« السابقةمتابعة »
man who once used you unkindly, but not from his heart.
The poor Monk blushed 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 from no provocation. 'Tis impossible, said the lady.-My God ! cried the Monk with a warmth of asseveration which seem'd not to belong to him--the fault was ir me, and in the indiscretion of my zealthe 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 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-be begg’d we might exchange boxes in saying this he presented his to me with one hand, as he took mine from me with the other; and having kiss'd 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, 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 bis, as I learnt from his story, till about the forty-fifth year of his age, when upon some military services ill requited, and meeting at the same with a disappointment 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 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 laid 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 tearsbut I am as weak as a woman; and I beg the world not to smile, but pity me.
When all is ready, and every article is disputed and paid for in the inn, unless you are a little sour'd by the adventure, there is always a matter to compound at the door, before you can get into your chaise, and that is with the sons and daughters of poverty, who surround you. Let no man say, 'Let them go to the devil ;-—'tis a cruel journey to send a few miserables, and they have had sufferings enow without it. I always think it better to take a few sous out in my hand ; and I would counsel every gentle traveller to do so likewise; he need not be so exact in setting down his motives for giving them—they will be registered elsewhere.
For my own part, there is no man gives so little as I do; for few that I know have so little to give : but as this was the first public act of my charity in France, I took the more notice of it.
A-well-a-day! said I, I have but eight sous in the world, shewing them in my hand, and there are eight poor men and eight poor women for 'em.
A poor tatter'd soul withont a shirt on, instantly withdrew his claim, by retiring two steps out of the circle, and making a disqualifying bow, on his part. Had the whole parterre cried out Place aux dames! with one voice, it would not have conveyed the sentiment of a deference for the sex with half the effect.
Just Heaven! for what wise reason hast thou ordered it, that beggary and urbanity, which are at such variance in other countries, should find a way to be at unity in this ?
I insisted upon presenting him with a single sous, merely for his politesse.
A poor little dwarfish, brisk fellow, who stood over-against me in the circle, putting something
first under his arm, which had once been a hat, took his snuff-box out of his pocket, and generously offered a pinch on both sides of him ; it was a gift of consequence, and modestly declined -The poor little fellow press'd it upon them with a nod of welcomeness—Prenez en-prenez, said he, looking another way; so they each took a pinch.—Pity thy box should ever want one, said I to myself; so I put a couple of sous into it, .taking a small pinch out of his box, to enhance the value, as I did it—He felt the weight of the second obligation more than that of the first-twas doing him an honour-the other was only doing him a charity—and he made me a bow down to the ground for it.
-Here! said I to an old soldier with one hand, who had been campaign'd and worn out to death in the service-bere's a couple of sous for thee. Vive le Roi! said the old soldier.
I had then but three sous left; so I gave one, simply pour l'amour de Dieu, which was the footing on which it was begg'd— The poor woman had a dislocated hip ; so it could not well be upon any other motive.
Mon cher & très charitable Monsieur—There's no opposing this, said I.
My lord Anglois—the very sound was worth the money-so I gave my last sous for it. But in the eagerness of giving, I overlook'd a pauvre honteux, who had no one to ask a sous for him, and who, I believed, would have perished ere he could have asked one for himself; he stood by the chaise, a little without the circle, and wiped a tear from a face which, I thought, had seen better days—Good
God! said I—and I have not one single sous left to give him But you have a thousand ? cried all the powers of nature, stirring within mc-50 I gave him-no matter what-I am ashamed to say how much, now-and was ashamed to think how little then; so if the reader can form any conjecture of my disposition, as these two fixed points are given him, he may judge within a livre or two what was the precise sum.
I could afford nothing for the rest, but Dieu vous bénissem Et le bon Dieu vous bénisse encore—said the old soldier, the dwarf, &c.---The pauvre honteux could say nothing-he pulld out a little hand. kerchief, and wiped his face as he turned awayand I thought he thanked me more than them all.
THE DEAD ASS.
And this, said he, putting the remains of a crust into his wallet-and this should have been thy portion, said he, hadst thou been alive to have shared it with me.
I thought by the accent, it had been an apostrophe to his child; but 'twas to his ass, and to the very ass we had seen dead on the road, which had occasioned La Fleur's misadventure. The man seenied to lament it much; and it instantly brought into my mind Sancho's lamentation for his ; but he did it with more true touches of nature.
The mourner was sitting on a stone bench at the door, with the ass's pannel and its bridle on one side, which he took up from time to time--then