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I had not got ten paces from the door, before I found I had forgot every tittle of what she had said -so looking back, and seeing her still standing in the door of the shop as if to look whether I went right or not- -I returned back, to ask her whether the first turn was to my right or left- -for that I had absolutely forgot. Is it possible? said she, half laughing. 'Tis very possible, replied I, when a man is thinking more of a woman, than of her good advice.
As this was the real truth-she took it, as every woman takes a matter of right, with a slight courtesy.
-Attendez, said she, laying her hand upon my arm to detain me, whilst she called a lad out of the back-shop to get ready a parcel of gloves. I am just going to send him, said she, with a packet into that quarter, and if you will have the complaisance to step in, it will be ready in a moment, and he shall attend you to the place.—So I walk'd in with her to the far side of the shop, and taking up the ruffle in my hand which she laid upon the chair, as if I had a mind to sit, she sat down herself in her low chair, and I instantly sat myself down beside her.
-He will be ready, Monsieur, said she, in a moment—And in that moment, replied I, most
willingly would I say something very civil to you for all these courtesies. Any one may do a casual act of good-nature, but a continuation of them shews it is a part of the temperature; and certainly, added I, if it is the same blood which comes from the heart, which descends to the extremes (touching her wrist), I am sure you must have one of the best pulses of any woman in the world-Feel it, said she, holding out her arm. So laying down my hat, I took hold of her fingers in one hand, and applied the two forefingers of my other to the artery—
-Would to heaven! my dear Eugenius, thou hadst passed by, and beheld me sitting in my black coat, and in my lack-a-day-sical manner, counting the throbs of it, one by one, with as much true devotion as if I had been watching the critical ebb or flow of her fever- How wouldst thou have laugh'd and moralized upon my new profession!
-and thou shouldst have laugh'd and moralized on-Trust me, my dear Eugenius, I should have said, “there are worse occupations in this world than feeling a woman's pulse.”—But a Grisset's! thou wouldst have said—and in an open shop! Yorick
-So much the better: for when my views are direct, Eugenius, I care not if all the world saw me feel it.
HAD counted twenty pulsations, and was going on fast towards the fortieth, when her husband coming unexpected from a back parlour into the shop, put me a little out of my reckoning. 'Twas nobody but her husband, she said—so I began a fresh score-Monsieur is so good, quoth she, as he pass'd by us, as to give himself the trouble of feeling my pulse-The husband took off his hat, and making me a bow, said, I did him too much honour -and having said that, he put on his hat and walk'd out.
Good God! said I to myself, as he went out --and can this man be the husband of this woman! Let it not torment the few who know what must have been the grounds of this exclamation, if I explain it to those who do not.
In London a shopkeeper and a shopkeeper's wife seem to be one bone and one flesh in the several endowments of mind and body, sometimes the one, sometimes the other has it, so as in general to be upon a par, and to tally with each other as nearly as a man and wife need to do.
In Paris, there are scarce two orders of beings
more different for the legislative and executive powers of the shop not resting in the husband, he seldom comes there- -in some dark and dismal room behind, he sits commerceless in his thrum night-cap, the same rough son of Nature that Nature left him.
The genius of a people where nothing but the monarchy is salique, having ceded this department, with sundry others, totally to the women-by a continual higgling with customers of all ranks and sizes from morning to night, like so many rough pebbles shook long together in a bag, by amicable collisions, they have worn down their asperities and sharp angles, and not only become round and smooth, but will receive, some of them, a polish like a brilliant -Monsieur le Mari is little better than the stone under your foot
—Surely-surely, man! it is not good for thee to sit alone-thou wast made for social intercourse and gentle greetings, and this improvement of our natures from it, I appeal to, as my evidence. -And how does it beat, Monsieur ? said she. -With all the benignity, said I, looking quietly in her eyes, that I expected-She was going to say something civil in return -but the lad came into the shop with the gloves-A propos, said I, I want a couple of pair myself.