Laurence Sterne. (17131768). A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
10. The Remise Door. Calais
WHEN I told the reader that I did not care to get out of the Desobligeant, because I saw the monk in close conference with a lady just arrived at the innI told him the truth; but I did not tell him the whole truth; for I was full as much restrained by the appearance and figure of the lady he was talking to. Suspicion crossed my brain, and said, he was telling her what had passed; something jarred upon it within me.I wished him at his convent.
When the heart flies out before the understanding, it saves the judgment a world of pains.I was certain she was of a better order of beingshowever, I thought no more of her, but went on and wrote my preface.
The impression returned upon my encounter with her in the street; a guarded frankness with which she gave me her hand, showed, I thought, her good education and her good sense; and as I led her on, I felt a pleasurable ductility about her, which spread a calmness over all my spirits
I had not yet seen her facet was not material; for the drawing was instantly set about, and long before we had got to the door of the Remise, Fancy had finishd the whole head, and pleased herself as much with its fitting her goddess, as if she had dived into the TIBER for it.But thou art a seduced, and a seducing slut; and albeit thou cheatest us seven times a day with thy pictures and images, yet with so many charms dost thou do it, and thou deckest out thy pictures in the shapes of so many angels of light, t is a shame to break with thee.
When we had got to the door of the Remise, she withdrew her hand from across her forehead, and let me see the originalit was a face of about six and twentyof a clear transparent brown, simply set off without rouge or powderit was not critically handsome, but there was that in it, which, in the frame of mind I was in, attached me much more to itit was interesting; I fancied it wore the characters of a widowd look, and in that state of its declension, which had passed the two first paroxysms of sorrow, and was quietly beginning to reconcile itself to its lossbut a thousand other distresses might have traced the same lines; I wishd to know what they had beenand was ready to inquire (had the same bon ton of conversation permitted, as in the days of Esdras)What aileth thee? and why art thou disquieted? and why is thy understanding troubled?In a word, I felt benevolence for her; and resolvd some way or other to throw in my mite of courtesyif not of service.
Such were my temptationsand in this disposition to give way to them, was I left alone with the lady with her hand in mine, and with our faces both turned closer to the door of the Remise than what was absolutely necessary.