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beust man is,-that I asked the question ; and that I would not have let fallen an unseasonable pleasantry in the venerable presence of Misery, to be entitled to all the wit that ever Rabelais scattered and yet I own my heart smote me, and that I so smarted at the very idea of it, that I swore I would set up for Wisdom, and utter grave sentences the rest of my days- -and never-never attempt again to commit mirth with man, woman, or child, the longest day I had to live.
As for writing nonsense to them, I believe, there was a reserve-but that I leave to the · world.
Adieu, Maria !-adieu, poor hapless damsel ! some time, but not now, I may hear thy sorrows from thy own lips—but I was deceived; for that. moment she took her pipe, and told me such a tale of woe with it, that I rose up, and with broken and irregular steps, walked softly to my chaise.
Calais. A POOR Monk of the order of St. Francis came into the room to beg something for his convent. No man cares to have his virtues the sport of contingencies or one man may be generous as another man is puissant-sed non quoad hanc—or be it as it may-for there is no regular reasoning upon the ebbs and flows of our humours ; they may depend upon the same causes, for aught I know, which influence the tides themselves
'twould oft be, no discredit to us, to suppose it was so: I'm sure, at least for myself, that in many a case I should be more highly satisfied to have it said by the world, “I had had an affair with the “ moon, in which there was neither sin nor shame,' than have it pass altogether as my own act and deed, wherein there was so much of both.
--But be this as it may: the moment I cast my eyes upon him, I was predetermined not to give him a single sous, and accordingly I put my purse into my pocket-button'd it up-set myself a little more upon my centre, and advanced up gravely to him; there was something, I fear, forbidding in my look: I have his figure this moment before my eyes, and think there was that in it which deserved better.
The Monk, as I judged from the break in his tonsure, a few scattered white hairs upon his temples being all that remained of it, might be about seventy--but from his eyes, and that sort of fire that was in them, which seemed more tempered by courtesy than years, could be no more than sixty - Truth might lie between He was certainly sixty-five; and the general air of his countenance, notwithstanding something seemed to have been planting wrinkles in it before their time, agreed to the account.
It was one of those heads which Guido has often painted--mild, pale-penetrating, -free from all common-place ideas of fat contented ignorance looking downwards upon the earth-it look'd forwards ; but look'd, as if it look'd at something beyond this world. How one of his order came by it, Heaven above, who let it fall upon a Mook's
shoulders, best knows : but it would have suited a Bramin, and bad I met it upon the plains of Indostan, I had reverenced it.
The rest of his outline may be given in a few strokes ; one might put it into the hands of any one to design, for 'twas neither elegant, or otherwise, but as character and expression made it so: it was a thin, spare form, something above the common size, if it lost not the distinction by a bend forward in the figure--but it was the attitude of intreaty; and as it now stands present to my imagination, it gain'd more than it lost by it.
When he had entered the room three paces, he stood still ; and laying his left hand upon his breast (a slender white staff with which he journey'd being in his right)-when I had got close up to him, he introduced himself with the little story of the wants of his convent, and the poverty of his order and did it with so simple a grace and such an air of deprecation was there in the whole cast of his look and figure I was bewitched not to have been struck with it.
A better reason was, I had predetermined not to give him a single sous,
—'Tis very true, said I, replying to a cast upwards with his eyes, with which he had concluded his address—'tis very true--and Heaven be their source who have no other but the charity of the world, the stock of which, I fear, is no way sufficient for the many great @laims which are hourly made upon it.
As I pronounced the words great claims, he gave a slight glance with his eye downwards upon the
sleeve of his tunic-I felt the full force of the appeal-I acknowledge it, said I,--a coarse habit, and that but once in three years, with meagre diet-are no great matters ; and the true point of pity is, as they can be earn’d in the world with so little industry, that your order should wish to pro-' cure them by pressing upon a fund which is the property of the lame, the blind, the aged, and the infirm—the captive who lies down counting over and over again the days of his afflictions, languishes also for his share of it; and had you been of the order of mercy, instead of the order of St. Francis, poor as I am, continued I, pointing at my portmanteau, full cheerfully should it have been opened to you, for the ransom of the unfortunate.
- The Monk made me a bow_but of all others, resumed I, the unfortunate of our own country, surely, have the first rights; and I have left thousands in distress upon our own shore.— The Monk gave a cordial wave with his head-as much as to say, No doubt, there is misery enough in every corner of the world, as well as within our convent-But we distinguish, said I, laying my hand upon the sleeve of his tunic, in return for his appeal- -we distinguish, my good father, betwixt those who wish only to eat the bread of their own labour-and those who eat the bread of other people's, and have no other plan in life, but to get through it in sloth and ignorance, for the love of God.
The poor Franciscan made no reply: a hectic of a moment pass'd across his cheek, but could not tarry-Nature seemed to have done with her resentments in him; he shewed noue-but
letting his staff fall within his arm, he press'd both his hands with resignation upon his breast, and retired.
My heart smote me the moment he shut the door-Psha! said I, with an air of carelessness, three several times—but it would not do: every ungracious syllable I had uttered, crowded back into my imagination; I reflected I had no right over the poor Franciscan, but to deny him : and that the punishment of that was enough to the disappointed, without the addition of unkind language-I considered his grey hairshis courteous figure seem'd to re-enter and gently ask me, what injury lie had done me ?-and why I could use him thus ?-I would have given twenty livres for an advocate, I have behaved very ill, said I within myself; but I have only just set out upon my travels; and shall learn better manners as I get along.
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 whether he should break in upon us or no. -He stopp’d, however, as soon as he came up to us, with a world of frankness; and having a horn snuff-box in his hand, he presented it open to me -You shall taste mine—said I, pulling out my box (which was a small tortoise one)-putting it into his hand—'Tis 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