Laurence Sterne,-A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy

 
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[156]

THE WIG.

PARIS.

WHEN the barber came, he
absolutely refused to have
any thing to do with my wig: 'twas
either above or below his art: I
had nothing to do, but to take one
ready made of his own recom-
mendation.

--- But I fear, friend! said I, this
buckle won't stand.--- You may im-
merge it, replied he, into the ocean,
and it will stand---

What a great scale is every thing
upon in this city! thought I--- The

              utmost

[157]

utmost stretch of an English periwig-
maker's ideas could have gone no
further than to have "dipped it into
" a pail of water"---What difference!
'tis like time to eternity.

I confess I do hate all cold con-
ceptions, as I do the puny ideas
which engender them; and am ge-
nerally so struck with the great
works of nature, that for my own
part, if I could help it, I never
would make a comparison less than a
mountain at least. All that can be
said against the French sublime in
this instance of it, is this---that the
grandeur is more in the word; and
less in the thing. No doubt the
ocean fills the mind with vast ideas;

              but

[158]

but Paris being so far inland, it was
not likely I should run post a
hundred miles out of it, to try
the experiment---the Parisian barber
meant nothing.---

The pail of water standing besides
the great deep, makes certainly but
a sorry figure in speech---but 'twill
be said--- it has one advantage--- 'tis
in the next room, and the truth of
the buckle may be tried in it without
more ado, in a single moment.

In honest truth, and upon a more
candid revision of the matter, The
French expression professes more than it performs
.

I                   I think

[159]

I think I can see the precise and
distinguishing marks of national cha-
racters more in these nonsensical mi-
nutiæ
,
than in the most important
matters of state; where great men of
all nations talk and stalk so much
alike, that I would not give nine-
pence to chuse among them.

I was so long in getting from
under my barber's hands, that it
was too late to think of going
with my letter to Madame R***
that night: but when a man is once
dressed at all points for going out,
his reflections turn to little account,
so taking down the name of the
Hôtel de Modene, where I lodged, I

              walked

[160]

walked forth without any determi-
nation where to go---I shall consider
of that, said I, as I walk along.

             


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