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left us together, with her hand in mine, and with our faces turned towards the door of the Remise, and said he would be back in five minutes.
Now a colloquy of five minutes, in such a situation, is worth one of as many ages, with your faces turned towards the street. In the latter case, 't is drawn from the objects and occurrences without-when your eyes are fixed upon a dead blank-you draw purely from yourselves. A silence of a single moment upon Monsieur Dessein's leaving us, had been fatal to the situation—she had infallibly turned about—so I begun the conversation instantly.
But what were the temptations (as I write not to apologize for the weaknesses of my heart in this tour,—but to give an account of them) shall be described with the same simplicity with which I felt them.
THE REMISE DOOR
HEN I told the reader that I did not care to get out
of the Desobligeant, because I saw the monk in
close conference with a lady just arrived at the inn - I told him the truth; but I did not tell him the whole truth; for I was full as much restrained by the appearance and figure of the lady he was talking to. Suspicion crossed my brain, and said, he was telling her what had passed; something jarred upon it within me. I wished him at his convent.
When the heart flies out before the understanding, it saves the judgment a world of pains.—I was certain she was of a better order of beings—however, I thought no more of her, but went on and wrote my preface.
The impression returned upon my encounter with her in the street; a guarded frankness with which she gave me her hand, showed, I thought, her good education and her good
Ι sense; and as I led her on, I felt a pleasurable ductility about her, which spread a calmness over all my spirits
-Good God! how a man might lead such a creature as this round the world with him!
I had not yet seen her face—'t was not material; for the drawing was instantly set about, and long before we had got to the door of the Remise, Fancy had finish'd the whole head, and pleased herself as much with its fitting her goddess, as if she had dived into the TIBER for it.—But thou art a seduced, and a seducing slut; and albeit thou cheatest us seven times a day with thy pictures and images, yet with so many charms dost thou do it, and thou deckest out thy pictures in the shapes of so many angels of light, 't is a shame to break with thee.
When we had got to the door of the Remise, she withdrew her hand from across her forehead, and let me see the original-it was a face of about six and twenty-of a clear transparent brown, simply set off without rouge or powder
it was not critically handsome, but there was that in it, which, in the frame of mind I was in, attached me much more to itit was interesting; I fancied it wore the characters of a widow'd look, and in that state of its declension, which had passed the two first paroxysms of sorrow, and was quietly beginning to reconcile itself to its loss—but a thousand other distresses might have traced the same lines; I wish'd to know what they had been—and was ready to inquire (had the same bon ton of conversation permitted, as in the days of Esdras)-“What aileth thee? and why art thou disquieted! and why is thy understanding troubled ?”—In a word, I felt benevolence for her; and resolv'd some way or other to throw in my mite of courtesy—if not of service.
Such were my temptations—and in this disposition to give way to them, was I left alone with the lady with her hand in mine, and with our faces both turned closer to the door of the Remise than what was absolutely necessary.
HIS certainly, fair lady! said I, raising her hand up a
a little lightly as I began, must be one of Fortune's
whimsical doings: to take two utter strangers by their hands-of different sexes, and perhaps from different corners of the globe, and in one moment place them together in such a cordial situation as Friendship herself could scarce have achieved for them, had she projected it for a month.
- And your reflection upon it, shows how much, Monsieur, she has embarrassed you by the adventure.
When the situation is what we would wish, nothing is so ill-timed as to hint at the circumstances which make it so. You thank Fortune, continued she-you had reason-the heart knew it, and was satisfied; and who but an English philosopher would have sent notices of it to the brain to reverse the judgment ?
In saying this she disengaged her hand with a look which I thought a sufficient commentary upon the text.
It is a miserable picture which I am going to give of the weakness of my heart, by owning that it suffered a pain, which worthier occasions could not have inflicted. I was mortified with the loss of her hand, and the manner in which I had lost it carried neither oil nor wine to the wound: I never felt the pain of a sheepish inferiority so miserably in
The triumphs of a true feminine heart are short upon these discomfitures. In a very few seconds she laid her hand upon the cuff of my coat, in order to finish her reply; so some way or other, God knows how, I regained my situation.
-She had nothing to add.
I forthwith began to model a different conversation for the lady, thinking from the spirit as well as moral of this,
that I had been mistaken in her character; but upon turning
The pulsations of the arteries along my fingers pressing across hers, told her what was passing within me: she look'd down-a silence of some moments followed.
I fear, in this interval, I must have made some efforts towards a closer compression of her hand, from a subtle sensation I felt in the palm of my own—not as if she was going to withdraw hers—but as if she thought about it, and I had infallibly lost it a second time, had not instinct more than reason directed me to the last resource in these dangers—to hold it loosely and in a manner as if I was every moment going to release it of myself; so she let it continue till Monsieur Dessein returned with the key; and in the mean time I set myself to consider how I should undo the ill impressions which the poor monk's story, in case he had told it her, must have planted in her breast against me.