Laurence Sterne,-A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy

 
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[83]

IN THE STREET.

CALAIS.

I NEVER finished a twelve-guinea
bargain so expeditiously in my
life: my time seemed heavy upon
the loss of the lady, and knowing
every moment of it would be as
two, till I put myself into motion
--- I ordered post-horses directly, and
walked towards the hotel.

Lord! said I, hearing the town
clock strike four, and recollecting
that I had been little more than
a single hour in Calais---

    G 2          ---What

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What a large volume of ad-
ventures may be grasped within this
little span of life by him who in-
terests his heart in every thing, and
who, having eyes to see what time
and chance are perpetually holding
out to him as he journeyeth on his
way, misses nothing he can fairly lay
his hands on.---

---If this won't turn out something
---another will--- no matter---'tis an
assay upon human nature--- I get my
labour for my pains---'tis enough---
the pleasure of the experiment has
kept my senses and the best part of
my blood awake, and laid the gross
to sleep.

               I

[85]

I pity the man who can travel
from Dan to Beersheba, and cry, 'Tis
all barren---and so it is; and so is all
the world to him, who will not culti-
vate the fruits it offers. I declare,
said I, clapping my hands chearily
together, that was I in a desart, I
would find out wherewith in it to call
forth my affections---If I could not
do better, I would fasten them upon
some sweet myrtle, or seek some me-
lancholy cypress to connect myself
to---I would court their shade, and
greet them kindly for their protec-
tion--- I would cut my name upon
them, and swear they were the love-
liest trees throughout the desert: if
their leaves wither'd I would teach

    G 3        myself

[86]

myself to mourn, and when they re-
joiced, I would rejoice along with
them.

The learned SMELFUNGUS travel-
led from Boulogne to Paris--- from
Paris to Rome----and so on---but he
set out with the spleen and jaundice,
and every object he pass'd by was
discoloured or distorted---He wrote
an account of them, but 'twas nothing
but the account of his miserable feel-
ings.

I met Smelfungus in the grand
portico of the Pantheon---he was just
coming out of it---'Tis nothing but
a huge cock-pit
,*
said he---I wish you
had said nothing worse of the Venus

*Vide S_______'s Travels.

               of

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of Medicis, replied I--- for in passing
through Florence, I had heard he
had fallen foul upon the goddess,
and used her worse than a common
strumpet, without the least provo-
cation in nature.

I popp'd upon Smelfungus again
at Turin, in his return home; and
a sad tale of sorrowful adventures
he had to tell, "wherein he spoke of
"moving accidents by flood and field,
"and of the cannibals which each
"other eat: the Anthropophagi"---
he had been flea'd alive, and bedevil'd,
and used worse than St. Bartholo-
mew, at every stage he had come
at---

    G 4        ---I'll

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---I'll tell it, cried Smelfungus, to
the world. You had better tell it,
said I, to your physician.

Mundungus, with an immense for-
tune, made the whole tour; going
on from Rome to Naples---from
Naples to Venice---from Venice to
Vienna---to Dresden, to Berlin, with-
out one generous connection or pleasur-
able anecdote to tell of; but he had
travell'd straight on looking neither
to his right hand or his left, left
Love or Pity should seduce him out
of his road.

Peace be to them! if it is to be
found; but heaven itself, was it pos-
sible to get there with such tempers,

               would

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would want objects to give it---every
gentle spirit would come flying upon
the wings of Love to hail their ar-
rival---Nothing would the souls of
Smelfungus and Mundungus hear of,
but fresh anthems of joy, fresh rap-
tures of love, and fresh congratula-
tions of their common felicity---I
heartily pity them: they have brought
up no faculties for this work; and
was the happiest mansion in heaven
to be allotted to Smelfungus and
Mundungus, they would be so far
from being happy, that the souls of
Smelfungus and Mundungus would
do penance there to all eternity.

                   


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