Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ment to make a conjecture about it, --so instantly made a declaration that I would do any thing in my power.

As this did not amount to an absolute surrender of my bed - chamber, I still felt myself so much the proprietor, as to have a right to do the honours of it; - so I desir'd the lady to sit down

pressed her into the warmest seat – call'd for more wood

desir'd the hostess to enlarge the plan of the supper, and to favour us with the very best wine.

The, lady had scarce warm'd herself five minutes at the fire, before she began to turn her head back, and give a look at the beds, and the oftener she cast her eyes that way, the more they returned perplexed. - I felt for her

and for myself; for in a few minutes, what by her looks, and the case itself, I found myself as much enibarrass'd as it was possible the lady could be herself.

That the beds we were lie in were in one and the same room, was enough simply by itself to have excited all this ; - but the position of them, for they stood parallel, and so very close to each other as only to allow space for a small wicker-chair betwixt them, rendered the affair still more oppressive to us, they were fixed up moreover near the fire, and the projection of the chimney on one side, and a large beam which cross'd the room on the other, form'd a kind of recess for them that was

no way favourable to the nicety of our sensations: if any thing could have added to it, it was that the two beds were both of them so very small, as to cut us off from every idea of the lady and the maid lying to, gether; which in either of them, could it have been feasible, my lying beside them, though a thing not to be wish'd, yet there was nothing in it so terrible, which the imagination might not have pass'd over without torment.

As for the little room within, it offer'd little or no consolation to us; 'twas a damp cold closet, with a half dismantled window-shutter, and with a window which had neither glass or oil.paper in

[ocr errors]

it, to keep out the tempest of the night. I did not endeavour to stifle my cough when the lady gave a peep into it; so it reduced the case in course to this alternative that the lady should sacri. fice her health to her feelings, and take up with the closet herself, and abandon the bed next mine to her maid, or that the girl should take the closet, etc. etc.

The lady was a Piedmontese of about thirty, with a glow of health in her cheeks. The maiả was a Lionoise of twenty, and as brisk and lively a French girl as ever moved. There were diffi. culties every way, - and the obstacle of the stone in the road, which brought us into the distress, great as it appeared whilst the peasants were removing it, was but a pebble to what lay in our way now. - I have only to add, that it did not lessen the weight which hung upon our spirits, that we were both too delicate to communicate what we felt to each other upon the occasion.

We sat down to supper; and had we not had more generous wine to it than a little inn in Savoy could have furnish'd, our tongues had been tied up till Necessity herself had set them at li. berty'; but the lady having a few bottles of Burgundy in her voiture, sent down her fille de chambre for a couple of them; so that by the time supper was over, and we were left alone, we felt ourselves inspired with a strength of mind sufficient to talk, at least, without reserve upon our situation. We turned it every way, and de-. bated and considered it in all kinds of lights in the course of a two hours negotiation; at the end of which the articles were settled finally betwixt us, and stipulated for in form and manner of a treaty of peace, and I believe, with as much religion and good faith on both sides, as in any treaty which has yet had the honour of being handed down to posterity.

They were as follow :

First. As the right of the bed - chamber is in Monsieur, - and he thinking the bed next to the fire to be the warmest, he insists upon the concession on the lady's side of taking up with it.

[ocr errors]

Granted, on the part of Madame, with a proviso, That as the curtains of that bed are of a flimsy transparent cotton, and appear likewise too scanty to draw close, that the fille de chainbre shall fasten up the opening either by corkingpins, or needle and thread, in such manner as shall be deemed a sufficient barrier on the side of Monsieur.

2dly. It is required on the part of Madame, that Monsieur shall lie the whole night through in his robe de chain bre.

Rejected: inasmuch as Monsieur is not worth a robe de cbambre; he having nothing in his portmanteau but six shirts and a black silk pair of breeches.

The mentioning the silk pair of breeches made an entire change of the article, – for the breeches were accepted as an equivalent for the robe de chambre; and so it was stipulated and agreed upon, that I should lie in my black silk breeches all night.

3dly. It was insisted upon, and stipulated for by the lady, that after Monsieur was got to bed and the candle and fire extinguished, that Monsieur should not speak one single word the whole night.

Granted, provided Monsieur's saying his prayers might not be deemed an infraction of the treaty.

There was but one point forgot in this treaty, and that was the manner in which the lady and bed. — There was but one way of doing it, and myself should be obliged to undress and get to that I leave to the reader to devise, protesting as I do it, that if it is not the most delicate in nature, 'tis the fault of his own imagination, against which this is not my first complaint.

Now, when we were got to bed, whether it was the novelty of the situation, or what it was, I know not, but so it was, I could not shut my eyes; I tried this side and that, and turn’d and turn'd again, till a full hour after midnight, when nature and patience both wearing out, – 0 my God! said I.

You have broke the treaty, Monsieur, said

[graphic]

the lady, who had no more slept than myself. I beggd a thousand pardons ; but insisted it was no more than an ejaculation - She maintained 'twas an entire infraction of the treaty. - I maintained it was provided for in the clause of the third article.

The lady would by nu means give up the point, though she weakened her barrier by it; for in the warmth of the dispute, I could hear two or three corking -pins fall out of the curtain to the ground.

Upon my word and honour, Madame, said I

stretching my arm out of bed by way of asseveration

(- I was going to have added, that I would not have'trespassed against the remotest idea of decorum for the world)

But the fille de chambre hearing there were words between us, and fearing that hostilities would ensue in course, had crept silently out of her closet, and it being totally dark, had stolen so close to our beds, that she had got herself into the narrow passage which separated them, and had advanc'd so far up as to be in a line betwixt her mistress and me

So that when I stretch'd out my hand, I caught hold of the fille de chambre's

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »