Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

I suppose there never was a merrier kitchen since the flood.

THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY

177

of reliance upon the fact that La Fleur had not power to disappoint her expectations ;-he trembled for my honour-and, possibly, might not altogether be unconcerned for his own, as a man capable of being attached to a master who could be wanting en egards vis à vis d'une femme! so that, when Madame de L— asked La Fleur if he had brought a letter,-0 qu’oui, said La Fleur; so, laying down his hat upon the ground, and taking hold of the flap of his right side-pocket with his left hand, he began to search for the letter with his right; - then contrariwise, - Diable ! then sought every pocket,

pocket by pocket, round, not forgetting his fob ;Peste ! — then La Fleur emptied them upon the floor, - pulled out a dirty cravat, - a handkerchief, - a comb,—a whiplash,-a nightcap,—then gave a peep into his hat-Quelle étourderies! He had left the letter upon the table in the Auberge ; he would run for it, and be back with it in three minutes.

I had just finished my supper when La Fleur came in to give me an account of his adventure; he told me the whole story simply as it was; and only added that, if Monsieur had forgot (par hazard) to answer Madame's letter, the arrangement gave him an opportunity to recover the faut pas ;—and if not, that things were only as they were.

а

Now, I was not altogether sure of my etiquette, whether I ought to have wrote or no;—but if I had, -a devil himself could not have been angry : 'twas but the officious zeal of a well-meaning creature for my honour; and however he might have mistook the road, or embarrassed me in so doing—his heart was in no fault-I was under no necessity to write ;and, what weighed more than all,—he did not look as if he had done amiss.

'Tis all very well, La Fleur, said I. 'Twas sufficient. La Fleur flew out of the room like lightning, and returned with pen, ink and paper in his hand; and, coming up to the table, laid them close before me, with such a delight in his countenance that I could not help taking up the pen.

I begun, and begun again, and, though I had nothing to say, and that nothing might have been expressed in half-a-dozen lines, I made half-a-dozen different beginnings, and could no way please myself.

In short, I was in no mood to write.

La Fleur stepp'd out and brought a little water in a glass to dilute my ink-then fetched sand and seal-wax. It was all one; I wrote, and blotted, and tore off, and burnt, and wrote again.—Le Diable l’emporte, said I, half to myself—I cannot write this self-same letter, throwing the pen down despairingly as I said it.

THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY

179

As soon as I had cast down the pen, La Fleur advanced with the most respectful carriage up to the table, and, making a thousand apologies for the liberty he was going to take, told me he had a letter in his pocket, wrote by a drummer in his regiment to a corporal's wife, which, he durst say, would suit the occasion.

I had a mind to let the poor fellow have his humour.—Then prithee, said I, let me see it.

La Fleur instantly pulled out a little dirty pocketbook, cramm'd full of small letters and billet-doux in a sad condition, and, laying it upon the table, and then untying the string which held them all together, ran them over, one by one, till he came to the letter in question. La voilà, said he, clapping his hands; so, unfolding it first, he laid it before me, and retired three steps from the table whilst I read it.

« ZurückWeiter »