« ZurückWeiter »
(HE concern which the poor fellow's story threw me
into required some attention: the postilion paid not
the least to it, but set off upon the pavé in a full gallop. The thirstiest soul in the most sandy desert of Arabia could not have wished more for a cup of cold water, than mine did for grave and quiet movements; and I should have had an high opinion of the postilion, had he but stolen off with me in something like a pensive pace.-On the contrary, as the mourner finished his lamentation, the fellow gave an unfeeling lash to each of his beasts, and set off clattering like a thousand devils.
I called to him as loud as I could, for heaven's sake to go slower—and the louder I called, the more unmercifully he galloped.—The deuce take him and his galloping too—said I --he'll go on tearing my nerves to pieces till he has worked me into a foolish passion, and then he'll go slow, that may enjoy the sweets of it.
The postilion managed the point to a miracle: by the time he had got to the foot of a steep hill about half a league from Nampont, he had put me out of temper with him-and then with myself, for being so.
My case then required a different treatment; and a good rattling gallop would have been of real service to
—Then, prithee, get on-get on, my good lad, said I.
The postilion pointed to the hill—I then tried to return back to the story of the poor German and his ass—but I had broke the clue—and could no more get into it again, than the postilion could into a trot.
-The deuce go, said I, with it all! Here am I sitting as candidly disposed to make the best of the worst, as ever wight was, and all runs counter.
There is one sweet lenitive at least for evils, which Nature holds out to us: so I took it kindly at her hands, and fell asleep; and the first word which roused me was Amiens.
-Bless me! said I, rubbing my eyes-this is the very town where my poor lady is to come.
\HE words were scarce out of my mouth, when the
Count de L-'s post-chaise, with his sister in it,
drove hastily by: she had just time to make me a bow of recognition-and of that particular kind of it which told me she had not yet done with me. She was as good as her look; for, before I had quite finished my supper, her brother's servant came into the room with a billet, in which she said she had taken the liberty to charge me with a letter, which I was to present myself to Madame R- the first morning I had nothing to do at Paris. There was only added, she was sorry, but from what penchant she had not considered, that she had been prevented telling me her story—that she still owed it me; and if my route should ever lay through Brussels, and I had not by then forgot the name of Madame de L- --that Madame de L- would be glad to discharge her obligation.
Then I will meet thee, said I, fair spirit! at Brussels—'t is only returning from Italy through Germany to Holland, by the route of Flanders, home—'t will scarce be ten posts out of my way; but were it ten thousand! with what a moral delight will it crown my journey, in sharing in the sickening incidents of a tale of misery told to me by such a sufferer! to see her weep! and though I cannot dry up the fountain of her tears, what an exquisite sensation is there still left, in wiping them away from off the cheeks of the first and fairest of women, as I'm sitting with my handkerchief in my hand in silence the whole night besides her?
There was nothing wrong in the sentiment; and yet I instantly reproached my heart with it in the bitterest and most reprobate of expressions.
It had ever, as I told the reader, been one of the singular blessings of my life, to be almost every hour of it miserably in love with some one; and my last flame happening to be blown out by a whiff of jealousy on the sudden turn of a corner, I had lighted it up afresh at the pure taper of Eliza but about three months before-swearing as I did it, that it should last me through the whole journey.-Why should I dissemble the matter? I had sworn to her eternal fidelityshe had a right to my whole heart-to divide my affections was to lessen them—to expose them, was to risk them: where there is risk, there may be loss—and what wilt thou have, Yorick! to answer to a heart so full of trust and confidence -so good, so gentle, and unreproaching !
-I will not go to Brussels, replied I, interrupting myself, but my imagination went on-I recall'd her looks at that crisis of our separation, when neither of us had power to say Adieu !
look'd at the picture she had tied in a black ribband about my neck—and blush'd as I look'd at it.-I would have given the world to have kiss'd it—but was ashamed—and shall this tender Aower, 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.
ORTUNE had not smiled upon La Fleur; for he had been unsuccessful in his feats of chivalry—and not
one thing had offer'd to signalize his zeal for my service from the time he had enter'd into it, which was almost four and twenty hours. The poor soul burn'd 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 honor to his master, had taken him into a back parlor 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, and not to be behindhand in politeness with La Fleur, had taken him back with him to the Count's hotel. La Fleur's prevanancy (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 showing 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 maître d'hôtel, 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 order'd him up.
As the poor fellow could not present himself empty, he had loaden'd 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