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a wrong one in his hand: we were as impatient as himself to have it opened, and so attentive to the obstacle, that i continued liolding her hand, almost without knowing it, so that Mons. Dessein left is together, with her hand in mine, and with our faces turned towards the door of the lemise, and said he would be back in five minutes.
Now a colloquy of five minutes in such a situation, is worth one of as many ages with yonr faces turned towards the street. In the latter case, 'tis drawn from the objects and occurrences without when your eyes are fixed upon a dead blank, you draw purely from yourselves. A silence of a single moment upon Monsieur Dessein's leaving us, had been fatal to the situation - she had infallibly turned about so I began the conversation instantly.
But what were the temptations (as I write not to apologize for the weaknesses of my heart in this tour, but to give an account of them) shall be described with the same simplicity with which I felt them.
THE REMISE DOOR. CALAIS.
When I told the reader that I did not care to get out of the desobligeant, because I saw the monk in close conference with a lady just arrived at the inn
I told him the truth, but I did not tell him the whole truth; for I was full as much restrained by the appearance and figure of the lady he was talking to. Suspicion crossed my brain, and said, he was telling her what had passed; something jarred upon it within me. — I wished him at his convent.
When the heart flies out before the understanding, it saves the judgment a world of pains,
was beings however, I thought no more of her, but went on and wrote my preface.
The impression returned upon my encounter with her in the street; a guarded frankness with which she gave me her hand, shewed, I thought, her good education, and her good sense; and as
I led her on, I felt a pleasurable ductility about her, which spread a calmness over all my spirits.
Good God! how a man might lead such a creature as this round the world with him.
I had not yet seen her face - 'twas not material; for the drawing was instantly set about, and long before we had got to the door of the remise, Fancy had finished the whole head, and pleased herself as much with its fitting her goddess, as if she had dived into the Tiber for it but thou art a seduced, and a seducing slut; and albeit thou cheatest us seven times a day with thy pictures and images, yet with so many charms dost thou do it, and thon deckest out thy pictures in the shapes of so many angels of light, 'tis a shame to break with thee.
When we had got to the door of the remise, she withdrew her hand from across her forehead, and let me see the original it was a face of about six-and-twenty of a clear transparent brown, simply set off without rouge or powder
it was not critically handsome, but there was that in it, which, in the frame of mind I was in, attached me much more to it - it was interesting. I fancied it wore the characters of a widowed look, and in that state of its declension which had passed the first paroxysms of sorrow, and was quietly beginning to reconcile itself to its loss - but a thousand other distresses might have traced the same lines. I wished to know what they had been – and was ready to enquire (had the same bon ton of conver tion permitted as in the days of Esdras). "What ailetit thee? and why art thou disquieted? and why is thy understanding troubled? » In a word, I felt benevolence for her, and resolved some way or other to throw in my mite of courtesy,
if not of service.
Such were my temptations and in this disposition to give way to them, was I left alone with the lady with her hand in mine, and with our faces both turned closer to the door of the remise than what was absolutely necessary:
THE REMISE DOOR. CALAIS.
This certainly, fair lady! said I, raising her hand up a little lightly as I began, must be one of Fortme's whimsical doings; to take two utter strangers by their hands --- of different sexes, and perhaps from different corners of the globe, and in one moment place them together in such a cordial situation as Friendship herself could scarce have achieved for them, had she projected it for a month.
And your reflection upon it shews how much, Monsieur, she has embarrassed you by the adventure. - When the situation is what we would wish, nothing is so ill-timed as to hint at the circumstances which make it so. You thank Fortune, continued she you had reason - the heart knew it, and was satisfied; and who but an English philosopher would have sent notice of it to the brain to reverse the jugdment?
In saying this she disengaged her hand with a look which I thought a sufficient commentary upon the text.
It is a miserable picture which I am going to give of the weakness of my heart, by owning that it suffered a pain, which worthier occasions could not have inflicted -- 1 was mortified with the loss of her hand, and the manner in which I had lost *it carried neither oil nor wine to the wound: I never felt the pain of a sheepisha inferiority so miserably in my life.
The triumphs of a true feminine heart are short upon these discomfitures. In a very few seconds she laid her hand upon the cuff of my coat, in order to finish her reply; so some way or other, God knows how, I regained my situation.
She had nothing to add. I forthwith began to model a different conversation for the lady, thinking, from the spirit, as well as moral of this, that I had been mistaken in her character; but upon turning her face towards me, the spirit which had animated the reply was fled - the muscles relaxed, and I beheld the same unprotected look of distress which first won me to her interest. Melancholy! to see such sprightliness the prey of sorrow I pitied her from my soul; and though it may seem ridiculous enough to a torpid heart - I could have taken her into my arms, and cherished her, though it was in the open street, without blushing.,
The pulsations of the arteries along my fingers pressing across hers, told her what was passing within me: she looked down - a silence of some moments followed.
I fear, in this interval, I must have made some slight efforts towards a closer compression of her hand, from a subtle sensation I' felt in the palm of my own not as if she was going to withdraw hers — but as if she thought about it and I had infallibly lost it second time, had not instinct more than reason directed me to the last resource in these dangers to hold it loosely, and in a manner as if I was every moment going to release it of myself; so she let it continue till Monsieur Dessein returned with the key; and in the mean time I set myself to consider how I should undo the ill impressions which the poor monk's story, in case he had told it lier, must bave planted in her breast against me.
THE SNUFF. BOX. CALAIS.
The good old monk was within six paces of us, as the idea of him cross'd my mind; and was advancing towards us a little out of the line, as if uncertain wh ther he should break in upon us or no. He stopped, however, as soon as he came up to us with a world of frankness; and 'having a horn snuff-box in his hand, he presen. ted it open to me. You shall taste mine said I, pulling ont my box (which was a small tortoise one) and putting it into his hand. "Tif most excellent, said the monk. - Then do me the favour, I replied, to accept of the box and all, and when you take a pinch out of it, sometimes recollect it was the peace - offering of a man who once used you unkindly, but not from his heart.
The poor monk blush'd as red as scarlet, Mon Dieu! said he, pressing his hands together. you never used me unkindly. I should think, said the lady, he is not likely. I blush'd in my turn; but from what movements I leave to the few who feel to analyse. Excuse me, Madam, replied I; I treated him most unkindly; and froni 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 inipossible 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 tunick: and as soon as it had acquired a little air of brightness by the friction, he made 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 be 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 bosom and 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, 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 learnt from his story, 'till about the fortyfifth year of his age, when upon some military services ill-requited, and meeting at the same time with a disappointment in the tenderest of passions, he abandoned the sword and the sex