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ture, but a continuation of them shews it is a part of the temperature; and certainly, added I, if it is the same blood which comes from the heart, which descends to the extremes (touching her wrist) I am sure you must have one of the best pulses of any woman in the world ....Feel it, said she, holding out her arm. So laying down my hat, I took hold of her fingers in one hand, and applied the two fore-fingers of my other to the artery. --
Would to Heaven! my dear Eugenius, thou hadst passed by, and beheld me sitting in my black coat, and in my lack-a-day-sical manner, counting the throbs of it, one by one, with as much true devotion as if I had been watching the critical ebb or flow of her fever! How wouldst thou have laughed and moralized upon my new profession! and thou shouldst have laughed and moralized on Trust me, my dear Eugenius, I should have said “there are worse occupations in this world than feeling a woman's pulse." - But a grisette's, thou wouldst have said, and in a open shop, Yorick!
So much the better: for when my views are direct, Eugenius, I care not if all the world saw me feel it.
I had counted twenty pulsations, and was going on fast towards the fortieth, when her husband, coming unexpectedly from a backparlour into the shop, put me a little out in my reckoning. — 'Twas nobody but
her husband, she said so I began a fresh score Monsieur is so good, quoth she, as he passed by us, as to give himself the trouble of feeling my pulse. The husband took off his hat, and making me a bow, said, I did him too much honour; and having said that, he put on his hat and walked out.
Good God! said I to myself, as he went out, and can this man be the husband of this woman!
Let it not torment the few who know what must have been the grounds of this exclamation, if I explain it to those who do not.
In London, a shopkeeper and a shopkeeper's wife seem to be one bone and one flesh. In the several endowments of mind and body, sometimes the one, and sometimes the other has it, so as in general to be upon a par, and to tally with each other as nearly as a man and wife need to do.
In Paris, there are scarce two orders of beings more different, for the legislative and executive powers of the shop not resting in the husband, he seldoms comes there: in some dark and dismal room behind, he sits commerceless in his thrum night-cap, the same rough son of Nature that Nature left him.
The genius of a people where nothing but the monarchy is Salique having ceded this department, with sundry others, totally to the women — by a continual higgling with customers of all ranks and sizes from morning to night, like so many rough pebbles shook long together in a bag, by amicable collisions, they have worn down their asperities and sharp angles, and not only become round and smooth, but will receive, some of them, a polish like a brilliant Monsieur le Mari is little better than the stone under
Surely, surely, man! it is not good for thee to sit alone; thou wast made for social intercourse and gentle greetings; and this improvement of our natures from it, I appeal to, as my evidence.
And how does it beat, Monsieur? said she.... With all the benignity, said I, looking quietly in her eyes, that I expected. She was going to say something civil in return, but the lad came into the shop with the gloves. Apropos, said I, I want a couple of pair myself.
The beautiful grisette rose up when I said this, and, going behind the counter, reached down a parcel, and untied it: I advanced to the side over-against her: they were all too large. The beautiful grisette measured them one by one across my hand, it would not alter the dimensions. She begged I would try a single pair, which seemed to be the least. She held
my hand slipped into it at once. It will not do, said I, shaking my head a little.
No, said she, doing the same thing.
There are certain combined looks of simple subtlety
where whim, and sense, and seriousness, and nonsense, are so blended that all the languages of Babel let loose together, could not express them they are communicated and caught so instantaneously that you can scarce say which party is the infector. I leave it to your men of words to swell pages about it, it is enough in the present to say, again, the gloves would not do; so, folding our hands within our arms, we both
lollid upon the counter;
it was narrow,
and there was just room for the parcel to lay between us.
The beautiful grisette looked sometimes at the gloves, then sideways to the window, then at the gloves
and then at me. I was not disposed to break silence; - I followed her example: so I looked at the gloves, then to the window, then at the gloves, and then at her and so on alternately.
I found I lost considerably in every attack: – she had a quick black eye, and shot through two such long and silken eye-lashes with such penetration that she looked into my very heart and reins. seem strange; but I could actually feel she did.
It is no matter, said I, taking up a couple of the pairs next me, and putting them into my pocket.
I was sensible the beautiful grisette had not asked a single livre above the price. I wished she had asked a livre more; and was puzzling my brains how to bring the matter about, - Do you think, my dear Sir, said she, mistaking my embarrassment, that I could ask a sous too much of a stranger and of a stranger whose politeness, more than his want of gloves, has done me the honour to lay himself at my mercy? Men croyez capable ? Faith! not I, said I; and if you were, you are welcome. So, counting the money into her hand, and with a lower bow than one generally makes to a shopkeeper's wife I went out; and her lad with his parcel followed me.
THERE was nobody in the box I was let into, but a kindly old French officer. I love the character, not only because I honour the man whose manners are softened by a profession which makes bad men worse, but that I once knew one for he is no more, and why should I not rescue one page from violation by writing his name in it, and telling the world it was Captain Tobias Shandy, the dearest of my flock and friends, whose philanthropy I never think of at this long distance from his death, but my eyes gush out with tears. For his sake, I have a predilection for the whole corps of veterans; and so I strode over the two back rows of benches, and placed myself beside him.
The old officer was reading attentively a small pamphlet (it might be the book of the opera) with a large pair of spectacles. As soon as I sat down, he took his spectacles off, and, putting them into a shagreen case, returned them and the book into his pocket together. I half rose up, and made him a bow.
Translate this into any civilized language in the world, the sense is this:
“Here's a poor stranger come into the box; he seems as if he knew nobody: and is never likely, was he to be seven years in Paris, if every man he comes near keeps his spectacles upon his nose: - 'tis shutting the door of conversation absolutely in his face, and using him worse than a German.”
The French officer might as well have said it all aloud: and if he had, I should in course have put the