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(HE good old monk was within six paces of us, as the
idea of him cross'd my mind; and was advancing
towards us a little out of the line, as if uncertain whether he should break in upon us or no.—He stopp'd, however, as soon as he came up to us, with a world of frankness: and having a horn snuff-box in his hand, he presented it open to me.—You shall taste mine-said I, pulling out my box (which was a small tortoise one) and putting it into his hand.—'T is most excellent, said the monk. Then do me the favor, I replied, to accept of the box and all, and when you take a pinch out of it, sometimes recollect it was the peace offering of a man who once used you unkindly, but not from his heart.
The poor monk blush'd as red as scarlet. Mon Dieu! said he, pressed his hands together-you never used me unkindly. -I should think, said the lady, he is not likely. I blush'd in my turn; but from what movements I leave to the few who feel to analyze.-Excuse me, Madame, replied I–I treated him most unkindly, and from no provocations.—'T is impossible, said the lady.-My God! cried the monk, with a warmth of asseveration which seem'd not to belong to him—the fault was in me, and in the indiscretion of my zeal.— The lady opposed it, and I joined with her in maintaining it was impossible, that a spirit so regulated as his, could give offense
I knew not that contention could be rendered so sweet and pleasurable a thing to the nerves as I then felt it.-We remained silent without any sensation of that foolish pain which takes place, when in such a circle you look for ten minutes in one another's faces without saying a word. Whilst this lasted, the monk rubb’d his horn box upon the sleeve of his tunic; and as soon as it had acquired a little air of bright
ness by the friction—he made a low bow, and said, 't was too late to say whether it was the weakness or goodness of our tempers which had involv'd us in this contest.-But be it as it would-he begg'd we might exchange boxes.-In saying this, he presented his to me with one hand, as he took mine from me in the other; and having kiss'd it—with a stream of good nature in his eyes he put it into his bosom—and took his leave.
I guard this box, as I would the instrumental parts of my religion, to help my mind on to something better : in truth, I seldom go abroad without it: and oft and many a time have I call’d up by it the courteous spirit of its owner to regulate my own, in the justlings of the world; they had found full employment for his, as I learnt from his story, till about the forty-fifth year of his age, when upon some military services ill requited, and meeting at the same time with a disappointment in the tenderest of passions, he abandon'd the sword and the sex together, and took sanctuary, not so much in his convent as in himself.
I feel a damp upon my spirits, as I am going to add, that in my last return through Calais, upon inquiring after Father Lorenzo, I heard he had been dead near three months, and was buried, not in his convent, but, according to his desire, in a little cemetery belonging to it, about two leagues off: I had a strong desire to see where they had laid him—when upon pulling out his little horn box, as I sat by his grave, and plucking up a nettle or two at the head of it, which had no business to grow there, they all struck together so forcibly upon my affections, that I burst into a flood of tears—but I am as weak as a woman; and I beg the world not to smile, but pity me.
THE REMISE DOOR
HAD never quitted the lady's hand all this time; and had held it so long, that it would have been indecent to
have let it go, without first pressing it to my lips: the blood and spirits, which had suffer'd a revulsion from her, crowded back to her, as I did it.
Now the two travelers, who had spoke to me in the coachyard, happening at that crisis to be passing by, and observing our communications, naturally took it into their heads that we must be man and wife, at least; so stopping as soon as they came up to the door of the Remise, the one of them, who was the Inquisitive Traveler, ask'd us, if we set out for Paris the next morning ?-I could only answer for myself, I said; and the lady added, she was for Amiens.—We dined there yesterday, said the Simple Traveler.—You go directly through the town, added the other, in your road to Paris. I was going to return a thousand thanks for the intelligence, that Amiens was in the road to Paris; but upon pulling out my poor monk's little horn box to take a pinch of snuffI made them a quiet bow, and wishing them a good passage to Dover—they left us alone.
-Now where would be the harm, said I to myself, if I was to beg of this distressed lady to accept of half of my chaise ? —and what mighty mischief could ensue?
Every dirty passion, and bad propensity in my nature, took the alarm, as I stated the proposition. It will oblige you to have a third horse, said Avarice, which will put twenty livres out of your pocket.—You know not who she is, said Caution -or what scrapes the affair may draw you into, whisper'd COWARDICE.
Depend upon it, Yorick! said DISCRETION, 't will be said you went off with a mistress, and came by assignation to Calais for that purpose. —
-You can never after, cried HYPOCRISY aloud, show your face in the world-or rise, quoth MEANNESS, in the churchor be anything in it, said Pride, but a lousy prebendary.
-But 't is a civil thing, said I—and as I generally act from the first impulse, and therefore seldom listen to these cabals, which serve no purpose that I know of, but to encompass the heart with adamant-I turn'd instantly about to the lady.
-But she had glided off unperceived, as the cause was pleading, and had made ten or a dozen paces down the street, by the time I had made the determination; so I set off after her with a long stride, to make her the proposal with the best address I was master of; but observing she walk'd with her cheek half resting upon the palm of her hand-with the slow, short, measur'd step of thoughtfulness, and with her eyes, as she went step by step, fix'd upon the ground, it struck me, she was trying the same cause herself.—God help her! said I, she has some mother-in-law, or tartufish aunt, or nonsensical old woman, to consult upon the occasion, as well as myself: so not caring to interrupt the process, and deeming it more gallant to take her at discretion than by surprise, I faced about, and took a short turn or two before the door of the Remise, whilst she walk'd musing on one side.
IN THE STREET
AVING, on first sight of the lady, settled the affair in my fancy, “that she was of the better order of beings”
-and then laid it down as a second axiom, as indisputable as the first, that she was a widow, and wore a character of distress—I went no further; I got ground enough for the situation which pleased me—and had she remained close beside my elbow till midnight, I should have held true to my system, and considered her only under that general idea.
She had scarce got twenty paces distant from me, ere something within me called out for a more particular inquiry -it brought on the idea of a further separation-I might possibly never see her more—the heart is for saving what it can; and I wanted the traces thro’ which my wishes might find their way to her, in case I should never rejoin her myself: in a word, I wish'd to know her name—her family's her condition; and as I knew the place to which she was going, I wanted to know from whence she came: but there was no coming at all this intelligence: a hundred little delicacies stood in the way. I form'd a score different plansThere was no such thing as a man's asking her directly—the thing was impossible.
A little French débonnaire captain, who came dancing down the street, showed me, it was the easiest thing in the world; for popping in betwixt us, just as the lady was returning back to the door of the Remise, he introduced himself to my acquaintance, and before he had well got announced, begg'd I would do him the honor to present him to the ladyI had not been presented myself—so turning about to her, he did it just as well by asking her, if she had come from Paris ?—No, she was going that route, she said.-Vous n'êtes pas de Londres?-She was not, she replied. Then