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for the wearing. I wished him hanged for telling me. They looked so fresh, that though I knew the thing could not be done, yet I would rather have imposed upon my fancy with thinking I had bought them new for the fellow, than that they had come out of the Rue de Friperie.
This is a nicety which makes not the heart sore at Paris.
He had purchased, moreover, a handsome blue satin waistcoat, fancifully enough embroidered: this was indeed something the worse for the service it had done, but 'twas clean scoured, the gold had been touched up, and, upon the whole, was rather showy than otherwise; and as the blue was not violent, it suited with the coat and breeches very well: he had squeezed out of the money, moreover, a new bag and a solitaire; and had insisted with the fripier upon a gold pair of garters to his breeches knees. He had purchased muslin ruffles bien brodées, with four livres of his own money; and a pair of white silk stockings for five more; and, to top all, Nature had given him a handsome figure, without costing him a sous.
He entered the room thus set off, with his hair dressed in the first style, and with a handsome bouquet in his breast. In a word, there was that look of festivity in everything about him, which at once put me in mind it was Sunday; and by combining both together, it instantly struck me that the favor he wished to ask of me the night before, was to spend the day as everybody in Paris spent it besides. I had scarce made the conjecture, when La Fleur, with infinite humility, but with a look of trust, as if I should not refuse him, begged I would grant him the day, pour faire le galant vis-à-vis de sa maîtresse.
Now, it was the very thing I intended to do myself vis-à-vis Madame de R. I had retained the remise on purpose for it, and it would not have mortified my vanity to have had a servant so well dressed as La Fleur was, to have got up behind it: I never could have worse spared him.
But we must feel, not argue, in these embarrassments; the sons and daughters of Service part with liberty, but not with nature, in their contracts; they are flesh and blood, and have
their little vanities and wishes in the midst of the house of bondage, as well as their taskmasters; no doubt they have set their self-denials at a price, and their expectations are SO unreasonable, that I would often disappoint them, but that
their condition puts it so much in my power to do it.
Behold,-Behold, I am thy servant, disarms me at once of the powers of a master.
Thou shalt go, La Fleur, said I.
And what mistress, La Fleur, said I, canst thou have picked up in so little a time at Paris? La Fleur laid his hand upon his breast, and said, 'Twas a petite demoiselle, at Monsieur le Count de B's. La Fleur had a heart made for society, and, to speak the truth of him, let as few occasions slip him as his master, so that, somehow or other, but how, Heaven knows,he had connected himself with the demoiselle upon the landing
of the staircase, during the time I was taken up with my passport; and as there was time enough for me to win the Count to my interest, La Fleur had contrived to make it do to win the maid to his. The family, it seems, was to be at Paris that day, and he had made a party with her, and two or three more of the Count's household, upon the boulevards.
Happy people! that once a week at least are sure to lay down all your cares together, and dance and sing, and sport away the weights of grievance, which bow down the spirit of other nations to the earth.
LA FLEUR had left me something to amuse myself with for the day more than I had bargained for, or could have entered either into his head or mine.
He had brought the little print of butter upon a currantleaf; and, as the morning was warm, and he had a good step to bring it, he had begged a sheet of waste paper to put betwixt the currant-leaf and his hand. As that was plate sufficient, I bade him lay it upon the table as it was; and, as I resolved to stay within all day, I ordered him to call upon the traiteur, to bespeak my dinner, and leave me to breakfast by myself.
When I had finished the butter, I threw the currant-leaf out of the window, and was going to do the same by the waste paper; but, stopping to read a line first, and that drawing me on to a second and third, I thought it better worth: so I shut the window, and, drawing a chair up to it, I sat down to read it.
It was in the old French of Rabelais's time; and, for aught I know, might have been wrote by him: it was, moreover, in a Gothic letter, and that so faded and gone off by damps and length of time, it cost me infinite trouble to make anything of it. I threw it down, and then wrote a letter to Eugenius; then I took it up again, and embroiled my patience with it afresh; and then, to cure that, I wrote a letter to Eliza. Still it kept hold of me; and the difficulty of understanding it increased but the desire.
I got my dinner; and after I had enlightened my mind with a bottle of Burgundy, I at it again; and after two or three hours' poring upon it, with almost as deep attention as ever Gruter or Jacob Spon did upon a nonsensical inscription, I thought I made sense of it; but to make sure of it, the best way, I imagined, was to turn it into English, and see how it would look then so I went on leisurely, as a trifling man does, sometimes writing a sentence, then taking a turn or two, and then looking how the world went, out of the window: so that it was nine o'clock at night before I had done it. I then began, and read it as follows: