Laurence Sterne,-A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy

 
-1-----

[95]

MONTRIUL

I AM apt to be taken with all kinds
of people at first sight; but never
more so, than when a poor devil
comes to offer his service to so poor a
devil as myself; and as I know this
weakness, I always suffer my judg-
ment to draw back something on that
very account--- and this more or less,
according to the mood I am in, and
the case---and I may add the gender
too of the person I am to govern.

When La Fleur enter'd the room,
after avery discount I could make for
my soul, the genuine look and air of

 3                      the

[96]

the fellow determined the matter at
once in his favour; so I hired him
first---and then began to enquire what
he could do: But I shall find out his
talents, quoth I, as I want them---
besides, a Frenchman can do every
thing.

Now poor La Fleur could do no-
thing in the world but beat a drum,
and play a march or two upon the
fife. I was determined to make his
talents do: and can't say my weak-
ness was ever so insulted by my wis-
dom, as in the attempt.

La Fleur had set out early in life,
as gallantly as most Frenchmen do,
with serving for a few years: at the end

  I                   of

[97]

of which, having satisfied the senti-
ment, and found moreover, That the
honour of beating a drum was likely
to be its own reward, as it open'd no
further track of glory to him---he
retired à ses terres, and lived comme
il plaisoit à Dieu
--- that is to say, upon
nothing.

And so, quoth Wisdome, you
have hired a drummer to attend you
in this tour of your's thro' France
and Italy! Psha! said I, and do
not one half of our gentry go with a
hum-drum compagnon du voyage the
same round, and have the piper and
the devil and all to pay besides?
When man can extricate himself with

VOL. I.          H         an

[98]

an equivoque in such an unequal match
---he is not ill off--- But you can do
something else, La Fleur? said I ---
O qu'oui!---he could make spat-
terdashes, and play a little upon the
fiddle---Bravo! said Wisdome---Why,
I play a bass myself, said I---we shall
do very well. You can shave, and
dress a wig a little, La Fleur?---He
had all the dispositions in the world---
It is enough for heaven! said I, in-
terrupting him---and ought to be
enough for me---So supper coming
in, and having a frisky English spa-
niel on one side of my chair, and a
French valet, with as much hilarity
in his countenance as ever nature
painted in one, on the other---I was

4         satisfied

[99]

satisfied to my heart's content with
my empire; and if monarchs knew
what they would be at, they might
be as satisfied as I was.

                  

H 2



next section