Laurence Sterne. (17131768). A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
AS La Fleur went the whole tour of France and Italy with me, and will be often upon the stage, I must interest the reader a little further in his behalf, by saying, that I had never less reason to repent of the impulses which generally do determine me, than in regard to this fellowhe was a faithful, affectionate, simple soul as ever trudged after the heels of a philosopher; and notwithstanding his talents of drum-beating and spatterdash-making, which, tho very good in themselves, happend to be of no great service to me, yet was I hourly recompensed by the festivity of his temperit supplied all defectsI had a constant resource in his looks, in all difficulties and distresses of my ownI was going to have added, of his too; but La Fleur was out of the reach of everything; for whether it was hunger or thirst, or cold or nakedness, or watchings, or whatever stripes of ill luck La Fleur met with in our journeyings, there was no index in his physiognomy to point them out byhe was eternally the same; so that if I am a piece of a philosopher, which Satan now and then puts into my head I amit always mortifies the pride of the conceit, by reflecting how much I owe to the complexional philosophy of this poor fellow, for shaming me into one of a better kind. With all this, La Fleur had a small cast of the coxcombbut he seemed at first sight to be more a coxcomb of nature than of art; and before I had been three days in Paris with himhe seemed to be no coxcomb at all.