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She had since that, she told me, strayed as far as Rome, and walk'd round St. Peter's once-and return’d back--that she found her way alone across the Appennines—had travelled over all Lombardy without money--and through the flinty roads of Savoy without shoes
how she had borne it, and how she had got supported, she could not tellbut God tempers the wind, said Maria, TO THE SHORN LAMB.
Shorn, indeed! and to the quick, said I; and wast thou in my own land, where I have a cottage, I would take thee to it, and shelter thee: thou shouldst eat of my own bread, and drink of my own cup.— I would be kind to thy Sylvio -in all thy weaknesses and wanderings I would seek after thee, and bring thee back-when the sun went down, I would say my prayers; and when I had done, thou shouldst play thy evening song upon thy pipe, nor would the incense of my sacrifice be worse accepted for entering Heaven along with that of a broken heart.
Nature melted within me, as I uttered this; and Maria observing, as I took out my handkerchief, that it was steep'd too much already to be of use, would needs go wash it in the stream-and where will you dry it, Maria ? said I.--I will dry it in my bosom, said she'twill do me good.
And is your heart still so warm, Maria ? said I.
I touch'd upon the string on which hung all her sorrows_she look'd with wistful disorder for some time in my face; and then, without saying any thing, took her pipe and play'd her service to the Virgin. The string I had touched ceased to
vibrate-in a moment or two Maria returned to herself-let her pipe fall—and rose up.
And where are you going, Maria ? sáid 1.-She said, to Moulines.-Let us go, said I, together.--Maria put her arm within mine, and lengthening the string, to let the dog follow-in that order we entered Moulines.
Though I hate salutations and greetings in the market-place, yet when we got into the middle of this, I stopp'd to take my last look and last farewel of Maria.
Maria, though not tall, was nevertheless of the first order of fine forms-affliction had touched her looks with something that was scarce earthly -still she was feminine-and so much was there about her of all that the heart wishes, or the eye looks for in woman, that could the traces be ever worn out of her brain, and those of Eliza's out of mine, she should not only eat of my breud and drink of my own cup, but Maria should lie in my bosom, and be unto me as a daughter.
Adieu, poor luckless maiden !- -imbibe the oil and wine which the compassion of a stranger as he journeyeth on his way, now pours into thy wounds.-The Being who has twice bruised thee, can only bind them up for ever.
-DEAR Sensibility! source inexhaused of all that's precious in our joys, or costly in our sorrows! thou chaigest thy martyr down upon the bed of straw-and 'tis thou who liftest him up to HEAVEN-eternal fountain of our feelings ! 'tis here I trace thee--and this is thy dioinity which stirs within me—not, that in some sad and sickening moments, my soul shrinks back upon herself, and sturtles at destruction '-mere pomp of words !—but that I feel some generous joys and generous cares beyond myself, -all comes from thee, great-great SENSORIUM of the world! which vibrates, if a hair of our heads but fall upon the ground, in the remotest desert of thy creation.Touched with thee, Eugenius draws my curtain when I languish -hears my tale of symptoms, and blames the weather for the disorder of his nerves. Thou giv'st a portion of it sometimes to the roughest peasant who traverses the bleakest mountains he finds the lacerated lamb of another's flock—this moment I beheld him leaning with his head against his crook, with piteous inclination looking down upon it!-Oh! had I come one moment sooner —it bleeds to death—his gentle heart bleeds with it
Peace to thee, generous swain ! see thou walkest off with anguish—but thy joys shall balance it-for happy is thy cottage--and happy is the sharer of it--and happy are the lambs whichi sport about you.
A SHOE coming loose from the fore-foot of the thill-horse, at the beginning of the ascent of Mount Tuurira, the postillion dismounted, twisted the shoe off, and put it in his pocket : as the ascent was of five or six miles, and that horse our main dependance, I made a point of Iraving the shoe fastened on again, as well as we could; but the postillion had thrown away the nails, and the hammer in the chaise-box being of no great use without them, I submitted to go on.
He had not mounted half a mile higher, when coming to a fiinty piece of road, the poor devil lost a second shoe, and from off his other forefoot. I then got out of the chaise in good earnest; and seeing a house about a quarter of a mile to the left-hand, with a great deal to do I prevailed upon the postillion to turn up to it. The look of the house, and of every thing about it, as we drew nearer, soon reconciled me to the disaster. It was a little farm-house, surrounded with about twenty acres of vineyard, about as much corn—and close to the house, on one side, was a potagerie of an acre and an half full of every thing which could make plenty in a French peasant's house—and on the other side was a little wood which furnished wherewithal to dress it. It was about eight in the evening when I got to the house-so I left the postillion to manage his point as he could—and for mine, I walked directly into the house.
The family consisted of an old grey-headed man
and his wife, with five or six sons and sons-in-law, and their several wives, and a joyous genealogy out of them.
They were all sitting down together to their lentil-soup ; a large wheaten loaf was in the mid. dle of the table ; and a flagon of wine at each end of it promised joy through the stages of the repast—'twas a feast of love.
The old man rose up to meet me, and with a respectful cordiality would have me sit down at the table : my heart was set down the moment I entered the room ; so I sat down at once like a son of the family, and to invest myself in the character as speedily as I could, I instantly borrowed the old man's knife, and taking up the loaf, cut myself a hearty luncheon ; and as I did it, I saw a testimony in every eye, not only of an honest welcome, but of a welcome mix'd with thanks that I had not seem'd to doubt it.
Was it this : or tell me, Nature, what else it. was that made this morsel so sweet-and to what magic I owe it, that the draught I took of their flagon was so delicious with it, that they remain upon my palate to this hour.
If the supper was to my taste-the grace which followed was much more so.
WHEN supper was over, the old man gave a knock upon the table with the haft of his knife, to bid them prepare for the dance : the moment the sig.