Laurence Sterne,-A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy

 
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[62]

THE REMISE DOOR.

CALAIS.

I HAD never quitted the lady's
hand all this time; and had held
it so long, that it would have been
indecent to have let it go, without
first pressing it to my lips: the blood
and spirits, which had suffered a re-
vulsion from her, crowded back to
her, as I did it.

Now the two travellers, who had
spoke to me in the coach-yard, hap-
pened at that crisis to be passing by,
and observing our communications,
naturally took it into their heads that

                   we

[63]

we must be man and wife at least; so
stopping as soon as they came up to
the door of the Remise, the one of
them, who was the inquisitive tra-
veller, ask'd us, if we set out for Paris
the next morning?--- I could only
answer for myself, I said; and the
lady added, she was for Amiens---
We dined there yesterday, said the
simple traveller---You go directly
through the town, added the other,
in your road to Paris. I was going
to return a thousand thanks for the
intelligence, that Amiens was in the
road to Paris
;
but upon pulling out
my poor monk's little horn box to
take a pinch of snuff, I made them
a quiet bow, and wished them a

                   good

[64]

good passage to Dover---they left us
alone---

---Now where would be the harm,
said I to myself, if I was to beg of
this distressed lady to accept of half
my chaise?---and what mighty
mischief could ensue?

Every dirty passion, and bad pro-
pensity in my nature, took the alarm,
as I stated the proposition---it will
oblige you to have a third horse, said
AVARICE, which will put twenty
livres out of your pocket--- You know
not what she is, said CAUTION---or
what scrapes the affair may draw you
into, whisper'd COWARDICE---

                   Depend

[65]

Depend upon it, Yorick! said
DISCRETION, 'twill be said you went
off with a mistress, and came by as-
signation to Calais for that purpose---

---You can never after, cried HY-
POCRISY aloud, shew your face in the
world---or rise, quoth MEANNESS, in
the church---or be any thing in it, said
PRIDE, but a lousy prebendary.

But 'tis a civil thing, said I---
and as I generally act from the first
impulse, and therefore seldom listen
to those cabals, which serve no pur-
pose, that I know of, but to encom-
pass the heart with adamant---I turn'd
instantly about to the lady---

VOL. I.          F        ---But

        
[66]

---But she had glided off unper-
ceived, as the cause was pleading,
and had made ten or a dozen
paces down the street, by the time I
had made the determination; so I
set off after her with a long stride, to
make her the proposal with the best
address I was master of; but observ-
ing she walk'dwith her cheek half
resting upon the palm of her hand---
with the slow, short-measur'd step of
thoughtfulness, and with her eyes, as
she went step by step, fixed upon the
ground, it struck me, she was trying
the same cause herself. God help
her! said I, she has some mother-in-
law, or tartufish aunt, or nonsensical
old woman, to consult upon the oc-
casion, as well as myself: so not car-

                   ing

[67]

ing to interrupt the processe, and
deeming it more gallant to take her
at discretion than surprise, I faced
about, and took a short turn or two
before the door of the Remise, whilst
she walk'd musing on one side.

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