a Frenchman, whatever be his talents, has no sort of prudery in shewing them, La Fleur, in less than five minutes, had pulled out his fife, and, leading off the dance himself with the first note, set the fille de chambre, the maitre d' hotel, the cook, the scullion, and all the household, dogs and cats, besides an old monkey, a dancing! I suppose there never was a merrier kitchen since the flood.
Madame de L, in passing from her brother's apartments to her own, hearing so much jollity below stairs, rung up her fille de chambre to ask about it; and hearing it was the English gentleman's servant who had set the whole house merry with his pipe, she ordered him up.
As the poor fellow could not present himself empty, he had loaded himself, in going up stairs, with a thousand compliments to Madame de L-, on the part of his master; added a long apocrypha of inquiries after Madame de L's health; told her that Monsieur his master was au desespoire for her re-establishment from the fatigues of her journey; and, to close all, that Monsieur had received the letter which Madame had done him the honour.... And he has done me the honour, said Madame de L-, interrupting La Fleur, to send a billet in return.
Madame de L-- had said this with such a tone of reliance upon the fact that La Fleur had not power to disappoint her expectations; he trembled for my
honour and, possibly, might not altogether be unconcerned for his own, as a man capable of being attached to a master who could be wanting en egards vis à vis d'une femme! so that, when Madame de Lasked La Fleur if he had brought a letter, O qu'oui, said La Fleur; so, laying down his hat upon the ground, and taking hold of the flap of his right sidepocket with his left hand, he began to search for the letter with his right; then contrariwise, Diable! - then sought every pocket, pocket by pocket, round, not forgetting his fob; Peste! - then La Fleur emptied them the floor, upon pulled out a dirty cravat, a handkerchief a comb, a whiplash, - a night-cap, then gave a peep into his hat Quelle étourderies! He had left the letter upon the table in the auberge; he would run for it, and be back with it in three minutes.
I had just finished my supper when La Fleur came in to give me an account of his adventure; he told the whole story simply as it was; and only added that, if Monsieur had forgot (par hazard) to answer Madame's letter, the arrangement gave him an opportunity to recover the faux pas; and if not, that things were only as they were.
Now, I was not altogether sure of my etiquette, whether I ought to have wrote or no; but if I had, a Devil himself could not have been angry: 'twas but the officious zeal of a well-meaning creature for my honour; and however he might have mistook the road, or embarrassed me in so doing his heart was in no fault I was under no necessity to write; and, what weighed more than all, he did not look as if he had done amiss.
'Tis all very well, La Fleur, said I. "Twas sufficient. La Fleur flew out of the room like lightning, and return'd with pen, ink, and paper, in his hand; and, coming up to the table, laid them close before me, with such a delight in his countenance that I could not help taking up the pen.
I began, and began again; and, though I had nothing to say, and that nothing might have been expressed in half-a-dozen lines, I made half-a-dozen different beginnings, and could no way please myself. In short, I was in no mood to write.
La Fleur stepp'd out and brought a little water in a glass to dilute my ink then fetched sand and seal-wax. It was all one; I wrote, and blotted, and tore off, and burnt, and wrote again. Le Diable l'emporte, said I, half to myself I cannot write this self-same letter, throwing the pen down despairingly as I said it.
As soon as I had cast down my pen, La Fleur advanced with the most respectful carriage up to the table, and, making a thousand apologies for the liberty he was going to take, told me he had a letter in his pocket, wrote by a drummer in his regiment to a corporal's wife, which, he durst say, would suit the occasion.
I had a mind to let the poor fellow have his hu-
La Fleur instantly pulled out a little dirty pocketbook, cramm'd full of small letters and billet-doux in a sad condition, and laying it upon the table, and then untying the string which held them all together, ran them over, one by one, till he came to the letter in question - La voilà, said he, clapping his hands; so,
unfolding it first, he laid it before me, and retired three steps from the table whilst I read it.
Je suis penetré de la douleur la plus vive, et reduit en même temps au desespoir par ce retour imprevû du Corporal, qui rend notre entrevue de ce soir la chose du monde la plus impossible.
Mais, vive la joie! et toute la mienne sera de penser à vous.
L'amour n'est rien sans sentiment.
Et le sentiment est encore moins sans amour.
On dit aussi que Monsieur le Corporal monte la garde Mercredi; alors ce sera mon tour. Chacun à son tour.
Vive l'amour! et vive la bagatelle,
It was but changing the Corporal into the Count - and saying nothing about mounting guard on Wednesday, and the letter was neither right nor wrong; so, to gratify the poor fellow, who stood trembling for my honour, his own, and the honour of his letter, I took the cream gently off it, and, whipping it up in my own way, seal'd it up, and sent it to Madame de L; and the next morning we pursued our journey to Paris.