Laurence Sterne,-A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy

 
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[90]

MONTRIUL

I HAD once lost my portmanteau
from behind my chaise, and twice
got out in the rain, and one of the
times up to the knees in dirt, to help
the postillion to tie it on, without be-
ing able to find out what was want-
ing---Nor was it till I got to Mon-
triul, upon the landlord's asking me
if I wanted not a servant, that it oc-
curred to me, that that was the very
thing.

A servant! That I do most sadly,
quoth I---Because, Monsieur, said the
landlord, there is a clever young fel-

               low,

[91]

low, who would be very proud of the honour to serve an Englishman.---But
why and English one, more than any
other?---They are so generous, said
the landlord---I'll be shot if this is not
a livre out of my pocket, quoth I to
myself, this very night--- But they
have wherewithal to be so, Monsieur,
added he--- Set down one livre more
for that, quoth I---It was but last
night, said the landlord, qu'un my
Lord Anglois présentoit un écu à la fille
de chambre
--- Tant pis, pour Mad.lle
Janatone
,
said I.

Now Janatone being the land-
lord's daughter, and the landlord
supposing I was young in French,
took the liberty to inform me, I should

               not

[92]

not have said tant pis---but tant
mieux
. Tant mieux, toujours, Monsieur,

said he, when there is anything to be
got---tant pis, when there is nothing.
It comes to the same thing, said I.
Pardonnez-moi, said the landlord.

I cannot take a fitter opportunity
to observe once for all, that tant pis
and tant mieux being two of the great
hinges in French conversation, a stran-
ger would do well to set himself right
in the use of them, before he gets to
Paris.

A prompt French Marquis at our
ambassador's table demanded of Mr.
H---, if he was H--- the poet?

               No,

[93]

No, said H--- mildly---Tant pis,
replied the Marquis.

It is H--- the historian, said an-
other---Tant mieux, said the Marquis.
And Mr. H---, who is a man of
an excellent heart, return'd thanks
for both.

When the landlord had set me
right in this matter, he called in La
Fleur, which was the name of the
young man he had spoke of-- saying
only first, That as for his talents, he
would presume to say nothing--- Mon-
sieur was the best judge of what would
suit him; but for the fidelity of La
Fleur, he would stand responsible in
all he was worth.

               The

[94]

The landlord deliver'd this in a
manner which instantly set my mind
to the business I was upon---and La
Fleur, who stood waiting without, in
that breathless expectation which every
son of nature of us have felt in our
turns, came in.

        


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