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Then I will meet thee, said I, fair spirit! at Brussels-'tis only returning from Italy through Germany to Holland, by the route of Flanders, home 'twill 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 beside 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 fidelity—she 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 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 recalled her looks at that crisis of our separation, when neither of us had power to say adieu! I 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 flower, 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 offered to signalize his zeal for my service from the time he had entered into it, which was almost four-andtwenty 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 honour to his master, had taken him into a back parlour 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 behind-hand in politeness with La Fleur, had taken him back with him to the Count's hotel. La Fleur's prevenancy (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 maitre d'hotel, 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 ordered 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 enquiries after Madame de L- 's health-told her, that Monsieur his master was au desespoire for her re-establishment from the fatigues of her journey— and, to close all, that Monsieur had received the letter which Madame had done him the honour -And he has done me the honour, said Madame de L interrupting La Fleur, to send a billet
Madame de L
had said this with such a
tone of reliance upon the fact, that La Fleur had not power to disappoint her expectations-he trembled for my honour-and possibly might not altogether be unconcerned for his own, as a man capable of being attached to a master who could be wanting en egards vis à vis d'une femme! so that
when Madame de L― asked La Fleur asked La Fleur if he had brought a letter—O qu'oui, said La Fleur; so laying down his hat upon the ground, and taking hold of the flap of his right-side pocket with his left-hand, he began to search for the letter with his right—then contrary-wise. Diable !—then sought every pocket, pocket by pocket, round, not forgetting his fobPeste !-then La Fleur emptied them upon the floor
-pulled out a dirty cravat-a handkerchief—a comb-a whip-lash—a night-cap-then gave a peep into his hat-Quelle etourderie! He had left the letter upon the table in the Auberge—he would run for it, and be back with it in three minutes.
I had just finished my supper when La Fleur came in to give me an account of his adventure: he told me the whole story simply as it was; and only added, that if Monsieur had forgot (par hazard) to answer Madame's letter, the arrangement gave him an opportunity to recover the faux pas- -and if not, that things were only as they were.
Now I was not altogether sure of my etiquette, whether I ought to have wrote or no; but if I had -a devil himself could not have been angry. 'Twas but the officious zeal of a well-meaning creature for my honour; and however he might have mistook the road, or embarrassed me in so doing his heart was in no fault-I was under no necessity to write