« PreviousContinue »
FRANCE AND ITALY.
They order, said I, this matter better timent and fine feelings, that I have to reason in France.
with ! You have been in France ? said my gen- But I have scarce set a foot in your domitleman, turning quick upon me, with the most nions. civil triumph in the world. Strange ! quoth I, debating the matter with myself, That oneand-twenty miles sailing, for 'tis absolutely no
CALAIS. further from Dover to Calais, should give a man these rights ;-I'll look into them. So, giving When I had finished my dinner, and drank up the argument,-I went straight to my lod- the King of France's health, to satisfy iny mind gings, put up half a dozen shirts and a black that I bore him no spleen, but, on the contrary, pair of silk breeches ;-" the coat I have on," high honour for the humanity of his temper, said I, looking at the sleeve, “ will do,”-took I rose up an inch taller for the accommodation. a place in the Dover stage ; and, the packet sail -No, said I, the Bourbon is by no means ing at nine the next morning,-by three I had cruel race: they may be misled, like other got sat down to my dinner upon a fricaseed people ; but there is a mildness in their blood. chicken, so incontestibly in France, that, had I As I acknowledged this, I felt a suffusion of a died that night of an indigestion, the whole finer kind upon my cheek, more warm and world could not have suspended the effects of friendly to man than what Burgundy (at least the droits ďaubaine ;*-my shirts, and black of two livres a bottle, which was such as I had pair of silk breeches,-portmanteau and all, been drinking) could have produced. must have gone to the King of France ;--even
Just God! said I, kicking my portmanthe little picture which I have so long worn, teau aside, what is there in this world's goods and so often told thee, Eliza, I would carry which should sharpen our spirits, and make so with me into my grave, would have been torn many kind-hearted brethren of us fall out so from my neck !-Ungenerous ! to seize upon cruelly as we do by the way? the wreck of an unwary passenger, whom your When man is at peace with man, how much subjects had beckoned to their coast !-by Hea- lighter than a feather is the heaviest of metals ven! Sire, it is not well done ; and much does in his hand ! he pulls out his purse, and holdit grieve me 'tis the monarch of a people so ci- ing it airily and uncompress’d, looks round him, vilized and courteous, and so renowned for sen- as if he sought for an object to share it with.
* All the effects of strangers (Swiss and Scots excepted) dying in France, are seized, by virtue of this law, though the heir be upon the spot ;-the profit of these contingencies being farmed, there is no redress.
In doing this, I felt every vessel in my frame often painted, -mild, pale, penetrating, free e dilate,—the arteries beat all cheerily together, from all common-place ideas of fat contented
and every power which sustained life performed ignorance looking downwards upon the earth; it with so little friction, that 'twould have con- it looked forwards, but looked as if it looked founded the most physical precieuse in France : at something beyond this world. How one of his with all her materialism, she could scarce have order came by it, Heaven above, who let it fall called me a machine.
upon a monk's shoulders, best knows; but it I'm confident, said I to myself, I should have would have suited a Brahmin, and, had I met it overset her creed.
upon the plains of Indostan, I had reverenced it. The accession of that idea carried Nature, at The rest of his outline may be given in a few that time, as high as she could go ;-I was at strokes ; one might put it into the hands of peace with the world before, and this finished any one to design, for 'twas neither elegant nor the treaty with myself.
otherwise, but as character and expression made -Now, was I a King of France, cried I, what it so: it was a thin, spare form, something above a moment for an orphan to have begged his fa the common size, if it lost not the distinction ther's portmanteau of me!
by a bend forward in the figure, but it was the attitude of entreaty; and, as it now stands
presented to my imagination, it gained more THE MONK.
than it lost by it.
When he had entered the room three paces, CALAIS,
he stood still; and laying his left hand upon
his breast (a slender white staff with which he I AAD scarce uttered the words, when a poor journeyed being in his right)—when I had got Monk, of the order of St Francis, came into the close up to him, he introduced himself with the room, to beg something for his convent. No little story of the wants of his convent, and the man cares to have his virtues the sport of con- poverty of his order ;-and did it with so simple tingencies, -or one man may be generous, as a grace,-and such an air of deprecation was another man is puissant,-sed non quoad hanc: there in the whole cast of his look and figure, or be it as it may, for there is no regular rea- - I was bewitched not to have been struck soning upon the ebbs and flows of our humours, with it.they may depend upon the same causes, for —A better reason was, I had predetermined aught I know, which influence the tides theme not to give him a single sous. selves ;-'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
THE MONK. satisfied to have it said by the world—“ I had had an affair with the moon, in which there
CALAIS. was neither sin nor shame," than have it pass altogether as my own act and deed, wherein 'Tis very true, said I, replying to a cast there was so much of both.
upwards with his eyes, with which he had -But be this as it may,—the moment I cast concluded his address ;-'tis very true,and my eyes upon him, I was predetermined not to Heaven be their resource who have no other give him a single sous : and, accordingly, I put but the charity of the world! the stock of my purse into my pocket, buttoned it up, set which, I fear, is no way sufficient for the many myself a little more upon my centre, and ad- great claims which are hourly made upon it. vanced up gravely to him. There was some As I pronounced the words great claims, he thing, I fear, forbidding in my look: I have gave a slight glance with his eye downwards his figure this moment before my eyes, and upon the sleeve of his tunic :-I felt the full think there was that in it which deserved beto force of the appeal ;-I acknowledge it, said I: ter.
-a coarse habit, and that but once in three The monk, as I judged from the break in his years, with meagre diet, are no great matters; tonsure, a few scattered white hairs upon his and the true point of pity is, as they can be temples being all that remained of it, might be earned in the world with so little industry, that about seventy ; but from his eyes, and that your order should wish to procure them by sort of fire which was in them, which seemed pressing upon a fund which is the property of more tempered by courtesy than years, could the lame, the blind, the aged, and the infirm! be no more than sixty :-truth might lie be- —the captive, who lies down counting over and tween, he was certainly sixty-five ; and the over again the days of his afflictions, languishes general air of his countenance, notwithstanding also for his share of it ; and had you been of something seemed to have been planting wrinkles the order of Mercy, instead of the order of St in it before their time, agreed to the account. Francis, poor as I am, continued I, pointing at
It was one of those heads which Guido has my portmanteau, full cheerfully should it have
been opened to you, for the ransom of the un- pose : an old desobligeant,* in the furthest corfortunate. The monk made me a bow n er of the court, hit my fancy at first sight; so But of all others, resumed I, the unfortunate I instantly got into it, and finding it in tolera. of our own country, surely, have the first rights; ble harmony with my feelings, I ordered the and I have left thousands in distress upon our waiter to call Monsieur Dessein, the master of own shore. The monk gave a cordial wave the hotel ,—but Monsieur Dessein being gone with his head,--as much as to say, No doubt, to vespers, and not caring to face the Francisthere is misery enough in every corner of the can, whom I saw on the opposite side of the world, as well as within our convent. But court, in conference with a lady just arrived at we distinguish, said I, laying my hand upon the the inn,-I drew the taffeta-curtain betwixt us, sleeve of his tunic, in return for his appeal, and, being determined to write my journey, I we distinguish, my good father, betwixt those took out my pen and ink, and wrote the preface who wish only to eat the bread of their own to it in the desobligeant. 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
PREFACE. love of God. The poor Franciscan made no reply : a hectic
IN THE DESOBLIGEANT. of a moment passed across his cheek, but could not tarry :-Nature seemed to have had done It must have been observed, by many a pewith her resentments in him; he shewed none: ripatetic philosopher, That Nature has set up, - but letting his staff fall within his arm, he by her own unquestionable authority, certain pressed both his hands with resignation upon boundaries and fences to circumscribe the dishis breast, and retired.
content of man; she has effected her purpose in the quietest and easiest manner, by laying
him under almost insuperable obligation to work THE MONK.
out his ease, and to sustain his sufferings at
home. It is there only that she has provided CALAIS.
him with the most suitable objects to partake of
his happiness, and bear a part of that burden My heart smote me the moment he shut the which, in all countries and ages, has ever been door.-Psha! said I, with an air of carelessness, too heavy for one pair of shoulders. 'Tis true, three several times,—but it would not do ; every we are endued with an imperfect power of ungracious syllable I had uttered crowded back spreading our happiness sometimes beyond her into my imagination ; I reflected I had no right limits; but 'tis so ordered, that, from the want over the poor Franciscan but to deny him ; and of languages, connections, and dependencies, that the punishment of that was enough to the and, from the difference in educations, customs, disappointed, without the addition of unkind and habits, we lie under so many impediments language. I considered his grey hairs :-his in communicating our sensations out of our courteous figure seemed to re-enter, and gently own sphere, as often amount to a total impossiask me what injury he had done me?-and bility. why I could use him thus ?-I would have It will always follow from hence, that the given twenty livres for an advocate.— I have be- balance of sentimental commerce is always haved very ill, said I, within myself; but I against the expatriated adventurer: he must have only just set out upon my travels, and buy, what he has little occasion for, at their shall learn better manners as I get along. own price ;-his conversation will seldom be
taken in exchange for theirs without a large
discount,--and this, by the bye, eternally driTHE DESOBLIGEANT.
ving him into the hands of more equitable bro
kers, for such conversation as he can find, it reCALAIS.
quires no great spirit of divination to guess at
his party. When a man is discontented with himself, This brings me to my point, and naturally it has one advantage, however, that it puts him leads me (if the see-saw of this desobligeant will into an excellent frame of mind for making a but let me get on) into the efficient as well as bargain. Now, there being no travelling through final causes of travelling. France and Italy without a chaise,—and Nature Your idle people that leave their native coungenerally prompting us to the thing we are fit- try, and go abroad for some reason or reasons test for, I walked out into the coach-yard to which may be derived from one of these general buy or hire something of that kind to my pur- causes :
• A chaise so called in France, from its holding but one person.