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HE beautiful Grisset rose up when I said this, and going behind the counter, reach'd down a parcel and untied it: I advanced to the side over-against her: they were all too large. The beautiful Grisset measured them one by one across my hand-It would not alter the dimensions -She begg'd I would try a single pair, which seemed to be the least-She held it open-my hand slipped into it at once-It will not do, said I, shaking my head a little-No, said she, doing the same thing. There are certain combined looks of simple subtlety-where whim, and sense, and seriousness, and nonsense, are so blended, that all the languages of Babel set loose together could not express them -they are communicated and caught so instantaneously, that you can scarce say which party is the infector. I leave it to your men of words to swell pages about it—it is enough in the present to say again, the gloves would not do; so folding our hands within our arms, we both loll'd upon the counter—it was narrow, and there was just room for the parcel to lay between us.
The beautiful Grisset look'd sometimes at the
gloves, then side-ways to the window, then at the gloves-and then at me. I was not disposed to break silence-I follow'd her example: so I look'd at the gloves, then to the window, then at the gloves and then at her—and so on alternately.
I found I lost considerably in every attack —she had a quick black eye, and shot through two such long and silken eye-lashes with such penetration, that she look'd into my very heart and reins-It may seem strange, but I could actually feel she did
It is no matter, said I, taking up a couple of the pairs next me, and putting them into my pocket.
I was sensible the beautiful Grisset had not ask'd above a single livre above the price—I wish'd she had ask'd a livre more, and was puzzling my brains how to bring the matter about-Do you think, my dear Sir, said she, mistaking my embarrassment, that I could ask a sous too much of a stranger-and of a stranger whose politeness, more than his want of gloves, has done me the honour to lay himself at my mercy ?-M'en croyez capable?-Faith! not I, said I; and if you were, you are welcome-So counting the money into her hand, and with a lower bow than one generally makes to a shopkeeper's wife, I went out, and her lad with his parcel followed me.
HERE was nobody in the box I was let into but a kindly old French officer. I love the character, not only because I honour the man whose manners are softened by a profession which makes bad men worse; but that I once knew one-for he is no more-and why should I not rescue one page from violation by writing his name in it, and telling the world it was Captain Tobias Shandy, the dearest of my flock and friends, whose philanthropy I never think of at this long distance from his death-but my eyes gush out with tears. For his sake, I have a predilection for the whole corps of veterans; and so I strode over the two back rows of benches, and placed myself beside him.
The old officer was reading attentively a small pamphlet, it might be the book of the opera, with a large pair of spectacles. As soon as I sat down, he took his spectacles off, and putting them into a shagreen case, return'd them and the book into his pocket together. I half rose up, and made him a bow.
Translate this into any civilized language in the world-the sense is this:
"Here's a poor stranger come into the box -he seems as if he knew nobody; and is never likely, was he to be seven years in Paris, if every man he comes near keeps his spectacles upon his nose— 'tis shutting the door of conversation absolutely in his face—and using him worse than a German."
The French officer might as well have said it all aloud and if he had, I should in course have put the bow I made him into French too, and told him, "I was sensible of his attention, and return'd him a thousand thanks for it."
There is not a secret so aiding to the progress of sociality, as to get master of this short band, and be quick in rendering the several turns of looks and limbs, with all their inflections and delineations, into plain words. For my own part, by long habitude, I do it so mechanically, that when I walk the streets of London, I go translating all the way; and have more than once stood behind in the circle, where not three words have been said, and have brought off twenty different dialogues with me, which I could have fairly wrote down and sworn to.
I was going one evening to Martini's concert at Milan, and was just entering the door of the hall, when the Marquisina di F*** was coming out in a sort of a hurry-she was almost upon me before I saw her; so I gave a spring to one side to let her
pass-She had done the same, and on the same side too: so we ran our heads together: she instantly got to the other side to get out: I was just as unfortunate as she had been; for I had sprung to that side, and opposed her passage again-We both flew together to the other side, and then back-and so on -it was ridiculous; we both blush'd intolerably; so I did at last the thing I should have done at first -I stood stock still, and the Marquisina had no more difficulty. I had no power to go into the room, till I had made her so much reparation as to wait and follow her with my eye to the end of the passage-She look'd back twice, and walk'd along it rather sideways, as if she would make room for any one coming up stairs to pass her-No, said I—that's a vile translation: the Marquisina has a right to the best apology I can make her; and that opening is left for me to do it in-so I ran and begg'd pardon for the embarrassment I had given her, saying it was my intention to have made her way. She answered, she was guided by the same intention towards meso we reciprocally thank'd each other. She was at the top of the stairs; and seeing no chichesbee near her, I begg'd to hand her to her coach-so we went down the stairs, stopping at every third step to talk of the concert and the adventure- Upon my word, Madame, said I, when I had handed her in, I made