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off quietly o'foot when the opera is done. At the end of it towards the theatre, 'tis lighted by a small candle, the light of which is almost lost before you get half-way down : but near the door'tis more for ornament than use, you see it as a fix'd star of the least magnitude; it burns- but does little good to the world that we know of.
In returning along this passage, I discern'd, as I approach'd within five or six paces of the door, two ladies standing arm in arm, with their backs against the wall, waiting, as I imagined, for a fiacre-as they were next the door, I thought they had a prior right; so edged myself up within a yard, or little more, of them, and quietly took my stand.- - I was in black, and scarce seen.
The lady next me was a tall lean figure of a - woman, of about thirty-six; the other of the same
size and make, of about forty ; there was no mark of' wife or widow in any one part of either of them—they seem'd to be two upright vestal sisters, unsapp'd by caresses, unbroke in upon by tender salutations : I could have wished to have made them happy—their happiness was destin'd that night, to come from another quarter.
A loud voice, with a good turn of expression, and sweet cadence at the end of it, beggd for a twelve-sous piece betwixt them, for the love of Heaven. I thought it singular that a beggar should fix the quota of an alms—and that the sum should be twelve times as much as what is usually given in the dark. They both seem'd astonishid at it as much as myself. Twelve sous ! said one.- -A twelve-sous piece! said the other--and made no reply.
The poor man said, he knew not how to ask less of ladies of their rank ; and bowd down his head to the ground.
Poo ! said they we have no money.
The beggar remained silent for a moment or two, and renew'd his supplication.
Do not, my fair young ladies, said he, stop your ears against me.--Upon my word, honest man! said the younger, we have no change.— Then God bless you, said the poor man, and multiply those joys which you can give to others without change! -I observed the elder sister put her hand into her pocket.-I'll see, said she, if I have a sous.-A sons ! give twelve said the supplicant: nature has been bountiful to you, be bountiful to a poor man.
I would, friend, with all my heart, said the younger, if I had it.
My fair charitable ! said he, addressing himself to the elder.—What is it but your goodness and humanity which makes your bright eyes so sweet, that they outshine the morning even in this dark passage? and what was it which made the Marquis de Santerre and his brother say so much of you both as they pass'd by?
The two ladies seemed much affected; and impulsively at the same time they both put their hands into their pocket, and each took out a twelvesous piece.
The contest betwixt them and the poor supplicant was no more-it was continued betwixt themselves, which of the two should give the twelvesous piece in charity-and, to end the dispute, they both gave it together, and the man went away.
is lifted up
I NEVER felt what the distress of plenty was in any one shape till now -to travel' it through the Bourbonnois, the sweetest part of France
in the hey-day of the vintage, when Nature is pouring her abundance into every one's lap, and every eye
-a journey, through each step of which Music beats time to Labour, and all her children are rejoicing as they carry in their clus, ters- -to pas through this with my affections flying out, and kindling at every group before me
and every one of them was pregnant with adventures.
Just Heaven!- -it would fill up twenty volumes and alas ! I have but a few small pages of this to crowd it into- -and half these must be taken up with the poor Maria my friend Mr. Shandy met with near Moulines.
The story he had told of that disordered maid affected me not a little in the reading; but when I got within the neighbourhood where she lived, it returned so strong into my mind, that I could not resist an impulse which prompted me to go half a league out of the road, to the village where her parents dwelt, to inquire after her.
'Tis going, I own, like the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, in quest of njelancholy adventures
- but I know not how it is, but I am never so perfectly conscious of the existence of a soul within me, as when I am entangled in them,
The old mother came to the door ; her looks told me the story before she opened her mouth.She had lost her husband; he had died, she said, of anguish for the loss of Maria's senses, about a njonth before. She had feared at first, she added, that it would have plundered her poor girl of what little understanding was left-but, on the contrary, it had brought her more to herself-still she could not rest—her poor daughter, she said, crying, was wandering somewhere about the road
- Why does my pulse beat languid as I write this ; and what made La Fleur, whose heart seemed only to be tuned to joy, to pass the back of his hand twice across his eyes, as the woman stood and told it? I beckoned to the postillion to turn back into the road.
When we had got within half a league of Moulines, at a little opening of the road leading to a thicket, I discovered poor Maria sitting under a poplar -she was sitting with her elbow in her lap, and her head leaning on one side within her hand ;-a small brook ran at the foot of the tree.
I bid the postillion go on with the chaise to Moulines, and La Fleur to bespeak niy supperand that I would walk after him.
She was dressed in white, and much as my friend described her, except that her hair hung loose, which before was twisted within a silk net. She had, superadded likewise to her jacket, a pale. green ribband, which fell across her shoulder to the waist; at the end of which hung her pipe. Her goat had been as faithless as her lover; and she had got a little dog in lieu of him, which she lad kept tied by a string to her girdle : as I
looked at her dog, she drew him towards her with the string - Thou shalt not leave me, Sylvio,' said she. I looked in Maria's eyes, and saw she was thinking more of her father than of her lover or her little goat, for as she uttered them, the tears trickled down her cheeks.
I sat down close by her; and Maria let me wipe them away, as they fell, with
my handkerchief.-I then steep'd it in my own—and then in her's and then in mine--and then I wip'd her's again—and as I did it, I felt such undescribable emotions within me, as I am sure could not be accounted for from any combinations of matter and motion.
I am positive I have a soul ; nor can all the books with which materialists have pestered the world ever convince me to the contrary.
When Maria had come a little to herselt, I asked her if she remembered a pale thin person of a man, who sat down betwixt her and her goat about two years before? She said, she was unsettled much at that time, but remembered it upon two accounts—that, ill as she was, she saw the person pitied her; and next, that her goat had stolen bis handkerchief, and she had beat him for the theft-she had washed it, she said, in the brook, and kept it ever since in her pocket, to restore it to him in case she should ever sce him again, which, she added, he had half promised her. As she told me this, she took the handkerchief ont of her pocket to let me see it ; she had folded it up neatly in a couple of vine leaves, tied round with a tendril
-on opening it, I saw an S marked in one of the corners.