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Dieu! said he, pressing his hands together-you ne~ ver used me unkindly.—I should think, said the lady, he is not likely. I blushed in my turn; but from what movements, I leave to the few who feel to analyze-Excuse me, Madam, replied I-I treated him most unkindly; and from no provocations-'Tis impossible, said the lady-My God! cried the monk, with a warmth of asseveration which seemed not to belong to him-the fault was in me, and in the indiscretion of my zeal-the lady opposed it, and I joined with her in maintaining it was impossible that a spirit, so regulated as his, could give offence to any.
I knew not that contention could be rendered so sweet and pleasurable a thing to the nerves as I then felt it-We remained silent, without any sensation of that foolish pain which takes place, when in such a circle you look for ten minutes in one another's faces without saying a word. Whilst this lasted, the monk rubbed his horn box upon the sleeve of his tunic; and as soon as it had acquired a little air of brightness by the friction-he made me a low bow, and said 'twas too late to say whether it was the weakness or goodness of our tempers which had involved us in this contest-but be it as it would-he begged we might exchange boxes-In saying this, he presented his to me with one hand, as he took mine from me in the other, and having kissed it-with a stream of good nature in his eyes he put it into his bosomand took his leave.
I guard this box, as I would the instrumental parts of my religion, to help my mind on to something better: in truth, I seldom go abroad without it; and oft and many a time have I called up by it the courteous spirit of its owner to regulate my own, in the justlings of the world; they had found full employment for his, as I learned from his story, till about the forty-fifth year of his age, when upon some military services ill requited, and meeting at the same time with a disap
pointment in the tenderest of passions, he abandoned the sword and the sex together, and took sanctuary not so much in his convent as in himself.
I feel a damp upon my spirits, as I am going to add, that in my last return through Calais, upon inquiring after Father Lorenzo, I heard that he had been dead near three months, and was buried, not in his convent, but, according to his desire, in a little cemetery belonging to it, about two leagues off; I had a strong desire to see where they had lain him—when, upon pulling out his little horn box, as I sat by his grave, and plucking up a nettle or two at the head of it, which had no business to grow there, they all struck together so forcibly upon my affections, that I burst into a flood of tears-but I am as weak as a woman; and I beg the world not to smile, but pity me.
THE REMISE DOOR.
I HAD never quitted the lady's hand all this time, and had held it so long, that it would have been indecent to have let it go, without first pressing it to my lips: the blood and spirits, which had suffered a revulsion from her, crowded back to her as I did it.
Now the two travellers, who had spoke to me in the coach-yard, happening at that crisis to be passing by, and observing our communications, naturally took it into their heads that we must be man and wife at least ; so stopping as soon as they came up to the door of the Remise, the one of them, who was the Inquisitive Traveller, asked us, if we set out for Paris the next morning?-I could only answer for myself, I said ; and the lady added, she was for Amiens-We dined there yesterday, said the Simple Traveller-You go directly through the town, added the other, in your road to Paris. I was going to return a thousand
thanks for the intelligence, that Amiens was in the road to Paris, but, upon pulling out my poor monk's little born box to take a pinch of snuff-I made them a quiet bow, and wishing them a good passage to Dover-they left us alone
-Now where would be the harm, said I to myself, if I were to beg of this distressed lady to accept of half of my chaise ?-and what mighty mischief could ensue?
Every dirty passion, and bad propensity in my nature took the alarm, as I stated the proposition-It will oblige you to have a third horse, said Avarice, which will put twenty livres out of your pocket-You know not what she is, said Caution-or what scrapes the affair may draw you into, whispered Cowardice
Depend upon it, Yorick! said Discretion, 'twill be said you went off with a mistress, and came by assignation to Calais for that purpose
You can never after, cried Hypocrisy alond, show your face in the world-or rise, quoth Meanness, in the church-or be any thing in it, said Pride, but a lousy prebendary.
But 'tis a civil thing, said I-and as I generally act from the first impulse, and therefore seldom listen to these cabals, which serve no purpose, that I know of, but to encompass the heart with adamant-I turned instantly about to the lady
-But she had glided off unperceived, as the cause was pleading, and had made ten or a dozen paces down the street, by the time I had made the determination; so I set off after her with a long stride, to make her the proposal with the best address I was master of: but observing she walked with her cheek half resting upon the palm of her hand-with the slow, short-measured step of thoughtfulness, and with her eyes, as she went step by step, fixed upon the ground, it struck me she was trying the same cause herself God help her! said I, she has some mother
in-law, or tartufish aunt, or nonsensical old woman, to consult upon the occasion, as well as myself: so not caring to interrupt the process, and deeming it more gallant to take her at discretion than by surprise, I faced about, and took a short turn or two before the door of the Remise, whilst she walked musing on one side.
IN THE STREET.
HAVING, on the first sight of the lady, settled the affair in my fancy "that she was of the better order of beings"—and then laid it down as a second axiom, as indisputable as the first, That she was a widow, and wore a character of distress-I went no further; I got ground enough for the situation which pleased me-and had she remained close beside my elbow till midnight, I should have held true to my system, and considered her only under that general idea.
She had scarce got twenty paces distant from me, ere something within me called out for a more particular inquiry-it brought on the idea of a further separation-I might possibly never see her morethe heart is for saving what it can; and I wanted the traces through which my wishes might find their way to her, in case I should never rejoin her myself: in a word, I wished to know her name-ber family -her condition; and as I knew the place to which she was going, I wanted to know from whence she came but there was no coming at all this intelligence; a hundred little delicacies stood in the way. I formed a score different plans-There was no such thing as a man's asking her directly-the thing was impossible.
A little French débonnaire captain, who came dancing down the street, showed me, it was the easiest
thing in the world; for popping in betwixt us, just as the lady was returning back to the door of the Remise, he introduced himself to my acquaintance, and before he had well got announced, begged I would do him the honour to present him to the lady -I had not been presented myself-so turning about to her, he did it just as well, by asking her if she had come from Paris? No she was going that route, she said.-Vous n'êtes pas de Londre?-She was not, she replied. Then Madam must have come through Flanders.-Apparemment vous étes Flammande? said the French captain-The lady answered, she wasPeut-être de Lisle? added he-She said, she was not of Lisle.-Nor Arras ?-nor Cambray ?-nor Ghent? nor Brussels? She answered, she was of Brussels.
He had had the honour, he said, to be at the bombardment of it last war-that it was finely situated, pour cela-and full of noblesse when the Imperialists were driven out by the French (the lady made a slight courtesy) so giving her an account of the affair, and of the share he had had in it-he begged the honour to know her name-so made his bow.
-Et Madame a son Mari?-said he, looking back when he had made two steps-and without staying for an answer-danced down the street.
Had I served seven years apprenticeship to good breeding, I could not have done as much.
As the little French captain left us, Monsieur Dessein came up with the key of the Remise in his hand, and forthwith let us into his magazine of chaises.
The first object which caught my eye, as Monsieur Dessein opened the door of the Remise, was another old tattered Désobligeant: and notwithstanding it was