Laurence Sterne,-A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy

 
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[35]

CALAIS

I Perceived that something darken'd
the passage more than myself, as
I stepp'd along it to my room; it
was effectually Mons. Dessein, the
master of the hôtel, who had just re-
turned from vespers, and , with his
hat under his arm, was most com-
plaisantly following me, to put me in
mind of my wants. I had wrote my-
self pretty well out of conceit with
the Désobligeant; and Mons. Dessein
speaking of it, with a shrug, as if it
would no way suit me, it immediately
struck my fancy that it belong'd to
some innocent traveller, who, on his

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[36]

return home, had left it to Mons.
Dessein's honour to make the most
of. Four months had elapsed since
it had finished its career of Europe in
the corner of Mons. Dessein's coach-
yard; and having sallied out from
thence but a vampt-up business at
the first, though it had been twice
taken to pieces on Mount Sennis, it
had not profited much by its adven-
tures---but by none so little as the
standing so many months unpitied in
the corner of Mons. Dessein's coach-
yard. Much indeed was not to be
said for it---but something might---
and when a few words will rescue
misery out of her distress, I hate the
man who can be a churl of them.

                      ---Now

[37]

---Now was I the master of this
hôtel, said I, laying the point of my
fore-finger of Mons. Dessein's breast,
I would inevitably make a point of
getting rid of this unfortunate Déso-
bligeant
---it stands swinging reproaches
at you every time you pass by it---

Mon Dieu! Said Mons. Dessein---
I have no interest---Except the in-
terest, said I, which men of a certain
turn of mind take, Mons. Dessein, in
their own sensations---I'm persuaded,
to a man who feels for others as well
as for himself, every rainy night, dis-
guise it as you will, must cast a damp
upon your spirits---You suffer, Mons.
Dessein, as much as the machine---

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[38]

I have always observed, when there
is as much sour as sweet in a compli-
ment, that an Englishman is eternally
at a loss within himself, whether to
take it or let it alone: a Frenchman
never is: Mons. Dessein made me a
bow.

C'est bien vrai, said he---But in this
case I should only exchange one dis-
quietude for another, and with loss:
figure to yourself, my dear Sir, that
in giving you a chaise which would
fall to pieces before you had got half
way to Paris--- figure to yourself how
much I should suffer, in giving an ill
impression of myself to a man of ho-
nour, and lying at the mercy, as I
must do, d'un homme d'esprit.

                 The

[39]

The dose was made up exactly
after my own prescription; so I could
not help taking it---and returning
Mons. Dessein his bow, without more
casuistry we walk'd together towards
his Remise, to take a view of his
magazine of chaises.

 

 

 

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