Laurence Sterne,-A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy

 
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[14]

THE MONK.

CALAIS

---'TIS very true, said I, reply-
ing to a cast upwards with
his eyes, with which he had con-
cluded his address---'tis very true---
and heaven be their resource who
have no other but the charity of the
world, the stock of which, I fear, is
no way sufficient for the many great
claims
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

I                of

[15]

of his tunick---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 af-
flictions, 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
chearfully should it have been open'd

                      to

[16]

to you, for the ransom of the unfor-
tunate---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 tunick,
in return for his appeal---we distin-
guish, 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

[17]

through it in sloth and ignorance, for
the love of God
.

The poor Franciscan made no re-
ply; 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 none---but letting his staff
fall within his arm, he press'd both
his hands with resignation upon his
breast, and retired.

VOL. I.       C                    


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