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-This is noble! said I, clapping my hands together -And yet you would not permit this, said the old officer, in England.
-In England, dear Sir, said I, we sit all
at our ease.
The old French officer would have set me at unity with myself, in case I had been at variance, -by saying it was a bon mot-and as a bon mot is always worth something at Paris, he offered me a pinch of snuff.
T was now my turn to ask the old French officer, "what was the matter?" for a cry of “ Haussex " les mains, Monsieur l'Abbé," re-echoed from a dozen different parts of the parterre, was as unintelligible to me, as my apostrophe to the monk had
been to him.
He told me, it was some poor Abbé in one of the upper loges, who he supposed had got planted perdu behind a couple of grissets, in order to see the opera, and that the parterre espying him, were insisting upon his holding up both his hands during the representation.-And can it be supposed, said I, that an ecclesiastic would pick the grissets' pockets?
The old French officer smiled, and whispering in my ear, opened a door of knowledge which I had no idea of.
Good God! said I, turning pale with astonishment-is it possible, that a people so smit with sentiment should at the same time be so unclean, and so unlike themselves- -Quelle grossierté !
The French officer told me it was an illiberal sarcasm at the church, which had begun in the theatre about the time the Tartuffe was given in it, by Moliere-but, like other remains of Gothic manners, was declining-Every nation, continued he, have their refinements and grossiertés, in which they take the lead, and lose it of one another by turns that he had been in most countries, but never in one where he found not some delicacies, which others seemed to want. Le POUR et le CONTRE se trouvant en chaque nation; there is a balance, said he, of good and bad every where; and nothing but the knowing it is so, can emancipate one-half of the world from the prepossession which it holds against the other that the advantage of travel, as it regarded the sçavoir vivre, was by seeing a great deal both of men and manners; it taught us mutual toleration; and mutual toleration, concluded he, making me a bow, taught us mutual love.
The old French officer delivered this with an air of such candour and good sense, as coincided with my first favourable impressions of his character -I thought I loved the man; but I fear I mistook the object-'twas my own way of thinking-the difference was, I could not have expressed it half so well.
It is alike troublesome to both the rider and his beast—if the latter goes pricking up his ears, and starting all the way at every object which he never saw before I have as little torment of this kind as any creature alive; and yet I honestly confess, that many a thing gave me pain, and that I blush'd at many a word the first month-which I found inconsequent and perfectly innocent the second.
Madame de Rambouliet, after an acquaintance of about six weeks with her, had done me the honour to take me in her coach about two leagues out of town.- Of all women, Madame de Rambouliet is the most correct; and I never wish to see one of more virtues and purity of heart-In our return back, Madame de Rambouliet desired me to pull the cord-I asked her if she wanted any thing Rien que pisser, said Madame de
Grieve not, gentle traveller, to let Madame de Rambouliet p-ss on-And, ye fair mystic
nymphs ! go each one pluck your rose, and scatter them in your path--for Madame de Rambouliet did no more I handed Madame de Rambouliet out of the coach; and had I been the priest of the chaste CASTALIA, I Could not have served at her fountain with a more respectful decorum.
THE FILLE DE CHAMBRE
HAT the old French officer had delivered upon travelling, bringing Polonius's advice to his son upon the same subject into my head—and that bringing in Hamlet; and Hamlet the rest of Shakespeare's works, I stopp'd at the Quai de Conti in my return home, to purchase the whole set.
The bookseller said he had not a set in the world-Comment! said I; taking one up out of a set which lay upon the counter betwixt us- -He said, they were sent him only to be got bound, and were to be sent back to Versailles in the morning to the Count de B****.
—And does the Count de B****, said I, read Shakespeare? C'est un Esprit fort, replied the bookseller. He loves English books; and what is
more to his honour, Monsieur, he loves the English too. You speak this so civilly, said I, that it is enough to oblige an Englishman to lay out a Louis d'or or two at your shop-The bookseller made a bow, and was going to say something, when a young decent girl about twenty, who by her air and dress seemed to be fille de chambre to some devout woman of fashion, came into the shop and asked for Les Egarements du Cœur & de l'Esprit: the bookseller gave her the book directly; she pulled out a little green sattin purse, run round with ribband of the same colour, and putting her finger and thumb into it, she took out the money and paid for it. As I had nothing more to stay me in the shop, we both walk'd out of the door together.
And what have you to do, my dear, said I, with The Wanderings of the Heart, who scarce know yet you have one; nor, till love has first told you it, or some faithless shepherd has made it ache, canst thou ever be sure it is so ?-Le Dieu m'en garde! said the girl.-With reason, said Ifor if it is a good one, 'tis pity it should be stolen; 'tis a little treasure to thee, and gives a better air to your face, than if it was dress'd out with pearls.
The young girl listened with a submissive attention, holding her sattin purse by its ribband in her hand all the time-'Tis a very small one, said