Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

two years, he enlisted as a soldier, remained a drummer in the French army six years, deserted in the dress of a peasant, arrived at Montreuil-sur-Mer, and was presented to Sterne covered with rags, but with an erect bearing, a piercing eye, and a ruddy complexion. To him are owing the following valuable particulars of the characters introduced by Sterne in his "Sentimental Journey."

"The lady, noticed under the initial L

was the Mar

chioness de Lambert, to whom my master was indebted for a passport, the want of which began to render him seriously

uneasy.

"The dead ass is not a fiction. The poor man bathed in tears, was as simple and interesting as my master described him. I remember the circumstance perfectly.

When we

"Poor Maria's story is, alas! but too true. met her, she was rolling on the ground like a child, and covering her head with dust. My master accosted her, and raised her in his arms. She became calm, related her misfortune, and shed tears. My master sobbed. Maria then gently disengaged herself, and sang a hymn to the Virgin. My poor master covered his face with his hands, and conducted her to her cottage. He there found the old woman, and spoke to her gravely. I carried them provisions every day from the hotel; and when my master quitted Moulines, he left the mother his blessing and a little money. I know not how

much, but it is certain that he always gave more than he could afford; thus he often found himself short of money. He had ill calculated his expenses, having only reckoned those of travelling, without taking into the account the poor wretches he would have to relieve on the road. I remember

that at almost every post, he would turn to me, with tears in his eyes, and say, 'These poor creatures afflict me much, my dear La Fleur. How can I relieve them?'

"The only men in whom he did not appear to take any interest, were the monks; I remember his answer to many who came to beg of us: Father, I am engaged; I am poor, like yourself." "

6

[graphic]

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

THROUGH

FRANCE AND ITALY.

"THEY order," said I, "this matter better in France

[ocr errors]

"You have been in France?" said my gentleman, turning quick upon me, with the most civil triumph in the world.

66

"Strange!" quoth I, debating the matter with myself, "that one-and-twenty miles' sailing (for 't is absolutely no further from Dover to Calais) should give a man these rights -I'll look into them :" so, giving up the argument, I went straight to my lodgings, put up half-a-dozen shirts and a black pair of silk breeches "the coat I have on," said I, looking at the sleeve, "will do"-took a place in the Dover stage; and the packet sailing at nine the next morning, by three I had got sat down to my dinner upon a fricasseed chicken so incontestibly in France, that had I died that night of an indigestion, the whole world could not have suspended the effects

A

[graphic][subsumed]

*

of the Droits d'aubaine: my shirts, and black pair of silk breeches, portmanteau, and all, must have gone to the King of France: even the little picture which I have so long worn, and so often have told thee, Eliza, I would carry with me to my grave, would have been torn from my neck.-Ungenerous!to seize upon the wreck of an unwary passenger, whom your subjects had beckoned to their coast-by heaven! sire, it is not well done; and much does it grieve me, 't is the monarch of a people so civilised and courteous, and so renowned for sentiment and fine feelings, that I have to reason with

But I have scarce set foot in your dominions

* All the effects of strangers (Swiss and Scots excepted) dying in France, are seized by virtue of this law, though the heir be upon the spot. The profit of these contingencies being farmed, there is no redress. [This law has been abrogated many years. ED.]

[graphic][merged small]

WHEN I had finished my dinner, and drank the King of France's health, to satisfy my mind that I bore him no spleen, but, on the contrary, high honour for the humanity of his temper, I rose up an inch taller for the accommodation.

[ocr errors]

"No," said I, "the Bourbon is by no means a cruel race : they may be misled, like other people; but there is a mildness in their blood." As I acknowledged this, I felt a suffusion of a finer kind upon my cheek, more warm and friendly to man, than what Burgundy (at least, of two livres a bottle, which was such as I had been drinking) could have produced.

-"Just God!" said I, kicking my portmanteau aside, "what is there in this world's goods which should sharpen our spirits, and make so many kind-hearted brethren of us fall out so cruelly as we do by the way?"

« ZurückWeiter »