Abbildungen der Seite

breeches portmanteau and all must have gone to the King of France-even the little picture which I have 80 long worn, and so often have told thee, Eliza, I would carry with me into my grave, would have been torn from my neck.-Ungenerons ! to seize apon 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, 'tis the monarch of a people so civilized and courteous, and so repowned for sentiment and fine feelings, that I

ave to reason with But I have scarce set a foot in your dominions-

CALAIS. 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-) rose up an inch taller for the accommodation.

-No, said I, the Bourbon is by no means a cruel race: they may be misled like other people; bnt there is a mildness in their blood. As I acknow. ledged 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 pro. duced.

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 đo by the


When man is at peace with man, how much lighter than a feather is the heaviest of metals in his hand I he pulls out bis purse, and, holding it airily and uncompressed, looks round him, as if he sought for an object to share it with—In doing this, I felt every vessel in my frame dilate-the arteries beat all cheerly together, and every power wbich sustained life, performed it with so little friction, that 't would

[ocr errors]

have confounded the most physical precieuse in France : with all her materialism, she could scarce have called me a machine

I'm confident, said I to myself, I should have over. set her creed.

The accession of that idea carried nature, at that time, as high as she could go-I was at peace with the world before, and this finished the treaty with my. self

--Now, was I King of France, cried I-What a moment for an orphan to have begged his father's portmantean of me!


CALAIS. I HAD scarce uttered the words, when a poor monk of the order of St. Francis came into the room to beg something for his convent. No man cares to have his virtues the sport of contingencies or one man may be generous, as another man is puissant-sed non, quo ad hanc-or be it as it may-for there is no regular reasoning upon the ebbs and flows of our humours; they may depend upon the same causes, for anght I know, which iufluence the tides themselves'twould oft be no discredit to us, to suppose it was so: I'm sure at least for myself, that in many a case I should be more highly satisfied, to have it said by the world, " I had had an affair with the moon, in which there was neither sin por shame," than have it pass altogether as my own act and deed, wherein there was 80 much of both.

-Bat be this as it may. - The moment I cast my eyes upon him, I was predetermined not to give him a single sous; and accordingly I put my parse into my pocket-buttoned it up-set myself a little more upon my centre, and advanced up gravely to bim; there was something, I fear, forbidding in my look: I bave his figure this moment before my eyes, and think there was that in it which deserved better.

The monk, as I judged from the break in his tonsure, a few scattered wbite hairs upon his temples, being all that remained of it, might be about seventy ; but from his eyes, and that sort of fire which was in them, which seemed more tempered by courtesy than years, could be no more than sixty-Truth might lie between-He was rertainly sixty-five; and the general air of his countenance, notwithstanding something seemed to have been planting wrinkles in it before their time, agreed to the account.

It was one of those heads, which Guido has often painted-mild, pale-penetrating, free from all come mon-place ideas of fat contented ignorance looking downwards upon the earth-it looked forwards ; but looked, as if it looked at something beyond this world. How one of his order came by it, heaven above, who let it fall upon a monk's shoulders, best knows: but it would have suited a Bramin, and had I met it upon the plains of Indostan, I had reverepced it.

The rest of his outline may be given in a few strokes; one might put it into the hands of any one to design, for 'twas neither elegant nor otherwise, but as character and expression made it so: it was a thin, spare form, something above the common size, if it lost not the distinction by a bend forward in the figare--but it was the attitude of Intreaty; and, as it now stands presented to my imagination, it gained more than it lost by it.

When he had entered the room three paces, he stood still ; and laying his left hand upon his breast (a slender white staff with which he journeyed being in his right) when I had got close up to him, he introduced himself with the little story of the wants of his convent, and the poverty of his order--aud did it with so simple a grace--and such an air of depreca, tion was there in the whole cast of his look and figure

I was bewitched not to have been struck with it -A better reason was, I bad predetermined not to give him a single sous.


CALAIS. 'TIS very true, said I, replying to a cast upwards with his eyes, with which he had concluded his ad. dress—'tis very true-and heaven be their resource who have no other but the charity of the world, the stock of which, I fear, is no way sufficient for the many great claims which are hourly made upon it.

As I pronounced the words great claims, he gave a slight glance with his eye downwards upon the sleeve of his tunick-I felt the full force of the appeal I acknowledge it, said a coarse babit, and that but once in three years, with meagre diet—are no great matters; and the true point of pity is, as they can be earn'd in the world with so little industry, that your order should wish to procure them by pressing upon a fund wbich is the property of the Jame, the blind, the aged, and the infirm—the captive who lies down counting over and over again the days of his afflic. tions, languishes also for his share of it; and had you been of the order of mercy, instead of the order of St. Francis, poor as I am, continned I, pointing at my portmanteau, full cheerfully should it have been open'd to you, for the ransom of the unfortunateThe monk made me a bow but of all others, resumed I, the unfortunate of our own country, surely, have the first rights; and I have left thousands in distress upon our own shore-The monk gave a cordial wave with his head-as much as to say, No doubt, there is misery enough in every corner of the world, as well as within our convent-But we distinguish, said I, laying my hand upon the sleeve of his tunick, in return for his appeal----we distinguish, my good fa• ther! betwixt those who wish only to eat the bread of their own labour--and those who eat the bread of other people's, and have no other plan in life, but to get through it in sloth and ignorance, for the love of God.

[ocr errors]

The poor Franciscan made no reply : a hectic of a moment passed across his cheek, but could not tarry -Nature seemed to have had done with her resentments in him ;—he shewed none-but letting his staff fall within his arm, be pressed both his hands with resignation upon his breast, and retired.



MY beart smote me the moment he shut the door Psha ! said I, with an air of carelessness, three seve ral times—but it would not do: every ungracious syl. lable I had uttered crowded back into my iinagina. tion : I reflected, I had no right over the poor

Francis can, but to deny him; and that the punishment of that was enough to the disappointed without the addition of unkind languagem I consider'd bis grey hairs-his courteous figure seemed to re-enter and gently ask me what injury he had done me ?_and why I could use him thus I would bave given twenty livres for an advocate I have behaved very ill, said I within my self; but I have only just set out upon my travels; and shall learn better manners as I get along



WHEN a man is discontented with himself, it has one advantage however, that it puts him into an excellent frame of mind for making a bargain. Now there being no travelling through France and Italy without a chaise and Nature generally prompting us to the thing we are fittest for, I walked out into the coach.yard to buy or bire something of that kind to my purpose; an old Desobligeant* in the furthest cor

• A chaise, so called, in France, from its holding but one person.

« ZurückWeiter »