Laurence Sterne. (17131768). A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
13. The Remise Door. Calais
I HAD never quitted the ladys hand all this time; and had held it so long, that it would have been indecent to have let it go, without first pressing it to my lips: the blood and spirits, which had sufferd a revulsion from her, crowded back to her, as I did it.
Now the two travelers, who had spoke to me in the coachyard, happening at that crisis to be passing by, and observing our communications, naturally took it into their heads that we must be man and wife, at least; so stopping as soon as they came up to the door of the Remise, the one of them, who was the Inquisitive Traveler, askd us, if we set out for Paris the next morning?I could only answer for myself, I said, and the lady added, she was for Amiens.We dined there yesterday, said the Simple Traveler.You go directly through the town, added the other, in your road to Paris. I was going to return a thousand thanks for the intelligence, that Amiens was in the road to Paris; but upon pulling out my poor monks little horn box to take a pinch of snuffI made them a quiet bow, and wishing them a good passage to Doverthey left us alone.
Every dirty passion, and bad propensity in my nature, took the alarm, as I stated the proposition.It will oblige you to have a third horse, said AVARICE, which will put twenty livres out of your pocket.You know not who she is, said CAUTIONor what scrapes the affair may draw you into, whisperd COWARDICE.
But t is a civil thing, said Iand as I generally act from the first impulse, and therefore seldom listen to these cabals, which serve no purpose that I know of, but to encompass the heart with adamantI turnd instantly about to the lady.
But she had glided off unperceived, as the cause was pleading, and had made ten or a dozen paces down the street, by the time I had made the determination; so I set off after her with a long stride, to make her the proposal with the best address I was master of: but observing she walkd with her cheek half resting upon the palm of her handwith the slow, short, measurd step of thoughtfulness, and with her eyes, as she went step by step, fixd upon the ground, it struck me, she was trying the same cause herself.God help her! said I, she has some mother-in-law, or tartufish aunt, or nonsensical old woman, to consult upon the occasion, as well as myself: so not caring to interrupt the process, and deeming it more gallant to take her at discretion than by surprise, I faced about, and took a short turn or two before the door of the Remise, whilst she walkd musing on one side.